DEA Implicated in Deal With Terrorists 

DEA Implicated in Deal With Terrorists 
Posted by FoM on October 20, 2000 at 15:34:59 PT
By Gerardo Reyes, El Nuevo Herald 
Source: Miami Herald
In a desperate effort to trap Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, the governments of the United States and Colombia allied themselves to a fearful criminal organization that was responsible for the deaths of dozens of Escobar's associates and friends in 1993, according to testimony and documents obtained by El Nuevo Herald.A former member of the organization -- known as Los Pepes, or People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar -- said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration turned a blind eye to the group's activities. 
He also asserted that some of the group's members kept in direct contact with DEA agent Javier Peña, who worked in Medellín.Peña was the DEA's liaison with the National Police's Search Bloc, a unit whose sole mission was to track down Escobar. Today he is deputy director of the DEA's bureau in Colombia.Until his death in December 1993 at the age of 44, Escobar led Colombia's notorious Medellín Cartel.``The Americans covered their eyes to keep from seeing what Los Pepes did, but they knew exactly what was happening,'' said the source, who asked to be identified only as ``Rubén.''``In the end, we had a common enemy,'' he said.United States law forbids government agencies to work hand-in-hand with illegal groups, much less if they are involved in the commission of violent crimes.Organized in February 1993, Los Pepes were funded by the Cali Cartel, paramilitary groups, a legion of relatives and friends of Escobar's victims -- even associates of Escobar who turned against their boss to save their own skins.``The DEA has never compromised itself deliberately and does not condone the actions of paramilitary or terrorist organizations,'' said DEA spokesman Michael Chapman in a written statement from Washington.``However, the gathering of information about the activities of drug-trafficking organizations such as Los Pepes is one of the DEA's key roles,'' he wrote.According to official documents and contemporary testimony, Los Pepes were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people, among them Escobar's relatives, lawyers and lieutenants.``Nobody has finished counting the dead, but I believe that they numbered -- on the average -- six a day, for almost one year,'' Rubén said.Los Pepes were under the command of brothers Fidel and Carlos Castaño Gil, founders of the paramilitary movement in Colombia. They declared war on Escobar in response to the persecution he unleashed on them and their friends from La Catedral prison.Escobar, who surrendered to the government in June 1991, had continued to direct the cartel's activities from La Catedral, a minimum-security institution in the city of Envigado. He escaped in July 1992, after the authorities announced they would transfer him to a more secure prison.Fidel died in a gunfight in September 1994. Carlos today is the leader of Colombia's paramilitary groups, which have been vigorously condemned by Washington because of the massacres committed during their private war against the leftist guerrillas.According to one of Escobar's lawyers, the Castaño brothers and other members of Los Pepes had unrestricted access to the Carlos Holguín School in Medellín, headquarters of the National Police's Search Bloc.``It was as if they were members of the Search Bloc,'' the lawyer said. ``Right there, in the same bunker, slept Peña, the DEA agent.''As a token of appreciation, the American Embassy gave a visa to ``Don Berna,'' one of the most active members of Los Pepes, to come to the United States in 1994 and watch the World Cup Soccer games being played in Los Angeles, Ruben said.Don Berna had worked as a bodyguard for Fernando Galeano, an Escobar associate who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in July 1992 on orders from Escobar.In its written statement to El Nuevo Herald, the DEA made no reference to the visa granted to Don Berna, who is accused of leading a band of mercenaries calling itself Las Terrazas (The Terraces), based in Medellín.The DEA's spokesman said that, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, agents of that agency and other U.S. government agencies ``worked proudly with the Colombian police to combat the powerful cartels.''Col. Oscar Naranjo, who directed the Colombian police's intelligence services during the search for Escobar, said that ``a direct channel of communications existed between the police and Los Pepes'' and that the American antidrug agencies knew of its existence and took advantage of it.However, Naranjo denied being in complicity with Los Pepes.For almost all of 1993, none of the leaders of Los Pepes was arrested, even though the government offered a rich reward for information leading to their capture. At least on one occasion, the then Attorney General, Gustavo de Greiff, voiced puzzlement over the impunity with which the mercenaries operated.``It seems to me something odd is going on,'' De Greiff said in October 1993. His office offered protection to Escobar's relatives.Before Los Pepes came onto the scene, the Cali Cartel worked with the intelligence services of the administrations of presidents Virgilio Barco (1986-1990) and César Gaviria (1990-1994) in the search for Escobar.Their collaboration was so close that the cartel would ask the president's brother, Jorge Barco, to deliver information to the intelligence services, according to prosecution documents obtained by El Nuevo Herald.In a sworn statement, the head of the Cali Cartel, Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, identified the president's brother as an intermediary betwen the cartel and the government. In the statement, Rodríguez told how his organization would warn the authorities about Escobar's attempts on the lives of politicians, journalists and police officers.Escobar was killed by police while trying to escape over the rooftops in the Los Olivos neighborhood of Medellín, on Dec. 2, 1993. He died barefoot, a pistol in his hand.Part IIThe Cali Cartel, The Government and The DEA Band Against Pablo Escobar:In the war against Pablo Escobar, all was fair, even alliances with foes.For years, the antidrug agencies of Colombia and (indirectly) the United States depended in good part on the tips provided by the Cali drug cartel and the accurate blows inflicted by Los Pepes (People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar) on the leader of the Medellín Cartel, according to documents and testimony obtained by El Nuevo Herald.That fact was hard to swallow, however.In April 1999, the head of the Cali Cartel, Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, expressed in his own words what neither government had dared to admit.Rodríguez, who is serving a sentence for drug trafficking, told the Colombian Attorney General that, during the search for Pablo Escobar, ``the high authorities always were aware that it was us -- and no one else -- who gathered and placed at their disposal all this valuable information, as well as some informers who occasionally were utilized by them.''By ``high authorities,'' Rodríguez meant presidents Virgilio Barco (1986-90) and César Gaviria (1990-94).``On a specific occasion, and so as not to compromise the chiefs of the Army and the police, we had to appeal to a brother of the late President Virgilio Barco, named Jorge Barco,'' Rodríguez said.According to Rodríguez, Jorge Barco met with him and was given ``irrefutable evidence'' of events going on in Colombia.``Being a righteous person, he was enormously surprised and after securing documentation . . . he met with his brother, President Barco,'' Rodríguez said.From that day on, the government tuned its radio receivers to the Cali Cartel's frequencies, Rodríguez said, and the members of that organization were given a secret password so they could communicate with the director of the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), Gen. Miguel Maza Márquez.Their code name: Los Canarios -- The Canaries.El Nuevo Herald has been unable to obtain comment from Jorge Barco. Maza Márquez has denied any strategic ties with the Cali Cartel in other instances where his name has been mentioned.According to Rodríguez, the confidential information the Cali Cartel shared with the government lasted until early December 1993, when the reason for their concern came to an end.Pablo Escobar was gunned down by police Dec. 2, 1993.Aided by operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency and other American agents, members of the National Police's Search Bloc located the drug lord in a house in a Medellín neighborhood by tracing his phone conversations with his son, Juan Pablo.To avoid leaks, only four agents were sent in. Two of them kicked down the front door and shot dead Escobar's bodyguard, Alvaro de Jesús Agudelo, nicknamed ``El Limón,'' The Lemon.As Escobar slipped out through a third-floor window, he was shot in an arm and fell on a nearby roof, wounded. The police don't rule out that, as Escobar lay on the roof, one of the agents shot him dead.``There was so much excitement that that could have happened,'' said Col. Oscar Naranjo, who directed the police department's intelligence service at that time.Years later, the Cali Cartel's accountant, Guillermo Pallomari, told a Miami prosecutor that when Miguel Rodríguez was told by phone that Escobar was dead he burst into tears of joy and immediately phoned Attorney General Gustavo de Greiff to tell him the news.Pallomari, a computers expert now in the U.S. witness-protection system, had designed a data base in Cali that tracked down Escobar's movements and telephone conversations. The cartel shared that information with the Colombian government, he said.In a long letter to Miami prosecutor Bill Pearson, which was submitted as evidence in a trial against members of the Cali Cartel, the Chilean-born accountant provided details about the information network.``It's important for you to know that the President of Colombia himself, Dr. Gaviria, knew about the collaboration [provided by the Cali Cartel] to eradicate the evil known as Pablo Escobar,'' Pallomari wrote.The alliance between the Cali Cartel, Los Pepes and the antidrug agencies of Colombia and the United States cost the latter dearly.While the cartel's chieftains posed as fighters against drug-funded terrorism and enjoyed a certain freedom of action as a result of their alliance with law-enforcement agencies, their own drug-related profits soared.After the war against Escobar ended, yesterday's allies became the new enemies.Part IIILos Pepes Were a Result of Escobar's Greed:Brothers Miguel and Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela were not alone in their war against fellow drug trafficker Pablo Escobar.From La Catedral prison, where he was interned after his surrender in June 1991, Escobar created his own enemies.The drug lord decided to hound his partners in drug trafficking for not coming up with the ever-growing sums of money he demanded for his war against the Colombian government.After that, the Rodríguez brothers started to get calls from Escobar associates seeking protection and revenge.A bloody event was key to the formation of Los Pepes (People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar). On July 4, 1992, from his cell in La Catedral, Escobar ordered the assassination of Fernando Galeano and Gerardo Moncada, drug traffickers who were at large and were well liked by other members of the Medellín Cartel.According to testimony from self-confesed drug trafficker Luis Ramírez, Escobar ordered the assassinations after hearing that Galeano and Moncada had hidden $20 million that they were supposed to pay to Escobar.``People think that Pablo Escobar was a narco so devoted to his work that he would sit down to plan a route, a load, to make contacts and all that,'' said a former associate of Los Pepes identified only as Rubén.