Craig Murray spots the latest phase of judicial and media bias against the publisher of WikiLeaks - journalist Julian Assange.
By Craig Murray -
In Sweden, prosecutors have applied to the Swedish courts to issue a warrant for Julian’s arrest. There is a tremendous back story to that simple statement.
The European Arrest Warrant must be issued from one country to another by a judicial authority. The original Swedish request for Assange’s extradition was not issued by any court, but simply by the prosecutor. This was particularly strange, as the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm had initially closed the case after deciding there was no case to answer, and then another, highly politically motivated, prosecutor had reopened the case and issued a European Arrest Warrant, without going to any judge for confirmation.
In situations of war, collective violence or atrocity there is no such thing as a neutral stance. Passive by-standing is aiding and abetting evil. Don’t be complicit. "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor!" - Desmond Tutu
We received many requests from students and scholars, who want to use our Venezuela Files compilation for their project and also e.g. compare the events per timeline with the happenings in their own countries. All are permitted and encouraged to do so. If you feel an important piece in the puzzle of this timeline is missing, please send to info[AT]ecoterra[DOT]info or send your comments to the editor of this segment and the collective: Venatrix Fulmen <venatrix.fulmen[AT]tutanota[DOT]com>
Update MON 20. May 2019 (vf): President of Venezuela, .@NicolasMaduro "It was worth taking the road of elections and peace, we (Chavismo) are looking for more! We had 23 victories in 25 elections." Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro proposes early elections for opposition-held National Assembly, currently headed by opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido.
Chavistas March in Caracas to Mark Nicolas Maduro’s Re-election
Despite the fuel-crisis, supporters of Maduro mobilized Monday to celebrate the first year of President Nicolas Maduro's victory in May 20, 2018 election.
Supporters of President Nicolas Maduro marched Monday to commemorate the first anniversary of the re-election of President Nicolas Maduro as part of the elections of May 20, 2018.
They gathered in the streets of Caracas early morning in a bid to ratify their support for the Bolivarian Revolution, and their commitment to defend democracy, sovereignty in face of an increasing interference by the United States.
Carmen Zerpa, the organizer of the march by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) said people also wanted to show their support for President Maduro and ratify his victory in last year's elections.
"We celebrate this year the popular victory and gallantry, during which time the Venezuelan people have defended the Bolivarian project and told the bourgeoisie that they will not return, that here is a project that has to be respected because it is the will of the majorities," Zerpa said.
President Maduro expressed his commitment to defend the popular will of the people.
He wrote on Twitter, “We celebrate the 1st Anniversary of the popular victory of May 20 in which Venezuelans decided in favor of peace, democracy, and freedom. Today, in an indissoluble Civic-Military union, we defend that sovereign election with courage. Here Command the People!”
Update: The upcoming report by theFederal Commission on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada is scheduled to be released on June 3, 2019 - check back on this site.
Human Rights Org: Treatment of Indigenous People is Genocide
By tS/vf - 18 May 2019
The treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada was reviewed and will henceforth be identified as a genocide, the Winnipeg-based Museum for Human Rights has declared.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) has come forward and said that the organization now recognizes the colonial experience in the country, from the time of first contact to present day, as a humanitarian crime.
"I think for many years we didn't think it was the role of a museum to declare this to be a genocide," Louise Waldman, the museum's manager of marketing and communications, said. "And I think now what's happened is we understand it's not just our role, but our responsibility and our commitment as a national institution that's dedicated to human rights education."
Reconciliation has become the buzz word of the decade ever since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada published their report on residential schools in Canada.* The TRC, headed by (then) Justice Murray Sinclair, heard from residential school survivors, families and native communities from all over Canada about their experiences in residential schools and their lives afterwards. These schools lasted for over 100 years, with the last one only closing in 1996.
Despite being called schools, residential schools were actually designed to separate native children from their parents, extended families and communities, for the express purposes of assimilating them into, what the TRC describes as "Euro-Christian society". Thousands of children were starved, neglected, tortured, medically experimented on, mentally, physically and/or sexually abused or even murdered. Their experiences have had long-lasting, inter-generational impacts on many more thousands of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” — James Baldwin
Climate change is the apex crisis of all time and the US military is the primecrisis multiplier.
As we approach the horizon of climate disaster it certainly looks like the predatory phase of human history — of which war is just the most glaring example — is related to our predatory relationship with nature. At the center of the storm is the interlocking crisis of militarism and climate destruction.
We will evolve beyond perpetual war and global empire or face climate chaos.
The coalition 'Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil' (APIB) is calling a boycott of companies that include invaders of protected areas in their supply chains.
To support this call the group has disclosed a list of foreign companies that have engaged in trade with Brazilian agribusiness agents accused of acting in areas of indigenous land conflicts and extracting resources from protected areas.
Besides the boycott, APIB's intention is to submit the data to the European Parliament and ask it to take action.
Eloy Terena, APIB's legal counsel, said: "Traders in Europe and North America can help by cutting ties with these bad Brazilian actors, thus sending a clear signal to Jair Bolsonaro that the rest of the world will not tolerate his policies."
On April 26th, a parade of hundreds of Waorani men and women, members of an indigenous nation in a remote part of the Ecuadorian Amazon, marched triumphantly through the streets of Puyo, the regional capital of the eastern province of Pastaza. Many had come from villages in parts of the rain forest that have no roads—journeying by canoe and small plane. They were celebrating a new court ruling, which held that the Ecuadorian government could not, as it had planned, auction off their land for oil exploration without their consent. Nemonte Nenquimo, a Waorani leader, told me that they had come to Puyo to reclaim their right to self-governance and that the verdict had made them feel safer. “The court recognized that the government violated our right to live free, and make our own decisions about our territory and self determination,” she said, over WhatsApp. “Our territory is our decision, and now, since we are owners, we are not going to let oil enter and destroy our natural surroundings and kill our culture.”
In February, the Waorani, together with Ecuador’s Ombudsman, a parliament-appointed official who serves as a public advocate, had filed a lawsuit against the Ecuadorian government for not properly consulting with them before opening up their territory to potential oil exploration. In recent years, Ecuador has divided much of its portion of the Amazon into blocks to lease the mineral rights in an international auction. One of the blocks included Waorani land. In 2018, the government removed Waorani territory from the auction but said that the region could still be subject to future drilling.
The path to the verdict had not been certain. In March, a group of Waorani women shut down a hearing with song, protesting the conditions under which the case was being tried; they objected to it being held in Puyo, far from the Waorani villages, and to the absence of a court-certified translator. Many of the Waorani representatives wore traditional dress in court and had red bars painted across their cheekbones and brows. Singing a song about their traditional role as protectors of the forest, they drowned out the judge and lawyers until the judge finally suspended the hearing, which was rescheduled for April.
The crux of the lawsuit was the Waorani’s claim that the government had not properly consulted their community about the oil auction. Nenquimo told me that representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Non-renewable Resources came to her village in 2012, seeking community members’ consent for the auction, but she and her family were out on a hunting trip and didn’t meet with them. Mitch Anderson, the founder of Amazon Frontlines, a non-governmental organization (N.G.O.) that works with the Waorani and other indigenous groups on sovereignty and environmental issues, said that the consultations were treated as a box that needed to be checked off, rather than as a serious discussion with the community about the impact of introducing oil extraction into the forest lands and rivers where they hunt and fish. Anderson said that language barriers and short visits made the process even more opaque.
On April 26th, a three-judge panel ruled in the Waorani’s favor, finding that the process did not afford the Waorani free, prior, and informed consent, and that their territory could not be included in an oil auction. The ruling could impact other indigenous groups whose lands are also up for oil exploration. One of the Waorani’s lawyers, Maria Espinosa, said in a press release that the judgment should also be interpreted to mean that “the State cannot auction off the territories of the six other indigenous nations in the southern Ecuadorian Amazon, which were subject to the government’s same flawed and unconstitutional prior consultation process.”
Waorani women celebrating their victory in court. Photograph by Dolores Ochoa / AP
Just days before the Waorani victory, a coalition of Latin-American journalists unveiled a new reporting project, “Tierra de Resistentes” (“Land of Resistants”), focussed on the dangers that face environmental activists. Their reporting showed that advocates from ethnic minorities—particularly indigenous people—face a high risk of violent attack from supporters of mining, logging, and other industries. The project, which is supported by Deutsche Welle Akademie, the Pulitzer Center, and others, opens by declaring, “Defending the jungles, mountains, forests and rivers of Latin America has never been this dangerous.” One aspect of the project is a database, compiled by thirty journalists, from Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Guatemala, which documents more than thirteen hundred attacks on environmentalists that took place in these seven countries during a ten-year period, and the project includes in-depth stories about sixteen individual cases.
Andrés Bermúdez-Liévano, a Colombian journalist and the project’s editor, told me over the phone that, as the reporters compiled their stories, certain patterns emerged. Attacks often took place in remote regions, where the government and law enforcement had scant presence, if any. Bermúdez-Liévano told me that a 2016 report to the U.N. by Michel Forst, the special rapporteur on the situation of human-rights defenders, confirmed a global increase in attacks on environmental groups. Forst’s report said that, in the year 2015, worldwide, more than three environmental advocates were killed every week, often in conflicts related to expanding mining, logging, damming, or agriculture. Forst found that the people who oppose these activities are often portrayed as “anti-development” or “unpatriotic” and are subject to violent attacks.
Amazon Nation Wins Lawsuit Against Big Oil, Saving Millions Of Acres Of Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is well known across the world for being the largest and most dense area of woodland in the world. Spanning across nine countries, the Amazon is home to millions of different animal and plant species, as well as harboring some for the world's last remaining indigenous groups. The Waorani people of Pastaza are an Indigenous people from the Ecuadorian Amazon and have lived in the Rainforest for many centuries. However, there homeland came under threat from a large oil company - they didn't take it lightly.
After a long legal battle with a number of organizations, the Waorani people successfully protected half a million acres of their ancestral territory in the Amazon rainforest from being mined for oil drilling by huge oil corporations. The auctioning off of Waorani lands to the oil companies was suspended indefinitely by a three-judge panel of the Pastaza Provincial Court. The panel simply trashed the consultation process the Ecuadorian government had undertaken with these aboriginal people in 2012, which rendered the attempt at land purchase null and void.
This win for the Indigenous defenders of their homeland has now set an invaluable legal precedent for other indigenous nations across the Ecuadorian Amazon. After accepting a Waorani bid for court protection to stop an oil bidding process, the court also halted the potential auctioning off of 16 oil blocks that cover over 7 million acres of indigenous territory.
While there is no evidence, some people believe that the Ecuadorian government may be accepting bribes in some roundabout way. The land in question is meant to be protected under Ecuador’s constitution that establishes the inalienable, unseizable and indivisible rights of indigenous people to maintain possession of their ancestral lands and obtain their free adjudication.
The magical world of the Barneno River in the Waorani Amazon
Furthermore, the constitution also states that there is a need for prior consultation on any plans to exploit the underground resources, given the probable environmental and cultural impacts on Indigenous communities. The government claim they did do this in 2012, however, the people allege that the agreement they came to was based upon fraudulent practices in favor of the oil companies and the government was favoring their bottom line over the people the actually still live on this valuable land. Due to this, the judges ordered the Ecuadorian government to conduct a new consultation, applying standards set by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights before anything else is agreed regarding the exploitation of the natural resources below the ground.
