BERLIN (AP) — Swiss investigators say “high-risk flying” by the pilots of a vintage propeller plane led to a 2018 crash in the Alps that killed all 20 people on board. The 79-year-old Junkers Ju-52 operated by local airline Ju-Air crashed in southeastern Switzerland on Aug. 4, 2018. The airplane, which was carrying 17 passengers and three crew members, slammed near-vertically into a mountain. It was flying back from Locarno in southern Switzerland to its base near Zurich. The Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board said in its final report Thursday that “the pilots’ high-risk flying was a direct cause of the accident.”
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York judge ruled Friday that Republican Claudia Tenney defeated U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi by 109 votes in the nation’s last undecided congressional race. The ruling by Judge Scott DelConte could clear the way for Tenney to be sworn in as the representative for central New York’s 22nd Congressional District, barring emergency intervention by a state appeals court. DelConte’s ruling came after he spent three months reviewing ballot challenges and trying to fix a myriad of problems with vote tabulation. He rejected an argument by Brindisi’s lawyers that certification of the election results be delayed until an appeals court had a chance to review the case.
DIÁLOGO: What is the future of Integrated Action in Colombia? What is its strategic perspective? Deputy Minister Bedoya: The role of Integrated Action in a post-conflict scenario will be to facilitate and support state presence throughout the nation, by using a sustained and inclusive social offer that generates the conditions for free active citizen participation, the reinforcement of civil power and rural development as a thriving force. Post-conflict Integrated Action will demand the Public Forces – among other actors – to be devoted to developing permanent infrastructure projects in remote and difficult-to-access areas in the nation with the help of the current Central Office of Military Engineers, which will become the Corps of Military Engineers, with disaster assistance, humanitarian demining and construction brigades. DIÁLOGO: Deputy Minister, we are aware that the Colombian war plan is under revision in a process of improvement; could you tell us about the current role of Integrated Action in the development of the ‘Sword of Honor’ war plan? How is it connected to the Colombian consolidation policy? DIÁLOGO: How do you think that other countries with conflicts or violent scenarios may learn from the Colombian experience? How can Colombia benefit from this situation? DIÁLOGO: What is the importance of the coordination of Integrated Action with the civil component in the consolidation? Deputy Minister Bedoya: The ‘Sword of Honor’ plan states that 40% of the military effort should be aimed at kinetic action, while 60% should be aimed at non-kinetic action, making Integrated Action a fundamental tool for the Armed Forces to design and apply social, political and economic strategies that are consistent with the National Policy of Territorial Consolidation and Reconstruction PNCRT. Therefore, Integrated Action as the non-kinetic component of the war plan allows a strategic alignment of actions aimed at winning the minds and hearts of populations where it is enforced, keeping them away from the Total Terrorist Threat SAT-T. As a result, a general, coordinated and decisive Integrated Action will allow the application of territorial consolidation in strategic areas where this threat is concentrated and keep it in isolation. Deputy Defense Minister for International Affairs and Policy, Jorge Enrique Bedoya: The revision of the ‘Sword of Honor’ war plan concluded in a series of recommendations for the Armed Forces and the Police High Command, issued by the Strategic Revision and Innovation Committee (CREI II) in September, under a joint, coordinated and interagency approach. CREI II favored the support of state policies and efforts, in order to guarantee a permanent state presence in areas where it is absent, by strengthening the relationships between civil population and Public Forces. As a result, with regard to Integrated Action, this war plan is intended to achieve short- (early victories), mid- and long-term (transformation) goals. Early victories include the development of infrastructure projects that will benefit populations in strategic areas where the influence of the Total Terrorist Threat System (SAT-T) still persists. The Ministry of National Defense has invested $100 million that is being used by the National Army’s Central Office of Military Engineers in road, aqueduct and basic sanitation, electricity, and social infrastructure projects, bringing benefits to the population of these areas. Integrated Action uses tools such as those developed by Integrated Action Companies, Demobilization Support Groups, Commander’s Assessing Team, and the National Police’s Prevention System. In regards to mid-term goals, the strengthening of liaison offices with ethnic groups is a very important tool of unarmed capabilities that Public Forces use to build relationships with ethnic communities (indigenous, African descendants, Raizals, and Palenqueros) within a culturally diverse state, reinforcing strategies to generate trust and familiarity between special populations and the Public Forces. In the long term, a transformational process will take place within the Forces, to gain a greater impact in the coordinated interagency work that will allow Integrated Action and the Prevention System to become a main tool to disseminate governance. Therefore, incentives for the Integrated Action personnel will be created, promoting specialization in the field. Deputy Minister Bedoya: Currently, Colombia is offering its knowledge and expertise with subject matter expert exchanges in Integrated Action and Civil Affairs. We are especially interested in increasing this cooperation, considering that this knowledge is supported by the construction of legitimacy, trust, and identity of citizens towards their Public Forces in the process of reconstruction and consolidation of territories. Security Forces of other countries are interested in learning the doctrine used by Colombia, the way in which it is developed and how Integrated Action plans are designed. During 2013, we conducted two activities in Guatemala, which were coordinated between the governments of Colombia and the United States. The former was a meeting of Integrated Action experts held on April 22 – 26, 2013, and the latter will be conducted on November 3 – 10 with a meeting of experts to make an action plan (working route) official, as well as an integrated strategic proposal in the cooperation framework between Colombia and Guatemala. DIÁLOGO: If Colombia becomes officially a post-conflict scenario, what do you think Integrated Action’s role will be in this process? In 2012, Colombia created Operation Sword of Honor as a counterinsurgent strategy to confront guerrilla violence in the country, by which the list of military targets and locations where the Armed Forces would confront guerrillas was increased, with the aim of undermining the FARC not only in the military field, but financially as well. President Juan Manuel Santos announced the second phase of Sword of Honor, a military offensive against the FARC in seven departments in southern Colombia, on October 11. As a result, the ‘Comando Conjunto Número 3 Suroriente’ with over 50,000 members was created. During Colombia’s internal conflict, the South American nation developed unique strategies and capabilities, which can now be used as an example by other countries that are experiencing similar conflicts. This is the case of ‘Integrated Action and Consolidation’ (Acción Integral y Consolidación,) two strategies that promote a solid state intervention in rural areas swamped by illegal armed groups, and foster development. During a recent visit to Bogotá, Diálogo had the chance to speak with the Colombian Deputy Defense Minister for International Affairs and Policy, Jorge Enrique Bedoya, who told us about the role of Integrated Action in the development of operation Sword of Honor, as well as the current and future role of Integrated Action towards peace, among other topics. Deputy Minister Bedoya: Due to the security problems that Colombia has faced for over 50 years, especially in the fight against international drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, terrorism and other threats, the Public Forces have gathered experience and knowledge that created human potential and top-notch capabilities to support the improvement of internal processes, as well as reinforcing capabilities in countries that confront similar threats. Therefore, Colombia can provide and share its knowledge through cooperation mechanisms, training, technical and legal assistance, expertise exchanges, defense and security courses and assessments, so that these countries can confront transnational threats more efficiently. The results obtained by the Public Forces and the higher effectiveness achieved in land, air, and maritime interdiction procedures show the great potential of the country to support and assist institutional reform processes, and to provide assessment in building security knowledge and doctrine, as well as operational and coordination capabilities in security institutions of those nations. Colombia will be able to strengthen its domestic capabilities even more, by becoming a strategic partner to confront regional and international security challenges on technical cooperation in security and defense. This is a joint effort that will allow strengthening friendships between the regional states, and increasing their cooperation by making the fight against common and organized crime more efficient. Deputy Minister Bedoya: The coordination of Integrated Action with the civil component of consolidation is represented in a coordinated, joint, and interagency effort conducted between the Armed Forces and the State, which is represented by its Ministries and the Social Action Department (DPS). State policies are enforced through the Special Administrative Unit of Territorial Consolidation (UAECT), an organization that works jointly with the state in order to create development projects in order to reinforce institutional legitimacy. This interaction with the Public Force also requires the private sector’s participation through consolidation initiatives and projects (economic, social, cultural, infrastructure, etc.) in the quest for a more thriving country. By Dialogo February 07, 2014 DIÁLOGO: What is Colombia’s current role as a cooperating partner with other nations that work jointly with the U.S. (for instance, the CENTAM case)?
By Myriam Ortega/Diálogo February 26, 2019 In mid-January, the Colombian Armed Forces captured José Nabel Jiménez Tronsoco, alias José Tombe, leader of the support networks of the Residual Organized Armed Group (GAOR, in Spanish) Third Commission. The group operates in the country’s southwest. Units of the Unified Action Group for Personal Liberty (GAULA, in Spanish) of Cauca department led a joint operation that resulted in the criminal’s capture. “[The capture] is part of a joint, coordinated, interinstitutional, interagency effort with the Office of the Attorney General and GAULA units,” Colombian Army Lieutenant Colonel Andrés Bretón Vargas, commander of GAULA Cauca, told Diálogo. “It was an effort focused on extortion and kidnapping, based on the Freedom Heroes Bicentennial Plan.” The Colombian Armed Forces introduced the plan in December 2018. It took effect on January 1, 2019, to guarantee state security and stability throughout the year. The priorities are to protect the population and infrastructure, and neutralize the threat of organized armed groups. Two-Year follow-up Colombian authorities’ intelligence work to counter GAOR Third Commission and alias José Tombe started in 2017. “We were monitoring alias José Tombe in a coordinated effort with our Colombian Air Force, through a technical, deep, and specialized investigation,” said Lt. Col. Bretón. “We were able to identify the modus operandi of this individual.” Investigations showed that the structure operated in different municipalities of Cauca department. Alias José Tombe was in charge of extortion and kidnapping to obtain funding for the criminal network. He reported to alias Caqueteño, leader of GAOR Third Commission, and alias Mauricio, second in command. “This person was in charge of conducting the extortions and moving the logistics aspects of this group,” Colombian Army Brigadier General Jorge Herrera Díaz, commander of the 29th Army Brigade in Popayán, Cauca’s capital, told Diálogo. “Many times, this individual personally demanded money from shopkeepers.” In July 2018, authorities intensified intelligence efforts as extortions increased in the region. According to Lt. Col. Bretón, amounts demanded from victims went up from $300 to more than $60,000. “Those who didn’t pay for these extortions were subject to terrorism, such as attacks with explosive devices or grenades, and murder,” the officer said. “Through intelligence work, we were able to identify the perpetrators of these crimes against shopkeepers, drivers, coffee growers, ranchers, from whom extortion fees were demanded on behalf of Third Commission.” The capture “We carried out several operations,” said Brig. Gen. Herrera. “In fact, we already attempted to capture this individual twice, but since he was from the area, he manipulated the people to revolt against us.” GAULA Cauca’s monitoring led to the criminal’s capture at a gas station in Cajibío municipality. “Once he noticed the troops, he tried to escape. He tried to deceive us, but we were able to determine he was driving a motorcycle,” said Brig. Gen. Herrera. Authorities handed over the criminal to the Prosecutor’s Office of Popayán. The capture is one of many successful operations against GAOR Third Commission. “With the arrest of José Tombe, we made five captures,” said Brig. Gen. Herrera. “These captures are part of nine neutralizations we carried out against this ring. We’ve been continuously weakening it.” Combined work According to Brig. Gen. Herrera, the population played an important role in the success of the joint effort. “We couldn’t have achieved this if the people hadn’t reported the extortion,” the officer said. Lt. Col. Bretón also praised GAULA’s specialized work and their contribution to eradicate crime in Colombia. “The strength that GAULA service members can have to carry out these strategic blows brings peace and well-being to the community and society,” he concluded.
As the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team comes off a tough loss against hot-shooting Purdue last night, they are attempting to refocus and prepare for the Big Ten Tournament.With Wisconsin set to take on the winner of the Wednesday Nebraska (14-17, 11th Big Ten) and Rutgers (7-24, 14th Big Ten) game in the second round of the tournament Thursday, hopes are running high for the Badgers.Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard continued to show support for his team’s performance in his press conference Monday.[Updated] Men’s basketball: Greg Gard officially named new head coach of WisconsinWisconsin men’s basketball coach Greg Gard was not named Big Ten Coach of the Year Monday after he led the Read…“I’m very proud of how they have grown and the position they put themselves in,” Gard said. “They’ve earned it.”Even though the Badgers level of play has steadily increased throughout the season, Gard reinforced the idea that the team’s evolution is a process.“Process” has been a recurring theme this season. It has proved extremely important for the Badgers to be able to make steady and consistent improvements in their game.These gradual improvements and consistencies could not come soon enough for the Badgers as tournament play approaches.“It’s that point in time where you have to be very consistent or you’re going to go home,” Gard warned. “I think you’ve got three teams that are playing very well, and we saw one last night [Purdue].”Gard pointed to Indiana University and Michigan State as the other two Big Ten teams playing their best basketball right now. They are the top two seeds in the conference and currently boast two of the country’s best players in IU point guard Yogi Ferrell and MSU forward Denzel Valentine.“You look at who is playing really well, and those three are playing at a higher level,” Gard said. “We are in that mix right now, but I still don’t think we are playing at the level we can.”If the Badgers had beaten Purdue, they would have ended the regular season in a tie for second place with the Spartans and would have been the No. 3 seed in this weekend’s conference tournament, resulting in a double bye. Instead, as the No. 6 seed, Wisconsin will have to play an additional game.Despite the speed bump the Badgers ran into Sunday night against Purdue, Gard is confident the team can rebound and come out strong on Thursday.“We made some mistakes, and from that standpoint we are going to continue to get better,” Gard said.Stand Gard: Badgers have found their leaderGreg Gard has been named head coach of University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team. No more interim label, no more audition Read…