You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

August 15, 2012

UK Government Takes Gold in 100 Meter Hypocrisy

Reuters, today:

Ecuador said on Wednesday the British government had threatened to raid its embassy in London if WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is not handed over, and that Quito would make its decision on his asylum request on Thursday.

"Today we've received a threat by the United Kingdom, a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy in London if Ecuador refuses to hand in Julian Assange," Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters.

The text of a letter from UK authorities to the Chancellor of Ecuador is available in Spanish here.

Statement by UK Foreign Minister William Hague in response to a violation of the UK Embassy compound in Tehran by Iranian students, November 29, 2011:

"It amounts to a grave breach of the Vienna Convention which requires the protection of diplomats and diplomatic premises under all circumstances.

"We hold the Iranian Government responsible for its failure to take adequate measures to protect our Embassy, as it is required to do."

Posted at August 15, 2012 08:13 PM

C'mon, Jon, mobs attacking an embassy is one thing, but I'm sure the UK would happily welcome foreign police into one of their embassies to extract an asylum-seeker who hadn't been charged with any crime. Just like I'm sure they'd be sending threatening letters and massing police for anyone wanted for questioning in another country, not just for Assange.

Posted by: John Caruso at August 15, 2012 09:22 PM

If the UK follows through on this, I guess the next time a Chinese dissident like Chen Guangcheng takes refuge in a U.S. embassy, China will follow this precedent and revoke the diplomatic status of the U.S. embassy, storm the embassy and recover the dissident. Then again, international laws, like taxes, are only for the little people.

Posted by: Gar Lipow at August 15, 2012 09:34 PM

Yuh know, I was sorta sittin' on the fence as to believe or not that the U.S. had real intentions of extradtion from Sweden once Assange arrived there.

I sort of thought that it was all talk.

But, this incident has me 90 percent sure that the U.S. does really intend to extradite the guy.

I suspect that Assange has alot more content which he has not released as yet. Perhaps he was stalling the release as an insurance policy of sorts. (Maybe stuff on banking and/or on Israel?)

They must want him badly in order to threaten an international incident such as this action would be.


Posted by: Calm at August 15, 2012 10:03 PM


(ain't WE pretty???)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 16, 2012 01:26 AM

There maybe are some rules covering the breaking down of diplomatic relations. You have incidents such as that Libyan diplomat shooting a cop, in London. There are times when people protected by diplomatic immunity abuse the privileges in a serious way. I think the relevant legal term is "malum in se", which covers murder but not parking tickets.

So, yeah, there might be some room to do this sort of thing in some cases, but I don't see the justification stretching to this case. Of course, sneaky manipulators that they are, this might be a way to make sure Assange gets granted asylum, and stops being a British problem.

Posted by: Wolf Baginski at August 16, 2012 01:50 AM

That Libyan diplomat was allowed to leave, in addition to which he was almost certainly innocent of shooting Yvonne Fletcher. The ballistics evidence clearly indicates a much larger calibre weapon fired from a different direction.

Posted by: Stephen Morgan at August 16, 2012 03:51 AM

Forgot to mention, the man the police believe fired the machine pistol from the Libyan Embassy is now back in Britain wandering around as a normal member of the public, conspicuously not being prosecuted for murder.

Posted by: Stephen Morgan at August 16, 2012 04:16 AM

Which brings to mind the CIA thug who was extracted from Pakistan after killing two men in public there. Once he was safely back in the US, he got into a fight over a parking space in Colorado that got him a felony assault charge, apparently not covered by diplomatic immunity.

Posted by: Duncan at August 16, 2012 01:05 PM

The indispensable Chris Floyd looks at this

Posted by: Bill Jones at August 16, 2012 07:26 PM

"an asylum-seeker who hadn't been charged with any crime." -- Except jumping bail. And of course there's that matter of having an European Arrest Warrant as he stands accused of rape in another EU country (whether or not he's guilty is another question, but maybe one that we could let the Swedish court handle that one?).

And I can't understand why people keep insisting Assange will get handed over to the US if he goes to Sweden when it'd be much easier for them to have had him lifted from the UK...

