Colts’ Edwin Jackson killed by drunk driver illegally in U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ESPN)

 

Colts’ Edwin Jackson killed by driver illegally in U.S.

INDIANAPOLIS — The suspected drunken driver accused of hitting and killing Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson has been living in the country illegally and did not have a driver’s license, the Indiana State Police announced Monday.

The driver of the truck that killed Jackson and ride-sharing operator Jeffrey Monroe had been using the alias Alex Cabrera Gonsales, the police said in a release. Gonsales’ given name is Manuel Orrego-Savala, and he is a citizen of Guatemala. Orrego-Savala had been deported in 2007 and 2009.

Monroe and Jackson were stopped on the side of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis when they were hit early Sunday morning.

Orrego-Savala, 37, was arrested after trying to flee the scene on foot, according to the Indiana State Police. Orrego-Savala was intoxicated, according to police. He is currently being held in the Marion County (Indiana) jail while the police work with U.S. federal immigration officials. Investigators are also working with the prosecutor’s office to file criminal charges.

Jackson and Monroe, of Avon, were on the side of the interstate when Monroe got out of the car to help Jackson, who was sick. Orrego-Savala, who was driving a Ford F-150 truck, drove onto the emergency shoulder and hit the rear of the car, striking both Jackson and Monroe, with one of the bodies landing in the center lane of I-70, according to the police.

State trooper Ty Mays, who was in the area, reported to the scene after seeing the accident on the side of the road. In the process of slowing down, he hit the body of the victim who was in the center lane.

Monroe and Jackson were pronounced dead at the scene by the Marion County Coroner’s Office. Monroe was 54; Jackson was 26.

“We were heartbroken to hear the news of Edwin Jackson’s passing,” the Colts said in a statement. “Edwin was loved by all in the Colts organization. We admired his outgoing personality, competitive spirit and hard-working mentality. He was well-respected among all with whom he crossed paths, and he will be greatly missed in our locker room and throughout our entire organization.

“We also understand that another person lost his life in the accident, only adding to our sorrow on this day. We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both men during this difficult time.”

Lasers Reveal a Maya Civilization So Dense It Blew Experts’ Minds

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

Tikal, home to temples and palaces, is one of the best known Maya sites in northern Guatemala.CreditJustin Lane for The New York Times

They were hidden there, all this time, under the cover of tree canopies in the jungles of northern Guatemala: tens of thousands of structures built by the Maya over a millennium ago.

Not far from the sites tourists already know, like the towering temples of the ancient city of Tikal, laser technology has uncovered about 60,000 homes, palaces, tombs and even highways in the humid lowlands.

The findings suggested an ancient society of such density and interconnectedness that even the most experienced archaeologists were surprised.

“Everywhere that we looked, there was more settlement than we expected,” said Thomas Garrison, a National Geographic explorer and an archaeologist at Ithaca University. “We knew there was going to be more, but the scale of it really blew our minds.”

Researchers found the structures by shooting lasers down from planes to pierce the thick foliage and paint a 3-D picture of the ground below. The technology is called Light Detection and Ranging, or lidar.

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The method has been used elsewhere, including around the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. But this lidar project is the largest ever undertaken. More than 800 square miles of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala’s Petén region have been mapped, according to an exclusive report by National Geographic, which is airing a Feb. 6 television special about the project.

Continue reading the main story

“This world, which was lost to this jungle, is all of a sudden revealed in the data,” said Albert Yu-Min Lin, an engineer and National Geographic explorer who worked on the television special. “And what you thought was this massively understood, studied civilization is all of a sudden brand new again.”

The lasers are only the first step, he added, noting that he and archaeologists still had to trek through jungles to verify the data while contending with thick undergrowth, poisonous snakes, swarms of killer bees and the odd scorpion.

Photo

Lidar data highlighted about 60,000 structures that had been hidden in the jungle for hundreds of years.CreditWild Blue Media/National Geographic

The project was started by Pacunam, a Guatemalan nonprofit organization, and carried out with help from the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping, which is based at the University of Houston. The lidar technology essentially allows researchers to spot bumps in the landscape. Most of the ruins look like rocky mounds — even in person, and to the naked eye — but experts can often identify a collapsed quarry, palace or street.

The Maya culture was known for its sophisticated approach to agriculture, arts and astronomy. The peak era for the civilization, which some archaeologists refer to as the Classic Period, is generally considered to have lasted from around A.D. 250 to 900.

The total population at that time was once estimated to be a few million, said Diane Davies, an archaeologist and Maya specialist based in the United Kingdom. But in light of the new lidar data, she said it could now be closer to 10 million.

Dr. Davies was not involved in the lidar project but considered it “really big, sensational news.” She said the data should encourage people not only to re-evaluate Maya civilization, but also to learn from it.

“To have such a large number of people living at such a high level for such a long period of time, it really proves the fact that these people were highly developed, and also quite environmentally conscientious,” she said.

Among the structures uncovered were roads, built wide and raised high above the wetlands to connect fields to farmers and markets to metropolises. There were also small dwellings, quarries and intricate irrigation systems. “We’re seeing the spaces in between, and that’s where really interesting stuff was happening,” Dr. Garrison said.

He added that in addition to changing people’s perception of the Maya culture, lidar represented “a sea change” in the field of archaeology.

“I don’t think you see a lot of discoveries happening across the sciences right now that sort of turn a discipline on its head,” he said. “It’s exciting to know that it can still happen.”

Deadly earthquake shakes southern Peru

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Deadly earthquake shakes southern Peru

(CNN)Two people were killed when a 7.1-magnitude earthquake shook Peru on Sunday, according to a regional governor.

One of the two victims was a 55-year-old man crushed by a rock in Yauca, tweeted Yamila Osorio, governor of the Arequipa region in southern Peru. The other victim died in the same region, Hernando Tavera, president of the Geophysics Institute of Peru, told TV Peru, without providing further details.

The 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of southern Peru.

At least 65 people have been injured in the cities of Arequipa, Ica and Ayacucho, also in southern Peru, the National Civil Defense Institute reported.
The earthquake was centered near the coast of Peru, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south-southwest of Acari, according to the US Geological Survey. Acari is about an eight-hour drive down the coast from Lima, the capital.
The quake produced no tsunami threat, the USGS said.

These ‘Shithole Countries’ Have a Message for President Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS AND THE WASHINGTON POST)

(DONALD IS ‘THE SHITHOLE’ IN CHIEF)

 

By NASH JENKINS

Updated: January 12, 2018 11:45 AM ET

President Donald Trump reportedly singled out Haiti, El Salvador and parts of Africa as “shithole countries” during a rant about immigration Thursday. Those places aren’t happy

Trump’s comments came during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House held to reach a bipartisan immigration deal, according to the Washington Postwhich broke the news. Sources familiar with the meeting told the Post that the president was amenable to more immigrants from Norway and Asia, whom he says help the country economically, but wondered aloud “why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

According to the Post, Trump also said, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”

On Friday morning Trump posted a series of tweets about the immigration deal in which he appeared to deny he said “shithole countries.”

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!” he wrote.

In a second tweet, sent around two hours after the first, Trump said that he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country” and that he never uttered the phrase “take them out.”

Trump also claimed that the accusation was “made up” by members of the Democratic Party. “I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians,” he added. “Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”

However, the White House on Thursday did not deny the Post’s report about Trump’s language.

A spokesman for the United Nations said Friday that Trump’s reported words were racist.

“There is no other word one can use but ‘racist’… This isn’t just a story about vulgar language, it’s about opening the door to humanity’s worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia,” United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said. “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”

Here’s how Trump’s alleged “shithole countries” are responding to the remarks:

Haiti

CBS News reports that the Haitian government promptly summoned charge d’affairs Robin Diallo, the top U.S. diplomat in the country, to respond to the comments.

Former Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe tweeted, “SHAME ON TRUMP! The world is witnessing a new low today with this #ShitholeNations remark! totally unacceptable! uncalled for moreover it shows a lack a respect and IGNORANCE never seen before in the recent history of the US by any President! Enough is enough!!”

The Haitian government said in a statement “these insulting and reprehensible statements in no way reflect the virtues of wisdom, restraint and discernment that must be cultivated by any high political authority,” according to the Associated Press, adding that the comment “reflects a totally erroneous and racist view of the Haitian community and its contribution to the United States.”

Other Haitians took to social media to share pictures of their nation’s beautiful beaches to make a point about the president’s alleged remarks.

El Salvador

Hugo Martinez, El Salvador’s foreign minister, tweeted calling on the U.S. government to confirm or deny Trump’s statements. In subsequent tweets, he noted that a number of individuals who helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina were from El Salvador and saying that he “feels proud to be Salvadoran.”

Jean Manes, the U.S. envoy to El Salvador, tweeted that the United States “values the friendship and the relationship with the Salvadoran people.” Manes added that she has had “the privilege to travel around this beautiful country and meet thousands of Salvadorans,” and that it is “an honor” to live and work there.”

African Union

The African Union responded to the reported remarks by pointing out many Africans arrived in the U.S. as slaves.

“Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice,” Ebba Kalondo, a spokesperson for the 55-nation African Union, told the Associated Press. “This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”

Leanne Manas, a news anchor for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, tweeted Friday morning, “Good morning from the greatest most beautiful “shithole country” in the world!!!”

Somali information minister Abdirahman Omar Osman told CNN, “If it’s real, it doesn’t need a response. Those comments do not deserve a response.”

Mmusi Maimane, the leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance party, described Trump’s comments as “abhorrent” on Twitter. His tweet continued: “He confirms a patronizing view of Africa and promotes a racist agenda. Africa/U.S. relations will take strain from this, with a leader who has failed to reconcile humanity. The hatred of Obama’s roots now extends to an entire continent.”

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Ecuador grants nationality to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Ecuador grants nationality to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Last Updated Jan 11, 2018 2:24 PM EST

QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in asylum at the nation’s embassy in London for more than five years.

The nation’s foreign minister announced Thursday that officials had decided to permit Assange’s naturalization while they look for ways to resolve his situation.

Ecuador gave Assange political asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid a Swedish extradition request on a case of alleged rape. While Sweden temporarily dropped that investigation, British officials say they’d still arrest him on charges of bail jumping. Assange also fears a possible U.S. extradition request stemming from the leaking of classified U.S. documents.

Britain’s Foreign Office said Thursday it had rejected Ecuador’s request to grant diplomatic status to Assange, who was born in Australia.

“The granting of Ecuadorean nationality does not in any way change Julian Assange’s legal status in the U.K.,” a government spokesman said. “The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve the situation is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice. Nobody should pretend that granting him Ecuadorean citizenship is a route to solving this longstanding issue.”

Strong earthquake prompts tsunami threat message in Caribbean, Mexico

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Strong earthquake prompts tsunami threat message in Caribbean, Mexico

(CNN)The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves were possible for several countries in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as Mexico, after a magnitude-7.6 earthquake struck 27 miles off the coast of Honduras.

“Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meters above the tide level are possible for some coasts of Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica,” the agency said.
The earthquake was 44 kilometers east of Great Swan Island, Honduras, the US Geological Survey said.

At least 48 dead in Peru bus crash

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

At least 48 dead in Peru bus crash

Rescue personnel work at the site of a bus accident north of Lima, capital of Peru, on Tuesday.

(CNN)At least 48 people were killed Tuesday when a bus went over a cliff north of Lima, said Lewis Mejia, a top Peruvian fire official.

The Ministry of the Interior said the bodies were found in the bus, the Pacific Ocean and on the rocky beach.
Six people were hospitalized with injuries.
The accident occurred when a tractor-trailer collided with the bus, Peru transport chief Dino Escudero told state television agency Andina.

Rescue personnel transfer an injured person to a helicopter after the accident.

The back of the bus was hit by the truck, which caused the bus to fall off a cliff, Escudero said.
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The preliminary investigation indicated that GPS showed both vehicles were going too fast, a tweet from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said.
More than 100 firefighters were involved in rescue efforts at the crash scene, a fire official told Andina.
The crash occurred on the coastal road of Serpentin Pasamayo, Andina reported.
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski tweeted his solidarity with relatives of the victims of the crash and called it a “tragic accident.”

