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Pope Francis Co-operated with the Military Junta in Argentina May 31, 2014

Posted by rogerhollander in Argentina, Human Rights, Latin America, Religion, Right Wing.
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Roger’s note: The Catholic Church. from the parish priests up to the bishops, cardinals and Popes, has a long history of supporting brutal dictatorship, not only in Latin America, but around the globe.  The two most glaring examples of the 20th century were in Franco’s Spain and Hitler’s Germany, where the Church was at best voluntary blind to atrocity and at worst complicit.  There is not reason to believe that this was not true with respect to the current Pope Francis during his tenure as leader of the Church during the period of Argentina’s vicious dictatorship.

By (about the author)

OpEdNews Op Eds 5/31/2014 at 11:09:08

It is claimed by two priests that Pope Francis handed them and other leftists to the military death squads, and did not attempt to protect lay people who then became part of the 30,000 ‘disappeared’ in Argentina.

A letter is one of several documents that de la Cuadra and other human-rights activists say shows that Bergoglio (i.e. Pope Francis), as head of the Jesuits, may have turned a blind eye to some atrocities, then later denied knowing about those atrocities despite his own testimony to the contrary and that ultimately as head of the catholic church in Argentina, he did little to open the church’s archives to reveal the truth about its complicity.

The testimony of Argentine war criminals in tribunals showed that Catholic priests and chaplains played a central role in the torture and murder of dissidents by blessing torture chambers and absolving troops of their sins after they had thrown dozens of bound and drugged dissidents from a plane into the 50-mile-wide Rio de la Plata.

The accusations have been around for years, but no official court has accused Bergoglio of wrongdoing. He has argued that he lobbied the junta to free the kidnapped priests and quietly worked to hide or protect many other suspected dissidents.

But Bergoglio has had to make that case amid a stream of revelations about other Catholic leaders’ collaborations with the junta. In a jailhouse interview the former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, who is serving a life sentence for human-rights abuses, confirmed that some top church officials were aware of the dictatorship’s kidnappings and killings of dissidents.

There were also allegations that Father Bergoglio knew where two of his Jesuit priests were held and tortured for five months by the junta, but did little to help them.

Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi rejected those charges, calling them “slander,” and saying that instead “there have been many declarations of how much he did for many people to protect them from the military dictatorship.”

The main chronicler of the priests’ kidnap case is investigative journalist Horacio Verbitsky, a former member of a ’70s-era leftist guerrilla group who tends to favour the policies of Kirchner’s populist government. It was Verbitsky’s past and political slant that allowed a Vatican spokesman, shortly after Francis’ election, to dismiss the complaints against the new pope as a campaign by “left-wing, anti-clerical elements.”

But Verbitsky is also highly regarded for shedding light on some of the worst abuses of the dictatorship. He famously established that security forces drugged dissidents and dropped them from aeroplanes and helicopters into the Rio de la Plata.

Pope Francis has never been implicated directly in any actions, but many in Argentina who support him, including 1980 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, said that “he was not complicit in the dictatorship but he lacked courage to accompany us in our struggle.”

The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State was formed of survivors of church and state terror in Dublin, Ireland. The event was initiated by Nobel Prize Nominee Reverend Kevin Annett of Canada and members of Irish survivors’ groups and has since charged Pope Francis with child abuse. Via citizens courts by 2013, this group successfully prosecuted and convicted former Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, for Crimes against Humanity in Canada. Pope Benedict subsequently resigned, the first Pope to do so in 600 years.

Reports of any of these accusations in the mainstream media as might be expected are infrequent.

With the knowledge of the United States, Latin American dictators used terrorism to wage their war on terrorism.

Pope Francis’ Junta Past: Argentine Journalist on New Pontiff’s Ties to Abduction of Jesuit Priests

Satanic 9th circle murder evidence links Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury

http://ahaadotme.wordpress.com/

Cully Downer is Irish and the author of ‘Ahaanews’ a UK based blog activist site. He has been a mental health advocate and freelance author both in the UK and North America. He works independently and now lives in the south coast of England.

