War on Terror

Uribe’s Latest Misfirings Against the FARC

Category: Armed Conflict, War on Terror
By · May 15, 2009 · Comment

Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe regularly labels the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as “cowardly terrorists.” However, he has inappropriately used the term on numerous occasions, including twice in the past week, in his effort to propagandize against the rebel group. Following a FARC attack against the Colombian military that killed eight soldiers in northeastern Colombia last week and another assault that resulted in the deaths of seven more soldiers yesterday, Uribe ignored the fact that both were strikes against legitimate military targets and that no civilians were killed in either instance. Additionally, the political wrangling over logistics related to the FARC’s proposed unilateral release of a soldier held captive by the rebel group for more than eleven years potentially represents the first serious repercussion from the Colombian government’s illegal use of the Red Cross symbol last year during a hostage rescue mission. Read more»

FARC Not a Terrorist Group

Category: Armed Conflict, War on Terror
By · January 12, 2008 · Comment

Amid the jubilant press reaction to the freeing of Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez has made the surprising announcement, almost immediately ratified by the Venezuelan Congress, that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) is a legitimate belligerent force, and not a terrorist group. Although I have been criticizing Chávez of late, I have to say that I not only agree with this, but also think that America’s official “terrorist list” and “war on terrorism” have an extremely destructive impact on efforts to resolve conflicts all over the world. Read more»

Who Are the Real Terrorists in Colombia?

Category: Armed Conflict, Human Rights, War on Terror
By · February 20, 2006 · Comment

Following 9/11, the justification for U.S. military intervention in Colombia quickly evolved from combating illicit drugs to fighting a war on terror. Despite the fact that all three of Colombia’s irregular armed groups were on the U.S. State Department’s list of international terrorist organizations, it soon became apparent that the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) would be the Bush administration’s principal target. Washington’s focus on the FARC in its war on terror is curious given that pro-government forces have committed significantly more acts of terrorism against the civilian population than have leftist guerrillas. Read more»

U.S. Support for War of Terror in Arauca

Category: Armed Conflict, Human Rights, War on Terror
By · October 28, 2004 · Comment

During the current election campaign, there is much discussion of the U.S. “war on terror.” While this discussion focuses almost entirely upon the Middle East, Iraq and Al-Qaeda, there is almost no mention of Washington’s current war in Colombia, a war in which the United States is actually supporting military forces that are terrorizing the population. Indeed, the U.S. Congress, over the objection of numerous human rights organizations, recently deepened the U.S. role in Colombia by voting to double the U.S. troop level there from 400 to 800. This troop involvement is in addition to the more than $3.5 billion the United States has already spent on the Colombian military since 2000, making Colombia the third-largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the world. Read more»

A Different War on Terror, But the Same Old Propaganda

Category: Armed Conflict, Human Rights, War on Terror
By · July 5, 2004 · Comment

A recent op-ed by Thomas W. O’Connell, assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, is yet another example of the Bush administration distorting facts in order to sell its war on terror to the U.S. public and Congress. In this case, it is not an attempt to justify the forceful imposition of “democracy”—naturally, a U.S.-devised neoliberal democracy—on Iraq, but a good old self-congratulatory pat on the back for the “successes” of U.S. military intervention in Colombia at a time when Congress is debating a Bush administration request to increase the number of U.S. troops and contractors permitted in that South American country. In an ideal democracy, U.S. government officials would fully and accurately inform the public about the administration’s policies so as to allow citizens to effectively participate in the democratic process, especially crucial in an election year. O’Connell clearly fails to do this. In fact, by distorting the realities of the Bush administration’s war on terror policies in Colombia he has grossly misinformed and misled the U.S. public and Congress, and thus, undermined democracy in the United States. Read more»

Colombia’s Winds of Change

Category: Armed Conflict, Human Rights, War on Terror
By · January 12, 2004 · Comment

An old legend says that when God made Colombia, St. Peter asked, “Why have you given so much natural wealth to one country?” God replied, “You haven’t seen the leaders I will give them yet.” It is this same wealth that is at the heart of the West’s close interest in Colombia, and it is this same poor leadership that explains why Colombia has so frequently handed it over to them. For despite Colombia possessing 16 of the world’s 22 most desirable resources, including oil, gold, platinum, emeralds and some of the richest soils in the world, 64 per cent of Colombians live in poverty. And while 2.5 million families have no homes and 3.5 million children have no school to attend, a mere one percent of the population own well over half of Colombia’s land. Read more»

Worthy and Unworthy Victims in Colombia’s War of Terror

Category: Armed Conflict, Human Rights, War on Terror
By · March 24, 2003 · Comment

In the narratives of the world’s global media corporations, familiar themes can be traced. One such theme that occurs time and again is the designation of worthy victims; poor unfortunates caught up in a spiral of violence. Invisible, however, are the unworthy victims; those poor unfortunates who have also been caught up in a spiral of violence, but due to the fact that their deaths do not lend weight to the narratives of the powerful, can be ignored. An example would be the Kurds in Northern Iraq. Worthy victims as long as their terrible suffering under Saddam suits the interests of the powerful. Meanwhile, their brothers and sisters across the border in Turkey are unworthy victims whose suffering is not only ignored by the powerful, but massively amplified by the flow of western arms to the Turkish government for use in its war against the country’s Kurdish minority. This familiar pattern of worthy and unworthy victims is now being played out in Colombia, the world’s third largest recipient of U.S. military aid and Washington’s latest ally in its war of terror. Read more»