Archive | May 19, 2017

The Alliance Managing Mexico’s Mayan Rainforest*

The Alliance Managing Mexico’s Mayan Rainforest*

By Periodismo de Barrio

Translated by Omar Ocampo

Ownership of land to communities and communal lands is recognized in Mexico (Photo taken from the official website of Alianza Selva Maya

 

On August 21, 2007, Hurricane Dean ripped through the Mexican city of Bacalar with winds approaching 300 kilometres (186 miles) per hour. According to a report published by Mexico’s Secretariat of the Interior and the National Center for Prevention of Disasters, the storm caused more than $210 million in damages.

The hurricane also hit the Mayan rainforest, pounding about 917,000 hectares (2.3 million acres) of medium-altitude rainforest and 270,000 hectares (667,000 acres) of low-altitude rainforest.

Just before the storm, the community of Noh Bec had almost finished with the first authorized cuts as part of a forest management program launched in 1999 by the government.

Following the hurricane, the Secretariat suspended its program and approved short-term permits. Noh Bec also lost its forestry certification from the “Smart Wood” organization, which allowed the community to export its lumber to the United States and Germany. Meanwhile, the rainforest was left in critical condition.

Three years later, Noh Bec was still suffering.

“Timber started to be sold at the prices they could managed to get, and [this made] prices fall a lot,” recalls Abraham González, the communal land’s forestry director.

“It was necessary to unite to standardize the prices for the wood.”

This is how the “Alianza Selva Maya” community began on July 15, 2011.

A local newspaper showing conformation of the Alianza Selva Maya. Photo: Official Alianza Selva Maya Blog.

 

Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, passed in 1917, and ceded land ownership to poor farmers and indigenous communities through the creation of two fundamental forms of social property: communal land and communities.

The shareholders of communal lands manage the “civil property” on the land, but they cannot sell, rent, mortgage, or offer it as collateral in credit applications. The system avoids granting full land ownership rights, fearing that it would lead to the manipulation of poor farmers.

The government maintained centralized control of the rainforests until 1940, when concessions were granted to private companies for the exploitation of forest resources. By the late 1970s, the Mexican forestry sector landed in crisis after over-exploiting its forests. In 1986, the government ended its concessions to private companies, returning the forest resources to the communities and communal lands.

In 1997, Mexican officials devise a new strategy to promote forest management built on two new programs: the Forest Development Program and the Community Forestry Development Program.

An estimated 2,300 communal lands and communities in Mexico — of a total of 8,400 — are allowed to use wood from their forests and rainforests. Over the past 25 years, more than 80 percent of the country’s temperate and tropical forests have been managed by rural communities and indigenous populations, allowing them to decide on commercial timber production.

The Alianza Selva Maya has 113,000 hectares (280,000 acres) of jungle in areas known as Permanent Forest Areas and another 49,000 hectares (121,000 acres) under community conservation. Its five communal lands are Bacalar, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Noh Bec, Petcacab y Polinkin, and Xhaxil y Anexos.

José Antonio Arreola, a forestry technical adviser, explains that “each communal land is managed independently, but they are part of Alianza,” because “in a single communal land, we cannot achieve better prices for our wood.”

Alfonso Argüelles, Mexico’s national representative to the Forest Stewardship Council, a nongovernmental accreditation organization based in Bonn, Germany, explained to Elaine Díaz the major challenges facing communities:

“There are two communal lands where the treasurers are women. Many work in eco-tourist areas. In the case of young people, we didn’t want them to go to the city because of the Internet, so we brought the Internet to the communal land. We didn’t want them to leave because of TV and so we brought cable TV. The community subsidizes it.

An owner can earn up to 4,000 Mexican pesos a month as a basic salary. If they are forestry technicians, it can reach up to 14,000. We have a policy of employment that favors the owners, then their children and relatives, then the members of the community, and finally, foreigners or people outside the village.”

Argüelles also talked about how the council deals with the shareholders of communal land who do not want to take over common resources:

“Opening space for entrepreneurs.  There are those who are satisfied with harvesting their wood and selling it, there are those who want to add an added value. The latter, for example, are allowed to create woodworking shops. If I allow you to have a woodworking shop, won’t you want to keep my wood, right?

Since its inception, Alianza has incorporated eco-tourism and carbon capture projects, and has developed techniques for adapting agriculture to climate change, as Argüelles explains:

“We are the main drivers of rural community conservation. That’s what we live from.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Indonesian Rainforests Returned to Indigenous Control*

One Man’s Quest to Save the Forests of Tanzania*

Rainforest Activists Win against One of Pepsi’s Closest Business Partners*

The Man Who Single-Handedly Planted a Tropical Forest Larger Than Central Park*

Brazil: Video Statement on Protecting Forests, Stopping Dams and Plantations

Rwanda Wins Award for Forest Reclamation

Philippines: Indigenous Forestry Recognized

Another Forest to Bite the Dust!?

300 Year Old Vietnamese Forest Food System

New Calls for Resistance across the Amazon*

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China Increases DNA Testing of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang Region*

China Increases DNA Testing of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang Region*

China has began the logistical groundwork for the mass collection of DNA from Uighur Muslims of the Xinjiang region, human rights observers have said.

Police in the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region confirmed to The Associated Press that they are in the process of buying more than $8.7 million worth of equipment to analyse DNA samples.

Human Rights Watch observers said they have witnessed evidence of almost $3 million in extra purchases related to DNA testing.

They added that such a collection programme could be used for authorities to justify increase their political control.

The decision comes after Chinese authorities allegedly required Xinjiang residents to submit DNA samples in 2015, as well as voice records and fingerprints.

Chinese authorities who are determined to counter “Islamist extremism” among Uighur Muslim have implemented very draconian measures to fulfil their political objectives.

Policies included banning women from wearing the hijab and niqab, prohibiting men from keeping beards, forcing Muslims in the public sector not to fast in Ramadan and mandatory satellite tracking devices for vehicles.

Source*

Related Topics:

Modern Day Colonnialism: The Uyghurs versus China*

China orders Muslim Businesses to Sell Cigarettes and Alcohol*

Islam and Martial Arts: China’s Hui Muslim Tradition*

China punishes Uyghur’s for Studying their Religion Outside State Control*

China Criminalizes 25 more Uyghurs*

The West’s Engineered Buddhist-Muslim Conflict in Thailand*

U.S, U.K., Israel, China, Saudia behind Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide*

China Continues to Repress Ramadhan*

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

 

Britain Collapses to 156th Place for the Human Rights of Children*

Britain Collapses to 156th Place for the Human Rights of Children*

This is quite extraordinary. At first, I thought this was some sort of ‘fake news’ article. Worryingly, it isn’t. Austerity – a Conservative ideology that recklessly bailed out banks then socialised the debt has had dramatic effects upon civil society, demonstrated no better than the plummet in the overall welfare of Britain’s children in recent years. But this increase in child poverty is now of epidemic dimensions – and should be treated like one.

Nearly half of children are now living in poverty in some parts of the U.K., research by the End Child Poverty coalition has found. An unbelievable 100,000 are unfortunately added to this miserable category each year, and the government’s own statistics now show one third of all children in Britain are living in poverty.

No mention of a concerted effort by politicians to bring this scandal to an end in any manifesto; itself a damning indictment of those in power.

“Austerity measures have reduced provision of a range of services that protect and fulfil children’s rights including health and child and adolescent mental health services; education; early years; preventive and early intervention services; and youth services. “

By Kitty Jones

The Index gathers data from UNICEF and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to identify global trends in the arena of children’s rights protection. It comprises a ranking for all U.N. member states that have ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a total of 165 countries.

The report says that a nation’s prosperity does not always guarantee children’s rights. Interestingly, economically better performing countries are not necessarily doing a better job when it comes to safeguarding the rights of children.

This year’s overall worst performing countries are the United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Vanuatu, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Central African Republic.

Very serious concerns have been raised about structural discrimination in the UK. Muslim children are facing increased discrimination following recent anti-terrorism measures, and a rise in discrimination against gypsy and refugee children in recent years.

The KidsRights Index is comprised of 5 domains: 

  1. Right to Life
  2. Right to Health
    3. Right to Education
    4. Right to Protection
    5. Enabling Environment for Child Rights

Marc Dullaert, founder and chairman of the KidsRights Foundation, has urged the U.K. government to treat non-discrimination as a policy priority, and to speed up the process of aligning its child protection laws with the Convention on the Rights of the Child at both the national and devolved levels, as well as in all crown dependencies.

He said: “Discrimination against vulnerable groups of children and youths is severely hampering opportunities for future generations to reach their full potential.” 

“Following the general election, the new government should demonstrate to the world that it will not allow the retreat from the E.U. to adversely affect the rights and opportunities of its children.” 

In light of the findings, Lord Philip Hunt, shadow deputy leader of the House of Lords and shadow health spokesperson, accused the Government of “inactivity” and “inadequate service provision”, urging it to do more to protect the rights of the child.

He said: “This report exposes the inactivity of the current U.K. government and inadequate service provision in this most important area of policy making; rights of the child.” 

“The U.K. is the sixth largest economy globally and therefore has the resources at its disposal to ensure that our children are adequately protected and cared for across multiple disciplines. Our children are our future and the barometer of our approach to social justice and the state of our society.”

Although many states have adopted new children’s rights policies in recent years, the Index reveals that implementation is often not evident, and many new policies fail to fully comply with the principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Index rates and ranks the extent to which a country has implemented the general principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child while taking into account the basic infrastructure for making and implementing children’s rights policies. Portugal is this year’s global top ranking nation, with France, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Spain also ranking in the top ten.

The Index methodology means that extremely poor performances in one domain cannot be compensated by higher scores in other domains, as all of areas children’s rights are deemed to be equally important.

The report concluded that many industrialised nations, and especially the U.K., are falling far short of allocating sufficient budgets towards creating a stable environment for children’s rights, by neglecting their leadership responsibilities and failing to invest in the rights of children to the best of their abilities.

Human rights and the impact of childhood poverty

Earlier this month, another damning report published by the Royal College of Paediatrics, Child Health (RCPCH) and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) revealed that more than two-thirds of paediatricians believe poverty and low income contribute “very much” to the ill health of children that they work with.

The report – Poverty and child health: views from the frontline – is based on a survey of more than 250 paediatricians across the country, whose comments provide an insight into the grave reality of life for the millions of UK children living in poverty.

Latest figures show that more than one in four (nearly 4 million) children in the U.K. live in poverty – with projections suggesting this could rise to 5 million by the end of the decade.

The report explores number of areas including food insecurity, poor housing and worry, stress and stigma – and the effect of these issues on the health of children.

The report reveals that:

  • more than two-thirds of paediatricians surveyed said poverty and low income contribute ‘very much’ to the ill health of children they work with
  • housing problems or homelessness were a concern for two-thirds of respondents.
  • more than 60% said food insecurity contributed to the ill health amongst children they treat 3
  • 40% had difficulty discharging a child in the last 6 months because of concerns about housing or food insecurity
  • more than 50% of respondents said that financial stress and worry contribute ‘very much’ to the ill health of children they work with

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said:

“Day in, day out doctors see the damage rising poverty does to children’s health. Their disquiet comes through in the survey findings and should sound alarms for the next government. Low family incomes, inadequate housing and cuts to support services are jeopardising the health of our most vulnerable children.

“We can and must do better to protect the well-being of future generations. reinstating the U.K.’s poverty-reduction targets would be an obvious place to start.” 

Professor Russell Viner, Officer for Health Promotion at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:

“Poverty has a devastating effect on child health and this report makes disturbing reading. The health impact on children living in poverty is significant – whether that’s increased likelihood of respiratory problems, mental ill-health or obesity – than children living in more affluent areas.

“Worryingly, almost half of those surveyed feel the problem is getting worse, with the combination of increasing poverty, housing problems and cuts to services meaning more families are struggling.”  

The RCPCH and CPAG are calling on whoever forms the next Government to tackle poverty urgently through:

  • the restoration of binding national targets to reduce child poverty, backed by a national child poverty strategy
  • the adoption of a ‘child health in all policies’ approach to decision making and policy development, with Her Majesty’s Treasury disclosing information about the impact of the Chancellor’s annual budget statement on child poverty and inequality
  • the reversal of public health cuts to ensure universal early years services, including health visiting and school nursing, are prioritised and supported financially, with additional targeted help for children and families experiencing poverty
  • the reversal of cuts to universal credit which will leave the majority of families claiming this benefit worse off.

As one survey respondent said: “We cannot expect to have a healthy future for the U.K. if we leave children behind. Poverty makes children sick.”

There were 3.9 million children living in “relative poverty” in 2014-15, up from 3.7 million a year earlier, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The report follows the release of  figures from the DWP which revealed one in four (nearly four million) children in the U.K. live in poverty – with projections suggesting this could rise to five million by the end of the decade.

It’s not as if the government have been unaware of the consequences of their policies and the implications of a consistent failure to uphold the UK’s human rights obligations towards children. In 2014, the Children’s Commissioner warned that the increasing inequality resulting from the austerity cuts, and in particular, the welfare reforms, means that Britain is now in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is supposed to protect children from the adverse effects of government economic measures.

In 2015, the Children’s Commissioner criticised the Conservative’s tax credit cuts and called for measures to reduce the impact that the changes will have on the poorest children. Anne Longfield, who took up her role on 1 March 2015, called on the government to exempt 800,000 children under five from tax credit cuts and to offer additional support to families with a child under five-years-old.

