Cablegate: Nas Monthly Report for November 2008
DE RUEHBO #4499/01 3541927
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191927Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6200
INFO RHEHOND/DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//SCJ2/SCJ3/SCJ5//
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF STATE AIR WING PATRICK AFB FL
UNCLAS BOGOTA 004499
DEPT FOR INL/LP AND INL/RM
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR SENV KCRM PTER CO
SUBJECT: NAS MONTHLY REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 2008
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In November, only 4,492 hectares of coca were
sprayed due to bad weather and lack of support from the Colombian
National Police (CNP); this setback slowed our progress toward the
annual eradication goal of 130,000 hectares sprayed. Eradication
aircraft were involved in four hostile fire incidents, resulting in
eight impacts. On Nov. 21, the Aerial Eradication Manager hosted a
Colombian Eradication Conference that aimed to increase cooperation
and jointness in operations. Total manual eradication of coca by
December 15 will be several thousand hectares short of the 2008
manual eradication goal of 100,000 hectares; the GOC's manual
eradication program for 2009 is still in the planning stages
awaiting the finalization of budget allocations. Plan Colombia
Helicopter Program (PCHP) aircraft flew 483.2 hours, which included
providing support for eight medical evacuation flights for 12
patients; eighty-eight contractors were cut from the PCHP program.
The CNP Aviation Wing's (ARAVI) NAS-supported fleet flew 1,330
mission hours in November; the C-26 Intelligence, Surveillance,
Reconnaissance Aerial Platform (ISRAP) awaits possible delivery of a
second C-26 ISRAP in December. The Carabineros captured 99 targets,
performed 87 seizures, deactivated 10 improvised explosive devices,
and destroyed 18 base laboratories. The Naval Intelligence Group
(GRUIN in its Spanish acronym), working with DEA information,
interdicted a 20-foot vessel in the vicinity of Isla Tortuguilla;
the vessel had a cargo of 38 bales containing 948 packages of
cocaine that weighed 1,036 kilos. One million 5.56 mm rounds and
three thousand AN-M14 Incendiary (Thermite) hand grenades arrived
and have been donated to the Antinarcotics police. DIRAN's Ports
and Airports Area (ARPAE) unit seized 22.5 kilos of cocaine at the
Port of Cartagena; 5.2 kilos of cocaine at the airport of Pereira;
3.5 kilos at the airport of Cali; 512.7 kilos of cocaine, 4 kilos of
heroin and 31.3 kilos of marijuana in Bogota's airport. The
Ministry of Defense's (MOD) demobilization program achieved another
record year in 2008 as 3,240 people had demobilized through November
30th, compared to 3,192 for entire 2007; the quality of
demobilization continues to improve with mid-level leadership
demobilization doubling and a 17% increase in demobilization of
experienced combatants compared to the same period in 2007. On
November 27, the GOC launched its National Plan for Drug Consumption
Reduction 2009-2010 that aims to prevent initial drug consumption,
mitigate the impact once someone is a consumer, integrate former
addicts back into the society, and increase overall capabilities to
fight consumption. END SUMMARY.
AERIAL ERADICATION PROGRAM
2. (SBU) In November, 4,492 hectares of coca were sprayed. The
CONDOR team, based in Larandia, sprayed 2,726 hectares and the
RAPTOR team, based in San Jose, sprayed 1,766 hectares. This brings
the calendar year total to 125,320 hectares of coca sprayed.
Eradication aircraft were involved in four hostile fire incidents in
November, resulting in eight impacts. This brings the total for the
year to 54 hostile fire incidents, resulting in 107 impacts.
3. (SBU) In the beginning of November, the aerial eradication
program was on track to make the annual eradication goal of 130,000
hectares. The program has been set back due to poor weather and
lack of CNP support. Rain and high winds have dominated the spray
areas. CNP fuel support has been slow with minimal amounts being
delivered to the FOLs/FARPs (Forward Operating Locations/Forward
Area Refueling and Rearming Points)that barely meet requirements.
Several days of spraying were lost due to lack of fuel. The San
Jose FOL lost five days of spraying due to lack of CNP gunship
support. With no CNP spare gunships available, if an aircraft
broke, the operation had to be canceled until repairs could be made.
Lack of CNP fuel support at commercial bases affected the ability
of C-208 to image targets outside the reach of the FOLs.
4. (SBU) On November 21, the Aerial Eradication Program Manager
hosted a Colombian Eradication conference at the Bogota Plaza Hotel.
In attendance were DIRAN (National Police Antinarcotics Division in
its Spanish acronym), ARAVI, CNP leadership, Antinarcotics Brigade
(BRACNA), Helicopter Battalion (BAHEL), EJERCITO E3, and Accion
Social representing Manual Eradication. The conference was
successful in setting a tone for better coordination and jointness
in operations, although the Colombian participants were resistant to
making any agreements. One of the focuses of next year's Aerial
Eradication Strategy will be to continue to build cooperation among
players and to strengthen the efficiency of the overall operation.
MANUAL ERADICATION PROGRAM
5. (SBU) The GOC's manual eradication program for 2008 wraps up on
December 15. Total coca eradication for the month of November was
11,872 hectares - bringing the GME program's year-to-date total to
80,480 hectares. Including eradication carried out by the Colombian
security forces, total coca eradication through October totaled
91,370 hectares. Manual eradication operations are ongoing in 11
departments with the majority of GMEs in the traditional coca
growing regions of Putumayo, Antioquia, Vichada, Meta and Narino.
At the current pace of eradication and with only two weeks left in
this year's manual eradication campaign, it estimated that total
manual eradication of coca by December 15 will be several thousand
hectares short of the 2008 manual eradication goal of 100,000
hectares. At this point, the GOC is not committed to extending
manual eradication operations beyond December 15. The GOC's manual
eradication program for 2009 is still in the planning stages and
final decisions on the 2009 manual eradication goal will not be made
until budget allocations for manual eradication are finalized.
There were no reported security incidents in November. Through
November, 25 people (12 civilians and 13 security personnel) had
died during this year's manual eradication operations, surpassing
the sixteen killed during the entire 2007 campaign.
6. (SBU) Separate from the GME program, the Colombian Army (COLAR)
and the CNP conducted manual eradication as part of their normal
operations. Through the end of November, COLAR had eradicated 9,643
hectares of coca, 230 hectares of poppy, and 11 hectares of
marijuana, and the CNP had eradicated 1,246 hectares of coca, 119
hectares of poppy, and 12 hectares of marijuana.
PLAN COLOMBIA HELICOPTER PROGRAM (PCHP)
7. (SBU) PCHP Aircraft operated from Tumaco, San Jose, Larandia,
and Tolemaida, and flew a total of 483.2 hours. PCHP aircraft
provided air assaults, air movements, reconnaissance, medical
evacuations, and support missions for the CD Brigade and other
vetted COLAR units. Air assaults continued to be an effective means
of increasing security for aerial eradication spray operations and
Counternarcotics (CN) interdiction operations conducted by BACNA
(Counternarcotics Battalion) units of the Counterdrug (CD) Brigade.
PCHP flew 26.3 hours supporting 8 medical evacuation flights that
transported 12 patients. Significant reductions were made in
contractor support personnel in the contract year that began on
November 1. A total of 88 personnel were cut from the PCHP team.
8. (SBU) Aircrew continuation/mission training and aircraft
qualification training were conducted throughout the month in both
the UH-60 and UH-II. Two COLAR pilots were qualified as
Pilots-in-Command, and two pilots completed qualification as
Maintenance Test Flight/Standardization Evaluators.
9. (SBU) NAS Peru had two Peruvian Police officers attending flight
training at the Joint Initial Entry Rotary Wing School in Melgar.
CPT Guevara was given a total of three progress evaluations and two
additional blocks of flight training periods, but was unable to
demonstrate acceptable proficiency to continue in the course. The
second Peruvian pilot student continues to struggle with low
prospects for successful completion.
COLOMBIA NATIONAL POLICE (CNP)
AIR SERVICE (ARAVI) SUPPORT
10. (SBU) ARAVI's NAS-supported fleet flew 1,330 mission hours in
November. The seven UH-60 Black Hawks closed out the month with 158
flight hours and an Operational Readiness (OR) rate of 88 percent.
11. (SBU) The Bell 212 fleet flew 156 mission hours with an OR rate
of 69 percent. Two Bell 212's have yet to be inducted to the
Service Life Extension Program/Rewire and the program is waiting for
funding from the INL/A Critical Flight Safety Program. The Huey II
OR rate was 76 percent while flying 654 hours. Two Huey II
aircraft, or six percent of the fleet, are waiting for depot
maintenance for structural repairs. Because of an addition of 15
workers in July, two Huey II's have been repaired, reassembled, and
12. (SBU) The DC-3 fleet flew 259 hours in November, with an OR
rate of 47 percent. The C-26 Intelligence, Surveillance,
Reconnaissance Aerial Platform (ISRAP) Program awaits possible
delivery of a second C-26 ISRAP in December.
REESTABLISH POLICE PRESENCE PROGRAM (CARABINEROS)
13. (SBU) Thirty-four carabineros squadrons continue to conduct
manual eradication in Vichada, Putumayo, Narino and Meta
Departments. The Don Mario Search Block relocated to
Cordoba Department to try and control the increasing violence
between the emerging criminal bands in the area. Other squadrons
continue their normal missions of rural security along the major
lines of communications.
14. (SBU) 1,100 students graduated from the Rural Commando
Operations School's (COR's) basic course. The combat medic,
demining, and designated marksmanship courses will start during the
second week of December.
15. (SBU) Results for November were: 99 captures (5 narcos, 5
FARC/ELN, 5 BACRIM and 84 common criminals); 87 seizures (87
weapons, 40 60mm Mortars, 2,412 gallons of liquid precursors, 5,831
kilograms of solid precursors, 8 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms
of marijuana, 30 vehicles. Carabineros deactivated 10 improvised
explosive devices and destroyed 18 base laboratories.
16. (SBU) The GRUIN working with DEA information interdicted a
black 20-foot vessel named "Negra" with three crew members one
nautical mile from Puerto Escondido (in the vicinity of Isla
Tortuguilla). The vessel had a cargo of 38 bales containing 948
packages of cocaine. The net weight (according to the Fiscalia's
office) is 1,036 kilograms; the three crew members were arrested.
17. (SBU) The teams conducted various reconnaissance missions
verifying intelligence in various farms, ships, and at other
targets. These missions are critical to obtain information of the
activities and resources of potential enemies.
18. (SBU) One million 5.56 mm rounds arrived in Bogota and have
been donated to the Antinarcotics police in support of future
missions. In addition, three thousand AN-M14 Incendiary (Thermite)
Hand Grenades arrived and have been donated to the Antinarcotics
police in support of destruction of HCL (hydrochloride)
laboratories. Coordination continues to have the remaining
three-thousand M67 Fragmentation Grenades delivered; a charter plane
is being coordinated for early January 2009 to transport these
19. (SBU) 7th Group Special Forces team conducted site survey and
training for the Jungla Company in Tulua. Training consisted of
night firing with NVDs (Night Vision Devices), zeroing the ACOG,
medic course, and familiarization firing of the K-3 (M249 variant).
BASE SECURITY/ROAD INTERDICTION/NVD Program
20. (SBU) The one-month Base Defense course in Tumaco began on
November 17 after all of the vetting requirements were completed.
The course is scheduled to be completed on December 18. A total of
41 students began the course; DIRAN had 35 students, CD Brigade 5,
and the Marine Corps Fluvial Battalion (BAFLIM) - one.
21. (SBU) The IDIQ project proposals at Cerro Cruz Verde, San Jose
de Guaviare and Mapiripan were bid, contracts awarded, and projects
begun. ACS is the primary contractor for Cerro Cruz Verde and San
Jose de Guaviare. DSS/LLC is the primary contractor for Mapiripan.
22. (SBU) The test equipment for the GRUIN NVD laboratory arrived
and was nationalized in preparation for final presentation to the
unit. The 30 NVD's that had been on order for six months have also
arrived and are being nationalized. Once nationalized, the NVD
laboratory renovation project will be considered as completed.
23. (SBU) NAS completed inspections and conducted required
maintenance and inventories on NVD's at multiple sites throughout
the country. Locations included El Dorado, Guayameral, Tulua, Santa
Marta, Facatativa, Espinal, Pijaos, Cespo and DITRA. A total of
over 250 NVD's were serviced and made fully mission-capable. In
addition, 500 NVD's purchased for DICAR arrived and are being tested
to determine that they meet the standards required. They will be
subsequently shipped out to specific DICAR units.
24. (SBU) DIRAN Communication's mobile team conducted Thales
(MBITR) training for the three Jungla Companies on programming and
use of radios. The radio section also programmed and fielded 80
Motorola XTS 5000 radios donated by NAS; these radios will replace
older radios in support of the digital network. The radio
communications team conducted preventive maintenance in the Northern
Zone Headquarters and reestablished single channel communications
with Puerto Estrella. The team then repaired a repeater in Meta
that had a malfunctioning card damaged by a lightning strike.
25. (SBU) The data section supported a microwave installation in
the Rionegro International Airport. This installation connects the
antinarcotics police at the airport with the National Data Network
giving them access to the internet, official email, shared files,
and other mission-critical resources.
PORT SECURITY PROGRAM (PSP)
26. (SBU) In November, DIRAN's Ports and Airports Area (ARPAE) unit
seized 22.5 kilos of cocaine at the Port of Cartagena; 5.2 kilos of
cocaine at the airport of Pereira; 3.5 kilos at the airport of Cali;
512.7 kilos of cocaine, 4 kilos of heroin and 31.3 kilos of
marijuana at the airport of Bogota. Following a four-month training
regimen, eighteen new canines were evaluated and approved for
deployment on explosive-detection missions with Carabinero units
engaged in manual eradication.
27. (SBU) The DIRAN polygraph unit conducted polygraph exams on 125
members of the DIRAN's Administrative, Interdiction, Ports and
Airports units (74 passed the exam, 41 failed, and ten were
inconclusive). The Polygraph unit also assisted the DIRAN Internal
Affairs Unit's investigations on several cases.
INDIVIDUAL DEMOBILIZATION PROGRAM
28. (SBU) The Ministry of Defense's (MOD) demobilization program
achieved another record year in 2008 at 3,240 people demobilized
through November 30th, as compared to the 3,192 total in 2007. The
quality of demobilization continues to improve with mid-level
leadership demobilization doubling and a 17% increase in
demobilization of experienced combatants as compared to the same
period in 2007. The most common motivations for desertion from the
illegal groups are poor quality of life, physical abuse by their
commanders, and military pressure. Incidence of demobilization due
to military pressure has increased significantly since 2007. This
"carrot and stick" approach is reaping great rewards for the
29. (SBU) The fifth and final demobilization rally of 2008 is
scheduled for December 17th in the border town of Arauca. The event
will include a free concert featuring Colombian Vallenato stars Pipe
Pelaez and Checo Acosta, as well as a children's parade for peace.
Hundreds of demobilized individuals and their children will attend a
popular Christmas musical on December 19th along with program staff
and their children, courtesy of the MOD. Senior Colombian officials
and foreign diplomats are expected to attend the televised event.
30. (SBU) In November, the interagency complaints committee
received 35 new claims of alleged spray damage to legal crops. Out
of the 74 cases closed this month, in 69 cases either spray
operations did not occur or coca was mixed with licit crops. Two
complainants were compensated for a total of 12,800,000 COP
(approximately 5,634 USD). The final payment that was initialized
in October to a complainant in the city of Florencia, totaling
32,468,500 COP (approximately 13,983 USD), will be finalized in
December. As of November 30, 116 people have been compensated this
year, totaling 1,089,400,257 COP
(approximately 478,963 USD).
31. (SBU) The environmental team continues to educate Colombians on
the complaint process and related eradication issues. On December
11, the team traveled to the department of Bolivar to speak to
government officials on these topics and will return in January to
speak to local mayors about their responsibilities under Colombian
law in handling crop damage complaints.
32. (SBU) The F Process Performance Plan Report for FY 08 was
submitted to the Foreign Assistance bureau; FY 09 spending plan
report is being coordinated with INL.
DRUG DEMAND REDUCTION (DDR)
33. (SBU) On November 27, the GOC launched its National Plan for
Drug Consumption Reduction 2009-2010. Vice-president Francisco
Santos Calderon, Minister of the Interior and Justice Fabio Valencia
Cossio, Vice-minister of Health and Well-being Carlos Ignacio
Cuervo, Director of the Directorate of Dangerous Drugs Carlos
Albornoz, UNODC Representative Aldo Lale-Demoz, and DIRAN's
Antinarcotics Deputy Director Jose Angel Mendoza addressed various
regional government and community leaders. The GOC aims to prevent
initial drug consumption, mitigate the impact once someone is a
consumer, integrate former addicts back into society, and increase
overall capabilities to fight consumption.