January 26, 2008
Argentina – La Capital – Original Article (Spanish)
In a further escalation of tension between the two countries, the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, accused Colombia’s President, Alvaro Uribe, of “devising a belligerent provocation,” on orders from the United States, “that could ignite a war.” “I accuse the Government of Columbia of plotting a conspiracy, an act of war against Venezuela, on orders from the United States, to which we will be obliged to respond in a way that could ignite a war,” said Chavez during a press conference alongside his colleague Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua.Read more The press conference, held on the eve of the Sixth Summit Meeting of ALBA [Bolivarian Alternative for the People of Our America - Chavez' answer to Free Trade Agreements with the U.S.], the Venezuelan leader stressed that it was no coincidence that three senior officials of the United States, including Condoleezza Rice, had been in Colombia during the past few days.
MEDELLIN, Colombia (AP) – Colombia’s problems with violence — particularly labor strife — could get worse unless Congress approves a free-trade deal with the country, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits Medellin, Colombia, with U.S. lawmakers Friday.
Rice’s visit Friday is the latest, most high-profile one in a coordinated campaign by Colombia and the White House to win over skeptical Democrats and revive the trade pact, which was first signed in 2006 but has not yet been passed by Congress.
“[I'm here] to say very strongly that whatever the challenges facing Colombia, they are not going to be easier if this free-trade deal does not pass,” Rice said Thursday in the Andean nation’s second-largest city, Medellin. “In fact, they will be harder.”
Colombia is the world’s most dangerous country for labor organizing. Rice and nine Democratic lawmakers met in Medellin with union leaders who oppose the deal to hear complaints that President Alvaro Uribe has failed to stamp out the violence, including murder.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lunched with President Alvaro Uribe at his ranch Friday after meeting with 20 ex-paramilitary fighters to hear about their life stories.
Rice and a delegation of US Democratic Party lawmakers have concluded a two-day visit here aimed at promoting a free-trade deal that is languishing in the Democratic-led US Congress over alleged links between Uribe and paramilitary groups accused of committing atrocities.
On her second day of the visit, Rice also met with union members supportive of a US-Colombian free trade agreement (FTA).
“If we don’t push through the FTA, we will have problems because to exploit mines we need large machinery that does not exist and is not produced in Colombia,” said Jose Palacio, one of the union representatives.
I was wondering about Condi’s remarks about supporting humanrights activists in Russia.
The Russian Foreign Minister urges the West to encourage Iran to cooperate with the IAEA, instead of constantly threatening Tehran.
In a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sergey Lavrov slammed the West for threatening to take military action against Iran.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Russian human rights activists on Saturday she wanted to help them build institutions to protect people from the ‘arbitrary power of the state’.
The meeting could irk the Kremlin, which is sensitive to Western accusations it is rolling back democratic freedoms and suspects foreign governments of trying to influence the outcome of next year’s presidential election.
Rice told eight human rights leaders she wanted to hear about their efforts to protect freedoms in Russia.
“I am quite confident that your goal is to build institutions that are indigenous to Russia — that are Russian institutions — but that are also respectful of what we all know to be universal values,” said Rice.
She said these were: “The rights of individuals to liberty and freedom, the right to worship as you please, and the right to assembly, the right to not have to deal with the arbitrary power of the state.”
“How is it going and what can we do to help Russia to build strong institutions that have these universal values?”
Posted on Oct 2, 2007
By Amy Goodman
The image was stunning: tens of thousands of saffron-robed Buddhist monks marching through the streets of Rangoon [also known as Yangon], protesting the military dictatorship of Burma. The monks marched in front of the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who was seen weeping and praying quietly as they passed. She hadn’t been seen for years. The democratically elected leader of Burma, Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since 2003. She is considered the Nelson Mandela of Burma, the Southeast Asian nation renamed Myanmar by the regime.
After almost two weeks of protest, the monks have disappeared. The monasteries have been emptied. One report says thousands of monks are imprisoned in the north of the country.
by Peter Spiegel, LA Times
September 26th, 2007
The State Department has interceded in a congressional investigation of Blackwater USA, the private security firm accused of killing Iraqi civilians last week, ordering the company not to disclose information about its Iraq operations without approval from the Bush administration, according to documents revealed Tuesday.
In a letter sent to a senior Blackwater executive Thursday, a State Department contracting official ordered the company “to make no disclosure of the documents or information” about its work in Iraq without permission.
The letter and other documents were released Tuesday by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), whose House committee has launched wide-ranging investigations into contractor abuses and corruption in Iraq.
The State Department order and other steps it has taken to limit congressional access to information have set up a confrontation between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Waxman, who has repeatedly accused the State Department of impeding his inquiries.
By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A leading Democratic lawmaker on Tuesday accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of interfering in congressional inquiries into corruption in Iraq’s government and the activities of U.S. security firm Blackwater.
Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman said State Department officials had told the Oversight and Government Reform Committee he chairs they could not provide details of corruption in Iraq’s government unless the information was treated as a “state secret” and not revealed to the public.
“You are wrong to interfere with the committee’s inquiry,” Waxman said in a letter to Rice. “The State Department’s position on this matter is ludicrous,” added Waxman, a vocal opponent of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.
Yep, looks like Blackwater is going nowhere.
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Tuesday September 18, 2007
Members of Blackwater scan Baghdad from their helicopter. Photograph: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, apologised to the Iraqi government yesterday in an attempt to prevent the expulsion of all employees of the security firm Blackwater USA.The ministry of interior yesterday took the decision to expel Blackwater after eight Iraqi civilians were killed and 13 wounded in Baghdad when shots were fired from a US state department convoy on Sunday.
Diplomats, engineers and other westerners in Iraq rely heavily on protection by Blackwater. The Iraqi decision created confusion on the ground, with uncertainty over whether protection was still available and whether Blackwater staff should leave the country immediately.
by Greg Palast
Watch the BBC Report / Read the Transcript
September 10, 2007- On November 9, 2001, when you could still choke on the dust in the air near Ground Zero, BBC Television received a call in London from a top-level US intelligence agent. He was not happy. Shortly after George W. Bush took office, he told us reluctantly, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the FBI, “were told to back off the Saudis.”
We knew that. In the newsroom, we had a document already in hand, marked, “SECRET” across the top and “” – meaning this was a national security matter.
The secret memo released agents to hunt down two members of the bin Laden family operating a “suspected terrorist organization” in the USA. It was dated September 13, 2001 — two days too late for too many. What the memo indicates, corroborated by other sources, was that the agents had long wanted to question these characters … but could not until after the attack. By that time, these bin Laden birds had flown their American nest.
Back to the high-level agent. I pressed him to tell me exactly which investigations were spiked. None of this interview dance was easy, requiring switching to untraceable phones. Ultimately, the insider said, “Khan Labs.” At the time, our intelligence agencies were on the trail of Pakistan’s Dr. Strangelove, A.Q. Khan, who built Pakistan’s bomb and was selling its secrets to the Libyans. But once Bush and Condoleeza Rice’s team took over, the source told us, agents were forced to let a hot trail go cold. Specifically, there were limits on tracing the Saudi money behind this “Islamic bomb.”