After decades of covert support for terrorists, Soros reveals himself in Colombia
Under the guise of promoting Human Rights, in 1978 Soros co-founded Human Rights Watch (originally Helsinki Watch). Corporacion Nuevo Arcoiris lists Open Society as one of its benefactors. Created by amnestied ELN terrorist Leon Valencia, the “think tank” produces propaganda for the Santos-FARC deal. Could it be that Colombia’s 2018 election is shaping up to be a repeat of 2010 — a win-win contest between two Soros-groomed candidates?
By Lia Fowler*
On January 9, Colombian daily El Espectador, published a column by New York hedge fund manager George Soros titled “The Abnormal Times of Trump” (Los Tiempos Anormales de Trump), in which the Hungarian-American billionaire opened with, “I must tell you who I am and what I believe in.” It would seem through this piece, written “especially for El Espectador”, that the founder of the Open Society Foundations was attempting to introduce himself to Colombians. He’s a few decades too late.
In fact, Soros has been a key player in shaping both U.S. policy toward Colombia and the country’s internal politics since at least the 1990s. Through his own network of NGOs and those he sponsors, Soros has waged a decades-long assault on the country’s institutions designed to legitimize Colombia’s narco-terrorist groups – a goal he is very close to achieving. (1)
Last December, the Colombian Congress ratified a “peace deal” between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the narco-terrorist group known as the FARC– despite the deal having been rejected by a national plebiscite on October 2. As such, the world’s leading drug-trafficking Cartel has guaranteed unelected seats in Congress, Santos has rule-by-decree powers, and Colombia is quickly devolving into a narco-failed State. The road to this end was paved and funded by George Soros, and achieved through a three-pronged approach: weakening of the State and its institutions, blocking drug eradication efforts, and promoting drug legalization and decriminalization.
Under the guise of promoting Human Rights, in 1978 Soros co-founded Human Rights Watch (originally Helsinki Watch). Not only did he pour hundreds of millions of dollars into it, through the Open Society Foundation (3), he also sits on its Advisory Council for the Americas. In the 1990s, HRW, along with Amnesty International (4), the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) (5), and the International Peace Brigades (6)– all sponsored by Open Society — began characterizing the Colombian military as a systematic violator of human rights. Indeed, during the presidency of Ernesto Samper (1994-98), accused by the U.S. of financing his presidential campaign with drug Cartel money, and Andres Pastrana (1998-2002) the combined efforts of Soros-sponsored NGOs managed to defund the Army, hinder its operations, and remove its top leaders through fabricated human rights abuse accusations.
In the mid and late 90s, there was a battle within the U.S. government between the State Department and the Pentagon regarding the nature of the terrorist groups FARC and ELN. Myles Frechette, former U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, insisted that there was no evidence of any link between these terrorist organizations and drug trafficking – a claim repeated by the FARC in various communications, including a 1998 “Open Letter to the American People.”(7) Frechette currently serves with Soros on the HRW Advisory Council.
U.S. Drug Policy Adviser Gen. Barry McCaffrey stated in 1996 that the FARC and ELN were a narco-guerrilla force.” The Pentagon’s view proved true, as the FARC is now recognized as the world’s leading cocaine Cartel.
HRW and other Soros-funded NGOs, led a relentless campaign against the Colombian Armed Forces and its members. In a 1996 report titled “Colombia’s Assassin Networks: the military-paramilitary alliance and the United States,” (8) HRW wrote “With the objective of declaring a war on drugs, the United States has armed, trained and advised the Colombian Armed Forces, despite their disastrous record on human rights issues.” The report went on to accuse retired General Farouk Yanine Diaz and General Harold Bedoya, among others, of colluding with paramilitary groups to commit or cover up atrocities.
These constant allegations were amplified by Soros-linked U.S. media outlets. Chief among them was the Washington Post. It is no surprise that Len Downie, Washington Post Executive Editor between 1991-2008, and current Vice-President, is also a member of the board at The Center for Investigative Reporting, which has received more than $1 million from Soros’ Open Society.
In a 1997 Washington Post article titled “As its civil war intensifies, Colombia emerges as the Bosnia of South America” by Ana Carrigan and Robert O. Weiner, the authors called the alleged collusion between the military and drug-traffickers a “dirty war” and compared it to Bosnia’s ethnic cleansing. “The paramilitaries massacre [civilians], fulfilling the military’s desire for high body counts and enabling their sponsors to consolidate and expand their land holdings,” they added, providing no basis for these statements.
Ana Carrigan, who co-authored the 1997 article, is a writer with OpenDemocracy, an organization funded primarily by Open Society and the Open Society Initiative for Europe. (9) Soros himself is a columnist at OpenDemocracy. Her ongoing coverage of the Colombian conflict has remained pro-terrorist through the years. She is also the author of “The Palace of Justice: A Colombian Tragedy,” in which she falsely claimed that it was the military, and not M-19 terrorists, who murdered most of the victims during the M-19 terrorist attack of the Palace of Justice in 1985. A critique of her book by Rex A. Hudson, pointed out the many fallacies of her work, including her reliance on anonymous sources and disregarding the testimony of credible survivors. The book remains one of the few accounts of the M-19 massacre in the English language. (10)
In a May 1998 column in the Washington Post, Bernard Aronson, a former Secretary of State official, promoted HRW’s false military-paramilitary narrative, writing that by aiding the Colombian military, the U.S. risked “allying ourselves with paramilitary forces that recently massacred 21 civilians, including a 4-year-old child, in a remote village in guerrilla-controlled territory.” Aronson proposed instead that the FARC and ELN could help eradicate coca fields in return for U.S. Aid and a share of power in Colombia. (11)
Aronson was and still is a member of the Inter-American Dialogue, which is indirectly funded by Soros, via the Avina Foundation. The latter is listed by the Dialogue’s as one of its top donors and it is funded by Open Society. Furthermore, Dialogue Director Michael Schifter serves on the HRW Advisory Council with Soros. With the recent ratification of the Santos-FARC deal, Aronson not only saw his 1998 proposal realized, he helped craft it, as President Obama’s U.S. Envoy to the Santos-FARC peace talks since 2015.
By 1998, Soros’ strong influence in the State Department was complete, with the appointment of Harold Koh as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. In a glaring conflict of interest, Koh was also a member of the HRW board of directors.(12)
“The principal mechanism for the defamation campaign against the Colombian military is the Human Rights Report that the State Department presents to the U.S. Congress every year,” wrote Miguel Posada, founder of the Center for Analytical Studies and Verdad Colombia – and my father – in a March 2000 article for the Inter-American Economic Press Association. (13) For many years, the State Department report was almost an exact copy of Soros’ HRW report.
Soros’ achievements through his influence in the State Department included the following: The dismantling of the 20th Intelligence Brigade (14) in 1998 (accused by the State Department – according to the Washington Post – “of promoting death squad activities”); the blocking of millions of dollars in U.S. assistance, as described in HRW reports for all the pertinent years; and the dismissal of hundreds of officers. (15)
The result of the Soros-funded U.S. policy toward Colombia was disastrous for Colombia. According to statistics from the Nueva Granada Military
University, between 1990 and 2000, the number of FARC terrorists rose from some 8,000 to more than 20,000; ELN terrorists rose from 2,000 to 4,500 terrorists, and paramilitaries quintupled in force, from 1,800 terrorists to more than 10,000. In that time, about 7,000 child soldiers were recruited into these terrorist groups.
Among the officers removed due to HRW and State Department pressure was Gen. Bedoya, Commander of the Armed Forces, who was forced to retire in 1997. A 1998 HRW report, titled “All-Out War: Colombia and International Humanitarian Law” (Guerra Sin Cuartel: Colombia y el derecho internacional humanitario) (16) states: “In 1997, the government of Colombia forced the retirement of General Harold Bedoya, whose hostility toward human rights and whose association throughout his entire career with the dramatic increase in joint operations between the Army and the paramilitaries are well-known.”
In fact, there was never any credible evidence that Gen. Bedoya had any links to paramilitaries at all. As a great majority of the information alleged by HRW and spread through its media partners, the accusations were unsubstantiated. According to NGO Monitor, HRW’s publications “reflect the absence of professional standards, research methodologies, and military and legal expertise.” (17)
So where did they get this information? While HRW reports do not identify the organizations that provide the information in their acknowledgements, claiming security reasons, a review of the content of their reports suggests who they might be, among them: the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ), The Inter-Eclesial Commission on Justice and Peace (CIJP), Center of Popular Investigation and Education (CINEP), and Corporacion Colectivo de Abogados Jose Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR). Interestingly, these are all NGOs supported by International Peace Brigades, which receives funding directly from Soros’ Open Society.
After Gen. Bedoya’s forced retirement, he launched a presidential campaign for the 1998 elections. His platforms consisted of opposing the appeasement policies of the Samper government, and combating narco-terrorism directly. In the months leading up to the election, three of Bedoya’s campaign offices were bombed, and in May, Bedoya’s campaign advisor, former minister Fernando Landazabal, was murdered. Despite being defeated in the election, Gen. Bedoya continued his efforts to combat Soros-sponsored pro-FARC propaganda in the U.S., including speaking engagements at the Schiller Institute, and the National Press Club.
