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Judi Lynn

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Caribbean Nations Seek Reparations for Slavery and Native Genocide

Caribbean Nations Seek Reparations for Slavery and Native Genocide


December 30, 2016
by Philip Perry


“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” James Joyce, Ulysses



We are familiar with slavery and the genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, two of the greatest horrors of world history. What we often don’t consider is what residue of that time is with us today. Recent studies show that trauma inside the brain can be passed down from one person to the next. This was observed in the offspring of those who suffered through the holocaust. But for how many generations is such trauma carried forth? And what effect does it have on the individual, their community, country, or corner of the world?

After the horrors of colonization, most nations were left to fend for themselves and plodded ahead as best they could, enduring widespread trauma and with little resources to modernize. Now, 22 Island nations that make up The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), are calling for reparations for slavery and the genocide the indigenous peoples.

The trade and political organization has assembled the Caribbean Reparation Commission. They in turn framed the Reparatory Justice Program—a 10-point plan which is being aimed at their former colonizers. The plan includes: an apology, reparations to help the descendants of slaves, aid for the remaining indigenous peoples, psychological rehabilitation, a plan to eradicate widespread illiteracy, technology transfer, robust health programs to help combat the “public health crisis” in the region, aid for building cultural institutions to frame what has happened, and a cancellation of debts.

Prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer has said that the Caribbean’s inability to acquire wealth and develop their societies is directly associated with these historical legacies. CARICOM has enlisted the help of UK-based lawyer Martyn Day. Day is famous for winning compensation for Kenyans tortured under British rule during the Mau-Mau uprising of the 1950’s. Although these European states admit to their slave-owning past, representatives say they do so in a general way. None have officially apologized, for fear of being dragged into court.

More:
http://bigthink.com/philip-perry/caribbean-nations-seek-reparations-for-native-genocide-and-slavery

Remember the Massacre at Wounded Knee

12.29

Remember the Massacre at Wounded Knee

Peter Cole

On this day in 1890, the US Army murdered as many as 300 Native American men, women, and children.



As dawn appeared on December 29, 1890, about 350 Lakota Indians awoke, having been forced by the US Army to camp the night before alongside the Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. The US Cavalry’s 7th Regiment had “escorted” them there the day prior and, now, surrounded the Indians with the intent to arrest Chief Big Foot (also called Spotted Elk) and disarm the warriors.

When a disagreement erupted, army soldiers opened fire, including with Hotchkiss machine guns. Within minutes, hundreds of children, men, and women were shot down. Perhaps as many as three hundred killed and scores wounded that morning.

Few Americans now know that the deadliest shootings in US history were massacres of native peoples. Today is the anniversary of the largest such massacre.

The event’s common name, “The Battle of Wounded Knee,” obscures the true horrors of that day. For this was no “battle” — it was a massacre.

More:
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/12/wounded-knee-massacre-lakota-us-army/

Convicted Killer Seeks New Trial, Saying Ex-Detective Pressured Witness

Source: New York Times

By ALAN FEUER DEC. 29, 2016




Louis Scarcella, a former police detective, has been accused of multiple instances of misconduct. The sole eyewitness against Shawn Williams in a 1993 killing says Mr. Scarcella coerced her to say she saw Mr. Williams with a gun at the murder scene. Credit Anthony Lanzilote for The New York Times



Lawyers for a Brooklyn man imprisoned for more than 20 years in a fatal shooting asked a judge on Thursday to grant him a new trial, saying that the sole eyewitness against him now says she was pressured to identify him by a former detective who has been accused of falsifying evidence in several other cases.

The imprisoned man, Shawn Williams, was convicted of murder in August 1994 in the shooting of a neighbor in the lobby of a building in the Crown Heights neighborhood.

While there was no forensic evidence or motive introduced at Mr. Williams’s trial, the jury heard from Margaret Smith, a college administrator who lived across the street. Ms. Smith testified that she had seen Mr. Williams at the scene with a gun at his waist the night of the killing, even though it was dark out and she was standing 100 feet away, looking down from her sixth-story window.

But in an affidavit filed along with Mr. Williams’s request for a new trial, Ms. Smith recanted that account. She said she had not seen Mr. Williams that night, but had been coerced into naming him as the killer by the former detective, Louis Scarcella.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/nyregion/shawn-williams-convicted-killer-seeks-new-trial.html?_r=0

Descendants Of Native American Slaves In New Mexico Emerge From Obscurity

Descendants Of Native American Slaves In New Mexico Emerge From Obscurity
December 29, 2016·4:13 PM ET




Santo Tomas Catholic church in Abiquiu, N.M., is the site of an annual saint's day celebration in late November that includes cultural elements of the genizaros, the descendants of Native American slaves.

John Burnett/NPR


Every year in late November, the New Mexican village of Abiquiu, about an hour northwest of Santa Fe, celebrates the town saint, Santo Tomas. Townfolk file into the beautiful old adobe Catholic church to pay homage its namesake.

But this is no ordinary saint's day. Dancers at the front of the church are dressed in feathers, face paint and ankle bells that honor their forbears — captive Indian slaves called genizaros.

The dances and chants are Native American, but they don't take place on a Pueblo Indian reservation. Instead, they're performed in a genizaro community, one of several scattered across the starkly beautiful high desert of northern New Mexico.

After centuries in the shadows, this group of mixed-race New Mexicans — Hispanic and American Indian — is stepping forward to seek recognition.


http://www.npr.org/2016/12/29/505271148/descendants-of-native-american-slaves-in-new-mexico-emerge-from-obscurity

Ancient Chaco Canyon population likely relied on imported food

Ancient Chaco Canyon population likely relied on imported food

December 29, 2016




Ancient Chaco Canyon population likely relied on imported food, finds CU study

Ancient inhabitants of Chaco Canyon likely had to import corn to feed the masses a thousand years ago says a new CU-Boulder study. Credit: NPS



The ancient inhabitants of New Mexico's Chaco Canyon, the zenith of Pueblo culture in the Southwest a thousand years ago, likely had to import corn to feed the multitudes residing there, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

CU Boulder scientist Larry Benson said the new study shows that Chaco Canyon - believed by some archeologists to have been populated by several thousand people around A.D. 1100 and to have held political sway over an area twice the size of Ohio - had soils that were too salty for the effective growth of corn and beans.

"The important thing about this study is that it demonstrates you can't grow great quantities of corn in the Chaco valley floor," said Benson, an adjunct curator of anthropology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. "And you couldn't grow sufficient corn in the side canyon tributaries of Chaco that would have been necessary to feed several thousand people.

"Either there were very few people living in Chaco Canyon, or corn was imported there."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-12-ancient-chaco-canyon-population-imported.html#jCp

Colombian rebels fear for safety after they rejoin society

Colombian rebels fear for safety after they rejoin society

Alba Tobella, Associated Press
Updated 2:03 pm, Thursday, December 29, 2016




Photo: Ivan Valencia, AP

In this Dec. 10, 2016 photo, Wilson Lopez, a former rebel of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, poses for a photo at a distance learning institution after receiving his elementary school diploma, in Bogota, Colombia. The ex-guerrilla says he’s been hit with death threats since getting out of jail and trying to start life as a civilian, a snapshot of what awaits thousands of FARC rebels in rejoining society under Colombia’s peace pact.


MEDELLIN, Colombia (AP) — When Wilson Lopez lived in the jungle, he thought civilian life in the city meant meeting people, walking the streets, having a job. But the former Colombian guerrilla wasn't able to do any of these things.

Lopez went from a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia jungle camp to prison and then to the streets of Medellin after receiving a pardon in January. Since then, he hasn't been able to find a steady job or home, and couldn't go for stroll with his family in Medellin after he received death threats from a criminal group that said it didn't want rebels in its territory.

. . .

The guerrillas recall how during 1980s peace talks that ultimately failed, the FARC established a party known as the Patriotic Union as its political arm. In just a few years, more than 3,000 leftist activists, rebel sympathizers and two presidential candidates were gunned down by paramilitaries, often working with state security forces.

"There is a need for more action by the government and the creation of mechanisms to protect" rebels who lay down their arms as part of the peace deal, said Todd Howland, the representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia. "There is much to do in the field."

More:
http://www.chron.com/news/world/article/Colombian-rebels-fear-for-safety-after-they-10824785.php

Editorials and other articles:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1016173611

Doubling Down on Disaster: the Degradation of Brazil

December 27, 2016
Doubling Down on Disaster: the Degradation of Brazil

by Mark Weisbrot


When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached in May and removed from office in August, many called it a coup.

The president was not charged with anything that could legitimately be called a crime, and the leaders of the impeachment appeared, in taped conversations, to be getting rid of her in order to cut off a corruption investigation in which they and their political allies were implicated.

Others warned that once starting down this road, further degradation of state institutions and the rule of law would follow. And that’s just what has happened, along with some of the political repression that generally accompanies this type of regime change.

On Nov. 4, police raided a school run by the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), in Guararema, São Paulo. They fired live (not rubber bullet) ammunition and made a number of arrests, bringing international condemnation. There had previously been eight arrests of MST organizers in the state of Paraná. The MST is a powerful social movement that has won land rights for hundreds of thousands of rural Brazilians over the past three decades, and has also been a prominent opponent of the August coup.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/27/doubling-down-on-disaster-the-degradation-of-brazil/

Steve Bell on Donald Trump 'Making Christmas Great Again' cartoon

Steve Bell

Thursday 22 December 2016 15.25 EST


'Toon at link:


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2016/dec/22/steve-bell-on-donald-trump-making-christmas-great-again-cartoon

The Drugs That Built a Super Soldier

The Drugs That Built a Super Soldier

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military plied its servicemen with speed, steroids, and painkillers to help them handle extended combat.

Soldiers in Vietnam in 1966 U.S. Army / Wikimedia

Lukasz Kamienski
| Apr 8, 2016


Some historians call Vietnam the “last modern war,” others the “first postmodern war.” Either way, it was irregular: Vietnam was not a conventional war with the frontlines, rears, enemy mobilizing its forces for an attack, or a territory to be conquered and occupied. Instead, it was a formless conflict in which former strategic and tactical principles did not apply. The Vietcong were fighting in an unexpected, surprising, and deceptive way to negate Americans’ strengths and exploit their weaknesses, making the Vietnam War perhaps the best example of asymmetrical warfare of the 20th century.

The conflict was distinct in another way, too—over time, it came to be known as the first “pharmacological war,” so called because the level of consumption of psychoactive substances by military personnel was unprecedented in American history. The British philosopher Nick Land aptly described the Vietnam War as “a decisive point of intersection between pharmacology and the technology of violence.”

Since World War II, little research had determined whether amphetamine had a positive impact on soldiers’ performance, yet the American military readily supplied its troops in Vietnam with speed. “Pep pills” were usually distributed to men leaving for long-range reconnaissance missions and ambushes. The standard army instruction (20 milligrams of dextroamphetamine for 48 hours of combat readiness) was rarely followed; doses of amphetamine were issued, as one veteran put it, “like candies,” with no attention given to recommended dose or frequency of administration. In 1971, a report by the House Select Committee on Crime revealed that from 1966 to 1969, the armed forces had used 225 million tablets of stimulants, mostly Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), an amphetamine derivative that is nearly twice as strong as the Benzedrine used in the Second World War. The annual consumption of Dexedrine per person was 21.1 pills in the navy, 17.5 in the air force, and 13.8 in the army.

“We had the best amphetamines available and they were supplied by the U.S. government,” said Elton Manzione, a member of a long-range reconnaissance platoon (or Lurp). He recalled a description he’d heard from a navy commando, who said that the drugs “gave you a sense of bravado as well as keeping you awake. Every sight and sound was heightened. You were wired into it all and at times you felt really invulnerable.” Soldiers in units infiltrating Laos for a four-day mission received a medical kit that contained, among other items, 12 tablets of Darvon (a mild painkiller), 24 tablets of codeine (an opioid analgesic), and six pills of Dexedrine. Before leaving for a long and demanding expedition, members of special units were also administered steroid injections.

More:
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/04/the-drugs-that-built-a-super-soldier/477183/

Cheetahs heading towards extinction as population crashes

Cheetahs heading towards extinction as population crashes

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent


27 minutes





The sleek, speedy cheetah is rapidly heading towards extinction according to a new study into declining numbers.

The report estimates that there are just 7,100 of the world's fastest mammals now left in the wild.

Cheetahs are in trouble because they range far beyond protected areas and are coming increasingly into conflict with humans.

The authors are calling for an urgent re-categorisation of the species from vulnerable to endangered.

More:
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38415906
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