Nixon 'knew about death squads'
Published 13/08/2010 | 06:52
Long-secret diplomatic documents revealed US President Richard Nixon wanted Uruguay's government to threaten to kill leftist prisoners to try to save the life of a kidnapped American agent 40 years ago this week.
The highly classified State Department papers suggest the US government knew about and encouraged the use of paramilitary death squads to crack down on leftist insurgencies in 1970.
That was even before military dictatorships ousted democracies across much of South America in the years that followed, according to the National Security Archive, which published the documents.
The cables focus on the kidnapping of Dan Mitrione, a former Indiana police officer and FBI agent who was advising Latin American governments, including Uruguay's, on techniques for interrogating subversives.