Allegations of secret Colombian plan to undermine EU

(EU Observer) A group of MEPs is calling for action as further details of an alleged covert operation conducted by the Colombian intelligence agency (DAS) continue to emerge, with one of its reported aims being to undermine the authority of the European Parliament.

Recently released documents that were confiscated from the DAS by the Colombian Attorney General’s office highlight the nature of “Operation Europe.” Its objective was to “neutralise the influence of the European judicial system, the European Parliament’s human rights sub-committee, and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,” reads one text seen by this website.

Former right-wing President Alvaro Uribe introduced legislation late last year to overhaul the controversial agency, although it has yet to be approved by the country’s legislature.

However, a group of MEPs, primarily from the European Parliament’s Green group, are not satisfied, fearing that the reported campaign of close surveillance and threat-making against Bogota’s critics may simply continue under a different guise, and ask for full police and judicial investigation of the alleged crimes.

The situation is expected to change with Belgium taking over the EU’s rotating presidency on 1st July.

“The Spanish government is very in favour of the free trade agreement with Colombia [initialed in May], and they don’t want anything to jeopardise that,” the Austrian deputy told EUobserver. “But then the Belgians will take over the presidency and they have citizens that have been proven to have suffered phone tapping by the DAS.”

Among the Belgian citizens who claim to have been victims of DAS activities is Paul-Emile Dupret, a Belgian political advisor to the European Parliament’s left-wing United European Left (GUE) group.

“My name is mentioned on the DAS file several times,” he says, believing it to be partially the result of his involvement in the organisation of an anti-Uribe protest in 2004 when the ex-President visited the European Parliament.

Several months after the protest, Mr Dupret was arrested upon landing in the United States. “I was interrogated when I arrived, put in prison for 24 hours, asked dozens of questions about by views on Colombia,” he says. “Since then I have been prevented from returning to the US. They now consider me a terrorist.”

The Belgian citizen is currently working with a group of other victims and a team of lawyers, and plans to present their collective case against the Colombian agency in the Belgian courts this July, the first European citizens to do so.

Certain European NGOs also claim to have been the target of a concerted campaign to discredit their activities and tarnish their reputations.

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