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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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More than 20 Colombia military members investigated for espionage: Report

More than 20 Colombia military members investigated for espionage: Report
Sep 19, 2014 posted by Nicolas Bedoya

Colombia’s top military intelligence chief along with 21 of his subordinates are being investigated by the Prosecutor General’s Office for illegally spying on ongoing peace talks with rebel group FARC, according to Noticias Uno.

General Mauricio Forero is among 40 military and civilian intelligence officials that will have to present themselves to the Prosecutor General’s office and explain their role in the controversial “Andromedia” program and their relationship with Andres Sepulveda.

MORE: Colombia’s Military Discredited Further, Now Accused of Embezzlement

Sepulveda worked for the election campaign of former President Alvaro Uribe’s Democratic Center party earlier this year and is allegedly responsible for receiving and disseminating classified information.

Of the 22 military officials being investigated, Forero is the only one that has spoken out. The other 21 officials have pledged to remain silent and are being defended by the military’s judicial corp while accused of illegally spying on ongoing peace talks.


Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair

Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair

Ready to be poisoned: Seven decades after Margot Wölk was forced into life at Hitler’s bunker,
she has told her full story

Tony Paterson
Wednesday 17 September 2014

Every meal could have been her last. And when she had finished eating the bland vegetarian dishes put before her, 25-year-old Margot Wölk and her young female colleagues would burst into tears and “cry like dogs” because they were grateful still to be alive.

Margot Wölk was no Nazi, but she was one of 15 young women who were employed at Adolf Hitler’s heavily guarded Prussian “Wolf’s Lair” headquarters during the Second World War. Her job was to taste the Nazi leader’s food before it reached his lips, to make sure it wasn’t poisoned.

She was the only one to survive. All her colleagues were rounded up and shot by the advancing Red Army in January 1945. Now a frail 96-year-old widow, Margot Wölk has overcome feelings of shame and broken decades of silence about her time as Hitler’s food taster to tell her story to German television.

“The food was always vegetarian,” she told Berlin’s RBB television channel, for a programme about her harrowing and sometimes horrific experiences, which was aired on Tuesday. “There were constant rumours that the British were out to poison Hitler. He never ate meat. We were given rice, noodles, peppers, peas and cauliflower,” she recalled.


Brazil's environmentalist presidential candidate is now courting big agriculture

Brazil's environmentalist presidential candidate is now courting big agriculture

Longtime green activist Marina Silva has even come out in favor of genetically modified crops, sending a message that conservation and agribusiness can thrive together.

Reese Ewing, Reuters September 13, 2014 10:03

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva, an icon of the green movement, is cozying up to old adversaries in the sugar and ethanol industry as she seeks to win over the powerful farm lobby ahead of next month's election.

Since entering the race in mid-August, Silva has picked a pro-agriculture congressman as her running mate, met repeatedly with agribusiness leaders and campaigned in the farm belt, eager to make allies in an industry that accounts for a quarter of Brazil's economy.

Her message: conservation and big agriculture would thrive side-by-side in a Silva government and she would roll back the gasoline subsidies that President Dilma Rousseff has used to contain inflation. The fuel price controls have gutted Brazil's once-booming sugar cane ethanol industry.

Silva, who polls show is slightly ahead of Rousseff in an expected runoff, has also pleased crowds in the farm belt by reminding voters that she has dropped her opposition to genetically modified crops, which have been crucial to Brazil's rise in recent years as an agricultural power.

"There's this legend out there that I'm against genetically modified crops. That's not true. I support a model in which GMO and GMO-free crops co-exist," she said in a recent TV interview.


AP PHOTOS: Survivor of Peru massacre guides team

AP PHOTOS: Survivor of Peru massacre guides team
By RODRIGO ABD and FRANKLIN BRICENO, Associated Press | September 17, 2014 | Updated: September 17, 2014 11:16pm

PACCHA, Peru (AP) — This remote hamlet on fertile Andean slopes beside the Apurimac river has been a ghost town for three decades, inhabited only by the buried bodies of villagers slain by security forces who considered them rebel sympathizers.

Earlier this month, forensic investigators began unearthing the remains of the nearly two dozen victims of the July 14, 1984, massacre in this region where government forces regularly hunted alleged collaborators of the Shining Path guerrillas.

Dolores Guzman, the sole survivor, set aside the street stand where she sells hard-boiled eggs in the capital of Lima and journeyed last week to Paccha to help forensic experts find the common graves.

Arriving was not easy. This rugged southeastern region known as "Oreja de Perro," or Dog's Ear, lacks telephones and good roads. Cocaine-trafficking remnants of the otherwise conquered Shining Path movement coexist here with young Quechua men who ferry coca paste over the Andes in backpacks.

In all, 21 sets of human remains were recovered, including those of eight children and a fetus, said Luis Rueda, the forensic archaeologist overseeing the dig. Some 70,000 people were killed in the 1980-2000 internal conflict, most of them civilians, a truth commission found.


Colombia army admits recruitment ‘raids’ are illegal

Colombia army admits recruitment ‘raids’ are illegal
Sep 18, 2014 posted by Matthew Sterne

Colombia’s army has acknowledged that forcing youths into trucks on the pretext of checking their military status is against the law, newspaper El Espectador reported on Thursday.

In late August, after allegations made ​​in the media about arbitrary raids for recruitment purposes by the Army, better known as “batidas”, the then Head of Army Recruiting General Felix Ivan Muñoz was relieved of his duties. Colonel Mauricio Martinez was confirmed as the replacement and now has the role of promoting “the improvement of processes for defining the military situation of Colombian men.”

This is a recurring issue. The Colombian military has in the past been accused of forced and irregular recruitment of young people and citizens exempt from military service.

These “illegal raids” are carried out in cities where army trucks illegally and forcibly pick up young men on the pretext of checking their military status.


(My emphasis.)

Afro-Colombian activist says minority is victim of ‘state racism’

Afro-Colombian activist says minority is victim of ‘state racism’
Sep 18, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin

The director of a Colombian anti-racism organization has accused three government ministers of “state racism” following their failure to attend a meeting on the development of the predominantly black Pacific region of Choco.

Ray Charrupi, who heads up the Cali-based organization Chao Racismo, told Colombia Reports that the three ministers are not familiar with, nor are they interested in becoming familiar with the undeveloped Pacific region inhabited mostly by Afro-Colombians.

The meeting, initiated by Colombia’s Ombudsman Jorge Armando Otalora, took place in region’s capital city of Quibdo with the purpose of discussing the lack of infrastructure and violence experienced by the populace. The ministers of Interior, of Mining, and of Health were all supposed to attend, but all three failed to show up, according the website of the Ombudsman’s office.

“(The ministers) believe the Pacific region and its inhabitants are third-class Colombians who do not deserve attention, even when the Ombudsman directly summoned them,” Charrupi said.

Systematically abandoning Afro-Colombians and indigenous lands and territories amounts, according to Charrupi, to what he has termed “state racism.”

Charrupi claims that his organization has coined and uses the term “state racism” to replace the more commonly used “structural racism.”


University Enrollment Rises 294 percent in Venezuela

University Enrollment Rises 294 percent in Venezuela
Published 16 September 2014

Venezuela ranks fifth in the world in the number of university students.

This Monday 2,630,000 Venezuelan students resumed their studies in public or private universities. The total number of students at the highest level shows a striking 294 percent rise in the last 14 years, from 894,418 students in the year 2000.

Venezuela now ranks fifth in the world in the number of students studying at the university level, thanks to the educational expansion and democratization achieved in the process known as the Bolivarian Revolution, say educational authorities.

