What is this Israeli general doing in South America?

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Meet Brigadier-General (ret.) B. Ziv, International Man of Mystery…and mercenarism. Prensa Latina (via Aporrea) has some very pertinent questions as to what he’s been up to in Colombia…and what he could be up to in Peru:

The possible hiring of an Israeli mercenary, B. Ziv, as an advisor in the war against “narcoterrorism”, was decried in Peru by a human-rights activist and a military analyst.

At the same time, the commanding general of the Peruvian army, Otto Guibovich, without denying the hiring of the retired Israeli general, admitted to having contact with persons experienced in contra-insurgent warfare. The daily newspaper, La Republica de Perú, reported that the most recent sightings of B. Ziv “located him in Colombia, where he advised the armed forces of that country in the war against the FARC.”

The director of the Association for Human Rights (APRODEH), Miguel Jugo, doubts that a person with the history of Ziv, denounced for massacres of civilian Palestinians, could help bring down narcoterrorism.

Defence expert José Robles said he was surprised at the possibility that Ziv’s services would be engaged as an advisor of the repression of a faction of the Shining Path militants operating in the central valley of the rivers Apurímac and Ene (VRAE).

Robles said that contracting the Israeli general would be an affront to Peruvian officials and that the experiences of Ziv in Palestine and Colombia would be of little use in the VRAE region, where conditions are totally different.

Robles added that another inconvenient fact is that the Israeli military is not exactly known for its respect of human rights, but rather the exact opposite.

Former defence minister Antero Flores Aráoz, who was replaced last July, denied any knowledge of Ziv and asserted that during his time as minister, no foreigner was contracted as a repressor in the VRAE region.

Meanwhile, General Guibovich reiterated the promise that the armed forces and police would put down all “narcoterrorism” in the high-risk VRAE region in a “definitive and implacable” manner.

In a televised interview, Guibovich made that announcement in spite of critics who accused officials of having failed in an offensive to control the VRAE, where the military has suffered more than fifty losses in a single year.

On the subject of the Israeli mercenary B. Ziv, the government of Alan García maintains total silence. The chief of cabinet, Javier Velásquez, agreed with the defence minister, Rafael Rey, in arguing “security reasons” for not revealing why the government kept contracting this person.

“In the first place, the strategy we are developing for confronting narcotrafficking and terrorism, for obvious reasons, cannot be made public […] we can neither confirm nor deny; but it is a strategy which by nature should be absolutely reserved,” said Velásquez, when asked by the Peruvian newspaper La Primera about the contracting of B. Ziv and an Israeli military team for $12 million.

The Israeli press confirms that the company run by the retired brigadier-general, B. Ziv, trained troops in the Georgian army, which last year was embroiled in a confrontation (which it lost) with the Russian Federation. In 2002, Ziv directed the Givati Brigade, which invaded the Al Amal refugee camp in Gaza. According to reports, a large number of civilians were injured or killed. Ziv alleged that there were terrorists in that location.

Translation mine.

I had never heard of this Ziv character till now (gee, I wonder why), so I did a bit of googling. It wasn’t easy to find anything on him, secretive type that he is, but here’s a blog entry that names him as one “Israel Ziv”. You’ll note that the Colombian connection is confirmed:

Military links between Israel and Colombia date back to the first five years of 1980, when a contingent of the Colombia battalion “… one of the worst violators of human rights in the western hemisphere, received training in the Sinai desert from some of the worst violators of human rights in Middle East,” according to the U.S. investigator Jeremy Bigwood (who) observed that the training of young Colombian paramilitaries could not have been done without the express permission of the highest authorities of the Israeli defence forces.

In those years, landowners and ranchers of the Caribbean region of Uraba and Magdalena Medio (among them Uribe) were not satisfied with the “inefficiency” of the army in its fight against the guerrillas of FARC and ELN for which, in 1983, a group of “young idealists” went to Israel, not exactly to study “agrarian socialism” of the chosen people.

Of land-owning family, Carlos Castaño was then 18. Six months later, filled with “patriotic fervour”, he returned to Colombia and tried to apply blindly what he had learnt in Course 562 imparted by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). He went back to the Bombona battalion but, disillusioned, concluded that the army was not killing “seriously”.

Together with his elder brother Fidel, Carlos organised the death squad Los Tangueros, a name taken from his ranch, Las Tangas. In My Confession he declared: “In fact, I copied the concept of armed ‘self-defence’ from the Israelis”. In his interviews (to Spanish journalist Mauricio Aranguren Molina), Castaño emphasised the relations he cultivated in Course 562 with an Army Colonel, Aflonso Martínez Poveda, and “other men of the Colombia Battalion”.

