Additional Report from WMR
While Baghdad Burns, Bush Buys
October 23, 2006
WMR's Paraguayan sources have confirmed that
George W. Bush recently bought 42,000 hectares (over 100,000 acres) of land
in Paraguay's northern "Chaco" region.
The land, near the town of Chaco, sits atop
huge natural gas reserves, according to sources in Asuncion.
land deal was consummated in a dinner meeting between Bush's daughter Jenna
and Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte.
Although Jenna, who was in Paraguay under the
cover of a 10-day UNICEF trip to visit child welfare projects, put the Bush
family seal of approval on the land deal, the actual legal papers were
worked out by Bush family lawyers and business representatives. Jenna Bush
is supposedly working for UNICEF in Panama City.
The Bush land is close to a
new U.S. military installation, the
Mariscal Estigarribia Air Base.
It is also nearby a huge tract of land purchased
by Sun Myung Moon that sits astride Latin America's largest water aquifer,
the Guarani aquifer.
According to earlier Madsen reports, Bush and
the Carlyle Group are also the owners of major tracts of land along the
U.S. super-highway linking Mexico and Canada (below image) land that will be
worth hundreds of millions more when the highway is completed.
Neo-Con Escape Plan to Paraguay?
Fascists seem to have a penchant for escaping to
Apparently Bush and cronies are allegedly buying
land down there ..
"An Argentine official regarded the
intention of the George W. Bush family to settle on the Acuifero Guarani
(Paraguay) as surprising, besides being a bad signal for the governments
of the region...
Luis D Elia, undersecretary for the Social Habitat in
the Argentine Federal Planning Ministry, issued a memo partially
reproduced by digital INFOBAE.com, in which he spoke of the purchase by
Bush of a 98,842-acre farm in northern Paraguay, between Brazil and
Bush Buys Land in Northern Paraguay
CIA Fact book Data - Paraguay
The unruly region at convergence of
Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is,
locus of money laundering, smuggling,
arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist
organizations major illicit producer of cannabis, most or all of which is
consumed in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile
transshipment country for Andean
cocaine headed for Brazil, other Southern Cone markets, and Europe
corruption and some money-laundering activity, especially in the Tri-Border
Area; weak anti-money-laundering laws and enforcement
October 18, 2006
Our paranoid friends over at Bring It On
put together a story that hasn’t exactly made Washington
Whispers. It’s real short and real simple:
Immediately afterwards, 500 heavily
armed U.S. troops arrived with various
planes, choppers and land vehicles at Mariscal Estigarribia air
base, which happens to be at the northern tip of Paraguay near
the Bolivian/Brazilian border. More have reportedly arrived
What the hell, after the jump. Plus a
BREAKING UPDATE involving, of course, The
Now, Prensa Latina is a Cuban-government
operation that is not exactly friendly toward Washington, what with
Washington trying to kill Castro for 50 years and all.
But Prensa Latina didn’t invent the
story. It’s all over the South American press - and not just
Venezuela and Bolivia.
version from Brazil. Here’s
one from Argentina. And here’s one
from Paraguay itself.
As far as we can understand, all the
paperwork and deeds and such are secret. But somehow the news leaked
that a new “land trust” created for Bush had purchased nearly
100,000 acres near the town of Chaco.
And Jenna’s down there having secret
meetings with the president and America’s ambassador to Paraguay,
James Cason. Bush posted Cason in Havana in 2002, but last year
moved him to Paraguay.
apparently gets around. A former “political adviser” to the
U.S. Atlantic Command and
ATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic,
Cason has been stationed in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama… basically everywhere the U.S. has run
secret and not-so-secret wars over the past 30 years.
Here’s a fun question for Tony Snow:
might the president and his family need a 98.840-acre ranch in
Paraguay protected by a semi-secret U.S. military base manned by American troops who have been exempted from
war-crimes prosecution by the Paraguayan government?
Here’s a little background on the base itself, which Rumsfeld
secretly visited in late 2005:
Special Forces began arriving this past summer at Paraguay’s
Mariscal Estigarribia air base, a sprawling complex built in
1982 during the reign of dictator Alfredo Stroessner.
Argentinean journalists who got a peek at the place say the
airfield can handle B-52 bombers and Galaxy C-5 cargo planes. It
also has a huge radar system, vast hangers, and can house up to
16,000 troops. The air base is larger than the international
airport at the capital city, Asuncion.
Some 500 special forces arrived July 1 for a three-month
counterterrorism training exercise, code named Operation
Commando Force 6.
Paraguayan denials that Mariscal Estigarribia is now a
U.S. base have met with considerable
skepticism by Brazil and Argentina. There is a disturbing
resemblance between U.S. denials about
Mariscal Estigarribia, and similar disclaimers made by the
Pentagon about Eloy Alfaro airbase in Manta , Ecuador.
United States claimed the Manta base was a “dirt strip” used for
When local journalists revealed its size,
however, the United States admitted the base harbored thousands
of mercenaries and hundreds of U.S.
troops, and Washington had signed a 10-year basing agreement
LITTLE SIREN GRAPHIC
We’ve been directed to yet another
here at Rigorous Intuition, where it is reported that Rev.
bought 600,000 hectares - that’s 1,482,600 acres - in the
same place: Chaco, Paraguay.
The first story, from Paraguay, apparently refers to the
senior George Bush as the owner of the 98.840 acres in Moon’s neighborhood.
Bush 41 was the first bigshot politician
to go prancing around with Rev. Moon in public.
Especially in South America:
“In the early stages of the Reagan
Revolution that embraced the Washington Times and Moon’s
anti-Communist movement, it was embarrassing to be caught at a
Moon event,” wrote The Gadflyer last year.
George H.W. Bush appeared with Moon in
1996, thanking him for a newspaper that ‘brings sanity to
That was while on an extended trip to South
America in Moon’s company. A Reuters’ story of Nov 25 of that
year describes the former president as “full of praise” for Moon
at a banquet in Buenos Aires, toasting him as “the man with the
vision.” (And Moon helped Bush out with his own vision thing,
paying him $100,000 for the pleasure of his company.)
Moon then traveled together to Uruguay, “to help him inaugurate
a seminary in the capital, Montevideo, to train 4,200 young
Japanese women to spread the word of his Church of Unification
across Latin America.”
Isn’t that special?
Oh, and both the Moonie and Bush land is
located at what Paraguay’s drug czar called an,
point in both the narcotics and arms trades.”
And it sits atop the
one of the
world’s largest fresh-water aquifers.
Secret Invasion - U.S. Troops Steal into
by W.T. Whitney Jr
The Bush administration has sent troops into Paraguay.
They are there ostensibly for humanitarian and counterterrorism purposes.
The action coincides with growing left unity in South America, military
buildup in the region and burgeoning independent trade relationships.
In a speech on July 26 in Havana, Fidel Castro took note of the incursion
and called upon North American activists to oppose it. In that vein, an
inquiry is in order as to why the U.S. government has inserted Paraguay into
its strategic plan for South America. In addition, we should look at factors
that favor Bush administration schemes for the region and others that work
against U.S. plans.
In December 2004, the Bush administration canceled $330 million in economic
and military aid to 10 South American countries. They were being penalized
for turning down a U.S. request for granting its soldiers immunity from
prosecution for crimes they commit within the countries’ borders.
On May 5, however, the government of Paraguay took the bait. It signed an
agreement authorizing an 18-month stay, automatically extended, for U.S.
soldiers and civilian employees. The previous limit had been set at six
On May 26, in a secret session, Paraguay’s Congress passed
legislation protecting U.S. soldiers from prosecution for criminal activity,
both within Paraguay and by the International Criminal Court.
Reportedly, 400 or 500 U.S. troops - estimates vary - arrived in Paraguay on
July 1, with planes, weapons, equipment and ammunition.
They are billeted at
a base near Mariscal
Estigarribia, a small city located 200
kilometers from the Bolivian border in the arid, sparsely populated Chaco
area of Paraguay. That facility, built by U.S. contractors in the waning years
of the Stroessner dictatorship (1954-1989), offers a runway long enough to
accommodate large military transport planes and bombers. It provides barrack
space for 16,000 troops.
Journalist and human rights activist Alfredo Boccia Paz, stated in Asuncion
that immunity from prosecution for U.S. soldiers, extension of their stay,
and joint military exercises all provide the groundwork for the eventual
installation of a U.S. base in Paraguay.
Argentine Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel:
“Once the United
States arrives, it takes it a long time to leave. And that really frightens
The U.S. embassy in Paraguay declared that the United States has,
no intention of establishing a military base
anywhere in Paraguay” and “has no intention to station soldiers for a
lengthy period in Paraguay.”
The government of Paraguay seconded that
Brazil, however, responded. In late July, its army undertook
military maneuvers along that country’s border with Paraguay. Paratroopers
staged a mock occupation of the Furnas electrical substation, located on the
Brazilian border with Paraguay.
Paraguay’s vice president, Luis Castiglioni, met with Vice President Dick
Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and former Assistant Secretary of State
for Latin American Affairs Roger Noriega last July in Washington. Observers
suggested that this welcoming committee was unusually high-powered for a
visiting vice president of a small South American nation.
Rumsfeld, experts would soon be going to Paraguay to develop a,
seminar on systems for national security.”
The secretary visited Paraguay in
August. The FBI announced that it would be opening an office in Paraguay in
The official U.S. version of the Paraguay initiative is that for the next 18
months, in addition to joint military exercises, 13 U.S. military teams would
be working on humanitarian aide projects, provide counterterrorism and
police training and ameliorate the effects of poverty. It turns out that
military personnel have been providing medical care for poor peasants in a
northern province since 2002.
Boccia Paz commented:
“These missions are
always disguised as humanitarian aid... What Paraguay does not and cannot
control is the total number of agents that enter the country.”
There is of course no shortage of U.S. bases in Latin America.
air bases are situated in,
Reina Beatriz, Aruba
Hato Rey, Curacao
Manta in Ecuador
The latter was officially described
as a weather station on a dusty road, until it came out that a full-fledged
air base had
materialized on the site at a cost of $80 million.
Washington also operates
a network of 17 land-based radar stations (three in Peru, four in Colombia,
plus 10 mobile radar stations in secret locations.) All of these
installations come are under the control of the U.S. Southern Command, based
The U.S. rationale for converting Paraguay into a military satellite is worth
For one thing, Washington is responding in catch-up fashion to
mounting popular resistance in the region to U.S. bullying. In neighboring
Bolivia, for example, two U.S.-friendly presidents have been chased from
office in the past two years. And mass opposition to the U.S.-backed candidate
in last December’s national election was no exception to the trend.
There’s more. Paraguay’s neighbor, Uruguay, put a social democrat into the
presidency in 2004, and last February President Kirchner of Argentina
violated world financial orthodoxy when his government negotiated a 60
percent cut in Argentina’s $82 billion debt obligations. Both Argentina and
Brazil have quietly rejected the FTAA.
Paraguay has joined them in the South
American Common Market (Mercosur), which shelters its members from U.S. and
International Monetary Fund dictates. For Paraguay to defect would serve
Washington took major exception to declarations emanating from a gathering
March 29, 2005 of Brazilian, Colombian, Venezuelan and Spanish heads of
state at Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela. They had discussed the use of raw
materials and regional trade patterns to combat poverty and secure peace in
A few weeks later Washington was miffed when its candidate
for the secretary generalship of the Organization of American States was
And right under the U.S. nose, Latin American nations are coming
together to form Telesur and Petrosur, continent-wide television and energy
corporations, and developing banking services that serve people’s needs.
Natural resources may also figure into the U.S. motivations for expanding its
military presence in South America.
One branch of the main opening for a
huge Bolivian natural gas field apparently crosses the international border
and is accessible in Paraguay at the Independencia I site, not far from
If U.S. troops occupied the
base there, they would
be in striking distance of the Bolivian provinces of Santa Cruz and Tarija,
where U.S. natural gas corporations are active. Bolivia will soon be voting on
autonomy for the provinces. A “yes” vote is expected to result in
In the event of civil unrest following that outcome, the
corporations could call for military protection.
The military base overlies the Guarani aquifer,
one of the world’s largest underground fresh water reserves. Already water
wars have riled Bolivian politics. Oligarchic interests in both the United
States and South America have great longings to advance the process of
turning water into a commodity.
The Bush administration has an additional interest in Paraguay through its
war on terrorism. The so-called triple border, where Brazil, Argentina, and
Paraguay meet along both sides of the Parana River, is the storied locus for
smuggling, money laundering, commerce in child prostitutes, counterfeit
operations, and fixing of illegal border crossings.
Some 20,000 Middle
Eastern, Muslim expatriates, most of them Lebanese in origin, live in Ciudad
del Este on the Paraguayan side of the river and Foz do Iguacu in Brazil.
The cities supposedly are centers for Islamic extremism and sources of
funding for terrorist groups. Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah operatives
reportedly have passed through the area, and training camps, sleeper cells,
and passport factories are said to be located there.
After September 11, 40
FBI agents joined Paraguayan colleagues to investigate some of these
networks. Dozens of suspects were arrested. U.S. military authorities
advertise their operatives moving into Paraguay as experts in
U.S. meddling in South America has great potential to add to existing tensions
in the region as it adds its might to ongoing South American military
expansion. According to Uruguayan Raúl Zibechi, an expert on the continent’s
military landscape, South America is experiencing unprecedented military
growth. Nations there have reacted to the excesses of U.S. Plan Colombia and
to new military modalities, particularly the privatization of military
forces on display in Columbia.
They are also attempting to emulate Brazil’s
new posture of strategic military autonomy. And, as is their habit, ruling
circles in many countries, following Washington’s lead, respond to social
unrest through military expansion.
