04 March 2007

The opposite of Progress on the Global War on Terror is Congress

It turns out that someone is getting hurt in the anti-drug war and is going to seek Congressional help! Yes a little beat-up organizations is feeling 'the pinch' and wants relief from Congress. And who might this little, woebegone group be? From 2 MAR 2007 Strategypage:

FARC Lobbies the U.S. Congress

March 2, 2007: Having lost so much popular support in Colombia, FARC is trying to win a victory in the United States. With Democrats back in control of Congress, FARC now has a chance to seek cuts in military aid to the Colombian government. FARC lobbyists stress right-wing atrocities, civilian casualties and the futility of trying to stop the drug trade, to leftist American legislators. This often works to get cuts made to anti-drug and anti-FARC operations in Colombia. If FARC can get these cuts, the government offensive against FARC will be weakened, giving FARC more time to come up with a plan to revive itself.
Yes the poor saps known as FARC, just common ordinary terrorists working their Communist ways and using narcotics trafficking to keep their organization going. Now here would be a chance for Democrats to show that they have some calcium in their gelatinous bodies Upon the Hill and let FARC know that they are still held accountable for things they have done to the US! Here are a few fun incidents from the Terror Knowledgebase on FARC:
Incident Date: May 23, 1984

COLOMBIA. Nine bombs aimed at U.S. and Honduran targets exploded in Bogota and Cali, killing two people and injuring 11. Two bombs exploded near the U.S. Embassy, and a car bomb heard five miles away exploded 200 feet from the U.S. ambassador's residence. The Revolutionary Armed Forces claimed responsibility for the bombings in a telephone call. All the casualties occurred in one incident, when a bomb exploded in the downtown offices of the Honduran airline SAHSA. The two dead and three of the injured were among a group of young people that brought the bomb into the office.

Incident Date:
Oct. 8, 1987

COLOMBIA. Two young Americans were kidnapped by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). They were released on August 14, 1988.

Incident Date:
Sept. 22, 1994

COLOMBIA. Military helicopters carrying the Colombian Defense Minister, a US Assistant Secretary of Defense, the US Ambassador, military commanders and journalists were fired on by FARC guerrillas while touring anti-narcotics operations in Caqueta Department. One of the five helicopters was hit but not downed.

Incident Date:
Sept. 28, 1994

COLOMBIA. An American man was kidnapped by FARC guerrillas in Cauca province.

Incident Date:
Jan. 19, 1996

COLOMBIA. An American citizen residing in Colombia was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas. He was released 4 months later.

Incident Date:
Dec. 11, 1996

COLOMBIA. An American geologist {Frank Pescatore} was kidnapped in Hato Nuevo, La Guajira Dept., from a gas exploration site. Another American escaped capture. Colombian workers at the plant were unharmed. The body of the kidnapped geologist was recovered in February 1997. The 59th Brigade of the FARC are suspected.

Incident Date:
Mar. 23, 1998

Ten Colombians, four US citizens, an Italian, and a Mexican were kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) at an illegal roadblock set up between Santa Fe de Bogota and Villavicencio. The ten Colombians were released. The US citizens have been identified as Louise Augustine, Todd Marks, Peter Shen, and Thomas Fiore; the Italian identified as Vito Candela; and the Mexican has yet to be identified.

Incident Date:
July 30, 1998

Seven councilmen from a remote village in northern Colombia were taken captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and forced to participate in the takeover of the US Embassy public area. The hostages were later released through the intervention of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International and Colombia's humanitarian organizations.

Incident Date:
Feb. 25, 1999

The 45th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) claimed responsibility for kidnapping three US citizens, identified as Terence Freitas, Ingrid Inawatuk and Larry Gay Laheenge, on a road between Cubara and Saravena (on the border between Boyaca and Cesariare Departments). The three were members of a New York-based organization that defends the U'wa people, a community that has not permitted multinational companies to explore oil resources in their territory and had come to the U'wa territory upon the group's invitation. Note: El Espectador reports that their bodies were found in Guasdualito, Venezuela (near the Colombian border).

Incident Date:
Aug. 30, 2000

A low-powered bomb was found and defused near the House of Justice in Cartagena on the day that US President Bill Clinton was scheduled to visit the building. Police suspect the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is responsible and that the device was supposed to spread pamphlets against Clinton when it exploded. Note: On 15 March 2001, two members of the FARC were arrested and accused of plotting to carry out this attack against Bill Clinton. The two men arrested were in possession of dynamite and planned to carry out an escalation of attacks against banks in Cartagena.

Incident Date:
Feb. 13, 2003

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas shot down a small airplane with four US government personnel and one pilot from Colombia. It appears likely that the Americans were intelligence officers on a routine mission near Caqueta, a drug producing area. The attack was planned by the deputy commander of the Teofilo Forero column, which primarily conducts urban operations. The pilot and an American were shot; the other two were kidnapped. Note: The names of the three Americans shot down were released in April 2003. Keith Stansell, Marco Gonzalves and Thomas R. Howes, civilians doing drug surveillance for the Department of Defense, have been missing since they were shot down on 13 February.

