ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN, Colombia's Killer Networks

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Tue, 3 Dec 1996 04:10:53 +0000 (GMT)


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Date: Mon, 2 Dec 96 11:25:19 CST
From: Arm The Spirit <ats@locust.cic.net>
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Subject: ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN, Colombia's Killer Networks

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|| * -- SPECIAL - * -- December 01, 1996 -- * - EDITION -- * ||
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SPECIAL EDITION
_____

_________________________________________________________________

COLOMBIA'S KILLER NETWORKS
_________________________________________________________________

CONTENTS

-----

1. (AFIB) Colombian State Terror: "Made in U.S.A."

2. (HRW/A) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH/AMERICAS: HRW reveals
Military-Paramilitary Network

3. (IPS) Military Runs Paramilitary Forces, Says Rights
Group

4. (IPS) Human Rights Watch Condemns Military Aid

-----

_________________________________________________________________

COLOMBIAN STATE TERROR: "MADE IN U.S.A."
_________________________________________________________________

By Tom Burghardt
Editor, Antifa Info-Bulletin

(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The explosive report released on Monday,
November 25 by Human Rights Watch (HRW), "Colombia's Killer
Networks," directly ties the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to the 1991 reorganization
of Colombian military intelligence.

The armed forces's secret reorganization plan, known as
Order 200-05/91, provides an institutional setting within the
highest echelons of the state security apparatus for paramilitary
terror. Obtained by HRW, the report reveals that death squads
are the linch pin for Colombia's "dirty war" against
"subversion."

According to Human Rights Watch, death squad "assets" under
the operational control of the military high command, routinely
carry out "surveillance of legal opposition political figures,
operate with military units, then executed attacks against
targets chosen by military commanders."

Since the death squads are creatures of the intelligence
services, is it any wonder that they operate with complete
impunity?

Working directly with Colombian military commanders, a joint
DoD-CIA "advisory team" helped to define a framework wherein
heinous acts of terror could be "plausibly denied." As in El
Salvador, Turkey and elsewhere, "public-private" partnerships
such as these, provide the "killer networks" the widest possible
latitude for repression. Last Monday's revelations however,
should not surprise anyone.

U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine throughout Latin America and
much of the Third World since the Kennedy administration, is
predicated on the Orwellian concept of "internal security."
Since the likelihood of a major land war among Latin American
states is practically zero, the threat of "internal subversion"
is the strategic basis for military planning in the region.

Within the context of Colombia's "genocidal democracy," a
"subversive" is anyone who challenges the "fundamental order of
things." In practice, the main targets of "counterguerrilla"
operations are civilians. "Civic action," "model villages,"
"self-defense guards"; while the terms change, the concepts are
nothing more than euphemisms for coordinated acts of terror
against a defenseless population.

Should it surprise us that the worst offenders of human
rights, such as retired General Farouk Yanine Diaz, the architect
of countless massacres throughout his career, is a graduate of
the U.S. Army School of the Americas? Since the Pentagon claims
that "human rights" is a "top priority," why would they employ
Diaz as an instructor at the Inter-American Defense College in
Washington?

The "war on drugs" is the fig leaf used by imperialism to
arm the reactionary Colombian military to the teeth -- with
deadly and predictable results. Leftist political activists,
trade unionists, campesino organizers, progressive clergy, human
rights activists (and anyone else caught in the cross fire), have
been mercilessly slaughtered.

While a "credible fighting force" when it comes to murdering
priests and women, or taking kick-backs from drug lords, the
Colombian army has been fought to a stalemate by guerrilla
forces. Since suffering a humiliating series of defeats last
August, inflicted by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC), military repression has intensified. Last weekend alone,
more than 20 campesinos were slaughtered by paramilitaries in the
Uraba region.

In one harrowing case last summer in the town of Apartado, a
child playing in a school yard was killed and then decapitated by
paramilitaries. The murder was a message meant to intimidate the
town's mayor, Gloria Cuartas. While this blood-curdling act was
taking place, Cuartas was in the school with another group of
children preparing for a week-long educational event for peace.
Despite the grisly nature of the crime, the killers are still at
large.

With distinctive names such as "American Anti-Communist
Action" (Triple A), linked to the Battalion of Intelligence and
Counter-Intelligence (BINCI); "Death to Kidnappers" (Muerte a
Secuestradores, MAS), created by Cali narcocapitalists; and the
"Autodefensas Campesinas de Cordoba y Uraba" (ACCU), launched by
millionaire landowner Fidel Casta~no, Colombian death squads have
but a single purpose: to destroy any possibility that workers
and campesinos will organize in order to end Colombia's
widespread misery and grinding poverty.

Events in Colombia, and Washington's criminal complicity,
should serve as a wake-up call closer to home. As economic and
political conditions continue to deteriorate in Mexico,
Washington is providing ever-increasing levels of military aid
and counterinsurgency training to the repressive Mexican Army.
Death threats, "disappearances," torture, paramilitary violence
and escalating levels of repression are harbingers of greater
terror to come -- unless action is taken to stop it.

(Additional sources: Associated Press, Justicia y Paz, New York
Times, Washington Post)

-----

For information on human rights in Colombia, contact:

COLOMBIA SUPPORT NETWORK
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, Wisconsin 53701
TEL: (608) 257-8753
FAX: (608) 255-6621
E-MAIL: csn@igc.apc.org
WWW: http://www.igc.apc.org/csn

*****

gopher://gopher.igc.apc.org:5000/00/int/hrw/americas/colombia/4

-----
_________________________________________________________________

COLOMBIA: HRW REVEALS MILITARY-PARAMILITARY NETWORK
_________________________________________________________________

November 25, 1996, 3:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

(Bogota: 25 Nov 96)--In "Colombia's Killer Networks," a
report released today, Human Rights Watch presents evidence,
including the heretofore secret Colombian military intelligence
reorganization plan called Order 200-05/91 and eyewitness
testimony, that shows that in 1991, the Colombian military made
paramilitaries a key component of a new intelligence-gathering
apparatus -- in violation of Colombian law -- with lethal
consequences. Working under the direct orders of the military
high command, these paramilitaries have conducted surveillance of
legal opposition political figures, operated with military units,
then executed attacks against targets chosen by military
commanders, according to the 156-page report by the New York-
based human rights group.

"Colombia's Killer Networks," a collaboration by Human
Rights Watch/Americas and the Human Rights Watch Arms Project,
also documents the disturbing role played by the United States in
Colombia's military-paramilitary partnership. Despite Colombia's
disastrous human rights record, a U.S. Defense Department and
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) team worked with Colombian
military officers on the 1991 intelligence reorganization that
resulted in the creation of these killer networks. In addition,
the U.S. provided weapons ostensibly to fight drugs to Colombian
military units with a record of serious and continuing human
rights violations without establishing mechanisms to ensure that
U.S. aid is not used to commit these violations.

The Human Rights Watch report cites eyewitness testimony and
the Colombian government's own civilian investigators to show
that one of the new networks, based in the city of
Barrancabermeja and known as Naval Intelligence Network 07, was
responsible for the killings of at least fifty-seven civilians in
1992 and 1993.

Human Rights Watch presents evidence that shows that
collaboration between the military and paramilitaries as laid out
in Order 200-05/91 and described by former intelligence agent
testimony is now a fact of life in Colombia. Based on our
interviews with witnesses and former participants, the
government's own investigations, and abundant material collected
by human rights groups and journalists, we believe that the
military high command continues to organize, encourage, and
deploy paramilitaries to fight a covert war against those it
suspects of support for guerrillas. Military authorities publicly
deny they support paramilitary groups, or organize or deploy such
forces.

"It is time to clear the smokescreen of official denial and
identify the military-paramilitary partnership for what it is,"
said Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights
Watch/Americas. "This is a sophisticated mechanism, in part
supported by years of advice, training, weaponry, and official
silence by the United States, that allows the Colombian military
to fight a dirty war and Colombian officialdom to deny it. The
price so far is thousands of dead, disappeared, maimed, and
terrorized Colombians."

"The evidence cited in the report, including confidential
Colombian and declassified U.S. government documents, raises
serious questions about the United States's contribution to the
military-paramilitary partnership in Colombia," added Joost
Hiltermann, the executive director of the Human Rights Watch Arms
Project, which co-authored the report.

"Under the stated objective of fighting drugs, the United
States has lent Colombia's military and their paramilitary
partners significant support," Hiltermann said. "Although
credible reports of human rights abuses are common, the U.S.
appears to have turned a blind eye to them, ignoring the fact
that U.S. weapons, advice, and training have gone to forces that
routinely commit human rights violations, often in partnership
with paramilitaries."

Since 1990, U.S. weaponry provided to the Colombian army and
navy has included 2,020 M9 pistols, 426 M16A2 rifles, 945 M60E3
machine guns, and 255 shotguns, as well as various military
vehicles and communication equipment. U.S. military aid has gone
to at least twenty-four Colombian army units primarily devoted to
fighting guerrillas, not drugs. Most of these units have been
implicated in human rights violations. Massacres committed by
just one of the units that received U.S. military aid, the Palace
Battalion, claimed the lives of at least 120 noncombatants since
1990, killings that remain largely unpunished.

Nevertheless, U.S. arms grants and sales to Colombia not
only continue unimpeded, but are expected to reach a record
level. The Pentagon estimates sales in FY 1996 at $84 million and
in FY 1997 at $123 million -- the highest level ever.

In Colombia, neither military nor paramilitary killers face
any serious threat of prosecution for their crimes, Vivanco
noted. Although civilian prosecutors collected convincing
evidence against Lt. Col. Rodrigo Quinones, head of Naval
Intelligence Network 07, a military court acquitted him and kept
him on active duty. Fully armed paramilitaries routinely pass
military bases on their way to and from massacres, with no fear
of arrest.

Human Rights Watch calls on the United States to immediately
suspend all military aid, arms sales, and military training to
Colombia. In particular, the United States should suspend the
pending delivery of $169 million in Black Hawk helicopters, M60
machine guns, and ammunition sold to Colombia as well as the $40
million in helicopters, communications gear, and equipment
provided free of charge under the special drawdown authority of
Section 506 (a) of the Foreign Assistance Act.

Aid should not be resumed until the longstanding practices
of gross and persistent violations of human rights by the
Colombian armed forces and their paramilitary partners have
ceased. At a minimum, the resumption of aid should be conditioned
on the willingness of the Colombian government to implement
effective measures to eliminate and prevent any form of support,
cooperation, or collaboration between the military and
paramilitary forces. Armed paramilitary units, long ago outlawed
in Colombia, should be effectively dismantled and disarmed. The
Colombian government must demonstrate the effectiveness of its
legal mechanisms for investigating and disciplining, including
through criminal sanctions, members of the military responsible
for human rights abuses.

Human Rights Watch also urges the U.S. government to
immediately suspend the visas of Colombian officers implicated in
human rights abuses pending the results of an impartial and
public investigation by the Colombian attorney general.

Recognizing that this report raises many questions about CIA
and U.S. military support for the reorganization of Colombia's
intelligence services and subsequent assistance to the Colombian
armed forces, Human Rights Watch urges the U.S. to conduct an
immediate, comprehensive investigation of security assistance
since 1990 to Colombia to determine the extent to which the
United States has become complicit in Colombia's killer networks.

Human Rights Watch will release "Colombia's Killer Networks"
at a press conference at the Hotel Tequendama in Bogota,
Colombia, at 3:00 p.m., EST, Monday, November 25, 1996.

-----

Additional copies of "Colombia's Killer Networks" are
available from the Publications Department, Human Rights Watch,
485 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017-6104 for $18.00 (domestic)
and $22.50 (international). Visa/MasterCard accepted.

Human Rights Watch/Americas
Human Rights Watch is a nongovernmental organization
established in 1978 to monitor and promote the observance of
internationally recognized human rights in Africa, the Americas,
Asia, the Middle East and among the signatories of the Helsinki
accords. It is supported by contributions from private
individuals and foundations worldwide. It accepts no government
funds, directly or indirectly. Kenneth Roth is the executive
director and Robert L. Bernstein is the chair of the board.
Its Americas division was established in 1981 to monitor human
rights in Latin America and the Caribbean.. Jose Miguel Vivanco
is executive director and Stephen L. Kass is the chair of the
advisory committee. Its Arms Project was established in 1992 to
monitor and prevent arms transfers to governments or
organizations that commit gross violations of internationally
recognized human rights and the rules of war and promote freedom
of information regarding arms transfers worldwide. Joost R.
Hiltermann is the director and Stephen D. Goose is the program
director.

Website Address: http://www.hrw.org
Gopher Address: gopher://gopher.humanrights.org:5000/11/int/hrw

Listserv instructions: To subscribe to the general HRW
e-mail list (to receive press releases and public letters
concerning all regions of the world), send an e-mail message to
majordomo@igc.apc.org with "subscribe hrw-news" in the body of
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and public letters concerning only Latin America and the
Caribbean), send a message to majordomo@igc.apc.org with
"subscribe hrw-news-americas" in the body of the message (leave
the subject line blank).

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
485 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10017-6104
TEL: 212/972-8400
FAX: 212/972-0905
E-mail: hrwnyc@hrw.org

1522 K Street, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20005
TEL: 202/371-6592
FAX: 202/371-0124
E-mail: hrwdc@hrw.org

*****

** Topic: COLOMBIA-U.S.: Military Runs Paramilitary Forces,
Says Rights Group **
** Written 3:47 PM Nov 29, 1996 by newsdesk
in cdp:ips.english **

-----

Copyright 1996 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.

*** 26-Nov-96 ***

COLOMBIA-U.S.:
_________________________________________________________________

MILITARY RUNS PARAMILITARY FORCES, SAYS RIGHTS GROUP
_________________________________________________________________

by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON, Nov 25 (IPS) - The Colombian military has made
supposedly independent right-wing paramilitary groups an integral
part of its intelligence-gathering apparatus and is using them to
eliminate targeted opposition figures, according to a report by a
U.S. human rights group.

The report by the Washington-based Human Rights
Watch/Americas and the Human Rights Watch Arms Project also
concludes that U.S. military and intelligence agencies provided
assistance in a 1991 Colombian intelligence reorganisation and
has since supplied growing amounts of weapons that have been used
to commit grave human rights abuses.

The groups are calling on Washington and the countries of
the European Union (EU) to immediately suspend all military aid
and sales to Colombia until such rights abuses by both the
military and their paramilitary partners have ceased.

''It is time to clear the smokescreen of official denial and
identify the military-paramilitary partnership for what it is,''
says Jose Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch/Americas director
who released the report Monday.

''This is a sophisticated mechanism, in part supported by
years of advice, training, weaponry, and official silence by the
United States, that allows the Colombian military to fight a
dirty war and Colombian officialdom to deny it,'' he added.

The report, 'Colombia's Killer Networks', comes just as the
administration of President Bill Clinton is planning to ship more
than 200 million dollars' worth of military assistance to
Colombia, ostensibly to help fight drug-trafficking.

The aid includes 12 Blackhawk helicopters, 24 door-mounted
machine guns, three C-26 surveillance aircraft and six river
patrol boats. Another 12 Huey helicopters and other military
items are to be provided to the Colombian National Police at the
same time.

Human rights groups and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill
oppose the aid, citing the thousands of killings committed by
both the military and police over the past decade.

U.S. officials strongly deny that weapons provided to
Colombian security forces are being used for anything other than
prosecuting the war against drug traffickers. On Monday, for
example, State Department spokesman Glyn Davies insisted that an
''end-use monitoring programme'' would detect any deviation by
the Colombian authorities from the purposes for which the aid was
supplied.

''Through that ongoing regime, we're able to keep a pretty
good grip on what is being done with the material,'' he said.
''We're not planning any larger campaign or investigation to look
at what's been done with the material.''

But the Human Rights Watch/Americas report, like a recent
study by Amnesty International, says that military units which
have received U.S. weaponry include many which are engaged in
counter-insurgency campaigns and stand accused of serious human
rights abuses.

The group cites two recent U.S. government reports on the
brigades and battalions which have received the aid. Most of
them, according to the group, have committed serious abuses,
including massacres.

''Massacres committed by just one of the units that received
U.S. military aid, the Palace Battalion, took the lives of at
least 120 people since 1990, killings that remain largely
unpunished,'' the report says.

The new report adds two major new charges about the
apparatus of rights abuse in Colombia -- by asserting in a more
concrete way than ever that the military controls various
paramilitary groups; and by pointing to the possible involvement
of U.S. military and intelligence agencies in setting up and
possibly even tending the apparatus that joins the two entities
together.

Colombian military commanders, according to the report,
''have not only promoted, encouraged and protected paramilitary
groups, but have used them to provide intelligence and
assassinate and massacre Colombians suspected of being guerrilla
allies.'' It notes that in 1995, almost half of all acts of
political violence where the perpetrator was identified were
attributed to paramilitaries.

According to one retired army major quoted in the report,
paramilitary groups are the ''principal source'' of army
intelligence in troubled areas. ''These people live in the region
and have contacts with both their own side and with the enemy,''
he told Human Rights Watch. ''In fact, the principal action of
the paramilitaries is (to collect) intelligence, in addition to
serving as an extermination group.''

Central to this development was a secret 1991 military
intelligence reorganisation plan called Order 200-05/91 which
made paramilitaries a ''key component'' of the military's
intelligence apparatus.

An intelligence network organised by the navy under the
Order, according to the report, was responsible for ''dozens of
extrajudicial executions in Barrancabermeja. In northern
Magdalena, the military has armed and equipped paramilitaries and
even patrolled with them, according to the report. In some cases,
the military has ''apparently moved paramilitaries around the
country to carry out political killings.''

''Based on our interviews with witnesses and former
participants, the government's own investigations, and abundant
material collected by human rights groups and journalists, we
believe that the military high command continues to organise,
encourage and deploy paramilitaries to fight a covert war against
those it suspects of support for guerrillas,'' the report
concludes.

It says Washington has played a ''disturbing role'' in the
military-paramilitary partnership. ''Despite Colombia's
disastrous human rights record, a U.S. Defence Department and
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) team worked with Colombian
military officers on the 1991 intelligence reorganisation,''
according to the report.

Since then, Washington has provided thousands of machine
guns, pistols, rifles, landmines, and grenades, much of which is
more suitable for counter-insurgency than for the war against
drugs.

In addition, Colombian officers trained by the U.S. -- some
at the controversial School of the Americas -- have been
implicated in serious abuses, including massacres, according to
the report.

In 1996, it says, Washington deployed at least two teams of
52 Army Special Forces personnel to Colombia for two-month
missions. It also scheduled 49 deployments involving a total of
231 U.S. military and intelligence advisors, including 97 in
support of the Colombian navy in Santafe de Bogota. The covert
action wing of the CIA has also sponsored training for Colombian
Special Forces units, according to the report.

[c] 1996, InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS)
All rights reserved

** End of text from cdp:ips.english **

*****

** Topic: COLOMBIA: Human Rights Watch Condemns Military Aid **
** Written 3:44 PM Nov 29, 1996 by newsdesk in cdp:ips.english **

-----

Copyright 1996 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.

*** 26-Nov-96 ***
_________________________________________________________________

COLOMBIA: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH CONDEMNS MILITARY AID
_________________________________________________________________

by Yadira Ferrer

BOGOTA, Nov 26 (IPS) - Colombia came back into the limelight
for human rights violations when a US human rights group report
disclosed the existence of ''killer networks'' allegedly
operating under the Armed Forces here.

Human Rights Watch/Americas director, Jose Miguel Vivanco,
said the organisation had asked the United States and the
European Union to suspend military aid to Colombia to prevent
being used by ''units implied in serious human rights
violations.''

He said there was an alliance between the right-wing
paramilitary groups and the Armed Forces under which the two
sectors divide ''functions and tasks'' which lead to the
violation of basic human rights.

Vivanco presented the government with the report
''Colombia's Killer Networks'' Monday, a document which includes
details of concrete cases of paramilitaries ''operating in
Colombia with Army support.''

This included interviews with witnesses of human rights
violations, members of the government and officials at the United
States embassy in Bogota, along with an army document on the
''reorganisation of military intelligence'' developed with help
from the US State Department.

One of the cases in the document was that of Wilson Caceres,
leader of the Sabana de Torres community in north-east Colombia
and member of the Rural Workers and Peoples Movement of the area,
who was last seen by his family on Apr. 6, 1995, when he left for
work on a nearby estate.

Caceres, who figured along with 13 others on a list of the
Colombian Rural Self-Defenders (ACC) as a left-wing activist, was
just one more of the Colombian people who disappear every other
day for political reasons.

Vivanco said that in 1995, nearly half the acts of political
violence where the guilty parties are identified, are carried out
by paramilitaries.

The Human Rights Watch claims is backed up by evidence from
investigations by the Colombian Attorney General's Office into
the murders of nearly 200 people in Magdalena Medio, in the
northeast of the country, which involved five army generals.

The main accused is Alfonso Baquero, a former Guerrilla, who
worked with the ACC in the eighties.

He told the prosecutors the counterinsurgency alliance
between the military, police, drug traffickers and landowners was
formed in 1987 in Magdalena Medio in 1987.

''The military organised us so that we would do what they
couldn't, which was kill people and carry out massacres,''
Baquero told the Attorney General.

Human Rights Watch claim this association ''forms part of
the Colombian situation'' and that the material collected by the
non-governmental human rights organisations ''is abundant'' in
reports of murders, massacres and disappearances.

The report states that in the case of Magdalena Medio, one
of the most violent regions of the nation, it was proven the army
''had armed and equipped paramilitaries and had patrolled with
them'' and that on some occasions they had been moved to other
regions ''to carry out political killings.''

Nonetheless, these activities make up ''only half the
association,'' said Vivanco. The fundamental issue is the
''strategy of impunity'' which exists, as the military justice
system ''systematically covers up'' the action of officers
associated with these paramilitary groups.

Although Human Rights Watch is not in a position to confirm
this association is a State policy, Vivanco said the events were
too ''abundant and repetitive'' to be coincidental.

He said the US Defence Department and Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) assessment of the Plan for the Reorganisation of
Military Intelligence in Colombia in 1991 was particularly
worrying.

This plan ''led to the creation of killer networks which
identified and delivered death to civilians suspected of
supporting the guerrilla,'' he said.

Colombia's Defence Minister, Juan Esguerra, said the
government ''is fighting the paramilitaries'' adding that the
Human Rights Watch report bore no relation to ''the present
situation.''

However, that group's declarations agree closely with a
report by Amnesty International, where the United States is asked
to suspend military aid to Colombia, based on the Leahy
ammendment which states it is illegal to give military aid to
units which violate human rights.

[c] 1996, InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS)
All rights reserved

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