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9/11: The Devil’s in the details

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Criminalization of Social Movements and the Political Opposition in Colombia

By Liliany Obando | CounterPunch | April 15, 2014

Translator’ note: Liliany Obando is a sociologist, documentary film maker, and single mother of two children. She was serving as human rights director for Fensuagro, Colombia’s largest agricultural workers’ union, when, on August 8, 2008, Colombian authorities arrested her. A week previously, Obando had issued a report documenting the murders of 1500 Fensuagro union members over 32 years.  Prosecutors accused her of terrorism and belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

After 43 months, Obando left prison on March 1st 2012. She remained under court jurisdiction, because she had not been sentenced or convicted. Eventually, in 2013, a judge, accusing Obando of serving on the FARC’s International Commission, convicted her of “rebellion.” She was sentenced to five years, eight months of house arrest and fined 707 million pesos, ($368,347 USD). The charge against Obando of handling “resources relating to terrorist activities” was dropped.

On April 3, 2014, Obando learned that the Supreme Court had rejected her appeal. Her fine stands.  She must serve one more year of house arrest. The government’s case against Obando and other prisoners rests on files taken from computers of FARC leaders seized during a military attack on a FARC encampment in Ecuador on March 1, 2008. In 2011 the Colombian Supreme Court invalidated the legal standing of such material. Obando and her family continue to experience police surveillance, harassment, and media slander.  – Translated by W. T. Whitney Jr.

Although we Colombians, especially those of us who belong to social, human rights, and political organizations and labor unions, are used to carrying out our work in risky situations, sometimes things get worse. This is one of those unlucky times. It coincides with the pre-election contest.

In a cycle that repeatedly sends us back to a repressive past – one they don’t want to close down – we are witness to a perverse return to obscurantism and forced unanimity, to dissident thinking being considered subversive, to social protest having to be silenced at whatever cost, and where opposition guarantees are only a chimera. These are practices far removed from the duty of a state, especially one proclaiming itself as the continent’s oldest, most solid “democracy.”

Many years ago, and in tune with the U. S. obsession for transforming the idea of security into state policy, one outcome being anti-terrorism, the government of Álvaro Uribe Vélez during his first term (2002-2006) instituted in Colombia the politics of “Democratic Security.” That gave rise to a series of actions damaging to the right to liberty, to guarantees like equality, legality, and judicial norms, and, generally, to an international framework for human rights.

The strategy of arbitrary detentions imposed under the pretext of maintaining security of the state, and for “good citizens,” has its origins there. The modalities used were illegal interceptions, the network of informants, the Law of Justice and Peace and its accusers, and intelligence reports – or battlefield reports. They fueled judicial set-ups.

During 2002-2004, this strategy of the Uribe government entailed the practice of massive incarcerations carried out nearly always within the context of military operations or joint operations involving the attorney general, the police, and military forces. Primary backing came from Decree 2002 of 2002 relating to internal upheaval and also from an attempt at constitutional reform. In the beginning, these incarcerations were confined to supposed “zones of rehabilitation and consolidation.” Their boundaries were set through Decree 2929 of December 3, 2002. Then they spread the length and breadth of the national territory.

Later, from 2004 on, in a change of strategy, massive detentions were converted into selective detentions against specified sectors of the population: unionists, defenders of human rights, social and populist activists from academia, and/or opposition militants. These people were considered dangerous to the state politics of “Democratic Security” then being advanced as part of a return to the dark era of Turbay Ayala and his “Statute of Security.” (1)

That’s where all this recent wave of stigmatization, persecution, criminalization, judicial processing, and incarceration came from. It’s directed against social, labor, and human rights organizations, and opposition political parties. Their members, leaders, and activists at the base are pointed to as being little else but the activists, “civilian guerrillas,” or at least collaborators of the insurgencies, that is to say, their social base.  As regards these last, Uribe disregarded their political character and classified them as “terrorist” groups. Once more the concept of political crime was being manipulated.

Juan Manuel Santos, as defense minister in the Uribe government, first made his mark chiefly by implementing “Democratic Security.” Now as president he continues it. He will be able to change its form, but not its essence. Indeed, Santos has turned to acknowledging that armed conflict does exist in Colombia and also, on that account, that the insurgencies have a political character, although he doesn’t say it openly. If it were otherwise, the current process of peace negotiations in Havana would have been inconceivable.  Yet he has not altered the treatment of politically – oriented persons facing prosecution, nor does he accept the very existence of political prisoners.

In 2012, Santos, mocking his given word, blocked international oversight of prisons and verification of the situation of political prisoners as called for by the group PeaceWomen Across the Globe. The government had agreed to accept the FARC’s handing over the last prisoners of war they were holding in return for that group’s good offices. (2)  The opportunity ended once more with an official denial that political prisoners exist in Colombia.

Judicial handling of persons criminalized under the strategy of “security” and anti-terrorism changed substantially, much to the disadvantage of people being porosecuted. Indeed, a person being investigated for supposed ties with insurgents used to be processed for the political “crime” of rebellion. Beginning with Uribe and then Santos, however, they are now being handled under the logic of anti-terrorist struggle. As a result, members of the social and political organizations who face prosecution are now being blamed for one or more NON – political crimes having to do with terrorist activities. That’s over and above their being judged as rebels. This signifies, primarily, that for persons being prosecuted under this approach, guarantees like due process, legitimate defense, technical defense, and presumption of innocence – among others – amount to very little.

Consequently, we attend audiences of our comrade detainees in specialized courtrooms, not the ordinary ones. In these special sessions, investigations are carried out directed at very serious crimes, thereby removing the allegations from the area of “political crime.”  And more: investigation and trial periods end up being extended over a long time and sentences are more onerous.

And as a matter of fact, Colombian justice applies the presumption of guilt, not of innocence. At the start, those involved in such processes are classified as “dangerous for society.” Therefore, having been charged, they know beforehand they are going to prison for a long time and there have to prove their innocence. But inside prison and incarceration establishments, they are treated just like those who have already been convicted. This is contrary to international law dealing with prison populations, which in Colombia is a dead letter. One must not forget, furthermore, that Colombia is one of the countries in the world that most abuses preventative detention. As a result, many people in this situation choose to accept charges against them and thus reduce their time in dark Colombian prisons and not have to wait long years while they prove their innocence.

And as if that were not enough, the institution that, by definition, should keep watch on the state so it fulfills its mandate to guarantee respect for citizens’ fundamental human rights, that is to say, the attorney general, acts in a perverse way. That office has switched over to being an inquisitorial entity that persecutes even public functionaries already absolved through having served their prison terms. Their political rights and rights as citizens are seriously affected.

By way of putting a face on this political tragedy, here are some of the leaders and activist members of social and political organizations who have recently endured judicial processes and are imprisoned: Unionists – Campo Elías Ortiz, Héctor Sánchez, José Dilio, Darío Cárdenas, Huber Ballesteros; From the Patriotic March social and political movement –  Wilmar Madroñero; Professors –  Francisco Tolosa, Carlo Alexander Carrillo, Miguel Ángel Beltrán Villegas, Fredy Julián Cortés, William Javier Díaz; Students – Erika Rodríguez, Xiomara Alejandra Torres Jiménez, Jaime Alexis Bueno, Diego Alejandro Ortega, Cristian Leiva Omar Marín, Carlos Lugo, Jorge Gaitán; Human Rights defenders – David Ravelo Crespo, Liliany Obando.

The number of political prisoners in Colombia – prisoners of conscience and prisoners of war – exceeds 9500.  The worst of it is that there is no calm after prison. The trailing, the threats, the stigmatization continue until many of those who are released – if they are lucky – have to leave the country. And many others remain marginalized and no longer part of their previous social and political organizations, which is regrettable. So too is that purpose of the overall strategy which is to weaken social organizations and the political opposition, and dismember them.

Such are the perverse effects of politics in Colombia centering on judicial processes and criminalization of critical thinking, social protest, and political opposition. We are called upon actively to confront politics like these if we want to put a check on such abuse of power.

Silence is no alternative, nor is inaction.

Freedom for Colombian political prisoners!

Long life for butterflies! (3)

Notes:

1. Julio César Turbay Ayala was the Liberal Party President of Colombia in 1978-1982.

2. The international women’s group facilitated the unilateral freeing of ten soldiers and police by the FARC in 2012 through the women’s promise they would visit political prisoners in Colombian jails.

3. The reference, used in connection with recent conferences and mobilizations in Colombia on behalf of political prisoners, commemorates a movement for freedom for political prisoners that developed in the Dominican Republic in 1959. The expression does honor to the Mirabel sisters there who were jailed and murdered.

Liliany Obando, Political prisoner,  under judgment  (subjudice) Defender of Human Rights, Colombia, April, 2014. 

 

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Old Testament Brutalities

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By The Rev. Howard Bess | Consortium News | October 16, 2009

I decided I needed to do a refresher on basic Old Testament material. I reread the entire books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. I doubt if many folks have read these two documents, but they are in the Bible, so they must be worthy of our attention.

The material is not unfamiliar to me, but I was jarred anew at the absurdity and the violence, that are contained in the two books. The Ten Commandments and commands to love God and neighbor are found in these writings, but they are not the central themes of the two books.

