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PINOCHET: A Declassified Documentary Obit

Archive Posts Records on former Dictator's Repression, Acts of Terrorism, U.S. Support


National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 212

Edited by Peter Kornbluh and Yvette White

For more information contact:
Peter Kornbluh - 202/374-7281; 202/994-7116
Yvette White - 202/994-7000


Posted - December 12, 2006

The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability
By Peter Kornbluh
A Los Angeles Times
Best Nonfiction Book of 2003

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Letelier-Moffit Assassination 30 Years Later

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Former Dictator's Corruption Scandal Broadens

December 14, 2004
The Case Against Pinochet

Ex-Dictator Indicted for Condor Crimes

June 10, 2004
Lifting of Pinochet's Immunity Renews Focus on Operation Condor

Documents Indicated 1976 Terror Attack in Washington Might Have Been Prevented

February 18, 2004
Ed Koch Threatened With Assassination in 1976

New Book Reveals "Condor" Agents Discussed Plan to Kill Former New York Congressman/Mayor

Washington D.C., December 12, 2006 - As Chile prepared to bury General Augusto Pinochet, the National Security Archive today posted a selection of declassified U.S. documents that illuminate the former dictator's record of repression. The documents include CIA records on Pinochet's role in the Washington D.C. car bombing that killed former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier and his American colleague Ronni Moffitt, Defense Intelligence Agency biographic reports on Pinochet, and transcripts of meetings in which Secretary of State Henry Kissinger resisted bringing pressure on the Chilean military for its human rights atrocities.

"Pinochet's death has denied his victims a final judicial reckoning," said Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Archive's Chile Documentation Project. "But the declassified documents do contribute to the ultimate verdict of history on his atrocities."

Most of the documents posted today are drawn from a collection of 24,000 declassified records that were released by the Clinton administration after Pinochet's October, 1998, arrest in London. Many of them are reproduced in Kornbluh's book, The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability.

Pinochet died of complications from a heart attack on December 10, which was, by coincidence, International Human Rights Day.

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Initial Reports on Pinochet's Repression

Department of State, SECRET Memorandum, "Chilean Executions," includes "Fact Sheet-Human Rights in Chile," November 27, 1973

Updated "Fact Sheet-Human Rights in Chile," January 15, 1974

This memo, sent to the Secretary of State by Jack Kubisch, states that summary executions in the nineteen days following the coup totaled 320--more than three times the publicly acknowledged figure. At the same time, Kubisch reports on new economic assistance just authorized by the Nixon administration. The memo provides information about the Chilean military's justification for the continued executions. It also includes a situation report and human rights fact sheet on Chile. An updated fact sheet showing the situation two months later is also included.

Central Intelligence Agency, SECRET Intelligence Report, [Executions in Chile since the Coup], October 27, 1973

This Intelligence Report states that between September 11, 1973 and October 10, 1973 a total of 13,500 prisoners had been registered as detained by the Chilean armed forces. During that same time period, an estimated 1,600 civilian deaths occurred as a result of the coup. The report also notes that eighty civilians were either executed on the spot or killed by firing squads after military trials.

Central Intelligence Agency, SECRET Report, "Chile: Violations of Human Rights," May 24, 1977

This secret CIA report acknowledges that Chile's National Intelligence Directorate is behind the recent increase in torture, illegal detentions, and unexplained "disappearances." The report notes that the increase in gross violations of human rights in Chile comes at a particularly bad time for the country.

Defense Intelligence Agency, CONFIDENTIAL Report, "Directorate of National Intelligence (DINA) Expands Operations and Facilities," April 15, 1975

This DIA report on Chile's Directorate of National Intelligence (DINA) discusses the organization's structure and its relationship with the Chilean Armed Forces and the country's governing Junta. DINA is identified as the sole agency responsible handling internal subversive matters. The report warns that the possibility of DINA becoming a modern day Gestapo may be coming to fruition. It concludes that any advantages gained by humanitarian practices in Chile could easily be offset by DINA's terror tactics.

U.S. Support for the Pinochet Regime

Department of State, SENSITIVE Cable, "USG Attitude Toward Junta," September 13, 1973

This DOS cable sent two days after the coup states that the "US government wishes to make clear its desire to cooperate with the military Junta and to assist in any appropriate way." This official welcome agreed that it was best to avoid too much public identification between the Junta and the United States government.

Department of State, SENSITIVE Cable, "Continuation of Relations with GOC and Request for Flares and Helmets," September 18, 1973

This DOS cable was sent in response to a note from the Junta regarding the continuation of relations. It stress the US government's "strongest desire to cooperate closely with the Chilean Junta."

Department of State, Memorandum, "Ambassador Popper's Policy Paper," July 11, 1975

ARA analyst Richard Bloomfield's memo notes that "in the eyes of the world at large, we are closely associated with this Junta, ergo with fascists and torturers." In this memo he makes clear his disagreement with Kissinger's position and argues that the human rights problem in Chile should be of primary interest to the U.S. government.

Department of State, Memorandum of Conversation, Secretary's Meeting with Foreign Minister Carvajal, September 29, 1975

This transcript records a meeting between Secretary Kissinger and Pinochet's foreign minister, Patricio Carvajal, following Chile's decision to cancel a visit by the United Nations Human Rights Commission investigating human rights crimes. Kissinger begins the meeting by disparaging his staff "who have a vocation for the ministry" for focusing on human rights in the briefing papers prepared for the meeting. He tells Carvajal that condemnation of the Pinochet regime's human rights record is "a total injustice," but that "somewhat visible" efforts by the regime to alleviate the situation would be useful in changing Congressional attitudes. "Our point of view is if you do something, let us know so we can use it with Congress." Kissinger, Carvajal, and Assistant Secretary Rogers then discuss U.S. efforts to expedite Ex-Im Bank credits and multilateral loans to Chile as well as cash sales of military equipment. At the end of the meeting, Kissinger voices support for the regime's idea to host the June 1976 OAS meeting in Santiago as a way of increasing Pinochet's prestige and improving Chile's negative image.

Department of State, SECRET, "The Secretary's 8:00 a.m. Regional Staff Meeting," December 5, 1974

At this staff meeting, Secretary Kissinger spends considerable time discussing Congressional efforts, led by Senator Edward Kennedy, to restrict U.S. military assistance to the Pinochet regime. The transcript records Kissinger's vehement opposition to such legislative initiatives, on the grounds that they are unfair to the Chilean military government, could lead to its collapse, and set a dangerous precedent for cutting assistance to other unsavory governments the Ford Administration is supporting. "Well, am I wrong that this sort of thing is likely to finish off that government?" he demands to know. Later he asks: "Is this government worse than the Allende government? Is human rights more severely threatened by this government than Allende?" According to Kissinger, "the worse crime of this government is that it is pro-American." In response, Assistant Secretary for Latin America, William Rogers informs the Secretary, "in terms of freedom of association, Allende didn't close down the opposition party. In terms of freedom of the press, Allende didn't close down all the newspapers."

Department of State, SECRET Memorandum of Conversation between Henry Kissinger and Augusto Pinochet, "U.S.-Chilean Relations," June 8, 1976

In this secret memorandum of conversation, Kissinger briefs Pinochet in advance of his speech to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Santiago in June 1976. He lets Pinochet know that he will treat the issue of human rights in general terms only. He stresses that his speech is not aimed at Chile but that it is intended to appease the U.S. Congress. But, he notes, "we have a practical problem we have to take into account, without bringing about pressures incompatible with your dignity, and at the same time which does not lead to U.S. laws which will undermine our relationship."

Pinochet and the Letelier-Moffitt Assassination

Central Intelligence Agency, SECRET Intelligence Information Cable, [Assassination of Orlando Letelier], October 6, 1976

Two weeks after the car bombing assassination of Orlando Letelier this CIA field report states that its source "believes that the Chilean government is directly involved in Letelier's death and feels that investigation into the incident will so indicate."

Central Intelligence Agency, SECRET Intelligence Assessment, "Chile: Implications of the Letelier Case," May 1978

This CIA intelligence assessment alludes to the strain placed on U.S.-Chilean relations in light of recent findings in the investigation of the murder of Orlando Letelier that firmly linked the former Foreign Minister to the highest levels of the Chilean government. CIA analysts write, "The sensational developments have evoked speculation about President Pinochet's survival."

Central Intelligence Agency, SECRET Intelligence Report, "[Deleted] Strategy of Chilean Government with Respect to Letelier Case, and Impact of Case on Stability of President Pinochet," June 23, 1978

This secret intelligence report outlines Pinochet's strategy to cover up his regime's complicity in the Letelier assassination. The four-point strategy would protect General Contreras from successful prosecution in the murder, stonewall requests from the U.S. government that would help them build a case against Chileans involved in the terrorist act, prevent the Supreme Court from honoring U.S. extradition requests, and convince the Chilean people that the investigation into the Letelier assassination is a politically motivated tool to destabilize the Pinochet regime.

Pinochet Biographic Reports

Defense Intelligence Agency, SECRET, "Biographic Data on Augusto Pinochet," January 1975 (unredacted version)

Two versions of DIA's biographic profile on Pinochet - one fully uncensored, the other curiously redacted. Please see the Archive's prior posting regarding the two different versions of the document.

Central Intelligence Agency, SECRET, "Biographic Handbook [on] Chile," November 1974

This CIA bio describes Pinochet as an intelligent, disciplined, and professional military officer who is known for his toughness. The document states that Pinochet is dedicated to the national reconstruction of his country and will not tolerate any opposition to that goal.

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