All Notebook Entries

  • Smalltime Users and Dealers Targeted by Argentina Drug "Defederalization" Bill

    On Wednesday night, the Argentina Senate approved a bill that shifts most drug enforcement in the country from the federal authorities to those on the state and local levels. While the measure reflects the frustration at the unwinnable nature of US-imposed prohibitionist drug policies, and the over-burdened Argentine judicial system, the legislation was passed for all the wrong reasons, and if passed now by the House, will bring an all-out assault on smalltime drug users and dealers...
  • Chile's Avila Launches Presidential Campaign, Wants Marijuana Legalized

    Six weeks ago, we reported on the setback by which the Chilean political system, through its dominant parties in Congress, blocked a marijuana legalization bill sponsored by Senator Nelson Avila.

    But often, when Power throws up one fence, it causes change agents to seek new paths, cut new holes in the wall, dig tunnels or leap higher than before. Such is the case in Chile where Avila announces his candidacy for the 2005 election for president of the nation.

    La Tercera reports his stance in favor of legalizing the cultivation (not merely the possession) of marijuana as first among his issues. Others include legalization of abortion and euthanasia, and in favor of Chile granting a seaport to landlocked Bolivia (which would resolve a hundred-plus-year-old conflict between the two nations that has fueled many of the rebellions in recent years in Bolivia).

    In the coming weeks, Avila plans on crisscrossing the country, beginning in the indigenous lands of the Mapuche ethnic group, where indigenous leader Aucán Huilcamán Paillama is also expected to declare his candidacy for the presidency.

    Avila told the news agency Las Ultimas Notícias that while his candidacy may well cause problems for his former center-left political party, Concertación, he expects it will "cause headaches for many" parties and politicians.

    Perhaps they will at least be able to treat their headaches, in due time, with the five-leafed medicine that the colorful Senator seeks to legalize. As the campaign marches on, Narco News will be reporting its progress.

  • Venezuela: The Transition from Columbus Day to Indian Resistance Day...

    The oligarchic "opposition" and its national mass media have no respect for anything: currently,  Radio Caracas TV (RCTV) is preparing commercials for its mind-controlled adherents to celebrate  "Día de la Raza" (Colombus Day) next Tuesday -- October 12, 2004.

    This big lie, this hoax ... about the 'discovery' of America by Christopher Columbus, still infects the minds of millions in Latin America.

    Although the name of this public holiday has officially been changed to the 'Dia de la Resistencia Indigena' by the Bolivarian Government,  the mass media continues their mind control, indoctrination and manipulation -- with a trans-historic European Mental Holocaust launched against the peoples of the Americas and elsewhere.

    Columbus was not among the first to know that the earth was round ... the ancient Mediterranean peoples already had this knowledge.  He did not 'discover' America ... already centuries before, the Africans had fleets that crossed the Atlantic and they had a vivid, healthy, trans-cultural intercourse with the American indigenous peoples. Their artefacts and traces of their ancient cultures can be found all over Central America.

  • Resistencia Boliviana, Aislamiento Brasilero

    Parece que el 11 de Octubre se viene fuerte. Y, por increible que pueda parecer, aca en Brasil casi no se habla de lo que pasa en nuestro país vecino.
    Me gustaria estar presente ese dia, para poder vivir y participar de todo ese movimiento de resistencia por parte del pueblo boliviano, por la legitimizacion de sus derechos y de su historia.
    La coca es del pueblo boliviano, el gas es del pueblo boliviano, pero el gobierno no...El gobierno juega en contra de los intereses de su proprio pueblo. Me parece que enquanto eso no cambie esa guerra no termina.
    Les deseo toda la suerte del mundo a mis compañeros autenticos periodistas bolivianos. Estaremos acompañando todo desde aqui la vecindad.

    Viva la resistencia!
    Pablo

  • Harm Reduction Advances at Stake in São Paulo Election Run-Off

    Narco News pages are filled with reports on drug policy in Brazil, with a sizeable number of articles and commentaries on the advances made in the continent's largest city, São Paulo, under the leadership of city anti-AIDS coordinator Fabio Mesquita and his innovative programs - from clean needle exchange to decriminalizing drug users - to reduce the harms caused by drug use under prohibition, known as "harm reduction" policies.

    But in municipal elections held yesterday, although the pro-drug-policy-reform Worker's Party of President Lula da Silva increased its number of mayoralties from 193 to 388 - and will pick up more in run-off votes to be held on October 31st - the continuation of a pro-reform administration in São Paulo is at risk...