The first portion of Leviticus lays out detailed instructions about the slaying and burning of animals to appease and please God. Not exactly a topic of current interest.

If a sacrifice was properly executed, sins were forgiven and the odor of the burnt meat was pleasing to the nostrils of God. Other portions of Leviticus describe how priests practiced health care and what a woman must do to become “clean” after giving birth to a child.

The last chapters are known as “The Holiness Code” and describe the details of the life that is acceptable to God. Blasphemy is out. Sabbath keeping is in. Permanent ownership of land is out. Keeping feast days is in.

Slavery is in. Men lying with men is out. Adultery is out, as is incest. Loving your neighbor is in. Cloth woven with two different kinds of yarn is out. Tithing is demanded. Loaning money for interest is out. Eating pork is out.

Even the most ardent Fundamentalist picks and chooses what to embrace and what to reject from these ancient rules written hundreds of years after Moses and hundred of years before Jesus.

Deuteronomy has a different character. The book is a retelling of the basic Moses/Law story with an emphasis on the blessings of obedience to God’s law and the consequences of disobedience.

The Ten Commandments are repeated and the details of the righteous life are spelled out. Some items are redundant to Leviticus. Obedience to God’s laws is a big concern, and long passages lay out the consequences of disobedience.

In the 14th chapter the unbending nature of God’s law and the severity of punishment for disobedience are made plain.

“If your brother, or your son, or your daughter, or your wife, or your friend, who is as your own soul, entices you by saying ‘let us go and serve other Gods,’ you shall not yield to him or listen to him, but you shall kill him.

“You shall take the lead and the hand of all the people shall join you. You shall stone him to death because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God.”

This is dangerous material in the hands of a religious Fundamentalist. And another example:

In the retelling of the story of the Israelites, the Deuteronomy writer reports that the conquering Israelites entered Palestine from the south, in obedience to the instructions of Jehovah God.

They “captured all the cities and utterly destroyed them and all men, women, and children. We left none remaining.”

This report of violent destruction is repeated and the violence was justified each time because they were taking land that had been given to them by God. Never mind that people had been living there for centuries.

As I read about the strange rituals of Leviticus and the harsh, seemingly senseless injustice and violence of Deuteronomy, I reacted strongly. This does not describe the moral and ethical life that I embrace as a follower of Jesus from Nazareth.

I am not alone in my protest. Micah was a prophet who was contemporary with the animal sacrifice system described in Leviticus. Micah was outraged.

He wrote, “With what will I come before the Lord? Shall I come with burnt offerings? Shall I come with year old calves? Will the Lord be pleased with ten thousand rams? The Lord has shown people what is good and what he requires. Do justice! Love mercy! Walk humbly with your God!”

Jeremiah and Isaiah also were protest prophets. They too were contemporary with people who sought moral comfort through ritual and ignored justice in favor of might.

It is my understanding that Jesus was a prophet, who took up the mantle of Micah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and carried the protest tradition of the Bible in his own day.

In 2009, I have become wary of saying “The Lord’s Prayer” too many times, of singing “The Star Spangled Banner” too many times, of reciting creeds and confessions of faith too many times, of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance too many times.

I believe they deaden the very senses that are needed to make me a better Christian, a better American and a better contributor to a more just world. I cannot believe building a bigger, more effective military, that can lose fewer of us and kill more of them, is the answer to a safer world.

What should I read next? Revelation?

The Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska. His email address is hdbss@mtaonline.net.

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Former Australian foreign minister exposes Zionist lobby power

By Brandon Martinez | April 15, 2014

A controversy is swirling in Australia involving a former foreign minister and the country’s influential Zionist lobby.

Bob Carr, who served as Australia’s foreign minister in the administration of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, recently published a memoir detailing his experiences on the job. In the book Carr hones in on the Israeli lobby, which he says has “extraordinary” and “unhealthy” influence in Australian politics and had a “direct line” into the decision-making processes of the Gillard administration. Not only is Organized Zionism’s grip on Australia unhealthy, it is dangerous and corrosive.

In recent media interviews Carr has said that Gillard overruled his suggestion that Australia not block the Palestinian bid to attain upgraded ‘non-member observer state’ status at the United Nations in 2012 and that this was a direct result of the Zionist lobby’s pull on the former prime minister. Carr also revealed that Gillard was so immovable in her pro-Israel partisanship that she impeded him from making routine statements of concern about the growth and expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank because it would upset the Zionist lobby.

When asked by ABC (Australia) reporter Sarah Ferguson how such a small group of people could wield so much power, Carr mentioned the significant amount of political campaign donations stemming from Zionist sources as well as the Zionist lobby’s courting of Australian politicians and journalists by sponsoring all-expenses-paid-for trips to Israel. Carr accused Gillard of “subcontracting” Australia’s foreign policy vis-à-vis the Middle East to her wealthy Jewish backers.

In 2013 Gillard received the Jerusalem Prize for her unwavering support of the Zionist apartheid state and its terroristic policies. Members of Australia’s main Zionist groups praised Gillard for her “ongoing support of the aspirations of Israel’s people” and noted that she “empathises with the Jewish people and our connection with the land of Israel.” “[T]he Zionist movement of Australia are honoured to be able to demonstrate our gratitude and respect for Ms Gillard’s many years as an unstinting supporter of the Jewish and Zionist cause,” said Sam Tatarka, president of the Zionist Council of Victoria.

Gillard unveiled her brazen Jewish exceptionalist mentality during a visit to the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne in 2012, where she stated that the holocaust was “the greatest crime humanity has ever known.” It is unlikely that Gillard is unaware of the more than 60 million non-Jews who perished during the Second World War, or of the millions of Russian and Ukrainian Christians killed by Jewish Bolsheviks throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Revealing her callous and cold-blooded outlook, Gillard ignores those victims because recognizing their suffering would undermine the racist Talmudic myth that Jews are the world’s ultimate and perennial victims.

The reaction of Australia’s Zionist lobby to Bob Carr’s revelations has been predictably lame. The Zionist kingpin Mark Leibler of the Australia Israel & Jewish Affairs Council dismissed Carr’s exposition about “The Lobby” as a “figment of his imagination.” When faced with truths about their undue influence, the Zionists merely sneer at and heap ridicule upon those like Carr who are brave enough to state the obvious.

Former American politicians have expressed similar sentiments to Carr’s. Cynthia McKinney, a former congresswoman from Georgia, said that she was ousted from congress by the Israeli lobby because of her outspoken support of the Palestinians. She once told an interviewer that 99 per cent of members of the US congress are veritable servants of Zionist interests. Former congressman Paul Findley wrote a book about the enormous power of Israel’s lobby in the US entitled They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby.

Another former congressman, James Traficant, told Greta van Susteren of Fox News that Israel and its supporters in the US have “a powerful stranglehold” over the American government. “We’re conducting the expansionist policy of Israel and everyone’s too afraid to say it,” remarked Traficant in reference to the disastrous Iraq war.

The Zionists, said Traficant, “control both members of the House… and the Senate. They have us involved in wars in which we have little or no interest.” These Zionist elements “control much of the media [and] control much of the commerce of the country,” Traficant stressed. The late Helen Thomas, a renowned American journalist and White House correspondent, echoed Traficant’s perspective, telling an audience in Detroit that “congress, the White House, Hollywood, and Wall Street are owned by Zionists. No question in my opinion.”

The credible assertions of these Washington insiders have been validated by a number of boastful Jewish writers themselves. One such braggart was Elad Nehorai who penned an op-ed for the Times of Israel wherein he implored his fellow Zionists to be more honest about their influence as a point of pride. “Let’s be honest with ourselves, here, fellow Jews. We do control the media. We’ve got so many dudes up in the executive offices in all the big movie production companies it’s almost obscene,” wrote Nehorai. The pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, observed Nehorai, “was essentially constructed just to drive agenda in Washington DC. And it succeeds admirably.” That organization is “practically the equivalent of the Elders of Zion” he added. “The truth is,” Nehorai conceded, “the anti-Semites got it right… We own a whole freaking country.”

Nehorai’s supremacist musings seem to have been inspired by a 2008 Los Angeles Times article authored by Joel Stein. In that piece, titled “Who Controls Hollywood? C’mon,” Stein bragged candidly about Jewish power in Hollywood, stating that “Jews totally run Hollywood” and calling Americans “dumb” for not recognizing that fact. “As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood,” Stein gloated. “But I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.”

The very fact that discussing Zionist influence is taboo in Western societies is in and of itself an indication of their pervasive power. “To find out where the power lies, ask whom you cannot criticize,” as the wise credo goes. The unusual dichotomy that Zionists like Stein and Nehorai are able to say the things quoted above without any repercussions, while non-Jews who have made comparable assertions are castigated as anti-Semites, haters and conspiracy theorists, underscores the Talmudic double standard that permeates much of public discourse on this important issue.

However, the tide is slowly but surely turning, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Zionists cannot keep a lid on their intrigues any longer.

Brandon Martinez can contacted at martinezperspective@hotmail.com.

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment