Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cuban Prisoner Release Announcement

Mark C. Toner
Acting Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
We have seen reports that the Council of State of Cuba has announced the release of 2,900 prisoners and Alan Gross is not among them. If this is correct, we are deeply disappointed and deplore the fact that the Cuban government has decided not to take this opportunity to extend this humanitarian release to Mr. Gross this holiday season, especially in light of his deteriorating health, and to put an end to the Gross family's long plight. We continue to call on the Cuban authorities to release Alan Gross and return him to his family, where he belongs.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Final Defendant in UW Horticulture Center Arson Pleads Guilty

Student who Built Fire Bomb, Drove Getaway Car Faces Seven-Year Sentence
The final participant in the 2001 arson of the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. JUSTIN SOLONDZ, 32, entered a guilty plea this morning to conspiracy and arson. Under the terms of the plea agreement, both the prosecutors and the defense will recommend a seven-year prison term. Judge Ronald B. Leighton can impose any sentence allowed by law. Judge Leighton scheduled sentencing for March 16, 2012.
“This was a dangerous and cowardly crime. This defendant and his group damaged the environment far more than their activism ever protected it,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “Not only did the UW blaze destroy endangered plants and important research, it posed a very real danger to the firefighters dedicated to fighting it. I commend the agents who tracked Mr. Solondz and brought him to justice.”
According to the plea agreement, SOLONDZ built the firebombs in a “clean room” behind an Olympia residence, transported them to Seattle, and remained in the car as a getaway driver during the arson. The plea agreement details how SOLONDZ left the country in 2005, and when he learned of arrests in the arson case, decided to stay abroad, traveling under a false name. In early 2009, SOLONDZ was arrested by Chinese authorities for manufacturing drugs. He was returned to the United States in July 2011, in the custody of the FBI.
The UW fire bombing was part of a string of 17 arsons across the west by the radical groups the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). The arson spree caused tens of millions of dollars in damage. In all, 15 people have been convicted of crimes related to a string of fires across the western United States investigated under “Operation Backfire.” All those connected with the UW arson have been ordered to share in restitution to the University of Washington and the State of Washington totaling $6,092,649.
Three other defendants, Jennifer Kolar, of Seattle, Washington; Lacey Phillabaum, of Spokane, Washington; and Briana Waters, of Oakland, California, have each pleaded guilty to the arson. Kolar was sentenced to a 60-month term of imprisonment for the UW Center for Urban Horticulture and other arsons. Phillabaum was sentenced to a 36-month term of imprisonment. Waters will be sentenced June 22, 2012. Under the terms of her plea agreement, both sides will recommend 48 months in prison. Waters served more than two-and-a-half years in prison following her conviction for the arson in 2008. That conviction was overturned in 2010. Waters entered a guilty plea in June 2011.
In addition to the defendants who have been convicted, the leader of the arson cell, and the fifth participant in the UW Center for Urban Horticulture arson, William C. Rodgers, 40, of Prescott, Arizona, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle in connection with the case. However, Rodgers committed suicide in December 2005, while being held in the Coconino County Jail in Prescott, Arizona.
This case is the result of a 10-year investigation by law enforcement. The Seattle Fire Department battled the blaze. Participating in the extensive investigation were the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Eugene Police Department, the Oregon State Police, the University of Washington Police Department, and other state and federal law enforcement agencies.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Friedman and Thomas Woods.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Passing of National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong Il

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
With the passing of National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong Il, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is now in a period of national mourning.  We are deeply concerned with the well-being of the North Korean people and our thoughts and prayers are with them during these difficult times.  It is our hope that the new leadership of the DPRK will choose to guide their nation onto the path of peace by honoring North Korea’s commitments, improving relations with its neighbors, and respecting the rights of its people.  The United States stands ready to help the North Korean people and urges the new leadership to work with the international community to usher in a new era of peace, prosperity and lasting security on the Korean Peninsula.

Panetta Says U.S. Unwavering in Support of South Korea

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2011 – Officials across government have collectively conveyed America’s unwavering commitment to South Korea, Defense Department officials said today.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta spoke with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin about the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il in a 15-minute telephone call this morning, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

“The secretary conveyed to Mr. Kim the strong commitment of the United States to peninsular stability and to our alliance,” he said. “He made it clear that the United States stands with Korea in this time of uncertainty.”

Little stressed there has been no increase in force protection for U.S. forces in Korea and that there is “no truth” to rumors that U.S. families would be evacuated.

No unusual military movements connected with the death of Kim Jong-il have been detected, Little said. There are 36,000 U.S. service members based in South Korea.

The two defense leaders agreed that it is critical for both countries to remain prudent with respect to all matters related to the security posture on the peninsula. Both promised to consult often in the days and weeks ahead.

U.S. officials would not comment on an announcement from North Korean officials that Kim’s son, Kim Jong-eun, will take over the isolated country.

“I wouldn’t comment on the particulars of succession at this stage,” Little said. “Obviously, we are closely monitoring the succession process. The North Koreans are in a period of mourning at this point, and that being said, the military does exercise a prominent role in North Korea, but I wouldn’t want to speculate at this stage.”

U.S. and South Korean officials believe that a North Korean missile test conducted earlier today was pre-planned and not connected to Kim’s death, a senior Pentagon official said on background.

Panetta was briefed on Kim’s death immediately after word reached the outside world last weekend, Little said.

“He has been closely monitoring the situation ever since,” the press secretary said. “He has been in contact with senior officials here in the department.”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kim Jong Il is Dead

By Zach Foster
The North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il was announced to have died of a heart attack on a train outside of Pyongyang.  The announcement was mournfully made on North Korean state television.  His son Kim Jong Un, an armchair general in the Korean People’s Army and a senior member of the Workers Party, was announced as his successor in the same broadcast.
Kim Jong Il was born in 1941 or 1942 in Siberia while his father and dictatorial predecessor, Kim Il Sung, led guerrilla troops in the Red Army and Korean Liberation Army against the Japanese in Manchuria and the northern Korean Peninsula.  His political grooming began in the late 1970s and early 1980s as his father was aging.  When Kim Il Sung died in 1994, Jong Il became the official successor and held all the highest offices in the land.  The combination of the North Korean socialist command economy and his military-first economic policy created a famine that killed over 2 million Koreans.  The 2000s were marked by North Korea’s weapons testing and withdrawal from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, as well occasional surprise attacks against South Korean troops that undid any progress made in the Inter-Korean Summit meetings.
The funeral is scheduled to be on December 28th in Pyongyang.

Human Rights in Belarus

Concerns About Human Rights in Belarus on the Anniversary of the December 19, 2010 Crackdown
Coat of Arms of Belarus
The following is a joint statement issued by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.
Today we remember the one year anniversary of the start of the brutal crackdown by the Belarus Government on civil society, political opposition and independent media. Over the past 12 months, the Belarusian authorities have imprisoned peaceful demonstrators, suppressed non-violent protests, and worked to silence independent voices. There have also been credible reports of degrading and inhumane treatment of political prisoners. A number of them have been set free, but we reiterate our call for all political prisoners to be immediately released and rehabilitated, including presidential candidates Andrei Sannikau and Mikalai Statkevich, and human rights defender Ales Byalyatski. We also express grave concern over new laws that will further restrict citizens' fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression and that target support to civil society.
We reiterate that the improvement of bilateral relations with the United States and the European Union is conditional on progress by the Government of Belarus towards the fulfillment of its OSCE commitments and the respect for fundamental human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles. The United States and the European Union remain willing to assist Belarus as it works to meet these obligations.

NOTE: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Alexander Lukashenko has been the country's president since 1994. Under his lead and despite objections from Western governments, Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of the economy have been continued. According to some organizations and countries, elections have been unfair, and political opponents have been violently suppressed.

