A FARC Document Trove

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It is now pretty clear that those laptops seized by the Colombian military in its cross-border raid on FARC commander Raul Reyes are genuine (I wrote previously about the killing of Reyes here). There was little doubt as to the authenticity of the captured files, as evidenced by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa's frantic attempts at explaining away evidence of his collaboration with FARC. But now the CIA and Interpol have also confirmed that the material is genuine, and the Wall Street Journal, in a detailed cover story, assesses the level of cooperation between the terror group and the government of Hugo Chavez and what this means for relations with Colombia and the United States:

The files that have been made public so far have largely confirmed Mr. Chávez's well-known sympathy for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. But a review by The Wall Street Journal of more than 100 new files from the computers suggests that Venezuela has broader and deeper ties to the FARC than previously known.

These documents indicate Venezuela appears to be making concrete offers to help arm the rebels, possibly with rocket-propelled grenades and ground-to-air missiles. The files suggest that Venezuela offered the FARC the use of one of its ports to receive arms shipments, and that Venezuela raised the prospect of drawing up a joint security plan with the FARC and sought basic training in guerrilla-warfare techniques.

Full story here.

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  1. Only hard-boiled Communists could fuck up the narcotics trade so badly that they still needed subsidies from Papa Chavez.

    I don’t see how this can really hurt Chavez. It’s not like the US military isn’t overcommitted elsewhere and any economic sanctions will just be buffered out by the world market. The only way that I can see it hurting him is in Venezuelan public opinion.

  2. Not subsidies, Rimfax. The documents indicate that FARC is buying stuff he is selling, or allowing to transit, to them.

    The “Intelligence Community” had been hope that the Brits report the same thing next week. The last thing we need is another intelligence debacle.

  3. These documents indicate Venezuela appears to be making concrete offers to help arm the rebels, possibly with rocket-propelled grenades and ground-to-air missiles.

    I believe these would be acts of war, yes?

  4. Against Columbia, RC?

    I think they could be considered acts of war. Hostile acts, certainly.

  5. I love how every time there’s a story on Venezuela or Columbia, one of the side bar ads is always about “Columbian or Venezuelan beauties”.

  6. If the Colombian military wants to defeat the FARC all they have to do is legalize cocaine.

    In one fell swoop that would destroy their finances, and their public support, the FARC would have to revert to kidnappings and a protection racket.

  7. Baked Penguin,

    Thank you for pointing that out. I hadn’t noticed it. I dare not click on it though.

  8. It’s infuriating to consider who ends up benefitting from drug prohibition.

  9. Great minds, kwais.

    The Taliban, too.

  10. It’s funny, the most violent terrorists operating in Colombia right now aren’t communists or Marxists- they’re the ones we support with billions of dollars in ‘subsidies’ for the alleged war on drugs. What other group kills so many political opponents in a supposed democracy? What other group massacres whole villages of innocents, sometimes simply for fun? What other group has a history of democide? The ‘Libertarian’ view is to hate FARC, this makes sense- they are a violent, militant group, but we forget that in many ways FARC is merely a reaction to the far more violent and far more dangerous Colombian government and the right wing paramilitaries they employ.

  11. kwais – just turn off your cookies. That’s what I do when I want to visit a site that might be dodgy.

    I’m on someone else’s computer, so I’m not going to do it right now, though…

  12. Oh, and in addition to FARC & the Taliban, John Walters also benefits from the WoD.

  13. Colombia has actually had decriminalization (20 grams pot, one gram cocaine) up until the recent past (2004 or so, I think). It didn’t really make much difference – crime was even worse, addiction levels went up – although it did make local prices plunge.

  14. And Orrin Hatch. Big Time.

    It’s always the political and religious extremists, isn’t it?

  15. Umm.. It’s news that the commies are working together across the borders of adjoining countries?

    Do the words “vietnam”, “laos”, and “cambodia” ring any bells?

    -jcr

  16. leTerrassier,
    Incorrect. FARC was a communist insurgency group started by, of all people, radical Catholic priests. It predates the drug trade and the cocaine era, as do some of the paramilitary groups, which were formed as a private army for protection. However, they’ve all been bought off by drug money and are little more than criminal organizations now.

  17. I’ve mentioned this several times on H&R to the apparent indifference of nearly everyone, but the fact that marijuana may help stave off Alzhiemers gives me hope. It means that the most active group politically now has a very vested interest in wanting to see changes to the laws against marijuana.

    Now all we need is for the AARP to start lobbying for pot, and we’re set.

  18. I eagerly await Mr. Moynihan’s posts about the right-wing paramilitary groups in Colombia that murder trade unionists with impunity under the watchful eye of our dear friend and ally, President Uribe. Or a post about how Colombia’s attack in Ecuador violated international law and was widely condemned not just by leftists like Chavez or Correa, but by countries like Argentina and Brazil. Or how about a post talking about how Colombia’s US-backed fumigation program is destroying peasant crops and causing increased instances of cancer, both in Colombia and Ecuador.

    Oh wait, Uribe isn’t an officially designated enemy of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. And we all know how desperate Reason is for establishment credibility, so I guess we can expect more AIPAC-sponsored reports about America’s officially designated enemies.

  19. So what does Drew Curtis have to say about this?

  20. Do the words “vietnam”, “laos”, and “cambodia” ring any bells?

    You mean, when the communists in the Vietnam went to war with and overthrew the communists in Cambodiat, causing the Communists in China to launch a punitive war against the Communists in Vietnam?

    I guess memories can be hazy.

  21. hey charlie – too lazy to provide the links yourself?

  22. charlie, moynihan appears to be the heh-indeedy brand of libertarian who never met a war he didn’t like. The hardest thing for them to decide is whether to attack Iran before, or after Venezuela. Interesting times ahead..

  23. Attack Venezuela?

    With whom?

    I hear there’s a Coast Guard unit that’s available.

    I know – we can form Air Force Field Divisions out of mechanics and support personnel, and use them as infantry. That worked out really well the last time someone tried it.

  24. Who do you think is working harder to fuck up the country they rule over Bush or Chavez?

  25. “Or a post about how Colombia’s attack in Ecuador violated international law”

    Under the Caroline precedent, part of international law for the last 170 years, such cross-border attacks on groups engaging in rebellion against the attacking government are, legally, self-defense. And military operations in self-defense are perfectly legal under international law. That a Peronist government of Argentina and a Worker’s Party government of Brazil condemned an attack by an American ally on a leftist group doesn’t magically change that.

    There’s lots to criticize Colombia about. Pretending that the Ecuador attack violated international law when it clearly didn’t is not one of them.

  26. Don,
    Two things you are wrong about:
    The ELN was started by priests, not the FARC. Marulanda was there at the outset of the FARC, one of its early founders after the attack upon Marquetalia in 1964. Nothing to do with Liberation Theology. I know, it is tempting and fits the historical narrative so well…

    And, LeTerrasier didn’t say that the FARC didn’t predate all of this, the war on drugs et al. I don’t know where you came up with that. The FARC once had a pretty mild set of reforms they were backing at one time. It took them a long time–some three decades–to become a mafia-type racket.

    I think (and I can only infer) that his general point was that liberatarians tend to be absolutely useless when it comes to paying attention when there aren’t obvious Commie critters to pin the blame on. Here I am in total agreement.

    It is a rare liberatarian that cares at all about addressing why a figure like Chavez is so attractive in the first place. And you certainly won’t hear them say much about the AUC in Colombia, you know, the terrorist group that has actually been seen eating U.S. Army rations, cuz they are like right wing and stuff, even though they have been the most prolific killers in Colombia for decades.

    I think that was what LeTerrasier was trying to say.

    This one is between Colombia and Venezuela. It’s actually none of our fucking business. Given all of the facts, I’m wondering how this could not be only plausible libertarian position…to stay the fuck out.

  27. All the “unionists are dying in Colombia” guys are missing the forest for the trees. A lot of people are dying violently in Colombia, and the murder rate for unionists is far lower than the one for Colombians as a whole (IIRC, it’s 4 per 100.000 for unionists, compared to 40-something per 100.000).

  28. I support the right wing paramilitaries. They protect the property rights of the Colombian middle class and provide a free market solution to communist insurgents.

  29. but we forget that in many ways FARC is merely a reaction to the far more violent and far more dangerous Colombian government and the right wing paramilitaries they employ.

    “merely” a reaction? ok.

    The FARC have been at this for 40 years. You know how many Colombian presidents, congressmen, and judges have come and gone in those 40 years?

    By the way, certainly the Colombian government (in another form) predates the FARC. But the paramilitaries are a reaction to the FARC. The AUC is 11 years old. Are they “merely” a reaction to the FARC.

    The FARC want complete control of Colombia. They can’t do this democratically so they use force. What do you expect the democratically elected Colombian government to do?

  30. Why, support right-wing death squads, of course.

  31. From what I can gather, the AUC formed in 1997, so unless they have access to time travel, it’d be kind of hard for FARC to form in response to them.

  32. Why, support right-wing death squads, of course.

    I only have myself to blame for setting that up for you joe. 🙂

    I agree, support for right-wing death squads is criminal, immoral, and unacceptable.

    But self-defense isn’t. The attack that unearthed the documents that are the subject of the thread falls under that category in my opinion.

  33. joe | May 9, 2008, 5:36pm | #
    Great minds, kwais.

    The Taliban, too.

    Indeed, we won’t ever win in Afghanistan while fighting a drug war there. I would really like us to win in Afghanistan.

  34. Kwais, I’d rather we quit the drug war AND pull out of Afghanistan.

  35. Where are the bets falling on time until our elected officials take the bait, label Venezuela a terrorist-sponsoring state or whatever the official designation is, and give Chavez yet another boost?

    Who do you think is working harder to fuck up the country they rule over Bush or Chavez?

    Bush incidentally fucked up the country in his pursuit of fucking up someone else’s country. Chavez, on the other hand, is incidentally fucking up other countries in his quest to royally fuck his own country.

  36. Colombian Libertarian,

    You’re right, self-defense isn’t criminal.

    Your country has problems beyond Americans’ understanding.

    I think our best move is to stay the hell out of your business.

  37. kwais,

    Thinking about Afghanistan gets me furious like no one on this board has seen me furious.

    I read these stories about seeing if they can scrounge up 1200 troops from here, or get somebody else to send 3000.

    Ha ha. I love that.

    Who do you think is working harder to fuck up the country they rule over Bush or Chavez?

    Bush doesn’t work very hard.

  38. I think our best move is to stay the hell out of your business

    Great, joe! Learn to apply that last line domestically and you’ll have a lot fewer arguments on this board.

  39. You people DO KNOW that the right wing death squads are a thing of the past? and that these right wing militias were the result of a complex military and political situation, 20 years ago?

    It saddens me deeply that if it weren’t for the murderous and genocidal acts of the AUC
    the FARC would have been able to topple my government and turn Colombia into a failed state, like Somalia or Lebannon.

    The right-wing militias are a thing of the past, and that’s a detail that people abroad seem to miss when trashing my country.

    The paramilitaries were a response to the lack of security provided from the state.
    BACK THEN(1990s), the guerrilla had managed to gain an amazing amount of power and military strength, mainly achieved with the profits from the drug traffic. The Colombian military was weak and incapable of stopping the guerrillas from bombing innocent towns, kidnapping civilians and soldiers, and taking over provincial capitals(Like Mitu, on 1998).

    Members of the Colombian Military had to choose between “two evils”:
    Supporting a landlord-backed paramilitary force formed by guerrilla victims, determined on keeping the status quo or being defeated by a marxist terrorist group determined on toppling the democratically elected government, controlling the drug traffic and leaded by sadistic madmen.(However, it soon became obvious that the paramilitaries were also lead by sadistic madmen)

    Officially, both the AUC and the FARC were considered terrorist organizations, but privately some military units used the AUC to keep the guerrilla out of large sections of the country. AUC leaders acomplished this by ordering thousands of political killings in remote areas of the country.

    When Uribe reached power in 2002, he turned things around. He modernized the army (using the resources from Plan Colombia), ordered huge offensives against both the AUC and the FARC, and sent them on the run. Uribe treats and denounces both like the thugs and killers they really are, and even better, he fights them without resorting to human rights violations.

    Ordinary people like me suddenly regained the right to travel freely across most of the country, without fear of being kidnappped or assasined in the infamous “Pescas Milagrosas”
    of the FARC.

    After a long peace process, the AUC are now completely disbanded, its leaders are dead or in prison, and the Governemnt and military officials that supported them are now awaiting trial (A great number of congressmen are now awaiting trial for the parapolitics scandal, and people are already starting to prepare themselves for the Farc-politics scandal). Several splinter-groups are now closely tied with drug dealers, but the army has recently managed to kill or capture ALL of the most important non-guerrilla drug traffikers during the past year or so (Unlike Mexico, whose drug cartels are now staring to look like the powerful Medellin Cartel of the 80’s).

    Since his arrival, Alvaro Uribe has strengthen almost every single Colombian institution, from the law enforcement agencies to the judiciary branch.

    His huge approval ratings are simply a consequence of this.

    So stop blaming the entire Colombian people for the actions taken by opportunistic individuals in the past, specially when we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    I’m sorry, but aren’t you guys paying Iraqi insurgents to prevent Al Qaeda and Iran from turning Iraq into another Vietnam? The same insurgents that two years ago caused great pain and destruction, not only to Iraqi civilians, but your own forces?

    Hypocrites…blaming us for the decisions of a few of our military leaders a decade ago when your top leadership is doing the exact thing right now(And with superb results,I might add).

  40. I think our best move is to stay the hell out of your business.

    Agreed. Please start by :

    1. Ending the Drug War.
    2. Consider not making Colombia a pariah state in the event we legalize drugs unilaterally.

    Good luck. Shit, good luck to us all.

  41. Legaling Drugs would be a horrible solution.
    It would just create a new economical-political entity, with a strong influence and a private militia, all of this with it’s strong legal defense.

    The cartels aren’t gonna destroy themselves just because what they sell just became legal.
    The cartels are backed with a military arm, and that just won’t go away.
    They have an armed militia and deep economical power, THEY WILL USE THOSE MEANS TO RETAIN POWER IN COCA PRODUCTION SITES, WHILE KEEPING THE ARMY AT BAY. Monopolizing the market and granting the “Narcos” with enough power to influence the government to their liking.

    Anything but the Hegemony of power in the State divides people’s loyalties, creates chaos and effectibly diminishes government control.
    No true democracy can survive under those conditions.

    “Narcos” acting with impunity, while still imposing their law on the civilian population isn’t a realistic solution, is a simplistic one.

    There are also several other political and economic consequences, that would greatly hurt Colombian interests home and abroad.

    No, no. The only realistic solution is to give the “cocaleros”(the peasants that grow coca) another product to grow.

    If you eliminate their economical backing, every illegal organization soon dissapears.

  42. Carlos,
    Is that what happened when we legalized alcohol?

  43. Carlos,

    When we legalized alcohol in the USA, the local mob switched from liquor to other products and services that our government has no business interfering with.

    -jcr

  44. Adam and Joe, I call foul. Yous guys didn’t answer the question! You can’t just pretend you answered by smearing one or more of these fine gentlemen.

  45. what is the question Joe and Adam are supposed to answer?

  46. I don’t mean to say that FARC is righteous, or truly represent the interest of the peasants (they don’t), but this view that the Colombian government are somehow the good guys fighting evil Commie terrorists is distressing to me- especially to hear it among Libertarians. In many ways the Colombian government is more violent and dangerous than FARC. They’re capable of murder and famine on a much wider scale, and I don’t think people should be putting their support behind them. It is a real shame that we are expected to view the world in such a dichromatic way. Both parties are really very similar, too. Both the right wing, government backed paramilitaries, and the left wing Marxist groups are supported by this drug war. The only difference is that one group has been given official sanction. I agree that the best plan of action is to commit no action. The United States is one of the strongest supporters of the Colombian government, and (as a result of the ridiculous drug war) FARC. Legalizing drugs and ceasing support for the Colombian government would bring this killing to an end quickly, but that will most likely never happen. The only thing I can say for certain, as it applies to wars on ideologies and wars on drugs, is that the only people that really lose are the innocents caught in the crossfire, and in many ways targeted by both sides.

  47. BakedPenguin, I think Americans understand American problems pretty well.

    Carlos, did Escobar help found, and fund, the “self-defense committees?”

  48. joe,

    I think Americans understand American problems pretty well.

    Based on the “solutions” given by the winners of the primary elections this year, I disagree.

  49. Mr. Ch?vez has repeatedly said the files were faked by Colombia. “We don’t recognize the validity of any of these documents,” Bernardo ?lvarez, Venezuela’s ambassador to the U.S., said in a Wednesday interview. “They are false, and an attempt to discredit the Venezuelan government.”

    I’d like to take tgis moment to point out that Hizzoner Kwame Kilpatrick is attempting a similar defense viv a vis text messages, perjury, malfeasance etc.

    joe pointed out upthread that graet minds think alike. This is pretty solid evidence that moronic minds (Kwame Kilpatrick and Hugo Chavez) also think alike.

    Legalization of cocaine and heroin ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime, but legalizing and responsibly regulating reefer would reduce FARC’s income by 50% at least.

  50. Maybe we could kill two birds with one stone – get rid of the farm theft bill, but give the farmers a sop by legalizing all drugs and giving them a few new cash crops.

    Oh, and what robc said.

  51. Oh, and in addition to FARC & the Taliban, John Walters also benefits from the WoD.

    Speaking of Walters, TIME Magazine online had a disgraceful drug war article posted a few days ago which interviewed Walters about teenage marijuana use, wherein teenage consumption is compared to Russian Roulette(!), amongst other retarded quotations.

    The article was the most lopsided, unbalanced piece of shit on the Drug War I’ve seen in a long time from a national outlet. There were no countervailing experts, nor political opponents of the WoD interviewed, and both Walters and his pet “expert” were quoted absolutely uncritically.

  52. I’ve always thought the term Drug Czar for America’s anti-drug cabinet offical very appropiate. Like Peter the Great, the Drug Czar’s policies kill people.

  53. There are also several other political and economic consequences, that would greatly hurt Colombian interests home and abroad.

    I actually agree with part of this Carlos. Realistically, if Colombia were to legalize drugs (even just marijuana) a lot of the good of that would be offset by the likelihood of economic sanctions by the US. US protectionists would have a powerful weapon to convince lawmakers to block trade between the two countries.

  54. and I don’t think people should be putting their support behind them.

    By “people” you mean Americans and/or Europeans?

    If by “people” you mean Colombians themselves then you’re out of luck. Carlos is right. President Uribe’s popularity is extremely high. Approval ratings have hovered in the 80s for years. He happens to be the only President in my lifetime that was popular enough to push for reelection. I have my problems with President Uribe, but I cannot deny that he is extremely popular and that his election is the will of the Colombian people for better or for worse.

  55. Columbia or a Venezuelan with balls should assassinate Chavez. The sooner someone puts a bullet in his brain, the better.

  56. And make that tool (Chavez) a martyr? Aw, hell no.

  57. Legalization of cocaine and heroin ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime, but legalizing and responsibly regulating reefer would reduce FARC’s income by 50% at least.

    I hereby declare two wars:
    I declare war on the war on drugs
    I declare war on the income tax.

    Both those things will come to an end in my lifetime, somehow. I put the success of those two wars above all else.

  58. “I declare war on the war on drugs”

    kwais has just been declared a narco- terrorist by the Bush adminstration.

  59. What many people outside of Latin America don’t realize is that when Chavez says “Bolivarian” or refers to Simon Bolivar, he’s talking about Bolivar’s dream of a South American federation, not Bolivar’s ideas of democracy.

    He’s setting the ground for his own ambition of heading up all of Latin America, under the banner of “Socialism or Death”. That’s why he feels no qualms about sending Venezuelan border troops into Guyana, but condemns Uribe for pursuing the Farc into Ecuador. He’s a kind of Bizarro Simon Bolivar.

  60. Columbia or a Venezuelan with balls should assassinate Chavez. The sooner someone puts a bullet in his brain, the better.

    JB –
    No more 700 Club for you.

  61. I think the cruelest thing the U.S. could do to Hugo Chavez would be to practice non-intervention.

    His “new socialism” is not very new and has failed every time it has been tried before. Like Castro, he is using U.S. hostility as an excuse for his policies’ failures.

    Deprive him of that excuse, and there is a good chance that Venezuelans would be stringing him up on a lamp-post in 15 years.

    That is not to say that I hope this happens to him. I actually hope that he comes to his senses and ends his disastrous policies of price-controls and nationalization.

  62. First, I agree with joe and kwais: End the drug war, and a lot of this (no, not all of it, but a lot of it) will sort itself out.

    Second, since this thread is about FARK, let me be the first to say that this thread is useless without pictures.

  63. robc,

    Based on the “solutions” given by the winners of the primary elections this year, I disagree.

    But, you see, you don’t even care if those solutions work. Even if an activist policy worked absolutely perfectly to address the problem it defined, you would howl about what a stupid idea it was anyway. If it made some kids poor, you would howl about those poor kids. If it lifted some people out of poverty, you would howl that the incentive structure was being distorted.

    So your opinion about whether a solution is stupid or not doesn’t really have much to do with how most people would render such a judgement.

  64. I think our best move is to stay the hell out of your business.

    Agreed. Please start by :

    1. Ending the Drug War.
    2. Consider not making Colombia a pariah state in the event we legalize drugs unilaterally.

    Good luck. Shit, good luck to us all.

    I’m right there with you, if Colombia unilaterally ended it’s drug war I would admire the courage, hell I might even think of moving down there, as it might make you one of the freer countries in the world.

    How are free speech, right to bear arms, etc down there?

  65. How are free speech, right to bear arms, etc down there?

    Free speech is good. The constitution guarantees freedom of speech, thought, religion, and assembly. It’s also the case in practice.

    The constitution does not guarantee the right to bear arms however. But you can get guns legally with government approval. Of course, in practice this is kind of a joke as there are armed groups left and right. The government can’t keep track of this issue at all as you can imagine.

    Here’s some of the bad freedom-wise:

    1. Military draft in times of war (does not cover the current civil war though).
    2. Every high school graduate must serve a year in the military (non-combat positions).

    Don’t hold your breath on drug legalization. Colombia will never ever do this without the US doing it first. We are very much dependent on trade with the US. That door would get closed quick if we legalized drugs unilaterally.

  66. Well if the US actually ended the rug war, it would probably be a sign that things were changing so as to become more palatable. I get really frustrated with the state of freedom in the US sometimes, but Europe doesn’t seem any better, and Canada (the refuge of so many weary liberals) seems quite a bit worse.

    I keep my eyes open though. Just seems like most of Latin America has a teenage girl crush on radical socialism.

  67. Well if the US actually ended the rug war

    Not gonna happen. Cheney is itching for a war with Persia.

  68. Kwais (@ 2:16A), I was refering to the question of, “Who do you think is working harder to fuck up the country they rule over Bush or Chavez?”

    Slanderin one fella, while not giving the other the credit he deserves, well, its just wrong…

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