The role of Children’s Commissioner was established under Labour’s Children Act in 2004 to be the independent voice of children and young people and to champion their interests and bring their concerns and views to the national arena. The Commissioner’s work must take regard of children’s rights (the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) and seek to improve the wellbeing of children and young people.

However, the government rejected the findings of what they deemed the “partial, selective and misleading” Children’s Commissioner report. The Commissioner wrote to the Chancellor to call for children in the poorest families aged under five to be protected from the cuts.

However, George Osborne shamefully remained brazenly unrepentant.

A damning joint report written by the four United Kingdom Children’s Commissioners for the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child’s examination of the U.K.’s Fifth Periodic Report under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), dated 14 August 2015, says, in its overall assessment of the U.K.’s record:

“The Children’s Commissioners are concerned that the U.K. State Party’s response to the global economic downturn, including the imposition of austerity measures and changes to the welfare system, has resulted in a failure to protect the most disadvantaged children and those in especially vulnerable groups from child poverty, preventing the realisation of their rights under Articles 26 and 27 UNCRC. 

The best interests of children were not central to the development of these policies and children’s views were not sought. 

Reductions to household income for poorer children as a result of tax, transfer and social security benefit changes have led to food and fuel poverty, and the sharply increased use of crisis food bank provision by families. In some parts of the U.K. there is insufficient affordable decent housing which has led to poorer children living in inadequate housing and in temporary accommodation.

Austerity measures have reduced provision of a range of services that protect and fulfil children’s rights including health and child and adolescent mental health services; education; early years; preventive and early intervention services; and youth services. 

The Commissioners are also seriously concerned at the impact of systematic reductions to legal advice, assistance and representation for children and their parents/carers in important areas such as prison law; immigration; private family law; and education. This means that children are denied access to remedies where their rights have been breached.

The Commissioners are also concerned at the future of the human rights settlement in the United Kingdom due to the U.K. Government’s intention to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic law; replace it with a British Bill of Rights (the contents of which are yet to be announced), and ‘break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights’.

The HRA has been vital in promoting and protecting the rights of children in the United Kingdom and the European Court of Human Rights has had an important role in developing the protection offered to children by the ECHR.The Commissioners are concerned that any amendment or replacement of the HRA is likely to be regressive.”

In another regressive and punitive policy move by the government, from April 6 2017, child tax credits and universal credit across the U.K. will be restricted to the first two children in a family. This measure will affect all households with two or more children that have an additional child after this date.

Analysis by consultancy Policy in Practice revealed a low-income family whose third or additional child is born before midnight on the day before the policy came into force would qualify for up to £50,000 in tax credit support over 18 years whereas a similar family whose third child is born on April 6 will miss out.

The government says it wants to save money and make the tax credit system “fairer”. It intends the two-child restriction to “influence the behaviour” of less well-off families by making them “think twice” about having a third child. But it also accepts there is no evidence to suggest this will happen.

This is an extremely regressive eugenic policy, with its emphasis being on social class. Eugenics was discredited following its terrible escalation and consequences in Nazi Germany.

The two children only policy also a reflects a politically motivated form of crude behaviourism –  behaviour modification through the use of financial punishments. It’s probably true that all authoritarians and tyrants are behaviourists of sorts.

Critics say that at current birth rates, 100,000 third or subsequent children will not qualify for tax credit support over the next 12 months, inflating child poverty figures by at least 10% by 2020.

Social Darwinism is linked closely with eugenic ideas – a view that society and economics will naturally “check” the problem of dysgenics if no welfare policies are in place.

The Conservative government has steadily dismantled the welfare state over the past seven years, so that now, there is no longer adequate support provision for people both in work and out of work, to meet their basic living needs.

The current retrogressive, draconian approach to poverty needs to radically change if we are to be a nation that respects and upholds the human rights of all its citizens.

Source*

Related Topics:

Quest to Kill Human Rights Act in U.K.*

U.K. is at Bottom Of O.E.C.D. In Healthcare – But Leaders Still Deny Austerity Is to Blame*

If the Noose is Still Tightening and, you Still Think It’s Austerity, the Former Governor of the Bank of England Will Tell You*

Engineered National Health Service Meltdown in the U.K.*

Bank Bail-outs Behind Behind U.K.’s Collapsing Public Services*

Police Chief Confirms Fmr U.K. Prime Minister Raped Dozens of Children and Govt ‘Covered it Up’*

Thousands of U.K. Parents to take Children out of School in Protest*

U.K. Secretively Scraps Free Meal Grants for Poorest Primary School Children*

U.K. to Put Fluoride in Milk for School Children*

U.K. Police Target Schoolchildren as Young as 4 with Tax Payer Funded, Transgender Propaganda*

