Friday, October 19th 2012 - 00:48 UTC

Argentine military governor of the Falklands arrested for human rights violations

The military governor of the Falkland Islands during Argentina’s brief occupation of the archipelago in 1982 was detained for his alleged role in human rights abuses at a notorious torture center in the 1970s, prosecutors said Thursday.

General Mario Benjamin Menendez allegedly was head of a torture centre in 1975 during the “Operation Independence” in the province of Tucuman

Former Gen. Mario Benjamin Menendez was arrested at his home in Buenos Aires on Wednesday and transferred to a federal prison in Tucuman province, 1.300 kilometers north of Argentina’s capital.

The 82-year-old Menendez was briefly governor of the Falklands after Argentina occupied the Islands by force in April 1982. It subsequently lost control when British troops retook the Islands and the Argentine troops surrendered on 14 June 1982.

His arrest relates to ‘‘La Escuelita,’’ a torture center in Tucuman province that he allegedly helped run in 1975, the year before the military coup that ushered in Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship, the attorney general’s office said Thursday. Prosecutors said he was head of the ‘‘Tactical Command Post’’ at the center.

A unit of the Marxist Cuban trained Revolutionary People’s Army, ERP, operated in the mountains of Tucuman in 1974, and the civilian government in power at the time ordered a crackdown on the group. The campaign was called “Operation Independence”.

Prosecutors say 1.507 suspects passed through the center between Feb. 10 and Dec. 18, 1975, part of a systematic campaign of repression against dissidents and leftists ahead of the coup.

From February to December 1975, thirty military units were involved in the operation including border guards and federal police which also helped to disband sugar industry unions and militant student organizations.

The operation was under the command of General Adel Edgardo Vilas and later by General Antonio Domingo Bussi, who died in jail in 2008 condemned for human rights abuses. But he was also a successful politician and was voted governor of Tucuman under democracy.

Besides Menendez, 21 other people have been arrested across Argentina in connection with the case. Among them is a cousin of Menendez, former Col. Jose Maria Menendez, who is under house arrest.

Another military officer arrested former Colonel Walter Saborido, was deputy governor candidate in Tucuman’s last elections running for a party called La Linea which supposedly rallied all those who somehow were involved in the “Operation Independence”. He owns a security company which employs 200 people.

60 comments Feed

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1 Giorgio_O._Tsoukalos (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 01:14 am Report abuse
The difference between countries that arrest their war criminals (Argentina), and those that do not (Tony Blair).
2 Ayayay (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 01:18 am Report abuse
When the Argentine gov is safer to be around the Argentine ppl, that'll be a happy day (:
3 ProRG_American (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 02:25 am Report abuse
Another witch hunt. I hope that someone would put the Montoneros, Tupamaros, and other terrorists on trial for some equal time.
4 Hook (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 02:57 am Report abuse

hehe, the government an La Campora are going to crab some private land from 'wealthier' land people in the province of Buenos Aires. They have to give 10% of their residential land to La Campora if the law passes.

So people, don't invest in Argentina!
5 Ayayay (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 03:52 am Report abuse
I thought Argentines would possibly be superior home designers, given tshhe cash. Bcause they like French architecture. Well, that neighb in Hook's post is not convincing me at all. Why the grey? Why drain your lawns in a way that's unsafe for small children. Where are the flowers
6 Marcos Alejandro (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 04:25 am Report abuse
Good news.
7 mastershakejb (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 05:18 am Report abuse
Haha, ProRG pissed. BTW, the classic rebels you say should be tried, are those with whom your nutcase president sides.
8 reality check (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 05:35 am Report abuse
Course they do, plonker, suppose the Nazis do not count.

Argentina= Nazi save haven.
9 Beef (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 06:09 am Report abuse
So they decide to arrest the man who surrendered his forces despite he had lost less than 50% of his men and not used more than 75% of his ammunition. Given this level of cowardice they should have arrested him a long time ago!

Col H Jones v Gen Menendez. I couldn't see the fat Argie having the guts to risk his own life for his country.
10 toooldtodieyoung (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 06:19 am Report abuse
Argentine military governor of the Falklands arrested for human rights violations

Why should anyone be surprised at this headline?

Argentine military= Criminal in uniform
11 Troy Tempest (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 06:38 am Report abuse
Brits and Yanks in AR

Are these actions politically motivated??

What do the Argentinian public think of this, given the events occurred 30-35 years ago?

Is this a kick in the backside of the military - a warning not to fail if another invasion meets resistance??


Trolls ??? :-)

“PiRAT-Hunter”, what do you think??? :-D
12 Martin Woodhead (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 07:39 am Report abuse
Its not cowardice to surrender when you've lost 50% of your forces.
Further fighting was pointless would only have cost more lives on both sides and achieved nothing.
13 ynsere (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 07:50 am Report abuse
Imagine what this man would have got down to if the Argentines hadn't been defeated.
14 Usurping Pirate (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 08:08 am Report abuse
Menendez' arrest is simply more crumbs thrown to the Camporista masses and has nothing to do with justice .I am not saying he is not guilty , but the Montoneros and ERP , who committed equally horrific crimes in what was a violent civil war have all been granted a blanket amnesty .
The land reform plan is a dangerous indication of where things are headed .
MBOA is a white female version of Mugabe .
15 Guzz (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 08:14 am Report abuse
2, 5, 9, 13 years being tortured by the military for defending your nation against usurpers of power, and you want them to be tried??? They've already paid for crimes they never commited.
16 lsolde (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 09:09 am Report abuse
What an unstable civilization, glad we're out of it.
17 Pete Bog (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 09:23 am Report abuse
I am going to get fiercelessly slated for this but despite his past crimes (and he will have to account for them), Menendez saved a lot of lives and Falkland Islanders when he surrendered. I believe that reality overtook the 'Malvinas' myth when he saw how the British turned an Argentine tactical advantage (the opportunity to make the islands impregnable) to a self-imposed defeat, as the war came to him from the surrounding mountains.

However it shows the inferior quality of the Argentine military. When they are attacking an inferior force and unarmed civilians they are full of hot air but when faced with people who throw myths aside and deal with reality, not dreams, they crumble ie @9 Beef'-Col H Jones v Gen Menendez.'
18 GFace (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 09:30 am Report abuse
#13 Indeed, ynsere. It's naive to say that Menendez was there to just be a friendly civil servant. The Junta anticipated that the UK would not fight for the Islanders' freedom and he was to be the boot on the human face should they not wish to become Argentine, and chances of them resisting were more than good. But as soon as it was clear that the UK would have none of it, those plans, such as the one people overheard secret “police” chief Dowling say openly, was off the table. Menendez can be probably credited though for knowing which way the winds were going to blow as soon as he saw that the British were coming. But, had the UK not stopped the expansion of their dictatorship to the Falklands, he would have been given a set of orders to “Escuelitze” the islands and make no mistake, he would have carried it out -- because that is why they sent *him*, Dowling and the others. And “ethnic cleansing” or equivalent term would have been added to our lexicon a 2 decades earlier. And the armchair dirty warriors here who pine for an alternative history starting in 1982 know it, and likely deep down secretly are grateful that the UK stopped them so they can continue to pretend to be the victim in all this.

#12, his decision to surrender “against argentine law” probably saved his and his men's and his country's reputations. His defeat was inevitable (arguably as soon as the taskforce was seen coming his way). His troops near Stanley were itching to take it out on the locals. He knew that if he didn't end it he would truly be facing war crimes under British arrest, with all the implications for his family's shame on the world stage, and a not bitter and grudging “amnesty” deal from fellow Argentines needing to move forward and strategically ignore parts of the very recent past.
19 Orbit (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 09:38 am Report abuse
@1 .... so despite knowing where he lives it took 30+ years to arrest him ? On that basis, your point will be answered if we arrest Blair in 2030 ish ? Sounds reasonable.
20 GFace (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 09:49 am Report abuse
#17, not slated, you're right. Generals in a military dictatorship don't become generals because “zey follow ze orders,” they become generals because they are smart and are survivors. In Tucuman, he was insulated by his regime. In the Falklands, he knew he could not and would not win and there was no escape. Surender was the only option for him and his men (including the ones that wanted to fight house to house) to survive every meaning of the word.
21 Tinx (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 09:59 am Report abuse
That s all koala comments from Australia.
22 Pete Bog (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 12:38 pm Report abuse
What have Koala bears got to do with the comments?

Are you p1ssed?
23 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 01:07 pm Report abuse
#3 The “other” terrorist cannot be put on trial, the reside in la casa rosada.
24 yankeeboy (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 01:11 pm Report abuse
The problem is they are ignoring an immunity (reconciliation) law passed in the 90s. This is what happens in banana republics. The law is what they want it to be and it is used as a bludgeon against their enemies or ignored with their friends.
Just wait until the next Prez is installed and they will go after Ks and all their supporters for the terrorist activities in the 70s. It's gonna happen just watch.
25 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 01:18 pm Report abuse
Good.....I would love to see that.
26 Conqueror (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 01:44 pm Report abuse
@12 You need to look up the argie policy in respect of surrender. “the Argentine Army code stating that a surrender was illegal unless more than 50% of the men were casualties and 75% of the ammunition was spent.” Invader casualties and losses. 649 killed. 1,657 wounded. 11,313 prisoners. So where's the 50%? Menendez should have held out for another 4,500 casualties.
@15 I agree. Trying them would be a waste of time and money. Just shoot 'em!
@17 You need to mention the outstanding abilities, bravery, courage, dedication, fighting ability, honour, intelligence, tactics of members of the British armed forces. Honoured, as always, by the presence of Gurkhas. Who helped argies achieve world records in the 5 mile dash!
@18 It's worth noticing that argie forces totalled around 13,300. Defeated by less than 10,000 proper troops.
27 Giorgio_O._Tsoukalos (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 02:32 pm Report abuse

Kinda like backing the Taliban before you were against it.

That's the problem with Banana republics, they think very short term but don't analyze the consequences of their actions long term.

3000 civilians dead, 10000 soldiers dead, 20 billion in material damage, 1 trillion in war costs, 1.5 trillion in economic shock costs...

All for supporting a rag-tag in the 1980s.

hahahahaha, ultimate banana republic. It so blew up in your face didn't it.
28 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 03:12 pm Report abuse
#27 titti boi apples and oranges.....being RG bananas. Do you really hate your own skin so much that you change identities more often than the RG peso changes value?
29 Falkland Islands (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 03:46 pm Report abuse
The Argies always arrest them just before they die anyway. Try to prove to the world that they hate the dictators, why not get KFC now before she is too old? ha ha
30 Pete Bog (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 03:52 pm Report abuse
“You need to mention the outstanding abilities, bravery, courage, dedication, fighting ability, honour, intelligence, tactics of members of the British armed forces. Honoured, as always, by the presence of Gurkhas. Who helped argies achieve world records in the 5 mile dash!

” Absolutely.

No doubt about that, our guys were and are the best and I think it is a travesty that John Gavin Hamilton did not get a VC, plus alot of blokes deserved them in my opinion.
These people were not playing a stupid game. At least the RGs have had a Gypsies Warning of what will happen if they are stupid enough to take another pop.

“faced with people who throw myths aside and deal with reality, not dreams,”
31 Pugol-H (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 04:18 pm Report abuse
So when is someone going to be arrested for waging an unlawful and unjust war against the territory and people of the Falklands.

Back in 82, or now?

Probably about the same time as Blair is for Iraq.
32 Tim (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 05:08 pm Report abuse
Problem is that earlier in the year - on a TV program - he put a big question mark against the supposed “democracy” we are living under here, and he was right. Now CFK and her Hitler Youth have come for their revenge. No friend of mine, but this is totally unfair and as some of you have pointed out it is high time to make the Montoneros and ERP (many of whom are in government) pay for their crimes against humanity as well.
33 Simon68 (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 05:18 pm Report abuse
32 Tim (#)
Oct 19th, 2012 - 05:08 pm

Quite right, Tim, after all the Montoneros and ERP etc. started killing innocent people during a DEMOCRATICALLY elected Government and were directly responsable for the military holocaust which came on March 24th. 1976!!!!!!
34 yankeeboy (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 06:16 pm Report abuse
27. Georgy/Toby, Care to show me how you came to those comparisons? To me and any other sane educated person they are nothing alike.
35 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 06:18 pm Report abuse
Well like the saying goes, “you are either with me, or against me” and if you are not with asslips, she either send the AFIP or the someone else after them. DICTATORSHIP.

36 David Cameron (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 06:56 pm Report abuse
1 Giorgio_O._Tsoukalos -------- Ha ha it only took you 30 years to arrest the bastard. We should have put the bastard up against a wall and put a bullet between his ears and then gone on to Buenos Aires and done the same to that other lunatic Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli the mad man of Argentina. Better still we should have stripped them both naked tied their arms and legs together and put them both in a small room full of the victims relatives who they killed and give each one of the relatives a small blunt knife to saw through their balls and then we should have put a bullet between their ears but only after they had had their pricks stuffed in their mouths.
37 Guzz (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 07:13 pm Report abuse
Whole SA would be your friends today, had you done that. But no, instead you chose to watch in silence...
38 britonskare (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 07:37 pm Report abuse
Am I next?....I am scare...
39 Pirate Love (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 07:40 pm Report abuse
mmmm..... I wonder if he would be facing charges if he had actually won THE FALKLAND WAR, I think not!, thats price of failure....
I wonder what CFKs price will be :) :)
40 ChrisR (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 08:26 pm Report abuse
TMBOA will escape the country as soon as she sees the tide turning against her.

She will make sure she does not hang by her heels from a lamp post.

Her sort never get caught, only the underlings.
41 yankeeboy (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 08:31 pm Report abuse
37. But no, instead you chose to watch in silence...

and so did the citizens of all of the countries in question.

Which means they are either too stupid or too cowardly (or both) to do something about it.

SAs are always whining.. whining.. whining

don't you ever get sick of playing the victim?

42 britonskare (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 08:37 pm Report abuse
I am briton and I am scare...
what can you do for me?
43 yankeeboy (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 08:51 pm Report abuse
I am scare?

I have no idea what you mean. English please.
44 ynsere (#) Oct 19th, 2012 - 09:28 pm Report abuse
Tim and Simon @ 32 and 33
The same goes for the Tupamaros in Uruguay, but fortunately most of them subsequently forsook terrorism and entered democratic politics.
45 Guzz (#) Oct 20th, 2012 - 08:02 am Report abuse
We got a pension and an official apology from the state of Uruguay for their crimes against humanity (that would be us)
... y que te duela el orto ;)
46 ynsere (#) Oct 20th, 2012 - 02:06 pm Report abuse
Yes, today many of Uruguay's former terrorists and their descendants are raking in as much money as they possibly can, in the guise of pensions, jobs, special permits to import carpenters' machinery tax-free, etc. Some of them suffered terribly during the dictatorship, others not. The latter are now dubbed the “caviar left” for their expensive bourgeois habits, paid for by Uruguay's poor. President Mujica is an honourable exception.
However, they all tried to overthrow a democratic government and made the dictatorship possible.
Notwithstanding their past or present failings. you seem to be the only one who became an Argentine lickspittle.
47 Guzz (#) Oct 20th, 2012 - 02:49 pm Report abuse
I don't know one Tupa that accepted the pension and doesn't use it for the good of Uruguay, our President isn't the only Tupa to think as he does ;)
48 Tim (#) Oct 21st, 2012 - 12:36 am Report abuse
44 ynsere (#) The Banda Oriental is an example to be followed, only wish the corrupt twits this side of the pond would follow suit. I just regret not buying a home in Punta at the time of the Tupamaros, they were going for peanuts and today are worth a fortune.
49 Isolde (#) Oct 21st, 2012 - 07:16 am Report abuse
@48 Tim,
Ah, hindsight!
Dad could have bought a very large farm in southern Argentina, in the early seventies.
We had the money & expertise to invest in a big way.
The way things turned out, l'm glad he didn't.
Just think, we may have been sr Think's neighbours!
That could have been loads of fun!
50 Guzz (#) Oct 21st, 2012 - 08:09 am Report abuse
Abuse and personal attacks in all honour, but don't you think you are taking it a bit far now?
51 Tim (#) Oct 21st, 2012 - 05:12 pm Report abuse
49 Isolde (#) I love a good banter only problem is these guys don't understand our humour. You should meet our new Amabassador, he is loads of fun (darn good looking wife too!!) and he loves a good banter.
52 lsolde (#) Oct 22nd, 2012 - 11:08 am Report abuse
l'm speaking the truth.
Mum & Dad seriously looked at buying land in Patagonia before l was born.
Eventually they opted to manage a coffee plantation in lndonesia instead.
@50 Guzz,
Taking what too far?
We may very well have been sr Think's neighbours, l don't know.
53 Guzz (#) Oct 22nd, 2012 - 11:26 am Report abuse
The very idea af putting those images in Mr Think's head is far less bearable than any personal insult, one would “Think” ;)
54 Simon68 (#) Oct 22nd, 2012 - 01:13 pm Report abuse
So Guzz IS Think!!!!!!!
55 Guzz (#) Oct 22nd, 2012 - 04:30 pm Report abuse
Si vibaum, soy Think...
Vos si no sos mas chiflau porque no te da el dia....
56 lsolde (#) Oct 23rd, 2012 - 10:10 am Report abuse
@54 Simon68,
l think you're onto something,
l've had my suspicions for quite some time now.
maybe yes, maybe no, maybe even maybe!
57 Guzz (#) Oct 23rd, 2012 - 10:20 am Report abuse
I take that as a compliment, myself I see Think as a much wiser man than me though, he has a self-control I truly miss. I hope it comes with age...
Much more interesting is the fact that I've been taking up time in your head... Is that before going to bed, or just before waking up? Maybe yes? Maybe no? Maybe, mayhap?
58 Tim (#) Oct 23rd, 2012 - 06:04 pm Report abuse
52 lsolde (#) I was taking you seriously. I've heard a lot about Indonesia and would love to visit the place. Were you under the Dutch or were you there after independence?
59 Isolde (#) Oct 24th, 2012 - 09:03 am Report abuse
The Dutch left in 1949. l was born many years after that.
l was a toddler when we went there & a teenager when Mum & Dad left there for Papua New Guinea.
l like lndonesia, l love the food. So spicy it burns your lips. Then you wash it down with coconut milk. The fruits are absolutely gorgeous.
Cost of living is low, but some things like meat are expensive.
l learned to drive in lndonesia. lf you can cope with lndo traffic, you can drive anywhere!
60 Tim (#) Oct 25th, 2012 - 03:19 am Report abuse
59 Isolde (#) It sounds great; the diplomatic crowd always rave about it and how they had a houseful of houseboys to do everything for them. Years certainly pass quickly, I didn't realize the Dutch left so long ago and I was only 8 at the time!!

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