5 Times the OAS Was OK with Latin American Human Rights Abuses

  • U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Argentina

    U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Argentina’s Augusto Pinochet. | Photo: Archive

Published 27 March 2017 (11 hours 45 minutes ago)

U.S. invasions and interventions don’t seem to bother the OAS too much.

1. Chile

In 1973, during the coup against leftist President Salvador Allende, the Organization of American States stayed silent, even after the death of the president. With the support of the United States, General Augusto Pinochet took power, while the OAS applauded the move. In fact, in 1976 the VI Summit of the OAS was held in Pinochet’s Chile. At that meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave a speech on human rights and told Pinochet, “We want your government to be a prosperous government. We want to help you and not obstruct your work.” The brutal dictatorship led to the murder, torture and forced disappearance of thousands of Chileans

2. Dominican Republic

The U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 represented the institutionalized intervention of the OAS with the Inter-American Peace Force. Before the invasion, the OAS sent its Secretary General Jose A. Mora from Uruguay presumably to lay the groundwork for the invasion with the excuse of seeking a truce between the opposing parties. The U.S. invaded and led a tank attack for more than 48 hours to counter the victory of the leftist Popular Constitutionalist Movement.

3. Guatemala

President Jacobo Arbenz, who promoted agrarian reform in Guatemala, was overthrown in a U.S. invasion in 1954. Before the invasion, the OAS passed a resolution allowing “regional collective intervention,” in violation of its initial rules. The agency did not question the actions of the United States and instead backed the military dictatorship of Carlos Castillo Armas. Declassified documents revealed that the coup in Guatemala was the result of a covert CIA operation.

4. Cuba

With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the OAS simply did not think that “Marxism-Leninism” was compatible with its principles. In 1962 Cuba was finally expelled from the OAS, after a series of diplomatic actions aimed at isolating the island nation. The OAS devoted itself to drafting reports of alleged human rights violations in Cuba but said nothing of the U.S. Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and has remained silent about the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States.

5. Panama

The United States bombed and invaded Panama in 1989. President Manuel Noriega was kidnapped, made to stand trial in the U.S., and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Although the invasion was obviously illegal and in violation of the OAS charter, the agency “condemned” the facts superfluously and took no action.

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News > World

Standing Rock Sioux Hails Norway DNB Bank Dumping Dakota Access

  • Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and Indigenous leaders participate in a protest against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.

    Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and Indigenous leaders participate in a protest against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 March 2017 (9 hours 54 minutes ago)
Since police cleared the Standing Rock camp, the efforts to convince banks and lenders to divest from the pipeline have been gaining momentum.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe issued a statement Monday welcoming the decision by Norway’s DNB Bank to divest from the Dakota Access pipeline, reportedly selling more than US$331 million in loans to build the pipeline, close to 10 percent of the cost of the project.

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“Divestment and shareholder advocacy have been key to our fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault said in a statement posted on the tribe’s website.

“Hundreds of investors — ranging from institutional investors to cities to individuals — have cut ties with DAPL, but the recent announcements from banks are an especially encouraging sign that our voice is being heard.”

DNB announced in November that it would review its participation in the financing of the Energy Transfer Partners project after pressure from the Norwegian Indigenous Sami people.

After meeting representatives from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, among others, as well as the pipeline company, DNB decided to pull out, it said.

“By selling our stake, we wish to signal how important it is that the affected indigenous population is involved and that their opinions are heard in these types of projects,” senior DNB executive Harald Serck-Hanssen said in a statement Sunday.

“Additionally, DNB is a signatory to the Equator Principles, a set of environmental and social policies that require clients to — among other things — obtain Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from Indigenous Peoples,” the tribe’s statement said applauding the decision.

“With construction of DAPL nearing completion, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is calling on all investors behind DAPL to take action to address this blatant violation of tribal sovereignty,” it added.

The news came just days after Dutch bank ING Groep said it was selling US$120 million in loans from the Dakota Access pipeline, making it the first bank to offload its debt from the project.

ING and DNB were two of 17 banks financing the Energy Transfer Partners LP’s pipeline, led by Citibank, for a total of US$2.5 billion in credit.

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The remaining banks include Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BayernLB, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Credit Agricole, ICBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, Natixis, Societe Generale, SMBC, SunTrust, TD Securities, and Wells Fargo.

In February, law enforcement swept through an encampment occupied since August on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property at the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, after President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing the corps to grant an easement allowing the project to proceed.

Since then efforts to convince banks and lenders to divest from the pipeline have been gaining momentum as four U.S. cities, San Francisco, Seattle, Davis and Santa Monica, have divested from Wells Fargo, one of the banks lending money to the Dakota Access pipeline.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe water protectors and their allies argue that the pipeline is being built on sacred land and could damage the area’s water sources.

The action against the pipeline attracted more than 300 Native American tribes from across the United States in a show of unity and force.

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News > World

Israel Kills Prominent Palestinian Revolutionary Basel Araj

  • A man inspects the scene where a Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces during a clash in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

    A man inspects the scene where a Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces during a clash in the West Bank city of Ramallah. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 March 2017
Palestinian progressive factions condemned the killing of Basel Araj and called it an “extrajudicial killing” by Israeli forces.

Palestinians took to the streets Monday afternoon in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to protest the killing of prominent Palestinian activist Basel Araj in an overnight raid, as several Palestinian factions issued statements condemning his killing.

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In a statement released Monday, the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Araj was “assassinated” and described him as “one of the most prominent young Palestinian fighters” to resist the Israeli occupation, who “worked to chronicle the history of Palestine and confront all attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

The statement added that Araj was “a revolutionary intellectual who put all of his cultural and intellectual energies in the service of the resistance together with his own actions on the ground.”

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian activist and the head of the Palestinian National Initiative political party, said Araj’s death was “nothing but an act of extrajudicial killing and assassination.”

“Every price you pay in the resistance … you will get repaid for it if not in your life, then later … Resistance continues to be feasible.”

Two other people confronted the Israeli troops as they raided a house in a village in the district of Bethlehem in the West Bank where Araj was staying. He had been on the run from Israeli authorities for several months for being “close to Islamists.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli police described the Palestinian activist as a “terrorist killed in border police CT operation” for “planning an attack against civilians and security forces,” Micky Rosenfeld, Israeli police spokesperson said in a statement.

However, Araj’s uncle, Khalid, said his nephew spent most of his time “reading and researching, particularly about the history and geography of Palestine,” Al-Jazeera reported Monday.

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Only the Israeli Dead Matter: Israel Fails to Investigate Its Bloody Wars

The Israeli statement also claimed that officers were at the house to arrest Araj but began to fire after he and the other two fired at them. But Barghouti said he visited the house where the shootout occurred and argued that it seemed Israelis were doing most of the shooting.

“They said there was a fight and clash, but what I found was that the only side that was shooting was the Israeli,” he told Al-Jazeera.

“If Araj had any chance to shoot, he would not have been able to shoot more than one bullet. The house was completely bombarded with Israeli bullets. The Israeli side is trying to claim there was shoot back.”

While the Palestinian government slammed the killing, the leftist PFLP blamed Palestinian authorities for his death suggesting that the security coordination between Ramallah and Tel Aviv have allowed Israel to target wanted Palestinian activists.

“The security coordination is an explicit betrayal of the blood of the martyrs and the principles and values of our people and is continuing to damage the resistance and the Palestinian youth,” the Marxist resistance group said.

Araj was held in a Palestinian prison for almost five months without charges or an explanation of his arrest and was released in September only to land on Israel’s wanted list.

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