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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 98,486

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Mexican rights agency: police excessive force in 5 deaths

Mexican rights agency: police excessive force in 5 deaths
Associated Press
43 minutes ago

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's governmental human rights commission says excessive force by federal police resulted in five civilian deaths in a January confrontation. It says one other person was executed.

The commission criticized authorities' handling of the Jan. 6 confrontation in the western state of Michoacan, when federal forces moved in to dislodge members of self-defense groups who had seized Apatzingan city hall to protest electricity rates and crime.

Authorities moved in at dawn to clear the camp and confrontations ensued. Protesters attacked a federal police convoy that was taking seized vehicles to an impound yard.

Commission President Luis Gonzalez Perez said "excessive use of force resulted in the death of five people, and illegal execution of one person by federal police."


NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company

November 24, 2015
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
by Charles Davis

The U.S. National Security Agency accessed the internal communications of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela and acquired sensitive data it planned to exploit in order to spy on the company’s top officials, according to a highly classified NSA document that reveals the operation was carried out in concert with the U.S. embassy in Caracas.

The March 2011 document, labeled, “top secret,” and provided by former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, is being reported on in an exclusive partnership between teleSUR and The Intercept.

Drafted by an NSA signals development analyst, the document explains that PDVSA’s network, already compromised by U.S. intelligence, was further infiltrated after an NSA review in late 2010 – during President Barack Obama’s first term, which would suggest he ordered or at least authorized the operation – “showed telltale signs that things were getting stagnant on the Venezuelan Energy target set.” Most intelligence “was coming from warranted collection,” which likely refers to communications that were intercepted as they passed across U.S. soil. According to the analyst, “what little was coming from other collectors,” or warrantless surveillance, “was pretty sparse.”

Beyond efforts to infiltrate Venezuela’s most important company, the leaked NSA document highlights the existence of a secretive joint operation between the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency operating out of the U.S. embassy in Caracas. A fortress-like building just a few kilometers from PDVSA headquarters, the embassy sits on the top of a hill that gives those inside a commanding view of the Venezuelan capital.


‘Dirty War’ editorial shocks Argentines, including paper’s own reporters

‘Dirty War’ editorial shocks Argentines, including paper’s own reporters
By Joshua Partlow November 24 at 1:14 PM

Mauricio Macri celebrates at the Buenos Aires headquarters of the Let's Change alliance on Sunday after getting early results of the presidential runoff election. (Let's Change Media Office via AFP/Getty Images)

BUENOS AIRES — The first news cycle after the election of Mauricio Macri as president of Argentina included an unusual contribution from La Nacion, one of the country's top newspapers: an editorial headlined "No More Vengeance."

The gist of the instantly controversial piece was that the time had come to forget about the crimes committed during Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship. The editorial argued that the old regime's leftist opponents were "ideologically committed to terrorist groups" and acted in a way "no different" from the militants who attacked Paris earlier this month. It also bemoaned the "shameful" treatment of regime officials imprisoned for human rights crimes despite their "old age."

"One day after citizens voted for a new government, the desire for revenge should be buried once and for all," the editorial read.
The piece provoked swift condemnation by many Argentines, including many of the newspaper's own reporters. They took to social media to disavow the unsigned opinion piece, and the newspaper published a photo of dozens in the newsroom holding up signs that said, "I condemn the editorial."

. . .

The editorial waded into especially sensitive territory — the legacy of the "Dirty War," in which tens of thousands of people were killed or made to "disappear" by government forces, and ongoing human rights trials against the perpetrators.


A Brief Genealogy of Disappearance and Murder

A Brief Genealogy of Disappearance and Murder
November 23, 2015
by Julian Vigo

The notion of disappearance has existed throughout time involving the absence of an individual or group of people and can be found throughout historical tales and literature. Originally disappearance took place during the Roman Empire as a means of discursive disappearance: damnatio memoriae (literally “damnation of memory” in Latin), was a form of dishonor that was used by the Roman Senate upon Roman elites and Emperors who were found to be traitors to the state. This would result in the seizure of property and the erasure of their names from sculptures and historical records. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, “disappeared” came refer to the explainable loss of human life such as in the case of Amelia Earhart, however the more common use of the term refers to people who are taken from their families and communities through a pre-meditated act of political aggression, such as in the disappearance of García Lorca who was shot in 1936 and his body dumped in a mass grave. Disappearance, in this context, is specific to a willed removal of human life along with a conterminous effort to efface all traces and details of that specific life and death.

The invocation of this expression in Spanish, desaparecidos, maintains a specific reference to the forced disappearance of a specific group of people for political purposes and has become the historical reference point for the definition of this term today. Desaparecidos, first coined during the military junta of Argentina’s guerra sucia, literally meaning “dirty war,” (1973-1986), is a term which reflects the lives lost due to the political repression of the military dictatorship under Jorge Rafael Videla. Before and conterminous to Videla’s rule, many right-wing governments dominated the Southern Cone from the 1950s through the 1980s and together these governments, with encouragement and support of the CIA, organized a political campaign, Operation Condor (Operación Cóndor), aimed at deterring the left-wing presence and influence in the region, likewise disintegrating the democratic processes of organization and resistance. In addition to the US government’s direct involvement, the “Chicago Boys”

Organized in the mid 1970s, Operation Condor was a covert political campaign which specifically used disappearance as a tool of physical repression involving the intelligence and security branches of these member states: Videla in Argentina (1976-1981); Pinochet in Chile (1972-1992); Ernesto Geisel in Brazil (1974-1979); Breno Borges Fortes, in Uruguay (1972-1976); Hugo Banzer in Bolivia (1971-1978); and Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay (1974-1987). Organized on 25 November 1975 by the military intelligence agencies of Argentina, security agencies from Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina met with the head of Chile’s secret police DINA (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional of Chile), Manuel Contreras, in Santiago de Chile officially creating “Plan Condor.” Brazil signed on six months later. This “plan” promoted cooperation between these governments in fighting left-wing movements and also extended previous agreements made between various South American countries (ie. la Conferencía de Ejércitos in Caracas in 1973) which encouraged the exchange of information about leftist movements and individuals. Operation Condor should be contextualized in light of the Cold War and the fear of the United States’ government that a Marxist or Leftist revolution in the region was imminent; hence Operation Condor had explicit approval from the United States since organizations such as the ERP, the Tupamaros, the MIR and the Montoneros were in the cross-hairs of the CIA and the right-wing elite of the Southern Cone. According to French journalist Marie-Monique Robin, author of Escadrons de la mort, l’école francaise (2000), the development of Operation Condor must also be partly attributed to General Rivero, an Argentine intelligence officer who was a student of the French government. French military involvement in Operation Condor has recently come to light where, for instance, Direction de la surveillance du territoire (DST) trained the Argentine security forces in torture and disappearance between 1973 and 1984, with General Contreras having stated, “C’est la DST qui a le plus coopéré. C’était un service de renseignement ami” (“It was the DST which cooperated most. It was a friendly intelligence service.”) Many of the agents involved in disappearance received their training from French former military who had honed their torture skills in Algeria during the French occupation. Evidence of cooperation is well-documented and is demonstrated in the “vols e la mort” which from 1976 on were used by Chile’s DINA and Argentina’s SIDE (Secretaría de Inteligencia de Estado) in order to remove vast numbers of people by leaving no trace of the corpses.

Many countries that were not directly involved in disappearances in the Souther Cone took part indirectly. For example, Peru voluntarily cooperated in handing over intelligence information to security services of these countries and participated in the 1975 Santiago de Chile meeting for Plan Condor. More evidence of inter-country cooperation was found on 22 December, 1992, when a Paraguayan judge, José Fernández, discovered the “Archives de la Terreur” detailing the fate of thousands of political prisons from the Cône du Sud, most of whom had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. This archive evidenced 30,000 desaparecidos and further demonstrated cooperation by the governments of Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. Since the nature of disappearance is ontologically bound to not leaving behind physical evidence (ie. both the body and all historical records) except in this rare case of the “Archives de la Terreur”, it is unsure how many victims resulted from Operation Condor. It is clear that Operation Condor disappeared tens of thousands of people until the official end to its operations with the ousting of Argentina’s dictatorship in 1983. In recent years, various national truth and reconciliation commissions produced evidence of the disappeared: during the 21 years of dictatorship in Brazil there were 339 documented cases of government-sponsored political assassinations or disappearances; in Uruguay there are 180 documented cases of disappeared; in Paraguay there are 500 cases of disappeared; in Chile of the 3,000 murdered, 1,198 were forcibly disappeared; and Argentina’s list of disappeared is by far the greatest with the numbers ranging from 8,960 to 30,000 persons.


Former Mexican president says country will legalise all drugs within a decade

Former Mexican president says country will legalise all drugs within a decade

  • Vicente Fox: ‘I think marijuana is a first step … It’s now irreversible’
  • Mexico’s supreme court recently approved growing drug for recreational use

    Reuters in Mexico City
    Wednesday 18 November 2015 15.17 EST

    All drugs including cocaine, heroin and crystal meth will be legal in Mexico within 10 years, said the country’s former president Vicente Fox, after a court ruling that he said makes the legalisation of marijuana inevitable.

    “I think marijuana (legalization) is a first step,” Fox told Reuters on Tuesday. “It’s now irreversible.”

    Fox was president between 2000 and 2006 and became an advocate of legalising drugs after leaving office.

    Earlier this month, the supreme court approved growing marijuana for recreational use. The landmark decision blasts open the door for an eventual legalisation in Mexico, where warring gangs have waged a decade of drug violence.

  • ‘Social cleansing’ threats flood towns in northwest Colombia

    Source: Colombia Reports

    ‘Social cleansing’ threats flood towns in northwest Colombia
    Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Nov 16, 2015

    Authorities in at least two towns in northwestern Colombia are on high alert after pamphlets appeared that warned about pending “social cleansing” operations.

    The pamphlets appeared in the towns of La Ceja and Apartado, both located in the Antioquia province. Also in the town of Remedios, threatening pamphlets were reportedly handed out, resulting in local shopkeepers to keep their establishments shut.

    In La Ceja, a pamphlet signed by “New Generation,” one of multiple neo-paramilitary groups formed during the demobilization of paramilitary organization AUC, threatened to kill five determined “bums.”

    The pamphlets had been going around since last week, warning the “bums” they will be killed while imposing a 9PM curfew on the entire population.One of the threatened persons was subsequently assassinated.

    Read more: http://colombiareports.com/social-cleansing-threats-flood-towns-in-northwest-colombia/

    Marco Rubio, Big Sugar’s Parrot

    November 13, 2015
    Marco Rubio, Big Sugar’s Parrot

    by Alan Farago

    In Florida’s political circles, criticizing Big Sugar is about as popular as whining about coal in Kentucky. It never happens. Suddenly, though, the tectonic plates are shifting around Florida. It is because of a GOP presidential primary completely scrambled by outsiders who are topping the charts.

    A month ago, front runner Donald Trump bumped up against Big Sugar when he condemned the closure of a midwestern candy factory and the loss of jobs to Mexico. He didn’t quite get the reason, right, or the outrage.

    The one who does get it right isn’t even on the stage: Grover Norquist. Earlier this year, my eyebrows lifted when I read that Norquist, arguably the most effective conservative firebrand in American politics, declared that ending the sugar subsidy in the Farm Bill was his top priority, after cutting taxes. Norquist called the sugar subsidy, “cronyism in its undiluted, inexcusable majesty.”

    The reason my jaw didn’t drop is that for decades, the sugar subsidy has been lambasted as the worst form of corporate welfare from conservative news organizations like the Wall Street Journal to conservative foundations like the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute. And nothing changed.

    Big Sugar’s perks amount to legalized corruption of the campaign finance system. In Florida, Big Sugar money influence is so great that the industry acts in the state capitol as a shadow government. What Big Sugar wants, it gets. These days, a solid GOP majority in the state legislature, Gov. Rick Scott, and Adam Putnam — the agriculture secretary aiming to replace Marco Rubio in the US Senate — are so deep in Big Sugar’s pocket, you can’t even see them. Not that Floridians are looking.


    Animals Suddenly Protected in Peru Paradise: Photos

    Animals Suddenly Protected in Peru Paradise: Photos
    Nov 13, 2015 09:30 AM ET // by Jennifer Viegas

    This week, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala approved the creation of a 3.3-million-acre national park at Sierra del Divisor, where at least 3,000 species of plants and animals are known to live.

    Larger than Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined, Sierra del Divisor forms one of the largest contiguous blocks of protected land in the Amazon, protecting one of the planet's final remaining strongholds for wildlife and indigenous communities.

    The U.S. nonprofit organization Rainforest Trust collaborated with the Center for the Development of an Indigenous Amazon (CEDIA), as well as local indigenous peoples and Peru's government, to create the new national park.

    Conservationists hope that the tropical paradise will improve the prospects of the many endangered animals, such as jaguars, which live within the lush park's boundaries and are the biggest cats in the Americas.


    'El Cono' at Sierra del Divisor National Park

    Cerro "El Cono" is a 1,608-foot mountain peak in Ucayali, Peru, at the new national park. It ranks as the 12th highest mountain in Ucayali.

    Salaman said that this iconic peak towers "above the vast plain of Amazon forest surrounding it."

    Because of so much rainforest, Sierra del Divisor and adjacent White-Sands National Reserve are estimated to store approximately 1 billion tons of carbon, which is an amount equal to the average annual emissions of all vehicles on the road in the U.S.

    Dazzling Liquid Rainbow Flows Through Colombia

    Dazzling Liquid Rainbow Flows Through Colombia
    Nov 12, 2015 03:38 PM ET // by Danny Clemens, DSCOVRD

    Mario Carvajal/Fotur Colombia

    The Caribbean's crystal clear waters and white sands may be beautiful, but they don't have anything on Colombia's mind-blowing Cano Cristales.

    Colloquially known as the “liquid rainbow,” various parts of the gorgeous river sport red, blue, black, green and yellow coloration that, at first glance, looks completely unnatural:

    Mario Carvajal/Fotur Colombia

    Cano Cristales, however, is 100 percent natural. A booming population of the riverweed Podostemaceae thrives on the 60-mile river’s floor, its vibrant red hue plainly visible through the babbling brook. Elsewhere, a brilliant combination of rocks, algae and sand is responsible for the remaining colors.

    The landmark reveals its true majesty for only a few weeks in the autumn. During the rainy season, the river runs too deep and and too quickly for visitors to see through its water. During the dry season, water is not abundant enough to support the plant life responsible for the colorful show.


    From 1968 to the missing 43 – why Mexico's dead and disappeared refuse to go away

    From 1968 to the missing 43 – why Mexico's dead and disappeared refuse to go away

    A new exhibition in Mexico City links the 1968 Olympics massacre with the disappearance of 43 students a year ago and asks: how much has the country really changed in the intervening years?

    • How the Guardian reported the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre

    Elena Poniatowska remembers the shoes. It was 6am and the plaza was quiet. The bodies of the dead had been carried away, and she stood in a square in Mexico City’s Tlatelolco neighbourhood, surveying the aftermath: soldiers on patrol, a few dazed residents, blood on the ground.

    “The ground was covered with shoes,” says Poniatowska – at 83, one of Mexico’s best-known writers. People fleeing the plaza had left a trail of women’s pumps and men’s loafers, as well as glasses and hats. “It was a sign of persecution.”

    When she looked up, Poniatowska saw the shattered windows of the square’s large apartment buildings. Tanks were still standing watch over the scene. “It was really a view after a battle.”

    Poniatowska has contributed to a new exhibition at Mexico City’s Museo Memoria y Tolerancia which recreates those events of 2 October, 1968 — when Mexican military and police gunned down hundreds of protesters, mostly university students.

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