* * *
2018 suppressed news
concerned with the prevention of genocide
by j. b. gerald
graphics by j. maas
July 17, 2019
Democratic Republic of Congo: the World Health Organization has declared an international health emergency in response to the Ebola epidemic, first reported on these pages May 6th ("Ebola and the Resources of Eastern Congo"), noted again June 3rd, and again July 8th. WHO's financial needs become more urgent. No longer limited to the Congo 3 cases of Ebola have appeared in Uganda. The epidemic has spread to Goma, a heavily populated border region city, a crossroads, which may require heavy vaccination. Its population of one or two million exceeds the number of doses reported available to WHO (previous). Unregulated militias, clandestine border crossings, an overwhelming number of displaced persons in the Eastern Congo, might risk an uncontained epidemic. The lack of transparency concerning the biowar programs of first world countries increases mistrust and lack of cooperation with African and U.N. health care efforts. Increasingly, news management by both corporate and public news services provides information packaged to the uses of government policy.
Partial sources online: "Ebola outbreak in Congo declared an international health emergency," Maria Cheng and Jamey Keaten, AP, July 17, 2019, CTV News; "DR Congo Ebola outbreak declared global health emergency," July 17, 2019, BBC News; "Congo priest first Ebola patient to die in eastern main city," Thomson Reuters, July 16, 2019, CBC News.
U.S.: Political prisoner updates:Judith Alice Clark is freed from prison. Sentenced to 75 years in retribution for the deaths of a security guard and police in the Brinks robbery of October 20, 1981, she didn't fire a weapon but was an accomplice to a resistance action. With evidence of her re-forming her life and priorities New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo granted her clemency in 2016 which allowed her parole; there was considerable protest from police groups; the Governor's mercy was not immediately honored. At her parole hearing of April 2017 parole was denied. At her parole hearing in April 2019 parole was granted and on May 10 she left prison.Partial sources online: Wikipedia; "Former Black Panther serving life sentence for murder denied release," Renée Feltz, Nov. 29,2016, The Guardian; "Free Imam Jamil Al-Amin!" Dianne Mathiowetz, May 9, 2019, /Mundo Obrero / Workers World; "Legal campaign launched for Imam Jamil Al-Amin," Askia Muhammad, April 2, 2019, The Final Call; "México: Librado Baños finalmente en libertad tras más de 5 años de detención arbitraria," Oct. 23, 2018, Federacion Internacional por los Derechos Humanos; "Dhafir Ordered to Serve 264-Month Jail Term on Resentencing," Press release, feb. 3, 2012, Albany Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation; "How prisons are poisoning their inmates," Michael Waters, July 23, 2018, The Outline; "The Environmental Concerns of Closing a Toxic Island," Caitlin Hickey, Nov. 22, 2017, Fordham Environmental Law Review.
David Gilbert remains in prison. Sentenced to life in prison for being part of the Brinks robbery he's eligible for parole in 2056 (Wikipedia). He was found guilty of three counts of felony murder, which is to say he's considered complicit in the deaths of the shootouts though he didn't commit them. The severity of his sentence under mitigating circumstances is understood as 20th Century punishment for the black and white alliance of the action, and his concern for people as opposed to the system. From his court statement on September 13, 1982: The government that dropped napalm in Vietnam, that provides the cluster bombs used against civilians in Lebanon, and that trains torturers in El Salvador calls us 'terrorists.' The rulers who have grown rich on generations of slave labor and slave wages...label us as 'criminals.' The police forces of Amerika who have murdered 2,000 [people of color] over the past five years and who flood the communities with drugs say that we 'have no respect for human lives.' / We are neither terrorists nor criminals. It is precisely because of our love of life, because we revel in the human spirit, that we became freedom fighters against this racist and deadly imperialist system. [David Gilbert. Love and Struggle Oakland: PM Press, 2012].
Sundiata Acoli: (please note previous). Sundiata Acoli became a prisoner in 1973 after surviving a shootout with police which killed an officer and fellow Panther. Sundiata Acoli was charged with their death and convicted. Assata Shakur also survived the shootout and was convicted of killing the same police officer. She subsequently escaped from prison. Sundiata Acoli was eligible for parole in 1992, with court ordered parole in 2014, but the state appealed and in 2017 the appeals board again refused his parole. His next parole hearing date would be 2032. The length of his incarceration and reversals of parole at his age are cruel and unusual punishment. His closeness to Assata Shakur and his recent parole board hearing's focus on extracting information suggest parole is withheld to make him provide information. Dr. Mutulu Shakur, whose convictions include helping Assata Shakur escape, also remains in prison without parole as the government attempts to make him confess to masterminding the escape. His release is similarly denied. Marilyn Buck, whose convictions included aiding Assata Shakur's escape, contracted cancer at FCI Dublin, suddenly, was slow to be treated and died soon after in 2003 (she was allowed to die outside confinement).
Imam Jamil Al-Amin: on May 3rd in Atlanta oral arguments were presented the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals requesting Al-Amin be granted a re-trial. He was convicted of a crime someone else confessed to and where as a suspect he was falsely identified. He was sentenced to life without parole. In the south persecution of COINTELPRO targets deprived victims of any federal protection to balance the systemic racism. News reports of Al-Amin and his condition remain heavily suppressed by U.S. media. A leader of SNCC and the Black Panther Party as H. Rap Brown in the old days, while serving time in Attica he became a devout Muslim, and subsequently a deeply respected Imam.
Dr. Rafil Dhafir, moved while infirm to be among the many New York City prisoners subject to freezing temperatures at the particularly toxic Riker's Island prison in New York (previous), was subsequently moved to a maximum security unit in Pennsylvania. He was moved again to a minimum security unit in Pennsylvania. The doctor was convicted for financial crimes after providing through the charity he founded medical supplies to Iraqi children victims of U.S. bombing while U.S. sanctions were in place. These were not sanctions as an alternative to 'bombing Iraq into the stone age' but post bombing sanctions which deprived a starving people recovery, food, medical supplies. Dr. Dhafir tried to stand against an attempted genocide of the Iraqi people when few others would confront the issue. In Spain an attempt to open a case at the Audiencia Nacional de España, 2009, alleging genocide in Iraq by British and U.S. leaders was not successful. Dr. Dhafir was convicted in 2005 to 22 years; on appeal his resentencing in 2012 reinstated his original sentence and according to the FBI required $865,272.76 in restitution. For nonviolent action as an affirmation of life and compassion, his early time was served at ADX Florence, a maximum security prison where prisoners were kept in 23 hour lockdown and required to be in shackles when they left their cells. Constructed next to a toxic nuclear waste dump known to be leaking throughout the 1980's, ADX Florence is considered by prisoner reports as particularly dangerous to health (Other political prisoners confined at ADX Florence have included Oscar López Rivera, Raymond Luc Levasseur, Imam Al-Amin, Abu Hamza al-Masri, Fahad Hashmi).
I include here one of many Mexican political prisoners imprisoned in Mexico showing a standard tactic of unjust government which criminalizes and neutralizes community leaders of oppressed minorities. Librado Jacinto Baños Rodríguez, community legal defender and attorney, defender of indigenous rights, campesino rights, the rights of those with African ancestry, community rights, was falsely arrested in Oaxaca Mexico by 50 Mexican military and police cadre on August 25, 2013, despite protests by the villagers. During his imprisonment described as physical and psychological torture the legal defender lost his eyesight. The UN has protested his false arrest and that of other legal rights defenders in Oaxaca. He was acquitted on a charge of kidnapping. Treatments of legal rights and human rights defenders in Mexico is entirely suppressed in the English speaking media. In late October 2018 Librado Jacinto Baños Rodríguez and Felipe Rojas Orduño were released from prison.
July 8, 2019
North America: in the last six months there have been eight substantial explosions or major fires reported at North American oil refineries. The causes and environmental effects remain generally unknown to the public.
Fox news reported a fire and explosion under investigation at the Wood River Oil Refinery in Illinois, February 10, 2019. The refinery supplies petroleum products to the St. Louis area and St. Lambert International Airport at the rate of 314 thousands barrels a day ("1 person injured in explosion and fire at Wood River oil refinery," Chris Smith, Feb. 10, 2019, Fox2now).
On March 7, 2019, there was a fire and explosion of unknown cause at the Calumet Montana Refinery in Billings Montana ("Crews investigating explosion at Great Falls refinery," Juliana Sukut, March 7, 2019, Billings Gazette).
The 3rd largest refinery in the U.S., Exxon Baytown Texas was shut down by fire March 16th. The unit can process 560,500 gallons of crude a day. Fire of unknown cause closed Phillips 66's crude unit processing at Carson California, March 15, 2019. ("Fires Hit Exxon, Phillips 66 Refineries in Texas, California," David Marino and Barbara J Powell, March 16, 2019, Bloomberg).
