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Israel scores painful own goal in run-up to the World Cup

By James M. Dorsey | The Turbulent World of Mideast Soccer | June 6, 2018

Argentina’s cancellation of a friendly against Israel because of Israeli attempts to exploit the match politically is likely to reverberate far beyond the world of soccer and spotlights the risks of Israeli efforts to persuade the international community to recognize Jerusalem as its capital.

The Argentinian decision suggests that despite the fact several countries, including East European nations, are debating whether to follow US President Donald J. Trump’s decision earlier this year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and move the US embassy to the city, Israel is likely to find it difficult to capitalize on the US move in ways that convincingly project widespread international support.

Even worse, the decision illustrates that efforts to force recognition could backfire.

The Argentinian move has buoyed the grassroots Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign that seeks to isolate Israel in non-violent defense of Palestinian rights after Israel has made countering the movement one of its top foreign policy objectives.

“The cancellation of Israel’s ‘friendly’ match with Argentina is a boost to the Red Card Israel campaign, which has called on FIFA to expel Israel – as it expelled apartheid South Africa – due to its violations against Palestinian football and its disregard for FIFA statutes,” BDS said in a statement.

The cancellation is BDS’s greatest success to date. Before that, it had only persuaded a small number of artists and organizations to boycott Israel.

An online campaign late last year convinced New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde to cancel a planned concert in Israel. She followed other artists who have cancelled performances, including Elvis Costello, Lauryn Hill and Gorillaz.

The Argentinian decision has prompted concern that it could become the model for similar efforts in the future. One immediate target could be Israel’s scheduled hosting next year of the Eurovision song contest.

Argentina decided to cancel the match in the run-up to this month’s World Cup in Russia after Israel insisted on moving it from the Mediterranean port city of Haifa, home to Israel’s best stadium, to Jerusalem as part of the Jewish state’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Tickets for the Jerusalem match had sold out quickly.

The Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and Argentinian media said the decision was in response to a series of unidentified “threats and provocations” against star player Lionel Messi and his wife.

“Since they announced they would play against Israel, various terror groups have been sending messages and letters to players on the Argentina national team and their relatives, including clear threats to hurt them and their families. These included video clips of dead children,” said hard-line Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, whom many hold responsible for Israel’s public relations fiasco.

Ms. Regev was referring to video clips that had been circulated by the Islamic State, including pictures of Mr. Messi in an orange jumpsuit and ones that insinuated his beheading. A Palestinian campaign against playing the match in Jerusalem involved images of Mr. Messi’s white and sky-blue striped jersey stained with red paint resembling blood and threats to burn Messi posters.

The Palestine Football Federation (PFF) had early called on its Argentinian counterpart to cancel the match because of the move to Jerusalem, which it described as a violation of world soccer body FIFA’s principle of a separation of sports and politics.

PFF president Jibril Rajoub also urged Palestinian fans to burn pictures of Messi and replicas of his shirt if he played in the match in Jerusalem.

“He’s a big symbol so we are going to target him personally, and we call on all to burn his picture and his shirt and to abandon him. We still hope that Messi will not come,” Mr Rajoub said after talks with Argentinian diplomats based in the West Bank city of Ramallah prior to the cancellation.

It was FIFA’s ban on political interference in soccer that persuaded Argentine President Mauricio Macri to reject a request by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to pre-empt the cancellation of the match.

The Israeli failure to have the match played in Jerusalem strengthens not only the BDS movement.

It also boosts Mr. Rajoub’s so far unsuccessful effort to persuade FIFA and the International Olympic Committee to impose sanctions against Israel because of the Israeli settlements in occupied territory and travel restrictions on Palestinian players and other allegedly security-related measures that hinder the development of Palestinian soccer.

Mr. Rajoub and a liberal Israeli newspaper put responsibility for the soccer fiasco at the doorstep of Ms. Regev.

“She’s the main culprit for legitimizing Argentina’s decision not to come… Beyond squandering millions in taxpayer money, in forcing the game to move to Jerusalem, Regev displayed gross intervention… If the game had stayed in Haifa, it would have happened… There’s a saying that a thousand wise men can’t rescue a coin thrown into a well by a fool…. All it takes is one fool to burn down a forest,” said Haaretz reporter Uzi Dann in an article entitled, Who Needs BDS: Israel Scores Spectacular Own Goal in Argentina Soccer Fiasco.

“Instead of soccer, Miri Regev wanted politics and she got politics… It’s a great farce that gives immense momentum to the BDS campaign against Israel”, added Itzik Shmuli, a centre-left member of the Israeli parliament.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin appeared to echo the sentiment by saying that “the politicization of the Argentinean move worries me greatly” even if he blamed the Argentinians for involving politics by cancelling the match.

Assertions by Israeli officials that the Argentinian decision had handed a victory to terrorism may go down well with hard-line public opinion in Israel as well as supporters of Israel across the globe but is unlikely to help Israel forge bridges to opponents of its policies or facilitate its efforts to get a broader international buy-in of its insistence that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of the Jewish state.

Israeli opposition leader Avi Gabbay pinpointed the potential fall-out of the cancellation of the match when he warned on Twitter: “We just absorbed a shot in the face. This is not just sports. This, unfortunately, could start an international tsunami.”


Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and co-host of the New Books in Middle Eastern Studies podcast. James is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title as well as Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario,  Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa, and the forthcoming China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s red card and own goal

By Yvonne Ridley | MEMO | June 7, 2018

Rotem Kamer, the vice president of the Israeli Football Association, has accused Palestinians of waging “football terror” after Argentina called off a friendly match in Jerusalem. Argentina’s move came after global protests fuelled by the killing and wounding of thousands of Palestinians taking part in the Gaza Strip’s Great Return March protests.

“We are seeing it as crossing a red line and we cannot accept it,” blustered Kamer, without a hint of irony. He and other key figures in the Zionist regime are outraged at the cancellation, especially after tickets for Saturday’s match against Israel sold out within 20 minutes. Criticising human rights and pro-Palestinian protesters, IFA Chairman Ofer Eini stormed, “The aim was to harm our country through soccer.” In fact, the aim of such civil action is to reverse Israeli apartheid and colonial oppression of the people of Palestine.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin described the news as “a sad morning for fans” and added his concern about the “politicisation” of Argentina’s decision. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, tried in vain to salvage the game in a telephone call to Argentinian President Mauricio Macri. His appeal was unsuccessful. Far-right Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused Argentina of folding to “Israeli-hating anti-Semitic terrorist supporters.”

Netanyahu’s government is fuming after being denied the chance to showcase Jerusalem as its “undivided capital”. The decision by Netanyahu to switch the game from Haifa to the Teddy Kollek Stadium built on the site of an ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village, Al-Malha, clearly backfired. It was the switching of venues that many believe prompted Argentina to step back and cancel the match. Culture and sports minister Miri Regev lashed out at critics by claiming ludicrously that, “This is the same terrorism that caused the Munich massacre.”

However, Hugo Moyano, Second Vice President of Argentina’s Football Association (AFA), called the cancellation positive: “It was the right thing to do, it was not worth it,” he told Argentina’s Radio 10. “What happens in these places where so many people are killed cannot be accepted by any human being.” The decision was also welcomed by Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, one of the country’s highest-profile players, in an interview with the ESPN television network on Tuesday.

It must now be sinking in with Netanyahu, Rivlin, Eini, his sidekick Kamer and Regev that the Zionist State’s murderous policies have created this massive own goal. Furthermore, their self-righteous indignation and the absurd description of the cancellation as “terrorism” (Israel crying wolf again) conveniently overlooks the fact that Israel has itself crossed many red lines and introduced real terror on many levels when it comes to football, no matter whether it’s the professional game we are talking about, amateur matches or simply a knockabout among friends on the beach. Its murderous acts deserve much more than a paltry red card.

Here are just a few incidents to refresh Israeli memories of what real terror in football means:

13 January, 2009: Three Palestine national team players were killed in separate attacks during Israel’s military offensive against civilians in Gaza called Operation Cast Lead. Targeted within 72 hours of each other, Ayman Alkurd, who also played for his club Falasteen Al-Ryadi, was the first to be killed. Like his team-mates, his home was hit in an air strike. Fellow footballers Wajeh Moshtahe and Shadi Sbakhe, were killed in later Israeli strikes.

30 January 2013: Dzhabrail Aslanbekovich Kadiyev and Zaur Umarovich Sadayev were signed by the notorious Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem. Angry racist fans who regularly chant “Death to all Arabs” torched the club’s offices in protest at the Muslim signings. The club’s fans boast loudly that it has no Arab players. It has also changed its name to “Beitar Trump Jerusalem” in recognition of the US President’s controversial decision to move the US Embassy to the city and recognise it as the capital of Israel.

31 January 2014: Adam Jamous and Jawahar Halbiyeh live in Abu Dis in occupied Jerusalem. As they headed home after football practice they were shot in the legs without warning. Jawahar was shot seven times in his left leg, three times in his right leg, and once in the hand, while Adam was shot three times: twice in his left thigh, and another in his right. Doctors confirmed that neither of them will ever play football again.

9 July 2014: Avid football fans gathered at a beachside cafe in the Al-‘Izbeh area of Khan Younis to watch a FIFA World Cup qualifier between Argentina and the Netherlands. Israel had launched yet another war on Gaza two days earlier, blitzing 750 targets, but this area was not classed as a military zone and the young Palestinians settled down to watch the match in the belief that they were safe. Half an hour later, at 11.30pm, the cafe was shelled. Those killed were: Ahmed Astal, 18; Suleiman Astal, 16; Musa, 16, a cousin of the Astals; Mohammed Ganan, 24; Ibrahim Ganan, 25; Hamdi Sawalli, 20; Ibrahim Sawalli, 28; Salim Sawalli; 23 and Mohammed Fawana, 18.

16 July 2014: Just after 4pm and in the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing football on the beach in Gaza City were killed after an Israeli gunboat fired two shells at them. Aged between seven and 11, two were named Mohammad, one was Zakaria and the youngest was Ahed. All were members of the extended Bakr family. Three others were also injured and given first aid by international journalists who witnessed the atrocity. Hamad Bakr, aged 13, had shrapnel in his chest; his cousin Motasem, 11, suffered head and leg injuries; and Mohammad Abu Watfah, 21, was hit by shrapnel in his stomach.

31 March 2018: This was the day when Israeli snipers killed 17 peaceful protesters at the Great Return March in the Gaza Strip and injured hundreds more. Those wounded included Palestinian footballer Mohammad Khalil whose career was ended after he was shot by an Israeli soldier in both legs. A player for Al-Salah FC, he was shot in his knee by a so-called butterfly bullet which exited one leg and hit his other knee, breaking the bone. He will never play another game of football again and is likely to be bedridden for months.

13 April 2018: Young footballer Attallah Fayoumi, 17, suffered a devastating leg injury after being shot. The wounds required urgent surgery but Israeli forces refused him permission to leave Gaza for a West Bank or Israeli hospital. As the seriousness of his condition worsened doctors were forced to amputate his leg, shattering his dreams of ever becoming a professional footballer.

There are those who believe that Israel deliberately targets Palestinian footballers and other athletes who draw favourable, international attention to Palestine as ambassadors of their sport. Whether traveling abroad from Gaza or moving across the West Bank they are subjected to Israeli interrogations at checkpoints and boundary crossings. In addition to movement restrictions, Israeli forces are suspected of deliberately targeting Palestinian footballers with live ammunition; the evidence is, indeed, mounting.

The Israel Defense Forces boasted during the Great Return March that, “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.” The army then quickly deleted its incriminating tweet as more evidence of war crimes by its soldiers came to light, but not before a copy was made by the human rights group B’Tselem.

According to Sami Abu Sneima, head of surgery at the European Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip, footballer Attallah Fayoumi is not the only case of a leg amputation since the peaceful protests began at the end of March. “Many people who were shot with live ammunition have had to have their upper or lower limbs amputated,” he explained.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza says the majority of injuries being attended to are in the lower limbs, and while most of the wounds are considered serious, hospitals run on a case-by-case basis. So far, 123 protesters have been killed, with more than 14,000 wounded, according to Palestinian hospital staff. At least 32 people, many of them below 25 years old, have had limbs amputated.

So while Israeli FA chief Ofer Eini claims that the move to get the Argentinian match cancelled was a deliberate attempt to harm the Zionist State he should reflect that no one was killed or injured in the process, unlike the heroic Palestinians taking part in the peaceful resistance of the Great Return March. If he and the thousands of Israeli football fans who’ve lost out really want to vent their anger and frustration at anyone at all, it should be Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Argentine President to Be Tried for Alleged Jewish Center Bombing Cover-Up

Sputnik – 07.03.2018

Former Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner and 11 other senior members of her government will face a public trial over their alleged involvement in covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio ruled on Monday.

According to Bonadio, the investigative phase of the case has been completed and it has been referred to a higher level court. Although no trial date has yet been set, at least four of those accused have already been detained, Al-Jazeera reported.

The Argentine-Israelite Mutual Aid (AMIA) organization was a community center established in Buenos Aires in 1984 to safeguard the values of the Jewish community in Argentina. On July 18, 1994, a van filled with 300 kg of explosives rammed into the center and exploded, killing 85 people and injuring more than 300.

Kirchner, along with former Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and other members of the 2007-2015 administration, are accused of abuse of power and obstruction for their signing of a 2013 agreement with the government of Iran to allegedly conceal the role of Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing. Kircher and other members of her government signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran that, it is alleged, promised to cancel the establishment of a “truth commission” to probe the bombing in exchange for trade deals on oil and other resources.

The case against Kirchner and others was opened in January 2015 by prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was looking into the incident at the time and claimed that the memorandum signed between Kirchner’s government and Iranian officials was an effort to hide the involvement of Iran and Hezbollah in the deadly attack.

The memorandum of understanding signed between Argentina and Iran to jointly investigate the bombing is officially called the “Memorandum of understanding between the Government of Argentina and the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran on the issues related to the terrorist attack against AMIA headquarter in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994.” The memorandum was voided in December 2015, after the inauguration of current Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

Four days after Nisman opened the case, he was discovered dead in his apartment with a bullet wound in his head. Last year, an investigation led by Argentina’s border police agency asserted that Nisman was murdered, challenging earlier assertions that Nisman had committed suicide, the New Jersey Herald reported.

Kirchner has repeatedly denied the accusations made against her and has welcomed a public trial to prove the “arbitrariness of the accusation,” the New Jersey Herald reported. Iran has also denied allegations that it was involved in the bombing.

This isn’t the only legal case in which Kirchner is embroiled right now.

In December 2016, Kircher was indicted on fraud and corruption charges over the “deliberate seizure of funds” intended for public road works. According to the ruling, the defendants are accused of conspiring to illegally take taxpayer dollars meant for public works projects between 2003 and 2015. She has denied the charges and has accused Macri of using the courts to persecute her. No arrest warrant has been issued yet.

March 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 1 Comment

Argentina: Fernandez Brands ‘Iranian Pact’ Allegations ‘Arbitrary,’ Demands Immediate Trial

teleSUR | February 20, 2018

Argentine senator and former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has requested a public trial be held “immediately” to “expose the arbitrariness of the accusation (against her) to the whole society.” Fernandez is being prosecuted for an alleged cover-up of Iranian officials and citizens accused of perpetrating a terror attack in 1994.

In July 1994 the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), a Jewish community center, was attacked with a car bomb killing 85 people and injuring 300 more.

In a legal recourse sent Monday to judge Claudio Bonadio by Fernandez’s lawyers, Alejandro Rua and Graciana Peñafort, they demand the investigation be elevated to a public trial.

Judge Bonadio prosecuted the former head of state and other former government officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Hector Timerman, for concealment and treason.

The treason charge was dropped in a second instance hearing, but the National Chamber of Criminal and Correctional Appeals confirmed the prosecution of the defendants for concealment arguing they covered up Iranians accused of the AMIA attack through a Memorandum of Understanding with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government.

The memorandum, which would have created a Truth Commission to investigate the case, was never applied because it wasn’t ratified by the Iranian parliament.

The case against Fernandez was opened after federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman formally accused her and other politicians in 2013 of covering up Iranian suspects. Nisman was found dead in 2015, before testifying.

A federal judge dismissed the case arguing the minimum conditions to launch a criminal investigation were not met. According to Pagina 12, a local newspaper, five prominent Argentine jurists agreed that there was no crime in Nisman’s accusation. However, the dismissal was revoked last year after an appeal by the Delegation of Israeli Argentine Associations.

In the document elevated to the court by Fernandez’s lawyers, they claim Bonadio’s conclusions “are false and are contradicted by the collected proof,” and clarify they will not request the dismissal because their client “does not expect Justice” from Bonadio’s court.

February 20, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

US To Build New Military Base in Northern Argentina

teleSUR | February 11, 2017

Argentine President Mauricio Macri is also letting in more DEA, FBI, and U.S. military forces to control narcotrafficking and terrorism within the country.

Argentina is allowing the U.S. to build a new military base at its northern border with Brazil and Paraguay. Officials of the South American country also announced that it will work with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the triple border “to analyze where drugs are coming from.”

Argentina’s Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich announced in Washington that the Mauricio Macri administration is going to allow the U.S. to build a military base in Posadas, Misiones, bordering Brazil and Paraguay.

Bullrich says her government is creating “an analysis center with Paraguay and Brazil (and the U.S.) to figure out where, how and with whom narco traffickers operate” at the triple border region.

This “task force,” as its being called, will operate in conjunction with the DEA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Southern Command, which watches over U.S. operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This will be the second task force against drug trafficking in Argentina. The first one was installed in Salta province located near the borders with Bolivia and Chile during the Barack Obama administration.

Bullrich told the press that the DEA initially wanted Argentine officials to send drug samples to the U.S. so the agency could analyze them for their origin. She said this would be against Argentine law and that officials within the country would analyze the drugs.

The U.S. and Argentine functionaries also discussed the suspected presence of Lebanese Hezbollah, an organization the U.S. government considers a terrorist group, at the border shared by Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

“It’s important for our government to collaborate (with the U.S.) and that they collaborate with us. We’re going to work together at the triple border regarding terrorism. We think we’ll have DEA and other agencies there to better understand what’s happening in the region,” Bullrich assured the press.

The minister of security also met with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials in Washington to discuss their training of Argentine Federal Police.

After leaving Washington Bullrich flew to Miami to meet with the chief of U.S. Southern Command, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd and the Defense Minister of Argentina, Oscar Aguad.

Admiral Tidd was recently in Colombia meeting with its military forces.

Human rights organizations are protesting the increased U.S. military presence in Latin American and the Caribbean.

The former Argentine ambassador to Venezuela and the United Kingdom, Alicia Castro, tweeted of Bullrich’s proposed policies, “Do you want to see how the U.S. … ‘combats terrorism’? Look at the Middle East devastated. And ‘combating narcotrafficking’? Look at the cartels and assassinations in Colombia y Mexico, the places where the DEA intervenes.”

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 3 Comments

Fernandez Appeals Trial Over Alleged Bomb Attack Cover Up

teleSUR – January 8, 2018

In December, a judge called on Fernandez de Kirchner to testify in an investigation on the alleged cover-up of a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, a move Fernandez said is politically motivated.

Former President Cristina Fernandez appealed on Monday her trial and the preventive prison ordered against her in December after she was accused of covering up Iran’s alleged role in the bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center in 1994.

Preventive detention was eventually not applied in the case of Fernandez, because of her position as a senator, but it was in the case of former Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, also facing similar charges, Graciana Peñafort, Fernandez’ lawyer, told EFE.

Fernandez and 14 others were called to testify on Oct. 26, four days after the country’s legislative elections, in which she’s running for a Senate seat. The judge has also restricted them from leaving the country.

They are accused of covering up Iran’s alleged role in the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, AMIA, on July 18, 1994, which left 85 people dead.

The prosecutor who initially made the accusation, Alberto Nisman, alleged that this was done to protect growing trade relations between Argentina and the Islamic Republic and to clinch a grains-for-oil deal with Tehran.

Nisman was found shot dead in the bathroom of his apartment, in what many claimed to be a suicide, on the day he was scheduled to address the country’s Senate on the investigation.

In 2015, Nisman’s accusations were dismissed as baseless and his findings proved to have major loopholes. Courts have repeatedly dismissed allegations of conspiracy and haven’t found evidence to formally investigate the former president.

Fernandez, whose late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, ordered the investigation into the AMIA bombing, has alleged that Jaime Stiusso, a former spy at the now-disbanded Intelligence Secretariat, fed Nisman false information to undermine her government.

She said she has been a victim of “an evident judicial prosecution” by the current government that has issued “indiscriminate complaints” against her. Despite these attacks, she said she does not fear a prison sentence.

Fernandez’s government said Nisman was murdered by agents from the Intelligence Secretariat — a holdover institution from Argentina’s Dirty War era — which was dissolved immediately after his death. A report by Reuters, however, revealed that President Mauricio Macri’s government wants to revive the agency, sparking fears of a return to authoritarian rule in the country.

Meanwhile, Nisman’s former wife, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, insists that the prosecutor was killed by his colleague, Diego Lagomarsino, over a money dispute.

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Argentina: Milagro Sala Gets More Jail Time While Convicted Torturer Gets House Arrest

teleSUR – January 6, 2018

Just hours after 21 simultaneous raids on the home of Argentine Indigenous leader Milagro Sala, a provincial court ordered Friday a one-year extraordinary extension of her pre-trial detention. Sala is 21 days short of serving two years in prison.

The political leader is being investigated for alleged illicit association, fraud and extortion, crimes she was charged with days after being detained for allegedly instigating violence during a protest she didn’t attend.

Sala was initially arrested on Jan. 16, 2016 for an “escrache”, a form of protest that seeks to publicly shame someone by congregating around their homes, against the province governor of Jujuy, an ally of President Mauricio Macri. Shortly after on Jan. 29 of that same year Sala was cleared of the instigation charges, but the judge determined that she would remain in detention over new charges of illicit association, fraud and extortion, which she is currently facing.

According to Sala’s lawyer the main reason for the extension is that her defense presented “innumerable” appeals and nullities. “This lacks sense,” her lawyers contended because “everything presented is within the framework of the right to legal defence.”

The one-year extension is not the first arbitrary decision made by Jujuy’s judiciary. In October 2016, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention qualified her detention as arbitrary, a decision backed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which urged Argentina’s government to release her.

The Organization of American States and human rights’ groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also demanded her immediate release to no avail.

Milagro Sala is a renowned activist who is seen as President Macri’s first political prisoner. She created the Organization Tupac Amaru, which provides housing and other services to informal workers and popular sectors, she served as an Argentine legislator between 2013 and 2015, and was later elected by the Front for Victory Party, led by former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, to Mercosur’s Parliament.

News of the one-year extension to Sala’s illegitimate imprisonment were accompanied by news of thousands of Argentines protesting the federal ruling that granted house arrest for convicted murderer and torturer Miguel Etchecolatz, who was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity when he worked as a top police officer under the brutal military dictatorship of the 1970s.

He is not the only one. According to Argentina’s Office of Crimes Against Humanity, 549 of people convicted for crimes against humanity in Argentina are currently under house arrest.

Social leaders and opponents of the current right wing government argue that in Macri’s Argentina social and political activists are repressed, prosecuted, and disappeared while those who repress and abuse their power are granted favors.

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Argentine FM put under house arrest, says AMIA probe lacks evidence

Press TV – December 23, 2017

Argentina’s former foreign minister Hector Timerman says the protracted investigation into the 1994 AMIA bombing incident lacks any convincing evidence against alleged suspects.

In July 1994, a car bomb exploded at the building of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, also known as the AMIA, in the Argentinean capital, Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring 300 others.

Israel accused Iran of masterminding the attack, a claim strongly denied by the Islamic Republic.

On December 6, Judge Claudio Bonadio indicted ex-Argentinean president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Timerman, and 10 others for “treason” as part of a probe launched in January 2015, when prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused several officials of allegedly conspiring with Iran to cover up responsibility for the 1994 bombing. Days later, he was found dead in his home. Courts have yet to determine whether Nisman’s death was suicide or murder.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the “far-fetched” indictment offered no evidence that would seem to substantiate the charges brought against the Argentinean officials.

In an article for The New York Times, titled “I’m a political prisoner in Argentina” and published earlier this week, Timerman said he had been put under house arrest and stressed that he was “a victim of political persecution.”

“Twenty-three years after the attack, nobody has been convicted and few facts have been established other than that it occurred,” he wrote of the bombing incident.

Timerman also questioned the “treason” charges, saying it had no relevant modern precedent in Argentina.

“For an Argentine citizen to commit treason, the country must be in a state of war. Argentina and Iran are not, and never have been, at war,” he said.

He highlighted the fact that while Iran denied any involvement in the AMIA incident, the Islamic Republic had “agreed to cooperate in the case after a multiyear diplomatic campaign led by the successive Kirchner governments.”

The former Argentinean foreign minister further voiced concern about his health condition aggravated by cancer, saying, “Preventing me from getting timely medical attention is like condemning me to death.”

“For now, the AMIA case languishes, as it has for decades. And we who in good faith sought justice are the targets of the anger of the Jewish community and many families of the victims,” he pointed out.

Israel is believed to be involved in strong lobbying in Argentina. Israeli media reported in October that pro-Israel groups in the United States were activating a campaign regarding the AMIA incident.

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

In Latin America the Pendulum Swings to the Right

By James Petras | Axis of Logic | December 20, 2017

Introduction

Clearly the pendulum has swung to the right in the past few years. Numerous questions arise. What kind of right? How far right? How did they gain power? What is their appeal? How sustainable are the right wing regimes? Who are their international allies and adversaries? Having taken power, how have the rightist regimes performed and by what criteria is success or failure measured?

While the left has been in retreat, they still retain power in some states. Numerous questions arise. What is the nature of the left today? Why have some regimes continued while others have declined or been vanquished? Can the left recover its influence and under what conditions and with what programmatic appeal.

We will proceed by discussing the character and policies of the right and left and their direction. We will conclude by analyzing the dynamics of right and left policies, alignments and future perspectives.

Right-Radicalism: The Face of Power

The right wing regimes are driven by intent to implement structural changes: they look to reordering the nature of the state, economic and social relations and international political and economic alignments.

Radical right regimes rule in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras and Chile.

In several countries extreme right regimes have made abrupt changes, while in others they build on incremental changes constituted over time.

The changes in Argentina and Brazil represent examples of extreme regressive transformations directed at reversing income distribution, property relations, international alignments and military strategies. The goal is to redistribute income upwardly, to re-concentrate wealth, property-ownership upward and externally and to subscribe to imperial doctrine. These pluto-populist regimes are run by rulers, who openly speak to and for very powerful domestic and overseas investors and are generous in their distribution of subsidies and state resources – a kind of ‘populism for the plutocrats’.

The rise and consolidation of extremist right regimes in Argentina and Brazil are based on several decisive interventions, combining elections and violence, purges and co-optation, mass media propaganda and deep corruption.

Mauricio Macri was backed by the major media, led by the Clarin conglomerate, as well as by the international financial press (Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.). Wall Street speculators and Washington’s overseas political apparatus subsidized his electoral campaign.

Macri, his family, cronies and financial accomplices, transferred public resources to private accounts. Provincial political bosses and their patronage operations joined forces with the wealthy financial sectors of Buenos Aires to secure votes in the Capital.

Upon his election, the Mauricio Macri regime transferred five billion dollars to the notorious Wall Street speculator, Paul Singer, signed off on multi-billion dollar, high interest loans, increased utility fees six fold, privatized oil, gas and public lands and fired tens of thousands of public sector employees.

Macri organized a political purge and arrest of opposition political leaders, including former President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner. Several provincial activists were jailed or even assassinated.

Macri is a success story from the perspective of Wall Street, Washington and the Porteño business elite. Wages and salaries have declined for Argentine workers. Utility companies secured their highest profits ever. Bankers doubled interest rate returns. Importers became millionaires. Agro-business incomes skyrocketed as their taxes were reduced.

From the perspective of Argentina’s small and medium business enterprises President Macri’s regime has been a disaster: Many thousands have gone bankrupt because of high utility costs and harsh competition from cheap Chinese imports. In addition to the drop in wages and salaries, unemployment and under employment doubled and the rate of extreme poverty tripled

The economy, as a whole, floundered. Debt financing failed to promote growth, productivity, innovation and exports. Foreign investment experienced easy entry, big profits and fast departure. The promise of prosperity was narrowly based around a quarter of the population. To weaken the expected public discontent – the regime shut down independent media voices, unleashed thugs against critics and co-opted pliable gangster trade union bosses to break strikes.

Public protests and strikes multiplied but were ignored and repressed. Popular leaders and activists are stigmatized by the Macri-financed media hacks.

Barring a major social upheaval or economic collapse, Macri will exploit the fragmentation of the opposition to secure re-election as a model gangster for Wall Street. Macri is prepared to sign off on US military bases, EU free trade agreements, and greater police liaison with Israel’s sinister secret police, Mossad.

Brazil has followed Macri’s far right policies.

Seizing power through a phony impeachment operation, the mega-swindler Michel Temer immediately proceeded to dismantle the entire public sector, freeze salaries for twenty years, and extend retirement age for pensioners by five to ten years. Temer led over a thousand bribe-taking elected officials in the multi-billion dollar pillage of the state oil company and every major public infrastructure project.

Coup, corruption and contempt were hidden by a system granting Congressional impunity until independent prosecutors investigated, charged and jailed several dozen politicians, but not Temer. Despite 95% public disapproval, President Temer remains in power with the total backing of Wall Street, the Pentagon and Sao Paolo bankers.

Mexico, the long-standing narco-assassin state, continues to elect one thieving PRI-PAN political regime after another. Billions in illicit profits flows to the overseas tax havens of money laundering bankers, US and Canadian mine owners. Mexican and international manufacturers extracted double digit profits sent, to overseas accounts and tax havens. Mexico broke its own miserable record in elite tax avoidance, while extending low wage-tax ‘free trade zones’. Millions of Mexicans have fled across the border to escape predatory gangster capitalism. The flow of hundreds of millions of dollars of profits by US and Canadian multi-nationals was a result of the ‘unequal exchange’ between US capital and Mexican labor, held in place by Mexico’s fraudulent electoral system.

In at least two well-known presidential elections in 1988 and 2006, left of center candidates, Cuahtemoc Cardenas and Manuel Lopez Obrador, won with healthy margins of victory, only to have their victories stolen by fraudulent vote counts.

Peru’s rightist mining regimes, alternated between the overtly bloody Fujimori dictatorship and corrupt electoral regimes. What is consistent in Peruvian politics is the handover of mineral resources to foreign capital, pervasive corruption and the brutal exploitation of natural resources by US and Canadian mining and drilling corporations in regions inhabited by Indian communities.

The extreme right ousted elected left-of-center governments, including President Fernando Lugo in Paraguay (2008-2012) and Manuel Zelaya in Honduras (2006-2009), with the active support and approval of the US State Department. Narco-presidents now wield power by means of repression, including violence against popular movements and the killing of scores of peasant and urban activists. This year, a grossly rigged election in Honduras ensured the continuity of narco-regimes and US military bases.

The spread of the extreme right from Central America and Mexico to the Southern Cone provides the groundwork for the re-assertion of US centered military alliances and regional trade pacts.

The rise of the extreme right ensures the most lucrative privatizations and the highest rates of return on overseas bank loans. The far right is quick to crack down on popular dissent and electoral challenges with violence. At most the far right allows a few rotating elites with nationalist pretensions to provide a façade of electoral democracy.

The Shift from the Center-Left to the Center-Right

The political swings to the far right have had profound ripple effects – as nominal center-left regimes have swung to the center-right.

Two regimes have moved decisively from the center-left to the center-right: Uruguay under Tabare Vazquez of the ‘Broad Front’ and Ecuador with the recent election of Lenin Moreno of PAIS Alliance. In both cases the groundwork was established via accommodations with oligarchs of the traditional right parties. The previous center-left regimes of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica succeeded in pushing for public investments and social reforms. They combined their leftist rhetoric while capitalizing on the global high prices and high demand for agro-mineral exports to finance their reforms. With the decline in world prices and the public exposure of corruption, the newly elected center-left parties nominated and elected center –right candidates who turned anti-corruption campaigns into vehicles for embracing neoliberal economic policies. The center-right presidents rejected economic nationalism, encouraged large scale foreign investment and implemented fiscal austerity programs appealing to the upper middle class and ruling class.

The center-right regimes marginalized the leftist sectors of their parties. In the case of Ecuador, they split the party, with the newly elected president realigning international policies away from the left (Bolivia, Venezuela) and toward the US and the far right– while shedding the legacy of their predecessor in terms of popular social programs.

With the decline in export prices the center-right regimes offered generous subsidies to foreign investors in agriculture and forestry in Uruguay, and mine owners and exporters in Ecuador.

The newly converted center-right regimes joined with their established counterparts in Chile and joined the Trans Pacific Partnership with Asian nations, the EU and the US.

The center-right sought to manipulate the social rhetoric of the previous center-left regimes in order to retain popular voters while securing support from the business elite.

The Left Moves to the Center Left

Bolivia, under Evo Morales, has demonstrated an exceptional capacity for sustaining growth, securing re-election and neutralizing the opposition by combining a radical left foreign policy with a moderate, mixed public-private export economy. While Bolivia condemns US imperialism, major oil, gas, metals and lithium multi-nationals have invested heavily in Bolivia. Evo Morales has moderated his ideological posture shifting from revolutionary socialism to a local version of liberal democratic cultural politics.

Evo Morales’ embrace of a mixed economy has neutralized any overt hostility from the US and the new far-right regimes in the region

Though remaining politically independent, Bolivia has integrated its exports with the far right neoliberal regimes in the region. President Evo Morales’s moderate economic policies, diversity of mineral exports, fiscal responsibility, incremental social reforms, and support from well-organized social movements has led to political stability and social continuity despite the volatility of commodity prices.

Venezuela’s left regimes under President Hugo Chavez and Maduro have followed a divergent course with harsh consequences. Totally dependent on extraordinary global oil prices, Venezuela proceeded to finance generous welfare programs at home and abroad. Under President Chavez leadership, Venezuela adopted a consequential anti-imperialist policy successfully opposing a US centered free trade agreement (LAFTA) and launching an anti-imperialist alternative, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).

Advancing social welfare and financing overseas allies without diversifying the economy and markets and increasing production was predicated on continuous high returns on a single volatile export – oil.

Unlike Bolivia under President Evo Morales, who built his power with the support of an organized, class conscious and disciplined mass base, Venezuela counted on an amorphous electoral alliance, which included slum dwellers, defectors from the corrupt traditional parties (across the spectrum) and opportunists intent on grabbing office and perks. Political education was reduced to mouthing slogans, cheering the President and distributing consumer goods.

Venezuelan technocrats and political loyalists occupied highly lucrative positions, especially in the petroleum sector and were not held to account by workers’ councils or competent state auditors. Corruption was rampant and billions of dollars of oil wealth was stolen. This pillage was tolerated because of the huge influx of petro-dollars due to historic high prices and high demand. This led to a bizarre situation where the regime spoke of socialism and funded massive social programs, while the major banks, food distributors, importers and transportation operators were controlled by hostile private oligarchs who pocketed enormous profits while manufacturing shortages and promoting inflation. Despite the problems, the Venezuelan voters gave the regime a series of electoral victories over the US proxies and oligarch politicians. This tended to create overconfidence in the regime that the Bolivarian socialist model was irrevocable.

