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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,047

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Deep failures in investigation into Honduras activist’s killing put many at risk

Deep failures in investigation into Honduras activist’s killing put many at risk

March 8, 2016

The catalogue of failures in the investigation into the death of a prominent Indigenous leader last week exposes the Honduran government’s absolute lack of willingness to protect human rights defenders in the country, said Amnesty International after a visit to the Central American country.

“Authorities in Honduras are saying one thing and doing another. They have told us they are committed to finding those responsible for Berta Cáceres’ death yet they have failed to follow the most basic lines of investigation, including the fact that Berta had been receiving serious death threats related to her human rights work for a very long time,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“This shocking lack of action is sending the dangerous message that anyone can kill those who dare to confront the most powerful in society and get away with it. That authorities seem to be willing to trade lives for money.”

“The fact that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado is still refusing to meet with Berta Cáceres’ relatives, other human rights defenders and Amnesty International is simply inexcusable. Burying his head in the sand will only put the lives and safety of more activists in grave danger.”

Berta Cáceres, leader and co-founder of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Peoples Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was shot dead on March 3 in her home in the town of La Esperanza, in the province of Intibucá, west Honduras. For years, she had vocally campaigned against the construction of the Agua Zarca dam in the community of Río Blanco.

So far, only members of COPINH were called to give testimony. Human rights activist Gustavo Castro, who was with Berta when she was killed, was prevented from leaving Honduras to his native Mexico even after giving testimony on several occasions and despite serious threats to his life.

More:
http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/deep-failures-in-investigation-into-honduras-activist-s-killing-put-many-at-risk

How Colombia’s Mr. Wiretap ended up being wiretapped

How Colombia’s Mr. Wiretap ended up being wiretapped
Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Mar 8, 2016

Colombia’s former President, Alvaro Uribe, was once known as the president whose administration wiretapped pretty much anyone deemed a political risk. Now, the current senator appears in phone calls wiretapped by the Supreme Court.

Uribe tried to make a stink earlier this month, asking the Supreme Court on Twitter why he was being wiretapped.

The accusation raised eyebrows across Colombia as his former chief of staff and two of his former intelligence chiefs are in prison, for no other reason that illegally wiretapping the Supreme Court, journalists, national and international human rights organization, and politicians.

These wiretaps were allegedly carried out to frustrate investigations against Uribe’s cousin Mario, a former Senator who was eventually arrested and convicted for using paramilitary death squads to advance his political career.

More:
http://colombiareports.com/colombias-greatest-spy-ended-spied/

Meet Dindim, the penguin who returns to his human soulmate every year

Meet Dindim, the penguin who returns to his human soulmate every year

Seabird makes annual trek to his rescuer on Brazilian island
Janet Tappin Coelho Rio de Janeiro |
1 hour ago|



Four years ago, Joao Pereira, 71, found a South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil and starving on a beach on an island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. A friendship was born.

Since they met in 2011, the creature, which normally breeds on the Patagonia coasts of Argentina and Chile, three to five thousand miles away, has become a faithful companion, swimming every year from its habitat to spend up to eight months living with the retired fisherman in his house on the island.

“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” said Mr Pereira in an interview with Globo TV , in which the bird honks with delight as he recognises his human friend. “No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do. He lays on my lap, let’s me give him showers, allows me feed him sardines and to pick him up,” said Mr Pereira who has named the penguin Dindim.

Mr Pereira believes Dindim formed a bond with him after he found it stranded on the beach and took him home. Over a week he cleaned the creature’s tarred feathers in the shower, fed him a daily diet of fish to improve his strength then took him back to the sea to let him go.



More:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/meet-dindim-the-penguin-who-returns-to-his-human-soulmate-every-year-a6917621.html

Environment & Energy:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/112797897

Graffiti in Bogota is attracting tourists

Graffiti in Bogota is attracting tourists

From civil war to the war on drugs, street artists in a unique environment have a wealth of inspiration to draw from.



By: Vawn Himmelsbach Special to the Star, Published on Mon Mar 07 2016

In Bogota, graffiti artists can work during the day without fear of prosecution or detention. They would be fined, at most, if they painted on a government or private building without permission.

COLOMBIA-Christian Petersen first visited Colombia in 2001, “when it was a completely different country to what it is today.” The Aussie returned in 2009, married a Colombian woman he met on a bus back in 2001 and co-founded Bogota Graffiti Tour.

Petersen, an artist, was impressed by Bogota’s street art scene. “Colombia has very potent and relevant socio-political issues and topics to draw inspiration from, like the longest-running civil war in the world, injustices, poverty, internal displacement, genocide, corruption, war on drugs, and much more.”

But it’s not all political: The country’s biodiversity is also a rich source of inspiration on the streets.

More:
http://www.thestar.com/life/travel/2016/03/07/graffiti-in-bogota-is-attracting-tourists.html

Rebuilding the Bolivarian Revolution

Rebuilding the Bolivarian Revolution

The Right’s recent success in Venezuela shows how vital it is to reclaim and democratize Hugo Chávez’s project.

by Mike Gonzalez

The December elections to Venezuela’s National Assembly completely changed the balance of power within the chamber. Where once Chavistas had an absolute majority, this time 112 of the Assembly’s 167 seats were taken by members of a right-wing coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).

They were the beneficiaries of an electoral system whose legitimacy their victory demonstrates, despite their repeated claims that Venezuela was a dictatorship.

The victory of the Right was not entirely unpredictable. The Maduro government had been privately discussing the possibility of defeat, though it is unlikely that they anticipated the scale of it. Yet the deeper issue was that President Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013, had won between 53 percent and 63 percent of the vote at every election and referendum from 1999 until his death.

His successor Nicolas Maduro won his presidential contest in 2013 by less than 1 percent over his right-wing rival Capriles Radonski. In just over two years that support, expressed electorally, fell again to around 36 percent.

In other words, many of those who had consistently backed Chávez had either supported MUD or simply not voted, despite knowing that what united the disparate elements of the MUD was their commitment to dismantling the social advances that had been undertaken under Chávez and rolling back the Bolivarian Revolution.

More:
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/03/venezuela-chavez-maduro-mud-elections/

Peru Victims Expose More Fujimori Era Forced Sterilizations

Peru Victims Expose More Fujimori Era Forced Sterilizations


[font size=1]
Representatives of Peruvian women's groups for victims of forced sterilization shout slogans after a meeting on Dec. 10, 2015.

Published 4 March 2016 (6 hours 46 minutes ago)
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Testimonies from victims of Peru’s forced sterilization campaign show that women’s human rights were violated at the government orders.


The tragic details of cases of forced sterilization have come to light in Peru as victims in the northern region of San Martin spoke out for the first time in grisly interviews with local media published on Friday. Testimonies of women who were sterilized against their will under the regime of former dictator Alberto Fujimori demonstrate that forced sterilization was widespread as a systematic policy and not a matter of isolated incidents.

Victims report being tricked and lied to by medical professionals to be forcibly sterilized by the thousands. Women from poor, Indigenous communities with multiple children were disproportionately targeted by the state campaign directed from the capital Lima.

“I told them several times no, I didn’t want it, that I was pregnant, but they insisted. ‘It’s the government’s order,’ they told me,” Felipa Guerra Martinez, a victim of forced sterilization in the 1990’s, told the Peruvian daily La Republica. “Then they told me they were just going to a pregnancy check-up. But it was a hoax.”

. . .

Over 270,000 women, mostly Indigenous from rural areas, were sterilized in Peru between 1995 and 2000. Investigations into widespread allegations opened in 2003, but has been repeatedly stalled under official claims of lack of evidence.

Fujimori, who oversaw the state policy, has always claimed that the women were sterilized voluntarily.


More:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Peru-Victims-Expose-More-Fujimori-Era-Forced-Sterilizations-20160304-0020.html

 How Much Did the US Know About the Kidnapping, Torture, and Murder of Over 20,000 People in Argent

 How Much Did the US Know About the Kidnapping, Torture, and Murder of Over 20,000 People in Argentina?

Now, President Obama has the chance to apologize for US complicity in the dirty war.

By Martin Edwin Andersen


[font size=1]
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo engage in an anti-government protest over the imprisonment and kidnappings of their husbands and children in Buenos Aires in November 1977. (AP Photo)
[/font]
 Dear Mr. President,

After a historic visit to Cuba, later this month on March 24, you plan to be in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the fortieth anniversary of a vicious military coup that resulted in the secret kidnapping, torture, and murder of more than 20,000 people, including leftist guerrillas, nonviolent dissidents and even many uninvolved citizens caught in the web of terror.

In an October 1987 article in The Nation (PDF), I broke the story about how the murderous generals and their neo-Nazi minions received a “green light” for their clandestine repression from then–Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Although buttressed by other sources, the Nation story was largely based on a memorandum of conversation I received from Patricia Derian, the wonderfully feisty activist and Mississippi civil rights hero.

Appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the first Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Patt’s role was key in bringing to life Carter’s desperately needed post-Vietnam and post-Watergate Human Rights Revolution.

 The “memcom” Derian gave me was based on her 1977 conversation in the Buenos Aires Embassy with then-Ambassador Robert Hill, a conservative five-time GOP ambassadorial appointee. It was Hill who had bravely waged a behind-the-scenes struggle against Kissinger’s secret stamp of approval for those who had earlier staged the coup, refusing to back off when Kissinger’s aides warned Hill he might be fired even as he sought to save lives in Argentina.

 “It sickened me,” Patt told me in the home she shared in Alexandria, Virginia, with fellow Mississippi human rights crusader Hodding Carter III, her husband and Jimmy Carter’s State Department spokesman, “that with an imperial wave of his hand, an American could sentence people to death on the basis of a cheap whim. As time went on I saw Kissinger’s footprints in a lot of countries. It was the repression of a democratic ideal.”

. . .



More:
http://www.thenation.com/article/how-much-did-the-us-know-about-the-kidnapping-torture-and-murder-of-over-20000-people-in-argentina/

Hillary Lost My Vote in Honduras

March 2, 2016
Hillary Lost My Vote in Honduras

by Alexandra Early

I am one of the many young women who to the consternation of so many pundits is just not Ready for Hillary in 2016. And it’s not because I am a bad feminist, it’s because I am judging Hillary Clinton, just as she has asked to be judged, on her record and her foreign policy credentials. I spent nearly five years in Central America working as a cross-border solidarity activist and I now work with immigrants in Massachusetts who have fled the violence in that region. So, I might have been moved by Clinton’s recent pledge to “campaign for human rights” and take on immigration reform. But I have seen first-hand how Clinton failed on that front when top military commanders in Honduras (all men, of course) overthrew its democratically elected president Manual Zelaya in 2009.

Since that military takeover, nearly all sectors of Honduran society—union organizers, farmers and teachers, women and young people, gays, journalists, political activists, anyone who resisted the coup—have faced systematic repression. Honduras has become one the most violent countries in the world not formally engaged in a civil war, and it’s now a leading source of forced migration to the U.S.

President Obama initially criticized Zelaya’s ouster and forced exile as a threat to democracy throughout the region. But the Obama administration, led by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, refused to formally recognize that a military coup had taken place and never cut U.S. military aid to Honduras. Clinton’s State Department even lobbied the Organization of American States, which strongly condemned the coup, to readmit Honduras after its suspension from the OAS. In November 2009, the Administration recognized the election of Porfirio Lobo, even though most opposition parties and major international observers boycotted the election. Since the coup, the U.S. has built two new military bases in Honduras and increased its support and funding for the Honduran military and police.

While living in El Salvador, I participated in four human rights delegations to Honduras and witnessed how the country’s democratic institutions were destroyed by the military takeover and its aftermath. During each visit, we interviewed multiple victims of physical threats, beatings, kidnappings, and imprisonment and heard stories about growing government corruption.

In November of 2013, I was part of a group of 40 international observers from El Salvador and the U.S. who traveled to Honduras together to observe the presidential elections. In this national election, Xiomara Castro, the wife of Manuel Zelaya, ran with wide public support. However, as Rights Action reported, more than 30 candidates of her new left-wing party, Libre, were murdered or suffered violent attacks in the run up to the election. The common refrain we heard among poor Hondurans before the day of the big vote was, ‘Xiomara will win, if they let her’.“They” did no such thing, of course. Instead, the right wing candidate, Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the winner, even though numerous international groups observing the election found evidence of vote buying, intimidation and other irregularities.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/02/hillary-lost-my-vote-in-honduras/

Brazil starts building snazzy new research station in Antarctica

Brazil starts building snazzy new research station in Antarctica

By Herton EscobarMar. 2, 2016 , 1:30 PM


[font size=1]
Artist's conception of Brazil’s new Antarctic research station, planned to open in 2018.

Brazilian Navy
[/font]
Four years after its old research station went up in flames, Brazil has started work on a new $100 million scientific stronghold in Antarctica. A symbolic founding stone was unveiled on Monday by Brazilian defense minister Aldo Rebelo during a ceremony in Punta Arenas, Chile. The plan was to hold the event at the station site in Antarctica—at the edge of the Keller Peninsula, on King George Island—but bad weather grounded the flight that was scheduled to take the party there.

Compared with the previous base that operated for nearly 30 years, the new one, expected to be completed in 2018, has a slick futuristic design, with 17 laboratories and cozy accommodations for about 65 people. But scientists worry about whether a looming funding squeeze will crimp research by the time the station is up and running. “To build a new station is commendable. But if new research projects are not approved, it won’t do us any good,” says Yocie Yoneshigue-Valentin, a marine botanist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and general coordinator of the National Science and Technology Institute for Environmental Research in Antarctica.

An investigation concluded that the fire in February 2012 started in a machine room, after a fuel tank was left unattended and overflowed during a refueling operation. Two Navy officers died combating the flames; none of the roughly 30 scientists working at the station at the time were injured. The federal government responded quickly, installing 45 emergency operational modules and replacing all equipment on site within a year of the accident. That has kept Brazilian science afloat in Antarctica, with support from two Navy research ships and international collaborations. A quarter of Brazil’s science program in Antarctica depends on the land station, with the rest carried out aboard ships or in seasonal summer camps.


[font size=1]
Brazil’s Antarctic researchers are using these temporary digs on King George Island installed after their old station burned down in February 2012.

Brazilian Navy
[/font]
But since the national economy took a dive in 2015, research funding across the board has withered, making grants a bigger concern than infrastructure for most scientists. Jefferson Simões, a leading glaciologist at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and coordinator of the National Institute of Science and Technology for the Cryosphere, hopes the new station won’t become an “empty house.” The last time the federal government issued a call for research in Antarctica was in 2013, and that pot of money is expected to dry up in the next 6 months, he says. “That’s the big question now: What are we going to do after October, when the money runs out?”

More:
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/brazil-starts-building-snazzy-new-research-station-antarctica

Rolling Stones Announce Free Cuba Concert

Rolling Stones Announce Free Cuba Concert

BY Robert Michael Poole | March 01, 2016



The Rolling Stones will perform the first open air concert in Cuba by a British rock band after announcing a surprise show to take place on March 25. The Stones are currently on their America Latina Ole Tour originally set to end in Mexico City on March 17, but will now visit Cuba just three days after U.S. President Barack Obama makes his own historic visit.

“We have performed in many special places during our long career but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba too,” said a statement, with the band following the Manic Street Preachers to the country – the most prominent English band to play Cuba when they performed in front of President Fidel Castro at Havana's Karl Marx Theatre in 2001. Castro had previously marginalized rock music since the 1950s.

The Rolling Stones show, their first in the Caribbean, will be filmed by director Paul Dugdale, who has previously worked with Coldplay and Adele, and award winning production company JA Digital. “It’s a great honour to be working with the Rolling Stones again on this hugely exciting and historic event,” said Julie Jakobek of JA Digital.

The band will also be running a musician-to-musician initiative in which musical instruments and equipment are donated by manufacturers for Cuban musicians, no matter what genre they play. The project is supported by The Gibson Foundation, Vic Firth, RS Berkeley, Pearl, Zildjian, Gretsch, Latin Percussion, Roland and BOSS, along with the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation.

More:
http://uk.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1343452/rolling-stones-announce-free-cuba-concert#sthash.nTBOEP26.dpuf
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