imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Americans Blamed in Colombia Attack

by Karl Penhaul Monday, Jun. 18, 2001 at 5:13 PM

BOGOTA -- Three American civilian airmen providing airborne security for a U.S. oil company coordinated an antiguerrilla raid in Colombia in 1998, marking targets and directing helicopter gunships that mistakenly killed 18 civilians, Colombian military pilots have alleged in a official inquiry.



Published on Friday, June 15, 2001 in the San Francisco Chronicle Americans Blamed in Colombia Attack by Karl Penhaul, Chronicle Foreign Service

BOGOTA -- Three American civilian airmen providing airborne security for a U.S. oil company coordinated an anti-guerrilla raid in Colombia in 1998, marking targets and directing helicopter gunships that mistakenly killed 18

civilians, Colombian military pilots have alleged in a official inquiry. The air attack on the village of Santo Domingo in oil-rich northeast Arauca province took place on Dec. 13 of that year amid efforts to hunt down a 200-strong column of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Survivors said the aircraft attacked them as they ran out of their homes to a nearby road with their hands in the air to show they were noncombatants.

Here is an example of how U.S. aid is involved in human rights abuses.

Robin Kirk ,Human Rights Watch

The raid caused some of the worst "collateral damage" inflicted on civilians by the armed forces in the recent history of Colombia's 37-year conflict. Shortly after the incident, President Andres Pastrana criticized the military's actions, saying that security forces "cannot respond to barbarism with barbarism." The alleged role of the U.S. airmen -- emerging only now -- has raised fresh questions about American involvement in a war that is increasingly being outsourced to private companies not accountable to the U.S. Congress.

According to the State Department, about 300 U.S. civilians are in Colombia, most of whom work on contracts ostensibly linked to anti-drug efforts, which Washington has funded with more than billion as part of the Pastrana government's "Plan Colombia." Some have even piloted helicopters in raids on drug plantations and installations in southern Colombia.

The pilots in the Santo Domingo incident were providing security for Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp., which operates the nearby Cano Limon oil field, Colombia's second largest. Investigators at the Colombian prosecutor general's office have asked the U.S. Embassy in Bogota to help obtain information from the American airmen involved in the attack, who worked for a private Rockledge, Fla.-based air surveillance contractor called AirScan International Inc. Embassy officials issued a terse statement Wednesday saying that the airmen were not contract employees of the U.S. government and that the embassy did not help oil companies solve their security issues.

Although it occurred 2 1/2 years ago, the Santo Domingo attack is becoming a cause celebre for human rights organizations protesting creeping U.S. involvement in Colombia's guerrilla war. They say the fact that U.S.-donated helicopters dropped cluster bombs and rockets on Santo Domingo is a disturbing demonstration of how the Colombian military has sometimes used U.S. aid that in theory is earmarked only for anti- narcotics operations.

"Here is an example of how U.S. aid is involved in human rights abuses," said Robin Kirk, senior researcher for the New York-based group Human Rights Watch.

"This is really the first test case of how the U.S. government is going to abide by its own human rights laws," Kirk said, referring to the so-called Leahy Law that restricts U.S. aid from being spent on counterinsurgency operations.

Colombian Air Force pilot Cesar Romero told military judge Capt. Luz Monica Ostos in testimony last month about the Santo Domingo attack: "The coordination was done directly with the armored helicopters that were supporting us and with the (Cessna 337) Skymaster plane flown by U.S. pilots. The Skymaster and gunship crews talked directly to the ground troops."

While Romero conceded that the U.S.-donated Vietnam-era Huey UH-1H helicopter he piloted bombed a target marked by the Cessna, he said he had no intention of causing civilian casualties.

If Romero and Jimenez are eventually accused of criminal action in the deaths of innocent civilians, they could face up to 30 years in jail. It is unlikely that the U.S. airmen will face any charges, analysts say.

The raid came a day after army intelligence sources and the Skymaster plane detected rebel movements in the area. Air force helicopters strafed Santo Domingo with machine-gun fire, air-to-surface rockets and cluster bombs. Eighteen civilians were killed, including nine children, but no guerrillas.

At the time, the Colombian armed forces and U.S. officials conceded that the aircraft and almost all weaponry involved in the attack had been supplied under a 1989 U.S. aid package that was exempt from current congressional restrictions.

An inquiry was launched immediately after the incident, but final results have been delayed by military and civilian courts arguing over jurisdiction. In testimony to the military tribunal late last month, helicopter co-pilot Lt. Johan Jimenez backed Romero's accounts of the role of the AirScan spotter plane.

"The Skymaster pilot chose the places for troop disembarkment, pinpointed vulnerable areas and pointed out guerrilla presence," Jimenez said in an official transcript shown to The Chronicle.

"The (Colombian) Blackhawk (helicopter) and Skymaster pilots are the ones that helped the pilot of our Huey UH-1H to identify the target with visual aid from the ground," added Jimenez. The Colombian pilots said the Skymaster -- equipped with infra-red sensors and high-resolution cameras -- was contracted by Occidental.

Since 1997, the plane has constantly patrolled over the 120,000 barrel-a-day Cano Limon field and along the length of the 500-mile pipeline that pumps crude to the Caribbean coast.

Oil infrastructure is regularly sabotaged by the FARC and the small National Liberation Army (ELN), which accuse multinationals of plundering the country's natural resources.

Juan Carlos Ucros, Occidental's legal representative in Bogota, said the company had "no contractual links with the pilots or the plane" at the time of the attack.

But a senior official for the Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol, which has a stake in the Cano Limon field, said yesterday that Occidental had always funded the Skymaster plane but had switched from paying AirScan directly to channeling payments through the Colombian Defense Ministry.

"I have confirmed that the plane is paid for by Occidental although the contract has been held at various stages by either the Occidental-Ecopetrol partnership or by the Defense Ministry," said the official, who requested anonymity.

AirScan director John Manser, speaking from company headquarters, said the Skymaster plane and crew were originally contracted to Occidental and Ecopetrol in 1997. The company then trained Colombian crews and eventually leased and later sold the spotter plane to the Colombian airforce.

Manser confirmed that the three U.S. airmen named in the Colombian investigation -- Joe Orta, Charlie Denny and Dan MacClintock -- had worked for AirScan in Colombia but had since left the company. He declined to say whether the men, like most of the company's employees, were former U.S. servicemen.

Air Force chief Gen. Hector Fabio Velasco has declined to comment about the allegations but told reporters briefly that there may have been U.S. "trainers" aboard the spotter plane piloted by Colombians.

©2001 San Francisco Chronicle



Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy