Judi LynnJudi Lynn's Journal
Amnesty law nullified in El Salvador: knowing the truth and taking the victims into account
José Zepeda 17 August 2016
. . .
Four of the five judges of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador are declaring the 1993 law unconstitutional due to it being "contrary to the right of access to justice, judicial protection or protection of fundamental rights". They also argue that the amnesty law violates the "right of victims to full compensation for crimes against humanity and war crimes constituting serious violations of international humanitarian law".
The Chamber is nullifying the law because it violates two articles of the Salvadoran Constitution which are linked to the American Convention on Human Rights and the Protocol II of 1977 additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 related to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. To Belarmino Jaime's mind, the judge who voted in the minority, amnesty was the price paid to end the armed conflict. The verdict of his colleagues, he says, reopens 32 cases, included in the report of the Truth Commission, for prosecution, which conflicts with principles of legality, non-retroactivity of laws, legal certainty and the prohibition of double jeopardy. Jaime considers that the four judges are exceeding the limits of competence granted to the Chamber by the Constitution.What is clear is that the ruling of the Constitutional Chamber broke the dam of silence. Controversy is now coming thick and fast.
. . .
Five days after the Commission presented its report, the Legislative Assembly passed the General Amnesty Law for the Consolidation of Peace, which granted absolute, total and unconditional pardon to those who have committed political offences and repealed all provisions that run counter to the law, in clear reference to the Truth Commission, which constitutes a violation of the peace agreements. Critics of the declaration of the unconstitutionality of the amnesty law, which are both in the ranks of the FMLN government and the opposition, mainly in the ARENA party, raise the banner of fear, forecasting risks of destabilization and social conflicts. The most radical opponents accuse the Chamber of judicial dictatorship or irresponsibility towards the country's future.
With crimes against humanity that bypass the legal and social, the situation is similar to what happens with tectonic faults. Apart from the San Andreas, the other tectonic plates, such as the South American, the Nazca, the Cocos, the Caribbean, and the North American, are not visible to the naked eye, but they are there. Sooner or later, they cause earthquakes of great intensity. Similarly to those shifts, the silence that attempts to keep great human tragedies in obscurity causes crises at some point, and this is when the corpses emerge forcefully to the surface. This has happened again and again in history. This is the lesson being vocalised by the Salvadoran bishops, who celebrate the repeal, to ask their compatriots to confront this time maturely and calmly
An 80 million-year-old secret
Before 2000, few people in China or the rest of the world had heard of the Rainbow Mountains. Now they are catching the eye of photographers and filmmakers.
- Video at link. -
Rainbow Mountains of China's Zhangye Danxia National Geologic Park (Credit: imaginechina.com) [/center]
Many more images of the Rainbow Mountains, google images:
Charges of Corruption and Money Laundering Are Fiction, Says Brazil Lula's Lawyer
Elaine Patricia Cruz 27 August 2016
Cristiano Zanin Martins, lawyer for Brazil's former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his wife Marisa Letícia, said it strikes him as noteworthy that actions under Operation Car Wash which target his client are always conducted at key moments in the country's politics, referring to the conclusion of the impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff at the Senate.
The Brazilian Federal Police is seeking charges of passive corruption, misrepresentation, and money laundering against Lula and his wife as part of an investigation into the acquisition of a triplex apartment in Guarujá, on the coast of São Paulo.
In March, shortly before the motion for Rousseff's impeachment was approved by the lower house, Lula was coercively taken by the Federal Police for questioning at the Congonhas Airport, in São Paulo, under Operation Car Wash.
"There is a very strong political element to it, as he has been the victim of arbitrary acts, carried out with purposes strange to the case, like the release of intercepted conversations ( ), concomitant with the political moments of the country," said the lawyer.
Read more: http://www.brazzil.com/24016-charges-of-corruption-and-money-laundering-are-fiction-says-brazil-lula-s-lawyer
Does a Major Discovery Show the Greeks Secretly Sacrificed a Teenage Boy to Zeus?
When the skeleton of a young boy was found in an altar dedicated to Zeus, the discovery sent shockwaves through the world of archaeology. But it might be too good to be true.
