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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
December 28, 2013

For those wingers who've claimed FARC's done the major drug trafficking in Colombia,

and is responsible for the violence, please regard the following factual material kindly posted in Wikipedia to save you time researching:

Paramilitarism in Colombia

Right-wing paramilitary groups in Colombia are the parties responsible for most of the human rights violations in the latter half of the ongoing Colombian Armed Conflict. According to several international human rights and governmental organizations, right-wing paramilitary groups have been responsible for at least 70 to 80% of political murders in Colombia per year, with the remainder committed by leftist guerrillas and government forces. Paramilitary groups control the large majority of the illegal drug trade of cocaine and other substances together with the main Colombian drug cartels, especially in terms of trafficking and processing activities. The first paramilitary groups were organized by the Colombian military following recommendations made by U.S. military counterinsurgency advisers who were sent to Colombia during the Cold War to combat leftist political activists and armed guerrilla groups. The development of later paramilitary groups has also involved elite landowners, drug traffickers, members of the security forces, politicians and multinational corporations. Paramilitary violence today is principally targeted towards peasants, unionists, indigenous people, human rights workers, teachers and left-wing political activists or their supporters. The paramilitaries claim to be acting in opposition to revolutionary Marxist-Leninist guerrilla forces and their allies among the civilian population.

Plan Lazo[edit]

In October 1959, the United States sent a "Special Survey Team", composed of counterinsurgency experts, to investigate Colombia's internal security situation, due to the increased prevalence of armed communist self-defense communities in rural Colombia which formed during and after La Violencia.[1] Three years later, in February 1962, a Fort Bragg top-level U.S. Special Warfare team headed by Special Warfare Center commander General William P. Yarborough, visited Colombia for a second survey.[2]

In a secret supplement to his report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Yarborough encouraged the creation and deployment of a paramilitary force to commit sabotage and terrorist acts against communists:

A concerted country team effort should be made now to select civilian and military personnel for clandestine training in resistance operations in case they are needed later. This should be done with a view toward development of a civil and military structure for exploitation in the event the Colombian internal security system deteriorates further. This structure should be used to pressure toward reforms known to be needed, perform counter-agent and counter-propaganda functions and as necessary execute paramilitary, sabotage and/or terrorist activities against known communist proponents. It should be backed by the United States."[3][4][5]

The new counter-insurgency policy was instituted as Plan Lazo in 1962 and called for both military operations and civic action programs in violent areas. Following Yarborough's recommendations, the Colombian military recruited civilians into paramilitary "civil defense" groups which worked alongside the military in its counter-insurgency campaign, as well as in civilian intelligence networks to gather information on guerrilla activity. Among other policy recommendations the US team advised that "in order to shield the interests of both Colombian and US authorities against 'interventionist' charges any special aid given for internal security was to be sterile and covert in nature."[1][5][6] It was not until the early part of the 1980s that the Colombian government attempted to move away from the counterinsurgency strategy represented by Plan

December 28, 2013

Uruguay, Little Trailblazer That Could

Uruguay, Little Trailblazer That Could
Posted: 12/22/2013 8:15 pm

As 2013 hurtles to a close, Uruguay has been receiving an avalanche of worldwide recognition. London's The Guardian called the entire country "heroic" and said that it deserved a Nobel Peace Prize, Foreign Policy named President José Mujica among its "100 Leading Global Thinkers" for "redefining the Latin American left," and The Economist just named Uruguay its first-ever "Country of the Year." As a festive top-off, Buzzfeed published 21 reasons that everyone should move to Uruguay in 2014.

As a Uruguayan who grew up in the diaspora, accustomed to blank stares upon telling people where I'm from, and as an author of books about Uruguay, I find that there is a profound whiplash that comes with this level of global attention. We Uruguayans often experience our nation, culture, and realities as peripheral to global affairs. We are a nation of 3 million people sandwiched between two giants, Argentina and Brazil. We often feel invisible. How refreshing, then, to suddenly be heralded as a trailblazer for progressive change.

