* * *
2019 suppressed news
concerned with the prevention of genocide
by j. b. gerald
graphics by j. maas
March 28, 2020
U.S.: CBS News reported on March 26th that the U.S. Attorney General instructed the Bureau of Prisons to "increase the use of home confinement," which would release to their homes prisoners-at-risk of COVID-19, at the discretion of the Bureau of Prisons. There have been releases of small numbers of nonviolent prisoners at local levels. An Alabama judge Ben Fuller bravely ordered the release of minor-crime-accused in county jails causing a law enforcement uproar. Elsewhere, in Los Angeles county 1700 were released. According to France 24 a thousand inmates were released in Ontario Canada. In early March the government of Iran released 54,000. Since the option for release is available and its principle established, detention facilities could be held responsible for the effects of COVID-19 on prisoners, particularly prisoners who are accused pre-trial and all those who present no threat to the population. This includes all U.S. political prisoners whose presence in prison is usually a result of their attempts to find justice for their communities. The Nuclear Resister has put out a call for the release of Dr. Rafil Dhafir, currently serving in a low security Pennsylvania prison after years in a supermax. He has served over 17 years for basically, sending food and medical aid to Iraqi children when Iraq was "sanctioned" by the U.S.. His release date is Nov. 24, 2021. He's over seventy. Resisting what has amounted to a genocide in Iraq, he shouldn't be in prison. The Nuclear Resister has also noted Amnesty's call for the release of Leonard Peltier. Peltier at 75 is at medical risk and his numerous health concerns have been mentioned through these pages over the years.
Partial sources: "Barr tells federal prisons to send inmates home in response to coronavirus outbreak," Clara Hymes, March 27, 2020, CBSNews; "A Judge Ordered The Release Of Low-Level Prisoners Because Of The Coronavirus. People Were Absolutely Furious," Emmanuel Felton, March 27, 2020, BuzzFeed News; "Coronavirus: Scotland may release prisoners close to end of sentences," Libby Brooks, March 28, 2020, The Guardian; "Iran Releases 54,000 Prisoners to Contain Coronavirus Spread," Emma Tucker, March 4, 2020, thedailybeast.com; "Immediate support action needed for Dr. Rafil Dhafir, Humanitarian Political Prisoner," March 28, 2020, The Nuclear Resister; "The COVID-19 crisis underscores the need to release Leonard Peltier," Zeke Johnson/Amnesty International, March 26, 2020, The Nuclear Resister.
Burma (Myanmar): the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has issued a warning that conditions have worsened since the International Court of Justice ruling that Myanmar stop genocidal acts against the Rohingya. The Commission specifically notes the internet blackout of the Rakhine region and the Myanmar military stepping up its actions. The Commission is "an independent bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to religious freedom abroad." While North American media ignore the ICJ ruling the Commission maintains some concern for Burma and to note here its March Factsheet, the Commission currently reports amid other persecution, indiscriminate killing of Rohingya civilians by the military and destruction of homes. Myanmar's military is currently suing Reuters for its reporting of news. Refugees are not returning home. 120,000 Rohingya remain in displaced persons camps in the Rakhine and under duress. The Commission summarizes three current attempts to assure the Myanmar government's accountability. The Gambia's suit against Myanmar for genocide continues at the International Court of Justice which has ordered Myanmar to stop genocidal acts against the Rohingya and other minorities. The Gambia's claims have been found reasonable. And, "The ICJ noted that any signatory to the Convention on Genocide, including The Gambia, can bring suit for failure to enforce the treaty's provisions." A long drawn out legal procedure has begun, without immediate means of enforcement and the Court's affect relies on an "unbought" objective world media which is not available. The International Criminal Court is in the process of investigating Myanmar for crimes of genocide, as authorized Nov. 14, 2019, however Myanmar hasn't accepted the ICC's jurisdiction. The Commission report also notes the attempt by human rights organizations to bring a criminal complaint in Argentina against Myanmar officials under the principle of universal jurisdiction. The Commission presents a more thorough outline of steps being taken under law than presented in my essay of January 26, 2020, "To Keep the Rohingya Alive". The U.S. Commission notes its State Department's 2018 report of somewhat overwhelming crimes against the Rohingya which does not find the crimes a genocide, and encourages the U.S. government to "cooperate and support" investigative efforts. Generally U.S. attempts to disavow or destroy international law and international courts have extended to its reluctance to publicly declare the treatment of the Rohingya, a genocide. The Commission report's 2019 recommendations to the U.S. government include: reinstating the national emergency for Burma which was canceled by President Obama in 2016 because the government had made such great progress in human rights..., continuing targeted sanctions against military personnel for human rights violations, pursuing the need for an international court, and bringing a case against Myanmar for violating the Genocide Convention. The U.S. evaded its responsibility. The Gambia did not. Currently, within the largest refugee camp in the world, in Bangladesh, that government has imposed an internet blackout on the million refugees, leaving them cut off as they face COVID-19. The blackout affects not only refugees but ability of the health workers to communicate, obtain supplies etc.. Rohingya in Bangladesh are not allowed cellphone SIM cards, further isolating them from local emergency services. Both in Burma and Bangladesh the genocide warning for Rohingya peoples continues.
