Open Letter in Response to the Report the Dark Side of Coal: Paramilitary Violence in the Mining Region of Cesar, Colombia Published By Pax, The Netherlands
PAX has misrepresented the facts without any honest effort to research and present the truth. The story told by PAX would make a good novel and maybe a good fictional movie but this story in no way represents the truth surrounding the facts associated with Drummond in Colombia or the coal industry in Colombia. PAX advertises itself as being based on religious ideology, but publishes this report that is disrespectful of the truth and demeaning to Drummond, its employees and Colombia.
Drummond supplied detailed information to the authors, employees of PAX, about the truth behind some of these accusations but PAX elected to disregard this information except for a brief mention in the annex. Instead PAX chose to rely on information provided by convicted mass murderers who contradicted their own statements repeatedly. One example, one of many supplied to PAX by Drummond, is the information supplied by alias “EL Tigre”, a convicted paramilitary. In 2008 and 2009, El Tigre provided testimony numerous times in the Justice and Peace process with no mention of Drummond. In late 2009, El Tigre was approached by attorneys Otero and Collingsworth. In December 2009, El Tigre gave a “declaration” to the attorneys claiming knowledge of Drummond links to AUC. This declaration was taken with no chance for any cross examination questioning and is not admissible evidence in court. However, three months later in February, 2010, El Tigre gave testimony to the Attorney General’s Office of Colombia, under oath, that he never knew or was never told to approach Drummond; that he never received money or logistics support from Drummond; that he had no knowledge of any links between the paramilitary and Drummond. PAX elected to use the information in El Tigre’s “declaration” but consciously decided to ignore the testimony taken under oath. This is one example of many of the biased and false reporting done by PAX.
We do not understand PAX’s complete reliance on “declarations” pursued by lawyers for victims consisting of persons and families allegedly damaged by the activities of illegal paramilitary groups. These “declarations” were taken from prisoners who have made false and conflicting accusations against Drummond and its activities in Colombia. Again, these declarations were not taken under oath, they contain false information and the content has been contradicted by testimony of the individuals themselves. Several of these witnesses quoted in the report were paid by the lawyers during the time they gave these declarations. According to communications between these lawyers, they planned to bring to Colombia up to $10,000 in cash (the maximum allowed by law) to pay the “witnesses”. In the canons of the legal profession in many countries throughout the world this action could and should lead to disbarment of the lawyers. In these communications, the lawyers state: “if we don’t like what we see, we don’t pay.”
The report issued by PAX is such an obvious misrepresentation of the facts and the truth that it is our belief that PAX intentionally meant to misrepresent the truth. Could anyone have been so blind to the overwhelming information available. We think not. It leads us to ask the questions:
What is your real purpose?
To what do you aspire?
PAX advertises itself as being supportive of a religious ideology. If that is so, how can they be so disrespectful of the truth and demeaning of our organization and our employees?
We expect, no we demand, that PAX retract this demeaning report that is false and misleading and damaging to Drummond, its employees, the Colombian coal industry and the people of Colombia. We question PAX’s integrity and motivation for publishing this report. PAX should be condemned for publishing such a report and your organization should not be considered a leader for human rights. PAX should be investigated and be made responsible for defamation, slander, and possibly criminal acts.
We have prepared a more detailed response to the PAX report which can be viewed here: Response to PAX Report