At the time of his death in 2006, Augusto Pinochet had been implicated in over 300 criminal charges for human rights violations. The charges included 194 counts of killings Spanish citizens. He was arrested in London and held on house arrest in comfortable rented accommodation for a year and a half before being released by the British government. During that time he was visited by Margaret Thatcher to pay her respects.
Who was Pinochet?
Pinochet was the Chilean dictator who took power in Chile in 1973 after a US backed coup that ousted President Allende the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, which lead to a brutal right wing dictatorship, led by Pinochet.
“Pinochet’s newly formed junta locked hundreds of thousands of people in detention centres, “disappeared” (killed) at least 2,279 for political reasons and tortured another 31,947. Pinochet took power by military force and used military force to maintain his regime.” libcom
“Almost 50 years after the September 1973 coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, declassified Foreign Office documents reveal Britain’s role in destabilising the country.
Under the Labour government of Harold Wilson (1964-1970), a secret Foreign Office unit initiated a propaganda offensive in Chile aiming to prevent Allende, Chile’s leading socialist figure, winning power in two presidential elections, in 1964 and 1970.” Declassified UK
The Conservative Government of the day led by Edward Heath, ignored or avoided the evidence of what was happening in Chile, as did the Labour government before.
In western Governments no one can hear you scream “They took us to an interrogation room where they had a metal bunk-bed. There was another detainee on the top and my partner was tied to the side. They were interrogating all three of us at the same time, taking turns to electrocute us one after the other. The interrogation session lasted through the night to the next morning.”
“In Villa Grimaldi detainees would be electrocuted, water boarded, had their heads forced into buckets of urine and excrement, suffocated with bags, hanged by their feet or hands and beaten. Many women were raped and for some detainees, punishment was death.” Amnesty international
We might even remember the Rolls Royce workers in East Kilbride in 1973 who refused to work on Chilean jet engines and helped to sabotaged Pinochet’s murder machine.
Why would Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who took over from Heath, warm to the Chilean dictator Pinochet? Pinochet was the first neoliberal dictator that presented US interests and therefor Britains interests. Chile became the test bed for many of the neoliberal economics that has racked countries like Venezuela and Cuba, and in all corners of the globe. Countries that have refused to comply with western imperialist economic doctrine. Which basically means. “Everything for us and nothing for you”
So today the Bank Of England sill holds Venezuela’s gold. Why? “The UK High Court has ruled against Venezuela’s government in a legal battle over access to $1bn (£820m) of gold stored in the Bank of England. It said the UK had “unequivocally recognised opposition leader Juan Guaidó as president”, rather than the elected President Nicolás Maduro.” BBC 2 July 2020 Britain is now the only European country who still supports the US plant Juan Guaidó, along with fewer than fifteen countries around the world who all have right wing governments or connections to US backing.
Thirty one tonnes of seized Venezuelian gold at the Bank of England, as our government with the US and other European governments (before backing down) held up Juan Guaidó, a tin pot dictator, and ex gang member. And like Pinochet, whose credibility a seven year old could see through.
Meanwhile, even under a US led embargo, Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission reached a 3,700,000 homes milestone, under the present, legitimately elected, President Nicolás Maduro?
Compare that to the UK. Nothing has changed much since Thatcher’s reign and the selling off of public housing. The Big Issue reported. Almost 230,000 households across Britain are experiencing homelessness and will spend time sleeping on the streets, in cars or sheds or stuck in insecure accommodation. Most of the 227,000 families and individuals are in England, according to the research by Crisis and Heriot Watt University, with the country accounting for 203,400 households compared to 14,260 in Scotland and 9,380 in Wales. This in one of the richest countries in the world and we can not even compete with Venezuela’s housing achievements, even when we are illegally holding their gold.
On he UK governments website it states under UK sanctions relating to Venezuela. “This sanctions regime is aimed at encouraging the government of Venezuela to respect democratic principles, to comply with international human rights law and to respect human rights.” This is “our” Government blatantly complying to US regime change in Venezuela, in our name.
What is the point of this?
To paraphrase Aristotle, Regarding the public’s affairs, there are two ways of dealing with public accountability and the public’s happiness. One is reducing poverty. The other is reducing democracy. It should be becoming obvious to us what our the present governments and many before’s choice has been. And the words of Napoleon gives us some clue as to how they reduce democracy. “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”
“Give light and the people will find their own way.” was the guiding motto of the old Scripps newspaper publishers in the US, 1878. Todays legacy media journalism is guided by the motto “Power prefers darkness” The light is dimming fast for the writers, journalists historians and chroniclers of of truth. Recently, the International Press Institute’s global network published its yearly Data Watch. IPI research shows that since the beginning of 2021, a total of 45 journalists were killed in connection with their work, or lost their lives on assignment. Of these 45 journalists, 40 were male and five were female. A total of 28 were targeted due to their work, while three were killed while covering conflict, two lost their lives covering civil unrest, and one journalist was killed while on assignment. Eleven cases are still under investigation. And many more will have gone unknown.
The mass media are not the only, but they are among the most powerful forces in shaping of public consciousness and where consent is won or lost. And where a biasedly informed public can lend its legitimacy to a more than usual form of control as in Julian Assange’s case. it is what the corporate media do because their interests lie elsewhere, not in our interests in any shape or form. They can ignore state murder in countries far off, so long as the Bank Of England’s coffers are full with everybody else’s money. And they can control the public opinion of the domestic enemy by the manufacture of lies.
Julian Assange is a journalist who works to expose and shine light on the above butchers is being tortured by the British state, just the same as Pinochet’s victims. What else do we need to know about our justice system and about ourselves in order to act. Acknowledging such things about our destructive system requires honesty about what is all around us and a need for an intellectual conscience rather than emotional reaction to propaganda in place of factual evidence. Negative prejudice of Assange may shield us from doing nothing now, but we are sure to meet the consequences of that further down the road as the destruction of Assange will usher in a higher level of state persecution and in the citizens right to do or voice anything. No? As Priti Patel bangs her desk and demands It’s time for tough justice! We need to ask, justice for whom? The Pinochet’s of this world? More police powers to protect whom? The banks or the people protesting agains them. The fact is, in this so called democracy of ours, those who expose war crimes lie rotting in jails and those who perpetrate them like Tony Blair, are given honours by the Queen. This should tell us all we need to know in order to act to free Julian Assange. Because if we do not, we have handed the state carte blanche to continue in the present political farce of legislating a package of bills of law, enabled by a corrupt media, that will sooner or later become a prison to all who strive to find the truth.
In Chile’s recent presidential election, far-right Pinochet dictatorship supporter José Antonio Kast, the son of a German Nazi, was defeated by young center-left social democrat Gabriel Boric. Can Chile defeat its bastard child neoliberalism. We should hope so. We should be inspired by the people of Chile, but we shouldn’t expect to find word of that inspiration to be carried in the news of the right wing journals of the UK. They are far too busy supporting tin pot dictators, destroying economies, including our own, spending our money on new military space programs while our old people freeze.
Free journalism Free Assange.