Monday, August 26, 2013

"Israel training counter-insurgency forces in Mexico; Autonomous municipalities under attack"

More info about EZLN [link]
2013-08-26 by Ian Paxson []:
Earlier this year, Security and Civil Protection of Chiapas Secretary Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca announced the initiation of discussions with the Israeli Defense Forces.
In an attempt to weaken the influence of Zapatista forces and regain control in the southernmost state of Mexico, Llaven is hoping to gain insight from counter-insurgency veterans.
While the IDF has contributed to maintaining capitalist hegemony in Mexico by selling arms to the Mexican government for decades, it is now directly engaged in squashing resistance to global capitalism.

Zapatista struggle -
On Jan. 1, 1994, the same day the North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) went public. With the release of the First Declaration from the Lacandón Jungle, the EZLN declared war on the Mexican state. Meanwhile, 3,000 armed EZLN insurgents seized towns and cities in Chiapas.
Refusing to accept the terms of NAFTA, which would inevitably result in increased income inequality in the country and destroy the indigenous communities’ agricultural sustenance, the Zapatistas sought to ignite a revolution.
After severe government repression, the Zapatistas ceased armed struggle in favor of running autonomous municipalities in Chiapas and engaging in media campaigns to bring light to the detrimental effects of free-trade agreements.
The Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities (MAREZ) enable the Zapatistas and the peoples of Chiapas to operate independently from the Mexican state. Overseeing local community programs on food, health, education and taxation places the power into the hands of indigenous and working-class peoples in the region.
Foreign investors fear the MAREZ  as a threat to investment stability in Mexico. As a result, the Mexican state has made consistent efforts to destroy what the Zapatistas have accomplished.

Israel serves as U.S. proxy -
This is not the first time that Israel has provided a key service to the U.S. by taking part in operations when it is not expedient for the U.S. to do so directly.
An example of this was Israel's long-term military assistance to apartheid South Africa. By the mid-1980s, President Ronald Reagan was under intense pressure to stop U.S. support for South Africa. In April 1985, the Republican majority in the Senate voted overwhelmingly to condemn apartheid. Thereafter, much of U.S. support for South Africa had to continue through the Israeli state, which maintained its strategic alliance with apartheid until 1987.
Strong sentiments and the anti-apartheid movement made it impossible for the U.S. to continue direct support. Today, the U.S. government  finds it politically costly to provide direct support for the repression of the indigenous movement in southern Mexico. It is more convenient to outsource the job to Israel.

Solidarity between Zapatistas and Palestinians -
The Zapatistas have long expressed solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine. Since the creation of the settler-colonial Israeli state in 1948 and forcible eviction of the Palestinian people, Palestinians have been subjected to racism, human rights violations and extreme violence at the hands of Israeli settlers and the IDF, with the financial and political support of U.S. imperialism.
In spite of this oppression, the Palestinian people's will to achieve self-determination has not been broken. For decades, Palestinians have been engaged in militant resistance for national liberation, which has inspired revolutionaries around the globe.
The alliance of the Mexican state and the IDF signifies another type of global solidarity, however. A threat to the capitalist order in one corner of the globe is a threat to the entire system.
“Not far from here, in a place called Gaza, in Palestine, in the Middle East, right here next to us, the Israeli government’s heavily trained and armed military continues its march of death and destruction.”—Zapatista spokesperson Subcommandante Marcos, Jan. 4, 2009

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

2013-07-18 "Dolphin buddies remember each other after 20 years apart"

More info about Whales, Dolphins [link]

