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The new Latin American century, FARC, arms races, US bases & sundry fibs

category international | anti-war / imperialism | opinion/analysis author Sunday August 16, 2009 01:41author by iosaf mac diarmada Report this post to the editors

“Alfonso Cano” saw his first statement as current leader of FARC published widely last week. As FARC leader he denied giving prior electoral campaign donations or current administration sweeteners to the Bolivarian presidency of Rafael Correa in Ecuador. Further he denied receiving arms shipments from Venezuela. The communiqué from FARC is significant not only in consideration of the Colombian state decision to host US military bases despite the oratorical fury of Venezuela & more strategical alarm & objection of Brazil. But also because today Ecuador’s Rafeal Correa has accepted Colombian Uribe’s freshest apology for Latin America's last military incursion on March 1st 2008. I would like to bring readers through the facts and foibles so that they do not fall into the trap of thinking Latin America is as some suggest in an arms race & so that they also understand the new role (if new at all) being played by Colombia.
These people passed from relevant to anachronistic without even enjoying "-retro" - not even a t-shirt
These people passed from relevant to anachronistic without even enjoying "-retro" - not even a t-shirt

On the 1st of March, 2008 the Colombian state ordered a group of helicopters carrying elite military units, supported by Colombian airforce fighter jets to overfly the border with Ecuador. They landed at a point in the jungle, which the average GSM device would term North 0º23`10.66 West 076º20`59.88. That is a point exactly 1.85 kilometres on the Ecuadorian side of the border with Colombia.

Such an encroachment of sovereign territory is several hundred metres outside of the usual lassitude accepted between states who share those legally “precise borders” with practically hard to define frontier areas. I would direct readers doubtful of such to examine in the footnotes a facsimile copy of a letter sent from the Venezuelan government to the Colombian government protesting the incursion of 60 Colombian soldiers on May 16, 2008 in Sector Banks Paez Municipality of Apure state at coordinates: 7º 2' 12,5" N, 72º 2' 6,4" W or a mere 800 metres on the wrong side of the border. (*i)

Once the Colombian security services landed at that point 1.85km inside Ecuador on the 1st of March, 2008 they then wasted no time in giving journalists and the more profitable lobby of lawyers something to read and write about. Meaning - they killed a whole bunch of people in tents, amongst who was a man whose birth certificate said he was Edgar Devia Silva but who was and is better known to the underground jungle crew of global retro-revolution as "Raul Reyes", the number 2 of FARC. In addition to being “well in” with the then leadership of FARC of decades on account of in-law bedding arrangements, Raul Reyes managed to combine it seems an extraordinary interest in personal computers with the pressures one would expect from being the interlocutor for the last credible proposal of a peace process between FARC and the Colombian state.

Indeed such was the “A-list” category of Raul Reyes that on the day the Colombians technically invaded Ecuador to kill him he was the covert point of contact between FARC and the republic of France (as led by Celia Bruni and Nik Sarkozy) for the lengthy chats about Ingrid Betancourt’s release. As no doubt most media watchers remember the eventual movie rights which would ensue from the expected release of Ingrid Betancourt and her stories of love, betrayal, espionage, politics & irony through all those years in jungle captivity were estimated to rival the box office takings of Tarzan.

Before however, we re-examine the charades and games which led up to and followed the release of Ingrid Betancourt I would like to explain more about the importance of Raul Reyes.

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In an interview given by Raul Reyes on the 23rd of July 2006 to the then quite new continental TV station “Telesur” he offered a peace process which though stale history now must be put in context of the last known negotiations between FARC and any state. Especially considering the current tension between Ecuador and Colombia, the subject of this article, which is based on allegations that Ecuador has not only had contact with FARC but that its current socialist Bolivarian government is somehow indebted to such contacts for its election and maintenance.

Raul Reyes proposals of 23/7/06 could be summarized as follows :

* The opening of a Negotiation process would have to follow the demilitarisation of both Caquetá and Putumayo provinces.
* The suspension of Colombian state military actions under "plan patriot" (which counted on large scale US involvement long before the current polemical acceptance of 6 US military bases)
* An exchange of hostages & missing people (total 60) fnord,for FARC "POW's". (there were then roughly 5,000 such people in Colombian jails) & the best FARC hostage card at that time were undoubtedly the genuine “habeus corpus” of Ingrid Betancourt and the bizarrely phantasmogorical “baby Emmanuel”.
* That the Colombian state would have to recognise a state of "internal conflict" [sic]

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It is not in the reach of this article to explain why that process made no great progress save to highlight its core points of selective demilitarisation, suspenion of US military intervention, prisoner/hostage exchange, the "internal conflict" thing of course little Baby Emmanuel.

