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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 144,862

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Grounding Pinochet

For more than four years, Pinochet’s air force was paralyzed by 3,000 Scottish workers who refused to service its planes.

If Vietnam was the first “television war,” then September 11, 1973 was arguably the first televised coup. Images of the brutal overthrow of Salvador Allende’s socialist government in Chile were beamed around the world in the days that followed, with few symbols of the CIA-backed assault on democracy proving more resonant than that of low-flying Hawker Hunter jets bombing the presidential palace. The body of Allende would later be pulled from the building, while his supporters were rounded up, tortured, and executed in their thousands.

Among those following the faraway events was Robert Somerville, a member of the Communist Party and a union shop steward at a Rolls Royce plant in the Scottish town of East Kilbride, ten miles south of Glasgow. A few days after the coup, Somerville brought a motion condemning the military junta to a union meeting in his workplace, where it was passed. There was nothing unusual about this in itself, with the coup sending shock waves around the world and rapidly spawning an international solidarity movement.

But there was an important difference about the East Kilbride plant: the factory was, by that time, the only one in the world that serviced the engines of the Hawker Hunter jets that were the mainstay of Chile’s air force. In the coming months the plant’s workers would organize a remarkable boycott that grounded most of Pinochet’s air force for years. For years, the story of their refusal was forgotten — but a new movie by the son of Chilean exiles aims to tell their tale.

Nae Pasaran
When a consignment of engines from Chile appeared in the factory in March 1974, the East Kilbride workers had an opportunity to turn their opposition to Pinochet’s junta into more than just words. After an engine inspector refused to let the consignment through, it quickly came to the attention of the factory’s union committee and within hours, an official boycott was underway. All 3,000 workers at the plant would maintain the “blacking” of the engines for four years. Their stand was widely celebrated by the Chilean solidarity movement, and proved a major cause of consternation for Rolls Royce, the British government, and the Chilean regime.  When Hortense Allende, the deposed president’s widow, visited Glasgow in 1975, she praised the boycott as a “beacon of light to those in Chile.”

For the workers, though, it was easy to feel that their actions had little lasting effect, with the engines’ presence becoming part of everyday life at the factory while debates raged in the background. In any case, the engines were spirited away in a mysterious pre-dawn raid one day in August 1978, with the workers and union left feeling powerless. What became of them was never known, with even the license plates of the vehicles used to remove the engines turning out to be fake. Military involvement was suspected.


The sins of Colombias ruling class: the Suarez family

by Adriaan Alsema March 9, 2018

Senator Olga Suarez is investigated for her ties to paramilitary group AUC

Colombia’s political system has long been hijacked by political mafias. One of the most notorious clans, the Suarez family, has a history of using fraud and violence to stay in power.

The family has controlled the city of Bello, next to Medellin, for more than 20 years and is represented in the Senate thanks to the support of the Conservative Party.

The clan of Oscar, Cesar and Olga Suarez have used their political power to enrich themselves through private security and cleaning services provided to local governments in the Medellin metropolitan area.

Despite the family’s evident corruption and proven ties to drug traffickers and death squads, Olga became senator for the Conservative Party in 2014. Cesar became Mayor of Bello in 2016.

. . .

Tell Ariel Avila that if he talks about the Suarez family again they will find him chopped in pieces in a bag. Don’t mess with us. They will find him with his mouth full of maggots.

Anonymous call to think tank Peace and Reconciliation


Never-Before-Seen Mineral Found Inside a 'Super Deep' Diamond The find can tell scientists how ocean

The find can tell scientists how ocean crust is recycled throughout Earth's interior.

By Sarah Gibbens

Hidden inside a diamond forged deep within the belly of the Earth, scientists have found the first evidence of a mineral that's never been seen before.

It's called calcium silicate perovskite, and without a hard casing like diamond, scientists have never been able to keep it stable at Earth's surface.

"We actually had no idea we would find it," said Graham Pearson, a professor at the University of Alberta and co-author on a new Nature paper that details the find.

"Most scientists would say you would never find it at the Earth's surface," he adds. That's because when the mineral ascends to the surface, less pressure is exerted on it and its carbon bonds are rearranged. Scientists estimate the mineral is the fourth most abundant mineral on Earth, but they have never been able to observe the substance at the surface.


Argentine church says it will hand over baptism certificates

Source: Associated Press

Updated 7:48 pm, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The Argentine Catholic Church announced Tuesday that it will hand over to a judge more than 100 certificates from baptisms performed in a chapel at a navy base that served as a clandestine torture center during the country's dictatorship.

Activists hope the information will help determine what happened to children taken from political prisoners at the center and later illegally adopted, often by military families. Human rights groups say most of the detained biological parents were later killed.

"We firmly believe the Church should make every effort to contribute to the path of memory, truth and justice in all fields, especially given the gravity of the crimes against humanity committed during the years of state terrorism from 1976 to 1983," the Argentine Episcopal Conference said in a statement.

The bishops said the decision was a response to "a longing of Pope Francis," the Argentine pontiff who previously promised human rights groups that the church would hand over documentation to help clarify the crimes committed by the military regime.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/news/world/article/Argentine-church-says-it-will-hand-over-baptism-12733357.php

Kissinger hindered US effort to end mass killings in Argentina, according to files
Newly declassified files show the former secretary of state jeopardized efforts to crackdown on bloodshed by Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship
Uki Goñi in Buenos Aires

Tue 9 Aug 2016 14.05 EDT

Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger jeopardized US efforts to stop mass killings by Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship by congratulating the country’s military leaders for “wiping out” terrorism, according to a large trove of newly declassified state department files.

The documents, which were released on Monday night, show how Kissinger’s close relationship to Argentina’s military rulers hindered Jimmy Carter’s carrot-and-stick attempts to influence the regime during his 1977-81 presidency.

Carter officials were infuriated by Kissinger’s attendance at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina as the personal guest of dictator Jorge Videla, the general who oversaw the forced disappearance of up to 30,000 opponents of the military regime.

At the time, Kissinger was no longer in office after Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election, but the documents reveal that US diplomats feared his praise for Argentina’s crackdown would encourage further bloodshed.


Study finds false stories travel way faster than the truth

Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer
Updated 3:44 pm, Thursday, March 8, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter loves lies. A new study finds that false information on the social media network travels six times faster than the truth and reaches far more people.

And you can't blame bots; it's us, say the authors of the largest study of online misinformation.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 126,000 stories tweeted millions of times between 2006 and the end of 2016 — before Donald Trump took office but during the combative presidential campaign. They found that "fake news" sped through Twitter "farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information," according to the study in Thursday's journal Science .

"No matter how you slice it, falsity wins out," said co-author Deb Roy, who runs MIT's Laboratory for Social Machines and is a former chief media scientist at Twitter.


What the US Government Is Not Telling You About Those Sonic Attacks in Cuba

The key victims were CIA agents. Not a single tourist was affected, and the island remains among the safest countries in the world to visit.

By Peter Kornbluh

Tourists ride classic convertible cars on the Malecon beside the United States Embassy last October in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo / Desmond Boylan)

When the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published a preliminary clinical evaluation of health problems suffered by US embassy personnel in Havana, the State Department seized the opportunity to reiterate a countrywide “health alert” on Cuba. “Discuss the JAMA article with a doctor if you have concerns prior to travel,” the department advised on February 14. “We encourage private U.S. citizens who have traveled to Cuba and are concerned about their symptoms to share this article with their doctor.”

The alert reflects an ongoing effort by President Trump’s State Department to frighten US travelers away from Cuba. Last September, when the administration announced a drastic 60 percent embassy staff reduction in Havana in response to the mysterious health maladies, the department issued a categorical warning to US citizens “not to travel to Cuba.” In early January, when the State Department issued a new safety ranking system for all nations, Cuba received a “level 3” designation—“Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security.” In late January, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs told The Miami Herald that, following the September alert, 19 US citizens had called to report health problems after traveling to Cuba—out of close to 620,000 travelers who visited the island in 2017—even though officials at the Bureau of Consular Affairs who fielded those calls readily admit that they took no steps to determine when, where, and how those illnesses occurred, and simply passed the callers on to the FBI. And last week, when the State Department determined that the embassy would not be restaffed and will “continue to operate with the minimum personnel necessary to perform core diplomatic and consular functions,” the department posted a long list of warnings for anyone thinking about traveling to Cuba—even though the island remains among the safest countries anywhere in the world for US citizens to visit.

