Newsbrief: US Spooks Killed, Captured in Colombia 2/21/03

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


Leftist guerrillas of the FARC (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces) have killed a Colombian soldier and a US CIA agent and taken three other agents as prisoners of war after apparently shooting down their plane in Caqueta province in southern Colombia on February 12. The US government has been uncharacteristically quiet about the incident, but according to Colombian military sources cited by the Times of London, among other press accounts, the four US citizens and one Colombian soldier "were on a secret intelligence mission inside rebel-held territory" when they were shot down and captured.

According to the Times, the men were heading from Bogota to the Larandia military base, an anti-drug and counterinsurgency operations center deep in the jungles of Caqueta, in south-central Colombia. US Special Forces troops have used Larandia as a base for training Colombian Army anti-drug battalions, and the base is also known to harbor radar facilities used to track smuggling flights and coordinate the aerial fumigation of drug crops. Newsweek magazine reported this week that the plane carried "jungle-busting" radar used to try to track down and capture the leaders of the FARC's feared 15th Front.

According to conservative columnist Robert Novak, who penned a column calling for greater "force protection" for US mercenaries and soldiers in Colombia, the four US citizens were employees of California Microwave, Inc. of Sunnyvale, CA, working under contract with a CIA front called the Office of Regional Administration, which is housed in the US Embassy in Bogota. In spook speak, the men are thus "CIA agents," or persons hired by the CIA to do its dirty work. Persons actually employed directly by the agency are known as "CIA officers."

The dead US citizen was identified as James Thomas, hometown unknown, in the Colombia press; US officials have not identified him. While Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said the two men had been "murdered," and Colombian military commander Gen. Jorge Enrique Mora said they had been killed in an "execution-style in an act of cruelty," other accounts reported that the men had died attempting to resist capture by FARC guerrillas. And while US media outlets like the New York Times followed the official line in describing the other three CIA contract employees as having been "kidnapped" by the FARC, a less tendentious account might simply have noted that they were foreign belligerents captured by the enemy in enemy territory.

The FARC has stated publicly for several years that US government operatives assisting the Colombian state in its four-decades-old conflict with the guerrillas are legitimate military targets. A shift in US policy last year—from counter-narcotics to an open alliance with the Colombian state in the ongoing civil war against the guerrillas has only hardened that position.

Although the FARC has seized some 46 US citizens at various points in recent years, last week's incident marked the first -- and probably not the last -- time that it has captured US government employees or contractors.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #275, 2/21/03 Out from the Shadows: First Latin American Anti-Prohibition Summit Convenes in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Mérida Interview: María Mercedes Moreno of Mama Coca | Mérida Interview: Luiz Paulo Guanabara, Brazil, Executive Director of Psico-Tropicus | Rosenthal Verdict Fallout: Angry Jurors, Media Attention, a New Bill in Congress | Victory for Bolivian Coca-Growers Imminent, Reports Say Government Will Allow Coca in the Chapare | Thailand War on Drugs Turns Murderous, 600 Killed This Month -- Human Rights Groups Denounce Death Squads, Executions | Peoria Needle Lady Busted in Pekin, But Charges Later Dropped | Drug Czar's Office Masks TRUE Costs of War on Drugs in Federal Budget | Newsbrief: DEA Kills 14-Year-Old Girl in San Antonio, Claims Self Defense | Newsbrief: US Spooks Killed, Captured in Colombia | Newsbrief: French Cannabis Activist Faces Jail for "Encouraging Drug Use" | Newsbrief: Corrupt Cop of the Week I | Newsbrief: Corrupt Cop of the Week II | Newsbrief: Oklahoma Report Urges Sanity in Sentencing | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en Español Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em Português Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]