Saturday, September 8, 2007

Is George Bush Restarting Latin America's 'Dirty Wars'?


In the 1970s, following Henry Kissinger's foreign policy of "Realpolitik," the CIA executed a covert operation in Latin America that resulted in the overthrow of the democratically elected presidency of Salvador Allende in Chile. He was replaced by the CIA puppet, General Augusto Penochet, who presided over one of the most brutal dictatorships in the history of South America.

In the late 70s, as the covert military and paramilitary activities of the Nixon Era became apparent, Congress enacted laws to limit their activities in Latin America and outlaw assassination as an act of state.

But with a conservative return to power after a backlash against Jimmy Carter's "overuse" of diplomacy, his "give away" of the Panama Canal, his perceived failure in allowing the Shaw of Iran to fall placing the security of Israel under increased threat, followed by the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Administration of Ronald Reagan set to work to undermine the work of a liberal Congress perceived by a nascent neoconservative movement of mostly Zionist political scholars and think tanks as impotent.

Among these, Leo Strauss of the University of Chicago emerged paramount as their philosophical source of authority. His students infiltrated national government at the level of State and Defense, securing positions of advisement, and began affecting foreign policy. Richard Cheney, David Addington, Elliot Abrams, Donald Rumsfeld, Caspar Weinberger, and a host of others to come including Stephen A. Cambone, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, David Wurmser, Michael Ledeen, Scooter Libby, Abram Shulsky and Douglas Feith began to fill the halls of power. Even Ahmed Chalabi associated with Strauss' social circle at Chicago, one that included Allan Bloom and Paul Wolfowitz; although, Chalabi was a math major.

With Straussian justification coming into prominence at the highest circles of conservative power, it is no great surprise that the Iran-Contra Affair could have taken place in a republican democracy such as ours. Vice President George H. W. Bush headed a cabal of CIA operatives and administrators who went into Central America and set up a network for the financing of the Contra Revolution that involved the introduction of drug cartels into nationalist economies in the form of under the table "transportation taxes" under the control of CIA. With the CIA "looking the other way," Latin American dictators were able to finance the CIA's "Dirty Wars" in Central America against what they saw as a communist movement instigated by Cuba and Russia in the American sphere of influence -- all without any funds from Congress.

Manuel Noriega of Panama demanded a cut as well. His greed would lead to his ultimate downfall.

Columbian cocaine began to flow into Los Angeles' black neighborhoods at first, justified by a covert racism, but soon, George Bush, Ollie North, Elliot Abrams and our current drug czar John Walters, along with CIA heads in Latin America, found themselves opening up the network and allowing the market to flood, thus driving down the street price in the US and leading Noriega to complain and demand more money for his part at the Panamanian choke-point and port of redistribution.

But once the cartels were allowed to proliferate and having used the exponentially expanding underground "tax revenues" to fund their secret wars, the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush Administrations were simply too short sighted to realize they had created a monster that was quickly engulfing within the drug market the children of middle class Americans.

Notwithstanding their racism and inadvertent introduction of a three-decades long epidemic of addiction through the West Coast black communities for whom they could care less, Reagan and Bush were together responsible for millions of civilian deaths and "disappearances."

Their right-wing corporatist supporters and private contractors were more than happy to profit from their recklessness, not the least of which was the Wackenhut Corporation, who not only provided security in Latin America, but also escort and delivery services in the United States. The product delivered -- cocaine. Often, they contracted to provide security on Native American reservations where Nixon had allowed the building of bio0tech labs involved in the development of biological weapons. The CIA justified the location of these labs on reservations as "foreign soil," thus meeting treaty obligations to disallow biotech research on American soil.

George P. Wackenhut, the former FBI insider who was its founder, soon discovered that he could provide prison security as well. To his great enrichment, with the increase of drug use in the United States came the increase of Reaganite law & order tactics for their control. After the introduction of increased penalties for delivery and possession, withn two decades the prison population of the U.S. had boomed by 400%. In states like Texas, which exercised freely its punitive attitude in the courts, the rate was a 600% increase. [RIGHT: "Old Sparky" -- Texas' legendary electric chair. As Governor of Texas, George W. Bush broke the all time records for any state, sending hundreds to their deaths.]

At the same time, recidivism rates began to skyrocket as conservative minded legislatures withheld the rehabilitation services that had been designed to address the two highest risk factors -- poor education and a history of substance abuse. This was a bonanza for the private prison industry who soon discovered their coffers overflowing as states were forced to build more prisons and costs began to eat up state budgets at a rate that drove them to privatization as a
stop-gap solution.

George Wackenhut [left] retired in 2003, sticking it to his stock holders by taking the majority of the profits. As the controlling shareholder he simply voted himself the pigs portions of the sale of the company to Group 4 Falk. Meanwhile, the board put together a financial package and bought it back, renaming the corrections portion they acquired The GEO Group Inc., which is now the second largest provider of prison services.

Does this surprise anyone in Reeves County? Yes, the Reeves County Detention Center Complex is being operated by the company that helped create the prison overcrowding crisis to begin with; alth
ough, it can most certainly be asserted that the current board's ethics are on a higher scale than that of their founder. Nevertheless, as the GEO Group tightens their belt under the Bush Family neocons, they are incurring lawsuits created by their penny-pinching, such as poor quality food and medical services behind walls where they simply warehouse a great number of drug addicts and alcoholics while cutting back on substance abuse education and job skills training. This will increase the crisis hundreds of times over in the coming decade but the current Administration and its political base is too blinded by their class prejudice and racism to recognize and address the crisis.

Is anyone reading this considering a private jail or prison?

Despite that they call it "bid'ness," the result to the lower and working classes is a testament to the vileness of corporatism and their turning their backs on the greatest of "traditional American values" --
noblesse oblige.

Meanwhile, back in the 80s, the Mossad intelligence agency of Israel, who had helped CIA during the Nixon years run heroine into Vietnam to sell to American troops, while providing banking connections in Australia for the laundering of money, after having played a minor role again in Latin America -- and with the thought of Israel's security uppermost in their schemes -- introduced the idea to Oliver North of an "arms for hostages" deal with the Iranians. The deal would work at several levels. It promised not only to secure the release of Lebanese held hostages; but also, it might work in the long-term to maintain a standoff between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the Ayatollah's Iran, keeping them occupied for years with each other to the benefit of Israel.

The scandal that resulted when the Iran-Contra story broke led to a Congressional investigation. Well guess who headed the investigating committee? One Republican Representative Richard B. Cheney, whose committee somehow determined there was no culpability for the Iran-Contra Affair among the top members of the Reagan Administration, including Ronald Reagan (who claimed that he couldn't remember), Vice President George H. W. Bush (who denied knowledge) and William Casey, Director of CIA (who claimed a similar lack of awareness). Later, during his own presidency, George H.W. Bush issued a Christmas Eve pardon to 6 members of his team, including Elliot Abrams, Ollie North and General Richard Secord. The others were CIA officials of various rank. A decade later, his son, George W. Bush, had the audacity to hire not only Elliot Abrams, but also place John Walters in the office of Drug Czar!

I ask you, what does that tell you about the current "Drug War."

In a recent story, it was pointed out that the Bush Family is buying property in Paraguay near American military bases. Paraguay is located in the geographic center of the new Bolivian Revolution -- Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Argentina, Venezuela, Columbia, Chile and Peru. Paraguay is also a favorite point of entry for international terrorists. Given that Bush has done everything possible to antagonize Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, resulting not only in the
strengthening of Venezuelan ties to Fidel Castro, but also creating a sense of urgency in establishing trade deals with China and the rest of a left-leaning South America, as well as an increasingly anti-NAFTA attitude in Mexico and the Central Americas, is it any wonder that journalists are wondering:

...In May of 2005, the Paraguayan Senate voted to allow U.S. troops to operate in Paraguay with total immunity. Washington had threatened to cut off millions in aid to the country if Paraguay did not grant the U.S. troops entry. In July of 2005 hundreds of U.S. soldiers arrived in the country, and Washington's funding for counterterrorism efforts in Paraguay doubled. The U.S. troops conducted various operations and joint training exercises with Paraguayan forces, including so-called Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs). Orlando Castillo, a military policy expert at the human rights rights organization Servicio, Paz y Justicia in AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay, says the MEDRETEs were "observation" operations aimed at developing "a type of map that identifies not just the natural resources in the area, but also the social organizations and leaders of different communities." Read the rest of the article by Benjamin Dangl....

--progress

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