Chilean Court Rules US Had Role in Murders of Two Americans
July 3, 2014
Pascale Bonnefoy / The New York Times
The United States military intelligence services played a pivotal role in setting up the murders of two American citizens in 1973, providing the Chilean military with the information that led to their deaths, a court here has ruled. The victims were Charles Horman, 31, a filmmaker, and Frank Teruggi, 24, a student and an antiwar activist. Both young Americans were singled out by US intelligence for arrest and were subsequently executed.
SANTIAGO, Chile (JUNE 30, 2014) -- The United States military intelligence services played a pivotal role in setting up the murders of two American citizens in 1973, providing the Chilean military with the information that led to their deaths, a court here has ruled.
The recent court decision found that an American naval officer, Ray E. Davis, alerted Chilean officials to the activities of two Americans, Charles Horman, 31, a filmmaker, and Frank Teruggi, 24, a student and an antiwar activist, which led to their arrests and executions.
The murders were part of an American-supported coup that ousted the leftist government of President Salvador Allende. The killing of the two men was portrayed in the 1982 film "Missing."
The ruling by the judge, Jorge Zepeda, now establishes the involvement of American intelligence officials in providing information to their Chilean counterparts. He also charged a retired Chilean colonel, Pedro Espinoza, with the murders, and a civilian counterintelligence agent, Rafael González, as an accomplice in Mr. Horman's murder.
The two men, along with Mr. Davis, were indicted in 2011. Mr. Davis, who died in 2013, was commander of the United States Military Group in Chile.
"The judge's decision makes clear," said Janis Teruggi Page, Mr. Teruggi's sister, "that US intelligence personnel who aided and abetted the Chilean military after the coup remain a co-conspirator in this horrible crime."
The latest ruling concludes that Mr. Davis provided his Chilean liaison, Raúl Monsalve, a naval intelligence officer, with information on both Mr. Horman and Mr. Teruggi based on FBI and other United States intelligence, compiled for an investigation into suspicions that the men were engaged in subversive activities. Mr. Monsalve, now dead, passed on this information to the Intelligence Department of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which ordered the men's arrests.
The decision said the murders were part of "a secret United States information-gathering operation carried out by the US Milgroup in Chile on the political activities of American citizens in the United States and in Chile."
Sergio Corvalan, a lawyer for the families of the two slain men, said the ruling confirmed what the families had long believed.
"The Chilean military would not have acted against them on their own," Mr. Corvalán said. "They didn't have any particular interest in Horman or Teruggi, or evidence of any compromising political activity that would make them targets of Chilean intelligence agencies."
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