Sexual Assaults on Children Rise to 85 a Day in the U.K.*

U.K. Setting Children up for Failure*

Being Driven Insane, Mentally Ill Children Kept in U.K. Prisons*

Young Mothers are going Hungry so their Children can Eat in Theresa May’s Britain*

Britain’s Hunger Crisis Sparks First Student-Led Food Bank*

Starving British children are looking for food in rubbish bins

The British Gov’t Election Funding and Dirty HSBC*

The British Gov’t Election Funding and Dirty HSBC*

Move Your Money and Debt Resistance UK have just reported fresh evidence raising questions over the Conservatives 2010 and 2015 election funding, exposing millions of pounds of dirty money flowing into the Conservative Party via IPGL Ltd and HSBC.

Their headline is: Cash for Conservatives Exposes the HSBC Dirty Money running the Tory Party

 

  • HSBC awarded a £214m loan  to a highly indebted company, IPGL Ltd, chaired by Tory Party Treasurer & Chief Fundraiser, Michael Spencer.

 

  • IPGL and its struggling subsidiaries donated at least £5.3m to the Conservative Party – large, ongoing donations enabled by HSBC.

 

  • HSBC has won significant concessions from successive Conservative governments on tax, the bank levy, Mexican money laundering & terrorist financing investigations, as well as over the Swiss Leaks & Panama Papers.

 

  • HSBC left a trail of cash, gifts, loans, and donations, which bought the bank unrivalled open door political access, yet deny claims of undue influence over the Conservatives.

Robert Peston, political editor of ITV News has just tweeted this:

This is a copy of Member of Parliament Roger Mullin’s letter to the Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission. The salient line accuses the Tories “of taking £5million of loans laundered directly to Conservative Party headquarters.”

CommonSpace have just headlined with

Campaigners rail against Tories in ‘cash for conservatives’ scandal

CAMPAIGN GROUPS AND OPPOSITION MPs have expressed outrage at the alleged connections between money raised by the HSBC banking corporation and the Conservative party’s spending in the General Elections of 2010 and 2015.

Vox Political reports:

What’s this? HSBC Bank covertly funding the Conservative Party? Can anyone smell a scandal?

However, the mainstream establishment press are not reporting this scandal as they should.

The Telegraph’s only report connecting HSBC and the Conservatives of recent days was April 30th where HSBC have yet again threatened to leave the U.K. as they are being forced to pay taxes.

HSBC chairman warns Britain’s biggest bank could leave for Asia as taxes bite

The Daily Mail reports the same with its April 25th report “HSBC moots relocating HQ outside UK”.

The Electoral Commission fined the Conservative Party £70,000 over campaign spending in the 2015 election and three by-elections for seriously dodgy accounting just six weeks ago. The police are now involved in another case reported to them about Conservative party election shenanigans.

None of the other mainstream players are reporting this huge scandal that really should be hitting every headline across the land. After all, we are talking of money laundering, illegal donations and fraud – all of which are considered nothing less than law-breaking.

But let’s not forget that the Conservative Party has been linked to corruption with Britain’s biggest bank before. The Independent reported in February 2015:

David Cameron will be challenged over the long-standing links between scandal-hit HSBC and the Conservative Party, after Electoral Commission records showed three senior bank figures have donated £875,000 to the party in recent years. As Downing Street came under more pressure over this week’s revelations that the bank allegedly helped wealthy individuals evade tax through Swiss accounts, it was revealed that HSBC’s deputy chairman, Sir Simon Robertson, has made 24 separate donations totalling £717,500 in the last nine years.”

Not that the Conservative party have ever shown much favour to HSBC of course. Well, that is if you discount former HSBC chairman Stephen Green who sits in the House of Lords as a Tory Peer after denying allegations of any knowledge of the world’s biggest money laundering operation involving Mexican drug cartels and thousands of dead people.

And of course there was no influence by the Tory party in the appointment of an HSBC director being given the plumb £10,000 a day role as BBC chair. The Guardian reported in March 2015:

Rona Fairhead has been urged to resign from her role as chair of the BBC Trust by the chair of the influential public accounts committee, in the aftermath of the tax avoidance scandal at HSBC, where she has been a long-serving non-executive director.

These scandals keep moving on without much ado. They did then, it will now. This is the way of the modern world today. We seem to accept that our own lawmakers are lawbreakers.

All this just when this happens: “A ‘vulnerable’ woman was jailed for six months because she begged for 50p – and didn’t have access to a defence lawyer in court.” She didn’t have legal defence because of austerity cuts imposed by the Conservatives on the legal aid system that was designed specifically to assist people such as this.

