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Ecuador discovers embassy in London was bugged page 7

Snowden needs to speak out page 8

Friday, July 12, 2013 | Nº 166 | Caracas |

Venezuela links with Caricom Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro traveled to Trinidad and Tobago last weekend to attend the 34th Summit of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) as guest of honor and discuss security, development and integration with other heads of states. While Venezuela is not an official member of the bloc, Maduro proposed the formation of a joint Caricom-Venezuela Council “to facilitate commerce, create shared businesses, and invest in key economic areas”. page 3

ENGLISH EDITION/The artillery of ideas

Venezuela celebrates independence and offers Edward Snowden asylum

NSA Spied on Venezuela & Chavez NSA documents revealed by Edward Snowden show the agencies spied extensively on Venezuela. page 4 Venezuelans commemorated their country’s 202nd anniversary of independence from Spain last Friday with a series of public and official acts that culminated in a civicmilitary parade in the capital of Caracas. During the events, President Nicolas Maduro publicly offerred Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, political asylum in Venezuela due to humanitarian reasons. The Venezuelan President made the decision, he said, in order to “protect [Snowden] from the persecution that has been unleashed by the most powerful empire in the world”. Page 2

Corruption busted in Venezuela T/ Agencies

President Maduro named a woman Admiral to the highest military position in the name. page 4 International

South America demands apology from Europe Unasur nations condemn European countries that grounded the Bolivian president’s plane. page 6

ALBA Bank invests millions in social programs T/ AVN


First woman Minister of Defense


Venezuelan authorities have arrested five locals allegedly involved in embezzling $84 million from a development fund run by the government in collaboration with China, President Nicolas Maduro said Monday. The move is the latest in an anticorruption crusade launched by the Venezuelan leader. “We have five detained for now; the raid continues”, Mr. Maduro said, adding that those arrested were administrators of the China fund working through the Economic and Social Development Bank of Venezuela, or Bandes.

China has extended around $35 billion in loans to Venezuela for development projects over the last several years as it looks to secure access to oil and other natural resources. The joint China-Venezuela fund is among the payment mecha-

nisms and at least three tranches, each worth $6 billion, have been disbursed toward projects in Venezuela. Each of the tranches includes a $4 billion contribution from the Chinese government, while Bandes adds $2 billion.

The Bank of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) has designated over $170 million to programs like ALBA Education, ALBA Culture and ALBA Health. These projects seek to convert education into a transforming force to strengthen the historic memory of Latin American peoples; to promote the integration of artists, creators and other culture workers; and to develop a single, harmonized, centralized system for registering medicines in countries that make up the organization. To evaluate these investments, Rafael Isea, President of the Bank of ALBA, held a meeting with Ismael Gonzalez, Social Policy Coordinator for ALBA. “The Bank of ALBA not only promotes social-productive projects and programs that meet real social needs, it also contributes to the economic, political, cultural and commercial integration of ALBA member countries”, Isea indicated via a press release. ALBA Education oversees the implementation of educational programs like “Yo, si puedo” (Yes, I can) and “Yo, si puedo seguir” (Yes, I can continue) created by Cuban teachers and currently in place in Bolivia, Nicaragua and Dominica. These projects have led to elementary school education for over 500,000 Bolivians and approximately 800,000 Nicaraguans, while Dominica is developing a pilot program. ALBA Culture also finances scholarships for cultural research and gallery exhibitions. The Bank of ALBA was founded in 2008 and includes Bolivia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica.

2 Impact | .ŽsFriday, July 12, 2013

The artillery of ideas

the hurricane force of a revolution that does not fear history and that stops for no one”, President Maduro declared.


Venezuela celebrates 202 years of Independence, Offers Asylum to Edward Snowden T/ COI P/ Presidential Press


enezuelans commemorated their country’s 202nd anniversary of independence from Spain last Friday with a series of public and official acts that culminated in a civicmilitary parade in the capital of Caracas. The events began with a reading of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence by Congressman Andres Eloy Mendez in the National Assembly chambers. The solemn act, presided over by President Nicolas Maduro, was followed by a speech given by Foreign Minister Elias Jaua. In his address, Jaua traced the roots of Venezuela’s independence movement from the indigenous struggles against the Spanish and European invasion to the contemporary fight against US Hegemony in Latin America. “It’s a vast tradition of resistance whose initial moments began with the actions of [native warriors] Guaicaipuro, Tamanaco, Terepaima, and the many others who opposed the European conquest of these lands”, he asserted. The anti-colonial cause was then taken up by forefathers Francisco Miranda and Simon Bolivar who in 1811, alongside

