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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
July 20, 2014

'Lost' Amazonian tribe returns to the rainforest despite the threat of violence and disease

'Lost' Amazonian tribe returns to the rainforest despite the threat of violence and disease
Jonathan Brown
Sunday 20 July 2014

When they emerged from the forest on the outskirts of an Ashaninka indigenous community on the upper reaches of Brazil's Envira river, it was the first time in recent history that members of an uncontacted tribe of Amazonian Indians had chosen to leave their home and visit a settled population. But 80 tribe members have now returned to the forest on the Peru-Brazil border, despite the threat of violence and disease.

Before they went back, some who were showing flu-like symptoms were immunised by government doctors. That some of the tribe were already ill could explain why they took the unprecedented step of entering a settled village last month.

It has also emerged, however, that they were fleeing heavily armed drug traffickers who had attacked them upstream in Peru – showing that outside incursions are being made deep into the heart of their traditional protected territories.

Previously, it had been thought that they had been disturbed by the presence of heavily armed loggers, a growing industry in Peru. The mahogany and teak harvested by the gangs is believed to be destined to be made into garden furniture in Europe or the US. Under international law, the Indians have the right to their own traditional territories.


July 18, 2014

AP: US funds political groups in Venezuela despite ban (Go past the obligatory spin.)

US funds political groups in Venezuela despite ban
4:55 AM Saturday Jul 19, 2014

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) Almost four years after Venezuela enacted a law to bar the U.S. from funding groups frequently critical of the socialist government, millions of the American dollars the administration tried to ban still flow to these organizations, an analysis by The Associated Press shows. Much more U.S. support is under consideration.

The State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy, a government-funded nonprofit organization, together budgeted about $7.6 million to support Venezuelan groups last year alone, according to public documents reviewed by AP.

That was 15 percent more than they collectively authorized in 2009, the year before then-President Hugo Chavez pushed Venezuela's Congress to ban such funding in the name of protecting the country's sovereignty from groups it views as the opposition.

In Washington, the Senate is considering a bill to boost State Department aid to pro-democracy groups in Venezuela from about $5 million to $15 million amid calls for a tougher line against Venezuela after current President Nicolas Maduro cracked down on anti-government protests. A similar version cleared by the House would maintain current funding levels.


(No where in this article do they mention that foreign funding of political groups is banned in this country. Small oversight, no doubt. )

July 18, 2014

Soto Cano/Palmerola, hot topic between the US/Zelaya. The US won, of course,

thanks to the convenient coup at just the right moment:

July 22, 2009
Zelaya, Negroponte and the Controversy at Soto Cano

The Coup and the U.S. Airbase in Honduras


The mainstream media has once again dropped the ball on a key aspect of the ongoing story in Honduras: the U.S. airbase at Soto Cano, also known as Palmerola. Prior to the recent military coup d’etat President Manuel Zelaya declared that he would turn the base into a civilian airport, a move opposed by the former U.S. ambassador. What’s more Zelaya intended to carry out his project with Venezuelan financing.

For years prior to the coup the Honduran authorities had discussed the possibility of converting Palmerola into a civilian facility. Officials fretted that Toncontín, Tegucigalpa’s international airport, was too small and incapable of handling large commercial aircraft. An aging facility dating to 1948, Toncontín has a short runway and primitive navigation equipment. The facility is surrounded by hills which makes it one of the world’s more dangerous international airports.

Palmerola by contrast has the best runway in the country at 8,850 feet long and 165 feet wide. The airport was built more recently in the mid-1980s at a reported cost of $30 million and was used by the United States for supplying the Contras during America’s proxy war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua as well as conducting counter-insurgency operations in El Salvador. At the height of the Contra war the U.S. had more than 5,000 soldiers stationed at Palmerola. Known as the Contras’ “unsinkable aircraft carrier,” the base housed Green Berets as well as CIA operatives advising the Nicaraguan rebels.

More recently there have been some 500-to-600 U.S. troops on hand at the facility which serves as a Honduran air force base as well as a flight-training center. With the exit of U.S. bases from Panama in 1999, Palmerola became one of the few usable airfields available to the U.S. on Latin American soil. The base is located approximately 30 miles north of the capital Tegucigalpa.


