The CIA’s Continued Secrecy on Chile and JFK – Jacob G. Hornberger 9/8/23


On August 31, the Nation magazine published an article entitled “Chile: The Secrets the US Government Continues to Hide,” which details the CIA’s continued steadfast insistence on keeping its records secret that relate to the agency’s 1970-1973 efforts to bring regime change to Chile. 

The CIA’s continued secrecy, of course, brings to mind the agency’s equally steadfast insistence on keeping its JFK-assassination related records secret into perpetuity. 

The CIA, needless to say, cites the two magic words — “national security” — to justify its continued secrecy in both events. 

I suggest that two other words are the real reason for the CIA’s continued secrecy in both events: “criminal cover-up.”

After all, the JFK assassination took place 60 years ago and the Chilean coup took place 50 years ago. The notion that the release of CIA assassination-related and coup-related records would threaten “national security,” no matter what definition is used for that ridiculous, meaningless term, is laughable to the extreme.

Actually, the Chilean coup bears a relationship to the JFK assassination. That’s because the national-security establishment’s mindset toward its regime-change operation in Chile reflected its mindset toward its regime-change operation in Dallas. My hunch is that those still-secret records relating to Chile would provide further circumstantial evidence pointing toward the reasons for the operation in Dallas.

In 1970, Chilean voters delivered a plurality of vote to Salvador Allende in the presidential election. Since Allende had not received a majority of votes, the election was thrown into the hands of the Chilean congress.

U.S. officials deemed Allende a grave threat to U.S. national security, on two grounds: that he was a socialist but, more important, that he was befriending the communist world, including Cuba and the Soviet Union, something that Kennedy had done as well in his famous Peace Speech at American University a few months before he was assassinated. 

The CIA embarked on a campaign of bribing the members of the Chilean congress to vote against Allende (which, of course, is somewhat ironic given the fierce U.S. reaction to supposed Russian involvement in U.S. elections).

At the same time, the U.S. national-security establishment made plans for a Chilean military takeover. What’s interesting is that the CIA did not assassinate Allende. Instead, it convinced the Chilean national-security establishment that Allende posed a grave threat to Chilean national security and, therefore, that the Chilean national-security establishment had a moral duty to violently prevent Allende from assuming the presidency.

That’s a very important and very revealing point, one that undoubtedly comes across loud and clear in those still-secret CIA records relating to the Chile coup. The point reveals the U.S. national-security establishment’s conviction that it had the moral duty to violently remove JFK from power in order to protect America from a president whose policies, they concluded, posed a grave risk to “national security.” (See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne.)

Much to the chagrin of the U.S. national-security establishment, however, the commanding general of Chile’s armed forces, Gen. Rene Schneider, opposed the idea of a coup. His position was that the Chilean constitution did not permit a coup as a way to remove a democratically elected president from office. He said that Chileans would have to wait until the next election. 

Therefore, the CIA simply orchestrated a violent kidnapping of Schneider which left him dead from gunshot wounds on the streets of Santiago. Ironically, the CIA’s kidnapping and assassination of this innocent man boomeranged because the Chilean congress, faced with tremendous anger over Schneider’s murder among the Chilean citizenry, rejected the CIA’s bribes and installed Allende into power. 

Three years later, however, the U.S. national-security establishment prevailed in its efforts and helped military strongman Gen. Augusto Pinochet violently take over the reins of power. By the end of the war between the executive and national-security branches of the government, Allende was dead, just as Kennedy was ten years before….

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