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

FBI raids seek to criminalize solidarity work in the Palestinian community

FBI raid in the Midwest

The Electronic Intifada, 15 November 2010

Nora Barrows-Friedman and Maureen Clare Murphy

US activists face new repression as political prisoners fight for justice

For decades the United States government has attempted to criminalize work in the Palestinian community in support of their national liberation cause. But in recent years this repression has increased dramatically. The Electronic Intifada spoke with the daughter of Sami al-Arian and the daughter of Ghassan Elashi — both political prisoners in the US — about the impact this repression has had on their families’ lives.

And in an Electronic Intifada exclusive, Hatem Abudayyeh, an organizer and community leader whose home in Chicago was raided by federal agents on 24 September 2010, spoke to the press for the first time about his family’s story.

The Electronic Intifada spoke with al-Arian, Elashi and Abudayyeh as activists across the United States prepare for emergency demonstrations as the subpoenas for three anti-war and solidarity organizers to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago are being reactivated by the Department of Justice.

The three activists are among the 14 who received subpoenas during and soon after coordinated FBI raids on homes and offices across the Midwestern US on 24 September. The government says that the raids and subpoenas are part of an investigation into “material support” of foreign terrorist organizations but it has not arrested or charged anyone. A grand jury, no longer in use anywhere outside the US, is an investigative tool that allows the government to compel citizens to testify even if they are not suspected of any crime. Continue reading