April 1, 2002
Narco News '02
U.S. Order to Freeze
Rebel Bank Accounts
Narco News Commentary: Bush administration attempts to
use the "war on terrorism" as a Trojan horse to conduct
other policy agendas hit a marble wall last week in Switzerland.
As the Swiss government
froze bank accounts related to the Taliban organizations of Central
Asia and the Middle East, it at the same time refused a U.S.
request to freeze funds belonging to the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Colombian rebel organization.
In the days after the
attacks of September 11th, Narco News warned ("Washington's Terrorist
List: The Road Through Afghanistan Leads to Colombia," October 1, 2001) that Washington's
list of so-called "terrorist" organizations "fails
to distinguish between groups that cross international borders
to do violence and those that do not."
According to today's El Tiempo of Bogotá, the Swiss government -- in a
nation with many of the most important banking institutions in
the world -- has just taken a courageous step in turning the
tide against the cynical policy of Washington to make national
liberation movements targets in the so-called "war on terrorism."
The diplomatic policy of Switzerland reveals the continued rift
between the European Community and the U.S.-imposed "Plan
Colombia" military intervention.
Here is a translation
of the report in today's El Tiempo (so far, no English-language
wire service or media has reported the story).
a move that places distance between
Swiss diplomacy and that of the United States, the Swiss State
Department refused to automatically block the bank accounts of
the FARC, according to Jacques de Watteville, chief of the economic
and financial affairs division of this department.
"We have ordered the freezing of
69 accounts of the Taliban or its accomplices, identified as
criminals by the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council,
but we don't subscribe to the recommendations of certain countries
about supposedly terrorist organizations," he explained.
The U.S. Justice Department had sent the
Swiss government a list of terrorist organizations against which
it asked for the freezing of their bank accounts.
To explain the decision by his government,
Jacques de Watteville gave examples of the Lebanese Hezbollah
party and the FARC, insisting that "we don't define them
as terrorist organizations."
The policy of neutrality and good works
that characterizes Switzerland illustrates a relative clemency
for the FARC, since Switzerland together with France, Cuba, Spain
and Norway is part of the "Group of Friendly Countries"
that is attempting to consolidate a peace process between the
Colombian government and the ELN (National Liberation Army).
By Juan Gasparini
El Tiempo correspondent
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