42 Years Later, Officers Charged for Murder of Defiant Chilean Folk Singer

"Víctor Jara" by Source. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Víctor Jara">Fair use via Wikipedia.

Víctor Jara” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. To see more of Sarah Lazare’s articles, go here.

More than four decades after the Chilean military tortured and killed beloved folk singer, playwright, and social activist Victor Jara during the coup of General Augusto Pinochet, former officers allegedly involved in the murder are finally facing charges.

Judge Miguel Vázquez Plaza on Wednesday announced homicide and kidnapping charges against 10 former military officers, including former lieutenant Pedro Barrientos Nuñez, a resident of Florida who is seeking to avoid extradition to Chile. Four of the people indicted have already turned themselves in, and arrests are expected to follow.

Charges were also levied Wednesday for the slaying of Littre Quiroga Carvajal, former military police chief.

Jara’s widow, Joan Turner Jara, told reporters that the development offers a “message of hope,” but she went further, saying “we’re pushing forward in demanding justice for Victor with the hope that justice will follow for everyone.”

Over 40,000 people were tortured, murdered, or held as political prisoners during Pinochet’s dictatorship, which lasted for decades and was backed by the United States.

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Short of a conspiracy theory? You can always blame the Jews

British comedian David Baddiel believes that Jews are the biggest victims of conspiracy theories, writing at the Guardian:

Conspiracy theory, I said in my last standup show, is how idiots get to feel like intellectuals. I still believe this: conspiracy theory is primarily a way for people, mainly men, to appear in the know, to use their collection of assumptions, generalisations, straw men and false inferences to say, effectively: ah, the wool may have been pulled over your eyes, my friend, but not mine.

National Park Service 9-11 Statue of Liberty and WTC fire.jpg

Beliefs such as the idea that 4,000 notified-by-Israel Jews didn’t turn up for work in the World Trade Center on 9/11 are, for many people, facts. Photo: National Park Service.

But there are other reasons why it’s so popular these days. It provides lonely men with an online community of like-minded lonely men. It’s comforting; it’s reassuring. It provides order in a disordered universe to imagine that shadowy forces organise horrific events, rather than to have to confront the terrible truth that death and destruction happen, all the time, apparently at random.

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Bloodline of the Gods

For the Human Race, there are four, primary, types of blood. They are A, B, AB, and O. The classifications are derived from the antigens of a person’s blood cells – antigens being proteins that are found on the surface of the cells and which are designed to combat bacteria and viruses.

Blood Drive...

Most of the human population have such proteins on their cells. They are the Rh positive percentage of the Earth’s people. Within the United States, current estimates suggest that around 85 percent of all Caucasians, roughly 90 percent of African Americans, and approximately 98 percent of Asian Americans are Rh positive.

The small percentage of the U.S. population (and that of the rest of the world, too, it should be noted) which does not exhibit the relevant proteins falls into a very different category, that of the Rh negatives.

Why one particular group of people should have blood that is so incredibly different to that of just about everyone else, is a matter of deep controversy.… Read the rest

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Archeologists discover 400-year-old remains of Jamestown, Virginia colonial leaders

Loney Abrams writes at Hopes&Fears:

Archeologists have unearthed the human remains of four colonial leaders in Jamestown, Virginia. The bodies were buried more than 400 years ago near what had been the US’ first Protestant church, and are believed to belong to some of the earliest English settlers in America. It is the same church where Pocahontas married John Rolfe, which marked the beginning of a peace treaty between the Powhatan Indians and colonists. Archeologists had discovered the remains in November 2013 but they wanted to trace and confirm the findings before making an announcement.

The most interesting aspect of the discovery, however, was not of the bones themselves, but of the relics that were buried with the bodies. For example, on top of the coffin belonging to Capt. Gabriel Archer, a nemesis of the one-time colony leader John Smith, archeologists found a Catholic reliquary that contained bone fragments and a container for holy water, raising questions of whether Archer was part of a secret cell within the Protestant community, or even a Catholic spy on behalf of the Spanish.… Read the rest

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The Psychology of Revenge: Biology, Evolution and Culture

Murder of Agamemnon

“Revenge is a dish best served cold…”
(Ancient Klingon Proverb)

This post originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions

When I was younger I longed for revenge. I remember school-companions doing unspeakably cruel things to me — stealing my lunch, laughing at my misfortune and so forth (hey, it all seemed cruel at the time). I would carefully plot my revenge. The revenge almost always consisted of performing some similarly unspeakably cruel act towards them. Occasionally, my thoughts turned to violence. Sometimes I even lashed out in response.

I’m less inclined towards revenge these days. Indeed, I am almost comically non-confrontational in all aspects of my life. But I still feel the pangs. When wronged, I’ll briefly get a bit hot under the collar and my thoughts will turn to violence once more. I’ll also empathise with the characters in the innumerable revenge narratives that permeate popular culture, willing them on and feeling a faint twinge of pleasure when they succeed.… Read the rest

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White House Rejects Petition to Pardon Snowden

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Nadia Prupis’ articles here.

The White House on Tuesday formally rejected a ‘We the People’ petition to pardon Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who has been living in exile since exposing the U.S. government’s invasive spying operation in 2013.

More than 167,000 people signed the petition urging the government to grant him clemency, stating in their petition that Snowden is “a national hero … [who] should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.”

Not only will Snowden not be pardoned, the Obama administration said, he should face criminal charges for his actions.

“Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it,” Lisa Monaco, adviser to President Barack Obama on homeland security and counter-terrorism, said in a statement on Tuesday.

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Pop Culture Conspiracy: Is Snoop Dogg Faking It?

Snoop Dogg is one of America’s (and possibly the World’s) favorite stoners. Or should we say Alleged Stoners

The internet was abuzz with the story of Snoop being detained and piss tested in Sweden for suspicion of marijuana possession.

Dave's not here.

Dave’s not here.

Snoop (of course) claimed it was racial profiling. Profiling, maybe — racial? Not so much (See: Willie Nelson).

The Inquisitr has the gory details:

Snoop (real name: Calvin Cordozar Broadus) had just performed a concert in the Swedish city of Uppsala when police suspected he might have been under the influence of narcotics. It’s unclear whether or not Snoop was driving, but it doesn’t matter: under Swedish law, anyone suspected of being under the influence of drugs can be detained and forced to take a urine test.

And that’s exactly what happened to Snoop: cops put him into the back of a police car and brought him to the station.

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MH370: wreckage found on Reunion ‘matches Malaysia Airlines flight’

Screen shot 2015-07-29 at 2.31.47 PM

A piece of wreckage has been found on La Réunion Island and a French aviation expert believes it could be from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, MH370.

Harriet Alexander writes at The Telegraph:

Xavier Tytelman, a former military pilot who now specialises in aviation security, was contacted on Wednesday morning by a man living on the island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean. The man sent Mr Tytelman a series of photos showing wreckage of a plane, which the Frenchman said could possibly be the missing jet.

“I’ve been studying hundreds of photos and speaking to colleagues,” Mr Tytelman told The Telegraph. “And we all think it is likely that the wing is that of a Boeing 777 – the same plane as MH370.

“Police in Reunion examining the wreckage say that it looks like it’s been in the water for around a year, which again would fit with MH370.

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The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture

Before you shoot the messenger, the title of this post, “The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture,” is that of the authors Henry I. Miller and Drew L. Kershen and Forbes, where their op-ed was published. Any counters?:

Organic agriculture is an unscientific, heavily subsidized marketing gimmick that misleads and rips off consumers. The federal government should stop promoting and subsidizing it.

Consumers of organic foods are getting both more and less than they bargained for. On both counts, it’s not good.

2013 March Against Monsanto DC 51

Many people who pay the huge premium—often more than a hundred percent–for organic foods do so because they’re afraid of pesticides.  If that’s their rationale, they misunderstand the nuances of organic agriculture. Although it’s true that synthetic chemical pesticides are generally prohibited, there is a lengthy list of exceptions listed in the Organic Foods Production Act, while most “natural” ones are permitted. However, “organic” pesticides can be toxic.  As evolutionary biologist Christie Wilcox explained in a 2012 Scientific American article (“Are lower pesticide residues a good reason to buy organic? 

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