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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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The La Penca, Nicaragua Bombing Remembered 30 Years Later

The La Penca, Nicaragua Bombing Remembered 30 Years Later
 Norman Stockwell  30 May 2014

May 30th is "The National Day of the Journalist" in Costa Rica. This day was first proclaimed in 2010 by then-President Óscar Arias Sánchez (the architect of the 1987 Central American Peace Accord called Esquipulas II) to honor the dead and wounded in a bombing that took place in La Penca, just across the northern border inside Nicaragua on May 30th, 1984. Four people were killed, and more than 15 others severely wounded (some so seriously as to lose eyes or limbs) during a press conference called by guerilla leader Edén Pastora Gomez. On the anniversary of the bombing, here is a look back on what happened that day, its impact on the lives of those who were there, and the unanswered questions that remain.

Almost immediately after the July 1979 victory of the Sandinista revolutionary forces in Nicaragua, a counter-revolution began to take shape. Initially made up mostly of former National Guard forces and those allied to the ousted Somoza government, the rebel forces began to change as some pro-Sandinista Nicaraguans became disillusioned with the direction their new government was heading. Perhaps the most prominent of these was Edén Pastora, a charismatic figure who broke from the FSLN (Sandinista Front for National Liberation) and moved to open a southern front of opposition in the jungle area along the border with northern Costa Rica. By May of 1984, Pastora was being pressured to merge with the northern Contra forces based out of Honduras. He refused and called a press conference at his jungle base in La Penca, just along the Nicaraguan border on the Rio San Juan. It was during this press conference that a bomb was detonated in an assassination attempt on Pastora's life.

Three journalists were killed that day, Costa Ricans Jorge Quirós of cameraman for Canal 6 TV, and his assistant, Evelio Sequeira, and US reporter Linda Frazier of the Tico Times. Her husband Joe Frazier who was then Chief Central America Correspondent for the Associated Press, remembers that day: "I happened to be in Nicaragua on other business… I'd come back from dinner…And I got to the Intercontinental Hotel, and the clerk whom known for many years, since the ‘79 revolution said ‘Señor Frazier, there's been a...there's been an explosion on the San Juan River. You need to know this’… And I started asking around… calling everybody I knew in Costa Rica, sort of calling in every favor I had out there, and I was getting a little panicky. And finally, I got a radio broadcast - someone had gone up live on the San Juan where the boats were coming back from La Penca, describing what was going on, and one of them said ‘well, there's a red-head foreign lady here who's a correspondent and she is sin vida, without life.’ And I knew then it had to be...there's no way it was anybody else. ..I realized that in the morning I had to go back to Costa Rica and tell our ten-year-old son what had happened and that's something I don't wish on anybody."

Costa Rican journalist Nelson Murillo, now retired, was a few feet away, asking Pastora a question when the bomb exploded, he said: "I ended up burnt, injured, fractured, I was two months in physical therapy in the hospital… I was left with one shorter leg, progressive deafness, PTSD and spinal problems because of the shortening of the leg. I’ve already had 30 surgeries because of problems beginning in La Penca, they took 70 shrapnel pieces out of me, metallic pieces of the bomb; since it was homemade it had everything: screws, BBs, thumb tacks, etc. It’s been a pilgrimage through the hospitals over 30 years. But there were people with amputations, Don Roberto Cruz, who died 19 years after the bombing of La Penca, lost an eye, and ear, and one leg. Out of those of us left, the present day survivors, (there were others with amputations and deformations and other serious problems that have over time died from natural causes), but of those surviving today, I am the one left with the most serious health problems."

More:
http://www.towardfreedom.com/31-archives/americas/3554-the-la-penca-nicaragua-bombing-remembered-30-years-later

The Three False Premises of the Ryan Poverty Plan

The Three False Premises of the Ryan Poverty Plan
by Stephen Pimpare Posted on July 30, 2014 at 8:30 am Updated: July 30, 2014 at 9:21 am

Paul Ryan has received a lot of attention for his recent poverty proposals. One wonders why, given that he has demonstrated time and again that he’s either unaware of the research on the topic, doesn’t understand it, or is intentionally misrepresenting it. In any case, he should be ignored.

But he’s Chair of the House Budget Committee, a leader within his party, and, whatever poverty scholars and more serious analysts might wish, he will still set many of the terms of the poverty policy debate in DC. He should be ignored, but he probably can’t be.

So what’s so bad about Paul Ryan’s thinking about poverty?

First, there’s nothing new in it. He offers block grants, cuts to programs, new work requirements, school vouchers, regulatory repeal, more money to faith-based initiatives, and privatizing social services, presenting us with little more than fresh marketing for tired ideas that — when tried in the past — made people’s lives worse, not better. Even the proposals that might seem promising are badly designed — like his way of expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. With the possible exception of his proposals to reduce some mandatory minimum sentences — which advocates of all stripes have been agitating for for decades — it’s old wine in old bottles. Why should we treat it as newsworthy or innovative?

There’s a deeper problem with Ryan’s approach beyond the details of his proposal. The foundation itself is rotten: the project is built upon three fatal, false premises.

More:
http://talkpoverty.org/2014/07/30/three-false-premises-ryan-poverty-plan/

'Climate Criminality': Australia OKs Biggest Coal Mine

Published on Monday, July 28, 2014 by
Common Dreams
'Climate Criminality': Australia OKs Biggest Coal Mine

Environmental groups slam decision that will 'dump on' Great Barrier Reef, fuel climate crisis

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer

In a decision criticized as "climate criminality," Australia's federal government announced Monday that it has given the OK to the country's biggest coal mine.

The announcement comes less than three months after the state of Queensland gave its approval to the project.

"With this decision," wrote Ben Pearson, head of programs for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, "the political system failed to protect the Great Barrier Reef, the global climate and our national interest."

“Off the back of repealing effective action on climate change," stated Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters, referring to the scrapping of the carbon tax, "the Abbott Government has ticked off on a proposal for Australia’s biggest coal mine to cook the planet and turn our Reef into a super highway for coal ships.”

Adani Mining expects its Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project in Queensland's Galilee Basin to produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal a year, most of which will be sent to India. A rail line will be created from the mine to a new coal port terminal, an expansion which means up to 3 million meters of dredging waste will be dumped in the area of the World Heritage-listed Reef.

UNESCO "noted with concern" (pdf) in April the prospect of additional dredging that would negatively impact the Reef and warned that the site could be added to the List of World Heritage in Danger.

More:
http://commondreams.org/news/2014/07/28/climate-criminality-australia-oks-biggest-coal-mine

Brazil Farmers Say GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Bugs

Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
by Common Dreams
Brazil Farmers Say GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Bugs

Farm lobby group calls on Monsanto and other biotech companies to reimburse for additional pesticide treatments

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Brazilian farmers say their GMO corn is no longer resistant to pests, Reuters reported Monday.

The Association of Soybean and Corn Producers of the Mato Grosso region said farmers first noticed in March that their genetically modified corn crops were less resistant to the destructive caterpillars that "Bt corn" — which has been genetically modified to produce a toxin that repels certain pests — is supposed to protect against. In turn, farmers have been forced to apply extra coats of insecticides, racking up additional environmental and financial costs.

The association, which goes by the name Aprosoja-MT, is calling on Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, and Dow companies to offer solutions as well as compensate the farmers for their losses. In a release posted to the Aprosoja-MT website, spokesman Ricardo Tomcyzk said farmers spent the equivalent of $54 per hectare to spray extra pesticides, and that the biotech companies promised something they didn't deliver, "i.e. deceptive advertising." (via Google Translate)

But Monsanto, et al are unlikely to accommodate the farmers. According to Reuters, "seed companies say they warned Brazilian farmers to plant part of their corn fields with conventional seeds to prevent bugs from mutating and developing resistance to GMO seeds."

More:
http://commondreams.org/news/2014/07/29/brazil-farmers-say-gmo-corn-no-longer-resistant-bugs

Victims of 1982 Guatemala massacre laid to rest

Victims of 1982 Guatemala massacre laid to rest
Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 3:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 3:44 p.m.

SANTA MARIA NEBAJ, Guatemala (AP) — The remains of 31 Ixil Mayans killed more than three decades ago during the height of Guatemala's civil war were laid to rest Wednesday in the country's western highlands amid the sounds of a violin and wafts of incense.

Hundreds of people joined in a procession that carried small wooden boxes containing the remains to a cemetery in Xecax, the village in Quiche province where the massacre happened.

Villagers have blamed the army for the attack on Feb. 4, 1982, but no one has ever been prosecuted.

Forensic experts first exhumed the remains four years ago but were able to identify only eight of the victims through DNA tests. The bodies of those identified were returned to their relatives' homes in the village for a traditional memorial service before the mass burial.

More:
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20140730/API/307309703

Ohio: 2nd fine levied against prison food vendor

Source: Associated Press

Ohio: 2nd fine levied against prison food vendor
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer | July 30, 2014 | Updated: July 30, 2014 4:46pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state on Wednesday announced a second fine against the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year as the company defended its operations before a prisons oversight committee.

The $130,200 fine against Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services covered continued staffing shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and shortages and sanitation issues, including maggots observed in food service operations at five prisons this month and last, according to Ohio's July 23 letter to the company.

"There were and there are remaining concerns," Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, told members of the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee.

Mohr emphasized that problems are largely limited to seven prisons. He said some of the fine will be used to increase the training Aramark employees receive. "What was going on was just not adequate," he said.


Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/us/article/Oversight-official-Prison-food-problems-are-real-5657156.php

How US Immigration Policies Endangered Central American and Cuban Children

July 30, 2014
How Can Americans Turn Their Backs on These Kids?

How US Immigration Policies Endangered Central American and Cuban Children

by W.T. WHITNEY, Jr.


Leaving parents behind, 57,000 children crossed into the United States without papers between October 2013 and June, 2014. They were fleeing deadly violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Numbers have been up for three years. No arrangements were in place along the U.S. southwest border for quick and certain refuge and children now languish in detention centers. Having faced one humanitarian crisis, they were confronting another.

The Texas governor mobilized the National Guard, anti-immigrant protesters targeted the children, and on July 14 the first plane carrying exclusively mothers and children returned 22 children to San Pedro Sula in Honduras.

Restrictive immigration policies applying to Latin Americans dovetail with other U.S. measures harmful to poor people in the region, and elsewhere, among them free trade agreements, U.S. aid to the region’s repressive military and police forces, a green light for multi-national corporations, and alliances with wealthy classes of many countries.

Children are the losers. U.S. assumptions as regards immigration that strategic goals come first relegate children’s needs to an afterthought. That this is so even for would-be Cuban migrants, whose emigration experience has been radically different, bolsters that argument.

Cubans about to migrate can count on U.S. acceptance. No one else in the world enjoys such welcome. The Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) of 1966 enables all Cubans to gain permanent residence a year after their arrival, and expect citizenship. The legislation’s purpose was propaganda. The U.S. open door encouraged many Cubans to leave as economic migrants, but the official line was that they were refugees from so-called “communist tyranny.”

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/30/how-us-immigration-policies-endangered-central-american-and-cuban-children/

How the U.S.-Backed Genocide in Guatemala Drove the Child Refugee Crisis

AlterNet / By Gabriel M. Schivone

How the U.S.-Backed Genocide in Guatemala Drove the Child Refugee Crisis

American policy in Guatemala has turned the country into a land of wreck and ruin.

July 28, 2014 |


For once the Republicans got it right. But not in the way they think. Indeed, President Obama carries the representative blame for the debacle (including reports of sadistic abuse by U.S. Border Patrol) of largely Central American migrant children long overwhelming shelters at the border. But the guilt is much broader, ranging from successive administrations all the way down to us, as American taxpayers.

Decades of U.S. policy in Guatemala alone have turned the country into a land of wreck and ruin. This is the ultimate reason migrants have been crossing into the United States in increasing numbers in recent months. Harsh immigration enforcement policies, such as the ones the Obama administration has been championing, add insult to injury as the U.S. punishes migrants when they arrive when it should be paying people like those of Guatemala massive reparations.

"They Owe It to Us"

It is indisputable that the U.S. shares significant responsibility for the genocide of tens of thousands of Guatemalans--mainly indigenous Mayans who comprised a majority of the (at least) 150,000 killed in the 1980s alone. A 1999 UN Truth Commission blamed Guatemalan state forces for 93 percent of the atrocities. That same year, former President Bill Clinton admitted the wrongness of U.S. support support for Guatemalan state violence.

U.S. culpability for Guatemala's plight endures to this day. The problem is--then and now--the United States is in denial as a nation over what to do about its complicity.

More:
http://www.alternet.org/world/how-us-backed-genocide-guatemala-drove-child-refugee-crisis

Colombia’s women victims ‘terrified’ over pending release of paramilitaries

Colombia’s women victims ‘terrified’ over pending release of paramilitaries
Jul 30, 2014 posted by Nicolas Bedoya

Thirty-six Colombian and international human rights groups and peace advocates presented a document on Monday expressing serious concerns over the disregard of victims’ rights in light of the imminent release of over 200 paramilitaries starting on August 15.

The Lawyer’s Collective Jose Alvear Restrepo (CAJAR) published a communique in which dozens of organizations expressed concerns over the release of paramilitaries who committed crimes against humanity.

Paramilitaries who submitted themselves to the first two demobilizations that happened under the Justice and Peace Law in August and December of 2006 are due to be released within the coming months. The demobilization of paramilitaries under former President Alvaro Uribe’s Justice and Peace Law in 2006 allowed for a maximum sentence of eight years to those who cooperated with authorities.

Jomary Ortegon, the vice-president of the Collective, told Colombia Reports that up to 60 paramilitaries could be released in August and another 105 in December after serving the maximum sentence of eight years under the Justice and Peace Law.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/colombias-invisible-victims-neglected-ignored-state/

Debate over Uribe’s alleged paramilitary past shot down in Senate

Debate over Uribe’s alleged paramilitary past shot down in Senate
Jul 29, 2014 posted by Daniel Medendorp Escobar

A debate on Senator Alvaro Uribe’s alleged links to now-defunct paramilitary groups was shot down by Colombia’s Senate on Tuesday, after days of the debate monopolizing the first week of the former president’s new political playground.

Senator Ivan Cepeda from the Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo Democrático Alternativo — PDA), a fierce opponent of the the president-turned-senator, proposed a debate over the topic but saw it shot down by the Senate in a 52-30 vote.

During the preliminary debate about whether or not to approve the debate, prominent left-wing and centrist members of congress including Jorge Enrique Robledo, Luis Fernando Velasco and Claudia Lopez spoke in favor of the initiative. Senators Ernesto Macias and Roy Barreras were included in those who spoke against the debate.

Uribe, supported by his bench and numerous senators from other parties, spoke out against the debate. Uribe, despite his apparent opposition to the debate on the Senate floor, voted in favor of the motion. Uribe’s party, the Democratic Center (Centro Democrático — CD) voted against the motion.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/debate-uribes-alleged-paramilitary-past-shot-senate/
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