All Notebook Entries

  • U.S., UN-backed oppression in Haiti becoming more extreme

    With opposition to the coup government continuing into the middle of its second year in power, state and United Nations violence against the Haitian poor majority has escalated.  Less than two weeks after a UN-led operation that killed many unarmed non-combatants, and which the government said killed a major leader of alleged pro-Aristide violence, violence and deaths continue at a level elevated even compared to the past 17 months of post-coup terror.

    The present government came to power after a 2004 February 29 coup d'etat promoted by, and ultimately carried out by, the U.S., France, and Canada.  This government has finally scheduled elections for various local and national positions in the months of October and November, but the majority of Haitians appear likely to be too terrorized to participate.  Indeed, some people following the situation closely, such as Glen Ford of the Black Commentator, consider the present increased violence an attempt to crush even a protest of the elections.  Most Haitians see elections run by this government as illegitimate and few are expected to participate.

    Yesterday, the Haitian National Police took into custody one of the only well-known people even considering running for election on behalf of the Fanmi Lavalas party of President Aristide, who in exile still has far broader support than any political figure in Haiti.

  • Radio Free Venezuela?

    The United States Congress is doing its best to outdo the Colombian government in overwrought, overreaching responses to the new Latin American news station Telesur. The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment on Wednesday to begin beaming “the ideals of freedom” into Venezuela via new broadcasts modeled on the Cuba-aimed Radio Marti.

    The flimsy justification for force-feeding U.S. government and CIA propaganda onto the airwaves which is used for Cuba – that the government does not allow opposing views in the media – should be laughable to anyone who has spent one day in Venezuela. Newsstands and television stations overflow with big-budget anti-Chavista media. Not a single journalist has been jailed or censured under Hugo Chávez’s presidency, while government censorship was rampant under several previous rightwing administrations.

    But apparently the impending launch of Telesur – which in truth represents more voices, more freedom of information, instead of less – has the wingnuts that seem to control the House these days in a panic.

  • Hispanic federal agents send letter to Bush

    The Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association (FHLEOA) has taken its concerns over the federal government’s anemic record of hiring Hispanics directly to the Big Cheese in the White House.

    The U.S. government’s dire hiring track record was exposed in a recent report to the president issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The report shows that Hispanics -- one of the fastest growing minority populations in the country -- represent only 7.3 percent of the federal workforce, while they represent nearly 13 percent of overall U.S. workforce.

    FHLEOA wants to make sure President gets the message that it’s not sufficient for the government to just talk about leaving no Hispanic behind. The Administration actually has to make sure the government is hiring them first.

    So Sandalio Gonzalez, national president of FHLEOA, sent Bush the following letter (which can also be found on the organization’s Web site.)

  • ¿Dónde está Luis Posada?

    El día de ayer recibimos señales confusas sobre la ubicación de Luis Posada, el terrorista anticastrista acusado en Venezuela por el atentado con una bomba contra el vuelo 455 de Cubana de Aviación, en 1976.
  • Karl Rove, the CIA, and Liberal Hypocrisy

    Why are liberals suddenly so interested in defending the CIA and its secrets?
  • Gov't Attack on Oaxaca Newspaper Continues

    George Salzman sent an update today on the continuing governor-sponsored siege of an opposition newspaper in the Mexican state of Oaxaca:

    This open, blatant government attack against Noticias, the largest daily paper in the state of Oaxaca, began with a mammoth blockade of the main office building in the pre-dawn hours of June 17.

    On the occasion of the New York Times discovering the story, Salzman states again his call for a tourist boycott of the cash-poor region and chastises the Times for being a month late and a pound short on background, which he provides.  Salzman reprints the entire Times article, which concludes:

    Luis Ignacio Velásquez, a 42-year-old reporter, said most of the staff thought the standoff would last only a few days, but as days became weeks, the journalists inside realized that more than their livelihood was at stake.

          "What are the limits of the freedom of expression?" he said. "It is not possible that a state government, that says it is elected by the citizens, attempts to silence the only newspaper that gives the people the truth."

    Read Salzman's full update "Government seige of Oaxaca newspaper continues― Renewed call for a tourist boycott".

  • Where is Luis Posada?

    Today we received mixed signals on the location of Luis Posada, the anti-Castro terrorist wanted in Venezuela for the bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455 in 1976. . .
  • Reefer Madness Redux: US-Netherlands Anti-Drug Accord

    In today's Washington Post, Sam Coates reports that the U.S. and the Netherlands have reached an accord on dealing with "high potency marijuana."  U.S. Drug Czar John Walters and Dutch Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst have announced plans to hold a summit on the topic, despite the lack of any scientific evidence that "high potency marijuana" presents any real public health threat.  Its discouraging to see the Dutch government lend credence to one of the drug war's oldest and most ridiculous myths.
  • Corruption and Fear Control International Boundary and Water Commission Under Bush Appointee

    If another Hurricane Beulah hits, we’re screwed; people are going to die and property will be destroyed on a grand scale” said the International Boundary and Water Commission worker. . .
  • Vivanco Attacks Telesur: "The Airwaves Are Falling!"

    Telesur, 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...

  • Bolivia To Get Riot Gear, Emergency Ops Center From U.S. -- More Trouble on the Horizon?

    The 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.  

  • El COHA difama a los Zapatistas

    El 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.

  • Law enforcer indicted after exposing abuse of illegal immigrants

    A 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. government’s record of retaliation against whistleblowers, the concern that this indictment might be an act of reprisal can’t be dismissed out of hand.

  • FOIA documents shed light on puzzling FBI case

    Sometimes, the quest for justice is like playing with a Rubik’s 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.

  • Shadow in the City at NPR

    Following are links to NPR interviews of Charles Bowden and the subject of his book, an undercover narc who uses the name Joey O'Shay.

    O'Shay is not your ordinary narc: not by a long shot.

    Part I

    Part II

    Part III

  • Do Foreign Governments Have a "Human Right" to Buy Venezuela Elections?

    As 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 – it’s no surprise that members of the Bush administration in Washington cry that the sky is falling.

    After all, it’s 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 Washington’s 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 year’s 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…

  • House Panel to Review U.S. Counter-Narcotics Programs

    U.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 Government

    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.

  • COHA Libels the Zapatistas

    The 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….

  • Argument for the Status Quo in Drug policy

    I 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.

    Link to the Agonist article

  • Lucha por el agua en Cochabamba Bolivia

    La 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.
  • Mexico: Cuauhtémoc Bows Out, Clears Path for López Obrador

    In politics, the hardest thing to do sometimes is stand down. That must be especially tough if you are a symbol of your country’s 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 party’s 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...

  • Mexico debates stepped-up drug war

    The 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.

  • Understanding the case of Luis Posada Carriles

    Original article with pictures and links:

    http://jfkmurdersolved.com/posada.htm

    ---------------------

    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."

  • Libertarian voice

    It 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.

  • Peru: Gringo Ambassador Sides with Coca Growers' Leader

    And it’s 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, we’re going to tell you the whole story, and then we’ll move closer in to investigate… let’s go…

  • Perú: el embajador gringo le da la razón a una dirigente cocalera

    Y 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...

  • Paramilitary Law Cements Colombia's Double Standard

    Any 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.
  • Welcome, Comrade Mary Anastasia O'Grady!

    Wall 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.

    Until now...

    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...

  • Mexico's Fox on Zapatista Marcos: "I Await His Orders"

    Well, 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...

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