Columbian Interview With Yar Klein

Mercenary sentenced

JUSTICE Manizales Superior Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison for Yair Klein, an Israeli who trained paramilitaries in the 80’s. WEEK spoke to him.

Monday March 18, 2002

At 55 Gal retired Col. Yair Klein, a veteran of the Yom Kippur War and former instructor of Israeli army officers, had to withdraw from the adventurous life that gave him fame beyond the borders of Israel and can not return to leave their country. If the military of 1.75 meters, 90 kilos of weight, gray hair and blue eyes, set foot abroad run the risk of being extradited to Colombia. Here awaits you in jail because a few months ago the High Court of Manila was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in prison, plus payment of 22 minimum wages, for the strengthening and practical training in military and paramilitary terrorism. Klein was convicted along with two of his men, Abraham Tzedaka Melnik and Terry, who also acted as instructors. Klein shot to fame in June 1989 when a television news showed pictures of the courses that had been issued, along with his companions, the paramilitaries operating in the Magdalena Medio.

However, the Israeli military responded to WEEK from his residence in the port of Jaffa, which today lives in an old Arab house on four floors, that his initial purpose was not that. He maintains that when he came home in 1987 his intention was to ensure that your company hired Police, Speardhead to train its members in matters of defense and security. Your contact on that first trip was Izhack Shoshany Meraioth, the representative of a security equipment firm in Israel. At that time Klein said that he stayed at the Hotel Country 85 and met with Gen. Carlos Arturo Casadiego police and with representatives from the Atlas Security. In his first two visits a week spent in Colombia. The other two, he says, "were longer because it was when I was hired to teach courses in Puerto Boyacá.
The training team Speardhead issued, in addition to the aforementioned characters also included Picciotto Arik Afek, was too ‘professional’. In the summary of research to condemn the Israelis know that the courses are held in the school’s fifty in the swamp Palagua and rural areas of the municipality of Puerto Boyacá. Klein says today from the comfort of your home that "the training was military and defense and in no way a crime or murders (…) I trained farmers and farm people who continually trampling guerrillas without the Army could do something for their rights. "
The version of the Colombian authorities, according to the indictment of the process is very different.The first course gave the Israeli of Romanian descent, it was self-defense. The second was much more offensive and the third made the 20 ‘students’ who took it in experts in handling explosives. The best students were lieutenants of the great lords and the file are referred to by their nicknames: ‘Trap’, ‘Sausage’ and ‘Fercho. " In research papers concludes that "there is certainty as to the trained personnel they have committed serious attacks on our country through the knowledge received by their instructors, as the attack on the Homeland Security Department, DAS, the attack that he killed Antonio Roldán Betancur, governor of Antioquia, the journalist Jorge Enrique Pulido, the newspaper El Espectador and many other serious terrorist events of dye in the country. "
After training some of the men who then terrorized right and left in Colombia, Klein worked with who wanted to overthrow Panamanian Gen. Augusto Noriega and end your adventurous wanderings led him to Africa. They wanted to buy a diamond mine and get rich. Some media sources said in 1999 that the military had tried to negotiate with stones and precious woods in Zambia and Namibia. They got to hear from him in Sierra Leone, where he eventually went to jail in mid-2000. The authorities put him in Freetown, the capital of this country, accused of trying to defraud the government on the purchase of a helicopter of the Russian war. He says he got out alive by a miracle, but lost everything, including his diamond mine.
Today this man, who was born in Kibbutz Nizanim and separated from his wife Hava, a partner in a company car shielding and dreams of creating a school of survival in extreme conditions. "A kind of recreational park," says this soldier of fortune who despite all his past is defined as a family man worried about his four children, who are between 21 and 35. The escalating war between Israel and Palestine made to increase the profits of your business, but has no way to enjoy them out of their nation. The last one tried to leave behind hit him in the port of Jaffa and became a prisoner of his own land.
"I did not feel I did anything against the law"
WEEKLY: What was the reason to return to Colombia in late 1988 or early 1989?
Yair Klein: I was in Bogota to meet Shoshany Izhack Meraioth, who was representing a security equipment firm in Israel and had long lived in the country. I had talked about people Uraba banana groups who were besieged by guerrillas and wanted to do a string of security within its banana and through it found a security complex in the area. This meeting was not finally carried out. Meraioth organized another meeting, I suggested that they, in Puerto Boyaca, with ACDEGAM farmers were also suffering from the same reasons. And so I came to this region to develop self-defense groups.Ranchers and farmers who do not put up with the guerrillas.
WEEKLY: Did you leave your country to share military information to civilians in other countries?
YK: My team asked permission of the Israeli Defense Ministry and informed them that there was no need for authorization because the civilians would be trained to defend their property and place of work, not military. However, after the government of Israel was afraid of possible reprisals by the guerrillas against Jewish families in Colombia.
WEEK: "He knew he was training illegal paramilitary groups?
YK: Neither I nor my colleagues can say with certainty that those who train did not belong to paramilitary groups. Just know that there were many victims of the guerrillas.
WEEKLY: Did you meet members of the Medellin cartel, the likes of Pablo Escobar, Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha or alias Vladimir, as did the courses?
YK: I did not know any of them. The only person with whom I had sex and was connected with drug trafficking was Bita name. Of Israel informed me that was on this road and then cut all ties with him.Nor am I aware of having met ‘Vladimir’. The army and the police were aware of what we were doing and the place was surrounded by military bases. During the weekends the students played football with the soldiers. From one of these bases came after a request for assistance from one of the courses in order to contain a guerrilla attack. I did not feel I did anything against the law, as you will understand I am a foreigner and they do not speak the language, so it could not know in detail how things worked there.
WEEK: He is accused of having trained people who caused the explosion of an Avianca plane in Cali …
YK: I heard that made me responsible for this but it’s crazy. It is said that Bosnia’s partisans helped and even participated in the attack. Spanish investigators came to Israel to talk to me. I was also charged with the death of a man (Luis Carlos) Galán, presidential candidate of that country. The first commission of inquiry said Galán was assassinated with 9 mm bullets, and the second commission found after two months that the bullets came from a Galil rifle and were of 5.56 mm caliber. The weapon in question was in Antigua ready for service in the invasion of Panama. Apparently the weapon came to Colombia at the hands of arms dealers Panamanians.
WEEK: "Then what do you attribute the reaction brought its presence in Colombia?
YK: The issue erupted and turned to advertising by the Americans. Around the same time I was hired to support the government in exile in Panama in order to topple the Noriega regime. Eduardo Herrera who was the commander of Panama before the revolution, was also an ambassador of Panama in Israel and security minister of the government in exile with the ousted president. United States took over the economic side, the proof is the first two checks in my possession and that came from Washington. The truth is that when the Senate gave the OK to the soldiers for the invasion of Panama no longer needed my services. I did not give up my fee and was in Miami when they broke the case of Colombia. The Americans found it very comfortable to harm Israeli interests in Colombia because the Colombian began purchasing Israeli weapons, around 250 million dollars annually.
WEEK: How is your legal status in Israel?
YK: I never had a process in Israel for this reason, it never got a test that could actually prove that I trained the Medellin cartel. But I was convicted for using military knowledge without permission and had a fine. Israel prosecutes persons not complying with the law in other countries. No banishes their citizens who are outside the law but the judges house. I am willing to be tried in Israel and I am willing to testify before the Colombian authorities at the embassy of Colombia. I have nothing to hide. Do not think there is any evidence in Colombia can blame me either there or in any other nation in the world.


