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US Plans for New Bases in Colombia: Throwing Bullets at Failed Polices

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-11-09 11:58 AM
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US Plans for New Bases in Colombia: Throwing Bullets at Failed Polices
September 11-13, 2009

US Plans for New Bases in Colombia
Throwing Bullets at Failed Polices

It was a winter day in the Argentine city of Bariloche when 12 South American presidents gathered there on August 28. It was so cold that Hugo Chavez wore a red scarf and Evo Morales put on a sweater. The presidents arrived at the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) meeting to discuss a US plan to establish seven new military bases in Colombia. Though officials in Colombia and the US say the bases would be aimed at combating terrorism and the drug trade, US military and air force documents point to other objectives.

Earlier his year, when Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa decided to not renew the US lease on the military base in Manta, Ecuador, the US set its sights on Colombia, a long-time US ally and one of the biggest recipients of US military aid in the world. Under the agreement the US eventually developed with Colombia, the US would have access to seven military bases for 10 years, stationing up to 1,400 US personnel and private contractors.

One US military document cited by the AP explains that the Palenquero base in Colombia which the US plans transform with a $46 million upgrade would be a stopping off point for the US military and air force so that "nearly half the continent can be covered by a C-17 (military transport) without refueling."

Uruguayan analyst Raul Zibechi writes in an article for the Americas Program that the US is shifting away from large, immobile bases to more a more flexible model involving smaller bases. He cites the U.S. Air Force's April 2009 report entitled "Global en Route Strategy" which "refers to the ability to utilize these installations above all for air transport, making it possible to have control from a distance and act as a dissuasive force, leaving direct intervention only for exceptionally critical situations." The cooperation of local governments is a key aspect of this plan. Zibechi writes, "This ongoing cooperation is much more important than direct military presence, as current military technology allows troops to concentrate in any given area within a matter of hours."

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-12-09 11:50 AM
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1. This article has a great conclusion...
"'Many analysts see the plans for these bases as an indication that Washington is not interested in changing its disastrous policies in the war on drugs. "This agreement is made within a framework of anti-drug policy that is overwhelmingly seen as a failure,' Michael Shifter of The Inter-American Dialogue told NPR. 'Is there a better way to fight drugs without just continuing the same policy that hasn't produced very much for decades?'

"Morales (president of Bolivia, speaking at the UNASUR meeting) said the root of the drug problem lies in the US, not in South America. 'If UNASUR sent troops to the United States to control consumption, would they accept it? Impossible!'"


Morales' biting irony reminds me of the riposte of Ecuadoran President, Rafael Correa, when he was asked about his intention to throw the U.S. military out its base in Manta, Ecuador (which he has just accomplished). He said that he "would agree to U.S. military presence on Ecuadoran soil when the U.S. agrees to an Ecuadoran military base in Miami!"

It's kind of amazing when we get logic used against us on the U.S. "war on drugs"--especially by dark brown-skinned upstarts in the U.S. "Southern Command"'s venue, who have huge approval ratings in their countries and can prove that they were actually elected!

But of course this U.S. policy has nothing whatever to do with drug interdiction--as the article discusses. The "war on drugs" is about U.S. militarism and resource wars, and about destroying democracy wherever it raises its hopeful head.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-12-09 04:31 PM
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2. We have to keep the independent contractors busy
What else would DynCorp and BlackWater and Kellogg Brown and Root, etc. have to do, if not to be employed by our government to terrorize native peoples in other lands?
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rabs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-12-09 06:49 PM
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3. UNASUR defense ministers are scheduled to meet late this month

to analyze the "Global en Route Strategy" White Paper that Chavez presented in Bariloche. They also want to study the exact wording of the U.S.-Colombia pact on the seven bases.

It's not known yet whether the Colombian defense minister will be there -- the conference will be in Quito (on Sept. 28 if I recall correctly) and much less whether the U.S.-Colombian accord will be presented for analysis. Not known either is whether any Pentagon or SouthCom people will attend (but I doubt it).

One thing that puzzles me is that the bases' accord calls for only up to 1,400 U.S. military troops and contractors to be stationed in Colombia.

Divided by seven, that means only 200 U.S. personnel max to operate each of the bases. Does not make sense. :shrug:

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Downwinder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-12-09 06:59 PM
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4. They are transit bases. n/t
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