(UNASUR is the Union of South American Nations)

From Censored News:  Cochabamba, Plurinational State of Bolivia

On this Thursday night Presidents of South American Nations, gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and issued a joint statement in which they affirmed their rejection of recent actions against President Evo Morales and required the governments of Portugal, France, Italy and Spain to explain the situation and asked for public apologies. The Presidents of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro; Argentina, Cristina Fernandez; Uruguay, José Pepe Mujica; Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Suriname, Desi Boutersi; as well as delegations from other South American nations, held an extraordinary meeting to support the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, in the recent situation that took place in Europe at the time he was returning to his country.

The translation of the full text of the Cochamamba Declaration signed by all the Presidents:

‘Given the situation that the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales, was subjected to by the governments of France, Portugal, Italy and Spain, we denounce before the international community and various international organizations:

– The flagrant violation of international treaties governing peaceful coexistence, solidarity and cooperation between our states, that took place is an unusual act, unfriendly and hostile, configuring an unlawful act that affects freedom of movement and displacement of a head of state and his delegation.

— The abuse and neocolonial practices that still exist on our planet in the XXI century.

— The lack of transparency about the motivations of policy decisions that prevented air traffic for the Bolivian presidential vessel and its president.

— The injury suffered by President Evo Morales, which offends not only the Bolivian people but all our nations.

— The illegal spying practices that threaten the rights of citizens and friendly coexistence among nations.

In view of these denunciations, we are convinced that the process of building the Patria Grande (Integrated Latin America) to which we are committed must be consolidated with full respect for the sovereignty and independence of our peoples, without interference from global hegemonic powers, conquering the old practices of imposing first and second class.(status on) countries.

The male and female heads of state and governments of countries of the Union of South American Nations, gathered in Cochabamba on July 4, 2013:

1- We declare that the unacceptable restriction on the freedom of President Evo Morales, making virtually him a hostage, is a rights violation of not only the Bolivian people but of all countries and peoples of Latin America and sets a dangerous precedent for existing international law.

2- We reject the actions that clearly violate norms and principles of international law, the inviolability of the heads of state.

3- We call on the governments of France, Portugal, Italy and Spain to explain the reasons for the decision to prevent the presidential plane from the Plurinational State of Bolivia from overflying through its airspace.

4- Similarly, we urge the governments of France, Portugal, Italy and Spain present the corresponding public apologies for the serious incidents that occurred.

5- We support the complaint filed by the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for the serious violation of human rights and specific endangerment of the life of President Evo Morales; we also support the right of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to take all actions it deems necessary to the courts and relevant agencies.

6- We agreed to form a monitoring committee, entrusting the task to our foreign ministries to perform the actions necessary to shed light on the facts.

Finally, in the spirit of the principles set forth in the treaty establishing UNASUR, we urge all the heads of state of the union to stand by (accompany) this declaration.

Similarly, we call on the United Nations and regional organizations that have not done so yet, to make a pronouncement on this unjustifiable and arbitrary event.

Cochabamba, July 4, 2013

The Guardian had reported yesterday (my bold)

Brazil was represented by Marco Aurelio Garcia, President Dilma Rousseff’s top international adviser. The presidents of Colombia, Chile and Peru, who have strong ties to the US, were not attending.  Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, said earlier on Thursday he supported Morales, but asked other leaders to remain cool and avoid an escalating dispute between Latin America and the European Union.

“We’re in solidarity with Evo Morales because what they did to him is unheard-of, but let’s not let this turn into a diplomatic crisis for Latin America and the EU,” Santos tweeted on Thursday.

You can see great photo coverage of the arrivals hereMorales has threatened to close the US Embassy in Ecuador; understandable move.  Kevin Gosztola is now up with

US Ambassador to Austria Reportedly Responsible for False Claim Snowden Was on Bolivian Leader’s Plane’

In other news embarrassing for Francois Hollande and his government, we now know why he wasn’t very strong in his denunciations of the NSA and GCHQ spying revelations.  Oopsie: Le Monde reports (via the Guardian) that France has been doing the same thing (or at least much the same thing).

France runs a vast electronic surveillance operation, intercepting and stocking data from citizens’ phone and internet activity, using similar methods to the US National Security Agency’s Prism programme exposed by Edward Snowden, Le Monde has reported.

An investigation by the French daily found that the DGSE, France’s external intelligence agency, had spied on the French public’s phone calls, emails and internet activity. The agency intercepted signals from computers and phones in France as well as between France and other countries, looking not so much at content but to create a map of “who is talking to whom”, the paper said.

Le Monde said data from emails, text messages, phone records, accessing of Facebook and Twitter, and internet activity going through sites such as Google, Microsoft or Yahoo! was stocked for years on vast servers on three different floors in the basement of the DGSE headquarters.

The paper described the vast spying programme as secret, “outside any serious control” and illegal.

The link shows a good graphic on the programs, but it’s all in French, of course.  France’s DSGE is the Directorate General for External Security.

This is rather old news, but I was reminded of if by a newsletter that came into my Inbox a day or three ago.  It concerns some tweaks to ‘Defense Support of Civil Law Enforcement Agencies’.  There has been coverage of it at several news outlets, I’d first seen it via washingtonsblog.com (iirc) linking to the Long Island Press’s U.S. Military ‘Power Grab’ Goes Into Effect: Pentagon Unilaterally Grants Itself Authority Over ‘Civil Disturbances’

After noting how the Boston Marathon events displayed how incredibly militarized police departments are now…

‘The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.

Click here to read the new rule

The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule:

Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances. [snip]

After quoting an anonymous DOD official yawning that this has been a long-standing document, nothin’ to see here, the LIP piece continues:

!cid_469EB5D5-3909-445D-9EA6-CC599D2C44B7

(by Anthony Freda via wendydavis @flickr.com)

One of the more disturbing aspects of the new procedures that govern military command on the ground in the event of a civil disturbance relates to authority. Not only does it fail to define what circumstances would be so severe that the president’s authorization is “impossible,” it grants full presidential authority to “Federal military commanders.” According to the defense official, a commander is defined as follows: “Somebody who’s in the position of command, has the title commander. And most of the time they are centrally selected by a board, they’ve gone through additional schooling to exercise command authority.”

As it is written, this “commander” has the same power to authorize military force as the president in the event the president is somehow unable to access a telephone. (The rule doesn’t address the statutory chain of authority that already exists in the event a sitting president is unavailable.) In doing so, this commander must exercise judgment in determining what constitutes, “wanton destruction of property,” “adequate protection for Federal property,” “domestic violence,” or “conspiracy that hinders the execution of State or Federal law,” as these are the circumstances that might be considered an “emergency.”

 It sounds pretty creepy and  alarming to me.  The earliest notice I could find was from publicintelligence.net; they have the pdf. and explain some of the applicable historical laws, including suspensions, Congressional exceptions of the Posse Comitatus Act, and more.

Above all, I think it’s important not to let them make us more afraid; I know that’s a tall order.

(cross-posted soon at Cafe-Babylon.net)