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Tue, 23 Apr 2019
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Romney's Death Squad Ties: Bain Launched With Millions From Oligarchs Behind Salvadoran Atrocities

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing new scrutiny over revelations he founded the private equity firm Bain Capital with investments from Central American elites linked to death squads in El Salvador. After initially struggling to find investors, Romney traveled to Miami in 1983 to win pledges of $9 million, 40 percent of Bain's start-up money. Some investors had extensive ties to the death squads responsible for the vast majority of the tens of thousands of deaths in El Salvador during the 1980s. We're joined by Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim, who connects the dots in his latest story, Mitt Romney Started Bain Capital With Money From Families Tied To Death Squads. "There's no possible way that anybody in 1984 could check out these families - which was the term that [Romney's campaign] used - and come away convinced that this money was clean," Grim says. [Includes rush transcript]

Bad Guys

Bain Capital's Ties to Salvadoran Death Squads

Some of the first investors in Mitt Romney's firm Bain Capital, according to a report on the Los Angeles Times, were Salvadoran families living in Miami with members accused by the US government of funding death squads in the brutal civil war in El Salvador.

When Bain Capital was founded in 1984, Romney and his partners had trouble raising funds for their initial investments. "$9 million came from rich Latin Americans," the Timesreports, "including powerful Salvadoran families living in Miami.... At the time, U.S. officials were publicly accusing some exiles in Miami of funding right-wing death squads in El Salvador. Some family members of the first Bain Capital investors were later linked to groups responsible for killings."

The civil war in El Salvador lasted from 1980 to 1992 and killed more than 70,000 Salvadorans. It started after Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated while giving a mass shortly after he published an open letter to President Carter asking him to cut off US military aid to the Salvadoran military regime.

The Times reporters found no direct evidence that the accused Salvadorans themselves "invested in Bain or benefited from it" - it was "family members" of Bain investors who were linked to the killings.


Voter Registration Controversy Grows in Massachusetts

The controversy involving welfare recipients and voter registrations continues to grow in Massachusetts as Sen. Scott Brown says he wants his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren to reimburse the state using money from her campaign.

"Professor Warren has over $13 million dollars in her account. If she wanted to have her daughter and her group do that, she can pay for it herself," said Brown.

Brown took time out from his lunch at Nick's Roast Beef in Beverly, Mass. to call on Warren to pay back the Bay State for the $276,000 it cost to mail voter registration cards to welfare recipients.

Warren's daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, chairs the board of the New York-based think tank Demos, which was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that was filed in May that argued Massachusetts was failing to comply with the federal law requiring that welfare recipients have the opportunity to register to vote.


Officials Tell Blogger to Stop Giving Advice on Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet has been gaining popularity in recent years, thanks to passionate followers who believe eating and living as our Paleolithic ancestors did can help them avoid modern-day ailments such as obesity and diabetes.

Among the outspoken devotees is Steve Cooksey, who has chronicled his transition from a 235-pound diabetic to a trim Paleo supporter on his website. He also encourages others to embrace the lifestyle - and that's what landed him in trouble with the government.


Blogger Told 'Get a License' For Giving Nutritional Advice

© baretnews.com
Steve Cooksey eats what he calls a cave man diet - lots of meat and greens, no bread or pasta. He says it has helped him conquer life-threatening diabetes.

But when he wrote about his experiences and offered advice on his Web site, officials in North Carolina said he was breaking the law by "providing nutrition care services without a license."

Charla M. Burill, the executive director of the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition, called Mr. Cooksey in January to tell him so. The conversation was by all accounts civil, and Ms. Burill had a state law on her side.


The Latest Howlers From Human Rights Watch on Venezuela

Predictably, election season in Venezuela has come with yet another voluminous report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that mostly rehashes the debunked claims of its 2008 report. Over a hundred scholars, including Noam Chomsky, signed a letter to HRW protesting the shoddiness of that 2008 report.

More Than 100 Latin America Experts Question Human Rights Watch's Venezuela Report

HRW's response to that letter was underwhelming:

Human Rights Watch's Response to Academics' Criticism

HRW bowed out of the debate after the devastating reply to its response:

Academics Respond to Human Rights Watch Director's Defense of Venezuela Report

One need not even wade through that debate (though everyone should) to know that HRW is ridiculously biased against the Chavez government. Ken Roth, HRW's executive director, very recently used his Twitter account to call Venezuela and a few other ALBA bloc countries (specifically Bolivia and Ecuador) "the most abusive" in Latin America.[1]


GAO Warns Of Nuclear Smuggling From Mexico, Canada?

Although significant efforts have been made in recent years to enhance border security in the United States, nuclear smuggling from Mexico and Canada might still be a problem if further changes are not instituted, a new report released in late July said.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office report, which was accompanied by testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security on July 26th, credited the Department of Homeland Security with making significant strides in border security since 2005.

"Over the past 10 years, DHS has made significant progress in deploying radiation detection equipment to scan for nuclear or radiological materials in nearly all trucks and containerized cargo coming into the United Stated through seaports and border crossings," Homeland Security and Justice Director David C. Maurer said.

"However, challenges remain for the agency in developing a similar scanning capability for railcars entering this country from Canada and Mexico, as well as for international air cargo and international commercial aviation," he added.

Bad Guys

Government appeals ruling against military detention law

New York - Federal prosecutors on Monday appealed a judge's order barring enforcement of part of a law that permits indefinite military detention for those deemed to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda, the Taliban or "associated forces."

Manhattan federal court Judge Katherine Forrest in May ruled in favor of activists and reporters who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack Obama in December.

The government says indefinite military detention without trial is justified in some cases involving militants and their supporters.

The judge's preliminary injunction prevents the U.S. government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act's "Homeland Battlefield" provisions.

Light Saber

Venezuela arrests American mercenary in clampdown against US shenanigans ahead of elections


Thousands of American solidarity activists, torture survivors, union workers, people of faith, students, immigrants, veterans and others protest at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia on November 18-20, 2011 to take a stand for justice and remember the tens of thousands murdered by US-backed coups across Latin America and calling for the closure of the so-called 'School of the Americas' where death squads are trained.
Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, is claiming a US citizen has been arrested and interrogated on suspicions he is a mercenary involved in a conspiracy against the government.

Chávez, who faces an election on 7 October, suggested the man is part of a plot to destabilise the country if he is re-elected.

Chávez said the Hispanic man was detained on 4 August while crossing into Venezuela from Colombia. The president said the man was carrying a US passport with entrance and exit stamps from countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as well as a notebook containing geographical co-ordinates.

The man's identity was not released. Chávez did not say where he was being interrogated.

Comment: Chavez has the overwhelming support of his people. As we have seen again and again in countries that don't play along with the US and the international financial institutions it controls, "rising tensions" are instigated from without.

War Whore

Amid austerity measures at home, UK government gifts £5m to Al Qaeda-in-Syria


Hague and Hillary's boys in Syria
The UK is to increase the support it provides to rebel fighters in Syria.

Foreign Secretary William Hague is committing an additional £5m to fund communications equipment and medical supplies - mostly to the largest rebel group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Comment: Yeh, that's "communications and medical supplies" in inverted commas, like how the Scott Inquiry confirmed that the UK government was brokering contracts with Saddam Hussein in the late 1980s to sell him "farming equipment."

However, the assistance will not include any weapons.

The BBC's James Robbins says the move is a significant shift in policy after months of British frustration about divisions within Syria's opposition.

There have also been complaints that the opposition has failed to set out a clear programme for good government, our correspondent added.

Attempts to oust President Bashar al-Assad have led to 17 months of unrest, during which activists claim more than 20,000 people have died.