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Who Grieves for Them? Chile and the Other 9/11 We Must Never Forget (videos)

September 11, 1973 : U.S.backed forces supporting Augusto Pinochet bomb the La Moneda presidential palace of Chile's democratically-elected President Salvador Allende.
September 11, 1973 : U.S.-backed forces supporting Augusto Pinochet bomb the La Moneda presidential palace of Chile’s democratically-elected President Salvador Allende.

Having written this article on September 11th, I delayed publication for one day out of respect for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the courageous rescue workers who gave their lives, and for a nation that feels the immeasurable pain from these events. My prayers go out to a grieving nation and a world consumed by the terrible winds of war.

Kenneth D. Price

 


 

On this September 11th, Americans again reflect on heinous acts of terrorism that claimed the lives of 2,996 innocent people in New York City, Washington DC, and Shanksville PA. From that day, emerged an unifying American ethos, “We will never forget”.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once declared, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” These words ring loud to day in a nation that is struggling to channel an understanding quest for vengeance, a desire for safety, and sense of humanity.  This article and video presentation call our attention to injustices levied at two countries — the United States and Chile. Both the targets of injustice on this day in history. It is my hope that you, the reader, will never forget 9/11 in a broader context. In a context that extends our memory to the South American country of Chile whose grief to which we are sadly connected. 

Our natural inclinations responded to the drums of war. And in that, countless thousands of Iraqi citizens suffered America’s “shock and aw” . We have imposed ourselves on Libya. The people of Yemen, Pakistan, and other nations have felt the massive destruction of our drone strikes. And we are not considering more war in yet another Middle East country, Syria. Perhaps remembering Chile will serve as a compass that enables Americans to more soberly see ourselves and our checkered behavior in the world.


  

Twelve years removed from that fateful day of September 11, 2001, the scourge of mass confusion remains fresh in our national memory. Planes crashing into iconic buildings. Blinding ash and smoke blanketing frantic citizens running through the street of Manhattan. Twisted metal flying and debris flying through the air. And desperate fellow citizens plunging themselves from skyscrapers to certain death. Democracy was under attack on 9/11. Al-Qaeda her evil assailant, and America the site of its senseless bloodshed.

SalvadorAllende-dead
Soldiers and firefighters removing the body of President Salvador Allende following a coup that struck the Chilean Presidential Palace (La Moneda) on September 11, 1973.

On September 11, 1973, US-backed forces in support of fascist army general Augusto Pinochet staged a coup d’état that resulted in the ousting of the democratically-elected Salvador Allende, the President of Chile. Allende rose to power as the first Marxist-pacifist to be elected in modern democracy. A physician by trade, Allende arrived to La Moneda with a vision to raise wages and quality of life for Chile’s most vulnerable citizens.

Chile, however, was one of several Latin American countries targeted for Cold War interventions through Operation Condor. Along with Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil, the CIA designed this program to displace unfriendly governments with pro-US leaders — including dictatorship — in a regional campaign very similar to proxy campaigns in Southeast Asia. Allende was deemed a problems for the U.S. from his early pursuit of the presidency. Once elected, Chile’s leader set on a course to nationalize assets in order to re-enfranchise Chileans in an economy increasingly dominated by the U.S. copper industry and other interests. 

America’s hostile policy toward the Allende-led government was best articulated by President Richard Nixon. In 1976, Senator Frank Church, reflected on sentiments held by Nixon regarding Allende and covert operations:

“Like Caesar peering into the colonies from distant Rome, Nixon said the choice of government by the Chileans was unacceptable to the president of the United States. The attitude in the White House seemed to be, ‘If in the wake of Vietnam I can no longer send in the Marines, then I will send in the CIA.‘”

According to CIA documents released in 2000, Nixon worked through various secret initiatives that sought to depose military leaders that supported Allende. Flood Chile with anti-Allende propaganda. Create splits among political leaders that the US deemed to be unfriendly. And our nation invested heavily to in an effort to prevent Allende from taking power. The anti-Allende campaign redirected its focus after President Allende assumed office. Ultimately, the US campaign to topple Allende’s government culminated in the September 11, 1973 coup that left the President dead, reportedly of a self-inflicted AK-47 gunshot wound. In the years following Allende’s death, Pinochet’s tyrannical regime tightened its grip on Chile through rampant kidnappings, imprisonments, rapes and tortures, and killings of political opposition. And for decades, the United States denied its involvement in the coup while extending support for the Pinochet regime.

[important]Adding to the Chilean experience, this year’s remembrance of 9/11 coincides with a recent CIA disclosure of the extent of involvement in the 1953 coup that toppled the Iranian government led by Prime Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. According the documents maintained by the National Security Archive, CIA direct participation in deposing Mossadegh enlisted “ruffins” (paid organizers), pro-Shah police, military units, and undercover agent. This revelation underscore such US interventions across the globe spanned decades, particularly during the Cold War. Chile was simply a terrible casualty in these exercises.[/important]
Chilean army general and dictator, Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet, Chilean army general and dictator

Our intervention is Chile must not be ignored during America’s reflections on September 11, 2001. Planes dropping bombs on the La Moneda Presidential Palace created no less traumatic in Chileans than a plane flying into the Pentagon building created in Americans. Indeed, one might argue that the Chilean horror extended beyond one day to nearly 17 years of misery under an evil dictator. And as we solemnly consider the injustice of nearly 3,000 people never being seen again after America’s 9/11, our thoughts must also turn to a chain of U.S.-supported events that ultimately led to tens of thousands of Chileans also disappearing forever.

September 11th is our twofold legacy of both victim and victimizer. The videos below recall the events around the U.S.-supported toppling of a democratic government and the horrors that followed. I encourage the reader to view these with spiritual eyes — through the eyes that Dr. King and of Jesus Christ. Nationalist eyes promote American interests while demoting the common suffer caused by unjust actions. Race-based eyes promote images of hurting [white] Americans over the images of hurting Chileans. Through eyes that see the dignity in all humanity, we can search our own grief and the grief we imposed on Chile. And in that process, we will emerge better and more humane. 

 


 

The Other 9/11 – Part 1 of 6 

 


The Other 9/11 – Part 2 of 6

 


The Other 9/11 – Part 3 of 6

 


The Other 9/11 – Part 4 of 6

 


The Other 9/11 – Part 5 of 6

 

 


The Other 9/11 – Part 6 of 6

 


 

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