Notes from Costa Rica U.S. military aid: the Pentagon’s role keeps growing
May 102006

Here is a translation of an e-mail sent Monday to the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective, a prominent Bogotá human rights organization. Copies were also sent to the National Indigenous Organization (ONIC), the Latin American Institute for Alternative Services (ILSA), the CUT (Colombia’s largest labor union), and the Colombian Platform for Human Rights, Democracy and Development.

We have no idea whether this is a missive from Colombia’s lunatic fringe or a taste of what is to come for Colombia’s human-rights defenders.

May 8, 2006 12:59 p.m.
From: alberto gabriel palomino (
Subject: no more disguised lies

We view with great concern how you give protection to rebels who claim to be social leaders under the supposed coverage of international humanitarian law. It is not possible to give credibility to the supposed defense of human rights you claim to do when 70 percent of the country sees that what you are doing is to favor the insurgency’s interests, masquerading as [social] leaders.

Since we decided to help President Doctor Álvaro Uribe Vélez with the issue of security policy, we have done nothing different than to believe that only under the iron fist and the use of force can the enemies of authentic democracy be defeated.

Therefore we are communicating to you, Alvear Restrepo Collective, that since you do not align yourselves with the governmental system that 40 million Colombians have elected and will re-elect, you will not have a space for participation or any credibility before our sovereign government. We are going to make the international community see that, in reality, you are nothing more than protectors of terrorists, fomenters of large-scale terrorism in a fatherland that wants nothing more to do with you or the FARC or the ELN or anything else that sounds like leftism, Chavez-ism, socialism or disguised communism.

We are struggling together with the president, and we make it known to you that the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia [the AUC] was our origin, and has now completed one cycle of service to the people and in favor of the people. Now that the demobilization processes are completed we are the present and future of the Colombian state, its security and its society, for many years to come. We have an active presence in the rural and urban areas of 21 departments and we act under many types of groupings, we have a working group under a national directorship. We are here, señores of the Collective, to offer a hand to the authentic democratic right and to all those who, recognizing the only path to saving our country, join with us.

Señores of the Alvear Restrepo Collective, this is an invitation for you to join with our crusade against terrorism, or else to prepare to have each of your members suffer the entire weight of our presence. We have in our favor the state armed forces themselves, who always support us in a great show of sovereignty.

And this also goes to all the parties to whom we are sending copies of this warning today. If you do not align yourselves to our reality, it is better that you go with your humanitarian ideas to some other place that is not our sacred Colombian territory. Let Señores Castro, Chávez, Morales or Lulla (sic) take you in.

This is your first warning.

And also stop helping the little leaders of the riff-raff, stop wasting time with those strident letters that you send to our president, he is very busy resolving the state’s real problems.

Long live the authentic state rebellion of the democratic right
Down with the servile socialists
Long live Álvaro Uribe Vélez 2006-2010 … and many more years!!!!!!!!!!
“Colombia free forever from the left”

One Response to “A scary e-mail”

  1. jcg Says:

    It reads like a scary e-mail, no doubt.

    Determining the source of it, however, is what really makes a difference. The thing to remember is that, on the internet, anyone can pretend to be everyone.

    Any of us could just as easily set up fake accounts to send e-mails allegedly on behalf of the FARC, AUC, DAS or anything else we want. It doesn’t take rocket science to do so, just some above average computer and internet knowledge.

    Even attempting to trace the e-mail back to offline origin guarantees nothing, if some general precautions have been taken on that end, not to mention what an expert hacker could do.

    This could well be an act of individual outrage or lunacy, from somebody that feels that it is somehow justified to fabricate those threats, whether in “jest” or not, against those organizations.

    If not, then it could also be something more elaborate and, logically, potentially more dangerous instead.

    Even in the later case, there are several possibilities:

    a)It is a threat from members of the mafia/paramilitary.

    b)It is a threat from members of the sate, such as the police or military.

    c)It is an intentional provocation, set up by an individual or a group of individuals that, to begin with, intend to give the impression of a) and/or b), for their own purposes.

    d)Something else that I haven’t considered.

    I’m personally undecided right now.

    Possibility a) is the one that the e-mail itself, taken at face value, directly implies.

    Possibility b) indirectly stems from the e-mail content’s itself too.

    Possibility c) is not impossible at all, given how gray reality often is. The e-mail’s too self-incriminating tone, style and writing (not to mention the sender’s e-mail address itself, “”) doesn’t help.

    The problem, of course, is that even without these e-mail threats, all of those groups have been threatened and targetted in the past, numerous times.

    Hence proving a real, specific connection between this e-mail and any possible future events will likely be pretty much impractical, if not impossible.

    Saying that this e-mail may be a “a taste of what is to come for Colombia’s human-rights defenders”, although justified in itself, isn’t really something that straightforward. The danger that “is to come” has been real for years already, e-mail or no e-mail.

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