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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Remembering the other 9/11
Lesley Stahl: We have heard that half a million children have died in Iraq. I mean, that's more children than have died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Madeline Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price? We think the price is worth it.
CBS News 1996
Anthony McIntyre • 21 September 2003

9/11 is a date by now, because of its awsomeness, well engraved in the mind of the Western public. In the words of Noam Chomsky 'for the first time in history, a Western power was subjected to an atrocity of the kind that is all too familiar elsewhere.' The media devotion to the events of that genocidal day two years past has inadvertently served to bring out that other 9/11 when the democratically elected government of Chile was overthrown in a right wing military coup. But the date is not alone in linking the two 9/11s. As David Morris, writing in Alternet, commented, behind each attack somebody recruited, trained, armed, financed and coordinated the people responsible for carrying them out. In 2001 it was Al Qaeda; in 1973 that job fell to the US government. Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted, 'It is not a part of our country's history that we are proud of.' Nor should it be having gave rise, as it did, to the reign of what London MP Jeremy Corbyn described as 'one of the great murderers of this century.'

In his Alternet article Morris went on to state:

For the ties are remarkably intimate between those who planned the attacks on Chile's White House and those in charge of responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld worked in the Nixon cabinet. And in a most telling demonstration of continuity, President Bush appointed Henry Kissinger, the central player in the overthrow of the Chilean government, to chair the Committee investigating the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The latter appointment helps underscore the culture of fog surrounding US government culpability at different levels and to varying degrees in relation to both 9/11s.

Looking back through the increasingly mist beset years, the first time I now recall becoming aware of Chile was in Crumlin Road Prison in 1974. Then, Chile was a name that was redolent of the malevolence that had stalked the world in the 1930s and '40s. Religious magazines were forever appealing to their readers to write to someone either in the country itself or in authority in another country to complain about the regime of terror that was prevailing in Chile post-9/11, 1973. What was Chile's government doing and what horrors was it responsible for inflicting were the questions that probed at my teenage mind. Years later, books like Thomas Hauser's Missing or Audacity to Believe by Sheila Cassidy were common reading material in the H-Blocks. Within their pages my earlier questions began to uncover some answers.

US military war crimes in Korea and Vietnam had long since made us aware that democracy seemed rarely to have been a high priority consideration for US foreign policy makers. Such disdain for the self-determination of others - whether governed by imperialist considerations where opening up foreign markets to capital penetration was the priority, or as a response to the power and security spawned imperative in a world of realpolitik - constituted an outcome that produced similar devastating effects on democratic structures and procedures. Consequently, today's widespread international scepticism about the US decision to flout the UN and invade and occupy Iraq has hardly been conjured from nothing other than the supposed 'anti-American' bias of those who oppose the war. There is no shortage of solid material reasons for oppositionalism in this regard. In the case of Chile, US interest decided that democracy would have to go in favour of a right wing dictatorship, Secretary of State and internationally reknowned war criminal Henry Kissinger articulating US policy succinctly: 'I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.' Much like the attitude of the Blair government here - elections are only sound if they produce the result the government wants. All of which adds dynamic to the increasing disenchantment with an electoral veneer that poses as democracy and which is becoming more visible throughout the Western world, feeding into a belief once articulated by Ken Livingstone that elections don't change anything otherwise they would be banned.

Chile, like Uruguay (the Switzerland of South America) had a strong tradition of democracy - 150 years of it. And yet, like Uruguay, it succumbed to the undemocratic reign of the totalitarian right for a 17 year period. Those in the military who adhered to the constitution and refused to overthrow democratic insititutions were gotten rid off through foul means or fouler. More than 3,000 people died, many of them of a left wing persuasion who were tortured, murdered and unceromoniously despatched into the Mapocho river. Others were simply disappeared never to reemerge.

While US forces rampage through Iraq and Afghanistan trying to find the theocratic fascist Osama Bin Laden or his secular counterpart, Saddam Hussein, prosecutors in four countries are allegedly in pursuit of Henry Kissinger over his involvement in Santiago's 9/11. His penchant for helping fascists and the US willingness to harbour him belies any notion that either Bin Laden or Hussein are being hunted out of some democratic anathema in Washington towards totalitarian dictators.

On the 30th anniversary Santiago played host to private acts of remembrance. Thousands cast floral tributes at the reopened presidential palace where the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende lost his life in a robust defence of the country's democracy against a U.S. backed full frontal military assault. At Allende's mausoleum in Santiago's General Cemetery, radicals from all corners of Latin America, gathered to remember the world's first democratically elected Marxist government. 'We came not only to remember Salvador Allende, but also to say that he is alive in the fight against capitalism and the neoliberal economic model,' said Jaime Caicedo from Colombia's Communist Party: sentiments now on the increase as a result of the growing global anti-capitalist movement. Elsewhere in the city the military gangster who fronted the coup, Augusto Pinochet, showing no signs of remorse, posed at his mansion for media photographers. When Reinhard Heidreich's funeral procession weaved its way through Nazi Germany from Czechoslovakia in June 1942, where days earlier he had met a fitting end, the British and US establishments likened the occasion to that of a Chicago gangster funeral. Now such gangsters are aided in their afforts to avoid extradition and are still afforded some diplomatic courtesies. In the words of one American official 'he may have been a son of a bitch but he was our son of a bitch.' Such sentiments nourish a fertile womb reminding us of the words from a Berthold Brecht character over Hitler's body, 'he may be dead but the bitch that bred him is in heat again.'


 

 

 

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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



 

 

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Index: Current Articles



23 September 2003

 

Other Articles From This Issue:

 

Dissident Republicanism
Davy Carlin

 

Revenge or...
Pedram Moallemian

 

Chequers Nights
Eamon Sweeney

 

An Open Letter to Michael Moore: You Are Way Off Base About Wesley Clark
Terry Lodge

 

Remembering the other 9/11
Anthony McIntyre

The Letters Page has been updated.

 

18 September 2003

 

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others
Eamon Sweeney

 

Members of 32CSM and IRPWA Physically Assaulted by RUC/PSNI
Andy Martin

 

Report: Belfast Anti Racist Meeting
Davy Carlin

 

The Shadows
Carrie Twomey

 

DHSS Lives
Liam O Ruairc

 

Freedom and Democracy in Cuba Depend on Support for Dissidents
Vaclav Havel, Arpad Göncz, Lech Walesa

 

Cancun - Whose Setback and Whose Opportunity?
Michael Youlton

 

How Do You Like Your Elections - Fixed and Murky?
Toni Solo

 

Armed Struggle
Anthony McIntyre

 

Republican Sinn Fein commemorates Robert Emmet

 

 

 

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