All Notebook Entries

  • Mexico's New Power Before the United States

    During a debate we had here on The Narcosphere back in August, I wrote:

    "...it is impossible for the United States to militarily invade Mexico - or even place an economic embargo upon it - without causing conditions that would fast lead a rebellion by United States citizens against their own government at home, and that Mexico enjoys a unique power in this sense..."

    I have said this, in fact, to thousands of people in recent years, imploring Mexican friends and allies to realize the real power they have to change drug policies, and others, without fear of Uncle Sam, and imploring gringo friends and allies to understand that a potential silver bullet exists South of the Border to collapse the entire drug war game.

    I usually get blank stares in response. To suggest that the little guy can beat the neighborhood bully here in a barrio called América seems to cause a kind of nervous discomfort.

    But in today's Mexico City daily La Jornada, somebody else just said it: a very official-looking bloke from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. His name is John Coatsworth. Look at his photo. It's not like he's wearing a ski-mask over his suit and tie. This guy is as establishment as they come. I'll translate his words. Maybe y'all will listen to the guy in the suit...

  • More blood for pride

    Congress just voted down a bill to reinstate the draft for men and women without the option to defer for higher education. They voted it down but why was it in the House in the first place. According to U.S. Army public information officers, the Army is growing by 30,000 in the next year. Why? Where are they going to find people who are willing to die for an increasingly unpopular war? They will find them in schools. Our schools are failing, kids have less and less options for college and even if they go to college the job market is dismal. But these 30,000 new troops will not just be sitting around on American, Afghani or Iraqi soil. They will be dispersed to the corners of the globe- Americans have no idea where our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters are being sent. Kids are scared. Parents are scared. Be prepared for Bush to take over again and flush any hope minorities and poor people have of a better life. If you are intersted in the topic of building the US Army- look at my article at the Santa Fe New Mexican website. Once again, the government has something brewing that is going to screw over people not just in America, but in many other countries as well.
  • Ex-Bolivia President Goni Lashes Out

    Former Bolivian president Gonzalo "Goni" Sánchez de Lozada - who resigned in disgrace a year ago after a massacre of civilian protestors occured under his watch, and now faces criminal charges in his country - went running to a higher power on Thursday seeking help and protection from extradition to Bolivia from the United States.

    The higher power? Why, of course, it was the editorial board of the Miami Herald (a.k.a. Oligarch's Daily) which published two nearly identical stories about Goni's efforts to fight against his extradition.

    One story, by Pablo Bachelet, is in English.

    The other story, by Joaquim Utset, is in Spanish.

    But in whatever language, Goni said, according to the Herald that "the Bolivian justice system" - a system he helped to form - "was not independent enough to guarantee a fair trial."

    In the Spanish-language version, Goni went wild with accusations and conspiracy theories, accusing his former vice president, now president, Carlos Mesa of having participated in a "coup" (Goni signed a resignation letter) and comparing the current president to Russia's early 20th century transitional leader Alexander Kerensky...

  • Homeland Security stiffing agents on foreign-language pay, leaked email shows

    During a recent speech in Ohio in front of a crowd of Republican stalwarts, Vice President Dick Cheney said the following, according to the Associated Press:

    The biggest threat we face now as a nation is the possibility of terrorists ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us -- biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

    If indeed the United States faces such a threat, we better hope the terrorists don’t speak a foreign language.

    According to email correspondence leaked to Narco News, the Department of Homeland Security’s main investigative arm, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), suspended all foreign-language pay for its agents for fiscal year 2004, which ended Sept. 30. In addition, due to budget constraints, Homeland Security (DHS) has not ruled doing the same in the coming fiscal year, according to Russ Knocke, director of public affairs for ICE.

  • VENEZUELA: To Make and Think the Bolivarian Revolution

    Although all the great revolutionaries of history seem to have emphasized the "making", the acting of revolution, this does not imply that thinking the revolution is a negligible social factor.

    For sure, in his famous "Eleven Thesis" with reference to Feuerbach, the "young" Marx underlined: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world,  in various ways; the point, however, is to change it."

    Also, Che Guevara stated categorically: "The duty of a revolutionary is to make the revolution."

    Ever since the victorious electoral Battle of Santa Inés, all over Venezuela the Bolivarians are talking about "deepening the revolution", about making the "revolution in the revolution". Across the country various study groups came into existence, to pursue "ideological" education, to analyze, to penetrate the historic essence of the Bolivarian Revolution.  However, very soon, many discover, what the German philosopher, Ernst Bloch has formulated : " ... etwas fehlt" (... something is absent), something is missing.

  • Haitian Lavalas Activist Calls for Solidarity

    The Haitian people will continue their struggle against imposed rulers and for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, despite constant violence from the former army against people associated with his majority Lavalas party, said a Lavalas activist who traveled from Haiti and spoke at the Million Worker March yesterday in Washington D.C.

    A transcript of her speech, recorded at the event by this reporter, follows below.

  • Bolivia: La lucha continua

    Después de constantes manifestaciones exigiendo castigo para los que masacraron en septiembre y octubre; el parlamento autorizo el inicio del juicio de responsabilidades en contra del ex presidente Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada y el gabinete que lo acompañó en octubre del año pasado, el pueblo boliviano escribe con sangre en su historia, la madrugada de un jueves 14 de octubre del 2004 con el voto de 126 parlamentarios a favor del Si al juicio de responsabilidades a Sánchez de Lozada y sus colaboradores.
  • Wanted: Former Bolivian President Is Called to Justice

    A year ago, on October 17, the then-president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (a.k.a. "Goni") resigned and fled his country for Miami, after a storm of public protests against his deals to sell Bolivian gas to foreign companies and an even greater torment after Goni's troops massacred Bolivian civilians who had protested against the gas deals.

    Last night, at 12:30 a.m., 126 members of the Bolivian Congress (out of 140, making the vote against Goni a crushing 90 percent on the second roll call) voted that Goni and members of his cabinet can now be subjected to trial as civilians for their alleged roles in the deaths of more than 80 civilian protestors during what is known throughout Bolivia as the "Black October" of 2003.

    The gauntlet was thus thrown down to the Bush administration in Washington, which, according to U.S. Ambassador David Greenlee responding to Bolivian journalists last night, has allowed the former president, Goni, to remain legally in the United States for the past year...

  • Honduras Columnist Calls for Legalizing Drugs

    Otto Martin Wolf, columnist for the daily La Prensa in Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras, wrote a column last week titled Should Drugs Be Legalized? (It's in Spanish but I'll translate some key passages here on The Narcosphere).

    He recounts the story of alcohol prohibition in the United States and how it gave unprecedented power to organized gangsters:

    "Liquor was only the first step. With the power they acquired they bought judges, police and politicians, elevating corruption to levels never seen before (does this scenario sound familiar?).

    "The cure was worse than the disease and, in the end, after years of crime and violence, of extortion and bribery, the sale of liquor was finally legalized.

    "Is the whole world now in a similar moment regarding drugs?

    "It seems that all the efforts to deter the consumption of drugs are failing throughout the world. People's fascination with drugs has created a market that, no matter what is done, seems to increase. For a minor, it is easier to buy drugs than cigarettes or liquor because there is a prohibition on those products that is more or less respected, but drugs are sold everywhere without any control at all…"

  • La transición del Día de Colón al Día de la Resistencia Indígena


    La “oposición” oligárquica y sus medios nacionales no tienen respeto en absoluto: actualmente, Radio Caracas TV (RCTV) y otros canales y radios privados están preparando cuñas para sus televidentes y oyentes adoctrinados para celebrar el “Día de la Raza” (Día de Colón) el próximo martes, 12 de octubre de 2004.

    La gran mentira, el engaño sobre el “descubrimiento” de América por Cristóbal Colón aún tiene infectadas a las mentes de millones de Latinoamericanos y Caribeños.

    A pesar del hecho de que el Gobierno Bolivariano cambió el nombre de esta fiesta nacional oficialmente al “Día de la Resistencia Indígena”, los medios masivos siguen con su control mental, con su adoctrinación y manipulación, a través de un Holocausto Mental Europeo trans-histórico de hace mucho tiempo, lanzado contra los pueblos de las Américas y de otras partes.

  • NACIONALIZAR EL GAS PARA RECUPERAR LA PATRIA

    La Coordinadora de Defensa del Gas y los Hidrocarburos al pueblo Boliviano: "Nos encontramos en un momento de definiciones: O recuperamos la propiedad efectiva de los hidrocarburos en toda la cadena productiva a través de YPFB con una amplia participación democrática de los hombres y mujeres de nuestra patria en el manejo y distribución de la riqueza; o por el contrario, permanecemos impasibles mientras los  agentes políticos de las petroleras, presentes en el poder ejecutivo y legislativo, escamotean la voluntad popular aprobando una ley que no afecta substancialmente el andamiaje jurídico y económico de las compañías petroleras.
        ¡Nosotros! como Coordinadora del Gas, denunciamos que Carlos Meza y sus ministros junto al aparato congresal del MNR y del MIR pretenden aprobar una ley maquillada, que consolida la capacidad de las empresas extranjeras para seguir explotando bajo relaciones coloniales a los bolivianos. Las propuesta de Meza permite a las empresas seguir con el control de los precios, debilita aún más a YPFB (Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos) al dividirlo en dos, mantiene la superintendencia, se olvida de subir las regalías al 50% y para peor mantiene la clasificación de hidrocarburos existentes y nuevos".
  • "Isso é forma de pena de morte, execução sumária"

    Para o primeiro secretário da SENAD ( Secretaria Nacional Anti-drogas) no governo de Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Walter Fanganiello Maierovitch,  a Lei do Abate institui a pena de morte no Brasil.

    A lei permite a destruição de aeronaves que cruzem a fronteira brasileira supostamente carregadas de entorpecentes, como já tinha sido adotado por outros países, como Colômbia, Peru e Argentina, com forte pressão estadunidense, líder mundial da Guerra às Drogas.

  • Bolivia: en busca de justicia y dignidad

    Ya empezó la lucha en Bolivia, la gente sedienta de justicia y trabajo se organiza preparando su mente y cuerpo para demostrar al presidente Carlos Mesa la incapacidad e ineficiencia de su gestión para gobernar dignamente este país.

    La agenda de octubre que los Movimientos Sociales planificaron el septiembre pasado se ha iniciado; la incertidumbre de lo que se viene estos días late en el corazón de muchos bolivianos, todo depende de la acción y la reacción que tengan los principales actores de esta batalla. Que busca por un lado: “Nacionalización de los Hidrocarburos, Ya” y por otra el “Juicio de responsabilidades y cárcel” a Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, sus ministros y a los asesinos de febrero y octubre. Ambos casos en manos de los tres poderes del Estado (Ejecutivo, Legislativo y Judicial) poderes del Estado que no escuchan la voz del pueblo, porque no representan los interés de la gente sencilla y trabajadora, de la mayoría de la gente que ocupa el territorio boliviano.

  • 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.  

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