Seventh break-in at journalist’s home, intelligence agency suspected

first_img ColombiaAmericas RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin America Organisation Help by sharing this information May 25, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Seventh break-in at journalist’s home, intelligence agency suspected Ignacio Gómez, the co-producer of the “Noticias Uno” news programme on state-owned TV station Canal Uno, believes that Colombia’s leading intelligence agency, the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), was responsible for yesterday’s break-in at his Bogotá apartment, the seventh in the past decade.The break-in, which took place while Gómez was out, was executed by two men and a woman with sophisticated apparatus. They were in the process of forcing the front door but fled when they realized they had been spotted by neighbours. Burglars took Gómez’s personal computer, document and USB flash drives during a previous break-in last year, when he was working on stories involving former President Alvaro Uribe’s children.At the time of yesterday’s break-in attempt, Gómez was participating as president of the Bogota-based Press Freedom Foundation (FLIP) in a public debate in which he said there had been no let-up in telephone tapping (“chuzadas”) and other illegal practices by the DAS.Yesterday, Gómez also attended the presentation of a FLIP submission to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights supporting the complaint filed by Jineth Bedoya of the daily El Espectador, who was kidnapped, tortured and raped in May 2000.Ruling out the possibility that ordinary burglars were responsible for yesterday’s break-in, Gómez said the DAS had been trying to harass and intimidate him since 2002. He has been the target of two physical attacks and has had to spend time in exile. He and other journalists are named in DAS files.“Ignacio Gómez is one of the journalists who openly criticised the ‘democratic security’ policy launched during President Uribe’s two terms, from 2002 to 2010,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Like him, we do not think this was an ordinary burglary. It bears all the hallmarks of the intelligence services, whose dirty tricks and abuses we have long criticized.”The press freedom organization added: “It is impossible not to suspect that these repeated break-ins were acts of espionage. The judicial authorities should lose no time in investigating the latest of these cases, which call for a thorough overall of the intelligence services. It is time to put a stop to these methods.”In a similar break-in at freelance journalist Gonzalo Guillén’s Bogotá home on 1 May, his computer and a hard disk were removed. They contained information implicating the armed forces in corruption and in extra-judicial killings known as “false positives” because the victim is falsely portrayed as having belonged to a guerrilla organization.In a separate development, the Colombian judicial authorities yesterday issued a warrant for the arrest of former DAS chief María del Pilar Hurtado, who was granted political asylum in neighbouring Panama last November.Reporters Without Borders, which condemned Panama’s decision to grant her asylum at the time, urges the Panamanian authorities to approve Colombia’s request for her extradition. 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies to go further Follow the news on Colombia May 13, 2021 Find out more October 21, 2020 Find out morecenter_img RSF, IFEX-ALC and Media Defence, support FLIP and journalist Diana Díaz against state harassment in Colombia News Reports News RSF_en April 27, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts News ColombiaAmericas last_img read more

Costa Rica: International support key against narco-trafficking

first_img The Ministry of Security has also signed an agreement with the National Bank of Costa Rica (BNCR) to issue debit and credit cards in which 1% of balances will go toward the fight against crime. “The money will be used to purchase vehicles and motorcycles for the police,” Zamora said. “The card will be made available to the average citizen, and the percentage that is deducted will be taken from the bank’s and merchant’s side. This is a way in which we can promote, through responsible consumption, sending fresh resources to the field of security.” Zamora also said it’s imperative Costa Rica continue to strengthen its international partnerships if it’s to continue to be successful in its fight against narco-trafficking. “We understand this is an effort of multinational collaboration, which is why what we receive from the United States, Colombia, and Mexico is very important,” he said. Meanwhile, Mauricio Boraschi, Costa Rica’s national anti-drug commissioner, stressed the importance of the Joint Patrol Treaty signed with the United States. “This clearly shows drug trafficking is a dangerous option that leads only to two roads for sure: jail or death,” he said. The United States gave Costa Rica US$7 million and two boats valued at US$200,000 apiece last year to strengthen its security forces, Zamora said. “The physical support we receive from the United States has proved to be vital. But they also collaborate a lot with information and training,” Arias said. “Our Coast Guard receives specialized training in Colombia, Mexico, and the United States.” Arias added the US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) has pledged to fund the construction of a US$1 million building in the city of Flamingo to serve as a hub for the country’s counter-narcotics operations. “When crime trespasses your border and delivers insecurity to third-party states, it seems to me that we have to rethink the concept of sovereignty and national jurisdiction,” Zamora said. “The new understanding of sovereignty is in the joint support among countries. The more we do this, the more we can contain the narco-trafficking phenomenon.” By Dialogo March 12, 2012 SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica – Security Minister Mario Zamora said officials are teaching military strategies to its police officers to strengthen the fight against narco-traffickers using the Central American nation as a hub in the drug trade. “These strategies, based on ‘total war’ criteria used in the military field, are being transferred to the field of security,” he said. “The concept implies that all resources and missions of the organization are working toward fighting crime.” The results have been impressive. Authorities have confiscated more than four tons of cocaine tied to international narco-traffickers this year, Zamora said, adding the partnerships Costa Rica has made with other nations, including the U.S., have been invaluable in its narcotics fight. The year’s first bust occurred on Jan. 4, when police arrested a 28-year-old Costa Rican at the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua after they found 793 pounds of cocaine stashed in his truck carrying scrap metal, officials said. But what officials found in the truck, which they said was destined for Guatemala, paled in comparison to what they found 27 days later, when the National Coast Guard Service (SNG) stopped three boats in Costa Rican waters of the Pacific Ocean. Authorities, acting on information received from the United States Coast Guard, pursued three boats that stopped near the coast after they’d been pursued by SNG agents. Crew members jumped into the water and swam to shore, where five suspects – three Colombians and two Costa Ricans – were taken into custody and jailed as they await trial, said Martín Arias, the director of the SNG. Though two of the boats were transporting fuel, the other was loaded with more than two tons of cocaine, making it the largest shipment of cocaine seized in Costa Rican waters in the past five years, according to the Drug Control Police (PCD). The bust came a week after the Air Unit of the Ministry of Security agents found nearly a ton of cocaine buried in the sands of Matapalo beach along the Pacific coast. center_img “In the past, criminal activity passed by but never affected us internally,” Zamora said. “These partnerships between international drug trafficking groups and local criminals started with the latter providing logistic support, and ultimately, they were co-opted by the logic of international crime.” Costa Rica’s Container Control Unit (UCC) in Moín, the main Costa Rican port in the Caribbean, and the PCD partnered to make a major bust on Feb. 24 while inspecting 198 containers aboard the “Endeavor Star,” a merchant ship destined for Europe. A total of 761 pounds of cocaine was stashed in two of the containers, Zamora said. “Through an agreement with the UCC, they gave us permission to open all the containers, even if they were sealed,” Zamora said. This agreement is just one of three major joint support agreements signed by the Ministry of Security to strengthen the fight against narco-trafficking. “We understand that this multipronged strategy has been giving us good results,” Zamora said. “We have achieved historic coordination between the forces we have on land, sea, and air.” The Ministry of Security has also entered into a cooperation agreement with environmental protection NGOs. “Thanks to them, we will have access to a radar system that is valued at US$6 million,” Zamora said. “These radars that help protect national parks from illegal fishing will also be used to stop drug trafficking.” The NGO Mar Viva donated a boat to the SNG valued at US$500,000, he added. last_img read more

Ethics hotline offers lawyers prompt advice

first_imgEthics hotline offers lawyers prompt adviceWhen lawyers are faced with ethical dilemmas and aren’t sure what to do, The Florida Bar’s Ethics Hotline is available to help.One of the first of its kind in the nation, the toll-free Ethics Hotline (800-235-8619) was established in 1984 to help guide lawyers through the minefields of conflict dilemmas, confidentiality questions, communication concerns, trust accounting problems, and other ethical difficulties unique to the profession.Last year, about 17,815 Florida lawyers contacted the Ethics Department hotline, according to Bar Ethics Counsel Elizabeth Tarbert. The department also accepts written inquiries and has recently begun to take questions via e-mail, which can be sent to [email protected]“We began to offer e-mail service because we realized that many attorneys are computer-savvy, and we want our members to be able to contact us in whatever way is most convenient for them,” Tarbert said.Tarbert said hotline attorneys are authorized to respond to inquiries from members in good standing who are asking about their own contemplated conduct. When there is no Florida authority upon which to base an answer to an inquiry, ethics counsel can decline to issue an opinion. Staff must decline to render an opinion when an inquirer asks a question of law, a question about past conduct, a question about another attorney’s conduct, or a question about the subject of a pending grievance.The toll-free number can be reached between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and is used hundreds of times a week by Bar members. The department’s telephone system has recently been improved and now gives members the option to leave a message if all lines are busy. Members also may dial (850) 561-5780 to leave a message, which will be returned within one business day. “The majority of questions relate to conflict issues, but we frequently get questions on everything: what to do with closed files, retaining liens, ancillary businesses of lawyers, confidentiality, and just about anything you can think of,” Tarbert said.The Ethics Department also has a strong presence on the Bar’s website at Once you are at the Bar’s homepage, click “Member Services” in the left-hand column and then “Ethics Opinions.” There you will find an index of formal ethics opinions which are searchable by key word, or you may view the subject index of the opinions. There also are links to proposed advisory opinions; Chapter 4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct; resources for researching ethics questions on your own; and copies of Ethics Update, the quarterly publication of the Bar Ethics Department. Informational packets on frequently asked ethics questions are also available on the site.The ethics service has been consistently highly rated by Bar members in annual membership polls.“That’s one of the things I love; almost every single contact with the membership is positive,” Tarbert said. “Lawyers really want to do the right thing. Recent polls of the membership indicate ethics and professionalism rate among the highest concerns lawyers have about the profession.”Tarbert said the nine attorneys who answer the phones will discuss any issue, no matter how complex. But, occasionally, the staff may suggest, or an attorney may request, a written response because of the difficulty and amount of research involved in a question. If a member is unsure of or disagrees with a verbal answer from a staff attorney, that lawyer can then request a written response. If there are still doubts, the Bar member can appeal to the Professional Ethics Committee, which can affirm the staff opinion, reject the staff opinion, adopt the staff opinion or issue their own proposed advisory opinion. Those are publicized in the Bar News to get feedback from the entire membership.If the PEC formally adopts the opinion, an attorney who still has a question can appeal that to the Board of Governors, which can adopt, reject or modify the committee’s opinion.“Members who use the hotline feel they are really getting value for the service that we offer, and they can feel comfortable that they are acting ethically if they follow our advice,” Tarbert said.To receive a written ethics opinion, which takes three to five weeks, members of The Florida Bar in good standing may make written inquiries to The Ethics Department, The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300. Ethics hotline offers lawyers prompt advice November 15, 2000 Regular Newslast_img read more

Column: Road to Super Bowl still through Seattle

first_imgSan Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, left, talks with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)It was the kind of a game deserving of the burgeoning rivalry, a chippy affair very much in doubt until Frank Gore ripped off a run that saved some self-respect if not the season for the San Francisco 49ers.Allowing the Seattle Seahawks to embarrass them once this season was bad enough. Allowing them to celebrate winning the NFC West title in one of the final games at creaky old Candlestick Park just might have pushed Jim Harbaugh and his charges over the edge.The 49ers have struggled against playoff-bound teams all season, yet somehow found a way to pull out this one. Scoring three points in the second half isn’t usually a recipe for winning teams, but on Sunday the 19-17 victory was just enough to keep San Francisco solidly in the playoff hunt.It made for smiles all around, even from the perennially cranky Harbaugh. But even the best win of the year for the 49ers didn’t change one inescapable fact:The road to a second straight Super Bowl will almost surely go through Seattle. And that should be enough to wipe the smiles off the faces of any San Francisco fans.“If we keep doing our thing and they keep doing their thing, no question,” Gore said about the prospects of a January visit to Seattle.San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore, left, carries the ball on a 51-yard run as Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas (29) and cornerback Richard Sherman (25) look on in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Ben Margot)So far this season, the Seahawks aren’t just unbeaten at home. They look unbeatable at home, including a 29-3 win in September where Colin Kaepernick was so bewildered by the noise and Seattle’s defense that he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.It wasn’t much prettier last December at CenturyLink Field when the Seahawks won 42-13 against a team that was headed to the Super Bowl. By contrast, Seattle or any other team in the West hasn’t won in San Francisco since 2008, a streak that continued Sunday when Gore rumbled for 51 yards to set up a field goal with 26 seconds left to win the game.None of that seemed to matter much to the 49ers after pulling off a game that they desperately needed to win if they were going to have any hopes of regaining at least some bragging rights in a division they won the last two seasons. Seattle will almost surely break that run this season, but at 9-4 and playing about as well as they have all year the 49ers are in good position to join them in the playoffs.“We’re playing for our lives,” receiver Anquan Boldin said. “We’re playing playoff football right now. It’s win or go home.”Not quite, but it’s getting close. And losing at home to Seattle might have been a killer blow psychologically, if not mathematically to the 49ers.“I don’t know if it was their Super Bowl, but they played a great game,” Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant said.They also talked a great game. There’s no love lost between the teams and it showed, with players jabbering at each other after plays and referees quick to step between. Both quarterbacks played respectably, but neither got to 200 yards passing, and in the second half defense dominated on both teams.Gore said before the game that the 49ers had to run the ball better to win, and took things into his own hands with 110 yards on the ground, including the big run that rescued San Francisco just when it looked as if Seattle would hold on to win.“We didn’t project it to be this way,” Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said. “We expected to blow them out but they got the benefit of a few calls tonight throughout the game, and that helps you especially on third down. We will see them again and it will be a different result.”Sherman likes to talk, of course, and has done his part to add to the animosity between the two teams. He doesn’t get along with Harbaugh, his former coach at Stanford, and he isn’t afraid to stir things up either on or off the field.But he plays for a team that can back up his words. The Seahawks took apart a good New Orleans team at home Monday night, then traveled to their division rivals and almost pulled off a win at a place where opposing teams in the West just don’t win.They’re 11-2 with games against the Giants, Cardinals and Rams left, and they seem perfectly set up for a deep run in the playoffs. They’ll almost certainly have a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the loudest stadium in the NFL — and perhaps the world — where they have yet to lose all season.Despite the loss, the road to the Super Bowl still goes through Seattle. And the Seahawks remain in the driver’s seat.___Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected] or read more

