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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Right to Life sponsors D.C. trip

first_imgWashington, D.C. — Three hundred and twenty Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students joined thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. for the 41st annual March for Life.Due to low temperatures and winter storm warnings, senior Jennifer Gallic, Notre Dame March for Life Trip Coordinator, said some Washington-bound buses were cancelled and numbers at the event were smaller than usual.“Unfortunately, only about half of our [590 registered students] were able to make it to D.C.,” Gallic said. “Despite the cold, the group that made it was excited to stand with hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers to defend life.”Photo courtesy of Anna Carmack The March began at 12 p.m. on the National Mall where anti-abortion advocates gathered for an hour-long rally, Notre Dame senior Amanda Bambury said. The group then marched to the Supreme Court to mark the anniversary of “Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that struck down anti-abortion laws, she said.“For a gathering of so many people it is a very pleasant atmosphere,” Bambury said. “It is not violent or hateful at all, but is filled with people who are so full of life and who really want to try and make a difference.“It is such an honor, a privilege and a blessing to be able to walk side by side with my fellow Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students and faculty who are so passionate about the cause and to walk by people who have traveled so, so far to march.”The trip, organized by both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s Right to Life groups, receives sponsorship from the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, the Notre Dame Institute for Church Life and alumnae, Gallic said. The commitment to funding expresses the University’s larger commitment to expressing the importance of life issues to its students, she said. “We have had people from Notre Dame go [to the March] since it started,” Gallic said. “The numbers were only a couple in the beginning, but Notre Dame has always been represented.Notre Dame is committed to life issues, Gallic said. Right to life is part of the Catholic Church’s mission and Catholic Social Teaching. She said the close relationship between the organization and the president’s office is evident in the university’s decision to give excused absences to students who participate in the March.Gallic said involvement with the Right to Life Club at Notre Dame helped shaped her perception of others and taught her the importance of the inherent dignity of all human persons.“This group really shapes how you view other people in terms of the dignity that they have,” Gallic said. “At its core, the pro-life movement is about human dignity, so that definitely provides a different outlook on life — you see people through their worth as created in God’s image.”Gallic, who has attended seven marches in her lifetime, said she found it encouraging to stand with so many others with the same passion for pro-life issues. She said it gives her the strength to continue to fight for a cause she “holds dear to her heart.”“Just being involved with pro-life issues can sometimes be discouraging when you see the culture shifting so far away from it,” Gallic said. “Being at the March last year … by people who are so passionate about it, reminds you that you are not the only person fighting for this and [shows] how important of an issue it is.”The Right to Life Club at Notre Dame works to educate students on life issues and provides students with a way to get involved, Gallic said. Since the group is at a Catholic institution, she said she believes the group is supported more than pro-life groups at other American college campuses.“Compared to other pro-life groups at other universities, our group is very well received,” Gallic said. “We receive a ton of support from the administration.“There is always going to be, especially on college campuses, people affected by abortion, and for those people seeing reminders of the pro-life movement can be hard, but we have never experienced a lot of resentment or a lot of negativity.”Saint Mary’s senior Allie Richthammer said she feels she is in the minority at Saint Mary’s since she is pro-choice.“I personally feel like it is a woman’s responsibility to choose what she does as far as reproductive issues and I don’t think that the government, or anyone else, should be involved in that decision making process,” Richtammer said. “I think it is a citizen’s private right to choose what they would like to do.Richtammer said she thinks abortion will occur whether or not it is legal, and she said she feels abortion should be made safe as a result. Although she said she does not feel nervous about expressing her pro-choice views, at times she does feel reluctant.“On the whole, I really haven’t experienced anything negative being a pro-choice supporter on Saint Mary’s campus, but it can feel a little awkward sometimes when people are talking about ‘killing babies’ or things like that,” Richthammer said. “When they bring it into that context, as far as abortions go, I don’t really view it like that. I view it as a women’s reproductive health issue rather than an abortion issue.”Gallic said the Right to Life Club is always willing to engage in discussion with students about their beliefs and said anyone is welcome to come to the group’s events, including those who are not pro-life supporters. She said events like the March allow members of the club to engage with people from all different backgrounds and support groups, especially those of younger generations.“At the March you are able to network with other college campuses, people of older generations and experts for the cause,” Gallic said. “It is great to see so many people come together for the pro-life cause.”Tags: March for Life, Right to Lifelast_img read more

