Costa Ricans Massively against U.S. Military Invasion

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
August 16, 2010

In the latest survey released by a Costa Rican polling firm, it is confirmed that most of Costa Rica does not welcome on arrival and permanence of U.S. troops in their country. In recent weeks, the Congress of Costa Rica agreed to allow the arrival of military ships, planes and thousands of American marines to ‘aid’ in the war against narcotics trafficking in the Americas, which is largely driven by the U.S. and Colombia.

In the survey, whose partial results were published in a local newspaper, Costa Ricans expressed unfavorable views of the U.S. occupation. Of all respondents, 32 percent believe that the occupation is detrimental. The newspaper did not explain why, or if polled respondents were questioned as to why their opinion was such. Meanwhile, another 38 percent of respondents expressed concern that the arrival and permanence of Americans violates Costa Rican sovereignty.

Overall, 70 percent of ‘Ticos’ demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the arrival and permanence of foreign troops until December 2010. But it is the 38 percent number that sounds the bell, more than any other number. The reason is that more than one third of Costa Ricans are aware that the U.S. invasion is a violation of their sovereignty, a position that until a few weeks ago was unknown. Thus, the 57 per cent who welcomes the country’s militarization pales in comparison to the 70 percent who disapproves -32 percent who see as harmful the arrival of the Americans and the 38 percent who disapprove due to the violation of sovereignty.

Although the majority of Costa Ricans disapprove the arrival of the Americans, for the reasons mentioned above, 57 percent approval makes it clear that there is considerable support. The reason for the support, although not explained in the publication, can be easily be connected to the insecurity that the ‘Ticos’ experience daily in their neighborhoods and cities. The insecurity has been allowed to grow freely for several decades by many governments that believed the fallacy that Costa Rica was the Switzerland of Central America and that nothing would change that. Years later, the underworld, the drug lords, both locals and from abroad, gained control of the streets in the country. Drug cartels now control large areas in southern, northern and the Caribbean regions. The failure of a bureaucracy that purposely let crime grow out of control, now presents the militarization as a solution with the arrival of 7,000 troops, warships and military aircraft and helicopters, which is seen as an exageration and a threat to the sovereignty of Costa Rica. But this is not new. It is the well known modus operandi and Hegelian practice of problem, reaction, solution.

In fact, the cooperation agreement between Costa Rica and the United States did not improve at all the drug trafficking situation in the country. During the execution of this agreement, more and more drugs continue moving through Costa Rican land and waters to their northern destinations of Mexico and the United States. In South America, the treaty known as Plan Colombia did not resul in anything positive, either. Millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayers are ‘invested’ in a war regarded as a failure because it has failed to accomplish its only goal: ending the drug trade in South, Central and North America, where the largest consumer market of cocaine, crack, heroin and other drugs -made in clandestine laboratories with mixtures of pharmaceutical ingredients- is located.

In response to growing drug trafficking, the U.S. pursued a policy of ‘cooperation’ that includes the invasion of sovereign territories to supposedly stop the flow of drugs across the continent, but neither the navy nor the army, -under the guidance of the Southern Command (SOUTHCOM )- scattered across the continent have achieved that goal. People have to wonder why.

The results so far provided by the pollster UNIMER, not only reveal the overwhelming opposition of the people in Costa Rica to the occupation, but also the fatigue of the ‘Ticos’ to the ‘business as usual’ policy of their government. Although the new president arrived with great fanfare, as they all arrive, she was not able to recognize the lack of leadership from the previous governments and project a clear plan on what to do about insecurity in the country. Mrs. Chinchilla preferred to extend the policy of accepting gifts and even sacrifice the sovereignty of Costa Rica to participate in a drug war that has proved a complete failure due to the fact it is driven by corruption and not by a desire to end the drug trafficking scheme.

Another conclusion that emerges from the survey is that 57 percent of ‘Ticos’ who support military intervention ignore the failure of the current war on drugs, which is largely responsible for the bankruptcy of the United States. The policy of occupation emptied the coffers of the government, which in itself did not even have any money. Similarly, history shows that countries who sacrifice freedom and sovereignty in exchange for ‘security’, end up losing both. What this 57 percent should demand is a clear policy against crime, not the acceptance of royalties. Although the democratic system is a hedious one, as it subjects large amounts of citizens to the wishes of others, hopefully in the case of Costa Rica the voice of the majority, -which this time seems to be wiser than before- will be heard louder than ever, to wake up the minority from their sleep in the arms of ignorance.

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Costa Rica Occupied by U.S. Military *UPDATE*

Costa Rica Occupied: Congress Surrenders Sovereignty to U.S. Army

HSBC, Wachovia, Bank of America Launder Mexican Drug Money

Mossad in South America

Pentagon does not account for Billions; Congress sends more Cash

by Robert Burns

The House prepared Tuesday to send President Barack Obama $33 billion to pay for his troop surge in Afghanistan, unmoved by the leaking of tens of thousands of classified military documents that portray a war effort beset by Afghan shortcomings.

War Pigs continue financing Genocide in the Middle East

From Obama on down, the disclosure of the documents was condemned anew by administration officials and military leaders, but the material failed to stir new anti-war sentiment. The bad news for the White House: A pervasive weariness with the war was still there — and possibly growing.

At a Senate hearing on prospects for a political settlement of the Afghan conflict, there was scant mention of the leaked material, posted on the website of the whistleblower group WikiLeaks, but there were repeated expressions of frustration over the direction of the fighting.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who has questioned the realism of U.S. goals in Afghanistan though he supports the war, pointedly asked why the Taliban, with fewer resources and smaller numbers, can field fighters who are more committed to winning than are Afghan soldiers.

“What’s going on here?” Kerry asked with exasperation.

Still, the House seemed ready to vote final approval for more than $33.5 billion for the additional 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and to pay for other Pentagon operational expenses. Other non-war provisions brought the total bill to nearly $59 billion.

Republicans were strongly behind the major war spending, with opposition coming mostly from members of Obama’s own Democratic Party who argued that the money could be better spent at home. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said the leaked documents revealed corruption and incompetence in the Afghanistan government.

“We’re told we can’t extend unemployment or pay to keep cops on the beat or teachers in the classroom but we’re asked to borrow another $33 billion for nation-building in Afghanistan,” McGovern said.

At the separate Senate hearing, meanwhile, Sen. Edward Kaufman, D-Del., questioned whether the U.S.-led war effort is capable of pushing the Afghan government to provide the kind of leadership that wins the confidence of the population.

“Can we carry this off?” Kaufman asked.

In his first public comments on the weekend leak of tens of thousands of documents, Obama said it could “potentially jeopardize individuals or operations” in Afghanistan. But he also said the papers did not reveal any concerns that were not already part of the war debate.

Obama said the shortcomings in Afghanistan as reflected in the leaked documents explain why, last year, he undertook an in-depth review of the war and developed a new strategy.

“We’ve substantially increased our commitment there, insisted upon greater accountability from our partners in Afghanistan and Pakistan, developed a new strategy that can work and put in place a team, including one of our finest generals, to execute that plan,” Obama said. “Now we have to see that strategy through.”

The leaked documents are battlefield reports compiled by various military units in Afghanistan that provide an unflinching view of combat operations between 2004 and 2009, including U.S. displeasure over reports that Pakistan secretly aided insurgents fighting American and Afghan forces.

Even as the administration dismissed the leaked documents as outdated, U.S. military and intelligence analysts were caught up in a struggle to limit the damage contained in the once-secret files now scattered across the Internet.

In Baghdad, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters he was “appalled” by the leak, which he said had the potential of putting troops’ lives at added risk.

Officials also are concerned about the impact the disclosures could have on the military’s human intelligence network built up over the past eight years inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. The people in that network range from Afghan village elders who have worked behind the scenes with U.S. troops to militants working as double agents.

Beyond expressions of disgust at the document dump, the political fallout in Washington appeared limited.

Advocates of pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan said the leaks reinforced their argument for disengaging. War supporters said they illustrated why Obama was right to decide last December to send an additional 30,000 troops and step up pressure on the Afghan government to reform, while pressing Pakistan to go after insurgents on its side of the border.

At the State Department, spokesman P.J. Crowley said efforts to explain to Afghanistan and other allies that the U.S. government played no role in leaking the documents seemed to have paid off.

“We’re very gratified that the response thus far internationally has been moderate, sober,” Crowley said.

In his only reference to the leak, Kerry called the new material “over-hyped,” said that it was released in violation of the law and that it largely involved raw intelligence reports from the field.

The House, meanwhile, prepared to approve legislation to pay for the extra 30,000 troops.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., said he was torn between his obligation to bring the bill to the floor and his “profound skepticism” that the money would lead to a successful conclusion of the war.

Even if there were greater confidence, he said, “it would likely take so long it will obliterate our ability to make the kinds of long-term investments in our own country that are so desperately needed.”

Costa Rica Occupied by U.S. Military -Update-

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 7, 2010

In an interview to a local newspaper, the Vice Minister of Security of Costa Rica, JORGE CHAVARRÍA said the alternative solution to letting the American occupiers move around the country is “too expensive”.  ”It would require the whole national budget to fully equip the Coast Guard so they can do the work the U.S. military will do.”  But if Costa Rica is not capable of securing its own coasts and land, it means the U.S. Army will have to stay in Costa Rican territory forever, and not only for six months as the permit says, doesn’t it?  One point the Vice Minister got right is that drug smuggling is a regional or even continental problem, therefore, Costa Rica cannot solve it by itself.  However, Mr. CHAVARRÍA also believes it is kosher to violate the Constitution and allow foreign forces to occupy the country.  But isn’t this very same action an example of trying to solve the problem by itself?

In the meantime, legislator Luis Fishman has decided to take the approval of Congress to Costa Rican courts as he believes it is unconstitutional.  ”The agreement signed between Costa Rica and the United States in 1998 was to allow Coast Guard ships only and not military,” insists Fishman.  While some legislators complain about the arrival of the Americans, it seems some people in Costa Rica do not understand what this issue is all about.  It is common to read comments in the local media which favor the arrival of the U.S. Army.  Jesus Cespedes Calderon says in a comment that Fishman’s actions only reflect an interest for self promotion and not an authentic concern for the country’s sovereignty.  Luis Adrian Gonzalez Rozmenoski, another Costa Rican writes that people like Fishman and the others opposing the move are a bunch of drama queens that shield themselves with the issue of sovereignty to become popular figures.

Other comments express a belief that the precarious security condition the country is experiencing demands and justifies the type of actions the Costa Rican Congress has taken.  They ignore or do not recognize that the dire situation they so precisely point out exists due to the corruption that exists at all levels in the Costa Rican society.  They surely ignore the Hegelian dialect and way of operating in which the conquerors create a problem to cause a reaction and provide a “solution”.

A local newspaper called La Nacion, points out that the current security problem is a result of the government neglect, who is used to receiving donations from foreign governments instead of setting funds aside for combating crime and drug trafficking. The Director of the Coast Guard, Martín Arias, said in an interview that: “We don’t have the capacity to safeguard all our marine territory”.  Who has?  The United States, with all its might cannot take care of its own borders, which makes it even more ironic that they go to Costa Rican land and oceans to help them safeguard the territory.

Arias added that the government of Costa Rica has indeed neglected the security of the country, by many seen as a small piece of paradise in the middle of a revolted region.  ”The country is happy with accepting royalties from friendly governments,” he said.  The local Coast Guard obtains its budget from the Public Security Department.  The total annual budget for combating crime in Costa Rican waters is of about $145,000 of which only 15 percent is spent on security operations.  Did anybody say corruption?

Although Mr. Arias did not detail how the U.S. Army would help in the fight against drug trafficking, he insisted that if the Coast Guard had the ability to fully patrol the oceans they could limit the extent to which Costa Rican oceans are used to transport and deal illegal drugs.  One thing is sure: Costa Rica does not need 46 War Ships, or 7,000 Marines or War Helicopters to end with drug trafficking in its oceans.

Costa Rica Occupied: Congress Surrenders Sovereignty to U.S. Army

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 6, 2010

For the first time since it abolished its Army in 1948, Costa Rica decided to allow the invasion of United States ships into its harbor

"Cuando alguno pretenda tu gloria manchar, verás a tu pueblo valiente y viril."

and effectively renounced to its sovereignty.  In an illegal move, the Costa Rican Congress approved the arrival of the American troops which include 46 US warships and 7,000 Marines.  All troops will have freedom to move about the country in their full gear, and will be allowed to police the Central American land.  The Congress’ illegal approval is in direct violation of the Costa Rican Constitution, as it was established after 1948 that the country would would not create or maintain an official army and that all the monies would instead be invested in social reform programs such as education and housing.

Although the US army is supposed to only stay in the country until December 2010, many citizens and political parties declared their opposition to the move, due to the fact the U.S. has never actually left a country it has taken possession of.  The newspaper Prensa Latina reported that the leaders of three parties in Costa Rica called the decision a “violation of sovereignty”.  The move, according to those who support it, is justified in order to empower the effort to eradicate drug trafficking in the region.  According to PressTV, the Costa Rican government argues that the approval is disproportionate to the threat caused by drug smuggling in the country and the Central American area.  Besides the 7,000 troops and the ships, the U.S. also added helicopters to the massive contingent.

Luis Fishman, the leader of the Social Unity Party (PUSC) said that the permission is a blank check to the U.S. to station its forces on the coast line of the country.  Others have warned that this position will allow the American forces to launch attacks against  targets like Venezuela, whose government opposes the American Imperialistic policies.  Before the arrival of the 7,000 troops, ships and Helicopters, the U.S. already counted with two bases in Costa Rica, which were directed by SOUTHCOM, or Southern Command, a paramilitary American group -disguised as a drug trafficking combating force- which maintains a Naval Base in the port of Caldera in the Caribbean and another one in the northern province of Guanacaste.  “We cannot support an illegal act, we won’t allow the Constitution to be broken,” Fishman added.

More complaints were heard from other political leaders.  Legislator Jose Maria Villalta said the permission will allow U.S. troops to “enjoy freedom of movement and the right to carry out the activities needed to fulfill their mission.”  Villalta added that the Washington government sees Central America as being within an area of influence  which it intends to use to force its dominance.  Previous to letting the American military forces in, Costa Rica already had agreements with the United States to allow the presence of Coast Guard vessels to remain in its waters, but never before did it permit the arrival or permanence of a military ships, helicopters or any other major war contingent.

Even if these military forces leave Costa Rican soil, as they are supposed to on December 31, 2010, the country will remain occupied by the flotilla of military soldiers who operate out of Caldera and Guanacaste under SOUTHCOM.  However, many believe that the U.S. Army is there to stay.  Let’s see if the Costa Rican people honor what their National Anthem says: “Whenever someone tries to stain your glory, you’ll see your people strong and virile.”

Pentagon Virus Detector Knows You Are Sick Before You Do

WIRED

Imagine knowing you’ll be too sick to go to work, before the faintest hint of a runny nose or a sore throat. Now imagine thatviruspreemptive diagnosis being transmitted to a national, web-based influenza map — simply by picking up the phone.

That’s the impressive potential of an ongoing Pentagon-funded research project, spearheaded by geneticists at Duke University. Since 2006, they’ve been hunting for a genetic signature that can accurately assess, well before symptoms appear, whether someone’s been infected with a virus. Eight months into a $19.5 million grant from Darpa, the Pentagon’s out-there research agency, the expert behind the program is anticipating a tool with implications far beyond military circles.

Dr. Geoffrey Ginsburg, director of Duke’s Institute for Genome Science & Policy, is collaborating with a team of colleagues to create a gadget that can detect viral infection hours before the sniffles. Between 2006 and 2009, his team made rapid strides in identifying 30 genetic markers, found through blood samples, that are activated by a virus.

They’ve since moved to human trials, testing 80 people in four studies. Healthy participants were exposed to three different viral strains. Their blood, saliva and urine were then tested for “viral specific signatures,” that would characterize illness.

“Traditionally, we’ve diagnosed these conditions by testing for the actual pathogen, but that’s a slow process and it’s not effective until you’re already symptomatic,” Ginsburg told Danger Room. “To look at the actual host response instead is a really novel approach.”

It’s an approach that Darpa sees as a tactic to boost war-zone performance. By checking soldiers for genetic markers of illness before they’re deployed, the military hopes to optimize the outcome of a given mission. The idea would also prevent an outbreak of illness in close military quarters, by quarantining troops before they have a chance to infect others.

But what Ginsburg and company didn’t anticipate was just how widespread the benefits of the Darpa initiative would be. Not only have they found a specific genetic signature that indicates viral infection, but the team has concluded that viruses and bacterial infections trigger different genes. Which means physicians could one day know whether to prescribe antibiotics, which can treat bacteria but not viruses. The drugs are so overused and wrongly prescribed, experts at a recent congressional hearingwarned that Americans face “a post antibiotic era.”

“This would eliminate the ‘default’ of giving antibiotics, which is a significant public health concern,” Ginsburg said. “So what we’d have, essentially, is a tool to drastically improve clinical judgment in a day-to-day setting, which wasn’t a Darpa goal, but a corollary benefit because we had a chance to find these specific signatures.”

And Ginsburg has a more elaborate vision for the devices, which he hopes to see shrink down from “suitcase size” to that of “a diabetic glucometer,” which would use a finger pinprick to test for illness.

“Imagine a sensor attached to your telephone, that instantly diagnoses viral agents and transmits that to a central community database,” he said. “Google used searches to beat the CDC at tracking H1N1 — this would be surveillance that could take that to the next level.”

Ginsburg anticipates a suitcase-sized device in the war-zone within “a couple years,” and says the devices are already showing excellent accuracy 24 hours before an infected patient becomes symptomatic. In an effort to validate the results in a real-world setting, his team has turned to Duke’s campus, using crowded dorms — already human petri dishes of infection — as improvised research labs.

Now, Ginsburg’s biggest concern is that the devices will be ready before the Food and Drug Administration, who’ve yet to establish regulatory benchmarks for genetic tests, knows what to do with them.

“The major uncertainty, in my mind, is the regulatory atmosphere,” he said. “These are such a new diagnostic tool, the FDA is still trying to figure out not only how to supervise them, but whether they even need to.”

Which is a barrier for the doctor’s office, but not necessarily the war-zone.

“There’s a lot of motivation within the Pentagon to get this going,” he said. “So they might have a way around the rulebook.”