08.27.16 11:01 PM ET
On a mountain top in southern Greece, in a nearly 3000 year old religious site, archeologists have made a macabre discovery: human remains nestled inside an altar dedicated to Zeus. The burial is unprecedented. How did the bones of this adolescent boy end up in an altar made of sheep bones? Potentially, the discovery is evidence that the Greeks, like many other ancient societies, engaged in human sacrifice. This is shocking news for those who think of ancient Greece as the birthplace of civilization and culture.
The discovery was made on Mount Lykaion in southwestern Arcadia. We know from ancient authors like Thucydides and Plato that the site was associated with Zeus, the most illustrious of the ancient Greek deities.
But Mount Lykaion wasnt just famous for athletics, it has a more sinister history too. According to legend a young man would be sacrificed before both his and animal flesh were consumed together as part of the ritual. In Platos Republic, Socrates asks his conversation partner Adeimantos if he had heard the rumors of human sacrifice and cannibalism at Lykaion, to which Adeimantos replies that he has. Pausanias, an ancient travel writer who lived some five hundred years later, seems to allude to the same legend when he writes ,on this altar they sacrifice in secret to Zeus but says that he was reluctant to pry into the details of the sacrifice.
Archeological investigations of the site have revealed that the site is much older than the classical period. A survey jointly undertaken by the Greek Archeological service and the American School of Classics uncovered pottery from the fifth-fourth millennium BCE. There were no animal sacrifices (mostly sheep and goats) until the Late Bronze Age Mycenaean period (15th-13th BCE).
Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Recall Americas Historical Shame
Posted on Aug 24, 2016
By Sonali Kolhatkar
Until a few years ago, the word occupation was synonymous with power, imperialism and foreign invasion. Today, in the post-Occupy Wall Street era, more and more activists are using their physical presence to make demands. From Manhattans Zuccotti Park to Tahrir Square in Cairo, occupation has become a powerful method of organizing.
One of the most dramatic such occupations is occurring in the form of a growing encampment at the Cannonball River in North Dakota, where indigenous tribes are leading a coalition of environmental activists in protest over the building of a new crude oil pipeline.
The Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) has stolen more than a name from American Indians (dakota means friendly or allied). If built, it would pass under the Missouri River twice. The pipeline, which could leak, as many pipelines do, threatens to contaminate the drinking water, crops and burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Federal regulatory agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, quietly approved DAPL, which will transport Bakkan crude oil from North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.
Last November, President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The rejection was the result of a years-long, hard-fought battle by thousands of activists, many of whom made personal sacrifices, traveled long distances and were even arrested for their acts of civil disobedience.
World's oldest needle found in Siberian cave that stitches together human history
By The Siberian Times reporter
23 August 2016
'Sensational' discovery in Denisova Cave is at least 50,000 years old BUT it wasn't made by Homo sapiens.
The 7 centimetre (2 3/4 inch) needle was made and used by our long extinct Denisovan ancestors, a recently-discovered hominin species or subspecies.
Scientists found the sewing implement - complete with a hole for thread - during the annual summer archeological dig at an Altai Mountains cave widely believed to hold the secrets of man's origins. It appears to be still useable after 50,000 years.
Professor Mikhail Shunkov, head of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, said: 'It is the most unique find of this season, which can even be called sensational.
'It is a needle made of bone. As of today it is the most ancient needle in the word. It is about 50,000 years old.'
The needle is seen as providing proof that the long-gone Denisovans - named after the cave - were more sophisticated than previously believed. It predates by some 10,000 years an intricate modern-looking piece of polished jewellery made of chlorite by the Denisovans.
Source: Associated Press
Prisoner not seen publicly since 2002 at Gitmo hearing
Robert Burns, Ap National Security Writer
Updated 3:29 pm, Tuesday, August 23, 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) The first high-profile al-Qaida terror suspect captured after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 appeared Tuesday at a U.S. government hearing called to determine whether he should remain in detention at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian not seen publicly since his capture by the CIA in 2002, sat expressionless during the brief hearing. Zubaydah was also the first to vanish into the CIA's secret "black site" prison network and was subjected to "enhanced interrogation."
. . .
Following his capture, the CIA under President George W. Bush initiated an interrogation program, now widely viewed as torture. Under this once-secret program, Zubaydah was subjected to what the Bush administration called "enhanced interrogation" in the belief that he was withholding information about al-Qaida. A Senate report released in 2014 said that belief was false.
Zubaydah was subjected to the torment of waterboarding 83 times in August 2003. Straining under a waterlogged cloth clamped over his face, Zubaydah became "completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth," according to CIA emails cited in the Senate report. He was body-slammed by his captors. He was hooded, then unmasked and ominously shown a coffin-like box.
Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/politics/article/Abu-Zubaydah-appears-at-Gitmo-hearing-to-review-9179334.php
The three Rs: How Bolivia combats illiteracy
By Fellipe Abreu and Luiz Felipe Silva
El Alto, Bolivia
21 August 2016
Quintim Pulma was not allowed to learn to read and write when he was a boy
"Reading and writing were forbidden," says Quintim Pulma, 83.
Mr Pulma, a former policeman dressed elegantly in a slightly worn jacket and wearing a black hat, recalls the days when he was growing up in rural Bolivia: "I lived at the farm at which my parents worked and the owner threatened that if I went to school, he'd cut my tongue out."
But now things are different for Mr Pulma.
"These days, I can study and prove to people that I'm capable of doing anything," he says.
Mr Pulma is one of 39 elderly students in a literacy group in El Alto, Bolivia's second largest city.
Following dinosaur footsteps in Bolivia's fossil mecca
Published Sunday, August 21, 2016 9:03PM EDT
It's not easy following in the footsteps of the largest animals ever to roam Earth.
There are no roads or even footpaths to get to the spot in Bolivia where researchers recently discovered a huge dinosaur footprint measuring 1.15 metres wide. But Bolivian paleontologist Omar Medina hopes to turn this remote corner of southern Bolivia into a magnet of paleontology that will attract visitors from around the world.
The enormous footprint, roughly 80 million years old, was discovered last month by local guide Grover Marquina, who specializes in fossil tours.
It was left by an abelisaurid theropod dinosaur, a carnivorous biped that Medina estimates would have been about 15 metres tall.
August 19, 2016
States Prove Playground Bullies in Push to Delist Yellowstone Grizzly Bears
by Louisa Willcox
Photo by Tom Mangelsen.
State wildlife managers from Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho have recently dispelled any illusions about how they intend to treat grizzly bears after wresting management control away from the federal government. Removal of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections will probably happen later this year and, if that happens, the states have made clear that they plan to go on a blood-letting binge involving the slaughter of hundreds of bears. They are already showing their thuggish nature in dealings with the public and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). State managers, most notably those representing Wyoming, have been the proverbial playground bullies during recent public meetings and, unfortunately, the FWS is rewarding this nastiness by acquiescing to every demand.
Not only do the states intend to allow trophy hunting, they also want a free hand to kill more grizzlies without any accountability to the national public that treasures these bears or even any accountability to the majority of state residents who dont support hunting grizzlies. At a meeting of grizzly bear managers earlier this month, only Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk had the courage to speak out in defense of the grizzly bears that define the nations oldest Park (link). Wenk objected to hunting grizzly bears in lands bordering Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The state managers who were present responded by saying, basically, bugger off.
The battle lines are clearly drawn. On one side, the states are representing the ethos of death and violence, slaved to the interests of hunters and ranchers. On the other, the Park Service is upholding an ethos of preservation and respect, on behalf of the broader American public. The states are about guarding the franchise of a few and their exploitative pursuits, while the Park Service is about empowering the many, who tend towards more benign, even altruistic, treatment of wildlife and wildlands.
The Park Services philosophy reflects a broader cultural trend towards greater inclusiveness, greater tolerance, and greater respect for those who are differentincreasingly including animals (Among other great books on the topic is Stephen Pinkers Better Angels of Our Nature). This trend is reflected in the fact that, according to Acting FWS Recovery Coordinator Wayne Kasworm, over 99% of the 290,000 comments submitted during May of this year to the FWS in response to its proposed removal of ESA protections opposed this move, opposed trophy hunting, and supported increased protections.
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