During the 1973 military coup in Chile, Chilean national-security state goons murdered two American citizens, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. The purpose of the coup, which was headed by military strongman Augusto Pinochet, was to oust the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, a self-described communist, from power and install a military dictatorship in his stead.
The coup had been set into motion three years before by President Richard Nixon and his National Security Council. Feeling that another Latin American communist president (in addition to Fidel Castro) would be a threat to U.S. “national security,” Nixon charged the CIA with the task of getting the coup accomplished.
We do not know the full extent of everything the CIA did before the coup, during the coup, and after the coup because the CIA has steadfastly refused to disclose all its records relating to the coup. “National security,” they say.
But we do know of some things the CIA did. For example, in response to Nixon’s order to the CIA to “make the economy scream,” the CIA financed a nationwide truckers’ strike that impeded the delivery of food to towns and villages across the country.
Even worse, the CIA also conspired to kidnap the commanding general of the Chilean armed forces, Gen. Rene Schneider, and remove him from the scene. Schneider, who believed he owed a higher allegiance to the Chilean constitution than to the CIA, refused to go along with the idea of a coup. During the kidnapping attempt, he fought back, causing the would-be kidnappers to shoot him dead. Later, the CIA was caught delivering hush money to one of the would-be kidnappers.
During the coup, Pinochet’s national-security state goons rounded up an estimated 60,000 people, most of whom were brutally tortured or raped. Their crime? They believed in socialism or what many people today would call progressivism. Yes, you read that right. That was their only “crime.”
An estimated 3,000 people were murdered by Pinochet and his goons. Those killed included two American citizens, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. Horman’s murder was later made the subject of the movie Missing, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.
In 1979, Horman’s widow Joyce filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that U.S. national-security state officials had participated in the murder of her husband. The U.S. District Court summarily dismissed the suit, holding that Horman had not provided sufficient evidence of U.S. national-security state complicity in her husband’s murder.
Never mind that any such evidence would be exclusively within the control of the national-security state apparatuses both in the United States and Chile. And never mind that the only way that she could have secured such information, especially given the super-secret nature of the CIA, would have been to take oral depositions of U.S. officials and subpoena their records. But the federal judiciary decided that it simply would not permit her to use federal discovery rules to pierce the secrecy of the national-security state, not even when it involved the possible murders of American citizens.
In response to that lawsuit, the State Department released a memo in which a portion had been blacked out. The memo, which was dated 1976, reflected that the State Department had conducted an official internal (and secret) investigation into the Horman and Teruggi murders.
The memo, however, contained a great big blacked-out portion.
Guess what that great big blacked-out portion stated.
It stated that U.S. intelligence may have played an unfortunate role in the murders of Horman and Teruggi.
How do we know that that’s what that great big blacked out portion said?
Because in 1999, in response to public pressure to release official documents relating to the Chilean coup, owing to Pinochet’s arrest in England, the State Department re-released the memo, only this time it didn’t have anything blacked out.
If you want to compare the two versions of the memo, click here: https://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/19991008/01-01.htm
What better example of a cover-up than that? After all, it would be impossible to come up any sort of “national security” reason for blacking out a portion of an official memo that states that U.S. intelligence may have played an unfortunate role in the murders of two Americans.
Don’t you think Joyce Horman would have liked to have shown that memo to the federal judge who summarily dismissed her lawsuit back in 1979?
Joyce Horman has never stopped fighting to get to the bottom of her husband’s murder. Neither has Janis Teruggi Page, Frank Teruggi’s sister. You can check out Horman’s website here: www.hormantruth.org.
Last September Horman wrote a letter to three members of Congress requesting an official investigation into the murders of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. She provided a detailed background of the case, including the fact that a Chilean judge had recently indicted the head of the U.S. Military Group in Chile in 1973, a Capt. Ray Davis, for complicity in the two murders. Davis, however, will never have to face a trial because he is now deceased.
The three members of Congress to whom Joyce Horman sent her letter were: Congressman George Miller, Senator Tom Harkin, and Senator Bernie Sanders. Here is a link to Horman’s letter: https://www.hormantruth.org/ht/sites/default/files/files/2014request/SIGNED%20Harkin%20Miller%20Sanders%20request%20to%20investigate%209-22-14.pdf
Well, guess what these three courageous congressmen did.
No, you guessed wrong! No, they did not call for a congressional investigation into the two murders.
Instead, they wrote letters to the State Department, the CIA, and the Navy requesting them to conduct the investigation! Click here for those three letters:
If that isn’t the most ridiculous congressional act ever, it certainly has to rank right near the top.
Hey, why don’t we have the Mafia investigating its own crimes too?
At the risk of belaboring the obvious — if the CIA and the Navy were complicit in the murders of two Americans, the likelihood of the CIA and the Navy finding themselves guilty is zilch. It ain’t gonna happen. They would instead lie about it and cover it up.
After all, don’t forget that CIA Director Richard Helms was convicted of a federal crime after lying to Congress under oath about U.S. involvement in Chilean affairs after Allende was elected president. After his sentencing, during which a federal judge slapped him on his wrist with a minor sentence, his CIA cohorts back at the office celebrated the fact that he had protected CIA secrets by committing perjury.
At the risk of further belaboring the obvious, if the State Department, after concluding that U.S. intelligence may have played an unfortunate role in the murders of Horman and Teruggi, did not follow up with further investigations or refer the matter to a federal grand jury, what are the chances that they will do so some 40 years later, especially since the State Department that blacked out that great big pertinent portion of that memo, the portion that concluded that U.S. intelligence may have played an unfortunate role in the murders of Horman and Teruggi? Zilch!
I’ve got a better idea for Congressmen Miller, Harkins, and Sanders: Have Congress conduct the investigation! In that way, everything could be out in the open. A congressional investigative committee could subpoena all the still-secret records and documents that the CIA and military don’t want Joyce Horman, Janis Teruggi Page, and the American people to see. And they could subpoena all the CIA agents and military personnel who were serving in Chile during that time to testify about the full extent of U.S. involvement in the murder of two American citizens.
Moreover, Congress would be a good position to reject ridiculous notions like “National Security” that the military and CIA would undoubtedly serve up.
Surely, this idea must have occurred to Miller, Harkins, and Sanders when they wrote their letters to the State Department, Navy, and CIA requesting them to conduct investigations.
So, the question arises: Why would these three congressmen wash their hands of responsibility for a congressional investigation with ridiculous and futile letters to those three agencies.
I can think of only one reason: Who wants to mess with a national-security state apparatus that has the power to assassinate or destroy Americans with impunity?
For more on the Horman and Teruggi murders, see my five-part series entitled “The U.S. Executions of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi” that is forthcoming in FFF’s monthly journal, Future of Freedom. Click here to subscribe.