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Judi Lynn

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UN urges Colombia not to further amplify military justice

UN urges Colombia not to further amplify military justice
Sep 30, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin

Twelve experts from the United Nations (UN) have urged the Colombia not to adopt a law which would expand the jurisdiction of military courts, fearing this would lead to impunity for human rights violators, according to El Espectador newspaper.

The UN experts claimed that the expansion of the military courts could compromise the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. They maintain that any alleged human rights violations committed by the armed forces against the civilian population should be tried in criminal courts, which are under civilian control.

Under the proposed law, extrajudicial executions, or “false positives,” would be tried in military courts, according to the human rights experts.

FACT SHEET: False Positives

The “false positives” scandal, which involved members of Colombia’s military killing nearly 4,000 civilians and dressing them up as enemy combatants in order to boost numbers of deceased militants, prompted the once invulnerable military to be stripped of its internal judicial system in 2008 because the armed forces dragged its feet prosecuting those responsible.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/un-urges-colombia-not-to-further-amplify-military-justice/

7 arrested in western Colombia over human slaughterhouse

7 arrested in western Colombia over human slaughterhouse
Sep 30, 2014 posted by Emil Foget

Seven people have been arrested for allegedly dismembering a 26-year old woman in the violent Colombian port city of Buenaventura, authorities said Tuesday. Three of the suspects are minors.
The incident took place before April 23 when authorities found the victim’s dismembered body in plastic bags.

Three of the four adults are already incarcerated. The minors are under 16. All seven are allegedly members of neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños”, according to La Vanguardia newspaper.

Buenaventura has become a battleground for warring drug interests hoping to control the port’s strategic access to the burgeoning southeast Asian market and smuggling routes through Central America.
The fighting, carried out between sub-groups of national neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños” and drug trafficking organization “Los Rastrojos” has been marked by extreme violence.

Slaughterhouses or “chop-houses” as they are known have almost become a normality in the port, with 15 dismembered bodies being reported this year alone. Chop-houses are used by the warring gangs to dismember their victims, in a display of violence similar to the beheadings carried out by drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.

More:
http://colombiareports.co/7-arrested-western-colombia-human-slaughterhouse/

Colombian pastor spends 9 months in US jail after wrongful extradition

Source: Colombia Reports

Colombian pastor spends 9 months in US jail after wrongful extradition
Sep 30, 2014 posted by Matthew Sterne

Colombian pastor has returned to his home country after 9 months in a US jail following his wrongful extradition to the USA, reported Radio Santa Fe on Tuesday.

The victim was Joel Chaustre, a native evangelical pastor from the city of Cucuta, who was arrested on September 11, 2013 and delivered to the American authorities.

The US Justice Department accused the preacher of setting up a powerful drug trafficking organization, and requested his extradition to stand trial for money laundering, a crime that has a sentence of 15 years in prison in the United States.
After 9 months of being held in a federal prison, U.S. authorities found no evidence to incriminate the pastor.

Chaustre had two options. If he chose to plead not guilty to the charges he would be forced to spend longer in prison while his case was resolved. Instead he plead guilty which would exonerate his time spent in prison.


Read more: http://colombiareports.co/colombia-pastor-mistakenly-extradited-usa-spends-9-months-jail/

Global wildlife populations down by half since 1970 - WWF

Global wildlife populations down by half since 1970 - WWF
Source: Reuters - Mon, 29 Sep 2014 22:01 GMT

By Tom Miles

GENEVA, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The world populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles fell overall by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010, far faster than previously thought, the World Wildlife Fund said on Tuesday.

The conservation group's Living Planet Report, published every two years, said humankind's demands were now 50 percent more than nature can bear, with trees being felled, groundwater pumped and carbon dioxide emitted faster than Earth can recover.

"This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live," Ken Norris, Director of Science at the Zoological Society of London, said in a statement.

However, there was still hope if politicians and businesses took the right action to protect nature, the report said.

"It is essential that we seize the opportunity - while we still can - to develop sustainably and create a future where people can live and prosper in harmony with nature," said WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini.

Preserving nature was not just about protecting wild places but also about safeguarding the future of humanity, "indeed, our very survival," he said.

More:
http://www.trust.org/item/20140929220124-2c2id/

US Coast Guard sued over killing drug trafficking suspect

Source: Colombia Reports

US Coast Guard sued over killing drug trafficking suspect
Sep 29, 2014 posted by Emil Foget

The family of a Colombian man who was killed in an anti-narcotics operation in the Caribbean has filed a $5 million claim against the US Coast Guard, responsible for man’s death.

The fatal incident took place at night in August, 2012 off the Nicaraguan eastern coastline, a common route used by drug traffickers.

According to media reports, the victim was killed when the boat he was traveling on was shot at by an overflying US Coast Guards helicopter that suspected the vessel of trafficking narcotics northward.

The boat allegedly failed to comply with an order to stop by the Coast Guard helicopter patrolling the Caribbean.

“The vessel operator failed to comply with a lawful order to heave-to on August 22, 2012. As a result, a Coast Guard helicopter employed warning shots and disabling fire to stop the vessel. The Coast Guard boarding team arrived on scene to discover one of the vessel’s crew members deceased. The matter is under internal agency review, and the Coast Guard has a general policy of not commenting on the merits of individual claims,” said the Coast Guard in a formal response.

Read more: http://colombiareports.co/colombia-family-sues-us-coast-guard-death-son/

Top-secret plan to invade Cuba declassified

Top-secret plan to invade Cuba declassified
By WILLIAM E. BURROWS -
WEBurrows@aol.com

09/27/2014 3:00 PM
| Updated: 09/27/2014 7:00 PM



Captured Cuban exiles are lined up by Castro’s soldiers at the Bay of Pigs.GETTY IMAGES

The most popular analogy used to describe Fidel Castro’s turning Cuba into communism’s only bastion in the Western Hemisphere in 1959 was “cancer.” And the fear, to carry the analogy further, was that it would metastasize elsewhere in Latin America.

The CIA, therefore, decided that invasive surgery was needed and launched the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961. Lacking air cover, all 1,400 anti-Castro paramilitaries were killed or captured as they waded ashore. That was taken to mean that the Castro regime posed a potential military as well as a political threat to the area. It was decided that the best way to excise the malignancy was to cut it out.

A recently declassified top-secret memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, dated March 13, 1962 and titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba,” suggested an invasion. The document made the reason for the invasion explicit: “U.S. military intervention will result from a period of heightened U.S.-Cuban tensions which place the United States in the position of suffering justifiable grievances.

“World opinion, and the United Nations forum, should be favorably affected by developing the international image of the Cuban government as rash and irresponsible, and as an alarming and unpredictable threat to the peace of the Western Hemisphere.”

The memorandum goes on to list possible staged provocations (as Cold War jargon had it) that would justify attacking and conquering Cuba: “A series of well-coordinated incidents will be planned to take place in and around Guantánamo to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article2263338.html#storylink=cpy

Until the Rulers Obey: Learning from Latin America’s Social Movements

Until the Rulers Obey: Learning from Latin America’s Social Movements
Written by Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:18

An excerpt from the introduction to Until the Rulers Obey: Voices of from Latin American Social Movements, edited by Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein (Oakland: PM Press, 2014)


wave of change rolled through Latin America at the turn of the twenty-first century, sweeping away neoliberal two-party governments, bringing calls to re-found the states based on broad participation and democratically drafted constitutions. The power and motion of this wave, often referred to as the “Pink Tide,” came from the social movements that had been gathering force for over a decade—rebuilding in spaces opened by the fall of US-backed military dictatorships, rethinking in the spaces opened by the crumbling of the Soviet socialist models.

These movements galvanized long-silent—or silenced—sectors of society: indigenous people, campesinos, students, the LGBT community, the unemployed and all those left out of the promised utopia of a globalized economy. They have deployed a wide array of strategies and actions to some common ends. They march against mines and agribusiness; they occupy physical spaces, rural and urban, and social space won through recognition of language, culture, and equal participation; they mobilize villages, towns, cities and even nations for community and environmental survival. They are sloughing off the skin of the twentieth-century bipolar world, synthesizing old ways of working and finding new paths into an uncertain future.

Same story, different century

The Conquest of the Americas continues as an ongoing process of “primitive accumulation,” that is, through brutal dispossession, only changed in detail. The looting, once only of gold and silver picked or shoveled from mines by slaves to satisfy the greed of Conquistadores, has increased exponentially in recent decades to feed transnational Capital. This behemoth has left behind the sword to devastate the region with an arsenal of new tools for plunder: strip-mining “megaprojects” with giant machines that dig for lithium, copper and gold, laying waste to landscapes; countless drills for oil, poisoning rivers; dams for hydroelectric power that flood indigenous lands; battalions of tractors sowing industrial soy for cattle and biofuel, or cane for sugar and biofuel, or eucalyptus for paper mills, or other monocultures that raze entire ecosystems and steal peoples’ ways of life….

The United States, of course, has played a major role in the modernization of the instruments of domination for plunder, only in recent years so “humanely” refined. During the more savage era of the Cold War, Washington fomented coups to dislodge nationalist and socialist governments across the continent—Arbenz in Guatemala, 1954; Goulart in Brazil, 1964; Allende in Chile, 1973—installing military dictatorships in their place. By the mid-1970s, most of Central and South America was under the rule of dictatorships armed, trained, directed and financed by the United States. Hundreds of thousands were tortured, murdered and disappeared, in some cases decapitating an entire generation of artists, writers, intellectuals and activists.[1]

More:
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/international-archives-60/5060-until-the-rulers-obey-learning-from-latin-americas-social-movements


Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

Weekend Edition September 26-28, 2014
Edward E. Baptist’s "The Half Has Never Been Told"

Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

by CHARLES R. LARSON


During the 1930s, the WPA sent out workers to interview men and women who had been slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation. It was 72 years after slavery had been abolished and the interviewees were old but their memories were still vivid. When probed by an interviewee, Lorenzo Ivy responded, “Truly, son, the half has never been told.” After the Civil War, black life during slavery was sanitized, deodorized and, above all, reported by Caucasians—not by the people who had toiled under the murderous system. To a certain extent, that one-sided view has persisted. Historians of the South—largely while men—continued the subterfuge. And even recent attempts to set the record straight have followed in the steps of their predecessors: a chapter on families, one on women, etc., looking at groups instead of individuals.

Hence, the need for Edward E. Baptist’s monumental examination of slavery, presented in an entirely new way, extensively through the voices of the slaves themselves. Baptist has not simply read the WPA interviews but, apparently, every other account of what happened, particularly the many slave narratives published before and after the end of slavery. And, then—what is most original here—he has organized his own account by using parts of the body; for slavery was, above all, an affront to the basic dignity of the corporal body. These are the chapter titles: “Feet,” “Heads,” “Right Hand,” “Left Hand,” “Tongues,” “Breath,” “Seed,” “Blood,” “Backs,” and “Arms”—largely parts of the body. The Introduction (“The Heart”) and the Afterword (“The Corpse”) complete the picture.

The first chapter (“Feet”) begins,

“Not long after they heard the first clink of iron, the boys and girls in the cornfield would have been able to smell the grownups’ bodies, perhaps even before they saw the double line coming around the bend. Hurrying in locked step, the thirty-old men came down the dirt road like a giant machine. Each hauled twenty pounds of iron, chains that draped from neck to neck and wrist-to-wrist, binding them all together. Ragged strips flapped stiffly from their clothes like dead-air pennants. On the men’s heads, hair stood out in growing dreads or lay in dust-caked mats. As they moved, some looked down like catatonics. Others stared at something a thousand yards ahead. And now, behind the clanking men, followed a marching crowd of women loosely roped, the same vacancy in their expressions, endurance standing out in the rigid strings of muscle that had replaced their calves in the weeks since they left Maryland. Behind them all swayed a white man on a gray walking horse.”

The men (often with a thousand pounds of iron connecting them) were part of a coffle, enslaved migrants walking seven or eight hundred miles, chattel property, being moved from the north to the south because the profits when they were sold to their new owners were one hundred percent. The slave trade in Africa no longer mattered because slaves in the more northern states (Virginia, especially, but also Maryland) were reproducing so quickly that they created an entire new source of labor. Baptist gives the year as 1805, and states that eventually a million slaves were herded this way to the South. Tobacco farming in the North was less profitable than cotton farming in the South. “The coffle chained the early American republic together.” Slaves walked and walked for five or six weeks, performing their ablutions as they moved. There wasn’t an iota of dignity for the men. Baptist refers to the entire procedure as a “pattern of political compromise” between the North and the South and notes that eight of the first twelve Presidents of the United States were slave owners.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/26/slavery-and-the-making-of-american-capitalism/

Uruguay's Legalization of Marijuana Makes Sense in a Senseless Drug War

Uruguay's Legalization of Marijuana Makes Sense in a Senseless Drug War
Sunday, 28 September 2014 12:43
By Benjamin Dangl, teleSUR | News Analysis

Conflicts over turf, profit and power in Latin America's drug war have claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, from Tijuana to Montevideo. While Washington wants to keep throwing bullets and prisons at a problem that requires broad-based social, political and economic solutions, various political leaders and grassroots movements in Latin America have argued for the legalization of drugs as one way to stem the drug war's spiraling violence.

In December of last year, Uruguay became the first country in the world to enable its government to fully legalize and regulate the cultivation, sale, distribution and use of marijuana. This small country's challenge to the orthodox approaches to the drug war may provide some steps out of the labyrinth of one of the region's bloodiest conflicts in recent memory.

"In no part of the world has repression of drug consumption brought results. It's time to try something different," explained Uruguayan president Jose Mujica in a 2013 speech at the UN General Assembly.

Unlike the legalization efforts in the US, the new marijuana regulation push in Uruguay came about not from a wave of public demand, but through internal discussions within the Frente Amplio, the political party of the progressive Mujica. Party leaders wanted to take advantage of their majority in both houses of Congress to pass the legislation. The goal was to develop a policy that would weaken drug cartels by taking away a key profit source, and regulate, rather than criminalize marijuana trade and use in the country.

More:
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26478-uruguay-s-legalization-of-marijuana-makes-sense-in-a-senseless-drug-war

Judge lifts bar on debt service payment in Argentina case

Source: Agence France-Presse

Judge lifts bar on debt service payment in Argentina case
AFP
September 27, 2014, 7:41 am

New York (AFP) - A US judge gave Argentina a minor victory in its fight against hedge fund bondholders when he lifted a block on Citigroup processing a small debt service payment for the country before a September 30 deadline.

New York federal court judge Thomas Griesa lifted his block on the $5 million payment to holders of a small class of the country's debt, US dollar bonds issued under Argentina's laws, avoiding the country being called into default for the second time in two months.

Citigroup had argued that it was caught between two countries' laws -- Griesa's threat of contempt of court if it violates his ban on payments, and Buenos Aires' threat to prosecute the bank on criminal charges for not following through with its mandate to process the payment.

Griesa allowed the one-off payment by Citigroup, but otherwise maintained his ban on any payments to holders of the country's restructured bonds unless it pays the hedge funds for the $1.3 billion in unrestructured bonds that they hold.

Read more: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/world/a/25124035/
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