Guatemala Played A Key Role In The Jewish State’s Creation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Why a small Central American nation became a trailblazer on Jerusalem

Guatemala played a key role in the Jewish state’s creation and has enjoyed Israeli security assistance ever since. It doesn’t hurt that its leader is deeply religious

Raphael Ahren

Guatemala's new ambassador to Israel, Dr. Juan Garcia Granados leaving the President's Residence in Jerusalem after presenting his credentials, July 1955 (Moshe Pridan/GPO)

Guatemala’s new ambassador to Israel, Dr. Juan Garcia Granados leaving the President’s Residence in Jerusalem after presenting his credentials, July 1955 (Moshe Pridan/GPO)

On Sunday, Guatemala became the first country after the US to announce its intention to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move seen as tantamount to recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, though President Jimmy Morales’s statement included no explicit recognition.

Predictably, the Central American nation’s decision was castigated by the Palestinians and other Arab states and hailed in Israel as an act of deep friendship that marked the beginning of a new trend. Neighbor Honduras is said to be next in line. Like Guatemala, it also voted last week against the United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning the US’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there.

Other countries — Togo, Paraguay, Romania, Slovakia — are also said to be considering following in Guatemala’s footsteps in bucking decades-old diplomatic dogma to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

But what prompted a relatively small nation far removed from the Middle East and its problems to be the first to take the plunge after the US?

There are several reasons for Guatemala’s dramatic step. The country’s well-established historic friendship with Israel and ongoing deep security and trade ties are one key part of the story. The personal character of the country’s current leader is the other.

Seventy years ago, Guatemala’s ambassador to the UN, Dr. Jorge Garcia Granados, a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, played a crucial role in convincing Latin American countries to vote in favor of General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state.

File photo of the vote on the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947 (photo credit: Israeli Government Press Office)

The vote on the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947. (Israeli Government Press Office/File)

“It could be that without Guatemala, the resolution on that fateful day would not have passed, and history would be very different,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told Morales during his November 2016 visit to Israel.

At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recalled that he had grown up in Jerusalem near a street named after Morales’s country. “In just about every town in Israel there is a Guatemala Street because we remember Guatemala’s friendship and the friendship and leadership of your UN ambassador at the time of the decision on the Partition Resolution, and so Guatemala was etched into our hearts then,” he said.

Guatemala was one of the first countries to recognize the nascent State of Israel in 1948, and the friendship has remained strong ever since.

Telegrams of recognition of the State of Israel sent by Guatemala, Finland and Romania (courtesy GPO)

In the 1970s, Israel was said to have assisted the military juntas ruling Guatemala a great deal in the area of counterinsurgency, providing them with advice and equipment.

“Israeli-Guatemalan military cooperation began in 1971, during the presidency of Col. Carlos Arana Osario,” political scientist Cheryl Rubenberg wrote in a 1986 article on bilateral relations.

“Then the Guatemalan chief of staff, Kjell Laugerud Garcia, visited Israel and met with Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and other Israeli military officials. Laugerud Garcia expressed Guatemala’s interest in procuring armaments and military communications equipment. Later that year, the two countries signed their first cooperation agreement, though specifics were not made public,” she wrote.

Guatemala saw the Jewish state “as the world’s foremost practitioner of counterinsurgency” and looked to Jerusalem for expertise and arms, according to Rubenberg. “Israeli assistance began in 1971, but it took on increased importance after 1977, when the Guatemalan generals rejected US military aid in response to Carter administration pressures to remedy their gross human rights violations.”

Later that year, Israeli president Ephraim Katzir spent a week in Guatemala City, where he signed an agreement on military assistance.

Three years later, the Knesset passed a law declaring that united Jerusalem was Israel’s capital, leading the Security Council to call on all countries to withdraw their embassies from the city. Guatemala heeded the call and moved its embassy to Herzliya.

Relations with Israel remained strong, however. At least 300 Israeli security “advisers” were said to have operated in Guatemala in the early 1980s. “Israel is known to have intelligence teams, security and communications specialists, and military training personnel in Guatemala,” The New York Times reported at the time, though Israeli diplomats denied such claims.

Ties were also strong in the fields of civilian technology and tourism, among others.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President of Guatemala Otto Pérez Molina at Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem. December 9, 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

In December 2013, Otto Fernando Perez Molina became the first president of Guatemala to visit Israel. “Guatemala did participate in the foundation of Israel, so that has led the foundations for a tradition and the unity between our two peoples,” he told Netanyahu at the time.

Fast forward to 2015, when Morales — a former comedian who’d never held political office — won the country’s presidential elections with 67 percent of the votes. Morales, a devout Evangelical, has been called “the Donald Trump of Guatemala.” In 2016, Guatemala received nearly $300 million in aid from the US.

Morales, who called his country’s relationship with Israel “excellent,” has been supportive of many of the current US administration’s policies, including Trump’s plan to build a border wall with Mexico, and, of course, his plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales (R) and wife Gilda Marroquin visit the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on November 28, 2016. (AFP/Gali Tibbon)

On his visit to Israel last year — during which he received an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem — he announced his hope to strengthen bilateral cooperation in many fields.

“Guatemala has a special relationship with Israel, and we know we can continue to work together: in partnership and hand in hand,” he told President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem. “During our visit we hope we will be able to enjoy Israel’s rich culture and history, and learn from you how to improve in the areas of agriculture, husbandry, and technology — areas in which Israel excels.”

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Uproar continues in Peru after ex-president is pardoned

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Uproar continues in Peru after ex-president is pardoned

Peruvian demonstrators protest against pardon of former President Alberto Fujimori in Lima, Peru, on Monday, with posters reading in Spanish: "Murderer, Thief, No to pardon."

Story highlights

  • Three lawmakers from current president’s party announce their resignations
  • Alberto Fujimori was serving 25 years for human rights abuses

(CNN)Hundreds of angry Peruvians packed streets for a second night to protest the release of ailing former President Alberto Fujimori from prison.

Chanting “traitor” and “the pardon has got to go,” opponents of Fujimori continued their demonstration outside the Lima clinic where the former leader is currently being treated.
Until his release Sunday, Fujimori was serving a 25-year prison sentence for human rights abuses. The son of Japanese immigrants, he served as Peru’s leader from 1990 to 2000.

Police and protesters face off during a rally against the pardoning of Alberto Fujimori on Monday.

Protesters clashed with police Monday as authorities attempted to quell the demonstration with tear gas canisters thrown at the crowd.
The jailed former leader was granted a pardon on Christmas Eve by current President Pedro Pablo Kucyznski, who citied Fujimori’s failing health as the reason for clemency.
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Fujimori is a divisive figure in Peru — credited with both stabilizing the country’s economic crisis and brutally repressing his opponents.
In addition to the two days of street protests, the move was met with condemnation from some lawmakers, who questioned whether there was a political deal behind what Kucyznski’s office described as a humanitarian gesture.

3 congressmen to resign

Three congressmen from Kuczynski’s party announced their intention to resign following the announcement of the pardon.
Congressman Gino Costa posted on his personal Facebook page Monday that he agreed with the “prerogative of the president to grant a humanitarian pardon,” but added, “I don’t support the way in which it was done. I regret to inform that in the next few days I will formalize my resignation from the Peruvians for Change party.”
Congressmen Vicente Zeballos and Alberto de Belaunde made similar announcements via social media on Sunday.
On Monday, Kuczynski defended his decision to grant the pardon through an announcement broadcast on state TV. He called the move a “complex and difficult one.”
Fujimori “suffers from a progressive, degenerative and incurable disease,” according to a statement from Kuczynski’s office. “Prison conditions mean a serious risk to his life, health and integrity.”

Demonstrators march in Lima on Monday to protest the presidential pardon for Fujimori.

Kuczynski’s pardon of Fujimori comes less than a week after the current president survived an impeachment hearing stemming from a corruption scandal that has swept Latin America.
Fujimori’s son, Kenji Fujimori, was among several lawmakers who abstained from last week’s vote to remove Kuczynski from office. Kuczynski survived, in part, because a total of 10 lawmakers from Kenji Fujimori’s party abstained, breaking ranks with their own leadership. Members of the party, Popular Force, are known as “Fujimoristas” because of their support of the former president.
Local media reports chronicled how the split vote caused friction within the group, including one party spokesman who alleged that those who abstained did so as part as a pact with Kuczynski to pardon Alberto Fujimori.

