All Notebook Entries
- Posted by Al Giordano - July 17, 2005 at 8:05 amTelesur, the Latin America-wide TV station that is scheduled to begin broadcasting on July 24 with start-up funds from the governments of Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay and Cuba, is already worrying the anti-democracy crowd in the region, including Human Rights Watch "Americas Director" José Miguel Vivanco.
According to today's Chicago Tribune, Vivanco is calling upon a higher power - God herself! - to help him in his battle to discredit a TV station that he has never even watched. Vivanco said:
"If the shareholders of this company belong to a government like Cuba where they have no basic concept of free speech and zero tolerance for independent views, God help us."
In his panicked announcement that the airwaves are falling, Vivanco was joined by an old ally: Venezuelan coup plotter and media baron Alberto Federico Ravell...
More after the jump...
- Posted by Stephen Peacock - July 16, 2005 at 12:47 amThe U.S. State Dept. recently issued a call to riot-gear manufacturers to submit proposals for equipment that it hopes to ship to the Government of Bolivia by July 31.
While competitive bid requests typically focus on securing the best-priced package that potential contractors have to offer, the cost in this case is subservient to two other factors: the suitability of the protective gear, and the swiftness by which it can be shipped to Bolivia.
- Posted by Al Giordano - July 15, 2005 at 11:53 amEl Consejo de Asuntos Hemisféricos (Council on Hemispheric Affairs, o COHA, en inglés), con sede en Washington, demostró la semana pasada que el camino liberal puede estar pavimentado con buenas intenciones pero aún tiene como destino el infierno.
Una organización bienhechora como COHA, dirigida por el veterano observador de Latinoamérica, Larry Birns, utiliza a internos, por lo general recién salidos de la universidad, para escribir borradores de los reportes de investigación que son distribuidos ampliamente a la prensa sobre noticias y política a lo largo del hemisferio. De acuerdo a algunos exinternos, el borrador llega al escritorio de Birns para la edición final. Muchos de estos reportes han sido de gran ayuda para sacar a la luz información verídica. Pero a veces ha habido algunos que pierden el foco hasta extremos vergonzosos.
- Posted by Bill Conroy - July 13, 2005 at 10:20 pmA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official just sent me a copy of a story that appeared in an Arizona newspaper recently. The story is about a Border Patrol agent who has been indicted for harboring an illegal immigrant.
The DHS official was somewhat suspicious about the case, in that the agent arrested had last year blown the whistle on U.S. government abuse of illegal immigrants.
A recent story in the Tucson Citizen reports the following about the case:
A U.S. Border Patrol officer who lodged complaints about alleged illegal immigrant abuse has been indicted on five charges of transporting and harboring an illegal immigrant.
The indictment charges that Douglas agent Ephraim Cruz, 32, knowingly brought into the country an illegal immigrant, Maria De Socorro Terrazas-Orozco, on Jan 22 (2005).
Last year, Cruz complained in several internal memos obtained by the Tucson Citizen that migrants were going up to 24 hours without food and were unnecessarily crowded into cells.
Given the U.S. governments record of retaliation against whistleblowers, the concern that this indictment might be an act of reprisal cant be dismissed out of hand.
- Posted by Bill Conroy - July 11, 2005 at 8:14 pmSometimes, the quest for justice is like playing with a Rubiks Cube. It can take a lot of turns and time to get all the colors to line up in a row.
In the case of an Iranian family convicted of insurance fraud some six years ago in the wake of a controversial FBI investigation, those colors are still lining up. The latest twist of the cube came in the form of a couple hundred pages of documents released recently as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The FOIA documents reveal some startling information about the way the FBI conducted its investigation of the Lampazianies, who were born in Iran and later emigrated to the United States. They eventually became U.S. citizens changing their family name from Tabib to Lampazianie, in part, some family members say, to avoid the persecution that often comes with being identified as Iranian in the United States.
The FOIA records obtained by Narco News show that the insurance-fraud case brought against Lampazianies was started not by the FBI, but rather by a private company, an insurance-industry-funded group called the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
The FOIA documents also reveal that employees of the private-sector NICB participated with FBI agents in interrogating witnesses and that an NICB employee even accompanied FBI agents in the search-warrant raid of the Lampazainies now-defunct health care clinic The Pain Therapy Clinic of San Antonio, Texas.
- Posted by Al Giordano - July 9, 2005 at 10:34 amAs court proceedings begin this month against four Venezuelans from an election campaign group that accepted donations from a foreign government something that is indisputably a federal crime under both U.S. and Venezuelan law its no surprise that members of the Bush administration in Washington cry that the sky is falling.
After all, its their money (well, on second thought, it is U.S. taxpayers money) that is at the root of the alleged criminal enterprise. And the upcoming trial of accused Venezuelan electoral delinquents, held in the public light of day, will shine yet more sunlight upon Washingtons secret recipes for meddling in the elections of other nations.
On Friday, U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey and Jose Vivanco of Human Rights Watch thirteen blocks from the White House and on the same day - chirped in harmony to spin this story as a case of persecution against legitimate electoral activities.
But as last years presidential campaign in the United States revealed, Yankee political parties and candidates are prohibited from accepting foreign contributions from any source, especially from other governments. As John Kerry found out the hard way, the corrupting practices that Bush and Vivanco condone in Venezuela are strictly verboten in the United States
- Posted by Stephen Peacock - July 7, 2005 at 10:59 pmU.S. counter-narcotics programs will be addressed during a July 12 hearing of a House Appropriations Committee panel. The Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Subcommittee will meet at 2 p.m. in room #2359 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. No further details are currently available.
Haiti: U.S. Subcommittee Passes Bill to Recruit and Deploy U.S. Citizens in Support of Unelected Interim GovernmentPosted by Jeb Sprague - July 7, 2005 at 9:06 pm
Washington, D.C.- Instead of U.S. taxpayer’s money going to NGOs such as the Catholic Relief Organization, CARE, or Oxfam, $6 million in U.S. economic aid may soon be going straight to the bank accounts of a dictatorship, mired in corruption and massive human rights abuses, for the recruitment and deployment of American citizens.
- Posted by Al Giordano - July 7, 2005 at 1:19 pmThe Washington DC-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) demonstrated this week that the liberal beltway may be paved with good intentions but it still leads to hell.
A do gooder organization run by veteran Latin America watcher Larry Birns, COHA uses interns, mainly fresh out of college, to write drafts of its research reports that are distributed widely to the press on news and politics throughout the hemisphere. Typically, according to former interns, the draft then goes to Birns desk for final editing. Many of these reports have often been helpful in putting forward accurate information. Others, sometimes, miss the mark to embarrassing extremes.
When reporting on political movements of economically impoverished peoples South of the Border who, after all, get so little accurate press coverage North of the Border, and deserve better a gringo organization like COHA has a special responsibility to get it right. The consequences may not be felt over at Connecticut Avenue N.W. But they are felt from below, often in the form of arrest, imprisonment, torture and murder. Especially if those accusations involve narco-trafficking smears or invented associations with corrupt former narco-presidents, as COHA grievously committed this week in its press release that purports to be about Mexico and the recent Zapatista red alert .
- Posted by Don Henry Ford Jr. - July 7, 2005 at 11:51 amI posted this at the Agonist. Thought a few here might enjoy it as well.
I am tired of arguing against current policy on the war on drugs, tired of being rejected by my own, tired of finding myself included in the groups we hate, like Negroes that act like Negroes, Mexicans and other Spanish speakers, Arabs, Islamists, Liberals, Communists, French, athiests, Russians, slant-eyed races, agnostics and terrorists. (My apologies to any of the above willing to act like decent Chrisitan white folk.)
So today I argue on behalf of continuing our current policy in the world. Being as how my primary field or expertise is the war on drugs, I will begin there.
- Posted by María Eugenia F... - July 6, 2005 at 9:06 pmLa populosa zona Sud de Cochabamba ha iniciado y entablado una ardua lucha por el agua y el alcantarillado,demanda que hasta el dia de hoy no fue atendida por las autoridades municipales peor aun por la empresa SEMAPA demanda que se arrastra desde hace 5 anos.
La zona Sud de Cochabamba fue unas de las zonas que mas se movilizo durante la guerra del agua para recuperar la empresa SEMAPA de la transnacional Bechtel, paradojicamente es la zona que no tiene provision de agua potable ni alcantarillado sanitario por la empresa SEMAPA hasta nuestros dias.
- Posted by Al Giordano - July 6, 2005 at 6:00 amIn politics, the hardest thing to do sometimes is stand down. That must be especially tough if you are a symbol of your countrys fight against authoritarian rule, the son of a revered president who always wanted to follow in his footsteps, and a man who won that post in 1988 only to have it stolen by computer-electoral fraud. But yesterday, former Mexico City governor Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas bowed out from contesting for the presidential nomination of his Democratic Revolution Party (PRD, in its Spanish initials), clearing a path for Andrés Manuel López Obrador to be his partys nominee.
Cárdenas (whose first name, Cuauhtémoc, means, in the ancient Nahuatl, or Aztec, language, the eagle that lands) has landed. Unlike Salvador Allende in Chile, Ronald Reagan in the U.S., Francois Mitterand of France or Lula da Silva of Brazil each of whom lost three presidential contests before they won on the fourth try Cárdenas steps aside.
In part, his fate was determined by the recent filling of the left space on the national political spectrum by a non-electoral force: the Zapatistas.
More analysis at the jump...
- Posted by Don Henry Ford Jr. - July 4, 2005 at 9:52 pmThe following is a very good and courageous report where mainstream media is concerned. Hats off to the reporters and to the editor that allows this to run.
Leaders cite arrests, seizures, but some say price has been violence
12:50 PM CDT on Monday, July 4, 2005
By LENNOX SAMUELS and LAURENCE ILIFF / The Dallas Morning News
MEXICO CITY Mexico finally is fighting the war on drugs that the U.S. government has demanded for decades: a frontal assault on drug barons, their organizations and their merchandise, using the police and military in concert with U.S. intelligence.
The results, Mexican and U.S. authorities say, have been impressive. Forty-six thousand people jailed on drug charges, President Vicente Fox said in a recent speech, 97 tons of cocaine seized, more than a million marijuana plants destroyed. It's been four years, Mr. Fox and U.S. officials said, of steady progress.
But a rising chorus of voices in Mexico and the U.S. says the real results are record levels of violence, instability and corruption in Mexico, resurgent drug cartels, nearly 200 dead police officers and soldiers, along with millions of wasted dollars in a country where half the population of 105 million is poor. Mexico receives almost no aid from the U.S. government.
And the result in the U.S.? No noticeable drop in the supply of cheap drugs and an actual decline in the price of cocaine, according to a new U.N. report.
- Posted by Wim Dankbaar - July 3, 2005 at 8:26 amOriginal article with pictures and links:
Wim Dankbaar on Luis Posada Carriles, reflections from a foreigner.
Why does this terrorist get such protection from Bush? Here is the story!
"Without the support from higher powers, Posada Carriles would just be a pawn. A pawn who would not have been able to bribe his escape from prison, to plan and execute terrorist attacks, and to slip through the mazes of Homeland Security. In other words, Posada and his friends need finance, backing and guidance", says Wim Dankbaar, the Dutch specialist on Kennedy's assassination. "So let's have a look at where his support comes from."
- Posted by Don Henry Ford Jr. - June 30, 2005 at 10:54 amIt may come as a surprise to some that the only governor to actually try to get marijuana legalized in the United States was a Republican governor (Johnson) from the state of New Mexico. This stance may have cost him his job.
And now one of the more courageous voices in our congress is a Republican with strong leanings toward libertarian philosophy--Ron Paul--from the state of Texas, no less.
Aside from being a strong opponent of the Iraq war, he does not like spending money on the war on drugs in Colombia.
- Posted by Luis Gomez - June 29, 2005 at 4:55 pmAnd its no joke. The United States ambassador to Peru, don James Curtis Struble, just made a certain statement that, of course, the press agencies and commercial media forgot to mention. While speaking about the case of narco-trafficker Jorge Chávez Montoya, alias Polaco (The Pole), who the U.S. government has been wanting to extradite for some time (he even escaped from them in Miami), Ambassador Struble agreed with Peruvian coca growers leader Elsa Malpartida.
Before sending Curt Struble as the State Department knows him a bouquet or roses in recognition, were going to tell you the whole story, and then well move closer in to investigate lets go
- Posted by Luis Gomez - June 29, 2005 at 3:14 pmY no es broma. El Embajador de Estados Unidos en Perú, don James Curtis Struble, acaba de soltar una declaración especial que, por supuesto, las agencias de prensa y los medios comerciales "se olvidaron" de mencionar: al hablar del caso del narcotráficante Jorge Chávez Montoya, alias "Polaco", a quien el gobierno estadounidense quiere extraditar hace tiempo (es más se les fugó de Miami), el embajador Struble le dio la razón a la dirigente cocalera peruana Elsa Malpartida.
Antes de mandarle en reconocimiento un ramo de rosas a don Curt Struble, como lo conocen en el Departamento de Estado, nos vamos a poner a contarles la historia y luego nos meteremos a investigar... vamos ahí...
- Posted by Sean Donahue - June 29, 2005 at 4:26 amAny pretense that the U.S. and Colombian governments were cooperating in a real war on cocaine trafficking in Colombia was erased completely last week when the Colombian Congress passed the Orwellian "Justice and Peace Law" which allows paramilitary leaders implicated in drug trafficking to get off with a slap on the wrist, hold on to their wealth, maintain their terror networks, and escape extradition by making vague confessions and accepting light prison sentences.
- Posted by Al Giordano - June 28, 2005 at 2:53 pmWall Street Journal editorial writer Mary Anastasia O'Grady and the Narco News team - journalists all with Latin America as our beat - have not found much to agree on over the past five years.
From her (still unsubstantiated) claims that Venezuela's government is funding Evo Morales and the coca growers' movements in Bolivia, to her frequent defenses of disgraced Bush advisor on Latin America Otto Reich, to her inferences that Jimmy Carter and Cesar Gaviria covered up what she claimed (without evidence) was an electoral fraud in Caracas last year, it seemed that O'Grady and we were destined to always view the same hemisphere through opposite lenses.
In her recent column, Blame U.S. Drug Policy for the Bolivian Uprising, Mary Anastasia O'Grady sings in harmony - an amazing feat coming from a voice that croons only from the right side of the larynx - with the Narco News editorial position that we posted in the April 18, 2000 Opening Statement of the Authentic Journalism renaissance.
Welcome aboard, Comrade O'Grady!
More from her fascinating recent column at the jump...
- Posted by Al Giordano - June 28, 2005 at 11:02 amWell, here's a novel way to boost sagging popularity in the polls for Vicente Fox: When the guerrilla organization that your government has persecuted for your entire term announces - as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials) said in a new communiqué this weekend - that it has just decided to expand its cause nationwide, Fox's first instinct is to grope for a photo op with the rebels!
The Mexican president, today in the neighboring country of Belize, alongside that country's President Said Musa, responded to reporters' questions about the possible entrance by the Zapatistas into more above-ground political action (not necessarily electoral, please, nobody jump to conclusions). Fox said specifically about Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos:
I await his orders to work toward that integration."
More after the jump...
- Posted by Stephen Peacock - June 27, 2005 at 7:35 pmWiretapping and weaponry and the training and advisement of the Colombian National Police (CNP) and military in these seemingly disparate technical fields are the prerequisite areas of expertise for the latest U.S. State Dept. advisor position created in Colombia.
The Narcotics Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota yesterday launched a search to employ and deploy such an advisor. The selected candidate will coordinate purchases of electronic surveillance equipment and weapons for CNP, and also will be responsible for ensuring that Colombian police and soldiers are properly trained to use the new gear.
- Posted by Don Henry Ford Jr. - June 27, 2005 at 5:57 amBy Charles Bowden
reviewed by Don Henry Ford Jr.
Bowdens latest sheds light on a dark subjectthe life and times of Joey OShay, a man who fought on the front lines of this thing we call the war on drugs for the past twenty plus years. When I say dark, I mean dark.
I found myself closing the book to escapeto make sure the world of comfort I now inhabit was still there. But then I was drawn back for more, like some kid peering through fingers at a scary movie, wanting to see, yet not wanting to see, because I know that this is real: the people are real, the blood also, the deception, the lies, the callous disregard for life and family and love, and all those ruined lives, not the least of which is the life of Joey OShay.
- Posted by Bill Conroy - June 25, 2005 at 8:19 pmThe Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association (FHLEOA) has posted some dismal statistics on its Web site with respect to the Bush Administrations track record on hiring Hispanic federal employees.
The figures are taken from a semi-annual report to the president prepared by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The report provides data on Hispanic employment and hiring in the federal government.
From the report:
In FY 2004, the permanent Federal workforce included 123,207 Hispanics compared to 115,600 in FY 2003. This represents a 6.6 percent increase in the number of Hispanics government-wide. In terms of representation, Hispanics represented 7.3 percent of the Federal workforce in FY 2004, compared to 7.0 in FY 2003.
The percentage of Hispanic new hires decreased from 9.7 percent in FY 2003 to 8.5 percent in FY 2004. The number of Hispanics hired decreased from 9,090 in FY 2003 to 7,896 in FY 2004. This trend is partly explained by the decrease in the total number of government-wide new hires in FY 2004.
What isnt explained, though, is why only 7.3 percent of federal employees are Hispanic, up a paltry .3 percent from the prior year, when Hispanics represent nearly 13 percent of the work force overall nationwide.
- Posted by Bill Conroy - June 24, 2005 at 8:38 pmAccused anti-Castro terrorist Luis Posada Carriles will have to sit in a jail cell in El Paso, Texas, a bit longer. His bail hearing before U.S. immigration judge Lee Abbott has been postponed until July 25, according to news reports.
Strangely, the major mainstream media outlets have been slow to pick up on the news.
If you recall, Posada Carriles was arrested in Miami in mid-May after allegedly entering the United States illegally via the Texas/Mexico border. He then claims to have taken a bus from Texas to Miami.
Well that tall tale may be coming back to haunt the long-time CIA operative who is accused of blowing up a Cuban airliner in 1976, snuffing out the lives of some 73 innocent people. Of course, that is just the tip of the ice pick in terms of the crimes Posada Carriles stands accused of in the eyes of the world. Venezuela, in particular, wants justice served up to Posada Carriles and is seeking his extradition in connection with the airline bombing.
The 77-year-old Posada Carriles is a native of Cuba but later also became a citizen of Venezuela, where the airline-bombing plot was allegedly masterminded. Now, he is seeking to wrap himself in the U.S. flag in a bid for political asylum part of a desperate attempt to protect himself from the fate his past deeds have thrust upon his future.
But its tough to beat fate when youre playing against the house.
- Posted by Stephen Peacock - June 24, 2005 at 12:54 amThe U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is reviewing proposals to help it carry out its latest economic development strategy for Jamaica, a five-year joint initiative whose stated, primary goal is to "improve the education of targeted Jamaican youth." The agency began soliciting proposals in late May, and has set a July 15 deadline for proposal submissions.
Among the many segments of the USAID plan which is formally known as the Sustainable Development Strategy for Jamaica 2005-2009 are initiatives to get parents more involved in their childrens school systems, to reduce violent and disruptive behavior of young men, and to increase government accountability to control corruption.
- Posted by Al Giordano - June 23, 2005 at 3:20 pmRecién llegó esto. El vocero del presidente mexicano Vicente Fox, en respuesta a preguntas de los medios, ha apenas confirmado que la reciente incautación militar en los campos de marihuana en Chiapas no tuvieron lugar en territorio zapatista:
El vocero presidencial, Rubén Aguilar Valenzuela, reconoció que hubo un error en las declaraciones del secretario de Relaciones Exteriores, Luis Ernesto Derbez, sobre los plantíos de droga que se encontraron en diversas zonas del estado de Chiapas, lo cual, aclaró, no estaban dentro de la zona de influencia zapatista.
Vean nuestra nota, México: La falsa calumnia de narcos contra los zapatistas, para más detalles.
- Posted by Al Giordano - June 23, 2005 at 3:14 pmLa veloz secuencia de comunicados en días recientes, desde algún lugar en las montañas del sureste mexicano, del Subcomandante Marcos a nombre del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacionl (EZLN), especialmente el comunicado del lunes pasado que anunció que los rebeldes indígenas de Chiapas han lanzado una alerta roja, han dejado a varios actores de todas partes en ascuas.
El buzón de entrada de mi correo electrónico se llenó con pedidos de más información o para explicar lo que realmente está pasando, y me doy cuenta qué tan cínicos consumidores de noticias se han vuelto. La sociedad no está acostumbrada a generadores de noticias que hacen lo que dicen, y eso solamente hace a los zapatistas difíciles de entender. Mi respuesta es: ¡Lean los comunicados! Son bastante explicativos.
Por otra parte, los gobierno, a diferencia de los zapatistas, nunca hacen lo que dicen y raramente dicen lo que hacen. La alerta roja zapatistas llega en un momento de despliegue masivo de tropas mexicanas alrededor de los 38 municipios autónomos y las alrededor de 1,111 comunidades abiertamente declaradas como rebeldes y autogobernadas con los zapatistas.
Los movimientos de tropa en Chiapas, de hecho, están relacionados a la nueva campaña de simulación antidrogas del Presidente Vicente Fox, México Seguro
- Posted by Stephen Peacock - June 23, 2005 at 11:00 amThe U.S. State Dept. has created a new Security Advisor position to assist the Colombian National Police (CNP) in repelling attacks on police stations and counterdrug bases throughout the country. Whereas most U.S. advisors in the recent past have been deployed to oversee aerial drug-interdiction operations, this newly developed position clearly indicates a level of stepped-up U.S. involvement in ground-based conflicts.