Never forget “the other 9/11”
September 11, 2011
Henry Kissinger thanks Augusto Pinochet for the bang-up job he's doing
You couldn’t really blame anyone for thinking that the September 11, 2001 attacks were the only thing that ever happened in history ever, what with all the twin tower snuff porn we've seen in the media for the last week.
But there was of course a previous event, known to many these days as “the other 9/11”, when the United States and other western governments supported a military coup in Chile and the brutal, 17 year regime of General Augusto Pinochet that followed.
Chile’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende was overthrown on September 11, 1973. At that point, Allende led the most progressive nation in Latin America, with a strong parliament, free press, and plans already underway to nationalize western investments in Chile. In the ‘60s, Allende had been the target of a CIA propaganda campaign. After the election in 1970, matters became more lethal.
Allende died in the presidential palace in Santiago during the coup. Pinochet’s military regime suspended the constitution, outlawed political and trade union activity, and muzzled the media. In the purges that followed, thousands of dissidents were tortured and killed. Pinochet’s secret police, the DINA, recruited CIA agent Michael Townley to assist in its bloody war against the left. All of this took place in the context of broad, vicious, covert US intervention in Latin America that lasted for decades.
Chile remains perhaps the most potent symbol of that terrible time; a period that you might characterize as Wall Street's asymmetric war against one continent.
We should certainly honour the victims of 9/11—those both in the U.S. and those who have died needlessly in the aftermath abroad. But since “Never Forget” has become such a ubiquitous slogan for that day 10 years ago, maybe we should also work on making our collective memory a little less selective.