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Above Average Snowfall in Northeast This Winter, Farmer’s Almanac Predicts

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York This coming winter will bring above-normal snowfall to the Northeast, but is not expected to be worse than last winter when a string of snow storms kept Long Island blanketed in white stuff.That’s according to the long-range weather forecast published Wednesday in the 2015 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the 223-year-old New Hampshire-based annual guide to gardening tips, recipes, fun facts and astronomical data.“Think of it as a refriger-nation,” Janice Stillman, the Almanac’s editor, told The Associated Press.The Almanac also forecasts that this winter will be colder than normal, with temperatures 1-to-4 degrees below average. The snowiest part of the season the season will be the later half of December, mid-January and the first half of February, according to the Almanac.The publication touts that its storied prognostication is derived from a “secret formula” concocted by its 18th century founders that now also incorporates modern advances in meteorology and climate science. It says it is accurate in 80-percent of forecasts, although the 2014 edition’s forecast that this summer would be “oppressively” hot and humid in the Northeast hasn’t come true.The National Weather Service, which generally sticks to short-term forecasts, predicted Thursday above-average temps and an equal chance of above or below average precipitation in its three-month outlook for September through November, according to the agency’s Climate Prediction Center.The Almanac’s above-average snowfall prediction for this winter will likely prompt groans from Long Islanders still shivering at the thought of the polar vortex and the seemingly nonstop snow it brought after the New Year—or the record-breaking February 2013 blizzard that blanketed part of Suffolk County in nearly three feet of white stuff.Looking beyond next winter, the Almanac also forecasts above-normal spring and summer temps on the East Coast with below-average precipitation. It also predicts that the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season “will not be particularly active,” with a major tropical cyclone most likely to strike the Gulf region in late August.The Almanac was released a month early this year due to reader demand, AP reported.last_img read more

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Progressives Should Be Pleased By What Bernie Sanders Has Done So Far

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By David SprintzenGiven the completely unpredictable nature of the current political campaign, it is probably somewhat of a fool’s errand to offer the following comments, but I’ll offer them nonetheless. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ losing four of five Eastern primaries on Tuesday makes it almost certain that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic presidential candidate.Having said that, from the perspective of one who shares practically all of the views expressed by Sen. Sanders (I-VT)—and thus, obviously, would love to see him elected president—I believe his total results are the best that progressives like myself could hope for. Let me briefly suggest why, knowing that there is much more that needs to be said on these matters.I sincerely doubt that Sanders could have been elected. I know that polls say differently, but I think they completely fail to take into consideration the kind of withering attack that he would face not only from Republicans, but from the mega-rich and the media, both from the mainstream and from the radical right of Talk Radio.Sanders’ campaign has laid the groundwork for the mobilization of the kind of revolution that he has called for. That is not something that can be done overnight, but will take time and expanded organizing. He has given public “mainstream” political legitimacy to the ideas of Occupy Wall Street—which they were incapable, and even uninterested, in doing. And he has mobilized vast numbers of previously “silent” citizens—particularly Millenials—who can now, hopefully, be brought into the continuing national progressive network of organizations such as MoveOn, US Action, National People’s Action, the Alliance for a Just Society, Citizen Action, the Working Families Party, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, etc. These groups offer the opportunity to move the Democratic Party—and the country—in a far more progressive direction.Sanders’ campaign has already moved the Democratic Party, and its presumptive nominee, to the left. Clearly, one cannot expect Clinton to stay there without sustained pressure from this newly mobilized left—given her history and the Obama administration’s neo-liberal policies—but the groundwork and mobilization to do that is now possible.Donald Trump’s garnering the Republican nomination offers both probably the weakest possible opponent to a Democratic victory, and one whom I believe is surprisingly less dangerous than would be a U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), or Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) as a nominee. No doubt that last remark calls for an explanation that I cannot provide here. Simply let me assert that, terrible as Trump obviously is, he is less beholden to and captured by the full neo-liberal program of the Republican Establishment than they are.Thus, the election of New York’s former Democratic U.S. Senator is the more likely scenario. And, with all Clinton’s liabilities (see below), she will be presenting a reasonable corporate liberal agenda, including probably a few new U.S. Supreme Court justices. And hopefully, contributing to the election of a Democratic Senate with an enhanced progressive majority, plus a reasonable increase in Democratic representation in the House.But the major work will still be to build the national progressive movement state-by-state, while maintaining pressure on a Clinton administration. And if the Republican convention degenerates into a political brawl, so much the better for discrediting the radical right, and weakening its hold on what was once actually a conservative party.Having said all this, progressives, whatever their proclivities, will have to actively support Clinton’s campaign, whatever their misgivings, while building on Sanders’ momentum. This is certainly not the best of all worlds, but it’s the one we live in, and we must make our choices as effective as possible. There will be only two significant alternatives before us, and no outcome is foreordained, especially in a country in which either party begins any national election probably with more than 40 percent of the electorate committed in advance to vote for their candidate. And the possible election of a Republican is not something to take lightly.As for the politics of Clinton and President Barack Obama, let me share my personal abridgment of insightful comments by former White House counselor to President Bill Clinton and a two-time Democratic nominee for governor of Connecticut, Bill Curry, in his widely shared March 9 Salon piece “It should be over for Hillary: Party elites and MSNBC can’t prop her up after Bernie’s Michigan miracle,” which he offered immediately after Sanders’ remarkable victory in Michigan. I excerpt them with extensive personal modifications for which he is in no way responsible:“The fault lines of the new politics are not cultural issues like guns, abortion and same-sex marriage that divide the Democratic and Republican bases. They are issues of political reform and economic justice that divide both parties’ elites from both parties’ bases, and the American people from their government. On these issues we find the elites of both parties shockingly alike. Among them: global trade; financial deregulation and non-prosecution of financial crimes; (attacks on) the social safety net including Social Security, Medicare, a living wage and health care for all; above all, (being quite comfortable with) the ‘soft corruption’ of pay-to-play politics.“There’s a name for the bipartisan consensus of party elites: neo-liberalism. It is an inconvenient name for many reasons, but mostly because it seems odd that the worldview of the Republican elite would be an ideology with the root word ‘liberal’ in its name but it is true, nonetheless. And may even shed a little light on the open, bitter breach between GOP elites and the party base. Democrats stayed loyal longer to their elites for two reasons. One is their love of two very talented politicians, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, whose charm and verbal dexterity masked deep differences with the base. The other is their fear of Republicans.“I often talk to Democrats who don’t know Obama chose not to raise the minimum wage as president even though he had the votes for it; that he was willing to cut Medicare and Social Security and chose not to prosecute Wall Street crimes or pursue ethics reforms in government. They don’t know he dropped the public option or the aid he promised homeowners victimized by mortgage lenders. They don’t know and don’t want to know. Their affection for Bill and Barack—and their fear of Republicans—run too deep.“Hillary Clinton has neither their deft personal touch nor protean verbal skills. …Voters sense she’s just moving pawns on a chess board in part because she can never explain her change of heart and often doesn’t even try. She switched horses on global trade in a blog post, on the Keystone pipeline at a grammar school event. In a recent debate she left fracking to the GOP governors who covered themselves in glory on Obamacare, as if it were a states’ rights issue. With her Super PAC (and hers and Bill’s breathtaking haul of $153 million in mostly corporate speaking fees), she is the living avatar of pay-to-play politics.“She remains woefully out of touch with the public mood in other ways.… Clinton has been helped in her quest by her party, by big business, and by top-down endorsements from progressive lobbies many of which broke members’ hearts to deliver them. But no one’s helped her more than the media. I know full well this hasn’t always been true for the Clintons and I also know not all the help is intentional. But the media helps her, primarily by promoting the ‘conventional neo-liberal economic wisdom’ that both she and they share.”[Read Curry’s complete Salon commentary HERE]Let me conclude with a few brief comments on neo-liberalism.Neo-liberalism is clearly a set of policies essentially promoted by the corporate sector, particularly those involved with financial services. It constitutes a systematic attack on the positive role of government in regulating, coordinating and directing economic activity, while seeking to redress the tendency of unregulated capitalism to create vast economic and political inequalities. It promotes unbridled free market capitalism, prioritizing the consumer over the citizen, thus undermining democratic self-government and the collective well being of the people. Its inevitable result, as should finally be quite evident, is extraordinary wealth for the few, and increasing impoverishment for the rest. It must be exposed for what it is, and ultimately defeated.David Sprintzen is professor emeritus of philosophy at Long Island University and founder and former co-chair of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, where he continues to serve as a member of the board of directors.last_img read more

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Henderson to relish Milner support

first_img The Merseyside outfit begin their 2015-16 Barclays Premier League campaign on Sunday at Stoke. And Rodgers said at his pre-match press conference: “Obviously Jordan has been appointed the captain, but I think James will be a great ally for him, because he leads by example. “In terms of the captaincy and vice-captaincy, I think it can work really well for us. “James is someone I have admired from the outside for a long time. He has played at this level since he was 16, gone around and played for some fantastic clubs, and went to Man City and did a great job. “When there was a possibility he was going to be available, obviously you are surprised, but you are hoping that maybe you can get him to come to your club, because he is the type of player who gives everything. “For me, his actual football talent has probably gone under the radar because he has been playing alongside some outstanding talents, but this is a guy who works tirelessly on his game. “He also has big character and mentality, and I felt that we needed that in the team, to the extent that he should be the vice-captain.” Henderson is also excited about what will be brought to Liverpool by Milner, who at 29 is four years his senior, has won four major trophies over the past five seasons with City and previously played for Aston Villa, Newcastle and Leeds. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes summer signing James Milner will make a “great ally” for new Reds captain Jordan Henderson. After performing the role previously as a stand-in for the now-departed Steven Gerrard, Henderson has been appointed skipper on a full-time basis ahead of the new season. And on Friday, it was announced his fellow England midfielder Milner, recruited by Liverpool on a free transfer this summer after leaving Manchester City, is to be vice-captain. Press Association “James has been a fantastic player for a number of years – I think we’ve all watched him for quite some time in the Premier League now and he’s been a great player,” Henderson told liverpoolfc.com. “I think he can really add something to our team. He’s got great experience, is great technically and has great ability. I think this season, he’ll be a big player for us. “I think it (experience) will only help, especially the younger lads. He’s won trophies and played at the highest level for club and country. “He’s a great bonus and addition to the team – I’m sure all of us will learn from him.” Rodgers has been full of praise for Henderson too, enthusing about the way he has taken to the role of captain so far. The manager said: “I think you can see Jordan’s leadership on the field, and off the field he has been absolutely outstanding – a wonderful ambassador during what has been his first summer on tour having taken on that captaincy. “He has done it fantastically well so far. It is a new experience for him but one he is really relishing and thriving on.” Liverpool head into Sunday’s contest eager to make something of a statement after their poor 2014-15 campaign – which saw them finish sixth in the Premier League, a year on from coming second – concluded with a humiliating 6-1 defeat at Stoke. Along with Milner, the likes of fellow summer recruits Christian Benteke, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne are poised for competitive Reds debuts, while it remains to be seen whether forwards Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini – who both look set to leave the club – are involved. Midfielder Joe Allen (hamstring) has joined striker Daniel Sturridge (hip) and defender Jon Flanagan (knee) on the list of those missing out through injury. last_img read more

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3-star wide receiver Custis verbally commits to Syracuse

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Three-star wide receiver Jamal Custis verbally committed to Syracuse, he announced on his Twitter account Sunday. I’m Verbally committed to the University of Syracuse #SUfootball— JC6 (@JamalCustis6) September 8, 2013Out of Ss Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia, Custis is now the Orange’s 13th member of its 2014 recruiting class and the third wide receiver after Corey Cooper and K.J. Williams.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCustis runs a 4.37 40-meter dash, according to his Scout.com profile, and, with his 6-foot-6 frame, will offer a new dynamic to the Orange’s passing game, which does not currently feature a receiver taller than 6 feet, 3 inches. According to Rivals.com, Custis also received offers from SU’s Atlantic Coast Conference foes Pittsburgh and Virginia as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rutgers and Central Florida. Comments Published on September 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbblast_img read more

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