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40 Years After CIA & ITT’s 1973 Coup In Chile: A Look At Democracy Now!’s ITT-Lannan Foundation Connection | Part 1

Where’s the Change?

by Bob Feldman

Jan 6, 2014

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Not only do we suffer the financial blockade, we are also the victims of clear aggression. Two firms that are part of the central nucleus of the large transnational companies that sunk their claws into my country, the International Telegraph and Telephone Company and the Kennecott Copper Corporation, tried to run our political life.

“ITT, a huge corporation whose capital is greater than the budget of several Latin American nations put together and greater than that of some industrialized countries, began, from the very moment that the people’s movement was victorious in the elections of September 1970, a sinister action to keep me from taking office as President.

“Between September and November of 1970, terrorist actions that were planned outside of my country took place there, with the aid of internal fascist groups. All this led to the murder of General Rene Schneider Chereau, Commander in Chief of the Army, a just man and a great soldier who symbolized the constitutionalism of the armed forces of Chile….ITT…has admitted that in 1970 it even made suggestions to the Government of the United States that it intervene in political events in Chile….

“Last July the world learned with amazement of different aspects of a new plan of action that ITT had presented to the US Government in order to overthrow my Government in a period of six months. I have with me the document, dated in October 1971, that contains the 18-point plan that was talked about. They wanted to strangle us economically, carry out diplomatic sabotage, create panic among the population and cause social disorder so that when the Government lost control, the armed forces would be driven to eliminate the democratic regime and impose a dictatorship.

“While the ITT was working out this plan, its representatives went through the motions of negotiating a formula for the Chilean state to take over ITT’s share in the Chilean telephone company. From the first days of my administration, we had started talks to purchase the telephone company that ITT controlled, for reasons of national security.

“On two occasions I received high officials of the firm. My Government acted in good faith in the discussions. On the other hand, ITT refused to accept payment at prices that had been set in keeping with the verdict of international experts. It posed difficulties for a rapid and fair solution, while clandestinely it was trying to unleash chaos in my country.

“ITT’s refusal to accept a direct agreement and knowledge of its sneaky maneuvers has forced us to send to Congress a bill calling for its nationalization….

“Distinguished representatives, before the conscience of the World I accuse ITT of trying to provoke a civil war in my country -the supreme state of disintegration for a country. This is what we call imperialist intervention….”

–from Chilean President Salvador Allende’s December 4, 1972 speech to the United Nations General Assembly

“In 1970, a democratic election in Chile had voted in a leftist government led by Dr. Salvador Allende…American companies, including International Telephone and Telegraph , had spent their money in the South American nation, and the CIA was determined to protect their investments. Years of meddling followed…ITT was the focus of outrage worldwide. Its offices were bombed in Italy and Switzerland.

“At 2 a.m., September 28 [1973], the night telephone supervisor at the New York Times received a call. `Take this down because I’m only going to say this once,’ a man told her. `I am the Weatherman Underground. At the ITT-American building, a bomb is going to go off in 15 minutes. This is in retaliation of the ITT crimes they committed against Chile.’

“Nineteen minutes later, a dynamite bomb detonated on the ninth floor of ITT’s 50th Street office. Window panes crashed down to the sidewalk below, which was deserted.”

–from “Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements and Communiques of the Weather Underground, 1970-1974”

“…In 1947, a group of rich stockholders decided to organize a revolt—led by Clendennin Ryan—who with his family and friends owned a sixth of the ITT shares…After a dramatic proxy fight, a compromise was agreed on with the help of another very tough customer, J. Patrick Lannan, a tall, cold Irishman from Minnesota. Seven new directors would join the board, including Ryan and Lannan (who is still a director today)…”

–from Anthony Sampson’s 1973 book, “The Sovereign State of ITT”

“Patrick Lannan Jr., 70, heads the foundation his financier father founded in 1960. With $222 million in assets, it is Santa Fe’s biggest by far…”