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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 149,397

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Failing Aboriginal Australians

June 23, 2014
The Great Silence

Failing Aboriginal Australians


Several recent events in Australia have served to again highlight how little the peoples and cultures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island nations feature on the national radar. Lack of formal education about Aborigines and a failure on the media’s part to make up the shortfall are the prime culprits, along with a general apathy that pervades the national character.

Renowned journalist John Pilger’s latest film, Utopia, about the state of affairs for Aboriginal Australians, is billed as “an epic portrayal of the oldest continuous human culture and an investigation into a suppressed colonial past and rapacious present” that follows three other films since 1983. Prominent Aboriginal footballer and Australian of the Year Adam Goodes said the film was the “talk of Aboriginal Australia”, but the Australian premiere, attended by 4000 people, barely made it into the mainstream media.

The “Great Australian Silence” over the history between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians that anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner talked of in 1968 still exists to this day.

Mainstream media ignores those outside the bell curve

Critics apparently offended by Pilger’s film include The Australian columnist and the Sydney Institute executive director Gerard Henderson, who balks at his perception of an inference of inherent racism and carps “there is no fresh material in Utopia”. Henderson makes no complaint that massive discrepancies between the life expectancy, health, wealth and education of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians have long been known, but not rectified.


A History of the World's Most Evil Corporation

A History of the World's Most Evil Corporation
By Hanzai E, Waking times
Blacklisted News
Sunday, Jun 22, 2014

Of all the mega-corps running amok, Monsanto has consistently outperformed its rivals, earning the crown as “most evil corporation on Earth!” Not content to simply rest upon its throne of death, atop a mountain of rotting corpses, it remains focused on newer, more scientifically innovative ways to harm the planet and its people.

As true champions of evil, they won’t stop until…well, until they’re stopped! But what is Monsanto and how did they get to be so obscenely evil in the first place? I think that’s the best place to start this journey, so grab a few non-GMO snacks or beverages and let’s go for a ride into the deep, murky sewers of their dark past.

1901: The company is founded by John Francis Queeny, a member of the Knights of Malta, a thirty year pharmaceutical veteran married to Olga Mendez Monsanto, for which Monsanto Chemical Works is named. The company’s first product is chemical saccharin, sold to Coca-Cola as an artificial sweetener.

Even then, the government knew saccharin was poisonous and sued to stop its manufacture but lost in court, thus opening the Monsanto Pandora’s Box to begin poisoning the world through the soft drink.


Why Repression Continues in Honduras

Why Repression Continues in Honduras

Military repression in Honduras is a direct legacy of U.S. meddling in the country.

By Lynn Holland, June 24, 2014.

A few weeks ago in Honduras, six Americans were arrested and thrown in jail while salvaging from the ocean floor off the northern coast. Their charge: possession of illegal weapons while on board the ship. A spokesman for the salvage company the men work for said that port officials had approved the guns in advance for purposes of protection. Since their arrest, there have been reports that the men are poorly fed, the jail is foul and mosquito-infested, and vicious fights have broken out among the other inmates.

Publicity over the case has pried the lid off the longstanding human rights crisis in Honduras. Harassment, arbitrary arrest, crowded prisons, and a host of other human rights abuses are a way of life for many Hondurans, and especially the poor. Unionists, peasant activists, environmentalists, indigenous people, and the journalists, lawyers, and others who support them are particularly vulnerable to threats, disappearance, and murder. Over the years, politically motivated killings, along with other factors, have given Honduras the highest murder rate in the world.

The highly charged nature of politics in this country was on display last month when military police violently expelled members of former President Manuel Zelaya’s center-left party from the building for supporting a demonstration against military repression. Zelaya himself had been ousted from office in a 2009 coup, and his followers have suffered a wave of persecution since then. These events prompted a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry from 108 members of the House of Representatives asking him to review the human rights situation in Honduras and cut off aid to those responsible for abuses.

These and other dynamics have made Honduras one of the most dangerous places in the western hemisphere. It is curious that such conditions persist when armed forces in other parts of Latin America have long since come to terms with the principles of democracy. To understand the persistence of authoritarianism in Honduras, a comparison to neighboring Nicaragua reveals differences in the way that militaries in the region are trained and politicized.


RIP Gerry Conlon -- wrongfully jailed for 'being Irish in the wrong place'

RIP Gerry Conlon -- wrongfully jailed for 'being Irish in the wrong place'

Monday, June 23, 2014
By Stuart Munckton

“When Gerry Conlon, who has died aged 60 of lung cancer, met survivors of the US's Guantánamo Bay detention camp, he found that their 21st-century experiences mirrored his in the 1970s,” The Guardian wrote about the Belfast-born Conlon who passed away on June 21.

He spent more than 14 years in jail from 1974-1989 after being found guilty by British authorities for pub bombings in Guilford that he did not commit.
“He too had been hooded, shackled and subjected to rendition -- from his home in Northern Ireland to a police station in Surrey -- threatened, brutalised and tortured until he confessed to the IRA bombings in 1974 of pubs in the garrison towns of Guildford and Woolwich.”

Conlon, along with three other Irish people known as the “Guildford Four”, was jailed in 1974 after being tortured into making false confessions about their role in the bombings, for which some of had strong alibis.

Their convictions were finally overturned in 1989, despite the fact that, just months after they were sentenced, the Irish Republican Army members who had actually carried out the bombing insisted to British police that the wrong people had been jailed.


Collective Panic in Venezuela

Collective Panic in Venezuela
by George Ciccariello-Maher

A specter is haunting Venezuela — the specter of the colectivos. All the powers of old Venezuela have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise it: political parties, NGOs, the foreign press, and of course, Twitter users.

“Armed thugs,” “vigilantes,” “paramilitaries” — these are just a few of the hyperbolic terms attached to what has suddenly emerged as the central bogeyman of the Venezuelan opposition today: “los colectivos.” The story goes something like this: amid the recent protests by mostly middle-class and opposition students, it was not only Venezuela’s police and military that repressed the “peaceful” protesters, but also groups of pro-Chavista thugs who terrorized and attacked the well-meaning demonstrators.

The recently popularized term says so little but seems to mean so much. It is in the gap between what the term says and what it means that we can locate its function in the contemporary Venezuelan crisis.

An Empty Signifier

On the surface, colectivos refers to the grassroots revolutionary collectives that make up the most organized element of chavismo. Beyond this, the term loses all clarity.

On February 12, for example, it was widely claimed on Twitter that the student Bassil da Costa was shot by armed collectives. On February 19, videos were circulated claiming that colectivos were rampaging through the wealthy zone of Altamira in Caracas firing hundreds of live rounds. And when the young beauty queen Génesis Carmona was killed, her death was immediately blamed on the colectivos.


State telco Hondutel should be privatized - former director

State telco Hondutel should be privatized - former director
By Business News Americas staff reporter - Monday, June 23, 2014

Former Hondutel director Alonso Valenzuela said the Honduran state telecom provider's recent layoffs are not enough for it to gain financial stability.

Hondutel needs heavy private investment to be able to compete in the mobile telephony segment, Valenzuela said in an interview with local daily El Heraldo.

If Hondutel were a private company, it could increase its sales volume and the government would benefit through sales and income taxes, Valenzuela said.

In its current state, Hondutel is unable to compete with the country's other operators. The provider has only 146,000 subscribers, while Claro and Tigo have a combined 7mn.


Colombian army under further scrutiny after claimed combat kills prove fabricated

Colombian army under further scrutiny after claimed combat kills prove fabricated
Jun 23, 2014 posted by Nina Damsgaard

Colombian public prosecutors are investigating an alleged army massacre of which at least one victim was later reported as a guerrilla killed in combat.

The killings took place in the early morning of May 17 in Alto Amarradero, a rural community in the Ipiales municipality on the border with Ecuador. The army’s 6th Division reported initially that soldiers had killed four members of rebel group FARC in Alto Amarradero, a rural part of the municipality Ipiales.

“In the process of military operations against the terrorist structures of the 48th Front of the FARC in the state of Putumayo, troops from the Jungle Brigade No. 27 of the 6th Division of the National Army neutralised four guerrillas,” the press statement read. However, supported by local, British and US rights organizations, the community claimed that these alleged guerrillas were the same men as the ones killed in Alto Amarradero.

The locals claim the alleged combat kills were in fact “false positives,” a term used for the Colombian army practice of inflating kill counts by executing civilians. According to authorities, more than 3,500 civilians have been killed and presented as guerrillas since the beginning of the century.

According to the locals, the killed men were not guerrillas, but community leaders tied to legitimate labor unions.


Colombia’s former spy-chief to officially lose asylum in Panama, may be deported immediately

Colombia’s former spy-chief to officially lose asylum in Panama, may be deported immediately
Jun 23, 2014 posted by Emily Dugdale

The former director of Colombia’s now-defunct intelligence agency will officially lose her asylum status in Panama on Tuesday, allowing her to be “detained and deported” back to Colombia to answer for illegal wiretapping charges, national media reported on Sunday.

As Colombia Reports had previously reported, a ruling handed down by Panama’s Supreme Court declared Maria del Pilar Hurtado’s asylum was unconstitutional. The decision, expected to go into effect Tuesday, would allow authorities to deport the former director of Colombia’s now-defunct Administrative Department of Security (DAS), who is wanted in relation to the so-called “Dasgate” wiretapping scandal.

Hurtado was the director of the DAS from 2007 to 2009, and is wanted in Colombia for various crimes related to her participation in the illegal interception and monitoring of journalists, judges, congressmen, and human rights defenders that occurred during the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe.

After repeated requests by Colombian authorities for Hurtado’s extradition, Panama’s Supreme Court declared the unconstitutionality of the decree that guaranteed the former spy-chief asylum on May 29, though the verdict was only released on June 18.


Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club on 'Adios Tour'

Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club on 'Adios Tour'
Associated Press

HAVANA (AP) -- They were forgotten masters of a long-ago sound, their faces deeply lined and their hands spotted with age.

Then, suddenly, at an age when many performers would be retired, the members of this old-school band found themselves playing in some of the most hallowed venues around the world, sharing stages with the likes of Sting and Shakira.

After rocketing into the spotlight in the late 1990s, the Buena Vista Social Club became nothing less than Cuba's soundtrack to the world. Nearly two decades later, the remaining members of the group are preparing to disband after one last farewell tour.

"Many of the musicians have their own plans," said a visibly emotional Jesus "Aguje" Ramos, a trombonist and orchestra leader who has been with the group since the beginning. "They must be given a chance."



Buena Vista Social Club - "Chan Chan" [/center]

Mystery object in lake on Saturn's moon Titan intrigues scientists

Mystery object in lake on Saturn's moon Titan intrigues scientists

Nasa's Cassini probe took image last year as it passed by planet's largest moon – nothing seen when other images taken

Ian Sample, science editor
The Guardian, Sunday 22 June 2014 13.00 EDT

[font size=1]
The mystery object, described as a 'magic island' appeared out of nowhere in radar
images of a hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's giant moon, Titan.
Photograph: JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell/NASA/PA[/font]

Scientists are investigating a mystery object that appeared and then vanished again from a giant lake on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

They spotted the object in an image taken by Nasa's Cassini probe last year as it swung around the alien moon, more than a billion kilometres from Earth. Pictures of the same spot captured nothing before or some days later.

Little more than a white blob on a grainy image of Titan's northern hemisphere, the sighting could be an iceberg that broke free of the shoreline, an effect of rising bubbles, or waves rolling across the normally placid lake's surface, scientists say.

Astronomers have named the blob the "magic island" until they have a better idea what they are looking at. "We can't be sure what it is yet because we only have the one image, but it's not something you would normally see on Titan," said Jason Hofgartner, a planetary scientist at Cornell University in New York. "It is not something that has been there permanently."


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