Adi³s al Torturador


These are detainees held in Santiago’s National Studium after the coup, awaiting an uncertain, and in some cases hideous, fate. Thinking about them, should we be sorry that Pinochet managed in the end to evade a trial and sentence? Or should we rejoice that at least he lived long enough for his crimes to catch up with him – that the last eight years of his life were marred by inconvenience and ignominy in place of the ease and glory he felt entitled to?

Pinochet’s long overdue collision with justice occurred on 16 October 1998, when he was arrested in London, where he had gone for medical treatment.* A Spanish judge sought his extradition on charges of kidnapping a political leader from Argentina in 1976. The case ultimately went to the House of Lords, who upheld the extradition order. Pinochet was finally allowed home by the Home Secretary on medical grounds, but by then he had been detained for fifteen months. Although he escaped being charged and tried, the episode ended his pretence of being a respected elder statesman on the world stage. At the same time, it spurred his countrymen to take the initiative. The Chilean government had actually opposed Pinochet’s detention, but in August 2000 the Supreme Court lifted his immunity from prosecution for the executions and kidnappings referred to as the ‘Caravan of Death’. He was then charged with those crimes, and placed under house arrest for several months in 2001 until his lawyers again successfully argued that he was medically unfit to be tried. But from that moment, he did not get a moment’s respite from the prosecutors until his death six years later.

Meanwhile, other members of the regime were being arrested and charged with crimes including the assassination of General Carlos Prats in 1974 and the trade unionist Tucapel Jiminez in 1982. Until this time they were immune from prosecution thanks to an amnesty declared by Pinochet in 1978, but lawyers got around this by means of the ingenious argument that the immunity from did not apply to on-going crimes: since disappearances by definition were unsolved, they could be regarded for legal purposes as abductions. In 2003, President Lagos offered a deal allowing low-ranking officers to receive lenient sentences in return for their testimony against senior officers, and also set up a special commission to investigate torture. Hundreds of former members of the military and secret police have been convicted for various human rights abuses, and hundreds more are awaiting trial. On the international front, members of Ren© Schneider’s family announced their intention to sue the United States Government for its involvement in the General’s murder in 1970; and an investigative team sent by the Clinton administration recommended that Pinochet be charged in relation to the assassination of former Ambassador Orlando Letelier in 1976.

Finally in 2004 the ball started rolling again for the ex-Dictator himself. One by one, the Court of Appeal removed his immunity for an array of other murders and abductions. He was interviewed by the indefatigable Judge Guzm¡n in August, and charged in December with some kidnappings and a murder arising from the infamous ‘Operation Condor’. He had been under house arrest or in hospital ever since, as the battle over medical objections continued.

And that’s as far as it got. At least the truth is out. The most disastrous predicatment for victims of human rights abuses arises when their ordeal is over but their stories are dismissed as exaggeration or propaganda. The report of the National Commission on Political Prisoners and Torture was released in November 2004. It found that at least 28,000 people had been tortured during the seventeen years of the regime. In an era of euphemisms about torture, it’s worth being concrete about what this means. The ‘Remember Chile’ website quotes the ‘Killers of the 20th Century’ furnishes a useful summary of the twists and turns of the case.

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JC
JC
14 years ago

Couldn’t agree more, james. I wish Castro could live long enough to cop the rap for his own murderous rampage over the past 50 years.

GMB
GMB
14 years ago

That 28,000 people tortured.

Thats the first thing I’ve heard that sounds really really bad.

Why the PARTICULAR interest in Pinochet though?

When all is said and done its:

1. Because he was an American ally.

2. He destroyed communists rather then being destroyed by them.

3. To distract from the unbelievably worse behaviour of the socialist you guys are always making excuses for.

Nontheless this idea of 28 000 tortured is certainly not a nice-sounding thing.

You got much in the way of evidence for that one champ?

Nabakov
Nabakov
14 years ago

You two, joe and birdy, are well beyond parody now. It’s like watching an X-rated Laurel and Hardy two reeler with a soundtrack dubbed into Urdu. Including the FX track.

Fyodor
14 years ago

[Yes, yes, I know, it does look like Tag-Team Stoush: The Torturing, but you know you love it, so just suck it up]

Mmmh…Birdy and his munnkey defending torturing dictators?

Can’t say I’m surprised: their particular brand of moronic glibertarianism just gets whackier and whackier.

Rafe Champion
14 years ago

Some of these themes are getting a workover at Catallaxy.

Like the twinship of the hard left and the authoritarian right. Do we have to choose? And how about the same rules for commentary on both?

http://catallaxyfiles.com/?p=2208

And the catastrophic legacy of Marxism.

http://catallaxyfiles.com/?p=2212

Liam
Liam
14 years ago

Well written, James. This is the best commemoration I’ve read so far.

Aidan
Aidan
14 years ago

Anybody else shocked by this:

the submarino or ba

Fyodor
14 years ago

No, Aidan. Sad that it STILL HAPPENS. In our bastions of civilised *cough* liberty, no less.

Would the real libertarians please stand up, please stand up?

Paul Norton
Paul Norton
14 years ago

James, excellent post. I’d just like to link to another reason not to forget, here and here.

Ken Parish
Admin
14 years ago

This post by John Quiggin provides a succinct answer to the rational, qualified apologetics of Rafe and Jason (and their primitive echo in Bird’s comment above – Cambria’s comment is more nuanced). JQ’s money quote:

Viewed objectively, though, the similarities between the two [Castro and Pinochet] outweigh the differences. Any good they have done (education in Cuba, economic growth in Chile) is less substantial than claimed by their admirers, and in any case outweighed by the central fact that, to impose the policies they thought were good, they were willing to jail, torture and kill those who got in their way. And Pinochet’s gross personal corruption is matched by Fidel’s conversion of his dictatorship into a family business, to be inherited by his brother.

Jason Soon
14 years ago

Ken
What f**ing apologetics? My position on Pinochet is perfectly clear on any perusal of my comments on this topic on Carallaxy. What Rafe said is his own business.

Gummo Trotsky
14 years ago

Purely out of curiosity: what’s happened to http://catallaxyfiles.com/?p=2208?

Jason Soon
14 years ago

Rafe is not renowned for his mastery of post-18th century technology. I have asked him what happened to his post and he says it’s there but I don’t see it either. I think he has accidentally deleted it while trying to edit something.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Ken, you dopey idiot.

My point as that the left gets all greased up going into some orgazmic state over Pinochet killing 3000 people but remains quiet on the industrial sized carnage the leftist experiment produced over the last century.

Quiggin’s reasoning is contorted as usual because he never thinks straight when it comes to AGW or left/right issues.It’s obvious he only wrote the Castro rejoinder after he gave it some thought overnight.

My point has been quite simple. Allende would have produced far more deaths than the number that came out of Pinochet’s regime. That’s my call… my estimate.

Castro has produced a hovel and killed far more people, but he seems to get a pass.

In any event you ought to do the right thing and apologise to Soon for misrepresenting his comments. You are far too articulate to have misconstrued his comments and therefore I can only come to the conclusion it is jsut a malicious attempt to slander him. Pathetic!

Be a man and take it back or are you just going to wuss out of an apology?

Fyodor
14 years ago

FFS, munnkey, the only thing contorted here is your futile pretense that you’re not defending a butcher. Allende would have killed more people? What kind of bullshit argument is that? I hope you have a Lancet study available to back up that ridiculous assertion, as your estimate’s as worthless as your illogic.

Read Quiggin’s post.

Attempt to understand it.

Then – and ONLY then – attempt a meaningful comment.

Paul Norton
Paul Norton
14 years ago

Fyodor, JC’s comment about what Allende would have done seems to be logically equivalent to a statement about the number of people that Gough Whitlam would have killed if Kerr hadn’t sacked him in 1975.

As for comparisons with Castro (or Stalin or Mao for that matter), what jury in its right mind would acquit a murderer on the basis of a defence argument that s/he should be acquitted because, y’know, Ivan Milat killed more people?

JC
JC
14 years ago

Paul

It’s not murder trial. It’s a debate about history and what if’s. There’s a difference although I know it’s a little hard getting your head around that.

1. A Spanish court issues an arrest warrant for Pinochet for his crimes.

2. The Spanish Government has given Castro a medal and hononary citizenship status that is offered to exhalted foreigners.

You wish or anyone else wish to comment on this?

