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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 146,706

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Journalist investigating child prostitution attacked in Colombia

Source: Reporters Without Borders

Journalist investigating child prostitution attacked in Colombia
Published on Friday 14 November 2014.

The journalist Oscar Castaño Valencia was assaulted and threatened by armed men four days ago as he was investigating the involvement of criminal gangs in child prostitution in Antioquia department in North-West Colombia.

For the past three months Castaño, director of the program “Oriéntese” on the TV station Cosmovisión, has been carrying out an investigation into child prostitution activities by the criminal groups known as “combos” in the town of Bello in Antioquia. He was on his way to meet a source when he was attacked by three armed and masked men. He was tied up, threatened and beaten, then forced to sign a "confession" that he had gone there with the intention of raping an under-age girl. The attackers made a recording of the forced confession then let him go, telling him his life was at stake.

After the attack, Castaño lodged a complaint with the state prosecutor’s office in Medellín, the capital of Antioquia department, and asked the government for protection. The journalist had previously been threatened when he was head of the trade union of the Colombian National University and was forced into exile for nine years in 1987.

~snip~
The Office of the Defender of the Colombian People, a national body created to promote human rights, says it has recorded twice as many reports of threats against journalists this year compared with 2013. Colombia remains the second deadliest country for journalists in Latin America.

Read more: http://en.rsf.org/colombia-journalist-investigating-child-14-11-2014,47231.html

Pablo Escobar's most feared assassin says British businessman imprisoned for 1986 Miami double murde

Pablo Escobar's most feared assassin says British businessman imprisoned for 1986 Miami double murder was FRAMED and it was actually the work of the Medellin cartel
  • Businessman Kris Maharaj was convicted of Miami double murder in 1986
  • But former Pablo Escobar hitman says he has been wrongly imprisoned
  • Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez has spoken out from a secret location
  • He claims the killings were carried out by Medellin cartel assassins
  • Maharaj has spent almost three decades in Florida prison for the crime
  • His lawyers are currently fighting to try and overturn his conviction
By Corey Charlton for MailOnline
Published: 04:28 EST, 14 November 2014 | Updated: 04:46 EST, 14 November 2014

A British businessman serving a sentence for two murders has been framed and the killings were carried out by executioners working for Pablo Escobar's notorious Medellin cartel, it has been claimed.

Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez - Escobar's chief assassin responsible for the killing of 300 people - has sensationally stated 75-year-old Kris Maharaj has been wrongly imprisoned just as lawyers battle to overturn his conviction.

Maharaj was working in Miami, Florida, as a property investor in 1986 when he was convicted for the murder of father and son Derrick and Duane Moo Young at a downtown Miami hotel.

His legal team has been battling to have the conviction overturned in recent years with new evidence alleging the murders were carried out by hitmen working for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2834341/Pablo-Escobar-s-feared-assassin-says-British-businessman-imprisoned-1986-Miami-double-murder-FRAMED-actually-work-Medellin-cartel.html#ixzz3J2QcVphc

Do Western Leftists Hate Socialist Countries?

Weekend Edition November 14-16, 2014
The Anti-Socialist Western Left

Do Western Leftists Hate Socialist Countries?

by ANDRE VLTCHEK


The multitudes in Europe and North America did not really pay attention, did not notice, but in so many parts of the world, the Left was elected or it fought and won revolutions that propelled it to power. This is a totally different world than it was some twenty years ago; we are living in increasingly optimistic times, full of wonderful alternatives.

For the first time in centuries it seems possible to dream about a world that will not be defined by Western imperialism and colonialism!

In so many places, people are once again in charge of their countries, standing tall, building their cities and villages, erecting towers and bridges, putting to work mighty turbines, giving light to the poor, healing the sick and educating those who were kept in darkness, for decades and centuries, as a result of Western colonialism and savage capitalism.

Entire modern and ecological neighborhoods are growing up all over China; entire cities are being built, with enormous parks and public exercise grounds, with childcare centers and all the modern sanitation facilities, as well as wide sidewalks and incredibly cheap and super modern public transportation.

In Latin America, former slums are being converted into cultural centers, connected to the rest of the other urban areas by super modern cable cars.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/14/do-western-leftists-hate-socialist-countries/

Mexico: Missing students’ families start nationwide bus protest

Mexico: Missing students’ families start nationwide bus protest
14/11 01:58 CET

Relatives of 43 missing Mexican students have marched in the town of Tixtla in southern Guerrero state, refusing to accept the government’s claim that their loved ones are probably dead.

Authorities say suspected gang members admitted killing and incinerating the trainee teachers, claiming they had been handed over by corrupt police.

But Teresa Mateco, a mother of one of the missing students, is not convinced.

