Abu Dhabi buying a new mercenary force to suppress “internal unrest” against petro-monarchies

Colombia Worries as Troops Join Arab Mercenary Force

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, June 7 (UPI) —

Colombia’s defense ministry is alarmed about an exodus of top soldiers to the United Arab Emirates to join a highly paid U.S.-led mercenary force organized by Erik Prince, billionaire founder of the security firm Blackwater.
Prince, who sold Blackwater in 2010 after it was involved in killings and scandals in Iraq, went to Abu Dhabi, capital of the Persian Gulf federation, in 2011.
He signed on to form an 800-man battalion of mercenaries for what emirati officials termed “anti-terrorism operations” inside and outside the country.
But it’s widely believed in Gulf security circles the force, being assembled under considerable secrecy by Prince’s Reflex Responses registered in the emirates, will be used for undisclosed special operations for the seven desert emirates that make up the federation.
That’s expected to include putting down “internal unrest” that might challenge the ruling families, as happened in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen, and which is growing in Kuwait and Bahrain. Continue reading

US/Colombia: Combat forces to shore up the Southern flank of US empire

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey examines a poster showing the faces of FARC members killed or captured by members of Joint Task Force Vulcano near Tibu, Colombia. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was visiting Colombia.

US Sends Combat Commanders to Colombia

By Susana Pimiento and John Lindsay-Poland | Fellowship of Reconciliation | May 21, 2012

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff commander General Martin Dempsey visited Colombia on March 29 to announce that within weeks U.S. military personnel will operate from a military base there with the newly formed Vulcan Task Force.

The Vulcan Task Force, which was established in December 2011, has 10,000 soldiers, three mobile brigades and one fixed brigade, operating from a base in Tibú, in the Catatumbo region (North Santander), just two miles from the Venezuela border.

On April 15, presidents Obama and Santos met during the Americas Summit and agreed on a new military regional action plan that will include training police forces in Central America and beyond. The announcement cited Operation Martillo, by which U.S. and Colombian forces have participated in operations this year against criminal elements on the coasts and interior of Central America.

The presence of U.S. soldiers on the military base in Tibú was presented by General Dempsey as an effort by the United States to support Colombia in its fight against drug trafficking and the insurgency. According to Dempsey, the Pentagon plans by June to send U.S. brigade commanders with practical experience in Afghanistan and Iraq to work with police and army combat units that will be deployed in areas controlled by the rebels. Dempsey said that U.S. military personnel will not participate in combat operations in Colombia.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Colombia has established its own version of U.S. joint special operations commands that carry out hunt-and-kill missions – operations for selective killings that have included U.S. citizens accused of having ties to Al Qaeda. With these special commandos, Colombia hopes to reach its goal of reducing the FARC guerrillas by 50% in two years. Continue reading

As Hugo Chavez builds relations with Colombian President Santos, FARC is expendable

Comandante Julián Conrado of FARC, captured in Venezuela

Colombia expects Venezuela to deliver FARC member

8/2/11–Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera asked the Venezuelan government to “exhaust all internal protocols” to make effective the delivery of Julián Cornado, a.k.a. Guillermo Torres

Colombia expects Venezuela to exhaust “all internal protocols” and deliver Julián Cornado, a.k.a. Guillermo Torres, an alleged member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera reported in Bogotá.

Rivera added that Torres was captured in Venezuela in a joint effort.

The rebel chief, also known as “the FARC singer” after his love for music, was captured last May 31 in western Barinas state, under an application filed by Colombia at the Interpol.

Rivera told reporters that Torres “was captured in Venezuelan territory by Venezuelan authorities, as a result of the cooperation with Colombia in the field of intelligence.” Continue reading

Colombia: US imperialists safeguard their counter-insurgency operations by ‘shrinking their footprints’

Colombian soldiers receive training on US military base for war against leftist guerillas

U.S. Base Deal for Colombia: Back to the Status Quo

 

Foreign Policy in Focus, October 8, 2010

Last October, the United States and Colombia signed an agreement allowing the United States to use at least seven military bases in Colombia. U.S. troops and contractors already operated from several bases, and U.S. military engagement with Colombia has included more than $6 billion in military assistance since 2000.

But the new agreement provoked regional condemnation because of extraterritorial aims outlined for the U.S. presence, and domestic opposition to the imposition on Colombian sovereignty. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez temporarily severed diplomatic relations and suspended billions of dollars worth of trade with Colombia in response.

Increasingly it appears that a new agreement will not be negotiated or submitted for approval by the Colombian Congress any time soon. Such a move would not only provide space for opponents of the agreement, but risk its defeat, if not in Congress, then in the Constitutional Court’s mandated review.