“Fyodor, JC’s comment about what Allende would have done seems to be logically equivalent to a statement about the number of people that Gough Whitlam would have killed if Kerr hadn’t sacked him in 1975.”

I don’t know why you’re offering Fyodor an intro here? Maybe you’re too much a of simple couward to argue your own points. Whitlam and his sacking has nothing to do with the discussion here, dopey. He did the right thing and left office after he singlehandedly almost destroyed the place.

“As for comparisons with Castro (or Stalin or Mao for that matter), what jury in its right mind would acquit a murderer on the basis of a defence argument that s/he should be acquitted because, y’know, Ivan Milat killed more people?”

See the comment above about it being a debate and not a murder trial. You don’t even know what I think should have happened to Pinochet.

Why do leftists like you hide the sins of your co-religionists.

Talk about retro primitives (Ken’s comment), Norton.

Fyodor
14 years ago

“Fyodor, JC’s comment about what Allende would have done seems to be logically equivalent to a statement about the number of people that Gough Whitlam would have killed if Kerr hadn’t sacked him in 1975.”

Analogously equivalent, not logically.

Fyodor
14 years ago

It’s not murder trial. It’s a debate about history and what if’s. There’s a difference although I know it’s a little hard getting your head around that.

1. A Spanish court issues an arrest warrant for Pinochet for his crimes.

2. The Spanish Government has given Castro a medal and hononary citizenship status that is offered to exhalted foreigners.

You wish or anyone else wish to comment on this?

Comment: irrelevant.

Question: why are you (illogically) defending a butcher?

JC
JC
14 years ago

I’m not defending a butcher.

By default why are you defending a Castro wannabe? Allende shot himself with an AK47, which was Castro’s gift during his extended stay in Chile.

The comment is not irrelevant because you say it is. It’s very relevant because of the unbalanced views we get when we go into the comparison game with leftists like you.

Fyodor
14 years ago

I’m not defending a butcher.

Yes, you are.

By default why are you defending a Castro wannabe? Allende shot himself with an AK47, which was Castro’s gift during his extended stay in Chile.

There’s no default position required here, munnkey. As I said, read Quiggin’s post, which criticises BOTH tyrants. That is the approach anybody who gives a damn about democracy, liberty and justice should take. Your hypocritical defence of Pinochet simply because he was from your side of politics is stupidly and characteristically partisan.

The comment is not irrelevant because you say it is. It’s very relevant because of the unbalanced views we get when we go into the comparison game with leftists like you.

No, it’s irrelevant because it’s irrelevant. Whatever bauble the Spanish government may have given Castro has no bearing whatsoever on the disgusting crimes of Pinochet. The only clown playing the comparison game here is you.

JC
JC
14 years ago

Where did i say i supported Pinochet, Fyodor? Show the goods, otherwise retract it because your lying again.

“As I said, read Quiggin’s post, which criticises BOTH tyrants”

I read both. Yesterdays and todays. The dickhead (kens term, not mine) thought he could get away with slagging on Pinochet alone. Then someone called him up on it in the thread. He must have had a “think” about the state to the world and woke up to cover his tracks with todays thread. Is there direct evidence? No. Is my hunch right? Yep.

“That is the approach anybody who gives a damn about democracy, liberty and justice should take”

You said this because you’re just sucking up to Ken here seeing you once ratted on his blog over at Catallaxy. You are so shamelessly transparent, Fyodor that it almost funny.

“Your hypocritical defence of Pinochet simply because he was from your side of politics is stupidly and characteristically partisan.”

Ah no. I never said anything like that. That’s simple projection that leftoids use to promote their own side at the expense of the other. Hard leftism killed in industrial size last century and the leftists present remorse over 3,000 people killed??? My point is if Pinochet was a leftist he would have been hero worshiped like some do Castro. See my point above about the Spanish government.

“Whatever bauble the Spanish government may have given Castro has no bearing whatsoever on the disgusting crimes of Pinochet.”

Crimes are crimes. Actions of people are also important. It is important to know that the Spanish Leftist government has presented a bauble, as you called it, to a mass murderer. He not only gets a pass. He gets dinner with the social set.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Rafe’s post has resurfaced:

http://catallaxyfiles.com/?p=2208

JC
JC
14 years ago

Here is the truth about the Chilian revolution that some of you wish gloss over because it doesn’t fit into your view of the world.

