Last Item of this Briefing:
Narco News Perú Analysis
The Narco News Bulletin
Name of Our Country is América"
of Death" Speaks
Dealer Sarkis Soghanalian Does Interview from US Prison with Peru
"I never sold weapons
to the FARC... I never sell to the Left," says
the man who supplied arms to dictators Ferdinand Marcos, Anastasio
Somoza, Saddam Hussein and Nicolai Ceaucescu and who now admits
he is singing to please his US captors -- if they'd only just
let him return to Amman, Jordan, says the Death Merchant, he
could prove his claims with documents.
Narco News translates this interview not
because we believe Soghanalian's tale, but, rather, because it
reflects what US officials want him to say, and thus provides
a window into Washington's agenda in the crisis underway in Perú
and in all América.
For more background on
Soghanalian, his history with US officials, and this interview,
see our analysis of the Peruvian situation below, the final item
of yesterday's press briefing.
Translated from the daily
La República, Lima, Perú
Friday, September 22,
sale was for 60,000 rifles and Luis Aybar had the documents fixed"
By Angel Páez
Special Correspondent Los Angeles, California
The 10,000 Kalishnikov
automatic rifles that Colombian guerrillas succeeded in purchasing
from arms traffickers headed by José Luis Aybar represent
only part of a larger armaments deal.
According to Sarkis Soghanalian,
intermediary for the Jordanian government and known as "The
Merchant of Death" there were 60,000 rifles. "Another
kind of weapon was also sent but I am not aurhorized to reveal
it," he said.
Interviewed in the Metropolitan
Detention Center, awaiting a federal court decision in which
he is charged for alleged involvement in a case of bank fraud,
Soghanalian delivered valuable information about the characteristics
of one of the most spectacular arms sales operations in recent
He said that the Kalashnikov
rifles preceded a larger deal that included heavy artillery.
Aybar suggested that the chief of the 18th Covert Division, stationed
in Rímac, show to Soghanalian the old Russian T-55 tanks
deployed there so he would have an idea of what kind of modernization
the Peruvian army requires.
In the meetings he had
on the Military Headquarters, in January 1999, the Merchant also
received a demonstration regarding what kind of warmaking material
the Peruvian troops need.
Soghanalian is a known
provider of war machinery of Russian origin, that in recent years
have been collected by the armed forces to acquire two MIG-29
planes, SU-25 planes and anti-aerial systems "Tunguska"
and "TOR", as well as "Ilyushin" airships
for training and missiles for MI-25 helicopters. (Last June,
a Ukranian was detained on the island of Trinidad y Tobago with
a shipment of arms supposedly purchased in Bulgaria.)
They wanted it all. "This
suggests that they didn't only ask for rifles. There had been
much more," Soghanalian said.
"Why weren't the
shipments continued," we asked him.
"It was I who paralyzed
the operation," he said. "I had my reasons to do it.
It could not continue. I found evidence that I didn't like. So
I stopped the operation because I didn't like it," he said.
"I had my reasons
and I can't say what they were. The time will come for me to
tell it. I am under federal protection and can't say anything.
The laws are applied very severely. If I spit in the hallway,
I could be violating a law. I want you to understand me,"
Was it a question of money?
"They hadn't finished
paying me. They still owed me. They didn't pay me all of it,"
he said, angrily. "I trusted them, I through that everything
was absolutely legal and that's how it was."
There were only 10,000 rifles?
"No, there were 60,000.
And they wanted more weapons. I told them, okay, if everything
was legal. I demanded official permits from them and they gave
them to me. I don't know how they got them, but they did it.
I have all of this in Ammán, in my offices in Jordan.
When I get out of here, I'm going there. I hope so. There is
nothing more to hide. But understand that right now I cannot
give details because I am under federal protection," he
The Whole Truth
Sarkis Soghanalian is
apparently negotiating his freedom in exchange for information.
A long time collaborator of the US Central intelligence Agency
(CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this arms
seller pled guilty in 1992 to gain a lesser sentence of six and
a half years for selling US helicopters to Irak. Later he gave
information about the arsenal of Saddam Hussein and about an
organization of $100 bill counterfeiters on the world market.
On this occasion, he will
be submitted to the same process. However, due to the character
of the charges by the Peruvian government - charges that accuse
him of being a connection in the operation of detouring arms
to the FARC - and against the advice of his defense lawyer, Soghanalian
agreed to be interviewed by La República, he said, because
he wanted "for some elemental facts to be known."
"I am going to say
that which does not compromise my situation," he said. "With
the facts that I offer, I don't compromise any other country
nor my own safety. Everything I say can be confirmed with the
documentation that I possess."
How did the operation
begin? When did you first have contact with the Peruvians?
"I am known around
the world as an arms seller," he explained. "I'm not
a manufacturer. People search me out for my reputation and trust."
Who sought you?
"A friend, in Paris
(where Sarkis Soghanalian has a luxury apartment in the most
exclusive section of the French capital, the Champselyses). It
was a friend that was trying to make some electric power deals
in Perú. It was him that asked me for help. My friend
is an Italian."
This "Italian friend"
would be Ricardo "Dino" Baldini, a citizen of Italian
origin that during the 1980s was connected with a scandal of
"Agusta" helicopter sales to Belgium. Baldini was accused
of having bribed Belgian authorities to acquire new airships.
We asked: Is this about
"I'm not giving names.
Please, understand that I still can't do that," said the
What kind of help did
"They talked to me
about how the Peruvian armed forces had ancient equipment and
lacked many things. What they had, for example, Mirage 2000 airplanes
that could not fly and were without weapons. And they had bought
Russian equipment and this turned out to be a bad deal for them.
They needed help," Soghanalian recalled.
Among the "bad deals"
that the contacts that were referred to Soghanalian had made,
was the purchase of the MIG-29 and SU-25 planes. As La República
reported in 1996 - and later confirmed independently by other
dailies such as the New York Times and the Miami herald and specialized
publications such as Jane's and Aviation & Aerospace Weekly
- the purchase from Russia of those planes turned out to be a
fiasco since the Russian Federation that made the planes refused
to supply Perú with parts and maintenance for the machines.
Only after a Perú
paid a debt of $1.3 million dollars to the Boris Yeltsin government
did the Russians agree to help Perú.
However, the new contracts
resulted onerous for our country, in a manner that the combat
planes from the start were a "rip-off," according to
Fujimori, that ended up costing much more in reality than the
official propaganda said.
"I said to my Italian
friend that I had a license in Jordan to deal in military equipment
and that in all cases we could speak in this country. In France
I didn't have permission, thus it was better to talk in Ammán,
I told him. He accepted. I could not offer them any other thing,"
Sarkis Soghanalian explained.
At what moment did you
meet José Luis Aybar?
"They came to Jordan.
My employees received them and they made the arrangements on
their visas and everything. They came with the Italian."
And how did José
Luis Aybar introduce himself?
"As a captain of
the Peruvian army and representative of the government. But José
Luis Aybar had been expulsed from the Army in 1994 and had no
rank, we told him. False or not, he came with all the documents,"
Soghanalian affirmed energetically. "Because of that he
was an official representative because he presented the papers
that accredited him as such. If those papers were false, the
Peruvian government should have discovered that."
They had all
What did they want to
"There is a process
that must be followed to buy arms. We sit and negotiate in the
presence of a brigadier of the Jordanian army, who normally works
in the office of military intelligence." He recalled: "We
asked them for their papers and made copies of everything. Aybar
had an identity card and two passports. We asked him the kinds
of questions that we ask in any kind of a deal. But he lacked
the Certificate of Final Use of the Peruvian government. He said
that he would obtain it."
"While they looked
for those documents, we consulted with the Jordanian government
if it had political relations with Perú. And we asked
the respective authorities if the deal we were going to make
with Perú would damage the interests of the principal
allies of Jordan with interests in the region. Five days later,
the response was positive: there were no problems."
"Later, Jordanian military intelligence contacted, by telephone
and by fax, its counterparts in Perú to verifty that the
documents presented to us were correct. The information we received
from Lima was positive. The documents they had delivered were
genuine. Later, Aybar presented the Certificate of Final use
of the Peruvian government. Everything was in order."
Do you remember the telephone
numbers from where the Peruvian intelligence service sent the
permits? We asked.
"Yes, and we also
have the documents they sent by fax. Everything is in Ammán,
Jordan," he confirmed.
We continued: What passports
did Aybar have?
"He had two. One
for civilian use and the other for official use. It was similar
to what I use to come to the United States," he said.
In the name
of the Defense Minister: The Account in Curazao
Although he didn't mention
it in the interview, Sarkis Soghanalian, to confirm that the
arms would go to Perú, reported beforehand to his contacts
in the CIA and the FBI, according to information obtained by
La República in Washington.
"The Merchant of
Death" also had reported that he was paid part of the money
by means of a bank account on the Caribbean island of Curazao,
that supposedly was in the name of the Peru Defense Minister.
Apparently, Sarkis Soghanalian
aborted the deal when the CIA or some US intelligence source
knew that the arms supposedly sold to Perú were detoured
to the FARC.
There is another name
that Soghanalian did not want to talk about: Charles Acelor,
a US Citizen, born in France, with whom the arms trafficker first
worked due to the recommendation of Ricardo "Dino"
Baldini. Acelor, who lives in Miami, ran one of Sarkis' operations
centers, and was under house arrest until recently due to a financial
Soghalian declined to
provide details of the participation of Acelor, but Washington
sources told La República that Acelor knew from the start
that the Kalashnikov rifles were going to the FARC.
himself an ally of Jordan and the US
sold arms to the FARC"
Did you know that the
arms that the supposed Peruvian officials bought went to the
hands of the guerrillas of the FARC? we asked him.
"I never sold to
the FARC!" he exclaimed. "The insinuation bothers me.
I never sold arms to anybody on the Left. I only participate
in an operation under two conditions. The first, that the deal
is not against the United States or the interests of countries
allied with the United States. The second, that the weapons are
not illegal but are sold by a government. I could not have negotiated
with the FARC because it would affect the interests of the United
States. And the arms that I sold were not illegal: the owner
was the military of the government of Jordan. This is absolutely
At what moment did you
realize that the arms did not go to the Peruvian government but
went to the FARC?
"I gave them the
cargo and they transported it to Perú. After returning,
so that I would continue supplying them with weapons, they were
supposed to bring the certificate that said the arms were received
by Peruvian authorities in the respective military airports.
If they falsified those papers, I wouldn't have known because
I wasn't in Perú. This was the jurisdiction of the Peruvian
authorities. We could not do the work of the government of Perú.
Once more, the statements
of Sarkis Soghanalian demonstrate that the organization of José
Luis and Luis Frank Aybar Cancho had the complicity of high officials
in charge of military airports. According to the ex-technicians
that participated in this contraband operation, Santos Cenepo
Shapiama and Luis Alberto Meza, after the four flights that arrived
to ship the rifles to Colombian territory; on one occasion they
landed in Iquitos and the other three supposedly in the Air Group
Number 8, in Callao.
We ask: Could you have failed at some moment and made a mistake?
"I know Jordanian
laws perfectly and I didn't violate any," he responded.
"All my actions are known by the Jordanian government. Nothing
We inquired: "But
wasn't it suspicious that Peru would buy second hand rifles?"
he said leaning heavily on the sofa, "It never would occur
to me to put my own head and the security of Jordan in danger
for a million dollars. Jordan is a country that loves peace and
would never arm a group of rebels. It's impossible that knowing
the true destiny of these arms, I would have placed in danger
the integrity of a country that I love and that protects me.
For this I stopped the deal. I didn't look for José Luis
Aybar. The Peruvian government presented him to me. The documents
We clarified: But the documents are false.
He insisted: "That
is Fujimori's problem and a problem for his trusted man Montesinos.
I am not in charge of Peru's intelligence." He repeated:
"I pains me to say it, but Fujimori has been tricked."
Upon being informed that
President Alberto Fujimori fired his advisor Vladimiro Montesinos
Torres after a video was broadcast in which he was seen paying
a bribe to a congressman, Sarkis Soghanalian said:
"But how is Montesinos,
the most powerful man in Perú, more powerful that even
Fujimori, going to go?"
