Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Pinochet's lost millions: the UK connection

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU
emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:19 PM
Original message
Pinochet's lost millions: the UK connection
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 12:32 PM by emad
British authorities and the financial sector are linked for the first time to the late Chilean dictator's 1bn fortune. Hugh O'Shaughnessy reports

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Two-and-a-half years after the death of General Augusto Pinochet, a report by the Chilean police task force charged with investigating money-laundering has claimed that British authorities and the financial sector were complicit in hiding his massive ill-gotten fortune.

Though the Pinochet family protects the details of its wealth with the help of bankers and advisers from Britain and other countries, the pile of assets in cash, gold, government bonds and shares controlled by the family of the late dictator is now believed to amount to as much as 1bn.

The report by Brilac, the Chilean police task force, says that the freeze on the dictator's funds issued in 1998 by the Spanish investigating magistrate Baltasar Garzon, who was seeking the ex-dictator's extradition to Spain on charges of torture and murder, was in effect ignored by the financial sector in Britain, despite the fact that Britain was under an obligation to enforce it.

Professor David Sugarman, the director of the Centre for Law and Society at Lancaster University and author of a forthcoming book on Pinochet's arrest and imprisonment, said yesterday: "It looks like some of the banks holding Pinochet's funds did not comply with the letter and spirit of their duties of disclosure, due diligence and the legal requirement to report suspicious circumstances."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. .
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 12:26 PM by Wilms

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I like that jewelry he's wearing.
Now, where have I seen that before?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
2. The Opus Dei connection
In Gibraltar, Britain's only surviving colony in Europe, the Banco Atlantico was another of Pinochet's favourite banks, where he had an account to which he sent $2,658,604.84 on 19 October 1989, an amount which he said he had "forgotten" to include in a list of assets he had produced two days previously. He and his son, Marco Antonio, continued to keep the Banco Atlantico account well topped up. Banco Atlantico was set up in Cuba a century ago and its owners included the Continental Illinois Bank and Rumasa, run by the Opus Dei minence grise Jose Maria Ruiz Mateos. It was nationalised by the Spaniards in 1983 and later sold to private business.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
4. Jomathan Bush's Riggs Bank also held illegal Pinochet accounts. GHW helped Pinochet kill Letelier
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 02:18 PM by leveymg
Pinochet ordered the first act of international terrorism in Washington, DC. Then CIA Director George Bush's operatives at INS arranged for Chilean-American assassin Robert Townley, working for DINA, Pinchet's secret police, to be admitted into US, despite the fact that his name was on the Watch List of known terrorists. In 1976, Townley and a team of Cuban hitmen with CIA ties blew up the former Chilean Ambassador, Orlando Letelier. Also killed was a passenger in his car, the sister of a US Congressman. Bush then obstructed the FBI investigation of the murders at Sheridan Circle. Also, see,

Riggs Bank Hid Assets Of Pinochet, Report Says ( Bank courted business from former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and helped him hide millions of dollars in assets from international prosecutors ... - Similar

The Secret Pinochet Portfolio Mar 15, 2005 ... Records obtained from the Riggs Bank and Citibank showed that Pinochet presented falsified passports under the names of Augusto Ugarte and ... - Cached - Similar

Also, consider the following:

Condor specialized in targeted abductions, disappearances, interrogations/torture, and transfers of persons across borders. According to a declassified 1976 FBI report, Condor had several levels. The first was mutual cooperation among military intelligence services, including coordination of political surveillance and exchange of intelligence information. The second was organized cross-border operations to detain/disappear dissidents. The third and most secret, "Phase III," was the formation of special teams of assassins from member countries to travel anywhere in the world to carry out assassinations of "subversive enemies." Phase III was aimed at political leaders especially feared for their potential to mobilize world opinion or organize broad opposition to the military states.

Victims of Condor's Phase III, conducted during the mid-1970s, included Chilean Orlando Letelier--foreign minister under President Salvador Allende and a fierce foe of the Pinochet regime--and his American colleague Ronni Moffitt, in Washington D.C., and Chilean Christian Democrat leader Bernardo Leighton and his wife, in Rome. Condor assassinations in Buenos Aires were carried out against General Carlos Prats, former Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean army; nationalist ex-president of Bolivia Juan Jose Torres; two Uruguayan legislators known for their opposition to the Uruguayan military regime, Zelmar Michelini and Hector Gutierrez Ruiz. In the first two cases, DINA assassination teams "contracted" local terrorist and fascist organizations to assist in carrying out the crimes. A U.S.-born DINA assassin--expatriate Michael Townley--admitted his role in the Prats, Letelier-Moffitt, and Leighton crimes. Clearly, Operation Condor was an organized system of state terror with a transnational reach.

According to a declassified Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report from 1976, Condor used multinational commando teams made up of military and paramilitary operatives who carried out combined cross-border operations, and testimony from survivors of such operations confirms this. Condor also employed a telecommunications system (Condortel) to coordinate its intelligence, planning, and operations against political opponents. An Argentine military source told a U.S. Embassy contact in 1976 that the CIA had played a key role in setting up
the computerized links among the intelligence and operations units of the six Condor states.

Declassified U.S. documents make clear that U.S. security officers saw Condor as a legitimate "counterterror" organization. One 1976 DIA report stated, for example, that one Condor team was "structured much like a U.S. Special Forces Team," and described Condor's "joint counterinsurgency operations" to "eliminate Marxist terrorist activities." This report noted that Latin American military officers bragged about Condor to their U.S. counterparts. Numerous other CIA, DIA, and State Department documents referred to Condor as a counterterror or countersubversive organization and some described its assassination capability in a matter-of-fact manner. In 1978, for example, the CIA wrote that by July 1976 "the Agency was receiving reports that Condor planned to engage in `executive action' outside the territory of member countries." In fact, the documentary evidence shows that the CIA was fully aware of such capabilities and operations years earlier.

Known Cases of U.S. Collaboration with Condor

A key case illuminating U.S. involvement in Condor countersubversive operations was that of Chilean Jorge Isaac Fuentes Alarc=F3n, who was seized by Paraguayan police as he crossed the border from Argentina to Paraguay in May 1975. Fuentes, a sociologist, was suspected of being a courier for a Chilean leftist organization. Chile's Truth and Reconciliation Commission later learned that the capture of Fuentes was a cooperative effort by Argentine intelligence services, personnel of the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, and Paraguayan police. Fuentes was transferred to Chilean police, who brought him to Villa Grimaldi, a notorious DINA detention center in Santiago. He was last seen there, savagely tortured.

Recently declassified U.S. documents include a letter from the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires (written by FBI official Robert Scherrer) informing the Chilean military that Fuentes had been captured. Additionally, Scherrer provided the names and addresses of three individuals residing in the United States whom Fuentes named during his interrogation, and told his counterparts in the Pinochet regime that the FBI was conducting investigations of the three. This letter, among others, confirms that U.S. officials and agencies were cooperating with the military dictatorships and acting as a link in the Condor chain. Perhaps most striking is that this coordination was routine (if secret), standard operating procedure within U.S. policy.

Two of the most explosive discoveries about U.S. links to Condor have emerged in the past few months. First is a 1978 Roger Channel cable from Robert White, then Ambassador to Paraguay, to the Secretary of State, discovered by this researcher in February 2001. This declassified State Department document links Operation Condor to the former U.S. military headquarters in the Panama Canal Zone.

In the cable, White reported a meeting with Paraguayan armed forces chief General Alejandro Fretes Davalos. Fretes identified the Panama Canal Zone base of the U.S. military as the site of a secure transnational communications center for Condor. According to Fretes Davalos, intelligence chiefs from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay used "an encrypted system within the U.S. telecommunications net," which covered all of Latin America, to "coordinate intelligence information." In the cable, White drew the connection to Operation Condor and questioned whether the arrangement was in the U.S. interest--but he never received a response.

The Panama base housed the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), the U.S. Special Forces, and the Army School of the Americas (SOA), among other facilities, during most of the Cold War. Tens of thousands of Latin American officers were trained at the SOA, which used the infamous torture manuals released by the Pentagon and the CIA in the mid-1990s. Latin American officers trained in Panama have confirmed that the base was the center of the hemispheric anticommunist alliance. One military graduate of the School said, "The school was always a front for other special operations, covert operations." Another officer, an Argentine navy man whose unit was organized into kidnap commandos ("task forces") in 1972, said the repression was part of "a plan that responded to the Doctrine of National Security that had as a base the School of the Americas, directed by the Pentagon in Panama." A Uruguayan officer who worked with the CIA in the 1970s, said that the CIA not only knew of Condor operations, but also supervised them.

The second astonishing piece of recently-released information is the admission by the CIA itself in September 2000 that DINA chief Manuel Contreras was a CIA asset between 1974 and 1977, and that he received an unspecified payment for his services. During these same years Contreras was known as "Condor One," the leading organizer and proponent of Operation Condor. The CIA never divulged this information in 1978, when a Federal Grand Jury indicted Contreras for his role in the Letelier-Moffitt assassinations. Contreras was sentenced to a prison term in Chile for this crime, and convicted in absentia in Italy for the Leighton attack. The CIA claims that it did not ask Contreras about Condor until after the assassinations of Letelier and Moffitt in September 1976. This assertion is hardly credible, less so when one considers that the CIA was privy to earlier assassination plans by Condor. Moreover, the CIA helped organize and train the DINA in 1974, and retained Contreras as an asset for a year after the Letelier/Moffitt assassinations. The CIA destroyed its file on Contreras in 1991.

Michael Townley's relationship to the CIA is also murky. Townley turned state's evidence in the Letelier/Moffitt assassination trial, served a short sentence, and then entered the Witness Protection Program. In Chile, Townley had said that he was a CIA operative, and so did the attorney who defended the accused Cuban exiles in the Letelier/Moffitt assassination trial in the United States. In fact, declassified documents show that Townley was interviewed by CIA recruiters in November 1970 and was judged to be "of operational interest as a possible of the Directorate of Operations in 1971." The memo carefully states, however, that the "Office of Security file does not reflect that Mr. Townley was ever actually used by the Agency." A separate affidavit states that "in February 1971, the Directorate of Operations requested preliminary security approval to use Mr. Townley in an operational capacity." Townley had close ties to the U.S. Embassy and to high-ranking Foreign Service officers, who knew of his ties to the fascist anti-Allende paramilitary group Patria y Libertad. The question that must be asked is whether Townley and Contreras were acting independently, or as CIA agents in Condor planning and operations.

By Way of Conclusion

Although the documentary record is still fragmentary and many sources continue to be classified, increasingly weighty evidence suggests that the U.S. national security apparatus sponsored and supported Condor operations. The new evidence reopens important ethical, legal, and policy issues stemming from the Cold War era. In fragile Latin American democracies today, civilian governments are still struggling to deal with the legacies of state terror and to control their still-powerful military-security organizations, while families are still trying to learn what happened to their disappeared loved ones.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 06:26 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Thanks for the reminder!
Edited on Mon Aug-24-09 06:27 AM by emad
Re Althorp Investments: Althorp is the name of the family seat of Princess Diana's family the Spencers.

Their Althorp Family Trust/Foundation was disbanded some time after Margaret Thatcher's booting out of office in November 1990.

Fraud, embezzlement and money laundering allegations connected to the mortgaging of the Althorp estate were behind attempts to hide a bankruptcy that wiped out Earl Spencer.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 02:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. Surprise! Surprise!
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 02:28 PM by Demeter
There are still a lot of pirates in Britain. They live in the City, to be precise.

Also no surprise that the BFEE put its bloody hand in the affair, too.

What will be a surprise is when it all comes to an abrupt stop (probably through executions of the guilty parties).
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R
Back up to +4.

There are those at DU that don't want YOU to have this INFORMATION.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
7. Why, you could just knock me over with a feather.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Thu Aug 17th 2017, 01:19 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC