Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Conviction upheld vs. FARC t-shirt makers

A Danish court upheld the conviction against six people convicted of selling clothes with profits destined to Colombia’s FARC guerillas.

An appeals court last September found that shirt company Fighters + Lovers was guilty of breaking Denmark’s antiterrorism laws by pledging to donate 75 cents from each sale of $33 shirts to the FARC and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Today’s Danish Supreme Court ruling concurred with that ruling which said that both groups are "terrorist organizations that have committed acts aimed at destabilizing a state or a government and have attacked civilian targets". (Indeed, the FARC and PFLP are considered terrorist organizations by the U.S. and E.U.)

The accused rejected the court’s claims and argued that their aim was to support "humanitarian projects" conducted by “legitimate resistance movements.” One of those convicted- Katrine Willumsen- tried to partially justify the FARC’s actions:
"A lot of the accusations [against Farc] are not true," she said. "But we are aware that Farc sometimes does stuff that is not OK. We do not believe that the Farc are angels, but they are not demons either. People must see the difference between terrorists and people fighting for freedom, and Danish law does not make that distinction."
Colombia continues to be submerged in a maelstrom of violence by the FARC and other rebels, rightist paramilitaries, and the Colombian state. Euphemisms cannot hide the suffering of millions of Colombians whose lives have been irreparably changed by forced exiles, massacres, and kidnappings. Rather than trying to help the FARC, Fighters + Lovers should assist the many legitimate Colombian groups and NGOs who have worked hard for meaningful social justice. The brave and peaceful actions of these groups have been hurt by Willumsen and her cohorts who have foolishly decided to help destructive rebels instead.

Image- Copenhagen Post
Online Sources- Guardian UK, The Latin Americanist, Al Jazeera English


Vicente Duque said...

The FARC have been very real DEMONS and TERRORISTS. There is no doubt about that.

They have planted thousands of land mines that have killed hundreds of children or have left them crippled for life.

They have attacked many poor villages of poor and ignorant people, destroying the houses and human lives with gas cylinders that are ejected from some tubes or launchers.

When Uribe took possession as president of Colombia, they killed several very little girls in Bogota with their rockets.

There are thousands of actions of Mass Murder, Kidnapping in masse, Extorsion, Terrorist Bombs to kill Civilians, etc ...

I remember that they killed many very poor and illiterate black people that took refuge in a wooden church. They burnt the church.

They have killed several Americans in the most cold blooded form after having them captives for several months - They were nice evangelicals.

They have had three Americans kidnapped for many years. Finally liberated by the Colombian Army.

Vicente Duque

Erwin C. said...

Agreed Vicente. The FARC aren't saints, to say the least.

Let's not forget about the other violent actors in the godawful mess that is Colombia's armed conflict. The AUC (paramilitaries), emerging criminal groups (e.g. Aguilas Negras), and corrupt military officers like those that perpetrated the "false positives" are some groups that come to mind.

Vicente Duque said...

Erwin C.

Thanks for your post, that I respect and agree with.

Parmilitarism has been also a disgrace of Colombia. But this president Uribe is sending the principal heads of "paras" to the USA in chains against the opposition of the Judiciary, Supreme Court, many lawyers and NGOs and many other interested parties.

These evil narcos promise a lot of money to the victims' relatives so that they fight against the extradition.

I hope that Mr Uribe continues sending these paras, paracos, or narcos ( the paramilitary ) to the USA.

I think that this policy coincides with the best wishes of the Colombian Population, they want to have the paracos as far as possible and for long as possible.

I hope that those guys that had some Americans as hostages can also be sent by Uribe to the USA, so that American Justice punishes them as it pleases.

That is why the most respectable polls, even by foreign organizations also give such astonishing high marks to Uribe.

People hate the Government and love the President.

Remember that the "Social Contract" of Rousseau has as its main point the personal security of the associates of a State.

The first duty of a Government is to insure lives and properties of the associates.

That may be a first explanation of the Super High Approval of Uribe in polls.

In Colombia everybody criticizes the Government and Uribe, in harsh terms, in Newpapers, Magazines, TV, Radio, Bars, Night Clubs, Saloons, Cafes and Cantinas.

But on election day everybody is scared of the FARC and Guerrillas. And everybody runs to vote for Uribe and save life and private property.

Vicente Duque

Erwin C. said...

A few points -

In the case of the paras Uribe has treated them with kid gloves. For instance, the Peace and Justice law was far too lenient on their leaders and did little too anticipate reemerging para groups like the Aguilas Negras.

Extradition can be a very useful weapon as was the case during the days of the big cartels. Some are rightly sent to the U.S. (be they paras or guerillas) to serve trial for breaking laws there. The danger, however, is that it subverts the Colombian judicial system that underwent several critical reforms under the Uribe adminsitration. (Ironically, it's Uribe who continue to butt heads and denigrate Colombian magistrates who should critique him).

For that matter, (and forgive me for being harsh) but give me a break with the accusations that victims organizations get paid off by criminal groups. It's a disingenous and false allegation that is insult to those who work diligently and nobly for justice to be served. Thousands of families whose loved ones have gone missing for years deserve to know what happened to their loved ones.

(By the way if "everybody" in Colombia harshly critiques the president then how does that explain his high popularity numbers in the urban centers)?

Uribe is such a strong political force unto himself that it will be very interesting to see who would have a strong chance of winning next year's election. (This is assuming that he cannot do so whether it be due to his own will or he cannot due to the Constitution). Either way, he's going to have to make up his mind pretty darn soon since it appears as if every Colombian political faction under the sun plans to run its own presidential candidate.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Buy a FARC T-shirt, plant a landmine. Buy a FARC compact disc, shoot a bullet to a woman or an helpless children... now supporting the FARC guerrilla you can kill people using your Master Card.