Salvadorean murderers of Spanish priests arrested

This 1995 Associated Press video says about itself:

Salvadorans are commemorating the sixth anniversary of a massacre of Jesuit priests by members of the military.

The priests- who taught at the Central American University in the capital San Salvador-were accused by rightists of being communists and even members of the guerrillas.

At the anniversary ceremonies Salvadorans called for peace and an end to violence in their country.

A rose garden at the Central American University in San Salvador stands as a remembrance of those who were martyred in the fight for justice for the poor people of El Salvador.

Salvadorans marked Thursday the sixth anniversary of a massacre in which six Jesuit priests were killed by members of the military.

Their bodies were buried at the Monsignor Romero Temple in the university campus.

Romero was also a victim of El Salvador‘s 12-year bloody civil war, murdered in his own cathedral by right-wing killers.

Six years later Jesuit priests are calling for an end to violence and injustice.

SOUNDBITE: (In Spanish)

“The legacy they’ve left is that we shouldn’t rest as long as there’s injustice, as long as there are lies and as long as there’s poverty. We should do our best to try to combat these evils that are still affecting terribly El Salvador.”
SUPER CAPTION: Rodolfo Cardenal, Jesuit priest and Vice-rector of the Central American University- UCA

On November 16 1989, left-wing guerrillas launched a nationwide offensive against the government.

The Jesuit priests were killed in the middle of a counter-attack by members of the military.

Six Jesuit priests living on the university campus were killed along with a cook and her daughter.

The military blamed the attack on the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front– known as the F-M-L-N- which launched the offensive against the government.

But investigators later discovered the massacre was perpetrated by the army.

The “Hall of Martyrs” at the Central American University has been opened as a remembrance of the victims of the massacre.

It was erected on the area where the bodies were found after the attack.

The hall holds pictures of the massacre and clothes worn by the six priests on that tragic day.

Throughout the civil war, Jesuit priests became a target for their “theology of liberation” philosophy which advocated social justice and fair distribution of wealth among the poor.

The priests were accused of being communists and even allies of the guerrillas.

Hundreds of Salvadorans took to the main campus of the university- known as the U-C-A- for a religious ceremony to commemorate the death of the priests.

They marched with candles and held signs calling for justice and an end of violence in their country.

Many believe that in spite of recent progress the country still needs to find the road for peace.

SOUNDBITE: (In Spanish)

“The fight continues, we have to pick up the banner of those good and noble men and we have to continue opening the path for peace and reconciliation, but always based on justice.”
SUPER CAPTION: Rogelio Poncel, Catholic priest

SOUNDBITE: (In Spanish)

“There have been certain improvements, not exactly what we expected, but I think certain political spaces have been opened, but there are still many tasks to do.”
SUPER CAPTION: Jon Cortina, Spanish Jesuit priest

And six years after the massacre Salvadorans hope the legacy of the tragedy will be a catalyst for much needed peace in this Central American nation.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Four ex-soldiers detained over 1989 priest killings

Monday 8th February 2015

FOUR former soldiers wanted in Spain for the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter have been arrested in El Salvador, police said yesterday.

Five of the priests were Spanish and their killings during El Salvador’s civil war sparked international outrage.

Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren urged military officers still fugitive in the case to turn themselves in to authorities.

“There are people who have hidden. We don’t know if they have left the country, but my recommendation is that they turn themselves in to justice,” he said.

“We need to know the truth about what happened in the past, but we also need justice as well as pardon.”

It is now up to the Salvadoran Supreme Court to rule on extradition to Spain.

The arrests in El Salvador followed a judgement in North Carolina, US, that cleared the way for a former Salvadoran colonel to be extradited to face charges in Spain in the case.

Local councillors persecuted for ‘too small’ king of Spain portrait

Portraits of king of Spain and of Catalonia in Torredembarra

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Spanish local councilors prosecuted for small royal portrait

Today, 19:32

The councilors of the Spanish town Torredembarra are prosecuted because of the size of the picture of King Felipe hanging in the council chamber. The official portrait is only slightly larger than a passport photo.

Torredembarra is in Catalonia, where many people strive for independence from Spain. Led by a left-wing party, the city council decided last August for the small portrait. All seventeen councilors must now justify that decision in court, says the prosecutor.

One of the council members calls the court case politically motivated. According to him, this picture is within the law which requires that there should be an official portrait in every council chamber.

“Prominent place”

The politician also points out that the portrait is as big as that of the Catalan government leader Mas. Under Spanish law, the image of the regional leader may not be bigger than that of the king.

He also says that the portrait is in a prominent place: over the entrance to the hall.

The councilors would suffer even worse persecution if they would have had this cartoon portrait in King Felipe.

Happy 2016, wish birds in Extremadura, Spain

Extremadura birds

This card from Extremadura in Spain wishes everybody happy holidays. It is from a Twitter message.

On the card three local birds: a common crane, a black stork and a white stork.

Pyrenean bearded vultures, new study

This video is about adult and (mainly) bearded vultures in Spain, between griffon vultures and ravens.

From Raptor Politics:

Removal of eggs or chicks has considerable impact in the Pyrenean population of bearded vultures – new paper

A new paper published recently (see below) suggests that the removal of eggs, chicks or fledglings will have a detrimental effect on the population trend of the bearded vulture in the Pyrenees over the next 30 years, in most modelled scenarios.

The removal of eggs or chicks from wild populations to create captive populations, reinforce free-ranging populations or reintroduce species into the wild is a restoration tool that is often used, including with bearded vultures in the Pyrenees (eggs collected for reintroduction in Picos de Europa). However, it is necessary to assess objectively potential detrimental effects upon the donor population.