“We want proof,” she said, her voice full of emotion, as she marched alongside others carrying photographs of the missing students.

“While there is no proof, our children are alive. We know they are alive. …but we want to know where they are and the government knows that.”

Amid mass marches and rising anger, relatives and classmates of the students have begun a nationwide bus tour to keep pressure on the government which says remains found are so badly burned that it is impossible to say when and if they will be identified.

More:
http://www.euronews.com/2014/11/14/mexico-missing-students-families-start-nationwide-bus-protest/

For US American DU'ers who didn't see this info. when it came out originally:

Chavez foe to face corruption charges in Venezuela
Feb. 17, 2013 6:57 AM EST

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Prosecutors plan to bring corruption charges against a prominent opponent of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, claiming he misspent public funds by using them to launch an organization that has become one of the country's most popular political parties.

Opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez allegedly accepted donations from Venezuela's state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, in 1998, prosecutors said in a statement Saturday. Lopez was summoned to appear before prosecutors next month.

The donations were purportedly authorized by the politician's mother, Antonietta Mendoza de Lopez, when she was working for the state-run company known as PDVSA, its Spanish acronym. Lopez allegedly guided the donations to a close associate to form First Justice, an organization that later become one of the South American country's most popular political parties.


Lopez, a former Caracas district mayor, has denied any wrongdoing. In a message posted on the Twitter social networking site, Lopez said the accusations are politically motivated.

More:
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/chavez-foe-face-corruption-charges-venezuela

Unexploded Mines on the Chilean Border

Unexploded Mines on the Chilean Border

November 12 2014 18:34

Mines which were planted by the government of Pinochet in 1980, and have still not been removed, have unexpectedly blown up 177 times over the years. This has taken the lives of 29 people, with a Peruvian citizen dying in 2012 and a Columbian recently losing his right leg.

CHILEAN BORDER — In 1980 mines were planted along Chile’s border. This was done under the orders of Pinochet amidst disputes with Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. The dictatorship installed around 180,000 explosive devices along the Chilean border.

To date, these landmines have taken the lives of 29 people, and affected around 177 people. Last year a Peruvian citizen who tried to jump over the border lost his life, and this year a Colombian lost his right leg in a similar incident.

In February earlier this year Chilean Army nurse Abelino Paicil, along with his supervisor Major Alejandro Perez, was scrutinizing the situation as soldiers worked to remove the landmines. An officer had to monitor the wind levels because if they exceeded the speed of 70 km/hr it was not safe to continue the work.

In 2001 the Chilean government promised to remove the mines by 2012 but now they have extended the deadline to 2020. Perez also commented that there are still around 100,000 mines lying undiscovered along the Chilean border.

More:
http://www.ilovechile.cl/2014/11/12/unexploded-mines-chilean-border/123879

NY Times opinion: Colombia’s Compromise With Murder (Jose Miguel Vivanco, Max Schoening)

Colombia’s Compromise With Murder
By JOSÉ MIGUEL VIVANCO and MAX SCHOENING
NOV. 12, 2014

BUENAVENTURA, Colombia — On Aug. 23, 2008, Víctor Gómez left his home outside of Bogotá, telling his family he had been offered work in another region of Colombia. The 23-year-old man had been struggling to provide for his young daughter as a part-time doorman. Two days later Mr. Gómez was dead, with a bullet between his eyes, in a faraway morgue, where the army had reported him an enemy combatant killed in action.

Mr. Gómez was just one of possibly thousands of civilians executed by Colombian military personnel between 2002 and 2008. Civilian prosecutors are investigating more than 3,000 cases, many involving young men lured by fake job offers to distant towns, where the army murdered them. Soldiers and officers, under pressure from superiors to show “positive” results and boost body counts in the conflict against guerrilla groups, would report the victims as insurgents or criminals killed in combat. Targets included the homeless, farmers, children and people with mental disabilities. In Colombia, the cases are known as “false positives.”

Now, the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos is close to securing passage of legislation that threatens to deny justice for these victims by transferring the cases of military personnel accused of the killings from the civilian to the military justice system. The bills, including one that could be approved as early as next week, appear aimed to appease the military leadership, which has been reluctant to support President Santos’s current peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

There has been some important progress in prosecuting low-ranking soldiers for “false positives.” But most cases remain unresolved and just a handful of senior officers have been convicted. This is a major concern for the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, who is closely monitoring investigations in Colombia. Her office has described the killings as apparently “systematic” and driven by a policy adopted at least within certain army brigades.

Civilian prosecutors’ investigations may be slow, but they at least allow for the possibility of resolving the thousands of unsolved cases and bringing to justice the top officials most responsible for “false positives.” Colombia’s military justice system has consistently failed to investigate alleged rights abuses by soldiers. So by expanding the jurisdiction of military courts over human rights crimes such as these, the Santos administration’s proposed legislation would all but eliminate the possibility that many of the killers and high-ranking officers behind the murders will be brought to justice.

More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/opinion/colombias-compromise-with-murder.html?_r=0

U.S. court refuses to hold Occidental liable in Colombia bombing

Source: Reuters

U.S. court refuses to hold Occidental liable in Colombia bombing
Source: Reuters - Wed, 12 Nov 2014 18:05 GMT

By Jonathan Stempel

Nov 12 (Reuters) - A divided federal appeals court on Wednesday refused to hold Occidental Petroleum Corp and a security contractor legally responsible for alleged complicity in a 1998 military bombing of a Colombian village that killed 17 people, including six children.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California said victims' families could not pursue claims against Occidental and Florida-based AirScan Inc under two U.S. human rights laws, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and Torture Victims Protection Act.

Writing for a 2-1 majority, Circuit Judge Jay Bybee cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Co, in finding that the ATS did not apply because the underlying conduct occurred "exclusively" in Colombia. He also said the torture victim law does not apply to corporate defendants.

In addition, Bybee said "international comity" justified dismissal, citing a 2004 State Department memo that said letting Colombian courts handle the matter advanced U.S. foreign policy. "The crimes plaintiffs allege are abominable, but the facts of this case nonetheless favor applying adjudicatory comity," Bybee wrote.

Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta joined Bybee's 65-page decision, which upheld a 2010 lower court ruling. Both judges were appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush.


Read more: http://www.trust.org/item/20141112180425-tq2sk/

Could Student Massacre Be 'Watershed Moment' for Mexico?

Published on Wednesday, November 12, 2014
by Common Dreams

Could Student Massacre Be 'Watershed Moment' for Mexico?

In southern state of Guerrero, where student-teachers disappeared, demonstrators set fire to governing party headquarters amid ongoing protests

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Protesters furious at the alleged massacre of 43 Mexican student-teachers, and the government corruption the incident represents, marched in the southern state of Guerrero and set fire to the ruling party's regional headquarters on Tuesday.

The demonstration in Guerrero's capital city of Chilpancingo followed another sizable rally in front of Acapulco's international airport on Monday evening, that one led by parents of the students who gang suspects—in league with corrupt police and government officials—confessed to murdering last week. The students, who had been missing since September 26, were allegedly executed and incinerated by members of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang; their remains have been sent to Austria for possible DNA identification.

According to Deutsche Welle, "About 200 riot police wearing helmets and bearing shields chased more than 1,000 protesters as black smoke billowed from the two-story headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the Guerrero state capital, Chilpancingo. Tuesday's protests and the police response have left at least three people injured so far, including two journalists."

The alleged killing of the students has ignited massive protests across the country. Some have accused the government of mishandling the case and trying to shut down further investigation. Many are critical of President Enrique Pena Nieto's decision to travel to China for the APEC summit amidst such turmoil. And the entire episode has exposed one of the country's terrible realities: since 2006, 70,000 Mexicans have been killed and some 27,000 "disappeared" as a result of the ongoing narco war.

More:
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/11/12/could-student-massacre-be-watershed-moment-mexico

In Guatemala, Indigenous Communities Prevail Against Monsanto

In Guatemala, Indigenous Communities Prevail Against Monsanto
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 00:00
By Jeff Abbott, Waging Nonviolence | Report

Late in the afternoon of September 4, after nearly 10 days of protests by a coalition of labor, indigenous rights groups and farmers, the indigenous peoples and campesinos of Guatemala won a rare victory. Under the pressure of massive mobilizations, the Guatemala legislature repealed Decree 19-2014, commonly referred to as the “Monsanto Law,” which would have given the transnational chemical and seed producer a foot hold into the country’s seed market.

“The law would have affected all indigenous people of Guatemala,” said Edgar René Cojtín Acetún of the indigenous municipality of the department of Sololá. “The law would have privatized the seed to benefit only the multinational corporations. If we didn’t do anything now, then our children and grandchildren would suffer the consequences.”

Originally passed on June 26, the Monsanto Law was written to protect the intellectual property rights of multinational companies in their investments within Guatemala. The law also allowed Monsanto an entrance into the Guatemalan seed market and set in place stiff penalties for any farmer that was caught selling seed to another farmer without the proper permits. The response was a massive mobilization of a coalition of labor, indigenous groups and campesinos.

For 10 days, the streets in front of the legislature of the capital Guatemala City were clogged with thousands of protesters demanding the repeal of the law. Demonstrators also gathered in the rural departments of Guatemala to protest the law and the congressmen who had voted in favor of the law.

More:
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27395-in-guatemala-indigenous-communities-prevail-against-monsanto
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