Although it has recieved little coverage elsewhere, the Cuban daily Ahora reports today that on May 20, Bush received a Cuban-American delegation at the White House led by Luis Zúñiga Rey of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), presumably to discuss the Posada Carriles affair. The article calls Zúñiga a "terrorist," and quotes Percy Alvarado, AKA Agent Frayle, a Guatemalan who infiltrated anti-Castro terror groups for Cuban state security: "Zúñiga told me, face to face, that it was necessary to be violent and cold-blooded, calculating and merciless, to overthrow Fidel and the Revolution. I can still see him that November night in 1993, when he proposed sinister plans by the CANF to set off powerful bombs in Havana’s Hotel Nacional and in a famous restaurant in that city."
Posada Carriles - the 77-year-old former CIA asset and accused terrorist - was charged last week with illegal entry into the US and is being detained by the Homeland Security Department at Florida's Homestead Air Force Base. US authorities have remained silent on whether he will be extradited to Venezuela to face terrorism charges. (Prensa Latina, May 18) (See our last blog post on the affair)
Yesterday, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez publicly broached breaking diplomatic ties with the US if Washington refuses to extradite. "If they don't extradite him (Mr Posada Carriles) in the time allowed in our agreement, we will review our relations with the United States," Chavez said in his regular Sunday TV programme. Washington has up to 60 days to consider Venezuela's extradition request under a 1922 treaty between the two countries.
Robots seem to be gaining reproductive rights even as women are losing theirs.
Robots at Cornell University are making copies of themselves without human intervention. In principle, the machines will thus be able to repair and reproduce themselves autonomously in remote environments. "Our self-replicating robots perform very simple tasks compared with intricacies in biological reproduction," said engineer Hod Lipson, a Cornell assistant professor. "But we think they demonstrate that mechanical self-reproduction is possible and not unique to biology."
WW4 REPORT readers are aware that the Nasa Indian community of Toribio in southern Colombia's Cauca department have been under siege for the past several weeks as guerillas and army troops fight for control of their village. Army and guerillas alike are operating in violation of the constituionally-recognized autonomy rights of the Nasa, who have declared their territories closed to all armed actors. (See our recent report.) Two representatives from Toribio are currently in New York City to raise awareness about the situation their people face, and will be speaking in Manhattan this Friday.
In February, eight civilians, including community leader Luis Eduardo Guerra and three children, were massacred in the Colombian Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. Witnesses identified the killers as members of the Colombian military, and peace community members saw the army’s 17th and 11th Brigades in the area around the time of the murders. SOA Watch, the group that monitors the U.S. Army's School of the Americas (now officially the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), reports that the commander of the 17th Brigade of the Colombian army received training at the SOA. Gen. Héctor Jaime Fandiño Rincón attended the "Small-Unit Infantry Tactics" course in 1976. In December of 2004 he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.
Pressure is growing on the U.S. to respond to allegations that its agents were involved in spiriting terrorist suspects out of three European countries and sending them to nations where they may have been tortured. In Italy, a judge said this week that foreign intelligence officials "kidnapped" an Egyptian suspect in Milan two years ago and took him to a U.S. base from where he was flown home. In Germany, a Munich prosecutor is preparing questions to U.S. authorities on the case of a Lebanese-born German who says he was arrested in Macedonia on New Year's Eve 2003 and flown by US agents to a jail in Afghanistan. And in Sweden, a parliamentary ombudsman has criticized the security services over the expulsion of two Egyptian terrorism suspects who were handed over to US agents and flown home aboard a US government-leased plane in 2001. Human Rights Watch said there was credible evidence the pair had been tortured while being held incommunicado for five weeks after their return. One was later convicted in a "patently unfair" trial.
The retraction of Newsweek's allegations of Koran-abuse at Guantanamo, which had sparked violent protests in Afghanistan, may not win the U.S. peace in that country for very long. A vivid report in the NY Times May 20 depicts horrendous details of the torture-death of two detainees at the Bagram Collection Point in December 2002, based on a 2,000-page confidential file of the Army's criminal investigation into the case, a copy of which was obtained by the Times. Seven soldiers are now facing criminal charges in the case.
The head of Iraq's largest Christian community has denounced U.S. evangelical missionaries in his country for what he said were attempts to convert poor Muslims by flashing money and smart cars, al-Jazeera reported May 20. Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, said that many Protestant activists had come to Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and set up what he called "boutiques" to attract converts. Delly accused the evangelicals of attracting poor youths with displays of money and taking them "out riding in cars to have fun."