What's spurring all the attention?

Its primary source is Uruguay's groundbreaking new marijuana law. On Dec. 10 this tiny nation became the first in the world to legalize the cultivation and sale of marijuana, a project that aims to combat the illicit drug trade and its accompanying scourge of social violence, providing an alternative to the failing, U.S.-led war on drugs that may well be a model for other nations in the Americas and beyond. In other words, this is not just a law about smoking pot; it's a law about peace and safety.

There are other transformative policies that aggregate to create this potent moment in Uruguay. Among them:

• Uruguay legalized gay marriage this year, becoming the second Latin American nation to do so, and the 12th in the world. Even gay activists have been shocked by how many same-sex marriages have been officiated here since then. (My wife and I had the privilege of attending one: that of two loving men who've been together for 34 years. Their friends, neighbors, and former colleagues swarmed them with love and cheers. I should not have worn mascara.) Although homophobia certainly still exists, the social climate has been changing at a dizzying speed, thanks to the work of activists and remarkable public awareness campaigns like this one.

December 27, 2013

Mythmaking in the Washington Post: Washington’s Real Aims in Colombia

Weekend Edition December 27-29, 2013

Mythmaking in the Washington Post

Washington’s Real Aims in Colombia


Last Sunday’s Washington Post carried a front-page article by Dana Priest, in which she revealed “a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders.” Thanks to “a multibillion-dollar black budget”—“not a part of the public $9 billion package of mostly U.S. military aid called Plan Colombia”—as well as “substantial eavesdropping help from the National Security Agency,” the initiative has been successful, in Priest’s assessment, decimating the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, as the country’s “vibrant economy” and “swanky Bogota social scene” flourish.

The lengthy piece offers a smorgasbord of propagandistic assertions, pertaining both to Washington’s Colombia policies, and to its foreign conduct in general. For a sampling of the latter, consider one of the core assumptions underlying Priest’s report—namely, that our noble leaders despise drugs. The FARC’s “links with the narcotics trade” and “drug trafficking” motivated U.S. officials to destroy their organization, we’re supposed to believe. True, CIA informants in Burma (1950s), Laos (1970s), and Afghanistan (1980s) exploited their Agency ties “to become major drug lords, expanding local opium production and shipping heroin to international markets, the United States included,” Alfred W. McCoy’s research demonstrates. True, a few decades ago the Office of the United States Trade Representative joined “with the Departments of Commerce and State as well as leaders in Congress” for the purpose of “promoting tobacco use abroad,” the New York Times reported in 1988, quoting health official Judith L. Mackay, who described the resulting “tobacco epidemic” devastating the Philippines, Malaysia, and other countries: “smoking-related illnesses, like cancer and heart disease” had surpassed “communicable diseases as the leading cause of death in parts of Asia.” True, the DEA shut down its Honduran office in June 1983, apparently because agent Thomas Zepeda was too scrupulous, amassing evidence implicating top-level military officials in drug smuggling—an inconvenient finding, given Honduras’ crucial role in Washington’s anti-Sandinista assault, underway at the time.

But these events are not part of History, as the subject has been constructed in U.S. schools. It’s common to read, every year or so, an article in one of the major papers lamenting the fact that “American students are less proficient in their nation’s history than in any other subject,” as Sam Dillon wrote in a 2011 piece for the Times. The charge is no doubt true, as far as it goes: Dillon explained that only a “few high school seniors” tested were “able to identify China as the North Korean ally that fought American troops during the Korean War,” for example. But the accusation is usually leveled to highlight schools’ inadequacies, with little examination of the roles these institutions are meant to serve. And the indictments are hardly novel: in 1915, a Times story on New York City’s public schools complained their graduates “can not spell simple words,” were incapable of finding “cities and States” on a map, and so on. That piece explicitly critiqued graduates’ abilities to function as disciplined wage-earners, and so was more honest than the majority of today’s education coverage. The simple fact is “that the public schools are social institutions dedicated not to meeting the self-perceived needs of their students (e.g., by providing an understanding of how the world works) but to preserving social peace and prosperity within the context of private property and the governmental structures that safeguard it,” David Nasaw concludes in his fascinating history of the subject. Private schools, to be sure, are similar in essential respects. And one result of this schooling is that well-educated journalists can repeat myths about U.S. foreign policy, as their well-educated readers nod in blind assent.

