National Security Archive Update, September 29, 2010: THE UNITED STATES VS. RITO ALEJO DEL RIO

29 September, 2010 — National Security Archive

Ambassador Cited Accused Colombian General’s Reliance on Death Squads

“Systematic” Support of Paramilitaries “Pivotal to his Military Success”

Infamous General a “Not-So-Success” Story of U.S. Military Training

For more information contact:
Michael Evans – 202/994-7029

National Security Archive

Washington, DC, September 29, 2010 – The U.S. ambassador to Colombia reported in 1998 that the “systematic arming and equipping of aggressive regional paramilitaries” was “pivotal” to the military success of Gen. Rito Alejo del Río Rojas, now on trial for murder and collaboration with paramilitary death squads while commander of a key army unit in northern Colombia.

The Secret “Biographic Note” from Ambassador Curtis Kamman is one of several documents published today by the National Security Archive pertaining to Del Río, whose trial resumes this month after years of impunity and delay. The documents are also the subject of an article published today in Spanish at, the leading online gateway for information on paramilitarism in Colombia. The article was also published in English today on the Web site of the National Security Archive.

“The collection is a unique and potentially valuable source of evidence in the case against Del Río, reflecting years of reports linking the senior army commander to paramilitarism,” said Michael Evans, director of the Archive’s Colombia Documentation Project. “As Del Río’s trial resumes, the court should examine the contemporaneous accounts of U.S. officials who were required by law to monitor and certify Colombia’s human rights performance.”

Other revelations include:

* The U.S. embassy takes a favorable view of Col. Carlos Alfonso Velásquez, who called for an investigation of Del Río’s ties to paramilitary groups, noting that his statements “add credibility to our human rights report.”

* A report on a conversation with Col. Velásquez, who told U.S. military officials that cooperation with paramilitaries “had gotten much worse under Del Río.”

* Documents reporting conspicuous increases in anti-paramilitary operations after Del Río’s transfer out of northern Colombia. The embassy said it was “more than coincidental that the recent anti-paramilitary actions have all taken place since the departure from northern Colombia of military personnel believed to favor paramilitaries.”

* The embassy notes a disturbing instance of possible military-paramilitary complicity in a paramilitary attack outside Bogotá just weeks after Del Río took command of the nearby military brigade.

* The shifting U.S. opinion about Del Río is clearly evident in two U.S. military reports from early 1998. In the first, Del Río, who attended the U.S. Army School of the Americas, is lauded as a U.S. military training “success story.” But a second, corrected, report from March 1998 lists Del Río instead as a “not-so-success” story, citing his alleged paramilitary ties.

Visit the Archive’s Web site or for more information about today’s posting.

National Security Archive


THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

Indian farmers protest colonial practices of land acquisition

29 September, 2010 — RT Top Stories

Thousands of farmers in India are against the government’s plans to build a new highway. With two-thirds of the country’s population dependent on agriculture, land acquisition turns out to be a sensitive issue.

Indian farmers took to their capital recently in protest against a government takeover of their land to build a new $2 billion highway.

This followed the death of three farmers who were killed after police opened fire on protestors in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

‘We will not give our land for development at any price. We are ready to die, and will not allow anyone to step on our land,’ said protestor Jaipal Singh Advani. ‘Farmers have woken up and become conscious. There is no question of us giving our land to the government now.’

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Economism rules ok! By William Bowles

29 September, 2010

Lenin’s famous pamphlet ‘What is to be done?’ was written in 1901 and addressed in part, the issue of the political versus the economic struggle socialists have to engage in (not that the two can be separated) in order to get rid of capitalism.

To avoid misunderstanding, we must point out that here, and throughout this pamphlet, by economic struggle, we imply (in keeping with the accepted usage among us) the “practical economic struggle”, which Engels…described as “resistance to the capitalists”, and which in free countries is known as the organised-labour syndical, or trade union struggle. — Lenin, ‘What is to be done?

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Tony Blair ‘knew of torture claims eight years ago’: His handwritten note was on secret letter By Jack Doyle

September 28, 2010 — The Daily Mail

Tony Blair knew about allegations that British nationals held in U.S. custody were being tortured just months into the War on Terror, it was claimed last night.

A previously secret document carries notes apparently in Mr Blair’s handwriting which refer to claims that detainees were being ill-treated.

The letter, from January 18, 2002, lists the men held in Guantanamo Bay or Afghanistan who it was thought could be British.

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FBI Raids Activists’ Homes in Sinister COINTELPRO Replay By Tom Burghardt

27 September, 2010 — Global ResearchAntifascist Calling… – 2010-09-26

In a replay of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s infamous COINTELPRO operations targeting the left during the 1960s and ’70s, America’s political police launched raids on the homes of antiwar and solidarity activists.

Heavily-armed SWAT teams smashed down doors and agents armed with search warrants carried out simultaneous raids in Minneapolis and Chicago early morning on September 24.

Rummaging through personal belongings, agents carted off boxes of files, documents, books, letters, photographs, computers and cell phones from Minneapolis antiwar activists Mick Kelly, Jessica Sundin, Meredith Aby, two others, as well as the office of that city’s Anti-War Committee.

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Information Clearing House Newsletter 28 September, 2010: Will They Raid My Home For Writing This?

28 September, 2010 — ICH

UN Fact-Finding Mission Says Israelis “Executed” US Citizen Furkan Dogan:
By Gareth Porter
Dogan had apparently been “lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time” before being shot in his face.

Sitting on the Evidence: Obama Administration Silent on Israeli Murder of 19-Year-Old American
By Dave Lindorff and Linn Washington
Murder is murder, and terror is terror, you might think. But when terror is committed against an American citizen by the state of Israel the response from the US government is not protest, and it is surely not to demand justice, much less seek vengeance. It is silence.

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VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 28 September, 2010: Israel’s Political Firewall against the Truth

28 September, 2010 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Artery Of Life 5 Arrives in Istanbul
IMEMC – 28 Sep 2010 – Wednesday September 29, 2010 – 02:29, The Artery Of Live 5 solidarity flotilla heading to the Gaza Strip arrived on Tuesday in Istanbul and its activists held a press conference at a cultural center.

Mitchell To Meet Abbas, Arab And Israeli Leaders
IMEMC – 28 Sep 2010 – Wednesday September 29, 2010 – 01:45, The US State Department stated Tuesday that U.S. Middle East peace Envoy, George Mitchell, will be meeting Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and several Arab and Israeli leaders during his Wednesday and Thursday tour in the region.

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South Africa’s Israel boycott By Ronnie Kasrils

29 September, 2010 — The Guardian – Comment is free

An international boycott helped end apartheid – now South Africans are leading world opposition to racism in Israel

When Chief Albert Luthuli made a call for the international community to support a boycott of apartheid South Africa in 1958, the response was a widespread and dedicated movement that played a significant role in ending apartheid. Amid the sporting boycotts, the pledges of playwrights and artists, the actions by workers to stop South African goods from entering local markets and the constant pressure on states to withdraw their support for the apartheid regime, the role of academics also came to the fore.

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Avigdor Lieberman takes settlement policy to its logical conclusion By Jesse Bacon

29 September, 2010 — The Only Democracy?

Lost in the debate over the settlement phase is its real purpose, to claim Palestinian land for Israel. Even its hardcore defenders like Avigdor Lieberman, know there will come a time when that has reached its end, when all available Palestinian land has been taken, and all Palestinians capable of being forced to leave will have done so. What to do then?

Well, then Israel will suddenly become interested in drawing borders after 60+ years resisting doing so. And apparently we are nearing that time. Fortunately, we are also nearing a time when Lieberman and company are revealed for what they are. Netanyahu has kept him under pretty tight leash after his appointment caused outrage around the world. But fresh off Israel’s triumphant avoidance of any punishment for allowing his fake settlement freeze to end, Netanyahu set Lieberman loose on the UN.

He is apparently seeking international support for the idea that Israel has a right to suddenly declare some Palestinians no longer Israeli citizens, but citizens of another state without the messy process of moving them (though no doubt violence would result anyways.) I hope people would protest this just as they would if US suddenly declared its Latino citizens of Mexico, though I am sure some are in favor of that. And like most racists, Lieberman was at pains to stress how un-racist his desire to expel one national group without their consent was.

Hopefully, this is a sign that Israel recognizes it needs international legitimacy for its scheme in the wake of its badly damaged pr. Less hopefully, the world does not have a great record of taking actual action to withold that legitimacy in any meaningful. I fear this will become part of the consensus of “serious people” in the same way that “everybody knows” that Ariel will always be part of Israel. But hopefully again,  we have seen the power of international citizens led by Palestinians  to challenge that consensus.

PS. the article asked whether Lieberman was speaking for himself or the Israeli government. If it was the former, and random citizens of Israel are now permitted to address the United Nations, I hope the UN will give equal time for people calling for some sort of shared democratic state or full withdrawal to 1967 borders. If, as I suspect, it was the latter then I hope that Jewish groups who are always asking Palestinians to condemn other Palestinians are consistent in their treatment of Lieberman.

Jewish Gaza-bound activists say IDF used excessive force in naval raid

28 September, 2010 — Australians for Palestine

BREAKING NEWS: Jewish Gaza-bound activists say IDF used excessive force in naval raid by Yanir Yagna

Israel Defense Forces soldiers used excessive force while taking over a Gaza-bound aid ship organized by Jewish and Israeli activists, the boat’s passengers said Tuesday, countering the military’s official version claiming that the takeover had been uneventful.

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