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Colombia News Archive: to 6/02

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Sodepaz

Colombia in the News
Archive 7/02-7-03

"Colombia has 40 million people – 26 percent of them of African descent, mostly in the Pacific region. Since the period of slavery, we have shared that area with indigenous Native Americans."

Failed 'Plan' in Colombia  7/31/03 The Nation 

In Colombia, Peace Talks With Paramilitaries Don't Quell Fear  7/21/03 LA Times 

Training Colombia's Killers in the US - Plan Colombia: Three Years Later  7/14/03 Counterpunch 

Bush and the Paramilitaries - Coddling Terrorists in Colombia  7/10/03 Counterpunch 

Colombia declares war on its own Black citizens  7/2/03 SF Bay View: "The Colombian government has declared war on its own citizens of African descent by labeling the activists among them as guerillas or terrorists. Repeated massacres, the latest during a June 14 invasion on the Anchicaya River, where paramilitaries assassinated five and wounded many more, have targeted African Colombian community organizers exercising their constitutional right to own and control their own resource-rich territories, defending them against developers determined to cut down their forests, extract their oil and uranium and steal their land for the construction of ports, highways and hydroelectric projects. Last week, June 21-27, 11 delegates from Afro-America XXI, an alliance of organizations representing the 253 million people of African descent in 43 countries of the Western Hemisphere, visited Washington, D.C., to report on crises in Colombia and several other countries and demand support. They came armed with the powerful though little known fact that African descendants comprise 30 percent of the 822 million people who live in those 43 countries."

Colombian security forces suffer substantial casualties  6/26/03 ANNCOL 

Colombia: Army increasing cooperation with paramilitary death squads  6/18/03 ANNCOL 

"We Don't Negotiate with Terrorists?" United States Officials Had Brunch with the Colombian Paramilitaries Last Month  6/16/03 NarcoNews 

Army troops gang-rape four adolescent girls  5/26/03 ANNCOL: "Soldiers from the Colombian Army have attacked the indigenous Guahibo reservation in oil-rich Arauca department. According to witnesses, the soldiers raped a pregnant teenage girl, then cut open the teen's belly, cut up her unborn baby and threw both mutilated corpses into the river. Three other members of the Guahibo community were also butchered."

Troops on wild orgy after finding rebels' $14m  5/23/03 Sydney Morning Herald: "Elite Colombian troops eager to pocket $US14 million ($21 million) in rebel cash threatened to kill reluctant comrades before plunging into an orgy involving prostitutes, whisky and luxury goods."

Colombia Charges Soldiers With Stealing  5/20/03 AP: "Colombian authorities charged 147 soldiers with stealing money they found from a rebel hideout, the president's office announced. Officials arrested 40 soldiers, including three officers, and arrest warrants have been issued for another 107 soldiers, the presidency said on Monday."

Ex-presidents speak out in favor of prisoner swap  5/16/03 ANNCOL: "The real reason why Colombian president Uribe ordered the hazardous rescue attempt that caused the death of ten captives held by FARC guerrillas: Four Colombian ex-presidents had met at hotel Don Carlton, in the north of Bogota, on Monday the 28th of April, to consider the subject of a humanitarian agreement between the Colombian government and FARC on the exchange of prisoners."

President blamed for the killing of 10 prisoners  5/14/03 ANNCOL: "Colombian President Uribe stands more isolated than ever after ordering a hazardous rescue attempt that ended in tragedy. Two top politicians and eight military officers held captive by FARC guerrillas were killed during the rescue attempt."

Rebelde de las FARC será extraditado  5/8/03 BBC Mundo: "El presidente de Colombia, Álvaro Uribe firmó la orden de extradición de un miembro del mayor grupo guerrillero del país, las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia,(FARC). Nelson Vargas Rueda, alias "el marrano", será el primer rebelde de izquierda en ser extraditado a Estados Unidos en donde se le juzgará por su presunta participación en el secuestro y asesinato de tres estadounidenses cerca de la frontera con Venezuela en 1999."

10 Hostages Killed by Colombian Rebels During Rescue Attempt  5/6/03 LA Times 

Trained by US, Colombia unit gains  5/5/03 Boston Globe 

Stuck in the Middle - Colombia’s labor movement faces economic assault—backed up by deadly force.  5/5/03 In These Times: "Military victory in Iraq has inflated the Beltway Rambos’ fantasies of using American firepower to remake the world. This new imperial hubris could propel the United States into far riskier adventures than the war against Saddam Hussein, including one not far from home in violence-torn Colombia. Here, a militarily toughened but politically degraded guerrilla movement faces a hard-line, right-wing government aided by brutal paramilitary forces. Caught in the middle is a small, embattled progressive movement that rejects armed struggle but demands social justice and democratic reforms."

Colombian rebel urges surrender  4/29/03 Scotsman, UK: "A COMMANDER of Colombia’s largest rebel group who recently surrendered yesterday urged his former comrades-in-arms to do the same, flanked by the country’s president and top generals."

Colombia: Cruz Roja denuncia asalto  4/17/03 BBC Mundo: "El Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja, CIRC, denunció este miércoles que dos de sus camiones que transportaban ayuda humanitaria fueron asaltados y luego incinerados por un grupo de personas armadas que se identificaron como miembros de la guerrilla de las FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia)."

Colombia: Partial victory for Coca-Cola workers  4/10/03 ANNCOL: "On March 31, US District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez ruled that a group of Colombian plaintiffs can move forward with cases brought under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) for human rights violations committed by paramilitaries in Colombia on behalf of two Colombian Coca-Cola bottling companies: Panamco and Bebidas y Alimentos. The court found that Colombian government complicity with the paramilitaries constituted "state action" in the crimes against the plaintiffs, a required element for a suit to go forward under the ATCA. The court also ruled that the plaintiffs could proceed with claims under the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA), dismissing the defendants' arguments that only individuals--not corporations--can be sued under this act."

Columbia Libre - Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia  4/8/03 AUC: site of the largest, most criminal, and most violent Colombian paramilitary group, the AUC.

MI VIAJE A ISRAEL Y LA LUCHA ANTISUBVERSIVA URBANA  4/8/03 Colombia Libre 

The Colombian Paramilitaries and Israel  4/8/03 NarcoNews: "According to his recently published autobiography, Carlos Castaño was only 18 years old when he arrived in Israel in 1983 to take a year-long course called "562." Castaño, a Colombian, had come to the Holy Land as a pilgrim of sorts, but not to find peace. Course 562 was about war, and how to wage it, and it was something Carlos Castaño would eventually excel at, becoming the most adept and ruthless paramilitary leader in Latin America’s history."

Colombia Plane Crash Kills One American  4/7/03 AP: "A U.S. State Department plane used to fumigate drug crops crashed Monday and its American pilot was killed, the U.S. Embassy said. It was not immediately clear if the crash was caused by an accident or if it had been shot down, the embassy said. The American, whose name was not released pending notification of relatives, was the fourth to die in three crashes of U.S. government planes in Colombia this year." On a recent visit to Bogota, an African American delegation was exposed to the woman running the fumigation reparations program. She boasted how only 3 of 400 cases where Colombians claimed fumigation damages had proved legitimate in her yes. She travels with her personal goon squad to "verify" claims.

La guerrilla causa 254 muertos y heridos a la fuerza pública en 2 meses de duros combates en el norte de Colombia  4/6/03 FARC 

Questions Without Answers - Will the United States rescue its three captured “citizens” from the FARC?  3/30/03 NarcoNews: "From the first moment that the events related to the airplane downed by the FARC in Colombia - in which four North Americans and one Colombian traveled - a war of versions in the Commercial Media has been unleashed, in which the key characteristics are ambiguity, suppositions, and the incapacity to question official sources."

EE.UU. busca extender la guerra en América del Sur  3/30/03 Rebelion: the US is a glutton for punishment.

Colombian rights abuses decried - Displacement of peasants targeted  3/29/03 Montreal Gazette: "Their main complaint was about forced displacement of Afro-Colombian peasant communities in the department of Chocó by military and right-wing paramilitary forces."

Army increases support for killer networks, United Nations say  3/28/03 ANNCOL: "Colombia's US-backed security forces have committed more human rights abuses since President Alvaro Uribe decreed a state of emergency last August, the United Nations said last week. The government declines to comment on the UN report, as army death squad silences investigative reporter in Arauca department."

Another US military spy plane downed in Colombia  3/26/03 ANNCOL: "Less than six weeks after leftist FARC rebels shot down a US spy plane and captured three CIA agents, another US piloted spy plane goes down over southern Colombia. All three members of the crew were killed, according to a spokesman for the Colombian Army."

Avioneta de EE.UU. cae en Colombia  3/26/03 BBC Mundo: "Una avioneta del gobierno estadounidense se estrelló en el sur de Colombia, matando a los tres pasajeros que viajaban en ella. La nave que chocó contra el cerro La Sonora cerca de la base militar Larandia en la provincia de Caquetá, efectuaba una misión de rescate intentando localizar a tres ciudadanos estadounidenses capturados por las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) en febrero."

Meet and Greet with Afro-Columbian Delegation  3/23/03 Yahoo: "The 36-person delegation from Columbia has issued the following statement to clarify who they are, and who they represents, and their main purpose for coming to Washington, DC at this time. We thanks the Howard University Project on Appropriate Technology, the Blackburn Center and the Afroamerican XXI for helping to facilitate this introduction and opportunity to meet, and dialogue with representatives of the African community in Columbia. We are also helping to facilitate meetings with key sectors and groups within the African community in DC, Richmond and New York. Our objective is to meet, listen to and learn from them, and to see if and where we can be helpful to them, and their struggle and work. For us, self-determination is the critical and key component of any and all solidarity work."

Major solidarity conference to be held in London  3/20/03 ANNCOL: "In order to highlight the critical situation in Colombia - another conflict involving oil, terrorism and US military intervention - the UK-based Colombia Peace Association is co-hosting a major conference in Central London with their sister organisation in the British trade union movement ‘Justice for Colombia’ on Saturday, March 22nd. Speakers include leading opposition figures from Colombia and US professors James Petras and Noam Chomsky."

Colombia: Paramilitares dispararon fuego de morteros contra el territorio venezolano en la zona de río de Oro  3/20/03 Aporrea, Venezuela: "Un grupo numeroso de paramilitares emplazado en la población colombiana de La Pista disparó intensamente con fusiles, ametralladoras y morteros durante toda la tarde contra el territorio venezolano donde se encuentran mayoritariamente familias refugiadas provenientes del vecino país. Se presume que el ataque dejó heridos y muertos en una cantidad que aún no ha sido precisada porque nadie hasta ahora ha podido- por la inseguridad reinante- entrar a ese lugar de la franja limítrofe del estado Zulia con el departamento Norte de Santander para verificar tales hechos… El fuego de los terroristas destruyó la unidad educativa Simón Bolívar, conocida como La Escuelita, un proyecto desarrollado por la comunidad de refugiados para los niños campesinos venezolanos y colombianos. Igualmente, una cooperativa de consumo."

Colombia: Paramilitares mantienen secuestrado a grupo de campesinos e indígenas venezolanos  3/19/03 Aporrea: "Por un llamamiento humanitario recibido la noche de este martes en la capital zuliana se supo que una avanzada paramilitar secuestró a varios campesinos e indígenas venezolanos, estos últimos de la etnia Barí, establecida en el poblado de Bokshí, zona suroccidental de la sierra de Perijá, a quienes los irregulares condujeron a una finca situada en territorio colombiano donde son mantenidos en condiciones incompatibles con los derechos humanos y la vida."

"We Copied Our Tactics from Israel"- Medellín: Life Under Paramilitary Occupation  3/19/03 Counterpunch: "The state and paramilitaries that appeared after 1999 fear and loathe such independent community organizing as much as they do the "revolutionary" militias. Paramilitaries had displaced a considerable minority of Comuna 13's residents from the countryside in Urabá in the 1980s and 90s, many of them Afro-Colombians; all arrived in Comuna 13 with venerable traditions of village organizing and protest intact. Operation Orion and the subsequent paramilitary occupation of Comuna 13 have, however, displaced the displaced."

The U.S. Is Wading Deeper into Colombia's War  3/16/03 Business Week: "Under Bush, the U.S. is wading deeper into the Colombian conflict than ever before. Since Washington's "Plan Colombia" antinarcotics program began in 2000, the U.S. has given Colombia $1.9 billion in aid, making the country the third largest recipient of foreign aid after Israel and Egypt. This year, $651 million has been earmarked for Colombia. What's key is the lack of conditions attached to it: Before, U.S. money could only support the fight against the production and trade of coca. Now, Congress is allowing U.S. aid to be spent on training Colombian soldiers and police to fight insurgents. Since the September 11 attacks in the U.S., Washington has been ever more willing to help other nations fight their homegrown terrorists. Nearly 400 U.S. military personnel are currently in Colombia. Congress has authorized the deployment of 400 more civilians under U.S. government contract to chart coca plantations and report on rebel movements." The "civilians" will inevitably become prime targets.

Colombian ministers and ambassadors embezzle bank funds  3/14/03 ANNCOL: "When one of Colombia's best-known columnists, Fernando Garavito, revealed that the Colombian Ambassadors to the US and Canada and two senior members of the government were involved in a scheme to embezzle bank funds - he was sacked from the daily El Espectador, owned by the powerful Bavaria conglomerate."

Secret services accused of masterminding deadly blast  3/12/03 ANNCOL: "In the statement below, issued on 9 March 2003, the FARC deny responsibility. Their statement should be taken seriously. In the collar bomb episode a couple of years ago, the FARC were instantly accused, but they denied any involvement. It was later discovered that members of the national security forces were the perpetrators in a premeditated and cruelly conceived plot aimed at discrediting the FARC and harming the peace process."

Commission grants €8 million in humanitarian aid for Colombia  3/11/03 Reuters: "It is estimated that almost half of the internally displaced people (IDPs) are under the age of 18. A large proportion of IDPs are indigenous people or Afro-Colombians."

Indigenous people give US oil company the boot  3/10/03 ANNCOL: "The Bush administration recently allocated 98 mio. US dollars in military aid and sent Green Berets to protect Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum's oil pipeline in Colombia against attacks from leftist rebels. Now the indigenous U'wa people tell the US oil company (also known as OXY) and its Colombian partners to get out af the U'wa territories."

Secuestro, un negocio millonario  3/7/03 BBC Mundo: "Los grupos guerrilleros que operan en Colombia han recibido cerca de US$1.000 millones en los últimos 20 años en concepto de pago de rescates de empleados de multinacionales secuestrados."

Army kidnaps and murders two blow pipe hunters  3/6/03 ANNCOL: "Two indigenous Embera blow pipe hunters never returned to their village: They were murdered by troops who afterwards presented the corpses as guerrillas killed in combat. In a seperate incident Colombian Air Force bombards village and kills 9-year old girl. " - Not a military error, she was a relative of a guerrilla soldier," says Air Force commander." - the US funded genocide continues while some Americans wonder "Why do they hate us so?"

Embajadas colombianas serán nidos de espías  3/6/03 ANNCOL: "La vida de exilados politicos y opositores al gobierno de Alvaro Uribe Velez estan en serio peligro al extenderse la conformacion de una red de informates, teniendo como base de operaciones las embajadas y consulados colombianos en el exterior."

Colombia: relevos por atentado  3/6/03 BBC Mundo: "Luego del atetando en un centro comercial de Cúcuta, la capital del departamento de Norte de Santander, que dejó al menos siete muertos y medio centenar de heridos, el presidente Álvaro Uribe relevó a altos mandos de la policía. Poco después de que Uribe señalara que estamentos de la policía y fiscalía de Norte de Santander están infiltrados por grupos al margen de la ley, una ola de renuncias de las autoridades en estos cargos se dio lugar en el departamento."

Police and death squads continue onslaught against unionists  3/4/03 ANNCOL: "Chilling new statistics from Colombia's main trade union confederation CUT: 9 trade unionists assassinated in the first two months of this year. Also, a number of union organisers have been unrightfully detained. - President Uribe is to blame, says the CUT."

