16 September 2015

And yet Another Element of the US State Security Apparatus Goes Rogue

It appears that the DEA specifically targeted the Evo Morales government in Bolivia in what appears to be something very close to an attempted coup:
The United States has secretly indicted top officials connected to the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales for their alleged involvement in a cocaine trafficking scheme. The indictments, secured in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting called "Operation Naked King," have not been previously reported.

Morales, a former leader of Bolivia's coca growers union, has long been at loggerheads with the DEA. In 2008, Morales expelled the agency from the country and embarked on his own strategy of combatting drug trafficking, acknowledging the traditional uses of coca in Bolivian culture and working cooperatively with coca growers to regulate some legal activity and to promote alternative development elsewhere. Morales' plan has been effective at reducing cultivation, according to the United Nations.

But that doesn't mean the DEA accepted its eviction quietly. In fact, the agency went after members of Morales' administration in an apparent effort to undermine his leadership.

The sealed indictments, revealed last week in a lawsuit filed by long-time DEA informant Carlos Toro, target Walter Álvarez, a top Bolivian air force official; the late Raul García, father of Vice President Álvaro García Linera; Faustino Giménez, an Argentine citizen and Bolivian resident who is said to be close to the vice president; and Katy Alcoreza, described as an intelligence agent for Morales. Toro said in the court document that he played an integral role in securing the indictments as part of the DEA's undercover investigation into the alleged Bolivian cocaine trafficking ring, which the agency ran out of its office in Asuncion, Paraguay.


The U.S. government and the DEA made no secret of their displeasure when their longtime nemesis, Morales, was elected. “If radicals continue to hijack the indigenous movement, we could find ourselves faced with a narcostate that supports the uncontrolled cultivation of coca," General James T. Hill, a U.S. army commander with the Southern Command, told the House Armed Services Committee in March 2004, referring to Morales' movement.

"I don't think there's an attractive or viable future by becoming a narcostate," John Walters, then the Bush administration's drug czar, told The New York Times the next year, when it appeared Morales was on his way to victory.

Morales used the accusations to his political benefit. "They accuse me of everything," Morales said at a campaign rally, according to the same Times article. "They say Evo is a drug trafficker, that Evo is a narcoterrorist. They don't know how to defend their position, so they attack us."


By 2014, the Times was writing about Bolivia's renaissance:

Tucked away in the shadow of its more populous and more prosperous neighbors, tiny, impoverished Bolivia, once a perennial economic basket case, has suddenly become a different kind of exception — this time in a good way.
Its economy grew an estimated 6.5 percent last year, among the strongest rates in the region. Inflation has been kept in check. The budget is balanced, and once-crippling government debt has been slashed. And the country has a rainy-day fund of foreign reserves so large for its relatively small economy that it could be the envy of nearly every other country in the world. The Times article notes that extreme poverty under Morales has plummeted, despite -- or, more likely, because of -- his refusal to follow the path the U.S. has urged.


In the face of U.S. denunciations that Bolivia would become a narcostate under Morales, the country has instead managed to reduce coca leaf cultivation, especially over the past five years. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, total production of dried coca leaf fell 11 percent from 2013 to 2014, and has fallen by an average of nearly 10 percent each year since 2011. Interdiction efforts targeting coca cultivation have also dropped precipitously since the DEA's dismissal in 2008, though confiscations of cocaine continued to rise until 2013, when they dropped off significantly. In 2014, confiscations of processed cocaine hydrochloride returned to previous levels, though interdiction of coca leaves and cocaine base remained low.

"[Drug trafficking] must be fought -- we are convinced of that -- and we are doing so more effectively and more wisely," Morales told Al Jazeera in a 2014 interview. "When the United States was in control of counternarcotics, the US governments used drug trafficking for purely geopolitical purposes .... The US uses drug trafficking and terrorism for political control .... We have nationalised the fight against drug trafficking."

In 2009, Hillary Clinton warned of Morales and the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's "fear mongering" in written testimony during her secretary of state confirmation hearings. Yet Morales' fears, it turns out, weren't rooted in mere paranoia. The DEA was, in fact, out to get him.

The revelation of Operation Naked King goes to show that Bolivian leaders' paranoia was well justified, said Kathryn Ledebur, who runs the Andean Information Network based in Bolivia. "US authorities frequently dismiss Bolivian government denunciations about the DEA and US intervention as absurd speculation, but these revelations show what is common knowledge on the ground — there has long been an alarming lack of oversight of DEA operations in Latin America, including recurring mission creep and a violation of agreements with host countries," she wrote in an email.
What is going on here is very simple: A coup attempt by the DEA, and they are trying to take this government down not because their policies are a failure, but because their policies are a success.

If other governments follow their example, bad things will happen:   the DEA will face a situation where their most important path to career advancement an visibility, f%$#ing around with other sovereign nations, will be curtailed.

At some point, lead to reductions in budget and manpower at the agency, so clearly Evo Morales must be overthrown, because, to quote Mel Brooks, "Holy underwear! Sheriff murdered! Innocent women and children blown to bits! We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!"

This is not surprising.  After all, one of the first major foreign initiatives of the Obama administration was to tacitly support a coup against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.

Haven't we f%$#ed up Latin America enough since 1823?


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