The Chilling Homage of South American Fascism to Mussolini and Hitler
I never connected Spanish Fascism (Falangism) with what went on in Latin America, directly, until recently. Now I see that the linkage was intentional. Mussolini and Hitler helped General Franco cross the Mediterranean from "Spanish Morocco" in 1936 at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War and shortly after José Antonio Primo De Rivera was executed for Treason, execution, gun running and assorted other Crimes. Years later Augusto Pinochet organized a condominium of terrorist intelligence agencies to fight a war against liberal democracy in the "Southern Cone," Cono-sur of South America. Both Operations were refered to as "Operation Condor."
- See My post:
- The Death of Primo De Rivera, for more. (Contains links)
Hitler's Operation Condor and the Condor Legion
Franco took over leadership of Primo De Rivera's Falange but faced a major problem. All his loyal Troops, Spanish and Native, were in North Africa and the Republicans controlled Spain. So he asked for help from Hitler and Mussolini. And he got it. Hitler named the air Assistance the "Condor Legion", Sparticus reports:
“On 27th July, 1936, Adolf Hitler sent the the Nationalists 26 German fighter aircraft. He also sent 30 Junkers 52s from Berlin and Stuttgart to Morocco. Over the next couple of weeks the aircraft transported over 15,000 troops to Spain. The fighter aircraft soon went into action and the Germans suffered their first losses when airmen Helmut Schulze and Herbert Zeck were killed on 15th August.” [Spartacus]
This Airlift was referred to as Operation Condor.
“In September 1936, Lieutenant Colonel Walther Warlimont of the German General Staff arrived as the German commander and military adviser to General Francisco Franco. The following month Warlimont suggested that a German Condor Legion should be formed to fight in the Spanish Civil War.” [Spartacus]
The Germans would provide air Support for the Francoist Troops and pummel the entire country. Famously they practiced terror bombing tactics as well.
“The initial force consisted a Bomber Group of three squadrons of Ju-52 bombers; a Fighter Group with three squadrons of He-51 fighters; a Reconnaissance Group with two squadrons of He-99 and He-70 reconnaissance bombers; and a Seaplane Squadron of He-59 and He-60 floatplanes.” [Spartacus]
Joint Operations of Hitler and Mussolini
Mussolini sent his entire Air force and 45,000 Troops. Franco's Spain was to be Catholic Fascism. There was no need for amity between Lutherans and Catholics, as Hitler sought. Mussolini's secular model was part of the reason that Mussolini eventually fell from grace. When he lost the support of Catholics, Hitler had to invade Italy to try to keep him in power. Franco stayed in power til 1975 when he died of old age.
Operation Condor and the "Southern Cone" - Cono Sur
|Operation Condor from Wikipedia|
Operation Condor was an intelligence condominium that allowed dictatorships across the South of South America to hunt down dissidents who had fled their countries and were living in neighbors. Tens of thousands of people were killed. It was organized by Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet was the only Latin American dictator to attend Francisco Franco's funeral in 1975. The New Yorker says about Pinochet:
“Like Franco, Pinochet is an ultra-conservative Catholic nationalist, a military officer with an unremarkable personality who suddenly rose to prominence.”
And both versions of Fascism were a war of Authoritarian Fanatic Catholics against “atheists” and “socialists,” with Atheist meaning anyone who didn't accept the “One True Faith” version of Christianity and Catholicism and “socialist” including democrats, liberals, progressives and anyone who didn't accept the assertion that charity is only the job of the Corporate Church and its organs.
Like Franco's invasion of Spain, Operation Condor was a “Mop Up Operation” as victims and enemies of Right Wing Catholic regimes were taking refuge in Argentina and other countries from the totalitarianism of right wing dictators across the Spanish Speaking lands. It was planned over at least a 2 year period beginning with a Conference of American Armies held in Caracas on 3 September 1973, where Brazilian General Breno Borges Fortes, head of the Brazilian army, proposed to
“extend the exchange of information” between various services in order to “struggle against subversion.” [Condor Explained]
A year later, In March 1974, representatives of the police forces of Chile, Uruguay and Bolivia met with Alberto Villar, deputy chief of the Argentine Federal Police and co-founder of the Triple A death squad, to implement cooperation guidelines. Their goal was to destroy the "subversive" threat represented by the presence of thousands of political exiles in Argentina. These exiles had fled the other country to Peronist Argentina.
