Monday, March 10, 2008


This article is already a few days dated, but it ties together the loose ends.Renegade Eye

Here’s the written evidence

… and - please say it ain’t so! - Obama and Hillary attack Ecuador

By Greg Palast
March 06 2008

Do you believe this?

This past weekend, Colombia invaded Ecuador, killed a guerrilla chief in the jungle, opened his laptop – and what did the Colombians find? A message to Hugo Chavez that he sent the FARC guerrillas $300 million – which they’re using to obtain uranium to make a dirty bomb!

That’s what George Bush tells us. And he got that from his buddy, the strange right-wing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe.

So: After the fact, Colombia justifies its attempt to provoke a border war as a way to stop the threat of WMDs! Uh, where have we heard that before?

The US press snorted up this line about Chavez’ $300 million to “terrorists” quicker than the young Bush inhaling Colombia’s powdered export.

What the US press did not do is look at the evidence, the email in the magic laptop. (Presumably, the FARC leader’s last words were, “Listen, my password is ….”)

I read them. (You can read them here) While you can read it all in español, here is, in translation, the one and only mention of the alleged $300 million from Chavez:

“… With relation to the 300, which from now on we will call “dossier,” efforts are now going forward at the instructions of the boss to the cojo [slang term for ‘cripple’], which I will explain in a separate note. Let’s call the boss Ángel, and the cripple Ernesto.”

Got that? Where is Hugo? Where’s 300 million? And 300 what? Indeed, in context, the note is all about the hostage exchange with the FARC that Chavez was working on at the time (December 23, 2007) at the request of the Colombian government.

Indeed, the entire remainder of the email is all about the mechanism of the hostage exchange. Here’s the next line:
“To receive the three freed ones, Chavez proposes three options: Plan A. Do it to via of a ‘humanitarian caravan’; one that will involve Venezuela, France, the Vatican[?], Switzerland, European Union, democrats [civil society], Argentina, Red Cross, etc.”

As to the 300, I must note that the FARC’s previous prisoner exchange involved 300 prisoners. Is that what the ‘300’ refers to? ¿Quien sabe? Unlike Uribe, Bush and the US press, I won’t guess or make up a phastasmogoric story about Chavez mailing checks to the jungle.

To bolster their case, the Colombians claim, with no evidence whatsoever, that the mysterious “Angel” is the code name for Chavez. But in the memo, Chavez goes by the code name … Chavez.

Well, so what? This is what . . . .
Colombia’s invasion into Ecuador is a rank violation of international law, condemned by every single Latin member of the Organization of American States. But George Bush just loved it. He called Uribe to back Colombia, against, “the continuing assault by narco-terrorists as well as the provocative maneuvers by the regime in Venezuela.”

Well, our President may have gotten the facts ass-backward, but Bush knows what he’s doing: shoring up his last, faltering ally in South America, Uribe, a desperate man in deep political trouble.

Uribe claims he is going to bring charges against Chavez before the International Criminal Court. If Uribe goes there in person, I suggest he take a toothbrush: it was just discovered that right-wing death squads held murder-planning sessions at Uribe’s ranch. Uribe’s associates have been called before the nation’s Supreme Court and may face prison.

In other words, it’s a good time for a desperate Uribe to use that old politico’s wheeze, the threat of war, to drown out accusations of his own criminality. Furthermore, Uribe’s attack literally killed negotiations with FARC by killing FARC’s negotiator, Raul Reyes. Reyes was in talks with both Ecuador and Chavez about another prisoner exchange. Uribe authorized the negotiations. However, Uribe knew, should those talks have succeeded in obtaining the release of those kidnapped by the FARC, credit would have been heaped on Ecuador and Chavez, and discredit heaped on Uribe.

Luckily for a hemisphere on the verge of flames, the President of Ecuador, Raphael Correa, is one of the most level-headed, thoughtful men I’ve ever encountered.

Correa is now flying from Quito to Brazilia to Caracas to keep the region from blowing sky high. While moving troops to his border – no chief of state can permit foreign tanks on their sovereign soil – Correa also refuses sanctuary to the FARC . Indeed, Ecuador has routed out 47 FARC bases, a better track record than Colombia’s own, corrupt military.

For his cool, peaceable handling of the crisis, I will forgive Correa for apologizing for his calling Bush, “a dimwitted President who has done great damage to his country and the world.” (Watch an excerpt of my interview with Correa here.)

Amateur Hour in Blue

We can trust Correa to keep the peace South of the Border. But can we trust our Presidents-to-be?