He was met, at every turn, with intense defamation campaigns both in the U.S. and in Colombia. In the U.S., pro-FARC groups pounced on his use of the word “patria” in Spanish, which they translated as “fatherland” (instead of the more appropriate “country”) in order to make comparisons to Hitler. From there, U.S. outlets and NGOs began to refer to Gen. Bedoya as a fascist. In 1999, for example, an email from the Colombian Labor Monitor, an NGO whose funding is not known, stated, “Colombian fascist General Bedoya will be speaking at the National Press Club.” (18) The Equipo Nizcor and Derechos Human Rights, members of Soros-funded GILC, (19) included Gen. Bedoya in a list of “Notorious Colombian Graduates of the School of the Americas,” and accused him of organizing death squads, (20) allegations lifted directly from HRW reports and FARC communiqués. (21)
The allegations were echoed in Colombia. Referring to Gen. Bedoya in a February 1998 article in El Tiempo, Ivan Duque, now a Senator for the Democratic Center (CD) party, wrote: “It is lacking in seriousness and disagreeable to hear that fascist narrative at the end of the 20th century.” It isn’t surprising. In an April 2010 column in Portafolio titled “Soros’ Lessons,” Duque wrote about Soros’ “intellectual richness” and promoted his ideas. (22) Whether through ignorance or by design, Duque did not make any mention to the role Soros had played in Colombia’s politics in the previous 15 years.
Let’s skip to the present. The “peace deal” ratified last year, was initiated by Santos – whose links to Soros are well-documented – and helped along by an intense Soros-sponsored propaganda campaign at home and abroad.
Specifically, the lobbying for Santos in the United States was primarily done through the Inter-American Dialogue, whose ties to Soros are detailed above, and the Atlantic Council, which includes Open Society in its list of contributors. (23) The negotiations were thoroughly endorsed by the Obama Administration, which brought back the Soros-linked key players from the 1990s era to help cement the deal: Harold Koh, one-time member of the HRW board of directors, was appointed Legal Adviser of the Department of State in 2009; and Bernard Aronson was tapped to be the Special Envoy to the negotiations in 2015. Aronson’s dubious role in the negotiations was the subject of my April 2016 column: “Bernard Aronson: The Conflicting Interests of ‘Our Man in Havana’. (24)
The coverage of the peace negotiations in the U.S. was predominantly pro-Santos-FARC, which implicitly meant pro-Cuba, as the FARC has long been sponsored and trained by Cuba, and Cuba was a sponsor and the host of the deal. Leading the U.S. coverage was, again, the Soros-linked Washington Post, through the many columns by reporter Nick Miroff. (25) His bias was encapsulated in an appalling Jan. 6 tweet. In response to photographs of U.N Peace verifiers dancing with FARC girls – whose very presence among the FARC ranks constitutes a War Crime – he wrote: “For the sake of peace in Colombia, someone should prob take away all the cellphone cameras in El Conejo.” The problem, for Miroff, was not that UN obsevers were dancing with victims of Child Soldiering, but rather that they got caught.
The fact is, Miroff is not unbiased at all. Miroff’s wife is Camila Pineiro, the daughter of the notorious Cuban intelligence officer Manuel Pineiro. Pineiro served as the Castro regime’s head of the DGLN, in charge of organizing and supporting guerrillas in the Americas, among them, the FARC. Camila Pineiro works for the Cuban State-sponsored Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy at the University of Havana.
In Colombia, many of the NGOs that promoted and helped orchestrate the Santos-FARC deal – and those that led defamation campaigns against its opponents — were funded by Open Society. Among them:
Corporacion Nuevo Arcoiris (26) lists Open Society as one of its benefactors. Created by amnestied ELN terrorist Leon Valencia, the “think tank” produces propaganda for the Santos-FARC deal. Additionally, Soros is linked to Valencia and promotes him through diverse projects. In 2015, for example, Alerta Democratica – an organization founded by Open Society Foundation, the Soros-sponsored Avina Foundation and the Ford Foundation – held a an eight-month exercise to “Map the Future of Democracy in Latin America.” The representative from Colombia was Leon Valencia, listed as the Executive Director of his other NGO, La Fundacion Paz y Reconciliacion. (27)
Funded by Open Society Foundations, DeJusticia is headed by Rodrigo Uprimny. (28) Uprimny has been a key player in crafting the peace deal and silencing any opposition within the government. As one of the “architects” of the Santos-FARC deal’s Transitional Justice System, Uprimny helped design the system that will offer no jail time for FARC terrorists. He was also the sponsor of a complaint before a high court that challenged then-Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez’ post. Ordoñez headed the only government agency that opposed the Santos-FARC deal. As a result of Uprimny’s suit, Ordoñez was deposed. (29)
Uprimny also has a running blog in another Soros-sponsored organization, La Silla Vacia, a so-called “independent” web news portal created by Open Society Foundation Fellow Juanita Leon. (30) Dejusticia’s Catalina Botero has been a speaker at Open Society-sponsored events.
DeJusticia also lobbies for the decriminalization and legalization of drugs, which is a key Soros initiative, carried out by many Soros-funded NGOs, including The Drug Policy Alliance, where Soros himself serves on the Board of Directors. In April 2016, State-funded El Tiempo published an article titled “Various NGO’s announce support for the Government’s position on drugs.” The groups argue drugs should be addressed as a public health problem, rather than a criminal matter. Some entities listed were Dejusticia, and Cesed, both funded by Soros, and the Open Society Foundation itself.
Shaping the narrative of the narco-terrorist history in Colombia, now referred to by all the above organizations and others as “the conflict,” is the Open Society project Verdad Abierta. The editor-in-chief of this web-based news magazine is Maria Teresa Ronderos, Director of the Open Society Foundation’s Program on Independent Journalism. Prior to that, she worked at Semana magazine, a Colombian state-funded magazine that promotes the Santos-FARC agenda and is a partner in the Verdad Abierta venture. (31)
Helping to ensure that opposition to the peace deal is silenced, Open Society also funded Colombia Check, a web-based portal that purports to expose “fake news.”(32) The site attempts to “debunk” negative news about the Santos administration and the peace deal and often attacks its opponents, including ex-President Alvaro Uribe, deposed Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, and even – full disclosure – this writer, specifically an article I authored in 2016 titled “Peace for Oil?” (33)
With Soros-sponsored U.S. and Colombian think tanks, news organizations, and NGOs, and with U.S. State Department officials all aligned with the Santos-FARC peace peddlers, it seemed a miracle that the underfunded promoters of the vote against the deal achieved a victory on Oct. 2. Not that it mattered. The plebiscite result was set aside without a word from Soros’ “democracy-building” organizations and affiliates.
The most visible entity promoting the No vote, was ex-President Uribe’s Center Democratic Party (CD). As such, it is troubling that Ivan Duque, who in 1998 helped promote the defamation campaign against Gen. Bedoya, and a believer in Soros’ philosophy, should be one of the front-runners for the CD’s presidential nomination for 2018. Certainly, Sen. Duque has some ties to Soros and his philosophy. According to his biography, he was, at some point, the recipient of a scholarship from the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a Soros-funded organization. As a member of the Inter-American Development Bank, he drafted, along with Felipe Buitrago, a document called “The Orange Economy.” In 2013, Buitrago promoted the “Orange Economy” in the Salzburg Global Seminar, an organization sponsored by Open Society. (34) (35)
It is possible, of course, that the Senator’s views have changed. I wrote to the Senator and to the head of the CD, giving Duque an opportunity to clarify the context of his 1998 and 2010 articles and describe the nature of the NDI scholarship. I also requested a copy of his University thesis, which he explained in an interview (36) with the Sergio Arboleda University was on the subject of “human rights.” Given the timing of when he might have written his thesis, it would be interesting for the public to know how much of his information relied on Soros-funded organizations and whether he echoed their propaganda. But the Senator never responded. In fact, Duque himself has not responded directly to any of the recent criticism of his positions and any possible links to Soros, other than to complain about a “dirty war” being waged against him.
His supporters, however, have not remained quiet, publishing numerous columns on the matter. Curiously, aside from his campaign organizers, the most fervent defense has not come from his fellow party members, but from the above named Leon Valencia, Rodrigo Uprimny, La Silla Vacia, and Semana magazine – all of Soros’ main propagandists in Colombia.
It is important that Senator Duque address these concerns. Soros’ self-promoting piece in El Espectador suggests that all his chips are in place, and he is ready to come out of the shadows – from which he has caused so much damage to Colombia for more than 20 years. Such a bold move suggests he is confident that the 2018 presidential election results will be favorable to his agenda. With the CD winning the latest popular vote – the plebiscite – and with about 80 percent of the population opposed to the main points of the deal with the FARC, one wonders how he can be so certain. Could it be that Colombia’s 2018 election is shaping up to be a repeat of 2010 — a win-win contest between two Soros-groomed candidates?
*Lia Fowler is an American journalist and former FBI Special Agent.