Archive for September 16th, 2011

Planting Trees on Farms Can Greatly Improve Food Security


Planting Trees on Farms Can Greatly Improve Food Security


Posted 16 September 2011, by Staff, Environmental Protection (1105 Media),


Restoring and preserving dryland forests and planting more trees to provide food, fodder and fertilizer on small farms are critical steps toward preventing the recurrence of the famine now threatening millions of people in the Horn of Africa, according to forestry experts from the CGIAR Consortium.

Across the Horn, drought-induced famine has claimed tens of thousands of lives and swelled refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and elsewhere, with millions of starving people – many of them children. Bearing the brunt of the crisis is Somalia, which not coincidentally is also a country that has lost a significant amount of its forests.

Experts say forest destruction and other forms of human-caused land degradation have done far more than the drought to turn vast areas of once-grazeable and -farmable land into a lunar-like landscape.

“Forests and trees frequently form the basis of livelihood diversification, risk-minimization and coping strategies, especially for the most vulnerable households such as those led by women,” said Frances Seymour, director general of the CGIAR’s Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

 “However, deforestation and land degradation have hindered capacities to cope with disasters and adapt to climate variability and change in the long-term.”

New research by CIFOR carried out in 25 countries worldwide has shown that forests serve as a crucial defense against poverty, providing about a quarter of household income for the people living in or near them. Forests in perennially parched areas of the Horn are critical to retaining moisture and nutrients in the soil, while offering a bulwark against wind erosion. They also provide sources of food and fuel, particularly in tough times.

“There is a mistaken view that because these are dry areas, they are destined to provide little in the way of food and are simply destined to endure frequent famines,” said Dennis Garrity, director general of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

“But drylands can and do support significant crop and livestock production. In fact, the famine we are seeing today is mainly a product of neglect, not nature.”

Forest and agroforestry experts say the famine should prompt significant new investments in proven approaches to reforestation and agroforestry that elsewhere in Africa are restoring forests as protectors of drylands and providing important sources of food and other valuable agriculture products.

For example, in Niger, a program launched in 1983 has transformed 5 million hectares of barren land into agroforests. ICRAF experts found that during the drought that hit the country in 2005, farmers who embraced agroforestry were able to sell trees for timber and use the money to buy food. They also were able to supplement their diets with fruits and edible leaves harvested from drought-resistant trees.

In Ethiopia, reforestation projects known as Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), implemented by the World Bank and World Vision, are restoring some 2,700 hectares of degraded land. The projects already are providing income-generating wood and tree products for local communities, improving pasture and achieving a drastic reduction in soil erosion.

Meanwhile, using trees in a wider variety of farm applications is rapidly making agroforestry a popular approach to improving food production in the drylands of Africa. So-called “fertilizer trees” that capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and deposit it into the soil are being used to restore degraded farmlands in Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Niger and Burkina Faso.

There are also a wide range of naturally growing trees suitable for livestock consumption that have long been used by livestock keepers in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the dry season when grass and crop residues are scarce.

“We need to pay far more attention to the role of forests and trees to serve both as protectors of productive farm lands and as ways to sustainably and substantially increase food security in the Horn,” said Lloyd Le Page, CEO of the CGIAR Consortium, who sees the food crisis in the region as a call to action for agricultural innovation. He noted that the intensified focus on the link between forests and food security is part of a wider effort within the CGIAR to approach farms as agriculture ecosystems that depend upon and contribute to the health of broader landscapes.

Scientists are concerned that despite clear evidence of their benefits – and of the disasters that occur in the wake of their loss – dryland forest protection and restoration is receiving scant attention compared to humid forest preservation. They point out that this disparity is particularly evident within discussions of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

“It’s ironic that dryland forests are not front and center in the climate change debate, because climate change is likely to bring more frequent and more severe droughts to dryland areas, and the adaptation challenge for affected communities will be great,” Seymour said.

She also noted that protection of both dryland and humid forests can reduce the likelihood of future climate change-induced droughts through mitigation of forest-based greenhouse gas emissions. Humid forests in particular serve as vast “sinks” that absorb and store carbon and thus help slow the pace of climate change in the long term, but there are also many opportunities to maintain and enhance the amount of carbon stored in dryland landscapes.




Resisting the Corporate Theft of Seeds

Resisting the Corporate Theft of Seeds


Posted 15 September 2011, by Vandana Shiva, The Nation,

Editor’s Note: This piece is one in a series of replies to Frances Moore Lappé’s essay on the food movement today.

We are in a food emergency. Speculation and diversion of food to biofuel has contributed to an uncontrolled price rise, adding more to the billion already denied their right to food. Industrial agriculture is pushing species to extinction through the use of toxic chemicals that kill our bees and butterflies, our earthworms and soil organisms that create soil fertility. Plant and animal varieties are disappearing as monocultures displace biodiversity. Industrial, globalized agriculture is responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gases, which then destabilize agriculture by causing climate chaos, creating new threats to food security.

But the biggest threat we face is the control of seed and food moving out of the hands of farmers and communities and into a few corporate hands. Monopoly control of cottonseed and the introduction of genetically engineered Bt cotton has already given rise to an epidemic of farmers’ suicides in India. A quarter-million farmers have taken their lives because of debt induced by the high costs of nonrenewable seed, which spins billions of dollars of royalty for firms like Monsanto.

I started Navdanya in 1987 to address the challenge of GM seeds, seed patents and seed monopolies.

We have been successful in reclaiming seed sovereignty and creating sixty community seed banks to reclaim seed as a commons. We have proven that biodiverse ecological agriculture produces more food and nutrition per acre than monocultures, while reducing costs to the planet and to farmers.

But our efforts are like a little lamp in a very dark room. We keep the lamp of possibilities and alternatives burning. The food emergency, however, calls for a much wider response.

The food movement must become more integrated, from seed to table, from village to city, from South to North. We need to be stronger in challenging the corporate control of our food system and the role of governments in increasing, rather than stopping, the corporate abuse of our seeds and soils, our bodies and our health. Michelle Obama has an organic garden at the White House, but the Obama administration is embracing GMOs in the United States and around the world. The US-India agriculture agreement—signed by President Bush and Prime Minister Singh in 2005, at the same time as the signing of the US-India nuclear deal—has on its board representatives from Monsanto, ADM and Walmart. The hijacking of our food systems is the hijacking of our democracy.

That is why we have to make food democracy the core of the defense of our freedom and survival. We will either have food dictatorship for a while and then a collapse of our food systems and our societies, or we will succeed in building robust food democracies, resting on resilient ecosystems and resilient communities. There is still a chance for the second alternative.

Read the other responses in the forum:
Raj Patel, “Why Hunger Is Still With Us
Eric Schlosser, “It’s Not Just About Food
Michael Pollan, “How Change Is Going to Come in the Food System

About the Author

Vandana Shiva
Vandana Shiva, originally a physicist, founded Navdanya in 1987. Among her books are Stolen Harvest and Soil Not Oil….

Also by The Author

The article presents information about the congress to be held on globalizing gender justice. The right-wing cabal in Congress is attempting to prevent the U.S. delegation from taking part in the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in professed horror at human rights violations in China. But what they’re really scared about is the empowerment of women–that’s the overall goal of the Platform for Action, with its subtheme of Action for Equality, Peace and Development, to be adopted by some 185 nations this September.


Book Reviews – Newly Received Titles: “The Biodynamic Farm – Developing a Holistic Organism” and “Biodynamics in Practice – Life on a Community Owned Farm”


Book Reviews – Newly Received Titles:

“The Biodynamic Farm – Developing a Holistic Organism” and “Biodynamics in Practice – Life on a Community Owned Farm”


Posted 14 September 2011, by Staff, Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Bio-Dynamics, Inc.,




JPI (Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Bio-Dynamics, Inc.) has recently added the following new titles

Osthaus, Karl-Ernst, The Biodynamic Farm – Developing a Holistic Organism, Floris Books, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 2010. (First published in German in 2004). 93 pp. $14.95

To my knowledge this is one of the few available titles in biodynamic literature that makes an effort to address Rudolf Steiner’s concern that the farm “individuality” ought to possess the ‘due amount of cattle.’ Steiner expressed that concern at the very beginning of the second lecture of the Agriculture course, and while many people have subsequently spoken and written about the farm individuality, the author of this book has managed to translate that term into a practical example of how that individuality manifests through the animal kingdom on a specific farm. In developing his own farm, Karl-Ernst Osthaus apparently took very seriously the question of determining the “due’ number of cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens and other animal members of proper biodynamic farm individuality.

While his experience must be seen in the context of his particular farm, it is most helpful to have such a picture available in developing one’s own farm. He gives a very specific emphasis to the development of hedgerows between fields not only as a “fence” to separate pastures, but also as important forage for the livestock and habitat for the birds, insects and other wild animals.

It would have been most helpful if the author had provided more details on exactly how he arrived at the several livestock populations. Regrettably, he is deceased, and one cannot seek answers to some of the questions that might arise when reading some of his statements and conclusions. However, that forces one to arrive at answers for one’s own farm individuality, which is precisely how it should be for the biodynamic practitioner.

The one major criticism of the book I found is his description of the production of the preparations in the latter part of the book. In several instances, his description deviates from Steiner’s indications in ways that I would judge quite serious and such as would affect the ultimate efficacy of the finished preparation. Digging up BD #501 at Michaelmas does not qualify as “late fall” as Steiner’s instructions state. BD #502 is made in early summer, hung in a sunny place, buried around Michaelmas and dug up at Easter, and the contents of the bladder are stored in an earthenware pot. This is a process which ignores Steiner’s requirement that the yarrow spend a full year in the bladder. Unfortunately, the time frame described seems to be a practice that is widely followed among biodynamic practitioners, to the probable detriment of the finished preparation. In like manner, the author’s description of the making of BD #504 omits the indication Steiner gave that the stinging nettle should spend the winter in the earth and through the following summer. I believe most sincerely that we cannot allow ourselves to blithely ignore the complete indications Steiner gave for the making of the biodynamic preparations. To do so can only be a detriment to achieving the maximum quality and effectiveness of the resultant preparations. It is most distressing to realize that somehow over the years certain modifications have crept into the instructions for making the preparations and are subsequently perpetuated in otherwise valuable biodynamic writings.

Petherick, Tom, Biodynamics in Practice – Life on a Community Owned Farm, Impressions of Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch, Sussex, England. Photography by Will Heap. Sophia Books (an imprint of Rudolf Steiner Press), Forest Row, England. 132 pp. $38.00

This book features an abundance of photographs (thus the expense) detailing the transition of two struggling farms to ownership by an entire community. These two farms in the immediate neighborhood of Emerson College in England formed a cooperative beginning in 1995 with the people living in their vicinity to establish themselves as a major focal point of the community. The text and the photographs describe the many aspects of both farms and the important role they have within the surrounding community. The message of the book is stated as follows: ‘Biodynamics seeks the holistic and interrelate health of the diverse creatures and beings composing a farm, including human beings and the wider, surrounding community.’ Biodynamics is identified as not just a “method” but a whole approach to life. The model developed here is one that may be highly appropriate for emulation in England, but it is probable that other parts of the world will need to develop their own unique models of biodynamic farming support within a surrounding community. One such example that comes to mind is the Sekem endeavor in Egypt.

The lack of captions for the photos in at least a few cases is a drawback to the message being communicated, but altogether the book presents a very positive case for biodynamic agriculture as an important factor in influencing the culture within society as a whole.


Introducing Biomimicry 3.8

Introducing Biomimicry 3.8


Posted 15 September 2011, by Staff (The Biomimicry Group), Vimeo,



(Ed Note: There is no text in the original posting, only the following videos.)

Introducing Biomimicry 3.8 from Biomimicry Group on Vimeo.


Related Videos:


“Global Dismemberment: Through the Shaman’s Eye” on September 20 “Why Shamanism Now?” Radio Show

“Global Dismemberment: Through the Shaman’s Eye” on September 20 “Why Shamanism Now?” Radio Show

On “Why Shamanism Now? A Practical Path to Authenticity”, Christina Pratt welcomes author and shaman Richard Whiteley to the show, where they talk about all the challenges taking place in the world today from a shamanic perspective.


Posted 13 September 2011, by Linda Woznicki, 24-7 PressRelease,


JERSEY CITY, NJ, September 13, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ — Streaming live on the Co-Creator Radio Network on Tuesday, September 20, at 11 a.m. Pacific time/2 p.m. Eastern time, on her show “Why Shamanism Now?: A Practical Path to Authenticity,” shaman and founder of the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing Christina Pratt asks the question so very many are asking these days: What is happening around us? We see severe weather, colossal oil spills, and species dying off. We see illness, obesity, and rising incidents of mental illness and coping disorders. We see corruption and an unfathomable void of ethics in banking, politics, and religions around the world. We see riots, anger, and hopelessness in our communities. According to Pratt, what the shaman sees in this is “dismemberment”: the experience of being pulled apart, eaten, or stripped layer by layer, down to the bare bones on a global scale. “In a shamanic dismemberment,” explains Pratt, “the individual, unaware that the experience is occurring in an altered state, dies the little death, which is the surrender of the ego that allows for a shift of awareness and transformation of consciousness.”

In this episode of “Why Shamanism Now?” titled “Global Dismemberment: Through the Shaman’s Eye,” Pratt talks to award-winning author, teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, successful businessman, and urban shaman, Richard Whiteley who explains what is going on out there from a shamanic perspective. And perhaps more importantly, he shares why he feels there is reason to be hopeful and how we can participate with spirit in the Remembering so that the world we co-create is different than before.

Whiteley talks to Pratt as part of a series of “Why Shamanism Now?” episodes sponsored by the Society of Shamanic Practitioners (SSP). Throughout this series, Pratt explores how contemporary shamans are meeting the challenge of their world where the relations of things—the living and the dead, the humans and nature, and the technological world and the spirit world—are profoundly out of balance. It is the ancient role of the shaman in all cultures to tend the balance of things, and the question is asked: how are these shamans meeting this extraordinary need today?

Christina Pratt is an authentic, non-traditional contemporary shaman. In practice since 1990, she specializes in mending the soul and transforming the parts of life that feel impossible. A teacher of exceptional clarity, humor, and inspiration, Pratt brings the power of shamanism into the practical grasp of anyone willing to take responsibility for improving the quality of their life. Her well-received book, An Encyclopedia of Shamanism (Rosen), is an 800-page, two-volume set with over 750 in-depth entries that clearly discuss the basic concepts of shamanism, methods, and traditions of over 50 different shamanic peoples. Pratt is the founder of the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing in Portland, OR, and New York, NY, creator of the original Foundations of Shamanism and Shamanic Healing course at the University of Minnesota, and a frequent and honored speaker for the American Holistic Medical Association.

Richard Whiteley, author of The Corporate Shaman, (2002) was awarded five top honors shared among his three business books on customer-centered business and finding joy in your work. He is “a Harvard Business School educated, best-selling author and management consultant who moonlights as an urban shaman,” says Business Week. Whiteley co-founded The Forum Corporation, a large, global business training and consulting firm, teaches at business schools across the country, and currently offers his expertise at The Whiteley Group. Whiteley is an award-winning leader and consultant and a dynamic presenter. He earned a BA from Wesleyan University, an MBA from Harvard, served in the United States Navy for 3½ years, and studied with medicine people for the past 18 years. Whitely has a healing practice in Boston that is based on his study and practice of shamanism. His work has included power animal retrievals and soul retrieval for individuals and organizations. He has recently performed as a percussionist and vocalist on a new CD entitled “Shamanheart“. With his three sons, he has also created a drumming CD for assistance in shamanic journeying.

Why Shamanism Now? A Practical Path to Authenticity“, a live internet talk radio with host Christina Pratt, airs Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Pacific time/2 p.m. Eastern time Each week host Christina Pratt and guests explore the practical application of shamanic skills in our contemporary lives to create robust well-being, strong and clear community connections, and life enriching spiritual maturity. Listeners can ask questions by calling 512-772-1938 or via Skype. Prior episodes from “Why Shamanism Now” can be downloaded for free from the iTunes library. Pratt also talks about Shamanic Healing on YouTube.

For more information on Christina Pratt, the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing, and workshops and classes with Pratt, or to order An Encyclopedia of Shamanism at a special discounted rate, visit Upcoming classes with Pratt include a new Cycle of Transformation Four Year training starting October 7; advanced shamanism trainings for experienced practitioners starting with “Outlaw Shamanism: Creating Ritual and Ceremony That Works” on November 11-13, 2011; “The Basics of Living Well” series open to all starting in January 2012; as well as Shamanic Journey Circles the third Tuesday of every month; Wisdom of the Shaman talks every third Friday; and Qigong classes every Wednesday, all in Portland, Oregon. For additional information or to arrange an interview with Pratt, please contact Linda Woznicki, 845-417-8811,

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Haiti: Uruguayan People Demand Withdrawal of MINUSTAH

Haiti: Uruguayan People Demand Withdrawal of MINUSTAH

The Foreign-Hand Syndrome: a Country that is Not Your Government


Posted 14 September 2011, by Fernando Moyano (translated by Dady Chery  & Posted by Ezili Dantò), OpEdNews,


First published in SURda By Fernando Moyano

Translated from the Spanish by Dady Chery

(See below: Haitian Protesters Demand Ouster of UN Troops and Dady Chery’s Did Harvard scientists cover-up UN source of Haiti cholera? and UN, Uruguay and the Literal and Systemic Rape of Haiti by Ezili Dantò)

Everyone knew it. The [Uruguayan] minister of “defense” who is supposedly versed in military matters, always says that he knows very well how a barrack runs. Simultaneously he argues that the facts surrounding the recent denigration of Haiti involved only four “bad apples” and not the military institution.

If true, one would have to think that the Navy commander of a unit is picked for being the most reverend a**hole who can sit on a couch and let a striped alligator pass right under his nose. As you know, things like this are difficult not to know.

A month ago a report by a Haitian NGO in Port-Salut denounced the rapes of minors perpetrated by Uruguayan marines from MINUSTAH. Within a matter hours, the Navy carried out an “internal investigation” that concluded these allegations were all false and all the military innocent. The ministry, government, all across the political spectrum, the communications media, made use of that version.

Then a specific complaint came to light, with a victim referred to by name: an 18-year-old kid. And a video appeared. Now the Navy version says that this is a joke in very poor taste.

The versions from the army are that this is a joke in poor taste, statements by the Secretary of the President of the Republic are that this is a joke in poor taste, the conclusions from the UN are that this is a joke in poor taste.

The events occurred two months ago and took a month to hatch because of the shame and pain of the victim, but the video taken at the naval base shows with what bravado these rapists did their feat.

The military command denies everything about the investigation. But totally outside, a Haitian manages to get a copy of the video and broadcast it; someone goes to the Internet; a Haitian judge takes up the matter and notifies the United Nations, which refers the matter to the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And that’s when the minister of “defense” takes cognizance.

But before this, a human rights organization in Haiti collected facts demonstrating that an exchange of sex for food called “cambiar” is a practice that was installed in the Uruguayan naval base in Haiti from the beginning, together with traffic in illegal substances. It is impossible for these things to exist without knowledge of the command. Those entering any military unit must pass through checkpoints. There is a guard’s office and an officer in charge, and so on. And no soldier turns a blind eye without getting something for it. Anyone who really knows headquarters knows how this works.

It is also impossible that what happened in Haiti was unknown to Montevideo . The relay system is such that 75% of the troops and almost 90% of the officers go through “peacekeeping” destinations, and those who return always talk about the things that are going on.

The fact that the Navy investigation exonerated all fault while pretending not to know the real facts is a flagrant proof of concealment and complicity. Similarly, the versions “softening” the involvement of the U.N. are the clearest demonstration of the cynicism of these “peacekeepers.”

The U.N. office was lying shamelessly when it said that a rape had been ruled out of the question. The case forwarded to it by a judge included the video as well as the victim’s testimony, and medical experts found a tear in the victim.

Murphy’s Law dropped one on them. Things are bursting because of the undeniable failure of MINUSTAH, yet they are being forced to accommodate this body and are only talking about a “phased withdrawal”” In 10 years!! And as Murphy’s law is bound to do, things blew open in Uruguay , which had to play the “good soldier”. Only two months ago, pedophilia made its appearance on the scene when the Uruguayan army organized to show the benefits of MINUSTAH to the Haitian people in a photographic exhibition that wound up displaying scenes of Uruguayan soldiers inappropriately playing with Haitian children.

Mujica’s government worked all this time (and there’s a difference with the previous ones) to “restore the image” of the armed forces, insisting that “inside” the “soldiers of the homeland” must have “friendly relations” with the people, and outside, they try to play a subservient role in the international order as good so-called “peacekeepers.” Both
have failed in the worst way.

But the issue here is not rape but degradation. Throughout history all occupation armies have been rapists. But this is because this condition destroys the morality of the occupant and leads to aberrant acts.

Sexologist Gomensoro Arnaldo Uruguay explains: in these violations,

“Sex is just the tool to consummate the act of violence against those people who are discriminated against, the sadistic abuse of power by those who have the ability to oppress their victims, a political issue [and not merely one about sex or gender]. This is why the victims are often small children whose only attribute in common is their vulnerability and helplessness.”

Mujica says this is normal for some soldiers in every army. He fails to explain why this is so, and he also fails to specify that this is an army of occupation soldiers, because they are occupying. And the proof that this is a military occupation (and not a “humanitarian intervention”), if this requires confirmation, is the fact that it violates the self-determination of peoples and promotes the widespread moral degradation of the soldiery.

So let us deal with the political question.

It is our responsibility as a people, beyond what this government does or does not do, to assume solidarity with the Haitian people while we occupy a worthy place in the world. It is our responsibility to join the fight as anti-imperialists and anti-militarists.

We happened to be at an interview on 30 August with Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro and Vice Chancellor Roberto Conde, attended by other members of the Coordinating Committee for the Withdrawal of Troops from Haiti and two representatives of the PIT-CNT. We were told that the position of the Uruguayan government was to go to a “gradual withdrawal”.

We reiterated our demand for immediate withdrawal and offered our personal opinion about it: to stay five more years would be nonsense, and talk of ten years would mean DOUBLE nonsense.

In our organization for the withdrawal of troops from Haiti, we’ve heard four arguments from those who support keeping the troops. They are always the same.

1. The military exists, and this gives them something to do.

2. We are there to prevent a direct U.S. invasion.

3. If we leave, these blacks are going to kill each other.

4. Uruguay is acquiring better standing in the world with the “peacemissions”.

In a future series we will deal more thoroughly with these points. Briefly our points of view are as follows:

1. The “peacekeeper” role has become the almost exclusive task of the Uruguayan armed forces and a way to keep them hypertrophied, parasitic, and useless for territorial defense.

2. The U.N. does not contain or resolve conflicts but is a globalized world policeman serving the imperial order.

3. Haitians present is a new paradigm of recolonization.

4. Social democratic governments in Latin America meet the sad role of easing the burden of “sepoy” military imperialism.

5. In Uruguay the “sepoy” is congenital to the country and its bourgeoisie, and this also fits the current government policy of ex-prisoners becoming jailers, extending the complicity of the past.

6. Nevertheless, the political decline of the current American and Social “sepoy” imperial order on the one hand, and the resistance of the Haitian people on the other, are causing a crisis in the laboratory of neocolonial domination. There’s a chance to reconnect the
links of solidarity between the peoples of our continent, beyond the quarrels between the bourgeoisie pimps and governments.

Forwarded by Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN)

Haitian Protesters Demand Ouster of UN Troops

Source: VOA News, Sept 14, 2011 |

Photo: AP Amidst tear gas, a young man carries stones during a protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, September 14, 2011.

Police in Haiti have clashed with hundreds of protesters demanding United Nations troops leave the country after peacekeepers allegedly sexually assaulted a young man.

Police in the capital city of Port-au-Prince fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators Wednesday, while some demonstrators threw rocks at police.

The protest was sparked after a video taken on a cell phone showed several Uruguayan peacekeepers taking part in what appeared to be a sexual assault on an 18-year-old man. The video was widely seen on the Internet.


Uruguay’s president has apologized to Haiti, saying Uruguayans were humiliated by the “criminal and embarrassing” behavior of a few of their soldiers. The government has also dismissed a naval officer and recalled five soldiers over the incident. A Uruguayan team is in Haiti investigating the incident. When U.N. peacekeepers are accused of misconduct, it is up to their country of origin to investigate and discipline any offenders.

The U.N. said Wednesday it had also sent a senior team to the Caribbean nation to enforce the organization’s zero tolerance policy for misconduct. The team will meet with the leaders of Haiti’s U.N. mission (MINUSTAH) as well as with Haitian authorities in an effort to show how seriously they take the allegations of sexual abuse.

About the troops

More than 12,000 U.N. troops and police officers serve in Haiti, as part of a force created in 2004 to help stabilize the impoverished and politically volatile country. The U.N. increased the size of the force by a third last year after a devastating earthquake killed more than 220,000 people.

South American countries contributing troops to the Haiti mission have agreed to ask the Security Council to reduce the number of troops deployed there. Officials now believe conditions have improved enough to withdraw some of the additional troops, providing Haiti’s security is not comprised.

Presidential condemnation

Haitian President Michel Martelly has condemned the apparent sexual assault. However, despite Wednesday’s protest, Martelly is not currently expected to ask that the entire force withdraw.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

HLLN’s FREEHAITIMOVENT honors the Story of Janjak

“It’s time for Haitian Parliament to void the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) between Haiti and MINUSTAH signed by the unconstitutional and unelected Haiti officials in 2004 and subject those in the UN who have prostituted and sodomized our children and poisoned our water system to appropriate national and international courts and justice standards. Deportation and MINUSTAH withdrawal is NOT enough. Innocent Haitians have a human right to a court hearing, trial and reparations for these gross and depraved UN injustices. The UN cannot be above the law. The UN was not conceived and established as a colonizing power or a proxy for enslavers with blanket immunity and impunity for rape, spread of contaminable diseases and crimes against humanity. Justice for Haiti for these gross wrongdoings cannot be left at the DISCRETION of its United Nation victimizers.” — Ezili Dantò of HLLN , UN, Uruguay and the Literal and Systemic Rape of Haiti by Ezili Dantò


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website (OEN) or its editors.



Lost, Abused and Neglected for a Profit

Lost, Abused and Neglected for a Profit


Posted 14 September 2011, by Robert Greenwald, OpEdNews (OEN),



Guillermo Gomez-Sanchez is a 50-year-old legal resident with a mental disability. In 2004, Gomez was detained because of a dispute at a grocery store over a bag of tomatoes. His detention led him into a labyrinth of abuse and neglect – in an immigration system that increasingly puts profit over justice by handing the reigns to private prison corporations.

Cuéntame‘s Immigrants For Sale campaign has documented the case of Guillermo, who got lost in this system, while his mother Dolores Gomez-Sanchez spent years desperately searching for answers. The problem: Guillermo was sent to a private detention facility operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Dolores approached immigration authorities, but time and again was told that because Guillermo was in a CCA facility his case was no longer their problem. At one point the only information immigration officials could offer her was that Guillermo was beaten by guards and hospitalized after requesting to use a bathroom.

Private prison corporations like CCA do not care who and how they lock immigrants up. At a rate of up to $200 per inmate per night, this is the “perfect” money scheme. As such, CCA failed to report Guillermo’s condition – why should they? The longer Guillermo was locked up the more money in their coffers. Guillermo spent two years in CCA’s detention center. At average contract rates, the operator pocketed an estimated $90,000 off of his incarceration.

According to Bardis Vakili, the lawyer handling the Gomez-Sanchez case – this is a typical case where families have a hard time locating their detained relatives. “Getting to these big corporations represents a nightmare for people that don’t have a law degree,” he said. Detained immigrants also don’t have the right to an attorney, which further exacerbates their struggle.

CCA along with the GEO GROUP and Management and Training Corporation currently profit close to $5 billion a year – with immigrant detention revenue representing a strong portion of their income. They view the anti-immigrant movement as a positive step to increase the value of their stock. In fact, this year CCA’s share price is at record levels, oscillating around $26. In 2010, CCA CEO Damon T. Hininger received $3,266,387 in total compensation. The more immigrants detained, the more bed spaces they can fill and the more their stock shoots up. It’s the perfect money machine and they have no intention of letting that go.

Just last year the “major three” spent close to $20 million in lobbying and campaign contribution efforts. These corporations have been tied to the passage of anti-immigrant laws such as Arizona’s SB1070 and Georgia’s HB87 in an effort standardize the criminalization of immigrants across the country. As Guillermo’s story demonstrates, the consequence of this is a system that eats immigrants up in a for-profit scheme. As Guillermo himself puts it, once you are in “it is very hard to get out.”

Why do we leave our immigration system in the hands of corporations? How many more people are suffering and lost in a system that values profit over justice? Join the ongoing discussion led by Cuéntame and its Immigrant For Sale documentary campaign.


Robert Greenwald is a producer, director and political activist; the founder and president of Brave New Films, a new media company that uses moving images to educate, influence, and empower viewers to take action around issues that matter. Under (more…)

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.


(Ed Note: The following video was retrieved from the Cuéntame website. Please visit this website for more content associated with this article.)


Take a stand against the private prison racket:
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Guillermo Gomez-Sanchez is a 50 year old legal resident with a mental disability. In 2004 Gomez was detained because of a dispute at a grocery store over a bag of tomatoes.

Guillermo spent 2 years at a private CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) detention facility – the corporation neglected to report his medical condition.

CCA profited close to $90,000 off of Gomez’ incarceration, and ensured greater profit by failing to disclose his mental disability effectively leaving Guillermo trapped for 2 years. In 2010 CCA CEO Damon T. Hininger received $3,266,387 in total compensations.

It’s time to put an end to the private prison racket. How many more are suffering lost in a system that values profit over justice? Join the discussion on Facebook today:



Chevron confirms Gulf of Mexico oil leak


Chevron confirms Gulf of Mexico oil leak


Posted 14 September 2011, by By Janet McGurty and David Sheppard, Thomson Reuters,



(Reuters) – A leak from a shallow water crude oil pipeline in the Main Pass Area of the Gulf of Mexico has led Chevron to shut down its offshore Louisiana Main Pass pipeline network, the company said on Tuesday.

Chevron has also shut its Cypress line, the company said.

About 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production was shut in due to the pipeline leak, Chevron said. The company said late on Tuesday it will resume partial production within 24 hours.

Chevron did not reply to several requests for additional information about the leak and its operations in the Main Pass Area.

Carol Fagot, a spokeswoman at the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), said the agency was “aware of the report and looking into it,” without offering further details.

Both the U.S. Coast Guard and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office said they had not been informed of a leak off the coast.

Chevron has two offshore platforms in the Main Pass 299 block, according to the company’s website. The site is located in shallow waters about 40 miles east of Venice, Louisiana, and has produced heavy oil, natural gas and sulfur, according to government records.

Chevron said the leak was from a 10-inch riser pipelines in Main Pass Block 299. Riser pipelines normally carry crude from the seabed to production platforms.

Chevron also shut its line known as Cypress since “Main Pass is the only connecting pipeline system currently providing volumes into Cypress,” the company said.

The Cypress pipeline feeds a crude terminal known as Empire on the Mississippi River in Louisiana, delivery point for cash crude Heavy Louisiana Sweet. Empire usually handles between 230,000 and 275,000 barrels a day, Chevron’s website said.

The Empire terminal was still operating, a trade source said, although it wasn’t clear whether flows into the terminal had been disrupted.

The Gulf of Mexico was the site of the worst-ever U.S. offshore oil spill last year when BP’s Macondo well released more than 4 million barrels of crude from a blown out well offshore Louisiana.

(Reporting by Janet McGurty, David Sheppard and Joshua Schneyer in New York and Timothy Gardner in Washington; Addtional reporting by Kristen Hays and Erwin Seba in Houston; Writing by Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Gary Hill)



The Curse of Cindy Jacobs: Joining The Latest In Genocide Enablers

The Curse of Cindy Jacobs: Joining The Latest In Genocide Enablers


Posted 14 September 2011, by Rev. Dan Vojir, OpEdNews (OEN),



On September 12th, when people were ruminating on the weighty issues of security and economy, Cindy Jacobs obsessed on Native Americans and their heritage being a curse on America. Although she took her inspiration from Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, she didn’t bother to distill her rhetoric.

The Native American people were cannibals and they ate people. And so you can see a manifestation of that in the churches where people turned against people and kind of cannibalized other people’s ministries. 

