By Dialogo January 01, 2012 Source: Strategic Forecasting Inc. (STRATFOR) Counterfeit passport created by a vendor Passport with altered photo (photo-subbed passport) Blank passport stolen and filled in Genuine passport intentionally issued in a false identity by a government Genuine passport issued based on fraudulent identification documents (birth certificate, driver’s license, etc.) In addition to making counterfeiting tougher, the passport also speeds up the process of verification for international arrivals and departures at airports. Paraguay Paraguay has increased its measures to strengthen the national identification systems and overcome instances of corruption. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent U.S. foreign aid agency, contributed to the country’s efforts in 2009 by funding the New Identification System (NIS), which added biometric information to national ID cards. Having secure national IDs is important because they are not only used in issuing passports; they are also valid documents for travel to other Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay). Paraguay also redesigned its IDs and passports according to International Civil Aviation Organization requirements, which the government described as tamper-proof documents. Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office Types of Passport Fraud Maps of Brazil on the back cover of the document that only appear when exposed to ultraviolet light. The RFID chip, which stores a photo, two fingerprints and a signature. A digital authentication certificate that allows officials to confirm that the information on the chip was recorded by an authorized government authority. Extended Access Control, which protects biometric information by only allowing those with knowledge of a special digital certificate to access the data on the RFID chip. Before the ID card system was brought up to international standards, the Paraguayan National Police was unable to file fingerprints electronically. The Millennium Challenge Corporation reported that the reform required an overhaul of the information technology infrastructure as well as comprehensive staff training in the collection of biometric data. Entries in the NIS database are now linked to biometric identifiers — fingerprint images — that are captured through live-scan technology; photographs and signatures are captured with digital cameras and electronic pads, and are automatically verified as they become part of the database, according to the foreign aid agency. The system reduces the risk of fraud by tracking all entries, so each transaction can be traced back to the staff member who logged in using a fingerprint scanner. The result is a reliable ID and passport system that reduces the threat of identity theft and improves document verification. Mexico Fraudulent travel documents are as important as weapons to a terrorist, and Interpol has described their use as “the biggest threat facing the world.” But through international cooperation, countries in the Americas are improving detection of fraudulent passports and other identification documents (IDs). Nations are sharing information through Interpol’s lost and stolen passport database and through databases pinpointing terror suspects. Countries such as Brazil are upgrading their travel documents with biometric indicators, making forgeries a thing of the past. A few countries have even begun to tackle government corruption – an important step, considering that the officials inspecting documents at ports of entry are the first line of defense in denying terrorists the freedom to travel and preventing the smuggling of humans, drugs, illicit cash and weapons. Brazil As a country that has traditionally played an important role in collective security efforts in the hemisphere, Brazil began issuing passports with biometric data stored on a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip in November 2010. The new passport meets the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard for machine-readable travel documents, as well as the guidelines of the trading bloc Mercosur. The country also added layers of security to its civil identity cards and birth, marriage and death certificates, making it harder to forge documents that can be used to obtain a passport. According to the Brazilian Federal Police, the new passport’s security features include: In January 2011, President Felipe Calderón signed an order requiring all Mexican citizens age 17 and younger to get a national identity card with biometric information embedded, including an iris scan. “It is a constitutional obligation to offer this identification card,” Interior Minister José Francisco Blake Mora said during the launch of the program in Tijuana. Once all children have been included in the database, a second phase will issue the new ID cards to Mexican adults, the minister of the interior said. A third phase will cover foreigners residing in Mexico. The new ID cards include a photo, a unique ID number, a hologram, iris scan data embedded in a bar code and fingerprint data. The government described the biometric IDs as a big step forward in preventing identity fraud, and the data collected is expected to help in cases of missing children. The idea of the database and accompanied information sharing is to make it difficult for criminals to operate within the country. In addition, Mexico has improved its Migratory Operation System, which keeps records on travelers who arrive at airports, with funding from the Merida Initiative security cooperation agreement with the U.S. Merida Initiative funding has also improved security along Mexico’s southern border, where document verification software and biometric equipment have been delivered to Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INAMI), according to the U.S. State Department. INAMI and the Office for the National Registration of the Populace have also worked alongside U.S. officials to integrate biometrics at border checkpoints. The Narcotics Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico has developed standard operating procedures for immigration officers enrolling and verifying biometric data. That has been the basis for a Central Biometric Database that aims to identify and match traveler biometric data to international databases of known and suspected terrorists and fugitives. United States Since the 9/11 Commission identified it as one of the most effective tools for fighting terrorism in 2004, curbing terrorist travel has become part of the U.S. national security strategy. To keep terrorists from entering the United States, the country provides security assistance to nations to modernize passport systems and improve detection of document fraud. For example, the State Department’s Terrorist Interdiction Program gives countries the tools to develop and use terrorist screening information. About 150 foreign ports of entry used this program in 2010, according to government statistics. However, a July 2011 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office said these programs don’t go far enough. “Some countries do not have their own database systems with terrorist screening information or access to other countries’ terrorist screening information to keep track of biographical and biometric information about individuals who are known or suspected terrorists,” the report reads. “Even when countries have terrorist screening information, they may not have reciprocal relationships to share such information or other travel-related information such as airline passenger lists with other countries, thereby limiting their ability to identify and prevent travel of known or suspected terrorists.” A Serious Problem Terrorists rely on forged travel documents to move around the world with ease to conduct surveillance, train for a mission or carry out an attack. That is why measures to prevent passport fraud are so critical, according to Ron Noble, the secretary-general of Interpol. “The No. 1 risk confronting airlines and countries around the world is the risk terrorists or other dangerous persons will carry a fraudulent identity document and move from one country to another.” Sources: L-1 Identity Solutions, U.S. Transportation Security Administration, infosurhoy.com, San Diego Union Tribune, Mexico’s El Universal Key Steps in Building Capacity to Prevent Terrorist Travel Share information about known and suspected terrorists through international databases. Address the use of fraudulent travel documents by increasing penalties and improving detection. Upgrade passport security by replacing easily counterfeited documents with ones that meet international standards and include biometric information. Combat corruption in passport issuance and immigration agencies.
Authorities began their successful investigations with a search warrant for a residence in the municipality of Aguachica, Cesar, where the troops, in a support role with Judicial Police personnel, arrested three men, aged 35, 42, and 19, who apparently dedicated themselves to selling fuel from abroad. The contraband seized from those arrested amounted to 7,230 gallons of illegal gasoline, which is equivalent to around 31,000 dollars. Apparently, a portion of that monetary sum used to fund the drug-trafficking networks engaged in criminal activity in this part of the country. By Dialogo April 16, 2012 An intelligence operation conducted by troops of the 5th Brigade of the Colombian National Army enabled the dismantling of an alleged gasoline cartel engaged in criminal activity in southern Cesar.
After several months of planning and with support from the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay and Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) Civil Affairs, based in Homestead, Florida, a two-day Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP), was held June 1 and 2 in the area’s largest school. Life in the small farming district of Yasy Cany in Canindeyú department, Paraguay is tough, and it shows on the faces of its 30,000 residents. Paraguayan officials also felt that Canindeyú department was an important area to provide these services due to the poverty of the region and in the wake of the June 12 massacres in nearby Marina Cue following a land dispute between land squatters and police, leaving 11 peasants and 6 police officers dead, and 80 wounded. The event shook many residents’ confidence and trust in the nation’s security forces, a misperception that authorities want to change. Its towns like these where members of the Paraguayan military and its Civil Affairs elements thrive and love to work in. This is their purpose since it was established eight years ago. By Dialogo June 10, 2013 Located in the vast internal countryside 160 miles outside the capital of Asunción and bordering Brazil, the town lacks many basic services and its infrastructure needs to be revamped. In order to provide these essential services to residents living in the country’s rural districts, the Paraguayan Military works closely with a number of different government agencies such as the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Justice and various other agencies and civic groups to provide the support and personnel for such a complex operation. It truly reflects Paraguayan’s ‘whole-of-government’ approach. The donation was a symbolic gesture by U.S. officials in Paraguay for continued cooperation between the allies for the people of Paraguay. More than 3,000 residents received social and medical services to include pediatrics, gynecology general medicine, optometry, ophthalmology, dentistry, immunizations, identification registration and family planning. In addition, laboratory and pharmacy services were also provided. Along with support for the MEDCAP, the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay donated $15,000 worth of medicine and medical equipment to the town’s public clinic, as well as an assortment of school supplies such as backpacks, coloring pencils, dry-erase boards among other items for two local schools. “The United States is committed to assist Paraguay and help improve the quality of life for all Paraguayans and build a lasting friendship based of mutual respect and cooperation between our great nations,” said Marine Col. Michael D. Flynn, the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché for the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay, during a small ceremony celebrating the event and donation. In order to ensure access to the services to as many people as possible, the Paraguayan Military also provided transportation to the MEDCAP by using its fleet of five-ton trucks to run a shuttle service to reach citizens living in rural areas with no or limited road access. Sitting outside one of several classrooms used as makeshift clinics during the two-day event, 74-year-old resident Anadeto Furrez, a father of eight children, patiently waited for his prescription for free medicine. Anadeto, who also suffers from cataracts was also given a new pair of glasses to help him improve his sight. “This day is a miracle and a blessing,” said the grandfather of 35 grandchildren. “These are services we truly need, and I am very grateful to our military and the support from the U.S. We hope things start to get better and more jobs come to our town. This is a start!” “We plan and execute these missions because we understand the needs of the people in places like this; these services are important to their livelihood,” said Paraguayan Col. Leonardo Ibarrola, the operations officer for Paraguay’s Civil Affairs team. “This is a very poor area, and we understand our role as part of the government is to make sure our presence is felt and help those in the country who don’t have much and need our assistance.” Since 2008, the Paraguayan Civil Affairs section, which also teams up with the country’s national police during the planning and execution of these events, have averaged four MEDCAPs a year in ungoverned and under resourced areas across the country. This event marked the 22nd time this type of operation was accomplished. Despite a rainy, cool weekend in the area, word of the event spread quickly throughout town. Some residents walked three and four miles to arrive at the school and others packed themselves in pick-up trucks.
The mission has an enhanced focus. Building on relationships created in previous years, participants will consider each visit a subject-matter expert exchange, working together to increase the capacities of countries and communities to provide for themselves. By Dialogo December 11, 2014 Continuing Promise, a U.S. Southern Command training mission introduced in 2007, focuses on providing medical, engineering and veterinary humanitarian assistance activities in select countries to strengthen partnerships and improve cooperation on many levels among partner nations, interagency organizations and nongovernmental organizations. This year’s Continuing Promise mission will include hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), a military sealift command ship, for the fourth year. As in previous years, hundreds of surgeries will be performed aboard Comfort, and thousands of patients will be treated ashore. The multinational members of the planning staff worked with information gathered through pre-deployment site surveys in which U.S. and partner nation planners relied on local professionals to describe the needs of their communities to develop the specific plans for each mission stop. Participants will share best practices with the host nation partners, and will work with local doctors, nurses and dentists when providing care and with host nation engineers and specialists during subject-matter expert exchanges and activities. As in previous years, hundreds of surgeries will be performed aboard Comfort, and thousands of patients will be treated ashore. This year’s Continuing Promise mission will include hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), a military sealift command ship, for the fourth year. U.S. Military, non-government agency planners and prospective participants in the upcoming Continuing Promise 2015 humanitarian assistance deployment worked on the details of the operation during a mission planning conference hosted on Dec. 2-5 by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/4th Fleet. From early April through September, Continuing Promise will provide medical and dental care, preventive medicine and veterinary consulting, and construction projects in 11 countries. The mission will return to Belize, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, and, for the first time, visit Dominica and Honduras. Continuing Promise, a U.S. Southern Command training mission introduced in 2007, focuses on providing medical, engineering and veterinary humanitarian assistance activities in select countries to strengthen partnerships and improve cooperation on many levels among partner nations, interagency organizations and nongovernmental organizations. Continuing Promise participants will work alongside local government officials and medical professionals from the host nation to meet the day-to-day needs of communities and to prepare to respond together in disaster relief. From early April through September, Continuing Promise will provide medical and dental care, preventive medicine and veterinary consulting, and construction projects in 11 countries. The mission will return to Belize, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, and, for the first time, visit Dominica and Honduras. Continuing Promise participants will work alongside local government officials and medical professionals from the host nation to meet the day-to-day needs of communities and to prepare to respond together in disaster relief. Excellent piece of news! Do you have the program or the travel route? I have information on the countries it will travel to, but not the route. Thank you very much I would have liked them to come back to Ecuador. We have so many poor people who need them but because of the government they won’t be coming back The mission has an enhanced focus. Building on relationships created in previous years, participants will consider each visit a subject-matter expert exchange, working together to increase the capacities of countries and communities to provide for themselves. The multinational members of the planning staff worked with information gathered through pre-deployment site surveys in which U.S. and partner nation planners relied on local professionals to describe the needs of their communities to develop the specific plans for each mission stop. Participants will share best practices with the host nation partners, and will work with local doctors, nurses and dentists when providing care and with host nation engineers and specialists during subject-matter expert exchanges and activities. U.S. Military, non-government agency planners and prospective participants in the upcoming Continuing Promise 2015 humanitarian assistance deployment worked on the details of the operation during a mission planning conference hosted on Dec. 2-5 by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/4th Fleet.
By Dialogo December 28, 2015 The training of the Armed Forces of El Salvador is for a military war, not a civil war such as the one we are living through now, itâ€™s out of place If this commando really exists, why donâ€™t they for once and for all comb out the criminals and terrorists gangs of the so called territories they control? I like that armies all over the world are preparing to stop the enemies of their people Truth never reveals itself I am someone who was in the elite group and says itâ€™s better to be in hell with a brave and intelligent commander than in heaven with a coward and [illegible] hacha means to accomplish the mission I hope we fight this scourge of uncertainty caused by the criminals who operate in El Salvador (gangs). Hacha Commando, it is definitely time to act because if youâ€™re in the Army or the police force you are apt to be killed so by the same token you are apt to kill anyone based on the mere fact that they belong to a gang. Ok. Putting an end to crime and living in peace are the wishes of all the Guanacos [Salvadorans]. Well, it really must be so, take our army out onto the streets, towns, rural areas because they are the only ones trained in theory and in practice I believe they have more experience and power of decision when enforcing the law with those who deserve it. The army can be more effective than the PNC, and regarding Human Rights, they can be modified so that when these gentlemen (gang members), commit homicide, they lose their rights and let there be no compassion when enforcing the law, because they have no pity for the people (individuals), why should we pity them, when theyâ€™re put in jail itâ€™s a training ground or their training academy to plan evil acts when they get outâ€¦.we are lostâ€¦etc. Itâ€™s so good to see, to know that there are people fighting for the safety and well being of the Salvadorans. Thank you to all of them for all their sacrifices and spirit of service toward their citizens. It is a very nice country for tourists and the Salvadorans themselves â€“Â may they be able to enjoy their beautiful beaches, natural landscapes, cultures and customs. Greetings to Commander Romano Panameno on his recent birthday. “The members are enlisted personnel, officers, and non-commissioned officers. The course teaches special tactics that will help them lead airborne, air mobile, and close-quarter combat missions aimed at decreasing the number of terrorist groups that threaten Salvadorans’ security and tranquility,” said one of the GOE’s trainers who cannot be identified publicly for security reasons. “[They’ll] maintain the high international esteem that this particular military institution holds,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo González, GOE’s commander. FAES officials created the Hacha Command on December 11, 1983, with the goal of training FAES members to use all military weapons and equipment. Less than three decades later, the Hacha Command was ranked as the Western Hemisphere’s best elite force during the international Fuerzas Comando Military exercises in 2011 and 2012. “The training session introduced us to the latest technology and equipment available today. It also trained us in first-level operational procedures executed with special vehicles and weapons,” said GOE Colonel José González, who commanded the Cuscatlán battalion deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2013. The Hacha Command’s newest members received their wooden Hacha tabs for successfully completing several weeks of training in October. The Hacha Command, an elite group within the Salvadoran Armed Forces Special Operations Group (FAES-GOE, for its Spanish acronym) that specializes in attack operations, has conducted successful operations against the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 (M-18) gangs, as well as other criminal groups and individuals. The special command members maintain their skills through ongoing training, nationally and with partner nations. For instance from May 1st to June 29, 2013, 13 Hacha Command officers participated in the Joint Security Forces Assistant Course, which was administered by the U.S. Army’s 162nd Infantry Brigade at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana. They learned how to provide expert advice to Afghanistan’s Police and Air Force as part of the Coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once Hacha Command members have completed training, they are deployed throughout El Salvador as part of the Rapid-Response Special Forces (FER, for its Spanish acronym), a specialized group that combats the MS-13 and M-18. A joint training exercise In April, the FER dismantled gang cells in the departments of La Paz and San Vicente, where the Hacha Command captured two MS-13 gang members, injured two others, and seized an Uzi submachine gun. The FER had taken fire by gang members after converging on a makeshift range the MS-13 was using for target practice. “A team from the Hacha Command set out on four Naval vessels and stopped the suspicious boat,” Lt. Col. González explained. The attack specialists use their training to survive perilous situations. For instance in March 2014, a Cessna O-2A Skymaster with Hacha Command members on board made an emergency landing on Ilopango Lake, about 23 kilometers from the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador. The Soldiers used their training to survive the incident without sustaining any injuries. Combating crime throughout the country “Our personnel operate in small groups, day and night, in any environment – land, sea, or air,” said Colonel Mario Romano Panameño, the commander of the FAES’s Special Forces Command. “They are capable of dealing with adverse situations and can perform long- and short-range reconnaissance, ambushes, surprise attacks, beachhead shots, infiltrations, and extractions.” On September 5th, the Hacha Command captured three Colombians and seized 14 packages of cocaine after intercepting a boat speeding in Salvadoran waters. Hacha (Spanish for “axe”) Command members are distinguished by their strong character, spirit of sacrifice and camaraderie, sense of honor, physical strength, and unwillingness to surrender, according to the Special Forces Command. “What’s special about small countries like El Salvador is they do not really have much to fear in the way of terrorism,” said SOUTHCOM Commander General John F. Kelly during his visit to the course at the Joint Readiness Training Center on June 24, 2013. “They are good and decent people who have stepped up to fight alongside good and decent people.”
By Nastasia Barceló/Diálogo September 23, 2016 The National Peace Operations Training Institute of Uruguay (ENOPU per its Spanish acronym), and the Uruguayan Army’s Department of Social Communication, jointly organized another edition of the “Press Correspondent” course, which took place from August 15th to 18th. The course was divided into two days: theoretical lessons at ENOPU and two practical activities at the Sixth Abra de Castellanos Military Camp. During the theoretical classes, participants learned about the current situation of the peacekeeping missions in the Congo and Haiti, where Uruguayan Armed Forces are participating, among others. Instructors from the Uruguayan Navy, Air Force, and Army were present. During this first day, participants also learned about humanitarian demining, preventive health measures, negotiation, and basic equipment. Official Army sources highlighted the presence of well-known local journalists such as Martín Sarthou, who shared his extensive personal and work experience in conflict zones with those present. Among the participants was Ensign Mariana Meza, who works in the Army’s Department of Social Communication. She stressed that “professionals from relevant Uruguayan media outlets and three professionals from foreign media channels participated, as well as students from journalism schools from both the University of the Republic and private institutions like the Catholic University of Uruguay.” Ensign Meza added that “The main objective was to give the journalists the tools they need to work in a hostile environment and to provide them with life-saving techniques for different scenarios, whether it be during a negotiation or a direct assault.” However, “the course was also geared towards informing the students about the tasks and the functions that our country has during peacekeeping missions, as well as the specific characteristics about where the armed forces are present,” she concluded. Engineers in action The course’s practical activities took place during the afternoons of August 16th and 17th at the Abra Military Camp. The Engineer Instruction Center provided instructors and specialists in areas such as humanitarian demining and water purification. In order to hone their observation skills, they debated situations which the communications professionals could face while covering the news in certain conflict areas. The Air Force also explained how to correctly board a military helicopter. Humanitarian demining and water purification In relation to humanitarian demining instruction, participants attended theoretical/practical classes on characteristics of demining, such as the types of mines and equipment used and how they work. The specialists also held demonstrations on how to react when faced with an explosion. Likewise, they watched demonstrations on water purification and learned how a portable water purifier works in remote areas where there is no electricity. It is a system that can produce 1 gallon/3.8 liters of potable water per minute from sources of freshwater such as wells, lakes, ponds, rivers, and flooded areas. In the Abra de Castellanos area, students had the opportunity to observe deployment in mission areas, the transport of armored vehicles, checkpoint procedures, night vision goggle use, and proper handling of security elements. Civil-military cooperation The Press Correspondent course is well known among journalists and military members throughout Uruguay. Ensign Meza pointed out that, historically, “officers invite journalists from Uruguay to travel with them and embed themselves in the missions’ military bases, offering journalists the chance to have access to places and situations they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to access by themselves.” For his part, Uruguayan journalist Martin Sarthou stressed the importance of educational programs like these: “They provide more freedom and security to the correspondents who work in the field where there are Uruguayan military contingents. At the same time, our work provides a first-hand account of the work carried out by the peacekeeping missions.” He also said that “the only restrictions that the Army has placed on us journalists are the ones that have to do with safety measures concerning security in conflict zones. What we are trying to avoid is for a reporter to become a martyr for their profession merely because they don’t know the dangers that can exist in peace mission areas.”
By Andréa Barretto / Diálogo February 26, 2020 In 2019, federal, municipal, and state agencies all over Brazil recorded 23,717 notifications and 12,365 incidents in their networks and systems.The threats included website invasion, fraud, and interference in network and system availability. The Brazilian Government Response Team for Computer Security Incidents, a governmental organization tasked to gather, analyze, and respond to notifications and activities related to computer security breaches, collected the data.Faced with these numbers, military and civilian organizations seek to promote solutions to counter cyberattacks. The Ministry of Defense organizes yearly Cyber Guardian exercises. The objective of the 2020 event, scheduled for June 30-July 2, is to increase cyberspace protection in infrastructures of different sectors, including energy, finance, transportation, and nuclear.The Brazilian team selected for the Cybersecurity Challenge is a group of friends who work in different areas, but have common interests and experiences in information security and technology. (Photo: Tássya Queiroz/Personal Archive)U.N. approvalThe Brazilian initiative aligns with international concerns such as those of the United Nations (U.N.). For instance, the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Centre organizes an event that seeks to enhance countries’ capabilities to prevent cyberattacks from terrorist groups.What would happen if hackers infiltrated the control system of a power plant boiler and interfered with the temperature to cause an explosion? The question inspired a Brazilian team whose cybersecurity project was selected by the U.N. to be presented at the 2019 Cybersecurity Challenge: Countering Digital Terrorism, in Vienna, Austria.“Strategic structures such as a nuclear power plants are very focused on physical space security, but there is room for improvement in digital security solutions,” said Tássya Macedo Queiroz, a chemical engineer and member of the team of four Brazilians who participated in the U.N. challenge.Countering cyberattacks against critical infrastructures is one of the four main areas of the U.N. event. The organization seeks to incentivize the creation of solutions to counter the online promotion of terrorist content, online terrorist communications, and digital terrorist funding. People who submit proposals to the Cybersecurity Challenge must be between 18 and 38 years old, as proposals must promote youth engagement. According to the U.N., terrorist use of new technologies is more focused on younger individuals than any other demographic group.ImprovementThe idea that the Brazilians presented in Vienna consisted of a program to train and update members of nuclear research centers on cybersecurity. “Our goal is to bring awareness about its relevance, showing, for instance, how to react to a system invasion, who to report it to, how to protect the digital structures, etc.,” said Queiroz.Carlos Marcos Torres, another member of the Brazilian team, said that the group returned from Austria determined to propose the U.N. approved program to institutions of the Angra I and Angra II nuclear plant complex, in Rio de Janeiro, which produce about 3 percent of the energy that the country consumes.
By Myriam Ortega/Diálogo October 28, 2020 During a joint operation in late August, the Colombian Navy, Army, and National Police intercepted a semisubmersible that was carrying more than 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride off the Pacific coast of the Nariño department. On the same day, in the Tumaco municipality of the same department, security forces found a narco-lab with almost 1.5 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, the Colombian Military Forces’ General Command (CGFM, in Spanish) said in a press release.“They [the Police] learned about a semisubmersible naval artifact […] that was heading for the Mexican coast; immediately, an intelligence aircraft and units of the [Navy’s] Coast Guard began the search for this artifact, finding it 47 miles off the coast,” Colombian Navy Rear Admiral Hernando Enrique Mattos Dager, commander of the 72nd Poseidon Task Force Against Narcotrafficking, told Diálogo.Navy units found 26 packages containing 1,030 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride aboard the semisubmersible, which was manned by three Ecuadorean nationals, the CGFM reported.From January 1 to August 31, the Navy seized 27 semisubmersibles in the Pacific coast of Colombia, Rear Adm. Mattos said, adding that they found more than 30 tons of cocaine hydrochloride on board.The operation in which service members found a narco-lab with nine rustic facilities, and a production capacity of 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride per week, took place simultaneously, the CGFM said. “That was a joint operation where both Army and Navy troops entered, some by the river and others by helicopter, to the site of the lab for the production of the final stage, which is cocaine hydrochloride,” Rear Adm. Mattos said.In a jungle area, authorities found 1,496 kg of cocaine hydrochloride and 658 kg of coca base paste, as well as other elements to produce the drug, the CGFM reported in a press release.“We found a large amount of liquid and solid chemical supplies, but most importantly, the product obtained in the final stage of cocaine hydrochloride production, where it only needed to finish the drying process in the microwave and the pressing [process], which are the last two phases,” Rear Adm. Mattos said.The facilities affected by these operations, the officer said, belong to the 30 and Oliver Sinisterra groups, both dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.In late August, the Colombian Navy led an operation that resulted in the interception of a semisubmersible carrying more than 1 ton of cocaine hydrochloride off the Pacific coast of Colombia. (Photo: Colombian Navy)
Judge Huck honored for service The Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami recently recognized U.S. District Court Judge Paul Huck for his service to the organization.Jack Langer, president, Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami, Inc., presented a plaque to Judge Huck for establishing the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami “Welcome to the Court Program.”Through this program, small groups of children are selected from the various Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami units to spend a morning with Judge Huck at the federal courthouse.During these visits, Judge Huck teaches the children about the judicial system by talking with them, having them observe court proceedings, arranging for various other court personnel to talk to the children, and arranging visits to other offices such as the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Langer, on behalf of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami, thanked Judge Huck for donating his time, for his generosity, and for his dedication to the children in putting together the program.The Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami operates seven units throughout Miami-Dade County and serves 15,000 children annually. Judge Huck honored for service December 15, 2002 Regular News
January 15, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Bar Moves to upgrade UPL to a felony Bar Moves to upgrade UPL to a felony Senior Editor Increasing the criminal penalty for the unlicensed practice of law from a misdemeanor to a felony has won the approval of the Bar Board of Governors, which has also receded from a position in reaction to proposed Senate confirmation of gubernatorial judicial appointments.The board, at its recent Amelia Island meeting, also heard that the legislature likely will look at restricting initiative amendments to the Florida Constitution and that adequate funding for the courts remains a top Bar concern.Legislation Committee Chair Alan Bookman brought the UPL issue to the board, noting that several legislators have talked about raising the criminal penalty for violating the state’s UPL laws from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony. The issue was raised and extensively discussed with Bar President Miles McGrane during a House Judiciary Committee meeting last fall.Sen. Steve Geller, D-Hallandale Beach, recently introduced SB 422, which would increase the penalty, and Rep. John Quinones, R-Kissimmee, is expected to introduce a similar bill in the House.Bookman said the Legislation Committee unanimously endorsed the change, and the board added its unanimous support.On judicial appointments, Bookman said that it made political sense for the Bar to recede from the position taken by the Executive Committee last year in hasty response to a bill by Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, to have the Senate confirm, at least, a governor’s selection of any Supreme Court justice or DCA judge. The “emergency” position essentially espoused continued Bar support for the judicial selection process in place prior to 2001 legislation that changed how judicial nominating commissioners were chosen. Smith’s bill made little progress in the 2003 Session, but he has vowed to revive the issue in the coming year.Bookman acknowledged that his committee’s recommendation effectively leaves the Bar— for the moment —with no specific position on state judicial selection. And, he confirmed that withdrawing the position implies no Bar sentiment on Senate confirmation either.“We’ll see what develops,” he said. “But, we’re not going anywhere with this [the legislative position] and we might need a position that is more tenable based on what the 2004 Legislature does.”Board member Mayanne Downs added that the action does not mean that the board is giving up on its support for the former judicial appointment system, where the Bar appointed one-third of the members of all judicial nominating commissions. The governor, who also used to appoint one-third, now appoints all nine members of each commission, although the Bar makes nominations for four seats on each JNC.On a related matter, Bookman said the Bar needs to be especially ready this year to help the legislature on critical court funding issues. He noted one bill has been filed that would raise court filing fees from $200 to $300, earmarking $275 for the state and $25 for counties. The Bar may need to give advice about earmarking some of those fees for law libraries or legal aid programs.“Those are some of the issues that the legislature will call on us to assist, and we need to be ready,” Bookman said.Bar chief legislative consultant Steve Metz told the board: “You’re going to hear a lot this session about trying to put some reasonable restrictions on the way we amend the constitution.”He noted several recent initiative amendments that have been approved, adding that 51 petitions are currently circulating, and 15 to 20 have a realistic chance of making the November general election ballot.“Business leaders are afraid of how easy it is to change the constitution,” Metz said. “You will see the legislature try to put on the September ballot restrictions on citizens’ initiatives.”Some suggestions include requiring a 60 percent “yes” vote to amend the constitution or limiting the subjects that can be amended by an initiative petition. Metz said that Smith is chairing the Senate committee studying the issue, while the corresponding House committee is chaired by Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka.The legislature also is in the unusual position of knowing who the leaders will be for the next two legislative bienniums, barring a major electoral upheaval, Metz told the board. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, will be Senate president in 2005-06, followed by Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, for 2007-08. In the House, Rep. Allan Bense, R-Panama City, will be House Speaker for 2005-06, followed by Rep. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, in 2007-08. Rubio will be the first Hispanic to hold that post.“I think that is a good thing,” Metz said of knowing who the leaders will be for the next five years. “It does allow some stability in to the process.”