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Viewing cable 09LIMA1620, PERU: SUPPLEMENTAL TO FY'10 1206 COUNTER-IED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09LIMA1620 2009-10-30 21:09 2010-12-12 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Lima
VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #1620/01 3032155
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 302155Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1439
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 0092
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8644
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1522
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 0118
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 0133
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHPE/CHUSMAAG LIMA PE PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL PRIORITY
S E C R E T LIMA 001620

NOFORN
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/AND, S/CT AND PM/PPA (JKNOCH AND SKWAK)
SOUTHCOM FOR KSTALEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/29/2019
TAGS: MARR MASS MOPS KTIA PREL PTER PE
SUBJECT: PERU: SUPPLEMENTAL TO FY'10 1206 COUNTER-IED
PROPOSAL

REF: STATE 92407

Classified By: Ambassador P. Michael McKinley for
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(S/NF) Summary: This telegram provides the Ambassador's
confirmation and additional input in support of Embassy
Lima's recent proposal for FY 200 1206 funding to establish
a Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) program in
Peru. The proposal is designed to boost Peru's capacity to
conduct counter-terrorism operations against the Shining Path
(Sendero Luminoso - SL) terrorist organization, mainly in the
Apurimac-Ene River Valley (VRAE). SL is making effective use
of home-made, but increasingly-sophisticated IEDs and booby
traps, which are now causing the bulk of the casualties in
the VRAE. Embassy believes that the GOP is finally
demonstrating the political will necessary for a decisive
push against the SL in the VRAE. A robust C-IED program is
essential to its campaign and is likely to yield valuable
lessons-learned on C-IEDs as well as other fighting tactics
that can be applied elsewhere to save American lives. The
requested funding amount for the project is: $2,500,000.00.
End Summary.

SL Terrorist Threat
-------------------

2. (S/NF) Although SL is often labeled as a "terrorist
remnant" -- a term that can easily belie the danger behind
the incremental resurgence of Latin America's most brutal and
fanatical terrorist organization, which is responsible for
the majority of the estimated 69,000 killed in Peru during
the insurgency of the 1980s and 1990s. Despite the tendency
by some to dismiss the still small SL VRAE faction
("PROSEGUIR") as little more than narcotraffickers, several
prominent local analysts argue convincingly that this faction
maintains definite political (Maoist/Communist) aims more
akin to a genuine terrorist organization than drug smugglers.
The analysts believe that SLs primary goal is to create a
liberated area in the VRAE where it can govern in the vacuum
created by the lack of state presence. There is no doubt that
the SL has adopted a "kindlier, gentler" approach towards the
local population. In the VRAE,SL prefers to bribe peasants
and local officials, rather than to terrorize them and even
execute them, as they did in the past.

3. (S/NF) Other analysts contend that the VRAE SL may even
compete for municipal offices in the next local elections.
VRAE SL reportedly complements its military efforts in the
VRAE with political work by cadres operating in the capital
of Ayacucho region and with an extensive propaganda effort
that has adopted strident anti-US rhetoric. We also note that
some analysts here believe that SL in the Upper Huallaga
Valley (UHV) and SL in the universities and slums of Lima
merely pretend to be at odds with SL in the VRAE, but are
actually following the Marxist doctrine of "talking and
fighting" in order to confuse the enemy and while SL continue
its protracted struggle in the "long war." The fact is, no
one really knows for sure about SL's long term objectives or
how it spends its money, but given SL's bloody track record,
we should safely assume the worst from a group that espouses
the violent overthrow of Peru's democratically-elected
government.

4. (S/NF) According to SL VRAE's own writings and latest
doctrine, it now considers the USA to be its "number one
enemy", and it is willing to broaden its support with other
radical groups or narcotraffickers, peasants and corrupt
officials in order to achieve its goals. SL has scored an
impressive series of military successes against the security
forces over the last 16 months it has killed more than 51
soldiers and 25 policemen, though most of the latter in the
UHV, where SL's "Acuerdista" faction operates. Many of the
casualties in the VRAE are caused by command-detonated IED's
or home made anti-personnel blast mines and mines are

sometimes planted in coca fields in the UHV to dissuade coca
erradication. Some experts, such as Army General Carlos Paz,
head of the counter-mine unit DIGEDEHUME has told us that SL
is increasingly resorting to electronic timers and triggering
devices to actuate its IEDs and booby traps. The IEDs and
booby traps are having a significant negative impact on the
morale of the infantry soldiers who patrol the VRAE's rugged
mountain/jungle terrain.

5. (S/NF) Significant Incidents
-------------------------------

-- September 2, 2009, near the town of Sinaycocha, Santo
Domingo de Acobamba District, Huancayo Province in Junin
Region: SL forces downed a Peruvian air force (FAP) MI-17
helicopter and reportedly killed its pilot, co-pilot and one
crewman on the ground. SL blew up the aircraft after removing
its crew-served weapons and ammunition and then booby-trapped
the area. The rescue operation of a nearby pinned down patrol
was hampered by heavy small arms fire and IEDs and booby
traps implanted in the area.

-- April 9, 2009 Sanabamba, Ayacucho region: SL terrorists
ambushed two military patrols in the Vizcatan region of the
VRAE and killed thirteen soldiers. SL launched the ambush
by remotely detonating an improvised explosive device (IED)
on the side of a hill in the path of two military patrols.
After the explosion caused a rockslide that crushed some of
the soldiers in the lead patrol, the SL column attacked the
survivors with gunfire and grenades. Twelve of sixteen
troops in the lead patrol died in the initial battle. The
second patrol soon caught up and repelled the guerrillas,
losing one soldier in the combat.

-- On October 9,2008, at "Curva Sajona" in northern
Huancavelica Region: SL triggered a remotely activated
explosive device underneath a Peruvian Army truck returning
soldiers to a nearby base at Cochabamba Grande. The attackers
then opened fire from both sides of the road, killing 14
soldiers and 7 civilians. Several others were wounded, three
of them critically. It was the deadliest Sendero attack since
the 1992 capture of Sendero founder Abimael Guzman.

Receptivity
-----------

6. (S/NF) Senior Peruvian Armed Forces and civilian
leadership have expressed high interest in the C-IED Center
and program described in our 1206 request. The Commander of
Peru's Joint Command (equivalent to our Chairman of the JCS)
has directly approached the Ambassador and the Chief of MAAG
on this subject, and C-IED has been a topic of intense
interest at lower levels of engagement.

Comment
-------

7. (S/NF) There are encouraging signs that the GOP may have
finally realized that its internal threat from the SL in the
VRAE is a more clear and present danger than some
hypothetical, conventional threat from Chile or Bolivia. As a
recent Flag officer put it, "We don't want to wind up like
Colombia or Mexico." At this point, the incremental growth
of SL activities, and of the growing ties with drug
traffickers, is not on a scale with either Colombia or
Mexico. However, we don't want to get into a similar
situation given the history of SL in Peru. While we work with
our host nation counterparts to support their intelligence,
rotary wing and ground operations needs for the VRAE
campaign, the establishment of a Counter-Improvised Explosive
Device (C-IED) program stands out as a timely, pragmatic and
cost-effective solution to a very real battlefield problem.
We also believe that our engagement is likely to yield
valuable lessons-learned on IEDs, mines and booby traps, as
we capture Peru's past experiences in the 1995 Cenepa War

with Ecuador and its internal struggle against SL and MRTA as
well as the current campaign in the VRAE. We hope that
decision makers will evaluate our 1206 proposal favorably.
End Comment.
MCKINLEY