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Category Archives: AIM Extra

Diplomacy! What diplomacy?

By Dr George Venturini

Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich – two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them.

In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as “a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming an international potentate. The signature qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked. Kissinger’s global career started as it meant to go on. It debauched the American republic and American democracy, and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.”

The story is all here: from the martyrdom of Indochina to becoming the real backchannel to Moscow on behalf of his new client: Donald Trump.

Editor’s note: This outstanding series by Dr Venturini is published bi-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays). Today we publish Part Twelve. Here is the link to Part Eleven; Kissinger gave ‘green light’ for the invasion of East Timor.

Six months later, and exactly one month before the formal annexation of East Timor by Indonesia, the subject of East Timor again came up during a staff meeting between Secretary Kissinger and his State Department bureau chiefs. The question was raised as to whether or not the United States should send a representative to accompany an Indonesian parliamentary delegation to East Timor – an invitation declined by most other countries. Robert H. Miller, an adviser from the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, recommended against accepting the invitation, suggesting that “broader objectives with respect to Indonesia – including overall support to Timor,” would be better served “if we don’t have high-profile participation.” Miller hoped to prevent “Congressional [sic] sentiment with regard to Indonesia from being rekindled.” Philip Habib, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, agreed: “There’s no need to take this action … Let them go ahead and do what they’ve been doing. We have no objection … They’re quite happy with the position we’ve taken. We’ve resumed, as you know, all of our normal relations with them; and there isn’t any problem involved.” In apparent reference to the continuing arms sales, his deception of Congress, or possibly to Indonesia’s bloody invasion and occupation, Kissinger responded: “Not very willingly.  Illegally and beautifully.” [Emphasis added] (Source: National Archives, Record Group 59, Department of State Records, Transcripts of Staff Meetings of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, box 9).

Henry Kissinger has a personal, financial involvement with Freeport-McMoRan, still the largest investor in Indonesia and well known for a long time for its very close connection with the Indonesian government. He is a consultant of the corporation. Between 1988 and 1995 Kissinger was on the board of directors, at different times with such well known corporation men as John Hay Whitney, Kidder, Peabody & Co., Chauncey Stillman, Augustus Long, Robert A. Lovett, Jean Mauzé, and Godfrey Stillman Rockefeller of the Rockefeller clan – the grandson of William Rockefeller, brother of John D. Rockefeller, the co-founders of Standard Oil.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc., often called just Freeport, is a multinational  mining corporation headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. It has operations in North and South America, as well as in Europe, Indonesia and other locations. Freeport employs 34,500 workers for the production of copper, gold and molybdenum and the extraction of petroleum. In Indonesia it employs 19,500 workers at the Grasberg mine which is the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. It is located at about 4,200 metres above sea level  in the province of Papua in Indonesia near Puncak Jaya, the highest mountain in Papua. Shares in PT Freeport Indonesia, the principal operating subsidiary in Indonesia, are mostly owned by Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (90.64 per cent) the remainder (9.36 per cent) being owned by the Indonesian Government through PT Indocopper Investama.

The Grasberg mine has been a frequent source of friction in Papua.

The concentrator’s tailings, generated at a rate of 230,000 tonnes per day, are the subject of considerable environmental concern, as they wash into the Aikwa River system and Arafura Sea.

In 1995 the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) revoked Freeport’s insurance policy for environmental violations of a sort that would not be allowed in the United States.

While landscape reclamation projects have begun at the mine, environmental groups and local citizens are concerned with the potential for copper contamination and acid mine drainage from the mine tailings into surrounding river systems, land surfaces, and groundwater. Freeport argues that its actions meet industry standards, and have been approved by the requisite authorities.

In 2005 The New York Times reported that Freeport paid local military and police generals, colonels, majors and captains, and military units, a total of nearly US$20 million between 1998 and 2004. The payments were meant to secure the reserve. Freeport responded that the payments were not for individuals, but rather for infrastructure, food, housing, fuel, travel, vehicle repairs and allowances to cover incidental and administrative costs. An employee is said to have worked on a programme to monitor environmentalists’ e-mails and telephone conversations, in cooperation with Indonesian military intelligence officers.

During the past fifteen years there have been disturbances of all kind in an around the mine. Workers and assailing policemen lost their lives in armed confrontations.

In May 2013 a training facility tunnel collapsed trapping at least 33 workers underground. A mine official at the mine said three workers were killed, but the main office in Arizona said there were no fatalities.

Understandable causes of friction are the mine’s environmental impact on Papua, the perceived low share of profits going to local Papuans (Freeport’s annual report shows it made $4.1 billion in operating profit on revenue of $6.4 billion in 2010) and the questionable legality of the payments made to Indonesian security forces for their services to guard the site and the frequent accidents and incidents. There have been strikes and a blockade.

A one week strike in July 2011 was for the increase of wages up from the hourly rate of US $1.50 an hour.

In September 2014 four workers died in an accident; on 1 October miners blocked the entrance to the mine demanding more safety.

In 2015 a five-day strike halted production at the mine as around 100 employees demanded bonuses as an incentive for not participating in a work stoppage during 2014.

Papua is also the home of Free Papua Movement, a revolutionary organisation the purpose of which is to overthrow the current government of Papua and West Papua. The organisation has been blamed for some of the attacks which occurred near the mine.

Christopher Hitchens, who devoted chapter 8 of his book to East Timor, had quite a lot to say on the subject – something even about Freeport-McMoRan.

On 11 August 1995 Henry Kissinger was on a lecture tour, sponsored by the Learning Exchange at the Park Central Hotel in New York. Kissinger was publicising and promoting his then-latest book Diplomacy, in which – interestingly – he made no mention whatsoever of East Timor.

He was questioned by investigative reporters Allan Nairn and Amy Goodman:

“Allan Nairn: Mr Kissinger, my name is Allan Nairn. I’m a journalist in the United States. I’m one of the Americans who survived the massacre in East Timor on November 12, 1991, a massacre during which Indonesian troops armed with American M-16s gunned down at least 271 Timorese civilians in front of the Santa Cruz Catholic cemetery as they were gathered in the act of peaceful mourning and protest. Now you just said that in your meeting with Suharto on the afternoon of December 6, 1975, you did not discuss Timor, you did not discuss it until you came to the airport. Well, I have here the official State Department transcript of your and President Ford’s conversation with General Suharto, the dictator of Indonesia. [See: Gerald R. Ford Library, Kissinger-Scowcroft Temporary Parallel File, Box A3, Country File, Far East-Indonesia, State Department Telegrams 4/1/75-9/22/76.

It was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. It has been edited under the Freedom of Information Act so the whole text isn’t there. It’s clear from the portion of the text that is here, that in fact you did discuss the impending invasion of Timor with Suharto, a fact which was confirmed to me by President Ford himself in an interview I had with him. President Ford told me that in fact you discussed the impending invasion of Timor with Suharto and that you gave the US …

Kissinger: Who? I or he?

Nairn: That you and President Ford together gave US approval for the invasion of East Timor. There is another internal State Department memo which is printed in an extensive excerpt here which I’ll give to anyone in your audience that’s interested. This is a memo of a December 18, 1975, meeting held at the State Department. This was held right after your return from that trip and you were berating your staff for having put on paper a finding by the State Department legal advisor Mr Leigh that the Indonesian invasion was illegal, that it not only violated international law, it violated a treaty with the US because US weapons were used and it’s clear from this transcript which I invite anyone in the audience to peruse that you were angry at them first because you feared this memo would leak, and second because you were supporting the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, and you did not want it known that you were doing this contrary to the advice of your own people in the State Department. [See: Mark Hertsgaard, “The Secret Life of Henry Kissinger; minutes of a 1975 meeting with Lawrence Eagleburger,” The Nation, October 29, 1990]. If one looks at the public actions, sixteen hours after you left that meeting with Suharto the Indonesian troops began parachuting over Dili, the capital of East Timor. They came ashore and began the massacres that culminated in a third of the Timorese population. You announced an immediate doubling of US military aid to Indonesia at the time, and in the meantime at the United Nations, the instruction given to Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan, as he wrote in his memoirs, was to, as he put it, see to it that the UN be highly ineffective in any actions it might undertake on East Timor …

[shouts from the audience] Kissinger: Look, I think we all got the point now …

Nairn: My question, Mr Kissinger, my question, Dr Kissinger, is twofold. First will you give a waiver under the Privacy Act to support full declassification of this memo so we can see exactly what you and President Ford said to Suharto? Secondly, would you support the convening of an international war crimes tribunal under UN supervision on the subject of East Timor and would you agree to abide by its verdict in regard to your own conduct?

Kissinger: I mean, uh, really, this sort of comment is one of the reasons why the conduct of foreign policy is becoming nearly impossible under these conditions. Here is a fellow who’s got one obsession, he’s got one problem, he collects a bunch of documents, you don’t know what is in these documents …

Nairn: I invite your audience to read them.

Kissinger: Well, read them. Uh, the fact is essentially as I described them [thumps podium]. Timor was not a significant American policy problem. If Suharto raised it, if Ford said something that sounded encouraging, it was not a significant American foreign policy problem. It seemed to us to be an anti-colonial problem in which the Indonesians were taking over Timor and we had absolutely no reason at that time to pay any huge attention to it.

Secondly you have to understand these things in the context of the period. Vietnam had just collapsed. Nobody yet knew what effect the domino theory would have. Indonesia was … is a country of a population of 160 million and the key, a key country in Southeast Asia. We were not looking for trouble with Indonesia and the reason I objected in the State Department to putting this thing on paper; it wasn’t that it was put on paper. It was that it was circulated to embassies because it was guaranteed to leak out. It was guaranteed then to lead to some public confrontation and for better or worse our fundamental position on these human rights issues was always to try to see if we could discuss them first, quietly, before they turned into a public confrontation. This was our policy with respect to emigration from Russia, in which we turned out to be right, and this was the policy which we tried to pursue in respect to Indonesia and anybody can go and find some document and take out one sentence and try to prove something fundamental and now I think we’ve heard enough about Timor. Let’s have some questions on some other subject. [applause from audience].

Amy Goodman: Dr Kissinger, you said that the United States has won everything it wanted in the Cold War up to this point. I wanted to go back to the issue of Indonesia and before there’s a booing in the audience, just to say as you talk about China and India, Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world. And so I wanted to ask the question in a current way about East Timor. And that is, given what has happened in the twenty years, the 200,000 people who have been killed, according to Amnesty, according to Asia Watch, even according to the Indonesian military. … Do you see that as a success of the United States?

Kissinger: No, but I don’t think it’s an American policy. We cannot be, we’re not responsible for everything that happens in every place in the world.” [applause from audience].

Ms. Goodman persisted:

“Goodman: Except that 90 per cent of the weapons used during the invasion were from the US and it continues to this day. So in that way we are intimately connected to Indonesia, unfortunately. Given that, I was wondering if you think it’s a success and whether too, with you on the board of Freeport McMoRan, which has the largest gold-mining operation in the world in Indonesia, in Irian Jaya, are you putting pressure, since Freeport is such a major lobbyist in Congress on behalf of Indonesia, to change that policy and to support self-determination for the people of East Timor? [Emphasis added].

Kissinger: The, uh, the United States as a general proposition cannot fix every problem on the use of American weapons in purely civil conflicts. We should do our best to prevent this. As a private American corporation engaged in private business in an area far removed from Timor but in Indonesia, I do not believe it is their job to get itself involved in that issue because if they do, then no American private enterprise will be welcome there anymore.

Goodman: But they do every day, and lobby Congress.” (C. Hitchens, The trial of Henry Kissinger (Text, Melbourne 2001 at 95-98).

Hitchens commented: “It is interesting to notice, in that final answer, the final decomposition of Kissinger’s normally efficient if robotic syntax.” and sent the reader to chapter 10 of his work, dealing in more detail with Kissinger’s “involvement with Freeport McMoRan, and his other holdings in a privatised military-political-commercial complex.”, money received by him and by Kissinger Associates as retainer, commission on future earnings and down-right payola for lobbying Congress and influencing federal agencies. (Id. 120-126, especially 124-125).

In February 2000, as Hitchens was writing, Kissinger accepted Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid’s invitation to become an unpaid adviser to the Indonesian government. Kissinger accepted “out of friendship for the Indonesian people and the importance I attach to the Indonesian nation.” Clearly, Tom Lehrer may have underestimated Dr. Kissinger’s spirited sense of irony. (Terry J. Allen, ‘With friends like these; Kissinger does Indonesia’, In these times, 17 April 2000).

No sooner the appointment had come than Kissinger took advantage of the new position to call on the Indonesian government to honour its contract with PT Freeport Indonesia, of the parent of which – Freeport McMoRan – he was then a director. The newly appointed advisor  warned that any violation of the contract would have an impact on the flow of foreign investment into the country.

“The contract should be respected because it is in the interests of Indonesia since you want investment from all over the world.” Kissinger told reporters at the State Palace after a meeting with President Abdurrahman Wahid.

“The existing contract will be honored. But Abdurrahman asked Freeport to have a sort of understanding of the people’s aspirations. There won’t be any change made to the contract, but (Freeport) needs to give a special concession.” The Minister of Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab said without elaborating.

Kissinger agreed that Freeport should pay attention to ‘some special concerns’ in its operation.

And what were those concerns? Example, the destruction by the company around the Grasberg area of some 13,300 hectares. (Kissinger calls on RI to honor Freeport deal, The Jakarta Post, 29 February 2000).

Next installment Wednesday: Another ‘dirty war’

Dr. Venturino Giorgio (George) Venturini, formerly an avvocato at the Court of Appeal of Bologna, devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reach at



Kissinger gave ‘green light’ for the invasion of East Timor

By Dr George Venturini

Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich – two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them.

In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as “a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming an international potentate. The signature qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked. Kissinger’s global career started as it meant to go on. It debauched the American republic and American democracy, and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.”

The story is all here: from the martyrdom of Indochina to becoming the real backchannel to Moscow on behalf of his new client: Donald Trump.

Editor’s note: This outstanding series by Dr Venturini is published bi-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays). Today we publish Part Eleven. Here is the link to Part Ten; Henry Kissinger: the man behind the rise of a dictatorship.

East Timor – Timor-Leste

A visit to the George Washington University’s National Security Archive would yield    Electronic Briefing Book No. 62, dated 6 December 2001 and edited by William Burr and Michael L. Evans. (East Timor Revisited: Ford, Kissinger and the Indonesian invasion, 1975-76).

The work provides new evidence that President Ford and Kissinger gave ‘green light’ to Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor – as it as then known, now Timor-Leste – in 1975. New documents detail conversations with President Suharto.

The Indonesian invasion of East Timor in December 1975 set the stage for the long, bloody, and disastrous occupation of the territory which ended only after an international peacekeeping force was introduced in 1999. President Bill Clinton cut off military aid to Indonesia in September 1999 – reversing a longstanding policy of military cooperation – but questions persist about United States responsibility for the 1975 invasion and, in particular, the degree to which the American Administration actually condoned or supported the bloody military offensive.

Two newly declassified documents from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, released to the National Security Archive, shed light on the Ford administration’s relationship with President Suharto during 1975. Of special importance is the record of Ford’s and Kissinger’s meeting with Suharto in early December 1975. The document shows that Suharto began the invasion knowing that he had the full approval of the United States. Both of these documents had been previously released in heavily redacted form, but with Suharto out of power, and following the collapse of Indonesian control over East Timor, the situation had changed enough that both documents could be released in their entirety.

Other documents found among State Department records at the National Archives elucidate the inner workings of American policy towards the Indonesian crisis during 1975 and 1976.  Besides confirming that Kissinger and top advisers expected an eventual Indonesian takeover of East Timor, archival material shows that the Secretary of State fully understood that the invasion of East Timor involved the ‘illegal’ use of U.S.-supplied military equipment because it was not used in self-defence as required by law.

Indonesia was a major site of American energy and raw materials investment, an important petroleum exporter, strategically located near vital shipping lanes, and a significant recipient of U.S. military assistance, the country – much less the East Timor question. Yet it  barely figures in Kissinger’s memoirs of the Nixon and Ford administrations. President Ford’s memoir briefly discusses the December 1975 visit to Jakarta but does not mention the discussion of East Timor with Suharto. Indeed, as important as the bilateral relationship was, Jakarta’s brutal suppression of the independence movement in East Timor was a development that neither Ford nor Kissinger wanted people to remember about their time in power. That the two decided on a course of action of dubious legality and that resulted in the slaughter of thousands of Timorese may well have also discouraged further reflection, at least in public. No doubt the omissions from Ford’s and Kissinger’s memoirs also reflect the low priority which East Timor had during the Ford Administration. For senior officials, the fate of a post-colonial East Timor paled in comparison to the strategic relationship with the anti-communist Suharto regime, especially in the wake of the American defeat in Vietnam, when Ford and Kissinger wanted to strengthen relations with anti-communists and check left-wing movements in the region. (Benedict R. Andersen, ‘East Timor and Indonesia: Some Implications’, in Peter Carey and G. Carter Bentley, eds., East Timor at the Crossroads: The Forging of a Nation (University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1995), 138-40)  But it is not simply a matter of omission; on several occasions Kissinger has explicitly denied that he ever had substantive discussions of East Timor with Suharto, much less having consented to Indonesian plans. At a 1995 press conference Kissinger told former East Timorese resistance leader Constancio Pinto: “Timor was never discussed with us when we were in Indonesia” and then qualified this remark by stating that he learned about the invasion plans at the airport as the presidential party was about to leave. (See “Ask Kissinger about East Timor: Confronting Henry Kissinger,” East Timor Action Network, August 1995. During a radio interview in 1999, Kissinger continued to treat the discussion with Suharto on East Timor as incidental and nonsubstantive: “We were told at the airport as we left Jakarta that either that day or the next day they intended to take East Timor.”

The new evidence contradicts Kissinger’s statements: Indonesian plans for the invasion of East Timor were indeed discussed with Suharto, and Ford and Kissinger gave them the green light. As Kissinger advised Suharto on the eve of the invasion: “it is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly” but that “it would be better if it were done after we returned” to the United States.

New documents shed important light on U.S. policy towards the East Timor question in 1975, but much more is yet to be known about U.S. policymaking during 1975 and 1976.  Unfortunately, most of the relevant sources are classified. The large collection of Kissinger-Scowcroft office files at the Ford Library remains unavailable, as are the records of the State Department’s Indonesia desk and the Bureau of East Asian Affairs for the 1970s. (Brent Scowcroft was National Security Advisor to Presidents Ford and Bush Senior between 3 November 1975 and 20 January 1977. He was preceded by Kissinger and followed by Brzezinski).

The military revolt which overthrew Portugal’s authoritarian regime in April 1974 encouraged nationalist movements in the Portuguese colony of East Timor calling for gradual independence from Lisbon – a position also initially favoured by the new Portuguese government.

Two groups supported different degrees of independence: the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) was a moderate – bourgeois one would say – force, while the  Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) was for a social democratic programme. In January 1975 the two groups formed an uneasy coalition.  Increasingly, Fretilin enjoyed the greatest public support and led the push for rapid independence.

Early signals from the Indonesian government indicated that it also was prepared to support East Timorese independence, but the Indonesians soon became interested in turning the region into the country’s twenty-seventh province. Fears that an independent East Timor could be used as a base by unfriendly governments or spur other secessionist movements in Indonesia had convinced hardliners in the military to press for annexation of the territory. In February 1975 the Indonesian military conducted a mock invasion of East Timor in South Sumatra. Military hardliners also supported the pro-integration Timorese Popular Democratic Association (Apodeti) with financial assistance and launched a propaganda campaign against the pro-independence groups. Apodeti, however, never had the popular support enjoyed by Fretilin or the Timorese Democratic Union.

The new Portuguese government was preoccupied with its own internal political controversies and could do little to ensure a steady transition towards independence. During 1974 and 1975 Indonesian authorities hoped that the Portuguese would acquiesce in Jakarta’s plans to acquire East Timor. At first the Portuguese seemed responsive, but by mid-1975 it had become evident that Lisbon supported self-determination for the people of East Timor. In July 1975 Lisbon rebuffed Jakarta with the issuance of Constitutional Law 7/75, setting forth a timetable for home-rule, including the election of a popular assembly which would determine East Timor’s future, with Portuguese sovereignty ending no later than October 1978.

Events in East Timor, however, did not proceed in accordance with Lisbon’s schedule. The delicate UDTFretilin alliance had fallen apart in May 1975, in part due to a propaganda campaign launched by the Indonesian government to inflame the Timorese Democratic Union concerns about Fretilin’s alleged communist tendencies. (Hamish McDonald, Suharto’s Indonesia (Fontana,Blackburn, Australia 1980) at 202-204).

UDT’s fears were bolstered in June when Fretilin refused to attend an all-party conference on decolonisation hosted by Portuguese officials on Macao due to the presence of Apodeti representatives. To Fretilin the issue of independence was not up for discussion, least of all with the Indonesians. The extent of Fretilin’s popularity – and thus popular sentiment for independence from Indonesia – became evident in July 1975 when the party won 55 per cent of the vote in local elections. Convinced by Indonesian intelligence that Fretilin was planning a coup, the Timorese Democratic Union  staged its own in August 1975 in the capital Dili in an effort to drive out Fretilin supporters. A Fretilin counterattack pushed the Timorese Democratic Union  forces out of the city, however, and by September Fretilin controlled nearly all of East Timor. the Portuguese administrators having fled to the island of Ataúro.

Despite having gained de facto control of the territory, Fretilin ended its call for immediate independence and now supported a plan similar to the gradual independence programme proposed in June by the Portuguese.

The Indonesian government did not seize the opportunity to move troops into Dili on the premise of restoring order. President Suharto was still concerned about the reaction from ‘the West’ and needed more time to get the Timorese Democratic Union and other anti-Fretilin groups to support integration. While the Timorese Democratic Union had taken refuge on the Indonesian side of Timor and, in need of food and shelter, had no choice but to sign a pro-integration petition drawn up by Indonesia, in October 1975  Indonesian special forces began to infiltrate secretly into East Timor in an effort to provoke clashes which would provide the pretext for a full-scale invasion. When these incursions – including the murder by Indonesian forces of five journalists employed by Australian television networks – failed to elicit any noticeable reaction from ‘the West’, Indonesia stepped-up its attacks across the border.

Indonesian airborne troops – outfitted with American equipment – prepared to take Dili. Meanwhile Fretilin petitioned the United Nations to call for the withdrawal of the invading forces. Four days later, on 28 November, Fretilin declared East Timor’s independence – apparently in the belief that a sovereign state would have greater success appealing to the United Nations, but also thinking that Timorese soldiers would be more likely to fight for an independent state. Indonesia countered the next day with a  ‘declaration of integration’ signed by Apodeti and Timorese Democratic Union representatives and coordinated by Indonesia’s military intelligence service. (H. McDonald, Suharto’s Indonesia, 207, 210).

The invasion, originally scheduled for early December, was apparently delayed by the visit of Ford and Kissinger to Jakarta on  6 December.

Operation Komodo which had begun in October 1974 was named after the giant, slow-moving lizard found in the Indonesian archipelago, and was designed to ensure East Timor’s annexation through a covert process of slow but methodical destabilisation, turned into Operation Flamboyan (armed, covert action) and, finally, into Operation Seroja (the full, overt invasion of East Timor).

Seroja commenced on 7 December 1975, the day after Ford and Kissinger’s visit.

In the following weeks a series of United Nations resolutions – supported by the United States – called for the withdrawal of the Indonesian troops. An estimated 20,000 Indonesian troops were deployed to the region by the end of the month. While casualty estimates vary, anywhere from 60,000-100,000 Timorese were probably killed in the first year after the violence began in 1975. In 1979 the U.S. Agency for International Development estimated that 300,000 East Timorese – nearly half the population – had been uprooted and moved into camps controlled by Indonesian armed forces. By 1980 the occupation had left more than 100,000 dead from military action, starvation or disease, with some estimates running as high as 230,000.

The National Security Archive offers seven documents.

Document 1 (5 July 1975) records a conversation between President Suharto and President Ford at Camp David on 5 July 1975, five months before the invasion of East Timor. Speaking only a few months after the collapse of the Thieu regime in South Vietnam, the two presidents shared a tour d’horizon of East Asian political issues, U.S. military assistance to Indonesia, international investment, and Portuguese decolonisation. Fearing greater political and ideological ferment in the region following the Communist victory in Vietnam, Suharto saw his ideological concoction ‘Pancasila’ (possibly misspelled “Pantechistita” in the document) as useful, no doubt because its emphasis on consensus excluded any oppositional political activity. Not taking ‘consensus’ for granted, Suharto wanted American help in building up his military machine to increase its mobility for dealing with insurgent elements, noting that, “Especially at this moment, intelligence and territorial operations are very important.” Ford proposed setting up a joint commission to scrutinise Suharto’s military request but wanted Kissinger to settle the details.