Posted by: cd at August 17, 2012 02:47 AM

You mean the same UK who refused to extradite Pinochet?

Posted by: Pepe at August 17, 2012 05:33 AM

large world events sometimes reverberate in the lives of the little people and here is an instance as i have stated before quoting the line from lenny bruce "i'm a liberal and i have the cancelled checks to prove it" one of the cancelled checks i have (not literally but the check image is on file at the bank) is one i wrote to bradley manning's defense fund missus charley m.d. is currently being considered for a position in the foreign aid hierarchy in fact she has been hired conditional upon receiving a security clearance she had an interview with the investigator earlier this week the support by her husband for a fair trial for this person accused of revealing inconvenient information could be seen by some as acting against the interests of our country in my own opinion this is not true in the words of william blake "opposition is true friendship" but anyway now what i wonder is will they check my wife's name against the lists they keep that include me as someone whose loyalty to the state is less than total and will that be an impediment to her working for the good of all in this particular way we shall see

several years ago she had a similar position but this concrete evidence of how i place my loyalties did not exist yet when she had her earlier government job i have also had a pro-peace letter published under my real name in a prominent newspaper in the last few years in which i asserted that until our political leaders stopped speaking of american soldiers occupying foreign lands as "defending our freedom" we could expect war and ruinously expensive preparations for war to continue

may the creative forces of the universe stand beside us and guide us through the night with the light from above

Posted by: mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at August 17, 2012 11:45 AM

mistah charlie, ph.d. Doubtful that "they" care. Unless, of course, YOU conspire against secrecy concerning Mrs. charlie's office. Its Mrs. charlie they are trusting, not YOU.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 17, 2012 03:02 PM

Mike Meyer - I hope and believe you are correct. The position in question is a technical one - a mid-level functionary - and has nothing to do with 'national security' per se. However, if she doesn't get the clearance it would probably be my fault. A couple years ago my niece didn't get cleared to work on clearances and I wondered if it was my fault then.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at August 17, 2012 03:13 PM

I’m sure the lickspittle British are calculating just what the reaction would be throughout Latin America.
Having successfully thrown off (except for Columbia and who knows where we are in Paraguay and Honduras?) American hegemony, most of L.A. is very anti-colonial at the moment and any UK violence might have considerable backlash.

Posted by: Bill Jones at August 17, 2012 09:27 PM

@ cd

So this all hinges on the "crime" of jumping bail does it? As I understand the matter JA hasn't been charged with a crime and is wanted just for questioning in a flimsy case the Swedish prosecuter refused to bring to trial. JA hung around in Sweden for two weeks waiting for the prosecuter to put questions to him and left when it became obvious that none would be forthcoming. Even after the US lit a fire under the Swedes to lure JA back for the inevitable turnover to Hotel Gitmo JA's representatives offered to answer the questions in Britain, a simple matter, but this was refused.

Only the willfully blind have any doubt that the US has every intention of hauling Assange to an American kangaroo court in chains.

Posted by: coldtype at August 17, 2012 09:50 PM

Sigmund Freud understood that early psychology was "the evoking of an abnormal mental state and is used by laymen today only for the purpose of public shows" but despised people who "actually declared that sexaul life is merely spheres in which human beings seek to put in action their driving need for power and domination."

I wonder if the press is evaluating some aspects of those ideas in this sampling of "top news" headlines:
Drug extends life in late prostate cancer
New family of spiders found in Oregon cave
South African President Orders Probe Into Mine Shootings
Infiltration or bad blood behind Afghan attacks?
White House, Pump Haus meet
Romney and Obama now fight for edge on Medicare

As Obama's strategist said, you can't have a successful campaign without "enthusiasm." Ready, set, snow!

Posted by: Lewis at August 17, 2012 11:22 PM

US in pursuit of Assange, cables reveal

AUSTRALIAN diplomats have no doubt the United States is still gunning for Julian Assange, according to Foreign Affairs Department documents obtained by The Saturday Age.

The Australian embassy in Washington has been tracking a US espionage investigation targeting the WikiLeaks publisher for more than 18 months.

The declassified diplomatic cables, released under freedom of information laws, show Australia's diplomatic service takes seriously the likelihood that Assange will eventually be extradited to the US on charges arising from WikiLeaks obtaining leaked US military and diplomatic documents.

This view is at odds with Foreign Minister Bob Carr's repeated dismissal of such a prospect.

Australia's ambassador to the US, former Labor leader Kim Beazley, has made high-level representations to the American government, asking for warning of any moves to prosecute Assange. However, briefings for Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Carr suggest the Australian Government has no in-principle objection to Assange's extradition.

Posted by: John Caruso at August 18, 2012 05:30 AM

Thanks for posting that, John; I came here to do that myself. Everyone paying any attention to this issue needs to read the full story.

The most important point is in the lead, quoted above: the documents make clear that the Australian govt expects that the US will try to extradite and/or charge Assange.

But I was also struck by this passage further on, about the US response to repeated Australian requests for advance warning of any prosecution or extradition moves:

:: American responses to the embassy's representations have been withheld from release on the grounds that disclosure could "cause damage to the international relations of the Commonwealth". ::

Hm. Seems as if the choices are fairly few here -- either the US govt flatly refused to give any advance warning (an embarrassment for a close ally), or else they agreed to do so -- but the Australian govt is afraid to release that response because it would prove that Assange's concerns are well founded, and piss off the Obama admin by removing the last shred of ambiguity about its plans for him.

We can dismiss as highly unlikely the only other possibility -- that the US response to the Ozzie diplos was, "Oh, don't worry, there's nothing to give advance warning about." Given that this US response would back up the Foreign Minister rather than showing him to be a lying ass, the Australian govt would surely have included it in the FoI release.

Read more:

Posted by: Nell at August 19, 2012 02:02 PM

I would suggest a drone hit on the Embassy was next, except I believe the Administration desires to "interrogate" Assange.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 19, 2012 10:10 PM

Even though Assange is white, I still believe there's a team of GITMO Interrogators just itching to see Julian scream and piss himself for the closed circuit tv entertainment benefit of POTUS and the WH staff.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 20, 2012 08:44 PM

Here is a (belated) follow-up to the Hugo Spadafora affair...

The point is that Spadafora's 'dark night' unfolded due to our own more-than-cursory involvement: Noriega's murderous brood were aided and abetted by neo-liberal elites, those guarantors of Empire's investor-class agenda in the South. Specifically, Empire--having the character of Wall St. meets Murder, Inc.--has codified the many techniques for a textbook-class bloodspill, with power-point slides, applied theory, and, quite probably, their own Walk of Fame. all at one proving ground for death via extreme prejudice...

Here is Alex C. on the "school" (July 2009 article):

"A large number of Honduran military commanders have their own long-term relationships with the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, many of them forged during their training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Here is the notorious School of the Americas where promising officers from Argentina, Colombia, Honduras and other US allies are given training such useful skills as seizing power, hunting down leftists and torture.

"In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the School providing expertise in torture, extortion and execution. Among the SOA’s nearly 60,000 graduates are Manuel Noriega of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. SOA graduates were responsible for the assassination of El Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador and the El Mozote Massacre of 900 civilians. Check out the excellent School of the Americas Watch website for the detailed history. In 2001 the Pentagon tried to clean up the School’s image by changing its name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. It didn’t catch on.

"School of the Americas alumni are thick on the ground in Honduras, including General Juan Melgar Castro who seized power in 1975, followed five years later by another grad, Policarpo Paz Garcia, patron of the infamous Battalion 3-16, a death squad founded by Honduran SOA graduates with the help of Argentine SOA graduates. There is profuse evidence available in declassified files that these SOA men were in constant touch with CIA case officers and the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa" [Counterpunch; Cockburn].

The SOA Watch has kept a vigil on the school's activities, monitoring the 'student' traffic and naming names. Here is their list of the alumni who figured in Panamanian atrocities alone:


General Manuel Noriega
Country: Panama
Dates/courses: Five time SOA graduate, including courses in Jungle Operations and Counter-Intelligence in 1965 and 1967 (1965 – Jungle Operations, 1967 Infantry Officer 0 -7, 1967 Jungle Operations OE – 8, 1967, Counter Intelligence Officer Course MI-Phase II, 1967 Combat Intell Off O-11A); Info: Military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989. He was on the CIA payroll while heavily involved in the drug trade. He was tried in court for 8 separate counts of drug trafficking, racketeering and money laundering in the early 1990’s, convicted of murder charges, an extradited to France in April 2010 and is now serving another prison sentence. The 1988 Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations concluded that "The saga of Panama's General Manuel Antonio Noriega represents one of the most serious foreign policy failures for the United States.”

