A controversy has simmered for some years over the role of the United States, and particularly of its then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, in the actions surrounding Operation Condor. Condor was an assassination and torture plan implemented by a number of South American countries, braintrusted by Pinochet’s Chile.
A new FOIA release, courtesy of the National Security Archive, shows that only five days before former high-ranking Allende official, Orlando Letelier, and his U.S. assistant, Ronnie Moffit, were assassinated by Chile’s notorious DINA secret service in Washington, DC, a September 16, 1976 State Department cable from Henry Kissinger told his assistant secretary of state for Inter-American affairs, Harry Shlaudeman, to cancel a formal demarche to the Uruguayan government, protesting the assassinations and other activities of Operation Condor. The cable was followed four days later by instructions from Shlaudeman to numerous South American U.S. embassies to forego any protests regarding Condor policy, offering the excuse that Condor appeared to be inactive.
Yet, only the next day, a Condor assassination took place in the streets of Washington, DC, when a car bomb blew up Letelier and Moffitt. According to British historian, Kenneth Maxwell, the U.S. government was aware of Operation Condor, and even “that a Chilean assassination team had been planning to enter the United States.” A flap over Maxwell’s favorable review in the journal of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), Foreign Affairs of Peter Kornbluh’s book The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability, led to Maxwell’s resignation from the CFR some months later.
[Read more at TPR]