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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Guatemalan rights prosecutor arrested over alleged hit-and-run

Source: Guardian

Guatemalan rights prosecutor arrested over alleged hit-and-run

Orlando López held on homicide charges related to incident reported by rightwing group linked to retired military generals

Nina Lakhani in Guatemala City
Friday 23 September 2016 04.22 EDT

Orlando López has investigated some of the worst crimes committed during Guatemala’s bloody civil war and arrested powerful former military commanders for torture, genocide and forced disappearances.

But the efforts of the senior human rights prosecutor have not gone unnoticed by rightwing groups who claim he is spearheading a leftist conspiracy against the armed forces.

Now, López, 41, has been detained on homicide charges linked to an alleged hit-and-run incident, which his supporters say is part of a wave of malicious litigation against advocates seeking justice over civil war crimes.

The alleged traffic incident was reported by the Foundation against Terrorism, a rightwing group linked to retired military generals, which in recent years has accused dozens of senior judges, prosecutors and human rights activists of crimes including corruption, intimidation and links to organised crime.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/23/guatemala-prominent-human-rights-prosecutor-orlando-lopez-arrested

Brazil’s Big Media Ignores Temer’s Confession – Except Estadão Columnist Who Falsely Claimed Video W

Brazil’s Big Media Ignores Temer’s Confession – Except Estadão Columnist Who Falsely Claimed Video Was Altered

Glenn Greenwald
Sep. 23 2016, 9:57 a.m.

The Intercept Brasil‘s Inacio Vieira yesterday reported one of the most significant pieces of evidence yet about the real reason for the impeachment of Brazil’s elected President Dilma Rousseff. Speaking to a group of U.S. business and foreign policy elites, the country’s installed President, Michel Temer, admitted that what triggered the impeachment process was not any supposed “budgetary crimes,” but rather Dilma’s opposition to the neo-liberal platform of social program cuts and privatization demanded by Temer’s party and the big business interests that fund it.

But what’s as revealing as Temer’s casual acknowledgement of coup-type motives is how Brazil’s large media – which united in favor of impeachment – has completely ignored his comments. Literally not one of Globo’s countless media properties, nor the nation’s largest newspaper Folha, nor any of the nation’s large political magazines, has even mentioned these stunning and incriminating remarks from the country’s president. They’ve imposed a total blackout. While numerous independent journalists and websites have reported Temer’s admission, none of Brazil’s major media outlets have uttered a word about it.

The only exception to this wall of silence was a columnist from the right-wing newspaper Estadão, Lúcia Guimarães, who spent several hours on Twitter yesterday completely humiliating herself in a spirited attempt to deny that Temer actually said this. She began by insinuating that The Intercept Brasil made a suspicious “cut” in the video that altered reality – basically accusing Vieira of committing fraud without the slightest evidence, all to protect Temer.

Then, after a Folha columnist sent her a link to the full video showing that nothing was distorted, she nonetheless announced that she will only believe Temer said this once she sees the drives from each camera simultaneously played, and she added that what makes the story so suspicious is that President Temer is a best-selling author of a book on constitutional law who would not say such a thing about impeachment. Only once the full transcript of Temer’s remarks was posted would she finally admit that he really said it, but rather than retract her false accusations or apologize to Vieira and The Intercept Brasil for having implied the video was fraudulently edited, she instead simply posted the relevant part of Temer’s remarks without reference to her prior efforts to smear Vieira, as though she was the one who discovered and was reporting these comments for the first time. Even once she did finally admit the truth about Temer’s remarks, she bitterly claimed that impeachment opponents were turning the story into a “carnival” and were celebrating the revelation.


Cats sailed with Vikings to conquer the world, genetic study reveals

Cats sailed with Vikings to conquer the world, genetic study reveals

"I didn’t even know there were Viking cats."


23 SEP 2016

Thousands of years before cats took up residence in 37 percent of American households, and managed to outnumber dogs by roughly 75 million across the globe, they were hopping continents with farmers, ancient mariners, and even Vikings, scientists have found.

The first large-scale study of ancient feline DNA has finally been completed, and the results reveal how our inscrutable friends were domesticated in the Near East and Egypt some 15,000 years ago, before spreading across the globe and into our hearts.

The study was presented at the International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology in Oxford, UK last week, and sequenced DNA from 209 cats that lived between 15,000 and 3,700 years ago - so from just before the advent of agriculture right up to the 18th century.

Found in more than 30 archaeological sites in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, these ancient feline specimens are helping researchers to finally piece together the beginnings of an animal that we share our beds with, but know surprisingly little about.


End U.S. Support for the Thugs of Honduras

End U.S. Support for the Thugs of Honduras

By DANA FRANK SEPT. 22, 2016

Santa Cruz, Calif. — Around midnight on March 2, the indigenous peoples’ rights and environmental activist Berta Cáceres was shot dead by gunmen who entered her residence in La Esperanza, Honduras. A longtime campaigner against illegal logging operations, Ms. Cáceres had been repeatedly threatened because of her opposition to the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project, one of the largest of its kind in Central America.

“I have no doubt that she has been killed because of her struggle, and that soldiers and people from the dam are responsible, I am sure of that,” her 84-year-old mother told a local radio station. “I hold the government responsible.”

On June 21, The Guardian reported the testimony of a Honduran soldier who said that his elite unit of United States-trained special forces had been given a hit list of activists to be killed that included Berta Cáceres. (He had deserted from the army, he said, rather than comply with the orders.) Six men have subsequently been arrested in connection with her case, including a serving army officer and two retired members of the military, but it remains to be seen if whoever commissioned the crime will be brought to justice.

It took the brutal assassination of Ms. Cáceres to finally provoke a public debate in the United States over the Obama administration’s funding of Honduras’s dangerous police and military forces. On June 14, Representative Henry C. Johnson Jr., Democrat of Georgia, and co-sponsors introduced the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, which called for the immediate suspension of security aid to Honduras. In response, the Obama administration has tried to justify continuing its support by pointing to an array of initiatives that are, at best, weak and token, and that, at worst, may even be harmful.


Dozens of Indigenous Absolved in Peru's 2009 'Baguazo' Massacre

Dozens of Indigenous Absolved in Peru's 2009 'Baguazo' Massacre

A group of Indigenous people brandish spears while blocking a highway in Peru's Amazonian
region. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 September 2016 (7 hours 4 minutes ago)

According to autopsy reports, the police killed in the massacre died from gunshots. Witnesses say Indigenous protesters were only armed with spears.

Dozens of Indigenous people in Peru have been absolved Thursday of accusations that they were responsible for a massacre seven years ago, known as the “Baguazo,” that killed at least 32 people, including several police, during an intense conflict as the military cracked down on protesters fighting to block oil drilling in the Amazon rain forest.

After four years of trial, the criminal court of Bagua stated that the people accused of blocking the roads were absolved "because the defense of the environment" was a "superior purpose," according to the CNDDH, a collective of 78 human rights groups in Peru.

The court also threw out the prosecutors' allegations that the people accused of homicide were carrying guns, as the medical experts had found, and that they were the direct authors of the homicides.


The Assassination of Orlando Letelier and the Politics of Silence

The Assassination of Orlando Letelier and the Politics of Silence

Jon Schwarz
Sep. 21 2016, 5:16 p.m.

Forty years ago last night, agents working for the Chilean secret service attached plastic explosives to the bottom of Orlando Letelier’s Chevrolet as it sat in the driveway of his family’s home in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

A few blocks away across Massachusetts Avenue my family’s Pinto sat in our driveway unmolested. Our whole neighborhood, including my mother and father and sister and me, slept through everything.

Forty years ago this morning, the Chilean agents followed Letelier as he drove himself into Washington, down Massachusetts to the think tank where he worked. The bomb went off as Letelier went around Sheridan Circle, ripping off most of the lower half of his body. He died shortly afterward, as did Ronni Moffitt, a 25-year-old American who’d been in the car with him. A second passenger, Moffitt’s husband Michael, survived.

Letelier’s murder was ordered by the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who’d overthrown the country’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende three years before in a military coup. Letelier, who had been Allende’s defense minister, was arrested during the coup and tortured for a year until Pinochet bowed to international pressure and released him. But in Washington, Letelier became the leading international voice of the opposition to Pinochet, who decided he had to be eliminated.


Good Reads:

When Two Worlds Collide – people vs corporate greed

When Two Worlds Collide – people vs corporate greed

By Vanessa Baird

In 2007 Peru’s President, Alan Garcia, declared his country open to foreign corporations for extraction of its natural resources – mineral, gas, oil, timber.

And within the first few minutes of When Two Worlds Collide, a tense documentary directed by Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel, we see Garcia courting US capital and signing a free trade agreement with President Bush.

What Garcia did not reckon on, however, was the clarity and strength of the resistance that would come from the indigenous communities of the Peruvian Amazon. The people who, as this film shows, are so often dismissed by the metropolitan elite as ‘primitive’, ‘savage’ or in Garcia’s words ‘obstacles to progress’; and ‘dogs in the manger’.

These people soon cottoned on to the fact that the new laws passed by the Garcia administration to make their ancestral lands ‘open to business’, without consulting them, were unconstitutional and contrary to international accords (ILO 169, chiefly.)


(Bagua Massacre, Pres. Garcia also brought in helicopter gun ships to fire on the citizens)

Leader, Alberto Pizango

Our Terrorists in Colombia: Death Squads as “Freedom Fighters”

Our Terrorists in Colombia: Death Squads as “Freedom Fighters”
September 20, 2016
by Dan Kovalik

A recent article in The New York Times entitled, “The Secret History of Colombia’s Paramilitaries & The U.S. War on Drugs,” contains useful clues as to the U.S.’s true views towards the Colombian death squads and their massive war crimes and human rights abuses. In short, it reveals a high-level of tolerance of, and condonation by, U.S. policy-makers for the suffering of the Colombian people at the hands of our long-time friends and allies, the right-wing paramilitaries.

The gist of the NYT story is that, beginning in 2008, the U.S. has extradited “several dozen” top paramilitary leaders, thereby helping them to evade a transitional justice process which would have held them accountable for their war crimes and crimes against humanity. They have been brought to the U.S. where they have been tried for drug-related offenses only and given cushy sentences of 10 years in prison on average. And, even more incredibly, “for some, there is a special dividend at the end of their incarceration. Though wanted by Colombian authorities, two have won permission to stay in the United States, and their families have joined them. There are more seeking the same haven, and still others are expected to follow suit.”

That these paramilitaries – 40 in all that the NYT investigated — are being given such preferential treatment is shocking given the magnitude of their crimes. For example, paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso, “who the government said ‘may well be one of the most prolific cocaine traffickers ever prosecuted in a United States District Court,’” has been found by Colombian courts to be “responsible for the death or disappearance of more than 1,000 people.” Yet, as a result of his cooperation with U.S. authorities Mr. Mancuso “will spend little more than 12 years behind bars in the U.S.”

Another paramilitary, the one the article focuses on most, is Hernan Giraldo Serna, and he committed “1800 serious human rights violations with over 4,000 victims . . . .” Mr. Giraldo was known as “The Drill” because of his penchant for raping young girls, some as young as 9 years old. Indeed, he has been “labeled . . . ‘the biggest sexual predator of paramilitarism.” While being prosecuted in the U.S. for drug-related crimes only, Mr. Giraldo too is being shielded by the U.S. from prosecution back in Colombia for his most atrocious crimes.


US Bill Seeks First Native American Land Grab in 100 Years

Source: Telesur

US Bill Seeks First Native American Land Grab in 100 Years

Protesters demonstrate against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux
reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, Sept. 9, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 September 2016

. . .

Two Republican congresspeople are seeking to pass a controversial bill through the U.S. House of Representatives that would seek the first land grab of Native American lands in 100 years, members of the Ute nation have warned.

The Utah Public Lands Initiative was proposed by Utah Congressperson Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz and seeks to “roll back federal policy to the late 1800s when Indian lands and resources were taken from tribal nations for the benefit of others,” the Ute Business Committee said in an article for the Salt Lake Tribune Saturday.

Bishop and Chaffetz will present the bill to the House in few weeks, and if passed it would see 18 million acres of public lands in Eastern Utah downgraded from protected lands and turned into oil and gas drilling zones that are exempted from environmental protections, Think Progress reported earlier this year when the bill was unveiled.

“The actions of Bishop and Chaffetz would seek to divest the Ute Indian Tribe of their ancestral homelands,” the committee added while also bringing back “failed policies of tribal land dispossession that have had a devastating and lasting impact upon tribal nations for the past century.”

Read more: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Bill-Seeks-First-Native-American-Land-Grab-in-100-Years-20160919-0029.html

Inconsistencies Surface in Accusations Against Brazil's Lula

Inconsistencies Surface in Accusations Against Brazil's Lula

Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva talks to the journalists during a press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 15, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 September 2016 (13 hours 58 minutes ago)

Supporters of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva argue that corruption accusations against him are a ploy to block his run for president.

Inconsistencies are beginning to surface in the allegations ofcorruption hurled at Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, as prosecutors' assertionscontradict with the witness statements of one of the main informants in the case, the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported Monday.

But Costa, targeted for fraud as part of Operation Car Wash beginning in 2014, denied in his 2015 testimony that he had conspired with Lula to get the position.

“I never even talked with the current president (now ousted President Dilma Rousseff), or with the (former) President Lula on this subject,” Costa said in his May 5, 2015 statements, according to Folha. “I never talked!”

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