Sat, May 17, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Interpol confirms authenticity of FARC documents

AFP , BOGOTA

Interpol confirmed on Thursday the authenticity of a trove of computer documents seized from Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, which Bogota says prove close links between the rebels and Venezuela and Ecuador.

Interpol secretary-general Ronald Noble said the global police group found no sign that the data had been disturbed, altered or corrupted after the computers were seized in a March 1 raid by Colombian soldiers on a FARC camp inside Ecuador.

“Based on our careful and comprehensive forensic examination of each of the eight seized FARC computer exhibits, and on consideration of all the evidence reviewed by our experts, Interpol concludes that there was no tampering with any data on the computer exhibits following their seizure,” Noble said.

He would not comment on the quality of the information in the nearly 38,000 files found on the three Toshiba laptop computers, two hard disk drives and three USB memory sticks of Raul Reyes, the FARC’s second-in-command, who was killed in the raid.

Noble said Interpol’s experts did not have the capacity to examine and translate each of the mostly Spanish documents, which he said would take 1,000 years to read at 100 pages a day.

But he said Interpol experts concluded the data had not been tampered with in the three days before they were turned over to Colombian police forensic experts.

Bogota has said the data on the computers proves that FARC is “financed and armed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez,” who assisted in securing the release this year of six hostages held by the rebels.

In Caracas, Chavez dismissed the Interpol report as a “clown show” that “doesn’t deserve serious comment.”

Speaking to reporters, Chavez referred to Interpol’s chief as “Mr. Ignoble” and called him a “mafioso ... an aggressive Yankee cop ... a bum.”

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