Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Iran in U.S. maritime borders: A question

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Looking at this bit of news,
Iranian warships sent to U.S. maritime borders for first time (emphasis added)

The commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Saturday that the vessels have already begun the journey to the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa.

Iranian officials said last month that the fleet consisted of a destroyer and a logistic helicopter carrierwhich will be on a three-month mission.

I have a question or two:
1. “A destroyer and a logistic helicopter carrier” making the long haul from Iran around South Africa and up the Atlantic. need refueling. They don’t come in nuclear-powered batteries, do they?

2. Where are they refueling? Argentina? Brazil? Venezuela? Cuba?

3. Is the US going to exert any pressure on any country aiding Iran?

Latin America: What was missing from the SOTU

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

My latest article at Da Tech Guy On Da Radio Blog Latin America: What was missing from the SOTU

Please go read it and hit Da Tip Jar.

Ecuador, Iran, Syria: The new axis?

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Lachlan Markay writes in the Washington Free Beacon on The Correa-Khamenei Axis
Ecuador pumping up its relationship with Iran and Syria, experts say

Correa, who began his third term as president on Friday, reaffirmed Ecuador’s alliance with Iran.

“We would ratify it a thousand times over,” Correa said of the alliance during his inaugural address, according to a translation of the speech.

Iran’s vice president for international affairs, who attended the inauguration in an official capacity, said the two countries “have elite people and revolutionary governments and we are happy that the ‘Citizens’ Revolution’ — the slogan of Ecuador’s president — can live on,” according to a report from Iranian state-owned media.

Correa also expressed support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which also sent an envoy — its former ambassador to Venezuela — to Correa’s inauguration, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.

Iran’s relationship with Ecuador appears to be mirroring its arrangement with Venezuela, according to Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society, who has called Ecuador “one of Iran’s largest money-laundering hubs in Latin America.”

As you may recall, The Ecuadorian Finance Co., Inc. (COFIEC), a bank that was seized a decade ago by the former Deposit Guarantee Agency (AGD) would be the legal vehicle used by the Ecuadorian state to conduct financial transactions with Iran. The purpose is to help Iran evade sanctions.

Additionally, two years ago, Deutsche Welle was reporting that Ecuador had become the new hub for international crime.


Venezuela: Did anyone miss Maduro at the UN?

Saturday, September 28th, 2013


Maybe a birdie told him to stay away.

As you may have noticed, all the talk at last week’s UN meeting was focused on Obama and Iran, and not on NicoláMaduro, who may enviously look back at the days when Hugo Chávez could make the headlines around the world just by doing stand-up.

Instead, Maduro had to skip the UN altogether and rush back to Venezuela – after signing off oil exploration and gold mining rights to the Chinese (and still coming short on cash) – because

  • while refueling in Vancouver, Canada, he became aware that the DEA could arrest three members of his entourage on charges of drug trafficking, based on information provided by former Aragua state Chavista governor Rafael Isea, now a protected witness for the DEA
  • Cuban spies traveling with Maduro, and identified by Spanish newspaper ABC, would not have been allowed to land in the USA
  • and the fear that, if he prolonged his absence from the country, he may have a coup from the military and/or members of his own party.

Instead Maduro flew back to Caracas and claimed he had to because of not one but two plots against his life, which President Obama’s weakness could not prevent.

Carlos Eire translated the ABC article, which you must read.

Argentina: Cristina trusts Iran

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

The largest terrorism attack in our hemisphere prior to 9/11/2001 was the explosion at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds. It was masterminded by Mohsen Rabbani, who presently is actively recruiting converts in Latin America, and Ahmad Vahidi, now Iran’s Defense Minister.

Where do things stand now?

Cristina Fernandez trusts Teheran and hopes for cooperation in the AMIA case
President Cristina Fernandez during her speech to the UN General Assembly said she hoped that the new Government in Iran would cooperate with Argentina in relation to the clarification of the attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in 1994.

(emphasis added)

The Argentina/Iran project, which commits both countries to commit to an investigation into the perpetrators of the deadly bombing, is subject to uncertainty in Iran where it remains in legal limbo.

Funny wording, that, “commits both countries to commit to an investigation”.

Having received the equivalent of a pre-engagement ring, Cristina went on and asked for “a date to send an Argentine magistrate to Teheran”.

Don’t hold your breath, Cristina.

While at the, she took time to condemn the UK government for deploying nuclear-armed submarines around the Falklands.

Priorities, priorities.


The Syrian news Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 9th, 2013

LatinAmerEveryone’s talking about Syria, but what does it have to do with Latin America? This:
Iran, Cuba warn of fallout of Syria attack
Iran and Cuba have expressed concerns about the consequences of any foreign military action against Syria, stressing a political approach to resolve the crisis in the Arab country.
(h/t Capitol Hill Cubans)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his counterpart Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla expressed their deep reservations about the threats of military action against Syria in a telephone conversation on Wednesday.

Iran and Cuba: Chummy enough to do joint conference calls on behalf of Assad, no less.

Here’s looking at you, kid,

Meanwhile, Syrian Refugees Flock To Latin America As World Ponders Taking Action Against Assad

ARGENTINA
‘Dirty War’ judge Romano extradited to Argentina
A former Argentine judge has been extradited to face charges of human rights abuses during the 1976-1983 military rule.

BOLIVIA
Andres Oppenheimer: Authoritarian leaders breed corruption
What’s most amazing about the arrest in Miami of Bolivia’s top anti-corruption police official, caught on tape extorting a bribe from a well-known businessman, was that hardly anybody was surprised by the news.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Independence Day Marked By Widespread Protests

Political corruption in Brazil
Lawmaker behind bars

CHILE
Chile court admits omissions during dictatorship

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s peace talks
To the edge and back again
A hiccup serves to confirm that the government and the FARC are making progress

The week Santos lost Colombia

CUBA
Grounded TV Marti plane a monument to the limits of American austerity

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Vatican Abruptly Removes Dominican Republic Envoy

ECUADOR
Ecuador writes off ill-fated satellite

MEXICO
Mexico Set to Unveil Tax-Code Overhaul
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is expected to introduce Sunday a wide-reaching proposal that seeks to boost federal tax revenue, a move that could prove politically complicated in a slowing economy.

Capture of a Mexican drug lord
Got Ugly Betty. Now get Shorty

PUERTO RICO
Fortuño: Puerto Ricans In U.S. Shouldn’t Have A Say On Statehood, But Congress Needs To Act

57 Undocumented Migrants Detained in Puerto Rico

TRINIDAD
Venezuela Reaches Gas Deal with Trinidad

VENEZUELA
SIBCI’s Syria

La corrupción apaga a Venezuela
La abundancia de la naturaleza es superada por la infinita corrupción en los gobiernos que han administrado el país

Accountability Is A Dirty Word For Chavismo

The week’s posts and podcast:
Capital flight: from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic

Colombia: Santos OK with FARC not disarming

Brasil: Médico cubano relata exploração do trabalho na Ilha dos irmãos Castro

Spy vs Spy

Mexico: Senate approves education reform

Colombia: Santos’s approval plummets

NSA spying: Mexico & Brazil not amused UPDATED

Mexico: Will the teachers imperil reforms?

Podcast:
US-LatAm stories of the week


The #CowNado Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Yes, my friends, after the #SharkNado, it’s #CowNado time!

The Brazilian man was asleep in bed when the cow fell on him and killed him. Both the cow & his widow are unharmed.

LatinAmerIn other news from the region:

ARGENTINA
Greenwald Tells Argentinean Media Snowden Has Info That Could Be US’ ‘Worst Nightmare’

BOLIVIA
Morales says US hacked Bolivian leaders’ emails

BRAZIL
Corruption and Graft: Brazil Rushes Headlong into Popular Revolt

Brazil’s protests
The fallout spreads
Politicians have been hurt by the marches, none more so than the president

CHILE
FACTS AND TRUTH: THE GOVERNMENT THAT SAVED CHILE

COLOMBIA
Uribistas name candidates for Colombia´s 2014 senate race

CUBA
Remembering victims of ’13th of March’ tugboat massacre, July 13, 1994

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominicans Freak Out Over Obama’s Gay Ambassador Pick

ECUADOR
The Correa-Khamenei Axis
Ecuador pumping up its relationship with Iran and Syria, experts say

QUITO JOURNAL
In Ecuador, a Magazine’s Death Comes Amid Questions

GUATEMALA
Guatemala ‘to extradite drug lord’
A Guatemalan appeals court rules that Waldemar Lorenzana, who is wanted by the US for his alleged ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, can be extradited

HONDURAS
With Honduras, Obama Was Quick to Recognize a ‘Coup’

A Tale of Two Coups: Egypt and Honduras

LATIN AMERICA
Iran Fans Out 40,000 Agents in South America

MEXICO
‘The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus: An Alliance of International Drug Cartels, Organized Crime, and Terror Groups’

What Happened to Congress’ ‘Fast and Furious’ Fury?
Scandal resurfaces as a Mexican police chief and his bodyguard fall victim to a gun from the ATF operation.

Local elections in Mexico
Something for everyone—except voters

Disappeared, Smeared and Abandoned by their Government: the Fate of Mexico’s Disappeared

PUERTO RICO
Reports bring PR into Snowden case

VENEZUELA
What Edward Snowden Should Know About Venezuela (registration required)

In Spanish: Maduro y Evo hablan del espía,

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: I say tomato, you say tomahtoh

Mexico: Bugs – it’s what’s for dinner

Argentina: House Lawmakers Ask John Kerry to Reconsider Argentinian Aid

Cuba: 50 years of food rationing

Venezuela and Iran’s joint intelligence program

Argentina and Mexico: #1 on corruption

Argentina: 33% in poverty

Venezuela: Runaway inflation, runaway asylum

Argentina blocks AMIA prosecutor from testifying on Iranian presence in South America

UN: Mexico border a “global pathway” to the USA

Podcast:
Socialism in Latin America with Dr Carlos Eire


Argentina: House Lawmakers Ask John Kerry to Reconsider Argentinian Aid

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

From the Washington Free Beacon:
House Lawmakers Ask John Kerry to Reconsider Argentinian Aid
Bipartisan coalition criticizes Argentina for growing closer to Iran

U.S. officials and regional experts warned earlier this week that under the leadership of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina has helped Iran bring its terrorist activities to the Western hemisphere.

The lawmakers—including House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R., Texas), Reps. Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.), Grace Meng (D., N.Y.), Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.), and Bill Posey (R., Fla.)—urged Kerry to immediately cut back U.S. support for Argentina.

The matter has assumed “a new level of urgency” given Argentina’s increasing efforts to accommodate Iran, according to the letter.

U.S. officials and independent experts have cited Kirchner’s government for boosting trade with Iran by more than a billion dollars, as well as for allowing Iranian agents to move freely through the region, where they are suspected of smuggling weapons, money, and other goods.

I’ll be extremely surprised if Kerry agrees. At best, the current administration simply doesn’t care. Worse, the State Department comes up with two-page reports soft-pedaling Iran’s threat on Latin America.


Venezuela and Iran’s joint intelligence program

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

ProPublica’s report on The Terror Threat and Iran’s Inroads in Latin America

A senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) traveled secretly with the presidential delegation and met with Venezuelan military and security chiefs. His mission: to set up a joint intelligence program between Iranian and Venezuelan spy agencies, according to the Western officials.

At the secret meeting, Venezuelan spymasters agreed to provide systematic help to Iran with intelligence infrastructure such as arms, identification documents, bank accounts and pipelines for moving operatives and equipment between Iran and Latin America, according to Western intelligence officials. Although suffering from cancer, Chavez took interest in the secret talks as part of his energetic embrace of Iran, an intelligence official told ProPublica.

The senior IRGC officer’s meeting in Caracas has not been previously reported.

As I previously posted, Argentina blocked the AMIA prosecutor from testifying to Congress on the Iranian presence in South America

The context for the unusual move to block the testimony is Argentina’s pro-Iranian shift. Argentina has had tense relations with Iran since the AMIA attack. A previous bombing in 1992 — also blamed on Iran — destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and killed 29 people.

In 2003, Nisman was appointed special prosecutor with a mandate to revive a probe that had bogged down in dysfunction and corruption. He indicted seven Iranian officials and a Hezbollah chief as the masterminds three years later, and Interpol issued arrest warrants for them. Iranian officials denied any role and described Nisman, who is Jewish, as “a Zionist.”

But six months ago, the Fernández de Kirchner government agreed with Iran to form an independent “truth commission” about the AMIA case. Argentina’s about-face was blasted by Jewish groups, the political opposition, the Israeli government and U.S. officials. Critics call it a political maneuver that makes justice even less likely at this late date. Argentina’s growing ties to Iran coincide with an increasingly confrontational attitude toward the United States, Spain and other Western nations.

“The Argentine president has already made her decision to curtail DEA activities, publicly and repeatedly attack the United States as an imperialistic and warmongering nation, and reopen relations with Iran that make a mockery of the rule of law,” Douglas Farah, president of the IBI Consultants national security consulting firm, testified at the hearing.

Indicted AMIA plotter Mohsen Rabbani, an alleged spymaster using the cover of Iranian cultural attaché in Buenos Aires, oversaw the establishment of intelligence networks in embassies, front companies and religious and cultural centers in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Guyana, Paraguay and Uruguay, according to the Argentine prosecutor’s report. The Iranian spies teamed with Hezbollah to carry out both bombings, according to Argentine, Israeli and U.S. investigators.

Today, the fugitive Rabbani is based in Iran and continues to play a key role in Latin American espionage, directing ideological and operational training for recruits who travel from the region, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and witnesses at the hearing.

Go to ProPublica and read their article.

Re: Venezuela, In Venezuela, Snowden Can Prepare For Life As A Pawn

UPDATE,
Linked by Instapundit. Thank you!


Argentina blocks AMIA prosecutor from testifying on Iranian presence in South America

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

The Congressional Committee on Homeland Security is holding hearings today on the Threat to the Homeland: Iran’s Extending Influence in the Western Hemisphere (which you can watch at the link).

Alberto Nisman, General Prosecutor of the AMIA Case, was scheduled to testify regarding Iran’s influence in South America; however, the government of Argentina would not allow it.

McCaul, Duncan Question Government of Argentina Blocking Witness from Testifying on Iranian Presence in South America

The letter to President Fernández de Kirchner is available HERE, and the letter from Alberto Nisman to Chairman Michael McCaul is available HERE.

Chairman McCaul on the letter: “Alberto Nisman’s report sheds critical light on how the United States should understand threats to our homeland that emanate from the Iranian regime. His investigation into the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires shows that the Iranian presence in the Western Hemisphere is greater than we imagined. Iranian infiltration within countries in our region presents a clear and present danger to our homeland, as do attempts to silence or downplay this threat, and Mr. Nisman’s testimony should be heard.”

Subcommittee Chairman Duncan on the letter: “Iran’s willingness to conduct operations in the Western Hemisphere and on American soil is clear. In contrast to the U.S. State Department’s recent assessment that Iran’s influence in Latin America and the Caribbean is ‘waning,’ Nisman’s investigation revealed that Iran is deeply embedded within countries in Latin America and is ready to exploit its position to ‘execute terrorist attacks when the Iranian regime decides to do so.’ Argentina’s decision to deny Nisman permission to share his findings publicly sends a troubling message and is deeply disturbing to regional security and U.S. homeland security.”

As you may recall,

In October 2006, Mr. Nisman indicted seven Iranians and one Lebanese-born member of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia for the AMIA murders. Interpol notices for their arrest were issued but none was captured. Then, late last year, the Argentine government of Cristina Kirchner announced that a “truth commission,” to be chosen by Argentina and Iran, would examine the viability of the prosecutor’s case.

To many Argentines, that seemed like letting the fox decide the fate of the chickens. But Mrs. Kirchner forged ahead, getting congress to agree. On May 20 Ahmadinejad approved Iran’s participation on the commission.

Mr. Nisman’s response was to release a mountain of evidence against Tehran into cyberspace for all the world to see.

And now he’s not allowed to testify at the U.S. House Homeland Security hearings on Iran.

Who is Cristina protecting?

UPDATE:
Press Briefing: Iran’s influence in Latin America evolving, not declining, new study reveals