The self-proclaimed prophetess and leader of a militant evangelical group called Generals International, has, in the past, set her sites (or rather, God’s) on causes of catastrophes and weird phenomena, positing that birds falling from the sky were a sign of God’s displeasure at the repeal of  DADT  and that Japan’s woes were tied to the fact that it is “shaped like a dragon.”

Now she has come to wage war against Native Americans and their heritage: according to her, a “curse” upon America was lifted because of Rick Perry’s “The Response.”

We just had a prayer meeting in Houston a little a week ago, the governor of Texas, really as an individual instigated this, and 35,000 people showed up to pray and it was only a prayer meeting called within three months, three month period of time. So what happened? The land is starting to rejoice, you see, because of that prayer.”

In her rush to judgment about raising curses from the American landscape, Jacobs, of course, got it all wrong:

Native Americans were not cannibals.* Her inane leap of reasoning somehow blames “the curse” for political factions within church denominations. Rick Perry used his position as governor to call “The Response.” More than 70,000 people were expected and “The Response” was not even deemed a moderate success. And as one of God’s Ambulance Chasers, Jacobs didn’t bother to link the lifting of “the curse” to a natural calamity (the Texas wildfires occurred later than The Response), so how did the land start to rejoice?

It would be imprudent, however, to discount the unreasonable ramblings of Jacobs as ineffective: she has a following large enough to engage people in doing damage to Native Americans. She hits buzzwords with a beguiling innocence, thus setting into motion a violent hatred of people whose heritage is considered “heathen.”

Taking a cue from Rod Parsley’s view on Islam (“America was established to destroy Islam”), Jacob’s sentiments might be looked upon not only as a enabler to the future abolition of Native American heritage, but also a call to arms against all Native Americans who haven’t thoroughly converted to Christianity: it is, in effect, another strategy of “convert or die” apologetics.

Jacobs also borrows heavily from another famous anti-Native American: Bryan Fischer.

Many of the tribal reservations today remain mired in poverty and alcoholism because many native Americans continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition instead of coming into the light of Christianity and assimilating into Christian culture.**

That “Christian culture” Fischer alludes to is one that excludes a lot more people than a relative handful of people on tribal reservations: Muslims, Jews, Mormons, and even Catholics.***

None Dare Call It Genocide

While some people may think that the term genocide does not apply to the machinations of Cindy Jacobs, Bryan Fischer, John  Benefiel ,  et   al ., think of them as  precursers  of the ideology that the “only good non-Christian is a dead non-Christian”: demolishing a heritage makes it much easier to eradicate that part of civilization attached to it. Hitler knew that when he attempted to level all the Jewish sections of occupied cities: he only kept Prague’s beautiful  Josefov  in tact (complete with its 800-year-old synagogue) as a “museum of extinct peoples.”

Another look at the origins of what we could call “heritage genocide” reveals Rev. John  Benefiel  of the Heartland Apostolic Reformation Network who recently called the Statue of Liberty an “idol.” Several years ago,  Benefiel  and his compatriots made a ritualistic splash in smashing Hopi and Navajo artifacts since they were believed to be manifestations of worship of Baal and  Leviathon  – Canaanite gods.  Benefiel  never sufficiently described just how those gods traversed the Atlantic (maybe an evil worshipper sneaked onto Colombus’ Santa Maria).

On October 3rd,  Benefiel , Jacobs and other members of the Apostolic Reformation movement will descend upon Washington, D.C. with   “DC 40: Forty Days of Light Over D.C“.  Will it bring about the destruction of Baal in our nation? Or will it further curse our nation with intense religious bigotry over indigenous people, Muslims, and people of all other ideologies?


* Read a good treatise on the myth of Native American cannibalism: Native American Cannibals

BTW: Romans considered the early Christians cannibals: they were the weird people who “ate their own God.”

**Ironically another parallel to early Christianity: the early Christians were thought to be too overtly  superstitutious .

*** Not to mention homosexuals, feminists and, well, just about everyone who isn’t Bryan Fischer.

Rev. Dan Vojir
Rev. Dan Vojir has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (“Strictly Books” Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most interesting people of our time: Steve Allen, William F. Buckley, Alan Ginsburg, Armisted Maupin, Anne Rice, Grace Slick, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Patricia Nell Warren, and Betty White.

He is also an ordained minister in the ULC and has studied extensively on the subject of the Bible and homosexuality. Additional articles can be read on his blog, The Devil and Dan Vojir.

Future goals and activities: a new ministry focusing on reaching personal spiritual levels without the outside influence of proselytism or evangelism called The Church of the Inner Preacher. This ministry will be included in a new website The Devil and Dan Vojir.

Vojir’s main goal: to root out hypocrisy in religion and politics. “If only one person is saved from being killed or bashed by inane bigotry, then I’ll have accomplished what I was put on earth to do: To Live and Help Live.”


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.