Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Argentina: Today’s Nisman roundup

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Iran Has A Lot To Gain From The Death Of A Crusading Argentine Prosecutor

Nisman’s testimony would have shown that the AMIA bombing wasn’t jut a discrete event, but an ongoing, two decade-long conspiracy that implicated Argentina and Iran in the execution and cover-up of a major act of terrorism.

Argentine Prosecutor Death in Iran Terror Case Gets Curiouser

Alberto Nisman: The Man Who Exposed Iran in Latin America

Life and death of Alberto Nisman: what we know so far
The death of Alberto Nisman – the prosecutor heading up an investigation into a 1994 terrorist attack, who pointed the finger at Iran and President Cristina Kirchner – has caused a political earthquake in Argentina, but left many serious unanswered questions

(Added later today) Why Nisman’s Killing In Argentina Matters To The U.S.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/blogs-capital-hill/012315-735986-why-nisman-killing-in-argentina-matters-to-the-us.htm#ixzz3PftMZO2X
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is blaming former intelligence chief Antonio Horacio Stiusso for Nisman’s lawsuit (link in Spanish). Here’s the text of the Alberto Nisman’s civil complaint filed last week:

La denuncia completa de Nisman by Todo Noticias

UPDATE,
With all the in-depth information and analysis on this case, who gets the instalanche? Yahoo news.

They must really need the traffic.

Argentina: #Nisman’s murder is all about Iran

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Let’s not lose track of the real story as we examine the details of last Sunday’s assassination of prosecutor Alberto Nisman: His murder is all about Iran.

Through his investigation of the 1994 AMIA bombing, Nisman found out that president Cristina Fernendez had allegedly been secretly negotiating with Iran since 2011, and conspiring to cover up Iran’s role in the 1994 terrorist attack. He brought a civil lawsuit last week, asking the judge to freeze $23 million of assets belonging to Mrs. Kirchner and the others named in the complaint, and was scheduled to testify to Argentina’s Congress on Monday, but was prevented from doing it by a single shot to the head.

Eli Lake writes on Argentina, Iran and the Mysterious Death of a Prosecutor

. . . Nisman made an enemy of Iran, a country with a history of killing its political opponents in foreign countries. In May 2013, Nisman issued a scathing report that implicated several senior Iranian officials by name in the AMIA bombing. Just four months earlier, Kirchner’s government had signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to investigate the incident. Part of the deal, however, was that Nisman’s investigators would not be allowed to interview senior Iranian officials. Argentina also got a favorable trade pact to import Iranian oil in exchange for grain. Nisman said the terms of the Iran-Argentina joint investigation amounted to a coverup.

The AMIA attack occurred in 1994, before Iran’s government began trying to clean up its image with the rest of the world. It was before Iran elected its first reform government in 1997, and before Iran’s current government agreed to nuclear negotiations with China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and U.S.

And yet many of the senior Iranian officials Nisman named still have influence. They include Ali Fallahian, who is today a member of the regime’s council of experts, the clerical body that would choose Iran’s next supreme leader; Ahmad Vahidi, who served as Iran’s defense minister between 2009 and 2013; and Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president and a favorite interlocutor of many Western diplomats.

The news of Nisman’s death was first called a suicide. However, since Sunday, details have come to the surface – Here’s what has been revealed as of the writing of this post:

  • He was found in his bath­room in a pool of blood. Next to his body was a 22 cal­iber firearm and a bul­let casing.
  • He died from a bul­let to the head. Ear­lier accounts said the entry point was on his right side towards the rear of the ear; the offi­cial account says it was the right temple.
  • The police prevented medics from two ambulances (one arriving at 10:45PM, the other at 11:30PM) from entering the premises.
  • The inves­ti­gat­ing pros­e­cu­tor initially called it an “induced suicide.”
  • Nis­man left a shop­ping list for his housekeeper.
  • He had talked to his personal trainer on resuming his regular schedule.
  • Appar­ently none of the ten secu­rity offi­cers assigned to pro­tect Nis­man was sta­tioned on the thir­teenth floor of the apart­ment build­ing on which he lived. None were on the premises from Saturday until Sunday afternoon.
  • His apart­ment has a main entrance and a ser­vice entrance, but all the initial reports only men­tioned the main entrance.
  • Inves­ti­ga­tors found another means of access to the apart­ment through a hall­way where the air-​conditioners are located, with a door that leads to the apart­ment, where they found a fin­ger­print and a foot­print.
  • Ariel Lijo, the Argen­tin­ian judge who received Nisman’s 300 page com­plaint alleg­ing the involve­ment of Pres­i­dent Cristina​Fer­nán­dez de Kirch­ner and oth­ers in cov­er­ing up Iran’s cul­pa­bil­ity for the 1994 bomb­ing of the AMIA, ordered the seizure of all doc­u­men­ta­tion and other evi­dence referred to in the complaint.
  • Author­i­ties raided both his home and his office for all doc­u­ments regard­ing any of his investigations.

