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Delaying publication of the settlement blacklist exposes the UN’s false narratives on human rights

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | March 7, 2019

The UN is openly flaunting its priorities and, sadly, human rights are far from a major concern for the international organisation. Since its creation post-World War Two, and having established itself as the platform which determines what constitutes a human rights violation and which countries can be considered as perpetrators, several trends have emerged within the UN which reduces the seriousness of people being deprived of their legitimate rights.

This has been achieved by creating ample space for reports on human rights violations to be disseminated, while refusing to insist upon accountability and justice. Ironically, the increasing awareness regarding human rights violations is actually creating widespread impunity, as the UN promotes itself as a platform for reporting about violations while intentionally failing to take action.

Last month, for example, a UN report said that Israel “may have” committed war crimes against Palestinians participating in the Great March of Return demonstrations; it was publicised heavily, despite a predictable outcome. Israel will not be held accountable and those celebrating the UN’s recognition of Israel having possibly committed war crimes will not be vindicated by a thorough follow-up and prosecution. Another wave of silence will descend until the UN issues another report that reaches the same conclusion. We will never see an international court having the opportunity to test the evidence from both sides to judge whether “may have” is to become “has”, and appropriate action is to be taken.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has delayed the publication of a report exposing companies and institutions that do business with Israeli settlements due to “factual complexity”. According to Bachelet, “Further consideration is necessary to fully respond to the [human rights] council’s request.”

In response to Bachelet’s decision, PLO Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi noted, “The issue of corporate responsibility to respect human rights is neither a novelty nor an anomaly in the rules-based international system.”

Publishing the UN blacklist of companies had already been delayed by Bachelet’s predecessor in 2017. Israel has lobbied extensively for the report to remain unpublished, fearing the repercussions if firms listed in the report were to be targeted by boycotts.

The Times of Israel described the report as “highly controversial”, yet neither Israel nor its apologists deem colonialism and its nefarious activities to be controversial, which is the least that can be said about the shocking level of violence unleashed by the Israelis on Palestine and the Palestinians. The truth is that there is nothing at all “controversial” about publishing a report detailing how companies and colonialism thrive upon human rights violations, unless you have something to hide.

What is controversial, though, is Bachelet’s decision to delay publication. The former President of Chile is no stranger to controversy when it comes to her country’s human rights record, despite her own suffering at the hands of the Pinochet dictatorship. The application of the anti-terror laws to the indigenous Mapuche communities was most widespread during her two terms of office. As UN High Commissioner, she also failed to voice any substantive statement over the murder of Mapuche youth Camilo Catrillanca, killed on his own land by a special force known as the Comando Jungla.

Israel might find it has an ally at the UN in Bachelet, who is clearly no novice when it comes to the targeting of indigenous populations. Her expression of “regret” at Israel’s dismissal of the UN report documenting Israel’s use of violence at the Great March of Return protests is meaningless.

When it comes to human rights violations, rhetoric stands alone, especially when it comes to premeditated violence. There is no other institution like the UN that can create a spectacle out of violence and human rights rhetoric which fuels international attention, knowing full well that any reactions — any expressions of “regret” — will be temporary and have no effect.

The blacklist is another matter altogether. Bachelet is contributing to the impunity desired by Israel in order to retain its economic benefits from the occupation of Palestine. Settlements and human rights violations are an acceptable rhetorical subject, whereas settlements and the profits for the state therefrom as collaborators in violations are a red line for Israel and the UN. By delaying publication of this report, Bachelet is sending a clear message to the Palestinians: Israel and its business links are to be protected at all costs, even if that means sacrificing more of the indigenous Palestinian population.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

While Israel Lobby Blocks BDS in Chile at the Local Level, National-Level BDS Looms

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | December 7, 2018

SANTIAGO, CHILE — After the Chilean city of Valdivia became the first municipality in Latin America to support the non-violent Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement this past June, the Chilean government has now ruled that it is illegal to boycott Israel at the municipal level throughout the entire country.

The decision was made by Chilean Comptroller Jorge Bermudez Soto on Wednesday after a long legal battle initiated by the Jewish Community of Chile (Comunidad Judía de Chile) over Valdivia’s decision to boycott Israel.

In June, Valdivia unanimously adopted a measure that specifically declared the municipality as an “Apartheid Free Zone” and prohibited the city from working with any business that benefits or is linked to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and/or Israel’s apartheid policy that targets Palestinians.

According to the text of the declaration, the ban on working with such businesses would remain in effect until Israel ends its occupation of Palestine and dismantles the border wall; until Palestinians are granted fundamental human rights by the Israeli state and are treated as equals under Israeli law; and until the right of return of Palestinian refugees is granted, as stipulated by UN Resolution 194. The initiative had been personally introduced by the city’s mayor, Omar Sabat, who is of Palestinian descent.

However, Bermudez Soto – in representing Chile’s national government – determined on Wednesday that, though the Chilean Constitution gives local governments independence on some matters, the head of the Chilean state has the exclusive right to conduct relations with foreign powers. As a result, Valdivia’s boycott of Israel was determined to be illegal.

