Fujimori-era spy scandal returns to haunt Peruvian politics

Ollanta HumalaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
Faithful readers of this blog will be familiar with the case of Vladimiro Montesinos, the former director of Peru’s intelligence service, Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional (SIN). Montesinos, a CIA agent, is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for setting up a sophisticated network of illegal activities during his SIN tenure. The crimes he committed included drug trafficking, bribing, extortion, as well as embezzlement. Many of these activities were conducted under the direction of Peru’s disgraced former president Alberto Fujimori. He too is now in prison for having handed Montesinos $15 million from government coffers. In the past decade, civil society in Peru has tried to move on from these scandals, and has sought to establish a more stable political culture. In the 2011 elections, the country voted for Ollanta Humala, who was sworn into office on July 28 of that year. The son of a labor lawyer, Humala became a career military officer at an early age. In 2000, he became known across Peru when he led a local mutiny against the government of Alberto Fujimori, complaining against corruption in the central government. The mutiny, joined by a just few dozens of soldiers in southern Peru, was quickly quashed by the government, and Humala soon found himself in prison. However, he was pardoned by the Peruvian Congress after the fall of the Fujimori regime. Moreover, Humala was seen by many as a national hero for his defiant stance in 2000. However, Humala’s stardom has begun to fade in recent weeks, after media reports drew the country’s attention to Óscar López Meneses. Over a decade ago, López was taken to court along with Fujimori and Montesinos, and was given a suspended sentence for having helped the sinister spy kingpin run his criminal network around the country. López has kept a low profile in recent years, but Peruvian media reported last month that he has remained in close operational contact with the Peruvian police. The revelation led to the eventual resignation of Peru’s minister of the interior, Wilfredo Pedraza, while his interim successor quickly fired seven senior police officials for having contacts with López. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0122

  • Canada authorities push for Internet spy bill. The push for new Internet surveillance capabilities in Canada –dubbed the “lawful access” initiative– dates back to 1999, when government officials began crafting proposals to institute new surveillance technologies in Canadian fifth-generation networks. Internet Service Providers are skeptical of the initiative, while law enforcement and security agencies argue that the changes are long overdue.
  • Peru’s former leader guilty of spying, bribery. Peru’s former strongman Alberto Fujimori pleaded guilty today to charges of wiretapping opponents and paying bribes to lawmakers and publishers during his rule from 1990 to 2000. Unfortunately, the CIA supported Fujimori and his right-hand man, Vladimiro Montesinos and even suppressed a CIA officer who tried to argue that supporting such lowlifes was politically wrong and ethically immoral.
  • CIA honors two spies. CIA director Leon Panetta awarded the Trailblazer Medal (the supreme decoration in the US intelligence community) to two agents, one of whom is the late John Guilsher, who recruited Soviet scientist Adolf Tolkachev at the height of the Cold War. Are we to presume that Panetta has not read the recent paper by Benjamin Fischer, former CIA clandestine operative and retired CIA historian, who claims that Tolkachev was actually a KGB double agent tasked by Soviet intelligence with providing US military strategists with false information?

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CIA censored me to avoid embarrassment, says ex-οfficer

V.L. Montesinos

V.L. Montesinos

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
More than a month after Secrecy News reported the legal victory of a former CIA agent, who managed to have a censored report he wrote about the CIA’s dirty dealings in Peru declassified, a US news outlet has finally given some attention to the story. On August 4 (see previous intelNews reporting), Secrecy News revealed that a memorandum drafted in 2001 by CIA officer Franz Boening, detailing assistance illegally provided by the CIA to the then chief of Peruvian intelligence, had finally been declassified following an eight-year court battle. In the censored memorandum, Boening argued that the Agency violated US law by providing material and political assistance to Vladimiro Lenin Montesinos Torres, a graduate of the US Army’s School of the Americas and longtime CIA operative, who headed Peru’s Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional (SIN) under the corrupt administration of President Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori is now in prison, as is Montesinos himself. Read more of this post

CIA whistleblower’s memo on Peru declassified after eight years

V.L. Montesinos

V.L. Montesinos

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A memorandum drafted in 2001 by a CIA officer, detailing assistance illegally provided by the CIA to the former chief of Peruvian intelligence, has been declassified following an eight-year court battle. In the memorandum, CIA employee Franz Boening argued that the Agency violated US law by providing material and political assistance to Vladimiro Ilich Montesinos Torres, a graduate of the US Army’s School of the Americas and longtime CIA operative, who headed Peru’s Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional (SIN) under the corrupt administration of President Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori is now in prison, as is Montesinos himself. But in 2001, the CIA Inspector General, to whom Boening’s memorandum was addressed, took no action in response to the officer’s allegations. What is more, the CIA proceeded to classify Boening’s memorandum, claiming that its disclosure “reasonably could be expected to cause damage to national security”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0035

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