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Ricardo Palmera - Defense Asks for Mistrial

Prosecution witness demolished by defense
by Tom Burke |
September 6, 2007
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Washington D.C. - The defense lawyers for Colombian revolutionary Ricardo Palmera asked Judge Lamberth for a mistrial at 4:50 p.m. in a dramatic end to the day, Sept. 4. Palmera’s U.S. attorneys argued that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are on trial instead of Ricardo Palmera. The latest witness, Daniel Beltran, was giving speeches against the FARC and not answering questions about Ricardo Palmera. Judge Lamberth said, “The motion is denied,” and he will draft a reply and present it on the morning of Sept. 5.

Daniel Beltran, who a court observer described as cocky, is around 30 years old and from the countryside of Colombia. Beltran claims his father was an important communist leader of the peasants and people. Turning his back on his father’s legacy, he spent three hours testifying against the FARC, portraying the FARC in a negative way that would please the neo-cons in the White House.

Beltran’s approach matches that of U.S. psychological warfare - to promote the view that the FARC have moved away from their revolutionary ideas and are now tainted and corrupt. This is the big lie. This view is popularized by corporate funded ‘human rights groups’ in the U.S. and groups tied to the corrupt Uribe regime in Colombia. This is a political trial and like the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the idea that the FARC is involved in drug trafficking is key to U.S. policy. It gives the excuse for a U.S. dirty war in Colombia. Convincing an American jury that Professor Palmera is not a revolutionary, but part of a large criminal conspiracy, contributes to U.S. intervention in Colombia.

Earlier in the day, prosecution witness Jose Nico was demolished by the defense. At one point the entire courtroom was suppressing laughter at Nico’s answer. He began his testimony declaring he was in the courtroom, “to tell the truth and nothing but the truth!” This struck jurors as pompous. The defense approached him with a calm manner and exposed his lies from Thursday’s testimony. Nico recalled the smallest details concerning Ricardo Palmera, but repeatedly answered general questions with “I don’t remember.” The U.S. prosecutor was visibly angry as the questioning continued and his witness unraveled. Witness Nico became more and more nervous, repeating “of course, of course” after every question. Nico’s purpose was to add evidence that Palmera was tied to drug shipments. The attempt failed.

The demolishing of Nico contributes to the American jurors understanding of this political trial. The defense request for a mistrial is a win-win for Palmera. Either the judge had to agree and declare a mistrial - which he did not, or the defense should now be allowed to launch a highly political questioning of the remaining witnesses. If Ricardo Palmera is allowed to testify, the path should be clear for this Colombian revolutionary to explain to the American jury everything there is to know about U.S. domination and war in his country. Ricardo Palmera is a professor, former naval college student and has traveled the length and depth of Colombia. Certainly he knows the political economy of his own country and we look forward to hearing his views on war and peace, economic justice and social revolution.

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