Chile Lobby: Right Wing Gorillas

September 25, 2007

When the Chilean Junta released Orlando Letelier from the Dawson Island concentration camp in September 1974, they warned him that traitors to the "fatherland" would be killed. This threat did not stop Letelier, formerly Allende's foreign minister and ambassador to Washington, from organizing an effective campaign in exile against the military dictatorship. An indication of the success of his efforts was the Junta's announcement of a decree stripping him of his nationality in September 1976. Letelier's reaction to the decree was a passionate public denunciation at a rally in Madison Square Garden on September 11. Ten days later he and his research associate Ronnie Karpen Moffitt were assassinated in Washington by a bomb planted in his car. While Letelier's associates immediately suspected the Junta, the U.S. Chile Lobby began a massive coverup campaign which was accepted by the established media. Newsweek (October 11) for example reported that "the CIA has concluded that Chilean secret police were not involved ... because the bomb was too crude to be the work of experts." And a New York Times editorial (September 22) observed that: It is hard to believe that even as ham-handed a regime as Chile's Junta would order the murder of so eminent an opponent as Mr. Letelier in the capital of the United States where it has worked hard recently to improve its image Set.Ot.1774 Sept./Oct. 1977 45update * update update * update and on whose largesse it so heavily depends. In fact, all indications are that Letelier was murdered by CIA- trained Cuban exile terrorists under contract from the Chilean secret police (DINA). The Chile Lobby behind the coverup campaign is an organized effort on the part of certain journalists, public relations experts, publications and right- wing organizations to promote the Junta's government to the U.S. public. Many current Chile Lobby members were active in the media campaign waged against the Allende government in the early 1970's. Prominent Chile Lobby members include: conservative columnist William Buckley and his magazine National Review; Rev. Moon and his papers Rising Tide and News World (a New York daily); the John Birch Society; the Washington-based conservative weekly Human Events; and the American Chilean Council, a registered lobbyist for the Junta. Another influential and active member of the Chile Lobby is Accuracy in Media (AIM), a Washington-based organization whose stated purpose is to "provide a watchdog of the news media by promoting accuracy and fairness in reporting on critical issues facing America." In practice, however, AIM's primary purpose is to defend such repressive regimes as South Korea, Taiwan and Chile from the "liberal" media, namely the New York Times, CBS and NBC. AIM uses its impressive network of contacts to plant stories, implement grass roots letter campaigns and raise money for advertisements. "Inaccuracies" are exposed in AIM's twice-monthly Report and in AIM Chairman Reed Irvine's syndicated column. As William Buckley so aptly commented, "AIM has been going crazy trying to attract attention to the remarkable Letelier story." AIM claims that because Letelier received funds from the Chilean Socialist Party drawn on a Havana bank, he must be a Cuban agent and hence a KGB agent as well. AIM has spread these allegations through Irvine's columns, the AIM Report, ads in the Wall Street Journal, National Observer and Rev. Moon's News World. It has also distributed copies of documents alleged to have been in Letelier's briefcase at the time of the murders. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post refused to run AIM's libelous ads about the Letelier briefcase documents and the Wall Street Journal would only run an edited version. This was not AIM's first campaign involving Chile. Previously a House Banking Committee had established that Irvine had used his position as a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank to obtain a copy of a secret report on the relations between multilateral banks and Chile during the Allende period and then publicly attacked that report in his capacity as AIM chairman. In addition, AIM's president Murray Baron, and its National Advisory Board member Eugene Lyons are both members of the American Chilean Council; and AIM vice president William Lucom has long been active in Chilean anti-communist activities. In 1972, for example, he published Chile La Verdad which disseminated the right- wing Patria y Libertad political line against the Allende government and a few months after the Junta's coup he sponsored a U.S. 46 NACLA Report NACLA Report 46update * update . update * update visit for Patria y Libertad leader Pablo Rodriguez. In addition to its campaign to defame Letelier's character and protect his murderers, AIM's other recent activities include: * An attack on the National Geographic for publishing "Cuba Today," an article which "suggests that the U.S. plundered Cuba" and "implies that Castro was swept into power because the Cuban people were dissatisfied with their economic conditions." * A continuing attack on the New York Times and Washington Post for running ads from North Korean leader Kim II Sung. In a recent article in Rev. Moon's Rising Tide, Irvine complained, "If you depended on the New York Times and the Post for your information ... you would think that South Korea was a dictatorship where human rights were grossly violated." * Defending the U.S.-operated International Police Academy against revelations that its students were including torture in their interrogation procedures. * Attempting to discredit U.S. citizen Amy Conger's claims that she had been tortured by the Junta. AIM's ties with the U.S. intelligence community are numerous. Its three incorporators in 1971, for example, all had intelligence backgrounds: Reed Irvine had been in Marine Intelligence during World War II; John McLean was a former CIA employee; and Abraham Kalish was a former professor of communications at the Defense Intelligence School. Another example is Bernard Yoh, an AIM consultant who works out of the organization's Washington headquarters. Yoh, who is currently a psychological warfare instructor at the Air Force University in Montgomery, Alabama, has had a long intelligence career. During the Sino-Japanese War he worked as a hit-man for the Shanghai police. Later, as internal security advisor to President Diem, he organized South Vietnamese counterinsurgency forces which he says he turned over to CIA operatives under the command of his friend General Edward Lansdale in 1957. Yoh also played an important role in the pro-Diem lobby, the American Friends of Vietnam. A French account of the Diem regime elaborates: "Bernie Yoh was the stooge to ferry back and forth between Washington and Saigon; to Saigon so he could say he had been there, then back to America to tell editors, women's clubs and congressmen" to support the Diem regime. Since leaving Vietnam, Yoh has spent much time in Latin America where he has discovered that "the best intelligence sources are in the Chinese communities." At the time of the 1964 military coup in Brazil, he advised the Brazilian generals. In Peru, he investigated the coca trade in which local Chinese were the middlemen-he thought cocaine might be a "good emergency ration" for guerilla fighters. Yoh traveled to Chile in 1964 when Cuban exile Juanita Castro made an allegedly CIA- financed visit to urge voters to support presidential candidate Eduardo Frei. He has not been to Cuba since the Revolution, but claims that in 1964, four Cubans asked him to assassinate Fidel Castro. Yoh's work these days in AIM's office seems a far cry from his earlier intelligence activities. He, however, does not see any difference between AIM AIM's NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD INCLUDES Murray Baron, AIM President; Freedom House Associate; member: American Chilean Council, Committee of One Million Against the Admission of Red China to the U.N.; past president, Peace With Freedom Foundation (a former CIA conduit and front active in African labor affairs). Elbridge Dubrow, Former ambassador to Vietnam; co-chmn., American Security Council's National Strategy Comm. Dr. Harry B. Gideonse, Chmn., Freedom House; Chancellor, New School for Social Research. David Lichtenstein, Sr. Atty., Federal Communications Comm. Eugene Lyons, Retired editor, Reader's Digest; member: American Friends of Katangan Freedom Fighters, American Chilean Council, Committee of One Million, Young Americans for Freedom, American Jewish League Against Communism. Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, Former Chmn., Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dr. Frederick Seitz, President, Rockefeller Univ.; trustee, Rock- efeller Foundation. Dr. Frank Trager, Dir., National Strategy Information Center. and his past employments, for he maintains that "This too, is guerrilla warfare."

Tags: Chile, Orlando Letelier, Accuracy in Media, cover-up

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