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After the West had pushed Chile in 1973 in a brutal dictatorship people write now a new constitution

Analysis. The vote to choose the Constituent Assembly overcomes repression: ‘It is the first Constitution in the world that will be written by an assembly with an equal number of men and women and with a strong representation of the original peoples.’ The communist Irací Hassler is the new mayor of Santiago.

In Chile, the left beats expectations and has a chance to write the future

written by Andrea Cegna

The elections to determine the composition of the Constituent Assembly and the holders of many local offices on May 15-16, 2021 turned into a rout over the country’s right wing, and over the traditional parties in general. The atmosphere before the polls closed was very different, as the low turnout figures (42.5%) were worrying the left, convinced that only a repeat of the high turnout of the October referendum could have guaranteed them control of the Constituent Assembly. Instead, the right, united in a single list, won only 37 seats out of 155.

“No one expected such an outcome — those who are claiming that now are lying. Certainly, many of us dreamed of it,” Tomás Hirsch told us from Santiago. Hirsch is a deputy from Acción Humanista del Cile and among the coordinators of the Apruebo Dignidad list, a coalition formed with the Frente Amplio and the Communist Party.

The goal of the “Vamos por Chile” coalition, which brought together everyone from the Pinochetists to President Piñera, was to take more than one-third of the constituent assembly, at least 52 deputies, in order to be able to have veto power during the process of writing the new Constitution.

“The traditional parties, the so-called duopoly, had a very bad result overall. The Christian Democrats practically disappeared, electing only one representative out of 155,” Hirsch said. “Furthermore, the most important municipalities in the country, starting with Santiago de Chile, were won by candidates from the left wing of the Frente Amplio or the Communist Party. In short, it was much more than we had hoped for.”

There were 28 elected from the Apruebo Dignidad coalition, 25 from Lista del Apruebo (center-left) and 48 seats won by independent candidates, most of whom represent the movements that have been marching in the streets with a great proportion of feminist representation since October 2019. Then, there were the 17 seats allocated to the original peoples.

“Clearly, getting more than the two-thirds needed to control the Constituent Assembly should allow us to do more than just erase the most undemocratic parts of the current constitutional charter, but also to convert it into a modern Constitution with a vision of the future,” Hirsch said. “It is the first Constitution in the world that will be written by an assembly with an equal number of men and women and with a strong representation of the original peoples.”

The forces of the struggle have defeated the repression—that can be said to be the verdict on the result. It was no different in the local elections, where the right wing collapsed, the opposition candidates won outright in three regions and will go to the runoff having won more votes in the first round in another 10.

The Valparaiso region, the second most important in the country, will be governed by Rodrigo Mundaca, the candidate of the Frente Amplio. Irací Hassler, of the Communist Party, is the new mayor of Santiago, the country’s capital, beating Felipe Alessandri, the incumbent mayor. No mayor of Santiago in the last 24 years has managed to get elected twice, and the tradition has been maintained, but now the winner is a woman and a communist, a novelty for the capital of a country that must still reckon with male chauvinism as one of its weak points.

As soon as she was elected, the new mayor said: “We hope that what is happening today in Santiago is the prelude to what will happen at the national level. Today we have a historic opportunity, in this very important moment, we will have a new Constitution and we will also have a transformation starting from the neighborhoods of the municipality of Santiago to reconquer our dignity and buen vivir, in this historic moment of transformation. We are going to build a municipality for the people. We are going strong.”

President Sebastián Piñera had to once again acknowledge defeat, as he did in October: “A strong and clear message has been sent to the government, and also to all the traditional political forces. We are not responding adequately to the demands and wishes of the citizens.”


when Salvador Allende, a committed Marxist, came

within three percent “of winning the Chilean

presidency in 1958,the United States decided that

the next election, in 1964, could not be left in the

hands of providence, or democracy.

Washington took it all very gravely. At the outset of the Kennedy administration

in 1961, an electoral committee was established, composed of top-level officials from the State Department, the CIA and the White House. In Santiago, a parallel

committee of embassy and CIA people was set up.

“U.S. government intervention in Chile in 1964 was blatant and almost obscene,”

said one intelligence officer strategically placed at the time. “We were shipping

people off right and left, mainly State Dept. but also CIA, with all sorts of covers.” continuing after the introduction of William Blum:


William Blum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia in 2007BornMarch 6, 1933 Brooklyn, New York CityDiedDecember 9, 2018 (aged 85) Arlington, Virginia, U.S.OccupationJournalist, author, U.S. foreign policy criticGenrePolitical journalism, historyNotable works

williamblum.orgWilliam Henry Blum (/bluːm/;[1] March 6, 1933 – December 9, 2018) was an American author and critic of United States foreign policy. He lived in Washington, DC.[2] In 1969, Blum wrote and published an exposé of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in which were revealed the names and addresses of more than 200 CIA employees. He worked as freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America. In 1972–1973, Blum worked as a journalist in Chile where he reported on the Allende government's "socialist experiment". In the mid-1970s, he worked in London with ex-CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates "on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds".[5] He supported himself with his writing and speaking engagements on college campuses.[2] One of Blum's stories on Iraq was listed by Project Censored as one of "The Top Ten Censored Stories of 1998"[6] In his books and online columns, Blum devoted substantial attention to CIA interventions and assassination plots. Noam Chomsky has called Blum's book Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, "far and away the best book on the topic."[7] Blum supported Ralph Nader's presidential campaigns.[8] He circulated a monthly newsletter by email called "The Anti-Empire Report".[9][10] Blum described his life's mission as: "If not ending, at least slowing down the American Empire. At least injuring the beast. It's causing so much suffering around the world."[2] In an interview with C-SPAN in 2006, Blum stated: "Speaking about U.S. foreign policy, which is my specialty, the authors I would most recommend would be Michael Parenti and Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman and Howard Zinn and Alexander Cockburn."[11] Osama bin Laden statement In early 2006, Blum briefly became the subject of widespread media attention when Osama bin Laden issued a public statement in which he quoted Blum and recommended that all Americans read Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower. As a result of the mention, sales of his book greatly increased.[4] "I was quite surprised and even shocked and amused when I found out what he'd said," Blum commented. "I was glad. I knew it would help the book's sales and I was not bothered by who it was coming from. If he shares with me a deep dislike for certain aspects of US foreign policy, then I'm not going to spurn any endorsement of the book by him. I think it's good that he shares those views and I'm not turned off by that."[12] On the Bin Laden endorsement, Blum stated, "This is almost as good as being an Oprah book."[2] In an interview on MSNBC Countdown, he said: "Basically it's US foreign policy which creates anti-American terrorists. It's the things we do to the world. It's not, as the White House tells us, that they hate our freedom and democracy. That's just propaganda."[13] In a May 22, 2006 article entitled "Come Out of the White House With Your Hands Up", Blum wrote: "Since the bin Laden recommendation, January 19, I have not been offered a single speaking engagement on any campus. . . . This despite January–May normally being the most active period for me and other campus speakers."[14]



All in all, as many as 100 American operatives were dedicated to the operation.

They began laying the groundwork for the election years ahead, a Senate

investigating committee has disclosed, “by establishing operational relationships

with key political parties and by creating propaganda and organizational

mechanisms capable of influencing key sectors of the population.” Projects were

undertaken “to help train and organize ‘anti-communists’’’ among peasants, slum

dwellers, organized labor, students,the media, etc.

After channeling funds to several non-leftist parties,the electoral team eventually

settled on a man of the center, Eduardo Frei, the candidate of the Christian

Democratic Party, as the one most likely to block Allende’s rise to power. The CIA

underwrote more than half the party’s total campaign costs,one of the reasons that

the Agency’s overall electoral operation reduced the U.S.Treasury by an estimated

$20 million – much more per voter than that spent by the Johnson and Goldwater

campaigns combined in the same year in the United States. The bulk of the

expenditures went toward propaganda. As the Senate committee described it:

In addition to support for political parties, the CIA mounted a massive anticommunist propaganda campaign. Extensive use was made of the press, radio, films, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, direct mailings, paper streamers, and wall

painting. It was a “scare campaign”, which relied heavily on images of Soviet tanks

and Cuban firing squads and was directed especially to women. Hundreds of

thousands of copies of the anti-communist pastoral letter of Pope Pius XI were

distributed by Christian Democratic organizations. They carried the designation,

“printed privately by citizens without political affiliation, in order more broadly to

disseminate its content.” “Disinformation” and “black propaganda” – material

which purported to originate from another source, such as the Chilean Communist

Party – were used as well.

The scare campaign played up to the fact that women in Chile, as elsewhere in

Latin America, are traditionally more religious than men,more susceptible to being

alarmed by the specter of “godless, atheist communism”. One radio spot featured

the sound of a machine gun,followed by a woman’s cry: “They have killed my child

– the communists.” The announcer then added in impassioned tones: “Communism

offers only blood and pain. For this not to happen in Chile,we must elect Eduardo

Frei president.”

Other scare tactics centered around warnings of Russian control, and that the left

would confiscate everything near, dear and holy.

The committee report continued:

The propaganda campaign was enormous. During the first week of intensive

propaganda activity (the third week of June 1964), a CIA-funded propaganda group

produced twenty radio spots per day in Santiago and on 44 provincial stations;

twelve-minute news broadcasts five times daily on three Santiago stations and 24

provincial outlets; thousands of cartoons, and much paid press advertising. By the

end of June, the group produced 24 daily newscasts in Santiago and the provinces,

26 weekly “commentary” programs, and distributed 3,000 posters daily.

One poster which appeared in the thousands showed children with a hammer

and sickle stamped on their foreheads.

Newspaper articles from elsewhere in Latin America which supported the

political lines of the CIA campaign were collected and reprinted in Chile.

Undoubtedly, many of these articles had been written in the first place by CIA

stations in the particular countries. There were also endorsements of Frei solicited

from famous personages abroad, advertisements such as a “message from the

women of Venezuela”, and a vitriolic anti-communist radio broadcast by Juanita

Castro, sister of Fidel,who was on a CIA-organized speaking tour of South America:

“If the Reds win in Chile,” she said, “no type of religious activity will be possible ...

Chilean mother,I know you will not allow your children to be taken from you and

sent to the Communist bloc, as in the case of Cuba.”

The Senate committee also revealed that:

In addition to buying propaganda piecemeal,the [CIA] Station often purchased

it wholesale by subsidizing Chilean media organizations friendly to the United

States.Doing so was propaganda writ large.Instead of placing individual items,

the CIA supported – or even founded – friendly media outlets which might not

have existed in the absence of Agency support.

From 1953 through 1970 in Chile,the Station subsidized wire services, magazines

written for intellectual circles, and a right-wing weekly newspaper.

Of one subsidized newspaper,a State Department veteran of the campaign recalls

that “The layout was magnificent.The photographs were superb.It was a Madison

Avenue product far above the standards of Chilean publications.”

The same could be said about the electioneering itself. Besides running political

action projects on its own in a number of important voting blocks,the CIA directed

the Christian Democrats’ campaign along American-style lines, with voter

registration, get-out-the-vote drives, and professional management firms to carry

out public opinion surveys. To top it all off, they sent for a ringer – an election

specialist from the staff of that eminent connoisseur and guardian of free elections,

Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago. What the function of Daley’s man in Chile was,

can only be guessed at.

Several of the grassroots programs funded by the CIA were those run by Roger

Vekemans, a Belgian Jesuit priest who arrived in Chile in 1957 and founded a

network of social-action organizations, one of which grew to have 100 employees

and a $30 million annual budget.By his own declaration in 1963,Vekemans received

$5 million from the CIA as well as a like amount from AID to guide his

organizations’ resources in support of the Christian Democrats and Eduardo Frei,

with whom Vekemans had close relations. The Jesuit’s programs served the classic

function of channeling revolutionary zeal along safe reformist paths.Church people

working for the CIA in the Third World have typically been involved in gathering

information about the activities and attitudes of individual peasants and workers,

spotting the troublemakers, recruiting likely agents, preaching the gospel of anticommunism, acting as funding conduits, and serving as a religious “cover” for

various Agency operations.An extreme anti-communist,Vekemans was a front-line

soldier in the struggle of the Christian Democrats and the Catholic Church against

the “liberation theology” then gaining momentum amongst the more liberal clergy

in Latin America and which would lead to the historic dialogue between

Christianity and Marxism.

The operation worked. It worked beyond expectations. Frei received 56 percent

of the vote to Allende’s 39 percent. The CIA regarded “the anti-communist scare

campaign as the most effective activity undertaken”, noted the Senate committee.

This was the tactic directed toward Chilean women in particular. As things turned

out,Allende won the men’s vote by 67,000 over Frei (in Chile men and women vote

separately), but amongst the women Frei came out ahead by 469,000 ...testimony,

once again, to the remarkable ease with which the minds of the masses of people

can be manipulated, in any and all societies.

What was there about Salvador Allende that warranted all this feverish activity?

What threat did he represent, this man against whom the great technical and

economic resources of the world’s most powerful nation were brought to bear?

Allende was a man whose political program, as described by the Senate committee

report, was to:

Redistribute income [two percent of the population received 46 percent of the

income] and reshape the Chilean economy, beginning with the nationalization of

major industries, especially the copper companies; greatly expanded agrarian

reform; and expanded relations with socialist and communist countries.

A man committed to such a program could be expected by American policy

makers to lead his country along a path independent of the priorities of US foreign

policy and the multinationals. (As his later term as president confirmed, he was

independent of any other country as well.)

The CIA is an ongoing organization. Its covert activities are ongoing, each day, in

each country. Between the 1964 and 1970 presidential elections many of the

programs designed to foster an anti-leftist mentality in different sections of the

population continued; much of the propaganda and electioneering mechanisms

remained in place to support candidates of the 1965 and 1969 congressional

elections; in the latter election, financial support was given to a splinter socialist

party in order to attract votes away from Allende’s Socialist Party; this reportedly

deprived the party of a minimum of seven congressional seats.

The Senate committee described some of the other individual covert projects

undertaken by the CIA during this period:

● Wresting control of Chilean university student organizations from the


● Supporting a women’s group active in Chilean political and intellectual life;

● Combatting the communist-dominated Central Unica de Trabajadores Chilenos

(CUTCh) and supporting democratic [i.e., anti-communist] labor groups; and,

● Exploiting a civic action front group to combat communist influence within

cultural and intellectual circles.

In 1968, at the same time the CIA was occupied in subverting unions dominated

by the Chilean Communist Party, a US Senate committee was concluding that the

Latin American labor movement had largely abandoned its revolutionary outlook:

“Even the Communist-dominated unions, especially those which follow the

Moscow line, now generally accept the peaceful road as a viable alternative.”

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because

of the irresponsibility of its own people.” Thus spoke Henry Kissinger, principal

adviser to the President of the United States on matters of national security. The

date was 27 June 1970, a meeting of the National Security Council’s 40 Committee,

and the people Kissinger suspected of imminent irresponsibility were the Chileans

whom he feared might finally elect Salvador Allende as their president.

The United States did not stand by idly. At this meeting approval was given to

a $300,000 increase in the anti-Allende “spoiling” operation which was already

underway. The CIA trained its disinformation heavy artillery on the Chilean

electorate, firing shells marked: “An Allende victory means violence and Stalinist

repression.” Black propaganda was employed to undermine Allende’s coalition and

support by sowing dissent between the Communist Party and the Socialist Party,

the main members of the coalition, and between the Communist Party and the


Nonetheless,on 4 September Allende won a plurality of the votes.On 24 October,

the Chilean Congress would meet to choose between him and the runnerup, Jorge

Alessandri of the conservative National Party. By tradition, Allende was certain to

become president.

The United States had seven weeks to prevent him from taking office. On 15

September, President Nixon met with Kissinger, CIA Director Richard Helms, and

Attorney General John Mitchell. Helms’ handwritten notes of the meeting have

become famous:

One in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile! ... not concerned with risks involved ...

$10,000,000 available, more if necessary ... make the economy scream ...

Funds were authorized by the 40 Committee to bribe Chilean congressmen to

vote for Alessandri, but this was soon abandoned as infeasible, and under intense

pressure from Richard Nixon, American efforts were concentrated on inducing the

Chilean military to stage a coup and then cancel the congressional vote altogether.

At the same time, Nixon and Kissinger made it clear to the CIA that an

assassination of Allende would not be unwelcome.One White House options-paper discussed various ways this could be carried out.

A fresh propaganda campaign was initiated in Chile to impress upon the military,

amongst others, the catastrophe which would befall the nation with Allende as

president.In addition to the standard communist horror stories,it was made known

that there would be a cutoff of American and other foreign assistance; this was

accompanied by predictions/rumors of the nationalization of everything down to

small shops, and of economic collapse.The campaign actually affected the Chilean

economy adversely and a major financial panic ensued.

In private, Chilean military officers were warned that American military aid

would come to a halt if Allende were seated.

During this interim period, according to the CIA, over 700 articles, broadcasts,

editorials and similar items were generated in the Latin American and European

media as a direct result of Agency activity.This is apart from the “real” media stories

inspired by the planted ones. Moreover, journalists in the pay of the CIA arrived in

Chile from at least ten different countries to enhance their material with on-thespot credibility.

The following portion of a CIA cable of 25 September 1970 offers some indication

of the scope of such media operations:

Sao Paulo, Tegucigalpa, Buenos Aires, Lima, Montevideo, Bogota, Mexico City

report continued replay of Chile theme materials. Items also carried in New York

Times and Washington Post. Propaganda activities continue to generate good

coverage of Chile developments along our theme guidance.

The CIA also gave “inside” briefings to American journalists about the situation

in Chile. One such briefing provided to Time enlightened the magazine as to

Allende’s intention to support violence and destroy Chile’s free press.This,observed

the Senate report, “resulted in a change in the basic thrust” of the Time story.

When Allende criticized the leading conservative newspaper El Mercurio (heavily

funded by the CIA), the Agency “orchestrated cables of support and protest from

foreign newspapers, a protest statement from an international press association,

and world press coverage of the association’s protest.”

