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Archive for September 4th, 2010

Corridos Prohibidos – Ballads Born Of Conflict Thrive In Colombia

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September 4, 2010: Simon Romero / The New York Times – September 4, 2010

EL RETORNO, Colombia — He arrived at this town on the edge of guerrilla territory with his entourage. They included a producer, a sound man, two scantily clad dancers and a harried servant, who carried his cowboy hat, his snakeskin boots, his tequila and, of course, his bling: a bulky gold necklace emblazoned with the name of Uriel Henao.

“Uriel Henao needs to travel with certain standards,” said the 41-year-old balladeer, referring to himself in the third person, as is his custom.

“The people in these parts expect it,” he explained after a convoy of honking pickup trucks and motorcycles led by the town’s fire truck marked his arrival for a concert here in August. The rock-star welcome for Mr. Henao, who cloaks a gourmand’s paunch under a white leather jacket, was common enough. Colombians call him the king of the corridos prohibidos, or prohibited ballads, a musical genre that describes the exploits of guerrilla commanders, paramilitary warlords, lowly coca growers and cocaine kingpins.

Given the graphic depiction of the drug trade, some established radio stations in Colombia keep the songs off their playlists, sometimes fearful of violent reprisals that might result from glorifying one side or another in the country’s four-decade war. “We’d rather take a pass on playing the corridos prohibidos,” said Hernando Galviz, a director of programming at Caracol Radio, a top broadcaster in Bogotá, the capital. “Stepping into that realm could be compromising and possibly open our operations to conflict,” he said. “If others want to play these songs, let them take the risk.”

Scholars say Colombia’s prohibited ballads descend from Mexico’s narcocorridos, the accordion-driven songs that mythologize Mexican drug traffickers. While Mexico’s drug ballads have existed at least since the 1930s, the genre seems to have taken root in Colombia about three decades ago when Mexican groups like Los Tigres del Norte became popular in this country. The malleable genre has spread to several other Latin American nations, with some changes along the way. Artists like Guatemala’s Oscar Ovidio even perform Christian-themed narcocorridos that proselytize by telling the story of bad people who find redemption, said Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta, a narcocorrido scholar at San Diego State University in California.

Colombia’s prohibited ballads are far less innocent. About 600 bands in the country play them, with names like Jackal and New Texas Group. Their songs boast titles like “Secret Airstrip,” Coca Growers of Putumayo” and “The Snitch,” reflecting aspects of Colombia’s resilient drug trade. The genre has developed into a form of oral history of Colombia’s long internal war involving guerrilla groups, paramilitary factions and government forces.

“Ballad of the Castaños” describes brothers who led exceptionally brutal paramilitary death squads. “Betrayal in the Jungle” recounts how a guerrilla defector killed his commander, before bringing the dead man’s severed hand to the authorities as proof. Supporters of the ballads say they provide an outlet in Colombia’s folk culture, especially in urban slums and remote rural areas, for subjects that some would rather shun.

The songs also serve as an uncomfortable reminder that Colombia, despite making recent strides against large cartels and drug-trafficking guerrillas, still vies with Peru as the world’s largest producer of coca, the plant used to make cocaine. “The corridos are most popular in hot zones because the songs tell stories of what happens,” said Alirio Castillo, a leading producer of the ballads who accompanied Mr. Henao here. “It’s here where gun battles break out, killing four guerrillas or four soldiers.”

Performers enjoy a broad following in the backlands where the cocaine trade and the private armies that draw strength from it persist. One such place is Guaviare, a southern department, or province, of sprawling jungles interrupted by the occasional town like this one.

The Colombian Army’s Black Hawk helicopters buzz constantly in the skies above El Retorno and the nearby provincial capital, San José del Guaviare, transporting counterinsurgency teams tasked with hunting down guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Latin America’s largest rebel group. Reminders of the war’s horrors in Guaviare are evident. Indigenous Nukak-Makú nomads, uprooted from their lands, wander up and down dusty roads in San José, begging for food. Posters describe rewards for turning in FARC commanders like Géner García Molina, better known by his nom de guerre, John 40.

In a twist illustrating the music’s appeal here, John 40, one of the FARC’s top cocaine traffickers, has also recorded his own subversive corridos with titles like “Gringo Bandit” and “Damn Government.” A passage from one song refers to Manuel Marulanda, the deceased FARC leader nicknamed Tirofijo, or Sureshot. “When he had them in his cross hair,” John 40 sings in the ballad, “the trigger spoke. That is why they named him Señor Tirofijo.”

Other songs exalt the foot soldiers and peons of the country’s long drug war, like Mr. Henao’s “Ballad of the Coca Grower,” which describes how the rural poor earn more money cultivating coca than they do working as day laborers. “The problem is not ours, the problem comes from over there,” Mr. Henao sang before a crowd of several hundred at a concert here that began after midnight, referring to demand for Colombian cocaine in the United States. “We harvest it, and the gringos put it in their brains.”

People in the audience belted out each word of Mr. Henao’s ballads in unison. Rum flowed freely in plastic cups. Fistfights broke out, upturning tables and chairs. Soldiers patrolled the scene, pushing back drunken men running up for a close glimpse of Mr. Henao’s miniskirt-clad dancers. Live performances are the bread and butter of Colombia’s ballad singers, since pirated CDs of their songs have eroded their income. In Mr. Henao’s case, El Retorno’s municipal government paid for his concert here, plus expenses for him and his crew.

During the concert, even some of the soldiers keeping the peace mouthed the words to Mr. Henao’s scathing anti-establishment song, “They’re Rats,” in which he lambastes Colombia’s politicians as “a plague” for a history of corruption that keeps millions in the country mired in poverty.

Mr. Henao finally finished performing as dawn broke. The Black Hawks taking off for their missions in Guaviare’s jungles murmured in the distance. Mr. Henao smiled as he and his crew passed around a tequila bottle to commemorate the concert. “Colombia needs people like me to tell it the truth about what takes place in this country,” he said. “The truth sells.”

Uriel Henao: El Gran Mafioso

Uriel Henao: Gotera Fresca

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Perdóneme, señorita, ¿puedo tomar otra cerveza, por favor?   🙂  All fun aside, the CIA controls the cocaine in Columbia just as they do the opium in Afghanistan… ¿Entiendes?!

Uriel Henao: Los Coqueros del Putumayo

If I could only understand what the hell he is saying… Ironically, and somehow inherently, we all actually do

CIA Created Crack Epidemic

And then Webb was promptly murdered by our criminal shadow government.  The real America, folks… – SJH

Evidence Begins To Indicate Gary Webb Was Murdered

Link to original article below…

BP Crews Lifting Key Device From Gulf Seabed Face Another Delay

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September 4, 2010: Harry R. Weber / Associated Press via Yahoo News – September 4, 2010

ON THE GULF OF MEXICO – Icelike crystals had formed Saturday on the 300-ton blowout preventer that failed to stop oil from spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, forcing BP crews to wait before they could safely hoist the device to the surface.

The hydrates — which caused the oil giant problems when the company was trying to contain the oil spilling into the Gulf — need to melt because they are combustible. Crews must take care not to damage the device, which is considered a key piece of evidence in the spill investigation.

“We don’t want to lift it and risk an uncontrolled release of gas because that’s inherently dangerous,” Darin Hilton, the captain of the Helix Q4000 vessel that’s raising the device with a giant crane, told The Associated Press. The AP was the only news outlet with a print reporter and photographer on board the ship. The device would be lifted the final 500 feet to the surface once it was assured the hydrates had dissipated. It was not an unexpected delay, Hilton said. Before the stop, it had been painstakingly raised at a rate of about 450 feet to 500 feet per hour.

Marvin Morrison, BP’s wellsite leader aboard the Q4000, said workers aren’t just waiting for the hydrates to melt normally. Men in red jumpsuits and white hardhats could be seen on the deck using enormous wrench-like tools to turn dials on pipes that were dousing the blowout preventer with warm seawater to speed up the melting. Hydrates form when gases such as methane mix with water under high pressure and cold temperatures. The crystals caused BP PLC problems in May, when the company tried to place a 100-ton, four-story dome over the leak to contain it.

One man on the deck in a white cage with glass windows is using a joystick to guide the crane holding the blowout preventer upward. It will ultimately be raised through a large hatch in the underbelly of the Q4000 up to the top deck, where it will then be placed on what is essentially a huge, metal holding device called a shipping skid. The device likely wouldn’t be hoisted onto the vessel until sometime Saturday evening. There are 137 people aboard the ship, including FBI agents who are waiting to take possession of the device after its mile-long journey. It will eventually be taken to a NASA facility in Michoud, La., to be analyzed.

The 50-foot device was detached from the wellhead Friday afternoon. Another blowout preventer had successfully been placed on the blown-out well. Officials wanted a new blowout preventer to deal with any pressure that is caused when a relief well BP has been drilling intersects the blown-out well. Once that intersection occurs sometime after Labor Day, BP is expected to use mud and cement to plug the blown-out well for good from the bottom.

The April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers and led to 206 million gallons of oil spewing from BP’s undersea well. Investigators know the explosion was triggered by a bubble of methane gas that escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding quickly as it burst through several seals and barriers before igniting.

But they don’t know exactly how or why the gas escaped. And they don’t know why the blowout preventer didn’t seal the well pipe at the sea bottom after the eruption, as it was supposed to. While the device didn’t close — or may have closed partially — hearings have produced no clear picture of why it didn’t plug the well.

Lawyers will be watching closely, as hundreds of lawsuits have been filed over the oil spill. Future liabilities faced by a number of corporations could be riding on what the analysis of the blowout preventer shows.

Oil Madness

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: A couple of things to note here: First of all, why is AP the only media outlet allowed on the research vessel? Secondly, as with Ground Zero after 9/11, the Feds are wisking away all the evidence from the crime scene with no independent investigation to verify its findings. Third and certainly not the least, this disastrous false flag crime against humanity is far from over, folks… Watch the video, did it all just disappear? Meanwhile, 90% of all oysters are found dead in Pass Christian, Mississippi… – SJH

Up to 90% Of Oysters Dead In DMRs Reef Sample

Link to original article below…