Kerry, Kissinger and the Other September 11

September 12, 2013

by Amy Goodman

Op-Ed published first by Nation of Change

As President Barack Obama’s attack on Syria appears to have been delayed for the moment, it is remarkable that Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting, on Sept. 11, with one of his predecessors, Henry Kissinger, reportedly to discuss strategy on forthcoming negotiations on Syria with Russian officials. The Kerry-Kissinger meeting, and the public outcry against the proposed attack on Syria to which both men are publicly committed, should be viewed through the lens of another Sept. 11 … 1973.

Henry Kissinger y Augusto Pinochet

Kissinger (right) shakes hands with Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet

On that day, 40 years ago, the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, was violently overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup. Gen. Augusto Pinochet took control and began a 17-year dictatorial reign of terror, during which more than 3,000 Chileans were murdered and disappeared—about the same number killed on that later, fateful 9/11, 2001. Allende, a socialist, was immensely popular with his people. But his policies were anathema to the elites of Chile and the U.S., so President Richard Nixon and his secretary of state and national-security adviser, Henry Kissinger, supported efforts to overthrow him.

Kissinger’s role in plotting and supporting the 1973 coup in Chile becomes clearer as the years pass and the documents emerge, documents that Kissinger has personally fought hard to keep secret. Peter Kornbluh of the nonprofit National Security Archive has been uncovering the evidence for years, and has recently updated his book, “The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability.” Kornbluh told me that Kissinger was “the singular most important figure in engineering a policy to overthrow Allende and then, even more, to embrace Pinochet and the human-rights violations that followed.” He said that Kissinger “pushed Nixon forward to as aggressive but covert a policy as possible to make Allende fail, to destabilize Allende’s ability to govern, to create what Kissinger called a coup climate.”

The Pinochet regime was violent, repressive and a close ally of the United States. Pinochet formed alliances with other military regimes in South America, and they created “Operation Condor,” a campaign of coordinated terror and assassinations throughout Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil. Operation Condor even reached onto the streets of Washington, D.C., when, on Sep. 21, 1976, a former Chilean ambassador to the U.S. during the Allende government, Orlando Letelier, along with his assistant, a U.S. citizen named Ronni Moffitt, were killed by a car bomb planted by Pinochet’s secret police on Embassy Row, just blocks from the White House.

Eventually, under increasing global condemnation and growing internal, nonviolent resistance, the Pinochet regime was forced to hold a plebiscite, a national vote, on whether Pinochet would continue as Chile’s dictator. With a resounding “No!” the public rejected him, ushering in the modern, democratic era in Chile.

At least two U.S. citizens were murdered during the 1973 coup. Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi were in Chile to observe the democratic experience there, working as writers and journalists. Their abduction and murder by Pinochet’s forces, with the likely collaboration by the U.S. government, is depicted movingly in the 1982 Oscar-winning film “Missing,” directed by Costa Gavras, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek. On the week of the coup’s 40th anniversary, Charles Horman’s widow, Joyce Horman, held a commemoration. The event, hosted in New York City by the Charles Horman Truth Foundation, attracted hundreds, many who were personally involved with the Allende government or who were forced into exile from Chile during those terrible years.

Among those in attendance was Juan Garces, a Spanish citizen who was President Allende’s closest adviser. Garces was with Allende in the presidential palace on Sept. 11, 1973. Just before the palace was bombed by the air force, Allende led Garces to the door of the palace and told him to go out and tell the world what had happened that day.

Allende died during the coup. Garces narrowly escaped Chile with his life. He led the global legal pursuit of Pinochet, finally securing his arrest in Britain in 1998, where Pinochet was held for 504 days. While Pinochet was eventually allowed to return to Chile, he was later indicted there and, facing trial and prison, died under house arrest in 2006, at the age of 91.

article-2417703-1BC2C935000005DC-861_638x445

Today, Garces sees alarming similarities between the repression in Chile and U.S. policies today: “You have extraordinary renditions. You have extrajudicial killings. You have secret centers of detentions. I am very concerned that those methods … were applied in Chile with the knowledge and the backing of the Nixon-Kissinger administration in this period. The same methods are being applied now in many countries with the backing of the United States. That is very dangerous for everyone.”

Rather than meeting with Kissinger for advice, John Kerry would better serve the cause of peace by consulting with those like Garces who have spent their lives pursuing peace. The only reason Henry Kissinger should be pursued is to be held accountable, like Pinochet, in a court of law.

©  Amy Goodman

For a terrific summary of Kissinger’s war crimes, go to this Salon article.

More detailed account of Kissinger’s shenanigans in South America, including newly declassified transcripts of meetings with generals in Argentina from 1976.

Advertisements

Great Britain Sold Nerve Gas to Syria from January to June 2013

September 4, 2013

Syria-2242513

 photo: Reuters

British Prime Minister David Cameron has some explaining to do, say many members of Parliament after the revelations that British companies were granted licenses to sell two chemicals to the Syrian government that combined make sarin gas.

The UK government is refusing to release the names of the companies that exported potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride to Syria.

The British MPs voted against joining the US in military strikes against Syria.

From the UK Daily Record:

Dunfermline and West Fife Labour MP Thomas Docherty, who sits on the House of Commons’ Committees on Arms Export Controls, plans to lodge Parliamentary questions tomorrow and write to Cable.

He said: “At best it has been negligent and at worst reckless to export material that could have been used to create chemical weapons.

“MPs will be horrified and furious that the UK Government has been allowing the sale of these ingredients to Syria.

“What the hell were they doing granting a licence in the first place?

“I would like to know what investigations have been carried out to establish if any of this
material exported to Syria was subsequently used in the attacks on its own people.”

The SNP’s leader at Westminster, Angus Robertson MP, said: “I will be raising this in Parliament as soon as possible to find out what examination the UK Government made of where these chemicals were going and what they were to be used for.

“Approving the sale of chemicals which can be converted into lethal weapons during a civil war is a very serious issue.

“We need to know who these chemicals were sold to, why they were sold, and whether the UK Government were aware that the chemicals could potentially be used for chemical weapons.

“The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria makes a full explanation around these shady deals even more important.”