It is correct to say that Allende was the elected president of Chile in the 1970 election albeit with just around 36% of the vote. However his government lost its democratic flavor by continually violating the constitution.

This is what the Economist said at the time:

The death of democracy in Chile is regrettable, however the blame lies with Dr. Allende and those followers who continually overrode the constitution”

Fyodor
14 years ago

Where did i say i supported Pinochet, Fyodor? Show the goods, otherwise retract it because your lying again.

Where? You mean apart from that last serve of tripe? Yet again, when presented with the option of quitting while he’s behind, munnkey decides to dig into an untenable position. Where did you say you supported Pinochet? Let me count the ways:

“You guys seem to get pretty worked up over the general. As far as killing goes, 3,000 isn’t a huge number by leftist standards if we were going to do some comparison shopping.”

Fyodor
14 years ago

Ahem. Moderator?

JC
JC
14 years ago

I guess you have no arguments to comment 25 except the pathetic attempt at girly style abuse, fyodor.

You show no understanding of the history of the time. No understanding of the legal movements between the Supreme Court, the lower house and the demands placed on the forces by their oath to protect the integrity of the Chilean constitution. I guess with countless lies and distortions you portray, the word “integrity” would never come near your lexicon.

Look dickhead, if you have a point to make that the history I cited is inaccurate, wrong or that I am lying, show exactly where in comment 25 that is the case. Otherwise your girly dummy spit adds nothing to the discussion.

Show where the history is wrong or take a hike.

As for Quiggin’s comments”

Fyodor
14 years ago

What arguments are required to debunk an article from 1973, clown? Being the half-arsed partisan you are, you didn’t bother to get a more modern, INFORMED, take on Pinochet, did you? What about the history of abductions, torture and murder? I didn’t see any of that in your feeble attempt at evidence, girlyman. You’ll find The Economist sings a a very different tune today.

No constitutional crisis justified the brutal dictatorship that followed. The fact that you don’t get that proves what a clueless hypocrite you are, munnkey.

JC
JC
14 years ago

“What arguments are required to debunk an article from 1973, clown?”

Oh, how about arguments.

“Being the half-arsed partisan you are, you didn’t bother to get a more modern, INFORMED, take on Pinochet, did you?”

A couple of books is a fair sum for a place like that.

Being a 1/2 arsed leftist partisan hack yourself I guess you simply relied on Quiggin’s “analysis. You know that’s bound to bring all sorts of riches on the race track.

“What about the history of abductions, torture and murder?”

Ok references please with proper historical annotations. ASAP. There needs to be proper doumented proof that can easily be accessed. No lying or distortions this time. No piddly articles written by partisan hacks. Page numbers too.

“I didn’t see any of that in your feeble attempt at evidence, girlyman.”

No you didn’t mary boy because you didn’t look and as usual you end up shooting at your feet like you did on the gold thread, Fred.

1.There was the Economist piece going back to 1973.

2.There was the history of the Supreme Court actions and findings at the time.

3 There was the history the lower house findinds and demands placed on the armed forces.

4. there was a brief explanation of why this should be defined as a civil war

5 There was the analogous examples of three other civile wars with this one having far less casualties.

6. A citation to the Alywn inquiry citing the number dead was actually 2,000 instead of 3,000.

Yep nothing to find there for an ignorant, biased half wit like yourself, begger boy.

Now refute the arguments in 25 or get on your scooter, scooter

Fyodor
14 years ago

Yes, that’s it, munnkey. Dig in nice and tight. Dig in so deep you’ll never get out again.

I’ve already proved you defended a murderous tyrant, and that you lied about it.

You’re done, and you know it. All you have left is bluster, you pitiful idiot.

But, you know, keep pretending you have a case and I might just rub your nose in it. Go on: give me an incentive. You know it’ll be fun for both of us.

Ken Parish
Admin
14 years ago

I’ve been out at dinner. I think I’ll just close off this thread rather than put any particular individual on moderation. I genuinely don’t understand what either of you two blokes get out of this, although I can see you’re enjoying it. Have you considered asking the doctor to increase your medication?