Thursday, April 24, 2014

Justice for Víctor

The good news last week that Immigration Court Judge Michael C. Horn in Miami formally linked SOA graduate General Jose Guillermo García to some of the worst human rights abuses of the Salvadoran Civil War. As Defense Minister (1979-83), he failed to hold soldiers under his command accountable for the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the massacre of more than 1,000 civilians at El Mozote, and nine other atrocities. He faces deportation to El Salvador, pending appeal.

This is a step forward in ensuring justice in the Americas, but García is not the only SOA graduate who has until now enjoyed impunity in Florida. We need to turn up the pressure!

 Pedro Barrientos of Deltona, Florida was indited by Chilean Judge Miguel Vasquez Plaza in 2012 for the murder of Víctor Jara and an extradition request is pending with the Obama Administration. 

Contact the Obama Administration today to turn up the heat on our Justice for Víctor campaign to ensure Barreintos stands trial in Chile!

As the ruling against Gen. García clearly demonstrates, the Justice for Víctor campaign is winnable. We need to pressure the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and other branches of the the Obama Administration to change the culture of complicity in the brutal crimes committed in Latin America.

Contact the Obama Administration today and tell them Florida should not be a retirement haven for SOA graduates! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Academics in Service of the American Empire

The Minerva Research Initiative

Since 2008, the U.S. military has relied on an ambitious research program called The Minerva Research Initiative established by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates with the primary goal of achieving "a deeper understanding of the social, cultural and political dynamics that shape regions of strategic interest (to the U.S. government) around the world." Initial funding for this program was fifty million dollars, an amount that has been increasing over the years. The primary purpose has been to finance the work of academics at American universities and experts in other research centers as analysts on issues that may have an impact on the national security policies of the imperialist State.

Through the Minerva Initiative, the Department of Defense aims to support and focus resources on the “best universities in the country”; to define and develop fundamental knowledge about sources of present and future conflicts with a focus on understanding the political trajectories of key regions in the world; and to improve the ability of the Department of Defense to develop a body of "cutting edge social science" and interdisciplinary studies conducted by top researchers in these fields. In short, it seeks to recruit the cream of their intellectual elite for the endurance and glory of Manifest Destiny.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why USAID’s Cuban Twitter Program was Secret

On April 3, three journalists from the Associated Press (AP) published the first in a series of well-investigated stories about a heretofore unknown U.S. government-funded project in Cuba. They described how an opaque organization within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) called the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) proffered a Twitter-like social networking app to Cuban cell phones. Little did the apps’ users suspect that they were receiving information from and being monitored by an entity of the U.S. government.

While AP pulled off an incredible investigative coup—one that resulted in a tense Senatorial committee hearing on Tuesday April 8—the project AP describes is only part of a long history of such programs in Cuba and around the world. Unfortunately the story focused attention on a project that no longer exists, rather than on the U.S. government entity USAID/OTI, which continues to operate secretly throughout the world. 

Jeremy Bigwood investigates for NACLA check it out

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Truth About Venezuela: A Revolt of the Well-off, Not a 'Terror Campaign'

John Kerry’s rhetoric is divorced from the reality on the ground, where life goes on – even at the barricades

Images forge reality, granting a power to television and video and even still photographs that can burrow deep into people’s consciousness without them even knowing it.

 I thought that I, too, was immune to the repetitious portrayals of Venezuela as a failed state in the throes of a popular rebellion. But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in Caracas this month: how little of daily life appeared to be affected by the protests, the normality that prevailed in the vast majority of the city. I, too, had been taken in by media imagery.

Mark Weisbrot from Caracas 

Keep up to date with events in Venezuela download 


Solution to Assange case? Not interested.

Swedish authorities decline to meet with distinguished visitor offering way out of legal impasse  

The Swedish officials who are most directly responsible for the ongoing effort to have Julian Assange extradited from England have declined to hear the proposals of Eva Joly, the well-known French magistrate and member of the European Parliament, who  recently visited Sweden to suggest a way out of the legal impasse.  

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