DEA as Counter-Terror Agency

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has, quietly, become a very effective counter-terror agency. The arrest of international arms dealers Victor Bout and Monzar al-Kasser (in operations worthy of movie scripts) were only one example. The agency had at least a peripheral role in the Betancourt rescue – a DEA operation inserted bugged satellite phones into […]

Force vs. FARC: Israel’s Contribution

On being rescued, Ingrid Betancourt stated: “This is a miracle, a miracle. We have an amazing military. I think only the Israelis can possibly pull off something like this.” Her comment set off immediate speculation that there had been an Israeli hand in the dramatic operation. It is high praise for Israeli special forces that […]

Aaron Mannes on France24 discussing Betancourt Rescue

Gore Vidal once said, “I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television.” There are many, many things I would not follow his advice on (and also I am a rapidly aging and happily married man) but I did accept an invitation to appear on France24 to discuss the implications of the […]

Me Discussing FARC on Covert Radio

Covert Radio a terrific podcast series has done a number of interviews with yours truly on FARC and other issues I track. Here is today’s discussion on the FARC hostage rescue. A fun, lively interview. Here is an interview I did with them a few weeks ago, but it still has some good background on […]

Questions About the Rescue in Colombia

The dramatic rescue of the FARC hostages raises a host of important questions, here are a few, with short answers following and lengthy answers below: Was the rescue the cover for an arrangement with the FARC?Probably not. What effect will this have on future hostage releases?It will probably lead to more units dissolving and possibly […]

FARC is FARC’d: Assessing the Hostage Rescue

The first reports about the Colombian military’s rescue of the 15 hostages held by FARC (in Spanish) indicate an impressive intelligence operation. The hostages were held in three separate locations. Colombian intelligence had infiltrated one of the FARC fronts holding the hostages as well as the FARC Secretariat. They told the front commander “Cesar” that […]

Feared FARC Commander Surrenders

Another FARC commander has surrendered to Colombian authorities. Nelly Avila Moreno, aka Karina, turned herself in (along with her daughter andher partner, known as Michin.) Karina was commander of the 47th Front. (She was also one of the top-ranked women in the FARC – here is some background on the women in the FARC.) This […]

FARC Eats it Own

Reporting on Interpol’s assertion that the files on the captured FARC computers are authentic has focused on potential Chavez-FARC ties. But another bit of FARC news should be noted. Six of FARC commander Mono Jojoy’s bodyguards had plotted kill him, probably to collect the $5 million reward. The plot was discovered and three of the […]

About Bout & the DEA

The recently unsealed indictment of arms-trafficker extraordinaire Victor Bout is an interesting read. Perhaps the most notable line is on page 10, when Bout told the DEA operatives (who he believed represented the FARC) that America was also his enemy and their fight was his fight. Another international arms dealer, Monzar al-Kasser, who was arrested […]