By Nikolas Kozloff.
In the wake of Paraguay's suspicious impeachment of President Fernando Lugo, which observers have likened to a kind of "quasi-coup," some may wonder whether underhanded corporate forces may have played a role in the political crisis. Such suspicions were heightened recently when the new de facto regime led by Federico Franco, Lugo's former conservative Vice President, inked a deal with Texas-based PetroVictory/Crescent Global Oil to open up the remote Chaco region to petroleum exploration. Supporters of Lugo's highly dubious ouster claim that Crescent could help to ease Paraguay's dependence on foreign oil. Richard González, Crescent's CEO, announced that the company would invest $10 million in the Chaco and start exploratory drilling within the next few months.
UPDATE BELOW: In the Ecuadorian capital of Quito today, Christine Assange struggled to hold back tears after a meeting with Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador's Minister for Foreign Relations, Business and Integration.
While WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains trapped in Ecuador's London embassy, his mother has flown to the small South American capital to provide additional information on his request for political asylum, and make a personal plea for assistance.
On Saturday evening, what appeared to be a New York Times op-ed piece by Bill Keller supporting WikiLeaks emerged on twitter. For WL supporters, this was too good to be true, as someone who had shown much animosity toward WikiLeaks appeared to be speaking in their defense. This turned out to be a well crafted hoax. The stunning prank was believed by almost everyone as the only difference was the URL. The article borrowed words from Keller's emails and mimicked New York Times' home page. It fooled journalists and embarrassingly even the Time's tech writer Nick Bilton. It was surreal, as Keller, someone who had come to represent a 'journalism' that bends over for the US government, now appeared to stand behind WikiLeaks. This lasted for hours before it was finally debunked. Later in the day, WikiLeaks released a sequence of tweets that admitted they were involved in the production of this fake Bill Keller op-ed.
The Minister of Public Safety in Canada, Vic Toews, recently made comments about Omar Khadr's potential transfer to Canada from Guantánamo Bay, where he has been incarcerated since 2002 when he was just 15 years old. The comment by Toews comes after the US formally requested a transfer in April of 2012, and after months of silence and inaction. Omar Khadr pleaded guilty in Guantánamo in 2010 to five charges. Under a plea deal, Khadr had his sentence reduced from 40 to 8 years. Such a transfer would allow Omar Khadr to serve the remainder of his sentence in Canada.
By Nikolas Kozloff.
On a certain level, I wonder whether Baltasar Garzón, the Spanish judge who is now defending WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, agreed to take the assignment for personal reasons.
In recent years, Garzón has come to international attention for pursuing a number of high profile international cases. In 1998 for example, the judge sought to apprehend brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, Washington's ally during the Cold War. Not stopping there, the pugnacious judge issued an order for British authorities to detain Henry Kissinger no less.
Tue Jul 24 19:36:07 UTC 2012
Statement approved by Julian Assange and Baltasar Garzón.
WikiLeaks supporters around the globe are informed, talented, and wonderfully passionate people. But supporting WikiLeaks day after day, week after week, month after month, can be an emotional roller coaster. We all have our highs and lows, and surely nobody knows that better than Julian Assange's mum Christine.
King Louis XV is widely credited with the phrase “Après moi, le déluge” (after me, the deluge), although it may have been spoken by Madame de Pompadour, his official mistress (the title was by appointment at the time: she divorced her husband after assuming the position). In any case, it was prophetic: Louis XV was the last monarch before the French Revolution. Louis XVI, his grandson and successor, was guillotined in 1793 at the Place de la Révolution.
I bumped into Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the train yesterday. I mean, literally bumped. I was lurching towards the last available seat on the 4:45 pm from Central when I tripped and collapsed over the armrest beside her, momentarily dislodging the blonde wig she was wearing as a disguise. The glossy red hair was a giveaway, and there was no hiding that nose.