(Never Again) - Report of Conadep
M. The profits of repression
It is worth repeating that the violations committed by those responsible for repression involved not only attacks against the freedom and security of individuals, but also the systematic and simultaneous transgression of other legal rights, such as property and public documents to facilitate the transfer of goods or to set up non-existent transactions. False deeds, false documents, false car registrations and certificates of ownership were made out to expedite looting and theft. We are referring here to crimes committed in the course of carrying out the official policy of making people 'disappear, leaving aside the limitless number of economic crimes which were committed by the de facto authorities during their administration, as those go beyond the aims of the the present investigation.
The mentors of the so-called Process of National Reorganization often used the term 'illicit', perhaps in order to refer to the lucrative aspects of the 'excesses' they themselves acknowledged having committed during the anti-subversive struggle.
Their statements were austere and inspiring:
Immorality and corruption must be properly punished. Political, economic and ideological speculation must cease to be used as the means for groups of adventurers to gain their ends.
These were the words used by General Videla as Commander-in-Chief of the Army when he harangued the troops in Tucumán, at Christmas 1975 (Clarín, 14 February 1976).
Similarly, the then Director of the Air Force Academy for NCOs, Commodore Roberto Francisco Pitaro, in his inaugural speech for the academic year of 1976 told his students:
Where there is corruption the man of arms should be a mirror of honesty, a model of correctness; where there is subversion and social disorganization, the man of arms must be ready to redirect the deviated course. (Clarín, 6 May 1976.)
Admiral Eduardo Massera stated in June 1978:
Let no one think of the country as fragmented into private feudal manors, let no one put the interests of individual groups before that of the community. This is a statement about responsibility and therefore it is a moral statement. (Clarín, 17 June 1978.)
That it was not like this, but quite the opposite, is known by the whole world and particularly by the people of Argentina. But the only ones who know how it actually happened case by case are those of us who have received testimonies and depositions, as examples of which we present below extracts which have already been forwarded to the courts.
I remember the case of a detainee whose son aged twelve was tortured in front of her because the gang thought she had hidden the deeds of her house. (File No. 3048. Testimony of Elena Alfaro, included in the deposition on the El Vesubio camp which was presented to judge Dr Ruiz Paz, of Morón.)
In the Navy Mechanics Sschool, where I was held from 10 August 1979 to the end of 1983, all sorts of personal documents were forged: identity cards, driving licences, passports and naval identity cards. If a member of a task force required a false document, a list of 'doubles' was consulted and the one who most resembled him was chosen: a set of false papers was made up to suit the needs of the force member. (File No. 5011.)
That file refers to the case of Victor Melchor Basterra and is part of the second set of depositions on crimes committed by the Navy Mechanics School submitted to Federal Judge Dr Blondi.