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  • Thursday, June 09, 2005


    Role model

    I put the rocket in Hindrocket Posted by Hello

    John Hinderaker equates members of the Bush administration with Augusto Pinochet as if that was a good thing:

    I think I saw a reference to this some days ago but didn't follow it up. Today Captain Ed picked up the story, and Glenn Reynolds linked, so there should be a fair amount of buzz about Amnesty International's call for the arrest of President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, and pretty much any other Republican whom foreign governments can get their hands on.

    Yes, it's true: the official statement by John Kerry and Ted Kennedy donor Bill Schulz, the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, is here. Schulz writes:

    If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal. And if those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them. The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998.

    Interesting precedent. General Pinochet, traveling with a visa for the United Kingdom and under a diplomatic passport, went to England to have surgery on his back. While recuperating in the hospital, he was arrested so that he could be put on trial on Spain for offenses allegedly committed in Chile. Human rights activists think that this was a good and honorable action on the part of the English authorities, although the extradition effort ultimately failed.
    (my emphasis)

    That would be this General Pinochet:

    Augusto Pinochet came to power in Chile in 1973, after deposing democratically-elected President Allende through a violent coup d'etat. It thus began a period of brutal repression at the hands of the armed and intelligence forces operating under the orders of Pinochet. Thousands of people were murdered or "disappeared", taken to concentration camps and brutally tortured; hundreds of thousands were arrested or had to seek exile abroad.

    Pinochet exported the repression to other countries through "Operation Condor" - a plan of mutual cooperation among intelligence agencies of different South American countries. Chilean exilees in Argentina, Paraguya and other countries were thus persecuted and killed by Chilean forces.


    In early November 1973, some peasants traveling over the Las Tejuelas bridge, which crosses the Ñuble River about a mile and a half from Chillán, noted that, as usual, the water level was beginning to drop with the end of the rainy season. Along with this phenomenon, they noticed another one, new and horrifying: the appearance of dozens of headless cadavers with their arms tied behind their backs. Some of the bodies were half decayed. When the peasants notified the military police post at the city gates, they were told curtly: "You saw nothing. If you say anything, we will arrest you and cut your throats, just like those corpses."

    Those bodies were the leftovers from the "extermination" operation in Ñuble Province, resembling the "leftovers" in any other province in Chile after September 11, debris left by bayonets, machine guns, and torture devices of the Chilean Air Force, Navy, and Army.

    Shortly before this incident at the Las Tejuelas bridge, the Arauco Fishing Association, which produces canned seafood in the port of Talcahuano, had to halt work for several days. The fish they were receiving were full of bits of human flesh from bodies the Chilean Navy had tossed into the ocean after they came out of the naval base's torture chambers

    One journalist, still in Chile, whose name I must withhold, told me how corpses of people who had been tortured and later shot appeared in the Mapocho River, which runs through Santiago:

    During the first weeks of October I had to cross Bulnes bridge to get over the Mapocho very early every morning. The first time I could not believe my eyes. It couldn't be true. From a distance I could see lots of people gathered along the bridge's railing and the riverbanks. They were looking at the half-floating corpses, four men's bodies. I still remember, one was wearing a red shirt. Farther off, there was a fifth body which had been dragged ashore. This scene went on every day, and not just at this bridge. You could see them at Pedro de Valdivia bridge too. Dozens of women would station themselves at the bridges every day, in hopes of seeing the body of a husband or son who had disappeared after being picked up by the soldiers. One day I saw nine corpses, all with bare chests, hands tied behind their backs. The bodies were perforated by bullet holes. And with them was the body of a girl, apparently fifteen or sixteen years old.


    I was interrogated the second day for more than three hours. They undressed me and beat me, using their fists and boots all over my body. There seemed to be a lot of them. Then they applied electricity to my testicles. When they turned off the current, they began to hit me again with their hands and feet. feet. They concentrated on my stomach. This was because when the torture began I felt a karate chop and instinctively hardened my muscles. The torturer shouted at me: "So you're trained, eh? Now you're going to get it" During the entire interrogation they kept me blindfolded and my wrists handcuffed. The muscular contractions caused by the electricity made the handcuffs tighter each time, and the flesh of my wrists was cut down to the bone. By that point I didn't feel pain anymore. I only realized that I was being burned by the electricity. After the interrogation, in which they hoped to find whether there were weapons in the university, they led me to another room where they took off the blindfold so I could walk, but I kept falling down. They made me crawl to another room where there were tortured people lying on the floor. I knew one of them a university professor, by sight; one whole side of his body was black with 'bruises; they had punctured his eardrum, which made him howl with pain. The rest of them were all as badly beaten up as I was, or worse. Many had broken ribs and couldn't even breathe. None could walk; their legs were fractured both from the blows and from the muscular contractions produced by the electricity,. There were a lot of women as badly beaten up as the men were. They bad also been brutally raped; they had internal ruptures and were bleeding profusely. One kept moaning. The torturers had inserted a sharp object in her vagina, and it had cut through the peritoneum. Some of the people there said they had recognized the interrogators: they were Navy infantrymen trained at the American bases in Panama.

    It would be lovely if, next time Hinderaker is invited to appear on CNN or MSNBC, that they would identify him as John Hinderaker: Pinochet Apologist.


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