Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thousands Flee Storm; G.O.P. Cuts Back

Richard Perry/The New York Times

Nancy Brown, a New Orleans resident, replacing a sandbag in the levee.

Published: August 31, 2008

NEW ORLEANS — Tens of thousands of residents streamed out of New Orleans on Sunday after heeding orders from officials to evacuate the city — the first mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Katrina flooded the city three years ago — as Hurricane Gustav grew into what the city’s mayor called “a big, ugly storm” and moved toward the Louisiana coast.

Skip to next paragraph
The Lede
Updates on Gustav

The Lede is following Hurricane Gustav as it heads toward the Gulf Coast.

The aftermath of Hurricane Gustav in Consolación del Sur, Cuba, on Sunday. The storm lashed the western tip of Cuba on Saturday before heading toward the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Mayor C. Ray Nagin said Hurricane Gustav was larger and more dangerous than Hurricane Katrina, and he pleaded with residents to get out or face flooding and life-threatening winds.

“We should start to see tornado threats starting tonight and in the morning,” he said at a news briefing Sunday morning. “This is still a big, ugly storm. It’s still strong and I strongly encourage everyone to leave.”

On Sunday afternoon, officials from the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, to Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and President Bush echoed Mr. Nagin’s pleas for anyone planning on staying behind to reconsider. Mr. Chertoff said he had heard reports of people determined to try to ride out the storm, and called that strategy “exceptionally foolish.”

With Gustav bearing down and Republican convention speakers like President Bush and Mr. Jindal canceling their speeches, Senator John McCain announced Sunday afternoon that Republicans would suspend most of the activities scheduled for the first day of their convention, which starts Monday in St. Paul. Rick Davis, a top McCain aide, said the Republican Party would conduct only a few essential convention activities, including adopting its rules and electing its officers.

“This is a time we have to do away with our party politics,” Mr. McCain said.

Mr. Bush, who had been scheduled to speak in St. Paul on Monday, said he would be traveling instead to Texas, where emergency workers are providing food and shelter to evacuees. Vice President Dick Cheney has also canceled his plans to attend the convention, the White House said.

“Several states, including Missouri, Texas and New Mexico, are preparing to and have accepted a lot of evacuees,” Mr. Bush said in a news briefing at FEMA headquarters in Washington on Sunday. “People who are leaving the areas of concern, we’re working hard to be sure they have a place to go.”

In New Orleans, Mr. Nagin said that 14,000 to 15,000 residents had already been evacuated through the bus and train system organized by the city and state, and that the number was likely to reach 18,000 by the time the buses stopped rolling later on Sunday. About half the city’s residents have left town and many neighborhoods are empty; Most of the holdouts are in the affluent Uptown neighborhoods that are on higher ground and did not experience flooding during Katrina.

David Paulison, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, acknowledged that there were still some people in the city but said “it’s dwindling quickly.” He took pains to explain that FEMA was being far more aggressive than it had been during Katrina, saying that the agency had pushed several slow-moving hospitals and nursing homes to evacuate Saturday night, and was gathering thousands of meals, blankets, cots and generators.

At the same time, FEMA is also keeping track of another brewing tropical storm, Hanna, which is swirling off the east coast of Florida, Mr. Paulison said.

The crush of evacuations that took place throughout the night and into Sunday came after Mr. Nagin issued dire warnings that the city could be devastated.

By midday on Sunday, the streets of downtown New Orleans and many other neighborhoods were completely deserted. Although the lights were on in about half the Garden District Saturday night, there were few people out in the streets in those areas, and few cars.

The city was taking no chances: a large sheriff’s department power boat was parked right outside of City Hall.

Mr. Nagin announced Sunday that much of his staff was relocating to Baton Rouge, and said he was instituting a curfew in New Orleans from dusk until dawn — when anyone on the street is subject to arrest — that would go into effect at sunset. At one point in his news briefing, apparently hoping to stave off a repeat of the looting that was rampant in the days after Katrina, he issued a direct warning to anyone with plans to linger in New Orleans.

“We have double the police force, double the National Guard force that we had for Katrina, and looters will go directly to jail,” he said. “You will not get a pass this time.”

Then, referring to Angola, the state’s notorious penitentiary, he added: “You will not have a temporary stay in the city. You’ll go directly to the big house.”

Though blunt, the mayor’s tone was still considerably less dramatic than it was Saturday night, when his warnings were stronger than the forecasts issued by the National Hurricane Center.

Mr. Nagin had called Gustav “the storm of the century,” but he may have been exaggerating in order to shock jaded residents into taking prudent steps. But he said storm surges, particularly on the city’s West Bank, could be twice as high as the neighborhood’s 10-foot levees, and said those people choosing to remain in their homes should have an ax to chop through their roofs when the floodwaters rise.

