Andersen, Martin Edwin 1954(?)-
ANDERSEN, Martin Edwin 1954(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1954; children: two daughters. Education: University of Wisconsin—Parkside, B.S. (psychology), 1976; graduate work at Cuernavaca Language School, Cuernavaca, Mexico, 1997, and University of Wisconsin School of Journalism and Mass Communications, 1978; Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, M.A. (international relations and international economics), 1981.
ADDRESSES: Home—5606 Bay Breeze Ct., Churchton, MD 20733. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Journalist, consultant, and author. New York Times, Washington bureau, Washington, DC, news assistant, 1980-81; freelance reporter in Lima, Peru, 1981-82; special correspondent for Newsweek and Washington Post in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1982-87; National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Washington, DC, director of Latin American and Caribbean programs, and of civil-military project, 1987-90; U.S. Senate, Washington, DC, office of majority whip, legislative assistant for defense and foreign policy, 1990-91, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, member of professional staff, 1991-93; International Criminal Investigation Training Assistant Program (ICITAP), consultant and program evaluator, 1993-95; U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, ICITAP, Washington, DC, assistant project manager, Haitian Police Development Project, 1995; Inter-American Development Bank, international consultant, 1997-2000; Governmental Accountability Project, Washington, DC, media director, 2001—. Special correspondent, Noticias, Washington, DC, 1993-94; international human rights lecturer, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, 1993-94; senior consultant, Center for Democracy, Washington, DC, 1993-94; consultant, International Foundation for Election Systems, 1998-99.
AWARDS, HONORS: University of Wisconsin—Parkside, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, 1989; U.S. Office of Special Counsel, public servant award, 2001; Guatemalan National Police, honorary member.
(Editor) Hacia una nueva relación: el papel de las fuerzas armadas en un gobierno democrático, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (Washington, DC), 1990.
Dossier Secreto: Argentina's Desaparecidos and theMyth of the "Dirty War," Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1993.
La policia: pasado, presente y propuestas para el futuro, Editorial Sudamericana (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals, including Insight on the News.
SIDELIGHTS: Martin Edwin Andersen has had a long career in both public service and in reporting. Since beginning his career in the early 1980s, he has worked on many different projects, ranging from investigations of the human-rights abuses of the Argentine junta that controlled that South American country for an entire decade, to reporting on whistle-blowers exposing instances of government corruption and favoritism in the late 1990s. In 1992, for instance, Andersen broke the news that a terrorist group had obtained information about the U.S. nuclear program from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a major nuclear research center in California. The incident proved to be a major embarrassment for the George H. W. Bush administration and prompted U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham to send a special task force to the laboratory in order to eliminate further lapses in security.
Andersen himself earned a reputation as a whistle-blower during his years in the Bill Clinton administration, when he revealed incidents of corruption in the Department of Justice. In 1997 Andersen was working at the Justice Department, creating policy for the training of foreign police and public prosecutors. He reported to his superiors that classified documents and other sensitive information in his subject area were being leaked. He also uncovered the fact that a top aide to then-Attorney General Janet Reno posed a security risk because he had pulled strings to help a Russian girlfriend immigrate to the United States. After revealing these breaches in security, Andersen was rewarded by being quickly stripped of his security clearance. He was also transferred to a dead-end job in what he called, according to New York Times contributor Marci Alboher Nusbaum, "bureaucratic Siberia," and in 1997 the department declined to renew his appointment. At the same time, however, the Justice Department launched a widespread security review and sweep that revealed breaches caused by several top administrators. They also had their security clearances revoked. In 2000, following a three-year investigation, Andersen's allegations were revealed to be true. As a result, the following year he was presented with the Office of Special Counsel's Public Servant Award for his efforts in protecting national security.
Andersen's Dossier Secreto: Argentina's Desaparecidos and the Myth of the "Dirty War" looks at the rise to power of the former military junta in Argentina. For Andersen, noted Hispanic American Historical Review contributor Ronald H. Dolkart, "the military officers who ran Argentina during the so-called 'Dirty War' from 1976 to 1983 . . . perpetuated a savage dictatorship on the basis of a myth of subversion concocted to destroy democracy." The leaders of the junta used that belief to justify the arrest, persecution, and execution of thousands of Argentine citizens—at least 9,000, according to most figures, but some writers place the number of victims between 20,000 and 30,000. Andersen, declared Linda Robinson in the New York Times Book Review, "argues not only that the repressive methods used by the armed forces were unconscionable by any standard of conduct, but also that there was never a threat requiring anything remotely resembling a war, dirty or otherwise."
Andersen suggests that the great conspiracy that kept the Argentine junta in power was perpetrated in part with the aid of civilian accessories, along with assistance from the Central Intelligence Agency and fascist forces in Europe, and in part through the manipulation of certain leftist guerilla groups. The threat to Argentine institutions was never as large as the junta made it seem, Andersen explains. Instead, the military-controlled government sent agents to penetrate the guerilla groups and manipulated them into appearing to threaten the whole of Argentina's society. The junta then used those groups to justify its purging of Argentine society of "undesirables." At the same time, the United States did little or nothing to address the problem. U.S. policy during the period, stated Latin American Research Review contributor Wendy Hunter, "vacillated from supporting the junta early on to promoting human rights under President Jimmy Carter to again supporting the regime under the administration of President Ronald Reagan." A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that "Andersen shows how U.S. bankers supported the security apparatus and Ronald Reagan's administration cozied up to the generals."
At the same time, Andersen suggests that the guerilla leaders of the resistance bear some responsibility for the severity of the Argentine government's response. The key figure in the resistance was Mario Firmenich, a leader of the Montoneros group of urban guerillas and a former neofascist and supporter of ex-president Juan Perón who also worked for the Argentine government as a double agent. "Bringing to light new and controversial information about the guerrilla leader, Andersen questions the genuineness of Firmenich's motives," declared Hunter, "suggesting a level of collaboration with the authorities not generally suspected and implicating him in the death of thousands of students and workers who were willing to follow his lead." "Dossier Secreto," concluded Robinson, "is not a work to be shelved with historical military studies. It documents the depths to which apparently civilized society can sink. . . . [And] it forces us to confront the crucial questions of why such madness occurs and whether it might occur again." "The failure to reveal the true history of the military period will condemn Argentina to repeat it," Andersen commented in the Nation. "That history needs to be told again and again, so that 30 million people are not manipulated a second time into believing that the military must be called in once more to crush a subversive threat that the generals themselves had a hand in creating."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Hispanic American Historical Review, November, 1994, Ronald H. Dolkart, review of Dossier Secreto: Argentina's Desaparecidos and the Myth of the "Dirty War," pp. 735-736.
Latin American Research Review, spring, 1999, Wendy Hunter, review of Dossier Secreto, p. 198.
Nation, March 13, 1989, "Argentina's Turmoil," p. 339.
New York Times, February 10, 2002, Marci Alboher Nusbaum, "Blowing the Whistle: Not for the Fainthearted," pp. 3, 10.
New York Times Book Review, May 9, 1993, Linda Robinson, review of Dossier Secreto, p. 25.
Publishers Weekly, March 22, 1993, review of DossierSecreto, p. 77.
Americas Forum Online,http://www.oas.org/ (August 16, 2004), "Martin Edwin (Mick) Andersen."
Government Accountability Project Web site,http://www.whistleblower.com/ (August 16, 2004), "Martin Edwin 'Mick' Andersen."
Insight on the News,http://www.insightmag.com/ (August 16, 2004), "Martin Edwin Anderson—Reporter."*