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a plague o both your houses

Colombia: Another day, another gov’t human rights abuse: But this one is big.

The Colombian weekly magazine ‘Semana’ has today broken another big story. Those Spanish speakers amongst you should stop reading this, go here immediately and read the report, but as a quick resumé of Semana’s scoop:
  • Colombia’s official snoops, the “Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad” (Administrative Department of Security) normally known as DAS has been eavesdropping on anyone and everyone regarded as a ‘threat’.
  • The list includes opposition leaders, journalists critical of the government, members of the judiciary that have been heading cases against government officials, government functionaries and civil servants.
  • Just before a new head of DAS took up his post on January 22nd, mountains of documents were secretly destroyed by DAS. An anonymous whistleblower who works as a detective at DAS (obviously anonymous, as if his identity were revealed he could probably count his life expectancy in minutes) told Semana (via Ottotrans™):
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“We received the order to collect everything we had in several offices in the building and in external centres and take it to the Counterintelligence. For two days we collected portable hard drives, we changed computer hard drives, collected CD-ROMs, voice archives and confidential documents. I alone, not counting my colleagues, took two boxes full of these things.

“Of all the boxes that were taken to Counterintelligence, with documents, recordings and such, only one survived, which was taken out of the 11th floor on Wednesday afternoon. I don’t know what was left in it or where it was taken. I just know that everything else was destroyed.”

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  • But possibly the most damning and chilling aspect of the Semana report is the allegation, backed up by its anonymous sources, that DAS ran a network of information sales and would sell official intelligence to narcotraffickers, paramilitaries and guerrilla groups such as the FARC. In a country with an appalling record of extrajudicial killings, union leader asassinations and attacks on judicial bodies, this is an astonishing revelation (though it has to be said, hardly a surprise for those who have followed the rise and rise of Alvaro Uribe and his pseudo-democratic government).
Let’s see how much of a fuss is made of this story amongst English language media sources. Colour me cynical, but don’t hold your breath up there…….

UPDATE: Good English language site Colombia Reports has its take on the story here.

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