Luis Gilberto Murillo, former governor of Chocó Province, Colombia  3/2/03 Global Exchange: See events listing for March and April. "Luis Gilberto Murillo, a former Colombian governor now exiled in the US, will travel the country urging people to oppose a larger US role in Colombia's civil war… In 1998 Mr. Murillo won a tight victory to become the country's youngest governor and the leader of Chocó, the poorest state in Colombia. Mr. Murillo's success was the result of his tireless organizing efforts in support of environmental protection and the country's Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations. His aggressive advocacy on behalf of the country's voiceless constituencies while in office soon led to death threats from Colombia's right-wing paramilitaries."

Black Hawk Copter Crashes; 23 Colombian Soldiers Killed  2/26/03 NYT: "A Colombian Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed today as it hunted leftist guerrillas in a mountainous part of northern Colombia, killing all 23 soldiers on board, the army said." - another accident, like so may similar ones in Afghanistan.

Rebels confirm: 3 CIA agents capture  2/24/03 ANNCOL: "Colombian authorities have claimed that the two men were executed, but local campesino eyewitnesses told Colombian daily El Espectador, that the two soldiers were killed during a firefight with the guerrillas after the shootdown. According to Miami Herald, US officials have confirmed that the plane's US crew members were indeed carrying out military-related electronic intelligence gathering."

UN appeals for $50 million to help 2 million Colombian refugees  2/24/03 UN: "Last year alone more than 250,000 Colombians were forced to flee their homes, with indigenous people being particularly affected, to the extent that most of the indigenous population has been or is displaced, or is at risk of being so. The Afro-Colombian communities have also been severely affected. Almost half the total population of displaced persons are children."

California Microwave's corporate site: 4 employees down in Colombia  2/23/03 California Microwaves: a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman - "California Microwave Systems Airborne Systems, located in Belcamp, MD, specializes in the development and integration of Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Communications Intelligence (COMINT), Electronics Intelligence (ELINT), and Communications/Data Links Radar (SAR/MTI), Ground Processing and Dissemination Aircraft modifications. Systems integration provides a multi-function solution. Airborne Systems offers state-of-the-art capabilities in collecting, processing, and disseminating imagery and electronic data between airborne operators and ground personnel. Our real-time intelligence systems have been used in peace-keeping operations in Korea, Haiti, and Bosnia, and for counter-narcotics operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Assistance has also been provided to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in assessing damage from the aftermath of natural disasters."

Colombian rebels say they hold Americans  2/23/03 Miami Herald: "The rebels killed two others aboard the plane -- a Colombian intelligence sergeant and an American -- as they apparently tried to escape shortly after the crash, 200 miles south of Bogotá, authorities said."

US considers intervention in Colombia  2/23/03 Observer, UK: "The United States is considering direct military intervention in Colombia for the first time following the murder of an American and the kidnapping of three others, all suspected CIA agents. The US embassy in Colombia has recommended Washington make a 'major response' to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) rebels responsible, and American officials have confirmed that military action is being considered to recover the men from the dense jungles of the southern province of Caqueta… Washington has refused to release any information about the men, entrenching the belief that they were CIA agents on a surveillance mission… For the people of Caqueta, the prospect of a US military incursion into the province is yet another nightmare. In the past year, since the collapse of the peace process, they have seen the suspension of local government and are living under a form of martial law. Scores of ordinary people have been tortured and murdered by right-wing paramilitaries and they face a constant campaign of bombing and kidnapping by the Farc."

Colombia: EE.UU. advierte a las FARC  2/21/03 BBC Mundo: "Legisladores estadounidenses, en visita oficial a Colombia, advirtieron a las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC, que sufrirán serias consecuencias por el secuestro de tres funcionarios de Estados Unidos cuyo avión se estrelló la semana pasada en la selva al sur del país." And there won't be any consequences for the US if it escalates? How many enemies do you want?

Spy fiasco in Colombia catches U.S. napping  2/20/03 Chicago Sun Tribune: "Sources in Colombia, however, report the plane contained four contract employees of an office in the U.S. embassy in Bogota under CIA control. Their fate was sealed by multiple security blunders, in the opinion of special operations experts… Just how inadequate was found last Thursday by four U.S. civilians employed by California Microwave Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., a communications service, when their plane crashed. Government officials deny that they were CIA agents, and technically they were not. In fact, they were under contract to the Office of Regional Administration in the Bogota embassy, which is a covert CIA operation. Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador in Bogota and one of the rising stars of the U.S. Foreign Service, was reported by associates as ''coming unglued'' after the incident. A single-engine plane on an intelligence mission is considered unacceptable. Nor was there a ''chase'' plane following to quickly come to rescue the intelligence aircraft if necessary. Last Oct. 15, when Barr was on his Colombian mission, he was informed by U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Baca of a foolproof ''search-and-rescue'' plan if any of the U.S. planes went down. ''Instead,'' a veteran special operations officer told me, ''this was amateur hour.''

Colombia: Not Just a Blip  2/20/03 CSM: "Colombia is the third-largest recipient of US foreign aid, coming ever closer to Nos. 1 and 2, Israel and Egypt. In addition to increasing funding for Colombia, the US recently shifted its policy. No longer is Washington focused solely on eradicating coca production. Now it's helping to train Colombia's military to fight a rebel insurgency of nearly 40 years."

Army shells indigenous village for three days  2/19/03 ANNCOL: "In an open letter sent to the Colombia's Human Rights Ombudsman, the indigenous communities of Wiwa ethnicity denounced that on 18 January 2003 and the three following days they were "subjected to terror, when from land and air their properties, homes, school, health centres, the Ceremonial House (Kankuras), their cultivations and the few animals they kept were destroyed by indiscriminate attacks attributed to men belonging to the La Popa Battalion of the National Army based in Valledupar".

15 killed by bomb 'meant for President'  2/15/03 Independent, UK: "Fifteen people were killed yesterday when a huge bomb intended to kill the Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe, today was discovered by police and detonated by suspected rebels, the authorities said yesterday. Prosecutors claim the bomb, in a house near the airport in the southern city of Neiva, was to have been detonated as the President's plane passed overhead during a scheduled visit. The plan was to blow the aircraft out of the sky, they said. But the suspected rebels detonated the bomb when police raided the house. An investigator with the prosecutor's office and nine police officers, including Neiva's chief of investigations, were among those killed. The blast wounded 30 people, destroyed five houses and severely damaged 30 others."

The Never-Ending Story  2/14/03 ANNCOL: "On 22 January 2003, the Colombian government of Alvaro Uribe Velez commenced negotiations with the AUC paramilitaries of Carlos Castaño and Salvatore Mancuso, whose record of atrocities against the Colombian people would make your blood run cold... Shortly before these talks started, Uribe Velez evoked a decree which is going to be used to give this 14,000-strong band of killers, extortionists, torturers and major drugs traffickers immunity for their innumerable crimes against humanity. A necessary step from the government’s perspective perhaps – not one designed to bring peace and reconciliation to the country – but one to avoid criminal prosecutions which could open up a seething bag of worms about integral state involvement in Colombia’s paramilitary strategy."

Did the FARC Bring It Down? US Military Plane Crashes in Colombia  2/14/03 Counterpunch: "US officials scrambled rescue teams to the sweltering plains of the region after the crash, but an unconfirmed report from the Colombian military said rebels had captured the survivors and announced, "We have them! We have them!" in an intercepted radio transmission. If the survivors were indeed captured, it would be the first time that US soldiers are captured alive by Colombia's leftist guerrillas."

Soldados se disfrazan como paramilitares en Arauca  2/11/03 ANNCOL: "Soldados disfrazados como paramilitares asesinan a una persona y secuestran a ocho en las afueras de Tame, Arauca denuncia grupo de defensores de derechos humanos." Arauca is where the US Special Forces are stationed.

Training mission signals greater US role in Colombia conflict  2/9/03 Boston Globe: "The effort has been presented as a way to help Colombian troops protect an economically important government oil pipeline from guerrilla attack. But it is clear from the training taking place on an army base here that defending the pipeline will mostly entail offensive operations against seasoned guerrillas that have prospered on this swampy stretch of oil and coca fields. The first military unit selected for training, for instance, is a counter-guerrilla battalion, not a unit whose principle task is to protect the pipeline."