The precipitous drop of oil prices, global demand, and export earnings led to the decline of imports and consumption. Unlike Bolivia, foreign reserves declined, the rampant theft of billions was belatedly uncovered and the US-backed rightwing opposition returned to violent ‘direct action’ and sabotage while hoarding essential food, consumer goods and medicine. Shortages led to widespread black marketeering. Public sector corruption and hostile opposition control of the private banking, retail and industrial sectors, backed by the US, paralyzed the economy. The economy has been in a free-fall and electoral support has eroded. Despite the regime’s severe problems, the majority of low income voters correctly understood that their chances of surviving under the US-backed oligarchic opposition would be worse and the embattled left continued to win gubernatorial and municipal elections up through 2017.

Venezuela’s economic vulnerability and negative growth rate led to increased indebtedness. The opposition of the extreme right regimes in Latin America and Washington’s economic sanctions has intensified food shortages and increased unemployment.

In contrast, Bolivia effectively defeated US-elite coup plots between 2008-10. The Santa Cruz-based oligarchs faced the clear choice of either sharing profits and social stability by signing off on social pacts (workers/peasants, capital and state) with the Morales government or facing an alliance of the government and the militant labor movement prepared to expropriate their holdings. The elites chose economic collaboration while pursuing low intensity electoral opposition.

Conclusion

Left opposition is in retreat from state power. Opposition to the extreme right is likely to grow, given the harsh, uncompromising assault on income, pensions, the rise in the cost of living, severe reductions in social programs and attacks on private and public sector employment. The extreme right has several options, none of which offer any concessions to the left. They have chosen to heighten police state measures (the Macri solution); they attempt to fragment the opposition by negotiating with the opportunist trade union and political party bosses; and they reshuffle degraded rulers with new faces to continue policies (the Brazilian solution).

The formerly revolutionary left parties, movements and leaders have evolved toward electoral politics, protests and job action. So far they do not represent an effective political option at the national level

The center-left, especially in Brazil and Ecuador, is in a strong position with dynamic political leaders (Lula DaSilva and Correa) but face trumped up charges by right-wing prosecutors who intend to exclude them from running for office. Unless the center-left reformers engage in prolonged large-scale mass activity, the far right will effectively undermine their political recovery.

The US imperial state has temporarily regained proxy regimes, military allies and economic resources and markets. China and the European Union profit from optimal economic conditions offered by the far right regimes. The US military program has effectively neutralized the radical opposition in Colombia, and the Trump regime has intensified and imposed new sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba.

The Trump regime’s ‘triumphalist’ celebration is premature – no decisive strategic victory has taken place, despite important short term advances in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. However large outflows of profits, major transfers of ownership to foreign investors, favorable tax rates, low tariff and trade policies have yet to generate new productive facilities, sustainable growth and to ensure economic fundamentals. Maximizing profits and ignoring investments in productivity and innovation to promote domestic markets and demand has bankrupted tens of thousands of medium and small local commercial and manufacturing firms. This has led to rising chronic unemployment and underemployment. Marginalization and social polarization without political leadership is growing. Such conditions led to ‘spontaneous’ uprisings in Argentina 2001, Ecuador 2000 and Bolivia 2005.

The far right in power may not evoke a rebellion of the far left but its policies can certainly undermine the stability and continuity of the current regimes. At a minimum, it can lead to some version of the center left and restoration of the welfare and employment regimes now in tatters.

In the meantime the far right will press ahead with their perverse agenda combining deep reversals of social welfare, the degradation of national sovereignty and economic stagnation with a formidable profit maximizing performance.

James Petras’s most recent book: 
THE END OF THE REPUBLIC AND THE DELUSION OF EMPIRE

December 20, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NYT’s Argentina Op-Ed Fails to Disclose Authors’ Financial Conflict of Interest

paul-singer-
Photo: Paul Singer
By Eli Clifton | LobeLog | December 13, 2017

On Tuesday, Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz, two executives at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), took to the op-ed pages of The New York Times to celebrate last week’s announcement that Argentina’s former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, would face treason charges for her alleged role in covering up Iran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aries, killing 85 people.

But their op-ed fails to disclose a serious financial conflict of interest underpinning their attacks on Kirchner. One of FDD’s biggest donors financed a multi-year public diplomacy campaign against Kirchner all while attempting to collect $2 billion in debt from Argentina.

Indeed, legitimate questions exist about the bombing and suspicious 2015 death of Argentine Special Investigator Alberto Nisman who claimed in 2006 that Iran ordered the bombing. But Kirchner’s supporters fear that Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is using judicial reforms and charges against Kirchner to remove his political opposition.

FDD has been eager to promote Nisman’s work. The group also runs AlbertoNisman.org “to honor the legacy of late Argentine Prosecutor Natalio Alberto Nisman and his tireless pursuit of justice.” FDD continues this work despite serious questions about large unexplained deposits to Nisman’s bank account.

Moreover, their rush to denigrate Kirchner omits a major conflict of interest in Dubowitz and Dershowitz’s funding. Between 2007 and 2011, hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer contributed $3.6 million to FDD. That coincided with his battle to force Argentina to repay the full amount of the sovereign debt held by Singer’s firm, Elliott Management, a payout that Kirchner rejected. Ninety-three percent of Argentina’s creditors accepted losses, but Singer was one of the few holdouts. Having bought up Argentina’s defaulted bonds at pennies on the dollar, he had then sued the country for payment in full.

Singer embarked on a 15-year legal battle to collect on Argentina’s debt payments by attempting to seize Argentine government assets around the world, including a 100-meter three-masted tall ship when it docked in Ghana). After financing public diplomacy campaigns against Kirchner, Singer’s firm walked away with approximately 75 percent of what he was owed, $2.4 billion. The deal, finalized last year, was largely credited to Mauricio Macri, Kirchner’s successor.

Groups receiving Singer’s donations kept up a steady drumbeat of attacks on Kirchner and sought to tie her to Iran and Nisman’s suspicious death. “We do whatever we can to get our government and media’s attention focused on what a bad actor Argentina is,” Robert Raben, executive director of the American Task Force Argentina (ATFA) explained to The Huffington Post.

ATFA, a group created by Singer and other hedge fund holdouts, spent at least $3.8 million dollars over five years in its efforts attacking Argentina.