by Meeri Kim from "The Washington Post" []:
Dolphins have long impressed people with their sharp minds and humanlike traits, such as calling each other by name, goofing off and even understanding numbers. Now a scientist has found that the mammals can recognize an old friend's whistle, even after they have been apart for 20 years — the longest social memory ever recorded for a non-human.
In a study released Tuesday, dolphins largely ignored calls from other unfamiliar dolphins but responded when an old tank mate's signature whistle was played back to them. It didn't matter how much time had passed since the two had last seen each other or whether they had been tank mates for only a few months: The dolphins appeared to remember a familiar whistle.
"The main implications of such findings is that humans are not the only mammals that retain memories of others for long periods," said SUNY-Buffalo psychologist Eduardo Mercado III, who was not involved in the research.
Prior to the new study, published online in the journal "Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B," much of what had been known about dolphin memory was anecdotal. This recorded feat of long-term memory puts dolphins in the same field as other highly intelligent creatures, including some monkeys and elephants, both of which have been known to recognize unrelated members of their species after time apart.
University of Chicago scientist Jason Bruck studied 56 bottlenose dolphins that were moved between six different institutions — including Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, the Minnesota Zoo and an aquarium at Disney World in Orlando — over a period of 20 years. They were typically transferred for breeding purposes, which somewhat mimicked the shifts among pods of dolphins in the wild.
That approach gave Bruck a record of the animals' social histories, which would be nearly impossible to collect for wild dolphins. The dolphins studied were separated for as long as 20 years.
Bruck stored all the dolphins' signature whistles on his iPod and broadcast them through an underwater speaker, taking note of the animals' reactions. A dolphin's identity is encoded in its signature whistle, Bruck said.
"If you took our names and our faces, merged them into one thing, that would be the best way to describe a signature whistle," he said. Dolphins choose this "name" for themselves between the ages of 4 months and 1 year.
The dolphins vocalize their whistle when they find themselves isolated from others, but they also can mimic a friend's whistle to call to another dolphin. The whistles, which can be heard up to a mile away, help dolphins discern friend from foe.
To make sure that the dolphins weren't reacting to random noises, Bruck first played a set of unfamiliar whistles. Once the dolphins were accustomed to the speaker, he played a familiar whistle, which resulted in a dolphin quickly approaching the speaker, even if it realized another dolphin wasn't there.
"Say you are walking along the street and someone projected a hologram of your grandmother in front of you," he said. "You'd turn and look."
One female dolphin named Allie, currently at the Brookfield Zoo, last lived with Bailey, a female now in Bermuda, more than 20 years ago. But upon hearing Allie's whistle, Bailey recognized the sound, according to the research.
Bruck had a light-bulb moment that led him to study dolphin recognition when he saw his brother's border collie, Abby, for the first time in four years.
"This dog absolutely hates men," Bruck said, but Abby immediately recognized him as a friend and not an enemy, even after a long absence. Bruck, an animal-behavior researcher, began to wonder whether other species could remember familiar faces long-term.
Heidi Harley, who researches dolphin cognitive processes at the New College of Florida, called the study "interesting," and the number of dolphins studied "impressive." But she wondered whether their responses were to a familiar sound rather than a connection to a dolphin they once knew.
"Is this really about the dolphins that produce these whistles, or is it just about the sounds themselves? It's a little hard to disentangle sometimes," Harley said.
Mercado III agreed: "It is in principle possible that a dolphin could find a whistle more 'interesting' without having any awareness of why."

Nez Perce

2013-08-07 "Tribe Blockades 'Megaload' of Tar Sands Equipment; Nez Perce leader: 'We need to be able to meet our ancestors in the spirit world and hold our heads up strong and answer them when they ask if we did all we could do to protect the people and the land.'"
by Lauren McCauley from "Common Dreams" []:
Over 250 protesters faced down police and a 'megaload' of tar sands equipment Monday evening on Idaho's Highway 12. (Photo: Steve Hanks/ Lewiston Tribune, AP)

Calling tar sands development a project of "total destruction," members of the Nez Perce tribe placed their bodies before a 'megaload' of extraction equipment for the second night in a row Tuesday, temporarily halting the convoy as it makes its way along Idaho's Highway 12 to the Alberta tar sands fields.
Roughly 50 protesters from the Nez Perce tribe, Idle No More, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and other environmental groups halted for over an hour the 255-foot long, two-lane-wide shipment—the bulk of which was a 322-ton water purification unit being pulled by a big rig.
The Spokesman-Review reports []: [begin excerpt]
After gathering at a river access point a quarter mile from where the megaload truck stopped before dawn Tuesday, protesters began hiking westward along Highway 12 to a ramp where the roadway splits from Highway 95. At around 10:30 p.m., the Omega Morgan truck that had sat idle began to rumble to life, and a fleet of Nez Perce Tribal Police, County Sheriff, and Idaho State Police vehicles began moving toward a crowd of protesters blocking the roadway.
Law enforcement officers gave protesters 15 minutes to speak out unimpeded. At one point, tribal members were informed they were creating a public nuisance by officers. To which one protester responded, 'We’re protecting our sovereignty.'
[end excerpt]
In an action the previous evening, a group over 250 activists linked arms in a human chain across the roadway, successfully holding up the parade of vehicles for three hours. According to Wild Idaho Rising Tide, the blockade was the longest lasting "since the first tar sands extraction modules rolled from Lewiston area ports on February 1, 2011."

