Chile’s 9/11

From Democracy NOW! in the USA about this video:

Epitaph for Another 9/11: Renown Writer Ariel Dorfman on 1973 U.S.-Backed Coup in Chile

“That September 11, that lethal Tuesday morning, I awoke with dread to the sound of planes flying above my house. When, an hour later, I saw smoke billowing from the center of the city, I knew that life had changed for me, for my country, forever.” Those are the words of our guest, Chilean-American author Ariel Dorfman, writing not about the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon 10 years ago this week, but another September 11.

On September 11, 1973 a U.S.-backed coup in Chile led by General Augusto Pinochet ousted Chile’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. Allende died in the palace on that day. Ariel Dorfman served as a cultural adviser to Salvador Allende from 1970 to 1973. After the coup, he went into exile, and today he is recognized as one of Latin America’s greatest writers. “Chile reacted to the terror that was inflicted upon us with nonviolent resistance. In other words, for instance, we did not go and bomb Washington because Washington had ordered and helped to create the coup in Chile. On the contrary, we created a peaceful revolution against Pinochet,” Dorfman notes.

“If you contrast that to the United States, to what Bush did as a result of this very small band of terrorists, the results have been absolutely terrible. If this was a test—and I think great catastrophes are always tests of national values and national will—alas, the United States has failed that test terribly.” [includes rush transcript]

Chile remembers its 9/11. Thousands march to remember more than 3,000 people killed during Pinochet dictatorship that was launched 38 years ago: here.

Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold, Truthout: “Senior Pentagon officials scrubbed key details about a top-secret military intelligence unit’s efforts in tracking Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda from official reports they prepared for a Congressional committee probing the 9/11 terrorist attacks, new documents obtained by Truthout reveal”: here.

A Year Before 9/11, Intelligence Unit Determined World Trade Center, Pentagon “Most Likely Buildings to Be Attacked”: here.

Stephen F. Rohde, Truthout: “The tenth anniversary of 9/11 is a fitting opportunity to ask the urgent question: What has the US government done to human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law in the name of fighting terrorism?… In a revealing new book, ‘The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse,’ Marjorie Cohn, law professor and president of the National Lawyers Guild, has collected 14 incisive and comprehensive essays which, taken together, serve as a detailed indictment of the Bush administration for its acts of commission and the Obama administration for its acts of omission”: here.

10 Years After 9/11, the Sikh Community Remains a Target of Violence and Harassment in the U.S.: here.

14 thoughts on “Chile’s 9/11


    ILPS Statement on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

    By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
    International League of Peoples’ Struggle
    September 10, 2011

    We, the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS). join the entire people of the world in commemorating the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people in the United States. In no uncertain terms, we strongly condemn these horrendous attacks on civilians and al Qaeda as the self-admitted perpetrator. We stand in solidarity with all the victims, their families and the entire people in denouncing and opposing terrorism of whatever scale.

    9/11 is a blowback on US imperialism. The US has long promoted Islamic fundamentalism as an ideological and political weapon against communism as well as against secular nationalism, especially since the Cold War. Al Qaeda emerged from the Islamic fundamentalists who were used by the US against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan but who subsequently became disgruntled with the US after Soviet occupation ended. It has vowed to combat the US and its imperialist allies for their policies and acts of plunder and aggression victimizing Islamic peoples and countries.

    Instead of being remorseful for fostering Islamic fundamentalism and the ground for al Qaeda, the US has used the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon as pretext for terrorism on a far greater scale under the policy of “global war on terror”. This has generated state terrorism and wars of aggression and had inflicted atrocities of monstrous proportions on peoples and countries worldwide. For the last ten years, we have witnessed the lopsided contest of two monstrosities, the mega-terrorism of the US and NATO powers and the mini-terrorism of al Qaeda.

    The US policy of “ global war on terror”, designed as a “perpetual” and “borderless” war, is in fact a global war of terror against the people of the world and against anti-imperialist and democratic forces. It has resulted in millions of civilian deaths and the destruction of social infrastructure. The US and its imperialist allies have seized 9/11 as the opportunity to justify and use wars of aggression and expansionism as a means to counter the ever-deepening crisis of monopoly capitalism.

    9/11 has given rise to the doctrine of “pre-emptive first strike” used by the US to invade Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2002. It has been invoked by the US to declare countries like Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the “axis of evil”; and to vilify Libya (up to 2004), Syria and Cuba in the same vein. These countries have been in the crosshairs of the US military machine. They are the target of war threats and provocations, psychological warfare and special operations, vilification by the corporate mass media, political and diplomatic isolation, economic and trade sanctions.

    The US has complemented its open wars of aggression with various forms of military intervention, including highprofile and low-profile killings of opponents in various countries, rendition and torture, the recruitment, training, arming and financing of puppet armed units and joint military operations with them. In connection with these, US Special Forces and CIA operatives are deployed in 120 countries and are carrying out a “special war”.

    The US imperialists have encroached on the territory of other countries and engaged in drone attacks on civilian populations as in Pakistan, the permanent stationing of US forces and covert US combat and related operations as in the Philippines and the opening of new US military bases, forward stations and other installations as in a number of countries in Central Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. The number and deployment of US Special Forces under the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) have increased significantly under the regime of Obama.

    So-called anti-terror legislation such as the USA PATRIOT Act as well as the designation of groups and individuals as “foreign terrorists” has also followed the 9/11 attacks. The PATRIOT Act legitimizes violations of the rights and civil liberties of the American people. It allows limitless surveillance, warrantless arrests and indeterminate detention without charges in the name of security. Hard-won civil and political liberties and constitutional rights of the people long established in bourgeois jurisprudence are set aside or violated with impunity in the name of countering “terrorism”. The PATRIOT Act has set the pattern for developing the legal infrastructure for fascism on a global scale.

    Detention facilities similar to Guantanamo prison and Abu Ghraib have been established in many countries for detaining suspected terrorists and “unlawful combatants” of different nationalities indefinitely without charges. Torture and murder have been committed, especially in secret CIA prisons across the world. The US, with or without the connivance or consent of host governments, have carried out rendition operations in many parts of the world whereby alleged suspected terrorists are covertly abducted and brought to secret detention centers for interrogation, torture and indefinite detention.

    National liberation movements , anti-imperialist leaders and even law-abiding Islamic organizations and charitable foundations have been designated as “terrorist” and subjected to political persecution, including arbitrary arrests, trumped-up charges, freezing of assets, denial of political refugee status and related protection and deprivation of social benefits, as well public defamation and incitement to violence on tpersons labeled as “terrorist”. Under the aegis of the US-led war of terror, the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and the international monopoly media have been used as instruments and willing accomplices to justify wars of aggression and crimes against humanity.

    While condemning the 9/11 attacks on civilians, the ILPS also condemns the far more destructive and vicious war of terror being waged by the US and its allies in the name of fighting “terrorism”. This war of terror is nothing less than the unrelenting attempts by US imperialism to impose political, military, socio-economic and cultural hegemony on the peoples of the world through the use of military might. The wars of aggression and military occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya have brought about far larger civilian casualties than the original 9/11 attacks. The US-NATO global war of terror has masqueraded as humanitarian intervention, protection of civilians and defense of human rights to kill and maim great numbers of people.

    In his inhuman and bizarre way, al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden has been extremely successful in provoking and bringing out the unbridled aggressive and terrorist character of imperialism. Even his killing, considered by the US as a major victory in its so-called war on terror, has served to whet the appetite of the US and its NATO partners for worse acts of mega-terrorism. It is also quite ironical that the US and NATO have once more connived with the al Qaeda through its branch, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, against the Gaddafi government, thus utterly exposing the “war on terror” as a monstrous and murderous lie.

    Estimates show that since 9/11 the US has already spent as much as $4 trillion to fund its wars, occupation and intervention worldwide. The US government under Bush and subsequently Obama, has delivered hundreds of billions of dollars to the US military-industrial complex while reducing spending for social services, entitlements and benefits. The gargantuan military spending of the US is one of the immediate causes of the current US debt crisis.

    Ten years after 9/11, the US finds itself bogged down in a historic debt crisis and protracted global depression. Its military forces are overstretched and pinned down in several theaters of war around the globe. The US retains more than 150,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and is now engaged with NATO in a war of aggression in Libya.

    Over the past decade, anti-war, anti-imperialist and armed revolutionary movements have risen to resist the US wars of aggression. The American people have repeatedly manifested their opposition to the use of 9/11 for justifying wars of aggression. They have pressed for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan while protesting the huge military spending at the expense of real economic recovery, state subsidies and social services.

    The peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Palestine continue to wage armed resistance to US-led and US-sponsored occupation and aggression. Revolutionary and progressive movements in Asia, Latin America and Africa are at the forefront of the people’s struggles for national and social liberation. Countries like Cuba, People’s Democratic Republic of Korea and Venezuela are asserting their sovereignty against US threats of aggression. Exploited and oppressed peoples in both imperialist and dominated countries are advancing the struggle against imperialist wars and for redirecting resources to jobs, livelihood, fair wages and social welfare.

    It is imperative that the peoples of the world wage militant and sustained struggles against the US and NATO wars of aggression, state terrorism and counter-revolution. It is only through the struggle of the people that the people can hope to eliminate all forms of terrorism and achieve a new and better world of greater freedom, democracy, social justice, all-round development and world peace. ###



    The imperial delusions of the United States
    Almost ten years after the 9/11 attacks, US foreign policy remains aggressive and unrealistic.
    Robert Jensen Last Modified: 07 Sep 2011 12:47

    – – – – – – – –
    “The George W. Bush administration offered a particularly intense ideological fanaticism, but the course charted by the Obama administration is much the same. . . . If the new boss sounds a lot like the old boss, it’s because the problem isn’t just bad leaders but a bad system.”
    – – – – – – – –

    Quick military ‘victories’ in Afghanistan and Iraq soon proved to be illusory [EPA]

    Ten years ago, critics of the United States’ mad rush to war were right, but it didn’t matter.
    Within hours after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it was clear that political leaders were going to use the attacks to justify war in Central Asia and the Middle East. And within hours, those of us critical of that policy began to offer principled and practical arguments against aggressive war as a response to the crimes.

    It didn’t matter because neither the public nor policymakers were interested in principled or practical arguments. People wanted revenge, and the policymakers seized the opportunity to use US military power. Critical thinking became a mark not of conscientious citizenship but of dangerous disloyalty.

    We were right, but the wars came.

    The destructive capacity of the US military meant quick “victories” that just as quickly proved illusory. As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq dragged on, it became clearer that the position staked out by early opponents was correct – the wars not only were illegal (conforming to neither international nor constitutional law) and immoral (fought in ways that guaranteed large-scale civilian casualties and displacement), but a failure on any pragmatic criteria. The US military has killed some of the people who were targeting the United States and destroyed some of their infrastructure and organisation, but a decade later we are weaker and our sense of safety is more fragile. The ability to dominate militarily proved to be both inadequate and transitory, as predicted.

    Ten years later, we are still right and it still doesn’t matter.

    There’s a simple reason for this: Empires rarely learn in time, because power tends to dull people’s capacity for critical self-reflection. While ascending to power, empires believe themselves to be invincible. While declining in power, they cling desperately to old myths of remembered glory.

    Today, the United States is morally bankrupt and spiritually broken. The problem is not that we have strayed from our founding principles, but that we are still operating on those principles – delusional notions about manifest destiny, American exceptionalism, the right to take more than our share of the world’s resources by whatever means necessary. As the United States grew in wealth and power, bounty for the chosen came at the cost of misery for the many.

    After World War II, as the United States became the central character not just in the Americas but on the world stage, the principles didn’t change. US foreign policy sought to deepen and extend US power around the world, especially in the energy-rich and strategically crucial Middle East; always with an eye on derailing any Third World societies’ attempts to pursue a course of independent development outside the US sphere; and containing the possibility of challenges to US dominance from other powerful states.

    Does that summary sound like radical hysteria? Recall this statement from President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 State of the Union address: “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” Democrats and Republicans, before and after, followed the same policy.

    The George W Bush administration offered a particularly intense ideological fanaticism, but the course charted by the Obama administration is much the same. Consider this 2006 statement by Robert Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense in both administrations:
    “I think the message that we are sending to everyone, not just Iran, is that the United States is an enduring presence in this part of the world. We have been here for a long time. We will be here for a long time and everybody needs to remember that – both our friends and those who might consider themselves our adversaries.”

    If the new boss sounds a lot like the old boss, it’s because the problem isn’t just bad leaders but a bad system. That’s why a critique of today’s wars sounds a lot like critiques of wars past. Here’s Martin Luther King, Jr’s assessment of the imperial war of his time: “[N]o one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over.”

    Will our autopsy report read “global war on terror”?

    That sounds harsh, and it’s tempting to argue that we should refrain from political debate on the 9/11 anniversary to honour those who died and to respect those who lost loved ones. I would be willing to do that if the cheerleaders for the US empire would refrain from using the day to justify the wars of aggression that followed 9/11. But given the events of the past decade, there is no way to take the politics out of the anniversary.

    We should take time on 9/11 to remember the nearly 3,000 victims who died that day. But as responsible citizens, we also should face a harsh reality: While the terrorism of fanatical individuals and groups is a serious threat, much greater damage has been done by our nation-state caught up in its own fanatical notions of imperial greatness.

    That’s why I feel no satisfaction in being part of the anti-war/anti-empire movement. Being right means nothing if we failed to create a more just foreign policy conducted by a more humble nation.

    Ten years later, I feel the same thing that I felt on 9/11 – an indescribable grief over the senseless death of that day and of days to come.

    Robert Jensen is a professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, Austin. His latest book is titled, All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice.

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.



    We’ve wallowed too long in our victimhood.

    9/11 was indeed a devastating loss of personal life. Those who died were mostly US citizens, but included people of all nations, such as the wait staff and bus boys at the sky high restaurant in the Twin Towers. It was a “shared” loss, indicative of the international inclusiveness of America.

    But having never experienced a significant mainland attack since the War of 1812 – as Noam Chomsky points out in his remarkable book, “9/11: Was There an Alternative?” – we feel ourselves invulnerable as a country. Kurt Vonnegut – who survived the allied fire bombing of Dresden in an underground slaughterhouse for prisoners of war – once commented that America was distinct among Western allies, in that it never knew the devastation of cities under siege by bombers, rockets, tanks and mortar attack.

    Then there is our national hubris, that American Exceptionalism itself was under attack on September 11, 2001. Like all powerful empires, we feel invulnerable and crush anyone perceived to have pierced through our bubble of “invincibility.”

    Chomsky and others call 9/11 a crime, which our government treated as a justification for wars that are still continuing ten years later, draining us of military lives in excess of those lost on 9/11, causing civilian deaths in the hundreds of thousands, and being a central contributing factor to the rise in the American deficit.

    Europe, which endured WW II – in which some 30 million people were killed – stopped letting the nightmarish loss of life and destruction hamper its reconstruction more quickly than America has let go of 9/11, which it still clings to and wallows in.

    BuzzFlash at Truthout, publishing since May of 2000, reported and broke stories on the attack on the Twin Towers (and the Pentagon) and the Bush/Cheney administration use of the tragedy to launch military conflicts of empire. At the time of 9/11, the Bush administration’s poll numbers were low and dropping. All that changed on 9/11, after which the full propaganda strength of the White House and corporate mass media focused on putting US citizens in a state of fear to accomplish strategic military goals to enhance America’s superpower status and extend our military footprint.

    Yes, BuzzFlash at Truthout focused on verifiable fact that Bush and Rice were warned of likely Al-Qaeda hijackings and how the stenographic DC press let them off the hook on their egregious unintentional or intentional lapse in heightening airport security that might indeed have prevented 9/11.

