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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

At IBD: Colombia Has Earned Its Trade Pact

map via BBC

Investor's Business Daily has an excellent editorial today: Colombia Has Earned Its Trade Pact
After the March 1 strike against a FARC compound in Ecuador, Colombia's intelligence agencies immediately seized the pirate's trove of information from the computers of terrorist Raul Reyes and put it to work.

They found that FARC was more than a local bunch of jungle-dwelling drug-runners. It turned out to be a 21st-century terror operation whose global operations reached deep into Mexico, Ecuador, Cuba, Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

In some nations, FARC controlled drug routes and raised money. In others, it bought weapons of war. In still others, it exported Marxist subversion. It also had bigger ambitions to forge ties with North Korea, Iran and China.

With $300 million in sponsorship from Venezuela, it also had a bright future. If it hadn't been stopped dead by Colombia on the Ecuadorean frontier, it might have succeeded in all it was plotting.

FARC might have obtained enriched uranium, either to sell to other terrorists or to make a dirty bomb of its own. Computer correspondence shows that FARC offered millions for 50 kilograms of enriched uranium to one shady figure in Bogota.

Meanwhile, according to Colombia's El Espectador, Reyes made a secret trip to Romania to scope out sellers. With uranium in hand, FARC could have taken out a city, possibly one in the U.S. In 2000, FARC sought a $100 million loan from Libya's Muammar Qaddafi to purchase surface-to-air missiles.

Colombia's swift use of intelligence also may have contributed to the fall of Victor Bout, a Russian weapons trafficker whose arms sales to savage regimes made him known as "The Lord of War." He was not only a FARC quartermaster. He also supplied guns to Afghanistan's Taliban, al-Qaida in Iraq and the monstrous warlords who scourged western Africa in the 1990s.

Five days after Reyes' computer was confiscated, Bout somehow was lured out of his hiding place for a Drug Enforcement Administration sting. He now sits in a Bangkok jail.

American lawmen had access to information from Reyes' computers, and it is likely something there persuaded Bout that it was safe to go to Bangkok. Taking him out of circulation will cut off arms to rogue actors in war-plagued regions such as Africa, as well as save American troops' lives on overseas fronts.

Then there's Mexico. In the March 1 raid, the Colombian army blew away five Mexican nationals whom some believe were taking a FARC explosives course.

Only about 5% of the data in the FARC computers has been explored by Colombian experts, and further revelations are likely. But what already has been mined shows how much Colombia has contributed to America's security.
Its time to grant Colombia the trade pact. Where is Congress?


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At 5:28 PM, Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Amen! A-bloody-men!


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