Huge Car Bomb Kills 20 at Elite Colombian Club  2/8/03 Reuters: "A powerful car bomb wrecked one of the most exclusive clubs in the Colombian capital Bogota on Friday, killing at least 20 people, injuring more than 100 and sending panicked socialites staggering into the debris-strewn streets, authorities said."

Colombian rebels blow up key oil pipeline  2/7/03 Sydney Morning Herald: "Colombian leftist rebels blew up a section of the country's most important oil pipeline in the northern Arauca province that US Special Forces are helping to guard, police said. The pipeline, operated by multinational oil giant Occidental Petroleum, links the oil fields around the town of Cano Limon with the Caribbean oil terminal of Covenas and carries 105,000 barrels of oil a day. It is considered crucial to maintaining uninterrupted oil exports, a major source of Colombian export earnings… Sabotage to the pipeline in 2001 cost Occidental Petroleum some $US445 million ($A754.24 million) in lost production, and prompted the Colombian government to place the oil producing region under military control."

El exterminio de los indigenas Kuna  2/5/03 ANNCOL: "El exterminio de los indigenas Kuna es parte del proyecto de contrareforma agraria comenzado por el Gral. Rito Alejo - santo de la devoción del hoy alto gobierno - escribe Alfredo Molano (Tomado del Equipo Nizkor)"

Plan to assassinate the President of oil workers' union  1/18/03 ANNCOL: "Those who are planning to carry out this criminal act seek to unleash violence against the union in order to silence the voices of protest against the intentions of North American multinationals to take possession of the hydrocarbon industry, a process that started with the restructuring of the company and official oil policy."

US troops engage further in Colombia  1/18/03 BBC: "The United States has deployed troops in eastern Colombia in an area rich of oil and widely seen as a stronghold of Marxist rebels. US special forces have begun training Colombian troops in counter-insurgency techniques in the province of Arauca." Pulling guard duty for Oxy.

Right-wing gunmen kill leader of teachers' union  1/15/03 ANNCOL: "Labor leaders accuse President Uribe of increasing the war "on all fronts" after death squad gunmen linked to the security forces have murdered yet another union leader - this time in the eastern Colombian town of Tame."

Colombia: New rules of engagement  1/14/03 LA Press: "US sends funds and Army Special Forces to protect an Occidental Petroleum pipeline."

Six killings every day in mid-sized Colombian town  1/13/03 ANNCOL: "Right-wing terror has reached a new height in the eastern Colombian town of Cucuta: 57 violent killings by paramilitaries allied to the Armed Forces have been registered in this provincial town - in just the ten first days of 2003!"

Comunidades negras colombianas bajo el fuego paramilitar  1/12/03 AfroLatino.org: "García es dirigente del Proceso de Comunidades Negras, una red de 140 organizaciones que tienen su base en la región selvática y húmeda del Pacífico colombiano. A raíz de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente de 1991, las comunidades afro-colombianas, que habitan la región por más de 300 años, lograron la legalización de sus tierras de las que ahora están siendo desalojados por los grupos paramilitares de las Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, que cuentan con 8000 hombres en armas y son responsables de numerosas matanzas de población civil desarmada. En la siguiente entrevista, el dirigente afro-colombiano desentraña los verdaderos objetivos de los paramilitares, su forma de operar y los devastadores efectos que están teniendo la violencia sobre las comunidades negras de esta atormentada región."

COLOMBIAN REPORTER TELLS ALL - TO U.S. PRESS  1/12/03 American Reporter: "Colombian journalist Ignacio Gomez told a roomful of America's most influential journalists Tuesday how Washington-supported Colombian president Alvaro Uribe is connected to drug traffickers and how U.S. military trainers helped organize a massacre in his country. Among the 1,000 guests at the Committee to Protect Journalists' annual dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria grand ballroom were NBC's Tom Brokaw, CBS's Dan Rather, Time-Warner's Walter Isaacson, Reuters CEO Thomas Glocer and executives and reporters from the nation's major TV networks, newspapers and newsmagazines. Gomez, 40, has twice gone into exile after death threats. The media "stars" applauded him for his courage. But did they put his revelations into print or on air? If you didn't see the stories he recounted in the American press, don't be surprised. As they do every year at the CPJ event, "leading" U.S. journalists lauded the courage of people chancing death for telling the truth, but continue to pull punches in their own news organizations for fear of endangering their multi-million-dollar salaries. Here's more of what Gomez unveiled for colleagues. After he investigated a 1997 massacre in Mapiripan, in which 67 people were decapitated, Gomez reported in 2000 that the Colombian military officer accused of masterminding the crime had been accompanied "at all times" by a dozen U.S. military trainers. He also linked the massacre to paramilitary leader Carlos Castano."

Heavy blows for Colombian death squads  1/9/03 ANNCOL: "In the space of one month, paramilitaries from the death squad umbrella organization AUC have suffered the loss of more than 150 lives in three separate battles. At least 60 of the deaths were in battles against a combined FARC and ELN force in the Sur de Bolivar department, 600 kilometres from the Colombian capital."

Colombia: Blood will flow in the Rio Cimatarra Valley  1/8/03 ANNCOL: "A group of three hundred death squad members is moving in on villagers in the Central Colombian Rio Cimitarra Valley, says human rights group. The right-wing gunmen are already patrolling the nearby Magdalena River in motorised canoes. Meanwhile, the Colombian Armed Forces are turning their blind eye."

Otro duro golpe a los ‘paras’ en Colombia  1/3/03 Rebelion: "En un mes, los paramilitares han sufrido más de 150 bajas en tres combates. Al menos 60 paramilitares muertos han causado los combates entre una fuerza combinada de las Farc y Eln en el Sur de Bolívar, a unos 600 kilómetros al norte de la capital colombiana. Los datos fueron transmitidos por el Canal Caracol de televisión, que logró a llegar a un equipo periodístico al lugar por los combates. Con este combate, que comenzó hace tres días en la zona rural del municipio de San Pablo, son tres duros golpes que la guerrilla colombiana ha dado a los grupos paramilitares aglutinados en la organización AUC, Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia." AUC is accused of many massacres of non-combatants.

The Terrors of Addiction  1/1/03 ANNCOL: "Just Say No to Oil Addiction: The US National Mobilization on Colombia has called for a spring mobilization bringing together regional events that target US corporations operating in Colombia. Various actions are being planned for March 24th."

Afro-Colombian struggle for land and justice  12/31/02 SF Bay View: "Colombia has 40 million people – 26 percent of them of African descent, mostly in the Pacific region. Since the period of slavery, we have shared that area with indigenous Native Americans… In 1993, a law was passed that said that the Black population should delineate the areas where it had lived and apply for titles. The law also said that the government must recognize the Black population’s rights and devote money to social spending in consultation with the communities. The community organizations met resistance from those who had been exploiting natural resources in our region such as gold and wood. Communities demanded title to the land. Since then we’ve experienced assassinations and expulsion by military groups paid by political and business interests. My organization won the first collective titles in that region. Seven days later, at 5:00 a.m., on Dec. 13, 1996, paramilitary groups arrived in my town, Riosucio, intent on murdering the leaders and their families. Many were taken from their beds and paraded naked through the streets. Anyone who resisted was killed. The shouts woke me up. I ran to take refuge in the swamp along with many others. At 8:00 a.m., army helicopters started patrolling. The paramilitaries radioed the pilots to attack the swamp, claiming the people were guerrillas. The army attacked us with bombs and rifles, killing many people. Those who survived stayed in the water for three days until hunger and desperation forced us out. Some of us sneaked through the town and reached a rural community across the river. I recuperated there, then fled to Bogota, where I live today."

Legisladores de EEUU piden usar armas biológicas en cultivos ilícitos en Colombia  12/30/02 Rebelion: "Mientras Estados Unidos se prepara para invadir Irak bajo la consigna de destruir los presuntos programas de armas biológicas de dicho país, los legisladores de EEUU están profiriendo nuevas amenazas de usar armas biológicas en la guerra civil de Colombia. Las armas son cepas patogénicas de hongos diseñadas para matar cultivos de drogas. Republicanos prominentes en la Cámara de Representantes de EEUU, apoyados por el Departamento de Estado de EEUU, lideran la ofensiva. El Sunshine Project está alertando a gobiernos y organizaciones no gubernamentales que se requiere un nuevo esfuerzo para impedir que EEUU libre una guerra biológica en Colombia. Dicho esfuerzo debe incluir acción en la Convención sobre Armas Biológicas, el principal tratado contra la guerra biológica. Las ramificaciones del plan estadounidense de armas biológicas son globales. De proseguir en el conflicto colombiano, la presión para usar armas biológicas contra cultivos se extenderá rápidamente a otros países de América Latina y otras regiones del mundo, especialmente Asia."

Colombian rebel attack kills 60  12/29/02 BBC: "Colombian Marxist rebels have attacked their right-wing paramilitary enemies of the United Self-defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) in the northern province of Bolivar. At least 60 people were killed in the fighting, the majority paramilitaries, which were driven from the area. The right-wing paramilitaries of the AUC have called a ceasefire and are looking to start a peace process with the government… The paramilitaries are seeking to demobilise after their organisations fragmented over the issue of drugs. The largest group in the AUC, led by feared warlord Carlos Castanao, wanted to sever links with the drugs trade which provides most of the group's income. Other elements were not so enthusiastic." Do a search on Google for "AUC massacre" and you will get 2,120 results.

Orden de ingreso de la marina de EEUU a Colombia para febrero de 2003  12/28/02 Rebelion: "Dos batallones de las Fuerzas Expedicionarias Selváticas de la Marina de EE UU han recibido recientemente órdenes de despliegue para ingresar a Colombia en febrero de 2003. Según fuentes confiables, los batallones, que representarán un apoyo total de unos 1100 hombres, se alternarán dentro y fuera del sur de Colombia, con la orden de eliminar a todos los altos mandos de la FARC, dispersando a aquellos que escapan hasta las áreas más remotas de la Amazonía. Desde hace varios años, la jerarquía de las FARC ha sido objeto de un escrutinio intensivo por parte de la inteligencia estadounidense. La ofensiva significará que EE UU lleve guerras simultáneas en tres frentes: Afganistán, Iraq y Colombia."

Colombian drug production soars despite ‘Plan Colombia’  12/21/02 ANNCOL: or because of it? "Information taken from testimony given before the House Committee on Government Reform in Washington on December 12th, show that whilst nearly a million acres of Colombian soil have been fumigated in the past 5 years, cocaine production in Colombia has tripled in the same period… Representative Bob Barr (Republican-Georgia) also alleged during the hearings that at least 22 US helicopters have crashed or been shot down by rebels in Colombia in recent years although the Pentagon and US Embassy in Bogotá have refused to confirm or deny this." More denials, as in Kuwait and Afghanistan, maintaining the superman image.

Etnocidio contra el pueblo Kankuamo  12/9/02 PCN: "Cuatro indígenas del Pueblo Kankuamo, entre ellos un Mamo (autoridad tradicional), fueron asesinados en la población de Atánquez, este domingo 8 de diciembre por un grupo de paramilitares, que de forma permanente y con conocimiento de las Fuerzas Armadas se pasean por la región."

Powell Says U.S. Will Increase Military Aid for Colombia  12/5/02 NYT: which will have as consequence furhter arming the paramilitaries - "The new aid will put Colombia roughly on a par with Afghanistan and Pakistan as a recipient of American military and antidrug assistance, administration officials said."

Death squads strikes again in South Bolivar region  12/4/02 ANNCOL: "Units from the Colombian army and allied right-wing death squads have encircled the village of Mico Ahumado en South Bolivar. The inhabitants are fleeing to save their lives from what they fear is a new massacre."

Colombia: Solidarity trip planned on Coca-Cola's crimes  12/2/02 ANNCOL: "Union organizers and members in Colombia have been under particular attack. In the year 2000 alone, 129 unionists were murdered. Sinaltrainal (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de Alimentos--the National Union of Food Industry Workers), the United Steel Workers and the International Labor Fund have filed a case in U.S. courts accusing Coca Cola of using paramilitaries to intimidate and assassinate union organizers. The lawsuit focuses on the murder of Isidro Segundo Gil and the intimidation of five of his co-workers from a bottling plant in Carepa. This case is not an isolated incident. It is representative of the struggle that union organizers must wage every day in Colombia. Sinaltrainal leaders say Coca Cola uses paramilitary violence as a systematic strategy to intimidate workers and keep enlarging already excessive profits."

Five facts about the paramilitaries  11/27/02 ANNCOL: "Fact 5: The US government is not addressing the paramilitary problem and while insisting that the Colombian government should be given a freer hand to use US military aid against the rebels they do not propose any plans to ensure that the US assistance will not further paramilitary violence. By continuing to deliver massive military aid packages without any human rights progress the US has sent the message to the Colombian military that breaking ties with paramilitary groups is not necessary."

Colombia Naval Admiral Resigns  11/26/02 AP: "Rear Adm. Rodrigo Quinones, Colombia's military attache to Israel, resigned Tuesday after U.S. officials accused him of drug trafficking, the defense minister said. Quinones is the highest-ranking military official in recent memory to be implicated in drug trafficking in Colombia, which produces most of the world's cocaine and most of the heroin used in the United States. Quinones has also been accused of failing to protect villagers who were massacred in northern Colombia last year by right-wing paramilitary gunmen, when Quinones was stationed in the region."

Colombia's largest oil pipeline dynamited  11/25/02 AP: "Attackers dynamited Colombia's largest oil pipeline, causing a spill and forcing the brief evacuation of 280 people, officials said Monday. The Central Colombian Pipeline, known by its Spanish acronym Ocensa, had to be shut down after the attack Sunday near the town of Aguazul, 100 miles northeast of Bogota, the company said. It was still closed early Monday."

Colombian Town Rises Up in Outrage  11/18/02 Washington Post: "In an act of collective rage following the assassination of a beloved mayoral candidate, roughly 500 men and women ransacked government offices, the headquarters of rival politicians and the state-run phone company. The mob used sledgehammers to weaken walls, gasoline to burn filing cabinets and furniture inside, and stones to batter away at the bricks. Much of the work, carried out through the night of Nov. 7, was done with bare hands… With the small revolt here in Concordia, the protests have now extended to violent resistance against the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, a paramilitary force that combats the guerrillas, often in tandem with the official army. The townspeople who went on a rampage here hold the AUC responsible for killing Eugenio Escalante, 47, a favorite son whose body turned up soon after he met with several paramilitary leaders who wanted him to get out of next month's mayoral elections. The AUC has deep ties to Colombia's political and financial establishment. The links are strong here, too, and Escalante apparently was killed for campaigning on a promise to end them."

U.S. Strategy in Colombia Connects Drugs and Terror  11/14/02 NYT: "The indictment unsealed today accuses three FARC military leaders, including Jorge Briceño Suárez, widely considered the second most powerful man in the rebel organization, of kidnapping and drug trafficking. Eight other, lower-ranking FARC members were charged with the same offenses." Most observers agree that what the FARC does pales next to the activities of the right wing paramilitaries and their government allies, including a certain advisor to the president.

Colombia's Air Assault on Coca Leaves Crop, Farmers in Its Dust  11/13/02 Washington Post: "It is all gone here," said one farmer, Juan Carlos Gaviria, 52, whose three acres of coca in the village of Achapos Sinai were sprayed in August. "It is no longer profitable for us to plant this. But the problem is that this hasn't just ended coca, but everything else too."

Street fighting turns into urban warfare  11/1/02 ANNCOL: "Especially the Comuna 13 area has been targeted. Scores of inhabitants have been killed and the local human rights group CODEHSEL reports that in only six days more than two hundred inhabitants have been arrested by the security forces. According to CODEHSEL many of the detained persons have been beaten and tortured."

Pentagon sends combat troops to Colombia  10/31/02 ANNCOL: "The U.S. administration has dropped any pretense of fighting a "drug war" in Colombia. Now the U.S. troops are on the battlefield fighting the Marxist insurgencies."

Ferocious persecution of Colombian oil workers  10/27/02 ANNCOL: "As a consequence of our nationalist position in defence of oil as the driving force behind national development, the Colombian State has unleashed a ferocious persecution of the Oil Workers Union (USO). It was our struggle that gave birth to the state oil company. ECOPETROL. Today we are still fighting to prevent the privatisation of this company, which belongs to all Colombians. This persecution grew worse with the arrival of the neoliberal government of Alvaro Uribe, slave to the multinationals, which, piece by piece, is dismatling the political, labour and fundamental rights that were achieved through the dignity and sacrifice of workers during their history of struggle. In the last 14 years, around a hundred valient USO leaders and activists have been assassinated by State security forces and paramilitary groups; two have been detained and disappeared; ten have been kidnapped; more than two hundred have suffered the rigours of displacement from their places of work so as not to meet the same fate as those before them; and several live in exile abroad."

Marines Ordered into Colombia - February 2003 is Target Date  10/25/02 NarcoNews: "Two battalions of US Marine Jungle Expeditionary Forces have recently received deployment orders for insertion into Colombia this coming February, 2003. According to reliable sources, the battalions, which with support will total roughly 1,100 men, will rotate in and out of southern Colombia, with orders to eliminate all high officers of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), scattering those who escape to the remote corners of the Amazon. The FARC hierarchy has been the subject of intensive US intelligence scrutiny for several years. The offensive will mean that the US is fighting wars on three fronts simultaneously: Afghanistan, Iraq and Colombia. While this reporter did not see a battle plan, according to our sources the offensive will be led by the Colombian military, which will push the FARC south toward the waiting Marines. A similar but much smaller operation involving former US-SEALS was called off at the last minute two years ago. The Bush Administration is supposedly prepared to take the heat for as many innocent Indigenous peoples and Colombian campesinos — a number that could reach the thousands — as might be killed in the offensive."

Official: 70 Colombia Rebels Killed  10/20/02 AP 

Green Berets move into Colombia's oil fields  10/12/02 Telegraph: "America has entered Colombia's 38-year civil conflict for the first time, deploying Green Berets to train government troops in a war-torn oil-rich province in the north."

Green Berets move into Colombia's oil fields  10/12/02 Telegraph, UK: "America has entered Colombia's 38-year civil conflict for the first time, deploying Green Berets to train government troops in a war-torn oil-rich province in the north."

This man asked for our help - now he's dead  10/9/02 Sydney Morning Herald: "The death of a rejected asylum seeker on his return to Colombia has sparked investigations by the Federal Government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Alvaro Moralez was reportedly shot by paramilitaries near his parents' home in rural Colombia after he voluntarily left Australia for Argentina, where he unsuccessfully claimed asylum and was deported to Colombia. He left Australia when the Refugee Review Tribunal rejected his application."

Colombian President accused of heading brutal killer network  10/8/02 ANNCOL: "The exiled left-wing leader and former member of the Colombian parliament Dr. Gustavo Montealegre Almario is openly accusing President Uribe of being the main man behind the paramilitary killers that are spreading havoc in the South American country. The attacks against by right-wing death squads against key opposition leaders have escalated after Uribe in August declared ”a state of unrest”. Even before, Colombia had become infamous as the deadliest country in the world for trade unionists and other social organizers. ”Alvaro Uribe Velez, president of Colombia, is the leader of the paramilitary groups and he is the one directly responsible for the bloodshed, which is a consequence of the open war he declared when he took office,” Montealegre told reporters from his exile in Australia last month."

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF A NARCO-TERROR STATE  10/2/02 ANNCOL: "The most censored and ignored story of the last - and the next - five years must be: "Global Economy Caters to US Addictions." Half of the world's problems are caused by the US addictions to oil and all kinds of drugs. The illegal drug trade is the second largest sector of the global economy. Include all of the legal drugs that US citizens are addicted to and "Drugs" would be the largest sector by far."

KEY HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST MURDERED IN COLOMBIA  9/27/02 ANNCOL: "In a clandestine military operation Colombian soldiers have assassinated the main human rights defender in the Alto Ariari region. The killing means that crucial information on army death squad operations in the area will become extremely difficult to document and publicise… According to a local human rights investigation all four killers came from the 7th Brigade of the Colombian army and the motive for the assassination was his work documenting the abuses perpetrated by troops attached to that unit. Indeed, since the start of this year, Oswal had dug up more and more evidence that soldiers of the 21st ‘Vargas’ Battalion of the 7th Brigade were behind the continuing violations of human rights in El Castillo municipality."

New Role for U.S. in Colombia: Protecting a Vital Oil Pipeline  9/27/02 NYT: "The 500-mile pipeline, which snakes through eastern Colombia, transporting 100,000 barrels of oil a day for Occidental Petroleum of Los Angeles, is emerging as a new front in the terror war. One of Colombia's most valuable assets, the pipeline has long been vulnerable to bombings by Colombia's guerrilla groups, which along with the country's paramilitary outfits are included on the Bush administration's list of terrorist organizations."

COMBAT AND ASSASSINATIONS IN MEDELLIN  9/26/02 ANNCOL: "Fighting is continuing in the Colombian city of Medellin between government forces and urban militias of the FARC and ELN guerrilla groups. In the conflict-ridden Comuna 13 neighbourhood paramilitary gunmen have assassinated a religious leader whilst rebel fighters have killed two soldiers and two paramilitaries."

Colombia creates security zones  9/22/02 BBC: "It will allow the armed forces to impose curfews, restrict civilian movement, arrest suspects without a warrant and search vehicles and houses without any kind of legal limitation. All foreigners wanting to travel to the zones in the north-east and north-west of the country will have to seek permission from the Interior Ministry."

Colombia: Narcotráfico-paramilitarismo-corrupción  9/13/02 Rebelion: Comunicado del Ejército de Liberación Nacional

Colombia notes talks with rebel unit  9/13/02 Reuters: "Colombia's month-old government said yesterday that it has met in Cuba with representatives of the country's second-largest rebel army to explore the possibility of peace talks, just as the Marxist guerrillas allegedly hijacked a school bus with six children aboard."

ARMY OPENLY WORKING WITH DEATH SQUADS  9/9/02 ANNCOL: "Since Colombian President Uribe declared a "state of domestic commotion" and assumed special powers one month ago the army has intensified its joint operations with right-wing paramilitary groups leaving a trail of blood across the country."

Washington's Mouthpiece in Colombia  9/9/02 Colombia Report 

Plan Colombia otorga inmunidad para los soldados norteamericanos  9/8/02 Granma: "El Plan Colombia de lucha contra las drogas y la insurgencia, que financia Washington, incluye una cláusula que concede inmunidad a los militares estadounidenses destacados en el país andino, señaló la canciller colombiana, Carolina Barco, citada por la agencia AFP."

Colombia's War on Unions - The Coca-Cola Killings  9/6/02 Counterpunch: "The Coca-Cola killings in Colombia continue. Last week union activist Adolfo de Jesus Munera was murdered shortly after he received notice that a law suit filed by him against Coca-Cola was accepted by Colombia's Constitutional Court. Adolfo de Jesus Munera was a regional leader of the Sinaltrainal food industry workers' union and a former employee of the Coca-Cola plant Embotelladora Roman in the town of Barranquilla. Before Munera, seven other union leaders from Coca-Cola plants in Colombia have been murdered and others have been abducted and tortured. The attacks against the union activists are usually accompanied by threats to all Coca-Cola employees to quit their union." Things go better with Coke.

Colombian Spy Official Is Slain  9/6/02 LA Times 

Colombia: Asesinan en Barranquilla a un dirigente sindical amenazado por su actividad en una embotelladora de Coca Cola  9/5/02 Rebelion 

US CASUALTIES IN COLOMBIA'S CIVIL WAR  8/28/02 ANNCOL: "US troops are being targeted in Colombia. For the first time ever by any media outlet, ANNCOL can reveal the names of 12 US citizens who have been killed in recent years whilst working for the US government on military related projects in Colombia."

US SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS PREPARE FOR DAY OF ACTION  8/21/02 ANNCOL: "Over 100 progressive organisations in the United States have come together to organise a national day of solidarity with Colombia next month. The main aim of the protest is to call for an end to US military aid to the Colombian security forces… For more information on the protest see www.colombiamobilization.org or contact David Quick (dquick@witnessforpeace.org) or Steve Bennett (bennett@witnessforpeace.org) at Witness for Peace on 202 588 1471."

Colombians Oppose US Request for Immunity From ICC  8/20/02 AFP: "That has the bad taste of blackmail," said the former Conservative Party presidential candidate. "(It amounts to) aggressive diplomacy with poor countries." Former leftist presidential candidate Luis Eduardo Garzon wondered who would be responsible if US personnel committed excesses in Colombia."

Colombia's Drug War Attracts Dubious Ally  8/19/02 LA Times: "A fledgling U.S. program to eradicate cocaine in central Colombia has gained a notorious ally: a right-wing paramilitary army that the State Department has labeled a terrorist organization. The so-called self-defense forces, responsible for the majority of massacres in Colombia's bloody internal conflict, have thrown their support behind a U.S. alternative development program that seeks to persuade farmers to give up their profitable coca crops for legal products such as beans, chocolate and cattle."

Cauca: Their Fate Lies in Our Hands - Justin Podur interviews Noam Chomsky on Colombia  8/19/02 Znet: first published 7/12/02, remains very readable: "I spent a few days in Cauca, but met mostly people from the southern part, campesinos and indigenous mostly, with personal testimonies that are really painful to listen to. Also met activists from many different groups, very impressive people, and was able to spend a few hours talking to the governor, Floro Tunubala, a thoughtful, articulate, proud indigenous man, maybe the first indigenous elected official at that rank in the hemisphere. His election was a shock to the elites that have run the place forever. It's reminiscent of Haiti 10 years ago. His election was a reflection of the success of local organizing among the popular sectors, the "Bloque Social" -- the Social Bloc. In answer to your question, I'll just quote what he said in a published interview. He warned a year ago of the growing presence of paramilitaries in the north, another step in extending their control over large parts of Colombia. He attributed their invasion of northern Cauca to the successes of the Social Bloc, which has "won economic and territorial rights, and social rights in the areas of education and health." That "attracted the attention of the paramilitaries," who do not tolerate such deviation from the traditional structures of power they protect."

JOINT OPERATION BY ARMY, MARINES AND DEATH SQUADS  8/15/02 ANNCOL: "Organisations representing indigenous, peasant and Afro-Colombian communities in the Naya region of Colombia have sent a message saying that they fear that the security forces are preparing for a large-scale operation in the region aimed at assassinating locals accused of being guerrilla sympathisers. The urgent message, which was signed by local social and church organisations and human rights groups, says that they fear a repeat of the huge massacre last year in with soldiers and death squads killed over 100 civilians in Naya. According to the document in recent months the paramilitaries have carried out more and more selective assassinations in the area, which is made up of the municipalities of Buenos Aires and Suárez in Cauca department and Buenaventura municipality in neighbouring Valle department."

Colombia resorts to historical war strategy: civil resistance  8/13/02 CS Monitor: "But Mayor Tombé has seen the benefits of involving civilians in the protracted conflict. "[The FARC] have done nothing with me," he says from a makeshift office he uses part of the week in Popayan, one of the "prudent" security measures he has adopted since the FARC's edict. "I have a lot of backing from the community." Wearing the traditional black bowler hat and bright purple skirt of his tribe, Tombé declares: "If they do anything with me, they're going to have a lot of difficulties with the community. There will be an indigenous uprising." That is exactly what happened last month in the nearby towns of Totoró and Toribío, in the southwestern province of Cauca. The largely indigenous communities marched in the streets to defend their elected officials when the FARC arrived." Sounds like the Sandinistas in their relations with Atlantic coast Indians. When will the conquistadors learn?

Colombia's Uribe sends in the spies  8/9/02 BBC: operation TIPS in Colombia.

Claim of FARC-Al Qaida link rescinded  8/9/02 UPI: narcowars forever: "A top State Department official has rescinded a statement made under oath before a federal court that claimed Colombian rebels and narco-traffickers had trained at al Qaida camps in Afghanistan, after top intelligence and law enforcement officials disputed the claim. Assistant Secretary of State R. Rand Beers -- who heads the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement -- signed a declaration last November that said members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were thought to have received training at Al Qaida camps located in Afghanistan… The two declarations were filed in support of a motion to dismiss a civil suit against DynCorp, the largest State Department contractor, which performs a host of military, interdiction and support functions for the U.S. and Colombia governments in the fight against Colombia's drug cartels and insurgents." Dyncorp has interesting involvments around the world.

STATE DEPARTMENT MERCENARIES KILLED IN COLOMBIA  8/8/02 ANNCOL: "Six occupants of the Huey helicopter where killed in the incident on August 1st including the El Salvadorian pilot Eduardo Gil who was working on contract for the US State Department. Specifically Gil was employed by DynCorp, a Virginia-based mercenary company run by ex-US military and intelligence personnel who supply manpower for US semi-covert operations. DynCorp employs numerous foreigners for their missions in Colombia in an effort to circumvent Congressional restrictions on the numbers of US citizens allowed to directly participate in the Colombian civil war." Numerous Dyncorp employees have been implicated in child sex rings in the Balkans.

Bomb kills 13 as right-wing president sworn in  8/8/02 Sydney Morning Herald 

COLOMBIAN ARMY ACCUSED OF BLOODBATH IN ARAUCA  8/6/02 ANNCOL: "“They are killing the best people in Arauca with the full knowledge of the state and its military forces,” says the Arauca Campesino Association in a recently released statement. According to this campesino organisation the Colombian Army’s 18th Brigade is responsibly for hundreds of killings in the oil-rich eastern Colombian department of Arauca."

Colombia hit by wave of violence  8/6/02 BBC 

Directing the drug war  8/5/02 Washington Times: "The congressmen were concerned, Mr. Novak wrote, that Mr. Uribe would "appoint to high office Pedro Juan Moreno, a shadowy figure who had run-ins with U.S. and Colombian authorities over importing precursor chemicals of a kind that produce illegal narcotics."

Globalizing labor against Coca-Cola  8/3/02 People's Weekly: "In response to the union lawsuit, Coca-Cola (under the Panamco Colombia name) filed slander charges against Correa and other union leaders. This explains why Coca-Cola’s representative wrote in his letter to me, “The company believes that the unfounded allegations are an insult.” This gives them an excuse to sue for slander. With the slander allegation, Coca-Cola is using the courts and the financial power of its worldwide empire to harass in yet another way the already stressed and depleted union."

Colombia rebels clear out town  8/1/02 BBC 

IS COLOMBIA THE NEXT VIETNAM?  7/30/02 ANNCOL: "Our treasury also supported drug traffickers. The Central Intelligence Agency trained, equipped and financed the opium empires of the Golden Triangle, the narcotics-financed Chinese Nationalists, the Corsican Mafia, the Sicilian Mafia, the U.S. Mafia, Afghani-Pakistani heroin traders, the drug kings of the bloodthirsty Guatemalan G-2, key members of Mexico's Guadalajara Cartel, the cocaine-financed Contras of Nicaragua, drug traffickers with the Peruvian National Intelligence Service (SIN), the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army--a Balkan criminal network responsible for over 20 percent of Europe's heroin imports--and the Cali drug cartel in Colombia."

U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE IN COLOMBIA  7/30/02 ANNCOL: "As they did in Vietnam 40 years ago the United States is subtly increasing its military intervention in Colombia. Here Alfredo Castro looks at what is known about current US military presence in the Latin American nation."

25 COLOMBIANS ARE BEING FORCIBLY DISAPPEARED EACH WEEK  7/25/02 ANNCOL: "Newly released figures show that 25 people are being forcibly disappeared in Colombia each week – nearly all by groups linked to the State. Another 1,000 Colombians are forced from their land each day as a result of the counterinsurgency war being waged by the Colombian armed forces."

