on the Fair Blog by Janine Jackson
Quote: “US Attorney General Eric Holder called the arrest a “landmark achievement”: “The criminal activity Guzman allegedly directed contributed to the death and destruction of millions of lives across the globe through drug addiction, violence and corruption.”
But that activity wasn’t conducted by Guzman alone, and another notable player appears to be missing from the current story.” (bold ours)
Read it all here.
(NB: It’s about time. And too little too late for those who continue to rot in jail because of these regressive policies still on the books. And the victims of militarization in Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras etc are not addressed by piecemeal responses like decriminalization or changes in domestic sentencing law that’s still 18:1 for crack (black people) vs. cocaine (white people) possession etc.. – Rob)
Liberals and Republicans signal huge shift in attitude to US drug laws
With a handful of states considering new laws, America is becoming more sophisticated in its attitude towards drugs
by Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch
published in The Observer, Saturday 8 February 2014
Never did I think I would find myself agreeing with Texas governor Rick Perry on drug policy. But when the darling of Tea Party Republicans argued in favour of reducing prison populations and against federal obstruction of Washington and Colorado’s alternative marijuana policies, I found myself applauding the three-term governor.
“After 40 years of the war on drugs, I can’t change what happened in the past,” Perry said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “What I can do as the governor of the second largest state in the nation is to implement policies that start us toward a decriminalisation and keep people from going to prison and destroying their lives, and that’s what we’ve done over the last decade.” Continue Reading »
and collusion with the cartels.
LEÓN: Despite the agreement, now there are doubts still lingering as to the capability and the willingness of the Mexican federal government to clean the state of organized crime, even more now in the lights of the recent attacks in Apatzingán while under federal protection, mainly because there is no trust in the honesty of the federal officials.
How the NSA Infiltrated Mexico’s Computers
“My opinion is that the demand for an explanation from the Obama administration is nothing more than a face-saving move by Peña Nieto. Obama has already not only admitted to the programs revealed by Snowden, but defended them.
Mexico does not need an explanation from President Obama. It needs a president who defends the dignity and independence of Mexico by drawing a diplomatic line that distinguishes between cooperation and intervention.”
Rest published at Counterpunch here
Read all of this By SPIEGEL staff here.
Part 2: Targeting Mexico
Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Security, which was folded into the new National Security Commission at the beginning of 2013, was responsible at the time for the country’s police, counterterrorism, prison system and border police. Most of the agency’s nearly 20,000 employees worked at its headquarters on Avenida Constituyentes, an important traffic artery in Mexico City. A large share of the Mexican security authorities under the auspices of the Secretariat are supervised from the offices there, making Avenida Constituyentes a one-stop shop for anyone seeking to learn more about the country’s security apparatus.
That considered, assigning the TAO unit responsible for tailored operations to target the Secretariat makes a lot of sense. After all, one document states, the US Department of Homeland Security and the United States’ intelligence agencies have a need to know everything about the drug trade, human trafficking and security along the US-Mexico border. The Secretariat presents a potential “goldmine” for the NSA’s spies, a document states. The TAO workers selected systems administrators and telecommunications engineers at the Mexican agency as their targets, thus marking the start of what the unit dubbed Operation WHITETAMALE.
Workers at NSA’s target selection office, which also had Angela Merkel in its sights in 2002 before she became chancellor, sent TAO a list of officials within the Mexican Secretariat they thought might make interesting targets. As a first step, TAO penetrated the target officials’ email accounts, a relatively simple job. Next, they infiltrated the entire network and began capturing data.
Soon the NSA spies had knowledge of the agency’s servers, including IP addresses, computers used for email traffic and individual addresses of diverse employees. They also obtained diagrams of the security agencies’ structures, including video surveillance. It appears the operation continued for years until SPIEGEL first reported on it in October.
The technical term for this type of activity is “Computer Network Exploitation” (CNE). The goal here is to “subvert endpoint devices,” according to an internal NSA presentation that SPIEGEL has viewed. The presentation goes on to list nearly all the types of devices that run our digital lives — “servers, workstations, firewalls, routers, handsets, phone switches, SCADA systems, etc.” SCADAs are industrial control systems used in factories, as well as in power plants. Anyone who can bring these systems under their control has the potential to knock out parts of a country’s critical infrastructure.
Why are we still fighting the drug war?
published in the January 6, 2014 edition of The New Yorker
Read it here.
Excellent piece, by Nick Alexandrov, on the origins and recent history of the ‘war on drugs’ and what the US government has really been fighting. I wonder if the Washington Office on Latin America still maintains their position on Plan Mexico, that they are “not for it or against it”.
