Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

Venezuela: News from Poyais

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Miguel Octavio tells us the story of Gregor MacGregor, creator of the country of Poyais, in From Poyais To Andorra: A Tradition Of Venezuelan Fraud

Good thing Lord Crawley wasn’t born yet.

In other Venezuelan news,
Venezuela to announce “political and economic” measures against Spain
Diplomatic spat grows over Spanish lawmakers’ call to release Caracas opposition leaders

The tit-for-tat dispute ignited after the Spanish Congress passed a non-binding resolution calling for the immediate release of jailed Venezuelan opposition leaders, including Leopoldo López and Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, who are being held in a military prison outside the capital.

“The [Spanish parliament] should go and voice their opinions about their own mothers, but they should not be giving opinions about Venezuela,” Maduro said in response on Tuesday night. He also accused Rajoy of maneuvering with others to oust his government.

Stay classy, Maduro.

Today’s Colombian hookers update

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Remember the grope and change story of the Secret Service agents partying with hookers in Colombia?

Well, there were also 10 DEA guys partying in Colombia, too, only for a longer time.

The hookers were Hired By the Drug Cartels.

The cartels sent the hookers; Who would have thunk it?

Let’s call Capt. Louis,

But wait! There’s more,

In addition, Colombian police officers allegedly provided “protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties,” the report states. Ten DEA agents later admitted attending the parties, and some of the agents received suspensions of two to 10 days.
. . .
“The foreign officer allegedly arranged ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes funded by the local drug cartels for these DEA agents at their government-leased quarters, over a period of several years,” the IG report says.

——————-

In other party news, Guatemalan congressmen asked for “whisky and Colombian girls” in exchange for approval of a clean-up project for Lake Amatitlán.

No word from Guatemalan hookers on the subject, but at least they prefer whisky to whiskey.

Barrio 18 in El Salvador: A View from the Inside

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Read Steve Dudley’s report at In Sight Crime, Barrio 18 in El Salvador: A View from the Inside

Barrio 18 is one of the two largest gangs in El Salvador. The other, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), is thought to be slightly larger in membership than the Barrio 18. The Barrio 18 is known as the more violent and less sophisticated of the two.

Barrio 18 Gang Hierarchy

  1. “Palabreros” in the prison system: coordinate all criminal activities. One palabrero keeps a notebook that keeps track of all finances, homicides, drugs, and weapons.
  2. “Palabreros” outside the prison system, aka, “en la libre.”
  3. Leaders of the “canchas.” A cancha is a territorial division that isn’t necessarily based on municipal delineations. Each cancha has several “tribus,” or tribes.
  4. Leaders of the “tribus.” There are thought to be 28 Barrio 18 “tribus” in El Salvador, according to one study. Each tribu leader may be responsible for dozens and perhaps hundreds of members. In rival gang theMS13, these are known as “clicas,” and there are thought to be far more — an estimated 246.
  5. Collaborators: those who are not quite or never will be gang members. They help the gang with small jobs, like gathering intelligence, and moving or holding illicit goods.

Venezuela: El Mundo finally catches up on Derwick

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Venezuela blogger Alek Boyd has been investigating Derwick Associates’ connection to Venezuelan officials’ money laundering for years. Today Spain’s El Mundo’s front-page story catches up as The world is shrinking for Derwick Associates

One of Spain’s newspapers of record, El Mundo, published in its front page today about corrupt officials from Venezuela using the subsidiary of a little bank in Andorra to launder billions of dollars. The news may come as a surprise to some. Readers of this and other blogs of mine will, I hope, share a feeling of vindication with me today, for as extraordinary as El Mundo’s decision to name names is, we have known this for a while. In fact, I alerted Spain’s money laundering authorities (SEPBLAC) about it in April 2012.

Read the whole thing.

Bolivia: 27 tons of ground coca seized on their way to Lebanon

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Last week I posted on Argentina as the #3 drug shipping link.

Today, Bolivian media report that 27 tons of ground coca leaves disguised as mate were seized by authorities.

The final destination? Lebanon.

Apparently the ground coke was going to be shipped from a Chilean – not Argentinian – port.

The only use for ground coca leaves is cocaine production.

A Bolivian government minister stated that this is the first time authorities seize ground coca leaves meant to be processed into cocaine outside the country. He estimated that the $350,000 ground coke would have a street value of over $90million.

Considering the political landscape in the Middle East, would it be unreasonable to assume Hezbollah is involved?

[Post edited for clarity]

Argentina: #3 port of departure for Europe’s cocaine?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Alejandro Rebossio of Spain’s El País reports that Pope Francis’s comment on “Mexicanization” was prompted by UN data showing Argentina as the country with the third-largest number of seized cocaine shipments, after Brazil and Colombia.

The cocaine route starts in Colombia and Peru, makes a layover in Bolivia, and is processed in Argentina, where some of it is consumed, while most is exported to Europe.

Gustavo Vera also mentioned, in his emails to Pope Francis, that Argentina has the highest per-capita cocaine consumption in Latin America.

You can read Rebossio’s article here (in Spanish).

Argentina: A quarter million at the silent march for #Nisman UPDATE

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

In spite of the pouring rain, hundreds of thousands turned out to what Cristina Kirchner’s administration called an ‘institutional coup’.

“In honor of prosecutor Nisman. Silent march.”

This is what downtown Buenos Aires looked like last evening in the pouring rain:

I don’t know if Cristina Fernandez was at the Casa Rosada, but the above photo shows the main square facing it. Here’s same area showing the Casa Rosada,

Not only in Buenos Aires, but throughout the country; here is Rosario,

WSJ:

The march along one of this elegant city’s iconic thoroughfares, Avenida de Mayo, organized by fellow prosecutors incensed over how the government has handled the death of Alberto Nisman, drew not only investigators and judges but also students, plumbers and the late prosecutor’s grieving family. They were brought together by their conviction that Mr. Nisman’s death was not a suicide, as an autopsy determined, but an assassination.

Another witness has talked about evidence tampering at the scene of Nisman’s murder (link in Spanish). Apparently there were thirty people at the site.

UPDATE:
The Prosecution Office confirmed in a press release that ex Intelligence Secretariat Operations head Antonio “Jaime” Stiuso has given testimony in the investigation of late AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s death.

Argentina: Why we’ll probably never learn the truth about the #Nisman murder

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Princeton University professor Jeremy Adelman explains it clearly, “The Nisman affair is a saga that braids together incompetence, corruption, and murder on a global scale.

The other dark shadow cast over this controversy is the history of Argentina’s intelligence services. Their origins date to the first Juan Perón government (1946–55), which enlisted Nazi war criminals to serve as Perón’s spies. During the military junta’s rule in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the services were deeply involved in repressing the opposition and colluding with neighboring dictatorships. After the return to democracy in 1983, many argued that the intelligence services needed to be cleansed or disbanded. They weren’t. In the course of the AMIA investigations, the Secretariat of Intelligence became part of the problem. One former investigator, Claudio Lifschitz, claimed he was abducted and tortured by SI agents. The intelligence services have been hoarding incriminating evidence on all sides, using it to empower a secret state within the state.

As with so many rackets, internal feuding broke out inside the SI. Some factions patronized President Fernández; others freelanced. Last December, President Fernández launched a purge. This tipped the scales. One of the ousted SI agents was the chief of operations, the murky Antonio Stiusso. Stiusso had been feeding Nisman transcripts of wiretapped conversations between top Fernández aides and senior Iranian officials about squelching the AMIA inquiry and food-for-oil bargaining. Some in the president’s circle said Stiusso was conniving with American sources in a campaign to isolate Iran.

Sure enough, the government is now saying that Nisman talked with Stiusso and they want to question Stiusso (link in Spanish), “on the nature of his relationship with Nisman,” scoring two points for creating suspicion – one on innuendo, and on politics.

It’s not clear if Stiusso has been found.

A new DNA profile has been found at Nisman’s apartment on a coffee cup, and they’re trying to determine to whom it belongs. Diego Lagomarsino, who allegedly brought Nissan his gun, has already stated he had coffee with Nisman.

Government supporters are saying Cristina Fernandez, not Nisman, is the real victim.

(h/t Babalu)

Back to Adelman,

At this stage, it is hard to know what is worse: the rot in Argentine public institutions that can’t investigate an atrocity after 20 years, the depths to which Argentine hopes for truth and accountability have plunged, or the sordid spectacle of a president personalizing a crisis she helped to create?

All of the above.

Or, as Simon Romero put it, Whodunit? In Obsessed Nation, Question Becomes Who Didn’t

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Argentina: #Nisman is front-page news at the NYT

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

While the White House is purportedly making deals with Iran,

Now the Jerusalem Post reports that European diplomats say the deal between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is for Tehran to keep about 6,500 centrifuges in return for “guaranteeing regional stability” — using Iranian influence to keep Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in check. International sanctions that Obama claims have forced Iran to the negotiating table would be lifted.

Suddenly, the lead investigator of a terrorist attack involving Iran (possibly was the foremost expert on Iranian operations in Latin America) turns up dead . . . the day before he was scheduled to testify to his country’s Congress on his allegations that the country’s president had colluded with Iran to interfere with the investigation.

Prior to his death he had told a reporter

that he had evidence tying Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported that Rouhani was part of the secretive Iranian government committee that approved the AMIA bombing, according to witness testimony included in a 500-page indictment written by the late Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was appointed to investigate the attack.

Simon Romero’s report made it to the front page of the NYT:
Draft of Arrest Request for Argentine President Found at Dead Prosecutor’s Home

Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor whose mysterious death has gripped Argentina, had drafted a request for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, accusing her of trying to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center here, the lead investigator into his death said Tuesday.

The 26-page document, which was found in the garbage at Mr. Nisman’s apartment, also sought the arrest of Héctor Timerman, Argentina’s foreign minister. Both Mrs. Kirchner and Mr. Timerman have repeatedly denied Mr. Nisman’s accusation that they tried to reach a secret deal with Iran to lift international arrest warrants for Iranian officials wanted in connection with the bombing.

Romero explains why Nisman didn’t go through with the arrest request,

Normally, a prosecutor in Argentina seeks an arrest out of concern that the people charged with crimes will try to corrupt the investigation or flee the country, according to Susana Ciruzzi, a professor of criminal law at the University of Buenos Aires who knew Mr. Nisman.

But in this case, some legal experts suspect that Mr. Nisman decided against requesting the arrest of Mrs. Kirchner because such a move would have been viewed as a political attack on the president in a case that has already polarized the nation.

Moreover, Mrs. Kirchner and Mr. Timerman have immunity as members of the executive branch. They could have been arrested only if a judge handling the case were to authorize a political trial similar to an impeachment process and ask Congress to lift their immunity, Ms. Ciruzzi said.

For both leaders to be stripped of their immunity would have required a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Argentina’s legislature.

The draft was dated June 2014,

The date is important because, after Nisman’s death, Fernández de Kirchner claimed that the Special Prosecutor had decided to request her arrest only recently, while he was on a visit to Europe. The president implied strongly that unnamed foreign powers were manipulating Nisman, who spent more than a decade in charge of the investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Also in the draft, Nisman alleged that

Venezuela’s then-ambassador to Argentina, Roger Capella, had in 2006 contributed to the cover-up of the 1994 AMIA terrorist attack.

According to Nisman’s evidence, the Venezuelan diplomat helped foment protests against the arrest of Iranian suspects ordered by the Argentinean judiciary.

“The demonstration against the Argentinean court’s ruling was carried out by the Iranian embassy, headed by Luis D’Elía — supported by Iran’s middleman in Argentina, Jorge Alejandro “Yussuf” Khalil — and promoted by then-Venezuelan ambassador to Buenos Aires, Roger Capella,” Nisman wrote.

Fernandez’s chief of staff, Jorge Capitanich, tore up Clarin’s report showing the drafts in his press conference,

Viviana Fein,

the prosecutor in charge of the investigation into how he died, has radically revised her assessment of how he died, claiming that the deadly bullet entered not through his temple, as originally stated, but two centimeters – around three-quarters of an inch – behind his ear.

If Fein’s latest conclusion is borne out by the facts, it will further weaker the assertion that Nisman’s death was a suicide, since the the bullet’s point of entry strongly suggests that the trigger was pulled by someone else.

Yesterday she announced that she would be taking a vacation between February 18 and March 5.

Over in the Middle East, Iran and Hizbullah Mourn Mughniyeh and Plan Revenge Worldwide (h/t The Tower; emphasis added),

Nasrallah, for his part, in his speech on January 30, the day of remembrance for the fallen in the Kuneitra operation, asserted that all of the existing rules of the game with Israel before the Kuneitra operation were no longer in existence. In mentioning the assassination of the second leader of Hizbullah, Abbas Musawi, he alluded to the price Israel paid with the 1992 bombing attack on the Israeli embassy in Argentina carried out with Iranian assistance, implying that this would be a model for the response.

But none of this matters to the White House, where

Ideals, persuasion, feelings, and intent are now the stuff of foreign policy, not archaic and polarizing rules of deterrence, balance of power, military readiness, and alliances.

The deals with Iran roll right along.

Related:
Argentina: Intolerancia: El gobierno desafía una vez más la libertad de prensa de manera violenta

Did the Argentine Government Kill Alberto Nisman?



Argentina: Nisman wanted Cristina’s arrest UPDATE

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

From The Tower: Documents Found in Prosecutor’s Apartment Shows Intent to Arrest Argentina’s President 

Documents found in the garbage of Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s apartment show that he had intended to ask a judge to arrest Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, according to a report (Spanish link) yesterday in Clarin, a Spanish-language newspaper in Argentina.

Clarín’s article points out that Nisman first asked for Cristina’s arrest on a 26-page first draft of June 2014. Clarín has copies of the request for arrest that were found in the garbage can at his home on January 20, two days after he was found dead in his apartment,

According to Clarin, the documents were found in the garbage by police investigating Nisman’s death. A document calling for Kirchner’s arrest was dated June 2014, which is significant because the government has been claiming that Nisman’s decision to call for Kirchner’s arrest was made when he was vacationing in Europe in early January at the behest of unnamed foreign powers who were manipulating the prosecutor.

Is there A Culture of Fear in Argentina? Regarding the civil complaint Nisman filed the week prior to his death, Two judges have declined to take on the case.

Related:
Jonathan Blitzer asks, What Happened to Alberto Nisman?

UPDATE:
Alberto Nisman Death Investigator Claims Bullet Entered From Back of Head, Further Undermining Suicide Claim

Linked to by Neoneocon. Thank you!