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Michael Townley, a U. Condor operatives utilized dedicated communications networks and received specialized instruction.

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Hundreds of Uruguayans, Bolivians, and Chileans were held in Orletti Motors; survivors have said that military personnel of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay conducted combined operations there Dignidad, A letter found in the Paraguayan archives, dated October and signed by d i n a commander Contreras M. Contreras, , establishes that the system of transnational coordination was to be institutionalized in a November meeting.

These technical personnel would have diplomatic immunity, and the Chileans proposed that they be from intelligence services. Brazil became a full member soon afterward. At the suggestion of the Uruguayan delegation, they named the system Condor in honor of the host country, which used the condor as a national symbol. Fons of Uruguay. In , a c i a memo reported that Ecuador had agreed to participate in Condor. A September c i a report to the U. Congress stated: Within a year after the [September Chilean] coup, the c i a and other US government agencies were aware of bilateral cooperation among regional intelligence services to track the activities of and, in at least a few cases, kill political opponents.

This was the precursor to Operation Condor, an intelligence-sharing arrangement among Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay established in In the Condor system was upgraded with a computerized intelligence database and the telecommunications system, Condortel.


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In fact, an Argentine military source told a U. Indeed, no country in Latin America had the technological capacity to set up such a system. Other new evidence points to deep U. Fretes had informed White that a U. He told the New York Times in that he never received a response. Essentially, U. The sophisticated communications network allowed Condor intelligence commanders to communicate with their operations centers and to track the movements of persons among countries. According to White b , such telecommunications systems were generally established for allied militaries so that U.

Other communications systems had been set up earlier within the Permanent Commission of Inter-American Military Communications c o p e c o m i , including a network control station in the Canal Zone and subsidiary stations in participating countries. According to McClintock, the U. Public Safety Program, established in the Central American and Panama Telecommunications Security Network, which linked the intelligence agencies of each country with s o u t h c o m in Panama, where the parent station was located.

In the commander of s o u t h c o m explained the operational importance of such systems for counterinsurgency: Essential to the success of regional organizations are regional communications systems and joint operations centers. Child, , White subsequently underlined the importance of the Condor link to the Panama base, saying that his interchange with Fretes had convinced him that the U. White believed that Fretes meant that the operation was run out of the Panama base, which included the s o a , the headquarters of s o u t h c o m , a large c i a station, and the headquarters of the Special Forces and other military branches.


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The Panama base was certainly the center of the hemispheric counterinsurgency effort. There are other indications that Condor operated within the structures of the inter-American system. Embassy, Santiago, In , Ambassador David Popper in Chile reported information obtained from military sources by a U. The inter-American system, already geared toward the anticommunist crusade, essentially harbored a transnational state terror apparatus. Top-Level U.

Knowledge of Condor Recent evidence indicates that top U. A cable dated July 20, , released by the State Department in August , shows that Kissinger was well informed on Condor. The cable, signed by Kissinger and sent to all U.

Brazil’s search for truth

In June, Bolivian ex-president Torres had been abducted and found dead. The c i a was aware that the armed men were multinational Condor teams coordinating operations against targets in Argentina c i a , b; see also U. Embassy, Buenos Aires, Moreover, other Phase III assassinations had occurred before that of Prats and his wife in , and Leighton and his wife in Rome in In September , shortly after Kissinger sent the cable, Condor assassin Townley acted again as a key member of a Condor death squad.

Kissinger sent another memo, dated August 23, , to the U. In it, he ordered his ambassadors to convey the U. Secretary of State, While intelligence exchanges and countersubversive coordination among the national security states were useful, according to the memo, assassinations could not be countenanced. None of the documents released indicate that the ambassadors acted on these instructions Dinges and Kornbluh, ; Schemo, Failure to act would be a curious response to a directive by the Secretary of State, however, and, according to former ambassador Robert White, an inconceivable one.

Based on his experience, White said the ambassadors would have immediately approached the c i a station chief, or possibly the d i a , within a day or two, to have them determine the best way to communicate the message to the military regimes White, b.

The U.S. and Latin America After 9-11 and Iraq

Indeed, the next day August 24 , Ambassador Popper in Santiago replied to the memo, telling the Secretary of State that Pinochet might be offended by a direct approach. He can do it in the context of having heard a rumor which he cannot believe. Former ambassador White surmised that the original cable had generated so much angry opposition from the Latin American intelligence organizations— and, perhaps, from the c i a and d i a —that the State Department decided to withdraw it White, b.

In the case of Chile, minutes of a private conversation between Kissinger and Pinochet on the day before the June o a s meeting show that Kissinger essentially told the general to disregard his upcoming speech on human rights since the U. The plans and targets of the teams will be withheld from at least some government leaders. State Department, This document suggests that U. Luers said that it would be helpful to have an update on the subject of Condor, what we know about it, and how we should deal with the knowledge that we have.

We might want to think again about whether we should raise the subject with the governments involved. Our attitude would be different if only exchanges of intelligence are involved. Although these actions were not Phase III assassinations, they routinely resulted in torture and extrajudicial execution. Cooperation with Condor A key case that illustrates U.

Paraguayan police seized Fuentes as he crossed the border from Argentina to Paraguay in May Fuentes was transferred extralegally to the Chilean police, who brought him to Villa Grimaldi, a notorious d i n a detention center in Santiago. The memo stated that the f b i was conducting investigations of the three in the United States National Security Archive, n.

Perhaps most striking was that this coordination was routine if secret standard operating procedure within U. Other cases also suggest that some U. In a June 19 report 48 introduction to the U. Once in Argentina they will be interrogated and then permanently disappeared.

She had denounced the disappearances of her daughter and son-in-law before the United Nations and was working with human rights groups in Peru. In December , Gustavo was awarded an indemnity from the Argentine government for the death of his mother.

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The Argentine again told the r s o top-secret information: that they had previously captured a Montonero who, under interrogation, had revealed the time and place of a meeting in Rio. The report continued: The Argentine military intelligence contacted their Brazilian military intelligence counterparts for permission to conduct an operation in Rio to capture two Montoneros arriving from Mexico.

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Roman, to Rio aboard an Argentine air force C Both of the Montoneros from Mexico were captured alive and returned to Argentina aboard the C These two persons were never seen again. In , the Brazilian government granted an indemnity to their families and to the family of one other Argentine disappeared in Brazil. Clearly, this U. Conclusion Operation Condor was a top-secret inter-American intelligence and operations system that functioned within the larger hemispheric security architecture.

Documentary evidence shows that at least one secretary of state Henry Kissinger approved of cross-border counterinsurgency operations by the military dictatorships within the framework of Condor. Weighty evidence, however, indicates that U.


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Certainly U. Condor operations conformed to U. Condor was a professionalized and rationalized system of terror, with advanced communications and infrastructure.