Friday, October 24, 2008

Dictator Pinochet, My Name Is John McCain

It appears that back in the 80s, McCain had no problem meeting with dictators without preconditions. You see Augusto Pinochet had led a military coup against a democratically elected president. During the coup and afterwards, thousands were killed or "disappeared." The coup happened in 1973, and in 1985 Pinochet was still in power. McCain met with him on December 30, 1985, according to this declassified memo. According to the article:

"At the time of the meeting, in the late afternoon of December 30, the U.S. Justice Department was seeking the extradition of two close Pinochet associates for an act of terrorism in Washington DC, the 1976 assassination of former ambassador to the U.S. and former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier. The car bombing on Sheridan Circle in the U.S. capital was widely described at the time as the most egregious act of international terrorism perpetrated on U.S. soil by a foreign power."

Check out the wikipedia article on Orlando Letelier. In it, you'll notice that the head of the Chilean Secret Police claims the orders came directly from Pinochet. So if true, this would be what we might call a twofer: McCain has no problems sitting down with dictators and he seems to pal around with terrorists.