Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

Ecuador: Correa thinks Brad bought the wrong book

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Brad Pitt bought the movie rights to Paul Barrett’s book, Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who’d Stop at Nothing to Win about fraudster Steven Donziger.

Rafael Correa is not happy:

Ecuador’s president urges Brad Pitt to scrap Amazon oil spill movie
Socialist leader Rafael Correa concerned film will be based on a book he alleges covered up actions of oil giant Chevron

He said: “Now they’ve brought out a book, Law of the Jungle, all paid for by Chevron, in which we look like savages in a country without any separation of powers. If he has any doubts, we invite him to come to Ecuador and scoop up with his hands the oil which still lies in pools 30 years later and which was left by that corrupt oil company Chevron-Texaco, continuing to pollute our forest. Given the clarity of the facts, anybody who signs up to or collaborates with Chevron is an accomplice to that company’s corruption.”

Correa seems to have heeded John Oliver’s advice to stay away from Twitter, but there’s a hashtag all the same – #braddotherightthing.

One with misspellings, complete with photo of Brad’s 2012 trip to Lago Agrio,

One grammatically correct,

Correction:
In my original post, I snarked about Brad Pitt. I reconsidered, and apologize for unduly casting aspersions.



Venezuela: The dark side of price controls

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Rachel Cunliffe looks at The dark side of price controls in Venezuela

Shortages of basic goods, from food to fuel, have led to a sharp increase in crime and situations “where police officers are gunned down for their weapons, trucks ambushed for merchandise and commuters held up for cellphones.” Now the shortage of motorcycle parts is so severe that bikers are being attacked for their vehicles, and in some cases murdered.

This is the reality of price fixing and currency controls.

Read the whole thing.

Related:
Grenades galore

The central government prefers to blame violence on drug traffickers and politically-motivated paramilitaries. But that view isn’t that far from the truth: these criminal gangs sort-of fit the basic definition of a paramilitary body, and many of those groups (such as the infamous “El Picure” gang) are involved in drug-related activities. However, the political angle the government desperately wants to stick onto the problem simply doesn’t match the evidence available.

Our crime epidemic is surpassing all estimations, to the point that Venezuela is (according to the Brazilian think tank Instituto Igarape) the second most murderous country in the planet. If you are being murdered, there is a high chance you are in Venezuela.

Godgiven Traps His Enemies With Him In Venezuela

UPDATE:
Linked to by Rantburg. Thank you!

Honduras: “It’s over for the little guy”

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Back in the days of The Sopranos, “It’s over for the little guy”. Now there’s real muscle doing the protection rackets.

Honduran gangs choke small businesses with ‘war tax’

“Nearly all the merchants have left. They decided to leave before they got killed or had to pay the ‘war tax,'” said Sheila, methodically slicing bananas and tossing them into boiling oil.

The “tax,” in her case, is $20 a month, which she pays the gangsters so they will let her stay in business.
. . .
The maras now have some 100,000 members in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

A MORE PEACEFUL AND PROSPEROUS HONDURAS? Not quite in the works yet (emphasis added):

President Orlando Hernández’s speech promoted his plan for domestic development. While detailing the new initiatives for the prosperity of his people, the president seemed to lack equal detail when addressing questions of what Honduras can do to tackle the global illegal drug issues in which it is entangled. Only when his administration takes on the problems that Honduras is facing on a transnational level will President Orlando Hernández be able to meet the standards necessary to join the Alliance for Prosperity, and make use of the admittedly questionable advantages it offers.

Mexico: Jalisco’s new generation of crime

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

The WSJ reports on the latest cartel, Jalisco Nueva Generación:
Rise of Drug Cartel Brings Wave of Mexican ViolenceArmy hunts for three missing soldiers in Jalisco since helicopter was shot down on Friday

“A new and military powerful cartel is appearing, and opening up a new front in the war against drugs in Guadalajara and Jalisco,” said Raul Benitez, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The flare-up of violence in Guadalajara, a city of 1.5 million people in a metropolitan area of 4.5 million, and the resort town of Puerto Vallarta is the latest setback for the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto. The government has been determined to show that Mexico is a modern, emerging economy, but its inability to control areas where criminal gangs continue to exert control have frustrated these efforts.

“Guadalajara is not a little town in the middle of nowhere, and this shows the cartel has the logistics and power to paralyze a city,” said Jorge Chabat, a security analyst at the CIDE think tank in Mexico City.
. . .
The areas the Jalisco cartel controls sit astride important transport and production centers for cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.

The Jalisco Nueva Generación, who are allies of the Sinaloa cartel, started in 2010 for the purpose of neutralizing the Zetas, according to this report from El Comercio.

Cuba: Fidel, druglord

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Inside Fidel Castro’s double life as a drug kingpin

For 17 years, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez served as a bodyguard to Fidel Castro. But when he became disillusioned with the Cuban dictator’s hypocrisy and tried to retire in 1994, Castro had him thrown in prison. Sanchez made 10 attempts to escape the island, finally making it to Mexico by boat, then across the Texas border in 2008. Now he reveals all in his new book, “The Double Life of Fidel Castro.” In this excerpt, Sanchez explains how he lost faith in the revolution — and “El Jefe.”

Read the article here.

Buy the book here.

Oh look, the guy behind the Clinton uranium deal was also the guy behind the Clinton FTA deal

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Please read my latest, Oh look, the guy behind the Clinton uranium deal was also the guy behind the Clinton FTA deal.

Argentina: Hitting new lows on the #Nisman murder

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Cristina Fernandez’s administration’s approach to Alberto Nisman is two-pronged:
1. Get the case Alberto Nisman filed a few days before his murder dismissed from the courts.
2. Engage in a full-spectrum smear campaign against Nisman.

The Washington Post has an editorial on #2, which now includes anti-Semitism:
Argentina’s president resorts to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

WHAT DO lobbyists at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the director of a Washington think tank have to do with hedge-fund manager Paul Singer and the Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died mysteriously in January? Well, according to Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, they are all part of a “global modus operandi” that “generates international political operations of any type, shape and color.” They “ ‘contribute’ to financial attacks or simultaneous international media operations, or even worse, covert actions of various ‘services’ designed to destabilize governments.”

Cristina’s accusations, titled Everything has to do with everything when it comes to geopolitics and international power, first posted at her official website, are now missing, but The Guardian listed some of them:

Fernández says Nisman told leaders of the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations (Daia): “If necessary, Paul Singer will help us.” This is alleged to have happened two years ago when Nisman lobbied the body – which represents the country’s Jews – to mount a legal challenge a memorandum of understanding between Argentina and Iran.

Nisman and his supporters alleged that the memorandum was part of a conspiracy to cover up Iran’s involvement in the bombing in exchange for a trade deal – a charge denied by both Iran and Fernández.

The president’s allegations that Singer supported her critics were based on an article in the government-friendly newspaper Página 12 by Jorge Elbaum, a former executive director of Daia. Elbaum claimed Singer was funding opposition to the Iran-Argentina deal in Buenos Aires and Washington. The report says Singer also donated $3.6m between 2008 and 2014 to the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a thinktank whose executive director, Mark Dubowitz, claims to be a friend of Nisman’s.

Fernández said she saw parallels between these activities and the Israeli government’s support for US members of Congress who aimed to block the recent US-Iran nuclear deal. In both cases, she said lobbyists and covert agencies organised financial attacks and media smear operations designed to destabilised governments.

Not only was Cristina’s original article erased from her official website, she did not bother to present any evidence (in court or elsewhere) to any of her accusations.

And, just this week, prosecutor Javier De Luca asserted that, when it comes to Nisman’s case, “There has been no crime.”

Argentina: Prosecutor drops #Nisman’s case

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

The only surprising thing about this is that it went this far:
Argentine Prosecutor Drops Case Against President Cristina Kirchner
Javier De Luca argued that accusations were spurious
(emphasis added),

In a 27-page decision, prosecutor Javier De Luca argued that Mr. Nisman’s case against Mrs. Kirchner and others was spurious. “The constitution prohibits the initiation and continuation of a criminal investigation simply to determine if a crime has been committed when it is readily clear that no crime has been committed,” Mr. De Luca wrote.
. . .
The prosecutor is a member of a pro-Kirchner group, Legitimate Justice, which some members of the judiciary say is focused on protecting government officials. The group’s leaders say they are trying to reform a judiciary that had become too close to big corporations and vested interests. Argentina ranks 127 out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum ratings on judicial independence.

De Luca also argued that the negotiations with Iran with members of Cristina’s inner circle cannot be considered a crime since conspiracy is not included in the Argentine Penal Code.

Nisman’s writ: strike III and out?

Although the judges from that tribunal can question the grounds of De Luca’s decision they cannot take up the complaint itself, sources from the court told the Herald yesterday.
. . .
De Luca’s dismissal came the same day that Nisman’s mother, Sara Garfunkel, along with a group of opposition politicians and intellectuals filed a writ before the Supreme Court to keep her son’s complaint afloat, something that is not likely to happen at the influential Comodoro Py courthouse.

As Capt. Louis Renault famously said,

UPDATE:
Carlos Hos has a list of unanswered questions regarding Nisman’s murder (in Spanish)

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.