You are browsing the archive for 2019 March 04.

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Why Graverobbers Won't Leave Native American Burial Sites Alone

March 4, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

Artifacts on display at Don Miller’s farm in 2014. For more than seven decades, Miller unearthed cultural artifacts from North America, South America, Asia, the Caribbean, and in Indo-Pacific regions such as Papua New Guinea.

FBI agents searching an Indiana house in 2014 were shocked to discover a hoard of 2,000 human bones likely stolen from Native American graves. The bureau, which announced the grotesque discovery in March 2019, estimates that the bones represent 500 people. Far from an isolated incident, however, the discovery is only the latest in a long history of Native remains being stolen from their burial sites by collectors and museums.

The theft of Native remains “dates back to colonization of the western hemisphere,” says Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, executive director of the Association on American Indian Affairs and a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of ​Oklahoma. European settlers stole ceremonial burial objects and human remains from Native American graves, and some took body parts like scalps from the Native people they killed.

Many of these human remains stayed in the families that stole them or ended up in museums or other public institutions. The house the FBI raided in Indiana was home to a missionary in his 90s who treated his place like an informal museum. Enslaved Native people who died in Europe also had their remains pillaged abroad. O’Loughlin says Native American remains can be found in institutions in “Germany, France, the U.K., Sweden, Finnland, Spain—our ancestors are everywhere.”

Institutions in the U.S. and Europe were especially interested in acquiring Native human remains during the 19th century in the name of “race science.” This pseudoscience was based on the debunked notion that different races exist on a hierarchy, with white people being superior. One of the most popular versions of this was “phrenology,” the study of skull size to determine intelligence and morality.

“After the Civil War the Surgeon General issued orders to Army medical personnel to collect Native American human remains for study,” writes William Johnson, a Saginaw Chippewa citizen and curator at the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways in Michigan, in an email (Johnson has consulted on the FBI case in Indiana).

“It was believed that cranial capacity would provide insight into Native American personality and intelligence,” he writes. “Native American graves were looted and craniums were collected in the name of science.”

Pillaging in …read more


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How 'Project Blue Book' Production Designers Evoked the Golden Age of UFOs

March 4, 2019 in History

By Heather Corcoran

Designers fashioned a mid-century world visually inspired by Dr. Strangelove, Edward Hopper paintings and more.

To transport “Project Blue Book” viewers into the top-secret world of the U.S. government’s Cold War-era U.F.O. investigations, production designer Ross Dempster and his team were tasked with conjuring a moment in time—from scratch. The drama series, in its first season on HISTORY, is based loosely on the real-life story of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a brilliant astronomer recruited by the U.S. Air Force to scientifically scrutinize the growing number of saucer sightings, alien-abduction claims and more during the early 1950s.

HISTORY talked with Dempster, whose credits also include the recent reboot of “Lost in Space,” about how he creates environments that bring mid-century history to life onscreen and evokes the anxiety of the Atomic Age and the mystery of the unknown.

What does a production designer do?

Production design is the world in which our characters inhabit. It’s my job, along with the director and director of photography [DP], to make sure we come up with something creative that pushes the story along, makes it believable, and absorbs the audience.

Concept drawing, top, and set photo of the Project Blue Book headquarters reception room, which was designed to evoke the federal Art Deco look of the 1920s and ’30s. CREDIT: Drawing Ross Dempster, Photo: Eduardo Araquel/HISTORY.

How would you describe the setting for ‘Project Blue Book’?

We’re in 1951-52, so you’ve got this post-war thing that all the characters are living in. Rather than making it scream out as stereotypically ’50s, I wanted to keep it in the realm of reality and show the time periods before that. In Dr. Hynek’s house, for example, there are antiques in the bedroom that were meant to be pieces that might have been handed down to the couple by their parents. Alongside that, you have modern furniture that they’ve purchased more recently. All of that tells a story, and makes the characters more real.

READ MORE: Interactive Map: UFO Sightings Taken Seriously by the U.S. Government

What mood were you trying to evoke in the key sets? Were you given a specific brief?

Other than the script, I didn’t have a brief to follow. I wanted my set design to evoke the period: the Project Blue Book HQ shows government frugality—plain enough with just enough period details to keep it visually interesting. …read more


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Modi Eyes Electoral Opportunity in India-Pakistan Conflict

March 4, 2019 in Economics

By Sahar Khan

Sahar Khan

In the wake of
reciprocal attacks
in February between India and Pakistan,
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not responded favorably to
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer for talks, raising
questions about Modi’s Pakistan policy and whether he might want to
go to war.

Between the lines: India is gearing up for a
general election in April and May, and despite
losses in key states,
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
remains a front-runner — something Modi does not want to
change. One of his objectives with the Balakot attack was to show
the Indian public that he is the leader with the necessary

political will
to fight terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

Modi has certainly adopted a hardline approach toward Pakistan,
with the BJP often
threatening to go to war
. Also under Modi’s administration,
India has been experiencing a rise in right-wing Hindu nationalism,
which is not surprising in light of
Modi’s roots
in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a
Hindu-nationalist paramilitary organization accused of inciting
sectarian violence and fueled by a religious ideology that
advocates for Hinduism’s dominance within India. The RSS sees
Pakistan, a Muslim-majority neighbor, as the ultimate enemy.

Yes, but: Going to war with Pakistan would not
guarantee an electoral victory for Modi, because there’s no
evidence that launching surgical strikes within Pakistan would
deter militant groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba
— responsible
for the 2008 Mumbai attacks
— from attacking Indian
forces in Kashmir.

Rather, surgical strikes would lead to a conventional war that
would destabilize the region, potentially creating a devastating
nuclear conflict or a refugee crisis in a region already
experiencing its fair share (the Afghan crisis after the Soviet
invasion, for example, and the ongoing Rohingya crisis).

The congressional opposition, for its part, has
Modi and the BJP for politicizing the standoff with
Pakistan for its own political gains during this election

The bottom line: Modi’s re-election prospects
would not be improved by his initiating a war. But unless Pakistan
re-evaluates its use of militant proxies, and unless India ceases
committing gross
human rights atrocities in Kashmir
, the two countries may
stumble into one regardless.

Sahar Khan is an adjunct scholar in the Cato Institute’s Defense and Foreign Policy Department. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Night of Terror: When Suffragists Were Imprisoned and Tortured in 1917

March 4, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

After peacefully demonstrating in front of the White House, 33 women endured a night of brutal beatings.

Dorothy Day was described by her fellow suffragists as a “frail girl.” Yet on the night of November 14, 1917, prison guards at the Occoquan Workhouse, did not hold back after she and 32 other women had been arrested several days earlier for picketing outside the White House.

“The two men handling her were twisting her arms above her head. Then suddenly they lifted her up and banged her down over the arm of an iron bench—twice,” recalled 73-year-old Mary Nolan, the oldest of the prisoners, in an . “By the time you get to that November night, the Silent Sentinels have been picketing outside the White House for more than 10 months.”

At first, Wilson tolerated the women’s protests, smiling at them as he passed and even inviting them in for coffee (they turned him down). But things began to change after the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, and the NWP chose to continue picketing the White House, even as the mainstream suffrage movement, led by NAWSA’s Carrie Chapman Catt, threw its support behind the war effort.

National Woman’s Party members being arrested as they picket with banners before the White House East Gate, in August 1917.

A Cat-and-Mouse Game

Amid the wartime furor, many people began viewing the Silent Sentinels as unforgivably unpatriotic. Onlookers sometimes attacked the women and ripped their signs from their hands, while Wilson himself wrote to his daughter in June that the suffragists “seem bent on making their cause as obnoxious as possible.”

That same month, police began arresting the suffragists for obstructing traffic. At first, the women were released quickly, and without penalty, but soon the courts began handing out prison time. But the women kept coming back.

“One of the things that we need to give them credit for is that they knew, after June, that when they were on the picket line they could be arrested, and they could go to jail,” Ware points out. “This was something that respectable white women didn’t usually do.”

Tensions were running much higher by August, when the Sentinels rolled out a new banner accusing “Kaiser Wilson” of autocracy, followed by three days of attacks by an angry mob and police and the sentencing of six women to 60-day prison terms. …read more


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Don’t Allow McConnell to Thwart Vote on Yemen

March 4, 2019 in Economics

By Christopher A. Preble

Christopher A. Preble

Last week, before Michael Cohen and the collapse of U.S.-North
Korea talks in Hanoi, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that a House
cutting off U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s
war in Yemen would not have “privileged” status in the
Senate, due to unrelated language that had been inserted at the
11th hour.

This means that the measure’s supporters are unable to
force a vote and pass it with a simple majority. Senators Bernie
Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) plan to reintroduce a
resolution similar to one they sponsored (with Senator Chris
Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut) last year, and hopefully it will
be voted on this week.

But the delay means that U.S. involvement in a conflict that has
claimed tens of thousands of lives, threatens millions more, and
undermines American security and values, will continue.

As politicians play games
on Capitol Hill, an entire country roils with hunger, disease and

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has previously
tried to block efforts at ending American
involvement in foreign wars
, and it is reasonable, therefore,
to suspect that he was behind this latest move. But he’s
hardly the first GOP leader to employ such methods. Outgoing
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) similarly blocked a vote in the House after the Senate
passed the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution late last year.

Such parliamentary shenanigans shield the Saudi Kingdom from
official sanction. They also allow their enablers in Washington to
dodge accountability, and enable individual members of Congress to
avoid taking a public stand that defies the wishes of a solid
majority of their constituents. A poll last November, for example, revealed
that 75 percent of Americans oppose U.S. military support to the
Saudi-led coalition in the war and 82 percent believe Congress
should reduce or end arms sales.

The public is equally skeptical of the United States’ close ties to Saudi
. The U.S.-Saudi relationship has always conflicted with
Americans’ stated commitment to democracy and human rights. Indeed,
on numerous occasions Riyadh has demanded that the U.S. government
alter its policies to conform with or accommodate blatantly
repressive and discriminatory practices, though not often

The Saudis’ behavior outside the Kingdom has been problematic,
too. Going back at least to the mid-1950s, the United States has
become involved in various regional disputes to assuage Saudi
fears, tip the balance away from one of Riyadh’s rivals, or
generally affirm the U.S. government’s commitment to protecting the
monarchy from internal or external challengers. Many of these
actions ended badly. The ongoing war in Yemen, however, may be the
worst of all.

The civil war began during the …read more

Source: OP-EDS