Wednesday, December 10th – International Human Rights Day – demonstrations will be held (again) nationwide challenging the lawlessness of the USG in not holding Bush and Co. accountable for torture, thereby signaling that it may continue with impunity. In NYC members of our network will do our part to challenge the USG militarization of Latin America under the ‘drug war’ and the devastation it has caused. Plan Mexico and other militarization/lethal aid schemes targeting Latin America have come under fire.
So we can expect more distortions of Plan Mexico’s value by inside the beltway pundits. Continue Reading »
Good piece here too.
And this one too below.
These are the people who fund Plan Mexico and they’ve ignored us. Call them and tell them what you think. Stop Obama and the Democratic Party’s 7 year policy of support for Plan Mexico (and other USG militarization) projects targeting Mexico and Latin America.
Senator Gillibrand: Tel. (202) 224-4451
Senator Durbin: Tel. (202) 224-2152
Senator Leahy: Tel. (202) 224-4242
Make these calls to end the carnage!
By Andrew O’Reilly
Published December 03, 2014
Fox News Latino
New York – A group of over a hundred academics, activists and students gathered Wednesday afternoon in New York City to protest the U.S. government’s funding of the Mexican military in the midst of the unrest engulfing that country following the disappearance 43 students from a rural teachers’ college.
Congregating in a cold rain outside the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in Lower Manhattan, demonstrators from as far away as Santa Fe, New Mexico – some holding signs with messages like, “Mexico is family,” in Spanish and the hashtag #USTired2 – are part of a group of more than 43 protests and vigils taking place across the U.S. on Wednesday to demand the end of U.S. government anti-drug funding to Mexico.
“The Mexican government has received more than $2 billion,” said Maria Heyaca, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Fox News Latino. “What we’re seeing with the disappearance of these 43 students is that it’s not an isolated case. We’re talking about more than 30,000 people who are disappeared in Mexico, more than 100,000 people have been murdered.”
Continue Reading »
Important petition. Please sign and share.
Go here to sign.
“The depth of the Mexican crisis, the state and drug cartel violence, and the perception that the electoral route is closed because of widespread fraud, manipulation and corruption, means that Mexican popular movements have to work in the middle of a boiling cauldron of repression and violence. The United States is deeply involved in this cauldron through military agreements with the Mexican armed forces in carrying out this repression in Mexico under the cover of the drug war. And Canadian mining companies are also deeply involved as they seize and despoil the waters and lands of Mexican peasants and carry out brutal repression through private armies aided by various levels of the Mexican government against many Mexican communities. The giant oil corporations welcomed in by the privatization of Mexican oil will be protected from popular protests by the Mexican armed forces with the ongoing massive military assistance from the United States. U.S. and Canadian companies and their governments are involved in direct and indirect ways alongside the Mexican state in the repression of the Mexican people and the despoliation of their society.”
Join us in New York or wherever you are.
In New York, at 5 pm until we leave, on Monday, October 27th, we will gather in front of US Senator Gillibrand’s and Senator Schumer’s offices, at 780 Third Avenue (between 48th and 49th street) to urge they show leadership in meeting Friends of Brad Will’s demands.
We will draw attention to the impunity Brad’s murderers and those who covered up his murder enjoy. We will also urge the Senators’s effective attention to
* Tlatlaya, where 22 youth were killed and the government has admitted that most were executed by the 102nd army battalion, whose members were trained in the US;
* the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and Iguala in Guerrero state (where people “do not trust any of the professional police“; did the USG train them too? the US State Dpt isn’t saying);
* the targeting of Dr. Mireles and the repression of grassroots self-defense organizations faced with corrupt (US-backed Mexican federal government and local state governments) in the states of Michoacan and Guerrero, and
* the many thousands of victims of the ‘war on drugs’ in which the Mexican state and the US Government and its friends in money-laundering banking circles collude.
Join us and spread the word. Urge your organizations to support our calls. And urge elected officials to recognize these demands. (for more, go to “Take Action” on this website)
An important piece on the US government colluding with narco-trafficking, a story still relevant today.
Read this devastating piece on the San Fernando massacre of demonstrating students.
