Tag: Nicaragua

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Are CIA Mockingbirds Still Nesting in Nicaragua? by Justina

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega celebrating Sandinista election victory in 2006 in the Revolutionary Plaza, Managua.

“You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.” – CIA operative discussing with Philip Graham, editor Washington Post, on the availability and prices of journalists willing to peddle CIA propaganda and cover stories. (from “Katherine The Great,” by Deborah Davis (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1991)

Thus Davis chronicles the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) official campaign to turn American newspapers, into conduits for its anti-communist ideology which began after World War II.  It was called “Operation Mockingbird”.   Perhaps the operation would have been more accurately named “Operation Cuckoo” as the cuckoo will lay its egg in another bird’s nest and steal the original. With this propaganda operation and spying operation, the CIA effectively threw objectivity out of the nest of American journalism and put CIA denominated news in its place.  

The CIA was successful in capturing the nests of the biggest newspapers in the U.S., including the the “Washington Post”, the “N.Y. Times” , and the “Los Angeles Times”, among many others.  They all still seem to be on team.  During the years of the Contra war against the lawful Sandinista government in the 1980’s, the CIA employed similar methods here in Nicaragua.  Is it still going on here?

Considered Forthwith: Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Welcome to the 25th installment of “Considered Forthwith.”

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies.

This week, I am looking at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Two thoughts before proceeding. First, I am happy to be out of the newspaper business because I can say what I really think without worrying about objectivity. Second, what I really think is that the committee’s website is in dire need of a redesign.  

South of the Border: Another View on Immigration

Cross-posted at dKos.

“We are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants,” Barack Obama has frequently said on the campaign trail and in debates. I could not agree more.  However, listening to the debate in Austin the other night through my ex-pat lenses, I found myself mildly frustrated with the discussion of the immigration issue. Solving the legal and security issues is important, but what about the larger issue of why the United States continues to have such a serious illegal immigration problem in the first place?

After 10 years of increases in border patrols, partial walls, higher budgets, and more advanced sensor technology, shouldn’t we have seen some better results? Maybe we would have, if the security measures were actually the answer to the root cause of immigration. But they aren’t.

Nicaragua: Conviction Reversed, Eric Volz Freed! (Updated)

cross posted at The Dream Antilles and Orange World


Eric Volz

Update (12/20/07, 4:04pm ET): CNN reports:

An American man held in a Nicaraguan jail was released Friday, four days after a court overturned his conviction on charges of murdering his former girlfriend, his family told CNN. /snip

A mix-up kept Eric Volz, 28, of Nashville, Tennessee, in custody after an appeals court reversed the ruling that found him guilty of the 2005 death of Doris Jimenez.

Thursday night, a Nicaraguan appeals court in Granada cleared up the confusion and signed release papers for Volz, said Maria Jose Oviedo, assistant to one of the judges on the court.

Once the documents were processed by the police hospital in Managua — where Volz was undergoing treatment for a variety of ailments — he was set free under Nicaraguan law, a court official said.

This probably doesn’t end the case.  CNN reports that the prosecutors may still appeal.

The original essay:

Back in March 23, 2007, I wrote an essay about Eric Volz, an American convicted in Nicaragua of a murder he didn’t commit.  The victim was his girl friend; he had proof that he was far away in Managua when the murder took place.  He was convicted anyway in what I felt was a classic, ugly miscarriage of justice.  And he was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment.  He’s been locked up ever since in Nicaragua.  Now there’s some good news and some bad news about the case.

The good news is that the conviction has been reversed.  The bad news is that Eric Volz is not free and that the government will apparently seek a further appeal in the case to the Supreme Court of Nicaragua.  He may be detained until that appeal is completed.

This from The Wall Street Journal:

Days after a Nicaraguan appeals court threw out his murder conviction and ordered him freed immediately, Eric Volz, a 28-year-old surfer-turned real-estate broker, is still in custody. His case is taking bizarre new turns that shine a spotlight on the unpredictability of the Nicaraguan legal system.

The delay also brought a fresh round of exasperation for Mr. Volz’s family members, who believed Monday that Mr. Volz was on the verge of walking out of custody and on to a jet home. “I feel like my son has been kidnapped,” Maggie Anthony, the man’s mother, said by telephone.

The U.S. Embassy in Managua issued a statement on Tuesday calling on local authorities to implement the appeals court order freeing him, and return his passport. “We trust that the Nicaraguan authorities will ensure the safety and well being of Mr. Volz while he is in custody.”

Mr. Volz’s lawyer, Fabbrith Gomez accused court officials of using illegal tactics to delay Mr. Volz’s release while they regroup and attempt to mount a new case, or a Supreme Court appeal. For example, under Nicaraguan law, before Mr. Volz can be freed, the lower court judge who first convicted him must acknowledge the appeals court ruling with a signature. That judge has so far avoided signing. She didn’t show up at her courthouse when the papers arrived, claiming she had a flat tire, members of Mr. Volz’s defense team have said. Later, the judge claimed to have returned the unsigned papers back to the appeals court on the grounds that the pages of the appeals court ruling weren’t numbered correctly. The appeals court, meantime, says the papers were never received – and the whereabouts of the ruling are unknown at this time.

It’s hard to imagine a legal system in which a judge’s signature on original documents can hold up release of a defendant and the documents are driven across the country to be signed.  This case has previously required a suspension of disbelief, so that may be appropriate again now.

CNN makes the procedure seem only slightly more rational:

Nicaraguan prosecutors are appealing a court’s decision that overturned an American man’s conviction in the killing of his former girlfriend and set the stage for his release, officials said.

Magazine publisher Eric Volz’s mother says she’s concerned for his safety.

The office of Isadora Ibarra, prosecuting attorney, said she had left Wednesday to deliver the appeal to Granada.

Eric Volz, 28, of Nashville, Tennessee, remains in custody despite the Monday ruling by a Nicaraguan appeals court that he should be released immediately.

His attorney, Fabbrith Gomez, has said the Managua judge who sentenced Volz — Ivette Toruno Blanco — was stalling on signing court documents, holding up his release. Blanco has said the documents were incorrectly numbered and returned to Granada, Gomez said.

So the craziness of this case continues.  Eric Volz is not yet free.  His case may be headed for a Supreme Court review.  I have been unable to find information about whether bail is available to Volz pending a further appeal by the Government.

For updates: click here.

Updated Comment:  Arrgh! The things one has to do to skirt the 2-diary rule!