Page 17


Riau Halo International Headquarters Enjoy our organic, in house roasted coffee. Watch the kids play as you catch up with a friend. Listen to local musicians and relax with a beer or wine. Come see our new space. 3601 S. Congress off E. Alpine Penn Field under the water tower check our site for monthly calendar 417-8873 www. continued from page 17 Soghanalian would not take a step without CIA approval. Soghanalian, incidentally, is an interesting character in his own right: he was recruited by the Reagan White House and Saudi Arabia to supply Saddam Hussein with billions of dollars in weapons during the Iran/Iraq War in the 1980s. Currently, he is in custody in Los Angeles, but the Peruvian prosecutor believes he has made appropriate arrangements with U.S. authorities in order to avoid extradition to Peru. The lack of cooperation forthcoming from the CIA in matters involving Montesinos is also curious. Given the Agency’s concern about terrorists in general, about Colombian terrorist guerrillas and their compulsive narco-trafficking in particular, and about Middle Eastern weapons floating around loose, you would think our Good Guys would be all over this. Surprisingly, they could not care less. Prosecutor Gamarra has formally requested a deposition numerous times from Robert Gorelick, the CIA operative in Lima during the reign of Fujimori who supposedly dealt with Montesinos. To date, Gamarra says, he has received no response. Not even a phone call. How rude. He’s puzzled by this, and pointed out that both the DEA and the FBI are cooperating very politely. Actually, indirectly, there has been a response from the CIA. El Comercio reported recently that in December 2003, the first diplomatic steps were taken to extradite the Aybar brothers to the United States for purposes of an investigation in Washington. That should shut those two up. It should also shut Montesinos up, because if he starts blabbing, he could be next. He could wind up totally forgotten in a Florida slammer right next to Noriega, also a former CIA goon who was discarded when no longer useful. Life would be much better for Montesinos if he can hang on in Lima, where, international jurists note unhappily, you can get yourself convicted of just about anything and still be home in time for dinner. Just before kick-off in the Montesinos trial, a judge in Lima found that a leftover Fujimori law was still good: the law stipulates that those guilty of crimes against the government only serve one third of their sentences in order to pay their debts to society. If convicted and given twenty years, then, Montesinos would really be sentenced to less than seven years, two of which he has already served \(in Peru sentences could be out in time to run for president in 2010. And speaking of running for president, back at the White House, President Bush announced in January that the U.S. would return $20 million in ripped-off Peruvian assets stashed by Montesinos in the United States. Bush declared that this gesture was evidence of his strong support for the U.N. Convention Against Corruption, which requires countries to cooperate in investigations and to return funds to the countries where they were stolen. To address any lingering doubts about the matter, a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Lima told the Associated Press as the first week of the trial wound up, “Any assertion, inference or suggestion that any agency of the U.S. government had any involvement in alleged arms or narcotics trafficking related to this trial has no basis in fact.” Well, that’s a relief. Gabriela Bocagrande is based in Washington, D.C. 2/13/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 27