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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
March 31, 2016

Looters, Tourism, and Racism: Controversy Surrounds 'Discovery' of Lost City in Honduras

Looters, Tourism, and Racism: Controversy Surrounds 'Discovery' of Lost City in Honduras

By Gabriela Gorbea
March 31, 2016 | 9:21 am

Dario Euraque sounded fed up as he explained how the academic community is no stranger to the archaeological gems hidden in La Mosquitia, a rainforest region in the easternmost part of Honduras.

"A lot of the archaeological sites there have already been identified in the past, but they were kept a secret out of preservation efforts, and because the people who found them were not interested in attracting tourism," said Euraque, a historian and former head of the Honduran Institute for Anthropology and History.

Euraque's criticism is directed at an ongoing US-led archaeological expedition that claims to have found an ancient city hidden in the Honduran jungle. The report on their findings was published in National Geographic last year, and the team returned to Honduras to continue their expedition in January 2016.

The possibility that the archaeologists may be taking credit for a discovery that is not theirs is just one of the controversies swirling around the team. It also faces accusations of overplaying the significance of the discovery, offending local indigenous groups by using racist dialogue, and leaving the area vulnerable to looting.

. . .

Local indigenous groups are also angered by the way the US-led team and the Honduran government have handled the situation.

On January 13, the union of indigenous people of La Mosquitia wrote an open letter to President Juan Orlando Hernández stating their objections to his actions. Both the president and the team that published the report in National Geographic failed to ask the people of La Mosquitia to approve the exploration and the extraction of archaeological artifacts, the letter read. The locals asked to keep the findings within their lands, arguing that they have always known about the existence and location of the White City.

The letter also asked the media to stop referring to the area as the "City of the Monkey God," saying that they considered it "racist" and "insulting."

A group of more than 24 archaeologists and anthropologists also wrote an open letter challenging the alleged discovery. The expedition is yet another representation of "colonialist speech," and an offense against the indigenous people's knowledge, the experts said.


March 31, 2016

Urabeños ‘provide logistical support for Uribe’s anti-government protest’

Urabeños ‘provide logistical support for Uribe’s anti-government protest’
Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Mar 31, 2016

Colombia’s largest paramilitary successor group, Los Urabeños, are ordering people in the northwest of the country to take part in an anti-government march being organized for Sunday by former President Alvaro Uribe.

The accusation was made by El Tiempo, a newspaper with close ties to the family of President Juan Manuel Santos, Uribe’s political adversary.

According to El Tiempo, the feared neo-paramilitaries told locals in Arboletes, Antioquia and Valencia, Cordoba they are expected to take part in the protests organized by the conservative opposition already plagued by numerous accusations of ties to paramilitary death squads.

Additionally, said the newspaper, the Urabeños have been pressuring local journalists to promote Sunday’s march, during which Uribe and his Democratic Center party seek to express their opposition to peace talks with leftist rebel groups FARC and ELN, and the government’s economic policy.


March 31, 2016

A Black Environmental Group Joins Native Alaskans in Calling for Protections of the Arctic Refuge

A Black Environmental Group Joins Native Alaskans in Calling for Protections of the Arctic Refuge

Your Take: Outdoor Afro has joined forces with Alaska’s Gwich’in people to call for protection of this oil-rich wilderness as a human rights issue.

By: Rue Mapp and Princess Daazhraii Johnson
Posted: March 31 2016 3:00 AM

[font size=1]
This undated photo shows the highly disputed Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, which sits atop plentiful oil reserves the
state of Alaska is anxious to drill. In January the Obama administration declared 12.8 million acres of the refuge to be protected
wilderness land, which prevents any drilling.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Getty Images

What does a woman who grew up in Oakland, Calif.—the heart of an urban center—have in common with a woman with roots in the remote outskirts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska? More than you think.

We are two determined women of color—united by our belief that human rights and social justice are inextricably linked to saving our shared planet.

When we met on an expedition to the Arctic to explore the impacts of climate change, we talked about what drives us and about our dedication to justice and sustainability. We shared stories about the dangers that climate change poses to communities of color like ours—communities that are at the crosshairs of the worst that climate change threatens to bring, including health issues and food insecurity. We shared our concern for local communities in places like New Orleans that experience flooding, and in northern Alaska, where the ice under Alaska Native communities is melting so quickly that entire villages are being forced to relocate. And we mourned the lives already lost to the destructive nature of climate change.

Then we made a commitment to work together to protect one place in particular: the Arctic Refuge.

Located in the northeast corner of Alaska, the Arctic Refuge is unique, majestic, irreplaceable and one of the last remaining intact ecosystems in the Arctic. It is a national treasure, like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, and it is the lifeblood of Alaska Native communities and animals. Protecting the refuge is about protecting what we hold in common—our connection to the land and animals and to each other.


March 31, 2016

Cuba Evokes the History of US Imperialism in Latin America

Cuba Evokes the History of US Imperialism in Latin America
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 00:00
By Cody Cain, Speakout | News Analysis

As President Barack Obama makes history as the first sitting US president to visit Cuba since 1928, we find ourselves reflecting upon our historic relationship with Latin America.

We were all taught in school that the United States is a "great" and "kind" nation that promotes "freedom" and "democracy" around the world. And many still drink the Kool-Aid of how the US can do no wrong.

History, however, paints a rather different picture.

Suffering Under Empire

Latin America has suffered grievously as a result of the unfortunate circumstance of being located inthe same neighborhood as the mighty empire of the United States. This is really no different from subjugated territories of other empires in history, such as the Roman Empire or the Ottoman Empire. It is no fun living in the shadow of imperial domination because the empire exploits you. And if you step out of line, you are crushed like a bug.

The island of Cuba has had a particularly rough time when it comes to being exploited.


March 31, 2016

The U.S. has terrorized Cuba for over 50 years — Fidel Castro is right to be wary of Obama’s claims

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2016 11:15 AM CDT

The U.S. has terrorized Cuba for over 50 years — Fidel Castro is right to be wary of Obama’s claims

Since the 1959 revolution the U.S. has invaded Cuba, tried assassinations, imposed an embargo & harbored terrorists

Ben Norton

“We don’t need the empire to give us anything,” asserted revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in a recent article criticizing President Obama in the wake of his trip to Cuba.

Obama made history this month as the first standing U.S. president to visit the neighboring island nation in 88 years.The president was applauded for a speech in which he described Cuba as “family,” and called for easing tensions between the countries.

“It is time, now, for us to leave the past behind,” Obama insisted. The former Cuban president scoffed at the idea.

. . .

For the crimes — and there is no question that they are crimes — the U.S. has repeatedly and continuously committed against its sovereign neighbor over the past five decades include:

•a violent invasion that left hundreds dead

•more than 600 assassination attempts

•myriad covert campaigns dedicated to fomenting “hunger, desperation and overthrow of government”

•the unilateral imposition of a suffocating embargo

•and the harboring of CIA-trained admitted terrorists who murdered Cuban civilians in hopes of toppling the socialist state.


March 31, 2016

AP news agency rejects Nazi collaboration claim

Source: Agence France-Presse

AP news agency rejects Nazi collaboration claim

4 hours ago

Washington (AFP) - The Associated Press on Wednesday defended its operations in Germany in the run-up to World War II after a researcher uncovered what was claimed to be evidence of collaboration with the Nazi regime.

The US news organization responded to a paper in the German-language journal Studies in Contemporary History claiming it supplied American newspapers with material selected by the Nazi propaganda ministry, and in turn allowed it to use AP images for anti-Semitic propaganda.

"AP rejects the suggestion that it collaborated with the Nazi regime at any time," said a statement from agency spokesman Paul Colford.

"Rather, the AP was subjected to pressure from the Nazi regime from the period of Hitler's coming to power in 1933 until the AP's expulsion from Germany in 1941. AP staff resisted the pressure while doing its best to gather accurate, vital and objective news for the world in a dark and dangerous time."

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/ap-news-agency-rejects-nazi-collaboration-claim-230544723.html

March 29, 2016

 The US Wants to Deport This Palestinian—but First It’d Have to Recognize Palestine

 The US Wants to Deport This Palestinian—but First It’d Have to Recognize Palestine

Officially “stateless” in the eyes of the US government, Hisham Shaban Ghalia has ground the mechanisms of deportation to a halt.

By John Washington

 Beginning in besieged Gaza, through Turkey, Greece, Venezuela, Central America, and Mexico, Hisham Shaban Ghalia traveled 10,000 miles—flying, riding buses, walking, and even swimming—to get to the United States. But despite coming to this country to seek asylum from violence and hardship in the Gaza Strip, Shaban has been languishing for the past 16 months in an immigration detention center in Florence, Arizona. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Shaban can’t stay in the country. But because of the peculiar legal and diplomatic tangle that Shaban finds himself in, he can’t be sent back home, either. That’s because, according to US law, Shaban has no home to be deported to.

Shaban’s asylum claim was denied last August, but ICE has neither deported him nor released him from custody. Shaban’s lawyer, Liban Yousuf, of the nonprofit Council on American-Islamic Relations, who began representing him pro bono only this January, filed a habeas corpus petition on February 20 (over six months after his asylum claim was denied) asking for Shaban to be granted supervised release, which, though it would provide no legal status, could allow him to work. While the petition is still being reviewed, ICE issued a “Decision to Continue Detention” on February 25, explaining that “ICE is currently working with the Government of Palestine” in order to remove him from US custody. But the fact that the United States does not recognize Palestine as a state has rendered this process difficult. In his case file, ICE documents refer to his home country only within parentheses, his citizenship listed as: “Stateless (Palestine).” Shaban told me, “I have a serious fear that I’ll spend my life here [in detention].” As of publication, he has spent 499 days behind bars.

Beyond Citizenship

“Everyone,” according to Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “has the right to a nationality.” Palestine, in the early decades of the last century, was seen as a home for stateless Jews. Now, it is the Palestinians who are rendered stateless, who are searching for a recognition of their nationality, their home. Neve Gordon, author of Israel’s Occupation, explained the peculiar predicament of statelessness: “When a person is stripped of any connection to a state and all that remains is his or her being a human being, that is the moment when they need the most human rights, and they have no rights.”

Worldwide, there are an estimated 15 million stateless persons—what Vicent Chetail, professor of international law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, called “a growing problem.” The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) however, not counting Palestinians in the figure, puts the worldwide number of stateless at 10 million. Chetail explained that due to “very restrictive legislation” for Palestinians requesting Refugee Status, “there are no other possibilities than to leave their country and enter into another one in an illegal manner.” (Asking for asylum, as Shaban did at the US border, however, is not illegal, according to both US and international law).


March 27, 2016

‘This Is a Coup’: Brazil’s Workers Party Faces Its Greatest Test

‘This Is a Coup’: Brazil’s Workers Party Faces Its Greatest Test

Posted on Mar 24, 2016
By Sonali Kolhatkar

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva holds a shirt with text that reads in Portuguese,
“Let’s unite Brazil, there won’t be a coup,” during a meeting with union leaders Wednesday.
[font size=1] (Andre Penner / AP) [/font]

Brazil, the world’s fifth-largest country in terms of population and Latin America’s most expansive state, is in political turmoil. The left-leaning Workers Party, PT (as it is known by its Portuguese acronym), is facing an existential crisis after 14 years in power. Accusations of corruption from opposition parties and the glare of a right-wing media empire could hand the reins of government to conservative forces. Mass street protests drawing tens of thousands of mostly white, upper-middle-class families with slick props and coordinated, simplistic messaging offer a convincing backdrop of popular political will for change. It is a familiar script in Latin America—one that has played out in Venezuela, Ecuador, Honduras and elsewhere. Will Brazil succumb to this new model of right-wing coups?

The PT swept into power on the wings of the once-beloved President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula—as he is still affectionately known—was succeeded by his onetime chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff. Both Lula and President Rousseff now face serious accusations stemming from their former affiliation with the Brazilian energy company Petrobras. Rousseff faces impeachment proceedings that have been brought against her by opposition officials with support from the judiciary.

Rousseff has remained defiant, saying, “I have committed no irregularity. I will never resign.” And thus far there has been no proof of wrongdoing on her part. Still, the calls for her resignation are relentless. There have also been no charges against Lula, despite a swirl of rumors and three hours of questioning during his recent detention by police that some characterized as a kidnapping. Lula has stated he will run for president again in 2018, which may be part of what the right fears.

Meleiza Figueroa, an American doctoral student at the University of California at Berkeley and an occasional Truthdig contributor, is currently living in Brazil and conducting research in the Amazon. In a Skype interview from the municipality of Santarém in the state of Pará, she described what is unfolding in Brazil as “a naked power grab on the part of the right-wing elites.”


March 27, 2016

Cuba Reflections: On Life and Death

March 25, 2016
Cuba Reflections: On Life and Death

by Paul Street

A Nice Surprise

It’s not very often that you hear or see a salaried U.S. corporate media employee defend Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s Cuban Revolution and its accomplishments. That’s why I did a double take when I read a recent opinion piece titled “Cuba’s Success Lost in Media Frenzy” in the Gannett-owned Iowa City Press-Citizen. The commentary was not written by some radical academic or graduate student at the local university (I’m not sure such a professor can be found at the University of Iowa anymore) or by an independent radical like me (I have a long record of publishing pieces in the Press-Citizen’s laudably open-minded Opinion page). No, it was penned in defense of President Barack Obama’s recent historic visit to Cuba by a clever young man named Ian Goodrum, who happens to be the paper’s “community content and engagement editor.”

Goodrum did a decent job. He rightly mocked “most media in the U.S. media” for using President Barack Obama’s recent historic visit to Cuba as “an opportunity to denounce the tiny island nation for daring to have an economic and political system different from our own.” He criticized that media for taking seriously the “increasingly absurd pronouncements from [Cuban] expatriates.” Goodrum justly criticized White House Press Secretary Earnest for absurdly claiming that the U.S. had been “ignoring” Cuba for “more than 50 years.” As Goodrum noted, Earnest’s comment is preposterous given dedicated U.S. efforts to punish and overthrow the Castro government, including a “crushing trade embargo and crippling sanctions” and the “the encirclement of isolation of Cuba by the United States” (Goodrum) for more than a half century.

Goodrum detailed some of Cuba’s remarkable “accomplishments since the [1959 Cuban] revolution,” all achieved despite the hostility of Uncle Sam. The triumphs Goodrum mentions are considerable:

“Keeping the aforementioned antagonisms in mind — and understanding that survival under the baleful eye of the world’s richest nation is a miracle in itself — (socialist Cuba’s) successes are nothing to sneeze at. Infant mortality has dropped while life expectancy and literacy rates have skyrocketed. Economic growth has stayed consistent with the exception of a few years during the “Special Period,” when the loss of 80 percent of Cuba’s trade led to a downturn. Yet the social safety net and housing, education and food guarantees from the government were able to continue even in this time of extreme privation. Media outlets like to talk about how the average monthly salary amounts to $20 or $30, but this is a dodge. Comparing Cuban economic indicators to those of the United States is a matter of apples — heh — and oranges. When weighed against countries like the Dominican Republic or Haiti, Cuba stands head and shoulders above its direct competitors.”

“What could be considered the crown jewel of Cuba’s economy, the health care sector, is perhaps the best example of what a system like Cuba’s can do. Transmission of HIV from mother to child was eliminated in Cuba and a vaccine for lung cancer has been developed there. Exporting medical professionals around the world to deal with threats like the Ebola outbreak show the country’s commitment to help those in need, and a disproportionate capability to do so. But this is what can happen when you prioritize public welfare over profits” (emphasis added).

March 27, 2016

State Dept. project looks suspiciously like an infiltration plan

State Dept. project looks suspiciously like an infiltration plan

Emilio Paz • March 26, 2016

Are the State Department and the White House on the same wavelength? Do they coexist in the same government? The same city? The same constellation?

The question comes up because, less than a week after President Barack Obama personally assured his Cuban counterpart, Raúl Castro Ruz, that Washington has neither the capacity nor the intention to impose change on Cuba” and that the United States “will not impose our political or economic system on you,” the State Department has announced that it will give some enterprising U.S. organization $753,989 to train as many as 30 “young emerging leaders from Cuban civil society” … “to manage and grow civil society organizations that will actively support democratic principles in Cuba” — exactly the kind of governance that Havana does not want shoved down its throat.

We are indebted to journalist Tracy Eaton and his blog “Along the Malecón” for publishing the text of the announcement, released on Friday (March 25) and promptly disseminated by the official websites Granma.cu and Cubadebate.cu.

Basically, the announcement says this:

Over a three-year period, the State Department will give $753,989 (that’s more than three-quarters of a million dollars) to a U.S. nonprofit organization or U.S. educational institution to support the young Cubans “in a two- to four-month professional development program that will include specialized training” to help them develop “action plans for nongovernmental community activities in Cuba.”


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