Archive | June 4, 2015

All-Female Militia who Hunt African Rhino Poachers*

All-Female Militia who Hunt African Rhino Poachers*

By Jack Mulvany

The seemingly unquenchable demand for rhino horn as a folk medicine, especially in East Asia, has put the African rhino on top of the hit list of poachers, placing one of the planet’s most magnificent animals on the endangered species list. And perhaps even more odious than the slaughter of rhinos for so-called “medicinal” reasons is the killing of elephants for little more than a tusk trophy, a trinket to dangle obscenely over some fireplace.

Government agencies and international organizations like CITES and the African Wildlife Foundation are all doing their bit to protect the rhino and the elephant populations. But despite their best efforts, the rhino population of Africa has dropped by 96 per cent in the past 50 years, due almost exclusively to the greed of the poachers and the ignorance of those who purchase their kill.

Sometimes, however, it seems that the good guys are fighting a losing battle, but things may be about to change in favour of the rhinos and the elephants. A home-grown band of tough and well-trained rangers is combing the badlands of Balule Nature Reserve, one of the many private reserves in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. They’re formidable, they’re tenacious, and they mean business. Oh, by the way, they are all women. They are the Black Mambas.

Although the Black Mambas may be unarmed, they have the disposition of a rabid badger, and their bite is no less lethal than that of Africa’s most feared snake, the other Black Mamba.

After being recruited, the Mambas undergo weeks of intensive training in tracking and combat techniques, and in addition to their normal reconnaissance and reporting activities, they mingle with the locals, who in turn act as many more sets of eyes and ears. Working in a world that has traditionally been dominated by men, the 26-strong team of female trailblazers keeps a 24-7 vigil on tens of thousands of acres of wildlife country. Wearing second-hand army uniforms, they travel around in jeeps that have been outfitted with searchlights. They put up road blocks, and search for contraband and snares; and when they suspect a hint of trouble, they call in the rangers with the guns. But the greatest contribution of the Black Mambas is the fact that they are all locals. They know the area like the backs of their own hands – every tree, every rocky outcrop and every watering hole – and more importantly, they know all the local residents.

According to Craig Spencer, the reserve’s chief game warden, Balule has lost only three rhinos since the program began, while neighbouring reserves continue to suffer from massive slaughter.

“Everyone was laughing when they started the project,” says Russell Baker, a manager at Balule Reserve, “but now they want the Black Mambas everywhere.”

The 26-strong team of female trailblazers keeps a 24-7 vigil on tens of thousands of acres of wildlife country. Wearing second-hand army uniforms, they travel around in jeeps that have been outfitted with searchlights.


Related Topics:

Ordinary Women Doing the Impossible 

A Glorious Past Before Colonialism and the Oppression of African Women*

End to Nature’s Greatest Migration on Earth

Occupy World: Iranian Hunters Decided to Stop Killing Wildlife*

Amazonian Hunter-Gatherers Isolated from Western Medicine Have the Most Diverse Microbiome Ever Recorded*


The Hilary-Chevron Affair*

The Hilary-Chevron Affair*

By Adam Klasfeld

In her final few months at the State Department, Hillary Clinton blended into a wall of flag drapery in Singapore and gave a shout-out to the big corporations of America.

“We’re proud to go to bat for the Boeings and Chevrons and General Motors and so many others,” Clinton told her audience in the fall of 2012.

At the time, Chevron had great need of a strong batting arm on the international field. The oil giant has been found responsible for an environmental disaster in the tropical northeast of Ecuador.

Lago Agrio, the city where the $9.8 billion verdict for a group of Ecuadorean villagers came down, demonstrates ties to the oil companies just with its name, as a translation of Sour Lake, the Texas base for Texaco, which Chevron acquired over a decade ago.

The long and winding road of the Lago Agrio litigation before and since that judgment implicates fundamental notions within the law on international enforcement of foreign judgments, collateral attacks on those judgments, and the reach and power of U.S. courts. Along that path, it has been shadowed by the more obscure intrigues of politics and money.

As Chevron fought liability in U.S. and foreign arenas, the historically Republican political donor also began contributing millions of dollars to State Department projects in a Democratic administration. With Clinton at the State Department’s helm, from 2009 through early 2013, a number of initiatives her agency advanced received multimillion-dollar contributions from Chevron.

For years before and after her tenure, the State Department published human rights reports that criticize the Ecuadorean justice system as susceptible to corruption. The distinguishing feature of the reports during Clinton’s tenure is the advocacy in favour of Chevron through direct references to its legal fight, within the criticism of Ecuador’s legal system. Those reports then came in handy when Chevron went into federal court in New York and successfully attacked the Lago Agrio award.

In a ruling last year, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan relied in part on the reports to find that the Ecuadorean judgment was obtained by “corrupt means.” He also ordered, through a trust and an injunction, that any proceeds from the massive award be returned to Chevron.
This order puts a legal roadblock in front of any effort to collect on the Lago Agrio judgment.

Kaplan’s 485-page decision is currently awaiting a ruling from the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The principal issues on appeal are whether the lower court judge overreached the limits of his power, and whether international comity requires respect for the foreign court’s ruling.

Going back to Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, Chevron was engaged in an intense round of government lobbying during that period. As reported by the Washington Examiner, the oil company’s lobbying expenditures hit a $20.8 million peak in 2009 when Clinton became secretary.

At that point, the Lago Agrio case was 6 years old, and during the remaining years of Clinton’s time at the State Department, Chevron was to pour more than $13 million into State Department projects. That spending was accompanied by large gifts to the Clinton Global Initiative, a charity run by the Clinton Foundation.
Chevron defends the contributions to State Department projects as appropriate engagement on business matters, and characterizes gifts to the foundation as an effort to give back to regions where the company drills for oil.

“There is no connection between our contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative and Chevron’s engagements with the U.S. State Department on appropriate business matters,” a Chevron spokesman said by email.

“The Clinton Global Initiative was one of the many partnerships and programs that the company has had or maintains to advance our aim to build communities by investing in health, education and economic development in the areas where we do business,” spokesman Morgan Crinklaw added.

While Crinklaw declined to comment specifically on the donations to State Department projects, Clinton herself showed no such reticence.

During a U.S.-China Business Council dinner in the summer of 2009 at Washington’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, she said,

“We are delighted that a number of leading American companies such as GE and Pepsico, Chevron, Marriott, Corning, and others have signed on to be part of putting together this visionary pavilion that will showcase much of what is best about our country.”

“There is, actually, a model of the pavilion somewhere around here that I urge you to take a look at.” She added to laughter from the audience,

“This is shameless, I know, but that’s part of the job.

The U.S.A. Pavilion, which drew nearly 5 million visitors when it opened the next year, represented something of a bittersweet coup for Clinton. Federal law blocks the U.S. government from funding national pavilions, and the previous administration had barely scratched the surface of the project when Clinton took the reins, raising $60 million in private money.
But the resulting prominent display of corporate sponsorship drew criticism from visitors who were expecting a cultural message in the national shrine, and were met by a sea of corporate logos.

Shortly after the Ritz-Carlton dinner, Clinton witnessed Chevron’s signing of a memorandum of understanding to continue a $56 million initiative with the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAid, that supports education, small business and other development in Angola.

She concluded her remarks in Angola’s capital city of Luanda by singling out the oil company.

“Let me especially thank Chevron for recognizing that it is important to give back to the countries where the natural resources come from,” Clinton said.

A picture of the secretary at this event appears in Chevron’s corporate responsibility report for 2009. It was in the State Department human rights report for that same year that Chevron’s legal troubles in Ecuador were first discussed. Specifically, the report highlights a contested piece of evidence in Chevron’s campaign to overturn the Lago Agrio verdict.

“In August, a multinational oil company provided government authorities with clandestinely recorded videos that it alleged exposed a bribery scheme related to a multi-billion dollar environmental lawsuit pending against it in an Ecuadorian court,” says the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009.
The videos show two men trying to goad an Ecuadorean judge to rule against Chevron in return for a kickback on an environmental contract. The New York Times later identified the videographers as a Chevron contractor and a man convicted two decades earlier for trafficking 275,000 pounds of marijuana.
 Where the State Department described an “alleged … bribery scheme,” the Times reported that “no bribes were shown.”

The tapes forced the Ecuadorean judge hearing the case to recuse himself, and Ecuador’s government saw the tapes as a staged effort to disrupt and discredit the country’s justice system.

A cache of cables from U.S. diplomats in Quito later published by Wikileaks show that one Ecuadorean official had called the footage a “disgraceful attempt to influence the outcome of the judicial proceeding.”

Illustrating the far-flung and multi-front nature of the litigation, the Ecuadorean government pursued the matter in federal court in San Francisco, filing a subpoena to question the cameramen and find out about the role of a U.S. private investigative agency in procuring the videotapes. A federal judge publicly issued a discovery order that included emails from one cameraman suggesting he needed payment. Chevron then successfully moved to have the order sealed.

In the second year of Clinton’s State Department tenure, Chevron’s donations put its name in lights both in the U.S.A Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo and in the credits for a USAid-sponsored movie about AIDS in Africa.

The State Department’s human rights report for 2010 reiterates the contested bribery allegations and also discusses a criminal prosecution of Chevron’s lawyers in Ecuador, who were accused of falsifying environmental remediation forms in earlier years.

In 2011, Chevron seemed to see the writing on the wall in Lago Agrio, where a new judge was presiding over the case, and the oil giant filed its New York federal court challenge to the verdict before it was even issued. In the meantime, the money from Chevron kept flowing to State Department-backed projects. Disastrous floods in southern Thailand in 2011 had killed hundreds of people and displaced millions of people. Clinton called them the worst floods in the nation’s history.

She held a joint press conference in Bangkok with Thailand’s prime minister and reassured the nation that U.S. companies would continue investing in Thailand. She added,

“I’m very proud that Coca-Cola is teaming up with Habitat for Humanity on reconstruction projects, and Chevron has donated $2 million toward relief and recovery.”

The State Department’s human rights report for 2011 again discusses the Lago Agrio litigation.

“While the Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, in practice, the judiciary was susceptible to outside pressure and corruption,” it says.

Kaplan’s subsequent injunction against the Lago Agrio judgment quotes from that passage.

“Likewise, the Human Rights Report for Ecuador recognized that the judiciary was ‘susceptible to outside pressure and corruption,’ particularly in cases of interest to the government,” the federal judge wrote.

Since John Kerry succeeded Clinton as secretary in early 2013, Chevron’s legal troubles in Ecuador have not made it into any State Department report. And despite its multimillion-dollar donations to Clinton State Department projects and hundreds of thousands of dollars given to the Clinton Global Initiative, Chevron lost out on a further government accolade as Clinton was winding up her time as head of state.

In its overall political donations, Chevron historically skews heavily toward the GOP, while another huge U.S. corporation, chipmaker Intel Corp., skews toward the Democrats. Like Chevron, Intel also supported the U.S.A. Pavilion, and poured millions of dollars into other State Department projects, in Vietnam and other parts of the globe. In addition, Intel had given some $300 million in previous years to online training programs in 40 countries supported by the Clinton Global Initiative.

In the competition for the 2012 Secretary’s Award for Corporate Excellence, Chevron was selected as a finalist by Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats. But in the end, the chipmaker edged out the oil driller, and Intel won the coveted award.
As it happens, Intel had also been hit with a huge foreign judgment, on allegations of maintaining a monopoly. The European Commission levied $1 billion fine against Intel in 2009, and the EU General Court upheld the penalty last year.
Google faces similar allegations today, but the judgment against Intel remains the largest award ever in such a case. There has been no move to challenge the award through the U.S. courts.
Both Chevron and Intel are represented in the United States by the Los Angeles-based firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
It remains uncertain whether Kaplan’s ruling against the villagers will hold up. At a Second Circuit appellate hearing in April, Judge Richard Wesley remarked:

“We cannot find any case where there’s been a collateral attack on a foreign judgment.”

On the other hand, Judge Barrington Parker made multiple comments suggesting he found Kaplan’s opinion persuasive.
During the oral argument, Wesley referred to an 1882 decision in England where the Queen’s Bench, the court that handles petitions for equitable or nonmonetary relief, overturned a Russian judgment against an English bank. The English court ordered a retrial of the dispute in England.
Addressing Chevron’s lawyer, Ted Olson with Gibson Dunn, Judge Wesley alluded to the international road the Lago Agrio case has travelled, starting as a federal class action in the Southern District of New York, moving on Chevron’s motion to Ecuador, and returning to the Southern District for an attack on the Ecuadorean judgment.

Wesley said:

“If we had the powers, as the Queen’s Bench did, we could order you to go to trial — a trial that you once resisted mightily in the Southern District — and retry this case.”


Related Topics:

Correa Warns Brad Pitt against Participating in a ‘Farce’ of Pro-Chevron Film*

Ecuador FM: If There’s a Threat On This Continent, It’s the US*

A Coalition of Oregon Organic Farmers Beat Monsanto*

A Coalition of Oregon Organic Farmers Beat Monsanto*

A coalition of Oregon organic farmers has beaten Monsanto—the corporate agriculture giant—in a landmark federal lawsuit that will make national waves by the way that their rural county banned the use of genetically modified seeds.

On Friday, Mark D. Clarke, a federal magistrate judge, dismissed a legal challenge brought by commercial farmers who use Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa seeds. The non-organic farms sought to overturn a 2014 ordinance passed by Jackson County voters that banned the use of such seed stock, claiming that the anti-GMO ordinance violated their right to farm.

However Judge Clarke concluded that exactly the opposite was the case. He held that the county’s no-GMO seed ordinance could take effect next week, citing earlier state legislation that protected commercial farms—in this case organic farmers—from harm from other commercial enterprises, such as the commercial farms whose GMO-laced alfalfa pollen gets carried by the wind and can’t be stopped from tainting organic crops.

“Farmers have always been able to bring claims against other farmers for practices that cause actionable damage to their commercial agriculture products,” Clarke wrote.

“The Ordinance, by contrast, is enacted pursuant to section 30.935 [of state law], and serves to prevent such damage before it happens.”

The victory by Our Family Farms Coalition is notable in many regards. To start, Jackson County passed its ordinance before agribusiness giants successfully lobbied the Oregon legislature to pass a law banning counties from adopting this form of anti-GMO seed law. In contrast to many other anti-GMO campaigns across the country, Jackson County didn’t focus on requiring food labels to identify GMO ingredients—which federal courts repeatedly have thrown out as violating a food maker’s commercial speech rights. Instead, activists focused on barring the use of GMO seeds in the county, affecting only a few farms, as a way to ensure that crops and seeds produced on many more organic farms were not sullied.

“We just learned this afternoon that we have won the Monsanto-backed legal challenge attempting to overturn our Jackson County ban on genetically engineered crops,” said an e-mail from the coalition.

“The court upheld the Ordinance on the grounds that it was intended to protect against damage to commercial agricultural products, which is allowed under the Right to Farm Act, and because it was expressly allowed by the Oregon Legislature.

“While this is an incredible victory for family farmers standing up to GMOs, we do know there is a real chance Monsanto and their ilk could appeal this decision so the battle is not really over yet,” they said.

“Also, the Plaintiffs’ claims that the GMO ban constitutes a constitutional “taking” will now have to be litigated in the second phase of the case.”

Monsanto is expected to appeal this district court decision to a federal appeals court, meaning this fight is far from over.


Related Topics:

GM Salmon Susceptible to Disease*

Glyphosate has been a Known Carcinogen Since the 1970s*

Sri Lanka’s New President Puts Immediate Ban on Glyphosate*

Criminalizing Healthy Food Paves Way for TPP*

TPP Preparedness: EU Drops Pesticide Laws*

First Amendment Rights – Citizens Can No Longer Collect Soil Evidence*

Curse on the American Food Supply*

In Brazil Monsanto’s Roundup is Causing Cancer after Approving 3 GM Crops*

Former US Senate candidate: Israel False Flag Attack on U.S. to Stir Up War against Iran*

Former US Senate candidate: Israel False Flag Attack on U.S. to Stir Up War against Iran*

Reinventing the Islamophobic narrative has been more expedient this time around, as we see the carefully planned anti-Muslim sentiment expand throughout societies from the West to the East with the help of the U.S. – Israeli formed ISIS… nothing happens by accident, especially with the second-in-command of false flags, Israel, and societies ready to blame Muslims for their self-created social ills which will be used against him!

Israel is preparing to carry out a false flag operation in the United States and will blame it on Iran as a strategy to entangle Washington in a war with Tehran, a former US Senate candidate says.

“I have maintained from the beginning that Israel is planning and will in some point attempt a false flag incident probably within the continental United States that will be facilitated by Israeli intelligence and falsely blamed on Iran,” said Mark Dankof, who is also a broadcaster and pastor in San Antonio, Texas.

“This lie will be repeated in the American news media time and time and time again to create the furor within the United States, with the American public for [triggering] an overt American attack on the Iranians,” Dankof told Press TV on Tuesday.

“This would be disastrous of course, but I think this is what Israel is aiming for; they’ll attempt to do it through a false flag incident that will be falsely pinned on Iran and they have plenty of allies in the American national security agencies,” he added.

US President Barack Obama admitted on Monday that a military operation against Iran’s nuclear program “will not eliminate it.”

“A military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it will not eliminate it,” Obama told Israel’s Channel 2 on Monday.

The US president said there were “facts and evidence and analysis” showing that a “verifiable, tough agreement” is a better choice.

Obama’s remarks came as efforts were underway by negotiators from Iran and the six global powers — the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, and Germany — to clinch a comprehensive deal over Tehran’s nuclear program before a self-imposed deadline set for the end of this month.

“I think President Obama is quite naturally reluctant to engage in any further American military activities in the Middle East and especially directed against Iran given how badly the American efforts have gone in both Afghanistan and Iraq,” Dankof said.


Related Topics:

The Three World Wars of Albert Pike*

The Relentless Jewish Campaign against Islam*

How the British Empire aka New World Order Sowed Seeds of Destruction towards Islam*

Sunset Light in the East!*

It Is Time for Iran to Tell the West ‘Goodbye’*

Illuminati, Nazis & The Illegal State of Israel

Greater Israel” Requires the Breaking up of Existing Arab States*

One Country that does not Cheat: Netanyahu said He fears Iran will Honour Nuclear Deal*

Israeli-Zionist Investigative Journalist Ties Netanyahu to Charlie Hebdo Massacre*

If Terrorism is Such a Grave Threat, Why Does the FBI Keep Manufacturing Plots?

22 Years of Fake “Islamic Terror”*

The Foreign Fighters of Boko Haram, and El Shebaab*

The Daily Show – Start Wars*

Military Admits ‘Martial Law’ Training in the U.S for to Imposed around the World*

CIA + Contractors = ISIS in Afghanistan*

UK Schools Are Making Muslim Children Take ‘Counter Extremism’ Tests*

For the First Time Since 9/11, Congress Checks the Security State*

U.S. Cyber-attack on Iran Foiled*

Blair Quits as Middle East Peace Envoy*

Muslims Arrested for Joining Terror Group That Doesn’t Exist*

From Thief to FBI Agent trained in the tenets of Islam*

The Butcher of Bahrain is British*

Official: Most US Warplanes Never Attack ISIS/ISIL*

Under Israeli Air Cover, and U.S. Stand down, ISIS took Palmyra*

The Elite’s Cultural Marxist Agenda

Palestinians to Prosecute Israel at ICC on June 25*

French Arrested in Assad Assassination Attempt*

Are ISIS Backers Attempting to Revive the Ailing Beast?*

Apology to German Muslims from the PEGIDA Movement*

A Communist as U.N’s Next Secretary General*

#TexasAttack: What You Are Not Being Told!*

Syrian Army and Hezbullah Push back al-Qaeda as Christian Militia Mobilizes*

The Anti-Christ and Armageddon around Damascus*

Education, Philosophy and Science Beyond Mind Control*

The West Exports Porn, Casual Sex, and the Blood of the pre-born not Freedom*

China orders Muslim Businesses to Sell Cigarettes and Alcohol*

The List of Israel’s Agents within British Politics*

“We, the elders of Zion, pull the strings of Congress”

US Immigration Exam Replaces ‘Freedom of Religion’ With ‘Freedom of Worship’*

And One Ring to Bind Them All*