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Viewing cable 06BOGOTA4983, FARC/ELN: TERRORIST TAKEDOWNS REFLECT USG-GOC

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BOGOTA4983 2006-06-05 15:03 2011-03-02 12:12 SECRET Embassy Bogota
Appears in these articles:
http://www.elespectador.com/wikileaks
VZCZCXYZ0019
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #4983/01 1561553
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 051553Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5629
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 7781
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUN LIMA 3846
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 9200
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4484
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP ADMIN/CHAIRS//
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
S E C R E T BOGOTA 004983 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER CO
SUBJECT: FARC/ELN: TERRORIST TAKEDOWNS REFLECT USG-GOC 
INTEL COOPERATION 


Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood 
Reasons: 1.4(a), (b), (d) 


------- 
Summary 
------- 

1. (S)  The GOC captured or killed 29 key midlevel operatives 
of the country's main guerilla insurgencies, the 
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the 
National Liberation Army (ELN), from September 2005 through 
April 2006.  Takedowns were concentrated among three groups 
-- front commanders, finance officers, and explosives experts 
-- who are vital to guerilla activities and difficult to 
replace.  The operations were guided by intelligence packages 
assembled with heavy USG support.  Continued cooperation 
between USG and GOC intelligence units aims to chip away at 
the guerillas' middle management, as one element in a 
concerted set of strategies to weaken these organizations 
over time.  End Summary. 


------------------------ 
29 Key Operatives Netted 
------------------------ 

2. (S)  A review of 29 takedowns of key FARC and ELN 
operatives from September 2005 through April 2006 gives a 
flavor of the impact of U.S. intelligence assistance in the 
GOC's fight against the two guerilla insurgencies.  The 
operations in question were guided by joint USG and GOC 
intelligence work and executed by GOC security entities of 
the armed forces (COLAR and COLNAV), police (Dijin and 
DIPOL), and DAS (FBI equivalent).  The strategic targets 
comprising 18 members of the FARC and 11 of the ELN included: 

- two members of the ELN's National Directorate (DINAL), 
including the leader of a special commando unit orchestrating 
kidnapppings; 

- three front commanders and two deputy front commanders of 
the FARC; 

- four commanders and three deputy commanders of the ELN; 

- four financial officers (three FARC and one ELN); 

- five FARC explosives experts; and 

- two urban militia leaders, one from each insurgent group. 

3. (S)  Of these, five were killed in combat during capture 
attempts and 24 were taken alive.  The latter are potentially 
valuable sources of further intelligence for future 
operations.  Since targets are usually accompanied by 
protective details, there is a multiplier effect of roughly 
5x on headcount totals.  Because these operations were guided 
primarily by leads from human sources, most of the 29 were 
nabbed in populous areas in Cundinamarca and Antioquia 
departments or along the Caribbean coast, where sources can 
operate undetected and GOC law enforcement has greater 
leverage.  These operations are thus distinct from those 
aimed at HVTs in the jungle, which are typically guided by 
signal or image intelligence and executed by military ambush 
in remote areas of guerilla control. 

-------------------- 
Impact on FARC & ELN 
-------------------- 

4. (S)  About half of those netted were front commanders. 
These are vital links in the chain of command, implementing 
instructions from top echelons to individual fronts and 
controlling regional and tactical operations.  Ideologically, 
too, front leaders are vital bridges to inculcate the troops. 
 Front commanders often represent campaign experience of 15 
years or more.  Analysts claim guerilla groups are feeling 
the pinch at this upper middle level due to battle casualties 
and shorter tenures within the ranks of possible replacements 
one level down. 

5. (S)  Finance officers make up another valuable set of 
targets.  They act as intermediaries in the coca trade, 

establish front companies, launder money, and procure weapons 
from across borders.  This group is a highly trusted elite, 
with authority over cash and arms and trusted business 
contacts.  Further, they often are caught carrying 
coordinates of caches of money and arms.  In deep terrain 
they are specially protected, but their town visits to 
conduct transactions make them vulnerable to capture in urban 
operations. 

6. (S)  Losses of explosives experts, too, are very tough on 
the guerillas.  Master bomb makers take a long time to groom, 
with high casualty rates as an occupational hazard; they are 
difficult to replace.  Explosives are a FARC weapon of 
choice.  Bomb specialists are often nabbed in towns in the 
process of preparing specific actions; hence their takedowns 
may have the most immediate impact of averting imminent 
attacks.  Finally, captures of militia leaders help to 
preempt the guerillas' progress in urban areas where 
historically they have had little traction but where they are 
aspiring to expand networks. 


---------------------------- 
U.S. - Colombian Cooperation 
---------------------------- 

7. (S)  The USG has worked closely with GOC intelligence 
units in capacity building, and the two sides continue to 
cooperate in planning specific operations.  Of the 29 cases 
discussed above, about 30% were carried out by the GOC 
independently, while 70% were conducted with USG assistance. 
Typically GOC entities in the field collect raw data, 
filtered and prioritized by the USG into operational 
packages, which the GOC in turn executes.  This cooperation 
has yielded a quantum increase in the volume of actions 
undertaken, as well as higher-quality vetting of prospective 
actions and tighter operational planning.  The main drawback 
is a perceived GOC dependency on U.S. support, no longer in 
terms of skills but rather in motivational drive and sense of 
urgency, which still derives from U.S. pushing.  The 
appointment of CamiloOspina as Minister of Defense earlier 
this year has been a positive development in this regard: he 
is a strong supporter of intelligence work and a catalyst for 
increasing the volume of intel-guided activity. 
WOOD