Two military officials who ‘cooked’ false terrorist attacks in Bogotá in 2006, were removed from the army by the Public Minister and condemned by the Prosecutor as terrorists.
Commanders Javier Hermida Benavidez and Luis Barrero Calderón, were accused by the Colombian Prosecutor of cooked false terrorist attacks in the capital, making that the government offered a high reward to anybody who would provide information to the capture of the responsible of the events.More than money, the two military officials wanted to be praised as excellent researchers, because they were members of the Colombian departments of intelligence. Javier H. Benavidez was the chief operator of the Center of Intelligence in Bogotá. In the false terrorists attack were also involved a woman, Lidia Álape Manrique and a man, Néstor Germán Pérez. These two persons would work in the plan as the informants who would determine the origin and “responsibility” of the attacks and claim the money.
Even if the terrorists attacks were considered false by the court, the events between 14th July and August 28th 2006 were actually real terrorist attacks against the capital of Colombia.
The two officials wanted to prepare attacks to make the public opinion believe that any of the armed groups of the Colombian conflict, especially the FARC guerrillas, were behind the attacks. They put a car bomb in Barrio Gaitán. The event wounded some soldiers and killed a civilian. They put also car bombs in the Caracas Mall, near the School of Artillery, in the Danubio and La Fiscala barrios and in the Gran San Mall, this last one unsuccessful.
The problem is of meaning, of course. The terrorist attacks were classified as false, but they were at the same time real terrorist attacks, since they created panic in the city. If a terrorist person is a serious criminal that should get the biggest sentence, what we can do with somebody who creates terrorist attacks to involve others? Effectively, Benavidez and Barrero are real terrorists – and maybe the worst – and they should be treated as such.
The Prosecutor concluded that the crimes of Benavidez and Barrera are very serious and that they are terrorists, killers and other crimes that come by consequence.
This kind of false attacks are called in Colombia as “positive false” events. The army has been accused in several times to create this “positive false” in order to rise its popularity, like was the intention of the Benavidez terrorist attack. Human rights organizations have denounced that in some false battles among the army and the guerrilla, the army presents to the public opinion the bodies of guerrillas died in arm fighting, but researchers have concluded that they were actually inocent farmers.