Novel About Racist Police Violence Was Rejected in 1941

Nearly 80 years ago, Richard Wright became one of the most famous Black writers in the United States with the publication of “Native Son,” a novel whose searing critique of systemic racism made it a best-seller and inspired a generation of Black writers. In 1941, Wright wrote a new novel titled “The Man Who Lived Underground,” but publishers refused to release it, in part because the book was filled with graphic descriptions of police brutality by white officers against a Black man. His manuscript was largely forgotten until his daughter Julia Wright unearthed it at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University. “The Man Who Lived Underground” was not published in the 1940s because white publishers did not want to highlight “white supremacist police violence upon a Black man because it was too close to home,” says Julia Wright. “It’s a bit like lifting the stone and not wanting the worms, the racist worms underneath, to be seen.”

— source | May 07, 2021

Nullius in verba

Spike in Alaska wildfires is worsening global warming

The devastating rise in Alaska’s wildfires is making global warming even worse than scientists expected, US government researchers said on Wednesday. The sharp spike in Alaska’s wildfires, where more than 5 million acres burned last year, are destroying a main buffer against climate change: the carbon-rich boreal forests, tundra and permafrost that have served as an enormous carbon sink. The state’s boreal forests, peat-rich tundra, and permafrost hold about 53% of US carbon. Alaska accounts for about 18% of US land mass. Alaska currently absorbs about 3.7m tonnes of carbon a year, the USGS assessment found. But that vast storehouse of carbon has been breached by warming temperatures, thawing permafrost – and wildfire.

— source | 2016

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Families of Death Squad Victims Allowed to Sue Chiquita Executives

In what supporters described as “a victory for accountability for corporate crimes,” a U.S. judge ruled in favor of allowing Colombians to sue former Chiquita Brand International executives for the company’s funding of a paramilitary group that murdered plaintiffs’ family members. “Chiquita poured $1.7 million between 1997 and 2004 into the outlawed far-right paramilitary group AUC,” observed TeleSur, “which operated as a death squad in Colombia.” The ruling from Judge Kenneth Marra of the Southern District of Florida stated that “‘profits took priority over basic human welfare’ in the banana company executives’ decision to finance the illegal death squads, despite knowing that this would advance the paramilitaries’ murderous campaign,” as the human rights and conservation group EarthRights International (ERI) wrote on Thursday when it announced the judgment.

— source | 2016

Nullius in verba

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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How Elite Schools and Museums Amassed Black and Native Human Remains Without Consent

Revelations the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton hold the remains of a child killed by Philadelphia police in the 1985 MOVE bombing are the latest development in a conversation about demanding respectful treatment of African American remains in museum collections, especially those of the enslaved. The Penn Museum also apologized last week for holding more than 1,000 stolen skulls of enslaved people in its Morton Collection, and the president of Harvard University issued a letter in January acknowledging the 22,000 human remains in its collections included 15 from people of African descent who may have been enslaved in the United States, vowing review of the school’s ethics policies. “This is a really vast problem,” says historian Samuel Redman, author of “Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums,” who also describes the repatriation of Native American remains after Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in 1990. “There are individual instances like this that are horrific and we need to pay attention to, but it is a symptom of this much larger problem.”

Let’s begin by crediting the students and the protesters at Penn and at Princeton in raising their voices in response to this really troubling and gut-wrenching situation.

The other thing that I think we need to say and we need to start calling for is a much larger response and a more sweeping response to this as a problem. Part of what people are only really starting to grapple with is the idea that this is a really vast problem, that there are individual instances like this that are horrific and we need to pay attention to, but it is a symptom of this much larger problem.

— source | Apr 30, 2021

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Deadly Far-Right Extremism in USA

A scathing new report by the Capitol Police’s internal watchdog reveals officials knew Congress was the target of the deadly January 6 insurrection, yet officers were instructed to refrain from deploying more aggressive measures that could have helped “push back the rioters.” Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports domestic terrorism incidents surged to a record high in 2020, fueled by white supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists on the far right. The Post found that, since 2015, right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks, leading to 91 deaths. Reporter A.C. Thompson, who explores the threat of far-right extremism in the new PBS “Frontline” documentary “American Insurrection,” says there was a “massive pool of radicalized individuals” ahead of the January 6 attack who were being pushed toward violence by “an abundance of lies by the former president, by this entire conspiratorial right-wing media and social media ecosystem.”

the concern that I have at this point is that we may see an act of mass casualty terrorism sometime in the relatively near future, because we have a massive pool of radicalized individuals who have been fed an abundance of lies by the former president, by this entire conspiratorial right-wing media and social media ecosystem. And that is the concern I have.

For us, the film traces sort of what happens from Charlottesville with the white power movement, which was emboldened and catalyzed by former President Trump, up to now, where we see the sort of white supremacists fading and these groups we saw on January 6th coming out, the street fighters, like the Proud Boys, the militias, the boogaloo bois. And that’s sort of the arc that we’re tracing here. We expect trouble from those groups in the future.

— source | Apr 14, 2021

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Testimony in El Mozote Massacre Trial Highlights U.S. Cover-up of Mass Killings

In El Salvador, pretrial hearings on the 1981 El Mozote massacre are being held this week. Nearly 1,000 civilians from across seven villages were killed in the massacre carried out by U.S.-trained Salvadoran military officers. One of the expert witnesses, Stanford University political scientist Terry Karl, detailed the on-site presence of U.S. military adviser Allen Bruce Hazelwood with the Salvadoran Army at the time of the massacre, providing new insight into what Karl referred to as a “sophisticated cover-up” of the events on behalf of the Reagan administration and the Salvadoran military junta.

— source | Apr 28, 2021

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Porter Ranch Is Hit With Another Leak Again

Porter Ranch already experienced the largest recorded natural gas leak in U.S. history over the winter, when a leak at the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility spewed more than 97,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere. Thousands of families were evacuated during the nearly four-month long leak, which was sealed in February. Over the weekend, the neighborhood was hit with another natural gas leak. Residents had been complaining that the smell of natural gas, recognizable by a potent odorant, was again wafting through their Los Angeles neighborhood.

— source | 2016

Nullius in verba