From Our Daily Report
World War 4 Report editor Bill Weinberg, just back from Peru, will speak Friday June 28 at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) on New York's Lower East Side.
The US government released the names and nationalities of 46 men classified for "continued detention" at Guantánamo Bay, ineligible for release, transfer or prosecution.
The Taliban have opened a "political office" in Qatar preparatory to talks with Kabul and the US—after years of propaganda about the US defending women's rights in Afghanistan.
Some 5,000 US troops are in Jordan to participate in the multi-national Eager Lion exercises—just as Iran is sending 4,000 Revolutionary Guards to support Syria's Bashar Assad.
by Marta Molina, Waging Nonviolence
On May 20, Guatemala's Constitutional Court overturned the historic guilty verdict of the nation's former military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, who had been convicted of committing genocide and crimes against humanity during his short reign from 1982 to 1983. The Constitutional Court's decision annulled Montt's 80-year prison sentence and ordered that the final weeks of the case be retried. At 86 years old, Ríos Montt was the first former head of state in Latin America to be sentenced for genocide by his own country.
In response, human rights organizations across Latin America organized actions protesting the sentence annulment, supporting the victims of genocide and condemning legal impunity. In Guatemala, an estimated 5,000 people marched through the capital on May 24. Simultaneous actions occurred in front of the Guatemalan embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City, Mexico; Managua, Nicaragua; Lima, Peru; Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula in Honduras. Additional protests occurred in El Salvador and Costa Rica.
by Emily Greenspan, Oxfam America
Recent statements from the Peruvian government do not bode well for implementation of Peru's new Indigenous Peoples Consultation Law (Consultation Law). The landmark law, passed in 2011 and now being implemented, requires the Peruvian government to consult indigenous peoples affected directly by development policies and projects such as oil drilling, mining, roads and forestry. Consultations must aim to achieve agreement or consent. If implemented effectively, the law could help reduce the number of violent conflicts that frequently emerge in the country’s oil and mining industries.
However, last month Peru's Vice Minister of Culture Ivan Lanegra—responsible for overseeing implementation of Peru's Consultation Law—resigned in protest following Executive branch declarations that highland (orcampesina) communities do not qualify as indigenous peoples. At the same time, the Peruvian government announced that it will proceed with 14 mining projects located in the Peruvian highlands without prior consultation with neighboring communities.
by John McSweeney, openDemocracy
Over the past few days Turkey has been gripped by large-scale social unrest not seen since the disastrous economic crisis of 2000-2001. The protests started on the 28 May in Istanbul when a collection of environmentalists and local activists occupied Gezi Park against the uprooting of one of the few major green parks in the sprawling urban metropolis that is Istanbul—a city of over 13 million people—to make way for a shopping mall.
However, what started out as a protest by a small number of people turned into a nation-wide crisis after images began to circulate on social media sites of the repressive approach the police were taking to the protests. The pictures of fully armoured riot police spraying tear gas and pepper spray onto unarmed and peaceful protestors, many of them women, provoked widespread indignation and disgust that resulted in a cacophony of "that's enough" across Twitter and elsewhere.
by Frieda Afary, Iranian Progressives in Translation
As we approach the June 2013 Iranian presidential election, the real front-runners of the 2009 election, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, as well as Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard—all of whom came to be known as the leaders of the reformist Green movement—continue to languish under house arrest. Many young opposition activists, feminists, and ethnic activists who participated in protests against election fraud in 2009, or any activities deemed "seditious" by the regime, are also in prison.
Although the recent disqualification of two candidates, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, from the election, is very significant and further reveals the intense power struggles within the regime, more significant are the defining issues which continue to fuel the grassroots discontent inside Iran. These issues are the following:
One Year after the Murder of Journalist Regina Martínez
by Andalusia Knoll, Upside Down World
On April 28, 2012 journalist Regina Martínez was found strangled in the bathroom of her home in Xalapa, the capital of the southern Mexican state of Veracruz. Martínez was a renowned journalist with the Mexican weekly magazine Proceso, which for the past 36 years has been publishing articles about narco-trafficking, the war on drugs, and government corruption, among other topics. While Martínez reported frequently on all of these aforementioned topics, the Veracruzan government negated the fact that she was killed for her publications, instead attributing her murder to a common robbery.