Bermudez Soto also went on to state that Valdivia’s boycott violated Chilean law for failing to treat anyone participating in a government bidding process in an “equal and non-discriminatory” fashion. Most importantly, Bermudez Soto noted that this decision applies not only to Valdivia but to all Chilean municipalities, making it illegal to support BDS at the municipal level in Chile. As a result, the decision has made Chile the first country in Latin America to ban support for BDS at the local level.

Bermudez Soto’s language in his decision echoes the four legal complaints filed against Valdivia in June by various Zionist organizations in Chile and abroad. The Jewish Community of Chile, which filed three out of the four complaints, argued that Valdivia’s ban on services linked to the Israeli occupation of Palestine or illegal Israeli settlements violated Chilean laws on equality as well as discrimination in economic matters.

Powerful Zionist forces made Valdivia a target

Unsurprisingly, the Jewish Community of Chile has praised the move, claiming that it is the first step in creating a “Chile free from BDS.” Zionist organizations in the U.S. — including StandWithUs, whose controversial behavior was detailed in a recently leaked Al Jazeera documentary — have praised the Chilean government’s edict as “an example for the rest of the world.”

The Jewish Community of Chile is one of the most powerful organizations of the Zionist lobby in Chile, as it is the Chilean branch of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), an influential international Zionist organization that regularly hosts events with the Israeli government and supports illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The group’s current chairman is David de Rothschild and one of its vice presidents is Argentinian real estate magnate Eduardo Elsztain, who is very close to controversial Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.

WJC, as evidenced by the presence of several billionaires on its leadership board, is extremely well-funded, with its U.S. offices alone reporting an annual revenue in excess of $22 million. Given the Jewish Community of Chile’s direct association with WJC, it is safe to assume that WJC helped foot the bill for the nearly six-month legal battle aimed at derailing Valdivia’s decision to support BDS in June.

Notably, without this legal action taken by the Jewish Community of Chile and other Zionist lobby organizations in Chile, the June decision to support BDS by Valdivia – a city whose population is under 150,000 – would have likely gone unchallenged.

Prospects good for national BDS action

While the declaration of the illegality of BDS support at the municipal level is being treated by Zionist groups within Chile and beyond as a “BDS fail,” other recent actions at the national level in Chile suggest that Chile could soon follow Ireland and become the next country to support BDS as a nation.

On November 27, the Chilean Congress approved a resolution demanding that the Chilean government “forbid the entry of products manufactured and coming from Israeli colonies in occupied Palestinian territory,” in a vote with 99 in favor and seven against. The resolution mandated that the government explore how a boycott could be implemented nationwide, an important step towards the future passage of a nationwide boycott of Israel. It also recognized East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and accused Israel of being an apartheid state.

Given that the recent decision by Chile’s comptroller to make municipal support for BDS illegal relied on the lack of authority Chilean cities have in regards to foreign relations, the nationwide BDS law – which has a good chance of passing Chile’s Congress – could soon deliver a much larger victory for Palestinian rights activists — and one that could not be challenged on the same grounds that were used to nullify Valdivia’s support for the BDS movement.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Chile: Mapuche Leaders Meet, Call For Demilitarization

teleSUR | December 2, 2018

A group of Mapuche leaders Saturday met in Temucuicui to decide next possible steps after the assassination of Camilo Catrillanca on Nov. 14 by Chilean Carabineros (police).

The leaders decided on four demands they will put forward to the Chilean state.

“We demand the current government to urgently dismantle and remove said police unit (Jungle Command) considering that this constitutes a permanent threat, violating our right to live in peace, violating the rights of our children, women and the elderly,” they said in a statement.

The other three demands of the community are; self-determination for the Mapuche people, establishing a commission of historical truth ‘to clarify the crimes against humanity’ against the Mapuche people, and territorial restitution.

Marcelo Catrillanca, father of Camilo was in charge of the meeting. He urged the Mapuche people to continue their mobilizations and civil disobedience in the country.

Jorge Huenchullan, a community leader said that the participants of the meeting expressed “their pain and outrage at how the State has been carrying out policies regarding the Mapuche people”,  adding that “if the authorities agree to carry out the demands, we are willing to talk. If they are not, there will be a call to rebellion.”

Additionally, they added that “we remind the Chilean State that the lands and territory (of Mapuche) were taken over and occupied by military violence,” so those who are not Mapuche lack legitimacy and legality in that land.

The four carabineros who took part in the operation which killed Camilo were ordered into preventive detention on Nov. 30. They are charged with homicide and obstruction of justice for destroying evidence. A period of two months for the investigation was established by the prosecutor’s office.

RELATED:

Mexico’s EZLN Expresses Solidarity With Chile Mapuche Struggle

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

George H.W. Bush, the CIA and a Case of State-Sponsored Terrorism

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 23, 2000

In early fall of 1976, after a Chilean government assassin had killed a Chilean dissident and an American woman with a car bomb in Washington, D.C., George H.W. Bush’s CIA leaked a false report clearing Chile’s military dictatorship and pointing the FBI in the wrong direction.

