When plainclothes policemen came to the Buenos Aires Herald’s office brandishing machine guns, the newspaper’s staff knew they were coming.
It was 22 October 1975 and the police were looking for the small Argentine newspaper’s news editor, Andrew Graham-Yooll.
A visit from armed police would normally have meant certain death, but the office had been tipped off in advance, and someone had already been able to get word out to a lawyer and to overseas news agencies, meaning the raid was on the record.
The staff kept calm and let the men in leather jackets storm around the office, waving their weapons around and making a show of destroying Graham-Yooll’s files from 10 years in the job. He was in their sights because he had attended press conferences for a guerrilla group. This made him a terrorist suspect, they said.
At the time, the military was tightening its grip on the country and was months away from claiming power in a coup. Anyone considered remotely subversive was being “disappeared” – kidnapped and then jailed or murdered.
Graham-Yooll was briefly whisked away in an unmarked car with his editor, Robert Cox, who had insisted on accompanying him. The pair later recalled how they were taken to a police department and held in a cell, where music from a full-volume radio could not block out the sounds of people screaming as they were tortured in the basement.
Eventually, they were both allowed…