Yair Klein and other extraditable

Yair Klein and other extraditable

By Alfredo Rangel

This case recalls that of the three Irishmen, James Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall Connally, convicted in absentia of training the FARC.

Saturday 28 August 2010

It is very commendable attitude of the government of Russia to seize and prepare to Colombia to extradite a fugitive from justice our Yair Klein. Hopefully other governments have the same arrangement with the Colombian justice system to arrest and extradite fugitives to the three Irishmen were convicted here instructing the FARC terrorist tactics.

As is known, Yair Klein was sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison by a judge in Manila for training irregular groups then funded by Pablo Escobar and Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, including drug lords. These bands then bloodied the country. But the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, echoing the national and international NGOs that unfairly accuse the Colombian State to be a massive and systematic violator of human rights ruled that Russia could not extradite Klein to Colombia because his life was in danger and could be subjected to torture and mistreatment by our government officials.
Definitely, no one knows who she works: Mr. Klein, who sponsored the violation of human rights in Colombia, now relies on the arguments of the NGOs advocating for human rights, to prevent the Colombian judicial action against him. However, the Russian government said that Klein failed to prove the risk he would if he were extradited. Moreover, the Colombian Foreign Ministry has said that Klein would be held in maximum security prison Cómbita, Boyacá, which according to the UN has the highest qualifying for the protection of human rights. Hopefully, then, that the Strasbourg Court will grant more credit to legitimate governments that certain NGOs and proceed to the extradition of Klein.
This case recalls that of the three Irishmen, James Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall Connaly, who in absentia after his escape, were sentenced in December 2004 on appeal by the Criminal Chamber of the Court of Bogota, having trained for five weeks to the FARC in the manufacture of explosives and use of unconventional weapons. This training included the development and use of the infamous bomb cylinders with the FARC destroyed dozens of public buildings and hundreds of humble homes in dozens of rural villages, leading to massacres like Bojaya in Chocó. According to BBC News, Irish, members of the IRA, using Colombia as a testing ground to test new weapons and explosives. And according to British security forces quoted by the Sunday Telegraph, these subjects were rehearsing in Colombia a "super equivalent of a small nuclear explosion that could kill hundreds of people and destroying a bunker." (Eduardo Mackenzie, The FARC, a terrorist failure, pg. 491). But the trial judge acquitted them for lack of evidence (how strange, no?), Accepting their argument that they were doing "ecotourism." And while the ruling was the second instance, it flew.
The terrorist mission in Colombia was authorized by the leaders of the IRA at the time they conducted peace talks with the British government. And apparently this was a covert operation to fund, with resources from the FARC drug trafficking, kidnapping and other criminal acts, political campaigns of Sinn Fein, political wing of the IRA. In fact, Martin McCauley, one of the three men in Colombia, was campaign director for Sinn Fein (Loretta Napoleoni, Jihad, p.. 85). At the time, the Colombian prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant against the three men, but support for terrorism of the FARC was covert under the IRA peace agreements with the British government. And so we stayed up until today, no truth, no justice, no repair. But no NGO has called for it.
Yair Klein’s extradition would be a good precedent for other governments to address the claims of Colombia and we handed over a first world city fugitive from justice who walks our free and unpunished by the planet, then to have supported terrorist brutality here . It would be proof that the vaunted global justice is not just for those of poncho. For this reason there are a handful of foreigners extraditable.

The Career of Carlos Castano: A Marriage of Drugs and Politics

The Career of Carlos Castano:

A Marriage of Drugs and Politics

August 2001

Carlos Castaño’s criminal career spans almost twenty years. It encapsulates the involvement by important sectors of the Colombian army in a Dirty War that originated with President Betancur’s 1982 peace overtures to the guerrillas, and has since frustrated the efforts of four other Colombian governments to find a negotiated solution to the guerilla insurgency.
Castaño’s story begins in the most geographically strategic and resource-rich region of Colombia, known as the Magdalena Medio. He was 16 years old when, in 1982, he and his older brother Fidel, now allegedly dead, joined an army-sponsored "self-defense" group, "MAS" — "Muerte a Secuestradores," (Death to Kidnappers). Motivated to avenge the killing of their father by the FARC, the Castaño brothers received their military training from the Bombona Battalion of the army’s 14th Brigade, based in Puerto Berrio in the Magdalena Medio. Carlos enlisted as a civilian "army guide" and informant, attached to 14th Brigade forces.
The "MAS" provided the model for all the regional "Self Defense groups" that proliferated around the country in the ’80s and ’90s, and that were transformed into a national force, united under Castaño’s command, in l997, when he organized the AUC. Set up by a consortium of wealthy Magdalena Medio political and business leaders and cattle ranchers to protect themselves and their property from the guerillas, "MAS" took its name and inspiration from a Medellín death squad, formed a year earlier by drug baron Pablo Escobar, and "self defense" had little to do with its activities. After receiving their training, "MAS" members were quickly incorporated into army operations and set out to "cleanse" the Magdalena Medio region of suspected "subversives," a code word that applied to anyone critical of the army or their far right supporters, or who sought to promote then President Betancur’s peace overtures to the guerrillas.
Through the ’80s, Pablo Escobar and his associates bought vast tracts of land in the Magdalena Medio. Establishing a pattern that has not altered, drug money flowed to the "MAS," the death squads flourished, and by 1986, some 1,000 Magdalena Medio peasants had been killed and tens of thousands forcibly displaced to clear the land for the traffickers. Civic and community leaders, trade unionists, Indian leaders, opposition politicians, priests, human rights defenders, and journalists, also became victims of the irregular, regional war.
In 1987, with support from army officers, the traffickers imported foreign mercenaries from Israel and Britain to run a death squad school in the Magdalena Medio to impart the skills of the Israeli Special Forces and the British S.A.S. to the Colombian death squads. Retired Israeli army colonel, Yair Klein (last heard of in June 2000, when he was sprung from jail in Sierra Leone) transformed the peasant militias of the MAS into a professional killing machine. Reputedly, Carlos Castaño was Klein’s star pupil. By then, he and his older brother Fidel were paramilitary leaders in their own right. They had their own 150-man paramilitary army, "Los Tangueros," and ruled a fiefdom in the northern state of Córdoba from which they trafficked drugs, conducted a war in the banana fields of coastal Uraba that put one small guerilla faction, (the EPL) out of business, and perfected the art of parlaying services — protection, intelligence, and high-ticket assassinations — to create alliances, first with Pablo Escobar, then with the Cali Cartel.
According to official investigators, the Castaño brothers left their finger prints all over the raging political and drug violence of those years. Among the crimes committed on Escobar’s behalf, Carlos Castaño has been charged with the bombing an Avianca plane that blew up in Colombian skies with 111 passengers on board. The Castaño brothers also provided the guns and the expertise for most of the killings that eliminated the left-wing Unión Patriótica Party, that had emerged from President Betancur’s peace talks with the FARC in 1984. They are also charged with the assassination of two left-wing presidential candidates in the 1990 elections. Fidel Castaño built a network, based around drugs, right-wing politics, and army connections, with some of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. That network has survived to protect younger brother Carlos until today.
In 1993, after falling out with Escobar, the Castaño brothers switched allegiances. With funding from the rival Cali Cartel, they formed a 50-man death squad, "Los Pepes" (People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar). Before long, Los Pepes had become indispensable allies of official efforts led by the CIA’s Delta Search Force, in collaboration with the Colombian narcotics police and the DEA, to track and kill the fugitive Escobar.
By the mid-nineties, after the mysterious disappearance of Fidel, Carlos Castaño was back on the northern coast at the head of a new paramilitary force, the "Self-Defense Groups of Córdoba and Uraba" (the ACCU). Sponsored by wealthy landowners, and supported by the army’s 17th Brigade, the ACCU fought a savage Dirty War to drive the FARC from Uraba, and consolidated Castaño’s control over an expanding personal fiefdom in Córdoba and northern Antioquia.
In 1997, Castaño brought Colombia’s dozen or so regional paramilitaries under his military and political leadership to form the AUC. At the AUC’s National Congress, held in Antioquia in August 1999 and attended by civilian and military advisors, the blueprint was drawn up for the formation of a new, national socialist political and military movement, and the decision was adopted to campaign by all possible means for political recognition of the AUC.

