A long delayed Freedom of Information request

Way back in 2007, when I began work on my second book (http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520266803) , I filed a Freedom of Information request to the U.S. State Department and other government agencies.  I was looking for material on Chilean arms trafficking in the 1990s, when General Augusto Pinochet was still army commander, holding various overseas bank accounts and rattling his sabre whenever the country’s new civilian rulers dared to question his activities.  The most outrageous incident occurred in late 1991, when a shipment of Chilean weapons, bound for Croatia in violation of a United Nations ban, was discovered in Budapest.  Here’s a link to a NY Times piece on the case: http://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/11/world/chilean-arms-shipment-to-croatia-stirs-tensions.html

I didn’t get any documents until this time last year, with a cover letter explaining that a search of the State Department’s Central Foreign Policy Records had dredged up 22 relevant documents, of which

14 could be released in full

6 released with excisions

1 “must be withheld in full”

There was one remaining document still under review, requiring “intra-agency or interagency coordination,” and was referred to another government office.  That document, with a cover letter dated December 23, 2013, arrived this month.

The documents cover the activities of Chilean arms dealer Carlos Cardoen, who sold weapons to Iraq during its war with Iran in the 1980s, along with the Pinochet regime’s  efforts to sell arms to Iran during that same period.  Much of this was reported years ago, but it’s worth another look and I’ll be posting on these cases over the next few days.

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