Happy birthday Dutence, you’re in the Chinese sphere of influence
(okay, maybe “Duterte” doesn’t exactly rhyme with “influence.”)
As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte continued his four-day visit to China this week, a political demonstration outside the U.S. embassy in Manila — held by Filipinos supportive of Duterte’s promise to break his country’s dependence on the West — turned violent on Wednesday, with Filipino police actually ramming into and running over protesters as they attempted to disperse the crowd.
“There was absolutely no justification (for the police violence),” one of the protest leaders said. “Even as the president avowed an independent foreign policy, Philippine police forces still act as running dogs of the US.”
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he was announcing his “separation” from the United States.
Duterte made the comment at a business forum in the presence of Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People during a four-day state visit to China.
Happy birthday Trilevantamienta, you’re in the Mexican levantamiento
In Mexico, organised crime reaches everywhere, even into the smallest village – except for one small town in the state of Michoacan. Led by local women, the people of Cheran rose up to defend their forest from armed loggers – and kicked out police and politicians at the same time.
The women met in secret to make their plans. They were sickened by the killings and kidnaps that had become routine and angered by the masked men who roamed their town demanding extortion payments from small businesses. And for more than three years they had watched, indignant, as truck after truck trundled past their homes piled high with freshly cut logs.
Mexico’s cartels once focused mainly on the drugs trade, but they have diversified their business model, and now seek to dominate any lucrative industry – including timber, the foundation of Cheran’s economy.
By 2011, the loggers were getting close to one of Cheran’s water springs.
“We were worried,” remembers Margarita Elvira Romero, one of the conspirators. “If you cut the trees, there’s less water. Our husbands have cattle – where would they drink if the spring was gone?”
Image caption A forest guard, and map of Cheran (in red), in Michoacan, Mexico
A group of women went into the forest to try and reason with the armed men. They were verbally abused and chased away. So their plan evolved. Now they knew it was too dangerous to confront the loggers in the forest at the spring, they determined to stop the trucks in town where they would have the support of their neighbours.
Early on Friday 15 April 2011, Cheran’s levantamiento, or uprising, began. On the road coming down from the forest outside Margarita’s home, the women blockaded the loggers’ pick-ups and took some of them hostage. As the church bells of El Calvario rang out and fireworks exploded in the dawn sky alerting the community to danger, the people of Cheran came running to help. It was tense – hotheads had to be persuaded by the women not to string up the hostages from an ancient tree outside the church.
Find out more
You can hear Linda Pressly’s full report, Mexico – The Town that Said, “No”, on the World Service’s Assignment programme from 03:30 BST on Thursday 13 October or catch up afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.
“Everyone in the streets was running around with machetes,” says Melissa Fabian, who was then 13 years old. “Ladies were running around. They all covered their faces. You could hear people screaming, and the bells of the church just ringing out all the time.”
The municipal police arrived with the mayor, and armed men came to free their hostage-friends. There was an uneasy stand-off between the townspeople, the loggers and the police. It ended after two loggers were injured by a young man who shot a firework directly at them. And Cheran – a town of some 20,000 people – began its journey towards self-government.
“It makes me want to cry remembering that day,” says Margarita. “It was like a horror movie – but it was the best thing we could have done.”
The police and local politicians were quickly driven out of town because the people suspected they were collaborating with the criminal networks. Political parties were banned – and still are – because they were deemed to have caused divisions between people. And each of the four districts of Cheran elected representatives to a ruling town council. In many ways, Cheran – a town populated by the indigenous Purepecha people – returned to its roots: to the ancient way of doing things, independent of outsiders.
Meanwhile armed checkpoints were established on the three main roads coming in to town.
Today, five years later, those checkpoints still exist. They are guarded by members of the Ronda Comunitaria – a militia or local police force made up of men and women from Cheran. Every vehicle is stopped, its occupants questioned about where they have come from and where they are going.
“We’ve learnt a lot,” says Heriberto Campos, one of the founders and the co-ordinator of the Ronda Comunitaria whose nickname is “Diablo” or “Devil”. “In those early days, we didn’t know anything about using guns. But now we know how to fight, and if the criminals come back, we’re ready for them.”
Cheran dispenses its own justice for minor offences. Many of those are alcohol-related. On a September Sunday morning, 18 young men are sobering up behind bars at the Ronda’s headquarters after being picked up for drinking in the streets or driving under the influence of alcohol.
Penalties include fines and community work – such as litter-picking.
Serious law-breaking is referred to the attorney general. But in the last year there have been no murders, kidnaps or disappearances.
If you live somewhere unaccustomed to rampant, violent crime, you might not find this surprising. But Michoacan is one of Mexico’s bloodiest states – where severed heads have been rolled across dance floors and grenades have been lobbed into crowded plazas. In July, there were over 180 murders in the state – the highest number for nearly a decade. And in the communities around Cheran – not even 10km away – stories of kidnap, extortion and murder are commonplace.
“In Cheran, I feel safe because I can walk the streets at night, and I don’t fear that something’s going to happen,” says Melissa, who’s now an 18-year old bio-medical student at a college just outside Cheran.
It is not just the streets of Cheran that are secure. The pine forest – a sea of green that tumbles down the hills to the town below – was ravaged by the loggers. Now its perimeter is patrolled daily by the officers from the Ronda Comunitaria. Land in Cheran is mostly held in common – families manage it but they don’t own it. With the criminals gone, rules are strictly enforced – anyone who wants to fell a tree must secure permission from the authorities.
And slowly, the forest is being regenerated. It is estimated that over half the town’s 17,000 hectares of forest were devastated by organised crime. Some 3,000 hectares have so far been re-planted in the five years since the uprising, the seedlings nurtured in the town’s own tree nursery.
Cheran is not completely independent – it still has state and federal funding. But its autonomy as an indigenous Purepecha community is recognised and underwritten by the Mexican government. Its ban on political parties, meanwhile, has been upheld by the courts, which have confirmed its right not to participate in local, state or federal elections.
In the state of Michoacan, Cheran has become an oasis of hope – its peace and security a stark contrast to the fear that still dominates neighbouring communities. So why has it succeeded – thrived even – in such a cruel but beautiful region? Margarita, Melissa and Heriberto will give you the same one-word answer: solidaridad – solidarity.
Image caption Cheran’s militia rehearse for a parade
Most people who live in Cheran are from the town. Social mores dictate that locals marry locals – there are very few outsiders here. Families are large, and they are close. Everyone knows everyone else. And that is the foundation of the town’s unity.
With violence again on the rise in Mexico, there is anxiety in Cheran about the future – a worry that the cartels could gain a foothold once more. Other towns have tried to copy Cheran’s example, but without the same success. Melissa is optimistic, and she is prepared to go out on the streets to fight for what has been achieved.
[Paging John Robb, Mr. John Robb to the guerrilla courtesy phone, please…]
Happy birthday street vigilantes, if the central government catches you, you will be hanged with ease…
A gang in New Zealand assumed the role police officers have long claimed to be playing for our communities: they rid their town of its methamphetamine dealers.
This past week, Tribal Huk gang leader Jamie Pink delivered an ultimatum to drug dealers in the Waikato town of Ngaruawahia. He advised them the deadline for them to leave was 6.30pm the following day and that visits would be paid to those who hadn’t left.
[Tom Chittum to the nationalism phone, Mr. Thomas Chittum to the nationalism phone please…]
(The Mexican and New Zealand stories deserve a separate analysis. If the recent major attack on Internet infrastructure turns out to have been a real attack, and not an accident, then maybe it will be re-analyzed in that same post.)
Happy Birthday Dakota Pipeline, you’re on fire again, it’s bright and nine.
The FBI is involved in the investigation of equipment fires at a Bakken Oil construction site in central Iowa’s Jasper County.
More equipment was damaged by fire late Saturday night, at the same location where equipment was damaged by similar fires about three months ago. Officials say the fires could be due to arson. In this weekend’s incident, a backhoe and two bulldozers were damaged.
In August, police said they suspected vandals set fire to pipeline construction equipment on the same rural Reasnor property owned by Cris Merten, as well as sites just outside Newton and Oskaloosa. Those fires caused an estimated $1 million in damage. No arrests have been made.
Here are ten things Gaddafi did for Libya that you may not know about…
Muammar Gaddafi Libya
1. In Libya a home is considered a natural human right
In Gaddafi’s Green Book it states: ”The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others”. Gaddafi’s Green Book is the formal leader’s political philosophy, it was first published in 1975 and was intended reading for all Libyans even being included in the national curriculum.
2. Education and medical treatment were all free
Under Gaddafi, Libya could boast one of the best healthcare services in the Middle East and Africa. Also if a Libyan citizen could not access the desired educational course or correct medical treatment in Libya they were funded to go abroad.
3. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project
The largest irrigation system in the world also known as the great manmade river was designed to make water readily available to all Libyan’s across the entire country. It was funded by the Gaddafi government and it said that Gaddafi himself called it ”the eighth wonder of the world”.
4. It was free to start a farming business
If any Libyan wanted to start a farm they were given a house, farm land and live stock and seeds all free of charge.
5. A bursary was given to mothers with newborn babies
When a Libyan woman gave birth she was given 5000 (US dollars) for herself and the child.
6. Electricity was free
Electricity was free in Libya meaning absolutely no electric bills!
7. Cheap petrol
During Gaddafi’s reign the price of petrol in Libya was as low as 0.14 (US dollars) per litre.
8. Gaddafi raised the level of education
Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans were literate. This figure was brought up to 87% with 25% earning university degrees.
9. Libya had It’s own state bank
Libya had its own State bank, which provided loans to citizens at zero percent interest by law and they had no external debt.
10. The gold dinar
Before the fall of Tripoli and his untimely demise, Gaddafi was trying to introduce a single African currency linked to gold. Following in the foot steps of the late great pioneer Marcus Garvey who first coined the term ”United States of Africa”. Gaddafi wanted to introduce and only trade in the African gold Dinar – a move which would have thrown the world economy into chaos.
The Dinar was widely opposed by the ‘elite’ of today’s society and who could blame them. African nations would have finally had the power to bring itself out of debt and poverty and only trade in this precious commodity. They would have been able to finally say ‘no’ to external exploitation and charge whatever they felt suitable for precious resources. It has been said that the gold Dinar was the real reason for the NATO led rebellion, in a bid to oust the outspoken leader.
…billionaire financial oligarch Tony James, who is COO of private equity giant Blackstone. Mr. James is a generous contributor to Hillary Clinton’s Presidential run, and is listed as a “Hillblazer” by her campaign for having raised at least $100,000 toward her candidacy.
While many Americans already know that much, most of you will be totally unaware of his aggressive plan to force a 3% payroll tax on the public which will be immediately funneled to Wall Street management firms, including “alternative managers” such as hedge funds and private equity.
Soros controls Smartmatic, which controls voting machines in:
District of Columbia
How Israel Became a Hub for Surveillance Technology
October 18 2016, 3:33 a.m.
When drafted into the army, Israel’s smartest youth are steered toward the intelligence unit and taught how to spy, hack, and create offensive cyberweapons. Unit 8200 and the National Security Agency reportedly developed the cyberweapon that attacked Iranian computers running the country’s nuclear program, and Unit 8200 engages in mass surveillance in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to veterans of the military intelligence branch.
Increasingly, the skills developed by spying and waging cyberwarfare don’t stay in the military. Unit 8200 is a feeder school to the private surveillance industry in Israel, the self-proclaimed “startup nation” — and the products those intelligence veterans create are sold to governments around the world to spy on people. While the companies that Unit 8200 veterans run say their technologies are essential to keeping people safe, privacy advocates warn their products undermine civil liberties.
In August, Privacy International, a watchdog group that investigates government surveillance, released a report on the global surveillance industry. The group identified 27 Israeli surveillance companies — the highest number per capita of any country in the world. (The United States leads the world in sheer number of surveillance companies: 122.) …
“It is alarming that surveillance capabilities developed in some of the world’s most advanced spying agencies are being packaged and exported around the world for profit,” said Edin Omanovic, a research officer at Privacy International. “The proliferation of such intrusive surveillance capabilities is extremely dangerous and poses a real and fundamental threat to human rights and democratization.”
A poster, calling for the destruction of CCTV cameras, is seen on a column at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, in front of the Dome of the Rock on April 8, 2016.Jordan, who administrate the site, said it will set up security cameras around Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the coming days to monitor any Israeli “violations.”
Those technologies are then exported around the world.
Mer Security is one of the companies exporting spy products. …
Mer Group’s clients are in Israel and abroad. The company does “joint development” work with Unit 8200…
Unit 8200’s ties to the Israeli surveillance industry attracted widespread attention in late August, when digital security researchers at the University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab released a report detailing the provenance of a specific type of malware. They said it was likely that the United Arab Emirates had targeted Ahmed Mansoor, a prominent human rights activist, with sophisticated spyware that had the ability to turn his iPhone into a mobile surveillance device that could track his movement, record his phone calls, and control his phone camera and microphone.
The culprit behind the spyware, Citizen Lab’s report concluded, was the NSO Group, a secretive Israeli surveillance company.
Donaghy, who is also the founder of the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, said the UAE has quietly bought hundreds of millions of dollars worth of security products from Israel in recent years. The UAE turns to Israel, he said, because it believes Israelis are “simply the best in this market, the most intrusive, the most secretive.”
A Chinese man reportedly stabbed to death his wealthy parents while they were asleep bed because he was unhappy about them pressuring him to get married, mainland media reports.
The 25-year-old suspect then reportedly left the family home in Yanshi, Henan province, to play computer games at an internet bar, Huashang Daily reported.
The man, who is using the pseudonym Zhang Jiaxi, allegedly confessed to stabbing the couple, both aged 48, with a kitchen knife in the early hours of September 30 at their home.
He never went back to the house and after going to work in a flower shop each day he returned to sleep inside the internet bar each night, the report said.
Police started investigating the killings only on October 8, after Zhang’s grandfather reported a bad smell coming from inside the couple’s home and also a large increase in the number of flies around the property. …
A villager told the newspaper that the couple had been wealthy and had decorated their home early this year in anticipation of their son’s future marriage, but he failed to find a bride despite numerous blind dates.
[Comment: If the son gets the death penalty, will he meet up with his parents and get nagged in the afterlife?]
In a very unusual case of genetic theft, a virus has been caught with a gene that codes for the poison of black widow spiders.
The chunks of arachnid DNA were probably stolen by the virus to help it punch through animal cells.
But its target is not the animal itself – the “WO” virus only infects bacteria living within insects and spiders.
It was a surprise because bacterial viruses were generally thought to steal DNA only from bacteria.
Writing in the journal Nature Communications, Sarah and Seth Bordenstein from Vanderbilt University in the US analysed the genome of WO, which belongs to a group of bacteria-infecting viruses known as bacteriophages.
WO targets the bacterium known as Wolbachia, which in turn infects the cells of insects and spiders.
The virus pinched a gene that codes for latrotoxin, the poison used by black widow spiders.
The toxin can break down the cell membranes of eukaryotes (the domain of life including animals, plants and fungi).
The researchers think the virus uses latrotoxin to enter animal cells and reach the bacteria that it targets. It may also enable the virus to exit cells when it needs to.
The finding is unusual because viruses that infect eukaryotes usually assimilate eukaryote genes and viruses that infect bacteria usually steal useful bacterial genes.