Nemonte Nenquimo, president of the Waorani Pastaza Organization and plaintiff in the lawsuit, remarked:
"The government tried to sell our lands to the oil companies without our permission. Our rainforest is our life. We decide what happens in our lands. We will never sell our rainforest to the oil companies. Today, the courts recognized that the Waorani people, and all indigenous peoples have rights over our territories that must be respected. The government’s interests in oil is not more valuable than our rights, our forests, our lives."
This is a major win for indigenous peoples all over the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, and even perhaps the Amazon as a whole! This has definitely set a new precedent regarding indigenous peoples’ rights over the land they live in and offers them a glimmer of hope in protecting their cultural heritage. They'll definitely need plenty of support in the coming years as economical advances, such as this one will keep coming more and more as the world becomes ever growingly desperate for the natural resources that the beautiful land holds.
The connection of humanitarian action to broader objectives like peace, development and human rights is understandably complex, but it is also an area in which some fresh thinking is important.
The dilemma we are facing today is how to expand and uphold neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian action while designing and understanding such action as a bridge to broader and more ambitious transformative agendas.
No matter how we characterise this dilemma, above all we must anchor our discussions in the realities of people living under the shadow of conflict, insecurity and fragility. This is particularly important given that more than 80% of people displaced by violence and conflict today originate from fewer than 20 particularly vulnerable contexts, most of them privileged areas of humanitarian action – and that those contexts endanger achievement of the SDGs.
Working on the frontlines, the ICRC bears witness to suffering in conflicts around the world; and we also observe how the new dynamics of violence are taking a heavy toll on the lives of every day men, women and children.
Nota Bene:Good, solid, scientific work - but it is not "hunting" in the traditional sense and by traditional ethnicities - it is the carnivorous and voracious behavior of commercial killers and their clients/consumers in an environment with excessive human population and permitted or tolerated markets. Solution: Supervised and sponsored ecocide-free zones under the management of intact local communities from the rightful Indigenous Peoples who value their natural environment and heritage.
Patterns of 'hunting'-induced mammal defaunation in the tropics
Tropical forests are increasingly degraded by industrial logging, urbanization, agriculture, and infrastructure, with only 20% of the remaining area considered intact. However, this figure does not include other, more cryptic but pervasive forms of degradation, such as overhunting. Here, we quantified and mapped the spatial patterns of mammal defaunation in the tropics using a database of 3,281 mammal abundance declines from local hunting studies. We simultaneously accounted for population abundance declines and the probability of local extirpation of a population as a function of several predictors related to human accessibility to remote areas and species’ vulnerability to hunting. We estimated an average abundance decline of 13% across all tropical mammal species, with medium-sized species being reduced by >27% and large mammals by >40%. Mammal populations are predicted to be partially defaunated (i.e., declines of 10%–100%) in ca. 50% of the pantropical forest area (14 million km2), with large declines (>70%) in West Africa. According to our projections, 52% of the intact forests (IFs) and 62% of the wilderness areas (WAs) are partially devoid of large mammals, and hunting may affect mammal populations in 20% of protected areas (PAs) in the tropics, particularly in West and Central Africa and Southeast Asia. The pervasive effects of overhunting on tropical mammal populations may have profound ramifications for ecosystem functioning and the livelihoods of wild-meat-dependent communities, and underscore that forest coverage alone is not necessarily indicative of ecosystem intactness. We call for a systematic consideration of hunting effects in (large-scale) biodiversity assessments for more representative estimates of human-induced biodiversity loss.
After less than two full days of deliberations, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay just over $2 billion in punitive and compensatory damages to a married couple who both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma they say was caused by their many years of using Roundup products.
After listening to 17 days of trial testimony, jurors said Monsanto must pay $1 billion to Alberta Pilliod, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma brain cancer in 2015, and another $1 billion to her husband Alva Pilliod, who was diagnosed in 2011 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma that spread from his bones to his pelvis and spine. The couple, who are both in their 70s, started using Roundup in the 1970s and continued using the herbicide until only a few years ago. The jury also awarded the couple a total of $55 million in damages for past and future medical bills and other losses.
In ordering punitive damages, the jury had to find that Monsanto “engaged in conduct with malice, oppression or fraud committed by one or more officers, directors or managing agents of Monsanto” who were acting on behalf of the company.
Pilliod v. Monsanto is the third Roundup cancer case to go to trial. And it is the third to conclude that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides can cause cancer and that Monsanto has long known about – and covered up – the risks.
"We've built everything for a climate that no longer exists."
Over the weekend, humanity quietly passed a grim milestone. Earth’s atmosphere exceeded its highest concentration of carbon dioxide in human history. On Sunday, a Twitter account run by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography tweeted the previous day’s measurement, much as it does every single day. Except on Sunday, the steadily advancing graph of global CO2 concentration included a matter-of-fact note: “First daily baseline over 415ppm.” Sunday’s reading hit a record-breaking 415.26 parts per million.
GRAND THEFT ALERT: Ecuador Agrees to Deliver Assange’s Documents, Devices to USA - Report
By tS - 12 May 2019
The Attorney general of Ecuador has agreed to deliver all of Julian Assange’s personal materials to the United States, according to a report by the Spainish newspaper which says it had seen the official document detailing the agreement.
The documents, mobile phones, computer files, memory units, and other devices of the WikiLeaks co-founder are in the Ecuadorean embassy in London where Assange had been residing for the past seven years before being arrested on April 11 by the United Kingdom police with the blessing of the Ecuadorean government.
According to El Pais, on May 20, at 9 a.m. U.K. time, Assange’s sealed room would be open for police to seize all the materials.
The decision had been communicated to his lawyer in Ecuador, Carlos Poveda.
By Larry Sanger - First 04. January 2019; updated occasionally since then; most recently updated May 11, 2019
Three problems of computer technology
My 2019 New Year’s resolution (along with getting into shape, of course) is to lock down my cyber-life. This is for three reasons.
First, threats to Internet security of all sorts have evolved beyond the reckoning of most of us, and if you have been paying attention, you wonder what you should really be doing in response. My phone was recently hacked and my Google password reset. The threats can come from criminals, ideological foes and people with a vendetta or a mission (of whatever sort), foreign powers, and—of special concern for some of us—the ubiquitous, massively intrusive ministrations of the tech giants.
Update TUE 18. May 2019: (rb)After having been subjected to a number of back and forth shuffles, today a large number of those who had fled from the Kakuma camp to Nairobi for security or medical reasons - and had deliberately not been assisted by UNHCR - were taken from the police cells, bundled under armed guard into a bus and sent back to Kakuma refugee camp in the harsh remote North of Turkana county. This includes highly pregnant single mothers with their children. Only a last-second intervention by a human rights organization prevented that even one serverely ill woman, who has an appointment at the national referral hospital - the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) - in the coming week for the continuous treatment of a tumor - something which simply can not be done in the camp - was sent off. To even have arrested her, put her into police cells and then to have placed her on the deportation bus to the detention camp two days travel away from Nairobi is in the first place a clear violation of her human rights and criminal neglect of any humanitarian principles. UNHCR lays the blame for such atrocity squarely on the Kenyan Government's Refugee Affairs Secretariat (RAS), which in turn then usually blames the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Interior (the minister in charge of security, who regularly argues based on alleged terrorism threats, based on U.S. narratives). But UNHCR is the co-signatory to the recent directive, that supports the brutal encampment policy despite a pending High-court case, that already had ruled against it but the ruling was not implemented because an appeal by the state is pending decision (since years). If UNHCR doesn't put its foot down in Kenya concerning all these mistreatments, blatant neglect of cases and the waste of time in refugee's lives, then UNHCR clearly violates the Refugee Conventions and UNHCR's own policies. Once again and also under the new country director Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR Kenya branch has proven to be NOT part of any solution but a core part of the problem.