The highly technical JAMA study, titled “Neurological Manifestations Among US Government Personnel Reporting Directional Audible and Sensory Phenomena in Havana, Cuba,” certainly sounds scary. The article summarizes initial medical findings on 21 of the 24 members of the US embassy community in Havana—diplomats, family members, and intelligence agents—who suffered a range of neurological-related symptoms from a still-unidentified source between late 2016 and August 2017. “Persistent cognitive, vestibular, and oculomotor dysfunction, as well as sleep impairment and headaches, were observed among US government personnel in Havana, Cuba, associated with reports of directional audible and/or sensory phenomena of unclear origin,” a team of doctors from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair reported. “These individuals appeared to have sustained injury to widespread brain networks without an associated history of head trauma.”

. . .

The report, however, was accompanied by an editorial warning that the findings remain preliminary and incomplete. “At this point, a unifying explanation for the symptoms experienced by the US government officials described in this case series remains elusive and the effect of possible exposure to audible phenomena is unclear,” states the JAMA editorial. “Before reaching any definitive conclusions, additional evidence must be obtained and rigorously and objectively evaluated.”


Oscar Romero loved the people so much he continued when he knew the state would kill him.

Archbishop Óscar Romero

Younger Óscar Romero.

Archbishop Oscar Romero
The Last Sermon (1980)

Let no one be offended because we use the divine words read at our mass to shed light on the social, political and economic situation of our people. Not to do so would be unchristian. Christ desires to unite himself with humanity, so that the light he brings from God might become life for nations and individuals.

. . .

The spokesman of Amnesty International said that the victims' bodies characteristically appeared with the thumbs tied behind their backs. Corrosive liquids had been applied to the corpses to prevent identification of the victims by their relatives and to prevent international condemnation, the spokesman added. Nevertheless, the bodies were exhumed and the dead have been identified. Fuentes said that the repression carried out by the Salvadorean army was aimed at breaking the popular organizations through the assassination of their leaders in both town and country.

According to the spokesman of Amnesty International, at least three thousand five hundred peasants have fled from their homes to the capital to escape persecution. "We have complete lists in London and Sweden of young children and women who have been assassinated for being organized," Fuentes stated....

I would like to make a special appeal to the men of the army, and specifically to the ranks of the National Guard, the police and the military. Brothers, you come from our own people. You are killing your own brother peasants when any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God which says, "Thou shalt not kill." No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you recovered your consciences and obeyed your consciences rather than a sinful order. The church, the defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, of the person, cannot remain silent before such an abomination. We want the government to face the fact that reforms are valueless if they are to be carried out at the cost of so much blood. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.


~ ~ ~

Remembering Those Murdered At Oscar Romero’s Funeral
Dozens of poor El Salvadorans were killed during the bishop’s funeral thirty five years ago.
By Greg Grandin
MARCH 25, 2015

. . .

As one of the concelebrating priests, I had been inside the cathedral from the start. Now I watched the terrified mob push through the doors until every inch of space was filled. Looking about me, I suddenly realized that, aside from the nuns, priests and bishops, the mourners were the poor and the powerless of EI Salvador. Absent were government representatives of the nation or of other countries. The ceremony had begun at 11 am and it was now after noon. For the next hour and a half or two, we found ourselves tightly packed into the cathedral, some huddled under the pews, others clutching one another in fright, still others praying silently or aloud.

The bomb explosions grew closer and more frequent until the cathedral began to shudder. Would the whole edifice collapse? Or would a machine-gunner appear in a doorway to strafe the crowd? A little peasant girl named Reina, dressed up in her brown-and-white checked Sunday dress, clung to me in desperation and pleaded, “Padre.”

We lived through that horror of bombs, bullets and panic, now dead bodies were being carried into the cathedral from outside, for nearly two hours. At certain moments one could not help wondering if we would all be killed…. Eventually, the bombing and shooting subsided. The papal nuncio to El Salvador received assurance by phone from some government source that it was safe for the people to leave the cathedral. Gradually, we filed out into the street with hands raised high above our heads, according to instructions, so as to assure any potential snipers that we were unarmed.

Later in the afternoon, back at the Jesuit residence where I was staying, we listened by radio to the government’s official account of the incident. The entire affair, the statement explained, was the work of leftist terrorists. Our own experience had given us, of course, a different picture…. All of us knew full well that we had not been held captive in the cathedral by leftist terrorists, as the official version had it, nor had any leftists attempted to make off with the archbishop’s body.


YouTube, graphic:

Massacre in El Salvador during Oscar Romero's funeral

Gone, But Not Forgotten:Why Bolivians want the United States to extradite their exiled ex-president


Why Bolivians want the United States to extradite their exiled ex-president


When, on Oct. 15, 2003, Filomena León was shot in the back by military soldiers in the Bolivian town of Patacamaya, near El Alto, she had no reason to believe hers would be anything other than an anonymous death in the Andes.

“I was in front of the soldiers and the bullet entered me from behind, into my spine,” León, an indigenous miner and mother of six, told Verónica Auza and Claudia Espinoza, editors of Gas War Memorial Testimony. The shot left her paralyzed, and she told Auza and Espinoza on April 20, 2004, “[After being shot] I wanted to die. … I still feel the same.” She died 10 days later from a lethal infection.

. . .

In October 2003, protests erupted in the impoverished and largely Aymara Indian city of El Alto over a government plan to export natural gas to the United States via Chile under economic terms protesters said would not benefit most Bolivians. The demonstrators filled El Alto and organized strategic blockades to stop gas from reaching the nearby capital of La Paz and later being exported. They also demanded nationalization of the country’s gas reserves.

President Gonzalo “Goni” Sánchez de Lozada, widely recognized as the architect of Bolivia’s neoliberal “shock therapy,” had orchestrated the gas deal, and on Oct. 11 he ordered the military into El Alto to quell the protests and break the blockades. By the end of October, more than 60 demonstrators were dead and 400 wounded–the result of soldiers firing “large-caliber weapons, including heavy machine guns,” into the crowd, as the Catholic Church testified in a public statement. León, stopped by troops along with four others, was unarmed when she was shot. Among the others killed were small children and a pregnant woman. In the wake of the massacres, Sánchez de Lozada fled the country for the United States, where he remains today.




Sundews growing in a Japanese bog turned out to be far more devious than imagined.

FINDING A SUNDEW plant with a healthy supply of insect food may not seem suspicious. After all, carnivorous plants are famed for supplementing their diet with meat to compensate for nutrient-poor soil.

But there may be devious behaviour going on behind the scenes. Some sundews growing in bogs in Japan steal insects lured by the flowers of neighbouring plants, according to Kazuki Tagawa from Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, and his colleagues.

It seems to be a case of kleptoparasitism, which has only previously been witnessed in animals, where food is acquired from another species with nothing offered in return. For instance, frigatebirds steal their meals from red-footed boobies.

“As far as we know, this phenomenon has not been observed before,” says Tagawa, whose team reports their findings in Ecological Research.


The Cruel and Unusual Punishment of Doyle Lee Hamm

The State of Alabama was warned that its planned execution of Hamm would be painful and torturous. It kept going anyway.
By Jake Bittle Twitter TODAY 8:14 AM

Last Thursday the state of Alabama tried and failed to execute Doyle Lee Hamm, a prisoner who has spent more than half his life on death row for a murder committed in 1987. The botched execution attempt, which lasted hours and left Hamm covered in blood, was one of three lethal injections scheduled in the United States that day. Its gruesome outcome has horrified criminal-justice advocates across the country, who see this execution as yet another blatant violation of the Constitution’s guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment.

According to Hamm’s attorney, Bernard Harcourt, the two-person execution team stuck needles in Hamm’s legs half a dozen times, but were unable to locate a surface-level vein. They then moved on to Hamm’s groin, which they stabbed another half-dozen times. In the process, they may have punctured his bladder and femoral artery—Hamm was gushing blood as the execution proceeded, and he urinated blood for most of the following day, Harcourt reported. At the urging of the state employee who was there, the execution team gave up just before midnight, worried that Hamm’s death warrant would expire.

Harcourt, a Columbia law professor who has represented Hamm since the two men met in 1990, describes the process as “torture,” and there is certainly every indication that the multi-hour execution attempt was cruel, harrowing, and painful. Hamm was “remarkably stoic” and “emotionally mature” as the date of his execution drew nearer, the lawyer said, but when the two men saw each other after the botched execution, Hamm was “traumatized,” shaken up and clearly still in pain.

Hamm’s botched execution is the latest in an expanding list of execution attempts gone horribly wrong (think Clayton Lockett and Joseph Wood, both in 2014, along with many others). But the likely reason for the failure adds a disturbing twist to the tradition. In addition to a history of drug use that makes surface-level vein access difficult, Harcourt says that Hamm has lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system that causes his nodes to swell, blocking access to veins in his groin. After Hamm was diagnosed in 2014, he underwent radiation therapy to remove a large tumor from behind his left eye, but it is not clear that he received any treatment since. Multiple independent examiners have observed swollen lymph nodes on his body since then.

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