Fuera mercenarios de Colombia.

jueves, 10 de febrero de 2011

1991 Feb 28 / Report Says Mercenaries Aided Colombian Cartels

Autor                           : JEFF GERTH,
Medio                           : The New York Times
Fuente                          : Senate staff study
                                     Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
                                     Senator William V. Roth Jr. ofDelaware,
Enlace                          :
Título                          : Report Says Mercenaries Aided Colombian Cartels  
Fecha de publicación            : February 28, 1991
Materia                         : Colombia, Derechos Humanos
Colección / Serie               : Informes especiales del NYT
Zona geográfica                 : Colombia, Angola, Rhodesia and Afghanistan,
Fecha de los hechos             : 1988 -1989.
Entidades y personas mencionadas: Panamanian bank, Banco-Aleman Danemeno, David Tomkins, Ana Lisa Mir [spokeswoman at the Panamanian Embassy in Washington]

Report Says Mercenaries Aided Colombian Cartels

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27— Groups of British and Israeli mercenaries provided paramilitary assistance to Colombian drug-trafficking organizations in 1988 and 1989, according to a Senate staff study and testimony presented today to a Senate panel.

The staff of the panel, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, has also found that a large shipment of Israeli arms that wound up with Colombian traffickers in 1989 was arranged and financed with the help of three former Israeli military officials who laundered payments for the weapons through a Panamanian bank in 1989.

The two cases were discussed today by the subcommittee as part of its longstanding effort to examine ties between illegal arms sales, mercenaries and drug cartels.

Subcommittee members said the examples cited today showed that more government vigilance and cooperation at home and abroad were needed to stop trafficking in arms and paramilitary expertise.

"The international arms market for conventional weaponry too often resembles a multinational bazaar," said Senator William V. Roth Jr. of Delaware, the ranking Republican on the panel, who called for better efforts to limit global arms trafficking.

The hearing today included testimony about a group of British mercenaries who in 1988 provided training for private armies controlled by Jose Rodriguez Gacha, a drug-trafficking leader who was killed in late 1989 by the Colombian police.

David Tomkins, identified by the subcommittee as a leader of the mercenary group, told the panel that he and his associates worked closely with some senior Colombian military officials in the effort, which was not approved by the Colombian Government.Mr. Tomkins said the Colombian military officials forged a financial and political alliance with the drug traffickers in order to combat leftist insurgents. Mr. Tomkins justified his association with the notorious drug gangs by citing the need to fight the insurgents.

Mr. Tomkins, described by the subcommittee staff as a safecracker and explosive expert turned mercenary, told the senators that he had worked previously in Angola, Rhodesia and Afghanistan before going to Colombia, where he was paid $2,000 a week for his services.

A subcommittee staff aide told the panel that the training offered to drug dealers by the British and Israeli groups included terrorist tactics, like detonating car bombs.

Mr. Tomkins said one arms shipment he helped arrange for the Colombian traffickers eventually grew to more than 50 tons.

The Israeli group that provided paramilitary training for Colombian trafficking forces was headed by Yair G. Klein, who retired in 1981 as an Israeli military officer and set up a security firm called Spearhead, according to a report by the subcommittee's minority staff. That report is scheduled to be discussed at a hearing Thursday.

Mr. Klein has said he thought he was helping Colombian ranchers defend themselves, but Senator Roth said that evidence and testimony developed by the subcommittee made such explanations "not credible."

Mr. Klein declined to speak with a reporter today.

Mr. Klein's involvement in a 1989 shipment of Israeli arms, ostensibly intended for Antigua but which wound upon Mr. Rodriguez Gacha's ranch, has been investigated by the subcommittee and a judicial panel in Antigua.

The subcommittee, after gaining access to bank records, found that "the money for both the down payment and the final payment for these weapons originated or passed through Klein's Spearhead account in the Banco-Aleman Danemeno in Panama City," the minority staff study said.

The staff study cited circumstantial evidence that some of the funds used by Mr. Klein to buy the weapons ultimately originated in Colombia, but it couldn't fully trace the flow of money through Panama due to "obfuscation and delay" by Panamanian officials.

Ana Lisa Mir, a spokeswoman at the Panamanian Embassy in Washington, declined to comment on the staff report.

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