In December 2004, Venezuela agreed to buy 110,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 33
helicopters and 50 fighter-bombers from Russia. Spain supplied Venezuela
with naval aeronautical material, 10 transport planes, and four coast-guard
cutters. Venezuela will be buying 50 training and combat jets from Brazil.
Venezuela earlier this year activated a two million-member reserve component
of its national military force.
Yet according to the journal Military Power Review Venezuela comes in at
sixth place among South American nations in terms of military strength.
Brazil is far in the lead; Peru places second; Argentina, third; followed by
Chile and Colombia.
Increased military power, operating in tandem with nationalist stirrings,
may inhibit U.S. military meddling. Brazil, for example, with its own
strategic defense plan and brisk economic growth, is an unlikely U.S. acolyte.
The nation is the 10th largest industrial power in the world and has become
the world’s fifth largest arms exporter.
Brazilian industry builds warships,
several types of fighter jets, and is constructing a nuclear submarine.
to facilitate its expanded trade with China, Brazil is paying 70 percent of
the $1 billion cost of a 1,500 mile long highway that extends from Peruvian
ports to Santos on Brazil’s Atlantic coast.
Brazil recently sent military planners to Vietnam to learn about guerrilla
The head of Brazil’s Amazon military command, General
has predicted that Brazil may in the future face wars similar to the war
that convulsed Vietnam and the one transpiring in Iraq now.
would be guerrilla warfare,
“an option the army will not hesitate to adopt
facing a confrontation with another country or group of countries with
greater economic and military power.”
What nation could the general be
Brazil opposes Plan Colombia. The nationalist orientation of its industrial
leaders persuaded them to put off joining FTAA. Brazil has no U.S. bases on
its soil, nor does Brazil engage in joint military exercises with the United
Military cooperation between Brazil and Argentina apparently is
flourishing, and in February, Brazil signed strategic accords with
Venezuela. The Brazilian example of independent pursuit of national
interests has emboldened other South American nations.
The single-minded pursuit of national interests, however, may work against
popular struggle and Latin American unity. Analysts agree that Brazil and
Argentina’s preoccupation with internal interests has created a power vacuum
that encouraged Washington to court Paraguay successfully. Relations between
the two nations have long been plagued by trade clashes.
Ideally, Brazil might have utilized its economic power to further Latin
American unity and ward off predatory U.S. behavior. Instead it operates
according to free market rules and, unlike Venezuela, looks for salvation
through from the U.S.-led world market economy, distancing itself from Latin
Worse, jostling for market advantage creates divisions
that lay the region open to tactics of divide and rule.
The Herculean labors of unified democratic struggle elsewhere in Latin
America point to strategies through which Bush scheming and U.S. military
probing in the region might be resisted.
The example of the FARC-EP, in its survival and apparent growth, has meaning
for revolutionaries far beyond Colombia’s borders.
The organization now
maintains a presence in nearly 100 percent of the municipalities in
Colombia, and, according to Monthly Review,
“with the exception of Cuba,
[the FARC-EP] has become the largest and most powerful revolutionary force - politically and militarily
- within the Western Hemisphere.”
Chávez forces in Venezuela, under the aegis of the Bolivarian Alternative
for the Americas (ALBA), have fused the twin causes of Latin American unity
and social justice.
Mass protests in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, even Chile keep
empire minders in Washington on edge. The point here is that growing
solidarity on the part of U.S. activists with struggles throughout Latin
America may act as a brake on U.S. meddling in Paraguay.
Opposition likely will materialize within Paraguay itself. In recent years
peasants there have mounted protests against privatization, economic
restrictions imposed by the International Monetary Fund, unfair land holding
patterns, and antiterrorism legislation.
There is no lack of awareness.
Orlando Castillo of the human rights group
Servicio Páz y Justicia recalls that,
“U.S. soldiers taught torture and other
forms of human rights violations in courses at the School of the Americas.”
He warns that “the United States has strong aspirations to convert Paraguay
into a second Panama for its troops and is not far removed from reaching its
objective of controlling the Southern Cone.”
While attending the 2nd Jubilee South World Assembly in Havana,
Pereira of the Paraguayan Initiative for People’s Integration told
Cuban-based Prensa Latina:
We demand the abolition of regulations that harbor and give impunity to
Pentagon troops. It is a demand in favor of Paraguay and Latin American
Pereira indicated that mobilization against the presence of
U.S. troops is
gaining momentum in Paraguay.
Mariscal Estigarribia is a town in the
Paraguay. It is located at around
60°37′60″W, close to the
A military training agreement with
Asunción, giving immunity to
U.S. soldiers, caused some concern after media reports initially reported
that a base housing 20,000 U.S. soldiers was being built at Mariscal
Estigarribia within 200 km of Argentina and Bolivia, and 300 km of Brazil,
near an airport which could receive large planes (B-52,
C-130 Hercules, etc.) which the Paraguay Air Forces do not have.
The governments of Paraguay and the United States
subsequently declared that the use of an airport (Dr Luís María Argaña
was one point of transfer for few soldiers in Paraguay at the same time.
According to the
Clarín Argentinean newspaper, the U.S. military base is strategic
because of its location near the
Triple Frontera between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina; its
proximity towards the
Guarani aquifer; and, finally, its closeness toward Bolivia (less than
200 km) at the same,
"moment that Washington's magnifying glass goes on the
Altiplano and points toward Venezuelan
Hugo Chávez - the regional demon according to
Bush's administration - as the instigator of the instability in the region".
October 2006, U.S. President
George W. Bush was reported to be negotiating for purchase of a 400 km²
ranch in this region.
Paraguay is a landlocked country in
South America, with a population of 6 million.
It's one of the least
densely populated countries, and has a super-high
Gini index. Back
in the day, its economy was dominated by a small number of
landlords, with big loads of the population squatting on the fringes
of their huge estates. The Gini index (the standard measure of
income inequality) is predictably high - 56, by
comparison the U.S. is at 45, France at 32, Brazil at 59.
Sounds like a great place for disgraced
dictators to hide out.
Apparently also the U.S. has been planning to put up an air base
near the Bolivian gas fields, near to Mariscal Estigarribia, close
to the Brazilian and Bolivian borders.
Which of these facts best explains
this intriguing news item?
An Argentine official regarded the
intention of the George W. Bush family to settle on
Guarani (Paraguay) as surprising, besides being a bad signal for
the governments of the region.
Luis D. Elia, undersecretary for the
Social Habitat in the Argentine Federal Planning Ministry,
issued a memo partially reproduced by digital INFOBAE.com, in
which he spoke of the purchase by Bush of a 98,842-acre farm in
northern Paraguay, between Brazil and Bolivia.
The news circulated Thursday in
non-official sources in Asuncion, Paraguay.
D. Elia considered this Bush step
counterproductive for the regional power expressed by Presidents
Nestor Kirchner, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Evo Morales, Hugo
Chavez and Fidel Castro.
He said that,
"it is a bad signal
that the Bush family is doing business with natural resources
linked to the future of MERCOSUR."
The official pointed out that this
situation could cause a hypothetical conflict of all the armies
in the region, and called attention to the Bush family habit of
associating business and politics.
Bolivia’s Trial By Fire
by Benjamin Dangl
12 January 2006
Benjamin Dangl has traveled and worked as a journalist in Bolivia and
He edits www.UpsideDownWorld.org, uncovering activism and politics
in Latin America and www.TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on
After winning a landslide election victory on December 18th, Bolivian
president-elect Evo Morales announced plans to nationalize the country’s gas
reserves, rewrite the constitution in a popular assembly, redistribute land
to poor farmers and change the rules of the U.S.-led war on drugs in
If he follows through on such promises, he’ll face enormous
pressure from the Bush administration, corporations and international
lenders. If he chooses a more moderate path, Bolivia’s social movements are
likely to organize the type of protests and strikes that have ousted two
presidents in two years.
In the gas-rich Santa Cruz region, business elites
are working toward seceding from the country to privatize the gas reserves.
Meanwhile, U.S. troops stationed in neighboring Paraguay may be poised to
intervene if the Andean country sways too far from Washington’s interests.
For Bolivian social movements and the government, 2006 will be a trial by
The Social Movements and the State
Among the presidential candidates that ran in the December election, Morales
has the broadest ties to the country’s social movements.
However, he has
played limited roles in the popular uprisings of recent years. During the
height of the gas war in 2003, when massive mobilizations were organized to
demand the nationalization of the country’s gas reserves, Morales was
attending meetings in Geneva on parliamentary politics.
After the 2003
uprising ousted right-wing president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, Morales
urged social movement leaders to accept then vice president Carlos Mesa as
Sanchez de Lozada’s replacement.
In June 2005, when another protest campaign
demanding gas nationalization forced Mesa to resign, Morales helped direct
the social movements into governmental channels, pushing for an interim
president while new elections were organized.
Morales’ actions during these revolts were aimed at generating broad support
among diverse sectors of society, including the middle class and those who
didn’t fully support the tactics of protest groups. This strategy, combined
with directing the momentum of social movements into the electoral realm,
resulted in his landslide victory on December 18th.
In spite of Morales’ relative distance from social movements, his victory in
a country where the political landscape has been shaped by such movements
presents the possibility for massive social change. Once he assumes office,
Morales has pledged to organize a Constituent Assembly of diverse social
sectors to rewrite the country’s constitution. It is possible that this
could allow for a powerful collaboration between social movements and the
Vice President-elect Alvaro Garcia Linera says such collaboration is
He contends that MAS, the Movement Toward Socialism party which he
and Morales belong to, is not a party but rather,
"a coalition of flexible
social movements that has expanded its actions to the electoral arena. There
is no structure; it is a leader and movements, and there is nothing in
between. This means that MAS must depend on mobilizations or on the
temperament of the social movements."(1)
Oscar Olivera, a key leader in the
revolt against Bechtel’s privatization of
Cochabamba’s water in 2000, believes the relationship between social
movements and the Morales administration will play a vital role in creating
radical change in the country.
Olivera participated in the December election
because he felt that it was part of,
"a process of building strength so that
in the next government… we can regain control of natural resources and end
the monopoly that the political parties have over electoral politics…
creating a movement, a nonpartisan social-political front that addresses the
most vital needs of the people through a profound change in power relations,
social relations, and the management of water, electricity, and garbage."
To sustain their momentum and unity, an alliance between some of the most
dynamic social groups was formed in early December 2005 in the first
Congress of the National Front for the Defense of Water and Basic Human
This alliance includes the Water Coordinating Committee of
Cochabamba, the Federation of Neighborhood Councils of El Alto, the Water
and Drainage Cooperatives of Santa Cruz, as well as neighborhood
organizations, cooperatives, irrigation farmers, and committees on
electricity, water rights and other services from all over the country.
many cases, these autonomous groups have organized methods of providing
citizens with basic services which the state fails to offer. Such a
coalition of grassroots forces may pave the way for a nation-wide,
alternative form of governance.
Tangling Over Coca
Morales plans to fully legalize the production of coca leaves and change the
rules of the U.S.-led war on drugs in his country.
White House officials are
wary of any deviation from its anti-narcotics plan in Latin America; a
strategy they claim has been successful. However, U.S. government statistics
and reports from analysts in Bolivia tell a different story.
A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office explains
"While the U.S. has poured 6 billion dollars into the drug war in the
Andes over the past five years…the number of drug users in the U.S. has
remained roughly constant."
In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR),
Nicholas Burns, the State
Department’s undersecretary for political affairs, said the Bush
"that the new government of Evo Morales in Bolivia does
not change course, does not somehow assert that it’s fine to grow coca and
fine to sell it."
Though it is a key ingredient in cocaine, coca has been used for centuries
in the Andean region for medicinal purposes; it relieves hunger, sickness
an ingredient in Coca-Cola, cough syrups, wines,
chewing gum, and diet pills.
The U.S. Embassy’s website for Bolivia suggests
chewing coca leaves to alleviate altitude sickness.
"Trying to compare coca to cocaine is like trying to compare coffee beans to
methamphetamines, there’s a universe of difference between the two," Sanho
Tree from the Institute for Policy Studies explained on NPR.
"We have to
respect that indigenous cultures have used and continue to use coca in its
traditional form, which is almost impossible to abuse in its natural state."
Georg Ann Potter worked from 1999 to 2002 as an advisor to Morales, and
since then has been the main advisor to the Coordination of the Six Women
Federations of the Chapare, the country’s biggest coca growing region.
Potter explained that although Morales plans to continue a hard line
approach against the drug trade, the current policies of the U.S. war on
drugs need to change.
"One billion dollars has been spent [on alternative crop development] over
the last 20 years and there is little to show for it," she said. "Forced
eradication resulted in many dead, more wounded, armed forces thieving and
It’s widely held among critics of Washington’s anti-narcotics agenda for
Latin America that the U.S. government uses the war on drugs as an excuse
for maintaining a military and political presence in the region.
A report from the Congressional Research Service stated that the U.S. war on
drugs has had no effect on the price, purity and availability of cocaine in
the U.S. Potter explained that even the U.S. government admits that,
"Bolivian cocaine, what there is of it, does not go to the U.S., but rather
The Andean Information Network, a Bolivia-based NGO which monitors human
rights issues in the U.S.-led war on drugs, recommends that,
"the U.S. should
recognize studies that have determined that domestic education, prevention,
and rehabilitation programs are more effective in altering drug consumption,
and accordingly address the demand side of the war on drugs."
Between a Rock and Hard Place
In regard to the country’s gas reserves, the Morales administration could go
in two directions.
It could fully nationalize the gas reserves and face the
wrath of multinational corporations and lending institutions that want
exactly the opposite to happen. Or it could renegotiate contracts with gas
corporations, and partially nationalize the industry.
Choosing the latter
option would likely generate massive protests and road blockades.
movement leaders have stated that if Morales doesn’t fully nationalize the
gas, the population will mobilize to hold the administration’s feet to the
"We will nationalize the natural resources, gas and hydrocarbons," Morales
"We are not going to nationalize the assets of the
multinationals. Any state has the right to use its natural resources. We
must establish new contracts with the oil companies based on equilibrium. We
are going to guarantee the returns on their investment and their profits,
but not looting and stealing." (3)
Any move that Morales makes is likely to upset either corporate investors,
social movements or both.
Previous Bolivian presidents Carlos Mesa and
Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada walked similar gauntlets and ended up being ousted
from office by protests.
A secession movement in Santa Cruz, the wealthiest district in the country,
also threatens Bolivia’s peace. An elite group of businessmen lead the
movement to separate Santa Cruz from the rest of the country, which would
allow for the full privatization of the gas industry regardless of what
protest groups, and the federal government, demand.
This group has been
accused of maintaining militias organized to defend their autonomy.
Other methods of destabilization are already underway. Documents obtained
through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the U.S. government has
spent millions to support discredited right-wing political parties and
stifle grassroots movements in Bolivia.
Between 2002 and 2004, a grant from
National Endowment for Democracy (NED) allowed for the training of
thirteen "emerging political leaders" from right-wing parties in Bolivia.
These 25-to 35-year-old politicians were brought to Washington for seminars.
Their party-strengthening projects in Bolivia were subsequently funded by
the NED. (4)
U.S. Troops in Paraguay
Outright U.S. military intervention in Bolivia is a possibility.
in Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay is reportedly being utilized by hundreds
of U.S. troops. The base, which was constructed by U.S. technicians in the
1980s under Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner, is 200 kilometers from
the border with Bolivia and is larger than the international airport in
Analysts in the region believe these troops could be
poised to intervene in Bolivia to suppress leftist movements and secure the
country’s gas reserves. (5)
Estigarribia Base, Paraguay
Under U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's
direction, the Pentagon has pushed for a number of small Cooperative
Security Locations (CSLs) based around Latin America.
installations permit leapfrogging from one location to another across the
continent. Such a strategy reflects an increased dependence on missiles and
unmanned aircraft instead of soldiers. CSLs offer the opportunity for a
small but potent presence in a country.
Such outposts exist at Eloy Alfaro
International Airport in Manta, Ecuador, Reina Beatrix International Airport
in Aruba, Hato International Airport in nearby Curacao and at the
international airport in Comalapa, El Salvador.
Paraguay may already be home
to the region’s next CSL. (6)
The U.S. Embassy in Paraguay contends that no plans for a military outpost
are underway and that the military operations are based on humanitarian
efforts. However, State Department reports do not mention any funding for
humanitarian works in Paraguay. They do mention that funding for the
Counterterrorism Fellowship Program in the country doubled in 2005. (7)
U.S. officials say the triple border area, where Paraguay, Argentina and
Brazil meet, is a base for Islamic terrorist networks.
Analysts in Latin
America believe that the U.S. government is using the threat of terrorism as
an excuse to secure natural resources in the region.
"The objectives of the U.S.A. in South America have always been to secure
strategic material like oil in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, tin mines
in Bolivia, copper mines in Chile, and always to maintain lines of access
open," Luiz Alberto Moniz Bandeira, a Brazilian political scientist at the
Universidade de Brasilia, wrote in the Folha de São Paulo. (8)
Orlando Castillo, a Paraguayan human rights leader, said the goal of U.S.
military operations in his country is to,
"debilitate the southern bloc... and
destabilize the region’s governments, especially Evo Morales..." (9)
While grappling with these challenges, the Morales administration will have
to answer to the millions of Bolivians who, in the December election, gave
him the biggest mandate in the country’s history.
For centuries Bolivians have, in the words of Uruguayan writer Eduardo
"suffered… the curse of their own wealth."
The country’s tin, copper
and silver were exploited by foreign companies that made enormous profits
while Bolivia struggled on. For many Bolivians, the election of Morales
offers the hope that history will stop repeating itself.
As Galeano writes,
"Recovery of the resources that have always been usurped is the recovery of
1. Raul Zibechi, "Two Opposing Views of Social Change in Bolivia", IRC
Americas, 12-14-05 http://americas.irc-online.org/am/2987
3. Jorge Martin, "Bolivia after the election victory of the MAS - Morales
cannot serve two masters", In Defense of Marxism, 10-1-05 http://www.marxist.com/bolivia-election-victory-mas100106.htm
4. Reed Lindsay, "Exporting Gas and Importing Demoracy in Bolivia", North
American Congress on Latin America, 11-05 http://www.nacla.org/art_display.php?art=2603#
5. Benjamin Dangl, "U.S. Military in Paraguay Prepares To "Spread
Democracy"", Upside Down World, 9-15-05 http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/47/44/
6. Sam Logan and Matthew Flynn, "U.S. Military Moves in Paraguay Rattle
Regional Relations", IRC Americas, 12-14-05, http://americas.irc-online.org/am/2991
9. Benjamin Dangl, "An Interview with Paraguayan Human Rights Activist
Orlando Castillo", Upside Down World, 10-16-05 http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/48/44/
Bolivia Protest: Indymedia.org
Paraguay Air Base Photo: Claudio Aliscioni, "Los marines de EE.UU. ponen un
pie en Paraguay" Clarin, 9-11-05
U.S. Inroads Raise Alarm
by Kenneth Rapoza
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
October 25, 2005
SAO PAULO, Brazil
An 18-month-old military agreement between Paraguay and the United States is
viewed with skepticism in Brazil, but analysts say concerns are overblown.
The Paraguayan Congress endorsed the accord four months ago. Influential newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia generally
have denounced the agreement as intrusive Washington politics.
President Bush and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will meet
at the Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, next week to
discuss money laundering, counterterrorism policies and other issues for the
Triple Frontier region shared among Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.
Mr. Bush is scheduled to meet with Mr. Lula da Silva in Brasilia after the
summit, sources in the Brazilian capital told The Washington Times. The
meeting has not been announced officially.
Since the early stages of its war on terrorism, the Bush administration has
said the Triple Frontier region near Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, generates
funds for Hamas and Hezbollah, though ties to terrorist activities remain
Documents found during U.S. military operations in Afghanistan reportedly
included photographs of Paraguay and letters received from Arabs living in
Ciudad del Este, a city of 150,000 people, of whom 10 percent are Arabs,
Paraguayan officials said.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, interviewed on TV Cultura in Sao Paulo on
Oct. 3, warned Brazilian viewers of the U.S. military presence in South
America. Mr. Chavez suspects the Bush administration is using its war on
terrorism as a cover to counter populist political movements in South
Opponents of the U.S.-Paraguayan accord do not trust official claims by both
sides that the United States does not plan to take over an airstrip it built
in 1982 in the Chaco region in northern Paraguay.
Paraguay's Foreign Ministry told the Brazilian government in writing on July
7 that "the national government did not sign any accords with the U.S.
government for establishing an American military base."
The air base, located in Mariscal Estigarribia, is large enough to handle
B-52 bombers and C-5 Galaxy cargo planes, but is being used only as a runway
for small planes owned by local farmers.
Mariscal is 434 miles from the Triple Frontier and 186 miles from the
Brazilian border. The surrounding area is mostly forest.
Skeptics point out that the United States and Ecuador said the same thing
about a supposed military base in November 1999, only to sign a 10-year
agreement with the U.S. Air Force soon after.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the U.S. at least wants that base in
Mariscal because they believe there are Arab terrorists in Paraguay," said
Walder Goes, a political consultant with close ties to politicians in
"I'll bet there's a U.S. base there in a few years. That said, Brazil has a
lot of influence in Paraguay. They can play hardball if they want," he
Critics also caution that if terrorists are in the Triple Frontier, the
presence of a U.S. base in Mariscal could attract violence.
Still, the U.S. base in Ecuador has not led to an increase in terrorist
activity or rumors of terrorism there.
"We've been told that this is just training and humanitarian health
missions," said Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. "There is no reason
to believe that there is something related to terrorism going on."
Of the 13 military exercises at the base in Mariscal, only two involved
U.S. military training
U.S. Special Forces units are to arrive in Paraguay next year for
educational courses and counterterrorism training, including Operation
Commando Force 6 scheduled for July through September.
The Paraguayan government said other South American nations will be invited
to participate, but the Brazilian Defense Ministry said Brazil has not been
"No matter how you slice it, this treaty is viewed with a lot of concern by
the government," said Francisco Heitor da Rosa, a military psychologist at
Assiz Gurgacz College in Cascavel, Parana, 93 miles east of Ciudad del Este.
"The accord has been viewed by politicians as if it was some kind of threat
to our sovereignty. But that is far from a consensus opinion."
Luiz Moniz Bandeira, a Brazilian-U.S. foreign affairs analyst who has
written several books on Washington-Brasilia military relations, said he
doubts leftist rhetoric that the Bush administration would try to
destabilize South America using the war on terrorism as a fig leaf and
Paraguay as its base station.
"That would generate more tension, upheavals and terrorist activity against
U.S. troops and corporations," he said.
"That said, I wouldn't dismiss the
hypothesis that U.S. agents plant stories in the media about Arab terrorists
in the Triple Frontier to provoke terrorism and justify their military
Defense analyst Fernando Sampaio counters:
"This business that the U.S. is
here to create disharmony is pure Hollywood.
"The United States lacks the conditions to successfully overthrow
governments in South America," he said, alluding to suspicions that a
Washington-backed coup briefly removed Mr. Chavez as president of Venezuela
in April 2002.
"South American countries don't need the United States to make them fall
apart. They fall apart by themselves" said Mr. Sampaio, who works at the
Superior College of Geopolitical Strategy in Porto Allegre, capital of Rio
Grande do Sul state.
Red flags raised
With its Paraguayan accord, the United States moves closer to
The Washington-Asuncion relationship has been building since Nicanor Duarte
Frutos was elected president in August 2003. Mr. Frutos met with Mr. Bush in
Washington that year, becoming the first Paraguayan president invited into
the Oval Office, according to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in
Mr. Duarte's vice president, Luis Castiglioni, met in June with Vice
President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Roger
Noriega, former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.
Mr. Rumsfeld traveled to Asuncion, Paraguay's capital, in mid-August.
Brasilia insiders agree that Mr. Bush and Mr. Lula da Silva have a cordial
relationship, but see little trust and reciprocity further down the
Brasilia has turned down Washington's hawkish requests to rally nations in
the Organization of American States against Mr. Chavez, and Mr. da Silva has
been an outspoken critic of Mr. Bush's Iraq war.
When politicians add Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Noriega to the Triple
Frontier and throw in 15,000 Arabs in Ciudad del Este, it inevitably raises
The Triple Frontier was thrust into the spotlight in October 2002, when
Jeffrey Goldberg wrote "In the Party of God" for the New Yorker magazine.
the story, he defined the region as,
"the center of Middle Eastern terrorism
in South America" and "a community under the influence of extreme Islamic
Mr. Goldberg said Hamas, Hezbollah and al Qaeda were training in the area
and perhaps financing terrorism.
The State Department's "Patterns of Terrorism" reports for the past two
years have found no evidence of terrorist funding or activity from
An International Monetary Fund report by the Financial Action Task Force on
Money Laundering said the region was awash in cash smuggling but not
The IMF did say, however, that Brazil needs to "quickly
implement" more comprehensive counterterrorist financing measures.
Brazil appears to be taking counterterrorism policy seriously.
in the works aims to keep Brazil in line with U.N. Security Council
counterterrorism norms established after the September 11, 2001, attacks in
the United States.
Brazil hasn't had a central counterterrorism unit since the 1964-85
dictatorship years. The country wants to control its policies against
terrorism before it is forced to follow the policies of other countries,
defense analysts say.
Although al Qaeda is never mentioned outside of international news, Hamas
and Hezbollah appeared in Brazilian news reports this summer. On June 7,
Parana state police arrested a Palestinian, Saiel Bashar al Atary, 43, on
charges of credit card fraud and drug trafficking in Foz do Iguacu, across
the river from Ciudad del Este.
Police are investigating whether he sent money to Hamas. People who know Mr.
al Atary say he has no connection to the group. This tends to be as far as
terrorist investigations go in the Triple Frontier.
When U.S. soldiers arrived in Paraguay in July, the Asuncion-based newspaper
ABC Color, citing "intelligence sources," reported that $20 million a year
leaves the Triple Frontier to fund Hezbollah.
The article said some of the
money is hidden in Brazilian banks.
"We have to intensify our defense and security relationships," Mr. Amorim
told government news agency Agencia Brasil on Sept 17. "It's the best way to
dispense with the doubts that arise from public opinion, even when there are
no doubts in the government."
The last Arab terrorist attack in South America occurred at the Israeli
Embassy in Argentina in 1994.
Between 1961 and 2003, 1.2 percent of worldwide terrorist activity took
place in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile combined, the U.S.
State Department reports.
Over the same period, those five countries
experienced less than 8 percent of total terrorist activity in Latin
Way back in 1982, the U.S. built and started
operating a semi-clandestine airstrip in Mariscal Estigarribia, in the
Chaco region in northern Paraguay near the Bolivian border, where B-52
bombers and C-5 Galaxy cargo planes are able to land with no hassle.
airstrip is literally in the middle of dense forest. It also happens to
be only 270 kilometers from the Brazilian border.
Some Brazilian diplomats bet off the record that a U.S. permanent base is
all but inevitable. But maybe not, as Brazil is known to play hardball
Brazil would see such an official American base
as a threat, which may be why this is all being done under the guise of Bush
family private ownership.
If that theory is correct, then there ought to be
an interesting money trail. The Bushes would not use their own funds to
create a United States air base.
The whole package is part of a controversial military agreement between
Paraguay and the United States endorsed by the Paraguayan Congress more than
a year ago. The U.S. Special Forces are guaranteed total immunity and
diplomatic status. They are free to import and export, they don't pay any
taxes, and what they trade is not subjected to any inspections.
kingpins at the Triple Border would kill for a deal like that.
Public intellectuals in both Brazil and Argentina fear that the usual
U.S.-paid mules will keep planting stories in the media about Arab
"terrorists" at the Triple Border, thus justifying a permanent-resident visa
for the U.S. forces in Paraguay.
What happened in Colombia is also evoked. The
Colombian agreement with the United States stipulated visa-free entry for
civilians. But these "civilians" happen to be mercenaries, working for
private security firms. The same process could happen in Paraguay.
Essential in the Pentagon machinery is the new Counter-Terrorism Fellowship
Program, which is operated (with no supervision by anyone) out of the
Pentagon's Office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.
As with most neo-con operations, the Paraguayan episode involves three key
Military suppression of anyone who won't dance to America's tune. A wave
of independence - not socialism per se, just a defiant "We're
not going to take it" attitude directed toward Uncle Sam - is
taking hold throughout South America. Paraguay remains the exception; a
majority of that country wants a return to the days of Stroessner.
Natural resources. Rancho Bush (and the ten-times-larger Rancho Moon) is
home to the region's largest aquifer, as well as gas and (possibly) oil.
Drugs. Hey, the money's got to come from somewhere.
THE ROVING EYE
by Pepe Escobar
August 3, 2006
Hezbollah south of the border
CIUDAD DEL ESTE
at the triple border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay
This is the way savage globalization ends - at least 20,000 shops, stalls,
tin shacks and mini-malls crammed into 15 blocks selling everything under
the (tropical) sun.
There's Little Asia - thousands of Taiwanese, mainland
Chinese and Koreans. But above all there are some 20,000 Arabs of Syrian and
mostly Lebanese descent (another 12,000 live in the Brazilian resort of Foz
do Iguacu, across the Friendship Bridge).
Welcome to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, population 200,000, free-trade cesspit
and World Trade Organization wet dream, realm of sacoleiros (bag carriers)
crossing the bridge every day and dreaming of the ultimate knockoff, but
mostly realm of money changers, prehistoric armored cars, gun-and-coke
dealers, dodgy pharmacists and stolen Mercedes with tinted windows.
The border is virtually non-existent, as Paraguay is a Mercosur member
(along with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela). Airspace is free -
virtually no radar. Cocaine comes by plane or truck from the Bolivian Andes.
Brazilian weapons are everywhere - not to mention real and fake
Kalashnikovs. Tons of laundered money whirl in free flow.
The whole thing is
a dizzying black void of billions of dollars in contraband, narco-trafficking,
weapons smuggling, money laundering, car theft, piracy and corruption of
And it gets worse: it's crammed with terrorists.
Stand and deliver
The head of the U.S. Southcom (Southern Command), the vociferous General
Brantz Craddock, is absolutely convinced the Triple Border is the abode of,
"the transnational terrorist, the narco-terrorist, the Islamic radical
fundraiser and recruiter, the illicit trafficker, the money launderer, the
kidnapper and the gang member".
The emphasis is on "terrorist" and
Southcom - U.S.$800 million annual budget, more than the State,
Treasury, Commerce and Agriculture departments combined - is the eyes and
ears of the Pentagon over Latin America.
In essence, this is how it works. Armchair gurus in Washington and New York
theorize on the so-called five wars of globalization - terrorism,
trafficking, money laundering, piracy and migration - and the Pentagon sends
the Special Forces posing as cleaners to make it all proper for the "free"
world. The underlying assumption is that Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda - "in
sum, terror" - are profiting like mad from the so-called five wars.
The "new threats of the 21st century recognize no borders", according to the
Pentagon. Ergo, everyone may be a terrorist, at least a potential one. Not
accidentally, General Craddock hates "anti-globalization and anti-free-trade
Sunni or Shi'ite, Marxist or anarchist, ruralist or
existentialist, the Russian mafia, the Hong Kong triads, the Nigerian mafia,
the Ukrainian mafia - they are all in cahoots. And for the Pentagon,
Hezbollah is selling pirate video discs of Christina Aguilera to finance
more Katyusha rockets.
At the real Triple Border, though, everyone may be a spy, or a would-be spy,
because everyone is there:
rule of gold in the underworld is that Brazil is neutral territory and not
subject to turf wars:
everyone is entitled to join the fun (technically
Ciudad del Este is in Paraguay, but it does business as a Brazilian annex
via the Friendship Bridge).
There's no chance of catching one of Ayman al-Zawahiri's
lieutenants slipping $100 bills into the G-string of dancer Harlem Roux at
the Casino Parana. He - and his al-Qaeda affiliation - would be spotted in
General Craddock grudgingly had to admit that the Pentagon has "not detected
Islamic terrorist cells" at the Triple Border, nor anywhere else in South
America, for that matter. But he'll keep trying. If he dropped by Ciudad del
Este's mean streets, Craddock would hear a lot of Mandarin - but not Arabic.
He would see every cheap plasma set in every audio-video shop tuned to
Lebanese TV - or Al-Jazeera, hardly a terror ID. In his search for
preemptive strikes, he could try the Condominio Mesquita - which, as the
name attests, is a condo in the shape of a gold-painted mosque (they would
love it in Peshawar).
But he would see no Hezbollahs in fake Nikes
an empanada and sipping mate with Jet Li lookalikes.
Hezbollah's electronic casino
Anyway, the latest annual State Department terrorism report explicitly
regards the Triple Border as a main source of financing for both Hamas and
Hezbollah, even though it admits "there's no confirmed information" either
Hamas or Hezbollah has "an operational presence" on the ground.
The U.S. government keeps accusing the Brazilian government of regarding
Hezbollah as a legitimate political party.
The Treasury Department also said
it has detected money transfers from Foz do Iguacu - home of the famous
Iguacu (Iguazu in Spanish) Falls, on the Brazilian side - to "terrorist
groups" including Hezbollah.
In a report on drugs released in March, the U.S.
once again was explicit:
Brazil must fight "terrorism financing" in the
Triple Border area.
It doesn't matter that the State Department has found no evidence of
"terrorist financing" from Paraguay and was forced to admit that between
1961 and 2003, only 1.2% of worldwide terror took place in,
An International Monetary Fund
report on money laundering also revealed the obvious: the Triple Border is
awash in cash smuggling, but no sight of "terrorist financing".
In 2001 CNN dubbed the Triple Border "a terrorist paradise" - based on dodgy
documents obtained by U.S. embassies in both Paraguay and Argentina. An
article in The New Yorker in late 2002 defined the Triple Border as "the
center of Middle Eastern terrorism in South America" and "a community under
the influence of extreme Islamic beliefs" - with Hamas, Hezbollah and
al-Qaeda all training on the spot.
Between late 2001 and early 2002, this whole thing was fine-combed by
There was no chance Sheikh Nasrallah would be
uncovered operating an electronic casino in Ciudad del Este under an alias.
Commercial and banking ties between the Arabs in the Triple Border and their
relatives in the Middle East were perfectly legal - just like the ones
between resident Arabs in the U.S. and their relatives.
But the heat was on - relentless, humiliating, brutal.
Thus U.S. Immigration and Customs agents, financed to the tune of $2.25
million, will soon be parachuting into the Triple Border to help the locals
fight money laundering, contraband and terrorism financing. The Americans
will establish "units of commercial transparency".
Up to now the only
country in the world boasting a "unit of commercial transparency" was
Colombia. The Brazilian Federal Police and the Ministry of Foreign Relations
prefer not to comment. American diplomats insist a permanent group
representing the U.S., Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay has agreed on the
Common wisdom rules that at least $20 million annually is sent from the
Triple Border to finance Hezbollah, linking South American banks to banks in
Texas and New York in the U.S., plus banks in Panama, France, Germany, Hong
Kong, Egypt and Lebanon.
That would be 20% of total worldwide financing for
Hezbollah's military wing.
There's no independent confirmation.
was arrived at by the Mossad. They always have plenty of people snooping
around here," said a Lebanese-Brazilian businessman who owns a bustling
Hezbollah receives donations from sympathizers worldwide.
There's no evidence it is being financed by pirate video discs or cocaine
dollars from the Triple Border.
But the pressure is non-stop. Thus the
U.S. Congress has approved a motion
enabling President George W Bush to ask for a task force to act against
"terrorism in the Western Hemisphere", especially on the Triple Border. Bush
is also supposed to demand from Brazil and other Latin American countries
the branding of both Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations.
The Brazilian Embassy in Washington was furious - reminding the Americans
that even the White House admits there's no terror operating on the Triple
Carlos Alvarez, head of the Commission of Permanent Representatives
of Mercosur, worries that the Americans,
"want to convert the Triple Border
into part of the
war on terror".
Diplomats from Mercosur countries say they
have enough of an institutional base to fight crime - as that is the real
Brazil has set up a new police unit and has reinforced air and
fluvial patrols at the Triple Border - fighting above all the trafficking of
drugs and weapons. Starting in two weeks - to the dismay of the business
community in Ciudad del Este - they will even start inspecting all the sacoleiros crossing the Friendship Bridge.
Arab businessmen in both Foz do Iguacu and Ciudad del Este dismiss U.S.
paranoia as, well, paranoia. They have more tangible things to worry about -
like two Lebanese businessmen robbed of $250,000 cash in downtown Ciudad del
Este just as they had left a bank.
The robbers - carrying machine-guns -
were disguised as Paraguayan investigative police.
The Sunday headline in
the Paraguayan daily Ultima Hora also told another popular story:
easier to leave Lebanon than to arrive in Paraguay".
It referred to a
Lebanese-Paraguayan family who managed to leave Lebanon in a Brazilian
rescue plane, arrived in Sao Paulo but then could find no flights home.
one wants to fly to Paraguay: airspace is totally unprotected, with no
security systems and no radar.
The locals claim they don't need Americans to arrest one of the top
Brazilian narco-traffickers, Marcelinho Niteroi, as they did last week.
Niteroi carried fake Paraguayan identification, which he obtained posing as
On the other hand, businessmen on both sides of the border focus
on made-in-USA missiles used by Israel that killed Lebanese-Brazilian kids,
who were born in Brazil.
"Maybe these kids were dangerous terrorists," said
a real-estate developer.
Where is Osama's hotel?
Irrespective of the facts on the ground, as far as the Pentagon is concerned
the Triple Border remains a nest of subversive activity to be preempted as
fast as Syria and Iran.
Take what happened last year when the Foz do Iguacu municipality ran a
full-page ad in leading newspapers with a photo of Osama bin Laden.
"When he's not busy blowing up the world, bin Laden spends his
time relaxing at Iguacu."
Craddock might have taken it literally - and blown
the place apart.
Craddock would have had a heart attack with the recent subversion calendar.
Last month the Mercosur chiefs of state got together in Cordoba, Argentina -
officially welcoming Venezuela as a new member.
Fidel Castro stole the show.
Venezuela's news network Telesur - very popular via satellite in Ciudad del
Este - provided extensive coverage of "anti-imperialist" speeches by both
Castro and Hugo Chavez.
Meanwhile civil society - in the form of social, political, cultural,
environmental, student, religious and human-rights organizations - was
engaged in the second Triple Border Social Forum in Ciudad del Este,
discussing the region's security, a controversial military agreement between
the U.S. and Paraguay, and the preservation of
the Guarani Aquifer.
went straight to the point:
"Out Yankee troops and the World Bank".
The "Yankee troops" are holding "training exercises" in Paraguay (more on
that in below Part 2 of this report).
And the World Bank is developing a program
toward mapping the Guarani Aquifer - which is the first step toward
commercial exploration of its precious waters. The Guarani Aquifer is
arguably the biggest reservoir of fresh, potable water in the world - right
under Triple Border soil. The majority (71%) of its 1.2 million square
kilometers lies in Brazil.
According to the United Nations, by 2025
worldwide demand for potable water will be 56% higher than what will be on
When you combine a huge Arab community and lots of non-commercialized water
in a Pentagon-defined "lawless area", no wonder bells start ringing.
Watching the non-stop coverage on the Arabic channels of Lebanese civilians
dying under Israeli bombs, a Lebanese-Brazilian businessman offered the
preferred local version of the "war on terror":
"In Iraq they said there
were WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. They wanted the oil. Here they say
that we are terrorists. But what they want is our water."
The Yankees are coming
by Pepe Escobar
"The Yankees are coming," says a Paraguayan university student in
Villa Morra, the slice of North American suburbia in eastern Asuncion.
in fact they're already here.
And not only because of the American
University, or the rows and rows of private clinics, medical services,
pharmacies and life-insurance companies catering to expat customers in Mariscal Lopez Avenue. President Nicanor Duarte has been allowing
on Paraguayan soil since mid-2005.
U.S. Special Forces are performing 13
military exercises, to expire late this year, including "educational
courses", "domestic peacekeeping operations" and counter-terrorism training,
this one part of Operation Commando Force 6, scheduled to go on until next
The whole package is part of a controversial military agreement between
Paraguay and the United States endorsed by the Paraguayan Congress more than
a year ago. The U.S. Special Forces are guaranteed total immunity and
diplomatic status. They are free to import and export, they don't pay any
taxes, and what they trade is not subjected to any inspections. Contraband
kingpins at the Triple Border would kill for a deal like that.
The Foreign Ministry for its part insists that,
"the national government did
not sign any accords with the U.S. government for establishing an American
The Paraguayan government defines these rumors as
"delirious". Brazilians are not so sure.
According to Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim,
"They told us this is
just training and humanitarian health missions... There is no reason to
believe that there is something related to terrorism."
worry that Paraguay didn't even bother to tell its Mercosur counterparts it
would be hosting U.S. troops.
Paraguayan businessmen even want to scrap Mercosur altogether, complaining that the big members, Brazil and Argentina,
monopolize all the decisions.
When in doubt, invade
It's useful to remember that soon after September 11, 2001, notorious
neo-con Douglas Feith suggested to George W Bush an air invasion of the
Triple Border - where the boundaries of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet
- to capture al-Qaeda fighters and permanently occupy the region.
that as early as 2002 a study by the Brazilian army was asking whether,
"these armed forces that ring the border of Brazil, especially in the Amazon
region", could be used "for reasons that are [at present] undeclared".
Although the Paraguayans insist these troops are in the country on a
"temporary" basis, they may represent a giant step toward Washington's
setting up a U.S. military base very close to the Triple Border.
Way back in
1982, the U.S. built and started operating a semi-clandestine airstrip in Mariscal Estigarribia, in the Chaco region in northern Paraguay near the
Bolivian border, where B-52 bombers and C-5 Galaxy cargo planes are able to
land with no hassle. The airstrip is literally in the middle of dense
forest. It also happens to be only 270 kilometers from the Brazilian
Some Brazilian diplomats bet off the record that a U.S. permanent base is all
but inevitable. But maybe not, as Brazil is known to play hardball with
Significantly, the U.S.-Paraguay military agreement happened right when
President Duarte was struggling against social movements contrary to his
privatization wave, and peasant movements fighting for more land.
The "training" provided by the U.S. forces is the usual mix of combat and
counter-insurgency and counter-terror theory. After that, it could be
adapted for use against any "terrorist" threat.
For Venezuela's Hugo Chavez,
the Bush administration's real target is to smash popular movements and
governments in South America.
The Washington-Asuncion axis has been a stellar accomplishment of President
Nicanor Duarte, who came to power in August 2003.
Duarte is described by
economic analyst Pablo Herken as,
"populist, demagogue, charlatan, liar,
incoherent, authoritarian, rancorous and irresponsible".
The supreme Pentagon obsession remains the Triple Border and Ciudad del
Este, Paraguay - the Wild West of the "war on terror".
Brazil, Argentina and
Venezuela have been very critical toward Washington's regional geostrategic
designs. So for the Bush administration a weak and corrupt Paraguayan
government is the perfect Trojan horse.
Duarte is a certified FOB (Friend of Bush). He was personally received at
the White House. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Asuncion one year
ago. Paraguayan Vice President Luis Castiglioni met his U.S. counterpart
Cheney, Rumsfeld and crucially Roger Noriega, the sinister former assistant
secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.
John Keane, U.S. ambassador
to Paraguay, publicized a huge contribution to fight "drug trafficking,
terrorism, money laundering and corruption".
The Triple Border has always
been the top issue on all meetings between these players, not to mention the
ministerial meetings sponsored by Southcom (the U.S. Southern Command).
The lethal cocktail of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Noriega, the Triple Border and all
those thousands of "Ay-rabs" in Ciudad del Este could not but spell endless
trouble. Argentine non-governmental organizations also identify the Triple
Border as the Americans' No 1 geostrategic target.
The master plan would be
typical Rumsfeld: light, "rapid reaction" forces based in Paraguay
intervening in neighboring countries and conducting low-intensity warfare
against the - non-existent - Triple Border "terrorists".
agenda is the militarization of the so-called Western Hemisphere. In his
South American trips the Rumsfeld mantra has been "dominion over ungoverned
So Pentagon logic equally applies to the Triple Border and the Rio favelas run by drug mafias.
El Condor pasa (again)
Brazil is one of the very few South American countries with no
garrisons or airstrips.
But now that Brazil is actually facing U.S. troops on
two flanks - north, in Colombia, and south, in Paraguay - no wonder
Brazilian congress members have started to regard it as "a threat to our
Public intellectuals in both Brazil and Argentina fear
that the usual U.S.-paid mules will keep planting stories in the media about
Arab "terrorists" at the Triple Border, thus justifying a permanent-resident
visa for the U.S. forces in Paraguay. What happened in Colombia is also
The Colombian agreement with the United States stipulated visa-free
entry for U.S. civilians. But these "civilians" happen to be mercenaries,
working for private security firms. The same process could happen in
Essential in the Pentagon machinery is the new Counter-Terrorism Fellowship
Program, which is operated (with no supervision by anyone) out of the
Pentagon's Office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. What
this represents in fact is nothing but a rerun of the infamous
Condor coordinated by infamous Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet during the
As much as Condor, the Counter-Terrorism Fellowship Program may work
as the de facto Central Command in a South America-wide campaign of
intimidation and political terror.
In the 1970s - with sinister dictator Alfredo Stroessner in full power - the
Central Intelligence Agency set up in the U.S. Embassy in Asuncion the most
powerful electronic spying station in South America.
According to researcher Anibal Miranda, it's still operational.
For the past five years the U.S. has also set up a real sanitary cordon in
South America, from the Caribbean to the Paraguayan Chaco - 20 garrisons
split between air and radar bases, at the cost of roughly U.S.$340 million.
Spy planes roam the Amazon, the Andes and the Antilles.
Operating under the
"war on drugs" banner, three airstrips are crucial in this plan:
first two happen to be right in front of Venezuela's coast.
After September 11 the U.S. State Department mantra was that al-Qaeda and/or
Hezbollah had an intimate connection with FARC (Fuerzas Armadas
Revolucionarias de Colombia).
The "coincidence" could not be more
"terror" at the geographic heart of Mercosur - which happens
to be dreaded in Washington as the made-in-South America answer to the
Washington-promoted Free Trade Area of the Americas - was suddenly connected
with "terror", which happens to be the biggest obstacle to the
of the Amazon rainforest.
Before September 11 the main rationale behind Washington's Plan Colombia was
the "war on drugs".
Then it became the "war on terror" - and Plan Colombia
spread way beyond the Andes.
The Pentagon's new Long War (war on terror
remixed) is now the catalyst that multiplies "evidence" forever justifying
sending special agents, U.S. Special Forces, "training" of local forces,
"joint military operations" and, sooner rather than later, a permanent
Eyes on the loot
The Grand Prize may not be only the fabulous freshwater wealth of
There are also the huge gas reserves of Bolivia, and great
unexplored reserves of carbon in southern Brazil, not to mention Venezuelan
oil. It all comes back once again to the 21st-century energy wars.
Anyone familiar with South America knows that the key issue is not terrorism
but lack of investment in health and education, and hunger and unemployment
inevitably leading in despair to petty crime and beyond. But for the
Pentagon shock troops of hardcore globalization, the only thing that matters
is an ideological crusade.
General Brantz Craddock, the man who sees a terrorist behind any pirate
video disc sold in the Triple Border, recently said that "transnational
terrorism" is Latin America's "foremost" problem.
Pentagon managed to
fabricate a hardcore Islamic jihad in Iraq out of nothing.
There's no reason
to doubt it may fabricate a South America-wide Ciudad del Este out of a
single Triple Border.
Pentagon Quietly Builds Up South American Bases
by Teresa Gutierrez
February 23, 2006
At the very same time that the working class and progressive movement in
Latin America is rapidly shifting to the left, invigorating anti-imperialist
sentiment around the world, Washington is quietly and ominously militarizing
From the U.S./Mexican border to many parts farther south, U.S. imperialism
is setting up more and more military bases throughout the region and
stealthily sending ever more U.S. troops and mercenaries to Latin America.
Under the guise of fighting the so-called drug war or seeking "Al Qaeda
terrorist cells," Washington's real intention is to prepare to overcome the
rising movements against U.S. imperialism that are sweeping the region.
Washington's intense escalation of military force is extremely dangerous for
the oppressed people of the Americas and should be energetically fought by
the anti-war movement in the United States.
As Conn Hallinan wrote last November in Foreign Policy in Focus,
is feeling a little like the run-up to the sixties and seventies, when
Washington-sponsored military dictatorships dominated most of the continent,
and (secret) armies ruled the night."
The growing U.S. military threat
Although it only recently came to light, last year the Bush administration
sent 400-500 U.S. troops to Paraguay, alarming many Latin Americans.
This action takes place within the context of a growing number of U.S.
military bases built in the region in the last several years, and within the
context of Plan Colombia, a $3-billion-plus military initiative for
Colombia, was passed under the Clinton Administration.
Plan Colombia is the
military wing of the stalled Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).
What cannot be wrested from the people of Latin America by its operators in
three-piece suits, Washington clearly aims to steal through its agents in
There are approximately 25 known U.S. military bases or land-based radar
stations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
military bases in,
In January 2006, Cuban Radio Havana revealed that Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld had authorized the expansion of U.S. military bases in
the summer of 2005.
These expanded military bases were called CSL's -
Cooperative Security Locations - and set up at the Mariscal
Estigarribia airbase in Paraguay and elsewhere.
According to Radio Havana, these bases, while staffed by a relatively small
number of troops,
"have the capability to ramp up military
operations at short notice."
Developments in Paraguay are alarming progressives across that country's
borders in Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, where Indigenous
peasant leader Evo Morales recently took office as president.
According to an article in the January Political Affairs, the Bush
administration in December 2004 canceled $330 million in aid to
several South American countries because they had refused to grant U.S.
soldiers immunity from prosecution for crimes committed in those
Paraguay did sign the immunity agreement in a secret session of its congress
on May 26, 2005, authorizing an 18-month stay for U.S.
soldiers, which can be extended repeatedly.
The U.S. troops that arrived in Paraguay last July 1 are only 120 miles from
Bolivia at a base near Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay.
The base has a runway long enough to accommodate large military transport
planes such as B-52 bombers and Galaxy C-5 cargo planes. It
also has barracks space for 16,000 troops, a huge radar system and vast
Prominent Paraguayan journalist and human rights activist Alfredo Boccia Paz
stated recently that,
"immunity from prosecution for U.S.
soldiers, extension of their stay, and joint military exercises all provide
the groundwork for the eventual installation of a U.S. base in
Furthermore, last July a high-powered meeting of Bush administration
officials met with Paraguay's vice president.
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Noriega met with Paraguay Vice
President Luis Castiglioni and concluded that,
"experts would soon be
going to Paraguay to develop a planning seminar on systems for national
The FBI also announced that in 2006 it would open an office in Paraguay.
The U.S. troops stationed in Paraguay are already up to no good. The
Southern Command, according to several sources including Radio
Havana, announced an upcoming "saber rattling" military exercise to take
place in Paraguay called "Fuerzas Comando 06 (Operation Commando Force 06)."
Stan Goff, a former sergeant in the U.S. Special Forces, often points out in
his denunciations of U.S. intervention that it can be misleading to judge
the impact of a U.S. intervention only by the number of U.S. troops
involved. If these troops are Special Forces, for example, they can train
local mercenaries or pave the way for
thousands of ground troops.
Bush administration officials deny that Mariscal Estigarribia will become or
is a U.S. military base.
Manta, Ecuador U.S. Military Base
In 2001, the Pentagon came under criticism for opening a military base in
The base is located 20 minutes from war-torn Colombia's
borders. Those in Colombia who resist neocolonial domination there consider
the base opening an act of war. Many U.S. Congress members also opposed
Manta and tried to block the Manta project.
The first thing the base in Manta housed was E-3 AWACS surveillance planes.
According to the Washington Post (Jan. 25, 2001), with the troops and the
"Manta will become the main hub for U.S. surveillance flights over
the vast cocaine-producing areas of Latin America."
The U.S. pays no rent at Manta. It signed the deal with a former
Ecuadorian president, Jamil Mahuad, who fled to exile in the U.S. and
was under indictment for abuse of power.
One year before Ecuador opened the Manta base it adopted the U.S. dollar as
the national currency.
A rose is a rose
In the usual Pentagon and Washington double talk, government officials have
taken to doctoring up the language of the militarization of Latin America to
make it palatable for the U.S. public.
In the case of both Manta, Ecuador, in 2001 and Mariscal Estigarribia,
Paraguay now, government officials called the bases "Forward Operating
Locations" or "Cooperative Security Locations" to avoid calling them bases.
Washington has mislabeled the militarization of Latin America as part of the
fight against drugs, just as some of the media have mislabeled the Minutemen
militarizing the U.S.-Mexican border as freedom fighters.
In reality, the strengthening of military bases and the sending of U.S.
troops is aimed to subvert the rising revolutionary movements in Latin
America. It is aimed against Presidents Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo
Morales in Bolivia and at Fidel Castro in Cuba.
But the tide for an end to colonial and imperialist domination has turned in
favor of the oppressed and no military base can turn it back.
Military Base, Paraguay
The Estigarribia airbase was constructed in the
1980s for U.S. technicians hired by the Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner,
and is capable of housing large troops units.
The base has an enormous radar
system, huge hangars and an air traffic control tower. The airstrip itself
is larger than the one at the international airport in Asuncion, the
It's oversized for the Paraguayan air force, which only
has a handful of small aircrafts.
Pope John Paul II (Vatican Control) was there in May 1988 when he visited
the town of Santa Teresita, 3 kilometers away.
Estigarribia has a population of about 2000, which 300 belongs to the 6th
Infantry Division, 3rd Corps, Paraguayan army garrison.
On a May 2005 agreement, Paraguay allowed United States to use the base.
On July 1, 2005, the United States reportedly
deployed troops and aircraft to the large military airfield of Mariscal
Estigarribia as part of a bid to extend control of strategic interests in
the Latin American sphere, particularly in Bolivia.
A military training
agreement with Asunción, giving immunity to U.S. soldiers, caused some concern
after media reports initially reported that a base housing 20,000 U.S.
soldiers was being built at Mariscal Estigarribia within 200 km of Argentina
and Bolivia, and 300 km of Brazil, near an airport which could receive large
planes (B-52, C-130 Hercules, etc.) which the Paraguay Air Forces do not
The governments of Paraguay and the United States subsequently
declared that the use of an airport (Dr Luís María Argaña International) was
one point of transfer for few soldiers in Paraguay at the same time.
According to the Clarín Argentinean newspaper, the
U.S. military base is
strategic because of its location near the Triple Frontera between Paraguay,
Brazil and Argentina; its proximity towards the Guarani aquifer; and,
finally, its closeness toward Bolivia (less than 200 km) at the same,
that Washington's magnifying glass goes on the Altiplano and points toward
Venezuelan Hugo Chávez - the regional demon according to Bush's
administration - as the instigator of the instability in the region"
El Clarín, making a clear reference to the Bolivian Gas War.
Paraguay Revokes U.S.
by Jessica Weisberg and Benjamin T. Brown
05 October 2006
(Editor's note: Article updated, corrected on 10-13-06)
On October 2, the
Paraguayan government announced its decision to revoke U.S. immunity as soon
as their current contract expires in December 2006.
The U.S. military has
carried out military exercises in Paraguay since July 2005. Since then the
troops have enjoyed technical and administrative immunity, exempting them
from trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Thomas Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs,
said that the U.S. will not continue to provide military support without
immunity for its soldiers. However, on October 3, 2006 President Bush signed
a waiver allowing for military aid in countries that have refused to sign
immunity agreements with the U.S. military. The waiver affects 21 countries,
Historically, Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos and President
George W. Bush have enjoyed what Brazilian President Lula calls a "political
matrimony." (quote from Ultimahora)
Paraguay's decision represents a
political alliance with the countries in the MercoSur trade block, which includes Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela.
Orlando Castillo, director of SERPAJ, a human rights organization based in
Paraguay, stated that Frutos' decision does not necessarily represent an
ideological shift of Paraguay's center-right government. Castillo explained
that regional solidarity would require major reforms in all sectors of the
Furthermore, military representatives from the CIA, DEA, and FBI will
continue to hold immunity in Paraguay.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE WITH OTHER LINKS
Paraguay Revokes U.S. Military Immunity
Weisberg and Benjamin T. Brown
05 October 2006
(Editor's note: Article updated,
corrected on 10-13-06)
On October 2, the Paraguayan
its decision to revoke U.S. immunity as soon as their current
contract expires in December 2006. The U.S. military has carried
military exercises in Paraguay
since July 2005. Since then the troops have enjoyed technical
and administrative immunity, exempting them from trial in
the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Thomas Shannon, Assistant Secretary
of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said that the U.S. will
not continue to provide military support without immunity for
However, on October 3, 2006 President Bush
signed a waiver
allowing for military aid in countries that have refused to
sign immunity agreements with the U.S. military. The waiver
affects 21 countries, including Paraguay.
Historically, Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos and
President George W. Bush have enjoyed what Brazilian President
Lula calls a "political matrimony." (quote from Ultimahora) Paraguay's
decision represents a political alliance with the countries in
the MercoSur trade block, which includes Uruguay, Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela.
Orlando Castillo, director of SERPAJ, a human rights
organization based in Paraguay, stated that Frutos' decision does
not necessarily represent an ideological shift of
Paraguay's center-right government. Castillo explained that
regional solidarity would require major reforms in all sectors
of the Paraguayan government.
Furthermore, military representatives from the CIA, DEA, and FBI
will continue to hold immunity in Paraguay.
The U.S. Military
Descends on Paraguay
by Benjamin Dangl
17 July 2006
This article was first printed in The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060717/dangl
Benjamin Dangl is the editor of Upside Down World, an online magazine
uncovering activism and politics in Latin America, and Toward Freedom, a
progressive perspective on world events.
He is the author of The Price of
Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia, forthcoming from AK
Press in March 2007, and a recipient of a 2007 Project Censored Award for
his coverage of U.S. military operations in Paraguay.
While hitchhiking across Paraguay a few years ago, I met welcoming farmers
who let me camp in their backyards.
I eventually arrived in Ciudad del Este,
known for its black markets and loose borders. Now the city and farmers I
met are caught in the crossfire of the U.S. military's "war on terror."
On May 26, 2005, the Paraguayan Senate allowed U.S. troops to train their
Paraguayan counterparts until December 2006, when the Paraguayan Senate can
vote to extend the troops' stay.
The United States had threatened to cut off
millions in aid to the country if Paraguay did not grant the troops entry.
In July 2005 hundreds of U.S. soldiers arrived with planes, weapons and
ammunition. Washington's funding for counterterrorism efforts in Paraguay
soon doubled, and protests against the military presence hit the streets.
Some activists, military analysts and politicians in the region believe the
operations could be part of a plan to overthrow the left-leaning government
of Evo Morales in neighboring Bolivia and take control of the area's vast
gas and water reserves.
Human rights reports from Paraguay suggest the U.S.
military presence is, at the very least, heightening tensions in the
Soy and Landless Farmers
Paraguay is the fourth-largest producer of soy in the world.
industry has expanded, an estimated 90,000 poor families have been forced
off their land. Campesinos have organized protests, road blockades and land
occupations against displacement and have faced subsequent repression from
military and paramilitary forces.
According to Grupo de Reflexion Rural (GRR),
an Argentina-based organization that documents violence against farmers, on
June 24, 2005, in Tekojoja, Paraguay, hired policemen and soy producers
kicked 270 people off their land, burned down fifty-four homes, arrested 130
people and killed two.
The most recent case of this violence is the death of Serapio Villasboa
Cabrera, a member of the Paraguayan Campesino Movement, whose body was found
full of knife wounds May 8.
Cabrera was the brother of Petrona Villasboa,
who was spearheading an investigation into the death of her son, who died
from exposure to toxic chemicals used by transgenic soy producers. According
to Servicio, Paz y Justicia (Serpaj), an international human rights group
that has a chapter in Paraguay, one method used to force farmers off their
land is to spray toxic pesticides around communities until sickness forces
residents to leave.
GRR said Cabrera was killed by paramilitaries connected to large landowners
and soy producers, who are expanding their holdings. The paramilitaries
pursue farm leaders who are organizing against the occupation of their land.
Investigations by Serpaj demonstrate that the worst cases of repression
against farmers have taken place in areas with the highest concentration of
Serpaj reported that in the department of San Pedro, where five
U.S. military exercises took place, there have been eighteen farmer deaths
from repression, in an area with many farmer organizations. In the
department of Concepción there have been eleven deaths and three U.S. military
Near the Triple Border, where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina
meet, there were twelve deaths and three exercises.
"The U.S. military is advising the Paraguayan police and military about how to
deal with these farmer groups.... They are teaching theory as well as
technical skills to Paraguayan police and military. These new forms of
combat have been used internally," Orlando Castillo of Serpaj told me over
"The U.S. troops talk with the farmers and get to know their
leaders and which groups, organizations, are working there, then establish
the plans and actions to control the farmer movement and advise the
Paraguayan military and police on how to proceed...
The numbers from our
study show what this U.S. presence is doing. U.S. troops form part of a security
plan to repress the social movement in Paraguay. A lot of repression has
happened in the name of security and against 'terrorism.' "
Tomas Palau, a Paraguayan sociologist at BASE-IS, a Paraguayan social
research institute, and the editor of a recent book on the militarization of
Latin America, said,
"The U.S. conducts training and classes for the
Paraguayan troops. These classes are led by North Americans, who answer to
Southern Command, the branch of the U.S. military for South America."
Like Castillo, Palau said there is an association between the
presence and the increased violence against campesinos.
"They are teaching
counterinsurgency classes, preparing the Paraguayan troops to fight internal
enemies," he told me.
He said it's common knowledge that the U.S. troops and
the Paraguayan troops are conducting operations together.
Paraguayan press is talking about this."
The U.S. Embassy in Asunción rejects all claims that the
U.S. military is linked
to the increased repression against campesino and protest groups, either
through exercises or instruction.
In an e-mail response to the charges,
Bruce Kleiner of the Embassy's Office of Public Affairs writes that,
U.S. military is not monitoring protest groups in Paraguay" and that "the
U.S. military personnel and Paraguayan armed forces have trained together
during medical readiness training exercises (MEDRETEs) to provide
humanitarian service to some of Paraguay's most disadvantaged citizens."
However, the deputy speaker of the Paraguayan parliament, Alejandro
Velazquez Ugarte, said that of the thirteen exercises going on in the
country, only two are of a civilian nature.
According to BASE-IS, Paraguayan officials have recently used the threat of
terrorism to justify their aggression against campesino leaders. One group,
the Campesino Organization of the North, has been accused of receiving
instructions from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), that
country's largest leftist guerrilla movement.
The FARC has also been accused
of colluding in the kidnapping and murder of the daughter of former
Paraguayan President Raúl Cubas Grau last year.
A June 23 report from the
Chinese news service Xinhua said that Colombia's defense minister, Camilo
Ospina, spoke with Paraguay's attorney general, Ruben Candia, about the
presence of the FARC in Paraguay. Ospina said the FARC was consulting
organized crime groups and "giving criminals advice on explosives" in
Regarding the FARC connection in Paraguay, Paul Wolf, an international
attorney in Washington who has studied the group closely and written about
"Since the Colombian government hasn't shown any evidence or given
any names, this can't be considered as anything but war propaganda."
Paraguayan campesino groups to the FARC is nothing new, particularly since
the death of Cubas's daughter.
However, in an interview with the Paraguayan
newspaper La Nación, the bishop of Concepción, Zacarias Ortiz Rolon, said,
"As far as the official interest in making believe that there is a guerrilla
group and that it is fed by the Colombian FARC, that seems a bit suspicious
The Association of Farmers of Alto Paraná (ASAGRAPA), a campesino group near
the Triple Border, reported that a local politician offered one of the
organization's leaders a sum of money equivalent to a monthly salary, in
return for which the ASAGRAPA member was told to announce that other leaders
in the organization were building a terrorist group and receiving training
from the FARC.
BASE-IS reports suggest that this type of bribery and
disinformation is part of an effort to guarantee the "national security of
the U.S." and "justify, continue and expand the North American military
"All of these activities coincide with the presence of the
U.S. troops," Palau
explained about the violence against farmers.
"The CIA and FBI are also
working here. It's likely they are generating these plans for fabricating
lies about guerrilla and terrorist activities. They need to find terrorists
to use as an excuse for militarization."
Last October the Cuban media outlet Prensa Latina reported that FBI director Robert Mueller arrived in Paraguay
"check on preparations for the installation of a permanent FBI office in
Asunción... to cooperate with security organizations to fight international
crime, drug traffic and kidnapping."
Journalist Hugo Olázar of the Argentine paper Clarín reported last September
that U.S. troops were operating from an air base in Mariscal Estigarribia,
He visited the base last year and said it had an air-traffic
control tower, a military encampment and was capable of handling large
aircraft. Though the United States denies it is operating at the base, it
used the same rhetoric when first discussing its actions in Manta, Ecuador,
which is currently home to an $80 million U.S. military base.
The base there
was first described in 1999 as an archaic "dirt strip" used only for weather
monitoring. Days later, the Pentagon said it would be utilized for
Other indications that the U.S. military might be settling into Paraguay come
from the right-wing Paraguayan government. Current President Nicanor Duarte
Frutos is a member of the Colorado party, which has ruled the country for
more than fifty years. It was this party that established the
thirty-five-year dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner.
Soon after his election
in 2003, Duarte became the first Paraguayan president to be received at the
White House. Last August Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld flew to Paraguay.
Shortly afterward, Dick Cheney met with Paraguay's vice president.
Last year, Argentine Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel
commented on the situation in Paraguay,
"Once the United States arrives, it
takes it a long time to leave. And that really frightens me."
Counterfeit Rolling Papers and Viagra
Washington has justified its military presence
in Paraguay by stating that the Triple Border area at Ciudad del Este is a
base for Islamist terrorist funding.
In a June 3, 2006, Associated Press
report, Western intelligence officials, speaking anonymously, claimed that
if Iran is cornered by the United States, it could direct the international
network of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah to assist in terrorist
The Justice Department has indicted nineteen people this year for
sending the profits from the sale of counterfeit rolling papers and Viagra
"Extensive operations have been uncovered in South America,"
the AP article states, "where Hezbollah is well connected to the drug trade,
particularly in the region where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet."
Other claims about terrorist networks said to be operating in the Triple
Border region include a poster of Iguaçu Falls, a tourist destination near
Ciudad del Este, discovered by U.S. troops on the wall of an Al Qaeda
operative's home in Kabul, Afghanistan, shortly after 9/11.
Aside from this,
however, the U.S. Southern Command and the State Department report that no
"credible information" exists confirming that "Islamic terrorist cells are
planning attacks in Latin America."
Luiz Moniz Bandeira, who holds a chair in history at the University of
Brasília and writes about U.S.-Brazilian relations, was quoted in the
Washington Times as saying,
"I wouldn't dismiss the hypothesis that
agents plant stories in the media about Arab terrorists in the Triple
Frontier to provoke terrorism and justify their military presence."
Throughout the cold war, the U.S. government used the threat of communism as
an excuse for its military adventures in Latin America.
Now, as leaders such
as Bolivia's Evo Morales and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez move further outside
the sphere of Washington's interests, the United States is using another
"ism" as an alibi for its military presence.
As Greg Grandin pointed out in
his article "The Wide War," first posted on TomDispatch.com, the Pentagon
now has more resources and money directed to Latin America than the
Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce and Treasury combined.
9/11 the annual U.S. military aid to the region was around $400 million. It's
now nearly $1 billion. Much of this goes to training troops.
Making wild allegations about Paraguayan farmers being terrorists is one way
to justify the increased spending and military presence in the region.
"The U.S. government is lying about the terrorist funding in the Triple Border,
just like they did about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," said an
exasperated Castillo of Serpaj. Indeed, the street markets I walked through
in Ciudad del Este, and the farmers I met along the way, seemed to pose as
much of a threat to U.S. security as a pirated Tom Petty CD or a bottle of
Dark Armies, Secret Bases, and Rummy, Oh My!
by Conn Hallinan
November 21, 2005
Editor: John Gershman, IRC
Foreign Policy In Focus
It would be easy to make fun of President Bush's recent fiasco at the 4th
Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
His grand plan for a
free trade zone reaching from the Artic Circle to Tierra del Fuego was
soundly rejected by nations fed up with the economic and social chaos
wrought by neoliberalism. At a press conference, South American journalists
asked him rude questions about Karl Rove.
And the President ended the whole
debacle by uttering what may be the most trenchant observation the man has ever made on Latin America:
Brazil is big!”
But there is nothing amusing about an Enormous U.S. base less than 120 miles
from the Bolivian border, or the explosive growth of U.S.-financed Mercenary
Armies that are doing everything from training the military in Paraguay and
Ecuador to calling in Air Attacks against Guerillas in Colombia.
is feeling a little like the run up to the ‘60s and ‘70s, when
Washington-sponsored military dictatorships dominated most of the continent,
and dark armies ruled the night. U.S. Special Forces began arriving this
past summer at Paraguay's Mariscal Estigarribia air base, a sprawling
complex built in 1982 during the reign of dictator Alfredo Stroessner.
Argentinean journalists who got a peek at the place say the airfield can
handle B-52 bombers and Galaxy C-5 cargo planes. It also has a huge radar
system, vast hangers, and can house up to 16,000 troops. The air base is
larger than the international airport at the capital city, Asuncion .
Some 500 special forces arrived July 1 for a three-month counter- -terrorism
training exercise, code named Operation Commando Force 6. Paraguayan denials
that Mariscal Estigarribia is now a U.S. base have met with considerable
skepticism by Brazil and Argentina.
There is a disturbing resemblance
between U.S. denials about Mariscal Estigarribia, and similar disclaimers
made by the Pentagon about Eloy Alfaro airbase in Manta , Ecuador . The
United States claimed the Manta base was a “dirt strip” used for weather
surveillance. When local journalists revealed its size, however, the United
States admitted the base harbored thousands of mercenaries and hundreds of
U.S. troops, and Washington had signed a 10-year basing agreement with
The Eloy Alfaro base is used to rotate U.S. troops in and out of Columbia,
and to house an immense network of private corporations who do most of the
military's dirty work in Columbia. According to the Miami Herald, U.S.
mercenaries armed with M-16s have gotten into fire fights with guerrillas in
southern Columbia, and American civilians working for Air Scan International of Florida called
in air strikes that killed 19 civilians and wounded 25 others in the town of
The base is crawling with U.S. Civilians - many of them
retired military - working for Military Professional Resources
Inc., Virginia Electronics, DynCorp, Lockheed Martin (the world's largest
arms maker), Northrop Grumman, TRW, and dozens of others.
It was U.S.
intelligence agents working out of Manta who fingered Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia leader Ricardo Palmera last year, and several leaders of
the U.S.-supported coup against Haitian President Bertram Aristide spent
several months there before launching the 2004 coup that exiled Aristide to
“Privatizing” war is not only the logical extension of the Bush admin's.
mania for contracting everything out to the private sector; it also shields
the White House's activities from the U.S. Congress.
“My complaint about the
use of private contractors,” says U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsy (D-IL), “is their
ability to fly under the radar to avoid accountability.”
The role that Manta
is playing in the northern part of the continent is what so worries
countries in the southern cone about Mariscal Estigarribia.
“Once the United States arrives,” Argentinean Nobel Peace Prize laureate
Adolfo Perez commented about the Paraguay base, “it takes a long time to
Life at the Triple Frontier
administration has made the “Triple Frontier Region” where Brazil, Paraguay,
and Argentina meet into the South American equivalent of Iraq's Sunni
According to William Pope, U.S. State Department Counterterrorist
Coordinator, the United States has evidence that 9/11 mastermind Khalid
Sheik Mohammed spent several months in the area in 1995.
The U.S. military
also says it seized documents in Afghanistan with pictures of Paraguay and
letters from Arabs living in Cuidad del Este, a city of some 150,000 people
in the tri-border region.
The Defense Department has not revealed what the letters contained, and
claims that the area is a hotbed of Middle East terrorism have been widely
The U.S. State Department's analysis of the region - ”Patterns of
Terrorism” - found no evidence for the charge, and an International Monetary
Fund (IMF) study found the area awash with money smuggling, but not
terrorism. It is the base's proximity to Bolivia that causes the most
concern, particularly given the Bush administration's charges that Cuba and
Venezuela are stirring up trouble in that Andean nation.
Bolivia has seen a
series of political upheavals, starting with a revolt against the
privatization of water supplies by the U.S. Bechtel Corp. and the French
utility giant, Suez de Lyonnaise des Eaux.
The water uprising was sparked
off when Suez announced it would charge between $335 and $445 to connect a
private home to the water supply.
Bolivia's yearly per capita gross domestic
product is $915. The water revolt, which spread to IMF enforced taxes and
the privatization of gas and oil reserves, forced three presidents to
The country is increasingly polarized between its majority Indian population
and an elite minority that has dominated the nation for hundreds of years.
Six out of 10 people live below the poverty line, a statistic that rises to
nine in 10 in rural areas.
Bolivia in Focus
For the Bush administration, however, Bolivia is all about subversion, not
poverty and powerlessness. When U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
visited Paraguay this past August, he told reporters that,
“There certainly is evidence that
both Cuba and Venezuela have been involved in the situation in Bolivia in
A Rumsfeld aide told the press that Cuba was involved in the unrest, a
charge that even one of Bolivia's ousted Pres, Carlos Mesa, denies.
focus of the unrest in Bolivia is who controls its vast natural gas
deposits, the second largest in the Western Hemisphere.
Under pressure from the United States and the IMF, Bolivia sold off its oil
and gas to Enron and Shell in 1995 for $263.5 million, less than 1% of what
the deposits are worth. The Movement Toward Socialism's presidential
candidate Evo Morales, a Quechuan Indian and trade union leader who is
running first in the polls, wants to renationalize the deposits.
indicate that 75% of Bolivians agree with him.
Failed States and Intervention
But the present political crisis over upcoming elections Dec. 18, and
disagreements on how to redistribute seats in the legislature, has the
United States muttering dark threats about “failed states.”
U.S. General Bantz J. Craddock, commander of Southern Command, told the House Armed
“In Bolivia , Ecuador , and Peru , distrust and loss of faith in failed
institutions fuel the emergence of anti-U.S., anti-globalization, and
anti-free trade demagogues.”
Bolivia has been placed on the National Intelligence Council's list of 25
countries where the United States will consider intervening in case of
This is scary talk for Latin American countries. Would the United States
invade Bolivia? Given the present state of its military, unlikely.
Would the United States try to destabilize Bolivia's economy while training
people how to use military force to insure Enron, Shell, British Gas, Total,
Repsol, and the United States continues to get Bolivian gas for pennies on
the dollar? Quite likely.
And would the White House like to use such a coup
as a way to send a message to other countries? You bet. President Bush may
be clueless on geography, but he is not bad at overthrowing governments and
Will it be as easy as it was in the old days when the CIA could bribe
truckers to paralyze Chile and set the stage for a coup? Nothing is easy in
Latin America anymore.
The United States can bluster about a trade war, but the playing field is a
little more level these days. The Mercosur Group of Argentina, Brazil,
Uruguay, and Paraguay embraces 250 million people, generates $1 trillion in
goods, and is the third largest trade organization on the planet.
If the American market tightens, the Chinese are more than willing to pick
up the slack. A meeting last month of the Ibero-American heads of state
turned downright feisty. The assembled nations demanded an end to the
“blockade” of Cuba. The word “blockade” is very different than the word
“embargo,” the term that was always used in the past.
A “blockade” is a
violation of international law.
The meeting also demanded that the United States extradite Luis Posada to
Venezuela for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 76 people.
the United States tries something in Bolivia (or Venezuela), it will find
that the old days when proxy armies and economic destabilization could bring
down governments are gone, replaced by countries and people who no longer
curtsy to the colossus from the north.
Media Reports That 16,000 U.S. Troop Invade
by James Dunnigan
August 7, 2005
Earlier this month, there was a fast moving news story in Latin America
about the American troops in Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay, a town in the
desolate Chaco desert.
As the story grew, during the first week of July, it
evolved into the description of an air strip out in the desert capable of
handling B-52s and heavy American transports. Word had it that some 16,000
American troops were moving in. The reason for all this American military
activity was reported as U.S. interest in natural gas deposits across the
border in Bolivia.
Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Eventually, some reporters checked with government officials, and flew out
into the Chaco desert to see for themselves. Naturally, there was no there
there. What was there was an air freight base being built by a Russian firm.
There were American troops in Paraguay. Seven (as in 7) had arrived in the
capital on July 3rd, to conduct a training course on counterinsurgency and
A second small group of will arrive on July 24th, to
do medical work in eastern Paraguay. A total of 204 American troops will be
visiting Paraguay, in groups no larger than 32, between July and December,
2005. These are all training missions of one kind or another.
Wild rumors about nefarious American military operations have always been
popular in Latin America, but the strident efforts to paint the liberation
of Iraq as another conquest by evil imperialists has got reporters fired up
and ready to take any rumor the extra mile.
Sun Myung Moon
The top-down expressions of apocalyptic,
fundamentalist faith represent a screen theology, to deceive the sincerely
devout - for instance, that Bush is a "godly man" who holds power by the
"will of God" in these "Last Days" - and to mask the true hearts and
intentions of the gangster elite.
At best, they are hypocrites. And if they
are worse than that, then they are much worse.
Many of America's conservative Christians may be surprised to learn their
Christian Right isn't so Christian anymore. Over the past 15 years, it's
been largely bought, borrowed, compromised and blackmailed by Reverend Sun
And what Moon represents is yet another hub in the
fascist/intelligence/criminal nexus of money laundering, drug trafficking
and arms dealing we frequently see behind the thinning veil of America.
Limited investigations of Moon’s organization have revealed large sums of
money flowing into the United States mostly from untraceable accounts in
Japan, where Moon had close ties to yakuza gangster Ryoichi Sasakawa.
Moon associates also have revealed major money flows from shadowy sources in
South America, where Moon built relationships with right-wing elements
associated with the cocaine trade, including the so-called Cocaine Coup
government of Bolivia in the early 1980s.
Allegations of Moon's relationship to the South American drug trade don't
stop with the fall of Klaus Barbie's neo-fascist narco-state.
Moon has acquired 600,000 hectares of arid land in Paraguay's northern state
of Chaco, bordering Brazil, directly above the world's largest
Senator Domingo Laino claims that Moon intends to control his
nation's narcotics trafficking, as well as the "largest fresh drinking water
source in the world."
Paraguay's drugs tsar from 1976-89, Dr Montiel, has said:
The fact that they came and bought in Chaco and on both sides of the
Brazilian border is very telling. It is an enormously strategic point in
both the narcotics and arms trades and indeed the available intelligence
clearly shows that the Moon sect is involved in both these enterprises.
If that's not bad enough, Iran-Contra vet Elliot Abrams - Bush's new "Deputy
National Security Adviser for global democracy strategy" - is also deep in
Abrams spoke at three Moon rallies in 1998, including one in
Sao Paolo, Brazil, attacking anti-cult "deprogrammers" and those who hire
them to rescue their family members from the Unification Church.
to Abrams - about whom we're expected to believe this matters - it's simply
an issue of "religious freedom."
While Moon is a large, and largely hidden, part of the story of the
corruption of religion for criminal and covert ends, the story neither
begins nor ends with him. There are many examples on the spooky side of
life, that demonstrate that evangelical Christianity has been penetrated and
exploited by intelligence assets, and that what may sound like a profession
of faith may be nothing more a cover story, and a joke at the expense of the
Michael Meiring, the Davao City bomber sheltered by U.S. authorities from
Philippine justice, confided to acquaintances in Mindanao that he was CIA,
but winked that it stood for "Christ in action."
Wally Hilliard, the money man behind the two Florida flight schools which
trained the 9/11 pilots, is an avowed evangelical who's former insurance
firm in Wisconsin boasted the motto "Hate Sin, Fight Communism, and Back the
Forty-three pounds of heroin was found on Wally's Lear Jet, just
three weeks after Mohammed Atta enrolled; the largest seizure ever in
Central Florida. His plane had made dozens of round trips to Venezuela with
passengers who always paid cash, and that the plane had been supplied to
Hilliard by the same drug smugglers who had outfitted CIA drug smuggler
Hilliard and his pilot were not charged. The heroin seizure
plays like one of those instances in which the DEA gets its wires crossed
with the black ops boys. (Daniel Hopsicker tells more, in his Welcome to
Interestingly, Hilliard is yet another "devout" figure who has bailed out
Jerry Falwell, having loaned, and forgiven, the Reverend one million
Shortly after, another curious thing happened: Britannia Aviation
was awarded a five-year contract to manage a large maintenance facility at
the Lynchburg airport. It was chosen over a seasoned local company worth
millions, when it had a book value of only $750, virtually no
qualifications, employees or history.
Britannia didn't even have the
necessary FAA license to fulfill the contract. What it had, however, was
Wally Hilliard's hanger at the Venice, Florida flight school, and according
to a Drug Enforcement Agency source, a "greenlight" to operate by the DEA.
Hopsicker's research suggests Brittania may have been used as part of the
protected black ops drug trade, which was much in evidence in Venice.
Indeed, it seems as though there are many interested parties who have bailed
out the Reverend Falwell.
"Jerry Falwell got bailed out in the early '90's by a Lynchburg businessman
whose son is married to Billy Graham's daughter," a Lynchburg observer told
us. "Since then he runs a missionary service called World Help, which flies
all over the world."
Many of the flight trainers who had trained the Arab terrorist pilots had
also flown missions out of the Venice and Sarasota Florida Airports for such
Christian missionary services as televangelist Pat Robertson's Operation
It was "Islamic fundamentalist" Osama bin laden who cloaked his covert
activities under the cover of religious charities. Were we now discovering
that our own government intelligence agencies used the same ruse?
Christian-linked or not, why did a transparent dummy front company like Paul
Marten's Britannia Aviation have a 'green light' from the DEA? A green light
Gerard Colby's and Charlotte Dennett's massive work, Thy Will Be Done:
Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil, painfully details how
the missionaries of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), also known as
Wycliffe Bible Translators, served as proxy soldiers in the CIA's Amazonian
From a review by Carmelo Ruiz:
The authors found SIL a veritable empire whose missionary activities spanned
every country in the Amazon basin, with a network of bases that look more
like picket-fenced American suburbia than the frontier outposts for the
global economy that they actually are.
SIL even has its own air force and
communications system, the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS), which
permits it to act virtually independently from the governments of the
countries where it operates. After years of research, Colby and Dennett
found a number of irrefutable links between SIL and U.S. counterinsurgency
Among these, SIL agressively denied that the native peoples of
Brazil and Guatemala were being slaughtered by the military regimes of their
countries; it allowed its base in the Ecuadoran Amazon to be used by Green
Berets who were combing the Western Amazon for signs of armed insurgency;
and it assisted the Peruvian air force, which had napalmed the Mayoruna and
In the course of their investigation, the authors learned that SIL had a big
debt to institutions and individuals associated with the Rockefeller
Colby and Dennett found the Rockefeller connection particularly
intriguing, and went on to investigate the Rockefeller family's financial
interests in the commercial and industrial development of the Brazilian
Amazon. In 1941, Nelson Rockefeller was named by president Roosevelt to the
post of coordinator of the Office of Interamerican Affairs (CIAA), which ran
intelligence and propaganda operations against the Nazis in Latin America.
In one of its many flagrant violations of the separation between church and
state, SIL assisted the CIAA in its Intensive Language Program for American
and Latin American military officers and gathered intelligence on native
As coordinator of the CIAA, Nelson acquired invaluable information
about Latin America's untapped natural resources, especially mineral
reserves, information that ended up in his files and which he used after the
war, when he formed the International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC).
company became a key component in the post-World War Two opening of the
Amazon rainforest to commercial exploitation, a process that eventually led
to military dictatorships, genocide of native peoples, loss of biological
diversity and unprecedented misery for the majority of Brazilians.
The Rockefeller-led effort to conquer the Amazon and exploit its natural
riches had been made possible in no small measure by SIL's missionary
activities. Colby and Dennett found a historic parallel in John D.
Rockefeller, Sr's support for Christian missionaries in the American west,
who were compiling extremely useful information on Native American
communities, which were potential sources of opposition to the entrance of
Standard Oil into their lands.
As a bonus, the evangelization process
weakened the American Indians' social structure and so undermined their
resolve to fight for their rights.
The authors quote Baptist reverend
Frederick Gates, who for many years was John D. Sr.'s right-hand man, as
"We are only in the very dawn of commerce, and we owe that dawn
to the channels opened up by Christian missionaries... The effect of the
missionary enterprise of the English speaking peoples will be to bring them
the peaceful conquest of the world."
John W. Hinkley Sr, the father of Ronald Reagan's would-be assassin. was
president of the board for World Vision.
World Vision served, in the words
of John Judge's words, as a "penetration force" for the CIA. (The Hinkleys
and the Bushes had known each other for decades. In the sixties, when
Hinkley's oil company was failing, it was bailed out by Bush's Zapata Oil.)
World Vision was financed during the Vietnam War by the Agency and given the
use of military equipment.
According to Judge, the mission ran the Cuban and
Thai refugee camps in the United States. Reportedly there were beatings and
abuses, and the camps were staffed by Alpha 66 and Omega 7 people, the
virulently anti-Castro assets, who were looking for like-minded
anti-communists to recruit for intelligence gathering and
And as if we haven't had enough already, here's another
kick in the head: Mark David Chapman, who eventually shot John Lennon,
worked at World Vision's Thai refugee camps in Arkansas.
(That both Hinkley
and Chapman were fixated upon Catcher in the Rye has suggested to some that
the book was used as a trigger for "Manchurian"-like assassin mind control
And speaking of mind control, survivor Kathleen Sullivan told the late Jim
Keith in his book Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness, that she
heard of plans to use Christian evangelists to push belief in the
"tribulation" and the "Last Days" as one means of achieving social mastery.
Paraguayans accuse Moon of carving out an empire of
October 14, 2004
"Since 1999, Rev Moon has built his personal empire which begins on the
marshy banks of the River Paraguay and stretches beyond the hazy, level
horizon through 600,000 hectares of arid land - equivalent to more than two
Luxembourg - punctuated by solitary clusters of withered trees and sad
bushes which struggle desperately for air.
The scorching sun beats relentlessly on one of Latin America's most desolate
zones. It is here in the northern province of Chaco, directly above
the GuaranI aquifer, the largest resource of fresh drinking water in the world,
where Moon's associates claim he wishes to build an ecological paradise.
Nevertheless, national Senator Domingo Laino sees a different pattern in
"There are two principal branches to Moon's interest in
Paraguay," he said, "control of the largest fresh drinking water source in
the world and control of the narcotics business", which is so prevalent in
"President Lula told me that Brazil took serious measures to curb
Moon a few years back as it became evident that he was buying up the border
between our two countries," said the senator.
Allegations from local law enforcement officials support this claim. The
so-called Dr Montiel, Paraguay's drugs tsar from 1976-89, said:
"The fact that they came and bought in
Chaco and on both sides of the Brazilian border is very telling.
It is an enormously strategic point in
both the narcotics and arms trades and indeed the available
intelligence clearly shows that the Moon sect is involved in both
"Not content with expanses of potentially invaluable land, Rev Moon has also
taken over entire towns, including factories and homes.
In Puerto Casado,
tensions between Moon disciples and locals led to violent confrontation over
the last year following the closure of the only source of work, a lumber
factory, and the dismissal of 19 workers who tried to form a union in order
to demand an eight-hour day and the national minimum wage of GBP80 sterling
According to Senator Emilio Camacho:
"The Moon sect is a mafia. They seek to
subvert government control and are effectively building a state
within a state. I believe they are hoping the local population will
leave so they have unquestioned authority in the zone and are free
to do whatever they want."
U.S. base in
Paraguay established to protect Sun Myung Moon's water and land resources
August 9, 2005
With U.S. troops currently protecting Halliburton's oil operations in Iraq
and the CentGas pipeline in Afghanistan, U.S. troops are now being sent to
Paraguay, complete with immunity from criminal prosecution by Paraguay or
the International Criminal Court, to protect the millions of acres of
Paraguayan water and land resources bought over the years by religious cult
leader Sun Myung Moon.
It is not coincidental that Moon's Unification Church
has many followers within the Bush administration.
Last month, 500 U.S.
troops arrived in Paraguay to expand the Mariscal Estigarriba air base to
handle large U.S. military transport planes. Moon's land acquisitions in
Chaco Province are just north of the huge Guarani aquifer, one of the
world's largest sources of fresh water.
In addition, Moon has acquired large
tracts of land on the Brazilian side of the Paraguayan border.
villagers in Paraguay and Brazil claim that most of Moon's land acquisitions
were fraudulent and illegal. Moon's World Unification Church operates in
Paraguay under a corporate contrivance called the Victoria Company. Paraguay
has also announced that everyone entering and leaving Paraguay will be
photographed and fingerprinted.
Not coincidentally, the new border control
system is being financed by South Korea.
The Moon King of Paraguay: Protected by U.S. Troops
There is clearly a split within the Paraguayan government, with the Vice
President and Pentagon neo-con ally Luis Castiglioni negotiating, along with
a majority in the Paraguayan Congress, close bilateral military ties with
the United States, apparently without the concurrence of President Nicanor
It is no coincidence that considering the oil-centric Bush
administration, the Mariscal Estigarriba air base is close to large Bolivian
natural gas reserves in the neighboring Bolivian provinces of Santa Cruz and
The U.S. move in Paraguay comes at the same time the U.S. is stepping up its
"counter-narcotics" operations from its Manta, Ecuador base and Venezuela's
President Hugo Chavez is accusing the United States of using Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel in Latin America as espionage
agents trying to destabilize his government.
In addition, the Paraguayan
military operations are seen as a Bush administration attempt to intimidate
neighboring Bolivia, where MAS Socialist party and coca farmer (cocalero)
leader Evo Morales is poised to become the next President in scheduled
December elections after years of popular demonstrations which saw Bolivian
workers and peasants deposing a series of pro-U.S. presidents.
government would add another anti-U.S. and free trade government in South
America, joining Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
So soon, the mothers and fathers of U.S. military personnel will be able to
take comfort in sacrificing the lives of their sons and daughters for a
self-proclaimed Messiah, a non-English speaking Korean who claims to have
saved the souls of Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, Stalin, and Hitler and
communicates regularly with others in his departed flock of adherents,
including all the deceased Presidents of the United States (who, Moon
claims, appointed Richard Nixon as their spokesman from the "hereafter").
About a year and a half ago (here
here), I referred to Sun Myung Moon's purchase of 600,000 hectares of
Paraguay's Chaco for the
stated intention of erecting an "ecological paradise."
Moon's land sits
atop the Guarani Aquifer, the Earth's largest resource of fresh drinking
water, and also happens to be an "enormously strategic point in both the
narcotics and arms trades," according to Paraguay's drug czar from 1976-89.
"The available intelligence clearly shows that the Moon sect is involved in
both these enterprises."
Now, apparently, the Reverend is again keeping familiar company:
The Governor of Alto Paraguay, Erasmo
Rodríguez Acosta has admitted to hearing that George Bush Sr. owns land
in the Chaco region of Paraguay, in Paso de Patria.
Acosta says that
rumor has it that Bush owns near to 70 thousand hectares (173,000 acres)
as part of an ecological reserve and/or ranch. However, the governor
said he had no documents to prove the rumor.
Acosta said that some stories credited the
land to the Fundación Patria, which Bush would be a member of. The
spokespeople of the organization were not available to comment.
Supposedly, Timothy Towell , the U.S.
Ambassador in Asunción (the capital of Paraguay) is the present
administrator of the land. First accounts signaled that Bush had
acquired 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres) in the Chaco zone of Fuerte
Olimpo, near the Bolivian Border.
A spark of the interest in this property may
have been Jenna Bush's private visit to Paraguay with Unicef, which
started Saturday, October 7, 2006. Supposedly Jenna will travel to the
ranch to "observe" several indigenous villages are located on the
The original Oct 11 story from Paraguay, in
Spanish, can be found
second story from Prensa Latina
that identifies the purchaser as George W
rather than George HW Bush, but the
Chaco purchase strikes me as more likely an initiative of the father than of
Bush Sr, let's
remember, tootled around Latin America in 1996 as Moon's lapdog and
praised him in Buenos Aires as "the man with the vision." (Moon's foresight
might have included blackmail, specifically the office of the then Vice
President with the
Craig Spence call boy scandal. Influence, by any means necessary.)
Still, keeping Moon's company is a Bush family enterprise, as Neil
accompanied the Reverend last year on his 100-day "global peace
Paraguay, of course, has been a recent
alarm to the region for its
allowance of its tri-border territory to become a U.S. military beachhead.
Now, with the reports of the Bush purchase of an "ecological reserve"
alongside Moon's, we have good reason to suspect that U.S. national security
has again been seconded to the Bush family business.
Wayne Madsen Reports:
October 16, 2006
WMR was the first to report on UN Secretary
General-designate Ban Ki-moon's possible connections to the Unification
Church of Sun Myung Moon, an enigmatic South Korean power broker and
billionaire whose funding originally came from the Korean Central
Intelligence Agency (KCIA).
Actually, this is a pattern. Bush and Porter
Goss and other of Yale and the CIA owned a huge 25,000 acre 'estate' in
Belize, useful simultaneously for running drugs to North America from
hop points further south; useful for the secret wars of the CIA in
Central America like Nicaragua (as a training base and supply
This can be read about in various places - one
place recommended is the Hopsicker web information about it, as well as
it being mentioned in print in his magnum opus Barry and the Boys.
those who really want to know how the Fourth Reich started its beachhead
in the United States...:
MKULTRA, state drug trades, secret military
experiments, wars, Nazis, organized crime - it's all there.)
I would suggest that all we are seeing is just the attempt to create a
territorial 'hop point' further south for the Bush desired invasion of
the entire South American continent - to remove Chavez/Frias's
Venezuela, Morales' Bolivia, and all nations entirely - helping to shut
off the oil in Peru and Bolivia as well as per the mass global fakery of
keeping the oil in the ground and then claiming a 'crisis' when they
stop pumping it, instead of when they (fake story) 'run out.'
Peak oil? Sheesh...
Peak oil is only an empty concept. It's peak fascism. It's going to be a
studied political shut down of oil, instead of it 'running out.' That's
the cover of the operation only.