Journal Article

Argentine Police and the ‘Dirty War’: A Study of What Not to Do, and When Not to Do It

Martin Edwin Andersen

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 3, issue 3, pages 264-274
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI:
Argentine Police and the ‘Dirty War’: A Study of What Not to Do, and When Not to Do It

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Martin Edwin Andersen, a former senior advisor for policy planning at the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the former senior advisor for defense and foreign policy for Senate Majority Whip Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), is the author of two books on Argentine history, Dossier Secreto: Argentina's Desaparecidos and the Myth of the ‘Dirty War’ (1993) and La Policia: Pasado, Presente y Propuestas para el Futuro, as well as numerous scholarly articles on policing and public security. Andersen is also the winner of the 2001 U.S. Office of Special Counsel's ‘Public Servant Award’, the first ever given to a national security whistleblower, for his service in combating security leaks and corruption at the DOJ. This article takes a look at the role ‘political policing’ and military tutelage of Argentina's police forces had in the disastrous conduct of the repression of a challenge by armed leftist terrorists during the 1970s. The author concludes that the origins of such policies date back to the early 20th century and have continued implications for the challenges faced in police reform and citizen security in the country once considered to be the most advanced in Latin America.

Journal Article.  6021 words. 

Subjects: Policing

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