"Operation Emmanuel" was an idea suggested by Hugo Chavez and co-sponsered by the International Red Cross and very much supported by France. (*iii) It saw an air corridor ( demilitarised zone )opened for a brief time and then due to the first failure to land or make contact with FARC the corridor was extended for an even briefer time. Two Russian-made MI-17 helicopters from the Venezuelan Military Search and Rescue Team painted in International Red Cross insignia flew into Colombia December 27, 2007 with the permission of the President of Colombia painted in the International Red Cross (IRC) insignia for what was an unprecedented international humanitarian mission and which would had it suceeded been a triumph for Chavez. So in they flew to get a baby FARC were holding. The baby's name was Emmanuel and he had born to one of Ingrid Betancourt's friends Clara Rojas whilst she was in FARC captivity.

The wild goose, partridge and french hen chase ended the fifth day of the Christmas period of 2007 without any golden ring, promised child or high profile release. The Venezeulans and the Red Cross went home empty handed, and lots of sarcastic people who know Christmas carols in which baby jesus gets called Emanuel went really sarcastic on poor old Hugo - and then the Colombians feeling the spirit which was in it let them have another go at it and the corridor was opened yet again. Whereupon a most wondrous thing occured just like in a Dickensian Christmas season movie but obviously not the Dicken's Christmas tale with the chains and ghosts. The baby they were all looking for in the jungle had really been in a Colombian state orphanage all along, or at least since 2005. The Colombians finally released DNA evidence to prove his identity on January 4th or the tenth day of Christmas (which as you know if you study hymn sheets is the day the lords go a leaping) and nobody bothered to question the time it takes to do a DNA profile or the obvious omission of what could be considered relevant information.

A week later Clara Rojas, Emmanuel's mammy was released, again through the International Red Cross but everyone in France and Venezuela had taken down their Xmas decorations and didn't really get excited enough to up the % percentage points of their respective leaders Chavez & Sarkozy. Interestingly though not the subject in hand, Clara Rojas distanced herself from Betancourt since both were freed in 2008 and it appears their memories and stories and biographies of what happened in the jungle & what ought be "left in the jungle" don't seem to gel or co-incide anymore, we are it seems no closer to knowing what role Tarzan played.

So thus did the farce of the International Red Cross, France and Chavez meddling in the game of ransoms and hostages between Colombia and FARC eventually close quite like a damp squib with the scandalous revelation that the child "baby Emmanuel" had been in a Colombian state orphanage all the way along. Suddenly even Sarkozy's hola presidente! style television broadcast to FARC and Latin America appealing for the safe release of Betancourt and baby Emmanuel seemed so very silly.

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Now for a moment let us go back to that first of March, 2008, an important date which has prompted yet another apology from Colombia to its southern neighbour Ecuador in the last 48 hours. With support of US supplied Colombian air-force fighter jets who did not cross the border, a group of four helicopters landed at “google earth co-ordinates” North 0º23`10.66 West 076º20`59.88 which the best and maddest of us in the know, knew all along was the “FARC motherbase”. After shooting up a bunch of people they bagged and photographed and removed the corpse of Raul Reyes as a trophy of their victory and then, only then did President Uribe place a phone call to the President of Ecuador in which he apologized for the incursion and assured that all his soldiers were on their way home.

The immediate international reaction to the assassination of Raul Reyes and the alledged seizure as "evidence" of his computer systems pushed neighbourly relations in South America to their hottest point in the last ten years. The first of March 2008, is not considered by Brazil or Chile (it is my opinion) as a simple operation against FARC -. It was a clear extra-territorial military operation which counted on extensive planning, logistical support and intelligence gathering.

