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Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional or DINA was the Chilean secret police in the government of Augusto Pinochet. DINA was established in November 1973, as a Chilean Army intelligence unit headed by General Manuel Contreras and vice-director Raul Iturriaga, who fled from justice in 2007. It was separated from the army and made an independent administrative unit in June 1974, under the aegis of decree 521. DINA made it possible for Augusto Pinochet to come to power.

DINA existed until 1977, after which it was renamed the Central Nacional de Informaciones (CNI) (National Information Central).

DINA internal suppression and human rights violations

Under decree 521, the DINA had the power to detain any individual so long as there was a declared state of emergency. Such an administrative state characterized nearly the entire length of the Pinochet dictatorship. Torture and Rape of detainees was common.

Foreign involvement

The United States backed and supported the 1973 coup, and continued to aid the Pinochet dictatorship until it ended. Documents declassified from the CIA in September 2000 revealed that the head of DINA in 1975 was a "paid CIA asset [*]." The CIA actively supported the junta after the overthrow of Salvador Allende. The head of DINA, General Manuel Contreras, was made a paid asset despite continuing CIA reservations concerning the human rights abuses of the organization. Eventually the CIA became aware of DINA's "possible" involvement in the assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington D.C., but they continued to maintain him as an asset. The CIA reports remain heavily excised.

DINA foreign assassinations and operations

DINA was involved in Operation Condor, as well as Operation Colombo.

In July 1976, two magazines in Argentina and Brazil published the names of 119 Chilean leftist opponents, claiming they had been killed in internal disputes unrelated to the Pinochet regime. Those two magazines would disappear after this one and only issue. Judge Juan Guzman Tapia would eventually ask Chilean justices to lift Pinochet's immunity in this case, called "Operation Colombo", having accumulated evidence that he had ordered the DINA to plant this disinformation, in order to cover up the "disappearance" and murder by the Chilean secret police of those 119 persons. On September 2005, Chile's Supreme Court would accept the lifting of Pinochet's immunity on this case. Judge Victor Montiglio, who took over the case after Juan Guzman Tapia's retirement a few months before, has yet to name the doctors who would testify on Pinochet's health and ability to be interrogated. Victor Montiglio is known as a Pinochetist, and supports military auto-amnesty laws. He has already accorded amnesty to Manuel Contreras, who was given a firm prison sentence in 2004 in the Operation Colombo trial.

Carlos Prats's 1974 assassination and Orlando Letelier's 1976 assassination

DINA worked with international agents, such as Michael Townley, who assassinated former Chilean minister Orlando Letelier in Washington DC in 1976, as well as General Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1974. According to a CIA document released in 2000, French OAS member Albert Spaggiari also acted as intermediary for the DINA in Europe, as well as Italian neo-fascist terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie (alias ALFA). In a 1979 letter declassified in 2000, Michael Townley stated: "They were meetings between him [Manuel Contreras], his Excellency [Dictator Pinochet], and the Italians in Spain after Franco died. Also the Italians carried out numerous act of military espionage against the Peruvians and Argentines not only in Europe, but also in Peru and Argentina".

Michael Townley described numerous meetings between Pinochet and Italian terrorists and spies as well as Pinochet's meetings with anti-Castro Cubans [*].

Michael Townley worked with Eugenio Berrios on producing sarin gas in the 1970s, in a house DINA had in the district of Lo Curro, Santiago de Chile. Eugenio Berrios , who was murdered in 1995, was also linked with drug traffickers and agents of DEA El coronel que le pena al ejercito, La Nacion, September 24, 2005

Colonia Dignidad

Investigations by Amnesty International and the Chilean National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation Report have verified that Colonia Dignidad, long held for a center used for rituals of ex-Nazi Paul Schafer, was used by DINA as a concentration camp for the detention and torture of political prisoners. Most accounts have this happening between 1973 and 1977 but precise dates are not known. Boris Weisfeiler, an American Jewish professor of Russian origin, is thought to have disappeared near Colonia Dignidad.

The son of DINA head Manuel Contreras claims that his father and Pinochet visited Colonia Dignidad in 1974, and that his father and Schafer were good friends. The current leader of Villa Baviera admits that torture took place within the old colony, but claims that Villa Baviera is a new entity.

In March 2005, former DINA agent Michael Townley acknowledged links between Colonia Dignidad and DINA, as well as relations with the Bacteriological War Army Laboratory. He would have spoken about biological experiments conducted on detainees, with the help of the laboratory and another one, that used to be situated on Via Naranja de lo Curro Street. According to Townley, former Christian Democrat President Eduardo Frei Montalva was assassinated by a poison made at Colonia Dignidad. Michael Townley fue interrogado por muerte de Frei Montalva, Radio Cooperativa, March 30, 2005


On an undated letter to Augusto Pinochet, CIA and DINA agent Michael Townley advised him that Virgilio Paz Romero, an anti-Castro Cuban, was taking photographs of British prisons in Northern Ireland in 1975 as a DINA assignment. The photographs were to be used by the Chilean government at the United Nations in New York to discredit the United Kingdom and accuse them of human rights violations. But they arrived too late to be used, and were finally published in El Mercurio.

See also

Operation Condor

Colonia Dignidad

Eugenio Berrios

Manuel Contreras

Raul Iturriaga

Pedro Espinoza

Augusto Pinochet

External links

History of the organization


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