Let’s commemorate the victims of terrorism. And let’s not cherry-pick among the dead. Let’s not get fussy with our grief and moral outrage.
It was 30 years ago today, on 11 September 1973, that President Salvador Allende Gossens of Chile was killed in a military coup d'etat supported, aided and abetted by the United States of America.
Democratically voted into office on a platform of full nationalisation of basic industries, banks and communications, land reform and a just welfare program, Allende's popular mandate in October 1970 made him the first national leader elected on a Marxist-Leninist program in a non-Communist country of the Western Hemisphere.
And the United States, that shining example of democratic principle and commercial enterprise, didn’t like that.
At precisely midday, the presidential palace was bombarded by elements of the Chilean air force and the tank division of the army. Allende - a civilian, not a military man - evacuated other civilians, took up a machine gun and, joined by loyalists, died fighting.
As did thousands of his supporters over the next few weeks, with many others killed over the next 17 years of military dictatorship under one of America’s many bloodthirsty protégés: General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.
Pinochet’s military units also assisted like-minded dictator Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua and helped set up death squads in El Salvador, all with the support of the good old USA.
On 21 September 1976, agents of the Chilean secret police detonated a car bomb in Washingoon, just blocks from the Oval Orifice, killing a key opponent of the Pinochet junta: Orlando Letelier, and his assistant Ronni Moffitt.
Letelier had served at the highest levels of the Allende government and, like Allende, was deeply committed to democracy and to a just, more humane world. Which is more than we can say for former U.S. President Richard Nixon and ex-Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.
For it was that scumbag Nixon, that slimeball Kissinger, the CIA, the International Telephone and Telegraphy (ITT), a number of American-owned companies, and of course the Chilean military who were all involved in this vicious terrorist act.
Kissinger knew about Pinochet's murderous operations.
Two years earlier, in 1974, when the CIA discovered that Chile and its allies wanted to set up a covert office in Miami for the terrorist Operation Condor, which targeted political enemies around the world, Kissinger rejected his own State Department officials' advice to publicly protest the plan to the governments involved (Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay).
On 8 June 1976, Kissinger even met with Pinochet in Santiago, during a gathering of the Organization of American States. It was the old fox's first trip to Latin America.
Kissinger backed the vicious dictator, saying, "In the United States, as you know, we are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here. I think that the previous government was headed toward Communism. We wish your government well." And then some, hey Henry!
Allende was 65 when he was killed. Pinochet will be 88 this year. Hell, in March this year the old bastard checked into an army hospital to trade-in his 7-year-old pacemaker. This decrepit monster has outlived several thousand victims of his brutal regime. To this day he has escaped justice for his crimes against humanity, despite attempts to put him on trial for his past brutality.
Last year Chile's Supreme Court ruled he is mentally and physically unfit to stand trial. Apparently Pinochet suffers from mild dementia, arthritis, diabetes and has had several mild strokes since 1998. He’s got it pretty easy, considering the thousands of kidnappings, tortures and murders conducted under his tender, loving care as El Presidente.
From 1998 to 2000 Pinochet was in the headlines around the world during his 17-month detention in London on torture charges brought by a Spanish court, but the poodle Brits finally let him go. It must be nice to still have friends with that kind of influence after all these blood-soaked years.
Last month a bid to have Pinochet face human rights charges failed again when a panel of judges voted against taking away his immunity from prosecution.
Nearly 3,200 people were killed during Pinochet's 1973-90 reign of terror, mainly for political reasons, according to an investigation conducted by the civilian government that succeeded him.
Back in November 1975, the Interim Report of the United States of America Senate Select Committee on "Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders" found that Nixon had, on September 15, 1970 - 11 days after Allende's election but a month before inauguration - told CIA Director Richard Helms that "an Allende regime in Chile would not be acceptable to the United States".
The CIA "was instructed by President Nixon to play a direct role in organising a military coup d'etat in Chile to prevent Allende's accession to the president".
But this was just one of many terrorist acts by the CIA throughout Central and South America in the past 30 years, not to mention the rest of the world. To cite Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, Grenada, Panama, Colombia, Peru, and Chile is simply to mention the obvious ones that received some media coverage.
And its simple enough to draw parallels between US interference in Latin America and events in the Middle East and Asia.
Osama bin Laden (WHO?!) first became involved in militant Islam in the 1980s when he joined the Mujahidin to fight Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed government. The CIA’s own 2000 Fact Book these days admits the Mujahidin were “supplied and trained by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others.”
Oh well, today’s freedom fighter is tomorrow’s terrorist. Or is it the other way round?
Ah, but today the covert has become overt.
The clumsily stage-managed US invasion of Iraq is the greatest public relations gift that various fanatics, like old Osama, recruiting for the next inevitable act of “blowback” could possibly hope for.
The US invasion and occupation of Iraq is bigger and better than Sept 11 2001!
It’s also going to last a whole lot longer.
Most sickening of all is the fact that the current crazed clique in Washingoon are still using “September 11” as an excuse for liberating all that Iraqi oil.
Alarmingly, a recent news U.S. poll found that 70% of Americans actually do believe the Bush lie that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was involved. Maybe they think the Shrub is one of those idiot savants? No, folks, the Pretzel Prez is just an idiot.
And as the illegal US occupation of that poor, crushed country spirals out of control - and the neo-con myth of US global supremacy explodes like an overstuffed Pandora’s Box - allow me to paraphrase an old drinking mate of mine:
“If those with the power to redress the injustices of the world blatantly refuse to do so, then the powerless will use that which emanates from powerlessness and desperation.”
Think suicide bombers. Think Iraq. Think Israel. Think hijacked planes, the Pentagon and the WTC.
No doubt the USA is still looking after their man in Chile. No wonder it opposed the establishment of the International Criminal Court.
Unlike Saddam Hussein, Pinochet was a good doggy, content not to bite the hand that helped him crush democracy and social justice in Chile. If only Saddam had been content in killing Iranian Muslim fundamentalists instead of taking on America’s oily Kuwaiti friends… he would still be lording it over Iraq, crushing political opponents, gassing upstart Kurds and Shi-ites, with nary a whisper of protest from the pristine powers that be in Washingoon.
No tears for Allende and thousands of Chilean dead and disappeared? Oh well, maybe next time. Cheers!
This was Max Gross for Xenox News, commemorating the victims of the 11.09.01 atrocities in the USA, as well as the many other atrocities past and present which the USA supported around the world but which get no such public sympathy or media scrutiny.
Yes, folks, I'm back, so pass me a box of tissues and a bottle of Cutty, it’s going to be a messy night.