  • Now is when we show what we're made of

    It's no fun giving to get a group out of debt.

    Until Alex Contreras and Bill Conroy weighed in with some of the best reporting anywhere, on the suppression of people in the drug war in Bolivia and the suppression of information in the drug war in the United States, there were more fund appeals on the front page of Narco News than stories.

    And there's no matching grant.

    Which is why now is the time to give.

  • Homeland Security memo exposes effort to manipulate media

    An internal Department of Homeland Security memo leaked to Narco News sheds a bright light on how the U.S. government attempts to manipulate media coverage.

    For people working in the media, this memo may not come as a big shock, as many have become reluctant participants in the sham. But for readers, this memo should be disturbing, as it demonstrates clearly how much of what you read in the mainstream media is scripted, right down to who talks to the media, what they say, and which media get to cover the story.

    What is more telling is the news that is suppressed, that readers are not allowed to know because the heads of our government agencies deem it more important to spin the news than to provide critical information to citizens that is vital to the proper functioning of the democracy.

    The memo provided to Narco News was distributed to local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices from ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    ICE, composed of special agents from the former U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, is the primary investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    The DHS memo obtained by Narco News provides very specific instructions on how local ICE offices are to create a media event for Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15.

  • Venezuela -- Karl Marx versus the Degeneration of Social Revolution

    Roberto Hernández Montoya, in his excellent and most timely article, "How to Prevent Revolution from Degenerating into Government", among other important revolutionary reflections, observed the following:

    "The proof is in the events on April 13rd 2002 when people reinstated Chávez in power after the coup d’État: if this revolution had been violent it would not have recovered power pacifically. There were no armed groups, and in any case if there were they did not act as such. It was not necessary. That was the perfect occasion for a violent revolution to act as such. In fact, Venezuelans have innovated in revolutionary matters. There have been favourable circumstances for that ... ."
    (http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno =1285 )

    It is true that "Venezuelans have innovated in revolutionary matters", that violent self-defence is not always necessary. Even Marx and Engels hoped for a non-violent transition from capitalism to socialism in their life-time.

  • Venezuela: Who is the Proletariat?

    Currently, in Venezuela, in Latin America, for the sake of independent, authentic journalism, in the daily process of deepening the Bolivarian Revolution, of educating ourselves, and our compatriots, praxical precision and theoretical incision in our popular "missions" and universities have become top priorities.

    Always the New, the Original and the Authentic logically necessitate corresponding concepts and notions. Furthermore, in a virulent revolutionary atmosphere, the social contents of concepts like the "workers", the "working classes", "revolution", "proletariat",  "process", "democracy" or "ideology" permanently change.

  • Nothing is authentic about this CBS journalism moment

    I can tell you that my sources, including some with ties to the intelligence community who have experience in such matters, contend that this whole CBS/Bill Burkett affair smells like a classic sting right out of the playbook of Karl Rove, the man behind the controls of the George W. Bush re-election video game.

    CBS is on the ropes right now over airing a story based on documents critical of Bush’s National Guard service, documents that now appear to be forgeries. The documents were leaked to CBS by Burkett, who has previously claimed that Bush operatives orchestrated the destruction of National Guard records that reflected poorly on the president.

    Remember the Mike Horner case, where CBS in 1997 fell for forged documents from a U.S. Customs whistleblower? Most of what Horner was saying at the time was true, my sources contend. The problem was that Horner couldn’t handle the heat in the kitchen anymore, and so he did fabricate a memo to advance his story.

    In 2000, Mr. Horner admitted he forged the memo "for media exposure" and was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison.

    ... In 1999 Leslie Stahl read an apology on the air: "We have concluded we were deceived, and ultimately, so were you, the viewers."

    That same scenario could be unfolding in the Burkett affair, true. But that assumes Burkett acted alone in fabricating the documents. Was he the lone gunman, or were their other players on this grassy knoll?

  • Save Everybody? The Ethics of Putting Friends Before Social Justice

    Some readers of Narco News don't want to save Tiberio, the School of Authentic Journalism's designated bartender, from jail in Italy.  Several have said so in comments at the Save Tiberio web site.  A loyal reader named Esteban has nothing against Tiberio but cogently blasts the priorities of Narco News:
  • RNC Protests Not a Success For Freedom

    Police kept demonstrators a block away from Madison Square Garden, the convention site, three nights in a row.  That is not a success for the protesters.  It is a downright failure for freedom.  It is a violation of our inalienable freedom to move, gather, yell, hold signs, speak, and sing where we want to.  This freedom is enshrined in the first amendment as "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  It is also fundamental in honored ancient religious and moral codes, and it is part of our first childhood understanding of freedom and fairness: if I'm not hurting someone else, it's all right.

    Hundreds of thousands of people over five days showed up to protest in midtown Manhattan during the Republican National Convention.  Unnecessary closures of blocks of streets around Madison Square Garden (under which is Penn Station), arbitrary prevention of movement even outside this locked down area, and unjustifiable mass arrests that put some 1,800 people in jail made impossible a free demonstration of disgust toward and rejection of the Republican agenda.

  • Black Op Radio Interview on Current Situation in Venezuela

    Interview with Franz Lee & Jutta Schmitt.
    THE CURRENT SITUATION IN VENEZUELA
    SEPTEMBER 17, 2004.

    Entrevista en Inglés con Franz Lee & Jutta Schmitt
    La Situación Actual en Venezuela.
    17 de Septiembre de 2004.

  • Bolivia: a un año de la guerra de gas

    A pocos días de cumplirse un año más de la movilización de octubre, cuando un presidente fue expulsado por un pueblo que exigió a gritos y con sangre “Trabajo, educación, salud, justicia, igualdad y sobre todo nacionalización del gas”, se puede percibir que este gobierno perdió la confianza y la fe de la gente que echó a Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, y que ahora se organiza para demostrar a este gobierno que puede correr la misma suerte.
  • Gift DVDs and News from The Fund for Authentic Journalism

    Dear Friends, Colleagues, Supporters,

    Can you believe it?  Two thirds of the year are gone already.  And what an amazing year it's been for Narco News and the School of Authentic Journalism.  You've been reading the articles, listening to the radio reports and viewing the photography and video on Salón Chingón, so I probably don't need to remind you what this thing is all about and why we support it.  You know that already.  Instead, I just want to take a moment to tell you about our latest fundraising drive, how we got here and how we're going to take Narco News forward into many seasons ahead.  

    We started this year with nothing.  In a way, maybe it was worse than nothing because we were forced to raise the majority of our total budget in the early months of the year.  We needed to raise $60,000 to return Narco News to publishing and hold our fantastically successful J-school in Bolivia.  Thanks to the hard work and generosity

  • Another murder is linked to the House of Death case

    Narco News published a major exposé in late April (called The House of Death) that revealed an informant for the U.S. government was implicated in a series of murders in Ciudad Juárez -- located just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

    Between August 2003 and mid-January 2004, about a dozen people were tortured, murdered and then buried in the yard of a house in the Mexican border town. The informant, according to sources, participated in many of those murders.

    The informant’s handlers, agents with the El Paso office of the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), were allegedly fully aware of the informant’s complicity in the murders, yet did nothing to stop the killing for fear of jeopardizing the cases that they were trying to make with the informant’s help.

    The informant, who goes by the nickname Lalo, worked for a drug trafficker named Heriberto Santillan-Tabares, who, U.S. prosecutors allege, is a top lieutenant in Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’ Juárez drug organization.

    Now it appears Lalo’s shadow is over yet another murder, this time on the U.S. side of the border.

  • What is Reporters Without Borders doing in Cuba?

    A revealing interview with Néstor Baguer by Jean-Guy Allard in Granma International may provide some important clues to the nature of Reporters Without Borders' activities in Cuba.  Baguer was president of the so-called Independent Journalists Association when he was hired by Reporters Without Borders, but he was also working for Cuban counterespionage services.  
  • "Super Coca!" A New Pretext for Drug War Funding

    A "scientist who advises Colombia's narcotics police" emerges from the forest and announces that he has discovered a new species… a "super" coca plant… gigantic, "towering over" normal coca bushes… with a more potent leaf, yielding more cocaine hydrochloride…

    Then, as a kicker, the drug war scientist adds a rumor, citing "unofficial reports," of the existence of an "herbicide resistant coca bush."

    Mind you, the Colombian government scientist doesn't have to say that these rumors are about the same plant (in fact, he does not go that far). But the gullible English-language news media already has the two rumored plants crossbred and in a feat that can only be seen as a kind of genetic engineering of news reporting.

    Sound the trumpets of public deception: "Super Coca" is born!

    Here is some kryptonite to throw on the rumor...

  • Carter Center: Penn & Schoen Venezuela Poll Flawed

    Jimmy Carter's first lieutenant Jennifer McCoy (who, as reported here, has long backed Venezuela's opposition-that-can't-shoot-straight, so can hardly be accused of bias against them) has now ripped into the flawed methodology of the Penn, Schoen & Berland "exit poll" August 15th in Venezuela, in the referendum won by Venezuela President Hugo Chávez...
  • Drug Policy Alliance Rejects Ford Foundation Money

    This is interesting...

    http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/ctt.asp?u=5210& amp;l=52527

    The Drug Policy Alliance (an organization that has funded our project various times through grant proposals) has just turned down funding from the Ford Foundation because said foundation places bogus "anti-terrorist" conditions on its funding.

    The letter, at the above link, from DPA President Ira Glasser and Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann marks a turning point against abuses by funding organizations.

    The journalists here at Narco News are cheering this new development, which sends shockwaves through the philanthropic community, and Narco News urges all other journalistic organizations to follow suit visavis the Ford Foundation, and urges skepticism toward any organization that accepts said Ford Foundation money until that foundation revokes its unreasonable and counterproductive conditions on funding.

    I don't think this has ever happened before between major funding organizations.

    Correction: It ain't over 'til its over: Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance informs me that DPA is still in talks with the Ford Foundation: "We are still discussing with Ford whether they are willing to amend the grant language in a way that the dpa board determines is acceptable."
    Developing...

  • Bolivia: los desocupados se desnudan en la calle

    La gente en La Paz asiste a un hecho insólito: los cuerpos de los desocupados, desnudos y colgados en las puertas de una iglesia. "´Señor, sólo queremos trabajo...", dicen hombres y mujeres sumidos en la pobreza y la desesperación.
    Los efectos de las políticas económicas del neoliberalismo se sienten en la piel. En Bolivia, la tasa de desocupación en las ciudades llega al 14%, señala una organización no gubernamental.
  • VENEZUELA: HISTORIC LESSONS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVOLUTION

    At the turn of the Third Millennium, among other global emancipatory attempts, two outstanding social revolutions mark the current globalized epoch: The South African and the Bolivarian Revolutions. Each one of them blazes the trail for trans-historic lessons that have to be dealt with urgently, by all permanent revolutionaries and emancipators. Concentrating on the South African Revolution, we will just spotlight the main social revolutionary issues at stake. Within our deliberations, the references to the immediate tasks of the Bolivarian Revolution, and the perilous, serpentine roads to tread, are obvious.

    Let us commence with the South African Revolution. Firstly, we have to unveil a few myths that surround Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and the African National Congress of South Africa, in order to place the South African Revolution in its real, true historic context. Precisely, like in the case of Venezuela, the national and international mass media have painted a picture of the dynamics of the anti-Apartheid struggle in a totally distorted and manipulated fashion. In reality, the victory of the ANC is at the same time the victory of corporate imperialism in Africa.

  • Narco News Reporter Whitney Illegally Detained in New York

    AUGUST 31, 2004: Three Narco News reporters, in New York City's Union Square tonight, covering the protests in favor of regime change in the United States during the Republican National Convention, exercizing their right and duty to report the news, were encircled by the New York Police Department on East 16th Street: Teo Ballvé, Jennifer Whitney, and managing editor Dan Feder.

    Feder and Ballvé managed to escape from the police blockade on East 16th Street, but Authentic Journalist Jennifer Whitney - cordoned in with the Infernal Noise Brigade marching band - was taken into custody along with the members of that musical group.

    Narco News issues the following statement...

  • Friedsky's Motorcycle: Images & Words from Venezuela

    Narco News Authentic Journalism professor and photojournalist Noah Friedsky today offers 45 photos, with informative captions, from this month's historic referendum campaign in Venezuela.

    Friedsky, together with colleague Reed Lindsay, and often other members of the Narco News Team, crisscrossed the capital city of Caracas and the hills around it, spending five of those days in the poorest and most populous neighborhoods, listening to the people, learning about their new access to doctors, their volunteer labors to fix their sidewalks, engage in public works, map the makeshift homes that have sprung up over many years, and gain titles to their homes, of the availability of staple foods at below market price at state stores, of the the "missions" to feed the people, and of their hopes and dreams and attitudes about the Bolivarian Revolution and the process underway in this country of 24 million people.

    Friedsky also takes you into the "opposition" camp and their rallies, and follows electoral observers such as former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria and former Costa Rican president Rodrigo Alberto Carazo as they monitored the August 15th vote. And of course, he and his camera offer an up close look at President Hugo Chávez from Miraflores Palace to the streets of the popular barrios...

  • Zapatistas Amend Laws on Trafficking Drugs & Immigrants

    Marking the first year since the formation of "Good Government Councils" in Zapatista territory, the spokesman of Mexico's Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials), Subcomandante Marcos, issued an eight-part set of communiqués and progress reports to the national and international public this month.

    The communiques (plus translations of each to English by Irlandesa) appear on the newswire at Chiapas Indymedia.

    Of certain interest here is the 5th part, titled Five Decisions of Good Government, which is prefaced:

    During the first year of the Good Government Juntas, some internal accords were formalized, which were adopted some time ago now, and new decisions were defined. They have to do with conservation of the forests, drug trafficking, trafficking in the undocumented, the movement of vehicles in the regions and state elections for municipal presidents and the state Congress.

    Consistent with the historic call for indigenous autonomy by the Zapatistas, they do not propose "national" or universal policies to be applied to others: they simply wish to determine their own policies, whether drug policies, or on other matters. In some other cultures, "local autonomy" is called "home rule," the concept that laws and polices must be determined from the bottom, and not imposed from the top.

    Here's what they say about Zapatista laws regarding the trafficking of drugs and of persons...

  • The Venezuela Opposition Splits in Two

    Today, exactly two weeks after the historic August 15 presidential referendum in Venezuela - won by President Hugo Chávez with around 59 percent of the vote - the Venezuelan "opposition" is dividing into two distinct camps: Those who admit that they lost and are analyzing why so that they can live to fight another day; and those who still can't or won't admit it, at least not in public.

    Many members of the latter tendency, still accusing that an election fraud took place, but still unable to offer any convincing evidence - including the controversial U.S.-funded Súmate group - seem to be entering a genuine identity crisis. "Sumate is now cautiously saying that 'the numerical patterns found in the actas do not constitute conclusive proof of fraud' (El Nacional, Aug. 23rd, page A3)," notes anti-Chávez journalist Teodoro Petkoff of the daily Tal Cual in Caracas. And yet Súmate drifts deeper into its own stormclouds, as if on autopilot, still looking for that missing proof of a "fraud" that doesn't exist.

    Petkoff's own coming-to-terms with the new Venezuelan (indeed, new American) reality makes for interesting reading. Francisco Toro translated Petkoff's August 25th editorial...

  • Documents Reveal: Kissinger Authorized Argentina Terror

    Newly declassified documents at the National Security Archive (NSA) reveal that, in 1976, then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave the wink-and-nod to Argentina's police state to begin a wave of terror, torture, and disappearances of political dissidents in that country.

    The Guardian of London analyzes the impact of what Carlos Osorio of the NSA calls "a smoking gun."

  • Fisking Giordano on Chile, Marijuana and the Free Market

    In recounting the regrettable failure of a marijuana-decriminalization bill in Chile, Al Giordano erroneously targets the one ideological group that has always consistently defended and fought for drug legalization: libertarians.

    Giordano’s attack on the free market is not surprising, considering his position on the far left of the political spectrum. And while one or two of his points are worth considering, in the end Giordano leaves us with an argument so baseless that it must for all purposes be considered intellectually and strategically worthless.

    I offer up now a point-by-point rebuttal of the arguments made by Giordano, an otherwise fine person, using a blogging tactic known as “fisking.”

  • Journalist Fights Gag Order on Colombia Atrocities

    Our colleague in Alabama, journalist and professor Stephen Flanagan Jackson, has gone to court seeking the lifting of a bizarre gag order imposed on Colombian miners, unions, and family members of those who were assassinated, in their lawsuit against the Drummond Company.

    According to the Birmingham News, the gag order also censored the Colombian plaintiffs' Internet websites...

    The gag order, granted in response to a request for it by Drummond, required the Colombian union and families to remove from Web sites information about the case, and links to other Web sites that contain the same.

    Read the whole thing, via the link, above.

    Developing...

  • Venezuela: Oh, the Irony

    I guess you could say what goes around comes around.

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