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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Revealed: oil giants help fund powerful police groups in top US cities

Investigation portrays fossil fuel industry as common enemy in struggle for racial and environmental justice in America

Nina Lakhani in New York
Published onMon 27 Jul 2020 11.00 EDT

Big corporations accused of driving environmental and health inequalities in black and brown communities through toxic and climate-changing pollution are also funding powerful police groups in major US cities, according to a new investigation.

Some of America’s largest oil and gas companies, private utilities, and financial institutions that bankroll fossil fuels also back police foundations – opaque private entities that raise money to pay for training, weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for departments across the US.

The investigation by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit corporate and government accountability research institute, and its research database project LittleSis, details how police foundations in cities such as Seattle, Chicago, Washington, New Orleans and Salt Lake City are partially funded by household names such as Chevron, Shell and Wells Fargo.

Police foundations are industry groups that provide substantial funds to local departments, yet, as nonprofits, avoid much public scrutiny.

The investigation details how firms linked to fossil fuels also sponsor events and galas that celebrate the police, while some have senior staff serving as directors of police foundations.


11th Circuit OKs Unmasking Of Plaintiffs Who Accuse Chiquita Of Funding Colombian Terrorists

Plaintiffs fear reprisal if they reveal their identities in the case involving Chiquita International, they have stated.
By Florida Phoenix/States Newsroom, News Partner
Jul 20, 2020 10:25 am ET

From the Florida Phoenix:

By Michael Moline

July 17, 2020

Colombians who accuse Chiquita Brands International Inc. of paying paramilitaries who killed their loved ones are not entitled to withhold their identities while litigating a massive class action in South Florida, a federal appeals court has ruled.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit said the plaintiffs hadn't demonstrated that revealing their names, addresses, and other personal information would put themselves or their loved ones at risk of reprisal.

"Lacking specific evidence, the pseudonymous appellants cite general evidence showing that those who oppose paramilitary groups or paramilitary affiliated entities face risks of paramilitary violence," the court said in an unsigned opinion released Thursday.

"But this evidence does not compel the conclusion that the … plaintiffs face those risks. Indeed, their evidence focuses on human rights defenders who protest paramilitary activity in Colombia, seek land restitution in Colombia, or oppose paramilitary-affiliated entities in Colombia. The evidence does not compel the finding that litigants pursuing tort claims against a paramilitary-affiliated entity in the United States face similar risks of harm."

The litigation involves allegations that Chiquita paid $1.7 million to the AUC, known in English as the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia, during the 1990s and early 2000s — as protection money, the company initially claimed. The litigants claim the paramilitaries used the money to target banana workers, trade unionists, and social reformers.


So the panel is dirty. Why would they think anyone would buy their obnoxious implication that the relatives of victims will not be harmed by these death squads, who chase people down all over the world, even when they use assumed names, and change their cell phone numbers, etc., and try to become invisible? Shameful. Easy to see who will win this pretension of justice.


The Incan empire quickly grew during the 16th century CE to encompass nearly the entire western coast of South America, from the southern area of modern-day Chile and Argentina in the south, up through Bolivia, all the way to the western tip of Colombia, per Ancient. The empire's heart was located in Peru in the capitol of Cuzco, and found ways to thrive in the peaks of the Andes mountains, through ingenuous terraced cities and mountaintop architecture such as that found in Machu Picchu. Prior to the fall of the empire in 1633 CE vis-a-vis the capture of king Atahualpa by the Spanish conquistador Pizarro (and his subsequent execution despite having his ransom paid), the Incan empire followed an hierarchical, prescribed lifestyle. Villages and tribes were scooped up, integrated into the empire, and taxes were paid in the form of foodstuffs, textiles, metals, etc., through a regimented, tiered system of 80 governors. 

Within this highly prescribed governmental structure, women often played the role of local nobles called kurakas. Small municipalities were referred to as ayllu, a collection of individual households, which were ruled by kurakas, through whom tribute flowed. This kind of stacked hierarchy flowed all the way up to the king, for whom particularly talented weavers, such as those of the Chan Chan or Titicaca region, crafted their wares (within uniform, allowable Incan style guidelines). Some of these women lived in temples under vows of chastity, aiding with religious rituals much like Catholic nuns, all within the watchful eyes of a local matron dubbed Mama Cuna. Many of these women became either concubines for royalty, or sacrifices for the gods, as described in Britannica.


For those women in the Incan empire confined by neither gods nor aristocracy, the family sphere defined nearly their entire lives. Puberty was the great demarcation of Incan life, and once a woman reached such an age, she had a feast in her honor and was given a name to her by her eldest uncle, as described in Ancient. It's interesting to note that Incans had no surnames, only first names that operated more or less like nicknames, as the entire civilization regarded itself as one giant family having originated with the creator god Viracocha arriving in Lake Titicaca from the Pacific Ocean  

Predictably, women were expected to marry in their teens, although for non-nobles the choice was largely up to them. They simply consulted with their parents, came to a mutual agreement, and the marriage was more or less done (dependent on a gift of coca leaves). Women would move in with their husbands and immediately begin working at his family's house, while half of the property she gained from the marriage went back to the local ayllu. Birth control wasn't practiced in Incan society, neither was infanticide, and neither sex was discriminated against at birth. 

Read More: https://www.grunge.com/228082/what-life-was-like-for-women-in-the-inca-empire/?utm_campaign=clip

How Cuba Survived


Helen Yaffe

For decades, commentators predicted that Cuba's socialist model couldn't survive without the USSR or Fidel Castro. They were wrong – and even in the face of continued sanctions, its unique system endures.

For sixty years, the Cuban Revolution has defied expectations and flouted the rules. Cuba is a country of contradictions; a poor country with world-leading human development indicators and has mobilised the world’s largest international humanitarian assistance; a weak and dependent economy which has survived economic crisis and the extraterritorial United States blockade; anachronistic but innovative; formally ostracised, but with millions of ardent defenders around the world. Despite meeting most of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2015, Cuba’s development strategy is not upheld as an example. These contradictions require explanation. ‘Cuba is a mystery’, Isabel Allende, director of the Higher Institute for International Relations, told me in Havana, ‘it is true, but you have to try to understand that mystery.’

Historians like anniversaries; they help to mark the passage of time and to provide perspective to its passing. 2019 marked sixty years since the Rebel Army seized power from the Cuban dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. But at the half-way point was another useful marker: it was thirty years since Fidel Castro publicly declared that were the Soviet Union to disintegrate, the Cuban Revolution would endure. He said that on 26 July 1989, eighteen months before the USSR collapsed and four months prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. For three decades, the survival of Cuban socialism was attributed to Soviet aid. Today, the Revolution has existed in the post-Soviet world for longer than it did under the Soviet sphere of influence. How on earth did Cuban socialism survive?

The Revolution is now older than the new head of state, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who is entirely a product of Cuban socialism. He is the son of a mechanic and a schoolteacher, born in April 1960 in Placetas, a small city in central Cuba founded by Spanish colonists in 1861. In April 2018, with a not-quite unanimous vote from the National Assembly of People’s Power, Díaz-Canel took over from Raul Castro. His ascendency is one of history’s conundrums solved: the end of the Castro reign did not signal the end of the Cuban Revolution.

For years, students of Cuba were conditioned to believe that the Revolution’s trajectory could only be understood by reference to Fidel Castro’s biology or psychology. Then Fidel ailed, he resigned, he died, but the Revolution lived on. Raul Castro took over. He was referred to as the ‘brother’, as if that explained his governance; the ‘reformer’, as if a peaceful transition to capitalism was assured. Raul came, he reformed, he resigned, and the socialist system prevailed.


94 US Congress Members Call Out Colombia's Duque Administration For Failures To Protect Human Rights

94 US Congress Members Call Out Colombia’s Duque Administration For Failures To Protect Human Rights Defenders & 2016 Peace Accord Implementation
by Loren Moss July 7, 2020

Yesterday, almost 100 members of the US Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to put additional pressure on Colombian President Ivan Duque to implement the 2016 Peace Accords signed by previous President Juan Manuel Santos, and also to reverse the deteriorating security situation experienced by social, indigenous & Afrocolombian leaders in the country.

Over 400 human rights defenders have been killed since 2016. In most cases by rural mafias and drug traffickers. Under the Duque administration, coca harvests have reached all-time records. Local farmers who resist growing the crop; the raw ingredient for cocaine production, face intimidation and assassination by rural mafia enforcers, and there is almost a consensus that the government has failed to provide adequate protection.

The letter sent to Secretary Pompeo reads as follows. A PDF version can be downloaded here.

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

As the coronavirus pandemic exposes and magnifies existing problems in each of the countries it ravages, we are particularly concerned that it is affecting the safety of Colombia’s brave human rights defenders and social leaders who are putting their lives on the line to build lasting peace.

We write to ask you to actively urge the Duque Administration to consider recommitting to implementing the historic 2016 peace accords and protecting Colombia’s endangered human rights defenders whose vulnerability has only increased during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Colombia is now the most dangerous country in the world for human rights defenders. Over 400 human rights defenders have been murdered since the signing of the peace accords – a loss of committed and valiant civic leaders that Colombia cannot afford. The Colombian government’s slowness in implementing the peace accords, its failure to bring the civilian state into the conflict zones, and its ongoing inability to prevent and prosecute attacks against defenders have allowed this tragedy to go unchecked. This appears to have intensified as illegal armed groups take advantage of the pandemic while the government fails to respond, further increasing the vulnerability of targeted rights defenders and local leaders.

For example, on March 19, three armed men entered a meeting where farmers were discussing voluntary coca eradication agreements and killed community leader Marco Rivadeneira. He promoted peace and coca substitution efforts in his community, represented his region in the guarantees working group to protect human rights defenders, and was a member of the national human rights network Coordinación Colombia Europa Estados Unidos. Afro-Colombian, indigenous, and poor farming communities like the San José de Apartadó peace community continue to suffer and are even more vulnerable from the unchecked presence of illegal armed actors in their territories.

Marco Rivadeneira was one of 23 social leaders killed between March 15 and April 24, during the first weeks of Colombia’s pandemic lockdown. According to the Colombian NGO, Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Paz – INDEPAZ, in the first six months of 2020, 153 social leaders and defenders were killed in Colombia.


See list of Congress members who signed the article, great Democrats, as always:


America's image around the world is being tarnished by the violent federal response in Portland

Mark Hannah, Opinion Contributor 1 hour ago

Last month, the European Union urged a foreign government to handle civil unrest with "full respect for the rule of law and human rights." The country the EU admonished was not some war-torn dictatorship. It was the United States.

While this declaration may have seemed like excessive concern a few weeks ago, it now seems prescient after federal agents using paramilitary gear and tactics stormed Portland, rounding up protesters in defiance of its local and state government.

There's a special irony in the fact that this police response came in reaction to a movement that grew out of protests over the abuse of police authority.

America's international leadership was already precarious, and this brutal and tone-deaf response to legitimate public frustration further imperils it. Countries already resentful of America's world-policing now watch in dismay as jackbooted federal officers, armed like warfighters and with dubious legal authority, descend upon its own people.


Elon Musk Confesses to Lithium Coup in Bolivia

Published 25 July 2020

The CEO of the U.S.-based Telsa car manufacturer has admitted to involvement in what President Morales has referred to as a “Lithium Coup.”

“We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” was Elon Musk’s response to an accusation on twitter that the U.S. government organized a coup against President Evo Morales, so that Musk could obtain Bolivia’s lithium.

Foreign plunder of Bolivia’s lithium, in a country with the world’s largest known reserves, is widely believed to be among the main motives behind the November 10, 2019 coup.

Lithium, a critical component of the batteries used in Tesla vehicles, is set to become one of the world’s most important natural resources as manufacturers seek to obtain it for use in batteries for electric cars, computers, and industrial equipment.



Arrests and clashes follow anti-Netanyahu protests in Israel

Source: Associated Press

Tia Goldenberg, Associated Press
Updated 3:20 am CDT, Sunday, July 26, 2020

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Police said Sunday they arrested more than a dozen Israelis in country-wide protests the previous night that drew thousands of people in a growing and persistent show of force against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Thousands of people demonstrated outside Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem and hundreds gathered in a seaside park in Tel Aviv, demanding Netanyahu's resignation and slamming his response to the crisis.

For the first time since the wave of protests began weeks ago, hundreds also assembled outside Netanyahu's private home in the upscale coastal town of Caesarea, where heavy security greeted them. Demonstrators across bridges and intersections waved black flags, the symbol of one of the movements behind the protests that is demanding Netanyahu's ouster.

The protests are emerging as among the biggest challenges to Netanyahu's lengthy rule since demonstrations over the cost of living in 2011 drew hundreds of thousands to the streets. They come following what critics say is Netanyahu's fumbling of the coronavirus response and in the shadow of Netanyahu's corruption trial, which resumed earlier this month

Read more: https://www.chron.com/news/article/Arrests-and-clashes-follow-anti-Netanyahu-15434819.php

Police declare riot at Seattle protests, make arrests

Source: Associated Press

Updated 1:08 am CDT, Sunday, July 26, 2020

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police declared a riot Saturday following large demonstrations in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood and deployed flash bangs and pepper spray to try to clear an area near where weeks earlier people had set up an “occupied protest zone” that stretched for several blocks.

Authorities said rocks, bottles, fireworks and mortars were thrown at officers as they attempted to clear the area over the course of several hours stretching into Saturday night.

Via Twitter, police said they arrested at least 45 people for assaults on officers, obstruction and failure to disperse. Twenty-one officers were left with mostly minor injuries.

Earlier, protesters in Seattle broke through a fence where a youth detention facility was being built, with some people setting a fire and damaging a portable trailer, authorities said.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/news/article/Police-declare-riot-at-Seattle-protests-make-15434752.php

Car drives through crowd, protester shot in Colorado

Source: Associated Press

Updated 3:28 am CDT, Sunday, July 26, 2020

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — A car drove through a crowd and a protester was shot in the suburban Denver suburb of Aurora during demonstrations against racial injustice.

The Aurora Police Department said on Twitter that protesters were walking on Interstate 225 Saturday when a vehicle drove through.

Police said a protester fired a weapon, striking at least one person who was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

Authorities said the vehicle was towed and they are investigating. Protesters also broke windows to the courthouse and a fire was started in an office, police said. An unlawful assembly was declared and police ordered protesters to leave the area, authorities said.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/news/article/Car-drives-through-crowd-protester-shot-in-15434647.php
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