Posts Tagged ‘Latin America’

From Ecuador to Djibouti: A Tale of Cocaine Trafficking, Sex Crime Charges, Extraordinary Rendition & Julian Assange

By guest writer Danny Weil

As reported at Dailycensored.com on  November 14, 2012, two sources have alleged that the CIA has been engaging in cocaine trafficking in Chile to fund an $88 million campaign to defeat President Rafael Correa in Ecuador’s upcoming presidential election: former British Diplomat Craig Murray, and Chilean journalist Patricio Mery Bell.

It is no secret that the US wants to see Correa defeated and the presidential election scheduled next month in Ecuador will see whether he is. He has enacted policies the US government considers adverse to US interests including closing the US military base in Ecuador. Moreover, it is likely the US sees the defeat of Correa as key to getting its hands on Julian Assange.

There is also the $19 billion judgment by an Ecuadorean court against Chevron for despoiling the Amazon rainforest. A group of the plaintiffs have recently begun initiating legal proceedings to seize Chevron’s assets in Canada, Brazil and Argentina.

The allegations of Cocaine trafficking are strikingly similar to cocaine trafficking by the CIA in the 1980s to fund the Contras in Nicaragua.

Patricio Mery Bell is head of the Panorama news service in Chile. In October 2012, Bell arranged to meet with the Ecuadorian president while Correa was in Chile, to present evidence of CIA cocaine trafficking in Chile to fund Correa’s defeat.

On his way to meet with Correa, Patricio Bell was arrested and charged with assaulting a woman. His cell phone, which contained evidence to be presented to Correa, was confiscated and never returned.

Patricio Bell claims he was set up by the woman accusing him, and it has been reported that the she has ties to a CIA backed anti Castro groups in Miami. The charges against Bell are suspiciously similar to those against Assange, but the coincidences don’t end there.

Craig Murray is the other person who has disclosed allegations that the CIA was trafficking cocaine in Chile to fund the defeat of Correa in Ecuador. Murray had two independent sources, one in the UK the other in Washington.

Craig Murray is a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who exposed torture, renditions and collusion between the CIA and British MI6. He was subsequently charged with extortion for sexual purposes and blackmailing people into sex in exchange for British visas. He did get his name cleared 18 months later.

 

Sex crime charges

The sex crime charges against Assange, Bell and Murray are part of a pattern of whistle blowers being charged with sex crimes which includes Iraqi weapons inspector Scott Ritter and Guantanamo Bay Chaplain James Yee.

As Craig Murray reported: after returning to the US, Iraqi weapons inspector Scott Ritter was entrapped in a computer sex sting set up by the FBI.  Not coincidentally, this occurred after Ritter publicly stated that there were no weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq.

Chaplain James Yee exposed mistreatment of inmates at Guantanamo Bay. After espionage charges were dropped against him, Yee was convicted of adultery and having pornography on a government computer, only to have those convictions later overturned.

Sexual entrapment has long been used in espionage to blackmail adversaries and recruit spies. Now it appears it is being used against whistleblowers. The fact that Britain used sex crime charges against Craig Murray heightens suspicions of collusion with the US to render Julian Assange.

 

Djibouti

For those skeptical that Britain, Sweden and the US are collaborating to render Assange, a story out of Djibouti should put to rest any doubts.  According to an article by the UK’s Independent (thanks to Truthout.org reader Arbed121), three Somali men were arrested in the African country of Djibouti last August and accused by US agents of supporting the Somali militia Al Sabah. A lawyer for the men claim the three were sojourning in Djibouti when they crossed paths with “friendly” undercover CIA and FBI agents.

The three were interrogated by US agents in Djibouti (a country which has a history of assisting the US with renditions) without being charged with any crime. After two months, they were secretly indicted in New York, taken into custody by the FBI and flown to the US to stand trial.

Two of the men were Swedish citizens, one a resident of Britain. Britain and Sweden had been monitoring the three for some time. The UK stripped the British man of his residency. Sweden has made no effort to defend their citizens. The Independent article reported Sweden has in fact cooperated with the US on a number of rendition cases (ibid).

 

Julian Assange

The charges against Julian Assange must be viewed in context with the sex crime charges against Craig Murray, Patricio Bell, James Yee and Scott Ritter. Add the collaboration between Britain, Sweden and the US in the Djibouti renditions and we find even more evidence that these three countries may be colluding to render Assange.

At a speech from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Craig Murray claimed Wikileaks revealed how governments had colluded in the rendition and torture of individuals across the globe.  And now some of these same governments appear to be colluding to render Assange.

From renditions in Africa to cocaine trafficking in South America, the US war on terror rolls on unceasingly as it targets and takes out adversaries across the globe. Many, such as the Djibouti three, have committed no offenses against the US. Chile, Britain, Sweden, and Djibouti reveal a chilling pattern of international governments acting unlawfully – presumably at the behest of the US military-industrial complex.

It is clear the US views Julian Assange as an ongoing threat to exposing its mischief across the globe. Vice President Joe Biden has even labeled him a high-tech terrorist. And now the US has in its sights the one leader who has stood up for Assange, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, as the CIA has allegedly trafficked cocaine in Chile to fund a plot to get rid of him.

Apparently Correa now fears for his life, because he recently publicly stated there may be a CIA plan to assassinate him.

An Orwellian story

The facts of this tale bear a striking resemblance to what Orwell wrote about in his dystopic novel, 1984. We are in an unending state of perpetual war with an ill-defined and shifting enemy and the populace are under constant surveillance while individuals are labeled sex criminals and terrorists and then hunted down for offenses that often are little more than “thought crimes.”  They are then coerced into confessing their “crimes” after being subjected to techniques which include waterboarding, not unlike the practices described in Orwell’s notorious 1984, Room 101.

Newspeak and double think are now the order of the day. “Cocaine trafficking” is the “war on drugs”, “rendition is liberty”, “subverting elections” is “democracy” and “framing whistleblowers” is “justice”.

________________________________________________________________________

Danny Weil is a reporter for Truthout.com, Daily Censored.com, Project Censored.com and is the author of many books.  He has spent more than two years living in Latin America and one year working for the Sandinista government and the Ministry of Culture in 1985.  He is fluent in Spanish and has just returned from Ecuador.

As reported via Project Censored

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Silver Lining

by Ramzy Baroud, source

Reading the text of a bill that was recently signed into law by US President Barack Obama would instill fear in the hearts of ordinary Americans. Apparently, barbarians coming from distant lands are at work. They are gathering at the US-Mexico border, cutting fences and ready to wreak havoc on an otherwise serene American landscape.

Never mind that crazed, armed to the teeth, homegrown American terrorists are killing children and terrorizing whole cities. It is the Iranian menace that we are meant to fear according to the new law. When compounded with the other imagined threats of Hezbollah and Hamas, all with sinister agendas, then the time is right for Americans to return to their homes, bolt their doors and squat in shelters awaiting further instructions, for evidently, “The Iranians are coming.”

It is as comical as it is untrue. But “The Countering Iran in the…

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http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/12/2012122925119331765.html?utm_content=automate&utm_campaign=Trial6&utm_source=NewSocialFlow&utm_term=plustweets&utm_medium=MasterAccount President Barack Obama has signed a law to counter Iran’s alleged influence in Latin America, through a new diplomatic and political strategy to be designed by the State Department, the AFP news agency reported. Enacted on Friday, the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act, passed by lawmakers earlier this year, calls for the State Department to develop a plan within 180 days to “address Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity”. Although the strategy is confidential and only accessible to lawmakers, it must contain a public summary. The text also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to bolster surveillance at US borders with Canada and Mexico to “prevent operatives from Iran, the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps], its Quds Force, Hezbollah or any other terrorist organization from entering the Untied States.” And within Latin American countries, the text provides for a multi-agency action plan to provide security in those countries, along with a “counterterrorism and counter-radicalisation plan” to isolate Iran and its allies. Washington has repeatedly stated it is closely monitoring Tehran’s activities in Latin America, though senior State Department and intelligence officials have indicated there is no apparent indication of illicit activities by Iran. Iran, placed under a series of international sanctions because of its suspected nuclear weapons programme, has opened six new embassies in the region since 2005 – bringing the total to 11 – and 17 cultural centers. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made regular visits to Latin America, though he only toured the region twice this year. Read the full report here

Truth11

Tony Cartalucci

Prisonplanet.com
November 11, 2012

The US-engineered “Arab Spring” brought us the “April 6 Youth Movement” in Egypt, run by Wall Street-backed Mohammed ElBaradei in coordination with the Muslim Brotherhood, the “February 17 Revolution,” consisting of Al Qaeda terrorists of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in Libya, and now Argentina has the “8N,” or “November 8″ movement working in coordination with foreign-owned Argentinian media group, “Clarín.” Clarin has been enthusiastically supporting the protesters and laying the rhetorical groundwork justifying their street presence.

The Guardian reported in their article, “Argentina protests: up to half a million rally against Fernández de Kirchner,” that (emphasis added):

Word of the demonstration spread through social networks. Many organisers remain anonymous, but Mariana Torres, administrator of the Facebook page El Anti-K, one of the most active in calling for the rally, said she was delighted: “It was a true feast…

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Ecuador: Correa pushes free speech, challenges ‘media dictatorship’

Global Research, September 03, 2012
Julian-Assange-WikiLeaks--006
The decision by WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange to seek asylum in Ecuador’s London Embassy triggered an international media campaign that highlighted the “hypocrisy” of his decision to choose a country condemned for supposed attacks on press freedom.

The campaign reached a fever pitch following Ecuador’s decision to grant the dissident journalist asylum on August 16. Commentators used the opportunity to stick the boot into both Ecuador and Assange.

Peter Hartcher, the political editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, headlined his August 21 attack: “Hypocrisy ends hero’s freedom to preach.”

Assange was previously a “principled and plucky champion of freedom of speech”, Hartcher said, but “the moment Assange decided to seek shelter in Ecuador … he betrayed the principles he claimed to represent …

“Why? Because Ecuador, under its President of the last five years, Rafael Correa, has become one of the world’s leading oppressors of free speech.”

This showed that “the cause of principle was just a flag of convenience for Assange. He is now just a sad and desperate fugitive.”

However, as Correa has noted, the very fact that Assange has had to seek refuge in Ecuador shows up the claims of respect for free speech by so-called democratic Western countries such as the United States, Britain and Australia.

A closer look at the international media campaign against Ecuador shows has “free speech” is being used, again, as a smoke screen to protect powerful interests ― in this case, a media dictatorship.

Like the campaign against Assange, the corporate media campaign against Correa is driven by the threat the example of his government poses to the powerful.

Hartcher trotted out the same smears repeated ad nauseam ― without the slightest attempt to investigate their veracity or explain the real circumstances surrounding the allegations.

Hartcher accuses Correa of having shut down media outlets willing to criticise his government. Yet no radio station, television channel or newspaper has ever been closed by Correa for what they said.

Some have had their broadcasting licences revoked because they refused to pay their licence fee or were operating outside their legally allotted frequency.

Hartcher also refered to a libel suit pursued by Correa against a journalist and three executives from the El Universo newspaper, but makes no mention of what was at stake in the case.

After years of constant media barrage accusing Correa of everything imaginable, the Ecuadoran president finally demanded last year a retraction and apology for an article that not only stated he was a “dictator”, but falsely accused him of ordering soldiers to indiscriminately fire upon innocent civilians in a hospital.

The article referred to events that occurred on September 30, 2010, and which at the time was widely denounced by governments across the region as a coup attempt against Correa.

In the days leading up to the failed coup, various media outlets ― including El Universo ― had called on police officers to rebel against the government, with the hope that these actions could bring down the democratically elected president.

When a police mutiny erupted on September 30, Correa was taken hostage by rebel police officers. In response, many poor Ecuadorans ― who have benefited from the rise on social spending under Correa ― marched to support the president they placed in office.

Loyal soldiers finally broke into the hospital where Correa was being held hostage.

Unsurprisingly, Ecuador’s independent judiciary ruled the accusation that Correa ― the victim of a coup plot ― was in fact the culprit, was libelous.

Under the guise of standing up for free speech, Hartcher defends the right of media outlets to illegally avoid licence fees, and having no accountability for lies they disseminate.

As is often the case, such journalists use the banner of “free speech” to defend a media dictatorship. In this case, the domination of Ecuador’s media by the oligarchy, which is bent on monopolising control of information for its own economic and political interests.

On the other hand, Correa and the Ecuadorian people have not been afraid to challenge this media dictatorship.

Far from restrict free speech, the Correa government has sought to extend it by democratising the media.

He explained in an interview with Assange on Russia Today, that his government’s media policy is not anti-free speech.

Rather, it opposes media corporations that, through their monopoly on information, have tried to “destabilise our government to avoid any change in our region and lose the power that they have always flaunted”.

“The private media are big business with lucrative aims,” Correa said. “They have always attacked governments who want to change, governments who seek justice and equity.”

Such views were, in part, shared by the US embassy in Ecuador.

A US embassy cable from March 2009 released by WikiLeaks said there was some truth to Correa’s claim that “the Ecuadorian media play a political role, in this case the role of the opposition”.

The reason was evident: “Many media outlet owners come from the elite business class that feels threatened by Correa’s reform agenda, and defend their own economic interests via their outlets.”

Faced with this scenario, the Correa government, with the backing of its people, has sought to break this monopoly.

One way has been through the establishment of a public TV channel and giving support to community-based media outlets. This has been done via granting them licences and providing them with necessary equipment.

Another has been to democratise the existing media set-up.

In 2008, Ecuadorians voted overwhelmingly for a new constitution that, among other things, bans bank owners from having business interests in the media industry.

Last year, voters approved changes to the constitution that prohibits media corporations from owning or having shares in business interests in other industries, thereby avoiding potential conflicts of interest in reporting news.

The government has also tried to pass a new media law that would break up the corporate media monopoly. The law is being blocked by right-wing forces in parliament.

Under the new law, private media ownership would be restricted to 33% of all media outlets, with the state controlling a further 33% and community media having the largest share ― 34%.

It is these attempts to break the media dictatorship, democratise the right to information and ensure media corporations are not beyond the law, that explain the international media campaign to brand his government an “enemy of free speech”.

That Hartcher, like many other journalists across the globe, would come out against Correa and in defence of this media dictatorship is no surprise, as Ecuador’s media is merely a reflection of media ownership everywhere.

The SMH likes to portray itself as the intelligent and balanced alternative to the News Ltd media empire that controls 70% of Australia’s metropolitan press. But they are simply one more pillar of Australia’s profit-driven media dictatorship.

One example is SMH’s dealings with WikiLeaks itself.

When SMH signed an agreement with WikiLeaks to have exclusive access to leaked embassy cables, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Peter Fray justified its decision to withhold the cables and the information contained in them on the grounds that “to put the material online would be to give access to our competitors in the local market”.

SMH’s right to make money trumped any right of the rest of society has to access the information.

This was not an exception. Fairfax’s director of organisational effectiveness, Mark Scott, explained in 2002, the driving philosophy behind the Fairfax media empire was its “strategy to create editorial to support maximising revenues from display advertising”.

Above freedom of information and speech, comes freedom to make as much money as possible, no matter what.

That is why, just as the US hates Assange for releasing information they wanted to keep secret, media corporations hate Ecuador for challenging their right to control information.

As long as a tiny handful of media corporations control this information and use it to pursue their own economic or political interests, their cries of “free speech” will continue to ring hollow.