After 40 years, a victim of Franco’s Spain tells her story

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Lidia Falcón in an archival photo, likely taken before her seventh and final arrest under the Franco dictatorship. The leftist lawyer and feminist was falsely linked to a crime allegedly carried out by Basque separatists in Madrid in September 1974. A café frequented by secret police was the target. Falcón had nothing to do with the attack at all, but that didn’t stop the dying dictator’s sadists from doing their worst to her. For 40 years she was unable to talk about it. Now, she tells her story to Público:

Lidia Falcón was tortured to the limit in the fall of 1974. She was beaten, insulted and humiliated. But not only in prison. In the official media as well. The daily newspaper, ABC, didn’t hesitate to publish her photo on the front page and link her to an ETA attack on the Rolando coffeehouse in Correo Street, near the Puerta del Sol, on September 13, 1974. Falcón had nothing to do with that massacre. But for the police, the Franco régime, and for its hangers-on, it was all the same. She was arrested in Barcelona and transferred to Madrid three days after the attack. She thought she would never get out of jail. That they would kill her first. Franco was near death, and the hatred of his Political and Social Brigade was running rampant throughout Spain. Tortures unimaginable today were commonplace.

The lawyer, writer and founder of the Feminist Party has taken 40 years to recount that dramatic episode of her life. The nine months she spent in prison and the nine days she suffered the interrogations of Billy the Kid and Roberto Conesa. She kept it hidden as much as possible, she doesn’t really know why, she says. Every victim manages the trauma of torture as well as they can. Every person has their own defence mechanism. Silence and pretending were the methods Falcón chose.

Today, forty years later, she has decided to put those tortures in writing and present a denunciation before the Argentine embassy in Madrid as part of the so-called Argentine Case, the only judicial proceeding currently investigating the crimes of the Franco dictatorship and the Spanish Civil War.

“They arrested me seven times between 1960 and 1974, but no one has ever been told what I lived through during that last detention. Why? I don’t know,” Lidia Falcón told Público. She says she finally decided to take that step and make the denunciation in order to “help my comrades who are making such a great effort to put an end to the impunity of Franco-fascism.”

On September 16, 1974, three days after the ETA attack, the Politico-Social Brigade (BPS) arrived at Lidia Falcón’s office to arrest her and take her to Madrid, accusing her of taking part in the attack by planting an explosive charge in the Rolando Coffeehouse in Madrid, a place frequented by the BPS police. They had no evidence. They probably also knew that Falcón was not implicated. But it was all the same to them. They forced her into a car and drove her to Madrid. The same for her daughter and her companion, Eliseo Bayo. They wouldn’t even let her go to the bathroom during the 12-hour trip.

The worst, obviously, was still to come. Falcón spent nine days in the Franco-fascist terror’s station. “They threw Grimau out the window there. They tortured him to the point of uselessness. One thinks it’s possible not to talk about it, that it not come out,” Falcón said, in front of the Argentine embassy in Madrid. “They were furious and hungry for revenge. We can’t forget that 13 people had just died, and there were 84 injured,” Falcón continues.

A doctor examined her upon arrival. “Do you suffer from any illness?” he asked her. “I’ve recently had hepatitis,” she replied. Billy the Kid and Roberto Conesa now had the perfect target to destroy their victim: “They hit me in the stomach and in the liver and tugged at my arms until I thought they’d fall out.” This for three days. No sleep, no food, no drink. Between beatings, they talked about her daughter: “She’s in jail. Maybe she’ll find a boyfriend.”

After 72 hours in detention, she was visited in her jail cell by the instructing judge, the commander of the First Military Tribunal of Judges and Officials of Madrid, and after a lengthy interrogation, Falcón signed a declaration in which she did not confess to participation in the attack, nor any relations with the terrorists. “I’ve asked myself whether the CIA was implicated in the attack,” Falcón remembers, describing how the judge thumped his chest and exclaimed, “I will not allow betrayals of this uniform!”

After the official left, she was returned to her cell. The next day, Billy the Kid and Conesa came back for her. They handcuffed her to two hooks in the ceiling, but Falcón’s wrists were too small. Her 50 kilograms of body weight were not enough to fill the cuffs. Falcón fel again and again. Finally, they tied her with ropes and began to punch her in the abdomen, stomach and liver.

“Do you recall anything Billy the Kid said to you during the interrogation?” asked a journalist.

“Yes. Of course. There’s one thing that I’ll never forget. Ever. While he was beating me about the stomach, he said to me, ‘Now you’ll never stand up again, whore,'” replied Falcón, recalling that after the interrogations, she had to have five surgeries to try to repair the damage from the tortures to her shoulders, stomach and uterus.

Like other victims of Antonio González Pacheco, alias Billy the Kid, Falcón remembers his face well. Those eyes that sparkled upon seeing another’s pain, which enjoyed inflicting terror and exercising the superiority of having a victim tied up and free rein to torture. “He was a sadist. He liked it. You could see he was enjoying those moments,” Falcón adds, recalling that she finished most of the torture sessions by losing consciousness.

When she fainted, they untied her and laid her on the floor. They woke her with a bucket of water. Then the doctor examined her, checking the whites of her eyes and her blood pressure. “Let her rest,” he usually recommended. She remained on the floor, wet, for hours, until they brought her back to her cell. The next day, the tortures continued. On the sixth day, the torturers could not continue with the same abuses. They could not hang her from the wall because she would lose consciousness quickly as a result. Then, when she awoke, she went on receiving punches and kicks while lying on the ground.

On the ninth day, they transferred her to the Women’s Prison of Yeserías in Madrid. The tendons of her arms were torn, as were her uterus and abdominal muscles. She spent nine months in that prison. On June 11, 1975, they gave her provisional freedom and a fine of 30,000 pesetas. Though she had been accused, she never went to trial. In fact, No one ever went on trial for that ETA attack. Neither she, nor the other 21 accused.

Years later, Falcón went to the Historical Archive to look for the documents from her stay in prison, her detention, and the seven arrests. They didn’t exist. Her name only appears on a document which recounts a conversation between two police officers. “Everything has been eliminated. It’s part of the pact of silence of the Transition. Everything stays behind. There are no guilty parties. No one was sentenced. No investigations. Spain is a single country, and bipartisanism shares a big part of the blame,” Falcón says.

Translation mine.

In case you wonder why Argentina should be involved in this case, you may recall what I blogged a few weeks ago about the exchanges between the military academies of Spain and Argentina. Even as Franco’s régime was in its last gasps (literally, since the dictator was on his deathbed), that of Argentina was just around the corner. Already the fascist (“anticommunist”) brigades, both military and civilian, were harassing Argentine leftists, and bodies were beginning to fall. In a country with a long history off generals-as-presidents, a military coup is never far behind, and in 1976, it finally happened. The fragile Argentine democracy crumbled even as an equally fragile and uncertain so-called democracy emerged from the dictator’s death in Spain. It was like the two countries sat at either end of a see-saw: as one went up, the other went down.

But even as the public balance was shifting, something covert was going on, something that would assure the continuation of fascism, its migration between one Spanish-speaking land and another. Spanish and Argentine military officers were involved in an exchange program, and specifically one dealing in so-called “counterinsurgency” methods. In plain English: Terrorism, murder, torture, abduction, permanent disappearance of victims, and erasure of their very names from the records. Officers from one country went to train in the other, and vice versa. The new Spanish democracy was a sham, as much as the former Argentine one had been. In truth, fascism would continue unabated, hidden. Just as the Argentines had their secret prisons in places the public never suspected, so did the Spaniards harbor their torturers in plain sight. And this even with Franco in his grave, and a two-party electoral system supposedly now in place. Officers and torturers of both régimes enjoyed total impunity, and some still do to this day.

It’s getting late, and yet there is so much still to be done to bring real democracy to Spain and Argentina. As long as the victims live, the torturers’ crimes can still come to light…even after 40 years or more.

The Spy Cables: How South African intelligence was diverted — and PERverted

By now, this should be a familiar story to anyone who’s been following the War on Terra even casually: A country’s intelligence resources get shamelessly gobbled up by the CIA and Mossad in an effort to blame any domestic terrorism on whatever country the US and Israel currently have in their sights. It’s happened a handful of times in Argentina, where Iranians have been taking the blame for what are in fact false flags staged by none other than Israel. The bombings of the AMIA centre and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires were not the work of Iranian car-bombers, as was widely reported, but inside jobs, with Mossad agents and Shin Bet behind it all. The objective: To sabotage the then-ongoing Israeli peace talks with the Palestinian authorities, by claiming that the Iranians were their puppet masters, and also by making the Iranian government out to be a state sponsor of terror. Never mind that Iran is guiltless in all this. The smearing of the country’s name was enough.

And it’s not just happening in Argentina. As this Al-Jazeera investigative report indicates, it’s been happening in South Africa as well. State security agents, offices and funding have been diverted from what they should be doing — tracking domestic neo-Nazi terror cells, South Africa’s biggest real menace to society — and turning them against Iran, in order to make that country out, again, to be a state sponsor of terror.

Among the revelations, the Spy Cables disclose how:

*Israel’s Mossad told its allies that Iran was not working to produce nuclear weapons just a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned it was barely a year from being able to do so;
*The CIA made attempts to contact Hamas directly despite the US government listing the Palestinian group as a “terrorist organisation”;
*Britain’s MI6 sought South African help in an operation to recruit a North Korean official who had previously refused their cash; and
*South African and Ethiopian spies struggled to “neutralise” an assassination plot targeting a leading African diplomat.

The files unveil details of how, as the post-apartheid South African state grappled with the challenges of forging new security services, the country became vulnerable to foreign espionage and inundated with warnings related to the US “War on Terror”.

The report goes on to note some of the absurd lengths the South Africans had to go to in order to spy on Iran. My personal favorite was the use of Persian rug shops as supposed Iranian spy fronts. Maybe the CIA and Mossad had better learn how to decode secret messages woven into those fancy floor coverings, eh?

Notice the ludicrous mention of North Korea in there, too? Presumably the country poses a nuclear threat. What do you bet the real reason isn’t Kim Jong Un’s alleged nukes, but a whole lotta potential oil and gas reserves, sitting right near the North Korean shore? It’s not unreasonable to speculate that the eternally oil-hungry US, with the help of its Israeli buddies, would want to get at it before the Chinese, the Mongolians, and heaven knows who all else. So of course they’re going to keep polishing that ol’ turd about how dangerous and crazy Kim Jong Un is. Never mind that if he were really all that, he’d have given a lot more concrete proof than we’ve seen to date…which, by the way, is bupkus. He didn’t kill his alleged mistress (she’s still alive and performing on state TV, a position she surely wouldn’t still hold if she were out of favor, much less dead); the Sony hack was an inside job, probably done by a disgruntled former employee; and the scary, scary missiles that we’ve heard so much about have been rather modest, and seem to have been aimed at warning the South Koreans away — hardly a global menace. Meanwhile, the US and South Korea are about to stage military exercises close to the DPRK border, very soon. Keep your eyes on that oil, people, because that’s the real reason Kim is in the kimchi.

What ought to be abundantly clear from all this is that Iran is the US’s main target (and North Korea, a secondary target) in the War on Terra. And that oil is behind it all, same as it ever was.

And for Israel? Well, access to nearby oil is a definite plus because Israel doesn’t have a whole lot of its own, but the more immediate goal is a tightening of the Likud grasp on power. It’s kind of hard for Bibi Netanyahu to maintain it without a shitload of bogus “existential threats” for Israel. Which could, inconveniently, turn real if Israel keeps up at the rate it’s currently going, and alienating all its neighbors any further. They have more than enough cause to mistrust Israel as it is.

Ex-DEA agent slams Salazar, CIA and DEA

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Celerino Castillo busted his ass in the 1980s trying to get to the bottom of the Nicaraguan cocaine trafficking networks in Central America. Imagine his horror when he found out that the very same US government he was working for was actually behind it all, and not in a small way. That the cocaine was being imported into the US, where it was converted into crack and laid waste to entire inner-city neighborhoods, primarily black ones. And that his own agency, the Drug Enforcement Agency, was being used as a false front by the CIA, who were in the illicit operations up to their eyeballs, along with a group of well-known “assets”: death-squad leaders and terrorists and goons who have the strangest habit of popping up all over Latin America like sinister Jacks-in-the-box, leaving trails of death and destruction wherever they go. Cele Castillo saw it all, and has been persecuted for telling the truth about it ever since.

So, when asked to comment about the DEA’s latest “star witness” to supposed cocaine trafficking in Latin America, and specifically in Venezuela, of course Castillo isn’t surprised to see a traitor with US ties in the mix. Nor would it surprise him at all to learn that the traitor, Leamsy Salazar, may well be an assassin himself:

“The CIA has always used the DEA as its bastard son to hide its crimes.” The speaker is none other than former DEA agent Celerino “Cele” Castillo, who denounced the criminal activities of the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in El Salvador.

Asked about the Venezuelan Leamsy Salazar, former bodyguard of Hugo Chávez who is now seeking asylum in the US, Castillo did not hesitate an instant, and said: “I witnessed many murders by the CIA. I have archives of cases and passports from the individuals who were killed.”

Leamsy José Salazar Villafaña, the Venezuelan traitor officer who confessed to having informed to the DEA, raised the suspicions of his current boss, Venezuelan national assembly president Diosdado Cabello, and was removed from service, and later fled. He is now suspected of having been part of a possible plot to assassinate Chávez with induced cancer.

Corvette captain Salazar, 40 years of age, was collaborating with the DEA “from mid-2013″, according to sources close to the DEA and right-wing media. The date is hardly credible.

Castillo is the former DEA investigator who saw with his own eyes and denounced how Posada Carriles, under cover of the CIA and the DEA as well, led an operation trafficking weapons in exchange for cocaine at the Salvadoran airbase at Ilopango.

In the 1980s, Castillo denounced the Reagan/Bush administrations as accomplices in narcotrafficking and contraband weapons trafficking. Bipartisan investigations in the House and the Senate confirmed his allegations against the US government.

“While I was in Central America as a DEA agent, we were accustomed to CIA operatives like Randy Capister and Victor Rivera. They paid Rivera $5,000 a month to use his death squad (made up of Venezuelans) in El Salvador.

“The gang assassinated a major of the Salvadoran army. They captured him in Guatemala and later took him to El Salvador and tortured him in order to finally kill him. They told us he was trying to escape.”

Victor “Zacarias” Rivera Aguaje later became an advisor to the Guatemalan Ministry of the Government in the Colom administration.

In 2008, a Guatemalan reporter interviewed Celerino Castillo about the topic. “The President of Guatemala fired Rivera. A week later he was killed, along with his secretary. The FBI moved quickly to investigate the murder because Victor was a documented agent of the CIA.”

The murder of “Zacarias” took place on April 7, 2008, at about 11 p.m., when he got into his car on Vista Hermosa Boulevard in Guatemala City, along with his aide, María Melgar.

Celerino Castillo has directly tied “Zacarias” to the CIA operation directed by Posada Carilles at Ilopango, where they met with Félix Rodríguez Mindigutía, a known CIA terrorist agent said to be the killer of Che Guevara.

Castillo resides in Texas, and is constantly harassed by the federal authorities.

In 2009, the federal prosecutor, Johnny “House of Death” Sutton, managed to put him on trial in San Antonio, Texas, for an ordinary purchase of a weapon without a licence, something which is common in that state. In August 2009, Castillo was sentenced to 37 months in prison, thanks to the complicity of a corrupt judge, Royal Furgeson.

Celerino Castillo documents many of his investigations on his website, Powderburns.org.

Translation mine.

So, Cele Castillo wouldn’t be shocked if Leamsy Salazar turned out to be another Luis Posada Carriles? Well, neither would I. Let’s recall that Posada was, for a time and under a pseudonym, a chief of the infamous Venezuelan political police, the DISIP, at a time when leftists were kidnapped, tortured and “disappeared” in that country. How an ex-Cuban terrorist could make it to a top job in the secret police of a country not his own may seem a head-scratcher in itself, but the trail of dead bodies behind him is no mystery, and neither is his impunity. Luis Posada Carriles is a fanatical right-wing psychopath. Of course there will be deaths in his wake. The man’s a veritable Grim Reaper, and the fact that he’s the US’s Grim Reaper is clear from the way he’s been coddled by the justice system since he illegally showed up in Miami. Considering that the US normally hunts illegal immigrants down like vermin, that’s highly unusual. But it’s perfectly explicable when you remember that the CIA protects its loyal assets. And Posada is nothing if not loyal! So it’s no wonder that he got shoehorned into that plum job at the DISIP. He was a bastard, and he was Washington’s bastard.

And now Leamsy Salazar has shown where his own true loyalties lie. It should be fun to watch him dissolve under the harsh spotlight as revelations of his illegal activities in Venezuela come to light. I can hardly wait.

Argentina: Stella Calloni on the Nisman case

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Further to yesterday’s debunker of the myths of the strange death of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor supposedly investigating the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, here’s another hard look at what lies behind at all, courtesy of the redoubtable Stella Calloni:

I felt the need to write this, because of the immense sadness I feel at seeing so many comrades of other times opining without knowing what this false and scandalous denunciation by a prosecutor like Nisman is about; that he should never have been in charge of the AMIA case, because he was part of the disasters — not innocent, but imposed by others from without — committed by the judge Juan José Galeano.

On the same night as the crime the US and Israel determined that the accused must be Iran, without having investigated anything. It was impossible to perform a serious investigation with such an obstacle.

To refresh your memory: The US and Israel offered a “witness” in 1994. Now no one remembers that Galeano flew off to Venezuela to interrogate the supposed witness, Manoucher Moattamed, who presented himself as a former Iranian functionary escaped from his land, something he never was and which never happened as he claimed. All the money spent, all the false information, broadcast with big headlines. He was a witness invented by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad, but at the same time was totally discredited by his lies, contradictions and falsehoods, after creating false illusions for the victims’ families as well.

Now — what little memory some people have! — to forget that a case was mounted without one single line of truth. A scandalous case, accusing these and those, and with Telleldin as a witness, a delinquent who made a profession of selling stolen cars. To whom Galeano, with the approval of Rubén Baraja, then president of the DAIA, paid $400,000 — in the jail where he sat — so that he would lie and accuse an Iranian and others, including local police, who had accounts at the ready, but as was shown in the oral hearing, had nothing to do with this case, and had to be freed.

So many, so many lies — all this came out in court, and can be read in the dailies of the day — turned the trial into a disaster. To this add stolen evidence, which precisely does not implicate Iran. That “justice”, to maintain the theory that the US and Israel had committed all those blunders, which led to the detention in London of the former ambassador of Iran to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, in 2004, for whom they sought extradition.

When British justice demanded evidence for said extradition, which Argentina — “Argentine justice” — sent, it contained none. Because none existed. As a result, London had to pay the Iranian functionary almost 200,000 pounds sterling in compensation for having detained this man without any cause. This is everywhere. This is not invented. Even Interpol, at that same time, devolved a petition by Argentine authorities for a red alert for lack of evidence.

Most recently, and after great changes in that organism and pressure from the powerful — a red alert was imposed, but they asked for evidence. What evidence did Nisman sent? Ask that. Because if those proofs were the accusation against Iran which the prosecutor mad the year before, it’s a scandal. Letter by letter, it takes what the US and Israel used as accusation — suppositions, half-truths, not a single concrete proof. Trying to use this cruel crime with so many victims, accusing a certain country which they have wanted to invade for a long time, is as criminal as the attack itself.

Even though they continue to act without concrete proofs and there is talk of a “witness C” — certainly interviewed out of country and provided by those same services — this same has not been able to provide any proof.

No country that respects itself in the world would hand over functionaries accused by the CIA and Mossad or other foreign intelligence service. Those same services are those who did the following recently: attacking a boat of pacifists who were bringing food and medicines to Gaza, where a people under siege resists permanent bombardments, interventions and massacres. That boat was assaulted in international waters by Israeli special forces; there were 13 dead and many others beaten and tortured. The recent release of a summary — only a summary — of the tortures and crimes committed by the CIA, to which we must add the intelligence services of the European countries in NATO, forbid any country of the world from handing over persons accused by these services and without any proof. This is not a posture. This is in the United Nations charter.

Why does the Israel government not want that Argentine authorities travel to Venezuela and Europe to interrogate false witnesses, never mind taking statements from the accused, in their own countries, in the pressence of commissions of impartial international observers, as guarantee of absolute seriousness and respect for justice?

The Memorandum [of Understanding, between Argentina and Iran] arises from patient diplomatic work as an extraordinary gesture, which contributes to international politics and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Could it be that listening to those accused could put the truth on the scen and not all that which was hidden with pressures, money and more in the trials they attempted here?

But when one investigates, one confirms that all those who have intervened in attacks around the world are tied to the intelligence services of those countries which like the US are determined to control the world, with their minor partners in a global government. Countries which under the orders of NATO — whose actions are illegal and where they use thousands and thousands of mercenaries — want to keep the great natural resources. They used lies to invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and now they are using them to try to invade Syria.

Translation mine.

To the list of countries they want to invade, add Iran, widely trumpeted as Syria’s “controller” when it comes to the backing of parties Israel wants to see wiped out — Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon. And which, it just so conveniently happens, is sitting on some mighty fine oil reserves, right next to those of Iraq, which is turning into a bigger and bigger shit-show and mockery of US and NATO governance every day, what with ISIL and all.

What better time to roll out the distraction of an old (but not cold) bombing case or two from Argentina? After all, Argentina’s willingness to co-operate with Iran in exonerating that country of the crimes in which it stands accused — the bombing of the Israeli embassy and the AMIA centre, both in Buenos Aires — is just one more slap in the face for gringo imperialism and Israeli complicity. Already Argentina is fighting off the hedge-fund vultures, which is bad enough for US capitalism. Now this? Israel caught bombing and killing its (supposed) own people? False flags out the wazoo, PROVEN? Can’t happen. No, let’s paint the president of Argentina as a crazy murderer instead, and paint Argentina itself as a country gone mad, instead of what it really is: a country coming slowly and painfully to its senses. And which is finally starting to get a good grip on its own reins again, much to the dismay of those who want to control it all behind the scenes, forever.

Yeah, let’s just keep doing the ol’ distraction dance. Works every time, right?

RIGHT???

Venezuela putsch: Maduro denounces “interfering” US document

Further to my last post, here it is in no uncertain terms: There IS indeed another coup d’état underway in Venezuela. And here, to denounce it, is none other than the president himself:

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro denounced the contents of an “interfering, lying” document published by the National Security Agency of the US government, and denounced that they are trying to menace Venezuela with the Inter-American Charter with bald-faced lies about Bolivarian democracy in order to justify a direct intervention that will enable them to bring down the Venezuelan government.

“I denounce this new aggression, I reject the document of ‘national security strategy’ from the US government of interfering character, and hereby ratify my urgent call to the governments and people of South America and CELAC, to support the people and government of Venezuela in rejecting the conspiracy which is being directed against our democracy from the United States,” Maduro said, during a press conference in Miraflores Palace.

“I hereby denounce, maintain, and call upon our people for maximum awareness to continue defeating conspiracies,” said Maduro, as he displayed the contents of a document over the “risks” of democracy in Venezuela.

“I respect President Obama, and with respect for him and the US as a country, it’s because I have the morals and ethics to demand respect for Venezuela,” said Maduro, decrying the grotesque lies which the document, published on Friday in the US, contains.

“There is a coup d’état going on in Venezuela, which is being supported by all the agencies of the US. It’s up to you [to stop it]!” Maduro said, addressing his US counterpart.

He then read part of the document, on page 28, where it states that “we support the citizens of countries in which the full exercise of democracy is at risk, such as Venezuela.”

“When one of their documents says that, it’s a direct order for groups to go berserk and launch themselves into toppling the government,” Maduro warned, recalling that if a country is at supposed risk, the US always assumes the right to support mercenaries to bring down the government of that land. There are plenty of examples in the world where the US has supported them with money and even weapons.

“In the end, the Inter-American Charter will be the instrument for an attempt to intervene in Venezuela,” Maduro added.

“Big mistake, President Obama,” he said, recalling for his US counterpart that in Venezuela the only risk to democracy are the right-wing groups which permanently conspire, and who are allies of the transnational corporations of the US.

“In which country is there more democracy, Venezuela or the US? Where are there more people in power, where are there more political freedoms? Where do the people govern, and not the transnationals?” Maduro asked.

Maduro reminded Obama that in Venezuela, in 2002, there was a coup which was publicly supported by George Bush (Junior). “It’s up to you to distance yourself, to rectify in time the mistaken policies against the Bolivarian Revolution, or else stop making chaos with failed US policies against Venezuela! For that, I’ve called upon UNASUR and CELAC, and for that reason I’m denouncing all of this.”

Maduro publicly addressed Obama, warning him that nobody is fooled by manipulated reports.

“You, President Obama, don’t believe the lies that the war lobbies which you criticized so often, the imperial lobbies which lie so much about Venezuela.

“The lobbies who are preparing these reports are the same that said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction — which you criticized so much,” Maduro said, recalling the lies that were admitted by the US after it had invaded and occupied Iraq illegally in order to supposedly defend itself against those weapons.

“They justify everything in the world with lies,” denounced Maduro.

“Also, President Obama, you should know that we are in another world, and you should know that Latin America and the Caribbean are not the US’s backyard, and Venezuela is now no longer the oil colony that used to belong to the US.”

Maduro reminded Obama that he was obliged to recognize the failure of the illegal and criminal blockade against Cuba, and precisely now, 53 years after that illegal measure began, how much suffering the Cuban people went through as a result of that financial persecution, which still continues.

“I have told you, and I believe this: You can do one of two things. Go down in history as the president who changed relations between the US and all the countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, or as the president who committed the same errors as George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and company.”

Maduro stated that he would soon write a personal letter to Obama, restating the position of the dignified and independent people of Venezuela.

“Venezuela is a country with dignity, deserving respect. I demand respect for Venezuela, for our homeland,” Maduro emphasized.

Translation mine.

Of course, the jackals are circling already. And if you hear any yammering, yodeling and yawping about how the president of Venezuela is a crazy madman and a dangerous dictator who must be toppled immediately, because kooky conspiracy theories and tight tinfoil and yadda yadda, well, you know. Same shit, ‘nother day. They tried this with the last one too, and no one in Venezuela believed them…except of course the conspiracy kooks of the right, whose too-tight tinfoil hats had them blaming Chavecito for everything from toothaches to hangnails. It’s like a nasty feedback loop with them: Whatever the Washington Empire says, they repeat back, louder and crazier. And vice versa.

Diosdado Cabello warns of violent replays in Venezuela

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Diosdado Cabello, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, on his VTV weekly show. He’s in military uniform because, like Chavecito behind him, he’s a former officer of the Venezuelan army. And because this past February 4, the nation celebrated the anniversary of the failed uprising of 1992 against the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez, who betrayed Venezuela by going back on his campaign promises and obeying the dictates of the IMF to disastrous effect, resulting in the Caracazo of 1989. Pérez was elected, but did the opposite of what he was elected to do, so trying to topple him, however abortively, was a heroic act. What has happened since the last presidential election in Venezuela, on the other hand, could not be further removed from the courageous deeds of February 4, 1992. The violence of last February is being replayed this year, warns Cabello, by people with the same craven economic interests as the late, unlamented Pérez. Here’s the rundown on what’s been going on, and who is behind it all:

The president of the Venezuelan national assembly, Diosdado Cabello, alerted of new violent actions in San Cristóbal, Tachira, intended to re-enact the events of February 2014 as part of the plan called “La Salida” (The Exit), which left 43 persons killed and more than 800 injured.

On his weekly VTV show Con el Mazo Dando, Cabello indicated that the actions were initiated by a group which is composed of “persons coming from Caracas to take part in violent actions, and in complicity with vigilantes and administrative rectoral authorities of the National Experimental University of Táchira (UNET), to kick off the month of February with an escalation of violence and aggressive protests.”

Cabello added that they were found working in the chemical laboratories of that institution, trying to make explosive artifacts, in order to generate chaos and fear in the land.

In his address, the parliamentary president stated that these actions are led by director Jesús Gómez Trejo, who on Monday paid a “visit to the offices of the UCAT (Catholic University of Táchira) and UNET, inviting them to attend the gathering and march on February 12 in San Cristóbal.”

In the first semester of 2014, the state of Táchira was victim to violent attacks orchestrated by sectors of the Venezuelan right, seeking to destabilize the land and bring down the president of the republic, Nicolás Maduro, legitimately elected in April 2013.

Cabello also alerted of new right-wing actions to continue the economic war which began in 2013, to attempt to disrupt the production of sugar.

“Members of the Sugarcane Growers’ Association of Venezuela and the Federation of Sugarcane Growers of Venezuela (FESOCA) are exerting pressure to paralize the machinery and the work in the fields. Behing that there is a well known man, with the surname Zubillaga, a distant cousin of the Zubillagas who own Farmatodo, who is going around telling the peasants that they won’t be paid next payday, so they will stop harvesting sugarcane,” said Cabello.

As part of the strategy of these right-wing sectors, FESOCA has called for a demonstration in Guanare, in the state of Portuguesa, on Thursday, starting from the Espiga monument and ending at the offices of the Ministry for Agriculture and Lands.

Cabello reminded that with these actions, the Venezuelan right is trying to create scarcities of this staple, “even though they are receiving financial aid from the Bolivarian government!”

Cabello denounced the representatives of the Venezuelan right who are holding meetings in the exterior, seeking to bring down the government of Nicolás Maduro.

He stated that on January 19, the mayor of El Hatillo, David Smolansky, and the co-ordinator of the party Voluntad Popular, Freddy Guevara, flew to Miami to meet with Carlos Vecchio, a fugitive from Venezuelan justice for violent crimes committed in the first trimester of 2014, to seek international support and call for the liberation of Leopoldo López, who is currently incarcerated at Ramo Verde for his role in the violent acts of last year.

Between these meetings they also met with banker Eligio Cedeño, who is also a fugitive from justice for obtaining US dollars through fraud, as well as retired general Antonio Rivero.

Cabello added that this month Lilian Tintori, López’s wife, is slated to go before the UN and the OAS “as part of the actions to exert pressure from outside” on Venezuelan justice.

Cabello also informed of the meetings of Miguel Henrique Otero, director of the newspaper El Nacional, in Cartagena, Colombia, with former Colombian president Andrés Pastrana, as well as trips made by Jesús “Chuo” Torrealba, the secretary-general of the so-called Democratic Unity Table (MUD), in which he met with MUD representatives in Europe, and some other Venezuelans.

Cabello also pointed out that Otero will be travelling to Spain to meet with representatives of the Socialist Workers’ Party of Spain (PSOE) and Popular Party (PP) as “part of the program of attack against the Bolivarian government, in order to keep talking about ‘human rights’ and ‘freedom of expression’.”

Translation mine.

So you can see a lot of familiar names there in the mix. Yes, the Usual Suspects are at it again, and gosh, it’s just like last year. Only this year, there’s a difference: One of the principals, Prettyboy Leo, is in jail; meanwhile, Maricori is also awaiting trial for her part in last February’s violent putsch. But of course, a great many criminals and banksters abroad are still supporting this failed right-wing activity materially and vocally. One would think they’d get tired of that, but they’re fools. And we all know what fools never do, don’t, we boys?

No indeed.

Leamsy Salazar: Unmasking a Venezuelan traitor

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Chavecito and his then vice-president, Diosdado Cabello (first row, side by side), in happier times. He’s surrounded by the usual circle of bodyguards. But there is an infiltrator. That man in the circle is now the subject of intense scrutiny. Who is he, and what are his connections to the late president’s death? Was it murder? Cabello has his suspicions, and since that man in the circle is now a “defector”, they are coming to light:

Last Tuesday, Diosdado Cabello made declarations with respect to the real identity of Leamsy Salazar and his connection to the executive cabinet of the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez.

The president of the Venezuelan National Assembly affirmed that the accusations made by Salazar are false, at the same time emphasizing the bad behavior of the Venezuelan opposition in support of the North American empire in order to exercise pressure on the policies of Venezuela.

At the same time, Cabello hinted that Salazar could be linked to the death of Comandante Chávez, since there have been suspicions about the induction of the cancer that the president suffered, and which cost him his life in 2013.

“I have no doubt that this person was infiltrated on the Comandante’s side for many years,” Cabello emphasized. He also pointed out that in the middle of last year, Salazar offered his services as a “disinterested” notary.

For that reason, Cabello explained, he asked the minister of Defence, Carmen Meléndez, to remove Captain Salazar from his team and reassign him. She sent him to a training course from which he never returned, for which reason he is now considered a deserter by the Venezuelan armed forces.

Cabello also stated that he included Salazar on his team at first out of commitment to Comandante Chávez, since he had been on his security team for many years.

Now, as a deserter and aligned with the interests of the North American empire and the national and international right-wing, it is suspected that the captain betrayed the confidence of the Venezuelan national government, having possible ties to attacks against Comandante Chávez.

“He (Salazar) will have problems when they (his US overlords) ask him for proofs and he won’t have even one, our conscience is clear,” said the Venezuelan parliamentarian, referring to the lack of proof on the part of the opposition and the empire to bring about an attack against him.

Translation mine.

Oh yeah. Now would be a good time, I guess, to note that there is yet another coup attempt underway in Venezuela. Saudi Arabia has driven the price of oil down worldwide, and thus economists are preaching gloom and doom for Venezuela, whose social programs hinge on the profits of PDVSA’s oil. There have been violent guarimbas in various cities (the university city of Mérida in particular), and the usual tiresome media squawkings from Gringolandia and its press gangs. So Cabello isn’t making accusations in a vacuum, nor are they baseless. There are parties standing to benefit from destabilization in whatever form it takes. And all of them have ties to Washington.

Chavecito’s death, in particular, has long been suspected as no ordinary cancer case, but as one of a cancer deliberately induced. The purpose? To create conditions of political instability, conducive to a coup. With Venezuela unstable and devoid of the strong leadership of Chávez, what “better” time for a US-backed coup d’état, as in, say, Argentina following the death of Juan Perón?

Only — too bad for the US and its Venezuelan right-wing toadies — so far, it hasn’t worked out that way.

Even with Chavecito suddenly gone, far too young and at the height of his popularity, the country is far from ungovernable. The people are onto the opposition and sick of its dirty economic tricks. Hoarding of basic goods and necessities in “independent” grocery stores, followed by “protests” by rich kids from the private schools, with military traitors furnishing snipers and the US supplying the training and the guns? Hardly news in Venezuela. It’s now just the usual, dreary, everyday shit.

What was supposed to be an economic war of attrition is being lost by those attempting to lay siege to the country; its social programs, even with funding allegedly in danger from lowered oil prices, are still bearing fruit, and the bottom sectors of the economy are still as militantly Chavista as ever. More so, in fact, since now they are defending their hard-won common good from its old, old enemy…the oligarchs and their oil-hungry gringo buddies. The education and health missions are now in advanced phases, and the government-run supermarket chains, PDVAL and Mercal, are still doing brisk business despite repeated opposition sabotage attempts, while the private sector keeps shooting itself in the foot with hoarding and price-jacking.

So it’s little wonder the government hasn’t fallen, or even wobbled just a wee bit. With a fully literate, media-savvy, increasingly educated common populace, Venezuela has been repeatedly vaccinated against putschism. The ordinary folk can see with their own eyes what the opposition is up to, and government-installed anti-speculation hotlines are constantly buzzing with denunciations, while the police regularly swoop in to arrest hoarders, price gougers, and speculators.

And with members of the government taking to the airwaves on a regular basis, as Diosdado Cabello does (he has his own TV show on the national public channel VTV), it adds even more to the general atmosphere of media literacy and public awareness. Traitors and suspects can be exposed before they do the damage they intend. Leamsy Salazar appears to be just the latest in a long line of such betrayers.

And I can hardly wait to hear (and translate) more about his involvement with the possibly induced cancer that killed the late, very much lamented president.

The Nisman case: cui bono?

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Juan Gabriel Labaké seems an unlikely figure to have cracked not one but two infamous bombing cases in Argentina. But the lawyer, who represents a Syrian-Argentine accused in one of the crimes, has done just that. And not only that, but he also denounced the late prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, for abuse of powers and bungling the AMIA case. He was interviewed by Ana Delicado about that and related topics. Here’s what he had to say…and I think you’ll agree that it is tremendously revealing, and makes a lot of sense:

Juan Gabriel Labaké, a lawyer on the case of the attack on the AMIA Jewish centre, accused prosecutor Alberto Nisman of treason nearly four weeks before the latter was found lifeless in his apartment.

The death of Alberto Nisman has generated new interest in the investigation of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) bombing in 1994, which caused 85 deaths. The inconsistency of the denunciation which Nisman himself presented against Argentine president Cristina Fernández a few days before his death places in doubt all the investigation which he brought to bear in accusing Iran of the attack.

The so-called Iranian lead was imposed from the moment of the attack, with the almost automatic abandonment of other possibilities. The participation in the investigation of the intelligence services of the United States and Israel was a key element. The presumed use of a car bomb in the attack was the other factor which directed the evolution of the case. The man accused of buying that car was Alberto Kanoore Edul, an Argentine of Syrian origin, who has been implicated since the beginning of the case.

His lawyer, Juan Gabriel Labaké, denounced prosecutor Nisman for treason before the Attorney General’s office 27 days before Nisman’s mysterious death. Público spoke with the attorney, who, from within the case and with documents in hand, has arrived at conclusions other than those the late prosecutor pursued.

Q. Why did you denounce Nisman for treason?
A. The key is in a top-secret report which the CIA gave to Miguel Ángel Toma, who was then head of intelligence, in 2002. This was in a safe belonging to the court. Nisman made me sign an agreement in which he made me promise to keep confidential the content I read.

Q. Why is that key?
A. It’s a 150-page report assembled by the CIA and the Mossad, as the document itself says. When former president Eduardo Duhalde took power in 2002, he asked for the State Department’s help in refinancing Argentina’s debt to the IMF, and they insinuated to him that the problem would be solved by the CIA, because with ex-president Fernando de la Rúa (1999-2001), through imprudence, the identity and photograph of the chief of the CIA station in Buenos Aires had been published. The CIA was very resentful. Duhalde asked his chief of intelligence, Miguel Ángel Toma, to work this out with the then director of the CIA, George Tenet. The newspaper, La Nación, reported all this. Toma travelled to the United States, good relations resumed, but Argentina decided to investigate the matter of AMIA on the basis of this confidential report.

Q. How did it become involved in the case?
A. This report came with the indication from Tenet that the case should be managed exclusively by intelligence agent Jaime Stiusso, because he was his confidant. Duhalde put Stiusso in as chief of counterintelligence, who had in his hands the division of spies who tapped telephones, the most important dirty intelligence weapon. Stiusso translated the report, pretty badly of course, and in January 2003 Toma handed it to judge Juan José Galeano the first magistrate in the AMIA case. He could do almost nonthing because he was removed from office in 2004 [for falsifying evidence]. The next judge, Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, realized what a time bomb he had on his hands, and got distracted, so that at the end of 2004, the Jewish institutions in Argentina, AMIA and the Delegation of Israeli-Argentine Associatiosn (DAIA) asked that Nisman be promoted to attorney general and that all the powers of an instructing judge be transferred to him, which is allowed when the case if very complex and has enormous political repercussions.

Q. So that’s how Nisman entered the case.
A. Nisman came to have 43 employees, of whom 32 are lawyers, and an almost unlimited budget. With all that in hand, Nisman fell into Stiusso’s web.

Q. What did you do?
A. Once I was able to read the confidential report in November, I compared it with Nisman’s petition in 2007 that served as a basis to solicit the extradition of eight Iranian functionaries and diplomats.There are paragraphs which are carbon copies. This led me to present the denunciation against Nisman. Officially, that report was part of the AMIA case, only that it’s not in the case files, but under lock and key.

Q. On what was Nisman’s petition based?
A. The petition, like the CIA’s secret report, was based on information given to them by Iranian ex-secret services agents, who had belonged to the Organization of the Mujahideen (MKO). When Ayatollah Khomeini made his revolution in 1979, the MKO joined the revolution from the orthodox Marxist standpoint. When they proposed to continue with violent actions, Khomeini removed them from power and they sought protection from the CIA, which furnished them a secret base in Iraq, near the Iranian border, where the CIA maintained, trained and financed 3,000 guerrillas for three or four years at least. They were the ones who launched the worst attacks in Iran. That group was classified as terrorist by the European Union, the UN, and the United States, which withdrew that classification not long ago. The CIA used them in their confidential report and Stiusso named them as proof of the culpability of Iran in the AMIA attack.

Q. What were they alleging?
A. That two years before the attack, the Security Council met in Tehran and decided there to prepare the attack. Since these Iranians had been part of the SAVAK, the Iranian secret service, they used them to inculpate the country. But at that moment they had already been expelled from the SAVAK, and one had even fled the country because he had been sentenced for passing bad cheques. Nisman committed the indecency of using these testimonies in his petition, and for that reason, the Iranian attorney general complained: “Why are you using this to accuse us?”

Q. Why did you direct your denunciation specifically against Nisman?
A. Because if he continued as prosecutor, my client, Edul, would never be off the hook. For ten years I’ve demonstrated his innocence to Nisman through all means, but he wouldn’t dismiss him. Nisman was the point man for the CIA, AMIA and DAIA for sustaining the accusation against Iran for political reasons. They wouldn’t let him make any type of investigation that was not strictly indicated by the CIA report. When I became convinced of that, I presented the first denunciation to the Attorney General against Nisman for bad performance [of his duties]. They rebuffed me because they said there had been no illegality or irregularity in his conduct. But at that moment I didn’t have the proof in the CIA report. I had to gain access to it. And with the proof in hand, I made a second denunciation. Article 215 of the Criminal Code considers a crime to be treason when someone follows the instructions of a foreign organism to the detriment of power in national decisions.

Q. Why did the intelligence services of Argentina allow such interference?
A. The problem is that when Raúl Alfonsín (1983-1989) took office, upon Argentina’s return to democracy, the intelligence service was chock-a-block with military men. He left 1200 agents abroad, who were those who later made his life impossible with attacks and press operations. This forced the restructuring of the French security service, and the Israeli Mossad. This is official, not a rumor. And they left their own moles, and those of the CIA as well.

Q. What was the position of the governments of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández with respect to the Iranian connection?
A. Until 2011, the Kirchners co-operated with the policies of the Mossad and the CIA, and for that they named Héctor Timerman as minister of Exterior Relations, since he had lived for years in New York and belonged to the Labor Party of Shimon Peres and Itzhak Rabin in Israel. He could connect them with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), a group which included the most powerful and influential Jews in the United States. He could also serve as a link to AIPAC, the association they had so that the US could aid Israel. The newspaper Forward, of the Jewish community in New York, printed [articles about] how thanks to a trip by the Kirchners in 2006 to the AJC meeting, both met with the directive [in hand] and agreed to orient the AMIA investigation strictly toward the accusation against Iran.

Q. What happened next?
A. President Fernández began to suspect Stiusso in January 2011, when she ordered Timerman to make contact with his Syrian counterpart so that Syria could act as intermediary with the ambassador of Iran. A breach began to open between Stiusso and Cristina when she signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Iran in 2013. That’s when he began to prepare psychological operations against the government [of Argentina]. Stiusso, who is no fool, set up a network in which the judges depended on him, not the Executive Power. While things were still amicable between him and the Kirchners, there were no problems. All the accusations against the president arose when the Secretariat of Intelligence (SI) began to launch them.

Q. What motivated the government to sign the memorandum with Iran?
A. I don’t want to give a categorical response. Could be a hidden message to the United States, which at that moment was beginning a subtle rapprochement to Iran under current president Hassan Rouhani. Secondly, the topic of the accusation against Iran had crumbled. After sending his petition to Iran calling for the extradition of eight Iranian functionaries, Nisman said that Iran had not responded, which is a flagrant lie. Iran responded in 2008, destroying 37 pages of the prosecutor’s argument, and demanding proof. They never got it.

Q. You also denounced Nisman for abuse of authority and false accusation.
A. Nisman made a second accusation two years ago, accusing ten Latin American countries of harboring Iranian terrorist sleeper cells. As well, on top of all that, there are instances of discrimination against Muslims which are more than proven.

Q. What did Argentina have to gain from derailing the investigation?
A. Argentina has been tied to US policy since the downfall of Juan Domingo Perón. It has never been able to have a new, independent foreign policy. We have an unfortunate cultural dependency on the United States. They don’t have to pressure us with anything. The people commonly accept it. From the crisis of 2001 forward, they allow it with the argujment that we are very weak, which is true. But we could also follow a strategy to liberate ourselves bit by bit from that patronage.

Q. But the Memorandum of Understanding with Iran has caused Cristina many problems.
A. I chatted with her in October and brought up the subject of AMIA. She seemed to me ideologically convinced that there had to be a turnaround. Maybe they did it too slowly, because they too have dirty hands, having been in bed with both the US and Israel, but it seems to me that in here, there is a quota of ideological decision of realignment on that front.

Q. What was the reason for the attack on AMIA?
A. Our suspicion is that it was done because of internal struggles in Israel to put an end to the the peace treaties between former prime minister Itzhak Rabin and the then president of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, but they used it at first to inculpate the line of Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Edul, my client. I intervened in the case to defend him, because they accused him of buying the van which allegedly exploded in the AMIA centre, and of arming it with explosives.

Q. A massacre to stop Rabin?
A. Argentina had two assaults: the explosion in the Israeli embassy, in March of 1992, and the AMIA explosion, in July 1994. One year after the Madrid accords between Arafat and Rabin in 1991, the embassy exploded. Two years after that, AMIA blew up, and a year and a half after that, they killed Rabin. In between, there were 11 more attacks, all in a line of terrorism against Rabin. Two months after the AMIA attack, Rabin signed a peace accord with Jordan, which was preparatory to the final accord, “Peace for the Territory”: the Palestinians would receive the lands stolen in the 1967 war, and guarantee in exchange, peace with the State of Israel.

Q. Who wanted to stop that?
A. The right-wing ultra-religious Israeli sectors, who at that time were members of the Gush Emunim movement. An activist from that group was co-opted by a sector of the Israeli secret service, Shin Bet, dedicated to interior security, to kill Rabin. The detail is that on each anniversary of the death of Rabin, the party of current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes to pay homage to Rabin’s assassin.

Q. What happened in the attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires?
A. It has the same structure as the attack on AMIA, in terms of logistical organization and the cover-up. The attack on the embassy did not take place with a car bomb, but with explosives placed inside the building. But when the police began to study the internal explosion, the chief of security of the embassy appeared at the police headquarters, and pressured them to pursue as sole line of investigation the car bombing. This was discovered by the penal secretary of the Supreme Court, Alfredo Bisordi, who was at the police station at an inopportune moment, on the day after the attack, and who met with the security chief.

Q. The Court intervened in the investigation of that attack.
A. When there was a discussion as to whether there had been a car bomb or not, the Court asked the National Academy of Engineering for a study via computer digitalization. They determined that the explosion came from within the embassy, but when that same embassy protested, the Court convoked an audience with the experts of the Federal Police and the Gendarmerie, who maintained that the attack was with a car bomb, and those of the Academy. The experts from that institution destroyed the arguments of the police, and the court declared publicly a new line of investigation of the internal explosion, without abandoning that of the car bomb. The then ambassador, Itzhak Avirán, took the microphone on a TV channel and said that if they did that, they would consider it a clear act of antisemitism, and promote a political case against the Court. The Court conceded, and in 1998 declared that they could not determine who had produced the attack, but that there were suspicions that it was an Islamic jihad group. A year later, in secret, that declaration by the Court became a ruling, and the case was archived. The embassy, however, never asked them to produce any proof.

Q. What happened with AMIA?
A. The same happened with AMIA. There was no car bomb, nor any crater in the sidewalk. The journalists Jorge Lanata and Joe Goldman wrote the book Smokescreens, in which they gathered the testimonies of 11 witnesses who never saw any minivan exploding outside the building. With the explosion, the furniture in the apartment next to the AMIA slid toward the window opening onto the street, and not the other way. If there had been a car bomb, the front of the building would have suffered more damage than it did. The manner in which part of the building fell is also eloquent for arriving at this conclusion.

Q. Who investigated that?
A. The ex-president, Carlos Menem, in an unprecedented attitude and for the only time in the history of the land, drew an imaginary line around the AMIA Centre, and by way of presidential decree, ceded that perimeter so that the Israeli army, the Mossad, the FBI and the CIA could investigate. In those conditions, an Israeli soldier found a motor with an intact vehicle identification number in the rubble.

Q. The car bomb theory held up.
A. Zionists in Argentina pressured enough that it would be the only route of investigation. Judge Galeano, in 1996, doubted the existence of a car bomb, and asked the director of the Institute of Structure and Explosives, of the Faculty of Engineering at [the University of] Tucumán, Dr. Rodolfo Danesi, to perform a study by computer digitalization, which determined that the explosive, between 300 and 400 kilos of ammonal, was inside the AMIA centre, about a metre or a metre and a half from the entry door.

Q. Who do you believe is behind the attack?
A. By way of who covered up, and the way Israel comported itself, I believe it was the same sector of Shin Bet that produced the attack. Two hours after the attack, the Israeli State Department communicated to our embassy in Washington that those responsible were Iran and Hezbollah.

Q. What interest could they have had in attacking a Jewish community?
A. The United States has used the assault on AMIA to accuse Iran of being a terrorist state. Israel, in its insistence to the US that they attack Iran pre-emptively, used AMIA as their casus belli. As many as eleven times, an ambassador or high-level diplomat of Israel has stated that it was Iran. In three cases they said that they had proof. I asked Canicoba and Nisman to present those proofs. The two of them called diplomatically upon Israel, but there was never a response.

Q. Tell me at least a couple of sure things about the responsibility of Israel in the attack.
A. In law, a criminal investigation is based upon two suppositions: Who benefits, and who covers it up. Whoever benefits is the first suspect. The one who covers up knows who is behind it, and is also suspect. In both cases, Israel is in the thick of it.

Q. And what is your own interest in the case?
A. I have lost clients for defending a citizen of Syrian origins. I am a politician, and I have been denied all access to the press. No one wanted to publish my book, AMIA-Embassy, Truth or Fraud?, nor distribute it, nor sell it. I sent copies to 153 journalists from the major media, and never got a reply. My interest, aside from defending Edul — pro bono, because they’ve destroyed him economically with this accusation — is to try to free Argentina from this sticky matter. As long as we don’t solve this, as long as we don’t raise accusations as to why we have not wanted to investigate AMIA, they will tie us to the conflict in the Middle East. And this has served in Argentina to create the notion that Iran is being protected. And riding on top of that, they’re destabilizing a government. The problem is that, in fact, they are destabilizing a country.

Translation mine.

As usual, the question that must be asked, the one that cracks the case, is simple: Cui bono? Who benefits? Asking that, one quickly concludes that Iran could not possibly benefit in any way from bombing the Israeli embassy in Argentina, or any other country. Nor could they have benefited from the AMIA bombing. In fact, those assaults were promptly seized on by Washington and Tel Aviv to paint Iran as a terror sponsor, to the point where an Iranian attorney general complained. Writing in an op-ed for the New York Times, Horacio Verbitsky points out a number of inconvenient truths that exonerate Iran in either case. Key among them is this one:

According to the affidavit, the Memorandum of Understanding that Argentina and Iran signed in January 2013 facilitated a cover-up, the secret goal of which was to enable Argentina’s purchase of Iranian oil — something highly unlikely because of the high sulfur content of Iranian oil, six times the amount allowed by Argentine refineries. But the memorandum’s actual purpose was to allow a judge to interrogate the accused Iranians and to set up an International Truth Commission, composed of prestigious jurists from other countries.

So, if Iran’s butt is not being covered over oil, as Nisman’s accusation would hold, then maybe there is no need to cover up anything to do with Iran at all. Argentina in fact has plenty of oil itself, and thus no need to import from Iran, much less a crude so sulfurous that Argentine refineries aren’t equipped to handle it. In fact, Argentina has enough oil that it doesn’t even need to frack, although US-based oil companies have stepped into do just that, to disastrous effect, as Pino Solanas found out while filming a fantastic recent documentary (alas, only in Spanish):

So…if not Iran and its plentiful oil resources (which the US and Israel both have ample cause to covet), then whose butt is being covered? In both the AMIA bombing and that of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, it appears that the culprit is none other than Israel itself. Just look at how Carlos Menem bent over for them, even letting them investigate the bombings themselves, rather than assigning the job to the Argentine federales, as would be regular procedure. Unprecedented — and reeking of cover-up. But then, as Verbitsky says, Menem’s own hands are far from clean:

The key to the story is not likely to be found in the present government, but rather in former president Carlos Menem’s administration. Mr. Menem is of Syrian descent, and before Argentina’s 1989 presidential election, he met in Damascus with the Syrian leader, Hafez al-Assad, who had backed him financially. Argentina’s participation in Operation Desert Storm against Syria’s ally, Iraq, in 1991, spoiled this romance. Then, in 1992, the Israeli embassy in Argentina was attacked and in 1994 the Jewish community center was bombed.

Secret documents that were declassified in 2003 revealed that Israel’s prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, sent a personal envoy to Argentina just hours after the 1994 attack to agree on a common interpretation of events to present to the press. At the time, Mr. Rabin was facing political pressure at home from opponents of the Oslo peace talks with the Palestinians, which were for the first time occurring with Syrian approval.

After his meeting with Mr. Menem, Mr. Rabin’s envoy accused Iran of the attack. The same week, a spokesman from the State Department in Washington went further and excluded Syria from the list of suspects.

Mr. Menem also found it politically convenient to look away from Syria, and he did all he could to prevent the Syrian angle from being investigated, due to his previous relationship with the Assad government and his unfulfilled promises to Syria of diplomatic support and cooperation on nuclear and missile technology.

Today, Mr. Menem is on trial alongside some of his cabinet members from that era, as well as a judge and two prosecutors accused of obstructing justice and covering up evidence about the 1994 attack.

Good ol’ Carlos Menem. Not only did he fuck Argentina over with his obedience to the IMF’s economic model, which caused the catastrophic crash of 2001, but he’s clearly the right-wing Shin Bet’s bitch, too. With “friends” like him, the Argentine Jewish community didn’t need any enemies. And with “friends” like the US and Israel, neither does the rest of Argentina. After all, those are the influences that corrupted the Argentine secret services, the same that Cristina Fernández is now trying to purge and overhaul. And the same that probably had a hand in the mysterious death of Alberto Nisman, too.

The mysterious case of Helric Fredou: Was it really a suicide?

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Isn’t it ironic, and odd, that a high-ranking French policeman, just newly placed in charge of the biggest investigation of his life, should suddenly kill himself the very night after the crime? I’m speaking here of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, and the police officer in question, Helric Fredou. According to Contrainjerencia, there are ample reasons to doubt official versions of the story, not only of the massacre itself, but also of the alleged suicide of the police chief leading up the investigation. And some of them come straight from the mouth of the late chief’s own sister:

French police commissioner Helric Fredou, who was placed in charge of the investigations over the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and found dead in the Commissariat of Limoges the night of that same day, was trying to make a “very urgent” phone call moments before his death, reveals local independent journalist Hicham Hamza.

“They took away his computers and personal mobile phone from us,” said Fredou’s sister to Hamza, in an interview on the day after the commissioner’s funeral. The interview was published on Friday. “They took everything. It shocked us, but they told us it was standard procedure.”

Fredou, whose name had not even been mentioned in several French dailies of record (but in the foreign press), was to have investigated somebody known to one of the victims, not named officially, but whom Hamza easily identified as Jeanette Bougrab, a high-level state functionary, and member of the right-wing “Union for a Popular Movement” (UMP).

Bougrab appeared in the days after the crime on various news reports as the companion of murdered cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier, alias “Charb”, and made a series of emotional declarations of an islamophobic nature.

The relationship has however been denied by Laurent, the brother of the cartoonist, in a categorical manner, and by Parisian municipal council member Clémentine Autain, who had ties to “Charb”, and called Bougrab a “usurper”.

In his investigation, Hamza pointed out distinct elements who support doubts as to the existence of the relationship, such as discrepancies in the number of years that they had supposedly been together; previous declarations by Bougrab, a single woman, in which she said that her adopted daughter lamented “not having a father”; Charbonnier being solo at his last birthday party, and a long etcetera.

The supposed companion, whose family took up arms against the National Liberation Front of Algeria in defence of French colonialism in that North African land, is well known for her anti-Islamic diatribes and her membership in Zionist networks of great influence in French circles of power.

As well, the first French public figure who asserted a relationship between Charbonnier and Bougrab was journalist Caroline Fourest, known for spreading falsehoods of a defamatory nature about Islam, with her assertion that the assassins of Charlie Hebdo had forced a surviving employee to recite verses from the Koran — a lie refuted by the employee herself.

All these contradictions and political implications of the murder of Charbonnier were why Commissioner Fredou was investigating, according to Hamza. His death has barely been mentioned by the French press, strangely given the importance of the recent murders for French national security, and perhaps international security as well.

In the few hours of the investigation, said Fredou’s sister, “the day was very tense”, and police from the capital had been sent to Limoges, arriving at the Commissariat around 11:30 in the evening. Fredou “was supposed to redact a report, but there were frictions, I don’t know about what…” the sister explained.

After those frictions, the interviewee continued, “he told them he had to make a very urgent phone call, and when they saw that he hadn’t come back, a colleague went looking for him in his office, and found him dead.” The next day, “people came from Paris to tell us that he had committed suicide,” she said.

Informed of the death at 5:00 a.m., the family had to insist repeatedly before finally being allowed to see the body “at the end of the day”. Even though Fredou had shot himself in the head, according to the official report, “he had a bandage on his forehead. They had opened the side for the autopsy. The back of the head had nothing on it,” said Fredou’s sister.

Helric Fredou had found the bodies of suicides before. After one of them, his sister said, “he said to Mother: ‘I will never do anything like that to you’, that is, kill himself and leave her all alone.”

Translation mine.

So you can see that this is a highly improbable “suicide”. If Helric Fredou, who had attended the scene of several suicides, had promised his own mother that he would never inflict such a horror upon her, it is more than a little suspicious that he would be found dead in precisely such circumstances himself.

There is no reason to assume that the chief was so mentally unstable as to do it, either, according to Hicham Hamza’s own report. It’s a bit messy, being a rather rambling blog entry, but here are the key bits:

Wednesday, January 14, the day after the funeral for Helric Fredou, Panamza [Hamza, the blogger] contacted his sister, who prefers to remain unidentified, to clarify the implication of the police officer, vaguely evoked by the regional press, in the inquest relating to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Principal extracts from the telephone call:

“Right away, I told myself it’s not possible, that someone blew him away, but we’re not in a movie”: the sister refuses to believe in the terrible possibility of a murder but continues to ask questions about the exact circumstances of the policeman’s death.

“No letter left behind, not even the badge on his desk”: Helric Fredou didn’t leave behind any letter explaining his act. At the same time, he didn’t put his police badge in evidence as he sometimes did with certain of his colleagues who were found dead of suicide.

“He was a calm person, with a great spirit of discernment, according to his trainer”: the sister underlined many times the cool-headedness of the policeman — held in high regard by his trainer because of his perspicacity — and the fact that he was neither violent nor impulsive.

“They took away his computers and his mobile phone, they took it all away from us, that shocked us but that’s the procedure, they told us”: on the afternoon of January 8, the police searched the home of the deceased, in the presence of his mother and sister, before taking away his informatic materials and personal smartphone.

“My mom, who was very attached to him, is devastated. She wants to know how he could have killed himself. He had a bandage on his forehead. On the side, he was trepanned because of the autopsy. On the back of the skull, there’s nothing”: Informed at 5 a.m. of the death, the sister reports having had to insist in order to see the corpse of the deceased. It’s only at the end of the day that she and her mother were authorized to see the body of Helric Fredou.

“My brother himself found two suicides, and he told Mom, ‘I’ll never play a trick like that on you,’ meaning to kill himself and leave her alone. He was not depressive”: In November 2013, Helric Fredou was in fact the police officer who discovered the body of his colleague, Christophe Rivieccio, dead in the same commissariat of Limoges.

“My brother was at home that night, and since he was on call, they called and he went to the commissariat around 11:30…the day was very tense, according to his colleagues…the Paris police were present that night…He had to redact a report, but there were some frictions, I don’t know why…He told them that he had to make a very urgent phone call and when they saw that he hadn’t come back, a colleague went to look for him in his office and found him dead”: This Wednesday night, some police officers went to perform security verifications around a family of the victim of the crime and were debriefed by Helric Fredou. The sister’s witness account brings in two troubling elements: “frictions” arose between the police officers concerning the report (which was never touched), which Fredou was to redact; in this tense context, the man was found dead some minutes after having told his colleagues that he had to immediately telephone someone unidentified.

“Some people from Paris came to tell us how that happened”: the sister underscores that the cadres of the national police were sent the next day to Limoges, expressly, and had to certify that it was a suicide.

Translation, again, mine.

Hamza goes on to say that he attempted to contact the Bougrab family, whom Fredou was investigating at the time of his death, but that the effort was wasted; the mother of Jeannette Bougrab answered the phone, but said only, “It’s none of my business, all that, go away, goodbye.”

He then recounts how Stéphane Charbonnier’s family denied all “relational engagement” between “Charb” and Jeannette Bougrab. Clémentine Autain, close to the clan, calls the former Fillon government secretary a “usurper”. Meanwhile, Bougrab has been all over the media, telling Paris-Match that she had been with “Charb” for three years, before correcting herself and then saying they had been together for “one year”. And on December 15 of last year, she had told Gala magazine that her daughter called Charb “Papa”, and that she dreamed of being married one day, so that her daughter would not have to suffer the ignominy of having a single mother anymore. She has been posing as a widow in all but name since Charb was shot.

And even before then, she seemed strangely prescient about how Charb would die. In her autobiography, published in January of 2013, she wrote:

“In view of the assaults of those who would like to bring back the penalization of blasphemy, I assert the right to make fun of the gods. Long live blasphemy! Long live the secular Republic!

“The latest guardians of secularism are named Caroline Fourest, Élisabeth Badinter, Charlie, that is Charlie Hebdo…Denouncing the heap of religious fundamentalisms, including the Catholic, they take risks for their own security. The life of Charb is in danger from now on. Many security agents assure his protection, since this geek in glasses has become a target of Islamists. An exit identical to that of Theo Van Gogh could be reserved for him: to be assassinated by a God-crazed man in the street.”

Here’s the book page in question:

bougrab-book-extract

And if there is any doubt about Bougrab’s right-wing sympathies, here she is in a video published on October 29 of last year, expressing support for Nicolas Sarkozy on the latter’s own YouTube channel:

Oh yeah, and Caroline Fourest, the name that popped up alongside Charb in Bougrab’s oddly prescient book, as well as claiming that Charb and Bougrab were a couple when they were not? Here she is, making some ugly islamophobic remarks of her own about the Charlie massacre:

“They killed children, they killed teddybears”? “It’s the September 11 of free thought”? Sounds like the kind of shit you’d hear on FUX Snooze. Little wonder she’s not a credible witness to the alleged relationship between Charb and Bougrab, but a very avid propagandist thereof.

Hamza wraps it up with a curious remark:

“It’s up to you, reader-citizen, to break the strange French omertà around the Fredou/Bougrab affair. Right now, nothing allows us to assert that the policeman was killed to shut him up about what he had unexpectedly discovered. Nevertheless, looking at the shadowy circumstances around his death, in a context of political hyper-exploitation of the crime, nothing at the same time authorizes us to draw the hypothesis of an expeditious murder disguised as a suicide for reasons of ‘depression’. A final troubling detail: A man today at the summit of the State has never publicly said a word of compassion about the subject of Helric Fredou, event though he was in regular contact with him in the recent past. From 2010 to 2012, the policeman was central commissioner of Cherbourg. At the same time, the the deputy mayor of the coastal town was none other than Bernard Cazeneuve, the current minister of the Interior, in charge of the inquest into the crime, and a discreet member of the pro-Israel movement.”

A discreet member…as opposed to Jeannette Bougrab, who has been anything BUT discreet about her right-wing, anti-Islam, and pro-Israeli sympathies. Curiouser and curiouser, especially in light of this McClatchy article, which affirms that the gunmen in the Charlie massacre had ties to a “former” officer of French intelligence, who allegedly defected to al-Qaida in Iraq, and that they appeared to have extensive and systematic military or paramilitary training. And France is currently at war with “Islamists” in Iraq and Syria, no doubt much to the pleasure of the right-wing Zionists of Israel…a war whose cause is very conveniently bolstered by the whole freedom-of-speech hullabaloo around Charlie.

No, you can’t draw any solid conclusions about the whole sordid affair just yet. Other than, of course, the blinding obvious: That this story bears watching a lot more closely, and with a very critical eye. But even just this very rudimentary, early bit of connecting the dots reveals a lot of extremely hinky things going on behind the scenes, n’est-ce pas?

Dershowitz’s “abuse excuse”

abuse-excuse-cover

Hey everybody! Remember this shitty book? Well, guess what. The dude who wrote it, who is an apologist for pretty much everything disgusting being perpetrated by the government of the US and/or Israel these days…is now implicated in the same teenage sex-slave scandal that has also caught up to, among others, good ol’ Randy Prince Andy:

A federal lawsuit in Florida accuses Alan Dershowitz, the famed advocate for Israel, of sexually abusing a minor. Dershowitz has denied the charges and vowed to hit back.

The allegations come in a lawsuit by four women against the federal government for violating the rights of crime victims when it made a plea deal in 2008 with Jeffrey Epstein, the notorious financier, over allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Epstein ended up spending more than a year in prison.

The suit says that Dershowitz routinely had sexual relations with Epstein’s “sex slave” at a time when she was under 18 years old, and before she escaped Epstein.

Apparently, the charming Mr. Epstein is a repeat offender with a taste for under-age flesh and a loathing for all semblance of consensuality. And one of the girls was “recruited” for her “services” when she was just 15.

Naturally, the Doosh denies it:

The Harvard law professor and esteemed criminal defence attorney who later advised Epstein on how to respond to the FBI’s investigation is accused in the court motion of having sexual relations with the woman when she was a minor and of witnessing the abuse of other minors.

On Thursday he told the Guardian: “There is no more strenuous denial than the one I am giving. I never met her. I don’t know her. I have never had sex with an underage person.”

He added: “This person has made this up out of cloth, maliciously and knowingly in order to extort money from Mr Epstein.”

Dershowitz, who has occasionally written op-ed articles for the Guardian, said he could not comment on the woman’s allegations against Prince Andrew or any other men, but he said her claims against him were demonstrably false and challenged her to file criminal charges against him.

“It is a totally fabricated charge in every possible way,” he said. “It just never happened.”

He said he was considering taking legal action to have Brad Edwards and Paul Cassell, the lawyers who filed the motion, disbarred for “knowingly filing … a false, malicious and defamatory statement in a lawsuit”.

In the immortal words of the recently departed Mandy Rice-Davies: “He would, wouldn’t he?”

It will be interesting to see what kind of excuse he will use when/if he ever has to answer these charges in criminal court, though. I’m guessing it will be some variation on the general theme of “I couldn’t help myself, I was abused!”

Meanwhile, I suppose that for legal reasons, I am obligated to play you the following song:

You can sing along, if you like.