The bogus CIA assessment, spread through Newsweek magazine and other U.S. media outlets, was planted despite CIA’s now admitted awareness at the time that Chile was participating in Operation Condor, a cross-border campaign targeting political dissidents, and the CIA’s own suspicions that the Chilean junta was behind the terrorist bombing in Washington.

In a 21-page report to Congress on Sept. 18, 2000, the CIA officially acknowledged for the first time that the mastermind of the terrorist attack, Chilean intelligence chief Manuel Contreras, was a paid asset of the CIA.

The CIA report was issued almost 24 years to the day after the murders of former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and American co-worker Ronni Moffitt, who died on Sept. 21, 1976, when a remote-controlled bomb ripped apart Letelier’s car as they drove down Massachusetts Avenue, a stately section of Washington known as Embassy Row.

In the report, the CIA also acknowledged publicly for the first time that it consulted Contreras in October 1976 about the Letelier assassination. The report added that the CIA was aware of the alleged Chilean government role in the murders and included that suspicion in an internal cable the same month.

“CIA’s first intelligence report containing this allegation was dated 6 October 1976,” a little more than two weeks after the bombing, the CIA disclosed.

Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier (Wikipedia)

Nevertheless, the CIA – then under CIA Director George H.W. Bush – leaked for public consumption an assessment clearing the Chilean government’s feared intelligence service, DINA, which was then run by Contreras.

Relying on the word of Bush’s CIA, Newsweek reported that “the Chilean secret police were not involved” in the Letelier assassination. “The [Central Intelligence] agency reached its decision because the bomb was too crude to be the work of experts and because the murder, coming while Chile’s rulers were wooing U.S. support, could only damage the Santiago regime.” [Newsweek, Oct. 11, 1976]

Bush, who later became the 41st president of the United States (and is the father of the 43rd president), has never explained his role in putting out the false cover story that diverted attention away from the real terrorists. Nor has Bush explained what he knew about the Chilean intelligence operation in the weeks before Letelier and Moffitt were killed.

Dodging Disclosure

As a Newsweek correspondent in 1988, a dozen years after the Letelier bombing, when the elder Bush was running for president, I prepared a detailed story about Bush’s handling of the Letelier case.

The draft story included the first account from U.S. intelligence sources that Contreras was a CIA asset in the mid-1970s. I also learned that the CIA had consulted Contreras about the Letelier assassination, information that the CIA then would not confirm.

The sources told me that the CIA sent its Santiago station chief, Wiley Gilstrap, to talk with Contreras after the bombing. Gilstrap then cabled back to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Contreras’s assurances that the Chilean government was not involved. Contreras told Gilstrap that the most likely killers were communists who wanted to make a martyr out of Letelier.

My story draft also described how Bush’s CIA had been forewarned in 1976 about DINA’s secret plans to send agents, including the assassin Michael Townley, into the United States on false passports.

Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush at the White House on Feb. 12, 1981. (Reagan Library)

Upon learning of this strange mission, the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, George Landau, cabled Bush about Chile’s claim that Townley and another agent were traveling to CIA headquarters for a meeting with Bush’s deputy, Vernon Walters. Landau also forwarded copies of the false passports to the CIA.

Walters cabled back that he was unaware of any scheduled appointment with these Chilean agents. Landau immediately canceled the visas, but Townley simply altered his plans and continued on his way to the United States. After arriving, he enlisted some right-wing Cuban-Americans in the Letelier plot and went to Washington to plant the bomb under Letelier’s car.

The CIA has never explained what action it took, if any, after receiving Landau’s warning. A natural follow-up would have been to contact DINA and ask what was afoot or whether a message about the trip had been misdirected. The CIA report in 2000 made no mention of these aspects of the case.

After the assassination, Bush promised the CIA’s full cooperation in tracking down the Letelier-Moffitt killers. But instead the CIA took contrary actions, such as planting the false exoneration and withholding evidence that would have implicated the Chilean junta.

“Nothing the agency gave us helped us to break this case,” said federal prosecutor Eugene Propper in a 1988 interview for the story I was drafting for Newsweek. The CIA never volunteered Ambassador Landau’s cable about the suspicious DINA mission nor copies of the fake passports that included a photo of Townley, the chief assassin. Nor did Bush’s CIA divulge its knowledge of the existence of Operation Condor.

FBI agents in Washington and Latin America broke the case two years later. They discovered Operation Condor on their own and tracked the assassination back to Townley and his accomplices in the United States.

In 1988, as then-Vice President Bush was citing his CIA work as an important part of his government experience, I submitted questions to him asking about his actions in the days before and after the Letelier bombing. Bush’s chief of staff, Craig Fuller, wrote back, saying Bush “will have no comment on the specific issues raised in your letter.”

As it turned out, the Bush campaign had little to fear from my discoveries. When I submitted my story draft – with its exclusive account of Contreras’s role as a CIA asset – Newsweek’s editors refused to run the story. Washington bureau chief Evan Thomas told me that Editor Maynard Parker even had accused me of being “out to get Bush.”

The CIA’s Admission

Twenty-four years after the Letelier assassination and 12 years after Newsweek killed the first account of the Contreras-CIA relationship, the CIA admitted that it had paid Contreras as an intelligence asset and consulted with him about the Letelier assassination.

Still, in the sketchy report in 2000, the spy agency sought to portray itself as more victim than accomplice. According to the report, the CIA was internally critical of Contreras’s human rights abuses and skeptical about his credibility. The CIA said its skepticism predates the spy agency’s contact with him about the Letelier-Moffitt murders.

“The relationship, while correct, was not cordial and smooth, particularly as evidence of Contreras’ role in human rights abuses emerged,” the CIA reported. “In December 1974, the CIA concluded that Contreras was not going to improve his human rights performance. …

“By April 1975, intelligence reporting showed that Contreras was the principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy within the Junta, but an interagency committee [within the Ford administration] directed the CIA to continue its relationship with Contreras.”

The CIA report added that “a one-time payment was given to Contreras” in 1975, a time frame when the CIA was first hearing about Operation Condor, a cross-border program run by South America’s military dictatorships to hunt down dissidents living in other countries.

“CIA sought from Contreras information regarding evidence that emerged in 1975 of a formal Southern Cone cooperative intelligence effort – ‘Operation Condor’ – building on informal cooperation in tracking and, in at least a few cases, killing political opponents. By October 1976, there was sufficient information that the CIA decided to approach Contreras on the matter. Contreras confirmed Condor’s existence as an intelligence-sharing network but denied that it had a role in extra-judicial killings.”

Also, in October 1976, the CIA said it “worked out” how it would assist the FBI in its investigation of the Letelier assassination, which had occurred the previous month. The spy agency’s report offered no details of what it did, however. The report added only that Contreras was already a murder suspect by fall 1976.

“At that time, Contreras’ possible role in the Letelier assassination became an issue,” the CIA’s report said. “By the end of 1976, contacts with Contreras were very infrequent.”

Even though the CIA came to recognize the likelihood that DINA was behind the Letelier assassination, there never was any indication that Bush’s CIA sought to correct the false impression created by its leaks to the news media asserting DINA’s innocence.

Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush with CIA Director William Casey, Feb. 11, 1981. (Reagan Library)

After Bush left the CIA with Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in 1977, the spy agency distanced itself from Contreras, the new report said. “During 1977, CIA met with Contreras about half a dozen times; three of those contacts were to request information on the Letelier assassination,” the CIA report said.

“On 3 November 1977, Contreras was transferred to a function unrelated to intelligence so the CIA severed all contact with him,” the report added. “After a short struggle to retain power, Contreras resigned from the Army in 1978. In the interim, CIA gathered specific, detailed intelligence reporting concerning Contreras’ involvement in ordering the Letelier assassination.”

Remaining Mysteries

Though the CIA report in 2000 contained the first official admission of a relationship with Contreras, it shed no light on the actions of Bush and his deputy, Walters, in the days before and after the Letelier assassination. It also offered no explanation why Bush’s CIA planted false information in the American press clearing Chile’s military dictatorship.

While providing the 21-page summary on its relationship with Chile’s military dictatorship, the CIA refused to release documents from a quarter century earlier on the grounds that the disclosures might jeopardize the CIA’s “sources and methods.” The refusal came in the face of President Bill Clinton’s specific order to release as much information as possible.

Perhaps the CIA was playing for time. With CIA headquarters officially named the George Bush Center for Intelligence and with veterans of the Reagan-Bush years still dominating the CIA’s hierarchy, the spy agency might have hoped that the election of Texas Gov. George W. Bush would free it from demands to open up records to the American people.

For his part, former President George H.W. Bush declared his intent to take a more active role in campaigning for his son’s election. In Florida on Sept. 22, 2000, Bush said he was “absolutely convinced” that if his son is elected president, “we will restore the respect, honor and decency that the White House deserves.”


The late investigative reporter Robert Parry, the founding editor of Consortium News, broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. His last book, America’s Stolen Narrative, can be obtained in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bolivia: Morales Seeks New Relationship With Chile After Ruling

teleSUR | September 29, 2018

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales hopes to start a “new era” in his nation’s relationship with Chile once the International Court of Justice rules on Bolivia’s demand for sea access on Monday.

The new age will take “advantage of our potentialities, promoting integration for the well being of our peoples,” Morales said. “It’s necessary to cure injuries from the past.”

After a years-long process, the court will decide whether the Chilean government must negotiate a sea exit for Bolivia. La Paz issued the demand in April 2013.

Morales said he values peaceful solutions for international disputes, based on international law.

“Bolivia will never give up in its cause, that’s why the Bolivian people will gather on October 1 without divisions, without difference around our three-color flag, our wiphala and our sea claim flag,” he said. “Our reunion with the sea is not only possible, but inevitable.”

He also asked the people of Chile to understand the demand shouldn’t be considered an “unfriendly act,” but rather an opportunity.

Bolivia demanded the court declare Chile must negotiate an exit for the Pacific Ocean, based on diplomatic evidence it has previously agreed to do so.

Chile is denying any negotiation based on a 1904 treaty between both countries, giving up 120,000 square kilometers of territory, including 400 shore kilometers, to Chile.

The treaty was a result of the War of the Pacific, in which Bolivia and Peru fought against Chile between 1879 and 1883.

