The 9/11 the USA Inflicted

There were planes on that other 9/11, but unlike those in 2001 they were designed for terror. These were the Hawker Hunters of the Chilean airforce, the year 1973.

Image result for la moneda 1973 planes

The army surrounded La Moneda, the presidential palace, with tanks at 1400 and began firing in at staff, sheltered citizens, and representatives of the elected government. Sporadic shots were sent back, with President Allende taking potshots from behind the drapes. Their only hope lay in prolonging the siege. But as calls to the navy and the national guard rang out, they realised there was no one to hold out for.

They, in their work clothes. They with their desks and cabinets full of boring reports and dull charts, were it – the sole defenders of a democracy. Santiago’s fortress was crumbling and soon Chile would.

Those inside knew what was expected of them but military made it formal: Rendición incondicional, cabrones. Thoughts about exactly what Latin American troopers do to their quarry became whispers, and then the suicides began. (See a graphic timeline here.)

What exactly had these besieged bureaucrats done to deserve all this? In the words of a US Senator, Warren, who investigated the episode,

Like Caesar peering into the colonies from distant Rome, Nixon said the choice of government by the Chileans was unacceptable to the president of the United States

Allende’s popular government was carrying out long overdue nationalisations in land, health and natural resource (which had, up until that point, been almost the exclusive right of US corporations from the days of gunboat diplomacy). In schools they were increasing literacy and autonomy in universities.

All this sounds rather orthodox from a European perspective – bland even – but to the Nixon administration it was anathema. Chile was providing the Third World with a precedent so terrible it brought to mind the horror that was Vietnam. They were a good example.

They showed that a government could be elected – be aligned to neither the US or USSR – and successfully develop out of banana republicdom…


And so Nixon sent his attack dog to the Andes to help along a coup. Perhaps more reptilian than canine, Kissinger did go and he did his thing. He put a hit on the uncooperative leader of the armed forces (a conservative figure who nevertheless was a constitutionalist); armed some fascist thugs to do the deed; and headhunted the ranks for someone less scrupulous. Pinochet – unintelligent, with a fondness for torture – was that man.

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Thatcher: A True Terrorist Sympathiser

Allende didn’t last the day, didn’t live to see his nation become the plaything of the Chicago Boys. Didn’t see the thousands disappear… but then again, who exactly did?

He [Allende] would have been 64 years old next July. His greatest virtue was following through, but fate could grant him only that rare and tragic greatness of dying in armed defence of the anachronistic booby of the bourgeois law, defending a Supreme Court of Justice which had repudiated him but would legitimise his murderers, defending a miserable Congress which had declared him illegitimate but which was to bend complacently before the will of the usurpers, defending the freedom of opposition parties which had sold their soul to fascism, defending the whole moth-eaten paraphernalia of a shitty system which he had proposed abolishing, but without a shot being fired. The drama took place in Chile, to the greater woe of the Chileans, but it will pass into history as something that happened to us all, children of this age, and it will remain in our lives for ever.

Gabriel García Márquez

On this day, September 11th, when thoughts turn instinctively westward, it would be wrong to overlook the people of Chile. For them, they do not need to placate their passions with never forgets. It’s still with them. There are brother, sister, mother, father, son, daughter, cousin, friend, neighbour-shaped holes in their Universe, and they haven’t the solace confirmed dead brings.




(To learn more about the Britian’s role in all this, the Guardian has a good article here. While the state bolstered reaction, the public didn’t.)


A Warning From the Past: Gore Vidal on Trump


Flicking through a collection of Gore Vidal’s writings from the ’60s, I happened upon an essay on Barry Goldwater. This Republican senator, a blow-hard right-winger from Arizona, also provided Hillary Clinton with her first foray into the world of politics – she a proud “Goldwater girl”.

Opposed to federal action on civil rights questions, for a war with the USSR and against trade unionism, Goldwater managed to collect a curious – but fanatic – fringe following. (After-all, we’re talking of the days when there very much was a New Deal consensus, Goldwater then, as he wouldn’t be now, was far out of the mainstream.)

Reflecting on the phenomenon brought Gore to opine on American’s latent totalitarian potential.

I have often thought and written that if the United States were ever to have a Caesar, a true subverter of the state, 1) he would attract to himself all the true-believers, the extremists, the hot-eyed custodians of the Truth; 2) he would oversimplify some difficult but vital issue, putting himself on the side of the majority (as Huey Long did when he proclaimed every man a king and proposed to divvy up the wealth); 3) he would not in the least resemble the folk idea of a dictator. He would not be hysteric like Hitler. Rather, he would be just plain folks, a regular guy, warm and sincere, and while he was amusing us on television storm troopers would gather in the streets.

Ok-ok, Donald Trump may not be the warm and sincere type, but he’s certainly no Fuhrer either (as I have already written about).

From America’s Biographer to one of its unsung philosophers, George Carlin:Image result for donald trump t shirt

When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts.


Brexiteers: No, Your Opinions Aren’t Just as Valid

  1. Economy = downgraded to that of a “developing” country.
  2. Society = ridden by fear and abuse.
  3. Our politics = seized by cynicism, opportunism and mutually assured destruction.
Et tu, Watson? The Blairite Revenge

This, all of it, our country chose.

We, those on the Remain side of the argument, seriously misjudged our neighbours and compatriots: many of them really are that stupid. And, no – they cannot be given the benefit of the doubt. Figures from the left, right and centre warned them, the economic institutions and trade unions warned them, the professors and cultural figures warned them, NATO, USA (Trump excluded), Norway’s PM warned them. Warned them what our country would become.

Gone are the As: Sterling plunges

And, nay again, they themselves cannot suddenly pretend that their political analysis is just as deep and deserving of respect as the above.

(In fact, the only figures of note which supported Brexit appeared to be Putin – a long and bitter hater of the EU – and ISIS. The latter has since praised Britain’s move.)

As much as I cannot abide the cult which has slivered up upon and about the grave of that vicious fat dog, Churchill’s words are playing on repeat in my inner ear,

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter

This may help you make sense of Michael Gove’s insight:

…People in this country have had enough of experts

You really have met a cultural incline when expert has become a dirty word, sewn into our porch alongside those other faux-pas (excuse my French) “‘ealth and safety” and “political correctness”.

Of course I’m being unfair: 52% is barely a majority of the voting population, and fairly meaningless of the whole. But it is demonstrative of that cultural strain, long nurtured by demagogues and flustered Cameroons, in this United Kingdom: anti-Brussels, anti-immigrant, anti-Other – becoming something more than a nuance. A new and dangerous voting block that Westminster has no idea of how to counter-act (and may soon not wish to).

A good number of those who put a cross next to Leave seem to have sincerely thought their choice meant, “send the Poles, Pakis and… uh, Polynesians home” (whatever that means). Taking “their” country back so they can set it back on course to backwaterdom, which Britain momentarily detoured from post-WWII. There in the swamp that results they can fester and congeal, filling the pungent air with their pungent thoughts.

Byron, Blake, Paine… are these the heroes of the Britain Firsters?

And it’s this demographic which knows the least about the history and culture of Britain. When they talk of defending its culture they are almost certainly referring to football hooliganism, shit larger and trash TV – and not the domains of Tolkien, verses of Auden, those skyscapes of Turner. Nor do they acknowledge the Levelers, Chartists and the heroes of the Enlightenment, without which their suffrage would be denied.

(I mean really, just take a look at Britain First’s take on the Peasant’s Revolt here)

Ezra Pound may have been writing of his country of birth, but there is something in Hugh Selwyn Mauberley which does apply here and now, in this Blighted realm where the 52ers reign:

No, hardly, but, seeing he had been born
In a half savage country, out of date;
Bent resolutely on wringing lilies from the acorn;
Capaneus; trout for factitious bait