What’s common between Richard Nixon’s plot to overthrow the government of Chile in 1973 and Al-Qaeda’s plot to blow up the World Trade Center in 2001? Answer: Both of these outrageously criminal conspiracies were brutally executed on September 11.
Today, the world sees 9/11 as the most direct reference to the sinister events two years ago that killed almost 3,000 people in the most well-crafted terrorist design of all times. Few, however, know that 9/11 also refers to the day in 1973 on which the Chilean armed forces, backed and helped by the United States, launched air and ground strikes against the presidential palace, killing Dr. Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president, that morning. What followed was a well-orchestrated destruction of Chile’s democratic machinery doctored by the Nixon government of the United States; a reign of terror, killing, torturing, exiling, and executing tens of thousands of peaceful Chileans. Chile burned under the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet for 17 years, four years longer than Hitler.
George Bush’s Republican predecessor in 1970, Richard Nixon, skillfully manipulated his government’s covert power in systematically destroying Chile’s democracy, which had elected a president in an election, freer and fairer than the 2000 US vote. Chileans watched their democracy go up in flames. Their military with full support from Washington proceeded to wipe out their ancient bicameral legislature, independent judiciary, elected local and regional bodies, free trade unions and media and their broad-based civil liberties.
Not surprisingly, Washington has never admitted its actual role in the coup itself. According to a national security source, the Chilean Navy had coordinated with the US armada to hold maneuvers off the coast at precisely the time planned for their putsch. US military spy ships intercepted communiqués from Chilean military bases and forwarded them to the tyrants. The mutinous general and admirals would then be able to send sufficient force to repress those units whose messages indicated loyalty to the elected government, and thus avoid civil war.
Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted in April of 2003 that it is not a part of American history that we're proud of. Powell attributed the US role in the destabilization of Chile from 1970-73 (some of which is documented in Volume 7 of the 1975 Church Senate Select Committee report on US Intelligence) to the Cold War. This refers to Allende's political sin of allowing the Chilean Communist Party as one of the five political groupings inside his Popular Unity coalition.
In fact, for over a century, US policy makers have consistently plotted to overthrow disobedient regimes like Allende's socialist coalition in Chile. US forces occupied Nicaragua and Haiti for some 20 years each in the early 20th Century after tossing out governments in those countries that refused insufficient obeisance to Washington. Similarly, in Cuba under the terms of the US-imposed Platt Amendment, American forces occupied that island on several occasions (1906-9, 1912 and 1917-22).
Between 1900 and 1910, US troops went into Colombia, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Panama, mainly to put down revolutionary movements. These troop landings refer only to military actions in this hemisphere. During the same decade, Presidents deployed US troops in China (1900), Syria (1903), Korea (1904-5) and Morocco (1904).
But the 1973 Chile coup took the proverbial cake for blatant imperial illegality. Just days after Allende's September 1970 electoral victory, Secretary of State Kissinger and President Nixon plotted in the Oval Office to correct the destiny of Chileans who had foolishly elected the wrong man as president. For three years following Allende's electoral triumph, the CIA plotted violence, economic sabotage and psychological warfare against his government because it did not fall into line behind Washington dictates: not allow Communists to enter a government; not expropriate, even with compensation, US property; follow free market economics; eschew all relations with Castro's Cuba and never vote against the United States in any international forum.
As then CIA Director Richard Helms testified to the Church Committee, Nixon wanted a major effort to prevent Allende's accession to power. Nixon also ordered, as Helms' notes indicate, that Chile's economy should be squeezed until it screamed.
The CIA failed to stop Allende's inauguration, although in October 1970 it hired mercenaries to assassinate Chile's Army Chief General Rene Schneider since he opposed a military coup.
Nixon and Kissinger intended to save Chile, as they told Helms, meaning that they saw the elected socialist and quintessential Parliamentarian, Allende, as no different from the Soviet Communists. Although Moscow gave no significant aid to Allende, the Nixon-Kissinger ideological dogma nevertheless proved sufficient to motivate the CIA in its course of coup-fomenting or outright terrorism.
Did a memory lapse lead George W. Bush to nominate the terrorist Kissinger who withdrew his name some days later -- to investigate the 9/11/01 terrorism, or did some White House savant think that since Kissinger was a real-life practicing terrorist, he would have the kind of knowledge and experience to lead a probe in the subject?
Indeed, refer again to CIA Chief Helms' notes taken from his September 1970 conversation in the Oval Office with Nixon and Kissinger where he received his orders to overthrow the government of Chile. Not concerned risks involved, Helms had written. $10,000,000 available, more if necessary. A similar conversation could have taken place somewhere in Saudi Arabia two years before 9/11/01, with Osama bin Laden talking with his fiends about risks and costs involved for hijacking jumbo jets and flying them into the twin towers and Pentagon.
Suppose, I ask myself, I had lost my father or brother in the Moneda Palace in 1973! You can't sue Kissinger or even pursue justice abroad. US military and political officials, Bush insists, must retain immunity from prosecution outside the United States, thus protecting the terrorists in his Administration and those violent ghosts from regimes past.
In this very born-again nation, with people making pilgrimages to the recently removed Ten Commandments monument in Alabama and piety dripping from the fundamentalist lips of the political leaders, it seems odd that few can remember the words that follow the opening phrase of the Christian adage: Do unto others.
Video courtesy Google videos.
Excerpts from zmag.org.