Well, well, well. What have we here?

This is too juicy to pass up. Aporrea.org, the Venezuelan news/opinion site I enjoy most, has uncovered some skulduggery published at an opposition forum called Noticiero Digital. It’s an e-mail from Alfredo Rangel, the director of the “Security and Democracy Foundation” in Colombia. According to Aporrea, “this organism is a facade for the intelligence community of the US in that country.” The e-mail is to Juan Manuel Santos, the defence minister of Colombia.

Full text follows, translated by Your Humble One:

from Alfredo Rangel

reply-to alfredorangelsuarez@yahoo.com

to jmsantosg@yahoo.com

date Mon, May 28, 2008 at 11:52 AM

subject: En el texo.

Bogotá, May 28, 2008.

Juan Manuel,

As I promised you over the phone, here are my impressions and those of the team about some scenarios which could be evaluated and may materialize during the meeting of the Organization of American States on June 1.

Our strategic political victory over terrorism and in particular the FARC and their allies (Chávez and Correas [sic]) is clear. However, I want to share with you some concerns which have been present in the last few weeks. Without establishing a rigorous order, I will describe some topics which have been shared with our strategic allies, particularly with the agencies which have conducted the media campaign of “Plan Security and Democracy”, and who have been coordinating activities with the Foundation, specifically the bachaco* and his people.

These have been our concerns:

a) We have to be careful with relations with the president, since any initiative on his part could be poorly understood, as was the announcement of the death of Marulanda. Above all, we have to consider how something very ballsy, like the aspirations of Uribe toward re-election and how some sectors see in yourself a rival to watch out for. I want you to take very much into account my own case when I proposed myself.

b) On the other hand, your declarations in Semana generated some confusion among the bachaco‘s people, since the State Department agreed with us to maintain the offensive against Chávez and his henchmen. However, you could get them to see reason by arguing a series of reasons which were discussed in the last few days, in the sense of directing correctly the use of the information from the Reyes computers, as you can gather from the editorial I sent you earlier. To have poisoned the computers in some way is the most extraordinary goldmine of documents on the plans and activities of the FARC in the exterior. From this point of view Chávez and Correa have inevitably stayed in the spotlight and under suspicion of aiding terrorism. For this reason, they will have to conduct themselves well, which means suspending the aid which they had been giving the FARC, and not give them cover and protection in their national territories.

c) These governments allied to narcotrafficking and the guerrillas have remained neutralized. In effect, it is no concidence that nowadays the ministries of Venezuela and Ecuador have taken the initiative of communicating with the Colombians in order to facilitate encounters between their military commands and the Colombians, with the purpose of processing institutionally complaints about supposed incursions in their territories by Colombian military patrols. Additionally, the Ecuadorian ministry has said that their government is disposed to normalize relations always and when Colombia does not use the contents of these computers against it. What interests Colombia is that they quit giving the guerrillas oxygen and artificial respiration that prolong its last hour of agony. The important thing is that Colombia makes very clear to them, not publicly but in a reserved way, the caution that upon the first evidence that these aid measures continue, we would be disposed to use the proof from the computers to denounce them before the world and bring cases against them before the pertinent international bodies.

d) However, the former strategy of politico-military neutralization could be frustrated if we do not win the battle of credibility regarding the certification of Interpol. Initially we were on a good footing, but threats to our version have presented themselves, which must be counteracted promptly. Although Interpol correctly announced that “no user archive was created, modified or suppressed in any of the eight instrumental probes of informatic character since its removal from the FARC on March 1, 2008”, in the same report Interpol affirms that there had been manipulation of 48,055 archives in the first 52 hours (pages31 and 42 of the report), when the Colombian authorities accessed the data between the 1st and 3rd of March without using the internationally accepted methodology. This is dangerously registered in Conclusion #2b: Between March 1, when the Colombian authorities performed the eight instrumental probes of informatic character, and the 3 of March 2008 at 11:45, when the said pieces of evidence were handed over to the Investigative Group of Informatic Crimes of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DIJIN) of Colombia, the access to the data contained in the cited probes did not conform to internationally recognized principles for the treatment of electronic evidence on the part of organisms charged with application of the law. The bachaco’s institutions say they have other evidence or indications which could reinforce the credibility of our thesis. In particular you should recall the intelligence which we gained last year regarding the movement of weapons and encampments of the FARC in Venezuelan territories which served to conceal Ivan Marquez. I don’t know if you recall the operative who was posted near Tibú with regard to [sentence left unfinished]

