Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional

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This article is about the Chilean police agency. For the bus manufacturer, see DINA S.A.
Seal of DINA

The Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (English: National Intelligence Directorate) or DINA was the Chilean secret police in the government of Augusto Pinochet, and has been called Pinochet's Gestapo.[1] The DINA was established in November 1973, as a Chilean Army intelligence unit headed by Colonel Manuel Contreras and vice-director Raúl Iturriaga. It was separated from the army and made an independent administrative unit in June 1974, under the aegis of Decree 521.

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

In 2008 the Chilean Army presented a list of 1,097 DINA agents to Judge Alejandro Solís.[2]

DINA internal suppression and human rights violations[edit]

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 government. Torture and rape of detainees was common:

In some camps, routine sadism was taken to extremes. At Villa Grimaldi, recalcitrant prisoners were dragged to a parking lot; DINA agents then used a car or truck to run over and crush their legs. Prisoners there recalled one young man who was beaten with chains and left to die slowly from internal injuries. Rape was also a reoccurring form of abuse. DINA officers subjected female prisoners to grotesque forms of sexual torture that included insertion of rodents and, as tactfully described in the Commission report, "unnatural acts involving dogs."[3]

Foreign involvement[edit]

The United States backed and supported the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, and continued to aid the Pinochet dictatorship until it ended. The CIA actively supported the junta after the overthrow of Salvador Allende.

DINA foreign assassinations and operations[edit]

Further information: Operation Condor and Operation Colombo

The DINA was involved in Operation Condor, as well as Operation Colombo. In July 1976, two magazines in Argentina and Brazil appeared and published the names of 119 Chilean leftist opponents, claiming they had been killed in internal disputes unrelated to the Pinochet regime. Both magazines disappeared after this one and only issue. Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia eventually asked Chilean justices to lift Pinochet's immunity in this case, called "Operation Colombo", having accumulated evidence that Pinochet 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. In September 2005, Chile's Supreme Court ordered the lifting of Pinochet's general immunity from prosecutions, with respect to this case.

Assassinations of Carlos Prats and Orlando Letelier[edit]

The 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.

Michael Townley worked with Eugenio Berríos on producing sarin gas in the 1970s, at a laboratory in a DINA-owned house in the district of Lo Curro, Santiago de Chile.[4] Eugenio Berríos, who was murdered in 1995, was also linked with drug traffickers and agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).[5]

Other activities[edit]

In an undated letter to Augusto Pinochet, 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 it of human rights violations. However they arrived too late to be used, and were finally published in El Mercurio.[6]

Beginning in late 2014 in response to a request by then Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, a U.S. Department of Defense[7] institution for defense and security studies in the Western Hemisphere, has been under investigation by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General. Insider national security whistleblower complaints allege that the Center knowingly protected a WJPC professor who belonged to the DINA during the dictatorship of Captain General Pinochet, as well as the clandestine participation of Center officials in the 2009 Honduran coup, gross mismanagement, corruption, homophobia, racism, and sexism. “Reports that NDU hired foreign military officers with histories of involvement in human rights abuses, including torture and extra-judicial killings of civilians, are stunning, and they are repulsive,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, the author of the “Leahy Law” prohibiting U.S. assistance to military units and members of foreign security forces that violate human rights. [8] [9] [10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Article Manuel Contreras, el jefe de la Gestapo de Pinochet in Spanish online newspaper El Pais on 08 August 2015, retrieved on 08 August 2015
  2. ^ Article Piden desafuero de diputado Rosauro Martínez por asesinato de tres miembros del MIR en 1981 in Chilean online newspaper El Mostrador on 23 May 2013, retrieved on 23 May 2013
  3. ^ Kornbluh, Peter (2003). The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability. New York: The New Press. p. 171. ISBN 1-56584-936-1. 
  4. ^ "Townley reveló uso de gas sarín antes de ser expulsado de Chile". El Mercurio. September 19, 2006. 
  5. ^ El coronel que le pena al ejército, La Nación, September 24, 2005 (Spanish)
  6. ^ Activities of Virgilio Paz in Northern Ireland during 1975, National Security Archive
  7. ^ United States Department of Defense http://www.defenselink.mil
  8. ^ Martin Edwin Andersen Unpunished U.S. Southern Command role in '09 Honduran military coup May 24, 2016, Academia.edu
  9. ^ Marisa Taylor and Kevin G. Hall, For years, Pentagon paid professor despite revoked visa and accusations of torture in Chile March 27, 2015
  10. ^ McClatchyDC, Chilean 70's torture survivor seeks justice March 12, 2015

External links[edit]