The article describes a pattern of ‘predictable and thus preventable’ results of Mexican government actions and omissions that was “responsible for systematic, egregious and recurrent human rights violations”. We warned Amnesty International and the Washington Office on Latin America as well as Human Rights Watch about the ‘drug war’ military aid package known at Plan Mexico (which the article refers to by its official name, “the Merida Initiative” in 2006 and 2007 precisely for these predictable results. These organizations nevertheless refused to oppose and even praised the package despite our warnings. Only Human Rights Watch has since taken an official position against the ‘drug war’ although we have not seen forceful and effective advocacy by them to oppose the Obama expansion of it.
155,000 dead not counting tens of thousands disappeared. Narco-trafficking organizations as powerful as ever with profits relatively untouched.
Why would Hillary Clinton and Patrick Leahy call this a successful policy?
Other good piece here:
The Mexican drug war is the most deadly conflict in Latin America other than Guatemala’s 30 year civil war: http://t.co/zp68K43izV
— The Takeaway (@TheTakeaway) June 19, 2014
Global Drug Report: Don’t Just Decriminalize, Demilitarize
“The drug war is a pretext for the militarization of resource rich areas in Mexico and Central America, as happened with Plan Colombia in Colombia,” said Dawn Paley, author of the forthcoming book “Drug War Capitalism.”
A report released earlier this month by former heads of state and other global political figures made headlines across the world for calling the drug war a failure and for its endorsement of the decriminalization of drugs, including heroin and cocaine.
However, one of the report’s major criticisms, its critique of the militarization of the drug war, was largely neglected by the media.
Rest of article here.
Important new developments in the “War on Drugs”!
The tide has turned.
by LAURA CARLSEN
Published on Countpunch Weekend Edition July 25-27 (go to Counterpunch site for the version with important hotlinks).
* Laura Carlsen is the Director of the Americas Program.
After three years of relative silence, the U.S. press has finally “discovered” the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors piling up on the U.S. border. Although the coverage often began with moving stories of the hardships these young migrants faced, it soon turned ugly. For right-wing pundits and politicians, the “humanitarian crisis” has become a crackdown on kids.
The dominant narrative has been that foolish parents, perhaps duped by scheming criminal bands, are sending hapless children north to take advantage of loopholes in U.S. immigration practices.
This is just plain wrong. On every count.
Knowing the Risks
Continue Reading »
Another reason Plan Mexico must be ended and for us to support the people of Mexico against the violence and corruption plaguing their government.
Take action urged by the Americas Program at the Center for International Policy!
Demand justice in the murder of U.S. journalist Brad Will
Suspend Merida Initiative aid to Mexican security forces
June 14 would have been U.S. journalist Brad Will’s 44th birthday. Will was shot and killed covering protests in the Mexican state of Oaxaca in 2006. Years later, his murder and that of at least 18 Mexicans murdered in the protests have still not been fully investigated and prosecuted by the Mexican government.
(See details of the Brad Will case here)
THIS WEEK: Please call Senator Dick Durbin who represents the state where Brad’s parents live (D, Illinois) and urge him to use his leadership position to demand justice in the murder of Brad Will and immediately halt US aid to Mexican military and police.
In the first complaint filed with the new Inspector General of the Police Department for the City of New York, on his first day in office, Friends of Brad Will recommend to the Inspector General a course of action for exposing and ending targeting of political activists by the NYPD, including the spying on and infiltration of Friends of Brad Will.
If you are a member of a human rights, environmental justice, police reform, good government or other civic organization, you and your organizations may have been targeted by NYPD operations over the last two decades.
You and your organizations can join us in calling on the Inspector General Philip Eure to conduct a full and public audit of NYPD spying, infiltration, and subversion of political activist groups and dissenters and to recommend laws mandating severe penalties for continuation of such unlawful practices to serve as an effective deterrent to their repetition. Read full complaint here.
Take action by contacting Mayor De Blasio and your City Council member and urging them to support our complaint and call for a full audit of the NYPD’s history of targeting political activists and an end those practices. Click here to view a sample letter to Mayor De Blasio you can cut and past and modify to your tastes. Continue Reading »
Here is an example of a letter you could send to Senator Durbin to end impunity for the murder of Brad Will and many others by Mexican government-backed paramilitaries
Subject: Plan Mexico (aka the Merida Initiative) and he Murder of US journalist Brad Will
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Max_Gleischman@durbin.senate.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Please thank Mr Durbin for writing about Illinois resident Brad Will’s murder in Oaxaca Mexico some time ago. What is the latest?
Senator Durbin represents the state where Brad’s parents live (D, Illinois) I urge you to use you leadership position to end immediately US aid to Mexican military and police and that such aid be ended until Brad Will’s murderers and the murders of other innocents (at least 18 Mexicans during the same period) and those in the Mexican civil administration who helped cover up these murders are all brought to justice.
Senator Durbin serves as the Assistant Majority Leader, the second highest ranking position in the Senate. Also known as the Majority Whip, Senator Durbin has been elected to this leadership post by his Democratic colleagues every two years since 2006. He sits on the Senate Judiciary, Appropriations, Foreign Relations and Rules Committees.
You have the power to rally publicly your Senate colleagues and thereby to impress on the Obama Administration the importance of taking public action to ensure that ALL of those responsible for these murders and their cover-up are brought to justice and that military and police aid to Mexico is halted until they are.
Please reply, thank you.
Your Name Here
By Joseph J. Kolb
Published May 12, 2014
Note: We warned Washington Office on Against Latin America about the absence of benchmarks in Plan Mexico funding proposals by Bush. But they just pushed ahead despite the obvious failure of the model as made clear by corruption and brutality scandals that are endemic in the Colombia “drug war”. Of course, Plan Mexico is as much about ‘fighting drugs’ as Plan Colombia was.
Mexican police have captured high-profile drug kingpins in recent years, but complaints of abuse and corruption from members of the force have skyrocketed.AP
More than $1 billion in U.S. aid has done nothing to stem the rampant corruption and human rights violations within Mexican law enforcement, and lawmakers ought to rethink the flow of another $900 million in taxpayer dollars earmarked for south of the border, according to a new report from a Washington nonprofit.
The aid is part of the 2007 Merida Initiative, which promised Mexico’s federal police force funds for equipment and training, but tied the money to efforts to curtail corruption and abuse within the vast department. But the Washington Office on Latin America found complaints to Mexico’s Human Rights Commission have exploded over the same time, rising to 802 in 2012 from 146 six years earlier. Although the authors recognize Mexico’s attempts to improve its dysfunctional criminal justice system, they found it has failed to root out corruption and human rights violations among its police officers. Continue Reading »
See his full FAQ here.
Here’s the text below:
The people have spoken – it is time for the federal government to reform the failed marijuana policies that ruin lives and cost us billions of dollars every year.
Last November, Colorado and Washington voters chose to legalize small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use. Nineteen Jurisdictions already allow medical marijuana. Half of Americans have tried marijuana at some point in their lives, and about 18 million have used it in the past month. It has been here for years, and it is here to stay.
Instead of arresting two-thirds of a million people every year for using something that half of Americans feel should be legal, we should embark on a reasonable program allowing states to develop their own programs that the federal government should tax and regulate. This is a position that conservatives who respect states’ rights and liberals who respect individual rights should be able to get behind.
Once we have established this principle, we should finally institute a framework to tax and regulate marijuana that will save billions of dollars in enforcement-related costs and raise billions in new revenue for deficit reduction, substance abuse, and law enforcement.
Although estimates are imprecise, I believe that my Marijuana Tax Equity Act, in combination with an end to federal marijuana prohibition, should be able to produce a net savings of at least $100 billion over a decade through increased revenues and reduced expenditures, while growing the economies of small town and rural America. Continue Reading »
Excerpt of this excellent discussion:
“I see that the current illicit marketplace is the gateway. It is the environment that is the gateway, not a particular substance or drug, but the environment that we have of drug dealers acting on our corners hiring kids to sell drugs, marijuana and other drugs, recruiting them from our schools, bringing them out onto the street corners, to sell drugs in schools to other children. We’ve created an environment with policies of prohibition that puts more drugs into the hands of our young people than any other scheme we could possibly imagine. This is the worst. And we realized that back during the times of alcohol prohibition. That’s why alcohol prohibition only lasted 13 years instead of four decades.”
Excellent review of current drug policy discussions at the UN in respected UK medical journal, The Lancet.
Chris Ford, founder and clinical director of the non-governmental organisation International Doctors for Healthy Drug Policies (IDHDP), told The Lancet: “We know the global war on drugs has failed and this has had devastating consequences for individuals and communities around the world. Large amounts of money have been spent on criminalisation and repressive measures have failed to curtail supply or consumption.”
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.