Army of terror: the legacy of US-backed human rights abuses in Colombia.

Army of terror: the legacy of US-backed human rights abuses in Colombia.

Harvard International Review –  Winter, 1998

PETER SANTINA, Staff Writer, Harvard International Review

After three decades of civil war, Colombia is finally approaching peace. On August 7, 1998, Andres Pastrana assumed the presidency, replacing the discredited Ernesto Samper. The country’s two largest guerrilla armies, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), had refused to meet with Samper because he received US$6 million in campaign contributions from the Cali drug cartel. The Pastrana administration has moved quickly toward negotiations with the guerrillas, agreeing to the FARC’s demand to demilitarize an area the size of Switzerland in southern Colombia for 90 days while the two sides negotiate. Pastrana was elected by the most votes in his nation’s history and has established a much more cordial relationship with the United States than his predecessor, making the first Colombian presidential visit to the United States in 23 years. President Bill Clinton and Pastrana signed a joint agreement to fight the drug trade, and Clinton promised US$280 million more in US aid to Colombia.

Since his election, however, Pastrana’s popularity in the polls has fallen nearly to the level of Samper’s, due to an enormous amount of social unrest. Mounting opposition to the government’s plans to cut public spending with privatization reforms manifested itself in a three-week national strike of 800,000 Colombian state employees. The strike, which ended on October 27, resulted in the death of seven union leaders. This tragedy highlights the key to Colombia’s human rights catastrophe: political murders. Unions are targeted by right-wing paramilitaries for their opposition to the power of business, especially multinational corporations. According to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, in 1997 alone 156 trade unionists were killed in Colombia. Although unions are one target of political violence, peasants living in the countryside have suffered even more. Brutal paramilitary forces target those suspected of collaboration with the guerrillas and have committed numerous human rights abuses. This relationship between the official military and the death squads has been investigated by the US State Department, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, international think tanks, and human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Government Abuses

According to the US State Department, “the [Colombian] Government took no significant action to restrain these powerful paramilitary groups” in 1997. A major factor in the abuse is indeed the complicity of the Colombian government, particularly the armed forces, in the rightist agenda of the paramilitaries in the face of a growing leftist guerrilla movement. The Colombian government, threatened by the socialist rebels, has been unwilling to prosecute either paramilitaries or army soldiers for their human rights abuses because they are more concerned with losing power to the socialist rebels than protecting the basic human rights of Colombian citizens.

General Bedoya, the commander of the armed forces, has said that military courts effectively punish violators, citing a high overall conviction rate for military violations. When asked by Human Rights Watch, however, he could not cite a single conviction for a human rights violation; most military tribunal convictions are for technical offenses such as failure to follow orders. A detailed report on Colombian human rights abuses released by Human Rights Watch in 1998 states that in cases of humanitarian law violations, “allegations against officers are rarely investigated.” The US State Department noted in its 1997 report that, “at year’s end, the military exercised jurisdiction over many cases of military personnel accused of abuses, a system that has established an almost unbroken record of impunity.” The Colombian National Police, although it has improved its record since 1994, continues to show a reluctance to prosecute paramilitaries. According to the Attorney General, the National Police have not addressed over 200 warrants for the arrest of paramilitaries.

Problems with the military and human rights, however, extend beyond a lack of prosecution for abuses. The State Department’s Colombia Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997 blamed government forces for “numerous serious abuses,” including extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances, and the torturing and beating of some detainees. On July 29, 1998, President Samper publicly apologized to the families of 49 people murdered by government agents between 1991 and 1993. In each of the state massacres mentioned by Samper, defendants accused of responsibility were absolved by military tribunals until the human rights branch of the Organization of American States found the Colombian government liable for the deaths. Samper conducted a similar ceremony in 1995, in which he accepted government blame for military sweeps through the town of Trujillo in 1989 and 1990 that left 107 peasant leaders and activists dead.

Paramilitary Terrorism

These crimes pale in comparison, however, to those of the brutal paramilitary forces. In the first nine months of 1997, 69 percent of the 3,500 political murders in Colombia could be attributed to right-wing paramilitary groups, according to the US State Department. Death squads continue to roam the Colombian countryside, terrorizing peasants who they suspect of sympathizing with the guerrillas. On October 25, seven trucks of about 100 paramilitary troops entered the northeastern city of San Carlos. They killed ten civilians and abducted 15 others who were on their blacklist of alleged guerrilla collaborators, and left graffiti condemning Pastrana’s overtures of peace toward the guerrillas. Later that same day, other paramilitaries invaded the town of Altos del Rosario and murdered 11 residents.

Unfortunately, this is not simply a recent phenomenon–the Colombian government and armed forces have a long history of cooperation with the death squads. In 1968, the Colombian government legalized the organization and promotion of groups of armed civilians, known as “peasant self-defense groups,” in the context of the growing guerrilla movement. These small private armies were equipped, trained, and logistically supported by the armed forces. The political and economic elites who felt threatened by the guerrillas were particularly supportive of these “self-defense” groups, as they are of the paramilitary forces in Colombia today. These groups were eventually banned in 1989, because of their inneither established procedures to break up the paramilitary groups that they had created, nor did it cut them off from future aid from the armed forces.