    Rice eventually defended her failed responsibility to protect us by saying something like “but we didn’t receive warnings that they would fly them into buildings,” which was specious because US intelligence knew for some time of just such a possibility as part of an overall Al-Qaeda strategy. Bush finally admitted, during his presidency, that they were warned of hijackings, but not of a specific target so his administration didn’t take action to protect the World Trade Center. The corporate press thought those excuses made sense, except for the simple logical fact that if Bush and Rice, among others, had taken increased steps to prevent hijackings, they might have prevented the hijackings that brought down the Twin Towers and blew up part of the Pentagon.

    Furthermore, in exclusive reporting by Jason Leopold and Jeff Kaye on Truthout, it is revealed that US intelligence services did indeed know of Al-Qaeda interest in targeting the Twin Towers and the Pentagon: “high-level DoD officials held discussions about DO5’s intelligence activities between the summer of 2000 and June 2001 revolving around al-Qaeda’s interest in striking the Pentagon, the World Trade Center (WTC), and other targets.”

    In other words, at least some individuals in the Bush administration were aware that the terrorist organization had set its sights on those structures prior to 9/11 and, apparently, government officials failed to act on those warnings.

    And then there are all the lingering threads, still unconnected, of how the CIA and FBI were on to some of the hijackers, not to mention the quickly erased connections of the hijackers to Saudi Arabian backers. There are so many unanswered questions, even more after a 9/11 commission whitewashed the dirty laundry surrounding the attack.

    But this much we know. The narrative of our government switched on a dime after 9/11, and we were cast into a state of what Chomsky calls “manufactured consent,” whipped up by a bombardment of jingoistic rhetoric coming from the federal government and the airwaves. We were kept in a constant state of fear with crayon-colored alerts. We were pawns in the great game of empire.

    As a result, our nation is on the verge of a double-dip recession. While nations like Germany forge ahead economically, Osama bin Laden achieved one of his major goals: crippling America economically.

    We are still wallowing in our victimhood. We had our time to grieve, but we haven’t moved on.

    After World War II, the US helped rebuild Europe – with the visionary Marshall Plan that even turned Germany (our former Nazi adversary) – into thriving democracies and economic engines.

    Since Barack Obama was elected, the Republican Party shifted the national narrative from 9/11 to the deficit, which – as noted earlier – has been a substantial contributor to our financial shortfall. But 9-11 has continued to be an albatross around the neck of national progress and the closure of grief and grievance.

    That will continue to weigh upon us unnecessarily until we get on with a new narrative of innovation, a belief in the strength of democracy, and an understanding that overextended empire cannot endure indefinitely while undertaking squandered and prolonged military expeditions.

    We have appropriately mourned those who died in the attack of 9/11. It is time that we honor them by advancing as a nation to write the next chapter of the great experiment in democracy known as America.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


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    Pinochet’s will unsealed

    Thursday 05 July 2012

    by Our Foreign Desk

    Chilean officials opened the sealed will of former dictator Augusto Pinochet on Wednesday.

    But the document revealed nothing about his wealth.

    The will, which was prepared in 2000, had remained under seal and General Pinochet’s family wanted it to stay that way.

    The opening was requested by Chile’s defence council of the state which wants to recover funds from Pinochet’s estate.

    The former dictator left 62.5 per cent of his estate to his widow and the rest was divided among his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, according to the notary in charge of opening the will.

    But there was no description of the size or whereabouts of his holdings.

    General Pinochet ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990 and died under house arrest, without ever being tried on charges of illegal enrichment and human rights violations.

    An academic study ordered by Chile’s supreme court determined that the dictator had accumulated $21 million (£13.5m) before he died and that only $3 million (£1.9m) of it was justified by his military salary.

    General Pinochet lost many allies after allegations about his hidden wealth were revealed in 2004 by a US Senate committee investigating money laundering. Other accounts were discovered in Europe and the Caribbean.

    General Pinochet and his family said that his money came from savings, donations and good investments.

    But the study by Universidad de Chile said that $17.86 million (£11.5m) was unjustified by his military salary and that its origins were unknown.


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