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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 146,704

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Following Questionable Election, Honduran Government Debuts New Censorship Law

from the securing-the-cyber-so-future-generations-can-waste-away-in-prison dept

Free Speech
by Tim Cushing
Thu, Apr 19th 2018 3:33am

The masterplan for censorship: follow up a highly-questionable election with a "cybersecurity" law granting the government power to shut down critics and dissenting views. That's what's happening in Honduras, following the reinstallation of Juan Orlando Hernandez as president following an election "filled with irregularities."

The new law mandates the policing of "hate speech," as defined by a government that would love to see its critics deprived of an online platform. Whatever the government declares to be hateful must be taken down within 24 hours. Failure triggers fines and third-party platforms will be held responsible for content created by users.

While the new law does not directly target the social media platforms, activists say: "In its current state, it requires any service or website that includes user-generated content to process complaints and remove “hate speech” or discriminatory content within 24 hours."

"Should online intermediaries fail to do so, their services could be fined or blocked. The latest draft of the bill also creates a national cybersecurity committee to receive reports and relay them to websites and companies, and to develop policy strategies on issues ranging from cybercrime to hate speech and fake news," Javier Pallero, Digital Rights activist focusing on the Latin American region explained, according to Access Now.


The Smart Imperialism Crowd

A new diplomatic memoir makes a "national interest" case for warmer relations with Cuba.

Our Woman in Havana is the new nearly three-hundred page memoir by career diplomat Vicki Huddleston, focusing on periods in her career where she played a role on crafting or implementing American foreign policy towards Cuba. Like most memoirs of this kind, it is best understood as half-diary, half-pamphlet, with reminiscences of her time in office bookended by her views on the present and future of US policy towards Cuba. Diplomatic memoirs of this kind have a long history of informing US policy towards Cuba. Former diplomat Wayne Smith’s The Closest of Enemies: A Personal and Diplomatic History of the Castro Years is one of the better known examples. As for Huddleston, she uses her book to make the liberal case for engagement with Cuba, highlighting the ways in which Republicans have undermined the normalization of relations, the counterproductive nature of the embargo, and the numerous potential benefits of better relations between the two countries.

While not devoting a significant part of her book to it, Huddleston does acknowledge the rapacious and colonialist bent of past American policy towards Cuba. Fairly early on, she notes that “the contradiction that haunts our relationship with Cuba is that the United States has always coveted the island. And perhaps this foundational contradiction is what makes the US-Cuba relationship so fractious.” As she acknowledges towards the end of the book, “the United States still wants to be the preeminent foreign power in Cuba.” While these sections by no means constitute a complete catalogue of Cuba’s grievances, it is noteworthy that she pushes back against the false historical memory of the United States as benefactor and patron which still exists on the American right and among a fair number of those in the center.

It is therefore puzzling that in several other sections of the text she tries to frame American foreign policy as the victim of an intra-familial squabble between Cubans, Cuban exiles, and Cuban Americans. Time and again in her memoir, she argues that US policy toward Cuba has been “principally designed to help Cuban Americans regain the country they lost.” Much of the world, she says, is confused by American policy towards Cuba, but “what they fail to understand is that our Cuba policy is actually domestic policy, not foreign policy.” “American presidents,” she argues in a later chapter, “for domestic political gain, have allowed themselves to become entangled in a family feud” between Cuban American exiles and the Cuban government.

While right-wing Cuban exiles and Cuban Americans have undoubtedly been well organized and effective in helping shape Cuba policy, readers should be wary to attempts to shunt responsibility for poor relations between the two countries onto their shoulders. Organizations like the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) and politicians like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Bob Menendez, Marco Rubio, and others have had such success because their objectives have often coincided with (or at least not been diametrically opposed to) established American foreign policy goals — specifically, the overthrow of the post-1959 government in favor of a new economic and political order favorable to American business interests and geo-strategic military calculations.


Dutch industrial group VDL joins Atacama biggest eye on the sky project

April 20, 2018 

Artist’s impression: ESO

VDL ETG Projects, part of the diversified industrial VDL Groep, has been awarded a contract to build the support structure for the main mirror of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in northern Chile, the Eindhoven-based company said in a statement late Thursday.

The European Southern Observatory will build the world’s largest telescope in the Atacama desert at an elevation of over three kilometres. The support structure consists of 798 individual support structures for mirror segments, which together form the telescope’s main mirror which has a diameter of over 39 metres. The project will be completed in 2024.

The order is worth several tens of millions of euros, the company said. VDL comprises 94 individual companies and is owned by the Van der Leegte family.

ESO Director General Xavier Barcons and VDL Groep President and CEO Willem van der Leegte signed the contract for the order on Thursday at the headquarters of the ESO in Garching, near Munich. Van der Leegte said this marked the first time an astronomy-related contract of this size has gone to a Dutch party.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Older article:
Biggest-Ever Telescope Approved for Construction
By Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer | December 4, 2014 03:00pm ET

An artist's illustration depicts the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in its enclosure. It eventually will be the world’s largest "eye on the sky."
Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

The world's largest telescope has gotten its official construction go-ahead, keeping the enormous instrument on track to start observing the heavens in 2024.