 

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In Egypt, a President Without Power June 21, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Democracy, Egypt, Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
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Roger’s note: we see once again the farce and insufficiency of formal “democracy,” with “democratic” elections.  We see that the real power in any so-called democracy is the military in alliance with the mostly behind-the-scenes corporate oligarchy.  It is not always a blatant as it is in Egypt, but in the country that has always boasted itself as the epitome of “democracy,” we see more and more every day that popular will and popular need and interests are surrendered to the objectives of the Empire and its military industrial complex.  Only a genuine revolution that destroys the iron fist of capitalism will bring genuine freedom and democracy; the Arab Spring revolution was only a first step in this direction, as we see clearly now.  Deposing a dictator is necessary but not sufficient.  There is a long way to go, not only for Egypt, but for every nation on earth.
 
Published on Thursday, June 21, 2012 by The Nation

 

by Sharif Abdel Kouddous

Last week’s presidential elections in Egypt were supposed to mark the final step in what has been an arduous transition from military rule to an elected civilian government. Instead, sixteen months after President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising calling for freedom and social justice, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces has assumed near-full control of all of the key branches of state.

 Shafiq (left) or Mursi (right). Either way, turmoil is guaranteed. (Photo: AP)

 M inutes after polls closed Sunday evening in the country’s first-ever competitive presidential election, which pitted the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi against Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak’s last prime minister, the SCAF issued a set of constitutional amendments that strip the incoming president of almost all significant powers and cement military authority over the post-Mubarak era.

The move by the ruling generals came days after the dissolution of the popularly elected parliament by a court packed with Mubarak-appointed judges, as well as a decree by the Minister of Justice reintroducing elements of martial law to the country by granting the military broad powers to arrest and detain civilians.

“Egypt has completed its full transition into a military dictatorship,” wrote Hossam Bahgat, head of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, after the amendments were made public.

The eleventh-hour declaration awards the ruling generals sweeping powers, including the right to issue legislation in the absence of a sitting parliament, and total control over the military’s affairs, shielding the army from any presidential, parliamentary or public oversight. Most prominently, the amendments remove the president’s role as commander-in-chief—with SCAF head Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi assuming that power—effectively transforming the SCAF into a fourth branch of state, constitutionally separate from the executive, legislative and judiciary.

“The provisions really do constitutionalize a military coup,” writes Nathan Brown, an Egypt expert at George Washington University.

The military also tightened its grip over the drafting of Egypt’s new constitution by granting itself an effective veto over any clauses that don’t meet with its approval. It can even go further and directly handpick the 100-member body that will write the constitution. The Constituent Assembly, elected by the Muslim Brotherhood–dominated parliament two days before it was dissolved, faces allegations by secular forces that it is dominated by Islamists who have secured themselves the lion’s share of seats. The new amendments allow the SCAF to dissolve the current body if “encounters an obstacle”—a disturbingly vague condition—and select the Constituent Assembly themselves.

The military council further eroded the authority of the executive with another decree, made public on Monday, to form a seventeen-member National Defense Council, to be chaired by the incoming president, but which will include eleven senior military commanders and will make decisions based on a simply majority vote.

Meanwhile, the head of the SCAF Advisory Council, Sameh Ashour, suggested the winner of the election might only serve on an interim basis, until the new constitution is written. “The newly elected president will occupy the office for a short period of time, whether or not he agrees,” Ashour told Al Jazeera.

Activists and rights campaigners decried the series of moves by the military, which they said render the SCAF’s promise to hand over power by June 30 effectively meaningless. The sentiment was reflected in the front-page headline of the privately owned daily Al-Shorouk the morning after the election: “A president without powers.”

The runoff itself was deeply divisive, marked by heavy negative campaigning by both sides. Shafik, a stalwart of the former regime, campaigned on a law-and-order platform, vowing to use force to crush protesters, while vilifying the Brotherhood and pledging to act as a bulwark against the rise of Islamists in government. Meanwhile, Morsi sought to portray himself as the revolutionary candidate facing off against the remnants of Mubarak’s regime.

Both men were polarizing figures, and their candidacies evoked the binary political landscape that prevailed in Egypt in the decades leading up to the revolution. Enthusiasm among the electorate was clearly low, with many voters saying their choice of candidate was based largely on preventing the other from reaching the presidency.

The Brotherhood has claimed it won the poll, releasing figures that show Morsi with nearly 52 percent of the vote to Shafik’s 48 percent. The results appear to coincide with reports from local media outlets and independent observers. However, the Shafik campaign is vigorously denying their candidate has lost and insists Shafik came out ahead with a tally of 51 percent. Both sides have launched appeals against the conduct of the vote before official results are announced on Thursday, June 21.

The Brotherhood has come out strongly against the constitutional amendments and says it does not recognize the Supreme Constitutional Court’s ruling to dissolve parliament, a decision widely viewed as highly politicized. The army deployed troops outside the parliament on Saturday to prevent MPs from gaining access to the building.

“This is against the people’s will and the SCAF does not have a genuine intention to hand over power,” the Brotherhood said in a statement. On Tuesday, the group helped lead a protest of tens of thousands in Tahrir Square and outside parliament, along with a number of other political forces, including the Salafi Nour party and the April 6 Youth Movement.

Adding to the chaos, that very night, the official state news agency caused a firestorm when it reported that Mubarak had been declared “clinically dead” after suffering a stroke. The former president was transferred from his prison cell where had been held since June 2, after receiving a life sentence on charges of involving the killing protesters in January 2011. Conflicting reports soon emerged that he was in fact stable and on a respirator. Reports of Mubarak’s failing health had frequently appeared in the media ever since charges were brought against him last year and the latest news was treated with widespread criticism in Egypt. The next day, The New York Times reported that his lawyer denied the former president had nearly died, insisting he simply fell down in the prison bathroom.

Meanwhile, the Carter Center, one of three international organizations accredited to witness the election, expressed “grave concern” about the military’s actions. “It is now unclear whether a truly democratic transition remains underway in Egypt,” the group said in a preliminary statement released Tuesday.

In Washington, the reaction was similar from both the State Department and the Pentagon. “We are particularly concerned by decisions that appear to prolong the military’s hold on power,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

US policy towards Egypt has remained unchanged since before the revolution, when Washington backed the Mubarak regime for decades with $1.3 billion in annual military aid. In March, the Obama administration used a national security waiver to bypass new restrictions imposed by Congress that would have made aid to Egypt conditional on certification from the State Department that the SCAF was making progress on the transition to democracy. The move came in the wake of a crisis in which Egyptian authorities raided several NGOs in Cairo, including three funded by the United States, not to mention continued and widespread human rights abuses committed by the military and security forces.

“[The United States] will either have to suspend the aid or be openly in favor of SCAF’s constitutional coup if they continue it,” writes Cairo-based blogger and analyst Issandr El-Amrani. “The time has come: the US may not be able to influence developments in Egypt, but at least it can stop underwriting them.”

The presidential elections mark the third time Egyptians have gone to the polls only to find their votes rendered meaningless. A nationwide referendum on nine amendments to the constitution in March 2011 was supplanted by SCAF a few days later when it unilaterally issued a “Constitutional Declaration” that included over sixty articles. The parliamentary elections last fall were cancelled by this month’s court ruling to dissolve the People’s Assembly. Now, millions have elected a president who was stripped of most of his authority by the SCAF in a last-minute power grab.

If voting has come to mean nothing with the military in charge, the masses that united to oust Mubarak may soon begin to seek other avenues for change.

 
© 2012 The Nation

School of the Americas (SOA Watch) May 26, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Foreign Policy, Latin America.
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SOA Watch News &   Updates
In this SOA Watch Email Newsletter:

  • Legislation to Suspend Operations at the School of the Americas and to Investigate its Connection to Human Rights Abuses in Latin America Introduced in Congress.
  • Colombian SOA Graduate Arrested for his Participation in Massacre
  • Believe Together: June 24th Interfaith Mobilization for Health Care for All
  • 24-Hour Vigil to End Torture on June 27, 2009 in Washington, DC
  • Father Larry Rosebaugh ¡Presente!

