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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Peru's forests store nearly 7 billion metric tons of carbon

Peru's forests store nearly 7 billion metric tons of carbon
By Lizzie Wade 10 November 2014 3:00 pm

As an Amazonian country, Peru knew it was doing the world an environmental service by storing carbon in its rainforest. But the country didn’t know exactly how much carbon it was keeping out of the atmosphere nor precisely where it was. That hindered its ability to protect its reserves as well as negotiate a fair price for doing so on the global carbon market. Now, a new map provides a hectare-by-hectare look at Peru’s carbon reserves. Made by combining data from LiDAR flights, a network of monitored land plots, and satellite imagery, the map reveals that Peru stores just under 7 billion metric tons of carbon, mostly in the Amazon rainforest that dominates the eastern part of the country, researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The map is so detailed that it can reveal deforestation that would otherwise be hidden deep in rural areas. The image above, for example, shows how carbon stocks are diminished by the building of a road (blue) through the normally high-carbon Amazon (red). These kinds of close-ups allowed the researchers to calculate that at least 800 million metric tons of Peru’s aboveground carbon stocks are at imminent risk of destruction from activities such as logging and oil extraction. But there’s hope: The map also shows that federally protected environmental reserves are great at storing carbon, which could give the Peruvian government the leverage it needs to establish more of them. Meanwhile, the team hopes to expand its mapping method to more developing tropical countries. Next up? Ecuador.


(Short article, no more at link.)

The Bias of Human Rights Watch

The Bias of Human Rights Watch

by Garry Leech • 21 March 2013

Human Rights Watch’s se­lective and biased ap­plic­a­tion of the human rights norms en­shrined in the UN Declaration not only un­der­mines its cred­ib­ility, it also pro­motes injustice.

Over the past thirty years, Human Rights Watch has become one of the most recognized non-​governmental organizations in the world due to its global promotion of human rights. But despite its claims to be an advocate of international human rights law, the reports issued by Human Rights Watch over the past decade have increasingly exhibited a bias towards certain rights over others. More precisely, Human Rights Watch repeatedly focuses on political and civil rights while ignoring social and economic rights. As a result, it routinely judges nations throughout the world in a manner that furthers capitalist values and discredits governments seeking socialist alternatives. It is this bias that lies at the root of Human Rights Watch’s scathing attacks on the government of Venezuela and its recently deceased president Hugo Chávez. This bias was also evident in comments made in 2012 by Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, when he declared that Venezuela is “the most abusive” nation in Latin America.

According to Human Rights Watch’s mission statement, “Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world” and in order to achieve that objective “We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.” The international human rights law referred to by Human Rights Watch is rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was passed by the UN General Assembly in 1948. The Declaration encompasses political, civil, social, economic and cultural rights.

Capitalist nations, particularly the United States, have never been comfortable with the articles of the UN Declaration that require governments to guarantee the social and economic rights of their citizens. Among the social and economic rights that contravene capitalist values are the right to “food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services” (Article 25) as well as the right “to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” (Article 27). In a capitalist society, responsibility for obtaining food, clothing, housing and medical care rests with the individual not the state. Likewise, it is not the state’s responsibility to ensure that all citizens share equally in the benefits of scientific advancements developed by, for example, pharmaceutical corporations.

The United States does support those articles in the Declaration that promote civil and political rights. These rights ensure that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law” (Article 7) “Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others” (Article 17); “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” (Article 18); and “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression” (Article 19). Basically, these are the individual rights that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and that lie at the root of the liberal democratic concept of the “rule of law.” And while Human Rights Watch professes to defend the human rights enshrined in the UN Declaration, in reality, its work focuses exclusively on the civil and political rights recognized by the U.S. government.

A vivid example of Human Rights Watch’s bias against economic and social rights is the report the organization issued immediately following the death of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez. Human Rights Watch had long had an antagonistic relationship with the Venezuelan leader, which was touched upon in the report. The report clearly reflected the view of the organization’s executive director Ken Roth that Venezuela (along with Bolivia and Ecuador) is “the most abusive nation” in Latin America. One only need take a quick look at Human Rights Watch’s reports on Colombia to illustrate the ludicrousness of such a statement.


Military Personnel Trained by the CIA Used Napalm Against Indigenous People in Brazil

Military Personnel Trained by the CIA Used Napalm Against Indigenous People in Brazil
Sunday, 09 November 2014 00:00
By Santiago Navarro F., Renata Bessi and Translated by Miriam Taylor, Truthout | News Analysis

For the first time in the history of Brazil, the federal government is investigating the deaths and abuses suffered by Indigenous peoples during military dictatorship (1964-1985). The death toll may be twenty times more than previously known.

Just as in World War II and Vietnam, napalm manufactured in the US burned the bodies of hundreds of indigenous individuals in Brazil, people without an army and without weapons. The objective was to take over their lands. Indigenous peoples in this country suffered the most from the atrocities committed during the military dictatorship (1964-1985) - with the support of the United States. For the first time in Brazil's history, the National Truth Commission, created by the federal government in 2012 in order to investigate political crimes committed by the State during the military dictatorship, gives statistics showing that the number of indigenous individuals killed could be 20 times greater than was previously officially registered by leftist militants.

Unlike other crimes committed by the State during that time period, no reparations or indemnification for the acts have been offered to indigenous people; they were not even considered victims of the military regime. "From the north to the south and from the east to the west, accusations of genocide, assassination of leaders and indigenous rights defenders, slavery, massacres, poisonings in small towns, forced displacement, secret prisons for indigenous people, the bombing of towns, torture, and denigrating treatment were registered [with the State Truth Commissions]," Marcelo Zelic, vice president of the anti-torture group Never Again - SP, one of the organizations that makes up the Indigenous Truth and Justice Commission, created in order to provide documents and information to the National Truth Commission - told Truthout during an audience with the Truth Commission of San Pablo open to journalists.

Guaraní leader Timoteo Popyguá is from the El Dorado community in the state of Sao Paulo. He tells of his parents and grandparents, who lived in the municipality of the Manguerinha region in southern Brazil's Paraná state, and who were victims of the military regime. Popyguá explained to Truthout that his relatives were forcibly removed from their lands, and those who managed to stay suffered from a drastic reduction in their territories. Because these indigenous groups require "ample space" for the reproduction of their cultural life, according to him this is another form of violence that they were subjected to. "My parents were victims of abuses, chained to tree trunks. The reason was land," he says. "There must be reparations for the loss of our land and our culture."

The Commission for Amnesty - a different body that the Truth Commission - was put into place in 2001 by the Ministry of Justice with the goal of analyzing the requirements for political amnesty. Currently, their official documents count 457 victims who were either murdered or disappeared by the military. The Truth Commission determined that the total number of registered cases was 8,000 indigenous individuals, and another thousand people who belonged to political organizations who were killed between 1964 and 1985.


The CIA and Drugs, Inc.: a Covert History

Weekend Edition November 7-9, 2014

Drug Trafficking as Strategic Intelligence

The CIA and Drugs, Inc.: a Covert History


Gary Webb was a good investigator. He linked a drug dealer in Los Angeles, through Contra suppliers, to CIA officers and Republican politicians. His editor let the story rip, and the “Dark Alliance” series made a mighty impact on Black Americans, who saw it as evidence that the ruling class was as racist as ever.

Webb stuck a stake in the evil heart of the national security state and embarrassed the CIA’s contacts in the mainstream media. All of which was unforgiveable. Pressure was applied, history re-written, and Webb, in despair, apparently committed suicide.

The irony, of course, is that Webb had exposed only a small part of the story. The fact of the matter is that the US government has always managed large portions of the illicit, international drug business, and was doing so long before the CIA came into existence.

Documented cases abound, like the Opium Scandal of 1927, in which a “former” US Attorney in Shanghai provided a Chinese warlord with 6500 Mausers in exchange for $500,000 worth of opium.


Abused lions en route to new home

Abused lions en route to new home
8:55 AM Sunday Nov 9, 2014

Heartbreaking photographs have emerged of a group of badly abused lions rescued from a circus in Peru as they await their move to a safe animal shelter in America.

One of the lions had been so badly hurt while owned by the circus in Chiclayo, in southern America, that it was missing one of its eyes.

The animals are now en route to their new home at the Wildlife Animal Sanctuary in Denver, Colorado, that offers the US's best habitat for large carnivores.

The shelter is also home to various breeds of tiger, as well as varieties of wolves, black and grizzly bears, leopards, lynxes and bobcats.


Uruguay's Jose Mujica gets $1m offer for his VW Beetle

Source: BBC News

6 November 2014 Last updated at 21:42 ET

Uruguay's Jose Mujica gets $1m offer for his VW Beetle

[font size=1]
President Jose Mujica's simple lifestyle differs sharply from that of most world leaders[/font]

Uruguay's President Jose Mujica says he has been offered $1m (£630,000) for his vintage Volkswagen Beetle.

Mr Mujica, once dubbed "the poorest president in the world" because of his modest lifestyle, said the offer had come from an Arab sheikh.

He told the weekly Busqueda magazine that if he did accept the offer, the money would be used to help the poor.

President Mujica - popularly known as Pepe - lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay.

In 2010, his annual personal wealth declaration - mandatory for officials in Uruguay - was $1,800, the value of his blue 1987 Beetle.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-29946977

Colombia arrests suspect in Venezuela lawmaker’s murder

Colombia arrests suspect in Venezuela lawmaker’s murder
Nov 6, 2014 posted by Piotr Wojciak

Colombian authorities have detained the alleged mastermind behind the assassination of Venezuelan deputy Robert Serra and his partner Maria Herrera, local media reported on Thursday.

According to the reports, Leiva Padilla Mendoza, alias “El Colombiano” was detained on Wednesday during an operation by National Criminal Investigation Department (Dijin) in Cartagena, in the north of the country.

Mendoza was arrested in broad daylight in the center of city. At the time of apprehension, he was accompanied by his girlfriend.

“El Colombiano” or ” Colombia” has been issued a “red notice” by Interpol, which is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today. According to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the individual has been operating under false identities to evade the authorities.


Mexico grants protection for army slaying witness

Mexico grants protection for army slaying witness
| November 5, 2014 | Updated: November 5, 2014 10:03pm

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government said Wednesday it has agreed on protective measures for a witness who told The Associated Press and Esquire magazine that soldiers killed 21 suspected gang members after they surrendered at a warehouse in southern Mexico in late June.

The woman told the AP she had been threatened by agents of the Mexico State prosecutors' office if she talked about what happened at the warehouse on June 30, and said she feared reprisals. The Associated Press has withheld the woman's name.

In October, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission formally recommended that Mexico provide protection for her and her family.

Mexico's Interior Department said Wednesday that it had met with other government agencies and the woman's representatives to decide how to provide protection. The department said in a statement that "the government recognizes the contribution of the victim-witness to the investigation" of the killings and said it "commits itself to protecting her."


Did Mexico's 'First Lady of Murder' order mass killings?

Did Mexico's 'First Lady of Murder' order mass killings?

Mayor's wife arrested with husband as police search for 43 missing students

Terrence McCoy
Thursday 06 November 2014

When 43 students vanished from the Mexican town of Iguala, the mayor’s wife arrived to the party in pink.
Maria de los Angeles Pineda was running to succeed her husband as mayor, and her campaign was in full swing.
She had bused in 3,000 people to the Plaza de las Tres Garantías, and pictures show a meticulously-organised stage, replete with a vast picture of Mrs Pineda. Afterwards, promised “Lady Iguala”, there would be dancing.

That dance was just about the last moment anyone in the town of about 100,000 saw the couple – until this week. Days ago, they were arrested for allegedly orchestrating the abduction of 43 students and colluding with a local cartel in a case that has roiled Mexico, spurred massive protests and gained international attention.

Mrs Pineda has now gained the recognition she sought, but on very different terms. A growing number of observers and authorities now suspect that she played a pivotal role in the students’ disappearance.

Routinely described as the “The First Lady of Murder,” or the “Queen of Iguala”, Mrs Pineda was the “key operator” of Iguala’s criminal network, gang leaders tell local press. The story of Maria de los Angeles Pineda illustrates the endemic collusion between state and criminal actors in the region, where politics, business and cartels converged to take a town hostage.


Former senator stripped of investiture after drunk-driving incident

Former senator stripped of investiture after drunk-driving incident
Nov 5, 2014 posted by David Wing

Former Senator Eduardo Merlano was officially stripped of his investiture by Colombia’s State Council on Wednesday after he had been caught driving under the influence.

The loss of investiture is due to an incident in Barranquilla on 13 May, 2012 when Merlano refused to take a sobriety test after police suspected him of driving under the influence.

“I am a Senator of the Republic, 50,000 votes. 50,000 people voted for me and you are going to disrespect me?” he was caught on video saying.

The coalition senator, a member of President Juan Manuel Santos’ U Party, is not the first of his family to run into trouble with the law; His father, former Senator Jairo Merlano is in prison for using paramilitary death squads to coerce voters into voting for him.


(Beats workin', doesn't it?)
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