Friday, July 9, 2010

Real News references Colombian "false positives" scandal

On the Real News, Paul Jay interviewed Forrest Hylton about Santos victory in recent Colombian elections. The video caught my eye because it mentions the "false positives" scandal. Here are the relevant excerpts from the transcript:

HYLTON: Santos is somebody who has intimate knowledge of Washington and very numerous high-level contacts in Pentagon and State. So, insofar as it will affect US-Colombian relations, it's likely to make them only stronger. On the other hand, the false positives scandal for which Santos is in part responsible—.

JAY: False positives is when they dressed up ordinary people to look like FARC so they could collect the bounty. And they didn't just dress them up: they killed them and then dressed them up.

HYLTON: They killed them and dressed them up. And there were considerable incentives within the armed forces to do this in order to inflate the body count to make the Colombian army look good. Santos was in charge when much of this took place. And it's possible that the International Criminal Court will have its eye on some of these cases—and certainly the relatives of the victims are fighting to make sure that the International Criminal Court does have its eye on these cases. If this becomes too much of a scandal or a problem for the Santos administration, it's possible that the United States would want to take some distance, although that could be difficult given that the United States was the number-one backer of the Colombian army when Santos was minister of defense.

(Excerpts end.) It reminds me of the situation when there was a bounty offered to people who would round up "Taliban" in Afghanistan, if I remember correctly from Sy Hersh's _Chain of Command_. There were also false positives in that situation, because the people doing the rounding had a profit motive to identify more people. My understanding is that some of the false positives were put in Guantanamo.

Here is the video:

More at The Real News

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