    Contact your Representative Now!New SOA/ WHINSEC Legislation Introduced in Congress!
    On May 21st, 2009, Representative Jim McGovern introduced HR 2567 in the House of Representatives with 42 original cosponsors! This new legislation would suspend operations at the SOA/ WHINSEC and investigate the association of torture and human rights abuses associated with the school.

    We need your help generating more cosponsors and support for HR 2567! Visit the Legislative Action Index on our website to learn more about how you can get involved and add your cosponsor as a supporter of this legislation. Use our Online Action to send an automatic email or fax to your Member of Congress or access our sample call script and the toll-free congressional switchboard phone number to make your views heard in Washington! You can also access the updated list of cosponsors at the bottom of the Legislative Action Index.

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    Colombian SOA Graduate Arrested for his Participation in Massacre
    Saturday 23 May 2009, by Prensa – Colectivo: A preventive measure of detention was issued against the former commander of the Palacé Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Alberto Amor Páez, by the specialized human rights prosecutor in the city of Calí, Juan Carlos Oliveros Corrales. This warrant confirmed Amor Páez’s participation in the massacre of 24 peasant farmers, which took place in the rural communities of Alaska, Tres Esquinas and La Habana, in the municipality of Buga in the department of Valle del Cauca, on October 10, 2001.

    Click here to read the full story


    Believe Together: June 24th Interfaith Mobilization for Health Care for All

    On June 24th, on Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C., national religious networks and chaplaincy organizations will sponsor an Interfaith Service of Witness and Prayer for Health Care for All, with echo events across the country, and with lobby visits to congressional offices on behalf of comprehensive health care reform. The event will draw attention to the moral message offered by every American faith tradition: quality, accessible, and affordable health care coverage for all, this year. Over 30 national faith-based organizations, including SOA-Watch, have endorsed this event, as have numerous regional and local religious entities. For more information, and to add the endorsement of your faith community, please visit the website: www.WeBelieveTogether.org


    24-Hour Vigil to End Torture

    For its 12th consecutive year, the Torture Abolition Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC) will hold a 24-Hour Vigil in Washington, DC, on Saturday, June 27, across from the White House. The Vigil will be attended by survivors of torture from around the world and supported by many friends and colleagues.

    Commemorating the U.N. International Day in Support Of Torture Victims and Survivors
    When: Saturday June 27, 2009
    Where: Lafayette Park, in front of the White House
    Organized by: TASSC International and Friends of TASSC


    Father Larry Rosebaugh ¡Presente!

    In sadness, we share that Fr. Larry Rosebaugh OMI was shot to death in Playa Grande, Guatemala on May 18th. He was a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He was killed by gunmen in an alleged carjacking while he and 4 other Oblates were on their way to a meeting. The gunmen escaped and did not take the van. One other Oblate, Fr. Jean Claude Nowama OMI was wounded, although not mortally.

    Larry Rosebaugh, along with Fr. Roy Bourgeois MM and Linda Ventimiglia carried out the first action at Fort Benning in 1983. After scaling a tree, they played one of Romero’s final sermons overlooking the barracks where the Salvadoran soldiers were training. Larry served 15 months in prison for the action. Many of us see this as the beginning of movement in the US.

    Since the 1960’s when Larry began protesting the Vietnam war he found him self in front of many judges and in numerous prisons for his protests against the School of the Americas, nuclear arms and war. In 1975, he was assigned to the missions in Brazil, where he spent 6 years. Returning to the US in 1981, he was a member of the Catholic Worker House community in New York City for 4 years, spent some time in El Salvador as a volunteer with Christian Volunteer Ministries, and, in 1993, was assigned to the Oblate mission in Guatemala, where he was serving when he was killed During his many years of ministry, Fr. Larry, often known as Fr. Lorenzo, was an advocate for peace and justice wherever he served. His autobiography, To Wisdom through Failure, was published in 2006. He spoke and read his new book at the 2006 November Vigil.

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