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Judi Lynn

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Ethnic cleansing on Peru's jungle border

Ethnic cleansing on Peru's jungle border
Submitted by WW4 Report on Mon, 07/21/2014 - 19:50 Amazon Theater

Highly vulnerable "uncontacted" indigenous bands who recently emerged in the Brazil-Peru border region have said that they were fleeing violent attacks in Peru. FUNAI, Brazil's indigenous affairs agency, has announced that the uncontacted bands have returned once more to their forest home. Seven members of the band made peaceful contact with a settled indigenous Ashaninka community near the Ríó Envira in Brazil's Acre state three weeks ago. A government health team was dispatched and has treated seven band members for flu. FUNAI has announced it will reopen a monitoring post on the Rió Envira which it closed in 2011 after it was overrun by drug traffickers. Survival International called the emerging news "extremely worrying," noting that isolated indigenous groups lack immunity to the flu, which has wiped out entire tribes in the past. Brazilian experts believe that the isolated bands, who belong to the Panoan linguistic group, crossed over the border from Peru into Brazil due to pressures from illegal loggers and drug traffickers on their land.

Survival also protested plans to expand the Camisea gas project, located in the Nahua-Nanti reserve for isoalted indigenous groups, and Canadian-Colombian oil giant Pacific Rubiales' current exploration on lands inhabited by the Matsés tribe and their "uncontacted" neighbors. Both projects will bring hundreds of oil and gas workers into the lands of isolated groups, introducing the risk of deadly diseases and violent encounters, Survival asserted. Survival has launched an urgent petition to the Brazilian and Peruvian governments demadning that they protect the lands of "uncontacted" indigenous groups, and called on the authorities to honor their commitments of cross-border cooperation.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said: "This news could hardly be more worrying —not only have these people confirmed they suffered violent attacks from outsiders in Peru, but they have apparently already caught flu. The nightmare scenario is that they return to their former villages carrying flu with them. It's a real test of Brazil's ability to protect these vulnerable groups. Unless a proper and sustained medical program is immediately put in place, the result could be a humanitarian catastrophe." (Survival International, July 21)

More:
http://ww4report.com/node/13395

Sabotaging Self-Sufficiency: Obama Aid Ravages Third World Farmers

July 21, 2014
Sabotaging Self-Sufficiency

Obama Aid Ravages Third World Farmers

by JAMES BOVARD


President Obama proclaimed two years ago: “As the wealthiest nation on Earth, I believe the United States has a moral obligation to lead the fight against hunger.” Obama loves to preen about the U.S. government’s purported generosity to the world’s downtrodden. However, like previous presidents, he has largely ignored how U.S. aid programs clobber recipients.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the sordid history of U.S. food aid. Food for Peace was devised in 1954 to help dump abroad embarrassingly huge crop surpluses fomented by high federal price supports. The primary purpose of Public Law 480 (in which the program is embodied) has been to hide the evidence of the failure of other farm programs. Although PL-480 sometimes alleviates hunger in the short run, the program disrupts local agricultural markets and makes it harder for poor countries to feed themselves in the long run.

The Agriculture Department (USDA) buys crops grown by American farmers, has them processed or bagged by U.S. companies, and pays lavishly to send them overseas in U.S.-flagged ships. At least 25 percent of food aid must be shipped from Great Lakes ports, per congressional mandate. Once the goods arrive at their destination, the Agency for International Development (AID) often takes charge or bestows the food on private relief organizations.

In the 1950s and 1960s massive U.S. wheat dumping in India disrupted India’s agricultural market and helped bankrupt thousands of Indian farmers. In 1984 George Dunlop, chief of staff of the Senate Agriculture Committee, speculated that American food aid may have been responsible for the starvation of millions of Indians. The Indian government generated fierce hostility from the U.S. government because of its pro-Soviet leanings in the Cold War. In a secret White House tape in 1971, Richard Nixon declared, “The Indians need — what they really need is a mass famine.” The story behind Nixon’s deprecation is told in a new book, The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, by Gary Bass.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/21/obama-aid-ravages-third-world-farmers/

Ortega calls attack on supporters in Nicaragua a "massacre"

Ortega calls attack on supporters in Nicaragua a "massacre"
AFP
July 22, 2014, 2:34 pm

Managua (AFP) - President Daniel Ortega on Monday slammed as a "massacre" an attack on his political supporters that killed five people and left 28 more hurt.

"This was a genuine massacre, one that has been condemned by the nation," the leftist president said at a memorial for the dead at a convention center, carried on state and pro-government media.

Unidentified assailants opened fire late Saturday, in Matagalpa department, on buses bringing supporters back from a party in Managua to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the 1979 revolution.

The civilian Sandinista party supporters "were ambushed on a highway with rifles (by men) who fired on buses bringing some of the families that had come (to the capital area) for the event," Ortega added.

"These are expressions of rancor, of hatred. ... They are a minority, but they are there, latent and suddenly crop up in abominable deeds like these," the president said.

More:
https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/world/a/24521744/

The Argentina Debt Case

The Argentina Debt Case
Posted on July 22, 2014 by Yves Smith

By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics and Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Originally published in Frontline (India)


Almost everyone now knows that the world of international finance is not a particularly robust one, nor is it particularly just or fair. But it has just got even weirder and more fragile, if this can be imagined. A recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, refusing to hear an appeal by the government of Argentine against a decision of a lower court on a case relating to its debt restructuring agreement with creditors over a decade ago, is not just a blow against the state and people of Argentina. It has the potential to undermine the entire system of cross-border debt that underlies global capitalism today.

The case has its origins in the 1990s, when the government of Carlos Menem fixed the Argentine peso at the value of one U.S. dollar, through a currency board arrangement that restricted base money supply to the amount of external reserves and sought to increase its spending through the build-up of external debt. This was obviously an unsustainable strategy, which exploded in a financial crisis in 2001, bringing on a major devaluation of the currency and a default on around $100 billion of external debt.

In 2005, the government of Nestor Kirchner, which had then managed to revive the economy to some extent, offered its creditors debt swaps that significantly restructured the debts. Since Argentine bonds were anyway trading at a fraction of their face value in the secondary market, this deal, which reduced the value of the debt by nearly 75 per cent, was acceptable to most of the multinational banks and other creditors. (Since unpaid interest is added on to the principal and compounded, the actual face value of the debt in such cases is typically much more than the amount originally borrowed or lent out.) Indeed, creditors holding 93 per cent of government bonds participated in the debt swaps of 2005 and 2010.

However, a tiny minority of creditors held out and refused to accept the negotiated settlement. These then sold their holdings to hedge funds (in this case known as “vulture funds” that take on distressed assets in the hope of recouping a higher value from them). One of the most prominent of these funds in the Argentine case is NML Capital, a subsidiary of Elliot Capital Management, which is run by U.S. billionaire and major Republican party donor Paul Singer. This fund has a history of using aggressive tactics to force struggling sovereign debtors to pay the full value of debts that have already been deeply discounted by the market. In the past, it has successfully sued the governments of Peru and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Ever since it bought Argentine bonds at around 20 per cent of the face value in 2008, it has been pursuing the case both legally and physically. In 2012, it hired mercenaries to detain and try to seize an Argentine ship where it was docked off the coast of Ghana; at another time it even attempted to grab the Argentina Presidential plane from an airport—as “collateral” for its supposed holding of debt. Legally, NML Capital and another vulture fund, Aurelius Capital Management LP, have been pursuing a case in a New York district court, demanding full payment on their debt, of the value of around $1.5 billion. It has been estimated by the Argentine government that this could amount to a return of more than 1600 per cent on the initial investment made by these vulture funds.

More:
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/07/argentina-debt-case.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

10% of Colombia’s 2010-2014 Congress kicked out of office

10% of Colombia’s 2010-2014 Congress kicked out of office
Jul 21, 2014 posted by Daniel Medendorp Escobar

Of the 166 total house representatives and 102 senators (268 Congressmen in total), 32 did not finish their terms in Congress. Although three members of Congress passed away from natural causes, 29 were gotten rid of due to criminal activity, corruption, resignation or connections to illegal armed groups.

