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November 18, 2006

Why Do "They" Hate Us? Is It Somehow Connected To The Way We Cut Off Their Limbs With Chainsaws?

Before the 9/11 attacks came along, I used to work with groups trying to get the U.S. to stop funding Colombia's right-wing paramilitaries. The pretense, of course, was we were funding the Colombian military in their heroic struggle in the War on Drugs. The reality, that the paramilitaries were run by the Colombian government to murder anyone to the left of Elliot Abrams, is finally being acknowledged:

The government of President lvaro Uribe is being shaken by its most serious political crisis yet, as details emerge about members of Congress who collaborated with right-wing death squads to spread terror and exert political control across Colombia's Caribbean coast...All are from the state of Sucre, where the attorney general's office has been exhuming bodies from mass graves...

It's difficult to overstate the level of human depravity exhibited by the paramilitaries. One of their favorite techniques is to kill people with chainsaws:

"The Chainsaw Massacre is not a film in Colombia," said government ombudsman Eduardo Cifuentes, referring to the April 12 [2001] paramilitary massacre in Alto Naya, 650 kilometers (404 miles) southeast of [Bogota]...

It left some 128 people dead, including 40 in Alto Naya, according to official reports quoted by Cifuentes in an interview with AFP...

Around 400 paramilitaries took part in this "caravan of death" against civilians accused of supporting leftist guerrillas, Cifuentes said in his Bogota office.

"The remains of a woman were exhumed. Her abdomen was cut open with a chainsaw. A 17-year-old girl had her throat cut and both hands also amputated," said the ombudsman...

"A neighbor pounced upon a paramilitary that was ready to shoot him and took his weapon, but unfortunately he didn't know how to fire a rifle. They dragged him away, cut him open with a chainsaw and chopped him up," a witness of the massacre told El Espectador daily.

I once attended a lunch with a Colombian union official. He said the paramilitaries would generally warn people like him of their intentions, by visiting them and cutting their sleeves or pants where they would later cut off their arms and legs if they didn't flee the area. Less important people didn't get warnings.

This year we're giving Colombia approximately 600 million dollars for these appealing activities. The biggest upswing in aid came during the last years of the Clinton administration. What's really neat is the paramilitaries are actually the ones controlling most of the cocaine trade in Colombia. In other words, as part of the War on Drugs, we're giving massive aid to some of the world's biggest drug dealers.

If past experience is any guide, the people mentioned in the above article as investigating this (e.g., Colombian Senator Gustavo Petro) have maybe four weeks to live.

SPECIAL BONUS DEPRAVITY: I once worked for a right-wing corporate lawyer who had (1) a massive cocaine addiction and (2) a Colombian maid who'd been a kindergarten teacher until she fled. I often felt he should have made the connection explicit by telling her, "Look at me! I can destroy your country and your life using only MY NOSE!!!"

Of course, in the long human tradition of utter indifference to those less powerful than you, he knew neither that she'd been a kindergarten teacher nor even that she was Colombian.

Posted at November 18, 2006 12:15 PM | TrackBack

Not Colombia, but nearby:

Posted by: at November 18, 2006 01:40 PM

Actually, I don't find the actvities all that appealing.

>>This year we're giving Colombia approximately 600 million dollars for these appealing activities.

Oh, that's a typo? Sorry.

Posted by: Dan at November 18, 2006 05:41 PM

There's gotta be a connection between chainsaws in Columbia and electric drills in Iraq. What's with the power tools?

Posted by: SPIIDERWE™ at November 18, 2006 06:03 PM

Freedom isn't free. Or something.

Posted by: Lloyd at November 18, 2006 06:54 PM

I somehow have the urge to think that these maids etc.. that were refugees to the country that caused their misery will somehow produce the very sort of children that fight the Empire's Wars. After all, the solution of "letting them eat big Macs" has proven remarkably effective.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at November 18, 2006 09:40 PM

and where is our S0-Called-Liberal-Media in all this?
anyone seen this in news reports?

Posted by: joe in oklahoma at November 19, 2006 07:45 AM

What's withthe power tools?

Perhaps Negroponte has shares in Black & Decker or Home Depot...

Posted by: Republic of Palau at November 19, 2006 07:59 AM

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at November 19, 2006 02:28 PM

Interestingly, James Petras recently received a letter from FARC and has written an extensive piece on the current situation in Columbia in the Atlantic Free Press.

Posted by: Richard Kastelein at November 20, 2006 05:46 AM

So what do they spend the $600 Million on--and so what's our motivation? I mean seriously. I can cynicaly understand spending $600 M on Iraq when it means cutting a fat check to your cronies from KBR, but why hand $600 M off to a country that you get no side benefits from?

Posted by: wtf at November 20, 2006 11:54 AM

Actually, that Wash Post article seemed to me a small miracle of mendacity. For instance, calling the paramilitaries "left-wing" - for another, pretending that Uribe, whose relation to the paramilitaries is much like Jimmy Hoffa's was with the mafia, is somehow shaken up by the news that the people who put him in office were massacring people out in the hinterlands - I mean, for what, a year, Colombian papers have been reporting about the massive influx of paramilitary soldiers into Bogota's neighborhoods and suburbs, and the immunity granted to the paramilitaries was simply a joke that even the NYT editorialists noticed as such. But of course - compare the numerous articles about Chavez, the new Venezualan Hitler, to the handful of articles about Uribe, and you get the picture. Chavez's every change in the Venezualan constitution is reported as though we have all always idolized th Venezualan constitution - Uribe ripping up the Colombian constitution elicts a news blank. Chavez says he might run again and again, massive coverage of the wily dictator - Uribe doing the same thing, again a news blank.

Latin America is one area in which the colonialist mindset is simply set in concrete among the MSM elite.

Posted by: roger at November 20, 2006 12:18 PM

wtf-- The vast majority of the $600MM never even gets to Columbia. It gets transferred from the treasury to weapons manufacturers who then give guns and helicopters and consulting to the Columbian army. The fiction is that Columbia is buying these, but in reality, we all are buying them for Columbia. The vast majority of all US "foreign aid" is in fact payments to domestic weapons manufacturers.

Posted by: dylar at November 20, 2006 02:35 PM


I wana Cut someone up with a chain saw muwahaha

Posted by: Ben Dover at November 20, 2006 03:37 PM

Thank you for posting this article. Having just returned from the 2006 School of the Americas protests in Fort Benning, Georgia, the matter of US-funded oppression and violence in South America strikes me very personally, having at the protests met and spoken with torture and massacre survivors from El Salvador, Guatemala, Columbia, and elsewhere. One day, I think we can make our government stop the CIA's ambitions to ruthlessly manipulate, exploit, and oppress our South American brothers and sisters.

Posted by: trots at November 22, 2006 11:07 PM