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War threat between Venezuela and Colombia increases

War threat between Venezuela and Colombia increases

UK Telegraph
November 15, 2009

Tensions between the countries reached a new high after the Colombian military arrested four Venezuelan soldiers, just days after Mr Chavez told his army to “prepare for war” with Colombia.

The Venezuelan ambassador to Bogota, Gustavo Marquez, said that the seriousness of the situation could not be overstated and that “there is a pre-war situation in the entire region”.

Diplomatic relations between the South American neighbours are frozen and on Saturday President Chavez escalated the war of words with President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia by saying there was no chance of dialogue.

“Uribe is not a politician, he comes from the world of paramilitaries, of drug trafficking, of shady business deals, and he is capable of anything,” the Venezuelan leader said.

“He is a very dangerous man as he has no principles or ethics,” Mr Chavez added.

The broadside came after Colombia detained four members of the Venezuelan National Guard in a boat allegedly on Colombian territory in the remote border province of Vichada. Colombia said yesterday that it would deport the men back to Venezuela.

Tensions between Presidents Uribe and Chavez have escalated in recent months as the two leaders have become increasingly suspicious of each other.

Colombia’s Marxist rebels, the Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN), are known to have bases within Venezuela from where they plan and launch attacks on Colombia’s US-backed army.

Mr Chavez hotly denies any links with the rebels, even though there have been seizures of Venezuelan arms and munitions in FARC camps.

Venezuela’s president is angry at an agreement signed earlier this month between Bogota and Washington under which Colombia allows the US military to use seven bases across the country, turning the Andean nation into America’s regional military hub.

Mr Chavez, who accused Washington of being behind a 2002 coup attempt, insists that the US is planning to attack Venezuela to secure control of massive oil reserves. The Venezuela leader believes that Colombia will now be the launch pad for any US attack.

President Uribe is trying to diffuse tensions since Mr Chavez began blocking the entry of Colombian goods, something which is costing the fragile economy hundreds of millions of pounds.

He stated that the captured Venezuelan soldiers would be returned as quickly as possible and “carry with them the message that here their affection for our Venezuelan brothers and that this affection is unquenchable”.

Mr Chavez has ordered another 15,000 soldiers to take up positions along the 1300-mile frontier, while Colombia has created a new division of its army to guard a strategic stretch of the border.

Analysts worry that Marxist rebel groups could manipulate the troop build-up by starting a firefight, sparking a war between the two countries.

 

Chávez tells Venezuela to get ready for war with Colombia


Colombian president Uribe meets with U.S. president Obama

Irish Times
November 10, 2009

VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT Hugo Chávez has told his country to prepare for a possible war with Colombia, as diplomatic and border tensions between the ideologically opposed Andean nations deteriorate to their lowest level in more than a year.

Mr Chávez used his weekly television show, Aló Presidente , to denounce an agreement between Colombia and the US that allows the US military to use seven bases in Colombia. Mr Chávez warned these could be used for an attack on Venezuela.

Ordering troops to the frontier, he said the army could not afford to waste a day and that “we must prepare ourselves for war and help the people prepare for war, because this is the responsibility of all”.

The Colombian and US governments insist the bases are only for use against drug traffickers within Colombia. But Mr Chávez has denounced the pact as part of a US plan to try to dominate a region that in recent years has moved out of its traditional Washington orbit under a new generation of left-wing leaders, of whom Mr Chávez is the most radical.

Supporting their claims about the bases agreement, the Venezuelans have cited a US air force document presented to the US Congress in May. It says one of the bases provides a “unique opportunity” for “conducting full-spectrum operations throughout South America”, which it describes as a “critical region” under constant threat from “anti-US governments”.

On his television programme, Mr Chávez said that “the government of Colombia is not in Bogotá, now it is in Washington”, and warned US president Barack Obama that any US intervention launched from Colombia would spark a “100 years’ war”.

Colombia said it would raise Mr Chávez’s comments with the UN Security Council and the Organisation of American States.

Last year Mr Chávez ordered troops to the frontier live on Aló Presidente following Colombia’s bombing of a rebel guerrilla base hidden on the Ecuador side of the two countries’ border.

