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Part I
The Repression

Nunca Más (Never Again) - Report of Conadep  - 1984


Secret Air Force detention centres

Federal Security Headquarters

The former Federal Police Headquarters (today the Inspectorate of the Interior) of the Argentinian Federal Police, was, at the end of 1979, the base for Task Force 2 on the third and fourth floors of their building at Calle Moreno 1417, Buenos Aires, under the operational supervision of the 1st Army Corps. in their turn they brought in other task forces instrumental in the repression, such as those working in other agencies of the Mechanics School of the Armed Forces (Task Force GT3.2).

Later on, the fifth, sixth, seventh and other floors of the building were used as illegal detention centres, keeping prisoners subjected to the 'RAF' (up in the air), which means without being registered anywhere as official prisoners (file No. 7531).
This building was used for Interrogations, and for housing prisoners in transit and as an initial detention centre for those who would later be put at the disposition of the National Executive.

However, many cases existed in which they gave prisoners their 'last trip', as they did with those on the night of 7 July 1976 and on subsequent days, in reprisal for bomb attacks on police premises. The prisoners on their 'last trip' were taken out after being given an injection (file No. 7531). Of these disappeared prisoners, the victims of a savage retribution, there exists brutal evidence in the admissions book at the Buenos Aires judicial Mortuary, where the number of unidentified corpses suddenly rises. For years there were one or two entries daily, but between 3 and 7 July of that year forty-six corpses were registered, nearly all with the following post mortem from the judicial Mortuary: 'Bullet wounds to the cranium, thorax, abdomen and pelvis, internal haemorrhaging'.

Others seem to have been liquidated in groups: 'Found together with seven other corpses inside a parking lot in Chacabuco 639, Buenos Aires.' Also registered are, a number of bodies found in the region of Pilar, where thirty corpses turned up dynamited on 20 August 1976 (file Nos. 2521, 6976 and 7531).

'The punishments never ended, everything was scientifically organized, from the punishments to the meals ... one could hear voices drowning out the continuous evidence that someone was undergoing torture' (file No. 3721).

The prisoners were always kept handcuffed and blindfolded with bandages and sticking plaster, The women were obliged to use the bathroom in front of the guards and constantly subjected to manhandling and rape.

The three of us were blindfolded and handcuffed throughout the proceedings and almost throughout our entire imprisonment ... the same man would reappear with someone calling himself a doctor and would yet again feel me over without any serious attempt at a proper medical examination ... Feeling half-asleep, I'm not sure how much later, I heard the cell door open and I was raped by one of the guards. The following Sunday the same person was on duty and came in and begged my pardon, telling me that he was a 'dark-skinned Indian' who wanted to go with a blonde woman and that he hadn't realized I wasn't a guerrilla. The day he raped me this same man had entered my cell saying: 'If you don't keep your mouth shut I'll take you to the torture machine,' and stamped his boot on my face, uttering curses. The following morning, when mate tea was being served, this man pushed the sugar towards me saying: 'For services rendered.' That same morning another man came into my cell yelling, issuing orders: 'Stand still, get undressed,' pushing me up against a wall and raping me again. ... On Sunday night, the man who had raped me was on guard duty, forcing me to play cards with him, and that night he returned to my cell, raping me a second time ... (D.N.C. file No.1808.)

One of the tortures consisted in stripping the prisoners, forcing them on to a flat surface with their arms and legs outstretched. They used two electric prods simultaneously, combining this torture with blows and also with the method they called the 'dry submarino'. The electric prod was applied to the vagina, mouth, and underneath the blindfold to the eyes. The interrogations were accompanied by continual threats against the prisoners' relatives. They frequently shoved objects into the prisoners' anuses. On any whim they beat the prisoners with rubber truncheons, The guards amused themselves with all sorts of 'games', such as making them put one finger on the floor and spin round faster and faster ('prospecting for oil') and beating any prisoner who fell over, to making them dance in couples for ages and ages and then beating them brutally afterwards. Simulated firing squads were also commonplace. Thrown on to the floor, the prisoners were often beaten, spat on or urinated over.

Patrick Rice, an Irish priest who was imprisoned there, and tortured, saw pregnant women among the prisoners. One of them, Maria del Socorro Alonso, was tortured, which gave rise to haemorrhaging, paralysis in her legs and heart palpitations, for which they gave her an injection, causing her to lose the baby.

They put me into a cell there. There were about six other prisoners in other cells along the same corridor, four boys in a large cell and about the same number of women in another large cell. There was a swastika painted on the wall at the end with the finger-print roller, ... The food at the Federal Police Headquarters consisted of mate tea boiled without milk or sugar, and with a little bread in the morning, beans boiled generally without salt and bread at midday, and polenta, once more without salt, at night. There were two pregnant women who asked permission to use the bathroom. According to what was told me, some of the guards sexually assaulted the women while they were there. There were two sorts of prisoners, official and unofficial. One of the unofficial ones, Guillermo López, a medical student living in the west of Buenos Aires city was taken off one morning, when a large group of us were in transit to Villa Devoto, and never joined us there. Some had been imprisoned there for nearly three months and one said that before them people had been taken off to be killed. One even told me that the previous night, when thirty corpses were found in Pilar, thirty prisoners had been taken from the Federal Police Headquarters. (file No. 6796.).




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