Partial sources: "Burma: Tier 1 USCIRF-Recommended Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)," USCIRF / Annual Report 2019; "USCIRF Alarmed by Worsening Conditions in Rakhine State Following International Court Ruling," Press release, March 27, 2020, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; "The Path Towards Justice: Accountability for International Crimes Against the Rohingya of Burma," Kirsten Lavery and Harrison Akins, March 2020, Factsheet Burma / United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; "Documentation of Atrocities in Northern Rakhine State," August 2018, Department of State, U.S.A.; "A Rohingya Coronavirus Catastrophe Looms if Their Internet Blackout Continues," Sirazul Islam, March 27, 2020, The Diplomat; ""Bangladesh: Internet Ban Risks Rohingya Lives," March 26, 2020, Human Rights Watch.
March 8, 2020 International Women's Day
March 6, 2020
The Hague: On March 5th the International Criminal Court decided unanimously to pursue investigations of war crimes in Afghanistan, including allegations against Afghan and American forces, and the Taliban, of war crimes and atrocities. This overturns a previous ruling which kept investigations from moving forward. Now Americans could be charged and made to stand trial under law when arrested outside the protection of the U.S..The New York Times quotes the appeals court presiding justice:"The Prosecutor is authorized to commence an investigation into alleged crimes committed on the territory of Afghanistan since May 1, 2003, as well as other alleged crimes that have a nexus to the armed conflict in Afghanistan." The investigation is a necessary move against impunity. 123 world nations have subscribed to the International Criminal Court. Recent U.S. presidents discount the ICC's ability to bring atrocity criminals to justice since the U.S. does not subscribe to the Court. However, Article 29 of The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, reads "The crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court shall not be subject to any statute of limitations." In an interview with CBC Radio Katherine Gallagher, the human rights attorney, has pointed out that among those responsible for alleged torture are Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld if not current CIA director Gina Haspel, so this ICC decision may ask them to answer to history, and the courts and the people as well.
Sources: "I.C.C. Allows Afghanistan War Crimes Inquiry to Proceed, Angering U.S.," Elian Peltier & Fatima Faizi, March 5, 2020, The New York Times; "The ICC must hold the US accountable for crimes in Afghanistan," Katherine Gallagher, Feb. 16, 2018, The Guardian; "Guantanamo detainees' lawyer celebrates ICC probe into alleged U.S. war crimes," John McGill & Katherine Gallagher, March 5, 2020, CBC Radio; "Afghanistan: ICC Appeals Chamber authorises the opening of an investigation," Press release, March 5, 2020, International Criminal Court. Also ref. Night's Lantern Archive: Lawyers Against the War and Related Materials, LAW, Michael Mandel, Gail Davidson, & others, 2002-2018, nightslantern.ca. Recommended: "Situation in Afghanistan: Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda", March 5, YouTube [access:< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRBqbOJihTs&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0SCOMD7fq8GDAthJOo5zx4yDxTwV1PqJGTHrKnvImgKI4bXwL3LMdRdGc >].
March 5, 2020The Hague: see previous. Foreseeing protest of any investigation of war crimes committed by Israel or Palestine, Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor asked the Court for a ruling first, to affirm Palestine's eligibility for the Court's concern. It is the Prosecutor's belief after years of consideration that Palestine is eligible for those protections of international law insisted on by the ICC when extreme crimes have been committed (see genocide warnings). According to Hamodia, the Daily Paper of Torah Jewry on January 21, 2020, the ICC turned down the Prosecutor's request on technical grounds: papers submitted are limited by statute to 110 pages while the Prosecutor submitted about 120 pages asking for a waiver of the minimal discrepancy. While she is free to resubmit, Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau has sent a letter to the International Criminal Court declaring that Palestine isn't a state and therefore isn't eligible for consideration under the Rome Statute which formed and empowers the ICC. However Palestine is a member of the ICC. So is Canada. While the Premier's decision supports the position of Israel's government and the U.S. government (neither subscribes to the Rome Statute) Canada's Prime Minister has preempted the Court's business of thinking for itself, while noting that Canada contributes 10.6 million dollars to the Court, yearly. It is ill advised for the government to leverage the International Criminal Court's decisions with the force of its funding, or to turn a blind eye on ongoing unacceptable atrocities. Any withdrawal of support for the ICC by Canada puzzles the millions who have found in Canada a hope for human rights. In September 2018 the U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, said simply "We will let the ICC die on its own." Sources: "Canada Joins 'Friendly States' in Opposing ICC War Crimes Investigation in Palestine," Palestine Chronicle Staff, Feb.26, 2020, The Palestine Chronicle; "Canada says Palestine not a state, ICC can't investigate Israeli war crimes," Steve Sweeney, February 27, 2020, People's World; "In an open letter to Trudeau, AI says Canada must support ICC decision to investigate war crimes in Palestine," M.K., March 3, 2020, Wafa; "ICC Tells Bensouda to Revise and Try Again," Hamodia Staff, Jan. 21, 2020, Hamodia, "CJPME Disagrees with Trudeau Letter Discouraging ICC Prosecution of Israel," March 3, 2020, CJPME.
February 29, 2020
Canada: in response to the British Columbia Provincial Police trespass and entry into Wet'suwet'en territory to arrest land defenders peacefully protesting an attempt to place a Coastal Gaslink pipeline on their lands (see previous), Indigenous bands and supportive groups throughout Canada have registered protest and solidarity. This has included the Mohawk Nation, where defenders have blockaded the passage of trains, and were forcefully removed and arrested. Whenever a blockade is removed by force others spring up. Micmaq peoples in Quebec Gaspe region have blockaded rail tracks for over two weeks in sympathy with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' request for the RCMP to leave Wet'suwet'en territory, a precondition for negotiations. Many protest actions by Indigenous peoples, bands and their allies are noted in the media. On February 27 negotiations between Federal and Provincial governments and the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs began in British Columbia. Widespread solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs in support of nonviolent defense of their territory against environmental hazards also finds meaning among Canadians who don't identify as Indigenous but understand the need for a turn around in the country's treatment of First Peoples and its treatment of the environment, both sacrificed historically to the profits of resource extraction. Canada's Indigenous resistance has shown that in extremes it can nonviolently close the country down. This power will have to be respected. The refusal by Indigenous peoples and all land defenders to sacrifice the environment for money or favor, has to be respected. The Indigenous actions have helped sensitize the government to making real its promises to supply native communities with drinking water, to grant equal funding to Indigenous youth and education, to assure effective health care particularly to areas with extreme disease rates, to combat the 50% native children poverty rate, to assure land rights and rights of autonomy, to supply liveable housing in areas where the housing is unsafe and to protect the land and forests and waters for the future of everyone.