Ranging from reasons as diverse as paramilitary connections, FARC connections, involvement in scandals, and ignorance of certain rules, the legislators ranged from left to right on the political spectrum. Listed below are the Senators who were removed from office and the various reasons for their removal.

U Party (lost eight of 76 lawmakers)

The U Party of President Juan Manuel Santos, the biggest party in Congress lost eight of its congressmen over a wide range of scandals mostly related to influence peddling.

Luis Felipe Barrios

Barrios, a Representative from Bogota, was removed from Congress for conflict of interest, as he participated in a congressional vote as to whether or not he could change political parties shortly after his term began. Barrios was replaced by Luis Enrique Salas, who, only a year afterwards, was also removed from office.

Luis Enrique Salas

Salas, a Representative from Bogota, was the replacement for Luis Felipe Barrios. His removal was due to an investigation after his request for a large sum of money directed towards a group of people, using the church he was a pastor of as an excuse to obtain the money. He was replaced by Jose Gonzalez Gutierrez Triviño.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/10-congress-kicked-out/

Colombia court throws man in prison over slanderous comment on news website

Colombia court throws man in prison over slanderous comment on news website
Jul 21, 2014 posted by Christoffer Frendesen

Colombia’s Supreme Court sentenced a Cali citizen to a year and a half in prison over a slanderous comment the man had left on a local news website.

The decision establishes a law that might force users of the Internet to act more responsible, when they leave comments.
In November 2008 Gonzalo Lopez left a comment on an article published by Cali newspaper El Pais in which he accused local administration official Gloria Escalante of being a thief.

“What can you expect of a rat like Escalante who even Club Colombia and Comfenalco sacked for her mismanagement (…) a thief uncovering the thieves? Bah!” said Lopez on the local news website under a pseudonym.

Escalante, then administrative and the human resources manager of public utilities company Emcali, subsequently sued the commenter for slander for which he got convicted by a local court.

Even though the comment was made under a pseudonym using an anonymous email account, authorities traced the IP address to Lopez’s office, according to El Pais.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/cali-citizen-thrown-prison-leaving-comment-news-site/

FBI Entrapment Created 'Illusion' of Terrorist Plots: Report

Published on Monday, July 21, 2014 by Common Dreams

FBI Entrapment Created 'Illusion' of Terrorist Plots: Report

A close look at government counter-terrorism tactics reveals that many people convicted would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.

- Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Federal officials and law enforcement agents are treating American Muslims like "terrorists-in-waiting," according to a new report released Monday by Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute.

The FBI, under pressure to appear effective and worthy of its $8.4-billion budget, has "targeted American Muslims in abusive counterterrorism 'sting operations' based on religious and ethnic identity"; sent informants to mosques to "troll for leads"; and in some cases encouraged or even paid individuals to undertake terrorist acts, the report (pdf) reveals.

“Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch and one of the authors of the report. “But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”

The study, entitled Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in U.S. Terrorism Prosecutions, examines 27 federal terrorism cases (of more than 500 since September 11, 2001) from initiation of the investigations to sentencing and post-conviction conditions of confinement, finding infractions at every turn.

More:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/07/21-6

Nicaragua Vive! 35 Years Since the Triumph of the Sandinista Revolution

Nicaragua Vive! 35 Years Since the Triumph of the Sandinista Revolution
Written by Chuck Kaufman
Friday, 18 July 2014 12:03

July 19, 2014 marks the 35th anniversary of the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua. On that day, the Sandinista troops led by the nine commanders of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) entered the capital city of Managua where they were greeted by hundreds of thousands of jubilant Nicaraguans. The triumphant guerrillas found a country in ruins. The previous ruler of the country, dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, had bombed the cities during the final offensive. When he fled the country two days earlier, he took not only the caskets containing his parents’ remains, but all the money in the national treasury as well. The Sandinistas were left with no money and a $1.9 billion international debt.

