Skip to main content

tv   Alan Mc Pherson Ghosts of Sheridan Circle  CSPAN  November 28, 2019 2:31pm-3:26pm EST

2:31 pm
pinochet. but it's important that the residence is there because the residence itself now has a bust of orlando letelier to try to remember him also and so around this circle we have these two memorials to this one man and of course to ronni moffitt. and so share dan circle will be marked forever in the heart of washington. >> hello, everyone. welcome to busboys and poets. my name is olivia. i am the book events coordinator here and i'm very excited to welcome alan mcpherson for his book "ghosts of sheridan circle." it's an event that i was not aware of, honestly, and was very excited to read about it in this book and i'm excited for alan to speak about it. here at busboys we like to have conversations that others aren't
2:32 pm
having, and i feel like this is one of those so i'm excited for him to speak about it. i'm going to give you a little kind of overview. if a cell phone, please take photos, but don't make the flash happen. we are filming tonight, as you probably can see. it's a little distracting. we will have the books for sale. we have them for sale currently and if you would like to, i really implore you to look through it and have alan sign it. he'll be signing afterwards as well. we have a wonderful server in the room. she will be here all night. so please take care of her as she will take care of you. i will now turn it on over to alan for the talk of "ghosts of sheridan circle." thanks. [ applause ] >> thank you very much, olivia. thank you to busboys and poets for hosting this. i also want to thank my publisher for putting this together, the two institutions
2:33 pm
who made this book happen in washington. i'm so happy to be presenting this in washington which is, you know, literally the scene of this crime. the institute for policy studying is very important in letting me interview them and keep the memory of this book alive for 40-plus years. also the embassy of chile was very helpful. so let me begin with the first words from this book. and these are the people talking. isabelle, i have a surprise for you. have lunch with me. today will be difficult. i have work. but you will love this surprise, orlando letelier insisted. come and get me at 12:30 and leave your work for the afternoon. isabella letelier agreed. after all, her husband was a charmer. besides, there was no time to argue. it was 9:00 a.m. time for orlando to go to work at the institute for policy studies in washington, d.c.,'s dupont circle. he had been at the leftist think tank for nearly two years using
2:34 pm
ips as a platform to undermine general pinochet, the iron-fisted dictator, who had overthrown the government of the president of chile. letelier had been an ambassador to the united states. then as minister with three portfolios. now as a private citizen, he exposed pinochet's human rights atrocities, incited boycotts and discouraged investment. two of orlando's colleagues happened to ride with him that day. michael and ronni moffitt, both 25 and recently married. the moffitt waited while letelier showered and dressed, skipped breakfast, and rushed out the door. isabelle barely had time to kiss him good-bye. orlando took the wheel of his 1975 chevrolet chevelle malibu classic. michael moffitt opened the front passenger door for ronni. he plopped himself on the backseat. that september 21st, 1976, was a drizzly morning in the nation's capital.
2:35 pm
in less than an hour, orlando and ronni would be dead, michael would be traumatized for life. this is the actual car after the bombing on sheridan circle. i never learned what the surprise was, isabelle recalled when i interviewed 40 years after this event. to this day, the killing of orlando letelier and ronni moffitt remains the only assassination of a foreign diplomat on u.s. soil. it's also the only state-sponsored assassination ever in washington and the most important in u.s. history. until osama bin laden, the letelier-moffitt assassinations constituted the most brazen act of international terrorism ever committed in the capital of the united states. it is still the only state-sponsored such act and the only car bomb. the two-decade-long resolution of this case would hold implications for chile, the united states, terrorism, human rights, and the fate of democracy everywhere.
2:36 pm
my book notably argues that it was crucial in taking down the entire pinochet government. but today i want to explore a sub theme of the book. two opposing forces, fascism on one side, and human rights on the other. the clash during these decades that outlived the ideological struggle of the cold war. these forces are still with us today and letelier's assassination brought them into open conflict. and so on the cover you have on top here, you've got the car on the bottom, but on top you've got orlando letelier on the right and ronni moffitt on the left. the order to assassinate letelier was not simply an overreaction by an anti-communist regime, although it was that, it was also rooted in the fascism that lurked inside post war latin american political culture. in chile, that fascism partly came from germany. in the 19th century, southern chile attracted 30,000 settlers from the german states.
2:37 pm
a military mission from prussia shaped up chile's troops resulting in the gray uniforms and the goose-stepping of the daunting chilean army. in the 20th century, the mostly fair-skinned, well-to-do germans of southern chile filled the ranks of far-right parties. they cheered and marched when hitler came to power. the nazis of chile boasted 60,000 members, electing three to the national legislature. in 1938, they attempted a failed putsch in santiago.after world war ii, southern communities became favored destinations for former nazi officers fleeing persecution. throughout fascism in chile not only dared to all of nazi germany's tenants, anti-semitism, anti-communism, stay in control of the economy, hierarchical leadership and intense nationalism, but also added its own. a love of all things spain. the traditions of catholicism, a
2:38 pm
rejection of empire, and the championing of latin american unity made this among the most potent totalitarianisms in latin america. manuel contreras, the man on the right here, was the head of the secret police who gave the order to kill letelier. he grew up in this germanized south of chile. after world war ii, he admired the spanish dictator francesco franco. when pinochet and his allies overthrew the president on september 11th, 1973, contreras was in on it. on september 10th, his son fretted over an english examine the next day. contreras looked at him and smiled, don't worry, you're not going to school tomorrow. right after the coup, pinochet made contreras the head of the national intelligence directorate known as dina. a colonel, contreras answered to no general, minister or judge. only to pinochet. dina dominated all other
2:39 pm
intelligence agencies. its 9,300 employees could raid homes and jail suspects without charges and it's 20 to 30,000 informants spread fear throughout other chilean government agencies. it's logo featuring an iron glove, dina was responsible for about 1,200 of the 3,200 executions under pinochet. the association between dina and fascism were it was alleged that its employees engaged in rituals harking back to bygone warrior myths. the use of ruins and an ancient alphabet and the celebration of solstices and equinoxes to revive nazism. dina addressed each other as pharaohs, priests and slaves, denoting their status within the hierarchy. contreras allied with paul schaefer by using schaefer's enclave as a detention and torture center. the u.s. department of defense compared dina to hitler's gestapo.
2:40 pm
when franco died in 1975, pinochet flew to madrid for the funeral. franco supporters lined up on the avenue from the airport and gave the chilean's motorcade the stiff-armed fascist salute. in my book, i call contreras the hitler of the andes. on september 11th, orlando letelier served as chile's minister of defense. when he showed up to his ministry after hearing rumors of a coup, plotters took him prisoner and shipped him to a nazi-style concentration camp in the south of chile. and somebody luckily took a photo of his being arrested by his own men. there and in other detention centers he would remain for a year, never charged with a crime, psychologically tortured until the venezuelan government obtained his freedom. before his release, letelier was told in no uncertain words general pinochet will not and
2:41 pm
does not tolerate any activity against his government. still letelier ended up working against pinochet in washington. his work coincided with a golden age of human rights activism in the 1970s. more than 200 groups in the united states worked on human rights. over 50 lobbied congress and about 15 concentrated on latin america. civil rights icon darian became the first assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor under the jimmy carter administration. just a few months after the letelier assassination, mark schneider, her deputy, who had worked for kennedy in massachusetts on several u.s.-latin american issues. in congress, representative don frazier chaired the first hearings on human rights in 1976, helping him were tom harkin, michael harington, george miller in the house and kennedy, and george mcgovern in the senate. these were all democrats.
2:42 pm
congress's greatest achievement was the 1975 harkin amendment which cut off aid to any country who grossly ignored human rights. the following year, teddy kennedy targeted chile marking the first time the congress ended military aid because of human rights. one magazine called kennedy the most dangerous foreign adversary of the regime. letelier, worked at this environment at the institute for policy studies, one of the most infuneral human rights institutions in the world. he lunched with senators, angela davis, was photographed. he became a unifier for chilean exiles. he also convinced workers to
2:43 pm
boycott the handling of chilean goods and one the cancellation of a mining investment in chile. this convinced pinochet to order letelier's assassination. from 1975 to 1983, contreras and his allies killed several hundred people outside chile. at looking away from such brutalities, secretary of state henry kissinger became an expert. one month before letelier was killed, kissinger's state department prepared a memo that instructed ambassadors to express the deep concern over their plans for the assassination of politicians and predominant figures both within the national borders of certain countries and abroad. in other words, the state department was supposed to south
2:44 pm
american dictators not to kill people outside of south america. none of the ambassadors who received this cable from washington did anything about it which is very rare in diplomacy. the ambassador to uruguay feared for his life if he wagged his finger at the generals, chile worried that pinochet might take as an insult any interference that he was contacted with such plots. five days before the assassination, kissinger ordered that no further action be taken on this matter. back in chilly in the same summer of 1976, contreras, acting through his chief of operations, entrusted the hit on letelier to michael townly, an american-chilean explosives expert. and this is michael townly with his wife. townly worked with troops.
