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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,053

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Impunity still high for Colombia’s ‘false positives’ cases, rampant at highest ranks (murders)

Impunity still high for Colombia’s ‘false positives’ cases, rampant at highest ranks
Jul 14, 2014 posted by Nicolas Bedoya

Despite some progress in recent years, impunity rates for so-called “false positive” extrajudicial killings remain high, according to statistics obtained by Colombia Reports from Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office.

Seven years after the scandal originally broke, only 27.6% of those members of the public security forces believed to have participated in the false positives practice — in which civilians were murdered and disguised as guerrillas slain in combat — have been investigated, while only 15% have been charged with a crime, according to the latest figures, which cut off in January 2014.

The Prosecutor General’s Office informed Colombia Reports that there have been at least 4,212 victims of “false positives” and that at least 4,774 members of the public security forces are believed to have been responsible.

~snip~
The extrajudicial killings known as false positives was a common occurrence during former President Alvaro Uribe’s administrations when members of the armed forces would murder civilians and present the dead as guerrillas killed in combat. False positives peaked during the years 2006 to 2008.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/immunity-still-rampant-high-ranking-officers-colombia-false-positive-cases/

(My emphasis.)

Bleedback of a US Imperial Wound

OpEdNews Op Eds 7/13/2014 at 21:20:28
Bleedback of a US Imperial Wound

In Spanish, the word hondura means "depth; profundity." The related word hondo means "deep, low; bottom." Hondon means "dell, glen, deep hole." An example given in my dictionary is meterse en honduras, "to go beyond one's depth."

I imagine some gold-seeking Spanish conquistador in the 16th century passing through the isthmus and, with a bit of cruel wit, calling the place where he stood The Hole. Sort of like when I was in the Army, Fort Hood, Texas, was known as "the a**hole of the world." In Honduras, my imaginary conquistador no doubt left a lieutenant with troops enough to turn the residents into slaves before he moved his army on to the more appealing Costa Rica.

Honduras is the saddest basket case in the Western Hemisphere, and the behemoth to the north has done everything in its power to keep poor Honduras in the basket case category. Technically, Honduras is a sovereign nation; but in reality it is a vassal state of the United States. Maybe more like a flea-ridden junkyard dog resigned to being kicked.

In 1935, two-time Medal of Honor winner and retired Marine General Smedley Butler famously wrote this in an essay for the socialist magazine Common Sense:

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service, and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. ... I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. ... Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

More:
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Bleedback-of-a-US-Imperial-by-John-Grant-Children_Children_Drugs_History-140713-707.html

Human Blowback from US Interventions

Human Blowback from US Interventions
July 13, 2014

The flight of Central American children north to the U.S. border is another form of blowback from decades of U.S. refusal to permit reformist governments in the region, including the State Department’s support for a 2009 coup ousting Honduran President Zelaya, writes William Blum at Anti-Empire Report.

By William Blum

The number of children attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In fiscal year 2009 (Oct. 1, 2009 – Sept. 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the detention of as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors.

Approximately 28 percent of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24 percent from Guatemala, and 21 percent from El Salvador. The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, after he did things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education.

The coup – like so many others in Latin America – was led by a graduate of Washington’s infamous School of the Americas.

As per the standard Western Hemisphere script, the Honduran coup was followed by the abusive policies of the new regime, loyally supported by the United States. The State Department was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere in not unequivocally condemning the Honduran coup.

Indeed, the Obama administration has refused to call it a coup, which, under American law, would tie Washington’s hands as to the amount of support it could give the coup government. This denial of reality still persists even though a U.S. embassy cable released by Wikileaks in 2010 declared: “There is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 (2009) in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch.”

More:
http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/13/human-blowback-from-us-interventions/

Venezuelan Yukpa Chief: Paramilitaries Trying to “Erase” Us

Venezuelan Yukpa Chief: Paramilitaries Trying to “Erase” Us
By Z. C. Dutka

San Francisco July 9th, 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- Around fifty armed men allegedly assaulted and forcefully removed Yukpa cacica (chief) Carmen “Anita” Fernandez from her land in the western Venezuelan state of Zulia last Monday.

Fernandez’s son Cristobal, 20, was murdered just six days before by corrupt National Guard hired by wealthy ranchers in repeated attempts to force the family’s removal from the area, witnesses have claimed. The community leader had already lost two of her sons in 2012.

The Fernandez family, like many of the indigenous Yukpa ethnic group, have long stood in struggle to reclaim the areas now owned and controlled by wealthy cattle ranchers in the mountainous Sierra de Perijá. Their claims are grounded in the 1999 National Constitution and the Indigenous Peoples Law, championed by late President Hugo Chavez, which granted a number of political and legal rights to Venezuela’s indigenous populations, as well as the demarcation and granting of ancestral lands.

