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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:01 AM
Original message
UN calls for investigation into deaths of Colombia activists
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 03:04 AM by Judi Lynn
Source: Associated Press

UN calls for investigation into deaths of Colombia activists
TATIANA GUERRERO, Associated Press Writer
March 14, 2008 7:45 PM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - The U.N. on Friday called for an investigation into the deaths of six organizers of a march protesting the Colombian government and paramilitary death squads.

The victims included union workers and human rights activists.
They were killed around the time of the March 6 protest that drew tens of thousands of people.

''This office asks state authorities to guarantee prompt and efficient protection for those human rights defenders and the leaders of social organizations,'' the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.

Activists accuse President Alvaro Uribe's administration of lumping human rights workers together with rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country's largest leftist guerrilla group, supposedly giving the death squads a green light to attack the activists.

A human rights organization called Movement of Victims of State Crimes said one paramilitary group sent a threat Wednesday by e-mail to organizations connected with the protest.

Read more:
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sudopod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:04 AM
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for great justice
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:16 AM
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2. Howells blasts Colombia reports (Colombia not so popular in U.K.)
Howells blasts Colombia reports
Mar 15 2008 by Martin Shipton, Western Mail

FOREIGN Office Minister Kim Howells yesterday angrily defended himself against criticism that he adopted a soft line towards a South American countrys army allegedly involved in human rights abuses.

Earlier this week Andy Richards, the leader in Wales of Britains largest trade union, Unite, vowed to strip Pontypridd MP Dr Howells of political sponsorship because of his stance on the conflict in Colombia.

An estimated 4,000 trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia in recent years by paramilitary groups, some with alleged links to the national army.

General Mario Montoya, the controversial Commander of the Colombian National Army, was last year named in a US House of Representatives report as the subject of allegations that he collaborated extensively with militias that the Department of State considers terrorist organisations.

A photograph distributed by the campaign group Justice For Columbia shows Dr Howells apparently sharing a joke with General Montoya as the Minister completes his descent of an aircraft staircase.

The Wales TUC has issued a statement condemning the UK Governments support for the Colombian Government and Dr Howells in particular.

The statement said, The Wales TUC Executive Committee calls on the UK Government to withdraw all military aid to Colombia and to replace it with humanitarian aid. We further demand that the Colombian Government takes action to stop all human rights abuses and murders and brings the perpetrators to justice.

The Wales TUC strongly condemns the murders of three trade unionists that have taken place in the last 10 days. Gildardo Antonio Gomez and Carmen Cecilia Carvajal Ramirez, both of the teachers trade union Fecode, have been shot and killed. Leonidas Gomez Rozo, of the bank workers trade union Uneb, was brutally murdered in his home.

Amongst numerous violations, 4,000 trade unionists have been murdered in recent years as well as many thousands of others including human rights defenders, journalists, student leaders and members of the political opposition.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:56 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. More on Foreign OFfice Minister Howells:
Anger at minister's photo with Colombian army unit linked to trade unionist killings Picture of official visit posted on FO website
Calls to end UK aid over human rights abuses

Seumas Milne The Guardian, Monday February 11 2008

Kim Howells with troops of the High Mountain Battalion of the
Colombian Army including General Mario Montoya (behind him and left
of Howells)

It might have been any one of hundreds of stiffly posed official photos taken on ministerial visits to military establishments around the world and then duly posted and ignored on government websites - if it had not been for the attention of human rights campaigners.

Surrounding the smiling face of the Foreign Office minister Kim Howells in a picture taken in the Colombian region of Sumapaz are a general linked to paramilitary death squads and soldiers of a notorious unit of the Colombian army accused, including by Amnesty International, of torturing and killing trade unionists.

The photograph, taken in a military base and posted on the Foreign Office website, was yesterday greeted with outrage by Labour parliamentarians and trade union leaders. Howells is pictured with the High Mountain Brigades, a unit held responsible for the killing of trade union activists, peasants and anti-narcotics police during the past three years.

Behind him stand the Colombian defence minister, Juan Santos, and General Mario Montoya, head of the Colombian army, reports of whose collaboration with paramilitary death squads and drug traffickers and links with disappearances and killings - including leaked CIA reports - were cited last year by US congressional leaders as part of the reason for the suspension of tens of millions of dollars of US military aid to the south American regime. The Colombian government denies the accusations.

Colin Burgon, Labour MP for Elmet, said yesterday he was "shocked and saddened to see these pictures. I have visited this area and spoken to ordinary people in the area and they view the military there as an oppressive force."

Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of the union Unite, called for an end to British support for the Colombian regime: "Colombia is the world's leader slaughterhouse for trade unionists and it defies belief that the British ministers should be cuddling up - literally, judging by the photographs - with the perpetrators."

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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 04:44 AM
Response to Original message
4. "But, he is one of our intimate corrupt cronies. Whine." - Commander AWOL
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
5. Some facts you may be glad you saw:
Hypocrisies of a US-backed Crisis
March 15, 2008 By Michael Fox

According to an FIDH report last year, since they first appeared, the Colombian paramilitary has committed approximately, 60,000 crimes against humanity and serious human rights violations.

