View Full Version : American Corporations, Paramilitary Death Squads, Class Warfare and FARC

Ed Jewett
12-07-2010, 03:30 AM
American Corporations, Paramilitary Death Squads, Class Warfare and FARC (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/another-american-corporation-with-paramilitary-army-to-wage-class-warfare-against-farc/)

6 12 2010 Colombia’s Álvaro Uribe Faces Scrutiny In Washington Over Lawsuit Alleging Drummond Supported Paramilitaries (http://latindispatch.com/2010/12/06/colombias-alvaro-uribe-faces-scrutiny-in-washington-over-lawsuit-alleging-drummond-supported-paramilitaries/)

http://latindispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Colombia-ex-president-alvaro-uribe.jpgEx-president of Colombia and visiting scholar at Georgetown University, Álvaro Uribe Vélez.
WASHINGTON — On Nov. 3, as ex-president of Colombia Álvaro Uribe left a class he teaches at Georgetown University as a visiting scholar, a second-year law student named Charity Ryerson hid behind the corner of the Inter-Cultural Center, waiting for a student perched on a hill in front of her to signal that Uribe was about to pass.
Gliding through a hole in his security detail, Ryerson poked Uribe in the chest with a subpoena to appear for depositions in a civil suit accusing Drummond Company of supporting Colombian paramilitaries. “No! No! No!” Uribe said, throwing his hands in the air, according to Ryerson who dropped the document at his feet as process servers often do when someone won’t accept a summons.
Uribe’s appointment as a visiting scholar has touched off a controversy at Georgetown. Many observers credit the U.S.-backed leader’s military offense against the FARC—Latin America’s longest lasting guerrilla army—with restoring a measure of security to a country mired in civil war and drugtrafficking violence for over half a century.
“Having such a distinguished world leader at Georgetown will further the important work of students and faculty engaging important global issues,” according to Georgeown’s president, John DeGioia
But a group of professors and students at Georgetown University who have banded together as the “Adiós Uribe Coalition (http://uribe-georgetown.org/category/blog/)” accuse the Colombian leader of involvement in human rights abuses ranging from support of paramilitaries todomestic espionage (http://latindispatch.com/2010/12/06/2010/05/20/colombias-disgraced-das-and-president-uribes-uncertain-legacy/).
Such allegations have plagued the controversial Colombian politician for years, but conclusive evidence of Uribe’s alleged involvement in human rights abuses has not surfaced. But Washington-based attorney Terry Collingsworth has taken advantage of Uribe’s visiting scholar appointment to attempt to force a showdown.
Terry Collingsworth has dedicated much of the last few years to suing American multinational companies in U.S. civil court on the basis of an obscure, 18th-century law called the Alien Tort Claims Statute, which allows foreigners to sue U.S. citizens for damages over violations of international law or treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory.
Legal scholars believe lawmakers intended the Alient Tort Statute to provide a framework for resolving international trade disputes, but it fell out of use for over a century before pioneers including Collingsworth repurposed the law as a tool to bring multinational corporations to court to face allegations of human rights abuses. In a landmark case against Unocal Corporation on behalf of Burmese victims of forced labor, Collingsworth secured a favorable settlement after nine years of litigation.
Colombia has proven a breeding ground for the Alient Tort Claims lawsuits that Collingsworth specializes in. In addition to his latest case against Drummond — Collingsworth has filed at least three — he has represented Colombian plaintiffs in cases against the Coca-Cola Company, Dole and Chiquita.
The current case against Drummond was brought by the heirs to 113 Colombians murdered by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC, in Spanish), who suspected them of sympathizing with guerrillas. The AUC was Colombia’s largest rightwing paramilitary group, but had been largely demobilized by 2006, lured by government offers of light prison sentences in exchange for testifying about the group’s crimes.
Based largely on the testimony of demobilized paramilitary leaders, the 174-page complaint (.pdf) (http://latindispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Drummond-Complaint.pdf) alleges that by 1999 Drummond began colluding with the AUC after leftist guerrillas targeted the company’s mining and transportation operations. Key witnesses include former paramilitary leaders Salvatore Mancuso, Rodrigo “Jorge 40” Tovar, Jhon Jairo Equivel Cuadrado, as well as Rafael García, a former official of Colombia’s intelligence service, known as the DAS.

