Would you like to make English your default language on this site?
2012-11-12

Colombia: Authorities target FARC communications

By Carlos Andrés Barahona for Infosurhoy.com – 12/11/2012

The terrorist group has increasingly used social media to spread its message.

TEXT SIZE
In September, FARC leader Timoleón Jiménez, who goes by the alias “Timochenko,” opened a Twitter account that lists his location as the “Mountains of Colombia.” His account has more than 7,000 followers. (Infosurhoy.com)

In September, FARC leader Timoleón Jiménez, who goes by the alias “Timochenko,” opened a Twitter account that lists his location as the “Mountains of Colombia.” His account has more than 7,000 followers. (Infosurhoy.com)

BOGOTÁ, Colombia – It’s no longer just guns and landmines: The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has added Facebook, Twitter and blogs to its arsenal.

Given the Colombian terrorist group’s actions include ideological propaganda, the Internet is its best and cheapest weapon, according to Alfredo Rangel, director of Colombia’s Security and Democracy Foundation.

“This has clearly become an aspect of Colombia’s internal conflict,” he said. “The FARC has adapted and is using information technologies to convey its messages.”

In September, FARC leader Timoleón Jiménez, “Timochenko,” opened a Twitter account that lists his location as the “Mountains of Colombia.” His account has more than 7,000 followers, while the FARC’s Twitter account has 15,860.

When the FARC kidnapped French journalist Roméo Langlois in late April, the terrorist group relied on Twitter to provide updates about his health and subsequent release.

The FARC also used Twitter to provide details regarding the release of 10 police and military hostages, which occurred in early April.

“The use of Twitter has become a vehicle for announcing the release of hostages. Its website evokes the memory of their fallen ‘heroes’ and the FARC constantly posts messages about liberating Colombia from the [alleged] oppression it is currently enduring,” Rangel said.

The Colombian government will invest about US$2.8 million in technology in 2013 that will allow it to identify the origin of the guerrilla group’s digital communications in an effort to combat the FARC online.

“The important thing is the government understands the FARC’s ability to adapt in this area requires officials to fight terrorism in the media as well,” said Jhoan Guevara, a specialist in political science and communications at Javeriana University, in Bogotá.

Though the FARC and the Colombian government are engaged in peace talks, President Juan Manuel Santos said he won’t suspend military operations against the terrorist group, as fighting the FARC has been a priority since he took office in 2010.

“The FARC is at a numerical and technological disadvantage,” Santos said recently. “One way or another, these terrorist groups are going to disappear. We would prefer that they turn in their weapons and surrender, but if they want to keep fighting, we’ll keep on improving our infrastructure. We’ll add more officers and buy everything we need to combat the FARC from every possible angle.”

Important interceptions

By monitoring the FARC’s communications, the government has dealt major blows to the terrorist group. For example, FARC commander Raúl Reyes died in a military operation in 2008 that started with security forces’ tracing his satellite phone to learn his specific location.

Intercepted communications also revealed the FARC’s plans to assassinate Santos in August.

“In the war against terrorism, we have to cover all of the angles and that’s why we have people who work around the clock to monitor the FARC’s communications, analyze them and then attack weaknesses,” said Sergio Jaramillo, a senior national security adviser and one of the creators of the National Intelligence Directorate (DNI), the institution charged with waging the digital battle against the FARC.

Diana Carolina Montoya, a political scientist at the University of Rosario, said the FARC is losing the armed and ideological battles.

“When you read the articles of war published on the FARC’s website, the thing that upsets public opinion is that it presents itself as attacking and harassing the military forces of Colombia. But at no point does the FARC show remorse for the actions taken against civil society,” she said. “For the FARC, the concept of collateral damage doesn’t exist. The FARC uses these means of communications solely to meet its needs.”

Dismantling clandestine radios

The FARC traditionally uses clandestine radio stations to transmit its message throughout Colombia’s rural areas.

“We believe that there is at least one radio station in each region of the country. In the Caribbean, Pacific, Amazon, Andean and Orinoco regions, the FARC has at least one station to specifically reach those areas,” said Ariel Ávila, a researcher with Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris, an NGO that analyzes conflict between the state and the terrorist group.

Colombia’s security forces regularly dismantle the FARC’s clandestine radio stations.

On Aug. 25, Colombian Army soldiers raided a FARC radio station in the rural area of Cubarral in the department of Meta.

During the operation, they seized power regulators, a console, high-powered batteries, communications cables, a scanner and other equipment used to transmit radio signals.

The station covered municipalities including La Uribe, La Macarena, Vista Hermosa, Granada, San José del Guaviare and Mapiripán in the department of Meta, and the Sumapaz region in the department of Cundinamarca, according to the Colombian Army’s 13th Brigade.

The army reported in November 2011 the deactivation of the Cubarral-based “Voice of the Resistance” radio station. The FARC operated the radio station in the region for more than 15 years, mainly for political indoctrination and to boost guerrillas’ morale.

Do you like this article?

5

Add Your Comment

10 Comments

  1. William 12/30/2012

    How much stupidity by the mercenaries and Colombian sell-outs, and the criminal insanity continues against the socialmovement with names and surnames, don’t you know yet that the FARC are a military political movement who are bent on taking over political power and installing socialism, you still don’t get it. How many times haven’t they said the FARC has been dismantled, that they’re destroyed, and it is the complete opposite, simply because the FARC are the people, rural, students, intellectuals, workers, that is what the FARC is, and it seems there are many, but many, and they will be difficult to beat, that is why they oppose the warmongers’ peace process, because they would lose a lot if conditions are right for this process which most Colombians agree with.

  2. Ranulfo Castro Hinestroza 12/28/2012

    WHO KNOWS WHO IS RIGHT – IT SEEMS BOTH ARE SINCE JUST A FEW CAN’T EAT THE WHOLE CAKE. ALL I KNOW IS COLOMBIA HAS ALL THE RESOURCES FOR THOSE FEW FIFTY MILLION INHABITANTS, IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE IT ASK THE DEVELOPED EUROPEANS

  3. norbys 12/26/2012

    The FARC guerrilla is Colombia’s number one enemy, let us start at the beginning. The name they give themselves is now obsolete and contradictory Why?! The acronym FARC means revolutionar force of Colombia. And in my opinion force means unity but they are disunited from the Colombians,revolution means to change something for the better to benefit all,of Colombia we Colombians did not ever elect the FARC to intercede or fight for us;the members of that organization are only in agreement with themselves and so what about us?

  4. carolina 12/19/2012

    The reality is imminent; I think there should be a common agreement between both parties it s very true that in the past few years Colombia has suffered a lot because of a few who want to make a difference by foul means. If you want a change you will have to go to the thoughts the CHE had. But now it’s become a way of life, a way to survive no matter who is beside you, no matter who you step all over without any compassion no matter so many children alone who wanted to have the warmth of a father or mother. “What do we expect from our children, from our leaders and from the groups outside the law” what are we leaving for….the children of our children…….

  5. soraya 12/15/2012

    Sadly human beings themselves destroy what they themselves build and that is what leads to so many wars and in that many criminals because we human beings ourselves are very envious of the other things we cannot have and that simple defect alone which is not good makes us step all over other people not caring what they do and without leaving behind each person’s dignity. That is what we have to change because if we don’t take that defect into account life will be calmer we will live in peace and above all the most important motive there will be no more innocent people dying and of course it will calm the wars more

  6. luz 12/09/2012

    Sadly so much violence and so much social chaos is a result of how unhappy the people are with those who govern and with the justice system. Because in reality there is no justice in our country. It is sad that a country so rich in resources, would be so poor; and if we add ignorance and social unrest to that, it is sad to see how the justice system is manipulated by certain sectors and so on. It is sad.

  7. Leonel Díaz 12/06/2012

    The violent and traumatic situation Colombia has experienced in its development for centuries, is due to its governing leaders’ inability on the one hand and the indifference of the governed on the other, as the saying goes, “the sick man doesn’t eat, nor Is there anything to feed him,” and the so-called groups “conspire”, they say to overthrow the governing class, they’re like what another of our sayings says “peeing outside the basket”, since while they may denounce the abandonment of the state and the inability of the governors and social inequality, their rhetorical and overwrought discourse is comes to an end, as soon as they twist their struggle toward a criminal attitude and violations of human rights, and all that for the good of democracy, because if we’re governed by inept and corrupt leaders, and we then are governed by violent and murderous leaders, then it’s worthless to take over the power, in short, in Colombia the people should have a true sense of belonging and should effectively demand that their elected leaders in the government keep their sugary promises, it is depressing to know, for example, when going over the line gauge, that millions of billions of tons of wealth have passed over, and in the numerous decades it has taken, they have raised thousands of billions in taxes from a great range of things, such as tolls, value-added tax, bearings, etc. with which they could have built 10 double lane highways and 10 two way tunnels, and millions of pesos in fuel would be saved, and less polluted air, and faced just with this example of abandonment and waste no one bats an eye, there in that small and lone example of the thousands that exist, a picture emerges of our governing class and our indifference, the governed, since we complain but we don’t do anything practical, civilized and effective against such shamelessness

  8. johan lopez 12/06/2012

    I don’t know if it’s possible through this medium but I hope justice is done regarding the theft in Fusagasuga, it’s a lie one of the uniformed police officers themselves was who planned everything and looked for people to commit the theft but in the end the uniformed police let him go so he wouldn’t be compromised they made it all up to be able to come out positive for that period and to be able to say that the police are alert it is a lie today we see once again that the police force does things to have prestige at the expense of the people who need money the uniformed police officer was the one who volunteered to do all that and in the end it was he who caught all the false positives we see once again in our country and all of it at the expense of innocent people who need money for that period why was it the SIJIN in Bogotá the one who captured them today in FUSA? Isn’t a neighbor supposed to giving the warning? How could the police get over there so quickly? Questions without answers….I also have the name of the police who had arranged all the rest to keep anyone from going to the house help me to report these liars who want to achieve success at the expense of everyone else.

  9. oscar martinez 11/28/2012

    My Colombian compatriots, exiled in the mountains of our highlands and the Amazonian jungles, I want to tell you that: I feel a bit upset and hurt when I see the sacrifice of Colombian lives fighting against each other for power? What power, one on behalf of the Government, vested in democracy and the other controlled by weapons, we Colombians know of the possible peace agreement that is so good for the country, since the power through weapons has lost its way in the face of its ideology with regard to the social status of its fellow citizens, since the state has been lackadaisical regarding the poverty of the least favored class, but we need to ask the democratic power as well as the armed power to be clear that, God willing, when an agreement is reached for the good of Colombia, it be made clear what is to be done with the exploitation of our beautiful Amazon and mountainous regions, given that the armed power has never been effective with regard to its fellow citizens and its ideology, the future of our resources and their equitable distribution has to be addressed, it is worth stating that our territory of our ocean was cut off out of lack of use and/or the possession of our cays when our seas were exploited, since in Colombia, symbolically, there has to be commercialization of fishing to such an extent that a pound of fish should cost the same as a pound of by-products in Colombia. Because it is not fair that foreign companies loot our resources, to benefit a few, for the love of God, we need to know how to distribute what God created for mankind and for man to take over the good granted by the All Mighty, throwing crumbs to us, the poor, we want to live like the so desired rich countries.

  10. Judy 11/13/2012

    GIVEN THE HUGE NUMBER OF CRIMES OCCURRING IN COLOMBIA, BOMB ATTACKS, BURNING BUSES, KIDNAPPINGS, MURDERS LEFT AND RIGHT. ALL THE GOVERNMENT CAN DO WITH THE SECURITY FORCES IS TO ATTACK FROM THE AIR EVEN IF THEY HAVE TO SACRIFICE CIVILIANS. IT IS PAINFUL BUT THAT IS WHAT PRESIDENT URIBE DID WITH COMUNA 13 AND THAT PUT AN END TO A LOT OF RATS. IT’S JUST THAT CRIME IS BACK AND THEY HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO FIGHT IT. IT’S TIME COLOMBIA, YOU CAN’T SUBMIT TO A FEW CRIMINALS WHO ARE JUST OUT FOR THEMSELVES.

Poll
Do you consider organized crime a threat to stability in your country?
View Results