Alejandro Fretes Davalos
Country: Paraguay
Dates/courses: Attended the SOA in 1956
Info: Fretes Davalos was a member of military intelligence and participated in Operation Condor, which coordinated the efforts of Southern Cone military regimes to arrest, imprison, torture, and “repatriate” the opponents of the different regimes. (Es Mi Informe, 1994)

CPT Francisco Alvarez, 1977, Training Management Course;1976, Special Mortar Course; Attempted coup, 1988: Supported a failed 1988 coup attempt; then escaped to Miami with a group fleeing from the failed 1989 coup attempt. (The New York Times, 10/11/89)

CPT Juan Jose Arza Aguilera, 1979, Small Unit Administration & Instruction Attempted coup, 1989: Arza Aguilera supported Mois?s Giroldi's October 1989 coup attempt against Noriega. He was murdered when the coup failed. (La Prensa, Panama)

CPT Francisco Avila, 1983, Commando Operations Course Murder, 1989: One of eight soldiers implicated in the murder of nine other soldiers who participated in a failed coup against Noriega. Avila is deceased. (La Prensa, Panama)

, 1979, Infantry Tactics
Attempted coup, 1989: As then-chief of Panamanian special forces, Balma was one of 3 key young officers (all SOA graduates) who supported Moisés Giroldi's failed October 1989 coup attempt. (The New York Times, 10/4/89)

CPT Jorge Bonilla Arboleda,1983, Administration/Instruction course; Attempted coup, 1989: Supported Moisés Giroldi's October 1989 coup attempt, and was subsequently murdered. (La Prensa, Panama)

1LT Felipe Camargo,1982, Combat Arms Officer Advanced Course Gunrunning, 1978-79: Noriega put him in charge of a gun-running operation that funneled arms from Cuba through Panama and Costa Rica to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Camargo was imprisoned following the
Panama invasion. ("Our Man in Panama")

LTC Elias Castillo,1973, Command and Unit Staff Course; 1965, Counterinsurgency Operations; 1964, Jungle Operations Noriega's chief of military operations: He was a member of Noriega's "inner circle." Dinges describes him as "the tough professional with little appetite for politics." ("Our Man in Panama")

COL Armando Contreras,1962, Counterinsurgency Operations;1958, Military Police Orient. Barracks coup, 1982: With Noriega, Paredes and D?az Herrera, carried out a nonviolent barracks coup against National Guard chief Florencio Florez. ("Our Man in Panama")

SGT Aristides Cordoba, 1981, Patrol Operations Course Murder, 1989: Cordoba went on trial on June 5, 1995 for the murder of nine soldiers who attempted a coup against Noriega in October 1989. (La Prensa, Panama)

MAJ Luis Cordoba1986, Administration Course; 1978, Combat Arms Officer; Advanced Course; 1974, Military Intelligence Officer Course
Assassination, 1986: Implicated in the 1985 assassination (and decapitation) of Hugo Spadafora, long-time rival of Noriega. On September 13, 1985, the day before Spadafora's decapitated body was found on the Costa Rican border (an area under Cordoba's command), the U.S. intercepted a call Cordoba made to Noriega. Cordoba said, "We have the rabid dog." Noriega is said to have responded, 'What do you do with a rabid dog?' ("Our Man in Panama") Cordoba attended the School of the Americas at Fort Benning the following August.

