While the Obama administration is now officially confirming its power to assassinate Americans abroad as part of its foreign assassination program, Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet’s foreign assassination program has just reared its ugly head in the form of a new revelation regarding former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
First, a bit of background.
In 1970 the Chilean people elected a socialist/communist named Salvador Allende president of Chile. U.S. officials were angry and outraged. In their minds, democracy is fine, but only when it results in the election of U.S.-approved rulers. When it doesn’t, something has to be done.
For example, in 1951 the people of Iran elected a man named Mohammad Mossadegh as their prime minister. He proceeded to nationalize British oil interests, which angered and outraged British officials. They persuaded the CIA to go into Iran and instigate a coup in 1953, which ousted Mossadegh from power and installed the brutal unelected dictator the Shah of Iran, who proceeded to terrorize and torture his own people until 1979, when the Iranian people ousted him in their revolution.
A year later, in 1954, the CIA ousted the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, who had angered and antagonized a big U.S. corporation named United Fruit Company with his land-reform plans. United Fruit prevailed on the CIA to instigate a coup that ousted Arbenz from power and installed a U.S.-approved military strongman in his stead.
So, flush with these successes, when Allende, a socialist/communist was elected president of Chile, U.S. officials went on the warpath, directing the CIA to take the necessary steps to oust this democratically elected official from office.
But ever since the Chilean coup that replaced Allende with military dictator Augusto Pinochet, U.S. officials have denied that the CIA played any role in the coup.
However, that has got to be lie because in 1999, a State Department document was declassified that admitted that the CIA had played “a role” in the murder of a young American journalist named Charles Horman during the coup. We don’t know precisely what that role is because the CIA isn’t talking and the Congress has always been too indifferent or too afraid to ask. But the obvious question arises: How can the CIA honestly claim to have played no role in the coup when it admittedly played a role in the murder of an American journalist during the coup?
In any event, once Pinochet assumed power, he embarked on the same type of campaign against communism that George W. Bush and Barack Obama are waging against terrorism.
Torture, rape, sex abuse, arbitrary arrests, indefinite detention, and execution. All the things that have characterized the Bush-Obama war on terrorism were also central to Pinochet’s war on communism.
And, of course, there are the assassinations. In fact, it is quite likely that Pinochet’s program of foreign assassinations is the inspiration and model for the Bush-Obama program of assassinations.
The intelligence force that Pinochet, along with other South American dictatorial regimes, put together was called DINA. It was their version of the CIA. In what they called Operation Condor, Pinochet and the other thugs running the other countries sent DINA agents abroad to kill suspected communists, just as Bush and Obama have sent CIA agents (and military personnel) to kill suspected terrorists.
The most notorious assassination was of a Chilean man named Orlando Letelier, who had served in the Allende administration. DINA agents, led by a man with ties to the CIA, Michael Townley, blew up Letelier’s car, killing him and his young American assistant, Ronni Moffit. The assassination took place on the streets of Washington, D.C.
According to a document that has just been declassified, it turns out when he was serving as Secretary of State under Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger sent out an cable cancelling a message that was about to be sent to South American officials warning them against foreign assassinations. A few days later, the DINA goons set off the bomb that killed Letelier and Moffitt.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the DINA assassination policy included the targeting of Chilean citizens, just as Bush and Obama’s assassination policy includes the targeting of American citizens. The victims included Gen. Carlos Prats, an army officer who had served in the Allende administration. DINA goons killed him with a car bomb in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
U.S. officials ended up indicting Townley for murder, which of course the assassinations were. Despite the fact that he was clearly guilty of the pre-meditated murder of two innocent people on the streets of our nation’s capital, Townley only had to serve about 5 years in jail, whereupon he was admitted into the Federal Witness Protection Program.
In reporting on the new revelation about Kissinger, the Los Angeles Times writes, “A document suggests the secretary of State rejected warning South American governments against international terrorism. Five days later, a bombing linked to Chile killed 2 in Washington.”
Question: Why is it considered murder and international terrorism when the Chilean government does it but not when the U.S. government does it?