Perhaps the most prominent Colombian paramilitary figure is Carlos Castano, who traces his first involvement in paramilitary activity to the training he received in the Bombona Battalion of the armed forces in the early 1980s, when the military, business owners, and ranchers formed the activist group Death to Kidnappers (MAS). By 1983, Colombian internal affairs had registered over 240 political killings by the MAS death squad, whose victims included elected officials, farmers, and community leaders. In his report, Internal Affairs Chief Carlos Jimenez Gomez identified 59 active-duty members of the police and military who belonged to MAS, including the commander of the army’s Bombon Battalion.

The government again contributed to the formation of paramilitary groups in 1994, when it established “special private security and vigilante services” whose members were allowed to arm themselves in self-defense. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, known paramilitaries participate in these “Convivir” associations. The Office of the Superintendent of Private Vigilante and Security Groups admitted in November 1997 that it was incapable of fulfilling its responsibility to oversee these legal, state-supported paramilitary organizations. Members continue to be investigated on charges of homicide, torture, and other grave human rights abuses by the government.

The massacre of May 16, 1998, in Barrancabermeja is a clear example of the friendly relationship between the military and the paramilitaries. Camilo Aurelio Morantes, the head of the paramilitary Autodefensas de Santander y Sur del Cesar (AUSAC), has admitted to ordering the attack on Barrancabermeja, which left 32 civilians dead. Morantes is known by the army and the government to be a paramilitary leader, yet he has not been prosecuted for his leading role in the massacre. Furthermore, witnesses have alleged that soldiers waved the paramilitaries through the army check-point while entering and leaving Barrancabermeja. The government investigated the role of ten of the soldiers involved, and the only one detained was an Army corporal who was charged for personally participating in the massacre. A humanitarian worker in Antioquia told Human Rights Watch, “I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stopped at a joint army-paramilitary roadblock. The soldiers are there with their green uniforms and the paramilitaries with their blue uniforms. It’s like different units of the same army.”

US Military Aid

The United States provides a great amount of support for the Colombian armed forces despite its abusive track record. First, the United States continues to train Colombian military officers at both the US Army School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning and the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg. Representative Joseph Kennedy and the Washington Office on Latin America jointly released a report in July 1998 documenting the specific abuses of Colombian graduates of the School of the Americas.

Before the report was released, a video was shown of Colombian soldiers beating unarmed farmers participating in a peaceful protest and then attacking cameraman Richard Velez, who suffered serious internal injuries. The soldiers were operating under the command of SOA graduate Nestor Ramirez. Another SOA graduate, General Hernan Jose Guzman Rodriguez, was dismissed in November 1994 to improve the armed forces’ public image. Guzman protected and supported the death squad MAS between 1987 and 1990, during which time it was responsible for at least 147 murders. In 1986, Guzman commanded soldiers who detained, tortured, gang raped, and executed a Colombian woman and then invented a story that she had committed suicide by shooting herself in the nape of her neck. Guzman’s portrait has hung in the SOA “Hall of Fame” in Ft. Benning since 1993. A final example is Captain Gilberto Ibarra, SOA class of 1983, who forced three peasant children to walk in front of his patrol and detonate mines, killing two of them and seriously wounding the other.

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Zionist torturers and Colombian oligarchs–(Yair Klien and MAS Death Squads)

Zionist torturers and Colombian oligarchs

Mon, 23 Dec 2002 14:44:30 -0800

A connection between the Israeli Military man Yair Klien and the Colombian Death Squads.
A deadly union of Zionist torturers and Colombian oligarchs.
NorteAmericanos for Bolivar
—– Original Message —–

Subject: Colombia’s Paramilitaries and Israel
New World Phalange, Colombia’s Paramilitaries and Israel
by Jeremy Bigwood
December 04, 2002

“I copied the concept of paramilitary forces from the Israelis.”

Carlos Castaño, Mi Confesión 2002[1]

In 1983, an intense 18-year-old Colombian arrived in Israel to take a yearlong course called “562.”[2] He was no normal foreign exchange student.  His name was Carlos Castaño and the course was about making war, something that he would exceed at:  he was destined to become the most adept and ruthless paramilitary leader in Latin America’s history.

Carlos Castaño had been impelled along this vengeful path after his cattle-ranching father had been killed during a botched rescue attempt by the army while being held for a “tax” ransom by the FARC – Colombia’s strongest left-wing guerrilla army.[3]  Bitter over their father’s death, Carlos and his older brother, Fidel, vowed revenge, a vengeance that would dovetail with both the interests of the Colombian right-wing landholding classes and US foreign policy. It is a vengeance that continues into the present..

The brothers first offered their services as scouts for the Colombian Army’s Bombona Battalion – fingering FARC sympathizers, providing intelligence and even participating in military operations.  But Fidel – some 14 years older than Carlos – concluded that by merely working for the army, they were going to get nowhere.[4]  One of the battalion’s majors introduced them to a local paramilitary death squad called “Caruso,” with whom they started a killing spree.  When local police started to investigate them, they found it necessary to operate even more clandestinely.  Unlike in many other third-world countries under the U.S.’s shadow, Colombia’s police and judiciary have sometimes played an independent role from the Army.

Later, according to press reports,[5] Fidel started his own paramilitary death squad called “Los Tangueros,” named after his ranch, “Las Tangas.”[6]  The Los Tangueros was responsible for more than 150 murders during the late 1980s and early 1990s.  When discussing this period in his book, Castaño openly talks about murders he has committed or ordered, making his habit of executing what he calls “‘guerrillas’ in towns” sound routine.[7]  In one massacre alone, the Los Tangueros captured dozens of campesinos from a neighboring town.  Back at the ranch,  “they tortured them all night with crude instruments before shooting some and burying others alive.”[8] Los Tangueros along with other death squads dispersed throughout the country would evolve into the present 9,000-strong paramilitary force in Colombia, [9] now killing up to twenty civilians per day.[10]

During the early 1980s when Castaño’s father was captured by the FARC, rural Colombia was rife with small diverse paramilitary units working for the army and the landholding upper classes.[11]  Many of these groups were merely the enforcers and protectors of the local wealthy, while others worked protecting the  “new rich” of the cocaine trade from the “taxation” of the left-wing insurgencies.  Some of these groups bore the names of petty criminal gangs or the names of their leaders.  They liked to call themselves  “self-defense” or “auto defense” groups, but here we will use the term ‘paramilitaries” to avoid confusion.  In the 1980s, these paramilitary groups were disparate and not well trained, and sometimes got involved in turf battles between themselves.  If they were to take the offensive against the steady advances of the leftist guerrillas, the paramilitaries would need both political/military training and unification.  And while these paramilitaries essentially worked for the same counterinsurgent goals as those of US foreign policy, the US could not directly support them.  But another country could.

Exactly how Carlos Castaño got to Israel is still a mystery, as is precisely which entity trained him there. But whoever set it up, the Israeli course “562” definitely had a strong effect on Castaño.  “Something clicked in me, and I began to behave differently[12]…My perception of this war changed radically after my trip to Israel,”[13] he said in his “as told to” Colombian run-away bestseller of interviews edited by Spanish journalist Mauricio Aranguren Molina.

Carlos Castaño was clearly a good and highly motivated student. Of his studies in Israel, which is the subject of chapter 6 of in his book, he reminisces:

“Unlike what one might think, we studied in the classroom more enthusiastically than in the military training.  The classes emphasized the regular and irregular ways in which the world operates… It was there that I rounded out my education… [The teachers] insisted on us carrying ourselves well, in both the way we dressed and in the way we spoke in public.  I also received a class on how to enter and register in a hotel and we analyzed how to behave around immigration police in airports.  We read in libraries and spent long sessions on both the self-esteem and the security that an individual should have.  This was an invaluable process which taught me to respect and have confidence in myself, to triumph during tough intimidating moments.”[14]

Most importantly for the eager student, he “received lectures on how the world arms business operates, and how to buy arms.”[15]

And of course, there was also a military component:

“I received instruction in urban strategies, how to protect oneself, how to kill someone, or what to do when someone is trying to kill you, depending on the situation.  We learned how to stop an armored car and use fragmentation grenades to break through and enter into a target.  We practiced with multiple grenade launchers, and learned how to make accurate shots with RPG-7s, or shoot a cannon shell through a window.”[16]

“We also took complementary courses on terrorism and counter terrorism, night vision equipment, and parachuting.  We also learned how to make homemade bombs.  In short, we learned what the Israelis know, but, in all sincerity, very little of all of this has been applied to the war in Colombia.  I got a very good basic education, and there I learned how to do the most important thing – I learned how to control fear…”[17]

Castaño also describes training that could not have taken place without the express permission of the highest authorities of the Israeli Defense Forces, such as when he performed “airborne maneuvers and [we] parachuted at night over islands of the Mediterranean. I had to carry weights as ballast to adjust my free-fall speed.” [18]

Not all was study for Castaño in Israel, and he used his free time to meet with Colombian soldiers undergoing regular military training there, in which the worst human rights violators in the western hemisphere  were being trained by the worst human rights violators in the Middle East.  But these were precisely the connections that would prove so useful in the future.

“In the Sinai desert, I also had the opportunity of meeting military men from our country, the men of the Colombia battalion.  I did not meet the battalion as a whole, but on my R & R days, we went to the same places, and I spent time in the company of sergeants and officers.” [19]

Castaño summarizes his epiphany in Israel: “Upon returning to Colombia, I had become another person… I learned an infinite amount of things in Israel and to that country I owe part of my essence, my human and military achievements, although I repeat, in Israel I didn’t only learn about things related to military training.  There I became convinced that it was possible to destroy the guerrillas in Colombia.  I started to understand how a people could defend itself against the whole world.  I understood how to bring into the “cause” a person who had something to lose in the war, with the aim of converting him into the enemy of my enemies.”[20]

By 1985, shortly after Castaño returned to Colombia, some of the paramilitary groups that were springing up had become completely dependant on the monies from drug trafficking.  Indeed, some paramilitary units had merely evolved as such from drug protection rackets.  In fairness it is true that some of the paramilitary groups were not related to illicit drug protection: some were formerly the guards of rich landowners, cattle ranchers and the like.  A secret 1989[21] Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence document [22] includes a section on the “Contamination of the Paramilitaries by Drug Trafficking,” even places a time and a place on this event, although there is other evidence (below) that this took place earlier.  “The economic crisis facing the paramilitary forces in 1985 was resolved by an alliance with drug trafficking… This alliance came about in mid-1985 when the Paramilitary intercepted a camper full of cocaine… After conversations with the drug traffickers through the initiative of HENRY PEREZ, the Paramilitary forces returned the camper and the drugs to their owners, receiving in exchange for it a four-door Toyota pickup…”[23] It should be noted that Henry Perez was part of the Caruso paramilitary gang, at the time also known as the Autodefensas del Magdalena Medio (Paramilitary Militia of Magdalena Medio)- as were the Castaños.  In fact, Castaño calls Henry Pérez one of the “fathers” of the paramilitaries, along with his brother Fidel, and the previously mentioned Bombona battalion Major Alejandro Álvarez Henao, who had introduced the brothers to their first death squad.[24]  From this point onwards, these paramilitaries expanded, protecting operations of the Medellín cartel and others, including that cartel’s competition in Cali.

The DEA was also watching: Its agents had noticed a paramilitary/drug trafficking connection at least as early as 1993: “Intelligence indicates that some of Colombia’s private paramilitary groups have been co-opted by cocaine trafficking organizations. Throughout the 1980s, the Autodefensas del Magdalena Medio (Self-Defense Militia of Magdalena Medio), one of the most important of these groups, had close ties with the Medellín Cartel’s organization.”[25]

A year later, in another report, the DEA looked at the relationship between the left-wing insurgencies and the drug trade, accurately stating: “Despite Colombian security forces’ frequently claim that FARC units are involved directly in drug trafficking operations, the independent involvement of insurgents in Colombia’s domestic drug production, transportation, and distribution is limited…No credible evidence indicates that the national leadership of either the FARC or the ELN has directed, as a matter of policy, that their respective organizations directly engage in independent drug production or distribution.  Furthermore, neither the FARC nor the ELN are known to have been involved in the transportation, distribution, or marketing of illicit drugs in the United States or Europe.”[26]  In other words, the left-wing insurgencies taxed the production of coca or its products’ transportation through insurgent-controlled areas, but were not involved in its processing to cocaine, shipping or marketing – as opposed to the paramilitaries who ran and still run processing factories and were and still are actively involved in shipping it out of the country.[27]

Paramilitary leaders also set up clandestine training schools in Colombia, or “schools for assassins” as they were called by the previously mentioned secret 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence report.[28] The first such school that was discovered was called “El Tecal,”[29] and it trained the first of the paramilitary forces, and as these extended themselves deeper into the countryside and received greater funding form the drug trade, they formed other schools in other areas.  For instance, “Cero Uno [Zero One] located at kilometer 9 of the Puerto Boyocá-Zambito road,” and “El Cincuenta”[30] [# 50] located on the road between Delirio and Arizá (Santander).”[31] There were also “satellite schools” with names reminiscent of bars such as “Galaxias.”[32] According to the DAS report, “Personnel graduated from these schools to incorporate into the ‘paramilitary-narcotrafficking’ structure with an aim to undertaking four specific jobs:
a. Protect the community and the properties of narcotrafickers from the guerrillas and rival groups.
b. Be responsible for the personal protection of the heads of the cartels and those of the paramilitary forces, functioning as bodyguards.
c: Produce cocaine in the laboratories of that organization…
d: Attack members of the Unión Patriótica[33] [legal political party affiliated with the FARC] and members of the government or political parties that opine against the drug trade.”[34]