[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
New US Military Bases in Honduras
Written by Honduras Culture and Politics
Monday, 28 November 2011 20:52

Source: Honduras Culture and Politics

The United States military continues to build bases in Honduras, with the public mission of supporting US drug interdiction missions and oversight of the Caribbean, especially the area from Honduras to the Dominican Republic.

The first of these bases, at Catarasca, in the Mosquitia, opened in April 2010. The US built this base from scratch, providing all the materials, logistics, and construction forces through DOD contracts. One of the DOD contracts that only partially built the base was for $1.9 million:

"Caratasca FOL [Forward Operating Location] Facilities", $1.9 million contract W91278-07-D0098 0001, with Eterna S.A., initially to be completed in May 2009, extended to August 2009.

Now comes word that the visit of the HSV 2 Swift earlier this year brought the materials to build a base on Guanaja, an international tourist destination previously known as a diving mecca for its pristine waters, and a celebrity vacation spot.

Honduras has never had a navy base in the Bay Islands. The Guanaja base, at a cost of $2 million, again built from scratch, contains buildings and a pier built by US Navy personnel, and technology supplied by and installed by the US forces. It will eventually house a Honduran patrol boat, the L. P. Honduras, that was recently retrofitted by the Honduran Navy at a cost of $790,000 after being abandoned for the last 22 years!

The base will also reportedly house both US and Honduran aircraft used for drug interdiction missions. Quotha listed part of the public contract for the base on Guanaja as follows:

"Design Build CN (Counternarcotics) Facility", contract signed June 2010 for $1.2 million, funded by SouthCom, for completion by Empresa de Construcción y Transporte Eterna, by September 2011.

So the running total for these two bases is upwards of $3.1 million.

But wait, there's still more.

July 18, 2014

‘USS America’ warship drops anchor in Cartagena to strengthen US-Colombia ties

‘USS America’ warship drops anchor in Cartagena to strengthen US-Colombia ties
Jul 18, 2014 posted by Tim Hinchliffe

The US Navy’s most modern tactical aircraft carrier made port on its maiden voyage in Colombia’s Caribbean as part of a Latin American tour to strengthen ties with countries in the region, according to the Ministry of Defense.

In a symbolic gesture of cooperation between the US and Colombia, the USS America carrying 1,500 crew members will be conducting joint training exercises with Colombia’s Navy in the Caribbean port city of Cartagena.

According to Colombia’s Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzon, maritime security exercises and naval operations will be performed, where both nations will share tactics and strategies.

“Before, we were a nation seeking support and assistance; we were just receivers,” said Pinzon, adding, “today, we work closely with countries like the United States to continue on the path of prosperity. We have knowledge and acquired experiences in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, and other criminal expressions that we can share that are of course valuable; making this visit is what strengthens ties.”


July 18, 2014

"Guerrillas Killed in Combat" and the Colombian Military's Persistent Impunity

"Guerrillas Killed in Combat" and the Colombian Military's Persistent Impunity
by John Lindsay-Poland

At a public forum in the southern Colombian state of Huila this past January, Mothers told the stories of their sons who were murdered by the Colombian Army seven years prior. Amparo Pelaez’s son had recently finished his military service and worked unloading potatoes when he and a friend went to market and did not come back. The next day he was claimed by the army as a “guerrilla killed in combat.”

Transito Sarria spoke of her 28-year-old son Joselo, who worked as a driver and one morning promised to bring her breakfast at her job, but never arrived. A man called, making fun of her, and told her to check the morgue, where indeed she found her son’s body. The army said on the radio that they had killed a criminal.

Andrés Duarte returned to the town of Gigante, Huila with his mother one afternoon in April 2007. He then went out to play pool, never to return. The following day, Lt. Col. Jaime Lasprilla Villamizar claimed Duarte was another “guerrilla killed in combat,” along with four others.

All of these killings were known as “false positives”: homicides by soldiers of civilians claimed to be guerrillas or criminals and touted as operational successes by the military. They are among the 5,763 such homicides between 2000 and 2010 investigated by the Colombian Attorney General’s office or documented by human rights organizations. For the last several years, I have studied the context for this violence, using data on extrajudicial executions and U.S. military assistance compiled by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and the Colombian Coordinación Colombia-Europa-Estados Unidos. Although the number of such “false positives” has diminished considerably as a result of local, national, and international outcry, such killings continue to be important for several reasons.


July 17, 2014

Colombia’s Armed Forces ordered to apologize for 1996 paramilitary massacre

Colombia’s Armed Forces ordered to apologize for 1996 paramilitary massacre
Jul 17, 2014 posted by Melanie Bencosme

Colombia’s National Police and Navy must issue a court-ordered apology for not intervening in the 1996 slaughter of 14 people by paramilitaries in northwestern Colombia, national media reported on Wednesday.

The State Council ordered that the police and navy shall conduct a ceremony in the village of Pichilin located in the northwest state of Sucre. They must then “offer a public apology to the victims and the community at large,” according to Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper.

In addition to the apology, a plaque will be installed in the central square of the village to show remorse for those killed and that such events are never to be repeated. There is also a victims unit for collective reparation programs such as a unit for land restitution.

The massacre took place December 4, 1996, but two days prior paramilitaries had met with authorities and said they were focused on the 35th Front of Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which had a camp just past the village, according to Colombia’s armed conflict news site Verdad Abierta.

The orders were clear, the authorities should move out of the way and should not under any circumstances react against the paramilitary troops.


July 17, 2014

Brazil: indigenous lives not worth a traffic sign

Brazil: indigenous lives not worth a traffic sign
Submitted by WW4 Report on Mon, 07/14/2014 - 16:36 Southern Cone

Public prosecutors in Brazil have called on the government to pay 1.4 million reais ($ 630,000) in compensation to a Guarani indigenous community and to install road signs, after eight Guarani were run over and killed. For decades the Guarani of Apy Ka'y community in Mato Grosso do Sul were forced to camp on the side of a perilous main road after they were evicted from their land, which is now occupied by a vast sugar cane plantation. Last year they reoccupied a part of their territory, but the road remains a serious threat. Five of the hit-and-run victims were relatives of the community's leader, Damiana Cavanha, who has been campaigning for the’ ancestral land to be returned. The youngest victim was four years old. Damiana believes they are being deliberately targeted by vehicles belonging to the ranchers occupying their land.

Public prosecutor Marco Antonio Delfino de Almeida went to court to force the state to install road signs and speed warnings on the road. The court rejected his request and the government declared the road safe. "Indians in this state are not even worth a traffic sign," Delfino told the UK's Sunday Times.

Public prosecutors have also recommended that the Brazilian government's indigenous affairs department, FUNAI, be fined 1.7 million reais ($770,000) for its failure to map out and protect the land of Apy Ka’y and many other Guarani communities, as ordered by the constitution and an official agreement on Guarani land demarcation signed in 2007.

Forced to live in overcrowded reserves and roadside camps, the Guarani suffer alarming rates of malnutrition, disease and suicide, and their leaders are targeted and killed by gunmen employed by the ranchers occupying their land. "This is comparable to real human confinement," Delfino de Almeida said. "The Guarani live in terrible conditions, risking the most precious thing they have: life itself."

Damiana Cavanha told a researcher from UK-based Survival International: "We are refugees in our own country… We have lost everything, except the hope we will return to our ancestral land."
(Survival International, July 10)


(Short article, no more at link.)

July 15, 2014

Nobel Peace Laureates Slam Human Rights Watch's Refusal to Cut Ties to U.S. Government

Nobel Peace Laureates Slam Human Rights Watch's Refusal to Cut Ties to U.S. Government

Human Rights Watch's affiliation with ex-CIA and NATO officials generates perverse incentives and undermine its reputation for independence.

July 8, 2014

In a May 12 letter published on AlterNet, two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and over 100 scholars, journalists and human rights activists called on Human Rights Watch to close its revolving door to the U.S. government. On June 3, HRW published a response from executive director Kenneth Roth on its website, arguing that their “concern is misplaced.” In a June 11 debate on Democracy Now!, HRW Counsel and Spokesman Reed Brody similarly rejected their recommendations. Now, Nobel Laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel join fellow signatories Richard Falk (United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories from 2008-14) and Hans von Sponeck (UN Assistant Secretary General from 1998-2000) in demanding that their proposals be taken seriously, and additionally, that HRW remove former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana from its Board of Directors.

