Godfather of Colombian Army Intelligence Acquitted in Palace of Justice Case

Published on Global Research.ca, (first on National Security Archive NSA), December 19, 2011.

… Portrait of a Corrupt General:

The declassified reports focus on ties between Ramírez, narco-traffickers, and the country’s illegal paramilitary groups in the 1990s, particularly while he was in charge of the army’s First Division, along Colombia’s Atlantic coast, where he maintained “direct links with paramilitaries,” according to intelligence sources cited in a 1996 Embassy cable. The following year, a special Defense Intelligence Agency report pictured Ramírez beneath the heading, “Portrait of a Corrupt General,” and next to a picture of “Drug Trafficker-Backed Paramilitary Forces.” 

U.S. Ambassador Myles Frechette spoke with at least two different Colombian defense ministers about the general’s “suspected ties to narcotraffickers and paramilitaries.” In a November 1997 meeting with Colombian minister of defense Gilberto Echeverri, Frechette cited “more evidence suggesting that Ramirez is passing military intelligence to the paramilitaries, and that the intelligence is being used against the guerrillas.” Frechette had good reason for concern. A new U.S. law linking foreign military assistance to human rights performance had heightened the embassy’s focus on abusive officers, and Ramírez, despite pressure from the U.S. over his human rights record, had just been designated as the next army inspector general. Frechette bluntly told the defense minister “that if Ramirez were to attain higher rank or position, it would seriously compromise the USG’s [United States Government's] ability to cooperate with the Colombian military.”

Godfather of army intelligence:

U.S. contacts in the Colombian military took a similarly dim view of Ramírez. One former colonel said he was “convinced [that Ramírez] has gone far beyond the passive phase with paramilitaries and is actively supporting them.” The colonel was “concerned about the potential direction the Colar [Colombian army] could take if Ramirez abuses his position as IG [inspector general] or, worse, if he is allowed to rise to even higher positions in the armed forces hierarchy.” Ramírez is repeatedly characterized as the “godfather of army intelligence” with influence “so pervasive within the military intelligence community” that he maintained control over intelligence assignments even from non-intelligence posts … (full text including many internal links).

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