Burma / Myanmar: the International Court of Justice decision ordering Myanmar to stop genocidal policies against the Rohingya is being muted by NATO country media. This is particularly noticeable in Canada where Parliament has declared a genocide in progress in Myanmar but has not provided substantial response to the ICJ ruling, possibly due to unresolved issues concerning historical policies of genocide in Canada. Recently joining The Gambia's ongoing case against Myanmar at the ICJ, is the Maldives, represented by the prominent London human rights attorney, Amal Clooney. The UN's high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, has recommended Myanmar repeal discriminatory laws and policies and revoke its use of "the concept of 'national races'", ensure the military's accountability to civilian review, and ratify the human rights treaties it has overlooked. Her recommendations submitted in a 17 page report Feb. 27, 2020 to the Human Rights Council's 43rd Session, urge the international community to support accountability of Myanmar. Environmentally vulnerable, Myanmar is continuing to lose farmland to climate change, flooding, sea level rise. This will strain the country's food resources and could be considered as a causative factor in the Army's genocide of the Rohingya. An estimated 2.5 million people on the country's southeast coast are at risk to rising water. The silence and inaction of Western countries and their media in response to Myanmar's 'genocidal intent' of its treatment of the Rohingya, suggests that the corporate powers unifying western government policies are willing to sacrifice the Rohingya as a people to corporate imperatives. See "genocide warnings." Partial sources: previous 1 and 2; "UN to Myanmar: Repeal laws discriminating against Rohingyas," Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan, Feb. 27, 2020, Reuters; "Rising sea levels put Myanmar's villages on frontline of climate change," Rozanna Latiff and Zaw Naing Oo, Feb. 26, 2020, National Post.
India: a genocide warning for Muslims in India grows from the government's new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) which is likely to deny citizenship to the Muslims of India who don't have birth registrations. New citizenship requirements for Muslims are more severe than for other persecuted minorities (Christian and Sikh among others). This measure specifically attacks the poor. There have been demonstrations against the legislation throughout the country. Having marked Hindu homes and businesses with saffron flags for safety, on February 24, mobs described as Hindu government thugs attacked the predominantly Muslim northeast of New Delhi with crimes of violence. Police are reported to have joined the attacks. In northeast India's Assam state 1.9 million predominantly Muslim people have already been declared illegal. (See previous). Another genocide warning for the Muslim people of India. Partial sources: "Anti-Muslim violence in India reaches alarming proportions," C.J. Werleman, Feb. 27, 2020, TRT World; "Indian Minister: We Made a Mistake Not Committing Genocide Against Muslims," Alan Macleod, Feb. 21, 2020, Mint Press News; "A mob out for blood: India's protests pit Hindus against Muslims," Danish Siddiqui and Devjyot Ghoshal, Feb. 26, 2020, Reuters; "How Hindu supremacists are tearing India apart," Samanth Subramanian, Feb. 20, 2020, The Guardian.
February 18, 2020
Rwanda: a strong force for healing and reconciliation following Rwanda's genocide, Kizito Mihigo was arrested by Paul Kagame's government in April 2014 for a gospel song. The song was a prayer for genocide victims, both Tutsi and Hutu. Popular, his songs were then banned in Rwanda. He was convicted of plotting to assassinate Kagame and sentenced to ten years. Then he was pardoned by Kagame in 2018 as was Victoire Ingabire , a presidential hopeful imprisoned basically for attempting to mourn Hutu (as well as Tutsi) victims of Rwanda's genocide. Kizito Mihigo was re-arrested about Feb. 14th near Rwanda's border with Burundi and placed in solitary confinement in Kigali. He was found hanging in his cell Feb. 17th. Rwandan police have suggested he hanged himself. His family and non-government sources do not think it so. Background.. Partial sources online: "Shocking death of gospel singer in custody must be effectively investigated - Amnesty International," editor, Feb. 18, 2020, Rwanda News Agency. "Popular Rwandan singer found dead in police cell," Ivan R. Mugisha, Feb. 18, 2020, Daily Nation. "Le Parti FDU-Inkingi a appris avec Tristesse la Mort du Chanteur Rwandais Kizito Mihigo," Communique de Presse, Feb. 18, 2020, The Rwandan; "Kizito Mihigo - Wedding Song"[access:< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mfqm7i6JKA >].
February 12, 2020
Lake Huron, Canada: In a referendum held January 31, the Anishnaabek Saugeen Ojibway Nation by an 86% majority voted against The Deep Geological Depository to store nuclear waste in their territory. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) sought the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the people to bury 200,000 cubic meters of intermediate and low level nuclear waste 680 meters underground. This may end the company's billion dollar project planning to bury nuclear waste on the shores of Lake Huron. The Anishnaabek are protectors of their ancestral Lake Huron waters. The project could have affected the drinking water of forty million people. Partial sources online: "G'ganoonigonaa Zaagigan / The Lake Is Speaking To Us: Nuclear Waste In Saugeen Ojibway Nation Territory?" Bidaabinokwe and Waasekom,Jan. 29, 2020, Indigenous Governance / Yellowhead Institute; "The Deep Geologic Repository for low and intermediate level nuclear waste will not go ahead as planned, preparing for what's next," Press release, Feb. 1, 2020, G'ganoonigonaa Zaagigan / The Lake Is Speaking To Us; "OPG's plans for a nuclear dump near Lake Huron are dead, now everyone wonders what's next," Colin Butler, Feb. 11, 2020, CBC news.
