cover image Flight


Horacio Verbitsky. New Press, $22 (207pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-009-6

A bestseller in Argentina, this electrifying document is the businesslike confessional of retired Lieutenant Commander Adolfo Scilingo, who admits to participating in the Argentine military dictatorship's campaign of torture and murder between 1976 and 1983. In extensive interviews, Scilingo tells Argentine journalist Verbitsky how he took part in ""aerial transports""--throwing heavily sedated, naked political prisoners out of airplanes into the Atlantic Ocean. Under Verbitsky's relentless cross-examination, Scilingo also admits that he joined in a kidnapping and observed a prisoner being tortured. Aerial executions of the regime's opponents, he charges, were approved by Church authorities, and a chaplain comforted the officers after their missions. In the introduction, Mendez, general counsel for Human Rights Watch, notes that hundreds of known torturers have avoided prosecution thanks to the Argentine military's clout, and more than 9000 families still do not know the fate of loved ones. Translation rights: Planeta Argentina, Buenos Aires. (Aug.)