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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Bolivia’

Ostreicher Released from Bolivian Prison

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Jacob Ostreicher, a New York businessman held in Bolivia since 2011, is back in the United States.

Two Jewish news websites, JP Updates and Algemeiner, reported Monday that Ostreicher returned Sunday to New York, although the circumstances of his departure from Bolivia are not clear.

Ostreicher, who had a flooring business in New York, invested money with a group involved in a rice-growing venture in Bolivia and was managing the business when he was arrested on suspicion of money laundering. He also was accused of doing business with drug traffickers.

However, in June, Bolivian authorities arrested 15 people — including government officials — on charges of engineering his arrest in hopes of extracting cash payment.

Despite those charges, Bolivia did not release Ostreicher, a haredi Orthodox father of five, and his case drew the attention of leading lawmakers in Congress, including Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Sean Penn, the movie actor and human rights activist.

US Lawmakers in Bolivia to Press for Ostreicher’s Release

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Two members of Congress are in Bolivia to press for the release of an American Jewish businessman who has been jailed there without charges for 18 months.

Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) arrived this week to seek the release of Jacob Ostreicher, a haredi Orthodox father of five and grandfather of 11 from Brooklyn, N.Y., who has been held in Bolivia without formal charges and bail since June 2011.

In a release Thursday, Smith, who has led congressional efforts to win Ostreicher’s release, said that according to Bolivian law, persons may be held without charges for no longer than 18 months.

Last month, authorities arrested seven people, including top government officials, for attempted extortion in the case.

Ostreicher has said since his arrest that corrupt Bolivian officials desired to keep him in jail in order to sell for their own profit the 18,000 metric tons of rice they confiscated from him and to extort him for money in exchange for promises to help get him released.

Bolivian Cabinet to Deliberate Ostreicher Case

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Bolivian Cabinet ministers told the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives human rights subcommittee that they would look into the case of a jailed Brooklyn Chasidic Jew.

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) met this week in Bolivia with Minister of Government Carlos Romero and Minister of Justice Cecilia Luisa Ayllon. Jacob Ostreicher has been held in Bolivia for more than year without formal charges and bail.

Smith said in a statement that both ministers were attentive and pledged to look into the case.

“After a long meeting, Minister Ayllon concluded that ‘Your agony for Jacob Ostreicher is like my agony for Bolivians who are in the same situation’,” Smith said Thursday in a press statement. “As a judge for 13 years herself, she pointed out the abuse of filing of false charges and other irregularities, like the process of recusing judges, leading to lengthy delays, is a widespread problem.”

Ostreicher, a father of five, was arrested a year ago by Bolivian police after it was alleged that he did business with “people wanted in their countries because of links with drug trafficking and money laundering.” At the time, he belonged to a group of investors that sunk $25 million into growing rice in lush eastern Bolivia.

Smith, a leader in the House on human trafficking issues, also met with Bolivian officials who prosecute sex trafficking.

Congress Urging Hillary to Act on Haredi Imprisoned in Bolivia

Friday, June 8th, 2012

A retired FBI official told a House subcommittee that the imprisonment of a New York Chasidic Jew in Bolivia is “state-sponsored kidnapping.”

Along with the ex-official, Steve Moore, the U.S. House of Representatives Human Rights Subcommittee on Wednesday heard testimony from the family of Jacob Ostreicher, who was arrested a year ago by Bolivian police after it was alleged that he did business with “people wanted in their countries because of links with drug trafficking and money laundering.” Ostreicher, a father of five from Borough Park, Brooklyn, belonged to a group of investors that sunk $25 million into growing rice in lush eastern Bolivia.

The hearing was chaired by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), who said in his opening statement that the U.S. government “must do everything we can to correct the ongoing, extreme injustice being perpetrated against Mr. Ostreicher and secure his freedom as quickly as possible.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who has written letters calling for U.S. intervention in the Ostreicher case, said:

“It is important for everyone to remember our goal – making sure Mr. Ostreicher is provided fair treatment and basic due process. They must be made to understand that we will not stand by and simply accept the treatment that Mr. Ostreicher has received to date. Pressure must continue to be applied to the Bolivian government and its justice system to get this man and his family out of the terrible limbo they are in by ordering his speedy trial, and a fair opportunity to be free on bail during this process.”

In May, Rep. Nadler sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter stating: “I understand and respect the fact that Bolivia is a sovereign nation with its own legal policies and procedures, but I respectfully request that you directly contact your counterparts in the Bolivian government, and impress upon them the need for the court to hear Mr. Ostreicher’s case so that a fair result can be attained.”

Last week, Smith made a formal request to the U.S. assistant secretary of state of Western Hemisphere affairs, Roberta Jacobson, to personally intervene in the Ostreicher case.

Nadler noted on Wednesday that “a hearing regarding Mr. Ostreicher’s eligibility for bail is currently scheduled for June 11.” He reiterated that he wanted “to make sure the Bolivian government is aware that our government at a high level is calling for due process of law and a swift and fair trial for Mr. Ostreicher.”

Nadler added that “right now, Mr. Ostreicher is on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment. As a result he is physically weak and his family is concerned about his health. His health and safety must continue to be monitored.”

Committee members heard from Ostreicher’s wife, Miriam Ungar, and his daughter, Chaya Weinberger. Both pleaded for Ostreicher’s release by the Bolivian government.

“He, together with all those who love him and want him home, are waiting,” Weinberger said during her testimony. “We are waiting to see the demonstration of liberty upon which our country is based.”

Moore said that “In Jacob’s case there is a complete absence of any concrete, tangible evidence on even a microscopic scale which would indicate that he had in any way, shape, or form participated in a crime in Bolivia. Nor is there evidence that a crime has even been committed.”

A number of U.S. lawmakers have joined Ostreicher’s family in saying that the U.S. State Department has not provided an adequate response to Ostreicher’s incarceration.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) told the committee, “It has now been 370 days since Jacob was originally arrested. Yet, he has not been charged. The prosecution has not even presented any evidence of his guilt. While, initially, Jacob was to be released on bail, that decision was revoked. The judges in the case have been removed and currently no judge is presiding.”

“Meanwhile, Jacob remains locked up at Palmasola Prison in Santa Cruz, Bolivia,” Velázquez pointed out. “That notorious facility was designed to hold 1,000 prisoners, but is currently home to 3,500 people. Unlike U.S. facilities, this prison is essentially run by the prisoners. Guards provide food and make sure prisoners do not escape but do nothing to maintain order within the prison’s walls. Reports suggest that gangs control life inside the prison. At least once a month there is a ‘suicide’ reported – and critics suggest many of these deaths may actually be murders. Jacob has undertaken a hunger strike to protest his unjust treatment and there are now very real health concerns about his continued detention.”

Orthodox New Yorker On Hunger Strike After Months In Bolivian Prison

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Supporters say he’s an innocent man caught up in the tentacles of a corrupt Latin American regime.

Authorities in Bolivia allege he’s a shady businessman with ties to drug dealers and money launderers.

What’s certain is that Jacob Ostreicher, a 53-year-old chassidic Jew from New York, is in a state of limbo, sitting in a jail in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz waiting to be tried or released on bail.

Five weeks ago, in a bid to pressure authorities to expedite the handling of his case, Ostreicher began a hunger strike following 10 months of appeals to the U.S. State Department.

Ostreicher, a father of five from the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, belonged to a group of investors led by Andre Zolty of the Swiss firm Lexinter that sunk $25 million into growing rice in lush eastern Bolivia. He was arrested last June by Bolivian police. During his arraignment, the judge alleged that Ostreicher did business with “people wanted in their countries because of links with drug trafficking and money laundering.”