The serial killer comments abundantly about the “firmness of Zionism… that has always been … defeating terrorism… from there I was convinced that it is possible to defeat the guerrillas in Colombia”. Castaño died in 2004 and recent history remembers him like how he was: one of most bloodthirsty Colombian paramilitaries.

Of course, the notion that Zionism is “anti-terrorism” falls apart with just a cursory look at Israeli history–remember Irgun and the Stern Gang? Terrorists all…but since they won, they’ve been recast as “freedom fighters”. It stands to reason that their ideological descendants would be eager to export this successful brand of terrorism to any government with ready cash to spend. Colombia would be one such; another would be Peru, deemed “investment grade” by international know-nothings in pinstripes for its government’s obvious willingness to take leaves from the Colombian book, but no useful lessons. Heaven only knows why anyone in Peru would want to import the Colombian civil war (now in its fifth decade–or is it the sixth? I’ve lost count), but it seems that nothing succeeds like failure, at least in South America:

Not only was Castaño trained in Israel, but also Salvatore Mancuso, the other “historic leader” of the (paramilitary) AUC currently in prison. From about the Nineties, Mancuso organised the paramilitaries of Convivir, financed by Alvaro Uribe, then governor of Antioquia (and now the President). In an interview with Margarita Martínez of Associated Press (13/02/02), the paramilitary boss bragged of “… not executing more than three persons at the same time”.

The ‘security’ company Spearhead, headed by the retired Israeli Colonel Yair Klein, started to train paramilitaries in Puerto Boyacá after the ceasefire of May 1984 signed by President Betancur (1982-86) and the secretary of FARC.

[…]

Klein’s paramilitary model turned out to be a ‘success’. Beyond the brilliant massacres of poor urban and rural people, four presidential candidates were assassinated. Enthused with the r
esults, Klein filmed the training. The broadcast of the film by ABC News led to a global scandal. More than the Israeli professionals, the film showed known Australian mercenaries and British ones of the Special Air Service. The errant operative was getting in the way of the growing importance of the Colombian-Israeli economic relations like the purchase of 14 Kfir combat aircraft in April 1988. In February 1989 the Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot recognised the “possible participation” of Israelis in drug trafficking.

But wait! Aren’t they supposed to be there to STOP drug trafficking, and put an end to the fighting? Why have they escalated both?

Oh, probably for the oldest reasons in the book. First, there’s money in it…LOTS of money. And like all good members of the Military-Industrial Complex, Israeli mercenaries and arms traffickers have no interest in derailing their own gravy train. So it stands to reason that they’d play both sides against the middle: terrorism in the name of anti-terrorism, drug-trafficking in the name of the War On Drugs. It’s a brilliant strategy for keeping the cash flowing, and what is cash flow if not a mercenary-terrorist-arms-dealer’s raison d’être?

Which brings us neatly back to General Ziv, and what he’s doing down there, bungling the jungle:

The official presence in Colombia of Israel Ziv, retired IDF general, represents a qualitative leap in the war plans of Uribe and his Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos. Engaged for the moderate sum of $10 million, Ziv could well have collaborated in the attack against FARC in Ecuadorian territory. His experience gives him away: in October 2002, as head of the Givati Brigade, Ziv invaded the refugee camp of Al Amal (Gaza). Infantry troops, tanks and armoured vehicles caused a massacre in which the old, the disabled, women, children and babies died.

General Ziv is on the payroll of Counterterrorism International and is member of the Task Force on Future Terrorism (FOTFF), created in June 2005 by the Office of Homeland Security of –Israel? No, of the USA. FOTFF operates under the orders of Secretary Michael Chertoff and Lee Hamilton, director of the ultra-conservative Woodrow Wilson Centre, nest of academics, psychologists, businessmen and ‘intelligence’ experts.

In Colombia, Ziv’s operations base is in Tolemaida. He meddles at the highest level. The Defence Vice Minister Sergio Jaramillo described as “precious” the Israeli help. “They are like psychoanalysts to us: they raise issues we had not thought about.”

Ah, but of course. There it is again, the real hand pulling the marionette strings in Israel and Colombia: As usual, it’s Washington. Home of the MIC and all its subsidiary corporations…including, as it turns out, the Israeli army and all the “security” firms that have been spun off it under the auspices of the private sector.

Let’s keep an eye on this one, kiddies, I’ve a hunch we haven’t heard the last of him yet.

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