cartels

Nicaragua: contra-drug series was CIA 'nightmare'

Posted on September 30th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

NicaraguaOn Sept. 18 the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released a number of classified articles from its in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence, including an article about "Dark Alliance," a 1996 series in the San Jose Mercury News that linked the CIA-backed Nicaraguan contra rebels to the sale of crack in South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s. Other US media, notably the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, harshly criticized the series' author, investigative reporter Gary Webb, noting, and often exaggerating, flaws in his reporting. Webb lost his job at the Mercury News and was never employed by a major newspaper again; he was found dead on Dec. 10, 2004 in an apparent suicide.

Mexico: protest campaign for imprisoned vigilante leader

Posted on September 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoSupporters of José Manuel Mireles Valverde, the imprisoned leader of the "community police" self-defense forces in Mexico's violence-torn Michoacán state, are holding a protest mobilization to demand his release. The biggest rally so far was held Aug. 31 in Hermosillo, Sonora, where he is being held in a maximum-security prison. Mireles was the one significant leader of the "community police" movement who refused to accept the government's deal to bring the vigilante militias under the control of the official security forces. He was arrested by state and federal police on June 27 at the Michoacán pueblo of La Mira, and charged with narcotics and arms trafficking. His legal team says the evidence against him was fabricated, and that he was tortured while in detention. In announcing the protest campaign, his lawyers and supporters said they would file complaints about his treatment with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and United Nations. They say that Mireles, a longtime activist who ran for Mexico's senate with the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in 2006, is really being punished for refusing to go along with the "community police" movement being integrated into official police and military forces themselves deeply co-opted by the drug cartels. (El Impercial, Hermosillo, Sept. 1; La Jornada, Aug. 31; El Universal, Aug. 29; AM de Queretaro, Aug. 26; Milenio, Aug. 19; El Siglo, Durango, Aug. 12; Excelsior, Jan. 17)

Peru: record coke bust points to Mexican cartel penetration

Posted on September 10th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

PeruA record-breaking cocaine bust on Peru's Pacific coast points not only to the country's booming production, but also the increasing role of the Mexican cartels in the Andean narco economy. Peru's Interior Ministry announced the haul in a Sept. 1 statement, saying National Police and DEA agents had uncovered an unprecedented 7.6 metric tons of coke hidden in a shipment of coal at a warehouse in the northern fishing port of  Huanchaco, Trujillo region. "This is the largest drug seizure ever in Peru," said Interior Minister Daniel Urresti, speaking at a Lima press conference below a banner reading "Historic Blow to Illegal Drug Trafficking" at the hanger where the shipment had been flown for incineration. "It's historic."

Mexico: a new Pax Mafiosa?

Posted on September 6th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

MexicoAmid growing concern about horrific human rights abuses by Mexico's security forces, Amnesty International on Sept. 4 issued a report, aptly entitled "Out of Control," harshly criticizing the Mexican government for its failure to adequately investigate allegations of torture and other "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" at the hands of the military and police. The report finds that such practices are condoned, tolerated or ignored by superior officers, prosecutors, judges and even official human rights bodies. The report calls on Mexico to enforce its own human rights laws—echoing similar demands made by Amnesty last year, urging the Mexican Senate to adopt legislation to protect against rights violations by the military. (Jurist, Sept. 5) 

Colombia: freed cartel hitman demands protection

Posted on August 28th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaJhon Jairo Velásquez Vasquez AKA "Popeye" is notorious in Colombia as former personal enforcer for late drug lord Pablo Escobar—and is now a free man after 22 years behind bars, two-thirds of his original sentence. But he seems to be more troubled than relieved about his release on parole—just before getting popped from the top-security Cómbita prison in Boyacá, Popeye asked Colombia's official human rights office, the Defensoría del Pueblo, for protection. "Please grant me police security from the moment I leave the prison gate," he wrote. We can imagine that Popeye has made a few enemies over the years. In jailhouse interviews with journalists, he boasted that he personally killed around 300 people and helped arrange for the murder of 10 times that many. A judge granted nonetheless his parole application, and he was sprung on a bond of 9 million pesos ($4,700) Aug. 27. "In his own hand he asked [authorities] to protect his right to life," the Defensoría said of the request, adding that the office has contacted the appropriate authorities to arrange security measures.

Colombia: FARC meets army brass, coke flow uninterrupted

Posted on August 24th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

ColombiaColombian military brass held their first meeting with FARC guerilla leaders at peace talks in Havana Aug. 22. The meeting focused on the specifics of implementing a ceasefire and the eventual demobilization of the guerillas.  Earlier in the week the guerilla leaders met, also for the first time, a group of war victims to discuss formation of a truth commission for the conflict. But Colombia's Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordoñez sent a letter to President Juan Manuel Santos criticizing creation of the Historical Commission on the Conflict and its Victims, fearing an outcome favoring the FARC’s version of events. (BBC News, Aug. 22; Colombia Reports, Aug. 21)

International manhunt after Haiti prison break

Posted on August 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

HaitiOfficials in Haiti on Aug. 12 announced that police have re-captured Clifford Brandt, a disgraced businessman who seems to have been the intended beneficiary of an armed prison break two days earlier. Brandt was reportedly taken at a town on Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic. In the audacious raid on Haiti's main Croix-des-Bouquets prison, gunmen attacked the facility from within and without, seemingly allowing the entire population of inmates to escape—more than 800. But Brandt, a scion of one of Haiti's most prominent families, is believed to have organized the attack. Brandt had been imprisoned since 2012 on charges of kidnapping at least two children. Two guards suffered bullet wounds in the prison shoot-out. Haitian officials have alerted authorities in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to help in hunting down the escapees, who may have fled abroad. Some reports indicated Brandt was actually intercepted by the Dominican army as he tried to cross the border at Cornillon/Grand Bois, and then turned over to Haitian authorities.

Aruba frees Venezuelan 'narco-general' wanted in US

Posted on August 4th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

VenezuelaVenezuela has scored a win in its ongoing diplomatic and propaganda war with Uncle Sam. The most recent flare-up started July 24, when authorities in Aruba arrested Gen. Hugo Carvajal, a top Venezuelan official wanted in the US on drug trafficking charges. Carvajal had been military intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and was accused by the US Treasury Department of using his position to protect cocaine shipments for Colombia's FARC guerillas. He had just arrived in Aruba after being appointed Venezuela's consul there—and was promptly detained at Washington's behest. Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro called the detention a "kidnapping," and demanded Carvajal's immediate release. And three days later, a judge on the island found that since Carvajal had a diplomatic passport, his arrest was illegal. He was sprung and quickly made the short flight back to Venezuela. "He's returning free and victorious. It's a triumph for sovereignty and legality," president Maduro said, praising the "bravery" of the Dutch government. (The Guardian, July 28; BBC News, July 27; Maduradas, July 24)

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