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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
June 22, 2024

Ancient artifacts found near island of Janitzio in Lake Patzcuaro

MND Staff
June 18, 2024

The remains of a Purépecha boat called a tepari and other ancient artifacts have been uncovered during a massive cleanup operation to help save Lake Pátzcuaro, in the state of Michoacán, from extinction.

The traditional canoe — which stands out for its considerable length of 14.8 meters (48.5 feet) — was found in the vicinity of the island of Janitzio, located in Lake Pátzcuaro, which has been inhabited by the Purépecha people for centuries.

Another major find at the Lake Pátzcuro site was a 14-meter canoe-like traditional boat of the Purépecha people, called a tepari. As seen in this photo, the ancient artifact was found lodged in mud made hard by drought conditions in Lake Pátzcuro. (INAH/X)

The boat sank with a load of firewood, according to experts with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), leading to speculation that Purépecha boatmen had just made a run to nearby Erongaricuaro and were returning to the island with their cargo.

The chance discovery was recorded in early May at the drought-stricken Michoacán lake, where more than 730 men and women are working to combat deforestation, a lack of rain, water theft, historical neglect and excessive planting of avocados and other fruits — conditions that have reduced Lake Pátzcuaro’s surface by 42%.

In announcing the findings on Monday, INAH noted that it is working with the local Indigenous Purépecha community to generate conservation and research strategies for the tepari, which was found lodged in hard mud. One idea is to create a museum on Janitzio.


June 21, 2024

Argentina's president promises to quash corruption then shocks with his Supreme Court pick

Updated 11:07 PM CDT, June 20, 2024

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Campaigning last year as a libertarian outsider, Javier Milei electrified rallies with his vows to destroy Argentina’s corrupt political elite. But the eccentric economist-turned-president now faces accusations of hypocrisy over his Supreme Court nomination.

What makes his choice of Ariel Lijo, 55, so extraordinary is not just the judge’s lack of appellate experience or scant scholarly publications, but that he has been accused of conspiracy, money laundering and illicit enrichment, and has come under scrutiny for more ethics violations than almost any other judge in his court’s history.

“This is a massive regression, an effort to undermine the judiciary and the fight against corruption,” said Juan Pappier, deputy director of the Americas at Human Rights Watch. “This is Milei’s biggest contradiction.”

The backlash to Lijo’s May 28 nomination was swift. Protestors rallied outside the Supreme Court. Legal watchdogs, business groups and newspapers castigated Milei for elevating an exemplar of the class that he had vowed to disrupt.


(My bolding)

June 21, 2024

Mainstream Media Obscure the Threat Posed by Trump's Authoritarianism

The ruling elite use major media apparatuses as disimagination machines for tools of indoctrination.

By Henry A. Giroux , TRUTHOUT
PublishedMay 29, 2024

If recent swing-state polls are to be believed, Donald Trump could be on his way to potentially being reelected president. He embodies the overt, brutal, punishing symptoms of the racism, class warfare, and attacks on youth and women that have marred the United States since its inception. Beneath these not-so-hidden authoritarian undercurrents lies neoliberalism’s erosion of and attacks on critical and civic education. This ideology is characterized by a staggering indifference to human needs, systemic racism, intensified class warfare, the fear of living with difference, and a profound obsession with instrumentalist methods, such as racially discriminatory and class-based “zero tolerance” policies, and teaching that focuses on standardized testing outcomes.

These issues have been exacerbated by a culture of “disimagination machines,” in which the ruling financial elite control all major media apparatuses. These tools of indoctrination relentlessly churn out manufactured ignorance and a shallow notion of self-interest, promoting a depoliticized notion of individualism. Additionally, these machineries of misinformation undermine the moral imagination’s power to empathize with the claims of others while undercutting the courage of individuals to see beyond the socially induced fog of a culture of immediacy. In this context, critical inquiry and thinking are divorced from the public imagination as sources of resistance. One consequence is that individuals and the larger public are thwarted from envisioning a future that advances democratic values of social and economic justice.

