The Evening Blues - 3-3-21
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Chicago blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player Jimmy Reed. Enjoy!
Jimmy Reed - Baby What You Want Me To Do
"For us, there is no longer a fundamental mystery about Life. It is all the process of extraordinary eruptions of information, and it is information which gives us this fantastically rich, complex world in which we live; but at the same time that we've discovered that we are destroying it at a rate that has no precedent in history, unless you go back to the point when we are hit by an asteroid!"
-- Douglas Adams
News and Opinion
The ruling elites, despite the accelerating and tangible ecological collapse, mollify us, either by meaningless gestures or denial. They are the architects of social murder. Social murder, as Friedrich Engels noted in his 1845 book “The Condition of the Working-Class in England,” one of the most important works of social history, is built into the capitalist system. The ruling elites, Engels writes, those that hold “social and political control,” were aware that the harsh working and living conditions during the industrial revolution doomed workers to “an early and unnatural death:”
“When one individual inflicts bodily injury upon another such that death results, we call the deed manslaughter; when the assailant knew in advance that the injury would be fatal, we call his deed murder. But when society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; when it deprives thousands of the necessaries of life, places them under conditions in which they cannot live — forces them, through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that death ensues which is the inevitable consequence — knows that these thousands of victims must perish, and yet permits these conditions to remain, its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual; disguised, malicious murder, murder against which none can defend himself, which does not seem what it is, because no man sees the murderer, because the death of the victim seems a natural one, since the offence is more one of omission than of commission. But murder it remains.”
— Friedrick Engels, “The Condition of the Working-Class in England”
The ruling class devotes tremendous resources to mask this social murder. They control the narrative in the press. They falsify science and data, as the fossil fuel industry has done for decades. They set up committees, commissions and international bodies, such as UN climate summits, to pretend to address the problem. Or they deny, despite the dramatically changing weather patterns, that the problem even exists. ... What is taking place is not neglect. It is not ineptitude. It is not policyfailure. It is murder. It is murder because it is premeditated. It is murder because a conscious choice was made by the global ruling classes to extinguish life rather than protect it. It is murder because profit, despite the hard statistics, the growing climate disruptions and the scientific modeling, is deemed more important than human life and human survival. ...
A decade from now we will look back at the current global ruling class as the most criminal in human history, willfully dooming millions upon millions of people to die, including those from this pandemic, which dwarf the murderous excesses of the killers of the past including the Europeans that carried out the genocide of the indigenous peoples in the Americas, the Nazis that exterminated some 12 million people, the Stalinists or Mao’s Cultural Revolution. This is the largest crime against humanity ever committed. It is being committed in front of us. And, with few exceptions, we are willfully being herded like sheep to the slaughter.
The FBI director, Chris Wray, has condemned the 6 January riot at the US Capitol as an instance of “domestic terrorism”, while defending the bureau’s handling of intelligence indicating that violence was likely. ... The FBI was aggressively pursuing those who carried out the attack, he said, adding that investigations were under way in 55 of 56 FBI field offices. More than 200 people have been charged.
His comments in his first appearance before Congress since the Capitol attack amounted to the FBI’s most vigorous defense against the suggestion it did not adequately communicate to police the distinct possibility of violence as lawmakers gathered to certify presidential election results. Wray told lawmakers information was properly shared before the riot, even though it was raw and unverified. ...
He was also pressed on how the FBI is confronting a national security threat from white nationalists and domestic violent extremists and whether it has adequate resources to address those issues. Wray described white supremacist extremism as a “persistent, evolving threat” that has grown since he took over the FBI in 2017. White supremacists make up “the biggest chunk of our domestic terrorism portfolio overall”, he said, adding that such people “have been responsible for the most lethal attacks over the last decade”.
The committee chairman, Dick Durbin, asked if the FBI believed the insurrection was carried out by “fake Trump protesters”. The Illinois Democrat’s question came two weeks after the Republican Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson amplified baseless claims that leftwing provocateurs carried out the Capitol attack. “We have not seen evidence of that at this stage,” Wray said. In answer to Patrick Leahy of Vermont, another Democrat, he said: “We have not to date seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to antifa [antifascist groups] in connection with [6 January].”
The Trump administration referred a record number of classified leaks for criminal investigation, totaling at least 334, according to a Justice Department document obtained by The Intercept under the Freedom of Information Act. While leak investigations had already been on the rise under the Obama administration, which prosecuted more than twice as many leakers under the World War I-era Espionage Act as all previous administrations combined, that number still rose sharply under the Trump administration.
In 2017, there were a staggering 120 referrals for leak investigations from government agencies to the Department of Justice — higher than any year since at least 2005. There were also 88 criminal referrals for leaking classified information in 2018, according to the document, 71 in 2019, and 55 for the first three quarters of 2020, according to the most recent data available. By comparison, during the Obama administration, there were 38 referrals in 2016, 18 in 2015, and 41 in 2014.
Very few referrals typically end up identifying suspects, much less going to trial. Instead, the leak crackdown is meant to instill a climate of fear around talking to the press. In its leak indictments, the Justice Department has stressed how it hopes to “deter” further leaks, as it did in its 2019 indictment of military intelligence analyst Henry Kyle Frese, accused of leaking classified information to two reporters. That deterrence also has a political dimension: As The Intercept has reported, most leaks prosecuted by the Trump administration have pertained to the Russia investigation. ...
The FBI under Trump, in fact, even established a special unit in its Counterintelligence Division for investigating leaks, according to a heavily redacted FBI document obtained by TYT Investigates in 2018. “The complicated nature of — and rapid growth in — unauthorized disclosure and media leak threats and investigations has necessitated the establishment of a new Unit,” the internal memo states. A former senior FBI counterintelligence official with experience in conducting media leak investigations told The Intercept that the unit had been established to crack down on leaks relating to the Russia investigation. (The FBI declined to comment when asked if it had closed down the leaks unit established under Trump.) ...
In the past, a small number of leaks have resulted in investigations, an even smaller number in suspects identified, and a still smaller number result in actual prosecutions. Though there were far more leak referrals under the Trump administration, the number of people prosecuted for leaking classified information to the press was about the same as the Obama years, totaling eight, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. Only around three leakers total were prosecuted prior to the Obama administration.
'We Should Be Taxing the Rich, Not the Unemployed': Millions Set to Receive Surprise Bills for Pandemic Jobless Benefits
With tax season well underway, many Americans who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic and found some relief in supercharged unemployment benefits last year are discovering that they now owe the federal government hundreds—even thousands—of dollars in surprise payments, an economic nightmare for low-income people and a looming political catastrophe for the party currently in power.
Because unemployment benefits in the United States are classified as taxable income, a potentially significant portion of the estimated 40 million Americans who received unemployment insurance (UI) in 2020 "will be in for a rude awakening" when they find out "they are on the hook for thousands of dollars in owed income taxes at the federal and, in some cases, the state level," Brian Galle and Elizabeth Pancotti warned in a report for The Century Foundation last month.
While states are required by federal law to "allow recipients to elect to have the state set aside 10 percent of their UI benefits and transfer them to the IRS to pay for future tax liabilities," Galle and Pancotti explained, "some states did not offer workers receiving benefits through CARES Act programs the option to withhold taxes."
"In addition, in the midst of a pandemic and recession fraught with new challenges and new expenses, many workers could not afford to take a 10 percent reduction in their UI benefits, given that UI benefits typically only replace approximately 40 percent of pre-layoff wages (and an even smaller share of wages plus benefits)," the pair wrote.
But even those who took advantage of the tax withholding option are facing huge payments. Speaking to the Washington Post on Monday, 31-year-old Los Angeles resident Erika Rose said she has "never been so fearful in my life of how I'm going to pay my bills" after she discovered she owes the IRS $600 in taxes.
When Rose applied for UI after losing her job in April, she opted to have taxes on the benefits withheld—and still ended up with a sizable bill.
"It was the same for Taryn Johnston," the Post reported. "Since being laid off from her medical aesthetician job at a plastic surgery practice when the pandemic escalated, she had the maximum withheld every week from her unemployment checks for taxes. Despite trying to do the right thing, she still ended up owing $1,500 when she sat down recently to fill out her federal and state tax forms for 2020."
The mounting, harrowing accounts of struggling Americans—including some who have been out of work for nearly a year—getting hit with large tax bills amid ongoing economic and public health crises are intensifying pressure on congressional Democrats and the Biden White House to act to stem the pain.
