|"BEING IRISH MEANS THEY'RE GUILTY?"
By Irina Malenko
Do you remember how suddenly "the case of the Bogota Three" arose
nowhere, after it became increasingly clear that the IRA decommission
at all what David Trimble wants, but something he is rather afraid
After the British government has shown yet again that it doesn't respect
own word and still acts like in "good old" colonial days?
After the majority of the Irish people could clearly see who are the
enemies of peace in Ireland?
The "Irish Times" Editorial in August was claiming that the whole Irish
nation demanded to know what happened in Colombia..
To be honest, I haven't heard anybody (on the streets, in a bus, at
asking about Colombia. Except for politicians on TV opposed to Sinn
desperately wanting to distract Irish people from what they are really
demanding for already 3,5 years: full and speedy implementation of
It is becoming more and more obvious that the so-called "case of the
Three" was created at the most politically suitable moment by those
oppose peace processes, both in Ireland and in Colombia.
IT IS NOT BY ACCIDENT THAT THE "COLOMBIAN AFFAIR" - arrest of
with Republican political views in Bogota - IS BEING BLOWN UP OUT OF
PROPORTIONS BY THE MEDIA AND POLITICIANS.
IT IS ALSO NOT BY ACCIDENT THAT THIS ARREST TOOK PLACE IN THAT PARTICULAR
MOMENT IN TIME IN THE PEACE PROCESSES OF BOTH COUNTRIES.
As the Colombian security services have confessed, they would have never
done it without British intelligence's (MI5 etc.) and the CIA's involvement.
The British government is trying to distract the Irish people and the
world's public opinion from the fact that it renegades on its own
commitments to implement the GFA in full and that it is in breach of
INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT (as the GFA is an international agreement!).
Judging by its actions, the British government still believes it can
away with stopping the clock for political institutions in the North
time that suits its securocrats, in order to use the suspension as
blackmailing tool against the Republicans. But, in fact, by doing so,
British government is demonstrating its disrespect for all the Irish
who voted for Agreement, and for the international law.
Some within the British establishment are still attempting to revive
"political corps": "to save" David Trimble yet again
But the main reason for them is to shift the blame for the deepest
the Irish peace process from their Unionist allies and themselves towards
These people couldn't succeed in finding the "reason" in Ireland itself
the IRA has shown a truly iron discipline in face of the constant strain
the Loyalist provocative attacks on the most vulnerable Nationalist
civilians - and so, they looked overseas. And for these people, any
Republican political sympathies being in a "hot spot" "would do".
If you looked at the news bulletin on TV (for example, UTV news on 22/08),
the "Colombian affair" as they call it, was a priority topic. But ALL
WAS TOLD TO THE AUDIENCE, WERE BARE SPECULATIONS. For the hard facts
very same news bulletin you could come to the conclusion that the only
threat to the peace in the North comes not from some far Colombia,
the Loyalism that continues to use its weapons on a daily basis. And
the Unionist and the British politicians are not willing to face those
responsible for that. They prefer to speculate on what the IRA might
been doing or planning - instead of facing what the Loyalists are ALREADY
DOING TODAY AND HAVE BEEN DOING NON-STOP FOR A LONG TIME. Actions -
lack of such - speak louder than words.
The Unionists' reasons making the hype about the Bogota Three are obvious.
The whole world could see that it was Mr. Trimble who ignited the most
recent crisis in the Irish Peace Process by his resignation.
The Unionists had to cover Mr. Trimble's bare behind after this "peacemaker"
who claimed that the only thing preventing GFA from full implementation
the Republican refusal to disarm, REJECTED the historical IRA offer
Now the same David Trimble is claiming that the only thing that prevents
from going back to government and allowing political institutions to
is what happened in Colombia. In such situation any war zone country
by any Republicans, "would do".
Whatever happens in the world, even if it will be an earthquake in
part of the planet, in twisted Unionist logic is always the fault of
Fein /IRA" - or, as the anti-Semitic racists in Russia say, "if the
not running from a tap, that's because Jews have drunk it all!"
What is much more remarkable and interesting to see, is the reaction
and the Irish government. Both have supported the suspension of the
political institutions - (even though publicly said that it was
regrettable), because they are both afraid of Sinn Fein's inevitable
It is particularly clear when you see how drastically the policy of
Irish government towards the Republican movement has changed after
recent electoral success in the 6 counties. The Southern political
are clearly panicking at the thought that the same will happen at the
elections in the 26 counties.
