Currently viewing the tag: "keynote"

SALALM 61 (2016)
Opening Session and Keynote Address
Monday, May 9, 2016

Welcoming remarks:

Paloma Celis Carbajal, SALALM President 2015-2016, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Martha R. Sites, University of Virginia

Fernando Opere, University of Virginia

Miguel Valladares-Llata, SALALM Local Arrangements Committee Chair 2015-2016, University of Virginia

Keynote address:

Dr. Charles R. Hale, Director of LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies Collections, University of Texas at Austin

Latin American Studies Unbound: Finding the ‘Sweet Spot’ of Collaboration between Collections and Scholarship/Teaching

Rapporteur: Daisy Domínguez, The City College of New York, CUNY

After the opening remarks, President Celis Carbajal introduced keynote speaker Charles R. Hale, Director of LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Hale’s article “The Future of Latin American Studies” (Americas Quarterly, 2014) was one of the texts that inspired her for the conference theme.

Dr. Hale thanked Celis Carbajal for the invitation. The Benson Collection and its librarians have played a big role at SALALM. The LLILAS Benson partnership between faculty and librarians began in 2011. At first, the goal was efficiency and communication, but in time, it has become a space where disciplinary and physical boundaries are transcended as manifested by workflows, projects, and initiatives. Partnerships like this can serve as a blueprint for internationalization of higher education. Idea came from adversity; retirement of Hartness in 2005 resulted in a long search and no director, Hale described growth and shifting of organizational culture assuming new identities as LLILAS Benson. Still lots of ambiguities, or creative tensions, that keep them challenged. LLILAS Benson has created this collaboration but still affirm identity of each. The most emblematic initiatives have resulted not from the leadership team, but from the various actors – librarians, faculty, graduate students, and professional staff – who have the same mission under the same space. Hale discussed four initiatives: Digital Archive of the Guatemalan National Police Historical Archive; Archive of the Central American Revolutions; and Primeros Libros Digitization Project; and Latin American Digital Initiatives (LADI). The post-custodial archival forms the centerpiece of the LLILAS archival enterprise and the shift must be achieved collectively through a coalition of Latin American libraries across the country. LLILAS’s guiding principles are to seek horizontal and reciprocal relationships of knowledge production, replacing the imperial gaze from the north, exemplified in the open access movement; ethos of collaboration across intellectual communities – not just north and south but also between civil society intellectuals and university based counterparts – which is seen in post-custodial archival relationships; and a preferential option for scholarship and teaching that engages the world with a social justice lens. Rather than see Global Studies as a watered down displacement, we need a proactive blueprint that’s more vibrant and critically engaged and which requires a collaboration space between librarians and scholar teachers. We can set Latin American Studies on new course, unbound by past restraints and becoming ideal leaders for universities with an increasingly urgent mandate to understand and engage our troubled world.

Questions and Comments:

Matthew Hill (Brigham Young University) asked Dr. Hale to expand on challenges. Hale expressed concern that globalization is watering down the deep knowledge of area studies. Hale advised that we drive and lead rather than react to this process. We should push for collaborative projects in all that we do. It is not possible to have Global Studies without deep embedded Latin American Studies.

Paula Covington (Vanderbilt) asked whether LANIC is still being updated or has ceased to exist, noting that SALALM librarians use it as a teaching tool. Hale commented that it is alive and well but has changed form. It used to be part of LLILAS and a standalone center, but is now part of a much larger effort.

Paul Losch (University of Florida) noted that the University of Texas at Austin staff has the benefit of being in the same building and asked whether Dr. Hale had words of advice for places that are physically spread out. Dr. Hale thanked Losch for the great question. When partnership started, Hale had just read a New Yorker article about MIT where they put all manner of scientists in one space and how they kept meeting in the halls and coming up with serendipitous great ideas and how many Nobel prizes came of those conversations. There is something powerful in physical proximity; you see each other, have events together, etc. That said, a lot of work also happens when they are not physically together.

Suzanne Schadl (University of New Mexico) asked Dr. Hale to talk about joint appointments and the bureaucracy of making that happen. Hale noted that the idea started with a partnership. There were all kinds of bureaucratic complexities. There has to be a lot of dialogue, including the issue of merit-based raises. Replacements involve new type of negotiation. Diplomacy is also important.

Enrique Camacho (UNAM) exaltó la charla y preguntó si se puede extender a colegas latinoamericanos la visita al acervo. Hale mencionó algunas oportunidades pero notó que se necesita muchas más.