Suharto brought up the question of Portuguese decolonisation in East Timor proclaiming his support for ‘self-determination’ but also dismissing independence as unviable: “So the only way is to integrate [East Timor] into Indonesia.” Without mentioning Fretilin by name, Suharto misleadingly characterised it as “almost Communist” and criticised the group for boycotting the decolonisation meeting in Macao. Suharto claimed that Indonesia did not want to interfere with East Timor’s self-determination but implied that it might have to because “those who want independence are those who are Communist-influenced.”

While Lisbon still had legal sovereignty over East Timor, apparently neither Ford nor Suharto discussed the implications for Indonesian policy. The United States had worked closely with the Salazar dictatorship which ruled Portugal for decades, but it was now deeply suspicious of the new social democratic regime in Lisbon. With its exaggerated concerns about a Communist coup, the Ford Administration considered the possibility of expelling Portugal from N.A.T.O. and supporting an independence movement in the Azores – where the U.S. had important military facilities. Thus, from Ford’s and Kissinger’s perspective in 1975, Portugal’s role in the region was of little interest and did not pose an important obstacle to Indonesian action. That some left-leaning Portuguese officers had contacts with Fretilin undoubtedly made the United States even less inclined to concern itself with Portugal’s response to Indonesian action in East Timor. (Source: Gerald R. Ford Library, National Security Adviser Memoranda of Conversations, Box 13, July 5, 1965 – Ford, Kissinger, Indonesian President Suharto).

Document 2 (12 August 1975) records that, apparently encouraged by his meeting with President Ford, President Suharto returned from Washington on 8 July and made his first public statement suggesting that an independent East Timor was not viable. Only days later, UDT leaders launched their coup with the hope that they could suppress Fretilin.  During a 12 August discussion of the coup, Kissinger and his close advisers were not altogether sure what was happening, but did not disagree with Assistant Secretary Philip Habib’s statement that the Indonesians would not let a “communist-dominated group,” i.e., Fretilin, take over. Kissinger, in particular, assumed that an Indonesian takeover would take place “sooner or later.” Believing that Australia, a key regional ally, would feel “impelled” to support self-determination for the Timorese, Kissinger and his advisers wanted to avoid controversy over the issue. They quickly agreed that the State Department should make no comment on the coup or related events.

A few days later, Richard Woolcott, the Australian ambassador in Jakarta, relayed a statement by the American  ambassador John Newsom which summarised the United States Government’s approach but alluded to a problem that Kissinger and his advisers had not specifically discussed on 12 August. The message noted Newsom’s 16 August  comment that if Indonesia were to invade East Timor, it [should] do so “effectively, quickly, and not use our equipment.” (The comment is cited in a telegram written by Australian Ambassador Richard Woolcott on August 17, 1975 (Cited in Munster, G.J. and Walsh, R. (eds), Documents on Australian Defence and Foreign Policy, 1968-75 (Sydney, 1980) 200.

The American ambassador recognised that there was a congressional prohibition on Indonesia’s use of military gear financed by United States aid for anything but defensive operations.

Kissinger would have come to understand the problem, if he did not already, but as document four suggests, he was not willing to let it tie Jakarta’s hands. (Source: National Archives, Record Group 59, Department of State Records, Transcripts of Staff Meetings of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 1973-77, box 8).

Document 3 carries a memorandum “to President Ford from Henry A. Kissinger, ‘Your Visit to Indonesia,’ ca. 21 November 1975.” The document attaches an enclosure (document 3A) referring to the same subject.

The Kissinger memorandum, prepared for President Ford some two weeks before the two were to visit to Jakarta, indicates that the Administration’s larger strategic interests in Indonesia made it unlikely that Washington would make a fuss over East Timor. The eventual fate of East Timor was evidently a relatively low priority for Kissinger and his staff – it was the twelfth and final item mentioned in the memorandum. While Kissinger, in the memorandum, acknowledged that the Indonesians have been “maneuvering to absorb the colony” through negotiations with Portugal and “covert military operations in the colony itself,” he apparently did not expect an overt invasion using United States-supplied military equipment. Indeed, his memorandum and the briefing paper on “Indonesia and Portuguese Timor” both indicated that to do so would violate U.S. law, suggesting that this consideration had induced “restraint” on the part of Jakarta; moreover, and in contrast to Habib’s view, that Fretilin was “Communist-dominated.” Actually the author of the  briefing paper more accurately characterised Fretilin as “vaguely left-wing.” But, to Kissinger, that would turn out as ‘Communist’. (Source: National Archives, Record Group 59, Department of State Records, Executive Secretariat Briefing Books, 1958-1976, Box 227, President Ford’s Visit to the Far East – Indonesia Nov-Dec. 1975).

On the eve of Indonesia’s full-scale invasion of East Timor, President Ford and Secretary Kissinger stopped in Jakarta en route from China where they had just met with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. During his meeting with President Suharto, Ford emphasised America’s continuing commitment to Asian affairs despite the “severe setback of Vietnam.” Document 4 contains the text referring to the Ford-Kissinger-Suharto conversation (See: Embassy Jakarta Telegram 1579 to Secretary State, 6 December 1975, Secret/Nodis (which means “no distribution”). Discussion then turned to the problem of Communist influence in the Non-Aligned Movement and the insurgency movements in Thailand and Malaysia. Ford told Suharto that he would be “enthusiastic” about building an M-16 plant in Indonesia to provide small arms to help Southeast Asian governments counter regional insurgency movements. Kissinger also approved of the proposed arrangement “because of its indication of wider cooperation.”

On 4 or 5 December 1975, while still in Beijing, Kissinger had received a cable from the State Department suggesting that the Indonesians had “plans” to invade East Timor.  Thus, Ford or Kissinger could not have been too surprised when, in the middle of a discussion of guerrilla movements in Thailand and Malaysia, Suharto suddenly brought up East Timor.  Suharto noted that while Indonesia “has no territorial ambitions,” Fretilin has not cooperated with negotiations and has “declared its independence unilaterally.” The current situation, he said, “will prolong the suffering of the refugees and increase instability in the area.” Suharto then assured the Americans that “the four other parties” favour integration, with the apparent implication that a mere majority among the “parties” to the conflict – absent a popular referendum – alone constituted an act of self-determination. “We want your understanding,” Suharto continued, “if we deem it necessary to take rapid or drastic action.”

Ford and Kissinger took great pains to assure Suharto that they would not oppose the invasion. Ford was unambiguous: “We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have.” Kissinger did indeed stress that “the use of US-made arms could create problems.” but then added that, “It depends on how we construe it; whether it is in self defence or is a foreign operation.” Thus, Kissinger’s concern was not about whether American arms would be used offensively – and hence illegally – but whether the act would actually be interpreted as such, process he clearly intended to manipulate. Indeed, later that month Kissinger asked his advisers whether “We can’t construe a Communist government in the middle of Indonesia as self-defense?” (See Mark Hertsgaard, “The Secret Life of Henry Kissinger; minutes of a 1975 meeting with Lawrence Eagleburger,” The Nation, October 29, 1990).

In any case, Kissinger added: “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly.” [Emphasis added]

Indeed, timing and damage control were very important to the Americans, as Kissinger told Suharto: “We would be able to influence the reaction in America if whatever happens happens after we return … If you have made plans, we will do our best to keep everyone quiet until the President returns home.” Kissinger also asked Suharto if he anticipated a “long guerilla war,” apparently aware that a quick military success would be easier to spin than a long campaign.  Suharto acknowledged that there “will probably be a small guerrilla war” but he was cagey enough not to predict its duration. Nevertheless, his military colleagues were optimistic; as one of the architects of Indonesian policy, General Ali Murtopo had explained to an American  scholar some months before the invasion, “the whole business will be settled in three weeks.” (M. Andersen, ‘East Timor and Indonesia: Some Implications,’ in P. Carey and G. Carter Bentley, eds., East Timor at the Crossroads: The forging of a nation (University of Hawaii Pess, Honolulu 1995, at 137).

With the U.S. position on the East Timor ‘business’ settled, Suharto turned to economic problems, especially petroleum  investments. With the then recent bankruptcy of the state oil company, the regime needed more revenue and Suharto wanted to get it from the oil companies which invested in Indonesia.  Noting that the oil companies were sharing larger shares of their profits with Middle Eastern states than they were with Indonesia, Suharto told Ford and Kissinger that he wanted to negotiate an “understanding” with them. Both Americans were sympathetic and said that he would have their support.  Kissinger, however, noted carefully that whatever Suharto did he should “not create a climate that discourages investment.” The possibility that the East Timor affair could prove to be a disaster for Indonesia and someday impair the “climate for investment” never seems to have occurred to either Kissinger or Ford. (Source: Gerald R. Ford Library, Kissinger-Scowcroft Temporary Parallel File, Box A3, Country File, Far East-Indonesia, State Department Telegrams 4/1/75-9/22/76).

Document 5 (5 and 6 December 1975) contains brief schedule details of Secretary Kissinger’s two-day visit to Indonesia with President Ford. But there is no record of Kissinger’s meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adam Malik. (Source: National Archives, Record Group 59, Department of State Records, Executive Secretariat Briefing Books, 1958-1976, Box 227, President Ford’s Trip to the Far East (Follow-Up) Nov-Dec. 1975).

The last document, No. 6, is the transcript of Staff Meeting of Secretary Kissinger with personnel at the Department on 17 June 1976. It is only by excerpts, most it being secret.

The document records that the United States’ initial response to the invasion was to delay new arms sales to Indonesia pending an administrative review by the State Department, ostensibly to determine whether Indonesia had actually violated the bilateral agreement stipulating that U.S.-supplied arms could only be used for defensive purposes. Military equipment already in the pipeline continued to flow, however, and during the six-month review period the United States made four new offers of military equipment sales to Indonesia including maintenance and spare parts for the Rockwell OV-10 Bronco aircraft, designed specifically for counterinsurgency operations and employed during the invasion of East Timor. The administrative delay and the subsequent offers had been the subject of an 18 December 1975 meeting between Secretary Kissinger and his advisers in which he chastised his staff for writing a memorandum  recommending that arms sales to Indonesia be cut off for violating the end-use agreement. While the memorandum was not widely distributed, Kissinger was angry that word might leak about how “Kissinger overruled his pristine bureaucrats and violated the law.” Kissinger told his staff that he “took care of it with the administrative thing by ordering [the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance] not to make any new sales.” If Congress asked about the policy, Kissinger said, “We cut it off while we are studying it. We intend to start again in January.”(Mark Hertsgaard, “The Secret Life of Henry Kissinger; minutes of a 1975 meeting with Lawrence Eagleburger,” The Nation, October 29, 1990).

Next installment Saturday: Diplomacy! What diplomacy?

Dr. Venturino Giorgio (George) Venturini, formerly an avvocato at the Court of Appeal of Bologna, devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reach at


Backward Steps: The Australian Recycling Sham

The green conscience received a setback last week with revelations that the Australian recycling industry is not what it seems. The middle-class sensibility here is simple and dismissive: bin it and forget about it. Place the sorted items in the appropriate set place and let others do the rest.

Such an attitude means that the Australian recycler can been caught unawares. A glance at the general talking points of Australia’s recycling prowess shows confidence, even smugness. Planet Ark, for instance, notes that the recycling rate of 51 per cent of household waste is “relatively on par with recycling rates in northern European countries and exceeding the mean recycling rate of all 28 countries in the EU of 42 percent.”

The pat on the back follows. “This is quite an achievement for Australia considering the unique landscape and dispersed population that our waste services need to navigate.” (This self-congratulatory tone also works in reverse: a justification, for instance, as to why Australia’s internet rates are some of the slowest in the developed world).

Where Australia lacks punch is the recycling of electronic waste, limping and lagging behind European states. In terms of battery recycling, for many years mandatory in Europe, the program remains in tight swaddling clothes.

The sense, then, of the conscientious recycler, is a strong one, alert and aware about doing one’s duty in environmental conservation, or, at the very least, avoiding environmental ruination. But the challenges as to how effective such behaviour has been are pronounced and problematic.

Some of this can be gathered from an ABC program which has made it an ongoing project to wage a “War on Waste” fronted by satirist and mocker-in-chief Craig Reucassel. While it has an instructional, even at points hectoring tone, the production makes valid points that burst the euphoric bubble of the recycling clan.

For one thing, the proportion of what is appropriately placed in bins for kerbside collections needs challenging. Audits suggest that upwards of 10 per cent of material placed for recycling – in terms of volume – should find another destination.

As Trevor Thornton explains, “The most common ‘contamination’ items include plastic bags (both full and empty), textiles, green waste, polystyrene (Styrofoam) and general rubbish.” The first item on this ticket list – plastic – is particularly noxious, finding its way into the reject pile that is duly buried in a long, slow-decaying exile in landfill.

And, suggests Thornton in a myth-debunking tone, there is little need rinsing and cleaning the assortment of cans and containers for the recyclers, as “today’s recycling systems can easily cope with the levels of food often found in or on these containers.” Such industriousness wasted!

Then come specific items that may only be partially recyclable, with the grandest culprit being the ubiquitous takeaway coffee cup. Here, the messages vary. Place them in co-mingled and mixed paper bins, and all is dandy. Not so, claim the War on Waste fraternity, which notes that only part of the cup would qualify.

Nor is the concept of re-use necessarily high priest gospel. Be wary, for instance, of the wisdom behind reusing your ceramic cup. Paper disposable cups and Styrofoam come out ahead of the re-use facility here. According to a Canadian study by Martin B. Hocking, one ceramic cup would have to be put through the paces 39 times to make it more viable than the former, and 1,006 times when compared with the latter. It all has to do with energy consumption in washing reusable cups, “a less important factor in cub fabrication.”

Even more deflating was the report by the investigative Four Corners outfit that was aired in its usual Monday segment to Australian audiences thinking that they had gotten on top of the issue of what to do with glass.

They had good reason to. Again, Planet Ark, in a glowing overview of the state of recycling in Australia, asserts that glass bottles in Australia “have generally 40 – 70 percent recycled content, which means that your bottles and jars go directly into the manufacture of new bottles and jars at an energy saving.”

There’s a snag in all of this. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of glass, rather than finding their way to the appropriate recycling points, reach stockpiles and disappear in landfill. One particular fallen angel in the business, recycling company Polytrade, decided to go public with the view that the recycling market in Australia had run its course of sustainability.

According to Polytrade Rydalmere manager Nathan Ung, “We are back in the dark age and we don’t know what to do.” The reason for being plunged into such darkness was one of quantity and viability, a product that had gotten ahead of itself. “The predicament at the moment is there’s no viable market anymore, there’s nowhere for the glass to go.”

The stresses are manifold. Recycling companies are feeling the pinch of falls in commodity prices. Flexibility with local councils is nigh impossible, with long-term contracts between the companies and local government lasting for as long as 10 years.

Stockpiling limits are enforced by the Environmental Protection Agencies across the country, though this, according to the Four Corners report, is a premise that must be challenged. Certainly, when it came to New South Wales, companies engaged in the task of recycling were being somewhat flexible in their reading of the regulations, behaviour inspired by a good degree of desperation. In rural and regional Australia, landfilling has become de rigueur.

A dark story, then. Behind every environmental claim to fame and cocky advance in greening the earth is a qualification, a half-step back that risks, at times, becoming a reverse canter. Well it may be that Australians are generally more aware of the need to recycle, placing their green consciousness into hyperdrive. But this is a country of vastness, insufficient regulation and scattered responses across such industries vulnerable to price changes. It remains to the participants to assure those still keen to sort out their weekly waste whether it’s all worth it.

Dr Binoy Kampmark is a senior lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. He is a contributing editor to CounterPunch and can be followed on Twitter at @bkampmark.


Henry Kissinger: the man behind the rise of a dictatorship

By Dr George Venturini

Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich – two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them.

In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as “a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming an international potentate. The signature qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked. Kissinger’s global career started as it meant to go on. It debauched the American republic and American democracy, and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.”

The story is all here: from the martyrdom of Indochina to becoming the real backchannel to Moscow on behalf of his new client: Donald Trump.

Editor’s note: This outstanding series by Dr Venturini is published bi-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays). Today we publish Part Ten. Here is the link to Part Nine; Pinochet: the dictator of death.


In the days which followed Pinochet arrest on 16 October 1998 in London, the families of nine French citizens who had been ‘disappeared’ or were executed in Chile or in Argentina – but for acts which could be attributed to the Chilean military Junta – between 11 September 1973 and 9 February 1977, filed complaints in France to obtain the truth and justice that they had not obtained in Chile. Isabelle Ropert filed the first complaint on behalf of her brother, Enrique Ropert, who was arrested on 11 September 1973 in front of La Moneda and then found dead on 20 October 1973 at the Santiago morgue.

The complaints filed by the families of Alfonso Chanfreau, Jean-Yves Claudet, Georges Klein and Étienne Pesle were the only ones to be recognised as admissible by the French courts. The courts have in fact affirmed the continuing nature of the crime of enforced disappearance, since the victims’ bodies have never been found. In French law this crime of ‘disappearance’ is categorised as arrest and illegal detention, aggravated by torture and barbarous acts.

The question emerged immediately as to the extra-territorial jurisdiction of French courts.

Based on the work of the National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation – the Rettig Commission, the National Reparation and Reconciliation Corporation – set up in 1990 and 1992 respectively and relating only to violations of the right to life, and the National Commission on Political Prison and Torture – set up in 2003 and known as the Valech Commission, the Chilean State officially recognised 3,197 victims of ‘disappearances’ or executions and 28,461 victims of torture.  The limited mandate of those organisations and the impossibility for many victims to appeal to them due to their feeling of insecurity, especially at the beginning of the 1990s, and their restrictive mandates, have consequently left hundreds of victims unidentified.

In February 2010 the so-called Rettig and Valech Commissions were reinstated for a very brief period to enable new victims to make themselves known during a six month period and thus benefit from certain reparation measures. The intention of these Truth Commissions was not to establish individual responsibility, nor to render justice.

The trial in France also permitted proceedings to be brought again in Chile. By the end of the dictatorship in 1990 it had been possible to file only a few complaints and these had been discontinued through almost automatic application of the amnesty law. And by the time of Pinochet’s return to Santiago in 2000 the dictatorship’s victims had filed 60 complaints against Pinochet. Two months later there were nearly 100 and, when he died on 10 December 2006, never having been tried, there were more than 400, especially for enforced disappearance, torture, sequestration of children and aggravated homicide. In 2001 special first instance judges were appointed to investigate these complaints, which have continuously increased since 1998. Some of these judges have done considerable work which has permitted the truth about the crimes committed to be revealed that some of them have qualified as crimes against humanity on the basis of international treaty and customary law.

To date in Chile not even 200 persons have been sentenced for crimes against humanity committed during the dictatorship, and no more than 53 have been gaoled or are under house arrest.  Slightly over 330 proceedings were still under way and of the less than 800 persons who are the subject of proceedings, no more than 56 are civilians.  The Chilean Supreme Court no longer applies the amnesty law, even though it is still on the statute book. The low sentences, in recent years applying the rule of ‘partial statute of limitations’, are absolutely disproportionate to the seriousness of the crimes.

Taking into consideration the length of time since the events and the current behaviour of the perpetrators of the crimes being tried, in very many cases this rule results in those found guilty walking away free as soon as the verdict is rendered. In addition justice is very slow: 65 per cent of the ongoing proceedings – often after the proceedings have lasted more than ten years – are still at the preliminary stage. Very few of the civilian leaders under the dictatorship are concerned about justice. The Chilean legal system is confronted with echoes of the structure of impunity created by Pinochet and his followers in preparation for the transition.

None of the proceedings in Chile concerned those accused of acts committed against the four Franco-Chilean victims. The trial about to take place in Paris was without precedent.

The F.I.D.H. and its affiliates in Chile and in France, Corporación de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo, C.O.D.E.P.U., the Ligue des droits de l’Homme, League of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, L.D.H., as well as the Association of former Chilean political prisoners in France and the Association France Latin America had joined the lawsuit as civil parties as early as July 1999, and in that capacity were appearing alongside the families of the four Frenchmen.  By intervening as a civil party in a criminal trial, a party who was not directly the victim of the crime lodges a claim for damages. Such party may take part in the trial, adducing witnesses, submitting evidence, statements and expert opinions.

As previously noted, the investigation of the case had been opened by Judge Roger Le Loire on 30 October 1998. He was the judge who had attempted to question Kissinger in May 2001 as a witness for alleged U.S. involvement in Operation Condor and for possible U.S. knowledge in connection to the ‘disappearance’ of five French citizens in Chile during the Pinochet regime.

The investigation was closed by Judge Sophie Clément, who issued an order for indictment before the Cour d’Assises – the highest French criminal court on 21 February 2007.

France issued international arrest warrants against 19 persons, including Pinochet. He was being prosecuted for his direct personal criminal responsibility in the torture and ‘disappearance’ of the four victims, as Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Land Army and head of the military Junta, and fourteen formers senior leaders of the dictatorship were charged of the kidnapping, torture and ‘disappearance’ of four French and/or French/Chilean citizens: Alfonso Chanfreau, Jean-Yves Claudet, Georges Klein and Étienne Pesle.

Initially, according to a 12 February 2008 announcement by the F.I.D.H., C.O.D.E.P.U., and the L.D.H., the trial was to have taken place between 19 and 23 May 2008. It was postponed.

The proceedings were finally scheduled to take place before the Paris Cour d’Assises from 8 to 17 December 2010.

Pinochet had died just a few weeks before Judge Sophie Clément issued an order for his indictment. The other accused were: 1) Javier Secundo Emilio Palacios Ruhmann, formerly a General of the Chilean Land Army, responsible for leading the attack on La Moneda Presidential Palace, 2) Osvaldo Romo Mena, formerly a  Land Army Commander assigned to D.I.N.A., 3) Andres Rigoberto Pacheco Cardenas, formerly an Air Force Colonel and Commander of the base at Maquehue, 4) Paul Schaeffer Schneider, formerly the head of ‘Colonia Dignidad’ and a former Nazi war criminal, 5) Juan Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, formerly the head of D.I.N.A. and a former General of the Chilean Land Army, 6) Hermán Julio Brady Roche, formerly Commander-in-Chief of the Santiago garrison, 7) Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo, formerly a Colonel of the Land Army, Director of Operations and Chief of the D.I.N.A. Metropolitan Intervention Brigade, 8) José Osvaldo Riveiro, formerly a Lieutenant-Colonel of the Land Army, 9) Marcelo Luís Moren Brito, formerly a Commander of the Land Army, assigned to D.I.N.A., 10) Miguel Krasnoff Martchenko, formerly a Captain of the Land Army, assigned to D.I.N.A., 11) Rafael Francisco Ahumada Valderrama, formerly an Officer of the Tacna Regiment, 12) Gerardo Ernesto Godoy García, formerly a Sub-Lieutenant of the Land Army, assigned to D.I.N.A., 13) Basclay Humberto Zapata Reyes, formerly a non-commissioned officer of the Land Army, assigned to D.I.N.A., 14) Enrique Lautaro Arranciabia Clavel, formerly D.I.N.A. representative in Argentina, 15) Raúl Eduardo Iturriaga Neumann, formerly D.I.N.A. foreign affairs official, 16) Luís Joachim Ramírez Pineda, formerly Commander of the Tacna camp, 17) José Octavio Zara Holger, formerly a Land Army officer posted to D.I.N.A., and 18) Emilio Sandoval Poo, formerly an Air Force military reservist, at the time of trial a company director in Temuco.

Four of the listed defendants had died before the trial could begin. All the others were aged between 59 and 89. In the absence of an extradition treaty between Paris and Santiago, France was not in a position to force the presence of the defendants. None was present at the trial, although they were summoned by the Court. They were entitled to be represented by a lawyer in application of the in absentia procedure, but all refused.

All 14 of the living defendants were tried in absentia, making the case highly symbolic.

The French and Franco-Chilean victims at the heart of the trial were:

1) Alfonso Chanfreau, a French citizen, born in Santiago in 1950. He had married Erika Hennings with whom he had a daughter, Natalia. A member of the Movimiento Izquierda Revolucionaria – Revolutionary Left-wing Movement, M.I.R., he became a Santiago city official following the coup on 11 September 1973. On 30 July 1974 Chanfreau was arrested at his home by D.I.N.A. operatives. Gerardo Godoy García and Osvaldo Romo Mena took part in this operation. His wife Erika was arrested the next morning “so that her husband would talk.” Imprisoned for 15 days at the ‘London 38’ torture centre in Santiago, the couple were brutally tortured, by Osvaldo Romo, Miguel Krasnoff Martchencko and Marcelo Moren Brito in particular. Erika was transferred to other detention centres and then expelled to France with their daughter Natalia. Alfonso was transferred on 13 August 1974 to the ‘Villa Grimaldi’ where his legs were crushed under a vehicle, before being taken back to the ‘London 38’ centre. He ‘disappeared’ afterwards and some witnesses indicated that he was taken to the ‘Colonia Dignidad’, a place set up by Paul Schaeffer, a former Nazi war criminal, where prisoners were tortured and the agents of D.I.N.A. were trained.

2) Jean-Yves Claudet, a French citizen, born in 1939 in Maipú, a suburb of Greater Santiago, who was married to Arhel Danus, with whom he had two sons, Étienne and Roger. Jean-Yves Claudet worked as an engineer and was a member of the Movimiento Izquierda Revolucionaria – Revolutionary Left-wing Movement, M.I.R. Arrested on two occasions in 1973, he remained in detention for one year. On his release he was immediately taken to the French Embassy and put on a flight to France.  From France, Claudet helped to set up a M.I.R. cell in Argentina. He went to Buenos Aires on 30 October 1975, with microfilms in his possession. He was arrested on 1 November 1975 by agents of S.I.D.E., the Argentine secret police, in the framework of Operation Condor. A D.I.N.A. representative in Buenos Aires, in a memorandum  addressed to his superiors, subsequently informed them that Claudet “Ya no existe” – no longer exists.

3) Georges Klein, a French citizen, born in 1945, a psychiatrist and personal physician and adviser to President Allende. He was married to Alice Vera Fausto; they had one daughter, Vanessa.  He had been active in the Socialist Party, and then in the Communist Party. Georges Klein was by the side of President Allende when La Moneda Palace was bombed. Like other defenders of the Palace, he was taken prisoner on the same day and driven by bus, with around forty other persons, to the Tacna Regiment – a land army artillery regiment. The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Luís Ramírez Pineda who, together with General Javier Palacios, reported to General Hermán Brady Roche, Commander-in-Chief of the Santiago garrison. When they arrived, the 40 prisoners were taken to the stables and ordered to lie on their stomachs with their legs spread and their hands behind their neck until the following day. According to several witnesses, the prisoners were subjected to ill treatment during their transfer and at the Tacna regiment: beaten violently, forced to remain immobile in the cold, deprived of food and water, threatened with death.  On 13 September Georges Klein was taken away from the Tacna Regiment with 20 other persons in a dumper lorry and ‘disappeared’. Evidence collected during the investigation relates that he might have been taken to the Peldehue grounds, where he was killed by machine gun fire on the orders of Major Rafael Ahumada Valderrama.

4) Étienne Pesle was born in France in 1927, went to Chile in 1953 to work with the destitute, married Aydée Mendez Caceres, with whom he had two children, Roberto and Anne-Marie. Pesle was in charge of land reform at the Institute for the Development of Agriculture and Fishing in Temuco. The Institute, the goals of which were in line with the policy defined by President Allende, was to redistribute lands to the poor peasants and especially to the Mapuche peasants in the Temuco region. He was first arrested on 12 September 1973, then release, and then re-arrested on 19 September at his workplace by soldiers wearing the Chilean Air Force uniform, including Emilio Sandoval Poo, a reserve officer. The group was commanded by Miguel Manriquez, a civilian pilot and landowner against whom Pesle had led expropriation operations which benefited the Mapuche Indians. Pesle ‘disappeared’ from that day and his fate remains unknown. There is consistent evidence that he was taken to Maquehue, the air force base south of Temuco, where torture was systematically used and also applied by civilians. Some persons reported that he was killed and that his body was thrown into the sea from the private airplane of Miguel Manriquez.

“Amongst other things, these hearings will provide an opportunity to listen to historical testimony. Pinochet is dead, but this trial of the dictator, albeit posthumous, is the only trial of the whole system of repression that he established.” wrote Maîtres William Bourdon, Claude Katz and Benjamin Sarfati and Sophie Thonon, lawyers for the victims and the civil parties.

“The detention of Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998 helped revive the procedures initiated by the victims of the Chilean dictatorship both in Chile and abroad. The current trial, because of the nature of the crimes, not eligible for statute of limitation, transcends borders and contributes to the fight against impunity worldwide. It is now expected that the truth which will come out of this trial will be heard in Chile and will facilitate recognition of the realities of these crimes which are still far too little known.” said Hiram Villagra and Federico Aguirre, C.O.D.E.P.U. lawyers in Chile.

The trial opened as planned on 8 December 2010. It was based on complaints filed in 1998 by the victims’ families, who maintain that the Chilean justice system failed fully to investigate the four disappearances.  The trial was of historic value in several respects. Beyond recognition of the individual responsibility of the accused, the trial would be the opportunity to establish and punish the system of repression set up and operated by the Pinochet dictatorship which reigned in Chile from 1973 to 1990. Furthermore, proceedings were connected to significant events at the start of the dictatorship which would throw light on the way it functioned and make its modus operandi perfectly clear: – the bombing of La Moneda and the arrest of the advisers of Salvador Allende; – the systematic repression of opponents – amongst whom were activists of the Revolutionary Left-wing movement, M.I.R. and persons linked to the former government – such as those involved with the great land reform embarked on by Allende; – the extremely hierarchical operation of D.I.N.A., the Junta’s political police force under the direct orders of Augusto Pinochet and Manuel Contreras;  – Operación Cóndor, which aimed at eliminating opponents of the region’s dictatorial regimes; – the crimes systematically committed under Pinochet in torture centres such as ‘London 38’, ‘Villa Grimaldi’, or ‘Colonia Dignidad’.

This trial saw a number of witnesses who travelled from Chile to appear beside the plaintiff families. There would be not only witnesses to the events, such as the arrest, abduction, detention and torture of the four victims, but also experts who would give evidence of the context of those events and the internal condition in Chile, such as the Chilean lawyer and former United Nations Rapporteur, Roberto Garretón; Martín Almada, who discovered the Operation Condor archives; the American journalist John Dinges, a specialist on Operation Condor, the French magistrate Louis Joinet, and personalities from the world of human rights.

Through the trial France did render to the victims’ families that justice which had not been rendered in Chile.

Hoping for justice, the wives, children and brothers and sisters of the four men who vanished between 1973 and 1975 attended the trial from its beginning on 8 December.  Thus, for instance, Erika and Natalia Chanfreau were there, and so were Roberto and Anne-Marie Pesle.

In an unusual move, the top State Prosecutor had intervened to tell the Court that the trial had been “indispensable and necessary” even though the accused were not present.  The trial, he said, is not meant to “move the cursor of history towards justice” but to judge men who “let their basest instincts guide them.” using torture for “power by fear.”

On 17 December 2010 the President of the Paris Cour d’ Assises announced a landmark decision on relation the ‘disappearance’ of Alfonso Chanfeau, Jean-Yves Claudet, Georges Klein and Étienne Pesle.

The Court sentenced to life in gaol Juan Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, who at the time headed Pinochet’s political police, and Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo, No. 2 in the political police unit. Three others, Hermán Julio Brady Roche, Marcelo Luís Moren Brito, Miguel Kraznoff Martchenko were given 30-year prison sentences. Six were sentenced to 25 years: Gerardo Godoy Ernesto García, Basclay Humberto Zapata Reyes, Enrique Lautaro Arranciaba Clavel, Raúl Iturriaga Neumann, Luís Joachim Ramírez Pineda, José Osvaldo Riveiro. One received a 20-year sentence: Rafael Francisco Ahumada Valderama, and one 15 years: Emilio Sandoval Poo. One defendant, 77-year-old Gen. José Octavio Zara Holger, was acquitted.

The Court’s decision went beyond the request of State Prosecutor who had sought 20-year prison terms for three of the defendants and 15 years for the remaining 11.

For the first time in the history of Chile, the legal system of another country would come to identify and punish acts committed by these perpetrators.

Families of the victims nevertheless took heart in the convictions more than 30 years after the four disappeared.

Applause broke out in the court room among families of the victims after the reading of the verdicts. “Five members of the military came to get my father. They were in air force uniform.” Roberto Pesle told France-Infos radio. “They took him in front of all of his work colleagues. That is how he disappeared.”  What happened next was speculation, Pesle said. “What they often did at that time was to get rid of the bodies by tossing them into a volcano or into the ocean.” His father’s body was never found.

Natalia Chanfreau, the daughter of one of the ‘disappeared’, said that the fact that the accused were unlikely to be arrested unless they tried to leave Chile did not detract from the trial’s significance. “What is important is the symbolic value of getting international condemnation of what happened.” she said. “It is important, too, that the guilty know that impunity is not eternal and it is not universal.  … I was one year old when my father disappeared. I am now 37, so it is an entire life without the right to justice.” said Natalia Chanfreau. …  “There are still many things to do. I would like to know where [my father] is, and of course I would also like [the guilty] to be in prison … but for the moment, I am really happy.”

William Bourdon, the lawyer representing the families of three of the victims, underlined the significance of the trial as the only major trial in contemporary times which gave an overall picture of the Pinochet regime and which was “marked by something Pinochet invented, which was to erase opponents by making them disappear.”  …  “The French judges understood very well that they were not only judges for the French victims but also judges for all of mankind.” he said. Noting the defendants’ absences, he said countries should be obliged to extradite even their own citizens when charged with international crimes.

“We hope this decision will lead the Chilean courts to act quickly, with total transparency and independence in relation to serious human rights violations committed during the dictatorship.” said Claude Katz, attorney for the F.I.D.H. and L.D.H.

On 23 December 2010, as the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances entered into force, the F.I.D.H. hailed it as a decisive step in the protection of the rights of victims of this atrocious crime. “The phenomenon of enforced disappearances is universal, affecting all continents. These horrific crimes not only target the ’disappeared’ persons themselves, but also their families and whole societies.” said Souhayr Belhassen, F.I.D.H. president.

More than 30 years after the adoption by the U.N. General Assembly of Resolution 33/173, December 1978, which for the first time referred to the issue of ‘Disappeared persons’, the International  Convention finally came to constitute a binding instrument containing important provisions for the protection of the rights of victims.

The legal significance of the Convention is remarkable, since it not only provides a legal definition of the crime of ‘enforced disappearance’, but also establishes a set of obligations of States to prevent and prosecute this crime through concrete measures at the national level. The Convention recognises in particular the right to information, the right to know the truth, the right to justice and the right to reparation.

“The right to know is a fundamental right, as the phenomenon of enforced disappearance breaks the daily life of families.” underlined the former U.N. Special Rapporteur, Louis Joinet, during his testimony at the Pinochet trial before the Paris Cour d’Assises.

As of December 2016, 96 states have signed the Convention and 54 have ratified it.

The Convention places an obligation on State parties to take measures to prosecute the perpetrators of this crime when they are present on their territories, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, irrespective of the nationality of the victims and the alleged perpetrators, as well the country where the crime was committed. Finally, the Convention sets up a Committee which will monitor implementation by State parties.

“We now urge states that have not yet ratified the Convention to do so and encourage those that are already party to the Convention to implement its provisions, including by incorporating the crime of enforced disappearance into their national legislation.” concluded Souhayr Belhassen.

On 11 September 2013, the 40th anniversary of the coup, the National Security Archive released thousands of documents which belong to the Chile Documentation Project directed by Peter Kornbluh, author of several books on the presence of the United States in Latin America.(P. Kornbluh, The Pinochet File: A declassified dossier on atrocity and accountability, The New Press, New York, N.Y. 1989, with updated edition, 11 September 2013).

At a special ‘Tribute to Justice’ on  9 September 2013, in New York, Kornbluh had received the Charles Horman Truth Foundation Award for the Archive’s work in obtaining the declassification of thousands of formerly secret documents on Chile after Pinochet’s arrest in London in October 1998. Other awardees included Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzón, who had Pinochet detained in London; and Chilean judge Juan Guzmán Tapia, who prosecuted him after he returned to Chile in 2000.

Ten of those documents were posted on the same day. (National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 437).

They unequivocally clarify Kissinger’s responsibility for the coup.

Here is Kissinger, urging Nixon to overthrow the democratically elected Allende government in Chile because his “ ‘model’ effect can be insidious.”  The posted records spotlight Kissinger’s role as the principal policy architect of the United States’ efforts to oust the Chilean leader, and assist in the consolidation of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

The documents include transcripts of Kissinger’s ‘telcons’ – telephone conversations  –   which were never shown to the special Senate Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in the mid 1970s which produced the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 1975. The new documents  provide key details about the arguments, decisions, and operations Kissinger made and supervised during his tenure as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State.

“These documents provide the verdict of history on Kissinger’s singular contribution to the denouement of democracy and rise of dictatorship in Chile.” said Peter Kornbluh at the launch of his book’s new edition. “They are the evidence of his accountability for the events of forty years ago.”

The posting included a Kissinger ‘telcon’ with Nixon which records their first conversation after the coup. During the conversation Kissinger tells Nixon that the U.S. had ‘helped’ the coup. He says: “[Word omitted] created the conditions as best as possible.” When Nixon complained about the “liberal crap” in the media about Allende’s overthrow, Kissinger advised him: “In the Eisenhower period, we would be heroes.”

That ‘telcon’ appeared for the first time in the newly revised edition of Kornbluh’s book. Several of the other documents posted on 11 September 2013 had  appeared for the first time in the original edition.

Among the key revelations in the documents:

On 12 September, eight days after Allende’s election, Kissinger initiated discussion on the telephone with C.I.A. director Richard Helm’s about a preemptive coup in Chile. “We will not let Chile go down the drain.” Kissinger declared. “I am with you.” Helms reassured him. Their conversation took place three days before President Nixon, in a 15-minute meeting which included Kissinger, ordered the C.I.A. to “make the economy scream” and named Kissinger as the supervisor of the covert efforts to keep Allende from being inaugurated. Since the Kissinger/Helms ‘telcon’ was not known to the Church Committee, the Senate report on American intervention in Chile and subsequent histories date the initiation of U.S. efforts to sponsor regime change in Chile to the 15 September meeting. (Document 1, Telcon, Helms – Kissinger, 12 September 1970, 12:00 noon).

Kissinger ignored a recommendation from his top deputy on the National Security Council, Viron Vaky, who strongly advised against covert action to undermine Allende. On 14 September Vaky wrote a memorandum to Kissinger arguing that coup plotting would lead to “widespread violence and even insurrection.” He also argued that such a policy was immoral: “What we propose is patently a violation of our own principles and policy tenets.  … If these principles have any meaning, we normally depart from them only to meet the gravest threat to us, e.g. to our survival. Is Allende a mortal threat to the U.S.? It is hard to argue this.” (Document 2: Viron Vaky to Kissinger, “Chile – 40 Committee Meeting, Monday – 14 September 1970)

After U.S. covert operations, which led to the assassination of Chilean Commander in Chief of the Armed forces General René Schneider, failed to stop Allende’s inauguration on  4 November 1970, Kissinger lobbied President Nixon to reject the State Department’s recommendation that the U.S. seek a modus vivendi with Allende. In an eight-page secret briefing paper which provided Kissinger’s clearest rationale for regime change in Chile, he emphasised to Nixon that “the election of Allende as president of Chile poses for us one of the most serious challenges ever faced in this hemisphere” and “your decision as to what to do about it may be the most historic and difficult foreign affairs decision you will make this year.” Not only were a billion dollars of U.S. investments at stake, Kissinger reported, but what he called “the insidious model effect” of his democratic election. There was no way for the United States to deny Allende’s legitimacy, Kissinger noted, and if he succeeded in peacefully reallocating resources in Chile in a socialist direction, other countries might follow suit. “The example of a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on – and even precedent value for – other parts of the world, especially in Italy; the imitative spread of similar phenomena elsewhere would in turn significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it.” (Document 5: Memorandum for the President, “Covert Action Program-Chile”, 25 November 1970).

The next day Nixon made it clear to the entire National Security Council that the policy would be to bring Allende down. “Our main concern,” he stated “is the prospect that he can consolidate himself and the picture projected to the world will be his success.”

In the days following the coup, Kissinger ignored the concerns of his top State Department aides about the massive repression by the new military regime. He sent secret instructions to his ambassador to convey to Pinochet “our strongest desires to cooperate closely and establish firm basis for cordial and most constructive relationship.” When his Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs asked him what to tell Congress about the reports of hundreds of people being killed in the days following the coup, he issued these instructions: “I think we should understand our policy – that however unpleasant they act, this government is better for us than Allende was.” The United States assisted the Pinochet regime in consolidating, through economic and military aide, diplomatic support and C.I.A. assistance in creating Chile’s infamous secret police agency, D.I.N.A.

At the height of Pinochet’s repression in 1975, Secretary Kissinger met with the Chilean foreign minister, Admiral Patricio Carvajal. Instead of taking the opportunity to press the Junta to improve its human rights record, Kissinger opened the meeting by disparaging his own staff for putting the issue of human rights on the agenda. “I read the briefing paper for this meeting and it was nothing but Human Rights.” he told Carvajal. “The State Department is made up of people who have a vocation for the ministry. Because there are not enough churches for them, they went into the Department of State.” [Emphasis added] (Document 9, Department of State, Memorandum of Conversation, “Secretary’s Meeting with Foreign Minister Carvajal, 29 September 1975).

As Secretary Kissinger prepared to meet General Augusto Pinochet in Santiago in June 1976, his top deputy for Latin America, William D. Rogers, advised him to make human rights central to American-Chilean relations and to press the dictator to “improve human rights practices.” Instead, a declassified transcript of their conversation reveals, Kissinger told Pinochet that his regime was a victim of leftist propaganda on human rights. “In the United States, as you know, we are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here.” Kissinger told Pinochet. “We want to help, not undermine you. You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende.”  [Emphasis added] (Document 10: Department of State, Memorandum of Conversation, “U.S.-Chilean Relations”, (Kissinger-Pinochet), 8 June 1976).

For the past two hundred years the United States has ‘maintained its presence’ in Chile and other parts of Latin America for the same ‘reasons’ as the Spanish, Portuguese, British, Dutch and French colonial ‘powers’ before them. The ‘reasons’ have remained unchanged: natural resources and cheap labour, compounded these days by neo-colonial extraction of forcibly contrived ‘debt’.

The modern methods of gaining and retaining that ‘presence’ are the myth of the free market, globalisation, privatisation, dismantling of domestic agricultural economies, and opening of markets imposed by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other ‘international’ institutions through local clients – essentially to favour transnational corporations.

Leaders of those corporations, their advisers, ‘captains’, banksters, compradores are forever busy telling ‘the natives’ what to do. But, for once, they should listen to the voice of peoples from Latin America, and that voice should, for once, come loud and clear to the people who live where those corporations reside – by and large in the United States. They could hear the voice of Latin America through the words of the French philosopher Simone Weil, who once wrote that people in Europe were shocked by the Nazis because the Nazis applied to Europe the same methods European powers practiced in their colonies.

Next installment Wednesday: Kissinger gave ‘green light’ for the invasion of East Timor.

Dr. Venturino Giorgio (George) Venturini, formerly an avvocato at the Court of Appeal of Bologna, devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reach at


Pinochet: the dictator of death

By Dr George Venturini

Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich – two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them.

In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as “a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming an international potentate. The signature qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked. Kissinger’s global career started as it meant to go on. It debauched the American republic and American democracy, and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.”

The story is all here: from the martyrdom of Indochina to becoming the real backchannel to Moscow on behalf of his new client: Donald Trump.

Editor’s note: This outstanding series by Dr Venturini is published bi-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays). Today we publish Part Nine. Here is the link to Part Eight; The Bank of Crooks.


A pioneer and advocate of universal jurisdiction, Judge Baltasar Garzón of the Audiencia Nacional would gain worldwide recognition by securing the arrest of Pinochet in London in 1998 for crimes committed in Chile in the 1970s. This ushered in the heyday of international justice.

The Pinochet case inspired victims of abuse throughout Latin America to challenge transitions from dictatorship which allowed the perpetrators of atrocities to go unpunished. These temporary accommodations with the anciens régimes did not extinguish the thirst of victims and relatives to find out the truth and to bring their tormentors to justice. International and national courts ruled that amnesties could not stand in the way of a state’s duty to investigate the worst international crimes.

On 10 October 1998 Judge Garzón issued an international arrest warrant when he learned that Pinochet was in London for a medical check-up. Pinochet was arrested on 16 October. At the heart of the indictment were the deaths and ‘disappearances’ of Argentines, Chileans, Spaniards and others during Pinochet’s dictatorship.

The charges included 94 counts of torture of Spanish citizens, the 1975 assassination of Spanish diplomat Carmelo Soria, and one count of conspiracy to commit torture – allegations of abuses had been made numerous times before Pinochet’s arrest, including since the beginning of his rule, but never acted upon. Still struggling with the conditions set by the difficult transition to democracy, the Chilean government of the Concertación – the Consultative Government, then headed by President Eduardo Frei, opposed his arrest, extradition to Spain, and trial.

Initially, Judge Garzón sought the indictments because of the murder of Spanish citizens, but later he broadened his jurisdiction on the basis of crimes against humanity regardless of the nationality of the victims. This was no rash decision; it was the logical result of at least two years of painstaking investigation in Spain into both the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships. Had he not investigated the crimes committed in Argentina, Judge Garzón – quite likely – might not have reached Pinochet. Another judge before him had been exposed and had yielded to pressure from political, military and business circles, and placed the case aside. The Chilean case fell on Judge Garzón’s lap because of that surrender of judicial independence.

Investigation of the Argentine case led Judge Garzón to Operation Condor. Since 1996 Judge Garzón had gathered mountains of incriminating evidence on Condor, including documents from the C.I.A., D.I.N.A. and the F.B.I. Based in Santiago, Operation Condor had worked closely with the D.I.N.A., and reported directly to Pinochet.

Judge Garzón’s original extradition warrant called for Pinochet to stand trial for genocide, terrorism and torture: Art. 23.4 of the 1985 Ley Orgánica del Poder Judicial – Organic Law of the Judicial Power, specifically confers on Spanish courts jurisdiction for these crimes. Garzón further charged Pinochet with ‘crimes against humanity,’ as defined by the 1946 Nuremberg Principles. These ‘universal crimes against basic humane standards’ – which include systematic torture, killings, ‘disappearance’, et cetera  – are not subject to the statute of limitations and can be tried at any time in any nation under the principle of universal jursdiction. Judge Garzón also cited the major international human-rights treaties and conventions to which Chile, Spain and the United Kingdom are signatories.

Judge Garzón was quite familiar with the work of The [Chilean] National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, the Rettig Commission and with the Retting Report, issued in February 1991. The Rettig Commission had strengthened the basis for the warrant, marking an unprecedented use of universal jurisdiction to attempt to try a former dictator for an international crime.

Pinochet would be held under house arrest for seventeen months in London, pending a decision on his extradition to Spain, until March 2000, when the Home Secretary of the Blair Government decided to release him on the ground that the dictator was deemed unfit to stand trial.

The British Establishment, still under the spell of Margaret Thatcher who had long been a visceral admirer of Pinochet’s ‘radical free market economic policies’ and who wrote immediately a letter to The Times demanding the release of her friend, found itself in a political storm at home and in a diplomatic difficulty with Chile.

For seventeen months a battle would be hard-fought through the English legal system. Immediately upon his arrest Pinochet protested that Chile’s sovereignty was being violated and claimed immunity from prosecution as a former head of state under the State Immunity Act 1978. On 28 October 1998 the Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division decided in his favour. Meanwhile the Chilean Government protested at the arrest.

On appeal, on 25 November 1998 the House of Lords reversed the lower court’s decision and held, by a three to two decision, that a former head of state is not entitled to immunity for such acts as illegal detention, torture and crimes against humanity committed while he was in his post.

On 10 December 1998 the Home Secretary issued an ‘Authority to proceed’ in order to allow the continuation of extradition proceedings. In so ordering he said to have had regard to such relevant considerations as the health of Pinochet, the passage of time since the commission of the acts and the political stability of Chile. While denying ‘Authority to proceed’ on the charge of genocide, the Home Secretary stated that all the other charges in the Spanish request of extradition amounted to extradition crimes and were not of a political character.

But things did no proceed that smoothly. There was a glitch. Lord Hoffman who had voted with the majority was known as a strong supporter of Amnesty International, and this was considered as a possible stain on the judgment.

Dramatically, on 17 December 1998 the Appeals Committee of the House of Lords reconsidered the decision and decided that, in the interest of transparency in justice, it was proper to set aside its prior judgment and to grant a re-hearing of the case. A new hearing before a panel of seven Law Lords was scheduled for 24 March 1999.

Immediately, the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme – International Federation for Human Rights, F.I.D.H., which gathers 164 human rights organisations throughout the world, expressed its disappointment about the 17 December 1998 decision by the Appeals Committee, which invalidated the previous decision taken by the members of the same Court on 25 November 1998, a decision which legitimately refused Pinochet the status of immunity. At the same time, however, the F.I.D.H. noted that the decision was exclusively motivated by a legal irregularity consisting in a suspicion of partiality weighing on Lord Hoffmann – which was a debatable point seeing that Amnesty International was not a litigant in the Pinochet case, but rather auditioned as a third party during the trial. The F.I.D.H. therefore called upon the judges of the House of Lords, who were to be asked to examine the substance of the case, to uphold the previous decision and thus to confirm that it was not possible to invoke immunity status for an ex-head of state suspected of massive human rights violations – that he had even attempted to justify – and which could not, in any case, be considered as part of his functions.

In F.I.D.H.’s view British justice should play its duty to join in the struggle against a finally unsteadied impunity, which had recently – with the adoption of the International Criminal Court and the Pinochet case – witnessed an exceptional international movement mobilised to enable the prosecution of those responsible for the worst human rights violations.

The F.I.D.H. finally recalled that legal procedures against Pinochet had not only been undertaken by Spain, but also by other European countries, which had consequently prepared formal extradition requests. Furthermore, certain complaints, including those lodged in France, did not even raise the issue of immunity of jurisdiction since they concerned facts which occurred either before Pinochet was proclaimed as head of state, or crimes of ‘forced disappearance’ which were to be regarded as crimes of a continuous nature.

In the meantime the Chilean Government requested the release of the former dictator on the basis of various legal arguments, and stated the wish to have him returned to Chile for trial before the Chilean courts following complaints lodged against him there.

The F.I.D.H., along with its affiliated organisation in Chile, the Corporación de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos del Pueblo – Commission for the Promotion of Peoples’ Rights, C.O.D.E.P.U. sent an International Mission of Enquiry to study the present state of complaints against Pinochet and against Chilean Army officers in general. This Mission worked in Santiago from 3 to 10 March 1999. It was composed of Messrs. Claude Katz, a barrister in Paris and Secretary General  of the F.I.D.H., Antonio Donate, a Spanish judge and member of the ‘Judges for Democracy Association’, and Juan Carlos, barrister in Buenos Aires and member of the ‘Legal Action Committee’. The Mission found various obstacles to bringing a legal case against Pinochet : 1) Decree Law of 19 April 1978 granting amnesty for acts occurring from 11 September 1973 to 10 March 1978, the period in which the most serious crimes were committed by the Chilean dictatorship, 2) a full interpretation of constitutional and legal texts giving jurisdiction to military courts over civil courts, 3) the immunity enjoyed by Pinochet as Senator for life, appointed under Art.45 of the 1980 Constitution.

There was no evidence which would allow the Mission to anticipate the removal of these obstacles to allow prosecution of Pinochet. More generally, the Mission noted that out of 3,197 cases brought before Truth and Reconciliation Commission only 19 had resulted in convictions since 1990, the year of Chile’s transition to democracy. These were mainly convictions of low-level officers.

Certainly these obstacles could be formally removed, but the Constitution then in force, drawn up in 1980 by Pinochet himself, conferred a primary role on the Senate, in view of its power to nominate Supreme Court judges and to lift the immunity of Pinochet. The Mission acknowledged the important investigations accomplished by Judge Juan  Guzmán Tapia, who would gain international recognition for being the first judge to prosecute Pinochet on human rights charges after Pinochet’s return to Chile from London. As at 16 March 1999 Judge Guzmán was in charge of 18 cases covering several thousand victims, following substantial evidence of crimes committed by Pinochet and other military officers. Judge Guzmán held that the crime of illegal detention followed by ‘disappearance’ is a crime not affected by any amnesty law.

On 24 March 1999 the House of Lords rendered its final decision on the case. By a vote of six to one it was held that Pinochet was not entitled to absolute immunity, but only as from 8 December 1988 and only with respect to some charge as brought by Spain. The judgment held that before that date Pinochet had immunity from legal proceedings in English courts. A narrow view of an international treaty signed and ratified by several countries, including Britain, Chile and Spain, was the ground for the decision. This invalidated most, but not all, of the charges against Pinochet; but the outcome was that extradition could proceed.

These judgments are historic and constituted a new step forward in the evolution of international criminal law and the exercise of universal jurisdiction.

The F.I.D.H. welcomed the new ruling by the House of Lords, partially confirming the preceding decision of the same jurisdiction, dated 25 November 1998, which had been invalidated the following 17 December.

The decision confirmed the advance of International Law in the fight against impunity and responded to the requirement of justice for victims.

Nevertheless, the F.I.D.H. had some reservations about  the ruling of the House of Lords in which it had restricted the extradition of Pinochet to Spain to the sole acts of torture that he committed after 1988. The F.I.D.H. considered that these acts of torture were part of a larger category of crimes against humanity, and could not be subject to any statute of limitations or amnesty. The F.I.D.H. recalled that, in any case, this restriction had no impact on the other grounds invoked by Judge Garzón, and employed to justify the extradition request with international warrants against Pinochet, in particular the crime of terrorism and the crime of ‘disappearance’, the latter being considered a continuous crime. The F.I.D.H. asked the British authorities to proceed rapidly in extraditing Pinochet to Spain, so that he could be judged following the complaints lodged against him.

The F.I.D.H. underlined, on the other hand, that several procedures had been started in other European countries in regard to Pinochet with extradition requests made, and reiterated its request to the British authorities to follow up on these demands.

In April 1999 former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former President George H. W. Bush called upon the British Government to release Pinochet. They urged that Pinochet be allowed to return to his homeland rather than be forced to go to Spain. On the other hand, United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, Mary Robinson, hailed the Lords’ ruling, declaring that it was a clear endorsement that torture is an international crime subject to universal jurisdiction. Furthermore, Amnesty International and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture demanded Pinochet extradition to Spain. Finally, in protest against Spain’s action, Chile withdrew for a time its ambassador from Madrid.

Strangely, the House of Lords’ reasoning had become quite different. Previously, they had argued that Pinochet did not have state immunity because crimes against humanity could not be regarded as the actions of a head of state; only actions of the state brought immunity with them. Since this was an argument based on the scope of immunity as such, this judgment said in effect that any former head of state lost their immunity once they engaged in crimes against humanity. Now, however, the restriction of immunity was argued for in a more clearly legally grounded way, by explicit reference to an international treaty signed, ratified and – in theory – made effective by, among others, Britain, Chile and Spain.

It followed that immunity was not recognised from crimes covered by the United Nations Convention Against Torture when the convention came into effect in Britain on 8 December 1988. Pinochet had immunity before that date but no immunity after. Therefore, most of the charges brought by Spain could not be of consequence in British courts for the extradition of Pinochet. Only two of the charges could be considered: one of torture and another of conspiracy to torture.

The case was returned to the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, so that he might reconsider his position vis-à-vis the ‘Authority to proceed’ to extradition. The ruling on the basis of which Straw had issued his first Authority had now been overruled, and therefore he would have to consider the case afresh.

Judge Garzón wasted no time in submitting further allegations to the Crown Prosecution Service which would meet the requirements laid down by the Law Lords. He proffered 43 additional charges of torture and conspiracy to torture which had taken place after 8 December 1988. He further argued that all cases of ‘disappearance’ should be considered under the 1992 United Nations Declaration on the Protection of Disappeared Persons as cases of torture.

Pinochet’s lawyers applied for a judicial review of the Home Secretary’ earlier ‘Authority to proceed’; and, further, they requested a writ of habeas corpus for the release of Pinochet from house arrest. The Law Lords adjourned the hearings to 15 April on both requests to give time to the Home Secretary to reconsider his position. On that date the Home Secretary anew issued an ‘Authority to proceed’, on the ground that what charges remained were sufficient for the extradition of Pinochet. There were no apparent reasons to stop extradition proceedings, either on humanitarian grounds of Pinochet alleged ill-health or on political grounds: consideration for a budding democracy in Chile and the pass-partout ‘national interest’. Pinochet’s lawyers application for a judicial review was turned down on 27 May 1999. They could have made another, similar application, but on 7 June the defence team decided against this. Extradition proceedings would finally commence.

On 8 October 1999 Ronald Bartle, Deputy Chief Metropolitan Magistrate ruled that under the 1989 Extradition Act it was clear that Pinochet could indeed be extradited to Spain, subject to the Home Secretary’s final decision. The Deputy Magistrate allowed the additional charges proffered by Judge Garzón and, importantly, decided that charges of conspiracy and of ‘disappearance’ before 8 December 1988 could be included, on the ground that conspiracy is a continuous offence and “the effect on the families of those who disappeared can amount to mental torture.”

It was clear that Pinochet’s legal defences were quickly running out. So his lawyers, citing frail and deteriorating health, asked that Pinochet be released. As evidence, they provided a report from a medical examination – done without the presence of physicians called by the prosecution and without the appropriate neurological, gerontological, and psychiatric specialists.

On 5 November 1999 the Home Secretary requested that Pinochet submit himself to independent medical tests to ascertain whether in fact he was as ill as he claimed to be. No specific details had been provided at this point, nor was the prosecution provided with a copy of any report.

After some medical tests, the Home Secretary ruled in January 2000 that Pinochet should not be extradited. This triggered protests from human rights non-government organisations, and led the Belgian Government, along with six human rights groups – including Amnesty International – immediately to file a complaint against Straw’s decision before the International Court of Justice. Belgium, as well as France and Switzerland, had filed extradition requests in the wake of Spain’s request. For the first time several European judges had applied the principle of universal jurisdiction, declaring themselves competent to judge crimes committed by former heads of state, despite local amnesty laws.

On 12 January 2000 the F.I.D.H. sent an open letter to the Home Secretary. In it, it indicated that it was “extremely preoccupied by your latest decision to free the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, for ‘medical reasons’. The F.I.D.H. finds this decision shocking as it supposes that Pinochet’s failing health condition would absolve him of any responsibility with regards to crimes committed during his dictatorship.” Furthermore, although this decision is said to be based on medical expert reports which conclude that “Pinochet would be unfit to stand trial, and that no change to that position can be expected,” the F.I.D.H. was concerned by the fact that the medical reports had been evaluated in secret by the Home Secretary, rather than by a court, and without any possibility for the prosecution to challenge the medical examinations.

“Your office – wrote the F.I.D.H. –  has repeatedly maintained that the Pinochet case was a judicial matter for the courts, yet, it appears that the medical examinations and reports relating to Augusto Pinochet’s health have not been subject to judicial supervision. The F.I.D.H. thus requests that a counter medical examination be undertaken and that the prosecution be entitled to see and challenge the medical reports. Furthermore, it should be up to the courts and not a political official to decide whether Augusto Pinochet is fit to undergo trial on torture and crimes against humanity.”

Despite all that, the Home Secretary decided to release Pinochet on the ground that, according to the examination, the defendant had suffered two small strokes and would be unable adequately to manage his defence. The prosecution made a predictably vigorous appeal, asking that it also be allowed to examine the defendant. In an extraordinary action, the president of the Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association also lodged a protest, arguing that ‘medical confidentiality’ was being mis-used. As a defendant, Pinochet’s medical condition was of ‘forensic importance,’ with the public issues far outweighing concerns for personal privacy. Adding to the controversy was public disagreement among the examining physicians as to Pinochet’s condition and prognosis.

The secrecy surrounding the examination itself, and the ambiguity of the findings, tainted the proceedings, which appeared simply to collapse under political pressure.

On 3 March 2000 Pinochet flew back to Chile. While in London, he was always photographed sitting weakly in his wheelchair; on the tarmac in Santiago, he spontaneously rose to his feet, and walked to his supporters, without even using his cane. He was first greeted by his successor as head of the Chilean Armed Forces, General Ricardo Izurieta!

That very month the Chilean Congress approved a constitutional amendment introducing the status of ‘ex-president,’ which granted Pinochet immunity from prosecution and guaranteed him a financial allowance. In exchange, it required him to resign from his seat of senator-for-life. Of the legislators, 111 voted for, and 29 – mostly, if not all, from the Left – against.

On 7 August 2000 the Chilean Supreme Court lifted Pinochet’s parliamentary immunity with regards to the events of the Caravana de la muerte – the Caravan of death case. The Caravan of death was a Chilean Army death squad which, following the coup, flew by helicopter from south to north of Chile between 30 September and 22 October 1973.

On l December 2000 Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia’s was able to charge Pinochet for the kidnapping of 75 opponents in the Caravan of death case. Judge Guzmán advanced the charge of kidnapping as the 75 were officially ‘disappeared’: even though they were all most likely dead, the absence of their corpses made any charge of homicide quite difficult. But ten days later the procedure was suspended by the Court of Appeal of Santiago for medical reasons. Beside the Caravan of death, 177 other complaints had been filed against Pinochet.

In January 2001 court-appointed examining physicians stated that Pinochet was suffering from a ‘light dementia’, which did not impede him from facing Chilean justice. Therefore, on 29 January 2001 Judge Guzmán indicted Pinochet for his responsibility as indirect perpetrator of crimes of kidnapping and murdering of 57 people and as a direct perpetrator of 18 more murders, and ordered his arrest. However, the judicial procedure was again suspended on 9 July 2001 because of alleged ill-health reasons.

In July 2002 the Supreme Court dismissed Pinochet’s indictment in the various human rights abuse cases, on the ground that he suffered with ‘vascular dementia’. The debate on Pinochet’s mental faculties continued, his legal team claiming that he was senile and could not remember, while others specialists claimed that he was only physically affected but retained all control of his faculties.

Pinochet would spend the last four years of his life in the indignity of pleading, maybe simulating, dementia and the sadness of suffering from it.

Shrewdly, he resigned from his senatorial seat shortly after the Supreme Court’s July 2002 ruling, thus benefiting from the 2000 constitutional amendment granting him some immunity from prosecution. Thereafter, he tried to live quietly – or so he hoped, rarely made public appearances and was notably absent from the events marking the 30th commemorations of the coup on 11 September 2003. But on 28 May 2004 the Court of Appeals overturned its precedent decision, and ruled that he was capable of standing trial. In arguing their case, the prosecution submitted a recent televised interview that Pinochet had given for a Miami-based television network, which raised doubts about his alleged mental incapacity. The judges agreed and, on 27 August 2004 – in a 9 to 8 vote, the Supreme Court confirmed the decision that Pinochet should lose his senatorial immunity from prosecution, this time with regards to the forced disappearances during the  Operación Cóndor.

Pinochet was charged with several crimes on 2 December of that year – including the 1974 assassination of General Prats, and the Operation Colombo case which cost 119 lives – and was again placed under house arrest. Questioned by his judges in order to know if, as President, he was the direct head of D.I.N.A., he answered: “I do not remember, but it is not true. And if it were true, I do not remember.”

On 13 December 2004 Judge Guzmán indicted Pinochet over the ‘disappearance’ of nine opposition activists and the killing of one of them during the regime. In January 2005 the Chilean Army accepted institutional responsibility for past human rights abuses. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals ruling in the Prats case on 24 March 2005, and thereby affirmed Pinochet’s immunity.

In the Operation Colombo case, involving the killing of 119 dissidents, the Supreme Court decided on 14 September 2005 to strip Pinochet of his immunity. The following day he was acquitted of the human rights case due to his ill-health. Late in November he was again deemed fit to stand trial by the Supreme Court and was indicted on human rights offences, for the ‘disappearance’ of six dissidents arrested by Chile’s security services in late 1974, and again placed under house arrest, on the eve of his 90th birthday.

On 9 September 2006 Pinochet was stripped of his immunity by the Supreme Court and indicted by Judge Alejandro Madrid – Judge Guzmán’s successor in the case – for kidnappings and torture at the ‘Villa Grimaldi’ detention centre  and on other grounds.

On 26 September 2006 the Inter-American Court, in the case of Almonacid Arellano confirmed the incompatibility between the amnesty decree and the American Convention of Human Rights and therefore decided that the amnesty had no legal effect.

On 18 October 2006 Judge Alejandro Solis interrogated Pinochet, who was then under house arrest for his role in the torture of 23 survivors and the ‘disappearance’ of 36 others in the ‘Villa Grimaldi’ torture centre. Furthermore, Pinochet was indicted in October 2006 for the assassination of D.I.N.A. biochemist Eugenio Berrios in 1995. On 30 October Pinochet was charged with 36 counts of kidnapping, 23 counts of torture, and one of murder for the torture and ‘disappearance’ of opponents of his regime at ‘Villa Grimaldi’.

On 27 November 2006 Pinochet was again ordered to house arrest for the kidnapping and murder of two bodyguards of Salvador Allende who were arrested on 9/11 and executed by a firing squad of the Caravan of death. The day after  Judge Víctor Montiglio charged Pinochet in the Caravan of death case, and ordered him to house arrest.

Still charged of a number of crimes, Pinochet died on 10 December 2006 – ironically on Human Rights Declaration Day, possibly demented, possibly unable to distinguish the time when he was pray of dementia from that when he found it convenient to simulate it, possibly unconscious, hence un-haunted by his crimes, and anyway without having been convicted in any case, at least in life.

At the end of 2010 Pinochet was tried in absentia with 14 other Chilean officers before a French court.

Next installment Saturday: Henry Kissinger – the man behind the rise of a dictatorship.

Dr. Venturino Giorgio (George) Venturini, formerly an avvocato at the Court of Appeal of Bologna, devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reach at


Memories of Futility: The Passchendaele Method of War

“So fruitless in its results, so depressing in its direction was the 1917 offensive, that ‘Passchendaele’ has come to be synonym for military failure, a name black-bordered in the records of the British Army” (Basil Liddell Hart, 1934).

Rarely does one word trap an image with such nerve tingling fright and awe. But as an image of slaughter, of men needlessly butchered, lives surrendered over absentee stone hearted generals with an understanding of war lost in the amnesia of small arms fire, spears and straw dress, one suffices. Passchendaele became the code for blood needlessly spilt; for decisions that should have, in any other context, demanded the trial and execution of its initiators.

A century ago, wave upon wave of men were shredded, pulverised and drowned according to misplaced notions, killed by obsolete ideas in what was the Third Battle of Ypres. The Americans had yet to arrive to make a difference in the conflict, while a bleeding Russia had been vanquished, facing revolution. The French, preoccupied with mutinies, needed a fortifying distraction.

Britain and its imperial forces were intent on providing one, with Sir Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig convinced that the German line would collapse with one last, but all-comprehensive strategic thrust.

The battle had been preceded by what came to be considered the largest man-made explosion in pre-atomic times, featuring 19 tunnelled mines beneath German lines on Messines Ridge. E.S. Turner goes so far as to claim that British prime minister Lloyd George, it had been rumoured, wanted to be woken up at 3 in the morning that June night.

The initial enthusiasm, as with so much in the Great War (1914-1918), was misplaced. “I died in hell,” recalled war poet Siegfried Sassoon. “They call it Passchendaele.” As the blood drained in conditions so swampy as to render the trenches almost aquatic (many soldiers drowned in shell holes); as the ammunition and shells were expended, humanity’s great skill of killing for reasons of futility became apparent.

It was a futility that kept the awards machine busy. Lasting three months and a gain for the Allies of a mere five miles, the Victoria Cross, deemed the highest of Commonwealth military honours, was awarded 61 times. Haig had lost a sixth of the British army. As historians Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson note in Passchendaele: The Untold Story (1996) a psychological breakdown also took place during the battle, marked by desertion and drunkenness.

The accounts have been saturating the commemorations across several countries whose soldiers perished in the muddied industrial abattoir. In Christchurch, New Zealand, an opening exhibition titled “The Belgians have not forgotten” shined a grim light upon a conflict which cost the combating sides over half-a-million casualties. For this sliver of a country, some 2800 troops were killed wounded, or went missing within a matter of two hours.

New Zealand’s fraternal neighbour, Australia, also busy on the commemoration circuit. It had committed its fair, grotesque bounty of blood to the battle. By the time the battle ended on November 10, Australia’s five committed divisions had suffered 38,000 casualties, including 12,000 killed.

In London’s Trafalgar Square before the National Gallery, a mud soldier, the creation of Dutch artist Damian Van Der Velden, was erected, to be left in gradual dissolution before rain. The statue itself was compacted from the historically churned Passchendaele mud.

These exhibitions and ceremonial points all serve a similar purpose. For Dave Adamson of the Waimakariri Passchendaele Trust, it was the promotion of “peace and understanding”. But the peace and understanding such efforts have are less to the members of the public than those who would bag and hoodwink it. For them, war remains a good, even necessary thing.

Harry Patch, the supercentearian “last Tommy” who died at venerable age of 111 in 2009, put the case flawlessly: “I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle the differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalized mass murder.”

The end point of such futility is that humankind hugs the death god with all too much enthusiasm. Gone are the trench filled nightmares of industrial slaughter. Now, conflicts are undeclared, open-ended, described as forensic horrors marked by surgical strikes.

To live life, to be loved, and then, to be surrendered to an insidious Thanatic drive all too often willed on by others. “We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,” goes John McCrae’s haunting words, “Loved and were loved and now we lie/in Flanders fields.”

Even more important are the words that follow: that the dead shall be, as it were, trapped in an interminable state of restless, mournful sleeplessness, a nocturnal nightmare should faith be broken with the sacrifice of the fallen: “We shall not sleep, though poppies grow/In Flanders field.” If faith is there to be broken, is it not in the ties between humankind so much as its sanguinary leaders who keep insisting that slaughter and an inventory of dead are necessary for matters of state.

Dr Binoy Kampmark is a senior lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. He is a contributing editor to CounterPunch and can be followed on Twitter at @bkampmark.


The Bank of Crooks

By Dr George Venturini

Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich – two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them.

In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as “a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming an international potentate. The signature qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked. Kissinger’s global career started as it meant to go on. It debauched the American republic and American democracy, and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.”

The story is all here: from the martyrdom of Indochina to becoming the real backchannel to Moscow on behalf of his new client: Donald Trump.

Editor’s note: This outstanding series by Dr Venturini is published bi-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays). Today we publish Part Eight. Here is the link to Part Seven; Operation Condor.


Three years after destroying democracy by instigating the military coup against Allende in Chile in 1973, Kissinger was in Santiago for a meeting of the Organisation of American States. There he met the Argentine Junta’s foreign minister. Kissinger’s main concern, as reported by the U.S. Ambassador in Buenos Aires, was “how long it would take … to clean up the [terrorist] problem.” Kissinger wanted Argentina to finish its terrorist plan before year end. He gave the Argentines the ‘green light’.

The largest cache of information on Operation Condor thus far was found, as already noted, by sheer accident on 22 December 1992 in Paraguay: the ‘terror archives’.

Material declassified in 2004 showed that Secretary Kissinger was briefed on Condor and its ‘murder operations’ on 5 August 1976, in a 14-page report from Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Harry Shlaudeman. “Internationally, the Latin generals look like our guys.” Shlaudeman noted. And he warned: “We are especially identified with Chile. It cannot do us any good.” The connection was clear, and one of Shlaudeman’s deputy later acknowledged that the State Department was ‘remiss’ in its handling of the case. “We knew fairly early on that the governments of the Southern Cone countries were planning, or at least talking about, some assassinations abroad in the summer of 1976. … Whether if we had gone in, we might have prevented this, I do not know.” he stated in reference to the Letelier/Moffitt bombing. “But we did not.”

