Pena Nieto Bets on Pablo Escobar Nemesis to Win Drug War

[Pena Nieto plans to fight his drug war just the way that Colombia did (and still does), following the American lead.  To carry-out these plans, he has brought to his team the former head of Colombia’s National Police Force, General Oscar Naranjo.  Naranjo rode to his fifteen minutes of fame because he was the man in charge of the National Police capture/execution of Pablo Escobar.  Naranjo can be judged by the behavior of those beneath him, as to whether he supported bad behavior, or attempted to rout it out.  He admits that he is responsible for the rise of  General Santos Santoyo, who is currently giving testimony to a Virginia court about Colombian drug running into the United States.  

All of that aside, when Mexico begins to duplicate Colombia’s efforts, they will start to focus on manhunts for drug kingpins like Escobar.  As America usually does, it will bring in the drones and begin Hellfire missile executions of high and mid-level dealers, along with the occasional “signature strike” on no one in particular.  In the end, there will be a continuing processions of replacement druglords, who will fill-in the holes in the syndicate hierarchy which we create (exactly the same as our drone war in Pakistan).  Disrupted turf wars between drug syndicates filters down, to create new drug markets that are driven by fierce competition between even more violent drug gangs.  

In other words, look for an escalation in the bloody horrors in Mexico, where drug gangs already dump their headless cargoes on deserted highways in the middle of the night.  Look for a symphony of horror to sweep over all of Central and South America, as the “Hellhouse War Gringo” is brought into harmony with the older and even bloodier southern production of the “Nightmare on Merida Initiative.”]    

Pena Nieto Bets on Pablo Escobar Nemesis to Win Drug War

Bloomberg News

By Eric Sabo

Incoming Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto

Incoming Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who pledged during the campaign to scale back the military’s role in fighting organized crime in favor of the police, said yesterday that there would be no truce with the cartels. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg

Incoming Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will inherit a drug war that has cost more than 47,000 lives since 2006. He’s betting that the Colombian general who helped take down kingpin Pablo Escobar will help him win.

Pena Nieto, after winning election July 1, said Mexicans want immediate results after frustration over the six-year death toll undermined support for President Felipe Calderon. He tapped General Oscar Naranjo, the former head of Colombia’s national police, as his security adviser last month and aides say the new president will seek greater intelligence sharing with the U.S. to help break the cartels.

The 45-year-old Pena Nieto must balance public demands for a less-bloody conflict with suspicions that his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, was more tolerant of drug cartels during a 71-year reign that ended in 2000. Pena Nieto, who pledged during the campaign to scale back the military’s role in fighting organized crime in favor of the police, said yesterday that there would be no truce with the cartels.

“Already the government is taking flak for letting less violent and ostentatious criminal groups off the hook,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, who studies drug war conflicts for the Brookings Institution in Washington. “It will be an even more sensitive issue for Pena Nieto because he has all the PRI baggage of negotiated deals.”

Drug-related violence shaves almost 1.2 percentage points annually off Mexico’s gross domestic product and the country could double its foreign investment, which reached $19.4 billion in 2011, if the cartels were brought under control, said Manuel Suarez-Mier, an economist at American University who helped Mexico negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Drug War ‘Disaster’

“It’s a disaster,” said Suarez-Mier, who represented Mexico’s attorney general when the Merida Initiative, a three- year, $1.6 billion anti-narcotics program funded by the U.S., was signed in 2008. “When you decapitate a cartel, they tend to fracture and now we have more cartels that are more violent.”

A week rarely goes by without reports of dismembered corpses appearing in public as Mexico’s drug gangs battle for territory and routes into the U.S., their biggest market. Three police officers died in a firefight at Mexico City’s international airport on June 25 after they tried to detain suspected traffickers. The mutilated bodies of 14 people were found in bags in an abandoned truck in northern Veracruz state last month, newspaper Milenio reported.

Lack of Security

Pena Nieto has vowed to double the number of police to fight the drug war and is counting on Naranjo’s experience to improve security.

“General Naranjo will give a seal of approval, in Mexico and abroad, to our security policies,” Pena Nieto’s campaign said in a statement accompanying his appointment last month.

Naranjo, 55, helped engineer the U.S.-backed crackdown that led to the demise of the Medellin cocaine cartel and its billionaire leader Escobar in 1993, and Pena Nieto credited him for reducing the homicide rate in Colombia.

The Colombian city of Medellin, which was for years the murder capital of Latin America, has seen homicide rates drop to 1,649 in 2011 from 6,349 in 1991, according to government data. The South American country has received more than $7 billion in U.S. anti-narcotics and counter-insurgency aid since 2000, much of it administered by Naranjo when he was national police chief from 2007 to 2012.

Jorge Montano, the PRI’s senior foreign policy coordinator, said in April that the new administration wants to “reset the relationship with the U.S. on the war on drugs,” adding that he would like to see closer cooperation and more information- sharing.

‘Blind Eye’

The revival of Pena Nieto’s PRI party has left some in Washington on guard. Representative James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, said last month at a hearing that he’s concerned Pena Nieto may bring a return to the days when the PRI “minimized violence by turning a blind eye” to drug traffickers.

U.S. federal prosecutors in May filed civil charges against Tomas Yarrington, a former PRI governor in the border state of Tamaulipas who allegedly used millions of dollars in bribes from cartels to invest in Texas real estate. The PRI suspended him and Pena Nieto has said justice must take its course in the case.

“The stakes are high for Mexico,” Victoria Nuland, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, told reporters in Washington yesterday. “The stakes are high for us. And we think we will be able to have good cooperation.”

‘No Truce’

Fresh off his election win, Pena Neito rejected concerns the PRI will loosen the reins on the nation’s drug war.

“The Mexican people have given our party a second opportunity. We will honor it with results,” Pena Nieto said after claiming victory. “In facing organized crime, there will be no pact or truce.”

While Pena Nieto has vowed to eventually return troops to their barracks, Mexico may still need them to battle criminals such as Los Zetas, a group of former military officers who have expanded into kidnapping and other illicit businesses, said David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego.

“The initial approach will be a kind of detente with organized crime groups,” Shirk said in a phone interview. “But you can’t get rid of guys like Los Zetas without some serious commitment of force.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Sabo in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at

I am responsible for the rise of Santoyo: Gen. Oscar Naranjo

General Oscar Naranjo

General Oscar Naranjo, former director of the National Police.

Photo: File / TIME

He said he ran for office of Brigadier General in general meeting in 2007.

In an interview with La W Radio ‘, the former director of the National Police, Oscar Naranjo, claimed responsibility for the final stage in the Senate and the Government of the selection of General (r) Mauricio Santoyo as the new general. By his count, within the general meeting held to appoint, there was a “legal debate” around its name because the investigation was ongoing disciplinary against him for nearly 2,000 “tapping” when he serves as director of Gaul in Antioquia ( read also: General Santos Santoyo asked to appear before U.S. authorities. States.).

Naranjo said that “if at the time of the Directorate, had had information would not have allowed the rise of General Santoyo,” meaning that once never received information from the DEA on drug trafficking charges of ties to the senior officer, who was also the former security chief Alvaro Uribe during the years 2002 and 2006.

However, the former director of the Police said it received confidential excabecillas Speaking about the AUC on General Santoyo, who once were analyzed.

General (r) Mauricio Santoyo became the highest-ranking official to be required by a court of Justice of the United States.
General (r) Mauricio Santoyo became the highest-ranking official to be required by a court of Justice of the United States.

Two months ago, General (r) Mauricio Santoyo knew that a Virginia court in the United States, I was looking for and what he was seeking his extradition to respond by none other than taking bribes worth 5 million dollars and an alliance between 2000 and 2008 with the dreaded Envigado Office to send tons of cocaine into the United States.

Although Santoyo was aware that the matter was serious did not care. Finally, after all, since the mid-nineties had dealt with complex legal problems of those who always went ahead surprisingly. When he learned that the American court was looking, contacted the DEA in the U.S. and through its attorneys signed an agreement that promised to be submitted and appearing before the U.S. Justice to clarify the situation. That was two months ago. But Santoyo simply never showed up and lost the ability to face the charges against him in a discreet manner. The application of the Virginia court was leaked and caused the scandal that rocked the country last week, seeing the first general in its history, honored as a champion in the fight against kidnapping, request for extradition fans in May 2008, 13 paramilitary leaders were extradited and from prisons in the U.S., some began to speak. One of the first to mention with Santoyo own name was Juan Carlos Sierra, alias Tuso. He told U.S. authorities that one of the officers who most helped the paramilitaries, drug traffickers and especially the Office of Envigado was Santoyo. Then, Salvatore Mancuso and Carlos Mario Jimenez, alias Macaco, told how Santoyo and several officials close to him had been key pieces in the ‘succession’ in command in the Office of Envigado in which Carlos Mario Aguilar (Roger) finished replacing another extradited, Don Berna. The Roger was another decisive testimony. In the mid nineties Roger, who was an agent of the ITC and already working for the Office of Envigado, Santoyo and have met several of his men in Medellin and Gaul would have associated. Many years later, in June 2008, the vendettas and police pressure against the Office Rogelio forced to surrender to the DEA in Argentina and was sent to New York. They turned on the fan. He said that the links with Santoyo and his men were made through a number of lieutenants who after delivery had been at the forefront of the illegal business of the Office. He mentioned several names: Mauricio Cardona, alias Yiyo, Leonardo Muñoz, alias Douglas, Nito, and Dagoberto Garcia, alias Percheron. The first was delivered to the DEA, the second was captured by police in Colombia and extradited to the United States. Nito was killed and Percheron was arrested trying to enter the United States by Washington.Although the beginning of 2009 the paramilitary chiefs had mentioned Santoyo, the case against him did not seem very solid. However, in the first months of that year, Roger, Yiyo, Douglas and Percheron, each for their part, agreed to mention the name of an officer at the end would be the key to putting together the case that today has ordered the extradition of Santoyo. All mentioned the most (r) Roque Garcia Santoyo tab key in its links to the Office of Envigado. This man would be the ‘ultimate proof’ against the general. The key Roque Garcia came to work in Medellin in the mid-nineties as part of a panel of Dijin. “That’s when she met Roger and Santoyo. He became a close friend of the two, is when goes awry and starts working with them and with the Office. Part of what I did was try to bend others to work for the Office “WEEK told one of the officers who worked with him in Medellin. In 2005, shortly after ascending to the rank of major, Roque called for his removal from the police and went to live in Medellin. “He ordered the withdrawal because it was very hot and many people knew what he was. Santoyo that time and Presidency was as head of security but left his people in Medellin, which were essentially Roque and two other officers of his confidence, the highest (r) Bayron Ordonez, who was a exGaula who worked with Santoyo and was known by the aliases of the Green Caraguayo or the Fat, and retired Captain Edward Garcia, known by the alias Orion. They three were in charge of contacts with the Office of Envigado, “said another exoficial Semana In early May 2009 Roque Garcia was approached by DEA agents at the airport in Medellin. They told him it was required by a court in New York following the statements against him had given the others extradited. Roque agreed to voluntarily board a DEA plane. In court, he realized that his former partners had betrayed and had even told of murders in which it participated, including any drug agency informants. That would mean a sentence that could easily be around 30 years. “Faced with this picture Roque had no other different scenario to work with U.S. justice. Although at first resisted and denied everything, softens jail there either. After a year he began to speak. At first they began to water and Garcia Ordonez was, it was very important at that time for the DEA, “said a person who advised Roque Garcia. Thanks to the information submitted, the authorities had the necessary elements to build a legal case against Major Ordonez and Captain Garcia. By mid 2010, following the departure of Roque, these two former took the catch, vendettas and rearrangement within the office and became a kind of ‘patterns’ of the criminal enterprise, together with Felix Isaza, aka Beto . The whereabouts of both is unknown until today. The next step in the collaboration of Roque was talking about who was his boss, General (r) Santoyo. “Roque refused them to send tons of cocaine along with the Office of Envigado, but did accept that worked for years with them. He said that what they did and for which they received money was simpler. was basically pass information about transactions that were to develop against the Office, warning of arrest warrants and make trades in other cases ‘legal’ crack consisting of rivals, “said to Semana a person who had access to what was Roque. “He admitted that on several occasions he received money from the men in the office for him and for him to take the general Santoyo,” he said. Thanks to his testimony and cooperation he gave, Roque Garcia ended up serving just over three years imprisonment in the United States. Last week I was in jail awaiting transit out in the coming days towards a third country. That statement was the final blow which determined that the Virginia court asked to Santoyo. ‘A esculquen me that’ This order has broken out, with good reason, like a bomb in Colombia. Santoyo was a decorated officer for his performance against kidnapping and for leading more than 140 rescue operations, between 1995 and 1998, which he also won medals, recognition of Alvaro Uribe, governor of that time. However, not only are the rumors about him some time ago but has faced investigations for serious human rights violations, since he was involved in massive illegal interceptions between 1997 and 2001, which earned him his dismissal by the Ombudsman. Therefore, the most surprising in this story is that all those responsible for the long and successful career of General wash your hands today. The number and level of those in one way or another gave their backing to Santoyo in the past has few precedents: the Presidency, Congress, the State Council, the Ministry of Defense, the Department of Police, the Prosecution. Beyond of the charges he now does in the U.S., which first have to prove the prosecutors in that country, there were reasons to question their suitability. But none of those who promoted it seemed to worry about them. Alvaro Uribe, who as governor of Antioquia Santoyo coincided with the front of Gaul, it was then as head of security in the presidency between 2002 and 2006. In 2003, Santoyo was dismissed by the Attorney as a result of those ‘wiretapping’, but the presidency kept him in office. Now the president said on Twitter: “I hope that General Santoyo and the police explain the case.” Another investigation against the officer, in prosecution, was the subject of a writ of prohibition. The prosecutor of the time, Luis Camilo Osorio, told Caracol Radio these days: “That was a prosecutor himself who took a decision in due course on the case.” In 2004, responding to a resource officer, the Attorney confirmed the dismissal, but continued as head of presidential security. In 2006, a room of the Council of State suspended the measure. One of the three judges who made the decision today was the prosecutor, Alejandro Ordóñez. Today he said that what was done was to suspend temporarily the sanction of dismissal against Santoyo, but the process was not closed. In November 2007, Colonel weighed on which this process was promoted to general in the Second Committee of the Senate, request the Party of the U and despite warnings against several senators. Marta Lucia Ramirez, who was among those who supported him, told “The lack of diligence was in the Police and the Ministry (of Defense), where there were no controls to prevent this promotion.” He recalled in passing that among those who recommended it was the moment Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos. Even when he became the police chief was General Jorge Daniel Castro, his successor, Oscar Naranjo, has claimed responsibility and said that “if he had information would not have allowed the rise of General Santoyo.” The president, meanwhile, said: “It is highly important that the general Santoyo out and respond to the U.S. justice for their actions.”Finally, after being sent to the Colombian Embassy in Italy as police attache to return to the country General Santoyo was decorated by President Uribe and, in 2009, retired from the police. Unusual parable. A man accused of serious human rights violations, dismissed by the Attorney General, with his dismissal confirmed by this and only temporarily suspended by the State Council as part of a process that was underway, and it follows, then, according to the Attorney, “is alive and kicking” – makes it to the top of the generals, with obvious protection from high up, and remain untouched until now, when it bursts through the work of the Justice gringa, the charge pump that, during all those years, would have been in the service of drug traffickers and paramilitaries. The worst may be yet to come. If extradition, given the conditions of the plea bargain in the U.S. (the negotiations and reach agreements that the defendants in exchange for information), the only recourse of General Velasquez Mauricio Santoyo would face a drastic condemnation or ‘splash’ to up-if you have evidence that protected those who were aware of his alleged complicity with those who had to fight. In that case, the potential involved would be worth them little colombianísimo ‘to me I esculquen’ which have displayed these days who promoted it, blaming others or saying that is the general who must defend themselves. not However, it remains to be seen if extradited, by the profound implications that can be sent to a foreign justice to a general of the republic. In Colombia, the process of his dismissal by the “tapping” of the nineties continues, but there is, so far, no investigation for complicity with drug trafficking or paramilitarism against him. That would protect him from the accusations that led to the extradition request. And it would have saved again

A trip through Colombia’s conflict zone

[MAP showing locations of current drug gangs in Colombia -vs–former paramilitary districts.] 

A trip through Colombia’s conflict zone

Elyssa Pachico

Colombia news - Caucasia

Caucasia is the kind of backwater we’d like to pretend doesn’t exist. It is too hot for puffy-eyed women to do much except sit by the road, selling limp pieces of mango stuffed into plastic cups. Two Saturdays ago a man on a motorbike tossed a grenade at an Internet café, the twenty-fifth time such a thing has happened in the city so far this year, by my count. The criminal gangs – known as BACRIMS –  have reportedly imposed a 10PM deadline for all civilians, prostitutes and bazuco addicts warned not to walk the streets at all.

It is a miserable, poor, and ugly place, utterly unimportant except for the fact that the highway passes through here towards the Caribbean coast, and it is only a few hours away from Medellin, and only a few hours away from the coca cultivations in the east. Controlling Caucasia means controlling Antioquia’s drug trade, which is why during Easter Week last April, I was told, there were grenade explosions nearly every day.

“It’s difficult to kill someone with a grenade,” an officer from the local police force told me, adding that a lot of the time the grenades are tossed into empty houses. “What matters is the fear.” Word on the street is you can buy a grenade for between 30,000 and 80,000 pesos (about $15 to $40). This is peanuts, considering the amount of money you can make, after buying coca base from the FARC’s 18th Front in Ituango and Taraza, or the 36th Front in Anori.

“In Caucasia, the drug routes are not respected,” commented another police officer, only a few days on the job in the neighboring municipality of Taraza. There were maybe over a dozen gangs operating in Caucasia, he said, and unlike the days when paramilitary blocs controlled the zone, these groups were smaller, fractured, their leaders easily killed off, replaced, then killed again. “There’s no clear leadership now. And these BACRIMS want to replicate that kind of hegemony in the area, that the paramilitaries had, but they can’t. There’s just too many.”

In the international press, especially if you’ve got one correspondent covering the entire Andean region (as is the case for the New York Times and the Washington Post), Colombia’s ongoing drug war is pretty much a story not worth reporting, aside from the occasional grabby headline. For an international audience, trying to explain Colombia’s drug war is like trying to explain Mexico’s – there are too many characters and too much backstory. There are no central protagonists anymore, no central conflict that is easily summarized.

But for those still interested, for now it looks like quelling the wave of Bacrim violence in filthy, rural outposts like Caucasia may be Juan Manuel Santos’ biggest security challenge. In some senses, he might be facing a more difficult time of it than his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe. For the most part, the competing BACRIMS are made up of demobilized paramilitaries, who were once mid-ranking commanders in now defunct groups like Bloque Nutibara or Bloque Mineros. Uribe successfully disarmed and/or extradited the top level of paramilitary leadership, and now all the regular Joes too stupid and violent to previously ascend the paramilitary ranks are all scrambling for a piece of the drug-trafficking pie. Territory that was previously respected has now splintered, boundaries ignored. It’s a little as though Uribe punched a mirror and now it’s up to Santos to pick up all the tiny shards of glass, which nobody can find and which everybody keeps stepping on.

In Anori, where hundreds of hectares of coca are grown and sold by the FARC to the BACRIMS, nobody really seems to know who’s who anymore, or who’s where. In the little mining towns by the river, you can find old-time miners with no thumbs, who floss their teeth with the threads of the paisa towel tossed over their shoulders. These are guys who remember growing small plots of coca, when not gold-panning the rivers, and selling the plant to the FARC or the ELN in the 1980s and early 1990s. When Carlos Castano’s paramilitaries showed up circa 1995, 1996, a lot of people had to leave, or else get chopped up and tossed into the river. Now the paramilitaires are gone, the guerrillas are practically gone, and everything is much more “tranquilo.”

But the “actores armados” are still there. Who are they? How many? Shrug, shrug. None of the locals know, or won’t say. The BACRIMS pass through, buy pounds and pounds of coca base from the 36th Front, then get out. The old-style paramilitarism – rooting out the “socialists” and the “FARC supporters” – isn’t really there anymore. Now it’s all business. There are no grenades here, just old landmines sprinkled by the guerrillas (“we used to make the farm animals walk around the fields, trying to find the mines,” one miner told me. “You had all these two or three legged cows hanging around.”)

None of the miners really grow coca anymore, not in the mining towns by the water – the crop has been pushed back into the thickest forests, in the northern part of Anori. These are places so rural and godforsaken you are at risk of contracting altudismo, I am told, which is supposedly a disease you get when a mosquito sucks the blood of a dead possum, or a poisonous snake, then transfers the microbe to you. Altudismo or not, it is in these kinds of places that coca is processed into cocaine in flimsy, ramshackle labs, run by the BACRIMS.

Caucasia is your final stop, where you get the product shipped northwards. But before getting there, you have to pass through Taraza. This is a cattle rancher’s town, not mining like Anori. In Taraza, I ate the best steak of my life, and studied the posters in the hotel lobby announcing the summer’s next big “ganadero” show.

I also saw the Taraza police station, reinforced with barbed wire and concrete walls, because here men on motorbikes are also known to drive by and toss grenades. I noted in my journal, “It rains like the wrath of God. It stinks of garbage. There are no restaurants besides the kinds of places that give you plastic gloves for eating your chicken. Little kids slap their bare feet through muddy sidewalks and oily puddles. The narcos drive fancy trucks, and everyone else whizzes by on motorcycles that look held together with wire.”

If Anori is where you get your coca processed, and Caucasia is where you go for shipment, Taraza is where you go to close the deal. This might explain the big, stone sign you see driving into town. Painted in blue and red capitol letters it reads: “Drugs Destroy You. Taraza and Everybody.”

Taraza, Anori and Caucasia are three cruddy little towns that will never show up in a Lonely Planet guidebook. It might make sense to try and compare these three places to the “ground zero” of Colombia’s drug war. But there isn’t really a ground zero anymore. There is no center to the conflict – it is exploding in Cali, in Caucasia, in the Comunas of Medellin. There are no more uniformed combatants, easily identified, and there is no more clear leadership among the many, fragmented groups all struggling for a stake in the Anori-Taraza-Caucasia chain.

As little as ten years ago, when I lived in Colombia, it really felt as though the country was about to fall apart. Now things don’t look so bad, but there’s a few things that haven’t changed. To quote another fine piece of writing, also about the lack of centers: “the best lack all conviction, while the worst / are full of passionate intensity.” I can only hope by the end of Santos’ term, we can get closer to switching those verses around.

Russia cuts cash flow to its Tajik military base

Rahmon said in a statement recently that other countries promise “heaps of gold” for using military bases on the country’s territory, although he added that Tajikistan is not considering the offers.”

Russia cuts cash flow to its Tajik military base

Russia cuts cash flow to its Tajik military base

Nikolai Makarov. Photo: RIA Novosti

Russia’s Defense Ministry has suspended allocations to its developing 201 military base in Tajikistan for the time of talks with Dushanbe on the lease after 2014, Russia’s most senior military commander Gen. Nikolai Makarov has said.

“The talks on this base have been quite staggering but we hope that commonsense will prevail,” he said in an interview to the Interfax news agency.

The lease agreement for the base expires in 2014. The two nations previously agreed to prolong the agreement in the first quarter of 2012. But Tajikistan then suddenly “reared up,” forcing the Russian commandment to stall money transactions till the situation cleared up, Gen. Makarov said.

Col.-Gen. Vladimir Chirkin, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army, explained to Interfax that Tajikistan had conditioned its consent to sign the agreement upon as many as 20 demands, which Russia refuted as “unacceptable.”


UN Human Rights Chief: Further Militarization of Syria Must Be Avoided

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay 

UN Human Rights Chief: Further Militarization of Syria Must Be Avoided

The United Nations human rights chief says the arming of both sides in Syria is fueling violence and must be must be avoided at all costs.

Navi Pillay said Monday in New York that both the government and the opposition are responsible for numerous human rights violations.

She accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of indiscriminately firing on civilians, rape, torture and the targeting of opposition supporters for death. She said government forces have also fired on hospitals.

Pillay said those trying to rid Syria of the Assad government have murdered suspected informers and alleged collaborators and are using improvised bombs which have killed civilians.

President Assad blames the violence and civilian deaths on terrorists. Pillay is asking the Syrian government to let independent investigators into the country to verify its claim.

Russia and China have been major backers of President Assad while U.N. officials say Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supplying arms to the opposition.

State media in Turkey said Monday that 85 Syrian soldiers — including a general — defected to Turkey.

In Cairo, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby is urging the fragmented Syrian opposition to unite. Elaraby is chairing a two-day meeting of 250 opposition figures. He is telling them “not to waste this opportunity” to overcome their differences.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said Monday that a “weak and disorganized” opposition would only benefit the Assad government. He said Damascus is making a futile attempt to “reverse the course of history.”

“There will be a transition and change in Syria. It is inevitable, and there will be a new administration and democratic regime in Syria eventually. It must be clear that only the Syrian people are to decide about the future of any agreement on their own country.”

Anti-government fighters based in Syria are boycotting the Cairo meeting. The Free Syrian Army criticized the talks for rejecting foreign military intervention and ignoring plans for buffer zones, humanitarian corridors, and an air embargo.

Syrian opposition groups are also rejecting a new version of U.N. envoy Kofi Annan’s plan for a political transition in Syria adopted at an international conference in Geneva.

At Russia’s insistence, the compromise left open the possibility of Mr. Assad being a part of the interim administration. Opposition members call the plan “ambiguous” and “a farce” and rule out any possibility of sharing power with the reviled Syrian leader.

What is behind the coup in Paraguay?

What is behind the coup in Paraguay?

Luis Miguel Rosales.

The USAID and Mark B. Feiers t e in.

In April 2009 a hearing was held in the Foreign Relations Committee
U.S. Senate to evaluate the role and status of the U.S. Agency to
International Development (USAID).

The experts agreed on the importance of the commitment of President Obama

to double the foreign aid budget. However, this so-called development aid in the audience had no supportive approach to help solve the “pockets” of poverty and backwardness to persist in Latin America, through the exploitation to which they have been subjected and neoliberal policies in recent decades .

As discussed there, assisting the development and enhancement of the USAID, was conceived as a necessity to achieve the objectives of foreign policy and U.S. security face challenges such as the new governments hostile to U.S.

So is the challenge of gaining influence and control spaces which mobilizes support, and although the audience did not focus to a specific regional area within the hostile governments include the ALBA countries against whom U.S. . develops its policy of aggression. Among the goals discussed was to rescue the authority of the USAID budget and control resource allocations to the different countries.

