The former deputy director of Colombia’s now-defunct intelligence agency DAS has requested to submit to the war crimes tribunal, offering a lot of secrets, according to local media.
Former DAS intelligence chief Jose Miguel Narvaez, reportedly a man with a photographic memory, is believed to have key information about the ties between ranchers federation Fedegan, the military and paramilitary organization AUC.
The former intelligence executive is currently serving a more than 24 years in prison for the murder of journalist and comedian Jaime Garzon in 1999 and eight years for his role in the wiretapping of anyone deemed a political liability to former President Alvaro Uribe, including the Supreme Court.
But Narvaez could be allowed to leave prison if he tells the truth and the former intelligence chief has a lot to tell, a lot that could get some of the most powerful people in Colombia in big trouble.
Narvaez allegedly met regularly with AUC founder Carlos Castaño between 1996 and 2001 and allegedly gave masterclasses like “Why It Is Legal To Kill Communists” to paramilitary forces.
His name has been mentioned in investigation into the 1994 assassination of Senator Manuel Cepeda, the harassment of former Senator Piedad Cordoba and the psychological torture of journalist Claudia Duque.
Under the leadership of imprisoned DAS director Jorge Noguera, Narvaez in 2003 set up the covert G3 spy unit that spent the next two years intimidating and fabricating criminal charges against left-wing politicians and peace advocates.
After the dismantling of G3, Narvaez set up the “National and International Observation Group” (GONI), which spied on the Supreme Court, former presidents, international human rights organization, journalists and even the United Nations.
The true reach of GONI’s activities was never fully clarified. When prosecutors first searched the agency’s office in 2008, agents refused cooperation and security footage from January 2009 showed how computers and boxes were removed from the office.
If Narvaez is allowed to submit to the JEP this does not automatically mean he will be released from prison. First he will have to demonstrate his sincere intention to tell the truth and repair his victims.