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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 135,805

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The Ideology of the American Media is That it Believes That It Doesn’t Have any Ideology

Weekend Edition Feb 27-Mar 01, 2015
The Self-Hypnotized

The Ideology of the American Media is That it Believes That It Doesn’t Have any Ideology


So NBC’s evening news anchor, Brian Williams, has been caught telling untruths about various events in recent years. What could be worse for a reporter? How about not knowing what’s going on in the world? In your own country? At your own employer? As a case in point I give you Williams’ rival, Scott Pelley, evening news anchor at CBS.

In August 2002, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told American newscaster Dan Rather on CBS: “We do not possess any nuclear or biological or chemical weapons.”

In December, Aziz stated to Ted Koppel on ABC: “The fact is that we don’t have weapons of mass destruction. We don’t have chemical, biological, or nuclear weaponry.”

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein himself told CBS’s Rather in February 2003: “These missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations (as to range) in Iraq. They are no longer there.”

Moreover, Gen. Hussein Kamel, former head of Iraq’s secret weapons program, and a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, told the UN in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its banned missiles and chemical and biological weapons soon after the Persian Gulf War of 1991.


200 Years of US Interventionism: Cuba: the Weight of a Long History

Weekend Edition Feb 27-Mar 01, 2015

200 Years of US Interventionism

Cuba: the Weight of a Long History


The U.S. and Cuba are meeting again this week for their second round of normalization talks. When asked by the media what she expected from the first round, Roberta Jacobson, the senior diplomat leading the U.S. team, said that she was “not oblivious to the weight of history.” She was right on target: There is a very long history that begins well before the Revolution, deserves careful analysis, and will impact the talks.

As far back as 1809, Jefferson tried to purchase Cuba. In 1820 he went further; he told Secretary of War J.C. Calhoun that the U.S. “ought, at the first possible opportunity, to take Cuba.” As President, John Quincy Adams predicted that Cuba would fall “like a ripening plum into the lap of the union.” These are but two of many prominent examples of a widespread ambition to annex Cuba, or at least to control its destiny, from very early in U.S. history. After “the West,” Cuba figured as a prominent second place in U.S. expansionist aims from the beginning of the Republic.

In subsequent decades, support for annexing Cuba shifted tactically to Southerners who saw Cuba as a potential new slave state, though “manifest destiny” continued to be the fundamental driving force. Presidents Polk, in 1848, and Pierce, in 1854, offered unsuccessfully to buy Cuba. John Louis O’Sullivan, the newspaper editor who coined the phrase “Manifest Destiny” in 1845, supported Cuba’s best known “annexationist,” taking him to Polk’s White House in search of support for his armed expeditions. And even Walt Whitman—no advocate of slavery—wrote in 1871 that, “‘manifest destiny’ certainly points to the speedy annexation of Cuba by the United States.”

President McKinley again unsuccessfully offered to buy Cuba in 1898, shortly before declaring war on Spain. Only a year before, his Undersecretary of War, I.C. Breckenridge, had reflected the annexationist thinking in a memo arguing that: “We must impose a harsh blockade so that hunger and its constant companion, disease, undermine the peaceful population and decimate the Cuban Army….in order to annex the Pearl of the Antilles [Cuba].” He meant the Cuban independence army, who had all but defeated the Spanish well before Roosevelt with his Rough Riders arrived to clean up. It was advocacy of a policy to starve the Cuban population and its army, just to make sure that the U.S. alone could determine the future of the island. The push for annexation eventually failed, in no small part because its supporters realized that Cubans would likely continue their war if the U.S. tried to impose it. Yet those who favored annexation were able to impose the Platt Amendment on the new Cuban Constitution in 1904, in effect granting the US the right to intervene in Cuba for practically any reason the US saw fit. Cuba’s independence was brutally truncated, and the U.S. intervened on the island again in 1906, 1912, 1917 and 1920.


