All Notebook Entries
- Posted by Al Giordano - November 15, 2004 at 9:43 amAccording to a report in today's Folha de São Paulo (subscription only), the government of Brazilian President Lula da Silva has reached a "consensus" to step forward into a bold new era of drug policy: decriminalizing the drug user, and opening 250 safe drug use centers across the country during the year 2005.
Lula is expected to sign an executive decree on November 24, taking drug enforcement responsibilities away from police agencies, and placing the problems of drug use under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry, which will be charged with supporting the safe drug-use centers and make Harm Reduction - a policy to reduce the harms associated with drug use - the law of the land.
Here is an excerpt from today's report from Brazil's largest daily newspaper:
Policy proposal considers drug consumption as a public health problem, and no longer one for the police
The government wants to create centers for drug use
By Luciana Constantino and Iuri Dantas
Folha de São Paulo, Brasília Bureau
After a series of internal disagreements about drug policy, the federal government is preparing a realignment of national policy to define drug consumption as a public health problem, and not one for the police as it is today.
There will be a presidential order creating rules for treating drug dependents, with emphasis on Harm Reduction...
(More of the translation appears after the jump.)
- Posted by Bill Conroy - November 13, 2004 at 12:32 amIn April of this year, Narco New brought you a gruesome story about corruption and murder along the Texas border. The story began as follows:
Between August 2003 and mid-January of 2004, a dozen people were murdered and buried in the yard of a house in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican border city of 1.2 million people.What the Narco News story didnt mention in its April story was the name of the murdered kid from Socorro. He was Luis Padilla. He left behind a wife and three small kids.
Santillan (an alleged leader in the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Juarez drug organization) and his cronies controlled the house. This group included the informant, known only as "Lalo," who was on the payroll of the U.S. Immigration and Customs (Enforcement) agency....
... The informant, Lalo, say the law enforcement whistleblowers, even brought the tape and the lime used to help dispose of the bodies. The law enforcement sources believe that he was at the death house during up to nine of the 12 murders known to have taken place there. Most of those killed were allegedly Mexican drug dealers, except for one individual, who was a U.S. citizen "some kid from Socorro, Texas, just south of El Paso," says one law enforcement source.
- Posted by Julia Steinberger - November 12, 2004 at 6:54 pmBoston, Massachusetts, USA - Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner is calling for a public hearing this Monday to investigate the War on Drugs. The purpose of the November 15th hearing is to gather data on the resources devoted to the war on drugs by different city, state, and federal agencies...
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 12, 2004 at 10:02 amFriends,
Enjoy Jutta´s Comments.
Fallujah: Fiction meets Reality
By Jutta Schmitt
With one of the first strategic military targets being a hospital so as to avoid pictures of civilians reduced to bits and pieces reaching the world and negatively impacting on Operation "Bomb 'em all into Oblivion," the razing to the ground of Fallujah ... the city of the "die-hard insurgents" and "home to absolute evil" ... has taken its course.
In a truly asymmetric "war," the American military has been using novel and devastating methods to clear Fallujahs streets. It has adapted a mine-clearing system, based on a rocket-propelled hose with explosives attached, used for the first time on D-Day on the fortified beaches of Normandy", as we learn from Times Defense editor, Michael Evans.
Marveling at the wonders of modern technology at the disposal of the American aggressor and the seamless transition from bomb-blasted streets to reality TV, war reporter James Hider describes how "the green video screen in the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle is the ultimate in reality television, and that is how we watched the battle of Fallujah unfold as our 30-tonne steel beast advanced into the district of Jolan, the rebels' bastion, in the small hours of yesterday morning ... on a screen accurate enough to show rats scavenging on the rubbish piles."
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 11, 2004 at 9:35 pmA while ago, during the American elections, we quoted Orwell, warning the peoples of the USA about what Big Brother Bush and his fascist, military consorts have in mind for them, and for the rest of the world:
"We shall crush you down to the point, from which there is no coming back. ... Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you.
Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves."
- Posted by Nancy Davies - November 11, 2004 at 5:04 pmReaders may be interested in Wired 12.11: The Mystery of the Coca Plant That Wouldn't Die
by Contributing editor Joshua Davis (email@example.com)
The article describes a new coca plant that is now taking over in Columbia. It's herbicide resistant. Heidi-ho.
Issue 12.11 - November 2004
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 7, 2004 at 6:26 pmEvery line of serious work that I write now is written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarian media and for the creation of democratic communication, as I understand it. (Yes, I'm attempting to rip off Orwell here.)
We may never know which candidate, Bush or Kerry, truly won the 2004 presidential election. And if you believe in any kind of democracy, that should really tick you off.
In 2000 we knew more people cast their ballots for Gore than Bush, both nationwide and in Florida. (Some 20,000 Jewish "Gore and Buchannan" votes, when they meant "Gore and Lieberman," easily swamps the phony 537 endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court.)
This time, there's no way to recount half the votes cast in Florida on paperless touch-screen machines, and in both Florida and Ohio central tabulating computers could be rigged to give false vote counts. They may not have been, but they could have been, and there may be no way for us to know. That's a problem. Especially because there is reason to believe that key tallies are fraudulent.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 7, 2004 at 8:31 amFor a quarter of a century, I spent ny whole youth in Apartheid South Africa, and have experienced what fascism is all about. My very birth was a "racial" scandal in "White" South Africa; my father, of British origin, was as "white" as snow, seen through "Boer" eyes, my mother, of indigenous descent, was as black as the night.
I was classified as "Colored", and was not accepted in any camp, across the "race" barrier. I suffered all the evils of Apartheid, even escaped attempts to assassinate me. The "Afrikaner" nazis who conquered political power in 1948, led by Malan's Nationalist Party, immediately applied what the architect of Apartheid, Verwoerd, had learned in "Duitsland".
- Posted by David Keating - November 5, 2004 at 1:33 amI am not sure if this person has been discussed here but I thought it interesting enough to post and let y'all run with it.
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon should be fairly famous to most people. Here is the Wikipedia file on him (although the neutrality of the article is "disputed" through the wikipedia system): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Myung_Moon
"After the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea, Moon personally suffered the brutal excesses of North Korean communism and he found a fellow opponent of Communism in Ronald Reagan. Moon spent a billion dollars of church funds to support the conservative, influential Washington Times, which in 2002 he called "the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world." And decades after Congressional scrutiny and a prison term for tax fraud, his generosity to the New Right (including opening an account for the "Contra" part of the Iran-Contra equation) has earned him a world of deference from his former enemies."
The main part of this post is below from a pretty famous webblog. So what do you think?
- Posted by Bill Conroy - November 4, 2004 at 7:37 pmBetween February and May of this year, Narco News published online, chapter by chapter, a book called Borderline Security: A Chronicle of Reprisal, Cronyism and Corruption in the U.S. Customs Service. The book was the culmination of a multi-year intensive investigation into the dysfunction and racism that pervades this nations federal law enforcement agencies. In particular, the book focuses on problems within U.S. Customs, which is now part of the Department of Homeland Security mega-bureaucracy.
Narco News stepped out on a limb in agreeing to put the entire book on its site, but publisher Al Giordano and his compadres are not new to that game. They recognize that Borderline Security offers readers a crucial perspective on law enforcement in the United States with respect to the so-called war on drugs.
The decision by Narco News to run with Borderline Security, to get the book out to the people, takes on even more importance given the corporate culture that dominates the mainstream publishing industry. The lame conformist state of the book industry in this country probably comes as no surprise to many of you, but it is still a frustrating fact of life for any author who makes the decision to commit to a journalistic project that seeks to break new ground.
- Posted by Fabio Mesquita - November 4, 2004 at 3:21 amMayor Marta Suplicy (of the Workers Party, or PT in its Portuguese initials) lost the elections in São Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil with 11 million inhabitants, even as her government finished the term with the highest approval ratings in the history of the city. Based in social priorities, her government was built for the poor people in the peripheral regions of the city and emphasized public education and public transportation.
In the health sector Marta did a lot, but considering the debit of many years without priorities in health, that is the main problem in the City still.
The campaign of her adversary was based in the prejudice against a courageous female that has a very coherent way of life, including the decision to divorce the most popular Senator of Brazil (Eduardo Suplicy) at the beginning of her term, and to marry someone who she was in love with. All the big media in the country worked hard to improve the prejudice against her and to support her adversary.
Jose Serra, the former Minister of Health of Fernando Henrique Cardoso Government (PSDB Social Democratic Party), won the election last Sunday. Serra is suitable for the fight against AIDS but is very conservative in fields like drugs and the Harm Reduction approach, or themes like gender or sexual orientation issues.
- Posted by Al Giordano - November 3, 2004 at 11:15 pmThe second Bush term is going to make the first four years look like the good old days.
Now that the American president really was elected, his gnawing sense of illegitimacy removed, his father's curse exorcized, his religious right flank empowered, and a hesitant world now falling to its knees to bow before him, watch out.
During the first four years, he and his gang restrained themselves from fully unleashing the repressive measures of the Patriot Act, knowing that it could cost them the election. The restraints are now gone.
And other repressive policies like the drug war? Watch that get used, now, as politically as the terror war.
It's mourning in America. My mailbox runneth over today with emails from friends and strangers who want to leave the United States and come down here to Latin America.
Nobody should do that to run from a fight: After all, if you are a citizen of the U.S.A., there is no place to hide from your own country's foreign policy...
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 3, 2004 at 12:46 pmUSA – Our democratic republic was car-jacked, beginning with the hot-wiring four years ago, and now we see most of our citizens just watch or cheer on the thieves. This country's going to be taken on a joy-ride and left trashed; don't doubt that.
But there's a lot left in this old gas-guzzling SUV of a nation worth saving, a hell of a lot of beautiful land and not a few wonderful people. And maybe, just maybe those of us stuck in the back will be able to distract the driver and his fellow hoodlums from their attempt to run over the innocent bystanders of this theft – the rest of the people in the world – even if we can't jam the gears.
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - November 3, 2004 at 9:28 amMassachusetts liberals descended on New Hampshire this election day to help defeat court-appointed President Bush, and elect their own Senator Kerry. Some had arrived or commuted to New Hampshire to interview potential Kerry voters in the day or days before. A few paid co-ordinators had been working there for months.
The strategy was simple and built around the many volunteers MoveOn has available for short-term involvement but its limited resources for an extended field effort. First, identify people who aren't regular voters and who are fairly likely to support Kerry, meaning registered Democrats and Independents. Second, ask them if they support Kerry. Third, make sure that those who say they support Kerry vote.
Based on this reporters anecdotal impressions participating in this get-out-the-vote effort in a conservative, rural area about a half hour from Manchester, New Hampshire's allowance of same-day registration, its good voting equipment, and its well-run polling stations proved even more important for Kerry's victory in this state.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - November 1, 2004 at 1:40 pmIn previous commentaries we have underlined the emancipatory quintessence of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. We have explained why it is an emancipatory paradigm for all the exploited, dominated, discriminated and alienated peoples of the world.
Yesterday, once more, the Venezuelans have shown to the world, what the kratos (rule, government) of, by and for the demos (people), what real, true, democracy, that is, revolutionary emancipation, is all about.
- Posted by Al Giordano - October 31, 2004 at 4:53 pmPolls close in Uruguay in 45 minutes, at 7:30 p.m. in the capital city of Montevideo (that's 5:30 p.m. in New York and 2:30 p.m. in California) and all of Latin America is awaiting the results.
We'll be reporting the hard numbers here on The Narcosphere as the evening rolls on, and analyzing them for you and, if you are a Narco News co-publisher, with your help.
First, some background information from recent Narco News reports:
Uruguay Votes Today: "An Historic Triumph for Latin America" and South American Unity
Eduardo Curuchet on the Significance of Todays Election and the Movement for Regional Integration
By Manuela Aldabe
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
October 31, 2004
Big Week for Elections in América
By Dan Feder
Via The Narcosphere
October 29, 2004
Uruguay Elections: "We Will Be Able to Begin to Make Changes in Drug Policy"
Congresswoman Margarita Percovich on the Center-Left Coalition that Is Expected to Triumph on Sunday
By Manuela Aldabe
Special to The Narco News Bulletin
October 27, 2004
Here come the results...
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - October 30, 2004 at 7:48 pmWith the new Eminem music video "Mosh", Marshall Mathers joins millions of people in the very active fight to end the most anti-democractic, corrupt, oppressive, and war-crazy (all at the same time, anyway) administration in United States history.
These millions include a few famous people who, like Mathers, have connected with large parts of the white population. The bad news is that the majority of whites in the United States would deliver George W. Bush unto themselves and the world again and again.
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - October 30, 2004 at 2:19 pmIn 2002, publisher Al Giordano named Marshall Mathers, also known as Eminem, the Narco News Journalist-of-the-Year. Days before the election, Mathers leads the U.S. victims of the Bush administration to a rebellion by ballot, in a new video now playing (possibly edited) on MTV. The video, titled "Mosh," is the #1 most popular according to MTV.com.
- Posted by Al Giordano - October 29, 2004 at 2:42 pmLast August we reported that Narco News copublisher and journalist Stephen Flanagan Jackson had "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."
Stop the presses! Jackson has won his case!
The Reporters Committee for a Free Press informs:
Oct. 29, 2004 -- An editor for a Latin American news Web site claimed victory Tuesday in his fight against a protective order forbidding anyone involved in a federal wrongful death suit against an American coal company over the killing of three workers in Colombia from talking about the case.
Stephen Flanagan Jackson, an associate editor for latinamericanpost.com, asked to intervene in the case in August after the trial judge imposed a broad gag order on all participants. Judge Karon O. Bowdre of the U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Ala., modified the order earlier this week so it now applies only to the attorneys involved.
"Her protective order was very broad and general, and it infringed on my rights as a member of the media and any individual's right to talk to me about the case," Jackson said in a telephone interview. The original order had a "chilling effect" on his sources and infringed on public's right to know about a very important case, he said...
Congratulations Stephen! Job well done!
Read the rest of the report, below...
- Posted by Dan Feder - October 29, 2004 at 10:26 amFive hundred thousand people poured into the streets of Montevideo yesterday in a final rally for the left-wing Broad Front (FA in its Spanish initials) party before Sundays general elections. It was, according to the Uruguayan press, the largest demonstration in that countrys history. Now, a demonstration of that size anywhere is a big deal, but were talking about more than 14% of the entire countrys population. The election is expected to be a rout by FA candidate Tabaré Vázquez, who nearly all the opinion polls now predict will win in the first round (if he does not receive more than 50 percent there will be a run-off in one month).
This may turn out to be the straw that broke the gringo camels back. An FA victory would be the first left-wing government in Uruguays history, and could deal a major blow to both neoliberalism and the drug war in South America.
- Posted by Bill Conroy - October 26, 2004 at 9:21 pmAfrican American agents with the U.S. Secret Service, which is charged with safeguarding the life of the president and other national leaders, contend the Bush Administration has worked to undermine their class-action discrimination lawsuit against the agency.
Officials with the nonprofit Black Agents of the Secret Service (BASS) allege that for the past four years -- the lawsuit was filed in 2000 -- the Bush Administration and the Secret Service have used the judicial process to prevent a discussion of this case on its merits. BASS representatives say not a single witness has been called nor has a single document been produced in the case to date.
The refusal to address the merits of the Black Agents case is shameful, said Special Agent Reginald G. Moore, BASS president, in a prepared statement. It is particularly disappointing that nothing was done after (former U.S.) Rep. J.C. Watts arranged a meeting with White House Associate Counsel Stuart Bowen and the class representatives to discuss the case. This is not a situation where the White House is unaware of the issues, nor could they be after the appearance of several front-page stories on the gross mismanagement and racial discrimination in the Secret Service.
The alleged racial discrimination problems within the Secret Service -- formerly part of the Treasury Department and now part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) -- appear to be part of a widespread pattern of racism within major federal law enforcement agencies.
- Posted by Claudia Espinoza - October 26, 2004 at 4:02 pmDe Achacachi a Nayaf, recorre la misma ola de desconfianza cuando los medios de información intentan dar cuenta de situaciones de conflicto.
Pues dejando un poco de lado la versión capitalista y los intereses de las compañías que dicen producir comunicación, el fenómeno de la desconfianza hacia los “medios” bien puede ser visto específicamente desde la construcción del discurso periodístico en el que se advierte una tendencia casi constante en los últimos años: la criminalización de la protesta.
- Posted by Al Giordano - October 25, 2004 at 11:21 amDuring 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...
- Posted by Yasmin Khan - October 22, 2004 at 2:56 pmCongress 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.
- Posted by Al Giordano - October 22, 2004 at 7:39 amFormer 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...
- Posted by Bill Conroy - October 21, 2004 at 6:31 pmDuring 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 dont speak a foreign language.
According to email correspondence leaked to Narco News, the Department of Homeland Securitys 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.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - October 20, 2004 at 8:14 amAlthough 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.
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - October 18, 2004 at 6:23 pmThe 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.