Adam Nossiter reported from New Orleans, and Anahad O’Connor from New York. Shaila Dewan contributed reporting from New Orleans.


Satellites track Mexico kidnap victims with chips

Satellites track Mexico kidnap victims with chips

Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:50pm EDT

By Mica Rosenberg

QUERETARO, Mexico (Reuters) - Wealthy Mexicans, terrified of soaring kidnapping rates, are spending thousands of dollars to implant tiny transmitters under their skin so satellites can help find them tied up in a safe house or stuffed in the trunk of a car.

Kidnapping jumped almost 40 percent between 2004 and 2007 in Mexico according to official statistics. Mexico ranks with conflict zones like Iraq and Colombia as among the worst countries for abductions.

The recent kidnap and murder of Fernando Marti, 14, the son of a well-known businessman, sparked an outcry in a country already hardened to crime.

More middle-class people also are also seeking out the tiny chip designed by Xega, a Mexican security firm whose sales jumped 13 percent this year.

The company injects the crystal-encased chip, the size and shape of a grain of rice, into clients' bodies with a syringe. A transmitter then sends signals via satellite to pinpoint the location of a person in distress.

Cristina, 28, who did not want to give her last name, was implanted along with seven other members of her family last year as a "preventive measure."

"It's not like we are wealthy people, but they'll kidnap you for a watch ... Everyone is living in fear," she said.

The chips cost $4,000 plus an annual fee of $2,200.

Most kidnappings in Mexico go unreported but independent analysts say there were 6,500 abductions last year, many of them "express kidnapping" where the victim is grabbed and forced to withdraw money from automatic cash machines.


Official statistics show 751 kidnappings in Mexico last year but most abductions go unreported and the crime research institute ICESI says the number could have been as high as over 7,000 in 2007.

Xega, based in the central Mexican city of Quererato, designed global positioning systems to track stolen vehicles until a company owner was kidnapped in broad daylight in 2001. Frustrated by his powerlessness to call for help, the company adapted the technology to track stolen people.

Most people get the chips injected into their arms between the skin and muscle where they cannot be seen. Customers who fear they are being kidnapped press a panic button on an external device to alert Xega which then calls the police.

"Before, they only kidnapped key, well-known economically successful people like industrialists and landowners. Now they are kidnapping people from the middle class," said Sergio Galvan, Xega's commercial director.

President Felipe Calderon has come under heavy pressure in recent weeks to stamp out violent crime. He is to host a high-level meeting on Thursday of security chiefs and state governors.

Outside of Mexico, U.S. company VeriChip Corp uses similar radio-wave technology to identify patients in critical condition at hospitals or find elderly people who wander away from their homes.

But Xega sees kidnapping as a growth industry and is planning to expand its services next year to Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)



New Guidelines Would Give F.B.I. Broader Powers

August 21, 2008

New Guidelines Would Give F.B.I. Broader Powers

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department plan would loosen restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to allow agents to open a national security or criminal investigation against someone without any clear basis for suspicion, Democratic lawmakers briefed on the details said Wednesday.

The plan, which could be made public next month, has already generated intense interest and speculation. Little is known about its precise language, but civil liberties advocates say they fear it could give the government even broader license to open terrorism investigations.

Congressional staff members got a glimpse of some of the details in closed briefings this month, and four Democratic senators told Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey in a letter on Wednesday that they were troubled by what they heard.

The senators said the new guidelines would allow the F.B.I. to open an investigation of an American, conduct surveillance, pry into private records and take other investigative steps “without any basis for suspicion.” The plan “might permit an innocent American to be subjected to such intrusive surveillance based in part on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or on protected First Amendment activities,” the letter said. It was signed by Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

As the end of the Bush administration nears, the White House has been seeking to formalize in law and regulation some of the aggressive counterterrorism steps it has already taken in practice since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Congress overhauled the federal wiretapping law in July, for instance, and President Bush issued an executive order this month ratifying new roles for intelligence agencies. Other pending changes would also authorize greater sharing of intelligence information with the local police, a major push in the last seven years.

The Justice Department is already expecting criticism over the F.B.I. guidelines. In an effort to pre-empt critics, Mr. Mukasey gave a speech last week in Portland, Ore., describing the unfinished plan as an effort to “integrate more completely and harmonize the standards that apply to the F.B.I.’s activities.” Differing standards, he said, have caused confusion for field agents.

Mr. Mukasey emphasized that the F.B.I. would still need a “valid purpose” for an investigation, and that it could not be “simply based on somebody’s race, religion, or exercise of First Amendment rights.”

Rather than expanding government power, he said, “this document clarifies the rules by which the F.B.I. conducts its intelligence mission.”

In 2002, John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, allowed F.B.I. agents to visit public sites like mosques or monitor Web sites in the course of national security investigations. The next year, Mr. Bush issued guidelines allowing officials to use ethnicity or race in “narrow” circumstances to detect a terrorist threat.

The Democratic senators said the draft plan appeared to allow the F.B.I. to go even further in collecting information on Americans connected to “foreign intelligence” without any factual predicate. They also said there appeared to be few constraints on how the information would be shared with other agencies.

Michael German, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union and a former F.B.I. agent, said the plan appeared to open the door still further to the use of data-mining profiles in tracking terrorism.

“This seems to be based on the idea that the government can take a bunch of data and create a profile that can be used to identify future bad guys,” he said. “But that has not been demonstrated to be true anywhere else.”

The Justice Department said Wednesday that in light of requests from members of Congress for more information, Mr. Mukasey would agree not to sign the new guidelines before a Sept. 17 Congressional hearing.


America's demonization next step in New World Order?

Old-Thinker News August 24, 2008

By Daniel Taylor

Update - August 27, 2008: The Guardian - Georgia is the graveyard of America's unipolar world

"Why that should be so isn't hard to understand. It's not only that the US and its camp followers have trampled on international law and the UN to bring death and destruction to the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan.


For the rest of us, a new assertiveness by Russia and other rising powers doesn't just offer some restraint on the unbridled exercise of global imperial power, it should also increase the pressure for a revival of a rules-based system of international relations."

Related: Australian paper proclaims: A New World Order as U.S. prosperity falls

After the recent Georgian incursion into South Ossetia, discussion has been rampant regarding America's influence and dominance on the world scene. Some are proclaiming that Russia has laid to rest aspirations for a so called New World Order. From one angle this may appear to be the case, but there is a bigger picture needs to be examined.

The United States is going to - and to a degree already is - be held up as an example of why "global mechanisms" and a "world structure" need to be in place to prevent such actions as the invasion of Iraq and U.S. support of Georgian forces in the invasion of South Ossetia. We've been presented with a problem, now globalist think tanks and organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations will provide us with a solution. National sovereignty has no place in this era, so we're told. We must "share power".

Former President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, has stated that he sees the U.S. led Iraq war as an example of the need for a "new world order" to manage the globe.

"Look at the US in Iraq, everybody was opposed, even their allies, but they did not listen and what happened? They do not know how to get out of it now. Now we understand that... we are all linked to the US and if it falls apart it would be a real collapse. We have to help them to get out of there. That means that cooperation is needed, a new world order is necessary and global mechanisms to manage it."

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has made similar statements recently in response to the Georgia-Russia conflict. As the AFP reports,

"Turkish President Abdullah Gul predicted "a new world order" of joint international action, in an interview published in the U.K. on Saturday.

He added that the conflict in Georgia shows the U.S. can no longer shape global politics on its own, and that it should start sharing power with other nations."

The 2008 election gives us an idea of the current trends underway and provides a window into the establishment's long term game-plan. Both Barack Obama and John McCain have openly indicated that globalist policy will be pursued if either of them are elected president.

John McCain discussed his proposed "League of Democracies" at the Hoover institution in May of 2007. McCain stated in part,

"This League of Democracies would not supplant the United Nations or other international organizations. It would complement them. But it would be the one organization where the world's democracies could come together to discuss problems and solutions on the basis of shared principles and a common vision of the future. If I am elected president, I will call a summit of the world's democracies in my first year to seek the views of my democratic counterparts and begin exploring the practical steps necessary to realize this vision."

Barack Obama made his globalist stance known during his highly publicized speech in Berlin on July 24th. He said,

"Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more -- not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity."

"In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone."

The more sophisticated branch of globalist elites who see the route to power through slower, deliberate and incremental steps are now making their move. The aggressive Neocons have served their purpose and are making the establishment nervous with further provocative actions. The corruption and wars that have tarnished the American people's name will now be used to further the aims of the global elite. America's demonization, and in turn its use as an example of the necessity of global governance, may very well be the next stage of the establishment's plan for world government.


The CIA, Contras, Gangs, and Crack

The CIA, Contras, Gangs, and Crack

Volume 1, Number 11
November 1996

Written by William Blum, a Washington, DC based writer on foreign policy and intelligence matters. Author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II.
Editors: Tom Barry (IRC) and Martha Honey (IPS)

November 1996 -- - "FPIF" -- - In August 1996, the San Jose Mercury News initiated an extended series of articles linking the CIA's "contra" army to the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles.1 Based on a year-long investigation, reporter Gary Webb wrote that during the 1980s the CIA helped finance its covert war against Nicaragua's leftist government through sales of cut-rate cocaine to South Central L.A. drug dealer, Ricky Ross. The series unleashed a storm of protest, spearheaded by black radio stations and the congressional Black Caucus, with demands for official inquiries. The Mercury News' Web page, with supporting documents and updates, received hundreds of thousands of "hits" a day.

While much of the CIA-contra-drug story had been revealed years ago in the press and in congressional hearings, the Mercury News series added a crucial missing link: It followed the cocaine trail to Ross and black L.A. gangs who became street-level distributors of crack, a cheap and powerful form of cocaine. The CIA's drug network, wrote Webb, "opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the 'crack' capital of the world." Black gangs used their profits to buy automatic weapons, sometimes from one of the CIA-linked drug dealers.

CIA Director John Deutch declared that he found "no connection whatsoever" between the CIA and cocaine traffickers. And major media--the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post--have run long pieces refuting the Mercury News series. They deny that Bay Area-based Nicaraguan drug dealers, Juan Norwin Meneses and Oscar Danilo Blandon, worked for the CIA or contributed "millions in drug profits" to the contras, as Webb contended. They also note that neither Ross nor the gangs were the first or sole distributors of crack in L.A. Webb, however, did not claim this. He wrote that the huge influx of cocaine happened to come at just the time that street-level drug dealers were figuring out how to make cocaine affordable by changing it into crack.

Many in the media have also postulated that any drug-trafficking contras involved were "rogue" elements, not supported by the CIA. But these denials overlook much of the Mercury News' evidence of CIA complicity. For example:

  • CIA-supplied contra planes and pilots carried cocaine from Central America to U.S. airports and military bases. In 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Celerino Castillo reported to his superiors that cocaine was being stored at the CIA's contra-supply warehouse at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador for shipment to the U.S.2 The DEA did nothing, and Castillo was gradually forced out of the agency.

  • When Danilo Blandón was finally arrested in 1986, he admitted to drug crimes that would have sent others away for life. The Justice Department, however, freed Blandón after only 28 months behind bars and then hired him as a full-time DEA informant, paying him more than $166,000. When Blandón testified in a 1996 trial against Ricky Ross, the Justice Department blocked any inquiry about Blandón's connection to the CIA.

  • Although Norwin Meneses is listed in DEA computers as a major international drug smuggler implicated in 45 separate federal investigations since 1974, he lived conspicuously in California until 1989 and was never arrested in the U.S.

  • Senate investigators and agents from four organizations all complained that their contra-drug investigations "were hampered," Webb wrote, "by the CIA or unnamed 'national security' interests." In the 1984 "Frogman Case," for instance, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco returned $36,800 seized from a Nicaraguan drug dealer after two contra leaders sent letters to the court arguing that the cash was intended for the contras. Federal prosecutors ordered the letter and other case evidence sealed for "national security" reasons. When Senate investigators later asked the Justice Department to explain this unusual turn of events, they ran into a wall of secrecy.

History of CIA Involvement in Drug Trafficking

"In my 30­year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA." -- Dennis Dayle, former chief of an elite DEA enforcement unit.3

The foregoing discussion should not be regarded as any kind of historical aberration inasmuch as the CIA has had a long and virtually continuous involvement with drug trafficking since the end of World War II.

1947 to 1951, France

CIA arms, money, and disinformation enabled Corsican criminal syndicates in Marseille to wrest control of labor unions from the Communist Party. The Corsicans gained political influence and control over the docks--ideal conditions for cementing a long-term partnership with mafia drug distributors, which turned Marseille into the postwar heroin capital of the Western world. Marseille's first heroin laboratories were opened in 1951, only months after the Corsicans took over the waterfront.4

Early 1950s, Southeast Asia

The Nationalist Chinese army, organized by the CIA to wage war against Communist China, became the opium baron of The Golden Triangle (parts of Burma, Thailand, and Laos), the world's largest source of opium and heroin. Air America, the CIA's principal proprietary airline, flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia.5

1950s to early 1970s, Indochina

During U.S. military involvement in Laos and other parts of Indochina, Air America flew opium and heroin throughout the area. Many GI's in Vietnam became addicts. A laboratory built at CIA headquarters in northern Laos was used to refine heroin. After a decade of American military intervention, Southeast Asia had become the source of 70 percent of the world's illicit opium and the major supplier of raw materials for America's booming heroin market.6

1973 to 1980, Australia

The Nugan Hand Bank of Sydney was a CIA bank in all but name. Among its officers were a network of U.S. generals, admirals, and CIA men--including former CIA Director William Colby, who was also one of its lawyers. With branches in Saudi Arabia, Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, and the U.S., Nugan Hand Bank financed drug trafficking, money laundering, and international arms dealing. In 1980, amidst several mysterious deaths, the bank collapsed, $50 million in debt.7

1970s and 1980s, Panama

For more than a decade, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Noriega facilitated "guns-for-drugs" flights for the contras, providing protection and pilots, safe havens for drug cartel officials, and discreet banking facilities. U.S. officials, including then-CIA Director William Webster and several DEA officers, sent Noriega letters of praise for efforts to thwart drug trafficking (albeit only against competitors of his Medellín cartel patrons). The U.S. government only turned against Noriega, invading Panama in December 1989 and kidnapping the general, once they discovered he was providing intelligence and services to the Cubans and Sandinistas. Ironically, drug trafficking through Panama increased after the U.S. invasion.8

1980s, Central America

The San Jose Mercury News series documents just one thread of the interwoven operations linking the CIA, the contras, and the cocaine cartels. Obsessed with overthrowing the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, Reagan administration officials tolerated drug trafficking as long as the traffickers gave support to the contras. In 1989, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations (the Kerry committee) concluded a three-year investigation by stating: "There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of individual contras, contra suppliers, contra pilots, mercenaries who worked with the contras, and contra supporters throughout the region. . . . U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war efforts against Nicaragua. . . . In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter. . . . Senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the contras' funding problems."9

In Costa Rica, which served as the "Southern Front" for the contras (Honduras being the Northern Front), there were several CIA-contra networks involved in drug trafficking. In addition to those servicing the Meneses-Blandon operation (detailed by the Mercury News) and Noriega's operation, there was CIA operative John Hull, whose farms along Costa Rica's border with Nicaragua were the main staging area for the contras. Hull and other CIA-connected contra supporters and pilots teamed up with George Morales, a major Miami-based Colombian drug trafficker who later admitted to giving $3 million in cash and several planes to contra leaders.10 In 1989, after the Costa Rica government indicted Hull for drug trafficking, a DEA-hired plane clandestinely and illegally flew the CIA operative to Miami, via Haiti. The U.S. repeatedly thwarted Costa Rican efforts to extradite Hull to Costa Rica to stand trial.11

Another Costa Rican-based drug ring involved a group of Cuban Americans whom the CIA had hired as military trainers for the contras. Many had long been involved with the CIA and drug trafficking. They used contra planes and a Costa Rican-based shrimp company, which laundered money for the CIA, to channel cocaine to the U.S.12

Costa Rica was not the only route. Guatemala, whose military intelligence service--closely associated with the CIA--harbored many drug traffickers, according to the DEA, was another way station along the cocaine highway.13 Additionally, the Medellín cartel's Miami accountant, Ramon Milian Rodriguez, testified that he funneled nearly $10 million to Nicaraguan contras through long-time CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, who was based at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador.14

The contras provided both protection and infrastructure (planes, pilots, airstrips, warehouses, front companies, and banks) to these CIA-linked drug networks. At least four transport companies under investigation for drug trafficking received U.S. government contracts to carry nonlethal supplies to the contras.15 Southern Air Transport, "formerly" CIA-owned and later under Pentagon contract, was involved in the drug running as well.16 Cocaine-laden planes flew to Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and other locations, including several military bases. Designated as "Contra Craft," these shipments were not to be inspected. When some authority wasn't apprised and made an arrest, powerful strings were pulled to result in dropping the case, acquittal, reduced sentence, or deportation.17

Mid-1980s to early 1990s, Haiti

While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients' drug trafficking. In 1986, the Agency added some more names to its payroll by creating a new Haitian organization, the National Intelligence Service (SIN). SIN's mandate included countering the cocaine trade, though SIN officers themselves engaged in trafficking, a trade aided and abetted by some Haitian military and political leaders.18

1980s to early 1990s, Afghanistan

CIA-supported Moujahedeen rebels engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting the Soviet-supported government, which had plans to reform Afghan society. The Agency's principal client was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the leading drug lords and the biggest heroin refiner, who was also the largest recipient of CIA military support. CIA-supplied trucks and mules that had carried arms into Afghanistan were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The output provided up to one-half of the heroin used annually in the United States and three-quarters of that used in Western Europe. U.S. officials admitted in 1990 that they had failed to investigate or take action against the drug operation because of a desire not to offend their Pakistani and Afghan allies.19 In 1993, an official of the DEA dubbed Afghanistan the new Colombia of the drug world.20


1 Gary Webb, "Dark Alliance" series, San Jose Mercury News. Beginning August 18, 1996.

2 Celerino Castillo, Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War (Mosaic Press, 1994). Los Angeles Times lengthy series of articles, October 20, 21, 22, 1996. Roberto Suro and Walter Pincus, "The CIA and Crack: Evidence is Lacking of Alleged Plot" (Washington Post, October 4, 1996). Howard Kurtz, "Running with the CIA Story" (Washington Post, October 2, 1996). Douglas Farah and Walter Pincus "CIA, Contras and Drugs: Questions on Links Linger" (Washington Post, October 31, 1996). Tim Golden,"Though Evidence is Thin, Tale of CIA and Drugs Has a Life of Its Own" (New York Times, October 21, 1996).

3 Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991) pp. x-xi.

4 Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York City, New York: Harper & Row, 1972, chapter 2).

5 Christopher Robbins, Air America (New York City, New York: Avon Books, 1985) chapter 9. McCoy, Politics of Heroin.

6 McCoy, Politics of Heroin, chapter 9.

7 Robbins, Air America, p. 128 and chapter 9. Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA (New York City, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1987). William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995) p. 420, note 33.

8 Scott & Marshall, Cocaine Politics; John Dinges, Our Man in Panama (NY, New York: Random House, 1991); Murray Waas, "Cocaine and the White House Connection", Los Angeles Weekly, Sept. 30-Oct. 6 and Oct. 7-13, 1988; National Security Archive Documentation Packet: The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations (Washington, DC).

9 "Kerry Report": Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, a Report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, 1989, pp. 2, 36, 41.

10 Martha Honey, Hostile Acts: U.S. Policy in Costa Rica in the 1980s (Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 1994).

11 Martha Honey and David Myers, "U.S. Probing Drug Agent's Activities in Costa Rica," San Francisco Chronicle, August 14, 1991.

12 Honey, Hostile Acts.

13 Frank Smyth, "In Guatemala, The DEA Fights the CIA", New Republic, June 5, 1995; Blum, Killing Hope, p. 239.

14 Martha Honey, "Drug Figure Says Cartel Gave Drugs to Contras" Washington Post, June 30, 1987.

15 Kerry report, Drugs.

16 Scott & Marshall, Cocaine Politics, pp. 17-18.

17 Scott & Marshall, Cocaine Politics; Waas, "Cocaine and the White House"; NSA, The Contras.

18 New York Times, Nov. 14, 1993; The Nation, Oct. 3, 1994, p. 346.

19 Blum, Killing Hope, p. 351; Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon's Black Budget (New York City, New York: Warner Books, 1990) pp. 151-2.

20 Los Angeles Times, Aug. 22, 1993

Sources for more information

World Wide Web

Washington Post

Covert Action Quarterly

The National Security Archive


The National Security Archive
Gelman Library, Ste. 7012130 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
Voice: (202) 994-7000
Contact: Peter Kornbluh

Congresswoman Maxine Waters
330 Cannon House Building
Washington, DC 20515
Voice: (202) 225-2201
Contact: Joseph Lee

Covert Action Quarterly
1500 Mass Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20005
Voice: (202) 331-9763
Fax: (202) 331-9751
Contact: Terry Allen

Latin American Working Group
110 Maryland Ave. NE Box 15
Washington, DC 20002
Voice: (202) 546-7010
Fax: (202) 543-7647
Contact: Lisa Hargaard


Lorraine Adams, "North Didn't Relay Drug Tips", The Washington Post, Oct. 22, 1994, p. 1.

William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995).

Celerino Castillo with David Harmon, Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War (Mosaic Press, 1994).

John Dinges, Our Man in Panama (New York City, NY: Random House, 1991).

Martha Honey, Hostile Acts: U.S. Policy in Costa Rica in the 1980s (Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 1994).

Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, December 1988.

Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA (New York City, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 1987).

Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1972).

Clarence Lusane, Pipe Dream Blues: Racism and the War on Drugs (Boston: South End Press, 1991).

National Security Archive, Documentation Packet: The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations (Washington, D.C. October 1996).

Christopher Robbins, Air America (New York City, New York: Avon Books, 1985).

Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (Berkeley, California: University of CA Press, 1991).

Murray Waas, "Cocaine and the White House Connection", Los Angeles Weekly, Sept. 30-Oct. 6 and Oct. 7-13, 1988.

Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon's Black Budget (New York City, New York: Warner Books, 1990).


Why Not Simply Abolish NATO?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why Not Simply Abolish NATO?

by Rodrigue Tremblay

[NATO's goal is] "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down."

Lord Ismay, first NATO Secretary-General

"We should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgia's security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation."

Sen. John McCain, (August 8, 2008)

"If we would have preemptively worked with Russia, with Georgia, making sure that NATO had the kind of ability and the presence and the engagement, we could have perhaps avoided this” [The invasion of S. Ossetia by Georgia and the subsequent Russian response].

Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and adviser to Sen. Barack Obama, (August 17, 2008)

"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other."

James Madison (1751-1836), fourth American President

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a relic of the Cold War. It was created on April 4, 1949 as a defensive alliance of Western Europe countries plus Canada and the United States to protect the former countries from encroachments by the Soviet Union.

But since 1991, the Soviet empire no longer exists and Russia has been cooperating economically with Western European countries, supplying them with gas and oil, and all types of commodities. This has increased European economic interdependence and thus greatly reduced the need for such a defensive military alliance above and beyond European countries' own self-defense military system.

But the U.S. government does not see things that way. It would prefer keeping its role as Europe's patronizing protector and as the world's sole superpower. NATO is a convenient tool to that effect. But maybe the world should be worried about those who go around the planet with a can of gasoline in one hand and a box of matches in the other, pretending to sell fire insurance.

As of now, it is a fact that the U.S. government and the American foreign affairs nomenklatura see NATO as an important tool of American foreign policy of intervention around the world. Since many American politicians do not anymore support de facto the United Nations as the supreme international organization devoted to maintaining peace in the world, a U.S.-controlled NATO would seem to be, in their eyes, a most attractive substitute to the United Nations for providing a legal front for their otherwise illegal offensive military undertakings around the world. They prefer to control totally a smaller organization such as NATO, even though it has become a redundant institution, than to have to make compromises at the U.N., where the U.S nevertheless has one of the five vetoes on the Security Council.

That is the strong rationale behind the proposals to reshape, reorient and enlarge NATO, in order to transform it into a flexible tool of American foreign policy. This is another demonstration that redundant institutions have a life of their own. Indeed, when the purpose for which they have been initially established no longer exists, new purposes are invented to keep them going.

Regarding NATO, the plan is to turn it into an aggrandized offensive imperial U.S.-dominated political and military alliance against the rest of the world. According to plan, NATO would be enlarged in the Central-Eastern European region to include not only most of the former members of the Warsaw Pact (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and Hungary) and many of the former republics of the Soviet Union (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia and Ukraine), but also in Asia to include Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and possibly admit Israel in the Middle East. Today the initially 12-member NATO has mushroomed into a 26-member organization. In the future, if the U.S. has its way, NATO could be a 40-member organization.

In the United States, both the Republicans and the Democrats see the old NATO transformed into this new offensive military alliance as a good (neocon) idea to promote American interests around the world, as well as those of its close allies, such as Israel. It is not only an idea actively promoted by the neocon Bush-Cheney administration, but also by the neoconservative advisers to both 2008 American presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama. Indeed, both 2008 presidential candidates are enthusiastic military interventionists, and this is essentially because both rely on advisers originating from the same neocon camp.

For instance, the rush with which the Bush-Cheney recklessly promised NATO membership to the former Soviet republic of Georgia and American military support and supply is a good example of how NATO is viewed in Washington D.C. by both main American political parties. For one, Republican presidential candidate John McCain envisages a new world order built around a neocon-inspired "League of Democracies" that would de facto replace the United Nations and through which the United States would rule the world. Secondly, Sen. Barack Obama's position is not that far from Sen. McCain's foreign policy proposals. Indeed, Sen. Obama advocates the use of U.S. military force and multilateral military interventions in regional crises, for “humanitarian purposes”, even if by so doing, the United Nations must be bypassed. Therefore, if he ever gains power, it is a safe bet that Sen. Obama would not have any qualms about adopting Sen. McCain's view of the world. For example, both presidential candidates would probably support the removal of the no “first strike” clause from the NATO convention. It can be taken for granted that with either politician in the White House, the world would be a less lawful and a less safe place, and would not be more advanced than it has become under the lawless Bush-Cheney administration.

However, it is difficult to see how this new offensive role for NATO would be in the interests of European countries or of Canada. Western Europe in particular has everything to fear from a resurgence of the Cold War with Russia, and possibly with China. The transformation of NATO from a North Atlantic defensive military organization into a U.S.-led worldwide offensive military organization is going to have profound international geopolitical consequences around the world, but especially for Europe. Europe has a strong economic attraction for Russia. Then why embark upon the aggressive Bush-Cheney administration's policy of encircling Russia militarily by expanding NATO right up to Russia's doorstep and by placing a missile shields right next to Russia? Wouldn't it be better for Europe to develop harmonious economic and political relations with Russia? Why prepare the next war?

And as for Canada, under the neocon minority Harper government, it has sadly become a de facto American colony as far as foreign affairs are concerned, and this, without any serious debate or referendum to that effect within Canada. The last thing Canada needs is to go further on that mined road.

In conclusion, it would seem that the humanist idea of having peace, free trade and international law as the foundations of the world order is being cast aside in favor of a return to great power politics and gunboat diplomacy. This is a 100-year setback.

It is a shame.

Rodrigue Tremblay is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal and can be reached at

He is the author of the book 'The New American Empire'

Visit his blog site at:

Author's Website:

Check Dr. Tremblay's coming book "The Code for Global Ethics" at:

Posted, Wednesday, August 20, 2008, at 5:30 am



No More False Vision

Ezekiel 12

1The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying,

2Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.

3Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they be a rebellious house.

4Then shalt thou bring forth thy stuff by day in their sight, as stuff for removing: and thou shalt go forth at even in their sight, as they that go forth into captivity.

5Dig thou through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby.

6In their sight shalt thou bear it upon thy shoulders, and carry it forth in the twilight: thou shalt cover thy face, that thou see not the ground: for I have set thee for a sign unto the house of Israel.

7And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought it forth in the twilight, and I bare it upon my shoulder in their sight.

8And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me, saying,

9Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said unto thee, What doest thou?

10Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them.

11Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity.

12And the prince that is among them shall bear upon his shoulder in the twilight, and shall go forth: they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with his eyes.

13My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.

14And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them.

15And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries.

16But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

17Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

18Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling and with carefulness;

19And say unto the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord GOD of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of the land of Israel; They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment, that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein.

20And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

21And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

22Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?

23Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.

24For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel.

25For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.

26Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying.

27Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.

28Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.

* Emphasis (Bolds) added.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Xinhua: 22 dead from Saturday quake

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit southwest China Saturday, killing 22 people, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The quake hit Panzhihua City in Sichuan province. By Saturday night, 17 people were reported dead and about 100 others injured in Sichuan, Xinhua said. In neighboring Yunnan province, five people died and 35 others were injured, the news agency said.

In addition, nearly 1,000 houses were destroyed and cracks appeared in walls of more than 400 houses, according to Xinhua.

Don't Miss

  1. Special report: China earthquake

Rescue teams were headed to Sichuan, Xinhua reported. The China Earthquake Administration sent teams and seismic experts to the quake-hit area while the Yunnan provincial civil affairs bureau and the Yunnan Red Cross Society sent 3,400 tents and 2,000 quilts, Xinhua said.

Heavy rains and the region's rugged terrain were delaying relief efforts, it said.

The China Earthquake Administration has sent teams and seismic experts to the quake-hit area while the Yunnan provincial civil affairs bureau and the Yunnan Red Cross Society sent 3,400 tents and 2,000 quilts, Xinhua said. Relief efforts were hampered by heavy rains and the region's rugged terrain, it said.

On May 12, a 7.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan and nearby provinces killed nearly 70,000 people and more than 18,000 others are still listed as missing.



Call To Flee Babylon Before Its Fall

Revelation 18

1And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

3For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

6Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

7How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

8Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

9And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

10Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

11And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

12The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

13And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

14And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.

15The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

16And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

17For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

18And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

19And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

20Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

21And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

22And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

23And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

24And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Keep The Faith Ministry: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

September 5, 2008 12:00 AM — September 7, 2008 12:00 AM

September 5-7, 2008


Mason Hall Seventh-day Adventist Church

Located at:

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Meeting Times:

Friday: 7 p.m.

Saturday: 11 a.m. 5 p.m.

Sunday: 6 p.m.

Sermon Topics:

Rome’s Foot Soldiers

Benedict Visits America and the World

Perfect Storm




(876) 299-5573




Please call (876) 867-0711 for directions.


Gustav regains hurricane strength

Page last updated at 21:35 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 22:35 UK

Gustav regains hurricane strength

Fishermen secure their boats ahead of Tropical Storm Gustav in Kingston, Jamaica (28/08/08)
Heavy rain and winds wreaked havoc in eastern parts of Jamaica

Tropical storm Gustav has reached hurricane strength again after battering Jamaica and killing at least 71 people in the Caribbean.

The hurricane had maximum winds of nearly 121km/h (75mph), the US National Hurricane Center said.

It hit Jamaica with heavy rains and strong winds, tearing roofs off houses.

It is forecast to hit the US early next week, prompting evacuation plans in New Orleans, three years after the city was hit by Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans and coastal Mississippi have been holding commemorations of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans buried the last seven unclaimed bodies of Katrina at a memorial site on Friday.

"We look ahead to a better day, as we also prepare ourselves for another threat," said Mayor Ray Nagin at the funeral.

Meanwhile, Gustav was forecast to move towards the Cayman Islands, where residents were boarding up windows and stocking up on supplies of food and fuel.

Workers were being evacuated from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, as oil prices on trading markets rose amid forecasts Gustav could threaten oil installations in the region.


Gustav claimed the lives of at least 59 people in Haiti, eight in the Dominican Republic and four in Jamaica.

The aftermath of tropical storm Gustav in the Dominican Republic

Heavy rain and winds lashed eastern parts of Jamaica on Thursday causing chaos.

"The water is rising fast and there is widespread looting down here," resident Jackie Thompson told Reuters news agency from Montego Bay.

"The people are even stripping the material from one of the bridges. It is awful."

Gustav had been downgraded to the status of a tropical storm after weakening over Haiti on Wednesday.

A hurricane is defined by winds of 119km/h (74mph), according to the NHC.

Across the Cayman Islands, non-essential government employees were sent home on Thursday afternoon ahead of the storm's expected arrival.

Cayman Airways added 25 extra flights to their schedules in an effort to transport tourists and residents wanting to get off the islands.

But officials said they were not expecting a significant storm surge for Grand Cayman - which came as a welcome relief to islanders as much of the island sits just metres above sea-level.

Meteorologists say the storm could make landfall in the US anywhere from south Texas to Florida by Tuesday.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.

Gustav is the seventh tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.