CHILE: Kissinger's role in coup plot exposed

Issue 

BY NORM DIXON

The day after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state in the Nixon administration, demanded that the US government "destroy the network" of whoever committed the crimes (though he had no idea who it was, he admitted).

"This is an attack on the territorial United States, which is a threat to our social way of life and to our existence as a free society", Kissinger declared. However, Kissinger's opposition to terrorism and his outrage at those who would attack a country's "social way of life" and "existence as a free society" clearly stop at the borders of the USA.

Just two days before the attacks, the CBS television network's 60 Minutes presented evidence showing how deeply the US government, including Kissinger, was involved in a 1970 plot to prevent Salvador Allende becoming Chile's president.

Researcher Peter Kornbluh, an analyst at the National Security Archive, an independent research institute which studies declassified secret US documents, told the CBS program that in 1970 the CIA sent a cable to its office in Chile instructing agents there to continue to foment a military coup. Kissinger at the time was US President Richard Nixon's national security adviser.

The CIA and right-wing plotters were unable at that stage to prevent Allende, who had won the September 1970 presidential election, from taking office. But right-wing plotters did kill army chief General Rene Schneider.

Kissinger's told a 1975 US Senate investigation that he ordered all contacts with the coup plotters to be cut on October 15, 1970. The truth was, Kornbluh told 60 Minutes, that "the very next day, the CIA sent a cable to the station in the Chilean capital of Santiago, based on its conversation with Kissinger, which is referred to in the very first line of the cable. This cable was absolutely explicit: 'It is the continuing policy of the US government to foment a coup in Chile'."

The US Senate investigation had already determined that Nixon had wanted to incite a military coup, but accepted Kissinger's testimony that the US government had stopped such attempts before Schneider's slaying.

Edward Korry, then US ambassador to Chile, told 60 Minutes that he also advised Kissinger that a coup would fail. Korry said he had ordered all contacts cut off with the coup plotters in the Chilean military.

However, 60 Minutes was shown what were said to be minutes of an October 7 meeting of a covert action committee in which Kissinger allegedly said that Korry's orders "should be rescinded forthwith".

Also appearing in the program was retired Colonel Paul Wimert, a former military attache in Chile who was assigned the task of promoting a coup in Chile to prevent Allende taking office.

Wimert revealed that he had delivered weapons to the CIA to use in a plot to kidnap Schneider and send him to Argentina, where he would be forced to authorise a military coup to prevent Allende from taking office, he said.

However, Schneider was shot during the kidnapping attempt on October 22 and died two days later.

The family of the Chilean general has announced its intention to sue Kissinger for his role in the murder.

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