e) In the meeting where US Undersecretary of State John Negroponte (the one Araujo attended) they evaluated various scenarios with regard to the OAS meeting, among what was proposed in order to take advantage of this occasion as a window of opportunity to strengthen our global strategy, among diverse initiatives was the holding of a press converence to mark the XXXVIII General Assembly. On the one hand, to accompany the chancellor’s approach to territorial sovereignty must hinge on security problems, such as what we formulated in a systematic manner last time at the Foundation (here I must recognize the intellectual credit to Germán Espejo who accompanied us in the elaboration and divulgation of the conception of “extraterritorial operations”). Negroponte will carry out some lobbying and the president promised to set this out in the opening ceremonies of the meeting. On the other hand, the gringos also will set out the opening of an investigation on the contents of the documents of the Raul Reyes laptops, leaning on the proposal from Ecuador. Although the subject isn’t on the agenda, this is a turn which the meeting could take on Tuesday, when the topic of peace in Colombia arises. In this way we can consolidate our positions and put Chavez and his allies on the defensive.

f) Alongside these lines of work, I’ve set out to Araujo what is my position, which you now know, which is also repeated in diverse editorials where I’ve maintained that all the Colombian ambassadors must conduct broad information campaigns in the extrior over the situation in the country and the advances made in terms of interior security, to create a fertile terrain and gain international support in the event that we find ourselves obligated to make any denands before international organisms before a not-to-be-ruled-out re-incidence of our neighbors in their support of the guerrillas.

Okay. Big breath. That was a lot of tortured language (and even more tortured thought), which cost me a lot of torture to translate. I’m still not sure if it makes sense; spook-diplomatese is a dreadfully sloppy language. But let’s dip in with the old slotted spoon and see what we can fish out of this murky alphabet soup.

First, it’s no mystery here that Uribe amended the Colombian constitution to allow for his own re-election. The mainstream media has reported it, but has Simon Romero or Andres Oppenheimer squeaked up about it? Nope, and nope. Apparently, the re-election of a real narcoterrorist tyrant in Colombia is no problem. Contrast this with the screeching from the flyin
g monkeys when Chavecito in Venezuela put a similar amendment to a popular vote (his party is now re-proposing it in the national assembly). Cue up the screams and cries of “Communist! Dictator! Tyrant!”. And never mind that it is, per the Bolivarian Constitution, entirely up to the Venezuelan electorate at all times. Has the same been left up to the Colombian electorate? Shockingly, in spite of Uribe’s alleged high popularity, the answer is no! This amendment was passed by the Colombian congress, which is dominated by Uribe’s corrupt party, with zero input from any further down. He won’t even endorse a successor from his own party, and as we can see from this e-mail, he sees his defence minister not as an ally but a rival. If that doesn’t make you scratch your head and wonder who the real dictator-tyrant is, you probably don’t have a pulse.

Then, there’s the little matter of the death of Manuel Marulanda. It clearly sticks in Uribe’s craw that the old boy died a natural death, and wasn’t killed in a bombing raid. This makes Uribe look bad–he’s been in power all this time, and hasn’t bagged the Big One? Just how much success is he really having at wiping out those pesky guerrillas, then? He even tried to bomb them while Chavecito was working his culo off to get the hostages handed over to the Red Cross, apparently with no regard for the hostages’ lives. No wonder he’s trying to bribe disaffected FARCers to hand the body over to the authorities–who will then mutilate it to make it look like he was killed in a raid after all. Hey, they’re not above dressing up dead campesinos to look like FARC, so what’s to stop them from messing up a dead FARC leader to make him look like they killed him?

