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New Latin American century (part 2): Nixon, Pinochet, Brazil, Chile, US bases, declassified files
history and heritage |
Tuesday August 18, 2009 00:25 by iosaf
Nixon discussed overthrow of Allende with the figurehead of the Brazilian military dictator within 3 years of Pinochet's Coup
The US National Security Archive has in the last hours presented unto us its National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 282.”. There is both tension & worry in the two South American states with the largest and best equipped military forces, Chile & Brazil at the decision of Colombia to host 7 US bases as reaction to the decision by Ecuador not to renew the US lease on its “Manta base.
In the last week the 6th democratically elected president of Brazil, Lula called for a meeting with Obama to discuss the US bases and said "the climate of unease disturbs me". Indeed the Brazilian government had already refused US overtones to use its base at Recife. I really think a considered glimpse at these new declassified files might be of interest to readers As such this article on the 6th Brazilian military dictatorship figurehead and Nixon follows my text yesterday entitled “The new Latin American century, FARC, arms races, US bases & sundry fibs”.
Dec 9th 1971 - Medici in a civilian suit met Nixon & they plotted - but how much?
What might not sound like good holiday reading is in fact a bunch of pdf files which show us declassified documents, memos, scraps of typewritten paper & transcripts of antiquated magnetic reel tapes.
Despite the juicy subtitle attached to this latest series of declassification as
Brazil Conspired with U.S. to Overthrow Allende
Declassified U.S. Documents Show Richard Nixon and Brazilian President Emilio Médici Discussed Coordinated Intervention in Chile, Cuba, and other Latin American nations "to prevent new Allendes and Castros"
Secret Back Channel established between Presidents
Brazilian General Accused U.S. of Asking Brazil to "do its dirty work"
The file take a really long time to download and many elements of it require cross-referencing with previous "electronic briefing books" from 2003, 2006 and last year. There are also the usual big black marker lines etched its seems across as many pages as possible which I & I suspect many of you too, suspect that these type of people only use the black marker to make us all as suspicious as possible about what really is as clear as water.
I'm talking spring water in bottles not the cryptosporidium shite you get out of the average Irish tap.
First a little global as well as local background so you appreciate what sort of workload and themes of chit-chat were going on in the White House as well as on our own little island at the time.
Ireland was in the 3rd year of her “troubles”. RTE had broadcast for the first time in colour, the happy occasion being a Eurovision bash held in Dublin. (we won those things even back then). The “Irish Women’s Liberation Movement” had given feminism a bad name amongst devout Catholics when in May they had publically and ostentatiously brought a CIE train load of condoms to Connolly station from Belfast to protest the illegality of contraception in the Eire state. & of course internment had been introduced in the northern statelet.
The White House didn’t really give a fig for any of this and the attention of the Nixon presidency was elsewhere. December 1971 began unhappily on its 3rd day with a brief 13 day war between India & Pakistan, which then existed in two seperate regions either side of India. It was a war which was to lead quickly to the creation of what we now call Bangladesh. The President of the USA was Richard Nixon and at the time of the "cold war" the USA supported the Pakistani side as a tactical olive branch offered to the People's Republic of China with whom Nixon's envoy Kissenger had opened secret channels after vising Pakistan in July, '71 which would lead to the "Nixon in China" event of February 1972.
It is astounding that with all that on the presidential plate, the day after ordering the US 7th Fleet to move towards the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean, Nixon had time to meet with the head of the Brazilian state, Emilio Medici and as newly de-classified memos inform us this week, discuss the overthrow of Castro and the liquidation of popularly elected socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende.
In spite of the civilian clothes he wore at the meeting as illustrated, Medici was head of the Brazilian state as the sixth supposed “president” of the military dictatorship which followed the junta of 1969. He had been head of the Brazilian military intelligence service and general of one of its army divisions.
If you bother to go to this pdf file http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB282/Document...1.pdf
you will learn how Richard Nixon told the leader of Brazil's most repressive military junta that they :-
“must try and prevent new Allendes and Castros and try where possible to reverse these trends.”
Now at first there is nothing new in any of this for the casual reader or those interested in offering night classes on Latin American history or the tireless work of the United States to foment democracy and human rights globally since winning the world's economic, political and cultural system back off in the dim days of 1945. The National Security Archive de-classifications of 2006 gave us this tape transcript from the White House on September 16th 1974, five days after the coup d'etat by Pinochet against Allende had taken place.
Nixon: Nothing new of any importance or is there?
Kissinger: Nothing of very great consequence. The Chilean thing is getting consolidated and of course the newspapers are bleeding because a pro-Communist government has been overthrown.
Nixon: Isn’t that something. Isn’t that something.
Kissinger: I mean instead of celebrating – in the Eisenhower period we would be heroes.
Nixon: Well we didn’t – as you know – our hand doesn’t show on this one though.
Kissinger: We didn’t do it. I mean we helped them. [garbled] created the conditions as great as possible.
Nixon: That is right. And that is the way it is going to be played.
Of course the idea that Kissinger & Nixon had this conversation is hardly new either. Kissinger’s public reaction to the Pinochet coup and murder of the legitimately elected Allende is a line which though currently deemed “apocryphal” (yet hair-raisingly never denied by Kissinger), “I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people” ; is to my mind as iconic a quotation as the image of Pinochet in his sunglasses. We need not even dwell on the fact that Kissinger as 8th holder of the post “national security advisor” whence these regular “national security archive declassifications” come is also the only major person living who is mentioned or indeed not mentioned in-depth in these drips and drops of historical source material.
Nonetheless, we are getting much closer to knowing who wanted and who didn't want to do the Dirty Work in Chile as well as elsewhere which puts the role of the SOA (School of the Americas) as well as the much more mysterious "ODESSA" in context and also helps us to understand the background influences which cobbled together the military juntas if not of Brazil, certainly in Chile and later on elsewhere in South America.
After all, not one of us can learn that the military putschists are known as “gorillas” and not notice that behind Pinochet’s iconic sunglassed photograph stood many other men who would in a short time acquiesce as every other military junta did (with the exception of the Argentine) to a figurehead presidency and not wonder how many of the little dogs wanted to be top dog.
This declassified set of CIA documents tell us that Medici had proposed that Brazil assist the USA to stop the “trend of Marxist/leftist expansion” . It really makes one wonder what was meant by that word “trend” when one considers in hindsight, that the only real trend in Latin America of the 1960's and 1970's was the creation of fascist dictatorships, the plentitude of jobs offered ex-NAZI SS members and the appalling poverty of the masses.
“The President said that it was very important that Brazil and the United States work closely in this field. We could not take direction but if the Brazilians felt that there was something we could do to be helpful in this area, he would like President Médici to let him know. If money were required or other discreet aid, we might be able to make it available. This should be held in the greatest confidence.”
The latest declassification thus also show us on the note of "discretion" that Nixon established a "back-channel" with the Brazilian military junta which would side-step the usual diplomatic channels and of course accountability. But before explaining more about the discretion let's enjoy the gossip between monsters back in the days when Henry Kissinger sat in the office next door to the Oval Office wanking to his "power is an aphrodisiac" song.
"The two also participated in a discussion of the potential to undermine the populist Peruvian President General Velasco Alvarado by publicizing the allegation that he had a lovechild with a mistress—she was a former “Miss Peru”—in Paris, according to General Vernon Walters who also attended the Médici/Nixon meeting."
But back to the discreet, "back channel" a moment.
Nixon “hoped we could cooperate closely, as there were many things that Brazil as a South American country could do that the U.S. could not.” & thus proposed Henry Kissinger as his secret back-channel interlocutor with the Brazilian military dictatorship. In return the Brazilians named Gibson Barbosa who was the main diplomat for the Brazilians back then.
The contents of all "back channel" communication between the USA and Brazil or Nixon and Gibson Barbosa are covered up in a big black marker.
On which note the files also show the limit even then of the US sponsored "School of the Americas" military academy of such infamy and the actual organisational efficacy of Operation Condor. I may be going out on a limb on this, but I reckon we are beginning to scrape evidence of yet another level of merry evil beyond what we "take for granted".
The Brazilian General Vicente Dale Coutinho is quoted as stating “the United States obviously wants Brazil to do the dirty work”. That quotation is being reported in commercial press and even subtitled the publication from the National Security Archive. It is no question about it a striking line and almost makes you think there was resistance amongst the Brazilian junta to playing the yankee/Dixie empire game. But that particular general died suddenly whilst on military exercises in the beginning of 1974 in the nazi style wonderland of Brazilia the generals had built in the jungle. Whilst the other South American dictatorships worried about US trade and took advice on sunglasses and baiting operations, the Brazilians simply built a shiney city worthy of Hitler and carved up their land to grow crops. Curious little difference.
Coutinho was to be replaced by one of the most hard-line Brazilian gorillas Sylvio Frota who in turn would be exonerated for his role in the dictatorship during the democratic period by the right wing party which preceeded Lula's welcome arrival. (Oh and how many youngsters complain that Lula didn't do enough). The complaining Coutinho headed up a very efficient bunch of torturers and intelligence ghouls as of course had the president of Brazil sitting down with Nixon and Vernon Walters in the Oval Room. But he hadn't sent any of his officers to SOA training courses. Indeed less than 25 graduates of SOA were sent by the Brazilian military before the junta and only one police man thereafter.
Coutinho's replacement after his horrible accident was Sylvio Frota as I have already mentioned. Frota likewise did not seem to put extra-ordinary effort into supporting the SOA training projects by sending off happy little officer cadets to learn about electrodes, uncomfortable postures, unfeasible object penetration in private orifices and the whole baggage of the “punishment / reward” SS interrogation style.
Think about torture a moment.
If you have had your body tortured for days I doubt would you say no to a back rub and a plate of warm grub, would you? Hey – there was always the chance of a one way helicopter ride to see the Ocean or jungle. Who could refuse? Or that lovely cool breeze caressed chair by the open window?
This strange lack of US complicity in the Brazilian dictatorship despite the at first obvious news value of this release (that the US wanted to use Brazil) is the thing that really begs my atention.
SOA were busily doing their notorious stuff all over the continent yet their Brazilian connection did not continue after 1969. There was only one key graduate, a police officer and torturer. So........ who taught or was teaching the Brazilian military their tricks? & why did the Brazilian military go off the USA so quickly despite these happy chats if not the US?
oh well you'll have to wait for the next declassifications to learn that. tantalizing isn't it?
oh yes - who helped the Brazilians do their dirty work?
____________________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ & Such dirty work it was.
____________________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
____________________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Everyone wants to go to the fiesta
____________________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
____________________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ nobody wants to stay clean up.
As I wrote here before just before and during the death of Pinochet, the good Catholic people who prayed for a week outside of the military hospital where Pinochet died could only do so because he had been granted bail of 1905$ by the democratic government of Chile in December 2006. Thus did he leave house arrest and spend one week exactly in a military hospital some 35 years after Nixon and fascist Brazil met up and began their plotting and discussions of the dirty work . Those good catholics prayer for his soul because they knew there had been a serious possibility that Latin Americans in general and Chileans in particular would become Communists.
If they had become communists, people would have stopped believing in God. Once God went, Heaven and Hell would have gone too. In no time there would have been no need for a clergy or Church. Knock in Ireland would have been a waste of an airport. With Communism people would have lost faith in God & the threat of eternal Hell-fire & damnation would have been lost. So torture was a last resort of pious & holy people. They had no other choice to defend their God than attach electrodes to peoples' genitals & bury them in nameless graves.
We really must have no doubt that torture was a last resort of pious & holy people, and not the cynical criminals who page by declassified page snarl their euphemisms at us.
Agosto Pinochet's curate give him the last rites of the Catholic tradition. He got the last rites because Communists didn't get human rights. It all made sense. Agosto Pinochet old man who had fought for Hell's preservation using little known medieval & alchemist techniques of demonology : He hid tons of gold that communists would have used to build hospitals & schools.
With Communism people would have lost faith in God & the threat of eternal Hell-fire & damnation would have been lost. They would have attempted a materialist based utopia where people had health services, got decent wages, had schools & didn't just disappear. The priest & the RC priestohood with all their wafer & water, book & bell could still forgive him & like him in the name of all good Catholics. One of the most trusted cardinals of Ratzinger's papacy could say his mass as he died a free man, outside of prison, named and feted.
He got to look at the open door and walk to it and leave the stadium, game over.
Additional reading :-
Emílio Garrastazu Médici
Chile Coup d’etat September 11th 1973
the Military Junta of Pinochet
the Military Junta of Brazil 1961
the Military dictatorship of Brazil
US national security advisors
Vicente Dale Coutinho, Mario Gibson Barbosa, Silvio Frota & many others at present only boast wikipedia entries in Portuguese :-
The Roman Catholic church existed "comfortably" with the dictatorships of Operation Condor in Latin America http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor
The Papal Nuncio (ambassador of the Vatican state) to Chile from 1977, Cardinal Angelo Sodano became a close friend of Pinochet. In later life he would assume the position of “prime minister of the Vatican”, as such he met with the last US national security advisor Condoleeza Rice, technically against Vatican rules whilst the Polish pope lay dying. As confided aide to Ratzinger he has continued to play a pivotal role in RC Latin American policy.
from our IMC ireland archives
“Pinochet given bail to vindicate existence of Hell”
Last article of the series :-
The new Latin American century, FARC, arms races, US bases & sundry fibs
He didn't really need the sunglasses to be terrifying. That was a psychological detail "wee advice".