The arrest of Chilean General Augusto Pinochet in London, where he was seeking medical treatment, has made the left-wing human rights community erupt in cheers. They want to put him on trial before an international tribunal for crimes committed when the Chilean military under Gen. Pinochet overthrew the Marxist regime of Salvador Allende at the request of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies. Pinochet served as President for the next 17 years and made an orderly transfer of power to Democratic forces. Chile today is a model of democracy and economic progress and Pinochet has been serving in the country’s Senate.
Britain is being asked to turn Pinochet over to Spanish authorities who are seeking his extradition. They claim that some Spanish citizens in Chile died under his rule. This case is being presented in the media as a great step forward for global justice but it is extremely curious that Pinochet has been singled out for such treatment. After all, the outcome in Chile has largely served to vindicate his rule, despite the human rights violations that did take place. It’s true that he seized power in a military coup, but the president he toppled was a Marxist who was being supported by the international communist movement, including Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Pinochet acted to save Chilean democracy from the Communist threat.
Speaking of Castro, why hasn’t there been an effort to have this dictator arrested and put on trial? Chile has been progressing while Cuba has been mired in Castro’s dictatorship. The explanation may lie in the fact that Castro is still a hero to the left-wing human rights crowd. Castro gets standing ovations at United Nations conferences.
Or what about the Communist rulers in China? Or what about Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided as Soviet president when Red Army troops were occupying Afghanistan and planting land mines all over the country. Why aren’t they being put on trial? The plain truth is that Pinochet is being singled out because of his success in defeating a communist movement in his own country. This is something that the international communist movement can never forgive.
If Clinton Administration officials are supporting this treatment of Pinochet, it is an action that may come back to haunt them. After all, the public evidence now shows that the military attack that Clinton ordered on Sudan was completely unjustified. The factory that was obliterated did not produce chemical weapons and wasn’t owned by terrorist Osama bin Laden. Under these circumstances, Clinton could be charged as a “war criminal” and, if he travels abroad, he could be picked up by foreign agents and forced to stand trial.
This may not be as ridiculous as it may seem. Our established media have not reported that Sudan is preparing a criminal indictment of Clinton and is filing a legal complaint against him with the U.N.-sponsored International Court of Justice. Another foreign tribunal, the International Criminal Court, is now in formation. Clinton had supported its creation until his advisers told him, at the last minute during the negotiations, that it could target American civilian and military officials. The case against Clinton looks far better than the one against Pinochet.