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Archive for July 28th, 2012

The Triangular Trade: Vote buying in the Mexican election

Posted by Charles II on July 28, 2012

Proceso has been following up on an interesting story of exactly where the money to buy PRI candidate Enrique P-Nieto’s election came from. There’s a lawsuit in US courts alleging a default on payments and tying P-Nieto to organized crime.

It’s a complicated tale, and Jesusa Cervantes doesn’t tell it in a coherent linear fashion. The cast of characters includes businesses like GAP, HIGO, Jiramos, GM Global, and the Monex and Mifel banks and reaches into Spain, Israel, Italy, and the US. According to Congressman Jaime Cardenas, it’s similar to the “Friends of Fox” network in 2000, which helped elect the first rightist president, Vicente Fox.

The complainant is José Luis Ponce de Aquino, owner of Frontera Televisión Network LLP. He alleges that P-Nieto operatives offered him a 56 million dollar contract to promote PRI in the United States. He says that the money was transferred overnight to Monex and Mifel accounts, arriving from Italy, Israel, and either a Portuguese or Brazilian source into an account held by Alejandro Carrillo Garza Sada’s company Jiramos…but they didn’t pay him as agreed. Ponce de Aquino alleges that he received death threats from C. José Carrillo Chontkowsky, Alfredo Carrillo Chontkowsky, and Hugo Vigues, who told him that this was narcotics money. Alejandro Carrillo Garza Sada threatened Ponce de Aquino that he wouldn’t be able to enter Mexico and that he would seize Garza Sada’s business. The contract he was offered, it would seem, was just a cover for laundering money into Mexico.

Ponce de Aquino is being attacked in Milenio, which claims he has business ties to Julio Di Bella, who has been an adviser to the PAN party, as well as being the defendant in 100 lawsuits and using 5 aliases (see also Proceso, which has confirmed the latter).

Ponce de Aquino may well be a sideshow. But there’s no question that money from unknown sources was used to buy votes. If it turns out to have come from abroad or from the narcotics trade, well, it will be bad for P-Nieto. But he may rest assured that no one north of the border will hear of it. I searched through the LATimes to see if they were carrying any coverage of the Mexican election. The only article they had was from a Univision hack telling us that, just like Al Gore, Lopez Obrador should just shut up and swallow: “Gore knew that democracy probably hadn’t been served, yet he accepted the verdict with grace.” If democracy has not been served in deciding the victor of a presidential election, then what has been served, if not tyranny?

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US Media’s Submission To Republicans: Romney And Krauthammer Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 28, 2012

The US press has by and large been trying to defend presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from the attacks of the British press, trying to obscure that it’s not just the allegedly-oh-so-much-more-vicious British press, but UK politicians and people of all parties and creeds attacking Mittens for his combined arrogance and ignorance.

What makes this dutiful, servantlike rush to defend the man really interesting is that Romney has been treating the US press corps a bit like he treated Seamus the dog:

*** Romney’s press-corps faux pas: During his meeting with Miliband, according to the pool report, Romney answered questions from British reporters but did not take any questions from the American reporters, which isn’t protocol. In fact, it’s considered a bit of an insult to the U.S reporters who are following the presumptive GOP presidential nominee overseas. Even bringing this up will lead some to say, “There goes the media, whining again.” But folks, those of us that have traveled overseas and been involved in these VERY limited press avails have rarely seen heads of democracies TOTALLY ignore their own press corps but answer ANOTHER press corps’ questions. Sure, it would have looked REALLY bad had Romney ignored the U.K. questions. But is the campaign so intent on limiting media access that the candidate won’t call an audible when standing next to a leader from another country who DOES want to take questions?

Meanwhile, let’s count up the number of establishment mass-media outlets (like ABC News and the WaPo, where known serial liar Charles Krauthammer gleefully got to repeat it) that have unquestioningly passed along the right-wing lie that Obama dissed the Brits by sending the Churchill bust to the British Embassy. What Krauthammer won’t tell you is that there were two Churchill busts in the White House, and that the British Embassy one was a loan, not a permanent gift:

The one in the White House residence was a gift to the White House from the British Embassy during the Johnson administration.

The other one was loaned to President George W. Bush by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Says James Barbour, press secretary and head of communications for the British Embassy, “The bust of Sir Winston Churchill, by Sir Jacob Epstein, was lent to the George W. Bush administration from the U.K.’s government art collection, for the duration of the presidency. When that administration came to an end so did the loan; the bust now resides in the British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington D.C. The White House collection has its own Epstein bust of Churchill, which President Obama showed to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House in March.”

And yet the US establishment media, so submissive to the concerns of the Big-Business-backed right-wing frothers, won’t be giving Tapper’s debunking of this lie very much coverage — so the lie will be yet another Republican Zombie Lie, kept artificially alive by right-wing bloggers and lazy (or submissive) press scribes.

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Newspeak at State

Posted by Charles II on July 28, 2012

State Dept:

U.S. officials congratulated Secretary [Arturo] Corrales on the steps President Lobo’s administration has taken in these areas [poverty reduction, protection of human rights, government transparency, strengthening of democratic institutions and the judicial sector, countering organized crime, and other issues of regional interest] and, in particular, on the important results it has achieved in the fight against drug trafficking.

Human Rights Watch:

Law enforcement officials committed widespread human rights violations under the de facto government that took power after the 2009 military coup. Impunity for post-coup abuses remains a serious problem, despite the government’s establishment of a truth commission in May 2010 to examine events surrounding the coup, and efforts by prosecutors at the human rights unit in the attorney general’s office to investigate abuses.

Journalists, human rights defenders, political activists, and transgender people face violence and threats. Those responsible for these abuses are rarely held to account.

InSight Crime:

In recent years, Honduras has become an important transshipment point for US-bound cocaine. The Central American country has also seen an increase in cocaine processing, which is believed to be operated by Mexican cartels. It struggles with several violent gangs, including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18, and currently has the highest murder rate in the world.

In 2011, President Porfirio Lobo deployed troops in the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula in an effort to crack down on rising violence.

In a region with a history of military coups, giving more powers to the military has a potential to destabilize the power balance between civilian and military authorities.

Sounds like progress!

Posted in Honduras, State Department | Comments Off on Newspeak at State

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