A C.I.A. document called Condor “a counter-terrorism organization”, and noted that the Condor countries had a specialised telecommunications system named ‘CondorTel.’ A 1978 cable from the U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, Robert White, to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, was published on 6 March 2001 by The New York Times. Ambassador White feared that the U.S. connection to Condor might be publicly revealed at a time when the assassination in the U.S.A. of Chilean former minister Orlando Letelier and his American assistant Ronni Moffitt was being investigated. White cabled that “it would seem advisable to review this arrangement to insure that its continuation is in US interest.”

Some of the exchange of information included up-date on torture techniques – waterboarding, for example, which was to be made infamous by the Bush Junior Administration, and playing recordings of victims who were being tortured to their families. The existence of such an exchange is another element of evidence suggesting that U.S. military and ‘intelligence’ officials supported and collaborated with Condor as a secret partner or sponsor.

The document which had so much worried Ambassador White was found among 16,000 on the Pinochet regime and its collaboration with the American Administration released on 13 November 2000 by the White House, the Department of State, the C.I.A., the Defense and Justice Departments. The release, which remained selective and still incomplete, was the fourth and final ‘tranche’ of records released under the Clinton Administration’s special Chile Declassification Project.

An article in the Washington Post of 23 March 2000, titled ‘U.S. probe of Pinochet reopened’, returned to the matter of the Letelier assassination.

In May of 1978 the C.I.A.’s National Foreign Assessment Center had issued what purported to be a comprehensive analysis of the Pinochet regime’s responses to being identified as responsible for the most significant act of international terrorism ever committed in the United States – the 21 September 1976 car-bomb assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington D.C. This eight-page assessment, classified secret/sensitive, addressed the impact inside the regime if “proof of Pinochet’s complicity in the Letelier slaying” came to light. At the time, the F.B.I. had identified Pinochet’s secret police, D.I.N.A, as responsible for the crime.

The C.I.A. assessment noted that Pinochet would have a difficult time disassociating himself from D.I.N.A., and its chieftain, Colonel Manuel Contreras. “The former secret police chief is known to have reported directly to the President [Pinochet], who had exclusive responsibility for the organization’s activities.” The report stated that Contreras’ guilt “would be almost certain to implicate Pinochet. … None of the government’s critics and few of its supporters would be willing to swallow claims that Contreras acted without presidential concurrence.”

Under United States pressure, in 1995 Contreras was tried and convicted in Chile. In an affidavit sent to the Chilean Supreme Court in December 1997, he stated that no major D.I.N.A. missions were undertaken without Pinochet’s authorisation.

On 1 February 1999 President Clinton ordered the United States national security agencies to “retrieve and review for declassification documents that shed light on human rights abuses, terrorism, and other acts of political violence in Chile” from 1968-1990. Until then, some 7,500 documents, mostly from the State Department, had been released as part of the Administration’s special ‘Chile Declassification Project.’

In June 1999 the U.S. State Department released thousands of declassified documents showing for the first time that the C.I.A. and the State and Defense Departments were intimately aware of Condor. One Defence Department ‘intelligence’ report, dated 1 October 1976, noted that Latin American military officers boasted about it to their U.S. counterparts. The same report approvingly described Condor’s “joint counterinsurgency operations” which aimed “to eliminate Marxist terrorist activities.”

On 30 June 1999 the National Security Archive, the Center for National Security Studies and Human Rights Watch hailed the release of more than 20,000 pages of U.S. documents on Chile. The records, estimated to total more than 5,300 in number, were declassified pursuant to the 1 February 1999 White House directive.

The Administration’s decision to undertake such a declassification review came in the aftermath of Pinochet’s arrest on 16 October 1998 in London and was prompted by international pressure, requests from Congress, and calls by the families of some of Pinochet’s most famous victims – including those of Charles Horman, Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt.

The 30 June’s release of documents was the first ‘tranche’ covering 1973 through 1978, the Pinochet regime’s bloodiest years of repression. Thousands of other records were expected to be released before the end of 1999.

Representatives of the ‘Center’ and of the ‘Watch’, however, expressed serious concern that the C.I.A. had declassified only a fraction of its secret holdings on operations in Chile. The C.I.A., of course, had the most to offer but also the most to hide, commented the director of the Archive. He pointed to the dearth of documentation on the C.I.A.’s known ‘intelligence’ support for  D.I.N.A. and on Operation Condor.

On 8 October 1999 the U.S. Government released additional 1,100 documents on Chile.  Among them was a declassified State Department report on the case of Charles Horman, the American citizen who was killed by the Chilean military in the days following the coup.  This document was released once before in 1980, pursuant to a lawsuit filed by the Horman family.  At that time, significant portions were blacked-out. The version released on that day revealed what was censored: the State Department’s conclusions that the C.I.A. may have had “an unfortunate part” in Horman’s death.

On 30 June 2000 the U.S. Government released hundreds of formerly secret C.I.A., Defense, State, and Justice Departments, and National Security Council records relating to the deaths of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. The murders of Horman and Teruggi were later dramatised in the 1982 Costa-Gravas film Missing. Documents on another American, Boris Weisfiler, who disappeared in Chile in 1985, were also released.

The United States provided material support to the military regime after the coup, although criticising it in public. A document released by the C.I.A. on 19 September 2000, titled ‘CIA activities in Chile’, revealed that the C.I.A. actively supported the military Junta after the overthrow of Allende and that it made many of Pinochet’s officers into paid contacts of the C.I.A. or U.S. military, even though some were known to be involved in human rights abuses. D.I.N.A. Chief Manuel Contreras was a paid asset from 1975 to 1977. The C.I.A.’s official documents state that, at one time, some members of the ‘intelligence’ community recommended making Contreras into a paid contact because of his closeness to Pinochet; the plan was rejected on Contreras’ poor human rights record, but the single payment was made due to ‘miscommunication’. C.I.A. contacts continued with him long after he dispatched his agents to Washington D.C. to assassinate former Letelier and his 25-year old American assistant, Ronni Moffitt.

The National Security Archive called on the U.S. ‘intelligence’ organisations – National Security Agency, C.I.A., Defense Intelligence Agency and other Defense Department bureaux at the U.S. Southern Command – to divulge in full  their files on communications assistance to the military regimes in the Southern Cone. The Archive is still waiting, but C.I.A. censors continue to dictate what Chileans and Americans alike should know about this shameful history.

Kissinger remains a very much sought after person: as will be seen further on, French Judge Roger Le Loire attempted to question him in May 2001 as a witness for alleged U.S. involvement in Operation Condor and for possible U.S. knowledge in connection to the ‘disappearance’ of five French citizens in Chile during the Pinochet regime. In July 2001 Chilean Judge Juan Guzmán obtained the right to question him in connection with the assassination of American journalist Charles Horman. The judge’s questions were relayed to Kissinger through diplomatic routes but were not answered. The request prompted a heated reaction from the Bush Junior’s Administration. An official condemned the Chilean Supreme Court decision to send questions to Kissinger, saying the move increased unease about the then proposed International Criminal Court in The Hague. The Administration source said: “It is unjust and ridiculous that a distinguished servant of this country should be harassed by foreign courts in this way. The danger of the ICC is that, one day, US citizens might face arrest abroad and prosecution as a result of such politically motivated antics.” In August 2001 Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba sent a rogatory letter to the U.S. State Department, requesting a deposition by Kissinger to aid the judge’s investigation of Operation Condor; in September 2001 the family of murdered General Schneider filed a civil suit in Washington, D.C. On 11 September 2001, on the anniversary of the Pinochet coup Chilean human rights filed a criminal case against Kissinger, Pinochet, the Argentine dictator Videla and the former Paraguayan dictator Stroessner; late in 2001 the Brazilian Government cancelled an invitation for Kissinger to speak in São Paulo because it could not guarantee his immunity from judicial action. In 2002 Judge Baltasar Garzón of the Spanish Audiencia Nacional sought to interview Kissinger over what the United States Government knew about Operation Condor. In February 2007 a request for the extradition of Kissinger was filed in the Supreme Court of Uruguay on behalf of Bernardo Arnone, a political activist who was kidnapped, tortured and ‘disappeared’ by the dictatorship as supported by Condor and Kissinger.

Hardly any request has been successful because of the protection afforded by all United States presidents and their administrations to Kissinger.

In addition to the work with his consulting firm, Kissinger Associates Inc., Kissinger acts as some kind of ‘private National Security Adviser and Secretary of State’ to some thirty transnational corporations around the world, such as American Express, ASEA Brown Boveri, Atlantic Richfield, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro – the Rome bank which made illegal loans to Saddam Hussein through the now defunct Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

The ‘Bank of Crooks and Criminals International’ – as it was nicknamed – because it was not squeamish in dealing with disreputable clients and funding to criminals and dictators, frequently handled money for U.S.-supported dictators such as Manuel Noriega and Samuel Doe. Other account holders included the Medellin drug Cartel and Abu Nidal. If ‘legal’ funds were hard to come by, the fraudulent B.C.C.I. was ready; illegal sources served, including so-called ‘Arab’ money siphoned through the courtesy of links between Bush Senior, the Saudi royal family and the Bin Laden family.

The C.I.A. held numerous accounts at B.C.C.I. These bank accounts were used for a variety of illegal covert operations, including transfers of money and weapons related to the Iran Contra scandal. During the Reagan Administration the C.I.A. also worked with B.C.C.I. in arming and financing the Afghan mujahideen for the Afghan war against the Soviet Union in the days when Osama Bin Laden was a U.S. hero, using B.C.C.I. to launder proceeds from trafficking heroin grown in the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands, boosting the flow of narcotics to European and U.S. markets. At least two former C.I.A. directors, Richard Helms and William Casey were involved in B.C.C.I. before it folded following revelations that it laundered money for the Medellin drugs Cartel.

For the past thirty years other private benefactors of Kissinger have been Chase Manhattan Bank, Coca-Cola, Fiat, Fluor, Freeport-McMoRan Minerals, Heinz, Hunt Oil, Merck & Co., Shearson Lehman Hutton, Union Carbide, Volvo and Warburg.

In a 1 February 2011 interview Henry Kissinger Nobel Peace Prize 1973 was anxious to praise 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Barack Obama for his foreign policy. He had already said, long before the inauguration of President Obama in January 2009, that Obama’s coming into office could give new impetus to United States foreign policy, partly because “the reception of him is so extraordinary around the world.” Kissinger spoke like an oracle when he said that “[President Obama’s] task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period when really a New World Order can be created. It’s a great opportunity … ” and  “[the President]  can help usher in the New World Order.”   But what kind of New World Order ? Friendly Fascism ? Or of the kind which organised Operation Menu – a Nixon-Kissinger innocuous name for the ‘secret’ bombing of Cambodia in early 1970, and the ‘not so secret’ invasion of Laos in 1969-1973?

Among the thousands upon thousands who fell victims of Condor and of the Pinochet regime were not only Chileans – prominent among them Victor Olea Alegria, a Socialist ‘disappeared’ by Manuel Contreras; William Beausire, a Chilean/British businessman abducted at the Buenos Aires Airport and brought to ‘Villa Grimaldi’ a notorious torture centre in Santiago and then ‘disappeared’; the already mentioned Orlando Letelier murdered in Washington with his assistant Ronnie Moffitt; and General Carlos Prats – but also citizens of other South American countries.

Martín Almadá, a Paraguayan educator, was imprisoned in 1974, nearly tortured to death, and kept in prison for about three and a half years. His wife was killed; Sheila Cassidy a British born but Australian educated physician was tortured but survived to tell the story: Sheila Cassidy, Audacity to believe (Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd, London 2011); two Cuban diplomats in Argentina, Crecencio Galañega Hernández and Jesús Cejas Arias transited through ‘Orletti’ detention and torture centre in Buenos Aires, were questioned by D.I.N.A. and S.I.D.E., with the knowledge of the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. and subsequently ‘disappeared’; Zelmar Michelini and Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz, former Uruguayan deputies, were assassinated in Buenos Aires; Juan José Torres, former Bolivian president was assassinated in Buenos Aires; Jorge Zaffaroni and Maria Emilia Islas de Zaffaroni ‘disappeared’ in Buenos Aires.

Attempts were made on the life of Andrés Pascal Allende, nephew of Salvador Allende, in Costa Rica; of Carlos Altamirano a Chilean Socialist leader, and of Volodia Teitelboim, a Chilean Communist, in Mexico; and on the life of Emilio Aragonés, the Cuban Ambassador in Buenos Aires.

Former U.S. Congressman Edward Koch became aware in 2001 of relations between 1970s threats on his life and Operation Condor. Christian-Democrat and former President of Chile from 1964 to 1970 Eduardo Frei might have been poisoned in the early 1980s.

Ingrid Dagmar Hagelin, an Argentine/Swedish, was only 17 when she was abducted by a military command former naval officer and then ‘disappeared’. The event generated international outrage which almost led to the breaking of diplomatic relations between Sweden and Argentina.

Four French citizens fell victim of Pinochet. They were:

–  Alfonso Chanfreau, a member of the Movimiento Izquierda Revolucionaria – Revolutionary Left-wing Movement, M.I.R. On 30 July 1974 he was arrested by the D.I.N.A. His wife Erika was also arrested the next morning “so that her husband would talk.” Imprisoned for 15 days at a torture centre in the middle of Santiago, the couple were brutally tortured. Erika was transferred to other detention centres and then expelled to France with their daughter Natalia. Alfonso Chanfreau was transferred on 13 August 1974 to the ‘Villa Grimaldi’ where his legs were crushed with a vehicle, before being taken back to the previous torture centre. He ‘disappeared’ afterwards.

–  Jean-Yves Claudet was a member of M.I.R. in charge of international relations.  Arrested on two occasions in 1973, he remained in detention for one year. On his release he was taken to the French Embassy and put on a flight to France. From France, Claudet helped to set up a M.I.R. cell in Argentina. He went to Buenos Aires on 30 October 1975. He was arrested on 1 November 1975 by agents of the Argentine secret police S.I.D.E., in the framework of Operation Condor. A D.I.N.A. representative in Buenos Aires, in a memorandum addressed to his superiors, subsequently informed them that Jean-Yves Claudet “Ya no existe” – no longer exists.

–  George Klein was an advisor to President Allende. He was by the side of Allende when La Moneda was bombed. On 13 September he was taken away with twenty other persons in a dumper lorry and ‘disappeared’. Evidence collected during the investigation of the case relates that he might have been taken to the Peldehue grounds, where he was killed by machine gun fire.

–  Étienne Pesle was in charge of land reform at the Institute for the Development of Agriculture and Fishing in Temuco. He was arrested there on 12 September, released and rearrested on 19 September 1973. He ‘disappeared’ from that day; it was reported that he had been killed and then dumped into the sea.

Argentine poet Juan Gelman was tortured but his son and daughter were ‘disappeared’. Gelman survived to seek redress from Spanish justice.

Bernardo Leighton, a Chilean Christian Democrat was targeted by Operation Condor. According to C.I.A. documents released by the National Security Archive, in 1975 in Madrid, Italian terrorist connected with ‘Gladio’ Stefano Delle Chiaie met with D.I.N.A. agent Michael Townley and Cuban Virgilio Paz Romero to prepare, with the help of  Franco’s secret police, the murder of Leighton. He and his wife were later severely injured by gunshots while in exile in Rome.

Carmelo Soria, a Spanish born Chilean diplomat and a member of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1970s, was assassinated by D.I.N.A. agents as a part of Operation Condor. Pinochet will be personally indicted in this case.

The international prosecutions of human rights crimes of the military governments of the Southern Cone began in 1976, with cases brought in Spain, Argentina, Italy, and Chile against the leaders of Operation Condor. The foremost example is the Spanish case against Pinochet starting in 1996. Spain charged that the leaders of Chile and Argentina had committed human rights crimes as part of a criminal syndicate which financed their terrorist activities with the national budget, and whose victims included many Spaniards and also tens of thousands of citizens of other countries, who were kidnapped, detained, assassinated or ‘disappeared’ in actions committed in many states of America and Europe. In Argentina the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, formed in 1983, began investigating Condor-related human rights abuses.

Next installment Wednesday: Pinochet: the dictator of death.

Dr. Venturino Giorgio (George) Venturini, formerly an avvocato at the Court of Appeal of Bologna, devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reach at


Like it was built by Gods

To stand up-road a tad from the Pantheon and look at the building, is to see a dun-coloured brutal, beast of a thing; squat and huge, like a monster about to spring!

But when you enter through those massive bronze doors, you enter into air, air and light so vast and ethereal that it can seem like it has its own atmosphere.

The spherical dimensions of the interior are a marvel and a testament to the genius of innovation of an age so long ago as to be almost unimaginable. I went with another person there and as we passed through those wondrous bronze doors, she gasped at the sight in front of us and involuntarily whispered, “It’s like it was built by Gods …”.

But it wasn’t. It was built by skilled workmen under the orders of (if you look under the pediment up front) “Marcus Agrippa, 3 times consul built this” and put there by the Emperor Hadrian after he rebuilt it.

[“M.AGRIPPA.L.F.COS.TERTIUM.FECIT” means: “Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius consul for the 3rd time built this”]

THAT was in the days when we, as humanity, built magnificent things.

THAT was in the days when we, as humanity took pride in civic obligations.

THAT was in the days when those in governance took seriously their civic duty.

It was pure selfish greed and masculine vanity that dragged that world down into the dust, and with it so much ingenuity and capacity – a lesson in how NOT to run a society; truly a slow-motion destruction.

But where, one could ask are the spectacular buildings of antiquity built by women? Oh they are there and have been for many centuries, just not brought into the limelight. I had to look them up … from ancient Egypt:

In order to understand their relatively enlightened attitudes toward sexual equality, it is important to realise that the Egyptians viewed their universe as a complete duality of male and female. Giving balance and order to all things was the female deity Maat, symbol of cosmic harmony by whose rules the pharaoh must govern.

The Egyptians recognised female violence in all its forms, their queens even portrayed crushing their enemies, executing prisoners or firing arrows at male opponents as well as the non-royal women who stab and overpower invading soldiers. Although such scenes are often disregarded as illustrating ‘fictional’ or ritual events, the literary and archaeological evidence is less easy to dismiss. Royal women undertake military campaigns whilst others are decorated for their active role in conflict. Women were regarded as sufficiently threatening to be listed as ‘enemies of the state’, and female graves containing weapons are found throughout the three millennia of Egyptian history. (From Warrior Women to Female Pharaohs: Careers for Women in Ancient Egypt,

Of the many examples in antiquity of temples or palaces designed and built by women, one sees a subtle difference in the “sensitivity“ of design of some of those structures, where the masculine warrior/ruler has a built-in command of sometimes brutal, solid power expressed in the very masonry, a temperament of “holding away”. I can detect a more “inviting” atmosphere in the buildings of women designers, but that may just be a personal prejudice.

By the second century AD, however, women had come into prominence, with the result that by the Antonine period we find public statues, building-inscriptions, and architectural designs all featuring the names and images of women in the towns of Italy and the western provinces. From the mid-second century AD., some women were so integrated into civic life as to be co-opted as patrons of towns and of collegia, or to be named ‘City Mother’, although the holding of municipal magistracies remained barred to them. (Women and the Roman City in the Latin West,

Interestingly, the statement above of the Egyptians seeing their universe as a duality of Male/Female, for THAT would have to be accepted as the natural balance. This is before a patriarchal masculine warrior class took command and dictated the corrupted idea of gender superiority.

The masculine idea of power and control was brought into Roman architecture most visibly in their copying of the Greek temples, almost identical in every way right down to the supporting columns surrounding the walls. However, the difference was in the entrance. Where the Greek temples allowed entry from all four sides via three steps, the Roman temples had a front entrance only and that via a flight of stairs up to a legionnaire on either side at the top. One was forced by this method to ascend toward the base of power, in a metaphorical act of submission … a contradiction to the “democratic” every person entrance to the Greek temples.

All these bits and pieces of loose ancient recorded history paints a vague picture of gender politics in those ancient times. BUT if we were to “step back” a pace or two and take in the whole panorama of the time-span, we can see that in the era of “Paganism” (a borrowed word from the Latin; “country/rustic” person), there is solid evidence of gender equality in many areas of living/conflict … and the picture changes radically once we enter the “civilised society” stage of masculine legal and religious orders; particularly religion.

It stands to reason that any tribal hunter/gatherer situation would demand gender equality to survive. It also stands to reason that with the commencement of sedentary societies, there came the establishment of councils and authorities which would, with the power that comes with such, mean the likely creation of cabals of confederacy and conspiracy and particularly within masculine groups in the tribe, leading to the gradual oppression of those most vulnerable in the tribe, eg women via children and the aged.

Maria Mies, in her book, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale, has collected much information from women-centred research in anthropology on this question. This evidence leads her to put forward the thesis that it was men’s role as hunter which led to his expertise in simple weapons of aggression and capture. In addition, within nomadic pastoral tribes, men’s work involved breeding the animals with a lessening role of gatherer for women and an increasing pressure on women to breed and be controlled along with the animals by men. Man the hunter was then able to hunt and capture women and young men, both of other agricultural tribes and nomads, when they came into his territory. He was thus able to take the first steps in accumulation of property, surplus and power.

Maria Mies stresses that evidence suggests that it was women who were the early agriculturists, not only making vessels for gathering surplus food but also cultivating crops by means of early tools, such as digging sticks and hoes. At this stage, hunting for meat was a peripheral activity, which only men could afford to experiment in, women being involved in the day-to-day feeding of herself, her milk- producing capacities and her young children. But, of course, societies developed differently in different parts of the globe, depending on vegetation, climate, and animal species. Grasslands were more suited to nomadic life, fertile plains and river valleys to settled agriculture.

The accumulation of surplus and private property, by pillage and force, not only made one section richer and more powerful than another, but was notable in that this powerful section was almost entirely men. (Basis of Women’s Oppression,

Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale. Here is a short review of her book … very interesting.

It just goes to show how long some accepted “orders of social correctness” have been in place, so the problem of changing them to a more reasonable and natural balance may be a long process … unless there is a more revolutionary act.

Operation Condor

By Dr George Venturini

Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich – two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them.

In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as “a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming an international potentate. The signature qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked. Kissinger’s global career started as it meant to go on. It debauched the American republic and American democracy, and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.”

The story is all here: from the martyrdom of Indochina to becoming the real backchannel to Moscow on behalf of his new client: Donald Trump.

Editor’s note: This outstanding series by Dr Venturini is published bi-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays). Today we publish Part Seven. Here is the link to Part Six; War criminal?

During the 1950s and 1960s, the United States put forward a variety of programmes and strategies ranging from funding political campaigns to funding propaganda aimed at laying down the necessary conditions to prevent Allende’s accession to the presidency. Throughout this time the United States successfully impeded the Left-wing parties from gaining power. In 1958 Jorge Alessandri, a nominally independent with support from the Rightist Liberal and Conservative Parties, defeated Allende by nearly 33,500 votes to claim the presidency. His laissez-faire policies, highly endorsed by the United States, were regarded as the solution to the country’s inflation problems. Under recommendations from the United States, Alessandri steadily reduced tariffs from 1959, a policy which caused the Chilean market to be overwhelmed by American products. The government’s policies angered the working class who asked for higher wages, and the repercussions of this massive discontent were felt in the 1961 congressional elections. President Alessandri suffered terrible blows which sent the message that laissez-faire policies were not the desired way. As the grand total of US$ 130 million from the U.S. banking industry, the U.S. Treasury Department, the International Monetary Fund and other international organisations accepted by Alessandri illustrates, laissez-faire policies only made Chile more dependent on the United States.

When Allende appeared as a top contender in the 1964 election, the C.I.A. spent three million dollars campaigning against him, in an effort to influence the outcome of the election, mostly through radio and print advertising. The American Administration viewed electing the contender, Eduardo Frei, as a must since they feared that because of Alessandri’s failures the electorate would turn to Allende as the solution. Allende had long been feared by the American Administration because of his warm relation with Cuba and his open criticism of the invasion of the Bay of Pigs. Furthermore, more clandestine aid to Frei was put forward through President Kennedy’s ‘Alliance for Progress’ programme which promised “20 billion in public and private assistance in the country for the next decade.” In direct terms the United States contributed to the campaign with 20 million dollars but they also sent in about 100 people with assigned tasks to prevent Allende’s victory. In order to influence public opinion the C.I.A. also made use of massive propaganda in the radio, television, posters, wall paintings, pamphlets with the goal of connecting ‘Communist atrocities’ with Allende. In the end the mobilisation of the American business sector in Chile, the aid of the C.I.A. and that of the American Government helped Frei’s campaign win with a clear majority over Allende.

