Category Archives: The Greater Americas

Strangling the Whistleblower

From a Guardian Online article:

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WikiLeaks could be driven out of existence by the new year if it is unable to challenge a financial blockade by banks and credit card companies including Visa, MasterCard and PayPal, the website’s founder Julian Assange has said.

Announcing a “temporary suspension” of the whistleblowing website’s publishing activities, Assange said the site had been deprived of 95% of its revenue by the “dangerous, oppressive and undemocratic” blockade, and now needed to direct its energy purely into “aggressive fundraising” to fight for the organisation’s survival.

“This financial blockade is an existential threat to WikiLeaks. If the blockade is not borne down by the end of the year the organisation cannot continue its work,” Assange told a news conference in central London.

The announcement is the most open acknowledgement of the site’s perilous financial situation since a clutch of financial operators blocked donations in the days after its publication of leaked US embassy cables in November last year.

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The gang of financial institutions – Paypal, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, Western Union and Post Finance – that have refused to take donations for Wikileaks since November last year must be laughing in their golden cages.

Disgusting!

READ THE GUARDIAN ARTICLE HERE.

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Fueling Cars with Orangutan Blood

That title should capture some attention. So click the image to get the rest of the story


The ALIENS have landed

The cover for Alien to Any Skin, photograph and design by John Marin Flores

Well, the copies of Alien to Any Skin, that is.  🙂  Now “Skin” can keep her twin sister “Karu”  (Baha-bahagdang Karupukan) company.  They can both wait together for new homes.  A bit like orphans, but definitely unlike Annie.  Oh my.  I need my coffee.

The kind folks of UST Publishing House will need two weeks before proper marketing and distribution can start, not that there are masses of eager readers at the gate.  🙂

This news comes as the world spins into further chaos and re-arrangement — floods, explosions in buses and airports, street protests, volcanic eruptions, drone fighter plane murders, new births.

ps I have foolishly convinced myself that a blog for each book should be put up.  so here: ALIEN TO ANY SKIN and BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN


Big Boots for Crushed Lives

A = US military

B = Mercenary

C = Humanitarian Aid

A + B = C

Duh?


Was the Global Wake-Up Call too Festive?

Looks like great fun wasn’t it?

Initially it felt good taking part in this activity — but will this make a difference?  What about a targeted boycott of major products and industries that are major pollutants?  Are we willing to take a walk for a day?  Campaign for cleaner airplane fuels?  Dismantle the military industry?  Wait, how is that relevant?  You can’t put aside the War on  Terror (or was it War and Plunder?) just because of climate change.   Forgive the babbling.


Laughing at the Past, Remembering the Lies

Mainstream media lies.  Hopefully after the laughter subsides we’ll still remember whom not to believe and trust.  If they did it once they can do it again.  And they have.  Different countries, same tactics.


Remembering the Disappeared

embossed disappeared

Rosendo Radilla was 60 when he was forcibly disappeared in August 1974. A social activist and former mayor of Atoyac municipality, Guerrero state, Mexico, he was last seen in a military barracks, days after he was detained at a roadblock. Fellow detainees reported that he had been tortured.

As in other enforced disappearance cases, successive Mexican governments have refused to clarify what happened to Rosendo Radilla. But his family also refused to give up and took his case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. This year, they hope that the court ruling will force the Mexican government to tell them the truth and ensure their right to justice.

“People ask ‘why don’t you forgive?'”, says Rosendo Radilla’s daughter Tita Radilla Martinez. “Because they don’t tell me what they did to my father. Is he dead or alive? I don’t know. I remember he would often feel cold. When he was detained I thought about that. Is he cold, hungry or thirsty? Is he in pain? How is he? We’ve spent our whole life like this. They say ‘Don’t reopen the wound’. ‘Reopen’? The wound is open, it never healed.”

All around the world, families are waiting to find out what happened to those loved ones who have been taken away from them by agents of the state or by people acting with its support or acquiescence.

Friends and relatives have no means to find out what has happened to them. The disappeared are beyond the protection of the law. Anything could happen to them. Many are tortured. Many are killed.

Sunday 30 August marks the 26th International Day of the Disappeared. Every year, Amnesty International, along with other NGOs, families associations and grassroots groups, remembers the disappeared and demands justice for victims of enforced disappearances through activities and events.

Governments use enforced disappearance as a tool of repression to silence dissent and eliminate political opposition, as well as to persecute ethnic, religious and political groups.

More than 3,000 ethnic Albanians were the victims of enforced disappearances during the armed conflict in Kosovo in 1999. These were at the hands of the Serbian police, paramilitary and military forces. More than 800 Serbs, Roma and others were abducted by armed ethnic Albanian groups. Some 1,900 families in Kosovo and Serbia are still waiting to find out what happened to their relatives.

Enforced disappearances often take place in connection with counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism operations. Chechnya, which tried to secede from the Russian Federation in 1991, has since been ravaged by two armed conflicts and a counter-terror operation. Both Russian federal forces and Chechen law enforcement officials have been implicated in enforced disappearances, which run into the thousands.

In the Philippines, over 1,600 people have disappeared since the 1970s, mostly during counter-insurgency operations against left-leaning or secessionist groups.

James Balao, an Indigenous Peoples’ rights activist and researcher, disappeared in September 2008, while driving to visit his family in La Trinidad, Benguet province.

He was stopped and bundled into a white van by armed and uniformed men claiming to be police officers. Eye-witnesses signed affidavits describing his capture and are now in hiding in fear of being persecuted.

The families and friends of those who disappear are left in an anguish of uncertainty, unable to grieve and go on with their lives. Chief Ebrima Manneh, a Gambian journalist, was arrested in July 2006 for trying to publish a BBC article critical of the Gambian government. His whereabouts remain unknown despite a landmark ruling by a West African regional court ordering the Gambian government to release him and pay damages. Ebrima Manneh’s mother says she finds it hard to enjoy anything because her son is constantly on her mind. The family told Amnesty International that they felt increasingly isolated because other people were afraid to associate with them. They also face hardship because the depended on Ebrima Manneh’s salary.

To combat enforced disappearance, in 2006 the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Once entered into force, the Convention will be an effective way to help prevent enforced disappearances, establish the truth about this crime, punish the perpetrators and provide reparations to the victims and their families

The Convention’s definition of enforced disappearance is:
“The arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons, or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”

Read more from AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL