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By Dialogo June 19, 2009 Bogotá, June 17 (EFE).- To mark the first anniversary of the “Operation Jaque” in which fifteen FARC hostages including former Colombian presidential candidate were liberated, Discovery Channel will release a documentary on the key role that the United States played in that operation. According to the documentary, presented today to the press in Bogotá, the United States’ played the major role in the covert operation. Washington provided the key technical resources for “Operation Jaque,” carried out on July 2, 2008, which freed Betancourt, American civilians Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell intelligence operators for the Department of Defence , and eleven Colombian military and police officers. An aircraft Platform ( intelligence) was provided by the United States to contribute to the communication network of the operation. The aircraft’s first task was to intercept radio communications of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). “We are always monitoring,” admits American Ambassador in Bogotá, William Brownfield, in a fragment of “El Rescate Perfecto” (“The Perfect Rescue”), the title of the documentary that recreates the operation in the Colombian eastern jungles, and that will be released on June 30. The film, directed by Colombian Jaime Escallón, presents in 43 minutes – ten of them of archive images – the details of the “Operation Jaque,” with emphasis on the three Americans. The documentary reconstructs the kidnapping of these Pentagon contractors, abducted on February 2003 in the Colombian southern jungle, after their plane crashed during a “Plan Colombia” mission, an American aid program offered to the South American country in support of the fight against drugs and guerrilla. The former Colombian general Mario Montoya admits in the documentary that the event forced the United States to assign several resources in the search for their citizens. Montoya led the Jaque’s planning and execution team as Army Commander. “El rescate perfecto” includes testimonies of 28 individuals involved in the operation, former hostages Gonsalves and Stansell declarations, as well as American expert in military affairs David Spencer’s statement. “We were interested in summing up what the operation meant (…), and they (Gonsalves and Stansell) also wanted to tell their stories,” said Colombian documentary producer Juan Pablo Santos during the presentation. According to Santos, this “is one of the most incredible stories of the Colombian conflict.” The producers of “El rescate perfecto” recorded approximately eighty hours in military barracks in the centre of the country and on flights over the jungle, among other scenarios. Speaking through a videoconference from Miami , the Director of Production and Development for the Discovery Networks in Latin America, Michela Giorelli, stated that the Colombian armed conflict and the FARC “are of importance for international history”. read more
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (March 29) – Due to already wet track conditions, impending steady heavy rains today and colder temperatures not allowing for any track drying, Marshalltown Speedway officials have announced postponement of this weekend’s IMCA World Nationals special.“We feel it is best to postpone the World Nationals as conditions will not allow us to prep the track to the standards for which we are known,” explained Promoter Toby Kruse. “With that said, the World Nationals will be held Oct. 12-14.”“It’s a downer because there was so much interest in this event,” he added. “These are always tough decisions but they are made with the best interest of the racers, crews and fans in mind.”Plans are for the format to remain the same on the postponed date: IMCA Modifieds race for $10,000 to win and a minimum of $500 to start their 2018 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifier. Two $1,000 to win features are slated for IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars and Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods with a pair of $500 to win features for IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks on the card as well. read more
MEGHAN CONLIN/Herald PhotoTry to give junior Andrea Wiesner a hard practice and she’ll laugh in your face — literally. The short and bubbly member of the Wisconsin swim team is always laughing, even through a rough practice. “She always has a positive attitude throughout practice,” teammate Amalia Sarnecki said. “Having someone around who is light-hearted and entertains makes it easier to be there. … She is just so much fun to have as a teammate. Honestly, the best person ever. I am really grateful to have Andrea as a training partner and as a friend.”Even though Wiesner always has a smile on her face, not everything is fun and games.This Montrose, Colo. native takes swimming seriously and she has the finish times to back it up. Going into the Big Ten Championships on Wednesday, Wiesner will enter the meet ranked second nationally in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:14.25.Wiesner swam that time at the Texas Invitational last December, a swim she considers the highlight of her season.Wiesner also ranks fourth in the nation in the 200-yard individual medley and 37th in the 200-yard backstroke.Her times have already qualified her for the NCAA Championships in March. It will be her second showing at the meet.”I think it’s awesome,” her older brother and former teammate Eric Wiesner said of her qualifying for nationals. “I’m very proud and impressed with her. I think she deserves it. She is a very humble person who works hard and is not conceited. … She is also very smart and fun to hang out with.”Wiesner has been swimming with her brother since she was little and it was only fitting that she follow in his footsteps when deciding on a college.”I enjoy having her here,” Eric said. “Me being here helped her in transition between high school and college. She enjoys it here and doesn’t regret her decision at all.”In high school, Wiesner also enjoyed some success in the water. She won six state titles and was named Colorado 4A Swimmer of the Year during her senior year.”I’m pretty proud of my accomplishments in high school, I guess,” Wiesner said humbly.Her high school successes attracted the attention of the Wisconsin coaches and again with a smile, Wiesner committed to UW before taking an official trip here.”I had been familiar with the school, I really liked Madison, I liked the team and the coaches are great,” Wiesner said.Wiesner’s impact on the team was immediate and not just in the pool. Wiesner boosts one of the highest GPAs on the team and her academic achievements have helped the women’s swimming team to the highest GPA in the athletic department.”I think she is [a] silent leader,” her brother said. “She is just a really smart girl and works really hard for it. Holding a high GPA and swimming at the level that she does is impressive.”Now, following in her footsteps, the last member of the Wiesner family, younger brother Steven, has recently committed to UW.When asked about his brother committing, Eric simply said, “I don’t even know. I honestly think it’s weird.”Added Sarnecki, “I think they should move to Wisconsin so they could pay in-state tuition.” read more