Loreto, Peru: in this northern region of the country a lawsuit by Indigenous peoples and the Institute of Legal Defense has forced the Ministry of Energy and Mines and Perupetro corporation, to suspend any development of the specified Indigenous territory lots 135, 138, 31B, which are part of the Sierra del Divisor National Park. Most Indigenous people there are uncontacted peoples and their informed permission can't be obtained. Since the informed consent law was effected in 2011, Indigenous peoples of the Amazon and Andes have successfully claimed their rights in court. Sources: "Peruvian indigenous group wins suit to block oil exploration in Amazonian region," Marcia Cervantes, Jan. 22, 2020, Reuters; "Indigenous Communities Push Back Against Amazon Development," Jonathan Stormer Pezzi, Jan. 26, 2020, Via News; "Court bars oil exploitation in Peru's Sierra del Divisor," Feb. 2, 2020, Countervortex.
February 8, 2020
U.S.A.: Delbert Orr Africa was released on parole January 18th, Chuck Sims Africa was released on parole february 7th. This completes the releases of all surviving members of the MOVE 9 organization imprisoned on what many believe to have been false charges over forty years ago. They were sentenced to thirty years after the nine were convicted of third-degree murder of a policeman killed by one bullet amid a barrage of gunfire from police forces. In 2019 Janine Phillips Africa, Janet Holloway Africa, Eddie Goodman Africa were paroled. In 2018 Mike Africa Sr. and Debbie Sims Africa were paroled. Merle Africa and Phil Africa are reported to have died in confinement. Gerald and Maas Night's Lantern first noted the injustice of their imprisonment 2004. See also my "Open Letter to American Writers" of 1994, which notes Mumia Abu-Jamal's honest reporting on the Move 9 as a motive for his death sentence. Partial sources: "Out of prison after 41 years, MOVE member Delbert Africa rails against ‘unjust’ criminal justice system," Mensah M. Dean, Jan. 21, 2020, Prisoner News, Freedom Archives; "Chuck Sims Africa freed: final jailed Move 9 member released from prison," Ed Pilkington, Feb. 7, 2020, Prisoner News, Freedom Archives.
U.S.A.: The U.S. Air Force has announced a marked increase in suicides among Air Force personnel. The 137 Air Force suicides in 2019 include Air National Guard and Reserve personnel and represents the highest number since official suicide count began in 2008. The number of suicides in all active military services (the casualties from covert service are not likely listed) in 2018 showed an increase of 40% from 2017. Regular Army suicide statistics are usually double the Air Force's. Whatever the DoD considers them, are these men and women "suicides" or casualties of policies against the peoples' interests? Partial sources: "Air Force Saw Record-Breaking Number of Suicides in 2019," Oriana Pawlyk, Feb. 4, 2020, military.com; "Department of Defense (DoD) Quarterly Suicide Report (QSR) 4th Quarter, CY 2018," Kevin Orbin DSPO, Defense Suicide Prevention Office.
Myanmar /Burma: The UN Security Council failed to reach agreement in response to the International Court of Justice ordering Myanmar to prevent Genocide of the Rohingya. Unofficial reports are that China and Vietnam found objections. The European Union members believe the ICJ ruling "compulsory under international law" (Al Jazeera) and affecting Myanmar's Rakhine, Shan and Kachin States. See genocide warnings. Response to the Court's decision is downplayed if not censored in the U.S. and Canadian media. Partial sources: "UN fails to take action on order against Myanmar on Rohingya," Feb. 5, 2020, Al Jazeera; "UN did not reach an agreement against Myanmar," Feb. 5, 2020, Prensa Latina.
Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory: On the night of Feb. 7-8th, those witnessing Wet'suwet'en reported that the RCMP had towed from the road all the cars which belonged to those at Camp 27 leaving them without transportation, then told camp members that they had to leave or would be arrested. Among those at the camp is a 7 month pregnant woman. Subsequently the RCMP told them they could pass the night in their camp but would be arrested in the morning if they stayed. The procedure could suggests malice rather than policing. Partial source: live stream reporting from Wet'suwet'en territory.
Background: the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en have not allowed Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. to place a pipeline through their unceded territory in British Columbia. Band members and their allies are nonviolently resisting. Fearing state violence the Unisto'ten camp asked for legal observers January 18th. There is evidence legal observers were subsequently blocked from access and entry to Unisto'ten territory. The RCMP, operating under a court issued injunction against the Indigenous resistance, is attempting to clear the native encampments. The court injunction is illegal under Wet'suwet'en law and rejected by Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. RCMP actions are unwise in that they deprive the Indigenous people of Treaty rights, land rights, rights under UNDRIP (international law protecting Indigenous peoples), human rights and attempt to turn the Indigenous people against their own laws. While the company insists that it has the approval of numerous band councils to lay its pipeline, band councils do not have the same responsibility to protect their lands and people's future. Band councils may be subject to government and company persuasions, both legal and illegal. The Wet'suwet'en camp has asked the RCMP to leave the territory. In response to the RCMP actions, entry and takeover, there are resistance actions by Indigenous bands and Wet'suwet'en camp supporters throughout Canada as reported in the media.
February 4, 2020
Canada: The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled against an Indigenous challenge to the 7.4 billion dollar Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The Indigenous immediate response to the court decision is these spoken truths noting the endangerment of the water, water table, sea, whales, land, and the high likelihood of oil spills. Indigenous law speaks to the ancestors, the present and the future. The Federal Court allows the pipeline to proceed with increasing its barrels-per-day capacity from 300,000 to 890,000, while climate change radically increases the pipeline risks to the environmment. On December 13th the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ( CERD) issued a report calling on Canada "to immediately cease construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project and cancel all permits, until free, prior and informed consent is obtained from all the Secwepemc people, following the full and adequate discharge of the duty to consult." The CERD report was subsequently criticized by the Haisla Nation Chief for not consulting with First Nations peoples before issuing the directive. The Haisla Nation is one of the tribes that made an agreement with Coastal GasLink.
Partial sources online: "Live: First Nations respond to Trans Mountain appeal decision" [access:< https://www.facebook.com/cbccalgary/videos/1167756786757877/ >]; "Coldwater Indian Band v. Canada (Attorney General)," 2020 FCA 34, Feb. 4, 2020, Federal Court of Appeals; "First Nations chief blasts 'condescending' UN anti-racism directive that called for pipeline to be shut down," Jesse Snyder, Jan. 17, 2020, TheProvince: "Prevention of Racial Discrimination, Including Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure," Advance unedited version, 2801rst meeting Hundredth Session, Dec. 13, 2019, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination..
Mexico: Raúl Hernández Romero, was last seen alive January 27th. His body was discovered February 1, badly beaten. He worked as a tour guide part-time, at the butterfly sanctuary. According to the BBC after the death of Homero Gómez González (previous) the police of the towns of Ocampo and Anganguero were held for questioning by authorities ("Second man with ties to Mexico's largest monarch butterfly reserve found dead," Kevin Sieff, Feb. 2, 2020, The Washington Post; "Second Mexico monarch butterfly activist found dead," Feb. 3, 2020, BBC News; "Mexican butterfly activist's disappearance: 53 police detained," Jan.22, 2020, BBC News).
January 31, 2020
Mexico: Homero Gómez González, a former logger who managed the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve, was known as Mexico's leading butterfly activist. His disappearance was reported January 14th. On January 29th his body was found floating at the bottom of a nearby well. Mexican laws protect the habitat against logging interests.
January 26, 2020
Myanmar (Burma): the International Court of Justice released its ruling on Myanmar's genocide of the Rohingya, January 23rd. Its order of provisional measures is discussed here in "To Keep the Rohingya Alive," by John Bart Gerald.
January 18, 2020
Quebec: The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, and Ichrak Nourel Hak have filed a 27 page brief with the Supreme Court of Canada, asking the Court to consider ruling on the legality of Quebec's Bill-21. As a Provincial law it outlaws the wearing of religious symbols by those in authority. The outlawing of Muslim religious symbols became politically fashionable as European countries moved to the right in response to a heavy influx of refugees from countries destroyed by NATO destabilization and bombing. The current (Coalition Avenir Quebec) Government of Quebec considers this law a way to prevent secularism in politics, to keep state and religious issues apart. There is some latitude; those wearing religious symbols at the passing of the law are allowed to continue. However the law deprives some people of their religious freedom. Judges of Quebec's appeals court where this issue was tested in December, while recognizing damage to individuals, ruled that the law will remain in effect until the issue is heard by Quebec Superior Court. Some background: 1 2 3 4 5 6. Night's Lantern first noted this as a danger to Muslim women's human rights March 11, 2010 (Partial sources: "Civil rights groups challenging Quebec's religious symbols ban file appeal to Canada's top court," Jan. 17, 2020, CBC News; "'I Feel Like a Stranger Here Now,'" Alia Youssef, Dec. 21, 2019, Globe and Mail; "Groups seek leave to appeal Quebec's secularism law to Supreme Court," The Canadian Press, Dec. 18, 2019, Globe and Mail).
Iraq. Historical note: at this time 29 years ago the massive bombardment of Iraq was just beginning. On January 12th 1991 the U.S. Congress authorized war on the sovereign nation of Iraq. The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution was approved in the Senate by 52 to 47 votes, and in the House by 250 to 183. In debate, with some thought to the future, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California (D) noted, "The King of Jordan last night on 'Nightline' said that if we go to war, we could have an ecological disaster of the first order." The bombardment of Iraq began about 6:30 PM January 16th and the January 17th headlines of The Boston Globe read "Gulf War Begins: US leads massive bombing of strategic sites in Iraq, Kuwait." The Globe January 18th headline read," Iraqi missiles strike Israel; region braces for retaliation."On February 24th U.S. and Coalition ground forces invaded: U.S. and Saudi forces are reported 40 to 50 miles inside Kuwait, while U.S., British and French forces are reported 70 miles within Iraq. By March 1 a cease fire was in effect. A UN team visiting Iraq from March 10th to 17th reported that the Allies had bombed Iraq into a "pre-industrial age"; the report found 72,000 homeless, and 9000 homes destroyed (NYTimes International). In 2010, Souad Al-Azzawi, distinguished Iraqi scientist and expert on depleted uranium, reported that Iraq's Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs numbers Iraqi orphans at 4.5 million with half a million living in the streets. The 700 children in Iraq's prisons and 100 in U.S. prisons were allegedly raped tortured and otherwise brutalized ("Violations Of Iraqi Children Rights Under The American Occupation," Souad Al-Azzawi, March 20, 2010, countercurrents.org). By 2019 Prof Souad Al-Azzawi notes 1.5 million Iraqi deaths caused by the war. She notes as well 940,000 Depleted Uranium "projectiles" fired with an additional 14,000 by the British, 210,004 bombs on cities, 39,336 cluster bombs dropped, 9342 smart bombs, in addition to missiles. She lists among everything destroyed these components of the civilian infrastructure: 833 sewage and drinking water facilities, 205 dams and water services, 145 radio & tv stations and museums, 44 orphanages & old age facilities, 159 religious buildings, 251 food related facilities, 421 hospitals and medical service facilities, 3968 educational facilities, etc.. ("Twenty-Eight Years of Continuous Aggression Against Iraq," Prof Souad N. Al-Azzawi. Jan. 21, 2019, Global Research). These remain unaddressed war crimes. A case was attempted before the Audiencia Nacional de Espana in 2009, but was not accepted. Its full text is available at http://usgenocide.org/the-legal-case/ . The crime of genocide has no statute of limitations.
January 8, 2020
Night's Lantern starts the year with updates for U.S. political prisoners. Some are suffering inhumanly long sentences as targets for law enforcement control programs. Some are prisoners of war in our society's ongoing war on the poor. Many are pawns in a corporate prison industry that places as many people in prison as possible for profits, where imprisonment becomes a way of life for the survivors, or a kind of death sentence. In part political prisoners represent all prisoners and all peoples subject to the over-ruling greed of the unjust.
Imam Jamil Action Network [https://whathappened2rap.com/] has asked those who care, to call and ask friends to call the Bureau of Prisons and request cataract surgery for Imam Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. Diagnosed with Smoldering Myeloma (considered a precancerous condition), treatment is being denied. The number to call at USP Tucson is (520) 663-5000 and al-Amin's inmate number at Tucson is 99974-555. For those concerned with injustices of this case, the Action Network has posted the confession by another man to the killing of officers Imam Jamil Abdullah al-Amin was charged with killing and convicted of: "The Otis Jackson Confession," Imam Jamil Action Network [access:< https://whathappened2rap.com/pages/the-otis-jackson-confession >] ("Imam Jamil Al-Amin denied cataract surgery - Call Bureau of Prisons," Imam Jamil Action Network, Jan. 4, 2020, San Francisco BayView)
Bill Dunne is being added to our Political Prisoners pages. Arrested in 1979 for aiding and abetting the escape of Artie Ray Dufur and auto theft, Bill Dunne was sentenced to 80 years in a federal prison. He received an additional sentence of 15 years when he attempted to escape prison in 1983. This amounted to an inhuman sentence of 90 years in prison for non lethal crimes attempting freedom - release date 2043 ("Dunne, Bill," current, National Jericho Movement).
Denied parole ten times Robert Seth Hayes was released on parole July 24, 2018. He suffered serious and frequently untreated medical difficulties throughout his 45 years in prison; before parole these conditions included hepatitis C, diabetes, bleeding, abdominal growths, trouble breathing. He was 72 years old and at home when he ceased to be of our world, Dec. 21, 2019 ("Rest in Power Robert Seth Hayes!" Freedom Archives, Dec. 23, 2019, Prisoner News).
Last May Russell "Maroon" Shoatz was in hospital unable to keep fluids down, nausea and stomach pain. By August he was found to have stage 4 cancer. He's currently being treated. Donations are requested to help cover the costs: "Free Russell Maroon Shoatz!". His illness follows a successful legal battle against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) (Shoatz was released into the general prison population from an over 22 year stretch of solitary confinement), and a statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture that conditions of his imprisonment were uncivilized.
According to a posting by his family and friends, Dr. Mutulu Shakur was diagnosed with malignant bone cancer this past October. After a year delay since he noticed pain and a four month delay since the Doctor requested a CT scan, suspecting cancer, and the diagnosis was confirmed. Dr. Mutulu Shakur at 69 is already known to suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure, high cholesterol as well and his sight is hampered by glaucoma. Compassionate release on health grounds was applied for to the Bureau of Prisons by his legal team and denied this past December 5th. He's currently undergoing chemotherapy. His original trial judge is being petitioned for release. A federal judge in California is being petitioned for his release under a habeas corpus request, due to previous unjust denials of parole. Dr. Shakur joins a number of U.S. political prisoners who have contracted cancer since arrest (" Mutulu Shakur - December 2019 Medical and Legal Update," Freedom Archives, Dec. 14, 2019, Prisoner News).
This suggests prison conditions lead to or advance the illness of political prisoners through contaminated or unhealthy environments, bad water, intentional psychological damage, contaminated food, institutional diets, spatial conditions which prohibit psychological healing and health, and physical regimens including isolation intended to destroy a person's psychological and then physical resistance. I remember that Phil Berrigan died of a fast moving stomach cancer probably contracted in prison. Marilyn Buck contracted cancer in prison which was not addressed quickly and which she died of on compassionate release. The prosecution and unjust long sentence for Lynne Stewart because of cancer became a death sentence though she was also granted a compassionate release. Imam Jamil Al-Amin is known to have contracted blood cancer. And there's the recently diagnosed cancer of Russell Maroon Shoatz. And now Dr. Shakur is among those whose fight against cancer is known to these pages.
2019 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)
at first posting in 2002 this bulletin board was for emergency protests, attempts to counter
genocide, anti-war information, which were suppressed in the media; my interest remains in
how a society is moved into what have become genocidal wars, and how people are able to
resist... it becomes a kind of history in motion and a way to counter enforced forgetfulness,
the lies that say these things never happened, or that there is nothing wrong with the murders
of hundreds of thousands of innocents in other countries, or the continuing move toward
eradication of the poor by death, in north america; this account is against forgetfulness. - jbg 2008
by john bart gerald
graphics by julie maas
guest contributions as noted
March 28, 2020