The blockade broke after a police car drove straight through the group of people, Earth First! Newswire reports []. "Police used the usual tactics to break up the blockade, threatening people with mace, pushing activists, separating parents from children, and so on," they add.
Nineteen individuals, including all members of the Nez Perce executive committee, were arrested Monday evening and released on bail Tuesday.
One of those arrested, Tribal Council member and Vice-Chair of the Nez Perce Nation (Nimiipuu Nation), Brooklyn Baptiste, told indigenous independent media site Last Real Indians that the action was taken because of tribal opposition to the economic and long-term environmental impact of the shipments—namely the development of tar sands oil which he described as "total destruction." []
"As leaders, elected or not, we need to be able to meet our ancestors in the spirit world and hold our heads up strong and answer them when they ask if we did all we could do to protect the people and the land. This is about our inherent sovereignty. We are sovereign because of this land, this water, the animals. What is sovereignty without them? We’re all waking up."
According to Reuters [], the load is one of two planned shipments by Oregon hauling company Omega Morgan.
A video of Monday's blockade shows protesters chanting and banging drums in a face-off with police and the 'megaload.'
The 'megaload' parked during the day. (Photo via @KXLBlockade/ Twitter)

Friday, August 2, 2013


The Nation of the Navajo were confined to a USA Federal Executive Branch Reservation, administered by an agency which is alien to the traditional methods of governance.

2013-07-28 "Journey through a place of shame"
by Bill Maxwell []
Travel is one of the best ways to grasp the essence of our nation, to learn our human and physical history and to experience the political and social currents of our various cultures.
In short, travel has the potential to show our greatness and our warts.
For the last six years, I have been driving to Montana by way of Interstate 10 through the Southwest desert. I am always captivated by the many American Indian reservations I see in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and Montana.
On this trip, as I walked the streets of Flagstaff, shopped downtown and dined in locally owned restaurants, I had my first close-up encounters with Navajos. Most of them, younger men in particular, self-segregated, staying at the edges of whatever was happening. I was not surprised. As a South Floridian, I have seen the same kind of self-segregation with the Seminole and Miccosukee in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Flagstaff has a population of about 67,000, and about 6,000 are Navajos. Home to Northern Arizona University, it is one of the nation's most educated cities. Navajos are the least educated both here and in the rest of the state. The consequences are stark and enduring.
Still, I was surprised that this beautiful city has a disproportionately high crime rate. A police official and a Navajo defense attorney told me that most crimes, including theft, trespassing, loitering and assaults, are committed by Navajos. One obvious reason, the attorney said, is that alcohol is prohibited on Navajo Nation land, so those who drink come to town to indulge. Crime follows many of them.
But crime on the reservation is more serious. According to FBI reports, the Navajo Nation — stretching from parts of Arizona to parts of Utah — is one of the most violent reservations in the United States. It has more rapes and murders than many large cities.
Unlike their big city counterparts, tribal officials lack the resources, including manpower, equipment and expertise, to combat crime in an area the size of West Virginia. Federal agents and Navajo police officers often have to travel up to 700 miles in a day to make an arrest or conduct an investigation. In addition to a tribal court system that is traditionally lenient, there is never enough money to build enough jails to hold most offenders for more than eight hours. Even when an offender is convicted of a violent crime, the sentence cannot be more than one year under tribal law.
Like the country's other reservations, the Navajo Nation is managed by a tribal government in cooperation with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. And like most other reservations, the Navajo Nation is plagued by, among other problems, crushing poverty, substance abuse, low education levels, low employment, inferior health care services, substandard housing and corruption in high places.
Each time I drive the four or more hours through Navajo land, I feel the isolation and see the sprawling desolation. Miles and miles of barren land bake in the sun, and jagged mountaintops, the color of coal, remind me of scenes out of a Mad Max dystopia. Rundown mobile homes dot the valleys and gulches, and beat-up trucks stand beside rusty sheds. Strangely, there are few planted flowers and vegetable gardens. I was told that barely anything of "real value grows here."
This is a place of abjection, the results of our long history of brutalizing American Indians. From the beginning, we took their land, killing as many of them as we could. Those we did not slaughter, we conquered. Those we conquered, we dispatched to reservations, landscape we had little or no use for. We shipped their children off to boarding schools and tried to break their spirit and erase their languages. We even Anglicized the names of many.
Today, most of us never travel to these places of eternal shame. We pretend they do not exist. Well, they do exist. They are the product of our making. We all should take a trip to see our creations.