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Judi Lynn

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Chile fines Pinochet's ex son-in-law Julio Ponce

Source: BBC News

3 September 2014 Last updated at 05:44 ET
Chile fines Pinochet's ex son-in-law Julio Ponce

One of Chile's richest men, Julio Ponce, has been fined $70m (£42.5m) for illegal share trading.

Mr Ponce is the chairman of Sociedad Quimica y Minera (SQM), the world's biggest producer of iodine, lithium and potassium.

He was married to the daughter of Chile's former military ruler, Gen Augusto Pinochet.

Mr Ponce, who can appeal against the fine, says the charges against him are politically motivated.

Record fine

The regulator of the Chilean stock exchange found Mr Ponce, who controls SQM through a series of holding companies, guilty of enriching himself at the expense of other shareholders.

It fined Mr Ponce and seven of his associates a total of $164m, the highest fine the regulator has ever issued.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-29042478

You probably remember his father-in-law, the late General Augusto Pinochet was the bloody puppet dictator put in place by Richard M. Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and the CIA, after the military bombed the Presidential Palace, and high ranking military officers loyal to the president were murdered, and the elected President was killed.

This happened after Richard Nixon told his CIA head, Richard Helms, "I want the economy to scream" as they worked their plans against Salvador Allende, the LEFTIST president.

Guatemala prison chief arrested in corruption probe

Guatemala prison chief arrested in corruption probe
September 4, 2014, 9:56 am

Guatemala City (AFP) - The head of Guatemala's prison system was arrested on bribery and money-laundering charges linked to a notorious jail-based criminal syndicate, prosecutors said. Edgar Camargo, director of the Guatemalan Penitentiary System, was detained over allegations of a conspiracy with a gang headed by jailed Army captain Byron Lima Oliva.

Prosecutor Thelma Aldana said investigators had uncovered evidence linking prison system officials to "illicit" practices.

Camargo was arrested on charges of conspiracy, bribery and conspiracy to launder money.

Lima Oliva, who was jailed for 20 years in 2001 for his involvement in the murder of Guatemalan bishop Juan Gerardi in April 1998, had emerged as one of the most powerful figures inside Guatemala's prison system, investigators had found.

Lima Oliva was "central" to the conspiracy he added, controlling aspects of prison life such as arranging inmate transfers, conjugal visits and access to phones. While in prison, Lima Oliva had even been able to purchase several properties in upmarket areas of the capital as well as luxury cars made by Jaguar, BMW or Porsche.


Colombia Transitional Justice board sentences 8 paramilitaries to prison

Colombia Transitional Justice board sentences 8 paramilitaries to prison
Sep 3, 2014 posted by Victoria McKenzie

Colombia Transitional Justice board sentences 8 paramilitaries to prison

The Medellin Board of Transitional Justice sentencing eight demobilized paramilitaries from the AUC’s Elmer Cardenas bloc to prison for over 130 crimes committed between 1996 and 2004, local media reported Tuesday.

The offenses referred to in the judgment include 51 murders, 21 aggravated kidnappings, 16 forced displacements, the torture of five protected persons, and five forced disappearances. The crimes include both the La Horqueta and Riosucio massacres, according to Colombia’s Caracol Radio.

On November 21, 1997, 14 civilians were killed in Colombia’s central state of Cundinamarca in attack allegedly executed by the combined forces of the defunct paramilitary group, the AUC, and special units of Colombia’s armed forces. In Riosucio, Choco, five people were abducted and murdered, including the mayor Benjamin Grove Chaverra.

Medellin’s local Transitional Justice prosecutor is currently investigating 1,200 crimes, including those committed by Fredy Rendon Herrera, alias “El Aleman,” top leader of the Elmer Cardenas Bloc of the AUC, and 27 more members of the AUC.


Guatemala bishop's killer ran alleged jail empire

Guatemala bishop's killer ran alleged jail empire
Published: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:16 p.m.

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A Guatemalan army captain sentenced to 20 years for the slaying of a Roman Catholic bishop was charged with money laundering and organized crime for allegedly building a multimillion-dollar illicit prison empire based on threats and corruption.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that Byron Lima Oliva took money from other inmates in return for favors such as prohibited cellphones and appliances, as well as special food and conjugal visits.

"Lima represents for many of the inmates the true authority, and so they turn to him to seek transfers, favors and rights. Lima Oliva exerts undoubtable influence in the penitentiary system," Ivan Velasquez, head of the U.N. International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala told reporters.


Lima, 44, allegedly had campaign T-shirts printed for the 2011 election of President Otto Perez Molina, who is also a former soldier.


Colombian narcos sending bio-chemists to Guatemala to set up drug labs

Colombian narcos sending bio-chemists to Guatemala to set up drug labs
Sep 3, 2014 posted by Craig Corbett

Guatemalan media reported this week that Colombian and Mexican drug cartels have joined forces to construct drug laboratories and produce cocaine and synthetic drugs in Guatemala in a move away from traditional production zones within their own countries.

Guatemalan newspaper La Prensa Libre reported that increased combating of drug trafficking cartels in Mexico and Colombia, and the convenient geographic location of Guatemala has led to a push by foreign drug cartels to establish laboratories and begin producing drugs with a view to exporting them to the Unites States.

El Espectador reported that on August 20 security forced were engaged in a fire-fight at a laboratory in Villa Canales, near to the Guatemalan capital. Three Colombian nationals and one Guatemalan were arrested and no casualties were registered.

At the scene a large number of firearms were seized, along with 107 plastic containers, base chemicals used in the process of drug production and a boiler, all of which points to production of synthetic designer drugs on a large scale.


Uribe’s former security chief confesses to ripping off state, denies drug links (Colombia)

Uribe’s former security chief confesses to ripping off state, denies drug links
Sep 3, 2014 posted by Christoffer Frendesen

The former security chief of Colombian ex-president Alvaro Uribe reportedly admitted to illegally receiving a double salary from the state, but continues to deny charges he worked with drug trafficking and paramilitaries.

Retired General Flavio Buitrago admitted to receiving a salary from the President’s Office and the Tax Office in an apparent attempt to avoid being brought to court for ties to the confessed drug lord Marco Antonio Gil, alias “El Papero,” and paramilitary Carlos Mario Jimenez, alias “Macaco,” newspaper El Tiempo reported.

While the former security chief continued to deny receiving money from illegal activities, the Prosecutor General remains convinced of Buitrago’s connection to drug trafficking and former paramilitary group AUC.

Buitrago claimed to have evaded taxes both during his post at the Colombian embassy in Washington D.C., and during his tenure as presidential security chief for Uribe.

While Buitrago says that he accrued money through laundering and receiving an illegal double salary, he is still unable to account for the full sum, exceeding $300,000. The Prosecutor General does not believe Buitrago’s claims, and noted that there is no record of Buitrago receiving a double salary.


The True Story Of How One Man Shut Down American Commerce To Avoid Paying His Workers A Fair Wage

The True Story Of How One Man Shut Down American Commerce To Avoid Paying His Workers A Fair Wage

by Ian Millhiser Posted on September 1, 2014 at 9:20 am Updated: September 1, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Note: The following is adapted from the author’s forthcoming book, Injustices: The Supreme Court’s Nearly Unbroken History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted.

In 1894, Chicago was the Midwest’s gateway to the rest of the United States. Twenty-four different railroad lines centered or terminated in Chicago, covering the nation in over forty thousand miles of rail. Farmers, merchants, craftsmen and factories hoping to bring their goods to the rest of the nation — and potentially, to the rest of the world — had to first bring those goods to Chicago to begin their journey down one of the city’s many rail lines. Without Chicago’s railroads, much of the country lost its access to the nation’s commerce and was essentially plunged back into a pre-industrial economy.

On May 11, 1894, a strike began just outside of Chicago in a company town run by one of the wealthiest Americans who has ever lived. By the strike’s bloody end, up to a quarter of a million workers joined together in solidarity with the strikers. Two federal judges, working in close collusion with federal officials who were themselves very much in league with Chicago’s railroad executives, would place the full power of the federal judiciary on the side of union-busters. President Grover Cleveland, acting on the advice of the railroad attorney he placed at the head of the Justice Department, would eventually send federal troops to Chicago. At the height of the conflict, Harper’s Magazine claimed that the nation was “fighting for its own existence just as truly as in suppressing the great rebellion” of the Confederacy.

And all of this happened because of two decisions made by just one man, George Mortimer Pullman, founder of the Pullman Palace Car Company. The first was the decision of Pullman and his company to cut its payrolls by nearly 40 percent, even as he increased the stock dividends his company paid to himself and its other shareholders. The second was Pullman’s utter refusal to deal with the union that represented his workers. In an America with no modern labor laws requiring management to come to the bargaining table with their workers, Pullman’s workers had no option other than a strike. And that strike would eventually escalate into a conflict that brought Chicago — and the nation’s entire economy — to its knees.

A Long Time To Spend On A Train

The Pullman Palace Car Company made train cars that offered passengers an almost comic degree of opulence. One early Pullman sleeper featured chandeliers, marble washbasins and a black walnut interior. Pullman’s dinning cars offered steak, oysters and a choice of wines. By the 1870s, a train equipped with a full complement of Pullman cars included a barber shop, multiple libraries, a smoking room and a fully functional organ for passengers who wanted to entertain themselves by playing music.


