Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for May 10th, 2013

To great surprise: Rios Montt convicted of genocide. History is made.

Posted by Charles II on May 10, 2013

Just about a month ago, the genocidal president of Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina shut down the trial of the man who at that time was ordering the genocide done, Rios Montt. Now, via Meteor Blades at DK, some good news. Mike McDonald of Reuters reports that the trial concluded, and Rios Montt was convicted:

A Guatemalan court on Friday found former dictator Efrain Rios Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity during the bloodiest phase of the country’s 36-year civil war.

He was sentenced to 50 years in prison on the genocide charge and 30 years for crimes against humanity. It was the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide in his or her own country.

Rios Montt, 86, took power after a coup in 1982….

Prosecutors say Rios Montt turned a blind eye [actually, they said he designed the program] as soldiers used rape, torture and arson to try to rid Guatemala of leftist rebels during his 1982-1983 rule, the most violent period of a 1960-1996 civil war in which as many as 250,000 people died.

When our leaders say that can’t get things done, remember that the judge and prosecutor in this case have been constantly threatened. That’s what political courage looks like.

Rios Montt will probably never face actual punishment. He is 86, he has powerful friends at higher levels in the court system (not to mention Guatemala’s president), and it’s not clear that the American government is on the side of justice. After all, the genocide could not have taken place without the active help of Ronald Reagan.

But history has been made. For the first time, a mass murderer has been tried by the population he abused. Caps off to the brave people who used peaceful means to end and finally discredit Rios Montt’s violent reign.
The inestimable Robert Parry reminds us that this makes Ronald Reagan an accessory to mass murder:

U.S. intelligence officers in the region also kept the Reagan administration abreast of the expanding slaughter. For instance, according to one “secret” cable from April 1981 — and declassified in the 1990s — the CIA was confirming Guatemalan government massacres even as Reagan was moving to loosen the military aid ban.

On April 17, 1981, a CIA cable described an army massacre at Cocob, near Nebaj in the Ixil Indian territory, because the population was believed to support leftist guerrillas. A CIA source reported that “the social population appeared to fully support the guerrillas” and “the soldiers were forced to fire at anything that moved.”

Despite these atrocities, Reagan dispatched Walters in May 1981 to tell the Guatemalan leaders that the new U.S. administration wanted to lift the human rights embargoes on military equipment that Carter and Congress had imposed.

What the documents from the Reagan Library make clear is that the administration was not simply struggling ineffectively to rein in these massacres – as the U.S. press corps typically reported – but was fully onboard with the slaughter of people who were part of the guerrillas’ “civilian support mechanisms.”


Posted in Good Things, Latin America | 3 Comments »

So, Koch-funded Astroturf deserves the charitable exemption

Posted by Charles II on May 10, 2013

It’s not good when the IRS singles out anybody for heightened scrutiny. But I have to roll my eyes when I see this, Fredreka Schouten and Gregory Korte, USAT:

The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for subjecting Tea Party groups to additional scrutiny during the 2012 election, but denied any political motive.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews. Her remarks came at an American Bar Association gathering.

Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong.

We have a situation in this country where blatantly political organizations get tax-exempt status. The American Crossroads spin-off Crossroads GPS, funded by billionaires like Bob Perry, gets 501(c)4 status, meaning that their fund-raising doesn’t get taxed (most donations are not tax exempt, however). If they were called what they are, lobbying/PR organizations, they would have to pay taxes. So they are being subsidized.

If the practice was “initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati,” then presumably it had very minor effects. I’d like to see just how much harassment left-wing groups have received, since historically we know that it is considerable. Like, say, the NAACP. Or All Saints Episcopal. And don’t let’s get started on Nixon.

So, IRS, leave the d–n Tea Party alone… to the same extent that you leave their ideological opposites alone.

CNBC is flogging this story. Expect it to be everywhere soon.
Predictably, Kossacks swallow the bait without reflecting very long or hard….

When are Democrats/liberals going to start thinking before they start apologizing?

Posted in taxes, Tea Party, working the refs | 2 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on May 10, 2013

Friday Cat Blogging

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 1 Comment »

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