Pinochet dictatorship in Chile and the USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Uncovering Pinochet‘s Secret Death Camps

7 April 2014

Facing the Past: Revealing the truth about Chile’s dirty war.

For more information visit here.

In Chile, the murderous past under dictator general Augusto Pinochet is slowly coming under scrutiny. With new evidence of extermination camps, the families of the disappeared are yearning for justice.

“I started to testify and began to get rid of those pangs of guilt”, confesses Jorgelino Vergara. Aged only 15, Jorgelino worked as waiter at the secret Simon Bolivar extermination centre witnessing horrific torture and murder. More than 3000 people were kidnapped and killed after the army general seized power in 1973. After a long investigation, charges are being laid against more than seventy people accused of involvement in the brutality at Simon Bolivar.

One of them is a member of the much feared Lautaro Brigade, Adriana Rivas. From the safety of her Australian exile, she denies charges but her views on torture remain chilling: “Everyone knew they had to do that in order to break them because Communists would not talk. It was necessary”. The secrets and brutality of the Pinochet regime are laid bare at Santiago’s memory museum. The daughter of one of Rivas’ victims, who was beaten to a pulp and then injected with a lethal poison, is now a curator there. As she fights for remembrance and justice, she wonders: “How can a human being be part of this machinery of exterminating people?”

By John Green:

The conflicted alliance which brutally devastated Chile

Monday 29th June 2015

Reagan and Pinochet: The Struggle Over US Policy Towards Chile by M Morley and C McGillon (Cambridge University Press, £22.99)

IT IS one of the real tragedies of history that unpalatable truths invariably only come out many years after the events when we can do little about them.

This is certainly true of the criminal and blatant involvement of the US in the affairs of Chile that was instrumental in ousting a democratically elected socialist president and for the loss of the lives of many wonderful people.

In this book, the first comprehensive study of the Reagan administration’s policy towards Chile, the authors state: “During the first three decades of the 20th century, the United States transformed itself from a dominant regional into a competitive global power, all the while projecting its power abroad driven less by a desire ‘to make the world a safer place for democracy’ than to put down nationalist threats to an expanding US capital and commerce.” Chile came into that category.

Returning from leave a few days after president Allende’s 1970 election victory, a US official said that the White House “had gone ape. They were frantic, beside themselves.”

President Nixon immediately instructed the CIA to prevent Allende taking power and, although they were unsuccessful they did, with Henry Kissinger’s help, destroy his government in a brutal military coup led by their puppet General Pinochet.

The authors demonstrate how over the years — even for the US — the brutality and vehemence, with which Pinochet used to stamp on democracy in Chile, was damaging its image as an upholder of democracy and human rights.

The Chilean example was replicated throughout Latin America with terrible and long-lasting repercussions. Under Ronald Reagan the US made efforts to bring Pinochet to heel and put pressure on him to moderate the malevolence of his dictatorship, while at the same time being happy to have a right-wing authoritarian regime in control in Chile.

Reagan is shown by the authors to be an effete and ignorant individual, certainly in terms of world affairs. He was happy to let his presidential team do all the detailed negotiations and footwork for him. He was the ideal front man for a cabal of right-wing ideologues — the jovial and avuncular movie screen president behind whom the ruthless conspirators could hide.

The book is dense, and of course only covers the Reagan years, after much of the dirty work had been done. It also largely ignores what the US was doing in the other Latin American countries at the time but, even so, its meticulous and illuminating research makes it a highly useful reference work.

Blue whale Isabela’s long journey, new research


This video is called [New Animal documentary 2015] Ocean Voyager Whale Documentary – The Biggest Sea Creatures.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society today:

Scientists studying blue whale DNA uncover an epic journey by ‘Isabela’

14 hours ago

Scientists studying blue whales in the waters of Chile through DNA profiling and photo-identification may have solved the mystery of where these huge animals go to breed, as revealed by a single female blue whale named ‘Isabela,’ according to a recent study by the Chile’s Blue Whale Center/Universidad Austral de Chile, NOAA and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The researchers have discovered that Isabela—a female animal named after the lead author’s daughter and a major Galapagos Island of the same name—has traveled at least once between Chile‘s Gulf of Corcovado and the equatorial waters of the Galapagos Islands, a location more than 5,000 kilometers away and now thought to be a possible blue whale breeding ground. The journey represents the largest north-south migratory movement ever recorded for a Southern Hemisphere blue whale.

