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Tue Feb 7, 2012, 01:37 PM

Ex-official's brother concealed union murders

Ex-official's brother concealed union murders
Tuesday, 07 February 2012 10:23
Charles Parkinson

The half-brother of Colombia's former Inspector General has admitted to concealing the 2001 murders of two trade unionists by paramilitaries, reported Colombian media Tuesday.

Appearing in front of the Supreme Court, Jaime Blanco Maya conceded that he knew about the planned murders of unionists who were leading action against U.S. energy company Drummond, for which Maya was a contractor.

"I did not kill, but I knew it was going to happen," said Maya, who also admitted to concealing the murders of Valmore Locamo Rodriguez and Victor Hugo Orcasita, carried out by the Northern Bloc of the AUC paramilitary organization.

~snip~

The murders brought about several lawsuits against Drummond and hampered the progress of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which only came into force late last year.

More:
http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/22063-ex-officials-brother-concealed-union-murders.html

6 replies, 2751 views

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Reply Ex-official's brother concealed union murders (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2012 OP
aquart Feb 2012 #1
Scuba Feb 2012 #2
Judi Lynn Feb 2012 #3
Peace Patriot Feb 2012 #5
Judi Lynn Feb 2012 #4
PufPuf23 Feb 2012 #6

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 7, 2012, 01:43 PM

1. That headline is annoying.

Sounds like gov't covering up murders done by unions.

Which is NOT the case.

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Response to aquart (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 7, 2012, 02:31 PM

2. My thought exactly.

 

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Response to aquart (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 7, 2012, 02:33 PM

3. Creepy, isn't it? Couldn't be further from the truth. n/t

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Response to aquart (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 8, 2012, 11:09 AM

5. Hard to say for sure if the headline is deliberately misleading, or...

...simply the result of sloppy headline-writing. I have to say that I see this kind of sentence structure mistake OFTEN, in headline-writing, and the mistake does not always have a political "coloration." As an innocent mistake, it is the result of headline writers trying to be "pithy," a practice that originated back in the day when hand-set type had to fit given column widths for printed (hardcopy) newspapers and it also had to do with catching peoples' attention, on the street, with short headlines that could be shouted by "newsboys" or that "scream" for attention from newsstands.

Thus you get a headline like this...

"Ex-official's brother concealed union murders"

...that should read like this (if it had been written for accuracy)...

"Ex-official's brother concealed the murder of two union leaders"

...or, better still...

"Ex-official's brother concealed the murder of two union leaders by rightwing paramilitaries"

...or...

"Ex-official's brother concealed the murder of two union leaders in labor dispute with Drummond Coal."

The more facts you try to get into a headline, to refine it for accuracy, the longer it gets (usually). However, just a few words could have corrected the impression given by this headline that union members committed the murders. And I HAVE seen this kind of "pithy" inaccuracy deliberately used in a political way, for instance...

"Globalization protests turn violent"
(Truth: police brutally attacked peaceful protestors, a few of whom fought back; the "protests" didn't "turn violent"--the police did!)

or

"Three U.S. soldiers killed by Iraq insurgents"
(Are these "insurgents" Iraqis? If so, they are not "insurgents," they are citizens of their own country--a country INVADED BY the U.S. military. The headline should read: "Three U.S. soldiers killed by Iraqis opposed to U.S. occupation," or, "Three U.S. soldiers killed by rebellious Iraqis." We often see this issue--who has invaded whom--fuzzied over by terms like these--"insurgents," "terrorists," "guerrilla fighters," "the Taliban," "Al Qaeda," etc.--in very prejudicial ways that exonerate the U.S. war machine. "Pithy" headline writing makes it easy to bias war news in this way.)

------

I have to admit that the inaccuracy of this headline went right by me, when I first read it. I am grateful to those above who pointed it out. I am well aware of government/corporate/rightwing murders of union leaders in Colombia and so, it did not occur to me that the story could be about union leaders killing anybody. That would be absurd, in the Colombian context. But any reader who doesn't know about the systematic murder of trade unionists in Colombia, by fascist forces allied to the U.S. and its transglobal corporations, might well have read this headline and thought that the labor leaders were the perps.

I did a brief search for info on "Colombia Reports" to try to determine if they are a typical corporate news source, prone to prejudiced headline writing. I couldn't find enough info to make this judgment. But I've seen quite a lot of their news stories posted here at DU, and I would say that they are generally even-handed and objective. My guess: they probably did not deliberately "color" this headline.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 7, 2012, 02:35 PM

4. To refresh memories on Drummond Coal, of Birmingham, Ala., the owner of the Colombian coal company:

[center]

(Left to right) Colombia President Alvaro Uribe,
Drummond President Garry Neil Drummond, and
Drummond Ltd. President Augusto Jimenez.[/center]


From SourceWatch:

~snip~
Conflict in Colombia

In June 2009, a Drummond contractor, Héctor Rafael Pedroza, was killed in a drive-by shooting at a billiards hall in Valledupar (a city in the Cesar province of Colombia).[5] Two other men were killed, including a demobilized paramilitary, Wilman Rafael Torres.[5] The third man killed was Milciades Torres Pacheco.[5] A taxi-driver, Héctor Enrique Zuleta, was injured.[5] The shooters were on motorbikes.[5]

The Drummond Company has been the subject of numerous lawsuits regarding the murders of 70 union miners and railroad workers, collectively.[6][7][8] The murdered Colombians were killed by the notorious paramilitary group, United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which had been hired by Drummond to act as security.[7] In addition to those killed, a lawsuit against Drummond describes "how hundreds of men, women, and children were terrorized in their homes, on their way to and from work… innocent people killed in or near their homes or kidnapped to never to return home, their spouses and children being beaten and tied up, and people being pulled off buses and summarily executed on the spot."[7]

WikiLeaks cables regarding paramilitary forces

According to U.S. diplomatic cables sent between 2006-2010 and released by WikiLeaks, Drummond paid paramilitaries for protection of its Colombian operations. An October 2006 cable said there were significant security improvements in the northeastern region of Colombia where Drummond operates due to private security operations in the area, including roving patrols along the company's railroad from their La Loma mine to the port in Santa Marta. The cable went on to say that these private security guards were former paramilitaries. Over the course of four years U.S. Embassy officials sent 15 diplomatic cables to Washington which expressed concern over the company's labor disputes, lax environmental practices and apparent links with paramilitary death squads.[9]

A federal Court in Alabama began a civil case against Drummond in 2010 for the alleged paramilitary links, in a case that is still underway. Victims of paramilitary violence in Colombia accuse Drummond of paying the paramilitary organization United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) between 1999 and 2005, during which time 116 civilians were murdered in the region where the coal company operates, allegedly by the right-wing militia. The civil case also seeks compensation for the relatives of several people who were murdered, which they claim was for refusing to sell their land to to make way for the company's railroad.[9]
More:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Drummond

[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
WikiLeaks Latest Info Drop--Alabama's Drummond Coal Co.
http://alabamacorruption.blogspot.com/2011/03/wikileaks-latest-info-drop-alabamas.html

Check a couple of the letters at the bottom for info. regarding the way Drummond does business right here in the States.



[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Drummond Accused of Killing Trade Unionists, Former Colombian President Uribe Called to Testify

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 11 November 2010

A paramilitary death squad commander has revealed how executives of the US mining multinational Drummond ‘congratulated’ paramilitary commanders for arranging the assassination of two union leaders at Drummond’s Colombian coal mines. The court room admission, by now jailed paramilitary leader Alcides Mattos Tabares, comes just days after former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe was subpoenaed to testify in a civil case against Alabama-based Drummond for their alleged links to paramilitaries.

Mr Mattos Tabares explained how following the 2001 assassinations of Valmore Locarno and Victor Hugo Orcasita (the President and Vice-President respectively of the trade union representing workers at Drummond), two senior members of the Drummond management team met with the paramilitary commanders responsible for the murders to thank them for a successful operation.

Although one of Drummond’s former contractors in Colombia, Jaime Blanco Maya – the brother of the current Colombian Inspector General Edgardo Maya – has been arrested and charged in connection with the killings, so far no senior Drummond officials have been detained. But human right groups insist that both Gary Drummond, the US owner of the multinational, and Jean Jakim, Drummond’s head of security, were implicated in the murders and point to additional testimony from a former member of the DAS secret police who claims to have seen Drummond’s president in Colombia, Augusto Jimenez, handing over a bag full of cash to notorious paramilitary commander ‘Jorge 40’.

In a separate development on Wednesday last week, the ex-President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, was served with court papers which will force him to testify in an ongoing lawsuit against the company which has been filed by a group of 500 victims of the paramilitaries who are attempting to claim compensation from Drummond. According to their case, Drummond financed paramilitaries between 1999 and 2005 to protect the regions around their coal mines and other installations and, during that time, over 100 local people were assassinated by the death squads.

More:
http://www.justiceforcolombia.org/news/article/834/drummond-accused-of-killing-trade-unionists-former-colombian-president-uribe-cal

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 8, 2012, 03:17 PM

6. WikiLeaks Latest Info Drop--Alabama's Drummond Coal Co.

Over the course of four years U.S. Embassy officials sent 15 diplomatic cables to Washington which expressed concern over the company's labor disputes, lax environmental practices and apparent links with paramilitary death squads.


A year ago, a Federal Court in Alabama, U.S., where the mining company is based, began a civil case against Drummond for its alleged paramilitary links. The case is still underway.


The Florida-based law firm of Conrad & Scherer LLP filed the lawsuit on behalf of 252 plaintiffs who are relatives of the 67 victims, including 63 men and four women. Their names are withheld from publication to prevent reprisals against them, said attorney Terry Collingsworth. The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Western Division by Collingsworth, Conrad & Scherer founding partner William R. Scherer and Garve W. Ivey, Jr. of the Jasper, Alabama-based, Ivey Law Firm.


"The 60-page complaint outlines allegation after allegation of brutality, describing how hundreds of men, women and children were terrorized in their homes, on their way to and from work, and often murdered by AUC paramilitaries acting on behalf of Drummond," said attorney Collingsworth. "These are innocent people being killed in or near their homes or kidnapped to never to return home, their spouses and children being beaten and tied up, and people being pulled off buses and summarily executed on the spot."

more: http://alabamacorruption.blogspot.com/2011/03/wikileaks-latest-info-drop-alabamas.html

In the comments there is a post and link to AG Holder as a private attorney negotiating a settlement for monies Chiquita paid AUC. Baker Botts was later to represent Chiquita in the case.

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