John Dinges is a former foreign correspondent and the author of three books on major events involving the United States and Latin America. He was a special correspondent in Chile and Central America for The Washington Post, where he also worked as a foreign desk editor. He served as deputy foreign editor and managing editor of National Public Radio News. Mr. Dinges is the recipient of the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for excellence in Latin American reporting, and the Media Award of the Latin American Studies Association. He also shared two DuPont-Columbia University prizes for broadcast journalism, as NPR managing editor. He is currently on the faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He has an MA in Latin American studies from Stanford University.
Mr. Dinges most recent book is The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents (The New Press 2004), an account of international assassinations and secret police coordination in South America, the United States and Europe. His book (with Saul Landau), Assassination on Embassy Row (Pantheon 1980), (Asesinato en Washington, Lasser 1980, Planeta 1990), investigates the murder of Orlando Letelier in Washington. He is also the author of Our Man in Panama: The Shrewd Rise and Brutal Fall of Manuel Noriega (Random House 1990; Times books 1991). He is the editor of two guides to public radio ethics and journalistic standards: Sound Reporting (Kendall-Hunt 1992) and Independence and Integrity (NPR 1995).
On September 21, 1976, Institute for Policy Studies colleagues Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt were killed by a car bomb in Washington, DC. The FBI later determined that Chilean secret police agents working with "far right wing Cuban exiles had carried out this heinous act of terrorism".
After the Justice Department indicted five Cubans, plus four Chilean top intelligence agents, a trial took place in Washington. Lawrence Barcella, who died in 2010 of cancer, was one of two U.S. prosecutors who won the first case. Three Cubans got convicted, two of conspiracy to assassinate a foreign dignitary; the other for aiding and abetting and perjury before a Grand Jury.
An appeal overturned the verdict and Barcella lost the second case. He was deeply upset. Saul Landau recalls the scene in the courthouse corridor when Barcella shook his head in disbelief that a jury could have acquitted the three Cubans. The scene became especially dramatic for Landau when one of the Cubans, Guillermo Novo, "threatened to get me and I maturely responded by extending a finger upwards at him"
Barcella remained emotionally attached to the case for decades. In the mid and late 1990s he worked with Spanish attorney Juan Garces (a former Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow) and Saul Landau , along with former FBI Special Agent Carter Cornick and John Dinges (who co-authored the book Assassination on Embassy Row with Landau) and others to get the U.S. government to release massive files on Pinochet and the Chilean government’s involvement in the Letelier-Moffitt assassination and other crimes.
He also wrote op eds and letters to keep the case alive — to get Pinochet indicted and the information about his involvement made public.
On March 23, 2004, at Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave Washington, DC a Book Party for Institute for Policy Studies affiliate John Dinges, new book "The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents" (The New Press 2004), an account of international assassinations and secret police coordination in South America, the United States and Europe.was hosted by Senator Tom Harkin and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY), in conjunction with the Fund for Constitutional Government, the Institute for Policy Studies, and the National Security Archive.