A cable sent from CIA headquarters to Santiago on 19 October expressed concern

that the coup still had no pretext or justification that it can offer to make it

acceptable in Chile or Latin America. It therefore would seem necessary to create

one to bolster what will probably be [the military’s] claim to a coup to save Chile

from communism.

One of headquarters’ suggestions was the fabrication of:

Firm intel[ligence] that Cubans planned to reorganize all intelligence services

along Soviet/Cuban mold thus creating structure for police state ... With

appropriate military contact can determine how to “discover” intel[ligence] report

which could even be planted during raids planned by Carabineros [the police].

Meanwhile,the Agency was in active consultation with several Chilean military

officers who were receptive to the suggestion of a coup. (The difficulty in finding

such officers was described by the CIA as a problem in overcoming “the apolitical,

constitutional-oriented inertia of the Chilean military”.) They were assured that

the United States would give them full support short of direct military involvement.

The immediate obstacle faced by the officers was the determined opposition of the

Commander-in-Chief of the Army, René Schneider, who insisted that the

constitutional process be followed. He would have to be “removed”.

In the early morn of 22 October the CIA passed “sterilized” machine guns and

ammunition to some of the conspirators. (Earlier they had passed tear gas.) That

same day, Schneider was mortally wounded in an attempted kidnap (or “kidnap”)

on his way to work. The CIA station in Santiago cabled its headquarters that the

general had been shot with the same kind of weapons it had delivered to the

military plotters, although the Agency later claimed to the Senate that the actual

assassins were not the same ones it had passed the weapons to.

The assassination did not avail the conspirators’ purpose. It only served to rally

the army around the flag of constitutionalism; and time was running out.Two days

later,Salvador Allende was confirmed by the Chilean Congress. On 3 November he

took office as president.

The stage was set for a clash of two experiments. One was Allende’s “socialist”

experiment aimed at lifting Chile from the mire of underdevelopment and

dependency and the poor from deprivation.The other was, as CIA Director William

Colby later put it, a “prototype or laboratory experiment to test the techniques of

heavy financial investment in an effort to discredit and bring down a government.”

Although there were few individual features of this experiment which were

unique for the CIA, in sum total it was perhaps the most multifarious intervention

ever undertaken by the United States. In the process it brought a new word into

the language: destabilization.

“Not a nut or bolt [will] be allowed to reach Chile under Allende”,warned thenAmerican Ambassador Edward Korry before the confirmation. The Chilean

economy, so extraordinarily dependent upon the United States, was the country’s

soft underbelly, easy to pound. Over the next three years, new US government

assistance programs for Chile plummeted almost to the vanishing point; similarly

with loans from the US Export-Import Bank and the Inter-American Development

Bank, in which the United States held what amounted to a veto; and the World

Bank made no new loans at all to Chile during 1971-73. US government financial

assistance or guarantees to American private investment in Chile were cut back

sharply and American businesses were given the word to tighten the economic


What this boycott translated into were things like the many buses and taxis out

of commission in Chile due to a lack of replacement parts; and similar difficulties

in the copper, steel, electricity and petroleum industries.American suppliers refused

to sell needed parts despite Chile’s offer to pay cash in advance.

Multinational ITT, which didn’t need to be told what to do, stated in a 1970

memorandum: “A more realistic hope among those who want to block Allende is

that a swiftly-deteriorating economy will touch off a wave of violence leading to a

military coup.”

In the midst of the near disappearance of economic aid, and contrary to its

warning,the United States increased its military assistance to Chile during 1972 and

1973 as well as training Chilean military personnel in the United States and Panama.

The Allende government, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, was

reluctant to refuse this “assistance” for fear of antagonizing its military leaders.

Perhaps nothing produced more discontent in the population than the shortages,

the little daily annoyances when one couldn’t get a favorite food,or flour or cooking

oil, or toilet paper, bed sheets or soap, or the one part needed to make the TV set

or the car run; or,worst of all,when a nicotine addict couldn’t get a cigarette. Some

of the scarcity resulted from Chile being a society in transition: various changeovers

to state ownership, experiments in workers’ control, etc. But this was minor

compared to the effect of the aid squeeze and the practices of the omnipresent

American corporations. Equally telling were the extended strikes in Chile, which

relied heavily on CIA financial support for their prolongation.

In October 1972, for example, an association of private truck owners instituted a

work-stoppage aimed at disrupting the flow of food and other important

commodities, including in their embargo even newspapers which supported the

government (subtlety was not the order of the day in this ultra-polarized country).

On the heels of this came store closures, countless petit-bourgeois doing their bit

to turn the screws of public inconvenience – and when they were open, many held

back on certain goods,like cigarettes,to sell them on the black market to those who

could afford the higher prices. Then most private bus companies stopped running;

on top of this, various professional and white-collar workers,largely unsympathetic

to the government, walked out, with or without CIA help.

Much of this campaign was aimed at wearing down the patience of the public,

convincing them that “socialism can’t work in Chile”. Yet there had been worse

shortages for most of the people before the Allende government – shortages of food,

housing, health care, and education, for example. At least half the population had

suffered from malnutrition. Allende, who was a medical doctor, explained his free

milk program by pointing out that “Today in Chile there are over 600,000 children

mentally retarded because they were not adequately nourished during the first eight

months of their lives, because they did not receive the necessary proteins.”

Financial aid was not the CIA’s only input into the strike scene. More than 100

members of Chilean professional associations and employers’ guilds were graduates

of the school run by the American Institute for Free Labor Development in Front

Royal, Virginia – “The Little Anti-Red Schoolhouse”. AIFLD, the CIA’s principal

Latin America labor organization, also assisted in the formation of a new

professional association in May 1971: the Confederation of Chilean Professionals.

The labor specialists of AIFLD had more than a decade’s experience in the art of

fomenting economic turmoil (or keeping workers quiescent when the occasion

called for it).

CIA propaganda merchants had a field day with the disorder and the shortages,

exacerbating both by instigating panic buying. All the techniques,the whole of the

media saturation, the handy organizations created for each and every purpose, so

efficiently employed in 1964 and 1970, were facilitated by the virtually unlimited

license granted the press: headlines and stories which spread rumors about

everything from nationalizations to bad meat and undrinkable water ... “Economic

Chaos! Chile on Brink of Doom!” in the largest type one could ever expect to see in

a newspaper ... raising the specter of civil war, when not actually calling for it,

literally ... alarmist stories which anywhere else in the world would have been

branded seditious ...the worst of London’s daily tabloids or the National Enquirer

of the United States appear as staid as a journal of dentistry by comparison.

In response,on a few occasions,the government briefly closed down a newspaper

or magazine, on the left as well as on the right, for endangering security.

The Agency’s routine support of the political opposition was extended to include

the extreme rightist organization Patria y Libertad,which the CIA reportedly helped

to form,and whose members it trained in guerrilla warfare and bombing techniques

at schools in Bolivia and Los Fresnos, Texas. Patria y Libertad marched in rallies in

full riot gear, engaged repeatedly in acts of violence and provocation, and its

publications openly called for a military coup.

The CIA was engaged in courting the military for the same end.Providing military

equipment meant the normal presence of US advisers and the opportunity for

Americans to work closely with the Chileans. Since 1969, the Agency had been

establishing “intelligence assets” in all three branches of the Chilean armed services,

and included “command-level officers, field- and company-grade officers, retired

general staff officers and enlisted men.” Employing its usual blend of real and

fabricated information, along with forged documents,the CIA endeavored to keep

the officers “on the alert”.One approach was to convince them that,with Allende’s

approval, the police investigations unit was acting in concert with Cuban

intelligence to gather information prejudicial to the army high command.

Newspapers in Santiago supported by the CIA, particularly El Mercurio, often

concentrated on influencing the military.They alleged communist plots to disband

or destroy the armed services, Soviet plans to establish a submarine base in Chile,

North Korea setting up a training base, and so forth. The papers stirred up hatred

against the government in the ranks, and in some cases entire columns were

published which were calculated to change the opinion of a single officer, in one

case an officer’s wife.

The Agency also subsidized a number of books and other kinds of publications

in Chile.One was a short-lived anti-government newsletter directed at the military.

Later the CIA made use of a weekly humor and political magazine, SEPA, aimed at

the same audience. The cover of the 20 March 1973 issue featured the headline:

“Robert Moss.An English Recipe for Chile – Military Control.” Moss was identified

by the magazine as a British sociologist. A more relevant description would have

been that he was a “news” specialist associated with known CIA media fronts.One

of these,Forum World Features of London (see Western Europe chapter),published

Moss’s book, Chile’s Marxist Experiment, in 1973, which was widely circulated by

the junta to justify its coup.

Moss was associated with a CIA-funded think-tank in Santiago which went by

the supremely innocuous name of the Institute of General Studies. The IGS,

amongst other activities, conducted seminars for Chilean military officers in which

it was explained, in technical, apolitical terms, why Allende was a disaster for the

economy and why a laissez-faire system offered a solution to Chile’s ills. There is

no way of measuring to what extent such lectures influenced future actions of the

military, although after the coup the junta did appoint several IGS people to top

government posts.

The CIA’s Santiago station was meanwhile collecting the operational intelligence

necessary in the event of a coup: “arrest lists,key civilian installations and personnel

that needed protection, key government installations which need to be taken over,

and government contingency plans which would be used in case of a military

uprising.” The CIA later asserted that this information was never passed to the

Chilean military, a claim that does not give one the feeling of having been united

with the probable. It should be noted in this context that in the days immediately

following the coup the Chilean military went directly to the residences of many

Americans and other foreigners living in Santiago who had been sympathetic to the

Allende government.

The government contingency plans were presumably obtained by the Agency

through its infiltration of the various parties which made up Allende’s Unidad

Popular (UP) coalition.CIA agents in the upper echelons of Allende’s own Socialist

Party were “paid to make mistakes in their jobs”.In Washington, burglary was the

Agency’s tactic of choice for obtaining documents. Papers were taken from the

homes of several employees of the Chilean Embassy; and the embassy itself,which

had been bugged for some time,was burgled in May 1972 by some of the same men

who the next month staged the Watergate break-in.

In March 1973,the UP won about 44 percent of the vote in congressional elections,

compared to some 36 percent in 1970. It was said to be the largest increase an

incumbent party had ever received in Chile after being in power more than two

years. The opposition parties had publicly expressed their optimism about

capturing two-thirds of the congressional seats and thus being able to impeach

Allende. Now they faced three more years under him, with the prospect of being

unable, despite their best and most underhanded efforts,to prevent his popularity

from increasing even further.

During the spring and summer the destabilization process escalated. There was

a whole series of demonstrations and strikes, with an even longer one by the

truckers. Time magazine reported: “While most of the country survived on short

rations, the truckers seemed unusually well equipped for a lengthy holdout.” A

reporter asked a group of truckers who were camping and dining on “a lavish

communal meal of steak, vegetables, wine and empanadas” where the money for it came from. “From the CIA,” they answered laughingly.

There was as well daily sabotage and violence, including assassination. In June,

an abortive attack upon the Presidential Palace was carried out by the military and

Patria y Libertad.

In September the military prevailed. “It is clear,” said the Senate investigating

committee, “the CIA received intelligence reports on the coup planning of the group

which carried out the successful September 11 coup throughout the months of July,

August, and September 1973.”

The American role on that fateful day was one of substance and shadow. The

coup began in the Pacific coast port of Valparaiso with the dispatch of Chilean naval

troops to Santiago, while US Navy ships were present offshore, ostensibly to

participate in joint maneuvers with the Chilean Navy. The American ships stayed

outside of Chilean waters, but remained on the alert. A US WB-575 plane – an

airborne communications control system – piloted by US Air Force officers, cruised

in the Chilean sky. At the same time, 32 American observation and fighter planes

were landing at the US air base in Mendoza, Argentina, not far from the Chilean


In Valparaiso, while US military officers were meeting with their Chilean

counterparts, a young American, Charles Horman, who lived in Santiago and was

stranded near Valparaiso by the coup, happened to engage in conversation with

several Americans, civilian and military.A retired naval engineer told him: “We came

down to do a job and it’s done.” One or two American military men also gave away

clues they shouldn’t have. A few days later, Horman was arrested in his Santiago

residence. They knew where to find him. He was never seen again.

