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Colombia: FARC Laptops Reveal Ties to Politicians and Foreign Governments

In the events following the attack on the FARC guerrilla camp in Ecuador, it was revealed that Toshiba laptops were found among the remains. The Colombian government sent the computer equipment to INTERPOL for independent analysis. Its findings recently were released and it was found that the laptops had not been “manipulated” by Colombian authorities. The documents, some of them leaked to domestic and foreign press, involve Venezuelan and Ecuadorian officials. On May 22, the so-called “FARC-politics scandal” officially started, when the Attorney General announced the names of the first politicians and personalities investigated for their ties with the Marxist guerrilla, based on the laptops’ files.

Jaime Restrepo praises INTERPOL and the Colombian government, and states that the chain of custody was not broken as the opposition claims:

INTERPOL has confirmed it: the files and contents of the three laptops seized in FARC strongman Raúl Reyes’s camp were not modified, nor adultered or deleted by the Colombian authorities. This is the second blow against FARC and its allies in a little more than two months, because INTERPOL’s certification implies an independent warranty that the proofs found at the Ecuadorian camp were not contaminated. If the Colombian government had not taken the decision to ask an audit on the devices and their content, the opposition -specially the people mentioned in the Reyes dossier- would be screaming that Uribe and his “thugs” manipulated the information to start a persecution on his political opponents, for sure.

Marsares claims the press conference was a show and that Colombian president Álvaro Uribe was seeking domestic support so that the people would ignore the scandals involving his government, just as Chávez and Correa do in their own countries:

What are [they] looking for? It is not to show the collusion of FARC with Venezuelan and Ecuadorian governments. If it were so, the evidence should be treated as such, holding back them, following the clues which can be deduced from them, until reaching the criminals, destroying all their infrastructure, giving rise to a victory they would only recover from after several years.

But it was not done that way. Since the beginning they preferred to make a fuss of it and telling, little by little, “pieces” of truths, with a clear purpose, to put [Hugo] Chávez and Rafael Correa against the ropes in order to alleviate the continental condemnation to Colombia for its violation to international law. But now, when the relations could be patched, why this new show, seeking to create a serious controversy and a political and economic catastrophe?

Domestic support, without a doubt. What a wicked way to escape from the questioning to the legitimacy of his second term.
(…)

The same way Chávez practices that within his stronghold and Correa within his, Uribe does the same thing in this frayed Colombia, seeking foreign enemies in order to armour his domestic power. Shameful show. A period on history where our peoples needed statesmen to ensure their future, was only able to give simple rulers who, as it is known, are so small as the limited horizon of their hatreds and ambitions.

Adam Isacson provides the names of the probed personalities, including controversial senator Piedad Córdoba, as expected, and American development consultant Jim Jones. He carefully analyses the charges they may face (I encourage you to read the full post), and he ends the article this way:

But again, we don’t know enough. We really have no idea what is in those files, and the rumored allegations surfacing in Colombia’s press include some troubling possibilities, such as that of would-be facilitators having visited guerrilla camps where hostages were held. Those who have talked to the press so far – Borja, Córdoba, Lozano – insist that they have done nothing wrong and that they are willing to cooperate with authorities at the first opportunity. These investigations should proceed quickly, and the accused should promptly be able to confront the evidence against them.

Ricardo Buitrago calls the Congresspeople involved “traitors” [es] and compares the two scandals [es]:

No puede haber tampoco, presunciones o parámetros dispares, que condenen a priori la actuación de unos y justifiquen la de otros. Con la parapolitica, el país, la oposición, los medios y hasta la justicia, trazaron una rasante de medición, prejuzgamiento, juzgamiento y condena, que ahora nadie entendería, pudiera ser cambiada.

There cannot be presumptions or different standards which condemn a priori the acts of some people and justify the acts of others. With the parapolitics, the nation, the opposition, the media, and even the judiciary have traced a medition, pre-judgment, judgment and condemnation slope which now no one would understand if it is changed.

5 comments

  • 666

    So whos been named and for what then? Is Maoism etc a sane and/or an appropriate response to the beast? (as such). How does this tie into our North West Frontier policy. Whats Chaos poition on this?

  • Suma Sine Laude

    The media can be extremely disingenuous when it suits..

    Unbelievably enough, no one bothers to mention the all important fact that the chain of custody was lost. Nor that the alleged “evidence” was obtained in an illegal operation.
    The chief of Interpol should have known that that kind of “evidence” would not convict anyone of anything in any court of law. But of course, the court of public opinion is a different matter…

    Whether the files were real is beside the point, it could never be proved that the computer itself came where the Colombian government alleges it came from. No impartial entity witnessed it.

    The lost links in the chain of custody, the illegality of the “capture”, the unlikely fact that the laptop survived the blast, the possibility that the information inside could have come from routine intelligence in the past, the convenience of it all, and the limited credibility of the Colombian government suggest that the allegations against Venezuela are of the same kind of the ones used to justify the invasion of Irak. We all should learn from the past.

  • Jose Luis Fernandez

    Re the following comment to this post: “Unbelievably enough, no one bothers to mention the all important fact that the chain of custody was lost”…

    I have read that the opposite is true, that the only information supplied by INTERPOL was that the chain of custody HAD NOT BEEN LOST. Look it up, and see for yourself….

    JLF

  • Suma Sine Laude

    I already did. And that’s why I’m saying it. Maybe you want to share your sources?. The Interpol report admits that it cannot account for two hours of all the time that the Colombian police had the laptop. This is more than enough to switch it, don’t you think?
    In addition, the alleged laptop was obtained through an illegal operation, in which only Colombian officials were present. You’re OK with this? Maybe you should consult a lawyer… Since Colombia is one of the interested parties, how could it be allowed to be the custodian of the “evidence”?. Would it make sense to you if you were being accused of something you didn’t do? Would any court allow a piece of evidence like that? I DON’T THINK SO.
    I have the feeling that if it happened the other way around (say a laptop captured by Venezuelans), the dismissals and denials would be all over the place except the headlines.

  • Daniel Gomez

    I agree with what you have to say. It all makes perfect sense. An interested party taking hold of “evidence” cannot be accepted. They could tamper it in any way they would like to. Sadly to say this “evidence” is no evidence at all.

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