Imperial Pretexts


This article explains how we can account for the continuity of US counter-insurgency (CI) in post-Cold War Colombia. I make three main arguments in relation to this continuity. First, I argue that the US has considerable economic interests in South America which necessitates the preservation of “stability” geared to those interests. As part of this impulse to maintain stability, US CI has been employed in Colombia to pacify Colombia’s armed groups and progressive elements of civil society. Second, the US has a considerable economic and strategic interest in maintaining access to South American oil. Furthermore, the desire to maintain access to South American oil has increased as the US’s traditional oil suppliers in the Middle East have increasingly become potentially unstable following the two Gulf Wars. Third, I argue that the legacy of the CI ideology continues to effect the way in which insurgency is perceived by both Colombian and US planners, and as such contributes to the continuity in militarised solutions to Colombia’s problems. In sum, I identify three reasons for the continuity of US sponsored counterinsurgency in Colombia. These are related to US strategic and economic interests and a dominant ideology that has continued to function after the Cold War. I do not wish to argue that one of these areas is more important than the other, or indeed that these reasons provide an exhaustive set of causal explanations for US policy. I do think, however, that all of these factors feed into the US policy process and are the principal factors underlying US CI in Colombia. I start with an examination of US economic interests and their role in US intervention in post-Cold War Colombia.


Preserving regional stability to protect US economic interests


US intervention in Colombia has sought to stabilise a given set of social, economic and political arrangements that were perceived to be in its best interests. The principal means for this stabilisation continues to be the training and funding of the Colombian military to destroy the armed insurgents within Colombia’s borders, and to pacify unarmed progressive social forces using paramilitary forces. During the Cold War this policy was justified as a necessary response to the bipolar conflict whilst during the post-Cold War era the discourses switched to a pretext of a war on drugs and terrorism. Importantly, stability was not defined as the best arrangement for the majority of Colombia’s people — for example, inclusive democratic arrangements or land reform — but came to mean the best arrangement for insulating Colombia’s political and economic system from popular pressures and to ensuring the stability of the Colombian ruling class allied to the US imperial state.


In respect to the US pursuit of stability, William Robinson argues that this stabilisation of specific political and economic relations has both a national and an international dimension:


US foreign policy is aimed at assuring the stability of a given set of economic, social and political arrangements within each country in which the US intervenes, and in the international system as a whole. The stability of arrangements and relations which girder an international system in which the United States has enjoyed a dominant position is seen as essential to US interests, or “national security”. When these arrangements are threatened US policy attempts to undercut the threat.1


Robinson’s point in relation to the stabilisation of both national arrangements and the international system succinctly captures the regionalised considerations of US planners when pursuing stability in Colombia. That is, US intervention in Colombia cannot be separated from a wider set of regional US economic, strategic and political considerations that transcend conventional juridical definitions of sovereignty. As I now go on to show, the interlocking ties between US and Colombian capital have continued to necessitate the preservation of a stability geared towards the maintenance of a favourable investment climate, unhindered market access and the repatriation of profit by US-transnationals. This interwoven nature of the political economy of US and Latin American markets has been made clear by a number of US planners. For example, General Peter Pace, the former Commander in Chief of the US’s Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), which is responsible for implementing US security assistance programs throughout Latin America, argued that vital US national interests, which he defined as “those of broad, over-riding importance to the survival, safety and vitality of our nation,” included the maintenance of a stability geared towards the preservation of capitalist socio-economic relations and the continued and unhindered access to Latin American markets by US transnationals in the post-Cold War period. Pace explained that “our trade within the Americas represents approximately 46 percent of all US exports, and we expect this percentage to increase in the future”. He went on to explain that underlying US military intervention in Colombia was the need to maintain a “continued stability required for access to markets in the USSOUTHCOM AOR [area of responsibility], which is critical to the continued economic expansion and prosperity of the United States”. US security assistance to the Colombian military was necessary as any potential “loss of our Caribbean and Latin American markets would seriously damage the health of the US economy”.2


Similarly, the current Commander in Chief of USSOUTHCOM, General James T. Hill, echoed Pace’s earlier concerns when he stated that the “US conducts more than 360 billion dollars of annual trade with Latin America and the Caribbean, nearly as much as with the entire European Community”. These trade links would increase, he continued, and by the year 2010 “trade with Latin America is expected to exceed that with the European Economic Community and Japan combined.” Moreover, US-led neo-liberalism will further cement the integration of Latin America with US capital; “these links will only grow as we progress toward the President’s vision of a Free Trade Agreement of the Americas”. General Hill outlined the utility of US military training and aid with the US’s “Southern Command’s security cooperation activities” serving to expand US “influence, assure friends, and dissuade potential adversaries” whilst promoting a market stability “through training, equipping, and developing allied security force capabilities”. Importantly, Hill argued that “Southern Command will play a crucial role in developing the kinds of security forces that help provide the ability to govern throughout the region, and particularly in Colombia ”.3 Both Hill and Pace thus make clear that US security assistance, particularly to Colombia, serves to underwrite the US-led liberal international order through the preservation of market access for US transnationals (the principal agents of US capital in Colombia). The principal non-state threat to this form of neo-liberal stability in the South American region is the Colombian insurgency. Stability therefore requires the eradication of this threat. Marc Grossman, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs explained the logic very clearly when he stated that the Colombian insurgents “represent a danger to the $4.3 billion in direct U.S. investment in Colombia. They regularly attack U.S. interests, including the railway used by the Drummond Coal Mining facility and Occidental Petroleum’s stake in the Caño Limón oil pipeline”.4 Grossman’s point underscores the crucial role that economic interests play in driving US intervention in Colombia, and in particular US oil interests.



US oil interests in South America


Aside from the generic interest that the US has in maintaining access to Colombian markets, the preservation of US access to South American oil is a fundamental consideration underlying US intervention in Colombia. US oil consumption rose by 15 percent between 1990 and 1999.5 In charting US oil dependency the National Energy Report, authored in 2001 by US Vice President Dick Cheney, predicted that US reliance on foreign oil would continue to increase in the future. The report argued that “the share of US oil demand met by net imports is projected to increase from 52 percent in 2000 to 64 percent in 2020. By 2020, the oil for nearly two of every three gallons of our gasoline and heating oil could come from foreign countries”. Crucially, the report outlines the fact that the “sources of this imported oil have changed considerably over the last thirty years, with more of our imports coming from the Western Hemisphere. Despite progress in diversifying our oil supplies over the past two decades, the US and global economies remain vulnerable to a major disruption of oil supplies”.6 Tellingly, the report then recommended that the US should make


energy security a priority of our trade and foreign policy … The security of US energy supply is enhanced by several factors characterising our diplomatic relationships … These factors range from geographic proximity and free trade agreements to integrated pipeline networks, reciprocal energy-sector investments, shared security commitments, and, in all cases, long-term reliable supply relationships.7


As the report makes clear, the US has sought to diversify its strategic oil acquisition needs away from the Middle East, whilst calling for US energy security to become a priority of US foreign policy.8 Colombia is now the US’s seventh largest oil supplier and has discovered vast oil reserves within its territory.9 More importantly, however, the instability in Colombia threatens regional stability, and in particular Colombia’s neighbour Venezuela which is the US’s largest supplier of oil in the world. Paul D. Coverdell, a Republican Senator, explained the regional focus of US intervention in Colombia with the “destabilization of Colombia” directly affecting “bordering Venezuela, now generally regarded as our largest oil supplier. In fact, the oil picture in Latin America is strikingly similar to that of the Middle East, except that Colombia provides us more oil today than Kuwait did then. This crisis, like the one in Kuwait, threatens to spill over into many nations, all of which are allies”.10 Pace outlined the wider strategic considerations of US access to South American oil, and linked US intervention in Colombia with fears of regional instability generated by the FARC. He started by explaining how important South American oil is to the US by arguing that there is a “common misperception” that the US “is completely dependent on the Middle East” for oil, when in fact Venezuela provides “15% – 19 % of our imported oil in any given month”. Pace then went on to note that the “internal conflict in Colombia poses a direct threat to regional stability” and US oil interests, with “Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama” the “most vulnerable to destabilization due to Colombian insurgent activity along their borders”.11 As argued, the political economy of US oil acquisition has been gradually shifting away from Middle Eastern sources, towards a greater dependence on South American oil. Insurgent activity within Colombia thus not only threatens the economic interests of US oil transnationals within Colombia itself, but also represents a strategic threat to the US economy (which is heavily dependent on South American oil) as it destabilises the surrounding region both through conflict overspill, refugee flows and through their potential links to other insurgent forces in the region.


Unhindered access to South American oil has become an even more pressing concern for US planners after the September 11th attacks and the continuing instability generated by the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq. The US Ambassador to Colombia, Anne Patterson, explained that “after September 11, the issue of oil security has become a priority for the United States”, especially as the “traditional oil sources for the United States” in the Middle East have become even “less secure”. By sourcing US energy needs from Colombia, which “after Mexico and Venezuela” is “the most important oil country in the region”, the US would have “a small margin to work with” in the face of a crisis and could “avoid [oil] price speculation”.12


The centrality of US oil concerns in Colombia has been illustrated clearly with the Bush administration’s request for $98 million for a specially trained Colombian military CI brigade as part of the ARI. Unlike the more generic Colombian CI brigades, this brigade will be devoted solely to protecting the US multinational Occidental Petroleum’s 500-mile long Cano Limon oil pipeline in Colombia.13 US Secretary of State Colin Powell explained that the money will be used to “train and equip two brigades of the Colombian armed forces to protect the pipeline” to prevent rebel attacks which are “depriving us of a source of petroleum”.14 Ambassador Patterson went on to explain that although this money was not provided under the pretext of a war on drugs ”it is something that we must do” because it is “important for the future of the country, for our oil sources and for the confidence of our investors”.15


This new security arrangement between the US, Colombian CI brigades and US oil transnationals essentially makes official what has been a longstanding relationship. In December 1998, for example, US mercenaries working for the US security company Airscan (which has managed the protection of Occidental Petroleum’s pipelines in Colombia since 1997) were involved in planning a Colombian military attack on an alleged FARC column near the community of Santa Domingo in Colombia’s Arauca region. During the attack a Colombian air force helicopter dropped a bomb on the community; it killed eighteen civilians, including nine children (no FARC rebels were killed).16 In a testimony to Colombian investigators of the incident, the helicopter pilots stated that the operations were planned at Occidental’s facilities.17 Similarly, the European Parliament passed a resolution in 1998 condemning British Petroleum for financing paramilitaries in Colombia to protect its oil pipelines.18


The special pipeline CI brigade will thus formalise this longstanding and intimate relationship, and will use the so-called “counter-narcotics” brigades for the protection of US economic interests. Bush himself made this clear when he stated in 2003 that “the budget will extend the reach of counter-narcotics brigades in southern Colombia while beginning training of new units to protect the country’s economic lifeline, an oil pipeline. In 2001, Colombia was the source of about two percent of US oil imports, creating a mutual interest in protecting this economic asset”.19 In sum, the destabilising presence of the FARC and the ELN combined with their bombings of the oil pipelines of the large oil transnationals has necessitated the elimination of these groups so as to guarantee a relatively unhindered source of non-Middle Eastern oil. Alongside these economic and strategic interests the CI ideology also continues to function.


The CI discourse


The continued existence of a CI ideology also helps to explain the continuity of the US-backed CI war in contemporary Colombia, and in particular the reasons why so many civilians continue to be targeted by US-backed paramilitary forces. Throughout the Cold War a CI ideology was instrumental in militarising the relations between Latin American armed forces and civil society. Subversion became intimately linked to progressive demands for social, economic and political change. Concomitantly, those organisations typically at the forefront of change — trade unions, non governmental and community organisations, human rights workers, civic leaders and so on — became legitimate targets of state terror principally through the use of paramilitary forces so as to distance “official” state policy from “unofficial” state practices.


As documented by Human Rights Watch, the US reorganisation of Colombian military networks in 1991 under Order 200-05/91 further incorporated Colombia’s paramilitary networks within the prevailing security architecture.20 This in turn represents the most significant written evidence for the continued efficacy of a CI strategy predicated upon clandestine state terrorism during the post-Cold War period. Implicit within this pervasive strategy has been the continued existence of the CI ideology, which has continued to construct social relations between the Colombian state and certain sections of civil society in particular ways. The evidence for this comes not only from the continuity of the targeting of progressive social forces by paramilitaries but also from the designation of these social forces as legitimate targets within official ideology itself.


For example, in 2002 General Carlos Ospina, the Commander of the Colombian Army drew an equation between criticism of the Colombian militaries human rights record and support for the FARC: “there’s a coincidence of what the FARC say and what these guys [the human rights groups] say. I’m not accusing anyone, but there’s a nice coincidence”.21 Similarly, his colleague, Brigadier General José Arturo Camelo, head of the Colombian Military Penal Justice division, delivered a speech in 2002 at a conference in Washington hosted by the US Army. In it he stated that human rights NGOs were carrying out a “judicial war” against the military and denounced these organizations as “friends of the subversives” and part of a strategy coordinated by the guerrillas.22 Pedro Juan Moreno, Security and Intelligence Advisor to President Uribe explicitly stated both that NGOs were legitimate targets of Colombian military intelligence and that they acted as front organisations for insurgent groups. Moreno argued that “Intelligence also has to be carried out on NGOs, because they are the ones that have damaged this country … [S]ubversive groups also work with masks, they work sheltered in those organizations.”23 Fernando Londoño, Uribe’s Minister of Interior and Justice, even equated environmentalism with subversion and argued that there continued to exist an international communist conspiracy to undermine the Colombian military through environmental politics:


Colombia is the victim of an international conspiracy in which environmentalists and communists participate. … [T]his diabolical conspiracy is also carried out when members of the armed forces are brought to court without any proof or evidence. … [P]olitical scientists tell us that communism is dead, but the communists are not and they continue to have their views and their will to fracture contemporary society. Frequently they dress in green, so they are the Green parties … they all come together to figure out where they are going to hit and they painfully hit the prestige and the livelihood of Colombians.24



Most tellingly, however, was a recent speech by Colombian President Uribe before Senior members of Colombia’s armed forces who were gathered for the inauguration of Colombia’s new Air Force General, Edgar Lésmez. He argued that “when terrorists start feeling weak, they immediately send their spokesmen to talk about human rights”. He distinguished between “respectable” human rights groups (but notably failed to specify the criteria for respectability or identify which groups he had in mind) and other groups who were “political agitators in the service of terrorism, cowards who wrap themselves in the banner of human rights, in order to win back for Colombian terrorism the space which the armed forces and the public have taken from it”.25


We see then a very clear continuity of a CI ideology at the level of the Colombian state that continues to equate subversion with broad swathes of democratic activity and civil society organisations. Alongside the continuity of this ideology has been the continuing repression directed toward those sectors deemed “subversive”. For example, in 2002 over 8000 political assassinations were committed in Colombia, with 80 percent of these murders committed by paramilitary groups. Three out of four trade union activists murdered worldwide are killed by the Colombian paramilitaries (almost 370 between 2001-2002),26 whilst 2.7 million civilians have been forcibly displaced from their homes. According to the UN, lecturers and teachers are “among the workers most often affected by killings, threats and violence-related displacement.”27 Paramilitary groups also regularly target human rights activists, indigenous leaders, and community activists.28 The CI ideology thus continues to construct social relations between the Colombian state and civil society organisations in particular ways. In particular the CI ideology continues to function so as to justify repression directed against progressive sectors of Colombian society that are at the forefront of both resisting the imposition of US-led neo-liberal policy reforms, and raising awareness of the human rights implications of US-backed Colombian state terrorism.


Past as present


During the Cold War there was a mixture of interests and considerations that drove US intervention in Colombia and, despite declarations to the contrary, these interests have remained largely unchanged. For example, US access to South American oil was a critical consideration at the very beginning of the US’s CI assistance in the early 1960s. Colombia was one of the largest markets in South America for US direct foreign investment, which by 1959 was already concentrated in the fossil fuel industry (the oil industry accounted for over 50 percent of all US investment in Colombia by 1959).29 Throughout the Cold War, US planners also consistently feared the instability generated by the existence of the FARC and the threat the insurgency posed to capitalist socio-economic relations in Colombia. For example, in 1959 the US State Department concluded that “it would be difficult to make the finding of present Communist danger in the Colombian guerrilla situation”; however, “the continuance of unsettled conditions in Colombia contributes to Communist objectives” and threatens the “establishment of a pro-US, free enterprise democracy”.30 In a candid statement that shows the symbolic threat that the insurgency posed to wider US interests, and in what could almost be a policy declaration in relation to contemporary US policy (albeit without the Cold War anti-communism) the US State Department declared in 1964 that “one of our principal objectives [is] the elimination of the potential for subversive insurgency inherent in the continued existence of active bandit groups, guerilla bands, and communist dominated ‘enclaves’” in Colombia’s south.31 Similarly, in relation to US strategic interests the US Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations, US Colonel Edward Lansdale, argued in 1960 for US CI assistance for the Colombian military so as to “correct the situation of political insurrection” in Colombia: a “place so vital to our own national security” because of its proximity to “the [Panama] Canal Zone”.32 Echoing Lansdale’s declaration in 2000, Pace argued that the US had an interest in eliminating the FARC as the US needs to maintain its freedom of access to the Panama Canal: “of particular concern is continued unencumbered access to the Panama Canal — a strategic choke point and line of communication that, if closed, would have a serious impact on world trade…”33


In short, contemporary US interests and considerations underlying US policy in Colombia have remained remarkably similar. These continue to be the defence of pro-US “free enterprise” capitalist democracies against internal threats; the continued maintenance of US access to South American oil and markets; and the destruction of the actual and symbolic potential of countervailing social forces. Importantly, accompanying the continuity of these interests has been the continuity of the principal mechanism considered to be the best way of attaining these objectives: US-sponsored CI. Conversely, a major discontinuity has been the pretexts employed to justify the continued US funding of the Colombian military. As argued throughout this thesis, the pretexts have switched from Cold War anti-communism to a new “war on drugs” and a “war on terror” in the post-Cold War era. Why did the US change the discourses and why employ these discourses in the first place?


Selling US intervention: the institutional history of the “ethical” pretext


It is clear that the US has continued to pursue a strategy of CI in Colombia throughout the post-Cold War period. This strategy has had devastating consequences for human security in Colombia. Alongside the continuity of this policy has been a discontinuity in the pretexts surrounding US intervention. Why is this? First and most obviously, the end of the Cold War affected the ways in which foreign intervention on the part of the US could be “sold” to both its own domestic populace and to international public opinion. Prior to the ending of the Cold War official US state propaganda agencies such as the US Office of Public Diplomacy (OPD) were set up to manage public perceptions of US policy and to sell US intervention in Latin America to both domestic and international audiences.34 They were particularly concerned in producing consent for the Reagan administration’s interventions in Central America against the El Salvadoran insurgents and the Sandinista government (FSLN) in Nicaragua. Importantly, the OPD concluded that anti-communism was becoming an increasingly ineffective pretext to justify US intervention in Latin America prior to the ending of the Cold War. One OPD memo argued that new propaganda themes needed to be developed so as to “stress and exploit the negative characteristics of our adversaries”.35 These themes were identified in a key OPD memo which gives an insight into the evolution of US propaganda themes and the development of new themes prior to the ending of the Cold War. The memo outlines a series of “supporting perceptions” that needed to be stressed so as to ease the Administration’s goal of portraying aid to the Nicaraguan contras as a “vital national interest of the United States”.36 These supporting perceptions were that the “FSLN is racist and represses human rights,” the ”FSLN is involved in U.S. drug problem[s]” and “the FSLN are linked to worldwide terrorism”.37 These themes were identified using public opinion surveys “to see what turns Americans against the Sandinistas” and thus produce consent for US intervention.38


The internal documentation in relation to the OPDs propaganda themes gives a crucial insight into the evolution of US strategy in relation to the popular portrayal of its interventions in Latin America. In relation to Colombia and the use of the war on drugs ideology as a pretext, John Waghelstein, a leading US CI specialist, explained the utility of stressing drugs to sell US intervention to appropriate audiences. He argued that it allows a “melding in the American public’s mind and in Congress of this connection [leading] to the necessary support to counter the guerrilla/narcotics terrorists in this hemisphere”. With the linkage between guerrillas and drugs, “Congress would find it difficult to stand in the way of supporting our allies with the training, advice and security assistance necessary to do the job” of CI whilst those “church and academic groups” who have “slavishly supported insurgency in Latin America” would “find themselves on the wrong side of the moral issue”. Most importantly the US would “have the unassailable moral position from which to launch a concerted offensive effort using Department of Defense (DOD) and non-DOD assets”.39 This narco-guerrilla ideology was also used by public relations firms employed by the Colombian state itself.


Opinion polls conducted in 1987 found that seventy six percent of all Americans thought that the Colombian government was corrupt and an abuser of human rights, and eighty percent wanted sanctions imposed upon it. To counter this perception and to make it easier to receive US military aid, the Colombian state employed the services of one of America’s largest PR companies, the Sawyer/Miller Group.40 The PR specialists’ job was to transform the perceptions of the Colombian state as a corrupt and brutal abuser of human rights into a staunch ally of the US in its so-called “war on drugs”. David Meszaros, the director of Sawyer/Miller’s Colombia account explained that “the main mission is to educate the American media about Colombia, get good coverage, and nurture contacts with journalists, columnists, and think tanks. The message is that there are ‘bad’ and ‘good’ people in Colombia and that the government is the good guy.”41 Presumably, the “bad” people were the Colombian insurgents.


In fostering these perceptions the Sawyer/Miller group conducted opinion poll surveys and focus group sessions to evaluate public opinion. In 1991 alone, Colombia gave over $3.1 million to an advertising campaign. The campaign placed newspaper adds and TV commercials aimed at American policymakers in Washington. The ads all had a similar theme. They asked the American people to remember the bravery of the Colombian military, stressed that the Colombian military was engaged in a war against drugs, and attempted to change perceptions of Colombia from being a drug supplier to the US as drug consumer.42 Measuring the efficacy of the campaign is hard due to the absence of opinion polling immediately after the cessation of the campaign itself. What is clear, however, is that US military aid has continued throughout the post-Cold War era, and popular perceptions of the Colombian state include the belief that it is now part of the US’s war on drugs and terror and that it is a “victim” of narco-guerrilla terrorism. Thus public relations, and the management of popular perceptions of international policy, are crucial to provide the needed legitimacy to sell US intervention both to domestic and international audiences. The internal documentation of the “narco-guerrilla” ideology points to its conscious and clear development as a way of convincing both US domestic and international audiences of the continued necessity for US intervention.


This ideology — combined with the newly emergent counter-terror ideology — provides a two-for-one bonus for US planners. First it frames US post-Cold War intervention as ethically correct whilst the targets of US intervention continued to be socially portrayed as beyond the pale (and thus legitimate targets). Second, it continues to allow for a militarised US engagement as both drugs and terrorism are popularly portrayed to be dire threats to US national security interests. In this way the drug war and terror war discourses allow for the continuity of US military funding to the Colombian militarily who are in turn funded and trained to defend core US interests.


1 William Robinson, Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p.17. Authors emphasis.

2 Peter Pace, Advance Questions for Lieutenant General Peter Pace. Defense Reforms. United States Senate Committee on Armed Services. 2000.

3 James T. Hill, Posture Statement, US Southern Command, House Armed Services Committee, March 12, 2003.

4 Marc Grossman, Testimony of Ambassador Marc Grossman Before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. April 10, 2002.

5 Michael T. Klare, ‘Shadowplay — The Reason Behind The Reason For $1.6 Billion Colombian Aid Package’, Pacific News Service, April 4th, 2000.

6 National Energy Policy Development Group, National Energy Policy, May 21, 2001. p.27.

7 National Energy Policy Development Group, National Energy Policy, May 21, 2001. p.130.

8 For an excellent overview of the relationship between resource acquisition and US foreign policy see Michael Klare, Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict (New York: Owl

Books, reprint edition 2002).

9 Donald E, Schulz, The United States and Latin America: Shaping an Elusive Future (Carlisle PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2000), p.3.

10 Washington Post. 10 April 2000.

11 Peter Pace, Advance Questions for Lieutenant General Peter Pace. Defense Reforms. United States Senate Committee on Armed Services. 2000.

12 El Tiempo. 10 February, 2002.

13 Christian Science Monitor. 5 March 2002.

14 House Appropriations Committee. Secretary of State Colin Powell before the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, February 13, 2002.

15 El Tiempo. 10 February, 2002. It is not entirely clear what Patterson means by ‘our investors’.

16 Rainforest Action Network, ‘Oxy’s Cozy Relationship With Colombian Military Turns Fatal’, June 25, 2001.

17 Stratfor, ‘U.S. Pressures Colombia Over Human Rights Violations’, January 15th, 2003. .

18 Human Rights Watch, Corporations and Human Rights, undated. .

19 George Bush, President’s Budget Message on Andean Counterdrug Initiative, Washington, US Department of State, 04 February 2002. .

20 Human Rights Watch / Americas Human Rights Watch Arms Project, Colombia’s Killer Networks: the Military-Paramilitary Partnership and the United States (London: Human Rights Watch, 1996).

21 Pamela Hess, ‘New Colombian Soldiers to Join Fight’, UPI, (Washington: January 28, 2003).

22 Human Rights Watch, Letter to President Álvaro Uribe Vélez (Washington: Human Rights Watch, April 21, 2003).

23 Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, ‘Despedida’, El Espectador (Bogotá, Colombia: November 24, 2002), . Translated by Ingrid Vaicius.

24Fernando Londoño, “Ministro del Interior acusa a ecologistas de ‘complot mundial’,” EcoNoticias (July 16, 2002) . Translated by Ingrid Vaicius.

25 Uribe quoted in Justin Podur, ‘Uribe’s Desperate Squeals. When Terrorists Talk of Human Rights’. Counterpunch, September 20, 2003. .

26 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Colombia: Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights, 2003.

27 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Report 2000, February 8, 2001.

28 State Department. Human Rights Report 2000. Colombia, February 26, 2001.

29 Stephen J. Randall, Colombia and the United States: Hegemony and Interdependence (Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1992), p.241.

30 Mr. Rubottom, Subject: President Lleras’ Appeal For Aid In Suppressing Colombian Guerrilla Warfare Activities, July 21, 1959.

31 Robert W. Adams, Memorandum to Mr Mann, Subject: Helicopters for Colombia, May 14 1964. http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/colombia/lazoadams14may1964a.jpg; My emphasis.

32 US Department of State, Preliminary Report, Colombia Survey Team, Colonel Lansdale, February 23, 1960.

33 Peter Pace, Advance Questions for Lieutenant General Peter Pace. Defense Reforms. United States Senate Committee on Armed Services. 2000. http://www.senate.gov/~armed_services/statemnt/2000/000906pp.pdf 

34 On the role of the Office of Public Diplomacy and its use to sell US intervention in Latin America see the excellent National Security Archive, Public Diplomacy and Covert Propaganda: the Declassified Record of Ambassador Otto Reich, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB40/; See also my Gluing the Hats on: Power, Agency and Reagan’s Office of Public Diplomacy http://www.aqnt98.dsl.pipex.com/hats.htm.

35 Public Diplomacy Strategy Paper. May 1983, p. 11. National Security Archive, Public Diplomacy and Covert Propaganda: the Declassified Record of Ambassador Otto Reich, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB40/

36 Public Diplomacy Action Plan: Support for the White House Educational Campaign. 12 March 12, 1985, p. 1.http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB40/00934.pdf.

37 Public Diplomacy Action Plan: Support for the White House Educational Campaign. 12 March 12, 1985, p. 1.

38 Public Diplomacy Action Plan: Support for the White House Educational Campaign. 12 March 12, 1985, p. 4.

39 John Waghelstein, in Military Review, February, 1987.

40 John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (Monroe: Common Courage Press, 1995), pp.143-148.

41 R.S. Zaharna & Juan Cristobal Villalobos, ‘A Public Relations Tour of Embassy Row: The Latin Diplomatic Experience’, Public Relations Quarterly, 45 (2000), pp. 33-37.

42 John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (Monroe: Common Courage Press, 1995), pp.143-148.

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