19 September 2016
By Jacob G. Hornberger
If you want to get a glimpse of what life is like under a military
dictatorship that has been installed into power by the U.S. national-security
establishment and that is later supported by U.S.-taxpayer-funded foreign aid,
check out a great movie titled Colonia, a 2015 romantic thriller based on the
1973 military coup in Chile. Directed by Oscar winner Florian Gallenberger,
the film stars Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl, and Michael Nyqvist.
The film opens with the political chaos in Santiago leading up to the coup.
Daniel is a young German man who has become embroiled in Chilean politics,
supporting the country's democratically elected president Salvador Allende.
Lena, his girlfriend, is a flight attendant for Lufthansa who decides to play
sick in order to stay an extra week in Santiago with her boyfriend.
What the film doesn't point out is that the CIA, which is one of the three
principal components of the U.S. national-security establishment (the other
two being the vast military establishment and the NSA), was responsible for a
large amount of the economic chaos in the country in the weeks preceding the
coup. While Allende's socialist economic policies were a principal cause of
the economic crisis, the CIA, operating on orders of President Richard Nixon
(of Watergate fame), secretly poured fuel on the fire by making things even
worse than they already were. For example, the CIA secretly bribed national
truckers to go on strike to prevent food from being delivered across the
country to the Chilean people. The CIA's goal? To improve the chances that the
Chilean people would welcome the U.S.-inspired coup when it finally came.
On September 11, the national-security branch of the Chilean government, led
by Chilean Army Gen. Augusto Pinochet, launched a military strike against the
executive branch of the government. Although Allende and some of his advisors
fought back, the outcome was never in doubt. Given the overwhelming might of
the national-security branch — it had tanks and troops surrounding and firing
on the National Palace and planes that were firing missiles on the president's
position — the military took control of the government and the nation.
David and Lena are quickly taken into custody by the troops who are loyally
following orders of their commander in chief and patrolling the streets,
establishing order, and looking for Allende supporters and sympathizers. Like
tens of thousands of other Chileans, David and Lena are taken to the National
Stadium, where most of them are tortured and some of them are raped or
Identified by an anonymous snitch as an Allende supporter, David is
transported to a real-life secretive religious cult in a remote part of Chile.
Its name is Colonia Dignidad — Colony of Dignity. Populated by several
families of German descent and run by a German religious fanatic, the
walled-in camp becomes one of Pinochet's torture facilities. In an attempt to
get him to disclose other people who supported Allende, David is brutally
Meanwhile, Lena, who has been released, learns where David has been taken.
Disguising herself as a religious fanatic, she gains admittance to Colonia
Dignidad, in the hopes of finding her boyfriend and helping him to escape.
The problem is: No one escapes from Colonia Dignidad.
Why was the U.S. national-security establishment so intent on installing
Chile's national-security establishment into power? Because Allende was a
communist and a socialist — that is, a person who believes in such things as
government-provided retirement, healthcare, education, and other goods and
services that American Democrats (and Republicans) also believe in.
More important, like President Kennedy before him (See my ebook Regime Change:
The Kennedy Assassination), Allende was open to establishing friendly
relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba, which marked him, in the eyes of the
Nixon and the U.S. national-security establishment, as a grave threat to U.S.
''national security.'' Keep in mind, after all, that this was still within the
period of the Cold War, the era in which the national-security establishment's
official enemy was communism (not terrorism or Islam), an era during which the
Pentagon and the CIA had convinced Americans that the United States was in
grave danger of being overrun by a far-reaching international communist
conspiracy based in Moscow.
Had Allende ever attacked the United States or even threatened to do so? Nope.
Like Cuba's Fidel Castro, who had been the target of several CIA assassination
attempts and even a paramilitary invasion, Allende had never intimated that he
even had any interest in taking over the United States. But since he believed
in communism, the Pentagon, the CIA, and other U.S. officials said that that
made him a grave threat to ''national security'' (whatever that
much-ballyhooed term means) in both Chile and the United States.
It was the same with Allende supporters. If they had voted for Allende or had
supported him in any way or if they had displayed socialist or communist
tendencies, they too were considered threats to ''national security.''
On that basis, some 50,000 Chilean citizens were rounded up, tortured, raped,
or executed, including famous Chilean songwriter Victor Lara, the ''Bob
Dylan'' of Chile, who they executed in cold blood after intentionally breaking
both of his hands while he was still alive. Thousands were tortured and raped,
sometimes just to inflict pain and other times with the aim of getting them to
disclose other Allende supporters, who would then be rounded up, tortured,
raped, or executed.
Did I mention that Allende was democratically elected president of Chile by
Chilean voters? Yes, the U.S. national-security establishment destroyed
democracy in Chile because it didn't like how Chilean voters had exercised
democracy. As Nixon's national security adviser Henry Kissinger put it
bluntly, ''I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go
communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.''
In other words, democracy is fine, so long as foreign voters vote the way U.S.
national-security state officials want them to vote. Otherwise, they are
subject to be targeted for a regime-change operation involving bribery, coup,
assassination, or invasion, as a way to ''transition'' to a ''real''
democratic system — that is one in which voters elect a ruler who meets with
the approval of the U.S. national-security establishment.
For those who think that the Chilean coup is ancient history, take a look at
the brutal military dictatorship in Egypt, which the U.S. government has long
supported and continues to support. Or consider the U.S. government's strong
support of the brutal dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, which continues to use
U.S.-furnished weaponry in its vicious military intervention into Yemen. Or
the many partnerships, including those involving torture and rendition, with
brutal dictatorial regimes.
While tens of thousands of innocent people were being rounded up, raped,
tortured, or executed, millions of dollars U.S. foreign aid poured into the
Pinochet regime to help fortify the regime and its brutal control over the
Chilean people. No amount of assistance was too small for a U.S. ally in the
''war on communism.''
I won't tell you what happens to David and Lena. You'll have to watch this
exciting film to find out. I will say though that in real life the religious
fanatic who was running the camp ultimately got convicted of sexual
molestation of young boys who lived in the camp and later died in a Chilean
I will also share with you what happened to two young American men, Charles
Horman and Frank Teruggi, who, like David and Lena, were quickly picked up by
Pinochet's goons. With the complicity of U.S. military and intelligence
officials who were in Chile on 9/11l, 1973, they were both murdered by Chilean
officials after having received a green light from U.S. national-security
state officials. Since they were Allende supporters, they were considered
communists who could be killed without due process or trial, just as the U.S.
national-security establishment is doing today in its ''war on terrorism.''
You can read about what happened to them in my 5-part article, ''The U.S.
Executions of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi.''
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom
Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in
economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the
University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He
also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught
law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become
director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has
advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the
country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and
he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show
Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full