When prisoners manage to tunnel out of their confinement, their tunnels are rudimentary, dangerous, and short. This tunnel resembles those that cross the US-Mexico border, or those in Gaza leading into southern Israel. It’s clear that a number of people tunneled in to get Guzman out, and those people spent a lot of money to do so. Guzman wasn’t going to be able to install electricity and ventilation, after all.
Six months ago, prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead of a bullet to the head on January 28 in his Buenos Aires apartment, on the eve of the day when he was scheduled to testify to congress on his findings regarding a civil lawsuit he had filed the week prior accusing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of colluding with Iran to obscure the investigation into the 1994 AMIA bombing.
Nisman’s civil lawsuit was dismissed.
The investigation into his murder is still pending.
Three days ago, president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner tweeted a transcript and video of her interview with The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins,
Pesident Kirchner works in an ornate mansion in central Buenos Aires known as “the Pink House”—for the tint of its walls, once supplied by horse blood—but her official residence, in a northern suburb, is called Quinta de Olivos. Dating to the sixteenth century, Olivos, as it is known, is a white three-storied palace that resembles an enormous wedding cake.
When I met Kirchner there, two months after Nisman died, the mystery was still dominating the news. I was ushered into a wide split-level room that had been set up as a television studio. Kirchner entered a few minutes later, in a flouncy dress and heavy makeup, followed by two dozen aides, nearly all of them men. With the cameras running, Kirchner reached over, before the interview began, to fix my hair. “Is there some girl who can help him with his hair?” she asked. “We want you to be pretty.” Then she began to straighten her own. “I want to primp myself a bit,” she said. “Excuse me, I’m a woman, besides being the President: the dress, the image—”
“Divine!” one of her aides called from off the set.
While Filkins did not refute any of Cristina’s lies, his is not a puff piece at all,
Over time, Kirchner has grown more dictatorial and, according to muckraking reports, more corrupt.
An idea of the importance of the recordings can be gleaned from a February 2013 conversation between alleged Argentine government intelligence operative Ramón Héctor “Allan” Bogado and Khalil. In that call, which was widely reported in the Argentine press, Bogado told Khalil, “We have a video of the [AMIA] attack,” leading Khalil to reprimand him for not being more careful when speaking on the phone. Of course, it’s impossible to know for sure who Bogado meant by “we,” but one distinct possibility may be that the AMIA bombing was filmed by Argentina’s intelligence services, or that a video recording of it, perhaps containing vital evidence about the identity of the terrorists who carried out the attack, fell into their hands.
Both Filkins’s and MacDonagh’s articles are indispensable reading on the Nisman case.
Investigative journalist Jorge Lanata, in his show Periodismo Para Todos (Journalism For All), continues his coverage of the Nisman murder, and commissioned forensic expert Cyril Wecht for his opinion on whether Nisman’s death was a murder or a suicide. You can watch the report here.
Wecht’s interview starts 35 minutes into this YouTube; the show is in Spanish but Wecht’s portion is in English,
One of the world’s foremost forensic experts, Wecht asserts that Nisman’s death is most likely a murder.
This took a lot of know-how, effort, labor and co-ordination (emphasis added):
The tunnel that Guzman used to flee was sophisticated. It was nearly a mile long and deep enough for him to stand, authorities said. Its opening was a rectangular hole in the former prisoner’s shower, measuring 20 inches by 20 inches. It then descended 30 feet, ran its length under largely unpopulated land and ended in a somewhat isolated house under construction in the nondescript Santa Juanita neighborhood, surrounded by empty fields.
Authorities, attempting to explain how it was possible for such an elaborate construction to have taken place unnoticed, said Guzman’s shower was the only place in his cell where there were no security cameras.
So, to review, El Chapo
had his own private shower,
which had no security camera
and the tunnel maker(s) knew exactly where to find it.
This week the FARC attacked Colombia’s oil infrastructure, the major way the Colombian economy is not held hostage by the narco-terrorist group. The worst attack was an explosion at a pipeline in the southeastern Nariño province.
A FARC attack on an oil pipeline in the southwest of Colombia has caused the country’s biggest environmental disaster in the past decade, said the country’s environment Minister on Thursday.
Alleged FARC rebels blew up a pipeline in the southeastern Nariño province on Monday, causing the spilling of more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil into nearby rivers, streams and mangroves.
. . .
Not only does the oil threaten the local ecosystem, it has cut off the water supply of the approximately 160,000 inhabitants of the town of Tumaco who depend on the polluted waters for their drinking water.
The FARC’s motive is thought to be a show of strength to force the government to agree to a bilateral cease-fire, something the Santos government has refused to do until a overall peace agreement has been signed, said Bruce Bagley, a Colombia specialist at the University of Miami.
. . .
Adam Isacson, a Colombia researcher at the Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank in Washington, said that despite the upsurge in violence, the odds are good that the peace talks will continue, noting that slow but incremental progress has been made. But the future hinges on whether the attacks continue.
The talks have stalled over the issue of
whether FARC commanders will stand trial and serve prison time for crimes against humanity, a prospect the rebels reject.
To an outsider like myself, the latest actions from the FARC make the answer to that crystal-clear.
Spanish police arrest man who allegedly sent liquid heroin from Colombia to the United States by implanting it in puppies
More headlines from Venezuela:
Sources tell me Leopoldo Lopez may suspend his hunger strike. He won’t be long of this world if he persists in starving himself. UPDATE: Indeed, he ended his hunger strike.
There are multiple problems with that. First off, UNASUR – the Union of South American Nations – was founded by Chávez and is widely seen as pliant to the Venezuelan regime. What’s more, “accompaniment” is not “monitoring”.
Venezuela’s government is a complex web of interlocking political relationships built during chavista rule. Several groups and individuals merit closer observation to determine how Venezuela’s immediate future will develop. The first person to consider is Cabello. As National Assembly speaker, he stands to lose immunity if the opposition sweeps the December elections — a possibility that is growing more likely as a majority of opinion polls show the ruling party trailing the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable. Cabello faces an investigation for cocaine trafficking through Venezuela to the United States — a crime entailing potential arrest and extradition if Cabello loses his immunity. Consequently, Cabello has joined Maduro in reaching out to the United States on the modest goal of appointing ambassadors, and Cabello likely will remain involved in this outreach to reduce his personal risk. Initially, Cabello was publicly absent from the negotiations. But in the face of growing political challenges from Maduro, Cabello seems to have inserted himself in the negotiations for the long run.
It’s not clear that a leadership change in Caracas will negate the goodwill China has built up, since Maduro might be replaced by a colleague from the USP. The political opposition might come into power at some point, but the next presidential elections are far off, and it seems hardly likely that Maduro will survive that long. Of course, few would want the thankless task of attempting to clean up the mess that is Venezuela, which might be the only thing preventing a palace coup.
However, even if Maduro is replaced by someone in his party who regards China favorably, there will almost certainly be a demand for debt renegotiation, simply because the Venezuelans can’t afford to repay what they owe.
Authorities in Tamaulipas state take down surveillance cameras installed by secret gang (emphasis added)
Recently, police announced that they had taken down 39 hidden surveillance cameras installed by traffickers at key points around the city to monitor movements by law enforcement authorities, rival gangs and ordinary citizens.
. . . One local cartel – whose name has not been made public – has acknowledged that it set up 38 other cameras to closely follow movements made by the army, navy, police and prosecutors, according to an official statement.
Since the cartel itself has acknowledged it, why haven’t the authorities named it? Most likely, it would be either the Zetas or the Gulf cartel,
The region’s two most powerful drug organizations, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, have long battled for control of Tamaulipas’s 17 border crossings to ship narcotics to the north.
Not that these 39 cameras were the first – back in May authorities took down 30 others.
The new development in a case that has roiled Argentina since Mr. Nisman’s death in January is being investigated by Viviana Fein, the prosecutor who is trying to determine if the 51-year-old killed himself or was the victim of foul play. Mr. Nisman’s Samsung laptop logged the input of up to three flash drives just after 8 p.m., Ms. Fein told Argentine media on Monday, some hours after a .22-caliber Bersa was held to his head and discharged.
Investigators are looking into whether the computer—which contained data from his investigation of Iran’s suspected role in a 1994 terror bombing in Argentina—was accessed locally or remotely and whether its time registry could have been changed.
A new book by Mr. Nisman’s cousin, Andrea Garfunkel, launched fresh accusations that the late prosecutor was killed because of his investigation into the 1994 bombing. Ms. Garfunkel highlights irregularities regarding the findings at Mr. Nisman’s home. She notes the unused pajamas found near his bed, which she says suggests he may have died the night before investigators found him.
The book, In memoriam, is available for Kindle from Amazon in Spanish.
Argentinian journalist Jorge Lanata played in his TV show the following video:
In it, State Security chief Sergio Berni, while at the apartment of the presumably very dead Alberto Nisman, went to prosecutor Viviana Fein who was recording the findings at the scene, and asked her whether they should first verify the state of the person in the bathroom, “in case he was in agony.”
Nisman’s own mother had already been at the scene, and he was clearly dead.
The investigation had been botched up from the start. Lanata has more video (which apparently had been edited by the authorities) showing how evidence was handled by numerous people who were not wearing rubber gloves, the murder weapon was wiped to show its registration number, Fein stepped in the blood on the bathroom floor, and on and on.
One would compare them to the Keystone Kops, but there’s no need to insult the Kops.
Incompetence, yes; willful or not?