The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), which will feature a light-collecting surface 128 feet (39 meters) wide, has been greenlit for construction atop Cerro Armazones in Chile's Atacama Desert, officials with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced Thursday (Dec. 4).

"The decision taken by Council [ESO's chief governing body] means that the telescope can now be built, and that major industrial construction work for the E-ELT is now funded and can proceed according to plan," Tim de Zeeuw, ESO's director general, said in a statement. "There is already a lot of progress in Chile on the summit of Armazones, and the next few years will be very exciting." [Photos: World's Largest Telescope Being Built in Chile]


Wonderful images of telescopes already in use in Chile's Atacama Desert:


Peru's ex-president Fujimori in court over 1992 massacre

20 April 2018 - 22H59

20 April 2018 - 22H59Peru's ex-president Fujimori in court over 1992 massacre

© Peruvian Judiciary/AFP | Ex-president Alberto Fujimori insisted in court that he was not a flight risk,
even though he is renewing his passport

Peruvian ex-president Alberto Fujimori, just four months out of prison under a controversial pardon, was in court Friday facing charges linked to the killing of seven farmers in 1992.

Fujimori, president from 1990-2000, had been serving a 25-year prison sentence for crimes that included commanding death squads that killed suspected civilian sympathizers of leftwing guerrillas his regime was fighting.

The ex-president was pardoned on December 24 by then-president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on humanitarian grounds because of ill health.

A criminal court, however, later ruled that Kuczynski's pardon did not apply to the case of the slain farmers.


Haunted by ghosts of its dictatorship, Paraguay set to pivot back to the right in election

Source: Guardian

The military regime of Alfredo Stroessner jailed, tortured and ‘disappeared’ opponents. Now the son of Stroessner’s private secretary is likely to become president

Laurence Blair in Asunción
Fri 20 Apr 2018 05.00 EDT

Fifty-eight years later, when Rogelio Goiburú dug up the body in a remote part of eastern Paraguay this March, a few teeth were all that were left to identify it.

“We’re fighting against time,” he said. Paraguay’s soil is highly acidic, he explained. “It eats bones very quickly, so the DNA disappears, and it’s much harder to obtain a genetic profile.”

Goiburú, 62, heads Paraguay’s commission for historical memory and reparation. Since 2011, the underfunded body has documented some 450 desaparecidos, located and exhumed 37 bodies, named four, and returned them to living relatives where possible.

All were victims of the 1954-89 regime of Alfredo Stroessner, which jailed, raped, tortured and “disappeared” opponents under the auspices of a US-backed anti-communist crusade.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/20/paraguay-presidential-election-past-dictatorship-right

The Amazons solar-powered river bus

By Laura Plitt
BBC Mundo, Ecuador
20 April 2018

A school commute with a difference

How can you create public transport in the jungle without polluting it? The isolated Achuar peoples of Ecuador have created an ingenious solution.

A couple of hours before dawn in Kapawi, a village in a remote corner of the Ecuadorian Amazon, a group of men gather to drink litres of tea made from the guayusa plant. One by one they then disappear into the dark to vomit.

This ritual, known as guayusada, is designed to purge and energise and culminates in a sharing of dreams from the night.

It was during one of these ceremonies more than half a century ago that a dream was shared of a "canoe of fire".


Trump of the tropics: the 'dangerous' candidate leading Brazil's presidential race

Jair Bolsonaro has openly cheered dictatorship and publicly insulted women. Now he’s deploying Trump-like tactics in his race for the presidency

Last modified on Thu 19 Apr 2018 11.01 EDT

Jair Bolsonaro’s disciples had packed the arrivals hall of this far-flung Amazonian airport, united by their contempt for the left and an unbreakable determination to score a selfie with the man they call “the Legend”.

“He’s Brazil’s hope! A light at the end of the tunnel! A new horizon!” gushed Fernando Vieira, one of hundreds of fans there to greet a far-right firebrand who cheerleads for dictatorship but could soon become leader of the world’s fourth-largest democracy.

When flight 2020 delivered the presidential hopeful to his sun-scorched destination in the northern state of Roraima, pandemonium broke out. “Legend! Legend! Legend! Legend!” the crowd chanted, hoisting their idol into the air and outside through a crush of police officers and partisans.

. . .

Since the Pinochet-praising former paratrooper entered politics three decades ago, he has repeatedly called for a return to the kind of military rule Brazil endured until 1985. “I am in favour of a dictatorship,” he boasted during the first of seven terms as a congressman.


From his US prison, former paramilitary chief submits to Colombias war crimes tribunal

by Adriaan Alsema April 17, 2018

The former chief commander of the AUC, warlord Salvatore Mancuso, will cooperate with his country’s war crimes tribunal to crimes committed during the armed conflict.

Mancuso was extradited to the US in 2008 and is serving a 15-year sentence on drug trafficking charges in a prison in Atlanta, Georgia.

US authorities last week granted a request to allow the former paramilitary chief to testify over the more than 60,000 human rights he has admitted to, according to newspaper El Tiempo.

. . .

While the US and Europe considered the AUC a terrorist group, Colombia’s elite families and military maintained close ties to the paramilitaries.


Salvatore Mancuso, on previous "60 Minutes" program

Witness in case against Colombias former president assassinated

Source: Colombia Reports

by Adriaan Alsema April 16, 2018

Unknown assassins have murdered another witness in one of the criminal cases against Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe, local media reported on Sunday.

The victim, Carlos Enrique Areiza, admitted in 2016 that he had falsely accused Senator Ivan Cepeda of trying to bribe him into incriminating several major political figures.

The demobilized member of paramilitary group AUC was assassinated in Bello, a city bordering Medellin, over the weekend.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court added Areiza to a list of witnesses who allegedly were used by Uribe and his political allies to discredit Cepeda.

Read more: https://colombiareports.com/witness-in-case-against-colombias-former-president-assassinated/

Assassinated key witness in process against Álvaro Uribe (Google translation)
04/16/2018 12:25 PM

One of the key witnesses in the process advanced by the Supreme Court of Justice against Senator Álvaro Uribe for his alleged responsibility in a cartel of false witnesses was murdered.

The victim, identified as Carlos Enrique Areiza , was attacked last Saturday by armed men in the Antioquia municipality of Bello. Areiza was a key player in the process for parapolitics that runs against the ex - governor of Antioquia, Luis Alfredo Ramos.
His testimony was relevant in the decision of the Supreme Court to acquit Senator Iván Cepeda for alleged manipulation of witnesses.

The information given by Areiza, known as alias Papo, led the high court to order that his and his family's security scheme be adjusted, given the high risk to which he was exposed and what did not happen.


Carlos Enrique Areiza

Álvaro Uribe

A new chapter of the False Witnesses (Google translation)
By The other face - May 21, 2015

Carlos Enrique Areiza Arango / minuto30.com

The false witness Areiza says that he received pressure to link Luis Alfredo Ramos with the paramilitaries and pointed out the former head of self-defense Pablo Sierra. He had also accused Senator Iván Cepeda of the fact. Justice has Ramos incommunicado from the press.
A new chapter was written in the witness scandal mounted in Colombia. The alleged informant Carlos Enrique Areiza Arango, agreed to have lied to affect the former governor of Antioquia Luis Afredo Ramos, and ratified before the courts taking their trial by false testimony, which made a montage to deceive justice and affect the then candidate Presidential Party Democratic Center.

In a judicial hearing held before a Medellín Knowledge Judge, the former paramilitary Areiza, identified with the aliases of Papo, Juan Camilo or Camilo Restrepo, offered excuses to the family of his victim, insuring he was pressured to testify against Ramos. and clarified in a letter, which was under chain of custody, how the facts were presented.

According to the investigations, apparently Pablo Ernesto Sierra García, known as "Alberto Guerrero", former head of the "Cacique Pipintá" Bloc of the Self-Defense Forces (AUC), instigated the false testimony of Areiza against the Antioquia political leader, who is part of the movement of opposition to the current National Government.

Read more at http://laotracara.co/destacados/un-nuevo-capitulo-de-los-falsos-testigos/#al0Kfs73x0iTxBiC.99

We are still here: The fight to be recognized as Indigenous in Uruguay

A nascent campaign is slowly forcing a public reckoning with Uruguay’s history and self-image, while simultaneously raising broader questions about what, exactly, makes a people



Felipe Lobato, 28, shown on the outskirts of Montevideo, is part of a campaign of people who want the
government to recognize them as Indigenous and as victims of cultural genocide.


When Felipe Lobato was growing up, people sometimes called him negrito (darky)and asked him if he was Peruvian, or some other kind of exotic foreigner. He was in his teens when he began to learn the history of Indigenous people who lived, not just in the Andes or other far-off corners of South America, but in Uruguay. Four years ago, as he was trying to put words on his own identity, Mr. Lobato stumbled across Facebook photos posted by people who looked like him and who said they were Charrua – members of Uruguay’s First Nation.

The hitch, for Mr. Lobato, was that the Charrua are extinct. So say the history books, the government, anthropologists and indeed Uruguay’s whole national creation story.

Intrigued, Mr. Lobato, a 28-year-old sound engineer and DJ who lives in the capital, sought out the people in the pictures and learned that there is a significant challenge to that creation story – living, breathing Charrua who are undeterred by the anthropologists and the textbooks who say they were wiped out nearly 200 years ago.

“We lived on this territory before the Uruguayan state started to administer it – and they tried to erase our whole existence – but some of us are saying, we are still here,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be over because some anthropologists claim it is. We’re used to that, by now.”

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