The statute permitted many indigenous populations, such as the south eastern Pemon people, the kind of autonomy that was previously long denied to them. However, powerful ranchers in the fertile valleys of Perijá in the west have refused to relinquish their grip on the area, leading to an all out land war in 2008, when the Yukpa began to occupy disputed areas.

More:
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10783

Analysts Confused as Venezuelans Say Their Country is Second Most Democratic in Region

Analysts Confused as Venezuelans Say Their Country is Second Most Democratic in Region
By Ewan Robertson

Mérida, 11th July 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – In a respected regional poll measuring citizens’ perception of their democracy, Venezuelans have given the second most favourable response in Latin America, leaving the report’s authors scratching their heads.

The poll also found that the top five countries by positive citizen perception of democracy were all governed by left-wing administrations.

The study, entitled “Images of Countries and Democracies”, was conducted by Chilean-based organisation Latinobarometro, which has conducted research into citizen opinion in Latin America since 1995.

This latest poll, conducted in 18 Latin American countries and relying on over 19,000 interviews, sought to measure citizens’ opinion of how democratic their own country is. Latin Americans were asked to rate democracy in their country on a scale of 1 (“not democratic”) to 10 (totally democratic”).

With an average score of 7, Venezuela was the highest placed country in the region after Uruguay, which had 7.6. Guatemala (5.4) and El Salvador (5.4) were given the least positive scores by their citizens. The regional average was 6.2.

More:
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10786

Update: Warden Suspended over Prisoner's Scalding Death

Update: Warden Suspended over Prisoner's Scalding Death
Updated: Thu 1:58 PM, Jul 10, 2014

Update: Associated Press
July 10, 2014 - 2 p.m.

FLORIDA CITY, Fla. (AP) -- The warden of a South Florida prison where an inmate was left in a scalding shower until he died in 2012 has been suspended.

Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said Wednesday that Jerry Commings will be on paid administrative leave until the investigation concludes. He added that more sanctions could be forthcoming.

Crews made the announcement after a visit to Dade Correctional Institution, where Darren Rainey, a mentally ill prisoner was punished with a shower so hot that his skin separated from his body.

Commings' suspension is the first disciplinary action taken in this case by the DOC and comes after news reports found that Rainey's death was never properly investigated.

Civil rights groups have called for a federal investigation into the death.

http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Prison-Chief-to-Assess-Scalding-Shower-Death-266573281.html?ref=281

[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Florida prisons chief says wrongdoing in his agency is limited to a few
By Michael Vasquez and Julie K. Brown, Miami Herald
Thursday, July 10, 2014 2:16pm

Two years after a mentally ill inmate died in a scalding-hot shower — purportedly as part of a punishment ritual — the state's prison chief visited the Homestead-area prison where it happened, telling reporters that wrongdoing in his agency is limited to a few bad actors.

"We are going to find those bad seeds and we're going to eliminate them from being able to work in our department," Mike Crews, Florida's increasingly embattled Department of Corrections secretary, said Thursday.

Crews also announced that the warden of the prison has been placed on paid administrative leave. Warden Jerry Cummings' suspension is the agency's latest response to growing allegations of abuse and cover-ups in the prison system.

The accusations aren't limited to Dade Correctional Institution. At a prison in the Panhandle, Crews' agency is accused of retaliating against investigators who raised concerns about an inmate death. The investigators, who filed a whistle-blower lawsuit, say the Department of Corrections' inspector general — whose mission is to uncover and punish wrongdoing — did the opposite in the case of the Panhandle death.

More:
http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/south-florida-warden-tied-to-death-of-inmate-in-shower-is-suspended/2187971

[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
News Release: Associated Press
July 10, 2014

MIAMI (AP) -- The head of Florida's prison system says he's traveling to Dade Correctional Institution for a full assessment on the death of a mentally ill prisoner left in a shower so hot his skin separated from his body.

Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews said Wednesday that he will meet with Miami-Dade police officials to offer assistance on the investigation.

The announcement comes several weeks after civil rights groups sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for a federal investigation.

The groups say Darren Rainey was locked in a closet-size shower stall at the Dade Correctional Institution in June 2012 as a form of punishment. He was left unattended for two hours with scalding hot water that later measured as high as 180 degrees. He was found dead.

Same link for both short articles.

http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Prison-Chief-to-Assess-Scalding-Shower-Death-266573281.html?ref=281

[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Posted on Wednesday, 07.09.14
No answers 2 years later in Florida inmate’s death; guards paid $700,000 to do nothing


Nearly two years after Miami man Frank Smith died in a clash with guards at Union Correctional, the investigation continues with no end in sight.

By Steve Bousquet
Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE -- Nearly two years after a state prison inmate died under suspicious circumstances, the Department of Corrections has offered no reasons for his death and 10 employees suspended over the incident are still on leave and drawing full pay.

Frank Smith of Miami was 44 when he died on Sept. 4, 2012, after a violent altercation with officers as he was being moved from a prison hospital to his cell at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford.

The Department of Corrections placed 10 staff members, including an assistant warden, on paid leave, a routine step when employees are suspected of wrongdoing. So far, taxpayers have paid nearly $700,000 in salaries to them for not working.

~snip~
Darren Rainey, a mentally ill inmate at Dade Correctional Institution in Miami, was scalded to death in a prison shower in 2012. Another inmate, Randall Jordan-Aparo, 27, died in his cell at Franklin Correctional Institution in 2010 after he was repeatedly gassed by guards as he begged for treatment for a worsening medical condition, the Miami Herald reported.

In that case, four investigators with the Department of Corrections filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit, claiming that inmates are beaten and tortured and that prison supervisors fabricated official reports to cover up Jordan-Aparo’s death, the Herald reported.

“They killed that damn kid,” prison investigator Aubrey Land told Gov. Rick Scott’s chief inspector general, Melinda Miguel, in March, according to the Herald.

More:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/09/4226583/no-answers-2-years-later-in-florida.html#storylink=cpy

Recent political assassinations, etc. in Honduras:

June 2014. Five years since the coup in Honduras began. The killings and persecution and evictions continue. Model cities experiments have been made legal again and are moving along in the south of Honduras. Reports point to masses of Honduran children trying to get to US under lots of danger.



Indigenous community leader assassinated by army

On 18/6/14, José Husbaldo Guzmán Argueta (62) was running errands in the Colomoncagua centre towards a drinking water project, when he was attacked by soldier Nectaly Carranza together with another 3 soldiers and a police agent under the command of the responsible sargeant in the area – they beat him and threw him to the ground, the soldier Carranza used his M16, shot Husbaldo twice with it, one hit his face killing him immediately. A group of military then came and transported Carranza away from view. José Husbaldo is a recognised community leader of La Hacienda community of Colomoncagua, Intibucá – recognised for this service to the community and honesty.


2 Journalists killed, another two judicially persecuted, another dismissed, another threatened

On 1/6/14, in the morning, in the Palestina community, Patuca municipality, Olancho province, hitmen ended the life of young journalist Oscar Anthony Torres (24) with several gunshots. Oscar worked for Patuca Stereo (103.3fm) and in La Doble M Stereo (97.1) – music stations with local coverage, since 3 years ago, Oscar directed the programs ‘radio taxi’ and ‘mañanas gruperas’ that transmitted from 5am. Police tried to say the murder is an assault because his trousers pockets were turned outside.

Globo TV Journalist of program ‘Mi Nación’ Julio Ernesto Alvarado was from December 2013 sentenced to a sixteen months ban from practising journalism plus a $250 fine (that comes with a 500 days prison term if he cannot pay). Julio was condemned as guilty for ‘defamation’ as accused by Belinda Flores, for having covered complaints of corruption against Belinda at the local university. Belinda was implicated in charges of peddling of influences and of falsifying university titles – for which the court proved that she was guilty, yet, not they subsequently found Julio guilty for reporting on crimes Belinda was guilty of, and after he paid the fine since he knew too well that the system was against him to appeal, but got the judge to lift his journalism ban on 28/4/14, this was appealed ‘successfully’ by Belinda’s lawyer within a week. Both Julio and Dina Meza, another journalist who spoke up in her work on Julio’s case, received harrassment and threats on facebook, not to mention an attempt against Julio Alvarado in March 2013.

On, 5/6/14, journalist Gonzalo Rodríguez was dismissed by Canal 6 apparently for having leftist tendencies, after a series of conversations. On 20/5/14, Canal 6 executive Joaquín Nodarse asked Gonzalo, ‘listen, you are of C-Libre, aren’t you?’ To which, Gonzalo confirmed that he was a C-Libre (committee for freedom of expression) correspondent and that he was also chosen by journalists locally as the president of the Colón journalists network. On 21/5/14, Canal 6 human resources called him and confirmed that he was away when he was at the RAPCOS (Network of Alerts and Protection to Journalists) national meeting in Tegucigalpa; Gonzalo was told that he was ‘directly affecting one of the channel’s clients that was based in San Pedro Sula’. Through investigation, C-Libre found this client to be Dinant Corporation of palm giant Miguel Facussé. ‘Dont send us notes that affect our client,’ he was told, ‘don’t mention the name of Dinant’. After returning from Tegucigalpa, he met with Nodarse as obliged; Nodarse said to Gonzalo, ‘You are affecting one of my clients. I don’t eat from the farmers, they don’t give me anythying.’ Gonzalo responded that he always covers both sides of the conflicts and that seemed to have been accepted in the meeting, but the day after that, the head of human resources called Gonzalo and told him that the Nodarse family decided that he won’t be a correspondent anymore. His text messages asking for explanation to executives ‘Tadeo y a Umanzor’ were ignored. When he went on the next Monday to drop work equipment, he was told that the real reason he was let go of was because Joaquín found out that he worked for C-Libre and concluded that he must be a ñangara (derogative term for communist). He had not been paid since January, and Canal 6 also recently arbitrarily cancelled the informative space of another journalist for making comments critical of the current JOH regime.

On 16/6/14, at 10am, TV reporter and member of RAPCOS (network of alerts and protection to journalists) Alex Sabillón was threatened opposite his work place and in front of Choloma Police station, by Miguel Callejas, who is the Choloma Council Roads Commission Director and who lives in the same neighbourhood as Alex. The threat was, ‘I don’t care that you move around with police, son of a bitch, we are going to kill you.’ He is and was accompanied by police because he was granted protection due to the amount of threats and intimidation he receives, so he was with police Selvin Omar Cardona, but this police did nothing. Miguel Callejas has attacked Alex Sabillón before – snatching his video camera on one occasion, and attacking him physically on another.

More:
http://sydneywithhonduras.wordpress.com/monthly-news-summaries/


Colombian politician accused of public corruption may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Source: Local 10 TV Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Colombian politician accused of public corruption may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Andres Felipe Arias is requesting asylum in the U.S. to avoid prison time, after he was found guilty of public corruption in Colombia

Author: Andrea Torres, Local10.com Reporter, atorres@local10.com

Published On: Jul 11 2014 04:27:17 PM EDT Updated On: Jul 11 2014 04:42:12 PM EDT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -
A politician accused of corruption in Colombia may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale, the Colombian magazine Semana reported Friday.

The former minister of agriculture and rural development Andres Felipe Arias, 41, was under investigation for public corruption before he and his family left Bogota.

On July 3, he was found guilty of mismanaging funds in a program that was meant to provide subsidies for struggling farmers, but instead ended up in the hands of wealthy landowners. He did not appear in court July 18.

Arias contends that he is innocent and the charges are a merciless political attack. El Espectador newspaper reported he could face 18 to 33 years in prison.

Read more: http://www.local10.com/news/colombian-politician-accused-of-public-corruption-may-be-hiding-in-fort-lauderdale/26904372

Colombian politician accused of public corruption may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Colombian politician accused of public corruption may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Andres Felipe Arias is requesting asylum in the U.S. to avoid prison time, after he was found guilty of public corruption in Colombia

Author: Andrea Torres, Local10.com Reporter, atorres@local10.com

Published On: Jul 11 2014 04:27:17 PM EDT Updated On: Jul 11 2014 04:42:12 PM EDT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -
A politician accused of corruption in Colombia may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale, the Colombian magazine Semana reported Friday.

The former minister of agriculture and rural development Andres Felipe Arias, 41, was under investigation for public corruption before he and his family left Bogota.

On July 3, he was found guilty of mismanaging funds in a program that was meant to provide subsidies for struggling farmers, but instead ended up in the hands of wealthy landowners. He did not appear in court July 18.

Arias contends that he is innocent and the charges are a merciless political attack. El Espectador newspaper reported he could face 18 to 33 years in prison.

More: http://www.local10.com/news/colombian-politician-accused-of-public-corruption-may-be-hiding-in-fort-lauderdale/26904372

Bloodstained coal from Colombia

Bloodstained coal from Colombia

Massacres, targeted killings, expulsions: Raw material companies in Colombia are believed to have taken part in crimes for years. Even German utilities have received coal supplies from them.

Date 09.07.2014

It was around 2 a.m. on February 19, 2002, when about 30 masked paramilitaries appeared in the village, recalls Marina Barbosa. "They stopped at our house and knocked on the door, but I did not let them in. 'Hurry up' or we will throw a grenade!' the men shouted. Later they entered the house and screamed: "You support the guerrilla fighters!"

Marina and her two children, Rafael Arturo and Maira Marleny were forced to lie on the floor while the men searched and destroyed everything in the house. They took away everything of value.

"After they had searched the house, the paramilitaries accused my husband to be a member of the trade union, which was not true. He worked for Drummond and drove trucks. But at the end they dragged him outside and shot him in front our children."

Numerous victims

Marina Barbosa is just one of the many victims of human rights violations by paramilitaries in the coal region Cesar in northeastern Colombia. In its recently published report "The Dark Side of Coal," the Netherlands-based NGO Pax for Peace raised serious allegations against the mine operator Prodeco, a subsidiary of the Swiss Glencore Group and the American family-run firm Drummond.

More:
http://www.dw.de/bloodstained-coal-from-colombia/a-17771092?maca=en-rss-en-bus-2091-rdf
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