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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 90,039

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Exporting Fascism: US Imperialism in Latin America

Exporting Fascism: US Imperialism in Latin America

by Mike Kuhlenbeck January 24, 2015

The United States will try to provoke anti-government sentiment and encourage the leaders of the right-wing opposition to lead a coup in Caracas.

The US sanctions against Venezuela, signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 18, 2014, resulted from charges of protestors’ rights being violated by the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro.

The sanctions allow the Obama administration to deny visas and freeze the assets of Venezuelan officials accused of violating the rights of anti-government groups. These groups, comprised mainly of the right-wing opposition, have been leading violent protests in Caracas since last February. US leaders blame the Venezuelan leadership, headed by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, for the deaths of 43 people during such demonstrations, which included both government supporters and opponents.

This charge has been widely disputed as an attempt for the American Eagle of Imperialism to dig its talons into Venezuela. As reported by Al-Jazeera, “Despite the widely accepted and facile media narrative about the government’s culpability for the origins of the protests and the ensuing violence, there is convincing evidence that Venezuela’s right-wing antagonists bear much of the blame.”

It is no secret that right-wing antagonists in Venezuela have been receiving US support. In New Eastern Outlook, journalist Caleb Maupin reported, “The so-called ‘Venezuelan opposition,’ which includes many open admirers of fascist dictators Francisco Franco and Augusto Pinochet, has received over $100 million in funding from the United States over the last twelve years.”

The US has been heavily invested in Venezuela for many years, financially and politically. By 1928, Venezuela became one of the world’s leading oil exporters. Today, it is a member of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and is third largest oil supplier for the US. For several decades, the nation’s corrupt leadership plunged the majority of the population into poverty. By 1998, that all would change with the election of Bolivarian presidential candidate of Hugo Chávez.


How the USDA and Big Food Keep the Public in the Dark

Weekend Edition January 23-25, 2015

In the Pocket of Big Meat

How the USDA and Big Food Keep the Public in the Dark


January brought implementation of the California law mandating more room for egg laying chickens. But larger cages do nothing for the suffering of hatchery chickens which are ground up alive at birth. Yes, you read that right. Until the egg industry ceases to buy its layers from hatcheries which the industry admits kills “200 million male chicks” a year, there is no such thing as an ethical egg. Hatcheries also risk human health by injecting the eggs of future egg layers with antibiotics. Yum.

Earlier this month, video obtained from a Whole Foods egg supplier, Petaluma Farms in Petaluma, CA, shows just how bad the situation is on commercial egg farms. Hens are depicted in disturbing states of sickness and suffering, despite the operation hewing to Humane Farm Animal Care standards, reports the New York Times.

While the U.S.D.A. is in charge of farm regulation– it recently announced new standards to reduce bacteria in poultry including better inspections–it shamelessly plays both sides of the food “street.” According to an expose recent in the New York Times, it uses tax dollars to help private industry develop more “profitable” animals in a semi-clandestine operation called the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center. The experiments often cause the death of mothers and offspring, reports the Times and veterinarians have objected for years.

The U.S. government’s allegiance to the meat industry at the price of consumers is also seen in its handling of “mad cow” scares. Four “mad cows” have been found in the United States in the last ten years and the government protected the identities of the Alabama and Texas ranches that produced two of them.


Lopez Obrador Back on the Battlefield

Weekend Edition January 23-25, 2015

"As Long as I am Alive, I will Continue Struggling"

Lopez Obrador Back on the Battlefield


Like an old warhorse that won’t surrender, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is back on the battlefield. On a national tour connected to the 2015 mid-term elections, the two-time presidential candidate (2006 and 2012) is once again criss-crossing Mexico with his message of hope and change. This year, however, Lopez Obrador is on the campaign stump as the chief of a new political party, the National Movement for the Regeneration of Mexico (Morena), that is competing in the polls for the first time.

In a Puerto Vallarta appearance this weekend, Lopez Obrador delivered strident denunciations of the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto, lashed out against corruption and excessive government spending, lamented the economic fortunes of common Mexicans, and criticized the leaderships of other political parties.

The left opposition leader was preceded in his remarks by words from local and state Morena activists. Lupita Joya, Morena elections promoter, asked a crowd of about 300 people gathered on Puerto Vallarta’s famous Malecon if they had lived stable and content lives in recent years. “I don’t believe any of us has had this. On the contrary, our well-being has suffered blows,” she said.

Joya decried Mexico’s international reputation for corruption as a “shameful” stigma for a hard-working people, adding that Morena intends to “give life” to the 1917 Constitution and its ideals of social rights. Morena’s goal, she declared, is nothing less than “to rescue and to regenerate Mexico.”


El Salvador: UN rights office welcomes ‘ground-breaking’ pardon of woman in abortion case

El Salvador: UN rights office welcomes ‘ground-breaking’ pardon of woman in abortion case

23 January 2015 – The United Nations human rights office today welcomed the ‘ground-breaking decision’ of the Salvadorian Legislative Assembly to pardon a young women’s 30-year sentence in an abortion case.

Carmen Guadalupe Vásquez Aldana, who suffered a miscarriage at the age of 18 after reportedly being raped, was convicted of aggravated homicide after her crime was reclassified from ‘abortion’ to ‘aggravated homicide’ during her trial. She had already served seven years of her 30-year sentence.

“The pardon was granted on 21 January following a complex judicial review by the Supreme Court of Justice, which also required a majority plenary vote by the Legislative Assembly. Guadalupe had served seven years of her 30 year sentence,” a spokesman for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in Geneva today.

Rupert Colville said Ms. Vásquez’s petition was one of 17 cases presented before the Supreme Court in 2014 requesting pardons for women who are imprisoned on similar charges. El Salvador has a complete ban on and criminalizes abortion, even when the woman's life or health is at risk or in cases of rape or incest.

“We are encouraged by the decision to pardon Guadalupe and welcome the steps taken to review each case in line with due process standards,” Mr. Colville said, reminding that several human rights mechanisms, including treaty bodies and special procedures, have regularly expressed serious concern about the total ban and criminalization of abortion in El Salvador.


Militarization and the Failed State: Honduras: the Failings of Neoliberalism

January 21, 2015

Militarization and the Failed State

Honduras: the Failings of Neoliberalism


Robando is Spanish for stealing. “Juan Robando” is the not-at-all-affectionate moniker given to the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH). January 27th marks the end of the first year of his presidency. His theft of the elections of November 2013 ensured the continuance of Honduras’ neoliberal trajectory. A trajectory previously boosted by the Agricultural Modernization Law of 1992. This law jettisoned any agrarian reforms attempted beforehand. Neoliberalism took a further leap in 2009. That’s when the ruling elite instigated the coup d’état which ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Thirteen oligarchic families led the coup with the assistance of the US State Department, at the time headed by Hilary Clinton. The Honduran Military kidnapped Zelaya using the private plane of Miguel Facussé Barjum, President of the Dinant Corporation and the richest man in Honduras. They refueled at the US’s Palmerola Military Base before whisking the deposed President to Panama.

Even though Zelaya’s administration ratified and supported CAFTA-DR in 2006 (“free” trade agreements being the neo-liberals’ favorite bludgeoning tool for maintaining the wealth of the ruling elite) he was seen as an impediment to the neoliberal agenda. This was due in part to his making several pragmatic economic decisions. For example, he raised the minimum wage and entered into agreements with peasant farmers to help them obtain land titles (which enraged Facussé). Mostly, though, it was because he was friendly to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and worked for Honduras’ entry into ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America).

The sham election of 2013 was simply an extension of the coup. Overwhelming evidence showed that JOH and his National Party (NP) stole the elections. His party engaged in various means of vote tampering, outright threats, and murders of opposition candidates and supporters. Nevertheless, his presidency was legitimized.

JOH’s campaign promised a “mano duro,” or iron fist approach, to ending the crime that ranks Honduras as the murder capital of the world. His plan to put Military Police (MP) on every street corner across the country has thus far been implemented in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula and incrementally elsewhere. But, homicides continue unabated along with the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators. Despite JOH’s and the US State Dept.’s attempts to fudge the numbers, the World Health Organization reports that homicides have increased in the past year to 103.9/100,000 people. In addition, the MP have been involved in numerous cases of intimidation, brutality, kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder.


Zuluaga in the corner: Former presidential hopeful to be questioned over peace talks spying

Zuluaga in the corner: Former presidential hopeful to be questioned over peace talks spying
Jan 21, 2015 posted by Adriaan Alsema

The leading opposition candidate in Colombia’s 2014 elections was called into questioning on Tuesday over his alleged role in the illegal spying on ongoing peace talks allegedly carried out by his campaign team. His attorney said his client might request political asylum abroad.

Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, the former candidate of the Democratic Center party of former President Alvaro Uribe, came under fierce criticism during the election campaign after prosecutors had dismantled a covert, military-run spy center that later was alleged to have provided classified information to Zuluaga’s campaign team.

The campaign worker allegedly in charge of collecting this illegal information was arrested in May, weeks before the first round of the elections, subsequently turned government witness and has claimed he was hired to set up a black propaganda campaign to discredit peace talks with rebel group FARC that had been initiated by Zuluaga’s competitor, President Juan Manuel Santos.

MORE: Zuluaga directly involved with illegal wiretapping, caught on video

Zuluaga’s son David and the candidate’s former campaign manager, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, were also called into questioning on Tuesday.


Rigoberta Menchu: Guatemalan Court Ruling on Crimes Against Humanity a 'Historic Event'

Published on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

by Common Dreams

Rigoberta Menchu: Guatemalan Court Ruling on Crimes Against Humanity a 'Historic Event'

Former police head sentenced to 90 years in prison for murder, crimes against humanity during Guatemala's decades-long civil war.

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer

In a decision human rights activists are welcoming as a victory for justice, a former police chief was sentenced Monday to 90 years in prison for murder and crimes against humanity during Guatemala's decades-long civil war.

In 1980 a group of students and indigenous people occupied the Spanish embassy in Guatemala City to protest their government's brutal actions. A fire broke out in the embassy, and, BBC continues:

according to the court, Pedro Garcia Arredondo ordered police to seal the embassy and prevent anyone from leaving.

Speaking in court, one witness said Garcia Arredondo had told his men: "No one gets out of there alive!". ...

The only ones to survive were the Spanish ambassador and activist Gregorio Yuja.

Mr Yuja was abducted from the hospital where he was being treated for burns sustained during the raid and tortured to death.


How Western Democracy Crusaders Become Foes of Democracy

January 19, 2015

The World Seen Through a “Progressive” Western Keyhole Versus a Panoramic Lens

How Western Democracy Crusaders Become Foes of Democracy


“One of Castro’s closest comrades, the Argentine-born guerilla Che Guevara, had been in Guatemala in 1954 and witnessed the coup against Arbenz. Later he told Castro why it succeeded. He said Arbenz had foolishly tolerated an open society, which the CIA penetrated and subverted, and also preserved the existing army, which the CIA turned into its instrument. Castro agreed that a revolutionary regime in Cuba must avoid those mistakes. Upon taking power, he cracked down on dissent and purged the army. Many Cubans supported his regime and were ready to defend it.” (Emphasis, jw)

From The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinder

The stark choice that confronted Castro and Guevara is faced by every nation seeking independence from the U.S., a far more powerful nation with enormous resources in terms of “soft” power, economic power and military power. The more open the society, the more opportunities for CIA-engineered regime change. This was the lesson Arbenz learned in 1954 and Mossadegh before him in 1953, lessons that brought so much pain, death and destruction to their peoples in the decades to follow.

Judged by that outcome, the Castros made the right decision and as a result have presided over a healthy, educated and secure people. The drawback was that the Empire isolated Cuba economically, stifling the possibilities of more development and a higher standard of living. The Empire wants nations charting an independent course to be politically open to the regime change schemes and NGOs of the West but economically closed, shut off from more advanced economies. It is as simple as that.

For some defiant states the sort of regime change operation used against Mossadegh and Arbenz may be the only option which the United States has. This is certainly the case for China and Russia. All out war on these countries is out of reach – although the U.S. is trying to change that. The modus operandi of the Empire for the moment is to put Russia and China on the horns of tried and true dilemma. Open up politically, permit the development of forces that favor regime change – or remain less open and face criticism, especially criticism from Western governments and Western intellectuals, including the “progressive” or liberal intellectuals. This is crucial because “progressives” are the very people who – until Obama – were most likely to oppose imperial warfare – both military and economic. The Democracy Crusade is designed to neutralize them.

This criticism from the West is one lever, and an important one, that is used to force a society to be more open in its governance than its survival permits. Let us be clear. Without a rapacious West at the doorstep, the possibilities of openness and democracy are much greater in scope. Conversely, the more rapacious the West, the more restricted are the possibilities for a besieged nation if it wishes to survive and prosper with its sovereignty intact. Without sovereignty there can be no democracy. Rule conditioned on approval by a foreign source or by a puppet regime is never self-rule. So it is never democracy.


Guatemala ex-police official convicted in 1980 embassy siege

Guatemala ex-police official convicted in 1980 embassy siege
Jan 20, 12:35 AM EST

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- A Guatemalan court has sentenced a former police official to 90 years in prison for the killings of 37 people more than three decades ago when the Spanish Embassy burned down during this Central American nation's bloody civil conflict.

The court on Monday found Pedro Garcia Arredondo, a former special investigations chief for the Sixth Commando of the National Police, guilty of homicide and crimes against humanity for ordering officers to keep anyone from leaving the diplomatic mission as it burned.

Among those killed in the blaze was Vicente Menchu, father of 1992 Nobel peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu.

Menchu applauded the ruling. "We need to create hope and justice, even if just a drop of it, and this is an example that shows we can go to the justice system and work with it," she said.

Protesters from Indian, student, peasant, labor and other groups had taken over the embassy to call attention to massacres during the 1960-96 civil war. Police surrounded and sealed the facility.


How Washington's War on Terror Has Become a War on Human Rights Defenders in Central America

How Washington's War on Terror Has Become a War on Human Rights Defenders in Central America
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 09:45
By Jeff Abbott, Truthout | News Analysis

Daniel Pascual doesn't come across as a "terrorist." The 42-year-old Kiche Maya and current president of the Comite Unidad Campesino (CUC) has been at the forefront of the movement to defend indigenous rights in Guatemala for decades, but according to a lawsuit filed in court against him by the Pro-Patriot League, "terrorism" is also among his actions.

On October 7, 2014, Pascual was accused of acts of "terrorism," "coercion," and for "Crimes Against the Constitution of Guatemala," as well as the draconian charge of "intending to commit a crime." These charges were brought against him for his continued support of the 12 Kaqchikel Communities of San Juan Sacatepezuez that are resisting the construction of the Progreso Cement factory within the indigenous community, an hour outside of the capital.

"This is an attack on the defenders of human rights," said Daniel Pascual, in a press conference. "This is not just a violation against human rights, it is an obstacle to the work we are doing in this country towards democracy and justice."

The charges were brought against Pascual by the far-right Pro-Patriot League, an organization with connections to the government, military and business interests in Guatemala. They state that their mission is to bring the "rule of law," to Guatemala so every individual can pursue "their comparative advantage."


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