“Argentina and Iran: Shameful Allies” was the headline of one ATFA ad that ran in Washington newspapers in June 2013 as the Obama administration was weighing whether to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Argentina’s favor. The ad featured side-by-side photos of Kirchner and then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad connected by the question, “A Pact With the Devil?” That same spring, FDD release an English-language summary of a new “ground-breaking” report by Nisman detailing “Iran’s extensive terrorist network in Latin America.”

This was followed by a flood of op-eds by FDD fellows and a series of hearings held by the House Homeland Security Subcommittee. According to FDD’s vice president, Toby Dershowitz, the report, which contains serious flaws and leaps of logic (detailed by Jim Lobe here and here), provided:

[A] virtual road map for how Iran’s long arm of terrorism can reach unsuspecting communities and that the AMIA attack was merely the canary in the coal mine. … The no-holds-barred, courageous report is a ‘must read’ for policy makers and law enforcement around the world and Nisman himself should be tapped for his guidance and profound understanding of Iran’s terrorism strategy.

Singer’s largesse also extended to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) where he contributed $1.1 million in 2009. AEI Fellow Roger Noriega, who received $60,000 directly from Elliott Management in 2007 to lobby on the issue of “Sovereign Debt Owed to a U.S. Company,” published an article on the group’s website—“Argentina’s Secret Deal with Iran?”—citing secret documents about an alleged nuclear cooperation agreement between Tehran and Buenos Aires “brokered and paid for” by then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

In 2013, Noriega and Jose Cardenas, a contributor to AEI’s “Venezuela-Iran Project,” co-authored a seven-page policy report—“Argentina’s Race to the Bottom”—charging that Kirchner’s government was “casting its lot with rogue governments like those in Venezuela and Iran.”

Singer also gave $500,000 to The Israel Project (TIP) in 2007 and $1 million in 2012. By May 2015, the group’s magazine, The Tower, published no fewer than 48 articles that mentioned Argentina and 40 that cited Nisman and the 1994 bombing.

Neither AEI, TIP, nor FDD has bothered to disclose its funding from Singer when publishing work that advanced his public pressure campaign against Kirchner. Indeed, there is no public record of why Singer chooses to fund these organizations. But his funding poses a conflict of interest, especially when The New York Times publishes Dershowitz and Dubowitz without any public acknowledgement that their criticism of Kirchner conveniently follows the narrative and financial interests of one of the duo’s biggest financial donors.

December 18, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez Faces Pretrial Detention

Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
teleSUR | December 7, 2017

An Argentine judge has ordered that former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner be put in pretrial detention.

Federal judge Claudio Bonadio alleges that Fernandez committed crimes against the state in trying to “conceal” the possible involvement of five Iranian officials in Argentina in the bombing of the Israeli Argentine Mutualist Association, AMIA, building in Buenos Aires in 1994.

Eighty-six people were killed in the explosion. The bombing remains unsolved.

The judge claims that in signing a memorandum of understanding with Iranian officials in Argentina in 2013, Fernandez agreed to not investigate possible Iranian involvement in the attack, “aggravating” the inquiry and granting the alleged bombers impunity.

The 2013 memorandum was never legally enacted in Iran, but was by the Argentine Congress. However, an Argentine judge ruled the memorandum unconstitutional.

If convicted, Fernandez could face up to 10 to 25 years of jail time or even life in prison.

Fernandez, along with all other 23 newly-elected senators, are set to take up their congressional post this Sunday, Dec. 10. She and the other senators were sworn in last week.

Bonadio also ordered the arrest of former Argentine government official Hector Timerman. Already arrested for alleged involvement in the memorandum is former Secretary General Carlos Zannini, who served under Fernandez. He was questioned about the memorandum by Bonadio in October and denied any wrongdoing.

Also arrested today in the early morning were activists Luis D’Elia and Jorge “Yussuf” Khalil. As officials arrested D’Elía, he yelled “stop the Macri dictatorship!” alluding to current President Mauricio Macri.

Up to 12 other former government officials are suspected of playing a part in the so-called “cover up,” but are not being detained.

Fernandez says the memorandum attempted to advance the investigation and called for the creation of an international commission to investigate the bombing. She says the commission had orders of extradition pending for Interpol to deliver several accused who reside in Iran to Argentina. These extradition orders were never carried out.

An investigation into the memorandum was first ordered by a former attorney general in 2015, but was denied by a federal court in 2016.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

Argentine ‘death flight’ pilots get life for 100s of junta opponents thrown into ocean

Images of junta victims at ESMA Museum in Buenos Aires © espaciomemoria / YouTube
RT | November 30, 2017

Judges in Argentina have given life sentences to the former ‘death flights’ pilots after hundreds of people opposing the country’s 1976-83 military junta – including a close friend of Pope Francis – were thrown into the ocean.

A major ruling on Wednesday marked the “first” such Argentinian judgment against pilots involved in the notorious ‘death flights,’ local media reports. During the operations, opponents of Argentina’s military regime that ruled the country from 1976 until 1983 were thrown into the waters of the Atlantic.

According to the verdict, the announcement of which lasted almost four hours, 29 former service members were sentenced to life imprisonment, 19 were sentenced to eight to 25 years, and six were acquitted, local media report.

There are 54 defendants in the major trial. It also involves cases of 789 victims of a secret detention center – known as the Navy Mechanics Higher School (ESMA) – where up to 5,000 people opposing the repressive junta regime are believed to have been vanished.

The five-year trial – called the ‘mega cause’ in Argentina – exposed the chilling practices of systematic torture and the killing of thousands of people, including left-wing opponents of the regime and members of Argentina’s urban guerrilla groups, but also human rights activists and relatives of those forcibly disappeared by junta forces.

In a series of hearings, it emerged that numerous victims were drugged, loaded onto ‘death flight’ aircraft, and thrown into the freezing waters of the southern Atlantic Ocean. Among ESMA victims was Esther Careaga, a close friend of Jorge Bergoglio, who later became Pope Francis. Careaga was thrown to her death from a plane one night in December 1977, along with two French nuns and nine others.

“Careaga was a good friend and a great woman,” Beroglio said when the body was identified in 2003. The future pontiff met Careaga, a biochemist and his boss at the time, when he worked as an apprentice at a pharmaceutical laboratory in Buenos Aires in the early 1950s.

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment