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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 87,389

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State, ‘paramilitaries’ responsible for most of Colombia’s human rights violations: Report

State, ‘paramilitaries’ responsible for most of Colombia’s human rights violations: Report
Sep 22, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin

The vast majority of human rights violations in Colombia last year were committed by paramilitaries and government forces, according to a conflict analysis NGO.

In the report published this summer by the Center for Research and Public Education (CINEP), the group registered a total of 1,332 human rights violations against Colombian civilians last year.

Groups that had emerged from officially defunct paramilitary organization AUC were the biggest offenders, responsible for some 44% of the violations, while state forces, including the military and police, were responsible for 43%. The FARC and other guerrilla groups committed about 15% of the violations.

Groups like the Urabeños or the Aguilas Negras were suspected of carrying out the vast majority of homicides and threats, while the police received most complaints over assault.


Peru Plans to Abolish Iconic Amazon Indigenous Reserve, NGO Claims

Peru Plans to Abolish Iconic Amazon Indigenous Reserve, NGO Claims
Written by David Hill
Friday, 19 September 2014 16:31

Plans are afoot to abolish a reserve for vulnerable indigenous peoples in Peru’s Amazon in order to exploit massive gas deposits and facilitate Christian evangelization, according to a report by Lima-based NGO Perú Equidad - Centerfor Public Policies and Human Rights. The report, La Batalla por “los Nanti,” argues that Peruvian state institutions, gas company Pluspetrol, and the Dominican mission have adopted a series of behind-the-scene tactics intended ultimately to “dissolve” or “extinguish” the reserve.

Established in 1990, what is now called the Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti and Others’ Reserve (KNNOR), is officially intended to protect the lives and territories of indigenous peoples living in what Peruvian law calls “isolation” and “initial contact.”

Although almost 25 percent of the KNNOR has been included within a gas concession run by Pluspetrol for over 10 years, Perú Equidad believes the reserve now stands to be abolished altogether in order to facilitate operations in the concession as well as open up new areas outside of it. Pluspetrol’s concession, called “Lot 88”, includes the San Martín and Cashiriari gas fields to the north and south of the River Camisea. The Camisea gas project, as operations are known, is Peru’s largest ever energy development scheme.

“There is an obvious strategy to dissolve the reserve, which will mainly benefit Pluspetrol,” the report reads. “State sectors interested in expanding the gas frontier are participating actively. So too is the Dominican mission, for which the reserve is an obstacle to missionizing.”


Terror on Embassy Row: The assassination of Orlando Letelier

Sun Sep 21, 2014 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Terror on Embassy Row: The assassination of Orlando Letelier

by Denise Oliver Velez
for Daily Kos.


Those who escaped being massacred, disappeared, or tortured in Chile became part of a global resistance and protest movement. One major center of that resistance was the Chilean ex-pat community in Washington, D.C., home to former members of the Allende regime and their families.
I was living in D.C. in the mid-'70s, working on building a Pacifica radio station, WPFW-FM. Pacifica already had a Washington News Bureau there, and the bureau head was a Chilean-American, Paz Cohen. One of the volunteers at the bureau, who was helping to build the new station was José, a young Chilean, son of the former ambassador to the U.S., Orlando Letelier, one of the most vocal and visible leaders of the resistance.

On the morning of September 21, 1976, Pacifica staff and volunteers were already at work. Paz had planned to catch a ride into downtown from Adams Morgan, with her friend Orlando, but stayed home with a head cold.

At 9:35 AM the car, driven by Orlando Letelier, carrying his co-worker Ronni Moffitt and her husband, Michael, blew up at Sheridan Circle, in the city's Embassy Row. Orlando and Ronni were killed, and Michael was injured. It was a political assassination.

We got the news right away and listened in pain, horror and disbelief. The rest is part of history, a history with a story that continues up to this day and beyond.


Germany’s African Genocide

Weekend Edition September 19-21, 2014
The Nambia Legacy

Germany’s African Genocide


How outrageous, how heartbreaking, how truly grotesque! Windhoek City – the capital of Namibia – is, at one extreme full of flowers and Mediterranean-style villas, and at the other, it is nothing more than a tremendous slum without water or electricity.

And in between, there is the town center– with its Germanic orderly feel, boasting ‘colonial architecture’, including Protestant churches and commemorative plaques mourning those brave German men, women and children, those martyrs, who died during the uprisings and wars conducted by local indigenous people.

The most divisive and absurd of those memorials is the so-called “Equestrian Monument”, more commonly known as “The Horse” or under its German original names, Reiterdenkmal and Südwester Reiter (Rider of South-West). It is a statue inaugurated on 27 January 1912, which was the birthday of the German emperor Wilhelm II. The monument “honors the soldiers and civilians that died on the German side of the Herero and Namaqua ‘War’ of 1904–1907’”.

That ‘war’ was not really a war; it was nothing more than genocide, a holocaust.

And Namibia was a prelude to what German Nazis later tried to implement on European soil.

A European expert working for the UN, my friend, speaks, like almost everyone here, passionately, but without daring to reveal her name:

“The first concentration camps on earth were built in this part of Africa… They were built by the British Empire in South Africa and by Germans here, in Namibia. Shark Island on the coast was the first concentration camp in Namibia, used to murder the Nama people, but now it is just a tourist destination – you would never guess that there were people exterminated there. Here in the center of Windhoek, there was another extermination camp; right on the spot where “The Horse” originally stood.”


Colombian senator charges Álvaro Uribe with ties to drug lords and death squads

Colombian senator charges Álvaro Uribe with ties to drug lords and death squads

Iván Cepeda, son of a murdered communist leader, wants ex-president’s past to be investigated

Elizabeth Reyes L. Bogotá 18 SEP 2014 - 17:46 CEST

It was not the first time that Colombia’s elected representatives had argued over the nearly three decades of paramilitary activity in the country. But for more than nine hours on Wednesday, Congress focused exclusively on the alleged ties between Senator Álvaro Uribe (president between 2002 and 2010), the paramilitaries and the drug world.

The debate was initiated by a left-wing senator, Iván Cepeda, who is one of Uribe’s biggest critics.

Uribe is himself the most vocal opponent of President Juan Manuel Santos, and he continues to enjoy significant support among Colombians, especially those who defend a tough stance against the FARC guerrillas.

Uribe has long criticized Santos for the latter’s ongoing negotiations with the armed group in Havana. During his own presidency, he made the fight against armed groups, including FARC and the smaller guerrilla group, ELN, a national priority.

Uribe showed up in Congress at the beginning of the debate, but walked out before Iván Cepeda took the podium, arguing that he would present his evidence in the Supreme Court rather than in the legislative chamber.


Washington Snubs Bolivia on Drug Policy Reform, Again

Washington Snubs Bolivia on Drug Policy Reform, Again

Bolivia has found a way to cut coca production without sacrificing the leaf's cultural importance or cracking down on small growers. But Washington's not having it.

By Zoe Pearson and Thomas Grisaffi, September 19, 2014.

In Bolivia, licensed growers can legally cultivate a limited quantity of coca—a policy that has actually reduced overall
production. But because it doesn’t fit the U.S. drug war model, the policy has raised hackles in Washington. (Photo:
Thomas Grisaffi / FPIF)

Once again, Washington claims Bolivia has not met its obligations under international narcotics agreements. For the seventh year in a row, the U.S. president has notified Congress that the Andean country “failed demonstrably” in its counter-narcotics efforts over the last 12 months. Blacklisting Bolivia means the withholding of U.S. aid from one of South America’s poorest countries.

The story has hardly made the news in the United States, and that is worrisome. While many countries in the hemisphere call for drug policy reform and are willing to entertain new strategies in that vein, it remains business-as-usual in the United States.

The UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), meanwhile, seems to think that Bolivia is doing a great job, lauding the government’s efforts to tackle coca production (coca is used to make cocaine) and cocaine processing for the past three years. The Organization of American States (OAS) is also heaping praise on Bolivia, calling Bolivia’s innovative new approach to coca control an example of a “best practice” in drug policy.

According to the UNODC, Bolivia has decreased the amount of land dedicated to coca plants by about 26 percent from 2010-2013. Approximately 56,800 acres are currently under production


Colombia: Chocó indigenous leaders assassinated

Colombia: Chocó indigenous leaders assassinated
Submitted by WW4 Report on Sat, 09/20/2014 - 03:45

The president of the Indigenous Organization of Chocó (OICH), Ernelio Pacheco Tunay, was assassinated Sept. 12 at the Embera Dobida indigenous pueblo of Bacal, Alto Baudó municipality, in Colombia's Pacific coastal department of Chocó. Pacheco was detained by armed men while traveling in a boat along the Río Nauca; his body was found nearby several hours later. The following day, Miguel Becheche Zarco, president of the Association of Indigenous Cabildos of Alto Baudo (ACIAB), was similarly taken by armed men while traveling along the same river; his body was found near the community of La Playita. Local indigenous leaders are pressing authorities for action, and protest that no investigators from the Fiscalía, Colombia's attorney general, have yet arrived in Alto Baudó. The municipality is the scene of ongoing conflict between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Urabeños paramilitary group. Both groups have threatened indigenous leaders for demanding their right to non-involvement in the conflict. (Radio Caracol, Sept. 16; communique from indigenous organizations, online at Choco.org, Sept. 15; El Colombiano, El Espectador, Sept. 14)


(Short article, no more at link.)

Case of American jailed in Cuba back in US court

Source: Associated Press

Case of American jailed in Cuba back in US court
Posted: Friday, September 19, 2014 4:11 pm | Updated: 8:02 pm, Fri Sep 19, 2014.
Associated Press |

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government subcontractor who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over lost wages and legal fees, his attorney told an appeals court Friday.
Alan Gross was working in Cuba as a government subcontractor when he was arrested in 2009. He has since lost income and racked up legal fees, his attorney Barry Buchman told the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A lawyer for the government argued the claims are based on his detention in Cuba, making him ineligible to sue.


A lower-court judge previously threw out Gross' lawsuit against the government in 2013, saying federal law bars lawsuits against the government based on injuries suffered in foreign countries. Gross' lawyers appealed.

Gross was detained in December 2009 while working to set up Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. government's U.S. Agency for International Development, which does work promoting democracy in the communist country. It was his fifth trip to Cuba to work with Jewish communities on setting up Internet access that bypassed local censorship. Cuba considers USAID's programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government, and Gross was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

On Friday, Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson asked a lawyer for the government, Alan Burch, if USAID was still sending people to Cuba. He responded he didn't know. A USAID spokesman declined to comment Friday on the case.

Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/national/case-of-american-jailed-in-cuba-back-in-us-court/article_1e4787cb-aab9-58d6-bee1-942333e92057.html

How Uruguay's retiring President redefined his country's views on wealth

How Uruguay's retiring President redefined his country's views on wealth
Stephanie Nolen
RICÓN DEL CERRO, Uruguay — The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Sep. 19 2014, 6:11 PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Sep. 19 2014, 10:37 PM EDT

The President seems wistful. He flings open the wooden door of his farmhouse, squints into the early-morning light, mutters a gruff greeting. Two steps back into the gloomy interior and he sinks into the seat of power: an ancient black vinyl chair from which he does much of the governing of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

Jose Alberto Mujica has only a few months left as the head of this country. The constitution prohibits him from consecutive terms; once he hands over power, he plans to grow flowers, and teach young people to farm. At 79, after a life packed full of drama, he is due for a rest. He has accomplishments to savour.

And yet he leaves his country’s highest office without having accomplished all he had hoped. The President sees himself as a fighter in an epic struggle – for justice, for equality, for liberty – and that fight, by any measure, is not won. So, Mr. Mujica admits with a shrug, he may keep one hand in the game of regional diplomacy.

He retires as a man of some influence, a perhaps surprising amount for the leader of a nation of 3.3 million people tucked into the southern tip of Latin America, its very name a frequent synonym for obscurity. But in the course of Mr. Mujica’s term, Uruguay has been the subject of unprecedented international interest.


Will Col. Inocente Orlando Montano face criminal trial? (El Salvador death squad priest killer)

20 August 2013 Last updated at 19:08 ET
Will Col Inocente Orlando Montano face criminal trial?
By Nina Lakhani

San Vicente, El Salvador

Coffins of the murdered priests; and Gen Montano in 1989 and as he is today Mourners at the
coffins of the murdered priests in 1989; and Col Montano then and now

The commander of one of El Salvador's notorious death squads, active during the 1979-92 civil war, could soon become the first top-ranking Salvadoran officer to face trial for murder. But if so, he will be tried in Spain, not his own country, where an amnesty protects even those guilty of atrocities against civilians.

Inocente Orlando Montano was quietly working in a sweet factory in Massachusetts in May 2011, when he and 19 others were indicted by a Spanish court for their alleged role in the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests, along with their housekeeper and her teenage daughter.

Five of the priests - outspoken critics of El Salvador's military and suspected of being sympathisers of left-wing rebels - were Spanish. Spain asked for Montano to be extradited - and soon afterwards he was indicted by the US for having lied about his entry date and military past to obtain papers giving him the right to work in the US.

He pleaded guilty in September last year to six counts of immigration fraud and perjury and will be sentenced on Monday.

As vice-minister of public security, Colonel Montano had been one of El Salvador's top three military leaders. He was also commander of the feared Belloso Battalion.

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