Dear Kenneth Roth,

While we welcome your stated commitment to Human Rights Watch's independence and credibility, we are dismayed by your rejection of our common-sense suggestion for strengthening them: bar those who have crafted or executed U.S. foreign policy from serving as HRW staff, advisors or board members—or, at a bare minimum, mandate lengthy “cooling-off” periods before and after any associate moves between HRW and the foreign-policy divisions of the U.S. government.

Before addressing your letter’s objections to the three instances of HRW’s advocacy that suggest a conflict of interest, we would like to reiterate that they were “limited to only recent history,” and that other cases could have been raised as well. One obvious example of HRW's failure to appropriately criticize U.S. crimes occurred after the 2004 coup d’état against the democratically elected government of Haiti. The U.S. government essentially kidnapped Haiti’s president; thousands of people were killed under the ensuing coup regime; and deposed officials of the constitutional government were jailed.

In the face of what were likely the worst human rights abuses of any country in the Western hemisphere at the time, HRW barely lifted a finger. HRW never hosted a press conference criticizing the coup or post-coup atrocities. In contrast to HRW’s appeals to the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Democratic Charter for Venezuela and Cuba, HRW never publicly invoked the Charter in the case of Haiti, even as Articles 20 and 21 afforded multilateral measures “in the event of an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime.” HRW never placed an op-ed about the overthrow in a prominent newspaper. (In 2004 The New York Times alone published at least five HRW opinion pieces and four HRW letters on other subjects.) It is reasonable for outside observers to question whether this lack of response from HRW to such large-scale human rights violations had anything to do with U.S. foreign-policy priorities.


July 15, 2014

Clash intensifies over travel to Cuba

Clash intensifies over travel to Cuba
Would-be travelers balk at ban on pleasure trips
By William E. Gibson, Washington Bureau
10:33 a.m. EDT, July 13, 2014

WASHINGTON — Pressure from some Florida members of Congress is making it harder to travel to Cuba even as thousands of their constituents line up to fly to the forbidden island.

The stream of passengers from South Florida to Cuba has slowed slightly since 2011, as some would-be travelers balk at the cost of licensed educational tours and others remain stymied by a ban on casual pleasure trips.

Now some in Congress are trying to tighten those rules to further discourage travel to Cuba, except for Cuban-Americans visiting their families. At the same time, travel proponents are pressing President Barack Obama to use his executive powers to loosen the rules so that all Americans are free to roam the island on their own.

The long-simmering debate over Cuba travel has heated up as prominent politicians — including Hillary Clinton, a prospective presidential candidate, and Charlie Crist, a candidate for governor of Florida — have called for an end to the travel ban.


July 14, 2014

Hit song about 'death train' of Central America that has killed thousands of illegal immigrants was

Source: Daily Mail

Hit song about 'death train' of Central America that has killed thousands of illegal immigrants was 'propaganda made by the US government' to dissuade border crossings

'La Bestia' is a popular song about the freight train 'The Beast' that hundreds of thousands of migrants risk their lives riding to try and get into America
Sung in Spanish, it tells of the dangers of using La Bestia as a migrant
Song was commissioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Part of the multimillion dollar 'Dangers Awareness Campaign'
There is no disclaimer that comes with the song so listeners are not aware the song was created for them by the U.S. government

By Joel Christie
Published: 18:10 EST, 14 July 2014 | Updated: 18:15 EST, 14 July 2014

The U.S. government's latest attempt to stop illegal immigrants crossing the border comes via the radio.

As part of a new multi-million dollar 'Dangers Awareness Campaign', the U.S. Customs and Border Protection campaign commissioned a catchy Spanish song to be written and produced to discourage families in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador from sending their children with smugglers to cross the U.S. border through Mexico.

That song - La Bestia - has subsequently become a major radio hit in Central America, with its legion of fans unaware it was created to 'teach' them something.

La Bestia - translated as 'The Beast' - refers to the notoriously dangerous freight train that migrants ride from Southern Mexico - risking robbery, kidnapping, rape, and murder - just to make it to the U.S. border, reports The Daily Beast.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2692236/Hit-radio-song-Central-America-commissioned-U-S-government-secretly-discourage-immigrants-crossing-border.html

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