Condor was one of the fruits of this continuing effort. The targets were officially armed groups – such as the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria – Revolutionary Left Movement, M.I.R. a Chilean political party and former Left-wing guerrilla organisation founded on 12 October 1965, the Movimiento Peronista Montonero – Montoneros, an Argentine Peronist urban guerrilla group, active during the 1960s and 1970s, the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo – People’s Revolutionary Army, E.R.P. which operated across the borders in several of South American states, the Movimiento de Liberación Nacional – National Liberation Movement, also known as the Tupamaros, an urban guerrilla organisation in Uruguay in the 1960s and 1970s – but in fact included all kinds of political opponents, their families and others. The Argentine ‘dirty war’, for example, which resulted in approximately 30,000 victims according to most estimates, targeted many trade-unionists, relatives of activists, and others.

Within the Operation Condor the Chilean-destabilisation strategy, presided over in detail by Kissinger, developed into a series of programmes called ‘Track 1’ and ‘Track 2’. They represented two approaches of the U.S. Administration to fighting Allende. ‘Track 1’ was a State Department initiative designed to thwart Allende by subverting Chilean elected officials within the bounds of the Chilean Constitution and excluded the C.I.A. ‘Track 1’ expanded to encompass a number of policies, the ultimate goal of which was to create the conditions which would encourage a coup. ‘Track 2’ was the C.I.A. operation overseen by Kissinger and C.I.A.’s Deputy Director of Plans, Thomas Karamessines. ‘Track 2’ excluded the State Department and Department of Defence. The goal of ‘Track 2’ was to find and support Chilean military officers who would support a coup.

Along the lines of ‘Track 2’, Kissinger prepared ‘Memorandum 93’, dated 9 November 1970, which summarises the presidential decisions regarding changes in U.S. policy towards Chile following Allende’s election. Kissinger sent it to the Secretaries of State and Defense, and to the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Director of Central Intelligence. The memorandum directs U.S. agencies to adopt a “cool” posture towards Allende’s government, in order to prevent his consolidation of power and “limit [his] ability to implement policies contrary to U.S. and hemisphere interests.” The memorandum states that existing U.S. assistance and investments in Chile should be reduced, and no new commitments undertaken. Furthermore – according to Kissinger’s memorandum – “close relations” should be established and maintained with military leaders throughout Latin America to facilitate coordination of pressure and other opposition efforts.

By 18 November 1970 the C.I.A. was able to present a summary of its efforts between 15 September and 3 November 1970 to prevent Allende’s ratification as president and to foment a coup in Chile – according to both ‘Track 1’ and ‘Track 2’. The summary details the composition of the Task Force, headed by David Atlee Phillips, the team of covert operatives “inserted individually into Chile,” and their contacts with Colonel Paul Winert, the U.S. Army Attaché detailed to the C.I.A. for the operation. It reviews the propaganda operations designed to press President Frei to support “a military coup which would prevent Allende from taking office on 3 November.”

After all manoeuvres failed, and Allende was confirmed, as a declassified memorandum dated 4 December 1970 revealed, in response to a 27 November directive from Kissinger, an inter-agency Ad Hoc Working Group on Chile prepared a set of strategy papers covering a range of possible sanctions and pressures against the new Allende Government. These included a possible diplomatic effort to force Chile to withdraw – and if necessary to be expelled – from the Organisation of American States as well as consultations with other Latin American countries “to promote their sharing of our concern over Chile.” The documents show that the Nixon Administration did engage in an invisible economic blockade against Allende, intervening at the World Bank, at the Inter-American Development Bank, and at the Export-Import Bank to curtail or terminate credits and loans to Chile before Allende had been in office for a month.

The evidence of such ‘policy’ and much criminal activity only came to light with the work and subsequent publication in 1975-1976 of the many-volume Report of the The Church Committee – the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, presided by Senator Frank Church. According to the Report, covert United States involvement in Chile in the decade between 1963 and 1973 was extensive and continuous. The C.I.A. spent eight million dollars in the three years between 1970 and the military coup in September 1973, with over three million in 1972 alone. Covert C.I.A.’s activity was present in almost every major election in Chile in the decade between 1963 and 1973, but its actual effect on electoral outcomes is not altogether clear. Chile, more than any of its South American neighbours, had an extensive democratic tradition dating back to the early 1930s, and even before. Because of this, it is difficult to gauge how successful C.I.A. tactics were in swaying voters.

Through Freedom of Information Act requests, and other avenues of declassification, the National Security Archive has been able to compile a collection of declassified records which shed light on events in Chile between 1970 and 1976. These documents include:

1) Cables written by U.S. Ambassador Korry after Allende’s election, detailing conversations with President Frei on how to block the president-elect from being inaugurated. The cables contain detailed descriptions and opinions on the various political forces in Chile, including the Chilean military, the Christian Democrat Party, and the U.S. business community.

2) C.I.A. memoranda and reports on ‘Project Fubelt’ – the codename for covert operations to promote a military coup and undermine Allende’s Government. The documents, including minutes of meetings between Kissinger and C.I.A. officials, C.I.A. cables to its Santiago station, and summaries of covert action in 1970, provide a clear paper trail to the decisions and operations against Allende’s Government.

3) National Security Council strategy papers which record efforts ‘to destabilise’ Chile economically, and isolate Allende’s Government diplomatically, between 1970 and 1973.

4) State Department and N.S.C. memoranda and cables after the coup, providing evidence of human rights atrocities under the military regime led by General Pinochet.

5) F.B.I. documents on Operation Condor – the state-sponsored terrorism of the Chilean secret police, D.I.N.A. The documents, including summaries of prison letters written by D.I.N.A. agent Michael Townley, provide evidence on the car-bombing assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington D.C., and on the murder of Chilean General Carlos Prats and his wife in Buenos Aires, amongst other operations.

These documents, and many thousands of other C.I.A., National Security Council and Defense Department records which are still classified secret, remain relevant to ongoing human rights investigations in Chile, Spain and other countries, and unresolved acts of international terrorism conducted by the Chilean secret police. Eventually, international pressure, and concerted use of the U.S. laws on declassification may force more of the still-buried record into the public domain – providing evidence for future judicial, and historical accountability.

All the documents are, expectedly, heavily redacted, including one which was prepared in August-September 1973 by the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency with biographical data on Pinochet. The heavy deletions are likely to conceal Chilean sources providing information on Pinochet, his own contacts with U.S. officials, and commentary on his character, reputation, political orientation and actions during his career.

Within nine months of his confirmation Allende nationalised the copper industry, the banks and other large industries, at the same time beginning land distribution. ‘Social spending’ – for health, education, housing and family assistance – almost doubled immediately. The Allende Government introduced ‘administrative prices’ and increased industrial wages. External boycotts and other adverse measures brought an increase in trade deficit. Exports fell and import grew to almost double. Wage increase and increased spending brought about a serious inflation, and called for protests of the usual malcontent among the people.

Against an attempt to set up a national transportation industry, a group of truckers went on strike, and this in itself caused other strikes. The year after his election Allende was battling a large inflation and a growing black market. By this time the Nixon ‘policy’ was beginning to work. Soon, small-scale businessmen, some professional unions, and student groups joined the strike. Then strikes started to spread. Industrialists sabotaged production. No one could explain how Chilean credit was suddenly cut off in international markets. Loans were suspended. The C.I.A. financed strategic strikes – doctors, bank clerks, a very long truck drivers’ strike. Conservative newspapers conducted a non-stop vicious disinformation campaign.

To appease the rich and the powerful, behind whom the C.I.A. was continuously working, Allende called into the cabinet a Right-wing military: General Carlos Prats, who had succeeded Schneider. Prats was a Right-winger but refused to join a military conspiracy against the President.

At the March 1973 parliamentary elections, Allende’s Popular Unity coalition increased its vote to 43.2 per cent, but by then the informal alliance with the Christian Democrats – the centrists – had ended, and they joined the opposition with the Right-wing National Party. Parliamentary conflict between the legislative and the executive branches paralysed the functions of  government. At this point the C.I.A. intervened more determinately with large financial support for the opposition parties, thus succeeding in generating pressures, exploiting weaknesses, and magnifying obstacles. There were coup rehearsals. A coup failed at the end of June 1973, and was followed by a general strike in July and an even more ominous one at the copper mines.

Much more seriously, on 26 May 1973 the Supreme Court had unanimously denounced the Allende Government disruption of the legality of the nation in its failure to uphold judicial decisions, and in August 1973 the Court publicly complained that the Government was unable to enforce the law of the land, and on 22 August the opposition in the Chamber of Deputies accused the Government of unconstitutional acts and called upon the military to enforce constitutional order.

On 24 August 1973 General Prats was involved in a puny but public incident whereupon he felt it necessary to hand in his resignation. Allende at first refused to accept it. Prats was forced by huge adverse publicity to insist, and Allende to accept. His resignation as Army Commander-in-Chief removed the last obstacle for the Chilean coup of 1973. General Augusto Pinochet replaced him as Army Commander-in-Chief the same day. In late August 1973, 100,000 Chilean women congregated at Plaza de la Constitución to vent their rage against the rising cost and increasing shortages of food, but they were dispersed with tear gas.

Early in the morning of 11 September 1973 the Chilean Navy occupied Valparaiso, seized the port and closed down the radio and television stations. The President went immediately to La Moneda, the presidential palace, but by 8.00 a.m. the Army had revolted and closed most radio and television stations in Santiago. The Air Force bombed the other stations.

The President had received incomplete information, and was convinced that only a sector of the Navy conspired against him and his government. President Allende and Defence Minister Orlando Letelier became unable to communicate with military leaders. The heads of the three Forces refused to return the calls from the President. When Letelier arrived at the Ministry of Defence he was arrested – the first prisoner of the coup d’état.

Despite evidence that all branches of the Chilean Armed Forces were involved in the coup, President Allende was so convinced of General Pinochet’s loyalty that, only at 8:30 a.m., when the Armed Forces proclaimed their control of Chile, and that President Allende was deposed, did he appreciate the extent of the coup. Allende refused to resign. He also refused to surrender, even under the threat by the military that they would bomb La Moneda if he resisted.

By 9.00 a.m. the Armed Forces controlled Chile, except for the centre of the capital, Santiago. Colleagues in the Socialist Party offered to Allende refuge in the San Joaquín industrial zone in southern Santiago, from which he could have led a counter-coup. But Allende refused. He refused to entertain advances from some of the military, and in one last potent farewell speech from a remaining free station explained to the nation why he would not resign but keep his oath of loyalty to the Constitution and Chile.

Pinochet ordered an assault on La Moneda, and the Air Force Commander called in a strike by planes. The President’s personal guard met the assault with armed resistance, and four aircraft bombed La Moneda all but destroying it. Resistance lasted until mid-afternoon and Allende suicided. Incidentally, at exactly the same time Kissinger was going through his own Senate confirmation process as Secretary of State. He falsely assured the Foreign Relations Committee that the United States government had played no part in the coup.

About sixty persons lost their life in the initial battle. Thousands would die during the seventeen years of the Pinochet regime.

The worst of the military’s violent purging from society of thousands of Chilean Leftists, both real and suspected – by killing or forced ‘disappearance’ – occurred in the first months after the coup. The military imprisoned 40,000 of their political enemies in the National Stadium of Chile; among the tortured and killed ‘desaparecidos’ were two U.S. citizens: Charles Horman, and Frank Teruggi.

Some 130,000 people were arrested in a three-year period; the dead and ‘disappeared’ numbered thousands in the first months of the military Junta. They included persons from several countries – and many from Spain. Political prisoners were held in stadiums, navy ships, military bases, police stations and remote buildings. They all served as detention and many as torture centres – altogether more than 1,130. Now, some of these former secret detention and torture centres are being transformed into memorials and museums, so Chileans can remember the horrors of military dictatorship – of Nixon, and Kissinger, from 11 September 1973 to 11 March 1990. In that time up to 2,700 persons were ‘disappeared’.

After Pinochet lost the ‘election’ in the 1988 plebiscite, the Rettig Commission – officially ‘The National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation’, named after a former Ambassador of President Allende – in February 1991 submitted its Report on human rights abuses. The Report ascertained that 2,279 persons were killed for political reasons. In 641 cases the Commission could not conclusively determine that the person was killed for political reasons. It found that 508 cases were beyond its mandate, and that in 449 cases no information beyond the name of a ‘disappeared’ person could be determined.

Later the Valech Commission – officially ‘The National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture Commission’ – submitted two Reports: one in November 2004 and another in June 2005. They confirmed the number as less than 3,000 killed and reduced the number of cases of forced disappearance; some 28,000 people were arrested, imprisoned, and tortured. Testimony gathered by the Commission from almost 36,000 people – some 27,000 relied upon – were to be kept secret for the next fifty years. Therefore, it cannot be used in trials concerning human rights violations, in contrast to the ‘Archives of terror’ found in Paraguay and those concerning Operation Condor.

A document written on 1 October 1973, shortly after the coup, by the U.S. Naval Attaché based in Valparaiso reports positively on events in Chile during the coup. He characterises “September 11” as “our D-Day” and states that “Chile’s coup de etat [sic] was close to perfect.” The report provides details on Chilean military operations during and after the coup, as well as glowing commentary on the character of the new regime.

U.S. Ambassador Davidow was a political adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Chile from 1971 to 1974. In Santiago he was an Embassy insider when the C.I.A. and the D.I.N.A. were organising the assassination gang which later murdered leading Chilean opposition figures, Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires and Orlando Letelier in Washington.

A memorandum dated 16 November 1973, sent by the Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican Affairs to Secretary of State Kissinger, reports that summary executions in the nineteen days following the coup totalled 320 – more than three times the publicly acknowledged figure. The report also contained information on new economic assistance just authorised by the Nixon Administration. The memorandum also provided a ‘fact sheet on human rights in Chile’, with extensive details on the number of persons arrested between 11.09.1973 and 15.11.1973: 13,500, with the breakdown of persons originally arrested, detained in the National Stadium in Santiago, released, detained, killed while attempting to escape, provided with safe-conducts, departed from Chile and dead.

Two American citizens had been listed as “dead since the coup” by the previous report. They were Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, and they had been executed by the military after the coup. The murders were the subject matter of a telegramme 11 February 1974, written by Ambassador to Chile David Popper in Santiago and directed to Secretary of State Kissinger. The telegramme reported on a meeting between the Assistant Secretary and the Junta Foreign Minister, General Huerta. The Assistant Secretary had raised the matter “in the context of the need to be careful to keep relatively small issues in our relationship from making our cooperation more difficult.”

A heavily excised 15 April 1975 Intelligence Report from the Defense Attaché in Santiago describes the growth of D.I.N.A., “the sole responsible agency for internal subversive matters.” It is possible to surmise that many of the excised portions provide details about the strained relations between D.I.N.A. and the Chilean Armed Forces because of D.I.N.A.’s exclusive power. The report states that the head of D.I.N.A., Colonel Manuel Contreras, “has reported exclusively to, and received orders only from, President Pinochet.”

The U.S. Government sponsored and collaborated with D.I.N.A. and with the other ‘intelligence’ organisations forming the nucleus of Condor, despite the fact that the military dictatorships were killing and torturing tens of thousands of people. C.I.A. documents show that the C.I.A. had close contact with members of D.I.N.A., and its chief Manuel Contreras. Contreras was retained as a paid C.I.A. contact until 1977, even as his involvement in the Letelier-Moffit assassination was being revealed.

A declassified letter dated 6 June 1975, over the signature of the Legal Affairs Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, and directed to General Baeza, Director General of Investigations in Santiago provides intelligence obtained through the interrogation of a captured Chilean leftist, Jorge Isaac Fuentes. The document records U.S. collaboration with Chile’s security forces, including the promise of surveillance of subjects inside the United States. Fuentes was detained through Operation Condor. It has been established that the F.B.I. aided Pinochet in capturing Fuentes, who was detained and tortured in Paraguay, then turned over to the Chilean secret police and ‘disappeared.’ Astonishingly, the surveillance of Latin American dissident refugees in the United States was promised to Condor figures by American ‘intelligence’.

A 1 July 1975 memorandum is among the declassified documents. It was written by a senior member of the National Security Council to President Ford’s National Security Advisor, General Brent Scowcroft, and conveys concern about wavering U.S. policy towards Chile in light of reports of human rights violations. The memorandum reveals a division within the U.S. Embassy over dealing with Chile, with a number of officials believing that all U.S. military and economic assistance should be terminated until the regime’s human rights record improved. According to the sender, by reducing aid and sending “mixed signals” to the Chileans, the United States could risk precipitating a crisis situation in Chile. The sender concludes his memorandum by recommending that Scowcroft schedule a special meeting in which U.S. agencies can “clarify guidelines for future policy.”

A subsequent memorandum 8 August 1975, by the same senior officer of the National Security Council, calls Scowcroft’s attention to Pinochet’s plans to visit the United States, and his requested meeting with President Ford. The memorandum states that the N.S.C. asked the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, David Popper, to discourage the meeting by telling the Chileans that President Ford’s schedule is full. Fearing that such a visit would “stimulate criticism” and foster embarrassment, the writer suggests an “informal talk” with Chile’s Ambassador Trucco.

Operation Condor was at its peak in 1976. Chilean exiles in Argentina were threatened again, and again had to go underground or into exile. Chilean General Carlos Prats had already been assassinated by the Chilean D.I.N.A. in Buenos Aires in 1974, with the help of former C.I.A. agent Michael Townley. President Gerald Ford publicly admitted in 1974 that the C.I.A. had covertly operated in Chile.

A declassified cable, dated 28 September 1976, and originating from the Legal Affairs Attaché in Buenos Aires, summarises intelligence information provided by a “confidential source abroad” about Operation Condor. The cable reports that Chile is the centre of Operation Condor, and provides information about “special teams” which travel “anywhere in the world … to carry out sanctions up to assassination against terrorists or supporters of terrorist organizations.” Several sections relating to these special teams have been excised. The cable suggests that the assassination of the Chilean Ambassador to the United States, Orlando Letelier, may have been carried out as an action of Operation Condor.

A long document dated 21 January 1982 provides a summary of information concerning D.I.N.A., which in late 1977 had been renamed Centro Nacional de Informaciones – National Information Centre, C.N.I. This report includes information not directly provided to the F.B.I. by Michael Townley, the D.I.N.A. agent responsible for the assassination of Letelier, but drawn from analysis of his correspondence with his D.I.N.A. ‘handler’; details about meetings between Pinochet and neo-Fascist Italian terrorists and spies, codenames and activities of D.I.N.A. personnel, collaboration between D.I.N.A. and anti-Castro Cubans; the creation of a fake terrorist organisation to take the blame for a D.I.N.A. kidnapping in Argentina; D.I.N.A. involvement in relations between Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and Townley’s fear that information about kidnappings and assassinations of prominent critics of Pinochet would somehow be traced back to him.

From 1976 onwards, D.I.N.A. and its Argentine counterpart, Secretaría de Inteligencia de Estado (S.I.D.E.), were Condor’s frontline troops. The infamous ‘death flights’, theorised in Argentina by Luis María Mendía – which had already been used during the Algerian war of 1954–1962 by French forces – were widely employed, in order to make the corpses, and therefore evidence, disappear.

Next installment Saturday: The Bank of Crooks.

Dr. Venturino Giorgio (George) Venturini, formerly an avvocato at the Court of Appeal of Bologna, devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reach at


Reviving the Cult of Princess Diana

There is no rational explanation for this, even after searching for the coded meanings culture throws up. A not very bright, propelled on a wave of the pre-Kardashian phenomenon of celebrity for its own meaning; a youthful flower, gathered by the Grim Reaper while speeding off with her lover in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. That was the fate of the Princess of Wales.

As Christopher Hitchens was to observe, the orgy of sentimentality and reaction to the death of Princess Diana in 1997 was excruciating, dangerous, and debilitating. It silenced dissent about the late princess, reconstituting Britain, however briefly, as a “one-party state” replete with emotive ridden foot soldiers.

It also supplied the new Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the material of naked publicity, a moment to peak ever higher in the opinion polls by feeding the Cult of Diana. New Labour, New Britain, New Sentiment.

Jonathan Freedland confessed on cringing in the aftermath of the princess’s death. “It is our collective moment of madness, a week when somehow we lost our grip.” Outside Buckingham Palace were hundreds of thousands of cellophane protected bouquets, a sort of “floral fascism” made leaf and stem.

The celebrity as pox syndrome persists in the context of the anniversary of Diana’s death, which has been spiced by the debate on whether Channel 4 should release video tape interviews drawn from encounters between the princess and her speech coach and actor Peter Settelen. (Settelen had been retained by Diana between 1992 and 1993). These form the subject of yet another yawn inducing product of the Princess Industry, a documentary titled Diana: In Her Own Words set to be released on the twentieth anniversary of her death.

The Spencer family, led by Earl Spencer, was determined to assert control over the tapes and foil the use of the private conversations. They had initially found their way into the possession of Scotland Yard in 2001 after a raid on the home of former royal butler, Paul Burrell.

The American broadcaster NBC broadcasted teasing excerpts in 2004, but the BBC, which was considering a commemoration documentary ten years after the event, abandoned the project. Channel 4’s management felt otherwise, wanting to make some mileage on the insipid nature of the whole matter. The unconvincing view, nothing more of a sales pitch, was that the tapes “provide a unique insight”.

Aggressive pots have been calling similarly aggressive kettles black. The original sinner, Burrell, felt that the channel’s decision to broadcast the tapes was a “seedy” gesture akin to “raiding her diary”.

The seediness of his own less than noble history was lost on Burrell, who milked the cash cow of experience after Diana’s death much to the consternation of Princes Harry and William. A Royal Duty (2003) went into the personal drawers and the details with relish.  Burrell, in the true bravado of one who betrays, labelled his own effort a “tribute to their mother”.

Rosa Monckton, another touted friend of the princess, tweeted that, “Friend of Diana urges Channel 4 to scrap ‘intrusive’ documentary. If you agree with me, please write to Channel 4.” To The Guardian, Monckton explained that the tapes did not belong to the public domain, featuring those silly confidences that Diana should never have parted with. “It is a betrayal of her privacy and of the family’s privacy.”

The material is hardly incendiary, but accords with the worst tendencies of the pop-fluff market of reality television. (Diana, indeed, would have been a suitable pioneer in the cannibalising disgrace of a Big Brother Household). “He chatted me up – like a bad rash,” notes Diana in describing her soon to be husband, Prince Charles – “he was all over me.”

Charles had just lost his great uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, a high calibre casualty of the IRA. The prince needed companionship, comforting. The emotional raw spot drew sympathy from the Diana, but she had played a false stroke. Charles, sensing a chance “leapt upon me and started kissing me and everything”. How delightful.

The romps and travails of the House of Windsor have become the tabloid link via the people and the monarchy, a trashy reminder that flawed relationships transcend the straightjacket (apt, that) of class. This is vulgarity in its true meaning: the common, the vernacular, the dirt earthy. We can call be dysfunctional together.

For a country like Australia, whose head of state remains the Queen, interest piqued by such revelations remains. Anniversary issues are being released for readers of The Herald and The Courier Mail, if they indeed deserve the name, as issues to keep. Get your copy now! Expect, however, little by way of substance, critique or self-awareness.

The Cult of Diana may have been subjected to a more trenchant analysis in recent years, leaving aside the conspiracy pedlars at The Express who have blamed everybody from the French to aliens for her demise. But in an age of Trump, a revival is being prodded and fanned. As former royal spokesman Dickie Arbiter explained to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire, Channel 4 was “laughing all the way to the bank.”

Dr Binoy Kampmark is a senior lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. He is a contributing editor to CounterPunch and can be followed on Twitter at @bkampmark.


The Secret

Ladies …

I know a little secret,
I’ll not share with other men.
It’s deep, it’s dark, its truth is stark,
Its come down millennium.

It’s so complex that a genius,
Would have to give it a rest,
Yet, so disarmingly simple.
A child could tell it best.

I first heard its whisper in the wild oats,
Whose husks had shed their seed.
The breezes hustled the golden sheaths,
Where small lizards scurried beneath.

It was told me in the cries of birds,
The scratching bark of the mallee tree.
It was told me in my lover’s embrace,
When we kissed our anniversary.

The secret came from the other side,
Of the wide, vast universe.
But it really started right here and now,
In the confines of this Earth.

It is nothing strange or unusual,
But it can never be told.
It is as young as a first desire,
As a drama about to unfold,

And …

As needed and as fought for,
As the last breath of the old.
The secret was known to those,
That first built ancient Athens town,
That sculptured the mighty Empire of Rome.
And then in anger tore both down.
It was known to Cleopatra,
When as concubine she went to Caesar
But then did, in the time of anarchy,
Present as Queen to Marc Antony.
It was sought by Van Gogh’s sad postman,
His crows in a wheaten field,
It was held in the breast of Manet’s
Absinthe Drinker’s desolate gaze.
It is a hunger never satiated,
A thirst never quenched.
A vein to mine as rich as Croesus,
Yet a pauper would hold more wealth.

But …

It is denied to the cruel and greedy,
Those seekers of mammon and of wealth.
For it can be seen in their gold and silver,
Their envy and their pelf.
That there, at the base of their every building,
Be it of of marble or Platinum.
Lay the broken, twisted bodies,
Of abandoned, homeless humans.
So they will never be rewarded,
With it’s velvet glove of desire,
Their hands too full already,
Their eyes too blind to inquire.

So, Ladies …

There is this little secret that,
I’ll not share with other men.
It’s deep, it’s dark, its truth rather stark.
Though the wording mostly unseen.
You may know it or at least sense it,
For it was whispered you at birth.
You wear it as a heritage,
You shed it at your death.
Though you may not explain it fully,
There are times, I think you know …
When the call of men and children,
Must need your attention most of all.
I promise I will never reveal it,
Because that secret is held you see …
In a knowing look, a furtive wink,
Exchanged in passing,
Just between you and me.

War criminal?

By Dr George Venturini

Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich – two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them.

In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as “a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming an international potentate. The signature qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked. Kissinger’s global career started as it meant to go on. It debauched the American republic and American democracy, and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.”

The story is all here: from the martyrdom of Indochina to becoming the real backchannel to Moscow on behalf of his new client: Donald Trump.

Editor’s note: This outstanding series by Dr Venturini is published bi-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays). Today we publish Part Six. Here is the link to Part Five; Madman Diplomacy.

War criminal?

Henry Kissinger, adviser to the Rockefellers since 1954, supporter of Democrat candidate Hubert H. Humphrey early in 1968, promptly switched to Republican candidate Richard Milhous Nixon, whose  National Security Advisor he became on 20 January 1969, remaining in that position – after Nixon’s resignation – to President Ford until 3 November 1975. Kissinger was Secretary of State between 22 September 1973 and 20 January 1977.

This period – January 1969 to January 1977 – covers three ‘adventures’: Chile, East Timor (now Timor-Leste), and Argentina. Somewhere in between those dates is the Royal Ambush of the Whitlam Government in November 1975. This should be dealt with in a separate work for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that a case which will decide whether the correspondence between the Governor-General of Australia and Queen Elizabeth II is of a private nature, or should be regarded as subtracted from public eyes. The dispute is still, by initiative of professor Jenny Hocking and friends before the Federal Court of Australia.

Incidentally, the correspondence may reveal what might have been the connection between the Governor-General – a well-known ‘Intelligence services’ asset and a special ‘Task Force 157’, a secret U.S. Navy ops team, directed by Theodore George ‘Ted’ Shackley, Jr., which is suspected of being involved in the Ambush through persons of the Liberal and National parties.

Shackley, an American C.I.A. officer was involved in many important and controversial CIA operations during the 1960s and 1970s. In the early 1960s Shackley was ‘station chief’ in Miami, during the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as of the Cuban Project – also known as Operation Mongoose, that he directed. He became the director of the ‘Phoenix Program’ during the Vietnam war – responsible for the assassination of some 40,000 ‘suspected Communists’. He was also the ‘station chief’ in Laos between 1966–1968, and ‘station chief’ in Saigon from 1968 through February 1972. In 1976 he was appointed Associate Deputy Director for Operations, in charge of the C.I.A.’s worldwide covert operations, the so-called ‘black ops’.

There are plentiful indicia that Task Force 157 was almost a personal tool of Kissinger’s power.


The first 9/11 occurred in 1973 in Santiago, Chile and places nearby. President Richard Milhous Nixon and Dr. Henry Alfred Kissinger were the instigators, General Augusto Pinochet simply the executioner.

The United States has been interfering with Chile since the arrival of Joel Roberts Poinsett as ‘special agent’ in 1811. The story of the first 9/11 began, most likely, on 15 September 1970 when Nixon and his consiglieri: Richard Helms, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Kissinger, National Security Adviser were discussing a possible C.I.A. covert operation in Chile.

Media sources confirmed that Nixon had been nearly beside himself with rage at the thought that ‘Marxist’ Salvador Allende might win the 1970 presidential election in Chile. The very name of Allende was anathema to Nixon. He had been personally beholden to the president of Pepsi Cola from the moment he had received that corporation’s account while a young lawyer with John Mitchell’s firm in New York. In time Mitchell would share with Nixon the fate of Watergate and other crimes. But, after the ‘Watergate’ affairs, only Mitchell ended up in gaol for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury.

Pepsi Cola, along with Chase Manhattan Bank, International Telephone & Telegraph and many other corporations, but above all Anaconda Copper Mining Co. and Kennecott Copper Co., had huge investments in Chile. It is estimated that in the early seventies those two major mining corporations alone controlled between seven and twenty per cent of Chile’s Gross Domestic Product.

In 1970 Allende, who had failed in the presidential elections of 1964, ran again. On 4 September 1970 he obtained 36.2 per cent of votes, followed by former President Alessandri with 34.9 per cent, with 27.8 per cent going to Tomic, the third candidate.

According to the Chilean Constitution then in force, if no presidential candidate obtained a majority of the popular vote, Congress would choose one of the two candidates with the highest number of votes as the winner. Negotiations were actively being conducted during the following month and only on 24 October was Allende confirmed by Congress. He assumed the presidency on 3 November 1970.

A series of eight cables, dated between 5 and 22 September 1970 declassified in the late 1990s and now available at the National Security Archive, located within the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., written by the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry, records the reaction and activities of the Embassy after the election of Allende’s Popular Unity coalition. Known as ‘Korrygrams,’ the reports contain some of the most candid, and at times undiplomatic, opinions and observations ever offered by a U.S. Ambassador, until WikiLeaks arrived on the world’s scene. With titles such as ‘No Hope for Chile’ and ‘Some Hope for Chile’, Korry provides extensive details about political efforts to block Allende’s ratification by the Chilean Congress. The cables report on the activities of Chile’s political institutions in response to Allende’s election and provide Ambassador Korry’s explicit assessments of the character of key Chilean leaders, particularly the outgoing President, Eduardo Frei.

On 5 November 1970, as it appears in another declassified cable, Richard Helms, the C.I.A. Director provided a briefing for the 6 November 1970 National Security Council on the situation in Chile, telling Nixon exactly what he wanted to hear: “Mr. President, Salvador Allende, the Chilean Marxist, has now taken office as President in that country with virtually no significant opposition to hold him in check, and with a cabinet dominated by the Communists and his own even more extreme Socialist Party.” Apart from the obvious – the name, not a word of that was true.

The briefing contains details on a failed coup attempt on 22 October – but does not acknowledge a C.I.A. role in the assassination of General René Schneider. Helms also assessed Allende’s “tenacious” character and Soviet policy towards Chile. Despite the presence of Communists in cabinet, ‘Intelligence’ suggested that Chile’s Socialists – as he informed Council members – “will exercise restraint in promoting closer ties with Russia.”

Nixon had ordered the C.I.A. to prevent Allende’s election at all cost. He had explicitly told Richard Helms “to get rid of him”, referring to Allende.

At the time, the United States was still embroiled in Vietnam. The ‘parallel government’ of the C.I.A. was running a plan denominated Phoenix – a covert action programme which had been established in 1967 and would continued until 1971, at least. The C.I.A., the U.S. Army and the Saigon police, as well as various other ‘intelligence’ organisations were seeking to identify and destroy Viet Cong leadership cadres in the south of Vietnam. Phoenix’ activities included ‘intelligence’ collection, paramilitary operations, and psychological warfare. Phoenix became infamous for the capture or killing of nearly 40,000 suspected Communists. The programme was run by William Colby, who would ultimately succeed Helms, but at the time had the cover role as Director of Civil Operations and Rural Development Support for the Agency for International Development.

Nixon’s policy for the whole of Latin America was one early ‘war on terror’. At the time ‘war on terror’ was just another pretext for the pillage of Latin America by the U.S. Government and its favoured multinational corporations with the assistance of the American Administration. The obsession then was “to prevent another Cuba.” Nixon simply could not tolerate – as he said – “that bastard Allende.” Such animosity was probably displayed for the benefit of clients-at-large. Chile had the largest copper reserves in the world and it was suspected that Allende was about to nationalise the industry.

When preventing Allende’s election failed, the C.I.A. was instructed to destabilise the government.

A meeting of 15 September 1970, ten days after the narrow election of Allende, was to become crucial. Probably determinant to Nixon’s order to Helms to mount a full-scale operation against Allende’s prospective new government – including, as Helms’s notes of the meeting reflect, “to make the economy scream [in Chile to] prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him” – was the advice given by Kissinger in his famous expression of contempt for the democratic play: “I do not see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

That was no isolated expression of Kissinger’s Realpolitik. The minutes of a secret 1975 meeting of the National Security Council attended by President Ford reveal Kissinger grumbling: “It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination.”

A total lack of any moral judgment remains the mark of such cynical Realpolitik. The New York Times reported on 16 December 2010 that, according to recently released tapes of Nixon at the White House, Kissinger was heard telling Nixon in 1973 that helping Soviet Jews emigrate and thus escape oppression by a totalitarian regime – a huge issue at the time – was “not an  objective of American foreign policy.”  “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union,” he added, “it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.” Genocide was “not an American concern,” he said, but “maybe a humanitarian concern.”

As National Security Adviser and/or Secretary of State, or Assistant to the President, or simply as consigliere, Kissinger’s opinion would be sought by successive presidents: Carter, Reagan, Bush Senior, Clinton, Bush Junior, Obama – perhaps even Trump.

Of course, at that meeting of 15 September 1970, Kissinger knew full well that Chile had not ‘gone Communist’. Probably so did Nixon; it certainly was within Helms’ knowledge.

Allende was a cultivated man, by all definitions a ‘bourgeois’ even though he was known as the charismatic founder of the Socialist Party. Allende in fact was a moderate, who wanted to develop “a peaceful Chilean way towards socialism.” He had been elected by workers, peasants and the marginalised, urban lower classes. Educated urban youth celebrated the “socialism of red wine and empanadas” – stuffed pastry.

But, in the debased language which had taken place with Nixon in the White House and in the ordinary jargon which would most assuredly reach a gangster such as Nixon, Kissinger did not hesitate to use such language. It was the advice of the consigliere to the capo-mafia. The advice was reflected in the handwritten notes taken by Helms and preserved in those declassified cables. Taken in the presence of Attorney General John Mitchell and Kissinger, the notes read: “l in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile!; worth spending; not concerned; no involvement of embassy; $10,000,000 available, more if necessary; full-time job – best men we have; game plan; make the economy scream; 48 hours for plan of action.” [Emphasis added]

Minutes of 16 September 1970 record the first meeting between Director Helms and several high agency officials on covert operations – code-named ‘Fubelt’ – against Allende. A special task force under the supervision of C.I.A. Deputy Director of Plans, Thomas Karamessines, was established, headed by veteran agent David Atlee Phillips. The memorandum noted that the C.I.A. must prepare an action plan for National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger within 48 hours.

A ‘memorandum of conversation’ of a 15 October 1970 meeting, held at the White House between Kissinger, Karamessines and Alexander Haig, Deputy National Security Adviser and later President Reagan’s Secretary of State, records a discussion on promoting a coup in Chile known as ‘Track 2’ of covert operations to block Allende. The three conspirators discussed the possibility that the plot of one Chilean retired General, Roberto Viaux, might fail “with unfortunate repercussions for U.S. objectives.” Kissinger ordered the C.I.A. “to continue keeping the pressure on every Allende weak spot in sight.”

The day after such meeting, 16 October 1970, Karamessines passed Kissinger’s order on to the C.I.A. station chief in Santiago, Henry Hecksher. The secret cable said, at the very opening: “It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup.” [Emphasis added]  The “operating guidance” makes it clear that these operations were to be conducted so as to hide the ‘American hand’,  and that the C.I.A. was to ignore any orders to the contrary from Ambassador Korry who had not been informed of ‘Track 2’ operations.

Dated 3 November 1970 is the notice of a meeting for which Kissinger had a comprehensive secret/sensitive options paper (NSSM 97) prepared. The paper was to be submitted to the offices of the Vice President, of the Secretaries of State and Defense, and of the Director of Emergency Preparedness. It was also sent in copy to the Attorney General, the Under Secretary of State, the Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff, and the Director of Central Intelligence. Precisely on the day of Allende’s inauguration, it laid out U.S. objectives, interests and potential policy towards Chile. U.S. interests were defined as preventing Chile from falling under Communist control and preventing the rest of Latin America from following Chile “as a model.” Option C – maintaining an “outwardly cool posture” while working behind the scenes to undermine the Allende Government through economic pressures and diplomatic isolation – had been chosen by Nixon. C.I.A. operations and options were not included in the document.

Three cables dated 18 October 1970 passed between the C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, VA., and the C.I.A. Station in Santiago. They dealt with the secret shipment of weapons and ammunition for use in a plot to kidnap the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, General René Schneider. “Neutralizing” Schneider was a key prerequisite for a military coup; he opposed any intervention by the armed forces to block Allende’s constitutional election. The C.I.A. supplied a group of Chilean officers led by General Camilo Valenzuela with ‘sterile’ – that is untraceable – weapons for the operation which was to be blamed on Allende supporters and thus prompt a military takeover.

Between the presidential elections and Congress confirmation of Allende two events took place in Chile. One was the kidnapping and assassination on 22-25 October of General Schneider. Schneider was a defender of the ‘constitutionalist’ doctrine that the Army’s role is exclusively professional, its mission being to protect the country’s sovereignty and not to interfere in politics. He was shot resisting the violence by another group led by General Roberto Viaux, at the head of a crypto-Nazi gang of generals and admirals, who had been paid US$ 50,000 each. Once hospitalised, Schneider died of his wounds on 25 October. Viaux’s kidnapping plan had been supported by the C.I.A., although Kissinger later claimed to have ordered the plans postponed at the last moment.

Correctly Christopher Hitchens, in the book by the provocative title The trial of Henry Kissinger, written in incendiary – studiedly defamatory – words, summed up the substance of the combined reading of those cables, and particularly of the ‘memorandum of conversation’ 15 October 1970: “Here one must pause for a recapitulation. An unelected official in the United States is meeting with others, without the knowledge or authorization of Congress, to plan the kidnapping of a constitution-minded senior officer in a democratic country with which the United States is not at war, and with which it maintains cordial diplomatic relations. The minutes of the meetings may have an official look to them (though they were hidden from the light of day for long enough) but what we are reviewing is a “hit” – a bit of state-supported terrorism.” (C. Hitchens, The trial of Henry Kissinger (Text, Melbourne 2001, at 57).

The other event was the appointment by the outgoing President Frei of General Carlos Prats as Commander-in-Chief of the Army to replace General Schneider.

Instead of a coup, the military and the country rallied behind Allende’s ratification by Chile’s Congress on 24 October.

The United States determination to destroy opposition to its domination in Latin America became part of a much broader plan which took the name of Operación Cóndor – Operation Condor, also known as Plan Cóndor.

The murder of General Schneider was just one of the crimes of Operation Condor; by then the Plan was well on its way.

In 1975 Bush Senior – formerly Nixon’s Ambassador to the United Nations, and Ford’s Chief Liaison Officer to China – was about to become C.I.A. Director. In that capacity he further developed Operation Condor. By 1975 Bush Senior was head of the C.I.A. and working together with Kissinger and Vernon Walters, later a key adviser to Reagan, to develop Plan Condor.

Operación Cóndor was a campaign of political repression involving ‘intelligence’ operations and assassination which started in 1968 and was officially implemented in 1975 by the Right-wing dictatorships of the ‘Southern Cone’ of South America. The programme aimed to eradicate alleged Socialist and Communist influence and ideas and to control active or potential opposition movements against the participating governments’ neoliberal economic policies, which sought to reverse the economic policies of the previous era.

There being no dead bodies, the conspirators could deny everything. Due to its clandestine nature, the precise number of murders directly attributable to Operation Condor is highly disputed. It is estimated that a minimum of 60,000 murders can be attributed to Condor, possibly more. Victims included dissidents and leftists, union and peasant leaders, students and teachers, intellectuals and suspected guerillas – even some priests and nuns. Condor’s key members were the governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. The United States government provided technical support and supplied military aid to the participants during the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. Such support was frequently routed through the Central Intelligence Agency. Ecuador and Peru later joined the operation in more peripheral roles. (Luiz Cláudio Cunha. Operação Condor. O seqüestro dos uruguaios. Uma reportagem dos tempos da ditadura – Operation Condor. The kidnapping of the Uruguayans. A story of the days of the dictatorship, L&PM, Editores, Porto Alegre 2008;  John Dinges, The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents (The New Press, New York 2004) and  Peter Kornbluh, The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability (The New Press, New York 2013). In plain language, Condor was a high-level international criminal organisation in a campaign of political repression involving ‘intelligence’ operations and consequent assassination. In a 1999 book, titled Los años del lobo: Operación Cóndor – The years of the wolf:  Operation Condor – Stella Calloni, an Argentine investigative journalist spoke of anticipated revelations which pointed to the implication of Condor’s agents in the deaths of presidents Omar Torrijos of Panama and Jaime Roldós of Ecuador in 1981, who were “considered bothersome to the empire and dictatorships in secret documents that were investigated,” and possibly in the death of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986. (Stella Calloni, Los años del lobo: Operación Cóndor – The years of the wolf:  Operation Condor, Editorial Ciencias Sociales, La Habana 1999, 2006).

The Grand Master, leader and adviser of such a syndicate was none other than Dr. Henry Kissinger.

On 25 November 1975 leaders of the ‘military intelligence’ services of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay met with Manuel Contreras, chief of the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional – National Intelligence Directorate, D.I.N.A., which was Pinochet’s secret police.  They officially set up the Plan Condor. However, cooperation between various security services, in the aim of “eliminating Marxist subversion”, previously existed informally before that meeting and certainly before the Pinochet’s coup d’état. For example, during the Tenth Conference of American Armies held in Caracas on 3 September 1973, Brazilian General Breno Borges Fortes, head of the Brazilian Army, proposed to “extend the exchange of information” between various services in order to “struggle against subversion.” Not long after the Pinochet coup, in March 1974, representatives of the police forces of Chile, Bolivia and Uruguay met with Alberto Villar, deputy chief of the Argentine Federal Police and co-founder of the Alianza Anticomunista Argentina – Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, commonly known as Triple A, which was in fact a death squad, to implement cooperation guidelines in order to destroy the ‘subversive’ threat represented by the presence of thousands of political exiles in Argentina. In August 1974 the corpses of the first victims of Condor, Bolivian refugees, were found in rubbish dumps in Buenos Aires. The D.I.N.A. entered into contact even with Croatian terrorists, Italian neo-Fascists and the Shah’s Savak to locate and assassinate dissidents.

As far as the United States is concerned, and despite the fact that Operation Condor was promoted and formalised in 1975, there is no doubt as to the commitment of several American Administrations ‘to stop Chile from going like Cuba’. The United States provided key organisational, financial and technical assistance to the Operation. The commitment was total and the purpose quite clear from the beginning: according to a 1976 F.B.I. cable sent from Buenos Aires, Condor’s ‘operatives’ were “to travel anywhere in the world … to assassinate so-called [Leftists, Communists, subversives and Marxists].”

By sheer accident, in December 1992, a human-rights activist and a judge who were looking for files on a former prisoner at a police station in Asunción, Paraguay, would come upon archives describing the fates of thousands of Latin Americans who had been secretly kidnapped, tortured and killed by the security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay – Operation Condor. The soon to be known as ‘Archivos del terror – terror archives’ listed 50,000 people murdered, 30,000 people ‘disappeared’ and 400,000 people imprisoned.  In the archives there were official requests to track suspects to and from the U.S. Embassy, the C.I.A., and the F.B.I. The C.I.A. provided lists of suspects and other intelligence information to the military states. The F.B.I. also searched for individuals wanted by D.I.N.A. in the United States in 1975.

Next installment Wednesday: Operation Condor

Dr. Venturino Giorgio (George) Venturini, formerly an avvocato at the Court of Appeal of Bologna, devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reach at


The Fight For Justice For David Dungay Jr Marches On

Media Release

The family, friends and community of David Dungay Jr who died in shocking circumstances inside Long Bay Gaol on 29 December 2015 continue their fight for justice this week, taking it to the streets of Sydney.

The family are demanding:

  1. The immediate release of all information that has been suppressed by the government,
  2. A date fixed for an Inquest before the Coroner,
  3. A full independent investigation into the conduct of the prison officers and medical personnel on the night that David died.

David Dungay Jr was a Dunghutti man from Kempsey and died at age 26. His early life was tough but he was very loved by his close-knit family. He enjoyed schooling, music and was an excellent sportsman.

He was about three weeks away from release on parole at the time of his death. He had entered the adult prison system at age nineteen and had nearly completed a seven-year sentence.

On the night of his death, he was overpowered and restrained by at least four prison officers applying force. David yelled out “I can’t breathe.” They were his last words.

The lawyer for David’s mother, Leetona Dungay, George Newhouse of the National Justice Project today said that all the family wanted was justice.

“They want the truth. That’s all they are asking for. And they have been waiting 18 months so far. It’s hard to believe that in modern Australia and 25 years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, this is still happening.”

Rally to demand answers from Premier Gladys Berejiklian: Why did David Dungay Jr Die?

Friday 28 July 2017 at 11.30am

Meet at Hyde Park North and March to Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney City.

Madman diplomacy

By Dr George Venturini

Heinz Alfred ‘Henry’ Kissinger obtained a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1954. His interest was on Castelreagh and Metternich – two empire builders. He devoted his life to sublimate them.

In an incendiary, studiedly defamatory book the late Christopher Hitchens described him as “a mediocre and opportunist academic [intent on] becoming an international potentate. The signature qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked. Kissinger’s global career started as it meant to go on. It debauched the American republic and American democracy, and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and more vulnerable societies.”

The story is all here: from the martyrdom of Indochina to becoming the real backchannel to Moscow on behalf of his new client: Donald Trump.

Editor’s note: This outstanding series by Dr Venturini is published bi-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays). Today we publish Part Five. Here is the link to Part Four; ‘Consigliere’.


Kissinger, like many of the American presidents he advised – and particularly Nixon – had a myopic affinity for strongmen: the Shah of Iran, for instance, and Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos.

A student at Harvard and later on a devotee of Klemens von Metternich, the 19th-century Austrian statesman, Kissinger was a practitioner of the “realist” (or Realpolitik) school of diplomacy, which places emphasis on the state’s interests and the use of military power to achieve them; he preferred to deal with the strong leaders of nation-states who could deliver.

A favoured quotation of his runs like this: “There are two kinds of realists; those who manipulate facts and those who create them. The West requires nothing so much as men able to create their own reality.” He thought of himself as that kind of realist – a ‘creator of reality’. He would find a superb imitator in today’s America.

Kissinger never missed the opportunity of accusing  the Kennedy administration of complicity in the 1963 overthrow of South Vietnam’s leader General Ngo Dinh Diem, which conferred legitimacy on the North Vietnamese claim that the South Vietnamese government was illegitimate. It should be noted that Ngo Dinh Diem was a staunchly anticommunist Vietnamese ‘statesman’ who had refused to ally with Ho Chi Minh after the Franco-Vietnamese war. With the support of the United States, Diem led South Vietnam from 1954 to 1963, when he was assassinated alongside his brother in a military coup.

Kissinger makes almost no mention of the American lives lost while he and Nixon sought “peace with honour”, and none of the fact that the U.S. pursuit of what many saw as a patently hopeless cause may have damaged American standing in the rest of the world as much as an earlier end to the war would have.

All this is unimportant to Kissinger.

Kissinger is dismissive of leading Senate opponents of the war, including  J. William Fulbright, John Sherman Cooper, Mark Hatfield and Mike Mansfield.  He treats them as so many misguided pests. He describes the Congress elected in 1974, following Watergate criminal scandal and Nixon’s forced resignation, as the “McGovernite congress”. (Sen. George Stanley McGovern was the American historian, author who had been the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election. He lost to Nixon, thus winning Kissinger’s ostentatious contempt).

In a book of 640 pages there is no mention of Nixon’s “enemies list”; of the White House’s hiring a criminal squad – “the plumbers” – to carry out break-ins; or of Kissinger’s supplying names to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to place wiretaps on his own aides and on journalists, to trace leaks about the war.

A recent book, Nixon’s nuclear specter: The secret alert of 1969, madman diplomacy, and the Vietnam War (University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 2015), throws light on the most extraordinary example of ‘Kissinger diplomacy’. Written by William Burr, Senior Analyst at the National Security Archive and Jeffrey P. Kimball, professor emeritus at Miami University, the book shows in great detail how Richard Nixon, counselled by Kissinger, believed that they could compel “the other side” to back down during crises in Vietnam, as well as in the Middle East, by “push[ing] so many chips into the pot” that Nixon would seem ‘crazy’ enough to “go much further.” The meaning of that expression is clarified by the newly declassified documents – twenty three of them, and some in multiple parts  –  published on 29 May 2015 by the National Security Archive.

The documents include a 1972 Kissinger memorandum of conversation in which Kissinger explains to Defense Department official Gardner Tucker that Nixon’s strategy was exactly as just quoted.

Inspired by Kissinger, Nixon’s ‘madman strategy’ during the Vietnam war included veiled nuclear threats intended to intimidate Hanoi and its supporters in Moscow. Kissinger thus found a way to put into practice the violation of national sovereignty and bloodshed in philosophical theory that he studied for his Ph.D. and later taught as a Harvard academic.

On the occasion of the publication of his recent work, Kissinger’s shadow, professor Greg Grandin, a historian at New York University, observed this much:

“Conventional wisdom has Kissinger as the supreme political realist, a realpolitiker, which means a few things: a willingness to deal with the world as it is, rather than how it should be; a belief that the “truth” of the reality is derived from a simple observation of the facts of reality; and a belief that American military and diplomatic power should service American interests. But, in fact, Kissinger believes in none of those things. Thinking about Henry Kissinger helps us think about American power because Kissinger, more than any other postwar policy maker and defense intellectual, was extremely aware of his philosophical influences, and through his career he constantly tried to justify his policies by referencing those influences. Starting with his 1950 undergraduate thesis, which I dive into in the book, Kissinger reveals himself to be a radical existentialist, a radical subjectivist. He believed that reality existed, but humans had no access to it other than through action, and that whatever meaning or truth we took from that reality was based on our lonely, individual experience.

I realize that’s a bit abstract, but the larger point I make in the book is that a consideration of Kissinger helps us situate the adventurism of George Bush’s neocons in a longer history. They weren’t an anomaly but rather reflected a deeper current in America’s imperial political culture. An implied argument of the book is that American Exceptionalism is founded on a deep, anti-rational, will-to-power subjectivism – a subjectivism that can be found in Kissinger (as that quote reveals, the idea great men “make” reality) and in the neocons. Remember that great quote by a Bush staffer given to the journalist Ron Suskind in 2004, a staffer many believe was Karl Rove: Studying “discernible reality” was not the way the world worked any more, Rove said: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors …” The quote circulated widely, interpreted as the blind ideology of the Bush administration taken to its conceited conclusion, the idea that reality itself could bend to neocon will.” (Mark Karlin, ‘Millions died because Kissinger prolonged the Vietnam War for years after betraying peace treaty’, interview 8 November 2015, Truthout).

Of course, there was nothing new: Kissinger had written something like that more than four decades earlier.

With ‘madman diplomacy’, Nixon and Kissinger strove to end the Vietnam war on the most favourable terms possible in the shortest period of time practicable, an effort which culminated in a secret global nuclear alert in October of 1969. Carried out between 13 and 30 October the manoeuvre involved military operations around the world: the continental United States, Western Europe, the Middle East, the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Sea of Japan. The operations included strategic bombers, tactical air, and a variety of naval operations, from movements of aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines to the shadowing of Soviet merchant ships heading towards Haiphong.

Nixon and Kissinger let it be known that the United States was considering a mining readiness test intended to signal Hanoi that the United States was preparing to mine Haiphong harbour and the coast of North Vietnam. It was named ‘Duck hook’; the plan had been drafted in July 1969 as a mining-only operation, but soon evolved into a mining-and-bombing,’ shock-and-awe’ plan – à la Baghdad 2003 – scheduled to be launched in early November, but which Nixon aborted in October, substituting the global nuclear alert in its place. The failure of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s 1969 ‘Madman diplomacy’ marked a turning point in their initial exit strategy of winning a favourable armistice agreement by the end of the year 1969.

Three years would pass and by 1972 Nixon had been able to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam to 150,000.

However, according to the Pentagon, between the first Lyndon Johnson bombing halt in March 1968 and the same date in 1972 the casualty of the insane war were the following: Americans 31,205, South Vietnamese 86,101, ‘Enemy’ 475,609.

The Unites States Senate subcommittee on Refugees estimated that in the same four- year period more than three million civilians were killed, injured or rendered homeless. During the same four-year period, the United States dropped almost 4,500,000 tonnes of high explosive on Indochina. The Pentagon also estimated the total tonnage dropped in entire second world war as 2,044,000. Needless to say, this destruction does not include the massive spraying of chemical defoliants and pesticides, the effects of which are still being registered by the region’s ecology. Nor does it include the land-mines which detonate to this day.

Kissinger, meanwhile, began to negotiate with senior Viet Cong official Lê Đức Thọ at secret meetings in Paris. Lê Đức Thọ had served as special adviser to the North Vietnamese delegation. He eventually became North Vietnamese leader in these talks. As the talks progressed, Lê Đức Thọ became increasingly stubborn and finally refused to negotiate, forcing Nixon and Kissinger again to change their strategy. They decided to try to improve relations with Communist China – which was not on good terms with the Soviet Union – to use as a bargaining chip to intimidate both the U.S.S.R. and North Vietnam.

Nixon and Kissinger thus began secret talks with China. This warming of relations culminated with Nixon’s high-profile visit to China in February and March 1972. As expected, the Soviet Union, concerned with the improved U.S.-China relations, moved to bargain as well. Nixon therefore visited the U.S.S.R. in May 1972.

Nixon’s trip to China succeeded in giving him an advantage in negotiations with North Vietnam. When the North Vietnamese Army crossed the demilitarised zone and entered South Vietnam in March 1972, Nixon authorised an intense bombing campaign of Hanoi – without fear of repercussion from Moscow or Beijing. On  23 August 1972 the last American ground combat troops departed Vietnam, leaving behind only a small number of military advisors – the last of whom left in March 1973. As the presidential elections of 1972 approached, Nixon clearly had the upper hand: he had warmed relations with China and the U.S.S.R., reduced the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam from 500,000 to 30,000, and halted a major North Vietnamese Army advance. And he defeated antiwar Democrat George McGovern in a landslide.

When Kissinger’s negotiations continued to be hindered by North Vietnamese obstinacy, Nixon became frustrated and authorised the ‘Christmas bombing’, an intense bombing campaign of North Vietnam to pressure the country to end the war in late December 1972. The pressure worked, and Kissinger and North Vietnamese officials finally announced a cease-fire in January 1973.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nixon pledged to withdraw all remaining military personnel from Vietnam and allow the tens of thousands of North Vietnamese Army troops in South Vietnam to remain there, despite the fact that they controlled a quarter of South Vietnamese territory. However, Nixon promised to intervene if North Vietnam had moved against the South. In exchange, North Vietnam promised that elections would be held to determine the fate of the entire country. Nixon kept insisting that the agreement brought “peace with honour,” but South Vietnamese leaders complained that the terms amounted to little more than a surrender for South Vietnam.

In July 1973 the American  Congress and the American public learned the full extent of the secret U.S. military campaigns in Cambodia. Testimony in congressional hearings revealed that Nixon and the military had been secretly bombing Cambodia heavily since 1969, even though the president and Joint Chiefs of Staff had repeatedly denied the charge. When the news broke, Nixon switched tactics and began bombing Cambodia openly despite extreme public disapproval.

Angry, Congress-members mustered enough votes to pass the November 1973 War Powers Resolution over Nixon’s veto. The resolution restricted presidential powers during wartime by requiring the president to notify Congress upon launching any U.S. military action abroad. If Congress did not approve of the action, it would have to conclude within sixty to ninety days. In effect, this act made the president accountable to Congress for his actions abroad. Congress also ended the draft in 1973 and stipulated that the military henceforth consist solely of paid volunteers. Both the War Powers Resolution and the conversion to an all-volunteer army helped quiet antiwar protesters.

Despite Nixon’s landslide re-election victory, his days in office were numbered; on top of the uproar over the Cambodia bombings, the Watergate scandal had broken in late 1972. In short, Nixon had approved a secret burglary of the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., prior to the election, but the burglars were caught. Evidence surfaced that Nixon had authorised illegal measures to discredit prominent Democratic opponents and other people on his personal ‘enemies list.’ Ultimately, when it became clear that Nixon himself had broken the law by covering up the scandal, many in the United States began calling for his impeachment.

As the Watergate scandal began to envelop Nixon, North Vietnamese Communist leader Lê Duẩn assumed correctly that the United States would not likely intervene in Vietnam, despite Nixon’s earlier promises to the contrary. As a result, North Vietnamese troops began to move into South Vietnam in 1974. Nixon resigned in disgrace in August 1974 and was replaced by Vice President Gerald R. Ford.

Any hope Ford might have had to salvage Vietnam evaporated in September 1974, when Congress refused to approve sufficient funding for the South Vietnamese army. By the beginning of 1975, defeat was imminent. North Vietnamese forces launched a massive offensive in the spring of 1975, forcing the South Vietnamese troops to retreat. On 30 April 1975 Saigon was liberated by the North Vietnamese, all of Vietnam was united under Communist rule, and the Vietnam war was over.

The cost in human lives was enormous: it resulted in the deaths of between 1,156,000 and 3,207,000 Vietnamese, some 273,000 Cambodians, and between 28,000 and 115,000 Laotians.

American casualties were 58,315 killed in action; 153,303 wounded in action; 1,614 missed in action. Of the 776-778 taken prisoners, some 114-116 died in captivity.

Involved on a lie by Prime Minister Robert Menzies in April 1965, Australia participated in the war and lost 426 killed in action, while 74 died of other causes; 3,129 were wounded in action; 6 were taken prisoner and repatriated.

In the end, Vietnam was the catalyst for Richard Nixon’s self-induced disgrace. And it broke the three other United States leaders most associated with it: Johnson; his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara; and – in a way – Henry Kissinger. In a way only,  because Kissinger went on to sell his name, strategic advice and access to foreign leaders, and because many political figures, businessmen and members of the news media still consider him an oracle.

There is a respectable view that the consequences of that Kissinger-Nixon enterprise are still felt in the United States.

As professor Grandin said in the already-mentioned interview, “Kissinger is also unique in that nearly every other postwar policy maker and foreign policy intellectual of his stature, such as Arthur Schlesinger, George Kennan, Hans Morgenthau, and Reinhold Niebuhr, eventually became critical, some extremely so, of American power. By 1957, Kennan was arguing for “disengagement” from the Cold War and by 1982 he was describing the Reagan administration as “ignorant, unintelligent, complacent and arrogant.”

Vietnam provoked Schlesinger to advocate stronger legislative power to rein in what in 1973 he would call the ‘imperial presidency.’ Not Kissinger. At every single one of America’s postwar turning points, moments of crisis when men of good will began to express doubts about American power, Kissinger broke in the opposite direction. He made his peace with Nixon, whom he first thought was unhinged; then with Ronald Reagan, whom he initially considered hollow; and then with George W. Bush’s neocons, despite the fact that they all rose to power attacking Kissinger. The cliché goes that in the exception, one finds the rule, which I never really understood until I started studying Kissinger: his singularity as an individual helps illuminate the larger and steady drift to the right of the US, from the 1960s to this day.”

In the already mentioned interview of professor Grandin, Mark Karlin wondered:

“In your concluding sentences, you write that Kissinger has never lost his … value [to the Washington ruling order], especially when it comes to justifying war … And after Kissinger himself is gone, one imagines Kissingerism will endure as well.”

To which Grandin responded:

“That is indeed an ominous prediction given that many critics argue that he is a war criminal. How has he managed to cultivate the image of a ‘statesman’ when so many of his policies resulted in horrific carnage, sometimes grisly torture, and frequent failure, not to mention that he is an inveterate liar – and he made a fortune through Kissinger Associates without separating his role as advisor to ongoing administrations from the interests of many of his clients?

To the degree that Kissingerism is a weaponized version of Americanism, I fear it isn’t going away. Look, last year when promoting his book World Order, Kissinger responded to questions about his bombing of Cambodia and his overthrow of democracy in Chile by pointing to Obama. No difference, he said, existed between what he did with B-52s in Cambodia and what the president was doing with drones in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Chile? Look at what Obama did in Libya, he said, and what he wants to do in Syria. [Emphasis added]

It’s easy to dismiss such a defense, but, frankly, Kissinger is right in his assertion that many of the political arguments he made in the late 1960s to justify his illegal and covert wars in Cambodia, considered at the time way beyond mainstream thinking, are now an unquestioned, very public part of American policymaking. This was especially true of the notion that Washington has the right to violate the sovereignty of a neutral country to destroy enemy ‘sanctuaries.’  “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” Barack Obama has said, offering Kissinger his retroactive absolution.

It’s a perfect expression of American militarism’s unending carousal. Kissinger invokes today’s endless, open-ended wars to justify his diplomacy by air power in Cambodia and elsewhere nearly half a century ago. But what he did then created the conditions for today’s endless wars, both those started by Bush’s neocons and those waged by Obama’s war-fighting liberals like Samantha Power.

Look, just this week [early November 2015], Barack Obama announced that U.S. troops wouldn’t be leaving Afghanistan any time soon and he has also just announced a deeper commitment to fighting ISIS, including the sending of the first U.S. ground personnel into that country. And a new book by New York Times reporter Charlie Savage, Power Wars, suggests that there has been little substantive difference between George W. Bush’s administration and Obama’s when it comes to national-security policies or the legal justifications used to pursue policies of regime change in the Greater Middle East.

That’s what I mean that after Kissinger himself is gone, Kissingerism will live on.” (Mark Karlin, ‘Millions died because Kissinger prolonged the Vietnam War for years after betraying peace treaty’,  interview 8 November 2015, Truthout,…)

Kissinger was Secretary of State between 22 September 1973 and 20 January 1977.

On 8 July 1982 a New York Foreign Business Corporation was set up and registered: Kissinger Associates, Inc., after loans had been secured from Goldman Sachs and a consortium of three other banks. These loans were repaid in two years.

Not much is known about it in addition to what is collected at chapter 10 of Hitchens’ book. The chapter is titled: ‘Afterword : the profit margin.’

Discretion is the name of the game, and that is understandable, considering that the main purpose of the corporation is that of ‘facilitating contact’ between multinational corporations and governments, both foreign and American.

Needless to say there is not knowing which are the clients but it is known that a contract with ‘the Associates’ contains a clause prohibiting any mention of the arrangements passing between them.

So one is left with what is on public sources – and the rest to guessing.

Clients of ‘the Associates’ seem to have been from the beginning, as mentioned by Hitchens (in Roman):

American Express

American International Group – Director, International Advisory Committee (Argentina, China and South Korea)

Anheuser-Bush, since 2008 a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev

Atlantic Richfield

Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, (The bank was involved in  Iraqgate because in 1989 its  Atlanta, Georgia branch  was making unauthorised loans of more than US $4.5 billion to Iraq. Many of the loans that the branch made were guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation programme)

Chase Manhattan Bank, (the Rockefellers bank), since 2000 known as  JPMorgan Chase – Chairman, International Advisory Committee

The Coca-Cola Company

Daewoo of South Korea, up to 2001, when it became General Motors or GM Korea

Fiat, known since 2014 as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV

Freeport-McMoRan, (already noted in East Timor/Timor Leste) – Director (Burma, Indonesia, Panama)

H.J. Heinz, (Ivory Coast, Turkey, Zimbabwe)

Hollinger, Inc. – Director

International Telephone & Telegraph (the corporation which was ‘assisted’ by Kissinger in the Chilean coup of 1973)

Lockheed, known since 1995 as  Lockheed Martin

Merck & Co, Inc.

Midland Bank, taken over in 1992 by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

Revlon Inc.

Shearson Lehman Brothers, Inc., later Lehman Brothers, with Kissinger (once with McLarty) Assoc. listed as a creditor in the Bankruptcy Filings.

Union Carbide Corporation, since 2001 a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company

Volvo cars, since 2010 it has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Geely of China

Warburg Pincus, LLC, an American private equity firm with offices in the United States, Europe, Brazil, China and India.

The list is awfully incomplete: missing, for instance, is Freeport McMoRan, which in 1989 paid Kissinger Associates a retainer of US$ 200,000 and fee of US$ 600,000, not to mention a promise of a 2 per cent commission on future earnings. (C. Hitchens, The trial of Henry Kissinger, Text, Melbourne 2001 at 124)

Other clients might have arrived later and they are recorded in italics in the preceding  list, in some cases with the indication  of the country/countries in which they operate.

Kissinger’s initial fellow ‘associates’ were General Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, both of whom had worked closely in the foreign policy and national security branches of the United States Government. Just about every other ‘fellow’ had had a connection with government and/or large financial institutions.

Off-and-on some well-known public figures have been connected with the firm. Among them one should mention:

Paul Bremer, former managing director. Former Iraq Director of Reconstruction

Nelson Cunningham, political advisor and managing partner at Kissinger McLarty

Lawrence Eagleburger, former United States Secretary of State

Richard W. Fisher – President, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Timothy F. Geithner – former United States Secretary of Treasury

Jami Miscik – President and vice chairman. Deputy Director  for Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency

Joshua Cooper Ramo – Managing Director, former senior editor of Time Magazine

Bill Richardson, former senior managing director, former U.S diplomat and immediate past Governor of New Mexico

Stapleton Roy, vice-chairman, Senior U.S. diplomat

Brent Scowcroft, former vice-chairman. Former United States National Security Advisor.

Among the directors and former directors one would find:

Lord Carrington, from 1982, former  Secretary-General of N.A.T.O.

Étienne Davignon, former European Commissioner

Gary Falle, Falle Strategies

Pehr G. Gyllenhammar, from 1982, former Chairman, Volvo

Saburo Okita, former Japanese Foreign Minister

William D. Rogers, from 1982, former Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs under President  Ford

Eric Roll, from 1984, Chairman S. G. Warburg & Co

William E. Simon, from 1984. former  Secretary of the Treasury under President Nixon and Ford.

The secrecy of the corporate client list has caused some problems where Kissinger or a member of his staff were called to public service. In 1989, for instance, President George H.W. Bush nominated Lawrence Eagleburger as his Deputy Secretary of State. Congress required that Eagleburger disclose the names of 16 clients, with some of which he was connected through his Kissinger Associates affiliation.  Later, Kissinger himself was appointed chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States by President George W. Bush. Congressional Democrats insisted that Kissinger disclose the names of clients. Kissinger and President Bush claimed that such disclosures were not necessary, but Kissinger ultimately stepped down, citing conflicts of interest, mainly because he did not wish to disclose his financial affairs.

Next installment Saturday: War criminal?

Dr. Venturino Giorgio (George) Venturini, formerly an avvocato at the Court of Appeal of Bologna, devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reach at


Screwing the Murray Darling Basin Plan

In light of the current concern about water rights in the Murray Darling Basin, I would like to offer this piece I wrote on our old community blog about the “perfect storm” existing amongst the smaller “generational farms” along this section where I live on the River. The cause of this concern is because of the creation of mega “Agricorp managed investment schemes” that have sprung up using irrigation to grow huge crops of veggies and nuts and fruits.

Many of you would remember the collapse of “Great Southern” and “Timbercorp”, two mega Hedge-Fund/Managed Investment Schemes that bought up huge amounts of water licences along the Murray River. These and other schemes have dominated the water market and by sheer weight of numbers, have corrupted the cycle of produce markets and pricing … and have bumped up the cost of water for irrigation.

Read on …

Community Centralised Markets

Discussion Paper on Solutions for Sustainability of a Community

Listing the realities of farming in the Mid-Murray Council area:

a) That it is primarily an agricultural constituent

b) That the agriculture producers are mostly of multi-generational owned small holdings

c) The imposts of market requirements, restrictions and pricing are more favoured to large holdings, large corporate agri-business and Managed Investment Scheme producers.

The result being the development of a “perfect storm” of squeezed “family farms”, concentration of production to “outside interests” that export their produce, dumped excess commodities resulting in rock-bottom prices for produce and concentration of water allocation licences with corporate agri-business. The result could be a complete loss to the local community of independence in growth and supply of produce from family farming enterprises.

Many might say “So what! Let the market decide.” But it isn’t “the market” deciding … its “Fund – Managed” speculators with super capital, super credit and cross-border/cross-seasonal guarantees of profit margins protected against crop-failure by multi-location producers that, being so large and having the capacity to produce so much, they can control the wholesale price of produce by dumping or withdrawing commodities from a market that will eventually be reliant on their capacity. The smaller producer having neither the capacity, flexibility, nor the credit to “ride-out” long-term problems. Add to the mix an uncertain climate, and we have that perfect storm mentioned above.

The conundrum facing those many small farmers is – that having only a certain acreage – they can only grow a set amount of produce per acre. There are only so many onions that can be grown in every square metre, for instance. And because of their limited collateral with the small acreage, and their incapacity to compete with these mega farms, they are not well-received by the banks who already are aware of their asset and growth capacity. So they are locked into a vicious cycle of not having enough land to compete with the agricorp output. They cannot compete with the wholesale price per kilo of produce marketed by the mega farms and they cannot get credit from a secure source to expand their acreage, nor afford to buy any more water licences for irrigation..a perfect storm.

I spoke to one young couple in such a situation where they lamented borrowing some money just to get their goods to market, which only returned a fraction of the expected price, leaving them to say they would have been better off if they had let the crop rot in the ground.

What can we do?

Those mega-producers deliver their products either interstate or ship to ports for export way outside this council area, so they are not affected by local fluctuations, yet do have capacity to affect the viability of local produce with the flow-on pricing control from their mega production capacity. It is the smaller, family-owned farms that are at risk and perhaps we can do something there. It is a new idea, building not on a cooperative of producers, though they would be good … it is a “market-oriented” proposal that would require a contract between individual parties, no different than the usual “contract to supply” of many businesses. It would require the Mid-Murray Council to become an “investor in the constituency” to supply locations and under-cover premises where a regular, consistent, semi-permanent stalls (much like the Adelaide Central Market) of local farmers could sell a huge variety of produce to local shoppers. Produce such as vegetables, meats and fruit and even cereal grains in either bulk or packaged. Or … there could be an emphasis on wholesale selling to many local country stores that would save transport time and costs for all parties while delivering fresh produce to local buyers on a more regular basis.

Certainly, it is a bit of a BBQ stopper. I believe we have the capability to do this. We have to think big. Very big! We have quality growers of everything in the lines of vegetables, meats, fruits and cereals. Do we have the population of consumers to purchase? The population count of the Riverland area alone could add up to at least thirty or forty thousand people. Not all of them will shop at such a market, but all of them do eat. If these “centralised” markets stayed open for say, three consecutive days each, I would think they would be a goer. Considering also the weekend tourist flows through the area – if council could obtain State or Federal monies to construct multi-purpose under-cover arenas with appropriate cold-store facilities – then it could be a goer. There would have to be at least four locations all operating simultaneously over three days, perhaps one in Morgan, one in Blanchetown, one in Sedan and the other in Mannum. The multi-purpose arenas could be hired out on other days for other pursuits.

Sure, this is a simplistic over-view of possibilities of de-centralising produce supply buying, that would involve cooperation and contractual certainties between council, growers and a willing-to-participate public. But what other choice is there? Just lay back and watch as all these hard-working, quality producing generational farms and families get squeezed out of the industry? Or do we affiliate and come together as a society and instead of ending up with a community that is depreciating and all our young people want to move away from, we become a community that is creating and not only do we get our young people to stay, but we attract more keen people to come to the area because they want to be a part of a growing community.

What do you think?

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