US journalist Nicholas Casey, correspondent in Colombia of The New York Times, left the country on Sunday for security reasons after that newspaper published on Saturday an article he wrote about the return of the practice of extrajudicial or “false positive” murders by the Army.
“I had to take the measure to stay out of the country because of the false accusations that were launched yesterday (Saturday) on Twitter by (the pro-government senator) María Fernanda Cabal and replicated by several politicians in the last 24 hours,” Casey told local Colombian newspaper, El Tiempo, through email.
The senator from the right-wing Democratic Center party (led by former president Álvaro Uribe) posted two photos of Casey on Twitter while he was doing his journalistic work among the then guerrillas of the FARC.
“This is the ‘journalist’ Nicholas Casey, who in 2016 was on tour with the FARC in the jungle. How much will you have been paid for this story? And for this one now, against “the Colombian Army? #CaseyEsFakeNews,” Cabal wrote next to the two images.
The senator’s outburst derived from an article that The New York Times published on Saturday on the front page and that was written by Casey under the title of ‘Colombian army lethal orders put civilians at risk’, which gives an account of measures dictated by the military high command of this country so that troops duplicate in 2019 the number of results and operations at any cost, which would include extrajudicial killings.
Casey said that, based on the consultation of documents and statements of three senior army officers in that force, “a pattern of suspicious murders and cover-ups has begun to emerge,” and that “the new orders have generated discomfort among the military”.
The article also reported on a meeting that was held last January with 50 generals and colonels of the country, who were given a document through which they were asked to relate in a column the “arithmetic sum of voluntary presentations, catches and deaths in the development of military operations” of several armed groups during the previous year and were then told to establish a goal for the following year.
According to the article, the orders of the Colombian military high command would indicate that in order to improve the effectiveness of military operations, it would be necessary to “ally” with criminal and paramilitary groups, just as happened in previous years during the practices of “false positives”.
Between the years 2002 and 2008 (during the government of Álvaro Uribe) army brigades throughout the country extrajudicially murdered thousands of civilians to report them as guerrillas killed in combat, in what is known as “false positives” cases, with which the military received promotions and benefits.
Colombian courts have condemned more than 800 members of the army for extrajudicial executions, mostly soldiers and non-commissioned officers, while the authorities have not carried out exhaustive investigations into the high command of the Colombian Army and, on the contrary, have promoted in rank military presumably implicated in that type of events.
After learning of Senator Cabal’s [Twitter] outburst, The New York Times responded to it in that social network.
“We report accurately and impartially. In Colombia we have written very strong stories about the FARC, rebel groups and other criminal organizations. In this case, we simply reported what the documents written by the Army say, as well as information from Colombian officers themselves,” said the newspaper.
For its part, the commander of the Colombian army, Nicasio Martínez, who The New York Times notes had given the order, denied that within that force there is a policy that favors cases of “false positives.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Defense, Guillermo Botero, asked the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the accusation published by that newspaper.
Este es el “periodista” Nicholas Casey, que en 2016 estuvo de gira con las farc en la selva.
¿Cuánto le habrán pagado por este reportaje? ¿Y por el de ahora, contra el ejército de Colombia? #CaseyEsFakeNews pic.twitter.com/EQdhqM2i1c
— María Fernanda Cabal (@MariaFdaCabal) May 18, 2019
Source URL: La IguanaTV
Translated by: EF/JRE