Monday, November 30, 2009

CIA and U.S. State Dept. Knew of Plans to Kill Jesuits in El salvador

Not surprising to learn that the CIA and U.S. State Dept. knew of the El Salvador military's plans to murder Jesuits at the UCA in 1989. Anyone who has read Teresa Whitfield's superb Paying The Price: Ignacio Ellacuria and the Murdered Jesuits in El Salvador (Temple U. Press 1994) [ ] knows how deeply implicated the U.S. government was in the horrors in El Salvador in the 1980s. - Rick

Declassified Docs Shed Light on Jesuits' Murders

By Edgardo Ayala

SAN SALVADOR, Nov 27 (IPS) - Thousands of pages of declassified U.S. documents shedding light on the 1989 murders of six prominent Jesuit clerics, their housekeeper and her 16-year-old daughter in El Salvador could give a new twist to the case that opened in the Spanish courts in January.

The documents, which were presented to Spain's National Court by attorneys representing the victims' families, provide new clues that could lead to an increase in the number of people accused of the murders, Spanish lawyer Almudena Bernabeu, who is representing the organisations that brought the case, told IPS in a telephone interview from Madrid.

The declassified documents from the late 1980s and early 1990s indicate the CIA (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) and U.S. State Department had foreknowledge of the Salvadoran military leadership's plan to kill the then-rector of the José Simeón Cañas Central American University (UCA) in San Salvador, along with four other Spanish priests and a Salvadoran priest on Nov. 16, 1989.

The documents, which include cables to Washington from U.S. embassy, military and CIA officials, "provide important, compelling elements," said Bernabeu, without entering into detail, because the case is in the hands of the justice system.

The lawsuit was filed in Spain's National Court - the high court - in November 2008 by the Spanish Association for Human Rights (APDHE) and the California-based Centre for Justice and Accountability (CJA).

Fourteen Salvadoran military officers and soldiers are under investigation, and former president Alfredo Cristiani (1989-1994) himself was accused of cover-up and obstruction of investigation.

The 14 members of the military include generals and colonels accused of planning the crime, such as the then minister and deputy minister of defence, the general chief of staff, the air force commander, the deputy minister of public security, the commander of the first infantry brigade, and the director and assistant director of the military academy.

Officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the U.S.-trained Atlacatl counterinsurgency battalion have been charged with committing the murders.

Although presiding Judge Eloy Velasco did not accept the charge against Cristiani because covering up a crime against humanity does not fall under the principle of universal jurisdiction - which permits prosecution of the worst atrocities no matter where they were committed - "the judge left open the possibility of including him in the future, if new evidence arises," said Bernabeu.

The CJA decided to file the legal action in Spain because that country has an extradition treaty with El Salvador, and because Spain’s judges admit the principle of universal jurisdiction, already applied by Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón for the 1998 arrest in London of the late former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

The documents, which the Washington-based National Security Archive helped bring to light, were reported on by the El Mundo newspaper in Spain on Nov. 16, the 20th anniversary of the murders of the six clerics and two women.

One of the documents shows, for example, that in a meeting of the military brass a few days before the murder, then chief of staff General René Emilio Ponce gave the order to assassinate UCA rector Ignacio Ellacuría, and specifically stated that no witnesses were to be left.

There are also records of a meeting between Cristiani and then defence minister Humberto Larios the night before the killings.

Ponce and other officers had already been blamed for the murders in the 1993 report by the U.N.-sponsored Truth Commission created by the 1992 peace agreement that put an end to the 12-year civil war between the Salvadoran military and the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which claimed the lives of some 80,000 people, mainly civilians killed by the security forces and allied death squads.

But Salvadoran society had never seen any hard evidence of Ponce's participation in the murders.

The killings of the Jesuits were committed during the first major military offensive to be carried out in the capital by the FMLN - which became a political party after 1992 and is now governing the country for the first time ever, led by President Mauricio Funes, who took office in June.

The military chiefs used the opportunity to kill the Jesuits, highly respected intellectuals who were viewed by the Salvadoran right as instigators of leftist subversion for their advocacy of "liberation theology" - a progressive current in the Catholic Church that declares a "preferential option for the poor" and fights for social justice - and their opposition to the war.

Immediately after the murders, the Cristiani administration and the armed forces accused the FMLN of killing the priests.

But under heavy international pressure, especially from Washington, the Salvadoran courts brought nine members of the military to trial for the massacre in September 1991.

However, only two were found guilty, and sentenced to 30 years in prison: Colonel Guillermo Alfredo Benavides, the director of the military academy, and Lieutenant Yusshy René Mendoza - despite confessions from several of the other defendants.

Both of them were released under a 1993 amnesty law.

"I believe it is here in El Salvador that the case should make more progress, and what is being done in Spain underscores the need for justice in this country," Benjamín Cuéllar, director of UCA's Human Rights Institute (IDHUCA), told IPS. "We are going to continue the battle here, through domestic institutions or the inter-American system of human rights."

IDHUCA and the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington in 2003.

The El Mundo newspaper also reported that according to experts who were consulted, everything indicated that the Spanish intelligence agency of the time, CESID, was also fully aware of the information in the hands of the CIA.

But other newspaper reports in Spain said CESID officials had pulled out of Spain in March 1989, eight months before the Jesuits were killed.

The Salvadoran on-line journal, El Faro, reported that William Walker, U.S. ambassador to El Salvador at the time of the killings, sent a cable to the State Department in November 1989 reporting that members of the then-governing right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) had met the day before the murders, to plan the crime.

According to the publication, Walker states in the cable that information in his possession led to a disturbing conclusion: that the murders of Ellacuría and the seven others could be traced back to a Nov. 15 meeting among Roberto D'Aubuisson and his closest followers in COENA (ARENA's national executive council).

Army Major D'Aubuisson, the founder of ARENA, was widely considered to have been behind the death squads that abducted, tortured and killed thousands of students, trade unionists, teachers and leftist political leaders and activists in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Truth Commission determined that D'Aubuisson ordered the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was shot by a sniper while saying mass.

D'Aubuisson died of cancer in 1992, without ever having been brought to trial.

Ricardo Valdivieso, a member of COENA at the time and a friend of D'Aubuisson's, told IPS that Walker's claims in the cable to the State Department were "absolutely ridiculous, absurd. That was just part of the gossip at the time, which the ex-ambassador could have heard."

Valdivieso added that he knew Walker before he was named ambassador and that he considered him a friend. But he said the U.S. diplomat was prone to being drawn in by unconfirmed information.

At a ceremony on Nov. 16, the 20th anniversary of the killings, President Funes honoured the Jesuit clerics "for extraordinary service to the nation."

"Today, 20 years after their cruel murders, putting in the hands of their families and colleagues…the highest award granted by the country, the Orden José Matías Delgado, signifies for me pulling back a heavy veil of darkness and lies, to let in the light of justice and truth," said the president.

"We want this to be an act of recovering our collective memory," added Funes, a former TV host and journalist who was educated by the Jesuits, like so many of his fellow Salvadorans.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yo Anti-Obama slugs! Stop Using the Bible to support your Insanity

Can the anti-Obama nut jobs go any lower? They are using Psalm 109 to pray for his assassination and his family's suffering. Where do supposedly God fearing folks get off with this kind of insanity? For what it is worth, I, as a Bible believing Catholic Christian denounce and condemn the use of scripture for this purpose. Anti-Obamaites, stop acting like terrorists who hijack religious texts for sinful purposes. Be Americans and defend our President. To do less demeans you and destroys America. You can disagree with President Obama's policies. You cannot pray for his death. In the name of God, stop it. - Rick


There's a new slogan making its way onto car bumpers and across the Internet. It reads simply: "Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8"

Photo: Biblical anti-Obama slogan: Use of Psalm 109:8 funny or sinister?
Protesters talk with each other on Capitol Hill during the Tea Party Express rally, September 2009 in Washington, D.C. Some anti-Obama protesters now are circulating Psalm 109:8, which says, "Let his days be few; and let another take his office."
(Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

A nice sentiment?

Maybe not.

The psalm reads, "Let his days be few; and let another take his office."

Presidential criticism through witty slogans is nothing new. Bumper stickers, t-shirts and hats with "1/20/09" commemorated President Bush's last day in office.

But the verse immediately following the psalm referenced is a bit more ominous: "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow."

The slogan comes at a time of heightened concern about antigovernment anger. Earlier this year, the president's senior adviser, David Axelrod, said that tea parties could lead to something unhealthy. In September, authorities shut down a poll on Facebook asking if President Obama should be killed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why do we have unlimited funds for war, but nothing for home needs?

Good Question Congressman Kucinich! Until Americans stop paying for war, we will get wars and more wars, while Haliburtion & Cheney and friends take more and more taxpayer money.

Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers, not the warmongers. President Obama, end these wars. We are literally driving our soldiers crazy. Even the Army doctors trained to keep them sane during an interminable war cannot keep soldiers mentally healthy (cf. Fort Hood tragedy). Start spending money on what we need, not on what the bastards making billions off war want.

I took this picture in Bethel, AK, a community disproportionately hit by calling up men and women to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. So many poorer communities in the USA give a disproportionate number of men and women to military service, while the rich cheer them on and give them respect while refusing to join in the cause. The poor and middle class provide the soldiers while immoral Wall Street bankers and investors get rich.

Bruce Springsteen is right when he sings on the Seeger Seessions.
"If you love this land of the free, bring'em home, bring'em home.
"It will make the politicians sad I know..., they want to tangle with their foe.
"They want to test their grand theories, with the blood of you and me...
"We'll give no more brave young lives... for the gleam in someone's eyes...."

Peace - Rick

November 6, 2009
10:41 AM

CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Nathan White (202)225-5871

Kucinich: Why Is It We Have Finite Resources for Health Care but Unlimited Money for War?

WASHINGTON - November 6 - Following a statement on the Floor of the House of Representative, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement:

"Why is it we have finite resources for health care but unlimited money for war?

"The inequities in our economy are piling up: trillions for war, trillions for Wall Street and tens of billions for the insurance companies. Banks and other corporations are sitting on piles of cash of taxpayer's money while firing workers, cutting pay and denying small businesses money to survive.

"People are losing their homes, their jobs, their health, their investments, their retirement security; yet there is unlimited money for war, Wall Street and insurance companies, but very little money for jobs on Main Street.

"Unlimited money to blow up things in Iraq and Afghanistan, and relatively little money to build things in the US.

"The Administration may soon bring to Congress a request for an additional $50 billion for war. I can tell you that a Democratic version of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is no more acceptable than a Republican version of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Trillions for war and Wall Street, billions for insurance companies... When we were promised change, we weren't thinking that we give a dollar and get back two cents."

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Who deserves Iraq's Oil??? Who is "Entitled"?

Gee, I would have thought the oil for which "our" soldiers fought and taxpayers paid would go to the soldiers and the taxpayers, not T. Boone Pickens and his buddies. And who says the oil belongs to anyone but the citizens of Iraq? The U.S. military was supposedly there to give the people of Iraq their freedom, right?

But in this "land of the free and the home of the brave," we now have capitalism for the poor and middle class and socialism for the rich. Worse, we're sacrificing human lives, American, Iraqi and others, all so the likes of T.Boone Pickens can get richer. He thinks he is "entitled." - Rick

Published on Thursday, October 22, 2009 by Reuters

T. Boone Pickens says US Firms 'Entitled' to Iraqi Oil

by Tom Doggett URL to article:

WASHINGTON - Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens told Congress on Wednesday that U.S. energy companies are "entitled" to some of Iraq's crude because of the large number of American troops that lost their lives fighting in the country and the U.S. taxpayer money spent in Iraq.

Boone, speaking to the newly formed Congressional Natural Gas Caucus, complained that the Iraqi government has awarded contracts to foreign companies, particularly Chinese firms, to develop Iraq's vast reserves while American companies have mostly been shut out.

"They're opening them (oil fields) up to other companies all over the world ... We're entitled to it," Pickens said of Iraq's oil. "Heck, we even lost 5,000 of our people, 65,000 injured and a trillion, five hundred billion dollars."

President Barack Obama has pledged to withdraw U.S. troops in Iraq.

"We leave there with the Chinese getting the oil," Pickens said.

Iraq's Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told a Washington conference on Wednesday that his government was happy with the energy auction it held earlier this year. The auction was the first chance for foreign oil firms to compete for Iraqi oil since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

"We're pleased with scale and participation of the IOC (International Oil Companies) and the transparent and public competition," Shahristani said at a U.S.-Iraq business and investment conference.

BP and the Chinese oil company CNPC were the only firms to win a contract in Iraq's bid round this summer, the first chance for foreign oil firms to compete for Iraqi oil since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Seven other oil and gas fields failed to attract bidders on the terms Iraq offered.

But a consortium headed by Italy's ENI (ENI.MI: Quote [1], Profile [2], Research [3]) said last week it signed a deal to develop the giant Zubair field for a remuneration fee of $2 a barrel. At Iraq's oilfield auction in June, the consortium refused to go below $4.40 a barrel.

Two consortiums are still competing for a deal to develop the even larger West Quran oilfield. They are Russia's LUKOIL (LKOH.MM: Quote [4], Profile [5], Research [6]) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N: Quote [7], Profile [8], Research [9]) and another consortium headed by Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote [10], Profile [11], Research [12]). (Reporting by Tom Doggett, additional reporting by Simon Webb; editing by Jim Marshall)

© 2009 Reuters

Article printed from URL to article:

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thank You Phillies!!!

It was a good run. Someday the Yankees will get what they deserve. Watch out for next year....