Tuesday, December 07, 2021

July 15, 2021 MIAMI (AP) — For the owner of a small private security company with a history of avoiding paying debts and declaring bankruptcy, it looked like a good opportunity: Find people with military experience for a job in Haiti.

Antonio “Tony” Intriago, the owner of Miami-based CTU Security, seems to have jumped at the chance, hiring more than 20 former soldiers from Colombia for the mission. Now the Colombians have been killed or captured in the aftermath of the July 7 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, and Intriago’s business faces questions about its role in the killing.

On Wednesday evening, Léon Charles, head of Haiti’s National Police, accused Intriago of traveling to Haiti numerous times as part of the assassination plot and of signing a contract while there, but provided no other details and offered no evidence.

“The investigation is very advanced,” Charles said.

A Miami security professional believes Intriago was too eager to take the job and did not push to learn details, leaving his contractors in the lurch. Some of their family members back in Colombia have said the men understood the mission was to provide protection for VIPs.

Three Colombians were killed and 18 are behind bars in Haiti, Colombia’s national police chief, Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, told reporters in Bogota. Colombian diplomats in Haiti have not had access to them.

Vargas has said that CTU Security used its company credit card to buy 19 plane tickets from Bogota to Santo Domingo for the Colombian suspects allegedly involved in the killing. One of the Colombians who was killed, Duberney Capador, photographed himself wearing a black CTU Security polo shirt.

Nelson Romero Velasquez, an ex-soldier and attorney who is advising 16 families of the Colombians held in Haiti, said Wednesday that the men had all served in the Colombian military’s elite special forces and could operate without being detected, if they had desired. He said their behavior made it clear they did not go to Haiti to assassinate the president.

“They have the ability to be like shadows,” Romero Velasquez said.

The predawn attack took place at the president’s private home. He was shot to death and his wife wounded. It’s not clear who pulled the trigger. The latest suspects identified in the sweeping investigation included a former Haitian senator, a fired government official and an informant for the U.S. government.

Miami has become a focus of the probe. The city has long been a nest of intrigue, from being a CIA recruitment center for the failed Bay of Pigs operation to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to being a key shipment point for Colombian cocaine in the 1980s. Its palm-fringed shores have also been a place of exile for people from Latin American and Caribbean countries when political winds blew against them at home, and where some plotted their returns.

Homeland Security Investigations, a U.S. agency responsible for investigating crimes that cross international borders, is also investigating the assassination, said a Department of Homeland Security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the case. He declined to provide details.

The FBI says it is “providing investigative assistance” to Haitian authorities.

Intriago, who immigrated from Venezuela over a decade ago and participated in activities in Miami opposing the leftist regime in his homeland, did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.

He likes to be around powerful people and has posted photos on social media showing himself with them, including Colombian President Ivan Duque.

Duque’s office on Monday disavowed any knowledge of Intriago, saying Duque was in Miami while campaigning for the presidency in February 2018. He posed for photographs with some of those in attendance, but Duque did not have any meeting or any ties with Intriago, the Colombian president’s office said.

Florida state records show Intriago’s company has changed names in the past dozen years: CTU Security to CS Security Solutions to Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy LLC.

CTU lists two Miami addresses on its website. One is a shuttered warehouse with no signage. The other is a small office suite under a different name. A receptionist said the CTU owner stops by once a week to collect mail.

The company website says it offers “first-class personalized products and services to law enforcement and military units, as well as industrial customers.”

But it ducked paying some of those wholesale companies for their products. Florida records show Intriago’s company was ordered by a court to pay a $64,791 debt in 2018 to a weapons and tactical gear supply company, RSR Group. Propper, a military apparel manufacturer, also sued for nonpayment.

Alexis Ortiz, a writer who worked with Intriago organizing meetings of expatriate Venezuelans in the United States, described him as a “very active, skilled collaborator.”

“He seemed nice,” Ortiz said.

Richard Noriega, who runs International Security Consulting in Miami, said he does not know Intriago personally but has been observing the developing situation. Noriega, who is also originally from Venezuela, believes Intriago was lured by the prospect of fast money and did not perform due diligence.

Putting himself in Intriago’s shoes, Noriega said: “I’m coming out of a complicated situation — of work, of income, of money. An opportunity arises. I don’t want to lose it.”

Normally, a security company would seek all the details of an operation, to determine how many people to use and what level of insurance they would need. A priority would be to plan an escape route in case things go awry, he said.

“The first thing we (security professionals) have to take into account is the evacuation. Where will they exit? That’s the first thing I do,” Noriega said.

But apparently, that planning never happened, perhaps because the Colombians, or at least some of them, thought their mission was benign.

He said it does not seem logical that if the highly trained Colombians were there to kill the president, that they would not have had an escape route. Instead, they were caught, some hiding in bushes, by the local population and police.

“It is very murky,” Noriega said.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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