Proceso on Medina Mora: “Complicit Omissions” and Quaint Customs

Tex-Mex justice mavens: Under Beto, we gringos seem to have converged up to the level of Mexican governance innovations.
Alberto Gonzalez and Medina Mora: “Productive discussions” earlier this year, but is Beto still providing the adult supervision? See also Mexico: Congress Suspects Soft State of Exception
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In Michoacán, for example, according to the report delivered to Medina Mora, Ye Gon had a network dedicated to drug distribution and the receipt of shipments. This cell had the support of state and federal police and even active duty military personnel.

Omisión Cómplice (Proceso, Mexico): The investigative weekly has gotten its hands on more investigation files. These things just sort of trickle out a document at a time, like — well, like pages turning that are the days of our lives [swelling organ music].

See More Gaddis Letters Detail the Borking of the Man Behind the Meth!

The new documents flesh in some more Five Ws with respect to the general facts stated in the DEA indictment about the “man behind the meth” and his Sino-Sonoran brain-cell destruction express.

The political hook here, if true: Current Mexican attorney general Medina Mora — Secretary of Public Security under Fox — had been apprised of Ye Gon’s activities in 2005, Proceso reports, and regularly updated thereafter.

But did diddly about it.

Potentially a companion political focal point to that shot of Fox handing Ye Gon his Mexican green card — which Televisa showed over and over and over and over last week.

Predicted rebuttal, if any: “I read many reports. I cannot be expected to remember them all.” Gonzalez memory syndrome is infectious, in other words. Mark my words.

What makes this a New Market Machines item? A lot of the good information came from Ye Gon’s beancounter. Which just goes to show you: if you want the straight dope, in detail, ask a member of the reality-based community.

The reported presence of heavily armed and extremely nasty anti-Zeta commandos in the Ye Gon organization is a pretty interesting tale in and of itself. Let me just clip to the record pra inglês ver and then we can collate, okay?

En el caso Zhenli, el gobierno de Felipe Calderón intenta presentar como golpe a la delincuencia lo que en realidad supone una cadena de complicidades –u omisiones, por decir lo menos– entre el crimen organizado y altos funcionarios de su administración y la de Vicente Fox. Basadas en reportes oficiales, las investigaciones de Proceso en torno al caso aportan nuevas evidencias de lo anterior. He aquí nombres, cargos, antecedentes …

In the Zhenli Ye Gon case, the government of Felipe Calderón is trying to present as striking a blow against organized crime what in fact presupposes a series of complicities — or omissions, in the best case — of high officials of the Fox administration with organized crime. Based on official reports, Proceso‘s investigations into the case now bring you new evidence. Names, job titles, prior records …

Cuando el empresario Zhenli Ye Gon realizaba sus actividades ilícitas en el gobierno de Vicente Fox sin ser molestado, el entonces titular de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSP), Eduardo Medina Mora, recibió el siguiente parte informativo de los agentes de la Policía Federal Preventiva (PFP) Iván René Torres García y Gabriel Adolfo Solana Fonseca:

As Ye Gon was going about his illicit business during the Fox administration without being bothered, Fox’s Secretary of Public Security, Eduardo Medina Mora, received the following report from two federal police aganets, Iván René Torres García and Gabriel Adolfo Solana Fonseca:

“…se tuvo conocimiento (de) que al producto químico n-methyl-acetilamino (metilacrilamida) se le realizaron muestras al momento de ser importado del país de China a través de los agentes aduanales Nelson Prida Barrio, José Luis Pérez Riva, Benito Guerrero Herrera, Sonia Prieto Flores y Fany Gordillo Rustrian, liberado en los meses de diciembre de 2005 y enero de 2006 en la aduana de Manzanillo, Colima, el cual según los resultados del laboratorio, no correspondía al producto declarado…

“… It was learned that samples of the chemical product n-methyl-acetylamine (methylacrylamide) were taken, at the moment it was being imported by Customs agents Nelson Prida Barrio, José Luis Pérez Riva, Benito Guerrero Herrera, Sonia Prieto Flores and Fany Gordillo Rustrian, who released the shipments in December 2005 and January 2006 at the Customs facility in Manzanillo, and according to lab results, the samples did not correspond to the product declared.

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Paraná: Political Blood Sport Banned From Public TV!


TV Educativa of Paraná: public affairs programming on the plight of pensioners hit by the failure of Varig Airlines, from May 2007.

TJ proíbe comerciais da TV Educativa que atacam a imprensa (Bem Paraná/Jornal do Estado, Paraná, Brazil): The state supreme court in Paraná forbids “commercials used to attack news organizations and compare [its own spending with] the publicity spending of previous governments” on the government-run TV Educativa in the state.

Imagine if Tony Snow wanted to correct a fact reported in the newspaper and the newspaper refused to publish his response?

Sure, the Bush White House engages in a lot of FUD and phony factual challenges, but suppose it was something as simple as whether Laura Bush had her hair styled yesterday or not? And the perfidious Francophile New York Times simply refused to regret the error?

One more case to clip for the “Latin American media wars” file.

O deputado estadual Valdir Rossoni (PSDB) conseguiu, através da Justiça, retirar do ar os “comerciais” usados para atacar órgãos da imprensa e também comparar com governos anteriores os gastos de publicidade, transmitidos pela TV Educativa.

State lawmaker Valdir Rossoni (PSDB) got a court order to take off the air the “commercials” used to attack news media and also to compare the publicity expenditures of previous governments, as broadcast on TV Educativa.

Rossoni havia protocolado no dia 26 de junho uma ação popular contra o governador Roberto Requião e a TV Educativa para impedir a veiculação das inserções e também a verificação dos custos de produção e devolução, aos cofres públicos, dos valores gastos. No dia 25 de julho, o juiz convocado do TJ, Eduardo Sarrão, deferiu a ação na sua integralidade.

Rossoni had filed suit on June 26 against Governor Requião and TV Educativa to block the airing of the inserts. The station was also to verify the cost of production and return the money to the state coffers. On July 25, Judge Sarrão ruled in favor of the suit, in its entirety.

As campanhas começaram a ser exibidas no mês de junho, após a mobilização dos deputados de Oposição para investigar os gastos com publicidade no governo Requião, nos anos de 2005 e 2006. Os comerciais faziam críticas aos gastos com propaganda do governo Jaime Lerner, além de ataques a vários veículos de imprensa que, segundo o comercial, estariam agindo contra o governo estadual por não estarem recebendo verbas publicitárias.

The campaigns started to be aired in June, after a mobilization by opposition lawmakers to investigate expenditures on publicity in the Requião government during 2005 and 2006. The commercials criticized the advertising expenditures of the Lerner government and attacked various news media, which, according to the commercial, were acting against the state government because they were not receiving state advertising funds.

A recent sample of the combative relationship between government and the Fourth Estate, from the TV Educativa Web site:

O jornalista Celso Nascimento publicou nesta sexta-feira (27), em sua coluna no Jornal Gazeta do Povo, informação falsa sobre a participação da primeira-dama Maristela Requião na comitiva que acompanha o governador Roberto Requião em viagem aos Estados Unidos. O jornalista mentiu, mesmo consultando a Casa Civil, que no dia anterior esclareceu que Maristela não acompanharia o governador em sua viagem a Nova Iorque, para nova homenagem a Copel. Manipulando dados de viagens oficiais, o jornalista destacou supostas despesas e insistiu na divulgação mesmo com confirmação, pelo órgão responsável pelas viagens oficiais, de que a diretora do Museu Oscar Niemeyer ou qualquer outro membro da diretoria não participariam desta viagem.

On Friday, July 27, in his column in the Gazeta do Povo, journalist Celso Nascimento published a false report about the inclusion of First Lady Maristela Requião in the contingent accompanying the Governor on a trip to the United States. The journalist lied, even after consulting the [governor’s office], which the day before had explained that the First Lady would not accompany the Governor to New York … Manipulating data on official trips, the journalist pointed to supposed expenses and insisted on printing the story even though he had confirmation, from the agency handling official travel, that neither the director of the Niemeyer Museum or anyone other board member were going on the trip.

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“RCTV is Feisty and Independent”: W$J


From an exposé on an RCTV news program. A banner is photoshopped in reading “Fuente Tiuna.” “This is Fuente Tiuna [a presidential retreat, I believe] just look,” says the morning happy-talk news program’s host.


This is the original. The producers of the anti-RCTV YouTube spot say they tracked it down to a blog post called “Hummer Overfloweth” on a site called “The Mess that Greenspan Made.” Which identifies the locale as a hotel parking lot in California. Some kind of HMMVV promotional love-in. 

If journalists have a rigorous style that precludes the kind of words that invite scrutiny–adjectives, adverbs and modifiers–they’ll do better. –Matthew Winkler, editor in chief, Bloomberg LLC.

Venezuelan Cable Station Faces Chávez Showdown: José de Córdoba of the Wall St. Journal thinks Venezuela’s RCTV is “feisty” and “politically independent.”

Has he actually watched it?

CARACAS, Venezuela — A samba band snaked through the studios of Radio Caracas Television on July 16 to celebrate the broadcaster’s return as a cable station just seven weeks after President Hugo Chávez refused to renew the station’s broadcast license, knocking it off the air.

Technically, it was CONATEL that issued that ruling, was my understanding.

Also, I saw video of the relaunch festivities, but I do not recall any samba band in attendance.

Some sort of bright, rhythmic Latin music, yes, but not something Nelson do Cavaquinho would have recognized as the work of the poetas of his beloved estação primeira. I could be wrong.

The new cable version of RCTV, called RCTV International, was just as feisty as the broadcast version had been. Popular anchorman Miguel Ángel Rodríguez started his show with a Chávez critic who blasted the arrest of four university students for handing out political leaflets during a soccer game. Next, a Catholic bishop warned that Venezuela was sliding toward totalitarianism. “I’m so happy to be back,” beamed RCTV co-anchor Luisiana Ríos.

Did that incident with the students actually occur? Possibly.

But if you have ever actually watched RCTV, you know that it tends to run nonexistent facts fairly often. Such as a parking lot full of HMMVVs at a California hotel, crudely Photoshopped to suggest it was a government parking lot.

See, for example “Mountains of Money”: RCTV and Teleamazonas in Action.

But the celebration turned out to be premature. The Chávez government last week announced legal requirements that may force RCTV International off cable outlets tomorrow, possibly silencing the opposition broadcaster for good.

Or possibly not.

Essentially, the Chávez government is requiring RCTV International — a Miami-based company which gets much of its programming from Caracas-based RCTV and transmits to Latin America — to register as a Venezuelan content producer. The registration requirements, which include airing Mr. Chávez’s marathon speeches, would make the cable venture economically “unfeasible,” says Marcel Granier, RCTV’s chief executive officer.

I cannot confirm from other news sources that the registration requirement involves running marathon Hugo speeches.

Let someone who writes facts like a responsible adult — with sparing use of adjectives — summarize the dispute:

After the Chavez government denied the channel a renewal of its license to broadcast on the nation’s VHF spectrum, RCTV came back on Monday of last week as RCTV International on cable and satellite subscription television. Since then, the channel has claimed that it does not have to comply with mandatory government public service messages or play the national anthem twice daily, as is required of all national broadcasters by law.

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Ye Gon: “The Mountain Money Is TOO Evidence”

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The monster iceberg of lettuce in question. Source: http://www.dea.gov

In the view of Olea Peláez, the SAE director is guilty of embezzlement for having distributed the money without judicial authorization.

Es ilegal disponer del dinero: abogados (El Universal): Calderón is pissing on due process, say lawyers of the magic (disappearing?) mountain of money.

Los 205 millones de dólares asegurados a Zhenli Ye Gon sí constituían una prueba en su contra, por lo que la decisión del gobierno federal de repartirlos no fue legal, afirmaron los abogados penalistas Raúl Guerrero Palma y Xavier Olea Peláez.

The money seized from Ye Go is too evidence against, for which reason the federal government’s decision to distribute it was not legal, say criminal law experts Raúl Guerrero Palma and Xavier Olea Peláez.

To the extent that Mexico is governed by the rule of law at all, it goes without saying.

The democratic rule of law being a Communist plot and all.

En entrevistas por separado, ambos abogados consideraron que no es válida la explicación del director del Servicio de Administración y Enajenación de Bienes (SAE), Luis Miguel Álvarez Alonso, sobre los motivos para distribuir el dinero asegurado, pues dijo que de acuerdo con el Ministerio Público, el dinero había causado abandono en favor del gobierno federal y debía repartirse entre la PGR, el Poder Judicial y la Secretaría de Salud.

In separate interviews, both attorneys concluded that the explanation offered by Álvarez Alonso of the SAE, on the reasons for distributing the sum seized, are not valid. He said that according the Public Ministry, the money was abandoned and forfeit in favor of the federal government and should be divided between the PGR, the judiciary and the Secretary of Health. 

Al respecto, los penalistas recordaron que existe una orden de aprehensión contra Ye Gon por operaciones con recursos de procedencia ilícita (lavado de dinero), entre otros delitos, y que el monto asegurado es, precisamente, una evidencia dentro de esa acusación.

The penal experts, however, recalled that there is an outstanding arrest warrant on Ye Gon for money-laundering, among other crimes, and that the cash is evidence of this accusation.

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Ye Gon Case: “The Mountain of Money Is Pure As Driven Meth”?

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The Everest of Benjamins in question. Source: http://www.dea.gov

El dinero incautado a Zhenli fue enviado a EU para autentificarlo y contarlo: “The mountain of money was sent to the U.S. merely to authenticate and count it,” La Jornada quotes the Mexican SHCP (Treasury) as saying.

The headline: “Government says Ye Gon’s money was not illicit!”

That is, the money is not evidence in the criminal case in Mexico against the reputed “man behind the meth,” according to the federal attorney.

Which, oddly — if it is a fair angle on what the Mexican Treasury is saying — is exactly what the guy’s Mexican defense attorney has been saying.

Which would leave us in a curious situation: The DEA says the guy made tons of money off of drugs, stored it in his closet, then shipped it off to Las Vegas to launder somehow. Precursors sold to drug cookers for sale to gringos.

You need all those elements to prove the guy is in the drug business.

Unless maybe he was a drug charity of some kind. “Take these drugs for free; we will only charge you for the support personnel needed to talk you down.”

Are the Mexicans going to argue that he was making money off of drugs, but none of that $207 million dollars was it?

Or will they rely on evidentiary findings in the U.S. trial when they finally get their hands on “the man behind the meth”?

Proceso has this pithy summary of the back story:

Obligadas por una solicitud de información por vía de la Ley de Transparencia, la Secretaría de Hacienda y el Servicio de Administración y Enajenación de Bienes (SAE) tuvieron que informar, el pasado 4 de julio, que el dinero fue enviado al Bank of America de Estados Unidos. Nunca dijeron cuándo, cómo ni por qué.

Forced by a freedom of information request, the Treasury had to report, on July 4, that the cash was sent to the Bank of America in the U.S. It never said when, how, or why.

The chain of custody, as I understand it, was from Banjercito to Bank of American Mexican affiliate Santander to Bank of America, as a certified custodian, on behalf of the Federal Reserve.

El hecho causó revuelo. Interpretaciones diversas y disímiles sobrevinieron, aunque abrevaron en una: el gobierno –acosado y nervioso por la imputación de Ye Gon, en el sentido de que una parte de todo ese dinero era del Partido Acción Nacional, que presuntamente serviría para la campaña presidencial–, se estaba deshaciendo de una prueba fundamental que podría implicarlo.

The revelation caused a stir. Various conflicting interpretations abounded, although they all boiled down to one: The government — besieged and nervous about Ye Gon’s accusations, to the effect that some of this money belonged to the National Action Party and allegedly was for use in the presidential campaign — was getting rid of fundamental evidence that could implicate it.

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Colombia: “Major Was Key to Mobbing Up of Army”

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Don Diego

The officer is the son of retired Col. Homero Rodríguez, former director of the La Catedral prison at the time the late Pablo Escobar escaped from there.

Mayor (r) que burló detención domiciliaria es clave en infiltración de mafias en Fuerzas Militares: “A retired major who flouted house arrest played a key role in the infiltration of the Armed Forces by mafias,” reports El Tiempo today.

El ministro de Defensa, Juan Manuel Santos, aceptó que la situación afectó niveles muy altos en el Ejército y anunció reorientación en la contrainteligencia.

The Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos, admitted that the situation affected high-ranking Army commanders and announced a revamping of counterintelligence.

Según se reveló, detrás de la red del narcotráfico que reclutaba militares estaba el mayor (r) Juan Carlos Rodríguez, quien estaba condenado a 12 años por tráfico de armas y droga, pero un juez le dio casa por cárcel el año pasado en una inusual decisión, en mayo del 2006.

According to the minister, behind the narcotrafficking network that recruited soldiers was retired major Juan Carlos Rodríguez, who was sentenced to 12 years for arms and drug smuggling but was allowed by a judge to serve his time under house arrest in May 2006 — an unusual decision.

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Brazilian Air Disaster: “The Runway Was Not Officially Released”

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“Revelations of the black boxes!”:
Ecce Veja, which, when it leaps to conclusions, very often crashes and burns.

Pista de Congonhas foi liberada sem homologação após reforma: It was the runway! It was the pilot! It was the aircraft! It was the Air Force! God was punishing Lula! It was neo-paganism! The pilot had aborted the landing! The pilot had not aborted the landing! Yada yada yada!

All of those factors, of course — I have more and more sympathy for the by-the-book General Kersul, Brazil’s head crash geek, as time goes on — need to be tracked.

And how they might or might not fit together needs to be explained to the public using words of one-syllable, for dummies. Like me. (Unless you happen to think that instrumental rationality is a Communist plot.)

The Folha ought to produce a volume in its “the Folha explains” series of paperbacks on basic epistemology. Which the Abril Course in Journalism then ought to assign as a textbook. It is not a complicated as some would have you believe.

“If your mother says she loves you, get a second source, then run with it.” That little proverb sums up huge swaths of the subject rather nicely, for example.

Today, at any rate, the Folha de S. Paulo usefully contributes some bucket-work to the legal dimension of the “runway” factor.

The contracting on the runway renovation project — one of the firms on the project was also a contractor on the Line 4 “Smoking Hole” subway project from earlier this year — is being looked at closely by beancounters.

On the smoking hole — we could see the smoke rising from our house, by the way — see also “In Hell, The Engineers Are Brazilian and the Musicians Are German.”

That is just an old joke, of course. The real problem, some experts say, may simply be too many non-engineers working as engineering supervisors.

A Infraero liberou a pista principal do aeroporto de Congonhas, em São Paulo, no final de junho, antes do acidente com o Airbus-A320 da TAM, sem a homologação oficial de entidades do setor aéreo. O superintendente de empreendimentos de engenharia da Infraero, Armando Schneider Filho, disse hoje à CPI do Apagão Aéreo da Câmara que não expediu nenhum documento formal sobre a liberação da pista por não considerar essa prática necessária.

Infraero released the main runway at Congonhas airport in São Paulo at the end of June, prior to the crash of the TAM Airbus A320, without an official release from aviation agencies. The superintendent of engineering projects at the state-owned airport authority, Armando Schneider Jr., told the congression commission on the air travel crisis today that he did not issue any formal document releasing the runway because he did not consider this practice necessary.

“Eu desconheço qualquer necessidade formal ou documentação que determine que a pista seja verificada”, afirmou. O superintendente afirmou, no entanto, que o IPT (Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas) acompanhou toda a execução das obras –mas não tinha autonomia para a sua liberação.

“I am not aware of any formal requirement or documentation that determines that the runway be verified,” he stated. He also said, however, that the IPT (the state Institute of Technological Research) ovesaw the entire project — but did not have the authority to release the runway for use.

The IPT has lately engaged in an artillery duel of press releases with Infraero, trying to rebut the implication that it had okayed the work. It says, in a nutshell, that that was not its job, which was merely, as I understand it, to take measurements and generate data on certain engineering aspects of the project.

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