Image and note courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Terrorist Designation of Basque Fatherland and Liberty Leader Jose Antonio Urruticoechea Bengoechea

The Department of State has designated Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) veteran Jose Antonio Urruticoechea Bengoechea (AKA Ternera) under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Jose Antonio Urruticoechea Bengoechea has any interest is blocked and any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him. This action will help stem the flow of financial and other assistance to this ETA leader.
Urruticoechea’s status as a long term ETA member and his engagement in terrorist activities such as murder, bombings, recruiting, training, and providing logistical support for a terrorist organization, constitute a threat to U.S. interests. Urruticoechea is wanted for terrorism and the murder of 11 people. He has played a decisive role in ETA’s terrorist activities for decades, both from prison, where he spent more than ten years, and for more than a decade as a fugitive from justice.
ETA, designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, is responsible for killing more than 800 civilians, police, and military personnel, and injuring thousands since it formally began its campaign of violence in 1968. ETA has primarily used bombings and assassinations, targeting Spanish government officials, security and military forces, politicians, businessmen, judicial figures, journalists, and tourists. Between 2007 and 2010, more than 400 ETA members have been arrested. Since 2008, Spanish and French authorities have apprehended a number of ETA’s top leaders. These arrests have significantly reduced the group’s activities.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reactionary Socialism

By Ludwig von Mises
From the very beginnings of the socialist movement and the endeavors to revive the interventionist policies of the precapitalistic ages, both socialism and interventionism were utterly discredited in the eyes of those conversant with economic theory. But the ideas of the revolutionaries and reformers found approval with the immense majority of ignorant people exclusively driven by the most powerful human passions of envy and hatred.
The social philosophy of the Enlightenment that paved the way for the realization of the liberal program — economic freedom, consummated in the market economy (capitalism), and its constitutional corollary, representative government — did not suggest the annihilation of the three old powers: the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the churches. The European liberals aimed at the substitution of the parliamentary monarchy for royal absolutism, not at the establishment of republican government. They wanted to abolish the privileges of the aristocrats, but not to deprive them of their titles, their escutcheons and their estates. They were eager to grant to everybody freedom of conscience and to put an end to the persecution of dissenters and heretics, but they were anxious to give to all churches and denominations perfect freedom in the pursuit of their spiritual objectives. Thus the three great powers of the ancien régime were preserved. One might have expected that princes, aristocrats and clergymen who indefatigably professed their conservatism would be prepared to oppose the socialist attack upon the essentials of Western civilization. After all, the harbingers of socialism did not shrink from disclosing that under socialist totalitarianism no room would be left for what they called the remnants of tyranny, privilege, and superstition.
However, even with these privileged groups resentment and envy were more intense than cool reasoning. They virtually joined hands with the socialists disregarding the fact that socialism aimed also at the confiscation of their holdings and that there cannot be any religious freedom under a totalitarian system… (Read more)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Romania's National Day

Flag of the Romanian Socialist
Republic (1965-1989)
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
November 30, 2011

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to all Romanians as you celebrate your national day this December 1.

Ninety-three years ago the Romanian state was founded on the democratic principles of liberty and equality which are the shared values at the heart of our relationship. Today, we count on Romania as a strong ally as we work together to support the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan, the Euro-Atlantic integration of your Balkan neighbors, and global security through extensive law enforcement cooperation. In addition to those long-standing ties, the signing of this year's joint strategic partnership and missile defense agreements marks a new chapter in our enduring relationship, and we look forward to finding new ways to work together.

Flag of the anti-Ceasescu revolutionaries
during the Revolution of 1989.
As you celebrate this special day with family, friends and loved ones, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend. Congratulations and best wishes for a year of peace and prosperity.

Note: The Romanian people have come a long way and overcome much poverty since overthrowing the Marxist totalitarian dictatorship of Nikolai Ceausescu.

Both images used are in the public domain and were obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, November 18, 2011

FBI San Francisco and Boston Divisions Ask for the Public’s Assistance in Finding Wanted Fugitive Daniel Andreas San Diego

BOSTON—At the request of the San Francisco Division of the FBI, the Boston Division is asking the public’s assistance in locating Daniel Andreas San Diego, a fugitive on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorist” list who may be hiding in western Massachusetts. The FBI received a tip from America’s Most Wanted that San Diego may be in the Northampton, Massachusetts area. Based upon this information, the FBI is seeking the public’s help in tracking down this fugitive. The FBI is offering a reward for up to $250,000 for information leading directly to the arrest of San Diego. The reward can be paid confidentially.
San Diego, who was the first domestic terrorism suspect added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list on April 21, 2009, is wanted for his alleged involvement in two bombings in the San Francisco, California area.
On August 28, 2003, two bombs exploded approximately one hour apart on the campus of a biotechnology corporation in Emeryville, Calif. Then, on September 26, 2003, one bomb strapped with nails exploded at a nutritional products corporation in Pleasanton, Calif.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for San Diego in October 2003. However, he disappeared before he could be taken into custody.
San Diego, who was a California resident, is described as a white male with a light complexion, 6’0” tall, 160 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He has several tattoos, to include: a round image of burning hillsides in the center of his chest with the words “It only takes a spark” printed in a semicircle below; burning and collapsing buildings on the sides of his abdomen and back; and a single leafless tree rising from a road in the center of his lower back. These tattoos may have been significantly altered or covered with new tattoos. Because of the unique nature of these tattoos, San Diego may be reluctant to remove his shirt, even in situations where it is the norm.
At the time of his disappearance, San Diego ate neither meat nor any food containing animal products. If he has maintained this discipline, people around him may notice that he avoids consuming or wearing anything made with animal products.  He is known to be affiliated with the group Revolutionary Cells - Animal Liberation Brigade.
Several years of living as a wanted fugitive may have forced San Diego to engage in secretive behavior, and this deception may spill over into other areas of his life: he may be vague or contradictory about his past history, routinely use prepaid cell phones or calling cards, or often change his e-mail address.
Because of his training in computer networking, San Diego may be known by those around him as someone to come to for computer-related assistance. He also is known to cook and bake vegan foods. He may be using these skills as a form of income.
Due to the sensitivity of improvised explosives, individuals engaged in the unlawful manufacture and storage of these materials pose a particular risk to themselves and the public. Accidental detonations with disastrous consequences are not uncommon among bomb makers.
San Diego should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anybody with information as to the whereabouts of San Diego is urged to call the FBI in Boston at 617-742-5533 or in San Francisco at 415-553-7400. All calls are confidential.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Shining Path: A Brief History, Part 4

Continued from Part 3
The Shining Path brutally killed its victims and rejected the idea of human rights. A Shining Path document stated:
2009 Shining Path anti-American
propaganda poster featuring the faces
of Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Guzman
“We start by not ascribing to either Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Costa Rica [Convention on Human Rights], but we have used their legal devices to unmask and denounce the old Peruvian state. . . . For us, human rights are contradictory to the rights of the people, because we base rights in man as a social product, not man as an abstract with innate rights. "Human rights" do not exist except for the bourgeois man, a position that was at the forefront of feudalism, like liberty, equality, and fraternity were advanced for the bourgeoisie of the past. But today, since the appearance of the proletariat as an organized class in the Communist Party, with the experience of triumphant revolutions, with the construction of socialism, new democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat, it has been proven that human rights serve the oppressor class and the exploiters who run the imperialist and landowner-bureaucratic states. Bourgeois states in general. . . . Our position is very clear. We reject and condemn human rights because they are bourgeois, reactionary, counterrevolutionary rights, and are today a weapon of revisionists and imperialists, principally Yankee imperialists.”
--The Communist Party of Peru, Sobre las Dos Colinas
Level of support
While the Shining Path quickly seized control of large areas of Peru, it soon faced serious problems. The Shining Path's Maoism never had the support of the majority of the Peruvian people; according to opinion polls, 15% of the population considered subversion to be justifiable in June 1988 while 17% considered it justifiable in 1991. In June 1991, "the total sample disapproved of the Shining Path by an 83 to 7 percent margin, with 10 percent not answering the question. Among the poorest, however, only 58% stated disapproval of the Shining Path; 11 percent said they had a favorable opinion of the Shining Path, and some 31 percent would not answer the question." A September 1991 poll found that 21 percent of those polled in Lima believed that the Shining Path did not kill and torture innocent people. The same poll found that 13% believed that society would be more just if the Shining Path won the war and 22% believed society would be equally just under the Shining Path as it was under the government.
Many peasants were unhappy with the Shining Path's rule for a variety of reasons, such as its disrespect for indigenous culture and institutions, and the brutality of its "popular trials" that sometimes included "slitting throats, strangulation, stoning, and burning." While punishing and killing cattle thieves was popular in some parts of Peru, the Shining Path also killed peasants and popular leaders for minor offenses. Peasants were offended by the rebels' injunction against burying the bodies of Shining Path victims.
The Shining Path became disliked for its policy of closing small and rural markets in order to end small-scale capitalism and to starve Lima. As a Maoist organization, it strongly opposed all forms of capitalism. It followed Mao's dictum that guerrilla warfare should start in the countryside and gradually choke off the cities. As the peasants' livelihoods depended on trade in the markets, they rejected such closures. In several areas of Peru, the Shining Path launched unpopular restrictive campaigns, such as a prohibition on parties and the consumption of alcohol.
Government response and abuses
In 1991, President Alberto Fujimori issued a law that gave the rondas a legal status, and from that time they were officially called Comités de auto defensa ("Committees of Self Defence"). They were officially armed, usually with 12-gauge shotguns, and trained by the Peruvian Army. According to the government, there were approximately 7,226 comités de auto defensa as of 2005; almost 4,000 are located in the central region of Peru, the stronghold of the Shining Path.
The Peruvian government also clamped down on the Shining Path in other ways. Military personnel were dispatched to areas dominated by the Shining Path, especially Ayacucho, to fight the rebels. Ayacucho itself was declared an emergency zone, and constitutional rights were suspended in the area.
Civilian victims of the Shining Path
Initial government efforts to fight the Shining Path were not very effective or promising. Military units engaged in many human rights violations, which caused the Shining Path to appear in the eyes of many as the lesser of two evils. They used excessive force and killed many innocent civilians. Government forces destroyed villages and killed campesinos suspected of supporting the Shining Path. They eventually lessened the pace at which the armed forces committed atrocities such as massacres. Additionally, the state began the widespread use of intelligence agencies in its fight against the Shining Path. However, atrocities were committed by the National Intelligence Service and the Army Intelligence Service, notably the La Cantuta massacre and the Barrios Altos massacre, both of which were committed by Grupo Colina.
After the collapse of the Fujimori government, interim President Valentín Paniagua, established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the conflict. The Commission found in its 2003 Final Report that 69,280 people died or disappeared between 1980 and 2000 as a result of the armed conflict. About 54% of the deaths and disappearances reported to the Commission were caused by the Shining Path. A statistical analysis of the available data led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to estimate that the Shining Path was responsible for the death or disappearance of 31,331 people, 46% of the total deaths and disappearances. According to a summary of the report by Human Rights Watch, "Shining Path… killed about half the victims, and roughly one-third died at the hands of government security forces… The commission attributed some of the other slayings to a smaller guerrilla group and local militias. The rest remain unattributed." The MRTA was held responsible for 1.5% of the deaths.
Continued in Part 5: The Shining Path’s collapse and resurgence
Information courtesy of Wikipedia. Propaganda poster was obtained via and victims photograph was obtained via .

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DIA Observance Honors Vietnam Veterans

By Christine Wolfe
DIA Public Affairs
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2011 – The Defense Intelligence Agency last week marked its 50th birthday – and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of U.S. military action in Vietnam – with a tribute to U.S. Sen. John McCain and all Vietnam War veterans.
"Your service and sacrifices for our nation during Vietnam and beyond are inspirational," said DIA Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess during the Nov. 4 observance after asking Vietnam War veterans to stand and be recognized. The event was aired live as a video teleconference viewed by current and former DIA employees around the world. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Jr. and former DIA directors Patrick Hughes and James Williams also attended the observance in DIA’s Tighe Auditorium on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.
Burgess presented McCain with the DIA Director’s Award and the DIA Operational Intelligence report from Oct. 27, 1967, which cited his Navy A-4E aircraft as downed by surface-to-air missiles southwest of Hanoi.
Burgess also brought attention to the final days of the evacuation of Saigon, in April 4, 1975, when a C-5 transport plane carrying the first flight of Vietnamese orphans out of the country during “Operation Babylift” crashed in a rice paddy.
"This agency saw selfless sacrifice,” he said, noting that the casualties included five DIA employees charged with caring for the children on that flight.  The crash was the single largest loss of agency personnel until 9/11.
McCain addressed the overflow crowd and thanked the agency and its veterans for the role they played in the fight and close of the Vietnam War.
McCain thanked Burgess for the job he is doing leading DIA and the agency's workforce worldwide. "I only wish that more of Americans could see for themselves the full extent of the remarkable job that that you do every single day for them," he said.
McCain recalled that it was just over 50 years ago that the ink was barely dry on then Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's order to establish DIA before the organization found itself on the front lines in Vietnam. Later, as President John F. Kennedy began the gradual escalation of Americans involved in that war, DIA set the standard of service to take it through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Six Day War, Operation Desert Storm, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"This is the same standard of service that all of you continue to live up to today,” McCain said. "This is a special year for DIA as you mark your 50th anniversary. Of all the agencies of our government, DIA can truly say that it was born fighting."
McCain told those in the audience that regardless of the uniform they wear or the work accomplished as a DIA employee, their service is always worth it.

“There's no higher honor than to serve a just cause greater than your own self interests,” he said to Vietnam veterans. “And for those of you who walked away from a confusing, painful and emotional experience of your time in Vietnam, you nevertheless chose to remain faithful to the cause of our nation and all who serve it. I commend you."

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Shining Path: A Brief History, Part 3

Continued from Part 2

Flag of the Communist Party of Peru
(The Shining Path)
In response [to the execution of Curitomay by peasant militias in a defensive campaign], in April the Shining Path entered the province of Huanca Sancos and the towns of Yanaccollpa, Ataccara, Llacchua, Muylacruz and Lucanamarca, where they killed 69 people, in what became known as the Lucanamarca massacre. This was the first time the Shining Path massacred peasants. Similar events followed, such as the ones in Hauyllo, Tambo District. The guerrillas killed 47 peasants, including 14 children aged four to fifteen. Additional massacres by the Shining Path occurred, such as the one in Marcas on August 29, 1985. In addition to occasional massacres, the Shining Path established labor camps to punish those who betrayed the "forces of the people." Those imprisoned were forced to work the lands and the coca fields. Hunger and deprivation were commonplace, and attempting escape was punishable by immediate execution.
The Shining Path's attacks were not limited to the countryside. It mounted attacks against the infrastructure in Lima, killing civilians in the process. In 1983, it sabotaged several electrical transmission towers, causing a citywide blackout, and set fire and destroyed the Bayer industrial plant. That same year, it set off a powerful bomb in the offices of the governing party, Popular Action. Escalating its activities in Lima, in June 1985 it blew up electricity transmission towers in Lima, producing a blackout, and detonated car bombs near the government palace and the justice palace. It was believed to be responsible for bombing a shopping mall. At the time, President Fernando Belaúnde Terry was receiving the Argentine president Raúl Alfonsín. In one of its last attacks in Lima, on July 16, 1992, the group detonated a powerful bomb on Tarata Street in the Miraflores District, full of civilian people, adults and children, killing 25 people and injuring an additional 155.
During this period, the Shining Path assassinated specific individuals, notably leaders of other leftist groups, local political parties, labor unions, and peasant organizations, some of whom were anti-Shining Path Marxists. On April 24, 1985, in the midst of presidential elections, it tried to assassinate Domingo García Rada, the president of the Peruvian National Electoral Council, severely injuring him and mortally wounding his driver. In 1988, Constantin Gregory, an American citizen working for the United States Agency for International Development, was assassinated. Two French aid workers were killed on December 4 that same year. In August 1991, the group killed one Italian and two Polish priests in Ancash Region. The following February, it assassinated María Elena Moyano, a well-known community organizer in Villa El Salvador, a vast shantytown in Lima.
Flag of the MRTA, another Peruvian
Marxist guerrilla army and enemy of
the Shining Path
By 1991, the Shining Path had control of much of the countryside of the center and south of Peru and had a large presence in the outskirts of Lima. As the organization grew in power, a cult of personality grew around Guzmán. The official ideology of the Shining Path ceased to be 'Marxism–Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought', and was instead referred to as 'Marxism–Leninism–Maoism-Gonzalo thought'. The Shining Path fought against Peru's other major Marxist guerrilla group, the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) and campesino (peasant) self-defense groups organized by the Peruvian armed forces.
Although the reliability of reports regarding the Shining Paths alleged atrocities remain a matter of controversy, the organization's use of violence is well documented. Lisa North, an expert on Peru at York University, noted that "the assassinations they carried out were absolutely ruthless . . . It was so extremist – absolutely, totally doctrinaire and absolutely, totally ruthless in pursuit of its aims."
The Shining Path brutally killed its victims and rejected the idea of human rights.
Continued in Part 4: The flat denial of human rights and loss of popularity
Both images property of "Huhsunqu" and used via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Soldiers Missing from Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Army Capt. Arnold E. Holm Jr. of Waterford, Conn.; Spc. Robin R. Yeakley of South Bend, Ind.; and Pfc. Wayne Bibbs of Chicago, will be buried as a group, in a single casket representing the entire crew, on Nov. 9, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On June 11, 1972, Holm was the pilot of an OH-6A Cayuse helicopter flying a reconnaissance mission in Thua Thien-Hue Province, South Vietnam.  Also on board were his observer, Yeakley, and his door gunner, Bibbs.  The aircraft made a second pass over a ridge, where enemy bunkers had been sighted, exploded and crashed, exploding again upon impact.  Crews of other U.S. aircraft, involved in the mission, reported receiving enemy ground fire as they overflew the crash site looking for survivors.
Between 1993 and 2008, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed witnesses, investigated, surveyed and excavated possible crash sites several times.  They recovered human remains, OH-6A helicopter wreckage and crew-related equipment—including two identification tags bearing Yeakley’s name.
Scientists from the JPAC used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence to identify the crew.
Today more than 1,600 American remain un-accounted for from the Vietnam War.  More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973.  The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the Vietnam War.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at or call 703-699-1169.

U.S.-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue

Office of the Spokesperson (State Department)
Washington, DC
The 16th round of the U.S. – Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue will take place in Washington, D.C. November 9 - 10.
The Human Rights Dialogue, based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, brings together government experts led by Assistant Secretary Michael Posner for the United States and Director General Hoang Chi Trung for Vietnam. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will open the session at the State Department. These meetings will offer an opportunity to pursue in-depth and substantive discussions that can produce concrete results aimed at narrowing the differences that remain between the United States and Vietnam in the area of human rights.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupy Oakland Protestors Attack Industry

Associated Press – (National) Occupy Oakland protesters force halt to operations at busy port. Several thousand Occupy Wall Street demonstrators gathering in Oakland, California forced a halt to operations at the nation's fifth busiest port November 2, escalating a movement whose tactics had largely been limited to marches, rallies, and tent encampments since it began in September. Police estimated a crowd of about 3,000 had gathered at the Port of Oakland by about 5 p.m. Some had marched from the city's downtown, while others were bused to the port. A port spokesman said maritime operations had effectively been shut down.
The interim Oakland police chief warned that protesters who went inside the port's gates would be committing a federal offense. Organizers said they want to stop the "flow of capital." The port sends goods primarily to Asia, including wine as well as rice, fruits and nuts, and handles imported electronics, apparel and manufacturing equipment, mostly from Asia, as well as cars and parts from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai.
Source: Huffington Post via Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report November 5, 2011

International Arms Dealer Viktor Bout Convicted in New York of Terrorism Crimes

Bout Convicted on All Four Counts, Including Conspiring to Kill Americans and Conspiring to Provide Material Support to Terrorists
NEW YORK – International arms dealer Viktor Bout was found guilty today of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) – a designated foreign terrorist organization based in Colombia – to be used to kill Americans in Colombia, announced the Department of Justice.  
“Today, one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers is being held accountable for his sordid past,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.   “Viktor Bout’s arms trafficking activity and support of armed conflicts have been a source of concern around the globe for decades.   Today, he faces the prospect of life in prison for his efforts to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to terrorists for use in killing Americans."
“As the evidence at trial showed, Viktor Bout was ready to sell a weapons arsenal that would be the envy of some small countries,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.   “He aimed to sell those weapons to terrorists for the purpose of killing Americans.    With today’s swift verdict, justice has been done and a very dangerous man will be behind bars.   I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who investigated this case on three different continents and helped to bring Viktor Bout to justice.”
Bout was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 based on a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.   He was subsequently charged in a four-count indictment in May 2008 and extradited to the Southern District of New York in November 2010.   Bout was convicted today of   conspiring to kill U.S. nationals; conspiring to kill U.S. officers and employees; conspiring to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles; and conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.   The three-week jury trial was presided over by U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at the trial:
Since the 1990s, Bout has been an international weapons trafficker.   As a result of his weapons trafficking activities in Liberia, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control within the Department of Treasury placed him on the Specially Designated nationals list in 2004.   The designation prohibits any transactions between Bout and U.S. nationals, and freezes any of his assets that are within the jurisdiction of the United States.
Between November 2007 and March 2008, Bout agreed to sell to the FARC millions of dollars’ worth of weapons – including 800 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), 30,000 AK-47 firearms, 10 million rounds of ammunition, five tons of C-4 plastic explosives, “ultralight” airplanes outfitted with grenade launchers and unmanned aerial vehicles.   Bout agreed to sell the weapons to two confidential sources working with the DEA (the “CSs”), who represented that they were acquiring them for the FARC, with the specific understanding that the weapons were to be used to attack U.S. helicopters in Colombia.
During a covertly recorded meeting in Thailand on March 6, 2008, Bout stated to the CSs that he could arrange to airdrop the arms to the FARC in Colombia, and offered to sell two cargo planes to the FARC that could be used for arms deliveries.   He also provided a map of South America and asked the CSs to show him American radar locations in Colombia.   Bout said that he understood that the CSs wanted the arms to use against American personnel in Colombia, and advised that, “we have the same enemy,” referring to the United States.   He also stated that the FARC’s fight against the United States was also his fight and that he had been “fighting the United States…for 10 to 15 years.” During the meeting, he also offered to provide people to train the FARC in the use of the arms.
The evidence presented at trial included a recording of the March 6, 2008 meeting between Bout, the CSs, his former associate Andrew Smulian, and others.   Smulian was charged along with Bout in the government’s March 2008 complaint and pleaded guilty in May 2008 to the four conspiracy counts of which Bout was just convicted.   Smulian cooperated with the government and, along with the two CSs, provided testimony at the trial.
Bout faces a maximum sentence of life in prison on counts one through three, including a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison for count three.   He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison on count four.  
Bout is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Scheindlin on Feb. 8, 2012.
The case was investigated by the DEA, with assistance from the Royal Thai Police; the Romanian National Police; the Romanian Prosecutor’s Office Attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice; the Korps Politie Curacao of the Netherlands Antilles; and the Danish National Police Security Services.   
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anjan Sahni and Brendan R. Mcguire from the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.   The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance.

Friday, November 4, 2011

U.S. Assistance to China (Taken Question)

Office of the Spokesperson (State Department)
Washington, DC
Question Taken at the November 4, 2011 Daily Press Briefing
Question: Please provide a breakdown of aid to China and what it pays for.
Answer: Our assistance to China is decreasing, as China transitions from a recipient to a donor nation. For FY 2012, the Administration requested $12.85 million for programs in Tibet ($5 million), on preventing the spread of infectious diseases ($7 million), and on international narcotics and law enforcement ($850,000). These programs are targeted, scalable with Chinese resources, and directly address U.S. interests such as preventing the spread of diseases across borders.
In FY 2010, assistance programs in China totaled $27.2 million, including $6.2 million for rule of law and good governance, $7.4 million in Tibetan areas, $7 million on health, and $6.6 million on environmental cooperation outside of Tibetan areas. None of this funding went to the Government of China. Approximately half of FY 2010 funding for programs in China was directed by Congress rather than requested by the Administration, including for environmental programs.
In FY 2010, USAID’s programs in China served the following goals:
Rule of Law: To enhance the development of rule of law and good governance in China by supporting U.S. academic institutions that engage with higher education, legal, and judiciary institutions, as well as local government officials.
Tibet: To support activities to assist in preserving the distinct Tibetan culture and promote sustainable development and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities through grants to U.S. organizations.
Health: To limit the transmission of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and avian influenza that pose threats throughout the region and globally.
Environment: In FY 2010, USAID’s environmental activities in China prevented 257,776 metric tons of CO2 equivalent from being emitted and saved $39.7 million through energy saving and emissions reduction measures.
For more detailed information on USAID and State’s programs in China, please visit