On August 27, the Washington Post reported that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was “leaning toward” not submitting the agreement to Congress, and quoted a State Department official as saying “We’re confident that in the intermediate period, or if there is no agreement for whatever reason, our older, existing agreements will permit us to continue our robust and effective cooperation with the Santos administration on counterterrorism and counternarcotics.” Continue reading

The Coca-Cola Case | A documentary film about the suppresion of labour rights in Latin America

“The Coca Cola Case” — a trailer

A documentary film by German Guttierez and Carmen Garcia.  Coca-Cola may be one of the most visible brands in the world, but there’s one part of their operations they don’t want you to see. See http://www.thecoca-colacase.org for more information.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

US bases deal for Colombia up in the air, Colombia-US military ties unaffected

Upside Down World, October 8, 2010

US Base Deal for Colombia: Back to the Status Quo

by John Lindsay-Poland and Susana Pimiento

Colombian President Santos (Middle)As the dust settles on the August 10 Colombian Constitutional Court ruling declaring invalid the U.S.-Colombia military bases agreement, politicians and analysts are saying that the decision was for the better.  Most of those voices come from former supporters of the deal —including Liberal Party presidential candidate, Rafael Pardo.

Last October, the United States and Colombia signed an agreement allowing the United States to use at least seven military bases in Colombia. U.S. troops and contractors already operated from several bases, and U.S. military engagement with Colombia has included more than $6 billion in military assistance since 2000. But the new agreement provoked regional condemnation because of extraterritorial aims outlined for the U.S. presence, and domestic opposition to the imposition on Colombian sovereignty. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez temporarily severed diplomatic relations and suspended billions of dollars worth of trade with Colombia in response.

Increasingly it appears that a new agreement will not be negotiated or submitted for approval by the Colombian Congress any time soon. Such a move would not only provide space for opponents of the agreement, but risk its defeat, if not in Congress, then in the Constitutional Court’s mandated review. On August 27, The Washington Post reported that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was “leaning toward” not submitting the agreement to Congress, and quoted a State Department official as saying “We’re confident that in the intermediate period, or if there is no agreement for whatever reason, our older, existing agreements will permit us to continue our robust and effective cooperation with the Santos administration on counterterrorism and counternarcotics.” Continue reading

Political Killings in Colombia

By Stephen Lendman

23 August, 2010,  Countercurrents.org

Colombia, America’s closest South American ally, is a corrupted narco-state, a repressive death squad faux democracy, threatening regional neighbors, and reigning terror against trade unionists, human rights workers, campesinos, pro-democracy organizations, independent journalists, and legitimate resistance groups like the FARC-EP. Established in 1964, James Petras calls it the “longest standing, largest peasant-based guerrilla movement in the world,” persisting valiantly for decades.

Thanks to Plan Colombia and other support, the state is heavily militarized, more than ever now serving as Washington’s land-based aircraft carrier against regional targets, including neighboring Venezuela.

The Pentagon got expanded access, former President Alvaro Uribe agreeing to US forces on seven more military bases (three airfields, two naval installations, and two army facilities), as well as unrestricted use of the entire country as-needed for internal and external belligerency, including out-of-control violence and human rights abuses, the region’s most extreme to keep two-thirds of Colombians impoverished, millions displaced, corruption endemic, wealth concentration growing, and corporate predators freed to exploit and plunder. Continue reading

US-backed leader of death squads wins Colombian election

Juan Manuel Santos

 

By James Petras

29 June, 2010,  Mycatbirdseat.com

Juan Manuel Santos, notorious Defense Minister in the regime of outgoing President Alvaro Uribe and closely identified with high crimes against humanity “won” the recent Presidential elections in Colombia, June 2010. The major electronic and print media CNN, FOX News, Washington Post, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the once liberal Financial Times (FT) hailed Santos election, as a great victory for democracy. According to the FT, “Colombia not Venezuela is (the) best model for Latin America” (FT 6/23/2010 p. 8).

Citing Santos “overwhelming” margin – he garnered 69% of the vote, the FT claimed he won a “strong mandate” (FT 6/22/2010). In what has to be one of the most flagrant cover-ups in recent history, the media accounts exclude the most egregious facts about the elections and the profoundly authoritarian policies pursued by Santos over the past decade.

The Elections: Guns, Elites and Terror

Elections are a process (not merely an event) in which prior political conditions determine the outcome. During the previous eight years of outgoing President Uribe’s and Defense Minister Santos’ rule, over 2 million, mostly rural poor, were forcibly uprooted and driven from their homes and land and displaced across frontiers into neighboring countries, or to urban slums. Continue reading

Colombian Army Attacks Striking BP Workers

June 2, 2010: The Colombia Solidarity Campaign (London, UK) organised a picket outside the BP HQ in support of Colombian oil workers who have occupied a BP plant.

Claire Hall, Espacio Bristol-Colombia

A five month long mobilisation against BP in the Casanare region of Colombia has escalated after the Colombian army entered the BP installations with force this week and confronted workers who have been peacefully occupying BP installations since May 23 to protest BP´s failure to conclude negotiations with the workers and community.

At midday on Wednesday a heavily armed commando group of the National Colombian Army leapt over the security fence of the Tauramena Central Processing Facility and subjected the group of workers to physical and verbal aggression. Oscar Garcia, of the National Oil Workers Union said “this war-like handling of a group of workers is an excessive use of force and treats a labour conflict as though it were an issue of public order. This shows how BP is bent on war against workers who are only demanding that their fundamental rights be respected.”[i]

The calm response by the striking workers brought the situation temporarily under control but the army remains present and tensions are high. Colombia continues to have the highest level of trade union murders in the world with 17 trade unionists murdered so far this year. Continue reading