Interpol’s Secretary General Ronald Kenneth has confirmed that over 600 Gigabytes of data extracted from three laptops, three USB pen drives and two external hard disc drives that were seized from slain FARC chieftain Raul Reyes on March 1 are 100% legitimate.
Interpol’s computer forensics experts concluded after more than 4,000 person-hours of analysis that none of the captured data was manipulated, edited or altered in any way.
And the data is vast, including 37,000 documents, 210,000 images, almost 8,000 e-mail addresses, and 983 encrypted files which Interpol cracked.
Interpol’s report is damning for President Hugo Chavez. It confirms Chavez has been cooperating actively for years with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Interpol did not analyze the contents of the data. It only confirmed the data has not been doctored in any way. But the documents already published confirm that:
· Chavez offered to lend the FARC $300 million to finance illegal weapons buys.
· Chavez offered to allow the FARC to smuggle illegally acquired weapons into Colombia through Venezuelan territory.
· Chavez offered to let the FARC use the port of Maracaibo to import weapons.
· Chavez offered to let the FARC hide its illicit weapons inside containers that would be listed officially as carrying weapons from Belarus and Russia.
· Chavez offered to help the FARC purchase RPG’s and surface-to-air missiles.
· The FARC has been providing guerrilla training to members of Venezuela’s Communist Party (PCV) for over four years. The contact person between the FARC and the PCV is National Assembly Deputy Oscar Figuera.
· Besides Chavez, other Venezuelan government officials actively working with the FARC include current Interior and Justice Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, the current heads of military intelligence (DIM) and the political police (Disip), and several army generals.
· The FARC contributed $100,000 to the presidential campaign of Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa.
And there is so much more the government of Colombia has yet to release in the public domain. For example, the global “map” that could result from the 8,000 e-mail addresses could prove highly embarrassing for many governments in the region. It could also portend legal difficulties for individuals who have been in contact with the FARC including many US citizens in academia, think thanks and other entities.
The US Patriot Act is very explicit about aiding and abetting terrorist groups. And the FARC is officially a terrorist group. But it’s far too early to speculate about the possible fallout that Interpol’s report could cause in Washington, D.C.
Of more immediate interest is the upcoming Fifth Summit of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean which begins today in Peru’s capital city Lima.
The summit’s official agenda is poverty, global warming and sustainable development. But the number one topic on everyone’s mind in Lima will be Interpol’s report confirming the legitimacy of the captured FARC documents.
At least two of the presidents attending the Lima summit – assuming Chavez and Correa show up – will be confirmed collaborators with a narco-terrorist group.
There is a strong chance that if Chavez, Correa and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez attend the summit sparks will fly because Chavez and Correa will not shut up.
In fact, the official release of Interpol’s report almost certainly will aggravate the diplomatic standoff between Caracas, Quito and Bogota.
Ecuador has already broken diplomatic relations with Colombia, and a suspension of trade relations is also likely. Correa has already suspended rice shipments to Colombia, and may close the border completely within days or even hours.
Chavez also may decide to suspend diplomatic and trade relations with Colombia, although a disruption of Colombian exports to Venezuela would quickly worsen food shortages in Venezuela.
And Chavez has threatened to invade and occupy all of the Guajira Peninsula, claiming in recent days that Colombia “stole” Venezuelan territory in the region.