Quote from this powerful New York Times oped, published December 22nd, 2013: “It is important to recognize that while Mr. Obama showed mercy to these eight people, his administration has been the least merciful in modern times. The power to mitigate an overly harsh sentence is squarely in his hands, and yet in nearly five years he has commuted just nine sentences and issued 52 pardons.” (bold mine)
President Obama’s decision on Thursday to commute the outrageously long drug sentences of eight men and women showed a measure of compassion and common sense. But it also served to highlight the injustice being done to thousands of prisoners under federal sentencing laws.
Read the rest here.
Excerpt: Juan Orlando Hernández, the right wing National Party politician who was the declared winner in the presidential elections in Honduras, based his campaign on “christian values” against the homosexual community. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced Hernández as the winner, saying that he was 6 points ahead of Xiomara Castro of the LIBRE party (The Freedom and Re-foundation party), wife of former president Mel Zelaya who was ousted in the 2009 Coup. LIBRE, a new party that was born out of Coup resistance, has incorporated many members of the sexual diversity community in its ranks and has denounced fraud at the polls.
Rest of the article, Written by Andalusia Knoll, and published on 20 December 2013, here. Where are the Amnesty International action alerts against Secretary of State Kerry and Obama for giving the thumbs up to a violence-ridden fraudulent election? Post election, it’s just symbolic nonsense, without naming names, and, most shockingly, leaving the major military backer of the junta, the United States Government under then Secretary of State Clinton, currently John Kerry, both under President Obama, off the hook.
by domestic Insider NGOs.
Excellent report here by Bruce Dixon for Black Agenda Report entitled “Obama & Holder Win Court Case, Keep Thousands in Prison Under Unfair 80s Crack Sentencing Laws”.
Soon to come, we hope to have an expose of foreign Insider NGOs that are serving to prolong and even benefit from the ‘Drug War”.
A strong indictment, by Peter Watt, of the “drug war” and the large banks and wealthy bankers who profit from it.
Attempts to rescue the brutal past from historical amnesia and indifference have been an immense challenge for Argentine, Guatemalan, Salvadoran, Chilean, Paraguayan, and Uruguayan human rights campaigners and victims of political repression, and it has taken decades of persistence and direct action to bring any of those responsible for past crimes to trial. One wonders how future activists will confront the murderers, torturers, politicians, and bankers of the drug war in Mexico. Will the respectable men and women of the international banking industry, for example, who enable the carnage and chaos by laundering billions of dollars of cartel money, ever face jail sentences for their active complicity in one of the planet’s most violent criminal industries?
Please read the rest of this piece at Peter Watt’s NACLA blog here.
|NSA Staffed U.S.-Only Intelligence “Fusion Center” in Mexico City|
|Written by Michael Evans and Jesse Franzblau|
|Tuesday, 19 November 2013|
Source: Migration Declassified
The memo was written by William Wechsler, then the head of CN> and is addressed to Mike Vickers, who was then Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities (ASD (SO/LIC&IC)). In this post, Vickers played a leading role in coordinating clandestine operations against terrorist groups, including drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. Vickers is perhaps best known for his role, memorialized in the book and film Charlie Wilson’s War, as a CIA operative who helped to arm Afghan Mujahideen fighters in the war against the Soviets in the 1980s. Appointed Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence by President Barack Obama in 2010, Vickers is now the top civilian intelligence official at DOD.
While the term “high value target” often refers to leaders of terrorist groups or hostile states, highly-sensitive NSA documents disclosed in September 2013 by Brazil’s O Globo show that NSA officials used the same language to refer to the presidents of Mexico and Brazil.
Read the rest here.
Interview with a clear-sighted fighter against the ‘drug war’ on Democracy Now November 11th.
Published: November 6, 2013
By DAN FROSCH
“DENVER — Marijuana proponents scored significant victories on Tuesday as voters around the country passed ballot measures decriminalizing marijuana possession and approved regulatory taxes on the drug.”
The election yesterday resulted in (yet another) signal of the US public’s opposition to the ‘war on drugs’ and a demand for change. Rest of piece here.
As we organize for justice for Brad Will and others murdered with impunity, let’s not forget that the demonstrators and social movement Brad was documenting were targeted by plain-clothed police and other paramilitary forces.
Brad Will – Murdered with impunity by Mexican Government paramilitaries 7 years ago.
The US journalist was covering the teachers’ strike and popular movement in Oaxaca, Mexico, which the Mexican government was violently attempting to crush.
The Case of a Murdered US journalist
On June 14, 2006 the PRI Governor of Oaxaca, Ulyses Ruiz Ortiz, authorized a pre-dawn violent attack by paramilitary police officers on a peaceful protest camp of striking-teachers. A widespread social movement of thousands of inhabitants of Oaxaca, APPO, was launched in response, its ranks swelling because of the notoriety of Governor Ruiz’s corruption and the popular recognition of his having taken the Governorship through fraudulent elections.
At a street demonstration on October 27, 2006, U.S. Indymedia video journalist Brad Will was shot and killed while filming a confrontation between APPO activists and paramilitary forces. His film footage that day showed local police, municipal officials and paramilitaries shooting directly at demonstrators. Continue Reading »
[Editor: Drug trade listed by US spies as top strategic objective of surveillance. Benefits to international (US) investments are also a by-product. Human rights, a much lower priority, for President Obama's spying program.]
Der Spiegel, 20 October 2013
By Jens Glüsing, Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark
The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policymaking and the political system. The news is likely to hurt ties between the US and Mexico.
The National Security Agency (NSA) has a division for particularly difficult missions. Called “Tailored Access Operations” (TAO), this department devises special methods for special targets.
That category includes surveillance of neighboring Mexico, and in May 2010, the division reported its mission accomplished. A report classified as “top secret” said: “TAO successfully exploited a key mail server in the Mexican Presidencia domain within the Mexican Presidential network to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon’s public email account.”
According to the NSA, this email domain was also used by cabinet members, and contained “diplomatic, economic and leadership communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico’s political system and internal stability.” The president’s office, the NSA reported, was now “a lucrative source.”
This operation, dubbed “Flatliquid,” is described in a document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, which SPIEGEL has now had the opportunity to analyze. The case is likely to cause further strain on relations between Mexico and the United States, which have been tense since Brazilian television network TV Globo revealed in September that the NSA monitored then-presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto and others around him in the summer of 2012. Peña Nieto, now Mexico’s president, summoned the US ambassador in the wake of that news, but confined his reaction to demanding an investigation into the matter.
Now, though, the revelation that the NSA has systematically infiltrated an entire computer network is likely to trigger deeper controversy, especially since the NSA’s snooping took place during the term of Peña Nieto’s predecessor Felipe Calderón, a leader who worked more closely with Washington than any other Mexican president before him.
Cryptome: This spying was apparently done from the NSA’s Medina Regional SIGINT Operations Center (MRSOC), Lackland Air Force Base Annex, San Antonio, TX (formerly Medina Regional SIGINT Operations Center):
Commends President Mujica of Uruguay for Marijuana Legalization Proposal; Says That U.N. Should Allow Countries to “Experiment with New Models”
Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina spoke out forcefully today against the failures of drug prohibition and urged countries to experiment with new drug control models while speaking at the United Nations General Assembly.
What a pleasant surprise! As of June, 2013, HRW has adopted a new position on the ‘drug war’. We had not learned of this development until a recent panel discussion of the ‘drug war’ and its devastating impacts in Mexico.
During this panel, Friends of Brad Will asked panelists what people in the United States could do to stop the violence. Nik Steinberg answered that we should advocate for a conversation to take place in the US about alternative models to the current one.
After the Q & A, we followed up with Steinberg to ask whether that conversation would be taking place within HRW. He answered it had taken place and the new position was the outcome.
Though certainly an encouraging development, Human Rights Watch’s new position should be coupled with forceful advocacy for the US government to end the ‘war on drugs’ and not just discuss doing so.
On Thursday, September 19th, Friends of Brad Will attended the demonstration on behalf of Mexican teachers facing neoliberal education law ‘reform’.
A number of teachers have been killed in this nationwide mobilization. There are striking similarities between their struggle and what farmers in Colombia have been fighting for and being killed for in Colombia.
Come to the REPORTBACK at CUNY Graduate Center September 24th at 6p.m., Room 5409 (bring photo i.d. for entrance into building).
From Mexico City to New York City
Teacher Insurgency in Mexico
‘This is not your usual protest: the teachers drove the Mexican Congress out of the capital, and twice blocked Mexico City’s airport. They are striking against union-busting educational “reform” laws that threaten to throw tens of thousands oout of their jobs while privatizing and potentially eliminating schools in impoverished and indigenous areas.’
You can learn more about what the Mexican teachers’ mobilization is all about and what US-based activists and teachers’ unions can be doing in solidarity!
