The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents

11 February 2004
Book

This is the underground history of the international Dirty Wars by US allies in South America.

ISBN/ISSN
  • 978-1-56584-977-8

TNI and the Pinochet precedent

Twenty-four years after Assassination on Embassy Row, the shocking account of the investigation into murders on former TNI Director Orlando Letelier and IPS collegaue Ronni Karpen Moffit, which he wrote with TNI Fellow Saul Landau, John Dinges has published a new book on The Condor Years. How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents.

John Dinges, who was himself interrogated at a secret Chilean torture camp, draws on hundreds of interviews and newly opened secret police files to prove the extent of cooperation between Operation Condor and the United States government. Revolutionaries, spies and military officers — many speaking out for the first time — retell the brutal struggle between Condor and its enemies, alongside the suspenseful present-day narrative of the lawyers and judges whose relentless efforts to end the impunity of Condor’s perpetrators led to Pinochet’s arrest and changed international human rights law forever.

Kissinger explained his opinion that the Government of Argentina had done an outstanding job in wiping out terrorist forces - State Department cable, 1978

This is the underground history of the international Dirty Wars by US allies in South America. For much of a decade, six allied military governments engaged in secret warfare intended to wipe out their enemies, kidnapping and murdering up to 30,000 people. At the initiative of Chilean president General Augusto Pinochet, and with encouragement from the CIA, they set up a multinational terrorist organization, Operation Condor, to pursue those who escaped to other Latin American countries, Europe and the United States. Award-winning journalist John Dinges, using newly available US documents and the dictatorships' own files, tells this gripping story from the point of view of those who have tried to keep it secret. He dispassionately lays bare the true extent of US complicity in the crimes of the dictators who called the United States "the leader". Revolutionaries, intelligence operatives, US officials - many speaking for the first time - recount the brutal struggle between Condor and its enemies.

President Nixon had decided that an Allende regime was not acceptable to the United States. The President asked the agency to prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him - 1970 CIA internal memo

Now, after decades of relentless pursuit, investigators and judges are using the international trail of Condor’s crimes to reverse the impunity the generals have enjoyed for so long, starting with Pinochet’s own arrest in London. The still-ongoing Condor prosecutions are changing international human rights law forever.

John Dinges, former managing editor of NPR News, is the author of Assassination on Embassy Row and "Our Man in Panama". He is a professor of journalism at Columbia University.

Spanish edition forthcoming from Ediciones B.

More information, including reviews www.johndinges.com/condor