Despite these handicaps, the Sandinistas set up a nine member National Directorate and five member Junta de Reconstrucción as the executive branch, and a Council of State which included political parties and popular organizations as the legislature. They launched an ambitious and revolutionary political program. Their Literacy Crusade reduced literacy by 37 percent and was given an award by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its triumphant success. The Sandinistas also provided citizens with free health care, started farm cooperatives, and used land confiscated from Somoza and his close government and military supporters for state-owned farms. The successful “Revolution of Poets,” many of the country’s poets were revolutionaries and politicians, made Nicaraguans proud and the social advances made them hopeful for the future.

In 1981 Ronald Reagan took office as president of the United States. The CIA, under his direction, immediately began training former members of Somoza’s brutal National Guard who had escaped across the border to Honduras. The famous CIA manual taught at the School of the Americas and captured after a battle in Nicaragua, showed how they were trained. They were taught to assassinate teachers, health care workers, and peasant cooperative leaders. There was also a “Freedom Fighter Manual” authored by the CIA and airdropped into the country which encouraged Nicaraguans sympathetic to the dictatorship to sabotage the Sandinista government and cause social disorder by employing methods such as bombing police stations.

For nine years, until the 1990 electoral defeat of the Sandinistas, Nicaragua’s dreams of equality and prosperity were stymied by the need to defend their country from the Contras, the US-trained and funded proxy-army. Forty thousand casualties later (added to the 40,000 lost in the war for national liberation), tired of the killing and the effects of the brutal US economic blockade, Nicaraguan voters succumbed to Washington’s relentless and violent meddling and US-backed candidate, Violeta Chamorro. President Daniel Ortega turned over the presidential sash in the first peaceful transfer of power between parties in Nicaragua’s history.

More:
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/nicaragua-archives-62/4942-nicaragua-vive-35-years-since-the-triumph-of-the-sandinista-revolution


California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning It May Be Contaminating Aquifers

California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning It May Be Contaminating Aquifers
Posted on Jul 19, 2014
By Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica

This piece originally ran on ProPublica.

California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state’s drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.

The state’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources.” The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells.

The action comes as California’s agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers, according to a study released this week by the University of California Davis.

The problem is that at least 100 of the state’s aquifers were presumed to be useless for drinking and farming because the water was either of poor quality, or too deep underground to easily access. Years ago, the state exempted them from environmental protection and allowed the oil and gas industry to intentionally pollute them. But not all aquifers are exempted, and the system amounts to a patchwork of protected and unprotected water resources deep underground. Now, according to the cease and desist orders issued by the state, it appears that at least seven injection wells are likely pumping waste into fresh water aquifers protected by the law, and not other aquifers sacrificed by the state long ago.

More:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/california_halts_injection_fracking_waste_contaminating_aquifers_20140719

How Panama Cut Poor Kids Out Of A Florida Millionaire's Will

How Panama Cut Poor Kids Out Of A Florida Millionaire's Will
7:11 pm Tue July 15, 2014

Panama today is best known for its economic boom, and rightly so. But unfortunately, poverty and piracy remain as much a part of the country's image as the Panama Canal.

According to the World Bank, half of Panama’s children are poor. A fifth of them are malnourished. Those underfed kids cram Panama charity centers like Nutre Hogar. On a recent visit there I saw the devastating effects of child malnutrition, including brain damage. “We don’t only feed them,” one Nutre Hogar staff member told me. “We spend a lot of time repairing their motor skills.”

As for the piracy, Panama was once a favorite target of Captain Morgan and other seafaring brigands. Today they’ve been replaced by Panama’s legal system. The World Economic Forum ranks Panama 133rd out of 142 countries when it comes to the integrity of its courts.

Which is why South Florida millionaire Wilson Lucom probably never should have trusted them with his fortune. Even when – or especially when – he left the bulk of it to Panama’s poor children.

What has happened to Lucom’s will since he died in 2006 is a bewildering if not byzantine tale of legal intrigue that stretches from Panama City to Palm Beach County. Critics at home and abroad call it a stark illustration of Panama’s, and to a large degree Latin America’s, indifference to gaping wealth inequality and brazen judicial corruption – two factors that weigh down the region’s development like millstones.

More:
http://wlrn.org/post/how-panama-cut-poor-kids-out-florida-millionaires-will




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