"Washington's Pope"? Who is Pope
Cardinal Jorge Mario
Bergoglio and Argentina's "Dirty War"
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Jorge Mario Bergoglio?
In 1973, he had been appointed "Provincial" of Argentina for the
Society of Jesus.
In this capacity, Bergoglio was the highest ranking Jesuit in
Argentina during the military dictatorship led by General Jorge
He later became bishop and archbishop of Buenos Aires. Pope John
Paul II elevated him to the title of cardinal in 2001
When the military junta relinquished power in 1983, the duly
elected president Raúl Alfonsín set up a Truth
Commission pertaining to the crimes underlying the "Dirty
War" (La Guerra Sucia).
The military junta had been supported covertly by Washington.
US. Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger played a
behind the scenes role in the 1976 military coup.
Kissinger's top deputy on Latin America, William Rogers, told
him two days after the coup that,
"we've got to
expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of
blood, in Argentina before too long".
National Security Archive
March 23, 2006
Ironically, a major trial opened up in Buenos Aires on March 5,
2013 a week prior to Cardinal Bergoglio's investiture as
The ongoing trial in
Buenos Aires is:
"to consider the
totality of crimes carried out under
Operation Condor, a
coordinated campaign by various US-backed Latin American
dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s to hunt down, torture
and murder tens of thousands of opponents of those regimes."
For further details,
Operation Condor - Trial on Latin American
Rendition and Assassination Program - by Carlos
Osorio and Peter Kornbluh, March 10, 2013
General Jorge Videla (1970s)
The military junta led by General Jorge Videla was
responsible for countless assassinations, including priests and
nuns who opposed military rule following the CIA sponsored March
24, 1976 coup which overthrew the government of Isabel Peron:
"Videla was among
the generals convicted of human rights crimes, including
"disappearances", torture, murders and kidnappings.
In 1985, Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment at the military
prison of Magdalena."
Wall Street and the Neoliberal Economic Agenda
One of the key appointments of the military junta (on the
instructions of Wall Street) was the Minister of Economy,
Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, a member of Argentina's
business establishment and a close friend of
The neoliberal macro-economic policy package adopted under
Martinez de Hoz was a "carbon copy" of that imposed in October
1973 in Chile by the Pinochet dictatorship under advice
from the "Chicago
Boys", following the September 11, 1973 coup d'Etat
and the assassination of president Salvador Allende.
Wages were immediately frozen by decree. Real purchasing power
collapsed by more than 30 percent in the 3 months following the
March 24, 1976 military coup. (author's estimates, Cordoba,
Argentina, July 1976).
population was impoverished.
Under the helm of Minister of Economy Jose Alfredo Martinez de
Hoz, central bank monetary policy was largely determined by Wall
Street and the IMF. The currency market was manipulated. The
Peso was deliberately overvalued leading to an
insurmountable external debt.
The entire national
economy was precipitated into bankruptcy.
From left to right:
Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz,
and General Jorge Videla
Wall Street and the Catholic Church Hierarchy
Wall Street was firmly behind the military Junta which waged
"The Dirty War" on its behalf. In turn, the Catholic Church
hierarchy played a central role in sustaining the legitimacy of
the military Junta.
The Order of Jesus (the
Jesuits) - which represented the Conservative yet
most influential faction within the Catholic Church, closely
associated with Argentina's economic elites - was firmly behind
the military Junta, against so-called "Leftists" in the
War" - Allegations directed Against Cardinal Jorge Mario
Condemning the military dictatorship (including its human rights
violations) was a taboo within
the Catholic Church.
While the upper
echelons of the Church were supportive of the military Junta,
the grassroots of the Church was firmly opposed to the
imposition of military rule.
In 2005, human rights lawyer Myriam Bregman filed a
criminal suit against Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, accusing him of
conspiring with the military junta in the 1976 kidnapping of two
Several years later, the survivors of the "Dirty War" openly
accused Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of complicity in the kidnapping
of priests Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio as well six members
of their parish (El
Mundo, 8 November 2010).
Cardinal Primate of Argentina,
Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio.
Bergoglio, who at the time was "Provincial" for the Society
of Jesus, had ordered the two "Leftist" Jesuit priests and
opponents of military rule "to leave their pastoral work" (i.e.
they were fired) following divisions within the Society of
Jesus regarding the role of the Catholic Church and its
relations to the military Junta.
While the two priests Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio,
kidnapped by the death squads in May 1976 were released five
months later. after having been tortured, six other people
associated with their parish kidnapped as part of the same
operation were "disappeared" (desaparecidos).
These included four
teachers associated with the parish and two of their husbands.
Upon his release, Priest Orlando Yorio,
Bergoglio of effectively handing them over [including six
other people] to the death squads… Jalics refused to discuss
the complaint after moving into seclusion in a German
"During the first
trial of leaders of the military junta in 1985, Yorio
declared, 'I am sure that he himself gave over the list with
our names to the Navy'."
The two were taken to
the notorious Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA) torture
center and held for over five months before being drugged and
dumped in a town outside the city (see Bill van Auken, "The
Dirty War" Pope - World Socialist Website and Global
Research, March 14, 2013).
Among those "disappeared" by the death squads were Mónica
Candelaria Mignone and María Marta Vázquez Ocampo,
respectively daughter of the founder of of the CELS (Centro de
Estudios Legales y Sociales) Emilio Mignone and daughter of the
president of Madres de Plaza de Mayo, Martha Ocampo de
Periodista Online, March 2013).
María Marta Vásquez, her husband César Lugones (picture above)
and Mónica Candelaria Mignone allegedly "handed over to the
death squads" by Jesuit "Provincial" Jorge Mario Bergoglio are
among the thousands of "desaparecidos" (disappeared) of
Argentina's "Dirty War", which was supported covertly by
Washington under "Operation Condor". (See
In the course of the trial initiated in 2005:
Francis I] twice invoked his right under Argentine law to
refuse to appear in open court, and when he eventually did
testify in 2010, his answers were evasive".
"At least two
cases directly involved Bergoglio. One examined the torture
of two of his Jesuit priests - Orlando Yorio and Francisco
Jalics - who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where
they advocated liberation theology.
Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death
squads... by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed
Jalics refused to
discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German
April 01, 2005
The Secret Memorandum
The military government acknowledged in a Secret Memo (below)
that Father Bergoglio had accused the two priests of having
established contacts with the guerilleros, and for having
disobeyed the orders of the Church hierarchy (Conflictos de
It also stated that
the Jesuit order had demanded the dissolution of their group and
that they had refused to abide by Bergoglio's instructions.
The document acknowledges that the "arrest" of the two priests,
who were taken to the torture and detention center at the
Naval School of Mechanics, ESMA, was based on information
transmitted by Father Bergoglio to the military authorities.
(signed by Mr. Orcoyen)
While a former member
of the priests group had joined the insurgency, there was no
evidence of the priests having contacts with the guerrilla
Communion for the Dictators"
The accusations directed against Bergoglio regarding the two
kidnapped Jesuit priests and six members of their parish are but
the tip of the iceberg.
While Bergoglio was
an important figure in the Catholic Church, he was certainly not
alone in supporting the Military Junta.
According to lawyer Myriam Bregman:
statements proved church officials knew from early on that
the junta was torturing and killing its citizens", and yet
publicly endorsed the dictators.
could not have operated this way without this key support."
Los Angeles Times
General Jorge Videla takes communion.
Date and name of priest unconfirmed
The entire Catholic hierarchy was behind the US sponsored
It is worth recalling
that on March 23, 1976, on the eve of the military coup:
"Videla and other
plotters received the blessing of the Archbishop of Paraná,
Adolfo Tortolo, who also served as vicar of the armed
The day of the
takeover itself, the military leaders had a lengthy meeting
with the leaders of the bishop's conference.
As he emerged
from that meeting, Archbishop Tortolo stated that although,
has its own specific mission... there are circumstances
in which it cannot refrain from participating even when
it is a matter of problems related to the specific order
of the state.'
Argentineans to 'cooperate in a positive way' with the new
In an interview
conducted with El Sur, General Jorge Videla, who is now [passed
away in May 2013] serving a life sentence for crimes against
humanity confirmed that:
"He kept the
country's Catholic hierarchy informed about his regime's
policy of 'disappearing' political opponents, and that
Catholic leaders offered advice on how to 'manage' the
Jorge Videla said he had 'many conversations' with
Argentina's primate, Cardinal Raúl Francisco Primatesta,
about his regime's dirty war against left-wing activists.
Cardinal Pio Laghi
General Jorge Videla
He said there
were also conversations with other leading bishops from
Argentina's episcopal conference as well as with the
country's papal nuncio at the time, Pio Laghi.
us about the manner in which to deal with the
situation,' said Videla"
Former Argentinian dictator says
he told Catholic Church of disappeared
Irish Times, July
It is worth noting
that according to a 1976 statement by Archbishop Adolfo
Tortolo, the military would always consult with a member of
the Catholic hierarchy in the case of the "arrest" of a
grassroots member of the clergy.
This statement was
made specifically in relation to the two kidnapped Jesuit
priests, whose pastoral activities were under the authority of
Society of Jesus "provincial" Jorge Mario Bergoglio. (El
Periodista Online, March 2013).
In endorsing the military Junta, the Catholic hierarchy was
complicit in torture and mass killings, an estimated,
"22,000 dead and
disappeared, from 1976 to 1978… Thousands of additional
victims were killed between 1978 and 1983 when the military
was forced from power."
National Security Archive
March 23, 2006
The Role of the Vatican
The Vatican under Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II played a
central role in supporting the Argentinean military Junta.
Laghi, the Vatican's apostolic nuncio to Argentina admitted
"turning a blind eye" to the torture and massacres.
Laghi had personal ties to members of the ruling military junta
including General Jorge Videla and Admiral Emilio Eduardo
Vatican's Nuncio Pio Laghi
General Jorge Videla
Admiral Emilio Massera in close liaison with his US
handlers, was the mastermind of "La Guerra Sucia" (The Dirty
Under the auspices of
the military regime, he established:
interrogation and torture centre in the Naval School of
Mechanics, ESMA [close to Buenos Aires]… It was a
sophisticated, multi-purpose establishment, vital in the
military plan to assassinate an estimated 30,000
"enemies of the state"…
Many thousands of
ESMA's inmates, including, for instance, two French nuns,
were routinely tortured mercilessly before being killed or
dropped from aircraft into the River Plata.
Massera, the most forceful member of the triumvirate, did
his best to maintain his links with Washington. He assisted
in the development of Plan Cóndor, a collaborative scheme to
co-ordinate the terrorism being practiced by South American
Admiral Emilio Massera: Naval officer
who took part in the 1976 coup in Argentina and
was later jailed for his part in the junta's crimes
November 10, 2010
Reports confirm that
the Vatican's representative Pio Laghi and Admiral
Emilio Massera were friends.
Admiral Emilio Massera,
"The Dirty War"
received by Pope Paul VI at the Vatican
The Catholic Church - Chile versus Argentina
It is worth noting that in the wake of the military coup in
Chile on September 11,1973, the Cardinal of Santiago de Chile,
Raul Silva Henriquez openly condemned the military junta
led by General Augusto Pinochet.
In marked contrast to
Argentina, this stance of the Catholic hierarchy in Chile was
instrumental in curbing the tide of political assassinations and
human rights violations directed against supporters of Salvador
Allende and opponents of the military regime.
The man behind
the interfaith Comité Pro-Paz was Cardinal Raúl Silva
Shortly after the
coup, Silva… stepped into the role of "upstander," a term
the author and activist Samantha Power coined to distinguish
people who stand up to injustice - often at great personal
risk - from "bystanders."
…Soon after the coup, Silva and other church leaders
published a declaration condemning and expressing sorrow for
the bloodshed. This was a fundamental turning point for many
members of the Chilean clergy…
visited the National Stadium and, shocked by the scale of
the government crackdown, instructed his aides to begin
collecting information from the thousands flocking to the
church for refuge.
Silva's actions led to an open conflict with Pinochet, who
did not hesitate to threaten the church and the Comité
Taking a Stand Against Pinochet: The
Catholic Church and the Disappeared
Had the Catholic
hierarchy in Argentina and Jorge Mario Bergoglio taken a similar
stance to that of Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez, thousands of
lives would have been saved.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was not, in the words of Samantha Power,
a "bystander". He was complicit in extensive crimes against
Neither is Pope Francis "a Man of the People" committed to
"helping the poor" in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi,
as portrayed in chorus by the Western media mantra.
Quite the opposite:
under the military Junta, consistently targeted progressive
members of the Catholic clergy as well as committed human
rights activists involved in grassroots anti-poverty
Argentina's "Dirty War", Jorge Mario Bergoglio has blatantly
violated the very tenets of Christian morality which cherish the
value of human life.
Author's message to
"Thou shalt not
Condor" and the Catholic Church
The election of Cardinal Bergoglio by the Vatican conclave to
serve as Pope Francis I will have immediate repercussions
regarding the ongoing "Operation Condor" Trial in Buenos Aires.
The Church was involved in supporting the military Junta.
This is something
which will emerge in the course of the trial proceedings. No
doubt, there will be attempts to obfuscate the role of the
Catholic hierarchy and the newly appointed Pope Francis I, who
served as head of Argentina's Jesuit order during the military
Bergoglio: "Washington's Pope in the Vatican"?
The election of Pope Francis I has broad geopolitical
implications for the entire Latin American region.
In the 1970s, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was supportive of a US
sponsored military dictatorship. The Catholic hierarchy in
Argentina supported the military government.
The Junta's program
of torture, assassinations and ‘disappearances" of thousands of
political opponents was coordinated and supported by Washington
under the CIA's "Operation Condor".
Wall Street's interests were sustained through Jose Alfredo
Martinez de Hoz' office at the Ministry of Economy.
The Catholic Church in Latin America is politically influential.
It also has a grip on public opinion. This is known and
understood by the architects of US foreign policy as well as US
In Latin America, where a number of governments are now
challenging US hegemony, one would expect - given Bergoglio's
track record - that the new Pontiff Francis I as leader of the
Catholic Church, will play de facto, a discrete "undercover"
political role on behalf of Washington.
With Jorge Bergoglio, Pope Francis I in the Vatican - who
faithfully served US interests in the heyday of General Jorge
Videla and Admiral Emilio Massera - the hierarchy of the
Catholic Church in Latin America can once again be effectively
manipulated to undermine "progressive" (leftist) governments,
not only in Argentina (in relation to the government of
Cristina Kirschner) but throughout the entire region,
The instatement of "a
pro-US pope" occurred a week following the death of president
Change" at the Vatican
The US State Department routinely pressures members of the
United Nations Security Council with a view to influencing the
vote pertaining to Security Council resolutions.
US covert operations and propaganda campaigns are routinely
applied with a view to influencing national elections in
different countries around the World.
Similarly, the CIA has a longstanding covert relationship with
Did the US government attempt to influence the outcome of the
election of the new pontiff?
Firmly committed to serving US foreign policy interests in Latin
America, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was Washington's preferred
Were undercover pressures discretely exerted by Washington,
within the Catholic Church, directly or indirectly, on the 115
cardinals who are members of the Vatican conclave?
Who is Pope Francis I, Interview of Michel
Chossudovsky with Bonnie Faulkner
Guns and Butter, KPFA Pacifica.