How the US gov’t cultivated environmental and Indigenous groups to defeat Ecuador’s leftist Correísta movement

The people of Ecuador were hit by a surprise in the April 2021 presidential election: Hard-right banker Guillermo Lasso, one of the richest and most corrupt oligarchs in the country, who had unsuccessfully run in two previous races, scored a narrow victory over leftist Andrés Arauz.

Arauz, a progressive young economist, had served as a minister in the government of Ecuador’s socialist President Rafael Correa, who had declared a “Citizens’ Revolution” that transformed the country during his term from 2007 to 2017.

What was not conveyed in most media reports on Lasso’s surprising victory, however, was that Lasso only won thanks to the support he received, both directly and indirectly, from environmental and Indigenous groups that have been co-opted over that last 15 years by the US government and its soft-power networks.

The leaders of these opportunistic, pseudo-left organizations have benefited from millions of dollars in funding from CIA cutouts like the US Agency for International Development and National Endowment for Democracy. Together, they formed an alliance of convenience with Lasso against the Correísta movement.

Some even endorsed the multimillionaire banker openly, overlooking his well-documented corruption, including offshore bank accounts and tens of millions of

— source | Ben Norton | May 4, 2021

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Still No Justice in El Mozote

After 30 years, the government of El Salvador continues to ensure impunity for those responsible for the worst massacre in modern Latin American history, in which 986 people were killed by the Salvadoran Armed Forces.

President Nayib Bukele, who promised survivors and families of the victims at the end of 2019 he would collaborate and open the military archives to help bring justice, is currently blocking access to the documents and evidence requested by the judge overseeing the case.

Furthermore, in his attempt to stomp out criticism and discredit the work of Judge Jorge Guzmán, human rights activists, survivors and lawyers collaborating in the judicial process, the president assured that the investigations and requests for access to the military archives are part of “a show” mounted by his detractors.

Bukele arrived last December in Mozote, a hamlet located in eastern El Salvador, where the lives of its inhabitants changed forever on December 11, 1981. The

— source | Carmen Rodríguez | Mar 30, 2021

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How Eugene Debs Became a Socialist

On the evening of February 27, 1875, the local lodge of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen was organized at Terre Haute, Ind., by Joshua A. Leach, then grand master, and I was admitted as a charter member and at once chosen secretary. “Old Josh Leach,” as he was affectionately called, a typical locomotive fireman of his day, was the founder of the brotherhood, and I was instantly attracted by his rugged honesty, simple manner and homely speech. How well I remember felling his large, rough hand on my shoulder, the kindly eye of an elder brother searching my own as he gently said, “My boy, you’re a little young, but I believe you’re in earnest and will make your mark in the brotherhood.” Of course, I assured him that I would do my best. What he really thought at the time flattered my boyish vanity not a little when I heard of it. He was attending a meeting at St. Louis some months later, and in the course of his remarks said: “I put a tow-headed boy in the brotherhood at Terre Haute not long ago, and some day he will be at the head of it.”

Twenty-seven years, to a day, have played their pranks with “Old Josh” and the rest of us. When last we met, not long ago, and I pressed his good, right hand, I observed that he was crowned with the front that never melts; and as I think of him now:

— source | Eugene Debs | 03.28.2021

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The Evil Within Us

Robert Aaron Long, 21, charged with murdering eight victims, six of whom were Asian women, at three Atlanta-area massage parlors, told police that he carried out the killings to eliminate the temptations that fed his sexual addiction. His church, Crabapple First Baptist Church, in Milton, Georgia, which opposes sex outside of marriage, issued a statement condemning the shootings as “unacceptable and contrary to the gospel.”

The church, however, also immediately took down its web site and removed videos, including one that was captured by The Washington Post before it was deleted where the church’s pastor, the Rev. Jerry Dockery, told the congregation that Christ’s second coming was imminent. And when Christ returned, Dockery said, he would wage a ruthless and violent war on nonbelievers and infidels, those controlled by Satan.

“There is one word devoted to their demise,” the pastor said. “Swept away! Banished! Judged. They have no power before God. Satan himself is bound and released and then bound again and banished. That great dragon deceiver – just that quickly – God throws him into an eternal torment. And then we read where everyone – everyone that rejects Christ – will join Satan, the Beast and the false prophet in hell.”