This figure does not include the more than one million persons displaced as a direct result of the strategy of terror, threats, and paramilitary action, the report continues. From January to June 2007 alone, more than 770 civilians were murdered in Colombia or fell victim to forced disappearance. More than 80 mass graves have been discovered; in late 2006 the Office of the Prosecutor estimated that there were still more than 3,000 persons remaining to be found. It is believed, however, that this figure falls far short of reflecting the more than 30,000 forced disappearances that have been reported.

Although the Colombian paramilitaries were officially demobilized a few years ago, Colombians know that the continued violence, and the intimate relationship between the state and the Paras (as they are called), means that they are far from gone. In fact, just last week paramilitaries in South-Eastern Colombia threatened to attack any person or organization participating in the March 6th international protests against the continued violence of the paramilitaries and the Uribe government.

Of course the United States supports Colombian policy in the region. Sometimes we easily overlook the fact that the Colombian paramilitaries are a brainchild of the US.

Paul Wolf points out that the paramilitary strategy was developed by the US in the decades following World War II. (11) Stan Goff, ex-officer of the Special Forces of the US army, who trained Colombian troops at the Colombian Tolemaida base in the 1990s, was quoted in M.G. Magils 2004 expose, Occult Chronicle of the Conflict,

I assure you that the network of paramilitary, under the command of Carlos Castano, was organized and trained by the Washington State Department and the CIA after 1991.

Recently released declassified documents offer further documented information linking the US to at least some of Colombias paramilitaries. (12)

The issues are complicated, and sometimes nobody gets off without a few scratches. In this case, however, we have to look deeper in to the subtle interests at work. Venezuela and Ecuador are in the process of revolutionary change which is threatening not only the interests of the upper classes, but also US and multinational business interests in the region. Colombia, meanwhile, is the champion of Washingtons dying neoliberal dreams.

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ronnie624 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. From the article:
Since 2000, the US Congress has appropriated $5.5 billion for Colombia mostly in the form of military aid in the memorable name of fighting drugs- i.e. attempting to directly attack the source of the cocaine entering the US by fumigating and destroying the coca crops where they are grown. Unfortunately, if that is the case, its not working. According to a report released last month from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) which referred to the results of the program as dismal, coca is now cultivated in nearly twice as many Colombian states than it was in 1999. If anything, the price of cocaine in the US has dropped, and DEA intelligence chief, Tony Placido verified late last year that the disruptions in the US cocaine supply in 2007 were not a result of decreased cocaine production in Colombia. (3)

Meanwhile the widespread crop fumigations have caused a veritable environmental and humanitarian disaster, not only in Colombia, but along the Ecuadoran border where fumigation raids have been common. So, if the program is clearly not working, why does the US continue to fund it?

I wonder.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
6. Uribe is the Latin American leader who is collaborating with terrorists.
I did a search a few minutes ago. The story about the imaginary money Chavez supposedly gave FARC is all over the place. This story had two hits in the first hundred or so.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Uribe's version? Or Greg Palast blowtorch to Uribe's version?
Greg Palast here... /

Published March 7th, 2008

I originally found it at (wonderful web site--very funny).
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. The corporate media's smear about Chavez is astro turfed.
This story about these missing or murdered activists only came up twice in about a hundred links.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Now that's so sad. Predictable, too! This is why a lot of people have no idea why the Congressional
Democrats are holding off on the Colombian FTA, citing the unacceptable slaughter of union workers and human rights workers, etc. in Colombia by gov't connected paramilitaries (right wing death squads) which is NEVER checked by the Uribe (Bush puppet) administration.

Colombia has the highest rate of murders of these people in the world, higher than the total of all the other countries combined, but our ordinary corporate media REFUSE to tell us anything about it whatsoever. It's as if it has never happened, according to what we learn from them.

They are guilty of distorting and hiding the truth altogether to favor corporate, right-wing interests. That is FILTHY.
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. So It Was Right Wing Propaganda After All
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 04:10 AM
Response to Original message
10. UN demands probe into killing of Colombian guild leaders
UN demands probe into killing of Colombian guild leaders 2008-03-15 10:36:37

BOGOTA, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR) in Colombia Friday demanded the country's authority to investigate the assassination of two guild leaders, a politician and an activist, among others, the commission reported.

The commission called the Colombian prosecution authorities to immediately investigate the death of guild members Leonidas Gomez and Carlos Burbano, in the capital of Bogota and in the southern Caqueta department, respectively, as well as the murder of politician Manuel Reina in February.

"Most of these killings are not known by the public despite their strong impact and serious consequences in the communities where these people worked and in their respective organizations," said the OHCHR.

On Feb. 28, Human Rights Permanent Defense Committee (CPDDH) member Luz Gonzalez was attacked for promoting a solidarity walk with victims of the extreme right-wing paramilitaries.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
13. Colombian paramilitary death squads killing protest organizers
Colombian paramilitary death squads killing protest organizers
Sat, 15 Mar 2008 11:31a.m.

Six organizers of a recent march to protest violence by the Colombian state and paramilitary death squads have been killed and more than two dozen threatened with death, the UN and a human rights group said Friday.

The victims, including union workers and human rights activists, were killed around the time of the March 6 national protest, according to the Movement of Victims of State Crimes and the UN high commissioner for human rights.

"On March 12, organizations connected with the protest received an e-mail with threats made by the 'Black Eagles' (a death squad), which came with a list of 28 human rights defenders saying the group would be implacable with those people who had organized the protest," said Ivan Cepeda, director of the victims' movement.

The UN human rights agency condemned the threats and demanded the killings be investigated.

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