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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,023

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Florida Disgraces Trayvon Martin Legacy, Moves to Expand Stand Your Ground

FEBRUARY 14, 2017

Photo by Social Justice – Bruce Emmerling | CC BY 2.0

Florida’s current Stand Your Ground Law, initially enacted in 2005, permits individuals to utilize deadly force in self-defense, without any obligation to retreat. Under the current law, individuals who use deadly force must defend their use of it under the law before trial.

On February 7, a bill proposed by NRA backed Florida State Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming) that would expand the Stand Your Ground law passed the Judiciary Committee by a 5-4 vote along party lines. The bill would shift the responsibility to the prosecution for why an individual “beyond a reasonable doubt” are not eligible to claim immunity under the law.

The bill, and the possibility it could pass into law given that Republicans hold the Governorship and the State Legislature, has provoked immense criticism from its opponents, who worry the bill would open Florida’s gun laws to more killings without consequence. The Miami Herald reported, “Bradley’s proposal drew immediate backlash from prosecutors and opponents of Stand Your Ground who fear the changes could flood the courts and make it easier for criminals to go unpunished. The plan also raises among critics renewed constitutional questions of double jeopardy in that requiring a burden of proof of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ would essentially force prosecutors to try a case twice, once before trial and then at trial itself.”

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law gained national attention in 2012 when George Zimmerman, a neighborhood restinpowerwatch captain in Sanford, Florida, killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman had a record of frivolous 911 calls, and a 911 dispatcher told him not to confront Martin, who did nothing wrong but looked “suspicious” to Zimmerman. But under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Zimmerman was not arrested that night and ultimately was freed of any responsibility for murdering Trayvon Martin.


PEACE IS OVER: Colombias paramilitaries embark on full-blown terror campaign

written by Adriaan Alsema February 12, 2017

“Tell us Mr. President, what is going to happen to those other groups?” folkloric chanters from the war-torn village of Bojaya sang at the peace ceremony with Marxist FARC guerrillas last year. The president never responded, but “the other groups” did.

. . .

Who are these guys?

Around the turn of the century the paramilitaries committed one massacre every two days. But nevertheless, the AUC enjoyed ties to generals, intelligence chiefs and allegedly a chief prosecutor and tens of thousands of members of the military and other government employees. They were even allowed a secret meeting inside the presidential palace.

The AUC officially demobilized between 2003 and 2006 and consequently, according to Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas, “paramilitaries don’t exist in Colombia.”

The truth is that the AUC demobilization was purposely inflated. This has been confirmed by multiple judges. Irregularities and fraud in that “peace process” went so far that the then-Peace Commissioner is now a fugitive, allegedly hiding in Canada. The prosecution wants to hear him about his role in the fraudulent demobilization.


Paraguay's Campesinos March to Demand Resignation of President

Paraguay's Campesinos March to Demand Resignation of President
Published 13 February 2017

"Police are shooting at the ... campesinos of our country, arresting them, killing them, just because they are asking for a piece of land,” said an activist.

. . .

Campesinos and members of the Paraguay Pyahura party gathered in front of Tax Minister Santiago Peña's house Sunday, demanding President Horacio Cartes resign.

. . .

"Almost 1 million Paraguayans will not be having dinner tonight, while thousands are on the edge of death in the various hospitals of the country, because there are no drugs, no specialists, no infrastructure; thousands of campesinos are being evicted today from their lands by Brazilian soy producers supported by the national police and President Cartes. To the poor campesinos of our country, they are shooting at them, arresting them, killing them, just because they are asking for a piece of land,” he added.

. . .

Cartes’ administration began in 2013, following the parliamentary coup that ousted leftist President Fernando Lugo, the first progressive president in the country's modern history. Cartes has championed neoliberal policies and has seen high disapproval ratings throughout his term.


Colombia court will ban bull fighting in 2 years unless Congress decides otherwise

Colombia court will ban bull fighting in 2 years unless Congress decides otherwise
written by Adriaan Alsema February 10, 2017

Colombia’s Constitutional Court gave the country’s Congress a two-year deadline to come up with legislation or it will include the activity to the existing ban on animal cruelty.

The court decision forces Colombia’s chronically inactive Congress to come up with pro-bullfighting legislation, which has increasingly fallen out of grace with the population because of the cruelty inflicted on the animals.

The court had refused to deem the controvserial activity in a bill against animal cruelty last week as it would go against existing legislation that allows bullfighting as long as measures are taken to reduce the suffering of the animals, like drugging them.

Thursday’s ruling criticized the law because “it generates a constitutional difference between animal” as no other animal may be exposed to the cruelty or violence applied in the ancient cultural activity.


President Trump's Guantanamo: Standing by for new 'bad dudes'

President Trump's Guantanamo: Standing by for new 'bad dudes'
By CAROL ROSENBERG | Miami Herald | Published: February 7, 2017

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Tribune News Service) — Will they include women? Children again? Captives with communicable diseases? Come by the dozens or in ones and twos? Where will the Pentagon get them, and from what terrorist group?

The Trump administration has yet to begin making good on the president’s campaign promise to grow the population of the detention center — “load it up with some bad dudes” — but some here have started the strategic thinking about how to handle Guantanamo prison 2.0.

Loading it up could mean adding at most 200 more captives, commanders say, a figure that would grow the prison population to nearly what it was the day President Barack Obama took office. If so, commander Navy Rear Adm. Peter J. Clarke warns, that might require calling in reinforcements after a period of downsizing to 1,650 troops and civilians — 40 dedicated detention center staffers for each detainee.

Army Colonel Steve Gabavics, the warden for the last 41 captives, says a lot will depend on the new arrivals’ home countries and health issues. Captives suspected of having tuberculosis would be quarantined, he says, something the prison did when the first detainees arrived in 2002. Other considerations include their detention status, suspected affiliation and place of capture.


Trump's warnings grow, but so are travelers and flights to Cuban soil

Trump's warnings grow, but so are travelers and flights to Cuban soil
Harriet Baskas, Special to CNBC
Sunday, 5 Feb 2017 | 1:00 PM ET

Last week, the newly inaugurated Trump administration warned it was in the middle of a "full review" of U.S. policy toward Cuba—prompting new questions about how committed President Donald Trump will be to the political and cultural thaw began under his predecessor.

However, uncertainty over Trump's Cuba policy did not prevent American Airlines from opening a ticket office in Havana this week, a mere two months after the carrier flew the first scheduled commercial flight from the U.S. to Havana since 1961.

American's new outpost in Cuba underscores how both U.S. fliers and air carriers are rushing to make the most of the first real opening between the two countries in decades—despite lingering questions about whether that thaw will continue in the Trump era.

"We cannot speculate about what (Trump's) next step will be, but I can assure you that we are moving our machine forward," said Galo Beltran, Cuba manager for American Airlines told the Associated Press, "You are a witness to the investment and how important Cuba is to American as a U.S. entity doing business."


Guatemala Attorney General Seeks Trial of Former Military Men

Guatemala Attorney General Seeks Trial of Former Military Men
Published 7 February 2017 (8 hours 22 minutes ago)

. . .

The attorney general of Guatemala asked a court Tuesday to move forward on the trial of the former military chief of staff Manuel Benedicto Lucas Garcia and four other high-ranking officials for the 1981 kidnapping and disappearance of 14-year-old Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, including the torture and rape of his sister Emma Guadeloupe.

The solicitation to move forward with the Molina Theissen case follows decades of victims clamoring for justice for the brutal crimes carried out during Guatemala’s bloody 36 years of military dictatorships. All five former top military officials would be tried for crimes against humanity, forced disappearance and aggravated rape. The judge's decision is expected in the coming week.

Lucas Garcia, the brother of former dictator Romero Lucas Garcia and the four others accused — former commanders Francisco Luis Gordillo and Edilberto Letona and former military intelligence agents Hugo Ramiro Zaldaña and Manuel Antonio Callejas — have been in pre-trial detention since being arrested in January 2016.

Initially, only four were linked to the case. Lucas Garcia — currently facing prosecution along with several other former military officers for the disappearance of at least 558 civilians between 1981 and 1988 — was added when additional charges were announced in August 2016 related to his role overseeing counterinsurgency strategy at the time that Emma Guadeloupe was detained and Marco Antonio was disappeared.


US judges validates extradition treaty with Colombia

US judges validates extradition treaty with Colombia
written by Adriaan Alsema February 7, 2017

A US judge on Monday validated the country’s extradition treaty after it had been challenged by a fugitive former Colombian minister awaiting a 17-year prison sentence for corruption at home.

In a desperate attempt to evade justice at home, former Minister Andres Felipe Arias and his ally, former President Alvaro Uribe, had claimed that Colombia’s 1979 extradition treaty with the US had been declared unconstitutional by the Colombian constitutional court in 1986.

. . .

Former Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias was sentenced to 17 years in prison after the Supreme Court convicted him of embezzling approximately $25 million in funds meant for poor farmers.

The money was instead used to appease political and business elites that could support the former minister’s alleged presidential aspirations in the 2010 elections.



Felipe Arias and his master, Alvaro Uribe.

Na Na Na Na Hey Hey-ey Goodbye [/center]

Peru in fight to save its endangered languages

Peru in fight to save its endangered languages
07 Feb 2017 - 8:56


Lima: Amadeo Garcia has no one left to talk to in his mother tongue, Taushiro.

Neither does Pablo Andrade, the last living speaker of Resigaro.

The two indigenous languages are among 17 that are critically endangered in Peru, where modern life's advance into the isolated Amazon basin region has wiped out many native peoples' way of life, and their languages along with it.

Garcia, 67, is the last living Taushiro, an indigenous group native to northern Peru that was decimated by malaria, conflicts with rubber tappers and toxic oil spills in its rivers.


How Israeli ex-soldiers turned a Colombia fishing town into a sex and drug den

How Israeli ex-soldiers turned a Colombia fishing town into a sex and drug den
written by Richard Kelleher February 6, 2017

Following local upset about Israeli tourists’ drug and prostitution use in Colombia’s coastal village of Taganga, website Las 2 Orillas found that trouble began when former Israeli soldiers decided to build a backpackers’ resort.

The problems in Taganga are centered specifically around an Israeli-owned tourist center called Hotel Benjamin, located on the side of the bay.

The founder is ex-soldier Assi Moosh, who saw potential for business for other former soldiers who had been in obligatory military service for three years.

By 2015, he had completed an enormous construction that now serves as the epicenter for Taganga’s wild parties that have become a thorn in the side of the locals: an enormous hotel-fortress complete with a bay view, basketball court and swimming pool.

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