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.
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
September 9th, 2014
Trump-Branded Golf Course in Puerto Rico Continues to Struggle
Golf Course Defaulted on Borrowing Agreement with Municipal Bondholders
The golf course opened in March 2004 as Coco Beach Golf & Country Club but renamed itself in 2008 after making a licensing deal to use the Trump name. The facility has two 18-hole courses that were designed by professional golfer Tom Kite and a 46,000-square foot clubhouse.
Over in Atlantic City, Trump Entertainment Resorts Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy Filing Includes Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza Casinos (emphasis added)
Units associated with Trump Plaza, which is already slated for closure, and with the Trump Taj Mahal sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with Tuesday’s filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., along with Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. and other affiliates. Among other things, the filings halt Mr. Trump’s efforts to get a New Jersey court to get his name off the casinos.
September is working out to be a tough month for The Donald.
September 9th, 2014
Chile Blames Terrorists After Bomb Blast Hurts 14 (emphasis added)
A blast ripped through a fast-food restaurant next to a busy subway station in Chile’s capital on Monday, injuring at least 14 people in the most damaging of nearly 30 bombings or attempted bombings in Santiago this year.
While no group claimed responsibility for the blast, many past bombings have been claimed by anarchist groups and Chile’s government said it would invoke the country’s tough anti-terror laws.
The explosion took place during lunchtime at a restaurant in a small, underground shopping mall connected to the Escuela Militar subway station in Santiago’s affluent Las Condes neighborhood.
Regarding the 29 other bombs,
Santiago is one of the safest capitals in Latin America, but Chileans have been shocked by at least 29 bombs that have been found across the city so far this year. Some have not gone off and none of the other bombs before this one caused any injuries.
In some cases anarchist groups have said the bombs were planted to demand freedom for two Chilean anarchists imprisoned in Spain for an explosion in a cathedral in Zaragoza last year.
The leftist anarchists arrested for the Spain explosion, Francisco Javier Solar and Monica Andrea Knight, are alleged members of the “Commando Insurreccional Mateo Morral,”
a man and a woman who were part of a well organized anarchist command ‘extremely dangerous’ and with strong international connections.
However, nobody has claimed responsibility for the Santiago blast so far.
The bomb was detonated during lunchtime at a restaurant in a small, underground shopping mall connected to the Escuela Militar subway station in Santiago’s affluent Las Condes neighborhood.
September 8th, 2014
The WSJ reports,
Venezuela’s Press Crackdown Stokes Growth of Online Media
Digital Alternatives Expand as Newspapers and Broadcasters Struggle
Using legislation, steep fines, pressure on advertisers and control of printing paper, the government during the past decade has corralled the mainstream press, says Carlos Lauria, who oversees the Americas for the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York. He and other free-speech advocates say the intimidation has deepened since Mr. Maduro was narrowly elected in April 2013 after the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, with dozens of reporters detained, beaten and censored, Mr. Lauria says.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders recently ranked Venezuela among the worst offenders on its press-freedom index.
The article mentions Twitter, La Patilla, Vivoplay and Prodavinci.
I also recommend these 4 Venezuelan blogs (in alphabetical order): Caracas Chronicles, Devil’s Excrement, Infodio, and Venezuela News And Views.
September 6th, 2014
The former Lula cabinet member is now ahead in the polls:
Brazil’s Marina Silva Woos Farmers Ahead of Presidential Poll
Frontrunner Needs Powerful Agriculture Lobby She Alienated as Environment Minister
Ms. Silva doesn’t need the support of farmers like Mr. Ceolin to win the elections in October—an initial Oct. 5 vote and what polls indicate will be an inevitable runoff. All the polls taken since she officially became the Socialists’ candidate, replacing the late candidate Eduardo Campos, show her beating incumbent Dilma Rousseff in the Oct. 26 runoff.
But if she becomes president, strong opposition from Brazil’s wealthy and influential agricultural sector could make governing more difficult, said Paulo Calmon, a political-science professor at the University of Brasilia.
Ms. Silva promises to end Ms. Rousseff’s policy of forcing state-controlled oil company Petrobras to subsidize the price of gasoline to help control inflation, a policy that ethanol producers have strongly criticized because cheaper gasoline boosts competition for ethanol fuel. The Silva stance doesn’t just play to farmers: The prospect of less interference with Petrobras has boosted the company’s shares, and the benchmark Ibovespa stocks index, to the highest levels in more than a year.
Will see how it all develops; Guido Mantega, the finance minister for the last eight years, is on his way out.
September 5th, 2014
My latest, The week in the administration, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.
Raise your hand if you’re sure,
September 5th, 2014
US Signs Agreement with Mexico to Protect Mexican Workers–Including Illegals
The four-page memorandum states in the “Overall Objective” section, in part, that its purpose is: “to establish a collaborative relationship to provide Mexican Nationals in the United States with information, guidance, and access to education and training resources to help them understand and exercise their workplace rights, particularly with regard to reducing violations against them under the laws and regulations that are administered and enforced by EEOC.”
Nowhere in the MOU does it show exactly what Mexico is doing to protect its workers’ rights and what processes there are to safeguard them in Mexico.
Linked yo by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!
September 4th, 2014
Readers of this blog will find nothing surprising about this, but this article is today’s must-read:
Iran’s Tango with Latin America
Latin America and the Caribbean tend to be looked at through the prism of drugs, criminal violence or illegal immigration. Anything that challenges this myopic view, such as Iran expanding its operational reach into the region, is either ignored or the threat minimized to justify the way things have always been done. On numerous instances, U.S. agencies responsible for an avalanche of data about the transnational, cross-regional nexus between narcotrafficking, arms networks and terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, have been marginalized and the Western Hemisphere links to these particular security risks erroneously set aside or treated solely as “law-enforcement matters.”
The crime-terror convergence; the bilateral relations between Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia; the decades-long systematic effort to establish clandestine intelligence stations and operatives. Read it here.