— source | Chris Hedges | Mar 22, 2021

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Rape as a Weapon of War in Tigray

I think probably the best way to explain, in a nutshell, is that this is essentially a conflict for power, between the TPLF, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, who were the dominant party and the ruling party in Ethiopia for almost 30 years, and Abiy Ahmed, who was swept to power when demonstrations toppled that ruling coalition. So, you have an understandable conflict, an existential conflict, between these two once-upon-a-time allies.

But what is happening is that the way that the ethnic numbers break down in Ethiopia, Tigrayans are a minority, but you also already have all these different, disparate groups kind of together in this centralized process. That centralization is what is currently falling apart, because when you bring in militia from other regions — and that’s what the doctor was talking about, about Amharization — when you bring in Amhara ethnic militia, that historically have enmity with Tigray, then that’s what you see. You see ethnic cleansing taking place of a basis of a competition for power. And that is perhaps the problem, is that the world has seen what’s happening in Tigray through that aperture of a competition for power, and has been slow to realize that, as Dr. Tedros says, many people believe that it is now genocidal, that what is a political intent to destroy is becoming now an intent to destroy, in whole or part, a people, Amy.

NIMA ELBAGIR: Well, the heartbreak is that many of the women don’t actually feel able to come forward. When we spoke to Dr. Tedros, I asked him how many women had been able to tell him that they had been raped, and he said five — all five of them because they thought they were pregnant. And I asked him, “Well, how many did you suspect, based on the trauma and on the injuries that they presented with?” And he said thousands.

So there are thousands of women who have been through that camp or are still in that camp who are not getting the treatment and the support that they deserve and need, because rape is such an act of psychological and intimate violence, but it’s also an act of communal violence. That’s what the women say, is that they feel that this rape has kind of isolated them within their communities because of the shame and the stigma.

So, for a lot of these

— source | Apr 05, 2021

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Finding Meaning Under A Meaningless System

How many of people’s mental health diagnoses are really just them struggling to function in a capitalist system that is amoral, destructive, overwhelming, overbearing, unsatisfying, and bereft of meaning?

It’s surely one of the most under-examined questions in the field of modern psychology. People in general and researchers in particular all too rarely think to take a step back from the data they are looking at and consider the large-scale framework within which that data is materializing, and to consider whether there’s anything about that particular framework which is giving rise to the particular data sets they are seeing.

How many of the mental health diagnoses given out are really just people not coping well under capitalism? It’s worth looking into. How many people end up consulting with mental health professionals because they find themselves psychologically unable to keep up with the frenetic corporate pace that’s demanded of them in order to “earn a living”? Or earlier on as children because they are unable to successfully navigate the capitalism boot camp known as school? How many

— source | caitlin johnstone | 2021/03/11

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Abolition Is a Collective Vision

Long before becoming a published writer, Mariame Kaba had already left an imprint on contemporary prison abolitionist thought. Raised in New York by a father who was a former Guinean independence fighter and a mother who took part in what some might now call mutual aid, Kaba moved to Chicago to pursue an education and stayed to organize with sexual violence survivors, young people, and formerly incarcerated people. As the founder of Project NIA, which works to end young people’s incarceration, and as an organizer of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials reparations campaign, Kaba helped make Chicago a hub for abolitionist organizing.

In the past decade or so, Kaba has also become increasingly well-known as a writer. On her blog, Prison Culture, in articles published in venues like The New York Times, and through interviews with abolitionist thinkers, Kaba has argued

— source | Elias Rodriques | Mar 29, 2021

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Solidarity movements key to changing US Middle East policy

In the final months of the Trump administration, we saw normalization agreements signed between Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE, and further agreements are expected with both Sudan and Saudi Arabia [Morocco signed one in December]. These agreements are, to a large extent, also arms deals. What should we make of these agreements and their affects on the prospects for a just solution for the Palestinian people?

The Palestinians have been completely thrown under the bus. There is nothing in this for them. These agreements are actually raising to the surface tacit interactions and arrangements which already existed and have existed for a long time.

Israel and Saudi Arabia are technically at war, but they have in fact been allies ever since 1967. The ‘67 war was a great gift to Saudi Arabia and the United

— source | Feb 17, 2021

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