``But that was a myth,'' the man said. ``Escobar was a drone who only collected and extorted. He would phone the narcos to demand their contributions under a condition they couldn't ignore: `Pay up or die.' ''Many died but others survived and joined forces to fight Escobar, each for personal reasons.Among those most threatened by Escobar were the brothers Fidel and Carlos Castaño, veteran guerrilla fighters in the areas of Urabá and Magdalena Medio. Summoned by Escobar to the prison one day, they had to turn back when the road was closed by a landslide. Later they learned they had been slated for assassination in an ambush at the prison, a source told El Nuevo Herald.After learning about the deaths of their friends Galeano and Moncada, the Castaño brothers met with the leaders of the Cali Cartel and agreed to create a front that would cut Escobar's financial sources, destroy his properties and harass his people.The group would be bankrolled by its own members, Ruben said. According to testimony delivered in court, the grandson of a former president of Colombia donated money to the group after learning that his brother was murdered on orders from Escobar.Los Pepes found another source of money: Intimidated by Los Pepes' threats, several of Escobar's own associates dug into their pockets for contributions.In the process, it was inevitable that Los Pepes would rub elbows with Colombian government and American agents who also were keeping track of Escobar's activities.``It was a cordial, mutually convenient relationship. Information was shared,'' Rubén said.``They knew that we could reach Escobar's people more quickly to squeeze them and give them an ultimatum: `If you're with him, you're against us,' '' he said.The wave of reprisals began in late January 1993. Los Pepes set off car bombs outside the homes of three of Escobar's relatives. In early February, they set fire to the country estate where Escobar kept original Picassos and Dalis. On Feb. 17, they torched a warehouse where Escobar kept an expensive collection of antique cars.Until that time -- and so long as the targets were objects, not humans -- many Colombians sympathized discreetly with Los Pepes' actions.But the thirst for vengeance raised the violence to new levels. In less than two months, four of Escobar's lawyers and one architect were murdered. Los Pepes killed Escobar's principal attorney, Guido Parra.``I never agreed with that,'' Rubén said. ``The lawyers would have been more useful to Los Pepes alive than dead, because they're the ones who knew where the money was.''NewsHawk: Dave in FloridaSource: Miami Herald (FL)Author: Gerardo Reyes, El Nuevo Herald Published: Friday, October 20, 2000Copyright: 2000 The Miami HeraldContact: heralded herald.comAddress: One Herald Plaza, Miami FL 33132-1693Fax: (305) 376-8950Website: DEA Archives: Articles - DEA:
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Comment #5 posted by Van Roberts on August 24, 2001 at 10:36:47 PT
How Deep Does Corruption run?
In one of your "Post a comment" Sections, I saw the question "How deep does corruption go?" The answer to that is, as deep as it wants. It's not possible to tell whether or not corruption effects a certain number of people, people with a certain ethnic origin, etc... Though runs rampant through our governments and our society, it is not a disease who some are immune to. If someone is given enough power, money, or sex, they will become corrupt. There are few people who really care about other people enough to resist corruption.
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Comment #4 posted by unnamed source on March 01, 2001 at 18:43:39 PT:
Pablo Escobar
I can provide names, dates, places, and times for proving that Pablo was killed by United States Army Ranger snipers operating with a "Special Circumstances Discharge". He was shot from a 14th floor building from 1250 yards away with a Dakota Longbow Tactical .338 sniper rifle. I have pictures from the balcony taken right before he was killed. The first shot went through his arm. he fell and he was shot a 2nd time through the back as he lay there. Then the Colombian police shot him behind the ear as he lay there dead. This is fact seen with my own eyes. 
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Comment #3 posted by Sylvia María Valls on February 16, 2001 at 08:28:51 PT:
related news
For the larger story concerning U.S. government involvement in the so-called war on drugs visit and write Michael C. Ruppert to send you the Bush-Cheney Drug Empire sead story in the October 24, 2000 issue of ´´From the Wilderness´´ (mruppert 
The Dick Cheney Data Dump
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on October 23, 2000 at 07:52:32 PT:
From the sewers to the White House
This is nothing new. The Navy collaborated with La Cosa Nostra during World War Two to get information from the Mob about Sicilian ports prior to the Allied invasion. In return, they turned a blind eye to Lucky Luciano's dope dealing. The CIA did the same thing to Laotian General Vang Pao's involvement in the heroin trade in South East Asia. Helped pay for a lot of retirements. Even when they KNEW that GI's had been targeted.And as to what happened in Mena, Arkansas in the 1980's when Billy Boy was Guv'nah, that in itself is a tale too wild and crazy to be believed, and has never been truly investigated. Because if it were, there wouldn't be enough lamposts and rope to go around. The DrugWar's corruption leads a trail of slime from nearly every corner of the planet, and up to the White House. And the perpet-traitors of this corruption piously and unctuously intone their high moral sounding condemnation of illicit drug use...while stuffing their pockets from the proceeds, and clamboring for more laws to restrict freedoms to 'combat' this artificial menace.
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Comment #1 posted by mungojelly on October 22, 2000 at 05:46:07 PT:
How deep does the corruption go?
I think this is a question we should start seriously asking ourselves (and our government): Just how deep does the corruption go? 
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