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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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"While the Bush administration had approved some clandestine military activities far from designated war zones, the new order is intended to make such efforts more systematic and long term, officials said . . . . In 2004, one of the first groups sent overseas was pulled out of Paraguay after killing a pistol-waving robber who had attacked them as they stepped out of a taxi."

Paraguay does seem far from any designated war zone.

Paraguay is Company country. It's a good place to get stuff and keep money for the 10 year US black op war in Colombia.

"I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows."

This is from the Onion, right?

Good catch, Walter--I missed that one.

I wonder if Jack's theory is right. What are they doing in Paraguay?

Hard to say exactly, but although Paraguay's a long way from Colombia it shares a border with Bolivia, so I'd suspect that's got something to do with it. This is worth reading (along those lines).

Sorry, folks - that was an oblique reference to Condor. Paraguay was a staging area, and long alleged as the home of the CIA, for its part of Operation Condor.

Paraguay under Stroessner was very "America friendly," and the CIA and other alphabet soup agencies used it as safe haven for South American operations, building on contacts made during the Nazi relocation period.

I suspect that, unlike other more volatile nations in the Cone, and northward in Central America, Paraguay would suit the needs of blackbaggers nicely. Stable as hell. Already friendly to the CIA. Offshore banking haven (despite formal illegality). And this: http://www.financialtaskforce.org/2009/06/15/the-tri-border-area-a-profile-of-the-largest-illicit-economy-in-the-western-hemisphere/

Just the kind of place for the CIA to run its black ops support of Colombian death squads.

Post script: despite official US condemnation of "terrorism," this is precisely the sort of environment upon which the black bag community depends. SecState may condemn it, but the CIA positively revels in it (if history is any guide).

Definitely agreed that that's why the US would be in Paraguay generally, but I'm curious what the specific "clandestine military activities" would have been in that instance.

Don't forget the folks looking after the Bush family Hacienda with all that aquifer.

John,

I honestly don't know. I think a while back (2006-2007?), the US was trying to drum up support for anti-Hizbollah efforts, in Paraguay.

I think the storyline was something like, "Hizbollah growing presence in Paraguay."

Seems like as good an excuse as any, especially with such temporal proximity to the then recent Israeli invasion of Southern Lebanon.

Respect,

Jack

It's also possible it was related to Morales' victory in Bolivia in 2005 and the violence in Bolivia around that time. Of course, the U.S. also appears to have been directly involved in actions in Venezuela.

But I think the more important factor is that around this time the Democrats were pushing back ever so slightly against "Bush's" global war against terrorism and socialism. Sy Hersh's reporting about the ~$400 million spent clandestinely in Iran, noted that the Democrats were uncomfortable with the assassination and murder that accompanied the efforts. So the Paraguay incident was probably a PR nightmare for the military.

But never fear. Even though Obama and the Dems made noises about the changing the phrase "Global War on Terror", and pretended to be concerned about abuses, the military brass quickly gave Obama a taste of blood when they let him give the heroic order to sniper assassinate the Somalia pirates and then made the case for an even more expansive use of military force around the World.

The Democrats changed the rhetoric but have expanded the neocon war machine and have truly made this a Global War on Terror--or at least that's what we are told via selective leaks in the NY Times.

Walter,
Let's juxtapose your NYT quote with this one from an article in The Nation (http://www.thenation.com/print/article/secret-us-war-pakistan):

Wilkerson said the JSOC teams caused diplomatic problems for the United States across the globe. "When these teams started hitting capital cities and other places all around the world, [Rumsfeld] didn't tell the State Department either. The only way we found out about it is our ambassadors started to call us and say, 'Who the hell are these six-foot-four white males with eighteen-inch biceps walking around our capital cities?' So we discovered this, we discovered one in South America, for example, because he actually murdered a taxi driver, and we had to get him out of there real quick. We rendered him--we rendered him home."

Hmm, sounds suspiciously familiar...

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