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Breaking News- Three American Defense Contractors freed in Colombia

In addition to Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves regaining their freedom after five years of captivity, former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt also made a successful escape from their FARC captors.

Dr. Taylor at Poliblog calls this 'This is fantastic news and yet another blow to the FARC.'

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia's four most famous hostages -- three American defense contractors and a former presidential candidate -- were rescued from the jungle after years in the hands of leftists rebels, the Colombian defense ministry announced Wednesday.

Authorities also captured a top FARC leader, "alias César," who was in charge of the hostages, and another guerrilla.

In describing "Operation Checkmate," Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said Colombian military intelligence managed to infiltrate the top hierarchy of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and arrange for a transfer of hostages purportedly to be handed over to Alfonso Cano, the rebel group's maximum leader.

The government mole arranged for the hostages to be brought together from three different locations to one camp, and then taken to a helicopter the FARC believed belonged to a friendly aid group that would take the hostages to Cano.

Instead, it was a military helicopter piloted by intelligence officers, who whisked a total of 15 hostages to freedom.

Free are American defense contractors Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves; former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt; and 11 soldiers and police officers.

"They are free, safe and sound," Santos said at a press conference.

Betancourt was kidnapped in 2002 on the campaign trail, instantly becoming a in both Colombia and France, where she also has citizenship. Her campaign manager was released from captivity earlier this year.

A year after Betancourt's kidnapping, the Americans also were taken by FARC guerrillas. The Americans were working for a U.S. defense contractor corporation, Northrop Grumman, taking drug crop surveillance photos when their plane crashed into Colombia's jungle, which at the time was overrun by leftist rebels. The three were taken captive by the FARC and held as pawns for a prisoner swap.

Betancourt has been in captivity for six and a half years; the Americans five and a half.

It is great news for the Americans and Betancourt and their families. I believe those rescued today aren't the only hostages held by FARC at this time. Therefore for those still in captivity, life is likely to get harsher because the rebels are probably angry at the rescue and how they were tricked.


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Comments (12)

Unsurprisingly, Fox News ge... (Below threshold)
Herman:

Unsurprisingly, Fox News gets important facts about this event completely wrong:

Fox News Reporter STEVE HARRIGAN: Well, you'd have to think as a former prisoner of war himself, Sen. McCain would have an intense interest in this case. It's been played pretty low profile. A lot of people aren't even aware of the fate of these three Americans. They were really working for a Defense Department civilian contractor. So there really might be a connection between the high-level visit of the former prisoner of war, John McCain himself, and the release now of three American prisoners here in southern Colombia.

They weren't released, Fox News, they were RESCUED by the Columbian military!! And McCain had nothing to do with it!!

It's a bit demoralizing that conservative morons continue to seek out this [expletive-deleted]-up network to find out what's going on in the world. Alas, the conservatives just love their Tony Snowjobs!

15 people are rescued from ... (Below threshold)
tyree:

15 people are rescued from a left wing terrorist group and Herman complains about Fox news.

Whatever.

Anytime the good guys win, I am happy, Herman, you should try it.

What I have an issue with, ... (Below threshold)
Herman:

What I have an issue with, tyree, is Faux (i.e., Fake) News once again deceiving its viewers, most of whom aren't smart enough to switch channels!

Obviously this was cheating... (Below threshold)
RScott:

Obviously this was cheating. Everyone knows that hostages are only to be released after many years of negotiations so the tools of capitalists can come to terms with the inner motivations of the captors. But, possibly the pilot had taken his cultural anthropology at Columbia and....

Herman,The Wizbang P... (Below threshold)
tyree:

Herman,
The Wizbang Post wasn't about Fox News, it was about human beings being rescued from terrorists. Take a few minutes to rejoice in the good news. Cheer up, some of the oppressed are free again.

I do understand you point about Fake News, we get the Los Angeles Time in our area and they lie all the time. But really, you save it for another post. Good news shouldn't ever be ruined, it is in short supply in the MSM.

"..a helicopter the FARC... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"..a helicopter the FARC believed belonged to a friendly aid group that would take the hostages to Cano."

Yeesh. Which 'aid group' is this?
Sounds like this 'aid group' needs to be investigated. And shot.

We would have never heard t... (Below threshold)
hermie:

We would have never heard this news if we had a President Obama in power. His consistent hostility towards the Columbian government would've sabotaged any cooperation with the US Intelligence agencies who were working on these rescues.

Herman,I really do... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Herman,

I really doubt you want to go toe to toe on mistakes by Fox News versus mistakes/distortions/outright lies by ALL THE OTHER FREAKING LEFT WING PROPAGANDA NEWS OUTLETS.

Good gravy you lefties are tiresome.

Herman, you're a troll, whi... (Below threshold)

Herman, you're a troll, which means you're the kind of creep women get restraining orders aganist because they're being stalked. You revel in your prick status, so you enjoy the process of being a prick, which makes you a sociopath. You insult people with impunity because you're shielded by the internet, which makes you a coward.

So, let's sum up. Herman is a unwanted, creepy, cowardly sociopathic prick troll.

"So, let's sum up. Herman i... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"So, let's sum up. Herman is a unwanted, creepy, cowardly sociopathic prick troll." -- Emerson

Tell me, Emerson, if there's anything about me that you like! :)

Herman:Who knows. ... (Below threshold)

Herman:

Who knows. In person you might exhibit a redeeming quality. Here you're either what you go out of your way to be, or you pretend to be that because, who knows, you think it serves the function of keeping it real or making us right-wingers think for ourselves for once. Even if it's the latter, at the end of the day people are the sum total of their words and actions, and all I see from you is an angry prick two-bit sociopath coward.

Nobody has to make the effort to peel back the 57 layers of your stinky onion to discover the beautiful mind inside. What you do as a troll doesn't defeat or persuade - it's just insults and the lowest forms of debate tactics.

In comedy it's said that if you can't be funny, be dirty. As far as political discourse goes, you live by if you can't be persuasive, scream, curse and throw your shit against the wall. Color me dazzled.

Assholes at Northrup Grumma... (Below threshold)
Total USDelusion:

Assholes at Northrup Grumman need to see homelessness and total financial ruin for just a taste of life in the 3rd world (and increasingly the US world). Some of them live in Virginia, and they've stolen your money and as such, need to be prosecuted for War Crimes. These neanderthals were assisting death squads before their capture.




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