United States military aid to Colombia serves more to enrich private defense companies than to help the Andean nation, said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in an interview published Sunday.
In a video-interview with Colombian weekly Semana, Assange alleged that these interests of large corporations are more important than a desire to help Colombia develop.
“What it’s about is that there are several powerful companies and lobbies in Washington such as Lockheed Martin, say Raytheon, Northrop Grumman; military intelligence contractors who lobby Congress and their contacts within the Pentagon and the CIA to engage in special programs in Colombia with provisos written to make sure that the money actually cycles back to the United States,” the WikiLeaks founder said.
“It’s about transferring money from U.S. tax payers i.e. predominantly from middle class people back to company share holders and senior executives; people who are already rich. For example, by appearing to give the Colombian government aid to buy helicopters, but then attaching provisos so that the helicopters must be of a particular type that only a U.S. weapons manufacturer can provide. That’s what’s really going on in Colombia as far as military subsidy and what the United States calls the war on drugs is concerned,” Assange added.
According to the WikiLeaks founder the publication of diplomatic cables will show that the U.S. are using actual problems in Colombia to favor the domestic military industry. This approach has a destabilizing effect in Colombia and the region, Assange said.
“Of course there are real and difficult and legitimate issues in Colombia, which are used to legitimize that. Difficult issues with the FARC, difficult issues to do with drugs, difficult issues to do with Colombia and Venezuela relations, which are real, but are nonetheless seized on and inflated by these other groups for other purposes and that is having a destabilizing effect on democratic society in Colombia,” said the Australian.
WikiLeaks in February shared 16,000 diplomatic cables on Colombia and Venezuela with Colombian daily El Espectador. According to Semana, the weekly received an additional 9,000 cables.
The United States spent more than $7 billion in military aid to Colombia since the year 2000.