From Democracy Now!, February 11, 2008
Report: Over 23,000 Business Leaders Working With FBI and Homeland Security
The Progressive magazine is reporting that more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The business leaders form a group known as InfraGard that receives warnings of terrorist threats directly from the FBI before the public does. We speak with the the reporter who broke the story and the editor of The Progressive, Matt Rothschild.
US Embassy in Bolivia Tells Fulbright Scholar and Peace Corps Volunteers to Spy on Venezuelans and Cubans in Bolivia (Which is patently unethical and against the spirits, and the exact signed agreements, at the core of these programs -- J)
An American Fulbright scholar and Peace Corps volunteers in Bolivia say the US embassy told them to spy on Venezuelans and Cubans in Bolivia. We go to Bolivia to speak with the Fulbright scholar Alexander van Schaick and Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, the reporter who broke the story for ABC News.
Report: U.S. Funding Opposition Groups in Bolivia
The US embassy in Bolivia has been using American taxpayer money to help fund opposition groups, according to an article in The Progressive magazine. We speak with journalist Benjamin Dangl, who broke the story.
It's worth quoting this last report at length, and noting that this is definitively the same type of thing you see from the US, under Democratic OR Republican presidencies -- and it's the type of thing that shows me that Barack Obama's rhetoric doesn't match his stated principles. Because if it did -- these common practices are something he would have to, imho, focus on, castigate, and promise to stop... instead, I hear mainly crickets in that area.
BENJAMIN DANGL: Right. In the four main rightwing-led departments in Bolivia, which geographically looks kind of like a half-moon on the eastern part of the country, they’re very rich in natural resources, gas wealth. A lot of the land that’s set to be redistributed by Morales is based in Santa Cruz. And these leaders in these departments are working to decentralize the power of the government and work to redirect the funding, the profits from a partially nationalized gas reserve, to their departments. The constitutional—the changes in the new constitution have also been protested by this rightwing, and the various demands for autonomy are pushing for—against the changes that the government is advocating. And the main banner that these rightwing groups are holding up is this demand for autonomy, which USAID has explicitly supported.
AMY GOODMAN: You say, Benjamin Dangl, in your piece in The Progressive, “Undermining Bolivia”—your conversation with Raul Prada, who’s sitting with you eating ice cream. His face is black and blue. What happened to him? What’s he saying?
BENJAMIN DANGL: Well, he had been beaten up in Sucre while the constitutional assembly was meeting there. And Sucre was the place of—was the site of a lot of violence in November of last year, where rightwing groups were attacking MAS assembly members, like Raul Prada. And he explained to me that he believed that the USAID was also—has also been organizing with rightwing governors, working to build the infrastructure of these governor positions and basically empower them in this very polarized political setting in Bolivia, and in some cases capacitate assembly members for their work in the assembly.
AMY GOODMAN: You quote Evo Morales at a diplomatic gathering in La Paz, saying, “I cannot understand how some ambassadors dedicate themselves to politics, and not diplomacy, in our country. . . . That is not called cooperation. That is called conspiracy,” says the Bolivian president.