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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
April 30, 2021

Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia Tended 'Forest Gardens' Found near villages, research suggest

Found near villages, research suggests the Indigenous population intentionally planted and maintained these patches of fruit and nut trees

The Sts’ailes forest garden near Vancouver, British Columbia seen from the air. (Nick Waber)

By Alex Fox
APRIL 29, 2021 8:05AM

Along the coast of British Columbia, Canada, former villages of the Ts’msyen and Coast Salish Indigenous peoples are flanked by what researchers have termed “forest gardens.” On lands covered in forests dominated by hemlock and cedar trees, these forest gardens represent abrupt departures from the surrounding ecosystem. The dark, closed canopy of the conifer forest opens up and is replaced by a sunny, orchard-like spread of food-producing trees and shrubs, such as crabapple, hazelnut, cranberry, wild plum and wild cherry.

New research, published last week in the journal Ecology and Society, makes the case that these forest gardens were planted and maintained by Indigenous peoples until roughly 150 years ago when the original inhabitants of these settlements were displaced by colonialist expansion and the smallpox outbreaks the encroaching colonizers brought with them, reports Andrew Curry for Science.

"These plants never grow together in the wild. It seemed obvious that people put them there to grow all in one spot—like a garden," says Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, an ethnobiologist at Simon Fraser University and lead author of the study, in a statement. "Elders and knowledge holders talk about perennial management all the time. It's no surprise these forest gardens continue to grow at archeological village sites that haven't yet been too severely disrupted by settler-colonial land-use."

These Indigenous-managed food production sites in the Pacific Northwest are the first forest gardens to be described outside of Central and South America, according to Science.

April 30, 2021

Saving the Bay of Pigs Prisoners: Did JFK Send a Secret Warning to Fidel Castro - through Brazil?

President Kennedy receives the flag of the 2506 Brigade
President Kennedy receives the flag of the 2506 Brigade during a ceremony at the Orange Bowl in Miami on December 29, 1962. (Credit: ST-19-3-62, Cecil Stoughton, the White House, JFK Library)

Published: Apr 29, 2021
Briefing Book #758
Edited by James G. Hershberg, George Washington University

President Kennedy receives the flag of the 2506 Brigade during a ceremony at the Orange Bowl in Miami on December 29, 1962. (Credit: ST-19-3-62, Cecil Stoughton, the White House, JFK Library)

60 years after failed invasion of Cuba, new questions about unexplored backchannel dialogue with Castro over release of 2506 Brigade survivors

Brazilian, U.S. declassified records point up Brazil’s role as U.S.-Cuba intermediary in early 1960s

Washington, D.C., April 29, 2021 – John F. Kennedy may have secretly warned Fidel Castro against executing survivors of the Bay of Pigs invasion 60 years ago this month while also dangling a pledge of strict non-intervention if the Cuban leader spared their lives, according to new evidence posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive. Kennedy’s secret channel to Castro, the records suggest, was the president of Brazil, João Goulart.

The declassified Brazilian and U.S. documents, along with a provocative journalistic report from the period, help to illuminate a residual mystery linked to that iconic event in Cold War and U.S.-Cuban history. The episode is a fresh case of "back channel" communications between Washington and Havana at a time when they lacked direct diplomatic relations, and a new instance of Brazil acting as a third-party mediator, or at least a communications conduit, in that relationship. Brazil’s role climaxed during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Compiled and edited by George Washington University historian James G. Hershberg based on his research on Brazil, Cuba, and the Cold War, today’s posting examines a tense moment in the Kennedy Administration's more than twenty-month struggle to gain the release of the nearly 1,200 CIA-trained, financed, and equipped anti-Castro Cuban exiles between their failed April 1961 invasion attempt and their release by Fidel Castro in December 1962.

In late March and early April 1962, the captives went on trial in Havana for treason, and U.S. officials feared they might receive harsh punishments, or even be executed – triggering an untimely crisis, sharply intensified public pressure on the Cuban issue, and even a possible U.S. military intervention.

. . .

On April 17, 1961, about 1400 anti-Castro Cuban exiles, secretly armed, equipped, trained, financed, and organized by the Central Intelligence Agency, landed on Cuba's southwestern coast. The operation, approved a year earlier by Dwight D. Eisenhower and inherited (and then slightly scaled back) by Kennedy when he became president in January 1961, failed abysmally: Castro's armed forces pinned down the invaders at Girón Beach (Playa Girón), killed over a hundred, and captured the bulk of the survivors. (About 175 of Castro's soldiers, and hundreds more militia fighters, also died in the intense combat.)


April 29, 2021

Storm causes structure over Aztec ruins to collapse in Mexico City

April 29, 2021
1:15 PM CDT
2 minute read

A roof that partly protected one of Mexico's most important ancient sites collapsed under the weight of a major rain and hail storm late on Wednesday, causing minor damage to the ornate temple complex that once hosted the Aztec empire's elite warriors.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pledged on Thursday to repair any damages to the House of Eagles, which was covered by a large metal roof of modern construction that was toppled by the storm. The structure is adjacent to the ruins of the Aztecs' holiest shrine, known as the Templo Mayor.

Mexico's culture ministry described damage to the ruins as "minor, recoverable and restorable" in a statement on Thursday, adding that removal of the collapsed roof will begin immediately.

The House of Eagles features elaborately-carved relief sculptures along its walls and benches, depicting warriors in procession and blood-letting rituals. Remnants of its painted murals have remained visible five centuries after the 1521 Spanish conquest of the Aztec capital and subsequent razing of the city.


~ ~ ~

Google translation:

Above : Four Petals Flowers and a Sidewalk with Reliefs of Warriors. Main temple. Below : Detail of a bench with reliefs of warriors. Main temple. Photos: Oliver Santana / Raíces; Jorge Pérez de Lara / Roots

The building was built towards stage V of the Templo Mayor (1480 AD) and a new construction stage was placed on it, from which we see the basement and two stairs that allowed us to reach its interior. The previous stage could be excavated and consists of an L-shaped vestibule with remains of pillars. One of the two entrances shows polychrome benches with representations of warriors in procession. On the sidewalks and on either side of the door were the two formidable clay figures of almost life-size eagle warriors. The access leads to a long room that also has the aforementioned sidewalks. A narrow corridor leads us to another patio, where we see the four pillars that supported the roof and a small interior patio. At the north and south ends there are two rooms. The decoration found on the external wall of the north room is striking, consisting of a flower with four petals carved in stone. Already inside this room we can see the warriors' benches that end in a projecting altar that shows azacatapayoli or ball of hay, where the thorns were embedded for self-sacrifice. Colors such as red, yellow, white, etc. have been preserved. Two ceramic braziers were found in front of the altar, as in other parts of the rooms. The room on the south side was affected by the construction of a colonial oven that was built on the site.

The entrance hall that we referred to earlier has another door to the north, which also leads to other rooms. On the bench and flanking the entrance were two figures, also made of clay, of the god Mictlantecuhtli, lord of the underworld. They represent the half-disembodied god with raised arms. The head has small holes, probably to place natural hair in them, as this god is seen in some codices. Between the ribs a piece painted pink was found that represents the liver, an organ that is related to the world of the dead. The figures are truly impressive and can be seen, like the eagle warriors, in the site museum.

Studies on the House of the Eagles seem to indicate that it is a set destined for certain ceremonies, since inside it they have been detected, by means of archeometric techniques and others, accumulation in certain areas of remains of blood components, as in the large clay sculptures, and the presence of products containing vegetable and animal fats, as well as carbohydrates from a substance rich in sugars and starches, possibly pulque.

Apparently, the tlatoani or ruler carried out a ritual in which he went out through the door that faces the west - where the eagle warriors were found - to follow the path of the Sun towards the west. The hall would lead you to the door that faces north, where the figures of Mictlantecuhtli are, to the place of the dead or Mictlan. It must be remembered that the north was considered the path of the dead, the mictlampa . Thus, the route was made from the birth of the Sun to its sunset.


~ ~ ~

Click for image:



The House of Eagles is protected from the elements by a large metal awning. In the foreground you can see the various levels of the North Patio that were built up over the centuries as Lake Texcoco periodically flooded the ancient island city. Also known as the Palace of Eagle Warriors, the House of Eagles was destroyed during the Spanish assault on Tenochtitlán, which may also have caused the damage you can see on the eagle in the previous photo. The Eagle House was one of the most important structures in the Sacred Precinct of the city. This was where the Mexica elite, which included the Eagle Warriors, conducted ceremonies, meditated, prayed, and rendered offerings. It was a large complex, spread out over a broad platform with columns, meeting rooms, and patios. The initial House of Eagles was built in 1430 AD and then was enlarged in 1470 by the Emperor Axayócatl. The third and final structure was finished in 1500. After the Spanish conquered Tenochtitlán in 1521, they built the Church of Santiago Apóstol on top of the ruins of the Eagle House. Since this had been one of the key centers of power in the Mexica Empire, the Spanish wanted to obliterate any memory it. They were successful until the 1980s when it was rediscovered during the excavation of the Templo Mayor area. (Photo taken at the Templo Mayor archaeological site)

Click for image:



Eagle heads bracket the broad staircase leading up to the main platform. The L-shaped platform was discovered in 1981. Inside the platform is an older substructure built in 1469 AD. Only part of the House of Eagles has been fully excavated because the rest lies under an adjacent street. Tunnels have been built into that section, revealing rooms with wall murals and long benches with carved friezes of warriors. (Photo taken at the Templo Mayor archaeological site)

. . .

Click for image:



More images, and descriptions of places in the "House of Eagles."

April 28, 2021

Colombia Reports shuts down for 24 hours to protest attacks on press

by Adriaan Alsema April 28, 2021

Colombia Reports shuts down for 24 hours on Wednesday to protest the ongoing attacks on the press that are making independent journalism virtually impossible.

Reporting will resume on Thursday and will continue until I decide to throw in the towel.

I have spent half my life in journalism and have dedicated one third of my life to reporting on Colombia.

I love this country infinitely more than my native country, the Netherlands, which has always been more than mutual.

The people that I have met, the local cultures and the astonishing nature have generously rewarded me for everything I have invested in this country.

It’s this love for Colombia that has given me a drive to work harder than I ever have, endure hardships I didn’t even know existed and resist fear I have never felt before.


April 27, 2021

Why the Embargo Against Cuba?

APRIL 27, 2021


Now that Cuban president Raul Castro has resigned the presidency of Cuba, will the U.S. government lift its six-decades-long economic embargo against Cuba?

Don’t count it. Squeezing the life out of the Cuban people as a way to get regime change has become such a normalized way of life for the United States that it is unlikely that this cruel and brutal policy will be ended anytime soon.

Back in the day, the embargo was justified as part of the Cold War against “godless communism” and, specifically, the international communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia and that supposedly threatened to envelope the United States and the rest of the world. (Yes, that Russia, the one we are being called upon, once again, to treat as our official enemy.) The Pentagon and the CIA steadfastly maintained that the “national security” of the United States was gravely threatened by a communist outpost only 90 miles away from American shores.

But when the Cold War suddenly and unexpectedly came to an end in 1989, the embargo just kept gong and going. And even though former communist dictator Fidel Castro is now dead and his brother Raul is now out of the presidency, there is no push within the federal government to finally bring an end to this cruel and brutal program.

What’s up with that? The U.S. government doesn’t have an embargo against communist Vietnam, whose northern half killed some 58,000 American men. Why have an embargo against a country that has never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so?

I suspect that part of the reason is that the CIA has never been able to get over the humiliation of having been defeated when its ragtag army of Cuban exiles invaded Cuba in 1961 in a futile attempt to secure regime change on the island. In fact, my hunch is that the CIA and the Pentagon have never been able to get over the fact that their entire regime-change operations against Cuba, including sabotage, terrorism, and assassination, as well as the embargo, failed to oust the communist regime and replace it with a U.S.-installed regime, one that would, once again, do the bidding of the U.S. government.


April 27, 2021

What Doomed a Sprawling City Near St. Louis 1,000 Years Ago?

Excavations at Cahokia, famous for its pre-Columbian mounds, challenge the idea that residents destroyed the city through wood clearing.

Cahokia, across the Mississippi from present-day St. Louis, was a city of roughly 20,000 people at its peak in the 1100s, but was largely abandoned by 1350.Credit...Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

By Asher Elbein
Published April 24, 2021
Updated April 26, 2021

A thousand years ago, a city rose on the banks of the Mississippi River, near what eventually became the city of St. Louis. Sprawling over miles of rich farms, public plazas and earthen mounds, the city — known today as Cahokia — was a thriving hub of immigrants, lavish feasting and religious ceremony. At its peak in the 1100s, Cahokia housed 20,000 people, greater than contemporaneous Paris.

By 1350, Cahokia had largely been abandoned, and why people left the city is one of the greatest mysteries of North American archaeology.

Now, some scientists are arguing that one popular explanation — Cahokia had committed ecocide by destroying its environment, and thus destroyed itself — can be rejected out of hand. Recent excavations at Cahokia led by Caitlin Rankin, an archaeologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, show that there is no evidence at the site of human-caused erosion or flooding in the city.

Her team’s research, published in the May/June issue of Geoarcheology suggests that stories of great civilizations seemingly laid low by ecological hubris may say more about our current anxieties and assumptions than the archaeological record.

. . .

A mural at the Cahokia Mounds Museum and Interpretive Center shows the city during its heyday, circa 1100.Credit...L.K. Townsend/Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site


April 26, 2021

'Descent into hell': Kidnapping explosion terrorizes Haiti

April 26, 2021
5:43 AM CDT

Sarah Marsh

7 minutes read

A wave of kidnappings is sweeping Haiti. But even in a country growing inured to horrific abductions, the case of five-year-old Olslina Janneus sparked outrage.

Olslina was snatched off the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince in late January as she was playing. The child's corpse, bearing signs of strangulation, turned up a week later, according to her mother, Nadege Saint Hilaire, a peanut vendor who said she couldn't pay the $4,000 ransom. Saint Hilaire's cries filled the airwaves as she spoke to a few local radio stations seeking help raising funds to cover funeral costs.

Saint Hilaire is now in hiding after receiving death threats, she said, from the same gang that killed her daughter. "I wasn't supposed to go to the radio to denounce what had happened," she told Reuters.

. . .

Rights activists say politics also play a role. They allege Moise’s government has harnessed criminal groups to terrorize neighborhoods known as opposition strongholds and to quell public dissent amid street protests that have rocked the country the past three years.

The report released April 22 by the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School alleges “high-level government involvement in the planning, execution and cover-up” of three gang-led attacks on poor neighborhoods between 2018 and 2020 that left at least 240 civilians dead. The report relied on investigations of the attacks by Haitian and international human rights experts. It alleges the government provided gangs with money, weapons and vehicles and shielded them from prosecution.


April 26, 2021

Brazil's Class C Sinks by The Millions and Falls into Poverty

More than 30 million leave classification; outlook for 2021 is more income loss in classes D and E

Apr.26.2021 2:03PM

Brazil's so-called class C is being pushed quickly back to classes D and E. This is the biggest novelty of the Brazilian economic landscape at the beginning of this century.

People in class C find themselves headed to poverty due to the consequences of Covid-19 and the disorganization of the Jair Bolsonaro government's (no party) pandemic mitigation policies.

Research from different agencies reveals not only that tens of millions of Brazilians are going back to more precarious situations since last year but that their lives may continue to get worse in 2021.

While the more privileged classes are beginning to stabilize income or make gains, classes D and E are likely to experience another drop of almost 15% in their income this year.


April 26, 2021

How a former guerrilla is becoming unbeatable in Colombia's election race

by Adriaan Alsema April 26, 2021

Colombia’s security forces have been fighting guerrillas for more than 60 years, but may want to prepare for the possibility that a former guerrilla will become their commander-in-chief.

The latest poll did not just confirm others that put opposition Senator Gustavo Petro in the lead of the 2022 election race, but indicated that the former member of the M-19 rebel group may be unbeatable.

According to pollster Invamer, the progressive candidate has taken such a lead that if elections were held tomorrow, no candidate would stand a chance against Petro.

Ahead of the first round, the progressive candidate would enjoy more than twice the support of the runner up, “extreme centrist” Sergio Fajardo.


April 22, 2021

Colombia's most wanted accountant Part 1: Process #34986

by Adriaan Alsema
April 21, 2021

Colombia’s prosecution arrested the former accountant of paramilitary organization AUC on charges unrelated to the ledgers that revealed ties between the mafia and Medellin‘s elite.

Leading former AUC member Jacinto Alberto Soto, a.k.a. “Lucas,” was arrested last week in Barbosa, just miles from the Medellin prison he walked out of months after his 1998 arrest.

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, a transitional justice court ordered the arrest of the AUC’s former finance chief for his alleged involvement in the assassination of three prosecution investigators.

. . .

The prosecutors coincidentally found evidence that the AUC accountant had ties to Medellin crime lord “Don Berna,” former governor Alvaro Uribe, the Medellin Police Department, the National Army’s 7th Division and dozens of companies from Antioquia.


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