TNHP March 15 2013



New Pope Francis was an accessory to murder and false

imprisonment by the US-backed Argentine dictatorship

As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio he hid political prisoners from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in his holiday home on an island in the River Platt
By Hugh O'Shaughnessy
Guardian UK

13 March 2013Benedict XVI gave us words of great comfort and encouragement in the message he delivered on Christmas Eve.

"God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways," the pope said. "He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin. Again and again he begins afresh with us".

If these words comforted and encouraged me they will surely have done the same for leaders of the church in Argentina, among many others. To the judicious and fair-minded outsider it has been clear for years that the upper reaches of the Argentine church contained many "lost sheep in the wilderness", men who had communed and supported the unspeakably brutal Western-supported military dictatorship that seized power in that country in 1976 and battened on it for years.

Bergoglio, now the new Pope Francis I, has been identified publicly as an ally of Argentine’s repressive leaders during the dirty war when some 30,000 people “disappeared” or were killed, many stripped naked, chained together, flown out over the River Plate or the Atlantic Ocean and pushed, sausage-like, out of planes to drown.

The “disappeared” included women who were pregnant at the time of their arrest. In some bizarre nod to Catholic theology, they were kept alive only long enough to give birth before they were murdered and their babies were farmed out to military families, including to people directly involved in the murder of the babies’ mothers.

Not only did the generals slaughter thousands unjustly, often dropping them out of aeroplanes over the River Plate and selling off their orphan children to the highest bidder, they also murdered at least two bishops and many priests. Yet even the execution of other men of the cloth did nothing to shake the support of senior clerics, including representatives of the Holy See, for the criminality of their leader General Jorge Rafael Videla and his minions. (More)

Pope Francis: Simple image, but shadowy past

Only 10% of Argentine catholics attend church

Argentine president compares Francis' tone to 'medieval times and the Inquisition'
By Brian Murphy and Michael Warren
Yahoo News

13 March 2013 — Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis 1) almost never granted media interviews, limiting himself to speeches from the pulpit, and was reluctant to contradict his critics, even when he knew their allegations against him were false, said Bergoglio's authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin.

Bergoglio's legacy as cardinal includes his efforts to repair the reputation of a church that lost many followers by failing to openly challenge Argentina's dictatorship. He also worked to recover the church's traditional political influence in society, but his outspoken criticism of President Cristina Fernandez couldn't stop her from imposing socially liberal measures that are anathema to the church, from gay marriage and adoption to free contraceptives for all.

His church also had no say when the Argentine Supreme Court expanded access to legal abortions in rape cases, and when Bergoglio argued that gay adoptions discriminate against children. Fernandez compared his tone to "medieval times and the Inquisition." (More)
After a right-wing coup crushed the reforms of Vatican II, one scholar says the last two popes are illegitimate
By Andrew O'Hehir
16 March 2013 It’s easy — maybe too easy — for people with progressive political views to dismiss the Roman Catholic Church as a vile anachronism, a nightmarish patriarchy of aging pedophiles, woman-haters, homophobes and/or closet cases that can offer nothing of value to the contemporary world. When it comes to the church hierarchy, and especially the Roman Curia, the corrupt and labyrinthine Vatican bureaucracy that makes the Soviet-era Kremlin look like a model of transparency, that point of view seems more than justified.
But the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio emerges from a Jesuit order that has been largely purged of its independent-minded or left-leaning intellectuals, and his reputation at home in Latin America is decidedly mixed. While Francis seems to be an appealing personality in some ways — albeit one with a shadowy relationship with the former military dictatorship in Argentina, along with a record on gay rights that borders on hate speech — it’s difficult to imagine that he can or will do anything to arrest the church’s long slide into cultural irrelevance and neo-medieval isolation. His papacy, I suspect, comes near the end of a thousand-year history of the Vatican’s global rise to power, ambiguous flourishing and rapid decline. It also comes after 40 years of internal counterrevolution under the previous two popes, during which a group of hardcore right-wing cardinals have consolidated power in the Curia and stamped out nearly all traces of the 1960s liberal reform agenda of Pope John XXIII and Vatican II.A handful of intellectuals, both inside and outside the church, quietly believe that means Pope Francis isn’t a legitimate pope at all. (More)

Obama slip-slides America away from the principles of its founding fathers

'That these questions even need to be asked underscores how urgently needed (Rand) Paul's filibuster was, and how much more serious pushback is still merited. But the primary obstacle to this effort has been, and remains, that the Democrats who spent all that time parading around as champions of these political values are now at the head of the line leading the war against them.'

Three Democratic myths used to demean the Paul filibuster

By Glenn Greenwald
Guardian UK
10 March 2013 Commencing immediately upon the 9/11 attack, the US government under two successive administrations has spent 12 straight years inventing and implementing new theories of government power in the name of Terrorism.
Literally every year since 9/11 has ushered in increased authorities of exactly the type Americans are inculcated to believe only exist in those Other, Non-Free societies: ubiquitous surveillance, impenetrable secrecy, and the power to imprison and even kill without charges or due process. Even as the 9/11 attack recedes into the distant past, the US government still finds ways continuously to increase its powers in the name of Terrorism while virtually never relinquishing any of the power it acquires.
So inexorable has this process been that the Obama administration has already exercised the power to target even its own citizens for execution far from any battlefield, and the process has now arrived at its inevitable destination: does this due-process-free execution power extend to US soil as well? (More)
Imagine fighting a pitched church-state battle when you’re a teenager in high school
By Rob Boston
05 March 2013It can take a lot of guts to stand up for separation of church and state in America. People who file lawsuits to stop the display of religious symbols on public property or the use of sectarian prayers before government meetings often find themselves the targets of harassment, threats, and even violence.

Adults can usually withstand the pressure. But imagine fighting a pitched church-state battle when you’re a teenager in high school.

The high school years are a period when many young people just want to fit in with peers or keep a low profile. When separation of church and state is violated in a public school, students are the ones most affected. They’re the ones who have to stand up and make it right. It’s not always easy.

Here are five young people who made a difference.


System hidden in plain sight, many had to be aware of it

New research has revealed there were more than 42,000 work camps, prisons and ghettoes established by the Nazis during World War II. 'The number itself is shocking — it really highlights how widespread the system was, and how many people had to be aware of it.'
By Jennifer Quinn
Investigative News reporter
The Toronto Star

04 March 2013 — In the Polish countryside, and in the centre of Paris. Hidden from view, and in plain sight. Hundreds of thousands of prisoners, or just a few dozen. All different, and deadly, and scattered across wartime Europe.

And all part of the Nazi killing machine.
New research has revealed there were more than 42,000 individual sites — ranging from massive concentration camps to small ghettoes — established by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. The number far exceeds the fewer than 10,000 sites researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum expected they’d uncover when the project began 13 years ago.
“The number itself is shocking — it really highlights how widespread the system was, and how many people had to be aware of it,” lead editor Geoffrey Megargee said in an interview. “It helps people understand the parts of the system, and how complex it was.” (More)

Hanoi changes rules to satisfy needs of unmarried women

By Julie Cohn
New York Times
14 February 2013 LOI, VietnamThey had no plan to break barriers or cause trouble. But 30 years ago in this bucolic village in northern Vietnam, the fierce determination of one group of women to become mothers upended centuries-old gender rules and may have helped open the door for a nation to redefine parenthood. (More)
In 42 Washington-favoured countries 39,000 girls daily traded like cattle
By Charlton Doki
Infernational On Line News
08 March 2013 JUBA, South SudanThe 17-year-old beaten to death for refusing to marry a man old enough to be her grandfather. The teen dragged by her family to be raped to force her into marrying an elderly man. They are among 39 000 girls forced into marriage every day around the world, sold like cattle to enrich their families.

More than one-third of all girls are married in 42 countries, according to the U.N. Population Fund, referring to females under the age of 18. The highest number of cases occurs in some of the poorest countries, the agency figures show, with the West African nation of Niger at the bottom of the list with 75 percent of girls married before they turn 18. In Bangladesh the figure is 66 percent and in Central African Republic and Chad it is 68 percent.

Most child marriages take place in South Asia and rural sub-Saharan Africa, according to the population fund. In terms of absolute numbers, India, because of its large population, has the most child marriages with child brides in 47 percent of all marriages. (More)

By Max Holland
The Daily Beast
Woodward's recent flap reveals a grotesquely swollen ego fed by 40 years of hero worship. In Newsweek, Max Holland asks: why is this man an American icon?
09 March 2013 For the past week Washington has found itself debating Bob Woodward. The occasion: his very public argument with White House senior official Gene Sperling, in which Woodward left the impression that Sperling had somehow tried to intimidate him-only to see this accusation undermined by the release of an email exchange in which the pair sounded rather conciliatory.

Almost all the commentary about this flap fits neatly under the heading, "What the Hell Happened to Bob Woodward?" But posing that question, as New York magazine did last week, implies a transformation that never occurred. Woodward is the same now as he ever was. His misrepresentation of his interaction with Sperling is only the latest in a long string of questionable journalistic episodes. (More)


Boy stops murder plot with hand gun

but national news media ignores story

Mexico has strict gun laws but it's world's murder central

while US gun deaths drop by half during the past 20 years

Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones
United States of America

08 March 2013Here’s another US pro-second amendment story that you will never see on the major news networks – a Texas boy who watched his sister and mother being raped during a home invasion by two men, who later abandoned a plan to murder the three victims, was able to grab a handgun and send the two individuals fleeing.

