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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,892

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Polls open in Uruguay, focus on Mujica heir

Polls open in Uruguay, focus on Mujica heir
October 27, 2014

Montevideo: Polls opened in Uruguay on Sunday to elect a successor to folksy iconoclast President Jose Mujica, whose leftist coalition is fighting off youthful challengers from the country’s more conservative traditional parties.

Polling began at 8:00am with Mujica looking to hand power back to his predecessor, cancer doctor Tabare Vazquez of the Broad Front, who needs 50 per cent plus one vote to avoid a runoff with Luis Lacalle Pou of the National Party or Pedro Bordaberry, the son of a former dictator who is running on the Colorado ticket.

A total of 2.6 million Uruguayans are eligible to vote in the mandatory presidential and general election and will turn out across nearly 6,950 polling stations.

Surrounded by supporters, Mujica — famous for legalising marijuana sales, living in a run-down house and donating most of his salary to charity — was one of the first to vote in his Cerro neighbourhood west of Montevideo. He arrived in an old Volkswagen, accompanied by his wife, Senator Lucia Topolansky.


The Gary Webb Story: Still Killing the Messenger

The Gary Webb Story: Still Killing the Messenger
Posted: 10/20/2014 7:55 pm EDT Updated: 10/20/2014 7:59 pm EDT

Few things are better at getting the word out about a past injustice than a Hollywood movie and Kill the Messenger starring Jeremy Renner and directed by Michael Cuesta does so with depth and drama. For the first time the true story about the courageous investigative journalist, Gary Webb, is being told in movie theaters across the country where people can draw their own conclusions unhindered by the noise and static of establishment naysayers in the corporate media.

This powerful film uses an "entertainment" format to assess the compelling evidence that people tied to the Nicaraguan Contras, who President Ronald Reagan called "the moral equivalent of our founding fathers," were involved in bringing cocaine back to the United States at the dawn of the crack epidemic.

Writing for the San Jose Mercury-News, Gary Webb had traveled repeatedly to Central America and uncovered what appeared to be the story of the decade: people associated with a U.S.-backed mercenary army had become international drug traffickers. If "agents" or "assets" of the Central Intelligence Agency's war against Nicaragua were implicated, even indirectly, in importing one gram of cocaine to America's cities that should have set off alarm bells in the journalistic community and possibly won a Pulitzer Prize for Webb.

Instead, the mainstream press went after Webb in a coordinated smear campaign that ignored the potential abuses he had uncovered and effectively allied itself with the Contras. "Journalists" and editors from the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times, essentially toed the line of right-wing rags like the Washington Times by citing unnamed sources from the CIA and national security establishment to burnish the image of the Contras and their taskmasters.


LTTE: Undue criticism of Gary Webb

Undue criticism of Gary Webb
October 24

Gary Webb’s 1996 “Dark Alliance” stories for the San Jose Mercury News asserted that the CIA “looked the other way” as cocaine from Central America was imported into the United States, beginning in the Reagan years. Profits from the drugs helped fund the right-wing counterrevolution in Nicaragua, the stories alleged. The cocaine, Mr. Webb wrote, contributed to a crack epidemic in U.S. cities and a surge of black inmates into U.S. prisons. Mr. Webb was hounded from his job at the Mercury News and, arguably, to his death by suicide in 2004.

Now comes the film story of Mr. Webb’s reporting, “Kill the Messenger,” and, close behind, The Post’s Jeff Leen with “An amazing story that didn’t hold up” [Outlook, Oct. 19]. When Mr. Webb’s series ran in the Mercury News, Mr. Leen was working at the Miami Herald.

Mr. Leen wrote that Mr. Webb’s articles were characterized by “overblown claims and undernourished reporting,” a perspective expressed by major newspapers at the time, including The Post. But a 2006 Los Angeles Times article walked back that paper’s criticism of Mr. Webb, and even in 1996, The Post’s ombudsman wrote that The Post was overzealous in its efforts to discredit Mr. Webb.

Mr. Leen has shoveled more of the same old dirt on the story that Mr. Webb beat him to in the first place.

Jeff Epton, Washington


15 jailed for life in Argentina 'dirty war' trial

15 jailed for life in Argentina 'dirty war' trial
| October 24, 2014 | Updated: October 24, 2014 9:49pm

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — An Argentine court has convicted and sentenced to life in prison 15 former military, police and civilian officials for abductions, torture and killings of dozens of dissidents during the country's 1976-83 dictatorship.

Four others received sentences of 12 or 13 years, and two defendants were acquitted.

Among the victims whose cases played a role in the trial was Laura Carlotto, daughter of the founder of the activist group Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo. Her newborn son was taken from her shortly before she was executed in 1978 at the La Cancha detention center in a rural area of Buenos Aires province and turned over to a couple for adoption. In August, after DNA tests, the son was reunited with his grandmother, Estela de Carlotto, head of the Grandmothers.


(Short article, no more at link.)

Massacre in Mexico

Massacre in Mexico
Laura Carlsen and Foreign Policy In Focus on October 24, 2014 - 6:02 PM ET

Following a week of accolades abroad, President Enrique Peña Nieto returned home to face the worst political crisis of his administration. Protests rage after local police forcibly disappeared forty-three students of Ayotzinapa, a rural teaching college in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero. As the investigations continue, the crisis has laid bare the violence and corruption that control large parts of the nation.

Led by youth, protesters across the country blame the government for the attack and others like it. As the father of one of the missing students said, “The government knows where they are.” His tone expressed deep fatigue and even deeper pain.

On the night of September 26, police patrol cars from the city of Iguala blocked the buses his son and other students were traveling in, and opened fire on the students. In a bizarre series of events, an armed commando attacked the students in the same spot hours later. During the night, more students from Ayotzinapa arrived to rescue their companions, and members of the state teachers’ union came to help. The shooting went on.

Nearby, a third attack—on a local soccer team possibly made up of Ayotzinapa students as well—left another youth dead. Videotapes in the hands of the Guerrero state prosecutor’s office reportedly show that local police also participated in this attack, which appears to be a case of mistaken identity. Federal police arrived at the scene at least two hours later and refused to tend to the wounded.


Nestle workers meet in Colombia, urge protection for unions

Nestle workers meet in Colombia, urge protection for unions
Oct 23, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin

Nestle workers from around the continent have met in the Colombian capital to build unity and coordinate their efforts against the policies of the multinational, the Colombian food industry union said Wednesday.

In an interview with Colombia Reports, Edgar Paez, a leader with the national food industry union Sinaltrainal, said that the meeting was a follow-up to last year’s meeting of the Coordinator of Nestle Workers in Latin America and the Caribbean (Cotranalc).

“Cotranalc decided to meet here in Colombia to strengthen solidarity, bring a greeting of Latin American and Caribbean unity, and at the same time oxygenate the struggle against the policies of the multinational Nestle,” Paez said.

Sinaltrainal has long been critical of Nestle’s labor policies in Colombia. Of the 20 Sinaltrainal union activists that have been killed since the 1986, at least 14 have been Nestle workers, according to Paez. Nestle admits that seven of its unionized workers have been killed.


Cuba calling: what this small island can teach the world about disease control

Cuba calling: what this small island can teach the world about disease control

West Africa needs what Cuba has: a well-trained, coordinated healthcare system. Anything less and Ebola wins

Conner Gorry in Havana
Guardian Professional, Thursday 23 October 2014 12.43 EDT

Guatemala, Pakistan, Indonesia, Haiti. Four different nations that share a common experience: in the past decade, they were all struck by natural disasters which overwhelmed their under-staffed and under-funded public health systems. Into the rubble, flooding, and chaos of these distinct cultures and contexts, Cuba dispatched a specialised disaster and epidemic control team to support local health providers. It was a story of unprecedented medical solidarity by a developing country which few media outlets picked up – until now.

The Henry Reeve Brigade, as it’s known, was established in 2005 by more than 1,500 Cuban health professionals trained in disaster medicine and infectious disease containment; built on 40 years of medical aid experience, the volunteer team was outfitted with essential medicines and equipment and prepared to deploy to US regions ravaged by Hurricane Katrina (the offer was rejected by the Bush administration). Today, Cuba’s Henry Reeve Brigade is the largest medical team on the ground in west Africa battling Ebola.

