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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,023

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As Monuments to White Supremacists Fall, a New Statue Celebrating Chilean Human Rights Hero Arises

Remarks at the unveiling of the Orlando Letelier statue
February 26, 2018 | Sarah Anderson

(From left) Orlando Letelier’s son Francisco, Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archives, IPS
Director John Cavanagh, IPS project director Sarah Anderson, and journalist John Dinges.

More than 100 years ago, when groups began installing statues across this country of pro-slavery Civil War leaders, they were hoping to embolden white supremacists for years to come.

Thirty-six years ago, when Peter Kornbluh and others helped install the monument to Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt on the other side of Sheridan Circle, they were hoping to embolden human rights heroes for years to come.

Today we celebrate another monument designed to embolden human rights heroes. And we can finally say we not only have a tribute to Orlando and Ronni on the soil of a country (the United States) that supported the Chilean dictatorship that ordered their killing. We now also have one on property that belonged to that dictatorship.

And we are marking this milestone at a time when the monuments to white supremacists are finally starting to come down.


Ronni Moffit

Mural painted by the son of Orlando Letelier showing his father and his father's aide, Ronni Moffit

First Person: Returning to Cuba more than a half-century later I just went back for the first time s

I just went back for the first time since my family left in 1959
FEB 23, 2018 11:00 PM

I lived in Cuba from the age of 1 to 14 — my father was in the U.S. military and my mother was Cuban — and I returned last month to Cuba for the first time since our family left in 1959. I didn’t know what to expect, mainly because of the economic sanctions that have been imposed on the country by the United States for nearly 60 years. From some of the images we have seen from afar, we expected to see a lot of old cars, bicycles, general shortages of almost everything else and a broken people.

We landed at Jose Marti airport, went through customs and exited to a waiting fleet of modern European cabs. Our cab ride to the bed and breakfast where we stayed took us on a modern four-lane highway to the crowded one-way streets of Old Havana.

Early on, the U.S. trade embargo deeply affected Cuba. More recently, though, the rest of the world has resumed trade relations with Cuba, and the main effect of the U.S. embargo has been keeping American investment and tourism down to a trickle. While we were there, we saw ample evidence of Europeans, Asians and South Americans.

Old Havana streets are bustling with tourists and tourism-related activities. Drivers with their antique cars gather around plazas near hotels waiting for fares. Street vendors populate corners, and roaming groups of street performers were everywhere we went in the center city. Markets, sidewalk cafes and stores were busy; some even had waiting lines.


White Settlers Buried the Truth About the Midwests Mysterious Mound Cities

Pioneers and early archaeologists credited distant civilizations, not Native Americans, with building these sophisticated complexes

View of Monks Mound from Woodhenge Circle (Photo courtesy of Sarah E. Baires)
By Sarah E. Baires, Zócalo Public Square
February 23, 2018 10:56AM

Around 1100 or 1200 A.D., the largest city north of Mexico was Cahokia, sitting in what is now southern Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Built around 1050 A.D. and occupied through 1400 A.D., Cahokia had a peak population of between 25,000 and 50,000 people. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cahokia was composed of three boroughs (Cahokia, East St. Louis, and St. Louis) connected to each other via waterways and walking trails that extended across the Mississippi River floodplain for some 20 square km. Its population consisted of agriculturalists who grew large amounts of maize, and craft specialists who made beautiful pots, shell jewelry, arrow-points, and flint clay figurines.

The city of Cahokia is one of many large earthen mound complexes that dot the landscapes of the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys and across the Southeast. Despite the preponderance of archaeological evidence that these mound complexes were the work of sophisticated Native American civilizations, this rich history was obscured by the Myth of the Mound Builders, a narrative that arose ostensibly to explain the existence of the mounds. Examining both the history of Cahokia and the historic myths that were created to explain it reveals the troubling role that early archaeologists played in diminishing, or even eradicating, the achievements of pre-Columbian civilizations on the North American continent, just as the U.S. government was expanding westward by taking control of Native American lands.

Today it’s difficult to grasp the size and complexity of Cahokia, composed of about 190 mounds in platform, ridge-top, and circular shapes aligned to a planned city grid oriented five degrees east of north. This alignment, according to Tim Pauketat, professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois, is tied to the summer solstice sunrise and the southern maximum moonrise, orientating Cahokia to the movement of both the sun and the moon. Neighborhood houses, causeways, plazas, and mounds were intentionally aligned to this city grid. Imagine yourself walking out from Cahokia’s downtown; on your journey you would encounter neighborhoods of rectangular, semi-subterranean houses, central hearth fires, storage pits, and smaller community plazas interspersed with ritual and public buildings. We know Cahokia’s population was diverse, with people moving to this city from across the midcontinent, likely speaking different dialects and bringing with them some of their old ways of life.

View of Cahokia from Rattlesnake Mound ca 1175 A.D., drawn by Glen Baker 
(Image courtesy of Sarah E. Baires)

The largest mound at Cahokia was Monks Mound, a four-terraced platform mound about 100 feet high that served as the city’s central point. Atop its summit sat one of the largest rectangular buildings ever constructed at Cahokia; it likely served as a ritual space.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/white-settlers-buried-truth-about-midwests-mysterious-mound-cities-180968246/#gMJWq2s4GDbYjTOL.99

Democratic Congress Members Called for Better Cuba-U.S. Relations

Havana, Feb 22 (Prensa Latina) U.S. Democratic Congress members who visited Cuba this week defended the approach both countries started late 2014 to advance to the normalization of relations.

The bipartisan delegation was formed by senators Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Ron Wyden (Oregon) and Gary Peters (Michigan) and representatives Jim McGovern (Massachusetts), Kathy Castor (Florida) and Susan Davis (California), who talked in this capital with authorities, including President Raul Castro, small businesspeople and other sectors of society.

In Cuba, legislators criticized the policy followed by president Donald Trump to the island, characterized since his arrival to the White House -in January, 2017- intent on intensifying the economic, commercial and financial blockade enacted over half a century ago and retreat from the progress achieved in 2015 and 2016.

Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced in December, 2014, a process of approach aimed at normalizing relations between Havana and Washington, which led to holding high-level meetings in both capitals and the signing of some twenty cooperation agreements.


Are Colombias social leaders facing another extermination?

by Stephen Gill February 22, 2018

More than 200 social leaders, peasant representatives and human rights defenders have been murdered since the start of Colombia’s peace process, according to a report.

The killings are spurring fears that the widespread killing could be a repetition of an extermination campaign in the 1980s and 1990s in which thousands of leftists were murdered, and spurred a wave of retaliatory guerrilla violence.

. . .

The ongoing mass killing of leaders begins to resemble a political extermination campaign carried out by paramilitary groups and state forces after a peace deal with the FARC in 1985.

More than 3,000 members of the leftist political party Patriotic Union, including presidential candidates, were assassinated in the decade after that agreement.

The political extermination of the leftists spurred the most violent and traumatic period in the 50-year history of Colombia’s armed conflict.

Since 1964, the year groups like the FARC and ELN were founded, more than 265,000 Colombians have been killed. Millions were displaced.

. . .


Why Colombias former president is accused of forming bloodthirsty death squads

by Adriaan Alsema February 22, 2018

Evidence and multiple witness testimonies indicate that Colombia’s former president, Alvaro Uribe, helped form a death squad. The big mystery is why this was never properly investigated.

The Bloque Metro, the group allegedly formed by the Uribe family and their neighbors, is hardly known abroad. The death squad’s rejection of drug trafficking kept it out of sight of US prosecutors.

In Antioquia, however, many remember the far right death squad that left at least 4,000 victims in Uribe’s home province.

The Bloque Metro was not investigated by a court until 2016, because the group was excluded from the so-called “Justice and Peace” process that sought to clarify paramilitary crimes.


Dont butt in! Young birds taught the art of conversation

The acquisition of singing rules in canebrake wrens shows a similar pattern to human conversation learning.

Press Association
Last updated:21 February 2018 - 12.10am

A tropical songbird learns how to conduct polite “conversations” from its parents, research has shown.

As every well brought up child knows, it is rude to interrupt. The same lesson appears to be taught to young canebrake wrens, which become better able to avoid singing over their parents as they get older.

Like many other songbirds, adult canebrake wren pairs engage in “duets” in which each partner takes turns to chirp a precisely timed phrase.

Scientists have shown that to-and-fro song duets performed by mated birds mirror human conversations.


US Foreign Policy is the Greatest Crime Since WWII, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark

by Jay Janson / February 20th, 2018

Last week, the present US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, during his trip to five Latin American nations, made headlines world wide when he made the following barely veiled threatening statement: “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad, and the leadership can no longer serve the people.” and shortly afterward referring to the elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, added: “If the kitchen gets a little to hot for him, I am sure that he’s got some friends over in Cuba that could give him a nice hacienda on the beach and he could have a nice life over there.” US secretaries of state have a lot of balls, as Tillerson’s gangster tough guy remarks showed.

There are few countries in Latin America that have not experienced the USA both secretly and overtly backing a right wing military government coup. The US Secretary of State’s criminally insane backhanded remarks favoring a civil war, with all the probable loss of lives a civil war would bring, seems to fit as appropriate within a US foreign policy of world domination. Human suffering has never been of any consequence to the financial interests of that 1/10 of 1 per cent of Americans who, to one degree or another, rule us all.

That is the way it has been since the end of the Second World War, a war made possible by the American investments and joint venturing in the rearming of a prostate Nazi Germany1, a war that made the USA rich and the first all powerful single superpower.

Now that China is about to replace the USA as the most powerful economy in the world2, maybe the days of such arrogance from a US Secretary of State are numbered, though the all powerful criminal media owned by the US military industrial complex would have us think otherwise. The CIA overseen mainstream media is preparing its audience for a probable future ‘necessary’ war with US designated ‘adversaries’ Russia and China.


UN expert reports no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela


By: Emily Green
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

CARACAS, Venezuela — An independent expert for the UN’s top human rights body was allowed a rare visit to Venezuela. After spending a week in the country and assessing the situation, he reported that there is no humanitarian crisis.

. . .

While the country is being accused of undermining democracy, it also struggles with inflation and shortages of food and medicine. Its economy has taken severe hits since the decline in global oil prices in 2014. Contrary to most media reporting, De Zayas assured that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. He said he agrees with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the Economic Commission for Latin America who deny the humanitarian crisis.

However, he conceded that there are some shortages and delays in distribution. He has called on the international community to be aware of the monopolies, smuggling, and corruption that has emerged under the US-led economic and financial war. The conflict has resulted in pressures and sanctions. Last year, over 750 opposition-controlled offshore companies were accused of purposefully redirecting Venezuelan imports of raw food materials from the government to the private sector. On top of that, international sanctions have blocked millions of tons of food and other supplies from reaching the Venezuelan people.

De Zayas also remarked that the opposition and private media label the situation in Venezuela as a humanitarian crisis in an effort to promote international intervention. Opposition leaders made “the opening of a humanitarian channel” one of its chief demands in negotiations with the national government. He called the mainstream media coverage of the country “theatrical, hyperbole, and an exaggeration,” and said it does not help to resolve any problems. However, he said international solidarity is necessary to help them overcome the current crisis.


Tulane researchers help discover vast network of Mayan cities in the Guatemalan jungle

Updated 3:35 PM; Posted 3:34 PM

LiDAR laser technology yielded a remarkable discovery in Guatemala's forest: ancient
cities with more than 60,000 structures. Two Tulane researchers, Marcello A. Canuto
and Francisco Estrada-Belli, are part of the project, which will be featured on the National
Geographic Channel. (Image courtesy of Luke Auld-Thomas and Marcello A. Canuto)

By Maria Clark
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

A team of Tulane University archaeologists and an international group of researchers have uncovered a network of thousands of ancient Mayan structures previously hidden for centuries under the thick canopy of the northern Guatemalan jungle.

Using a technology called LiDAR (light detection and range technology) the team which includes Marcello A. Canuto, the director of Tulane University's Middle American Research Institute, and Francisco Estrada-Belli, a research assistant professor and director of the Holmul Archaeological Project, has uncovered more than 60,000 ancient structures covering 1,305 square miles.

The technology uses sensors to pierce through the thick forest canopy to create high-resolution maps that reveal man-made structures hidden under thick vegetation.

For example, the sensors revealed a 90-foot-tall pyramid once thought to be a hill at Tikal, one of the most thoroughly investigated of all Mayan cities.


Tikal LIDAR images:

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