IBD editorial claimed "FARC seems to have an inside line to Obama's campaign"

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

In an editorial discussing recently killed spokesman of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, "Raúl Reyes," and the fact that there was a reference to Sen. Barack Obama in one of the letters allegedly found on Reyes' computer, Investor's Business Daily claimed that the "little Obama reference ... signals a disturbing pattern of contacts with rogue actors." IBD further stated that "FARC seems to have an inside line to Obama's campaign." However, the letter offers no indication whatsoever that Reyes or FARC had any "contacts" with the Obama campaign.

A March 7 Investor's Business Daily editorial said the following of letters allegedly found on the computer of "Raúl Reyes," the alias of the recently killed spokesman for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ("Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia," or FARC) that contain a reference to Sen. Barack Obama: "[T]he little Obama reference within the 15 FARC letters released by the Colombian government signals a disturbing pattern of contacts with rogue actors." IBD further stated that "FARC seems to have an inside line to Obama's campaign." However, the particular letter that mentions Obama offers no indication whatsoever that Reyes or FARC had any "contacts" with the Obama campaign. According to the Associated Press, the letter refers to anonymous "gringos" who, according to Reyes, claimed that Obama will be the next president of the United States and will reject "both the Bush administration's free trade agreement with Colombia and the current military aid program." The letter does not identify the "gringos" in any way. Indeed, IBD itself acknowledged that it did not know "who these 'gringos' are."

From the March 7 Investor's Business Daily editorial:

The March 1 death strike by the Colombian army against FARC warlord Raul Reyes broke open a trove of contacts in his computer. So why did the name of Barack Obama turn up there?

Admittedly, it pales compared with other material from the dead thug's computer -- such as FARC efforts to obtain uranium or [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez's $300 million support.

But the little Obama reference within the 15 FARC letters released by the Colombian government signals a disturbing pattern of contacts with rogue actors. It's not the first time, and Obama has yet to distance himself.

In a Feb. 28 letter, FARC chieftain Raul Reyes cheerily reported to his inner circle that he met "two gringos" who assured him "the new president of their country will be Obama and that they are interested in your compatriots. Obama will not support 'Plan Colombia' nor will he sign the TLC (Free Trade Agreement)."

Aside from some interesting possibilities about who these "gringos" are -- a congressional delegation did visit Ecuador and an international leftist "congress" was held in Quito around this time -- the real question is why anyone secretly consorting with FARC would be able to speak for presidential candidate Obama.

[...]

These aren't idle "gotcha" questions, by the way. Based on his campaign so far, Obama favors meeting and negotiating with rogue leaders without preconditions, passing secret messages to foreign countries at odds with his public positions and tolerating Che-flag wielding leftists among his supporters who advance a radical agenda in his name.

Now that FARC seems to have an inside line to Obama's campaign, maybe he ought to come tell voters what he really stands for.

The text of the letter, reprinted by El País (Spain), does not identify the "gringos," and Media Matters for America has found no reporting offering any indication as to who they are. Translated to English, the relevant portion of the letter reads:

The gringos will ask for an appointment with the minister to request that he communicate to us his interest in discussing these topics. They say that the new president of their country will be Obama and that they are interested in your compatriots. Obama will not support Plan Colombia nor sign the TLC. We responded that we are interested in relations with all governments on equal terms, and that in the case of the United States this requires a public pronouncement expressing their interest in talking with FARC, given their continual war with us.

According to a March 5 AP article, the letter, allegedly written by Reyes and addressed to FARC, was found on a "laptop computer seized from the wreckage of a Colombian rebel camp in Ecuador":

References to U.S. diplomatic overtures are scintillating, if vague.

In a Dec. 11 message to the secretariat, Marquez writes: "If you are in agreement, I can receive Jim and Tucker to hear the proposal of the gringos."

Writing two days before his death, Reyes tells his comrades that "the gringos," working through Ecuador's government, are interested "in talking to us on various issues."

"They say the new president of their country will be (Barack) Obama," he writes, saying Obama rejects both the Bush administration's free trade agreement with Colombia and the current military aid program.

Reyes writes that his response to the Americans was that the United States would have to publicly express these positions.

President Bush signed an executive order on November 2, 2001, declaring FARC a terrorist organization. On March 3, Obama's Senate office issued a statement responding to Ecuador and Venezuela moving soldiers to their borders with Colombia and cutting diplomatic ties following Colombian attacks on FARC leaders. According to Obama's statement:

"The Colombian people have suffered for more than four decades at the hands of a brutal terrorist insurgency, and the Colombian government has every right to defend itself against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

"The presidents of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela have a responsibility to ensure that events not spiral out of control, and to peacefully address any disputes through active diplomacy with the help of international actors."

Network/Outlet
Investor's Business Daily
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.