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Ear to the Ground

Thatcher Saddened by Despot’s Death

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Posted on Dec 10, 2006
Pinochet and Thatcher

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visits with former Chilean dictator Agusto Pinochet during his house arrest.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has expressed her sorrow following the death of brutal Chilean dictator Agusto Pinochet, a friend until the end.  Victims of Pinochet’s atrocities have also expressed sadness, now that the tyrant will escape trial for years of abuses against his people, including torture and the disappearance of some 3,000 individuals.


A regular visitor to the UK, where he had many friends, Gen. Pinochet was arrested in London in October 1998, as he arrived to undergo medical treatment.

The Spanish government sought to put him on trial in Madrid over the deaths of its citizens in Chile.

Baroness Thatcher had tea with him and publicly expressed her opposition to the request.

Gen. Pinochet remained under house arrest on the exclusive Wentworth Estate in Surrey for nearly 17 months before then Home Secretary Jack Straw decided he was too ill to stand trial.

Responding to Gen. Pinochet’s death, Mr. Straw defended the decision by saying he acted in accordance with “clear legal duties.”

Briton Dr. Sheila Cassidy, who was tortured under the Gen. Pinochet regime in the 1970s, told the BBC the victims would be disappointed he never faced a trial.

“For people who were tortured, and particularly for people who’ve lost someone, whose daughter or lover was killed, I think that never goes behind you, and I think there will be a lot of anger that he has escaped prosecution,” she said.

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By Bukko in Australia, December 12, 2006 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment
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George Bush should take a lesson from Pinochet—hounded to the end of his days by people seeking to put him on trial for his crimes against humanity. Pinochet avoided the criminal dock, except for that bit of bother when he went to Britain. Will George be so lucky? Or will humanity be?

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 12, 2006 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
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41747 “Fascism with a smiley face, or, in Thatcher’s case, with a facade of civilized manners, both superficial personnas disguising very dark and cruel secondary impulses that define their real selves in the world.”

Your analysis was perfect—smiling cruel hearted scumbags.

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By Mac McKinney, December 11, 2006 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment
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Thatcher is sort of a mirror into the soul of the British ruling class. We must remember that a large percentage of the British elite admired Hitler too, some even bankrolling the Nazis as they rose to power. And a lot of them admire Bush now, as pathetic as that sounds.

Actually, who has caused the murder and torture of more humans, Pinochet or Blair? Numerically speaking, combining the casualty tolls from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Blair’s obstruction, with Bush, of UN efforts to curtail the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, I think Blair wins rather handily. Blair, however, smiles and talks glibly, as opposed to the scowling Pinochet: Fascism with a smiley face, or, in Thatcher’s case, with a facade of civilized manners, both superficial personnas disguising very dark and cruel secondary impulses that define their real selves in the world.

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By Tim, December 11, 2006 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment
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It’s interesting that Pinochet and two of his cohorts died within a few weeks of each other.  Former UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick said right wing dictatorships (but not left wing) had a chance of becoming democracies.  Economist Milton Friedman unabashedly called Chile an “economic miracle.”  It certainly wasn’t a human rights miracle.

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By John C. Bonser, December 11, 2006 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is amazing to find that she has forgotten the death squads of the dictator.

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By Jon B, December 11, 2006 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank goodness, UK is an empire no more. Ireland and Scotland are the only remaining colonies, plus a rocky island near Argintina.

The world knows that their queenie is saved by the US. But english continues to say it was god saved the queenie. Go figure.

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By Quy Tran, December 11, 2006 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey, Maggie

What are you waiting for ? Just keep going along with him so you could have a best friend in hell. Your husband was a cuckold. We feel sorry for him.

Murderer cries for murderer !

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By Jon, December 11, 2006 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I read this story I immediately thought of Elvis Costello’s song about Maggie’s eventual death:

Tramp The Dirt Down

I saw a newspaper picture from the political
A woman was kissing a child, who was obviously
in pain
She spills with compassion, as that young child’s
face in her hands she grips
Can you imagine all that greed and avarice
coming down on that child’s lips

Well I hope I don’t die too soon
I pray the Lord my soul to save
Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live
long enough to savour
That’s when they finally put you in the ground
I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down

When England was the whore of the world
Margaret was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear as
the black tarmacadam
Well I hope that she sleeps well at night, isn’t
haunted by every tiny detail
‘Cos when she held that lovely face in her hands
all she thought of was betrayal

And now the cynical ones say that it all ends
the same in the long run
Try telling that to the desperate father who just
squeezed the life from his only son
And how it’s only voices in your head and
dreams you never dreamt
Try telling him the subtle difference between
justice and contempt
Try telling me she isn’t angry with this pitiful
When they flaunt it in your face as you line up
for punishment
And then expect you to say “Thank you”
straighten up, look proud and pleased
Because you’ve only got the symptoms, you
haven’t got the whole disease
Just like a schoolboy, whose head’s like a tin-can
filled up with dreams then poured down
the drain
Try telling that to the boys on both sides, being
blown to bits or beaten and maimed
Who takes all the glory and none of the shame

Well I hope you live long now, I pray the Lord
your soul to keep
I think I’ll be going before we fold our arms
and start to weep
I never thought for a moment that human life
could be so cheap
‘Cos when they finally put you in the ground
They’ll stand there laughing and tramp the
dirt down

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By Rickinsf, December 11, 2006 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pinochet escaped justice, but he didn’t escape history.

His arrest in 1998 and the ensuing furore brought him out of relative obscurity for the education of a younger generation who might not have known that people like him, and their admirers, really exist.

Quoting Roger Burbach in

“The Pinochet affair has shaped a whole new generation of human rights activists and lawyers. They are determined to end the impunity of public officials, including that of the civilian and military leaders in the United States who engage in state terrorism and human rights abuses while violating international treaties like the Geneva Conventions.”

A small win, but win all the same.

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By kevin99999, December 11, 2006 at 8:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The fact that Thacher is saddened by the death of a murderer, who is responsible of thousands of deaths, it speaks volume about her than about Pinochet.

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By B ukko in Australia, December 11, 2006 at 3:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And I will be saddened by Maggie’s passing. I am hoping to shed some tears soon…

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By rae2, December 10, 2006 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Women the world over must cringe just hearing the name Thatcher. Here’s a smart, feisty, decisive woman who completely squandered her opportunity to PROVE that female leadership could somehow be more compassionate and effective than the males at solving the world’s problems.

All she proved was that the aggressive, stubborn, mean-spirited, cunning and untrustworthy behaviour attributed to males the world over, exists also in females.

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By Eleanore kjellberg, December 10, 2006 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Evidently being a murderer is profitable occupation, Pinochet and his wife Lucia, had multimillion-dollar bank accounts—I wonder why Thatcher is so “touched” by this rogues departure.

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By Quy Tran, December 10, 2006 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Crocodile’s tears !

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