(Credit: AP GraphicsBank)
CBS News has learned that three Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents are under investigation for hiring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia.
The alleged incident happened at the same time as the Secret Service agents were in Colombia for President Obama’s visit in mid April, but is separate from the ongoing Secret Service investigation.
Sources tell CBS News that the DEA agents under investigation have been removed from the country.
Two sources briefed on the investigation told CBS News that the allegations against the DEA came from a Secret Service agent who was being questioned by investigators as part of the Secret Service Colombia investigation.
The investigation is being conducted by the Department of Justice Inspector General, who provided a statement to CBS News from spokesman Jay Lerner: “The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG) is investigating allegations about potential misconduct by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel in Colombia, unrelated to the Cartagena hotel Secret Service incident.” The DOJ IG said they are working in coordination with the DEA, the U.S. Secret Service, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service on the investigation.
Unlike the Secret Service, the DEA has agents permanently stationed in Colombia, with offices in both Bogota and Cartagena.
DEA spokesperson Dawn Dearden sent a statement to CBS News indicating they made the agents immediately available to DOJ IG investigators. “DEA takes allegations of misconduct very seriously and will take appropriate personnel action, if warranted, upon the conclusion of the OIG investigation,” it said.
Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
I wrote a critique of one of his previous articles in 2007 where he argued that Israel was inherently racist. Yet an analysis of that article showed that he never really defined what racism was – effectively, his argument was an argument by repetition. In that article, he used the word “racist” or “racism” over thirty times. It was nothing more than proof by assertion, with many straw-man arguments to buttress his nonexistent proof.Now, he has a new article in Al Ahram, where he talks about Israel’s “colonialism.” In this case he must have shattered a record of overuse of a word, employing it over sixty times in the course of the article. Even more absurdly, he bases the article on this phrase: Colonialism is peace; anti-colonialism is war, as being Israel’s policy – using variants of that phrase some seven times.
Again, it is a gigantic straw-man argument, because he again assumes that Israel is by definition colonialist and he never bothers to define exactly how. Just as he did with the racism charge, he states it as a fact first and his “proof” is just by repeating it ad nauseum.
Israel is not a colonialist state using any reasonable definition of colonialism. As I have written previously, Israel is by definition anti-colonialist:
Arabs feel that Zionism has the same effect as colonialism, therefore they conclude that the two are functionally identical.
However, Zionism is more like anti-colonialism: it is a national liberation movement, with the nation being the Jewish nation. Zionism’s ‘s intent is not to rule over others nor to subjugate others. The vast majority of early Zionists wanted to re-build the Jewish national home in the same place that the original home was, the biblical Land of Israel. Judaism had maintained a strong emotional tie with ancient Israel; daily prayers long for a return to Zion;Jews annually mourn for the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem; and not only Jews had maintained a continuous presence in their original homeland, but Jews had returned there in much smaller numbers throughout the ages.
Definitionally, they two aren’t even close. The Zionists didn’t want to offer allegiance to the British Empire, they wanted to be independent of it. The colonialist requirement for a “metropole”, or mother country, doesn’t exist in Zionism.
The Arab motivation to apply the colonialist label to Zionism purposefully ignores the definitions or goals of the Jewish national liberation movement and instead tries to fuzz the definition so that the metropole is the entire Western world. Israel indeed has the hallmarks of a modern, Western nation and more closely identifies with the West and the ideals of democracy and liberalism than with the Arab world. And in more recent decades, when the word “colonialism” has turned into a dirty word, the Arabs have been keen on using it as a weapon against Israel among the nations that have the most colonial guilt.
Massad and those like him know all of this, of course – but they love misusing the words “colonialism” and “racism” to score points with the West. It is a libel that gains currency by dint of repetition, not by the merits of the argument.
And no one knows more about repetition than Joseph Massad.
|Kirchner and Presidents Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, in a 2006 summit in Brasilia.|
Latin America turned because Obama will not put his allegiance to America’s allies in writing. What loyalty can Latin America get from Obama? not a thing. They can get that loyalty from every enemy America has however.
Conclusion: America will be shocked when it realizes it has no friends, but how can we expect friends when we don’t ally ourselves with the friends we have?
Israelis can be excused for wondering why Brazil and Argentina unexpectedly announced they recognize an independent Palestinian state with its capital city in Israel’s capital city. Israelis can be forgiven for being taken by surprise by their move and by the prospect that Uruguay, and perhaps Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador, will be following in their footsteps because the Israeli media have failed to report on developing trends in Latin America.And this is not surprising. The media fail to report on almost all the developing trends impacting the world. For instance, when the Turkish government sent Hamas supporters to challenge the IDF’s maritime blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza coastline, the media were surprised that Israel’s ally Turkey had suddenly become Hamas’s ally and Israel’s enemy.Their failure to report on Turkey’s gradual transformation into an Islamic supremacist state caused the media to treat what was a culmination of a trend as a shocking new development.The same is now happening with Latin America.Whereas in Turkey, the media failed only to report on the significance of the singular trend of Islamization of Turkish society, the media have consistently ignored the importance for Israel of three trends that made Latin America’s embrace of the Palestinians against Israel eminently predictable.Those trends are the rise of Hugo Chavez, the regional influence of the Venezuela-Iran alliance, and the cravenness of US foreign policy towards Latin America and the Middle East. When viewed as a whole they explain why Latin American states are lining up to support the Palestinians. More importantly, they tell us something about how Israel should be acting.OVER THE past decade Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez has inherited Fidel Castro’s mantel as the head of the Latin American anti-American club. He has used Venezuela’s oil wealth, drug money and other illicit fortunes to draw neighboring states into his orbit and away from the US. Chavez’s circle of influence now includes Cuba and Nicaragua, Bolivia, Uruguay and Ecuador as well as Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Peru. Democracies like Colombia and Chile are also taking steps in Chavez’s anti-American direction.Chavez’s choice of Iran is no fluke although it seemed like one to some when the alliance first arose around 2004. Iran’s footprint in Latin America has grown gradually. Beginning in the 1980s, Iran started using Latin America as a forward base of operations against the US and the West. It deployed Hizbullah and Revolutionary Guards operatives and other intelligence and terror assets along the largely ungoverned tri-border area between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. That staging ground in turn enabled Iran to bomb Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s.Iran’s presence on the continent allowed it to take advantage of Chavez’s consolidation of power. Since taking office in 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has developed strategic alliances with Venezuela and Nicaragua.With Chavez’s assistance, Teheran is expanding its web of alliances throughout Latin America at the expense of the US and Israel.On the face of it, Chavez and Ahmadinejad seem like an odd couple. One is a Marxist and the other is a messianic jihadist. But on closer inspection it makes perfect sense. They share the same obsessions with hating the US and loving power.Chavez has demonstrated his commitment to maintaining power by crushing his opponents, taking control over the judiciary and media, amending the constitution and repeatedly stealing elections.Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks sabotage campaign against the US gave us a first person account of the magnitude of Ahmadinejad’s electoral fraud.In a cable from the US Embassy in Turkmenistan dated 15 June 2009, or three days after Ahmadinejad stole the Iranian presidential elections, the embassy reported a conversation with an Iranian source regarding the true election results. The Iranian source referred to the poll as a “coup d’etat.”The regime declared Ahmadinejad the winner with 63% of the vote. According to the Iranian source, he received less than a fifth of that amount. As the cable put it, “based on calculations from [opponent Mir Hossain] Mousavi’s campaign observers who were present at polling stations around the country and who witnessed the vote counts, Mousavi received approximately 26 million (or 61%) of the 42 million votes cast in Friday’s election, followed by Mehdi Karroubi (10-12 million)…. Ahmadinejad received ‘a maximum of 4-5 million votes,’ with the remainder going to Mohsen Rezai.”There is no fence-sitting along the Iran-Israel divide. Latin American countries that embrace Iran always do so to the detriment of their ties with Israel. Bolivia and Venezuela cut their diplomatic ties with Israel in January 2009 after siding with Hamas in Operation Cast Lead. In comments reported on the Hudson New York website, Ricardo Udler, the president of the small Bolivian Jewish community, said there is a direct correlation between Bolivia’s growing ties with Iran and its animosity towards Israel. In his words, “Each time an Iranian official arrives in Bolivia there are negative comments against the State of Israel and soon after, the Bolivian authorities issue a communiqué against the Jewish state.”Udler also warned that, “there is information from international agencies that indicate that uranium from Bolivia and Venezuela is being shipped to Iran.”That was in October. With Iran it appears that if you’re in for an inch you’re in for a mile. This month we learned that Venezuela and Iran are jointly deploying intermediate range ballistic missiles in Venezuela that will be capable of targeting US cities.THERE IS no doubt that the Venezuelan-Iranian alliance and its growing force in Latin America go a long way towards explaining South America’s sudden urge to recognize “Palestine.” But there is more to the story.
Ortega and Arafat in the Past.
Just so we all know what we are dealing with here
Kerry and Harkin with Ortega
The final trend that the media in Israel have failed to notice is the impact that US foreign policy in South America and the Middle East alike has had on the positions of nations like Brazil and Argentina towards Israel. During the Bush administration, US Latin America policy was an incoherent bundle of contradictions. On the one hand, the US failed to assist Chavez’s opponents overthrow him when they had a chance in 2004. The US similarly failed to support Nicaraguan democrats in their electoral fight against Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega in the 2007 elections. On the other hand, the US did foster strong alliances with Colombia and Chile.
In April 2009 US President Barack Obama sat through a 50-minute anti-American rant by Ortega at the Summit of the Americas. He then sought out Chavez for a photo-op. In his own address Obama distanced himself from US history, saying, “We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations.”Unfortunately, Obama’s attempted appeasement hasn’t done any good. Nicaragua invaded neighboring Costa Rica last month along the San Juan River. Ortega’s forces are dredging the river as part of an Iranian-sponsored project to build a canal along the Isthmus of Nicaragua that will rival the Panama Canal.
Even Obama’s ambassador in Managua admits that Ortega remains deeply hostile to the US. In a cable from February illicitly published by WikiLeaks, Ambassador Robert Callahan argued that Ortega’s charm offensive towards the US was “unlikely to portend a new, friendly Ortega with whom we can work in the long-term.”It is not simply the US’s refusal to defend itself against the likes of Chavez that provokes the likes of Brazil’s President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva and Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to embrace Chavez and Iran.They are also responding the US’s signals towards Iran and Israel.Obama’s policy of engaging and sanctioning Iran has no chance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And just like the Arabs and the Europeans, the South Americans know it. There is no doubt that at least part of Lula’s reason for signing onto a nuclear deal with Ahmadinejad and Turkey’s Reccip Erdogan last spring was his certainty that the US has no intention of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.From Lula’s perspective, there is no reason to participate in the US charade of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. He might as well be on the winning side. And since Obama doesn’t mind Iran winning, Iran will win.THE SAME rules apply for Israel. Like the Europeans, the Arabs, the Asians and everyone else, the Latin Americans have clearly noted that Obama’s only consistent foreign policy goal is his aim of forcing Israel to accept a hostile Palestinian state and surrender all the land it took control over in 1967 to the likes of PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. They see that Obama has refused to rule out the possibility of recognizing a Palestinian state even if that state is declared without a peace treaty with Israel. That is, Obama is unwilling to commit himself to not recognizing a Palestinian state that will be in a de facto state of war with Israel.The impression that Obama is completely committed to the Palestinian cause was reinforced this week rather than weakened with the cancellation of the Netanyahu-Clinton deal regarding the banning of Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The deal was to see Israel banning Jewish construction for an additional 90 days, in exchange for a US pledge not to ask for any further bans; to support Israel at the UN Security Council for a limited time against a Palestinian push to declare independence without peace; and to sell Israel an additional 20 F-35 fighter jets sometime in the future.It came apart because Obama was unwilling to put Clinton’s commitments – meager as they were – in writing. That is, the deal fell through because Obama wouldn’t make even a minimal pledge to maintain the US’s alliance with Israel.This policy signals to the likes of Brazil and Argentina and Uruguay that they might as well go with Chavez and Iran and turn their backs on Israel. No one will thank them if they lag behind the US in their pro-Iran, anti-Israel policies. And by moving ahead of the US, they get the credit due to those who stick their fingers in Washington’s eye.When we understand the trends that led to Latin America’s hostile act against Israel, we realize two things. First, while Israel might have come up with a way to delay the action, it probably couldn’t have prevented it. And second, given the US policy trajectory, it is again obvious that the only one Israel can rely on to defend its interests – against Iran and the Palestinians alike – is Israel.Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.