other revolutionaries of the era, declared Venezuela a territory free from Spanish rule, Jaua declared. The foreign minister emphasized the parallels between Venezuela’s 19th century leaders and the revolutionary fight of the late Hugo Chavez, the nation’s former president who succumbed to cancer in March. For Jaua, the social programs and human development initiatives begun by Chavez, as well as his reorientation of the country away from neoliberalism and the Washington consensus, have helped to blaze a new sovereign path for Venezuela. “Today we have a homeland because political power

is decided by the people, not by elites. We have a homeland because we have the largest reserves of oil in the world in the Orinoco belt and because the income from oil is being managed by a state that is funneling it to health, education, alimentation, and housing. We have a homeland because 80 out of 100 Venezuelans are not poor while the other 20 are protected by social security... We have a homeland because hunger and illiteracy are part of a sad history that will never return”, he declared.

MILITARY PROMOTIONS Subsequent to the congressional proceedings, Venezuelan

President Maduro attended the ascension of military officers in the 4F barracks in the Caracas neighborhood of 23 de Enero. The barracks represent an important landmark in the country’s current political history as they served as the headquarters for the failed military rebellion launched on February 4, 1992 and led by the late Chavez. During Friday’s ceremony, Maduro honored those officers who through dedication and service to the ideals of the nation’s armed forces have been promoted an immediate rank. “Congratulations to all of the dignified officials who are today ascending ranks. Now it behooves you to be an example... to ascend the hierarchy of ethics, spirituality, and the military”, the head of state said. Maduro designated a new Military High Command during the act, and called on the officers to increase their service to the people and follow the moral example set by Hugo Chavez. As part of the new assignations, Admiral Carmen Melendez was appointed as the nation’s Minister of Defense, the first woman in Venezuela’s history to occupy the post. “Today, day of the homeland... is the day of the forces, of the armed forces, of moral force... Today, in the name of Hugo Chavez, we will continue forward with

Friday’s activities came to close with a parade that saw the participation of social movements and members of the nation’s armed forces. Upon the procession’s ending, President Maduro addressed the crowd and urged residents to continue strengthening the nation through grassroots democracy and security measures like the ones being implemented by his administration. The head of state also drew a line between the nation’s right-wing, which he accused of aligning with the interests of the US, and the country’s independence fighters, who are following the path of the progressive government. “Today...the principal debate is not between patriotic conservatives and patriotic revolutionaries. The principal debate is between two ideas: the idea of a free homeland, independent of the empire...and the idea of the kneeling fascists who have sold out to the North American empire”, he said. Maduro additionally touched upon the topic of Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence analyst who is seeking refuge after disclosing the workings of Washington’s international surveillance operations. “As head of state and of the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the US citizen Edward Snowden so that he can come and live in the homeland of Bolivar and Chavez”, he informed. Bolivia and Nicaragua have also offered asylum to the whistleblower who to date remains holed up in a Moscow airport. The Venezuelan President made the decision, he said, in order to “protect [Snowden] from the persecution that has been unleashed by the most powerful empire in the world.” “Who violates international law?” Maduro asked. “A young man who has decided, with a rebellious act, to tell the truth about the espionage that the United States is carrying out against the world... or a government made up of imperialist elites who are spying on the world?” While some Russian politicians have suggested that the 30 year-old accept Caracas’ offer, no formal statement from Snowden has been made confirming his asylum in Venezuela.

.ŽsFriday, July 12, 2013

The artillery of ideas

Venezuela’s Maduro attends 34th Caricom conference, proposes greater regional integration T/ COI P/ Presidential Press


enezuelan President Nicolas Maduro traveled to Trinidad and Tobago last weekend to attend the 34th Summit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as guest of honor and discuss security, development and integration with other heads of states. The gathering took place in the capital of Port of Spain where the Venezuelan President called for a strengthening of Caribbean unity through the creation of joint socio-economic development initiatives. While Venezuela is not an official member of the bloc, Maduro proposed the formation of a joint CARICOM-Venezuela Council “to facilitate commerce, create shared businesses, and invest in key economic areas”. The socialist leader also suggested linking the Caribbean alliance with the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) trade bloc, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela. “We fervently believe, in a very practical way, that we can arrive at a beneficial agreement to de-


enezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with his Panamanian counterpart Ricardo Martinelli last Monday in Caracas to jump start bilateral relations between the two Latin American nations and search for new ways to collaborate on topics of common interest. President Martinelli was received at the Simon Bolivar International Airport by the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Veronica Guerrero who said the visit was intended to “reactive and make dynamic cooperative relations between sister nations”. As a result of the meeting held between the two heads of state at the Presidential Palace of Miraflores, it was agreed to form a bilateral technical commission to explore new opportunities for joint endeavors