The Challenge to Replace Lautenberg

first_imgBy John BurtonThe death of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg this week has area elected officials weighing in with their thoughts about the senator’s life and legacy – and much speculation about his eventual successor.Sen. Frank LautenbergLautenberg, 89, died Monday, June 3, of complications from viral pneumonia bringing to an end a long, distinguished career in the U.S. Senate for the Democrats. His death has also forced Gov. Chris Christie to announce that a special election will be held Oct 16, with a special primary scheduled for Aug. 13. The governor appointed state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa Thursday to serves senator for the interim.The deadline for potential candidates to file a petition to run in the primary is Monday, June 10. Candidates must file their petitions with the required 1,000 signatures by then, according to John Weingart, associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.The cost of the primary and special election is about $24 million, according to the state’s Office of Legislative Services.“For anyone who has ever thought that they would like to be a senator from New Jersey, this is a complicated moment,” Weingart said. “They have to act very quickly.”Christie, a Republican, said this week that it was “no secret that Sen. Lautenberg and I didn’t always agree and we didn’t always get along. We had our fights. We had our words, but I always respected the vigor which he put into his job each and every day,” Christie said, who called Lautenberg “a true public servant.”U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th, who has served in Congress since 1988 and whose district covers much of Monmouth County, said Lautenberg was more than a colleague to him. “No question he was a mentor for me,” said Pallone who has been mentioned as a possible Democratic successor to Lautenberg.Pallone, however, declined to comment on whether he would seek the office.Pallone said Lautenberg, who was first elected to the Senate in 1982 to 2001 and then from 2003 until his death, shared many of his concerns, including the environment, health care and an unsuccessful battle with the Pentagon and Congress over trying to save Fort Monmouth from being closed.Pallone said he and Lautenberg worked often on legislation.“He was known to get things done down here in Congress,” Pallone said, recalling Lautenberg’s work on transportation matters, beach replenishment and adoption of a bill for cleaner beaches and water that required regular water testing and beach closings to protect the public when there was contamination“He would tackle the problem and try to come up with a solution,” Pallone said. “He really believed Congress could make a difference in people’s lives.”From the other side of the political aisle state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos Jr., R-13th, who represents part of Monmouth County and who ran unsuccessfully last year for the senate seat held by Robert Menendez, has been coming up on everyone’s short list of possible names to fill the seat. He too declined to talk about whether he would run.Kyrillos said that Lauten­berg “lived a great American life and has my admiration and respect.”Menendez, New Jersey’s junior senator, released a statement this week praising Lautenberg as “a fighter for New Jersey families and the causes he believed in.”U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-12th, is another person party insiders say has expressed interest in the job. He also worked closely with Lautenberg over the years. “Frank was dogged; he was persistent,” Holt said in a statement. “Frank did his homework; he knew what he was talking about and he just kept fighting.”Vin Gopal, Monmouth County Democratic chairman said, “Frank Lautenberg was one of the gutsiest elected officials I think the Democratic Party ever had.”Gopal noted Lauten­berg’s well-publicized battles with GOP leaders, including Christie and President George W. Bush. “He (Lautenberg) had a lot of courage,” he said.Lautenberg, Gopal noted, “didn’t always have the political bug in him,” coming to elected office relatively late in life – in his late 50s – following a successful career in a private sector business as one of the founders of ADP.In addition to Pallone, Holt and Kyrillos, those talked about as possible candidates include Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat who previously announced his plans to run in 2014 – even before Lautenberg announc­ed he would not seek another six-year term.“I strongly believe,” along with Booker, “Congressmen Pallone and Holt will be running,” Gopal said.Usually before undertaking such a campaign, potential candidates evaluate the field, do polling and seek advice. Without that lead time, Weingart said, Booker would seem to have the advantage, given his high name recognition and fundraising capability. But the political scientist also noted that Holt and Pallone have long histories in public office and have, especially in Pallone’s case, substantial political war chests.On the GOP side, Kyrillos has had a close friendship with Christie, going back to their college days, with Kyrillos working for Christie’s first campaign.Earlier in the week Weingart suspected correctly that in the interim Christie would name someone who isn’t interested in running for the full term. Chiesa said he would not run.Weingart was surprised about Christie’s decision to hold a special election because by appointing someone who would serve the remainder of Lautenberg’s term, that Repub­lican candidate presumably, would be in good position to win the seat, not held by a Republican for almost 40 years.“It’s all speculation,” Wein­gart acknowledged. “We’ll see.”last_img read more

Saints big winners as BCIHL announces season awards

first_imgThere’s a pretty good reason why the Selkirk College Saints are in the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League Championship for the second consecutive year.Part of the reason was unveiled Tuesday when the BCIHL announced its individual award winners for the 2013-14 season. And the Saints were well represented with no less than eight award winners, including team captain Logan Proulx was a co-winner of the BCIHL’s Most Valuable Player award.Winners were selected in a vote conducted by the league’s coaches. Proulx shared the honour with Trinity Western University forward J.P. Villeneuve. Proulx led Selkirk to their second straight  BCIHL regular season title, was the team’s points leader with 42, and set a new BCIHL league record with a 22-game point streak that stretched from October 4th to February 22nd. Netminder Chris Hurry was also honoured for his strong play, earning the league’s Top Goaltender award. Hurry won a BCIHL-high 14 regular season games between the pipes and posted league-bests in goals-against average (1.87), save-percentage (.925) and shutouts (3). Saints head coach Jeff Dubois was the team’s third award winner, splitting BCIHL Coach of the Year honours with Trinity Western University’s Barret Kropf. Under Dubois, Selkirk finished with a league-best 20-3-1 record that included a 12-0-1 record over the final 13 games of the regular season. “Logan and Chris both had outstanding seasons and it’s very gratifying to see their accomplishments recognized by coaches around our league,” said Dubois.”Logan has been a tremendous leader for our program and a driving force behind our on-ice success. When you combine those characteristics with his offensive output and his work on the penalty kill, it’s tough to identify anybody in our league who makes a more substantial impact in all facets of the game and plays at such a high level night in, night out.” In addition to the Saints’ individual award winners, a total of six players were named to BCIHL All-Star teams. Proulx and Hurry were joined on the league’s First Team by defenceman Stefan Gonzales, who was a standout at both ends of the rink in his rookie season.”For Chris, this honour really is a validation of just how far he’s come as an athlete since he joined our program two seasons ago. He’s shown an incredible commitment to developing his game and put in a tremendous amount of time with Alex Evin to work on his technique,” Dubois said.”Chris was a rock for us all season and gave us huge games whenever we needed them. When you look at the statistics it really jumps out at you that there was a gigantic gap between him and every other goaltender in our league this season.”Forwards Cody Fidgett and Connor McLaughlin, who tied for the BCIHL lead in goals with 22, were both named Second Team all-stars along with blueliner Tanner Lenting, who led the league in assists by a defenceman with 17. “The fact that Stefan was recognized as a one of the league’s top defencemen despite modest offensive numbers shows you just how well-respected he is for his skating and strong two-way play,” says Dubois.”Cody and Connor have very different styles but both of them were outstanding putting the puck in the net for us, and Tanner’s game improved steadily this season to the point where he was in the mix with the league’s top scorers as a defenceman while also logging tough minutes defensively.”2013/14 BCIHL Award Winners: Most Valuable Player – (Tie) Logan Proulx, Selkirk College & J.P. Villeneuve, Trinity Western University Top Defenceman – Jared Eng, Simon Fraser University Top Goaltender – Chris Hurry, Selkirk College Rookie of the Year – J.P. Villeneuve, Trinity Western University Most Sportsmanlike Player – Jono Ceci, Simon Fraser University Coach of the Year – (Tie) Jeff Dubois, Selkirk College & Barret Kropf, Trinity Western University2013/14 BCIHL First All-Star Team: Forward: Jono Ceci, Simon Fraser University Forward: Logan Proulx, Selkirk College Forward: J.P. Villeneuve, Trinity Western University Defence: Jared Eng, Simon Fraser University Defence: Stefan Gonzales, Selkirk College Goaltender: Chris Hurry, Selkirk College2013/14 BCIHL Second All-Star Team: Forward: Cody Fidgett, Selkirk College Forward: Connor McLaughlin, Selkirk College Forward: Nick Sandor, Simon Fraser University Defence: Tanner Lenting, Selkirk College Defence: Blair Murphy, Trinity Western University Goaltender: Andrew Parent, Simon Fraser Universitylast_img read more