“The incident began about 4:30 a.m. when two men entered the home and held three residents hostage. During the home invasion, police accused one man, described only as white, of sexually assaulting two women,” reports the Galveston County Daily News.

The suspects, subsequently named as 33-year-old Charles Allen Jacobson III and 56-year-old James Ellis Barnett, then bound the three victims and drove them to a nearby field. According to police, Jacobson gave Barnett a handgun and told him to kill the three hostages but Barnett refused.

The two suspects then drove the family back to their home on Anne Drive, Webster, in order to dispose of evidence. It was at this point that “the male juvenile victim was able to get free and arm himself with a handgun which the family had,” said Chief Ray Smiley.

“He then confronted the suspects, who fled the scene”. (More)

On the Labour Front
By Josh Eidelson
06 March 2013Alleging unpaid wages and repeated retaliation, McDonald’s workers in central Pennsylvania launched a surprise strike at 11 this morning. The strikers are student guest workers from Latin America and Asia, brought to the United States under the controversial J-1 cultural exchange visa program. Their employer is one of the thousands of McDonald’s franchisees with whom the company contracts to run its ubiquitous stores.

“We are afraid,” striker Jorge Victor Rios told The Nation prior to the work stoppage. “But we are trying to overcome our fear.”

The McDonald’s corporation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The J-1 visa program is officially intended to promote educational and cultural exchange. But advocates allege that J-1, like the other guest worker programs that collectively bring hundreds of thousands of workers in and out of the United States each year, is rife with abuse. The National Guestworker Alliance (NGA), the organization spearheading today’s strike, charges that such programs—whose future is intimately tied up with the fate of comprehensive immigration reform—offer ample opportunities for employers to intimidate workers, suppress organizing and drive down labor standards. (More)


From the Desk of Donald Swartz

Scabs fill your jets at Porter Airlines as 'fuelers' strike over $12 pay

Toronto Island Porter employees paid $1.75 over minimum wage

By Sean Smith
The Socialist Project

Sean Smith is a community based organizer and a member of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly.

15 March 2013 — On 17 January 2013, 22 ‘fuelers’ at Porter Airlines went on strike for a first Collective Agreement. In an airline industry infamous for implementing a race to the bottom, these are the lowest paid. No one could accept Porter's offer of 25 cents for those making $12 an hour and no raise for those making $14. Another key demand is for management to address their serious Health and Safety concerns.

These Health and Safety problems have only intensified since Porter replaced the striking workers with scabs, many of whom have no previous experience or qualifications, in the crucial job of fueling all aircraft at Toronto Island Airport. Unlike at Air Canada where Canada's Minister of Labour, Lisa Raitt, imposed four different laws to suppress workers' bargaining rights there has been complete indifference from Ottawa when the workers' union, COPE Local 343, contacted her office to explain the serious safety concerns at Porter. (More)

(To hear Bradley Manning's full audio statement click here)
By Daniel Ellsberg
Reader Supported News
12 March 2013 — Today, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an organization that I co-founded and of which I'm on the board, has published an audio recording of Bradley Manning's speech to a military court from two weeks ago, in which he gives his reasons and motivations behind leaking more than 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks.

Whoever made this recording, and I don't know who the person is, has done the American public a great service. This marks the first time the American public can hear Bradley Manning, in his own voice explain what he did and how he did it.

After listening to this recording and reading his testimony, I believe Bradley Manning is the personification of the word whistleblower.

Secrecy Surrounding Trial

Manning faces some of exact same charges I faced forty two years ago when I leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and eighteen other papers. The only difference is I was a civilian, so I could stay out of jail on bond while the trial was going on, and was able to talk to the media throughout. I took responsibility for what I had done on the day of my arrest, and I was able to explain why I did it.

But thanks to the judge's rulings in Manning's case, the public has barely heard anything from Manning at all. No official transcripts of the proceeding are released to the public, and when documents like the judge's court orders are released, it is weeks after the fact - and only in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Now I hope the American people can see Manning in a different light. In 1971, I was able to give the media my side of the story, and it is long overdue Manning is able to do the same. As Manning has now done, I stipulated as to all the facts for which I was accused. And I did that for several reasons, and I suspect that Manning had the same motives.

First, it was to exonerate a number of people who were suspected of helping me, like former Defense Department colleagues Mort Halperin, Leslie Gelb and others. I was able to state flatly they did not know about the release in the midst of President Nixon's anxious desire to indict several of them. (More)