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February 2, 2006

Harrytho 2/2 Natalee Holloway Commentary

Topics: Natalee Holloway

In this evening's editorial, as a result of an email, I will expose an area of Aruba that has yet to be searched ... whatsoever ... for Natalee Holloway. As incredible as this reads, one area has been omitted from all searches.

In April 2000, the United States entered into an agreement with the Kingdom of the Netherlands to acquire what are referred to as Forward Operating Locations (FOL).

In acquiring these locations, the US Southern Command (Southcom) created a Northern Drug Source Zone FOL at Reina Beatrix International Airport on Aruba and Hato International Airport on Curacao.
Defense Department and Customs Service aircraft have been operating at Curaçao's Hato International Airport and Aruba's Reina Beatrix International Airport since April 1999.

The Curaçao section of this Caribbean FOL is to support two large, two medium and six small aircraft, with as many as 200 to 230 temporarily deployed operations and maintenance personnel. The Curaçao site is currently hosting Air National Guard F-16s, Navy P-3 and E-2 Airborne Early Warning planes, U.S. Air Force E-3 AWACS and other U.S. aircraft. The presence in Aruba will be smaller, with two medium and three small aircraft, about fifteen permanently assigned staff and twenty to twenty-five temporarily deployed operations and maintenance personnel.

A U.S. Air Force "Site Activation Task Force" identified some of the improvements that would be required for the FOL's long-term operation. These included upgrades and pavement improvements to ramps and taxiways and construction of maintenance and operations facility.

Under an interim agreement with the Netherlands, and permanent agreements with El Salvador and Ecuador, the US is authorized unrestricted airfield access only to conduct counterdrug detection and monitoring operations. Each agreement is for a 10-year period and, if both parties agree, the agreements may be renewed for five-year periods.

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense spokesman Lt. Col. Rhynedance reiterated that the FOLs are not US bases. He noted that the host governments maintain sovereign control over the airports and the national airspace used by US forces. Additional host-nation control over these operations is exercised by embarking a country representative on a US aircraft whenever the aircraft overflies a nation's airspace. The representative serves as the communications link between the aircraft and national law enforcement authorities on the ground and in the air.

Other important tenets of each agreement cited in the GAO report are:

The host-nation authorities have overall responsibility for air traffic control and the physical security of the airfield.
The US will maintain these facilities and provide physical security for its aircraft.
Airfield access is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Requirements of FOL: U.S. Forward Operating Locations (F.O.L.) role on Aruba

Each site must be night and all weather capable with an air traffic control facility, an 8,000-foot runway with the capability to support small, medium and heavy aircraft. Each FOL must also have refueling and crash/fire rescue capabilities and minimum ramp, hangar, office, maintenance, and storage space.

The presence of the U.S. FOL base at Reina Beatrix International was received with mixed emotions by the Aruban community. The uncertainty of the "real reason" for this airbase was well debated among Arubans. When F-16's started making low passes over the island and the Aruban airport it only helped to make even the least skeptical believers that this was more of a military presence then a counter-drug operation. The Aruban people demanded these flights to be stopped as they made unbelievable loud noises scaring people specially over Oranjestad.




Others found it amusing because not even the Dutch military used (or at least VERY rarely used) these types of fighter aircrafts over or near the island of Aruba. On several occasions the local airport has been put on high alert because FOL aircrafts came in with technical a/o engine problems and this had caused some concern among local authorities because Reina Beatrix Intl. receives a lot of commercial aircrafts arriving/departing with tourists. Other
fears by the Aruban people was also a counter attack by the Colombian drug smugglers or the guerilla. However, since the unfortunate 9/11 incident in the U.S. there has been a steady decrease in the FOL presence at Aruba. Perhaps in part because they are building a large facility on the sister island Curacao and their operation on that island has steadily been increased.

Aruba is covered by the United States-Netherlands extradition treaty of 1980.

Incredible as this may read, none of the cable news networks, to the best of my knowledge, even mentioned an American military base on Aruba. Also, what was never mentioned is that Natalee Holloway could be on this base.
From this base, Natalee Holloway could have escaped detection and returned to the United States, if such a plan existed in order to extract her in some clandestine mission.

All this research about ships and the airport screening may have been wasted. Natalee Holloway had a ready made escape route if she was alive and wanted to escape her mother. So we have three theories on the base. One, Natalee just stumbles onto the base with a lover and something unfortunate happens (a possibility); two, it is part of a coverup to create a distraction while other clandestine activities having to do with Venezuela are going on (unlikely - why Natalee), or three, Natalee via a friend that knew of the base planned her escape from her mother via a private plane (not probable but possible).

Map of Aruba (Click to see larger image)


Note the airport just to the southeast of Oranjestad. Palm Beach is just north of Oranjestad.

A last juxtaposition involves the fact that Hugo Chavez was nationalizing the oil fields in Venezuela ... in particular the oil fields of Chevron ... at the same time that the search for Natalee Hollaway was ongoing. Likewise, in that same time period, Hushang Ansary was moving into the financial sector of the Netherlands Antilles. Are these three coincidental ... probably, but this FOL with readily available American clandestine activity certainly stirs the pot of speculation. After all, Chavez did accuse the United States of planning an invasion of Venezuela in order to capture the oil fields around Maracaibo. Maybe he was not bluffing!

And while we're on the topic of Mr. Chavez, (a side step from Natalee coverage - but we all love an entertaining mystery) Chavez has expeled a US official for spying. 03/02/2006:

Venezuela has expelled the US navy attache in Caracas, with President Hugo Chavez accusing the officer of spying and setting off new diplomatic hostilities with the United States.
The US government denied that the diplomat had been involved in espionage, and the expulsion brought ties between the two countries to a new low.

Mr Chavez identified the expelled attache as Commander John Correa.

"John Correa has to leave the country immediately," Mr Chavez, a virulent critic of the United States, said in a speech at a Caracas theatre to mark the seventh anniversary of his coming to power.

"We have decided, in diplomatic terms, to declare him persona non gratia, in plain Spanish that means to throw out of the country, an officer at the US military mission for spying," Mr Chavez said.

The diplomatic expulsion worsens already rocky relations between the United States and Venezuela, the world's fifth largest oil exporter and a top supplier of crude to the US market.

Mr Chavez said the full US embassy military mission would be expelled from Venezuela if authorities caught any of its officers spying.

US reacts

The US has dismissed the allegations.

"We will respond through diplomatic channels," US State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said, referring to a January 30 letter the United States received regarding Mr Correa.

"None of the US attaches was or is engaged in inappropriate activities," the official said.

Mr Chavez, an staunch ally of Cuba, has become a voice for regional opposition to US free market policies and has often accused Washington of trying to overthrow him since he survived a brief coup in April 2002.

US officials reject his charges and say the leftist leader has become an authoritarian at home and a threat to regional stability by using Venezuela's oil wealth to meddle in the political affairs of his South American neighbours.

Venezuelan authorities said last week they had "confidential evidence" that US Embassy staff were involved with a group of Venezuelan military officers accused of passing state secrets to the US Defence Department.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington at about the same time that Mr Chavez announced the expulsion of the US naval attache in Caracas for spying, Mr Rumsfeld said the emergence of populist leaders through elections in Latin American was "worrisome."

"You've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money," he said.

"He's a person who was elected legally just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally."

"And then consolidated power, and now of course is working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr Morales and others," Mr Rumsfeld said, referring to Evo Morales, Bolivia's new socialist president.

Hoping over to Alabama, there's another interesting anomaly going on - another drug bust:
Marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine are drugs that were the target of a 4-month undercover operation by a narcotics task force in west Alabama.

The Tuscaloosa Narcotics Task Force members kicked off a massive drug dealer roundup at around 5:30 Thursday morning.

The 4-month investigation involved undercover street and house buys leading up to detectives going after almost 55 suspects. So far detectives have at least 15 of the suspects in custody. Two turned themselves in when they heard warrants had been issued for their arrests.

Narcotics officers said they're confident that they will get the other suspects.

"We're going to use several different methods. We'll go to residences we know of if we have street addresses. If we know where they work, we'll go get them at work if they won't turn themselves in. We'll keep trying and keep trying. We'll go wherever we think we're going to find them," said Captain Jeff Snyder, of the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force.

The suspects are being charged with possession and distribution or trafficking of cocaine, meth, marijuana and medical pills.

Just anomalies, probably, but we don't know for sure. Alabama has been arresting a lot of drug dealers lately. Could these arrests be connected to the activities of the Dutch investigators in Alabama? Another day, another mystery to go along with the mystery of Natalies disappearance.

Posted by Richard at February 2, 2006 8:44 PM

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