Pinochet dictatorship in Chile and the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Uncovering Pinochet‘s Secret Death Camps

7 April 2014

Facing the Past: Revealing the truth about Chile’s dirty war.

For more information visit here.

In Chile, the murderous past under dictator general Augusto Pinochet is slowly coming under scrutiny. With new evidence of extermination camps, the families of the disappeared are yearning for justice.

“I started to testify and began to get rid of those pangs of guilt”, confesses Jorgelino Vergara. Aged only 15, Jorgelino worked as waiter at the secret Simon Bolivar extermination centre witnessing horrific torture and murder. More than 3000 people were kidnapped and killed after the army general seized power in 1973. After a long investigation, charges are being laid against more than seventy people accused of involvement in the brutality at Simon Bolivar.

One of them is a member of the much feared Lautaro Brigade, Adriana Rivas. From the safety of her Australian exile, she denies charges but her views on torture remain chilling: “Everyone knew they had to do that in order to break them because Communists would not talk. It was necessary”. The secrets and brutality of the Pinochet regime are laid bare at Santiago’s memory museum. The daughter of one of Rivas’ victims, who was beaten to a pulp and then injected with a lethal poison, is now a curator there. As she fights for remembrance and justice, she wonders: “How can a human being be part of this machinery of exterminating people?”

By John Green:

The conflicted alliance which brutally devastated Chile

Monday 29th June 2015

Reagan and Pinochet: The Struggle Over US Policy Towards Chile by M Morley and C McGillon (Cambridge University Press, £22.99)

IT IS one of the real tragedies of history that unpalatable truths invariably only come out many years after the events when we can do little about them.

This is certainly true of the criminal and blatant involvement of the US in the affairs of Chile that was instrumental in ousting a democratically elected socialist president and for the loss of the lives of many wonderful people.

In this book, the first comprehensive study of the Reagan administration’s policy towards Chile, the authors state: “During the first three decades of the 20th century, the United States transformed itself from a dominant regional into a competitive global power, all the while projecting its power abroad driven less by a desire ‘to make the world a safer place for democracy’ than to put down nationalist threats to an expanding US capital and commerce.” Chile came into that category.

Returning from leave a few days after president Allende’s 1970 election victory, a US official said that the White House “had gone ape. They were frantic, beside themselves.”

President Nixon immediately instructed the CIA to prevent Allende taking power and, although they were unsuccessful they did, with Henry Kissinger’s help, destroy his government in a brutal military coup led by their puppet General Pinochet.

The authors demonstrate how over the years — even for the US — the brutality and vehemence, with which Pinochet used to stamp on democracy in Chile, was damaging its image as an upholder of democracy and human rights.

The Chilean example was replicated throughout Latin America with terrible and long-lasting repercussions. Under Ronald Reagan the US made efforts to bring Pinochet to heel and put pressure on him to moderate the malevolence of his dictatorship, while at the same time being happy to have a right-wing authoritarian regime in control in Chile.

Reagan is shown by the authors to be an effete and ignorant individual, certainly in terms of world affairs. He was happy to let his presidential team do all the detailed negotiations and footwork for him. He was the ideal front man for a cabal of right-wing ideologues — the jovial and avuncular movie screen president behind whom the ruthless conspirators could hide.

The book is dense, and of course only covers the Reagan years, after much of the dirty work had been done. It also largely ignores what the US was doing in the other Latin American countries at the time but, even so, its meticulous and illuminating research makes it a highly useful reference work.

Reagan tried to stop Falklands war

This is a video of British musician Robert Wyatt, singing Shipbuilding, against the Falklands war, on the Old Grey Whistle Test, on BBC TV.

By Tony Patey in Britain:

Reagan bid to halt Falklands revealed

Friday 28 December 2012

New light was shed yesterday on the so-called special relationship between B-movie actor turned world leader Ronald Reagan and chemist turned warlord Maggie Thatcher during the 1982 Falklands war.

Public records released under the 30-year rule reveal that Reagan showed a rare ray of insight by making a last-ditch appeal to Thatcher, who had sent a full-scale task force right round the globe to retake the islands following the Argentinian invasion.

In an 11.30pm telephone call to 10 Downing Street on Monday May 31 1982 the then US president urged Thatcher to abandon her campaign and to hand over the islands to international peacekeepers.

Official files released by the National Archives at Kew show that as British troops closed in on final victory Reagan begged Thatcher not to completely humiliate the Argentinians.

Reagan, whose country officially remained neutral, told the Tory leader: “The best chance for peace was before complete Argentine humiliation. As the UK now had the upper hand militarily, it should strike a deal now.”

Thatcher rejected his approach and ordered soldiers to fight until the occupying forces had been totally defeated.

Over the next two weeks more than 100 British troops died and around 150 mainly conscript Argentinian soldiers were killed.

Reagan, who had questioned whether the Falklands was really worth a war, faced a strategic dilemma during the conflict.

The US had a longstanding alliance with Britain, but by 1982 the far-right military junta in Argentina had become a cold war ally in Latin America as Washington sought to snuff out left-wing social movements.

The newly released files also revealed criticism of then dean of St Paul’s Rev Alan Webster for introducing notes of concern for Argentinian, as well as British, casualties in a thanksgiving service on July 26 1982 following the war’s end.

Argentinian deaths during the 74-day conflict reached 649, while 255 were killed among the British forces.

Three Falkland Islanders also died in the fighting.

The biggest single death toll came on May 2 1982 when a British nuclear-powered submarine sunk the light cruiser General Belgrano over 200 miles from the islands with the loss of 323 of its 1,090-strong crew.

Talking about Margaret Thatcher:

Red-faced Thatcher paid for son’s rescue

Friday 28 December 2012

An embarrassed Margaret Thatcher hurriedly repaid thousands of pounds of public cash used to save her playboy son from the Sahara desert, declassified files have revealed.

The penny-pinching former prime minister was busy wrecking the economy in January 1982 when her only son Mark disappeared while taking part in the Paris to Dakar rally.

Mr Thatcher and his French co-driver were found by the Algerian military after a six-day search.

The Algerian government footed the majority of the bill, but Britain was originally set to stump up £1,190.95 with Ms Thatcher contributing just £583.14.

But the “Iron Lady” scribbled a cheque to cover for her son’s racy lifestyle to head off a feared taxpayer rebellion.

Months later Ms Thatcher had to cough up for one final bill of £15.16 – for landing charges incurred by aircraft carrying her husband and son.

Thatcher memoirs detail PM’s anger at foreign secretary over Falklands. Previously unpublished memoirs reveal that Thatcher thought Frances Pym was combining with the Americans in attempt to outmanoeuvre her: here.

Newly released White House tape transcripts reveal how Ronald Reagan sought to mollify an angry Margaret Thatcher after the US invaded Grenada, part of the Commonwealth, without giving her advance warning: here.

Some secret Reagan, Bush documents released

This video is called Coverup – behind the Iran-Contra affair (1988) – 1:12:22.

From The Raw Story in the USA:

Obama to release Reagan records kept secret by Bush

Muriel Kane

Published: Friday April 10, 2009

The Obama administration is about to release 244,966 pages of documents from the Reagan White House that the Bush administration had held back for years during a review of whether to assert executive privilege.

Historians and advocates of government transparency have complained strongly about the Bush backlog, which Obama ended with an executive order signed the day after he took office that limits the review period to 30 days in most cases.

In a letter obtained by Politico, White House Counsel Gregory Craig informed the National Archives and Records Administration that President Obama “has not asserting executive privilege over any of this material,” opening the way for their release.

According to a press release from the National Archives, “On Monday, April 13, 2009, the Ronald Reagan library will open 244,966 pages of records processed in response to hundreds of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. These records include the Presidential Briefing Papers collection, Office of Speechwriting research material and approximately 13,000 pages of declassified records on numerous foreign policy topics.”

Another 797 pages of documents from President George H.W. Bush‘s administration on the topic of Saudi Arabia will be released at the same time.

President George W. Bush had held these documents back under an executive order signed on November 1, 2001. According to the New York Times, “The order, drafted by Alberto R. Gonzales, then the White House counsel, gives either an incumbent president or a former president the right to withhold the former president’s papers from the public. It was issued to block the release of 68,000 pages of records from the Reagan administration, which contain confidential communications between President Ronald Reagan and his advisers, including Mr. Bush’s father, George Bush, who was Reagan’s vice president.”

Former White House Counsel John Dean pointed out at the time, “The Executive Order suggests that President Bush not only does not want Americans to know what he is doing, but he also does not want to worry that historians and others will someday find out. Certainly that is the implicit message in his new effort to preclude public access to Presidential papers — his, and those of all Presidents since the Reagan-Bush administration.”

It is not yet known what documents are to be released. However, the fact that both the elder Bush and a representative of Ronald Reagan approved the releases suggests that papers relating to the most controversial issues of their administrations, such as Iran-Contra, will not be included.

From the New York Times:

Some Republicans have begun reassessing whether Mr. Reagan today affords the best example as they seek a path back to power. The economic crisis, which Mr. Obama last fall declared a “final verdict” on the anti-government philosophy that George W. Bush and Mr. Reagan shared, has made Reaganism less politically marketable than at any time in a generation.

This 11 March 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just nailed exactly how Ronald Reagan ran a white supremacy based campaign. Michael Brooks and the Majority Report crew discuss this.

Reaganomics, Thatcherism, and police states

This video from the USA is about a lecture by Christian Parenti.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Warning: police state ahead

(Sunday 28 September 2008)

PICK: Lockdown America by Christian Parenti
(Verso, £12.99)

TOM MELLEN reads Christian Parenti’s unflinching analysis of the US justice system.

Over 1.7 million US citizens now live in prison, a 300 per cent increase since 1980.

In some US cities, one-third of all black men are in jail, while spending on prisons has overtaken allocations for higher education in California.

Christian Parenti’s new book Lockdown America establishes the connection between these stark facts and the right-wing social and economic counter-offensive that began in the early 1980s.

Parenti marshals a vast array of evidence to underline the connection between the damage wrought by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to the substructure of US and British society in the early 1980s and the effects that have consequently devastated working-class communities on both sides of the pond.

He shows that Reagan’s reactionary social engineering, in the form of “monetarist austerity” and a “deregulatory war on labour,” led to interest rates shooting up from 7.9 per cent in 1979 to 16.4 in 1981, plunging the US economy into the worst recession since 1929.

Parenti observes that then chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volker’s “cold-bath recession” resulted in unemployment shooting up to 10 million by 1982, putting immense downward pressure on wages, as it was designed to.

He quotes Thatcher‘s chief economic adviser Alan Budd, who submerged Britain in his very own “cold-bath recession.”

In retrospect, Budd wrote candidly that “rising unemployment was a very desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes.

“What was engineered – in Marxist terms – was a crisis in capitalism which recreated a reserve army of labour and has allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since.”

In the US, the real average weekly wage fell more than 8 per cent between 1979 and 1982.

“Overall,” Parenti writes, “‘Reaganomics increased class and racial polarisation destroyed inner cities, sacked public education and public health services, created epidemic homelessness, increased exploitation of workers and caused the intensified spatial concentration of a permanently unemployed class.”

The same is true of Thatcherism and its new Labour legacy here and it is the “social wreckage” and “social dynamite” left in the wake of the ruling-class offensive that the modern criminal justice crackdown seeks to regulate and contain.

Petty gangsterism, drug peddling and the associated violence that corrodes formerly industrial working-class communities in Britain and the US today are, in Parenti’s eyes, the “natural” result of economic decline and the ongoing metamorphosis of the welfare-into-police-state.

Parenti traces the origins of today’s macho, militarised Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) teams to the armed units of spooks and police that killed off the Black Panther leadership in the late 1960s.

Once established, these expensive attack teams became self-perpetuating. “Big budget outlays compel police departments to show ‘good use’ – that is, to deploy their SWAT teams wherever possible,” he explains.

Today, paramilitary police units are increasingly “called out to execute petty warrants, conduct traffic stops and round up non-violent suspects or, more commonly, conduct raids in place of detectives doing investigations.”

In Greensboro, North Carolina, the public library’s bus-sized “bookmobile” was retired, along with its card catalogue, 2,000 volumes and two librarians, due to lack of funds.

Shortly thereafter, the bookmobile was converted into a mobile command-and-control centre for the Greensboro police department’s elite 23-man SWAT team.

While the business counteroffensive of the 1980s and ’90s helped to restore profits, it also “invigorated the perennial problem of how to manage the surplus, excluded and cast-off classes.

“This then is the mission of the emerging anti-crime police state,” he argues.

New Labour vowed to get tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime in 1997, the same year that Gordon Brown supposedly set the Bank of England free.

Back then, Britain’s incarceration rate stood at 120 per 100,000.

Today, it is 148 per 100,000, putting Britain above China, Turkey and India in the imprisonment league table.

It is a source of pride to Britain’s working-class movement that the Prison Officers Association and the National Association of Probation Officers are in the forefront of the campaign to oppose new Labour’s plan to build three US-style super-Titan prisons.

What follows from Parenti’s unflinching analysis is that the only durable alternative to new Labour’s emerging anti-crime police state is a socialist state which prioritises a crackdown on social injustice.