WASHINGTON: Australia carried out espionage operations in Chile in the 1970s in support of the US intervention against the socialist government of Salvador Allende, according to intelligence documents released on Friday.

The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) installed a “station” in Santiago from 1971 to 1973 at the request of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to declassified Australian records published by the National Security Archive (NSA), a Washington-based research centre.

“After 50 years, the hidden history of concerted, covert US efforts, with other proxies, to destabilise the democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende continues to unfold,” NSA historian Peter Kornbluh said.

“The verdict of history for countries like Australia and Brazil which also intervened in Chile, depends on this dark past being understood in its totality,” he said.

Allende, elected president of Chile in 1970, was overthrown on Sept 11, 1973, in a coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. Surrounded by troops in the presidential palace at La Moneda, Allende committed suicide.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2021

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