The MintPress podcast, “The Watchdog,” hosted by British-Iraqi hip hop artist Lowkey, closely examines organizations about which it is in the public interest to know – including intelligence, lobby and special interest groups influencing policies that infringe on free speech and target dissent. “The Watchdog” goes against the grain by casting a light on stories largely ignored by the mainstream, corporate media.
9/11 is a date that will live in infamy. But for much of the world, September 11 conjures up images of another deadly assault against freedom and liberty. Exactly 50 years ago today, the democratically-elected socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende, was overthrown in a far-right military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. The coup’s success spurred a wave of fascist takeovers across the region, leading to decades of darkness in Latin America.
Today, “Watchdog” host Lowkey talks to two guests who know the story of “the First 9/11” better than almost anyone. Roberto Navarette was a 17-year-old medical student at the time of the coup and was imprisoned – like tens of thousands of his countrymen – in open-air stadiums. He survived being tortured and shot by the regime and eventually escaped, settling in the United Kingdom.
Ironically, the U.K. government had actually been working very hard to ensure Allende’s downfall and later to keep Pinochet in power, as John McEvoy’s work has revealed. Based on documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws, McEvoy has shown how the U.K.’s MI6 had been training Latin American police and militaries in torture tactics and other ways in which to suppress domestic dissent. Britain had long had strong economic interests in the region, considering it an unofficial part of its empire. McEvoy is an academic, historian, and journalist specializing in uncovering Britain’s relationship with Latin America. He is currently producing a documentary film – “Britain and the Other 9/11,” about the U.K. government’s covert campaign against Allende and its subsequent support for Pinochet.
Today, Lowkey speaks to Navarette and McEvoy about the coup and its legacy on the world.
Allende was a particular threat to the establishment in Washington and London. Not simply because he was a Marxist head of state but because he was democratically elected and believed in coming to power through entirely legal means. This, for Navarette, terrified many in the West, as it undermined completely their claims about socialism being an anti-democratic ideology. As he told Lowkey today:
Salvador Allende was convinced that he could develop a movement to transform society within the realms of parliamentary or presidential democracy. He wasn’t a conventional left politician because he combined the yearnings of revolutionary change with [peaceful methods].”
The 1973 coup reverberated around the world. Not only did it become the blueprint for further U.S.-backed operations in Latin America, but Chile became a laboratory for neoliberal economics. The country was flooded with economists from the University of Chicago, who promised to transform it into a modern utopia.
Instead, the nation was ruined, with economic crashes and total devastation for ordinary Chilean citizens. The rich, along with foreign corporations, however, made out like bandits, and neoliberalism began to be adopted wholesale across the world, leading to the rampant inequality that plagues the planet today.
While his regime tortured tens of thousands of people, Pinochet never faced any kind of real justice, partially because he was protected by the United Kingdom.
Watch the full interview exclusively today.
Lowkey is a British-Iraqi hip-hop artist, academic and political campaigner. As a musician, he has collaborated with the Arctic Monkeys, Wretch 32, Immortal Technique and Akala. He is a patron of Stop The War Coalition, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Racial Justice Network and The Peace and Justice Project, founded by Jeremy Corbyn. He has spoken and performed on platforms from the Oxford Union to the Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury. His latest album, Soundtrack To The Struggle 2, featured Noam Chomsky and Frankie Boyle and has been streamed millions of times.