Ever wonder why we Americans keep fighting all these wars & losing them, Reagan's triumph over Granada notwithstanding? Why does it seem irrelevant whether we win or lose? Might the answer be that war profiteers haul away train loads of cash correlated to body count regardless of the outcome of the war? Might it be that a sizable sector of our economy is completely dependent on waging off shore wars?
Central & South America are in the crosshairs of the Pentagon & America's war industry. With the economy on its knees & the Iraq war a settled loss & winding down, with Afghanistan stumbling from mess to disaster to mess, the sense that Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman, Boeing, GE, et. al., are drooling down the necks of war planners at the Pentagon for another war is palpable.
With the surprise announcement on July 15, by right wing President Ãlvaro Uribe Ve'lez that the U.S. Government would station American military personnel & equipment in seven Colombian bases, the response was predictable & dark. Openly moving American troops to bases the U.S. military calls Forward Operating Locations (FOLs)*, in Colombia is pure belligerence & a provocation for war & everyone but the main stream American media seems to know it. That Colombia is a corrupted narco-state & the region's most repressive death squad democracy changes nothing whatsoever.
In any case, the agreement raises some grisly questions about immunity which is another way of saying US soldiers, pilots and sailors cannot be prosecuted in Colombian &/or presumably international courts for war crimes. Sound familiar? It is the over riding reason the U.S. refuses to sign on to the legal agreements of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Imagine what would happen if a similar agreement was established for installing Mexican military personnel in Texas.
The former head of Colombia's constitutional court, Jose Gregorio Hernandez, told AFP, "Immunity for United States soldiers is not in any way justified. It violates the principle of equality vis-Ã-vis our own soldiers. This immunity could become impunity because... a slow and likely unsuccessful diplomatic process would be required (before justice could be applied)."
Yang Qingchuan, in an article for Global Research, writes, "After the U.S. military withdrawal from Panama in 1999, the Pentagon has been expanding the 'cooperative security locations' in the region. The U.S. Southern Command also operates some 17 radar sites, mostly in Peru and Colombia. All of the above is in addition to existing U.S. bases in Latin America, including a missile tracking station on Ascension Island in the Caribbean, and Soto Cano in Palmerola, Honduras. Furthermore, the United States has small military presences and property in Antigua, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and on Andros Island in the Bahamas."
Don't make the mistake of forgetting that these numbers are totally unreliable. With somewhere around 45% of defense budget numbers black & virtually 100% of CIA & NSA funds black, there is no chance of getting an accurate picture of what the U.S. Government is up to around the world with all these military facilities & assorted bases & "cooperative security locations." (See the asterisk note below.)
President of Venezuela,
Hugo Rafael Cha'vez
FrÃas, warned that all these bases pose a threat to the region. "I'm
fulfilling my moral obligation to warn you that the winds of war are beginning
to blow," concluding that the situation could end tragically. At the Quito summit of the Union of South American Nations,
President Chavez, with the strong support of Ecuador
warned that Colombian soldiers had been placed under the command of U.S
military forces. Under laws mandated by the Organization of American States
(OAS), the world's oldest regional organization, that decision should be understood
as aggression & clearly illegal. It should be noted that prior to being
elected in 1998, Hugo Chavez attempted his own coup d'e'tat. He knows what he's talking about.
Significantly, Venezuela recently purchased 24 Russian and Chinese-developed Su-30MK2s, a modern fighter considered to have superior performance over the 1980's US F/A-18.
Monsenior Juan Cordoba, secretary of the conference of Catholic bishops in Colombia told Caracol Television, "This was a bit abrupt and we felt invaded, we felt like we were surrounded by 'gringos.'"
Ecuador is under no illusions about U.S & Colombian intentions & earlier reinforced its northern border with Colombia by moving 1200 soldiers to support some 10,500 soldiers & police personnel already stationed in Esmeraldas Province according to Ecuavisa Television. Ecuador has positioned 24 Brazilian Super Tucano combat aircraft & two frigates to support its troops. This is in part a result of an incursion in March, 2008, by Colombian forces in conjunction with U.S. intelligence & paramilitaries into Ecuadorean territory during which Raul Reyes, a prominent senior leader of the leftist guerilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was killed. Following the attack, Ecuador cut ties with Colombia. In a disputed Agence France Presse Report, Colombian soldiers claimed they recovered computer hard drives & flash drives with data linking Chavez to both the leftist guerrillas & drug trafficking.
Ecuadoran President Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado, a close Chavez ally, is openly critical of Colombia's motives, stating that US forces would use the Colombian bases for military purposes. Quito has struggled over the years to contain violence along its border with Colombia made unstable & dangerous by insurgent groups, foreign paramilitaries and drug traffickers. The situation there worsens by the day.
In Quito, on August 10, Presidents & heads of State of South American countries at the summit of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), signed the Quito Declaration. Referring to Jose' Manuel Zelaya Rosales, in part, the document reads "We will not recognize, in any way, the alteration of institutional, democratic order," & condemns the coup d'e'tat in Honduras by demanding the immediate restitution of the constitutionally elected president of that country. Roberto Micheletti Bain, the coup leader, has already told Venezuela's envoys to leave, but they have refused, the essence of their position being that Micheletti & his military backers with the support of the CEAL, the Latin American version of the Chamber of Commerce have no authority to expel them. They are all too familiar with how these things go & are no doubt keenly aware that Roberto Micheletti's current security adviser, Billy Joya, was a member of one of those bloody Reagan-era death squads. This coup, just as it was during the Reagan & assorted Bush administrations, was about servicing the interests of the business class & the wealthy elite such as the Kafis, the Canahuatis, the Facusses, the Naars, the Vasquez Velasquez families.
In response to universal rejection of the Honduran coup by OAS members (Canadian Foreign Minister for the Americas Peter Kent was the only person in the room to vocally oppose the plan for Zelaya to return to Honduras immediately), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported their response & stated the U.S. Government did not recognize Micheletti's government.
On Tuesday, August 18, she made another statement regarding the Colombian bases in which she:
defended an imminent agreement that will give the United States access to military bases in Colombia, amid regional concerns about US intentions. Clinton and visiting Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez said the two countries expected to sign a defense cooperation agreement soon that will boost their longstanding military ties. "I want to be clear about what this agreement does and does not. First: the agreement does not create US bases in Colombia, it does provide US access to Colombian bases," Clinton said after a meeting with Bermudez. "This agreement does not pertain to other countries. This is about the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Colombia regarding security matters within Colombia." Leftist leaders in Venezuela and Ecuador, which border Colombia, have loudly denounced the agreement as a ruse to establish bases that threaten their governments. The US plans also have raised concerns among more moderate Latin American leaders. Clinton said the US and Colombian governments hope to sign the agreement "in the near future. It will allow us to continue working together to meet the challenges posed by narco-traffickers, terrorists, and other illegal armed groups in Colombia," she said, adding, "These threats are real."