US wants to share sensitive intelligence with Honduras to combat drug traffickers

Tony HernandezA PROPOSED MEMORANDUM OF understanding could enable the sharing of extremely sensitive intelligence between the United States and Honduras, as part of an effort by Washington to stop the impoverished Central American country from becoming a drug-trafficking stronghold. However, some in the US intelligence community are concerned that the sensitive intelligence given to the Honduran government may be passed on to the drug cartels by paid informants.

According to the Reuters news agency, American and Honduran officials are currently finalizing a proposed memorandum of understanding between the two nations’ intelligence communities. The memorandum would allow the US to provide the Honduran government with information about secret flights carrying drugs, which are known to regularly enter the Honduran airspace. The drugs are then trafficked north and subsequently enter the US through Mexico. Reuters said that, although the memorandum of understanding is in the drafting stage, the Honduran government appears to be willing to accommodate its conditions. The latter include provisions allowing for planes that do not identify themselves and are believed to be carrying drugs to be shot down by military aircraft.

There are, however, concerns among some in the US intelligence community that the Honduran government and its institutions cannot be trusted with sensitive intelligence. They argue that the corruption at all levels of the Honduran government and intelligence establishments is so extensive, that the drug traffickers will be able to access the information provided by the US government. It should be noted that last year a court in New York convicted one of Central America’s most notorious cocaine traffickers, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez (pictured), who is the brother of Honduras’ current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez. During the trial, it was repeatedly alleged that President Hernandez provided protection to his brother and other drug traffickers in Honduras.

But Honduran officials, including the country’s ambassador to the US, Luis Fernando Suazo Barahona, point out that those receiving sensitive intelligence form the US would be carefully vetted —and presumably polygraphed— prior to being given access to the information. Reuters reports that the US Department of State says it is “taking steps to resume information-sharing [with the government of Honduras] for aerial interception upon the successful negotiation and conclusion” of the memorandum of understanding that is currently being drafted.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 03 December 2020 | Permalink

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Jonathan PollardBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org
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White House reinstalls visas for 2009 Honduran coup plotters

Manuel Zelaya

Manuel Zelaya

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On June 26, 2009, a clandestine meeting of the Honduran Supreme Court issued a secret warrant for the arrest of the country’s democratically elected President, Manuel Zelaya. Less than 48 hours later, in the early hours of June 28, uniformed officers of the Honduran Army stormed the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa and arrested Zelaya. Shortly afterwards, the deposed President was placed on a plane and sent into enforced exile. It was the first coup d’état in the Central American country since 1978, and the first in Latin America in several years. The US administration of President Barack Obama almost immediately condemned the coup and halted American military aid to Honduras; but it failed to officially designate Zelaya’s ouster as a ‘military coup’, which would have required Washington to outlaw and terminate nearly all forms of government —and some private— aid to Honduras. In August, after several weeks of heavy criticism from Latin American governments, the Obama White House proceeded to “temporarily suspend” non-immigrant visas for over 1,000 Honduran military and civilian leaders, who had endorsed President Zelaya’s unconstitutional ouster. Many of whom had participated in the first post-coup government of former Speaker of the Honduran Congress, Roberto Micheletti. But a news report by the Associated Press suggests that Washington may now be quietly reinstating visas to Micheletti government officials, and that some of them are already travelling to and from the United States. The article quotes a “US embassy spokesperson”, who “spoke on condition of anonymity”, as saying that “the Department of State has determined that some of the Hondurans whose eligibility for visas was restricted following the June 2009 coup d’etat are again eligible to be considered for visas”. Read more of this post

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Russia claims discovery of secret US-Georgia armaments channel

The PAC-3

The PAC-3

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Several Russian newspapers carried lead articles yesterday, describing the alleged discovery of a secret Washington-led project of supplying the Republic of Georgia with $100 million-worth of US weapons supplies. The articles cited “anonymous Russian intelligence sources” in claiming that the US is in the process of secretly providing Georgia with, among other things, a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) advanced surface-to-air guided missile air defense system. If true, the allegations could raise eyebrows in Congress, as the PAC-3 cannot legally be exported by the US government without explicit Congressional authorization. But Russian media report that, according to secret documents acquired by Russian military intelligence, the US government plans to circumvent Congressional scrutiny by delivering the weapons to Georgia through a private exporter, Barrington Alliance Inc., headquartered in Chicago, of which little is known. Read more of this post

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News you may have missed #0011

  • Honduran coup a blow for Latin American leftist alliance. The Honduran coup is seen as a “regional test” for Washington’s post-Bush influence in Latin America, as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to be losing a political ally with the military ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Interestingly, Zelaya took control of foreign-owned oil storage terminals in Honduras in 2007, thus effectively sidelining the traditional control of Honduran oil imports by Exxon Mobil and Chevron. 
  • Bulgaria chief spy’s car raided by thieves. The thieves apparently knew the car belonged to Petko Sertov, director of Bulgaria’s State National Security Agency (DANS), “since they managed to unlock it with a special key”. Note that the car was equipped with specially authorized fake license plates designed to prevent identification of the car’s owner. 
  • FBI refuses to reveal contents of wiretap gag order. The FBI had been ordered by a US federal court to justify the gag order it had placed on the telecommunication service provider (TSP) of “John Doe” in the Doe v. Holder. The FBI has now cooperated by justifying the gag order, but it’s done so in secret, because it maintains that revealing the TSP’s identity would result in various harms.

Comment: Negroponte Carries US Message to India, Pakistan

In early December, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited India and Pakistan to spearhead Washington’s handling of the two countries’ response to the Mumbai attacks. Now the State Department has appointed Deputy Secretary John Negroponte to oversee the situation. The US government-affiliated Voice of America network reports that Negroponte’s main mission during his trip to India and Pakistan is “to advise […] political leaders on improving the[ir] intelligence agencies”. Now, Negroponte does many things, but “advising” is not one of them. Read more of this post