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The CIA’s Role in Operation Condor

Do CounterPunch, Fevereiro 20, 2020
Por JACOB HORNBERGER



The Washington Post reported that top secret documents confirm the role that the CIA played in Operation Condor, the international state-sponsored assassination, kidnapping, torture, and murder ring run by U.S.-supported military dictatorships in South America in the late 1970s. The documents confirm that the CIA’s role in the operation was to provide communications equipment to the ring, which enabled them to coordinate cross-border efforts to kidnap, torture, and kill suspected communists, which, of course, were nothing more than people who believed in socialism or communism.

The Post article makes it clear that the CIA was fully aware of the horrific human-rights abuses that the Latin America military regimes were engaged in and said and did nothing to prevent them.

One of the most laughable parts of the secret documents are ones that imply that the CIA struggled on whether it should do anything about the abuses.

Why is that laughable?

Because it is clearly nothing more than a “cover ourselves” protection in the event that Operation Condor ever was uncovered.

How do we know that?

Because the Operation Condor goons were doing precisely what the U.S. national-security apparatus wanted them to do — eradicate the threat of communism in the Americas!

The Cold War

Remember: This was the Cold War, when the U.S. national security establishment was 100 percent convinced that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world, a conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia. (Yes, that Russia!)

The American people were exhorted to be on the constant lookout for communists. “Security” was the byword. People were looking for communists in the State Department, the military, Congress, Hollywood, and lots of other places. Suspected communists were hauled before Congress and asked whether they had ever been a member of the Communist Party. Even Republican President Dwight Eisenhower was suspected in some circles of being a communist agent.

If you want to get a sense of what life was like in the United States during the Cold War, take all the national-security hoopla surrounding the “war on terrorism” and multiply it by about a thousand.

After World War II, the federal government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, a type of totalitarian governmental structure with omnipotent, dark-side powers, such as the powers to assassinate, kidnap, and torture suspected communists.

For example, unbeknownst to the American people at the time, the CIA entered into a secret conspiracy with the Mafia to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro, even though Cuba had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. Former President Lyndon Johnson would later refer to the CIA’s assassination program as a “damned Murder Inc.”

In principle, Operation Condor’s assassination program was no different from the CIA’s assassination program.

The Chilean coup

It was the national-security state’s obsessive fear of communism that led to the CIA’s orchestration of the coup in Chile in 1973 that ousted the democratically elected socialist president of the country, Salvador Allende, and replaced him with the brutal right-wing unelected military dictator Augusto Pinochet. Although it appears that Allende ended up committing suicide, no doubt to avoid being tortured, there is no doubt that at the inception of the coup, the Chilean national-security establishment was trying to assassinate him with missiles fired from Chilean fighter planes into Allende’s position in the national palace, with the full approval of its counterparts in the U.S. national-security establishment.

Moreover, we mustn’t forget the CIA’s kidnapping and murder of Gen. Rene Schneider, the head of Chile’s armed forces. They targeted him because he was opposed to the U.S.-orchestrated coup. He took the position that his oath to support and defend the constitution of Chile superseded US. demands for a coup to protect Chile from Allende’s socialism. Thus, U.S. officials targeted him for removal.

After Pinochet took power, he instituted a reign of terror in which his national-security henchmen kidnapped, tortured, raped, disappeared, or murdered tens of thousands of suspected communists, with the full support of U.S. officials.

Operation Condor

Operation Condor followed from that reign of terror. To ensure that suspected communists could not escape to neighboring countries, several other South American right-wing military dictatorships conspired with the Pinochet military dictatorship to coordinate efforts to ensure that no suspected communists could not get away. As the secret documents revealed in the Washington Post article confirm, the CIA/s role in this Cold War operation was to provide the communications equipment that enabled its Latin American counterparts to efficiently coordinate their efforts.

Moreover, don’t forget also that the Pentagon and the CIA had just been defeated by the communists in Vietnam. Given their mindsets that the communists were winning and that America was now in greater danger than ever before of being taken over by the Reds, the Operation Condor brutes were viewed as great heroes for protecting America and the world from a communist takeover.

The people who paid the price for this sordid, dark-side paranoia, of course were the tens of thousands of innocent people who were rounded up, tortured, raped, abused, disappeared, assassinated, and murdered.

The worst mistake the American people have ever made was permitting the federal government to be converted from a limited government republic to a national-security state. That conversion perverted America’s sense of moral values, conscience, and right conduct. Operation Condor is further proof of that fact.
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