Drummond has consistenly denied supporting any illegal groups in Colombia. The company’s public relations office declined to comment for this article.
Uribe’s visiting scholar position at Georgetown provided Collingsworth with a unique opportunity. The controversial ex-president of Colombia would visit Washington, where Collingsworth’s office is located, twice a semester for the next year to give lectures.
The complaint accuses Uribe of having a role in supporting paramilitaries tied to the murder of Colombian unionists, though Uribe is not a defendant in the case.
“When Colombian President Uribe was still the Governor of (the province of) Antioquia he implemented the plan to establish the government-registered front groups called ‘Convivirs’ to allow the AUC to collect government and private funds to support the military activities of the AUC,” the complaint alleges. “Further, the Convivirs provided legal status to the AUC and allowed the Colombian government to coordinate activities with it.”
According to Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America, it remains to be seen whether or not the plaintiffs can prove the allegation that Uribe established the Convivirs as a front for the AUC. “Certainly paramilitaries benefitted from it,” Isacson said of the Convivirs in a telephone interview. “But there’s no smoking gun there that says this is a deal for the AUC.”
However Isacson added that under Uribe, paramilitaries saw their influence grow. “Paramilitaries thrived as never before in Antioquia when Uribe was governor,” Isacson said.
A District of Columbia federal judge granted Collingsworth’s request on Oct. 26 to subpoena Uribe to appear for depositions. “Mr. Uribe has direct knowledge of several key issues in the case,” Collingsworth said in a press release.
Those issues, according to the statement, included government military support of Drummond mining facilities, the relationship and level of cooperation between the military and the AUC, and “the efforts by the Colombian government during Mr. Uribe’s tenure to suppress evidence of Drummond’s relationship to the AUC.”
Whatever Uribe may know about those issues, Collingsworth will have to wait to find out.
On Nov. 22 when Uribe was called to appear for depositions at Collingsworth’s office in Washington, he was visiting Honduras, where he received a congressional award for his contributions to democracy.

Uribe’s attorney, Gregory Craig — President Barack Obama’s former top White House lawyer — said in a telephone interview that the government of Colombia had invoked sovereign immunity (http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/sovereign_immunity) for Uribe, a doctrine that allows government figures immunity from prosecution for tort claims for acts committed as part of their duties in office. Craig said he informed Collingsworth of the Colombian government’s decision, but did not contest the subpoena.
“Often when people claim sovereign immunity, they don’t appear. The whole purpose of claiming sovereign immunity is that they don’t have to,” said Bert Neuborne, a law professor at New York University.
Ignoring the subpoena will not necessarily bring disciplinary action against Uribe, Neuborne said. Collingsworth would have to file a motion to get a hearing first. “They won’t punish him for not appearing, without a hearing to determine whether he was obliged to appear.”
Collingsworth did not return several phone messages and emails seeking comment for this report.
Uribe’s decision not to appear did not surprise Ryerson. She said that prior to the Colombian government’s intervention, Uribe had claimed she assaulted him when serving him with the summons. “Walking into it, I knew they would try to charge me with assault,” Ryerson said, noting that a charge of assault can invalidate the service of a summons.
Ryerson also said that the Georgetown administration had attempted to prevent her from serving the summons at the university. “The plan was to serve him before a class he was teaching at 3:15,” Ryerson said. “As we tried to serve him the first time, campus police called backup because they wanted to help him to evade service of process. Administrators were also there telling us he couldn’t be served on campus.”
The Georgetown communications office would not answer questions about the administration or campus police’s actions on the day Ryerson served Uribe’s summons, but forwarded a press release saying “Georgetown is not a party to this suit. The University does not have a policy forbidding the service of process on its property, but does not, as a general matter, work with process servers to facilitate service.”
Uribe’s attorney declined to comment regarding the allegation of assault, as did the Georgetown University communications office and the campus police.
Whatever action Collingsworth plans to take regarding the Uribe subpoena, Ryerson continues to believe that Uribe will come to testify in Washington. “Eventually, he’s going to have to appear. It’s not clear when, but he will have to,” Ryerson said. “He’s been compelled by a court to do so.”
Image: Center for American Progress @ Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/americanprogress/542420456/).

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Ed Jewett
12-09-2010, 01:33 AM
Uribe Seeking Immunity to Testify on Multinational Corp. Use of Colombian Paramilitary Killers (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/uribe-seeking-immunity-to-testify-on-multinational-corp-use-of-colombian-paramilitary-killers/)

9 12 2010 [The ongoing Colombian government investigation of its history with paramilitary death squads threatens to expose criminal nature of American corporate policies in "Third World." American corporations relied upon paramilitary/terrorist muscle to get their way in Colombia, even joining forces with underworld types to subvert Colombian government and the military. The corruption necessary to maintain the obscene profits reaped from the region has permeated every level of society. The present govt. should have the support of the entire world (if not American support) in this brave endeavor to free itself from the fascist beast.]
U.S. Government asks Alvaro Uribe immunity if Drummond (http://www.semana.com/noticias-nacion/gobierno-pide-eeuu-inmunidad-para-alvaro-uribe-caso-drummond/148577.aspx)

NATION The petition is contained in a letter dated Nov. 12 signed by the Colombian ambassador to the United States, Gabriel Silva, former Minister of Defense under President Alvaro Uribe.
Tuesday December 7, 2010

The Colombian government, through its ambassador to the United States, Gabriel Silva, requested immunity for the president Alvaro Uribe to avoid having to testify in the case against U.S. company Drummond of course support for paramilitary groups in Colombia during the early years of administration, La Fm.
The request is contained in a letter dated Nov. 12 signed by the Colombian ambassador, who was Defense Minister Uribe and to the Department of State of that country.
In that letter, the Government requests “sovereign immunity” for being “head of state” for Uribe, was launched last November 22 to a subpoena as a witness made by the federal court for the District of Columbia (USA) on Drummond case.
The case dates back to 2001, when paramilitaries, allegedly supported by the multinational mining, began a campaign of terror with the murders of Valmore Locarno Rodriguez and Victor Hugo Orcasita Amaya, who practiced then as president and vice president of the union of workers in the Drummond .
The summons which did not attend, Uribe would be asked if he knew the crimes committed by paramilitaries, allegedly supported by the multinational, during the first years of his administration in the department of Cesar, where Drummond operates deposits coal.
From 2001 until demobilized paramilitaries of the AUC killed nearly 70 people in that region.
A group of 500 families of the victims, convinced that Drummond supported and financed the paramilitaries, the United States filed a lawsuit against the mining.
Terry Colligsworth Counsel, which represents families of those victims, confirmed Tuesday to The Fm request for immunity for Uribe and noted that this request should be studied now by the Department of State United States.
He said he does not believe that immunity is granted, since the U.S. laws provide for the privilege to incumbents, but not for exmandatarios.
He also said that “this week” will ask the court to take the case to set a new date for mention again Uribe.
Most crimes committed by paramilitaries in Cesar continues today with impunity, including several officials from the Prosecutor’s Office traveled to the region to investigate.
The little clarified corresponds to the confessions of exparamilitar Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias Jorge 40, who after being extradited to the United States assumed their guilt in the murder of trade unionists Locarno and Orcasita.
Jorge 40, who executed the murders while leading the Northern Bloc of the AUC, accepted responsibility for the purpose of obtaining legal benefits, he said at the time his lawyer, Hernando Bocanegra.
In the trial that followed in Colombia for the killing of trade unionists, another exparamilitar, Alcides Matos, aka “Samaria”, said Drummond executives were aware of the intention to murder the leaders.

Ed Jewett
12-11-2010, 04:32 AM
Colombian Paramilitary Confirms Collusion with SOA/WHINSEC Graduates (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/colombian-paramilitary-confirms-collusion-with-soawhinsec-graduates/)

11 12 2010 Colombian Paramilitary Confirms Collusion with SOA/WHINSEC Graduates (http://www.soaw.org/about-the-soawhinsec/colombia/1541)

http://www.soaw.org/img/smancuso.gif Salvatore Mancuso, the former Commander of the right wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, testified Tuesday that the paramilitaries, branded “foreign terrorist organizations” by the U.S. State Department in 2001, were aided by high ranking Colombian military officers in training and logistics. Mancuso, testifying in a closed hearing in the city of Medellin, said the Colombian state supported the paramilitaries since their creation in the 1980’s and that “paramilitaries are a state policy”.
Amongst the military and government officials signaled by Mancuso as collaborators are General Rito Alejo del Río, General Martín Carreño Sandoval, General Harold Bedoya Pizarro, General Fernando Landazabal, Colonel Alfonso Manosalva Flores, and the current Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos. The six men received training or served as instructors at the U.S. Army School of the Americas and have been accused by Mancuso of inciting and promoting paramilitary intervention in certain regions of Colombia.
The strategy of using civilian paramilitary groups and death squads to avoid government oversight and accountability has been a common tactic of SOA/WHINSEC graduates throughout Latin America. Salvadoran SOA/WHINSEC graduate and ARENA party founder Roberto D’Aubussoin established the Death Squads that were responsible for much of the violence in El Salvador in the 1980?s. General Manuel B. Lucas Garcia, who attended the school in 1965 and 1970, masterminded the creation of the Civil Defense Patrols in Guatemala. Mexico’s Jose Ruben Rivas Pena, who took the SOA/WHINSEC’s elite Command and Staff Course, called for the “training and support for self-defense forces or other paramilitary organizations in Chiapas” as a response to the Zapatista uprising in 1994.
The Colombian military is the largest recipient of US military funding and training in Latin America and holds over 60% of the seats available to attend courses at WHINSEC.

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U.S. Aid and Subsequent Abuse by Colombian Forces (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/u-s-aid-and-subsequent-abuse-by-colombian-forces/)

11 12 2010 U.S. Aid and Subsequent Abuse by Colombian Forces (http://forusa.org/content/maps-us-aid-subsequent-abuse-colombian-forces)

Return to FOR’s report on U.S. military aid and human rights abuses in Colombia. (http://www.forusa.org/colombia-report-2010)
Return to FOR’s report on U.S. military aid and human rights abuses in Colombia. (http://www.forusa.org/colombia-report-2010)

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Ed Jewett
12-11-2010, 04:37 AM
Breaking the silence on Colombia’s disappeared–Over 51,000 (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/breaking-the-silence-on-colombias-disappeared-over-51000/)

10 12 2010 [When will we break the silence on America's part in those disappearances? If the paramilitaries, trained by American Special Forces and Delta Forces, have waged war on Colombian society (presumably under American direction), then American military leaders must also be held to account for their part in all these crimes against humanity.]
Breaking the silence on Colombia’s disappeared (http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/13338-breaking-silence-colombias-disappeared.html)


The number of “disappeared” in Colombia may be far higher than the official figure of 51,000, according to a report (http://lawg.org/storage/documents/Colombia/BreakingTheSilence.pdf) from the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (http://lawg.org/) (LAWG) and the U.S. Office on Colombia.
Victims of disappearances include human rights defenders, trade unionists, Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, young men and girls in rural conflict zones, members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) community, homeless people, and other groups identified as “undesirables,” according to the report.
The report blames the phenomenon on various groups, saying that “Colombia’s armed forces and police and all illegal armed groups have been responsible for disappearances.” It points out that as paramilitary activity increased in the 1990s, so did disappearances attributed to the paramilitaries.
LAWG cites the “false positives” scandal as a cause of many disappearances in the past decade. The United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, Philip Alston, found that soldiers had committed these killings “in a pattern that was repeated around the country.” In a false positive killing a military, or in some cases guerrilla, “recruiter” lured the victim to a remote location where they were then killed by the military and reported as a combat death. “Within the military,” says Alston, “success was associated with ‘kill counts’ of guerrillas.” By 2010 there were more than 3,000 cases registered in Colombian courts against the military in relation to false positives.
In 2007 the National Registry of the Disappeared was launched. The registry is an effort to create one unified database of missing people and unidentified bodies that will facilitate investigations. According to LAWG, though, “The Attorney General’s office … estimates that in hard-hit areas some 60 to 65% of disappearances go unreported.”
The report tells the story of Alejandra Rodriguez. When she was only a month old her father disappeared while he was working in the Palace of Justice (http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/12748-santos-anniversary-palace-justice-siege.html)‘s cafeteria during the M-19 guerrilla attack in 1985. ”In the army’s no-holds barred retaking of the Palace, more than 100 people were killed, including 11 of the 24 Supreme Court justices. Twelve people, including eight people who worked in the court’s cafeteria, three visitors and a guerrilla were seen by witnesses being taken alive from the palace by the army. However, Alejandra says the government has always denied that any people were disappeared and it has been a constant struggle to get any information.”
“Every time the government denies that people were disappeared from the Palace of Justice, it’s like they are disappearing our loved ones all over again,” says Alejandra.
Lisa Haugaard, executive director of LAWG says, “The Colombian government’s recent efforts to search for the disappeared, and to conduct exhumations and return remains to victims’ families, are commendable, as are U.S. efforts to support this. But far more must be done to achieve justice in these cases, as well to expand the search for the disappeared, and most important, to end the practice of disappearing.”
The report gives a number of suggestions to Colombia and the U.S. governments for ways to bring justice to victims and stamp out the practice, but LAWG’s main conclusion is that it is important to spread information about disappearances. “For too long,” the report concludes, “the relatives of the disappeared and the few associations and human rights groups that accompany them have labored without adequate acknowledgment and support. It is long past time to help them break the silence.”
Read a Colombia Reports report on the struggle of victims’ families here (http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/13150-mothers-demand-clarity-on-fate-disappeared-loved-ones.html).

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