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View Full Version : Very important wikileak cables on the dea!!!!!



Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 11:29 AM
[I'll locate the original cables and post...but if the NYT will go this far....the cables themselves must be a lot worse.....!!!!]

By GINGER THOMPSON and SCOTT SHANE
Published: December 25, 2010 NYT

WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables. ;k;owavey1driving;k;owavey

State’s Secrets

Articles in this series examine American diplomatic cables as a window on relations with the rest of the world in an age of war and terrorism.

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In far greater detail than previously seen, the cables, from the cache obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to some news organizations, offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments.

Diplomats recorded unforgettable vignettes from the largely unseen war on drugs:

¶In Panama, an urgent BlackBerry message from the president to the American ambassador demanded that the D.E.A. go after his political enemies: “I need help with tapping phones.”

¶In Sierra Leone, a major cocaine-trafficking prosecution was almost upended by the attorney general’s attempt to solicit $2.5 million in bribes.

¶In Guinea, the country’s biggest narcotics kingpin turned out to be the president’s son, and diplomats discovered that before the police destroyed a huge narcotics seizure, the drugs had been replaced by flour.

¶Leaders of Mexico’s beleaguered military issued private pleas for closer collaboration with the drug agency, confessing that they had little faith in their own country’s police forces.

¶Cables from Myanmar, the target of strict United States sanctions, describe the drug agency informants’ reporting both on how the military junta enriches itself with drug money and on the political activities of the junta’s opponents.

Officials of the D.E.A. and the State Department declined to discuss what they said was information that should never have been made public.

Like many of the cables made public in recent weeks, those describing the drug war do not offer large disclosures. Rather, it is the details that add up to a clearer picture of the corrupting influence of big traffickers, the tricky game of figuring out which foreign officials are actually controlled by drug lords, and the story of how an entrepreneurial agency operating in the shadows of the F.B.I. has become something more than a drug agency. The D.E.A. now has 87 offices in 63 countries and close partnerships with governments that keep the Central Intelligence Agency at arm’s length.

Because of the ubiquity of the drug scourge, today’s D.E.A. has access to foreign governments, including those, like Nicaragua’s and Venezuela’s, that have strained diplomatic relations with the United States. Many are eager to take advantage of the agency’s drug detection and wiretapping technologies.

In some countries, the collaboration appears to work well, with the drug agency providing intelligence that has helped bring down traffickers, and even entire cartels. But the victories can come at a high price, according to the cables, which describe scores of D.E.A. informants and a handful of agents who have been killed in Mexico and Afghanistan.

In Venezuela, the local intelligence service turned the tables on the D.E.A., infiltrating its operations, sabotaging equipment and hiring a computer hacker to intercept American Embassy e-mails, the cables report.

And as the drug agency has expanded its eavesdropping operations to keep up with cartels, it has faced repeated pressure to redirect its counternarcotics surveillance to local concerns, provoking tensions with some of Washington’s closest allies.

Sticky Situations

Cables written in February by American diplomats in Paraguay, for example, described the D.E.A.’s pushing back against requests from that country’s government to help spy on an insurgent group, known as the Paraguayan People’s Army, or the EPP, the initials of its name in Spanish. The leftist group, suspected of having ties to the Colombian rebel group FARC, had conducted several high-profile kidnappings and was making a small fortune in ransoms.

When American diplomats refused to give Paraguay access to the drug agency’s wiretapping system, Interior Minister Rafael Filizzola threatened to shut it down, saying: “Counternarcotics are important, but won’t topple our government. The EPP could.”

The D.E.A. faced even more intense pressure last year from Panama, whose right-leaning president, Ricardo Martinelli, demanded that the agency allow him to use its wiretapping program — known as Matador — to spy on leftist political enemies he believed were plotting to kill him.

The United States, according to the cables, worried that Mr. Martinelli, a supermarket magnate, “made no distinction between legitimate security targets and political enemies,” refused, igniting tensions that went on for months.

Mr. Martinelli, who the cables said possessed a “penchant for bullying and blackmail,” retaliated by proposing a law that would have ended the D.E.A.’s work with specially vetted police units. Then he tried to subvert the drug agency’s control over the program by assigning nonvetted officers to the counternarcotics unit.

And when the United States pushed back against those attempts — moving the Matador system into the offices of the politically independent attorney general — Mr. Martinelli threatened to expel the drug agency from the country altogether, saying other countries, like Israel, would be happy to comply with his intelligence requests.

Eventually, according to the cables, American diplomats began wondering about Mr. Martinelli’s motivations. Did he really want the D.E.A. to disrupt plots by his adversaries, or was he trying to keep the agency from learning about corruption among his relatives and friends?

One cable asserted that Mr. Martinelli’s cousin helped smuggle tens of millions of dollars in drug proceeds through Panama’s main airport every month. Another noted, “There is no reason to believe there will be fewer acts of corruption in this government than in any past government.”

As the standoff continued, the cables indicate that the United States proposed suspending the Matador program, rather than submitting to Mr. Martinelli’s demands. (American officials say the program was suspended, but the British took over the wiretapping program and have shared the intelligence with the United States.)

In a statement on Saturday, the government of Panama said that it regretted “the bad interpretation by United States authorities of a request for help made to directly confront crime and drug trafficking.” It said that Panama would continue its efforts to stop organized crime and emphasized that Panama continued to have “excellent relations with the United States.”

Meanwhile in Paraguay, according to the cables, the United States acquiesced, agreeing to allow the authorities there to use D.E.A. wiretaps for antikidnapping investigations, as long as they were approved by Paraguay’s Supreme Court.

“We have carefully navigated this very sensitive and politically sticky situation,” one cable said. “It appears that we have no other viable choice.”

A Larger Mandate

Created in 1973, the D.E.A. has steadily built its international turf, an expansion primarily driven by the multinational nature of the drug trade, but also by forces within the agency seeking a larger mandate. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the agency’s leaders have cited what they describe as an expanding nexus between drugs and terrorism in further building its overseas presence.

In Afghanistan, for example, “DEA officials have become convinced that ‘no daylight’ exists between drug traffickers at the highest level and Taliban insurgents,” Karen Tandy, then the agency’s administrator, told European Union officials in a 2007 briefing, according to a cable from Brussels.

Ms. Tandy described an agency informant’s recording of a meeting in Nangarhar Province between 9 Taliban members and 11 drug traffickers to coordinate their financial support for the insurgency, and she said the agency was trying to put a “security belt” around Afghanistan to block the import of chemicals for heroin processing. The agency was embedding its officers in military units around Afghanistan, she said. In 2007 alone, the D.E.A. opened new bureaus in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as well as in three Mexican cities.

Cables describe lengthy negotiations over the extradition to the United States of the two notorious arms dealers wanted by the D.E.A. as it reached beyond pure counternarcotics cases: Monzer al-Kassar, a Syrian arrested in Spain, and Viktor Bout, a Russian arrested in Thailand. Both men were charged with agreeing to illegal arms sales to informants posing as weapons buyers for Colombian rebels. Notably, neither man was charged with violating narcotics laws.

Late last year in a D.E.A. case, three men from Mali accused of plotting to transport tons of cocaine across northwest Africa were charged under a narco-terrorism statute added to the law in 2006, and they were linked to both Al Qaeda and its North African affiliate, called Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The men themselves had claimed the terrorism link, according to the D.E.A., though officials told The New York Times that they had no independent corroboration of the Qaeda connections. Experts on the desert regions of North Africa, long a route for smuggling between Africa and Europe, are divided about whether Al Qaeda operatives play a significant role in the drug trade, and some skeptics note that adding “terrorism” to any case can draw additional investigative resources and impress a jury.

New Routes for Graft

Most times, however, the agency’s expansion seems driven more by external forces than internal ones, with traffickers opening new routes to accommodate new markets. As Mexican cartels take control of drug shipments from South America to the United States, Colombian cartels have begun moving cocaine through West Africa to Europe.

The cables offer a portrait of the staggering effect on Mali, whose deserts have been littered with abandoned airplanes — including at least one Boeing 727 — and Ghana, where traffickers easily smuggle drugs through an airport’s “VVIP (Very Very Important Person) lounge.”

Top-to-bottom corruption in many West African countries made it hard for diplomats to know whom to trust. In one 2008 case in Sierra Leone, President Ernest Bai Koroma moved to prosecute and extradite three South American traffickers seized with about 1,500 pounds of cocaine, while his attorney general was accused of offering to release them for $2.5 million in bribes.

In Nigeria, the D.E.A. reported a couple of years earlier that diplomats at the Liberian Embassy were using official vehicles to transport drugs across the border because they were not getting paid by their war-torn government and “had to fend for themselves.”

A May 2008 cable from Guinea described a kind of heart-to-heart conversation about the drug trade between the American ambassador, Phillip Carter III, and Guinea’s prime minister, Lansana Kouyaté. At one point, the cable said, Mr. Kouyaté “visibly slumped in his chair” and acknowledged that Guinea’s most powerful drug trafficker was Ousmane Conté, the son of Lansana Conté, then the president. (After the death of his father, Mr. Conté went to prison.)

A few days later, diplomats reported evidence that the corruption ran much deeper inside the Guinean government than the president’s son. In a colorfully written cable — with chapters titled “Excuses, Excuses, Excuses” and “Theatrical Production” — diplomats described attending what was billed as a drug bonfire that had been staged by the Guinean government to demonstrate its commitment to combating the drug trade.

Senior Guinean officials, including the country’s drug czar, the chief of police and the justice minister, watched as officers set fire to what the government claimed was about 350 pounds of marijuana and 860 pounds of cocaine, valued at $6.5 million.

In reality, American diplomats wrote, the whole incineration was a sham. Informants had previously told the embassy that Guinean authorities replaced the cocaine with manioc flour, proving, the diplomats wrote, “that narco-corruption has contaminated” the government of Guinea “at the highest levels.”

And it did not take the D.E.A.’s sophisticated intelligence techniques to figure out the truth. The cable reported that even the ambassador’s driver sniffed out a hoax.

“I know the smell of burning marijuana,” the driver said. “And I didn’t smell anything.”

Andrew W. Lehren contributed reporting.

David Guyatt
12-26-2010, 11:37 AM
If you could find and post the actual cable Pete, I think this deserves it for the record.

My own suspicion is that the US and others know that the Wikileaks have a stash of documents that will blow everything to high heaven. Recall that this later dump was for almost 3 million documents, whereas the "Cable" portion was only 250,000. That's why Assange is being hunted like a multiple murderer, imo.

I also have a suspicion that the DEA is completely penetrated by organized crime and that their eavesdropping and other covert "abilities" can be used by those groups to benefit widespread ongoing criminal enterprises.

Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 11:52 AM
Date 2008-05-05 14:50:00

Source Embassy Conakry

Classification CONFIDENTIAL

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 CONAKRY 000163

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W
PARIS FOR DEA (S. HOUSTON)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2013
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, GV, PGOV, PHUM, SNAR
SUBJECT: A PRIVATE CHAT WITH GUINEAN PRIME MINISTER LANSANA
KOUYATE

REF: A. CONAKRY 0162
B. CONAKRY 0148
C. CONAKRY 0155

Classified By: Ambassador Phillip Carter III for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: On May 3, Ambassador Carter met with Prime
Minister Lansana Kouyate at the EMR for 90 minutes. Kouyate,
who was traveling to Kuwait that evening, had just come from
a meeting with President Conte at his farm in Dubreka where
the PM discussed plans for a possible cabinet reshuffle, and
the creation of a government committee to address Guinea's
growing food crisis. The Ambassador's meeting covered a
number of topics, from the Ambassador's latest travels into
Guinea's interior to Kouyate's most recent meeting with
President Conte, to the current political and economic
challenges facing the country. The issue of Guinea's growing
narcotics trafficking problem was also raised with some
surprising insights regarding the apparently strained
relationship between President Conte and his eldest son
Ousmane, a leading figure in the country's drug trade. END
SUMMARY

-----------
Elections
-----------

2. (U) Kouyate was clearly pleased to be meeting with the
Ambassador, stating that it had been a while since he had an
opportunity to exchange ideas. Noting the Ambassador's recent
travels throughout the country, Kouyate asked about the
Ambassador's impressions. The Ambassador told the PM that it
is clear that the elections are a topic of much interest
among the various groups he had met with, including local
political, youth and civil society leaders. However, he
shared his impression that people seem frustrated, with many
feeling that the government is not doing enough to ensure
that the elections will be well organized, free and fair. The
Ambassador stressed the need for better communication among
these different groups in the countryside, emphasizing that
the regional CENI representatives and local officials
(Governors and Prefects) need to define their respective
roles and responsibilities in order to avoid confusion as
election day approaches. According to the Ambassador,
everyone seemed to be waiting for instructions from Conakry
rather than initiating the necessary dialogue amongst
themselves. On this score, the PM stated that he will be
convening a meeting of all political parties, the CENI, the
Ministry of Interior and donors to discuss what needs to be
done to get the process rolling in a more determined fashion.
The Ambassador told the PM that he hoped that the CENI would
also receive additional funding from the government, beyond
the paltry 500 million GnP (about $110,000) it has already
received. Kouyate said that he is looking to address the
CENI's budget shortfall through a supplemental allocation to
the "initial" allotment.

3. (SBU) The Ambassador also noted that many interlocutors
were concerned about the growing ethnic character of each of
the parties as well as the parties' apparent lack of action
with respect to the elections. The PM responded by saying
that the issue of ethnicity is not new or unique to Guinea,
but that if any party wants to build the political standing
necessary to control the National Assembly or win the
Presidency, it will need to garner support from all of the
country's ethnic groups. He shared the Ambassador's view that
even within the Malinke, Sousou, or Fulani ethnic groups,
there are divisions that will likely prevent any one
political party from claiming the complete support of any one
ethnicity. He pushed back on the Ambassador's assertion that
the parties were not preparing themselves. The PM said that
while the official campaign period is legally limited to a
certain number of weeks before the election, the parties are
actively seeking candidates and marshaling resources. He
described one recent instance where a party had imported a
container of promotional materials, such as Tee-shirts and
caps with logos, and sought an exemption for the $500,000
duty imposed by customs, which he could not waive. The PM
mentioned the law passed in May 2007 that obligates the
Guinean Government to provide registered political parties
with some public funds, and said that he had directed the
Finance Minister to fulfill this obligation.

CONAKRY 00000163 002 OF 004

------------
Food Crisis
------------

4. (C) Turning to economics, the Ambassador said that the
government's recent ban on agricultural exports would likely
cause more harm that good over the medium term, and would do
nothing to solve the problem of rising food prices globally.
The Ambassador noted that during his recent visit to the
Forest Region, several producers complained about the ban.
He stressed that banning exports creates a disincentive to
farmers to increase production since their market is
effectively cut off. Kouyate acknowledged the Ambassador's
concerns, and emphasized that he is deeply committed to a
liberal and open economic policy. However, he noted that,
globally, there is a growing protectionist trend among
countries that export agricultural commodities such as rice.
He said he understood donor objections, but that the ban is
an expedient necessity to support Guinean consumers who are
increasingly squeezed by rising food prices. He added that
local exporters deposit their profits into foreign accounts,
meaning that Guinea gains little financially, if anything,
from agricultural exports. The Ambassador responded that an
export ban does not resolve the problem of repatriated
revenues/profits, and urged the PM to focus on resolving
problems that continue to inhibit local production. Kouyate
stated that his government would clarify its policy to focus
on certain essential staples.

5. (SBU) On the issue of food assistance, the Ambassador
urged the PM to improve his government's coordination on this
matter. The PM revealed that he had just left President Conte
with a draft decree to establish a government steering
committee on this subject, that Conte had agreed, and that
the Agriculture Minister would receive the signed decree from
Conte the following day.

-----------------------------------
Ministers, Governors, and Prefects
-----------------------------------

6. (SBU) The Ambassador commended the PM on his selection of
Governors and Prefects, many of whom are viewed as dynamic
individuals truly concerned about their communities, but
pointed out that despite these appointments, people are
increasingly frustrated, viewing the government as largely
ineffective. Kouyate recalled that, during a trip to Morocco
shortly after he had appointed these new administrators, he
was complemented by the then Moroccan PM because the majority
of his prefects had received their administrative training
from one of Morocco's best schools. Kouyate was unaware of
this connection but later found out that the Minister of
Interior had selected the prefects because of this specific
training. While he said he was pleased with his governors and
prefects, (with the notable exception of the Kindia Prefect
who had been recently appointed by Conte and was considered a
corrupt political hack - reftel A), he added that they lacked
resources and basic equipment. He said that he would be
providing 50 vehicles and uniforms to these local officials
to help them in their activities before the elections.

7. (C) At the national level, Kouyate said he is looking to
shake up his cabinet, an idea he proposed when he had met
earlier that day with Conte. Kouyate told the Ambassador that
he is looking to get rid of a handful of ministers he
described as "not productive" and "not loyal." He also said
that he plans to restructure certain ministries that are "too
heavy." He specifically mentioned the Ministries of
Education; Youth, Sports, and Culture; and Industry and
Commerce as those that will be split. He stated that Conte
supported this idea and that upon Kouyate's return from
Kuwait; the two would look at the PM's restructuring plan
more closely and select new ministers. Just as important,
Kouyate added that he hoped he would be able to also
restructure the civil service, which is seen as a major
obstacle to reform.

------------------------------
The Bete Noir - Ousmane Conte
------------------------------

8. (C) The Ambassador expressed his concerns about the
growing drug trade in Guinea. Noting that until recently,

CONAKRY 00000163 003 OF 004

much international attention was focused on Guinea Bissau as
the first narco-state emerging in West Africa, the Ambassador
said that it appears that the center of this illicit activity
had now shifted to Guinea. As the Ambassador spoke, Kouyate
visibly slumped in his chair, and then leaned toward the
Ambassador, and said that he is aware of this problem and
that the major Guinean trafficker is President Conte's son,
Ousmane. He revealed that about eight months ago, an aircraft
from Colombia or Venezuela was interdicted by local police at
the airport in Faranah, a small city in the Middle Guinea
region. When informed about the interdiction by the Minister
of Interior, Kouyate instructed him to conduct a full
investigation, seize the contraband and prosecute those
responsible.

9. (C) A couple of days later, the Minister returned to
inform the PM that the plane and its cargo had been released
by the head of the National Gendarmerie, General Jacques
Toure. Kouyate said he was furious and convoked Toure to his
office. When initially confronted, Toure reportedly denied
releasing the aircraft, but later told the PM that the
illicit operation was lead by Ousmane Conte. (Bio note:
Kouyate stated that he knows Toure well as they are related
to each other through Kouyate's mother's family). Kouyate
challenged Toure, asking him if he had informed anyone about
this matter or if he had raised it with President Conte
directly. Toure reportedly said he had not. Kouyate said he
chastised Toure for his actions. He told the Ambassador that
he then went to the First Lady, Henriette Conte, about
Ousmane's complicity. Henriette reportedly described Ousmane
as totally out of control, and directed the PM to take the
matter up directly with the president. When Kouyate raised
the incident, President Conte reportedly asked why his son
would do such a thing. Kouyate told the president that it was
a way for his son to get rich quickly and that it reflected
poor character. Kouyate said that he reminded Conte that he
had raised concerns about Ousmane years ago with the
President but that nothing had been done. Kouyate then
revealed a confidence from Conte to the Ambassador,
mentioning that the President has had no contact or any
communication with his son in over two years. According to
Kouyate, Conte stated clearly that if evidence develops that
ties Ousmane to narcotics trafficking, then he should be
arrested and prosecuted.

10. (C) Kouyate asked if the Ambassador could express his
concerns about the growing drug trafficking problem in Guinea
in an open and public manner, such as a letter. The PM said
that such a communication would help his office to engage the
President and the government about this growing problem. He
also asked for whatever assistance the USG could provide to
help his government interdict smugglers. The Ambassador said
that he had serious concerns about corruption within Guinea's
security services on this score, noting the discrepancy
between a recent press article highlighting a seizure of one
ton of cocaine and police stating that only 350 kilos had
been found (reftels B and C). Kouyate stated that some of the
police are likely involved. He added that since his arrival,
over 30 police and security personnel have been arrested for
crimes and corruption, and are now languishing in prison.
According to Kouyate, this is unprecedented in Guinea's
history. He stressed that he would work with the Ministry of
Interior to ensure that "the forthright and correct police
officers" would be tasked to stop any flight or ship trying
to smuggle narcotics into Guinea. The Ambassador said that he
would look into what he could do and that he would coordinate
his efforts with his European counterparts. Kouyate repeated
his request for a letter that outlined U.S. concerns about
narcotics trafficking in Guinea. The Ambassador stated that
he would meet the PM's request and have something for him
upon his return from Kuwait.

--------------
Bilats Timing
--------------

11. (U) Kouyate raised the much delayed bilateral
consultations, stating that he was keen to have them. When
the Ambassador noted that the dated that the Foreign Ministry
had offered May 21-22, would not likely work for principals
in the African Bureau, the PM stated that if possible it
would be better to hold them in June or July, given his own
travel schedule. The Ambassador stated that he would convey

CONAKRY 00000163 004 OF 004

this timeframe to Washington.

-----
Conte
-----

12. (C) As the PM was leaving, the Ambassador asked him about
Conte's health. Kouyate, slowly shaking his head said that
"the president's health is up and down but he is not doing
well." He admitted that "it is difficult to deal with that
man", revealing that he is never sure what he is thinking.
The Ambassador stated that he has been hearing much criticism
of the president and that he is not well regarded in the
countryside. Kouyate said that one does not need to leave
Conakry to hear the same thing. He said that at a opening
ceremony for a new stadium at the small university in
Sonfonia, the crowds jeered every time Conte's name was
mentioned. According to Kouyate, he had to admonish the
crowds to be respectful, particularly given that the stadium
is named after President Conte. "It was incredible" he said,
shaking his head again with forlorn look on his face.

--------
Comment
--------

13. (C) This was not the ebullient and positive PM of
previous encounters. It is clear that political pressures and
burdens of office have tempered Kouyate. His political
ambition, though constrained, remains evident. For many
pundits, the PM's tenure is almost over but he is fighting to
hold on to his job. His feeble attempt to excuse the export
ban reveals a man willing to use populist measures for
political gain even while recognizing its negative economic
impact. His plans to restructure his cabinet have been long
in the making and he is undoubtedly under pressure to bring
some of the old guard back. He will likely use the
restructuring as an opportunity to engender new alliances and
support. However, given his weak standing with civil society,
the unions, and the presidential entourage, a cabinet shuffle
could prove his undoing, if mishandled.
CARTER

Destination

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Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 11:54 AM
Date 2009-04-22 15:44:00

Source Embassy Freetown

Classification CONFIDENTIAL

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 FREETOWN 000152

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W (JHUNTER/ESPRUILL) AND INL/AAE
(KGOLDSTEIN)
BRUSSELS FOR DOJ/DEA (TSCARANTINO)
DOJ FOR DEA/OS/OSE (MCMANAMON/LENARTOWICZ),
DEA/OS/OSE/CNTOC (BROWN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/19/2019
TAGS: SNAR, PGOV, PREL, SL
SUBJECT: LANDMARK NARCOTICS CASE ENDS: DEFENDANTS NOT GOING
TO DISNEYWORLD

REF: A. 08 FREETOWN 336
B. 08 FREETOWN 461
C. 08 FREETOWN 552

Classified By: Ambassador June Carter Perry for reasons 1.4 (b/d)

1. (C) Summary: The Government of Sierra Leone's judicial
system completed its landmark narcotics case (reftel A) on
April 20, finding all defendants guilty. The first case tried
using the national Narcotics Control Act of 2008, this
creates valuable legal precedent, while also sending a
message to narcotraffickers that Sierra Leone will not allow
itself to become another West African country overrun by the
global drugs trade. Of particular note were the convictions
for the foreign defendants, three of whom were expelled into
U.S. custody following the conclusion of the trial. Despite
Sierra Leone's general lack of capacity and infrastructure,
the collaborative efforts between the President and the
judicial and security sectors to bring this case to a strong
and dramatic conclusion demonstrates that political will
exists here to effectively combat the issue. The USG should
stand firmly behind President Koroma and the Government of
Sierra Leone to encourage further counternarcotics efforts,
and enable them to not only interdict drugs within their
borders, but set a positive example for other nations in the
sub-region that the war on drugs is one worth fighting. End
Summary.

---------------
CASE BACKGROUND
---------------

2. (C) The July 13, 2008, bust of an aircraft carrying over
700kg of cocaine (reftel A) created shockwaves in Sierra
Leone, where many citizens and government representatives
believed that their country had escaped the narcotics
transiting trend growing in West Africa. In the reactive and
somewhat ramshackle investigation that followed, scores of
people were arrested or questioned in connection with the
case, with 18 people ultimately being charged with
narcotics-related offenses under the Narcotics Control Act.

3. (C) The arrest of Ahmed Sesay, a close relative of the
then Minister of Transportation Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay, left the
government open to criticism that it was complicit in the
trafficking, highlighting the importance of strong government
action to retain its credibility and commitment to law and
order. A group of foreigners were also arrested, including
the pilot and crew of the aircraft that brought in the
cocaine, and others in Sierra Leone who were here to
facilitate the onward movement of the drugs.

4. (C) Harvey Steven Perez, an American-Colombian dual
national, was considered the key trafficker in the ring. On
September 15th (reftel B), President Koroma requested the USG
to assist in the removal of all of the suspected
narcotraffickers, as well as Sierra Leoneans who could be
indicted in the U.S. The President noted that he wanted rule
of law to prevail, and was concerned that the
narcotraffickers would undermine the judicial system. The
President said he had encountered difficulties with the
process but was determined to see the case to the end. On
September 26, 2008, accompanied by U.S Ambassador, GoSL
Foreign Minister and Sierra Leone's Ambassador to Washington,
President Koroma met in Virginia with senior DEA officials
and USG intelligence agency representatives.

5. (C) Subsequently, federal attorneys from the southern
district of New York, assisted by DEA agents who had been
asked by the government of Sierra Leone to help with the
investigation, succeeded in securing indictments against two
of the traffickers, Harvey Steven Perez and Gerardo Quistana
Perez. On November 24th, (reftel C), the US Embassy
presented a diplomatic note to the government of Sierra Leone
concerning the indictments. In line with Koroma's request of
September 15th, the Embassy informed the GoSL that we were
prepared to accept the transfer of both indictees. In
February, the Embassy presented a second diplomatic note
asking for the transfer of –––– –––– as a material witness
(note: –––– was acting as a DEA informant when swept up in
the arrests). In subsequent meetings, the president was
informed that if he provided a 5-day notification, the U.S.
was willing and able to remove the three individuals as per
his earlier request. On 15 April, the president met with the

FREETOWN 00000152 002 OF 003

Ambassador, informing her that the cocaine trial would end on
20 April, and the three individuals would be placed in our
custody for removal. A presidential aide, who was concerned
that the Attorney General would not follow through with the
President's intent, arranged for a face-to-face meeting
between the President, the Ambassador, and the Attorney
General on April 18. The Attorney General assured the
assembled group that the prisoners would be released to the
United States on April 20. Subsequently, the DEA chartered
an aircraft and employed agents to effect the transfer.

6. (C) Late in the afternoon of April 20, with the trial
lasting well past the projected timeline, the Attorney
General approached PolOff and informed her that Sierra Leone
would have to collect fines from the individuals before they
could be released to the USG. A presidential aide hinted
that if the U.S. would pay the fines it would expedite the
transfer of the prisoners, but the U.S. Embassy noted that it
could not do so. The court case was adjourned later that
evening, without a final judgment. The DCM and Ambassador
were in 24 hour contact with the Foreign Minister,
Presidential Aides, and the UN Representative (who arranged
helicopter transport to the DEA plane).

7. (C) Determined to see the process through, the DEA and the
Embassy held meetings with the Attorney General and
discussions with other senior officials to impress upon them
the importance of backing their president's promises. The
DEA noted that assets may in fact be seized through the
investigation of these individuals, and that there may be
ways to share some of these assets with the government of
Sierra Leone. This cleared the way for more progress the next
day.

8. (C) Court reconvened at 11am April 22, with judgments
being read but not an expulsion order. Negotiations between
the Embassy and the government of Sierra Leone continued
throughout the afternoon, with the judge announcing the
sentences around 4pm. The accused were then returned to the
prison, rather than being turned over to the United States
government as initially promised. It was alleged by one of
the defense attorneys that the foreigners had paid a 75,000
Euro bribe to the judge for a more lenient sentencing.

9. (C) As negotiations continued through the night, the
government of Sierra Leone provided a diplomatic note to the
U.S. Embassy, stating that the three accused would be turned
over to the U.S. At 10:30pm the accused were in fact
remanded to the DEA agents, who flew with them to the United
States (the expulsion is technically not a judicial action,
but a presidential decision, but it does require the judge to
recommend expulsion as part of the sentence).

10. (C) The following penalties were imposed:

1st Accused: George Aritstizabel Archilla: U.S. $6.5M and 5
years imprisonment
2nd Accused: Victor Manuel Aranjo Lastreto (Jnr): $4M and 5
years imprisonment
3rd Accused: Julio Caesar Morales-Cruz: U.S. $3M and 5 years
imprisonment
4th Accused: Mohamed Bahil Sesay (alias Ahmed Sesay): Le300M
and 5 years imprisonment
5th Accused: Hassan Karim Mansaray: Le100M and 5 years
imprisonment
6th Accused: Patrick Moriba Johnson: Le25M and 2 years
imprisonment
7th Accused: Chernor Momodu Bah: Le150M and 5 years
imprisonment
8th Accused: Harvey Steven Perez: U.S. /$5M and 5 years
imprisonment
9th Accused: Gerardo Quistana Perez: U.S $2M and 5 years
imprisonment
10th Accused: Eimy Fernandez Leandro: US. $3M and 5 years
imprisonment
11th Accused: Alex Romeo: U.S. $1.5M and 5 years imprisonment
12th Accused: Ibrahim Mohamed Manley: Le150M and 5 years
imprisonment
13th Accused: Released earlier in trial
14th Accused: Released earlier in trial
15th Accused: Alimamy Kabia: Le150M and 5 years imprisonment
16th Accused: Sadjo Sarr: U.S. $1.5M and 5 years imprisonment
17th Accused: Released earlier in trial
18th Accused: Mohamed Musa Kamara: Le50M and 3 years

FREETOWN 00000152 003 OF 003

imprisonment

The fines for foreigners were in U.S. dollars, and for Sierra
Leoneans in Leones (at about 3000 Leones to the dollar).

11. (C) COMMENT: The expulsion is not only a significant
diplomatic victory for the United States, but an internal
victory for President Koroma, who demonstrated that he has
the leadership capacity to overcome resistance within his own
government (including, perhaps, his own attorney general) to
assert the supremacy of the rule of law in Sierra Leone.
While the corruption accusations were troubling, with a
steady stream of rumors insinuating that drug money has been
a factor in the legal case from the start, any underhanded
activity proved inadequate in saving the traffickers from
their ride to New York. Narcotics trafficking clearly poses
an increasing threat to the sub-region, and it is a great
relief that Sierra Leone possesses the capacity to arrest,
try, convict, and imprison narcotraffickers, as well as
overcome internal issues in order to cooperate at a very high
level with the United States. Sierra Leone has the potential
to be a significant partner in the regional war on drugs and
to serve as a platform for other counternarcotics activities
in West Africa. END COMMENT

PERRY

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RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC

Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 11:54 AM
Date 2009-03-06 15:31:00

Source Embassy Freetown

Classification SECRET

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 FREETOWN 000085

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W (JHUNTER/ESPRUILL)
BRUSSELS FOR DEA (TSCARANTINO)
DOJ FOR DEA/OS/OSE (MCMANAMON/LENARTOWICZ)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2019
TAGS: SNAR, PGOV, PREL, SL
SUBJECT: COCAINE CASE NEARLY IMPLODES: PRESIDENT INTERVENES

REF: A. FREETOWN 78
B. FREETOWN 23

Classified By: Ambassador June Carter Perry for reasons 1.4 (b/d)

1. (S/NF) Summary: On March 5, emboffs learned from a
well-placed source within the government that the Attorney
General (AG) had secretly secured a deal with the foreign
defendants in the cocaine case to grant their release in
exchange for USD 2.5 million. According to our knowledge of
the deal, the defendants were to change their pleas to
"guilty" on March 6, be sentenced to a fine, and then be
released/deported. Ambassador spoke with Foreign Minister
Zainab Bangura on the evening of March 5, who immediately
contacted President Koroma in India. Bangura later relayed a
message from Koroma to the Ambassador -- no decisions will be
made in this case until the President returns next week. His
message appears to have also reached the ears of the
judiciary; on March 6, Justice Browne-Marke adjourned
proceedings in the case until March 13. While this is a
positive result in terms of USG interests, we will need to
tread softly with the government until the expulsion requests
have been honored. The President is clearly cognizant of the
importance of the case and plans to honor the promise he made
to Ambassador on February 27 (reftel A), but the AG could
create new obstacles. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
THE DEAL: LINING POCKETS AS WELL AS GOVERNMENT COFFERS
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (S/NF) Source revealed to emboffs on March 5 that the AG
had been engaged in negotiations with the defense teams for
several weeks. His initial overtures requesting USD 2 million
per foreigner were deemed outrageously high, and they
eventually settled on USD 2.5 million for the entire group of
international accused (Note: The deal does not include the
Sierra Leonean defendants, though Ahmed Sesay could likely
afford to broker a similar deal. End Note). Source informed
emboffs that once the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
rested their case as planned on March 6, the defendants, who
initially refused to plea, would change their pleas to
"guilty," pay their fine, and be free to go. Source was
unclear on the mechanics of the deal, how and if money had
already changed hands, how much of the money would go to the
AG personally, and if the release would include deportation.

3. (S/NF) Source said that the deal was agreed to on February
20, but was reticent to share this information with either
USG or UK representatives. Source later determined that this
type of corrupt practice could not be tolerated and came
forward, but remains fearful that the information leak will
be linked to him/her, and that there will be reprisals. The
UK received the information early in the day on March 5, and
SOCA-London shared the information with DEA officials. The
Freetown-based SOCA representative, however, did not/not
share the information with emboffs directly.

-------------------
PRESIDENTIAL ACTION
-------------------

4. (S/NF) Ambassador spoke to Foreign Minister Bangura on
March 5, who contacted the President on his trip to India.
Earlier in the day at a meeting of diplomatic corps COMs,
Bangura stated that the President had traveled to India the
night before, and that "they had even taken his cell phone
from him" to guarantee he relaxed on his trip (Note: The
first post heard of the trip was in a State House press
release on March 5. This press release was corrected on March
6 to say that Koroma is visiting the Indian Prime Minister,
and not merely vacationing, which the first release implied.
End note). Bangura later informed the Ambassador that Koroma
had stated that no action would be taken in the case while he
was away. While the subsequent lines of communication are
unknown, his edict must have reached the AG or the Chief
Justice, resulting in Browne-Marke granting an unexpected
one-week adjournment.

------------------
REACTIONS IN COURT
------------------

5. (S/NF) The defendants seemed surprised by the adjournment,
though it is difficult to fully observe their reactions from
the vantage point of the courtroom's public gallery.
Browne-Marke adjourned the session to give the DPP "time to

FREETOWN 00000085 002 OF 002

assess if they want to call an additional witness before they
close their case," and was on the bench for less than ten
minutes - the shortest court session in the case's history.
Several of the foreign defendants, including Quintana-Perez
and Perez, spoke with their lawyer following the adjournment,
and also appeared to speak at-length with the courtroom
interpreter. Other defendants appeared unconcerned. Emboffs
noted that the defense teams were primarily represented by
junior barristers, with one senior attorney arriving to court
just as Browne-Marke departed. Given that the source said
that the defense teams are all owed significant amounts of
money, upwards of USD 200,000, as well as information post
received about the limited funds available to support the
defense (reftel B), their lack of engagement is unsurprising.
Post expects additional information from sources within the
defense on March 6.

-----------------------
POTENTIAL RAMIFICATIONS
-----------------------

6. (S/NF) Though the AG's actions appear corrupt, he can
protest his innocence by refuting the source's claims, or
stating that he is brokering a legal plea agreement. Post is
confident that the only government officials aware of the USG
expulsion requests to date are the President, Assistant to
the President, Foreign Minister, and Deputy Foreign Minister.
The AG is thus unaware of the promises made, and the impact
this deal would have on those promises. He can, and likely
will, state that he was operating with imperfect information
and was acting lawfully in the best interests of the case and
country.

7. (S/NF) Koroma's quick actions to ensure the proceedings
stay on-course will likely necessitate bringing the AG into
the fold on the expulsions. While this may not have any
deleterious impact, particularly if the AG and others are
informed that we plan to remove the three accused after the
judgment (making them still responsible for paying any
fines), he could deliberately erect legal roadblocks to serve
his own interests or simply inform the defense teams of the
plans. Though post has no information to suggest that the
expulsions are counter to Sierra Leonean law, the AG may find
or create issues depending on how well the defendants are
willing to compensate him for his services. Impossible to
read or predict, the AG could create problems where there
previously were none. If this occurs, however, Koroma would
likely override him to meet his own objectives.

-----------------------
COMMENT: MOVING FORWARD
-----------------------

8. (S/NF) Post believes that Koroma was unaware of the deal
until informed by the Foreign Minister. This trial is an
important political and diplomatic tool for the President; to
demonstrate to Sierra Leoneans that he is tough on criminal
issues, and to the international community that he will not
abide or accept naroctrafficking in his country. A release,
even with a sizable fine attached, would weaken his image
domestically and abroad, giving the impression that money
will sway him from his principles. The media would skewer him
for releasing the foreigners, given that the court of public
opinion has already found them guilty and deserving of
jail-time, as well as question the purpose and validity of
the National Narcotics Control Act, which was rushed into law
specifically for the purpose of trying these defendants. The
President will lose political capital if the defendants are
allowed to buy their way out of a jail sentence. Post is also
confident that Koroma would not make an empty promise to
honor the expulsion requests, and risk the ire of the USG.
His ability to quickly assert discipline, even from India, is
a good sign that he will be able to keep the corrupt elements
of his Cabinet and government at bay, at least until the
expulsions have taken place.

9. (S/NF) Post has and continues to believe that the AG will
stop at nothing to end the career of the President, his
long-time rival, and will gladly take whatever money the
defendants are offering for his assistance. However,
recognizing the President's need to save face in this
situation, the best course of action is to discuss the deal
as a legal plea bargain with all government interlocutors,
allow the President to reassert his authority upon his return
from India, and prepare for expulsions to take place earlier
than initially targeted. End Comment.
PERRY

Destination

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INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0337
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC

Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 11:55 AM
Date 2009-10-26 23:37:00

Source Embassy Mexico

Classification SECRET

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 003077

NOFORN
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, MX
SUBJECT: DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DENNIS BLAIR'S
MEETING WITH GENERAL GALVAN GALVAN, OCTOBER 19

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Gustavo Delgado.
Reason: 1.4 (b),(d).

1. (S/NF) Summary. DNI Dennis Blair met with Defense
Secretary General Guillermo Galvan Galvan on October 19 on
the heels of meetings with President Calderon and members of
his national security team (ref a and b). The discussion
focused largely on the military's role in the
counternarcotics fight, with Galvan lamenting a likely
lengthy domestic mandate, the need for improved translation
of intelligence into operations, and his mistrust of other
GOM security elements. Galvan is clearly seeking cooperation
from the USG to strengthen his institution's capacity to
fight drug trafficking organizations, but will try to keep
military actions in its own channels rather than working more
broadly with Mexico's law enforcement community. End summary.

2. (S/NF) To open the discussion with General Galvan Galvan
and high-ranking members of his intel team, DNI Blair
recognized the challenges a military confronts when it has to
fight a war -- in this case against drug trafficking
organizations -- within its own country. In response to the
DNI's question on how the GOM can make the transition away
from the armed forces to a strictly civilian counternarcotics
domestic fight, Galvan said that he does not currently see a
quick end to their internal deployment. He indicated that
the effort is difficult for the military, in part due to the
perception that they lack the legal framework to back their
deployment. He noted that SEDENA is working with Congress to
pass legislation that would address this matter. (Note:
Calderon submitted to Congress last session a National
Security Law that looks to codify the military's role in the
domestic CN fight. End note.) He also mentioned that Article
29 of the constitution calling for a state of exception" in
certain areas of the country might provide them with such
legal authority (see septel for discussion on Article 29).
SEDENA runs the risk of losing public prestige and being
criticized on human rights issues as its mandate is extended,
but he nevertheless expects the military to maintain its
current role for the next 7 to 10 years. Galvan did suggest
that increased U.S. intelligence assistance could shorten
that time frame, and also applauded USG efforts to prevent
arms trafficking across the border into Mexico.

3. (S/NF) Galvan indicated that he is interested in
establishing the highest levels of cooperation with the USG,
particularly in light of its "new authorities" as the
institution responsible for capturing high-value targets,
including two members of the Zetas and Sinaloa cartel head
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera. He further said that SEDENA
was implementing a three stage operation to specifically
target Chapo. The first stage, which they have largely
accomplished, is to establish a physical force in the area of
his operation primarily intended to collect intelligence. He
noted that they have found 10 to 15 locations where he moves,
but that Chapo commands the support of a large network of
informers and has security circles of up to 300 men that make
launching capture operations difficult. The second stage is
to deploy a circle of troops into the area of his movements,
which Galvan hopes to do shortly. The third stage is his
capture.

4. (S/NF) The DNI suggested that improving the intelligence
capabilities of deployed units would improve the troops'
ability to launch more rapid operations, as the USG learned
in its experience in Iraq. Galvan said the concept is clear
-- he understands that good intelligence is worthless without
a capable reaction force. He noted SEDENA should improve
vertical communication on intelligence matters, and said they
would be willing to accept any training the USG can offer.
Galvan complained that joint operations with law enforcement
entities are challenging because leaks of planning and
information by corrupted officials have compromised past
efforts. Bringing police, particularly at the state and
local level, up to standard will be challenging and a
prolonged process. Galvan said that SEDENA's permanent
deployment of two officers to the El Paso Intelligence Center
will help to disseminate rapidly information to the Ciudad
Juarez commander.
Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at

MEXICO 00003077 002 OF 002

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
PASCUAL

Destination

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FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8758
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFISS/HQS USNORTHCOM
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC

Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 11:56 AM
Date 2009-08-22 14:46:00

Source Embassy Panama

Classification SECRET//NOFORN

S E C R E T PANAMA 000639

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2039
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, SNAR, KCRM, PM
SUBJECT: MARTINELLI WIRETAP QUEST SHOWS DARK SIDE OF NEW GOP

Classified By: Ambassador Barbara J. Stephenson for reason 1.4 b and d.

Summary
-------
1. (S//NF) President Martinelli has reached out to the
Embassy, among other actors, to request help in building
infrastructure to conduct wiretaps against ostensible
security threats as well as political opponents. The
Ambassador has made it clear to the president that the USG
will continue our successful judicialized law enforcement
wiretap program with Panama, but we will not be party to any
effort to expand wiretaps to domestic political targets.
Martinelli's seeming fixation with wiretaps and his comments
to Ambassador during an August 12 meeting demonstrate that he
may be willing to set aside the rule of law in order to
achieve his political and developmental goals. Martinelli
has publicly declared that wiretapping will be a key law
enforcement tool, and has submitted a draft wiretap bill to
the national assembly. Civil liberties advocates are girding
for a fight, and this issue could provide the first serious
challenge to Martinelli's popularity.

"I Need Help"
-------------
2. (S//NF) Late last month Martinelli sent the Ambassador a
cryptic Blackberry message that said, "I need help with
tapping phones." The Ambassador, who was traveling outside
Panama at the time, did not respond to the substance of the
message, but directed DCM and DEA chief to meet with
Martinelli's staff to get a better understanding of the
president's request. DCM and DEA chief met Minister of the
Presidency Jimmy Papadimitriu on July 29 and again August 1.
The latter meeting also included chief of intelligence Jaime
Trujillo and newly-appointed Security Secretary Jose Abel
Almengor. Papadimitriu explained that the Martinelli
administration's aggressive anti-corruption campaign is
taking on powerful and corrupt individuals whose economic
status is being threatened. He said some of those
individuals may attempt to retaliate by threatening
Martinelli's personal safety. In addition, Martinelli
believes that his right-of-center political orientation makes
him a target of leftist governments in the region who will
attempt to infiltrate Panama's trade unions and destabilize
the GOP. Papadimitriu said Martinelli believes he is not
getting adequate information from Panama's security services
to counter these potential threats, and that he hoped to gain
greater insight by establishing a wiretap program.

3. (S//NF) DCM and DEA chief explained the USG's "Operation
Matador" judicialized wiretap program which currently
operates in conjunction with Panama's police and security
services. They emphasized the requirement that all targets
must be related to drug trafficking and related crimes, and
that all taps must be approved by a Panamanian supreme court
judge, following basic legal protections that are
well-established in the U.S. The present program provides
half of the wiretapped lines to the GOP for its own organized
crime investigations, which could include national security
targets. Under current procedures, DEA prepares an affidavit
every 30 days which contains a list of DEA and GOP wiretap
targets, which is reviewed and approved by the supreme court.

4. (S//NF) Papadimitriu, Trujillo and Almengor suggested that
the current system did not allow the GOP enough flexibility
to select targets, and mentioned short-fuse incidents such as
kidnappings where rapid wiretap capability was needed. DCM
and DEA chief countered that the technical capacity already
exists, and that the GOP should explore a new rapid-response
procedure for getting court orders that would authorize taps
for emergency situations. DCM made very clear to
Papadimitriu that the USG would not assist in expanding the
program to include domestic political targets. Papadimitriu
laughed and said that Panama's security problems were far too
serious to waste limited investigative capacity on political
enemies.

Darker Intent
-------------
5. (S//NF) A recent conversation with President Martinelli,
however, paints a less benign picture. On August 12 Vice
President Juan Carlos Varela invited Ambassador, DCM and DEA
chief to meet with him and Papadimitriu to discuss the issue
further. Upon arrival at Varela's office, we were redirected
to Martinelli's office as the president had taken over the
meeting.

6. (S//NF) Martinelli opened by repeating his request for USG
help to expand wiretaps, saying "we are in darkness" fighting
against crime and corruption. He said it is not fair that
DEA collects information but that Panama does not benefit
from that information. He made reference to various groups
and individuals whom he believes should be wiretapped, and he
clearly made no distinction between legitimate security
targets and political enemies. Martinelli suggested that the
USG should give the GOP its own independent wiretap
capability as "rent" in exchange for the use of GOP
facilities.

7. (S//NF) The Ambassador forcefully defended the DEA program
and pointed out that the jointly-investigated cases were
taking criminals off of Panama's streets and making the
country safer. Martinelli made an implicit threat to reduce
counter-narcotics cooperation if the USG did not help him on
wiretaps, to which the Ambassador promptly countered that she
would readily inform Washington and we would all see Panama's
reputation as a reliable partner plummet dramatically.
Martinelli immediately backed off, and said he did not want
to endanger cooperation.

8. (S//NF) Martinelli said the GOP could expand wiretaps on
its own, but would rather have USG help. He said he had
already met with the heads of Panama's four mobile phone
operators and discussed methods for obtaining call data. The
Ambassador reiterated the points made in our earlier
meetings, that the current technical capacity was adequate
and that the GOP should streamline its process for obtaining
court orders for emergencies.

Naive and Dangerous
-------------------
9. (S//NF) Martinelli's near-obsession with wiretaps betrays
a simplistic and naive attitude toward the criminal
investigative process. He appears to believe that wiretaps
are the solution to all of his crime problems, and seems
unable to grasp the concept that wiretaps are only one tool
in the investigative process. We believe that he has tasked
several subordinates to obtain wiretap capacity by reaching
out to other governments and the private sector. His effort
is an open secret among security professionals in Panama
City. His behavior also tracks with an attitude of suspicion
and vindictiveness we have seen since the early days of the
campaign, when he was convinced that the PRD-controlled
security service was tapping his phones. (Comment: This was
very probably true.)

10. (S//NF) More worryingly, Martinelli seems prepared to
dispense with legal procedure in order to achieve his reform
agenda. During the August 12 meeting he proudly recounted to
the Ambassador how, earlier that day, he had twisted the arms
of casino operators and threatened to cancel their
concessions if they did not pay their back taxes and cut
their ties to the opposition political figures who had
granted their generous concessions. Referring to businessmen
who received corrupt concessions, Martinelli promised to
"throw them to the sharks." He chided the Ambassador for
being "too legal" in her approach to the issue of wiretaps.

11. (S//NF) Martinelli has visited the DEA/GOP wire room and
has been fully briefed on how the joint program operates.
Our conversation made clear that he wishes to establish his
own independent wire program under the cover of the DEA
program. If he were able to establish such a program, he
could blame it all on the gringos if it were exposed, which
in this tiny country it inevitably would be. That could
provoke a political backlash that would endanger the DEA wire
program and its significant value to USG law enforcement.
Martinelli's bullying style with the Ambassador made it clear
that he is prepared to push the limit to get what he wants,
even with his "friends." VP/FM Varela went out of his way to
apologize to the Ambassador and to minimize fallout from the
meeting, noting that he hates Martinelli's bluster but has
not yet convinced him that whatever his persona is as
"Ricardito," such behavior is inappropriate for the President
of the Republic.

Big Fight Coming
----------------
12. (S//NF) The GOP last week introduced a draft bill to the
national assembly that would require registry of prepaid cell
phones and compel mobile operators to submit call data to the
GOP for criminal investigations. Panama's outspoken
"civilista" sector has already voiced its strong opposition
to the bill. In addition to the wiretap bill, civil
liberties advocates are deeply concerned about Martinelli's
intent to defer modernization of the criminal code through
transition to an accusatory system, as well as his moves to
distance the new GOP from the process of civil society input
to judicial policy dialogue established under the previous
government. The noisy and potentially powerful forces who
once resisted Manuel Noriega could unite in common cause over
these issues to negatively impact Martinelli's popularity.
At the very least, Martinelli's comportment manifests the
autocratic tendencies which have long been predicted by
friend and foe alike.

Comment:
-------
13. (S//NF) A president only gets his "first hundred days"
once, and Martinelli is spending his obsessing about
vengeance against his political foes. Most of his government
appointments have favored loyalty over competence. This is
negatively affecting his ability to pursue his top
priorities, as well as our bilateral cooperation on shared
priorities. His penchant for bullying and blackmail may have
led him to supermarket stardom but is hardly statesmanlike.
He risks losing the good will of his backers in the
Panamanian elite and business communities. Martinelli is not
a member of Panama's traditional elite, and he could be on
thin ice if his "anti-corruption" measures end up being seen
primarily as shake-downs for fast cash.

14. (S//NF) Martinelli ran as a pro-U.S. candidate, and now
assumes the U.S. owes him a debt as a right-of-center
counterbalance to Hugo Chavez in the region. Our challenge is
to convince him and others in his government that the 1980s
are over in Central America. In our discussions with
Panamanians across the board, we are emphasizing the message
that the U.S. has no interest in a left-right divide in the
hemisphere, but rather in long-term institutional stability.
Our desire is that ten years from now, Panama is a stable,
secure, democratic, prosperous country which is friendly to
the U.S. and capable of administering and protecting the
Canal.

15. (S//NF) In addition to sending that message, we are
carefully directing embassy programs to take advantage of new
opportunities, for example a reinvigorated effort to reach
"youth at risk" and reduce street crime, while avoiding
potential pitfalls, particularly in the security arena. Our
wiretap program, which works well and upholds the rule of
law, would easily withstand public scrutiny were it to come
to light. We are coordinating closely with counterparts in
the Council for National Security and Public Defense
(Consejo) to meet our own collection requirements, but we
must remain vigilant against the danger of local officials
trying to commandeer the program for internal political
games. We must be able to defend every action we take and in
doing so make ourselves immune to threats to reveal our
programs if we don't cave to pressure. Close coordination by
all USG agencies with Embassy Panama City is therefore more
important than ever.
STEPHENSON

Destination

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Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 11:56 AM
Date 2009-12-24 16:58:00

Source Embassy Panama

Classification SECRET//NOFORN

S E C R E T PANAMA 000905

NOFORN
SIPDIS
MEXICO AND EL SALVADOR FOR DEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/24
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, SNAR, PINR, ASEC, KJUS, PM
SUBJECT: Guidance Request: DEA Wiretap Program

REF: PANAMA 639; PANAMA 699; PANAMA 777; PANAMA 776; PANAMA 799
PANAMA 877; PANAMA 901

CLASSIFIED BY: David Gilmour, DCM, State, EXEC; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (U) This is an action request, see para 8.

2. (S//NF) Since July 2009, Embassy Panama has grappled with
President Martinelli's desire to involve the USG in his efforts to
construct a wiretap program that would target his domestic
political opponents. Refs A, B and C document the sequence of
events in which the president and subordinates employed a variety
of tactics ranging from straightforward requests to intimidating
threats, in order to obtain USG assistance and/or political cover
for his wiretap project. Ample additional reporting on this topic
is available in other agency channels.

3. (S//NF) From the time of our very first discussion with the GOP
on this subject in July until now, we have clearly and consistently
told all senior GOP officials that the USG will only conduct
limited law enforcement wiretap programs in cooperation with
Panamanian law enforcement and judicial authorities, directed only
against genuine law enforcement targets, in a process managed by a
Panamanian prosecutor and approved by a Panamanian supreme court
judge.

4. (S//NF) Since our decision in late September (Ref B) to remove
the DEA Matador wiretap program from control of the GOP's Council
for Public Security and National Defense (CSPDN), we have
confronted a series of obstacles, including threats from the CSPDN
director to expel the DEA from Panama (Ref C) and restrict payments
to vetted units (Ref G), and generally weak support for the move
from Martinelli and senior GOP leaders. Martinelli's distrust of
Panama's attorney general (Ref D) has complicated the issue and he
and his subordinates have repeatedly proposed alternative
arrangements that would keep the Matador program within CSPDN, but
would not fully maintain the "firewall" between law enforcement and
intelligence activities.

5. (S//NF) We are still hopeful that we can complete the Matador
move out of CSPDN early in the new year, but if we are unable to do
so, we are faced with a difficult decision. If Matador remains in
CSPDN, the GOP will continue its efforts to change procedures to
weaken judicial controls over the program. CSPDN director Olmedo
Alfaro has told Embassy officers that the GOP plans to introduce
legislation that would create a special judge to approve GOP
wiretap targets on short notice. With Panama's notoriously corrupt
judicial system (rated 103 out of 133 by the World Economic Forum),
we are not confident that the new judge will uphold the same
standards and civil liberties protections that the Panama supreme
court has exercised in its oversight of Matador to date.

6. (S//NF) All of this comes at a time when Panama's judicial
institutions are under assault by the executive, with Martinelli's
strong political pressure on the attorney general (Ref D) and the
controversial appointment of two Martinelli political cronies to
the supreme court (septel). For several weeks the Panamanian media

has carried a steady stream of criticism of Martinelli's actions,
and most observers believe that the country's already weak justice
system is suffering serious body blows.

7. (S//NF) The Matador wiretap program is a valuable law
enforcement tool, but we believe that the USG must not compromise
democratic values in the employment of that tool. The United
States itself has recently experienced a difficult debate over
civil liberties and democratic principles being compromised in the
name of security. We should not be a participant in questionable
activities in Panama. The recent DAS scandal in Colombia
illustrates the catastrophic consequences of politically motivated
wiretaps, and such a scenario could easily unfold in Panama if the
GOP continues its present course of action. If we cannot guarantee
with a high level of confidence that the Matador program will not
be misused for political purposes, then we prefer to suspend the
program.

8. (SBU) Post requests Department coordinate with other stakeholder
agencies to provide advice on a way forward. While we at post are
in the strongest position to provide views on the operational
impact of suspending the program, stakeholder agencies in
Washington can best provide the perspective on the legal and policy
factors against which the operational impact should be weighed. We
will be pleased to provide extensive additional background material
and technical details as requested.
STEPHENSON

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Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 11:57 AM
Date 2010-02-28 21:46:00

Source Consulate Monterrey

Classification UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

UNCLAS MONTERREY 000066

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DS/IP/WHA, DS/IP/DEAV, AND DS/PSP/DEAV
WHA/MEX

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC, KCRM, SNAR, CASC, PGOV, MX
SUBJECT: Grenade Attacks Against Monterrey Police; Feb. 26 and 28th
EACs

REF: 10 NUEVO LAREDO 56

1. (SBU). Late in the evening of February 27, hooded men
conducted simultaneous grenade attacks against the facilities of
five municipal police forces within the Monterrey metro area. At
police stations in the working class suburbs of San Nicolas and
Cadereyta, the grenades exploded, injuring two and causing
significant property damage; in Guadalupe, Escobedo, and Apodaca
the devices did not detonate. Law enforcement sources, but not the
press, report a sixth attack in the city of Santiago, south of
Monterrey, and there are sketchy indications of a seventh attack in
Sabinas-Hidalgo, about an hour north of Monterrey. The authorities
have arrested two attackers and recover three unexploded grenades
and one grenade spoon. ATF Monterrey is in the process of
obtaining access to the recovered physical evidence. Although
there were civilian witnesses to the San Nicolas explosion, no one
is likely to come forward to present evidence or testify. Law
enforcement sources report that the police present when the
stations were attacked fled their posts. It is now clear that the
ongoing war between the Gulf and Zeta drug trafficking
organizations (DTOs) has reached Monterrey.

Nuevo Leon Spin Control

------------------------------

2. (SBU). While Nuevo Leon Secretary General Javier Trevino Cantu
has characterized the coordinated attacks as a reaction by
organized crime to the state government's security efforts, this
explanation is not persuasive as the state's programs are still
notional at best. Neither the recently-announced
military/federal/state plan to install roadblocks (68 checkpoints
in 19 cities) along the Monterrey to Reynosa, Tamaulipas corridor
nor the state's new plan to install checkpoints in 11 Monterrey
metro area municipalities to stem car theft have begun. Given the
thorough penetration by the Zetas of the police forces in those
municipalities that were hit, a much more likely explanation is
that the attacks were a signal from the Gulf cartel to the police
to cease/desist their support of the Zetas and switch sides. Other
plausible theories exist as well -- such as the attack was an
attempt to "heat up" the Monterrey plaza -- but none involve
organized crime responding to "effective" state government
enforcement efforts.

Public Worried and Distrustful

------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Locally, the Monterrey public is worried as citizens
fear that if the war between the cartels were to hit the city in
earnest, Monterrey could experience the rampant violence seen at
the border. The continuing wave of car-jackings/car thefts -- the
DTOs appear to be using the stolen cars to fulfull their
transportation needs -- has many on edge. Citizens are curtailing
trips to the border, and several bus companies are cancelling runs
to outlying cities in the state. Indeed, if high-value targets
fleeing Tamaulipas take up residence in Monterrey and nearby
Saltillo, Coahuila, violence here between the cartels and between
the cartels and the military (both army and navy) will increase.
During the previous week reliable witness reported carloads of
gunmen, with automatic weapons hanging out the window, retreating
to Monterrey along the highways linking the city to Reynosa.
Indeed, DEA confirms a rolling confrontation between the military
and retreating Zetas on February 27 in the Nuevo Leon
municipalities of Zuazua and Pesqueria, both to the north and east
of Monterrey.

4. (SBU). A recent poll done by the Monterrey-based Grupo Reforma

-- publishers of the influential local daily "El Norte" -- revealed
that 58 percent of Tamaulipas respondents had seen or heard gun
battles or violent acts that the media/government had not made
public. From here, it looks as if Nuevo Leon residents share this
view. Indeed, post law enforcement has learned that six died
during the Zuazua/Pesqueria shoot-out, an incident which has not
been reported in the local press. The rumor that Tamaulipas
Governor Eugenio Hernandez had been kidnapped flew around among
Monterrey elites at light speed on February 26. The comparative
silence of Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina on security issues in
general has only heightened suspicions.

February 26 EAC Meeting and February 28 Follow-up

--------------------------------------------- -------------------

5. (SBU) Prior to the grenade attacks, Consulate General
Monterrey's Emergency Action Committee (EAC) met on February 26,
2010 to discuss the current wave of narco-related violence and its
potential impact on Consulate security and operations. The EAC was
chaired by Consul General with the presence of MGT, RSO, CONS, POL,
CLO, FBI, ATF, DEA, ICE, PD and OPAD. Among items discussed was
the continued increase in car-jackings and stolen cars. During the
previous evening, a local car lot was hit by a DTO and as many as
10 SUVs were taken. The group also kidnapped the owner and two
other family members. It was reported that local police seen in
the area did not respond to distress calls from the family.

6. (SBU) RSO relayed Unclass reporting that the Los Zetas leader,
Miguel Heriberto Lazcano-Lazcano is believed to be hiding in
Monterrey and was planning for counter-offensive strikes against
the Gulf Cartel in Tamaulipas. This information dovetailed with
reporting from other sources and the members of post's Law
Enforcement Working Group elaborated that Saltillo, Coahuila would
likely be considered a safehaven by the Zetas.

7. (SBU) The CG and RSO discussed obtaining further protective
equipment for the Local Guard Force. RSO will submit a request for
an emergency shipment of ballistic helmets and rifle grade body
armor from DS/PSP/DEAV.

8. (SBU) At a February 28 follow-up session of the Law Enforcement
Working Group, committee members discussed the probabilities of
further Gulf Cartel retributions against Zeta controlled police
departments in the Monterrey area. Various EAC members believe
that the next targets of attack by the Gulf cartel might be the
Monterrey and Santa Catarina police or Nuevo Leon state police
facilities. On February RSO office distributed a security notice
to Consulate employees reminding them of the need to remain
vigiliant.
WILLIAMSON

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Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 11:58 AM
Date 2010-02-18 20:52:00

Source Embassy Asuncion

Classification SECRET//NOFORN

S E C R E T ASUNCION 000097

SIPDIS
NOFORN
WHA/FO CMCMULLEN, WHA/BSC MDRUCKER, BFRIEDMAN, MDASCHBACH, INL/LP DHOOKER, DS/TIA/ITA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2035/02/18
TAGS: PGOV, SNAR, ASEC, PREL, PA
SUBJECT: GOP SEEKS TO IMPLEMENT NEW CELL PHONE INTERCEPT SYSTEM, BUT
PROMISES TO KEEP SIU PROGRAM INTACT

CLASSIFIED BY: Ambassador Liliana Ayalde, Ambassador, State, Front
Office; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: Interior Minister Filizzola told the Ambassador
February 10 that the GOP would soon be rolling out a new, expanded
cell phone intercept program, which would continue to cover
counternarcotics but would also include anti-kidnapping cases as
the GOP ratchets up efforts to capture the EPP. Filizzola assured
the Ambassador that the DEA-SIU cell intercept program would remain
alive, but encouraged the Embassy to allow the use of the
DEA-funded cell intercept software to the GOP or it would be
rendered obsolete. Despite some initial technical doubts, it
appears that Filizzola's plan is technically feasible. However, we
want to ensure that the DEA-supported program is not compromised in
the process. Given the pressures on the GOP to arrest the EPP
members responsible for the Zavala kidnapping, there is no doubt
that the Lugo government will press to increase its intercept
capability. Our participation and concurrence is key to our
counternarcotics-- and broader law enforcement-- goals in Paraguay.
END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- ----------------------
-----------

FILIZZOLA INFORMS AMBASSADOR OF NEW GOP PROGRAM

--------------------------------------------- ----------------------
------------

2. (S/NF) Interior Minister Rafael Filizzola told the Ambassador
February 10 that the GOP would soon be rolling out a new, expanded
cell phone intercept program, which would continue to cover
counternarcotics but would also include anti-kidnapping cases as
the GOP ratchets up efforts to capture members of the Paraguayan
People's Army (EPP) involved in the Fidel Zavala kidnapping.
Since September 2009, DEA has had an active cell phone intercept
program limited solely to counter-narcotics, managed by the
Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD) (which is independent of the Interior
Ministry). On several occasions since the October kidnapping of
rancher Zavala by the EPP, Minister Filizzola asked Ambassador
Ayalde and/or DEA to allow the Interior Ministry access to the cell
intercept program so that it could pursue leads in the kidnapping
case. Embassy declined access to the system, but cooperated with
the Interior Ministry in order to monitor 12 lines related to the
kidnapping. On February 10, Minister Filizzola told the Ambassador
that the GOP had everything in place (legal framework, equipment,
etc.) for a broader intercept program, but he learned that his
program would impact the DEA-SIU program. The Ministry procured
Brazilian intercept equipment for USD 1.2 million but needed access
to the software available via the DEA-SIU program at SENAD in order
to make it operational. The Minister further said that he now
understood that the technology did not permit both programs to
operate independently. Thus the USG could either authorize the
Ministry to link up with the DEA software or the GOP would procure
the rest of its own system which would mean that the USG program
housed in SENAD would be shut down. While acknowledging that drugs
are a serious problem, the Minister stated that they are not the
only security issue confronting Paraguay. Kidnapping, arms
trafficking and corruption, the Minister stated, could not be
subordinated to the war on drugs. Filizzola said the GOP's top
priority was capturing the EPP, which had to take precedence over
counternarcotics. He was specifically concerned about the USD
550,000 the EPP received during the Zavala kidnapping, the EPP's
interest in generating instability, and the leads the GOP had on
some other possible kidnappings. "Counternarcotics are important,"
he said, "but won't topple our government. The EEP could."

3. (S/NF) Filizzola assured the Ambassador that the DEA-SIU cell
intercept program would continue, but encouraged the Embassy to
cede access to its cell intercept software to the GOP or it would
be rendered obsolete. The Minister said SENAD would still be able
to intercept lines, but the Ministry of Interior would need to
utilize our software. Filizzola said President Lugo had approved
the new program, and would speak to SENAD Minister Cesar Aquino
regarding same. (NOTE: As of this writing, Lugo had not broken the
news to Aquino. END NOTE). Filizzola told the Ambassador that he
wanted to ensure transparency with the Embassy and secure our

continued cooperation. The Minister stressed that he had the
support and legal framework from the courts, Public Ministry, and
the telephone regulatory agency CONATEL. The Minister noted that
since the DEA already owns the connecting software (LMNS)
equipment, it would be more sensible and helpful to the GOP if the
U.S. would authorize its use by the Ministry. The alternative-the
GOP starting from scratch-- would waste precious time in the GOP's
urgent effort to capture members of the EPP and would render our
equipment/software obsolete.

4. (S/NF) The Ambassador made clear that the U.S. had no interest
in involving itself in the intercept program if the potential
existed for it to be abused for political gain, but confirmed U.S.
interest in cooperating on an intercept program with safeguards, as
long as it included counternarcotics. While noting that the
Interior Ministry's current personnel are trustworthy, the
Ambassador noted that others could abuse this technology in the
future. The Minister concurred and added that both he and the
President were keenly aware of the potential risks. The Minster
added that he believes there are currently three or four
clandestine pieces of equipment in Paraguay capable of intercepting
cellular phone calls. This equipment was purchased by members of
the previous government using questionable funding and disappeared
once the Lugo government took over. Both Filizzola and Vice
Minister Caballero, who was also present for the meeting, confirmed
that controls are crucial. Caballero assured the Ambassador that
the following judicial and procedural protections are in place: 1)
the intercept room will be managed by Public Ministry prosecutors
and the Interior Ministry; 2) cellular phone providers will know
which lines the GOP is listening to and will only grant permission
based on a judicial order; 3) judicial orders can only be issued
by three Asuncion-based judges, which are the same judges
authorized to issue the orders under the current DEA-SENAD program;
4) the Supreme Court will ensure that only authorized taps are in
place; 5) the equipment purchased by the GOP automatically tracks
every action taken and its historical account cannot be altered or
erased; and 6) the law only permits cell phone interception for
anti-kidnapping (in this case, pursuit of the EPP) and
counter-narcotics; there are no other lawful purposes.

--------------------------------------------- ----------------------
-----------------------

IN SPITE OF SOME QUESTIONS, THE PROGRAM APPEARS TO BE FEASIBLE

--------------------------------------------- ----------------------
-----------------------

5. (S/NF) Despite some initial technical questions from DEA, it
appears that Filizzola's plan is feasible given the GOP's purchase
of additional technology. The highly technical nature of this
program has lent itself to confusion about what is and is not
possible. From Filizzola's first request to use the software
(LMNS) that the Embassy installed at SENAD, we had consistently
indicated that DEA Washington had to weigh in. So the Embassy
arranged for a February 17 video-teleconference (VTC) between the
Minister, Vice Minister Caballero, and Filizzola's Chief of Staff
Claudia Guanes and DEA Washington, led by –––– ––––, DEA's
Unit Chief Coordinator for the Science and Technology Section.
Also present were the Ambassador and DEA Country AttachC) ––––
––––.

6. (S/NF) During the VTC, Minister Filizzola laid out his plans for
the program in general terms, highlighting its urgency. He said
his program would start with cell phone provider PERSONAL, which is
the only currently operational cell provider using the DEA-procured
LMNS. Filizzola asked about the status of the second DEA- procured
LMNS for TIGO, and expressed the GOP's commitment to continue the
counternarcotics intercept program. He discussed the technical
limitations with the DEA experts and concluded that expansion of
the intercept program was technically possible with the purchase of
additional hardware and licenses. The Minister saw two

alternatives: (1) the Ministry buys additional equipment/software
and replaces the DEA-purchased LMNS; or (2) the Ministry and SENAD
(read DEA-supported program) share the connecting software (LMNS).
Both DEA and the Minister asked some clarifying questions which
demonstrated that the Ministry had the equipment for the Monitoring
Center and only needed the use of the DEA software currently in use
at PERSONAL. Between PERSONAL and the next cell provider scheduled
to come on-line, TIGO, they would cover 90% of the cellular
telephone market. DEA indicated that it took them over a year to
install the PERSONAL system because full cooperation from the
company is required. The Minister emphasized that this would not
be an issue because they already had the decree from CONATEL
(telephone industry regulator) that forces the telephone companies
to cooperate, in addition to the proper legal authorities (based on
the Constitution and the anti-kidnapping law).

7. (S/NF) In light of the highly sensitive nature of this program,
the Ambassador asked Minister Filizzola to provide the Embassy with
a written request for access to the existing cell intercept
software, along with copies of the laws that serve as a legal basis
for the expanded program. Both Supreme Court President Fretes and
SENAD Minister Aquino expressed doubts to Emboffs about the
legality of the expanded program. (NOTE: While Fretes told
Filizzola that he was "on board," it is very common for Paraguayans
to avoid voicing disagreement. Aquino's concerns, in turn, may
have more to do with his rivalry with Minister Filizzola. END
NOTE). TIGO (Millicom), one of Paraguay's leading cell phone
providers, told the Ambassador that though they had concerns about
the GOP's decision to move forward with an intercept program, they
felt that U.S. involvement in the program would provide them with
some "cover."

--------------------------------------------- ----------------

COMMENT: GET ON BOARD OR GET LEFT BEHIND

--------------------------------------------- ----------------

8. (S/NF) Given the political pressures on the GOP to arrest the
EPP members responsible for the Zavala kidnapping, there is no
doubt that the Lugo government will continue intense efforts to
improve its intercept capability. Our participation and
concurrence is key to our counternarcotics-- and broader law
enforcement-- goals in Paraguay. If we are not supportive, the GOP
will view us as an obstacle to a key priority, which could
jeopardize our broader relationship and the DEA's ability to pursue
counternarcotics leads. Capturing the EPP has become a top
priority of the Paraguayan government, and there is a real sense of
urgency that it happen quickly. We now have an opportunity to
help the GOP and be viewed as a reliable and valuable partner, as
well as to ensure that U.S. interests in counternarcotics are
protected. However, we want to limit our involvement to protecting
DEA's program, as opposed to legitimizing the GOP's broader CT
intercept program. DEA will send –––– –––– to Asuncion in
coming weeks, who will offer advice to the GOP on how to best set
up the program (in order to protect our part of it). We have
carefully navigated this very sensitive and politically sticky
situation, and hope that we can move forward quickly in order to
make the most of it. It appears that we have no other viable
choice. END COMMENT.
AYALDE

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Peter Presland
12-26-2010, 12:10 PM
There is a full-text search facility of all released cables to date (that's to all news outlets combined - or claimed to be) - beta testing but seems pretty robust to me - Here (http://cablesearch.org/)

A search on the term "DEA" produces 74 results from the 1913 cables released to date. I obviously haven't scoured them for relevant content but all nine above are included.

I have included a "Wilileaks Resources menu on the WikiSpooks main navigation menu (https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Main_Page) that appears to the left of any page. It currently links to the WikiSpooks maintained mirror (which I try to update every day), a database of all past WikiLeaks file torrents, the full-text search site and 'WL Central'

Note, those menus are now collapsible so you may have to click on the heading to see all the options.

Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 12:11 PM
Date 2008-03-06 14:33:00

Source Embassy Conakry

Classification SECRET

S E C R E T CONAKRY 000184

SIPDIS

DEA / PARIS FOR R. HOUSTON / B. HALEY / T. HEDRICK
DEA / LAGOS FOR S. GAYE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2018
TAGS: ASEC, GV, PGOV, DEA, PREL, SNAR
SUBJECT: SEIZED DRUGS FINALLY INCINERATED...OR WERE THEY?

REF: A. CONAKRY 00148
B. CONAKRY 00155
C. PARIS 00838
D. CONAKRY 00166

Classified By: ARSO Elizabeth Esparza for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S) SUMMARY: On April 11, 2008, Guinean police seized a
shipment of cocaine, exact quantity unknown, and detained six
suspects believed to be of Latin American origin (Reftel A,
B). All USG requests for additional information regarding
the details of the seizure or the suspects have gone
unanswered (Reftel C). The mission focused its efforts to
ensure the destruction of the drugs and the result of these
efforts proves that corrupt elements of the government are in
full control. Exactly one month after the seizure,
Ambassador and ARSO attended the alleged incineration of 390
kilos of cocaine. The incineration was a farce that fooled
no one and highlighted the possible complicity of the Guinean
Minister of Interior and Security and high-level police
officials. END SUMMARY.

------------------------
A LONG-ANTICIPATED EVENT
------------------------

2. (S) Over a ten-day period, the Mission in collaboration
with the British Ambassador made several unsuccessful
attempts to discuss the transparent destruction of the drugs.
Finally, on May 2, 2008, the US and UK Ambassadors met with
the Minister of Interior and Security and were given
well-rehearsed assurances of the GOG,s commitment to
combating drug trafficking and an invitation to view the
drugs, destruction (Reftel D). The incineration initially
planned for May 7 and rescheduled for May 9, finally took
place on May 10, 2008.

3. (U) GOG officials in attendance included Director of OCAD
Thermite Mara, Deputy Director of OCAD Zakaria Cisse, Police
Director General Sekou Bangoura, Police Controller General
Madifing Diane, President of the National Committee Against
Drug Trafficking (CNLD) Gare, Deputy General Secretary of
CNLD Aguibou Tall, and approximately three dozen OCAD agents.
The Minister of Justice and the Minister of Interior and
Security were also present.

-------------------------
EXCUSES, EXCUSES, EXCUSES
-------------------------

4. (S) After consultations with DEA Paris, Ambassador
requested permission to take a random sample of the cocaine
for testing purposes. Controller General Diane automatically
agreed, causing an immediate backlash from Director General
Bangoura and OCAD Director Mara. Director General Bangoura
found several excuses, to include concern over Ambassador and
ARSO,s health and safety. He also explained that the
cocaine had been treated with chemicals, rendering it
useless. Director General Bangoura, in his usual arrogant
and condescending fashion, refused to address the Ambassador,
claiming that this was not a matter of diplomacy, but police
business. OCAD Director Mara,s enraged response included
direct accusations of infringement upon Guinean sovereignty.
This heated exchange took place in a very public setting and
was documented by the private press.

5. (S) Controller General Diane reports directly to Minister
of Interior and Security Keita. OCAD Director Mara reports
to Director General Bangoura, who reports to Controller
General Diane. The interaction between these officials
demostrates an obvious disregard for rank and seniority,
which is especially concerning given that respect for
hierarchy is usually the norm in Guinean culture. This begs
the questions, "who's in charge?".

---------------------
THEATRICAL PRODUCTION
---------------------

6. (U) Upon the arrival of Minister of Interior and Security
Keita and Minister of Justice Paulette Kourouma, the
Ambassador,s request for a random sample of the cocaine was
quickly denied. The pile was immediately doused with
gasoline and ceremoniously lit on fire by the Minister of
Justice. The President of the National Committee Against
Drug Trafficking was very dramatic in announcing the
destruction of 160 kilos of marijuana, 390 kilos of cocaine
and 43 boxes of pharmaceutical products (later explained to
be expired ibuprofen). The destroyed narcotics were
reportedly valued at 6.5 million dollars.

7. (S) After the incineration, ARSO was permitted to take a
sample from a pre-designated package of cocaine. The OCAD
Deputy Director, the only individual that was allowed to get
near the pile of narcotics, handpicked the package. On May
6, 2008, RSO FSN Investigator received a call from ––––
–––– –––– ––––. ––––, who in the past weeks has provided RSO
with sensitive information on the drug seizure (Reftel B).
––––. –––– stated that the GoG planned to burn packages of
flour. ARSO is unable to prove that the cocaine was in fact
substituted with flour; however, the GoG,s lack of
cooperation and vehement rejection to a request for random
sampling raises troubling questions about the GoG's interest
in transparency. And as the Ambassador,s driver very keenly
observed, "I know the smell of burning marijuana, and I
didn,t smell anything." The entire event was a theatrical
production.

-------
COMMENT
-------

8. (S) The event was a real eye-opener and a facade. The
incineration was a ridiculous attempt by the GoG to prove
that a law enforcement campaign against narcotics exists. If
anything was proven, it was that the traffickers' influence
has reached the highest levels of the government. There is
an obvious fracture within the security forces, and only a
handful of officials appear to be fighting to carry out
legitimate duties. The clear reluctance and open animosity
displayed by all the senior Ministry of Interior and Security
(MIS) officials and the diffident response of the Ministers
to the Ambassador's request suggest complicity at the highest
levels of the Ministry. The silver-lining of the event is
that the heated debate and ridiculous protestation by MIS to
the Ambassador's request for a random sampling were witnessed
and recorded by elements of the Guinean media (state-owned
and independent).

CARTER

Destination

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB
DE RUEHRY #0184/01 1331241
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 121241Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2509
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 0069
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0535

Peter Lemkin
12-26-2010, 06:14 PM
Anyone in contact with Douglas Valentine? Can't wait to here his 'take' on these and related cables! Knowing for certain, what many of us have long suspected about the DEA, I think one can look back on a host of deep events and now see through more of the 'fog'....!

Peter Lemkin
12-27-2010, 01:26 PM
Doug Valentine has accepted my invitation to join the Forum and comment on this thread, as well as the many others on his books and work.....he will be with us shortly. Welcome Doug! I'm sure many others feel as I do about you and your work!!!:danceing::danceing:

Dawn Meredith
12-27-2010, 08:35 PM
Doug Valentine has accepted my invitation to join the Forum and comment on this thread, as well as the many others on his books and work.....he will be with us shortly. Welcome Doug! I'm sure many others feel as I do about you and your work!!!:danceing::danceing:


That is wonderful Peter. We are friends on facebook also. And we featured him on these pages a year or so ago. I look forward to reading more of his work.

Dawn

Magda Hassan
12-27-2010, 11:56 PM
There is a full-text search facility of all released cables to date (that's to all news outlets combined - or claimed to be) - beta testing but seems pretty robust to me - Here (http://cablesearch.org/)

Great news. I've been waiting for this facility. makes researching much more targeted and quicker. I've been so distracted going off in tangents with all the things I've been coming across. :snail: