imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

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




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities 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 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

Colombia, Israel and rogue mercenaries

by ISN Security Watch Thursday, Sep. 06, 2007 at 4:17 PM

Earlier this year, Klein's Colombian shenanigans attracted the attention of Interpol, which on 3 April responded to a Colombian request and issued an international arrest warrant for Klein and Israeli nationals Melnik Ferri and Tzedaka Abraham, with the warrants alleging that the trio was involved in criminal conspiracy and instruction in terrorism.

Outside assistance with Colombian 'counterinsurgency' efforts in the form of Israeli 'expertise' has created dangerous rogue mercenaries and prolonged a bloody conflict.

03 September 2007

By John C K Daly for ISN Security Watch (03/09/07)

Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos has acknowledged that Bogota had quietly hired a group of former Israeli military officers to advise local defense officials on their counter-insurgency tactics against leftist Fuerza Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, the Colombian daily Semana newspaper reported on 10 August.

FARC - founded in 1964 and the Western hemisphere's longest-running guerrilla movement - countered that Israeli mercenary commandos were actually involved in combat against their insurgents in Colombia's jungles.

The Israeli advisors - reportedly consisting of three senior generals, a lower ranking officer, an unnamed Argentinean officer and three translators - were hired under a reported US million contract by the Colombian Defense Ministry to advise on how to improve the army's intelligence gathering capabilities. Santos reportedly approached former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami last year about the deal.

The Israeli group operates from Tolemaida in Cundinamarca Department, 240 kilometers from the capital Bogota, where the Colombian army runs its "Lancero" counterinsurgency training course, with Colombian army instructors being assisted by US military personnel.

The Israeli forces specialize in debriefing former guerrillas; previously, the interrogations were handled by civil servants without specialized knowledge, while the Israelis provide specialized interrogation techniques to improve the flow of intelligence from the de-briefings.

The program has its critics, many of whom wonder why the government did not resort to private groups or the US or the UK, which already cooperate with Bogota on intelligence matters. The government's explanation is that the Israeli mission is highly specialized.

However, Colombian security expert Laude Fernandez is not convinced. "It would have had been better to rely on the British, who have a good system of intelligence and a better standard in human rights," Fernandez told the Colombian daily Semana on 4 August.

But Deputy Defense Minister Sergio Jaramillo said the Israelis' assistance was invaluable: "They are like psychoanalysts; they ask us the material questions and help us see all the problems we weren't aware of before," according a 10 August report from the Israeli news service Ynet.

Israeli assistance: Gray areas

Israel is now Colombia's top weapons supplier, with the bulk of the armaments being used against FARC and another leftist group, the Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (National Liberation Army or ELN.) Israeli weaponry includes drones, light arms and ammunition, surveillance and communication systems and specialized bombs capable of destroying coca fields.

The irony is that Colombia's armed forces occasionally clash with right-wing paramilitaries and drug cartel gunmen trained in the late 1980s by rogue Israeli mercenaries, one of whom was detained in Russia earlier this week on an Interpol warrant.

The news throws a most unwelcome spotlight on the Colombian government's efforts to avail itself of Israeli expertise. In 1987, right-wing paramilitaries hired Israeli former Lieutenant Colonel reservist Yair Klein and members of his private "security" company Hod He'hanitin (Spearhead Ltd.) as advisors on the country's leftist insurgency with tacit approval from the government of President Virgilio Barco Vargas.

Klein's activities two decades ago now have caught up with him. On 27 August, Klein was detained at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on an Interpol warrant issued by Colombia after attempting to board a flight bound for Tel Aviv with an altered passport after apparently attending to Spearhead Ltd. business in Moscow.

A spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry told journalists in Moscow that the Prosecutor-General's Office had received an official request from Colombia on 29 August asking for the arrest and extradition of Klein.

Klein is wanted by Colombia's law enforcement agencies after being convicted for training a terrorist group in 1990 - a group supported by Colombian drug dealers. The former Israeli army lieutenant colonel was convicted of terrorist activities and the training of gunmen from among local residents on territory not under the control of the official authorities."

Colombian Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo told reporters that Bogota would formally petition Russia for Klein's extradition, while Moscow said has said little outside of acknowledging the request.

The Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz reported on 29 August that Klein was being detained based on Israeli police data, which informed Colombia of Klein's intention to return to Israel from Russia. The press secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Moscow, Aleks Goldman-Shaiman, told the daily that the embassy was currently negotiating for access to Klein.

Following news of Klein's detention, Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos said, "Hopefully they'll hand [Klein] over to us so he can rot in jail for all the damage he's caused Colombia," local newspapers reported.

Klein was a former paratrooper and commando in the Israeli Army who left military service in 1985. His involvement in Colombia's interminable guerrilla war began in 1987 when Colombia's former justice minister Jose Manuel Arias Carrizosa approached Israeli contacts. Carrizosa had been named president of the Asociacion de Bananeros de Colombia (AUGURA,) and its members in Uniban, Colombia's main banana and plantain export company, were looking for a way to cope with extortion by FARC guerrillas.

Contacts were made with former Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Lieutenant Colonel Yitzhak "Mariot" Shoshani, who in turn recommended Klein. Shoshani was well-known to the Colombian military as he had represented Israel's ISREX company. ISREX, founded in 1968, had sold military goods to Colombian armed forces for many years.

In emphasizing its Latin American connections the company states on its website: "Isrex conducts its business and marketing through its wholly owned subsidiaries - Isrex Argentina (2000), Isrex Peru and Isrex International SA, as well as through delegations and associated companies such as Istelcom Do Brazil (Brazil) and others."

Over the next two years, Klein and his personnel trained right-wing vigilante paramilitaries belonging to affluent landowners, who would eventually become the nucleus of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC.)

AUC quickly moved beyond its original intent of providing protection to wealthy landowners to becoming deeply involved in drug trafficking, and had support from elements in the army and the police, and Klein apparently shifted to providing expertise to the drug traffickers as well.

Dealing with devils

Klein was hardly the sole Israeli that the Colombian government was dealing with at the time. In April 1988, Israel agreed to purchase two million tonnes of Colombian coal over the next three years, while Colombia committed itself to buying 14 Israeli Kfir fighters for US million from the Israel Security Defense System company.

The coalescence of the landowners' vigilante groups into AUC and its deepening involvement in the cocaine trade eventually troubled the US and became a liability, as many AUC leaders were either wanted in the US on drugs charges or accused of serious human rights violations.

Like the AUC members, Klein's drift into the drug trade eventually transformed him from a foreign advisor approved by the government into a rogue criminal. Colombian lawyers in 1988 asserted that he was allegedly one of four Israelis hired by drug trafficker Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha. Rodriguez (also known as "El Mexicano") died in a shootout with Colombian security forces in December 1989. He was one of the Medellin cartel's most violent bosses.

According to a Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad report, beginning in December 1987, Rodriguez hired both Israeli and British ex-Special Air Services mercenaries to train his personnel.

Klein eventually acknowledged having led a team of instructors for Rodriguez's forces in Puerto Boyaca in early 1988. A subsequent search of Rodriguez's home uncovered 200 Israeli assault rifles, which the Israeli government stated were part of a 400-weapon contingent that they had sold to Antigua's government, which had apparently then been transferred to the Medelin cartel.

Colombian internal security chief General Miguel Marquez in 1989 publicly named Klein as training and providing arms to the Medellin cartel's sicarios (death squads). Colombian authorities assert that Klein was also involved in training the security detail of Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, head of the Medelin cocaine cartel in the 1980s. Gaviria was killed in 1993.

Freelance Israeli activities in Colombia apparently did not end with Klein, as in May 2000 Colombian intelligence arrested two Israelis and a Colombian suspected of attempting to smuggle more than 50,000 weapons to guerrillas.

In 1990, an Israeli court convicted Klein after he pled guilty to illegally exporting military arms and information to Colombian insurgents and fined him US,400. Serving a year in prison, Klein denied all charges, but worse was to come when in 1998 the Colombian judiciary officially indicted Klein on charges of training illegal paramilitary units.

Klein next surfaced in Sierra Leone, where in 1999 he was arrested on charges of smuggling weapons to rebels there and served a 16-month prison sentence, after which he fled to Israel. Two years later, a Colombian court convicted Klein in absentia of training paramilitaries and drug cartel gunmen and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Earlier this year, Klein's Colombian shenanigans attracted the attention of Interpol, which on 3 April responded to a Colombian request and issued an international arrest warrant for Klein and Israeli nationals Melnik Ferri and Tzedaka Abraham, with the warrants alleging that the trio was involved in criminal conspiracy and instruction in terrorism.

The Colombian government has made persistent but unsuccessful attempts to extradite Klein from Israel. In a March interview with Colombia's private Caracol TV channel, Klein asserted that the Colombian police sought his assistance in order to train its members, and in an extraordinary display of chutzpah, stated he would like to return to Colombia in order to assist Colombian security forces in neutralizing FARC guerillas.

Military options not a solution

Justice will apparently come slowly, as the head of Colombia's DAS intelligence agency, Andres Penate, who is involved in Klein's detention, said his extradition could take up to a year.

There are a few glimmers of hope in this grim picture. Since 2004, AUC paramilitaries have largely honored a ceasefire and thousands have handed in their weapons, but President Alvaro Uribe has come in for harsh criticism for granting too many concessions to the right-wing paramilitaries.

Two issues seem to emerge from this convoluted situation. First, after 40 years of conflict, a political situation addressing the insurgency seems to be the best hope for ending the conflict. The timeline parallels that of the British presence in Northern Ireland, which eventually produced such an outcome.

Secondly, "outside" assistance, whether in the form of financial assistance or military expertise, has not produced a solution, but instead seem to have prolonged the conflict. As distasteful as it might be to the Uribe administration, discussing the issues fueling the conflict might lead to a cessation of hostilities, since military options have at best produced a stalemate and created rogue mercenaries providing expertise that, far from ending the conflict, prolonged it.

Dr John C K Daly is a Washington DC-based consultant and an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute.

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

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