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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 128,713

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Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump's Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling

Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him

President Trump’s efforts have exposed him to accusations of obstruction of justice as Robert S. Mueller II, the special counsel, finishes his work.

By Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt
Feb. 19, 2019

WASHINGTON — As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.

Mr. Whitaker, who had privately told associates that part of his role at the Justice Department was to “jump on a grenade” for the president, knew he could not put Mr. Berman in charge, since Mr. Berman had already recused himself from the investigation. The president soon soured on Mr. Whitaker, as he often does with his aides, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away.

Trying to install a perceived loyalist atop a widening inquiry is a familiar tactic for Mr. Trump, who has been struggling to beat back the investigations that have consumed his presidency. His efforts have exposed him to accusations of obstruction of justice as Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, finishes his work investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mr. Trump’s public war on the inquiry has gone on long enough that it is no longer shocking. Mr. Trump rages almost daily to his 58 million Twitter followers that Mr. Mueller is on a “witch hunt” and has adopted the language of Mafia bosses by calling those who cooperate with the special counsel “rats.” His lawyer talks openly about a strategy to smear and discredit the special counsel investigation. The president’s allies in Congress and the conservative media warn of an insidious plot inside the Justice Department and the F.B.I. to subvert a democratically elected president.


Rarely-seen fish caught in popular Peru tourist resort sparks earthquake fears

Rarely-seen fish caught in popular Peru tourist resort sparks earthquake fears

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Yahoo News UK13 February 2019

- click for image -


The oarfish is dubbed the ‘fish of tremors’ for its supposed link to earthquakes (CEN)

A bizarre fish that was caught in northern Peru has prompted fears that the country is about to suffer an earthquake.

The oarfish, dubbed the ‘fish of tremors’ for its supposed link to earthquakes, was caught off the town on Mancora, a popular hang out for surfers.

It comes just days after a number of oarfish were spotted off Japan where they were previously sighted ahead of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami which killed more than 20,000 people.

Oarfish, which are also believed to have been responsible for claimed sightings of sea serpents by ancient mariners, can grow up to 16ft long.


Traditional Samba School Will Pay Tribute To Rio Slain Councilwoman

Mangueira's Carnaval parade this year will feature Brazilian history's "B-sides" and will honor Marielle Franco, assassinated last year

Feb.18.2019 3:49PM
Ana Luiza Albuquerque

​​Inside Mangueira's warehouse, a large float made off with giant books stands out. One of the books is a reference to Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, who signed the law emancipating all slaves in Brazil. For the act, she went down in history as "The Redemptress."

But carnival director Leandro Vieira says that Mangueira, one of the most traditional samba schools in Rio de Janeiro, will tell Brazil's "untold history" at this year's parade. That means that Princess Isabel will have her kindness put in question, along with other Brazilian historical figures.

Mangueira's parade will highlight the importance of mostly unknown heroes, especially from African or Indigenous descent. "It's a relevant topic in the current political climate," said Vieira.

Is the parade an act of resistance against president Bolsonaro? "I don't think it's the best way to describe it because it makes it seem like it's an act of propaganda," he replied. "Mangueira's parades have always been against conservatism."


Man with banner scales crane before Trump speech in Florida

Source: Associated Press

Updated 4:16 pm CST, Monday, February 18, 2019

SWEETWATER, Fla. (AP) — A man with a banner and an American flag climbed a construction crane near a Florida campus where President Donald Trump came to speak Monday about the political turmoil in Venezuela.

The man spent about two hours atop the crane at the edge of Florida International University's campus in the Miami suburb of Sweetwater.

Sweetwater Police Chief Placido Diaz said the man forced his way onto the construction site and scaled the crane to make a political statement. He faces multiple charges, including trespassing.

WPLG-TV reports the man's banner read, "''Mr. Presidente, Please have mercy for E. Arocena." The words "Cuban exile" were written at the top of the banner.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/news/education/article/Man-with-banner-scales-crane-before-Trump-speech-13624978.php


History Commons:

Context of 'September 10, 1984: Anti-Castro Cuban Testifies Ship with Germs Sent to Cuba in 1980'

. . .

September 10, 1984: Anti-Castro Cuban Testifies Ship with Germs Sent to Cuba in 1980Edit event
Eduardo Arocena, leader of the Cuban-exile militant group OMEGA-7, testifies during his trial in New York that in the latter part of 1980 a ship traveled from Florida to Cuba with “a mission to carry some germs to introduce them in Cuba to be used against the Soviets and against the Cuban economy, to begin what was called chemical war, which later on produced results that were not what we had expected, because we thought that it was going to be used against the Soviet forces, and it was used against our own people, and with that we did not agree.” The testimony is later used by some to support the allegation that Cuba’s 1981 Dengue fever epidemic, which infected 300,000 and killed 154, was the result of US biowarfare. [BLUM, 1995; COVERT ACTION QUARTERLY, 1999; COUNTERPUNCH, 10/11/2003]

Entity Tags: Eduardo Arocena


~ ~ ~

DECEMBER 21, 2018
Bush, Posada and Dirty War Against Cuba

. . .

Tried in New York in 1984 for murders and terrorism, CIA agent Eduardo Arocena, a Cuban-American with terrorist associations, confessed to have introduced harmful biologic agents in Cuba. Many think he had a role in promoting the 1981 epidemic. Gonzalez catalogues diseases of pigs, dairy cattle, sugar cane, plantain, citrus fruits, and coffee plants for which he blames the United States.


~ ~ ~

Wikipedia, on "Omega 7", an "exile" group of terrorists:

. . .

Indictment of Eduardo Arocena
On September 22, 1984 Eduardo Arocena was convicted on 26 charges which included murder and bombings, many of which Arocena confessed to prior to his conviction. Arocena was ruled to serve a mandatory life sentence. During Eduardo Arocena's trial, he claimed to have been taken to the FBI offices in New York City where he accused the Bureau of drugging him to the point of unconsciousness to which he found needle marks in his arms when he awoke. According to Arocena, the FBI had tried to coerce him into speaking about a variety of terrorist groups and operations.[5] This story has never been confirmed by the F.B.I. When Eduardo Arocena was put on trial he initially denied being the leader of Omega 7, claiming that he was simply "obsessed with Communism" and had worked alongside the C.I.A. in Cuba in order to look into communist activities in Cuba. Arocena also denied ever taking part in terrorist actives in the United States, but did state that he was trained in the use of explosives by the C.I.A. in Florida. Arocena also stated that he once traveled Cuba, and releasing "germs" in the environment in order to start a chemical war between Cuba and the United States. In 2008 Arocena's wife Miriam led a campaign, which petitioned for the release of her husband. Miriam suggested that the life sentence her husband received was unwarranted given the nature and patriotic reasons of Eduardo Arocena's actions.[citation needed]

Known attacks
On February 1, 1975 the group bombed the Venezuelan consulate in New York City Arocena confessed to putting a hit out on Eulalio Jose Negrin who had negotiated with Cuba about the release of political prisoners. Arocena did not approve of any diplomatic negotiations with Cuba and therefore ordered Remon to kill Negrin. Remon completed the hit by murdering Negrin with a submachine gun in front of Negrin's teenage son.

Felix Garcia Rodriguez was murdered on September 11, 1980 while driving a station wagon after being shot in the neck by a member of Omega 7.

During the indictment of Eduardo Arocena, Omega 7 was found guilty of at least seven bombings in the Miami, Florida area.


~ ~ ~

U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington D.C. 20535

October 29, 1993


Omega 7, a violent Miami, Florida-based anti-Castro Cuban terrorist group, was formed on September 11, 1974, by Eduardo Arocena. The name Omega 7 comes from the fact that there were seven original members from different anti-Castro Cuban factions. The number of individuals actively participating in this group was believed to be less than 20 members. However, Omega 7 was condoned and supported by the Cuban Nationalist Movement (CNM), whose membership and resources were considerably larger. The CNM, a violent anti-Castro Cuban exile group, was founded in 1960. However, pressure on the CNM as a result of the September 21, 1976, car-bomb assassination of the former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier, and the arrest of Armando Santana, its leader in the late 1970s, essentially destroyed the group.

The main areas of operation for the Omega 7 were the New York, New Jersey, and Miami, Florida, areas. Its primary targets were representatives of the Cuban Government or any individual, organization, facility, or business that dealt with or supported in any way, the communist government of Fidel Castro. The majority of Omega 7 attacks were bombings, shootings, and assassinations. Its terrorist attacks were usually well-planned and flawlessly executed. Many of the Omega 7 members were veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion who were trained in demolition, intelligence, and commando techniques. Their expertise, combined with the financial resources available to them through the exiled Cuban community, gave the Omega 7 an almost unlimited potential for terrorist activity.

In 1983, Arocena was arrested and prosecuted on 42 counts of violating Federal statutes pertaining to conspiracy, explosives, firearms, destruction of foreign government property within the United States, and destruction of property in interstate and foreign commerce. Several Omega 7 members were prosecuted during 1984, for refusing to testify before a Federal Grand Jury. During 1986, three of its members pled guilty to conspiracy to destroy property of a foreign government. There have been no Omega 7 attacks since 1983.

. . .


During December, 1980, shortly after a bombing at the Cuban consulate in Montreal, Canada, Pedro Remon and Ramon Sanchez were stopped by U.S. immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials when they attempted to run the border back into the United States. Their identities were determined and they were released by INS. The information obtained by INS was forwarded to the FBI and the Omega 7 investigation began to focus on their activities and those of their associates Eduardo Arocena, Andres Garcia and Eduardo Fernandez Losada. All these suspects were from the Newark, New Jersey area with the exception of Sanchez, who was known as a staunch anti-Castro activist from Miami, Florida, who had a previously proven propensity for violence.

Investigation into Pedro Remon's background indicated that he was in frequent telephonic contact with Eduardo Arocena, with many of the telephone calls occurring around the times of Omega 7 crimes. Moreover, record checks and interviews at car rental agencies disclosed that Arocena and Remon had rented cars at Newark International Airport shortly before several Omega 7 crimes. Comparison with New York City Police Department records revealed that one of Arocena's rental cars received a parking ticket across the street from the Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN) in New York on the day Omega 7 assassinated Cuban diplomat Felix Garcia Rodriguez. Subpoenaed records turned up a copy of Arocena's canceled check paying the parking ticket.


~ ~ ~

Eduardo Arocena

The Miami Herald, February 15, 1985, Editorial: "Arocena and Terror."

Often, looking back provides an indication of how much -- or how little -- progress has been made. The conviction of Omega 7 terrorist Eduardo Arocena in Federal court in Miami provides an excellent opportunity for Dade Countians to look back.

A decade ago, this community was fearful even to denounce terrorism. A few anonymous thugs wrapped themselves in the Cuban flag and threatened to bomb and kill anyone who dared question whether their actions benefited the cause that they purported to espouse.

Radio commentator Emilio Milian had his legs blown off by a bomb beneath his car. He had incurred the terrorists' wrath by criticizing their indiscriminate violence in South Florida. Months earlier, anti-Castro leader Jose Elias de la Torriente had been shot in the back. The list goes on and on.


Inside the neoliberal laboratory preparing for the theft of Venezuela's economy

The academic laboratory of the Venezuelan coup has the highest academic pedigree of all

FEBRUARY 15, 2019 12:30PM (UTC)
This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

As we watch a U.S.-backed coup unfold in a distant country, as in Venezuela today, our eyes are drawn to the diplomatic, military, and economic elements of the U.S. campaign. The picture of a scowling John Bolton with a big yellow notepad with the message “5,000 troops to Colombia” reveals the diplomatic and military elements. The New York Times headline “U.S. Sanctions Are Aimed at Venezuela’s Oil. Its Citizens May Suffer First” reveals the economic element.

