Writer, analyst, and blogger

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A new political novel by Justin Podur

About The Demands of the Dead

When police killed his two best friends in a supposedly accidental shooting, detective Mark Brown left the force bitter and angry, abandoning a promising career and leaving his special skills to languish. A year later, the trail of one of the killers has Mark looking south, to Mexico, just as he receives a mysterious, anonymous, encrypted message over e-mail: The dead demand much more than vengeance. Drawn into the conflict zone by the connection to the deaths of his friends, Mark finds that he has to work on both sides to solve the case, in a place where any mistake could endanger lives – or reignite a war.

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USO: the punishment for winning begins

A few days ago I blogged about the end of the oil worker's strike in Colombia, and how they won an agreement preventing the privatization at some cost to the workers. The pattern after a successful strike or demonstration in Colombia is very predictable: workers, especially union leaders, start getting picked off and assassinated by paramilitaries. That began yesterday with the murder of Fabio Burbano at his home, yesterday night, according to a communique from USO. He was a part-time worker and a union activist.

The State Department Doesn't Know Where Castano Is

Gonzalo Gallegos, spokesman for the US State Dept. for the Western Hemisphere, said about Castano: "We have not been in contact with that individual. We don't know where he is, and we don't know where the information came from."

The information he's referring to is the information that Castano was smuggled -- by Americans -- out of Colombia and into Israel, via Panama. An official denial from the State Department and an official denial from the Israeli Ambassador in Colombia are enough to make a person really suspect that Castano is in Israel.

Colombia's ELN, Mexico, and the Government

Colombia's second-largest guerrilla group, the ELN (Ejercito de la Liberacion Nacional, or Army of National Liberation) is talking to the government and to the Mexican government about a possible peace negotiation with the Mexican government as guarantor.

Carlos Castano not in Israel?

Israel's ambassador to Colombia, Yair Recanati, said that Castano that the embassy hadn't heard a word from him about him going to Israel, according to an interview with RCN Television (Colombia's big television network). This doesn't exactly mean that he's not in Israel, although the 'diplomatic sources' who told AFP that he was in Israel (from which the Ha'aretz and El Tiempo stories drew) were never named. It seems that those looking for a definitive location for this paramilitary warlord are destined for disappointment... for now...

Carlos Castano in Israel

Colombia's El Tiempo and Israel's Haaretz are reporting that Carlos Castano, the head of Colombia's paramilitaries, the drug trafficker, the mass murderer, has been smuggled into Israel after 'disappearing' about a month ago.

Two books if you're ready to give up

If you're ready to give up, these two books will not help you -- they might push you over the edge, actually. Still, I recommend them.

Aristide goes to South Africa

Just got Aristide's statement in the mail. He's leaving Jamaica to go to South Africa. It's actually a nice statement. Read it, read between the lines. And know that the battle for Haiti's future isn't over yet.

Statement by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
May 30, 2004
Kingston, Jamaica


It's the new world water, and every drop counts

A reader sent me this article in the New Scientist. It is about a neglected aspect of the US/Israel war on the Palestinian population: the fact that it is a water war. I don't have the statistics with me (Vandana Shiva cites a few of them in her book, Water Wars), but Israeli per capita water use is vast compared to Palestinians. Israeli agriculturalists are allowed to dig wells several times deeper than Palestinians.

Repercussions of the 'bloodbath/massacre' in Saudi Arabia

First, I'm very pleased to note that it seems Tim Wise is blogging again, as well as UTS.

Today's hypocrisy. Looking at the headlines of various newspapers today I saw news of a 'massacre' and a 'bloodbath' in Saudi Arabia by Al Qaeda. It was a brutal hostage-taking operation that was done, and certainly it was both a massacre and a bloodbath. I didn't notice these media outlets calling what Israel did in Rafah a 'bloodbath' or what the US is doing in Najaf right now a 'massacre'.

Colombia: Cali building occupation ends

A couple days ago I blogged about the heroic union SINTRAEMCALI's attempts to stop the creeping privatization of the public utilities company in the city of Cali, Colombia. I noted that it was a high-risk maneuver, and they made a risk assessment yesterday after the National government responded with overwhelming repression and decided to call off the occupation. The assessment of the situation by Nathan Eisenstadt of the Colombia Solidarity Campaign in the UK is mixed:


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