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By Les Blough, Editor. Axis of Logic
Thursday, Feb 25, 2010
Apparently, the corporate media doesn’t consider it to be newsworthy: the confession to a Colombian prosecutor of 30,000 murders by paramilitaries who are linked to the Alvaro Uribe regime. To date, Associated Press, Reuters and their contracted media outlets remain silent on this latest news. If it had taken place in Somalia, China, Syria, North Korea, Iran or any of Washington’s perceived enemies, we would be seeing it on a CNN special report, backed up on the front pages of the New York Times and Washington Post. The last prominent NYT article reporting in January, 2007 on Colombian paramilitary death squads provided President Uribe with cover, stating:
“Senior members of Mr. Uribe’s government and Mr. Uribe himself have said that anyone shown to have had illegal ties to the paramilitaries, which terrorized Colombian cities and the countryside in the nation’s internal war, which has gone on for decades, and made fortunes in cocaine trafficking, should be prosecuted in courts of law…
“Many Colombians credit Mr. Uribe for declining levels of murders and kidnappings and robust economic growth.”
Only Pravda (February 19) reported that Colombian paramilitaries have admitted to over 30,000 murders over the last 20 years. That report is included below in its entirety. Here, we wish to take a brief look at the reasons for the silence of the corporate media on matters that threaten the Uribe regime.
First, it is not surprising to read Pravda’s report on the enormity of paramilitaries’ crimes against humanity by Colombian paramilitaries, considering that the Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe, himself:
- was a close personal friend of drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar and once worked for the Medellín Cartel when he was governor of Medellín.
- has been implicated in murder by right-wing paramilitaries over the years, along with members of his administration.
- has been linked to the murders of trade unionists in Colombia. 72 leaders of labor unions were killed in 2007 alone and 2300 since 1991.
- is Washington’s closest ally in Latin America:
- fully cooperating with SouthCom (U.S. Southern Command),
- supporting “Plan Colombia” which interesting enough, is not mentioned in Obama’s 2011 funding proposal
- providing cover for the U.S. “war on drugs” that has sucked $5Bn from the U.S. taxpayer, some of which have been diverted to Colombian paramilitaries’ use to intimidate voters
- leasing 7 Colombian military bases to the U.S. on the border of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela where President Chavez is Uribe’s harshest critic and a thorn in the side of Washington.
- sending Colombian military officers (including two generals) to the U.S. School of the Americas, notorious for training Latin American fascists in torture techniques and assassinations.
We only see Uribe’s dark affiliations mentioned in the corporate media as passing references which provide him with cover, as in the NYT article cited above.
AUC – not FARC
It is also interesting that it is the the right-wing AUC (United Self Defense Forces of Colombia) that is responsible for 30,000 murders in Colombia and not the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). But it is FARC who are usually reputed by the western media to be the “terrorists” of Colombia.
The Council on Foreign Relations and their mouthpiece, the U.S. corporate media, frequently describe the FARC as a “terrorist organization, funded by illegal drugs.” The reason is obvious – it is the FARC that has been battling against Colombia’s corrupt and violent government – a government widely supported by said media and the United States.
Linking President Chavez with FARC
After repeatedly identifying FARC as terrorists, the media then attempts to link Venezuela’s President Chavez to FARC. They ramped up this false linkage when Chavez brokered the release of FARC prisoners in late 2007. After Chavez successfully gained the first release of the FARC prisoners ever, on January 11, 2008, he called on Latin American governments to stop branding Colombian guerillas as “terrorists”:
“I am asking the governments (across Latin America) to take the FARC-EP and ELN (National Liberation Army) off their lists of global terrorist groups.”
Predictably, President Uribe quickly reacted, saying that FARC are indeed terrorists, a favorite tactic to justify illegal attacks on one’s own political enemies as Uribe did when he executed the cross-border missile attack against a FARC encampment in Ecuador, killing Raul Reyes and others.
Washington’s hackneyed, worn out U.S. tactic to declare FARC as a terrorist organization and then to link President Chavez to them seems to have lost traction over the last year or so. But it will come as no surprise when they resort to these accusations again in the future. The latest reports on Colombo paramilitaries indicate that those currently being prosecuted are being replaced by new paramilitary death squads in the continuing movement to assassinate dissidents against the Uribe government. Finally, it’s important to note the long standing battle between President Uribe and the Colombian judiciary. For example, concerned about the threat to Judicial Independence in Colombia, The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) reported:
“In a far-fetched move, Uribe accuses a Supreme Court Justice of bribing a paramilitary leader to implicate the President in a murder scandal.”
If we want to know the truth about what is happening in Colombia, we won’t find it in those media that are on-board with the Washington consensus for Venezuela and the rest of Latin America.
– Les Blough, Editor
Colombian paramilitaries admit to 30,000 murders
Pravda, February 19, 2010
The Colombian prosecutor announced on Tuesday (16) impressive data on the activity of paramilitaries in the country. According to a report published by the Office of Justice and Peace Promotion, 4112 ex-combatants of the paramilitary United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) confessed to having committed 30,470 murders in a 20-year period – from mid-’80s to 2003, when it would have begun the process of demobilization.
The death toll puts the paramilitary groups in Colombia – a country whose “democracy” is one of the oldest in Latin America – at the same level of dictatorships in the region, like that of Argentina (1976-1983), who left nearly 30 people dead and missing.
Among the data obtained by the prosecutor are the records of 1085 massacres; 1437 underage recruits; 2520 disappearances, forced displacement 2326, 1642 robberies, and 1033 kidnappings. The Colombian authorities are checking the information that was obtained through confessions provided in a plan that gives proceedings for veterans benefits.
The Law of Justice of the Peace, sponsored by the government of President Álvaro Uribe, sets a maximum sentence of 8 years for the paramilitaries to submit to the justice as a result of confessing their crimes. At least 32 paramilitaries had reportedly surrendered their weapons in this process.
“The country should be appalled by the revelation of such a high number of systematic killings,” said analyst Alvaro Villarraga, a former member of the guerrilla People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and now director of the Democratic Culture. “But the sad thing is that this estimate may be well below the reality.” According Villarraga, the numbers are an example of the “widespread” humanitarian crisis that Colombia still is.
At least 30,470 murders were committed by members of the Defense Forces of Colombia in a period of 20 years – from mid-’80s to 2003.
1,085 massacres were committed by members of the paramilitary
From O Estado de Sao Paulo
18/02/2010 ás 08:26
Translated from the Portuguese version by Lisa KARPOVA
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