Secret CIA documents show the US had plans to either give the Falkland Islands to Argentina and repatriate the islanders to Scotland or allow them become Argentine citizens because the spy agency thought the UK would lose the 1982 war.
The papers, called ‘Solution to the Falkland Islands crisis,’ appear to the show the intelligence agency felt the UK had seriously underestimated the capabilities of the Argentine military when the two countries fought a short but savage war over the South Atlantic archipelago.
The documents comprise just a few pages of 12 million formerly-classified internal papers published by the CIA this week.
© Jarcos BrindicciBritain & Argentina sign deal to identify Falklands war dead
The Falklands plan was written by Henry Rowen, then head of the National Intelligence Council.
“For a period of three years the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands will be given a chance to consider whether they wish to remain on the Falkland Islands or whether they wish to relocate to an area of British jurisdiction, either in the UK or elsewhere under British sovereignty, with a relocation grant of $100,000 per person,” he said.
He said it was probable “that many residents will find this sufficient inducement to relocate to some other area, perhaps in Scotland or elsewhere where conditions may be similar to the Falkland Islands.”
Rowen said that any citizen who did not wish to leave “will be free to remain and become Argentinian citizens at the end of three years.
“The cost of the relocation grants to be paid to any residents of the Falkland Islands wishing to relocate elsewhere will be borne fifty/fifty by the Argentinian and British governments,” he added.
In the end the British won the Islands back at a combined cost of 907 British, Argentine and Falklands Islander lives.
The CIA has published online nearly 13 million pages of declassified records, including papers on the US role in overthrowing foreign governments and the secret ‘Star Gate’ telepathy project.
The range of documents, known as the CREST (CIA Records Search Tool) database, covers an array of materials related to the Vietnam War, Korean War and Cold War. One example is data on the Berlin tunnel project (code-named Operation Gold), which was a joint CIA and British
intelligence scheme to carry out surveillance on the Soviet Army HQ in Berlin during the 1950s.
The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia, U.S. © Larry DowningCIA files reveal US ties with Argentina during ‘Dirty War’ despite knowledge of human rights abuses
In all, more than 12 million documents are accessible, covering the history of the CIA from its creation in the 1940s up to the 1990s – with intelligence officials giving assurances that the half-century of data is in its entirety, with nothing removed.
“None of this is cherry-picked,” CIA spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak told CNN. “It’s the full history. It’s good and bads.”
For instance, details are provided on the CIA’s participation in the 1973 coup in Chile which saw the rise of the Pinochet regime, as well as on the infamous MK-Ultra project, dubbed the CIA mind control program, which involved experiments – some of them illegal – on human subjects, to develop drugs and procedures for interrogation and torture.
It’s now a couple of decades since the documents were actually declassified, though. The cache was ordered to be released by then-President Bill Clinton in 1995. The papers have been accessible since 2000, but only on four computer terminals at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
“Access to this historically significant collection is no longer limited by geography,” Joseph Lambert, the CIA’s information management director, said in a press release.
Over the decades about 1.1 million pages from the database were printed out by historians and journalists, but the CIA banned the actual materials from publication.
“Declassifying all the documents in the world doesn’t accomplish anything if people can’t get access to them,” Steve Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told BuzzFeed.
The inability to access the database online prompted outrage, and in 2014,
MuckRock, a non-profit news organization, filed a Freedom of Information Act to gain access to the documents, but the CIA said it would take at least six years to release the papers. Journalists and researchers then launched a popular Kickstarter campaign to digitize the documents, collecting over $15,000 – surpassing the stated crowdfunding goal and posting some of the papers online.
CIA made small redactions to the documents, but solely to protect sources and methods that could damage national security, CIA spokesperson Horniak said.
The agency was aiming to publish the documents by the end of 2017, but finished the work ahead of schedule.
“We’ve been working on this for a very long time and this is one of the things I wanted to make sure got done before I left. Now you can access it from the comfort of your own home,” said outgoing CIA director of information Lambert.
The agency continues to review documents for declassification, so the treasure trove has not been unearthed in full, and there’s definitely more to follow.
Newly declassified files including documents from the CIA and the US Secretary of State reveal details of targets for “liquidation” during Operation Condor in Argentina, and provide insight into US relations with Argentina’s former military dictatorship.
Some 500 pages of documents have been released by the US government as part of the Argentina Declassification Project to shed light on human rights abuses in Argentina during the period of the so-called “Dirty War” by military dictatorships from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s.
During a visit to Argentina in March, President Obama announced on the 40th anniversary of the military coup that his administration would declassify documents from its military and intelligence services relating to Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship.
More than 4,000 State Department Cables and other documents were released by the US government in 2002, however this is the first time that CIA or FBI documents relating to the matter have been published.
The first round of declassified documents, made up of 1,000 records, were released in August 2016. This second, smaller, tranche has been described as “much more substantial” by National Security Archive director Carlos Osorio.
More documents will be released next year, and will include previously withheld information from the Department of State’s 2002 declassification project as well as the publication of the 1977-1981 Foreign Relations of the United Stat
es South America volume.
The Argentine military seized power in 1976 during a coup d’etat and waged what was known as the “Dirty War” until 1983. During this time, it participated in Operation Condor along with military dictatorships in Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay and Brazil in a coordinated campaign to eradicate communist influence and suppress those opposed to the right-wing governments.
Thousands of left-wing activists were kidnapped and killed in the South American countries – the exact number is unclear due to the clandestine nature of the program.
These newly released documents reveal how much the US actually knew about the campaign of state terrorism being carried out, as well as greater details of Operation Condor and its targets.
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