An authoritarian figure

Fujimori is credited with defeating the Shining Path terrorists who destabilized the country, and his austere economic policies reined in hyperinflation.
But the former president had an authoritarian streak and used security forces to repress opponents. In 2009, a special supreme court tribunal sentenced the former president to 25 years in prison for authorizing the operation of a death squad responsible for killing civilians.
Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director for the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, denounced the pardon and also alluded to a pact.
“Instead of reaffirming that in a state with rule of law there is no room for special treatment for anyone, the thought that will persist forever is that his freedom was a crude political negotiation in exchange for (Kuczynski) to remain in power,” Vivanco tweeted.

Argentine ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner charged with treason

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Argentine ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner charged with treason

 1:06
Argentine ex-president Fernández charged with treason

According to a court ruling on Dec. 7, a federal judge asked for the arrest of Argentine ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. 

 December 7 at 6:04 PM
 A federal judge on Thursday indicted former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on treason charges and sought her arrest over allegations that she covered up possible Iranian involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.In court documents, Judge Claudio Bonadio accused Fernández of obfuscating the Iranian role in the attack, which killed 85 people, in exchange for a potentially lucrative trade deal. The court requested the lifting of her immunity from prosecution, a protection she enjoys as a sitting senator.

Underscoring the seriousness of the charges, authorities conducted raids linked to the case on Thursday, arresting three of Fernández’s former aides and associates. Héctor Timerman, her former foreign minister, was placed under house arrest.

The charges stem from an investigation initially conducted by Alberto Nisman, a crusading prosecutor who accused Fernández of a coverup in 2015 and was later found dead in the bathroom of his apartment with a bullet in his right temple.

Though rare, the lifting of parliamentary protection is not unprecedented. In October, Congress voted to lift the protection afforded to her former planning minister, Julio De Vido, who was facing charges of fraud and corruption.

Fernández, a Peronist, served as president of Argentina from 2007 to 2015 and once formed part of a cadre of left-leaning leaders in Latin America, including Venezuela’s late Hugo Chávez. She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing while in office, and on Thursday she lashed out at the fresh charges.

“This has nothing to do with justice or democracy,” Fernández told reporters in Buenos Aires. “There’s no cause, no crime, no motive. There was a judgment without cause. God knows it, the government knows it, President [Mauricio] Macri knows it, too.”

There is little precedent for prosecuting treason in Argentina. Local media has reported that the country’s only previously applied charge of treason dates to 1936, when Maj. Guillermo Mac Hannaford was accused of selling information to Bolivia and Paraguay.

And while Fernández has only about a dozen hardcore supporters in the Senate, observers say it doesn’t look probable that the chamber will revoke her immunity. Some argue that such a move could risk turning her into a political martyr for a left-wing Peronist movement that has been losing traction in the country since Macri took office in 2015.

The charges come a month after a new police report reignited the Nisman case, which has captivated Argentina. His mysterious death came only days after he alleged that Fernández and Timerman had colluded to shield Iran’s role in the car-bomb attack on the AMIA jewish community center. In 2005, Nisman concluded that Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a Hezbollah operative from Lebanon with Iranian backing, had carried out the act of terrorism.

An initial report concluded that Nisman had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But a new police report obtained by the Associated Press in November listed key evidence that suggested foul play. Nisman’s nasal septum, for instance, was broken and he had suffered blows to his hip and elsewhere. A strong anesthetic was found in his body.

Before his death, Nisman reportedly wiretapped officials and uncovered information in connection to a “Memorandum of Understanding’ that Argentina signed with Iran on January 27, 2013, in Ethiopia. He argued that it outlined a plan to “collaborate with Iran on its goal to accelerate and support nuclear development” in exchange for an oil-for-grain trade deal and a finding by Argentina that the Iranians were innocent in the 1994 attack, official court documents said.

However, the timing of Fernández’s indictment also focuses the  spotlight on Bonadio, the judge. He is under investigation over allegations of money laundering and illicit enrichment, with some critics suggesting that he may be targeting Fernández as a smokescreen.

“The higher his profile, the more involved he is in politically sensitive cases and the less able anyone will be to bring him down for corruption,” said Mark Jones, a fellow of political science at Rice University’s Baker Institute. “He’ll be able to deflect them as being politically motivated.”

Faiola reported from Miami.

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