The small island nation has pledged 461 doctors and nurses to provide care in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the largest single-country offer of healthcare workers to date. While United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon decried the pallid aid commitment from around the globe calling for “a 20-fold resource mobilisation and at least a 20-fold surge in assistance” Cuba already had 165 of these specially-trained healthcare workers on the ground in Sierra Leone. Each of these volunteers, chosen from a pool of 15,000 candidates who stepped forward to serve in west Africa, has extensive disaster response experience.

Nevertheless, preparation for this mission required additional, rigorous training at Havana’s Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine with biosecurity experts from the United States and the Pan American Health Organisation. This rapid mobilisation of sorely-needed health professionals begs the question: how can a poor developing country spare qualified, experienced doctors and nurses?


'Stop the Toxic Treadmill': EPA Sued for Approving Controversial Herbicide

Published on Thursday, October 23, 2014
by Common Dreams

'Stop the Toxic Treadmill': EPA Sued for Approving Controversial Herbicide

Green groups slam the agency for green-lighting Dow Chemical's Enlist Duo, whose key ingredient 2,4-D is also found in Agent Orange

by Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Green groups on Wednesday sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its recent approval of Dow AgroSciences' herbicide Enlist Duo, which farmers and scientists warn threatens human and environmental health.

"The toxic treadmill has to stop," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. "EPA and USDA cannot continue to ignore the history, science, and public opinion surrounding these dangerous chemicals so that a failed and unnecessary system of chemically-dependent agriculture can continue to destroy our health and environment."

The EPA last week approved Enlist Duo for use on corn and soybean crops that are genetically engineered to survive exposure to the herbicide. Wednesday's suit charges the approval was unlawful because the agency failed to adequately consider the human impacts and did not consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Enlist Duo's key ingredient, known as 2,4-D, was also used in Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Studies find 2,4-D interferes with hormonal and reproductive function and is linked to cancer, liver disease, Parkinson's disease, and other health problems. Scientists warn that 2,4-D builds up in the environment and spreads from one field to another, posing a risk to animals as well as people.


Drug cartels across the border just as brutal as ISIS

Drug cartels across the border just as brutal as ISIS

Horrific violence not isolated to Middle East

By: Ellen Weiss
Posted: 3:17 PM, Oct 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. officials have argued that atrocities committed by the militant group ISIS are barbaric and that the group is a threat to the homeland, but it’s worth remembering that the horrific violence perpetrated just across the U.S. border by Mexican drug cartels is equally barbaric and the cartels also pose a threat to Americans.

This week brought another bloody reminder of the cartel’s brutality. Mexican activist Maria Del Rosario Fuentes Rubio, a physician and citizen journalist who had taken a prominent stand against Mexican cartels on social media, died with a bullet in her head. And her killers, in an obvious effort to terrorize others, tweeted her murder.

Yes, as President Barack Obama noted in his Sept. 24 address to the UN General Assembly, ISIS is leaving a trail of rape, beheadings, dead children and mass graves. The numbers are terrifying: More than 5,500 people have been killed in Iraq since June, according to the United Nations.

But here are some numbers – also terrifying – from just across the U.S.-Mexico border: In 2013, Mexican drug cartels murdered more than 16,000 people, and Human Rights Watch estimates more than 60,000 people were killed in drug-related violence from 2006 to 2012.


Chevron Will Lose Ecuador Pollution Case on Both Law and Facts

Chevron Will Lose Ecuador Pollution Case on Both Law and Facts
Posted: 10/22/2014 1:04 pm EDT Updated: 10/22/2014 1:59 pm EDT

Prediction: Chevron will lose the historic Ecuador pollution case on both the law and the facts, despite what you may have read in articles by U.S. legal reporters about the 20-year plus lawsuit.

In fact, you may think the Ecuadorians have lost already. They haven't.

If you care about the plight of indigenous people everywhere, you should consider another set of facts you haven't heard much about, at least in the U.S., and then make your own prediction.

Earlier this year, New York Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled the $9 billion Ecuador judgment against Chevron was fraudulent and not "collectible" anywhere in the world. In 2012, Judge Kaplan ruled it was not "enforceable" but the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals quickly reversed him sending Chevron's lawyer Randy Mastro backed to the command center at his law firm Gibson Dunn, where job number one is to protect multi-national companies taking advantage of weak judiciaries and governments in poverty-stricken areas often populated by indigenous groups.

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