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Showing posts from March 12, 2014

Changes in Cocaine Smuggling Tactics

The number of flights carrying cocaine through Honduras, the most common gateway to Central America for U.S.-bound cocaine, has dropped sharply. In fact, no aircraft have been intercepted in 2014. While increased attention from U.S. and Honduran authorities certainly has contributed to the decline in aircraft seizures, other evidence suggests that drug traffickers are simply starting to transport their wares by sea rather than by air.

Cocaine has flowed through Central America to the United States for decades. The use of aircraft to transport cocaine appeared to increase significantly in 2009, when the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force detected 54 suspected drug flights into Honduras -- up from 31 in 2008. Most of these aircraft departed from remote locations in eastern Colombia and southwestern Venezuela. In response, the United States began an aggressive interception program called Operation Anvil in conjunction with Central American police and military forces. The program appears pa…

(CNN) Christiane Amanpour Interviews Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

Transcript of Christiane Amanpour's full interview with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Mr President, thank you for joining me, welcome to our program.

PRESIDENT NICOLAS MADURO: Thank you for being here with us here in Venezuela.

AMANPOUR: And welcome to CNN of course.
MADURO: CNN is always welcome to Venezuela. I am very thankful to see you here so we can talk to the US audience to say the truth of our homeland.
AMANPOUR: I’m very glad about that, since you brought that up, as an ambassador of the American press I just want to say I’m very pleased that you have us and all the international press here to cover the important events here in Venezuela.
MADURO: It is always important, the US audience we believe needs to know more about what is going on in South America, in our Caribbean region. The process of reaffirmation of new independence, of new economic social models, cultural models, of a new mentality that’s been reaffirming in the hemisphere and has to be…

Ukraine On Its Knees-"The Commies are Coming. The Commies are Coming."

By Bo Filter

The media is clamoring to get Russia for attacking Ukraine, as if the US has had no influence on events. Yet, the riot in Kiev has a striking resemblance to US-sponsored color revolutions and Arab spring riots.

The template shows US mercenaries hiding behind peaceful protestors, then, igniting violence. The idea is sinister: to co-opt peaceful protestor's legitimate cause, granting some air of legitimacy, followed by a coup to super-impose western imperial demands.

In Kiev, it started, as usual, with peace protests, then, thugs soon joined in as heavily armed trained militia. Western private media, holding its usual bag of secrets, dodges calls to tell us their country of origin.

Turns out, Germany has tried to annex western Ukraine since World War I. Neo-Nazi troops from the Svobada Party, Punch Party, and the Right Sector, totaling some 5,000, attacked the capital in Kiev. Why they were shipped to Ukraine is important.

Neoconservatives from Washington reunified East and…

The EU Stalls Natural Gas Deals with Russia

Welded sections of the OPAL pipeline are laid near Lubmin, Germany, in 2010. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Summary


The European Union is responding to Russia's foray into Ukraine by using one of the primary linkages between Europe and Russia: natural gas. On March 10, the EU Commission said it would delay a decision determining whether Russian energy major Gazprom could supply more natural gas to Europe through the OPAL pipeline in Germany. Meanwhile, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger announced that negotiations with Russia on the legal status of the South Stream natural gas pipeline would also be delayed.

The competition over Ukraine is at the heart of the issue. Both pipelines enable Moscow to circumvent Ukraine as it delivers natural gas to its European consumers. By stalling the agreements, the European Union is showing its support for Kiev and signaling trepidation over forging stronger energy ties with Russia. But ultimately, these measures are largely symbolic; if an out…

Central America: Cocaine Smugglers Return to the Sea

A soldier stands guard as cocaine seized in the coastal town of La Mosquitia, Honduras, is incinerated on Oct. 17, 2013. (ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


The number of flights carrying cocaine through Honduras, the most common gateway to Central America for U.S.-bound cocaine, appears to have fallen drastically over the past 18 months. Honduran authorities have not reported any seizures of drug-smuggling planes in 2014, and only eight such interdictions were reported in 2013. By comparison, 50 seizures were reported in 2009. During a visit to Honduras in February, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield said the number of suspected smuggling flights detected by the United States had fallen by around 75 percent since 2011, when 100 such aircraft were spotted. Brownfield's announcement reinforced a Honduran air force claim that drug flights in the third quarter of 2013 fell by 50 percent from the previous year.

However, the apparent decline in aerial smuggling of…

Turkey Enters Its Next Round of Political Unrest

A protester holds a picture of Berkin Elvan during clashes with riot police in Istanbul on March 11. (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


With less than three weeks until local elections, the death of a teenage protester has provided the catalyst for what promises to be another round of prolonged and destabilizing demonstrations against Turkey's ruling party. Any attempt by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to crack down on protests will have political and economic repercussions, exposing gaping government deficits, further weakening the lira and putting stress on consumers at a critical time in the election season.

Analysis


The March 11 death of Berkin Elvan, who turned 15 while in a coma after being struck in the head by a tear gas canister last June, rekindled protests across 28 provinces in Turkey ahead of the March 30 municipal elections. The largest protests have been reported in the Turkish capital of Ankara as well as Istanbul and Mersin on the Mediterranean coas…