US admits DEA lied about Honduras ‘massacre’ that killed four villagers — Top US diplomat in the UK condemns Manchester leaks — Was Laos the forerunner of today’s style of secret warfare? — Belgium King may be implicated in Kazakhgate
The US Drug Enforcement Administration lied about its role in a bungled anti-narcotics operation in Honduras that left four innocent villagers dead, then misled Congress, the justice department and the public as it tried to cover its tracks, a damning bipartisan investigation has found.
Honduran officers under the command of DEA agents fired at unarmed passengers traveling by taxi boat in May 2012, killing four people – including two pregnant women and a schoolboy – and seriously injuring three others.
The operation, which left several children orphaned, was part of a militarized DEA programme that led to a series of deadly confrontations and has now been abandoned.
The DEA had previously absolved itself of any wrongdoing, but the scathing report released by the justice department’s inspector general on Wednesday found major discrepancies in the agency’s description of the events.
Leaks of the investigation into the Manchester attack to the US media were “reprehensible” and will be stopped, the top US diplomat in the UK has said.
Lewis Lukens told the BBC he condemned them “unequivocally” and would take action to identify those responsible.
It comes as police described the eight arrests made since Monday night’s bombing, in which 22 adults and children were killed, as significant.
They also say items seized in raids are believed to be “very important”.
On Wednesday, the New York Times outraged British police and government officials when it published photos appearing to show debris from the attack.Greater Manchester Police were said to be “furious” and said they would stop sharing information with the US.
Its chief constable Ian Hopkins said the leak undermined the investigation and had distressed families “already suffering terribly with their loss”.
What exactly was the CIA up to in Laos in the 1960s? — The Spectator
Was Laos the forerunner of today’s style of secret warfare? Kurlantzick thinks so. Paramilitary operations were only a small part of the early CIA, but the perceived initial success in Laos helped change that institutional focus, drawing a line to covert combat in Latin America in the 1980s and the Middle East in the 21st century.
The Laos war also saw the beginning of the outsourcing of security assistance, training and occasionally combat activity to private contractors. The CIA’s fabled Air America operation changed the nature of the small, personally directed war of CIA station chief Bill Lair into a huge logistical operation, employing part-timers who knew neither the the CIA’s culture nor that of Laos. Today, Blackwater and other private security firms play a major, if often invisible role in America’s wars abroad.
The most lasting legacy of the Laotian war may have been that US officials lied repeatedly and brazenly to Congress — as US Ambassador William Sullivan, who micromanaged the war from 1964 to 1969, did when called before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee numerous times. This undermined support for government legitimacy and has made the CIA the bête noire of conspiracy theorists ever since, but it goes unremarked on by Kurlantzick.
The tragedy of the Hmong dominates his narrative. The rest of the Laotian government in Vientiane plays only a minor role in the bulk of the story, as do the North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao, about whom we learn almost nothing, including the major leaders or deciders who fought in Laos. That feeling of a larger vacuum to the story is exacerbated by the lack of any maps to help situate the reader in Laotian and south-east Asian geography.
Over four decades after its denouement, the Laotian war continues to resonate in US foreign policy. As a precursor to a CIA focused on paramilitary activity, the use of contractors in combat zones, the deliberate misleading of congressional committees by executive branch officials, and the abandonment of an ally once the US decides to withdraw, the forgotten war in Laos can make a fair claim to be one of the turning points in post-second world war American history.
Tapped conversations, produced by the French courts, suggest the involvement of King Albert II in a matter mentioned by the Kazakhgate Parliamentary Enquiry Committee.
In particular, it relates to the attempt to bestow a peerage upon the Belgian billionaire, George Forrest, who was active in the Congo. The newspaper Le Monde reported this in yesterday’s edition (Tuesday).
George Forrest was liable to offer facilities in certain French politico-industrial circles. He had already been mentioned by this enquiry committee, when the Holy See’s former Ambassador, Charles Ghislain, referenced Forrest’s involvement.
Ghislain confirmed that he reported to the Office for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders (MR), the involvement in Kazakhgate of the main individual requesting that the peerage be made.
This was Jean-François Étienne des Rosaies, adviser to the then President Nicolas Sarkozy. The latter was also an adviser to the Order of Malta, an organisation based in Rome. This therefore explains the approach to the Holy See’s Ambassador.
One particular letter says that Charles Ghislain spoke of having received “a telling off” from Minister Reynders, after this receiving this admonition. He was told that this could be the end of his career.
INTEL TODAY DIARY — May 26 2017