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Uruguayan Deputy Sheds Light on Decades-Long CIA Backed Espionage

Sputnik – October 27, 2017

A massive CIA-backed espionage network operated for decades in Uruguay, deputy Gerardo Nunez, chairman of the parliamentary commission investigating the plot has told Sputnik, unveiling the details of systematic leaks of classified information that took place in the Latin American country after the end of the dictatorship.

The disclosure of a three million-page archive shed light on the immense power the Armed Forces of Uruguay had exercised between 1985 and 2004: the documents revealed how members of a CIA-backed espionage network infiltrated political parties, trade unions, and social movements.

Following the release of the secret papers, the reform of the national intelligence system has become a centerpiece of the Uruguayan parliamentary session. Gerardo Nunez, chairman of the Investigating Commission on Military Espionage at the Chamber of Deputies of Uruguay, explained to Sputnik Mundo how the spies operated.

The collection of documents entitled “The CIA’s operation in Uruguay” suggests that besides direct payments, the intelligence agents were also granted with overseas trips, paid vacations for them and their families and real estate, according to Nunes.

For its part, the CIA gave at least 37 monetary bribes to officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay in exchange for secret information, the Uruguayan politician said. Despite the fact that the spy mechanisms used by Washington have been uncovered, it is still unclear what data was handed to the US.

The Commission, led by Nines, wrote a letter to the Uruguayan Interior Ministry asking to assess the possibility of summoning US Ambassador Kelly Keiderling for an explanation.The first pages of the archive were discovered in 2005, when The Broad Front, an Uruguayan center-left coalition of parties, came to power. Some of the documents were found in Defense Ministry facilities. It was called the “Berrutti Archive” after then Minister of Defense Azucena Berrutti. Other documents were discovered during a search at the house of Elmar Castiglioni, a colonel of the Army of Uruguay.

“There are a lot of documents but we still do not know where they originate from. We have learned about espionage methods exploited by the US, but we want to know the causes behind this systematic, well-planned and orchestrated work,” Nunes, the deputy of the Communist party, told Sputnik.

The agents and informants were mostly military men. They obtained data from public organizations, with some of the intelligence agents infiltrating the entities. According to Nunes, some of the spies not only handed over secret information but also tried to undermine the organizations from within, for example, by causing riots during demonstrations.The documents also mention illegal searches conducted by the secret agents disguised as plumbers, which allowed them to enter houses of party members and organizations under the pretext of fixing broken appliances.

“They made a sort of itinerary of everything that was in the house: paintings, books, flags. That [allowed] them to make an ideological profile of the family and figure out whether the members of the family were Marxists-Leninists or Broad Front participants [who worked underground in times of dictatorship in Uruguay],” the deputy explained.

Sometimes the agents conducted a technical inspection of buildings, which was done “for further intelligence operations,” he noted.

The Commission is expected to continue investigating the matter until December 2017, but given the enormous amount of documents, it may be extended for a longer period, according to the deputy.

“While we have obtained convincing arguments, we need to sort the things out to present clear evidence of violations of the Constitution, laws, rights, and freedoms of ordinary Uruguayans to the judiciary,” Nunes emphasized.

Commenting on the discovery of confiscated files on the bulky archive at the residence of Elmar Castiglioni, Samuel Blixen, a journalist who had been engaged in the investigation for the newspaper Brecha, told Sputnik in 2016 that the discovery revealed that “that the military intelligence strategy and policy has not changed with the transition from dictatorship to democracy [in Uruguay] in 1985.”The military dictatorship of Uruguay ruled the country for twelve years, from June 27, 1973, following the coup d’état, to February 28, 1985. In 1985 military and political leaders negotiated the return to a constitutional government.

October 28, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Uruguay Prepares Mission to Monitor Colombia-FARC Ceasefire

Sputnik – 23.06.2016

Military observers from Uruguay are ready to go to Colombia to monitor the newly-achieved ceasefire between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group, Uruguay’s Deputy Defense Ministry Jorge Menendez told Sputnik.

The government of Colombia announced on Wednesday that a deal had been reached on a ceasefire with FARC.

“This is a political mission, there is a display of quotas, unarmed personnel who will carry out tasks of observation and verification of the ceasefire,” Menendez said.

The Colombian government and FARC have been engaged in peace talks since November 2012 and have reached a number of important agreements including on landmine removal, land reform, transitional justice and an end to illegal drug trafficking.

FARC was formed in 1964 as the military wing of Colombia’s Communist Party.

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

States of hope and states of concern

By Bjorn Hilt | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | January 11, 2016

At the UN General assembly last fall there was an essential vote on the future of mankind. Resolution number A/RES/70/33 calling for the international society to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations had been submitted by Austria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Ireland, Kenya, Lichtenstein, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. For that, these countries deserve our deep respect and gratitude. The resolution reminds us that all the peoples of  the world have a vital interest in the success of nuclear disarmament negotiations, that all states have the right to participate in disarmament negotiations, and, at the same time, declares support for the UN Secretary – General’s five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament.

The resolution reiterates the universal objective that remains the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons, and emphasizes the importance of addressing issues related to nuclear weapons in a comprehensive, inclusive, interactive and constructive manner, for the advancement of multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. The resolution calls on the UN to establish an Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) of willing and responsible states to bring the negotiations on nuclear disarmament forward in this spirit.

When voted upon at the UNGA a month ago, on December 7, 2015, there was a huge majority of states (75 %) that supported the resolution, namely 138 of the 184 member states that were present. Most of them are from the global south, with majorities in Latin-America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific. After having shown such courage and wisdom, they all deserve to be named among the states of hope, states that want to sustain mankind on earth.

Only 12 states voted against the resolution. Guess who they are: China, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States. What is wrong with them? Well, they are either nuclear-armed states or among the new NATO member states. They are the states of concern in today’s world. It is hypocritical that states that claim to be the protectors of freedom, democracy, and humanity constitute a small minority that refuse to enter into multilateral, inclusive, interactive and constructive negotiations to free the world from nuclear weapons. Among the three other nuclear-armed states, India and Pakistan had the civility to abstain, while the DPRK was the only one to vote “yes.”

Despite the reactionary, dangerous, and irresponsible position of the 12 states of concern and the tepid attitude of the abstainers, the OEWG was established by an overwhelming majority of the UNGA. The OEWG will convene in Geneva for 15 working days during the first half of 2016. The OEWG has no mandate to negotiate treaties to free the world of the inhuman nuclear weapons, but has clearly been asked to discuss and show how it can be achieved. Surely, the nations of hope that voted in favor of the OEWG will take part in the work. We can hope that at least some of the states of concern and some of the abstainers come to their senses and take part in this essential work for the future of mankind.

Participation in the OEWG is open for everyone and blockable by none. No matter what the states of concern do or don’t do, there is good reason to trust that the vast majority of nations of hope together with civil society from all over in the fall will present an outcome to the UNGA that will turn our common dream of a world free of nuclear weapons into a reality—perhaps sooner that we dare to believe.

January 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uruguay’s Withdrawal From TiSA Trade Deal in Country’s Interests

Sputnik – 15.10.2015

Uruguay’s most important services are transport and tourism, “and these are already liberalized,” therefore the country has “much to lose and little to gain” in the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) free trade deal, according to an Uruguayan senator.

Uruguay’s withdrawal from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) free trade agreement talks was in the country’s interests, as the proposed deal is designed to serve mainly the United States and the large corporations, an Uruguayan senator told Sputnik.

TiSA is a proposed international trade deal between 24 parties, initiated by the United States and EU member states, to open up trade in services to a greater degree than allowed by the current General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Last month, Uruguay announced that it had pulled out of the multilateral negotiations. Paraguay followed suit shortly afterwards.

“It is not convenient to participate in these kinds of treaties as they mainly follow the line of interests of the United States and transnational [corporations],” Frente Amplio’s Marcos Otegui said, adding that the decision to abandon the talks was supported by a “large majority.”

According to the senator, Uruguay’s most important services are transport and tourism, “and these are already liberalized,” therefore the country has “much to lose and little to gain” in this deal.

Uruguay is betting on regional integration, but is open to the world, the senator stressed

“Today Uruguay deals with more than 160 countries… during much of the 20th century it only traded with 40 countries, therefore regional integration does not put a limit on trading with the world,” he said.

TiSA opponents argue that the controversial deal only seeks to tear down trade barriers to services Washington wants to sell abroad and paves the way for supranational labor laws, as well as finance and industrial policies that will undermine a national government’s ability to protect its citizens.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

The CIA Against Latin America, the Special Case of Ecuador

teleSUR | March 6, 2015

Imprisoned on various occasions and subjected to numerous interrogations, Dr. Jaime Galarza Zavala is one of the estimated 120 direct victims of the CIA’s record in Ecuador.

Persecuted by the CIA for his political organizing, Galarza described to teleSUR English that “they told me that I was working as a guerrilla in the Dominican Republic. I, to this day, have never visited the Dominican Republic. But they accused me of being a guerrilla leader in the Dominican Republic. And this was a common theme with various interrogations.”

He added that, “while they interrogated me, there was somebody that called every now and then from another room. Afterward, they told me that this person they were talking with was a gringo, a North American, who never presented himself to me. But he gave them instructions as to how to continue the interrogation,” said Galarza.

A fierce critic of U.S foreign policy in the region, Galarza recently published a book titled, “The CIA Against Latin America, the Special Case of Ecuador,” co-authored by Francisco Herrera Arauz.

In an interview with teleSUR English on CIA actions in Ecuador, Herrera said,“First, they destroyed our democracy. Second, they worked with undivided attention against our citizens. They persecuted our citizens for thinking differently. People were killed, injured, there are victims of this violence, there are families that were harmed, there are exiles, the honor of some people has been ruined, there are destroyed families, and all of this was caused by the CIA’s actions.”

Both authors have previously interviewed Philip Agee, the ex-CIA operations officer whose name became internationally known when he wrote the book “Inside the Company: CIA Diary” in 1975, detailing his time working in Ecuador, Uruguay, and Mexico from 1960 to 1968 and denouncing actions undertaken by the CIA during this period.

In his testimonies of that period, Agee said that when he operated in Ecuador from 1960 to 1963, the CIA oversaw: the overthrow of two presidents; the infiltration of various political parties and organizations; and the planting of bombs in front of churches and other emblematic sites to frame leftist groups; among other actions.

At an event celebrating the new book, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said, “These secret policies continue in Latin America today. Nothing that Philip Agee denounced as CIA actions in the past have been discarded by the espionage seen in the present.”

To raise public awareness of the atrocities committed within Ecuador and the long-term damage caused by CIA interventions throughout Latin America, Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry has printed and widely distributed copies of the book in Spanish and English.

March 10, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Champion of the poor president: Uruguay’s Mujica steps down with 65% approval rating

RT | March 1, 2015

Uruguay’s president, Jose “Pepe” Mujica, a former guerrilla who lives on a farm and gives most of his salary to charity, is stepping down after five years in office, ending his term as one of the world’s most popular leaders ever.

Mujica, 79, is leaving office with a 65 percent approval rating. He is constitutionally prohibited from serving consecutive terms.

“I became president filled with idealism, but then reality hit,” Mujica said in an interview with a local newspaper earlier this week, according to AFP.

Some call him “the world’s poorest president.” Others the “president every other country would like to have.” But Mujica says “there’s still so much to do” and hopes that the next government, led by Tabare Vazquez (who was elected president for a second time last November) will be “better than mine and will have greater success.”

Mujica said he succeeded in putting Uruguay on the world map. He managed to turn the cattle-ranching country, home to 3,4 million people, into an energy-exporting nation, Brazil being Uruguay’s top export market (followed by China, Argentina, Venezuela and the US.)

Uruguay’s $55 billion economy has grown an average 5.7 percent annually since 2005, according to the World Bank. Uruguay has maintained its decreasing trend in public debt-to-GDP ratio – from 100 percent in 2003 to 60 percent by 2014. It has also managed to decrease the cost of its debt, and reduce dollarization – from 80 percent in 2002 to 50 percent in 2014.

“We’ve had positive years for equality. Ten years ago, about 39 percent of Uruguayans lived below the poverty line; we’ve brought that down to under 11 percent and we’ve reduced extreme poverty from 5 percent to only 0.5 percent,” Mujica told the Guardian in November.

After Latin America’s anti-drug war proved a failure, the South American country became the first in the world to fully legalize marijuana, with Mujica arguing that drug trafficking is in fact more dangerous than marijuana itself.

One of the most progressive leaders in Latin America. Muijica also legalized abortion and same-sex marriage and agreed to take in detainees once held at the notorious Guantanamo Bay. Six former US detainees, who were never charged with a crime, came to Uruguay in December as refugees. The six included four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian. Although they were cleared for release back in 2009, the US was not able to discharge them until Uruguayan President offered to receive them.

Mujica, a former leftist Tupamaro guerrilla leader, spent 13 years in jail during the years of Uruguay’s military dictatorship. He survived torture and endless months of solitary confinement. Majica said he never regretted his time in jail, which he believes helped shape his character.

Mujica’s kindness speaks volumes: He refused to move to Uruguay’s luxurious presidential mansion to live in a farm outside Montevideo with his wife and a three-legged dog named Manuela. Pepe gives away about 90 percent of his salary to charity, saying he simply doesn’t need it. He drives an 1987 Volkswagen Beetle.

Last year, Mujica turned down a $1 million offer from an Arab sheik who offered to buy his blue car. Pepe refused to sell the vehicle, saying it would offend “all those friends who pooled together to buy it for us.”

In January, a young Uruguayan man posted a message on his Facebook page recounting how Mujica and his wife picked him up while he was hitchhiking.

“On Monday, I was looking for a ride from Conchilla and guess who picked me up on the road?” Gerhald Acosta wrote on his Facebook post January 7. “They were the only ones who would stop!”

“When I got out, I thanked them profusely because not everyone helps someone out on the road, and much less a president,” the man told Uruguay’s El Observador newspaper.

March 1, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

US regime releases six Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay

Reprieve | December 7, 2014

Six cleared Guantanamo prisoners – including Reprieve client Abu Wa’el Dhiab – have today been released to Uruguay.

Mr Dhiab, a 43-year-old Syrian who was cleared by the US Government in 2009, had been on a peaceful hunger strike since early 2013 to protest his detention without charge. As a result, he had been repeatedly subjected to force-feeding, which continued into at least November this year, according to the Department of Defense.

Mr Dhiab had also been engaged in litigation – supported by his lawyers at international legal NGO Reprieve – challenging abusive force-feeding practices at Guantanamo. The case resulted in an order by a federal judge that video tapes showing his force-feeding must be released. The Obama Administration appealed the order last week, and the case remains ongoing.

The US military’s force-feeding techniques, in which a six-member riot squad tackle a detainee and strap them into a multi-point restraint chair, have been condemned by the UN and national and international medical organizations. So far, only Mr Dhiab’s security-cleared lawyers at Reprieve and the court have been allowed to see the tapes showing his force-feeding and a process known as ‘Forcible Cell Extraction’ (FCE). However, 16 major US media organisations – including ABC, AP, CBS, McClatchy, The New York Times, Reuters and the Washington Post – have intervened in the case demanding that the tapes be released in the public interest.

Mr Dhiab, whose wife and three children are Syrian refugees from the ongoing armed conflict, has previously said he would gratefully accept any country’s offer of hospitality. He has also said Americans should be permitted to see the videos of his force-feeding, stating: “I want Americans to see what is going on at the prison today, so they will understand why we are hunger-striking, and why the prison should be closed. If the American people stand for freedom, they should watch these tapes. If they truly believe in human rights, they need to see these tapes.”

Cori Crider, a Director at Reprieve and a lawyer for Mr Dhiab, said: “We are grateful to the government of Uruguay – and President Mujica in particular – for this historic stand. Very few people can truly comprehend what the cleared men in Guantánamo suffer every day, but I believe Mr. Mujica is one of them. Like President Mujica, Mr Dhiab spent over a dozen years as a political prisoner. Mr Dhiab was never charged, never tried. President Mujica spent two years at the bottom of a well; for most of the past two years, Mr Dhiab has had a team of US soldiers truss him up like an animal, haul him to a restraint chair, and force-feed him through a tube in his nose. The President’s compassion has ended that torture.

“Despite years of suffering, Mr Dhiab is focused on building a positive future for himself in Uruguay. He looks forward to being reunited with his family and beginning his life again. Let’s not forget that Mr Dhiab and the others freed today leave behind many men just like them: cleared prisoners warehoused in Guantánamo for years.”

Full details of Reprieve’s force-feeding litigation can be found at the Reprieve US website.

December 7, 2014 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Interview with Uruguay’s Carlos Alejandro: Uruguay Elections

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teleSUR | November 28, 2014

UPDATE: Vazquez wins Uruguayan presidential election

teleSUR talks to the Broad Front’s Carlos Alejandro, to understand in more depth the elections and their consequences.

teleSur: Carlos, what have been the standout points of the Broad Front’s campaign?

Carlos Alejandro: There is no political debate in the second round of elections. Really, the right wing has been knocked back, they experienced a serious setback in the first round. They really thought that polls would be right, and that the Broad Front wouldn’t get more than 45 percent of the votes.

The main point of this campaign is to uphold the Broad Front government’s achievements in all areas, especially those related to freedom and equality.

Over the past 10 years, we’ve approved a series of laws, like establishing the 7-hour work day for rural workers; a domestic worker law limiting the number hours they are allowed to work.; the same sex marriage act, a sexual and reproductive health law, which includes legislation on abortion. We want to clarify that it is not an abortion law, because that is one of the themes being debated.

Also being debated is the widening of political engagement among the population; a freedom of information law; the barriers to education; the role of women in politics; all of these are central to the election debate, coming above even economic matters. It’s a rare thing when the economy gets overshadowed in an election … it’s the only political debate they are having in Brazil.

Here in Uruguay what we’re debating is how to better ourselves, how to create better conditions, which is a debate we don’t want to have with the right wing, because they’ve shown us for the past 150 years that they cannot take care of those problems, problems we are resolving, and laying the ground work to have that debate with the people who will truly benefit from these policies.

TS: You have said that if Vazquez is re-elected, he would carry on with the Broad Front’s policies. However, there are many controversial policies that Jose Mujica implemented, like abortion, and the marijuana law, which Vazquez is known to oppose. What will happen if he is elected with regard to these topics?

CA: Tabare was against these projects. He didn’t support them, and furthermore, during his last administration, he vetoed the same law that was later approved under Mujica. But as they are both from the Broad Front, which passed the law, it’s not up for discussion. Nothing will change from the way it was approved during Mujica’s government. There is no political sign that suggests that Tabare will erase what Mujica did.

Regarding the marijuana law in particular, it is very clear within the party, that it is a law still being studied and analyzed, that can and will be corrected if necessary; it is new not only for Uruguay, but in the whole world; we know there are other places who have had similar experiences, like in some of the states in the U.S., but in our case, we want to resolve the drug problem, take the market for marijuana away from organized crime, and create conditions to rehabilitate not only marijuana users, but hard drugs too.

In this sense, our aim is to deepen the changes we have already made, improve what has been done, and improve what has been done badly.

TS: How is Vazquez viewed in Uruguay?

CA: Tabare is a man of the people, what we call “de a pie,” down to earth. He comes from a similar humble background as many other Uruguayans.. The Right cannot forgive him for paving the way —via his education and intellect— for the Left to get into power.

Tabare is a man of the Left, even though the political pragmatism he uses makes him seem more centrist, and not as left-wing as many would like; but he has a great feel for politics, and what both he and Mujica can do effectively is scope out what the people want, but in different ways.

Tabare ended his term with approximately 68 percent of approval, which shows that, beyond the problems that existed during that administration, Tabare ultimately received approval for what he did during his term. And I believe that the result of the October 26 elections shows that the Uruguayan people support his candidacy again.

TS: And how is right wing perceived the Uruguayan people?

CA: I think that the clearest example is that the Right didn’t have a clue how to face the second round of the elections. I’ll reiterate what I said before, they relied too heavily on the polls; they thought they were doing well, so did not work to create the conditions in case the scenario changed.

TS: Do you think that the Brazilian election result might influence the results in Uruguay?

CA: Not for this runoff, but yes, I do believe that the political change in the last days in the Brazil elections, with Marina Silva leading in the polls for so many months, and the possibility that the PT could lose the elections, caused some to be nervous, and a little bit worried. Not only us left-wing activists, but among people who would not necessarily identify themselves as left-wing.

TS: What challenges would a new Broad Front government face?

CA: I have said for many years that the most important thing is to not let down the electorate which voted for us and gave us the opportunity to govern. We have developed all of our policies that aim to improve the quality of people’s lives based on this basis; where we can keep generating societal change and evolution, and most importantly, within a region which is our neighborhood. Latin America is our neighborhood from which we relate to the rest of the world. In this sense, our internal policies have an external objective; to project the country within the region, prioritizing regional integration.

TS: So a Tabare Vazquez government would strengthen regional integration?

CA: Yes, definitely. We’re trying to create the conditions to solidify existing regional integration effortslike MERCOSUR, UNASUR, CELAC, ALBA … those projects are here to stay, and we want to make them robust.

We have shown we are a serious political party, dealing with, for example, the case of the Syrian refugees, and the problem of the Guantanamo prisoners. Doing so doesn’t mean we’re trying to cover-up for, or save Obama’s administration, but instead we are trying to resolve the situation for the prisoners, and help Guantanamo to go back to being part of Cuba.

TS: The case of the Syrian refugees is very interesting…

CA: Let me tell you an anecdote. The union for bank workers has a place for the children of its members to live in Montevideo if they go there to study. When President Mujica announced that Syrian families — who were refugees in Lebanese camps — would come to Uruguay, the young people living in the union’s accommodation talked to the leadership, and offered to share their bedrooms with the Lebanese translators who are there to help the Syrians with their Spanish, and adapting to life in Uruguay. For us, that gesture is not only seen as a humanitarian act, but it means that our youth is getting involved in a political issue that does not directly affect them, far away from our borders. That is very important to us, that they get involved, and understand what is it about.

This also shows the possibility and the capability that we have to resolve these issues. To welcome these Syrian families in Uruguay, so they can work here, have a life here. And it is the same with Guantanamo, a topic that Pepe [Mujica] said was not suspended, but on hold until November 30; and that after the elections, regardless who is the new president, he would continue to advocate for, and engage in, negotiations, so those six prisoners without a sentence can come to Uruguay and be free here. This is a very important political gesture by the Broad Front that needs to be highlighted, and it will reverberate with future governments.

Carlos Alejandro is the Broad Front’s director of international relations, as well as member of the Broad Front Commitment group. A member of the Broad Front since 1983, he has a background of union activism.

November 30, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , | Leave a comment

A Step Toward Justice in the Long “War on Terror”: Uruguay Offers to Welcome Guantanamo Detainees

By Benjamin Dangl | Toward Freedom | March 21, 2014

0-1-0-Mujica.2Under the Presidency of José “Pepe” Mujica, Uruguay has made a number of international headlines in recent years for progressive moves such as legalizing same sex marriage, abortion and marijuana cultivation and trade, as well as withdrawing its troops from Haiti. This week, Mujica offered to welcome detainees from the US’s detention center at its base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The Uruguayan president accepted a proposal from the Obama administration to host the detainees. “They are coming as refugees and there will be a place for them in Uruguay if they want to bring their families,” Mujica explained. “If they want to make their nests and work in Uruguay, they can remain in the country.”

“I was imprisoned for many years and I know how it is,” he said. The left-leaning president is a former revolutionary guerilla who was jailed for 14 years before and during Uruguay’s 1973-1985 dictatorship. After his release, he ended his guerilla activities and entered politics, becoming the Minister of Agriculture in 2005 under the Tabaré Vázquez administration, and was elected to the presidency in 2010.

Mujica, who has been touted as the “world’s poorest president” due to his frugal lifestyle and the fact that he donates about 90% of his presidential salary to charities and social programs, still lives on a flower farm with his wife outside the capital, and drives a beat up Volkswagen Beetle to work. Earlier this year, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his progressive marijuana legalization program and views against excessive consumerism. His newest move against the human rights abuses of the “war on terror” has put him back in the global spotlight.

Standing Against a Symbol of the “War on Terror”

The detention center at the US base in Guantánamo Bay has long been a symbol of the human rights abuses that have come to define the so-called “war on terror.” After 9/11, the George W. Bush administration began using the facility to detain suspected terrorists. It quickly became notorious as a site of inhumane treatment, torture, and lawlessness; a decade later, many of the detainees have been held without charges or a trial.

Roughly 800 men and boys have been kept in Guantánamo as part of the US’s terror suspect roundup. Now only 154 remain, and the Obama administration, with support from Congress, is trying to make good on its promise to shut the detention center down. As part of those moves, Washington is seeking new countries to host the released detainees.

Uruguay is the first Latin American nation to accept Obama’s offer to welcome former prisoners onto its soil. Since Obama’s election, 38 Guantánamo detainees have been released to their home countries, and 43 have been resettled in 17 other countries. According to Human Rights Watch, the US wants to send detainees to countries that can provide the security the US seeks under the terms of the transfer. Uruguayan press reports that the transfer would likely involve five detainees who would have to stay within Uruguay for at least two years.

While Mujica and the US Ambassador are clear that the plans surrounding the transfer are not finalized, Mujica’s reasons for hosting the men are a sign that Uruguay is taking important steps toward justice against Washington’s long-standing “war on terror.”

For years, countless activists, governments and human rights groups have called for the closure of the US detention center in Guantánamo Bay. Last July, activist Andrés Conteris, who has worked for decades on human rights issues in Latin America,went on a hunger strike for over three months in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners in Guantánamo Bay.

The strike denounced the inhumane and unlawful treatment of the detainees; numerous cases of physical, psychological, religious and medical torture against prisoners have been widely reported over the years. It is this treatment that President Mujica is standing against in his welcoming of the detainees.

“Given Pepe Mujica’s experience with long-term torture,” Conteris explained to me, referencing Mujica’s own imprisonment, “this gesture offering to resettle Guantánamo prisoners in Uruguay not only expresses his country’s commitment to human rights, but it shows a personal connection this president has with those suffering inhuman treatment perpetrated by military forces.”

***

Benjamin Dangl has worked as a journalist throughout Latin America, covering social movements and politics in the region for over a decade. He is the author of the books Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America, and The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia. Dangl is currently a doctoral candidate in Latin American History at McGill University, and edits UpsideDownWorld.org, a website on activism and politics in Latin America, and TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events. Email: BenDangl(at)gmail(dot)com.

March 22, 2014 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Stop lying’: Uruguay president chides UN official over marijuana law

RT | December 14, 2013

Uruguay’s president has accused the head of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) of lying and double standards, after the official claimed the country did not consult the anti-drug body before legalizing marijuana.

Earlier this week, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize both the sale and production of marijuana.

INCB chief Raymond Yans has slammed the “surprising” move, accusing the South American state of legalizing the drug without first discussing it with the UN organization.

Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, rejected the criticism on Friday, saying that he’s ready to discuss the law with anyone.

“Tell that old man to stop lying,” Mujica said in an interview with Uruguay’s Canal 4.

“Let him come to Uruguay and meet me whenever he wishes… Anybody can meet and talk to me, and whoever says he couldn’t meet with me tells lies, blatant lies.”

“Because he sits in a comfortable international platform, he believes he can say whatever nonsense,” he added.

Yans has accused Uruguay of “pirate attitudes” for knowingly violating the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which the South American country is part of.

But Mujica reminded that Yans did not say a word about the US states of Colorado and Washington, which also legalized marijuana.

“Does he have different rules: one for Uruguay and other for the world’s strong countries?” he asked.

First lady Lucia Topolansky, a member of the Uruguayan Senate, has fully backed her husband on the issue.

“Who is this fellow who likes to call names to countries?” she said of Yans. “I think he’s crossed the line, but anyhow I believe that he has had problems with other countries, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and they will be meeting him sometime in March.”

“But to be honest, marijuana is not the heart of life or earthly issues,” Topolansky added.

The law, which allows for a government-controlled marijuana market, was passed by the Uruguayan Senate on Monday.

According to the legislation, those wishing to smoke cannabis recreationally need to register with the authorities and limit their consumption to 40 grams per month.

President Mujica and his supporters argue that regulating marijuana consumption and production will remove profits from criminals and allow less money to be spent on soldiers and police, who are ultimately unable to prevent Uruguayan citizens from using the drug.

December 15, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

South America: UNASUR To Build Fibre-Optic ‘Mega Ring’

By Chelsea Gray | The Argentina Independent | August 21, 2013

unasurThe Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) has approved plans for an optic fibre mega-ring which will break its members’ “dependence on the US, and provide a safer and cheaper means of communication.”

The fibre optic ring will become part of a ten-year plan to physically integrate all 12 UNASUR member states. The line, which will reach up to 10,000 kilometres long and will be managed by state enterprises from each country it crosses, is expected to interconnect South America through higher coverage and cheaper internet connections.

Industrial Minister of Uruguay, Roberto Kreimerman, explained that “it is about having a connection with great capacity that allows us to unite our countries together with the developed world.”

He continued to say, “We are considering that, at most, in a couple of years we will have one of these rings finalised.” He also added that ”I think the economy, security, and integration are the three important things we need in countries where Internet use is advancing exponentially.”

At the moment, up to 80% of Latin America’s communications go through the US. However, plans for an independent communication line comes shortly after the US was discovered to have been spying on Latin American data. The National Security Agency (NSA) were revealed to have been monitoring emails and intercepting telephone logs, spying on energy, military, politics, and terror activity across the continent.

UNASUR is made up of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

August 21, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latin America Condemns US Espionage at United Nations Security Council

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By Carla Stea | Global Research | August 17, 2013

“The United States appears to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.” Simon Bolivar

Throughout the day, on August 6, President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner of Argentina chaired a historic United Nations Security Council meeting that revealed a seismic shift in geopolitical consciousness and incipient strength.

The agenda of Security Council meeting 7015 was: “Cooperation Between the United Nations and Regional and Sub-regional Organizations in Maintaining International Peace and Security.”

The prelude to this meeting was held, the prior day, August 5, at a press stakeout given by Elias Jaua Milano, Foreign Minister of Venezuela, Hector Timerman, Foreign Minister of Argentina, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Foreign Minister of Brazil, Luis Almagro, Foreign Minister of Uruguay and David Choquehuanca Cespedes, Foreign Minister of Bolivia.

They spoke on behalf of Mercosur, the Southern Common Market, following their meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Their remarks focused on the expression of outrage contained in the “Annex to the note verbale dated 22 July from the Permanent Mission of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, which stated:

“Decision rejecting the acts of espionage conducted by the United States in the countries of the region.” “The President of the Argentine Republic, the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the President of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay and the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, having met in Montevideo, Eastern Republic of Uruguay, on 12 July, 2013, within the framework of the presidential summit of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR),

Condemning the acts of espionage carried out by intelligence agencies of the United States of America , which affect all countries in the region,

Strongly rejecting the interception of telecommunications and the acts of espionage carried out in our countries, which constitute a violation of the human rights, the right to privacy and the right to information of our citizens, and which also constitute unacceptable behavior that violates our sovereignty and is detrimental to the normal conduct of relations among nations,

Considering the advisability of promoting a coordinated approach to this issue at the regional level,

Decide to:

Work together to guarantee the cybersecurity of the States members to MERCOSUR, which is essential to defending the sovereignty of our countries,

Demand that those responsible immediately cease these activities and provide an explanation of the motives for and consequences of such activities,

Stress that the prevention of crime and the suppression of transnational crimes, including terrorism, must be carried out in line with the rule of law and in strict observance of international law.

Promote the adoption by the relevant multilateral institutions of standards for the regulation of the Internet which place a particular emphasis on cybersecurity issues, with a view to fostering the adoption of standards that guarantee the adequate protection of communications, in particular to safeguard the sovereignty of States and the privacy of individuals,

Express our full solidarity with all countries, within and outside our region that have been victims of such actions,

Promote the joint efforts of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs to inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations of these incidents and request prevention and sanction mechanisms on the issue at the multilateral level

Instruct the delegations of the Member States participating in the upcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly to jointly present a formal proposal to that end,

Request the Argentine Republic to submit this matter to the Security Council for consideration,

Agree to establish a working group to coordinate efforts, together with the South American Defence Council and the South American Infrastructure and Planning Council, aimed at carrying out activities that will render our telecommunications more secure and reduce our dependence on foreign technology.”

The morning session of the August 6 Security Council meeting consisted primarily of technical diplomatic presentations.  Following Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statement, Cuban Foreign Minister Rodriguez Parrella opened the meeting, as President of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC):

“The history of Latin American and the Caribbean has changed. Two hundred years after our independence, the ideas of ‘a Nation of Republics,’ and of ‘Our America’ envisaged by Bolivar and Marti, respectively, are taking shape. Thus, our Heads of State and Government decided in the Caracas Declaration that ‘in accordance with the original mandate of our liberators, CELAC must move forward in the process of political, economic, social and cultural integration – based on a wise equilibrium between the unity and diversity of our peoples … Upon founding CELAC, our Heads of State and Government reiterated our commitment to the building of a more just, equitable and harmonious international order based on respect for international law and the Charter of the United Nations. … They reaffirmed our commitment to the defense of sovereignty and the right of any state to establish its own political system, free from threats, aggression and unilateral coercive measures, and in an environment of peace, stability, justice, democracy and respect for human rights. CELAC reiterates that there can be no lasting peace without development and the eradication of poverty, hunger and inequality … CELAC has adopted a unanimous position with regard to some far-reaching topics on the international agenda, such as, for example, Argentina’s legitimate claim in the dispute concerning the sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, and  – today on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima – on so-called nuclear disarmament.”

The representatives of other regional organizations, and the members of the Security Council delivered their statements throughout the morning session of the meeting

When the Security Council resumed for the afternoon session, in a courageous and brilliant tour de force, the Argentine Presidency of the Security Council availed itself of the opportunity to publicly denounce espionage in the service of the resurgence of neo-liberal capitalist imperialism. In an unusual gesture of solidarity and support (considering that Heads of State chairing Security Council meetings seldom remain beyond a perfunctory appearance at the morning session), President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval were present throughout the afternoon, as the succession of dazzling speeches, delivered by the Latin American Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador illuminated the global menace threatened by the United States National Security Agency programs of surveillance of phone records, e-mails, web-browsing, those very programs disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The foreign ministers of Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador fiercely condemned the United States plan for worldwide espionage, which posed a lethal threat to the democratically elected governments of these Latin American nations and jeopardized their survival.

It is not surprising that this expression of alarm was voiced by Latin America, from Argentina through Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela – in other words from the Southernmost tip of the huge southern continent to the Caribbean, for this continent, viewed imperialistically as the “backyard” of the United States, was for many tragic decades, crushed by military dictatorships inflicting state terror with impunity, following the blueprint of destabilization and overthrow, by the CIA and  multinational corporate controlled entities, of their own democratically elected leaders. The tragic destruction of Latin America’s democratically elected governments included President Arbenz in Guatemala, 1954; President Goulart in Brazil, 1964; President Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic, 1965; President Torres in Bolivia, 1971;  President Allende in Chile, 1973, and more recently the destabilizations of the democratically elected governments of Honduras and Paraguay (this is not a complete list)

This more than half-century violation of the will of the people of Latin America, engineered by agencies of “the Colossus of the North” was a shattering trauma seared deeply into the consciousness of these leaders, whose recent triumph over fascist military dictatorships which were installed and supported by the United States, is a testament to their moral and intellectual strength and their passion for dignity and control over their own destinies. The Latin American governments speaking at the August 6 Security Council are like the canary in the coal mine:  intensely alert and sensitive to imminent or potential threats of repetition of that horrific period they had endured and so recently overcome, these governments denounced widespread evidence of perilous subversive activity, the lethal consequences of which are predictable and terrifying.

The August 6, 2013 afternoon session of the UN Security Council began with Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Foreign Minister of Brazil, who stated, in English:

“You, Madam President made my task easier by referring to the interception of communications and acts of espionage. Such practices violate sovereignty, harm relations between nations and constitute a violation of human rights, inn particular the right to privacy and the right of our citizens to information. In that respect, you have complied with the decision of the States parties of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) who met in Montevideo last month. Yesterday, the Foreign Minister of MERCOSUR conveyed to the Secretary-General the position of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela with respect to and in compliance with, that decision.  The matter will also be placed before various United Nations bodies, in accordance with the decision and the document circulated under the symbol A/67/946. This is a very serious issue with a profound impact on the international system. Brazil is coordinating with countries that share similar concerns for the benefit of an international order that respects human rights and the sovereignty of states.

I welcome the timely statement made on 12 July by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay: ‘surveillance programmes without adequate safeguards to protect the right to privacy actually risk impacting negatively on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.’ Pillay also mentioned Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 17 and 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which established, respectively, that ‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence,’ and that ‘Everyone has the right to protection of the law against such interference or attacks.’

Brazil also associates itself with the repeated appeals by Ms. Pillay in various forums that efforts to combat terrorism must necessarily respect human rights and humanitarian law. Her position was incorporated into the decision of the Heads of State of MERCOSUR as well as the Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2013/12) adopted by the Council this morning… Mention should be made of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)… .a defense alliance that does not seem to frame its activities clearly under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations and has made use of concepts and strategies that raise problematic and sensitive issues in terms of the articulation between the regional level and the United Nations system. We are concerned that, historically, leaders of NATO and member countries have considered that the organization does not necessarily require explicit authorization from the Security Council to resort to coercion.

We are also concerned that NATO has loosely interpreted mandates for action aimed at promoting international peace and security authorized by the Security Council. As Brazil has maintained, including through the Brazilian concept of ‘responsibility while protecting,’ (S/2011/701, annex), the Security Council should avail itself of the institutional means of monitoring the adequate fulfillment of its mandates.

We are concerned, as well that NATO has been searching to establish partnerships out of its area, far beyond the North Atlantic, including in regions of peace, democracy and social inclusion, and that rule out the presence of weapons of mass destruction  in their territories. It would be extremely grave for the future of the articulation between regional and global efforts at promoting peace, as prescribed by the United Nations, if groups of countries started to unilaterally define their sphere of action beyond the territory of their own members.”

Next, Mr. David Choquehuanca Cespedes, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia spoke:

“Preserving peace is not and will not be the result of the existence of international policemen, but rather as a result of the promotion of social justice, equity,  complementarity, solidarity and respect between states… I should like to express our rejection and condemnation of the practice of espionage on the part of the United States. I should also like to express the grief and indignation of my people and my Government over the act of aggression experienced by President Evo Morales Ayma, which has been described by the international community as offensive, humiliating, discriminatory, colonialistic, unfriendly and a violation of human rights and international standards. Given the grave nature of these facts, we ask the United Nations to clarify these events and to take measures to guarantee human rights and international law so that no one will have to suffer such violations again.”

Next, His Excellency, Mr. Elias Jaua Milano, Minister of the People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Pro-Tempore President of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) stated:

“Today we join in the pleasure of the Bolivian people on its national holiday, and recall the commemoration of the 200 years of the triumphant entry of the liberator Simon Bolivar after having carried out a successful campaign that began in December of 1812 in New Grenada. We must always remember that, when united, we South Americans will achieve independence, equality and democracy for our peoples…. Peace cannot be achieved in the world without social justice and without eradicating once and for all hunger, poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and the wide technological divides, in other words, without guaranteeing to all the resources necessary for their full development in equal conditions…. The instruments, declarations, decisions and resolutions of MERCOSUR have sought democracy and peace in the region, including by preventing coups and other attempts to frustrate the democratic will of our peoples, promoted by fascistic movements represented by political and economic leaders that are found particularly in media corporations. These movements attack democratic governments and peoples that have chosen the path of independence, social inclusion and the grass-roots democratization of our societies….

The timely and firm action of MERCOSUR along with other regional and sub-regional organizations, managed to stop attempted coups in Paraguay in 1996 and 1999, thereby guaranteeing democratic order. Similarly, in 2006 and 2007 MERCOSUR condemned and took action to prevent attempts to divide Bolivia as a way of weakening the democratic government of President Evo Morales. Likewise, the Foreign Ministers of the countries members of MERCOSUR condemned the attempted coup against President Rafael Correa in Ecuador on 30 September 2010, joining with other regional blocs to issue a joint warning to the world and prevent that crime from taking place. Although it could not be prevented, MERCOSUR acted decisively in the parliamentary coup against President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay in June, 2012. On that occasion the foreign ministers of MERCOSUR and UNASUR traveled to Asuncion with the intention of starting a dialogue and preventing the interruption of the constitutional order. That was not achieved, and the bloc had to temporarily suspend the Republic of Paraguay until its political, institutional and democratic situation was normalized through the holding of elections. More recently, MERCOSUR has been able to circumvent those situations with peaceful and democratic mechanisms, without economic blocades, military intervention, indiscriminate bombing or armed intervention of any kind. We believe that the only way to defeat violence is with greater democracy and peaceful means. Mercosur has also participated in issues that affect international peace and security, such as the coup in Honduras against President Zelaya…

Unfortunately in recent times we have been concerned to see that some countries have continued to assert their political, military and economic power and distorted the very essence of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations. They have gone so far as to use the Security Council as a platform to encourage armed interventions against sovereign states and peoples with a view to promoting the poorly named regime change, in contravention of all principles of International Law… as Foreign Minister of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and as Pro-Tempore President of MERCOSUR I take this opportunity to reiterate our firm condemnation of the insult to the office of the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, President Evo Morales, when some European Governments did not permit the overflight or landing of the aircraft transporting him. That was not only a hostile, unfounded, discriminatory and arbitrary action, but also a flagrant violation of the precepts of international law.”

  “Similarly, we reject the actions of global espionage carried out by the government of the United States , which undermine the sovereignty of States and which we have become familiar with through the revelations of the former security contractor, Edward Snowden. Given the seriousness of these reports of computer espionage on a global scale, recognized by the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union himself, the United Nations must initiate a broad multilateral discussion that would make it possible to design agreements to safeguard the sovereignty and security of States in the light of such illegal practices. MERCOSUR has begun action to promote a discussion on this matter so that we can open an appropriate investigation within the United Nations and punish and condemn this violation of international law.”

“We reiterate our condemnation of actions that could undermine the power of States to fully implement the right of humanitarian asylum. In this respect, we reject any attempt to pressure, harass or criminalize a state or third party over the sovereign decision of any nation to grant asylum, which is enshrined in all international conventions. Likewise, we express our solidarity with the Governments of Bolivia and Nicaragua , which, like Venezuela, have offered asylum to Mr. Snowden, as expressed by the Heads of State of MERCOSUR in the decision concerning the universal recognition of the right of political asylum, issued in Montevideo on 12 July. These three matters were discussed yesterday with the Secretary-General of the United Nations”

In her remarkable work, entitled “The Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” (published in 2007) journalist Naomi Klein states, page 573:

“Though clearly drawing on a long militant history, Latin America ’s contemporary movements are not direct replicas of their predecessors. Of all the differences, the most striking is an acute awareness of the need for protection from the shocks of the past – the coups, the foreign shock therapists, the U.S. trained torturers, as well as the debt shocks and currency collapses of the eighties and nineties. Latin America’s mass movements, which have powered the wave of election victories for left-wing candidates, are learning how to build shock absorbers into their organizing models. …

Latin America’s new leaders are also taking bold measures to block any future U.S. backed coups that could attempt to undermine their democratic victories. The governments of Venezuela, Costa Rica, Argentina and Uruguay have all announced they will no longer send students to the School of Americas, the infamous police and military training center in Fort Benning, Georgia, where so many of the continent’s notorious killers learned the latest I “counterterrorism” (torture) techniques, then promptly directed them against farmers in El Salvador and auto workers in Argentina…. If the U.S. military does not have bases or training programs, its power to inflict shocks will be greatly eroded…

Latin America’s most significant protection from future shocks (and therefore the shock doctrine) flows from the continent’s emerging independence from Washington’s financial institutions, the result of greater integration among regional governments. The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) is the continent’s retort to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the now buried corporatist dream of a free-trade zone from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego….

Thanks to high oil prices, Venezuela has emerged as a major lender to other developing countries, allowing them to do an end run around Washington, and even Argentina, Washington’s former ‘model pupil’ has been part of the trend. In his 2007 State of the Union Address (the late) President Nestor Kirchner said that the country’s foreign creditors had told him, ‘You must have an agreement with the International Fund to be able to pay the debt. We say to them, ‘Sirs, we are sovereign. We want to pay the debt, but no way in hell are we going to make an agreement again with the IMF.’ As a result the IMF, supremely powerful in the eighties, is no longer a force on the continent.  In 2005 Latin America made up 80 percent of the IMF’s total lending portfolio, in 2007 the continent represented just 1 percent – a sea change in only two years. ‘There is life after the IMF,’ Kirchner declared, ‘and it is a good life.’”

Having resisted foreign (and domestic) military control, and foreign (and neoliberal) economic control, the new peril confronting Latin America’s independent governments emanates from the United States’ National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance programs, an insidious new cyber-age method of total social control of the most private and intimate spaces of their lives – and identities, their minds, destroying their capacity to forge networks of solidarity and obtain the information crucial to their understanding and critical thinking, without which they are vulnerable to being reduced to the condition of the “zombies” (so popular in Hollywood’s movie narrative), rendering them confused, docile, easily herded, subjugated, ultimately exploited and enslaved. This surveillance is tantamount to imposing total individual and societal control, which is a stealthy form of isolation, a form of psychological and intellectual solitary confinement, one of the cruelest forms of torture, which ultimately leads to the disintegration of the human personality, within an invisible prison.

This condition is described by the American Civil Liberties Union, and quoted in Charles Savage’s August 8 report to The New York Times:

“Hints of the surveillance appeared in a set of rules, leaked by Mr. Snowden, for how the NSA may carry out the 2008 FISA law. One paragraph mentions that the agency ‘seeks to acquire communications about the target that are not to or from the target.’ The pages were posted online by the newspaper The Guardian on June 20, but the telltale paragraph, the only rule marked ‘Top Secret’ amid 18 pages of restrictions, went largely overlooked amid other disclosures…. While the paragraph hinting at the surveillance has attracted little attention, the American Civil Liberties Union did take note of the ‘about the target’ language in a June 21 post analyzing the larger set of rules, arguing that the language could be interpreted as allowing ‘bulk collection of international communications, including those of Americans’…. Jameel Jaffer, a senior lawyer at the ACLU said Wednesday that such ‘dragnet surveillance will be poisonous to the freedoms of inquiry and association’ because people who know that their communications will be searched will change their behavior. ‘They’ll hesitate before visiting controversial web sites, discussing controversial topics or investigating politically sensitive questions. Individually, these hesitations might appear to be inconsequential, but the accumulation of them over time will change citizens’ relationship to one another and to the government.’”

The infrastructure for de facto fascist police state and military control is being established under the guise of counterterrorism, (as, earlier, similar fascist states were established under the guise of fighting communism) a phenomena Latin America recognizes and knows from horrific historic experience. And their historic memory of this has not yet been expunged:  indeed, many of the leaders of Latin America today were earlier imprisoned and tortured only a few decades ago under such fascist police and military states (established ostensibly in the name of anti-communism), including Chile’s former, and possibly future President Michelle Bachelet, Brazil’s President Dilma Roussef, Argentina’s late President Nestor Kirchner, and the world famous father of Argentina’s Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, the late Jacobo Timerman, imprisoned and tortured for two years during the Argentine military dictatorship’s “dirty war.” No doubt, Uruguay ’s President Jose Mujica well remembers those horrors, and Chile ’s former President Ricardo Lago spent considerable time in prison during the Pinochet dictatorship.

Patino Aroca, Foreign Minister of Ecuador, next delivered, at the August 6 Security Council meeting, one of the great speeches in United Nations history.

 “During the recent summit of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) that took place on 12 July in Montevideo, the States convened resolved to ‘request Argentina to submit the matter of the massive espionage case uncovered by Edward Snowden for consideration by the Security Council.’ They also resolved to ‘demand that those responsible for those actions immediately cease therefrom and provide explanations of their motivations and their consequences.’ In similar terms, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America spoke at the last Guayaquil summit which was held just five days ago, when it was decided to ‘warn the international community about the seriousness of these actions, which imply a threat to the security and peaceful coexistence among our States”…

“Just a few weeks ago the world saw a sequence of events more akin to a Cold War spy novel than to modern times. On 5 June, leaks began to appear in publications in major global media outlets, leaks that were mixed with almost deathly intent and unspooled as a reality show before global public opinion.  The leaks came from a former 29-year-old American analyst who sought to escape deportation to his country, where he would be tried for those leaks. After a journey that began in Hong Kong and was supposed to end in Latin America, today, it seems to have stopped, but it may not have completely run its course, despite the granting of asylum by Russia.”

“During those few days in June we saw the size and the discretional nature of a massive surveillance apparatus that suddenly brought all the inhabitants of the planet closer than ever to an Orwellian nightmare. Although at first it appeared to be a simple matter of wiretapping, it was later discovered that there was discretionary monitoring of e-mails. While it seemed initially that the apparatus was being used in operations against organized crime, later we learned that it was also being used to gain advantage in trade negotiations with other countries.  If we once thought that they were simply looking at unaffected States, we now know that everyone — absolutely everyone, debtors and creditors, friends and enemies, South and North – is considered a usual suspect by the authorities of the United States of America.  Now we know that our communications are permanently monitored by them.”

“No one knows yet if Mr. Snowden will once again manage to leak information that he claims to possess. Of course, it seems that he will not do it when he is in Russia. In any case, the wounds opened by those events should be assessed within the main multilateral forums. They deserve to be so because not only do they reflect an unacceptable imbalance in the global governance system, which in no case would help to build a climate of trust and cooperation between countries, and, in the final analysis, a climate of peace among nations. They deserve to be assessed because we have also moved dangerously close to the limits set out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

“The imbalances to which I refer are clear – the United States, like any other countries, has the need to deal with demands related to its national security, it goes without saying, but those legitimate demands must be dealt with in a way that does not affect the rights of individuals or indeed the sovereignty of other nations. That is to say, limits must be set. However, we are now faced with the fact that any limits there may have been have vanished. The national security of the United States has been placed above all universal moral values.”

“Such a drive has meant that the principles of equality and non-interference in the affairs of States, established in the Westphalia peace agreement, have now vanished into thin air. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been violated. The rights to the privacy of correspondence – article 12 – and to freedom of expression and opinion – article 19 – the rights of all citizens of the world, including United States citizens, have been trampled in the name of a greater goal, that is, national security – or rather, for the sake of the profits of the national security industry.”

“What are the limits, really? Has the time not come for the Council to take up this question again and discuss it? In the end, does this not pose a threat to global peace? What mutual trust could possibly exist among nations under such circumstances? We believe that the time has come for the United Nations to face up to this matter responsibly.”

“As we have seen with the disappearance of such limits, this situation threatens to build walls between our countries. If it has not done so already, it could also affect international cooperation against organized crime; strangely enough, there is even the possibility that trade negotiations could be disrupted. Paradoxically, even the very national security of the United States will suffer from the increase in global mistrust generated by massive espionage.”

“The events to which I have referred have also revealed other very disturbing realities. To start off with, it has re-ignited the debate on the right of asylum, which all human beings have, as enshrined in international law, as well as the ability of any sovereign state to grant it. This is a right that is granted to avoid fear of political persecution;  its legitimacy can only be determined by the country granting it. Let us also remember its peaceful and humanitarian nature, which cannot in any case be described as unfriendly towards any other State, as established in General Assembly resolution 2312 (XXII) on territorial asylum. I should also quote Ms. Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the case at hand: ‘Snowden’s case has shown the need to protect persons disclosing information on matters that have implications for human rights, as well as the importance of ensuring respect for the right to privacy.’”

“Leaders who should be giving explanations and facing up to the debate on the limits of what we are discussing, have instead launched a crusade against the right to asylum – a full-on diplomatic offensive against countries that have taken to the global stage to show interest in such an important case. States in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) have been under pressure, simply because they are considering a request for asylum. All those countries have signed the 1954 Caracas Convention on Territorial Asylum, which is perhaps one of the most important instruments of the Inter-American human rights system.”

“The day the United States signs that treaty – even the day it ratifies the San Jose pact, one of the foundations of the Inter-American system of human rights – we will be closer to seeing that country adhere to the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, and it will become a part of a group of equal nations, committed to complying with international law.”

“Instead of joining this group, we find ourselves with a country that prefers to lunge forwards and blame the messenger in order to cloud the message. The final result was that a group of countries decided to endanger the life of the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, forcing him and his entourage to make an emergency landing in violation of international norms governing respectful relations among nations.”

“It is not the revelation of the offence that threatens the climate of understanding among nations, it is the offence itself. In a fragile world where armed conflicts are barely affected by international pressure, such actions do not help generate trust but tension.”

“I would like to conclude with two comments.”

“First, the Government of Ecuador fully supports the request of the Bolivian Government that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights conduct an exhaustive investigation into the unjustifiable treatment suffered by President Evo Morales Ayma during his trip from Moscow to La Paz.”

“Secondly, massive global, discretionary and unlimited surveillance must stop. It is for the Security Council to urgently make that demand of one of its permanent members, since, theoretically, it is up to this body to maintain peace on our planet. That, too, is the demand of Latin America, a zone of peace that, through organizations such as MERCOSUR and ALBA, has demanded an end to those practices. It is also required by the spirit of coexistence, which inspired the drafting of the Charter of the United Nations. It is also the appeal of billions of people in the world who understand that any action that aims to ensure the security of a country has its limits, which are the human rights of everyone on the planet.”

The representative of the United States, Mr. DeLaurentis replied:

“Let me address an issue unrelated to our debate that was raised earlier today, namely, the United States efforts to prevent terrorism and the recent disclosure of classified information about techniques we use to do that. All Governments do things that are secret: it is a fact of modern governing and a necessity in the light of the threats all our citizens face. Our counter-Terrorism policy is ultimately about saving people’s lives, which is why the United States works with other countries to protect our citizens and those of other nations from many threats. All nations should be concerned about the damage these disclosures can cause to our ability to collectively defend against those threats.”

Contradicting this assertion, a senior United States intelligence official said, regarding the ‘about the target’ surveillance that it “was difficult to point to any particular terrorist plot that would have been carried out if the surveillance had not taken place.” He said it was one tool among many used to assemble a ‘mosaic’ of information in such investigations. “The surveillance was used for other types of foreign-intelligence collection, not just terrorism investigations,” the official said. This admission that this surveillance is not limited to preventing terrorism is the most damning indictment of the secrecy of the program.

The American people, whose taxes pay for these programs, have an inalienable right to know what are the “other” uses to which these surveillance programs are being put, in their name. Powerfully refuting any contention that these surveillance activities are for the purpose of preventing terrorism is the testimony of United States Senator, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, who said he had been shown a classified list of “terrorist events” detected through surveillance, and  it did not show that ‘dozens or even several terrorist plots’ had been thwarted by the domestic program. “If this program if not effective, it has to end. So far I’m not convinced by what I’ve seen,” Senator Leahy said, denouncing ‘the massive privacy implications’ of keeping records of every American’s domestic calls.

What really is the purpose of this NSA program of global surveillance? Failing to significantly thwart terrorist activity, it must have an ultimate purpose. The possibilities are terrifying. The hysterical, desperate and deadly determination to arrest Snowden suggests that he may have uncovered something further, something so illegal that the authors of such crimes will not hesitate to endanger the very lives they claim to be protecting, in order to prevent exposure. The frantic orchestration of the actions endangering the life of the President of Bolivia makes this conclusion unavoidable.

The August 6 Security Council meeting under the Presidency of Argentina re-enforced the credibility of the United Nations. The Government of Argentina and her courageous sister nations of Latin America have thrown down the gauntlet on behalf of the majority of the citizens of this planet.

August 18, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment