Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
October 15, 2022

Paraguay: Alarming Increase In Use Of Pesticides Compromises Human Rights Says UN Expert

Saturday, 15 October 2022, 6:12 am

ASUNCION/GENEVA (14 October 2022) The excessive use of pesticides in Paraguay is poisoning the country and seriously affecting the lives and health of its people, a UN expert said today.

"Laws that control pesticides are not enforced in Paraguay. This generates impunity for human rights violations and abuses of thousands of people exposed to toxic contamination," said Marcos Orellana, UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, following an official visit to Paraguay.

Presenting his preliminary observations at the end of the visit, Orellana said that while there were cooperatives that seek to work the land responsibly, the agro-industrial production model favoured by the State has victimised communities through the relentless increase in aerial and ground spraying of hazardous pesticides.

The expert said that indigenous peoples and peasant communities were being cornered by monocultures and other crops dependent on pesticides. “Those who oppose the contamination of their communities are often criminalised by the Public Prosecutor's Office,” Orellana said.


October 15, 2022

To Stop Illegal Fishing, Send a Seabird

Illegal fishing is too big a problem for humans to handle alone.

October 14, 2022

Every year, as shifting currents pull cold, nutrient-rich waters up from the Pacific Ocean depths, the western coast of South America floods with fish. Billions of anchovies follow the currents in flickering silver masses, and in turn are followed by fleets of fishing vessels.

Conservation scientists follow this catch, too, trying to prevent overharvesting that will cause populations to plummet and jeopardize the many other creatures—larger fish, sea lions, dolphins and sharks, and seabirds—who also depend on the anchovies. This year, these monitors have some unusual assistants: As seabirds flock to the feast, they’ll be carrying GPS-equipped cameras to monitor the ships below.

“They are an independent, non-biased way to record fishing activities,” says Carlos Zavalaga, a seabird ecologist at Peru’s Scientific University of the South, who leads a project that uses kitted-out Peruvian boobies to monitor the country’s anchovy fisheries. “They just go and feed.”

Scientists started sticking gauges and radio trackers on large-bodied animals back in the 1940s, but the advent of GPS, satellite transmission, and miniaturized electronics opened the field up to track smaller, lighter, and farther-traveling animals. Seabirds are stars of this research, and it has yielded extraordinary insight into the lives of creatures capable of drinking seawater, going weeks without food, and of flying halfway around the globe without ever touching land.


October 15, 2022


One of the largest sugar supplies to the U.S., Central Romana in the Dominican Republic is coming under government scrutiny for labor practices.

Sandy Tolan, Euclides Cordero Nuel
October 14 2022, 1:09 p.m.

ON A WARM, muggy morning in February 2021, masked men arrived at a dilapidated wooden shack in a remote Dominican Republic work camp without light or running water. Armed with 9-mm pistols and 12-gauge shotguns, and wearing masks to cover their faces, they were part of a private security force assembled by one of the largest exporters of sugar to the United States.

The armed force dismounted from their motorcycles and approached the tin-roof dwelling. It was the home of Flexi Bele, a Haitian sugarcane worker who had lived with his family in this distant corner of this Caribbean nation for decades. Now, he was facing a peril that many of his fellow cane cutters dreaded: The masked men, employed by the billion-dollar Central Romana Corporation, pounded on his door.

“They kicked me out of the batey,” said Bele, using the term for a sugarcane work camp in the Dominican Republic. After 40 years as a Central Romana cane cutter, Bele, 66 years old, had been told there was no more work for him. He was being laid off. “I worked, and worked, and worked, I gave them so much work.”

Bele lived in a camp known as Batey Lima, company housing owned by Central Romana. The armed men standing at his door had come to evict him.

“After they kicked me out of my job, they kicked me out of the batey,” said Bele, whose story was corroborated by a fellow cane worker who lived nearby. “They were armed,” Bele said. “They are always armed. I didn’t argue with them.”


October 13, 2022

Why the US Imprisoned Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab

by Roger D. Harris / October 12th, 2022

A year ago, October 16, the long arm of US extra-territorial judicial overreach abducted Alex Saab and threw him into prison in Miami, where the Venezuelan diplomat has languished ever since.

The official narrative is that Saab had bilked the Venezuelans in a “vast corruption network” and the US as the world’s self-appointed cop was simply enforcing good business practices. However, commentary by Washington insiders corroborates that Saab’s “crime” was trying to obtain humanitarian supplies in legal international trade but in circumvention of the illegal US sanctions on Venezuela.

Cabo Verde captivity

Back on June 12, 2021, Mr. Saab was on a humanitarian mission to procure needed food, fuel, and medicine for the people of Venezuela who had been suffering from an unconscionable blockade of their country. The US had imposed unilateral coercive measures – a form of collective punishment and illegal under international law – on Venezuela explicitly to make conditions so unbearable that the people would turn against their democratically elected government, which had fallen into disfavor with Washington.

Alex Saab’s flight from Caracas to Tehran was diverted to Cabo Verde off the coast of west Africa for a fuel stop. He was seized and has been imprisoned ever since.

Not only had the US-initiated Interpol “red alert” warrant been issued a day after the arrest, but as a credentialed special envoy and deputy ambassador to the African Union, Mr. Saab had protection from apprehension. Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, he was immune from arrest and detention, even in the time of war. The US is a party to the Vienna Convention.

October 12, 2022

Two armed attackers shoot at journalist Erick Nio's home, office in Colombia

October 11, 2022 3:41 PM EDT

Bogotá, Colombia, October 11, 2022 – Colombian authorities must thoroughly investigate a shooting at the home and office of journalist Erick Niño, bring those responsible to justice, and guarantee Niño’s safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.

Around 10:45 p.m. on October 5, two men aboard a motorcycle armed with pistols shot several times at Niño’s apartment, which also serves as the office for his independent digital outlet La Popular Stereo Colombia TV, in the central Colombian town of Puerto Wilches, according to neighbors who observed the attack and told Niño, who spoke to CPJ by messaging app, and news reports.

Niño had left his apartment shortly before the attack and returned to find bullet holes in the door, window, and roof of his apartment, Niño told CPJ. He added that the attack may have been in response to his frequent reports on police and army operations against criminal organizations in the region.

The shooting follows four death threats against Niño circulated in pamphlets by criminal organizations since January 2021, which CPJ reviewed. Niño told CPJ that he also received a call to his cell phone the day before the attack, during which a male voice warned him: “You S.O.B., if you keep reporting, we are going to kill you.”

“Colombian authorities must immediately investigate the attack on journalist Erick Niño’s home and office and take all necessary measures to ensure that he can keep working safely,” said Natalie Southwick, CPJ’s Latin America and the Caribbean program coordinator, in New York. “The threats against Niño have already escalated to an alarming level. It is past time for authorities to take them seriously and act to guarantee his safety.”

October 12, 2022


Adopting debunked claims of election fraud, the report reflects the Trump administration’s stance supporting the far-right coup regime of Jeanine Áñez.
Daniel Boguslaw Daniel Boguslaw
October 12 2022, 4:00 a.m.

A STATE DEPARTMENT report obtained by The Intercept shows the Biden administration continuing to embrace claims of electoral fraud that opened the door for a right-wing takeover of the Bolivian government in 2019. Mandated by the most recent omnibus spending bill, the report delivered to Congress mirrors the posture the Trump administration pushed three years ago, when it sought to cement the replacement of Bolivia’s Indigenous socialist president Evo Morales with the country’s right-wing Christian senator Jeanine Áñez.

The report relies almost entirely on the conclusions of the Organization of American States, which found in a November 2019 audit that a “series of willful actions were taken to alter the results” of the election — and which proved key to the coup that followed. The OAS’s initial analysis has since been discredited by multiple statistical models, nonprofit revues, a peer reviewed academic study, and news outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post, yet continues to be endorsed by the State Department. When the analysis was first published on November 10, 2019, it helped transform street protests into a right-wing seizure of power.

The State Department’s recent report comes as Arturo Murillo, Áñez’s interior minister under the temporary coup regime, filed changes to his plea agreement in a money laundering case in the southern district of Florida. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Murillo and another former official received bribes from three U.S. citizens — also arrested — to obtain a Bolivian government contract for tear gas and other weapons, laundering their bribes through U.S. banks.

Bolivian Ex-Minister of Defense Plotted a Second Coup Using U.S. Mercenaries
Murillo’s efforts ultimately failed, but his party’s far-right agenda upended Bolivian politics. As The Intercept reported last year, even after the 2020 election of Luis Arce restored Movimiento al Socialismo, or MAS, to power, far-right politicians were planning a second coup and attempting to recruit U.S. private mercenaries to carry it out, underscoring the close ties Bolivia’s coup leaders have maintained with U.S. citizens and corporations.


October 10, 2022

Scientists identify cognitive impacts of mercury exposure on Peru's Matsigenka people

OCTOBER 10, 2022

by Cassie Freund, Wake Forest University

Indigenous peoples globally are disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution. The Matsigenka people of the Peruvian Amazon are one such Indigenous group. Fewer than 1,000 Matsigenka are spread across four villages in the Manu River Basin of Manu National Park southeastern Peru, with an uncertain number of villages and individuals living further up the Manu River in voluntary isolation.

Despite their very traditional lifestyles, far removed from industrial centers, the Matsigenka people are exposed to high levels of mercury by eating mercury-contaminated fish. The source of this mercury is likely pollution from artisanal and small-scale gold mining. Miners involved in this type of mining use mercury to extract gold from river bed sediments. The silvery mercury binds to the gold, forming a solid mass called amalgam. Heating the amalgam over an open flame vaporizes the mercury, scattering it into the air, soil, and water, where it enters the food chain as methylmercury. Methylmercury is dangerous neurotoxin that affects cognition and other central nervous system functions in people exposed to it.

New research led by Wake Forest University psychologist and CEES affiliate Alycia Silman, in conjunction with scientists from Wake Forest's Centro de Innovación Científica Amazónica (CINCIA), the Wake Forest School of Medicine, the University of North Carolina—Greensboro, and Peru's Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, takes an important step toward understanding the health impacts of mercury exposure on Matsigenka people. The group found a negative association between mercury levels in the hair of Matsigenka study participants and their performance on cognitive tests, demonstrating a tangible and ominous link between environmental mercury pollution and human cognition in this Amazonian Indigenous group.

While the Matsigenka are not gold miners themselves and live over 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the nearest gold mine, current thinking is that they are exposed to mercury after it is transported upriver by the same large migratory fish that sustain their communities. In addition to being a serious health issue, these disproportionate impacts on Matsigenka communities make mercury pollution an environmental justice issue as well.


October 8, 2022

Haiti asks world for military help to curb chaos

15 hours ago


Protests and gang violence have rocked Haiti, plunging the country into a worsening political, economic and security crisis.

By Merlyn Thomas
BBC News

Haiti has asked for foreign military support to curb its gang violence crisis which has paralysed the country.

The Haitian government authorised Prime Minister Ariel Henry to request armed help due to "the risk of a major humanitarian crisis".

The US meanwhile urged its citizens in Haiti to leave due to the insecurity.

A group of powerful gangs have blocked the country's main fuel terminal since September, crippling its basic supplies like water and food.

October 6, 2022

Media Spin Lula Victory as Defeat

OCTOBER 5, 2022


From the way that the Anglo media are treating the October 2 Brazilian first-round presidential elections, a casual news consumer may get the impression that the Brazilian Workers Party suffered a crushing defeat. It takes an incredible amount of spin to create this impression. In order to pull this off, several important facts have to be downplayed or ignored.

Workers Party candidate Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva beat incumbent Jair Bolsonaro by 6.2 million votes. This represents the first time since the return to democracy in 1985 that a challenger has ever beaten an incumbent in a Brazilian first-round presidential election, and no incumbent has ever lost reelection.

There are reasons for this. The incumbent has the entire weight of the state behind them. This enables them to, for example, issue an executive order to bypass constitutionally mandated spending caps during election season to artificially lower the prices of food, cooking gas and gasoline, and dish out billions of reais in pork to fickle center-right allies in Congress, as Bolsonaro did this year.

Political comeback for the ages
Brazil has two-thirds the population of the US, so Lula’s win on Saturday would be the equivalent of a victory by over 9 million votes in a US presidential election—something which has not happened since 2008.


October 5, 2022

Mexico to appeal after US judge dismisses lawsuit against gun manufacturers

The government of Mexico filed the lawsuit in U.S. federal court in Boston in August 2021. DEPOSIT PHOTOS

In its lawsuit, the government estimated that 2.2% of almost 40 million guns manufactured annually in the United States are smuggled into Mexico

Published on Monday, October 3, 2022

The federal government has announced it will appeal the dismissal of its lawsuit against United States gun manufacturers.

The government filed a US $10 billion lawsuit against gunmakers, including Smith & Wesson and Barrett Firearms in August 2021, accusing them of negligent business practices that have led to illegal arms trafficking and deaths in Mexico, where U.S.-sourced firearms are used in a majority of high-impact crimes.

In a claim filed in Massachusetts, it alleged that the companies have undermined Mexican gun laws by designing, marketing and selling high-powered weapons that appeal to criminal organizations in Mexico.

Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor dismissed the claim in federal court in Boston on Friday, saying that U.S. law “unequivocally” prohibits lawsuits that seek to hold gun manufacturers responsible when people use their products for their intended purpose.


Profile Information

Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 161,400
Latest Discussions»Judi Lynn's Journal