Former senator and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt free at last after being held captive since February 23, 2002 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC). Betancourt was rescued by the Columbian security force along with 14 other hostages (three Americans and 11 Columbian policemen and soldiers) in the most daring ruse tricking the FARC into believing the liberators were a leftist non-government organization, to quote an LA Times article:
A fake humanitarian organization was created, complete with a special logo and a website. Bogus messages circulated through the jungle on tiny computer drives. Commandos aboard a helicopter posed as a doctor, a nurse, news reporters and cameramen.Using a rented Russian-made MI-17, one U.S. official said that great care was taken to make the rented helicopter and its crew resemble those that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sent with Red Cross officials to the area in January and February to recover six FARC hostages. Once they were airborne 2,500 feet the eight crew member in various disguise overpowered and disarmed rebel commander Gerardo Aguilar Ramirez (pictured on the right with what looks like a black eye, lol) and another FARC rebel.
For several weeks Colombian armed forces constructed a fake universe, and with help from U.S. intelligence and equipment, managed to fool the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia insurgent group into giving up 15 hostages Wednesday, including former senator and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. defense contractors.
New information emerged Thursday that may explain how the rebels were tricked into gathering the hostages at one remote jungle location and putting them aboard a helicopter that supposedly was headed for a special meeting with the new FARC commander, Alfonso Cano.
Many details remain unknown, but the deception apparently depended on the rebels having a degree of comfort with outside helicopters and personnel who had entered secret locations without posing any threat. Colombian and U.S. officials say there was no reason for the rebel commander guarding the hostages to disbelieve the "orders" that seemed to come from his superiors.
So daring was the plan hatched by two Colombian colonels that when they brought it to commanders in April, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos exclaimed, "Are these people crazy?"
The risks were high: one U.S. official gave it only a 50% chance of success.
Had the operation failed, the United States was prepared to participate in a "Plan B," which would have sent, within 15 minutes, 2,000 Colombian troops and U.S. advisors aboard 39 helicopters to within half a mile of the site.
Anna of Manila Baywatch is ecstatic, she was one of those who signed the petition to urge the rebels to free Ingrid Betancourt. I am sure most of the Columbians are also ecstatic at the release of their most popular figure and daring politician who distributed condoms in her campaign to symbolized the fight against corruption.
This is Nirvana for Ingrid Betancourt and her family together with her supporters in Columbia's fight for peace against the rebels in their terroristic tactics that surely shows their irrelevancy in this day and age. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet a former political prisoner says it aptly:
This has been the triumph of life, the triumph of peace, the triumph of democracy and liberty.
Now this is one big bang that will be good for the 4th of July celebration..............
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