Her assassination and the impunity surrounding it has become an emblematic case in the crisis suffered by journalists in Mexico. Over the last decade, Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, with increasing assassinations, forced disappearances, and physical threats against members of the media. According to press freedom group Article 19, threats against journalists in Mexico rose 20 percent from 2011 to 2012. Meanwhile, in the four months since president Enrique Peña-Nieto has taken power, the number of threats has risen another 20 percent. The Committee for Protection of Journalists has classified Mexico as the eighth worst country in the world for journalists in its annual Impunity Index.
by Lauren Carasik, Jurist
Honduras is plagued by the world's highest homicide rate. This has been widely reported for the past two years, yet the number of deaths has continued to climb. The UN put the number of homicides in 2011 at 91 per 100,000. The rate has spiked since the illegal coup d'état that ousted the country's democratically elected president in 2009 and the subsequent breakdown of Honduras' institutions; in 2008 the homicide rate was 61 per 100,000.
A climate of impunity solidified as the generals and others who carried out the coup were rewarded with appointments in the post-coup government rather than prosecuted for their role in the overthrow.
Contrary to what is often suggested in the press, the violence is not just random or drug- or gang-related; some of the most vulnerable sectors in society are frequent targets — those whose rights the US Department of State tells us it considers to be a high priority—women, the LGBT community, journalists, opposition party politicians and Hondurans who opposed the coup. Twenty-five journalists have been murdered in Honduras since the 2009 coup; all but one of them since the current post-coup president, Pepe Lobo, took office in January 2010. At least 53 lawyers were killed between 2010 and 2012.
Lakota Elders Tour to Raise Awareness About Struggle
by Victoria Law, Truthout
NEW YORK — On April 9, Lakota elders, activists and nonindigenous supporters marched through the streets of Manhattan to the United Nations, where they attempted to present a petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Entitled the Official Lakota Oyate Complaint of Genocide Based on the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the petition listed the numerous injustices faced by the Lakota people. (Oyate is a Sioux word for "people" or "nation.")
At the UN, security officers informed them that they would not be able to enter the building and present the complaint to the Secretary General. Instead, the security officers offered to take it to Ban's office, but refused to give the Lakota documentation verifying that their complaint had been received.
Outside the UN, Charmaine White Face, a Lakota grandmother and great-grandmother, addressed the 60 people who had marched with her. "We come here as a nation. If they won't let us take our message to them, how disrespectful is that to a nation?"
An interview with Theresa Shoatz and Matt Meyer
by Angola 3 News
This month, a 30-day action campaign was launched demanding the release of Russell "Maroon" Shoatz from solitary confinement, where he has been held for over 23 consecutive years—and 28 of the last 30 years in Pennsylvania prisons. On April 8, when the campaign began, Maroon’s legal team sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DoC), demanding his release from solitary confinement and promising litigation against the PA DoC if he is not transferred to general population by May 8.
The action campaign describes Maroon as "a former leader of the Black Panthers and the Black freedom movement, born in Philadelphia in 1943 and originally imprisoned in January 1972 for actions relating to his political involvement. With an extraordinary thirty-plus years spent in solitary confinement… Maroon's case is one of the most shocking examples of US torture of political prisoners, and one of the most egregious examples of human rights violations regarding prison conditions anywhere in the world. His 'Maroon' nickname is, in part, due to his continued resistance—which twice led him to escape confinement; it is also based on his continued clear analysis, including recent writings on ecology and matriarchy."
Writing that Maroon "has not had a serious rule violation for more than two decades," the campaign argues that he has actually been "targeted because of his work as an educator and because of his political ideas; his time in solitary began just after he was elected president of an officially-sanctioned prison-based support group. This targeting is in violation of his basic human and constitutional rights."