The educational force of U.S. society is now dominated by cultural and political institutions such as Fox News and conservative talk shows that erode any sense of shared citizenship, historical consciousness and common vision. No longer part of a moral, civic and ethical project, cultural politics has increasingly degenerated into a repressive corporate-controlled pedagogical apparatus. Functioning as a right-wing war machine, far right cultural platforms battle critical ideas, language, social relations and values that highlight the promise of radical democracy. Under such circumstances, cultural politics are dominated by observation posts of pedagogical repression, transforming what historian Robin D.G. Kelley labels “freedom dreams” into freedom’s nightmares.

Propaganda has become the political weapon of the 21st century, corrupting every form of education and every institution associated with the production of ideas, values and knowledge. This has undermined both the capacity for critical thinking and the concept of truth itself. The past does not simply live in the present; it is now being used to cancel out reason and justice as harbingers of a more democratic future. Furthermore, imagining a better world is no longer related to learning from the past. On the contrary, historical knowledge is now being erased as far right legislators ban ideas and subjects that reveal the legacy of slavery, Indigenous genocide, and repression. What Ralph Ellison once called “the shadows of our historical knowledge” are now being purged from public and higher education. No longer a crucial archive and “treasure trove of resources” that “gives shape and contour to present imaginings,” history and remembrance are being suppressed by the new McCarthyite assassins of memory, who engage in censorship, misinformation and political repression. What far right politicians and right-wing media make clear and want to suppress, as historian Tiya Miles observes, is that “U.S. history would not make sense without the study of slavery. Period.”


June 21, 2024

Ecuador: Widespread Labor Abuse on Banana Plantations: Harmful Child Labor, Anti-Union Bias Plague Industry

Ecuador: Widespread Labor Abuse on Banana Plantations
Harmful Child Labor, Anti-Union Bias Plague Industry

Banana workers in Ecuador are the victims of serious human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch charged in a new report released today.

In its investigation, Human Rights Watch found that Ecuadorian children as young as eight work on banana plantations in hazardous conditions, while adult workers fear firing if they try to exercise their right to organize. Ecuador is the world’s largest banana exporter and the source of roughly one quarter of all bananas on the tables of U.S. and European consumers.

Banana-exporting corporations such as Ecuadorian-owned Noboa and Favorita, as well as Chiquita, Del Monte, and Dole fail to use their financial influence to insist that their supplier plantations respect workers’ rights, the report found. Dole leads the pack of foreign multinationals in sourcing from Ecuador, obtaining nearly one third of all its bananas from the country.

“The Ecuadorian bananas on your table may have been produced under appalling conditions,” said José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch. “Banana companies have a duty to uphold workers’ rights. Ecuador is obligated under international law to do so.”

June 21, 2024

The Landmark Ruling Against Chiquita Exposes the Failure of Voluntary "Corporate Social Responsibility"

Chiquita’s financing of a Colombian paramilitary group while claiming a reputation as a “responsible corporate citizen” shows the need for robust civil society institutions.

JUNE 20, 2024

Last week, Chiquita Brands International?—?one of the world’s largest banana distributors?—?was found liable in a Florida court for financing a Colombian paramilitary group. The ruling marks a landmark moment for corporate accountability: It is the first time a U.S. corporation has been held liable for human rights violations abroad in connection to their business operations. As momentous as this victory is in its own right, it also illustrates the ineffectiveness of voluntary corporate social responsibility initiatives?—?and the need for strong civil society institutions to protect human rights.

Chiquita Brands International has vast banana plantations throughout Colombia. After a 17-year legal battle, a federal jury in Florida delivered a groundbreaking verdict on June 10 holding Chiquita accountable for financing the violent paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). The AUC was declared a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State in 2001. Chiquita has previously pleaded guilty to paying the AUC ​“for security services.” The recent verdict holds Chiquita accountable for what they paid for: The court found in favor of plaintiffs who have long alleged the AUC murdered, tortured, and terrorized workers between 1997 and 2004 in an effort to intimidate them to prevent organizing, and assassinated union leaders who posed threats to the corporation’s bottom-line as the company bought land and expanded its influence in Colombia.

. . .

The case against Chiquita

Evidence presented in the case revealed Chiquita’s complicity in the AUC’s operations, including use of Chiquita’s ports for weapon imports and banana boats for cocaine exports. Despite the AUC’s designation as a terrorist organization, Chiquita continued to utilize the AUC as a tool to secure corporate expansion and profits from 1997 until 2004. Chiquita disguised payments to the AUC by classifying them as business costs. When payments to the AUC were brought to the attention of Chiquita’s Board of Directors six years after the initial payment, the board decided to disclose the payments to the U.S. Department of Justice while claiming they were made under duress. However, Chiquita continued to disburse payments through its Colombian subsidiary, Banadex. The AUC, responsible for thousands of civilian deaths, used these funds for violence, including the murder of trade union representatives. Chiquita eventually pled guilty to a felony charge of making payments to a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2007 after a U.S. Department of Justice proceeding, paying a $25 million fine for that crime. In the process, there was no mention of the business interest that this served for Chiquita?—?suppressing the voices of human rights defenders?—?nor was there mention of those killed and their families.

, , ,

Chiquita’s ​“storied” past: United Fruit and mass murder

These abuses were not the first time that Chiquita has been complicit in massive human rights violations. Throughout the company’s history, including the years it operated as the United Fruit Company (UFC), Chiquita has showcased a long history of extraction, worker repression, suppression of labor movements and corporate dominance in Latin America. In 1928, UFC orchestrated the massacre of over 1,000 striking workers in Colombia who were being paid only $1/​month. Perhaps most famously, the United States overthrew the democratically-elected government of Guatemala in 1954 to protect UFC’s grasp on the nation’s economy, installing a pro-business military dictatorship instead, which set the stage for the Guatemalan Civil war and the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous Maya.


(My bolding)

June 19, 2024

The Pinochet Regime Declassified

DINA: “A Gestapo-Type Police Force” in Chile

Fifty Years after Official Creation, Declassified Documents Record Atrocities
Committed by Chilean Secret Security Force, DINA

Published: Jun 18, 2024
Briefing Book #
Edited by Peter Kornbluh and John Dinges

Washington, D.C., June 18, 2024 - On June 18, 1974, the official registry of the Chilean military dictatorship published Decree 521 on the “creation of the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA),” the secret police force responsible for some of the regime’s most emblematic human rights crimes. To mark the 50th anniversary of DINA’s official creation, the National Security Archive today is publishing a curated collection of declassified CIA, DIA, FBI and State Department documents, along with key Chilean records, that reflect the history of DINA’s horrific human rights atrocities and terrorist crimes.

The decree signed by General Augusto Pinochet and other members of the military junta officially established DINA for “the purpose of producing intelligence collection requirements for the formulation of policies, plans and adoption of measures required for the security and development of the country,” but the measure also included three secret articles empowering DINA to operate as a secret police force to surveil, arrest, imprison and eliminate anyone considered an opponent of the regime. The new decree gave “legal/official blessing to an organization that is already fully active,” the U.S. Defense attaché reported to Washington. Other members of the Chilean military viewed the junta’s order as “the foundation upon which a Gestapo-type police force will be built.”

DINA was created as a military organization outside the military chain of command, instead reporting directly to Pinochet as chief of the junta. As the secret articles of the decree stated, the new Directorate of National Intelligence was the “continuation of the DINA Commission” established in November 1973, only eight weeks after the September 11, 1973, military coup. By the time it was officially inaugurated, DINA was already the most feared security force in Chile—if not all Latin America. “There are three sources of power in Chile,” one Chilean intelligence officer informed a U.S. military attaché in early 1974: “Pinochet, God and DINA.”

As the principal agency of the regime’s apparatus of repression, DINA became infamous for its secret torture centers, extrajudicial executions, the forced disappearances of hundreds of civilians and acts of international terrorism. The sinister secret police force, according to a special TOP SECRET/SENSITIVE Senate report based on still classified CIA documents, eventually grew to 3,800 officers, operatives and administrative personnel—the figure is mistyped in the report as 38,000—with an annual budget of $27 million. According to that study, DINA “was established as an arm of the presidency, under the direct control of President Pinochet.” DINA’s director, Col. Manuel Contreras, according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, “has reported exclusively to, and received orders only from President Pinochet.”

June 18, 2024

Speaking of Cuba! Golden Oldie, from 2007, from The Nation. So worth reading, for anyone interested in reality!

APRIL 26, 2007
Changing Course on Cuba
The US government’s policy toward Cuba is imperial, irrational, arguably insane. It’s time to change it.

This article appears in the May 14, 2007 issue.

What do you call a US policy that allows a notorious international terrorist to walk free on bail? A policy that detains and fines a class of New York high school students for taking a study trip over spring break? A policy that has been repudiated at the United Nations by virtually every other country in the world? A policy that, after forty-eight years of abject failure, is still based on the false assumption that success–in the form of “regime change”–is just around the corner? Imperial. Illogical. Irrational. Insane.

As Wayne Smith, former chief of the US interest section in Havana, has observed, Cuba seems to have “the same effect on American administrations that the full moon has on werewolves.” For almost five decades this small Caribbean nation has inspired some of the most rabid US policies, from economic embargoes and diplomatic sanctions to covert ops, paramilitary invasions and assassination attempts. Fidel Castro has survived such aggression from nine US Presidents, and it now appears he may outlast a tenth.

The next occupant of the White House will have an unusual opportunity to bring US policy toward Cuba into the twenty-first century. Slowly but surely, the political actors are realigning. Castro’s illness opened up unprecedented possibilities for change on the island, and the stable transition of power to his brother Raul exposed as a fallacy Washington’s prediction that the regime would disintegrate without its founder. Recent opinion polls reflect more moderate attitudes among Cuban-Americans, a shift that could ease the vise-like grip hard-line exiles have held over the crucial swing state of Florida. The Democratic takeover of Congress has placed limits on the power of right-wing Cuban-American legislators. Finally, the Administration has drained the blood from its global crusade for regime change with the self-inflicted wound known as the Iraq War.

In Washington, there is a reinvigorated, and increasingly bipartisan, effort to pressure Bush, presidential contenders and the new Congress to lift parts of the embargo and move toward normal relations. On April 18, for example, the New America Foundation launched an initiative to shape a “new consensus” on Cuba at a press conference featuring Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson. Speakers at the event echoed a recent report from the Center for Democracy in the Americas, In Our National Interest: Top Ten Reasons for Changing US Policy Toward Cuba: “We need a new Cuba policy rooted in America’s national interest and our common sense.”


June 18, 2024

Builders Began Digging for a New Development--and Accidentally Found an Ancient Lost Village

The astonishing discovery has ignited a fierce controversy.

PUBLISHED: JUN 17, 2024 10:41 AM EDT

  • A development project on a North Carolina intercoastal waterway was paused when construction crews found bones.

  • A subsequent archaeological dig at the site turned up over 2,000 artifacts, including remnants of longhouses and evidence of a Native American village.

  • The location has turned into a political debate, with the modern housing project at odds with the historical nature of the site.

    An archaeologist’s dream can be a developer’s nightmare. That’s definitely been the case in North Carolina, as the builders of the new Bridge View neighborhood along the intercostal waterway near Cedar Point uncovered ancient bones while trying to construct a new housing development.

    Now, the fate of what the acting state archeologist calls the most significant find he’s seen in the state in the past 30 years sits in a political battle, according to the television station WRAL.

    The crews first found bones. But as archeologists took over the site, they uncovered an additional 2,000 artifacts, including evidence of longhouses, fish drying racks, and ritual sites that all point to an early Native American village.

    “In the [European] contact period, it could have been a part of the Powhatan Confederation—the Indians that were met by the Jamestown settlers,” Chris Southerly, acting state archeologist, told WRAL, adding that the site has a rich history of multiple Native American groups converging for cross-cultural interactions.

