nightslantern * * *
2016 suppressed news
2016 suppressed news
concerned with the prevention of genocide
by j. b. gerald
January 18, 2017 Guatemala U.S.
#19Guatemala: the re-trial of José Efraín Ríos Montt, scheduled to begin January 11th was postponed this year once again, to resolve procedural complications. Ríos Montt's conviction on charges of genocide in 2013 was set aside by a superior court of questionable standing in a spurious decision. The case of Ríos Montt presents a study in the ineffectiveness of applying justice to the worst war criminals of the elite, in countries where the system of justice is managed by the elite. The impunity of Ríos Montt's escape from justice suggests an ongoing genocide warning for Guatemala's Indigenous peoples and provides encouragement for other criminal rulers. To deflect this awareness Guatemala dealt with last year's postponement by charging others, including a regional military commissioner and a base commander with sexual violence during the Ríos Montt regime, re-couching the most shameful crime of genocide into the awful but more familiar crimes of sexual slavery. The system continues prosecution of lower ranking military for specific ugly crimes. In early January of this year U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested a Guatemalan special forces corporal (at-the-time), now a permanent resident of the U.S. with a job in the mailroom of Johns Hopkins University for ten years, wanted for his role in the Dos Erres massacre, a crime under the Ríos Montt regime where the 20 commandos dressed as rebels walked into a village and for two days tortured the men, raped the women, and murdered all two hundred and one including 113 children. Night's Lantern has noted on(Sept. 20, 2015) that Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Rockefeller Foundation were sued for alleged connection to experiments on unwitting Guatemalans intentionally infected with syphilis. Previous. Of the five 'Dos Erres fugitives' arrested in the U.S., two who became U.S. citizens are serving ten years apiece in the U.S. for immigration fraud; of the two returned to Guatemala, one tried so far was sentenced in 2012 to 6,060 years in prison (ProPublica). There is some effort to blame low ranks for carrying out crimes of policy, in a crime that began with their training. In other news of Guatemala, Canada's Goldcorp has agreed to sell its Cerro Blanco mining project to Canada's Bluestone Resources, with an option on certain aspects of Goldcorp's Marlin mine which is being closed out while attempting repair to the habitat. The Supreme Court has stopped for now the construction of Oxec I and Oxec II, two hydroelectric dams which the Mayan people of the land are strongly against. Previous. Partial sources online: "Shameful decision to postpone Ríos Montt trial a new stain on Guatemala’s justice system," Jan. 11, 2016, Amnesty International; "Genocide trial for Guatemala ex-dictator Rios Montt suspended," Jan. 11, 2016, Reuters; "Guatemalan soldiers to answer civil war sexual slavery charges in historic trial," Nina Lakhani, Feb. 1, 2016, theguardian; "ICE Arrests Former Kaibiles Linked to Dos Erres Massacre in Guatemala," Jan 10, 2017, TeleSur; "Federal Agents Arrest a Former Guatemalan Soldier Charged With Massacring Civilians," Sebastian Rotella, Jan 10, 2017, ProPublica; "Goldcorp To Sell Cerro Blanco Project In Guatemala To Bluestone Resources," RTT News, Jan.11, 2017, Nasdaq; "Victory for Guatemala's Mayan People," Jan. 15, 2017, TeleSur.
U.S: President Obama has commuted the sentences of 209 prisoners with a pardon or reprieve for an additional 64. This brings to a total of 1385 commutations by this President including 504 commutations of prisoners with life sentences, and a total of 212 pardons. Most of those receiving clemency were serving long sentences for cocaine related charges, usually distribution. Also receiving clemency is Chelsea Manning who managed to release to the American people evidence of war crimes by U.S. military personnel; her sentence is to expire May 17, 2017. Julian Assange, an Australian whose Wikileaks released Chelsea Manning's materials, has said he would allow his own extradition if President Obama released Chelsea Manning, and appropriate strong resistance should be prepared in the event Assange is brought to the U.S.. Oscar Lopez Rivera, the respected Puerto Rican nationalist serving a term of 55 years, is also to be released May 17, 2017. Long term political prisoners (see our "political prisoners updates") who were targeted by COINTELPRO programs and often framed or falsely convicted, have been overlooked for clemency. For example Tom Manning of Massachusetts who shot back when a police person tried to murder him is slated to spend the rest of his life in prison. Early supporters of Mandela, Tom Manning and Jaan Laaman amid their New England working class group were never forgiven for supporting Black Liberation movements. Many of those without clemency are former Black Panthers and others who struggled for the human rights of U.S. Black or Native American communities. A difficulty with the life sentences for unintended crimes, is that no leverage beyond an outdated death penalty is left to counter intentional crimes of terrorism. Partial sources online: "Obama Pardons 2017 Full List: Chelsea Manning, Oscar Lopez Rivera And Others To Get Shortened, Reprieved Sentences," Bruce Wright, Jan. 17, 2017, IBT; "President Obama Has Now Granted More Commutations than Any President in this Nation’s History," Neil Eggleston, Jan. 17, 2017, The White House.
if i could warn you© 1985 john bart gerald, - from plainsongs
where i once came from
not the places where the land is gentle to the people
or the bedrock holding staunchions
but the hearts of grown-up children playing
the victors of the middle class
confused with royalty in their dreams
come true of wasn't that enough
a domain where life was bought
oh those victors of the middle class
if you loved or tried to love or christian loved
or treated with all the tolerance and wisdom
of the religious book they
would fight like death itself
and loving less, won
a momentary victory to say
"you see i am stronger
i belong here"
U.S. Historical note: researching the Voting Rights Act I find that on March 7th, 2015, U.S. President Obama signed H.R. 431, and three in our family, among 8000 for civil rights participating in the March 1965 "Bloody Sunday," or "Turnaround Tuesday," or the Selma to Montgomery March, received the Congressional Gold Medal as "foot soldiers for voting rights." President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act August 6, 1965. The Voting Rights Act was seriously undermined by a Supreme Court decision to remove Justice Department monitoring of States with a history of unjust voting practices. New efforts are needed to re-establish minority voting rights. Our three who went South from New York to stand for the equal right to vote were Elmer Maas, my wife's uncle, who subsequently lost his college teaching job, was excluded from college teaching work, then joined with the Berrigans in Plowshares Movement actions until his death in 2005; Michael Shields, my friend and wife's first husband, arrested with me in Alabama, who died of illness in the Sixties; as for me I was made a "marshal" by the Movement for the Selma to Montgomery March, was falsely arrested with four other whites on the way home, later - falsely arrested twice in New York City, and gradually excluded from employment as a college teacher and writer. I find no mention of H.R. 431 in archives of The New York Times. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday approaches January 15th - for a note on his assassination see previous. - John Bart Gerald. Partial sources online: "Foot Soldiers Voting Rights Marches Congressional Gold Medal: Public Law 114-5," March 7, 2015, 114th Congress; "Selma marchers awarded Congressional Gold Medal," March 7, 2015, 14 News (Indiana); "Selma marchers awarded Congressional Gold Medal," Raycom News Network, March 7 / April 5, 2015Fox 8 (New Orleans); "Notes from a Montgomery Jail," John Bart Gerald, May 6, 1965, The New York Review of Books.January 11, 2017 Judith Clark Burundi Democratic Republic of Congo U.S. Argentina
New York State: Governor Andrew Cuomo commuted the sentence of Judith Alice Clark who has served 35 years of her 75 year sentence. She is eligible for parole in 2017. Involved in the 1981 Brinks robbery (previous) she didn't commit a crime of violence yet through association was blamed by the families of the Nyack police officer and the Brinks guard who were killed. She received one of the most severe punishments of those involved in the robbery. Despite pleas for clemency from former heads of the New York Bar association her situation looked hopeless until the Governor's compassionate action which also extended clemency to 101 people convicted of non-violent crimes as minors. Partial sources online: "Cuomo Commutes Sentence of Judith Clark, Driver in Deadly Brinks Robbery," Eli Rosenberg, Dec. 30, 2016, The New York Times; "Cuomo’s contemptible pardon for a terrorist," Post Editorial Board, Jan 3, 2017,
; "Seven felons, including Weather Underground member, and 101 others convicted as minors get clemency from Cuomo," Glenn Blain, Dec. 30, 2016, Daily News.
Burundi: (update) the government cabinet Minister of the Environment has been assassinated. This continues a lethal back and forth between the government and its opposition, which threatens the region with a lapse into violence. Euro-American policies suggest military intervention to preclude the possibility of a genocide (see previous), an intervention likely to lead to corporatization of the country's assets. This is a strong factor encouraging a genocide. Calls for intervention have coincided with major mining contracts gained by Russian and Chinese companies. Destabilization is encouraged by the privatisation of Burundi's coffee industry at the insistence of the World Bank; private interests have delayed delivery of pesticides and fertilizers; the crop and industry have been damaged. The Parliament of Burundi has had to place controls on international NGO's in Burundi who are considered to support rebels against Burundi's President Nikurunziza. Burundi has also withdrawn from the International Criminal Court so the Euro-American human rights industry is not well disposed toward President Nikurunziza and any non-African reporting on Burundi should require multiple verification. The attempt to wrest political power from African leaders who are uncooperative with US/NATO corporate takeovers is familiar. Ie.: in Ivory Coast the President was replaced by a former World Bank employee as the people continue to struggle; in Zimbabwe, recovered from colonization, British manipulation of the coffee market, economic disaster and cholera epidemics, Mugabe continues. Partial sources online: "Burundi passes law cracking down on foreign NGOs," AFP, December 24, 2016, Yahoo News; "Coffee sector privatization spells misery to over 4 million Burundians," Jan. 5, 2017, IWACU; "How the West Lost Burundi," Cara Jones, Orion Donovan-Smith, Aug. 25, 2015, FP; "Geopolitics of Central Africa: Relentless Propaganda Attacks on Burundi," Innocent Habonimana, Jan. 8, 2017, Suna Times.
Democratic Republic of Congo: on December 31, 2016 an agreement was reached between the government and the opposition which will allow Joseph Kabila to continue in office until elections at the end of 2017. The Catholic News Agency reports that implementation of the agreement has been worked out by the Catholic bishops of the country. If honoured the accords may save thousands from violence. About 40 people died in the disturbances following President Kabila's refusal to leave office when his term was over on Dec. 19, 2016. During 2016 conflicts displaced over half a million Congolese. Currently approximately two million are internally displaced civilians. The deep Congo adjacent to Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, also hosts refugees and military interests from the neighbouring countries and remains open to de-stabilization by foreign interests and their proxies. A 2016 updated progress report by a UN Group of Experts notes among other violations of international law in the area, Rwanda training Burundi rebels in South Kivu province, and arms entering the region from Rwanda in North Kivu province (see above). Partial sources online: "Catholic leaders in Congo welcome church-mediated accord," Jonathan Luxmoore / Catholic News Service, Jan. 3, 2017, Crux; "Progress Update," Group of Experts on the DRC extended pursuant to resolution 2198 (2015), Jan. 15, 2016, United Nations Security Council Committee Established Pursuant to Resolution 1533 (2004) Concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo; "Democratic Republic of Congo - Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2017," US Agency for International Development, Jan. 6, 2017, reliefweb.
Argentina: Telesur notes: a U.S. intelligence report from 1978 reveals U.S. knowledge of the death flights carried out by Argentine authorities under Operation Condor, yet the U.S. continued to supply aircraft; "in 2016, Francisco Bossi, the mastermind of the death flights, confessed to murdering 6,000 people." Batches of U.S. intelligence reports are being declassified providing information affecting the deaths of 60,000 people under the CIA supported Operation Condor administered by Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina in the 1970s and 1980s, with support from Peru and Venezuela. According to Telesur new information reveals Operation Condor's tracking down of political exiles in other countries. According to Serbia's In news the CIA knew beforehand of the 1976 coup which replaced Eva Peron with a military dictator enforcing a 'dirty war' with its years of atrocities. Papers released on the website of the director of the U.S. National Intelligence Agency state Washington's efforts to pressure Argentina into better human rights practices annoyed Argentina, causing it to strengthen ties to France, "communist " and Arab countries; Argentina purchased 170 jet engines from France (Presidential briefing July 19, 1978). The release of more U.S. papers on 'the dirty war' in Argentina was pledged by U.S. President Obama on his visit to Argentine President Mauricio Macri last March and coincides with Argentina's stated intention to upgrade its military equipment to the cost of 2.5 million dollars. See previous. See "Desaparecidos." Partial sources online: "Argentina Declassification Project," Dept. of State, Dec. 12, 2016, IC on the Record / Office of the Director of National Intelligence [access:< https://icontherecord.tumblr.com/ >]; "New Files Reveal US Sold Argentina Military Aircraft to Dump Bodies in Ocean," Dec. 16, 2016, Telesur; "CIA-Backed Operation Condor Tried to 'Liquidate' Human Rights Activists.," Dec. 13, 2016, Telesur; "US declassifies Argentina's 'Dirty War' files amid reports of military upgrade," Dec. 13, 2016, DW; "Argentina: Released Files Show Washington Knew of Impending Coup," Tihomir Gligorevic, Dec 16, 2016, in news (Serbia).
January 1, 2017 Democratic Republic of the Congo: M.N.C. Uhuru (Joseph Kabasselé) - African Jazz 1960 [access:< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2A726KAof8 >]
A branch that comes from violence will not take root;
for a blighted root is on sheer rock, like reeds by the
banks of a river, which are dried up before any grass; but
kindness, like eternity, will never be cut off, and faithfulness
will be established forever - from Ben Sira
(Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, Abegg et al)
This account is against forgetfulness.
by john bart gerald
graphics by julie maas
guest contributions as noted
18 january 2017