This whole scheme in line with the so-called “soft power” to be undertaken by the Obama administration and which link coups, of an apparent new style, where the actors are the alliances of the extreme right in the Congresses of the countries, as expressed in Honduras and Paraguay.

In this scheme appears in the USAIDun character of the long history of serving the interests of the U.S. government: Mark Barry Feierstein.

About this character wrote the analyst, journalist and researcher Joseph Steinsleger in La Jornada: “The day the Honduran Valenzuela was assassinated, President Barack Obama appointed CEO Mark Feierstein dela USAID. The record warranted the charge: expert in fourth generation warfare (disinformation), owner of Quinlan Greenbarg Rosler (firm that provides strategic direction on election campaigns, debates, programming, research), project leader to overthrow the Sandinistas in 1990s, a columnist for The New York Times, special adviser to Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the OAS and the fugitive Gonzalo
(Goni) Sánchez de Lozada, former president of Bolivia. ” )

“Goni” who ordered the slaughter was bloody killing 67 people and injured around 400 almost all civilians, during the so-called ‘gas war’, in October 2003. Fugitive from justice in Bolivia, lies now in the U.S.. It is said that the Bolivian justice system also claims to Feierstein for his involvement in the massacre.

The role played by Feierstein in Nicaragua was like “Project Manager” in the dirty operation conducted by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was linked to proceedings against the climbers in the February 1990 elections, which gave the Nicaraguan right triumph, led by Violeta Chamorro.

Without blushing, as cited in an article recently Feierstein said that Cuba and Venezuela “are two of the countries to which we give an important contribution to civic groups, (the counterrevolutionary groups in Cuba known as” grupusculeros “), according to Mark Feierstein, that agency, fulfilling commissions from the State Department, maintains a “substantial support” to “democracy” in the region. .)

However, not only Cuba and Venezuela. It’s no secret that the USAIDdesarrolla hundreds of programs in Latin America to promote democracy according to the American design, among others, funding groups and political parties sympathetic to their interests and opposition to so-called “hostile governments”.

According to Prensa Latina, Mark Feierstein himself confirmed that his country has close cooperation with the opposition in the nations of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). (

The far-right Congresistarepublicana Ileana Ross angrily protested the cuts in budgets for the work of USAID in ALBA countries which, as it moves the wrong message to the opposition groups.

However, the kingpin USAIDpara Latin America was responsible for specifying in a hearing in March this year, despite cuts made in Ecuador. Nicaragua and Bolivia, the support is still important, because the resources are aimed at promoting and fighting for “democracy” (read contributions to the opposition parties.

Paragua and: hi s tory m ore re c ient and USAID.

An interview with Mark Feierstein in Paraguay and published on March 20, 2012 by Victor Pizzurno, accounts for the considerations of the executive on the “improvement” featuring Paraguay in various fields of national life in which USAID has a presence .

As if it were your country Paraguayan assesses progress in various lines of national life such as corruption, fighting crime, rural production, through programs such as threshold, in the fight against corruption and the program Productive Paraguay, for peasant farmers, all of which is in cooperation dela USAID.

Just read the interview we realize that access USATDdetenta in
Paraguay: Supreme Court, Senate and Attorney General. According to the interview. on behalf of the USAID was installed in ministries and state institutions a tool called MECIP (Internal Control Standard Model) for internal control in a unified manner.

For customs procedures opened, also on behalf of the USAID, Care Center and Claims for citizens to exercise their right to make complaints, while the Single Window installed Importer (which received international recognition from the Organization World Customs Organization (WCO). USAID also provided programs to protect intellectual property, selling drugs, among other profiles to prevent piracy.

However. Feierstein not speak for all programs and the way that USAID through “Threshold” is involved in the Paraguay.

“Threshold” comes from the time of Nicanor Duarte with funding of 35 million in the first stage and 30 in the second, which shows the size of its purposes aimed at controlling virtually every component of the state and the social and political Paraguayan government institutions at all levels, including municipal and departmental fiscal institutions, public institutions and services, including some of strategic importance such as immigration institutions, civil registration and identification, parties and organizations
political and mass.

One of the most important, and this does speak to the executive of USAID, is the Police Manual. As is presented in the interview, is a U.S. support for Paraguayan Interior Ministry, through the threshold and allowed better training of police in the quality of care to the citizen, achieve the first Manual for the Use of Force with human rights training and other benefits for the police system.

In this as in all its programs, the language USAIDutiliza crafty;
presenting himself as favoring democratic institutions, governance, training of new leaders, strengthening civil society, public health and
the fight against corruption, among others.

Such language confuses many. Others go after the money it provides. However, one must be naive not to realize that with these U.S. programs not even need a CIA station in order to have control of the country, its state apparatus, all their vulnerabilities and to the police operation.

In fact, it has been suggested that the U.S. strategy Embajadade Asuncion has been aimed at preventing radicalization is enriched and the Government of Lugo and this has essentially told the programs mentioned.

Much research on the real role of the U.S. in this last blow
Paraguay, but USAID is superfluous in Latin America, must not be

Calloni: Behind the coup: new military bases in Paraguay

Calloni: Behind the coup: new military bases in Paraguay

comando sur 

Stella Calloni – While conducting the impeachment “express” against the democratically elected president of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, June 22, considered “illegal” by neighboring countries, Paraguayan deputies met with U.S. military to negotiate installation of a military base in the Chaco, a vast and sparsely populated territory in the country.

Deputy Jose Lopez Chavez responded to the Colorado Party dissident group, the Unace, coup led by General Lino Oviedo, which has some differences, and chairman of the Defense Committee of the House in that country confirmed its ” hope “that U.S. military bases installed in the Chaco, according to ABC Color ( . py).

According to this method, the most powerful media complex on the right key in Paraguay and the impeachment of President Lugo, Deputy Lopez Chavez, a man accused of mafia behavior, confirmed that U.S. military leaders spoke with the possibility of installing bases, although the issue is being analyzed by the Pentagon

Talking to Paraguayan radio (789 AM), the legislator argued that “necessary” to install these bases because, in its opinion, Bolivia “is a threat to Paraguay because of the arms race develops.” Further argues that his country needs to improve its safety in these areas depopulated.

The bilateral agreement also may take the place “humanitarian aid” contingent of U.S. troops “to the local population. As is known, the” civic action “and” humanitarian aid “, which have made U.S. troops in Paraguay, which were given diplomatic immunity in May 2005, is an outline of counterinsurgency, intelligence and control territory and population.

According to sources, this proposal became public on June 23 “after a meeting relating to the Defence Committee of Deputies with a group of U.S. general who arrived to discuss possible cooperation agreements.”

This just might be one cause of the rapidity with which Lugo brought by environmental commitments with the Southern Common Market and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which would not have allowed this process to advance bases.

In 2009, Lugo was rejected, albeit weakly, the possibility of maneuvering large Southern Command in Paraguay, citing commitments to partner countries.

But since May 2005, before the arrival of the government-Lugo allowed the entry of U.S. troops in that country, with immunity, permit free movement and residence for its soldiers in force until December 2006 and automatically renewable at that time published the newspaper La Jornada.

It was one of the most devastating blows Washington downloaded on Mercosur. Waiving their jurisdictional power, as the troops can rack arms, equipment and medicines and act anywhere in the territory. No new permits at that time came the first contingent of 400 soldiers and special groups.

In fact, in Paraguay these troops never left. When the dictator Alfredo Stroessner was overthrown in a coup “friends” in February 1989, remained in military power that had participated in the long dictatorship (1954-1989). Paraguay then lost the right to investigate crimes they might commit foreign troops can not sue to Washington before the International Criminal Court, violating its own law.

In Paraguay, detailed reports of military analysts warned the powerful U.S. infrastructure in a country of geostrategic importance because it is bordered by Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and is in relative proximity to others, where U.S. bases.

The military’s Southern Command have marked the territory that is above the Guarani aquifer extensive, one of the largest world’s drinking water located in the triple border with Paraguay has Argentina and Brazil.

According to military reports, all Paraguayans barracks near the borders are prepared as an infrastructure for U.S. troops, which have even dug artesian wells for drinking water, supposedly for farmers, which in reality they do not use.

Similarly, the Mariscal Estigarribia headquarters, located only 250 km from Bolivia, has a track of almost three thousand meters long in a country that has little air force.

That track was built by U.S. troops, and even modernized in recent years and is designed to receive Galaxy aircraft and other ships carrying U.S. equipment, massive armaments as well as the track is ready Palmerola Base in Honduras.Similarly, there may be located thousands of soldiers, if required to do so at any time. 

Is indicated as a basis in this case a powerful infrastructure, among which the U.S. has in Latin America. However, it is clear that the offensive is underway on the governments of South America, which allowed a stage coup in Bolivia and Paraguay, in the days of June this year and destabilizing attempts in Argentina, need to place more troops in this strategic location. The news of these agreements between the corrupt deputies spoken linked to past dictatorship and American generals not surprising in these circumstances. And just in a country where the struggle for land stolen and “ill-gotten” such as characterized the Commission for Memory, Truth and Justice, social conflict is a permanent issue.

For farmers back their land is a matter of life or death. Especially for the attacks of so-called “brasiguayos” and shock groups, business soybean in Brazil, but as Martin says Alamda defender of human rights are part of large corporations such as Monsanto, advancing on the continent.

Behind the removal of Lugo are a number of elements that must be seen as a strategic coup for the project of destabilization aimed to hit Latin American integration.

Pena Nieto seeks US help on violence

[The new Mexican president asks US Govt. for more help, even though American interference helped the last president to militarize a nationwide police problem into a near civil war today.  American policy, all over the world, is specifically intended to turn local and national conflicts into civil wars.  With America’s continued “help,” Pena Nieto will soon find himself trapped in a Mexican Civil War, with no way out (SEE:  Peña Nieto CIA).]

Mexico’s Pena Nieto seeks US help on violence

President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico City, Mexico. (Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images/AFP)

President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico City, Mexico. (Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images/AFP)

MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s presumed president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto expressed hope on Monday for more US help in tamping a scourge of violence that has killed over 50,000 people in less than five years.

While Washington is focused on cracking down on crime syndicates responsible for smuggling illegal drugs into the United States, Mexico is more keen on halting the flow of weapons into the country from its northern neighbour, saying the arms are fuelling the bloody drug war.

“As part of our agenda with the US government, we must focus on a more efficient way of fighting (the drug trade) to reduce the level of violence,” Pena Nieto told a group of foreign reporters.

Pena Nieto said he will maintain President Felipe Calderon’s strategy of using the military to target drug cartels and capture top criminals. But he vowed to focus on quickly bringing down the number of killings and kidnappings.

“Society clearly expects immediate short-term results… like a lower rate of crime and kidnapping,” Pena Nieto said.

Washington must also understand “where our priorities lie, which is in containing the violence” affecting vast regions of Mexico, Pena Nieto said.

Mexicans have long blamed the violence on the illegal flow of guns from across the US border. Calderon has raised the issue repeatedly with Washington, and it featured prominently in Pena Nieto’s campaign speeches.

In April, US President Barack Obama told Calderon that Washington had “dedicated new resources to reducing the southbound flow of money and guns and to reduce the demand for drugs in the United States,” which helps fuel violence in Mexico.

During a call with Pena Nieto to congratulate him after the elections, Obama “reiterated his commitment to working in partnership with Mexico” and promised to advance “common goals,” the White House said in a statement.

Those goals include “promoting democracy, economic prosperity and security in the region and around the globe,” the statement said.

The US and Mexican economies are closely linked: Mexico is the second destination for US exports, its third largest trading partner overall and its third most important source of oil. The United States is Mexico’s most biggest trade partner.

At the State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Obama administration is seeking to preserve the same kind of close cooperation with Pena Nieto as it has had with Calderon.

“We are committed to working in partnership with Mexico to meet the evolving challenges posed by transnational criminal organisations and we expect that that great cooperation is going to continue with the Pena Nieto administration,” Nuland said.

Pena Nieto declared victory in the presidential election late Sunday, after first official results showed him with 38 percent of the vote, ending more than a decade in the political wilderness for the once-reviled Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

The centre-left party governed Mexico for more than seven decades until 2000.

– AFP/de

Peña Nieto CIA

[SEE:  US DEA Manipulating Mexican Drug War To Influence Sunday’s Presidential Election]

Peña Nieto CIA

In the last debate Josefina Vazquez Mota said the Mexico State Government funded an espionage network. Find out how this cell was allegedly organized watched politicians like Manlio Fabio Beltrones and characters like Angélica Rivera, current PRI candidate’s wife

By Raul Tortolero – Thursday June 14, 2012
“Enrique Peña Nieto ordered to spy on various political figures,” said Josefina Vazquez Mota during the second presidential debate on Sunday 10 June.
According to the PAN candidate, former governor of Mexico was spying through a private company, Private Security Intelligent Solutions Provider.
Their services were paid by a police unit known as Cusaem Mexico State (Auxiliary Security Forces of the State of Mexico), according to the testimony of President of the Supervisory Committee of the State of Mexico, the PAN Carlos Madrazo.
“With public money (Enrique Peña ) funded a center for espionage, and here’s the check-the-I will leave a statement on which his government, when he was governor, paid the center of espionage, “he concluded Vazquez Mota during the debate last Sunday.
Probably many Viewers were shocked because while the PAN candidate was speaking, appeared on the screen bank statement he was referring.
After concluding his speech, spoke Enrique Peña Nieto.
Anyone would have expected the PRI refute the serious charges he had done albiazul his opponent.
But no. Peña Nieto did not take the hint. In his speech, never addressed the issue. He preferred to talk about the bad experience he had at the Universidad Iberoamericana.
Not only had just pointed out publicly as a man who used to spy on political opponents, but also the woman he eventually married Angelica Rivera.
How much truth is the prosecution did Josefina Vazquez Mota? Why does it seem to be well supported?
This is the story. Victims The alleged spying came to light on 13 June 2008, when Senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office (PGR). The Sonoran knew spied. And not only him but also his family and close associates. The PGR began to investigate. And his research led him to find thousands of hours of illegal recordings in a house in Naucalpan, Mexico State, where they were supposed spies operating. Researchers also found stenographic versions of audios and perfect systematization of information, executive summary delivered on a daily basis, as well as prospective analyzes. On November 6, 2008, the Special Unit for Crimes Committed by Public Servants and against Administration of Justice, which is part of the PGR, found new evidence of espionage. In two safe houses located in the municipality of Naucalpan Mexico State further information was obtained illegally. They found lists of phone calls, emails, electronic documents and various files. The spies had information about Manlio Fabio Beltrones, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Marcelo Ebrard, Santiago Creel, Juan Camilo Mouriño, Beatriz Paredes, Ricardo Monreal and Jesus Murillo Karam, among many other politicians. had also been investigated Angelica Rivera, then girlfriend of Peña Nieto, and Mariagna Pratts, then wife of Marcelo Ebrard. The modus operandi How could organize the Mexico state government intelligence body and hide your funding? Apparently, it was not that difficult. In the State of Mexico was a perfect cover to hide the financing of illegal activities, including espionage. The mechanism would have been the following. An agency of the State Government, called Auxiliary Security Forces of the State of Mexico (Cusaem), was responsible to pay for espionage services offered by the private security company Intelligent Solutions Provider. theory, no one could prove that the resources were public because, strictly speaking, legal experts Peña Nieto government did not consider them so. And is that even though the Cusaem are a police state government, never had a budget allocation by the government. And this body lives by selling public safety services or police protection, if you want to see well, anyone who can pay. Thus, when appropriate, the Cusaem are a private company. If not, are a public entity. No one, only the Cusaem managers and senior government officials of the State of Mexico, knows what to do with the money that Cusaem charged to businesses and private clients to protect them sell. And is that Cusaem not accountable to Congress State of Mexico, according to the testimony of Carlos Madrazo, deputy of the State of Mexico. This in itself is strange because Cusaem are one of the state agencies with more employees.They have 23 000 elements. An army led by about 108 commanders in the service of those who can pay, but in principle obey the governor of Mexico and the director of the State Security Agency. Their incomes are billionaires, but no one – other than the State of Mexico government-knows what this dependence on the money received for their services. The sell and rent Cusaem armed guard, armed security guards, custody, safekeeping of goods in transit, intramural surveillance, satellite location technology , care in critical situations, escorts, executive security. police intelligence is a fundamental part of its long list of services, as stated in the information from their websites. According to data from the site and in the area of infrastructure is documented that: “We strengthen our participation through coordination and liaison systems technology with the State Security Agency (ASE) using intelligence processes Police and methods for preventing and reacting against crime. ” That is, it accepts the existence of intelligence work related to prevention. That is the key concept. Peña Nieto could argue that it needed intelligence with police to prevent crime in your state. For the federal Public Security Secretariat (SSP), the Cusaem are a public body. The office issued on June 8, 2010, in No. DG/315/205/2010, signed by Luis Armando Rivera Castro, CEO of Private Security, says these auxiliaries are state entities. But in the federal Public Security Secretariat no record of the Cusaem. Authors espionage materials suspected of espionage The are people who have been associated with the federal government, or were merchants of electronic products. – Luis Miguel Dena Apparently, the head of the intelligence unit was Luis Miguel Dena, owner of the company Private Security Intelligent Solutions Provider, located at 5992 Geneva Lake Street, Cologne Popo in Mexico City. Dena is a native of Zacatecas and has extensive knowledge in neurolinguistics, neuroprogramación, epistemology and semiology. The law degree from UNAM began his career in public service in 1986, the National Migration Institute. In early 1994 he went to the Center for Investigation and National Security (Cisen).Chiapas became a delegate to investigate the EZLN. Bold and active, the alleged spy was soon promoted to director of Research at the Federal District station when Jorge Tello Peon served as general manager. time later, Dena was named head of Cisen Station in Mexico City. And then, and as head of Cisen in the State of Mexico, trabaría a close relationship with Alonso Navarrete Prida, Attorney General Enrique Peña Nieto and who is designated as responsible for having imposed at least two directors of Cusaem designations were apparently agreed with Enrique Peña Nieto. Finally, in 2005, Dena left the Cisen. He went on to the federal SSP, where he was a few months as Intelligence Coordinator for the Prevention of PFP, as stated in press reports. Resigned 31 July 2006 and since then is dedicated to providing private security services . – Porat Yosef Shevah  Porat Yosef Shevah, better known in the Jewish community as “Yossi”, kept until recently in his Facebook profile that was dedicated to the sale of scanners to intervene phones, among many other devices to develop intelligence tasks . It also provided private security services. – Other accomplices According to a document taken from Volume V, file 63/2009, criminal proceedings of the Judiciary of the Federation, based in Mexico City Eighteenth Court, in 2009 began to be judged by the crime of interception of communications (espionage) the following: Dena Luis Miguel, Miguel Angel Solis Hernandez, Jesus Camarena Garcia, Rogelio Villarreal Gonzalez, Alejandro Arturo Rodriguez Rosas, Guillermo Gonzalez and Enrique Zaldivar Lake Forest, among others. However, not all were found guilty. Judge Fernando Cordova del Valle would have released to other defendants for the same crimes: Teresita de Jesus Flores Dena (niece of Luis Miguel), Jose Balderas Tagle, Arturo Amador Barajas, Arturo Rodriguez Alejandro Rosas, Miguel Angel Solis Hernandez, Guillermo Montes Lake, Rogelio Villarreal Eduardo Gonzalez Gonzalez and Enrique Zaldivar. On April 16, 2012, judgment was entered against Luis Miguel Dena. The resolution makes him responsible, among other crimes, has taken over phone calls Sergio Vela, former director of the National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta). No final decision, however, and despite the ruling, the case is not yet final. And it did not cause the sentence because the PGR state appealed to the Court of Appeals. The PAN Roberto Gil argues that the second instance might directly incriminate the PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, although it has never been charged for allegedly masterminding the espionage. In contrast, the PRI candidate Luis Videgaray ensures that the statement by the Attorney Gil Zuarth goes against the most basic principles of criminal proceedings. Because any lawyer knows that you can not “bring up the matter of the litigation” in the second instance of a process, explains Videgaray, coordinator General Enrique Peña Nieto campaign for President of the Republic. ACCUSES THE POLITICAL USE OF ESPIONAGE PRI by Armando Estrop The PRI bloc in Congress accused the PAN of wanting to make split-electoral political espionage case detected in the State of Mexico in 2009. Following a discussion during the session of the Standing Committee, the parliamentary tricolor issued a statement which said the matter had been left without support in the courts. Lawmakers have said they only revive intended to affect the PRI candidate. Congressman Cesar Augusto Santiago said the proposal of Senator Gustavo Madero, also national president of PAN, was an act with background hypocritical elections. “overlook all pending corruption cases. These include the diversion of Social Security, Estela de Luz, Bicentennial Park, in Pemex, the Federal Commission of Electricity “, accused the PRI legislator. He said the proposal to request the Attorney General to report on the state of intelligence research center detected in the State of Mexico represents the most devastating criticism of the performance of law enforcement. “It has come to say why not act the lady prosecutor.Why not go and say it directly? Introduce an indictment, as any citizen. It is full of complaints the country of corruption, why only in this, Lord President of the PAN, “questioned Augusto Santiago. warned that following the dynamic that has taken national action in the next session will present a timely list of what they say audits of 2010 and 2011, and all matters that are pending in the PGR. And is that before the application point of agreement by the PAN, it unleashed a battery of shares in the PRI stands to prevent the subject grew. In direct defense of Peña Nieto, who was the bench of the PRI has been careful to avoid being a victim of shocking subjects, the tricolor prevented the point of agreement was approved in the terms he wanted the PAN.