2:45 pm
recruits received training in coding and code breaking, weapons handling, explosives and martial arts. later the troops would be lined up and review them with his right arm crossed against his chest. these are teenagers. they wore black uniforms with white arm bands. hitler's brown shirts would have approved. his followers called them a bunch of fascists paid by the cia. their leader denied accepting cia funding but in fall of 1970 kissinger requested money for the support of this fascist organization. others in the group admitted receiving those funds and added that an extra $5,000 per month
2:46 pm
filtered in. so back to townly, the bomb maker, he embraced the rhetoric and the actions of father land and freedom and started making bombs for them. the masses are not ready to governor themselves he said. democracy leads only to mass government ruled by the herd. power should be reserved for the qualified few, the intellectuals. in the united states, townly connected with about five cuban-americans. they call themselves the cuban nationalist movement headquartered in a new jersey area. by the 1970s, these cuban-americans were disenchanted with the u.s. government which had dropped them as assets against castro. here's a picture of a few of them in new jersey along with their logo which has the island of cuba with a number three which means not communism, not
2:47 pm
capitalism, but a third way and a lightning strike against communism which meant violence against cuba. like contreras, these cuban-americans had decided to kill opponents throughout the world, bombs exploded in mexico city, madrid, london, new york city and paris. u.s. authorities tied 202 major bombings in 23 countries to cuban exiles, one every five days and 113 of them in the united states. in 1974, cuban exiles accounted for 45% of all terrorist bombings on the planet. the cuban nationalist's movement motto recalled nazi germany.
2:48 pm
one cuban member of an organization dismissed this as right-wing extremists. michael townly was asked during a dinner, what do you think about the world jewish conspiracy. i beg your pardon? it's going to destroy the world if we don't fight it. we must destroy the jews. it seems to me that you've gotten sidetracked on purpose. fidel castro is too difficult to target. naturally it's easier to fight the jews than the cubans. they helped him build the car bomb and install it. one cuban drove behind him while another pushed the detonator on
2:49 pm
the bomb. so the assassination was clarifying the divisions those such as teddy kennedy who championed human rights, and the vast majority in the middle who needed the car bombing to prompt them to care enough. early on, mainstream u.s. observers tended toward absolving the regime. the "new york times" editor concluded that it is hard to believe that a regime like kill lee would order the murder of letelier in the united states. the national security council, writing the day of the assassination admitted that right-wing chileans are the obvious candidates b but they seem to be too obvious. thankfully, investigation was not up to the ncs. it was the job of the fbi and the attorney general's office. these men led by eugene proper were communists but gifted te
2:50 pm
technochats. this is eugene proper. for almost 18 months the fbi had no solid lead on this case. they had no name. it turns out it was michael townly. they heard rumors that cuban-americans, a grand jury subpoenaed them, but they kept mum. and the investigation kept getting threats just as orlando and isabelle had before the assassination. i'll give you a few examples of these threats. on october 4, an unknown male called letelier's aunt. maria, maria, maria, maria he said, talking to the fbimaria, condescendingly, talking to the fbi won't help you. your legs have been spread lewis like orlandos. then he hung up. in late november, a fight answer
2:51 pm
the ant was standing at kennedy airport rifling through her purse for a key to an airlines office. suddenly a man grab her arm and yanked her around. you tell your friend larry to keep his nose out of chile's business or you won't be so pretty anymore. boom boom, do you know what i mean? this happened over and over again in the investigation. two of the fbi, the lawyers, to the uj js and everybody who would talk to the fbi. if they could do this and gotaway with it under the easy no of the cia and the fbi said president-elect jimmy carter, then no president can govern. he was talking about the assassination. on the one hand -- it made the united states make unable to police its own borders. it made the cold war seem out of
2:52 pm
control. on the other hand foreign policy makers were careful about pushing a cold war ally too hard. a u.s. political officer in chile explained that we were not against the chilean government. we are not against what the military had done, which means the overtloef aende. he were against the bufs and it the terrorism that had been performed in its name. so it was often up to regular people likis beale, la tellier,ic moole a move at and organizations to pressure carter officials against the chileans. first to he can pole townley from chile, which proves successful and extradite other chileans, which was unsuccessful. penne cher nodded, but my book reveals how behind the scenes the dictator orchestrated a
2:53 pm
cover oup. la tellier and move at, therefore, to be named the widow and the widower were aghast. move at asked at a press conference, if carter is serious about human rights why don't he welcome isabelle and me just like he is welcoming panachee. brezin ski didn't help at all, la tellier told me. we could never get through to him. never. she remembered this in her late 80s. in her activism she focused on his responsible for the assassination. when the right wing media in the u.s. tried to smear orlando as a tool of fidel castro, he is bell debunked their i loose. the dam finally burst in march of 198, investigators published photos of the two men whose name
2:54 pm
they ignored but who they suspected of being involved. they had the passport photo but not the names. they knew these men came to washington days before the assassination. they were identified as the two men from chile who were in the united states during the as as nation. gene proper and coinvestigator carter coal knick landed on friday morning. he and his beard rouse suspicion, was he a hippie? a jew? the americans saw no trace of a chilean manhunt as they portended they were looking for him. it was success spectaculared they prevaricated by hiding townley. there were also consummate officials among the diplomats. george lando demanded a meeting with the chilean foreign minister. he dropped all the politics he
2:55 pm
practiced over his career and threatened that if he was not made to answer the u.s. government's questions all u.s. relations with chile would be endang endangered. trade, loans, investment, diplomatic relations frankly i don't believe your people are trying very hard he blurted, a rare thing for an ambassador to say. shortly after, on the 15th floor of the building out of which he ruled opinion shay's political team met setting about its task of keeping townley in chile. suddenly the french doors of the meeting room swung open and pen shay worked in himself. the dictator rememberly descended below his 22nd floor. this meant something. please continue, don't mind me he demanded his advisors. then of course he interrupted. we were doing so well, so well, ready to take off. and then this. this is a banana peel. if we step on it the government
2:56 pm
will fall. we will fall. as abruptly as he entered it he left the room. pen shay's anxiety seemed to change the momentum of the meeting. talk of avoiding townley's expulsion switched to handing him over to the americans. within weeks, therefore, townley was state side spilling all of the chilean secrets on the assassination. he served about three years in u.s. prisons and is likely now still living in the witness protection program. three cuban americans were also tried but their guilty verdicts were soonafter thrown out on technicality it is. the champions of human rights had won a limited victory but opinion shay remained in power and contreras though demoted remained free. the three chileans directly involved were not extradited. my book is the first to recount what happened over the next 15 years. after 1980 the story shifted to
2:57 pm
chile where fascist and human receipts champions remained in conflict. thee kept her case alive but held out little hope of a trial while pin shay was in power. crucially, democrats in congress forced the executive to, quote, unquote, certify that chile was making progress on the move at case in order to allow military to military relations. the democrats in congress forced carter to be tough on pin shay. the first break was the defection in 1987 of fernandez, the other guy this the passport photos. he surveilled washington hadn't particularly committed a serious crime. for the first time american
2:58 pm
officials heard all the details of pin shay's orchestration of the cover-up. fernandez ended up spending only 21 months in chilean hospitals and u.s. prisons but it was the first convincing of a chilean hail military man in u.s. courts. it also leeds the cia to conclude that pin shay not only covered up the crime but also ordered the hit. this is a conclusion that only came to light in 2015. in 1990, another defection of sorts confirmed fernandez's story. a woman named monica lagos a former dancer and later an escort had accompanied fernandez to washington to act as his wife under the sued name liliana walker. she had disappeared from everyone's radar and suffered from debilitating alcoholism, drug addiction and schizophrenia. on april 17th, 1990, chileans awoke to a dramatic front page headline in that morning's
2:59 pm
newspaper. i am liliana walker, it declared. accompanied by a 1976 passport photo. a journal had found monica living at her parents' house. at this point the reagan and bush governments had turned against pin shay. the democratic opposition led the way. the press felt free to criticize the regime and as a result pin shay lost the referendum on his rule. in 1990 a new democratic president was in power. because of the fernandez and lagos confessions the la tellier case could now be reopened in chilean courts because there was new evidence. three years later they found contoreros and espinoza guilty and in 1995 the supreme court of chile ratified the decisions. he spent the rest of his life in detention until he died in 2015. espinoza is still in prison. the la tellier affair stands as
