CONTENTS OCTOBER 23, 2000
Click. LOCKERBIE UPDATE: SYRIAN CONNECTION RUMORS KEEP COMING.
Click. HOMOPHOBIC KILLING SPREE IN MACHO MEXICO
22/10/00 AOUDE MEDIA Last weekend rumors emerged connecting Syria to the latest postponement of the Lockerbie bombing trial. The Scottish sunday paper SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY revealed how Syria was the mystery country, mentioned by Lord Advocate Colin Boyd as he asked for a postponement of the legal proceedings two weeks ago. At a briefing with the relatives last Tuesday, the Crown was specifically asked about this rumor. Crown representative McFadyenґs answer was: "Everything I have seen in the media has been completely false."
Today Scotland on Sunday once again states that they know that the delay was caused by Syria. And today they have new details of this "mystery information" which hasnґt been passed on to the defense team yet. According to the newspaper, the Crownґs alleged Maltese luggage-connection may be dead and buried forever. A similar article is featured, also today, in the Maltese newspaper KullHadd.
Read the Scotland on Sunday-article below. Scottish article co-written by and Peter Laing. KullHadd-article written by .
22/10/00 SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY (begin article) The Lockerbie trial in Holland has been delayed for the last two weeks by new evidence that the bomb which destroyed Pan Am flight 103 originated in Damscus, Scotland on Sunday can reveal. The information which has not yet been divulged to the defence team or made public – threatens, if confirmed, to destroy the Crown case against the two Libyan accused, who are alleged to have planted the bomb in Malta.
The Syrian government has now passed on evidence which suggests the bomb began its journey on a feeder flight from Damascus. Investigators are said to be concentrating on a Lufthansa flight from the Syrian capital to Frankfurt on December 21, 1988 - the day of the Lockerbie disaster. At Frankfurt Airport, the new inquiries are centred on a luggage transfer facility called coding station 206. It is understood that several flights used station 206 on the day of the disaster, including the Lufthansa flight from Damascus.
Investigators have been cross-checking records of the baggage aboard this, and other, flights with the data from the airport's computerised baggage transfer system. They are paying particularly close attention to a bag bearing the code 8849 - which may have been aboard the Lufthansa jet and was transferred to flight 103A to Heathrow. If the information from Syria is correct, bag 8849 may turn out to have contained the bomb which destroyed the Pan Am 747 above Lockerbie, killing 270 people. It is claimed that checks on records at Frankfurt Airport show no evidence that any baggage on Air Malta flight KM180 was transferred to flight 103.
The new information is said to have emerged in the days preceding a meeting earlier this month between Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi and Syria's new leader, Bashar Assad. The information could implicate members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, headed by Ahmed Jibril. At the start of the trial, the same organisation was named by the defence as having organised the bombing.
The case, which is estimated to cost Ј3m a month, was adjourned for a week on October 9 when the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, told the court information had been received from a foreign government. Boyd said: "It relates not to the Crown case, but to the defence case." Boyd told the court last Tuesday that more time was needed to investigate the information and an adjournment was reluctantly granted for another week. The court resumes at Camp van Zeist tomorrow. (end article)
Explore these links for more information:
Scotland on Sunday website (click NEWS)
KullHadd website (click EDITORIAL)
HOMOPHOBIC KILLING SPREE IN MACHO MEXICO
ANTIFAIN 10/15/00 10/22/00
Gays & Lesbians Resist Coming Conservative Onslaught
MEXICO CITY (Sept. 11)--Although freshly repainted, the sign had been
posted for 10 years outside the swimming hole spa in the conservative
central Mexican state of Aguascalientes before the world took notice this
past summer. "No Animals Admitted," the farmers who run the Ojocalientes
resort stipulated. "No Homosexuals," either.
The homophobic prohibition was championed by Aguascalientes city regulation
manager Jorge Alvarez, who conceded he had authorized sprucing up the sign:
"I'm against this kind of people. They offend morals and violate good
customs (buenas costumbres)."
Gays working for the city of Aguascalientes would be weeded out and fired,
Both the city and the state of Aguascalientes are governed by the National
Action Party, or PAN, the party of Vicente Fox Quesada, Mexico's
president-elect, who last July 2 dethroned the long-ruling Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had held power here for seven decades. All
over Mexico, conservatives have taken heart from the Fox victory, and in
PAN-run cities and states like Aguascalientes, rightwing officials, often
in cahoots with the Catholic hierarchy, have been pushing patently
homophobic agendas. One glaring example: the city of Cordoba Veracruz,
where the PANista mayor has launched a "Clean Cordoba of Scum" (escoria)
crusade to sweep gay sexoservidores (prostitutes) off city streets.
The imminence of the Fox regime (he takes office Dec. 1) has many gay and
lesbian leaders nervous, and as news of the offending sign up in
Aguascalientes spread, indignant representatives from groups across Mexico
descended on the central plaza of that state capital to hold rallies and
marches and distribute questionnaires that asked local citizens if they
approved of equating homosexuals with dogs. The PANista mayor tried to tamp
down the ruckus by promising not to fire any gay city workers and offering
a kind of "don't ask, don't tell" hiring policy.
Nonetheless, for the first time in recorded memory, hundreds of gays and
lesbians marched through the streets of the old city, some in drag (among
them "The Proud-To-Be-Gay Hair Stylists of Aguascalientes"). Almost at the
same hour, inside the stolid, stone cathedral, Bishop Ramon Godinez warned
hundreds of adolescent boys of the "moral dangers" of such "sexual
deviations" as "masturbation, fornication, and homosexuality."
The Battle of Aguascalientes seems a quaint and harmless instance of
residual homophobia--gays and dogs have always been allowed into the resort
regardless of the sign, regular spa-goers assert. But homophobia is hardly
a harmless phenomenon in contemporary Mexico. A 1999 report by the United
Nations special rapporteur for extrajudicial executions implores outgoing
president Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon to investigate the murders of
Mexican homosexuals and make the protection of gays a human rights
priority. The Zedillo government brusquely rejected the recommendations by
UN special rapporteur Asma Jahangir.
The statistics of this homophobic rampage are alarming. In the five-year
period between 1995 and 2000, the independent Civil Commission on
Homophobic Hate Crimes has recorded 199 murders of homosexuals (as of
August), almost all of them unsolved. Thus far in 2000, there has been one
such murder a month in Mexico City, reports commission member Arturo
Diaz--even a hot line to a special city unit has failed to put a dent in
the homophobic savagery.
Diaz estimates that because of the under-reporting of killings out in the
countryside, where homophobia is endemic, the toll of dead gay men and
women (21 listed victims have been women) is actually closer to 500 over
the course of the past five years.
Homophobic violence and police brutality against gays have driven an
undetermined number of Mexican homosexuals to seek political asylum in the
United States--two of whom have been found to have "a well- founded fear of
persecution" and been granted such status by US immigration courts.
Patria Jimenez, the first out lesbian to win a seat in the Mexican Congress
(she is now backup senator from Mexico City) and a hate crimes commission
founder, sees the flight of Mexican gays as "acts of desperation." Despite
a progressive anti-gay discrimination law passed by the left Party of the
Democratic Revolution (PRD)-controlled legislature in Mexico City, Jimenez
reports that homophobia continues to run high--particularly in police
ranks. Roundups and extortion of gay "sexoservidores" has not abated, she
observes. "A murder a month is not progress."
Prominent social critic Carlos Monsivais, a gay activist who also sits on
the commission, is shocked by the brutality of the killings--the dead have
turned up bludgeoned, beheaded, butchered into body parts, bound and burnt.
"The killers dehumanize their victims and justify their vile acts by saying
he deserved it because he was a 'puto,'" Monsivais writes in the monthly
Letra S. "The perfect indifference of society justifies the crime. This is
a national disgrace that no one wants to notice." Like Jimenez, Monsivais
accuses police investigating homophobic murders of stealing the victims'
property and extorting gay companions. "Homophobia is a full-time operation
for the police."
The popular writer, who was raised a Protestant, points a finger at the
Catholic hierarchy for traditionally fomenting homophobia. Indeed,
Guadalajara Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez taints homosexuals as
"aberrations of nature," and Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera warns
that "toleration of sexual diversity puts our children at risk of falling
The distribution of a series of parent-directed government-issued pamphlets
on sexuality in which homosexuality is characterized as "a reality"
recently drew the wrath of rank and file Catholic zealots such as Pro Vida
director Jose Serrano Limon, who accuses the Secretary of Public Education
of "spreading homosexuality." As the hierarchy's shock troops, Pro Vida
wages war on abortion and condom use, and went ballistic last year when
rumors flew that the leftwing Mexico City government was about to legalize
same-sex marriage (it wasn't).
Ironically, one of Pro Vida's most influential supporters within the
hierarchy is Father Maciel Macial, founder of the very conservative, very
lucrative Legionnaires of Christ, who is himself accused by a number of
ex-seminarians of being a serial devotee of the "sin that has no name."
Recently, several hundred gays and lesbians pleading the cause of sexual
diversity staged a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe,
Mexico's most hallowed shrine, to ask for the Brown Madonna's protection
against the persecution of the Catholic Church. "We let them in because we
encourage homosexuals to ask pardon for their behavior," Father David
Gagnon told a La Jornada reporter. The priest then sprayed the group
liberally with holy water, as if to disinfect the sanctuary, and repeatedly
recited his rosary to exorcise the pilgrims of their sins. Homosexuals are
not excommunicated from Mother Church, Father Gagnon explained, "if they
seek pardon and swear chastity."
Fox's July 2 victory has emboldened the Church and its allies in the PAN to
flex their muscles on other gender-related issues. In Guanajuato, Fox's
home state, the PAN-controlled local congress criminalized abortion,
setting prison terms for rape victims who seek to end unwanted pregnancies.
Cardinal Sandoval Iniguez even accused rape victims of provoking their own
violations because of immodest dress. But women's groups all over Mexico
quickly organized in support of abortion rights, and the current Guanajuato
governor, Fox's substitute, vetoed the criminalization measure.
Subsequently, pro-choice congresses in Morelos state and Mexico City have
passed legislation expanding access to abortion.
"We must take spirit from the resistance of the women--their agenda is
ours," affirms Jose Maria Corvarrubias, director of the Gay Cultural Circle
in Mexico City, who advocates the building of a national gay and lesbian
movement. "Although being gay is different in Chiapas or Veracruz or
Chihuahua, what unites us is homophobia."
Mexico's gays and lesbians are girding for the Foxian future, and the mood
is one of healthy defiance. The rapid mobilization in Aguascalientes and a
recent "festival of diversity" in the capital's great Zocalo plaza fronting
Cardinal Rivera's cathedral (La Jornada ran a front page photo of lesbians
smooching in front of the church) are signs that resistance is in the
As Mexico's newly redrawn opposition PRD and PRI prepare to tussle with an
incoming conservative administration, gay and lesbian issues will find
increasing political echo, thinks Patria Jimenez. But for Mexico's macho
left, gay and lesbian rights have never been number one on the list of
The notable exception is the largely Mayan Indian Zapatista Army of
National Liberation, which since the earliest days of its rebellion has
embraced gay and lesbian struggles, making a point of inviting
representatives to the Lacandon jungle for its meetings and its
celebrations. "As usual, the Zapatistas are in the vanguard," muses
Jimenez, who has often visited the Chiapas conflict zone. "Now maybe the
victory of Fox will force the rest of the left into taking up this fight."
[John Ross's The War Against Oblivion--Zapatista Chronicles 1994-2000 will
be published on The Day of the Dead.]
Copyright 2000 by John Ross.