Russian lawmaker warns nation could block Afghan supply route


Russian lawmaker warns nation could block Afghan supply route

By Paul Richter / Tribune Washington Bureau (MCT)

WASHINGTON — A key Russian legislator warns that his government could withdraw permission for the United States to supply its troops in Afghanistan through Russia if the two countries can’t resolve their differences over missile defense.

Alexey Pushkov, chairman of the international affairs committee of the State Duma, said in a recent interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken the missile defense issue “very close to his heart.”

If there is no agreement between the countries on missile defense, the issue of NATO’s use of the two routes “will eventually come into play,” said Pushkov, who is a Putin ally. “I would not take it lightly.”

Russian official: Romney’s hard line could bring ‘full-scale crisis’

Russian official: Romney’s hard line could bring ‘full-scale crisis’ 

Mitt RomneyMitt Romney campaigns in Sterling, Va. (Win McNamee / Getty Images
By Paul RichterMOSCOW — Mitt Romney’s comment that Russia is America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe,” a red-meat line forRepublicans, is also attracting some attention in Moscow.

Alexey Pushkov, chairman of the international affairs committee of the State Duma, said in a recent interview that Russian leaders have noted Romney’s comments with concern, and are watching with interest as neoconservative and “realist” advisers maneuver for influence within the campaign.

“We don’t think that for us Romney will be an easy partner,” said Pushkov, an ally of President Vladimir Putin. “We think that Romney will be, on the rhetorical side, a replay of the Bush administration.”

He also noted Romney’s statements that the United States should assert its dominance in the 21st century.

“If he is serious about this, I’m afraid he may choose the neocon-type people…In the first year of his presidency, we may have a full-scale crisis,” he said.

Romney, in an interview with CNN in March, called Russia “without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe, they fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that [Obama] has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.”

Pushkov said Russian leaders have noticed that Romney has among his foreign policy advisers several foreign policy figures often described as neoconservatives, such as Robert Kagan. “We don’t find it very positive,” he said.

Pushkov said that the “reset” in U.S.-Russia relations that Obama has portrayed as a signature foreign policy accomplishment “is stuck, basically. It needs another reset.”

Nevertheless, though the U.S. and Russia are at odds on issues such as Syria and missile defense, Obama would be “acceptable” as a partner for Russia in a second term, Pushkov said.

Obama and Putin showed in their recent meeting in Mexico that “they don’t want a personal conflict,” he said.

The Middle East peace process is a ‘trick,’ says U.N. rights rapporteur

The Middle East peace process is a ‘trick,’ says U.N. rights rapporteur

Richard Falk, a special U.N. rapporteur for human rights, said Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were offered no protection in Israeli law. (File photo)

Richard Falk, a special U.N. rapporteur for human rights, said Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were offered no protection in Israeli law. (File photo)


The U.N. pointman for Palestinian human rights launched a blistering attack on the international community Monday, accusing it of conspiring in Israeli settlement policies and branding the peace process a “trick.”

Richard Falk, the special U.N. rapporteur for human rights in the occupied territories, also took aim at the so-called Middle East Quartet’s peace envoy Tony Blair over his efforts in the region.

Falk, who spoke to reporters after addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, said Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were offered no protection in Israeli law and that their treatment was akin to apartheid.

“I think one has to begin to call the reality by a name,” he said, likening the “discriminatory dualistic legal system” in the West Bank to the former system in South Africa.

In his report to the council, Falk expressed his concern about Israel’s use of administrative detention, the expansion of settlements and violence by settlers.

Israel in March severed contacts with the council after the 47-member body said it would investigate settlements in the occupied territories, which are considered illegal under international law.

Peace talks between the two sides have been on hold since September 2010, with the Palestinians refusing to resume them without a moratorium on settlement building.

“The peace process is a trick rather than a way to find a solution to the problem,” Falk said.

He also criticized the work of the former British prime minister Tony Blair in the region.

“Tony Blair has not much to show for his 86 visits to the Middle East… (it is) an extension of the peace process which I regard as a failure because while time passes the settlement culture continues.”

“The international community is conspiring – maybe unwittingly – in a process that has no way of bringing justice to the people involved in this conflict,” he said of settlements.

At least 3,500 buildings were under construction in the West Bank in 2011, Falk reported, not including Israeli settlements in annexed east Jerusalem.

Such building on Palestinian land “more or less closes the book on the reality and feasibility” of a two-state solution to the conflict, Falk said.

“The credibility of the Human Rights Council is very much at stake if there is nothing that is done about the non-cooperation or non-compliance” by Israel with the council’s recommendations, he said.

“The language of censure doesn’t help the Palestinian people if there is no action.”

Settler violence against Palestinians was a new feature of the drive to occupy the Palestinian territories, especially around Hebron and Nablus, he added.

“Many people say the Israeli government is an extension of the settlers and I think that is an accurate description,” he said.

Falk said Palestinians were disillusioned by the international peace efforts and had resorted to extreme measures such as hunger strikes to raise awareness of abuses including illegal detention by Israel.

But such action was ignored in Western media, Falk said, sending “the unfortunate signal that only violent protests will be noticed internationally.”