“We want to create a security plan for the Caribbean together. You all know that we are the victims of international crime and narco-trafficking... Let’s install a security commission and begin to work on concrete plans for the monitoring of the Caribbean, for the protection of our countries”, he asserted.


velop an economic relationship between CARICOM and MERCOSUR. We’re going to carry this message and we’ve already expressed some ideas with our partners in MERCOSUR. We’re going to propose a special plan”, the Venezuelan President said. Such a coupling would “move forward a great consolidated development zone” and provide access for the Caribbean countries to the larger markets of Brazil and Argentina, Maduro underscored.

The 15-nation CARICOM alliance was first proposed 40 years ago but various points of contention remain between affiliated countries, evidencing the challenges facing regional integration. Transportation and more specifically airline subsidies have been a topic of debate within the bloc, while heavy internal debt in individual countries has made coordination problematic. Despite these difficulties, Barbados Prime Minister Fre-

undel Stuart was unequivocal in stating that “any objective evaluation of CARICOM over the past 40 years” must lead to the conclusion that the alliance “is more united than ever”. On Saturday, President Maduro affirmed that Venezuela was “at the service” of the CARICOM nations to promote regional integration and highlighted the need to increase cooperation in the fight against crime and illicit drugs.

While in Port of Spain, Maduro met with Trinidadian Prime Minister Kamla PersadBissessar to discuss energy cooperation and to reactivate plans to examine the exploration and exploitation of gas reserves shared between the two nations. “We are going to reactivate all of our cooperative efforts at all levels and establish a permanent consulting mechanism at the ministerial level to invigorate a relationship that is fundamental to our country”, said Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua who accompanied President Maduro on Saturday. This includes establishing new work sessions in Trinidad with the energy ministers of both countries as well as arranging conversations between other high functionaries in areas of security and defense to create joint public safety initiatives. Follow-up meetings are set to take place at the end of this month, Jaua informed.

ket with important consumer goods. “The free zone can be a very important factor in the supply of all types of products in Venezuela, not only because of how close it is but also because of its capacity to stock the Venezuelan market as it has done for many years”, he stated. Also discussed during the encounter was the idea of designating Panama as the headquarters of the Community of Latin American and Carib-

bean States (CELAC) hemispheric alliance. CELAC was founded by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2011 to promote regional integration in the spirit of independence hero Simon Bolivar. Maduro commented that Panama is a logical option to house the main offices of the alliance given its geography and the role that it played in Bolivar’s campaign to free the continent from Spanish rule. “Panama was the center of the efforts of the Liberator, Simon Bolivar in 1826...We look at Panama as the center of the convergence of his efforts at that time and now of all of Latin America and the Caribbean”, he stated. To maintain the positive momentum created by Monday’s meeting, Maduro informed that he will visit Panama in the coming weeks. “I will soon be going to Panama to continue strengthening our cooperative relations. If I had to rate this work meeting, I would say that it was excellent”, the Venezuelan President said.

Panama and Venezuela move forward with bilateral relations T/ COI P/ Presidential Press

| Integration

and to evaluate Venezuela’s outstanding debt with Panamanian businesses. “We have decided to establish a Memorandum of Understanding in order to create a Bilateral Technical Commission that will be charged with all of the topics that have to do with commercial relations, tax procedures, and to facilitate a path towards dynamic exchange and development”, Maduro said. The Venezuelan President also agreed to initiate a direct flight between Caracas and Panama via the Venezuelan state airline Conviasa. The route, Martinelli informed, will help aid the state company to expand its service to other Central American destinations. “I’m sure that with this airline exchange... there will be great benefits for any Venezuelan airline because Panama is one of the biggest airport hubs

in the area”, the Panamanian head of state said. Panama is also a destination itself for many Venezuelan tourists and businessmen who frequently travel to the nation’s Colon Free Zone to import products back to the South American nation. On Monday, President Maduro spoke of the need to take advantage of the proximity of the Central American nation and the capacity it has to supply the Venezuelan mar-

4 Politics | .ŽsFriday, July 12, 2013

The artillery of ideas

NSA spied on Venezuela when President Chavez died, documents reveal

Venezuela names first woman Minister of Defense T/ Sascha Bercovitch P/ Agencies


T/ Tamara Pearson P/ Agencies


razilian daily O Globo, reporting jointly with Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald informed Tuesday that according to the leaked National Security Agency (NSA) documents, the United States has also been spying on Venezuela’s petroleum industry. The information comes as governments confirm that whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for asylum in Venezuela. According to the leaked documents, the NSA also spied on other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador. O Globo reports that, “The United States doesn’t seem to be only interested in military affairs, but also in commercial secrets, such as Venezuela’s petroleum”. According to the documents, NSA spied on Latin America through at least two programs, the Prism program in February of this year, and the “Informant Without Limits” program from January to March.

