Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Colombian Chainsaw Massacre

Initially established in Panama in 1946, it was kicked out of that country in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” The SOA, frequently dubbed the “School of Assassins,” has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned.

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), located at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, is the Defense Department's principal Spanish-language training facility for Latin American military and law-enforcement personnel (though some civilians attend as well). It is the successor to the School of the Americas (SOA), a facility established in 1946 and
legally closed in 2001. The WHINSEC is located in the same building, and offers many of the same courses, as the school it replaces-

-he was forcibly taken out of his house by a mixed group of soldiers and paramilitaries, along with three of this brothers and other peasants from the village. They were led to the estate of a drug trafficker which at the time housed the Army's center of operations. They were all dismembered with a chainsaw by Army Major Alirio Antonio Urueña, a graduate of the School of the Americas.-

SOA/WHINSEC trains more Colombian military than any other nationality, when it transmogrified into WHINSEC it was much like the business owner who declares bankruptcy then reopens the next day in the same premises with a new name, but no ones buying, it's SOA.

SOA provided an essential component of Plan Colombia a scam started by Clinton, ostensibly it provided aid to combat drug growing and trading, most of its money went into military and police, it was the war on drugs writ large now mutated into the war on terror. Now it's time to mention that three letter word that makes so many things fall into place- Oil.

''Colombia's petroleum production today rivals Kuwait's on the eve of the Gulf War. The United States imports more oil from Colombia and its neighbors Venezuela and Ecuador than from all Persian Gulf countries combined."

Thus we are back to the old great game, any country with resources the Empire needs becomes a client state, they collude with right wing politician's (those damn lefties might want to share the oil profits) and any number of covers are used to hide the money sent to back the states forces of repression to maintain the flow of product. In this case the war on drugs was the initial cover, now the war on terror is a catch all justification for imperial interference.

Another target in this war against Washington's bogeyman are the revolutionary forces in Colombia (FARC/ELN). Indeed, statements made back in the fall of 2001 by the US Ambassador to Colombia and various State Department spokespeople compared the guerrilla forces in Colombia to Bin Laden and the Al-Queda network and called for "appropriate" armed intervention. The FARC-ELN have been fighting the oligarchy in Colombia for over thirty years. Along with a few other now-defunct revolutionary groups, they tried armed insurgency for several years and then, in an attempt to bring peace along with justice, lay down their arms and formed political parties. After winning many local elections and several seats in the Colombian legislature, they found themselves being killed off one by one in the early 1990s by the Colombian military and paramilitary forces aligned with the government and the oil/coffee/drug cartels it represents. So, the remaining forces returned to armed struggle. Since that return, the war has intensified, as has US involvement. In 1999 Plan Colombia began--a multi-billion dollar US strategy that includes aerial spraying of coca and poppy crops (along with whatever and whoever happens to be in the surrounding areas), more military aid, increased involvement of the CIA and its fronts, and the presence of US advisors and commandos. Since September 11th, the aid provided by Plan Colombia is being supplemented by additional counterterrorism funds.

This increased US involvement has brought more environmental destruction of the countryside, greater repression of labor and social justice activists including murder by paramilitaries, the displacement of tens of thousands of Colombian citizens because of aerial spraying and fighting between revolutionary forces (FARC/ELN) and the military and paramilitaries aligned with the government, and the deaths of thousands of mostly poor Colombians. Why? Once again, to establish, expand and maintain US markets and domination in the region, and to exploit Colombia's resources and plentiful cheap labor. Indeed, in the opening paragraphs of Plan Colombia, it states that very clearly: "The plan also involves the implementation of measures that would serve to encourage foreign investment and further promote trade expansion. These include the completion of the necessary steps to comply with existing Uruguay Round agreements, especially those dealing with customs valuation, intellectual property protection, and investment measures, as well as implementing business facilitation measures proposed in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations." Also, once again, that resource that defines most of the US's wars, comes into the picture: oil. In fact, according to Americas.org,-

And the motor that drives the brutalisation of personnel to implement the strategies is the SOA-

Walk into the marble-floored and track-lit headquarters of Colombia's national antinarcotics police and the generosity of that aid, as well as the incestuous relationship between Washington and Colombia's military machine, are suddenly evident. Outside the door of Commanding Gen. Gustavo Socha's office, mounted on a tripod, is an oversize photo of a grinning George W. Bush celebrating his election. Next to it is a full-color promotional illustration of a US-made Black Hawk attack helicopter. In the general's waiting room, visitors are attended to by a young, uniformed press officer, a polished graduate of the recently renamed School of the Americas, run by the US Army. Also present is an equally young security officer just returned from an intelligence training course at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

In case there's any doubt about the level of American involvement here, the office adjoining General Socha's is occupied by a craggy, Clint Eastwood clone in civilian clothes, a former US Army colonel. A veteran trainer at the School of the Americas, the ex-colonel now works with the State Department's Narcotics Affairs Section and is deployed as full-time adviser to General Socha.-

So just what can you learn as a student at the SOA? SOA watch has a fine collection of the manuals here.

Some highlights include:-

-counterintelligence agents could use fear, payment of bounties for enemy dead, beatings, false imprisonment, executions and the use of truth serum,
On several occasions it uses the words "neutralization" or "neutralizing," which was commonly used at the time as a euphemism for execution or destruction, a Pentagon official said.
CI (counter intelligence) targets for neutralizing. The CI targets can include personalities, installations, organizations, documents and materials ... the personality targets prove to be valuable sources of intelligence. Some examples of these targets are governmental officials, political leaders, and members of the infrastructure."-

Maybe time to take a break for a nice refreshing Coke:-

After the leader of their union was shot down at their plant gate in late 1996, Edgar Pa?z and his co-workers at the Coca-Cola bottling factory in Carepa, Colombia, tried for more than four years to get their government to take action against the responsible parties. Instead, some of the workers themselves wound up behind bars, while the murderers went free.
The level of violence against Colombian unionists is staggering: In 2000, assassinations took the lives of 153 of the nation's trade-union leaders. In 2001, the figure had reached 143 by the end of November. According to H?ctor Fajardo, general secretary of the United Confederation of Workers (CUT), Colombia's largest union federation, 3,800 trade unionists have been assassinated in Colombia since 1986. In the year 2000, three out of every five trade unionists killed in the world were Colombian, according to a recent report by the United Steelworkers. -

This reminds me of Iraq, because in the neo-con dreamworld constitution that Paul Bremer implemented for Bushco where corporations were given free reign, flat tax, zero regulation and no profit caps on exports, the only thing that remained regulated, in fact tighter than under Saddam was- trade unions. Clearly a picture of the true vision that the empire promulgates is emerging here, unregulated capitalist tyranny backed by torture and death, in other words a war of terror to establish it's rule. And Coke? Sugary shit that rots your teeth, the world needs clean water not the polluted waste from coke plants. It takes much more than 1 liter of water to produce 1 liter of bottled coke, so its production is a motor for environmental degradation and creating a scarcity of the one essential for all life. Of course that's no bad thing to a budding entrepreneur, constant demand meets shrinking supply =profit baby! We cannot afford the unregulated brutal capitalism of the empire,
but... America is bankrupt and China owns most of the debt, the Americas are electing leftist govts. and Bushco's brutality has caused the scales to fall more quickly from more people's eyes than ever before. Did someone say tipping point?