Incident Date:
Nov. 15, 2003

One woman was killed and seventy-three others injured, including four Americans, when two grenades where thrown into separate night clubs. It was reported that two men, one who was apprehended later in the evening, threw a grenade into the Bogotá Beer Company bar and seconds later threw another grenade into an adjacent bar, Palos de Moguer. Initially it was unknown who was targeted in the attack but two days later the AP reported that off-duty American contractors were the intended victims. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are believed to have been behind the attacks. It was reported on November 19 that Arturo Montano, a member of the FARC, who was captured the evening of the attack, confessed to his involvement. He also claimed that there were three other FARC members involved who were planning on throwing a total of eight grenades into various bars in the area. He speculated that the commotion caused by the grenades he threw forced the others to flee before throwing their grenades. He did not specify what motivated the attacks.

Incident Date:
May 18, 2006

The Colombian authorities believe that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are responsible for four coordinated bomb attacks in Buenaventura. In this incident, an explosive was detonated at a Police Immediate Attention Center (CAI) where one policemen was wounded. The other bomb attacks were carried out in the same city and in the same time frame at court offices and two commercial centers. There were no casualties reported for those attacks. However, there were other press reports on attacks in Buenaventura by the FARC in the same time period. It is not clear whether these attacks are additional attacks or correspond to the above mentioned attacks. Sources: El Tiempo, 19May, Caracol Colombia Radio 20May The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) detonated bombs injuring 16 people and causing damage to buildings. There have been several FARC attacks in Buenaventura to interrupt the election campaign. According to reports, FARC hired children between the ages of 8 and 12 to throw the grenades at selected targets. The children were allegedly paid 20,000 pesos each. Reports have also mentioned that Valle del Cauca governor Angelino Garzon said that 26 people had died in the recent violence in Buenaventura.
Quite the list, isn't it? And it isn't even a complete listing as I have left out attacks against those working for US businesses, religious institutions and the such like. Just to give it a quick summation of what the list entails:
  • Wanton destruction of US Government property

  • Random terror acts that harm US Citizens

  • Targeting US Citizens for kidnapping

  • Murdering US Citizens

  • Targeting US Government Officials for murder

  • Invasion of the sovereign grounds of the US Embassy

  • Shooting down civilian aircraft on legal flight plans

  • Attempted assassination of a sitting US President

  • Using children to fight for you
Of the last five only the last one is *not* a casus belli, but a war crime in and of itself. You see these are such lovely and wonderful folks just being 'unfairly targeted by right wing death squads', while being quite handy in killing and slaughter on their lonesome against their own people.

But it doesn't *end* there. That is just the beginning.

From the Mr. Mark Steinitz at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the folks who can point to problems and describe them but not solve them so well, comes this paper:
Policy Papers on the Americas:
Middle East Terrorist Activity in Latin America -
Volume XIV, 2003
As you may of guessed it has all sorts of lovely goings-on with various groups detailed, but let me concentrate on FARC (p. 11):
In late 1998, Colombian police discovered that an Arab male detained for illegal documentation was Mohammed Abdel Aal, an IG member, again wanted for the Luxor attack. He was quickly deported to Ecuador and reportedly was later turned over to Egyptian authorities. Aal may have been trying to contact the leftist Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Yes, just a mere 'purported contact'. But do remember that Hezbollah is under the control of Iran and so when you get to things a year later... well, anyone who read my partial summary of the year 2000 RFE/RL archives, will know the kicker (p. 12):
Perhaps the most bizarre episode of recent Middle Eastern terrorist interest in Colombia involves Iran and the FARC. In 1999, the government of President Andres Pastrana approved an Iranian offer to build a large beef processing and refrigeration facility in the heart of the FARC’s demilitarized zone, which had been established to facilitate the country’s then-ongoing peace talks. The ostensible aim was to export large quantities of meat to Iran. Bogotá purportedly saw the plant as a much-needed foreign investment and as a “carrot” to give the FARC an incentive to negotiate in good faith. The FARC was enthusiastic about the idea because it called for construction of a large airstrip in its Switzerland sized zone. The Iranian connection, however, raised concern in Washington, and after reconsidering, the Pastrana administration shelved the project. The venture was inherently suspicious. Most of the Colombian cattle industry is located more than 300 miles to the northwest of the now-abolished rebel zone. Iranians involved in the meat plant venture resisted searches of their bags at Bogotá’s airport. One resident of the FARC’s zone with a keen interest in the meat plant was Dr. Carlos Ariel Charry, who ran a clinic. Charry was subsequently arrested in Mexico in 2000 for representing the FARC in a deal to send cocaine to Mexican traffickers in return for arms.

