Open Letter to INTERPOL Regarding Statements on Seized Laptop Documents
200, quai Charles de Gaulle
SENT BY E-MAIL AND
Dear Mr. Noble,
We call on you to retract the following statement, made to the press on May 15, 2008:
“We are absolutely certain that the computer exhibits that our experts examined came from a FARC terrorist camp. No one can ever question whether or not the Colombian government tampered with the seized FARC computers.” (AP, May 15, 2008)
The first sentence appears to lie completely outside the scope of your investigation. In “Interpol’s Forensic Report on FARC Computers and Hardware Seized by
Since INTERPOL did no investigation as to the origin of these computer exhibits, it would seem inappropriate and wrong for you to state that you are "absolutely certain" as to where they originated. This could give the misleading impression that INTERPOL's investigation had actually verified the Colombian government's claim – which is contested, for example, by the President of Ecuador.
The second sentence is within the scope of the investigation, but it is not clear that the report backs it up. For example, your report states that INTERPOL found "no evidence that user files were created, modified, or deleted on any of the eight seized FARC computer exhibits following their seizure on 1 March 2008 by Colombian authorities.."
To find no evidence of something is not the same as saying that it absolutely did not happen, or that "no one can ever question" whether it happened.
In light of the importance of this matter to hemispheric relations, and the importance of INTERPOL maintaining its impartiality in forensic investigations, we ask you to retract the first sentence quoted above, and to clarify and/or retract the second sentence.
Larry Birns, Council on Hemispheric Affairs - Director
James Early, TransAfrica Forum, and Institute for Policy Studies - Board Member
Daniel Hellinger, Webster University-Director & Professor, International Relations
Fred Rosen, North American Congress on
Miguel Tinker Salas,
Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Policy Research - Co-Director
John Womack, Harvard University- Robert Bliss Professor of Latin American History and