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Hannity

Oliver North Profiles Narco-Terrorism War

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 20, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now some of the most dangerous terrorists are closer than you might think. Now, "War Stories" host Col. Oliver North, he headed south of the border to see one of them get brought to justice.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLIVER NORTH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR (voice-over): A ferocious battle is raging deep in the jungle to the south of the U.S. border. It's narco-terrorism, a war fought over drugs destined for our streets.

On one side, the Colombian army and national police, supported by DEA special agents. On the other side, drug-running terrorists from the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia, the FARC.

The FARC is a hyper violent narco-terror group born in the 1960s as the military wing of the Colombian communist party.

Video: Watch Oliver North's report

(on camera) We're in the highlands of Colombia. Earlier today, we were granted exclusive access to the extradition of a notorious FARC terrorist.

(voice-over) He calls himself Cesar, but his real name is Gerardo Aguilar Ramirez. As commandant of the first — FARC, and one of its top-10 leaders, he has well-earned credentials in drug-dealing terrorists with a penchant for trading in hostages.

(on camera) How long has the DEA been chasing this guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Approximately five years now. And he's one of the most prolific drug traffickers and terrorists this country has known.

NORTH: February 13, 2003. Four American civilian defense contractors and a Colombian soldier crash land in FARC territory, and Cesar's fate becomes ever entwined with theirs.

KEITH STANSELL, FORMER HOSTAGE: Everybody was essentially banged up: Tom Janis, the pilot, he was cut to the bone. Myself, I had broken ribs. Ribs separated from my spine. A fractured hip and internal injuries.

NORTH: From there, things got a whole lot worse.

MARC GONSALVES, FORMER HOSTAGE: We basically crashed right in the middle of the territory of FARC. I mean, upon opening the door to the airplane, they were one hill over, screaming and shooting and running toward us.

NORTH: The pilot, Tom Janis, and the Colombian intelligence specialist were murdered. The three others were forced at gunpoint to march into the jungle for the next 24 days straight.

TOM HOWES, FORMER HOSTAGE: It was not long before the blisters rubbed off and you were down to basically raw meat on our feet. Every step was painful.

NORTH: Days became months, and then years. U.S. and Colombian forces were always searching, so the FARC kept the hostages constantly on the move.

HOWE: It was the military came and got close to us. We had to do multi-month marches. We called them death marches or hunger marches.

GONSALVES: We were always inside the jungle. And the jungle is very thick and very humid and dark and gloomy. I've been free for a little more than year now. To this day, I can't sit here and do an interview like this today without having something to protect my eyes.

STANSELL: We were on the run in the jungle for five and a half years. If you look at my neck here, there are pink scars on my neck. Those are scars from a human being, being chained up like a dog.

GONSALVES: And it was just nonstop marching. While I was there, I lost 50 pounds.

HOWE: You'd be all cut up, stung, dirty, sweaty, with every step painful.

NORTH: Living conditions were horrific.

GONSALVES: The FARC camp was made out of nothing more than sticks and vines that are found in the jungle.

STANSELL: Marc had it real tough, because Marc had a back problem. So he tried to sleep on the ground. Marc and I are chained by the neck, so he sleeps under me.

GONSALVES: I kept a journal in the jungle, and I wrote in it at almost every day. And I basically described my deterioration.

STANSELL: When somebody is — brings a squad to execute you, and you hear Colombian helicopters. And you hear a guy on the radio waiting for the order to kill you, you know what? You're an American first. You're a father. We survived because we're Americans.

NORTH: Four years on, FARC demanded the hostages make a proof-of-life video.

HOWE: My two companions didn't want to speak, and I understood that. Because they didn't want to play the FARC's game. But you know, you have to communicate with my family after four years.

(on FARC video) I love you very much.

(on camera) Now, the look on my face, I don't know if it's a loving look, but I'm staring into the eyes of the terrorist.

NORTH: Then, after five and a half years of captivity, helicopters appeared overhead.

GONSALVES: To a hostage, the sound of a helicopter is the sound of death. That's when the guerrillas are supposed to kill us, supposed to massacre us.

This time, they came with a totally different attitude. They came out with smiles, and this helicopter came in sight. And there were two of them. They were flying low.

NORTH: The Colombian military conceived a bold plan after intercepting FARC radio transmissions for months. The Colombians issued fake orders for Cesar to allow international aid workers to transport the hostages to the FARC high command.

HOWE: When they brought us together, we were told there were 15 hostages. Some more police; some were army. And there was Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian politician.

GONSALVES: The clam shell door opened up and a group of humanitarian aid workers came out. One of them was carrying a video camera. And they rushed out and they began greeting a guerilla and interviewing them.

NORTH: As Cesar chatted with the undercover commandoes, Keith Stansell delivered a message.

STANSELL: There were screaming at me not to talk to the camera. But I didn't care. I wanted to get a message to the family, so I said, "We're Americans held hostage by the First Front of the FARC. This is where we're at. Please, we're still alive."

GONSALVES: I sat in back, right across from where the commander was sitting.

HOWE: As the wheels broke ground, the supposed humanitarian aid workers lunged on the two FARC commanders.

GONSALVES: As soon as that helicopter lifted off, there was just chaos. There's bodies, fists, everything was flying.

STANSELL: We all kind of jump on the — the two FARC.

GONSALVES: I could hear everybody else screaming, "We're Army. We're Army." I saw that Cesar was still on the ground. He was fighting about four or five men who were trying to subdue them.

STANSELL: It was a straight-up ass kicking, and we were free.

NORTH: Landing in a military base, the three Americans were greeted by their colleagues, who had never given up the search. They were whisked into a U.S. Air Force C-17. After 1,967 days in the jungle, they were finally headed home.

GONSALVES: With — the three of us inside this gigantic Air Force cargo jet, and it was just amazing.

STANSELL: To step on American soil again, to be home, to feel — to feel that love, you know, I can't put that into words.

NORTH (on camera): A year later, thanks to U.S. DEA agents and Colombian commandos, Cesar was headed to the U.S. in shackles to face justice for his crimes.

A great sense of personal satisfaction?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a great day for the United States and the Colombian government.

STANSELL: Cesar is an example of what our real enemy is. He doesn't look like anything dangerous. He doesn't look like anything scary. But he is the worst of the worst.

GONSALVES: Very good thing that he is a very good thing that he is out of the jungle. Because there's no rehabilitation for a person like that.

STANSELL: Cesar has medical care. He has contact with his family. He has food. He sleeps in environmentally-controlled air-conditioned, heated, whatever. He has clean sheets. He has a toilet. All right?

The people that have been held for almost 12 years now would give their right leg to have the conditions that he has. Never feel mercy on this animal, ever.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: Unbelievable. And their entire ordeal is told in an amazing new book by the former hostages called "Out of Captivity."

Colonel Oliver North joins us right now.

Colonel, good to see you, my friend.

NORTH: Sean, it's great to be with you, and it is a great story. Five and a half years in captivity these remarkable men went through this terrible ordeal because of that terrorist organization, called the FARC, operating in Colombia.

Here's the thing most people don't get. Eleven thousand human beings have been killed in Mexico alone as a consequence of the cocaine coming out of Colombia and the Indian Basin. Ninety percent of it coming into this country flows through Mexico. Eleven thousand people, more than twice as many killed in Afghanistan and Iraq together, since 2006.

HANNITY: When you put it in that perspective, it is that big of a problem. Now, we've reported on FARC before. Tell us how badly these prisoners were treated, as is chronicled in this book.

NORTH: They went through a horrific ordeal. And what you see in their captor is absolutely cold-blooded, absolute cynicism on their part. Cesar, who gets brought back thanks to the DEA, these remarkable special agents who tracked him down and rescued these guys in a very daring operation. These guys brought him to justice, frog-walked him across the tarmac at Reagan National Airport.

And he's going to face justice in America. Unlikely he'll ever see a day of freedom.

HANNITY: This was — this was physical punishment and mental torture.

NORTH: Never knowing when you're going to be free, Sean, is — and I know this from some experience dealing with other hostages in other places. Never knowing if you're going to be killed or ever set free, it's a terrible ordeal.

HANNITY: Now, we have a problem with a lot of these countries now as a result of the drug trade and much, much more. But even as I understand FARC, because they are currently still holding a number of people, dozens of people hostages now.

NORTH: In fact, most of them are Colombian nationals. Many of them are Colombian policemen. One of those liberated in this — in this remarkable operation was a policeman who'd been held for 10 years.

HANNITY: Right.

NORTH: And there's others that have been held just that long.

HANNITY: All right. Colonel North, we'll be watching.

Make sure you check out "War Stories" and a special investigation, "Drugs, Money and Narco Terror." And that's going to air this Saturday at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern right here on the FOX News Channel.

— Watch "Hannity" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!

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