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21 August, 2017

A barely known brutal operation by the US-trained Colombian army against civilians

While Colombia is known for one of the worst human rights records in the world, it remains a top recipient of US military aid and enjoys uncritical press coverage in Western media--all while Trump threatens military intervention against Venezuela over unsubstantiated allegations.


Abby Martin spoke to human rights attorney Dan Kovalik, who has recently returned from both countries. In a part of the interview, Kovalik spoke about the "false positive" scandal and the atrocities by the Colombian military against civilians:

           The Colombian military which has been trained by the United States, was responsible for the "false positive" scandal which people may remember. It's fairly recent. The high-water markers between 2002 and 2009, where they killed between about 4,000 and 6,000 civilians, that they knew were civilians, but they dressed them up as guerrillas, would kill them and put uniforms on them, guns on them, in order to push-up the numbers to justify more US military aid.


As pointed out in the summary of a 2015 report by Human Rights Watch:

Between 2002 and 2008, army brigades across Colombia routinely executed civilians. Under pressure from superiors to show “positive” results and boost body counts in their war against guerrillas, soldiers and officers abducted victims or lured them to remote locations under false pretenses—such as with promises of work—killed them, placed weapons on their lifeless bodies, and then reported them as enemy combatants killed in action. Committed on a large scale for more than half a decade, these “false positive” killings constitute one of the worst episodes of mass atrocity in the Western Hemisphere in recent decades.

In September 2008, a media scandal over army troops’ killings of young men and teenage boys from the Bogotá suburb of Soacha helped force the government to take serious measures to stop the crimes, including by dismissing three army generals. Prosecutors are now investigating more than 3,000 alleged false positives by military personnel. Upwards of 800 army members have been convicted for extrajudicial killings committed between 2002 and 2008, most of them low-ranking soldiers. The convictions have covered a handful of former battalion and other tactical unit commanders, but not a single officer who was commanding a brigade or holding a position higher up the chain of command at the time of the crimes. Of the 16 active and retired army generals under investigation, none have been charged.

Today, especially after FARC disarmament, things seem to getting worse in Colombia. As mentioned, it seems that the void left by FARC has been occupied by new paramilitaries on behalf of big corporations. Atrocities, assassinations and human rights violations continue against anyone who dares to question the corporate authority.

The usual suspect behind the mess is well known and always the same: US imperialism.

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