To qualify as a candidate for training in these “schools for assassins” one had to be interviewed by narco Henry Perez and his cohorts, all friends of the Castaño brothers. Students were selected by “the express recommendation of a rancher, farmer or narcotraficker from the region.” with questions like “What is your ideology?  Are you capable of killing your father, mother or brother if it can be confirmed that they are guerrillas?” The candidates were told that the war may go on forever and that the only enemy was communism.  And “upon the evaluation and verification of all of the information supplied by the candidate, the candidate is given a medical exam and placed in a basic training course.  During the first stage of training, recruits are selected to work in the financial apparatus (drug production) or security (bodyguards, patrolmen).  The training course includes: a.) Camouflage techniques,  b.) Handling small arms and parading, c.) Explosives, d.) Personal defense, e.)  Identity preservation, f.) Body guarding, g.) Intelligence, h.) Counterintelligence, i.) Communications,  j.) First Aid.”[35]

But apparently this training by fellow Colombians was not enough, and in 1987 the Israelis were called in to help.  In the mainstream media the 16 Israeli and British trainers were presented as “mercenaries,” perhaps because of the bias of the Colombian DAS agents who wrote a report on them. These foreign military trainers were far too well connected to be ordinary “mercenaries”-they clearly acted with some government approval, most definitely that of Israel, and probably of some US entity also – as we shall see below. Castaño, who attended these courses, said that members of the Colombian Army had actually arranged the courses, which featured the training by a famous Israeli officer, Yair Klein.[36]

Again, it was Castaño ally Henry Perez who picked the candidates – along with drug kingpin Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha.  According to his book, Carlos Castaño took part in the courses, and their organization occupied five[37] of the 50 scholarships.[38]

a.  A group of five Israelis taught the course called “PABLO EMILIO GUARIN VERA” in the “El Cincuenta” school of Puerto Boyocá.
b.  The instructors were in the area for a period of 45 days after having entered the country through Cartegena (Bolivar).  Initially, they stayed in the “El Rosario” residence of Puerto Boyocá and later in a rustic house on the Isla de la Fantasía (Fantasy Island)…[39]

There were also 30 scholarships awarded so that students could train further in Israel, just as Castaño had done: “According to what these instructors said, they were going to send the best 30 students for further schooling in a special course that would be taught in Israel.”[40] Thirty paramilitaries being sent to Israel would have clearly required the permission of the Israeli Defense Forces – the Israeli government.  It is hard to imagine anything else for a country continually at war.

And there was a Nicaraguan Contra connection: “TEDDY, the Israeli interpreter told our source that they should shorten and speed up the course because they had promised to train the Nicaraguan Contras in Honduras and Costa Rica.”[41] Anyone who thinks that these were simple “for hire” mercenaries would do well to analyze this quote.  At the time, only with express US government approval – particularly that of the State Department and CIA – could one get into the contra camps located in Honduras or Costa Rica, let alone a group of men bearing arms.   These Israelis were clearly trusted at the highest levels of both the Israeli and US governments.

During this time, and even up until the present, the Colombian state has not shown itself to be a monolith.  Even today, in spite of all of the US influence, one still finds government ministries that refuse to go along with the official line crafted by the US State Department and filtered through the presidency or some other ministry.[42]  This explains why part of the Colombian state -justice and police – were so clearly disturbed by the paramilitaries’ advances that in 1990 police units raided a Castaño property and exhumed 24 decomposed corpses, some showing signs of torture.[43]

And there were other troubles too: competition was growing between the Medellín and Cali drug cartels. According to a DEA Intelligence Report from 1993, “By 1990, for reasons that are still unclear, the Autodefensas del Magdalena Medio and the Medellín Cartel emerged as bitter foes.”[44] Former ally, Medellín cartel drug-kingpin Pablo Escobar was now being hunted by the Colombian state, aided by US intelligence agencies and the DEA.[45]  The Castaño brothers helped the Colombians and the U.S. in the hunt for Escobar, which resulted in Escobar’s death.  Carlos had lines of communication open to the actual police squad that killed Escobar, as he knew “the brother of the famous police colonel, Hugo Martínez Poveda, commander of the Search Team that killed Pablo Escobar” from time both of them had spent in Israel.[46]

After Escobar was out of the picture, the Castaño brothers consolidated and unified the paramilitaries under the name “Auto-Defensas Unidas de Colombia” (Unified Self-Defense Forces of Colombia), known by its Spanish acronym AUC:

“From these death squads grew the Peasant Paramilitary Force of Cordoba and Urabá (ACCU), the oldest and largest of the AUC’s confederation of privately funded armies across the country. This was a result of Carlos Castaño’s new leadership: He transformed a regional protection force into a national political movement..”[47]

The effect was dramatic.  The paramilitaries grew in size from a few thousand to nine thousand or more, and as Time magazine reported in 2000: “Fear of AUC vengeance is one reason at least 1 million peasants fled their homes during the past decade.”[48]  Like the Nicaraguan contras, the Salvadoran and Guatemalan death squads, the paramilitaries were known for using excessive violence to terrorize the population, and on at least one occasion paramilitary units used chainsaws to torture and kill their victims.[49]

But there were also losses for the paramilitaries. In 1994, Carlos’s elder brother Fidel or “Rambo” as he was known – then the paramilitaries’ leader – was – according to Carlos — killed in a chance combat with FARC guerrillas in northern Colombia.[50]  However there exists some doubt as to whether he is really dead.  The State Department apparently believes that he may still be alive and a recent article rumours him to be living in Israel.[51]   Whatever the truth may be, Carlos took over the top paramilitary position at that point, and the movement grew even more, even acquiring a rudimentary air force, something that CIA black propaganda was always trying to pin on the guerrillas,[52] so it could induce the mainstream press to argue for more military aid to bolster the Colombian government.

In reality, the insurgents didn’t have an air force, but the paramilitaries did and still do. By the late 1990’s, the paramilitaries had acquired several helicopters, along with maintenance mechanics and pilot training.[53]  Helicopters are extremely costly to purchase and maintain, but are very useful in this type of war, as Carlos was soon to find out.  According to his autobiography, his life was saved during the Christmas holidays of 1998 when a large FARC contingent attacked his base-camp in a surprise assault. It was the Israeli-trained pilot and[54] paramilitary commander Salvatore Mancuso[55] who rescued him in a paramilitary helicopter.[56]

Castaño has often met in secret with government officials, but by 2000 the meetings were being openly reported.  On November 6, 2000, he met with Colombia’s Interior Minister Humberto de la Calle of then-President Andrés Pastrana’s Government.  As a result of the meeting, Castaño released two of seven legislators that his paramilitaries were holding captive.[57]  Indeed, at the time of this writing, Castaño and Mancuso are in discussion with the new Colombian government.[58], [59]

As the movement expanded, continuing to absorb other paramilitary organizations, it needed arms, and probably had several sources for them, one of which came to light last May.  It should come as no surprise to the reader that the suppliers were Israelis. Israeli arms dealers have long had a presence in next-door Panama and especially in Guatemala (see side bar).  While some of the details of this particular deal have been contested and are still sketchy, one thing is clear: by a series of misrepresentations, GIRSA, an Israeli company associated with the IDF and based in Guatemala was able to buy 3,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition that were then handed over to the paramilitaries in Colombia.[60]  This may remind us of what Carlos Castaño said about his course in Israel – when he received “lectures on how the world arms business operates, and how to buy arms,”[61] – probably complete with the connections to do so.

This arms deal featured tier upon tier of deniability and smokescreens.  Although Colombian police uncovered the deal, no one has been indicted over it.  The only players who appear to have known what was going on were the Israelis and the paramilitaries. The Nicaraguan police who sold the arms thought they were trading them for Israeli mini-Uzis and Jericho pistols.  The US State Department, which had recently placed the Colombian paramilitaries on its “terrorist” list claims though spokesperson Wes Carrington that the department was under the impression that the fully automatic assault rifles were going to collectors in the US![62]  Somehow that bait doesn’t go down easily.

The Uribe – Castaño Connection

Colombia’s President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, like Castaño, also lost his narcotrafficking father to the FARC, [63] but in the case of Uribe, the father died fighting on his ranch that was attacked by the insurgents.[64]  And there are other similarities, too: like Castaño, the Uribe family has had close ties to the cocaine trade, even renting out a helicopter to the business.[65]  In fact, Uribe’s father was once indicted for his role in the famous Tranquilandia cocaine-processing lab, after it was taken out by a combined DEA-Colombian police operation [66].  During the 1980’s (check dates) Uribe was head of Civil Aviation (Aerocivil) in Colombia and controlled all of the aviation licensing throughout the country at a time when small planes did most of the drugrunning.[67]  When Uribe was governor of Antioquía department in the mid-1990s, he helped set up a paramilitary force called Convivir,[68] in which paramilitary boss Salvatore Mancuso is rumored to have served.[69]
Legitimizing the paramilitaries

During the last Colombian presidential elections, a “cleansed” Uribe was voted into power supported by the US State Department.  Many of the plans for his government are based upon a US-generated Rand Corporation study.  A major part of both the Rand study and Uribe’s plan involve the creation of a large civil defense/government informer force that will be beholden to the Colombian state.  The Rand report, like all things Plan Colombia, was first written in the United States.  It bases a new Colombian Civil Defense counterinsurgency structure on the Peruvian “Ronda” system — which acted under Army supervision and was greatly responsible for reducing the size of the Shining Path guerrillas as well as committing a multitude of human rights abuses. Apparently, Uribe’s idea is that Castaño’s paramilitaries first have a ceasefire against the army – which is in itself a falsity since the AUC always worked alongside the army —  then the paramilitaries would become legal entities of the Colombian state under a different name.  Thus Castaño’s paramilitaries will become legitimized and continue the counterinsurgent war with the direct assistance of the United States, their bloody hands washed in State Department PR.

At that point, Israel will no longer be needed in Colombia.  And indeed, it would prefer to be forgotten, as there is no doubt that it shares some blame for the many years of ongoing bloodbath in Colombia, which kills as many as 20 people a day[70] – some 70% or more of which is attributed to the paramilitaries, totaling tens of thousands over the last decade.[71] Most of those murdered are killed for merely being suspected of sympathies to the insurgency, not for being actual combatants. Unfortunately, we can expect the training of Phalange-like paramilitary groups to continue throughout the world, as the Israeli state gleefully continues to undertake operations that are deemed too distasteful for its US counterparts.



[1] Mi Confesión:  Carlos Castaño Revela sus Secretos, as told to Mauricio Aranguren Molina, Editorial La Oveja Negra Ltda, Bogotá Colombia. First edition, December 2001.   Also available on the AUC website:
[2] Mauricio Aranguren (ibid) page 107
[3] Dead Man’s Bluff, Stephen Dudley, The Washington Post, Sunday, November 24, 2002
[4] Mauricio Aranguren, page 88
[5] Colombia’s Other Army: Growing Paramilitary Force Wields Power With Brutality, Scott Wilson, Washington Post, March 12, 2001
[6] Dead Man’s Bluff, Stephen Dudley, The Washington Post, Sunday, November 24, 2002
[7] Mauricio Aranguren, page 107
[8] Dead Man’s Bluff, Stephen Dudley, The Washington Post, Sunday, November 24, 2002
[9] Colombia’s Growing Paramilitary Force, Jeremy McDermott, BBC News January 7, 2002
[10] Personal communication, Charlie Roberts, Colombia Human Rights Commission, 11/02/02
[11]  The present period is similar to another period in recent Colombian history called “La Violencia”, or one could simply view it a continuation of that period.  “La Violencia” is the name given for the 1945-1965 period of violence between the “Liberals” and “Conservatives” that started shortly after the assassination of Liberal leader Jorge Elecier Gaitan (see Paul Wolf’s excellent website <>  ).  During that conflict, the more progressive Liberals formed guerrilla bands, and the Conservatives, backed by the State, the Church, and to some degree the United States, fought these insurgents with both a regular army and the police, which, at that time, essentially acted as death squads, often massacring entire communities.  La Violencia was ended through negotiations in 1965, although its root causes were left unsolved, which is why the conflict persists today.
[12] Mauricio Aranguren, page 109
[13] Mauricio Aranguren, page 107
[14] Mauricio Aranguren, page 109
[15] Mauricio Aranguren, page 109
[16] Mauricio Aranguren, page 109
[17] Mauricio Aranguren, page 109
[18] Mauricio Aranguren, page 110
[19] Mauricio Aranguren, page 110
[20] Mauricio Aranguren, page 111
[21] All paramilitary groups in Colombia were made illegal in 1989.
[22] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document
[23] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, pages 11 and 12
[24] Mauricio Aranguren, page 87
[25] DEA Intelligence Report 1993, obtained through the Freedom of information Act.  DEA Request Number 01-12152-F
[26] Insurgent Involvement in the Colombian Drug Trade: Drug Intelligence report, DEA Intelligence Division, June 1994, obtained through the Freedom of information Act.  DEA Request Number 01-1257-F
[27] There are some, yet unproven indications of greater insurgent involvement in the trade since the time of that report.
[28] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document
[29] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, page 9
[30] “La 50” according to Castaño, Mauricio Aranguren, page 99
[31] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, page 12
[32] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, page 13
[33] It should be noted that the paramilitaries were extremely successful in assassinating civilian members of the legal Unión Patriotica political party (UP).  And indeed, this bears great similarity to the present Israeli government practice of selective assassination as a political toll.  In the case of the UP, it was the only political party on this hemisphere that has actually been decimated – about 90% of its leadership was exterminated by the paramilitaries and sometimes directly by the Colombian army.
[34] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, page 13
[35] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, pages 14-17
[36] Mauricio Aranguren, page 99
[37] Mauricio Aranguren, page 99
[38] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, page 20
[39] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, page 19
[40] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, page 19
[41] Untitled 1989 Colombian Police (DAS) Intelligence “Secret” document, pages 20-21
[42] See, for instance, the Colombian Ministry of Environment or the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office positions relating to the aerial fumigation issue.  These ministries have continually and very publicly argued with the presidency, the army and the police, among others ( <>  ).
[43] King of the Jungle, Tim McGirk, Time magazine, November 19, 2000
[44] DEA Intelligence Report 1993, obtained through the Freedom of information Act.  DEA Request Number 01-12152-F
[45] Killing Pablo: The Life and Death of Pablo Escobar, Mark Bowden, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2001  Website (free version):
[46] Mauricio Aranguren, page 110
[47] Colombia’s Other Army: Growing Paramilitary Force Wields Power With Brutality, Scott Wilson, Washington Post.  March 12, 2001
[48] King of the Jungle, Tim McGirk, Time magazine, Nov 19, 2000
[49] Inter-American Court on Human Rights, Organization of American States: “303. The paramilitary groups in Colombia have employed horrifying techniques of torture, including the use of chainsaws and other techniques to dismember their victims. For example, on February 21, 1996, in the community of Las Cañas, in the municipality of Turbo, Department of Antioquia, members of the ACCU paramilitary group tortured and then killed Edilma Ocampo and her daughter Stella Gil. The paramilitaries, some of whom wore hoods, arrived at the home of the victims at 10:30 a.m. Stella’s three children were present at the time. The paramilitary members tied the hands of the victims and told them that they would receive a special treatment, since they were guerrillas. The two women were taken out of the house approximately 100 meters and were beaten and decapitated in front of the three children. The victimizers then opened the stomachs of the victims, from the waist to the neck. They then placed Stella’s dead body on top of Edilma’s body and threatened the other residents of the community to leave the area or suffer the consequences. These actions obviously constitute acts of physical torture against those who are killed as well as psychological torture against those who are forced to witness these events and who are threatened with similar consequences.”
[50] Mauricio Aranguren, page 21
[51] Dead Man’s Bluff, Stephen Dudley, The Washington Post, Sunday, November 24, 2002
[52] Sharon Stevenson, personal communication, March, 2000
[53] Mauricio Aranguren, foto pages
[54] La Conexión Mancuso-Marulanda, Cromos No. 4358, August 13, 2001
[55]  Mancuso is Sicilian-born, holding dual Italian/Colombian citizenship.  La Conexión Mancuso-Marulanda, Cromos No. 4358, August 13, 2001
[56] Mauricio Aranguren, page 243
[57] Castaño meets Interior Minister, International Risk Circular, protection Concepts Corporation, November 7, 2000
[58] Negociación secreta Revista SEMANA, Bogotá – 25 de Nov-1 de Dic, 2002
[59] Colombia’s Paramilitaries Agree to Cease – Fire REUTERS Nov 24, 2002
[60] Nicaraguan Official Told U.S. Diplomat of Arms Deal That Later Went Bad, Filadelfo Alemán, AP, Monday, May 6, 2002
[61] Mauricio Aranguren, page 109
[62] Israeli Arms Dealers Differ Over Responsibility for Shipment to Colombian Paramilitaries, Juan Zamorano, AP, May 7, 2002.
[63] ¿Quién es Álvaro Uribe Vélez? Rebelión website, April 10, 2002
[65] Biografía no autorizada de Älvaro Uribe Vélez (El Señor de las Sombras), Joseph Contreras & Fernando Garavito, Editorial Oveja Negra, Bogotá, Colombia, 2002
[66] Ignacio Gomez, upon receiving Investigative Journalism Award 2002 from the Committee to protect Journalists.  © 2000-2002. International Center for Journalists. <> Por el trabajo de los antecedentes que relacionan a Alvaro Uribe Vélez con el Cartel de Medellín. Es una investigación que se hizo en cinco partes. Una de ellas tenía que ver con la coincidencia cuando Pablo Escobar era miembro del Congreso y tenía muchísima actividad política o proselitista en los barrios pobres de Medellín, y por entonces Alvaro Uribe era el alcalde de Medellín y hacía programas muy paralelos a los de Pablo Escobar. Después Alvaro Uribe fue director de la Aeronáutica Civil. Antes de él, desde 1954 hasta 1981, el Estado había concedido 2.339 licencias, y durante los 18 meses que él ejerció, concedió 2.242 licencias, muy poco menos que en los 35 años anteriores, con el agravante que muchísimas de esas licencias, como 200, quedaron en manos del Cartel de Medellín. Y una de ellas, al menos una de ellas, quedó en manos de su papá, quien fue asesinado un tiempo después por las FARC. Cuando el helicóptero era objeto de la herencia, fue encontrado en un laboratorio famosísimo de Pablo Escobar llamado Tranquilandia. El helicóptero pertenecía a Uribe y su hermano. Además había una estrecha relación entre el papá de Uribe y el clan de los Ochoa, que era una familia muy importante en el Cartel de Medellín. Y la último fue cuando Pablo Escobar escapó de la cárcel y trató de hacer un nuevo acuerdo con el gobierno, y el encargado de llegar a ese acuerdo fue Alvaro Uribe Vélez. De todo esto nosotros teníamos cinco historias. Nosotros sólo alcanzamos publicar una, que es la relacionada con el helicóptero. Y el día que la publicamos el presidente se puso demasiado bravo, me insultó a mi por la radio, y comenzaron a presentarse llamadas misteriosas amenazando de muerte a la hija de dos años de Daniel Coronell, director de Noticias Uno, el programa donde trabajo yo ahora. Y se presentaron diversas presiones dentro de los otros socios del canal para que yo fuera expulsado. Entonces la serie se suspendió, no se emitió.
[67] Biografía no autorizada de Älvaro Uribe Vélez (El Señor de las Sombras), Joseph Contreras & Fernando Garavito, Editorial Oveja Negra, Bogotá, Colombia, 2002
[68] Colombian Labyrinth: The Synergy of Drugs and Insurgency and Its Implications for Regional Stability
Angel Rabasa, Peter Chalk RAND, 2001
[69] Colombia: Paramilitares legalizados,  Rebelión website, Sept 9, 2002
[70] Personal communication, Charlie Roberts, Colombia Human Rights Commission, 11/02/02
[71] Comisión Colombiana de Juristas as cited in Colombia Update Vol 13. No1 Colombia Human Rights Network, fall 2001.  According to the Comisión’s report on 1997, 67% of assassinations were attributed to the paramilitaries; 20% to the guerrillas; and 3% to state agents – for the cases where the perpetrators were known.  According to their March 2001 Report,  “87.21 entail state responsibility”.  It should be noted that the Comisión considers the paramilitaries to be under the “state responsibility” rubric because of their thinly-disguised ties to the Colombian Army.