Sarkis Soghanalian declared
that the organization of Peruvian traffickers paid all his expenses
during his stay in Lima in January 1999. And that this visit
convinced him that José Luis Aybar and his people were
closely connected with the Army and the National Intelligence
Service (the SIN).
Surely wounded in his
intimate pride, this man that negotiated with the dictators Ferdinand
Marcos, Anastasio Somoza, Saddam Hussein and Nicoley Ceaucescu,
acknowledged that he was very bothered by this case. However,
although he admitted that this was the first time he had done
business with Peruvians, he said, "It is not the first time
I have done business with a Latin American country."
"Soon I will walk
free and many things will come to light," he said upon saying
Official Party doesn't Believe Sarkis' Version
Congressman Ricardo Mercenaro,
President of the Constitution Commission, sustained yesterday
that he doesn't believe the version of Sarkis Soghanalian, who
from his prison cell in the United States revealed that the 10,000
Kalashnikov rifles sold to the FARC were originally sold to the
Peruvian government and that during the negotiation he met with
Army officials in "El Pentagonito" (The Little Pentagon)
and in the SIN.
He also said that when
Sarkis says that he was going to have a meeting with President
Alberto Fujimori but that it was cancelled, "surely he has
been caught and he said that he would have a meeting because
this is the technique that people in his situation use."
"These people say
that it's at the highest level, that they have a meeting, but
just when they are about to have the meeting, the meeting is
canceled. Then they believe they had a meeting when they never
But Sarkis says that he
had meetings with military leaders in the Pentagonito and in
"Well, that's what he says. But this man is an arms trafficker.
And it's better not to believe too much from arms traffickers
or drug traffickers because normally these are not people whose
moral qualities cause us to believe them."
Marcenaro said, however,
that although he can not be fully trusted, it is important to
conduct the pertinent investigations.
Related Story from La
Role of Washington
It seems the time has
come to aks ourselves: What role is the United States playing
in the Peruvian crisis? It is known that Ambassador John Hamilton
is constantly consulting with the Fujimori government and with
the principal opposition leader Alejandro Toledo. The Organization
of American States (OAS) is doing the same. It's delegate for
the dialogue in Perú, Eduardo Latorre, visted the national
palace yesterday and met later with Toledo.
The United States has
come to accept the basic points of the transition proposed by
Fujimori: Elections in March, change of government on July 28,
2001, and until that date Fujimori stays in power and that some
electoral rules will be modified. However, if it is a fact that
Washington also accepts the weaknesses of the current electoral
commission and some level of impunity in corruption cases, we
could be entering into themes that will end up fracturing the
democratic opposition. Be very careful, the opposition is more
than Toledo and a very active Civil Society is in the middle.
Opposition in Perú
Thanks US and other imperial countries while his supporters chant
"Out with Brazil! Out with Venezuela!"
Sarkis Soghanalian, "The Merchant of Death," enters
the fray from his Los Angeles prison cell
A Narco News Analysis
The Narco News Bulletin has been
aggressively collecting data in English, Spanish and Portuguese
to offer a clear-headed analysis of the earthshaking events in
Perú. Whereas other international human rights monitoring
organizations have rushed to judgement, we held back until we
obtained a clearer overview of the facts. The analysis provided
even by organizations that we respect has been superficial at
best and manipulated by Washington at its worst. And the US press
coverage, with few exceptions, has been abysmal.
Although we share the
hope of many in Perú and throughout the planet that the
announced exit of 12-year president Alberto Fujimori and the
call for new elections in Perú can bring an end to the
corrupt and authoritarian practices Fujimori-Montesinos regime,
we have expressed since June 12th of this year serious reservations
about the "opposition" forces led by former World Bank
official Alejandro Toledo.
Regional factors hang
heavily over events in Perú: the Plan Colombia military
intervention (and the US-imposed drug prohibition for which it
stands), and the growing movement among South American nations
to unite against colonial impositions (voiced articulately by
Presidents Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Fernando Cardoso
of Brazil and Ricardo Lagos of Chile in the events surrounding
the August 31-September 1 Brasilia Summit).