Thus it was that they closed the country to the outside world for a week,while the

tanks rolled and the soldiers broke down doors;the stadiums rang with the sounds

of execution and the bodies piled up along the streets and floated in the river; the

torture centers opened for business; the subversive books were thrown to the

bonfires; soldiers slit the trouser legs of women, shouting that “In Chile women

wear dresses!”; the poor returned to their natural state; and the men of the world in Washington and in the halls of international finance opened up their checkbooks.

One year later, President Gerald Ford was moved to declare that what the United

States had done in Chile was “in the best interest of the people in Chile and

certainly in our own best interest.” The remark could have been punctuated with

a pinch of snuff.

What the United States had done in Chile, thought Gerald Ford, or so he said,

“was to help and assist the preservation of opposition newspapers and electronic

media and to preserve opposition political parties.” The reporters present were kind,

or obsequious, enough not to ask Ford what he thought of the junta’s Chile where

all opposition, of any kind, in any form, in any medium, was forbidden.

It was of course de rigueur for some other officials and congressmen to assert that

what the United States had really done in Chile was repel the Soviet threat to the

Western hemisphere. But Soviet behavior toward the Allende government simply

did not tally with any such hypothesis; the language of US intelligence reports

confirms that: “Soviet overtures to Allende ... characterized by caution and

restraint”; “Soviet desire to avoid” another Cuba-type commitment; Russians

“advising Allende to put his relations with the United States in order ease the

strain between the two countries.”

A CIA study of 7 September 1970, three days after Allende’s electoral victory,


1. The U.S. has no vital national interests within Chile. There would, however, be

tangible economic losses.

2. The world military balance of power would not be significantly altered by an

Allende government.

3. An Allende victory would, however, create considerable political and

psychological costs:

a. Hemispheric cohesion would be threatened by the challenge that an Allende

government would pose to the OAS [Organization of American States], and by the

reactions that it would create in other countries. ...

b. An Allende victory would represent a definite psychological set-back to the U.S

and a definite psychological advantage for the Marxist idea.

The “tangible economic losses” likely referred to the expected nationalization of

US copper-mining companies.This in fact occurred,with no compensation paid to

the companies by the Unidad Popular,which calculated that due to “excess profits”

over many years the companies actually owed Chile money.

“The reactions that it would create in other countries” ... What can this mean

but that the people of other countries might be inspired to consider their own

socialist solution to the economic and social problems that beset them? Allende’s

Chile might thus turn out to be that specter that haunted the corridors of official

Washington: a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model.

Washington knows no heresy in the Third World but genuine independence.In the

case of Salvador Allende independence came clothed in an especially provocative

costume – a Marxist constitutionally elected who continued to honor the

constitution. This would not do. It shook the very foundation stones upon which

the anti-communist tower is built: the doctrine, painstakingly cultivated for

decades,that “communists” can take power only through force and deception,that

they can retain that power only through terrorizing and brainwashing the

population. There could be only one thing worse than a Marxist in power – an

elected Marxist in power.

The Anti-Empire Report “Come Out of the White House with Your Hands Up!” by William Blum May 22, 2006

“I used to be called brother, John, Daddy, uncle, friend,” John Allen Muhammad said at his trial in Maryland earlier this month. “Now I'm called evil.”

Muhammad, formerly known as "the DC Sniper," was on trial for six slayings in Maryland in 2002. Already sentenced to die in Virginia for several other murders, he insisted that he was innocent despite the evidence against him -- including DNA, fingerprints, and ballistics analysis of a rifle found in his car. [1]

Bereft of any real political power, I'm reduced to day-dreaming . . . a courtroom in some liberated part of the world, in the not-too-distant future, a tribunal . . . a defendant testifying . . .

"I used to be called brother, George, son, Daddy, uncle, friend, Dubya, governor, president. Now I'm called war criminal," he says sadly, insisting on his innocence despite the overwhelming evidence presented against him.

Can the man ever take to heart or mind the realization that America's immune system is trying to get rid of him? Probably not. No more than his accomplice can.

Two years ago the vice president visited Yankee Stadium for a baseball game. During the singing of "God Bless America" in the seventh inning, an image of Cheney was shown on the scoreboard. It was greeted with so much booing that the Yankees quickly removed the image. [2] Yet last month the vice president showed up at the home opener for the Washington Nationals to throw out the first pitch. The Washington Post reported that he "drew boisterous boos from the moment he stepped on the field until he jogged off. The derisive greeting was surprisingly loud and long, given the bipartisan nature of our national pastime, and drowned out a smattering of applause reported from the upper decks." [3]

It will be interesting to see if Cheney shows up again before a large crowd in a venue which has not been carefully chosen to insure that only right-thinking folks will be present.

Even that might not help. Twice in the last few months, a public talk of Donald Rumsfeld has been interrupted by people in the audience calling him a war criminal and accusing him of lying to get the United States into war. This happened in a meeting room at the very respectable National Press Club in Washington and again at a forum at the equally respectable Southern Center for International Policy in Atlanta.

In Chile, last November, as former dictator Augusto Pinochet moved closer to being tried for the deaths of thousands, he declared to a judge: "I lament those losses and suffer for them. God does things, and he will forgive me if I committed some excesses, which I don't believe I did." [4]

Dubya couldn't have said it better. Let's hope that one day we can compel him to stand before a judge, not one appointed by him.

But what about the Marshall Plan?

During my years of writing and speaking about the harm and injustice inflicted upon the world by unending United States interventions, I've often been met with resentment from those who accuse me of chronicling only the negative side of US foreign policy and ignoring the many positive sides. When I ask the person to give me some examples of what s/he thinks show the virtuous face of America's dealings with the world in modern times, one of the things almost always mentioned is The Marshall Plan. This is explained in words along the lines of: "After World War II, we unselfishly built up Europe economically, including our wartime enemies, and allowed them to compete with us." Even those today who are very cynical about US foreign policy, who are quick to question the White House's motives in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, have no problem in swallowing this picture of an altruistic America of the period of 1948-1952.

After World War II, the United States, triumphant abroad and undamaged at home, saw a door wide open for world supremacy. Only the thing called "communism" stood in the way, politically, militarily, and ideologically. The entire US foreign policy establishment was mobilized to confront this "enemy", and the Marshall Plan was an integral part of this campaign. How could it be otherwise? Anti-communism had been the principal pillar of US foreign policy from the Russian Revolution up to World War II, pausing for the war until the closing months of the Pacific campaign, when Washington put challenging communism ahead of fighting the Japanese. This return to anti-communism included the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan as a warning to the Soviets. [5]

After the war, anti-communism continued as the leitmotif of foreign policy as naturally as if World War II and the alliance with the Soviet Union had not happened. Along with the CIA, the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, the Council on Foreign Relations, various corporations, and other private institutions, the Marshall Plan was one more arrow in the quiver in the remaking of Europe to suit Washington's desires -- spreading the capitalist gospel (to counter strong postwar tendencies towards socialism); opening markets to provide new customers for US corporations (a major reason for helping to rebuild the European economies; e.g., almost a billion dollars of tobacco, at 1948 prices, spurred by US tobacco interests); pushing for the creation of the Common Market and NATO as integral parts of the West European bulwark against the alleged Soviet threat; suppressing the left all over Western Europe, most notably sabotaging the Communist Parties in France and Italy in their bids for legal, non-violent, electoral victory. Marshall Plan funds were secretly siphoned off to finance this last endeavor, and the promise of aid to a country, or the threat of its cutoff, was used as a bullying club; indeed, France and Italy would certainly have been exempted from receiving aid if they had not gone along with the plots to exclude the communists.

The CIA also skimmed large amounts of Marshall Plan funds to covertly maintain cultural institutions, journalists, and publishers, at home and abroad, for the heated and omnipresent propaganda of the Cold War; the selling of the Marshall Plan to the American public and elsewhere was entwined with fighting "the red menace." Moreover, in its covert operations, CIA personnel at times used the Marshall Plan as cover, and one of the Plan's chief architects, Richard Bissell, then moved to the CIA, stopping off briefly at the Ford Foundation, a long time conduit for CIA covert funds; one big happy family.

The Marshall Plan imposed all kinds of restrictions on the recipient countries, all manner of economic and fiscal criteria which had to be met, designed for a wide open return to free enterprise. The US had the right to control not only how Marshall Plan dollars were spent, but also to approve the expenditure of an equivalent amount of the local currency, giving Washington substantial power over the internal plans and programs of the European states; welfare programs for the needy survivors of the war were looked upon with disfavor by the United States; even rationing smelled too much like socialism and had to go or be scaled down; nationalization of industry was even more vehemently opposed by Washington. The great bulk of Marshall Plan funds returned to the United States, or never left, to purchase American goods, making American corporations among the chief beneficiaries.

It could be seen as more a joint business operation between governments, with contracts written by Washington lawyers, than an American "handout"; often it was a business arrangement between American and European ruling classes, many of the latter fresh from their service to the Third Reich, some of the former as well; or it was an arrangement between Congressmen and their favorite corporations to export certain commodities, including a lot of military goods. Thus did the Marshall Plan lay the foundation for the military industrial complex as a permanent feature of American life.

It is very difficult to find, or put together, a clear, credible description of how the Marshall Plan was principally responsible for the recovery in each of the 16 recipient nations. The opposing view, no less clear, is that the Europeans -- highly educated, skilled and experienced -- could have recovered from the war on their own without an extensive master plan and aid program from abroad, and indeed had already made significant strides in this direction before the Plan's funds began flowing. Marshall Plan funds were not directed primarily toward feeding individuals or building individual houses, schools, or factories, but at strengthening the economic superstructure, particularly the iron-steel and power industries. The period was in fact marked by deflationary policies, unemployment and recession. The one unambiguous outcome was the full restoration of the propertied class. [6]

Is someone finally learning a lesson?

The United States has been pushing the UN Security Council to invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter against Iran because of its nuclear research. Chapter VII ("Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression") can be used to impose sanctions and take military action against a country deemed guilty of such violations (except of course if the country holds a veto power in the Security Council). The United States made use of Chapter VII to bomb Yugoslavia in 1999 and to invade Iraq in 2003. On both occasions, the applicability of the chapter and the use of force were highly questionable, but to placate Council opponents of military action the US agreed to some modifications in the language of the Council resolution and refrained from stating explicitly that it intended to take military action. Nonetheless, in each case, after the resolution was passed, the US took military action. Severe military action.

In early May, John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN, asserted: "The fundamental point is for Russia and China to agree that this [Iran's nuclear research] is a threat to international peace and security under Chapter VII." However, Yury Fedotov, the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom, declared that his country opposed the Chapter VII reference because it evoked "memories of past UN resolutions on Yugoslavia and Iraq that led to US-led military action which had not been authorised by the Security Council."

In the past, the United States had argued that the reference to Chapter VII in a Council resolution was needed to obtain "robust language," said Fedotov, but "afterwards it was used to justify unilateral action. In the case of Yugoslavia, for example, we were told at the beginning that references to Chapter VII were necessary to send political signals, and it finally ended up with the Nato bombardments." [7]

It remains to be seen whether the Russians or any other Security Council members have taken this lesson to heart and can stand up to the schoolyard bully's pressure by refusing to give the United States another pretext for expanding the empire's control over the Middle East.

You can love your mom, eat lotsa apple pie, and wave the American flag, but if you don't believe in God you are a hell bound subversive.

A recent study by the University of Minnesota department of sociology has identified atheists as "America's most distrusted minority." University researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, homosexuals and other minority groups in "sharing their vision of American society." Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry. The researchers conclude that atheists offer "a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years."

Many of the study's respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism. The study's lead researcher believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. "Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens, they share an understanding of right and wrong. Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good." [8]

Hmmm. I've been a political activist for more than 40 years. I've marched and fought and published weekly newspapers alongside countless atheists and agnostics who have risked jail and being clubbed on the head, and who have forsaken a much higher standard of living, for no purpose other than the common good. Rampant materialism? Hardly. "Secular humanism," many atheists call it. And we don't read about mobs of atheists stoning, massacring, or otherwise harming or humiliating human beings who do not share their non-beliefs.

