U.S. Official Reveals Colombia as Target

U.S. Official Reveals

Colombia as Target

State Dept.'s Taylor at OAS:

The Andes is in Military's Sites

By Agence France Press

Translated from original Spanish by The Narco News Bulletin

Washington, October 15, 2001: The terrorist organizations that operate in Colombia are also targets of the global anti-terrorist campaign launched by the United States after September 11th, said Francis Taylor, anti-terrorism coordinator of the State Department.

"All the resources" available to the United States will be used in that campaign, including, "where appropriate, as we have done in Afghanistan, the use of military force," Taylor told journalists today in the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC.

The high functionary spoke briefly with the press after giving a closed-door report about the development of the anti-terrorist campaign to a meeting of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE, in its Spanish acronym).

Questioned about whether the campaign will include the Colombian guerrillas, which the State Department characterizes as terrorist organizations, as a target, Taylor responded affirmatively.

"The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), are on the list because they participate in terrorist activities.

"They will receive the same treatment as any other terrorist group," he said, "in terms of our interest in pursuing them and putting an end to their terrorist activities."

"All the groups on our list are terrorists, and a subject to this anti-terrorist campaign," the high functionary reiterated.

Taylor declined to explain if the anti-terrorist campaign would lead to raising the level of military assistance to the Colombian government. He also would not get into details about how the United States differentiates between anti-terrorism operations and anti-insurgency operations, which Washington has promised not to involve itself with in Colombia.

Taylor said that the United States anti-terrorist strategy in the Western Hemisphere is the same that it will apply throughout the world, and "it will include the use of all the resources in our power as well as those available to the countries in the region" that condemn terrorism and have promised to cooperate with Washington.

Those elements include political cooperation, exchange of intelligence information and the use of financial tools available to the U.S. Department of Treasury and those of other government "to identify and destroy the financial schemes that these criminals use," he added.

It will also include, "where appropriate, as we are doing in Afghanistan, the use of military force, if that is appropriate to put an end to their activities," said Taylor.


Saturday, 27 October, 2001,
US expands support for Colombia
By Jeremy McDermott in Bogota

The United States has confirmed it is going to broaden its war on terrorism and provide Colombia with further aid to fight its three warring factions that are on the American terrorism list.

Up until now, aid has been wholly restricted to the war against drugs. But according to analysts, the gloves have come off.

The US ambassador to Bogota, Anne Patterson, has recently hardened her stance on Colombia's warring factions, likening them to Osama Bin Laden and stating that the US would want to extradite certain guerrilla and paramilitary leaders.

The Colombian Government's chief peace negotiator, Camilo Gomez, met Marxist FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebel leaders on Friday, but the guerrillas insisted they would not return to stalled peace talks.

Oil interest

Analysts speculated that the US decision was going to herald a deepening of American involvement in Colombia, up until now restricted to the war against drugs, and they were right.

Colombia is about to become a front line in America's global war against terrorism.

Ambassador Patterson has announced that Washington will train and equip elite anti-kidnapping and bomb squads, assist civilian and military terrorism investigators and help Colombia guard its oil pipelines.

Most of the pipelines are run by US companies, which have been hard hit by repeated attacks by Marxist guerrillas.

New Vietnam?

Former US President Bill Clinton granted Colombia $1.3bn of mainly military aid, but with strict conditions that it be used only for fighting against drugs.

It seems those conditions will be lifted and the US will provide intelligence and resources to help the beleaguered government of President Andres Pastrana fight the 37-year civil conflict against Marxist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries.

Critics see the announcement as one that will lead to "mission creep", as in Vietnam, and drag the United States deeper into Colombia's bloody civil conflict.

Within Colombia, there is suspicion of US intentions, with the shadow of American involvement in Central America still fresh in people's minds.

Colombian President Andres Pastrana will meet US President George W Bush in Washington on 11 November to review the situation.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_1622000/1 622904.stm


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