CONGRESSWOMAN MCKINNEY REJECTS FORMER PRESIDENT
BUSH'S CALL FOR GENERAL PINOCHET TO BE RELEASED
FROM CUSTODY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND RETURNED
MCKINNEY SAYS, "PRESIDENT BUSH'S PLEA FOR PINOCHET'S
RELEASE APPALLS ME. COULD IT BE THAT THE C.I.A.
HAS TOO MUCH TO HIDE?"
April 22, 1999
WASHINGTON D.C. -- Congresswoman
Cynthia McKinney (D-GA-4th), ranking Member of
the House International Operations and Human Rights
Subcommittee, today expressed her shock and total
disbelief that former President George Bush would
publicly call for the release of the Chilean dictator.
On Monday April 12, 1999 the
Times (London) newspaper reported President Bush
as writing a letter dated April 8, 1999 to Lord
Lamont of Lerwick, the former Tory Chancellor,
saying the case against the former dictator was
a "...travesty of justice..." and that "General
Pinochet should be returned to Chile as soon as
Pinochet remains under house
arrest in Wentworth, Surrey pending a determination
by Mr. Jack Straw, the UK Foreign Secretary, for
extradition to Spain for eight counts of torture.
Formal extradition requests have also been received
from the governments of Switzerland and France.
On October 21, 1998 Congresswoman
McKinney and 35 other members of Congress wrote
a letter to President Clinton urging him to authorize
United States authorities to make classified information
and documents available to Spanish authorities
investigating General Pinochet.
Congresswoman McKinney says
"...there is no travesty of justice in holding
Pinochet in custody in England pending his extradition.
On the contrary, to release him without facing
trial would cause an injustice to the thousands
who have suffered great harm under his regime."
A vast amount of evidence
has been compiled by the United Nations, leading
international human rights groups and the Chilean
Truth and Reconciliation Commission accusing Pinochet
and his military machine of extraordinary acts
of barbarity against his own people. Electrocutions,
beatings, attacks by police dogs, drownings and
other gross acts of violence were inflicted on
men, women and children. Amnesty International
reports that some 1,198 people still remain classified
as "disappeared" in Chile with no explanation
as to their fate. The victims and their families
have waited years for the truth. The international
community has now joined as one to help those
people discover the truth and all have welcomed
the British decision to arrest Pinochet.
Also of great concern to Congresswoman
McKinney is evidence of links between General
Pinochet's secret police D.I.N.A., the C.I.A.
and the fatal car bombing in 1978 in Washington
D.C. in which the Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier
and his American assistant Ronnie Moffitt perished.
"Why would former President
Bush, the former Director of the C.I.A., choose
to ignore this evidence and support a tyrant accused
of brutal crimes against his own people and a
cowardly act of international terrorism in our
country. Is it because he doesn't want to see
the extent of the CIA's relationship with the
Pinochet regime and it's crimes exposed by a Spanish
court?" asks McKinney.
"I'm appalled and horrified
that a leader of this country would come forward
at this time to support a man like Pinochet,"
What message is former President
Bush sending Slobodan Milosevic, yet another dictator
bent on retaining power no matter what the cost.
Its irresponsible for a leader of this country
to be defending an international criminal like
Pinochet, especially when our country is presently
engaged in a major conflict with another international
criminal like Milosevic.
McKinney says, "We should
be sending a clear and consistent message to all
the tyrants of the world who choose to brutalize
innocent citizens. No matter where those crimes
may be committed. They should all know that the
world finds their conduct abhorrent and that they
will always be held accountable for their crimes."