Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cocaine: The New Front Lines

Source: The Wall Street Journal The Saturday Essay

Colombia's success in curbing the drug trade has created more opportunities for countries hostile to the United States. What happens when coca farmers and their allies are in charge?

Once concentrated in Colombia, a close U.S. ally in combating drugs, the cocaine business is migrating to nations such as Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, where populist leaders are either ambivalent about cooperating with U.S. antidrug efforts or openly hostile to them.

Since 2000, cultivation of coca leaves—cocaine's raw material—plunged 65% in Colombia, to 141,000 acres in 2010, according to United Nations figures. In the same period, cultivation surged more than 40% in Peru, to 151,000 acres, and more than doubled in Bolivia, to 77,000 acres.

More important, Bolivia and Peru are now making street-ready cocaine, whereas they once mostly supplied raw ingredients for processing in Colombia.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Israeli Mossad posed as CIA to recruit terrorists to fight Iran

Source: Foreign Policy

A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.

Buried deep in the archives of America's intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush's administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents.

Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children.
...
There is no denying that there is a covert, bloody, and ongoing campaign aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear program, though no evidence has emerged connecting recent acts of sabotage and killings inside Iran to Jundallah. Many reports have cited Israel as the architect of this covert campaign, which claimed its latest victim on Jan. 11 when a motorcyclist in Tehran slipped a magnetic explosive device under the car of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a young Iranian nuclear scientist. The explosion killed Roshan, making him the fourth scientist assassinated in the past two years. The United States adamantly denies it is behind these killings.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Foreign Policy.

Apple admits some suppliers overworking staff

Source: Aljazeera English

Apple has admitted some of its suppliers continue to overwork and underpay employees, as it threw open its factory doors to monitors after a spate of suicides at a Chinese plant.

... an annual internal audit of its supply chain showed that just 38 per cent of the company's suppliers adhered to Apple's own standard of a maximum 60-hour work week and minimum one day off per week.

One-third of its suppliers were negligent in managing hazardous substances, and the same portion were below standard in injury prevention practice.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Aljazeera English

U.S. troops quietly surge into Middle East

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

The Pentagon has stationed nearly 15,000 troops in Kuwait, adding to a small contingent already there. The new units include two Army infantry brigades and a helicopter unit -a substantial increase in combat power after nearly a decade in which Kuwait chiefly served as a staging area for supplies and personnel heading to Iraq.

The Pentagon also has decided to keep two aircraft carriers and their strike groups in the region. Earlier this week, the American carrier Carl Vinson joined the carrier Stennis in the Arabian Sea, giving commanders major naval and air assets in case Iran carries out its recent threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint in the Persian Gulf, where one-fifth of the world's oil shipments passes.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle.