All Notebook Entries

Top Notebook Entries

Memo Reveals US State Department Knew Honduras Coup Was Illegal, Did Not Follow Own Advice

Leaked Cable, Early During Coup, Defined Removal of President Manuel Zelaya as Illegitimate

Less than month after the coup d'état that removed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from office at gun point, the US Embassy in the country's capital sent a memo to State Department headquarters in Washington DC ripping apart arguments used by the coup plotters.
 
“...The military and/or whoever ordered the coup fell back on what they knew – the way Honduran presidents were removed in the past: a bogus resignation letter and a one-way ticket to a neighboring country,” reads a confidential cable from Tegucigalpa, signed by US Ambassador Hugo Llorens (pictured right) and published today by the organization Wikileaks.
 
The agency did not heed the warnings written by Llorens. The document, which was sent to the White House, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the military, is in contrast to the State Department's position to back a coup supporter to be the future president of the country months after the memo was sent. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was later found to be involved in giving millions to the coup regime through a US government-financed corporation she helped manage.
 
In the July 9, 2009 document, titled “Open and Shut: The Case of the Honduran Coup,” Llorens writes that after consulting legal specialists and analyzing the country's constitution it's clear that “the actions of June 28 can only be considered a coup d'etat by the legislative branch, with the support of the judicial branch and the military, against the executive branch.”

House of Death informant, now in hiding, is heading to court

Former Mexican cop's lawyer says litigation should be filed by year’s end

The Department of Homeland Security will soon have to deal with some dirty laundry from the House of Death mass-murder case that its leadership likely hoped would be well buried by now.

Lawsuit Over Flawed CIA Drone Code Is Deep Sixed by Settlement

Terms of Agreement “To Remain Confidential”

An explosive lawsuit alleging that Boston-area tech company Netezza Corp. sold computer hardware loaded with “hacked,” faulty software to the CIA for use in the agency’s Predator Drone program has now disappear from public view.

U.S.-Backed Assault on Mexican Narco-Celebrities Lacks Solid Plot

Targeting Heads of Hydra-like “Cartels” Is Futile Strategy

Arturo Beltran Leyva, a former leader in the Sinaloa drug trafficking organization who split off a few years back to form his own  narco-trafficking “cartel,” was gunned down last December by Mexican Navy forces at an upscale apartment complex.

President's Terror Alert Is Necessary Wake-Up Call

Narco News Reported on Cargo-Package Security Threat Last Spring

The discovery Thursday evening of two packages rigged with explosives and destined via cargo jets for Jewish places of worship in Chicago prompted President Barack Obama to tell the nation today that U.S. authorities were addressing a “credible terrorist threat” against the nation.

Already, some in political opposition to the President are raising the specter of the terror plot being a ploy, an “October surprise.”

But the current threat linked to airborne packages should come as no surprise to readers of Narco News, which last May published a report about a whistleblower lawsuit that advanced serious allegations of security shortcomings involving a major air-cargo carrier.

US Military Unit Tied To New Anti-narcotics Program In Juárez

Northern Command, With Help From State Department's Plan Mexico, Directs Attention Towards Mexico's Most Violent City

Last week a Narco News investigation revealed that a military unit created in 2002 for homeland defense missions called US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) had become more involved in assisting the Mexican military to wage the drug war. Now more information has come to light connecting the unit to a pilot program in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, which has become one of the deadliest cities in Mexico due to drug war related violence.

On Friday the Mexican daily Milenio published a story titled “US 'Intelligence Consultants' Arrive To Ciudad Juárez,” which earned a lot of media attention and was quickly spread around by wire services  throughout the country. The article cites a document from the State Department that details a “joint pilot program in support of Mexico’s efforts to confront and reverse the violence that has plagued Ciudad Juárez,” with the hook that a least one “technical adviser” from the US government would be working on Mexican soil in the Juárez full time to assist in sharing intelligence between the two countries. This program came out of meetings held between both governments in January and February 2010, and it is a part of the State Department's Plan Mexico (also known as the Mérida Initiative), a 2008 security pact  in which the United States provides training and equipment to Mexican law enforcement and the armed forces to wage the drug war.

What went unreported was NORTHCOM's involvement. According to the document cited by Milenio, which can be found online in English, a military group called the Joint Task Force North, a subordinate  command of NORTHCOM located close to the US-Mexico border at Fort Bliss in Texas, helped give birth to the Juárez program. Through “a planning and coordinating mission established to support law enforcement agencies counter the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S along the Southwest border” the task force “hosted the Ciudad Juárez / El Paso Planning Initiative, a working group attended by members from U.S. local, state, and federal governments and Mexican federal and state government representatives, to establish the ways, ends, and means in developing a common assessment, approach, and execution structure to enhance public security.”

The military is also using Plan Mexico to fund encrypted communication methods for police forces in Juárez, and “cross border communications,” where radio links will be set up between law enforcement officials on both sides of the border, according to the document. The recent news of the military unit's involvement in this new Juárez program continues to add evidence to NORTHCOM's growing involvement in Mexico's drug war.

Sprawling Drug-War Training Complex Planned for U.S-Mexico Border

Massive Facility Would Serve Law Enforcers, Military and Their Drones

A company fronted by a former Navy SEAL is only a few weeks away from potentially gaining approval to develop a nearly 1,000-acre military and law enforcement training camp near the U.S. border in Southern California, less than a 20-minute drone flight from the sister border cities of San Diego and Tijuana.

US Government Attorney Writes Narco News Over CIA Drone-Code Story

Missive Inspires Yet More Intrigue

Narco News today received a very interesting e-mail from an intelligence agency seeking information about the ongoing CIA drone-code scandal that has surfaced in a lawsuit filed in a Boston court.

Indigenous Group Condemns Release of Prisoners Involved In Acteal Massacre

Mexican Federal Judge Frees 15 People Accused Of Participating In Infamous Killings That Left 45 People Dead

Las Abejas ("The Bees” in English), an indigenous civil society organization in Mexico, is denouncing the release of 15 prisoners responsible for a massacre committed by paramilitaries in the village of Acteal, Chiapas on December 22, 1997. Late last week, a federal judge announced that the inmates would be freed due to “good behavior,” despite being involved in the vicious killings that left 45 unarmed villagers dead on that day. Most of the victims were women and children.

The Drug Czar Office's Misleading Claim on Teenage Marijuana Use

Federal Report Cited By Office Contradicts Claims That Young People Are Using Marijuana At Younger Ages

On Thursday the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), headed by drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, issued a startling press release with the capitalized title “TEENS USING MARIJUANA AT YOUNGER AGES.” Citing the government's most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2009, the Office claimed that for marijuana, “the average age of initiation – first-time use of the drug − dropped from 17.8 in 2008 to 17.0 in 2009.” 

After a closer look of the data cited by the ONDCP, the claim that teens today are currently using marijuana at younger ages is misleading. In fact, the same data shows that young people who recently tried marijuana are doing so at older ages.

2 Years of $upport for Authenticity

Upon entering The Field this morning, I clicked too quickly and ended up in My Account instead of Recent Posts.

A personal News Flash:  I've been a Co-Publisher for 2 years and 8 hours.  My first $$ was in response to Al's need for admittance for the DNC Convention.  Al and his analysis of the election was critical and helped me stay focused and organized.  I still need that. 

Jefe de la Policía Mexicana designado como Secretario Ejecutivo de la Comunidad de Policías de América

Su designación se da en medio de la polémica por su supuesto vínculo con grupos narcotraficantes

Genaro García Luna fue designado secretario ejecutivo de la Comunidad de Policías de América, también conocida como Ameripol, en sustitución del jefe de la policía nacional colombiana, Oscar Adolfo Naranjo Trujillo.

La Ameripol tiene como uno de los principales objetivos el combate al narcotráfico. García Luna obtuvo la designación aún a pesar que su figura al frente de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública ha sido largamente cuestionada por los nexos del narcotráfico que su círculo más cercano ha mantenido. En agosto de este año la revista Nexos publicó que “la mayor parte del círculo de colaboradores de Genaro García Luna estaba coludida con el narcotráfico.” Esta acusación va acompañada por el señalamiento de un testigo protegido de que Mario Arturo Velarde Martínez, secretario privado de García Luna durante su período al frente de la Agencia Federal de Investigaciones (AFI) en el último sexenio, tenía tratos con el grupo de los hermanos Beltrán Leyva.

Su designación como secretario ejecutivo de la Ameripol—cargo que ocupará de 2010 al 2013—se da cuando su gestión al frente de la SSP es motivo de controversia por la supuesta protección a grupos específicos del narcotráfico al mismo tiempo en que se desarrolla la guerra contra las drogas del presidente Felipe Calderón, y a que a pesar de estar al frente de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Federal tiene averiguaciones previas ante la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR). La designación también se da frente a la polémica por la construcción de una enorme mansión de su propiedad al sur de la Ciudad de México y que tiene un costo aproximado de 2 millones de dólares, lo que para algunos hace sospechar la procedencia de dichos recursos debido a que, de acuerdo con algunos reportes, el salario de García Luna no es suficiente para adquirir dicha propiedad, ya que en 2008 había declarado que tenía una deuda de más de 6.8 millones de pesos (unos USD 550,000).

CIA Drone-Code Scandal Now Has A Big Blue Hue

U.S. Commercial Media Finally Jumps on the Story After British Publication Cribs Narco News’ Coverage

 

One of the largest and best-known corporations in the world, IBM, is now on center stage in a dispute between two Massachusetts technology companies — one of which is accusing the other of essentially stealing its software code and reselling it to the CIA for use in the Predator Drone program.

US Lawmakers Used Public Funds To Back Honduras Coup

Republican House members used taxpayer money to boost de facto government as it was criminalizing dissent, shutting down media outlets

Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives spent nearly $25,000 in taxpayer funds to support the coup in Honduras. An analysis of Congressional travel reports shows four far-right legislators— Rep. Connie Mack (Fla.), Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (Calif.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.)—used the money to fly themselves and their GOP staff members to Honduras during the critical months following the violent ousting of democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya. Those trips were then used by coup plotters and supporters to create a false sense of legitimacy towards their tactics of criminalizing civil resistance and shutting down the country's media outlets.

On June 28, 2009 Zelaya was forcibly removed from office and exiled to Costa Rica, in a coup d'état orchestrated by the country's oligarchy. Roberto Micheletti, then leader of the National Congress in Honduras, was appointed to be the new president of the de facto government that was created after the coup. The majority of countries throughout the world condemned the coup, and the next day President Barack Obama told reporters that, “We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there.”

Less than a month later, after the de facto coup government in the country had passed an emergency law banning basic liberties like the right to protest and due process, Reps. Bilbray and Mack traveled to the capital city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras on July 25 to show support for the Micheletti regime. During the taxpayer-funded expedition, which was labeled a “congressional delegation trip,” the two lawmakers met with Micheletti, businessmen and lawmakers responsible for the coup. Mack, who lead the trip and had already voiced support for the coup government before arriving in Honduras, parroted the lies used by the coup plotters that removing Zelaya at gun point was legal and constitutional. After the visit, Bilbray disseminated those distortions to the US media and encouraged the Obama administration to negotiate with Micheletti. The total cost billed to taxpayers was $7,684.80, according to Congressional foreign travel reports.

On October 5 later that year, a few weeks after the de facto government had used the military to shut down and censor opposition media outlets, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, a ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, organized another visit to Honduras that was financed with $9,562.68 in public funds. Ros-Lehtinen used the trip to boost the de facto regime, which had suffered a significant blow in late September when Zelaya had managed to return to the country and was trapped inside the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa. During the visit, Ros-Lehtinen denounced the US government's decision to withhold financial aid and visas to the coup government, and later Tweeted from the country that the Honduran people “don't want [Zelaya] back!”

Days before Ros-Lehtinen arrived in Tegucigalpa, Republican coup supporter and Senator Jim DeMint (N.C.) had a public scuffle with Democratic Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, over travel to Honduras. When Kerry blocked DeMint from using taxpayer funds to finance his own coup-boosting trip to Honduras, DeMint arranged for the US military to fly him there with three other House members. Ros-Lehtinen's travel was not a part of the DeMint trip, according to Bradley Goehner, the Republican communications director for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The last taxpayer-funded trip to boost the Honduran coup backers was after the country's November presidential elections, which were held amid a climate of “intimidation, torture, illegal detentions and in extreme cases, assassinations.” After documented electoral fraud, National Party candidate and coup supporter Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo was announced the winner, with the State Department endorsing the election results. Once Lobo had been inaugurated, Republican Rep. Rohrabacher, who had written a letter of support for Micheletti, traveled to the country on Jan. 31 to meet with Lobo. “After the new president was elected, he traveled to Honduras to let the newly elected government know that Republicans supported them,” says Tara Olivia Setmayer, a media representative for Rohrabacher. The trip cost $7,473.40, bringing the total spent on coup-boosting trips in Honduras to $24,720.88.

When compared to the federal government's multi-trillion dollar budget, the money may seem trivial. However, there's no denying that those funds—which could make up a small annual salary for one person in the United States—went towards Republican efforts to support a regime that continues to censor opposition media, criminalize dissent, and commit numerous human rights violations in Honduras.

State Department Backing US Troops In Mexico

Contracts show School of the Americas, Special Ops Group, Working Inside The Country

At the Mexican government's request, the State Department is supporting US military trainings of the Mexican troops inside Mexico, according to federal procurement data and a statement released by the agency.

Procurement data from the Federal Procurement Data System shows that in September the US Embassy in Mexico City paid Sheraton Hotels more than $15,000 for an event featuring the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC, formerly the School of the Americas), a Department of Defense school that specializes in training students from Latin America and has a notorious history of contributing to human rights abuses abroad.

The Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), a military school that teaches special operations tactics, is also listed as being involved. The State Department has not disclosed which Sheraton hotels were used, but the procurement data states the contract work was performed in Mexico. Sheraton lists hotel locations in the historic center of Mexico City, the city's wealthy suburb of Santa Fe, the beach resort city of Cancún, and city of Monterrey.

When asked about the procurement data, embassy spokesman Alexander Featherstone first stated that the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), a military unit created in 2002 for homeland defense missions, is involved in training the Mexican military with help from the State Department.

“At the request of the Mexican government and in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, USNORTHCOM conducts information exchanges and training across a number of broad areas and disciplines,” Featherstone said. “These trainings take place both in Mexico and the U.S.”

“These training opportunities and exchanges have helped the militaries of Mexico and the United States to build a relationship based on trust, confidence, mutual benefit and mutual respect for sovereignty,” Featherstone added.

Regarding the hotel payments, Featherstone then said that the Department of Defense, through the Office of Defense Coordination at the U.S. Embassy, uses meeting rooms for “seminars, conferences, and meeting venues,” including for events that focus on “counternarcotics efforts.”

When asked if the funds used by the embassy were part of the Mérida Initiative, a 2008 security pact in which the United States provides training and equipment to Mexican law enforcement and the armed forces to wage the drug war, Featherstone stated that they were not.

“While this military training is not funded with Merida Initiative funds, the expenditure is in the spirit of the Merida Initiative objectives and fully supports the U.S. whole-of-government effort to work closely with Mexico,” Featherstone said.

User login

Navigation