New Documents Undermine Walker Statements on Criminal Probe

New Documents Undermine Walker Statements on Criminal Probe
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 13:19
By Brendan Fischer, PR Watch | Report

Despite claims that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is not a "target" in the state's criminal campaign finance probe, newly-released documents demonstrate that prosecutors are indeed looking at potentially criminal activity by the first-term governor and 2016 presidential hopeful.

The latest round of documents released in Wisconsin's "John Doe" investigation shine new light on the stalled inquiry into alleged illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and outside political groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) during the 2011-2012 recall elections.

The documents show that Walker made personal appeals to out-of-state billionaires and millionaires to raise funds for WiCFG -- which spent $9.1 million on the recalls and acted as a "hub" for funneling millions more to other groups -- and evidence indicates that his campaign also worked with WiCFG on how those funds were spent.

The investigation was halted in May in a questionable decision by federal Judge Rudolph Randa -- a Republican appointee who regularly attends Koch- and Bradley-funded judicial junkets -- on grounds that the omission of terms like "vote for" or "vote against" in WiCFG's ads put them beyond the reach of long-standing Wisconsin law, including laws governing coordination. Prosecutors have appealed Randa's ruling to the Seventh Circuit, and some documents filed under seal with that appellate court were accidentally made public on August 22.


'No Escape': Alarming Cancer Rates at Prison Built Next to Toxic Coal Dump

Source: Common Dreams

'No Escape': Alarming Cancer Rates at Prison Built Next to Toxic Coal Dump
Published on Tuesday, September 02, 2014

by Common Dreams

Groups call for environmental justice as investigation documents extensive health problems at Pennsylvania prison that may be linked to nearby coal ash facility

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

A report released by human rights groups in Pennsylvania on Tuesday questions whether cancer rates and other serious health ailments among inmates at a maximum security state prison are connected to an adjacent coal waste dump. If so, the breach of environmental justice could necessitate shutting down the prison, they say.

The State Correctional Institution-Fayette is located in LaBelle, a rural Pennsylvania town that is also home to a 506-acre coal ash dump that contains about 40 million tons of waste, two coal slurry ponds, and millions of cubic yards of coal combustion waste, owned and operated by Matt Canestrale Contracting. The Canestrale facility receives coal ash waste — known to contain mercury, lead, arsenic, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, boron, and thallium — from coal-fired plants throughout the region.

The investigation, "No Escape: Exposure to Toxic Coal Waste at State Correctional Institution Fayette" (pdf), documents health problems — respiratory, throat, and sinus conditions; skin irritation, rashes, and hives; gastrointestinal problems; and cancers — among inmates at SCI-Fayette. In interviews and correspondence with researchers, over 80 percent of prisoners reported respiratory, throat, or sinus issues, such as nose bleeds, shortness of breath, and lung infections; 68 percent reported gastrointestinal problems; and more than half described skin conditions like rashes or hives. Between January 2010 and December 2013, 17 prisoners died while at SCI-Fayette; 11 of those deaths were due to cancer.

The report states that Matt Canestrale Contracting, which has owned and operated the dump since 1997, is in "perpetual violation" of the Air Pollution Control Act: "Ash is regularly seen blowing off the site or out of haul trucks and collecting on the houses of local residents as well as the prison grounds at SCI-Fayette." The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not currently classify coal ash as hazardous waste.

Read more: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/02/no-escape-alarming-cancer-rates-prison-built-next-toxic-coal-dump

Without Corn There Is No Country: Stopping Monsanto in Mexico

Without Corn There Is No Country: Stopping Monsanto in Mexico
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
by Abby Zimet, staff writer

A bit of good news from Mexico, which insists on throwing improbable wrenches into Monsanto's massive reckless science experiment on the rest of us: Mexico's Federal Court has upheld a 2013 ruling by Judge Marroquín Zaleta suspending the granting of licenses for GMO corn field trials sought by Monsanto and other Big-Ag colleagues, citing the environmental risks to over 7,000 years of indigenous maize cultivation and the country's resulting 60 varieties of corn. The Zaleta ruling, which prompted Monsanto not just to appeal but to embark (in vain) on an effort to get him off the bench, is the latest victory in what many view as Ground Zero in the fight against GMO infestation. After protests by Mayan farmers, beekeepers, a biodiversity commission and other groups, a Mexican judge just ruled to withdraw a Monsanto permit to plant GMO soybeans in seven states - over 625,000 acres - citing the threat posed to honey production in the Yucatán peninsula, and another judge rejected a GMO maize license request by Syngenta. Bravo to Stop the Crop, Greenpeace and others convincing those in power to "go off script" and stop Monsanto.

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