The judge also determined Ostreicher should not be allowed to post bail because “being free, the accused could destroy [or] change evidence that could lead the attorney general to discover the truth.”

Since then Ostreicher, who maintains his innocence, has been waiting. He has cycled through multiple court hearings, three judges, three prosecutors and four defense attorneys. One judge released him from jail in September, only to retract the order and send him back less than a week later. As of now the case is without a judge.

While the case has dragged on, some of the 40 million pounds of rice harvested from Ostreicher’s fields and later seized by the Bolivian government have begun to disappear.

The head of the Bolivian agency in charge of seized property, Moises Aguilera, told The Associated Press in December that the rice had to be sold because otherwise it would spoil. But Ostreicher’s partners accuse the Bolivian government of trying to profit from the confiscated rice.

Bolivian authorities have declined to discuss the details of the case publicly.

Ostreicher’s saga began when he joined Zolty’s partnership in June 2008 and traveled to Bolivia to see the rice business firsthand. Over the course of several trips from 2008 to 2010, Ostreicher says he was never able to inspect the books of the Bolivian rice fields because the manager, Claudia Liliana Rodriguez Espitia, was never around.

Eventually, Ostreicher said, he came to believe Rodriguez was stealing millions of dollars from the investors. He convinced Zolty to fire Rodriguez, and Ostreicher took over the business.

When Rodriguez disappeared soon after leaving the venture, Ostreicher took out a full-page ad in a major local newspaper offering a $25,000 reward to whoever could find her.

While police investigated Rodriguez for corruption, they discovered she had purchased a portion of the rice fields from the brother of her drug dealer boyfriend, Maximiliano Dorado.

Bolivian federal prosecutors began to question Ostreicher in March 2011. He continued to travel back and forth to the United States, and approached the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia; Ostreicher says U.S. officials told him not to worry.

“The embassy told me I should be honest with the investigation. That’s what I did,” Ostreicher said. “I wish the U.S. Embassy had told me to get the hell out of the country.”

An embassy official said he could not comment on private conversations.

On the eve of Shavuot last year, when Ostreicher was scheduled to fly home to New York, prosecutors called him in for another round of questioning. Anxious to get home for the holiday, Ostreicher asked if he could come to their office to finish the deposition as soon as possible. He arrived on June 3, responded to questions and thanked the prosecutor for adjusting his schedule.

Moments later, Ostreicher was arrested. The grandfather of 11 says he was shoved into a cell with no toilet or shower.

The next day at his arraignment, the judge charged Ostreicher with being “the representative of Andre Zolty” and having “commercial relations with Maximiliano Dorado, both people wanted in their countries because of links with drug trafficking and money laundering … proving the circle between Andre Zolty, Maxi Dorado … and Claudia Liliana Rodríguez Espitia.”

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Al Qaeda Leader:

Libyan Rebels Want Islamic State
 
An Al Qaeda leader told this reporter that rebel forces in Libya – whom the United States and United Nations have backed in their uprising against Moammar Ghadafi – have been planning all along to turn the new nation into an Islamic state.
 
“The establishing of the Islamic state, we cannot avoid this,” stated Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadiya Salafiya, which represents Al Qaeda in the Gaza Strip.
 
“This is a fact that will happen. This is our goal, we are seeking [this]. We know the goal of some of the rebel leaders in Iraq [who are] fighting as part of Jihadiya Salafiya, and we believe this will happen at the end of the day in Libya and other parts of the Islamic world.”
 
Saqer made these statements during an interview on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.
 
This is not the first time Al Qaeda pan-Islamic ideology has been associated with the rebel leaders being aided by the U.S. and NATO forces in Libya.
 

At the start of the insurgency, rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi admitted in an interview with an Italian newspaper that some of his fighters were recruited from foreign countries, while others were on the front lines against coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

U.S. Sides With Turkey,

Wants Israeli Apology

 

The Obama administration is applying intense pressure on Israel to issue an apology for its 2010 raid of a Hamas-supporting flotilla attempting to enter the Gaza Strip, according to informed Israeli officials.
 
That flotilla, sponsored in part by a Turkish group, engaged in deadly clashes with Israeli special forces. Dozens of flotilla activists armed with knives, bats and metal pipes confronted the Israeli naval raid and immediately attacked the soldiers.
 
Nine activists were killed, while 15 Israeli solders were wounded.
 
Turkey has since been demanding that Israel issue an apology for the raid, a request scoffed at by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
 
Informed Israeli officials told WorldNetDaily that the U.S. has sided with Turkey in its demand for an apology.
 
The officials said that while the U.S. does not blame Israel for the raid, the Obama administration sees Turkey as key to the transformation of the Middle East and North Africa.
 

The U.S. wants to end the diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel. Israeli officials said the Obama administration does not believe it can persuade Turkey to drop its apology demand and so is instead pressuring Israel.

 

 

Strategist Behind Israeli Protests

Has Controversial Past

 

The Democrat strategist identified as an architect of the social protests currently rocking Israel previously ran the campaign of Bolivia’s former president, who was ushered into office amid escalating social protests in that country.
 
After Gonzalo S?nchez de Lozada took power in Bolivia in 1985, he quickly implemented an economic “shock therapy” crafted by Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University professor who sits on the board of an organization literally seeking to reorganize the entire global economic system.
 
That organization is the Institute for New Economic Thinking, or INET. Billionaire George Soros is INET’s founding sponsor, having provided a reported $25 million over five years to support INET activities.
 
According to an investigative report in Israel’s Maariv’s newspaper, the Israeli protests were engineered by a group of media strategists directed by prominent Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, John Kerry and others.
 
Greenberg reportedly is working with Israeli strategists who were behind left-wing leader Ehud Barak’s successful race for prime minister in 1999. Greenberg himself helped run Barak’s campaign.
 
Greenberg founded the Democratic strategy firm Democracy Corps with Clinton advisers James Carville and Bob Shrum.
 
In 2002 that firm was behind a sophisticated campaign in Bolivia that helped de Lozada win his country’s elections amid ongoing social protests. It was the second time de Lozada served as Bolivia’s president.
 
Both times, after de Lozada came to office, he quickly implemented Sachs’s “shock therapy.” De Lozada attempted to engineer the restructuring of the Bolivian economy and the dismantling of the country’s state-capitalist model that had prevailed there since the 1952 Bolivian Revolution.
 
Sachs’s “shock therapy” calls for drastically cutting inflation by scrapping all subsidies, price controls, restrictions on exports, imports and private business activity. The scheme also calls for linking each restructured country’s economy with a more global currency.
 
Sachs’s remedy for Bolivia, however, had dire consequences.
 
The Sachs plan did beat the country’s inflation, but the price was continuing high unemployment, economic stagnation, labor revolt, a state of siege and deepening involvement in the international drug market, reports noted.
 
The Bolivian government imposed a state of siege in response to a wave of strikes.
 
Sachs sits on the board of the Soros-funded Institute for New Economic Thinking. This past April, Sachs keynoted INET’s annual meeting, which took place in the mountains of Bretton Woods, N.H. The gathering took place at Mount Washington Hotel, famous for hosting the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference - commonly known as the Bretton Woods conference – in 1944. That conference’s goal was to rebuild a post-World War II international monetary system. The April gathering had a similar stated goal – a global economic restructuring.
 

Besides his role at INET, Sachs, a special adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is founder and co-president of the Soros-funded Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization that says it is dedicated to ending extreme poverty and hunger.

With $50 million in capital from Soros, Millennium promotes a global economy while urging cooperation and investment from international banks and the United Nations Development Program.

 

 

            Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m. His new website is KleinOnline.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/quick-takes-news-you-may-have-missed-110/2011/09/14/

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