How to Close Guantanamo

How to Close Guantanamo
By Tom Hayden | 10 / February / 2015

President Barack Obama once again has made it plain that he intends to close Guantanamo. Those who doubted his previous promises on immigrant rights and Cuba should realize that he is serious about Guantanamo as well.

Most of the remaining 122 Guantanamo detainees, including 47 of 54 already cleared for release, are from Yemen. Obama cannot realistically send them back to that unstable center of civil strife and chaos. He therefore is proceeding to release small handfuls of detainees to places like Uruguay while asking congressional Republicans to lift their ban on sending Guantanamo detainees to high-security U.S. prisons. If those efforts prove fruitless, there now is a new way to achieve his promise:

Return Guantanamo to Cuban sovereignty, where it belongs historically.

Arrange to release the remaining detainees to Cuban soil under Cuban security. Involve regional diplomats, the United Nations and the Vatican in working out the arrangements.

With changing times, there is no national security or commercial argument for Guantanamo remaining under U.S. control. The base is a complete anachronism on the one hand, and a constant blight on America’s global reputation.

The 45-square mile Guantanamo base was taken as a consequence of the 1901 Platt amendment, over the objections of a Cuban constitutional assembly. It was meant to locate coaling or naval stations for the projection of American military power in the region. The underlying strategic reason was declared by the island’s American overseer, Col. Leonard Wood, chief commander of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, in 1901:

With the control which we have over Cuba, a control which will soon undoubtedly become possession … we shall soon practically control the sugar trade of the world … the island will gradually become Americanized and we shall have in time one of the richest and most desirable possessions in the world.


William Blum: Cuba Made Simple

February 26, 2015

Of Dissidents and Self-Defense

Cuba Made Simple


“The trade embargo can be fully lifted only through legislation – unless Cuba forms a democracy, in which case the president can lift it.”

Aha! So that’s the problem, according to a Washington Post columnist – Cuba is not a democracy! That would explain why the United States does not maintain an embargo against Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt and other distinguished pillars of freedom. The mainstream media routinely refer to Cuba as a dictatorship. Why is it not uncommon even for people on the left to do the same? I think that many of the latter do so in the belief that to say otherwise runs the risk of not being taken seriously, largely a vestige of the Cold War when Communists all over the world were ridiculed for blindly following Moscow’s party line. But what does Cuba do or lack that makes it a dictatorship?

No “free press”? Apart from the question of how free Western media is, if that’s to be the standard, what would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control almost all the media worth owning or controlling?

Is it “free elections” that Cuba lacks? They regularly have elections at municipal, regional and national levels. (They do not have direct election of the president, but neither do Germany or the United Kingdom and many other countries). Money plays virtually no role in these elections; neither does party politics, including the Communist Party, since candidates run as individuals. Again, what is the standard by which Cuban elections are to be judged? Is it that they don’t have the Koch Brothers to pour in a billion dollars? Most Americans, if they gave it any thought, might find it difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic election, without great concentrations of corporate money, would look like, or how it would operate. Would Ralph Nader finally be able to get on all 50 state ballots, take part in national television debates, and be able to match the two monopoly parties in media advertising? If that were the case, I think he’d probably win; which is why it’s not the case.


Fact Not Fiction: US Aggression Against Venezuela

February 26, 2015

Fact Not Fiction

US Aggression Against Venezuela


Recently, several different spokespersons for the Obama administration have firmly claimed the United States government is not intervening in Venezuelan affairs. Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki went so far as to declare, “The allegations made by the Venezuelan government that the United States is involved in coup plotting and destabilization are baseless and false.” Psaki then reiterated a bizarrely erroneous statement she had made during a daily press briefing just a day before: “The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means”.

Anyone with minimal knowlege of Latin America and world history knows Psaki’s claim is false, and calls into question the veracity of any of her prior statements. The U.S. government has backed, encouraged and supported coup d’etats in Latin America and around the world for over a century. Some of the more notorious ones that have been openly acknowledged by former U.S. presidents and high level officials include coup d’etats against Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1960, Joao Goulart of Brazil in 1964 and Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973. More recently, in the twenty-first century, the U.S. government openly supported the coups against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002, Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti in 2004 and Jose Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in 2009. Ample evidence of CIA and other U.S. agency involvement in all of these unconstitutional overthrows of democratically-elected governments abounds. What all of the overthrown leaders had in common was their unwillingness to bow to U.S. interests.

