Colombian Rebel Storm Marine Base On Panama Border

Colombian Rebel Storm Marine Base On Panama Border
Posted by FoM on December 13, 1999 at 13:57:22 PT
By Karl Penhaul
Source: Reuters
Hundreds of Communist rebels rained home-made missiles and machine-gun fire on a Navy base on Colombia's border with Panama, killing at least 34 Marines, one policeman and a civilian, witnesses said on Monday.
Some 600 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas launched the attack on the Pacific coast town of Jurado early on Sunday, two days before a formal ceremony in Panama to mark the U.S. handover of the Panama Canal.U.S. military authorities warned earlier this year that powerful Colombian guerrillas, who hold sway in the frontier zone, could launch attacks inside Panama and even on the Canal itself once the U.S. pullout was complete.Sunday's clash was one of the heaviest this year and was thought to be the worst-ever defeat suffered by a Navy unit in Colombia's long-running war that has claimed more than 35,000 lives in just the last 10 years."We were surprised by four FARC columns. They took a mountain overlooking Jurado and then took over the police station," parish priest Bernardo Nino told the Radionet radio news network."There are 34 Marines dead. One policeman and a civilian were also killed," he added.ARMS, DRUG SMUGGLING ROUTE TO PANAMAJurado, in Choco province -- about 20 minutes by speedboat from Panama -- is a staging post on a key arms and drug smuggling route used by narco-traffickers, guerrillas and ultra-right paramilitary fighters.Navy headquarters in Bogota issued a statement condemning what it described as "the terrorist attack" and said 82 Marines of the 147-man detachment had survived. It did not, however, confirm the priest's death toll.Nino said the FARC unit wounded at least 25 other Marines and captured three officers.The rebels had planned to take more prisoners but Nino said he persuaded guerrilla commanders to disarm the surviving Marines and leave them in the vicarage.The FARC is currently holding more than 350 security force members captured in combat over the last 18 months and using them as bargaining chips to try and win the release of hundreds of their comrades jailed in Colombian prisons.One Marine, who survived the attack, said 14 of his colleagues were killed in fighting around the naval post in the town itself while others died in a firefight a short distance away at the port.GUERRILLAS SEIZE WEAPONS"We were attacked by 600 or 700 guerrillas with gas cylinders and bursts of M-60 (light machine-gun) fire," Marine Mauricio Perdomo told the Caracol radio news station."Alongside me, 14 people died.... Others were killed at the port but I don't know exactly how many. The guerrillas didn't kill us all because they said they had come for our weapons," he added.Perdomo complained that airborne reinforcements never arrived even though the fighting raged for almost 24 hours.The Navy statement said troops, including members of the army's newly inaugurated Rapid Deployment Force were being flown into the zone on Monday to hunt down the rebels. But Nino said the rebel column had pulled out of the town and that fighting had died down.The attack coincided with a wave of other clashes over the weekend in northwest and western Colombia. In a separate incident in San Luis, in neighboring Antioquia province, rebels killed eight police and two town hall officials.The raid on Jurado highlighted U.S. fears that Colombia's three-decade-old war is spinning out of control and could now become a threat to regional stability.Earlier this year, Gen. Charles Wilhelm, head of the U.S. Army's Southern Command warned the Panamanian Defense Forces would be powerless to stop rebel incursions into Panama once U.S. forces pulled out of the Canal zone.The FARC is engaged in slow-moving peace talks with the government but has not declared a cease-fire. Last month, President Andres Pastrana called on all warring factions to observe a month-long Christmas truce but neither the guerrillas nor paramilitary gangs have given a firm response. Pubdate: December 13, 1999Copyright  1995-1999 Excite Inc.Related Articles:McCaffrey Statement on U.S. Support for Colombia-11/15/99 Colombian Drug Smugglers Hold Tech Advantage - 11/14/99 Drugs Flow Into U.S. Than Estimated - 11/14/99 Vows To Get More Anti-Drug Aid to Colombia-11/10/99
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on December 14, 1999 at 16:13:29 PT
No, Jeaneous, you're on the right track