Talk to your friends who are teachers to urge support by their unions for the demands of Mexican teachers!
Attend this rally!
We’re all suffering the impacts of neo-liberal economic policies which some HOPED were going to be scaled back, beginning with a promise to reconsider NAFTA by then-candidate Obama. Here is that same policy in full force by USG partner in militarization, the Mexican government. An opportunity to challenge the Mexican and US governments’ betrayal of their own people’s economic future and sovereignty.
Come to the PROTEST IN SUPPORT OF MEXICAN TEACHERS AT NYC MEXICAN CONSULATE which has been called for this Thursday, September 19 at 4:00pm
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BRAD WILL PRESENTE !
By Ezekiel Edwards, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project
September 4th, 2013
Over the last few months, we’ve been bombarded with revelation after revelation about the NSA’s unprecedented spying on Americans. But, according to The New York Times, the NSA’s untethered snooping is eclipsed by the agents fighting in a war that began long before 9/11: the costly and failed War on Drugs.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s secret Hemisphere Project, news of which broke this week, allows drug law enforcement agencies broad access to billions of AT&T phone records going back a quarter century—to 1987. As The New York Times explained, “the scale and longevity of the data storage appears to be unmatched by other government programs, including the N.S.A.’s gathering of phone call logs under the Patriot Act.”
Our government’s mass telephonic data-mining has sparked immense and deserved outrage. But to those who have been targeted by the War on Drugs for the last several decades, the Hemisphere Project is only one in a long line of privacy-invading tactics employed by the U.S. government. Many other intrusions – such as the thousands of unconstitutional stops-and-frisks of people of color in cities across the country, the countless doors kicked in by police in search of drugs, the seizure and forfeiture of property of people never convicted of a crime – are representative of the kinds of common corporal intrusions that have been endured by many Americans, disproportionately of color, long before many post 9/11-era invasions of privacy became commonplace for all Americans.
Further, since 9/11, there has been an increasingly entrenched relationship between overreaching national security programs and domestic drug law enforcement policies. Each has fed on the other: the long-running drug war provided useful surveillance blueprints for the massive domestic spying programs that have sprouted up since 9/11. At the same time, domestic drug law enforcement agencies have seized upon the dismantling of basic constitutional protections over the past decade – in the name of national security – and pointed the resulting weapons toward America’s own citizens.
Read the rest of this important post by Ezekiel Edwards here.
Why has the Drug Enforcement Agency reactivated a discredited serial perjurer as a paid informant?
Earlier this year, a number of outlets reported that the DEA has been employing Andrew Chambers in undercover investigations across the country.1
Chambers was a paid informant for the DEA from 1986 to 2000. During that time he collected more than $4 million from the federal government and gave false testimony at least 16 times during that time period.
The DEA’s reprehensible behavior and misuse of taxpayer dollars must not go unchecked. It’s time Congress reign in the DEA’s shady practices.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new and welcome commitment to drug policy reform in August, focusing specifically on rolling-back minimum sentencing requirements for non-violent drug offenders.2
Unfortunately, stories like the DEA’s continued use of Andrew Chambers call into question the Obama administration’s seriousness in ending the war on drugs. Continue Reading »
Thanks to our West Coast Coordinator for these articles!
The spying scandal, first reported in the article below, may foreclose USG-friendly policy options in Brazil and Mexico. As the Mexican government is forced to respond to threats to Mexican sovereignty, policies supported by the USG, which have been increasingly unpopular in Mexico, like the Merida Initiative and Mexican oil industry, may have to be delayed. The scandal seems to be already forcing the Brazilian President Rousseff to act, with Brazilian foreign minister, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo calling the actions of the US government “an inadmissible and unacceptable violation of Brazilian sovereignty”. Let’s see if they put their money with their mouth is and defend Brazilian sovereignty or if it’s just for show.
We’ll find out soon if Mexican President Pena Nieto is just a US pawn or if he has any real concern for the sovereignty of his own country.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/09/03/5704721/nsa-leak-might-lead-to-cancellation.html#storylink=cpy
Here below is the original article outlining the Snowden revalations revealed by US whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
Continue Reading »
Strong NYTimes piece by Scott Shane and Colin Moynihan exposing the Hemisphere Project and yet more costly, civil/privacy rights eroding government actions in the name of the ‘war on drugs’.
Also, in case you missed it, this New Yorker piece by Sarah Stillman on RICO abuses, often under cover of same ‘war on drugs’.