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

9:00-10:30 am

Welcoming Remarks:

Dr. Martha Mantilla, SALALM President 2012-2013, University of Pittsburgh; Meiyolet Méndez, SALALM Local Arrangements Committee Chair 2012-2013, University of Miami; Dr. Thomas Breslin, Interim Dean of Libraries, Florida International University

Keynote address:

Dr. Emilio del Valle Escalante, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“Indigenous Literatures of Abya Yala”

Rapporteur: Sócrates Silva, University of California, Santa Barbara

Martha Mantilla, SALALM president, opened the conference by welcoming attendees and giving a brief history of the organization. She thanked the conference hosts: Florida International University Libraries, University of Miami Libraries, The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Miami, and the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University.

Mantilla then recognized invited guests and Enlace Travel Award winners, Marco Israel Quic Cholotío (Guatemala), Patricia Alejandra Méndez Zapata (Mexico), Presidential Travel Fellow, Tomás Bocanegra Esqueda (Mexico) and SALALM Scholarship winners Lisa Cruces, Tim Thompson, D. Ryan Lynch, and Betsaida Reyes.

Dr. Thomas Breslin (Interim Dean of University Libraries at Florida International University) spoke and said that as a historian he was grateful for the work of SALALM attendees in assuring that Latin American collections were made available to scholars. He welcomed everyone and wished the conference well.

Meiyolet Méndez, Chair of the local arrangements committee welcomed everyone to Miami. She thanked the local volunteers who made the conference possible, acknowledged the support of hosting institutions, and wished everyone an excellent conference.

Mantilla then introduced Manomano Mukungurutse (Duquesne University) who in turn introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Emilio del Valle Escalante (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill). His address was entitled, “Indigenous Literatures of Abya Ayala.” Escalante explained that the term “Abya Ayala” comes from the Cuna language (Panama) and that it means “land in full maturity.” It is the name the Cuna people give to the Americas.

Since the second half of the twentieth century Abya Ayala has seen an emergence of indigenous textual production which has been mostly published in bi- or multilingual editions, which have included genres such as narrative, poetry, theater, and essays. As opposed to indigenista literature, which has been written about indigenous people, these are texts that are authored by indigenous people themselves.

These texts represent one of the most important cultural phenomena in the continent, and as the theme of the SALALM conference demonstrates, this phenomenon is not going unnoticed. The talk addressed the following questions: what made possible the emergence of this literary canon; what are some of its historical precedents and representative texts; who are some of the most preeminent indigenous authors?

By addressing literary texts and the historical and political circumstances that surrounded their creation, Escalante reviewed literary production from Pre-Colombian records to contemporary literature, especially focusing on the Maya experience in Central America.

Questions & Comments
Marco Israel Quic Cholotío (Bibliotecas Comunitarias Riecken, Guatemala) asked about the distribution of contemporary Maya works as his library finds it challenging to acquire these texts. Escalante explained that this challenge comes from having very limited runs of titles (as little as 500 books per title) and that much of this distribution happens more informally at writer’s events or through visiting the publishers themselves.

Barbara Tenembaum (Library of Congress) mentioned she had attended a conference in Guatemala City in the late 90s for indigenous languages and she asked if there had been any subsequent congresses for indigenous languages. Escalante responded that there have been many; in fact there is an annual conference at the University of Notre Dame for the Indigenous languages of Latin America. There are also several conferences throughout the region supported by UNESCO, which as an organization concerns itself with the preservation of indigenous languages.

Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez (Princeton) asked about the emergence of indigenous Children’s literature written in bilingual editions. Escalante responded that this has partly come about as a response to governments officiating indigenous languages. Many of the contemporary writers Escalante mentioned in his address have written children’s books in the hopes that these books will become part of national curricula.

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SALALM 57 Keynote Address
Presenter:   Professor Doris Sommer (Harvard University)
Moderator:     Lynn Shirey, Harvard University
Rapporteur:   Sarah A. Buck Kachaluba, Florida State University
June 18, 2012 9:00am-9:45 am (this started later than was originally scheduled)

Dr. Sommer’s keynote address served to introduce and contextualize the three-hour “Pre-texts” workshop that she facilitated.  Pre-texts (, she explained, introduces literature to students of all ages as “recycled material,” and encourages all workshop participants to own pre-existing literature and ideas and author new ones, thereby fostering literacy and civic engagement by promoting the role of Arts and Humanities education – including the study of literature – in cultural and social organization and development.