The public attitude depicted by this survey may derive in part from the Cold-War upbringing of so many Americans -- the idea and the image of the "godless atheistic communist." But I think more than that is the deep-seated feeling of insecurity, even threat, that atheists can bring out in the religioso, putting into question, consciously or unconsciously, their core beliefs.

You must wonder at times, as I do, how this world became so unbearably cruel, corrupt, unjust, and stupid. Can it have reached this remarkable level by chance, or was it planned? It's enough to make one believe in God. Or the Devil.

Manure of the taurus

The US Interests Section in Havana has been flashing electronic messages on its building for the benefit of Cubans passing by. One recent message said that Forbes, the weekly financial magazine, had named Fidel Castro the world's seventh-wealthiest head of state, with a fortune estimated at $900 million. This has shocked Cuban passersby [9], as well it should in a socialist society that claims to have the fairest income distribution in the world. Are you not also shocked, dear readers?

What's that? You want to know exactly what Forbes based their rankings on? Well, as it turns out, two months before the Interests Section flashed their message, Forbes had already stated that the estimates were "more art than science." "In the past," wrote the magazine, "we have relied on a percentage of Cuba's gross domestic product to estimate Fidel Castro's fortune. This year, we have used more traditional valuation methods, comparing state-owned assets Castro is assumed to control with comparable publicly traded companies." The magazine gave as examples state-owned companies such as retail and pharmaceutical businesses and a convention center. [10] So there you have it. It was based on nothing. Inasmuch as George W. "controls" the US military, shall we assign the value of all the Defense Department assets to his personal wealth? And Tony Blair's wealth includes the BBC, does it not?

Another message flashed by the Interests Section is: "In a free country you don't need permission to leave the country. Is Cuba a free country?" This too is an attempt to blow smoke in people's eyes. It implies that there's some sort of blanket government restriction or prohibition of travel abroad for Cubans, a limitation on their "freedom." However, the reality is a lot more complex and a lot less Orwellian. The main barrier to overseas travel for most Cubans is financial; they simply can't afford it. If they have the money and a visa they can normally fly anywhere, but it's very difficult to obtain a visa from the United States unless you're part of the annual immigration quota. Cuba being a poor country concerned with equality tries to make sure that citizens complete their military service or their social service. Before emigrating abroad, trained professionals are supposed to give something back to the country for their free education, which includes medical school and all other schools. And Cuba, being unceasingly threatened by a well-known country to the north, must take precautions: Certain people in the military and those who have worked in intelligence or have other sensitive information may also need permission to travel; this is something that is found to one extent or another all over the world.

Americans need permission to travel to Cuba. Is the United States a free country? Washington makes it so difficult for its citizens to obtain permission to travel to Cuba it's virtually a prohibition. I have been rejected twice by the US Treasury Department.

Americans on the "No-fly list" can't go anywhere.

All Americans need permission to leave the country. The permission slip -- of which one must have a sufficient quantity -- is green and bears the picture of a US president.

Save this for that glorious day when more than two centuries of American "democracy" reaches its zenith with a choice between Condi and Hillary.

Condoleezza Rice, testifying April 5 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the US-India nuclear deal:

"India's society is open and free. It is transparent and stable. It is multiethnic. It is a multi-religious democracy that is characterized by individual freedom and the rule of law. It is a country with which we share common values. ... India is a rising global power that we believe can be a pillar of stability in a rapidly changing Asia. In other words, in short, India is a natural partner for the United States."

And here is a State Department human rights report -- released the very same day -- that had this to say about India:

"The Government generally respected the rights of its citizens and continued efforts to curb human rights abuses, although numerous serious problems remained. These included extrajudicial killings, disappearances, custodial deaths, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, torture, poor prison conditions, and extended pretrial detention, especially related to combating insurgencies in Jammu and Kashmir. Societal violence and discrimination against women, trafficking of women and children for forced prostitution and labor, and female feticide and infanticide remained concerns. Poor enforcement of laws, widespread corruption, a lack of accountability, and the severely overburdened court system weakened the delivery of justice."

Is it not enough to murder your brain?

For the record

In March, I agreed to speak on a panel at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee convention, to be held in June in Washington, DC. The panel is called: "America, Empire, Democracy and the Middle East." Then someone at the ADC apparently realized that I was the person whose book had been recommended by Osama bin Laden in January, and they tried to cancel my appearance with phony excuses. I objected, calling them cowards; they relented, then changed their mind again, telling me finally "all of the seats on the journalism panel, for the ADC convention, are filled." Two months after our agreement, they had discovered that all the panel seats were filled.

American Muslims are very conservative. 72% of them voted for Bush in 2000, before they got a taste of a police state. Now, they're still very conservative, plus afraid.

University officials are also conservative, or can easily be bullied by campus conservative organizations which are part of a well-financed national campaign (think David Horowitz) to attack the left on campus, be they faculty, students or outside speakers. Since the bin Laden recommendation, January 19, I have not been offered a single speaking engagement on any campus; a few students have tried to arrange something for me but were not successful at convincing school officials. This despite January-May normally being the most active period for me and other campus speakers.

Speakout, a California agency which places progressive speakers on campuses, informs me that the Horowitz-type groups have succeeded in cutting sharply into their business.

Other Articles by William Blum

[1] (Thanks to Kevin Barrett of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth for the title of this section) Washington Post, May 5, 2006, p.B1. [2] New York Times, June 30, 2004. [3] Washington Post, April 12, 2006, p.C3. [4] Associated Press, November 16, 2005. [5] See my essay on the use of the atomic bomb. [6] See, for example, Joyce & Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power: The World and US Foreign Policy 1945-1954 (1972), chapters 13, 16, 17; Sallie Pisani, The CIA and the Marshall Plan (1991) passim; Frances Stoner Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (2000) passim. [7] The Independent (London), May 8, 2006. [8] UMN News, March 28, 2006. [9] Washington Post, May 13, 2006, p.10. [10] Reuters, March 17, 2006.

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