The policy of “disappearances” is the cornerstone of all counter-revolutionary terror inflicted by state/military and para-military forces. It is the core of inflicting terror and fear in society at large – by ‘disappearing’ not only prominent politicized types, but also, as in places like Argentina (30 000), El Salvador (700), Iran (under the Shah) and Kashmir (10 000), whole generations of youth who even have the potential of being “infected” by the “virus” that calls for social change and an end to oppression and oligarchy.
Rather than simply framing the issue as one of targeting the most well-known political opposition activists disappearances are central to the strategy of simply terrorizing society at large firstly into submission and secondly into a state of utter despair and gloom that makes them think ten times about taking any stand for social change.
The most inspiring organisation that has emerged around the illegal abductions is the, Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Its members are the Argentine women whose children ‘disappeared’ during the Junta’s war between 1976 and 1983. These mothers have been protesting for more than 30 years and they have congregated at the Plaza de Mayo every Thursday and even today they continue to fight for their right to be re-united with their abducted children.
The latest manifestation of this phenomena are the extraordinary renditions that the US has been carrying out globally. Individuals are picked up off the streets of the US , UK , South Africa, Pakistan , Sudan etc and flown to undisclosed detention centres in countries that are notorious for their torture methods. The well-known centres of course being Guantanamo, Baghram and Abu Ghraib however there are many more of these centres in the Arab world, North Africa and Pakistan and their locations have been classified.
The reality is that not enough is being done to ensure that the US is answerable for those it 'disappears' and the criteria of ‘suspicion of terror’ that is used to arrest individuals is so vague and ridiculous that one can even be arrested for stopping to tie their shoelaces too close to a US embassy.