In addition to the Iran allegations, Cristina Fernandez’s administration is also allegedly involved in money laundering and precursor chemical trafficking, according to this report by Douglas Farah. Adding to the list are new accusations of cover-ups by another Argentinian prosecutor, Germán Moldes.

Nis­man had been barred by the Argen­tin­ian gov­ern­ment from tes­ti­fy­ing on Iran’s increased influ­ence in South Amer­ica at a U.S. Con­gress sub­com­mit­tee hear­ing in 2013.

Yesterday evening I was discussing Iran’s expanding influence with David Gerstman who emailed,

Lee Smith recently wrote that in regards to the nuclear negotiations Iran is “pushing through an open door.” It’s not just in terms of the nukes, it’s also in terms of the regional hegemony. The US is willing to cede a huge amount of the Middle East influence to Iran.

The Tower did a post on Iran’s destabilizing influence on the region and noted that when he first proposed reaching out to Iran, Obama said, “actions over many years now have been unhelpful when it comes to promoting peace and prosperity both in the region and around the world; that their attacks or their financing of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas, the bellicose language that they’ve used towards Israel, their development of a nuclear weapon, or their pursuit of a nuclear weapon — that all those things create the possibility of destabilizing the region.”

And now to go along with the outreach, the destabilization has only accelerated.

Indeed,

Senator Robert Menendez (D – N.J.), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pushed back today against the White House’s claims that Congressional action could derail negotiations with Iran over its illicit nuclear program. In his State of the Union speech last night, President Barack Obama claimed that such initiatives “will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails” with Iran.

In his opening statement to a committee hearing titled “Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Status of Talks and the Role of Congress“, Menendez said:

The more I hear from the administration in its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization when they are the ones with original sin: an illicit nuclear weapons program going back over the course of twenty years that they are unwilling to come clean on.

Bonus:
Argentine Phone Calls Detail Efforts to Shield Iran

UPDATE,
Read Claudia Rosett on Alberto Nisman’s Warning About Iran, especially page 2.

Analysis: Alberto Nisman and the Crisis of Democracy in Argentina

———————————-

In a lighter mode,

Mexican humorist Paco Almaraz has Cristina in the burnt-out unit, and brings up the names of “suicides” Brigadier Rodolfo Echegoyen, Jorge [sic – the correct name is Horacio] Estrada, Alfredo Yabrán, Lourdes di Natale and Marcelo Cattaneo (in Spanish).

—————————-

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Argentina: Nisman’s door was unlocked

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

New developments:
1. The locksmith called to open Alberto Nisman’s door on Sunday asserts that the service door to the apartment was unlocked,

“Anyone could have opened it.”

2. Investigators found another means of access to the apartment through a hallway where the air-conditioners are located, with a door that leads to the apartment. They found a fingerprint and a footprint.

3. Spain’s El País published a PDF file of the civil complaint Nisman filed last week. The Kirchner regime released it to the public following popular outcry.

4. Last week Nisman transferred for safekeeping 330 CDs containing evidence to another person for safekeeping

5. Alberto Nisman will be buried at the Jewish cemetery, and not in the section reserved for those who have committed suicide, according to this report from Brazil’s R7 (link in Brazilian Portuguese).

In the Jewish faith, suicide is considered a sin against the Creator, and people who take their lives are buried in a separate area. However, Rabbi Ioni Shalom stated,

“I don’t believe he will be buried in the suicide section, because it is not certain that he did indeed commit suicide. And even if that were the case, he may have done so to protect someone, his family or even the whole [Jewish] community, since he was subjected to enormous threats – and that would be a noble attitude”

Both major Argentinian Jewish associations, AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) and DAIA (Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas), are working to have Nisman buried near the victims of the 1994 attack.

Read also my post The curious case of the dead Argentinian prosecutor UPDATED summarizing all the findings so far.

Argentina: Who killed #Nisman?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

  • No traces of gunpowder on his hands
  • Gun was not his
  • Apparently none of the ten security officers assigned to protect Nisman was stationed on the thirteenth floor of the apartment building on which he lived
  • Theory of “induced suicide”
  • Minister for State Security on the scene before police investigating authorities
  • Ariel Lijo, the Argentinian judge who received Nisman’s 300 page complaint alleging the involvement of President Cristina ​Fernández de Kirchner and others in covering up Iran’s culpability for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA, ordered the seizure of all documentation and other evidence referred to in the complaint
  • Left shopping list for his housekeeper

Following the outpour of outraged citizens in Buenos Aires and the country, the government has issued more information:

Spain’s El País reports (link in Spanish) that forensic tests showed no traces of gunpowder on Alberto Nisman’s hands.

The prosecutor in charge of the case, Viviana Fein, explains it as, “Coming from a small caliber weapon, 22 caliber, usually that causes that electronic sweeps show no results.” The weapon had no silencer.

Fein had previously revealed that the gun that shot the bullet in Nisman’s brain was not his, although he owned and had permits for two firearms; additionally,

Fein said she would not rule out the possibility that Nisman was “induced” to suicide.

Which, of course, opens innumerable spin opportunities for the government propaganda machine.

The AP suggests that none of the ten security officers assigned to protect Nisman was stationed on the thirteenth floor of the apartment building on which he lived.

The time of death appears to have been in the mid-afternoon, while none of his bodyguards were present.

Fein also had Nisman’s office raided today.

Timeline: The Events Leading to Alberto Nisman’s Death

Now Nisman is dead meaning that Kirchner and Iran can rest a lot easier. Are we to believe that his death is really a suicide, as the Argentinian government claimed today?

Related:
Argentine prosecutor’s death: The latest act in the Iran-Israel saga
Alberto Nisman was the Argentine prosecutor investigating Iran’s hand in the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish targets; Imad Mughneiyeh, father of the Hezbollah commander killed in Syria on Sunday, was suspected of organizing the Argentina attack.

UPDATE:
Floor plan,

Nisman lived in Apartment 4 (shaded in green, bottom left).

The plot thickens: The government Secretary for Security was on the scene before the investigating authorities (including Fein and the coroner’s office).

Alberto Nisman Death: Judge Seizes Evidence, Initial Autopsy Findings Released (h/t David Gertsman).

“A suspicious death:” John Batchelor talked about Nisman in last night’s show.

UPDATE 2,
Nisman left a shopping list for his housekeeper.

Argentina: NISMAN DEAD, UPDATED

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Hours before he was schedule to report/testify in a closed hearing to the Argentinian Congress regarding his investigation of Cristina Fernandez’s corrupt dealings with Iran, federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman has been found dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

He was found dead by his mother in the bathroom of his home,

The Security Ministry released a statement saying that Mr Nisman’s bodyguards had raised the alarm after he failed to answer their phone calls on Sunday.

Concerned about his welfare, they fetched Mr Nisman’s mother and tried to enter his apartment, the statement said.

They found the door locked from the inside with a key still stuck inside.

After a locksmith gained access, they found Mr Nisman’s body in the bathroom.

He had said in an interview with Clarin (which has been in Fernandez’s crosshairs in the past), I may end up dead from this.”

Clarin has a roundup of international news media coverage here.

Who will obtain justice for Alberto Nisman?

Nisman was a man determined to follow the facts, and committed to achieving justice. When Imad Mughniyeh was killed, allegedly by Israel, in a February 2008 car-bombing in Damacus, he told me he felt no sorrow at the terror chief’s death, but neither did he feel that justice had been served.

What seems particularly tragic about the death of Alberto Nisman in Buenos Aires this week, the death of a brave, decent, seeker of justice, an honest man who would not be intimidated or deterred, is that there will be nobody of comparable caliber and guts to ensure justice for him.

Added:

Haaretz’s Noga Tarnopolsky tweets:

more here.

UPDATE:
I must clarify: While the BBC tiptoes about the cause of death, Clarin’s report specifically states:

Aunque no se conocieron los detalles del hecho, trascendió que su cuerpo apareció sin vida en el baño, aparentemente en la bañadera.

Las primeras informaciones indicaron que tenía un disparo en la cabeza de un revólver de pequeño calibre. Sobre su escritorio estaba la documentación que el fiscal iba a presentar hoy en Diputados. La confirmación de la muerte la dio el juez que invtervino [sic] en la causa, Manuel De Campos, y las primeras hipótesis hablaban de un “supuesto suicidio”.

Todavía hay muchas dudas con respecto a lo que pasó. “Les pido cautela y que esperen los informen. En los próximos días sabremos las causas de la muerte. Encontramos un arma”, contó la fiscal Viviana Fein, una de las primeras en llegar.

My translation – please credit me and link to this post if you use it:

While the details are not known, it was learned that his body was found in the bathroom, apparently in the bathtub.

The earliest information indicated he had a shotgun wound to the head from a small caliber weapon. On his desk was the documentation he was going to present today at the Chamber of Deputies. Judge Manuel De Campos, who was involved in the case, confirmed the death, and the first hypothesis claim an “apparent suicide.”

Many doubts remain as to what happened. “I ask for caution and to wait for information. We will know the cause of death in the following days. We will find a weapon,” stated prosecutor Viviana Fein, one of the first to arrive at the scene.

Spain’s El Pais, however, moves the body,

Lo encontraron en el baño. Su cuerpo inerte bloqueaba la puerta. A su lado se halló un arma y un casquillo de bala.

My translation,

He was found in the bathroom. His lifeless body was blocking the door. Next to him a weapon and a shell casing [correction: cartridge shell is the more accurate term] were found.

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Argentina: Cristina’s corrupt deals with the Ayatollahs

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Alberto Nisman, General Prosecutor of the AMIA 1994 bombing, filed a criminal complaint on January 14

against President Cristina Kirchner , her foreign minister and others, accusing them of conspiring to cover up an investigation into Iran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing

Nisman, who was barred by the Argentinian government from testifying on Iran’s increased influence in South America at a U.S. Congress subcommittee hearing in 2013, accuses Cristina of ordering Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others to negotiate immunity for Iranian suspects in exchange for allowing Argentina to import Iranian oil. Meanwhile,

Mr. Nisman has asked Judge Lijo to freeze $23 million of assets belonging to Mrs. Kirchner and the others named in the complaint. There was no time frame for a decision to be handed down on whether to proceed with a case against Mrs. Kirchner or the others. Court cases in Argentina can sometimes take many years to resolve.

Nisman inadvertently began uncovering evidence of the plot during the investigation of the AMIA bombing.

Likewise,

In 2009, his sleuthing led to the indictment of Carlos Menem, who was president at the time of the attack. He was accused of tampering with evidence that implicated a Syrian businessman. The case is still in progress.

However, judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, in charge of the AMIA investigation, criticized Nisman over procedural issues, saying that “the prosecutor has arrogated powers to investigate other things outside this procedure,” and claims to have found out from broadcast news about Nisman’s complaint.

On her part, Cristina says the accusations are an attempt to destabilize her government.

A brief roundup:
Prosecutor claims Argentina’s president hid Iran role in 1994 bombing
Alberto Nisman accuses Cristina Fernández of ‘fabricating the innocence of Iran’ over blast at Jewish community center offices that killed 85 people
. In the 300-page complaint,

Nisman claims that the president decided to “not incriminate” former senior Iranian officials for their roles in planning the bombing, and instead has sought a rapprochement with Tehran, “establishing trade relations to mitigate Argentina’s severe energy crisis,” the Buenos Aires Herald reported.

When her agreement with Iran was challenged in the Argentinean courts, “and here is the criminal (aspect), the president ordered to divert the investigation, abandoning years of a legitimate demand of justice, and sought to free the Iranians imputed (in the case) from all suspicions, contradicting their proven ties with the attack. She decided to fabricate ‘the innocence of Iran’,” the newspaper quoted Nisman as alleging.

Oil and trouble
A prosecutor accuses the president of obstructing justice in the country’s biggest terror case

In 2013, Argentina announced that it would collaborate with Iran in a joint commission “to advance knowledge of the truth about the attack,” as Ms Fernández wrote on Twitter at the time. The country’s Jewish population, the world’s seventh largest, was puzzled and angry about the accord. Now the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, alleges that the controversial deal was reached in back-channel negotiations that Ms Fernández initiated with Iran. He claims that she offered to cover up the involvement of any Iranian officials in exchange for increased trade. Argentina would export grain to Iran, while Iran would sell oil to Argentina to ease its severe energy deficit.

In the end, for reasons that are still unclear, the negotiations failed and the deal fell apart. But Mr Nisman has marshalled evidence of the talks in a 300-page document that he filed in a Buenos Aires court. “They decided, negotiated, and assured the impunity of the fugitive Iranians in the AMIA case with the aim of faking Iran’s innocence to serve geopolitical and commercial interests,” Mr Nisman declared. The allegations against Ms Fernández, her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, and others are based on “irrefutable proof” from two years of investigations and myriad wiretaps, Mr Nisman claims.

Kirchner Accused of Covering Up 1994 Terrorist Bombing
Prosecutor: President Made Secret Deal with Iran for Cheap Oil

Fernandez Graft Cases Multiply in Argentine Electoral Year

Argentina’s Jews Reel From New Twist in Terror Probe
Prosecutor Accuses President Christina Kirchner of Conspiring to Cover Up a Probe Into a 1994 Terrorist Attack on a Jewish Center

Argentina’s Kirchner Named in Criminal Complaint
An Argentine prosecutor filed a complaint against President Cristina Kirchner, her foreign minister and others for allegedly conspiring to cover up a probe into Iran’s alleged involvement in the bombing of a Jewish community center.

A federal prosecutor in Argentina has filed a criminal complaint against President Cristina Kirchner , her foreign minister and others, accusing them of conspiring to cover up an investigation into Iran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in this capital city.

The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, said on Wednesday that Mrs. Kirchner had ordered Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others to negotiate immunity for Iranian suspects in hopes this would reestablish trade ties and allow Argentina to import Iranian oil to ease a domestic energy crisis. The alleged plan didn’t come to fruition, however.

Prosecutor: Argentinian President Plotted to Cover Up Iranian Role in AMIA Bombing

The amnesty Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 24th, 2014

LatinAmerAs predicted, Pres. Obama granted amnesty to an untold number of illegal aliens. Walter Russel Mead has some thoughts on the subject: Obama’s Big Miscalculation
President Obama’s new initiative is unlikely to succeed politically—in part because Democrats are overconfident that rising Hispanic immigration will deliver them a permanent, left-leaning majority.

In many ways Latinos face less prejudice than Jews or Italians did in the 1880s, and have more opportunities to integrate into American society at large than those earlier generations of immigrants did. The evidence if anything suggests that Hispanic immigrants are more open to the cultural influences of American political and social ideas than were earlier waves. While very few Italian, Jewish or Greek immigrants, for example, converted to evangelical Protestantism, 24% of hispanic adults in America are now former Catholics. Hispanics are a large and varied group, but by and large they are learning English, starting businesses, joining Protestant churches and voting Republican at levels that suggest that they are anything but a permanently alienated racial underclass in formation.

And then there’s the Democrats’ assumption that “Hispanics” are a homogeneous group.

ARGENTINA
Fitch Cuts IMPSA, WPEI, and Venti to Default

A more accurate translation is “The Falklands are Argentinian”, Argentina rules all public transport must state: ‘The Falklands are Argentina’
Argentina’s congress passes a law which states that all public transport and stations must display a sign reading “Las Malvinas son Argentinas”

BOLIVIA
Influx of Cheap Peruvian Quinoa Riles Bolivia

BRAZIL
Brazil Probe Sparks Worries Over Olympics
Prosecutors are investigating firms working on Rio’s 2016 Games for their roles in an alleged graft ring surrounding Petrobras.

Authorities are investigating allegations that the companies formed a cartel to drive up the value of contracts with state-controlled energy giant Petróleo Brasileiro SA PETR4.BR +11.89% and paid bribes to the Petrobras executives and Brazilian politicians.

The prosecutors’ targets include Brazilian-based multinational construction companies Odebrecht, Queiroz Galvão and OAS, who together are partners in billions of dollars of contracts for the Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Petrobras Bonds Decline With Builders Amid Graft Probe

CHILE
Chilean colonels jailed for torture
Two retired Chilean colonels – Ramon Caceres and Edgar Ceballos – are jailed for torturing the father of President Michelle Bachelet in 1973.

COLOMBIA
Colombia Prepares Areas Where FARC Will Release Hostages

CUBA
La máquina de matar: El Che Guevara, de agitador comunista a marca capitalista

Cuba says measures to make food more affordable fall short

Mosque for you? Maybe….. ($$$$$$?)

ECUADOR
Iranian Nobel Laureate to Inaugurate UNESCO Chair at University of Ecuador

Correa Takes on Market Forces with Slew of Employment Prohibitions
“Government of the Worker” to Mandate Wage Ratios, Ban Uncompensated Layoffs

GUATEMALA
100,000 Guatemalans Could Benefit from Obama’s Executive Order

GUYANA
Guyana’s Main Opposition Demands Elections Now

HONDURAS
Four Involved in the Murder of Miss Honduras World and Sister Sent to Prison

MEXICO
U.S. Marshals Service Personnel Dressed as Mexican Marines Pursue Cartel Bosses
Members of U.S. Marshals Service Join Military Operations in Mexico Against Drug Gangs

Mexico Is Fed Up and This Time, It’s Different

Teeth and Bones: Mass Abduction Reveals a Decaying Mexican State

Mexico’s Holy Warrior Against the Cartels
Padre Goyo, with his clerical collar and his bulletproof vest, is an icon for those fighting drugs and corruption. But some in the church think he goes too far.

NICARAGUA
Yeah, right, Nicaragua canal: Construction to begin in December. Heed my advice and don’t be the next Lord Crawley.

PANAMA
The French School Where Panama Canal Pilots Train in Cute Little Ships

PERU
Peru Introduces Measures to Boost Economy
Peru’s government plans to cut taxes and boost government spending to give a shot of growth to the weakening economy.

PUERTO RICO
Opinion: Puerto Ricans will be hurt the most by President Obama’s executive action

Puerto Rico Sees Slight Drop in Unemployment Rate

URUGUAY
Same old, Vazquez Is Favorite to Win Uruguay Presidential Vote

VENEZUELA
Alek Boyd tells us how he was robbed of his lap tops, and only them

Oligarco Works The Fascist Phone Line

Venezuelan Consumers Get Creative Amid Shortages

The week’s posts and podcast:
The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus

Venezuela: Tweet of the day

Ecuador: Assange granted political asylum

Chile: Blowing up the ATMs

Cuba: The wall

Venezuela: Break-in in London

Countdown to amnesty, continued

Cuba: The Nation’s Valentine’s cruise

Amnesty: I told you so UPDATED

Countdown to amnesty

Keystone XL & Venezuela

Colombia: Government suspends peace talks after FARC kidnaps general

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Amnesty: A slap in the face to all of us, not just to #Fruitpickers and #Bedmakers

Why weren’t taxes an issue in the last election?

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio Canto, Jr.



The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Mary O’Grady writes on Iran’s presence in Latin America, a topic I have blogged about for the past ten years:


The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus
The West underestimates the growing threat from radical Islam in the Americas.


The West is well aware of the growing presence of Islamic fundamentalism in the Americas, but policy makers may be underestimating the threat. Joseph Humire is a security analyst and co-editor of “Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America,” a book published earlier this year. In an interview in New York last week, Mr. Humire described Iran’s significant progress, over three decades, in setting up operations in the region.

The earliest stages of the process have featured clandestine operatives using mosques to make connections inside Muslim communities and then using those connections to access wealth and gain political prominence. Where these initial forays have been successful, says Mr. Humire, Iran has opened embassies and established commercial agreements that allow operatives to create businesses, which can be used as fronts for covert operations.

In Venezuela and Bolivia, Iran has moved to the next level, developing a military presence through joint ventures in defense industries. In Venezuela, the state of Aragua, where Mr. El Aissami is now governor, is ground zero for this activity.

Havana applauds this Islamic intervention. Since the rise of chavismo, Cuba has supplied intelligence services to Venezuela and its regional allies, notably Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador. Mr. Humire says it has also supplied passport-information technology to allow these countries to process individuals from the Middle East, hand out new documents and maintain the secrecy of true identities. Cuba has used this capacity to exchange information with like-minded nations, including Russia and Iran.

O’Grady’s article goes on to describe the important role the governor of the state of Aragua and former Venezuela interior minister, Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah, plays in building

“a criminal-terrorist pipeline bringing militant Islamists into Venezuela and surrounding countries, and sending illicit funds from Latin America to the Middle East.”

Cuba wants to get aid from Iran. Keep that in mind when Obama ends the embargo with Cuba.

The Tahmooressi release Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

The big news of the week: Mexico finally released Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, after holding him in jail for seven months on gun charges – and how perfectly timed!

ARGENTINA
Argentina Borrows $814 Million in Currency Swap with China (h/t Carlos Eire)

Argentina’s Disturbing New Low
In avoiding its debts, the country gambles with contempt and faces the discipline of international markets.

BOLIVIA
Freddy Mamani: ‘New Andean’ architecture is turning Bolivia into an electric wonderland
A young pioneer has declared war on the dull and colorless. You might want to reach for sunglasses.

BRAZIL
Dilma Rousseff Prevails in Campaign Marred by Violence
Petrobras Corruption Allegations Reignite Hostile Relationship with Brazilian Media

Female Brazilian murderers marry – and refuse to be separated – in jail
Suzanne Von Richthofen was 18 when jailed in 2002 after arranging for her parents to be killed in their luxury home
They were both behind murders which shocked Brazil, but Suzanne Von Richthofen has turned down parole to stay in Sao Paulo state prison with Regina Sanchez after the pair fell in love and married behind bars

CHILE
Chilean Parents Rise to Protest Anti-Profit Education Reform
Bachelet’s New Majority Coalition Forging On with Major Campaign Promise

COLOMBIA
Colombian Farc in civilian admission
Colombia’s Farc rebel group acknowledges for the first time that its actions in Latin America’s longest internal conflict “affected civilians”.

Despite the intransigence of the FARC and the opposition, the peace process is still alive

CUBA
More Uneducated Attacks from The New York Times

Russell Brand’s Revolution For Morons
The movie star’s political manifesto is full of mistakes, misquotes, and is utterly misguided, unfunny, illogical, and unreadable. Watch the copies fly from the shelves.

Indeed, Brand proclaims himself “a big fan of [Fidel] Castro and [Che] Guevara” because “they were sexy, cool, tough” and the fetid autocracy they imposed on the Cuban people “was a remarkable success in many respects.” (Fidel is also described as being “double cool” for a four-hour, filibustering courtroom speech, while Che Guevara is described as a “dear, beautiful, morally unimpeachable” revolutionary.)

And what were those successes, in a country that routinely ranks as one of the least free countries on the planet? “Education for everyone, land sharing, emancipation of women, and equal rights for black Cubans.” This latter achievement would come as a welcome surprise to black Cubans, who are second-class citizens—equal only in the sense that, like all Cubans, they too have no rights. And yes, education is for everyone—provided they want to read wooden agitprop about how education in Cuba is for everyone.

Of which Fidel boasted, claiming “Cubans are the most cultured people in the world.”

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Oscar Taveras: Road safety in the Dominican Republic
Gone too soon

. . . thorny political, economic and cultural factors have conspired against Dominican motorists. The government’s nominal motorcycle-helmet and seat-belt laws apply only to drivers, not passengers, and enforcement of speed limits and drunk-driving rules is lax. The WHO report scored its efforts in those areas just a three and a two out of ten. Less than 10% of tickets issued for vehicular infractions ever get paid, and drive-through liquor stores and alcohol sales at petrol stations expose drivers to constant temptation. Unions representing bus and taxi drivers have opposed proposed bills that could expose them to new regulation.

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s National Assembly to Vote on Term Limits
Court Rules Lawmakers Will Determine if President Correa Can Be Re-Elected Indefinitely

IMMIGRATION
Obama’s Border Policy Fueled Epidemic, Evidence Shows

JAMAICA
The Asianisation to Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
GAO: State Department Fails to Produce Reports on Iranian Adventurism in Latin America

MEXICO
Mass Graves, Murderous State-Cartel Alliance Revealed in Guerrero
Hundreds of Bodies Found Near Iguala, Mexico, But Not the 43 Students

Keeping Mexico’s Revolutionary Fires Alive

Crisis in Mexico: Could Forty-Three Missing Students Spark a Revolution? Revolution against whom?

PACIFIC ALLIANCE
Looking to “Doing Business” in Latam, try the Pacific Alliance, forget Mercosur
The World Bank’s “Doing Business” global rating is not very enthusiastic about Latin American and the Caribbean which only first surfaces in position 34 out of the 189 countries considered.

PANAMA
Panel discusses big changes coming at the Panama Canal

PARAGUAY
The Place Where Rutherford B. Hayes Is A Really Big Deal

PERU
Peru says most of $3 bln in bonds sold to manage existing debt

PUERTO RICO

Puerto Rico Government Looks to Raise Tax on OilLegislators filed a measure Thursday that could raise the excise tax on a barrel of crude oil from $9.25 to $15.50, to generate $178 million a year. It also would allow the Highway and Transportation Authority’s loan to be transferred to Puerto Rico’s Infrastructure Financing Authority, which is authorized to issue bonds

URUGUAY
Uruguay registers cannabis growers
The Uruguayan government announces the start of registration for licensed cannabis growers as part of its plan to legalise the drug.

VENEZUELA
Unhappy Halloween: Very Scary Stuff From the Castro Colony of Caracastan

Elías Jaua’s nanny detained in Brazil for gun possession has been released

The week’s posts and podcast:
Bad news for Chile

Mexico: Tahmooressi released, back in US

Mexico: 3 siblings, US citizens, dead

Venezuela: last on property rights

Dancing the hemisphere

Brazil: The election was tweeted

Venezuela to appeal ICSID Exxon decision

Brazil: Ibovespa volatility

At Da Tech Guy Blog
About those walking in NYC for ten hours videos

Whatever happened to the Carnival Magic with the ebola scare?

Podcast
Elections in Brazil PLUS other US-Latin America stories of the week



Venezuela, springboard for Hezbollah

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Tarek El Aissami

The Center for a Secure and Free Society has released a report,CANADA ON GUARD: Assessing the Immigration Security Threat of
Iran, Venezuela and Cuba
which

highlights attempts to violate Canada’s immigration system, examines Venezuela’s role as a “bridge” for Iranian covert access to Canada, reviews the use of cultural exchange and other soft power strategies to win support for state sponsors of terrorism, and presents preliminary policy recommendations for strengthening Canada’s immigration and national security system

The report’s key points are:

  • Iran is cooperating with Venezuela and Cuba to exploit the seams in the Canadian immigration system.
  • From 2009 t0 2011, Latin America was the largest embarkation region for improperly documented Iranians migrating to Canada who seek refugee status.
  • Venezuelan authorities provided at least 173 passports, visas and other documentation to Islamist extremists seeking to slip unnoticed into North America.
  •  Soft power solidarity networks in Canada serve as a “Trojan Horse” for Iran and ALBA to establish cover for spies, saboteurs and other nefarious actors.

Less than a year after Canada shuttered the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, the Iranian regime opened an “unofficial” consulate in Montreal and began shuttling paperwork back and forth to the Iranian embassy in Cuba for processing.

Especially interesting: the sections on how Cuba’s role in the Misión Identidad (biometric ID cards) immigration system facilitates the entry of Cuban agents into Venezuela, and Tare[c]k El Aissami’s role as Iran, Syria and Hezbollah’s man in Mérida.

Read more about Iranian infiltration in Canada and the Americas here.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!