Revolution #61, September 17 2006
The September 11th Massacre They Don’t Tell You About
On September 11th, 1973, the U.S. government orchestrated a coup d’etat in Chile that overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende and installed the fascist regime of General Augusto Pinochet. Writing on the 30th anniversary of the coup, A World To Win news service reported that, “No one can say for sure how many people were murdered. At the time, Chilean revolutionaries spoke of tens of thousands of victims. Today’s Chilean government says 3,000, but the armed forces that committed that crime still have the last word over political events that displease them and they are not interested in counting. Some estimates say that 400,000 people were tortured. A whole generation of intellectuals and others who could escape was driven into exile.”Many of those murdered during Pinochet’s years in power were “disappeared,” kidnapped by the U.S.-installed regime, and never seen again.
Countless numbers of people were taken by the U.S.-installed regime to secret torture centers, including on Chilean ships like the Esmeralda where torture included “the use of electric prods, high-voltage electric charges applied to the testicles, hanging by the feet and dumping in a bucket of water or excrement (Santiago Times, September 7, 1999). In many cases, the truth about the deaths of missing persons only came to light because the dead included foreigners like a British priest, a U.N. Official, or a U.S. filmmaker named Charles Horman, who was among those killed right after the coup. Horman’s story was told in the Academy-Award-winning movie Missing.
The coup that unleashed 17 years of terror and death on the people of Chile was directed by the government of the United States. The U.S. Secretary of Defense at the time, Melvin Laird, told a National Security Council, “We want to do everything we can to hurt him [Allende] and bring him down.” A CIA memo on preparations for the coup describes the work of a key U.S. ally in Chile “to increase the level of terrorism in Santiago.” (See: The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability,” edited by Peter Kornbluh)
Transcripts of White House conversations between President Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger shortly after the coup reveal the direct and hidden hand of the U.S. Five days after the bloody coup, Kissinger complained to Nixon that “In the Eisenhower period we would be heroes.” Nixon replied, “Well we didn’t--as you know--our hand doesn’t show on this one, though.” Kissinger replies, “We didn’t do it. I mean we helped them.” And he added that “[agency deleted from transcript] created the conditions as great as possible.” Nixon responded, “That is right and that is the way it is going to be played.” (New Transcripts Point to US Role in Chile Coup, Reuters, May 27, 2004).
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