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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
September 2, 2010
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Publication Date: 
June 16, 1983
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Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/09/02 :CIA-RDP90-005528000606730002-9 APt~~ AR : I CZ-~ Olr P AG~$-1, -=~ , ~TASHII~TGTON TIMES 16 June 1983 Argentina must wait, to try Mike Townley By Jeremiah O'Leary YMSMINGTON TIMES STAFF For the space of maybe two min- uteslast month, Michael V. Townley, the convicted car-bombingassassin of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelierand Ronni K Mof- fitt, was a free man. ?But no sooner was he handed his parole at an unnamed .federal prison than U.S. marshals arrested him, this time for almost certain extradition to Argentina. 'There, the 41-year-old American expatri- ate and former hit-man for the Chilean military intelligence ser- ~~ce, will be tried for putting outthe contract for the 1974 murder-of Chilean Gen. Carlos Prats and his wife. ? ~ ? The next act in the cloak-and- dagger life of, Mike Townley was to have taken place ir. Alexandria fed- eral court tomorrow, but will be delayed until July because the death of Judge Oreni.ewis has the courthouse closed for the day. Townley, after five years and one month in U.S. prisons, now faces a life-sentence in Argentina for the mtirder of the Prats family. But Townley, some officials . believe, might well be safer in an Argentine. jail than he would be walking any street in the United States where the anti-Castro Omega 7 organization would kill him on sight, or in Chile, where he is hated by former members of the DINA intelligence organization for much about those vio- lent organizations. He'is'now more than a convicted assassin. 1tililce Townley, the elec- tronics wizard who becaare an expert maker of bottfti~s, has become a pawn in the foreign-policy relationships of the United States with Argentina and Chile. R'h}? is Argentina, where thou- sands disappeared in the so-called "dirty war" waged by the military government against the leftist A1ortoneros .and perceived. oppo- nents of an}~ stripe, so interested in tr}?ing a Chilean assassin for mur- dering aChilean general%.: U.S. officials believe there are three reasons: ? There isfiad blood and consid- erable tension. between; the two neighboring Southern Cone?repub- lics.Chile fears a sLdden Argentine ? attack,aswa&madeonthe?Falkiand. Islands; somuch~so that the~armed forcesoflbeatfcountriesweatAnred alert ~ast;week when an Argentine .helicopter made a forced landing on ~tbe Chilean :.side of the.. Andes. " Argentina _would like to see .Chile c, .~n+barrass~......,rk,'..~._:- ~ights-gsounds. "'" '""`?''`"t""."s'. - ? The Argentine military. about to give up power in October elec- tions that will bring the Peronists back into control, are well aware that Prats and his wife?were killed when the Peronists were running .things in Buenos Aires in 1474..The present government wants no new Peronist president in a position to go seeking culprits for the desaparecidos (disappeared onesl now that the internal strife -has ceased. ? Argentina places a high prior- . itv on receiving U.S. certification tttar?iris?~observing new and `ltigh?- standards of human rights,and the public trial of a ~Chileaniied -American would help ~ ensure'thaf ' the Reagan administration issues the certification after the October elections. ? . Townley seems to have more strikes- against him than ;anyone imaginable. ~= He went to Chile as aw2een-ager with his .family and became an ardent supporter of .the military government which had taken over in the revolution of 1973. He and his wife, Mariana, became agents of -DINA. His assignments became Letelier, killed in Washington in September 1916; Prats, slain in Buenos Aires; the failed effort to kill exiled politi- clans Volodia Teitelboim and Carlos . Alfamirano in Alexico in,1975: and a gunshot attack on politician Ber- nardo Leighton in Italy the same year. When the Washington Star printed Townley's photo, enabling the FBI to discover his identity, .,,ilean,.PrESidsnt..$ugusto.. Pino- ~~chet ordered him handed over to the United States. . Townley, either feeling betrayed - or acting on orders, made a deal .with the prosecutors that laid bare ? much about the heinous work of -'DIVA --now disbanded -and 'about the~Cuban Omega .7. group `which had helped him place and . `: ignitethebombunderLetelier'scar here. . , - In return for hiscooperation, the prosecutors agreed to ask that he be set free after serc-ing 40 months, but U.S. District Judge Barrington Parker said this deal was not bind- ing. His release came on May 6, in _ ~ the undisclosed prison where Townley was entering the sixth year - of -his imprisonment. The new arrest swiftly followed. Townley has lost the use of his own name, because federal authori- ties gave him a new identity under the program to save him from assassination in jail. He also has lost his wife in .what sources describe as a separation. She was last reported in Spain. There is every reason to expect U:S. Magistrate Ross Grimsley in Alexandria to order his extradition to Argentina, based on the evi- dence.The finding will be reviewed by a federal judgeand if extradition is upheld, Tbwnley's attorneys can appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The last step is for Sec- retary of State George P. Shultz to givehis approval of the extradition. No later than sia months from now Mike Townley will be on his way back to a culture he long ago found preferable to his own American background. Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/09/02 :CIA-RDP90-005528000606730002-9