CPT Luis Del Cid,1965, Jungle Operations Drug Trafficking: One of Noriega's codefendants in the Miami indictment issued February 5, 1988 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). ("Our Man in Panama")

CPT Mario Del Cid, 1980, Training Management Course;1976, Special Mortar Course; Assassination, 1986: Diaz Herrera (below) claimed that Del Cid, then an aide to Major Cordoba (above), was involved in the macabre murder of Hugo Spadafora. ("Our Man in Panama")

COL Roberto Diaz Herrera,1961, Infantry Arms and Tactics Barracks coup, 1982: With Noriega, Ruben Dario Paredes, and Contreras, nonviolent ousted Florencio Flores as commander of Panamanian National Guard. Diaz Herrera also accompanied Paredes when he forced the resignation of President Aristides Royo. In 1987, when Noriega reneged on promises made to Diaz Herrera upon his (forced) retirement, Diaz went to the Panamanian press, giving hours of rambling interviews covering just about every dirty deal that he and Noriega were involved in. Days of rioting ensued. He was eventually arrested and exiled to Venezuela. ("Our Man in Panama")

CPT Asuncion Gaitan Rios, 1981, Infantry Officer Course;1980, Small Unit Administration and Instruction Murder, 1989: One of 8 soldiers who went on trial in Panama on June 5, 1995 for the murder of 9 soldiers following a failed coup attempt in October 1989. Gaitan is a fugitive who is being tried in absentia. (La Prensa, Panama)

MAJ Moisés Giroldi, 1982, Military Intelligence Course (Distinguished graduate);1980, Small Unit Administration Course; 1975, Counterinsurgency Operations Attempted coup, 1989: Giroldi launched a coup attempt against Noriega on October 3, 1989. Giroldi had been instrumental in foiling a coup in March 1988 (see Macias, below). For this and other reasons ("Giroldi's a bastard, a sort of mini-Noriega," said an unnamed Pentagon official in a Time magazine article), the U.S. suspected a trap and failed to support the coup. Noriega had Giroldi murdered when the coup attempt failed. (See Sucre Medina, below.) (Time, 1O/16/89; "Our Man in Panama")

CPT Cleto Hernandez,1982, Combat Arms Officer Advanced Course; 1972, Military Intelligence Officer Course; 1972, Jungle Operations Member of Noriega’s Military Intelligence: In 1975, Hernandez was a member of Noriega's G-2 (military intelligence). By 1985, he was second in command of the G-2 and was considered a member of the pandilla ("gang"), a group of younger officers closer to Noriega than some of his old cronies. ("Our Man in Panama")

COL Eduardo Herrera Hassan, 1975, Command and General Staff College; 1974, Command and Unit Staff Course;1972, Internal Defense;1966, Joint Operations Course Plotted coups for the CIA: Noriega fired him from his post in Israel in 1988; he immediately went to work for the CIA, working on plots to overthrow Noriega. He worked closely with Senator Helms for a time; and the CIA finally put him off the payroll, calling him a "flake." (NYT, 10/23/95, "OMIP") Yet, in post-invasion Panama, Herrera was chosen to lead the restructured military police force. Less than a year later, President Endara fired him and put him in prison. A military rebellion of sorts ensued, which was quashed by U.S. soldiers in December 1990 (1 year after the invasion). ("Our Man in Panama")

COL Marcos Justine;1976, Panamanian Officer Review; 1962, Counterinsurgency Operations; 1961, Engineer Officer Course; Allegations of drug trafficking, 1989: A New York Times article suggested that along with Noriega, Justine and 3 other SOA graduates were objects of the October 3, 1989 coup because they were widely believed to have close ties to Colombian drug traffickers. (The New York Times, 10/4/89)

CPT Javier Licona,1976, Commando Operations Course; Attempted coup, 1989: One of 3 key young officers (all SOA graduates) who supported Moisés Giroldi's attempted coup against Noriega on October 3, 1989. Licona, part of the Panamanian cavalry, was the highest-ranking rebel to escape Panama after the coup attempt. He fled to Miami. (The New York Times, 10/4/89)

CPT Nicasio Lorenzo,1981, Combat Arms Advanced Course;1975, Counterinsurgency Operations Attempted coup, 1989: Supported the October 1989 coup attempt by Moisés Giroldi. Lorenzo died in jail very soon after the coup failed; family and friends believed he was murdered; prison personnel said he committed suicide. (The New York Times, 10/11/89)

COL Leonidas Macias,1979, Command and General Staff College;1970, Combat Arms Officer Advanced Course;1967, Civic Action Seminar;1962, Engineer Officer Course Attempted coup, 1988: As then-Chief of Police, Macias led an unsuccessful coup attempt in March 1988. (The New York Times, 10/4/89)

MAJ Nivaldo Madrinan,1981, Command and General Staff College;1978, Combat Arms Officer Advanced Course;1972, Urban Counterinsurgency Destroying evidence, 1986: Madrinan destroyed evidence (photos, i.d. cards, phone records) linking a major drug runner to Noriega. ("Our Man
in Panama")

AJ Boris Martinez,1965, Counterinsurgency Operations;1963, SOPM;1960, Infantry Arms and Tactics Coup, 1968: Instrumental in the success of Torrijos' successful but bloodless coup against Arnulfo Arias. Shortly thereafter, Martinez overstepped his bounds and Torrijos exiled him to Miami. ("Our Man in Panama")

LTC Julian Melo Borbua, 1974, Command and General Staff;1972, Internal Defense;1970, Combat Arms Officer Advanced Course; 1967, Officer General Supply; 1965, Counterinsurgency Operations; Drug trafficking, 1984: Until 1984, Melo was Noriega's right hand man; but Melo was ousted from the National Guard after a murky deal with Colombian drug traffickers went sour. One year later, Melo was free and prospering, the charges against him having been quietly dropped in December 1984. He later opened Financiero Facilito, a money brokerage in Panama City. ("Our Man in Panama")

COL Angel Mina, 1965, Infantry Officer Course; 1961, Engineer Officer Course; Allegations of drug trafficking, 1989: A New York Times article suggested that along with Noriega, Angel Mina and 3 other SOA graduates were object of the October 3, 1989 coup, because they were widely believed to have close ties to Colombian drug traffickers. Mina was considered a member of Noriega's "inner circle" at the height of his power. (The New York Times, 10/4/89)

Major Federico Olechea,1979, Administration/Instruction Course; 1978, Combat Arms Officer Advanced Course; Coup attempt, 1989: Olechea commanded the U.S.-trained, crack Battalion 2000, which ultimately rescued Noriega from his would-be captors during Moisés Giroldi's failed 1989 coup attempt. Giroldi's wife claimed later that Olechea betrayed Giroldi, who had counted on him and his battalion to back the coup. Olechea was rumored to be in detention following the coup. (Newsweek, 10/23/89)

SGT Ismael Ortega Caballero, 1983, Faculty Development Course; Attempted coup, 1989: Supported Moisés Giroldi's October 1989 coup attempt, and was subsequently murdered for doing so. (La Prensa, Panama)

COL Julio Ow Young, 1978, Command and General Staff College;1976, Infantry Officer Advanced Course; 1969, O-5;1965, Infantry Officer Course; 1963, Engineer Officer Course; Allegations of drug trafficking, 1989: A New York Times article suggested that along with Noriega, Ow Young and 3 other SOA graduates were objects of the October 3, 1989 coup, because they were widely believed to have close ties to Colombian drug traffickers. (The New York Times, 10/4/89) Ow Young was apparently out of a job either way; the Washington Post reported two days later that Noriega ordered the arrest of Ow Young following the coup attempt, not because he was considered a part of the coup, but because Noriega had been looking for an excuse to remove him so that he could promote younger officers. (The Washington Post, 10/6/89)

MAJ Armando Palacios Gondola, 1981, Command and General Staff Course (Distinguished graduate);1978, Combat Arms Officer Advanced Course (Distinguished graduate). Arrested following coup attempt, 1989: Palacios G?ndola was one of Noriega's closest advisors, heading an organization that supervised joint U.S./Panamanian operations. He was arrested following Moisés Giroldi's October 1989 coup attempt, though it is unclear whether or not he actively participated in the coup. (Time, 10/16/89)

COL Ruben Dario Paredes,1958, Military Police Orientation;1961, Counter-resistance; 1965, Infantry Officer Course Bloodless barracks coup, 1982: With Noriega, Diaz Herrera, and Contreras (SOA graduates all) nonviolently ousted National Guard chief Florencio Florez (who, upon inheriting the command of the Panamanian National Guard after Torrijos death, "showed no ambition and had not even promoted himself to general"). Paredes himself then became commander of the National Guard; one of his first official functions (again, with Noriega and Diaz Herrera) was to force the retirement of Panamanian president Aristides Royo. Having done this, he issued a set of decrees (all but one presented as "recommendations") that called for the resignation of almost everyone in the civilian government, the implementation of several new laws, a review of the labor code, and a 7-day shutdown of all newspapers. He had National Guard troops occupy the liberal La Prensa; they ruined or stole much of the equipment and files. ("Our Man in Panama")

COL Lorenzo Purcell, 1977, Infantry Officer Advanced Course
Allegations of drug trafficking, 1989: A New York Times article suggested that along with Noriega, Purcell and 3 other SOA graduates were objects of the October 3, 1989 coup, because they were widely believed to have close ties to Colombian drug traffickers. (The New York Times, 10/4/89)

CPT Evidello Quiel,1983, Military Intelligence Course; 1982, Instruction
Course; 1981, Curso de Buseo
Murder, 1989: One of 8 soldiers who went on trial in Panama on June 5, 1995 for the murder of 9 soldiers following a failed coup attempt in October 1989, Quiel is a fugitive who is being tried in absentia. (La
, Panama)

CPT Edgardo Sandoval,1980, Basic Combat Arms Course
Attempted coup, 1989: One of 3 key young officers (all SOA graduates) who supported Moisés Giroldi's attempted coup against Noriega on October 3, 1989. (The New York Times, 10/4/89) Sandoval was murdered when the coup failed. (The Washington Post, 10/5/89)

LTC Amado Sanjur, 1961, Comando y Plana Mayor
Attempted coup, 1969: With Ramiro Silvera (below), led an unsuccessful coup attempt against Torrijos in December 1969. He was imprisoned, but later escaped with several others and fled to Miami. ("Our Man in Panama")

LTC Ramiro Silvera,1967, Command and General Staff College; 1961, Counter-resistance Course
Attempted coup, 1969: With Amado Sanjur (above) led an unsuccessful coup attempt against Torrijos in December 1989. ("Our Man in Panama")

MAJ Heraclides Sucre Medina, 1979, Administration and Instruction; 1978, Infantry Tactics
Murder: Convicted in March 1994 of murdering Major Moisés Giroldi (above), who had attempted to overthrow Noriega in a violent coup.
(Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York Weekly News Update on the Americas 3/13/94)

CPT Leon Tejada Gonzalez, 1982, Training Management Officer Course; 1981, Combat Arms Officer Advanced Course
Attempted coup, 1989: Supported Moisés Giroldi's 1989 coup attempt against Noriega, and was subsequently killed for his involvement. (La
, Panama)

GEN Omar Torrijos, 1967, COPECODECA; 1966, Command and General Staff College; 1964, "SOPM"; 1963, Counterinsurgency Operations Dictator, 1968-1981: Led a bloodless coup against civilian President Arnulfo Arias in 1968, emerging as Panama's de facto leader until his death years later. (The Washington Post, 5/19/94; "Our Man in Panama")

COL Guillermo J. Wong, 1981, Command and General Staff College; 1975,
Infantry Officer Advanced Course; 1967, Jungle Operations; 1966, Civic Action Seminar

Attempted Coup, 1989: As then-chief of Panamanian military intelligence, Wong was reported in some news reports to have supported Moisés Giroldi's 1989 attempt to oust Noriega. Others reported that Wong was arrested after the coup attempt, not because he was considered a part of the coup, but because Noriega had been looking for an excuse to remove him so that he could promote younger officers. (The New York Times,
10/4/89; The Washington Post, 10/6/89)

In the interest of avoiding further Spadafora-type impalements, please help SOA Watch in their resolve to close the school once, for all, for ever.

Although SOA Watch's activism is an ongoing affair, they do have a yearly global focus and engagement with Empire at the gates (Nov. 16-18 this year).

Many participants unambiguously confront the school's overseers by going through the portal for arrest and prison.

Please help them if you can...

Posted by: Dean Taylor at August 23, 2012 06:07 PM