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Big Brother: The Essential Accomplice

Big Brother: The Essential Accomplice | OP-ED

The final report of the Truth Commission on the armed conflict in Colombia leaves the U.S. Government in bad shape.

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A Truth Commission that investigated the sources of the Colombian violence —which continues to leave dead and victims—, pointed out precisely what was always kept silent and denied: the knowledge and complicity of the U.S. Government, and its widespread concept of internal enemy.

Without the intervention of Big Brother, which acted and remained silent in the face of the atrocities of Colombian soldiers, police, paramilitaries and criminals, the limits of violence and bestiality generated by a war between brothers that still refuses to die would probably never have been overcome.

The Commission put on paper what has always been popular: for decades, the U.S. Government funded and trained the Colombian Army in its fight against the Marxist guerrillas and the drug economy that financed them.

Among the evidence are thousands of documents, according to which, for decades, the United States had knowledge of alleged crimes committed by the Colombian Army “and yet the relationship continued to grow”.

A CIA report from 1988, when the extermination of the Patriotic Union (UP) party intensified, says that the wave of assassinations against “alleged leftists and communists" was the result of a “joint effort” between the intelligence chief of the Colombian Army’s Fourth Brigade and the drug traffickers of the Medellin Cartel. 

In the document, a CIA official writes about a 1988 massacre in which 20 farmers, members of a labor union, were killed. The official says the U.S. believed the assassins “obtained the names of the intended targets” from the Army’s 10th Brigade.

Other documents show the U.S. knew that oil companies paid paramilitaries in exchange for protection and at least one company gathered intelligence for the Colombian military. One company “actively provided intelligence on guerrilla activities to the Army”, according to the CIA, “using an aerial surveillance system along the pipeline to show guerrilla camps and intercept guerrilla communications”.

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The Colombian Army “successfully exploited this information and caused some 100 casualties during an operation against the guerrillas” in 1997.

Another document refers to the false positives scandal, a long series of obscure military actions in which thousands of people were killed during the presidency of Álvaro Uribe, to pass them off as combat deaths, an effort to show that the war was being won. According to former members of the Army, they felt pressured to kill other Colombians by their superiors.

A Pentagon memo to then U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld applauds the increase in combat deaths since Uribe took office: 543 in just six months, compared to 780 during the last two years of the previous Government. However, they were not combat deaths, but crimes against humanity.

The driving force of Colombia’s criminal military activity during these decades was, and still is, the obscene concept of internal enemy, according to which, whoever is not with the Government is against it, and in that condition is an imminent danger and his destiny is to be eliminated.

That is why eight out of every ten deaths in the war have been unarmed civilians, according to the Commission. And the United States always knew it, since it sowed and nurtured that concept in the infamous School of the Americas, in Panama, where it trained Latin American soldiers —dozens and dozens of them Colombians— to kill. Then, they ended up killing or disappearing whoever they considered an enemy of the State.

Northern Big Brother was an essential accomplice: his slogans, his money, his silence, his sponsorship, his delivery of weapons and more weapons are the proof. Does anyone doubt it? Ten million Colombian victims confirm it.

 

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