The FARC’s links to Middle Eastern terrorists do not appear as extensive as those it has forged with European groups, such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and probably Basque Fatherland and Freedom (ETA). Nevertheless, the FARC has likely worked with Islamic radicals as part of its arms procurement activities. In the late 1990s, the Colombian rebels established a drugs-for-guns exchange with major Brazilian trafficker Luis Da Costa, whose criminal ties included Middle Eastern money launderers with reported links to Islamic radicals in the tri-border area. The past several years have seen investigations of FARC representatives in both Brazil and Paraguay for involvement in arms deals. Colombia’s terrorist groups frequently use Panama with its Colón Free Zone to acquire and ship arms. Hizballah’s presence in the zone makes it highly plausible that contact would occur as a result of a mutual interest in weapons and other contraband.
Funny thing, isn't it, to build a meat packing plant hundreds of miles away from where the cattle are and right in the middle or an area held by FARC. From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 17 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 3, at Globalsecurity:
According to ABC News, the U.S. government also was concerned that the facility would be used for terrorist-training. U.S. concerns are not baseless. Similar facilities were used by Iran in Bosnia and Romania as cover for intelligence operations. There also was concern that the FARC or Iranians operating with it might link up with Hizballah organizations operating in Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 27 December 1999).
What, an Eastern European connection? Why, yes, and even this isn't a surprise to anyone who remembers the testimony of Ralf Mutschke, Interpol's Assistant Director, Criminal Intelligence Directorate before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime on 13 DEC 2000:
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, an important alliance was formed between Colombian drug cartels and the Sicilian Mafia. Since the cocaine market in the U.S. was saturated, and because cocaine could be sold with higher profit margins in Europe, Colombians wanted to enter the European drug market. The Cosa Nostra’s well established heroin network was easily applicable to cocaine. In addition, the Sicilians had an excellent knowledge of European conditions and were able to neutralize law enforcement officials through bribery and corruption more effectively than the Colombians. From the Sicilian perspective, the alliance with Colombians was an opportunity to regain part of the market that had been lost to Chinese heroin traffickers. In recent years, South American drug cartels have been forming alliances with East European/Russian Organized Crime Groups in order to support and diversify their operations. East European groups have offered drug cartels access to sophisticated weapons that were previously not available. Helicopters, surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and even submarines are on the drug cartels’ "shopping list." The East European groups provided new drug markets in Russia, the former Soviet Republics, and Eastern Europe, while consumption was decreasing in the U.S. In 1993, Russian police intercepted a ton of South American cocaine which had been shipped to St. Petersburg by one Russian crime syndicate working with a Colombian drug cartel. In another example, a Russian crime leader was arrested in January 1997 in Miami by U.S. agents for the exportation of cocaine from Ecuador to St. Petersburg (Russia) and then to the United States. In exchange for these services, drug cartels pay for transactions with high quality cocaine. East European/Russian crime syndicates and corrupt military officers are supplying sophisticated weapons to Colombian rebels in exchange for huge shipments of cocaine. Although the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) receives most of the arms, some of them are distributed to Hezbollah factions.
Thus the interconnection of criminal organizations with terrorism is seen and contacts between FARC and Hezbollah confirmed by the meat processing plant and by the Interpol analysis of weapons and drug trafficking. What a twisted web that is! But something I have gone over in the over-view fashion with Template of Terror and Web of the supernote. Also seen in the CSIS paper is how Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and al Qaeda work with the existing ex-pat communities in South America from the Middle East. All of those groups are cited as currently in the process of standing up funding organizations and purchasing arms and equipment in South American Nations and working with folks like FARC via previous underworld connections created in Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania, plus using IRA and ETA individuals to offer credentials for these Islamic terrorist groups.

What sort of funding sources are we looking at? Back to the Interpol view on that:
Structural links between political terrorism and traditional criminal activity, such as drugs trafficking, armed robbery or extortion have come increasingly to the attention of law enforcement authorities, security agencies and political decision makers. There is a fairly accepted view in the international community that in recent years, direct state sponsorship has declined, therefore terrorists increasingly have to resort to other means of financing, including criminal activities, in order to raise funds. These activities have traditionally been drug trafficking, extortion/collection of "revolutionary taxes", armed robbery, and kidnappings.
Basically, everything that FARC currently does. Now as FARC may have problems actually doing things with the ex-pat Middle Easterners, that leaves those communities open to being exploited by their back-home terror groups.

And if Congress decides that trying to stop FARC is too hard, then Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda get the big green light to keep on expanding.

That will bode very ill for the future if Congress does not have any spine at all.


A Jacksonian said...

Yes, indeed, FARC does see the Democratic Party as one that will *help them*. And as is indicated by multiple sources, FARC has a relationship with Hezbollah and, most likely, al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

So ease up on FARC, and you ease up on the others, too. That is the way it works in the world... you do not get to play favorites with terrorists.

Harrison said...

a jacksonian, I commented about this post over at Memoirs of a Colonel.

A Jacksonian said...

Harrison - My thanks! I dropped over to the thread and left additional commentary. I do believe we are coming to common agreement on some things, to say the least.