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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,066

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El Salvador Ends Dispute With U.S. Over Seeds

El Salvador Ends Dispute With U.S. Over Seeds

MEXICO CITY — The United States and El Salvador said this week that they had settled their differences over compliance with the fine print of a trade agreement that threatened to hold up aid to the small Central American country, but the timing of the dispute has become an embarrassment for Washington.

The surge of Central American migrants to the United States over the last few months has been a stark reminder of the poverty and violence they face at home. To some, Washington’s haggling over a program to help poor farmers in El Salvador has looked tone-deaf.

At the heart of the dispute is the way the Salvadoran government buys corn and bean seeds for subsistence farmers. Washington had objected to moves that favored small, local seed producers on the grounds that they violated the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

But on Wednesday, after articles about the dispute appeared in the media and 16 members of the House of Representatives called on Secretary of State John Kerry not to use changes to the food program as a condition for aid, the United States Embassy in El Salvador said that the dispute had been resolved.


Commentary: Blame U.S. policies for influx of Guatemalan migrants

Commentary: Blame U.S. policies for influx of Guatemalan migrants
Posted: 5:21 p.m. Thursday, July 3, 2014

For once the Republicans got it right. But not in the way they think. Indeed, President Barack Obama carries the representative blame for the debacle (including reports of abuse) of largely Guatemalan migrant children currently overflowing shelters at the border. But the guilt is much broader, ranging from successive administrations all the way down to us, as American taxpayers.

Decades of U.S. policy in Guatemala have turned the country into a land of wreck and ruin. That’s the reason migrants are coming. Harsh immigration enforcement policies add insult to injury as we punish Guatemalans when they get here when we should be paying them massive reparations.

It is indisputable that the U.S. shares significant guilt for the genocide of mainly indigenous Mayan groups who comprise a majority of the (at least) 150,000 killed in the 1980s alone. A 1999 U.N. Truth Commission blamed Guatemalan state forces for 93 percent of the atrocities. That year, former President Bill Clinton’s official apology for supporting the violence for so long indicates a conscious culpability that endures to this day.

The problem is, we’re in denial as a nation over what to do about it.

Just ask Clinton. The day of his apology in Guatemala City, he looked genocide survivors in the face, voiced regret for the U.S. enabling their suffering, and then rejected their impassioned pleas for U.S. immigration reform because, he said, “we must enforce our laws.”


Why Drummond and Glencore are accused of exporting Colombian blood coal

Why Drummond and Glencore are accused of exporting Colombian blood coal
Jul 2, 2014 posted by Nicolas Bedoya

The push to boycott “blood coal” exported from Colombia by Drummond and Glencore is gaining momentum in Europe after the publication of a report in which dozens of victims and victimizers testified that the multinational mining companies financed and promoted death squads.

What is blood coal?

“Blood coal,” a reference to the infamous “blood diamonds” mined amid conflict conditions in Africa, is the term used by the PAX peace organization to refer to coal extracted from areas in Colombia where paramilitary violence has been particularly severe.

According to the Dutch NGO, coal coming from the Colombian mines of the Glencore and Drummond multinationals has been stained by blood, as several members of the death squads guilty of an estimated 2,600 homicides in the areas surrounding their mining operations have testified their formation was supported and financed by the mining firms.

The report has already spurred a debate in the Dutch Parliament around the importation of Colombian coal. The NGO wants parliament to ban the trade of Colombian coal until the multinationals in question have implemented appropriate measures to guarantee the end of human rights violations related to mining and compensated victims of the violence they are accused of having financed.


5 things to know about Tennessee's electric chair

Source: Associated Press

5 things to know about Tennessee's electric chair
By ERIK SCHELZIG, Associated Press | July 3, 2014 | Updated: July 3, 2014 12:21pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A law took effect this week in Tennessee making it the first U.S. state to have the option of executing death row inmates with the electric chair if drugs for lethal injections are not available. Billy Ray Irick, who was convicted of murder in the death of a 7-year-old girl he was babysitting in 1985, is the next Tennessee death row inmate scheduled to be executed, on Oct. 7. Corrections officials have said they have no lethal injection drugs on hand but are confident they can obtain them when needed. Here are five things to know about the state's electric chair:


Tennessee is one of several states to nickname its electric chair 'Old Sparky.' The chair was built out of the gallows used by the state before it abolished hangings in 1913. A replacement chair was built in 1989, but it kept the old wooden back legs. The original chair that was retired after 125 electrocutions is now on display at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum in Gatlinburg, while the new chair is stored in the state's execution chamber in Nashville alongside the lethal injection equipment.


Fred Leuchter, the Massachusetts man who rebuilt Tennessee's electric chair in 1989, has taken issue with subsequent decreases in the voltage and duration of the jolts, arguing that they make it more likely for the inmate to feel pain and to "cook the executee and boil his blood." But Leuchter said his concerns have been ignored because of statements he's made in the past claiming historians have inflated the number of Holocaust victims during World War II.


The last person to be electrocuted in Tennessee was convicted child killer Daryl Holton who in 2007 chose to die via the electric chair. The state's medical examiner later found that Holton suffered minor burns on his head and legs, but had no signs of severe burning, disfigurement or other major injuries that had occurred in some other electrocutions around the country. Under previous law, death row inmates convicted before lethal injection was introduced in 1999 could choose to die by electrocution.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/us/article/5-things-to-know-about-Tennessee-s-electric-chair-5598290.php

Cuba criticizes $9B US fine for French bank

Source: Associated Press

Cuba criticizes $9B US fine for French bank
3:35 AM Friday Jul 4, 2014

HAVANA (AP) Havana on Thursday protested U.S. penalties levied against France's largest bank over allegations it processed financial transactions for Cuba and other blacklisted states in violation of U.S. trade sanctions.

In a statement published by Cuban official media, the Foreign Ministry said the penalties "violate the rules of international law and qualify as an extraterritorial and illegal application of American legislation against a foreign entity."

The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday that BNP Paribas had agreed to pay nearly $9 billion to settle the case. Under the deal, the Paris-based bank entered a guilty plea in a New York Court and acknowledged processing billions of dollars in transactions for clients in Cuba, Sudan and Iran.

U.S. prosecutors said the transactions were handled by BNP's New York branch office from at least 2004 through 2012.

"Sanctions are a key tool in protecting U.S. national security interests, but they only work if they are strictly enforced," Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this week. "If sanctions are to have teeth, violations must be strictly punished."

Read more: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11287306

Peru's new interior minister accused of killing journalist in 1988

Peru's new interior minister accused of killing journalist in 1988
By The Associated Press July 3, 2014 12:50 AM

LIMA, Peru - Peru's newly named interior minister has acknowledged being formally accused of murder in the 1988 killing of a journalist when he was a young army intelligence officer fighting Shining Path rebels.

Daniel Urresti faced reporters Wednesday evening and proclaimed his innocence. An online news outlet had revealed the charges and posted a court document online.

The victim was Hugo Bustios of Caretas magazine, who was ambushed by soldiers in the Ayacucho region while investigating the alleged extrajudicial killings of civilians. His body was dynamited.

Two soldiers were convicted six years ago of killing Bustios. One claimed Urresti was among the killers.



Daniel Urresti [/center]

Unconventional Warfare: The Political Destabilization Campaign continues in Venezuela

Unconventional Warfare: The Political Destabilization Campaign continues in Venezuela
By Asad Ismi
Global Research, June 30, 2014
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives 1 June 2014

Since February, continuing protests, many of them violent, against the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro have claimed more than 40 lives in Venezuela and injured more than 800 people. Most were victims of opposition supporters who have also set fire to universities, public buildings and bus stations – even the buses themselves have been burned. The scale of the protests has decreased since the start of April when the government and opposition leaders held talks to end the conflict. Much of the unrest had until then taken place in richer neighbourhoods, led by students attending private schools. But recently demonstrations have been restricted to opposition strongholds, such as Táchira state on the Colombian border. The protestors cite high inflation, and shortages of food and other goods as the source of their frustration. The latter is almost certainly the result of hording by opposition-owned and controlled distribution chains.

The demonstrations have been carried out by right wing political parties opposed to the Maduro government’s progressive program. Backing these parties, and several of the NGOs organizing protests, is the United States, which has been trying to overthrow the Venezuelan government since 2002 – the year former President Hugo Chavez, now deceased, was briefly removed in a CIA-orchestrated military coup. Since 1998, Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution has significantly redistributed wealth from the rich to the poor majority in Venezuela, bringing them free medical care and education, as well as subsidized food and housing, land reform and grassroots participatory democracy in the form of communal councils.

On the continental level, Chavez was the most prominent leader of the Latin American Revolution, or Pink Tide, which integrated and united left-leaning countries economically and politically, and substantially weakened U.S. influence in the region. For example, the former Venezuelan leader helped create several new Pan-American political, economic and development agencies, including the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), Bank of the South (Banco del sur), Telesur (Television network of the South) and PetroSur, a co-operative energy venture between several Latin American states. The idea behind all of these is to develop an entirely new socialist-oriented continental economy, one that does not function according to capitalist market rules but rather responds to the development needs of the Latin American people.

Such revolutionary domestic and regional policies have incurred the wrath of Washington and the Venezuelan elite, which has lost 18 out of 19 elections since the very popular Chavez first took office. The Venezuelan electoral process under Chavez and Maduro has been called “the best in the world” by ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter after observing the 2013 presidential elections. Chavez’s death that year transferred his popularity to Maduro, his chosen successor, who continues to win elections, compelling the opposition to resort once again to widespread violence to try to overthrow the government. At stake for the U.S. is control of Venezuela’s enormous mineral wealth. The country is estimated to have the world’s largest oil reserves.

President Maduro calls the protests “the revolt of the rich.” Asked by a Guardian U.K. reporter in April whether his government should accept responsibility for some of the killings, he proposed that 95 per cent of protest-related deaths were the fault of “right wing extremist groups” at the barricades. Maduro mentioned three motorcyclists who were beheaded by a wire strung across the road by protesters. In the same exclusive Guardian interview, Maduro, a former bus driver and unionist, emphasized the considerable increases in social services and reduction in inequality over the last 15 years.

“When I was a union leader there wasn’t a single programme to protect the education, health, housing and salaries of the workers,” he said. “It was the reign of savage capitalism. Today in Venezuela, the working class is in power: it’s the country where the rich protest and the poor celebrate their social well-being.”


Central America: what's causing child migration?

Central America: what's causing child migration?
Submitted by Weekly News Update... on Tue, 07/01/2014 - 08:57 Central America Theater

In a statement released in the last week of June, the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (OFRANEH), a leading organization of the Garífuna ethnic group, charged that the US-backed Honduran government was largely responsible for the dramatic increase in minors trying to migrate from Central America over the past few years. The organization said the government "blames the numbers only on narco trafficking; however, they forget that this catastrophe is also caused by collusion among politicians, business leaders, state security forces and criminal organizations linked to the trafficking of narcotics. The government has seen the situation worsen for years without doing anything to change the scenario, much less to avoid it."

Honduras is the country providing the largest number—more than 13,000—of the nearly 35,000 underage Central Americans detained at the US border in the last six months; the others come mostly from Guatemala and El Salvador. OFRANEH pointed to statistics from the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Casa Alianza Honduras, which reported that 287 people were murdered in Honduras in May alone, 104 of them under the age of 23. From 2010 to 2013, more than 27,000 people were killed in Honduras, according to OFRANEH; about 450 of the victims were younger than 14. (Adital, Brazil, June 23)

In related news, on June 23 unidentified assailants gunned down Luis Alonso Fúnez Duarte, the producer of a music program on the Súper 10 radio station in Catacamas, in the eastern department of Olancho. He was reportedly the second producer of a music program to be murdered in Olancho in June, and the 42nd Honduran media worker killed in the five years since the June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew former president José Manuel ("Mel" Zelaya Rosales (2006-2009). (Adital, June 25)

Much of the US coverage of the child migrants has played down the violence against minors in the countries they come from and instead has emphasized reports that the migrants were drawn to the US by the expectation of lenient treatment. According to US journalist David Bacon, this version of events largely started with a report from the US Border Patrol which was "leaked" to Brandon Darby, a former informant and infiltrator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who is close to the right-wing Tea Party; reports based on this leak were circulated on the far-right website breitbart.com. (CounterPunch, June 26)


(My emphasis.)

Chile creates DNA bank for Pinochet-era adoptions probe

Source: Agence France-Presse

Chile creates DNA bank for Pinochet-era adoptions probe
July 2, 2014, 1:32 am

Santiago (AFP) - Chilean authorities have created a bank of DNA data to help investigate suspected illegal adoptions under the regime of dictator Augusto Pinochet, in power 1973 to 1990.

The database run by the government forensic medical service aims to create an independent register of genetic information for future analysis and comparisons as a court investigates "a suspected network of irregular adoptions of minors from hospitals in the 1970s and 1980s," a statement said.

Chilean courts are probing more than a dozen cases of suspected illegal adoptions of newborns declared stillborn but in reality given to new families, according to the online newspaper Ciper.

At the heart of scheme was Chilean priest Gerardo Joannon, suspended when the scandal broke. The 77-year-old priest was the "link" between parents of pregnant teen girls and the doctors who declared the babies dead so they could be adopted without the knowledge of their parents, the news site said.

Read more: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/world/a/24364078/

Chilean Court Rules U.S. Had Role in Murders

Source: New York Times

Chilean Court Rules U.S. Had Role in Murders

SANTIAGO, Chile — The United States military intelligence services played a pivotal role in setting up the murders of two American citizens in 1973, providing the Chilean military with the information that led to their deaths, a court here has ruled.

The recent court decision found that an American naval officer, Ray E. Davis, alerted Chilean officials to the activities of two Americans, Charles Horman, 31, a filmmaker, and Frank Teruggi, 24, a student and an antiwar activist, which led to their arrests and executions.

The murders were part of an American-supported coup that ousted the leftist government of President Salvador Allende. The killing of the two men was portrayed in the 1982 film “Missing.”

The ruling by the judge, Jorge Zepeda, now establishes the involvement of American intelligence officials in providing information to their Chilean counterparts. He also charged a retired Chilean colonel, Pedro Espinoza, with the murders, and a civilian counterintelligence agent, Rafael González, as an accomplice in Mr. Horman’s murder.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/world/americas/chilean-court-rules-us-had-role-in-murders.html?_r=0
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