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July 05, 2008

OT 08-24

MoA says: "Hmmm, comments!"

News & views ... open thread ...

Posted by b on July 5, 2008 at 11:24 UTC | Permalink

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US Special-Ops, Not Colombian Army, in Hostage Rescue
Months in the Planning, the Operation Included US Special Forces Posing as Members of a “French Humanitarian Group”

A U.S. military special-operations unit carried out the recent rescue of three Defense Department contractors being held by the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), according to a source who has first-hand knowledge of the operation.

The U.S. military contractors – Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell – had been held captive by the FARC ever since their surveillance plane was shot down in February 2003 over the Colombian jungles. Also rescued in the mission were 11 Colombian military and police officers as well as former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt – who also is a French citizen.

The source of information for this report asked not to be identified, though Narco News has not been led astray by this source in the past.

The source claims the rescue mission was a U.S.-led operation with Colombian support – as opposed to the reverse, as has been widely reported in the U.S. media. The operation had been underway for some months prior to the July 2 rescue day.

In priming this pump, the U.S. team managed to plant some satellite phones with the FARC. The source declined to provide details on how that was accomplished for fear of compromising future operations of this nature. From there, the U.S. military used its technology to set up surveillance by intercepting the FARC’s communications.

The whole operation was carried out, the source claims, under the guise of being a humanitarian mission. The FARC, the source claims, believed they were dealing with a “French humanitarian group.” The communications intercepts helped to facilitate that deceit, the source adds.

A BBC report provides a similar account of the rescue operation, only that report claims Colombian soldiers were in the pilot seats.

“Colombian soldiers – apparently posing as members of a non-government organisation – flew them [the hostages] to freedom in a helicopter,” the BBC report states.

Of course...


Colombian rebels paid $20 mln to free Betancourt MOSCOW, July 4 (RIA Novosti) - Colombian rebels received a $20 million ransom for the "staged" release of 15 hostages, including former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. citizens, Swiss media reported Friday......


Wasn't McCain just down there in Bogota...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 5 2008 11:51 utc | 1

@1, sarkozy = RR

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jul 5 2008 12:25 utc | 2


Wasn't McCain just down there in Bogota...

photo

maybe all the little leaks are the primer for the big leak it was mcCain the hero rescuing the hostages.

hollywood.

Posted by: annie | Jul 5 2008 13:10 utc | 3

Bush, Colombia & Narco-Politics

By Andrés Cala

July 3, 2008 (Originally published August 8, 2007)

Editor's Note: In view of John McCain's trip to Colombia in support of a proposed "free trade" agreement, we are re-posting a story from last year by journalist Andres Cala, providing background of the underworld connections of Alvaro Uribe's government:

George W. Bush’s strategy of countering Venezuela’s leftist president Hugo Chávez by strengthening ties to Colombia’s rightist government has been undercut by fresh evidence of high-level drug corruption and human rights violations implicating President Alvaro Uribe’s inner circle.

These new allegations about Colombia’s narco-politics have tarnished Uribe’s reputation just as Bush has been showcasing the Harvard- and Oxford-educated politician as a paragon of democratic values and an alternative to the firebrand Chávez, who has used Venezuela’s oil wealth to finance social programs for the poor across the region.

thanks annie...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 5 2008 13:24 utc | 4

somebody spliced audio of Charlie Manson talking with GWB talking.

The whole thing is 3 minutes long. I'm afraid to comment on it too much. Clearly, the exercise isn't arbitrary - they have the same kind of drawl and both express a desire to make their mark, at least.

Posted by: H | Jul 5 2008 13:46 utc | 5

uncle

Then, in December 2006, embarrassed by the ongoing criminality in the AUC’s Santa Fe Ralito safe haven, the government put some paramilitary leaders in prison.

i remember this, i believe the 'embarrassment' was discovering the officials who were supposedly imprisoned for their agreed terms in the reconciliation process were later found to have paid off some locals to serve their terms for them. then when the laptop incident came up AFTER they had already supposedly confessed to everything it nixed the previous terms of their agreement which was designed originally to allow them to resume political careers after they paid their dues.

big mess

Posted by: annie | Jul 5 2008 14:49 utc | 6

Uncle Scam, synchronicity, I was just thinking in the car, sure and McC was there in Columbia...

It is characteristic, some of these important people just have to be there, it is an adventure to them. Like Giuliani and Netenhayou (sp) being in London on the day of the 7/7 bombings. It is of course the deceptive aspect that draws them, the fictional scenario. And with their presence they signal ‘something is going on / is going to happen’ but they can’t keep away! They need the thrill of being conspirators, participating, or seeing at least a part of it ‘going down’..

On Friday morning my Columbian friend told me that 20 mil was paid before I heard it on Swiss Radio. She said everyone in her home town knew it. Today’s paper (le temps, pen of correspondent in Bogota) in the headline says that the senator Piedad Cordoba confirms that the official story is bogus.

On another note, my friend also tells me that in her town the ‘amnesty plus reinsertion program’ is working fine. The ex-terrorists (argh, I swore not to use that word anymore) are accepted and helped. Until the day they transgress - then its bye bye birdie. She was quite fierce about that.


Posted by: Tangerine | Jul 5 2008 15:06 utc | 7

Oh, just to elaborate a bit. Last year Uribe created a fund of 100 million dollars for deserters who would free, or flee with hostages (this extra to the re-insertion program.)

from le temps 5.07.08: On 14.06.08 Uribe announced in public that those who held Ingrid had contacted the Gvmt. for guarantees if they would liberate her. He reported he responded: Tell them they can act, they can do it, don’t waste time with more phone calls, money / amnesty / exile / new identity are promised.

Posted by: Tangerine | Jul 5 2008 15:24 utc | 8

Interview with Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador circa 4/08

Is it true that Reyes had contacted the French in order to negotiate the liberation of Ingrid Betancourt, when he was bombed?

Uribe doesn’t want peace, nor does he want hostages released, because Betancourt is a potential presidential candidate. It’s true that we’d known that contact would be made in a neutral third country in order to liberate them later on Ecuadoran soil. President Chávez also asked me if we could receive hostages in our territory because a transfer over the Colombian-Venezuelan border had become very dangerous. We were in the middle of that process. Those movements toward liberation of the hostages that the guerrillas entrusted to Reyes were precisely the reason Reyes was destroyed.

Posted by: annie | Jul 5 2008 15:39 utc | 9

AP: U.S. Okayed Korean War Massacres

SEOUL The American colonel, troubled by what he was hearing, tried to stall at first. But the declassified record shows he finally told his South Korean counterpart it "would be permitted" to machine-gun 3,500 political prisoners, to keep them from joining approaching enemy forces.

In the early days of the Korean War, other American officers observed, photographed and confidentially reported on such wholesale executions by their South Korean ally, a secretive slaughter believed to have killed 100,000 or more leftists and supposed sympathizers, usually without charge or trial, in a few weeks in mid-1950.

Extensive archival research by The Associated Press has found no indication Far East commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur took action to stem the summary mass killing, knowledge of which reached top levels of the Pentagon and State Department in Washington, where it was classified "secret" and filed away.
...

Posted by: b | Jul 5 2008 16:07 utc | 10

Some terrorist assassinated Hitler. As it was a beheading there might be connection to some Taliban groups.

Posted by: b | Jul 5 2008 16:31 utc | 11

Greetings from Bogota.

I can assure you it was quite real. As real as the Reyes op.

Hoo-ah.

And anyone who believes those hostages would have cost a mere 20 mil, doesn't know jack about FARC.

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 18:18 utc | 12

Hi pat, THE pat? Welcome back. Let us know more.

Posted by: b | Jul 5 2008 18:35 utc | 13

THE pat.

Lemme know what you wanna know. I'll see what I can do.

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 18:55 utc | 14

Iran warns of Gulf blitzkrieg, Hormuz closure

Iran's military chiefs warned on Saturday that the Islamic republic would shut down the Strait of Hormuz vital for oil exports and use "blitzkrieg tactics" in the Gulf if it came under attack.

"All the countries should know that if Iran's interests in the region are ignored, it is natural that we will not allow others to use it (the strait)," said army chief General Hassan Firouzabadi, quoted by the Fars news agency.

Also see,
The finishing touches on several contingency plans for attacking Iran

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 5 2008 19:40 utc | 15

@pat - your current mission, how it's going, what are your personal thoughts about it?

I found your comments quite valuable then. Now: What's the U.S.military job in Bogota, Columbia and elsewhere?

Posted by: b | Jul 5 2008 19:45 utc | 16

pat

a 'military operation' did not happen & you know it. colombian newspapers will tommorrow report on an arrangement with certain members of farc

colombian 'intelligence' even with american infrastructure is & has been hopeless. if it indeed possessed human intelligence farc would have been finished long ago

colombia is one of the few whores left in latin america with her legs wide open enjoying it's servant role to the empire. that uribe - a man whose taste for massacres is well known & recorded as is his familial relation to death squads. uribe's utter servitude to the narcotrafficers is common knowledge even amongst conservative elements in colombia

it is a good thing for the hostages to be free - but it was not due to 'intelligence' in any form, military or otherwise

it is what is called in the blues business -'last deal gone down'

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 5 2008 20:53 utc | 17

I represent the US military in Colombia. Not alone, certainly. Arrived in January and I'm missing summer. (No summer in Bogota any time of the year. Could be worse.)

Funny, b, because when I arrived I was told, "At least here we're winning." That about sums it up. Walking into any kind of success story after the past six years makes one feel kinda guilty. (I know, I know: Uribe is evil incarnate. Chavez is a prince. We'll agree to disagree - as will most Colombians. I've heard and read it all. No blood on the floor, please.)

The US military's mission is truly one of support (welcome change, that) with a very small footprint. Counterinsurgency as it really ought to be done. (Nice if you can swing it.)

Wednesday was, as stated, a Colombian enterprise. Not US-led nor US-planned. They tried in Feb and it failed, though not due to the Colombian Special Ops. Those guys don't suck.

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 21:01 utc | 18

rgiap, you old marxist sweetheart. How's life been?

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 21:06 utc | 19

So tell me, I've been away so long: Have you broken out the party hats over the now vanishingly small prospect of war with Iran? (Not Uncle, I see.)

I know I have.

(There's indeed more news coming regarding that operation, rgiap. But not that "news.")

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 21:29 utc | 20

i'm slurping up the champaign as we speak pat

Posted by: annie | Jul 5 2008 21:42 utc | 21

"vanishingly small prospect of war with Iran"

Given the cheneyite search for a casus belli, who knows?

If you're right, and I hope you are, Sy Hersh may emerge in all this as a psyops tool.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 5 2008 21:43 utc | 22

If you're right, and I hope you are, Sy Hersh may emerge in all this as a psyops tool.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 5, 2008 5:43:38 PM

Oh I guarantee it.

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 22:10 utc | 23

Would that be with or without sarcasm, annie?

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 22:12 utc | 24

I myself am enjoying a lovely Flor de Cana.

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 22:14 utc | 25

Whether or not there was a rescue or a swap is irrelevant, the fact is that once again amerikan murderers are killing the citizens of a sovereign state going about their business in their own nation. Pat can talk about small footprints and other bullshit rationalisations to cover amerikan murdering but that all it is. Pat wouldn't tolerate foreign intervention in amerika of the sort that is going on in colombia and is therefore a hypocrite.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 5 2008 22:39 utc | 26

nice to hear from you again Pat, could tell from your syntax it was really you! Figures, that!

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 5 2008 22:44 utc | 27

Sovereign indeed, Debs.

Which is why the Colombians say, "Chavez go home." And Santos will be the next president.

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 22:52 utc | 28

Thanks, anna. I endeavor not to stay too long.

Posted by: pat | Jul 5 2008 22:58 utc | 29

farc aare not exactly my cup of tea but i hope sincerely that operation colombia is the last gasp of the empire in its evil policies against the people of latin america

even peru, hardly the leftist of nations has its ancient hoods like fujimori facing justice. in a just world fujimori & guzman will have to share the same cell for eternity

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 5 2008 23:11 utc | 30

Panama has refused to host a US military base to replace the one the US has in Ecuador.

Posted by: Ensley | Jul 6 2008 1:28 utc | 31

Pat, you're really back. How cool is that?

Way, way cooll!

Posted by: alabama | Jul 6 2008 1:52 utc | 32

And where have YOU been? How's France? Or was it?

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 2:10 utc | 33

C'mon, alabama. Don't crap out on me.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 2:22 utc | 34

Would that be with or without sarcasm, annie?

sorry for my non reply, i dozed off and still have a case of the fuzzies. possibly a wee bit of sarcasm to celebrate the occasion of your return to the ol waterin' hole.

as you can see we're still pluggin' away callin' a spade a spade 'n then some.

sloth has joined the party. howdy sloth.

so..bogata, how cosmic. seeing as it's sat night are you planning on snorting some of the local product w/your sidekicks down there?

hee hee . just kidding.

Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2008 2:25 utc | 35

How's France? Or was it?

that was lupin. unless you're referencing r'giap.

Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2008 2:29 utc | 36

seeing as it's sat night are you planning on snorting some of the local product w/your sidekicks down there?

- annie

Ah, really, there goes the paycheck. Along with much else.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 2:36 utc | 37

al giordano: So, That's Why McCain Went to Colombia

It was a set-up from the get-go, choreographed by the Bush administration and eagerly embraced by Colombia's narco-president, Alvaro Uribe. Yesterday's liberation of high-profile hostages in Colombia was merely the gloss for the larger rescue mission: to save Senator John McCain's flagging presidential campaign.
...
Upon the hostages release, McCain had a statement all ready to go. This line in it was interesting:



"I'm pleased with the success of this very high-risk operation. Sometimes in the past, the FARC has killed the hostages rather than let them be rescued."

Let me translate that into English: the Colombian Army's meat-cleaver approach to fighting that country's civil war is littered with botched rescue missions and more collateral damage upon civilians than a hurricane can cause. The success of yesterday's raid is how we know that Washington's fingerprints were all over this one.

It was an image-laundering operation, and at that, a two-fer: Uribe gets to look bold and competent and is delivered new talking points to justify his authoritarian reign of terror, and McCain is made to seem as if he's like, well, Bill Richardson or Jesse Jackson, who really have negotiated the release of hostages and prisoners.

Posted by: b real | Jul 6 2008 3:26 utc | 38

Please don't listen to Al.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 3:29 utc | 39

Let me translate that into English: the Colombian Army's meat-cleaver approach to fighting that country's civil war is littered with botched rescue missions and more collateral damage upon civilians than a hurricane can cause. The success of yesterday's raid is how we know that Washington's fingerprints were all over this one.

- Al

The Colombians can't do anything for themselves. South Americans suck.

Of course.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 3:33 utc | 40

to (loosely) tie together the lone reference to the korean war in this thread w/ the more prominent focus on the u.s. military-to-military relationship w/ colombia, i'll cite a passage from winifred tate's 2007 study, counting the dead: the culture and politics of human rights activism in colombia:

The United States has been the primary model and ally for the Colombian military for the second half of the twentieth-century. This relationship began in earnest with Colombia's provision of a battalion to fight alongside the United States during the Korean War, the only Latin American country to do so. In the context of the ongoing domestic "unrest" of La Violencia, the decision to send troops was viewed by some as pandering to the United States and a convenient means for the Conservative president to rid the corps of Liberal officers, but it undoubtedly left a lasting legacy. Exposed to the U.S. army's weaponry, training and structure, the Colombians excelled on the battlefield and returned with a new vision of a professional military, including new ideas of military command structure, doctrine, intelligence, and communications. These lessons were widely taught in the reinstituted military academies and ushered in a new era of close ties with the United States. Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was "extensive collaboration effort between [the] U.S. and Colombia in developing the latter's internal security apparatus."

i probably posted that excerpt previously. nowadays, since the cold war is kaput & the colombian military doesn't really want to pretend to play along w/ all the particulars of SOUTHCOM's "war on drugs" (esp when they would indict themselves in the narco trade), it's easier for most observers to realize that two things are going on here -- first, alliances w/ the u.s. allow the colombians to get plenty of aid, arms, and intel to exterminate their political enemies w/ impunity, and, second, the u.s. wants that other colombian import to keep flowing north.

from a sept 2005 GAO rpt, Efforts to Secure Colombia's Caño Limón-Coveñas Oil Pipeline Have
Reduced Attacks, but Challenges Remain

Why GAO Did This Study:

Oil is one of Colombia’s principal exports. The Caño Limón-Coveñas oil pipeline transports almost 20 percent of Colombia’s oil production. The pipeline originates in the Department of Arauca in northeast Colombia. It carries oil nearly 500 miles to the Caribbean port of Coveñas. The pipeline has been a principal infrastructure target for terrorist attacks by Colombia’s insurgent groups. During 2001, attacks on the pipeline cost the Colombian government an estimated $500 million in lost revenues for the year. The United States agreed to assist Colombia in protecting the first 110 miles of the pipeline where most of the attacks were occurring. We examined how the U.S. funding and resources provided to Colombia have been used, and what challenges remain in
securing the pipeline.

What GAO Found:

Since fiscal year 2002, the United States has provided about $99 million in equipment and training to the Colombian Army to minimize terrorist attacks along the first 110 miles of the Caño Limón-Coveñas oil pipeline, mostly in the Arauca department. U.S. Special Forces have provided training and equipment to about 1,600 Colombian Army soldiers. ...

also see
Oil and US Policy Toward Colombia

The Bush administration has come up with numerous justifications for its annual handout of around $700 million in mostly military aid to Colombia. Of these, the war on drugs and the urgency of combating “narco-terrorists,” which is code for battling guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), are the most common. Another oft-cited, and far more unlikely, reason for beefing up Colombia’s military is the administration’s ostensible desire to “defend democracy” in Colombia. There is, however, another factor driving US involvement in Colombia that receives rather less public attention: oil.

That concerns about oil were influencing the Bush administration’s thinking about Colombia was evident from very early on in the president’s tenure. The administration’s controversial May 2001 National Energy Policy report, which called for heightened government efforts to secure supplies of oil from abroad, noted that “Colombia has…become an important supplier of oil to the United States.” Colombia was in fact only providing about 3 percent of US oil imports at the time, but in light of the Bush administration’s enthusiasm for diversifying America’s sources of oil and its eagerness to reduce its reliance on the potentially unstable and/or hostile Persian Gulf oil states, Colombia attained significance.

This Bush administration emphasis on the importance of Colombia’s oil has been a feature of policy statements since 2001. One of the reasons behind US involvement in the country, the State Department explained in a 2003 report on policy toward Colombia, was that “Colombia has important reserves of petroleum, natural gas and coal.” The point was made again in April 2007 by State Department official Charles Shapiro in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, when he stated that “Colombia is a strategic energy partner with coal and petroleum production contributing to global energy supply.”
...

iow, pat is another cog in the global oil-protection service. watch out, if the altitude don't get to yr head, the fumes most certainly will

Posted by: b real | Jul 6 2008 4:29 utc | 41

I am a cog in the wheel. Just not in the way you think.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 4:35 utc | 42

sorry 'bout that pat - didn't mean to single you out. seems the entire service is geared toward energy security these days.

--------

and now for something completely different... (not really)

why wasn't AP writing as frank as the lead in this story for the past month?
West condemns Mugabe, ignores other Africa despots

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — Nigeria. Rwanda. Uganda. Ethiopia. Gabon. Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe has plenty of competitors for the title of "least democratic in Africa."

But while he has been singled out for condemnation by the West, leaders of other autocratic states in Africa have largely been able to avoid sanctions and isolation. Many have friends in Western capitals. Or play a strategic role in the war against terrorist groups. Or sit on oil.

...

Today, only 21 states, including Botswana and South Africa, hold relatively free elections. Many of the remaining 31 are ruled by despots, including many offering the illusion of democracy with elections like those Mugabe held.

Rights activists put much of the blame on the West.

"It seems Washington and European governments will accept even the most dubious election so long as the 'victor' is a strategic or commercial ally," Kenneth Roth, executive director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a recent report.

Among countries he singled out as sham democracies are oil-rich Chad and Nigeria; Uganda, whose President Yoweri Museveni's friendship with President Bush has shielded him from criticism; and Ethiopia, a major U.S. ally against Islamic militants.

Other oil producers that have managed to avoid international condemnation include Angola, which hasn't held a presidential election since 1992, and Gabon, where President Omar Bongo seized power in a 1967 coup and now reigns as Africa's longest-serving leader.

"Countries that have made a point of overtly aligning themselves with U.S. narratives and policies regarding terrorism appear to have benefited not only from financial and military support but seem successfully to have diverted attention away from their internal poor governance and human rights abuse," said Akwe Amosu, senior analyst at the Open Society Institute in Washington.

parts of the story (unquoted) reek of cultural supremacism and/or racism.

i want to draw attention to the inclusion of botswana in this story and many other news stories of being recognized as a model democracy w/ "relatively free election" to be emulated on the african continent. i do plan on writing more on botswana's govt in the near future (wrt AFRICOM) but let me point out for now that, contrary to the media's spin, that country is not exactly what readers are being led to believe. the current president, (seretse khama) ian khama, was not even elected - he assumed office after the former president, festus gontebanye mogae, stepped down this april, 18-months ahead of botswana's presidential elections. this allowed his veep to assume office & restructure the govt w/ his own cabinet etc. and it's not unusual - this is how mogae himself became president. it has allowed one-party rule (the BDP) in botswana to persist from its inception. and there's an even bigger problem, where the notion of a model democracy is concerned - in addition to being the son of the first president of botswana, khama is a military man, lt. gen. khama, schooled by the u.k., the u.s. & israel, and onetime commander of the BDF, a dependent ally of the u.s. military. and he selected another high ranking military man, actually his onetime commander, lt. gen. mompati sebogodi merafhe, to be his veep. and a couple more military personnel were given prominent spots in khama's unelected administration. lots more to write on this at a later date - just don't be surprised to hear more rpts of botswana being more overtly involved w/ u.s. africa policy, as is currently the case wrt mugabe's presidency in zim.

Posted by: b real | Jul 6 2008 5:22 utc | 43

and speaking of racism & cultural supremacism, am currently reading mel goodman's book, failure of intelligence: the decline and fall of the cia, after following some of his writings at CIP and seeing a solid endorsement from bob perry. however, only a third of the way through this redundant expose in which goodman lists failure upon failure (w/ names attached), i'm more than a little put off by the following flawed inference from the 24-year veteran cia analyst:

The CIA also missed the impact of religion in Iran, where more than 90 percent of the country is Shiite Muslim, a primitive and mystic branch of Islam whose beliefs and laws are fundamentally incompatible with modern industrialized life and whose religious leaders are not capable of playing a constructive role in the modernization of society. Since the 1979 revolution in Iran, CIA analysis has been slow to comprehend the essential backwardness of Iranian society and culture, and CIA analysts have been far too optimistic in anticipating the modernization and westernization of Iran. [p. 102-3]

sorta adds a whole other interpretation to the book's title - failure of intelligence

Posted by: b real | Jul 6 2008 5:59 utc | 44


for lack of a better thread to say this but if your ever asked whose the greatest rapper alive, "Lil Wayne" is a pretty safe pick

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jul 6 2008 6:29 utc | 45

hello pat, i am a newbie here, so forgive me if i don't understand the veneration, but like Uncle i am also not wearing any party hats in regards to this perceived diminished threat of a potential strike against another sovereign nation, one that can actually strike back. you obviously carry "street cred" with long time MoA'ers, so i will wait for some actual current posts of substance to base the probably naive assumption that a "small footprint" is better than no footprint at all.

for what it's worth, i find 'giap's instincts as a marxist sweetheart to be more accurate than any apologists of empire. maybe, like Tom Robbins character Switters, you are an angel instead of cowboy working from within, trying to do good.

so, thanks for resurfacing?

Posted by: Lizard | Jul 6 2008 6:49 utc | 46

The success of yesterday's raid is how we know that Washington's fingerprints were all over this one.

- Al

The Colombians can't do anything for themselves.

pat, this begs the question, what are you doing there?

I am a cog in the wheel.

the cog in the wheel of columbians doing it by themselves? that was the overriding message of the 'gallant' pr spin, no?

go ahead, tell us they did it themselves. we know you want to.

The US military's mission is truly one of support

truly? i love that word. i believe you too but i imagine we may have different concepts of the meaning of 'support'. did you see the recent videos of the US private security training the police to torture? was that columbia? it was latin america, just this week. of course it wasn't our military! that is one of the glories of private militias. even tho they are funded thru our 'aid', it isn't categorized in funding in a same manner, nor carried our by our military.

The Colombians can't do anything for themselves.

what's the implication here? obviously if the US/ubide thought our contributions weren't needed you wouldn't be where you are today. don't make us out to be bigots by seeing the obvious.

you see i do believe columbians can do things on their own. but ensuring a rightwing neoliberal conservative government friendly w/the rightwing gop is not one of them. that will take some special 'aid'. i suppose that's why you are there in one form or another.

Just not in the way you think.

make my day! prove me wrong pat. what are you doing in columbia? battling the socialist chavez loving drug lords?


Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2008 6:51 utc | 47

Without reading that whole post, you sent me a really nasty email some time ago, and I don't care.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 7:03 utc | 48

Annie.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 7:04 utc | 49

"for what it's worth, i find 'giap's instincts as a marxist sweetheart to be more accurate"

No skin off my nose. Truly.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 7:08 utc | 50

because the only skin that matters is your own?

Posted by: Lizard | Jul 6 2008 7:10 utc | 51

substance? (non snortable)

Posted by: Lizard | Jul 6 2008 7:12 utc | 52

Absolutely. That why I'm in this line of work.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 7:14 utc | 53

"go ahead, tell us they did it themselves."

They did it themselves, annie.

They really did.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 7:21 utc | 54

good to see a little healthy honesty, pat. i am white in a predominately white state in the glorious land of the free, and despite the white trash meth addicts maybe we can both agree that people like this are the actual enemies of good folks like us.

Posted by: Lizard | Jul 6 2008 7:22 utc | 55

[the thread on the kenyan elections is closed now, so i'll drop this in here. sorry to interrupt the interrogations]

july 3rd interview w/ ranneberger in the daily nation

Ranneberger: ..I think it’s really an important time to reflect on not only American history but also the relationship between the US and Kenya.

It goes back many decades. It’s a very strong relationship and it’s one of the largest in the developing world. It’s founded on the friendship between the two countries but also on shared democratic values.

but, unfortunately, not practices...

I’m quite confident that Kenya will emerge a stronger democracy if it tackles the institutional reforms that are necessary. The Government has pledged to carry out electoral reform, constitutional reform and land reform and these are key in addressing the underlying grievances that led to the violence earlier this year.

As a great friend and partner of Kenya, the US will stand with Kenya and support these efforts.

We just recently invited Prime Minister Raila Odinga to the US. He met the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor and all sorts of other people. The purpose of that visit was to demonstrate US support for this coalition government and to provide some additional assistance.

We signed the Open Skies Agreement as a step towards direct flights, we announced a Peace Corps programme and we announced that we have sent a request to Congress for an additional US$75 million for Kenya.

We are confident, even bullish, about Kenya’s future and we look forward to help this coalition deliver results for the Kenya people.

NATION: Your government was instrumental in the striking of the grand coalition deal. What has been your reading of the way the coalition partners are working?

RANNEBERGER: I think it’s working extremely well. It has surprised a number of the sceptics. There are always so many people around who want to see the glass as half empty.

But I think it’s important to see the glass as more than half full.
...
It’s too early to see results but what we are seeing is coordination and planning and a joint agenda. I think that one reason why these two men and these two parties can work together is that there aren’t really any ideological differences. They both want to expand education, social services, grow the economy. They have very similar goals. We are really impressed. That bodes very well for the future.

after watching raila's actions & now even his rhetoric, i would probably concure that "there aren't really any ideological differences" there any longer

NATION: Part of the deal was that they would tackle institutional reforms to address underlying issues. Now that you supported the coalition from inception, are you happy with the progress?

RANNEBERGER: First of all, Kenya suffered a profound crisis and I think that both leaders were in denial about what was going on. But I think that both leaders were surprised by the extent to which the Kenyan people spoke out.

It basically said get your act together and save this country. It’s to the enormous credit of President Kibaki and PM Odinga that these two men did set their personal interests aside and made hard compromises and both had to overrule their teams. They deserve enormous credit in our view.

The US was able to work with Kofi Annan to help to bring about the political accord and support what the Kenyan people were saying. I’m pleased we were able to do that.

We have made it clear that the future of our relationship is very much tied to results. We are expecting the coalition government to move ahead with reforms. These will take time but already the constitutional review Bill has been introduced in Parliament.

i haven't noticed any admission from u.s. officials up to this point that they were using annan to bring about the coalition. confirms what most suspected. but that's a mighty big pile of b.s. coming from the ambassador to state that the u.s. was working to "support what the kenyan people were saying." before the attrition from the violence & repression took it's toll on holding officials responsible for free & fair elections, that is.

NATION: What lessons do you think that Kenyans can draw from your own presidential election campaigns, which they are of course watching very closely?

RANNEBERGER: We have made it clear that the problems that occurred in 1992, 1997 and to a lesser extent 2002 and then 2007 are all to some degree centred on the land problem and it has never been adequately addressed. [never you mind the blatant election theft..]

The other issue is that more needs to be done on the problem of unemployed youths.

Thirdly, you have to fix the specific problems related to the electoral machinery. In our country when we had a problem in 2000, we went back and fixed that system – the so-called hanging shards – and Kenya needs to reform is electoral system.

"fixed" is a good choice of words there

Fourth is that people need to cherish unity by appreciating diversity. We have for the first time a Black American running for president and whether he wins or not, it means that we have made progress in respecting our diversity and voting on the basis of issues and not race.

it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future -- yogi berra

And that’s a lesson for Kenya because Kenya needs to overcome tribal politics. It’s important that the elections in Kenya become more issue focused rather than tribally focused. Some progress has been made but a lot more needs to be done.

NATION: How is Kenya doing in the war on terror in your government’s view?

RANNEBERGER: We have an effective partnership with Kenya in the war on terror. We appreciate what Kenya does. Kenya is fighting it because it’s been hit on several occasions. We do cooperate, share information and the Kenyan Government has helped to stop attacks and to apprehend terrorists. We commend Kenya.

NATION: How is the anti-terrorism campaign in neighbouring Somalia going?

RANNEBERGER: Our policy in Somalia is to try and promote a democratic transition in 2009. That is what called for the Transitional Federal Government charter. In order to achieve that, we are helping to promote reconciliation among all Somalis and we are at the same time doing everything we can to combat terrorism in Somalia and to prevent terrorists from making Somalia a safe haven.

Both roles are complimentary and necessary. What’s going on in Somalia is a difficult situation but progress is being made. It’s been too slow but it’s being made. We appreciate the role that Kenya has played and continues to play on regional issues.

...

NATION: What, in your view, should happen in Zimbabwe given the latest developments?

RANNEBERGER: I want to commend the Kenya Government for having taken a very clear view on this. The recent summit of the African Union did result in statements calling for a unity government. What happened there, in our view, was not sufficient.

The US has indicated that it is going to be looking at what sanctions we can take to put additional pressure on Mugabe. President Mugabe is not a legitimately elected president. We regard the elections as a sham.

And I want to make this clear that there is absolutely no basis for comparing what happened in Kenya to what happened in Zimbabwe. It’s a totally different situation. In Kenya there was a disputed election but Kenya never departed from the democratic path. [???]

Zimbabwe has not had democratic elections for many years and there is absolutely no similarity whatsoever. Mugabe is a dictator in the worst sense of the term and that’s our position.

heh. almost tripped over his own rhetoric.

Posted by: b real | Jul 6 2008 7:25 utc | 56

bed time now. cooking breakfast on the clock tomorrow. night all.

Posted by: Lizard | Jul 6 2008 7:26 utc | 57

interruption to shit flinging is always preferable...

Posted by: Lizard | Jul 6 2008 7:28 utc | 58

Meanwhile...Mrs.Conyers is being accused of accepting a bribe at the same time that Rove's ass is in a sling.

vat a conky dink dalink...

FBI Investigation Targeting Councilwoman Conyers

dah...


I'm glad I'm not Brezhnev. Being the Russian leader in the Kremlin. You never know if someone's tape recording what you say.” ~Richard M. Nixon

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 6 2008 7:37 utc | 59

Dear Pat,

I am a cog in the wheel
not this one, I hope

I find your presence here somewhat intriguing, just when many world papers claim that the rescue was little more than paying a healthy ransom with other reports that an ex-Mossad agent received 10 million for organizing it, for some reason you come here and claim that it was a purely Colombian operation.

In addition to being an interrogator, are you also public affairs? If not and you hold a high security clearance, who has authorized you to speak?

I know enough about these things to be certain that you either are cleared or you are talking out your behind.

either way, it is difficult to trust what you say.

I do read your posts with interest and appreciate them, even if I must use a little kremlinology on them.

the most memorable post from you for me was when you pointedly asked if US voters would re-elect george w back in 2004. It was dead on and made the evening of the election a déjà vue for me.

I doubt that you can/will answer the clearance question and it is frankly none of my business but thought it needed to be asked.

btw annie, alabama did report a while back that he would be visiting France. And countries are quite capable of having rightwing governments without US help. witness north korea for example.


Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 6 2008 8:46 utc | 60

Does the US-Indian nuclear deal take the pressure off Iran?

The US-Indian nuclear deal will provide the US with more than a strategic foothold in the region, with India signing on the dotted line for a virtual Umreekan colonization.

My question is, does this provide a respite for the desperate Umreekan drive to gain a strategic foothold in the region? With Iraqi and Afghani attempts faltering, Umreeka was in a hurry to mount other attempts in Iran and Pakistan even at the risk of turning the region into a nuclear fireball. So will this treaty soothe their desires, at least for the time being, and the war clouds disappear? If only to gather again a few years down the road?

Posted by: a | Jul 6 2008 8:55 utc | 61

Weird Nazi Fox News story. http://mediamatters.org/items/200807020002?f=h_top>Really.

Posted by: anna missed | Jul 6 2008 9:13 utc | 62

pat:

Wednesday was, as stated, a Colombian enterprise. Not US-led nor US-planned.
...
They did it themselves, annie.
They really did.

William Brownfield, the US ambassador to Colombia, confirmed that Washington and Bogota shared intelligence, equipment, training advice and operational experience prior to the complex operation.

Not US-led nor US-planned

Perhaps she did not know it, but Israel indeed contributed to the elaborately-planned, daring rescue mission.

They did it themselves

Posted by: Sam | Jul 6 2008 9:37 utc | 63

Now I know why bin Laden always has that little hebephrenic grin. ''If bin Laden takes over and becomes king of Saudi Arabia, he'd turn off the tap,'' said Roger Diwan, a managing director of the Petroleum Finance Company, a consulting firm in Washington. ''He said at one point that he wants oil to be $144 a barrel'' -- about six times what it sells for now [NY Times, 14 Oct. 01]. On Wed Jul 2nd, 2008, WTI and Brent both passed $144.

Posted by: ...---... | Jul 6 2008 12:22 utc | 64

Sorry to disappoint, but I have always been of the mind to see the need to consider multiple interacting systems in foreign policy, multiple scenarios etc... I too was under the impression that any neo-realist, --worth their weight in salt-- , was of like mind.

I believe things to be far more complex then a mere wave of the hand and abrupt dismissible contort that we are past attacking Iran.

IRAN AND ASYMMETRIC WARFARE

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 6 2008 12:26 utc | 65

Geez maybe we can now finally state no war with Iran and look at Hersh with the properly jaundiced, cynical eye, as pat! says so! - or that is what I understood. Not that I don’t appreciate Uncle’s posts, all grist for the mill, like the above from global guerrillas.

Posted by: Tangerine | Jul 6 2008 14:03 utc | 66

What's pat cleared for, anyway? I don't mean the level, I mean the accesses. You could have like TS/SCI and be totally out of it these days because of the bureaucratic politics.

Posted by: ...---... | Jul 6 2008 14:49 utc | 67

#48 pat, i have no recollection of ever sending you any email, nor do i have your email address.

that is either a very creative way of throwing a pie in my face, or else you truly believe i sent you some nasty email.

in the interest of healing here is a little video to put a smile on your face. my son made this video w/his friends, it is very dear to my heart.

Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2008 15:17 utc | 68

"who has authorized you to speak?"

No one. I don't need any authorization. I'm not here at the Moon in any official capacity. You can weigh the information available yourself, though I understand the difficulties and hazards in doing so.

If I mispoke, annie, my sincere apologies.

Sam, you know what they say: Success has a thousand fathers. Failure is an orphan.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 15:58 utc | 69

dos,countries are quite capable of having rightwing governments without US help.

my comment was pertaining to columbia, i meant for it to reads that way. i'm also not so sure columbia would be gliding into socialist heaven if not for our 'support'. the stories i've heard about the crime in medellin, sheesh.

If I mispoke, annie, my sincere apologies.

truce!

Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2008 16:04 utc | 70

The first step, annie, is in spelling it correctly: Colombia. The emphasis is on the second 'o'. : )

And gliding toward a socialist heaven, or hell, it ain't.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 16:09 utc | 71

France is fine, Pat. More anon.


Posted by: alabama | Jul 6 2008 16:13 utc | 72

colombia. whoops, i will have to remember that.

speaking of iran, check this out from MESH (middle east strategy @ harvard ..questions the experts chew on for breakfast)

"Assign Iran to Israel?

MESH has invited a number of responses to this question: Assuming the United States decides than Iran must be stopped, and that only military action can stop it, should the United States delegate Israel to conduct the necessary military operations? Or should the United States undertake the operations itself, and insist that Israel stay on the sidelines (as it did during the two Iraq wars)?

Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2008 16:20 utc | 73

alabama, i didn't know you went to france. still there?

Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2008 16:24 utc | 74

Back in the States for a short visit, annie..... More anon.......

Posted by: alabama | Jul 6 2008 16:41 utc | 75

alabama

are you in paris or the provinces?

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 6 2008 16:43 utc | 76

Well, then, alabama. I look forward to anon.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 16:45 utc | 77

as i will, pat, to information coming out of colombia, this week

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 6 2008 16:47 utc | 78

You and me both, sweetheart.


Deft change of subject: So. Who's going to win the election?

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 16:53 utc | 79

And am I the only one for whom the last presidential election feels about a hundred years ago?

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 16:57 utc | 80

all three branches are so deeply comprimised & corrupted - i do not know if it makes a great deal of difference

a malfunction in the defibrelator of cheney - or in the toxicity levels of the lithium addington & yoo take might have more impact

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 6 2008 17:14 utc | 81

& as a parenthesis - the only real part of the dylan movie was the young black actor - especially the moment with woody guthrie - it is the only part of the film where time & space are considered in the same wayè they are in the songs

merci tho

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 6 2008 17:34 utc | 82

"all three branches are so deeply comprimised & corrupted - i do not know if it makes a great deal of difference"

Hey, we're on the downhill slide here. A hundred and something days. I find that thought cheering. I plan on at least breathing a sigh of relief that the past eight years are over.

Over, baby.

'Cause it's been a sonofabitch.

Posted by: pat | Jul 6 2008 18:10 utc | 83

I plan on at least breathing a sigh of relief that the past eight years are over.

let's hope we don't have more of the same for the next 8. my fear is a mcCain lieberman match up victory w/mcCain kickin' the bucket shortly after the swearing in. might make the bush years look like paradise.

Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2008 19:06 utc | 84

Opps or UPS - UBS, CS May Have to Set Aside $68 Billion: Report

Swiss authorities could require UBS and Credit Suisse to set aside an additional 70 billion Swiss francs ($68.29 billion) in capital, a newspaper reported on Sunday, citing lawmakers.

...

Posted by: b | Jul 6 2008 19:13 utc | 85

Economic Anxiety Disorder or One Nervous Bushie

this is actually an amusing video. it says something about the washington post that stark economic news informing the american public is done w/this kind of humor.

not sure what that something is tho.

Posted by: annie | Jul 6 2008 20:18 utc | 86

Interesting in conjunction with the IRS investigation of UBS' US wealth-management arm. First step toward capital controls: Set up FINCEN. Step 2: infiltrate SWIFT. Step 3: official pressure on offshore accounts in the guise of a hunt for 'tax evaders.' UBS first, when they're desperate for capital. Tough nuts like LGT they'll take on next, as Germany has pried them open a bit. If they don't, they can't stop mass capital flight. But there's still lots and lots of little private banks in London. Faber said it years ago: go offshore before capital controls are imposed.

Posted by: ...---... | Jul 6 2008 20:33 utc | 87

If it hasn't been included here, the GAO progress report on Iraq (pdf) is up. The usual missed deadlines, partial improvements, blown cost estimates etc.

What really tickles me is the Pentagon's response (in the appendices) and what this indicates about the state of the US military... In every case they wish to now substitute a new, spin-able, more favourable, metric, eg. "in the lead" vs "operational" on Iraqi troops, production "improvement" rather than the stated goals, absolute production levels rather than levels relative to demand, a May 2008 deadline rather than July 2007 etc. etc. Like 3rd graders arguing about an assignment or report card. In every case the GAO used the actual metric used in the original surge plan, and in the subsequent budget appropriations. Very telling. "We know our goal was that ridge, but notice how we've moved forward from the base camp." A complete absence of even the semblance of accountability or willingness to acknowledge reality.

It is also clear that no one in a position to draft or review responses to the GAO knows or cares any longer about the difference between strategy and tactics. If there is still (or ever was) a non-political, meritocratic officer corps they should be looking for honest work.

The legacy, in part, of Iraq: a bloated, politicized, toothless, inefficient and ineffective US military...

Posted by: PeeDee | Jul 6 2008 22:51 utc | 88

"We know our goal was that ridge, but notice how we've moved forward from the base camp." A complete absence of even the semblance of accountability or willingness to acknowledge reality.

brilliant pd

Posted by: annie | Jul 7 2008 4:32 utc | 89

Pat: if you can find cheering thoughts you either must really believe that after 100+ days this "downhill slide" could? might? hopefully? abate, or you have a good escape plan. Obomb's about face, after Pelosi's withering, is back-breaking evidence of across the board complicity.

Annie: very interesting link @ 86. i especially enjoyed the part where Milbank snarked that poor, nervous sucker with his "hiding the valuables and buying a shotgun" bit. we all know those who can afford it will hire Blackwater and their ilk to do the dirty work in the years to come. meanwhile, tent cities in california and homeless camps in seattle are raided.

fucking despicable. makes suicide and crimes of necessity less than optional.

3W USA in full swing, and neither BO or McShifty will blink. after all, they (BO, McShifty), like us, are expendable props that can be easily discarded if they (we) even hint at diminishing their (our) usefulness as corporate cheerleaders (consumers).

Posted by: Lizard | Jul 7 2008 5:46 utc | 90

How NYT Distorted My Daily Kos Diary on SERE Torture by Valtin


We have spoken several times, and he gets it. Valtin is one of the people that needs to be seen read and heard and supported at every level.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 7 2008 8:45 utc | 91

Pat: if you can find cheering thoughts you either must really believe that after 100+ days this "downhill slide" could? might? hopefully? abate...

- Lizard

Yes, lizard, I do believe it. Because I also believe in the particularly deforming effect of this administration on the whole of the US - and of 9/11 on this administration. I do not anticipate a repeat of either. I do with reason expect a significant amount of carryover in the first year; that's in the bureaucratic nature of things. But I can't gin up the End Times mood. Sorry.

Posted by: pat | Jul 7 2008 12:12 utc | 92

garry leech: Colombia Hostage Rescue Endangers Lives of Journalists and Aid Workers

Amidst all the joy and celebration resulting from the Colombian military’s successful rescue of 15 hostages last week, the fact that the tactics utilized in the mission will likely endanger the lives of journalists and aid workers in the future has been completely ignored. By having soldiers pose as journalists and aid workers in order to gain access to the hostages, the Colombian government has increased the already high risks faced by legitimate reporters and NGO workers. In a country that is already one of the most dangerous places in the world in which to work as a journalist or a defender of human rights, the armed actors will now be even more suspicious of anyone claiming to work in those fields.
...
This is likely of little concern to Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe, who has repeatedly endangered the lives of human rights defenders critical of his security policies by accusing them of being spokespersons for the guerrillas. On one prime time national television broadcast in 2003, Uribe accused the country’s NGOs of “politicking at the service of terrorism.”

Having worked for years in Colombia’s rural conflict zones, I have been detained on several occasions by FARC guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries who have accused me of being an informer for the Colombian military. In a country that is among the world’s leaders in the number of journalists assassinated, such moments are tense and nerve-wracking. Sometimes, it wasn’t easy to convince the armed groups that I was indeed a legitimate journalist and not an informer.

Because of the tactics used in last week’s rescue operation, there is no telling how the FARC might respond to the next legitimate journalist who enters a region under the rebel group’s control. Or how the guerrillas will react in the future when a genuine medical boat belonging to the International Red Cross gets stopped at a rebel checkpoint on a remote jungle river. So while the world is awash in joy over the liberation of the 15 hostages, people should take a moment to reflect on the possibility that journalists and aid workers might be killed in the future because of the irresponsible tactics used by the Uribe administration.

Posted by: b real | Jul 7 2008 15:07 utc | 93

I had promised myself not to meddle again, but here we go:

1. Anyone who believes the FARC would give up their top political hostages for US$ 20 million - and, as a bonus, allow Uribe to stage a rescue that made them look like fools - will believe anything. Not to mention, of course, that the bribery version makes them look even worse. "Oh, they weren't deceived, they were bought off." Not a very good defense, wouldn't you agree? I watched a Colombian general on TV - a rational voice for a change - saying they would have paid ten times more if it came down to that, and if they did they would have no problem admitting it publicly because it would undermine the FARC's morale.

2. Ingrid Bettancourt was the FARC's trump card to induce that buffoon Sarkozy to put pressure on Uribe towards a political settlement. More significantly, although less visible in the media, the American hostages prevented Uribe from trying anything harsher. Just watch now.

3. From what I've heard, the Colombian forces have been aided by the US and received additional training from the British SAS and the Israelis, but, in line with what Pat has said, this operation was their own. (Incidentally, it seems they also asked the French for intelligence but were turned down because Sarkozy feared a bloodbath that could damage his career, which explains why the French government wasn't told about the operation in advance and is now sulking about it.) Frankly, I see nothing wrong with that; they asked for support and got it. Remember, it’s a legitimate government facing a hostage problem with a bunch of … (Fill in the gap as you please; some would say “leftist radicals", others "deranged lunatics", but my own preference is “ruthless criminals.”) Would that assistance be seen under a different light if they had been helped by, say, Venezuelan advisors? Perhaps it’s a symptom of political naiveté, but to me kidnapping people is BAD; rescuing kidnapped people, by any means available, is GOOD. It’s as simple as that. Uribe may be the devil, but blaming him for the hostage problem - and criticizing him both for not solving it and for solving it - seems to be a bit unreasonable.

4. And why haven't they asked their South American neighbours for help? Because most of them were busy helping the FARC either openly or under the table and undermining Uribe – like it or not, a democratically elected president. It has been very enlightening to watch this bunch of hypocrites looking for some stand that will allow then to save face – Chávez and even Fidel Castro daring to criticize the FARC for the first time (which prompted a furious reply from the FARC themselves), the president of Ecuador regretting that the rescue was accomplished “with the use of violence” although not a shot was fired, and the Brazilian government, in its eternal balancing act, issuing a prodigious official note that manages to make no mention to Uribe or the FARC but expresses high hopes for "Colombian reconciliation”, whatever that means. I read today an article written by the leader of Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT) in which he says, and this is a literal translation, that “kidnapping non-combating civilians and keeping them arrested without trial is a deeply incorrect and politically negative option”. (“Seqüestrar civis, não-combatentes, mantê-los presos, sem julgamento, é uma opção profundamente incorreta e politicamente negativa.”) Now that’s stern, isn’t it? Rumour has it that the FARC guys will be sent to bed without dessert.

5. To me this whole discussion about the FARC is an exercise in futility. They only find external supporters, along with defenders and apologists, because at some point they were believed to be leftists. For that, however, one must accept that murder, kidnapping and drug traffic – the FARC’s main lines of trade – are leftist endeavours (and therefore the Colombian people, with their almost unanimous rejection of the FARC, although many do not like Uribe either, are the most right-wing people in the world). Most of the Brazilian drug market is supplied by the FARC. What makes them different, say, from the Mafia? And, while we are at it, should the FARC, by a twist of fate, have all their wishes fulfilled, what is it exactly that they want?

Please forgive me the tone. I no longer post here, although I still visit regularly, because I don’t want to be the dissenting voice. I lost my faith when the Left finally took over in several Latin American countries and showed how cynical, intolerant and corrupt they can be. All that is left of my faith is democracy. That’s what we fought for, along with the Left; but now, having ascended to power, they try their best to suppress it. I feel disheartened and ashamed to live in a region that has become a kind of dinosaur park, a preservation area for the most outdated and regressive ideologies in the world.

Posted by: Pedro | Jul 8 2008 0:41 utc | 94

pedro

i've made my position on farc clear. but i insist there was no & i mean no 'colombian' military operation

i think we are the same age & i cannot believe what you are saying - in real terms - not in idealised ones. latin america, south america, central america has been for decade after decade after decade - just another word for bloodbath. for mass murders or for squalid murders carried out for businessmen dressed up as leaders

guatemala, honduras, el salvador, bolivia - on & on blood & more blood - blood everywhere over everything. that has also been true in a different way for the people of argentina of brazil & of chile. mexico is run as a convenient american whorehouse as cuba once was

where you see darkness i see light - & if there was not the light of what is happening in venezuela or bolivia i would not wait for my sicknesses to finish me off - i would do it myself

when you look at the world you must see a very different one than the one than i do - when i am working - when i am fully capable of that - i am working with population in the purest poverty - with no hope, no hope at all - for their 'society' - they are finished & this is in france but it is as true all over europe where the underclass is the missing truth behiond the collapse of capital

you may find evo ridiculous i find him as decent & as moral a leader as nelson mandela & the 20 th century is not so full of such leaders, you no doubt regard chavez as yet another peronist - but you miss seeiing the people that created him - he did not create them - they created their leadership

for fucks suck - except for the elites in latin america - the people have sd enough is enough with 50 years of more of being pissed all over by the united states & then becoming the testing ground for the school of americas - it has decided to take its destiny in its hands & in its way, in its beautiful & clumsy way it is a confusion of ideologies

it is not perfect but it is not somoza, it is not pinochet, it is not videla, it is not stroessner - it is not d'aubbisson - thank fucking god

perhaps you should come here & i will go where you are

or perhaps we are both going blind

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 8 2008 1:18 utc | 95

pedro

i have always liked your posts in the past & i thought i like the man who wrote them because there were similar threads, human threads running through those posts

but to make absent the utter & brazen criminality of uribe in your post is a form of historical falsification. all the fuckers in the world screamed when chavez wanted to change the constitution through a referendum & not a word about uribe's criminal conspiracy to do so

marxism did not create the particular madness of pol pot - the bombings of kissinger & nixon did. decade after decade after decades of bloodbaths will create their own politics too - i think you once counselled me patience - you would do well to be patient yourself

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 8 2008 1:29 utc | 96

I'm awfully glad, though, Pedro, that you decided to post this time. And it's an impeccable post as posts go.

Posted by: pat | Jul 8 2008 2:00 utc | 97

impeccable:

  • Having no flaws; perfect.
  • faultless: without fault or error; "faultless logic";
  • Perfect, having no faults, flaws or errors;

    you don't really want to go there, do you? first read alone a couple serious logical fallacies leaped off the screen

    Posted by: b real | Jul 8 2008 3:14 utc | 98

  • Heh. Pat & Alabama. It's pleasant to see your names. Any moment now we'll hear from Outraged.

    I think I line up with dan of steele here. Those who say don't know. Those who know don't say (and a select few deliberately misinform).

    But triangulating, I don't buy the "fooled 'em" narrative. I should think this only went down because FARQ, Uribe and the bushcriminals all perceived (rightly or not) a benefit of some kind.

    And no way McCain's presence was an accident.

    r'giap, give Pedro time. Imagine the disgust I feel when our Dem congress won't enforce a single damn subpoena, and multiply it a hundredfold.

    Posted by: OkieByAccident | Jul 8 2008 3:15 utc | 99

    "I think I line up with dan of steele here. Those who say don't know. Those who know don't say (and a select few deliberately misinform)."

    So who you gonna listen to?

    Posted by: pat | Jul 8 2008 3:32 utc | 100

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