December 1, 2011 · 0 Comments
By Chris Spannos:
The New York Times reports that a Chilean judge indicted Capt. Ray E. Davis, a former U.S. Navy officer, on Tuesday for the killings of two U.S. citizens shortly after a 1973 military coup in Chile.
Davis was commander of the U.S. Military Group at the Chilean embassy and is accused of giving information to Chilean military intelligence agents about U.S. citizens Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi.
The Times article, “Chile Indicts Ex-U.S. Officer in 1973 Killings” by Pascale Bonnefo, lacks important information about the murder, including U.S. complicity in the coup, and also the related murder and disappearance of thousands of Chileans.
The Times tells its readers that Horman and Teruggi were detained in the aftermath of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s coup and that they were both killed while in custody:
The ruling by the judge, Jorge Zepeda, draws heavily upon scores of United States government documents that were declassified in 1999. It says Captain Davis did not prevent the murders of the two men, ‘although he was in a position to do so, given his coordination with Chilean agents.’
Mr. Horman was 31, a filmmaker and journalist. In 1972 he settled in Chile with his wife, and now widow, Joyce after traveling around Latin America. He was doing research on a political murder and writing scripts for documentaries.
Mr. Teruggi, 24, a graduate of the California Institute of Technology, was an economics student at the University of Chile. They were collaborating together in a weekly news digest.
The information missing from the Times report is easily available elsewhere. For example, the Associated Press (AP) also published a report, “Chilean judge charges ex-US military officer” by Eva Vergara, that was widely re-published by the Guardian, CBS, and other news outlets too.
These other reports note that Horman and Teruggi were arrested on Sept. 17, 1973 shortly after the coup “and taken to Santiago’s main soccer stadium, which had been turned into a detention camp for Pinochet’s suspected opponents.”
They were both murdered “while in the custody of state security agents”—Horman the very next day and Teruggi on September 22.
According to AP the case remained ignored in Chile until 2000 when Joyce Horman “went to Chile and filed a lawsuit against Pinochet.” She said she was acting on behalf of all victims of Chile’s dictatorship.
The Chilean national commission determined that 3,095 people were killed or disappeared.
The Horman case inspired the award-winning 1982 film “Missing” by the Greek director Costa-Gavras. The film, which suggested American complicity in Horman’s death, starred Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon. The film won a best screenplay Oscar. Excerpt below:
Responding to the indictment of Davis, Horman’s widow Joyce told AP “I’m stunned. I’m so glad for this step forward.”
Judge Jorge Zepeda has asked Chile’s Supreme Court to authorize an extradition request so that Davis may be tried in Chile.
The whereabouts of Davis, who would now be in his mid-80s, is currently unknown.
The Times reports that Mr. Teruggi’s sister, Janis Teruggi Page, issued a statement on behalf of herself and Mr. Horman’s wife that said:
“I, along with Joyce Horman, am looking forward to understanding the evidence behind these indictments. The fact that Judge Zepeda has spent considerable time investigating and evaluating these cases gives me hope that finally the truth will be revealed about their murders, and justice will be achieved.”