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750925 DINA chief Contreras thanks Paraguay fro coordination

Versión en español

 

RENDITION IN THE SOUTHERN CONE:

OPERATION CONDOR DOCUMENTS

REVEALED FROM PARAGUAYAN

‘ARCHIVE OF TERROR’

 

Paraguayan Archive continues to yield Evidence of Coordinated Repression among Military Regimes of the Southern Cone

 

Documents being used by courts from Paraguay, Chile and Argentina, to Europe and the United States

 

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 239— Part II

(English Version)

 

Edited by Carlos Osorio and Mariana Enamoneta

 

Posted – December 21, 2007

 

For More Information, Contact:
Carlos Osorio: (202) 994-7061

cosorio@gwu.edu

 

Peter Kornbluh: (202) 994-7116

peter.kornbluh@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Washington D.C., December 21, 2007 – On the fifteenth anniversary of the discovery of the Archive of Terror in Paraguay, the National Security Archive posted Spanish-language documents that reveal new details of how the Southern Cone military regimes collaborated in hunting down, interrogating, and disappearing hundreds of Latin Americans during the 1970s and 1980s.  

 

The collaboration, which became officially known as “Operation Condor,” drew on cross-border kidnapping, secret detention centers, torture, and disappearance of prisoners—rendition, interrogation and detention techniques that some human rights advocates are comparing to those used today in the Bush administration’s counterterrorism campaign.

 

The selection of documents posted today included uncensored records relating to the pivotal case of  Chilean Jorge Isaac Fuentes Alarcón and Argentine Amílcar Santucho, who were detained in Paraguay in May 1975, and whose interrogation under torture led to the decision by Chilean secret police chief Manual Contreras to formalize coordination against the left among the Southern Cone military states. One document posted today for the first time is the list of  questions created by Argentine intelligence agent José Osvaldo Ribeiro [Alias Rawson] to be used in the interrogation of Santucho and Fuentes Alarcón in Paraguay. Chilean agents subsequently rendered Fuentes Alarcón to a secret detention camp in Santiago from where he was disappeared.

 

The Archive also posted a “thank you” note to the Paraguayan secret police from Col. Contreras for the handling of Fuentes Alarcón, as well as Contreras’s invitation to, and supplementary documents for, the first Condor meeting in November 1975—documents found several years ago in the Paraguayan Archive that have been widely used in books about Operation Condor.  The posting includes communications between “Condor 1” (Chile) and “Condor 4” (Paraguay), records of meetings between the D-2 of the Paraguayan intelligence service, and officials from SIDE (the State Intelligence Service) in Argentina, and SID (the Defense Intelligence Service) in Uruguay, and documents related to the coordinated efforts to capture Montoneros in Asunción in 1980—among other facets of the Condor coordination during the era of military dictatorships in the Southern Cone. 

 

"These documents provide a historic passkey into the horror chambers of the Southern Cone military regimes," said Carlos Osorio, who directs the Southern Cone Documentation Project at the National Security Archive. "The atrocities they record from the past remain relevant to the debate over the conduct of counterterrorism operations today and in the future." 

 

Since its discovery in December 1992, the Archive of Terror has become a leading source of evidence for international human rights proceedings in courts across the world, as Paraguayan researchers such as Alfredo Boccia Paz, Rosa Palau and Miriam Gonzalez have worked tirelessly to locate and provide documents to lawyers and judges in countries such as Spain, Italy, France, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.  Their book,  Es mi informe: los archivos secretos de la policía de Stroessner (This is my Report: the Secret Archives of Stroessner’s Police), first identified some of the most significant documents from this unique collection.

 

Since 1998, the National Security Archive has worked with the Paraguayan Center on Documentation and Archive for the Defense of Human Rights (CDyA) that oversees the Archive of Terror. The National Security Archive has collaborated with the Center to create a fully digitalized collection of more than 300,000 records—the Digital Archive of Terror (ATD).  This unique data base, now being posted in sections on the world wide Web, is designed to facilitate ongoing research on human rights crimes, and the discovery of new evidence on the history of state-sponsored terrorism in the Southern Cone.   

 


Read the Documents
Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
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l. List of Detainees at the Department of Investigations, June 7, 1975
(new release)

 

In May 1975, the Paraguayan border police detained Jorge Isaac Fuentes Alarcón, a Chilean courier for the Revolutionary Coordinating Junta, an umbrella group of militant organizations in the Southern Cone, along with an Argentine named Amílcar Santucho.  This five-page report by the Investigations Department of the Asunción Police is among the first of many internal records relating to their detention. “Group to investigate,” read the details about detainees numbers 15 and 16: “Amílcar Latino Santucho Juárez, Argentine… Detained on 16-V-75… a leftist Argentine newspaper was found among his belongings … At the authorities’ request, he used the false name of Juan Manuel Montenegro.” And “Jorge Isaac Fuentes Alarcón or Ariel Nodarse Ledesma, Chilean… Detained on  17-V-75… because he was fellow traveler of Amílcar Latino Santucho Juárez.”  Santucho, brother of the Argentine guerrilla leader of the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP), would remain in prison in Paraguay for many years, and  Fuentes Alarcón, a high ranking leader of the Chilean Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR), was subjected to torture during interrogation, and then turned over to agents of the Chilean secret police to be transported back to Chile where he was disappeared. Their cases became a study in collaboration among the Southern Cone secret police services, and the catalyst for formalizing that coordination into an official alliance against leftist "subversion" called Operation Condor.

 

2. Alicia, [circa July 1975]
Questionnaire for Nene [circa July 1975]
(new release)

 

Alerted by the Paraguayans, the Southern Cone intelligence agencies began participating in the interrogation of Santucho and  Fuentes Alarcón. In these two documents, Argentine intelligence agent José Osvaldo Ribeiro [aka Rawson] lists a series of questions to interrogate Santucho (referred to as "Alicia" in the documents) and  Fuentes Alarcón (referred to as "Nene").  The interrogation is aimed at obtaining information on the strength and activities of the Revolutionary Coordinating Junta (JCR), a coalition of the guerrillas of the Chilean MIR, the Argentine ERP, the Uruguayan MLN-Tupamaros and the Bolivian ELN. The intelligence agent requests that Santucho “Clarifies the reason of his trip…But without any lies – So far he has lied all the time and has prolonged the investigation…What was his position within the JCR?” Regarding Nene, Rawson demands: “Since when does he know Patricio Antonio Biedma? What was Biedma’s role within the JCR?” A Chilean, Biedma, was disappeared after being secretly held at the clandestine detention center Automotores Orletti in Buenos Aires in 1976.

 

3. Gift and Pictures, August 28, 1975
 (previously released)

 

During the harsh interrogations of Fuentes Alarcon and Santucho in Paraguay, a high ranking intelligence officer received a "package as a gift" from a very high ranking Argentine officer, Brigadier General Otto Carlos Paladino. General Paladino, according to this document, also sends "pictures of Illich Ramírez Sanchez (Carlos).” It is known that Santucho and Fuentes Alarcón were interrogated about their links to international terrorists, in particular Carlos.  Within a year, Paladino is promoted to head SIDE, Argentina's State Intelligence Service, and directs the infamous clandestine torture center in Buenos Aires, Automotores Orletti.

 

4. [Thank you note from Chilean Intelligence Chief, Manuel Contreras,] September 25, 1975 (Color PDF)

(previously released)

 

Two days after Fuentes Alarcón was handed over to the Chilean intelligence service and secretly taken to the clandestine Villa Grimaldi detention center in Santiago, Chile, DINA chief Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda sent a note to Chief of Investigations of Paraguay, Pastor Coronel to "sincerely" thank him "for the assistance to facilitate the activities related to the mission that my staff had to carry out in Paraguay.” Contreras ends his note with the suggestion that “this mutual cooperation will continue to grow toward the common goals of both our services.”

 

5. [Invitation by Chilean Intelligence Chief, Manuel Contreras to first Condor meeting], October 1975 (Color PDF)

 (previously released)

The cooperation between Chilean, Argentine and Paraguayan intelligence services in mid 1975 on Fuentes Alarcón and Santucho set the foundation for Operation Condor which would be launched in Santiago, Chile in November of that year. When it was discovered  in the Archive of Terror, this invitation to Paraguayan General Francisco Britez from Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda provided the very first documentary evidence of the Santiago conference where Operation Condor was created. The letter states that the Chilean secret police "has the honor to invite you to a Working Meeting of National Intelligence to take place in Santiago, Chile, between November 25 and December 1, 1975. The meeting is Strictly Secret and the Subject Matter is attached.…”

 

6. First Working Meeting of National Intelligence, October 1975 (Color PDF)

(previously released)

 

Along with Contreras’ invitation came an eleven-page agenda for the first working meeting of what is known as Operation Condor. Matters to be discussed by military invitees from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, included establishing "an efficient coordination that would permit a timely exchange of information and experience….”  According to the analysis in the document, “Subversion has developed centralized continental, regional and sub-regional commands to coordinate activities." For that reason, the Southern Cone secret police services needed their own system of centralized coordination.

 

The  “Security and Coordinating System” proposed by the Chileans would include a database on dissidents and a central information office with telex transmission capabilities; the secret police forces would include regular “working meetings.”  And, as during the interrogation of Fuentes Alarcón and  Santucho in Paraguay, “bilateral and extraordinary working meetings should be encouraged when the situation so demands.”  

 

7. [Message from Condor 1 to Condor 4] April 4, 1976 (Color PDF)

(previously released)

 

This transmission, one of several found in the Archive of Terror, provided evidence of how Condor nations communicated. The Paraguayan Ministry of Interior received this cable in which Condor 1 [Chilean DINA] informed Condor 4 [Paraguayan Intelligence] about the capture of a Paraguayan student in Corrientes, Argentina. Once the Operation Condor communication system was in place; its members exchanged cables using the Condor labels. As journalist John Dinges points in his book, The Condor Years, the labels assigned to the intelligence agencies were: Condor one (Chile), Condor two (Argentina), Condor three (Uruguay), Condor four (Paraguay), and Condor five (Bolivia). Since Chile provided the information center for Operation Condor, the DINA received information from one country and would forward it to another. 

 

8. Search Request No 23-76, July 6, 1976
(previously released)

 

This document, a request for intelligence from other Condor nations, provides further evidence of how the Condor nations collaborated. In this case, the Chief of the Second Department [Intelligence] of the Paraguayan Army Chiefs of Staff, Benito Guanes Serrano, issued a search request addressed among others to Condor 1 and SIE  (Argentine Army Intelligence Service - Servicio de Inteligencia del Ejército) requesting information about a guerrilla movement in Paraguay that has been detected by the Argentine Intelligence.

image004.jpg 

9. Dora Marta Landi Gil, March 29, 1977 (Color PDF)

 (previously released)

 

After the Department of Investigations in Asunción, Paraguay, captured an Argentine named Dora Marta Landi in March 1977, this police record was created. She was detained—and then disappeared—along with her husband Alejandro José Logoluso Di Martino, and  José Nell, both from Argentina, along with two Uruguayan citizens, Nelson Rodolfo Santana Scotto and Gustavo Edison Inzaurralde. All five had fled to  Paraguay escaping from the harsh repression in Argentina. It wasn’t until the discovery of the Archive of Terror in 1992 that this and other detention documents revealed their fate from Operation Condor coordination of the security forces from Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. Dora Marta’s record states: “By superior orders, on May 16, 1977 [they traveled] to Buenos Aires Argentina...at the disposition of the Argentine authorities.”

 

10. Summary of Intelligence Activities, April 5-7, 1977
(previously released)

 

The Paraguayan Director of Investigations organized a two-day joint interrogation session for the five detainees with “the presence of personnel from the Intelligence Service of Uruguay” and “on the second day of activities personnel from the SIDE [Argentine State Intelligence Service - Servicio de Inteligencia del Estado]…” As noted by Paraguayan researchers Boccia Paz, Palau and Gonzalez, instead of establishing the guerrilla connections of all the prisoners, the Intelligence Summary recorded that Dora Marta Landi Gil “has no militancy” and that she “would have no links to her husband’s previous activities.”

 

11. Report, April 9, 1977
 (previously released)

 

This interrogation report was sent by the chief of the Investigations Department, Pastor Coronel, to his superior, Director of Political Affairs, Alberto Cantero, and reveals how agents from three different Southern Cone nations participated as a "team." It is a “summary of activities carried out by the working team that gathered on the 5, 6 and 7 of this month, composed of Colonel Benito Guanes [Chief of Department II – military intelligence], and Lieutenant Colonel Galo Escobar from Department II of the Army Chiefs of Staff [Paraguay]; First Lieutenant Angel Spada and Sergeant Juan Carlos Camicha, from military Area 234 [Argentina]; Jose Montenegro and Alejandro Stada from SIDE [State Intelligence Service], both from Argentina and Major Carlos Calcagno from the Army Intelligence Service in Uruguay.”

 

12. [Note by Dora Marta Landi], May 1977
(previously released)

 

This heart wrenching note, handwritten by Dora Marta Landi a few days before being disappeared, was found by Paraguayan researchers among the files relating to her detention. "Mr. Director," she writes, presumably to Alberto Cantero. “When I talked to you I forgot to mention the following. I think it would be helpful to clarify the issue of the documentation, for you to talk to my husband’s parents. To that effect, it will suffice that you allow us to make a call or send a letter asking them to come here. If they have not shown up yet, I think it is because they do not know we are here… I thank you immensely for having listened to me and I apologize for my insistence.”  Her own parents, and those of her husband, searched for them in vain for years..

 

13. Report, May 16, 1977
(previously released)

 

This report records the secret rendition of the five prisoners from Paraguay to Argentina. Investigations Chief Pastor Coronel writes to Director Cantero that  “On this date, at 16:34 hours, in a twin-engine plane of the Argentine Navy, registration number 5-7-30 – 0653, flown by Lieutenant Commander [Capitán de Corbeta] José Abdala, the following detainees traveled to Buenos Aires (Argentina),: Gustavo Edison Inzaurralde (Uruguayan), Nelson Rodolfo Santana Scotto (Uruguayan),  Jose Nell (Argentine), Alejandro Jose Logoluso (Argentine) y Dora Marta Landi Gil (Argentine). These people were handed over through this office, in the presence of  Colonel don Benito Guanes and Commander [Capitán de Fragata] Lázaro Sosa, to First Lieutenant Jose Montenegro and Juan Manuel Berret, both from SIDE [State Intelligence Service - Argentina].”

 

14. Argentine Terrorists Entering your Country through Ours , July 10, 1980

(new release)

 

This Paraguayan report reflects the arrangements between security forces to hunt down specific targets. After the Argentine military captured two Montonero insurgents, a member of the Navy Mechanics School, where prisoners were tortured, approached Paraguayan intelligence for permission to bring one of the prisoners to Asuncion to help identify another couple suspected of militant activities. According to the Paraguay report:  “They asked to come to our country bringing with them one of the prisoners to help them identify the couple… and would like to coordinate with us the operations to identify, monitor and if necessary capture this couple.”

 

15. Further Information Regarding Previous Report, September 1980

(new release)

 

A routine telex between Argentina and Paraguay provided evidence that Horacio Campiglia and his sister Elcira were disappeared by Argentine security forces. The communication was sent by an unknown Argentine intelligence agency to the Paraguayan police reporting on a number of Argentines suspected of being involved in the recent assassination of Nicaraguan General Anastasio Somoza in Asunción. After listing details about several individuals, the cable offers information about Montonero insurgent Jorge Omar Lewinger, including “His last known position…: MAY80: Chief of American Department … Under Petrus (Detained)… He [Lewinger] was a couple with Alcira Campiglia (Detained).”

 

Horacio Campiglia (aka Petrus) disappeared in early 1980. Twenty-two years later, declassified U.S. documents  confirmed  that he had been captured by an Argentine secret police squad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and rendered to the Campo de Mayo Clandestine Detention Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His sister had disappeared earlier. Although her body was later recovered, these documents have provided the first concrete evidence that the security forces were responsible for her death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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