Apparently the first step involved overthrowing Juan Perón (a second time) or his successor. Perón wouldn't die until July 1974, but he was ill and he'd been taking in refugees. When he died his wife but Isabel Perón took over, and became the new target.
Operation Condor was formally initiated in November 1975 during a meeting at in Santiago Chile.
“Founded by the Pinochet regime in November 1975, Operation Condor was the codename for a formal Southern Cone collaboration that included transnational secret intelligence activities, kidnapping, torture, disappearance and assassination, according to the National Security Archive's documentary evidence from U.S., Paraguayan, Argentine, and Chilean files.” [NSArchive2]
His wife tried to take over, but Isabel Perón's term ended abruptly on 24 March 1976, during a military coup d'état. A military junta, headed by General Jorge Videla, took control of the country, establishing the self-styled National Reorganization Process and implementing Operation Condor in Argentina.
I learned about Operation Condor a long time ago. But I married someone who was from Argentina and had barely survived it. And I learned hair singing details starting in the late 1990s from her and her friends. The targets were Jews, Arabs, unorthodox Catholics, Leftists, Socialists, Liberals and Democrats. And it was a very radical right Dominionist operation.
But the name is no accident. The people who code named Operation Condor, knew about Hitler's Condor Legion and approved of Franco. Indeed it is no accident that Operation Condor was formally initiated the same month (November 1975) that Francisco Franco died.
It is that fact that sent shivers up and down my spine, and led me to write this post.
As usual I have a lot more to say. But others are saying some of it better. Also my keyboard is going haywire, so I'll close with some links:
- Chrissy Stroop on Franklin Graham's Fascism:
- What Franklin Really means
I'm going to have to start writing about religion again.
This is the most recent in a series of posts
When I reviewed Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism" I noted:
“the Fascism of the Mediterranean was that of Salazar in Portugal, Franco in Spain and Mussolini in Italy, and all three were heavily influenced by Rerum Novarum.”
I was noting that Jonah Grudgingly acknowledged this:
“It’s revealing that corporatism has many of its roots in Catholic doctrine. The 1891 papal encyclical Rerum novarum proposed corporatism or syndicalism in response to the dislocations of the Industrial Revolution. ... The Church’s interest in corporatism stemmed from its belief that this was the best way to revive medieval social arrangements that gave man a greater sense of meaning in his life.” [Liberal Fascism page 297]
Jonah Goldberg's book in 2009 alarmed me because he was doing rewrites of history as propaganda, and claiming that Mussolini and Hitler were both leftists. This was alarming because the only possible ulterior motive for making such claims was to distract and deflect from Right Wing Fascism. The Prospect review goes into detail about how much cutting, pasting and deleting he had to do to make his case. As I noted in my review:
“Jonah and other modern conservatives are rewriting the record to separate the Fascism of Salazar and Pinochet, Mussolini and Franco, of Catholic Action from it's equal partners in the Falange and the Fascist movement. Yes the two movements were parallel. One was focused on Social Issues and power. The other on Power. Together they were indomitable. If they had some divergent goals, most of their goals were convergent.”
And now we are seeing the forces of Exploitive, Manipulative, Amoral and Dishonest people and Religious Zealotry again. Fascism is alive and well. Dominionism and Racist Reconstructionist Evangelicalism, fascism, are raising their ugly heads once more. And we are in real trouble.
Sources and References
- Background to Spain and Fascism
Like I said before, I started reading Garcia Lorca to divert from current events. My bad.
- The Life of Garcia Lorca and Fascist Spain
- Garcia Lorca and Charlie Chaplin
- Falangist Fascism and Terror Versus Garcia Lorca
- The Death of Garcia Lorca
- Posts in this series on Fascism
- Parallels between Falangists and the American Right wing
- Right Wing Imperialism, & Myth Making
- Right Wing Explicit Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism
- Right Wing National Syndicalism and Corporatism
- Right Wing Land Reform and Privatization
- Right Wing Chauvinism and Indoctrination
- Right Wing Violent Revolution And Dictatorship
- Parallels between Falange fascists and US Fascists on Abortion
- Posts Related to Franco and Fascism
- Subsidiarity Versus Fascism [Oddly I wrote this before the Rise of Trumpism]
- Prospect review of Liberal Fascim
- Sparticus Reference: Condor Legion page
- Underhanded ways Franco Aided Hitler, Franco would rebrand as an Anti-Communist by wars end.
- Dominionism and Religious Right Wing Movements
- Who Stole My Religion?: Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal Our Imperiled Planet