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What Did Reagan Know About the Argentine Dictatorship's Baby Thefts?

The Reagan administration was aware of a scheme to murder leftist mothers in Argentina and give their infants to military personnel often complicit in the killings.

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According to government investigations, the military’s intelligence officers also advanced Nazi-like methods of torture by testing the limits of how much pain a human being could endure before dying. The torture methods included experiments with electric shocks, drowning, asphyxiation and sexual perversions, such as forcing mice into a woman’s vagina. Some of the implicated military officers had trained at the U.S.-run School of the Americas.

The Argentine tactics were emulated throughout Latin America. According to a Guatemalan truth commission, the right-wing military there also adopted the practice of taking suspected subversives on death flights, although over the Pacific Ocean.

For their roles in the baby kidnappings, Videla, now 86 and already in prison for other crimes against humanity, was sentenced to 50 years; Bignone, 84 and also in prison, received 15 years.

Yet, as Americans continue to idolize Ronald Reagan – with scores of buildings named after him and his statue on display at Washington’s Reagan National Airport – a relevant question might be what did the 40th U.S. President know about these barbaric acts and when did he know it.