Friday, February 26, 2010

Croatia to Bolivia, via Ireland ?

liked guns, and guns finished him -at 24.

fought and killed in Croatia, became hero of Right in Hungary, his death in Bolivia may have been rough justice, but it was justice none the less.

Murder as a multi-national business

PEOPLE are still asking how the Israeli hit-team in Dubai was able to use three Irish passports as well as British ones, but some people are also asking about an "Irish connection" with a right-wing separatist conspiracy in BOLIVIA.

Almost a year ago. on April 16, 2009, a young Irishman called Michael Dwyer was shot dead in a Santa Cruz hotel room by Bolivian police pursuing plotters responsible for a bomb attack on a cardinal, and allegedly planning to kill President Evo Morales. Santa Cruz is the wealthiest province in Bolivia, with big natural gas resources. Right-wing rebels want to detach it from the Morales regime's plans to help the country's indigenous poor, or to overthrow the regime altogether.

The Bolivian government is also struggling with the multinational companies like Shell Petroleum over its efforts to make the country's resources serve the people.

Before he went to Bolivia, Michael Dwyer was employed by a company called Integrated Risk Management Services (IRMS), based at Naas, Co.Kildare, which among other things works with the Garda providing security for Shell's Corrib gas project pipeline and the landfall at Glengad beach in Erris, County Mayo, which attracts environmental protests. Complaints have been made about security men not wearing proper identification, and it was said Michael Dwyer worked as a team leader without the appropriate license from the Private Security Authority.

There have been complaints too about rough treatment of protesters, and the sinking of a campaigner's fishing boat, though of course the company denies any part in this (and the incident happened after Michael Dwyer's death in Bolivia).

IRMS has links with security work in other countries, which involves providing armed personnel. Michael Dwyer had gone to Bolivia for a training course in armed guard and bodyguard work, and his parents insist their son had no interest in politics, though judging by various photographs that have appeared he was certainly interested in firearms.

Dwyer may have been influenced by another IRMS employee, Tibor Revesz, a founder of the Szekler Legion, right-wing Hungarian nationalists who say they are fighting for autonomy for Magyars in Romania. An ad on their website asked for volunteers to help the fight for Santa Cruz. On November 17 2008, Dwyer reportedly travelled out with Revesz, and two other Hungarians, both former IRMS staff. Another man he had met in Ireland, Elod Toaso, was also arrested in Bolivia.

But the leader of the group, also shot dead in the hotel incident, was Eduardo Rózsa-Flores, who was born in Bolivia but spent much of his younger life in Hungary, where his father had come from. He was even a Young Communist at university. But after this he took up journalism, beginning with the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina, before using his Spanish fluency to send items to the BBC Spanish service, and then going to work for the Barcelona paper La Vanguardia , as a correspondent from Eastern Europe.

About this time he also joined Opus Dei, the right-wing Catholic society, having previously been a member of the Budapest Jewish community (his mother was Jewish) and later he was to announce his conversion to Islam, possibly with a view to work in Iraq. By then he had changed his trade from mere journalism.

Reporting the war in ex-Yugoslavia, he volunteered to join Croatian forces, raising an "international brigade" of a hundred volunteers and mercenaries, who fought at Osijek and Vukovar. Franjo Tudjman promoted him major, and he went on to become a colonel,of "special forces".

Christian Wurtenberg, a Swiss journalist,decided to join Flores' outfit to investigate rumours of drug and gun-trafficking, and to get the low-down on fascists and mercenaries, and who was paying them. Unfortunately, after a few weeks among them, he let a Spanish TV reporter in on what he was doing, and said he would soon be going back to Switzerland.

Days later, the Spanish reporter, Julio Cesar Alonso and a Portuguese televeision reporter, Joso Pinto Amaral, were taken from Zagreb's Hotel Intercontinental to the headquarters of the Croatian secret police, and interrogated. Flores then said there was a Swiss mole in his organisation who was going to be "got rid of".

The reporters travelled to Osijek hoping to tip off Wurtenburg, only to be met by Flores who told them with a grin "By the way, we've got a loss - Christian. The Swiss problem has been sorted out." According to the autopsy at the Osijek hospital, Christian Wurtenberg "was killed on 6 January 1992 as a result of mechanical action with a blunt weapon and later strangulation with hands and rope". Flores claimed later that Wurtenberg was murdered by "Chetniks" (Serbs) but strangling was not their usual method -prisoners more often had their throats cut.

Wurtenberg's computer went missing and his diary was returned to his family with vital pages ripped out. On 13 January, British photographer Paul Jenks and a colleaugue Hassan Amini, visited Flores' unit o ask questions about what had happened to Wurtenberg. The man they met was Stephen "Frenchie" Hannock who, in response to Jenk's persistent questions said "who knows ... who cares. I dont, for one and I know a lot more than you."

Four days later Paul Jenks was shot through the head at the front line in Briest, near Osijek. Officially he was killed by a Serbian sniper hidden some 900 metres away in the Serbian held village of Tenski-Antunovac, but the indications were that the range was far shorter than 900 metres, and the bullet did not enter his head from the direction of the sniper. It's thought that Flores' unit had offered to escort the British photographer to the front, then shot him at close range. A BBC TV documentary sought to establish that the identity of his suspected killer was known and that he was still at liberty.

"Germany's Secret Balkan's Plan" SEARCHLIGHT July 1992
Journalists from across Europe have wanted to lift the lid on the freelance killers operating in Croatia. For Christian Wurtenberg and Paul Jenks, ...

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Eduardo Flores went on to write books and become a celebrity on the Hungarian Right, and has had glowing obituaries from people like the fascist Jobbik organisation, which has also been organising in Britain. The Bolivian police may not have smashed the conspiracy yet. But perhaps they have achieved a sort of justice for Paul Jenks and Christian Wurtenburg

The Irish government has demanded an international inquiry into the death of Michael Dwyer. But on November 20, Bolivian organisations delivered a letter to the Irish Foreign Affairs ministry in Dublin, asking for a full public investigation into the work of Integrated Risk Management Services, and rightwing terrorist groups in Europe, and the connections they have with our country, Bolivia."

There was a time when friends of mine who were entitled to both British and Irish passports said the Irish passport was very handy for travelling in places where Brits were regarded as former colonialists, even possible spies or mercenaries. Alas, when cluster bombs have been shipped through "neutral" Shannon, and Irishmen turned up in decidedly sinister company, it may no longer have an advantage or be greeted with the same friendly welcome.

Suspect awaiting extradition


POLICE in Brazil have arrested an Irishman suspected of being linked to an alleged terror plot against Bolivia’s President Evo Morales. Security services detained him on an international arrest warrant issued by Bolivian authorities as he boarded a flight to Portugal.

Yesterday the man was being held in jail in Brazil awaiting extradition to Bolivia.
He was named locally as Muhammed Jasser and described as an Irish passport holder.
Reports from Bolivia last night suggested authorities believe he was Iraqi-born and may hold dual Irish-Iraqi nationality.

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