EDITORIAL

History catches up with Pinochet

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Justice postponed is justice denied, according to a familiar adage. Certainly the current legal battle over the extradition of former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte will not begin to make amends for those who died, or were forced to flee, his brutal regime. However, this does not mean that this bloody ex-puppet of the U.S. should be permitted to escape the legal consequences of his murderous reign. It may be that Pinochet never faces the judge who ordered his extradition from Britain on suspicion of crimes against Spanish citizens. But if the legal process takes as long as have similar cases, Pinochet will die under house arrest, knowing that history has caught up with him. This, in itself, would see his victims vindicated, as least in a small way.

The bloodiest dictatorship on the planet is run from the offices of the CIA in Virginia. From there, a huge network of spies, assassins and mercenaries keeps the world safe for capitalism. The more brutal and corrupt the dictatorship, the better the business. There are plenty of examples: Pinochet in Chile, Indonesia’s Suharto, even Saddam Hussein, until he got too big for his boots. It is the CIA which trains the death squads of South and Central America and provides the cash to maintain the mercenary armies destabilising Africa. When taxpayers’ funds became too limited to pay for its operations, it turned to drug running, using puppets like the Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, to manage the supply lines. Heading this sordid network is the leader of the so-called free world, currently William Jefferson Clinton.

Let the ruling classes tremble! Tyrants of all colours will not face real punishment until the courts are staffed with magistrates elected by the revolutionary masses. But just occasionally there is a glimmer of what should be. The politically weak U.S. ruling class is unable to protect its own. How many other former CIA protégés are nervous about extradition warrants? All of them, we hope! But there are other candidates: Margaret Thatcher, for the murder of non-combatant sailors during the Falklands War. George Bush, architect of the 1991 Gulf War, for the slaughter of unarmed Iraqi troops. Better still, how about the impeachment and trial of Clinton himself, not for sexual misconduct, but for illegal acts of war, drug running and other criminal behaviour by the military machine he commands.

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