Pinochet Watch 62

14 December 2006

The Institute for Policy Studies applauds the more than 30 years of courageous efforts to bring Pinochet to justice. Although he died on December 10 without ever facing a trial, these efforts helped transform Chile’s legal and political landscape and made international legal history. And, the struggle for the full truth about his crimes and the transfer of his ill-gotten gains to his victims will go on. We will continue to use this newsletter on an occasional basis to inform and engage the human rights community on these and other related issues.

In this issue:

1. Campaign to demand release of Letelier-Moffitt files

2. Reflections on the meaning of Pinochet's death

3. A declassified documentary obit (posted by National Security Archive)

Letter sent to Bush

This letter was sent on December 14, 2006 to President Bush. Others are encouraged to send their own letters to the President requesting the release of the documents related to the Letelier-Moffitt case.

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President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

In 1999, the National Security Council, on behalf of the President, coordinated an inter-agency Chile Declassification Project to release documents related to human rights abuses, terrorism, and other acts of political violence prior to and during the Pinochet era in Chile.

According to a statement released by the U.S. Department of State on June 30, 1999, “A limited number of documents have not been released at this time, primarily because they relate to an ongoing Justice Department investigation of the murder of Ronni Moffitt and Orlando Letelier.”

That investigation focused on the role of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in authorizing this act of international terrorism. In light of Pinochet's death on December 10, the families of the two victims—the widow and sons of Orlando Letelier and the parents of Ronni Karpen Moffitt—are now asking that the documents withheld for and generated by the investigation be released as soon as possible.

Thirty years after this horrible crime, we ask that you allow us to learn the full extent of the U.S. government’s knowledge and awareness of an act that took the lives of our family members and colleagues. Releasing these documents would help bring a measure of closure in this painful tragedy. Now that concerns about international terrorism are particularly high, it is also in the public interest to reveal the full history of how a foreign government succeeded in plotting and implementing this act in the heart of the U.S. capital city.

Respectfully submitted,

John Cavanagh
Director, Institute for Policy Studies

On behalf of:

Isabel Morel Letelier, widow of Orlando Letelier
Cristian, Juan Pablo, Francisco and José Ignacio Letelier, sons of Orlando Letelier
Hilda and Murray Karpen, parents of Ronni Karpen Moffitt
Saul Landau, Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies
Marcus Raskin, Co-Founder of the Institute for Policy Studies
Peter Kornbluh, National Security Archive
Sam Buffone, Ropes and Gray


Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
General Michael V. Hayden, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Alice S. Fisher, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee
Rep. John Conyers, Chair, House Judiciary Committee