The notion that U.S. officials have a coherent counterdrug policy is, again, one of these myths. In addition to the historical examples of U.S. support for drug traffickers cited above, we can note that the slur “narco-guerrilla,” which Washington uses to imply that the FARC is somehow unique for its involvement in the narcotics trade, ought to be at least supplemented by—if not abandoned in favor of—“narco-paramilitary.” Commentators tend to discuss the paramilitaries and the Colombian state separately, presupposing the former are “rogue” entities—another myth—when it would be better to view them, with Human Rights Watch, as the Colombian Army’s unofficial “Sixth Division,” acting in close conformity with governmental aims. Paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño admitted in March 2000 that some 70% of the armed groups’ funding came from drug trafficking, and U.S. intelligence agencies took no issue with his estimate—and “have consistently reported over a number of years that the paramilitaries are far more heavily involved than the FARC in drug cultivation, refinement and transshipment to the U.S.,” International Security specialist Doug Stokes emphasizes.


December 26, 2013

Brazilian president unveils 6.8-pct minimum wage hike

Brazilian president unveils 6.8-pct minimum wage hike

Dec 24,2013

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- President Dilma Rousseff announced Monday that the monthly minimum wage will be lifted to 724 Brazilian reals (306 U.S. dollars) starting next month, a 6.8-percent increase.

In a message via Twitter, Rousseff said she has signed the measure into law after it was approved by Congress last week as part of the 2014 budget, in accordance with the country's GDP growth and inflation-adjusted.

The move is expected to inject an additional 46 billion reals (20 billion dollars) into the Brazilian economy in 2014, according to Sao Paulo's Trade Federation of Goods, Services and Tourism.


(Short article, no more at link.)

December 26, 2013

For anyone who's in the dark concerning the Colombian paramilitary death squads:

(From previous posts here)

Paramilitaries said 1997 massacre was 'well coordinated' with army: US cable .
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 09:31 Adriaan Alsema

Members of paramilitary organization AUC told the U.S. embassy that the 1997 Mapiripan massacre in central Colombia was "well coordinated in advance" with (elements of) the army, according to a released diplomatic cable.

The State Department document was declassified and published Tuesday by the National Security Archive, a non-profit organization dedicated to declassifying U.S. government documents.

According to the embassy's anonymous sources, the army provided "travel, logistics, intelligence and security" to the paramilitary who killed dozens of civilians in the five days after their July 15 incursion of the town.

The identification of the victims has been complicated as the paramilitaries cut up the majority of their remains and threw them in a nearby river.

Read more: http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/25133-paramilitaries-said-1997-massacre-was-well-coordinated-with-army-us-cable.html

[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
The Massacre at Mapiripán
By Jo-Marie Burt · April 3, 2000

In July 1997, the paramilitary group known as the United Self-Defense Units of Colombia (AUC) went on a grisly killing spree in Mapiripán, a small coca-growing town in southeastern Colombia. According to eyewitness accounts, the paramilitaries hacked their victims to death with machetes, decapitated many with chainsaws and dumped the bodies–some still alive–into the Guaviare River. At least 30 people were killed, though the true number of dead may never be known. Carlos Castaño, the self-anointed leader of the AUC, immediately and unabashedly took credit for the massacre.

But Castaño did not act alone. Human rights observers immediately noted the complicity of the Colombian armed forces in the Mapiripán massacre. The paramilitaries used an army-guarded airstrip to land from their stronghold in northern Colombia and from which to launch their attack. Nor did the authorities respond to repeated calls by a local judge to stop the attack, which lasted six consecutive days.

Evidence later emerged suggesting that the role of the Colombian military in the massacre was in fact much deeper, and in March 1999 Colombian prosecutors indicted Colonel Lino Sánchez, operations chief of the Colombian Army’s 12th Brigade, for planning, with Castaño, the Mapiripán massacre. This is not surprising, given that the links between paramilitaries and the Colombian army have been well established. According to a February Human Rights Watch report, half of the Colombian Army’s 18 brigades have clear links to paramilitary groups.

In recent weeks, new evidence obtained by Ignacio Gómez of the Bogotá daily El Espectador, suggests that weeks, if not days, before the Mapiripán massacre, Colonel Sánchez received “special training” by U.S. Army Green Berets on Barrancón Island, on the Guaviare River. While it cannot be said that U.S. forces were directly involved in the massacre, or even knew that it was being planned, the events offer compelling evidence that U.S. equipment, training and money can be easily turned to vile purposes in what Human Rights Watch has called a “war without quarter.”


[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Document Friday: The Mapiripán Massacre “Cover-up”
July 13, 2012
by Michael Evans

The Colombian military falsely blamed a junior officer for complicity in a 1997 paramilitary massacre “as part an effort to confuse and cover up the responsibility of others,” according to a 2003 State Department letter, which we’re featuring here today as our Document Friday selection.

This posting kicks off the Archive’s commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Mapiripán massacre, one of the most infamous and emblematic acts of violence of Colombia’s decades-old conflict. A forthcoming Electronic Briefing Book now being prepared for the Archive’s Web site will highlight new revelations from a highly anticipated set of declassified diplomatic cables on Mapiripán released earlier today by the State Department’s Appeals Review Panel.

The State Department wrote the letter on behalf of Hernán Orozco, a former Colombian army colonel who cooperated with prosecutors during the investigation of his commanding officer, Gen. Jaime Uscategui, the first Colombian general to be sentenced in a major human rights case. The letter and other declassified documents published here today show that the State Department harbored serious concerns that the “whistle-blower” junior officer Orozco was being unfairly persecuted in Colombia for testifying against a senior military commander.

Two of Colombia’s top paramilitary figures, Carlos Castaño and Salvatore Mancuso, masterminded the Mapiripán massacre, flying more than 100 of their men into the region from Urabá, a longtime paramilitary stronghold. Arriving at a joint military/police airfield, the paras traveled by truck and by river to Mapiripán, passing several military checkpoints along the way. Dozens of suspected guerrilla collaborators were killed in the days that followed. A local magistrate—who each night “heard the screams of people who were being tortured and murdered” by Castaño’s men, made urgent pleas to Orozco, commander of the local army brigade, to step in and end the slaughter.

[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Murder Training: Colombian Death Squad Used Live Hostages
April 29, 2007 By El Tiempo

El Tiempo, Bogota -- "Proof of courage": that is how the how the paramilitaries would term the training they imparted to their recruits so that they learnt how to carve up people while they were still alive.

Initially, the authorities rejected this version of the farmers who reported the practice... but when the combatants themselves started to admit to it in their testimonies before the prosecutors, the myth became a harsh crime against humanity.

Francisco Enrique Villalba Hernández (alias Cristian Barreto), one of the perpetrators of the massacre at El Aro in Ituango, Antioquia, received this type of training in the same place where he learnt to handle arms and manufacture home-made bombs. Today, a prisoner at La Picota in Bogota, Villalba has described in details during lengthy testimonies how he applied the learning.

"Towards the middle of 1994, I was ordered to a course... in El Tomate, Antioquia, where the training camp was located," he says in his testimony. There, his working day started at 5 in the morning and the instructions were received directly from the top commanders such as 'Double Zero' (Carlos Garcia, since assassinated by another paramilitary group).

Villalba claims that in order to learn how to dismember people they would use farmers they gathered together in the course of taking neighbouring settlements. As he describes it, "they were aged people whom we brought in trucks, alive and bound up". The victims arrived at the ranch in covered trucks. They were lowered from the vehicle with their hands tied and taken to a room. There they were locked up for days in the hope that the training would start.



This is a translation of an article printed in Colombia's largest newspaper, "El Tiempo."


Former AUC, Francisco Enrique Villalba.[/center]

Material from a testimony by this man, Francisco Villaba, former death squad member. He was murdered not too long ago, after he had testified in court regarding his participation in AUC (right-wing paramillitary) activities:

Details of testimony that involves Uribe in a massacre
Posted on June 20, 2008 by csn


(Very, very graphic. Horrendous.)
[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Colombia Searches for its Dead
Apr 29 2007
Luz María Sierra

They Gave Quartering Classes

When we decided at El Tiempo to do a special report on the phenomenon of common graves a scene began to repeat itself in our newsroom: one by one, reporters coming back from the field, returned mortified.

Few discoveries have shaken us so deeply and few are as difficult to write about: from the scale of the horror, to the way they died, and by the insatiable pain of the families, as well as—perhaps most unsettling—realizing the magnitude of the work that remains to be done throughout the country. Will a significant number of the dead be unearthed and identified to alleviate their families? Will we be able to mourn, as we should, to prevent a third chapter of extreme violence from enrapturing Colombia?

Paramilitary testimonies and the results of forensic teams lead us to conclude that the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a paramilitary umbrella group, not only designed a method to quarter human beings, they also took the extra step of actually giving classes on the subject, using live people taken to their training camps.

Paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso confessed that to prevent authorities from finding the body of indigenous leader Kimi Pernía, they dug up his grave and threw his remains into the Sinú River. Informed sources allege that before beginning his demobilization negotiations with the government, Mancuso ordered land that was seeded with the dead on the Ralito estate to be dug up to hide his crimes. Now, investigators say the “Black Eagles,” which are a successor group of the paras, are going around the country digging up graves and throwing the remains into the rivers.

And the guerrillas? Their common graves have been found as well, especially in the department of Cundinamarca, but 98% of the denunciations and claims of graves being investigated by the Fiscalía are connected to the paras.


[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Here's one reason it's hard to get a lot of formal information on the Colombia massacres:

Mounting Evidence of President’s Involvement in Massacre

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 27 April 2008


• In the months and years that followed, government agencies as well as human rights organisations opened investigations into the massacre at El Aro. However, in 1999 the government investigators that were involved in this work were themselves all murdered. The highest profile human rights defender in Antioquia at that time, Jesus Maria Valle Jaramillo, publicly stated that the Army and paramilitaries had collaborated on the massacre and questioned why Governor Uribe had ignored the plea for help from residents in the period immediately preceding the attack. Uribe responded by accusing Mr Valle Jaramillo of being an "enemy of the armed forces". Then in February 1999, he too was assassinated.

• Some time afterwards Jose Ardila, the CONVIVIR representative who had attended the first meeting at the ranch with the Uribe brothers, had a falling out with Uribe. He was subsequently sentenced to a 60-year prison term but shortly afterwards was taken out of jail. He has never been seen since.

• Since going public with his testimony, Mr Villalba, who himself is in jail, has been the victim of three assassination attempts.


[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
COLOMBIA: Half Century of US Military Presence
Analysis by Javier Darío Restrepo

BOGOTA, Aug 11 2009 (IPS) - In the 1960s, it went by the name of Latin American Security Operation, or Plan LASO; today it is known as Plan Colombia. Back then, the aim was to weed out communism; now it is to combat drug trafficking, while at the same time dealing a blow to the guerrillas. But at that time or today, the interests of the United States are at stake, although the killing takes place in Colombia – whether in the fight against communists, guerrillas, drug traffickers, or all of them together.

In May 1964, the teletype machines were clicking as a United Press International (UPI) cable arrived from Washington about “a group of special forces technicians of the United States Army…sent to Colombia with (the) purpose of instructing soldiers and police in counter-guerrilla tactics.”

The advisers formed part of a campaign started by President Alberto Lleras (1945-1946 and 1958-1962) and continued by his successor Guillermo León Valencia (1962-1966).

The UPI cable goes on to say that “one of the principal tactics employed in the counter-guerrilla operations was the implementation of psycho-warfare which brought about the cooperation and trust of the indigenous population.”


December 26, 2013

Uruguay’s neighbor Argentina now considering marijuana legalization

Uruguay’s neighbor Argentina now considering marijuana legalization
By GlobalPost
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 10:03 EST

LIMA, Peru — Argentina has given the first sign that Uruguay’s groundbreaking cannabis reform just may have started a domino effect across Latin America.

Following the momentous vote by its smaller neighbor’s senate this month — making it the first nation in the world to completely legalize the soft drug — Argentina’s anti-drug czar Juan Carlos Molina has called for a public discussion in his country about emulating the measure.

“Argentina deserves a good debate about this,” Molina told local radio. “We have the capacity to do it. We should not underestimate ourselves.”

Crucially, Molina, a Catholic priest appointed earlier this month by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as head of her government’s counternarcotics agency, said his boss also wanted a new approach.

His comments are the clearest sign yet that Uruguay’s strategy — aimed at breaking the link between the lucrative marijuana trade and organized crime — has kicked off a trend in a region that long ago wearied of the bloodshed, expense and failed results of Washington’s “war on drugs.”


December 26, 2013

Contras, Dirty Money and CIA

Contras, Dirty Money and CIA

December 19, 2013

[font size=1]
Vice President George H.W. Bush meets with Panamanian
Gen. Manuel Noriega in 1983 as Noriega was being
recruited to aid Nicaraguan Contra rebels, in line with
President Ronald Reagan’s secret policies. Bush served
as CIA director in 1976.[/font]

From the Archive: On Dec. 20, 1989, President George H.W. Bush ordered the invasion of Panama to arrest Gen. Manuel Noriega on drug charges. The U.S. news media viewed the assault as a case of Bush seeking justice, but there was a darker back story of U.S. guilt, as Robert Parry reported in 1997.

By Robert Parry (Originally published in 1997)

On the afternoon of Oct. 2, 1987, John F. Molina, a 46-year-old Cuban with the look of a Latin Sean Connery, sauntered from the stylish Panama City offices of the law firm, Sucre y Sucre. Molina and his companion, Enrique Delvalle, had been clearing up business that they had with lawyers who had created shell corporations for an arms supply network for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. The two men stepped out onto the busy street and climbed into Molina’s red Mitsubishi four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Without their noticing, a young bushy-haired man with a moustache darted toward the car. The young man raised a .32-caliber pistol, pointed it at Molina’s head and fired three times. Molina slumped across the front seat. For a moment, Delvalle thought Molina was reaching toward the opposite side door. Then, Delvalle realized that John Molina was dead.

The gunman fled on foot. He was chased and cornered by an armed bystander, and then was arrested by Panamanian police. In custody, the killer identified himself as Maximillano Casa Sanchez, a Colombian hit man. Casa Sanchez told police that Colombian narcotraffickers had sent him to Panama to rub out Molina over a drug debt.

In the following days, La Republica, a newspaper allied with then-dictator Manuel Noriega, played up the drug angle — and Molina’s ties to Noriega’s political enemies in the Cruzada Civilista. The newspaper also noted that in the 1970s, Molina was president of UniBank, or the Union de Bancos, the Panamanian outpost for the WFC Corp., a shadowy money-laundering network earlier known as World Finance Corporation and run by Miami-based Cuban-Americans with close ties to the CIA.


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