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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
July 30, 2023

refik anadol collaborates with brazil's yawanawa tribe on amazon rainforest data sculpture

REFIK ANADOL COLLABORATES WITH THE YAWANAWÁ COMMUNITY

New media artist Refik Anadol collaborates with the Yawanawá community, indigenous to the Brazilian Amazon, on a multilayered digital artwork that responds to real-time data from the rainforest. Commissioned by Impact One, Winds of Yawanawá is composed of a central video artwork and a collection of 1,000 unique and dynamically evolving NFT data paintings. Anadol co-created the generative AI series together with the communities of Aldeia Sagrada and Nova Esperança, immersing viewers in a visual rendition of one of Earth’s most vital ecosystems – the Amazon rainforest – while highlighting the importance of protecting it. Each data painting harnesses weather data from the tribe’s village, including wind speed, gusts, direction, and temperature, which is then merged with works of young Yawanawá artists, resulting in a mesmerizing play of traditional shapes and colors of data pigmentation.

Refik Anadol, Yawanawá Chiefs Nixiwaka and Isku Kua, along with their family members Ninunihu and Ykashahu Yawanawá, unveiled the project at Scorpios Mykonos earlier in July to kickstart the Encounters In Resonance summer art program. Proceeds from the sale of the NFTs go directly to the Yawanawá community as part of a fundraising initiative to support them in protecting their natural and cultural heritage.

WINDS OF YAWANAWÁ UNVEILED AT SCORPIOS MYKONOS


Curated in collaboration with HOFA Gallery (House of Fine Art) and M. Stahl, the In Resonance two-day event at Scorpios brought together Refik Anadol and members of the Yawanawá community to the Greek island of Mykonos. Chiefs Nixiwaka and Isku Kua led a prayer and musical performance of traditional songs together with Nixiwaka’s daughter Ykashahu and Ninunihu, granddaughter of the great medicine man Yawarani, while the video artwork kept playing in a loop, serving as the heart of the event. To accompany and explain this historic initiative, CEO of Impact One Mikolaj Sekutowicz hosted a panel discussion to discuss the significance of the cross-industry collaboration from which the artwork emerged, and how Web3 can be used an additional driver of global stewardship of natural ecosystems.

‘I am a part of the new generation that has witnessed the new technologies arriving within our territories,’ Yawanawá Chief Isku Kua said while pondering the arrival of the new technologies to the Indigenous community. ‘We understood the need to adapt to these new instruments that you bring in order to adapt to this new reality. I don’t need to fight with my bow and arrows anymore. I only need to speak the same language as you. Who would have thought that indigenous people from the middle of the forest living in such a traditional way would today be launching an artwork with this artificial intelligence and all the technology it involves. It doesn’t make me and my people less Yawanawá or less indigenous. When I return back home I will be walking barefoot on the ground. I will continue to play in the river with my children and lighting my fire under the starry sky. But when I want to speak to you or to my brothers, I will take my phone and speak to whoever I want and continue protecting my forests in the same way. But now speaking the same language as you.’



More:
https://www.designboom.com/art/refik-anadol-brazil-yawanawa-tribe-amazon-rainforest-data-sculpture-scorpios-mykonos-07-30-2023/

~ ~ ~

‘Winds of Yawanawa’ by Refik Anadol Integrates the Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Indigenous Community

Possible Futures
3 min read
·
Jul 21

Impact One was proud to initiate a first-of-its-kind collaboration between renowned new media artist Refik Anadol and the Yawanawá community from Acre, Brazil, unveiled in Mykonos on 13 July with Scorpios’ Encounters. Entitled Winds of Yawanawa, the series comprises a central artwork and a limited Genesis NFT collection of 1000 unique Data Paintings that harness weather data from the tribe’s village in the Amazon rainforest.