Sommer began by explaining that she came to her “Pre-texts” workshop as an academic, through her disappointment at watching her best graduate students leave literary studies in the Humanities to go into more “useful” fields such as law, public health, and government.  After reminding the audience about the classical relationship between civic responsibility, arts, and education, she also credited two undergraduates with shaming and charming her into working to revive this relationship through academic and civic work.  These students had created an NGO to organize after-school arts-workshops for girls in India, keeping girls in school by requiring them to attend school in order to stay in the workshops.  Pre-texts, she argued, similarly engages children, their parents, and their grandparents with the Arts and literature, “recycling” literature into new works of art (literary, visual or performance) in order to examine and find new solutions to social problems.  One example of how such workshops have translated into civic action is when children participating in Pre-text workshops acted out the stages of AIDS in preparation to talk to officials about public health needs.  Sommers also pointed to cartonera projects as an example of how literature can be literally recycled into new forms of art and used as a springboard for civic engagement.

Literacy, Sommers argued, is critical to civic engagement, as literacy levels serve as an indicator of wealth, violence and crime, and health throughout the world.  Pre-texts teaches this in theory and practice.  It similarly illustrates practical applications of other theoretical concepts.  As Sommer articulated, participants have “learned more literary theory than she ever thought possible by doing arts and crafts.”  One reason for this is the core concept that literature is recycled material.

In the question and answer session, David Block (University of Texas Austin) thanked Lynn Shirey for bringing Dr. Sommers to SALALM.

Adán Griego (Stanford University) asked what Dr. Sommers would say to the criticism that cartonera projects, which began with noble beginnings, have become rather chic.  Sommers responded that as an academic, she would say this is a problem as something loses its edginess and productiveness as it becomes popularized.  However, as a cultural agent, she would ask: what we can do to refresh the cartoneras project?

Peter Johnson (Princeton University) asked how Sommers mixes generations in a workshop and how we can use the workshop process to cut across social and class lines.  Sommers answered that she could not model this at SALALM but that everyone can cut and paste and everyone can be human statues to model a literary figure.  She explained that workshops host parent and grandparent nights and authorize children to facilitate them.  She also described a workshop project done with Boston public school teachers, called “grandmother tells a story” in which the teachers have students in ELL families go to their grandparents with stories, have the grandparents help them to translate the stories and then ask the grandparents for new stories to bring back to school (which validates diverse languages and traditions).

Suzanne Schadl (University of New Mexico) asked Sommers to talk more about ownership; how students become authors and owners of something they had not realized they were invested in.  Sommers replied that the first thing to do is read the text and ask questions of it, which authorizes/makes the reader an expert.  This departs from the conventional classroom in which the teacher asks a reading comprehension question, putting the student on the defensive and discouraging creative thinking.

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May 30, 2011
9:00 am-10:30 am

Welcoming Remarks:

Nerea A. Llamas, SALALM President 2010-2011, University of Michigan
Joseph Holub, SALALM Local Arrangements Co-chair, 2010-2011, University of Pennsylvania
David C. Murray, SALALM Local Arrangements Co-chair, 2010-2011, Temple University
H. Carton Rogers, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries, University of Pennsylvania
Ann Farnworth-Alvear, Director of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, University of Pennsylvania
Jonathan LeBreton, Senior Associate University Librarian, Temple University Libraries

Keynote Speaker:

Peter Kornbluh, National Security Archive:

Forensic Archivists and Active Archives: Advancing the Cause of Human Rights in Latin America through Archival Investigation

Rapporteur: Gabriella Reznowski, Washington State University

Nerea Llamas opened the session by thanking the sponsors and welcoming special guests to SALALM LVI. Llamas introduced Peter Kornbluh, recognizing his contribution to the preservation of memory in its various forms. Works Kornbluh has authored include: The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962, The Iran-Contra Scandal: the Declassified History, and The Pinochet File, among others.

Kornbluh began his presentation at the historic Warwick hotel by paying tribute to the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, recalling his boyhood visits to his grandmother’s home on 21st and Walnut Street. He introduced the topic of “Human Rights and Archives,” explaining that every archive has the potential to become a “moving monument” to history. Kornbluh challenged us to take this a step further, to ensure that they are active monuments: “How do we actively and aggressively build and apply archives to rewrite and reshape the present and advance the concept of truth, justice and dignity that is at the heart of the human rights issues we care about?”