Despite bogus U.S. government claims, after Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela by an overwhelming majority in 1998, and subsequently refused to take orders from Washington, he became a fast target of U.S. aggression. Though a U.S.-supported coup d’etat briefly overthrew Chavez in 2002, his subsequent rescue by millions of Venezuelans and loyal armed forces, and his return to power, only increased U.S. hostility towards the oil-rich nation. After Chavez’s death in 2013 from cancer, his democratically-elected successor, Nicolas Maduro, became the brunt of these attacks.

What follows is a brief summary and selection of U.S. aggression towards Venezuela that clearly shows a one-sided war. Venezuela has never threatened or taken any kind of action to harm the United States or its interests. Nonetheless, Venezuela, under both Chavez and Maduro – two presidents who have exerted Venezuela’s sovereignty and right to self-determination – has been the ongoing victim of continuous, hostile and increasingly unfriendly actions from Washington.


From torture to terrorism: How DEA case led to extraordinary rendition

From torture to terrorism: How DEA case led to extraordinary rendition

Los Angeles Times
February 26, 2015

BOGOTA, Colombia — Of all the cases of troubling corruption and stunning violence that have characterized the war on drugs in Latin America, few linger as powerfully among U.S. drug agents as the case of Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who vanished on a busy street in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1985 while walking to meet his wife for lunch. His body was found nearly a month later. His skull, jaw, nose, cheekbones and windpipe were crushed. His ribs were broken. His head had been drilled with a screwdriver.

The campaign to prosecute those responsible - the tentacles went from Mexican police to fabled drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero - took years. Even today, in the Drug Enforcement Administration's offices in Bogota, federal agents say the Camarena case has established a steely template for how the U.S. pursues drug investigations in what remains one of the world's most perilous law enforcement terrains.

The 30-year-old case, whose anniversary has been quietly observed this month in DEA offices all over Latin America, opened one of the first windows on the brazen violence that would come to characterize the drug trade in Mexico.

There was another, more lasting legacy. The effort to bring Camarena's torturers to justice in a Los Angeles courtroom, analysts say, was a key legal catalyst for what came to be one of U.S. counterterrorism's most controversial practices: the "extraordinary rendition" of suspects from foreign lands, outside the purview of international laws or extradition treaties. A landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the practice stemmed from the 1990 seizure by bounty hunters of a Guadalajara doctor, Humberto Alvarez Machain, accused of injecting drugs into Camarena to keep him awake during his torture.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/02/26/257962/from-torture-to-terrorism-how.html#storylink=cpy

The Foiling of a Coup Plot in Venezuela

February 25, 2015

The Danger is Not Over

The Foiling of a Coup Plot in Venezuela


A coup plot against President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution was thwarted this week as a retired Venezuelan Air Force general and 10 military and civilian opposition figures were arrested.

The bombing of the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, Telesur TV network, the Defense Ministry and other Caracas sites was to take place February 12, the one-year anniversary of violent anti-government attacks known as “guarimbas,” which caused 43 deaths. A Tucano EMB 312 bomber would have been flown by renegade Air Force First Lieutenant José Antich Zapata to destroy the targeted sites.

U.S. spokesperson Jen Psaki and the Venezuelan far-right are dismissing the plot claim, but video evidence, a map of the bombing targets, and other key evidence have been unveiled on national television, with more details promised. Washington’s role in previous plots has been proven before.

According to President Maduro, detained coup leaders have confessed their role. He spoke on national television Sunday morning, to reveal more facts and accuse the United States government of conspiring with coup plotters.

Antich Zapata received U.S. visas for himself and other conspirators from the U.S. embassy in Caracas, for escape from Venezuela in case the plot failed.


Video Shows Cop Making Unprovoked Attack On Homeless Man

Video Shows Cop Making Unprovoked Attack On Homeless Man
by Carimah Townes Posted on February 24, 2015 at 9:59 am Updated: February 24, 2015 at 11:28 am

Cell phone video captured at a bus terminal in Ft. Lauderdale shows a police officer throwing a homeless man to the ground and slapping him for trespassing. However, the incident is not an isolated one.

In the video, which was posted to YouTube on Sunday, Officer Victor Ramirez grabs Bruce Laclair by the arm and pushes him to the ground. Laclair tells the officer that he needs to pee, as Ramirez repeatedly tells him to get up. Then, Ramirez slaps Laclair, saying, “I’m not fucking around with you. Don’t fucking touch me,” before proceeding to handcuff him.

Ramirez was “relieved of duty with pay” on Monday. Laclair was released on bail hours later.

Watch the video:

Florida’s effective criminalization of homeless people has been widely publicized in the past year. During National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in November, a homeless man was arrested for protesting Ft. Lauderdale’s discriminatory policies at a meeting to honor the special week. The city prevents homeless people from displaying their possessions in public, and sleeping on public grounds. A 90-year-old man was also arrested in the city for feeding the homeless.


Government Documents Reveal Canadian Embassy Backed Mining Abuses in Mexico

Government Documents Reveal Canadian Embassy Backed Mining Abuses in Mexico
February 25, 2015 1:00 AM

OTTAWA and TORONTO, Feb. 25, 2015 /CNW/ - A report based on internal documents obtained from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) concludes that Canadian diplomats in Mexico were complicit in Toronto-based Excellon Resources Inc.'s efforts to avoid redressing a violated land use contract and poor working conditions, and supported repression against a peaceful protest.

The report from MiningWatch Canada and the United Steelworkers is based on a careful review of nearly 250 pages obtained from DFATD during a period of heightened conflict and repression from July to November 2012.

At this time, landowners from the Ejido La Sierrita and workers from Local 309 of the National Miners Union at Excellon's La Platosa mine undertook a peaceful protest for several months, after filing two formal complaints in Canada alleging serious land and labour rights violations without result.

Despite full knowledge of these complaints and Excellon's refusal to engage in dialogue to address them, the Canadian Embassy planned to share information with Excellon that was gathered from community members and their legal counsel without their consent, while helping the company forge high level connections that led to violent repression against the protest.


Mexican Political Family Has Close Ties to Ruling Party, and Homes in the U.S.

Mexican Political Family Has Close Ties to Ruling Party, and Homes in the U.S.

Read a summary in Spanish / Lea un resumen »

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José Murat Casab, left, a former governor of Oaxaca and an influential member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Members of his immediate family have bought at least six properties in the United States, records and interviews show. Credit Said Hernandez/Revistatucan.com
In the fall of 2013, one of Mexico’s top housing officials posted an item on Twitter about an advertising campaign promoting mortgages for low-income Mexicans. The campaign’s message was simple: “The most important thing in life is in your house.”

It carried the tag line, “Homes with value.”

The official, Alejandro Murat Hinojosa, knows something about homes with value, especially across the border.

Over the years, he and members of his immediate family — starting with his father, José Murat Casab, a former governor of Oaxaca — have bought at least six properties in the United States, including two condominiums near a ski resort in Utah, another at the beach in South Texas and at least one in Manhattan, according to records and interviews. In New York, José Murat’s children have also lived for periods of time in one of the more modest condos at the luxurious Time Warner Center overlooking Central Park.

Ownership of the homes was often obscured through variations on family names listed on deeds or through shell companies, according to records examined by The New York Times. In fact, on the day the younger Mr. Murat tweeted about the housing program, public filings in Florida recorded the transfer of a $750,000 Boca Raton condo that had been purchased in his wife’s name to an entity called IMRO 2013 Trust.

The Murats’ real estate holdings stand in contrast to the Everyman image that José Murat, renowned for his political might and booming personality, worked to project as governor.


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