The current man in the Oval Office, George Bush, simply can’t help himself: an outlaw invasion by a right-wing death-squad promoter is just fine with him.

But guess who couldn’t wait to parrot the Bush line? Hillary Clinton, still explaining that her vote to invade Iraq was not a vote to invade Iraq, issued a statement nearly identical to Bush’s, blessing the invasion of Ecuador as Colombia’s “right to defend itself.” And she added, “Hugo Chávez must stop these provoking actions.” Huh?

I assumed that Obama wouldn’t jump on this landmine – especially after he was blasted as a foreign policy amateur for suggesting he would invade across Pakistan’s border to hunt terrorists.

It’s embarrassing that Barack repeated Hillary’s line nearly verbatim, announcing, “the Colombian government has every right to defend itself.”

(I’m sure Hillary’s position wasn’t influenced by the loan of a campaign jet to her by Frank Giustra. Giustra has given over a hundred million dollars to Bill Clinton projects. Last year, Bill introduced Giustra to Colombia’s Uribe. On the spot, Giustra cut a lucrative deal with Uribe for Colombian oil.)

Then there’s Mr. War Hero. John McCain weighed in with his own idiocies, announcing that, “Hugo Chavez is establish[ing] a dictatorship,” presumably because, unlike George Bush, Chavez counts all the votes in Venezuelan elections.

But now our story gets tricky and icky.

The wise media critic Jeff Cohen told me to watch for the press naming McCain as a foreign policy expert and labeling the Democrats as amateurs. Sure enough, the New York Times, on the news pages Wednesday, called McCain, “a national security pro.”

McCain is the “pro” who said the war in Iraq would cost nearly nothing in lives or treasury dollars.

But, on the Colombian invasion of Ecuador, McCain said, “I hope that tensions will be relaxed, President Chavez will remove those troops from the borders - as well as the Ecuadorians - and relations continue to improve between the two.”

It’s not quite English, but it’s definitely not Bush. And weirdly, it’s definitely not Obama and Clinton cheerleading Colombia’s war on Ecuador.

Democrats, are you listening? The only thing worse than the media attacking Obama and Clinton as amateurs is the Democratic candidates’ frightening desire to prove them right.Greg Palast


Anonymous said...

Yes, all that begging forgiveness and bowing and scraping that Uribe did really sounded threatening. What a war monger! < /sarcasm>

sonia said...

It would have been strange for the Colombian government to put the captured FARC documents on the Internet.

Did they ever heard of "classified information" ?

Craig Bardo said...

Palast strains credulity. Too much editorial not enough substantiation.

Anonymous said...

Good news. Another FARC'in icehole bites the dust!

Bogota, March 10 (IANS) Colombian army troops have killed three rebels, one of them thought to be an important guerrilla commander, of the country’s largest leftist insurgent group in the southwestern province of Huila, EFE news agency reported Monday. The troopers of the 9th Brigade, during a mop up operation, engaged the rebel unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in a rural area near Algeciras, 400 km southwest of Bogota, an army spokesman said Sunday.

Both the local administration and the army were trying to find out if one of the killed was top rebel leader Genaro, the second-in-command of the Teofilo Forero Mobile Column, one of the most active and fiercest units of the FARC, he said.

Gee, I wonder if HIS location was released to the press... (not really).

Anonymous said...

Gee, I wonder how many FARC advisors Hugo has in Guasdalito? And I also wonder how long it'll be before Uribe has the stones to take them out.

Phil said...

The claim for a dirty bomb was utterly preposterous. Did they think anyone would take it seriously?

sonia said...

The claim for a dirty bomb was utterly preposterous.

Sometimes terrorists don't actually have to use a dirty bomb. Just verbally threatening to use it is enough to strike terror and force concessions.

FARC is too stupid to fabricate a dirty bomb. But they aren't smart enough to avoid making such threats.

MC Fanon said...

Ren, have the documents turned up on any other website besides Palast's? While this simplifies matters greatly, I am conscious of the fact that he cites no source for the document's text whatsoever.

Una said...

Eh! Spanish general election is not so interesting for you? What a pity!

Una said...

Thank you, thank you, I will rule in my blog.

Larry Gambone said...

El Camino. Very interesting your blog and I too am glad Spanish people voted to block fascism from rearing its ugly head again. Not that the PSOE is any good, but at least the Francoists are not in power.

Foxessa said...

Ren -- I think this is what you were questioning in my comment to the Colombian-Ecuador-Venezuela crisis entry:

[ Once again the U.S. regime is putting this nation and its military in a no-win situation: Iraq is still grinding up our military forces and supplies; it wants to hit Iran; and it wants to hit Venezuela -- all before they're taken out of office. But, you know, they'll have McCain to play proxy for them and their long-term goals. ]

I think Palast is saying essentially the same thing, with the media characterizing warmongering McCain as an international and national security expert.

Love, C.

Rent Party said...

Glad you're watching this. This has been my worry for some time: Plan Colombia, the U.S. plan to help with the drug war and the FARC (help). It could easily ignite a war in the region. We go in ostensibly to help but really to get access to Venezuelan and Ecuadoran oilfields.
The U.S. wants a bigger foothold in there, bad, and with Uribe in power in Colombia, it's a good time.

Frank Partisan said...

Farmer: Both Colombia and Venezuela came off bad. Not good to make threats, and not back them up.

See this. Venezuela detained the most wanted drug dealer by the US.

What is clear, that Colombia could care less about FARC's hostages.

Phil: The story changed to from wanting a dirty bomb, to the more plausible selling uranium from somewhere.

Sonia: I agree.

CB: From experience I can tell you getting 300 Million dollars from the Venezuelan government is next to impossible. You don't have one iota of proof Venezuela funds FARC.

CAMINO INCIERTO: I answered your question at your blog. I support the Socialist Party in Spain.

Larry: It sounds like Chile was fun.

Foxessa: I originally misunderstood you.

Dave: After Palast exposed the first laptop, I guess the other guerilla happened to have a laptop full of secrets.

Graeme said...

Yes, I concur. Good work in Spain.

And this whole situation appears to be blown way out of proportion by all sides. The Colombian government looked especially foolish during this ordeal. And now they apologize. They look like kids.

Anonymous said...

Hugo is currently harboring newly appointed FARC Rebel Commander Joaquin Gomez and one of his buddies in a cushy hospital in the Venezuelan state of Tachira while they recover from gunshot wounds. Even though there's a $2.5 million dollar reward for his arrest and conviction, there's no chance Gomez will ever see the light of a Venezuelan or American prison.

Hugo is harboring and supporting known terrorists. That makes him one. Hugo only "detains" drug dealers friendly to Uribe...

Frank Partisan said...

FARC has been considered a belligerent force by Chavez and previous Venezuelan governments.

To be a belligerent force:

1) Control territory
2) Have military rank

FARC, Hamas, and the Iranian Presidential Guards are belligerent.

beatroot said...

Chavez has taken over as the iconic image on every suburban western freedom fighter's T-shirt. If he didn't exsist then the exhausted left and right would have to ivent him. Snoooze.

Anonymous said...

FARC has also been considered a terrorist organization by the government of Hugo Chavez and previous Venezuelan governments.

Belligerent - 1. Inclined or eager to fight; hostile or aggressive. 2. Of, pertaining to, or engaged in warfare.

There's a $2.5 Million dollar reward for the apprehension of Joaquin Gomez. That Chavez will turn over a right wing paramilitary like Hermagoras Gonzalez Polanco, but not a left winger like Joaquin Gomez, proves that Hugo Chavez is ALSO a belligerant in this conflict.

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MC Fanon said...

Yum. Spam's for dinner.

Frank Partisan said...

Dave: Anonymous spammers hate free speech. That is their motivation. The other is political cowardice.

Farmer: Belligerent isn't about good or bad, it is a legal term. Controlling territory and using military rank is the criteria.

Anonymous said...

I don't suppose the Men in Black appearing at Joaquin Gonzales' hospital yesterday to flash their little lighty things in everyone's eyes has anything to do with legal terms like "belligerant", do you? ;-)

MC Fanon said...

Farmer John, perhaps you ought to take the example the American media has so eloquently set and wait until all of the facts surface before passing judgment on Chavez and the Venezuelan government. If it were any other article, I wouldn't give the Miami Herald the time of day but when they confirm that the man in the Venezuelan hospital is not Joaquin Gomez, I have to figure there must be a degree of truth in it.

MC Fanon said...

I apologize. The article can be found here.

Anonymous said...

Sorry... but I saw the "security operation" in effect during the 24-36 hours "before" the pictures were released. It wasn't something set up to protect "nobody".

MIB. Great flick. But I've still got my sunglasses on.

Z said...

sonia....could you please tell the NYTimes there's 'such a thing as classified information', too? thanks.

troutsky said...

Farmer, those aren't sunglasses.

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