Servicio de Información Militar

The Servicio de Información Militar (Military Information Service) or SIM was the secret service of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces from August 1937 to the end of the Spanish Civil War.

Servicio de Información Militar
Servicio de Información Militar (SIM)
Agency overview
FormedAugust 9, 1937; 82 years ago (1937-08-09)
Preceding agency
  • Various agencies
    (see text)
Dissolved29 March 1939
Superseding agency
TypeMilitary intelligence agency
JurisdictionFlag of Spain (1931–1939).svg Spanish Republic
HeadquartersMadrid, Barcelona and Valencia, Spain
Agency executive
Parent agencyMinistry of Defense

HistoryEdit

BackgroundEdit

In 1937 there were nine intelligence and counter-intelligence organizations with their own networks of agents in the Republican held zone: the communist held DEDIDE (Departamento Especial de Información del Estado), the SIEP (Servicio Especial de Información Periferico), the army’s secret service, the Carabineros’ secret service, the foreign ministry’s, the Generalitat’s, etc. Even, the International Brigades had its own intelligence service run by the soviet NKVD. This organizations held prisoners in its own secret prisons, named "Checas" after the Cheka Soviet organization.[1]

Owing to the confusion and often arbitrary arrests, the Republican minister of Defense, Indalecio Prieto decided to reorganize the intelligence services in order to increase the control of the central government.[2]

Establishment of the SIMEdit

On August 9, 1937, Prieto decided to create a new secret service, the Servicio de Información Militar or SIM, merging all the intelligence services inside the Republican zone. The main goals of the SIM were to combat the Nationalist’s intelligence service, the SIPM (Servicio de Información y Policía Militar), to neutralize the Fifth Column and to restrict the activity of the "uncontrollables". Nevertheless, it was also used by the PCE, to persecute its political enemies. It had 6,000 agents only in Madrid and a budget of 22 million pesetas. It was organized into six military sections and five civilian sections.[3]

The SIM aided to stop the atrocities of the "uncontrollables" (agents of the SIM protected 2,000 priests who were conducting private religious services in Barcelona in 1938)[4] and destroyed many networks of the Fifth Column (Concepción, Circulo Azul, Capitán Mora, Cruces de Fuego, etc.).[5] In 1938, the SIM uncovered the clandestine Falange in Catalonia, detaining 3,500 persons.[6]

Nevertheless, the SIM had a deserved bad reputation among the population. It had clandestine prisons in Madrid and Barcelona, used torture to obtain confessions (beatings, mock executions, disorientation and sensory-deprivation techniques)[7] and carried out extrajudicial executions of suspects.[8] Moreover, in February 1938 military tribunals were established which worked under summary procedure and without any legal guarantees for the accused.[9] According to Gabriel Jackson, the SIM carried out around 1,000 executions.[10]

In March 1939, the head of the SIM in Madrid supported the Casado’s coup.[11] With the end of the war the SIM was disbanded.

MembersEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • Beevor, Antony. The battle for Spain. The Spanish civil war, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. ISBN 978-0-14-303765-1.
  • Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939. Princeton University Press. 1967. Princeton. ISBN 978-0-691-00757-1
  • Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2001. London. ISBN 978-0-14-101161-5

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. p.269
  2. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. p.304
  3. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939..Penguin Books. London. p.305
  4. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. (1967). The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939. Princeton University Press. Princeton. p.458
  5. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. p.305
  6. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.787
  7. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. p.306
  8. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.757
  9. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.787
  10. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. (1967). The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939. Princeton University Press. Princeton. p.533
  11. ^ Thomas, Hugh. (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. p.875