They explain that this growth represents a matriculation rate of 83 percent. In other words, out of the total number of spaces available, the number of university students currently enrolled account for 83 percent, almost double the 43 percent rate in the past. The goal for 2019 is a 100 percent matriculation rate, with three million students actively engaged in university studies.

Venezuela’s Vice President of Planning and Knowledge, Ricardo Menéndez, told students at the National Experimental University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA), in the city of Chuao, state of Miranda, that prior to 1999, only military officers attended their school, but since then its doors are open to young people throughout the country.


Argentina approves law for controlling prices

Sep 18, 6:45 PM EDT
Argentina approves law for controlling prices

Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Argentina's congress on Thursday approved a law that lets the government intervene in setting prices and profits in an attempt to tackle one of the hemisphere's worst inflation rates.

Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said the measure, approved earlier by the Senate, would defend consumers against "the innumerable abuses we suffer every day on the part of concentrated groups with monopoly power."

But local business leaders said the law is likely to aggravate shortages and inflation by discouraging people from selling price-controlled goods or making investments.

The law gives the state power to set maximum and minimum prices as well as control profit margins. Companies that set prices considered "artificial or unjustified" can be fined. However, the government bowed to earlier complaints by exempting most small and medium companies.


Venezuelan protesters discuss explosives in video

Sep 16, 10:22 PM EDT

Venezuelan protesters discuss explosives in video

Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Two Venezuelan activists recently deported by Colombia have surfaced in a video that purportedly shows them discussing plans to stockpile weapons and launch attacks on government targets in apparent attempt to destabilize President Nicolas Maduro's rule.

The video, which aired Monday night on a TV program known for battering the government's foes, apparently contains excerpts from a Skype video conference Lorent Saleh and Gabriel Valles had with an unidentified third person, whose voice is distorted.

It's not clear when the recording took place or how it was obtained. Its veracity could not be independently confirmed.

But in it the two students, apparently speaking from inside Colombia, freely boast of all sorts of covert plans. Operating under a diplomatic "facade" provided by a human rights group, Saleh remarks on plans for weapons training in Colombia's capital and how he obtained two bricks of C4 explosives to "blow up" liquor stores, bars and eventually storm the offices of the National Electoral Council in the western state of Tachira, a hotbed of anti-government unrest earlier this year.

"We're missing the ammunition and rifles but we're going to arrange this with the people from Bogota," Saleh says at one point.


The Discovery Of Mexico's First Coca Plantation Could Upend The Cocaine Business

The Discovery Of Mexico's First Coca Plantation Could Upend The Cocaine Business


Keegan Hamilton, VICE News
Sep. 17, 2014, 7:03 AM

The Discovery Of Mexico's First Coca Plantation Could Upend The Cocaine Business

Last week marked a troubling first in the long and sordid history of the Mexican drug world. There was no bloodshed, corruption, torture, or any of the grisly hallmarks of the country's ongoing narco war. There was only a plant, or rather many plants — a field of small shrubs with green oval-shaped leaves and bright red berries. For the first time ever in Mexico, the authorities discovered a coca plantation.

Until now, coca — the raw plant material used to manufacture cocaine — has been grown almost exclusively in the Andes. But there is virtually nothing to stop Mexican drug cartels from cultivating the plant domestically, and experts say it's actually surprising that it has taken this long for the crop to migrate north from South America. Now that the shift has seemingly begun, the consequences could be profound.

The coca crop in Mexico was located in Chiapas state in the southwest corner of the country, not far from the border with Guatemala. According to the Mexican newspaper Reforma, 1,639 plants were found on approximately 1,250 square meters of land (about one-third of an acre) near the tiny municipality of Tuxtla Chico.
The crops were destroyed by the Mexican military and border police, and three suspects were detained at a nearby residence where unprocessed coca leaves were also found.

Read more: https://news.vice.com/article/the-discovery-of-mexicos-first-coca-plantation-could-upend-the-cocaine-business#ixzz3DdBStxCu
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