Pinochet could have received $292 million dollars in loans from Chilean government, unclear if paid or repaid.
An investigation by the newly founded Chilean investigative journalism and government transparency organization ArchivosChile has discovered documents showing that ret. Gen. Augusto Pinochet was authorized to receive loans of $292 million from the Chilean state from 1977 to 1981. Published on the ArchivosChile website and the Chilean newspaper La Nacion, the article lends credence to suspicions raised years ago upon the discovery of secret U.S. bank accounts that Gen. Pinochet benefited financially from his position as dictator of Chile from 1973 to 1989.
John Dinges, an American journalist and author of two investigative books on Chile, is leading the initiative to explore Law 20.285, known as the Public Information Access Law or Transparency Law, which is similar to the Freedom of Information Act in the United States. ArchivosChile is based upon the model set by the National Security Archives, which uses FOIA laws extensively to obtain and archive historical documents produced by the US Government.
Dinges is the father of the author of this blog.
With these documents, he is seeking to find documents indicating whether money was loaned to Pinochet, and if any of this money was returned to the Chilean state. He is requesting documents from Chile’s Central Bank.
“We are trying to force them to give us that information,” said Dinges in a phone interview. “There is supposed to be an accounting for how that money is spent, and that is what we are going after.”
The mystery of who killed famed Communist singer-songwriter Victor Jara seems to be almost resolved, or at least says the compiled judicial testimonies released in Chilean court today and an elaborate recounting of his last minutes by Jacmel Cuevas, writing for Ciper Chile, an investigative journalism site. For the first time a group of officers surrounding his death has been identified. Also, the details of Jara’s last minutes are detailed as is the story of how his body was found dumped outside a cemetery, spirited away and anonymously buried by loved ones.
It places into doubt previous testimony blaming the death of Jara on Edward Dimter Bianchi.
On September 17th, after four days of imprisonment and multiple sessions of torture in a basement room in Estadio Chile, with a swollen face and fingers fractured by the butt of a rifle, Jara was shot by a low-ranking officer on a round of Russian roulette, with the barrel of the revolver resting against the temple. Jara’s body fell to the floor on its side, convulsing, said José Alfonso Paredes Márquez, an 18-year-old military conscript on guard duty who witnessed the above events and testified to Judge Juan Eduardo Fuentes recently.
Jara’s body was then shot again 43 times by the conscripts there, including by the person who is making this testimony. There were 44 bullet wounds in his body, according to the autopsy.
The ranking officer, Nelson Edgardo Haase Mazzei sat behind an interrogation desk and observed. This is according to the singular testimony of Paredes Marquez, who began his obligatory military service in five months earlier.
Paredes Marquez is currently 55-years-old, lives in the Central Coast region of Chile, and works building houses.
Haase, in testimony, denied that he was present in the Estadio Chile. Testimony of officers and soldiers, compiled by the judicial case and the investigation by CIPER, contradict Haase and place him in Estadio Chile during the time of Jara’s death. The name of the man who first pulled the trigger is not in the Ciper account.
Yesterday, Paredes Marquez was arrested by the Chilean judge. Last year, César Manríquez Bravo, the commander of the Estadio Chile prisoner complex, was arrested for being the responsible officer at the time.
On April 23, 2007, Haase, who owns a company that makes wooden crates for shipping wine, participated in a charity golf tournament in a team made up of other retired military officials. They are pictured below.
In a telephone interview with La Nación newspaper Haase declares that he doesn’t like soccer and has never stepped foot in Estadio Chile (now re-named Estadio Victor Jara.) Haase said he was in an undisclosed location in the south of Chile at the time.
En una conversación telefónica con La Nación, Haase desmiente siquiera haber pisado el Estadio Chile.
-Algunos conscriptos lo mencionan a usted como quien dio la orden de asesinar a Víctor Jara en el Estadio Chile.
-Yo nunca estuve en el Estadio Chile y no conozco a ese caballero (Víctor Jara).
-Pero usted sí fue oficial del Ejército.
– Sí, estuve en el Ejército.
-¿Y estuvo en Tejas Verdes?
-Yo he estado en muchas partes.
-¿Y en el Estadio Chile?
-Yo nunca he estado ahí. No lo conozco. Ni siquiera me gusta el fútbol.
-No me refiero al estadio como recinto deportivo, sino de prisioneros.
-Nunca estuve ahí.
-¿Por qué cree que estos conscriptos lo señalan a usted?
-No tengo idea de lo que me habla.
-¿Dónde estaba usted el 15 de septiembre de 1973?
-En el sur.
-¿En qué parte del sur?
-Eso a usted no le importa.
-Seguramente será citado a declarar
-Mire, no sé por qué estoy hablando esto con usted, pero responderé a quien corresponda si es una llamada oficial.
Yesterday, La Nación asked Paredes Marquez a question in the hallways of the Chilean courts, did Haase give the orders. Paredes Marquez nodded his head.
“Si estando en el pelotón que ultimó a Víctor Jara, Nelson Haase Mazzei era quien daba las órdenes, José Paredes Márquez, albañil y obrero de la construcción, asintió con su cabeza afirmativamente.
Haase continued his military career as a confidant of Manuel Contreras, head of the DINA, and was the commanding officer of the clandestine detention center of the “Cuartel Bilbao,” according to CIPER.
Names of officers and soldiers mentioned in article
comandante (r) César Manríquez Bravo
Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda
Marcelo Moren Brito
capitán David González Toro
capitán Germán Montero Valenzuela
conscripto José Alfonso Paredes Márquez
Nelson Edgardo Haase Mazzei
Rodrigo Rodríguez Fuschloger
teniente Pedro Barrientos
conscripto Francisco Quiroz Quiroz
More Chilean criminals in international news. The party is starting to be over for all these holdovers from the privilege and arrogance of the Chilean military dictatorship. Although in the wonderfully lucrative and innocent business called arms sales thrives in democratic Chile as well and is detailed in the recent article by Miguel Paz for El Mostrador, here.
The Chilean, Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, was a long time associate of the international arms dealer Monzer Al-Kassar who today was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for participating in a plan to sell arms to undercover Drug Enforcement Agents that were to be used to “kill americans in Colombia,” according to the press release.
Al-Kassar was sentenced to 30 years and ordered to forfeit all of his assets. His mansion in Marbella, Spain, el Palacio Mifadil, is currently up for sale for 17.5 million Euros.
Kassar and Moreno were found guilty after a three-week trial culminating on November 20, 2008 of “(1) conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals; (2) conspiracy to murder U.S. officers; (3) conspiracy to acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles; (4) conspiracy to provide material support and resources to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the “FARC”), a designated foreign terrorist organization; and (5) money laundering,” according to the release.
“As part of an undercover DEA sting operation, between February 2006 and June 2007, AL KASSAR and MORENO GODOY agreed to sell to the FARC more than 12,000 weapons — including thousands of machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and surface-to-air missile systems, or “SAMs” — along with 2 million rounds of ammunition.”
Moreno, 60, was caught in Bucharest a couple years ago, but had been living in Spain, where he was working for Al-Kassar as a personal assistant for many years, according to court documents and Chilean press reports.
He left Chile “clandestinely” in 1987, according to a short report in El Mercurio newspaper, after accumulating debts related to a money exchange business. Separated from his wife and far from his family his daughter commented to the press, “that it has been a long time since we have heard from him.”
Moreno Ocampo was an agent or assistant to the Chilean intelligence services, the CNI, during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, according to a report in La Nacion newspaper in 2007.
“Moreno, según un ex oficial de la Central Nacional de Informaciones (CNI) que conversó con LND, fue uno de sus hombres de confianza que trabajó con él en Chile en los años ochenta,” according to the article.
He was introduced to Al-Kassar by a friend of the CNI and of Al-Kassar, Edgardo Bathich Villaroel, in the late 1980s, according to the news report in La Nacion which used a former agent of the CNI as a source.
Bathich is of Syrian origin who met Al-Kassar in the early 80s in visits to their mutual town of origin, according to news reports, and are related by the marriage between distant family members.
Through Bathich is also a web of connections that links the son of deceased dictator of Chile Augusto Pinochet, the brother of a leading right wing politician, the son of the general of the Air Force, and a cousin of Jesus Ochoa Velasquez of the Medellin Cartel, and others to a car parts business, Focus Motors, which was accused of being a front company for a massive cocaine trafficking and money laundering business from 1986 to 1991. Much of this, as well as Al-Kassar’s participation, is detailed in the book Linea Delgada Blanca, or the Thin White Line, by Rodrigo de Castro and extensive articles in La Nacion and by Juan Gasparini. They were ordered to pay 170 million peso fine and serve 200 days in prison for tax evasion and fraud charges.
In 1992 Bathich was caught with a fake passport as a he traveled through a Spanish airport along with Al-Kassar. It was reported that similarly manufactured fake passports were used by the family members of Pinochet to hide their international travel.
Bathich was let go, but Al-Kassar was taken to be processed accused as a financier and arms supplier of a terrorist operation which hijacked the Achille Lauro luxury liner in 1985.
Al-Kassar has also been accused of aiding in the attempted assassination of an Israeli spy, and supply the Somali and Bosnian civil wars with Ak-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, according to an extensive report in the Village Voice in 2007. But until now he has always beat the charges. According to an interview by Aram Roston of NBC news in 2006,
” Kassar told me he became an arms dealer back in the 1970s, when the government of Communist Yemen, a Soviet client state, gave him a diplomatic passport. He shrugged, as if it was all no big deal. “I’m not here now to remember, of course,” he said. “I’ve worked more that 20 years in the arms business. I have never seen a gun. Believe or not. You go to the ministry, on the catalog, they give us the code or the name: ‘We want ak47’ and we go and sign the ministry.”
Bathich had fled Chile in late 1992 and sought refuge in Al-Kassar’s home, the Mifadil Palace, a 16 bedroom over 3200 square meters and on a property of 10,000 square meters, guarded by three mastiffs.
The connections between Bathich and the intimate circles of the Pinochet dictatorship are extensive. Bathich even flew a helicopter in a detention operation run by the CNI to capture of leftist militant accused of kidnapping in the late 1980s.
So what’s the point? One, that the web of deep connections between bad guys around the world is legitimate, Two, that the Chileans, products of the military dictatorship of Pinochet were in the thick of it, and Three, that now these guys are going down, like never before.