Kornbluh’s talk centered on the idea that we can all be “activist archivists,” ensuring that the documents we collect and preserve are used to advance the cause of human rights. This theme is central to the work at the National Security Archive (NSA), where they are committed to freedom of information and human rights issues. Sharing an acronym with the National Security Agency, Kornbluh jokingly explained, “We refer to ourselves as ‘The Archive’ rather than the NSA, which of course is a very secretive organization.” He acknowledged that because the ‘National Security Archive’ has a sinister ring to it, people sometimes confuse the NSA with a secretive, government agency. Kornbluh held up a t-shirt that read: “Documentos o Muerte!” (Documents or Death!). Kornbluh explained this was the assertive,  almost revolutionary slogan of his organization.

Kornbluh explained that the NSA is the leading advocate for freedom of information and transparency laws, at home and abroad: “We have our church of the ‘right to know’ and we preach the gospel of the ‘right to know’ around the world.” Kornbluh stated that they take seriously those words that are so ironically and misleadingly engraved in the foyer of the Central Intelligence Agency: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” He continued, saying: “Freedom, true democratic participation, and accountability are all predicated on access to information.” Quoting Justice Louis Brandeis, Kornbluh referred to the philosophy espoused by the NSA: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Proceeding with his talk, Kornbluh presented a slide of a censored document related to Augusto Pinochet, stating: “This is what gets us going in the morning at the NSA: the censorship of history.” Much of the work of his organization is to uncover and pursue the text under the blacked-out part of such documents, as he asks: “Why do we have to have censorship like this?” Kornbluh further went on to describe the mission of the organization, as it works with key advocacy groups around the world to advance “freedom of information” laws. The NSA is responsible for establishing Sunshine Week in the U.S., also bringing the concept to other countries. His colleague, Kate Hill, was instrumental in drafting Mexico’s “freedom of information” laws, organizing the monitoring agencies that oversee them. Additionally, the NSA runs training programs on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the press, media programs, and reporters. The NSA is currently involved in providing training to the families of human rights victims in Chile, so that they may pursue documentation under the Chilean “freedom of information” laws.

Continuing, Kornbluh explained: “We’ve pushed and advocated for a special designation for the millions of pages of still secret U.S. documents that relate to human rights and oppression, a designation that would facilitate their expeditious declassification.” A slide showed the first pages of the November 23, 1997 proposal put forth by Congressman Tom Lantos, H.R. 26535: “The Human Rights Information Act” presented during the 1st session of the 100th congress. This act would expedite the release of all documents since 1944 that contain information about human rights violations. The CIA and FBI opposed the law, and it failed to pass. While other countries, such as Uruguay, Peru, and Guatemala adopt similar legislation, it is unfortunate that the U.S. is falling behind: “We work in a global arena now in archives, and other countries are adopting ‘freedom of information’ laws that have specific clauses for the expedited declassification of human rights documentation so that governments cannot hide these atrocities.”

Aside from advocating for the freedom of information around the world, the NSA is a repository for declassified documents. As Kornbluh explained, the organization has hundreds of boxes filled with papers, from which it publishes electronic briefing books, such as the forthcoming Fifty Years of Cuba Relations, also making its digital collections available through their website. The NSA has targeted documents related to Latin America, the history of nuclear war, terrorism, presidential decision making, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. NSA staff have made over 40,000 FOIA requests generating the declassification of over 700,000 documents. The organization has also been instrumental in generating the declassification of documents and pushing for collections at presidential libraries to be opened to the public through Mandatory Declassification Review requests. Kornbluh explained that if the NSA drew only on U.S. archives, this would be “informational imperialism.” The organization therefore conducts research in other archives around the world, including Library and Archives Canada, the British National Archives, and the Brazilian National Archives, in addition to an increasing number of archives in Latin America, which have started to yield “impressive and vast numbers of docs on human rights.”

Kornbluh urged the propagation of “investigative librarians” in a field where we generally have a passive, “build it and they will come” orientation toward users: “It is in the building of these archival collections that we all bring the creativity and interests that we have to accumulate groups of unique records.” At the NSA, Kornbluh explained: “We proactively build our collections on Latin America and human rights with very specific usages in mind so, and very specific and clear strategies for the dissemination of the information, so it will have a maximum impact on the cause of human rights, through the media, into the hands of the courts and the families of victims that need them.” Kornbluh described his role as that of a “forensic historian,” the crime scene investigator of human rights atrocities in Latin America where the “autopsy” on human rights crimes is performed by “exhuming” the secret records of the vaults of the organizations like the FBI and CIA.

Another role Kornbluh highlighted is the targeting of key collections of documents related to human rights investigations in order to advance truth, justice, and dignity in Latin America. In order to accomplish this, Kornbluh advocates for the aggressive and special use of the FOIA through familiarity with the types of documents that each agency generates and the variety of reporting addressed by each department. The NSA is familiar with the operations of the State Department, the FBI attachés, the Defense Intelligence attachés, and the types of meetings and minutes that are generated by each group. Another method used to obtain documents is through “discretionary declassification,” pressing presidents and leaders to decree the declassification of relevant documents on key cases in order to advance the cause of human rights.

Kornbluh took the remainder of the time to illustrate some of the agency’s work.

1. Freedom of Information Act work

Much of the agency’s FOIA work is geared toward Truth Commissions related to Latin America. There have been a few cases where the NSA had foreknowledge of the establishment of a Truth Commission. For example, they have already started doing FOIA work in the U.S. related to an upcoming Brazil commission. Another example involves Peru, where the NSA had two years lead time to prepare 200 FOIA requests related to Alberto Fujimori.

Kornbluh showed a Defense Intelligence Agency document confirming that Fujimori gave the order to raid and execute prisoners at a Japanese residency where MRTA guerillas had taken hostages. Fujimori gave the order that no member of the hostage takers was to be taken alive, even if they were to surrender. The document confirms that two members did in fact surrender, were executed, and their bodies arranged in such a way as to appear that their deaths occurred during a “shoot out.” This document was instrumental in Fujimori’s trial, as it illustrates that he was capable of an explicit human rights violation. The NSA played a significant role in the Fujimori trial, giving the judges and prosecuting attorneys 21 documents that were used as evidence in Peru. Further to the Fujimori trial, Kornbluh showed the slide: “Counterterrorism plan: secret annex for extrajudicial assassination,” a document confirming that a secret, extracurricular, extrajudicial assassination program would be set up against those Fujimori considered to be terrorists.

Another FOIA example relates to the Defense Intelligence Agency “Biographic Data Reports” containing lists of where specific Guatemalan commanders were posted. The NSA also obtained “Order of Battle Documents” from which they were able to develop a database of major massacre locations and the corresponding commanding officers related to the atrocities. The database was used in helping the U.N. Truth Commission to establish connections between commanders and massacres. Kornbluh also presented a CIA Intelligence Report used by the U.N. Truth Commission showing that Rios Montt gave specific authorization for “carte-blanche” repression in the indigenous regions of Guatemala. Documents also illuminate the U.S. role in counter-terrorism campaigns, condoning operations that were tantamount to massacres, tortures, and bloodshed.

A slide showed a CIA diagram related to the 1954 coup operations against Arbenz, illustrating “The Conference Room Technique,” or “how to assassinate a room full of Arbenz officials in less than 20 seconds … and blame the communists.” This was found in the appendix to a manual on assassination which detailed every conceivable way to kill a person, including a section on blunt instruments. Kornbluh published the first four documents as “op-art” in the New York Times “op-ed” page, characterizing it as one of the most chilling documents he has ever read that was generated by tax-payer dollars. The declassification of these documents resulted in so much publicity that Clinton felt compelled to apologize for them when he was in Guatemala in 1998. Characterizing the incident, Kornbluh stated: “This is an issue of memory; this is an issue of accountability. Changing the framework of relations, addressing a horrid history, in the hopes of generating changes in the future.”

2. Emerging Latin American archives

Increasingly, in-house documents from Latin America are becoming instrumental to the work conducted by the NSA. Kornbluh showed a slide of a Chilean intelligence report from a DINA operative and bureau chief in Buenos Aires, Enrique Arancibia Clavel. Clavel operated under covert cover as a banker, but coordinated collaboration between the Argentinean Secret Police and the Chilean Secret Police. The document confirms that Clavel had been given a secret report by the Argentine Intelligence Batallion 601 confirming that between 1974 and 1976, 22,000 people died or disappeared due to Argentine military actions. This is still the only official acknowledgment from an internal Argentinean military source that confirms these deaths.

On some occasions, documents are given to NSA members by sources from inside Latin America. Kornbluh presented a slide of the Guatemalan “Death Squad Diary,” a leather-bound log book recording 8 months of efforts by the Guatemalan secret police during 1983. This was literally handed to Kate Doyle in Guatemala, as Kornbluh stated: “Even military sources sometimes have pains of conscience.” Kate Doyle published the article “Looking into the secret archives of Guatemala’s bureaucracy of murder” in Harper’s magazine and the log book became instrumental in prosecuting Guatemalan human rights cases.

Kornbluh cited the most important archival find in recent Latin American history to be the national police files in Guatemala. A photo showed a rat-infested abandoned armaments depot in the middle of Guatemala City, where some 50 million pages of documents were found in rotting bags. The materials were sifted through and are now being used as evidence in human rights trials. Related to this find, Kornbluh presented a slide that honors four police officers involved in the kidnapping and death of Edgar Fernando García, a student leader and trade union activist captured by Guatemalan security forces in 1984. As a result of this document, the officers were sent to trial, found guilty and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The documents illustrate that García’s capture was an organized political abduction orchestrated at the highest levels of the Guatemalan government. The documentary film Granito focuses on this incident, as a group of women, including colleague Kate Doyle, bring cases from Guatemala to the Spanish courts. In the film, Fernando Garcia’s daughter talks about the impact these documents have had on her, as she is able touch and feel them. She herself has become a human rights investigator, sifting through the documents in the archive. Kornbluh explained that the value of his work is driven home when the families of the victims come to the NSA to touch the photos of their loved ones, placing mementos in the archival case containing the documents: “The community has come to this activist archive.”

Another slide related to the “Archivo del Terror,” a major Latin American find in Paraguay. Upon finding this abandoned police station, a human chain was formed to transfer 700,000 documents to a car for transport to the Supreme Court building. Found among the documents was the original set of invitations that brought Paraguay into Operation Condor.

Kornbluh said: “We live in a global world, and one archive is not enough; we now look at many archives to build an investigative story.” To illustrate this, Kornbluh presented a slide with mug shots found by NSA colleague Carlos Osorio in the Mexican Police archives. The photos are of two Argentine secret police agents arrested in Mexico City in January of 1970. Osorio found corroborating documents in Paraguay, Argentina and the United States, to uncover “Operation Mexico,” an Argentine secret police rendition program to find and capture Monteneros living in Mexico City. Through the program, the agents captured “Tucho” Valenzuela, his wife, and two children, telling Valenzuela that he will identify other Monteneros, or risk losing his family. Valenzuela escaped from his captors and brought the story to the Mexican police who then found and arrested the Battalion 601 agents, taking the resulting mug shots. In the spirit of counter-terrorism, the Mexican police return Valenzuela to the two Battalion members and deport everyone back to Argentina. Since the operation had been blown, 14 people held at a detention center were executed to cover up the case, including Valenzuela’s wife. The children were adopted by military families, and finally reunited at the 2010 trial where the commanders were ultimately convicted.

3. Discretionary Declassification

Presenting a slide of the British warrant for Pinochet’s arrest in October of 1998, Kornbluh explained that documents are obtained by pushing presidents and leaders around the world to approve discretionary declassification. Kornbluh recalled the NSA’s ability to pressure the Clinton Administration on discretionary declassification of documents from Chile, resulting in the release of 24,000 items, including an internal diagram of the structure of the Chilean secret police. A slide entitled, “CIA Reports on Repression in Chile Ties Pinochet to Abuses,” shows that General Manuel Contreras took his orders from Augusto Pinochet, and Pinochet alone. Another slide shows Kissinger’s attitude toward Pinochet, when in a September 29, 1975 meeting with Admiral Caravajal, he complains: “I have read the briefing book my staff has prepared for me on this meeting, and it’s nothing but Human Rights.” Although Pinochet was never convicted, Kornbluh feels that these documents ensure that you still have a verdict of history.

Questions & Comments:

David Block (Cornell University) asked the only question: “In the context of your present work, what do you make of Wikileaks?”

Kornbluh replied that Wikileaks is essentially a techno-media organization that accepted almost 700,000 documents from U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning and placed them on a network. What sets Wikileaks apart is the magnitude of the documents, and the use of technology to distribute them. The NSA has a different modus operandi than Wikileaks. For the most part, the NSA does not deal in leaked materials, but rather advocates for transparency with regards to government information. However, Kornbluh recommended that we compare Julian Assange’s reception to that of Bob Woodward: “Nobody is talking about prosecuting Bob Woodward, and nobody should be talking about prosecuting Assange either.”