The UN’s International Court of Justice is legally binding but it has no means to enforce its rulings over the states.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Chile Begins ‘Coffee With A Cop’ At Starbucks To Build Trust

Guards, National Stadium, Santiago, Chile, 1973 photo by Marcelo Montecino
teleSUR | September 2, 2018

Chile’s national police force and Starbucks are partnering with the hope that people regain the trust of the state security agency found guilty of embezzling millions.

Chile’s national police are implementing their own ‘Coffee With a Cop’ campaign signing a contract with Starbucks to have three police officers in each of the country’s 120 stores for two hours once per month in order improve public trust in the government institution.

As part of the state security apparatus, carabineros, once helped torture, kill and prosecute its own citizens during the Augusto Pinochet military dictatorship (1973-1990), they had partly recuperated their image over the last couple of decades. By 2017, while still quite violent, carabineros were considered the least corrupt security force in Latin America. But in March of last year at least 70 of its rank and file were found guilty of illicit association and money laundering of up to US$38 million.

By February 2018 public distrust of the carabineros rose to 48 percent, 17 percent higher than the previous year, according to a Camden survey.

The state security force is hoping to overcome distrust and to gain people’s confidence by making themselves available to chat at local Starbucks throughout the country.

The national police communications coordinator, Major Diego Rojas, told local media “we saw that people did not see us up close. Citizens talk to the police when there is a crime when there is little space (to talk).”

The carabineros and Starbucks launched a pilot program last July stationing two police officers in three capital stores in Santiago for two hours each day. Rojas said the experiment went well.

Santiago’s mayor, Claudio Orrego, added: “there will be two or three police officers and a captain (at the coffee shops). They’ll be in uniform talking to people.”

The national security force decided to work with Starbucks because: “It’s a big chain that worked with the US police. In addition, it is in different communities, (and) it has a wide-ranging clientele.”

Juan Pablo Riveros, marketing manager for Starbucks Chile, said in a statement: “Our specific role in this program will be to provide the best place for these important meetings to occur. These will be made in all our stores in Chile, once a month, on a fixed schedule.” Riveros added, “We believe that these kinds of instances are very important for everyone, we are inviting the community to talk, and that for us is the most relevant.”

However, the Director of Advertising at the University Diego Portales, Cristian Leporati, told local media the initiative misses the mark.

“This is wrong. In general, people with a greater amount of prejudice against the Carabineros, … are not those who generally go to Starbucks.” Leporati added, “It is a huge marketing mistake to not segment the target audience well. I see it as a performance to make a by-product, like generating images of them talking to people.”

Last Thursday on the International Day of the Disappeared, carabineros prevented hundreds of families of the disappeared during the dictatorship from reaching the presidential palace in Santiago to place pictures of their loved ones.

The ‘Coffee With A Cop‘ campaign in the United States began in 2011 in Hawthorne, California with the same intention of building trust between cops and citizens who were more often saw the police as hurting rather than helping the city.

September 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Chile: Activists Protest Against Dictatorship Killers’ Parole

teleSUR | August 1, 2018

Human rights activists in Chile are protesting a Supreme Court decision to release former Judge Gamaliel Soto, three former military soldiers and a police officer involved in the torture and disappearance of 31-year-old Eduardo Alberto Gonzalez Galeno in 1973.

The demonstrators gathered in front of the court in Valparaiso holding pictures of people forcibly disappeared during the military dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet, including Gonzalez Galeno, director of the Hospital of Cunco in Araucania, on September 14, 1973.

Soto had been sentenced to ten years for his involvement in ordering Gonzalez Galeno’s kidnapping, but Chile’s Second Chamber of the Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to grant him parole.

The three military soldiers, Jose Quintanilla Fernandez, Hernan Protillo Aranda and Felipe Gonzalez Astorga, as well as police officer Manuel Perez Santillan, all convicted of crimes against humanity, were also released as a result of an appeal to the country’s highest court, according to Nodal.

Their release was welcomed by the group’s legal defence, arguing that good behavior and the fact that they served half of their sentence were sufficient reason for their release.

Witnesses said Gonzalez Galeno was accused of being a member of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) during his captivity by the military dictatorship headed by military general Augusto Pinochet and, subsequently, beaten and disappeared.

Human rights lawyer Nelson Caucoto decried the court’s decision to release the men, stating there was no justification to grant parole: “We must take into account that parole is justified only by people who have been rehabilitated.

“It does not make sense to grant people freedom to live alongside others if they have not recognized the gravity of their crimes, nor have shown repentance beyond the fulfillment of certain formalities.”

Caucoto also said granting parole to people convicted of crimes against humanity, as in this case, violates the international agreements that Chile is a signatory to.

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Over 100 Years Ago Chilean and British Imperialism Cut Bolivia Off From the Sea. Today, Evo Morales Could Lead the Country Back to the Coast

By Oliver L. Vargas | CounterPunch | April 27, 2018

In 1879 began the disastrous ‘War of the Pacific’, the Chilean army invaded Bolivia’s ‘Litoral’ department, leaving the poorest nation in South America landlocked. It is thought up to 18,000 Bolivians died in the war. Chile’s war on Bolivia was at every step of the way backed and armed by the British Empire as English industrialists took control of the vast natural resources of the Bolivian coastal region. These included guano, sodium, nitrate, copper where British interests established a monopoly on the export of these primary resources. Bolivia has never given up its demand to return to the coast, it still maintains a navy in preparation, the only landlocked country in the world to do so. Today the Bolivian government, under left-indigenous president Evo Morales is taking the biggest steps yet in securing a sovereign access to the sea as he takes the case to the International Court of Justice at the Hague who have already ruled against Chile’s early objections to Bolivia’s claims, a preliminary ruling is expected on April 28th. This is more than a territorial dispute, this is a political battle to roll back the hidden legacy of British imperialist interference in Latin America. It is inconceivable that Bolivia’s previous neoliberal governments could have come this far, indeed they didn’t, Bolivia’s successes are precisely because Morales’ left government is nation building for the first time, bringing natural resources under public ownership and incorporating the social movements into the structures of popular power. Those who preceded him were more interested in short sighted frenzies of privatisation than any long term state projects like this.

The war began when the Bolivian government raised taxes on the Chilean and British companies operating in Bolivia’s Litoral department. Companies such as the “Antofagasta Nitrate & Railway Company” (CSFA) refused to pay so Bolivia moved to nationalise mining interests there. Chile then unleashed a brutal war that was to last 5 years and invade huge parts of Bolivia and even Peru. Territory they still hold to this day. Behind this was a vast network of British imperial interests that had built links to sections of the Chilean oligarchy. Ever since the fall of the Spanish Empire in the Americas, Britain was quick off the blocks in establishing informal control of Latin American natural resources. Chile’s Banco Edwards was a subsidiary of the Bank of England[1], and owned by the same family as Chile’s foremost newspaper El Mercuriothat became key in drumming up popular support for the invasion and framing it as a patriotic war rather than a war for British and Chilean mining capitalists. An English businessman with the CSFA articulated Britain’s colonial approach to the conflict, “The Bolivians are getting very cocky, but with this action they’ll realise that they can’t interfere with a subject of the crown, and also, the Chileans will realise that it is in their interests to have the English at their side”. From the start of the war began an aggressive media operation in London to portray Chile as advanced and civilised, and Bolivia as backward hordes, one newspaper labeled Bolivia a “Semi-barbarous country that doesn’t know civilization”[2]. This was a textbook divide and rule strategy that the British Empire was employing all over Africa. Britain was rigidly against Simon Bolívar’s vision of a united Latin America, (‘Gran Colombia’ as he called it), Eduardo Galeano summed it up thus, “For U.S. imperialism to be able to “integrate and rule” Latin America today, it was necessary for the British Empire to help divide and rule us yesterday. An archipelago of disconnected countries came into being as a result of the frustration of our national unity.”[3]. British economic interests penetrated deep into every port city of the Americas and played off the new republics against each other whenever its interests were threatened. Britain proceeded to play a vital role in urging and sponsoring Chile’s invasion, providing it with huge supplies of arms, financing, logistical support and the political support of its press. Bolivia’s meagre forces never stood a chance.

The British backed Chilean forces overwhelmed both Bolivia and Peru. Today it is estimated that lack of access to the sea deprives Bolivia of 1.5% in economic growth annually[4], a huge amount for the region’s poorest country. For British imperial interests the outcome was everything they hoped and more, Yorkshire industrialist John Thomas North established a monopoly over the vast nitrate fields and the British linked Edwards family reaped huge rewards from the captured natural resources. These oligarchs formed a caste that wielded huge political power and plunged Chile into civil war in 1891 when the progressive president Balmaceda tried push through competition laws to break up their monopolies, the war ended in victory for the oligarchy. In some ways even Chile did not benefit from the war, they were left indebted to Britain to the tune of millions for the support they received and the natural resources fell into the hands of a tiny number of families who exported these primary materials on the cheap to the global north. Peruvian historian Enrique Amayo, in his book on British involvement in the war perhaps summed it up best in his final heading titled “Imperialist Great Britain helped Chile, but in the end Chile too became the loser”[5].

This war nearly 140 years ago is still an open wound for Bolivians and an obstacle to Latin American integration and unity. The sense of loss for Bolivia, a small nation against the might of the British Empire and Chilean sub-imperialism. Add to this, Chile’s national chauvinism gained after the war, that they are the ‘advanced’ of the region compared with their ‘backward’ and more indigenous neighbours Bolivia and Peru, the xenophobia and discrimination is still a defining experience of Andean migrants in Santiago.

