Consolidating the Paramilitaries

Friends in Colombia will be helping me blog from time to time. This friend is Enzo, and he is reporting on something happening in the Colombian press. The following are his interpretations of what is going on. Here goes:

Something orchestrated and intentional is happening as of sunday (Sept 26). It is a mediatic action regarding the paramilitaries. The three largest written media were totally dedicated to this issue on sunday. El Tiempo, El Espectador and Semana. The issue was the paramilitarization of the country. It was presented in a well planned way. Showing evidence of a phenomenon that everyone knows to be a fact as a sudden concern that was just unveiled. The paramilitary strategy is visibilized beyond the paramilitaries.

At the same time, during recent weeks, the different factions are being cleansed and unified. The groups that have oposed Castanio and Mancuso are being massacred or beheaded. Of course, all this began with the “disappearance” of Carlos Castanio (who was said to be sent to Istrael through Panama with the assistance of US intelligence -his brother Fidel, a Drug lord and founder of paramilitarism in Colombia, was seen in Tel-Aviv not that long ago-). Just last week, Arroyave, the commander of the Bloque Centauros, in direct oposition to the AUC, controlled by the President himself and by Mancuso, was killed by his own men. In other words, The paramilitaries are being unified by Uribe and his supporters (always US forces and the CIA) to be placed under his control.

These death squads are a component of a comprehensive National Strategy for Transnational Capital, which uses terror as its main weapon, articulated to political infiltration of the country, control of public budgets and programs, propaganda and drug production and trade (arms trade included).

The paramilitary strategy is a weapon of the globalized right to take over the resources of a country (and its neighbours) and transfer these to the government, which is already under US military and corporate control. This explains the weekend propaganda blitz. Uribe is known to be a paramilitary and wants to rid himself of this image. A perfect action: attack the other paramilitaries and unify the troops of assasins and present these actions as a government’s battle against paramilitarism. Expose the corruption that allows government funds to flow into paramilitarism as a threat that the government is fighting, but which is difficult to defeat and include here the para-narco connection. Present yourself as a victim of this machinery and call for foreign (US) help to fight this huge enemy, while in fact, you (Uribe and his allies) have created these enterprises with the paras to take public funds and invest them into funding paramilitarism, while becoming involved in drug trade.

Uribe himself has been shown to be a drug lord and a paramilitary (see Joseph Contrera’s book, La Biografia No Autorizada de Alvaro Uribe Velez). In fact, paramilitary factions have funded themselves through extorsion, government funds and drug trade for years. What changes now is that someone, somewhere has ordered a unification of these groups within the government, in it and under the President himself. They will keep funding themselves in the same way, but become the government and a single group.

Present this unification as a war between the Government and the paras and in the end the public will be convinced that when the Government becomes the paras, the paras will have been defeated. Colombia is being delivered to death squads, drug lords, corrupt thieves, linked to US and corporate interests. In the meantime a ‘peace process’ advances in San Jose de Ralito, Cordoba between government and paras. This site for negotiations gathers wealthy Colombians, members of Congress and other personalities. The site borders by two haciendas. One is owned by one of the largest landlords in Colombia: Alvaro Uribe Velez. The other one by his longstanding neighbour: Mancuso, the commander of the paramilitaries.

Two final notes:

1. None of this is limited to Colombia. It is being extended into Venezuela and Ecuador, and arguably the globe, wherever multinational interests are at stake.

2. The Government has become a criminal machinery on behalf of private national and multinational interests and its job is to persecute and punish those who opose the para-narco-corporate-US interests. This explains why, for example many health institutions for the poor that exist in the country are under the control of paramilitaries and do not fund health programs, but transfer these funds for the death squads to buy weapons and recruit new troops. This also explains why the Government under paramilitary rule, uses public services, such as the entire judicial system, to criminalize those who opoese its interests. There are many examples, but the most recent one involves Alcibiades Escue, probably the most important and respected indigenous leader in Colombia. Alcibiades is CEO of an Indigenous Health Institution owned by the communities in Cauca, South West Colombia. The paras attempted extorsion on him and the leaders refused to pay. As a result, Alcibiades was jailed and the media quickly condemned him and his communities as a paramilitary terrorist supporter who transferred funds for the health of the poor into the hands of death squads. In other words, the only one who refused to join the paras, was punished for this. Alcibiades is now out of jail, but the President announced that he would personally deal with this case.

Imagine this: the President of your country is a commander of a unified Death Squad that rules the nation through fear. The Government serves this machinery of fear for profit for the sake of transnational interests under US guidance. Most of the funding comes from drug trade. The rest is taken away through taxes from the people to be used against them. All this, leads to a regime that delivers wealth to corporate interests. The victims who refuse to tolerate this, are then either murdered or disappeared by death squads (indistinguishable) or accused of crimes committed by the regime. The Victims are chased after by the Criminals on behalf of Justice.

In the midst of the consolidation of this death squad corporate nation, indigenous people stand up peacefully and march to establish a new popular government, weaving popular autonomies for Life, Justice, Happiness and Freedom. Now, back to where we began. Why this media strategy? Who is behind it? Official terror uses propaganda, but official today in Colombia means global, multinational and US. If the Colombian State is being consolidated as a corporate-narco-terrorist machine, it is only emulating the largest corporate-terrorist-narco government in the world. And resistance comes from indigenous-popular coalitions now weaving a new project that calls for the concioussness and action of the world.

This unbelievable reality is truth. It is so unbeleivably true that most choose to ignore it, while the assasins take over the wealth and the life of the planet.

Beating Peacemakers Senseless in Palestine — and much worse to come

On September 29, Christian Peacemaker Teams volunteers Kim Lamberty and Christopher Brown were attacked by Israeli settlers in the Palestinian West Bank town of Hebron and beaten senseless. Lamberty ended up with a broken arm and knee, Brown with broken ribs and a contusion on his head and temple.

They were escorting Palestinian children to school. The settlers (unlike today’s bombers in Iraq and US and Israeli bombers in Iraq and Palestine in recent days) spared the children a beating today, focusing strictly on the peacemakers.

But Israeli missiles did not spare anyone in their path in Gaza. Israel launched tank shells into the densely populated refugee camp of Jabaliya, killing at least 7 and wounding at least 20, including several children. Israeli troops stormed the place, firing weapons and killing 14 and wounding 85. Three Israelis — a soldier and two settlers — were killed in Gaza by Palestinian fighters. Israeli soldiers returned fire and killed one or more gunmen. Israeli forces targeted power lines, leaving the camp of 120,000 without electricity. This invasion followed a rocket attack that killed two Israeli children on Wednesday. Israeli soldiers killed six Palestinians in one raid, and a single Palestinian child in another attack.

And Sharon’s plans for Gaza make today’s massacre seem like a picnic. It’s to be called “Operation Penitence” and its intent is to “exact a price”, according to Ha’aretz’s quotation of Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. “Exacting a price” from a population for an attack by a specific group is mass reprisal, illegal, immoral, terrorism — and already underway.

Perhaps the weirdest justification for it came from The chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud), who, according to Ha’aretz:

called for an IDF takeover of the entire Gaza Strip, saying, “Israel should wage operation Defensive Shield number two in Gaza, take control of the entire Strip in a wide-spread operation over a period of a few weeks to gather information, destroy the terrorist organizations’ infrastructure and wipe out any slicks of arms as well as the foundations for manufacturing Qassam rockets.”

Steinitz added that he would bring these issues up in planned meetings with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “Since the technology for laser interception of missiles has yet to be realized, We must significantly damage terrorist infrastructures – it is our only option to ease the situation.”

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I think he is saying that because Bush’s weaponization of space program isn’t yet implemented, Israel has to invade Gaza and smash civilians. Any reader who can make sense of this, feel free to email me.

Jenin was re-invaded days ago. Israel is promising something terrible and huge in Gaza. Are we helplessly watching the unfolding of another massive atrocity like ‘Defensive Shield’ of 2002?

Food Grab

Is it not a scandal when an extremely wealthy country with a social safety net like Canada still has large numbers of people hungry? It should be.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty has decided that it is, and has decided to take action to say so. Not just to take action, but to take food — from a grocery store — and present the government with the bill. Hunger is, after all, everybody’s problem, and a public problem requires a public solution. A public solution, in our society, means government intervention, and the destruction of the welfare state over the past couple of decades must be reversed.

Until that happens, OCAP wants to make it clear that hungry people will do what they have to to feed themselves. The note, below:


In this Wednesday’s food grab from a high-end grocery store, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty walked away with $3525.00 worth of food and tolietries.

The haul of goods included chicken, beef roasts, racks of ribs, rice, coffee, bricks of cheese, diapers, shampoo and other necessities that people in this province simply cannot afford. As one of the OCAP crew noted, “I’ve never shopped like this before in my life – instead of searching for the cheapest items, I could go for the expensive quality stuff.” [Photos are available at]

OCAP members were able to walk easily away from the grocery store, food in hand. The food was then distributed to people living in the city’s downtown east end yesterday evening.

It is worth noting that while people go hungry, grocery baron Galen Weston is the second richest person in all of Canada. In fact, the Weston family is the 43rd richest in the entire world. Most remarkable is the fact that the Westons control 50% of the food distribution market in Ontario. It was one of the Weston’s many supermarkets that was targeted yesterday.

It is not enough just to say that the current rate of welfare and disability payments makes it impossible to pay rent and put decent, healthy food on the table for the entire month. It is not enough just to talk about the dire need for a 40% increase to social assistance rates, to reflect the actual cost of living in Ontario. Saturday, October 2nd marks the one-year anniversary of the Liberal Government coming to power – we have ended this year of inaction and insult by actually taking back some of what people living in poverty in Ontario have long been owed.

So, it is to the Liberal government in office that we will send the bill – both for the food we took, and for that which is owed to people trying to survive on welfare and disability incomes.

Come out for a free meal and to present the bill:
Tuesday October 5th
12:00 noon
Allan Gardens
(corner of Carlton and Sherbourne)

So now they can send you off to be tortured — legally

I got this via Empire Notes, but it comes from Obsidian Wings.

Do read it. It’s quite extraordinary. The idea is that it will be completely legal for the US to send foreigners to countries where they will be tortured after this bill is passed. And you know the Congress is eager to pass these things. Readers in the US can make a difference, Rahul of Empire Notes thinks:

Continue reading “So now they can send you off to be tortured — legally”

Getting Beyond Hypocrisy on Humanitarian Intervention

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin gave a moving speech at the United Nations on September 22, 2004. “Tens of thousands have been murdered, raped and assaulted,” he said. “War crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed.”

Continue reading “Getting Beyond Hypocrisy on Humanitarian Intervention”

Four Years of Intifada – Statistics

September 28, 2000 was the beginning of the Second Intifada in Israel/Palestine. So we are at the 4-year anniversary of the day Sharon went to the Al-Aqsa mosque to provoke Palestinian demonstrators so that those demonstrators could then be shot, dozens killed. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, and Israel proceeded to re-occupy and devastate the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Four years later, most of the hopes entertained in the previous years about peace, reconciliation, and a just settlement are dashed. Instead, we have starvation, murder, massacre, assassination, humiliation, checkpoints, closures, sieges, and a total disruption of every aspect of life. And the US cheering it on and paying for it.

Some statistics from the Palestine Monitor.


A truly heartfelt thank you to everyone who wrote letters and otherwise helped with the kidnapping of the indigenous commission in Cauca, including my friend Arquimedes Vitonas, the mayor of Toribio. The indigenous community mobilized massively to send 400 people to the area to search for the commission. And they succeeded in Arquimedes and all five of the others!!! Spanish communique below.[1][category……..]=’Noticias ACIN’

San Vicente del Caguan, Caqueta-Colombia, 09/08/2004, ONIC-CRIC- ACIN Autor: ONIC-CRIC-ACIN
La Organizadón Nacional Indígena de Colombia(ONIC), el Consejo Regional Indígena del Cauta (CRIC) Y la Asociadón de Cabildos indígenas de Norte del Cauca (ACN) comunican a la opinión Pública:

1. Que en el día de ayer 7 de septiembre de 2004 fueron rescatados Sanos y salvos los Señores, Arquimedes Vitonás Noscué, Alcalde de Toribio, Gilberto Muñoz Coronado, exalcalde del mismo municipio, quienes han sido secuestrados por Míembros de la columna Teófilo Forero de las FARC, desde el 23 de agosto de 2004, mientras cumplían una labor de intercambio de experiencia con la comunidad indígena del resguardo de Altamira.

2. Igualmente informamos que en la acción de rescate fueron encontrados en el resguardo de Altamira los señores Plinio Trochez gobernador del Resguardo indígena de Toribío, Ruben Darío Escué, gobernador suplente del resguardo de san Francisco, Ermilson Velásco Yatacué, quienes pese a no ser secuestrados, no salieron de del resguardo por temor al peligró que corrían sus vidas y la de el alcalde y Ex alcalde.

3. Esta labor de rescate fue desarrollada por las comunidades, Los cabildos y la guardia indígena del Cauca quienes se desplazaron hasta la selvas del municipio de San Vicente del Caguán, en cumplimiento del mandato emanado por sus autoridades.

4. El movimiento indígena de Colombia agradece las manifestaciones de apoyo y solidaridad recibidas.

5. Invitamos a todos los pueblos y organizaciones del país a fortalecer nuestros procesos de resistencia, autonomía, unidad y a movilizamos por nuestra dignidad, la defensa de la vida y nuestros derechos frente a todos los actores.

Por el respeto a la vida, la dignidad y la libertad, resistencia siempre.

San Vicente del Caguán, 8 de septiembre de 2004