The Ecuadoran Border Incident: Smart Bombs And Stone-Age Diplomacy?

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SuperTucano: The Piper Cub of death.

Bogotá maintains that its air force used ten conventional bombs in the operation, dropped from Colombian territory by 5 Brazilian-made SuperToucan fighters and three U.S.-made A-37s. The El Comercio daily of Quito reported than an Ecuadoran air force investigation established that 10 GBU Paveway II 500-lb. bombs, similar to the ones used in Iraq, were used, and “could not have been transported by the planes Colombia has.”

Gazeta Mercantil (Brazil) carries the AFP wire story: Southern Command did help zap the FARC No. 2, who was allegedly negotiating the release of Ingrid Betancourt, only with brains, not brainy bombs.

Your tax dollars at work?

BOGOTA (AFP) – 24/03/2008 – O ataque de 1º de Março da Colômbia a um campo rebelde em território do Equador foi apoiado pela inteligência dos Estados Unidos, mas não foram usadas bombas americanas, contou à AFP um oficial colombiano de alto escalão, confirmando as especulações sobre o assunto.

The March 1 attack on a rebel camp on Ecuadoran soil was supported by U.S. intelligence, but no U.S. bombs were used, a high-ranking Colombian official told AFP, confirming speculations on this issue.

It is really more of a denial than a confirmation.

“Não usamos armas dos Estados Unidos, mas apenas informações que compartilham agora conosco”, disse ele pedindo para não ter o nome divulgado.

“We did not use U.S. weapons, but only the information they now share with us,” the source said, asking that his name not be used.

“Hoje, conseguimos obter dados nítidos de coordenadas (localização), conversas e identificação de redes de apoio”, acrescentou.

“Now, we can get accurate data on coordinates, communications, and the identification of support networks,” he added.

Raúl Reyes, homem de confiança de Manuel Marulanda (‘Tirofijo’) máximo líder das Forças Armadas Revolucionárias da Colômbia (Farc), foi abatido durante bombardeio no Equador, o que desencadeou crise diplomática sem precedentes.

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Ante a precisão do ataque, versões divulgadas em Quito e pela guerrilha assinalavam que foi usado um sofisticado armamento “inteligente” que só os Estados Unidos possuem, o que foi negado tanto por Washington quanto pelo governo de Alvaro Uribe.

Given the precision of the attack, accounts published in Quito and issued by the guerrilla group pointed to the use of a “smart” weapon of the kind only the U.S. possesses. Those reports were denied both by the Uribe government and Washington.

“Não usamos armas inteligentes dos Estados Unidos, utilizamos parte dos informes da inteligência que nos foi fornecida por esse país para empregar nosso próprio arsenal, e que graças aos convênios de cooperação é muito sofisticado”, destacou o funcionário do ministério da Defesa.

“We did not use U.S. smart weapons, we used part of the intelligence that country provided us to deply our own weaponry, which thanks to military cooperation treaties is very sophisticated,” the Defense Ministry employee said.

A participação americana “limitou-se à entrega de informação básica diretamente à polícia colombiana, dirigida pelo general Oscar Naranjo que goza da total confiança de Washington”, acrescentou.

U.S. involvement “was limited to handing over basic information directly to the Colombian police, which is directed by Gen. Naranjo, who enjoy’s Washington’s full confidence,” he added.

Bogotá sustenta que para a operação sua aviação usou dez bombas convencionais lançadas da Colômbia por cinco aviões Super Tucano (fabricação brasileira) e três aeronaves A-37 (de fabricação) americanas.

Bogotá maintains that its air force used ten conventional bombs in the operation, dropped from Colombian territory by 5 Brazilian-made SuperToucan fighters and three U.S. A-37s.

O jornal El Comercio, de Quito, diz que uma investigação da Força Aérea equatoriana estabeleceu que na operação foram usadas dez bombas GBU 12 Paveway II de 500 libras, semelhantes às usadas no Iraque e que “não podem ser transportadas pelos aviões de que Bogotá dispõe”.

The El Comercio daily of Quito reported than an Ecuadoran air force investigation established that 10 GBU Paveway II 500-lb. bombs, similar to the ones used in Iraq, were used, and “could not be transported by the planes Colombia has.”

Reported on March 21. More below.

Autoridades equatorianas também analisam com receio o fato de que um avião HC-130 americano tenha decolado da Base de Manta – sob controle dos Estados Unidos e situada a 230 km a sudoeste de Quito -, horas antes do ataque.

Ecuadoran officials also regard with alarm the fact that an American HC-130 had taken off from the Manta airbase, 230 km southeast of Quito, a few hours before the attack.

The Ecuadoran government says it is not going to renew the lease on that base.

O general da reserva Néstor Ramírez, ex-número dois do Exército colombiano, considera que dadas as características do ataque, este pode ter sido realizado apenas por aviões colombianos.

Reserve general Néstor Ramírez, former Colombian army minister, believes that the characteristics of the attack suggest it could only have been carried out by Colombian aircraft.

“As bombas teleguiadas lançadas do Tucano têm três sistemas de orientação e podem chegar ao alvo com margem de erro de apenas 30 centímetros”, explicou à AFP.

“The remotely guided bombs dropped from the Toucan have three guidance systems and can hit the target with a margin of error of only 30 cm,” he told AFP.

Os aviões Super Tucanos contam, além disso, com avançados sistemas de visão noturna e tecnologia de detecção térmica.

SuperToucans also have advanced night-vision and thermal detection systems.

As Farc, por sua vez, sustentam que a operação na qual morreu Reyes “foi realizada pelo Comando Sul do Exército dos Estados Unidos e seus subalternos colombianos”, segundo comunicado divulgado quinta-feira pelo canal Telesur com sede na Venezuela.

FARC, in turn, maintains that the operation in which “Reyes” died “was carried out by the U.S. Southern Command and its Colombian [stooges],” according to a statement aired last Thursday by Telesur in Venezuela.

De acordo com a agência Anncol, próxima aos rebeldes, a prova da participação de Washington na operação é a presença em Bogotá, na sexta-feira anterior à operação, de Joseph Nimmich, diretor da Força de Tarefa Conjunta do Comando Sul dos Estados Unidos.

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Os Estados Unidos têm no presidente Uribe seu principal aliado na América Latina e repassaram à Colômbia mais de 4 bilhões de dólares desde o ano 2000 para o combate ao narcotráfico e às organizações armadas de esquerda.

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Em outubro de 2004, o congresso americano autorizou duplicar o número de militares americanos na Colômbia (800 soldados).

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El Comercio‘s March 21 report:

El ataque al campamento de las FARC en territorio ecuatoriano provocó un revuelo a escala internacional, no solo por el hecho de que se violó la soberanía ecuatoriana, tal como lo reconoció la Organización de Estados Americanos , sino por la magnitud del bombardeo.

The attack on a FARC camp in Ecuadoran territory provoked an international furor, not just because of the violation of Ecuadoran sovereignty, as the OAS recognizes, but because of the scale of the bombardment. 

El pasado 6 de marzo, expertos en armamento de la Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana (FAE) iniciaron un peritaje de lo ocurrido en Angostura, donde falleció el segundo de las FARC, ‘Raúl Reyes’. Su objetivo era clarificar cómo se produjo el bombardeo, el armamento utilizado y los daños causados.

On March 6, arms experts from the FAE began investigating the incident in Angostura in which “Raúl Reyes” of FARC was killed. Its objective was to explain how the bombing happened, identify the ordinance used, and evaluate the damage caused.

De acuerdo con el informe de los peritos, se utilizaron 10 bombas GBU 12 Paveway II de 500 libras, que dejaron cráteres de 2,40 metros de diámetro por 1,80 metros de profundidad.

According to their report, 10 GBU 12 Paveway II 500-lb. bombs were used, leaving craters of 2.4 meters wide and 1.8 meters deep. 

Según las especificaciones del fabricante de la bomba GBU 12, Texas Instruments, este explosivo puede ser guiado por láser, GPS o tecnología intersensorial (INS). Además, el informe de la FAE señala que se encontraron vainillas de proyectiles 0,50 en el sector sur del campamento, “que fueron disparadas por ametralladoras emplazadas en helicópteros, que brindaron la seguridad del personal que realizó la infiltración”.

According to specifications from the bomb’s manufacturer, Texas Instruments, this explosive device can be guided by laser, GPS or INS. The FAE report also states that .50 caliber shells were found south of the camp, “fired by machine-guns installed in helicopters that provided air cover for the ground infiltration team.”

Este tipo de bomba fue muy usado durante la ‘Operación Tormenta del Desierto’, en Irak.

This type of bomb was widely used during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq.

La mayoría de las bombas cayó en el área de dormitorios y de adoctrinamiento del campamento. Las zonas de lavandería y entrenamiento quedaron intactas.

Most of the bombs fell in the sleeping and indoctrination areas of the camp. The laundry  and training areas were untouched.

La Guía de Identificación de Armamento de la Organización del Tratado del Atlántico del Norte (OTAN) señala que las bombas GBU 12 solamente pueden ser transportadas por aviones A7, A10, B52, F111, F117, F15, F16, F/A 18 C/D, F14 y A6.

The NATO armament identification manual says that GBU 12 can only be carried by A7, A10, B52, F111, F15, FA-18 C/D, F14 and A6 aircraft.  

El Ministerio de Defensa colombiano aseguró que en el operativo ‘Fénix’ se usaron aviones Súper Tucano. No obstante, según la OTAN, estas naves no se incluyen entre las que pueden llevar bombas GBU 12, como las empleadas en el ataque a la base irregular.

The Colombian defense ministry stated that Operation Phoenix used SuperToucan aircraft. Howver, according to NATO, these aircraft are not among those that can carry GBU 12s like the ones used in the attack on the illegal base.

Surely they could kludge something together?

En diciembre del 2006, Colombia concretó la compra de 25 aviones Súper Tucano a la empresa Embraer, fabricante de este tipo de aeronaves, como parte del proceso de modernización de su Fuerza Aérea.

Colombia bought 24 SuperToucans from Embraer in December 2006 as part of the modernization of its air force.

Datos de fabricación de los aviones A-29B Súper Tucano señalan que la aeronave está dotada con un motor turbohélice, controlado por un sistema digital integrado. Puede llevar armas convencionales e inteligentes; por ejemplo, el misil Python III, la bomba guiada por láser (LGB) Griffin, o toda la familia de bombas Mk-82.

Manufacturing data on the A-29B SuperToucan indicate the aircraft has a turboprop propulsion system controlled by an integrated digital system. It can carry both conventional and “smart” weapons; for example, the Python III missile, the Griffin laser-guided bomb, and the Mk-82 family of bombs.

I am reading here somewhere that the Paveway is actually a modified Mk-82 bomb model, with fins and “brains” glued onto it.

Is that really so? I know nothing about bombs and guns, so I will have to read more on that.

Además, puede cargar ametralladoras 0,50 dentro de las alas, como los aviones de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

It also has .50 machine guns mounted in its wings, like a WWII fighter aircraft.

En su informe, la FAE también descartó de manera definitiva que en el ataque se hayan usado aviones Kfir, que forman parte de las filas colombianas.

The FAE report also discarded the possibility that Colombian Kfir aircraft were used in the attack.

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The Paveway.

Ayer, la Fuerza Aérea Colombiana (FAC) le dijo a este Diario, a través de su oficina de prensa, que no era posible dar ningún detalle del armamento utilizado en el operativo del 1 de marzo, a menos que la FAE lo solicite por los canales oficiales. Por el momento, la comunicación entre las dos fuerzas está en suspenso, luego de que el ministro de Defensa ecuatoriano, Wellington Sandoval, pidiera que se termine el convenio de la Comisión Binacional de Frontera (Combifron). De producirse este requerimiento, explicó la Fuerza Aérea colombiana , se proporcionará el mismo informe sobre el armamento y todo el equipo militar utilizado en la Operación Fénix, que ya fue entregado al secretario general de la OEA, José Miguel Insulza, la semana anterior, durante su visita a Colombia.

Yesterday, the Colombian air force (FAC) told this newspaper through its press office that it cannot provide any details of the weapons sued in the March 1 attack unless the FAE requests it through official channels. At the moment, communication between the two air forces is suspended, after Ecuadoran defense minister Sandoval asked that the Combifron border treaty be revoked. …

Mientras tanto, la FAE seguirá investigando a fin de determinar qué tipo de avión fue el utilizado para bombardear el campamento de las FARC, que dejó 26 persona muertas. Por ello, incluso se ha mantenido la reserva en cuanto al contenido del informe de la Fuerza Aérea, según informó una alta fuente del Ministerio de Defensa ecuatoriano.

In the meantime, the FAE will continue to investigate what kind of aircraft was used to bomb the FARC camp, an attack that left 26 dead. For that purpose, it has classified the contents of the air force report, according to a senior defense official.

Además, de acuerdo con datos de Inteligencia Naval, un avión HC-130 despegó desde el FOl de Base de Manta, a las 19:00 del viernes 29 de febrero y regresó a las 16:30 del día siguiente. Lamentablemente se desconoce el rumbo que tomó esta aeronave de EE.UU., aunque según las autoridades de la base militar, se realizó una labor de control rutinario a las costas ecuatorianas.

Further, according to Ecuadoran naval intelligence, an HC-130 took off from the Manta air base at 7 p.m. on February 29 and returned at 6:30 a.m. the following day. Unfortunately, the route taken by the U.S. aircraft is not known, although airbase officials say it was conducting a routine patrol of the Ecuadoran coast. 

El HC-130 es la versión mejorada de combate y rescate del avión de transporte C-130. Su misión principal es proveer combustible en el aire a helicópteros de rescate, aunque también sirve como arma de combate y de transporte de personal y de otras aeronaves.

The HC-130 is an improved combat and rescue version of the C-130 transport aircraft. Its principal mission is to refuel rescue helicopters in midair, though it can also serve as a combat weapon and a transport aircraft for personnel and other aircraft.

That’s not the one with the freaking howitzer jammed into it, like they were going to use on Osama at Tora Bora, is it?

(But did not get a chance to blow Osama up with, unfortunately. And why was that, again?)

Los aviones HC-130 suelen volar de noche, a bajo nivel y lanzar todo tipo de operaciones de reabastecimiento. Sus pilotos usan visores nocturnos.

HC-130s most often fly at night, at low altitude, and undertake all sorts of refueling missions. Their pilots use night vision equipment.

El reporte forense

Coroner’s report 

El Departamento Médico Legal de la Policía entregó a la Fiscalía de Sucumbíos el informe sobre las autopsias realizadas a los 23 cadáveres recuperados en el campamento de las FARC.

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En el documento también se incluyó la indagación sobre el tipo de armas usadas en la incursión terrestre del Ejército y Policía colombianos.

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Los cuerpos tenían signos de disparos de armas cortas y largas, del impacto de esquirlas de bombas y daños por la onda expansiva del arsenal.

The bodies bore signs of gunshots from long weapons and hand guns, bomb shrapnel and blast-wave damage.

Las autoridades todavía investigan si existieron ‘tiros de gracia’, que se usaron para ejecutar a los heridos en la base. Según la Aldhu, hay evidencias que al menos nueve cuerpos presentaban huellas de disparos por la espalda.

Officials are still investigation whether coups de grace were administered in order to execute the wounded. According to ALDHU, there is evidence that at least 9 bodies were shot in the back.

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