What has changed since then is a transformation in Bolivian state and society since the left came to power in 2006. Bolivia’s recent diplomatic success has its roots in the fact that the left has for the first time since the 1952 revolution, begun popular nation building, so therefore it has the capacity for long term projects of state such as this. Since Morales was swept to power in 2006 by the wave of social movements that overthrew two neoliberal governments within two years, Bolivia has ‘reclaimed’ natural resources like Gas and some mining, as well as other industries that were privatised in the neoliberal period such as the national airline, telecommunications, airports and numerous manufacturing initiatives. Alongside this, the reconfiguring of the state as the ‘Plurinational State’ with a new popular constitution and the incorporation of indigenous movements and trade unions into decision making. All of this has created a cultural confidence and given Bolivia the growth and stability necessary to push on towards historic state projects like reclaiming the sea, which Morales has mobilised the social movements behind too[6]. Morales’ anti-imperialist politics also means there is real political will for the first time. Under the neoliberal administrations preceding Morales the maritime demands were mostly rhetoric, in reality attempts were made to privatise Bolivia’s natural gas reserves to foreign multinationals and export them through the Chilean ports that were conquered by force. The neoliberal period was also one of economic and political chaos that gave Bolivia hyperinflation, mass unemployment and repression, the country was nowhere near strong enough to mobilise behind a historic demand like this. To take on, in a concerted manner, the historic legacy of British Imperialism and Chilean militarism, and against Chile’s right wing billionaire president Sebastian Piñera takes political commitment that only the current government has been able to deliver. The prospects for Bolivia look their strongest ever since Salvador Allende openly supported Bolivia’s right to return, though the coup put an end to Allende’s vision, laid out in 1970, “In this plan of reparation for injustices, I’ve also resolved that our brother country Bolivia return to the sea. Ending the confinement they have faced since 1879 due to the interference of English imperialism. We cannot condemn a people to a life sentence… a people that enslave another is not free”[7]. The historical baton has been passed from Allende to Evo to finally find a solution, the Plurinational State has a fighting chance for the first time.

Notes.

[1]François Schollaert Paz,  La Guerra del Pacífico fue concebida en Londres

[2]Ibid.

[3]Galeano, ‘Open Veins of Latin America’(1997), p. 259.

[4]¿Cómo afecta a Bolivia no tener salida al mar?Telesur.

[5]Enrique Amayo, ‘La Política Británica en la Guerra del Pacífico’,

[6]COB retoma el control de Conalcam y se suma al ‘banderazo’ por el mar’, La Razón, 06.03.18

[7]Allende ofreció mar para Bolivia’, Página Siete

April 29, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Probe finds Pablo Neruda didn’t die of cancer

Press TV – October 21, 2017

International experts announced Friday that Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda did not die of cancer, but could not conclusively determine if he was assassinated by late dictator Augusto Pinochet’s regime.

Neruda, a celebrated poet, politician, diplomat and bohemian, died in 1973 aged 69, just days after Pinochet, then the head of the Chilean army, overthrew Socialist president Salvador Allende in a bloody coup.

The writer, who was also a prominent member of the Chilean Communist party, had been preparing to flee into exile in Mexico to lead the resistance against Pinochet’s regime.

He died in a Santiago clinic where he was being treated for prostate cancer.

The subsequent death of former president Eduardo Frei at the same clinic, where he had come for a routine operation, reinforced the thesis that Neruda was murdered.

“The (death) certificate does not reflect the real cause of death,” Aurelio Luna said at a news conference on behalf of a panel of experts, referring to the official explanation that cancer killed the famed writer.

The group of 16 experts from Canada, Denmark, the US, Spain and Chile, 12 of whom worked in Santiago while the rest worked from abroad, could neither confirm nor rule out the hypothesis that Neruda was murdered.

The experts discovered bacteria that is already being studied in labs in Canada and Denmark, and could offer more insight into the cause of Neruda’s death.

“We are waiting to precisely establish the origin and whether it is bacteria that comes from a laboratory, modified and cultivated for the purpose of use as a biological weapon,” Luna said.

Following the exhumation of Neruda’s remains in 2013, studies in Chile and abroad discovered Staphylococcus aureus, a highly-infections bacteria that can be lethal, but not conclusive evidence that it was the cause of death.

The investigation began in 2011 after Manuel Araya, Neruda’s former driver and personal assistant, claimed that he was given a mysterious injection in his chest just before he died.

“Neruda was assassinated,” Araya told AFP in 2013.

His assertion is supported by the Neruda family, which maintains a lawsuit seeking to clarify the circumstances of Neruda’s death.

Pinochet, who ruled Chile for 17 years, installed a regime that killed some 3,200 leftist activists and other suspected opponents.

He died in 2006 at age 91 without ever being convicted for the crimes committed by his regime.

Neruda won the Nobel Prize in 1971 “for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams,” in the words of the award committee.

October 21, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Chile Court Orders Extradition of Pinochet Official in Miami

teleSUR | July 13, 2017

An ex-Pinochet official currently residing in Miami, where he owns property and businesses, could face extradition by order of the Chilean Supreme Court.

Retired Pinochet era army officer Armando Fernandez Larios was indicted on charges of kidnapping and manslaughter, participating in the execution of a young communist activist named Manuel Sanhueza Mellado in July 1974.

Larios is also accused of having a role in the 1976 car bombing in Washington D.C. that killed Chile’s former ambassador to the United States Orlando Letelier, a U.S. citizen who served under the leftist government of former President Salvador Allende.

The Supreme Court decision, which was unanimous, decided that requirements for extradition were met, and linked his actions to the context of “serious violations of human rights, massive and systematic, verified by State actors” during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990. Pinochet’s brutal rule was imposed following a U.S.-backed and orchestrated coup against President Allende.

“It is declared appropriate to require the government of the United States to extradite the Chilean citizen Armando Fernandez Larios for responsibility attributed to him as the perpetrator of crimes of abduction and manslaughter,” the court said in a statement.

In spite of his crimes, he was able to negotiate a deal with the United States in 1987, only serving five months in prison before being released. He currently lives in Miami, where he is a businessman and entrepreneur with property and business holdings.

During the right-wing Pinochet regime, it is estimated that at least 3,200 Chileans were killed by state actors. In addition, at least 33,000 are estimated to have been tortured, disappeared, and imprisoned for political reasons.

Last year, U.S. intelligence documents were declassified which revealed that the assassination of Letelier was on the direct order of Pinochet.

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Major Chilean Universities Heed BDS Call, Cancel Events Sponsored by Israeli Embassy

IMEMC | June 10, 2017

Student-led BDS campaigns resulted in two major Chilean universities canceling events co-sponsored by the Israeli embassy and featuring Joe Uziel, a director of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). On Monday, Alberto Hurtado of the University’s Anthropology Department announced the event’s cancellation, and yesterday the University of Chile’s Social Sciences Faculty did the same.

BDS Chile highlighted the reasons behind the campaign to cancel the event:

Universities cannot be passive accomplices in grave human rights violations. The State of Israel maintains an illegal occupation, colonization and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people, and the Israeli Embassy is this regime’s representative in Chile. In addition, the Israel Antiquities Authority is a government entity illegally based in occupied East Jerusalem that carries out illegal excavations in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Some of these illegal excavations are directed by the invited speaker, Joe Uziel.

The confiscation and theft of Palestinian cultural heritage are part of Israel’s attempts to erase Palestinian memory and cultural identity. Since 1967, the IAA has been deeply involved in cultural crimes and serious violations of international law, such as illegally removing and plundering hundreds of thousands of precious artifacts from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem. Fearing BDS campaigns, Israel has been trying to prevent information about archeological work in the OPT from being made public and to whitewash these violations by promoting events like these abroad.

Sharaf Qutaifan, from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said:

Through the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel attempts to bury the history of the indigenous people of Palestine, which was always home to groups with diverse cultures and religions. This is an extension of Israel’s policies of expulsion and cultural theft that it has carried out against Palestinians since its establishment. Israel has a troubling record of systematically looting Palestinian lands and properties, cultural treasures and even books and artworks, which continues until today.

We salute the Chilean students for pressuring the Anthropology Department of Alberto Hurtado University and the Social Sciences Faculty of University of Chile to take principled positions. Academic institutions should not lend their good names to Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. We hope to see all Chilean universities fully free of Israeli apartheid.

BDS Chile celebrated the victory:

We welcome the decisions of Alberto Hurtado University and the University of Chile. The Palestinian people expect principled acts of solidarity in support of their human rights and the respect of international law. These cancellations demonstrate Chilean students’ determination to denounce Israel’s oppression and to work towards interrupting our universities’ ties with institutions complicit in Israeli apartheid.

This latest news is another stride in the growing academic boycott of Israel in Chile. Last year, law faculty students at the University of Chile overwhelmingly voted in support of BDS, as did more than 90% of the social sciences students. At the Catholic University of Chile, the Student Council also passed a BDS resolution by a large majority.

The cancellations are also another strike against the Israel Antiquities Authority. At the end of 2016, the 8th World Archaeological Congress published a resolution condemning Israel’s excavations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and called on international academic publishers to refuse publishing works related to archaeological research in those areas.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. Visit PACBI at https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi and follow us on Twitter @PACBI

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chile Judge Jails 106 Ex-Agents of Pinochet Dictatorship

teleSUR | June 3, 2017

Over 100 former members of the secretive National Intelligence Directorate, DINA, under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet are facing jail time for the kidnapping and murder of 16 people belonging to dissident left-wing movements.

The sentence was issued early Friday against 106 secret police officers belong to “Operation Colombo” during the years that followed the 1973 overthrow of democratically-elected President Salvador Allende, when Pinochet was consolidating his U.S.-backed military government.

Judge Hernan Cristoso ruled that the 16 killed belonged either to the socialist party or leftist groups like the Revolutionary Left Movement, MIR. Those killed had been abducted before being transferred to torture centers in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

The 16 are among over 3,000 people who faced enforced disappearances and murder by the Pinochet government, which acted in league with neighboring governments in Argentina, Brazil and other South American nations through Operation Condor, a Cold War-era campaign across Latin America that resulted in tens of thousands of activist deaths.

The United States supported the right-wing governments during its competition with the Soviet Union, which it feared was undermining U.S. interests in the region through its own support for left-wing groups.

Chile has been attempting to grapple with its authoritarian past as judges and government figures increase convictions of Pinochet-era officials found to have committed human rights violations.

The 106 former agents have been sentenced to between 541 days and 20 years in jail, where they will be joining other former state security personnel that are serving time for other cases.

The Chilean government has also been ordered to pay the equivalent of US$7.5 million to the families of the deceased activists.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment