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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Book review: Thicker Than Water looks at Australia’s genocidal past

Book review: Thicker Than Water looks at Australia’s genocidal past

A descendant of the leader of a gang that massacred 80 to 100 Aborigines in Gippsland in 1843 returns to the scene of the crime to confront the ugly truth

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 June, 2016, 12:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 June, 2016, 12:00pm

Thicker Than Water

by Cal Flyn

William Collins

4 stars

In 1843, at Warrigal Creek in the south-eastern corner of Australia, known as Gippsland , between 80 and 200 Aborigines – a significant portion of the Bratowoolong clan of the Gunai people, including children – were massacred by a vigilante gang of white drovers calling themselves the Highland Brigade. The Aborigines were surprised in their encampment on the banks of a waterhole. There was nowhere for them to run; those who tried to flee were gunned down in the water. Afterwards the Scotsmen pulled a 12-year-old boy, who had been shot through the eye but was still alive, from the creek, and marched him on ahead at gunpoint in search of further camps.

There were other murders, at Boney Point, Butchers Creek, Slaughterhouse Gully – the names are grotesquely eloquent. When the first European settlers arrived in Gippsland, 1,800 Aborigines lived in the area that had been their ancestral home for some 20,000 years; by 1854, only 126 remained, mirroring a nationwide pattern that led later historians to conclude that Aborigines had, in the words of John La Nauze, been little more than a “melancholy anthropological footnote” to the continent’s history.

The leader of the Highland Brigade and the first European to open up the region, Angus McMillan , was himself the survivor of a ruthless campaign of dispossession. He had left for the colony of New South Wales in 1837 to escape the terror of the Highland Clearances, in which thousands of his fellow Scots were evicted from their tenancies during Scotland’s agricultural revolution. McMillan is still celebrated in his native Skye and in Australia – where he is honoured with cairns and plaques – as a pioneer, a man of great personal integrity and a pillar of settler society. The diary he kept during his passage, in which he records his resolution to be “humble, meek, diligent and industrious, charitable even of aliens”, makes for pathetic reading. For as Cal Flyn – who is a collateral descendant of McMillan’s – reveals, he is equally deserving of the alternative title given to him by the aboriginal community: “the Butcher of Gippsland”.

Vexed by the puzzle of her relative’s transformation, within five years of arriving on those shores, “from virtuous Presbyterian lad to cold-blooded killer”, and with a dim idea of making reparations to the descendants of his victims, Flyn – who grew up in the Highlands – sets out for Australia. Once there, she realises that she has stumbled into an ethical morass far murkier than she ever bargained for. In this country where “nothing looks or works quite the way you expect”, Flyn deftly captures the looking-glass world of the antipodean landscape, so alien to European eyes – where, as one early settler wrote, the “swans are black, the eagles white, the cod fish is found in rivers and perch in the sea, the valleys are cold and the mountain tops warm”. Her account is vivid with a sense of its strangeness; lyrically responsive to the odd local fauna and flora, the wombats with their humanoid waddle, the layered rocks, “red-raw but delicate as millefeuille”, the “hazy antiseptic perfume of the eucalypt”.


Brazil Ranchers Kill and Wound Indians to Terrorize Them and Take Their Land

Brazil Ranchers Kill and Wound Indians to Terrorize Them and Take Their Land

Newsroom 15 June 2016

A group of gunmen has attacked a tribal community in southern Brazil, killing one man and wounding at least five others, including a child. It is the latest in a series of violent assaults on the Guarani tribe. The attack took place June 14 in Tey’i Jusu community. Guarani Kaiowá villagers were able to film the attack from a distance. Gunshots and screams are audible in the footage, and fires appear to have been lit in nearby fields.

The man who was killed has been named as Clodiodi Aquileu, a community health worker in his twenties.

The attack is highly likely to be part of escalating attempts by the powerful local agribusiness and ranching interests – closely linked to the recently established interim government – to illegally evict the Guarani from their ancestral land and to intimidate them with genocidal violence and racism.

Earlier this week, human rights organizations Survival received audio through its Tribal Voice project from the Guarani of Pyelito Kue community, documenting a separate attack by gunmen on their village.

. . .

"We are fighting always for our land. Our culture does not allow violence but the ranchers will kill us rather than give it back. Most of the land was taken in the 1960s and 70s. The ranchers arrived and pushed us out. The land is good quality, with rivers and forest. Now it is very valuable."


Top Peruvian Amazon tourist destination invaded by gold-miners

Top Peruvian Amazon tourist destination invaded by gold-miners

Interview with environmental activist Victor Zambrano on his work protecting the Tambopata National Reserve in Madre de Dios

David Hill
Sunday 19 June 2016 13.53 EDT

The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that travel and tourism’s “total contribution” to Peru’s GDP will exceed 11% by 2026, but how well, in the long-term, is Peru protecting its best tourist assets? Among foreign tourists easily the most popular destination in the country’s lowland Amazon region is the 274,000 hectare Tambopata National Reserve (TNR) - yet it currently stands invaded by gold-miners.

The TNR is in the Madre de Dios region in the south-east of Peru. Over 632 bird species, 1,200 butterfly species, 103 amphibian species, 180 fish species, 169 mammal species and 103 reptile species make it one of the most biodiverse places in the world, according to the Environment Ministry, but those numbers don’t compare to the gold-miners. According to Victor Zambrano, president of the TNR’s Management Committee and the recently-announced winner of the 2016 National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in Latin American Conservation, there are 8,000 miners in the reserve itself and more than 35,000 in its buffer zone.

“Why is Peruvian patrimony that generates such income for the state not being defended?” Zambrano asks. “It isn’t being protected in the way that it should. It’s like we want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”

Gold-mining is one of the biggest causes of deforestation in Peru’s Amazon and Madre de Dios is the hardest-hit region of all. Over 50,000 hectares of forest had been cleared by 2012, hundreds of tons of mercury have been dumped into the rivers, and opponents assassinated. It involves people trafficking, 10,000s of child workers, prostitution, sexual exploitation of minors, and indications of forced labour, among other horrors.



All these irreplaceable animals live in this area. [/center]
Far, far more wonderful images of the citizens of the Tambopata National Reserve at google images:


Why Bolivia turned away Bill Gates' chicken donation

Why Bolivia turned away Bill Gates' chicken donation

It's about more than a few ruffled feathers
By Lindsey J. Smith
on June 17, 2016 04:38 pm

Why Bolivia turned away Bill Gates' chicken donation

Bolivia's outrage yesterday at being a beneficiary of Bill Gates's "Coop Dreams" — a project with Heifer International to donate 100,000 chickens to poor countries — shocked many. But upon closer examination of Bolivia's political climate, none of us, Gates included, should be surprised. Under its current president Evo Morales, Bolivia has a robust history of rejecting US aid, whether governmental or philanthropic.


Over the last decade, the landlocked Andean country has undergone sweeping political changes. Morales, an activist and prominent coca farmer (yes, it's legal to grow coca in Bolivia; no, it's not legal to turn it into cocaine), became Bolivia's first indigenous president in 2006. He won hearts and minds with his socialist party, Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), which campaigned on a pro-environmental, pro-indigenous platform. Since then, he has been reelected twice and along the way enacted sweeping reforms. In 2008, he established a new constitution and renamed the country Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, the plurinational state, in recognition of its cultural diversity. (Bolivia has 37 official languages.)

Two concepts sit at the core of Morales' and MAS' decade-long agenda. The first is Buen Vivir — a vision of the world as interconnected and interdependent, where economic, social, and environmental priorities coexist in a balance. The second is La Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, or "the Law of Mother Earth." The law, which passed in 2010, grants nature equal rights to people, including the right to persist without human intervention.

Part and parcel to this pro-environmental platform is a rejection of Western capitalism and traditional development aid. Morales threw out the US Ambassador and the US Drug Enforcement Agency in 2008, and the US Agency for International Development in 2013 — none have yet to be welcomed back. Although Gates' offer is nongovernmental, with such chilly diplomatic relationships, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it was rebuffed.

Good as Gates' intentions are, it's easy to see why a nation so hostile to foreign aid would bristle at the offer. Hell, his comment, "In fact, if I were in their shoes, that's what I would do — I would raise chickens," rubs me the wrong way, too. It rings insincere (c'mon, do you really believe Bill Gates would be content to simply raise chickens given different, impoverished circumstances?) and a little smug. There's nothing like having the rich neighbor next door tell you he would live just like you — if he had to.


Google translation: Montaño said that Evo is irreplaceable and that a leader of his stature born eve

This information was spotted and forwarded by a DU'er well informed, aware of Latin American events:

Montaño said that Evo is irreplaceable and that a leader of his stature born every 150 years

He said that in Bolivia not allow the right geste "a coup" as is happening in his opinion, in Brazil or Venezuela.

June 18, 2016

[font size=1]
The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Gabriela Montaño.
During the XII Ordinary Congress of the Federation of Peasant Women of the Tropics, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Gabriela Montaño (MAS) he said President Evo Morales is irreplaceable and that a leader of his stature only born every 100 or 150 years. He warned that the right in Bolivia may not give rise to "a coup".

"Some can touch us be president of the Chamber of Deputies, we are substitutable but President Evo Morales can not be replaced because its leadership has been built from the struggle, from the field, from the tropics continent, Evo Morales is a leader who we will not be able to replace or build it in a few years, "he said during the public event.

Assemblywoman said the MAS certainly many young leaders who will flourish, but otherwise is Evo Morales. "Evo Morales is not easily replaceable, born 100 cada150 years in a country, so from our Congress must shout to the President: You'd need many more years, we need your political vision" shouted from El Chapare in a live by Bolivia TV.

In a lengthy speech, the government's deputy lambasted the opposition, which in his opinion weaved a whole strategy of lying about the president's former partner, Gabriela Zapata in the purpose of affecting the image of the President.

"The previous weekend that lady (Zapata) who accused with so many lies finally said something of the truth, what ?, has revealed that Senator Arturo Murillo of Democratic Unity, the former deputy Jaime Navarro and Mrs. Cinthya Perou, exasesora of the bench of National Unity and (Samuel) Doria Medina were behind all lies, "he said.

Montano said a "dirty war" opposition managed to get some more votes on 21 February, the day of the referendum to amend the Constitution, but that does not mean the defeat because the lie "has short legs".

A time to denounce the former Assemblyman and exasesora Perou fled the country to avoid being investigated for "plotting" with the aunt Zapata, lawyers and other political operatives impersonating the son of the President, he warned that the MAS will not allow a "coup of State".

"Sure wanted to hit Bolivia and its President and Brazil, as they do in Venezuela, but here very strong they have to say, in Bolivia will not achieve a coup, because there is an organization, men and women willing to give life, because there is a leadership of President Evo Morales, "he said.

The deputy said that Bolivia Evo owes its transformation as no other president did, and despite being convalescing after surgery continues to work from 5.00 in the morning.


Cuban Singer Ivette Cepeda Plans to Conquer Latin America

Cuban Singer Ivette Cepeda Plans to Conquer Latin America

Santiago de Cuba, Jun 18 (Prensa Latina) Cuban singer Ivette Cepeda said that she intends to expand her presence in Latin America.
According to Cepeda this is an important goal for her, something that she has always kept in mind. Cepeda added that now she is getting to know better her country and its people, and that is why it is more clear for her the importance of performing in Cuba.

Today night Cepeda will perform her first concert at the Heredia Theater, in Santiago de Cuba, the city in which was born the bolero and other musical genres. This concert is very important for her and that is why she is continuously revising the concert program.

At the concert, the singer will perform songs included in her albums Estaciones, Miracle and Pais.

Along with Anais Abreu, Yaima Saenz, Heidy Chapman and the bolero singers of Santiago de Cuba, Cepeda also participates in the 28th edition of the Festival Boleros de Oro, which concludes this Sunday.


(Short article, no more at link.)


Ivette Cepeda [/center]

Medellin gangsters assassinate 3rd foreigner in 2 weeks

Medellin gangsters assassinate 3rd foreigner in 2 weeks

written by Adriaan Alsema June 17, 2016

A Danish citizen became the third foreigner to be shot dead in Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, in the past two weeks.

According to local newspaper El Colombiano, the victim was killed at less than a block from Parque Lleras, the city’s primary hangout for foreign tourists.

The victim, the 41-year-old Tomas Willemoes, was seemingly waiting for someone when a man approached him, talked to the victim and opened fire only minutes after his initial approach.
The Dane was shot in the head and died instantly. The killer fled.

. . .

Part of the violence is due to apparent tensions between factions of local crime syndicate La Oficina de Envigado, which has controlled the city’s underworld since the 1980’s when it was founded by late drug lord Pablo Escobar.


How MSNBC Worked To Promote Fracking

June 17, 2016
How MSNBC Worked To Promote Fracking

by Steve Horn

Cable TV network MSNBC has made headlines in recent days for apparently moving away from its “Lean Forward” progressive brand, catering instead to a more center-to-right-leaning crowd.

“People might start accusing us of leaning too far to the right,” the station says in a new advertisement featuring MSNBC‘s conservative personalities — an array of Republican identities such as Michael Steele, Steve Schmidt and Ben Ginsberg.

But on the issue of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for shale oil and gas, documents from 2011 obtained under Oklahoma’s Open Records Act demonstrate that the network saw itself as a promoter of both the controversial drilling method and natural gas vehicles.

NBCUniversal, at the time, was owned on a 49-percent basis by the natural gas utility and electricity company General Electric (GE) and is now wholly owned by Comcast.


Climate Change Threatens Qoyllur Riti, a Festival That Mixes Catholic and Indigenous Beliefs in Peru

Climate Change Threatens Qoyllur Riti, a Festival That Mixes Catholic and Indigenous Beliefs in Peru

Translation posted 16 June 2016 15:29 GMT

[font size=1]
Qoyllur Riti, Cusco, Peru. Image by Flickr by user Carlos Díaz Huertas (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
Qoyllur Riti or Quyllurit'i is a spiritual and religious festival that has been held annually for hundreds of years on the slopes of the Andean Ausangate mountain, in the Quispicanchi province in the Peruvian department of Cusco. It gathers a great number of believers, organized as delegations, who identify as “nations” and who come from various towns and cities around the region.

However, this festival, so present in the region, is now being threatened by climate change. Snow is important to the festival; according to worshippers, Jesus Christ appeared as a small boy in the area during the 18th century. An image of him painted on a rock is known as the señor de Qoyllur Riti, a phrase in Quechua that means “Lord of the Bright Snow.”

More importantly, the ice in the area is said to have miraculous properties thanks to the appearance of Jesus Christ. Part of the festival includes participants climbing up to glaciers on Colque Punku mountain to collect some of it. But that ice is disappearing as temperatures get warmer.

The damage is so serious that this year marked the last time the Qoyllur Riti festival would gather ice from there, as in less that a year the ice has retreated several meters and now there are only rocks where the magnificent snow used to be.



Qoyllur Rit'i - Shining Snow Festival (2013) [/center]

Environment & Energy:

Only 10 Countries in the Entire World Are Not Currently at War

Only 10 Countries in the Entire World Are Not Currently at War
June 9, 2016 | Claire Bernish

(ANTIMEDIA) United States — A troubling report by the Institute for Economics and Peace found a mere ten nations on the planet are not at war and completely free from conflict. According to the Global Peace Index 2016, only Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Japan, Mauritius, Panama, Qatar, Switzerland, Uruguay and Vietnam are free from conflict. Iceland tops the list of most peaceful countries in the world, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and Slovenia — while the United States ranked far lower, at 103. Palestine, placed in the index of 163 nations for the first time this year, ranked 148th.

War-torn Syria placed at the bottom of the list, lower than only South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Central African Republic, Ukraine, Sudan, and Libya.

“The index gauges global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation,” the report states.

Though 81 countries improved their level of peace according to those criteria, those gains were muddied by deteriorating peace in 79 other nations. In the last decade, “the average country score deteriorated by 2.44 per cent with 77 countries improving while 85 countries deteriorated, highlighting the global complexities of peace and its uneven distribution.”

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