Target Centermass


Chavez Says He may Seek to Stay in Power

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:07 am

I’m posting this so that those decrying the Bush presidency as a fascist regime can get a glimpse at how a true despotic dictator really begins to take root.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whom the US calls a destabilizing force in the region, warned on Sunday he might seek constitutional change to be allowed to seek re-election several times.

Chavez, a leftist closely allied with communist Cuban President Fidel Castro, is seeking the one re-election allowed by the Constitution, in an election scheduled for Dec. 3.

“If there is no opposition candidate … I would consider signing a decree to hold a referendum asking `Do you agree Chavez should be allowed to seek a new term in 2013?’ and let’s let the people decide,” Chavez said on his weekly radio and TV program.

Venezuela approved a new Constitution in 1999 under which Chavez is able to stand for another six-year term.

Political opponents long have accused him of plotting to extend his government in the manner of his ally Castro.

“Maybe I won’t be leaving the presidency in 2013, but in 2019, and then six more years would be 2025; six more would be 2031,” Chavez said.

The thought, he explained, “is just an idea that I am working on.”

And thus, our hemisphere has its next Castro. This one, however, is betting on oil instead of cigars.

Any news of similar notions coming forth from the supposed Bushitler regime? Umm … no.


Chavez: Return Falklands to Argentina

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:11 pm

Already happily playing the role of thorn in the side of the U.S., Hugo Chavez has decided to tweak the Brits as well.

Venezuela’s president has called on Tony Blair to return the Falkland Islands to Argentina, accusing the Prime Minister of being a “pawn” of Washington.

“We have to remember the Malvinas [the Argentine name for the islands]; how they were taken away from the Argentines. Mr Blair, return the Malvinas to Argentina,” said president Hugo Chavez.

The socialist leader has long been the most vocal critic of US president George Bush, but Mr Blair was added to his list of “imperialists” after the Prime Minister said in parliament on Wednesday that if Mr Chavez wanted to be respected, he “should abide by the rules of the international community”.

He responded: “Mr Tony Blair, you have no moral right to tell anyone to respect international laws, as you have shown no respect for them, aligning yourself with ‘Mr Danger’ [president Bush] and trampling on the people of Iraq. Do you think we still live in the times of the British Empire or colonialism?”

The Argentine president, Nestor Kirchner, has vowed that the islands will one day be part of Argentina, but has not aggressively pursued the issue since taking power in 2003.

That lack of Argentinian aggression is certainly based upon a brief but bloody lesson learned almost 24 years ago, a lesson that shows that Chavez’s comments are assuredly going to fall on deaf British ears.


Narcs Nab Drug-smuggling Puppies

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:04 pm

Okay, this is simply disturbing.

A two-year investigation into a Colombian heroin ring netted more than 65 pounds of drugs, resulted in the arrests of more than 20 people and saved the lives of some drug-smuggling Labrador retrievers, the Drug Enforcement Agency said Wednesday.

Ten wayward pups were found during a raid on a Colombian farm in 2005, and six of them were carrying more than 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of liquid heroin in their stomachs, said DEA spokesman Rusty Payne.

Puppy smugglers are another take on the human “mule,” or “swallower” in DEA parlance — someone who ingests packets of drugs and transports them in their stomachs.

The puppies, however, had little say in the matter.

In the case of the puppies found during the 2005 raid, the dogs’ bellies had been cut open, and heroin packets were stitched into their stomachs, Payne said. The pups, mostly purebred Labrador retrievers, were sewn back up and prepared for shipment to the United States, he added.


Venezuelan Opposition Quit Poll

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:19 pm

Too long have I failed to mention Venezuela and the growing problems caused by its potentially unstable president, Castro-wannabe Hugo Chavez. That oversight needed to be corrected, as I feel the country, already grown quite problematic, is going to shortly become quite a thorn in the side of regional stability.

Today, its own stability took a hit, as opposition parties have bailed out of congressional elections only five days before the scheduled voting.

Three Venezuela opposition parties have pulled out of Sunday’s congressional poll, accusing the electoral body of favouring pro-government candidates.

The head of the main opposition party, Democratic Action, said they felt the result would be biased against them.

However, Vice-President Jose Vicente Rangel said the party was pulling out because it was facing defeat.

Venezuelans will vote for an expanded 167-seat congress, where supporters of President Hugo Chavez have a majority.

Correspondents say that the government has vowed to increase its majority to two-thirds, which would allow it to pass constitutional reforms that opposition leaders strongly oppose.

Democratic Action chief Henry Ramos said his party was demanding a suspension of the elections until equal conditions existed for parties.

He told a news conference the electoral board had not convinced opposition candidates that the software used in the computerized voting system did not endanger voters’ confidentiality.

He said the decision to pull out had been a difficult one to take at such a late stage in the campaign.

“Imagine what it means to us to say today that under these conditions we cannot participate in the electoral process.”

Project Venezuela and the Social Christian Party, or Copei, later said they too were withdrawing and called for a suspension.

Publius Pundit and Gateway Pundit bring us stories of rioting breaking out in the oil-rich South American state, both in reaction to today’s news and in opposition to the strongly anti-American Chavez.


Bosnian War Criminal Arrested

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:03 pm

Don’t cry for him, Argentina.

Milan Lukic, one of the most wanted war criminals from the carnage in Bosnia, was due to appear before a judge in Buenos Aires yesterday after being captured on Monday.

After seven years on the run from war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Lukic was seized outside his apartment in Argentina, after collecting his wife and daughter at the airport.

“When he got out of the taxi, police appeared everywhere,” said the superintendent of the building. “He had lots of money on him – dollars, euros.”

Lukic is unlikely to be transferred to the tribunal for several weeks. Argentina is not party to the fast-track transfer agreements that former Yugoslav and some European countries have agreed with the tribunal.

Lukic was first named and his alleged crimes detailed in the Guardian in 1996, and he was charged two years later. The indictment accuses him of the “extermination of a significant number of Bosnian Muslim civilians, including women, children and the elderly”.


Lukic’s chosen hiding place has fuelled investigators’ suspicions that Argentina is becoming a safe haven for Serbian fugitives, as it was for Nazi war criminals. Most of Lukic’s fellow indictees have hitherto gone underground in Bosnia, Serbia or Russia, but he is the second alleged war criminal from the former Yugoslavia to be found in Buenos Aires. In June, extradition from Argentina to Serbia was agreed for Nebojsa Minic, wanted for war crimes in Kosovo. “There may be a network there,” said one official close to the investigation.

Argentina — still the destination of choice for war criminals on the lam.


Police Concede Slain Suspect Not Bomber

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:01 pm


London’s police commissioner expressed regret today for the slaying of a Brazilian electrician by officers who mistook him for a suspect in the recent terror bombings, but he defended a police shoot-to-kill policy as “the only way” to stop would-be suicide bombers.


The man shot Friday at the Stockwell subway station was identified as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Witnesses said he was wearing a heavy, padded coat when plainclothes police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him five times in the head and torso in front of horrified passengers.

Blair initially said Menezes was “directly linked” to the investigation of Thursday’s attacks, but police then said Saturday he had no connection to the bomb attempts.

“This is a tragedy,” Blair said today of the shooting. “The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility for this. To the family I can only express my deep regrets.”

Here is a lengthy look at the slain man and his grief-stricken family: Man shot by police was in wrong place at wrong time.

From that sad tale I would like to highlight the following:

Within 20 minutes, the Brazilian whose interest in all things electrical was sparked at the age of eight by dismantling a broken transistor radio and making it work again, would be dead.

Witnesses described how he vaulted the ticket barriers at Stockwell, then started running down the escalators before bursting into a carriage of a stationary northbound Northern Line train looking “petrified”.

So, to wrong place and wrong time, let’s add wrong attire and wrong behavior. As a rule of thumb, I’d like to suggest not looking and acting like a threat in public places. At least not while Islamists are doing the same with the intent of killing.

Tragic? Yes. A mistake. Certainly not. As I blogged my reaction to the initial reports, I wrote essentially the same, though I would like to withdraw a little now that more is known.

Justified? Check the circumstances, check the attire, check the weather. Then ask the Israelis if they have any experience with unusual attire and things going kaboom. Justified? Oh hell yes. Unfortunate? Yes, as well. I’d much rather have this piece of trash in custody spilling his guts than in the Tube spilling his blood. Still, I’ll settle for the blood.

The last two sentences were incorrect in this specific case. The rest stands.

At least for the time being, this unfortunate incident will not change the Brits’ shoot-to-kill tactics.

British police admitted today that a Brazilian electrician they shot dead in a crowded London Underground train had nothing to do with the terror bombings, but they will stick to a policy of shooting suspected suicide bombers in the head.


