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How We Are Deceived: Disinformation and Colombia

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It is frustrating that even when the media attempts to provide analysis, they do not. Instead, they misdirect. Such is the case with a July 27, 2008 article by Simon Romero in the NY Times "Cocaine Sustains War in Rural Colombia." Romero writes:
Along with Colombia's successes in fighting leftist rebels this year, cities like Medellín have staged remarkable recoveries. And in the upscale districts of Bogotá, the capital, it is almost possible to forget that the country remains mired in a devilishly complex four-decade-old war. But it is a different story in the mountains of the Nariño department. Here, and elsewhere in large parts of the countryside, the violence and fear remain unrelenting, underscoring the difficulty of ending a war fueled by a drug trade that is proving immune to American-financed efforts to stop it. Soaring coca cultivation, forced disappearances, assassinations, the displacement of families and the planting of land mines stubbornly persist, the hallmarks of a back lands conflict that threatens to drag on for years, even without the once spectacular actions of guerrillas in Colombia's large cities.
The focus of the article is that "leftist" organizations are using the cocaine trade to continue to fight the government and terrorize the people of rural Colombia. Left out of the entire discussion is the Colombian governments use of the cocaine trade, and the use of U.S. dollars through Plan Colombia to do exactly the same thing. The war on drugs in Colombia has become a long term justification for militarization of Colombia to protect corporate - and particularly oil - interests. Gary Leech of the Colombia Journal wrote in 2000:
A closer examination of Plan Colombia reveals its true objective to be the preservation of the political, social and economic status quo through the implementation of a "carrot and stick" strategy. As is evident in the initial installment of overseas aid--the $1.3 billion U.S. aid package--the Plan intends to utilize a huge stick while offering a tiny carrot. The stick, approximately 80 percent of the U.S. aid, is for the Colombian military and police. The remainder constitutes the carrot: eight percent is going to alternative development; six percent to human rights programs; four percent to the displaced; two percent to judicial reform; and less than one percent to support the ongoing peace process.
So if 80% is going to the Colombian military, what about that military? According to Doug Stokes (Department of Politics at the University of Bristol):
The Colombian military has one of the worst human rights records in the Western Hemisphere. Furthermore there is a substantial body of evidence that shows extensive linkages between the Colombian military and the paramilitary "death squads". These death squads are responsible for over 80% of all human rights abuses within Colombia where eight out of every twelve people murdered each day are non-combatants. Recent evidence has emerged which illustrates how the U.S. reorganized Colombian military intelligence in 1991 to solidify military / paramilitary linkages and is thus directly implicated in human rights abuses within Colombia. The picture becomes even murkier when we consider the fact that these very same death squads are said to be deeply involved in cocaine trafficking. The U.S. is thus indirectly funding the biggest drug lords.
Plan Colombia was refunded and renamed by George W. Bush in 2001 (FTW, 2001). The program was renamed "The Andean Initiative," and refunded to the tune of $550 million. The truth of our funding and intervention in Colombia is no longer a big secret, and it is certainly easy enough to get information, Article in perceived credible information sources such as the NY Times, only serve the purpose of reinforcing a meme, and continuing the deception of the public. Romero's article is just one of a multitude of examples that flows across the corporate media regularly. Carlos Martinez. Plan Colombia: The Real Destabilizing Force in South America. CommonDreams. 3/05/2008. Gary Leech. Plan Colombia: A Closer Look. Colombia Journal. 7/2000. Peter Gorman. Plan Colombia: The Pentagon's Shell Game. From The Wilderness. 3/13/2003. From the Wilderness. 3/15/2003. Bush Renames, Expands, Plan Colombia - Adds $500 million in Prep for War Video: Plan Colombia-Cashing In on the Drug War Failure (56 minutes)

 

Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and a Senior Editor for Cyrano's Journal Online with her own page being CJO's Avenger.

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Another article about Colombia: Clinton's Comi... by Darren Wolfe on Thursday, Jul 31, 2008 at 3:57:00 PM
Give credit where it is due-- the US is not indire... by martinweiss on Saturday, Aug 2, 2008 at 7:19:15 PM