Fact #1: Latin America is the biggest producer of locally consumed cocaine and heroin. It is a big economic sector *not* controlled by US megacorporations (at least, not on the surface). What the magacorps don't control (particularly when the opposition is communist/socialist and is bent on controlling the resources the megacorps lust after for themselves)they fear, and try to destroy.Fact#2: Before the McCzar became the McCzar, he was the head of the Army's US Southern Command. Which means he was actively involved in the destabilaztion of our Latin neighbors, despite what BS he might say. He was the *de facto* head spook of the Army. All intelligence went to him or his aides. Remember Iran/Contra? Remember how Bush Senior said he was out of the loop? Well, MISTER McCaffrey has no such excuse. He *knew* that the stuff was going up to el Norte, what routes it travelled, what military bases it went through, who was moving it, which of the various governments could be bought off, etc. As I said, he had the information. What did he do with it?  You think he didn't have a hand in what happened during the 1980's, with the flood of coke that came in despite an Air Defense Interdiction Zone that stretches 200 miles off our shores? When we have radar that can spot a missile launch in Eurasia 4 seconds after it happens?Fact#3: There are a lot of US megacorporations that are heavily invested in Latin America, and practically own the countries they are esconsed in. These corporations are heavy suppliers of funding to the DemoPublican Party. They don't want to lose their stranglehold. What better way to whip up support for intervention than say that Communists are selling drugs to our kids? And what better person to lead the charge but the head spook who knows where the weak points are?McCaffrey is a merc, plain and simple. That's why, in spite of the rising chorus of voices that are asking for a re-examination of our disastrous drug laws, he is going to do exactly what those who favored our involvement in VietNam did... beat the war drum and call for intervention. And wait for the profits from a 'splendid little war' (to quote Teddy Roosevelt) to come rolling in.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 14, 1999 at 15:59:10 PT
Hi Jean!
Hi Jean,We are creating the need to escalate the war I think. It makes me so angry inside to think this is how we get our foot in every countries door. This time the demand for the drugs creates the war so are we at war with ourselves? My mind goes in circles over what we are doing in a drug war at all! The more I read the more my eyes are opened.Have a Happy Holiday Season to you and yours!Peace, FoM!
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Comment #5 posted by Jeaneous on December 13, 1999 at 18:09:21 PT:
Behind it
Every time I read something regarding this area... and the way it has escalated in the past few weeks, my insides scream that this all goes directly to the fact that Barry McCaffrey is stirring all this to attain his goal of receiving funding for Columbia.Am I on the wrong track? Please fill me in if I am not.
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Comment #4 posted by military officer guy on December 13, 1999 at 18:07:22 PT
don't know what to say...
i think it's a little to early to say this could be another vietnam, but it aint looking too good for our men/women in blue/green...we could very easily end the killing if our freaking govt would get off their asses and take another approach to our war on drugs...legalize!!!!!!this is just the beginning, expect more, lots more...unfortunately it will be our brothers, sisters, and close friends that will DIE, cause in wars people DIE!!!!!
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on December 13, 1999 at 15:06:44 PT
Cocaine=Money=Hi-Tech weaponry
It should come as no surprise that the FARC is so well armed; they got a lot of stuff from both the former Soviet Bloc and the US. All paid for by drug proceeds. In cash.It goes without saying that when you try to ban something, its valure rises. The same is as true for automatic weapons as well as for cocaine and heroin. And since the narcotrafficantes can certainly afford to buy the best, they do - and there are lots of people, here and abroad, who will sell the best in small arms technology to them. They recently threatened to kill McCaffrey with an RPG attack; no small potatoes, here. They are armed to the teeth, and are hardly afraid of any Yanquis.And our leaders, purblind as always, will send our young men and women into this ready-made meatgrinder. What's left of them will wind up at Dover AFB, in body bags inside aluminum coffins. Just like a lot of poor souls did after a little visit to a resort spot called Vietnam. It seems we never do learn.Insanity does not respect national borders.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 13, 1999 at 14:24:51 PT
My Heart Sunk!
Oh Rainbow my heart sunk when I found this article. The latest report is 45 dead. I hope this isn't what I feel it might be! I pray not!PS: I already had posted the article you sent me. I would have said you were the Newshawk but I just checked too late and I'm sorry and thanks!FoM!
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Comment #1 posted by Rainbow on December 13, 1999 at 14:15:04 PT
It has started big time
Another Vietnam, but this one is started and fueled by the USA with support from the prohibitionists.
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