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Hostage Rescuers Posed As ‘Aid Workers’

From an obviously disappointed Associated Press:

Rescue video shows duped rebels, elated hostages

By IAN JAMES, Associated Press Writer

BOGOTA, Colombia – Military intelligence agents posing as aid workers and a film crew flew to the jungle aboard a white helicopter, staging a mock humanitarian mission that rebels were told would ferry their hostages to another camp for talks on a prisoner swap.

The would-be envoys had honed their accents in acting lessons: Italian, Arab, Caribbean Spanish, and Australian English — "identical to Crocodile Dundee," Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said Friday as he explained how the military duped the rebels into turning over 15 hostages.

Santos said military intelligence agents had infiltrated the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, so that guerrillas believed the hostages were being moved on the orders of top rebel leader Alfonso Cano for negotiations on a hostage exchange. To play their roles, some soldiers wore Che Guevara T-shirts

Presenting the video at a news conference, Santos said that Wednesday’s elaborate ruse intentionally mimicked two hostage handovers brokered by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez earlier this year, when Venezuelan helicopters carrying International Red Cross observers picked up six hostages.

"In the last two handovers of hostages," Santos said, "there was always a cameraman sent by Chavez."

The three-minute video presented at Colombia’s military headquarters showed the mission was modeled after the Venezuelan operations down to the red T-shirt worn by a supposed journalist, who poses questions to a rebel while hostages’ hands are bound with plastic handcuffs

The local rebel commander, alias Cesar, cheerfully refuses an interview.

The video shows a line of rebels standing in the distance watching as the helicopter starts up. Cesar and another rebel came aboard the helicopter and, once airborne, were overpowered by the soldiers — a moment that was not filmed.

The final images on the video capture the hostages’ elation as they realize their captors are actually soldiers rescuing them…

How wonderful — and hilarious.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner (L) wave goodbye to army helicopters with stickers of the Red Cross logo at the Santo Domingo airport, near the Colombian border state of Tachira, December 28, 2007.

And it is especially delicious that Mr. Chavez (and Oliver Stone) inadvertently helped his enemies with his preposterously bungled "negotiations."

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, July 5th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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