Colombia: A Safe Haven for Mutually Beneficial Exchanges

The Sunday Life picks up on an interesting reference to an episode some would, no doubt, prefer to forget about. A report from the influential US-based RAND Corporation intended to advise the US government on policy in tackling terrorism focuses on how and why terrorist groups share knowledge for their mutual benefit.. and uses, as one case study, the PIRA’s Colombian adventures with FARC.. The full report, which was published on May 9th, is available online here. The RAND Corp news release stated

In the former demilitarized zone in southwest Colombia, the Provisional Irish Republican Army trained terrorists in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly referred to as FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia). New technologies and knowledge included remote-detonation technologies and Mark 18 “barracks-buster” mortars, as well as guerrilla warfare tactics. These skills helped FARC improve its urban warfare capabilities in 2001. The IRA reportedly benefited by using the freedom of the demilitarized zone to experiment with its own weapons and received cash from FARC.

From notes on page 71 of the report [pdf file]

Adam Ward and James Hackett, eds., “The IRA’s Foreign Links: Externalising Its Expertise?” IISS Strategic Comments, Vol. 9, No. 5, July 2003. It is important to keep in mind that this is not the first time that FARC and PIRA have allegedly exchanged knowledge and information. PIRA purportedly initiated contact with FARC in 1997 through the ETA, with which PIRA has a long-standing relationship and has exchanged knowledge and technical know-how, particularly in bomb making. According to an April 2002 U.S. Department of State report, one of the three PIRA men, Connolly, Sinn Fein’s representative in Cuba, initiated the contact with FARC in 1997; and, from 1998 to 2001, at least 15 PIRA militants have traveled to Colombia, along with Iranian, Cuban, and Basque terrorists, to train FARC. One expert alleged that senior PIRA leaders would have sanctioned this kind of an exchange of technology with another militant group, even though they are publicly adhering to a cease-fire. Notably, PIRA has a long-standing policy prohibiting “freelancing” by its members; as such, the Colombia Three did not likely act alone, despite vehement denials
from Sinn Fein, which does not want to be seen as violating the cease-fire. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, responding to the information that this relationship developed after the 1997 peace process began in Northern Ireland, said on a trip to Bogotá in December 2002 that the groups were “sharing experiences and knowledge.”

And from page 79 of the report itself [pdf file]

PIRA Rationale

There are four key reasons that PIRA would be willing to share its technical experience with FARC. The first is that, until recently, the group wanted to remain technically and operationally relevant during the current cease-fire, which prevents PIRA from engaging in armed conflict. In September 2005, the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning determined that PIRA successfully decommissioned all its weapon stockpiles after years of stalled negotiations over whether or not PIRA would turn over its weapons to the government. However, at the time that the Colombia Three were arrested in Bogotá, many observers believed that PIRA would never turn over its weapons because the group was committed to establishing a united Ireland and had said it would do so by force if necessary. Because the group was committed at the time to a political rather than a military approach, it was limited in what it could do operationally to maintain its viability.

During the period of active operations from 1969 to 1997, PIRA was able to innovate technologically because it was forced consistently to come up with new ways to confront the enemy and gain the operational advantage. Because it was no longer engaging the enemy, PIRA had to be creative about how it remained relevant. Prior to decommissioning in September 2005, the group wanted to be able to resurrect its operations as soon as it believed the cease-fire was no longer working. To do this, PIRA needed to maintain the operational skills of its recruits and ensure that it had the appropriate technological capabilities to engage security forces when the time came. PIRA also wanted to maintain its credibility as a “revolutionary organization” with other like-minded groups and, by teaching these groups new skills, it helped to preserve its stature.

The second reason that PIRA was apparently willing to share its expertise is related to the first reason, and that is that, unlike PIRA, FARC is still operationally active. FARC confronts its enemy on a regular basis and has the ability to test new weapons on its adversary and train its rank and file in new technologies and operational strategies. If PIRA helps in this regard and FARC then tests this knowledge and weapons in its operations, PIRA can see whether or not these tactics and weapons are successful. In this way, PIRA can continue to exercise its bomb-making and other terrorist skills and use FARC as its “testing ground” to practice these skills.

Similarly, PIRA may have shared this technology to gain some knowledge in return. In the case of FARC-PIRA exchange, PIRA provided FARC with technological know-how in exchange for a safe haven in which to test its own new weapons away from watchful British and Northern Ireland security officials and cease-fire observers. Although there is no information available in the public domain to confirm that PIRA was engaging in new weapon testing in Colombia, some security officials with whom we spoke suggested that PIRA may have been building and testing a new weapon there. These officials suggested that PIRA feared its weapon-testing activities may have been attracting the attention of security officials at home and, as a result, sent the Colombia Three to the despeje to continue their efforts in a “safe” environment.

A third reason may have been some sort of payment for services rendered. PIRA is now receiving less money from its supporters in the United States as a result of September 11, 2001, and may have seen the opportunity to advise FARC as a new source of funding. British intelligence has speculated that PIRA could have received as much as $2 million for its efforts, which would make up for some of the losses suffered as a result of reductions in funds collected from U.S. sources. With all eyes on the Islamic terrorist threat, PIRA leaders may feel freer to conduct these kinds of activities because they believe the world’s attention is focused elsewhere. Moreover, the costs of running a nationwide organization such as Sinn Fein, which boasts 1,500 election workers, is expensive, and the group’s criminal operations may not be enough to sustain it militarily and politically.

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  • forlorn fairy

    Then McDowell was correct, PIRA earned plenty of money from FARC. Frank Connolly and his leakages on Bertie did not get SF or the republican movement what they wanted in the Irish election, seats of Fianna Fail.

    Dirty tricks by dirty players.

    The Irish electorate were right to reject these unreconstructed terrorists posing as democrats, and has Paisley jumped into bed with them too soon?

  • parcifal

    PIRA developed a good skills base around explosives.
    Research and development ( R&D)is how most companies improve productivity and economies of scale. surely worthy of an innovative award ed.

  • againtthehead

    is this news

    surely we all knew this type of thing has been going on for years?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Not at all. McDowell lied. It was nowhere near 25m. Adams should sue.

  • parcifal

    whatever PIRA’s turnover was I’m sure it got nowhere near these companies:
    http://www.answers.com/topic/list-of-modern-armament-manufacturers
    but at least it was tax-free I suppose

  • ingram

    Fairy,

    Your logic is bang on the mark except for the last question posed.

    The belief that Republicans would be defeated and willingly administer British rule in return for the British pound was only a pipe dream untill the Grizzly one and Choir boy took over the reins.I remember discussing the state of the Union with JD 18 months ago, he agreed with my argument that the Union has never been more secure for a very long time. That discussion was well before the present deal and only the likes of Will Frazer who was present at this discussion could not understand the reality. Paisley is a wise old boy , who demanded an election took place because he knew the SHORT TERM difficulties that the DUP would experience jumping into bed with the Ra. The reality is he knew long term the Ra are on a hiding to nothing, the whole dynamic of Sinn Fein was creating a party capable of power both sides of an acknowledged and respected border.That position has now been exposed to be unrealistic. The reality is Sinn Fein and the Ra are a partionist organisation with no real Republican beliefs, they might as well join the stoops.

    The notion as claimed by Adams and other leading Sinners that they can service the debt of three houses etc on a wage enjoyed by the average industrial worker is nothing short of contempt for the public. Mr Mc before his retirement from politics nailed the grizzly one upon that obvious lie, live on national TV.

    Enjoy the moment mate, genuine Nationalists understand and comprehend the damge these two have caused to the just cause of a UI with a very clever and prolonged operation designed to keep their nose in the trough of wealth and power at the expense and death of many.

    Wake up lads and lasses and smell that coffee.LOL

    Marty

  • parcifal

    marty, and your 10 point-plan for a UI is ????
    p.s wanna bet? 🙂

  • againtthehead

    hmm i think we are in danger so going off the subject here – terrorist funding of terrorists… is that acceptable fundraising?? should there be an enquiry into SF fundraising?

  • bob

    The columbian link pre-dates 97, its then Quartermaster McKevitt was behind the link up. Catriona Ruanes husband was also involved and was arrested coming back into Dublin on a false passport, covered up by Fianna Fail government during “sensetitive times”.

  • forlorn fairy

    ‘They might as well join the stoops’

    Mr Ingram, your logic for this is?

    The social and democratic labour party (although within their ranks exsists some ex OIRA) do not as a party endorse violence,nor are they as a party unreconstructed terrorists, and they have always maintained a United Ireland thru peaceful means. For you, an English man to say that that party should be joined by unreconstructed terrorists is an insult, to the only political party on the nationalist side in the north who have remained throughout the troubles on the side of non violence and democracy. The stoops as you call them have always had the ideal of a united ireland and have worked consistently for that end.
    Who was it brought the terrorists infrom the cold?
    Who was it lost seats (ie joe hendron) due to gerrymandering to profit SF. The constituency of WB was redrawn to suit these terrorists posing as democrats.
    You are an english man, who fought an english mans war, perhaps this is the flaw in your logic?

  • PeaceandJustice

    Another story confirming the attempt by SF-IRA to corrupt democracy on the island of Ireland. The money has to come from somewhere to pay for all those SF-IRA ‘workers’ including some of them who contribute to Slugger. If any other party tried to buy elections with illegal drugs money, there would be an enquiry. Question is, would it suit the DUP to have an enquiry now we have a DUP IRA coalition at Stormont? After all, where is the exclusion mechanism that could kick SF-IRA out of Government?

  • ingram

    Fairy,

    My experience of the conflict is a little more detailed than you and as the Sunday papers reported a few years ago the Intelligence services were more than interested in one or two stoops .

    The thrust of my point is the stoops have always been a partionist party, Sinn Fein and the IRA have now joined up the writing to make a common sentence.

    I may be an Englishman, but I spent 12 years of my formative years fighting criminals in the North of Ireland and I own an Irish passport and have full citizenship.

    In summary Fairy.

    I have forgotten more than the average Irishman will ever know, thats you included about so called democratic constitutional political parties in Ireland. That includes the stoops.

    Ding Ding

    PS. Parcifal.Point one. To rid the rabid corruption from Republicanism/Nationalism, without that you are not even back at the Sunningdale start point.

  • parcifal

    marty, I don’t see the rabid corruption, just smiling SF faces going to work at Stormont.
    Do you know something I don’t ?

  • This is entirely balderdash. I took the trouble to read the part of this report which supposedly exposed the IRA/FARC link and paid particular attention to the footnotes. It quotes a whole range of dubious sources, “Northern Ireland Security Officials (I wonder who they could be?), local journalists fed by same officials with the official line to peddle, the discredited Henry Hyde Congressional Sub Committee Report and further examples of self serving peddlers of disinformation.

    No doubt this report is to be a prelude to another increase in the funding for right wing terrorists in Colombia, with training weapons etc. (By the way, if anyone needs training in the techniques of fuel air bombs, recounted so vividly here, they should get in touch with the Americans. Don’t they love the smell of napalm in the morning?

    And it will also feed the same journalists who provided the dodgy information – about IRA manuals being found in Colombia etc – with another basis to do a story based on the same dodgy information.

    I think that this dodgy dossier ranks alongside the 45 minutes to mass destruction weapons raining in on London dossiers issued by the British in the run up to the ill fated Iraqi invasion.

    Ever decreasing circles of disinformation will eventually lead those involved to vanishing up their own backsides.

  • jackanory

    “I own an Irish passport”

    you should read it then. you’ll find it says it is the property of the irish government.

  • Liam

    “I have forgotten more than the average Irishman will ever know,”

    hmm I daresay you could tell us a thing or two about your involvement in the Dublin and Monagahan bombings were it not for the secrets act…

  • jone

    I hold no candle for SF but really anyone who takes the trouble to read this in full, with an even minimally sceptical mind, must see all sorts of dubious single sources, half-assesd analysis and a overall shoddiness that should shame RAND.

  • Dec

    Random quote:

    It is important to keep in mind that this is not the first time that FARC and PIRA have allegedly exchanged knowledge and information. PIRA purportedly initiated contact with FARC in 1997…

    and another:

    Although there is no information available in the public domain to confirm that PIRA was engaging in new weapon testing in Colombia, some security officials with whom we spoke suggested that PIRA may have been building and testing a new weapon there.

    Of course, I could go on, but it’s getting late.

    To quote Congressman Bill Delahunt:

    “We have been presented with a report short on facts and replete with surmise and opinion.”

  • Viva La Revolucion

    Well done the Three Amigos. The FARC are the good guys. Lest we forget.

  • USA

    Another crap Peter Baker post.

  • Gerry Kelly

    Sinn Fein are funded by narco terrorists. Their top bomb makers were caught red handed. Sinn Fein have no way of explaining their corporate or personal wealth. The Criminal Assets Buraeau should confiscate all their goods and chattels and the Colombia three should be extradited back to serve jail sentences in Colombia. Do the crime, do the time.
    The Provo trolls here notwithstanding, Sinn Fein is the moast hated party in Ireland.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    I think GK needs to take his pills. His Devalera complex is getting too ridiculous. If SF is the most hated party in Ireland, how come it INCREASED its vote when all around it, the likes of Labour, full of its Sticky fingered veterans with non decomissioned weapons and links to international forgery rings, and the PDs, the most vehement anti SF party there is, LOST votes.

    As for his ‘troll’ comment, I think he should have read the dodgy dossier from Rand before engaging his mouth on this occasion. It’s of the same type and from the same type of source which led to the UK/US invasion of Iraq. It’s there to serve a vested interest – ie to give justification for the enhanced funding of right wing narco terrorists in Colombia, the ones with which the Uribe government colludes, as a prelude to drawing Colombia closer to the US and allowing it to act as a right wing bulwark to the ‘red’ tide currently sweeping Latin and South America.

  • ingram

    Hi,

    Liam you must be clairvoyant! LOL

    quote hmm I daresay you could tell us a thing or two about your involvement in the Dublin and Monagahan bombings were it not for the secrets act…unquote

    I received a request back from the office of Taoiseach via the director British Irish Rights Watch to meet with Judge Barron.

    I complied fully with the Taoiseach`s request.Judge Barron was particularly interested in Ned Garvey.

    Incidently I met with the Judge without getting permission under the OSA, that was my risk taken in the general public interest.

    In summary Liam it looks like you last point was wide of the mark mate.

    Jack,

    I own an Irish passport”

    quote you should read it then. you’ll find it says it is the property of the irish government.unquote

    So is national soverignty but that does not stop the Brits running around the place now does it slow boy.

    Ding ding ding a long

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    To borrow a phrase, I hadn’t gone away….

    Naturally I’m disappointed at the Election result, not alone for SF but for the Greens and Socialist Party too. The only silver lining is the demise of the PDs and the departure of McDowell. Fair play to the winners, they won well, albeit with not a little help from Sir Tony.

    Now do you want to return to the topic at hand….

  • joeCanuck

    Have these “intelligence” sources determined whether or not the IRA have weapons of mass destruction?

  • lib2016

    Omigosh! More WMD suddenly ‘discovered’ just as it is becoming plain that Sinn Fein will be in a very much more comfortable position after the next General election.

    In fact the main obstacle to Fine Gael and Labour taking power is that they have already hung themselves up on the hook of no co-operation with SF.

    It’s not so long ago that they said the same thing about the Stickies but when the numbers added up…….!

    Never mind, dupes. The British aren’t suddenly pulling out, sorry, re-deploying their army and seeing the need for a much improved supervision of the loyalist leavings.

    Just listen to Ingram and he’ll tell you all about how the Brits were running PIRA when it ed London and Manchester. Strange that news never reaches Britain – there wouldn’t be a D-Notice or two floating about?

  • forlorn fairy

    Ingram, I heard you were a funny guy now I know it’s true. Firstly your remark about the intelligence agencies being interested in one or two stoops. Who? Was the writing on the wall? Yes it was, graffitti and nothing else. When the people involved were questioned from journalist sources they denied it, and no evidence has been found to say it is true. One piece of graffitti about one person in the sdlp is not evidence of corruption within the whole party. Ask your mate JD about his party the DUP-O thats right they’re all good guys, so how come a DUP man gets turned back at Dublin air port on Paddy’s day? They (US immigration) wouldn’t let him in, tut tut he’d been a bad boy!”!Does this mean the Dup are not democrats as a party?

    The stoops are not a partitionist party. They are constitutional nationalists. That means they are committed to the ideal of a UI thru peaceful means, it does not mean they are partitionist. Theres your flaw-English man. Your stance is at odds with what you say. Firstly you say you believe in a UI, (presumably by peaceful means) they you denigrade the ‘stoops’ for doing just that. You take on the stance of a dissident republican, castigating everyone who holds the idea of a UI thru peaceful means dear. You are at odds with yourself, you don’t know what your position is, all you are is against everything while saying you would like to see a UI!!!

    Make up your mind English man, which is it. Do you support a UI thru peaceful means or not, and if you do, why castigate those who are working for it, and have worked for it from the start? Why jump on the SF band wagon and use their logic to put down the sdlp?

    Your logic is arse about face. You don’t know what you support and what you don’t, all you really want to do, is stirr a pot on the nationalist side as if you are some kind of researcher who has gone native.

    Grow up man.

    BTW my passport is also Irish-that means Jack.

  • Mick Fealty

    The report, as Dec demonstrates, requires closer attention than some of our commenters have been giving it. It is quite right and proper to remain wary of anything emanating from the ‘intelligence’ reports of any country. They are partial (in both senses of the word) and highly susceptible to political spin. Although what would clear this and other matters up is a deal more openness on the part of Sinn Fein and the IRA. That there isn’t, is, in many respects, entirely understandable, since such openness would surely take an inquiring audience into places they would rather remained in the past.

    My question is: is this report politically significant?

    Well, in Northern Ireland it’s contents are (as one unionist commenter said above) not exactly news. SF has just completed an apparently watertight deal with a party that is under no illusions about the full gory extent of the IRA’s campaign, since many in its electoral base comprised its most regular ‘legitimate target’ groups. That deal was done, on basis of setting the past to one side and moving forward. So, so long as real activity ceases, this report would not appear to have any prospective effects there.

    In the Republic, it is potentially more of a problem, not least since Sinn Fein remains on the political periphery. As the minor debate showed, it is easy for a Minister in possession of intelligence files to knock big holes in the party’s position on drugs for instance and do serious damage to the ‘project’.

    Then again McDowell’s reference to the IRA earning €25 million in drugs revenues from Colombia, and the reference to Adams’ multiple properties may have been damaging, but it can hardly have been decisive with the alienated groups the party was targeting.

    Despite a rise in the national vote (more candidates, means more votes) the party suffered a loss of a quarter of its vote in Dublin, which may have had less to do with McDowell and more to do with poor delivery by their TDs (aspirant Joanne Spain added 2% to her take, whilst most of the incumbents lost percentages), and the sense that SF just doesn’t understand the slender nature of the Republic’s economic ecology.

    The one thing that can be solidly inferred from this report however is that the US administration is taking an interest in the IRA’s external activities. This report is mostly harmless, for the reasons Dec points out: it’s couched in highly conditional and speculative language. But it is almost certainly being interpreted inside the movement as a ‘shot across the bows’ from the Americans. And if it is not, it probably should be.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Hats off to the Brethren of RAND LOL 1690 for their years as sleepers in an obscure US thinktank waiting for this moment to boost the securocrat rejectionist Unionist agenda. With men like this on our side it’s only a matter of time before the boot will be back on the neck etc etc ( Mick- please fill in standard MOPE rant to allow the Shinner posters the Bank Holiday off)

  • The Dubliner

    Mick, you’re way too nonchalant about PSF/PIRA’s criminal profiteering, especially when its remains deeply involved in organized crime in a multiplicity of nefarious forms long after the proffered ‘justification’ for it has passed (i.e. that it was to finance the murder of those who they identified as supporting a state that they now also support) and has become purely a criminal enterprise for private profit.
    While those in the north have accepted the bargain that PSF/PIRA will stop murdering people in return for political power and a promise from the people that they should not hold the murder gangs to account, they don’t have to tolerate any criminality post-ceasefire – and doing so merely allows those criminals to continue to channel their vast stolen wealth into offshore back accounts and investments. God (and Gerry Adams) knows what the interest is that they’re making every year on the money they had invested prior to their ceasefire – but they sure as hell didn’t donate their ‘redundant’ millions to the Sisters of Mercy.

  • Mick Fealty

    TD,

    It’s not down to me to pass judgement, just to try and deal in political realities. The deal in Northern Ireland is predicated on closure on the past. Clearly that deal is not open to them in south.

    Perhaps we should look at the tough line that the Irish Government took on the McCabe case as a marker quietly set down by Bertie?

    If so that is a potentially large hostage to fortune, in the short to medium term at least.

  • The Dubliner

    I dare say that Bertie can name quite a few pubs in Dublin (neither of which is worth less than several million) that PIRA are the beneficial owners of. I can name four (but obviously won’t). I think that is the last (and biggest) stick that the Irish government is using to keep them on track, i.e. saying “Keep yourselves as clean as possible so as not to upset Paisley and we’ll let you keep your hidden wealth.” It’s notable that the claim of the Minister for Justice regarding income from FARC of 25 million was met with stony silence by the rest of the government… not denied or dimissed, just stony silence.

  • Mick Fealty

    ff,

    Please cut out the man not ball ‘englishman’ stuff. There is more value in debunking an opponent’s argument than debunking it because of how he is/isn’t.

  • forlorn fairy

    Mick, I have to point out the fact someone is English as opposed to being Irish otherwise how do I make the point of going native? It’s not degoratory, is it?

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s not derogatory, but it is about the ‘who’ rather than the ‘what’.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    One thing I’ve always wanted to hear, was a credible explanation of why two IRA weapons developers were hanging out with FARC. The RAND report may be speculative, but it’s 10 times more believable than ‘eco-tourism’ or denying that Frank Connolly had anything to do with the party (a lie that Sinn Fein later retracted).

    With hindsight, I think we can now also rule out that they were trying to help FARC reach a political settlement with the Colombian govt.

    So while the specifics of what the C3 were up to is still the matter of some guesswork, you don’t have to be Einstein to work out why two bombmakers and a translator were meeting another terrorist group.

    Unlike the IRA, FARC never really gave a fuck about slaughtering on a mass scale (the conflict here was like Queensbury rules compared to Colombia), so I hope the hundreds of dead civilians were worth whatever came back to Ireland.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Niall Connolly, I presume, is who you mean, Belfast Gonzo? As always the devil is in the detail….. Your conclusions, if founded on dodgy information such as this highly speculative report, are similarly suspect. Nobody has to show why those three men were in Colombia – there’s no evidence to suggest that they were there for the reasons stated, bomb-making and fuel air explosions.

    If there were IRA manuals in Colombia, why haven’t we seen photographs etc? Don’t you think that’s odd?

  • lib2016

    Peace came back to Belfast but then that seems to be what many are complaining about. As Molyneux admitted peace was the most destabilising thing which could happen, especially if one was committed to fighting to the last squaddie.

    There was a successful Peace Process in Northern Ireland while the FARC were having difficulty keeping a similar process going in Columbia especially since Republican hawks in America wanted to undermine it.

    Sinn Fein and the Columbian Three say that the three were on an unofficial mission to see what was happening while no real evidence has been produced to say otherwise. Until such evidence is produced there seems no reason why their word should be doubted.

    FARC is a much bigger outfit with much greater resources, as are the Palestinians. Why on earth would they need technical assistance from a small group like the IRA? They don’t have cement mixers and weedkiller in Columbia? Puhleese!

    Incidentally as in Vietnam, the Middle East and currently in Afghanistan it is when the British and Americans get involved that narcotics take a central role.

    Afghanistan currently has a record opium harvest being protected by British troops and revelations about the Colombian government’s involvement in rightwing death squads funded by the drug cartels are appearing regularly in the press. Closer to home it is Ballymena rather than Crossmaglen which has distinguished itself in those fields.

  • Mick Fealty

    If we were to offer a prize for the most creative way to blame ‘the opposition’, that would have to clinch it for this year lib…

  • HoulYerWheyst?

    i’ll take that ‘intelligence’ with a large pinch of salt. for a recent overview of u.s. strategic meddling in columbia check this out:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/deraymond05232007.html

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Nobody has to show why those three men were in Colombia

    Well, they were accused of something pretty damn serious, and there was never any real credible explanation, at least as I remember, despite the potentially fatal political ramifications at the time.

    To say the C3 have no case to answer and then offer no defence (or a weak cover story about eco-tourism or having no link to the men or whatever it is this week) is a bit like recklessly walking blindfold across a rail track and wondering if the peace train will hit you.

    …there’s no evidence to suggest that they were there for the reasons stated, bomb-making and fuel air explosions.

    But they certainly weren’t there for the reasons given. Anyway, if ‘politics’ was a reason, then why send two bombmakers? If they were really carrying out any role comparable to Fr Alec Reid and Eta (the most credible possible explanation possible I can think of) there is no simply way on this earth the IRA or Sinn Fein would be dumb enough to send the people it sent. It is of course, complete coincidence that the IRA weapons developer’s arrival in FARC territory just happened to precede the arrival of the BarrackBuster in Colombian urban areas.

    lib

    Sinn Fein and the Columbian Three say that the three were on an unofficial mission to see what was happening while no real evidence has been produced to say otherwise. Until such evidence is produced there seems no reason why their word should be doubted.

    Course not. And my cousin’s an astronaut. Seriously though, what is the official explanation? What do you and Oli really think was happening? As for the whataboutery, what makes you think your critics necessarily disagree?

    The ‘blame the Brits’ bit is a little off-topic, but I’m probably not blameless myself in that respect :oP

    But this argument has about the same level of credibility that Willie McCrea had after saying he only took the platform with an LVF serial killer to protect the man’s human rights.

    It’s all very well that the political impact was minimal here, but several hundreds of civilian Colombians are now dead because of some incredible coincidences that can’t be explained properly.

    Do republicans not care to question internally as much as they do of others? Maybe we should just draw a line in the sands of history and all shut up. Wouldn’t that just would be easier.

  • lib2016

    Why thank you Mick – you’re too kind.

    The British state has been involved in drugdealing since the mid nineteenth century when it forced Indian peasants into growing opium in order to pay inordinate taxes.

    Just because it now prefers to highlight it’s role in the semi-legal world of armsdealing doesn’t mean one shouldn’t give credit where it is due.

    Similarly the fact that the British are world leaders in repressive measures such as right-wing murder squads and rule by emergency legislation is part of our shared history and should be acknowledged.

    And of course muddying the waters with the politics of the big lie has been seen repeatedly on this site, your very own organ.

    Don’t any unionists ever ask why no evidence is ever produced for all these allegations – Stormontgate, Castlereagh, the Northern Bank etc. etc.? Nor why so many of them suddenly become prominent around election times?

    One of these days the Protocols of Dundalk will be produced or allegations that everybody south of Banbridge eats their babies. Until then one can only admire the repetitious nature of these tactics. How many times are republicans meant to deny beating their wives?

    And don’t forget that today the same man who spent thirty years accusing the victims of Bloody Sunday and justifying their murder has admitted that they were innocent. Strangely he now claims that he doesn’t remember when he realised that fact. Obviously not at the Inquiry when he was questioned on that very subject!

  • lib2016

    I refer of course to Mr. Jackson – erstwhile British CO Northern Ireland.

  • wise up

    If only Adams had have laid of the Columbian Coke that he obviously snorted before going on the RTE debate his part may have faired better in the elections. One snort too many Gerry eh.

  • DK

    But Lib – you also missed out the slave trade, the famine and the massacres of Oliver Cromwell. These, too, are reasons why the Columbia 3 are innocent – or at least justified.

  • lib2016

    DK,

    My points weren’t that the Colombia Three were innocent but that their accusers were a very suspect bunch with plenty of form over centuries and that those accusers had produced no evidence this time as so often before. It would seem that you agree since you don’t argue on those points but on something quite different.

  • And yet, despite all this wonderful background, if off-topic, information about the big bad Brits, we’re still awaiting something approaching a credible explanation for the C3’s presence in FARC territory.

    Ho hum…