Archive for the ‘Fausta’s blog’ Category

Recommended reading for Easter: The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Good literature is when it goes beyond the printed word to exalt the better parts of our human souls. The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes is great literature.

Read my review at Da Tech Guy Blog.



Today’s must-read: What Nisman Said About Iran UPDATED

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Read Richard Horowitz’s article at World Policy Institute, What Nisman Said About Iran in full.

It starts with Nismam‘s own words,

“It can be said with certainty that the highest-echelon Iranian government officials were directly responsible for the AMIA attack . . .We will show that said officials made the decision to carry out the attack, defined the manner in which it was to be implemented, and instructed the terrorist organization Hezbollah to carry out the operation in its capacity as a mere instrument, in this case, of the will of the Teheran government . . We will also show that for Iran’s leaders, there was nothing unusual or exceptional about the realization of an attack of this nature. To the contrary: an analysis of the information that has been gathered in this case shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the realization of acts of terrorism abroad was not the outgrowth of an unusual foreign policy instrument, but was instead based on the principles of the Iranian revolution of February 1979, the ultimate goal of these principles being to propagate Iran’s fundamentalist view of Islam throughout the world.”

The Nisman Report (2006)

Related:
‘If Argentina wants our support we will give it’
Israeli Agriculture minister tells the [Buenos Aires] Herald Iran is the main sponsor of international terrorist attacks

And, may I remind you? Iran no longer on Terror Threat List.

UPDATE:
An excellent resource on Nisman and his investigation: AlbertoNisman.org



Venezuela: Was Iran behind the colectivos?

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

From the [pdf file] WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF
JOSEPH M. HUMIRE
CO-AUTHOR
IRAN’S STRATEGIC PENETRATION OF LATIN AMERICA
BEFORE THE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE (WHEM)
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA (MENA)
HEARING ON
“IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH IN THE WESTERN
HEMISPHERE”


To most, the Venezuelan government’s ability to brutally stifle student protests, is a capacity developed by the Cuban regime whose intelligence and military direct many aspects of Venezuela’s national security apparatus. While mostly true, this excludes another vital player that has enhanced Venezuela’s foreign internal defense, the Iranian paramilitary force known as the Basij.

In April 2009, the current Iranian commander of the Basij paramilitary force, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, accompanied then-Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar on a high-level visit to Caracas at the invitation of then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his foreign minister (now President) Nicolas Maduro. Gen. Naqdi’s role in these high-level meetings was to serve as an advisor to Venezuela’s Ministries of Defense and Interior to aid in training their civilian militias, known as the infamous colectivos’. Years later, the results of this advisory support are evident on the streets of Venezuela as the colectivos’ tactics are a step-up in its previous capabilities, to include new clandestine communication and infiltration/espionage techniques.

Gen. Naqdi, who previously served as the Iranian Police Force’s counterintelligence chief, has a long list of human rights violations dating back to the 1999 student protests in Iran.

Venezuela: Keeping the money in Andorra wasn’t such a good idea

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Andorra?

Yes, Andorra, the money laundering center.

The story is like something out of Chavistas en el imperio, only that the money was stashed in Europe and not the U.S.:
Andorra: CEO of bank accused by US of money laundering is arrested, will appear in court

The Treasury Department said BPA managers helped launder money, including $2 billion allegedly siphoned from the Venezuelan state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA.

It also said one unnamed high-level BPA manager accepted “exorbitant commissions” to develop shell companies that helped launder the Venezuelan company’s money.

Related:
How Russian, Chinese gangs use a tiny European state to wash ‘dirty’ cash

En español: Carmen Aristegui y Joaquin Vargas en la UdQ

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Related:
Mexican Journalist Fired by Radio Station
A Mexican radio station has fired journalist Carmen Aristegui, whose investigative team broke an alleged conflict of interest story involving the acquisition of a mansion by the wife of the country’s president.

Iran no longer on Terror Threat List. Many in LatAm will be happy.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

This week’s “smart diplomacy” news:
U.S. Omits Iran and Hezbollah From Terror Threat List

An annual security assessment presented to the U.S. Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, has excluded Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah from its list of terror threats to U.S. interests, despite both being consistently included as threats in previous years.
. . .
In a previous report from January 2014, Clapper included Iran and Hezbollah in the ‘Terrorism’ section, writing that both “continue to directly threaten the interests of U.S. allies. Hizballah [sic] has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s”. Iran was also given its own sub-heading in the ‘Terrorism’ section of such assessments in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Any evidence that Iran and Hezbollah have changed their ways?

No; instead,

“I think that we are looking at a quid pro quo, where Iran helps us with counter-terrorism and we facilitate their nuclear ambitions and cut down on our labelling of them as terrorists,” says [professor of political science at Northeastern University and member at the Council of Foreign Relations Max] Abrahms.

In the wake of Alberto Nisman‘s death, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect some smiling faces in Argentina. As you may recall, a congressional committee had invited him to testify [in 2013] about Iran’s spy network in Latin America and its alleged role in a plot to bomb John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

Last December, the government fired a powerful spy chief who was Nisman’s lead investigator. The prosecutor retaliated with a bombshell: He accused the president, her foreign minister and other political figures of conspiring to absolve the accused Iranians in exchange for commercial deals. Iranian diplomat Mohsen Rabbani, a top suspect in the 1994 attack, participated in secret talks, according to Nisman’s criminal complaint.

Argentine spies “negotiated with Mohsen Rabbani,” an indignant Nisman said in a television interview on Jan. 14. “Not just with the state that protects the terrorists, but also with the terrorists.”

The Argentine government denied his allegations.

Indeed, back in 2006,

Nisman charged senior Iranian officials and leaders of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah with plotting the AMIA attack

Some others at the Tri-border area will be happy.

Let’s not forget Venezuela, which for years has been helping Iran dodge UN sanctions and use Venezuelan aircraft to ship missile parts to Syria. The monthly flight allegedly

flew from Caracas carrying cocaine to be distributed to Hezbollah in Damascus and sold. The plane then went to Tehran carrying Venezuelan passports and other documents that helped Iranian terrorists travel around the world undetected.

Of course, the regime in Cuba, where Hezbollah has established a center of operations in Cuba in order to expand its terrorist activity and facilitate an attack on an Israeli target in South America, is already happy.

Related:
The Terror-Crime Nexus

Sing it!

Today I play the WSV for Vox’s chili peppers

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

The World’s Smallest Violin plays for Vox:

The Vox people are bemoaning this:

Why?

Because The Economist’s chili pepper cover gets Hispanic Americans all wrong (h/t: Joshua Treviño)

This week’s issue of the Economist reduces the vast diversity of Hispanic Americans to a single fruit: chili peppers.

The administration’s flagrant violations of the Constitution, the push to favor illegal aliens over anyone who’s a legal immigrant (I can go on all day) don’t fire up Vox’s belly, but chili peppers do.

To which I say, “suck it up, buttercup.”

(h/t: Joshua Treviño)

The missing Putin Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 16th, 2015

The whole world was wondering where Vladimir Putin went for a few days. I’m glad to say I didn’t misplace him with the things I took to Goodwill on Saturday; he was in Switzerland for the birth of his secret daughter, availing himself of Swiss healthcare (and possibly Swiss law regarding investments by Swiss nationals? Are people born in Switzerland Swiss citizens by birth?).

But fear not, while the cat was away, Venezuela Stages Massive Military Drills, Assisted by Russia and China.

ARGENTINA

Three former members of Hugo Chavez’s cabinet claim that, with Venezuela acting as middleman, Iran gave money to Cristina Fernandez’s campaign in exchange for nuclear secrets and impunity in the AMIA case:
Chavistas confirmam conspiração denunciada por NismanTrês ex-integrantes da cúpula chavista dizem a VEJA que, por intermédio da Venezuela, o Irã mandou dinheiro para a campanha de Cristina Kirchner em troca de segredos nucleares e impunidade no caso Amia

Growing doubts

BOLIVIA
Childbirth in Bolivia’s High Plains

BRAZIL
Mass Protests Across Brazil Reflect Anger at President
Government of Dilma Rousseff dealing with corruption scandal, struggling economy

Olavo de Carvalho interview:

CHILE
Forest fires rage in Chile: Thousands evacuated from port
Forest fires rage out of control near Chile’s Valparaiso, with authorities evacuating over 4,000 people

COLOMBIA

#CubaReal "¿El Bloqueo? No mijo, esto solo mejora cuando se muera quien tu sabes" – Pichi #Cuba pic.twitter.com/na0O2n4wrQ

— Karel Becerra – Cuba (@KarelBecerra) March 14, 2015

ECUADOR
Demonstrations Planned Across Ecuador to Protest Correa’s Policies
Organizers say idea grew out of a number of issues including labor concerns and rights to protest

MEXICO
Hipolito Mora Chavez, Mexican Vigilante Leader Runs for Congress

Dismissal of Two Mexican Journalists Draws Accusation of Attack on Media
Investigative reporter Carmen Aristegui calls for unconditional reinstatement of colleagues

MUSTIQUE
Heavily pregnant Duchess of Cambridge sports Mustique tan as she visits Sir Ben Ainslie in Portsmouth
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge carrying out first public engagments [sic] since holiday in Caribbean

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico: the Caribbean without all the edges sanded off
Stylish New Yorkers are heading to Puerto Rico for its chic new hotels, fine cuisine, and rough-round-the-edges charm. Here’s how to join them

VENEZUELA
Terrorists from Iran, Syria and Lebanon travel with Venezuelan passports: ¡GRAVE! Iraníes, sirios, y libaneses inmersos en terrorismo viajan con pasaporte de Venezuela

VenEconomy: The Aviator – One Less Political Prisoner for Venezuela

Please scroll down for the week’s posts and podcast.

ISIS and the open border

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Yesterday Gen. John F. Kelly of the U.S. Southern Command, testified before Congress (pdf file here) on national security risks at the open southern border:

Transnational Organized Crime.
The spread of criminal organizations continues to tear at the social, economic, and security fabric of our
Central American neighbors. Powerful and wellresourced,
these groups traffic in drugs—including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, counterfeit pharmaceuticals, and methamphetamine—small arms and explosives, precursor chemicals, illegally mined gold, counterfeit goods, people, and other
contraband. They engage in money laundering, bribery, intimidation, and assassinations. They threaten the very underpinnings of democracy itself: citizen safety, rule of law, and economic prosperity. And they pose a direct threat to the stability of our partners and an insidious risk to the security of our nation.

While there is growing recognition of the danger posed by transnational organized crime, it is often eclipsed by other concerns. Frankly, Mr. Chairman, I believe we are overlooking a significant security threat. Despite the heroic efforts of our law enforcement colleagues, criminal organizations are constantly adapting their methods for trafficking across our borders. While there is not yet any indication that the criminal networks involved in human and drug trafficking are interested in supporting the efforts of terrorist groups, these networks could unwittingly, or even wittingly, facilitate the movement of terrorist operatives or weapons of mass destruction toward our borders, potentially undetected and almost completely unrestricted. In addition to thousands of Central Americans fleeing poverty and violence, foreign nationals from countries like Somalia, Bangladesh, Lebanon, and Pakistan are using the region’s human smuggling networks to enter the United States.

While many are merely seeking
economic opportunity or fleeing war, a small subset could potentially be seeking to do us harm. Last year, ISIS adherents posted discussions on social media calling for the infiltration of the U.S. southern
border. Thankfully, we have not yet seen evidence of this occurring, but I am deeply concerned that smuggling networks are a vulnerability that terrorists could seek to exploit.

I am also troubled by the financial and operational overlap between criminal and criminal networks in the region.

Gen. Kelly also expressed concern about the presence of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and the Iranian influence in Latin America. Hezbollah is backed by Iran.

Breitbart News reported that nearly 500 immigrants from terrorism-linked countries such as Syria and Iraq were apprehended trying to enter the U.S. illegally in 2014 alone.

Border security is national security.

Venezuela headlines today

Friday, March 13th, 2015


BBC:
Muere en prisión Rodolfo González, opositor detenido en manifestaciones en Venezuela, Rodolfo González, opposition member arrested during protests in Venezuela, dies in jail

At the blogs:
That South African feeling…

Chavismo: No Scruples, No Compassion

At Drudge:
Maduro threatens faceoff with Obama…

Latin Americans unite against USA…

Red shirts fading at Venezuela oil giant…