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Archives: 2003

December,  2003

Drug money sustains al Qaeda  12/29/2003 Washington Times: as it does the Company…

4,000 Detained, Weapons Seized  12/28/2003 Arab News: "Saudi Arabia has arrested over 4,000 infiltrators and seized vast quantities of weapons and drugs in the south of the country, it was announced yesterday. But the Saudi Press Agency, which carried the announcement, did not say over what period the arrests and seizures, near the porous border with Yemen, were made."

In Caracas, Getting to the Heart of a Nation's Bitter Divide  12/22/2003 Pacific News: anti-Chavez and pro-Chavez - "Dr. Condado, 51, is white. President of the Venezuelan Society of Cardiology, he lives in the clean, tree-lined Sebucan district. Its intersections have stop signs though there is little traffic. Houses have gated driveways. Mr. Dominguez, 25, is black. Abandoned by his father, he lives in a crime-ridden, drug-infested neighborhood in central Caracas. The streets are filthy, the congestion insufferable. The informal economy thrives on the sidewalks, which, as a result, have little space for pedestrians."

PRESS CONFERENCE - Washington State Electronic Voting  12/16/2003 Black Box Voting: "What we have, in Washington State, is this: We’ve got the state election director misstating when versions were certified, somebody at the secretary of state’s office signing off on software with no NASED number, and when we try to find out what software is actually authorized, we get the buffalo shuffle. We’ve got a convicted drug dealer printing our ballots, a 23-count embezzler programming our voting system, and our absentee ballots are being funneled through a private company that hires mainly immigrants but also people straight out of prison. We’ve now documented 10 states that are using unauthorized software, and internal memos that indicate that five Diebold programmers uploaded these unauthorized programs, knowing that this was not allowed."

Russian Deputy Drug Czar: US soldiers becoming drug addicts in Afghanistan  12/5/2003 Pravda 

Cuba produces cancer vaccine  12/4/2003 Radio Progresso: "Cuba has filed for patents for at least 150 new medicines and technologies to be used to treat cancer, AIDS and other diseases. But an obstacle to expansion is a lack of government funding to fully develop and test all its new drugs. For that purpose it’s looking for financing from abroad. The Bush administration already denied a license to U.S. research centers for a joint program for the study of Rotavirus, a transmitter of acute infections of the digestive tract that is responsible for 600,000 to 800,000 child deaths between the ages of 4 and 34 months, particularly in the Third World (See “Known... But Not Told”, Progreso Weekly, November 6-12, 2003). Instead, it launched a campaign claiming without evidence that Cuban facilities are used for the research and manufacture of biological weapons. The Center for Defense Information, or CDI, a private research group based in Washington, toured nine Cuban biotech centers and could not find any sign that the country was researching or making biological weapons."

Call to double troop numbers in Afghanistan  12/1/2003 Financial Times: "Nato's credibility in Afghanistan could be jeopardised if it fails to provide more troops and military capabilities, Lord Robertson, the secretary general, will today tell the alliance's defence ministers… The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said last week the area of poppy cultivation jumped this year to 61,000 hectares, compared with 30,700 hectares last year and 1,685 hectares in 2001. Mr Vendrell said laboratories for producing heroin shut by the Taliban were being set up again in northern Afghanistan, providing the war lords with cash and weapons."

November,  2003

Istanbul: The enemy within  11/22/2003 Asia Times 

October,  2003

Bolivian Leader's Ouster Seen as Warning on U.S. Drug Policy  10/23/2003 NYT 

THE OCTOPUS  10/16/2003 Deep Black Lies: "The Criminal Cabal of Guns & Drugs"

Interpol chief concerned about abuses in war on terror  10/3/2003 The News, Pakistan: "The black American who heads Interpol said on Thursday he was concerned about the over-zealous use of anti-terrorism laws and that he had himself been singled out because of his looks. Ronald K. Noble, secretary general of the 181-nation police organisation, told Reuters in an exclusive interview that people subjected to abuse often had no chance of redress from anonymous officials. "I know that I’ve been searched because I look like a person who could be Arabic, if I’m travelling from an Arab country, or I could be a drug-trafficker if I’m coming from a drug-trafficking country," Noble, 47, said. He acknowledged: "There has been an overuse of terrorism laws to the disadvantage of ordinary citizens and travellers"."

September,  2003

The Assassination Geezers Guillermo Novo and Me  9/20/2003 Counterpunch: "Looking at me murderously, he hissed and then, as if continuing his conversation with Ignacio, said in Spanish "Now we can finish off the rest of these communist pigs." I responded maturely by sticking out my tongue and blowing a loud raspberry. Guillermo's eyes narrowed, his mouth opened a fraction of an inch as if fangs might come out and then he took a few belligerent steps toward me. I instantly wished I could take back my gesture. Luckily for me, FBI Special Agent Robert Scherrer stepped between us and opened his jacket, showing Guillermo his holstered gun. Novo backed away. Scherrer said some nasty-toned things I couldn't decipher and Guillermo and company made for the elevators. "That was stupid," Scherrer told me, shaking his head in disbelief. "That man is a murderer." Scherrer then provided me with what he knew of Novo's life, starting with his 1964 arrest for firing a bazooka at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, through a variety of drug arrests--no convictions -- and finally his role as organizer of the gang that helped DINA, the Chilean secret police, to assassinate Letelier."

June,  2003

Victory in Tulia, But Not in Drug War  6/20/2003 Altnet: "Texas authorities claimed that the release of the 12 blacks jailed on trumped up drug charges was proof that justice can and will prevail even in the most blatant racial-tinged drug cases. But don't uncork the champagne yet. The Tulia case was unique in two appalling ways. With one exception, all those swept up in the drug busts were black. They were arrested solely on the dubious, and unsupported word of a tainted white undercover cop. Authorities cavalierly ignored testimony and evidence that could have proved the innocence of many of the black defendants. Even though the case drew national attention and outrage, it still took nearly four years before a retired Texas judge recommended that their convictions be tossed out and that the 12 be released."

Texas Drug Defendants Anticipate Release  6/16/2003 ABC: "No drugs were ever found during a total of 46 arrests and little or no corroborating evidence was introduced at trial. Some suggested discrimination was behind the arrests. Coleman is white; of the 46 people arrested, 39 are black. A total of 38 of the group arrested were convicted or accepted plea agreements out of fear of lengthy prison terms. Of the 38, 14 defendants remain in jail. Last month, Chapman recommended throwing out the convictions. Coleman was indicted in April on three counts of aggravated perjury for allegedly lying during evidentiary hearings involving the case; he has maintained his innocence."

April,  2003

Brazil: Lula's Anti-Crime Secretary Calls for Decriminalization  4/9/2003 NarcoNews: " In the interests of the global public's right and desire to know the authentic news in our América, we have translated Wednesday's report by the daily O Estado of São Paulo in which a top anti-crime official in the government of Brazilian President Lula da Silva has publicly called for the decriminalization of drugs."

Colombia Plane Crash Kills One American  4/7/2003 AP: "A U.S. State Department plane used to fumigate drug crops crashed Monday and its American pilot was killed, the U.S. Embassy said. It was not immediately clear if the crash was caused by an accident or if it had been shot down, the embassy said. The American, whose name was not released pending notification of relatives, was the fourth to die in three crashes of U.S. government planes in Colombia this year." On a recent visit to Bogota, an African American delegation was exposed to the woman running the fumigation reparations program. She boasted how only 3 of 400 cases where Colombians claimed fumigation damages had proved legitimate in her yes. She travels with her personal goon squad to "verify" claims.

From Drugs, Oil, and War, Chapter Two  4/6/2003 Peter Dale Scott: "The US handled the quadrupling of oil prices in the 1970s by arranging, by means of secret agreements with the Saudis, for the recycling of petrodollars back into the US economy. The first of these deals assured a special and on-going Saudi stake in the health of the US dollar; the second secured continuing Saudi support for the pricing of all OPEC oil in dollars. <20> These two deals assured that the US economy would not be impoverished by OPEC oil price hikes. The heaviest burdens would be borne instead by the economies of less developed countries. <21> …Some had expected that the successful OPEC revolt in the 1970s against Washington's and London's economic policies would presage a "new economic order" that would strengthen the South vis-à-vis the North. The secret Saudi-US deals led to a different outcome: a "new world order" that saw increasing US military dominance combined with increasing economic instability and occasional crises elsewhere. Statistics reveal the change in direction. Between 1960 and 1980 per capita income grew 73 percent in Latin America and 34 percent in Africa. Between 1980 and 2000 income grew less than 6 percent in Latin America, and declined by 23 percent in Africa. <26>"

March,  2003

Sharpton takes aim at Bush  3/24/2003 BlackAmericaWeb: ""Don't be too cowardly to speak out now," he said in a speech that repeatedly brought the packed audience of low-income voters to its feet. "If you can't open your mouth now, you don't deserve to run for president." Sharpton said instead of spending billions on the war, the Bush administration should focus on funding education, housing and prescription drugs for military families and other low-income Americans."

Analysis Of Situation In Guatemala  3/18/2003 Znet: "The balance of the past three years of FRG (Guatemalan Republican Front) party control over the government is negative. Headed by President Alfonso Portillo and President of Congress Efraín Ríos Montt, the deterioration is due to Guatemala's economic, political, moral and social crises; government corruption; the ongoing confrontation between the government and CACIF (the Coordinating Committee of Commercial, Agricultural, Industrial, and Financial Associations); the failure to fulfill the Peace Accords; the government's support of the reorganization of counterinsurgency structures such as the former PACs (Civil Defense Patrols); and the resurgence of political violence carried out by clandestine groups. The climate throughout the country is polarized, confrontational, violent, and full of despair. This environment has invaded most sectors of the population, which has been struck by hunger and an unjust system characterized by the privileges of a minority oligarchy that resists change. Added to all of that, there has been a shocking increase in drug trafficking, while the quantity of drugs confiscated has decreased and the anti-narcotics police have stolen two-thirds of the cocaine that was seized."

LUNCH WITH THE CHAIRMAN - Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi?  3/17/2003 New Yorker: "During the Reagan Administration, Khashoggi was one of the middlemen between Oliver North, in the White House, and the mullahs in Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal." [As Ollie ran the Contra narcotraffickers in South and Central America.]

Drug Warriors Shoot Children in Bolivia  3/13/2003 NarcoNews: "Three children from the Bolivian coca-growing region of Chapare were rushed urgently to medical centers in the city of Cochabamba. All three suffered bullet wounds from shots fired by officers of the Combined Task Force (FTC in its Spanish acronym), in the town of San Isidro, 175 kilometers from the city. “A soldier was hitting a woman on the ground and I called him a faggot; for that, he shot me,” Miguel Medrano Moya, 16, said between sobs. Medrano had been hit by a bullet in the stomach, and was fighting for his life in Viedma Hospital."

Guatemala a key drug route  3/5/2003 Miami Herald: "In the three years since President Alfonso Portillo assumed office, Guatemala has emerged as one of the principal corridors in the hemisphere for U.S.-destined drugs -- a new battleground in the war on drugs where the traffickers are winning."

Rio de Janeiro Erupts - The Drug War Turns Rio into a Scene from Film Noir  3/5/2003 NarcoNews: "We pass by looted supermarkets, closed stores, burned buses, where grenades exploded in front of luxurious buildings, police cruisers scraping the streets of the city, traffic has crawled to a stop, the population is in a state of alert… Rio de Janeiro, in recent days, has become a true-life scene out of Film Noir."

Al policía lo defienden su arsenal moral y legal  3/3/2003 Granma: "Sin embargo, contra el sentir mayoritario del pueblo que defiende sus conquistas más sagradas y un mañana sin violencia, con orden y seguridad, y desafiando las facultades y confianza depositadas por nuestros compatriotas en los agentes del orden interior, subsisten actitudes agresivas e irrespetuosas por parte de delincuentes y cómplices que se resisten a la acción de la autoridad y atentan contra sus representantes." There have been very few drug arrests, but many for economic crimes such as running a small business.

February,  2003

BUSH'S DEEP REASONS FOR WAR ON IRAQ: OIL, PETRODOLLARS, AND THE OPEC EURO QUESTION  2/21/2003 Peter Dale Scott: most interesting article - "Dominance of Middle Eastern oil will mean in effect maintaining dollar hegemony over the world oil economy. Given its present strategies, the US is constrained to demand no less. As I explain in this extract from my book, Drugs, Oil, and War, the present value of the US dollar, unjustified on purely economic grounds, is maintained by political arrangements, one of the chief of which is to ensure that all OPEC oil purchases will continue to be denominated in US dollars. (This commitment of OPEC to dollar oil sales was secured in the 1970s by a secret agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia, before the two countries began to drift apart over Israel and other issues.) The chief reason why dollars are more than pieces of green paper is that countries all over the world need them for purchases, principally of oil. This requires them in addition to maintain dollar reserves to protect their own currency; and these reserves, when invested, help maintain the current high levels of the US securities markets."

Buendía Calls for “Exorcism” of Drug War - Advisor to Ecuador's President Blazes New Trail in Mérida Summit  2/20/2003 NarcoNews: "But leading members of the Pachakutik Movement, the political branch of the nation’s largest indigenous organization, CONAIE, and the driving force behind Gutierrez’s electoral victory, continue to criticize U.S. drug policy openly in the region."

Drugs Shatter the Crystal Urn  2/17/2003 Radio Progresso: "The praise is well deserved, yet the Bush administration has twice rejected Cuban proposals to establish a broad accord that would substitute the current case-by-case cooperation. Meanwhile, drug distribution increases in South Florida. (Read “Cocaine deliveries to Miami triple,” El Nuevo Herald, Aug. 28, 2002.)" Given that Miami is ruled by Jeb Bush's narcotrafficking pals, this makes good sense.

Otto, The Fourth Reich  2/16/2003 Trinicenter, Trinidad: great article on Otto von Reich - "Reich's job was simple: churn out propaganda, the more outrageous, the better. His biggest-or most memorable-blooper was on the night Reagan was re-elected to power in 1984. "Intelligence sources", later identified as Reich's propaganda unit, caused NBC to break its elections coverage to announce that Soviet MIG fighter-aircraft were arriving in Nicaragua! He also charged that the Soviet Union had given Nicaragua chemical weapons (sounds familiar?) and the Sandinistas were involved in drug trafficking. It would be later revealed that Manuel Noriega of Panama was the man used by the CIA to buy and distribute cocaine in the US, the backbone of the Iran-Contra affair… But even that pales when one compares it with Reich's influence, when he served as Ambassador to Venezuela (his only diplomatic posting), in securing the release from prison of Orlando Bosch. This Cuban-American did not manufacture Bosch appliances. He was one of two men who had planted a bomb on a Cubana Airlines aircraft right here in Piarco back in 1976. That aircraft exploded shortly after taking off from Barbados, killing all aboard, including several Guyanese passengers. Bosch was later pardoned by-guess who? One President George Bush… So this modern-day Goebbels, a notorious purveyor of lies and half-truths, was the man selected by Bush to go through the Caribbean to try to convince the region's leaders to plough their support behind the US-UK axis against Iraq. I don't know what fanciful lies he offloaded on Manning. I think, though, that Ambassador Austin should get on that high-speed, secure telex machine on Marli Street and tell his boss that the Caribbean might be littered with poor countries that depend on the US for their existence. But Caricom is no "Ship of Fools". No "Fourth Reich" for us, Sir." Amen.

The Never-Ending Story  2/14/2003 ANNCOL: "On 22 January 2003, the Colombian government of Alvaro Uribe Velez commenced negotiations with the AUC paramilitaries of Carlos Castaño and Salvatore Mancuso, whose record of atrocities against the Colombian people would make your blood run cold... Shortly before these talks started, Uribe Velez evoked a decree which is going to be used to give this 14,000-strong band of killers, extortionists, torturers and major drugs traffickers immunity for their innumerable crimes against humanity. A necessary step from the government’s perspective perhaps – not one designed to bring peace and reconciliation to the country – but one to avoid criminal prosecutions which could open up a seething bag of worms about integral state involvement in Colombia’s paramilitary strategy."

Cuba: Drugs Shatter the Crystal Urn  2/14/2003 Radio Progresso, Miami 

Anti-drug raids snare self-employed tradesmen  2/10/2003 Cubanet: "Inevitably, the thorough searches police have been conducting have exposed people like Oscar Font, who had set up a small carpentry and upholstery shop at his home in the Playa municipality of Havana and made a living repairing furniture. Since any such independent activity is illegal in Cuba, Font's tools and materials were confiscated. Similarly, police have confiscated merchandise from street vendors, and videotapes from the homes of people who rent them to their neighbors for a fee. The tapes are typically recorded off satellite signals, intercepted by home-made antennas, which are themselves also illegal."

DRUGS, OIL, AND WAR: PREFACE  2/7/2003 Peter Dale Scott: "With respect to drugs, I will only say that the United States must end those repressive policies whose result (and often intention) is to maintain the high drug prices that strengthen and enrich the international drug traffic. With respect to oil, we must intensify the search for technological ways to reduce consumption at home and move toward a more multilateral and equitable oil system abroad. Above all, the United States must return to the multilateral system of global regulation that it helped establish after World War II and renounce the fatal temptation to become a hegemon. We must not repeat the follies of Napoleon and Hitler in the heartlands of Eurasia. This shift will require a different strategy to deal with the dollar and with petrodollars, particularly those from Saudi Arabia and its neighbors in the Persian Gulf. At present the United States balances its payments by secret agreements with Saudi Arabia to recycle petrodollars to the United States and to ensure that OPEC sales all over the world are denominated in U.S. dollars. These arrangements to ease pressure on the U.S. currency have helped, as an inevitable consequence, to create debt crises all over the Third World. The same secret agreements, discussed in chapter 1 of this volume, are perhaps the prime example of how secret U.S. policies, barely documented, can give rise to global conditions of misery and unrest. People’s strategies of public opposition to official policies, such as the rallies that activists like Noam Chomsky indefatigably address, are in my opinion unlikely to succeed until they expose the unjust secret arrangements and deals on which these official policies are based. The U.S. political establishment, seemingly unassailable on its surface, becomes more vulnerable when the private, covert, and sometimes conspiratorial origins of what passes for public policy are exposed. This book is dedicated to examining war policies at this deeper level."

Denuncian vínculos de sobrino de Rafael Poleo con el narcotráfico  2/4/2003 Aporrea: "Estimados compatriotas, recurrimos a ustedes para efectuar esta denuncia de suma gravedad, conscientes de que los medios de “información” nacionales harán hasta lo imposible por evitar su publicación, ya que las PRUEBAS aquí contenidas involucran a uno de los grupos económico-mediáticos mas poderosos e influyentes dentro de la Coordinadora Democrática: El Grupo Poleo, dueños de El Nuevo País." Old patterns repeating themselves…

US Operation In Afghanistan Ineffective: Russian Official  2/1/2003 Jihad Unspun: "Manilov said Russia had provided the US and its allies with data on drug storage and production sites in Afghanistan, but without result. "Russia gave its Western partners, including the United States, information on bases where drugs are stored and places where they are produced. But the fact that the drug flows are not subsiding shows that many of the production facilities have not been destroyed," he said." Off the shelf financing, comrade.

January,  2003

U.S. Declares Guatemala Not Cooperating on Drugs  1/31/2003 Reuters: "The United States has decided Guatemala is not doing enough to fight the illegal drugs trade but will waive penalties against it for national security reasons, a U.S. official said on Friday."

Pharmacist and radio personality accused of Medicaid fraud is released from jail  1/28/2003 Miami Herald: La Mas Fea kicks in to save one of their own - "Antonio ''Tony'' Calatayud, a pharmacist, radio personality and prominent Cuban exile arrested last week for Medicaid fraud, was released from jail Tuesday after he posted a $50,000 bond -- one quarter of the original bond amount. Miami-Dade County Judge José Rodriguez lowered the bond from $200,000 based on his ties to the community, said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office. ''He has been here for many years. He has a business. He's not a runner,'' Griffith said. Calatayud, 63 and the owner of Primera Farmacia Latina in Sweetwater, is charged with organized fraud and grand theft. He is accused of filing more than 1,300 false Medicaid claims for prescriptions drugs he never filled and bilking the state out of $290,000."

Washington escalates military buildup in Latin America  1/23/2003 World Socialist: "Citing terrorism, drug and arms trafficking, organized crime and other “new transnational threats,” Rumsfeld told the Latin American defence ministers that it was necessary to “strengthen the operational and planning capabilities of partner nations, upgrade national command-and-control systems, and improve regional information-sharing.” He proposed cooperation in naval operations and the creation of an integrated military force that could “participate as a region in peacekeeping and stability operations.” In the lead-up to the conference, the US floated stories that Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and other Islamic fundamentalist groups had developed “sleeper cells” in the tri-border area between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, a claim discounted by all three countries… The type of information that is to be shared was made clear several years ago, when Paraguayan attorney and human rights advocate Martin Almada made public a secret memo sent by a Paraguayan colonel to the Conference of American Armies then being held in Quito, Ecuador. Entitled “subversion in the first semester of 1997 in Paraguay,” this document provided a list of alleged “subversives” that included the country’s trade union leaders, opposition politicians and students, as well as social and peasant organizations. Presumably, similar lists are being prepared by military intelligence throughout the hemisphere."

Ecuador's Lucio Era Begins  1/21/2003 NarcoNews: "Drug War, Plan Colombia, and US Air Base at Manta, Test the New President"

The Mexican Legalization Movement - Drug Policy Reform Goes Mainstream South of the Border  1/20/2003 NarcoNews: taking away a pilar of CIA financing - "Urias is not the first political leader to openly challenge the US-imposed policy of prohibition. In 1998, then-Senator Maria del Carmen Bolado del Real, of the competing PAN (National Action Party) proposed a bill to legalize and regulate all drugs in Mexico. In fact, leaders from almost every one of Mexico’s political parties have advocated this solution at one time or another – including President Vicente Fox, who, in 2001, predicted that decriminalization of drugs would be inevitable as a global solution – but the commercial media never picks up on the debate and it has been difficult for reform advocates to gain traction. But suddenly, discussion of drug legalization has grown from a whisper to an active discourse in many parts of Mexico. A growing circle of young activists, organizers, and journalists, working outside the traditional political system and the commercial media grids, has become a nascent grassroots legalization movement."

Cuba regrets that United States will not sign anti-drugs agreement  1/17/2003 AP: "The most significant presence of drug traffickers is in the territorial waters between the island and the United States. “For some years now, Cuba has been preparing to fight and win the battle against drugs and those promoting them,” explained Díaz, who also informed that in the last three years, 30,000 specialists have received training on narcotics control and prevention."

US Secret Service interrogates Venezuelan in alleged Chavez Frias assassination plot!  1/16/2003 Vheadlines: " reports from New York that 18 Secret Service agents have raided the Queens home of Venezuelan opposition activist Miguel Hernandez following the discovery of a plot to assassinate President Hugo Chavez Frias when he visits UN General Secretary Kofi Annan today. Details of the early-morning raid are sparse but it is believed that the Hernandez premises were searched for drugs and weapons. Agents are said to have taken away evidence for forensic tests. A Secret Service special agent is quoted as saying that the department has evidence that Hernandez is one of the leaders of the anti-government Venezuelan opposition in New York and further investigations may lead to classification as a terrorist."

Caribbean nations meet in Cuba on drug trafficking  1/16/2003 Reuters: "Fifteen Caribbean-sea countries began a United Nations-sponsored meeting in Havana on Thursday to fight drug abuse and the use of the area to ship 40 percent of the narcotics entering the United States and 65 percent entering Europe."

Servicio secreto interroga a opositor venezolano en Nueva York  1/16/2003 Aporrea: "El opositor venezolano Miguel Hernández dijo que el Servicio Secreto de EEUU lo interrogó en su casa en la madrugada de hoy en relación con un supuesto plan para asesinar al presidente Hugo Chávez durante su visita a Nueva York. En un comunicado, Hernández relata que "18 agentes del Servicio Secreto de EEUU allanaron" su residencia, ubicada en el condado de Queens (Nueva York), "ante acusaciones del Gobierno de Venezuela de un supuesto plan para matar a Chávez el próximo 16 de enero".

Miami saves Otto Reich  1/14/2003 Granma, Cuba: "Once the State Department’s Number One in Latin American affairs, Reich has been assigned by the president to a made-to-measure position as “Special Envoy for Western Hemispheric Initiatives,” with an office in the neighboring Executive Building next to the White House. And what might that position be? Well, according to White House Spokesperson Ari Fleischer, Reich is to coordinate relations between the United States and Mexico (wasn’t that Jorge Castañeda’s job?), the Andes Anti-Drug Initiative, “aspects of Cuba policy,” and “Homeland security issues in the Caribbean.” He now finds himself under the authority of National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. Reich was under-secretary of state until November 22, but declined to solicit the Senate’s blessing due to his embarrassing role in the Iran-Contra Scandal and¼ his scandalous collaboration with coup plotters in Venezuela in April last year."

COLOMBIAN REPORTER TELLS ALL - TO U.S. PRESS  1/12/2003 American Reporter: "Colombian journalist Ignacio Gomez told a roomful of America's most influential journalists Tuesday how Washington-supported Colombian president Alvaro Uribe is connected to drug traffickers and how U.S. military trainers helped organize a massacre in his country. Among the 1,000 guests at the Committee to Protect Journalists' annual dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria grand ballroom were NBC's Tom Brokaw, CBS's Dan Rather, Time-Warner's Walter Isaacson, Reuters CEO Thomas Glocer and executives and reporters from the nation's major TV networks, newspapers and newsmagazines. Gomez, 40, has twice gone into exile after death threats. The media "stars" applauded him for his courage. But did they put his revelations into print or on air? If you didn't see the stories he recounted in the American press, don't be surprised. As they do every year at the CPJ event, "leading" U.S. journalists lauded the courage of people chancing death for telling the truth, but continue to pull punches in their own news organizations for fear of endangering their multi-million-dollar salaries. Here's more of what Gomez unveiled for colleagues. After he investigated a 1997 massacre in Mapiripan, in which 67 people were decapitated, Gomez reported in 2000 that the Colombian military officer accused of masterminding the crime had been accompanied "at all times" by a dozen U.S. military trainers. He also linked the massacre to paramilitary leader Carlos Castano."

Cuba Promises to Crack Down on Drugs  1/10/2003 AP: "It said that Castro himself had spoken of "sectors inside that neighboring country who are interested in tripping up and sabotaging any gesture or action aimed at reaching a bilateral accord" on fighting drug smuggling. In the meantime, Cuba has toughened its laws and sentencing guidelines "to ensure that the full weight of the law falls on the transgressors," the editorial added."

Guatemala Falling Out of Favor  1/3/2003 Washington Post: "In October, Guatemalan officials finally disbanded the country’s long-corrupt anti-drug agency. Then last week, newly appointed Foreign Minister Edgar Gutierrez came to Washington bearing data reporting recent increases in the seizures of money and illicit drugs, as well as arrests of alleged drug traffickers. And in just a few days, Guatemala is expected to begin historic reforms in its military, whose links to organized crime are particularly disconcerting to the United States."

Guatemala scrambles to keep U.S. aid  1/2/2003 Quad City Time, Iowa: "Significant political ramifications are also at play as Guatemala heads toward presidential elections in November. Washington's decision could be seen as favoring the opposition over Portillo's Guatemalan Republican Front, the party led by the ruthless former dictator, Gen. Efrain Rios Montt. As the hour of decision nears, there is room for grace on President Bush's part. A national interest waiver that questions Guatemala's performance but frees it from any sanctions might do the job. Besides, it would demonstrate Washington's further recognition that sanctions, especially in the anti-drug crusade, have become a counterproductive foreign policy tool in the hemisphere."

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