Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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More on the FARC Documents
Little by little more of the thousands of documents captured from the FARC rebels in Colombia are coming to light and the picture is not pretty.

While INTERPOL is reportedly set to declare the contents of the computers captured after the March strike that killed FARC commander Raul Reyes, the Colombian government is quietly making use of the documents to inflict unprecedented damage on the guerrilla-criminal organization that is on the terror list of the United States, Canada and the European Union.

Police commander Oscar Naranjo, who has been in the war against drug trafficking organizations for years, says this is the first time in his career that the FARC is shrinking, rather than growing.

Another sign of the guerrilla's weakening are the numbers of desertions by combatants that had been with the FARC anywhere from five to 12 years, said Naranjo.

''It is their qualified combatants that are demobilizing,'' he said. ''What I'm seeing for the first time in the last 30 years is that the FARC are no longer growing -- to the contrary, '' they are shrinking.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the documents show Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in personally involved in helping the FARC, authorizing rest areas for their troops inside Venezuela, offering a $250 million loan to be repaid when the FARC takes power, and allowing senior Venezuelan officials provide weapons to the rebels.

A Venezuelan general, Hugo Carvajal, suggested piggy-backing weapons for the FARC on weapons shipments arriving from Russia, using containers that could then be passed on to the FARC in Colombia.

One of the weapons the FARC clearly wants, the documents show, are surface-to-air missiles, in order to better tackle the Colombian and U.S. use of aircraft, both for surveillance/communications monitoring and fumigation of coca fields.

El Pais, Spain's premier newspaper, contains another worrisome nugget: The FARC was aided in its contacts with international arms dealers by a leader of El Salvador's Communist Party, part of the FMLN alliance, the former guerrilla group now a leading political party.

The FMLN contact is identified in the computer files as "Ramiro," know to be Luis Merino, a member of the Central American parliament. While most of the FMLN has embraced the political process, the Communist party has maintained a clandestine paramilitary apparatus and has never cut its contacts with other armed movements.

El Pais also says the documents show that Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista rebel leader, former and current president of Nicaragua, also offered to send some old but useable weapons to the FARC.

This is precisely the pipeline I have written about before, and why it is dangerous. It is not just Chavez and the FARC in a bit regional hijinx. It is a continuum of bad actors that stretch from Iran to the FARC to Ecuador, Nicaragua and to our border.

The papers are receiving relatively little attention, to our great detriment. One could plausibly argue that this particular pipeline, because if flows across our border seamlessly and with little effort, is a vital national security threat.

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