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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Brazil: Building New Worlds in the Favelas

Brazil: Building New Worlds in the Favelas

Written by Raúl Zibechi
Friday, 08 April 2016 18:54

Source: Americas Program

As the car passes by, it almost grazes two thick, meter-high blocks of cement. One little miscalculation and the paint would be scraped right off the car.

“The caveirão doesn’t go here,” someone says, referring to the armored cars specially built for the Military Police to enter favelas. “Nor do the patrol cars,” says a third, jubilantly. For the forces of repression, entrance to La Comunidad Chico Mendes on the Morro de Chapadão, in the northern zone of Rio de Janeiro, is restricted.

We climb uphill through narrow, well-paved streets, passing simple, but well-kept houses. In minutes we arrive at the headquarters of the Movimiento de Comunidades Populares (MCP), an enormous iron door next to a small, tidy store that sells food and cleaning supplies. “We don’t sell cigarettes,” a woman calls out. Calmly, but firmly, she adds, “They’re bad for your health.”

The door opens onto a wide, covered courtyard with offices and meeting rooms in the back and a second floor with more rooms. An enormous poster warns against the consumption of alcohol; in another corner an even larger poster outlines the ten “columns of the movement” – economy, free exercise of religion, family, health, housing, education, sports, art, leisure, and infrastructure. They are called columns because they are the pillars on which the organization is based, according to the needs of the popular sectors.

A short, stocky man of about sixty offers us fresh water to relieve the tremendous carioca heat and invites us to walk around the facility. It all happens calmly, as if in slow motion, perhaps as a way to counteract the heat. Gelson invites us to sit down as the woman from the store appears. Janduir tells us that they were the first MCP activists to arrive at the favela more than 20 years ago, when there were ramshackle houses made of wood.

A different community

The main difference between la Comunidad Chico Mendes and other favelas is that it was formed by a takeover or invasion, not by the gradual accumulation of families. People here were already organized before they occupied the hillside. They arrived together and began to build the neighborhood, along with houses. They were leftist activists who decided to name the settlement for the most emblematic rubber tapper of the era, assassinated by landowners in 1988.


CIA’s Work With Filmmakers Puts All Media Workers at Risk

CIA’s Work With Filmmakers Puts All Media Workers at Risk

By Adam Johnson




Vice’s Jason Leopold (4/6/16) has uncovered documents showing the CIA had a role in producing up to 22 entertainment “projects,” including History Channel documentary Air America: The CIA’s Secret Airline, Bravo‘s Top Chef: Covert Cuisine, the USA Network series Covert Affairs and the BBC documentary The Secret War on Terror—along with two fictional feature films about the CIA that both came out in 2012.

The CIA’s involvement in the production of Zero Dark Thirty (effectively exchanging “insider” access for a two-hour-long torture commercial) has already been well-established, but the agency’s role in the production of Argo—which won the Best Picture Oscar for 2012—was heretofore unknown. The extent of the CIA’s involvement in the projects is still largely classified, as Leopold notes, quoting an Agency audit report:

However, because of the lack of adequate records, we were unable to determine the extent of the CIA’s support to the eight projects, the extent to which foreign nationals participated in CIA-sponsored activities, and whether the Director/OPA approved the activities and participation of foreign nationals…. Failure on the part of CIA officers to adhere to the regulatory requirements could result in unauthorized disclosures, inappropriate actions and negative consequences for the CIA.

The CIA’s history of producing or helping to produce films goes back decades. The Agency, for example, secretly bought the rights to Animal Farm after Orwell’s death in 1950 and produce an animated adaptation centered on demonizing the Soviet Union rather than capturing Orwell’s broader critiques of power.


The Return of the Brutal Savage and the Science for War

April 8, 2016
The Return of the Brutal Savage and the Science for War

by Stephen Corry

The last few years have seen an alarming increase in claims that tribal peoples have been shown to be more violent than we are. This is supposed to prove that our ancestors were also brutal savages. Such a message has profound implications for how we view human nature – whether or not we see war as innate to the human condition and so, by extension, broadly unavoidable. It also underpins how industrialized society treats those it sees as “backward.” In reality though it’s nothing more than an old colonialist belief, masquerading once again as “science.” There’s no evidence to support it.

The American anthropologist, Napoleon Chagnon, is invariably cited in support of this brutal savage myth. He studied the Yanomami Indians of Amazonia from the 1960s onwards (he spells the tribe “Yanomamö”) and you’d be hard pressed to find a book or article on tribal violence which doesn’t refer to his work. Popular writers such as Steven Pinker and Jared Diamond frequently make much of Chagnon’s thesis, so it’s worth giving a thumbnail sketch of why in reality it proves little about the Yanomami, and nothing about human evolution.

First, it’s important to dispatch a red herring from the murky cauldron being cooked up by the brutal savage promoters: They often point to Darkness in El Dorado, a book by Patrick Tierney, which attacked Chagnon’s work, but went too far. Tierney raised the possibility that one of Chagnon’s colleagues may have deliberately introduced a deadly measles epidemic to the Indians. That simply wasn’t true: In fact, the epidemic was inadvertently started by American missionaries. That Tierney was wrong on this single point is now used to claim that all his and other writers’ criticisms of Chagnon have been discredited. They haven’t. In any case, were a single error deemed to negate a whole thesis, then pretty much all science, as well as journalism, the law and a lot else, falls apart.

Anyway, let’s set Tierney aside. For decades, Napoleon Chagnon’s findings have been rejected by almost all of the many other anthropologists who have worked with the Yanomami, and in most countries his work simply isn’t taught. He had rather faded from anthropology in the United States too, until his recent resurgence as the darling of establishment attitudes.

According to Chagnon, brutality is a key driver of human evolution. How did he come upon such a disturbing “discovery”? Basically, he counted how many Yanomami men boasted that they were unokai and he told us this means they’ve killed people. He then crunched the numbers to show that unokai are similarly successful in love as they are in war, and that by fathering more children than non-killers, they ensure the next generation is as murderous as they are.


[center] [/center]

An appeal for the release of Milagro Sala

An appeal for the release of Milagro Sala

Friday 8 April 2016 12.27 EDT

We the undersigned – British, European and American academics – are concerned about the arbitrary detention by the Argentinian government of Milagro Sala. Milagro is a parliamentary member of Parlasur (the Mercosur parliament in Latin America) and a community leader of the social neighbourhood organisation Tupac Amaru, which has worked to provide housing, healthcare and education for the local community in the province of Jujuy in Argentina. Tupac Amaru has been internationally celebrated as a model for grassroots social action.

Amnesty International considers “that Milagro Sala is being criminalised for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression and protest” and, along with other human rights groups, have called for the granting of precautionary measures to guarantee the liberty of Milagro Sala, along with the exercise of freedom of expression and the right to social protest in Argentina.

We believe that Milagro Sala’s arrest is politically motivated. She was initially arrested for peacefully protesting, but subsequently she has been accused of additional crimes – sedition, fraud, publicly instigating criminal activity, belonging to an illegal association – all of which serve to keep her in prison.

We demand her immediate release; we also call for the Argentinian government not to criminalise social protest and to guarantee a constitutional, transparent legal process.
Professor Chantal Mouffe Westminster University, UK
Professor Slavoj Žižek University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dr Mark Devenney University of Brighton, UK
Etienne Balibar Paris West University Nanterre, France
Davide Tarizzo University of Salerno, Italy
Professor Joan Copjec Brown University, US
Professor Giacomo Marramao Roma Tre University, Italy
Professor Bruno Bosteels Cornell University, US
Professor Yannis Stavrakakis Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Professor Oliver Marchart University of Vienna, Austria
Professor Lisa Disch University of Michigan, US
Professor Rada Ivecovic International College of Philosophy, France
Professor José Luis Villacañas Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
Dr Anthony Leaker University of Brighton, UK
Dr Clare Woodford University of Brighton, UK
Professor Sam Chambers Johns Hopkins University, US
Dr Jeremy Valentine Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK
Professor Todd May Clemson University, US
Professor Fernando Castro Flórez Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
Dr Allan Dreyer Hansen Roskilde University, Denmark
Professor Germán Cano University of Alcalá, Spain
Dr José Enrique Ema University of Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real, Spain
Professor Fernando Broncano Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain
Professor Miguel Cereceda Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
Professor Jodi Dean Hobart-William Smith Colleges, US
Professor Jorge Riechmann Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
Professor Alan Finlayson University of East Anglia, UK
Dr Alexandros Kioupkiolos Aristotle University, Greece
Dr Lasse Thomassen Queen Mary University of London, UK
Dr Emilia Palonen University of Helsinki, Finland
Dr Rebecca Searle University of Brighton, UK
Timothy Huzar University of Brighton, UK
Dr Joanna Kellond University of Brighton, UK
Anna Rajala University of Brighton, UK
Timo Uotinen Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
Andrea Garcia Gonzalez University of Brighton, UK
Dr Félix Díaz University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Marina Montoto Ugarte Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
Dr Miguel Álvarez University of Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real, Spain
Dr Robin Dunford University of Brighton, UK
Dr Tom Bunyard University of Brighton, UK
Arthur Borriello Free University of Brussels, Belgium
Professor Saul Newman Goldsmiths University of London, UK
Samuele Mazzolini University of Essex, UK
Professor Edmundo Paz Soldán Cornell University, US
Dr Liliana Colanzi Cornell University, US
Dr Ernesto Castro Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
Dr Gonzalo Velasco Camilo José Cela University, Madrid, Spain
Professor Linda Zerilli University of Chicago, US
Dr José Angel Rodríguez Ribas University of Wales (EADE), Málaga, Spain
Professor Manuel Montalbán Peregrín Málaga University, Spain
Dr Giorgos Katsambekis Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Professor José Ordónñez Seville University, Spain
Meghan Sutherland University of Toronto, Canada
Dr Cartsen Jensen Roskilde University, Denmark
Professor Laura Domínguez de La Rosa Málaga University, Spain
Dr Lucía Bodas Fernández Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
Jelica Sumic Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Rado Riha Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia



Milagro Sala.


Poverty line divides Peru in presidential vote

Poverty line divides Peru in presidential vote

By Moises Avila, Roland Lloyd Parry (AFP) 33 mins ago.

Many Peruvians voting on Sunday want a new president who will stop the country's economic growth from slipping away. But millions never felt that growth in the first place.

Along a hillside ridge in southeastern Lima runs what locals call the "wall of shame."

Topped with loops of barbed wire, it divides the posh Las Casuarinas neighborhood from the hardscrabble district of Pamplona Alta.

The six-mile wall went up five years ago to keep crime away from the big houses, swimming pools and green lawns of Las Casuarinas.

For 7,500 residents on the other side, in dusty shacks without electricity or running water, it just keeps in place the social divisions that fuel crime.

"I was sad when they built the wall. I am not here because I like living in squalor, but because I need a job," said one resident, Amelia Gomero.

She migrated from the north of the country to seek her fortune in the city.

"With that wall, they just remind me that I am poor."

Locals say none of the candidates running for president has been around here meeting voters.



Bless these children. [/center]

The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime

April 8, 2016
The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime

by Robert Hunziker

The Panama Papers, a one-year investigation by over 100 reporters worldwide (The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism) of offshore money hiding/laundering/taxation avoidance, is a cause célèbre of underhandedness seldom, if ever, revealed to the world’s public. It is comparable to lifting a rotting log in the woods and finding an active nest of millipedes, red worms, and cockroaches scampering about to escape the bright sunlight. They can’t stand the sunlight because darkness is their life.

“It’s the biggest leak in history, dwarfing the data released by the Wikileaks organization in 2010. For context, if the amount of data released by Wikileaks was equivalent to the population of San Francisco, the amount of data released in the Panama Papers is the equivalent to that of India,” (BBC News, April 5th).

Remarkably, it may only be the tip of an iceberg, a big one, as the incident references the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co. There are likely many more in the world of behind the scenes finance.

The Panama Papers, containing info on thousands of shell companies set up to avoid taxes and hide assets for over four decades from 1977 to 2015, are all about millionaires and billionaires and the politically connected “sticking it to” average citizens of the world by hiding money from fellow countrymen’s taxation policies and/or theft of state funds and laundering money. It is outrageously heinous and deserving of criminal incrimination and/or tarring and feathering whilst run out of town on a rail. It also begs the question of how many more rich pillagers are out there.

Already, major worldwide figureheads, like the PM of Iceland, have fallen. “As much as $21 trillion in global wealth is hidden behind largely-untraceable shell companies such as those exposed in the Panama Papers, according to watchdog group Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition,” (NBC News, April 6, 2016.). Twenty-one trillion is considerably larger than the entire U.S. economy. And, if it were taxed, which it is not, it would relieve many nation-states of big deficit spending for social welfare programs.

Indeed, the Panama Papers is a clarion call for revolt against a neoliberal world economic order that favors (1) privatization of public assets, (2) deregulation of governmental influence, (3) free trade in secret, and (4) austerity measures for public welfare. This nonsense started in earnest in the 1980s with President Reagan and PM Thatcher, called Supply-side economics, which preached tax cuts for the wealthy that purportedly incentivizes job creation, thus trickling wealth down to the masses. Problem is, after more than 30 years, all of the wealth gushed upwards whilst wages trickled down. The exact reverse of how it was sold to the American public. Politicians, mostly Republicans, continue making the same lame claims today. Cut taxes to create jobs is their mantra. Well, what they really mean to say is “cut taxes to cut wages” because that’s how it works in real life.


Bush v Gore May Come Back to Haunt the Voter Suppressionists

April 8, 2016
Bush v Gore May Come Back to Haunt the Voter Suppressionists

by Ronald L.M. Goldman

As we approach another Presidential election, it is well to revisit the impact of Bush v. Gore.

In December 2000, the U. S. Supreme Court did not merely decide another case: it anointed a president while the vote count was still underway. The ostensible legal argument was based on Equal Protection of the Law. It said two things that were and are extraordinary:

(1) The Supreme Court of Florida was not guaranteeing equal protection for its State’s voters because, it argued, different counties used different criteria to determine the intent of the voter, thus, astonishingly imposing the solution to stop the vote count in its tracks while the vote count “happened” to favor Bush, an unprecedented and stunning incursion into State governance of elections, and

(2) its opinion is “limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.”


Brazil's workers say, "Stay Dilma, there will be no coup!

Brazil's workers say, "Stay Dilma, there will be no coup!

by: Lucivania Nascimento dos Santos
April 8 2016

ITABUNA, Brazil -- Last week over one million Brazilians took to the streets across the country to protest a pending right-wing coup against the government of President Dilma Rousseff. In Brasilia, the nation's capital, some 150,000 people said "no" to the coup, shouting, "Stay Dilma!"

In the recent period, President Rousseff's government has come under sharp attack from ruling class forces opposed to the government's reforms. During her first term the Workers Party (PT), supported by both the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) and center parties, lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty through the federal government's Bolsa Familia program initiated by former president Lula.

Millions of low-income Brazilians received housing through social programs like "My House, My Life" implemented by the Workers Party-led government.

In addition, the "More Doctors" program, aided by Cuba and other nations, has provided health care to populations in the most remote locations of the country. The program has been a huge success and has achieved the ideal target number of doctors per thousand inhabitants.

Earlier, during the Lula administration (2003-2010), the government implemented an education quota policy, (Brazil's version of affirmative action) and thousands of black students enrolled in public universities, where once seats were occupied predominantly by white middle class and rich students.

To put it mildly these social policies displeased the elite and reactionary middle class.


Death on the border: Family suing U.S. for “torturing and killing” Latino father at California-Mexic

Source: Salon

Death on the border: Family suing U.S. for “torturing and killing” Latino father at California-Mexico line, botching investigation

Lawyer says Border Patrol's impunity after Anastasio Hernández Rojas' death on camera is "miscarriage of justice"
Ben Norton

Friday, Apr 8, 2016 06:58 AM CDT

The family of a longtime U.S. resident is suing the government on charges of torture and excessive force, but the case has gotten very little coverage in the American media.

Anastasio Hernández Rojas, 42, died after being beaten by U.S. Border Patrol agents in May 2010. The father of five U.S.-born children had lived in San Diego for 25 years before he was deported. He was attempting to illegally cross back over the California-Mexico border and was on the U.S. side, in hopes of reuniting with his family, when he was stopped by agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP.

Instead of re-deporting Hernández Rojas, the CBP agents brutally beat and tasered the 42-year-old father as he lay on the ground in handcuffs, pleading for his life. Witnesses captured video of the horrific killing, although Border Patrol agents tried to destroy the evidence, according to his family’s lawyer.

The San Diego coroner ruled Hernández Rojas’ death to be a homicide. The medical examiner said he had a heart attack and had been subjected to “bruising to his chest, stomach, hips, knees, back, lips, head and eyelids; five broken ribs; and a damaged spine.”

Read more: http://www.salon.com/2016/04/08/death_on_the_border_family_suing_u_s_for_torturing_and_killing_latino_father_at_california_mexico_line_botching_investigation/

The War on Democracy in Latin America: Interview with John Pilger

March 25, 2016
The War on Democracy in Latin America: Interview with John Pilger

by Edu Montesanti

After two decades of progressive governments spreading by the region with unprecedented economic, political and social gains, especially in human rights year by year recognized by the UN and several international organizations, Latin America faces the advance of aggressive neoliberal sectors secretly supported and financed by the Washington regime.

Journalist, Writer and Filmmaker John Pilger granted this exclusive interview where he talks about the US war on democracy in Latin America. “Modern era imperialism is a war on democracy. Genuine democracy is a threat to unfettered power and cannot be tolerated”, he says.

Pilger produced War on Democracy set in Latin America and the US in 2006, when he traveled across Venezuela with the then-President Hugo Chávez. He talks about his motivations to produce that documentary. The film shows how serial US intervention, overt and covert, has toppled a series of legitimate governments in the Latin American region since the 1950s.

Evidencing the democratic character with profound social transformations in Venezuela, in this interview John Pilger tells of his experiences in the cradle of the Bolivarian Revolution. “Children were learning about history and the arts for the first time; Venezuela’s literacy programme was the most adventurous in the world.”

He also speaks of his experiences with then-President Chávez, interviewed by the filmmaker as well as several ex-CIA agents who took part in secret campaigns against democratic countries in the region. “I traveled with Hugo Chavez across Venezuela. I have never known a national leader so respected and held in such affection as Chavez. He was an extraordinary man, who never seemed to sleep, who was consumed by ideas. (…) He was also, incorruptible and tough – tough in the sense that he was brave.”

Pilger evaluates the mainstream media coverage regarding to Venezuela: through accurate data, he evidences how people around the world have been misinformed by the media propaganda.


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