Kissinger lied: US, CIA orchestrated 1973 Chile coup, assassinations
Recent declassified CIA documents reveal that former State Secretary Henry Kissinger and the CIA played a central role in overthrowing then-Chilean President Salvador Allende.
Former US Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon and renowned American diplomat Henry Kissinger is a controversial figure known for a legacy marked by deception and manipulation, said Melvin Goodman, a former CIA analyst and current professor of government at Johns Hopkins University, in a report published by the CounterPunch news site on Friday.
Kissinger played a vital role in shaping the post-WWII world order that often involved orchestrating and supporting coups and meddling in the affairs of nations that didn't align with US interests and hegemonic agenda.
His occupational heritage is stained by a series of controversial actions, including his part in the cover bombings in Cambodia, secretly supplying weapons to Iran's Shah, and propagating significant falsehoods during the Vietnam War, in addition to his central role in the US involvement in a violent military coup in Chile in the 1970s.
Despite never acknowledging it in his memoirs and resorting to plausible deniability regarding the tragic events in Chile, declassified US documents released in August, at the request of Chile, revealed otherwise.
"Latin America was an area in which I did not then have expertise of my own," the former State Secretary wrote in his memoirs - "White House Years" and "Years of Upheaval."
However, a renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh documented in his book "The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House" that Kissinger believed that Latin America should be "permitted little independence" and that the region must be "controlled and manipulated by American intelligence" in reference to the CIA spy agency.
According to the report, Kissinger's interference in Chile, to oust then-newly elected socialist President Salvador Allende, began in 1970.
His stance on the matter is that the US must not "stand by and let Chile go communist merely due to the stupidity of its own people." Kissinger's instrument to pave the way for the CIA to infiltrate and operate the Latin American country was the 40 Committee - a bureaucratic body chaired by Kissinger and established by Nixon in 1970 to overview and approve action plan programs intended to meddle in Chile.
In his memoirs, the US diplomat stated that after the 40 Committee was formed, "no further NSC meetings were held on the subject" of Chile, claiming that he "was not deeply engaged in Chilean matters."
But in a memo to Nixon at the time, Kissinger warned that the "election of Allende as President of Chile poses for us one of the most serious challenges ever faced in this hemisphere."
A "two-track" policy was devised by Kissinger to be implemented in Chile. The first track was based on a diplomatic approach led by then-Ambassador Edward Korry.
Kissinger devised a "two-track" policy for Chile: Track I was the diplomatic one under Ambassador Edward Korry. Track II was unknown to Korry; it called for the destabilization of Chile with CIA Director Richard Helms playing the lead role.
While Nixon wanted to make Chile's economy "scream”, Kissinger's second route included the kidnapping and assassination of Allende.
When later questioned by a Senate Committee, it was CIA chief Richard Helms who was convicted of lying to Congress under oath, saying then the spy agency did not have a role in Chile, nor did it funnel money to the Chilean President's political opponents to buy weapons and launch mass propaganda campaigns.
It was later revealed that the CIA poured around $8 million into the Latin American country.
Kissinger, on the other hand, fled accountability unscathed.
After the socialist President won the elections, Kissinger wanted a coup. CIA approached Chile's Army Chief Rene Schneider to launch the military campaign against Allende, but Schneider refused to take part in the foreign plot. Hence, he was later assassinated by CIA-provided weapons, the report said.
In 1973, a military coup took place as part of Operation Condor, which saw the participation of a number of US-affiliated Latin American leaders.
The Condor team included members representing secret security forces from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
One of the group's operations was the assassination of former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier in a car bomb targeting him in Washington.
However, Kissinger made no mention of all these covert operations and did not even once mention General Schneider.
"Slide toward chaos [in Chile] owed nothing to American intervention,” the American diplomat concluded his memoirs, blaming the coup on Allende’s "ideological zeal and that of his fanatical adherents."
The newly declassified CIA documents revealed communication between the agency and the Chilean opposition and support for Kissinger's desire for a military coup.
According to the documents, military officials in Chile, who were planning the coup with the American spy agency, were "determined to restore political and economic order" but "may still lack an effectively coordinated plan that would capitalize on the widespread civilian opposition."
Kissinger told Nixon that it was crucial to remove Allende for what would happen "in Chile over the next six to twelve months will have ramifications that will go far beyond just US-Chilean relations."
"What happens in the rest of Latin America and the developing world; on what our future position will be in the hemisphere; and on the larger world picture, including our relations with the USSR."