Village Voice Article
detcom at sprynet.com
detcom at sprynet.com
Thu Aug 29 16:04:44 MDT 1996
BY RICHARD GEHR
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN RHETORIC BECOMES EVIDENCE?
The Flaming Path
Connecticut landscaper Julian Calero knows as much
about e-mail lists on the Internet as your average
computer nerd knows about Communism in Peru. Nevertheless,
a bizarre flame war between a group of Long Island City
Maoists associated with Peru's Shining Path guerrilla
movement--officially the Partido Comunista del Peru (PCP)--
and a Canadian journalist may have led to the arrest of
Calero and his possible extradition to Peru. Consider
that the government there is infamous for secret trials
and stands accused by Amnesty International of responsibility
for as many as 4200 "disappearances," and the stakes are clear.
The sad story begins in April, when K.K. Campbell, a writer
for Toronto's eyeWEEKLY (a paper not unlike the Voice),
wrote about Adolfo Olaechea, a Peruvian activist living in
London. Olaechea has been fined a half a billion dollars
by the Peruvian government for his alleged terrorist
activities, making him, as he told Campbell, "one of the
richest men on the planet, in negative terms." In the same
piece, Campbell also discussed "Luis and Marcellina Quispe,"
pseudonymous editors of the locally produced, pro-PCP
magazine The New Flag. Campbell seemed so sympatico to
The New Flag group that Luis Quispes even requested his help
in editing a pamphlet--an offer that concluded with a thinly
veiled threat regarding journalists who betray the cause.
("Deliver these words properly or will feel the wrath of
the people through me.")
Unfortunately, Campbell didn't realize that Olaechea and the
Quispes had been involved for some time in one of those
nasty ideological disputes endemic to revolutionaries. This
one occurred in the Marxism e-mail list sponsored and archived
by the leftist Spoons Collective. Infuriated by the attention
Campbell gave their enemy, the Quispes uploaded the e-mail he
had sent them to the list--a major breach of netiquette--attaching
their own comments to establish his betrayal. Campbell responded
with a hilariously fabricated version of his correspondence with
the Quispes. This included a loony cocaine-smuggling scheme,
pornography, and a mocking demand for "Death to the fascist
insect that preys on the bandwidth of the people!"
A sympathetic lefty who specializes in "Net loons," Campbell
obviously had a blast baiting his humor-impaired Queens
correspondents. The flames and ridicule continued until
May 10, when the Quispes uploaded another barrage of all-caps
invective against Campbell and their other enemies: "TALKING
ABOUT FUJIMORI AND HIS PRISON SENTENCES TO PERUVIAN EXILES:...
THREE OF OUR MEMBERS WERE ALSO SENTENCED (ONE ACCUSED OF BEING
A MEMBER OF THE PEOPLE'S ARMY IN CAJATAMBO-LIMA, HIS WIFE WAS
ARRESTED RECENTLY IN LIMA FOR RENTING A ROOM TO AN ALLEGED
"MEMBER OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE") TO LONGTERM PRISON SENTENCES.
DO WE MAKE A BIG DEAL ABOUT TO PROMOTE OURSELVES LIKE THE
CHARLATAN...OLAECHEA DOES?" The New Flag's cryptic references
to members of their "clandestine organization" may well have
been noticed by either the feds or Peru's intelligence agency, SIN.
On May 30, Jay Miles, director of Detroit's leftist Peru Support
Committee, heard reports that Julian Calero was arrested by the
FBI on his way to a hearing on his application for political
asylum. It was at this point, says Campbell, that the flame
throwing "stopped being a joke."
Campbell thinks the Quispe post may well have led to Calero's
arrest. In any event, the Peruvian government had issued a
warrant identifying him as a terrorist who participated in the
murder of police and civilians in 1991. Never mind that this
was more that a year after he'd left the country. To the feds,
the warrant was grounds enough for holding Calero without bail.
The Peruvian government's hefty documentation provides no
evidence of any murder, says Michael Deutsch, an attorney with
the Center for Constitutional Rights. It does say that, in 1992,
Fresia Calderon Garagate, Calero's wife, rented a room to a
Shining Path regional leader. While Calero had been involved in
land reform issues--reason enough for him to be wanted in Peru--
his attorney insists he's never been a member of the Shining Path.
(Garagate was brought to trial in Peru but not convicted; she is
currently seeking political asylum in Europe.)
The U.S. Attorney's office could not comment on the case, pending
further information from the State Department. But instead of
releasing Calero, the feds are giving Peru more time to elucidate
its charges. Deutsch, who wants Calero released on bail immediately,
is filing a writ of habeas corpus. "What's most troubling about all
this," says Deutsch, "is that by knowing of the Peruvian government's
record of secret trials and military proceedings, and by processing
their warrant, the United States is being complicit in this type
of human-rights violation."
Contacted by e-mail, The New Flag maintains the fateful post did
not refer to Calero. "His wife was not the only one arrested by
the trumped-up charge 'renting a room to terrorists,' Lori
Berenson...and several others were." Calero, they add, "was
attending immigration hearings regularly for two years prior to
his arrest. He didn't need anyone to finger him out, he went by
himself to the wolf's mouth." But the folks at the New Flag
remain convinced that Campbell is a "counterintelligence operative"
and Olaechea "mercenary," so it's hard to say whether their
protestations hold water.
Julian Calero, meanwhile, remains in isolation at the Metropolitan
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