3:00 pm
one of the most consequential assassinations in the cold war. defanged the country's amnesty law. it forces the reagan government to put decisive diplomatic and financial pressure on dictatorship. contreras and espinoza were the first of pin shay's military officersing to to prison and the first cold war violators of human rights anywhere to go to prison. it adjudicated more than 1,000 case of human rights violations in chile aloun. the story -- a case against chile represents the fist wrongful death case ever brought in the united states against a foreign nation and culminated in a payment of millions of doors the la telliers and move at. in addition, the affair broke
3:01 pm
town the u.s. intelligence community's wall separating domestic from national terrorism. blending human rights and counter-terrorism issues it presented additional firsts. extradition. the first charges ever filed in the american legal system against cuban american terrorists the first convincing of a chilean military man in u.s. courts and the first live tell cast of court proceedings. in 196, it led to a law that stripped immunity from a foreign state when damages were sought against specific terrorist acts. said one u.s. diplomat, the la tellier assassination in ret retrospect was one of the most stupid things done by any government. that certainly is true. pin shay, contreras and townley did not understand the implications of car beming a u.s. senator and ambassador in
3:02 pm
the heart of washington. but their monstrous deed backfired. in the last two cases ruin their government and their personal freedom all of these the result of human rights activists who correctly identified the fascist core, the pin shay regime. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> we can take some questions from the audience. i have a wireless mic that i can walk around with. if anyone has a question just raise your hand. >> talk a little bit about your -- [ inaudible question ]. >> sorry, we do. >> i really enjoyed your talk. would you talk a little bit about the research you did for the book and the inner -- >> i am happy. >> [ inaudible question ].
3:03 pm
>> right. well i did research on three continents essentially, right. north, he ma, latin america, and europe. -- north america, latin america, and europe. when i began this, it was about 2014. and i thought all the documents were out. right? i figured i need to sort of go and find them. then i realized while i was at this amazing archive called the national security archive here in washington. while i was doing research there i realized shortly after that we weren't done declassifying materials, and so new declassifications came out in 2015 and 2016. among those as i mentioned in my talk were the cia documents that basically concluded that pin shay not only covered up the crime but also ordered the hit. up to that point, this had only been sort of a -- something that
3:04 pm
everybody knew was true but nobody had any evidence that pin shay ordered it. but the cia said we are concluding this. and now it has become an official finding the la tellier assassination. i foundia documents at the institute of policy studies not in d.c. but in their archive in wisconsin of all places the wisconsin historical society has all of the archives of not only la tellier who worked there and his colleagues and hissed witho. once he was killed she essential low took over his job, a lot of human rights work and there were a lot of followthroughs how it traumatized here and michael move at who also worked at ips. traumatized their children, she and orlando had four teenage sons when they happened. those are amazing documents that allowed me to follow this story in a humane way and sort of in a human way how these people were
3:05 pm
traumatized for decades after this. in chile, i found the documents of the la tellier family itself. they haven't been in archives for very long. five or ten years. i am not sure a lot of people have worked on them. but they are amazing letters, notably, letters that la tellier and his wife wrote to each other when he was in that concentration camp essentially in patagonia and almost freezing to death and losing you know 30, 50 pounds and they were sending love letters to each other. i mean they are beautiful. and his kids are sending letters. you have got to realize these are teenage boys. and they are sending letters to their father who is in a concentration camp and he could die at any time and there is nothing they can do about it. i interviewed her in santiago. i interviewed two of her kids who are now in their late 50s living in the united states. i interviewed a whole bunch of other people who were connected to the case in some ways. it has been a fascinating sort
3:06 pm
of research adventure. >> if you could reiterate the questions. >> sure. >> can you expand a little bit on the reaction on the u.s. government the first few days after did [ inaudible question ]. >> sure. i am glad to. the question was about the reaction of the u.s. government in the first few days after the car bombing. >> remember, this happens during the ford administration. so henry kissinger is still the secretary of state. carter will be elected about a month and a half in the future. right? so there is an election going on. so the response -- i mean, we have no real response from ford that have been recorded but we have internal documents from, right, the department of defense, department of state. and the general sense is that,
3:07 pm
well, pin shay is -- you know, dnuck probably did this, but it seems too obvious. i am quoting. they looking at all the options, the options include not just dnuck. it could be a rogue force or a paramilitary force. it could be -- many people are trying to spread the idea that it could be the extreme left, the extreme left who are organizing directly against pn shay. the pin shay government gloms on to this interpretation, of course this is what it is. it can't be dnuck, can't be the anti-government. it has to be the extreme communists. they want to pin it on us, make of the look like it is us. inside the u.s. government you immediately have a bit of a
3:08 pm
tug-of-war. you have people saying this, but you have got people going it might be the extreme left but it is probably pin shay. pin shay really has the means and the motivation to do this sort of thing. and also, you know, there is a tug-of-war between the fbi and the cia. they don't particularly get along at this point. the cia has done a lot of work in south america. it has been allied with most of these governments and it has essentially given a green light that these governments can do pretty much what they want in terms of human rights and it is not going to stop them. fbi doesn't really work abroad. mostly takes care of crimes in the united states. what it does is immediately takes the crime away are the washington, d.c. police. they say we can't trust the d.c. place. these are federal crimes. they happen in washington and we are going to control them and we are afraid of what the cia is going to do about this. because if we ask them to let's say contact their chilean operatives not only could they
3:09 pm
burn bridges but they will give them some of our information. so we don't want to waste our information or left side our information through the cia, right? because they don't really trust the motivations of the cia. the cia wants to win the cold war. the fbi wants to solve this crime, one crime at a time. the cia is how much more ideological, much more in line. there is an immediate tug-of-war. clearly the prerogative is that of the fbi and the department of justice. >> allan, early in your talk you mentioned the fund of money from the cia that went through henry kissinger. can you expand on what happened with those funds at all? >> sure. yet. you are asking about the $38,000, plus the $5,000 a month that went to follow landon freedom.
3:10 pm
i am not sure exactly what happened to it. it wasn't a lot of money. we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars. i am sure it is not the only money that this organization had. but these guys were not only fascist in their ideology. they were essentially terrorists. they were -- youth shock troops. which means they are messily college students, high school students and they are organizing during the three years of the regime. so you have a communist or a marxist but an elected marxist president trying to run the country. he is having all sorts of problems, financial, economic. some come from these groups who you marching in the streets but also setting off bombs here and there. right? and they are trying to prepare a coup. they are hoping that a pin shay-like coup will occur and they are trying to make it happen by sort of creating chaos in the streets. right? they will bomb an electric power station so as to turn off the power in all of santiago and
3:11 pm
then they will blame it on the marxist government. they do these kinds of thing. so who knows exactly where the money went, to which -- maybe it went to publications or radio programs, that sort of thing. but maybe it did go to these -- you know, this real sort of -- you know, this subversive activity. and so that's pretty revealing, that our government would do that sort of thing. but that's more or less what the cia did through lots of people in south america. they didn't give them money themselves but they said you are freedom fighters you can do whatever you want with this money. >> did pin shay later in his life ultimately ever have to face or answer for this crime? >> did he own for this crime? that's a good question. it is dealt with mostly in the epilogue of the book. the epilogue goes from 1995 when contreras and espinoza are found
3:12 pm
guilty and they go to jail to essentially 2018. the quick answer is no. pin shay never has to answer for this crime. although if you know the story of pin shay you know in 1998 he does have to start answering for other crimes, right. >> right. >> he goes to london and the spanish essentially try to extradite him for crimes against spaniards. and this starts this whole process. he is eventually sent back to chile a free man. but then at this point the courts in chile have really turned around and they are starting -- they put him on the docket and accuse him of all of these crimes and he dies before he is ever found guilty of any of them. he pays for none of his crimes. but it is interesting that in the early 1990s while contreras is being accused of these things -- he's appearing on tv all the time on cnn chill skpe so on. he starts sort of mildly accusing pin shay of actually being the guy who gave him the
3:13 pm
order, right, to put the hit on la tellier. he never said it in so many words, you know, pin shay did it. but he says things like everything i did i did becausel j, fe told me to do it. everything i did as the head of dnuck. he never mentioned him directly. at some point they have a shouting match on this. pin shay says no, no, no, i only gave you instructions on how to deal with subversives. i never told you to kill anyone. it is not clear from those allegations and those shouting matches who contreras really many. his explanation for this crime was always the same until he died he said the cia did it and michael townley was an agent of the cia. right? because that's a lie that anyone in south america would believe, right, either on the left or on the right. they will believe that the cia
3:14 pm
is able to do these sorts of thing. of course it is able to do it. and townley is an american, and so it seems to make sense. right? but it doesn't make sense. it's not true. >> thank you. >> i have one last question. does anyone else have another question? i have one last one. i just wanted to know what your personal connection to the story is what drew you to want be to explain more from 1995 to last year. >> i have no deep personal connection to the story although chill is he one of the first countries that i travelled to when i was sort of exploring in my early 20s. so i spent a few months in that country, traveled from north to south and loved it. in fact, it was during the first years of -- when chilean democracy came back. pin shay was gone but i remember hearing about the colony of dignity which was this sort of concentration camp in the south of chile that was completely
3:15 pm
private. but now we know that contreras would send prisoners there to bet tortured. there is a movie about this that came out several years ago. in fact, several movies have come out about this. so i sort of have thise emotional connection generally speaking about chile and its people. i have had good friends come there. when i started research on sort of a next project five years ago i was simply interested in reagan and the 1980s and latin america and reading and i read an academic book about reagan and pin shay. that's what it is called. it is a very good academic book. partly, it made me realize that this story had not disappeared off the ledger by the reagan administration. i thought once they captured townley in '78 it is essentially over. but it wasn't. it remained a real bone of contention. intellectually i questioned how
3:16 pm
could it completely change the dynamics of these two really close cold war allies so as to really fracture those relations by the end of the 19 0s. so it is this as as nation that is -- once you start reading about their lives which i really kind of exposed in in book, you really get a sense of who these people are, then you really get attached to them and you care about what happened to them and to their families. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you so much, allan. and thank you all for being here. like i said, ghosts of sheridan circle is on sale at all of our bus boys locations. i implore you to take a look at it if you haven't already. thanks again for coming. have a great night, everybody. thanks again. watch american history tv all week on c-span3. and features this thanksgiving weekend. friday at 8:00 a.m., a two-part
3:17 pm
guided tour of the national portrait gallery exhibits votes for women marking the centennial of the 19th amendment. >> vector listen hall was well ahead of her time. she started her own business as a wall street banker with her sister tennessee coughlin. she advocated for free love, which means sex outside of marriage, which was definitely outside of the norms for women in the 1870s. and she also ran for president on a third party ticket. >> saturday at 5:00 p.m. eastern, catherine kobe and kathleen stafford, health captive during the iran hostage crisis talk about their experiences 40 years later. >> one of the marines said to me, he said kate why did you not ever say you were in solitary. he said, you keep saying, i was alone. my mind didn't work in those connections of this is solitary imprison men. my mind worked to the point, my
3:18 pm
god, i have been given an incredible gift of time. no appointments. no meetings. no plans. what can i do with it? >> and sunday at 6 p.m. eastern on oral history from the richard nixon presidential library hillary rodham clinton and william weld on their experience as house judiciary lawyers during the impeachment inquiry of president richard nixon. >> it does fall on you when you are in the house to examine abuses of power by the president. be as circumspect and careful as john doer was. restrain yourself from grand standing and holding news conferences and playing to your base. this -- this goes bay beyond whose side you are on or who is
3:19 pm
on your side. >> exalready our nation's past on american history tv. every weekend on c-span3. our c-span campaign 2020 bus team is traveling across the country asking voters who issues should presidential candidates address? >> i think one of the most unaddressed issues in this presidential campaign is reforming federal prisons as the u.s. marshalls, prisoners in federal prisons along with i.c.e. detection facilities have a more than staggering death rate. >> in 2020 what i want the candidates to focus on is constituents who never get their voices heard, and these constituents are non-human animals. as an investigator who has blown the whistle on multiple factory farms where animals are being criminally abused for doing that i am facing felony charges. one of the thing i want the
3:20 pm
president to focus on is how the public has a right to know what's going on inside of pig farms,ic whichen farms inside of these places where animals are criminally abused, also ordinary individuals like you and me have the right to rescue these animals. >> i would like for candidates on all sides to talk about gun safety issues, how we can in some way take a lot of the guns, illegal guns, and legal guns off of the streets and out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. more importantly make our society, our environment places of peace and common ground where we don't even feel like we need handguns and assault rifles. not in your public spaces. they should definitely be removed. think about that. >> i would like see the candidates if he can using on trying to reinstate the voting rights act and bringing fairness back into elections. we need to not only control and make sure the elections are secure, but we need to make sure
3:21 pm
that everyone that is a citizen is able to vote without having onerous penalties and fines that they can never got out of. >> voices from the road, on c-span. november 9th marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall. after its 1961 construction, the barrier symbolize the idea logical cold war divisions between east and west. we look back to 1989 and the fall of the wall tonight at 8:00 eastern. here's a preview. >> professor, start by explaining why november 9th, 1989 -- what was the story of that day that led to the images that people around the world saw on their televisions that night. >> well, it is great to be on your show. and this was not planned by the east german government. what happened was more and more at this point there is sort of revolutions are going on in
3:22 pm
eastern europe. and east germans are fed up. and more and more of them, 100,000 of them in the summer months were taking refuse unl in west german embassies in czechoslovakia, hungary and other places. they were trying to leave to go to west germany. they wanted to go to east germany. so the country was hemorrhaging. at some point the leadership decided we have got to let people travel. don't forget at this point anyone between ages 6 -- if you were under 6 or over, you know, 70 maybe, you could travel to the west. anyway most young adults couldn't travel. so they decided they are going to have a meet asking her going to have new laws, rules allowing east germans to go to the west to west berlin, to west germany and see what it is like. so it is late at night on the night of november the 9th. and there is kind of a heared official come out he's got a piece of papers and he reads it and as soon people will be able to, you know, without a visa,
3:23 pm
travel to the west. so an italian journalist is there in the audience. and he says -- this is being televised so the east germans are a all seeing this. the journalist says can you tell us when? in a flat voice the official says oh, immediately. east berliners hear this. literally thousands left their home. would saw this on tv. some were in pajamas, they come with their families and walk to the wall. and the border guard is there. then they say, open the wall. the border guard didn't know what to do. he only has instructions about what to do if people are trying to escape, to shoot people, but these people are very peaceful and just saying open the wall. he calls the superior and he says i don't know what to tell you. they keep calling and keep calling. in the end the guard himself made the decision you can read it in his logbook and he says okay i am going to open the
3:24 pm
ball. everybody streams through, the west germans are waiting for them because they are watching it on television, too. it wasn't by design. it was because one guard decided i am not going to kill these people, i don't have any other orders and let them go. >> watch the entire proposal on 30th anniversary of the wall of the berlin wall tonight starting at 8:00 eastern here on american history tv. the house will be in order. >> for 40 years, c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. from june 26, 1948 to may
3:25 pm
12th, 1949, the soviet unit blockaded west berlin, germany, preventing shipments of food, heating fuel, and other necessary goods. next, from the international spy museum a program marking the 70th anniversary of the berlin air lift. two historians present an illustrated history of the crisis. they are then joined on stage by 92-year-old berlin air lift veteran ralph dion, who was a c-54 flight engineer. >> all right. i just got the thumbs-up. good evening, everyone, thank you for coming out today. i am chris costa, the executive director of the international spy museum. i am excited to us sbro this. practice, dawn cold war looking back at the berlin air lift 70


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on