Sentencing her at the hearing in February, Judge Mackenzie said:

‘I am particularly concerned about that because on any view, Ms Baker is a fragile individual; has difficulty reading and writing; difficulty in understanding.”

MacKenzie went on to say that appearing in court without a lawyer “came close to breaching her human rights.”

We now have anarchy by the rich and powerful in Britain today. We are ruled by the wolves of neoliberal capitalism and the Conservative party connection with scandal ridden HSBC is nothing less than a brazen admission of that fact and it will go unpunished – as usual.

 Source*

Related Topics:

U.K PM to Create New Internet that would be Controlled and Regulated by Government*

Criminal Investigation Into U.K. Conservative Government*

U.K. Brexit Election 08 June 2017*

The U.K. Establishment Toppling the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn*

U.K. just Passed the Most Invasive Surveillance Law in the Democratic World*

Britain’s Hostile Elite: Fake Jews: Deceit and Double-Think*

HSBC: Dirty Business of Banksters*

HSBC Accused of Tax Evasion*

Int’l Coalition’s Strike on Syrian Forces is Flagrant Violation of Syria’s Sovereignty*

Int’l Coalition’s Strike on Syrian Forces is Flagrant Violation of Syria’s Sovereignty*

Nicosia, SANA-Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed on Friday that the U.S.-led international coalition attack on one of the Syrian army’s military points on al-Tanf road in the Syrian Badia is illegitimate, illegal and constitutes a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic.

“Whatever the reason for the decisions that the U.S. command made to carry out that strike was, the strike is illegitimate, it is illegal and a regular gross violation of the Syrian Arab Republic’s sovereignty,” Lavrov told reporters.

He said that Moscow believes that the recent U.S.-led coalition’s strike on Syrian forces means the desire to prompt oppositionists and some extremists to fight the Syrian government, adding that this strike proves Washington’s intention to use some extremist groups, such as Jabhat al-Nusra to fight the legitimate government in Syria.

The Russian diplomat said that Moscow is inquiring about the details of the recent U.S. strike, adding that Russia is very worried that the general, seemingly looming, understanding of the need to unite the efforts of all who really oppose on the ground and in the air the terrorists of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra is beginning to erode.
Lavrov said that he has no information that Washington warned Moscow before delivering an air strike on Syrian forces.

“I don’t know about any such warning.”

He affirmed that adopting a memorandum of sanctions against Syria and its allies by the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday diverts the attention of the international community from confronting terrorists and efforts to prevent them from achieving their control over areas in the Middle East.

Source*

Related Topics:

U.S. Coalition Bombs Syrian Army in Sweida*

Putin Foils the Rothschild Zionists in Syria*

Wikileaks Shows How Google Helped Al-Qaeda in Syria*

Russian and Syrian Forces Arrest 1,000 ISIS Militants – Media Blackout*

Eyewitness: Foreign Terrorists from Neighbouring Countries Armed, Trained and Financed by the U.S, and Co. in Syria*

Rights Group Sues Trump Admin for Legal Explanation of Syria Missile Strike*

Syrian Drones Spot Hundreds of U.S., Jordanian Armoured Vehicles at the Border*

Syria, and Why Your Patriotism is Misguided*

German Soldier ‘posed as Syrian Asylum-seeker to Carry out Terror Attack and Blame it on Refugees’*

Trump Authorizes the Pentagon to Manage Troops on the Ground in Iraq and Syria*

Israeli Warplanes Missile Attack on Syrian Army in Quneitra*

Goldman Sachs Financial Tricks to Prop Up “The Economy is Great!” Claim, Fund Syrian War*

The U.S. is Waging a Massive Shadow War in Africa, Exclusive Documents Reveal*

The U.S. is Waging a Massive Shadow War in Africa, Exclusive Documents Reveal*

By Nick Turse

Six years ago, a deputy commanding general for U.S. Army Special Operations Command gave a conservative estimate of 116 missions being carried out at any one time by Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other special operations forces across the globe.

Today, according to U.S. military documents obtained by VICE News, special operators are carrying out nearly 100 missions at any given time — in Africa alone. It’s the latest sign of the military’s quiet but ever-expanding presence on the continent, one that represents the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops to any region of the globe.

In 2006, just 1% of all U.S. commandos deployed overseas were in Africa. In 2010, it was 3%. By 2016, that number had jumped to more than 17%. In fact, according to data supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command, there are now more special operations personnel devoted to Africa than anywhere except the Middle East — 1,700 people spread out across 20 countries dedicated to assisting the U.S. military’s African partners in their fight against terrorism and extremism.

“At any given time, you will find SOCAFRICA conducting approximately 96 activities in 20 countries,” Donald Bolduc, the U.S. Army general who runs the special operations command in Africa (SOCAFRICA), wrote in an October 2016 strategic planning guidance report. (The report was obtained by VICE News in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and is published in its entirety below.) VICE News reached out to SOCAFRICA and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) for clarification on these numbers; email return receipts show an AFRICOM spokesperson “read” three such requests, but the command did not offer a reply.

The October 2016 report offers insight into what the U.S. military’s most elite forces are currently doing in Africa and what they hope to achieve. In so doing, it paints a picture of reality on the ground in Africa today and what it could be 30 years from now.

That picture is bleak.

“Africa’s challenges could create a threat that surpasses the threat that the United States currently faces from conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria,” Bolduc warned.

He went on to cite a laundry list of challenges with which he and his personnel must contend: ever-expanding illicit networks, terrorist safe havens, attempts to subvert government authority, a steady stream of new recruits and resources.

Bolduc indicated his solution was the “acceleration of SOF [special operations forces] missions [filling] a strategic gap as the military adjusts force structure now and in the future.” Translation: U.S. commandos “in more places, doing more” in Africa going forward.

At the same time, Bolduc says the U.S. is not at war in Africa. But this assertion is challenged by the ongoing operations aimed at the militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia, which operates often in all-but-ungoverned and extraordinarily complex areas Bolduc calls “gray zones.”

In January, for example, U.S. advisers conducting a counterterrorism operation alongside local Somali forces and troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia “observed al-Shabaab fighters threatening their safety and security” and “conducted a self-defense strike to neutralize the threat,” according to a press release from AFRICOM.

A U.S. Army Green Beret patrols with Nigerian soldiers during a training exercise in February. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Kulani Lakanaria)

 

Earlier this month, in what AFRICOM described as “an advise-and-assist operation alongside Somali National Army forces,” Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken was killed and two other U.S. personnel were injured during a firefight with al-Shabaab militants about 40 miles west of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. The battle occurred shortly after President Donald Trump loosened Obama-era restrictions on offensive operations in Somalia, thereby allowing U.S. forces more discretion and leeway in conducting missions and opening up the possibility of more frequent airstrikes and commando raids.

“It allows us to prosecute targets in a more rapid fashion,” Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the AFRICOM commander, said of the change. In April, the U.S. military reportedly requested the locations of aid groups working in the country, an indication that yet a greater escalation in the war against al-Shabaab may be imminent.

“Looking at counterterrorism operations in Somalia, it’s clear the U.S. has been relying heavily on the remote-control form of warfare so favoured by President Obama,” said Jack Serle, who covers the subject for the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Recently, the U.S. has augmented this strategy, working alongside local Somali forces and African Union troops under the banner of “train, advise, and assist” missions and other types of “support” operations, according to Serle. “Now they partner with local security forces but don’t engage in actual combat, the Pentagon says. The truth of that is hard to divine.”

U.S. operations in Somalia are part of a larger continent-spanning counterterrorism campaign that saw special operations forces deploy to at least 32 African nations in 2016, according to open source data and information supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command. The cornerstone of this strategy involves training local proxies and allies — “building partner capacity” in the military lexicon.

“Providing training and equipment to our partners helps us improve their ability to organize, sustain, and employ a counter violent extremist force against mutual threats,” the SOCAFRICA report says.

As part of its increasing involvement in the war against Boko Haram militants in the Lake Chad Basin — it spans parts of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad — for example, the U.S. provided $156 million to support regional proxies last year.

In addition to training, U.S. special operators, including members of SEAL Team 6, reportedly assist African allies in carrying out a half dozen or more raids every month. In April, a U.S. special operator reportedly killed a fighter from Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army during an operation in the Central African Republic. U.S. forces also remain intimately involved in conflict in Libya after the U.S. ended an air campaign there against the Islamic State group in December.

“We’re going to keep a presence on the ground… and we’re going to develop intelligence and take out targets when they arise,” Waldhauser said in March.

Though Bolduc said special operators are carrying out about 96 missions on any given day, he didn’t specify how many total missions are being carried out per year. SOCAFRICA officials did not respond to several requests for that number.

The marked increase in U.S. activity tracks with the rising number of major terror groups in Africa. A 2012 version of SOCAFRICA’s strategic planning documents also obtained by VICE News lists five major terror groups. The October 2016 files list seven by name — al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Magreb, ISIS, Ansar al-Sharia, al-Murabitun, Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and al-Shabaab — in addition to “other violent extremist organizations,” also known as VEOs. In 2015, Bolduc said that there are nearly 50 terrorist organizations and “illicit groups” operating on the African continent.

Terror attacks in sub-Saharan Africa have skyrocketed in the past decade. Between 2006 and 2015, the last year covered by data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, attacks jumped from about 100 per year to close to 2,000. “From 2010 to the present,” Bolduc says in the report, “VEOs in Africa have been some of the most lethal on the planet.”

“Many of Africa’s indicators are trending downward,” he writes.

“We believe the situation in Africa will get worse without our assistance.”

Colby Goodman, the director of the Washington, D.C.–based Security Assistance Monitor, pointed to some recent tactical gains against terror groups, but warned that progress might be short-lived and unsustainable. “My continuing concerns about U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Africa,” he said, “is an over-focus on tactical military support to partner countries at the expense of a more whole-government approach and a lack of quality assessments and evaluations of U.S. security aid to these countries.”

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U.K PM to Create New Internet that would be Controlled and Regulated by Government*

U.K PM to Create New Internet that would be Controlled and Regulated by Government*

The proposals come soon after the government won the right to collect everyone’s browsing history

By Andrew Griffin

Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online.

Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works.

“Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet,” it states. “We disagree.”

Senior Tories confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the phrasing indicates that the government intends to introduce huge restrictions on what people can post, share and publish online.

The plans will allow Britain to become “the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet“, the manifesto claims.

It comes just soon after the Investigatory Powers Act came into law. That legislation allowed the government to force internet companies to keep records on their customers’ browsing histories, as well as giving ministers the power to break apps like WhatsApp so that messages can be read.

The manifesto makes reference to those increased powers, saying that the government will work even harder to ensure there is no “safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online”. That is apparently a reference in part to its work to encourage technology companies to build backdoors into their encrypted messaging services – which gives the government the ability to read terrorists’ messages, but also weakens the security of everyone else’s messages, technology companies have warned.

The government now appears to be launching a similarly radical change in the way that social networks and internet companies work. While much of the internet is currently controlled by private businesses like Google and Facebook, Theresa May intends to allow government to decide what is and isn’t published, the manifesto suggests.

The new rules would include laws that make it harder than ever to access pornographic and other websites. The government will be able to place restrictions on seeing adult content and any exceptions would have to be justified to ministers, the manifesto suggests.

The manifesto even suggests that the government might stop search engines like Google from directing people to pornographic websites.

“We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm,” the Conservatives write.

The laws would also force technology companies to delete anything that a person posted when they were under 18.

But perhaps most unusually they would be forced to help controversial government schemes like its Prevent strategy, by promoting counter-extremist narratives.

“In harnessing the digital revolution, we must take steps to protect the vulnerable and give people confidence to use the internet without fear of abuse, criminality or exposure to horrific content”, the manifesto claims in a section called ‘the safest place to be online’.

The plans are in keeping with the Tories’ commitment that the online world must be regulated as strongly as the offline one, and that the same rules should apply in both.

“Our starting point is that online rules should reflect those that govern our lives offline,” the Conservatives’ manifesto says, explaining this justification for a new level of regulation.

“It should be as unacceptable to bully online as it is in the playground, as difficult to groom a young child on the internet as it is in a community, as hard for children to access violent and degrading pornography online as it is in the high street, and as difficult to commit a crime digitally as it is physically.”

The manifesto also proposes that internet companies will have to pay a levy, like the one currently paid by gambling firms. Just like with gambling, that money will be used to pay for advertising schemes to tell people about the dangers of the internet, in particular being used to “support awareness and preventative activity to counter internet harms”, according to the manifesto.

The Conservatives will also seek to regulate the kind of news that is posted online and how companies are paid for it. If elected, Theresa May will “take steps to protect the reliability and objectivity of information that is essential to our democracy” – and crack down on Facebook and Google to ensure that news companies get enough advertising money.

If internet companies refuse to comply with the rulings – a suggestion that some have already made about the powers in the Investigatory Powers Act – then there will be a strict and strong set of ways to punish them.

“We will introduce a sanctions regime to ensure compliance, giving regulators the ability to fine or prosecute those companies that fail in their legal duties, and to order the removal of content where it clearly breaches UK law,” the manifesto reads.

In laying out its plan for increased regulation, the Tories anticipate and reject potential criticism that such rules could put people at risk.

“While we cannot create this framework alone, it is for government, not private companies, to protect the security of people and ensure the fairness of the rules by which people and businesses abide,” the document reads. “Nor do we agree that the risks of such an approach outweigh the potential benefits.”

Source*

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