By Beverly Bell, April 2, 2014. Source: The Nation
Members of a Lenca indigenous community protest against the planned construction of a dam in Honduras. Photo: AP Photo/Edgard Garrido
“Screw the company trying to take our river, and the government. If I die, I’m going to die defending life.” So said María Santos Dominguez, a member of the Indigenous Council of the Lenca community of Rio Blanco, Honduras.
April 1 marks one year since the Rio Blanco community began a human barricade that has so far stopped a corporation from constructing a dam that would privatize and destroy the sacred Gualcarque River. Adults and children have successfully blocked the road to the river with their bodies, a stick-and-wire fence and a trench. Only one of many communities fighting dams across Honduras, the families of Rio Blanco stand out for their tenacity and for the violence unleashed upon them.
The Honduran-owned, internationally backed DESA Corporation has teamed up with US-funded Honduran soldiers and police, private guards and paid assassins to try to break the opposition. Throughout the past year, they have killed, shot, maimed, kidnapped and threatened the residents of Rio Blanco. The head of DESA, David Castillo, is a West Point graduate. He also served as former assistant to the director of military intelligence and maintains close ties with the Honduran Armed Forces.
Note: And yet another study concludes what many people have been saying for years. And once again, the United States lobbied to downplay the need to increase aid from industrial countries that have contributed the most to climate change. Maybe it is time for members of the IPCC to put down their pens and pick up their swords.
-The GJEP Team
By Justin Gillis, March 31, 2014. Source: NY Times
Greenland’s immense ice sheet is melting as a result of climate change. Photo: Kadir van Lohuizen for The New York Times
Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported Monday, and they warned that the problem is likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.
The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.
The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.
Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said.
By Henia Belalia, March 24, 2014. Source: Waging Nonviolence
After decades of U.S. war and intervention in El Salvador, a full quarter of the country’s population has migrated north across the U.S-Mexico border fence. (Flickr/BBC World News)
Often, for those of us fighting for migrant rights, the actions and campaigns we coordinate when loved ones are held in detention centers or imminent deportation dates are looming overhead have a sense of urgency. And it becomes a fight against the clock, in which we compromise the slow time of reclaiming stories that dig deep and far back into history.
As the migrant justice movement gets away from the divisive notion of “who deserves to stay,” we must also tackle the question of why people are migrating in the first place. The stories we tell must expose the neoliberal policies and practices that made our parents, grandparents and cousins leave their countries in the first place. We must debunk the U.S.-centered fairy tale that this county is the perfect model of democracy and the place where all dreams come true, and that those are reasons why so many millions of people have risked their lives to live here.
It’s a fairy tale that is commonly held among migrants moving to other imperial countries as well, such as when my family left Algeria for France. Harsha Walia (an organizer with No One is Illegal in Canada) defines this common global phenomenon as border imperialism. As she explains, seeing it through the lens of imperialism, “It take us away from an analysis that blames and punishes migrants, or one that forces migrants to assimilate and establish their individual worth. Instead, it orients the gaze squarely on the processes of displacement and migration within the global political economy of capitalism and colonialism.”
Note: Watch the video here
-The GJEP Team
September 27, 2013. Source: RT
In his dramatic speech in New York, Bolivian President Evo Morales called for the UN to be moved out of the US and for Barack Obama to be tried for crimes against humanity. Speaking to RT, Morales explained his controversial proposals.
In his most controversial demand, Morales said that Obama should face an international trial with human rights watchdogs among the judges. The Bolivian president accused his US counterpart of instigating conflicts in the Middle East to make the region more volatile and to increase the US’s grip on the natural resources it abounds in. He gave Libya as an example of a country where “they arranged for the president to be killed, and they usurped Libya’s oil.”
“Now they are funding the rebels that fight against presidents who don’t support capitalism or imperialism,” Morales told Eva Golinger of RT’s Spanish sister channel, Actualidad. “And where a coup d’état is impossible, they seek to divide the people in order to weaken the nation – a provocation designed to trigger an intervention by peacekeeping forces, NATO, the UN Security Council. But the intervention itself is meant to get hold of oil resources and gain geopolitical control, rather than enforce respect for human rights.”
Note: Too little, too late, indeed. Today, August 10, is Agent Orange Day. Time for the US government and Dow Chemical to fully admit guilt and implement a serious cleanup program for the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam and the US.
-The GJEP Team
By Thomas Fuller, August 9, 2013. Source: NY Times
Against the backdrop of a field contaminated by Agent Orange in Da Nang, Vietnamese military officers attended a ceremony on Thursday to mark the United States’ first big cleanup of war chemicals in Vietnam. Photo: Maika Elan/AP
Forty years after the United States stopped spraying herbicides in the jungles of Southeast Asia in the hopes of denying cover to Vietcong fighters and North Vietnamese troops, an air base here is one of about two dozen former American sites that remain polluted with an especially toxic strain of dioxin, the chemical contaminant in Agent Orange that has been linked to cancers, birth defects and other diseases.
On Thursday, after years of rebuffing Vietnamese requests for assistance in a cleanup, the United States inaugurated its first major effort to address the environmental effects of the long war.
“This morning we celebrate a milestone in our bilateral relationship,” David B. Shear, the American ambassador to Vietnam, said at a ceremony attended by senior officers of the Vietnamese military. “We’re cleaning up this mess.”
The program, which is expected to cost $43 million and take four years, was officially welcomed with smiles and handshakes at the ceremony. But bitterness remains here. Agent Orange is mentioned often in the news media, and victims are commemorated annually on Aug. 10, the day in 1961 when American forces first tested spraying it in Vietnam. The government objected to Olympics sponsorship this year by Dow Chemical, a leading producer of Agent Orange during the war. Many here have not hesitated to call the American program too little — it addresses only the one site — and very late.
By Ed Pilkington, July 31, 2013. Source: The Guardian
Bradley Manning faces a maximum 60-year prison sentence. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP
Bradley Manning began his first day as a convict on Wednesday, after he was found guilty of 20 counts relating to the transmission of state secrets to WikiLeaks. Outside the courtroom, the consequences of what amounts to a major escalation in the US government’s war on whistleblowers are beginning to sink in.
Tuesday’s verdict was the first time under the Obama administration that any leaker of official secrets has been convicted under the 1917 Espionage Act – a criminal statute designed to ensnare actual spies and traitors working with foreign governments. The only other time in US history that an official has been found guilty at trial under the Act for passing classified information to the press involved a naval intelligence expert, Samuel Morison, in 1985.
Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, a former Department of Justice whistleblower herself, said the consequences of Manning being found guilty of six counts under the Espionage Act should not be underestimated. She compared it to the failed attempt by the US government to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg, source of the 1970s Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam war. “This is Obama’s first conviction against a non-spy under the act,” she said. “He has now managed to do what Nixon couldn’t.”
By Joe Bryan, July 23, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
The Lawrence World-Journal recently reported the Defense Department’s decision to fund the latest Bowman Expedition led by the American Geographical Society and the University of Kansas Geography Department. Like the first – and controversial – Bowman expedition to Mexico, this latest venture will be led by KU Geographers Jerome Dobson and Peter Herlihy and will target indigenous communities.
Like previous Bowman Expeditions, the expedition’s goal is to compile basic, “open-source,” information about countries that can be used to inform U.S. policy makers and the military. This time, however, they won’t be focused on a single country. Instead they’ll be working throughout Central America, a region that Herlihy and Dobson have elsewhere called “The U.S. Borderlands.” What is this Expedition about? And why is the Defense Department funding academic research on indigenous peoples?
As with the expedition to Mexico, Herlihy and Dobson are focused on land ownership. Echoing a growing list of military strategists, Herlihy and Dobson contend that areas where property rights are not clearly established and enforced by states provide ideal conditions for criminal activity and violence that threaten regional security.
July 23, 2013.
Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.