Monday, April 14, 2008

Slaughterhouse Jive

When Juan Forero reports you really have to listen, this guy is a slick operative. I saw that he was reporting this morning on "Colombian Army Units Killing Peasants," and thought "Wow, maybe this will be a decent report." It's not.

You know how the bad apples spin carried the day during the Abu Ghraib revelations - well Forero and Inskeep are trying to pass off the same line on the long, sordid history of the Colombian military/paramilitaries atrocities (and the US role in creating and supporting them).

Here's Inskeep carefully enunciating his way through his morning script:
"In recent years the [Colombian] government appears to have made progress...Not for the first time though the government faces questions about its methods. Human rights groups say army units are under pressure to produce results, and that may explain why some rogue army units are accused of killing peasants, civilians..." Dang those rogue army units! If only they could use some of those refined graduates of SOA/WHINSEC.

Inskeep having set the table, Forero carries on with this theme. Here are some lowlights:
  • The war in Colombia "has been marked by atrocities, committed by rebels, by death squads, by soldiers - but little was known about what are called extrajudicial executions until now." Actually a lot has been known for a long time, and though the FARC commits atrocities, the overwhelming bulk of torture and killings have been carried out by the military and its allied paramilitaries.
  • There is "concern among reform-minded officials in the ministry of defense."
  • "The army's reliance on the body contributing to the problem"
  • "The defense minister has issued new rules of engagement...assigned consultants to combat units...and the attorney general's office is also prosecuting dozens of soldiers...
  • "...military officials say there's a command and control problem."
Not only does Forero decontextualize the history of the paramilitaries, but he pushes the argument that the Colombian government and military have cleaned house and are struggling with rogue elements who commit atrocities. Even a cursory look through the human rights records of the Colombian government show that that simply was a lie several years ago and continues to be a lie now.


Anonymous said...

This blog is great. Please keep the critiques coming! Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

Forero = CIA

Anonymous said...

between Juan Forero and Julie McCarthy, NPR listeners are given a really fucked up impression of what is going on in South America - Columbia and Venezuela in particular.