It is also particularly clear when you listen to who within SDLP is
demanding "clarity on Columbia" the loudest. It was astonishing
to see Brid
Rogers on UTV among those talking about "need to come clean on Colombia"
their main political priority - that is, over the Loyalist attacks
Nationalist people in the North?
But it is quite understandable to talk about something far, far away-
consider her own tremendous electoral humiliation and dramatic loss
Fein in the recent elections. It is also a good question why Mrs. Rogers
likewise politicians were not interested before these elections in
actually happening in Colombia - and what exactly are the US military
there? Neither was this question raised by the Irish government.
SDLP is also desperately trying to distract the Irish people from a
important for them question of the Irish reality today: why did the
start supporting the flawed British police "reform" that is far short
Patten recommendations, AFTER the elections in which it has promised
voters NOT TO?
In order to do so, again, Colombia or anything else "would do".
The US intelligence and securocrats also have their own reasons to blow
"the Colombian situation" out of proportion.
Gerry Adams is acting as a truly independent politician by planning
to the "Father of all Enemies" for the American imperialism - Fidel
Those within the US establishment who saw Adams as a "pocket revolutionary",
were extremely unhappy of his independent steps, and decided to prevent
by all possible means. They desperately needed an excuse for that.
though, at the first sight, modern America believes that it does not
any excuse for any of its actions, including bombing and starving civilians
on a daily basis as they do in Iraq, interfering into civil wars in
different countries and "making peace" by choosing one side over the
what leads to the new ethnic cleansings as it is happening in the Balkans,
and arming itself to its teeth, against the wishes of the virtually
The US see Latin America as its "backyard" - and will not allow peoples
this continent to take their freedom into their own hands. The whole
witnessed in 1973 what happened to democratically elected President
in Chile. Little changed since.
The US Bush administration has (and let's finally face it!)- a
position on the Irish peace process than the Clinton administration
This government is also seeking for an extra excuse to interfere into
countries' internal affairs all around the world, Columbia and the
"Plan Columbia" being just one of the examples.
What really worries the US administration, is not that FARC are "involved
drugs" (FARC only taxes drugs profits while the US-backed through the
Colombian army right wing paramilitaries are actually actively involved
trafficking and a worker of the US embassy in Bogota was caught recently
sending drugs by diplomatic post), but that they are MARXISTS! Just
the 50s with their witch-hunting of McCarthy, being a Marxist is a
itself for the Bush administration: because Marxists are actively opposing
the US' led New World Order and their countries being ripped
off by the
The National Mobilization on Colombia in the US, the Amnesty International,
the Human Right Watch, the UH High Agency for Human Rights -
all of these
organizations have condemned the American military involvement into
country's long and bitter civil war. "Current US military aid to Colombia
including military training and private contracting, is a failed policy,"-
writes The National Mobilization on Colombia (NMC). It is planning
all-American manifestation against "Plan Colombia" at the end on this
The US government is claiming that is fighting against drugs trafficking,
but the numbers are showing that "to achieve 1 % reduction in US cocaine
consumption, US could spend an additional $ 34 mln. On drugs treatment
programs or 23 TIMES MORE, $ 783 mln. - on efforts to eradicate
the source." (Rydell & Everyngham, Controlling Cocaine). That will
reasonable person think that, perhaps, the US have very different
for being involved in Colombia that they claim to have..
The real reason is, as usually economical - profits of the big corporations
that are so high in a country where "government policy labels
activists as "terrorists" (NMC). More that 3800 Colombian trade unionists
have been killed since 1986. Of every 5 trade unionists killed in the
today 3 are Colombians. The numbers speak for themselves. And
majority - about 80% - of the killings of trade unionists are
either by the Government forces directly or through its indirect agents-
right wing paramilitaries whom they arm and supply with intelligence
all too familiar for the Irish people here!). The reasoning
against trade union activists - "industrial opposition in Colombia
exercise of labor rights." Trade union activities are being considered
"subversive" - because they challenge corporate profits!
Primary purpose of the US's policy and "aid" to Colombia is not "War
Drugs", as they claim, but the protection of super-profits
of the big corporations in this area. There is evidence that "several
companies maintained open relations with murderous death squads as
their program to intimidate trade union leaders". Coca-Cola was
the Federal court "for its role in such violent attacks on labor and
large corporations are being investigated".
Do you hear Mr. Trimble or Mr. Robinson or Mrs. Rogers demanding from
American authorities "to come clean" on what exactly are they doing
Columbia? I don't.
Meanwhile, more than $ 1 billion of the US taxpayers money are
propped into Colombian government which is the 3rd largest recipient
US' military aid in the world. According to NMC, "Colombian military
horrendous human rights record towards labor. Official Colombian military
has in some cases created paramilitary units to carry out assassinations"
it is documented by US State Department, by UN High Commission for
Rights, by Amnesty International and various other organizations.
Today's Colombia is a place where 10 people die every day due
violence and where 2 million people have been displaced since 1985
more than in Kosovo or in Macedonia that are constantly on our TV screens.
The US media were so outraged about 3 Irish Republicans visiting FARC's
that they accused then in all sorts of crimes without any factual evidence.
But what they are forgetting to mention, is that over 60.000
officers, many of them - Colombians, were trained in the US's very
military School of Americas (currently Western Hemispheric Institute
Security and Co-operation, WHISC), and that SOA graduates are "consistently
linked to some of the worst human rights atrocities" (NMC). In Colombia,
the report of the Human Rights Watch shows, SOA-trained officers
linked to formation and operation of paramilitary groups, such as "Calima
Front" . The report, called "Ties that bind", shows that this group
responsible for displacement of over 10.000 people and for at least
murders in its first 12 months of existence. Colombia remains until
of the main recipients of the US military training.
"In addition to the SOA, approximately 4000 Colombian military personnel
trained in combat each year in other locations".
And this very state, involved into all these "activities", dares to
something about "danger" of the 3 Irishmen with Republican views visiting
Colombia as tourists?
Let's look at the so-called non-military parts of the American "Plan
Colombia": does it bring anything good to the Colombian people?
The biggest part of "Plan Columbia" is forced aerial eradication of
poppy crops. But according to a study conducted by the UN at request
Colombia's own government, coca crop production has increased since
the aerial eradication campaign back in 1995, by 268%! In year
it has increased by over 60%.
Eradication is a threat to bio-diversity of the Amazon region and to
health. The herbicide that is being used for aerial eradication,
Ultra that has a lot of untested activities. According to its own
manufacturer, it is designed to be applied manually and not aerially
is dangerous if falls into drinking water sources. There is an increasing
number of reported health problems in the region, respiratory, skin
problems, gastrointestinal problems, particularly with young children.
eradication just makes people to move (last year alone there were 300.000
internally displaced persons in Colombia, for various reasons, eradication
being just one of them). According to NMC, "for every acre of cola
eradicated in Southern Colombia, 3 acres of Amazon rain forest are
to replace it."
The rest of the world may not be very aware of the fact that just in
times 2 new American military air bases have been established
Columbia - in the last Dutch colony, on Antillean islands Curacao and
The Lower Chamber of the Dutch Parliament approved in May this year
about these FOL bases. The approval of the Higher Chamber was recently
By this law, among other things, American military will not be prosecuted
these islands' territory for anything they will commit, be it a traffic
accident or a murder. There was already one nearly accident with one
The American administration claims that the bases are needed purely
intelligence surveillance purposes. Apart from the fact that this so-called
"free world" doesn't even to question the right of the superpower to
over the territory of any sovereign country that it picks, at present
planes on those bases are the F-16 bombers that are far too fast for
type of work.
There is growing evidence that Colombia might become US's
The biggest evidence of the hypocrisy of American "War on Drugs" in
is the little known to the ordinary people fact that actual coca
WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE IN COLOMBIA WITHOUT USA AND EUROPE: it requires
the use of toxic chemicals that ARE NOT BEING PRODUCED IN COLOMBIA
but are being IMPORTED IN THERE FROM THE VERY SAME USA AND EUROPE.
hectare of coca needs approximately 1.3 tones of precursor chemicals
all these chemicals end up in the Colombian rivers.
FARC - the Colombian Marxist guerilla movement - was holding quite
territory in the South of the country: the so-called Demilitarized
status of this zone was to be reviewed in October, and by August there
already many signs indicating that this would be
the breaking point for
the Colombian peace process as the American government was forcibly
the Colombian authorities back to a full-scale war with FARC.
The war that
has finally started now.
There are, as we see, reasons enough for each interested party - the
Unionists, the British and the American securocrats, the SDLP and the
political parties in the South and, not to forget, the Colombian
authorities - to find a scapegoat for its own political failures
or its own
AND WHAT ARE THE FACTS? WHERE IS THE PROOF OF ANY OF THE ALLEGATIONS
AGAINST THE BOGOTA THREE?
First of all, it is very strange that the Western countries that
much of importance of the presumption of innocence as the corner stone
the Western democracy, are allowing their media to convict these
without even being put on trial! This is a classical example of defamation.
In any European jury system that would have influenced the future jury
such a degree that the whole trial would inevitably collapse.
