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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
September 30, 2020

Fidel Castro Stayed in Harlem 60 Years Ago to Highlight Racial Injustice in the U.S.

The Cuban revolutionary shined a light on the stark economic disparities in America, much to the chagrin of the U.S. government

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, left, and Cuban President Fidel Castro, center, are seen outside the Hotel Theresa in the Harlem neighborhood of New York. (Associated Press)

By Simon Hall
SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

When the General Assembly of the United Nations opened 60 years ago this week, Fidel Castro, the revolutionary leader of Cuba, audaciously ensured that the world’s attention would be drawn to America’s “race problem.” On the evening of September 19, 1960, Castro—in New York for the international summit—stormed out of his plush midtown hotel following a fight over money. After a brief sojourn at U.N. headquarters, where he threatened to set up camp in the complex’s rose garden, he relocated to the Hotel Theresa, the so-called “Waldorf of Harlem.”

The Manhattan neighborhood—with its crumbling tenement buildings, garbage-strewn streets, shockingly high rates of asthma and tuberculosis, soaring crime rates, poorly-funded, overcrowded and segregated schools, and endemic police brutality and corruption—offered a powerful illustration of the problems facing African Americans in America’s northern cities. As the local NAACP leader, Joe Overton, put it, Harlem was a “police state.”

Harlem also boasted, however, an exceptionally strong sense of political vitality. Its streets fizzed with activism, as black nationalists and integrationists, Christians and Muslims, competed for influence, mobilized to protest inequalities, and organized to demand their rights. Two years prior, nine black mothers, outraged by the poor quality of the education on offer, kept their children out of the three all-black junior high schools to which they had been assigned and demanded that they be allowed to enroll them in better schools, elsewhere in the city (they won a partial victory several months later.)

Police brutality, meanwhile, sparked growing pressure for meaningful reforms, as well as angry protests on the streets. On July 12, 1959, for instance, more than 500 black New Yorkers gathered outside a Harlem police station, after Charles Samuel, a black postal clerk, was beaten and arrested for intervening in the brutal arrest of Carmela Caviglione, who had been dragged away from a restaurant by her hair. And in the spring of 1960, months before Castro’s stunt, as the lunch-counter sit-ins rocked the Jim Crow South, the New York-based Congress of Racial Equality organized sympathy protests outside the F. W. Woolworth’s Store in Harlem.


September 30, 2020

Sunbathers Live with Fire in the Pantanal

Flames from historic fires are scary, but do not deter tourists

Sep.28.2020 2:41PM

Lalo de Almeida
Fabiano Maisonnave

It was close to 9 am when the family of the civil servant Álvaro Lima arrived at the Mutum stream, in the municipality of Santo Antônio do Leverger. On the road, they crossed dozens of kilometers of burnt areas.

Two hours later, the flames, which already consumed about 20% of the Pantanal, reached the opposite bank. But neither the Lima family nor the other sunbathers, about 20 residents, took their feet. In the sky, only the gray color of the ubiquitous smoke.

Shortly after noon, the inevitable happened. A spark crossed the stream and fell on a palm tree next to the picnic. A dry straw spread the fire on the dry vegetation.

Santo Antonio Leverger, MT. 19/09/2020 . ( Foto: Lalo de Almeida/ Folhapress )

"We will stay here until later. We traveled far, 140 km. Let's enjoy it and just move," Lima said. On the other side of the stream, eight Mantovilis plant employees appeared in the forest fighting the fire, using tree branches.

September 29, 2020

With 'Jorge 40,' hope returns for victims of Colombia's armed conflict

by Adriaan Alsema
September 29, 2020

The return of former paramilitary leader “Jorge 40” to Colombia on Monday marks the beginning of a new period of hope for victims of the now-defunct AUC.

Jorge 40, whose real name is Rodrigo Tovar, was one of the paramilitaries’ highest-ranking and most influential war lords whose return could shed a light on the countless crimes committed by the AUC and their associates in the military, government and private sector.

His demobilization in 2006 triggered the so-called “parapolitics” scandal, but Tovar stopped talking to Colombian justice after his brother was assassinated in 2009, a year after the extradition of the former commander of the “Bloque Norte.”

. . .

Now that the once mighty warlord is back in Colombia, Tovar con resume shedding light about his participation in the so-called “para-economy” that implicates multinationals like Chiquita Brands and Drummond, as well as countless Colombian companies.

Unlike parapolitics, which led to the incarceration of more than 60 congressmen, the paramilitaries’ ties with the private sector and the military is still largely under wraps.


Rodrigo Tovar, as a younger torturer, and mass murderer.

September 27, 2020

It's Not Anti-Catholic to Ask Amy Coney Barrett About Her Religious Group "People of Praise"

SEPTEMBER 24, 2020

Before the TV show appeared, women leaders were referred to as “handmaids.”

Senior Reporter

Members of the Christian right are lobbying hard for President Trump to tap 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. A current Notre Dame law school professor, 48-year-old Barrett is a devout Catholic and mother of seven children, two of whom were adopted from Haiti and one who is a child with Down syndrome—all attributes that conservatives see as evidence that she will help overturn Roe v. Wade if confirmed. But Barrett brings another resume entry to the table that, while possibly enhancing her appeal to evangelicals, makes her an unusual candidate for the job.

She’s a member of People of Praise, a charismatic covenant community in South Bend, Indiana, that has been criticized by former members for being a religious cult. Though most of its members are Catholic, its practices, including speaking in tongues and faith healing, draw more from fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity than the Vatican. One of its most notable features is the submissive role played by women, some of whom were called “handmaids”—at least until the Handmaid’s Tale aired in 2017, At that point, the group started referring to them as “women leaders.”

Advertise with Mother Jones

Barrett has written and spoken publicly about being a devout Catholic lawyer, even saying that during her confirmation hearing that she would not enter an order of execution if she were a federal trial judge because it would conflict with Catholic Church teaching. In 2006, she gave a commencement speech at Notre Dame law school in which she told the grads, “Always keep in mind that your legal career is but a means to an end, and…that end is building the kingdom of God.” But Barrett has not publicly addressed her involvement with People of Praise.

That hasn’t kept reporters from writing about it. Recent news stories about Barrett’s unorthodox religious community have prompted Republican supporters to go on the offensive. “These ugly smears against Judge Barrett are a combination of anti-Catholic bigotry and QAnon-level stupidity,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) complained on Tuesday, suggesting that Democrats were spreading their bias through the media. “People of Praise is basically a Bible study—and just like billions of Christians around the world, Judge Barrett reads the Bible, prays, and tries to serve her community. Senators should condemn this wacky McCarthyism.”


September 24, 2020

Colombia: spying on reporters shows army unable to shake habits of dirty war

More than 130 journalists – including at least three US reporters – surveilled in a country where media has long been targeted

Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá
Tue 22 Sep 2020 06.30 EDT

María Alejandra Villamizar has had a front row seat of Colombia’s civil conflict. Over a 25-year career, she has reported from rebel-held jungles to territories controlled by violent drug cartels. She also worked as an adviser to several presidents during successive attempts to make peace.

But she recently discovered that her work had put her in the crosshairs of the military.

An investigation by the local news weekly Semana found that the Colombian army gathered intelligence on Villamizar and more than 130 of her colleagues – including at least three US reporters.

Soldiers had trawled through information on social media in order to build “profiles” on each target, with comprehensive lists of their contacts, families and friends. Their political leanings were deduced from their posts and connections, and logged in a database.

The scandal revealed that despite a peace deal which led to the demobilization of the country’s largest rebel group, Colombia’s US-backed military are still unable to shake habits from a dirty war in which the rules that usually bind a democracy’s armed forces are non-binding – and journalists and opposition members are considered fair targets.


September 23, 2020

Indigenous topple statue of loathed conquistador in southwest Colombia

by Adriaan Alsema September 17, 2020

Indigenous people from southwest Colombia on Wednesday toppled a statue of a conquistador who was sentenced to death 474 years ago for, among other things, butchering their ancestors.

The statue of Sebastian de Belalcazar in Popayan came down 84 years after local authorities had erected the statue on top of the Popayan Hill, a sacred site for the local Misak people.

. . .

Following the toppling of the state, local indigenous waved their flags and celebrated having done away with the man who had butchered their ancestors and whose statue was desecrating their sacred site.

Many Colombians celebrated the toppling of the statue calling the act of protest “historic.”

According to opposition Senator Gustavo Petro, “the monuments to the conquistadors and slave holders are an insult to the people of Colombia, its indigenous people and its African minority.”

Supporters of far-right President Ivan Duque, however, disagreed and confirmed the deep-rooted racism that continues to fuel deadly ethnic violence that particularly affects indigenous peoples, especially in Cauca.

Senator Paloma Valencia, a notorious racist from Cauca, said “monuments are not insults, they are traces of our history,” before accusing opposition leader Gustavo Petro of inciting hatred.

One of Valencia’s followers was disappointed “the monument didn’t fall on the head of those fucking Indians.”

Those Indians, they should be thankful that because of them they were civilized, learned to read and write and met God!!! But the left reminded them that they must protest 500 years later!

Days of protests ahead

According to members of the Misak community, “the left” had nothing to do with their initiative to topple the statue was in protest of the ongoing violence against indigenous peoples.

After the peace agreement signed in 2016, more than 700 social leaders and human rights defenders have been assassinated, among them are 270 leaders of indigenous peoples.

September 17, 2020

'Extreme Option: Overthrow Allende'

Briefing Books
Special Exhibits
Unredacted (Blog)

Published: Sep 15, 2020
Briefing Book #721
Edited by Peter Kornbluh

Nixon’s “Make the Economy Scream” Order issued 50 years ago

Genesis of Nixon’s Infamous Regime Change Directive on Chile Recorded in Declassified Documentation

Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020 – On September 15, 1970, during a twenty-minute meeting in the Oval Office between 3:25 pm and 3:45 pm, President Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to foment a military coup in Chile. According to handwritten notes taken by CIA Director Richard Helms, Nixon issued explicit instructions to prevent the newly elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, from being inaugurated in November—or to create conditions to overthrow him if he did assume the presidency. “1 in 10 chance, perhaps, but save Chile.” “Not concerned [about] risks involved,” Helms jotted in his notes as the President demanded regime change in the South American nation that had become the first in the world to freely elect a Socialist candidate. “Full time job—best men we have.” “Make the economy scream.”

Fifty years after it was written, Helm’s cryptic memorandum of conversation with Nixon remains the only known record of a U.S. president ordering the covert overthrow of a democratically elected leader abroad. Since the document was first declassified in 1975 as part of a major Senate investigation into CIA covert operations in Chile and elsewhere, Helms’s notes have become the iconic representation of U.S. intervention in Chile—and an enduring symbol of Washington’s hegemonic arrogance toward smaller nations.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Nixon's order to overthrow Allende, at precisely 3:25 pm – when the meeting began – the National Security Archive today posted a selection of previously declassified documents that traces the genesis of this consequential presidential directive and the historical circumstances in which it took place. The September 15, 1970, meeting, also attended by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and Attorney General John Mitchell, is well known in the history of the U.S. role in Chile; the events that led to that meeting have received far less attention. “These documents provide a roadmap of U.S. coup-plotting and regime change,” notes Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Archive’s Chile project and is the author of The Pinochet File. “The September 15, 1970, Oval Office meeting marked the first major step in undermining Chilean democracy and supporting the advent of a military dictatorship."

Allende on the street
photo credit, Naul Ojeda

The Archive’s abbreviated historiography of Nixon’s September 15 orders reveals the following sequence of events:

** U.S. officials began to secretly explore a military coup as part of contingency planning for a possible Allende victory more than a month before Chileans went to the polls on September 4, 1970. The initial evaluation of the pros and cons of a potential coup took place after President Nixon requested, in late July, an “urgent review” of U.S. interests and options in Chile. Completed in mid-August, the review known as National Security Study Memorandum 97, contained a TOP SECRET annex titled “Extreme Option: Overthrow Allende,” which addressed the assumptions, advantages, and disadvantages of a military coup if Allende was elected.


September 17, 2020

Pompeo to make questionable visit to Guyana

Bert Wilkinson | 9/17/2020, midnight

Guyana’s government has confirmed the impending visit of American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Caribbean Community nation this week fueling widespread speculation that the visit is linked to protracted efforts by Washington to use the country as some kind of an operating base to deal with neighboring Venezuela.

Foreign Minister spokeswoman Audrey Waddell confirmed Pompeo’s visit for Sept. 17-18.

“We are indeed preparing for a visit sometime this week. You might have seen correspondence to that effect, but yes we are preparing for him,” she said as a plethora of organizations and critics have railed against the visit, calling Pompeo’s intentions sinister.

Pompeo had been very involved in Guyana’s recently concluded and greatly disputed general elections, as he had several times publicly displayed Washington’s preference for the Indo-dominate People’s Progressive Party, which appears to have mended its decades of poor relations with Washington in recent months. The result is that the U.S., Britain, Canada and the European Union all lined up behind the PPP’s campaign, demanding that former president David Granger stepped aside making way for the PPP. The PPP was eventually declared the winner of the general elections, five months after the Guyanese voted in the polls and after a series of court challenges and a 33 day recount of ballots.

Granger’s coalition had publicly said that the U.S. had favored the governing People’s Progressive Party more than the coalition because it turned down a request from the Trump administration to have a stepped up American military presence in Guyana as well as rejected a request for the Voice of America to establish a radio station in Guyana’s northwestern region to broadcast propaganda messages to neighboring Venezuela.


September 17, 2020

Why Colombia Reports suspended the news

by Adriaan Alsema September 17, 2020

Colombia Reports suspended the daily news because of security concerns that need to be dealt with first.

This requires a clarification as “security concerns” are vague and I’m not worried about getting assassinated like my Colombian colleague Abelardo Liz last month.

Assassinating foreigners draws too much attention, so more subtle techniques must be applied to make sure foreign reporters don’t inform you on all the really interesting stuff.

In my case, for example, a Medellin prosecution official filled in a non-existent ID number on my protection request last year after I reported a death threat.

I caught the official and made sure he filed a valid request after which the National Protection Unit sent my protection kit — a bulletproof vest and a panic button — to Bogota. Twice.

I got the hint after the Medellin Police Department lost the third request and I let it go after two days had gone to waste.

September 15, 2020

Bolivia government abusing justice system against Morales and allies - report

Human Rights Watch report accuses administration of Jeanine Áñez of overseeing legal offensive against people linked to Morales

Tom Phillips Latin America correspondent

Fri 11 Sep 2020 13.33 EDT

Bolivia’s rightwing caretaker government is abusing the justice system to wage a politically motivated witch-hunt against former president Evo Morales and his allies, a new report by Human Rights Watch claims.

The report accuses the US-backed administration of Jeanine Áñez – who became interim leader after Morales was forced into exile last November – of overseeing a legal offensive against more than 100 people linked to Bolivia’s first indigenous president.

The group claimed prosecutors had charged some Morales backers with terrorism for simply speaking to him on the phone.

Morales, who now lives in Argentina, himself faces terrorism charges relating to an alleged phone call in November 2019 in which authorities claim he urged protesters to blockade Bolivia’s de facto capital, La Paz.

José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch’s Americas director, said Áñez’s government was trying to give a facade of legality to a campaign against political foes.

“The interim government is using the justice system as a weapon against Morales for political reasons,” he said.


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