One document describes Operation Silverzephyr, which accessed information through partnerships with private satellite and phone operators, focusing on Latin American countries. The document shows that the NSA agency collected information through telephone calls, faxes and emails, possibly using the program Fairview. According to O Globo and the leaked NSA documents, Venezuela was also observed in 2008 through the X-Keyscore program, which identifies the presence of foreigners according to the language they use in emails. Further, in March this year it appears that Venezuela was a priority for the NSA’s spying. President Hugo Chavez died on March 5th, and presidential elections were called for April 14th.

US REACTS TO VENEZUELA’S ASYLUM OFFER On Sunday US legislators suggested sanctioning countries that grant asylum to Edward Snowden, who leaked the NSA documents to The Guardian. The Chair of the US House of Representative’s intelligence committee, Mike

Rogers, said Latin American countries are “using Snowden as a public relations tool... we shouldn’t allow this... it’s a serious issue...some Latin American companies enjoy trade benefits from the United States and we’re going to have to revise that”. Legislator Robert Menendez also said that any “acceptance of Snowden” would put that country “directly against the United States”. The Venezuelan government formally offered Snowden asylum on July 5th. Nicaragua and Bolivia have also done so. “We’ve made very clear that he [Snowden] has been charged with felonies and as such, he should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel other than travel that would result in him returning to the United States”, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters during a daily news conference. On Monday Maduro confirmed that Venezuela has also formally received an asylum request from Snowden, who agencies report to have been in the Moscow airport since June 23rd.

dmiral Carmen Melendez will be promoted to Admiral-in-Chief and Minister of Defense, making her the first female to head the country’s Armed Forces, President Nicolas Maduro announced in a ceremony last Friday afternoon. “I have had a task of great responsibility, and I have relied on the support of a military high command of great quality … Today a group of comrades will climb the ranks who are trained and educated to make revolution now and forever”, Maduro said. At the top of those ranks is Melendez, whose new position as the country’s highest military official puts her in direct response to Maduro, who as President also serves as Commander-in-Chief, a position now fully incorporated into the military in the 2008 Organic Law of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. A native of the state of Barinas, the same home state as late President and former military officer Hugo Chavez, Melendez has several decades of experience, serving as Minister of the Office of the Presidency, Vice Minister of Education for the Defense Ministry, and Female Platoon Commander in Venezuela’s Naval School before becoming the first fe-

male to achieve the rank of Admiral. Though she maintained close relations with Chavez, who promoted her to Admiral, Melendez has been described as a military institutionalist. In 1992, she fought against Chavez’s unsuccessful military coup of President Carlos Andres Perez from the San Bernardino Naval Command in Caracas; and in 2002, during a brief coup against Chavez, she remained in the Miraflores presidential palace. The private national Venezuelan newspaper Ultimas Noticias noted that the only point at which she showed discomfort in an interview earlier today was upon being asked whether she belonged to the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the country’s largest left-wing party founded by Chavez in 2008. “I am an active member of the military”, she responded, explaining that those matters should be left to experts. In addition to Melendez, Maduro made eight appointments to round out the military’s high command, including major General Vladimir Padrino as Chief of Operational Strategic Command and major General Alexis Lopez as General Commander of the Army. Maduro made previous minister for defense, Diego Molero, the ambassador to Brazil.

.ŽsFriday, July 12, 2013

The artillery of ideas

Paper reveals NSA ops in Latin America

T/ Juan Forero


Brazilian newspaper on Tuesday published an article it said is based on documents provided by the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden asserting that the United States has been collecting data on telephone calls and e-mails from several countries in Latin America, including important allies such as Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. The paper, O Globo, based in Rio de Janeiro, says the documents show the National Security Agency amassed military and security data on countries such as Venezuela. But the documents also show that the agency carried out surveillance operations to unearth inside commercial information on the oil industry in Venezuela and the energy sector in Mexico, which is under state control and essentially closed to foreign investment. US officials have declined to address issues about intelligence gathering or the O Globo report, except to issue a statement saying that “we have been clear that the United States does gather foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations”. The report on Tuesday came after O Globo on Sunday pub-

lished a story contending that Brazil is a major target of the NSA’s international effort to monitor telecommunications. The newspaper said that in gathering data in Brazil, the NSA counted on the collaboration of American and Brazilian telecommunications companies, though O Globo did not name them. The revelations of the US agency’s operations across a swath of Latin America coincided with news from Russia about where Snowden, who is believed to be at the Moscow airport, may be headed. A leading Russian lawmaker, Alexei Pushkov, said on Tuesday via his Twitter account that Snowden, who had been a contractor for the NSA, had accepted the asylum offer that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had made on Friday. Neither Venezuela nor Russia’s government confirmed Pushkov’s announcement, and minutes after Pushkov issued his initial message it had been erased from his Twitter feed. Though Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of the Russian parliament, has provided insights into the Kremlin’s thinking on Snowden, his messages on Tuesday left little clarity about exactly what Snowden had decided.

Snowden’s revelations show that the NSA has been gathering countless data from the phone records of Americans and Internet usage abroad. The information does not include the content of phone calls or e-mail messages but what is called “metadata” — records of addresses, the time when e-mails are sent and other information that can reveal important patterns to intelligence officials. In the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo told reporters that Thomas Shannon, the US ambassador to Brazil, denied in a meeting that the United States carries out surveillance operations on Brazilian communications. Shannon also told Bernardo that the United States is not working with Brazilian telecom operators. In brief comments to reporters, Shannon on Monday touted what he called “an excellent” level of cooperation between the United States and Brazil on intelligence and law enforcement matters. He said that the O Globo article “showed an image of our program that is not correct” and that US officials are working to assuage the Brazilian government’s concerns. The revelations, though, have touched a nerve in Bra-

zil and several other Latin American countries because of past US support for dictatorships notorious for their surveillance of opposition figures and the tapping of their telephones. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was jailed and tortured by the 1970s-era dictatorship that ruled the country, said her government would raise concerns with the UN Commission on Human Rights. “Brazil’s position on this issue is very clear and very firm”, Rousseff said on Monday. “We do not agree at all with inference of this kind, not just in Brazil but in any other country”. She added that the assertions in the O Globo report on Brazil would need to be investigated “without prejudging”. The newspaper reported that after Brazil, the South American country where the NSA sweep of telephone and e-mail data was most prevalent was Colombia, which is led by President Juan Manuel Santos, an ally of the Obama administration. Government officials here in Bogota have frequently spoken out over the past few years about the close intelligence ties with the United States, which they say are vi-

| Politics


tal in the fight against rebels and drug traffickers. But this is the first time details of NSA operations have been made public. Colombia’s government said in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday night that it views “with concern” media reports about telecommunications surveillance here. “Colombia asks the government of the United States, through its ambassador in Colombia, for the corresponding explanations”, the statement said. U.S. Ambassador P. Michael McKinley, speaking to Colombia’s Blu Radio on Wednesday, said the Obama administration would respond to the country’s concerns through diplomatic channels. He said the United States collects information “to protect its citizens and to provide intelligence information for its allies”. “We collect information of common interest with partner countries and allies”, McKinley said. “The information has led to important results in the fight against narco-trafficking and terrorism and should not be underestimated”. In Peru, another ally, the president, Ollanta Humala, said in an interview on television that his government is “against these kinds of espionage activities”. He called on the Peruvian congress to examine the issue. And in Mexico, the Foreign Ministry said that it had asked the US government for “broad information on this matter”, according to the AFP news agency. Other countries where O Globo said the NSA was active — among them Argentina and Ecuador, both of which have an adversarial relationship with Washington — wanted an end to the alleged surveillance and demanded answers. “A shiver went down my back when we learned that they are spying on us from the north,” Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, said in a speech on Tuesday. She said her government and others should call for an explanation. “Let’s hope the presidents issue a strong declaration and a request for an explanation about these revelations”, she said, referring to the leaders of the Mercosur bloc of nations in South America, which is convening a meeting Friday. “More than revelations, these are confirmations of what we thought was happening”, Fernandez said.

6 International | .ŽsFriday, July 12, 2013

The artillery of ideas

South American leaders demand apologies from Europe

T/ Franz Chavez – IPS P/ Agencies


outh American leaders demanded that the governments of France, Italy, Portugal and Spain provide explanations and public apologies to Bolivian President Evo Morales for refusing his presidential jet permission to fly through their airspace on his way home from Moscow. Five presidents and other high-level representatives of the members of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) who held an extraordinary meeting Thursday in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba said the denial of access to the four European countries’ airspace was a violation of Morales’ rights and immunity and of international law, and set a “dangerous precedent”. They also decided to create a commission tol follow up on the formal complaints that will be brought before the United Nations and other international bodies. The declaration was not signed by UNASUR as a bloc

but by presidents Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Jose Mujica of Uruguay and Desire Bouterse of Suriname, as well as delegates of the governments of Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Guyana and Peru. Paraguay did not take part in the meeting because it is still suspended from the bloc as a result of the ouster of President Fernando Lugo in June 2012. Although UNASUR announced Wednesday night that a summit would be held, the bloc failed to cobble together a quorum, and was unable to issue a declaration as a bloc, which would have required a consensus among the region’s twelve presidents. Brazilian foreign policy adviser Marco Aurelio Garcia said President Dilma Rousseff was unable to make it to the meeting. Unofficial reports indicated that she did not attend because of the protests that have been raging in Brazil for the past two weeks. In a communique isused Wednesday, Rousseff had ex-

pressed her “indignation” over the incident, saying it not only affected Bolivia but Latin America as a whole. Similar sentiments were expressed by presidents Ollanta Humala of Peru, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, and Sebastian Piñera of Chile. Nevertheless, the absence of the four leaders was interpreted by some as a breakdown in relations among the members of UNASUR. “What happened to Morales in Europe and the absence of some of the presidents sent out a harsh message to the countries of ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our Americas) because of their policies of nationalisation of companies, mistreatment of ambassadors and incompliance with international agreements”, lawmaker Luis Felipe Dorado, with the centre-right opposition National Convergence party, told IPS. As an example, he cited Morales’ proposal to withdraw Bolivia from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

Dorado also lamented that the president said Bolivia could do without the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.

FROM PRESSURE TO PROTESTS Prior to the meeting in Cochabamba, Fernandez, Correa, Maduro and Bouterse took part in a rally in solidarity with Morales held by Bolivian social organisations. In the rally, Morales – Bolivia’s first-ever indigenous president – said Spain’s ambassador to Austria had demanded to be allowed to inspect the presidential aircraft, while the Bolivian leader was in the Vienna airport from Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning. His presidential jet has been rerouted and forced to land in Vienna, where it was grounded for 14 hours waiting for France, Italy, Portugal and Spain to revoke their airspace decision. The incident was sparked by the suspicion that the plane was carrying whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former technical contractor for the US National

Security Agency (NSA) who released dozens of top secret documents proving that the US government has been tapping global internet and phone systems on a massive scale, The Bolivian President said the Spanish ambassador, under orders from the deputy foreign minister of Spain, attempted to force his way onto the aircraft to make sure Snowden was not there. Morales said he told the ambassador he was a President, not a “criminal” whose plane had to be inspected before it was allowed to continue its journey. Argentine President Fernandez said at the rally that “It is curious that the countries that talk about legal security and respect for international law and human rights have committed this unprecedented violation. They should apologize for once”. Mujca said the four European governments had made an enormous mistake. “This is embarrassing for the old countries…we aren’t colonies. When one Latin American leader is insulted, we all feel insulted”. He called for apologies instead of “unfounded arguments”. Maduro concurred. “This is abuse and contempt of Latin America’s people because we decided to be free and to carry out democratic revolutions”, he said, after accusing the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of organizing the rerouting and grounding of Morales’ jet. Correa also accused the “intelligence agencies” of the countries involved in the incident of coordinating the denial of access to their airspace. He also blamed Washington, and said the reactions against the countries governed by leaders and parties of “a new left” in Latin America were triggered by their “anti-colonialist stance”. While the South American leaders were in Cochabamba, Morales supporters protested outside the embassies and consulates of France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United States. In Santa Cruz de la Sierra, members of the ruling Movement to Socialism painted graffiti on the walls of the US consulate. Popular demands that the ambassadors from the four European countries be expelled found little echo among the ranks of the ruling party. But Morales said he would not be afraid to close down the US embassy, because he had no doubt US pressure was behind the “virtual kidnapping” of which he was victim.

.ŽsFriday, July 12, 2013

The artillery of ideas

Spy contractor bug in Ecuador embassy fails to stop Wikileaks

T/ Pratap Chatterjee P/ Agencies


py equipment from the Surveillance Group Limited, a British private detective agency based in Worcester, England, has been found in the Ecuadorean embassy in London where Julian Assange, editor of Wikileaks, has taken refuge. At a press conference in Quito on Wednesday, Ricardo Patiño, the foreign minister of Ecuador, held up a photo of a “spy microphone” that was found on June 14th inside a small white box that was placed in an electrical outlet behind a bookshelf. The device contained a telephone SIM card allowing it to broadcast any conversations that it picked up. “We are requesting backing from the British government to continue with the investigation of the device found”, Patiño told reporters. The device was discovered by embassy security staff just two days before Patiño met with Assange to discuss his predicament. It coincided with revelations from Edward Snowden, a former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) staffer, of the ex-

tent of US National Security Agency global surveillance of ordinary citizens. Nobody has yet come forward to claim the device and the company has denied any role. “The Surveillance Group do not and have never been engaged in any activities of this nature”, said Timothy Young, the company CEO in a press statement issued Thursday. “This is a wholly untrue assertion”. However, a casual web search reveals that the Surveillance Group boasts of its ability to install tracking devices anywhere. “We can justifiably claim to be the only company in the world to offer an internationally accredited, covert camera construction, concealment and deployment course”, a company website claims. “We can provide a range of bespoke, unmanned, covert camera options to gather vital video evidence in the most challenging environment or scenarios. The cameras can further be supported by the use of micro tracking devices for deployment with customer property or vehicles”. Bugging places is just one of the services that the Surveil-

lance Group provides to corporations and police forces. “We are the acknowledged experts in providing Professional Witness surveillance to the police and local authorities in relation to drugs, prostitution, gang violence, hate crime and antisocial behavior”, the company says on another page on its website. “Our work in this arena includes the detection of malpractice by employees relative to the passing of confidential company information or the infringement of restrictive covenants and breaches of contract”. Company web pages show pictures of hooded youth smashing store windows, as

well as testimonials from companies like Nike who congratulated them on helping find addresses of vendors selling counterfeit goods. “I am extremely impressed with the service provided by the team at The Surveillance Group and would definitely recommend them for brand protection work”, Chloe Young, a Nike official, was quoted as saying. The Surveillance Group also offers “professional diplomas” in “tactical counter surveillance” for 5,190 pounds (8,000 dollars) However, the company appears to have completely failed to foil the plans of Julian Assange and Edward

| Analysis


Snowden, which were likely hatched in the very building that was being bugged and most certainly did not dissuade them from launching a daring international escape for the former spy, that was worthy of Hollywood. On June 23rd, Wikileaks staffer Sarah Harrison spirited Snowden out of Hong Kong – where he had been staying – to Moscow, taking the intelligence agencies by surprise. The listening device is not the only way that Ecuador suspects that it is being monitored. An article in the Wall Street Journal last week quoted extensively from email correspondence between aides of President Rafael Correa, revealing that someone was hacking internal government communications. “I suggest talking to Assange to better control the communications”, the newspaper quoted Nathalie Cely, Ecuador’s ambassador to the US, in a message to presidential spokesman Fernando Alvarado. “From outside… [Assange] appears to be ‘running the show’”. The Journal said that it obtained the emails from Univision Networks, a US-based Spanish TV network, but Wikileaks says that the US government could well have provided them with the raw material. It should be noted that a number of private vendors around the world provide technology to hack email communications for “lawful interception” purposes. These incidents have stirred deep anger among government officials in Quito. The Ecuadorian government is being “infiltrated from all sides”, said Patiño. “This is a testament to the loss of ethics at an international level in the relations that we have with other governments”, However, the interception of emails from South American governments appears to have been just as useless as the bugging at foiling Snowden’s plans. Last week, the US government sparked a diplomatic crisis by attempting to block a flight by President Evo Morales of Bolivia, under the suspicion that he was transporting Snowden. Morales was detained at Vienna airport for 14 hours but eventually completed his journey. “Sieging/bugging of Ecuador’s London embassy and the blockading of Morales jet shows that imperial arrogance is the gift that keeps on giving”, tweeted Wikileaks.

Friday, July 12, 2013 | Nº 166 | Caracas |


!PUBLICATIONOFTHE&UNDACION#ORREODEL/RINOCOsEditor-in-Chief%VA'OLINGERsGraphic Design Pablo Valduciel L. - Aimara Aguilera - Audra Ramones


Snowden needs to speak out

T/ Mark Weisbrot


n the case of Snowden and the abuses that he exposed, it’s us against them. But who is “us” and who is “them?” It started out as a story of secret government spying programs exposed by a daring whistleblower, akin to the famous Pentagon Papers of 1971. It was “us,” the citizens and residents of the United States against “them”, an abusive, unaccountable government violating our rights and our constitution in secret. The citizens of other countries who had their rights violated by NSA spying, such as in Europe and now Brazil, were also part of “us.” But over the last few weeks powerful media outlets, mirroring the efforts of the US government, have shifted the narrative to more convenient terrain. “Us” is “America”, led by our national security state, which – if possibly overzealous sometimes – is trying to protect “us”. “Them” is our adversaries – terrorists of course, but also any government that is independent enough to be branded as “anti-American”.

And Edward Snowden – the “fugitive leaker” at best or traitorous spy at worst -- has in some unexplained manner helped “them”, and seems to be getting help from “them”. In this case governments that are “antiAmerican,” i.e. independent of Washington. Nevermind that even Russia didn’t want to get involved in the whole thing, and insisted that Snowden could only stay there if he would “cease his work aimed at damaging our American partners”. The Cold War rhetoric is too irresistible for journalists steeped in its patriotic fervor. Like Mike Meyers’ Austin Powers, who woke up after a decades’ long nap and didn’t know that the Cold War was over, they are ready to do battle with America’s “enemies”. One of the most influential human rights organizations in the world, Amnesty International, didn’t buy the mass media narrative. Last Tuesday it accused the US government of “gross violations of [Snowden’s] human rights”, for trying to block him from applying for political asylum. Amnesty declared:

“It appears he is being charged by the US government primarily for revealing its and other governments’ - unlawful actions that violate human rights ...No one should be charged under any law for disclosing information of human rights violations... Snowden is a whistleblower. He has disclosed issues of enormous public interest in the US and around the world”. The largest media outlets virtually ignored this voice and the legal issues that it raised. The mass media can often determine what most people think on most issues, if given enough time and insufficient opposition. So it is not surprising that the number of people who thought that Snowden “did the right thing” has fallen over the past few weeks. At this point, there is only one person who can turn this around: That is Edward Snowden himself. He has recorded only one interview, the one with Glenn Greenwald when he took responsibility for the disclosures. But it was a brilliant interview. He was crystal clear – morally, politically, and rhetorically:

“I’m no different from anybody else. I don’t have special skills. I’m just another guy who sits there day to day in the office, watches what’s happening and goes, ‘This is something that’s not our place to decide, the public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong’. The sincerity of his appeal convinced millions that he was “us” and that the people who now want to put him behind bars for life are “them”. It is understandable why he hasn’t given any media interviews since then. He didn’t expose these programs, despite some ridiculous punditry to the contrary, to promote himself. He wants the focus to be on the crimes committed in secret by the government, not on him. But sometimes there is no avoiding center stage. Snowden is the only person right now who can reach hundreds of millions of people with a truthful message. The media is currently hungry for his words; they are eager to ignore most of the other truth-tellers, like Amnesty International; or to disparage them. They have demonized Julian Assange, who

has yet to be even charged with a single crime, not even a misdemeanor. They will eventually destroy Snowden if he does not forcefully speak out and defend himself. This has practical as well as political consequences. Last Friday Venezuela and Nicaragua offered asylum to Snowden, followed by Bolivia on Saturday. And there are an unknown number of other countries – including Ecuador – that would almost certainly grant him asylum if he showed up there. There are a number of ways for him to fly to these places without passing over any country that takes orders from Washington. But will the US government violate international law again, and risk innocent lives, by trying to force down a plane in international air space? This decision may depend on the Obama team’s forecast of how the media would portray such a crime – in both the case of a safe capture or a disastrous plane crash. If Snowden explains to the world why his actions were a legitimate and eminently justifiable exposure of government criminality, Obama may think twice about further illegal and/or violent efforts to block Snowden’s right to political asylum. The Obama team did not comment on the offers of asylum. This was very smart, since it was a safe bet that the media would respond for them, framing the issue not as one of independent governments exercising their right and obligation to offer political asylum to a whistleblower, but rather “them” trying to poke a finger in the eye of the United States. But there are millions of Americans, and many more throughout the world, who can see through this crusty Cold War retread. Snowden can reach many millions more with the truth. He needs to speak not only to save himself but future whistle-blowers whom the Obama administration wants to silence by punishing him. And for the cause of human rights, especially the right to asylum, so that it triumphs over the intimidation from those who believe that raw power is all that matters. Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. He is also president of Just Foreign Policy.

English Edition Nº 166  

Venezuela celebrates independence and offers Edward Snowden asylum

English Edition Nº 166  

Venezuela celebrates independence and offers Edward Snowden asylum