The US National-Security State's Murder of Two
By Jacob G. Hornberger
July 03, 2014 "ICH"
of Freedom Foundation." -
A Chilean court ruled this week
that the US national-security state conspired to
murder American citizens Charles Horman and Frank
Teruggi in Chile in 1973. The brutal act occurred
during the violent military coup in which the
Chilean military, with the full support of the U.S.
government, ousted the democratically elected
president of the country, Salvador Allende, and
replaced him with an unelected brutal military
dictatorship headed by Chilean General Augusto
For years, the CIA and the US military falsely
denied any complicity in the murders of Horman and
Teruggi. After many years of false denials, however,
the US State Department released a memorandum
confirming that a secret US official investigation
had revealed that US intelligence had played a role
in the murders of both men.
The Chilean court has now confirmed what the State
Department said in that crucial memo.
Why did US national-security state officials murder
Horman and Teruggi? Because Horman and Teruggi were
leftists — progressives — socialists — whatever
label you want to put on people who subscribe to the
economic philosophy of Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon
Johnson, and other people who believe in the
welfare-state way of life. In the minds of US
national-security state officials, that made them
“subversives” or “communists” — i.e., enemies of the
Had Horman and Teruggi engaged in any acts of
violence? Had they shot at US officials or Chilean
officials? Had they kidnapped anyone? Had they
engaged in any acts of terrorism?
The answer is “no” to all those questions. Their
“crime” was mental — they believed in welfare-statism,
just as Roosevelt, Johnson, and Allende did. They
believed in the socialist regime of Salvador Allende,
whom the Chilean people had democratically elected
to be their president, just as the American people
had democratically elected Franklin Roosevelt and
Lyndon Johnson to be their presidents.
As the circumstantial evidence has slowly surfaced
over the years, the mosaic of the conspiracy has
come into better focus.
Keep in mind, first of all, that at the time the
execution of these two men was shrouded in official
secrecy. The last thing that US national-security
state officials wanted the American people to
discover was the role that they played both in
engendering the coup and in murdering these two
Thus, CIA and military records relating to the coup
and to Horman and Teruggi were classified top secret
on the basis of “national security.” The military
and the CIA obviously knew that if they could keep
things secret long enough, the coup would ultimately
become nothing more than an item of historical
curiosity. Equally important, witnesses would die.
Even the perpetrators might die before the truth
came to light.
And in fact, that’s precisely what happened. The US
military man the Chilean court points to as the
ringleader of the murder conspiracy was named Ray
Davis. He was a US Navy Captain in charge of the US
Military Group in Chile. After he was indicted for
the murders by a Chilean court in 2011, he passed
away in 2013, confirming the old adage, “Justice
delayed is justice denied.”
What happened is that Horman traveled with a family
friend to a city on the Chilean coast named Vina del
Mar. It just so happened that that’s where the
Pinochet coup originated. Horman happened to see
American warships offshore and witnessed US military
personnel within town, easily passing through
Chilean military checkpoints.
his friend finally were able to get a ride back to
Santiago, where Horman lived. Guess who gave them a
ride: Ray Davis.
The role that US national-security state officials
played in the murders was critical. Since the US
government had encouraged and helped to instigate
the coup, there was no reasonable possibility that
Chilean officials would ever murder two American
citizens. At most, they would have deported them.
Therefore, it had to be US officials who fingered
Horman and Teruggi and directed that they be
included in the thousands of innocent Chilean
citizens who were being murdered during the coup.
Why would they do that? Why would US
national-security state officials direct their
counterparts in the Chilean military and
intelligence to murder two American citizens?
one, Horman and Teruggi were considered leftist
subversives owing to their progressive economic
views. In fact, the FBI was maintaining a file back
in the United States on Teruggi for being a
suspected leftist subversive.
Second, remember: Horman had witnessed all those US
military personnel in Vina del Mar and those
American warships overseas. US officials were
determined to keep US involvement in the coup
totally secret. Horman was a journalist. He would
have blown the whistle on the operation. He had to
be silenced if the US supporting role in the coup
was to be kept secret.
The US military and the CIA also knew that the
chances that anyone would do anything to them for
murdering Horman and Teruggi were non-existent.
Certainly, the Pinochet regime wouldn’t do anything.
It was grateful for the US government’s help in
bringing Pinochet to power, and the US government
was now flooding Pinochet’s regime with millions of
dollars in foreign aid.
Anyway, Horman and Teruggi were just two of the
3,000 other innocent people who were rounded up,
tortured, raped, and murdered by Pinochet’s goons.
What’s two more dead Americans stacked up among
3,000 other bodies?
Moreover, don’t forget that the CIA had participated
in the murder of Chilean Gen. Rene Schneider, the
commander of the Chilean armed forces, for standing
in the way of a military coup, as I detailed in my
recent article “The
CIA’s Murder of Rene Schneider.”
The US Justice Department would never pursue the
murderers because President Nixon would never have
permitted it. Nixon helped Pinochet come into
office. It loved what he was doing. After all, don’t
forget that this was 1973, when the US
national-security state was being defeated by the
communists in Vietnam. Pinochet was killing people
who believed in communism and socialism, and Nixon
and his goons loved it.
The US military and the CIA also knew that the
federal judiciary would never do anything to them.
The U.S. judiciary was doing exactly what the
Chilean judiciary was doing: showing extreme
deference to the national-security state apparatus
in their respective countries. The federal judiciary
made it clear that no federal judge was going to
second-guess the military and the CIA on any matter
relating to “national security,” especially given
that the power that the military and the CIA had
acquired within America’s governmental system.
Thus, when Horman’s widow filed suit for wrongful
death against U.S. officials, it wasn’t surprising
that the federal courts summarily dismissed her
case, saying that she hadn’t produced sufficient
evidence of US complicity in her husband’s murder.
But they wouldn’t allow her to take depositions of
the CIA and the military to acquire such evidence,
undoubtedly because the federal judiciary knew that
the military and the CIA would never comply with
discovery orders issued by federal judges and that
federal judges would have no effective means to
enforce judicial orders against the most powerful
military and intelligence apparatus in history.
Congress? Totally impotent. Notwithstanding
persuasive circumstantial evidence that US
national-security state officials had conspired to
murder two innocent Americans, Congress wasn’t about
to touch that with a ten-foot poll. After all, that
would mean grappling with the CIA and the Pentagon.
Why, even today Congress is too scared of the CIA
and the military to order the declassification and
release of all their records relating to U.S.
complicity in the Chilean coup.
While we are on the subject of assassinations of
Americans at the hands of the US national-security
state, official false denials, lies, official
cover-ups, and longtime secrecy of official
documents and records, would it be too much to ask
that the CIA and the National Archives finally
declassify and release the CIA’s records relating to
the John Kennedy assassination? Or are we
expected to continue assuming that the release of
such records would threaten “national security,”
just like in the Horman and Teruggi murders?