Venezuela immediately mobilised ten battalions of its army on the frontier with Colombia & Ecuador likewise mobilised its much smaller forces on its northern border & demanded no more “invasions”. Uribe responded by filing charges for genocide against Chavez at the International Court at The Hague citing data found on “Reyes' computers” implying Venezuela had funded FARC to the tune of 300,000,000$ and that FARC was preparing attacks with radioactive material on the capital of the narco-state of Colombia.
I consistently term it a "narco-state" because it has yet to be proven at international legal level to be anything over than a front for 3 cocaine cartels and one far-right grouping which made the comfortable transition from terrorism to government partner.

Yet to this day nobody really agrees on either the quality of that evidence or even if it really was Raul Reyes' PC collection of hard disks and not a humungous big fib. One thing you learn when you examine the narco-state of Colombia is that the fibs grow on tendrils and half the time nobody really knows what's going on because either they're not allowed to, have sufficient clearance to do so, or they simply reckon the paradoxes are so head-wrecking it would be best not to ponder too much.

This is where we introduce Interpol, that fearsome institution which many do not know saw all its files moved to NAZI Berlin from Austria from 1938 - 1945. Many of my faithful readers will know that I like to call them Interplod and as we in this article examine their role we'll perhaps see why.

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On pages 10 and 11 of the report in English by Interplod on the computers that the government of Colombia said it found in an encampment of the FARC-EP on March 1 and which are known as (without any satisfactory conclusive evidence to prove ownership) as the “Raul Reyes computers” that Interpol began a description about how it came to be involved in the work. Accordingly they described how on March 4th, 2008 they received a request from Colombian authorities asking for Interpol's "independent computer forensic technical assistance to examine the user files on the eight seized FARC computer exhibits". Yet in Appendix 2, they reproduced a letter that they had received from Brigadier General Oscar Adolor Narnjo Truillo, Director General of the National Police of Colombia. In that letter General Naranjo requested that Interplod evaluate "three (3) computers and three (3) USB devices.". Charles Hardy, the author of “Cowboy in Caracas: A North American's Memoir of Venezuela's Democratic Revolution”, (Curbstone Press) immediately took to the Latin American interest blogosphere and internet to astound us all with his mastery of soft maths. “Adding three and three, I arrive at a total of six pieces of computer hardware not eight as Interpol mentioned”…. For reasons which had already occurred by the time of the publication of the Interplod report, but in this article have yet to be treated upon, I had already given up completely on reading Interplod reports – all the same Hardy’s analysis was truly “thought-provoking”: http://www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/PressReleases/PR200...S.pdf

[The next day Mr. Ronald K. Nobel, the Secretary General of Interpol, sent a letter (Appendix 3) to Ms. Maria del Pilar Hurtado Afanador, the directress of the D.A.S (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad) in Bogota accepting the invitation to go to Colombia to establish the terms of the agreement. In the letter he, again, mentions six pieces of hardware: "three (3) computers and three (3) USB keys." But on March 6 Ms. Hurtado sends him a letter (Appendix 4) asking that Interpol look at "the three lap-top computers, the three USB keys and two hard-disk drives." On March 4 there were only six items to look at, but for some reason two hard drives were found someplace by March 6……for later in the report we may read :- "Colombian law enforcement authorities have openly stated to Interpol's computer forensic experts that an officer in their anti-terrorist unit directly accessed the eight seized FARC computer exhibits under exigent and time-sensitive circumstances between 1 March 2008, when they were seized by Colombian authorities, and 3 March 2008."
The fibbing of Interplod and the cynical manipulation of image and supposed evidence didn’t stop there. Daniel Denvir, an independent journalist in Quito, Ecuador and 2008 recipient of NACLA's Samuel Chavkin Investigative Journalism Grant combed the photographs which were being presented as on the Reyes computers during the week that the White House of Bush expressed support for both Colombia and Interplod’s fine IT skills.

Denvir wrote : “Amongst which he identified photos taken inside and outside of Quito’s Casa de Cultura arts and convention center during the international conference of the Continental Bolivarian Coordinating Committee (CCB) the week before the attack. The CCB is a small left-wing organization with ties to the FARC and chapters throughout Latin America. The photos, which now appear to be intelligence photos, were included in a Web gallery on El Tiempo’s Web site of photos purportedly found on Reyes’s laptop. When I came across the photos my first question was “Why would the FARC take intelligence photos of their supposed allies?” The individuals photographed include two Basque separatists: Batasuna representative Iñak Bil de San Vicente and Askapena representative Walter Wendelin. (Batasuna is the political arm of the armed Basque nationalist separatist group ETA. Askapena is a support organization for Basque prisoners.) Also captured in the photos are Carlos Casanueva, a member of the Chilean Communist Party’s Central Committee; Lucía Morett, a visiting Mexican student who was injured in the attack (four other Mexican students were killed); Venezuelan Communist Party deputy and Central Committee secretary general Oscar Figuera; Chilean Communist Youth member Manuel Olate, who, along with fellow Chilean Valeska López, visited the FARC encampment just before it was bombed; an unnamed Italian CCB delegate; and at least five other unidentified people.”

& so we see that there was something for everyone in the Raul Reyes computers. ETA, dirty bombs, squillions of dollars and most surprisingly of all not one hint of where a man called Pedro Antonio Marín a.k.a. Manuel Marulanda Vélez codename "Tirofijo" (English: Sureshot) (born 12 May 1930 Genova, Colombia, could be found or one hint that FARC actually knew it didn’t have baby Emmanuel. But thankfully for the Irish interest thing nobody thought to bring up the dreary Colombia 3 again.

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Colombia then started criminal proceedings against 11 individuals amongst whom were included journalists of TeleSUR and Senator Piedad Córdoba, the champion indiginous and womens' rights in Colombia and most outspoken critic of the Uribe regime. Senator Piedad Cordoba who had been pivotal as an interlocutor previously with FARC, was already facing charges for treason having described (quite properly) Colombia as a "Narcostate" and Uribe as being the centre of a Mafia and Terrorist regime, could hardly be surprised her email had popped up on the “Reyes memory sticks” and might have been forgiven for wondering why the co-ordinates of the afore-mentioned Tirofijo’s wee tent had not.

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Before we come to retelling the eventual release of Betancourt we should remember a bit more drama. Nelly Avila Moreno alias "Karina" [a.k.a. 'Janet Mosquera Renteria', 'Rocío Arias' aged 47, 1.60 metres tall and 85kg weight], had been one of the most wanted women on this planet this century. In a different sort of most wanted woman on the planet way to Kate Moss [a.ka. as Kate, aged 34, an impressive 1.68 metres tall, and weight of 47.7kg]. Their differences weren't just about biomass density whilst of course their similarities hinged on successful branding. Whatever you can say about Kate Moss you're not going to suggest she led brigade 47 of the FARC operating in western Colombia credited with narcotraffic operations in Samaná and Pensilvania reliant on plantations of 3,500 hectares. Coz you know you'd get a writ for libel for that. Nor was Kate ever worth 65 million US dollars in reward bounty. Equally and in balance not many people would buy perfume advertised by Karina. But respected women in their own fields were both.

In the second week of May of 2008, Colombia wheeled out "Karina" in what was to be the second high profile blow to FARC's command structure and undoubtedly meant it had lost control of swathes of territory which only a few years before had been not only its domain, playground, farmland and killing fields but also the principle areas of friction with the then rival far right terrorist groupings. The BBC spanish service and its analyst Harry Mc Dermott quickly decided that not only did "Karina's" statements cast fresh doubts on the peace process strategy proposed by the then recently assassinated Raul Reyes but actually went as far as to print in both English and Spanish editions the line : "things are looking bad for FARC".

Now at that sort of level of things, (as you might guess), when things look or looked bad for FARC they also look or looked bad for lots of other people & that's the sort of thing you'd want to read between the lines with such BBC commentaries. Take for example thier hundreds of hostages. Take for another example the many tens of thousands people who live or are engaged in subsistence agricultural activity within the zones the previous proposals for peace process negotiations would have assigned as under "de facto" FARC influence. Take for example how much political credit (both nationally and geopolitically) had been invested in a peaceful and just resolution of the FARC and Colombia narco-state problem by the Bolivarian revolutionary movement in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Gradually the dead Raul Reyes peculiar inclusion of recognising a state of internal conflict in his proposals was taking on a very different meaning and implying ever more considerations.

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On the 24th of May 2008, less than a week after parading Katrina, the Colombian state issued a warrant to arrest Senator Piedad Córdoba on a raft of “farcopolitics” charges.
A move which should have attracted lots of media attention and interest in Latin America and beyond was within 14 hours sidelined by the surprise announcement by Colombia that Tirofijo, the 78 year old founder of FARC had died.
On that day, as they dropped a dis-info bomb on analysts different dates were offered within hours for the death of FARC’s founder. The Colombian Defence minister Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, suspected of AUC (far right terrorist) collusion and/or membership and known to be a close associate of Pedro Carmona who attempted a foiled "coup d'etat" against Chavez offered both 22/3/08 and 24/3/08 as the date of death.

Now we come to the reason why I sneer so at Interplod. On the 21st of May, 2008 - Interpol listed Pedro Antonio Marín "Tirofijo", the chap I mentioned as not appearing on the supposed computer systems of not only his deputy but also the lad who spent the last nine years shagging his daughter, as 86th most wanted villain on the planet. To put that in perspective, the same listing ranked Osama Bin Laden at 202. Interplod base their regularly updated wanted lists on honest and forthright exchange between states and law enforcement agencies. Yet just as Osama was quickly dropping of the list of priorities, old Tirofijo was going up.

“NNCOL” is "the news agency of the new Colombia" which conduits reliably for the general secretaryship of FARC. Together with "TeleSUR" it verified the 23/6/05 Raul Reyes proposals of a peace process. Of course FARC have a website too. Like so does the Interplod, but nobody really goes there for information. As we have seen up the page when Colombia assassinated Raul Reyes they had to fly out his body from Ecuador in helicopters. In this sort of game - no body no death. These people just slip down the most wanted list of Interpol like Osama (as mentioned above).

Accordingly for a mere 24 hours there was a lull in international media whilst the BBC of Jeremy Mc Dermott’s Colombia desk opted to headline the reports as “Tirofijo may be dead”, indeed if I remember exactly 94 minutes after I had started disseminating Indymedia reports on the matter. Then the Colombians put some money on the table and offered a reward for the location of the grave of the founder of FARC. The reward was valued at 5 billion pesos or 1.7 million Euros or 1,287,920 sterling pounds.

Serious money you’ll agree.

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We all then played a game called “who do you want to be leader of Farc?” ( or at least I passed the suggestion around but with the obvious absence of Raul Reyes and Katrina – and what with Bono concentrating on carbon footprints we didn’t really come up with any credible candidates).

Appropriately enough therefore did FARC decide to say they'd made the decision themselves. Tellingly they did so not as had been habitual through their Stockholm based news agency but in video form as aired 25/7/08 on TeleSUR. Suddenly it became apparent that Colombia was not only intent on criminalizing TeleSUR journalists but was also peeping at their post.

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Timoleón Jiménez appeared in a video passed to TeleSUR and quite probably watched by Colombian intelligence before its airing to lament the passing of the founder of FARC whose death had been reported the day before. He also named the new leader of the paramilitary organisation. Thus the new name and personality who we may consider dealing with all the baggage of FARC. Its guerilla army, its hostages, its loyal population, its political hinterland who eschew armed struggle yet are persecuted, its role in the coca production and supply of cocaine from Colombia which is not already in the hands of the 3 cartels linked to the far right terrorists in the Colombian state. The new leader Guillermo León Sánez, alias Alfonso Cano is thus one of the people who decides how much rainforest should be cleared to grow coca instead of making oxygen. Coz as all you know well, coca only grows on the edge of rainforest for a maximum of two years, being a hungry little plant it needs nutrients when farmed which can only come from burning off jungle. Yet it has taken him almost a year to get one of his statements noticed as this article is all about.

Guillermo León Sáenz Vargas alias Alfonso Cano was born in 1942, July 22nd in Bogota, Colombia. He registered to study anthropology in the national university of Colombia a fact which belies his privileged middle class background. His father was
a teacher whilst his mother was an agricultural scientist.

He led the negotations for peace between Colombia and FARC in Caracas, 1991 and Tlaxcala in 1992. Ironically for a state which claims to be fighting terrorists (rather than an insurgency or internal state legitimacy issue) and disguises the inclusion of far-right terrorists in its government ministries as “successful peace processes”, he was sentenced to 40 years prison (in absentia) for killing 40 of his own guerilla force in mid January 2008. The bodies of the 40 had been found in group graves between March and April 1991 in the province of Meta. The dead men had allegedly been shot by him at point blank range through the heart for disobeying orders and stealing rations.

I wrote at the time when the different language versions of his Wikipedia biography in Spanish and English carried markedly contrasted interpretations of his political stance :

“We may read in some sources that Leon Sanez / Alfonso Cano is of the intellectual type, a former communist party member and in many ways similar in profile to the vice president of the Bolivian government, the mathematician and former communist guerilla Álvaro García Linera. In that he is considered to be an ideologue capable of bridging the gap between the tradition of armed action which was a 20th century reaction to far right regimes and death squads in Latin America and the contemporary 21st situation which sees the need for more effective engagement with popular empowerment often understood as the "modern Bolivarian movement".

He might thus in a few words be considered a political moderate rather than hardline leader noting that only the future will allow him to appear "progressive". Especially considering the tactics of the Colombian narcostate to play as "hard" as possible against all left wing elements in an attempt to secure a referendum which will allow a second re-election of Uribe. Or equally he might be considered as a monster capable of shooting 40 of his own men through the heart for stealing biscuits.

But the factors which will shape his strategy as much as decide how ultimately he is described by the media are not only found within Colombia. The state of Venezuela and its ruling party itself are going through changes knowing that they will not see such a re-election of their own Chavez and must now decide the future leadership and style of the Bolivarian movement: should it continue as before with at times wanton populism? how can it seen to balance the conflicting interests of the indiginous groups which at first glance it champions until at closer analysis one realises a coca farmer who is pro-Evo Morales is as indiginous as a coal miner who wants to partition Bolivia?

Therefore the political mechanism which FARC under its new leader is expected to engage with in both Colombia and the wider region and continent is not as simple nor anywhere near as legitimate as the most popular "democratically" elected leaders of either rightwing or leftwing hue might pretend to claim. If it is true that the world in South America has moved on from the efficacy of armed struggle of jungle guerilla types, a world where anyone sitting in the UK can type the co-ordinates of their mother base into Google Earth and look at it, a world where the coca plantations of Brazil are identified for the police through Google Earth - then it might also be true that nobody is quite sure what comes next.

But for the moment it appears that the right and left wing press of the Spanish language this Sunday beyond Colombia hold small hope his political skills will ensure this conflict comes to a conclusion if not resolution.

English lingo Wiki says he's a hardliner, Español has opted for no such speculation.”

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I suppose whether or not
you’re a hard liner or a soft liner
depends on how much you've got to cut
and how many snouts are at the table.

How rather than where
you draw the line.

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……………………now we get to Ingrid Betancourt with or without Tarzan……………


.
Colombia had not only played its baby Emmanuel card well, it had learnt perhaps courtesy of the US satelite intelligence afforded it by the plan Patriot a bit more of the jungle and it had undoubtedly begun to play the female card and not only killed the principle FARC leader offering peace talks but outlived its founder.
Uribe saw his approval ratings soar and as I've often mused confirmed his role as the right wing heir to Bolivar's ambition. After all, the first Señor Bolivar was never democratically elected and it is anachronistic to think he was Bolivarian in the sense we understand it beyond the colours which adorn the flags of Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.

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Thus "operation Jaque" was to prove the dramatic and almost seamless psy-op Colombian response to the previous meddling in its affairs. Ingrid Betancourt was rescued on her 2321st day of captivity by Colombian elite forces flying aircraft painted in the red cross insignia of the International Red Cross society as well as the logo of the pan-American TV network "TeleSur". Needless to say there had been no painstaking negotiations before hand between Colombia and the IRC to use the colours, nor had there been any kind words between Colombia and TeleSUR it's harshest critic.
The Red Cross symbol has been subverted and mis-used many times. It would seem hyperbole in this Colombian context to remind readers of its use by the SS to disguise gas chambers using Zyklon B and even the vans to transport the gas - save that no reminder of the Holocaust and the examples it set may be considered hyberbole. Rather they are the outermost dilineations of "the rules". & so we should remember that the Red Cross as the Red Crescent have "rules" attached.
The International Red Cross symbol, as well as the International Red Crescent symbol, are not supposed to be used by military operations as a false flag. The slow trickle of released FARC hostages since 2007 had see in every case the involvement of the IRC which had offered the inviolacy of its flag and insignia to assure the guerillas of the conditions of "parley".
We thus can not allow ourselves to excuse the Colombians for delivering Betancourt on the 2321st day of her captivity, July 2nd, to arrive in Paris on what would have been the 2323rd day of her captivity to celebrate the July 4th independence day of the USA thing in the company of happy Sarkozy, Bruni, US diplomats and grinning Colombians. They broke the rules of the Red Cross. Betancourt was not the only hostage in the jungle nor was she the last. When the Colombians put their “SAS” under the IRC flag we must ask ourselves did they augment or decrease the possibility of clean releases of the remaining hostages in the future, reflecting that perhaps the lack of fresh releases has not been due to intransigence by FARC? We must also consider the resistance offered to IRC humanitarian aid in other states such as Myanmar/Burma almost always guised as caution of false flags. When you phone for a paramedic you don’t really expect Andy Mc Nab.

But it made very good telly all the same & Ingrid Betancourt enjoyed celebrity status without going into too much detail about her life in the jungle.

________________________________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . . . . . . {cut along line and snort it}

::: Whence from all that happy mesh of fibs, lies, manipulations, omissions, bluster & murkiness we come to these last days and months.
::: Colombia has insisted FARC supported the Bolivarian regime of Ecuador.
::: Ecuador insists that Colombia is deliberately lax on border security to provoke a war situation and has denied any contact with FARC to talk about their “internal conflict”.
::: Hugo Chavez takes his ambassador out of Colombia and sends him back on a regular basis and has never really returned to the hope and glory of baby emmanuel.
::: Sarkozy hasn’t said a word about Latin America again.
::: The USA’s southern command of the Pentagon is linked to the ongoing coup d’etat situation in Honduras and has won what it had so long yearned for – bases in Colombia.

________________________________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . . . . . . {cut along line and snort it}



…………………………….Is there an arms race in Latin America?


Quite simply, despite the recent spate of articles in both left and right press and even this weekend's BBC spanish news opinion piece on the subject - No there is not an arms race. Most Latin American militaries have started to re-equip in the last four years and if we examine expenditure by states and per capita basis or as percentage of GDP – there is no evidence of exceptionally high spending on arms. Both Colombia and Venezuela are on a strategic par, with the former reliant on US stock and the later reliant on Russian gear. As we all know, yet many of us overlook that both states have increased their orders for less glamorous military stuff than fighter jets from the same European source. Indeed both Aznar and Zapatero excelled themselves at ensuring that the neighbours have enough bullets should they ever go to war.

As lastly, the 45 year old FARC has passed from relevance and vanguard of Latin American armed struggle to utter anachronism. It's hostages will be freed when they can no longer afford to feed them. The Colombian narco-state has managed to cut perfect deals with its cartels, far right terrorists and so - No, like another situation closer to home, I can not see any end to this conflict. More people will die in firearm incidents on Colombian streets and more children from sniffing glue than will be remembered as victims of terrorism or armed struggle - but there will be no "peace".

that's the secret under all the murkiness.




On the lassitude of international frontiers - http://wikileaks.org


last link is to my back articles.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/openwire?search_text=iosaf&x=0&y=0

1998 - 2005 gives an idea of how FARC was important. Now it's not.
1998 - 2005 gives an idea of how FARC was important. Now it's not.

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   20yrs to the day a "justice sweetener" for the Fibs & news from FARC     iosaf    Wed Aug 19, 2009 20:57 
   The sour injustice of Interpol - & impunity of soon to be president for life Uribe of the Narcostate     iosaf    Fri Aug 21, 2009 20:28 
   So who cuts these deals? Does Obama remember US constitutionalism & its committees?     iosaf    Sat Aug 22, 2009 23:56 
   reaction in Ecuador     Jose Martie    Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:01 
   Noam Chomsky denounces "what is undeniably a new phase in US imperialism"     iosaf    Tue Aug 25, 2009 08:07 
   Video evidence disproves Colombia/Interpol FARC-Venezuela link & more from Chomsky.     iosaf    Sun Aug 30, 2009 00:09 
   3 more Colombian parliamentarians arrested for far right terrorism. 2 from Uribe's party.     iosaf    Tue Sep 01, 2009 18:10 
   2009 Nobel Peace nominee asks 2009 Nobel Peace laureate (Obama) to stop US Bases.     iosaf    Sat Oct 10, 2009 09:55 


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