The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Private Security and ‘the Israelites of Latin America’

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An Israeli defence consultancy is assisting with dirty work in Colombia previously monopolised by the United States.

By Belén Fernández
Al Jazeera
January 8, 2011

Much fuss has been made in recent years in neoconservative circles in the US and among Israeli foreign ministry officials, regarding the danger to global security posed by an alleged Islamist infiltration of Latin America.

A pet factoid wielded by self-appointed experts on the matter is that it is currently possible to travel by air from Caracas to Tehran with only one stop in Damascus. Lest policymakers and the general public fail to respond with adequate alarm to such news, the severity of the threat is underscored via invented links between Muslims in Latin America and every potentially unfavourable regional trend, resulting in a spectre of Islamo-narco-socialist crime cartels menacing the southern border of the US.

In a WikiLeaks cable from the US embassy in Bogota dated December 1, 2009, a rather unexpected entity joined the usual lineup of Latin America-based threats. The cable discusses the manoeuvres in Colombia of the Israeli firm Global Comprehensive Security Transformation (Global CST), founded by Major General (Res) Israel Ziv – former head of the Operations Directorate of the Israeli military – and contracted to aid in the fight against both criminal organisations and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as well as to evaluate potential perils emanating from Ecuador and Venezuela:

“Over a three year period, Ziv worked his way into the confidence of former [Colombian] Defense Minister [Juan Manuel] Santos by promising a cheaper version of USG [US government] assistance without our strings attached. We and the GOC [government of Colombia] learned that Global CST had no Latin American experience and that its proposals seem designed more to support Israeli equipment and services sales than to meet in-country needs”.

It is not clear why the US government should express surprise at the apparent failure to address “in-country needs” when its own Latin American experience includes the multi-billion dollar Plan Colombia, inaugurated more than a decade ago ostensibly as a means of curbing drug production and trafficking. In 2009, I spoke with farmers in the southern department of Putumayo who outlined in-country effects of the plan, such as repeated airborne fumigation of their subsistence crops, livestock, water supplies and children.

A substantial portion of Plan Colombia funds went to US-based private security contractors. Today, 97 per cent of cocaine that reaches the US reportedly hails from said country.

As for the strings that are allegedly attached to official US assistance, Amnesty International has objected to the fact that “the State Department continues to certify military aid to Colombia, even after reviewing the country’s human rights record” – which happens to hold the distinction of being the worst in the hemisphere.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

January 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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