June 18, 2024

National Museum of African American History and Culture Acquires Largest Collection of Charleston Slave Badges

New Collection Available To View Online at the Searchable Museum
June 17, 2024 News Release

Collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Partial Gift of Harry S. Hutchins, Jr. DDS, Col. (Ret.) and his Family, dedicated to the individuals these Slave Hire Badges represent and their descendants.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture recently acquired what is thought to be the largest and most complete set of historic Charleston Slave Badges. The collection includes 146 rare badges dating as far back as 1804. It also features badges with makers’ marks and two with personalized inscriptions. To share the stories of these objects with a worldwide audience, the museum has launched a Searchable Museum feature at SearchableMuseum.com/SlaveBadges, which tells the historical significance of Charleston Slave Badges and the museum’s recent exciting acquisition.

“We are honored to share the story of enslaved African Americans who contributed to building the nation,” said Mary Elliott, NMAAHC museum curator. “It is a story that involves the juxtaposition of profit and power versus the human cost. The story sheds light on human suffering and the power of the human spirit of skilled craftspeople who held onto their humanity and survived the system of slavery, leaving their mark on the landscape in more ways than one.”

Through this digital offering, visitors can engage with the objects and learn about the legislated system of leased enslaved labor in Charleston, South Carolina, those who profited from the system and how enslaved African Americans navigated the landscape of slavery using their abilities, skills and intellect. In addition to providing the history of Charleston Slave badges, the new Searchable Museum feature will provide insight into collecting, archaeology, the role of vocational training and the meaning of freedom.

The Slave Badge system was initially legally instituted in Charleston in 1783 as a form of control and a source of profit. The badge system required that enslaved African Americans whose labor was leased out by their enslavers wear registered identifying badges. The badges identified the occupation of the enslaved laborer, whether as a skilled craftsperson or a servant. It was a form of control and surveillance over African Americans who had limited autonomy to move about the city conducting work—but today they are reminders that the enslaved were skilled workers who built much of Charleston.

June 18, 2024

Ancient DNA reveals secrets of Maya sacrifices and links to modern descendants

Discoveries from a 1967 excavation near Chichén Itzá reveal the identities of ancient sacrificial victims and their connection to contemporary Maya communities

Freda Kreier Published 16.06.24, 04:24 PM

El Castillo, Chichen Itza
By Daniel Schwen - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

In the spring of 1967, workers building a small airport behind Chichén Itzá, the ancient Maya city in Mexico, ran into a problem: Their excavations had uncovered human remains in the pathway of the proposed runway. The airport was set to serve VIPs who wanted to visit Chichén Itzá. But with the remains so close to a major archaeological site, the work had to be halted until the bones could be examined.

Any hope for a quick resolution dissolved when archaeologists who were called to the scene uncovered a chultún — an underground rainwater-storage container that, in Maya mythology, was viewed as an entrance to the subterranean land of the dead. Connected to the cistern was a cave containing more than 100 sets of human remains, almost all belonging to children. In a push to finish the airport, researchers were given just two months to excavate and exhume the cache of bones.

In the spring of 1967, workers building a small airport behind Chichén Itzá, the ancient Maya city in Mexico, ran into a problem: Their excavations had uncovered human remains in the pathway of the proposed runway. The airport was set to serve VIPs who wanted to visit Chichén Itzá. But with the remains so close to a major archaeological site, the work had to be halted until the bones could be examined.

Any hope for a quick resolution dissolved when archaeologists who were called to the scene uncovered a chultún — an underground rainwater-storage container that, in Maya mythology, was viewed as an entrance to the subterranean land of the dead. Connected to the cistern was a cave containing more than 100 sets of human remains, almost all belonging to children. In a push to finish the airport, researchers were given just two months to excavate and exhume the cache of bones.

Nearly 60 years later, ancient DNA extracted from 64 of the children is offering new insights into the religious rituals of the ancient Maya and their ties to modern descendants. In a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, an international cohort of researchers revealed that the children — sacrificial victims killed between 500 and 900 A.D. — were all local Maya boys that may have been specifically selected to be killed in sibling pairs.


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