This latest round of tensions started with the signing of the bases agreement at the end of last month, and deteriorated last week when Venezuela said Colombian right-wing paramilitaries were responsible for killing two Venezuelan soldiers on its territory.

Colombian rebels and paramilitaries operate right along the border with Venezuela. Leading political allies of Colombian president Álvaro Uribe face investigations into their alleged links with the country’s paramilitaries.

Colombia, meanwhile, accuses Mr Chávez of providing covert support to the Farc guerrilla group.

In recent years Venezuela has embarked on an arms buying spree which it says is necessary to offset strategically the US-bankrolled military in Colombia.

Colombia is the fifth-biggest recipient of US military aid after Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Egypt.

Colombia’s army is double the size of Venezuela’s and battle-hardened after decades fighting left-wing guerrillas in the continent’s most protracted insurgency.

Economic mismanagement means that Venezuela is heavily dependent on Colombian food imports despite its own vast tracts of rich tropical farmland.

Despite a decade of increasingly hostile relations, Venezuelan imports of Colombian foodstuffs have ballooned, accounting for most of the $7.2 billion (€4.8 billion) in bilateral trade between the two countries last year.

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U.S. Soldier: ‘The Afghans Just Want To Be Left Alone’

U.S. Soldier: ‘The Afghans Just Want To Be Left Alone’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zH6EWTZZEg

 



Soldier Faces 10 Years in Jail for Protesting War

British soldier faces 10 years in jail after being arrested during anti-war demonstration

UK Daily Mail
November 11, 2009

A soldier facing charges of desertion for refusing to return to Afghanistan has been arrested and charged with five further offences after joining an anti-war demonstration.

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton led a protest in London last month against the continued presence of British troops in Afghanistan.

He was already facing a court martial but according to the Stop the War Coalition the new charges carry a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

The group’s convener Lindsey German said last night : ‘This is not about breach of military regulations. In the last few days a range of military personnel have been speaking in the media in defence of this appalling war. I doubt if any of them have been arrested.

‘This is about the persecution of a soldier who believes in telling the truth in accordance with his conscience.

‘He is saying what the majority of the population believes – that this war is unwinnable and immoral. The anti-war movement will be doing everything possible to get him released.’

Lance Corporal Glenton, 27, from the Royal Logistic Corps, addressed a rally of more than 5,000 anti-war protesters packed into London’s Trafalgar Square in October.

He told the crowd he had witnessed sights during his time in Afghanistan that forced him to question the morality of his role.

The married soldier, from Norwich, told onlookers: ‘I’m here today to make a stand beside you because I believe great wrongs have been perpetrated in Afghanistan.

‘I cannot, in good conscience, be part of them. I’m bound by law and moral duty to try and stop them.

‘I’m a soldier and I belong to the profession of arms. I expected to go to war but I also expected that the need to defend this country’s interests would be legal and justifiable. I don’t think this is too much to ask.

‘It’s now apparent that the conflict is neither of these and that’s why I must make this stand.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UuwdekscKg

The Ministry of Defence refused to comment when asked about the further charges.

But spokesman confirmed Lance Corporal Glenton is currently subject to disciplinary action. He said: ‘I can confirm that disciplinary action against a serving soldier from the Royal Logistic Corps is currently in progress.

‘As this matter is subject to court martial proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.’

The soldier, based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, is facing a court martial, adjourned to January, for alleged desertion after going absent without leave in 2007.
He is charged with disobeying a lawful command. He joined the Army in 2004.

If convicted, he faces two years in prison.

Speaking during last month’s rally, he said: ‘The occupation in Afghanistan is at best dubious in terms of legality and morality.

‘I can’t be involved in it on that basis and, not only that, I am also bound to try and stop it, try and change things.

‘That’s the law, the occupation of a country like that, regime change, these things are all illegal.’

He said military personnel told him not to appear at the rally.

But despite the threat of prison, he said he was determined to speak out.

He said: ‘People keep telling me I’m brave but I don’t feel brave at all – I feel fairly terrified. It’s not going to stop me, I’m going to keep going.

‘I won’t be silenced. I’ll keep talking and doing what I think is right.