The study titled ‘First documented migratory destination for Eastern South Pacific blue whales’ appears today in the online version of the journal Marine Mammal Science.

‘Efforts to protect blue whales and other ocean-going species will always fall short without full knowledge of a species’ migratory range. Moreover, with this kind of findings we encourage eastern south Pacific governments to think about the creation of a marine protected areas network for the conservation of this and other migratory species’ said lead author Juan Pablo Torres-Florez of the Universidad Austral de Chile and the Blue Whale Center. ‘Isabela points us in the right direction for further research.’

‘The discovery emphasizes the benefits of collaboration between scientists and research organizations from different countries,’ said Paula Olson of Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

‘The discovery of Isabela traveling between southern Chile and the waters of Ecuador is important and very timely as we work to promote the recovery of the largest species to ever inhabit the earth,’ said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum of WCS’s Ocean Giants Program. ‘The movement of this one whale provides important information that will enable us to look further at these important areas for blue whales with goal to ensure their long-term protection.’

It is unknown how old Isabela is, or if she has produced any young, but she is at least 82 feet in length and may weigh up to 100 tons.

Seeking to establish links between populations of blue whales in the Gulf of Corcovado and other regions, the researchers examined DNA collected from the skin of blue whales with biopsy darts fired from crossbows across the eastern South Pacific. The team also used data from recorded sightings and photographs in their attempt to connect individual animals to different locations.

The analysis produced a genetic match between a female whale observed and sampled off the coast of southern Chile in the Austral summer of 2006; it turned out the same whale sampled the waters of the Galapagos eight years earlier by NOAA scientists. The team then found that photographs taken of both whales revealed the same distinctively curved dorsal fin and blotchy blue-gray patterns on the back, confirming that both whales were in fact the same animal.

The authors note that blue whales are frequently observed in equatorial Pacific just west of the Galapagos and that a more detailed study might confirm the location as a wintering and breeding ground for at least some of the blue whales of southern Chile.

Reaching nearly 100 feet in length, the blue whale is thought to be the largest animal that ever existed. Blue whales were nearly hunted to extinction by commercial whaling fleets before receiving international protection in 1966. A calf can measure between 23 and 27 feet in length at birth and weigh almost 3 metric tons.

Explore further: Study on world’s biggest animal finds more than one population in the southeastern Pacific

More information: First documented migratory destination for eastern South Pacific blue whales

Journal reference: Marine Mammal Science

Provided by Wildlife Conservation Society

Tell President Obama: Protect Blue Whales: here.

Migratory birds in Chile, video


This video, in Spanish with English subtitles, says about itself:

Chiloé, The Island of Birds

This short film explains why migratory sea birds arrive to the island of Chiloé, and the different migrations that the birds make. It shows how important wetlands are in giving these birds shelter, as well as exposes their threats. At the same time, we can appreciate how birds have formed part of Chiloé culture, through activities such as the Migratory Birds Festival.

Vegetarian Tyrannosaurus rex relative discovery in Chile


A reconstruction of the skeleton and external appearance of Chilesaurus. Paleontologists have labelled it “a truly odd mix”. Illustration: Gabriel Lío

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

‘Bizarre’ Jurassic dinosaur discovered in remarkable new find

Chilesaurus diegosuarezi was related to Tyrannosaurus rex, but was vegetarian and has other curious features

Ian Sample, science editor

Monday 27 April 2015 16.25 BST

Fossil hunters in Chile have unearthed the remains of a bizarre Jurassic dinosaur that combined a curious mixture of features from different prehistoric animals.

The evolutionary muddle of a beast grew to the size of a small horse and was the most abundant animal to be found 145 million years ago, in what is now the Aysén region of Patagonia.

The discovery ranks as one of the most remarkable dinosaur finds of the past 20 years, and promises to cause plenty of headaches for paleontologists hoping to place the animal in the dinosaur family tree.

“I don’t know how the evolution of dinosaurs produced this kind of animal, what kind of ecological pressures must have been at work,” said Fernando Novas at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires.

“What’s surprising is that in this locality the most bizarre dinosaur is not the exception, but the rule. It is the most abundant animal we find,” he added.

The first fossilised bones of the beast were discovered in 2004 when a Chilean couple, who are geologists, were studying rocks in the Andes to understand how the mountain range formed. The couple’s son, Diego, was playing nearby when he found a fossilised bone that turned out to belong to the new species.

The discovery prompted the geologists, Manuel Suarez and Rita de la Cruz, to team up with Novas and other scientists and return to the site, called Black Hill, in a breathtaking rocky expanse near General Carrera Lake in southern Chile.

On returning to the site, the researchers found bones from at least a dozen of the strange animals, including four nearly complete and well-preserved skeletons. The skeletons showed that the weird mix of head, neck, shoulder, rib, pelvis, leg and tail bones all belonged to the same creature.

Named Chilesaurus diegosuarezi after 7-year-old Diego, the animal belongs to the theropod group of dinosaurs, which includes the carnivorous tyrannosaurs and velociraptors. But unlike its meat-eating cousins, Chilesaurus had switched diets and become a vegetarian. Meat eaters tend to have sharp teeth and large heads supported by thick necks. Chilesaurus had a horny beak, flatter teeth for chomping plants, a small head and slender neck. “It’s a theropod that turned vegetarian,” said Novas. Details are published in the journal Nature.

Other anatomical peculiarities have surprised paleontologists. Its forelimbs were stocky, like an allosaurus, and instead of sharp claws, it sported two stumpy fingers. Most of the Chilesaurus remains belonged to juveniles, no larger than turkeys, but the team found bones from adults too that suggest the animals reached 3 metres from snout to tail when fully grown.

The remains of the animals were found alongside bones of small prehistoric crocodiles and huge herbivorous cousins of diplodocus. The researchers hope to return to the site next year to uncover more bones, including those of the predators that must have stalked the land long before the Andes had formed.

The curious form of Chilesaurus is an extreme example of mosaic convergent evolution, where different parts of an animal adapt to the environment along the same path taken by other creatures.

Paul Barrett, a dinosaur researcher at the Natural History Museum in London said Chilesaurus ranks as one of the most interesting dinosaur discoveries of the past 20 years.

“It has an unbelievably weird mixture of anatomical features. If you found isolated bones from this one animal in different places you’d probably conclude that the bones came from completely different dinosaur groups, rather than representing one unusual species,” he said.

“Some of the bones look like they belong to an early theropod, others like they belong to a group of weird plant-eating theropods called therizinosauroids and yet others look like they belong to a completely different dinosaur group, the prosauropods. A truly odd mix.”

“It shows that dinosaurs were experimenting with a wide range of body types and that some unexpected features like a vegetarian diet turned up independently again and again in the ‘predatory’ theropod dinosaurs.”

“Its relationships to other dinosaurs are really tricky to pin down because of this mix of features and it wouldn’t surprise me if its position in the dinosaur evolutionary tree changes regularly as more people see the material,” he said.

See also here.

United States child abuse cover-up bishop resigns


This video from the USA says about itself:

Catholics in Kansas City urge Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Robert Finn

17 February 2014

James McConnell and Jeanne Christensen, Sisters of Mercy Justice Advocate for Human Trafficking, spoke about petitioning Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph during a press conference outside the Catholic Center, 20 East 9th Street in Kansas City.

From Associated Press:

Pope Francis accepts resignation of KC Bishop Robert Finn

04/21/2015 7:12 AM

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Finn pleaded guilty in 2013 to failing to report a suspected priestly child abuser in the first known case of a pope sanctioning bishops for covering up for pedophiles.

The Vatican said Tuesday that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office. It didn’t provide a reason.

Finn, who leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, waited six months before notifying police about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained hundreds of lewd photos of young girls taken in and around churches where he worked. Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years’ probation in 2012. Ever since, he has faced pressure from local Roman Catholics to step down, with some parishioners petitioning Francis to remove him from the diocese.

No U.S. bishop has been removed for covering up for guilty clergy.

Finn remains the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of failing to take action in response to abuse allegations. The Vatican’s failure to sanction or remove him had fueled victims’ complaints that bishops were continuing to enjoy protections even under the “zero tolerance” pledge of Francis.

Even Francis’ top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, had said publicly that Francis needs to “urgently” address Finn’s case, though he later stressed that Finn deserved due process and must be spared “crowd-based condemnations.”

The Vatican last fall sent a Canadian archbishop to Finn’s diocese as part of his an investigation of his leadership. But until Tuesday, there had been no word about what the pope would do.

