Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Government of Colombia and the Terrorist FARC Organization are finally Reaching a Peace Agreement after Decades of Fighting.
Congratulations! Recent newspaper articles describe the imminent signing of a peace treaty that is being crafted to end the war between the terrorist group FARC and the Columbian government.

Decades ago, I had the unique opportunity to negotiate with the FARC  regarding the release of an American Peace Corps hostage who was taken while he and others were trekking through the jungles of that country. I immediately assessed the situation from afar and determined that in fact a peace corps volunteer had been taken for reasons that remained both unclear to me and more importantly to FARC. FARC assumed that this young man was a CIA operative. However after some time, they conceded with my insistence that he was not ever CIA nor could ever be CIA because his education and lifestyle were completely inconsistent with that of an American operative. Once we agreed that this individual was a target of happenstance, like many other Peace Corps members, they decided after some long distance communication to release him for a price.
At first the price was quite high. I don’t remember the amount but it did not correspond to the raison d’etre for his capture. Eventually, it came to a point in our conversations where the FARC leader had to admit that they had made a mistake in taking him. What became more interesting was, as the weeks went by, I was sensing an urgency from the FARC leader to get rid of the American hostage. I recalled the O’Henry short story—“The Ransom of Red Chief”—where the captive became so obnoxious that the captors eventually released the captive.
As I gathered more HUMINT, I learned that the Peace Corps volunteer had made himself so incredibly disliked and burdensome to the FARC over a very few short days that I was able to knock down the asking price to a paltry amount. Thanks to the fact that Peace Corps hostage was a real pain in the ass. I went down to Colombia to make the necessary exchange without involving myself or the FARC in any direct communications.
The Peace Corps volunteer was released. The FARC was true to their word. And the rest of the story was inspiring, right?
Not quite!

In the middle of another hostage siege that took place in the USA involving a black American Muslim who had taken over five hundred hostages in Washington DC, [Hanafi Muslim Siege], I received a disturbing phone call from the Peace Corp member’s family. She informed me that one year after his release, he had committed suicide. I mentioned a few words of consolation and then proceeded to extract out the five hundred hostages from the hands of the Black Muslims. After the ordeal was over, I asked myself what had happened to this young Peace Corps volunteer who really was extremely helpful in facilitating his own release.
I began to realize that his suicide might have been a PTSD reaction to what had happened to him while he was in captivity. I researched the issue of hostage taking and PTSD; and I found that there was very little literature related to this phenomena in the civilian press. Yet in military literature there was an inchoate movement that was starting to study prisoner captivity in North Korea and Vietnam. As a result of this FARC hostage siege and its tragic aftermath, I recommended that the State Department personnel [those who were about to leave abroad on assignment] should take a mandatory hostage-survival preparation course. Under Secretary for Management, Lawrence Eagleburger, enforced this mandate.

In retrospect, as much damage and pain that FARC had caused Colombia, I do remember one small, incidental episode where they had inspired me to make hostage-survival a part of the Foreign Service Curriculum. Whether that program still exists, I have no idea.
I congratulate both the FARC and the Colombian government for their final approach to signing a peace treaty.
May that peace last for many years!
The Colombian people deserve a respite from violence and terror.


  1. Dr. P, despite the sorrowful ending, I'm tickled that you could you could bring O. Henry's story to life.

    Of all the stories I read to my daughter, “The Ransom of Red Chief” is the only one I've ever re-read just for me.

    1. Here in Austin there is an "O.Henry home" where he used to live, briefly. But O.Henry's greatest drama was in the city of Waco, just up the road, where my cousin the state judge is now criticized everywhere for his role in the "Waco Biker Murders" case no underway. May my cousin the judge weather the storm...

      Yes O.Henry was in a saloon in Waco when someone pulled out a gun and shot him. O.Henry was the publisher of a paper, "The Iconoclast," and perhaps he's offended the man with the gun...

      O.Henry, himself armed, fell to the floor and fired in return, I think wounding or killing his assailant.

      But O.Henry also died of his wounds.

      This is why I stay in these parts...

    2. But my favorite story of shootouts in my home area is the killing of Austin's city Marshall Ben Thompson.

      Thompson was a psychopathic killer who worked as a hired assassin in Texas, Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas...

      He'd been tried a few times but in every case he'd bribed or intimidated jurors and got off...not uncommon in those days.

      He returned to Austin, where he'd grown up but had to flee at age seventeen for shooting a friend. He bought a saloon/gambling joint near the state capitol and intimidated everyone in town into electing him the city Marshall.

      Austin in those days was a nothing place to Thompson went to San Antonio to gamble and carouse. He favored the Vaudeville Dance Hall for gambling, and the owner of that place was Jack Harris, a beloved citizen of the Alamo City. Thompson was a degenerate gambler and a sore loser and Harris put the word out that he was banned from the club after a particularly unpleasant visit by Thompson one weekend.

      Thompson replied by going back to San Antonio and killing Jack Harris, Thompson still being the city Marshall of Austin! Thompson was tried but aquitted by jurors in San Antonio who'd been threatened by Thompson's partner in crime in the area, King Fisher. King Fisher was another vicious killer and criminal who dominated the "Nueces Strip" between San Antonio and Del Rio, Texas..including the cities of Del Rio and Uvalde....

      The "Nuesces Strip" was later memorialized by hack writer Carmack McCarthy in the epic turned film, "No Country for Old Men..."

      So the people of San Antonio were fed up with King Fisher and Thompson and their intimidating witnesses and jurors and skating away from every murder....

      So the city fathers of San Antonio invited Thompson back to San Antonio for a peace meeting, and Thompson brought along King Fisher for support.

      Thompson and Fisher were so arrogant that they didn't see the possibility that these citizens might actually be planning to stand up to them...

      When Thompson and Fisher arrived for the meeting a group of ten vigilantes popped up with rifles and shoot both of them dead.

    3. San Antonio is the gun capital of the world, and in the 1920s and early 1930s the biggest seller to the underworld of guns of all kinds was the Jewish gunsmith Hymand Lebman. Lebman invented the first machine pistol by taking a Colt model 1911 chambered in .38 Super and making it fully automatic. This and other modified firearms Lebman sold to Lester Gillis, Babyface Nelson, Homer VanMeter, and scores of other gangsters, bank robbers and local characters of all kinds.... Homer VanMeter was John Dilligers' partner and he and Gillis were also frequent guests at the Lebman home in the Alamo City....

      Lebman's gunsmith shop was in the basement of his leathergoods store on S. Flores street one block away from the County Courthouse.

    4. Now as for the FARC it's too bad they are going out of business as they provided steady employment for a number of psychopathic Israeli goon murderers from Mossad and the Israeli Defense Forces....

      I guess now these Israeli assholes will have to find some other clients...

    5. Now as for hostage training....

      These state dept. guys are shrinking violets. They are just not manly types if you know what I mean....

      It would be better....FAR train them on how to NOT become kidnapped in the first place...

      Maybe how to take precautions so you won't be kidnapped and if a kidnapping attempt is made how to defend yourself...

      That's much better than trying to cope once you've been snatched.

      Just my opinion.

    6. @CIA,

      Why are people criticizing your cousin?

      Any insight into what happened with the bikers?

      You've mentioned the virtues of Waco in the past but they sure don't provide satisfying explanations for their major events.

      This May's Biker Murders, the 1993 Siege, the death of 24 mammoths, a camel, and a cat over 68,000 years ago - all still mysteries as far as I'm concerned.

    7. My cousin has put a gag order on everything to do with the Biker cases, and has sealed the videos and dash cams....

      Evidently it was Waco police who were also shooting, and it's possible that Waco police may have been the ones to start shooting....

      About 160 bikers, everyone there, was thrown into jail and each given a 1 million dollar bond. Except for being there what did these individuals do?

      It looks very suspicious.

    8. If ever there was a cluster fuck for the gangs, this would be it imnsho. Got all of them warehoused for a while it appears.

      Reminds me of a sign on the side of a freeway I'd pass daily, it was an ad for bail bonds, and it said; "We will get you out of jail, even if it takes us 20 years"

  2. These stories must be known to public, this is world cultural heritage! Stories from time when every American citizen was respected and cherished around world. Especially in 1970es. Today if you kill american in world, no one care at all. That is result of financial free market liberal capitalism, deregulation and low and no taxation of rich. Back then america was on right side, capitalists had to care about people. It was investments + consumer capitalism.

    1. once upon a time, we valued MORALITY. It made us great. now it seems we value money, sad.

    2. Yeah my Croatian communist friend... Communism is much is when you are ready to kill your closest neighbour in line for the piece of bad butter because he was the last who was able to buy this precious piece of grocery for worthless communist money. Social justice is only possible among poor beggars or among residents of the cemetery. God created everybody NOT equal because all of us have different goals set by HIM for our lives. Do I have any fallacy in my statement buddy?

    3. Those are just your examples from "communist" russia, because russians were unable for communism, Marx said that Russians and Serbs would need to make place for industrial societies of advanced communist west because
      only advanced industrial societies can enter communism...
      in Slovenia and Croatia it was great... because we were part of western world where king is king and bishop is bishop so we were able to develop free royal cities where king could repulse power of feudal landowners... russians tzars were mostly idiots fooled by their magicians (Rasputin) or jester Potemkin while big feudal oligarchy under him would gamble drunk and loose budget of italy in one night... King of east could never work for people only as brutal agent of oligarchy, yes even oligarchy had to listen him, and he could be brutal to each of them, but he was never real holder of power.

      Gulags were full, but full only of real communists, when they saw that Stalin was not communist at all....
      Is there example when workers decided what to do with profits of factory where they worked in USSR? NEVER...
      That was only in Croatia and Slovenia, for real. So your examples are not describing communism.

    4. Human nature is the same everywhere. All games with socialism and communism boil down to gulag or slaughter. Chinese Mao , cambodia's Pol Pot. E.t.c. Slovenia and Croatia just switched to "boring" capitalism before started to build concentration camps. You buy the way had some consequences during the Balkan war in 1990s. You will counter argument me with Sweden and Norway as a "great" examples of socialism. OK. Sweden gained and was able to hold some communist features because it was neutral WW2. Norway is the oil story. Buy the way both will collapse under the wave of Islamic freeloaders soon. Both have more than 15% of Muslim immigrant population, after this number reach 30 they will loose national identity and will not be able to feed people who never worked in their life and proliferating with the birth rate 10 times higher than the Western European one. Wanna make a bet on this?

    5. Yes Dr P, and after all of Wall Street's fraud, which seems to be their standard M.O., look who goes to jail, Bernie Madoff. Why? Because his sin was greater than the rest! While Wall Street stole from the 99%, Bernie stole from the upper 1%. And he is rotting in jail while the others run free, seeking ever greater economic capers.

  3. I will never forget when Dick Grasso, head of the NYSE met with the FARC leader.

    The picture of him and the FARC commander was worth a thousand words. Many of us felt he was there to help launder the massive drug profits of FARC. He himself said he went there as a message of cooperation with the NYSE and the anti capitalist Marxist FARC.

    One wonders which banks and brokerage houses got to launder the FARC money from kidnappings, drug dealings, death squads for hire, ect. ect.

    There is no PTSD in that crowd.

    1. There are no drug or criminal proceeds from FARC passing through American banks.

      That's laughable.

      Now if you wanna talk about Mexican drug profits in American banks we can talk...

      But the FARC is not a question.