‘I have to or I’ll have to live with this forever if I don’t.’

 



Media Coverup: Why Illegal Wars Last Forever

Media Coverup: Why Illegal Wars Last Forever

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBWJyqMIAFg

 



U.S. Navy Kidnapped Islanders and Gassed Their Dogs

U.S. Navy Kidnapped Islanders and Gassed Their Dogs

National Expositor
October 26, 2009

In order to convert the sleepy, Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia into a dominating military base, the U.S. forcibly transported its 2,000 Chagossian inhabitants into exile and gassed their dogs.

By banning journalists from the area, the U.S. Navy was able to perpetrate this with virtually no press coverage, says David Vine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University and author of “Island of Shame: the Secret History of the U.S. Military on Diego Garcia(Princeton University Press).”

“The Chagossians were put on a boat and taken to Mauritius and the Seychelles, 1,200 miles away, where they were left on the docks, with no money and no housing, to fend for themselves,” Vine said on the interview show “Books Of Our Time,” sponsored by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.

“They were promised jobs that never materialized. They had been living on an island with schools, hospitals, and full employment, sort of like a French coastal village, and they were consigned to a life of abject poverty in exile, unemployment, health problems, and were the poorest of the poor,” Vine told interview host Lawrence Velvel, dean of the law school.

Their pet dogs were rounded up and gassed, and their bodies burned, before the very eyes of their traumatized owners, Vine said.

“They were moved because they were few in number and not white,” Vine added. The U.S. government circulated the fiction the Chagossians were transient contract workers that had taken up residence only recently but, in fact, they had been living on Diego Garcia since about the time of the American Revolution. Merchants had imported them to work on the coconut and copra plantations. Vine said the U.S. government induced The Washington Post not to break a story spelling out events on the island.

“Through Diego Garcia,” Vine pointed out, “the U.S. can project its power throughout the Middle East, and from East Africa to India, Australia and Indonesia. With Guam, the island is the most important American base outside the U.S.” He said U.S. bases now number around 1,000, including 287 in Germany, 130 in Japan and Okinawa, and 57 in Italy.

“Bases have been essential tools of U.S. military and economic power since not long after independence,” Vine pointed out. “We had bases all the way to the Pacific. After the Civil War, the U.S. began to acquire coaling bases in the Pacific.”

Although the Chagossians were forcibly removed in 1971, they still hope to return, Vine says, and refer to their period of exile as one of “profound sorrow.” Vine says they would be happy to live on the unused eastern portion of the island and work at the base but the U.S. instead “imports contract labor from other areas so they can send them home when the job is done.” The island’s exiled survivors and their descendants today number about 5,000.

Long off limits to reporters, the Red Cross, and all other international observers and far more secretive than Guantánamo Bay, many long suspected the island was a clandestine CIA “black site” for high-profile detainees, Vine wrote in a related article. Journalist Stephen Grey’s 2006 book “Ghost Plane” documented the presence on the island of a CIA-chartered plane used for rendition flights. On two occasions former U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey publicly named Diego Garcia as a detention facility. And a Council of Europe report named the atoll, along with those in Poland and Romania, as a secret prison.

The island became “a major launch pad” for the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, Vine said. In addition to its capacious harbor, the island readily supports some of the largest U.S. warplanes, including Air Force B-52s, B-1Bs and B-2s. Two years ago, the Pentagon awarded a $32 million contract to add a submarine base to the island’s arsenal.

Diego Garcia had been a British possession until 1966, when London allowed the U.S. to use it as a military base in exchange for cancelling a $14-million British debt for a military hardware purchase. Some idea of the size of the base may be conveyed by the fact it is said by the Pentagon to contain 654 buildings.

In a related article about Diego Garcia, Vine has written: “With support for the Chagossians’ struggle growing in both the United States and Britain at the same time that revelations about a secret CIA prison are spreading, the United States must finally act to remedy the damage done by another Guantánamo damaging too many lives and undermining its international legitimacy. The United States must allow the Chagossians to return and assist Britain in paying them proper compensation; the United States must close the detention facilities and open Diego Garcia to international investigators; the United States must end the painful irony that is a base the military calls the ‘Footprint of Freedom.’”