25th Anniversary of Letelier-Moffitt Assassinations and the US Harbors the Terrorists Who Did it

21 Septiembre 2001

As our leaders warn countries that harbor terrorists, who will warn our leaders about harboring terrorists here?

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TNI and the Pinochet precedent

As our leaders warn countries that harbor terrorists, who will warn our leaders about harboring terrorists here? Twenty five years ago, on September 21, 1976, agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, fatally car bombed Orlando Letelier in Washington DC. Ronni Moffitt, Letelier's young American colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies, also died in the bombing. Letelier served as Chilean Defense Minister under the government of Dr. Salvador Allende until the 1973 US-backed coup overthrew him. Pinochet, the FBI discovered, had targeted Letelier as a key enemy.

Three months before his assassins struck, Pinochet had mentioned Letelier's name to Henry Kissinger as the source of his regime's troubles in Washington. Senator Ted Kennedy had introduced a bill to ban US military supplies to human rights violators. In this conversation, Kissinger had reassured the Chilean dictator that we "approved of his methods." Yet, Kissinger knew that Pinochet's methods reached beyond the murder and torture of his political opponents in Chile. Indeed, US intelligence officials had helped Pinochet set up Operation Condor, a network of Latin American secret police agencies to spy on and assassinate their enemies in other countries. A week after the assassination in Washington, FBI Agent Robert Scherer reported that Letelier Operation Condor might have killed Letelier. The CIA named Pinochet as Condor I, an indication of his importance in that terrorist network.

The FBI found the Letelier-Moffitt killers and the Department of Justice indicted them, including Pinochet's secret police chief. But Pinochet, the terrorist in chief, eluded indictment. Even the FBI agents and the Assistant US Attorneys publicly stated that it is "inconceivable" that the Letelier assassination could have occurred without Pinochet's authorization. Yet, the indictment of Pinochet today sits unsigned on the desk of the Washington DC US Attorney. Why? President Bush's anti-Castro Cuban pals lobbied to free Virgilio Paz and Jose Dionisio Suarez, two of the Letelier-Moffitt killers who had pled guilty and served a few years.

After the Supreme Court decided that the INS could not hold aliens indefinitely for deportation, they began walking the streets along with Michael Townley the bomber in chief for Pinochet's secret police. Townley boasted to the FBI of the multiple ways he knew to murder people. This terrorist enjoys US protection from extradition for his other terrorist crimes - including the 1974 car bombing in Buenos Aires of exiled Chilean Chief of Staff, General Carlos Prats and his wife and the 1975 shooting of exiled Chilean politician Bernardo Leighton and his wife in Rome. Orlando Bosch who boasted about his role in bombing a Cuban commercial airliner over Barbados with 73 people on board enjoys his Florida retirement thanks to President Bush the first, who welcomed this terrorist into our country from Venezuela where he faced charges for his dastardly deed. Then, of course, there's Kissinger - to be continued.

A transcript of the Pinochet-Kissinger meeting is available as PDF-document.