Toledo, who ran for president
against Fujimori but then backed out of the contest with a legitimate
complaint about unfairness of the election process, worked for
the World Bank before entering politics. He has not been involved
in a serious way in the social movements of Perú or its
indigenous population. He studied in the United States and is
in favor of US-backed neoliberal economic policies, as he explained
to Andrés Oppenheimer of the Miami Herald last Spring.
In that interview, made
while he vacationed in the Florida Keys, Toledo attacked Venezuela
President Hugo Chávez as"authoritarian" without
specifying what he meant by that. And yet even monitoring organizations
that were skeptical of Chávez when he was elected (largely
due to his military history and the attempted overthrow of the
Venezuela government in 1992 by his military faction) have now,
after time, recognized key facts.
Human Rights Watch, for
example, in its annual report for 1999 declared Venezuela as
the only country in América where human rights improved,
and drastically so. And the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA),
after its initial concern over Chávez, came around to
congratulate the Venezuelan president for postponing an election
he was bound to win by a large margin because fair election safeguards
were not in place. Chávez pushed through a very healthy
democratic election reform and went on to win handily under a
transparent election process. Indeed, he was the first Américan
head of state -- and that includes US politicians -- to ever
put the democratic process above his short-term personal interests.
It may be that these same
organizations will, once having recovered from the shock of Fujimori's
announcement last week that he will step down, begin to offer
an analysis more adequate for a post-Fujimori era. At present,
they seem to be in a state of reaction and fear that the Peruvian
president will reverse his position and remain. It's fine to
be vigilant, but not at the expense of widening the thinking
process in order to view Perú's coming post-Fujimori situation.
Washington is very worried
about Venezuela's Chávez in particular. The fear of some
short-sited US officials is precisely that Chávez is ressurecting
the dream of
of a united Latin America against colonial invaders. But they
can't get to Chávez with the usual pretexts since his
country produces oil, not cocaine.
So why did Toledo of Perú
take that cheap shot at Chávez of Venezuela? Simply put,
to pander to the North American interests. And this is the major
weakness of Toledo's platform. Liberty, Justice and Democracy,
by definition, are not given to smaller nations by larger ones.
They are taken. Toledo -- who admitted to the daily Folha of
Sao Paolo in Brazil this week that he has just met (again) with
US State Department officials -- has placed his eggs in a very
shakey basket: the spurious idea that Washington will save Perú.
His act is wearing a little
thin in Perú: Toledo is at 25% approval rating according
to a new public opinion poll cited this week by the Washington
Post. Compare that to 44% approval for Fujimori, 42% for the
opposition mayor of Lima, and Toledo's prospects look to be
Also, as Narco News reported on June 12th, Toledo's own campaign team has
been infiltrated at the highest levels by foreign interests:
"A high-level consultant
to Toledo and his Perú Posible coalition turned out to
be a foreign spy. According to the daily La Republica
on June 7th, Toledo campaign "consultant" Roberto Flórez
Araoz turned out to be an intelligence agent of the government
of Spain, the European regime that is increasingly serving as
a bridge for covert US policy in Latin America. Flórez
Araoz in fact worked for the Spanish Embassy in Lima."
In sum, Alejandro Toledo
brings to the equation a neoliberal capitalist mindset, a slavish
obedience to the strategy objectives of Washington, an over-eagerness
to please Wall Street and the World Bank for which he worked,
has already been duped once by shady alleged espionage types.
Is there any question about how someone of this profile will
behave regarding US-imposed Plan Colombia if elected?
Toledo's new political
problem is that he might not have Fujimori to kick around anymore.
So the wheel is in spin in Perú and it is premature to
assume that Toledo, although he will try, will be one of the
top two candidates for president.
to the US-imposed Plan Colombia -- although small-letter "o"
and having more to do with his power struggles with Washington
over other matters -- helped to seal his fate. Recall that Colombia
only became Cocaine Central after Fujimori in Perú and
Banzer in Bolivia stamped out much of the coca crop with brutal
repression of campesinos and their organizations. (That repression
continues this week in the Chapare region of Bolivia, as we
reported earlier this week
in our daily press briefing.)
Plan Colombia, as exiled Colombian journo
Alfredo Molano pointed out
on Narco News, is not intended to eliminate cocaine cultivation,
but rather to to decentralize and reroute coca production not
only within Colombia's regions, but also throughout the Andes
Fujimori may have been
playing a turf game with Washington for control of the coming
new business opportunities. That would be enough for Washington
to turn against the leader they had backed -- human rights violations
and repressive atrocities allowed -- for a dozen years.
The parallels between
the Fujimori situation and that of former Panamanian General
Manuel Noriega are many.
Why would Washington want
to depose Fujimori now? What happened in recent weeks in Perú?
Suddenly Fujimori is putting US citizen and political prisoner
Lori Berenson's release on the table and is beginning to work
with Brazil and Venezuela in particular to build the regional
bloc that Washington so fears. Fujimori was in the process of
ending Perú's isolation as a nation. He was, in fact,
showing signs of being less of an embarrassment and repressor
and that is precisely when Washington decided that his time was
One interesting theory
is that Fujimori's stunning annoucement that he will step down
and call new elections was made to beat Washington to the punch;
a recognition on Fujimori's part that the US was going to end
his tenure by hook or by crook and so he simply pre-empted them.
In fact, his bowing out
may well be his final revenge on the puppet-string pullers. Fujimori
is a very sly leader who stayed in power for 12 years
the longest running elected president in América (although
we use the term "elected" reluctantly). By getting
out now, he leaves Washington scrambling to come up with a new
plan ahead of its predetermined schedule.
Meanwhile, Toledo held
a rally of his supporters this week in which he thanked the United
States and other countries for opposing the Fujimori regime.
His supporters got a little carried away shouting "Out with
Brazil! Out with Venezuela!" It's as messy and confused
as it sounds, and in direct opposition to América's only
hope of a regional alliance.
The videotape that wrought
the beginning of the end for the Fujimori regime showed his enforcer,
Vladimiro Montesinos -- known among CIA operatives who backed
him all these years, according to the Washington Post, as "The
Doctor" -- bribing an opposition politician. The video was
made public by opposition congressman Fernando Olivera, a chairman
of Toledo's Perú Posible Party.
There are 2,100 such clandestine
tapes that were made by Montesinos and company, and Olivera says
he has more of them, but is holding on to those tapes because
they would supposedly create "chaos."
The question is, chaos
Since the tape that was
released and broadcast on national TV showed the bribing of an
opposition politician, might it be that others of the videotapes
show the same kind of activity and that Olivera would gain an
incredible power over other individuals who accepted bribes by
not releasing the tape? If that's the case, Olivera would own
This is significant because
there are signs that Olivera himself might seek the presidency.
He is now, depending on which public opinion poll consulted,
at least as popular or moreso than Toledo and is as well known.
But if he is already using Fujimori-Montesinos blackmail tactics
with their own videotapes, what change would he or his party
bring to Perú other than a more slavish obedience to Washington?
If there were any doubt
that Washington -- again, it coddled Fujimori through his most
brutal years at the helm -- now wants to depose him, that doubt
was dispelled this week with the entrance into Perú's
politique by the notorious arms dealer Sarkis Soghanalian, "The
Merchant of Death," as he is known in many languages. "The
Merchant" is suddenly a player in the Perú situation.
Those with long memories
will remember that in 1992 Soghanalian -- Turkish born, Algierian
descent, US citizen with Lebanese base of operations -- was condemned
to 6-and-a-half years in US prison for selling more than 100
Bell helicopters to Iraq, all souped up to turn them into war
But when the Gulf War
fury settled and Clinton was in office, The Merchant of Death
flew out of his prison cell after less than two years. US prosecutors
have admited that "The Merchant" went free in a trade
for information. Saddam Hussein then put a death warrant on Soghalian's
head. It's clear he switched sides (a common mercenary trait)
and has played
a role since then with US intelligence. Soghalian has been for
six years a kind of informant run amok, allowed to continue his
contraband in weapons in exchange for information (selectively)
supplied to US officials.
A few months ago, before
the Fujimori situation heated up publicly, US officials rounded
up Soghanalian again (this time on money laundering charges)
and put him in a prison cell in Los Angeles.
Also in recent weeks,
information about the Russia-to-Jordan-to-Peru-to-the-FARC arms
pipeline hit the press and according to many accounts this led
to the current crisis in Perú. The Death Merchant's fingerprints
are all over this one. He even appears in photographs of the
arms being shipped from Jordan. It may well be that in the informant-captor
game of info trading, it was "The Merchant of Death"
who connected the dots in the way that best serves his imminent
release; telling the bosses what they want to hear.
Although the US strongly
controls press access to volatile international federal prisoners,
they made an exception in recent days allowing a reporter from
the opposition newspaper, La República, in Lima, Perú,
to hold a lengthy interview with Soghanalian from prison in Los
Angeles, California. The newspaper reports that US officials
waived corrections policies to allow the interview. And suddenly
Soghanalian is joining the pile-on of Fujimori.
This scenario could only
be happening if US officials were orchestrating the show.
This leaves the previously
mentioned human rights groups as unwitting allies in the Washington-Langley
strategy. (It cannot be forgotten that many of the same organizations
now privately admit that they were fooled by the Clinton Administration
on the "human rights clause" of Plan Colombia.)
What US officials did
not plan on was that Fujimori would pre-empt his own forced downfall
and announce his exit prematurely. The US-backed Toledo is thus
unable to consolidate the opposition behind him during this crisis.
And this opens the game up a bit wider, which can only be positive
for a country -- indeed, a hemisphere -- struggling to emerge
as a democracy.
The factor that remains
cloaked the narco connection. Some party or parties are throwing
a lot of cash around Perú: how else do videotapes fly
from their vaults and get played on national TV? The CIA of course
is a prime suspect in all of this but it cannot be ruled out
that one faction or another among narco-traffickers are the big-spenders
here and even Langley is playing catch-up.
With Plan Colombia now
pushing the coca crop back into Perú, the race is on by
the factions that wish to control its production and trafficking.
Billions of dollars are at stake. And once again we have a clear
example of how the US-imposed drug prohibition and the black
market that it creates destabilizes the democratic process, indeed,
makes democracy impossible.
Hope for change from any
quarter that does not confront and oppose drug prohibition is
false hope. It is "Spurious Opposition," which the
Belgian author Raul Vaneigem defined as opposition that ends
up strengthening the very forces it seeks to oppose.
Tribunal Opens Today in Chicago
Survivors to Testify
to Implicate US Aid and Equipment
From the Indy Media Center,
from US government source to prove Colombian military committed
by Chris Geovanis, HammerHard
Four Colombian survivors
of the 1998 Santo Domingo massacre will
testify before a formal Tribunal of Opinion this weekend about
Colombian military's responsibility for the incident. Evidence
include documentation from a highly placed U.S. government source
showing that at least one U.S. donated helicopter was used in
Chicago, IL -- Four survivors
of a 1998 massacre of Colombian
villagers in the town of Santo Domingo arrived in Chicago this
to make final preparations to testify at a Sept. 22-23 "Tribunal
Opinion" being convened to investigate the incident. The
been organized by Northwestern University's Center for International
Human Rights, Amnesty International and other U.S., Colombian
international organizations, at the request Colombian groups
charge that the military has consistently impeded an open
investigation into the massacre.
Counsel for the victims
report that witnesses will testify that the
Colombian military's 'Aerial Combat Command Unit #2,' bombed
village, and will introduce 'incontrovertible evidence' from
placed U.S. government source that U.S. military aid and equipment
was used by that unit in the operation. The Colombian military
which has refused to open a formal investigation into the massacre
has repeatedly denied that allegation, asserting instead that
massacre was caused by the explosion of a guerilla bomb. Independent
F.B.I. analysis of forensic evidence has shown that bomb fragments
can be linked to munitions known to be carried by at least one
Colombian Air Force helicopter flown at the scene of the massacre.
Approximately 19 people,
including seven children, were killed in the
incident, and another 25 were injured. Villagers also allege
Colombian military sacked the village in the wake of the bombing.
Tribunal jurists will
include former IL Supreme Court Justice Seymour
Simon; Cook County Public Defender Rita Fry; Bernardine Dohrn
Northwestern University's Children and Family Justice Center;
former State Senators, Jesus Garcia and Dawn Clark Netsch. The
Tribunal has assigned lawyers to present evidence and argument
defending the Colombian military's version of events.
Human rights activists
have argued that the Santo Domingo massacre
fits a sweeping pattern of human rights violations by the Colombian
military and its paramilitary affiliates that raises grave concerns
about U.S. military aid to the Colombian government.
The Chicago Tribunal is
one of many that are being organized in
countries including Italy and Spain as part of the International
Campaign Against Impunity: Colombia Demands Justice, which was
initiated by a coalition of hundreds of Colombian popular
organizations and human rights groups.
September 22-23: Tribunal
10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 9/22; 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 9/23
Northwestern University Law School, 357 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago
For more information,
contact Prof. Douglass Cassel at 312-503-2224.
School of Law
CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS
357 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60611-3069, U.S.A.
Phone: 312-503-2224; Fax: 312-503-5950
Prof. Douglass Cassel, Director, email@example.com
Storm Karenna Gore Speech over Colombia Policy
will remember this as long as I live," says the Vice President's
September 21, 2000
From the University of Missouri Show
Karenna Gore Schiff, the
27-year-old daughter of the Democratic presidential nominee,
came to campus to talk about energizing young voters and to brag
on her father. But when Schiff began to speak shortly after noon,
environmental activists disrupted her remarks with shouts and
chants, blasting Gore for ties to an oil company that they said
plans to remove an indigenous tribe from a Colombia forest.
Schiff tried to continue
speaking after the initial round of shouting died down, but she
was continually interrupted during her 10-minute speech as the
protesters and about 250 Democratic supporters elbowed for position,
jostling aside each other's signs and posters.
While Gore touts himself
as a defender of the environment, the protesters accused him
of failing to address Occidental Petroleum's plan to displace
the U'Wa tribe of Colombia to drill for oil. The activists handed
out pamphlets detailing their allegations, held signs with slogans
like "Indigenous Culture Before Corporate Culture"
and at one point chanted "Human rights!"...
Head for Guatemala
translated from El Universal,
Guatemala, Guatemala September 21, 2000
...The North American
soldiers, whose number cannot exceed 99, will conduct joint excersizes
to train Guatemalan security forces and combat drug trafficking.
The New Nation Alliance, the left-wing bloc in Congress, was
the only parliamentary group that opposed the entrance of the
North Americans. The group's leader, Nineth Montenegro, said
that their presence never is aimed at combatting drug trafficking.
Last march an equal number of US soldiers were in the country
for a month to conduct the anti-drug "Maya-Jaguar"
Government Knew that the FARC Did Not Plant the "Necklace
Bomb" When Pastrana and Serrano Publicly Accused Them
Excerpt from a new book,
Secrets of General Serrano," published this week in Colombia
and excerpted in the daily El Tiempo, translated by Narco News:
"There also appears
the history about the "pressures" that he (Serrano)
received to state that the necklace-bomb that killed a farmer
woman from Boyaca had been the work of the FARC when the general
knew that, in reality, it was not done by the guerrilla.
"The first ones to
be surprised by the accusations of the general were his own most
trusted advisors, who had already told him that there was no
evidence that the guerrilla had done it and that all the evidence
pointed to common criminals.
"They were also surprised
by the speech of Serrano, who said the bomb was very sophisticated
and only could be made by terrorists on the level of the ETA
of Spain or the IRA of Ireland. "The guerrillas of the FARC
are the only Colombians capable to commit an atrocity like that
which was done to the farmer woman from Chiguinquirá
The FARC copied bomb cylinders from the IRA and used terrorist
explosives methods typical of the ETA, which they also copied.
There is no doubt that in Colombia there are already foreign
advisors helping the FARC," Seranno said.
is your war. This is your war on drugs. Any questions?
The Think Tank
That Does More Thinking and Less Tanking