London’s police chief Ian Blair conveyed the force’s “deep regrets” to the family of the dead man which has made angry protests, but he urged people to understand the context of the killing.

He said police first had to deal with the danger of stopping suicide bombers.

Blair also said the Brazilian was pursued because he had emerged from a block of apartments which police were watching as they hunted men who made a failed attempt to bomb subway trains and a bus last Thursday, he said.

“It was not just a random event… It was firmly linked to the ongoing operation,” said Blair.

Blair confirmed Press reports that British police were pursuing a “shoot-to-kill-in- order-to-protect policy” and could not guarantee that a similar mistake would not happen again.

“There’s no point in shooting at somebody’s chest because that’s where the bomb is likely to be,” Blair said. “There’s no point in shooting anywhere else because if they fall down they detonate it.

“It is drawn on the experience from other countries, including Sri Lanka.”

Quite right. War is ugly and mistakes happen but it must be realized that this is not a knee-jerk response. Rather, it is a reasonable course forced upon us by the tactics of our enemy.


Colombians Find Drug-Smuggling Sub

Filed under: — Gunner @ 7:45 pm

You’ve got to hand it to the supply side of the drug trade — it certainly is resourceful.

Authorities discovered a submarine-like vessel Friday still under construction by drug traffickers who planned to use it to smuggle cocaine, the head of Colombia’s secret police said.

Eduardo Fernandez said the fiberglass submarine was nearly complete when police found it near the Pacific Ocean, in Tumaco, 370 miles southwest of Bogota.

“The ingenuity of drug traffickers is amazing,” Fernandez told The Associated Press.

He said the vessel would have been used to carry cocaine to speed boats offshore, which would then take the drugs to Central America or Mexico, for eventual delivery to the United States.

The discovery came after authorities were tipped off to pieces of fiberglass and other construction material being transported to where the submarine was being built.

Fernandez didn’t provide details of its size. But Colombian authorities have caught drug traffickers using subs on a few occasions. They have been small, fiberglass vessels that travel just below the surface. But in 2000, police on a raid of a warehouse near Bogota were stunned to find a 100-foot-long steel submarine being built to transport up to 150 tons of cocaine.

Sure, the spice must flow, but I didn’t expect it to flow ‘neath the waves.


Activists Gather for World Social Forum

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:17 pm

I wonder how one says “pepper spray” in Portuguese.

Tens of thousands of anti-globalization activists converged on southern Brazil Wednesday for what has become an annual ritual of opposition to corporate-sponsored capitalism and the divide between the rich and poor nations.

The annual World Social Forum – a lively gathering of protesters where many sleep in tents or modest guest houses – is held simultaneously with the World Economic Forum, a staid gathering of finance ministers and CEOs of major corporations in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Davos.

In Brazil, nearly 6,000 groups will plug their causes at the six-day protest, ranging from debt relief for developing countries to distribution of idle land for impoverished Latin American farmers.

In a new rallying cry this year, some protesters compared unfettered capitalism and the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq to the tsunami that struck Indian Ocean shores last month, saying the deaths caused in poor countries by First World greed are uncountable.

“It is even more than the numbers killed by the tsunami,” said forum organizer Meena Menon, an activist from India.


Colombian Rebels Told to Kill Bush

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:36 pm

Some bad people might want President Bush dead and, surprisingly enough, this time they aren’t Islamists.

Colombia’s main rebel group asked followers to mount an assassination attempt against President Bush during his visit to Colombia last week, Defense Minister Jorge Uribe said. There was no evidence Saturday that rebels even tried to organize such an attack.

Uribe told reporters late Friday that informants said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, told followers to attack Bush during his four-hour visit in the seaside city of Cartagena last Monday, where he met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

The defense minister, who is no relation to the president, said security forces were on full alert during the visit. About 15,000 Colombian troops and police, along with U.S. troops and Secret Service agents provided security. There was no indication Bush’s life was ever in danger.

Uribe did not say where the informants had heard about the purported order to attack Bush.

The Secret Service did not comment on security details, as is its policy.

“We have full confidence in the fine work of the Secret Service and their work with security officials on the ground when the President travels,” White House spokesman Jim Morrell said Saturday.

The FARC has declared U.S. troops in Colombia military targets. The troops are training local forces and providing logistics and planning assistance for military operations against the rebels.

However, the rebels never publicly declared Bush a target during his first-ever visit as president to Colombia. Bush visited Colombia after attending a summit in Chile.

Damn drug-trafficking Marxists.

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