Here’s a case for the CSI.

A group of nasty kidnappers/drug runners/leftist “insurgents” are under alot of pressure. Then they run into problems when they murder eleven VIP’s.

Was it in cold blood, or was it to send a message to the government, or did someone hire a private army to rescue them, and they were murdered so they wouldn’t be rescued?

How and why the innocent government workes were killed is now up to our intrepid scientists at CSI, or maybe, given the fact that several months have passed, we need to call in the expertise of the crew of Bones.

One of the ways that FARC and other communist “insurgent” groups make money is by kidnapping rich people. Usually businessmen get ransomed, but others, especially politicians, remain in custody, sometimes for years, because A) Colombia (and the US) refuse to pay ransom for those kidnapped, and B) because FARC kidnapped these people as pawns in order to “exchange” them for known terrorists leaders in custody of the government.

There must be a “terrorist handbook” since the atrocities/kidnapping/drug running of the FARC is similar to that of the Taliban and with both the communist NPA and the AlQaeda linked ASG here in the Philippines.

The question: what do you do when the government doesn’t play the game? You either kill your hostages (and risk unpopularity with the public and retaliation of the government) or like FARC you keep them hidden for years, hoping that their presence will keep the government from attacking your camp.

So in Colombia, FARC has many such hostages, but earlier this year, they reported that eleven political hostages were “killed”. Why this was done is uncertain. The FARC originally claimed that the government troops had attacked the camp, and the hostages were killed in retaliation. But the government denied this, and there was a lot of suspicion that the hostages were killed to pressure the government to relent and give FARC a safe haven (this was done in the past, and did not lead to peace, but a regrouping).

The “insurgents” have been under a lot of pressure, recently LINK and like the NPA here in the Philippines, the war on terror hasn’t helped them, since being named a terrorist group makes it hard to hide in a lot of countries and messes up your ability to use the banking system.

One advantage that FARC has is that Venezuela’s president Chavez has been letting them hightail it across the border and hide. But that won’t last forever, since their connection with drugs makes their credentials as leftist champions of the people in jeopardy.

Another problem was that after the killing of the hostages, a million plus Colombians took to the streets to protest the murder, suggesting their popular support claims were nonsense.

The latest saga in all this is that the bodies are now being released to families by FARC, who sent the GPS position to the government. FARC says they did so as a “Humanitarian” gesture (translation: they are trying to salvage their reputation, and figure the bodies are too rotted to allow autopsies to determine if the deaths were homicide or accidental).

There’s been a lot of cases where CSI/Forensics has been at the edge of the news lately. There are a lot of CSI clone television shows, but most of them after the first season tend to get into weird crimes. In reality, forensic examination has been doing a lot to clarify who died and how they died, and forensic pathology has identified many victims of massacres whose bodies were hidden in mass graves, with the idea that bones alone would not be enough to establish what had happened, leaving the guilty to go free.
The most prominent case is the accusations against the Marines at Haditha, which was originally publicized after an ad hoc “human rights” group, conposed of two men with insurgent connections, took staged photos. Yet what is saving the Marines is forensics, including bullet spray pattern more consistent with a fire fight than with an execution style murder.

And here in the Philippines, Forensics and DNA are helping to identify those killed in NPA (communist) purges, doing much to discredit the NPA as a terror group, not as a true insurgency.  Forensics has also been used to confirm the deaths of some of the worst ASG terrorists in Mindanao. 

And of course, the forensic examination of the remains of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, victims of Saddam Hussein,  has received little or no publicity outside of the human rights and medical literature.

And forensics has helped identify much smaller mass graves of both right and left wing terror groups in Colombia’s long civil war.

One hopes that if forensic pathologists can prove the politicians were murdered, it will  be one more reason for FARC (and other left wing terror groups) to lose sympathy with the mainstream left in Europe and other countries.

FARC has already lost many supporters after HRW documented their use of landmines causing many civilian casualties.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. She has relatives living in Colombia.

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