The really explosive thing here, though, has got to be the revelation that the State Department conspired with the Uribe regime to keep up a tightly controlled media campaign against the presidents of Venezuela and Ecuador. Of course, it doesn’t surprise me that they would; it does, however, make me chuckle to see it expressed so baldly in an e-mail, from one Yahoo address to another at that. Did they think that using Yahoo would make the communication anonymous, and therefore safe from prying eyes? While this is not a smoking gun still warm from the State Dept.’s hand (that would be an intercepted communication from the State Dept. to the lackey who sent this e-mail), the fact that they and their representative, John Negroponte (alias Ambassador Deathsquad) are mentioned here proves that Chavecito has been right all these years when he accused them of having their hand deep up the ass of the Uribe regime. And that the media, too, have been tools in their hands.

The next explosive thing is the fact that they are admitting that the “Raul Reyes” laptop was tampered with between March 1 and March 3, as we already know it was. They are in a panic about this coming to light, and anxious to deflect attention away from this and back to the allegations against Correa and Chavez. Why? Because if this part of the story gets legs, it will cast doubt on the laptop story in its entirety. (Of course, so would the realization that a laptop can’t survive a bomb attack, but nobody wants to touch that one except me, it seems.)

After that, there’s yet another explosive admission: that the Colombian government has been conducting “extraterritorial” military activities. Translation: The Colombian troops have been invading Venezuela and Ecuador. Illegally, of course. Meaning, it’s not an accident at all that over 60 of them were recently spotted on the Venezuelan side of the border. They were sent there; they did not get there by mistake. Same goes for those who fired on Ecuadorian fishing villages along a river marking the border of Ecuador and Colombia. They were sent to attack Ecuador and Venezuela. They have committed war crimes against Ecuador and Venezuela–with the State Dept.’s full complicity and direction. Any questions?

Of course, war crimes are not the only offences in play here; there’s also the pressure against Chavez and Correa, using the FARC as a pretext. This is a lame excuse, of course, and doesn’t wash; the only “support” either one has given them is to recognize them as belligerents in a civil war, which they are, and to negotiate with them for the release of hostages. Recall that Raul Reyes was the conduit through whom the negotiations took place. It’s no coincidence that he was the one killed in the bombing raid; this murder was calculated to torpedo all hostage negotiations by both governments. First, because Chavez and Correa couldn’t be seen to succeed in a peace process, or a humanitarian exchange. That would make Uribe and his Washington handlers look like shits, not to mention totally incompetent. It would also cast Chavez and Correa in a good light, and make it impossible to pressure or extort them using their relations with the FARC as a lever. This e-mail is pretty explicit about the extortion going on. It states clearly that both men must remain on the defensive.

Notice, too, that Negroponte is explicitly revealed as Washington’s go-between with the Uribe regime. He tells them to jump and how high. And how to dance at the OAS summit, and to what tune. Niiiiiiiice.

Finally, to return to the theme of the media war: Notice how the Colombian ambassadors have all been instructed on how to play this? A broad media campaign against Chavez and Correa. They’re no longer diplomats, they are just PR flacks for Uribe, Negroponte and God only knows who else. How embarrassing is that?

Yeah, I can see how an e-mail like this could turn into a bomb in the wrong set of hands. Saaaaaay, what’s that ticking I hear coming from my own laptop…?

* * *

*My gran diccionario lists “bachaco” as a Venezuelan familiar term for a “person of mixed race with dark skin and reddish, curly hair”. Is that term also in use in Colombia? If so, it’s obviously not a reference to Chavez, who, though of mixed race and curly hair, is certainly not a redhead. The context suggests that it is someone high up behind the scenes in Colombia, but beyond the suggestive physical description, it gives no clues as to who he is.

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