Morris Pearl, the chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement last week that "it's nonsensical to tax the relief sent to unemployment recipients during a normal year, but it is ridiculous to continue to tax the most economically vulnerable members of our country during a tumultuous year where over 40 million Americans qualified for unemployment."
"Taxing unemployment insurance benefits directly contradicts the stated goal of expanding those benefits—getting more money into the hands of people who need it. This should be a no-brainer," said Pearl. "We urge Congress to immediately change the law, to start taxing wealthy folks like us, and help the people who are unable to work because of the pandemic pay their bills. We should be taxing the rich, not the unemployed."
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and other conservative members of the Senate Democratic caucus are reportedly pressing for changes to the emerging coronavirus relief legislation that would cut the bill's proposed weekly unemployment supplement and further restrict eligibility for $1,400 direct payments.
The $1.9 trillion relief measure approved by the House of Representatives late last week proposes extending emergency unemployment insurance (UI) programs through the end of August with a weekly federal supplement of $400, up from the current $300-per-week boost that is set to begin expiring on March 14.
But as Roll Call reported late Monday after conservative Democrats met virtually with President Joe Biden to discuss the relief package, Manchin "said he'd prefer to see a $300 benefit in response to criticism that some laid-off workers could end up making more money on unemployment than they would on the job"—a right-wing talking point that Republicans have deployed in their efforts to slash UI benefits.
"We're just looking for a targeted bill," said Manchin, whose support Democrats need to pass the so-called American Rescue Plan (ARP) without any Republican votes.
According to the Washington Post, Manchin and other conservative Democrats also pitched "tightening income eligibility for the $1,400 stimulus payments," a demand that House Democrats rejected in their legislation.
The House-passed relief bill calls for sending full $1,400 payments to individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and married couples earning up to $150,000 per year, with the payments gradually phasing out thereafter—an eligibility structure that resembles the one used for the previous two rounds of checks.
Despite warnings that doing so would be politically "suicidal," Biden has previously said he would be open to lowering the income cutoff for the direct payments.
Noting that progressive lawmakers are already furious over Senate Democrats' plans to move forward with a relief bill that excludes a minimum wage increase—pointing to the parliamentarian's advisory ruling against the provision—economist Arindrajit Dube cautioned that slashing UI benefits or imposing additional restrictions on eligibility for direct relief payments would "cause a full blown revolt from progressives."
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, warned late Monday that "further 'targeting' or 'tightening' eligibility means taking survival checks away from millions of families who got them last time."
"That's bad policy and bad politics too," Jayapal tweeted.
The cool thing about wasting your congressional majority is that you won't have to waste it for much longer.
— John Iadarola (@johniadarola) March 2, 2021
Calling on the Senate Democratic majority to disregard the advice of the unelected parliamentarian, Sen. Bernie Sanders late Monday announced he will force a vote this week on an amendment to include a $15 minimum wage provision in the pending $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
"At a time when millions of workers are earning starvation wages, when the minimum wage has not been raised by Congress since 2007 and stands at a pathetic $7.25 an hour, it is time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage," Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said in a statement.
The Vermont senator's announcement came as the White House and Senate Democrats signaled a retreat from the effort to include a minimum wage increase in the coronavirus relief package after the parliamentarian advised last week that the measure would run afoul of the Byrd Rule, which requires provisions of reconciliation bills to have a direct—not "merely incidental"—impact on the federal budget.
Citing two anonymous Democratic aides, the Washington Post reported Monday that "Senate Democrats will move forward with a version of the relief bill that does not attempt to raise the minimum wage." Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a floor speech Monday that the chamber will begin voting on the sprawling relief package this week, with an initial procedural vote expected as early as Wednesday. ...
Speaking to the press about his new $15 minimum wage amendment, Sanders said Monday that "there will be a roll call vote, and we'll see who votes for it and doesn't."
"I would suggest that those who vote against it from a political point of view, that's a mistake. The American people want to see that minimum wage raised," Sanders continued. "Let me be very clear—if we fail in this legislation, I will be back."
Joe Biden has said that the US expects to have enough coronavirus vaccines for all adults by the end of May, two months earlier than anticipated, as his administration announced that the drugmaker Merck would help produce Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved shot.
With the bolstered supply, Biden also announced he would be using the powers of the federal government to direct all states to prioritize vaccinating teachers and said the federal government would provide the doses directly through its pharmacy program.