Margalida et al. modelled the population under different demographic and management scenarios (removal of eggs, chicks or fledglings) and obtained a population decline in 77% of all 57 scenarios analysed. The study also shows that the effects of extractions will not be detectable until more than nine years after the initiation of such interventions.

Based on this, the authors question if extractions for future reintroductions should be envisioned. In particular egg extraction bears a great risk of failure due to the low hatching success observed today in the wild (25–45%). Alternative, less risky management options would be the collection of only the second, freshly-born chick from double clutches (given that in this species siblicide is the rule) and the release from captive stock – the method used by the VCF in our reintroduction projects.

The bearded vulture population in the Pyrenees has most likely reached saturation, as inferred from productivity trend (significantly down), changes in mating system (recent increase in the proportion of trios), as well as in the distance between neighbouring nests that declined by > 20% between 1992 and 2002.

Adult mortality – the demographic variable with most impact on population growth in this species – has been steadily increasing over the recent years in the Pyrenean population, and demographic forecasts, including the present study, predict a negative trend and its near-extinction over the next 50 years if non-natural mortality (i.e. illegal poisoning) continues unabated.

The age at first breeding has also been increasing in the Pyrenean population, passing from 8 years during the period 1987–2006 to 10 years presently – most likely the outcome of density-dependent regulation.

The VCF defends that in order to reverse this tends, it will be necessary to stop artificial feeding in the core population area, while targeted supplementary feeding at the limits of the current Pyrenean distribution range should be promoted to boost dispersal and future settlement into neighbouring mountain ranges – this is indeed the objectives of the LIGE GYPCONNECT we are now starting – seehere.

You can download the paper below.

British government loves wars, people hate them

This video from England says about itself:

Syed from [pro-refugee organisation] London2Calais at Stop the War rally opposite Parliament, London 2nd December 2015.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Britain Will Not Forget

Friday 4th November 2015

BRITAIN’S politicians were accused of ignoring the will of the British people in favour of imperialist intervention — yet again — yesterday as RAF bombs fell on Syria.

Within hours of Wednesday’s 397-223 vote to begin air raids against Isis targets, aircraft took off on their first bombing run, to the fury and despair of protesters and peace activists.

The outcome has been labelled “eerily reminiscent” of the 2003 vote on the illegal Iraq invasion.

Responding to Wednesday’s Commons vote in favour of extending bombing campaigns into the civil-war-torn country, Stop the War Coalition chair Andrew Murray and convener Lindsey German said the decision was “profoundly mistaken and dangerous.”

“The Prime Minister made no good case for war,” they said in a joint statement, “and his abuse of those who differ as ‘terrorist sympathisers’ gives a measure of his small-mindedness.

“There is no good case for British air strikes in a war which is already seeing the two major military powers, the US and Russia, bombing Syria.

“A new war will not increase the prospects of peace in Syria, nor will the British people be safer from terrorism. And the record of two years’ bombing of Isis in Iraq shows that it will not be dislodged by a great-power air war.”

Anti-war protesters attending the Stop the War rally also reacted furiously after the vote.

Loud boos erupted from the crowd which had gathered outside the Palace of Westminster to hear the outcome.

Grace Tennant, a student from Birmingham, said: “It is about human lives. It’s a moral argument.

“Britain won’t be safer because of this, we’ll become less safe.”

There were shouts of: “Shame on you” as news of the vote spread through the hundreds-strong crowd.

Protesters held a minute’s silence against the decision to launch a bombing campaign. Many sat down and flicked the peace sign before chanting: “Not in my name.”

Colin Crilly, from London, said: “I’m disappointed but not surprised, it just shows the disconnect between the public and elected officials.

“I fear that this will mean the cycle of violence will just continue.”

CND general secretary Kate Hudson called the vote “a devastating blow” for both innocents who “face a rain of death and destruction from our bombers” and against “our collective humanity and universal principles of peace and justice.”

She told the Star: “What will it take for decision-makers to learn the lessons of the last 14 years of the so-called War on Terror?

“Contrary to media spin, this is not a policy that has majority support at home. Polls indicate that at least half the population are opposed to it, and that opposition is likely to grow as the situation worsens and mission creep sets in.”

Among those who voted in favour were 66 Labour MPs, including shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn.

Also by Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Anti-fascist fight has its legacy misappropriated

Friday 4th November 2015

SHADOW foreign secretary Hilary Benn’s “specious” evocation of the International Brigades’ heroism as justification for Britain joining the aerial bombardment of Syria provoked outrage yesterday.

Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday night, Mr Benn sought to draw parallels between the fight against fascism in the 1930s and ’40s and the case for further British military action against the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group.

Mr Benn said: “We are here faced by fascists — not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in the chamber tonight, and the people we represent.

“What we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated. It is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists, trade unionists and others joined the International Brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco.”

His comments angered many who not only queried his definition of fascism but also accused him of exploiting the memory of those who gave their lives to fight the far right during the Spanish civil war and World War II.

Thousands of individuals defied their governments in order to travel to Spain in 1936 to fight in defence of the Spanish republic against the fascist troops of General Francisco Franco.

Speaking in a personal capacity, International Brigade Memorial Trust trustee Pauline Fraser hit out at Mr Benn for seeking to use a “just war” to justify his position.

“There is absolutely no comparison between the volunteers who defied their government to try to save the Spanish republic and those who fought fascism in World War II and the bombing of Syria by Western imperialist powers, which will not be helpful in solving the problem and means that many civilians will be killed,” she said.