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From The Narcosphere: Columbia & Mexico

News From the Narcosphere:
New Colombia Military Chief Has Dark Past;
U.S. Expanding "River Combat" Ops in Colombia;
World Water Forum and Juarez' Birthday in Mexico;
Complaint Filed Against Super-Secretive Judge


March 23, 2006
Please Distribute Widely

The Narcosphere is buzzing with activity on Colombia. Sean Donahue reports that a general believed to be a former paramilitary fighter and to have maintained ties with right-wing death squads while rising through the ranks and leading key military operations has been placed in charge of the Colombian armed forces:

"Just days before signing a trade agreement with the U.S. which will accelerate the sell-off of Colombia's land and resources to foreign corporations, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe appointed General Mario Montoya to head Colombia's armed forces.

"Uribe brought in Montoya, long a favorite of the U.S., to help rehabilitate the military's image following a hazing scandal. Montoya, however, has his own dark past - throughout a long career, working to consolidate resource-rich areas, the general has frequently been charged with working hand in hand with right-wing paramilitaries. At the press conference announcing Montoya's promotion, Uribe said 'In this moment of our Nation's history we need triumphant commanders. We don't need commanders to justify defeats' and called for 'a final victory' -- giving Montoya a clear go-ahead to use any means necessary to crush resistance in Colombia."

Read the full story, here:

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2006/3/22/11659/5815

And the discussion continues on a story posted by Stephen Peacock more than a week ago. Peacock's story revealed that the U.S. was seeking to expand its assistance to the Colombian military for "river combat" operations and training by creating a new private contractor position and sending a fleet of small armored boats.

Peacock later discovered that the private contract for "Riverine Plans Officer" had already been awarded to a small company in Amarillo, Texas. Various Internet searches turned up no reference to the company and it did not seem to have been awarded any previous government contracts. But Narco News today was able to reach the contractor by phone. Read what he had to say and the further debate it has sparked, here:

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2006/3/15/161922/604

That's not all that's new from our muckraking copublishers in the Narcosphere. From Mexico, Juan Trujillo reports on last week's World Water Forum in Mexico city, where business and government leaders met to discuss the further privatization of the world's water supply as civil society demonstrated outside and held alternative forums:

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2006/3/23/83950/4628

Nancy Davies reports from Oaxaca on the celebrations for the birthday of Mexico's beloved 19th-century indigenous president Benito Juaréz. The holiday, writes Davies, has only highlighted how absent Juaréz' ideals are in Mexico today amid continued government repression of social movements:

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2006/3/22/94341/4844

And Bill Conroy writes of a complaint over a federal judge's excessive secrecy... the same judge assigned to the Scooter Libby case:

"FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is taking the judge in her federal court case to task for his seemingly over-the-top pursuit of secrecy at the expense of transparency and justice.

"In a motion filed today with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Edmonds claims federal Judge Reggie Walton has demonstrated a penchant for unwarranted secrecy, which has proven prejudicial to her litigation. As a result, she claims that Walton should not be allowed to continue as the judge for her case.

"By the way, Walton is also the judge assigned to hear the criminal case of 'Scooter' Libby, the former White House official accused of compromising CIA undercover operate Valerie Plame Wilson."

Read that full story here:

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2006/3/22/19463/3287

From somewhere in a country called América,

Dan Feder Managing Editor
The Narco News Bulletin
http://www.narconews.com

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