Thursday, May 12th 2011 - 06:46 UTC

Pilots linked to Argentina’s “death flights” and killing of French nuns arrested

Three former Argentine Coast Guard officers, a former sailor and a solicitor were arrested this week on charges of involvement in the so called ‘death flights’ and the killing of a French-born nun and four other women during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship, according to a federal court report.

French nuns Leonie Duquet and Alice Domon allegedly dumped alive during a ‘death flight” in 1977

All five women including Sister Leonie Duquet were allegedly thrown alive from an airplane on14 December 1977 as it flew high above the South Atlantic. The officers allegedly were the crew aboard the flight, according to magistrate Sergio Torres.

Two of the suspects currently pilot passenger jets on international routes for Aerolineas Argentinas, the national airline. They have been identified as commanders Enrique José De Saint Georges and Mario Daniel Arru, whom back in 1977 flew aircraft belonging to the Coast Guard.

The four slain Argentine women were members of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a rights group made of female relatives of people killed or missing during the military dictatorship.

The bodies of Duquet and the four women -- including Mothers group founder Azucena Villaflor -- were discovered in 2005 at a seaside cemetery buried under headstones that read “NN,” or no name. Locals buried the remains after the tide washed their bodies ashore.

Regime police kidnapped Duquet and another French nun, Alice Domon, in December 1977. Ten members of the Mothers group were kidnapped in the same operation. However Domon's body was never found.

Hundreds of dictatorship-era victims are known to have been thrown alive into the ocean on similar so-called “flights of death”. Apparently Judge Torres has linked the pilots to 20 other such flights.

A former sailor Ricardo Ruben Ormello and an attorney Gonzalo Dalmacio Torres de Toloza were also ordered arrested on charges linked to the case. In effect the solicitor has been accused of very close links to operations in the clandestine detention centre that was located at the notorious Mechanical School from the Argentine Navy.

Prosecutor Eduardo Taiano says the pilots were involved in the 14 December 1977 flight of a Skyvan PA-51 from the Coast Guard that dumped several of the detainees, kidnapped at the Mechanical School, alive. Their bodies were recovered six days later in the beach of the South Atlantic resort Santa Teresita, 320 kilometres south of Buenos Aires and buried by the locals.

On May 6, a government prosecutor called for a life sentence for Alfredo Astiz, 59, nicknamed the ”Blond Angel of Death“ for crimes including the murder of Duquet and Domon. Astiz, at the time a navy officer operating under a pseudonym, infiltrated the Mothers group and pointed out who should be kidnapped, according to trial testimony.

Astiz has already been tried and sentenced to life in absentia by a French court for the Domon and Duquet murders.

In the mid-1990s a former sailor named Adolfo Scilingo admitted in a series of news interviews to his role in the ”flights of death“ and gave details of how prisoners were drugged and pushed out of airplanes. Scilingo was later sentenced to prison in Spain for crimes against humanity.

Official figures say 9,000 people were kidnapped, tortured and killed in what became known as Argentina's ”Dirty War,” but many believe the real number to be closer to 30,000.

Lawsuits over abuses under the dictatorship have been on the rise since the late Nestor Kirchner (president 2003-2007) overturned a broad amnesty of junta-era crimes that was enacted after democracy was restored in 1983.

36 comments Feed

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1 stick up your junta (#) May 12th, 2011 - 09:07 am Report abuse
jees,if they only had put as much effort in catching the Air Argentina thugs as they do crying over the Falklands,they would of faced justice long ago
2 briton (#) May 12th, 2011 - 12:18 pm Report abuse
Need we say anymore,
3 geo (#) May 12th, 2011 - 01:32 pm Report abuse
[] 2 ---

never say jamas....never say jamas.....never say jamas....!
4 GeoffWard (#) May 12th, 2011 - 02:00 pm Report abuse
I guess these guys were amongst those the military (?) wanted to protect in the amnesty that Kirchner subsequently overturned.

I know next to nothing about these about these affairs -

why was there an amnesty?
Was it a democratically arrived-at decision?
Why was it overturned?
5 Marcos Alejandro (#) May 12th, 2011 - 02:20 pm Report abuse
Thanks to CFK all these animals are going to jail.
Brits, is there any chance that Tony Blair will face justice for the thousands of innocents civilians he killed for no reason in Iraq?
6 Artillero601 (#) May 12th, 2011 - 03:24 pm Report abuse
@ 4 is all about politics , re election time!!, Malvinas and Judgement to the Military, nevermind inflation, poverty, education, energy, foreign policy ... do I have to say more?
7 xbarilox (#) May 12th, 2011 - 04:32 pm Report abuse
Wasn't happy times when I read about the “flying nuns”, why did they call them “the flying nuns”? Those women couldn't fly.
8 Frase (#) May 12th, 2011 - 04:42 pm Report abuse
5 - I'm afraid not, we need him to keep the middle east as the peaceful utopia that it currently is......
9 Think (#) May 12th, 2011 - 04:52 pm Report abuse
The ignorance of young xbarilox Post No. (7) is only surpassed by his turnipidity……………….
As less-youngish artillero601 surely remembers; ”la Monjita Voladora” (The Flying Nun)…….
It was one of the popular American TV series approved by the military regime censorship during the 70's as ”Clean Family Entretainment”

The link below may give an idea of why the military called those French nuns the “Flying Nuns”
10 xbarilox (#) May 12th, 2011 - 04:57 pm Report abuse
11 geo (#) May 12th, 2011 - 06:01 pm Report abuse
[] 9 ---Es Ding --
In no way that we haven't learned your opinions on “desaparecidos” yet .
You make thin gossip by whispering !.jape with crap you tube links here!
leastwise this is your modus ??

I can^t say you are deft on distractions.although you change comment accents frequently...
12 Artillero601 (#) May 12th, 2011 - 06:40 pm Report abuse
Mi querido y estimado Think !! Al “zurdaje” you need to keep them under control otherwise they go wild and start blowing shit everywhere so therefore you have to limit or restrict the media .... if you don't do that they start with the Marxismo Leninismo crap (BTW , it doesn't work or if you don't believe me ask the russians or cubans...). As we all know politics in Argentina is like a pendulum , today is the far left tomorrow I hope with all my heart will a far right !!!! Just a thought
13 geo (#) May 12th, 2011 - 07:17 pm Report abuse
[] 12 Artio ---
for all i read at other forums, you live in Texas ! from where ?
i have some relatives who live in Texas/Dallas,have jobs in aviation
industry ...I saw there .
The country is paradise but has hell economic system on ...lazy and
utmost undisciplined society, you can't live beneath of 200/250 K $ yearly ..anyone can^t buy weapon from selling units...broke people ...!
14 Artillero601 (#) May 12th, 2011 - 07:25 pm Report abuse
Geo , when you say 200 / 250 k, you mean 250,000 dollars?
15 geo (#) May 12th, 2011 - 07:53 pm Report abuse
[] Artio--
exactly , 200.000--- 250.000 $
16 Artillero601 (#) May 12th, 2011 - 08:03 pm Report abuse
you live like a king with that kind of money !!
17 geo (#) May 12th, 2011 - 08:46 pm Report abuse
Elite School fee is 50.000 $ yearly..
Mercedes paymets...
scenic 4/5 rooms house ..2 million $
emergency fund...
retirement accounts...
private health payments...
some grants to tea- parties....
dense coming relatives outlays...

where is American dream !!
18 GeoffWard (#) May 12th, 2011 - 09:16 pm Report abuse
I know next to nothing about these about these affairs -

why was there an amnesty?
Was it a democratically arrived-at decision?
Why was it overturned?
19 jerry (#) May 12th, 2011 - 09:43 pm Report abuse
18, Geoff - I believe that this is reasonably correct: After there were elections again in the early 1980s, one of the new Argentina presidents, Menem I believe, issued presidential pardons for both the military and for the guerrillas of the 1970s, saying that Argentina should start over again and start healing itself. When Kirchner was elected president, he overturned the pardons for the military, but continued pardons for the guerrillas. That is why there have been so many military prosecutions, but none for the guerrillas, some of which are still in CFK`s cabinent.
20 Artillero601 (#) May 12th, 2011 - 10:50 pm Report abuse
@19 Its about fucking time one of my countrymen writes the truth about this issue !!!!! Thanks Jerry .....
21 GeoffWard (#) May 13th, 2011 - 01:07 am Report abuse
Thanks, J & A,

sorry for forcing the issue, but I felt it was important to have it said, on the Mercopress record.

Fundimental historical truths are lost in the collective amnesia induced by the linked cruelties of conflict and retribution.

22 Artillero601 (#) May 13th, 2011 - 01:41 am Report abuse
I'll give you an example , is like doing the Nuremberg trials every 4 years ..makes sense? with the same people for the same cause , again and again
23 Think (#) May 13th, 2011 - 03:32 am Report abuse
(22) Artillero601

Correction boy....

Same people, different causes..........

Again and again and again and again and again and again..................

Until Justice is served.
24 xbarilox (#) May 13th, 2011 - 04:17 am Report abuse
Absolutely “Until Justice is served” no peace, no forgiveness. Justice cannot be for one side alone. Cabandié knows this better than anyone else, perhaps that's his reason for having bodyguards hmmm
25 GeoffWard (#) May 13th, 2011 - 10:19 am Report abuse
I think

(i) that punishment should be evenhanded and that 'left' and 'right ' should both be equally punished.

(ii) Amnesty should apply to both 'sides' equally.

(iii) Amnesty should be forever.

(iv) Reconciliation should be a major part of subsequent social policy.

(v) The education process for children should encompass Reconciliation.

(vi) Life should 'move on' for the better good of the whole nation.

26 geo (#) May 13th, 2011 - 10:30 am Report abuse
[] 19 --
....,but none for the guerillas,some of which are still in CFK cabinet....

Who are they ?....their names ?.......don't fear if you know !
27 Artillero601 (#) May 13th, 2011 - 01:35 pm Report abuse
@25 You are right on ... as usual BUT if you take those 2 items from the agenda (Malvinas & Judgment to the Military) what is Cristina going to talk about?

@23 Think, my dear friend , READ MY LIPS !! YOUR JUSTICE IS ONE SIDED SIR !!! besides , the justice that you are talking about is taking 26 years in the making ???? because some “Carlitos” comes forward and says ”OH, YEAH, I SAW SO AND SO DOING THIS 35 YEARS AGO, and POOM ! you end up in jail.

Do you have the same standards for you corrupted polititians???? THE ANSWER IS NO, and everytime I raise the question YOU IGNORE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Y no me hagan calentar que so far i was having a pretty good morning!!!!

28 geo (#) May 13th, 2011 - 02:36 pm Report abuse
[] 19 --
you are fearing up ? or you don't know ?
if you fear from your computer -- url-- finding...
in 4...5 seconds it can be determined by easily after open a website...
but you can slip away by interesting internet technics by trackless.
29 Artillero601 (#) May 13th, 2011 - 03:02 pm Report abuse
@28 :-)))))))) Geo, you make me laugh !
Going back to 250k a year , living in Dallas Fort Worth

Elite School fee is 50.000 $ yearly.. Are you sending the kids to Harvard? is@ 60 a year
Mercedes paymets... You can lease one for $357 a month, no big deal
scenic 4/5 rooms house ..2 million $ .... yes , for that type of house you need 100k a month not a year
emergency fund...
retirement accounts...
private health payments... Private Insurance in the US is very expensive, that's correct !!!
some grants to tea- parties.... Tea Party? the Political Party???
dense coming relatives outlays... wtf is this ???
30 geo (#) May 13th, 2011 - 06:27 pm Report abuse
Saving !
where is saving consciousness ?
the saving consciousness for US citizens ? what is it ?
31 Marcos Alejandro (#) May 13th, 2011 - 09:17 pm Report abuse
27 Artillero601, You consider justice one sided only, and what the hell was the killing of tens of thousands during the seventies about? wasn't that one sided justice? your style of course.
32 xbarilox (#) May 13th, 2011 - 09:43 pm Report abuse
hmmm it seems that someone #31 is suffering from amnesia, someone's forgetting about the bombs, he should call Taiana, Duhalde, Vaca Narvaja, Verbitski, there are lots of people that will put a bomb under that someoen's bed to make him remember and understand the concept of Justice jijiji They haven't changed, they throw the stone and then they hide the hand and play the victims jijiji bloody bloody days, now you're going the same way again.
33 Artillero601 (#) May 13th, 2011 - 10:17 pm Report abuse
@32 is like we say in our country ...“No gastes polvora en chimango”
34 Marcos Alejandro (#) May 13th, 2011 - 10:56 pm Report abuse
hmmm it seems that someone #32 is suffering from amnesia, someone's forgetting about his real nationality.
Que pasa Quique, no hay desfile romano en space city esta semana?
35 Artillero601 (#) May 14th, 2011 - 11:52 am Report abuse
36 Marcos Alejandro (#) May 14th, 2011 - 05:41 pm Report abuse
??? :-)

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