The "free" media are acting against these men in a shamelessly
style. We have been told that we would be shown, for example, "an additional
proof " of the links between IRA and FARC. All what we have been shown
that news bulletin, was the FARC commander Reyes strongly denying these
men's involvement into any "terrorist training" - and then we were
the presenters that we shouldn't believe him and that the Colombian
authorities have found an unnamed man who claims that he saw Martin
there back in the late 80s doing that. What a great memory this unnamed
source has - and why do we have to believe him and not to believe the
If you will put the well-paid for it media and the involved politicians'
emotions aside and look at the presented facts, it is obvious that
proof of "guilt" of the 3 Irishmen they have, are these 3 men's
There were no traces of explosives found on their clothes by the Colombian
experts - only the American one "found" it. There is no announced with
a triumph on the first day's video evidence against them.
There is virtually nothing - except for the false passports, but they
already explained very logically as why did they use them.
Is it their past convictions of some of them (far back in time when
was going on in Ireland full-scale) or their voting patterns that they
being accused of?
An example of what Britain's own citizens are doing abroad in the war
of other countries without needed documents, as recent as August 2001.
British citizen Brian Graham was arrested by Russian army in Chechnya,
without proper documents, but with enough evidence on him to accuse
connections with Chechen guerilla. He was deported from Moscow.
Are we asking what party is Brian Graham member of or what party was
voting for? There is a big possibility that he was a Labor voter (too
adventurous for being a Tory!). Is his sympathies to the Chechen rebels
threat to the Peace Process, especially since the British embassy
was aware of his travel plans? Does any Russian politician or any British
political party demand from any other party Brian Graham might have
for, an explanation of what he was doing in Chechnya? Why then does
to explain anything to anybody about travel plans of these people just
because of their assumed political views?
By convicting 3 Irishmen based on their political ideas, Western democracies
are setting an interesting pattern: from now on, will they decide all
travel destinations for people with political ideas that do not suit
That is, indeed, a very interesting concept of freedom of movement
remarkably close to that of the late USSR that the West was so fiercely
The Colombian authorities have gone now even further, declaring the
Demilitarized Zone virtually a no-go zone for all Irish nationals.
THE ARREST OF AN IRISH TOURIST KEVIN CRENNAN IN SOUTHERN COLUMBIA
- A MAN WHO HAS NOT ONLY NOT COMMITTED ANY CRIME, BUT WHO DOESN'T EVEN
HAVE REPUBLICAN POLITICAL VIEWS, HAS been a huge embarrassment for the
government and its Western sponsors. It has CONFIRMED THE FACT
OF THEIR ANTI-IRISH PARANOIA - AND THAT "THE SEASON OF HUNTING FOR THE
COLOMBIA HAS BEGAN.
There was from the very beginning a strong indication that these
were desperately needed by the Colombian authorities not in order to
a fair trial, but in order to have enough time to construct the non-existing
evidence against the 3. It is exactly for these purposes
the 2 members of
the RUC, the most discredited police force in Western Europe - police
that can't even prevent Loyalist bombs being thrown at Nationalist
going to school, not to mention their own record in fabricating evidence
against innocent people - have traveled to Columbia.
There is no doubt, considering all the anti-Republican hysteria, that,
there was any clear evidence of the "guilt" of the Bogota Three, it
have been produced to the media by now.
The question is:
Who is going to guarantee the fairness of the process that these Irish
people will be getting? Who is going to guarantee that they will
Colombian prison even for these few months?
The Colombian authorities' record of the human rights violations are,
it mildly, not very encouraging in this sense.
Do we still remember what happened in "democratic" Britain to
who needed to be used as a scapegoat for political reasons in the past
who have paid a very dear price while being innocent: the Guilford
the Birmingham Six?
All the facts are showing that the Bogota Three are just yet another
scapegoat for the enemies of the Irish and Colombian peace processes.
enemies do not mind that they will most probably have to compensate
victims for their false accusations in the future: it is only taxpayers'
money anyway. For them, to destroy the Irish peace process on Unionist
British terms, putting the blame on the Republicans, is such a desirable
goal that they believe any price is well worth to pay.
Even innocent people's lives.
The main question is: will the Irish people allow these 3 Irishmen in
Colombia become a new scapegoats for those in Ireland, Britain and
US who do
not want the Peace Processes here and in Colombia to succeed?
"Not for them a judge of jury,
Nor indeed a crime at all,
Being Irish means they're guilty,
So we're guilty one and all!"
Have we learnt something from history lessons?