The heavy fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company, Deer Park Texas petrochemical facility burned from March 17th to March 20, 2019 ("Now-extinguished Deer Park blaze joins the list of explosions and fires that have rocked the Houston area," Madeline Holcombe, March 20, 2019, CNN; "Crews Work to Control Fire at Petrochemical Plant," AP, March 19, 2019, NBCuniversalmedia).
On April 15, 2019 there was an explosion at the Shell Scotford Refinery in Alberta Canada; the facility includes a hundred thousand barrel a day refinery and 255 thousand barrels per day oil sands upgrader ("Explosion at Shell's Scotford refinery," Nia Williams & Harshith Aranya, April 15, 2019, BOE Report).
On June 3, 2016 a truck driver was injured by an explosion and fire while jet fuel was loading into his truck at the Carson refinery storage facility, the Kinder Morgan Terminals, in L.A. ("Truck Driver Injured In Carson Oil Refinery Explosion, Blaze," June 3, 2019, CBS Los Angeles ).
The Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery in Philadelphia, the largest refinery on the East coast, was ravaged by fire in the early hours of June 21, 2019. Usually the refinery processes 335 thousand barrels per day. By June 27th the area remained too unstable to investigate for the causes. It is unlikely the plant will reopen ("Massive fire and explosions rip through Philadelphia oil refinery," Thomson Reuters, June 21, 2019, CBC News. "Philadelphia Refinery Explosion Probe Hits Roadblock," June 27, 2019, Bloomberg).
Also less than a year ago Canada's largest refinery, Irving Oil in St John's NB, was struck by an explosion and fire, thought to be due to a "malfunction." Maximum daily production - 300 thousand barrels/day ("Explosion and fire at Canada's largest oil refinery," AFP, Oct. 8, 2018, Yahoo News). The last previous major explosion there was in 1998.
Democratic Republic of Congo: see previous. The Ebola epidemic in the eastern Congo is unlikely to be contained soon. The World Health Organization remains reluctant to call a global emergency. South Sudan which is affected by border crossings in militia contested areas has assured there are no cases so far in South Sudan and placed 700 health care workers with vaccines at the border. Uganda has reported two Ebola deaths so far but has to encourage those within the circle of risk to trust the vaccine (over 97% effective). CBC reports that the drug used is produced by Merck taking about a year to develop a batch. Merck has upped its agreement with the World Health Organization to 850 thousand doses. This will triple its stockpile in the next year and half. An additional 250 thousand doses are ready to deliver. Gary Kobinger of Quebec's Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases (Laval University) has indicated that one to two million doses may be needed to realistically confront the epidemic. Deaths so far have reached over 1600. Ebola treatment centres in the DRC continue to be attacked.
Partial sources online: "Canadian who helped design Ebola vaccine says there isn't enough to stop current outbreak in Congo," Katie Nicholson, July 6, 2019, CBC News; "South Sudan official allays fears of Ebola outbreak," July 5, 2019, Xinhua; "‘Sometimes we have to abandon the patients’: Treating Ebola in Congo’s warzone," Reuters, July 6, 2019, Digital Citizen; "WHO appeals to Ugandans with Ebola contact to trust vaccine," VOA, June 29, 2019, Digital Citizen.
July 1, 2019
Myanmar (Burma): (see below). The following may help to understand the world community's inability to demand accountability from Myanmar: the World Bank is proceeding with a large investment in businesses in the Rakhine as the area cleared of its Rohingya inhabitants opens to new settlers. This may explain ongoing acts of violence against Rohingya which discourage their return. Aung San Suu Kyi is reported attempting to raise European investment in the country by strumming the commonality of 'problems with Muslims' to Czech and Hungarian State leaders as Europe slides to the right. With Myanmar's human rights violations the West has slowed investment as Asian investment increases. The ratio of investment from the West and from the Asian countries is about 1 to 5. Of the world's silence and inaction the problem is nakedly money and particularly Asian investment. With Myanmar under arms embargoes by the EU and US, Israel is said to be the only power supplying arms to Myanmar with sales of 11 million dollars of weapons in 2017, despite efforts against the arms trade within Israel (Buzz), but the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute extends the list of those recently supplying Myanmar with arms to China, Russia, the Ukraine, and India (Asia Times). AOAV finds that in 2016-2017 Great Britain sold 537 thousand pounds sterling of weapons to Myanmar; a large portion of this was security-related equipment. Arms sales by nations on the UN Security Council and Beijing (where Muslims and Christians are under pressure) which provides substantial support for Myanmar's government makes it unlikely that the Security Council will take any action to counter the genocide in Myanmar (these countries would become vulnerable to charges of complicity). Myanmar's tactics in avoiding accountability for its alleged genocide against the Rohingya and other minority groups provide a warning to the UN Convention on Genocide itself, as international organizations become corrupted to the service of economic interests.
Partial sources online: "Aung San Suu Kyi meets with Hungary’s Orbán to lament their “growing Muslim populations," Alex Ward, June 7, 2019, ; "The World Bank is rewarding ethnic cleansing in Myanmar," Azeem Ibrahim, May 30, 2019, The Washington Post; "Czech PM Backs Investment in Myanmar as State Counselor Visits Prague," Nan Lwin, June 4, 2019, The Irrawaddy; "Asia Investors Split With West Over Myanmar's Rohingya Crackdown," Livia Yap and Tom Redmond, March 6, 2019, Bloomberg; "Up in Arms About Israeli Arms Exports," Adi Pick, Feb. 15, 2019, Buzz; "Burma’s Suu Kyi joins Hungary’s Orbán in promoting anti-Muslim chauvinism," Peter Symonds, June 12, 2019, World Socialist Web Site; "UK arms exports to Myanmar," AOAV, Nov. 15, 2018, Action on Armed Violence (UK); "Myanmar arms trade 1990-2016: Who sold what?" Shakeeb Asrar, Sept. 16, 2017, Al Jazeera.
June 30, 2019
Myanmar / Canada: (previous) International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has requested the Court allow her to investigate atrocities from their country of origin against the Rohingya Muslims who have found refuge in Bangladesh. Bangladesh subscribes to the ICC. Myanmar does not but is the origin of illegal deportation of Rohingya. The Court has set up a three judge panel to hear Bensouda's request. Over a million Rohingya refugees are in Bangladesh refugee camps reluctant to return to unsafe conditions in their homeland. The United Nations has failed to counter Myanmar's alleged genocide of Rohingya and other minorities. A genocide of the Rohingya was recognized by Canada's Parliament in September 2018, but this has had no effect other than rescinding Aung San Suu Kyi's honorary Canadian citizenship. With the encouragement of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity Canada's Senate has considered Motion 476 which asks the alleged genocide be brought before the International Court of Justice; the motion was obstructed and silenced despite the strong efforts of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada. This may place Canada in a position of violating the Convention on Genocide since Canada has identified Myanmar's atrocities against the Rohingya as genocide and under the Convention's Article IV must bring the guilty to justice; Article VI mandates courts of the country where the crime took place or by international tribunal of parties accepting its jurisdiction. Referral to the ICC or direct intervention to stop the acts of genocide is up to the UN Security Council. The Security Council has shown no inclination to intervene or refer the issue despite the unequivocal findings of The UN Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar, September 18, 2018. To bring the issue before the law the Convention's Article IX would allow presenting the issue to the International Court of Justice. It's my understanding that this is LRWC's current recommendation, as well as that of 34 Senators and over 100 signers in a letter to the Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, encouraging the purpose of Motion 476; the letter urges once again (the All-Party Parliamentary Group previously asked this of the Minister) Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs to have Canada raise at the International Court of Justice legal proceedings against Myanmar for violating the Convention on Genocide. This is increasingly an emergency - Bangladesh has said it will take no more Rohingya refugees, and justice is not available in Myanmar's courts. With the world's inaction the genocide warning for Rohingya continues [See also the update of July 1, 2019].Note: Canada's treatment of genocide is likely to change both domestically and internationally as a result of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls understanding and use of the word. Without a statute of limitation the law against genocide may eventually be applied against and for Canadians in Canadian courts. Since Canada has recognized the Rohingya's tragedy as a "genocide," could impeding Canada from countering Myanmar's impunity be considered complicity in that crime but within Canada and subject to Canadian law? While the Attorney General's permission, by my understanding, is required to press a genocide related case under Canadian law, too many refusals to proceed could draw charges of complicity, without statute of limitation, so refusal to proceed would be both illegal and unwise in a fast changing world. This point is equally relevant in challenging contemporary policies and oversights which continue to harm Canada's Aboriginal peoples.Partial sources online: "ICC prosecutor seeks Bangladesh and Myanmar investigation," June 26, 2019, Reuters; "Canada: Obligation to Hold Myanmar Accountable for Genocide: Immediately Pass Motion No 476 | Letter," Gail Davidson & Catherine Morris, June 12, 2019, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada; "Myanmar: Canada’s Obligation to Hold Myanmar Accountable for Genocide: Pass Senate Motion 476 | Briefing Note," Catherine Morris, June 18, 2019, LRWC; "Myanmar: Canada Urged to take Immediate Action on the Ongoing Genocide Against the Rohingya People in Myanmar by Initiating ICJ Proceedings | Letter," June 25, 2019, LRWC. My appreciations to LRWC; to maintain transparency I note here I'm a non-lawyer member of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada; "'Ongoing genocide' underway against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims: UN," Oct. 25, 2018, The Straits Times; "'Systematic failure' in addressing genocide against Rohingyas: Rights body," June 19, 2019, The Daily Star (Bangladesh); "Asean Leaders Hold Off From Demanding Citizenship for Rohingyas," Philip Heijmans, June 23, 2019, Bloomberg; "Myanmar: UN Fact-Finding Mission releases its full account of massive violations by military in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States," Sept. 18, 2018, Office of the High Commissioner, United Nations Human Rights.
June 29, 2019
Sri Lanka / Canada: after the Easter Sunday slaughter of Christians in Sri Lanka, a Canadian NDP Minister of Parliament, Cheryl Hardcastle, on June 19th tabled and found unanimous consent for her motion extending condolences to the victims of all violences in Sri Lanka, and asking the Government to assure justice and protect the rights of religious minorities; her motion requests the UN investigate allegations of the Sinhalese Government genocide against (mostly Hindu) Tamil peoples at the end of Sri Lanka's civil war. The Easter attacks on Christian churches (hotels as well) which left 250 dead were claimed by ISIS Muslim groups of Iraq while two local Muslim groups are blamed by the Government, resulting in Buddhist mobs attacking Muslim businesses and residences in the country's Northwest. This was followed by calls for violence against Muslims in the hate speech of a leading Buddhist monk, Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thero. The Buddhist to Muslim ratio in Sri Lanka is 70% to 10%. About 7% of the country is Christian, predominantly Catholic. The extremist Buddhism of the Sinhalese Government has links to the extremist Buddhists of Myanmar. Both countries are former British colonies. The Buddhist extremism is also noted in Thailand. Efforts to investigate atrocity crimes in Sri Lanka continue to be obstructed by its government. Canada retains on its Currently listed entities of terrorist organizations the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and World Tamil Movement (WTM), while Canada's Prime Minister has called on the Sri Lankan Government for the accountability and reconciliation still lacking ten years after the end of the civil war. On March 20th Lawyers Rights Watch Canada presented a request to the UN Human Rights Council for countries to hold Sri Lanka accountable for its atrocity crimes under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Background: from 2009 through 2013 Night's Lantern posted eight genocide warnings for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. At a time when atrocity crimes risk being engineered amidst a volatile population, a genocide warning for Muslims and Christians among other minorities in Sri Lanka.Partial sources online: "Fear in Sri Lanka as monk calls for stoning of Muslims," June 22, 2019, Al Jazeera News; "Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada calls for universal jurisdiction on Sri Lanka," March 20, 2019, Tamil Guardian; "Canada calls for international investigation into Tamil genocide," June 24, 2019, Tamil Guardian; "All Parties United on NDP Motion to Investigate Allegations of Genocide against Tamils," June 19, 2019, New Democratic Party of Canada; "Statement by the Prime Minister on the 10th anniversary of the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka," May 18, 2019, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.
June 28, 2019
Quebec: the issue of public servants being forbidden to wear religious symbols which has approached legislation for over ten years (see previous) was passed into Quebec law June 16th. François Legault's Bill C-21 forbids wearing of religious symbols by new employees and is "limited to a few people in authority positions," according to the Québec Premier in an interview with Ainslie MacLellan ("Daybreak Montreal with Ainslie MacLellan," June 27, 2019, CBC News). Mr. Legault noted 80% of Québecers approve of the measure. Secularism police will verify that the law is being applied. There remains some resistance in the Anglophone community, school boards, unions, religious groups , all concerned for fundamental human rights. The new law is similar to practices of European governments which have grown increasingly right wing and anti-immigrant in response to the influx of Muslim and African immigrants and refugees escaping destabilization and wars against their birth countries. In Québec Coalition Avenir Québec's regulation of wearing religiously derived symbols (the kippah and hajib are usually mentioned) is silently identified with Québec nationalism. Meanwhile Public Safety Canada added to its "Listed Terrorist Entities" the extreme right wing groups "Combat 18" and "Blood & Honour," linked international groups founded in Great Britain. When asked if the far right groups "La Meute" and "Soldiers of Odin" operating in Québec would be added to the list the Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale responded that the list was constantly evolving (Journal de Montréal).Partial sources online: "Bill 21: Quebec passes secularism law after marathon session," Philip Authier, June 17, 2019, Montral Gazette; "Bill 21: Quebec tells CSDM delays in applying law 'will not be tolerated'," Philip Authier , June 21, 2019, Montreal Gazette; "Quebec’s Bill 21 on religious symbols leads to fears of surveillance, monitoring," Maham Abedi, June 19, 2019, Global News; "Trudeau on Quebec’s Bill 21: it’s not government’s job to legislate what people wear," Jesse Ferreras and Maham Abedi, June 20, 2019, Global News; "Canada lists two far-right groups as terrorist," AFP, June 26, 2019, Yahoo!; "Deux groupes d'extrême droite ajoutés à la liste canadienne d'entités terroristes," Émilie Bergeron, June 26, 2019, Le Journal de Montréal.
June 6, 2019
U.S.: according to the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists 34 journalists of the 54 killed worldwide last year, were killed in retaliation for their work. Currently held in Britain's high security Belmarsh Prison for jumping bail, Julian Assange is now formally charged with espionage by the United States. As the U.S. attempts to extradite him to face trial, the UN's special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer has described the cumulative effects of attempts to silence Assange through legal actions, "psychological torture." Sweden is no longer pursuing its request for his extradition. Assange, an ikon of freedom of expression, is the founder of Wikileaks which presented the world the leaked video of U.S. soldiers willfully killing civilians, journalists, medics in Iraq. It is evidence of a war crime and just one indication of policies breaking the laws of war, human rights law and humanitarian law, which Wikileaks has made available. The U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 being used to charge Assange, applies to U.S. government workers. To apply it to a journalist, a journalist who is not a U.S. citizen, living in a foreign country, is an unrealistic betrayal of U.S. law, a betrayal of U.S. codes and expectations of journalism and of U.S. Constitutional and international assurances of freedom of expression. It is the attack by a powerful government on an individual not at war with the U.S.. So it becomes an attack on facts, an attack on truth. Rights which Americans have fought and lived for over several centuries are risked by the Trump administration in attempt to cover war crimes known to be unacceptable to the U.S. military. Impunity is dangerous because it isn't forgiven, and my understanding is that it's a human responsibility and required by law to report war crimes. Assange was both obeying the law and the spirit and intent of the law. As familiar propaganda templates for a U.S. war against Iran are applied (and as climate change makes use of military weapons a crime also against the future), this reminder of the U.S./Coalition war against Iraq: "WikiLeaks - Ethan McCord" (with permission of The Sanctuary for Independent Media).Partial sources online: "Julian Assange has now been charged with espionage" from [unac] Iran, Venezuela, Assange and more," undated (2019), UNAC;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvROT1QG5JI&fbclid=IwAR0vu-9s-VHI9qbASvu7_FN3vRnCqibNQHECIY_RqeorzvX2GFkOZgO2PIg "unavailable"; "Journalist death toll: retaliation killings nearly double in 2018," AP, Dec. 19, 2018, The Guardian; "This Is Why America Is Persecuting Julian Assange," Patrick Cockburn • May 31, 2019,The UNZ Review; "Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act, Raising First Amendment Issues," Charlie Savage, May 23, 2019, The New York Times; "Julian Assange Is Suffering Psychological Torture, U.N. Expert Says," Nick Cumming-Bruce, May 31, 2019, The New York Times.
June 3, 2019
Cameroun: Previous. As Cameroun is encouraged into civil war, these are some points to note. "The United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa" was established by the UN General Assembly and headquartered in the capital of Cameroun, Yaoundé. It represents the OHCHR (Office of the HIgh Commissioner for Human Rights), in the region and serves 11 Central African countries. This isn't to be confused with "The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa," a partisan Camerounais Anglophone NGO currently lobbying for its own cause in Canada. On May 13th the United Nations warned of increasing numbers of people displaced and deterioration of basic services in the country where over 1.3 million people are in need, primarily in the country's northwest and southwest, regions claimed by the country's Anglophone minority coalition as "Ambazonia." The movement toward secession has caused an immense amount of suffering. 600,000 children are out of school (teachers in Anglophone areas are forbidden by the Coalition to teach). Over half a million people are displaced. Over a thousand 'separatists' have been killed, 650 civilians, and 235 security forces. Cameroun's President Paul Biya has declared a willingness to discuss anything with Anglophone separatists except secession. Opposition leader of the Anglophone coalition, Julius Ayuk Tabe, has from his jail cell indicated willingness to talk, but prefers UN intervention and talks held outside the country. Offers by the country's Catholic bishops to mediate the troubles have not been welcomed. Since my article of June 14, 2018 ( "Cameroun: the Battle of Languages Serves Colonial Masters") the situation has worsened primarily because it hasn't resolved. Opposition journalists in Cameroun work under threat of detention. Biya's government is already on semi-military footing due to Boko Harum forces (from Nigeria) in the far north. The Anglophone forces of Ambazonia are not Boko Harum but have a common enemy. While the U.S. has funded and advised the government's military campaign in the far north, the U.S. recently cut back military funding, troubled by "human rights violations" against the Anglophone efforts at secession. To remember: Paul Biya was re-elected President in 2018 with over 70% of the vote when Anglophone separatists refused to vote. The Anglophone coalition has declared possession of and secession of Ambazonia which comprises a region on the border with Nigeria and hosts Cameroun's nationally owned oil refinery. On May 31, the refinery was attacked and put out of operation. According to Foreign Policy, Ambazonian rebel forces are receiving arms through allies in Nigeria and one of the coalition faction's leaders, Marshall Foncha, living in the United States, is negotiating with other countries for the delivery of arms. Human Rights Watch has annoyed Cameroun's authorities by its possibly one-sided reporting of the human rights violations against Anglophones. Anglophone rights do need protecting. Inhabitants of border regions and particularly Ambazonia speak English and have been oppressed for several generations by the requirements of French education and a French legal system. Assertion of Anglophlone culture remains difficult. After Independence a U.N. mandate allowed the Anglophone area a referendum to choose whether to be part of French speaking Cameroun or English speaking Nigeria. The people voted to stay with Cameroun. Cameroun could have allowed English-speaking culture to flourish as Canada has partially with Quebec, but did not. So secession has become an alternative. An inclusive coalition government is preferable. Peace would be possible with reform of the Biya government to accept English as primary language in the regions where it's primary. Language wars are always and only to the benefit and profit of foreign powers. Those seeking oil and resource interests will try to destabilize the region as they destabilized the Ivory Coast, Eastern Congo and Rwanda. In this case the harder the Anglophone coalition presses for secession, the greater the chance of genocidal warfare. An early genocide warning then, for the people of Cameroun.
Partial sources online: "UN Warns Crisis in Anglophone Cameroon Worsening," Margaret Besheer, May 13, 2019, VOA; "Cameroon's President Ready to Talk About Anglophone Crisis," Pius Lukong, May 14, 2019, Bloomberg; "Detained Ambazonia leader wants UN intervention in Cameroon," May 28. 2019, JournalduCameroun.com; "Explosion hits Cameroon's lone oil refinery in restive Anglophone region," June 1, 2019, Xinhua; "Cameroon’s Separatist Movement Is Going International," Gareth Browne, May 13, 2019, foreignpolicy.com
Democratic Republic of Congo: See previous. As death toll from the Ebola epidemic nears 2000 the United Nations, is upscaling its response with improvements in organization, personnel and funding. If it increases the status of the health emergency, there will be a risk of border closures to contain the Ebola in Eastern Congo. However a higher emergency level will also increase the level of illegal border crossings. If Ebola takes hold in Goma of the Eastern Congo with its currently inadequate defenses to epidemic, the disease would likely expand to Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan which is currently destabilized in civil war. Carrying a European name "South Sudan" is a textbook example of neocolonialist formation by secession from Sudan for purposes of corporate economic gain, and the interests of its people have not been a priority. The causes of the Ebola epidemic in Eastern Congo are not clearly identified and verified. Attacks on medical workers which were previously thought to grow out of mistrust are being blamed on ISIS. Medecins sans frontieres reports the same phenomenon of attacks on its medical workers in the regions designated as Ambazonia.in Cameroun. (See above)
Partial sources online: "Congo-Kinshasa: As Ebola Cases Rise, So Do Worries of a Cross-Border Epidemic," Paisley Dodds, Vittoria Elliott, May 23, 2019, allAfrica; "Five things to know about the violence in North-West and South-West Cameroon," May 23, 2019, Medecins sans Frontieres.
June 2, 2019Partial sources online: "National inquiry calls murders and disappearances of Indigenous women a 'Canadian genocide'," Jorge Barrera, May 31, 2019, CBC News; "Decades of missing Indigenous women a 'Canadian genocide' – leaked report," Leyland Cecco, May 31, 2019, The Guardian; "Canada has enabled a ‘genocide,’ says inquiry report into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls," Jeremy Nuttall, May 31, 2019, Toronto Star.
Canada: while the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper refused to investigate evidence of the disproportionate disappearances of Indigenous women (previous), in 2016 Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau established a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which delivers its report to the Prime Minister June 3rd. It's not suppressed news - the CBC and other news sources with advance copies have reported some results; concerned people are hoping these will encourage Canada to address evidence of genocide. "Reclaiming Power and Place" states in its summary: "Genocide is the sum of the social practices, assumptions and actions detailed within this report.” It may be relevant that the composition of the independent committee was affected by resignations of leading members; as the Inquiry collected evidence some felt its input was sanitized; the committee is said to have cost 92 million dollars; the Inquiry is to issue an additional report specifically about the Canadian genocide of Aboriginal peoples (CBC). Within a perspective of concern for the Convention on Genocide, and as noted (below) in the Canadian Museum of Human Rights labeling of Canada's history, the decision of whether a genocide has occurred or not, to have legal effect, is usually left to the courts. Unless the courts are recognized as entirely corrupt. As I understand it, others can state our opinions, accusations or assessments of a situation as "genocide," but for the term to invoke the force of law requires more than the opinion of a non law-making source. The word is in a sense a verdict, rendered by the courts and if the courts are not doing their job, then by the people. Night's Lantern made its first genocide warning for Aboriginal peoples of Canada on Nov. 5, 2005, after the UN Committee on Human Rights in Canada report of Nov. 2, 2005.
Background: "On Missing Aboriginal Women," J.B.Gerald, Aug. 27, 2013 nightslantern.ca; "Why the Genocides Continue," J.B.Gerald, Dec. 2, 2014, nightslantern.ca; "Canada: why aren’t conditions of life for First Peoples a national emergency?" J.B. Gerald, March 28, 2016, nightslantern.ca; "Genocide Denial in Canada," J.B.Gerald, Oct. 26, 2016, nightslantern.ca.
May 29, 2019
Quebec: In 2010, his popularity waning, Quebec Premier Jean Charest's Liberal government introduced Bill 94 in an attempt to ban the niqab and the wearing of other symbols of religious traditionalism, from public service. This coincided with French President Sarkozy's legislation among other European legislation attempting to outlaw the full face veil. Both derogations of Muslim women's right to themselves preceded NATO's 2011 war destroying Libya. Charest's bill did not become law because his government was voted out of office. The Parti Québécois introduced Bill 60 ("Quebec's values charter") which similarly failed with a change of government. The issue remained/remains popular on the far right and more liberal fronts. Its recent incarnation as Bill 21 put forward last March forbids the wearing of religious dress or symbols in public service, affecting principally the wearers of hijabs, yarmulka and crosses, and shepherded forward for the Coalition Avenir Quebec ruling party by "Diversity and Inclusiveness" Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, who has argued evenly that the Secularism Bill will eventually lessen racism. Resistance to the bill has fallen to the English speaking minority, Muslim groups, Jewish groups, and women's groups defending Muslim women. The Bill's effect is to move the nationalist Francophone tendencies of Quebec to the right and may weaken the human rights of immigrants as a group. UN Special rapporteur on minorities, Fernand de Varennes, a Canadian, with two other rapporteurs from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has let the Quebec National Assembly know that the Bill's intentions might violate basic human rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Canada has signed and is part of Canadian law, affirms everyone's rights to manifest "religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching"(Article 18), as well as the law's responsibility to protect the people against discrimination(Article 26). The honest Mayor of the heavily Jewish suburb of Montreal, Hampstead, Bill Steinberg has said: "This is ethnic cleansing. Not with a gun, but with a law.” While the Coalition Avenir Quebec may be trying to offer the people a public service not haunted by the symbols of religion, a policy of inclusiveness of people's differences must be assured to let humanity cohere and stand against destruction of all life on the planet.
Partial sources online: "UN human rights observers warn Quebec about secularism bill," Jonathan Montpetit, May 22, 2019, CBC News; "UN experts ‘concerned,’ want answers about Quebec religious symbols bill," Rachel Lau, May 23, 2019, Global News; "Trudeau: Jewish Mayor Who Called Kippah Ban ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Must Apologize," Aiden Pink, April 10, 2019, The Forward; "Politicians deny Bill 21 fuelled altercation outside Quebec City mosque," Philip Authier, May 27, 2019, Montreal Gazette.
May 22, 2019
Winnipeg Canada: Canada's Museum for Human Rights has taken a stand by defining the country's historical treatment of Aboriginal peoples as a genocide. The progression from milder wording such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's "cultural genocide," was directed by the Museum's CEO John Young. Canada has been relatively comfortable with "cultural genocide" as the norm despite evidence that the genocide was more than cultural, and continues. There's the Government's lack of effectiveness in dealing with extreme tuberculosis rates, the exorbitant percentage of reservations with undrinkable water, the extreme suicide rates, the disproportionate numbers of Aboriginal peoples in prison, the inadequate poorly constructed cheaply made and susceptible to mould housing in native communities, the lack of healthy nourishment in poverty stricken communities. In 2013 the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous rights found Canada's Indigenous peoples to be living "in crisis". The difficulty is that genocide denial of the past allows genocide to progress into the future. Despite the Museum's courage Canada's primary NGO dealing with the issue of genocide has almost predictably undercut the Museum's honesty. The Montreal Institute of Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University (MIGS) Director Frank Chalk, a well-respected academic, has approved of the Museum's recognition of genocide but suggests that, and I'm quoting from Leonard Monkman's CBC reporting, "if everything becomes genocide, then nothing is genocide. If they truly adhere to the policy and the judgment that all contact from the earliest colonial period until today constitutes genocide — I don't really see how they could justify that." MIGS policies rarely if ever counter those of the U.S. and Canadian governments, despite a North American history of genocides. NB: Night's Lantern genocide warnings for Canada and instances where the Convention may be violated; genocide warnings for the U.S. where the issue is more highly suppressed.Partial sources online: "Human Rights Org: Treatment of Indigenous People is Genocide," May 18, 2019, TeleSur; "Genocide against Indigenous Peoples recognized by Canadian Museum for Human Rights," Leonard Monkman, May 17, 2019, CBC News.
St. Marys Georgia: (previous) on April 26th Justice Benjamin Cheesbro of Georgia's Southern District Court ruled that the government hadn't, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, violated the rights of the King's Bay Plowshares, by trying to imprison the 7 activists for twenty years. While the judge found each of good and sincere faith, he also found the twenty year sentence each faces, the government's least coercive alternative. It seems the Court is simply mad. The offense is basically trespass (which under Christian law asks for and gives forgiveness), with no substantial harm done to ordnance or people. The essential damage seems to be to the aura of sanctity which surrounds U.S. military installations, as if the weapons and warheads within have nothing to do with the people and are holy, untouchable. While Plowshares groups have gradually broken down the demonic sanctity of nuclear weapons, they've also alerted the military to its vulnerability to the will of the people, to citizen protest, to religious conviction, to a normal sense of right and wrong. Unjust power with its historical proclivity for shooting the messenger, is threatening to lock up these non-violent activists for what could be the rest of their lives. Attorney for the defendants, Bill Quigley is one of the truest human rights lawyers in the U.S. and for example he was there for Father Jean Juste in Haiti ( archives), and is appealing Judge Cheesbro's decision before the Federal District Court Judge, Lisa Godbey Wood. This case takes place at the heart of an area subservient to the nuclear industry , federal government, and military. While the action is exclusively Catholic and exclusively white, the concern for the continuation of all life and the possible destruction of the planet, these concern everyone.Partial sources online: "Magistrate recommends Kings Bay Plowshares Religious Freedom Motion be denied," Kings Bay Plowshares, April 28, 201`9, Nuclear Resister; "Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Respond to U.S. Magistrate Cheesbro’s recommendation that our Motions to Dismiss be denied," April 28, 2019, Kings Bay Plowshares Legal Collective Page; "Magistrate denies motion to dismiss charges against Plowshares activists," Dennis Sadowski / Catholic News Service April 29, 2019, National Catholic Reporter.
May 19, 2019
Author's note: with the U.S. threats of war against Iran I've linked a poem by the Iranian poet, Forough Farrokhzad and then her moving and beautiful because it is loving, film of lepers. Divorced, her husband had won the rights to raise their child. She adopted a child of the lepers and raised him. "La maison est noire" (1963) [access:< https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=RTOTPwVNznQ&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR0AzpnyPX0sbqfc3Ih5Io5XK8dRFntK89wBIMS-mj-IKeGsjqHKDCbA7Qo >]. When she died in 1967, it was the result of swerving to avoid a school bus of children. She was a poet. Her film takes me back to my memories of lepers as a young man. In Gabon the disease wasn't shunned or strictly isolated. In 1960 Schweitzer's Hospital included a leper village. Everyone at the Hospital worked except those who were too sick. I was asked to work with the lepers on a boat landing . Usually one of the staff joined us to direct the project and Doctor Schweitzer came by regularly and I'd take a smoke break and talk with him. What I realized from my co-workers was that each leper considered self just like anyone else except disfigured, often, by the disease which at first is so frightening. Like Schweitzer's strong objections to nuclear arms, testing and development, the leper village at his hospital was rarely spoken of. European staff avoided touching the lepers. The doctor whom I admired in charge of caring for the lepers was Japanese. As I understand it leprosy has since been almost entirely eradicated but in 1960 it was considered not curable. As much as missionaries are reviled for changing the cultures where they ministered or educated, they provided for a century or so medical care and education offering some hope in areas of suffering. There were I think two places that cared for lepers in Gabon at its Independence. Aside from a portion of l'Hopital Schweitzer there was a small leprosarium deep in the interior and almost unreachable, where Dr. Schweitzer asked me to take medications when I left to teach at Missions schools. Thirty years later I wrote a poem about it:the leprosarium at e'beng
i forget nor remember
either of their names
find no clarity in a mind held
moment of her face, or hers
for thirty years time softened to
ocean worn pebbles of insight
sling-ready against sorrow
two european women
nurses of the leprosarium at e'beng
no world knowing them but their patients
and us in that thousand kilometres square
"unsafe for europeans" during independence
a missionary and i risking the jeep
with its light boxes of medication
were welcome because they couldn't do without
yet somehow unseen we were
as if our similarities to them made us memory
as if our shared language hurt their throats
with unaccustomed syllables
in a lost to them language of pain
a need for uttering the obvious
while their words to the lepers
were moments of song in dialect
the younger showed me the garden
which grew the food for all
stood beside me in silence
under a break to the sky
as if we were counting the rows
the older uneasy
sat across from me at table
confronting a world thought about and left
eyes dark short black hair
skin radiant to mind white as midday sun
for no reason i said do you need me here
to no answer closed lids
do you want to go back i said
finding my purpose
with apology to the missionary
she shrugged and said we will stay here
did she mean forever
when it was time to go
a patient climbed into the jeep
started it made it plunge ahead
into a ditch then tilted with wheels spinning
i thought he couldn't drive
thought later he tried to make us stay
for thirty years i loved them both
and when we left
i never heard of them again
- john bart gerald, poems from a river city. Ottawa: Gerald and Maas. 2000.
May 6, 2019
Kivu Province, Democractic Republic of Congo: With over a billion dollars pledged so far to rebuild Notre Dame de Paris, another monument to what Western civilization has accomplished enacts a daily tragedy before the forests and villagers trying to stay alive in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Still ignored in the Euro-American press is a current Ebola epidemic in particularly Kivu province ...(continue "Ebola and the Resources of Eastern Congo," by J.B.Gerald).
May 1, 2019, Happy May Day!
April 23, 2019 Alexandria Virginia State Correctional Institution – Mahanoy, Pennsylvania
Alexandria Virginia: Chelsea Manning was serving a 35 year sentence for providing Wikileaks with classified information, when she was freed in 2017 by President Barack Obama's commutation. On March 5th, 2019 her attorneys tried to counter the government's subpoena of February 5th which required Manning to appear before a federal grand jury to answer questions about her dealings with Wikileaks. Forced to appear, she refused to provide information and was placed in the Alexandria Detention Center. Manning is supposed to stay in prison until she agrees to testify, as long as the grand jury is in session. Her attorneys' bids to free her on bail or to appeal the court order have been denied. The U.S. has requested the extradition to face criminal charge in the U.S., of Julian Assange who founded Wikileaks. In England Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy March 11th and placed in a maximum security prison. Habitually refusing to acknowledge international law it's puzzling that the U.S. can make legal claims to jurisdiction over an Australian national in Great Britain. Background. Partial sources online: "Chelsea Manning jailed for refusing to testify before grand jury in Virginia," March 8, 2019, NBC News; "Appeals court rejects Chelsea Manning's effort to leave jail," April 22, 2019, NBC News.
State Correctional Institution – Mahanoy, Pennsylvania: Night's Lantern has noted previously that "under a ruling Dec. 28, 2018 by Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge, Leon Tucker, Mumia Abu-Jamal is finally granted an opportunity to argue for his freedom in a retrial. Judge Tucker found that the judge who presided over Abu-Jamal's previous and thought to be final appeal should have recused himself." (WhyY News). Judge Tucker's reason was that the presiding judge had in writing attempted to expedite application of death penalties to Pennsylvania convicts while repeatedly acting as the judge of Abu-Jamal's appeals. The chance for a retrial before the State's Supreme Court of Abu-Jamal's early appeal could have been sidetracked by the Philadelphia District Attorney, Larry Krasner, who considered that, but has relented and the road ahead is clear for the case to move forward. After honestly reporting the MOVE 9's persecution by Philadelphia police, Mumia Abu-Jamal was accused and convicted of killing a policeman and received the death sentence in 1982, which was overturned in 2001 and replaced by life in prison without parole. I first wrote about the case for The PEN Newsletter in "An Open Letter to American Writers," 1994, attempting to move the white American establishment to support the rights and freedom-of-expression of a black journalist. Background.Partial sources online: "Judge: Mumia Abu-Jamal can reargue appeal in 1981 Philly police slaying," Bobby Allyn, Dec. 28, 2018, WhyY News; "Why Philly’s Reformist Prosecutor Finally Supports Letting Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Appeal Go Forward," Natasha Leonard, April 20 , 2019, The Intercept.; "Judge in Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case blasts Krasner for trying to block latest appeal," Bobby Allyn, April 1, 2019, WhyY.