Colombia: Rebel plot to crash plane into buildings foiled  7/25/02 Boston Globe: "Jaramillo said Carvajalino had recruited a pilot who had agreed to fly a plane into the Congress building during Independence Day ceremonies on July 20 or into the presidential palace on Aug. 7, during the inauguration of the next president."

Colombia death squads 'disbanded'  7/20/02 Telegraph, UK: "But observers said the move was part of the death squads' plan to reinvent themselves as the government, backed by America, plans to take action against them. They also hope it will give them a seat at peace talks. The announcement by the feared paramilitary warlords Carlos Castano and Salvatore Mancuso that the 12,000-strong United Self Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) were being disbanded took the country by surprise. Insisting that "anarchy and drugs trafficking" had penetrated parts of the organisation, the warlords said they had no choice but to break up the federation of death squads."

MURDEROUS GENERAL REINSTATED  7/19/02 ANNCOL: "The Colombian government has ordered that an army General who was fired in 1995 for gross violations of human rights be reinstated and paid 84 months of back pay."

Congressional Black Caucus and African Colombians force meeting with Colombian President-elect Uribe  7/17/02 SF Bay View: "Congressman John Conyers, D-Mich., representing the near 40-member Congressional Black Caucus, whose members in turn represent millions of American taxpayers and voters including 35 million people of African descent in the U.S., met with the “disinterested” Colombian President-elect Alvaro Uribe Velez in the office of the Colombian ambassador on June 20 after “forcing” the president-elect not to “blow off the CBC… Congressman Conyers described the meeting as “positive but not naïve. They were gracious. They got the point,” he said. The CBC, the African Colombians, and African Colombian support groups in the United States and throughout the world are moving forward to stop the killing and begin the healing in Colombia. Eleven CBC staffers will visit Bogota and Choco from Aug. 10 to 15 to collect and analyze information and write a report on their observations of the crisis in Colombia. Congressman Conyers will lead a congressional delegation to Colombia after the November election.” The CBC invited the newly elected president, who owns land and a hacienda in the African Colombian state of Choco, to meet with the CBC during its weekly policy luncheon on June 19. Uribe rejected the invitation, saying “he couldn’t find time in his schedule,” according to the Colombian embassy. However, two years of work by the CBC and African Colombians in the United States, the warning of a white congressional colleague to Uribe not to “blow off the CBC,” the threat of unfavorable media exposure and a surprisingly cool U.S. reception forced Uribe to meet in the Colombian ambassador’s office the next day with Congressman Conyers. The other CBC members were unable or unwilling to comply with the contemptuous scheduling of the Colombian head of state."

In Colombia, U.S. Companies Get Down to Business  7/16/02 Americas.org 

US UNIONISTS PROTEST COCA-COLA KILLINGS  7/14/02 ANNCOL: published 7/4 - "In solidarity with Colombian Coca-Cola employees a group of US labour organizations are organizing a vigil at Coca-Cola corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia on July 22. The purpose is to put pressure on the soft drink giant to stop allowing the murder of workers at its Colombian bottling plants, the US unionists say."

Girls go to war as Colombia's frontline killers  7/14/02 Guardian, UK: "At least one third of Farc's 18,000 soldiers are now women. Hundreds more are being recruited as it gears up for a greater challenge from an expanding army expecting to receive more military aid and training from the United States as part of Washington's wars against drugs and terrorism… Defectors, however, say around half of their former comrades would desert the Farc if they thought they could escape safely. One reason for deserting, say the critics, is the guerrillas' double standards. Footsoldiers must lead blameless, disciplined lives, while their leaders get drunk, gamble and kill indiscriminately. And the Farc has largely lost not just its way, but the support of the people. Although the Farc was founded to fight for social justice, in the last decade it has been corrupted by its involvement in the drugs trade. Many of those it kills now are innocent peasants, the very people it set out to liberate."

52 die after violence breaks out in Colombia  7/14/02 Scotsman 

Colombian journalist murdered  7/13/02 BBC: "The body of Mario Prada, who ran a cultural monthly Horizonte del Magdalena Medio was found beside a road outside the town of Sabana de Torres."

UNION ACCUSES COCA-COLA OF MURDER  7/12/02 ANNCOL: "In recent years the Colombian Food Industry Worker's Union (SINALTRAINAL) has been the victim of a systematic campaign of destruction, which has seen the assassination of 14 senior members of the union. According to the union the Colombian state and the multinational Coca-Cola Corporation are behind the crimes and at least 7 members of the union working in Coca-Cola plants in Colombia have been murdered after demanding that the company pay fair wages and respect the local environment."

The Other Harken Energy Scandal - Oil, Death Squads and Corruption in Colombia  7/12/02 Counterpunch: "The bulk of the oil contracts were in the Magdalena Valley where military officers, drug traffickers, and cattle ranchers had come together to form right wing paramilitary groups that fought guerillas, assassinated union leaders and human rights activists, and terrorized peasants in order to force them off coveted land. Most of the oil companies doing business in the region either tacitly accepted or actively sought out the protection of these death squads. A 1996 Human Rights Watch report documents the fact that the Colombian military armed and assisted these groups and, under the guidance of the CIA, integrated them into its intelligence networks. The close cooperation between the military and the paramilitaries continues today - and tends to be most rampant in areas where there is a lot of oil production."

HIGH-RANKING OFFICIAL IMPLICATED IN PLAN TO MURDER CONGRESSMAN  7/11/02 ANNCOL: kill all the moderates and then you have perpetual war - "Gustavo Petro, a progressive member of the Colombian Congress has been forced to flee the country after it was revealed that a senior member of the Colombian Attorney General's Office and a national death squad commander were planning to assassinate him."

PARAMILITARIES ON THE RAMPAGE  7/11/02 ANNCOL: "During the first week of July hundreds of sinister leaflets, signed by the AUC paramilitary group in Colombia, have begun appearing on the streets of the city of Palmira and the nearby town of El Cerrito in Valle de Cauca department. The leaflets say that AUC death squads in both places are soon to begin a campaign of assassinations in poor neighbourhoods where the paramilitaries say residents support guerrillas of the FARC-EP."

WAR AGAINST DISPLACED COMMUNITIES IN COLOMBIA  7/11/02 ANNCOL: "In the city of Medellin the paramilitaries have been burning the makeshift shacks and assassinating leaders of the displaced communities. In Bucaramanga and Barranquilla leaders have received death threats and in Neiva the police violently attacked and threatened 50 families."

28 Colombia Mayors Resign  7/11/02 AP: "The mayors of 28 cities and towns resigned this week after leftist rebels threatened to kill Colombian mayors if they didn't step down, authorities confirmed Thursday." The FARC is said to get its revenues from taxing the coca trade while the paramilitaries extensively engage in it.

BULLETS AND BOMBS: DAILY LOT FOR UNIONISTS  7/8/02 ANNCOL: the US persues its "war on drugs" by supporting a government in bed with the paramilitaries who kill trade unionist - "Terrifying record figure of assassinations of trade unionists in Colombia. Most murders take place in Antioquia department and unionists from the public services have been the hardest hit by the paramilitary death squads."

WEEK OF COMBAT LEAVES 43 DEAD  7/5/02 ANNCOL: "Combat in Colombia between rebels and state forces is now taking place on a daily basis all over the country. In the past week fighting has been registered in the city of Medellin, various provincial towns as well as in remote mountainous and rural regions. Most of the combat has involved the FARC-EP guerrilla organisation and an alliance of army and paramilitary forces although the smaller ELN guerrilla and the Colombian police force have also been involved in some of the skirmishes. In Colombia's second city Medellin fighting flared in two neighbourhoods during the weekend when paramilitary forces backed by local police units attempted to enter the poor neighbourhoods of '20 de Julio' and 'Independencias'. Residents of both neighbourhoods seem to be lending support to the insurgency and witnesses say that urban militias of both the FARC and ELN have been strongly bolstered by new recruits in recent weeks."

DEATH SQUAD MURDERS TEN GIRLS AND DUMP THEM IN A SWAMP  7/1/02 ANNCOL: "Colombian paramilitaries have been consistently targeting young people and children according to a Barrancabermeja-based NGO. In another region soldiers murdered two civilians and subsequently claimed that they were actually guerrillas."

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