Who Really Pals Around With Terrorists?

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Five weeks before I was born, a handful of blocks away from my parents’ apartment on Conneticut Avenue in Northwest Washington D.C., terrorists detonated a car bomb.  The bomb killed Chilean national Orlando Letelier and his assistant, American Ronni Moffitt.  This act of terrorism was a part of Operation Condor, a campaign of political repression carried out jointly by the military and intelligence services of eight South American nations, which took place with support by the United States.  No one is certain of the total number of victims of the campaign, but all estimates confirm that thousands were killed.

It is now known that the US State Department was well aware of what was going on.  Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was personally aware; Kenneth Maxwell detailed this in Foreign Affairs:

Kissinger intervened a month before the killing of Letelier, ordering that the Latin American rulers involved be informed that the “assassination of subversives, politicians and prominent figures both within the national borders of certain Southern Cone countries and abroad … would create a most serious moral and political problem.” This demarche was apparently not delivered: the U.S. embassy in Santiago demurred on the ground that to deliver such a strong rebuke would upset the dictator. The U.S. ambassador to Chile, David Popper, wrote to Washington, “In my judgement, given Pinochet’s sensitivity regarding pressures by the usg [U.S. government], he might well take as an insult any inference that he was connected with such assassination plots.” On September 20, 1976, the State Department instructed the ambassadors “to take no further action” with regard to the Condor scheme. Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt, were killed the following morning.

Kissinger’s involvement in Operation Condor has led to legal action on multiple continents.  In 2001, a judge in France issued a summons for Kissinger, who was staying at the Ritz hotel in Paris.  Kissinger left Paris that evening.  Later that year, an Argentine judge requested a deposition from Kissinger.  In September 2001, a civil case against Kissinger on the behalf of a Chilean family was filed in Washington D.C.  On September 11, 2001, criminal charges against Kissinger were filed in Chile.  Finally, near the end of 2001, the government of Brazil informed Kissinger that it was cancelling an invitation for him to speak in Sao Paulo because they could not guarantee his immunity from judicial action.

Henry Kissinger is the Honorary Co-Chair for John McCain’s campaign for President in the State of New York.

In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has, as you know, made a significant issue out of the loose association between former Weather Underground cofounder Bill Ayers and Barack Obama.  Sarah Palin, shortly after she met with Dr. Kissinger on September 23rd, suggested in a speech that Obama sees “America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who would bomb their own country.”

Perhaps Ms. Palin, busy as she is reading all the magazines and newspapers she comes across, hadn’t been aware of Dr. Kissinger’s involvement in the car bombing my mother heard that morning as I kicked and squirmed in her womb.  Perhaps meeting with the co-chair of her own campaign doesn’t qualify in her mind as “palling around”.  Or perhaps this champion of America’s small towns simply doesn’t consider our nation’s capitol as part of her own country.  I don’t know, and I am quite sure that neither I nor any of the members of the press will have the opportunity to ask her.

What I do know is that while Bill Ayers was once a terrorist, his actions never resulted in the death of an American citizen.  He has never been convicted of a crime, and unlike Dr. Kissinger, is not presently wanted for questioning nor charged with a crime in any nation on earth.  Perhaps Ms. Palin can explain how if I lived in a small town, I’d see that the difference reflect more poorly on Sen. Obama.


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  1. …enjoy your Sunday.

  2. It is always amazing to me that important events in this Hemisphere are not part of our dialogue.  Kissinger engineered the overthrow of Allende and supported Pinochet.  That’s only the tip of the iceberg.  

  3. …newspaper in the country.  

    • Temmoku on October 14, 2008 at 00:27

    to Allende. They fled the country and came here! When I told my class about the Allende affair, he was so happy that one of his teachers even knew about it and knew the truth that he started working in my class and often visited after school. Whenever he had problems in school, he would come to me instead of his counselor….he was a smart kid….I hope he is doing well as a young man and father now!

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