Finn’s resignation comes as Francis is facing similar pressure to remove a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, amid an unprecedented outcry over his longtime affiliation with Chile’s most notorious molester, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Karadima’s victims say Barros witnessed their abuse decades ago. He has denied knowing anything until he read news reports of Karadima’s crimes in 2010. The Vatican has defended the appointment. Karadima was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually abusing minors.

Earlier this month, members of the pope’s sex abuse advisory commission came to Rome in an unscheduled session to voice their concern about Barros.

O’Malley subsequently told the pope that the Vatican must come up with “appropriate procedures and modalities to evaluate and adjudicate cases of ‘abuse of office’ ” when bishops fail to protect children.

One step towards LGBTQ equality in Chile


This video from Venezuela about Chile says about itself:

14 April 2015

On Monday Chilean President Michele Bachelet signed a law legalizing civil unions for both straight and same-sex couples. The measure, initially proposed in 2003, is expected to benefit 2 million Chileans. Although the law falls short of authorizing same-sex marriage, it was nonetheless praised as a step forward by LGBT activists.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Chile: Civil unions recognised after Bachelet signs law

Wednesday 15th April 2015

PRESIDENT Michelle Bachelet signed into law a long-awaited Bill recognising civil unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples on Monday.

“We are saying this is a concrete step forward in the path toward ending the differences between homosexual and heterosexual couples,” she said.

She added that she saw this as “a vindication of the struggle for sexual diversity rights.”

Ms Bachelet was joined at the ceremony by LGBT advocacy groups such as the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation that were praised by the president for their leadership and advocacy work.

“Today is a historic day for social diversity. For the first time the state recognises that there isn’t just one way to build a family,” said the movement.

Communist Party MP Karol Cariola tweeted: “With this law the country recognises the existence of families with same-sex parents.”

An estimated 2 million cohabiting couples may benefit from this new law.

See also here.

Chileans protest against bishop’s cover-up of child abuse


This 21 March 2015 video is called Chilean Catholics Protest Naming of Bishop Linked to Sex Abuse.

From the BBC:

21 March 2015 Last updated at 19:25 GMT

Hundreds in Chile try to stop Bishop Barros ordination

Protesters in southern Chile have tried to stop the ordination of a Catholic bishop, accusing him of covering up a priest’s sexual abuse of young boys.

Police in the city of Osorno said at least 650 people turned up at the cathedral wearing black in protest against the ordination of Juan Barros.

The protesters say Bishop Barros used his position in the Church to try to deter an investigation into the actions of his mentor, Fernando Karadima.

Bishop Barros denies the allegations.

‘Tremendous problem’

More than 1,000 people wrote to Pope Francis to ask him to review the appointment.

“I believe the Catholic Church is not listening to its people,” said Christian Democrat congressman Sergio Ojeda.

“That is why we are asking for Bishop Barros to show dignity and resign, putting an end to this tremendous problem,” he told La Tercera newspaper.

The top leaders of Chile’s Catholic Church and most of the local authorities stayed away, but the ceremony went ahead in the morning in Osorno, some 900km (560 miles) south of the capital, Santiago.

Protesters outside and inside the cathedral attempted to stop the ordination going ahead.

There was a heavy police presence there and three people were arrested. …

‘Penitence and prayer’

Juan Barros was a protege of Father Karadima, who spent decades training young men to enter the priesthood, and regularly celebrated Mass at a well-known church in Santiago.

In February 2011, the Vatican found Father Karadima, then 81, guilty of sexually abusing children.

The Vatican ordered him to a life of “penitence and prayer” in a monastery in Santiago.

Months later, a judge dismissed a criminal case against him, saying the alleged crimes had been committed too many years before.

The BBC’s Gideon Long, in Santiago, says that before the allegations surfaced, Father Karadima was one of the most respected and influential priests in Chile.

Pope Francis under pressure after appointing bishop suspected of protecting a pedofile priest: here.

Child sex abuse survivors who were handpicked by Pope Francis to advise the Catholic church on how to address the issue are meeting with a senior church official in Rome on Sunday to criticise the Vatican’s handling of a case in Chile. Peter Saunders, a Briton who was abused by two priests as a teenager, told the Guardian that in an emergency meeting with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads the pope’s abuse committee, he would demand action in a case involving a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros: here.

At least 54 Colombian girls sexually abused by immune US military: Report here.