He challenged states to administer at least one dose of the vaccine to all educators by the end of March as part of his administration’s efforts to reopen more schools across the nation.
“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” said Biden.
Biden should immediately appoint Neera Tanden Special Counsel to investigate whether Russian bots were responsible for spiking her nomination
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) March 3, 2021
Joe Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination after she faced opposition from key Democratic and Republican senators over her past controversial tweets.
Her withdrawal marks the president’s first failure as he seeks Senate confirmation for his cabinet nominees.
“I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said in a statement. “I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work.”
Donald Trump’s historic shakeup of the roster of US federal judges will not soon be reversed, despite his exit from the White House. ... But Joe Biden has an opportunity to reverse some of the damage, as progressives see it. While Trump and his Republican accomplices left a small number of judicial vacancies on the table, additional vacancies have already arisen as judges retire or take “senior status” with curtailed workloads – steps certain judges were known to be putting off as long as Trump was in office.
This past weekend, Judge Barbara Keenan of the fourth circuit court of appeals, a Barack Obama appointee, announced that she would take senior status in August, creating a 10th vacancy at the appeals court level for Biden to fill.
“I certainly think it’s a factor that judges held off on taking senior status” when Trump was in office, said Daniel L Goldberg, legal director of the progressive Alliance For Justice, “so they could not be replaced by an ultra-conservative judge who wished to turn back the clock on so many of our rights.”
Judicial watchdog groups see early promising signs in the Biden administration’s approach to the challenge. Incoming Biden administration lawyers sent a letter to senators in December requesting a racially and ethnically diverse pool of judicial recommendations, just as Barack Obama had done before Trump’s white male makeover. The Biden letter also asked for judges from outside the Ivy League and corporate pipeline, which was not a priority for Obama.
On 24 February, Vice reported that McDonald’s has, for years, spied on activists and employees engaged in labor organizing and the Fight for $15 campaign. Internal McDonald’s corporate documents obtained by Vice confirmed that the company has been concerned with gathering “strategic intelligence” on workers involved in efforts to secure higher wages, better working conditions and a union. This includes using data collection software to monitor employees and their networks through social media and “a team of intelligence analysts in the Chicago and London offices”.
This comes after years of reporting on similar efforts by Amazon to prevent the unionization of their own employees. Job postings for intelligence analysts to monitor and report on “labor organizing threats”; social media monitoring; interactive “heat mapping” tools to anticipate and pre-empt strikes or union drives; Pinkerton operatives; and, most recently, coordinated efforts with county officials to change the traffic lights outside Amazon’s facility in Bessemer, Alabama to prevent organizers from speaking to workers during shift changes – all have been deployed to secure the company’s bottom line.
As Vice points out, surveillance against labor organizers is nothing new. What’s new is the use of technology to aid in these efforts, which may also be in violation of federal labor law.
The surveillance and intimidation of workers is a feature, not a bug, and one that has come to define American capitalism at home and abroad. As Vox noted last June, “the creation of urban police forces was largely spurred by a desire to contain union activism and protest.” While police in southern cities are largely a vestigial outgrowth of slave patrols, in northern cities like Chicago, elite businessmen pushed for the development of municipal police forces to suppress labor organizing around demands like an eight-hour workday. The concept of policing as “public safety” came later.
The New York police department has acquired a robotic police dog, known as Digidog, and has deployed it on the streets of Brooklyn, Queens and, most recently, the Bronx. At a time that activists in New York, and beyond, are calling for the defunding of police departments – for the sake of funding more vital services that address the root causes of crime and poverty – the NYPD’s decision to pour money into a robot dog seems tone-deaf if not an outright provocation.
As Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, put it on Twitter: “Shout out to everyone who fought against community advocates who demanded these resources go to investments like school counseling instead. Now robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with underresourced schools.” ...
Law enforcement in the United States is already biased and grounded in a history of systemic racism. Many police departments in the US evolved from slave-catching units or union-busting militias, and their use today to disproportionately capture and imprison Black people drips of those origins. And it isn’t just the institutions themselves that perpetuate racism; individual police officers are also biased and more likely to view Black people as threats. Even Black police officers share these biases and often replicate the harm of their white counterparts. On top of that, the NYPD in particular has a history of targeting its Arab and Muslim population, even going as far as to use undercover agents to spy on Muslim student associations in surrounding states. Any new technological development will only give police departments new tools to further surveil, and potentially to arrest or kill, Black and Muslim people. ...
While Boston Dynamics, the creators of the robot dog, have insisted that Digidog will never be used as a weapon, it is highly unlikely that that will remain true. MSCHF, a political art collective, has already shown how easy it is to weaponize the dog. In February they mounted a paintball gun on its back and used it to fire upon a series of art pieces in a gallery. The future of weaponized robot policing has already been paved by the Dallas police department. In 2016, the DPD used a robot armed with a bomb to kill Micah Johnson, an army reservist who served in Afghanistan, after he killed five police officers in what he said was retaliation for the deaths of Black people at the hands of law enforcement. While it was clear that he posed a threat to police, it is very fitting that a Black man would be the first person to be killed by an armed robot in the United States – roughly a year after the white mass shooter Dylann Roof was met with a free burger and police protection.
A small handful of Muslim Americans have also been killed by drones, though in other countries. The most glaring case was that of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a 16-year-old US citizen. Abdulrahman was the son of an alleged al-Qaida strategist, Anwar al-Awlaki. Both were killed in separate drone strikes, despite never being charged with crimes, let alone given any form of trial. While it is easy to condemn Anwar al-Awlaki, there has been no evidence provided whatsoever that justified the killing of Abdulrahman. When President Obama’s White House press secretary was questioned about the killing, he simply implied that the boy’s father should have chosen a different occupation.
Bunny Wailer, the co-founder and last living member of Jamaican reggae group the Wailers, who took Bob Marley to global stardom, has died aged 73. ...
Born Neville Livingston in 1947 in Kingston, he and Marley became friends as toddlers, and formed the Wailers in 1963, which settled into a core trio of the pair alongside Peter Tosh. They released their debut album, The Wailing Wailers, in 1965 (which included their Jamaican chart-topper Simmer Down), before going on hiatus when Marley moved to Delaware in the US. Wailer was convicted for marijuana possession in 1967, and served a 14 month sentence. They reconvened after Marley’s return and Wailer’s release. ...
The original trio split in 1974, when Wailer left alongside Tosh. He began a solo career, beginning with 1976’s acclaimed Blackheart Man, and maintained a steady release schedule for 40 years. He won the Grammy award for best reggae album three times, in 1991, 1995, and 1997.
Cuomo Must Go: Calls Grow to Remove NY Governor over COVID Nursing Home Cover-up & Sexual Harassment
Andrew Cuomo has avoided public appearances for days as some members of his own party call for him to resign over sexual harassment allegations.
The New York governor hasn’t taken questions from reporters since a 19 February briefing, an unusually long gap for a Democrat whose daily, televised updates on the coronavirus pandemic were must-see TV last spring.
He was last before video cameras on Thursday, when he introduced Joe Biden at a virtual meeting of the National Governors Association, which he chairs. He also participated Tuesday in the group’s conference call, which was off-limits to reporters.
Neither Cuomo nor his spokespeople have commented on the latest allegation made against him Monday night. A woman told the New York Times that Cuomo touched her lower back, then grabbed her cheeks and asked to kiss her at a September 2019 wedding.
Most leading Democrats have signaled they want to wait for the results of an investigation by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, into claims that Cuomo sexually harassed at least two women in his administration. ... That inquiry has yet to begin. James said her office is working to hire an outside law firm to conduct it.
BIG NEWS: Despite falling 6% in 2020 as a whole, global energy-related CO2 emissions rebounded over the course of the year from an April low and rose above their 2019 level in December
— Fatih Birol (@fbirol) March 2, 2021
"While financial analysts, policymakers, and massive corporations squabble over the finer points of the fracking debate, families living amidst the wells day in and day out live in constant fear about what the industry might cost them—if they had another child, would they need to worry about birth defects? Are these exposures increasing their kids' cancer risk? Would it be safer to move to a place far away from all of this, even if it would also mean being far from their extended families, friends, and communities? And even if they could move, how far would they have to go to feel safe?"
Those are just some of the questions facing the western Pennsylvania families featured in a report published Monday by Environmental Health News (EHN), a publication of the nonprofit Environmental Health Sciences. Five families from the region participated in a pilot study on the chemicals commonly found in emissions from fracking sites.
Sandra Steingraber of Concerned Health Professionals of New York, a group that has long sounded the alarm about the impact of fracking—which largely affects poor and rural households —responded by calling for an end to the process.
"Consider[ed] together with the results of previous studies, the findings of this multi-part investigation serve as a powerful moral indictment of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health, which has long privileged gas industry interests over protecting the health of Pennsylvania residents," Steingraber said. "Pennsylvania's children should not be used as laboratory rats in an uncontrolled human experiment involv[ing] toxic exposures."
"In light of today's revelatory investigation, Concerned Health Professionals of New York reiterates our call: The risks and harms of fracking to public health are inherent to its operation," Steingraber added. "The only method of mitigating fracking's grave threats to public health is a rapid, comprehensive phaseout of fracking." ...
Aided by scientific advisers, EHN conducted a two-year investigation intended to "provide a snapshot of environmental exposures in people living near fracking wells and help pave the way for additional research on a larger scale." Over the course of nine weeks in 2019, EHN collected a total of 59 urine samples, 39 air samples, and 13 water samples from five nonsmoking local households, all of which had at least one child.
Samples collected from the families—two in Westmoreland County, at least five miles away from a fracking well, and three in Washington County, within two miles of fracking infrastructure—were then analyzed by scientists at the University of Missouri for 40 chemicals associated with fracking site emissions. As EHN detailed:
We found chemicals like benzene and butylcyclohexane in drinking water and air samples, and breakdown products for chemicals like ethylbenzene, styrene, and toluene in the bodies of children living near fracking wells at levels up to 91 times as high as the average American and substantially higher than levels seen in the average adult cigarette smoker.
The chemicals we found in the air and water—and inside of people's bodies—are linked to a wide range of harmful health impacts, from skin and respiratory irritation to organ damage and increased cancer risk.
Protect PT co-founder and executive director Gillian Graber started the group in 2015 to oppose a proposed fracking well near her home in Penn Township.
EHN found that in August 2019, Graber's 9-year-old daughter Lilly had the highest detected level of a biomarker for xylene—which is "linked to skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritation, drowsiness and dizziness, and organ damage with high levels of long-term exposure"—of anyone in the study.
"It's pretty shocking to know that our children, especially, are being exposed to this stuff," Graber told EHN. "We take great pains to make sure we're not exposed to things."
Five years after the Honduran indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was shot dead by hired hitmen, the trial of the US-trained former military officer accused of masterminding the assassination has been scheduled for next month. Cáceres, a winner of the prestigious Goldman prize for environmental defenders, was attacked in her bedroom just before midnight on 2 March 2016 after a long campaign to stop construction of an internationally financed hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River, which the Lenca people consider sacred. Her friend Gustavo Castro, a Mexican environmentalist, was also shot but survived by playing dead.
Seven men – including the the gunmen who carried out the attack and some middlemen – were convicted in 2018 of planning and carrying out the murder, which the court in Tegucigalpa ruled was ordered by executives of the Agua Zarca dam company, Desa, because of delays and financial losses linked to protests led by Cáceres.
David Roberto Castillo Mejía, Desa’s president, was arrested on the second anniversary of the murder as he was about to fly to Houston, and indicted as the “intellectual author” of the murder.
Castillo denies any wrongdoing and insists he and Cáceres were friends. The pair exchanged messages at around the same time the murder was being planned in late 2015, according to the phone evidence submitted to the court in the first trial. Castillo, a former Honduran military intelligence officer who trained at the prestigious West Point military academy in New York, is the only person so far charged with masterminding the crime.
Lawyers representing the Cáceres family, who will prosecute Castillo alongside the state, will argue that the real masterminds – politically connected dam executives who they allege paid, ordered, benefited from and tried to cover up the murder – have so far been spared prosecution.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Jimmy Reed - Bright Lights, Big City
Jimmy Reed - High and Lonesome
Jimmy Reed - I'm the Man Down There
Jimmy Reed - Five Years Of Good Lovin'
Jimmy Reed - I Ain't Got You
Jimmy Reed - Ain't That Lovin' You Baby
Jimmy Reed - You Don't Have To Go
Jimmy Reed - Crazy 'Bout That Miniskirt
Jimmy Reed - Down In Mississippi
Jimmy Reed - Going to New York
Jimmy Reed - Laughing At The Blues