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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 149,397

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Bolivia Charts Its Own Path on Coca

Bolivia Charts Its Own Path on Coca
By Samuel Oakford

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 26 2014 (IPS) - This week, the U.N. reported that coca cultivation in Bolivia fell nine percent last year, and a massive 26 percent in the past three years.

Two mid-altitude regions – Yungas de La Paz and the Cochabamba Tropics – account for nearly all cultivation in Bolivia and both areas saw significant reductions in 2013. Remarkably, illegal cultivation in Bolivia’s national parks was cut in half, to only one thousand hectares.

The nationwide decrease, to an area of only 23,00 hectares, or 12 miles, is widely regarded as a laudable achievement, but overlooked is the fact that Bolivia’s success has come on its own terms – not Washington’s – and with vital cooperation from many of the country’s small coca farmers.

“Bolivia reduced the crop through eradication efforts, but also with the participation of coca growers and farmers,”Antonino de Leo, U.N. Office for Drugs and Crime’s representative in Bolivia, told IPS.


Media Manipulation: Tea Party and Border Patrol Spin the Story of Children in Detention

June 26, 2014
Media Manipulation

Tea Party and Border Patrol Spin the Story of Children in Detention


Journalist Laura Carlsen, writing from Mexico City, has published on the Americas Program website an important article about the way the U.S. media covers the migration of children to the U.S. – Child Migrants and Media Half-Truths. Carlsen raises key questions – the cause of the displacement that leads to migration, and the way the story of migrating children is used for political purposes in the debate over immigration policy.

The story of children in detention is being manipulated by the Border Patrol and the Tea Party to kill any possibility that moderate Republicans will introduce any reform bill with legalization, to attack Obama’s executive action for the Dreamers (and any possibility he might expand it – the demand of many immigrant rights advocates), and to push for more resources for enforcement, the Border Patrol and expanded detention facilities.

Looking at the way the story broke into the press, and who broke it, this strategy is clear. The story began with a series of photographs, showing young people and children in detention centers all along the U.S./Mexico border. These photos were published on a website, breitbart.com, which has a long history with the Tea Party and extreme rightwing causes.

Many readers will remember the phony video that killed ACORN. That video was introduced to the media by Andrew Breitbart, who started the website that bears his name. John Atlas describes that role here.

In the case of the story on children in detention, the original photos were “leaked” by the Border Patrol to a writer with an extensive history with the Tea Party in Texas, Brandon Darby. Darby has run pieces before on behalf of the Border Patrol, and was a protégé of Andrew Breitbart, who died in 2012.


Black hole threesome: Supermassive trio are 'rippling' space

Black hole threesome: Supermassive trio are 'rippling' space
Close-pair binary and their mate
By Brid-Aine Parnell, 26 Jun 2014

The closely circling black holes are in a galaxy more than four billion light years away and are the tightest trio ever spotted by scientists. Finding three supermassive black holes together is not that unusual, but the discovery of this lot indicates that the situation may be even more common than previously thought.

Galaxies often form from mergers of other star systems, so for a galazy to end up with more than one supermassive black hole at its heart is not uncommon. Boffins currently know of four triple systems, but the closest pairs in those systems are around 7,825 light-years apart.

In the system affectionately and tongue-twistingly known as SDSS J150243.09+111557.3, the closest black holes are so near to each other, researchers originally the pair of them were one hole.

However, using the European VLBI Network, a group of astroboffins figured out that there were really three of the huge black holes, with two of them just 455 light years away from each other. That makes them the second-closest pair of supermassive black holes ever known.


Jorge Eliecer Gaitan

Jorge Eliecer Gaitan
Jun 17, 2014 posted by Larisa Sioneriu

Known as one of the most charismatic political leaders in Colombia’s history, Jorge Eliecer Gaitan is regarded as one of the country’s defining historical figures, shaping the nation’s course and its socio-political stage through the last half of the 20th century.

In his political career, Gaitan served as the Minister of Education, Labor Minister, mayor of Bogota, became the leader of the powerful Liberal Party and vied for Colombia’s presidency. His assassination in 1948 was considered the starting spark of “La Violencia”, the violence, which claimed the lives of some 300,000 Colombians.
With his own particular brand of populist activism, Gaitan advocated for the awakening of Colombia and the inclusion of minorities in socio-political life and fought against the oligarchy that had ruled the country since 1848.

Using his persuasive and pedagogical skills to manifest his then revolutionary ideology, Gaitan managed to mobilise the country through social movements like never before, his death being the climax of a historical turning point. The aftermaths of Gaitan’s death still reverberates in Colombia today.

Early Life

Jorge Eliecer Gaitan Alaya was born in 1903 in Bogota to a modest lower middle class family. The financial situation of his family impeded Gaitan from attending formal education before the age of 11.
However, his interest for education got him as far as becoming a lawyer and holding a doctorate in jurisprudence from the Royal University of Rome, Italy.

Gaitan’s popularity escalated considerably when he became involved in the United Fruit Company scandal, also known as the banana massacre. In 1928, Colombian workers for the American company declared a strike demanding basic labor rights in the town of Cienaga near the northern city of Santa Marta. The month-long strike were violently suppressed by government forces, resulting in the death of an unconfirmed number of workers, thought to be anywhere between 47 and 2,000.




Mining companies financed paramilitaries in Colombia: report (Drummond Co. from Birmingham, Al.)

Source: Colombia Reports

Mining companies financed paramilitaries in Colombia: report
Jun 25, 2014 posted by Oliver Sheldon

The alleged close relationship between mining companies and paramilitaries in Colombia has been denounced in a recently released report.

Mining companies such as Drummond and Prodeco maintained close relations with paramilitaries and financed the armed struggle of the now-defunct paramilitary organisation, the AUC, against Colombia’s largest guerrilla organisation, the FARC.

The report was based on testimonies of former paramilitary commanders, contractors and former employees of the mining companies, Drummond and Prodeco, and alleges that these companies were complicit in the extreme human rights violations which occurred as a result of the paramilitaries, reported W Radio.

Environmental and human rights organizations presented the report, “The dark side of coal,” denouncing the relationship between the Colombian paramilitaries and Drummond and Prodeco mining companies in Berlin, Germany.

The Dutch organization PAX, commissioned the study, and reported that both Drummond, based in the US, and Prodeco, a subsidiary of a Swiss company, financed the Colombian paramilitaries between 1996 and 2006, in conflict with the guerrillas.

Read more: http://colombiareports.co/mining-companies-financed-paramilitaries-colombia-report/

Previous information posted at DU:

Colombians sue coal firm (Drummond Company based in Birmingham, Ala.)
Edited on Fri May-29-09 05:00 AM by Judi Lynn
Source: Miami Herald

on Friday, 05.29.09
Colombians sue coal firm

Relatives of dozens of slain Colombians have sued a U.S.-based coal company in federal court in Alabama, accusing the firm of making millions of dollars in payments to a paramilitary group that sowed terror in the South American country.

The suit said 67 victims of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, also known as AUC, included labor activists, farmworkers and others. It claimed the right-wing group received payments from operatives for Drummond Co. to assassinate top union leaders and protect the company's coal mine and railroad in Colombia.

A similar lawsuit ended in 2007 with a verdict for Drummond, which has repeatedly denied any connection with the Colombian violence.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/business/story/1070827.html

[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Activists pursue Drummond Coal over Colombian union leader murders

New federal lawsuit again pursues claims U.S. coal miner Drummond paid millions to Colombia Paramilitary Terrorists who murdered 67 Colombians, reportedly executing two union organizers at their mine.

Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Friday , 29 May 2009


In spite of a December 2008 jury trial verdict funding that U.S. coal company Drummond and its officers were innocent of any involvement or responsibility for the murders of union leaders in Colombia in 2001, a federal civil lawsuit claims the company "paid millions of dollars to a Colombian paramilitary terrorist group that ...was responsible for the deaths of 67 people."

The Florida law firm of Conrad and Scherer filed the lawsuit on behalf of 252 plaintiffs, who are relatives of 67 victims, including four women. The litigation was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Western Division. Drummond is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

Former United Self-Defense Forces of Columbia (AUC) head Salvatore Mancuso has testified both in court and before U.S. congressional committees that Drummond Company and its subsidiary Drummond Ltd. "had provided substantial support to the AUC and had paid the AUC to assassinate the top union leaders at the Drummond coal mine in Cesar Province, Colombia."

The lawsuit claims, "Other AUC leaders have stated recently that Drummond provided substantial support to the AUC to provide security and other services to protect the Drummond mine, railroad and other facilities from attacks by the FARC and also to pacify the local population."

A division of the AUC, the Juan Andres Alvarez Front was assigned to protect Drummond rail line. The lawsuit asserts, "From 1999, when Drummond first started providing significant funds to the Juan Andres Alvarez Front to March 2006, when the Colombia government demobilized the AUC's Northern Block, hundreds of people were executed by the Juan Andres Alvarez Front during the course of its ‘security operations' for Drummond.

"These people were murdered solely because Drummond brought the Juan Andes Alvarez Front to the area of the railroad, provided it with substantial financial and other material support, and directed it to clear the area of suspected rebels and guerillas," the lawsuit claims.


Former Colombia spy chief remains in Panama following asylum appeal

Former Colombia spy chief remains in Panama following asylum appeal
Jun 25, 2014 posted by Emily Dugdale

The former head of Colombia’s now-defunct intelligence agency has been temporarily re-granted asylum in Panama following an appeal to clarify the conditions for her deportation back to Colombia, national media reported on Tuesday.

Panama’s Attorney General has put forth an appeal asking to further clarify the Supreme Court’s decision to deport Maria del Pilar Hurtado, former director of Colombia’s now-defunct intelligence agency DAS, thus extending the duration of her asylum.

According to procedure, until the appeal is resolved, Hurtado can continue to reside in the country under the initial ruling that allowed her asylum, according to Colombia’s La Semana news magazine.

Colombia’s former spy chief was granted asylum in Panama under the government of President Ricardo Martinelli in 2010; however, last Thursday she was notified that her asylum was terminated after the Supreme Court ruled the original verdict granting the asylum unconstitutional.

The new ruling stated that she would be illegally residing in the country after three working days, meaning that her asylum should have ended on Tuesday at 5PM had it not been for the appeal by Panama’s Attorney General.


There was a horrifying case to unbelievable water pollution in La Macarena, Colombia.

Dan Kovalik.
Human and Labor Rights Lawyer
Posted: April 1, 2010 09:22 AM

U.S. and Colombia Cover Up Atrocities Through Mass Graves

The biggest human rights scandal in years is developing in Colombia, though you wouldn't notice it from the total lack of media coverage here. The largest mass grave unearthed in Colombia was discovered by accident last year just outside a Colombian Army base in La Macarena, a rural municipality located in the Department of Meta just south of Bogota. The grave was discovered when children drank from a nearby stream and started to become seriously ill. These illnesses were traced to runoff from what was discovered to be a mass grave -- a grave marked only with small flags showing the dates (between 2002 and 2009) on which the bodies were buried.

According to a February 10, 2010 letter issued by Alexandra Valencia Molina, Director of the regional office of Colombia's own Procuraduria General de la Nacion -- a government agency tasked to investigate government corruption -- approximately 2,000 bodies are buried in this grave. The Colombian Army has admitted responsibility for the grave, claiming to have killed and buried alleged guerillas there. However, the bodies in the grave have yet to be identified. Instead, against all protocol for handling the remains of anyone killed by the military, especially those of guerillas, the bodies contained in the mass grave were buried there secretly without the requisite process of having the Colombian government certify that the deceased were indeed the armed combatants the Army claims.

And, given the current "false positive" scandal which has enveloped the government of President Alvaro Uribe and his Defense Minister, Juan Manuel Santos, who is now running to succeed Uribe as President, the Colombian Army's claim about the mass grave is especially suspect. This scandal revolves around the Colombian military, most recently under the direction of Juan Manuel Santos, knowingly murdering civilians in cold blood and then dressing them up to look like armed guerillas in order to justify more aid from the United States. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pilay, this practice has been so "systematic and widespread" as to amount to a "crime against humanity." And sadly, when Ms. Pilay made this statement, she literally did not know the half of it.

To date, not factoring in the mass grave, it has been confirmed by Colombian government sources that 2,000 civilians have fallen victim to the "false positive" scheme since President Uribe took office in 2002. If, as suspected by Colombian human rights groups, such as the "Comision de Derechos Humanos del Bajo Ariari" and the "Colectivo Orlando Fals Borda," the mass grave in La Macarena contains 2,000 more civilian victims of this scheme, then this would bring the total of those victimized by the "false positive" scandal to at least 4,000 --much worse than originally believed.


More than 400 former Colombian paramilitaries to be released from jail by December 2014

More than 400 former Colombian paramilitaries to be released from jail by December 2014
Jun 24, 2014 posted by Oliver Sheldon

More than 400 incarcerated Colombian paramilitaries are scheduled to be released before December 2014 after having served their eight year sentences as a result of submitting to Colombia’s Justice and Peace Law.

Four hundred forty-two former members of the now-defunct paramilitary organization, the AUC, are close to freedom after serving sentences of eight years imprisonment as a result of the Justice and Peace Law signed during the government of former President Alvaro Uribe, reported Colombia’s Caracol Radio.

Among those who would be free come the end of the year are criminals responsible for some of the most heinous acts of Colombia’s decades-long internal conflict. The former paramilitaries are responsible for notorious massacres at the sites of Macayepo, El Salado, Mapiripan, El Caño Chengue, and Caño Jabon with a death toll that today stands at around 400,000 victims, with mass graves still being uncovered.

Among the most notorious being released are Daniel Rendon Herrera alias “Don Mario,” Francisco Javier Zuluaga aka “Gordo Lindo,” Carlos Mario Jimenez alias “Macaco,” and Marco Tulio Perez Guzman, alias “El Oso.”


Mercury poisoning adds to humanitarian crisis in west Colombia: govt

Mercury poisoning adds to humanitarian crisis in west Colombia: govt
Jun 24, 2014 posted by Victoria McKenzie

Thousands forced from their homes in western Colombia are now facing water poisoning from mercury, allegedly from illegal mining operations, reported Colombia’s highest governmental human rights organization on Tuesday.

Colombia’s Ombudsman reports that the fundamental rights of Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations in the state of Choco are being violated due to the the use and dumping of mercury into community drinking water by illegal mining operations.

According to the report, at least eight rivers in Choco have been contaminated and diverted by mining complexes. Mercury, used in the extraction of gold from rock, is being dumped directly into rivers, contaminating tributaries and posing a high risk to the health of the communities, who use the water for direct consumption, fishing, bathing, and washing clothes and utensils.

According to Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper, in the towns of Condoto, Lloro, Atrato, Istmina and Pizarro, 400 people were treated between January 18 and April 12 for symptoms related to the consumption of contaminated water.


UMMS scientists show that monarch butterflies employ a magnetic compass during migration


UMMS scientists show that monarch butterflies employ a magnetic compass during migration

Study published in Nature Communications finds inclination compass in monarchs responds to UVA light

WORCESTER, MA – Each fall millions of monarch butterflies use a sophisticated navigation system to transverse 2,000 miles from breeding sites across the eastern United States to an overwintering habitat in specific groves of fir trees in central Mexico. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have identified a new component of this complex system. They reported in Nature Communications that monarchs use a light-dependent, inclination magnetic compass to help them orient southward during migration.

"Taken as a whole, our study reveals another fascinating aspect of the monarch butterfly migratory behavior," said senior study author Steven Reppert, MD, the Higgins Family Professor of Neuroscience and distinguished professor of neurobiology at UMass Medical School. "Greater knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the fall migration may well aid in its preservation, currently threatened by climate change and by the continuing loss of milkweed and overwintering habitats. A new vulnerability to now consider is the potential disruption of the magnetic compass in the monarchs by human-induced electromagnetic noise, which can also affect geomagnetic orientation in migratory birds."

Co-author Robert Gegear, PhD, assistant professor of biology and biotechnology at WPI, explained, "Our study shows that monarchs use a sophisticated magnetic inclination compass system for navigation similar to that used by much larger-brained migratory vertebrates such as birds and sea turtles."

Monarchs use a time-compensated sun compass in their antenna to help them make their 2,000 mile migratory journey to overwintering sites. During the absence of daylight cues, such as under dense cloud cover, migrants have been, surprisingly, seen flying in the expected southerly direction. It's been hypothesized that monarchs use geomagnetic cues to help navigate when day light cues are unavailable to them during migration.

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