But U.S. foreign policy mobilizes every available resource for regime change and for counterinsurgency. Among those resources, you will always find academics. The pen may not always be mightier than the sword, but behind every U.S.-backed war on a foreign people there will be a body of scholarly work.

The academic laboratory of the Venezuelan coup has the highest academic pedigree of all — it’s housed at Harvard. Under the auspices of the university’s Center for International Development, the Venezuela project of the Harvard Growth Lab (there are growth labs for other countries as well, including India and Sri Lanka) is full of academic heavyweights, including Lawrence Summers (who once famously argued that Africa was underpolluted). Among the leaders of the growth lab is Ricardo Hausmann, now an adviser to Juan Guaido who has “already drafted a plan to rebuild the nation, from economy to energy.”

In an interview with Bloomberg Surveillance, Hausmann was asked who would be there to rebuild Venezuela after the coup — the IMF, the World Bank? Hausmann replied (around minute 20), “we have been in touch with all of them. … I have been working for three years on a ‘morning after’ plan for Venezuela.” The hosts interrupted him before he could get into detail, but the interview concluded that bringing back the “wonderful Venezuela of old,” for investors, would necessitate international financial support. Never mind that the “wonderful Venezuela of old” was maintained through a corrupt compact between two ruling parties (called “Punto Fijo”) and the imprisonment and torture of political opponents—amply documented but forgotten by those who accuse Maduro of the same crimes.

The Growth Lab website provides some other ideas of what Hausmann’s plan likely includes: Chavez’s literacy, health care, and food subsidy “Missions,” a growth lab paper argues, have not reduced poverty (and, implicitly, should go). Another paper argues that the underperformance of the Venezuelan oil industry was due to the country’s lack of appeal to foreign investors (hence Venezuela should implicitly be made more appealing to this all-important group). A third paper argues that “weak property rights” and the “flawed functioning of markets” are harming the business environment — no doubt strengthening property rights and getting those markets functioning again will be in the plan. If this sounds like the same kind of neoliberal prescription that devastated Latin American countries for generations and was imposed and maintained through torture and dictatorship from Chile and Brazil to Venezuela itself, that is because the motivation is to bring back the “wonderful Venezuela of old.”


A Locked Door, a Fire and 41 Girls Killed as Police Stood By

One young survivor of the fire has burns over 95 percent of her body. She hardly goes outside anymore to avoid the stares and teasing from other children.

Credit Daniele Volpe for The New York Times

By Azam Ahmed
Feb. 14, 2019

GUATEMALA CITY — As fire swept through the classroom, the pleas from the 56 girls locked inside began to fade.

Most were unconscious or worse by then, as an eerie silence replaced their panic-stricken shouts.

The police officers guarding the door — who had refused to unlock it despite the screams — waited nine minutes before stepping inside. They got water to cool down the scorching knob.

Inside, dozens of girls placed in the care of the Guatemalan state lay sprawled on the blackened floor. Forty-one of them died.

It was one of the deadliest tragedies in Guatemala since the end of its civil war decades ago, and it happened inside a group home for at-risk youth who had been put there by the government, supposedly for their own protection.


You Must See This Incredibly Rare Black Leopard Caught on Camera in Kenya

(San Diego Zoo/YouTube)


On shadowy paws in the dark of the night, the rare black leopard is rarely seen by human eyes. But now its breathtaking beauty has been captured in exquisite detail, thanks to trail cams and camera traps set up in Laikipia County in Kenya.

San Diego Zoo caught the gorgeous animal on remote video cameras set up to try and understand the population dynamics of leopards in the region.

"Regionally we've heard reports of black leopards living here in Kenya, but high-quality footage or imagery to support these observations has always been missing," said carnivore biologist Nicholas Pilfold of San Diego Zoo Global.

"That's what we've provided here with our cameras, and now we're able to confirm what has been long suspected about black leopards living in Laikipia County."


Favela Residents Report During Police Operation That Killed 13

They told public defenders in Rio that police officers tortured and killed suspects after they surrendered

Feb.13.2019 4:30AM

Ana Luiza Albuquerque
"They called us whores."
"They said they killed ten people and would kill twenty more."
"They barged into my house and asked if I was a drug addict."
"They wouldn't let people leave the neighborhood to go to the doctor."
"They screamed 'help,' 'don't kill me.'"

These were some of the accounts that residents of Morro do Fallet told public defenders on Tuesday (12th), some of them relatives of the 13 people dead there after a police operation last Friday (8th).

A man walks on a blood-stained floor at a house where police officers confronted suspects during an operation against drug gangs at Fallet slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil February 8, 2019 SMS414 - REUTERS

The witnesses once more claimed that the police officers killed the suspects after they had surrendered. The military police, however, is sticking to its version that there was a confrontation with drug dealers.


New US Dollar Coin Honors Role of Native Americans in Space Program

By Robert Z. Pearlman 12 hours ago

The United States Mint's 2019 Native American dollar coin honors American Indians in the space program, from engineer Mary Golda Ross to Native American astronauts, including John Herrington. The U.S. Mint releases the coin for sale on Wednesday (Feb. 13) in 25-coin rolls, 100-coin bags and 250-coin boxes.(Image: © U.S. Mint)

John Herrington is looking forward to his new pocket change.

A former NASA astronaut who was the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly into space, Herrington is among the individuals celebrated by the U.S. Mint's 2019 Native American $1 coin. Set for release at noon EST (1700 GMT) on Wednesday (Feb. 13), the coin highlights the contributions of American Indians to the U.S. space program.

"Having a coin honoring a lot of different folks is really nice. Finding out you are going to be on it, at least in the form of a being in a spacesuit spacewalking, is fabulous. I was thrilled when I found out about it and honored," said Herrington in an interview with collectSPACE.com. [US Mint launches sale of coins celebrating Apollo 11 50th anniversary]

"I plan on purchasing some for my personal use and to give to friends and family," he said.


First Indigenous American Astronaut: John B. Herrington (Chickasaw Tribe)

Cherokee Rocket Scientist Leaves NMAI A Gift

25 captivating pictures of Cuba

25 captivating pictures of Cuba
See inside this Caribbean island of vibrant colors, storied buildings, and awe-inspiring wildlife.

Just 90 miles off the tip of the Florida Keys, Cuba’s 42,426 square miles of land is home to more than 11 million people and an array of wildlife including tropical birds, frogs, and crocodiles. The largest of the Caribbean islands, this lively country boasts vibrant colors, whimsical buildings overflowing with character, and congenial locals. Since Columbus’s Spanish claim in 1492, Cuba has weathered centuries of history written into crumbling walls, generations of family recipes whispered from parent to child, and age-old cultural traditions still practiced to this day.

A single snapshot of Cuba could never encapsulate the diversity of activity and landscape the picturesque island offers. Old American automobiles in the brightest shades of every color zip up and down El Malecón through Havana, splashing water from the salty ocean waves that spill onto the roadway. In Viñales, farmers mount their horses to survey their tranquil tobacco fields. A couple of youngsters in matching uniforms amble home from school over Trinidad's cobblestone streets. A group of senior citizens gathers around a table at their community center for a spirited round of their favorite game, dominoes. [Reserve your spot on a National Geographic expedition to Cuba.]

While perhaps best known for its lively music, superior cigars, and beloved dances like the mambo and rumba, Cuba also showcases its vivacity in the most unexpected places. From hiking through agriculturally cultivated mountainsides and rural tobacco fields, to snorkeling through predatory habitats of crocodiles and sharks, the National Geographic Your Shot community has ventured into every corner of Cuba to capture a remarkable range of unique Caribbean sights.

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