- click for image -

https://tinyurl.com/5vvw4a3d

Paintings of Yawanawá artists Nawashahu and Mukashahu
Each Data Painting is composed of a unique video with soundtrack, generated from the Winds of Yawanawa central artwork. The data includes wind speed, gusts, direction and temperature and merges with paintings by young Yawanawá sisters Nawashahu and Mukashahu, whose artworks form the visual inspiration of the series. Real-time weather data from Aldeia Sagrada flows into the central Winds of Yawanawa artwork and dictates its movement, making it a living and dynamically evolving representation of the Yawanawá identity and the community’s connection to their Amazonian territory, which is a fundamental ecosystem for all of humanity.

As the first project of the Possible Futures programme in collaboration with the Yawanawá, Winds of Yawanawa is a significant co-creation and cross-industry collaboration that maps a new model dedicated to the establishment of more holistic and equitable pathways to environmental sustainability. Winds of Yawanawa is a powerful intersection between emergent technologies and Indigenous cultural heritage, showcasing how decentralised platforms can support a more equitable future. The artwork is a testament to the potential of Web3 to drive positive change, and celebrates the Yawanawá people’s commitment to the preservation of their culture and environment.

- click for image -

https://tinyurl.com/42vtaxm9

The NFT Data Paintings of Winds of Yawanawa were dropped as the Genesis collection of the newly created Yawanawa & Refik Anadol ledger, and minted with a special smart contract created to highlight the co-authorship of the community and to transparently show the NFT sales proceeds distribution. The Winds of Yawanawa artwork series is a first step to showcase the potential of Web3 technologies like blockchain and NFTs to facilitate new compensation models, decentralised economies, and tangible solutions for Indigenous autonomy and environmental protection. These technologies can be used to map, measure, safeguard, and regenerate forests, supporting conservation initiatives and local communities.

Proceeds of the sales of the artwork series go directly to Instituto Nixiwaka, an entity created by Yawanawa chiefs Nixiwaka, Putanny and Isku Kua, to represent the Yawanawá communities of Aldeia Sagrada and Nova Esperança. The funds will be deployed by Instituto Nixiwaka to support long-term initiatives for the protection of the Yawanawá territories and cultural heritage. These initiatives include building sustainable infrastructure for the village of Aleida Sagrada, preparations for the Indigenous Conferences taking place in the sacred village in October 2024 and developing an educational curriculum for the Isku Vakehu school in Nova Esperança.

More:
https://medium.com/@possiblefutures.one/impact-one-commissions-first-of-its-kind-artwork-titled-winds-of-yawanawa-f04c2b34c2bd



Refik Anadol

~ ~ ~

Refik Anadol Headlines a New Cultural Program at Scorpios Curated by HOFA
Exhibition Announcements



July 13, 2023

Hesper Cane

The Mykonos-based creative hub, Scorpios, partnered with The House of Fine Art (HOFA) Gallery to launch In Resonance, a broad cultural summer program exploring the connections between contemporary art and music. In Resonance is part of the recently established platform Scorpio's Encounters, which emerged from an online magazine to a live, immersive experience.

The inaugural edition of In Resonance comprises a summer-long extensive program presenting works by notable generative artists, live musical performances, music collaborations, and limited digital art drops. Turkish-American multidisciplinary artist Refik Anadol is headlining the rich program at Scorpios with a series of his most recent artworks.



Possible Futures COP27, Camilla Coutinho for Impact One
Possible Futures COP27, © Camilla Coutinho for Impact One
Refik Anadol x The Yawanawa

Exploring and traversing the space between humans and machines, Refik Anadol will showcase an array of new works created in close collaboration with the Yawanawa Indigenous communities of Aldeia Sagrada and Nova Esperança from Brazil. The Yawanawa community comprises 1,200 people dispersed along the Gregório River in the Brazilian state of Acre, maintaining a traditional approach to living in harmony with nature. These protectors of the rainforest are simultaneously safeguarding multi-generational knowledge regarding medicine and agriculture and preserving their vibrant culture.

Anadol's project was powered by Impact One, an initiative focusing on sustainability and the environment that first collaborated with the Yawanawa community in 2021. Refik Anadol x The Yawanawa presents a continuation of Impact One's mission and represents a segment of their Possible Futures program. Both the artist and the initiative will divert all proceeds from the sale of the collection to the Yawanawa community and the perseverance of their legacy and culture.



More:
https://www.widewalls.ch/magazine/refik-anadol-scorpios
July 30, 2023

Better late than never department: First Conviction for Dictatorship Crimes in Brazil

June 22, 2021 11:09AM EDT

First Conviction for Dictatorship Crimes in Brazil
Justice Should not Take 50 Years

Maria Laura Canineu
Brazil Director, Americas Division



Demonstrators show photos of people killed during Brazil's dictatorship outside a police station that used to be a torture center used by the dictatorship in Sao Paulo, Brazil on August 5th, 2019. © 2019 Andre Penner/AP Photo



A Brazilian court has issued the first conviction of a state agent for human rights abuses committed during the dictatorship of 1964 to 1985. Yesterday a judge in São Paulo sentenced retired police officer Carlos Alberto Augusto to 2 years and 11 months in prison for the kidnapping of Edgar de Aquino Duarte.

Duarte was among at least 434 people who were killed or forcibly disappeared during Brazil’s dictatorship, according to the National Truth Commission. Thousands more were illegally detained or tortured, yet those responsible were shielded by a 1979 amnesty law. The Supreme Court upheld the law in 2010, although the Inter-American Court of Human Rights later found that it violates Brazil’s obligations under international law.

Judge Silvio César Arouck Gemaque ruled that kidnapping is an ongoing crime that is not subject to the amnesty law and should be punished. Prosecutor Andrey Mendonça told Human Rights Watch that the conviction was “historic.”

Duarte, a naval officer, opposed the 1964 military coup and was expelled from the navy. He ended his political activities and was working as a financial broker when an informant mentioned his name to the authorities. On June 13, 1971, he was arrested without a court order and held incommunicado. He was last seen in 1973. His body was never recovered.

Federal prosecutors charged three men with his kidnapping; two have since died, including former army colonel Carlos Brilhante Ustra, who commanded a torture center where Duarte was also held, according to survivors who testified in this case. President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain who praises the dictatorship, has called Ustra “a Brazilian hero.”

More:
https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/06/22/first-conviction-dictatorship-crimes-brazil

~ ~ ~

Very old article from Amnesty International:

Brazil Hides its Crimes Through Inhumane Legislation

It has been 25 years since Brazil’s military regime ended. Yet, the crimes and violence enforced by the country’s authorities from 1964 to 1985 have failed to see the light of justice.

As a condition to allow the restoration of democracy in Brazil in 1979, the military regime enacted legislation designed to provide blanket amnesty for ”political or political related crimes” committed since 1961. The law has been used since then, to provide state agents with immunity from crimes they committed during the country’s military era. Because of it, state officials were able to get away with torture, enforced disappearances and killings. These crimes are so grave, that they fall under the jurisdiction of international law.

A few months ago, in April of 2010, the Brazilian Supreme Court had an opportunity to repeal the amnesty law. Many of us hoped that the “new Brazil” would show maturity and respect for human rights. Instead, they decided to uphold the old interpretation, indicating that crimes committed by members of the military regime were political acts and therefore they were protected by the amnesty law.

Brazil is the only country in South America that has failed to address human rights violations of past regimes. While the country still debates issues surrounding the interpretation of the law, countries like Argentina, Peru and Chile have gone a long way to bring to justice those who oversaw the human rights violations of thousands of victims, under their past governments. As the most recent example, a few days ago Argentina’s Court sentenced the country’s first military dictatoropens in a new tab, Jorge Rafael Videla, for life in prison. He was found guilty for committing crimes against humanity between 1976 and 1981, when he was head of the country’s military regime.

In an effort to uphold justice, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights had to step in, in what is known as the Araguaia Caseopens in a new tab. After a long and careful review of the facts and circumstances, the Court found Brazil responsible for the enforced disappearance of sixty-two people, between 1972 and 1974. Importantly, the international court stated opens in a new tabthat Brazil violated the right of truth when its authorities failed to investigate the disappearances and when they decided not to prosecute those responsible for the ruthless acts.

More:
https://www.amnestyusa.org/updates/brazil-hides-its-crimes-through-inhumane-legislation/

July 29, 2023

You can be sure the prisoners will get clean, respectable treatment from Bukele's courts, too!





It's going to require an enormous courtroom.

Human rights groups will continue to look on helplessly.

~ ~ ~

Nayib Bukele shows how to dismantle a democracy and stay popular
Others will learn from El Salvador’s charismatic president

- click for image -

https://web.archive.org/web/20230728125040im_/https://www.economist.com/cdn-cgi/image/width=834,quality=80,format=auto/content-assets/images/20230722_AMD000.jpg

image: klawe rzeczy
Jul 20th 2023 | SONSONATE

The gang crackdown began in earnest in March 2022, after 87 people were murdered in a single weekend, apparently after a deal between gangs and the government broke down. Mr Bukele declared a “state of exception” (ie, emergency). He let the police arrest anyone they suspected of gang ties, even if the only evidence was a tattoo or an anonymous tip-off. More than 71,000 people—a number equivalent to around 7% of male Salvadoreans aged 14-29—have been rounded up and tossed into overcrowded jails. Human-rights groups are outraged, but most Salvadoreans are delighted.

“Before, this neighbourhood was ruled by a gang, and you couldn’t leave it [without their permission],” says Miguel, a shop owner in Sonsonate, a small town 65km (40 miles) from the capital, San Salvador. Violence was routine. Three gangsters murdered Miguel’s sister because she broke off a relationship with one of them. Since Mr Bukele locked up the thugs, life has grown easier, he says. His murdered sister’s daughter, whom he adopted, can walk around without worrying.

The state of exception was supposed to last 30 days, but has been extended 15 times. Prisoners will eventually have trials, the government says, but so far they have had only pre-trial hearings, where dozens or even hundreds appear simultaneously before a judge, sometimes by video link. Whole batches are charged with “illicit association”. This need not mean belonging to a gang. It could mean knowingly receiving a “direct or indirect benefit” by having relations “of any nature” with one. Mr Bukele has raised the maximum sentence for “supporting” a gang from nine years to 45. El Salvador now locks up a higher share of its people than any other country.

Of those arrested so far, 6,000 have been released, says Gustavo Villatoro, the security minister. Asked if any more of the detainees might be innocent, he says the police and prosecutors are working hard “every day” to gather the necessary evidence to determine who is guilty. Trials (which have not yet started) will be concluded within two years, he says. He adds that the crackdown will continue until every last gang member is locked up: there are, he reckons, perhaps 15,000 more to catch, many of whom have fled from the country.

Tossing aside due process is an essential part of Mr Bukele’s strategy. Previously, when a gangster swaggered into a shop and demanded protection money, the owner knew that to refuse was to court death. He could call the police, but if he testified he would be murdered and if no one testified there would not be enough evidence to lock the gangster up.

Now, if a gangster swaggers down the street, anyone can get him locked up with an anonymous phone call. This completely changes the balance of power in previously gang-dominated neighbourhoods. “Before, the good people were afraid. Now, the bad people are,” says Miguel. (However, he asks that The Economist use a pseudonym.)

El Salvador’s homicide rate was already falling: from 106 per 100,000 people in 2015 to 51 in 2018 (the year before Mr Bukele was elected) and 18 in 2021 (before the state of exception began). Nonetheless, it is almost certain that the crackdown contributed to a further halving (see chart 1). El Salvador had eight murders per 100,000 people in 2022, a rate only slightly worse than in the United States.

. . .

Hard cell
When critics accuse Mr Bukele of flouting norms, he revels in his transgressions. For example, his government invests in cryptocurrency. The only public guide to how much it has bought is the president’s tweets. Sticklers for transparency complain. Mr Bukele boasts that he buys Bitcoin (with public money) on his phone, while in the toilet. He announces new policies via social media. State outlets amplify his message; paid trolls deride his critics, according to an investigation by Reuters. Amparo Marroquín of the University of Central America in San Salvador reckons that the president needs just 12 hours to have everyone talking about a topic. By contrast it takes the opposition 500 hours.

More:
https://web.archive.org/web/20230722122343/https://www.economist.com/the-americas/2023/07/20/nayib-bukele-shows-how-to-dismantle-a-democracy-and-stay-popular
July 28, 2023

Mangrove forest thrives around what was once Latin America's largest landfill

It was once Latin America’s largest landfill

By MARIO LOBÃO and DIANE JEANTET Associated Press
July 26, 2023, 2:32 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO -- It was once Latin America's largest landfill. Now, a decade after Rio de Janeiro shut it down and redoubled efforts to recover the surrounding expanse of highly polluted swamp, crabs, snails, fish and birds are once again populating the mangrove forest.

“If we didn't say this used to be a landfill, people would think it's a farm. The only thing missing is cattle,” jokes Elias Gouveia, an engineer with Comlurb, the city's garbage collection agency that is shepherding the plantation project. “This is an environmental lesson that we must learn from: nature is remarkable. If we don’t pollute nature, it heals itself.”

Gouveia, who has worked with Comlurb for 38 years, witnessed the Gramacho landfill recovery project's timid first steps in the late 1990s.

The former landfill is located right by the 148 square miles (383 square kilometers) Guanabara Bay. Between the landfill's inauguration in 1968 and 1996, some 80 million tons of garbage were dumped in the area, polluting the bay and surrounding rivers with trash and runoff.

. . .

Mangroves are of particular interest for environmental restoration for their capacity to capture and store large amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide, Gouveia explained.

Experts say mangroves can bury even more carbon in the sediment than a tropical rainforest, making it a great tool to fight climate change.

More:
https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mangrove-forest-thrives-latin-americas-largest-landfill-101679681






July 26, 2023

Ancient DNA Reveals A Diverse Community Lived At Machu Picchu, The 'Lost City Of The Incas'

AncientPages.com | July 26, 2023 |

Conny Waters - AncientPages.com - Who lived at Machu Picchu at its height? A new study used ancient DNA to find out for the first time where workers buried more than 500 years ago came from within the lost Inca Empire.

Researchers, including Jason Nesbitt, associate professor of archaeology at Tulane University School of Liberal Arts, performed genetic testing on individuals buried at Machu Picchu in order to learn more about the people who lived and worked there.



Machu Picchu, Peru. Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Cusco region of Peru. It is one of the most well-known archaeological sites in the world and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. It was once part of a royal estate of the Inca Empire.

Like other royal estates, Machu Picchu was home not only to royalty and other elite members of Inca society, but also to attendants and workers, many of whom lived in the estate year-round. These residents did not necessarily come from the local area, though it is only in this study that researchers have been able to confirm, with DNA evidence, the diversity of their backgrounds.

More:
https://www.ancientpages.com/2023/07/26/ancient-dna-diverse-community-machu-picchu/

July 25, 2023

Mexico seeks another chance to hold US gunmakers liable for drug cartel violence


Attorneys for Mexico tried to bring back a federal lawsuit that aims to pin some responsibility for drug cartel gun violence on American weapons manufacturers.

THOMAS F. HARRISON / July 24, 2023



A border crossing sign warns travelers of Mexico’s stringent gun laws. With only one gun store the country, located on a military base, Mexico issues fewer than 50 gun permits per year. (Courthouse News image via the District of Massachusetts)

BOSTON (CN) — A trio of judges showed little indication of their leanings Monday while asking wide-ranging questions about the impact of a $10 billion lawsuit by the Mexican government accusing U.S. gunmakers of encouraging illegal weapons trafficking to gangs and cartels.

Mexico fought to revive its claims against seven U.S. gun makers — including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Colt, Glock and Ruger — which it deems responsible for 340,000 guns being smuggled across the southern border each year, leading to as many as 17,000 murders per year and economic damages of almost 2% of the Mexico’s GDP.

In its complaint the Mexican government says the gunmakers score $170 million in annual sales by illegally selling their weapons to corrupt dealers who they know will traffic the guns to gangs and cartels. Colt even manufactures three .38 caliber pistols specifically tailored to the Mexican market that are prized by criminal gang members: the “El Jefe,” the “El Grito” and the “Emiliano Zapata 1911.”

On behalf of Mexico, attorney Steve Shadowen of Hilliard Shadowen in Austin, Texas, argued that federal laws don’t apply outside the United States unless Congress explicitly says so.

More:
https://www.courthousenews.com/mexico-seeks-another-chance-to-hold-us-gunmakers-liable-for-drug-cartel-violence/
July 23, 2023

How an eccentric English tech guru helped guide Allende's socialist Chile

Stafford Beer pioneered ‘cybernetic management principles’ but Pinochet’s coup saw technology turned to nefarious ends

John Bartlett
Sat 22 Jul 2023 06.30 EDT

Stafford Beer pioneered ‘cybernetic management principles’ but Pinochet’s coup saw technology turned to nefarious ends


In the autumn of 1971, an ambitious young engineer from Talca, central Chile, strode into the lobby of the exclusive Athenaeum Club on London’s Pall Mall to meet Stafford Beer, an eccentric Surrey insider he had long admired.

Fernando Flores had been appointed head of Chile’s Production and Development Corporation (Corfo) by the socialist president Salvador Allende at just 26 years of age, and amid a rush of excitement for Allende’s plans, hoped to present Beer with his vision for a technology-driven, state-led economic model.

Beer was frustrated by the lack of traction his ideas were getting in Britain – he had pioneered “cybernetic management principles”, the science of effective organisation, which inspired Flores – and was quick to agree.

The meeting would blossom into a dizzying, experimental collaboration in Allende’s Chile – one of cold war Latin America’s fiercest battlegrounds – and the fruition of the Cybersyn Project, a futuristic plan for a modern socialist economy.

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/22/stafford-beer-chile-allende-technology-cybernetics


July 22, 2023

The Church Committee Hearings: Losing Our Religion

JULY 21, 2023

BY JOHN KENDALL HAWKINS



Church Committee report (Book II: Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans; PDF)

James Risen has won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting twice. The first win was as part of a New York Times reporting team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for coverage of the September 11th attacks and terrorism. The second win came with his bestselling book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration (2006). Another highly commended book he’s published is Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War (2014), detailing the “homeland security industrial complex”, or the rise of the super-intrusive surveillance we all cope with today.

State of War included an article on the NSA’s Stellar Wind program that Risen had written as a Times reporter, with Eric Lichtblau, “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts,” which was quashed by editors and only published14 months later (December 2005) when Risen informed the Times that he’d be including it in his forthcoming book. The story’s suppression of the Stellar Wind story partially inspired Ed Snowden to blow the whistle 8 years later on the government’s global surveillance abuses. Risen later wrote about the Times decision, after he moved to The Intercept, and described it as being based not on national security issues so much as it was a favor to NSA head Michael Hayden by Times Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman.

Risen himself was inspired by the doings and findings of the Church Committee hearings of 1975, which brought to light and confronted for the first time the often illegal excesses of the tax-payer funded Intelligence Community (IC). This inspiration was the source of his latest book, The Last Honest Man: The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia, and the Kennedys―and One Senator’s Fight to Save Democracy. As the title suggests, the biography, co-written with Thomas Risen, is largely a character assessment of the life and work of an ambitious Democratic politician from conservative Idaho who conceivably maintains his integrity while battling the dark shadows of America’s growing empire, powered by the Military-Industrial-Complex (MIC) and enforced by the machinations of the CIA.

It’s a battle that Risen has been reporting on for a couple of decades now, mostly while at the Times, and in a series of books, beginning with The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB (2004). His prize-winning work for the Times while covering the events of 9/11 and its aftermath was followed by brave reporting on how the government responded to the terrorist attack. What it did was awaken the Surveillance State — the tyrannical sleeper cell that Frank Church had warned us all about in his famous August 17, 1975 Meet the Press interview.

More:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2023/07/21/the-church-committee-hearings-losing-our-religion/

(Excellent short clip with Church linked in the article.)

July 22, 2023

The Strange Rehabilitation of Elliott Abrams

JULY 21, 2023

BY MELVIN GOODMAN



Photograph Source: U.S. Department of State – Public Domain

Democratic presidents have a way of reaching out to undeserving Republicans to protect their domestic flanks on the right. Bill Clinton appointed James Woolsey to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1993 in order to gain standing among national security conservatives. Barack Obama retained Robert Gates as secretary of defense in 2009 in order to appease Pentagon professionals. And now President Joe Biden has named Elliott Abrams to the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Why in the world would anyone want to resurrect Elliott Abrams?

The Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy is hardly a well-known bureaucracy, not even to hard-core policy wonks. But it was created in 1948 to ensure that policy experts would provide honest assessments to improve U.S. public diplomacy. One should never use “honest” and “Elliott Abrams” in the same sentence. And the same could be said for Jim Woolsey, who was a bizarre choice, and Bob Gates, who was known for politicizing intelligence for the Reagan administration throughout the 1980s. It is particularly risible that Abrams would be appointed to a position charged with maintaining integrity in U.S. public diplomacy.

Abrams’ involvement in Iran-Contra is the obvious starting point for any discussion of his qualifications. He was convicted in 1991 of two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress, but received a pardon from President George H.W. Bush. Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel who investigated Iran-Contra, prepared multiple felony counts against Abrams, who eventually admitted that he knew more than he acknowledged in congressional testimony. Several years later, he was publicly sanctioned by the District of Columbia Bar for giving false testimony to Congress about Iran-Contra.

As Ronald Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs in the 1980s, Abrams regularly covered up atrocities committed by U.S.-backed military forces in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. He did the same for the Contras in Nicaragua, and, as a result, was heavily criticized by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The Lawyers Committee, Americas Watch, and Helsinki Watch collaborated on a report in the mid-1980s that charged Abrams with “undermining the purpose of the human rights bureau in the State Department.”

A cursory look at Abrams’ track record in Central America reveals an archetype Cold War functionary from a sad era. As an assistant secretary of state, he promoted aid to the Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who came to power via a coup and was found guilty of a campaign of mass murder and torture of indigenous people. Abrams defended the human rights record of the El Salvador government, even in the wake of the El Mozote massacre of hundreds of civilians by the CIA-backed El Salvador military. He dismissed reports of the massacre as left-wing propaganda and denounced U.S. investigative reports as misleading. As late as 2019, Abrams was still defending the human rights record of the Reagan administration in Central America.

More:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2023/07/21/the-strange-rehabilitation-of-elliott-abrams/

More:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2023/07/21/the-strange-rehabilitation-of-elliott-abrams/



July 20, 2023

Crows and Magpies Snatch Anti-Bird Spikes to Build Their Nests

Birds in Europe are prying up the metal barbs, meant to repel them from roosting on buildings, and using the devices as nesting material

Victoria Sayo Turner

Mass Media Fellow, AAAS

July 14, 2023



A magpie nest in Antwerp, Belgium, made with anti-bird spikes Auke-Florian Hiemstra


Picture a bird’s nest. Chances are, what comes to mind is a woven basket of twigs and plant fibers—you might not imagine a crown of metal spines. But that’s exactly how some crows and magpies in Europe have started styling their nests.

These clever corvids have commandeered anti-bird spikes—the long strips of needle-like rods used to repel birds from roosting on rooftops, doorframes or other human-made structures—and begun using them as nesting material, according to a new paper published this week in the Natireonal History Museum Rotterdam’s journal Deinsea.

“Even for me as a nest researcher, these are the craziest bird nests I’ve ever seen,” says Auke-Florian Hiemstra, a biologist at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands, to the Guardian’s Ian Sample.

https%3A%2F%2Fwww.smithsonianmag.com%2Fsmart-news%2Fcrows-and-magpies-snatch-anti-bird-spikes-to-build-their-nests-180982546%2F

Apparently, the birds remove the spikes from buildings, leaving behind tell-tale stripes of glue where the metal pieces once were, reports Emily Anthes for the New York Times.

. . .

https://twitter.com/i/status/1448014862572040198
More:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/crows-and-magpies-snatch-anti-bird-spikes-to-build-their-nests-180982546/

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