Monday, December 14, 2009

Supremes Reject Gitmo Prisoners' Appeal

The detainee lobby loses one at the high court:
The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that it rejected an appeal by four former Guantanamo Bay prisoners arguing that they should be able to proceed with their lawsuit against top Pentagon officials for torture and religious abuse.
The justices refused to review a U.S. appeals court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit by the four British citizens over their treatment at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba on the grounds the officials enjoyed immunity.
...The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal. It said the appeals court's decision was correct and that further review of the case was unwarranted.

Narco-Terrorist Stimulus Program

Drug traffickers apparent have their own bank bailout plan:
Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations' drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.
Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.
This will raise questions about crime's influence on the economic system at times of crisis. It will also prompt further examination of the banking sector as world leaders, including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, call for new International Monetary Fund regulations. Speaking from his office in Vienna, Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. "In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor," he said.
Some of the evidence put before his office indicated that gang money was used to save some banks from collapse when lending seized up, he said.
Also from the British media, Costa earlier this month warned about drug trafficking in certain areas in Africa:
The head of the UN drugs agency (UNODC) has warned that widespread drug trafficking is transforming Africa into a major crime hub.
Antonio Maria Costa said huge amounts of heroin and cocaine were being traded by "terrorists and anti-government forces" to fund their operations.
He called for a trans-Saharan network to be set up to tackle criminal groups.
The BBC report adds that "drug traffickers have saturated Russia, much of Western Europe, and they are now spreading into Africa."

Related story from the New York Post:
Three accused terrorists arrested in Africa arrived in Manhattan [on December 18] to face charges that they plotted to fund al-Qaeda by smuggling thousands of pounds of cocaine into Europe. Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure and Idriss Abelrahman were captured in Ghana on Wednesday and arrived in the city early this morning. They are expected to appear before a federal judge this afternoon. It's the first time suspected al-Qaeda operatives have been charged in a drug-trafficking plot, prosecutors said.
And now it appears that drug cartels are diversifying into the oil business:
Drug traffickers employing high-tech drills, miles of rubber hose, and a fleet of stolen tanker trucks have siphoned more than $1 billion worth of oil from Mexico’s pipelines over the past two years, in a vast and audacious conspiracy that is bleeding the national treasury, according to US and Mexican law enforcement officials and the state-run oil company.
Using sophisticated smuggling networks, the traffickers have transported a portion of the pilfered petroleum across the border to sell to US companies, some of which knew that it was stolen, according to court documents and interviews with American officials involved in an expanding investigation of oil services firms in Texas.
The widespread theft of Mexico’s most vital national resource by criminal organizations represents a costly new front in President Felipe Calderon’s war against the drug cartels, and it shows how the traffickers are rapidly evolving from traditional narcotics smuggling.