30 September 2009

Honduras, the Israeli Connection

According to Ynet News in Israel, quoting the Israeli consul in Guatemala (who is also responsible for Honduras), there are 25 Israelis resident in Honduras, most of whom live in the capital Tegucigalpa.

According to Ynet and the consul "they are primarily employed by or operate security firms or work in agricultural development". Not suprisingly they weren't worried by the coup.

One of the security firms in Honduras is Interseg S.A., sister company to telecommunications firm Alfacom S.A., run by Yehuda Leitner, recently accused by Patricia Rodes as being behind the supply of toxic gases used against President Zelaya in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa. Not only that methinks, but also the LRAD acoustic weapons (see my comments) and possibly the cell phone jammer encountered in a house next to the Brazilian Embassy. This cell phone jammer is a C-Guard unit made by NetLine Communications Inc. of Tel Aviv.

Interestingly, Interseg is one of several security companies recommended by the US Embassy in Honduras and through its connections to Alfacom is a registered supplier to the Government of Honduras. The company is described as "a Mossad front company" by Wayne Madsen (subscription trequired).

According to Ed Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan:

"Like its U.S. and British security firm counterparts, Israel's International Security and Defense Systems (ISDS) is a wide-ranging, operation with full "counterterrorism" capabilities. ISDS, based in Tel Aviv, is co-owned by Leo Gleser, a former colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) who participated in the 1976 raid on Entebbe. ISDS has been very active in Central America, protecting business and government leaders as well as providing "counterterrorism" training to military, an~, paramilltary per~nnel in Honduras and Guatemala.
In an April 30, 1985 letter of presentation to the Guatemalan military, Sammy Sapyr, then director of ISDS's Guatemalan branch, described the company's services in great detail. These included antiterrorism training and the formation of antiterrorism "squads," electronic surveillance, intelligence gathering, and the sale of arms, including helicopters and airplanes. Jon Lee Anderson points out that the document also offers a course in "selective terror" under the general rubric "the training of military personnel."(62) It should be noted, however, that in light of the role and performance of the Guatemalan army, all of ISDS's services under the name of "coun¬terterrorism" facilitate serious state terrorism.
According to Gerard Latchinian, a multimillionaire currently serving a thirty-year prison term in Indiana for his role in the 1984 attempted overthrow of Honduras's civilian government, ISDS em¬ployees were active in training the Honduran death squads, as well as members of the Nicaraguan contras, in techniques of terror. In fact, ISDS's Gleser hired two ex-IDF members, Yehuda Leitner and Emile Sa'ada, to help train members of Gustavo Alvarez Martinez's notorious Battalion 3-16, the general's private death squad. Jose Valle Lapez, a former member of the battalion, has admitted to participating in a rash of kidnappings, torture sessions, and brutal murders, some of which took place in the presence of "Mr. Mike" from the V.S. embassy, who oversaw several torture operations.(63)
When Alvarez Martinez was eventually ousted from Honduras, his successor, General Walter Lapez Reyes, immediately severed all ties with ISDS. L6pez Reyes told John Lee Anderson that ISDS trained Alvarez Martinez's "special secunty groups" in hostage-taking and hijacking techniques, and that this was, in part, a front for training the contras, who also took the course. "There was coordi¬nation between them and the CIA," L6pez Reyes told Anderson. "So, I didn't renew their contract. . . . The Israelis had something to do with Alvarez's death squads. One way or another."(64) Despite the severed contract, however, it appears that the "official" death squad organized by Alvarez Martinez lives on.(65)
In 1986, Yehuda Leitner, who had worked with Gleser and ISDS, fled Honduras after his connections with the contras were exposed by Anne- Marie O'Connor in a Reuters dispatch. His colleague in the affair, Emile Sa'ada, also admits to having contracted with the Honduran government "to teach the Hondurans counterterrorism," but now claims to be nothing more than a melon farmer. The company for which he works, Shemesh, currently employs some five thousand Honduran peasants as pickers and growers. But Shemesh also nominally owns ISDS, although as one U .S. military advisor told Anderson, "Israelis always go through front companies," and in Central America, "Shemesh has always been their front." And according to Carl Fehlandt, a former arms salesman in ISDS in Guatemala between 1982 and 1986, Shemesh/ISDS "is the official Israeli arms outlet. The Israeli government owns ISDS and the man who calls the shots is the Minister of Defense."(66) "

62. Jon Lee Anderson "Loose Cannons: On the Trail of Israel's Gunrunners in Central America," New Outlook, Feb. 1989, p. 29.
63. Alison Acker, Honduras: The Making of a Banana Republic (Boston: South End Press, 1988), pp. 115-17.
64. Anderson, "Loose Cannons," p. 26.
65. While President Azcona and the Honduran military insist that Battalion 3-16 was dissolved under Directive 2192, issued on September 11, 1987, former Sergeant Fausto Reyes-Caballero of the Honduran security forces told Julia Preston of the Washington Post in October 1988 that the battalion, with the aid of ISDS, was still active. Corroboration of this claim appeared in an administrative report from a customs office in El Amarillo on the Salvadoran border. According to Office Bulletin no. 2599 from the president's press office, dated September 7, 1988, the customs administration at El Amarillo had denied that contraband was passing through its jurisdiction, observing that even members of Battalion 3-16 were reviewing that sector of the border. Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras, "The Situation of Human Rights in Honduras, 1988," p. 13.
66. Anderson, "Loose Cannons," p. 27.

Of course, Alfacom is in the business of telecommunications, and as Machetera showed in her excellent two-part exposé "Otto Reich and the Honduran Coup D’Etat", it is the telecommunications sector that is connected to Otto Reich," not to mention...the Cormac Group and...Hillary Clinton’s friend, Lanny Davis".

For more on Otto Reich see "Honduran Destablization Inc." by Nikolas Kosloff.

US Story on Iran Nuke Facility Doesn't Add Up by Gareth Porter -- Antiwar.com

US Story on Iran Nuke Facility Doesn?t Add Up by Gareth Porter -- Antiwar.com

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22 September 2009

Sybel Edmonds Tells All

A must read for anyone interested in "explosive" testimony from an FBI translator on deep corruption in the the US Congress, State Department and the FBI itself.

Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds? PDF

The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.

If this doesn't make it into the main stream press, its proof that they really don't give a fuck about real news.

As Brad Friedman says "..."explosive" may be a vast understatement. At least if the U.S. corporate media bother to notice it this time."

He also calls this "nothing short of a national security cancer that has metastasized throughout the U.S. government, to the covert monetary, military, and strategic intelligence benefit of our allies and enemies alike."

Anyway, go over to the AmCon website and read the interview, now!

From Brad Blog:

Among the new and key allegations fleshed out in the Giraldi interview, in addition to the disclosure concerning Schakowsky:

  • Giraldi describes "a pattern of corruption starting with government officials providing information to foreigners and helping them make contact with other Americans who had valuable information." That information, "including weapons technology, conventional weapons technology, and Pentagon policy-related information," according to Edmonds, was then sold on the black market to Turkey, Israel and beyond, and "the money that was being generated was used to corrupt certain congressmen to influence policy and provide still more information-in many cases information related to nuclear technology."

  • The most serious allegations in the piece are detailed against Marc Grossman, who had served as the Ambassador to Turkey before being named as the third-highest official at the State Department by the Bush Administration, where he is said to have "received money directly" for his work on behalf of Turkish agents. The article explains, in the most detail to date, Grossman's criminal involvement as the ring-leader for much of this, as first exposed in a January 2008 London Sunday Times front page story which described Grossman's activities but, due to British libel laws, didn't identify him by name. The paper also followed it up with some corroboration of FBI case files on the allegations later that month, and then dropped a blockbuster concerning Grossman's outing of Valerie Plame-Wilson's CIA front company Brewster-Jennings to Turkish diplomats long before she was ever outed publicly by Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Robert Novak.
  • A great deal of explanation is given concerning Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)'s extremely close alliance with Turkey and the American Turkish Council (ATC) in all of these matters, and how the now-deceased Democratic U.S. Congressman from California, Rep. Tom Lantos, was "the top person obtaining classified information" concerning Israel in Congress for both groups.
  • Former Lousiana Republican, and almost-Speaker of the House, Rep. Bob Livingston is described as "the number-one congressman involved with the Turkish community, both in terms of providing information and doing favors." Livingston now runs a lobbying firm representing Turkey. "Number-two after him was Dan Burton" of Indiana (still serving), Edmonds tells Giraldi, "and then he became number-one until Hastert became the speaker of the House."
  • Details about how the Bush Administration, including officials such as Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz, were "discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country" between the U.S., Great Britain, and possibly Turkey, some four months before 9/11 occurred.
  • Former Bush Sr. administration official Brent Scowcroft, who had become chair of the American Turkish Council (ATC), is said to have been involved in similar discussions as well prior to 9/11, along with James Baker and Richard Armitage. Scowcroft, Edmonds alleges, only came out against the Iraq War when the George W. Bush administration decided against an arrangement for a "Turkish protectorate" in northern Iraq.
  • Some members of Congress were wiretapped directly by the FBI after information had been obtained "secondhand through FISA, as [the FBI's] primary targets were foreigners."
  • "The epicenter of a lot of the foreign espionage activity was Chicago." Hence the involvement of Hastert and Schakowsky, all of which leaves Edmonds with many concerns about Illinois' former U.S. Senator Barack Obama and his current Chief of Staff, the former U.S. Congressman from Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel.
  • Edmonds further details what she had briefly discussed with me on air in June, during an interview I did with her while guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show, in which she had said she was aware of the "intimate relationship with Bin Laden and the Taliban ... all the way up to September 11," 2001, by certain forces in the U.S. Whatever the operations were with bin Laden --- actually "'bin Ladens' plural" as she clarifies to Giraldi --- Edmonds notes that "Marc Grossman was leading it, 100 percent," and that the U.S. was "100 percent" aware of the deal. "From Turkey," she says, "they were putting all these bin Ladens on NATO planes. People and weapons went one way, drugs came back."
  • There is much more, but one new point, in particular, caught my eye and certainly demands further immediate follow-up, though it could be difficult, even as it may serve to help explain the virtual U.S. media blackout on this story up until now. Edmonds tells Giraldi about Grossman paying off "some other people, including his contact at the New York Times." She says he bragged about faxing articles to the paper, which were then printed under the names of Times reporters or Op-Ed columnists virtually verbatim. In speaking with her on Sunday, in hopes of following up on that a bit --- no reporter is identified by name in the AmCon article --- she said this "also happened with the Washington Post, but the New York Times was their primary one for this."

    "Every time they wanted something on Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan, for example, they just faxed it over [to the Times], and it was run under their own guys' name, even though it was written by the State Department," she said during our conversation on Sunday. "This was an ongoing operation, at least during a four year period of time" from 1997 to 2001.

Edmonds was fired by the FBI in 2002, after she began reporting to her superiors on a colleague in the translation department who was, herself, a member of one of the Turkish organizations being targeted by the FBI's counterintelligence investigation.

10 September 2009

History Repeats Itself: Brazil 1964-Honduras 2009

Mark Cook's got a great comparison over at US media watchdog FAIR's website between what happened in Brazil in 1964 and Honduras on 28 June 2009.

He writes: "In a remarkable replay, bogus charges that the corporate media in the U.S. and Europe have repeated endlessly without attempting to substantiate—that Honduran president Manuel Zelaya sought to amend the country’s constitution to run for another term—are virtually identical to the sham justification for the 1964 coup against Brazilian president João Goulart."

Countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, etc., do indeed have something to be fearful of as "The Brazilian coup, depicted at the time as a victory for constitutional democracy, kicked off a series of extreme right-wing military coups against democratically elected governments throughout the Southern Cone of Latin America and beyond."

The comparisons between Brazil'64 and Honduras'09 are truly staggering: the government overthrown in Brazil was lead by João Goulart, "a wealthy rancher hated by big business for having dramatically raised the minimum wage".

Further, the media performance was also virtually identical: "At the New York Times, which editorially cheered the “peaceful revolution” (4/3/64), influential columnist Arthur Krock (4/3/64) accused Goulart of seeking to “prolong [his term] by removing the constitutional ban against consecutive presidential succession.”

What really happened,” Krock declared, in phrasing repeated almost word for word 45 years later in Honduran coverage, “was the failure of a bid for power, contrary to a fundamental principle of the Brazilian Constitution.” Newsweek (4/6/64) and Time (4/10/64) ran similar allegations, also without providing any evidence."

Media at the time also depicted Goulart "as a “leftist” and ally of Castro". Not only at the time, more recently too: "Forty years after the Brazilian coup, the New York Times (6/23/04) was still running the line that “the armed forces overthrew Mr. Goulart’s government, fearing he intended to install a Cuban-style Communist regime in Brazil.”"

As Cook comments "There was never the slightest evidence that Goulart intended to install a “Cuban-style Communist regime,” any more than that he was attempting to run for another term. As with Zelaya in Honduras, Goulart’s real crime was to use the minimum wage and similar measures to attempt to moderate the extremes of wealth and poverty in his country".

Read the full article at FAIR.

09 September 2009

Is Ireland really neutral?

Its people, or at least some of them may think so. That is unless they live near Shannon, where they can see for themselves. I remember arriving there a couple of years ago on my way to my uncle's funeral (RIP Des), and shocked and not a little concerned, seeing US Customs Agents strutting around the airport as if they owned the place

It appears I was right to be concerned. See World Beat by John Feffer.

08 September 2009

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) condemns prosecution of Magistrate Garzón

Garzón was beginning to step on too many important toes. His recent investigations have opened up a real can of worms. From massive corruption within and the possible illegal financing of the Partido Popular (PP), the right wing Spanish opposition party, to the "systematic programme" of torture at Guantanamo". As Andy Worthington reports just today, citing Spanish daily El Periodico "Garzón is pressing ahead with a case against six senior Bush administration lawyers for implementing torture at Guantánamo."

There is what Worthington calls "another attempt to stifle Judge Garzón". Tomorrow Garzón has to testify before the Spanish Supreme Court in a criminal prosecution, as the ICJ calls it "for his investigation into crimes against humanity committed during and after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Magistrate Garzón is being prosecuted before the Second Chamber (Criminal) of the Spanish Supreme Court for intentionally issuing an unjust judgment or ruling (the offence of prevaricación)."

"The case was initiated by a private complaint" from the Orwellian-sounding Manos Limpias, in reality a reminder to the Spanish that the fascist right in Spain is alive and well - see South of Watford for a pretty decent summary.

Meanwhile, "59 top judges across the world – from the International Commission of Jurists - presented a document at the United Nations calling for the case to be dismissed as ‘unjustified interference’ in Garzón’s work"

The ICJ document doesn't mince words, although this was passed over by the state broadcaster TVE with a one liner at the end of their news report stating that the ICJ had merely expressed 'support':

"The ICJ considers this attempt to interfere with the judicial process of particular concern since it concerns an investigation into crimes against humanity, which Spain has an international law duty to investigate and prosecute. The ICJ recalls that, under international law, legislation punishing crimes against humanity may be applied retroactively (Article 15(2) ICCPR and Article 7(2) ECHR), that no Amnesty Law (notably the Spanish Amnesty Law of 1977) can hinder their investigation and prosecution, and that statutory limitations are not applicable to such crimes."

“The investigations of Magistrate Garzón into allegations of crimes against humanity do not amount to malpractice that could justify disciplinary action, let alone criminal prosecution” affirmed Róisín Pillay, “The ICJ has communicated this situation to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers".

03 September 2009

Obama & Empire: Power, Illusion & America's Last Taboo

One of the most accurate assessments of Obama I have come across anywhere. Thank you John Pilger for this enlightening speech.

Transcript available here on ZNet.