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Condor Assassinations

John Dolva

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April 13th, 2010

Kissinger Rescinded Warning against Condor Assassinations


kissinger.jpgWASHINGTON.— Five days before the assassination in downtown Washington of former Chilean Defense Minister Orlando Letelier, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger rescinded to warn the region's military dictatorships against carrying out such murders, according to documents released by the National Security Archive (NSA) here.

Letelier, who had also been Foreign minister under the Salvador Allende democratic government (1970-1973), was the victim of a bomb attack on September 21, 1976, at the hands of agents of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990).

On September 16, 1976, Kissinger rescinded instructions given to U.S. ambassadors in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay a month before to warn the region's military regimes against carrying out "a series of international murders," read the documents obtained by the NSA.

The documents can be consulted at web site of the NSA, a non-profit group founded in 1985 and supported by private foundations.

The instructions, dated August 18 and dispatched August 23, 1976, were a result of Washington's "deep concern" about reports it had received of "plans for the assassination of subversives, politicians and prominent figures both within the national borders of certain Southern Cone countries and abroad."

But then Kissinger reversed the orders and instructed "no further action be taken on this matter," reads the declassified Sep. 16, 1976 cable sent by Kissinger's office from Zambia, where he was travelling at the time, to his assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, Harry Shlaudeman.

"The Kissinger cancellation prevented the delivery of a diplomatic protest that conceivably could have deterred an act of terrorism in Washington, D.C.," noted Kornbluh, author of "The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability." (Excerpts taken from IPS)

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