|Volume 7, #02||September
More than One 9/11
|More than One 9/11
by Troy Skeels
September 11 was the anniversary of a notorious act of terrorism--and the international criminal mastermind behind it remains at large although increasingly hemmed in by his pursuers.
September 11 is the anniversary of the 1973 military coup against the democratically elected government of Chile. The intellectual mastermind was Henry Kissinger, then Nixon's Secretary of State.
The open secret of Kissinger's guiding hand behind Pinochet's coup has been reconfirmed in the last few years in a continuing trickle of once classified documents.
Kissinger was of course no rogue element, his aims and methods were fully in accord with standard US policy. He remains a Pentagon and Presidential advisor, and an expert, of sorts, on terrorism. Meanwhile courts in several nations are interested in Kissinger's role in numerous cases of genocide, terrorism, torture and murder.
With the left poised to win the 1970 Chilean elections, Nixon gave orders to prevent Chileans from instituting a government that would be friendly to the Soviet Union. CIA agents were dispatched to Santiago ahead of the elections to forestall a leftwing victory.
After the marxist Allende was elected, but before his election was ratified by the congress, the CIA began recruiting generals for a coup.
One of the generals, Rene Schneider, Commander in Chief of the Army, rebuffed the suggestion of a military takeover. While no Allende supporter, he expressed his commitment to Chile's constitutional processes and accepted Allende's promise to respect social freedoms.
On October 23, 1970, the day before Allende's election was ratified, the General was shot in what was said to be a botched kidnapping attempt.
The group responsible was armed and advised by the CIA. An internal CIA inquiry in 2000 found that the agency had provided the assassins with weapons and advice. While determining that the CIA had withdrawn its support of the plotters before Schneider's murder the inquiry did note that the CIA had paid the assailants $35,000 "to maintain the goodwill of the group".
Schneider's children filed a lawsuit on September 10, 2001 in Federal Court in Washington DC, seeking $5 million from Kissinger and other Nixon officials for their role in the General's death. That lawsuit remains pending.
After almost three years of US sponsored destabilization of Chile's economy and military, and after a couple of false starts, the coup, led by General Augusto Pinochet began in the early morning of September 11, 1973.
The Chilean military seized important infrastructure and radio stations and offered Allende passage into exile. The President refused and soldiers launched an attack on the Presidential Palace. When they finally broke through the hopeless defence, they found the body of Allende who had shot himself rather than surrender.
The pleased U.S. Naval Attache described the coup as "close to perfect."
When they finally met in person in 1976, Kissinger let Pinochet know the USA's official position on the coup and his brutal dictatorship. "We welcomed the overthrow of the Communist-inclined government here." Kissinger sympathized that Pinochet was "a victim of all left-wing groups around the world."
In 1973 an American Journalist, Charles Horman was in Chile investigating the assassination of General Schneider. According to his wife, Horman inadvertently stumbled upon a mysterious gathering of US military personnel shortly before the coup. He, and another American, Frank Teruggi, were abducted and killed by the Chilean military within days of Pinochet's taking power.
The US government has consistently denied any knowledge about the deaths of these two men. But it has apparently been less than anxious to know.
A message sent to Kissinger from the US embassy assured him that inquiries about the two men were raised with Chilean officials "in the context of the need to be careful to keep relatively small issues in our relationship from making our cooperation more difficult."
Other than ignoring the fates of missing leftist Americans, Kissinger was intimately informed over the details of the military takeover's progress, including the particulars of the junta's execution policy, and the tally of executions, 320 in the coup's first 19 days. Thousands by the end of Pinochet's reign.
Chilean Judge Juan Guzman is interested in Horman's case, inquiring about, among other things, whether the American Embassy did enough to assist left leaning Americans during the crisis.
The Judge is currently investigating the possibility that US officials passed the names of suspected left wing Americans to the Chilean military. The existence of such a list, in the State Department's possession was revealed during the Horman investigation. A lawyer involved with the case said the list contains "dozens" of names. Presumably Horman's name is on it.
Judge Guzman, who has requested information from Kissinger about the case said in June he was considering an extradition request for the uncooperative former Secretary of State.
Judges in Spain and France are also interested in questioning Kissinger. Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon and French judge Sophie-Helene Chateau are investigating Operation Condor, the mutual pact between South American dictatorships in the 1970's to eliminate their dissidents. Both judges sent requests to Britain that Kissinger be made available to answer questions. Kissinger was in London to give a speech, and the British government turned down the request and suggested that they "pursue it with the US authorities."
Kissinger, likewise insists that all questions should be directed to the State Department. This is probably appropriate. Like Osama bin Laden, Kissinger is just one part of a larger organization.
As the recent failed coup in Venezuela shows, that organization continues to engage in criminal violence for political ends.
Operation Condor is gone but Plan Colombia, the Free Trade Area of the America's and other programs continue the legacy of us leadership by force of arms.
There have been more than one September 11, and the US is not the world's only victim - and not itself innocent.