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Race to expand U.S. military presence in Colombia draws yellow flag

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Downwinder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:25 AM
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Race to expand U.S. military presence in Colombia draws yellow flag
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:26 AM
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1. Heres the letter from Sen. Feingold and 15 Congress members...
Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515

September 15,2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

It is our understanding that the U.S. and Colombia are in negotiations to increase U.S. access to an expanded network of Colombian military bases to support counter-narcotics efforts. We write to urge caution regarding any increase in U.S. military aid to and presence in Colombia due to concerns that increased U.S. military involvement will exacerbate the failures of Plan Colombia.

Between fiscal years 2000 and 2008, the United States provided over $6 billion in military and nonmilitary assistance to Colombia as part of Plan Colombia. This funding supported the eradication of coca and opium poppy crops, the interdiction of narcotics shipments, and the training and material support for Colombia's security forces. U.S. assistance also supported alternative crop development to give coca and opium poppy farmers alternative sources of income.

Despite the billions of dollars spent by the U.S., Plan Colombia has not succeeded. According to a GAO report released in October 2008 (GAO-09-71), "Plan Colombia's goal of reducing the cultivation, processing, and distribution of illegal narcotics by targeting coca cultivation has not been achieved." In fact, according to the report, coca cultivation and cocaine production have increased in Colombia.

In addition to serious questions about the value of eradication efforts, we have strong concerns about human rights violations perpetrated by the Colombian military. Human rights organizations have documented Colombia's military involvement with illegal paramilitary groups that on many occasions carried out extra judicial murders, disappearances, and displacement of Colombian peasants, Afro-Colombians and indigenous peoples. For example, Amnesty International found that, between June 2006 and June 2007, at least 280 civilians were extra-judicially killed by Colombian security forces and that many of them were subsequently presented by those forces as guerrillas killed in conflict.' The Colombia Support Network has documented literally hundreds of incidents of abuse by the Colombian Army over the past three years', and according to Human Rights Watch, the Colombian Armed Forces engaged in "'systematic' killings of civilians" and the Colombian Attorney General's Office (La Fiscalia) is investigating cases involving more than 1,700 alleged victims.'

In the recent summit of the Union of South American Nations, called expressly to address Colombia's military agreement with the United States, every other nation in the region except for Peru expressed serious concern about the terms of the agreement and the manner in which it was negotiated. This pact threatens to make your efforts to re-engage with our neighbors in the hemisphere on terms of mutual respect much more difficult.

These failures of Plan Colombia underscore our concern that increased U.S. military presence in Colombia will continue to overemphasize funding to Colombia's armed forces rather than needed development and rule of law efforts. We hope you will exercise caution in negotiating any increase in U.S. military aid to and presence in Colombia.


Signed by the following U.S. Representatives

Tammy Baldwin
James P. McGovern
Jan Schakowsky
Raul Grijalva
Barbara Lee
George Miller
Jose E. Sorrano
Lynn Woolsey
Rush Holt
Chaka Fattah
Pete Stark
James L. Oberstar
Keith Ellison
Bob Filner
Dennis Kucinich

And U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold


I applaud these lawmakers for their knowledge, insight and courage. These are rare qualities among US law- and policy-makers. The Bushwhacks stripped the Executive Branch of any such people. TRADE SECRET' voting machines and bad money have severely limited their numbers in Congress. Obama has yet to build a foreign policy based on knowledge, insight and courage. He is handicapped by a vastly corrupt Congress, and perhaps by deals he made so that he himself would not be Diebolded. This makes the above people and perhaps a few others in Congress and the Executive Branch all the more noticeable and praiseworthy.

Imagine a sane drug policy. Imagine a sane military policy. Imagine the US not supporting heinous rightwing murderers in Latin America. That is what they are saying. But simple sanity is extremely difficult to find in US government policy and it is dangerous even to advocate it. Thus, to the above Congress members and one Senator....

:applause: :bounce: :patriot: :bounce: :applause:
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romy Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:39 AM
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2. A Scandal Over Spying Intensifies in Colombia
President lvaro Uribe, the top ally of the United States in Latin America, is enmeshed in a scandal over growing evidence that his main intelligence agency carried out an extensive illegal spying operation focused on his leading critics, including members of the Supreme Court, opposition politicians, human rights workers and journalists.

Yet Human Rights are 'good enough' for aid from the US... I'm stunned and upset. Many in progressive circles had such illustrious faith for a new beginning in geopolitics with Obama... Clarity in government is probably something that everyone around the world wishes for, but is this an unrealistic idealistic naiive thought? somebody please restore my faith in humanity!
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