UPDATE MON 13. May 2019: The arrested refugees were brought before court and charged with a) Creating disturbance, b) Unlawful assembly c) Incitement to violence and some with d) Rescue by force e) Assaulting police officers. The judge decided that they should be brought back to court the next day and be kept in the cells. Legal defence was nowhere to be seen.
UPDATE SUN 12. May 2019: Police had then arrested 5 more refugees, who went in the evenings to Kileleshwa police station in Nairobi, where the previously arrested refugees were detained in police cells to demand the release of those unfairly arrested, registered refugees. Friends among the refugees had to bring food to the detained since 09th May.
UPDATE: FRI 10. May 2019: Police failed to produce the arrested in court an kept them in the cells. Violation o Kenya law by the Kenyan police.
Legal rights assistance - outsourced by UNHCR to a local NGO with little effect and experience - failed to even show up.
NOWHERE TO HIDE
Seven refugees injured, 30 arrested, 17 detained as police break up protest at UNHCR. Some had bleeding gums and scars on their faces.
By RAHMADAN RAJAB (*) - TSt - 11. May 2019 (Edited by O. Owino)
• Refugees have been picketing since Monday seeking an audience with UNHCR and asking for the removal of commissioner Kodeck Makori.
•They complain of ill-treatment and extortion.
Seven refugees were injured and 17 detained during a protest at UN refugee agency offices in Westlands, Nairobi - Kenya. The over 200 refugees have been camping at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) offices for over seven months.
This reporter witnessed the police and G4S officers rounding up some of the refugees and descending on them with blows and kicks.
Alaska Mining Project Threatens Salmon, Water, and Native Communities
By Josh Tucker - Contributor - 10. May 2019
Alaska – Trump Administration officials have fast-tracked permits for the largest open-pit mine in North America. The proposed Pebble Mine had previously seemed paralyzed, after more than a decade of relentless opposition by Alaska Native elders and youth. Now, plans for the mine are being rushed forward. The final public comment period for the proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permits ends on June 29, 2019.
Under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote that it would result in a “complete loss of fish habitat” (PDF) in a proposed determination to block Pebble Mine. The mine is planned to excavate ore amid the headwaters of the streams that spawn the world’s biggest sockeye salmon populations, in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. This single mine is slated to disfigure an area larger than Manhattan.
In situations of war, collective violence or atrocity there is no such thing as a neutral stance. Passive by-standing is aiding and abetting evil. Don’t be complicit. "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor!" - Desmond Tutu
We received many requests from students and scholars, who want to use our Venezuela Files compilation for their project and also e.g. compare the events per timeline with the happenings in their own countries. All are permitted and encouraged to do so. If you feel an important piece in the puzzle of this timeline is missing, please send to info[AT]ecoterra[DOT]info.
Update FRI 10. May 2019 (vf): BREAKING: Venezuelan Navy wards off US Coast Guard ship at Venezuelan territorial waters violating Venezuela's 200nm EEZ.
The USCGC James, one of the US Navy’s most technologically advanced ships, was sailing towards Venezuela’s territorial waters when a patrol boat was sent to warn it off. The US vessel backed off after radio communication.
The Venezuelan Navy released a statement on Friday, saying the incident took place on Thursday (09. May 2019 ~ 18h00 local time = 22h00 UTC) and involved a US Coast Guard vessel heading towards the Latin American country’s main port of La Guaira.
The USCGC James was 14 nautical miles (16 miles) off Venezuela’s coast when Caracas sent a patrol vessel to intercept it. In the course of subsequent radio communications, the USCGC James agreed to turn away. “The USCG James was encouraged to change its course and leave our jurisdictional waters. The instruction was obeyed,” the Venezuelan Navy said in a statement.