April 22, 2019
St. Marys, Georgia: 7 activists from the Kings Bay Plowshares action of April 4, 2018, who allegedly breached the security of the Trident Naval Station Kings Bay, St. Mary Georgia, are up against 25 years worth of sentences - not for their alleged crimes but for the embarrassment caused U.S. military officials year after year as small groups of christians refusing to accept the military endgame of nuclear armaments and annihilation, breach with ease the security of one plant, base, nuclear installation after another. While cutting through a fence, pouring their blood, marking the base as a crime scene, sharing banners and hammering at a memorial to weapons, the Kings Bay Plowshares presented no impediment to the military operation of the base. These are veteran Catholic peace activists with ages from 55 to 79. Elizabeth McAlister, Fr. Steve Kelly, and Mark Colville, are passing Easter in jail; Clare Grady, Martha Hennessy, Patrick O'Neill and Carmen Trotta are out on bail with ankle bracelets. They are charged with trespass but also conspiracy and two counts of damaging property. Last November their defense was presented in court with a Catholic bishop and theologian supporting the defense's understanding of nuclear weapons as a sin. The Kings Bay Plowshares Seven are basing their defense on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which may protect under law their actions as necessary to their religion. U.S. Southern District Court of Georgia Judge Benjamin Cheesbro is slow to continue the trial. What is not spoken of in reporting the Kings Bay Plowshares trial is that its challenge to the naval base as a nuclear facility challenges the supremacy of the nuclear industry which has threatened Georgia and South Carolina along the Savannah River for decades. The area hosts (and is contaminated by) U.S. nuclear production and nuclear waste storage (see "Nuclear Notes: the Savannah River Watershed"). The religious objection to the sin of nuclear arms is in harmony with environmentalists' protest against an economy destroying the region's habitat and future. Since 1980 the Plowshares Movement has showed its refusal of the ultimate crimes caused by nuclear destruction, symbolically, pouring blood on nuclear bases and weapons, hammering at nose cones of nuclear missiles. It provides the example of nonviolent action as other movements rise to protest causes of climate change internationally. The military, by its fuel consumption, weapons production, toxic byproducts, its use of and the effects of conventional weaponry as well as nuclear weapons including depleted uranium, its direct wasting and toxification of the environment, remains the primary threat to the earth's environment. Increasingly all U.S. military facilities, civilian nuclear facilities, ordnance and fuel storage facilities in the U.S. will be at risk to the changes brought by earth's warming. The best source I know of for news and updates for anti-nuclear resistance is The Nuclear Resister at http://www.nukeresister.org/.
April 19, 2019Canada Ukraine Israel Brussels Paris
Canada: on March 25, 2018 in an Edmonton court, Chief Justice Mary Moreau declared Omar Khadr has served his sentence and is a free man with among other rights the right to travel where and as he wants and see whom he wants, and to live. Background.Partial sources online: "Omar Khadr walks out of Edmonton court a free man," Claire Theobald, March 25, 2019, Toronto Star; "Omar Khadr is a free man. Does the U.S. care?" John Wakefield, April 5, 2019, Edmonton Journal.
Ukraine: Canada remains silent about pro fascist demos in the Ukraine and the Ukraine's awarding pensions to Nazi collaborators and collaborative war veterans, while scolding Latvia for its annual parade honoring its Nazi SS troops. A Canadian commitment of 200 troops training Ukrainian forces in "advanced combat skills and "advanced medical training" (CBC) was recently extended by the Liberal government through 2022. Canada has had troops on the ground there since 2015. Currently 150 U.S. troops from the 101rst Airborne Diivision are being deployed from Fort Campbell Kentucky to the Yavoriv Combat Training Center in western Ukraine, replacing the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the Tennessee National Guard.Partial sources online: "Major: Ukraine Enacts Pro-Nazi Legislation, WWII Era Nazi Collaborators Given Veteran Status, Pensions," Joaquin Flores, March 26, 2019, Global Reseach; "Israeli ambassador ‘shocked’ at Ukraine’s honoring of Nazi collaborator," JTA, Dec. 15, 2018, The Times of Israel; "Canada condemns annual Latvian parade that honours Nazi SS unit," David Pugluese, March 26, 2019, The Ottawa Citizen; "The hot cold war: Inside Canada's military training mission in Ukraine," Murray Brewster, April 7, 2019, CBC News; "Soldiers from 101st Airborne set to deploy to Ukraine," Kathlee Curthoys, April 5, 2019, Army Times.
Israel: Hapoalim Bank, Leumi Bank, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank - three of Israel's most substantial banks, have been fined over a billion dollars by the U.S. government for tax evasion, money laundering, and for holding-accounts of rich Americans and dual citizens operating in conspiracies of tax evasion. Leumi Bank settled with the U.S. government in 2014 in return for the payment of 400 million dollars.Partial sources online: "Major Israeli bank to pay $195m penalty for US tax-avoidance scheme," AP & Shoshanna Solomon, March 13, 2019, The Times of Israel; "Media Blackout as Israel’s Largest Banks Pay Over $1 Billion in Fines for US Tax Evasion Schemes," Whitney Webb, March 21, 2019,MPN News.
Brussels: the International Criminal Court has backed down in its plans to investigate for prosecution allegations of war crimes committed by the U.S. military in Afghanistan. U.S. President Trump denied the chief prosecutor for the I.C.C., Fatou Bensouda, admission to the U.S. and John Bolton has previously threatened the court officials with arrest. A three judge panel at the I.C.C. found it impractical to proceed at this time but affirms that "crimes within the ICC jurisdiction have been committed in Afghanistan" (CNN). Among war crimes the crime of genocide for example has no statute of limitations. While the U.S. government has withdrawn its approval of the international court, the U.S. is accused of committing crimes within the borders of countries which accept I.C.C. decisions as legally binding. By refusing the I.C.C. jurisdiction even in those countries, the U.S. is paving the way for impunity in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity; it risks stripping international treaties and covenants of their means to protect civilians and victim governments. As the world's ultimate court in protection of populations from for example the crime of genocide, without the International Court - protection of people from atrocity crimes will inevitably move outside the law's domain. It would save an immense amount of suffering for the U.S. to limit its policies to what international law finds acceptable.Partial sources online: "ICC Makes “Dangerous Decision” to Drop Probe into U.S. War Crimes in Afghanistan After U.S. Pressure," Juan Gonzalez & Katherine Gallagher, April 17, 2019, Democracy Now!; "International Criminal Court rejects call to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan," Jennifer Hansler, April 12, 2019, CNN; "The Trump Administration's Wish to 'Let the ICC Die'," J.B.Gerald, Sept. 12, 2018, nightslantern.ca.
Paris: April 15th the roof of Notre Dame began burning which destroyed portions of the church. Generally the press refers to the cathedral as 850 years old, and refers to the fire as caused by an electrical short circuit. As the fire burned in Notre Dame the 2000 year old site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem lost its Al-Marwani prayer room to fire; the cause has not been determined. A series of acts of vandalism against French churches is noted in the months preceding the Notre Dame fire. In Paris the Saint Sulpice church was damaged by a fire March 17th which is reported to have been intentional. In February Notre Dame des Enfants (Nimes), Saint-Alain Cathedral (Lavaur), St. Nicholas Catholic Church (Houilles), Notre Dame (Dijon) were all reportedly damaged by fire or vandalism.Partial sources online: "Reminder: French Catholic Churches Were Being Desecrated Weeks Prior to Notre Dame Cathedral Fire," The Clover Chronicle, April 16, 2019, Global Research; "Palestinians tackle blaze at mosque in Al-Aqsa," April 16, 2019, Middle East Monitor.
April 15, 2019 Global warming.
April 9, 2019
Venezuela: update summary. The civilian population of Venezuela is increasingly in extremes. Their suffering is caused intentionally by sabotage of the electrical system. Its purpose is to force the people to revolt against the elected government and accept the pretender Juan Guaidó supported by the governments of the U.S., Canada, Brazil and much of Europe (previous). The U.S. vice president has specifically asked the people of Venezuela to rise up. His request was ignored. By politically dividing the country Juan Guaidó refuses it the autonomy needed to recover. Guaidó backers in the National Asssembly have stated the power outages will continue until they get their way. U.S. offers of humanitarian assistance are contradicted by crushing U.S. sanctions on humanitarian supplies as well as threats of U.S. military intervention. Russia has placed a small number of additional military personnel in Venezuela despite the objections of the U.S.. The U.S. State Department reports that Venezuela possesses a number of highly effective S-300 anti missile anti aircraft defense systems. This may deter armed conflict. UNICEF is sending electrical generators for Venezuela's hospitals. Citibank has opened an escrow account for Venezuela's funds denied the Maduro government by the bank. Both Russia and China which support Maduro's democratically elected government (as does the United Nations) are heavily invested in Venezuela's resources. The U.S. has maintained a general intention to not be bound by international law.
March 4, 2019Venezuela: North American media has continued a heavy propaganda campaign against the government of Nicholas Maduro and socialism in general. Euro-American countries with the exception of Switzerland, Norway, Italy, the Vatican and Greece, followed the U.S. lead in recognizing as the country's president, a self-proclaimed president, unelected legislator, Juan Guaidó. U.S. sanctions and economic policies have driven Venezuela into great hardship - the Trump administration line is that Venezuela's economic failures are the fault of Chavez, Maduro and the majority of the Venezuelan people's choice of socialism. The U.S. sent emergency food and medical supplies as 'humanitarian aid' in an attempt to buy the country's military and people into supporting the overthrow of their government. The aid shipment was refused. The total effect of impounding funds and gold held by Venezuela in international banks is theft and presents a threat against trust in the international banking system, which is working as a servant to U.S. policy. Citibank has impounded 1.1 billion dollars of Venezuelan gold; there are of course complex explanations why the U.S. and British banks have stepped outside international law in taking over Venezuelan accounts held outside the country. Thefts from a country without adequate medical and food supplies for its people may be disastrous, and the crime extends to an action against the people of Venezuela as a national group. U.S. application of economic pressure on Maduro's government, and use of badly needed 'humanitarian aid' as a propaganda tool contribute to a crime of aggression. If you begin to formulate a legal case against those edging Venezuela's people toward their destruction, you might begin with the banks who have blockaded / stolen Venezuela's money, and consider applying charges of genocide against their financial advisers, CEO's, staff, and complicit government personnel. In its own defense Venezuela has turned to Russia and China for support. Bloomberg reports Russia is committed to avoiding U.S. military interference in Venezuela. Despite the fact of a U.S.-Canada alliance aligned with the U.S. controlled 'democracies' of Central and South America, a U.S. armed intervention in Venezuela would challenge for its own profit the global rule of law. Background. Partial sources online: "Russia Pledges to Help Venezuela Avoid Military Intervention," Yuliya Fedorinova and Ilya Khrennikov, March 3, 2019, Bloomberg; "An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup," [access:< https://youtu.be/ii5MlQgGXyk >]; "U.S. imposes new sanctions on Venezuela to squeeze out leader amid humanitarian crisis," Thomson Reuters, March 1, 2019, Thomson Reuters.
February 18, 2019
Haiti: demonstrations by the people to oust President Jovenal Moise and his government, are growing and at points shutting down the country. These crises are repetitive. Recommended: Èzili Dantò of HLLN/FreeHaiti, article, February 12, 2019 https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fbclid=IwAR3aKOyZxqiC9bSMt3alRyRFkhh18sqDJqR0MYKuiHJonmxwIxBtmHAFzD4#!topic/ezilidanto/xKY1g9MfNNs For some years Èzili Dantò's work presents a Haiti where the vast majority are oppressed, living in extreme poverty and deprived of their birthright by colonial manipulation. Governments such as Bertrand Aristide's which began to seriously represent the interest of the people were replaced by foreign armed force. The colonial war has continued against the Haitian people with disastrous effect as the richness of the country's resources are understood. It is not beyond the understanding of those who study the motivation for genocides to fear that corporate resource developers will attempt to have the people killed off either in mass or through humanitarian 'benevolence'. In 2005 Aristide called the ongoing slaughter of Haiti's poor a "black holocaust". Since 2005 the Haitian poor comprising about 80% of the population as a national group then, have remained under a genocide warning. Amid the extreme poverty enforced by corrupt colonial rule the mismanagement and theft of recovery funds, of humanitarian assistance, of millions donated by North American people to alleviate the suffering of Haitians could be considered as violations of the Convention on Genocide. Background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su9NmftkEnw&fbclid=IwAR2OQ6X4kP6NVdsi7jShHImfaQXcPwJIeQmjlgsMYFI6za1k2CIAM2fhQ3U , "Èzili Dantò: U.S. Economic Interests in Haiti, Deceit & Pillage".Abbreviated April 8, 2019
February 11, 2019about war in north america
i have nothing new to say about war
and you don't want to hear
fight start be near, it
is a summary of what we already know
wars are crimes allowed for profit
the aggressor is always guilty
sometimes the aggressor isn't around
aggressive countries are known to attack
self to start a war
or trick others to attack
while the rich, in surfeit
like the poor to fight
old men like young women
we know all this
revolution is another matter
all we really know is
there's no play in its line
it happens when it has to
no matter the cost
and genocide is another
the acquisition of goods and power
by destroying an entire element of society
worse than war it is the fulcrum of injustice
a trigger for revolution
wars of liberation are a resolution
the last defence of a group of poor
trying to protect their children their future
while the military economic oppressor
we already know the why and how and when
but not the because
- john bart gerald, river with lights, 2005.
February 9, 2019
New York City: after a week without electric power, New York's Metropolitan Detention Center, a prison in Brooklyn run by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, regained power the evening of February 3rd. During the outage according to The New York Times city temperature fell to 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Some sources assert that temperatures in the facility fell below freezing. Information derived from the inmates and prison officials is contradictory. The institution made no emergency heating mechanism available. In protest of federal inaction and against the wishes of federal officials New York's Mayor Bill De Blasio sent the prison blankets, hand warmers and generators. I've found no assertions in the press that these were used or made available to prisoners or their detention areas. The lack of appropriate emergency backup for heat, unattended medical conditions, lack of hot food, slowness in restoration of power, the particular threat to lives of prisoners during a midwinter cold spell, the lack of concern or action by federal authorities is a threat against the city's prison population. There may be evidence that this treatment of prisoners was criminal. A substantial portion of the MDC facility's 1600 inmates were those awaiting trial who are legally innocent but can't afford bail. Some were immigrant detainees. Curiously, Dr. Rafil Dhafir, the moral upstate doctor who is serving a 22 year sentence for trying to send medical supplies to the children of Iraq during Sanctions (other charges against him were violations of economic regulations and technicalities) was being held there, although in ill health and just transferred from Federal Medical Center Devens, in Massachusetts. Partial sources online: "They're Human Beings in There," Garrison Lovely, Feb. 7, 2019, Jacobin; "BOP moves elder Muslim philanthropist from prison medical center to freezing Brooklyn detention center," Feb. 3, 2019, The Nuclear Resister; Part 1 - "Lights Back On at NYC Jail After Hundreds Protest, But Prisoners Still Without Heat in Winter," Feb. 4, 2019, Democracy Now!; Part 2 - "Crisis at Frigid, Dark NYC Prison:'A Choice Was Made Not to Treat People Like Human Beings,'" Feb. 5, 2019, Democracy Now!; "No Heat for Days at a Jail in Brooklyn Where Hundreds of Inmates are Sick and 'Frantic'," Annie Correal, Feb. 1, 2019, The New York Times.
Quebec City: previously mentioned in these pages, the mass murder January 29, 2017 which took the lives of six Muslim men has resolved for now with the sentencing of Alexandre Bissonnette to life in prison and parole possible after forty years. Bissonnette pleaded guilty to the crime. His sole responsibility as the shooter is a point made by the prosecution, defence, judge, and media. Background: 1 2 3 4 5.Partial sources online: "Quebec City mosque shooter sentenced to at least 40 years in prison," Julia Page, Feb 8, 2019, CBC News; "Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette sentenced to life with no parole for 40 years," Morgan Lowrie (The Canadian Press), Feb. 8, 2019, The Star.
January 31, 2019 Previous entry of January 27, 2019, as a .pdf file: "A note on the Crime against Venezuela."
"Nota sobre o crime contra a Venezuela" (Portuguès Galego) [added Feb. 6, 2019].
January 27, 2019
To clarify the importance of the January 23rd coup attempt in Venezuela we remember that ever since WWII the customary motivation for violations of the Convention on Genocide has been to gain a region's natural resources. For example Iraq, Libya, Syria, Haiti, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Guatemala, and others. The people of resource-rich areas are forced into flight, exile, refuge elsewhere, or are attacked by disease, or starvation, or directly murdered by military programs, or divided internally into civil wars assuring the death of multitudes. Damages are inter-generational with the effects of depleted uranium weaponry or mining waste; the survivors of one generation lose their children in the next. The effect of destroying a habitat is the destruction of a people with legal historical claim to the land and its natural resources. If these people are eradicated, resource development proceeds without impediment or any benefit or payment to the rightful owners. Night's Lantern places an implicit warning for peoples inhabiting or able to make legal claim to resource-rich territory. Venezuela possesses about a quarter of the earth's oil resources. The corporate battle for profits is understood to be criminal. The U.S. has made a point of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court and attempting to destroy international law. Since there is strong evidence that Venezuela is threatened with a takeover by corporate interests, represented by U.S. policy, the people of Venezuela are now under a genocide warning.
A summary of the current coup attempt: on January 23rd, Juan Guaidó, leader of the right wing National Assembly declared himself the President of Venezuela. During the presidency of Hugo Chavez, and despite the failure of the first U.S. attempted coup against him, and then after the curious death of Chavez, and after the presidency was assumed by Chavez's and the people's chosen successor, Nicolás Maduro, the U.S. has continually and heavily funded the country's political opposition. Guaidó's counter-democratic declaration was endorsed immediately by Brazil, the U.S. and Canada in an attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government. Juan Guaidó's platform if allowed to rule, would include returning nationalized companies to their previous owners. The U.S. Vice president's call-out to the Venezuelan people to rise up and embrace Guaidó as their President, failed. Of the Americas, governments installed by the U.S. have supported the U.S. position. Countries of the Americas controlled by right wing middle classes at the service of corporate policies and wealth, also support the U.S. position. Western media explain 'a need for change' rising from the country's 'humanitarian crisis,' which on examination is an economic crisis rising from very low prices of oil - and then the debilitating U.S.-initiated sanctions to sideline Venezuela's attempts at economic recovery. As the largest holder of oil resources in the world Venezuela's political and economic difficulties are consistently traced to foreign corporate interests. The European Union has demanded new elections in an attempt to discredit President Maduro's victory at the polls last May and his re-installation as President on January 10th. Cuba has shifted 2500 of its health providers from its mission to the poor in what has become fascist Brazil, to Venezuela. Venezuela's alliances with Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Mexico, among others, remain. Within Venezuela, the government and its supporters including all branches of the military have remained loyal to the country's Constitution and Nicolás Maduro as the elected President. The U.S.-Brazil-Canada axis attempt to effect its choice of rulers for another country has risked tripping these as aggressors and Venezuela, into war. As noted at the mourning for Hugo Chavez whose illness many believe was the result of an assassination, "Chávez vive, la lucha sigue!".
January 21, 2019 Côte d’Ivoire Manitoba Saskatchewan British Columbia
Côte d’Ivoire: Previous. Former President Laurent Gbagbo was acquitted of all charges (crimes against humanity) against him at International Criminal Court January 15, 2019. His co-defendant Charles Blé Goudé, former Youth Minister, was acquitted as well. In Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo's wife Simone Gbagbo serving 20 years in-country for violences following the 2010 elections was given amnesty by Alassane Outarra who replaced Gbagbo as President through the use of force and French Troops. In the humiliation of leaders which seems to be a signature of Euro-American takeovers in African countries (one remembers the 2011 replacement of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya), at arrest April 11, 2011, Gbago's face was bruised and swollen, his son bleeding and beaten and his wife allegedly a victim of attempted rape by the troops who entered their bedroom. Outarra, supported by the World Bank, the U.S. where he received portions of his education, and France, attempted to use the World Court as a victor's court and have Gbago assume responsibility for the violences of armed struggle which brought Outarra to power. An Ivorian court has cleared the former first lady of crimes against humanity and war crimes rising from post 2011 election violence. While the Western media backed Outarra's bid for the presidency, the Supreme Court of Côte d’Ivoire had found Gbagbo the legitimate winner of the 2010 elections which is why he was overthrown by force of arms.Partial sources online: "Ivory Coast ex-first lady Simone Gbagbo granted amnesty," Aug. 7, 2018, BBC News; "Ivory Coast's Gbagbo cleared of war crimes, may return to politics," Stephanie van den Berg, Ange Aboa, Jan. 15, 2019, Reuters; "Cote d’Ivoire: Acquittal of Gbagbo and Blé Goudé a crushing disappointment to victims of post-election violence," January 15, 2019, Amnesty International
Winnipeg Manitoba: on January 17th at Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital, a two day old infant was taken from her Indigenous mother despite the mother's and the baby's family's protests. The child was placed in a child carry seat by police and removed under the authority of the Winnipeg Child and Family Services despite the mother's claims that a member of her family was ready to assume guardianship. Under current law the authorities were allowed to take the child because someone said the mother was drunk when she went to the hospital to give birth. The mother and family's acquiescence, though unwilling, may be attributed to the frequency of taking away Indigenous children at birth. If provably a practice federal or international court could recognize the act as a violation of the Convention on Genocide Article II, e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.. Partial sources online: "‘Blindsided:’ Manitoba officials seize newborn from mother in hospital," Ashley Brandson, APTN News Jan.12, 2019, National News [access:< https://aptnnews.ca/2019/01/12/blindsided-manitoba-officials-seize-newborn-from-mother-in-hospital/ >]; "First Nations family 'blindsided' by how child services takes newborn from mom, posts video to call for change," Sarah Petz, Jan.11, 2019, CBC News.
Saskatoon Saskatchewan: Previous. According to RT Canadian Senator Yvonne Blyer has claimed that Indigenous women are suffering tubal ligation across Canada, particularly in Saskatoon, and has requested an investigation. A previous report by Dr. Yvonne Boyer & Dr. Judith Bartlett deals in depth with the issue in Saskatoon, noting that "Most of the women did not understand that tubal ligation was permanent, thinking it was a form of birth control that could be reversed in the future." Genocide warning. According to The Washington Post due to coerced or forced sterilizations as many as 62 Indigenous women are currently engaged in a suit against Canada, Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Health Region, and various medical professionals. Partial sources online: "Indigenous Canadian women still being forcibly sterilized, claims senator," Nov. 12, 2018, rt.com; "External Review: Tubal Ligation in the Saskatoon Health Region: The Lived Experience of Aboriginal Women," Dr. Yvonne Boyer & Dr. Judith Bartlett, July 22, 2017, Discharge Abstract Database (DAD); "End forced sterilizations of Indigenous women in Canada," Nickita Longman, Dec. 4, 2018 The Washington Post.
British Columbia: on January 15th, at the Supreme Court of British Columbia, two First Nations have claimed that three hydro electric projects, the Site C Dam, the Bennett Dam and Peace Canyon Dam, infringe on their rights. The dams would flood traditional territory belonging to the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations. Their injunction against construction of the Site C dam is to be reviewed. They request the Site C Dam approval by Federal and Provincial governments, which has overtly infringed on Indigenous rights, be overturned. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has ordered the construction of the Site C. Dam be stopped until "free and informed consent" of the Indigenous people is assured and expects response by April 8th (see previous). One First Nations perspective is that the government is proceeding with cultural genocide. The government previously ignored a reporting deadline last August 2018, and the government's continuing delay shows bad faith. Partial sources online: "First Nations File Civil Action Against Site C, Citing Treaty 8 Infringement," Carol Linnett, Jan. 16, 2018, Narwhal; "United Nations instructs Canada to suspend Site C dam construction over Indigenous rights violations," Sarah Cox, Jan. 9, 2019, The Narwhal.
January 12, 2019
U.S.: "Updates: some U.S. political prisoners January 2019," by J. B. Gerald
Canada: Update. Mahmoud Jaballah, a refugee in Canada was detained in 1999 under a Canadian Security Certificate, a mechanism which placed him in prison under threat of deportation. The government's security agency alleged he was a member of an organization linked to Al-Qaeda. The evidence was dismissed by a judge as unreasonable. The government tried again in 2001 with additional secret evidence. In 2007 the Supreme Court found the secret security certificate process too unjust and demanded cosmetic additional legal procedure be added to it, so a third security certificate was applied to Mahmoud Jaballah in 2008. In May 2016 Federal Court Judge Dolores Hansen found "I conclude that the security certificate filed by the minister is not reasonable and will be set aside." The Federal Appeals Court supported her decision. On November 28, 2018 Mahmoud Jaballah filed a suit at the Ontario Superior Court asking for 37.4 million dollars to cover the damages to his wife, himself and their six children, not only for ruining his life and his suffering in prison but for the continual threat of deportation and the effects of all this on his family.Partial sources online: "Court finds designation of Egyptian man as security threat unreasonable," The Canadian Press, May 24, 2016, MacLeans; "After 17-year deportation fight over alleged terrorism ties, Toronto man sues federal government for $34M," Brian Platt, Jan. 4, 2019, National Post.
January 4, 2019
Canada: "Updates: some Canadian political prisoners January 2019," by J. B. Gerald
2018 suppressed news
A branch that comes from violence will not take root;
for a blighted root is on sheer rock, like reeds by the
banks of a river, which are dried up before any grass; but
kindness, like eternity, will never be cut off, and faithfulness
will be established forever - from Ben Sira
(Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, Abegg et al)
This account is against forgetfulness.
by john bart gerald
graphics by julie maas
guest contributions as noted
July 17, 2019