Government implicated in phone-tapping as pressure on media continues

first_imgNews Follow the news on Colombia News April 27, 2021 Find out more ColombiaAmericas News Organisation February 23, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Government implicated in phone-tapping as pressure on media continues RSF_en ColombiaAmericas RSF, IFEX-ALC and Media Defence, support FLIP and journalist Diana Díaz against state harassment in Colombiacenter_img Reports 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies May 13, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin America to go further Help by sharing this information The attorney-general’s office yesterday directly implicated four senior intelligence officials and the secretary-general of the president’s office, Bernardo Moreno, in the phone-tapping of journalists and other prominent government critics, a scandal that was first exposed in early 2009.This occurred during the trial of Jorge Noguera, the former head of the intelligence agency known as the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), who is accused of homicide and “links to paramilitaries.” Yesterday’s hearing was also the stage for a damning accusation to be levelled yesterday the DAS itself. “The DAS was the source of the leaflets and pamphlets targeting journalists, unionists and NGOs,” former counter-intelligence chief Jorge Lagos said, referring to campaigns to discredit journalists and others by means of falsified communiqués and videos said to have been issued by the FARC guerrillas.Speaking at his trial, Noguera yesterday also acknowledged for the first time that he passed the results of the phone-tapping to the president’s office. This will increase pressure on the government, which until now has been sticking by its denials of any role in the phone-tap scandal. (See below a Spanish-language video of former DAS secretary-general Gian Carlo Auque testifying at the trial).Watch live video from Colectivo de Abogados en Directo on Justin.tvThese allegations, implicating the highest level of the government in extremely serious violations of freedom of opinion and freedom of information, are likely to have a major impact on the presidential elections scheduled for 30 May, in which the country is still waiting to find out whether President Alvaro Uribe will run for a third term.People are meanwhile wondering whether the decision by the owners of the weekly Cambio to fire its directors, Rodrigo Pardo and María Elvira, and scale back its activities was due solely to economic imperatives. It was Cambio which last year revealed the organised crime links of Guillermo Valencia Cossio, the former public prosecutor in Medellín (Uribe’s home town) and the negotiations between Washington and Bogotá for the installation of seven US military bases in Colombia.Photo: AFP________09.02.2010 – Little progress seen: Journalists still in dangerThe Day of the Journalist that Colombia celebrates today will inevitably be overshadowed by the fact that press freedom is making no progress. Despite government boasts about “successful” measures for protecting the media, endangered journalists insist that they are not any safer and this will not change until the president takes a clear position.Paradoxically, the government has become one of the biggest threats to the media, which continue to suffer from the effects of measures taken by the Department for Security Administration (DAS) – an intelligence agency overseen by the president’s office – which developed a manual for spying, threatening, intimidate and discrediting “troublesome” journalists. The targets of a DAS unit called Strategic Intelligence Group 3 (G-3) included journalists Hollman Morris and Claudia Julieta Duque, who were spied on and threatened and who were the victims of smear attempts. Duque was benefitting from an interior ministry protection programme until she realised her bodyguards were passing information about her on to the DAS.Both say there is nothing to celebrate and a lot to complain about. The prosecutor-general’s department has evidence of the president’s role in spying and reprisals. The DAS received presidential orders to treat critical journalists as the “allies of terrorism.” Documents were found that show that G-3 spied on more than 300 people including journalists critical of the government.As a result of scandals involving the DAS, four of its five chiefs have had to stand down during Uribe’s presidency because of allegations of illegal spying, political persecution and collusion with paramilitary groups (providing them with lists of people to be murdered).These lists included the names of at least 10 journalists, who were seriously affected as result. Morris and Duque say they and their families continue to be in danger. Reporters Without Borders supports their view that only judicial action and a clear directive from the president would be able to improve the security situation for them and their colleagues. Reporters Without Borders calls for a response from the government and for progress in the investigations into serious violations of freedom of expression. A wide range of media, including online media, are affected by censorship. The fact that elections are due to be held soon makes the situation all the more disturbing.Photo : AFP October 21, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

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Sexual battery reported on campus

first_imgNotre Dame Security Police (NDSP) emailed students Wednesday evening alerting them to a report of sexual battery that occurred early Sunday morning.The alleged battery took place “at a campus-wide social event,” and the report was made to a University administrator, the email stated.The email quoted “du Lac: A Guide to Student Life,” Notre Dame’s official policy book, and warned students of the risks of sexual assault as well as the standards for consent.“Sexual assault or battery can happen to anyone,” the email stated. “Anyone initiating any kind of sexual contact with another person must seek consent and not engage in sexual contact unless consent is given.”“… Intoxication is not an excuse for failure to obtain consent, and a person who is incapacitated — whether by alcohol, drugs or otherwise — is incapable of giving consent.”Students should maintain caution and awareness of their surroundings to avoid risks, the email stated.“On college campuses, perpetrators are more likely to assault an acquaintance than a stranger. Being aware of your own safety and watching out for your friends are important steps you can take to reduce the risk of sexual assault.“The perpetrator, not the survivor, is responsible for any instance of sexual assault. Nothing a survivor does or does not do is an excuse for sexual assault.”Tags: crime alert, NDSP, Sexual batterylast_img read more

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Family of slain student holds peace stand-in

first_imgCommunity members lit prayer candles and laid down roses to commemorate of USC student Victor McElhaney. (Natalie Oganesyan/Daily Trojan) During the stand-in, attendees passed out flyers with information on the suspects and how to send in anonymous tips. Attendees also lit prayer candles and laid down roses in commemoration of McElhaney’s life. “I don’t know how to think of justice for Vic,” Lynette said. “We’ve got some men out there who … [have] taken guns, and they’ve taken my baby’s life. They need to be brought in to account for that action so that they can be restored. They don’t need to be at large where they can do harm to another mother’s child.” McElhaney’s parents Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney and her husband Clarence McElhaney joined Price, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, community activists and local nonprofit organizations in raising awareness for street gun violence. Members of Brothers Breaking B.R.E.A.D., an organization dedicated to uplifting black men at USC, and Black Student Assembly were also in attendance. On Saturday, over 50 community members gathered on the corner of Maple Avenue and Adams Boulevard, where USC student Victor McElhaney was shot and killed in early March, to call for the identification of the 21-year-old’s killers and justice for his family. “[People] spend their lives telling a story, and when they pass, they no longer get to tell that story,” Warren said. “It’s up to the people around them to tell that story for them. Although we can tell that story in our own unique ways and how Vic has affected all of us, nobody can tell it as beautifully as him. I’m asking for justice for my friend. I’m asking for some sort of peace for his family.” The day before, McElhaney was honored with a posthumous degree in music studies with an emphasis in jazz during the Thornton School of Music’s satellite ceremony. “We will not rest until this matter is appropriately resolved and these perpetrators are brought to justice,” Ridley-Thomas said. “Stop the silence to stop the violence. We’re going to say something. Do something.” Soldiers Against Violence Everywhere Center Oakland (S.A.V.E.), a nonprofit founded by Theresa Butler and Lynette that aims to end street gun violence, co-sponsored the event. The organization was started nine years ago and holds monthly stand-ins for gun violence victims in Oakland. “We’re mothers who were affected by violence, [and] yet our main message is a message of love,” Smith said.center_img Angelique Smith, mother of the late rapper Nipsey Hussle, said she wanted to spread light even in the face of immense darkness. “We are asking for your help, the community’s help to partner with us, to partner with the family in identifying the suspects,” said lieutenant Dan Thompson. “We need the public’s help,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price. “I hope that today’s gathering sends a clear, clear message. We are committed to finding these killers and bringing them to justice. We will not tolerate fear and we are not going to tolerate folks terrorizing our neighborhoods.” “We started [S.A.V.E.] out of the church [the McElhaneys and I go to] and they have been part of it since the beginning,” Butler said. Former BSA co-director Nia Warren said Victor McElhaney, whom she had known since childhood, taught her a lot about history, social justice and love. “I see being a good person to an entirely new standard,” Warren said. “The bar is raised because [of Victor].” Warren added that she was saddened by the fact that Victor McElhaney could no longer tell his own story. In the ongoing police investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department, who was also in attendance in solidarity, said they believe the suspects are three young Latino men, who fled the scene in a four-door dark-colored sedan. To provide information about the suspects, contact authorities at the Homicide Special Section at 213-486-6890. To leave anonymous tips, call 213-486-6890 or go to www.lacrimestoppers.org.last_img read more

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