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November 21, 2008

CIA program murdered suspected drug smugglers

The lede of this story is that the CIA helped down the wrong plane in 2001 and lied about it:

An internal CIA probe has concluded that agency officials deliberately misled Congress, the White House and federal prosecutors about key details of the 2001 downing of an airplane carrying U.S. missionaries in Peru, according to a senior lawmaker who called yesterday for a new criminal inquiry into the case.

The agency's inspector general said CIA officers repeatedly ignored rules of engagement in a joint U.S.-Peruvian campaign to halt airborne drug smugglers, resulting in the downing of at least 10 other aircraft without proper warnings. Afterward, CIA managers concealed the problems from lawmakers and the Justice Department, the agency watchdog said. [WaPo]

That's bad enough. Far more outrageous is the revelation that the CIA was systematically engaged in a program to shoot down planes on the mere suspicion that they were carrying drugs.

Even if they guess correctly, that's cold blooded murder.

The controversial anti-drug program operated from 1995 to 2001 to assist Peru in stopping drug traffickers from ferrying narcotics through the country's airspace. CIA officers in small planes would track flights by suspected drug runners before alerting Peruvian fighter pilots, who would swoop in for the kill. [WaPo]

It's a worldwide scandal that the CIA kidnaps and tortures suspected terrorists.

Here, the CIA made itself judge, jury, and executioner for far less. Simply riding in a plane that might have been carrying drugs carried a potential death sentence.

According to the article, this particular program has been discontinued. For all we know, similar efforts could be ongoing.

It's time for another Church Committee.

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Comments

Damn, I thought this shit went out after Reagan. It's not just cold blooded murder. These acts, and the subsequent cover-up, circumvent Peruvian, US and international law. This is antithetical to every thing American.

Lying to Congress and/or federal prosecutors is de rigueur for the Bush Administration. I think it's scary enough that the CIA trashed the laws of the land(s), ditched rules of engagement and "accidentally" killed US citizens. But then they kept it from the President!

Makes me wonder if there's anything else the spooks huddled at Langley would like to tell their boss.

-AF
Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud

Here, the CIA made itself judge, jury, and executioner for far less.

See also the use of armed UAVs to destroy vehicles believed to be carrying terrorists in various countries.

These acts, and the subsequent cover-up, circumvent Peruvian, US and international law. This is antithetical to every thing American.

You'd like to think so... But the truth is, it's quintessentially American. This sort of thing has been going on more-or-less continuously for over a century.

"cold blooded murder" the official term is "summary execution". Things are always different when carried out by part of the apparatus of a state.

And how do we know it was cancelled? Because the CIA told us! After all, they wouldn't lie to us (yet again), would they?

I have no sympathy for any dead drug dealers, but we simply cannot devote resources to this unwinnable effort anymore, one that causes so many distortions in our country and in other countries.

Drugs should be legalized / decriminalized.

For too many reasons to get into here.

Thanks for publicizing this. Bring on the Truth Commission.

Minor point: It sounds like they only appointed themselves judge and jury. The executioner part was outsourced to the Peruvian military. Not that that makes any real difference.

In general, it has been considered most healthy within the U.S. foreign policy establishment for the U.S. government, mostly via the CIA (but through other organizations as well) to help Latin American leaders kill various targets without charges.

Daily, in Colombia -- and even in the USA, given the US trial of the extradited Mancuso -- paramilitaries testify to higher and higher degrees of Colombian government support for the narco-paramilitary death squads.

Colombia ParaMilitary Boss Says Government Complicit in Massacres
Former AUC chief denies that Uribe planned attacks though
http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=320950&CategoryId=12393

BOGOTA -- Colombian former paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso said Tuesday that his AUC organization received the backing of state security forces in carrying out two massacres in the northwestern province of Antioquia in the 1990s.

The El Aro and La Granja massacres occurred on June 11, 1996 and Nov. 12, 1997, respectively, in the municipality of Ituango, where the AUC also burned houses and stole around 1,200 head of cattle.

Mancuso, who was extradited to the United States earlier this year along with 13 other AUC leaders to face drug charges, testified via video link from a courtroom in Washington.

He said the lists of people who were later killed were known beforehand by Colombia's army, police and DAS security service.

"We did the state's dirty work," said Mancuso, the son of an Italian immigrant who became a prominent landowner in the northern coastal province of Cordoba.

However, he contradicted testimony given by former paramilitary leader Francisco Villalba, who had said that Antioquia's then-governor, current Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, had planned and ordered the El Aro massacre.

Villalba mixed "truth with lies," according to Mancuso, who said that, although the paramilitaries had the support of the army, it is not true that Uribe planned the massacre.

He said both the El Aro and La Granja massacres were planned by the AUC's then-top leader Carlos Castaño, who was killed - allegedly on the order of his brother Vicente - in 2004.

The AUC encompassed the peasant defense cooperatives created more than 20 years ago to combat leftist guerrillas, but over time many of the rightist militias turned into drug-trafficking death squads blamed for some of the worst atrocities of Colombia's decades-old conflict.

More than 31,000 AUC fighters ostensibly demobilized between 2003 and 2006 as part of a peace process with Uribe's government.

According to Mancuso, the massacres were committed to "neutralize" the guerrillas and the "transfer of cattle" was intended to deprive rebels camped out in those areas of the country of supplies.

"We were the instruments of the state," said Mancuso, who acknowledged his participation in and asked forgiveness for these "acts of war." EFE

If the CIA is murdering drug smugglers, it's probably to eliminate the competition:

www.madcowprods.com

Your tax dollars at work.

All drug dealers do 'drive-by' shootings to limit competition, establish territorial rights and warn others of their ruthlessness.... sometimes innocent bystanders get shot up. No big thing just the accidents of 'free market economics'!

There is probably more to this story than meets the eye. The people shot down were from my area so it was fairly big news when it happened. Sadly I recall only the outlines of the story. I do recall this however. The story that they were simple Christian missionaries seemed to me to be a little suspect. On what grounds I actually don't recall.

It is a murky world down there in the coca jungles. The trigger happy story could well be true. Just don't take it as certain.

The story was trumpeted today by our congress critter. Pete Hoekstra, Bush boot licker extraordinaire. Congressman for life who is a dumb as they come. Ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee. He was chairman of the committee after that Goss guy was made CIA director. The guy who helped purge the place of every Iraq war doubter while pinning the blame for the faulty intelligence on the CIA. So cute. Goss put his buddy in as Number 3. The now convicted Dusty Foggo, friend of convicted Brent Wilkes who was a friend convicted congressman Randy Duke Cunningham, considered the crookedest of the breed in modern times. But I digress.

Why a report now, 7 years later? Well let's see. Some poor Christians slaughtered at the hands of the CIA. Let's start shining some lights over there, now that the Democrats are back in charge.

The Bush administrations CIA lied, how is this even a story, the credibility of the CIA, FDA and every other government agency under the bush administration has been nothing but a miserable disappointment, these people should not only resign but should commit seppuku, they dishonor not only themselves but anyone who's ever served this Country.

Look, it's not the role of intelligence or law enforcement to kill people on spec, regardless of what they are known or suspected to have done.

Punishments are for people who are tried and convicted, not people who are merely suspected to have done wrong, let alone for anyone who might just happen to be riding in a plane with someone who is suspected to have done wrong.

Let's say the NYPD believes that the worst drug dealer/murderer/terrorist sympathizer in the city is escaping. They can't just take him or her out right there, and they can't even give chase if they think they might hurt an innocent person.

Are you suggesting that suspected criminals in the jungles of Colombia are somehow "less than" suspected criminals on the streets of New York, and if so, why?

A new Church Committee is way overdue. The ‘you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet’ mentality has run completely out of control over the last few years.

As for the cocaine mob, the easiest way to take the wind, i.e. profits, out of their sails would be to legalize the chewing of coca leaf in the United States and other major cocaine market countries. If the coca farmers had an alternate and legal market for their crop, they, and we, would be better off. The concentration of cocaine in coca leaf is so low that it is quite impossible to become an addlebrained crackhead by chewing it. If you want to become a strung-out dope fiend with the leaf, you’ll have to pencil in the time to munch through a wheelbarrow load twice a day to do it. Sell it in supermarkets just like coffee and tea; the drugs with which coca leaf is best classified. Chew a wad to shake off post-lunch drowsiness at work. Wake yourself up to read, or worse, write that dreary report. You won’t get addicted. You won’t lose your teeth, or your job. You won’t cheat on your wife or beat your kids. Next time you’re in the Andean states, try it, you’ll see.

Let's say the NYPD believes that the worst drug dealer/murderer/terrorist sympathizer in the city is escaping. They can't just take him or her out right there, and they can't even give chase if they think they might hurt an innocent person.

I think this somewhat overstates the restrictions imposed on NYPD officers in pursuit of suspects.

If this program was from 1995-2001, then it seems to me that saying that this is a general function of "the credibility of the CIA, FDA and every other government agency under the bush administration has been nothing but a miserable disappointment" doesn't apply especially well to this case.

Julian

C'mon. Stick to the groupthink that generally applies here. Bush is the devil. If there is an earthquake tomorrow, its all the fault of GW Bush

The devil? I think you're carrying that "banality of evil" concept a bit too far.

Damn, I thought this shit went out after Reagan.

The US has invaded Latin America a three-figure number of times in the last 200 years. Do you really think it was all Reagan's fault?

Let's say the NYPD believes that the worst drug dealer/murderer/terrorist sympathizer in the city is escaping. They can't just take him or her out right there, and they can't even give chase if they think they might hurt an innocent person.

I always thought NYPD would just shoot him on the spot if he angered them too much.

What the Church Committee investigated ... continues. Coming attractions of COINTELPRO, (what the Church committee investigated), coming to a street near you can be previewed at the URL above.

Let's try that again with the referenced link:

http://www.freedomfchs.com/unwarranted_surveillance.pdf

What the Church Committee investigated ... continues. Coming attractions of COINTELPRO, (what the Church committee investigated), coming to a street near you can be previewed at the URL above.

I think you're carrying that "banality of evil" concept a bit too far.

Bush doesn't even rise to the level of banality.

The rogue intelligence agency thing may have preceded his misreign, but he's done what exactly to stop it? Um, um. . . I'm sure I'll think of something. . .

"If this program was from 1995-2001, then it seems to me that saying that this is a general function of "the credibility of the CIA, FDA and every other government agency under the bush administration has been nothing but a miserable disappointment" doesn't apply especially well to this case."
Good job there was a Republican Congress and House of Reps to provide oversight and prevent such abuses, huh? We can rest assured that the CIA didn't abort any babies, turn off any life support machines, take away anyone's guns (in the US, anyway) or allow any gay people to get married.

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