A double standard
web posted November 1998
Many people consider that the deed of ordering the murder of thousands of your countrymen is a crime, as General Augusto Pinochet learned in London recently when he was arrested by British police on behalf of a Spanish judge, though he might consider if his fate would have been different had he not been a member of the extreme Right.
It is generally believed that at least 3 000 people were killed or disappeared in witch hunts against leftist sympathizers during Pinochet's 1973-1990 regime. Some 52 000 went into exile and thousands were tortured. On October 16, Britain arrested the 82-year old on a request from a Spanish judge seeking to have him extradited and prosecuted on charges of genocide, torture and terrorism during his 17-year rule.
Eleven days later three High Court judges quashed the arrest warrants against Pinochet, ruling that the former Chilean dictator is entitled to immunity from prosecution. He will remain in custody pending appeal by a Spanish magistrate.
Pinochet's arrest illustrates the stunning hypocrisy of who gets prosecuted for alleged crimes against humanity and who gets a free pass.
Consider that while passionate Nazi hunters still comb South American street side cafes in search of living extreme "right wingers" who murdered millions during the Third Reich, leftist butchers have taken the lives of over 100 million people this century in the former Soviet Union, China and the Eastern Block (a very short list, of course), and not one has seen the inside of a courtroom. Indeed, not only are there no cries for their punishment from those cheering Pinochet's arrest, but some people still even defend the actions of the left as necessary in the context of the situation. How many millions have yet to die because of wars inspired by the Soviet Union which continue to rage today? Who's to be prosecuted for those deaths?
Even current claimants to the crown of ueber-mass murderer, like socialist goon Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia, continue to get away with their crimes without being called to pay the tab at the end of the day. Communist Pol Pot murdered over 1.5 million people and died in his sleep. Brutal repression occurs in Cuba every day and the most we see are pictures of billionaire Ted Turner praising Fidel Castro for his visionary accomplishments in creating a worker's paradise. Atrocities committed by the "right wing" in South Africa under apartheid? Heinous! Monstrous human rights abuses by the Communist dominated African National Congress? Silence.
Am I defending Pinochet? While there are plenty -- especially in the Chilean press -- who consider him somewhat of a hero for bringing a thriving capitalist economy to his nation, the fact of the matter is that one cannot have real economic freedom without corresponding political freedom. Murdering thousands while largely privatizing the pension system isn't a fair trade for the country.
Should Pinochet be tried for his alleged crimes? Of course. I've long felt that any political leader, once convicted in a legitimate court of law of ordering the murder of civilians, gives up their claim to humanity and only deserves the fate of Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu -- a brick wall and a firing squad made up of the average citizen.
Let's just make sure that all the butchers get that richly deserved fate.
Enough with selective justice which only sees the thugs of the right sanctimoniously prosecuted for their crimes. If Pinochet is a fair target for prosecution, then so are the tens of thousands living ex-Communists all over the world with blood on their hands.
Thanks for reading,
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