Niña de las trenzas negras
niña de la soledad
morena piel de montañas y
Luz del fogon que lleva
fuego de amor que se aviva
Del cielo de tu mirada
viene sonrisas de sol
y tus manitas morenas
caricias de tierra
Quien velará tus sueños
quien peinará tus trenzas
mujercita tus penas se iran
al despertar en tu vida el amor
y mil secretos la vida abrirá
muchos que el tiempo guardó
Cuentan que entre los maizales
su canto se oye al pasar
y por montañas y cerros se lleva
tierno canto de esperanza
llevas ternura del valle
Mujercita tus penas se iran
al despertar en tu vida el amor
y mil secretos la vida abrirá
muchos que el tiempo guardó
All those links were sent to me on Twitter and I am more than glad to post them,I do beleive I will find more on those people due time.No threats allowed according to the WP policy or the HR declaration. So please stay vigilant of what you are going to post :)I checked all blog categories so that the post can get the most views possible. Regards!
“##Spiros Macrozonaris## IMMIGRANT Golden Dawn Deputy leader in Montreal, Canada” :
His NON 100% PURE GREEK son’s Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/macrozonaris?ref=ts&fref=ts
1. Greek Immigrant who married a “foreigner” >>>>>French-Canadian Doris Morrissette, they bore a son, Nicolas Macrozonaris (World-Class Sprinter – CANADIAN Olympian 🙂 ..who unfortunately is not 100% Pure Greek…
2. Conversations with Nicolas on Twitter, lead to nothing, he is ‘pretending’ that he has NO knowledge of what Golden Dawn supports and believes YET he states that he does not condone his fathers “actions”
Twitter @Macrozonaris TWEETER CONVERSATIONS with Nicolas –>
###### MUST WATCH #####
Video from CBC Montreal, from week of Oct 12th – INTERVIEW with Spiros Macrozonaris – next to him sits LOOSER Ilias Hondronicolas : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3rbLI4K78
(NaturalNews) The borrachero tree, which is marked by beautiful white and yellow blossoms that droop ever so innocuously from the plant’s slender branches, holds a secret that few people outside northern South America know about. The tree’s seeds, flowers, and pollen possess hallucinogenic chemical substances that, when inhaled or consumed, are capable of eliminating a person’s free will, and turning him or her into a mindless zombie that can be fully controlled without any inhibitions.
Back in May, the U.K.’s Daily Mail ran a report on the borrachero tree, also known as the “drunken binge” tree, explaining how a substance derived from it, scopolamine, blocks a person’s ability to form memories, and temporarily inhibits his ability to make free will choices. When inhaled or consumed, in other words, scopolamine can turn any person into a robot that will do whatever another person tells him to do, even if it means robbing his own house.
“The drug … turns people into complete zombies and blocks memories from forming,” wrote the U.K.’s Daily Mail about scopolamine, which is technically a refined, chemically-altered version of the natural, mind-altering substances found in the borrachero tree. Scopolamine is often used in Colombia and elsewhere by criminals to mind-control others for the purpose of committing crimes.
What would it take to be considered the world’s scariest drug? A documentary that has gone viral in two days has a suggestion –– it’s one that criminals use to erase your memory and renders you incapable of exercising your free will.
The drug, called scopolamine, also known as ‘The Devil’s Breath,’ is derived from a particular type of tree common in Colombia called the Borrachero tree.
The word “borrachero,” which roughly translates to “get-you-drunk,” grows wild in Bogota,Colombia.
This tree which naturally produces scopolamine is so famous in the countryside that mothers warn their children not to fall asleep below its cunningly beautiful yellow and white flowers.
“We probably should put some sort of fence up,” jokes biologist Gustavo Morales at Bogota’s botanical gardens to Reuters, eyeing children playing with borrachero seeds everywhere. The pollen alone is said to conjure up strange dreams.
And when extracted and made into a colorless, odorless and tasteless powder, scopolamine does more than induce strange dreams. Quickly dissolved in liquids, criminals slip the powder into drinks or sprinkle it on food. Reuters states that victims become so docile that they have been known to help thieves rob their homes and empty their bank accounts. Women have been drugged repeatedly over days and gang-raped or rented out as prostitutes.
It was stories like these that initially made VICE News Correspondent Ryan Duffy pretty excited to travel to Bogota, Colombia.
“I had only a vague understanding of [scopolamine], but the idea of a substance that renders a person incapable of exercising free-will seemed liked a recipe for hilarity and the YouTube hall of fame,” Duffy writes.
Besides thinking of ways of how he could pull pranks on his friends when he returned, “the original plan was for me to sample the drug myself to really get an idea of the effect it had on folks,” he said.
That quickly changed.
“By the time I arrived a few days later, things had changed dramatically,” he writes. “All elements of humor and novelty were rapidly stripped away during my first few days in town.”
Duffy, who initially couldn’t wait to go to Colombia says by the time he and his team were wrapping things up and preparing to leave the country, couldn’t wait to get as far away as possible “from Colombia and that drug,” he said.
“After meeting only a couple people with firsthand experience, the story took a far darker turn than we ever could have imagined, and the Scopolamine pranks I had originally imagined pulling on my friends seemed beyond naive and absurd,” he added.
Instead, he came away with a new objective: “This story, and the people who tell it, truly deserve to be heard.”
World’s Scariest Drug
A story cannot be heard without a teller. And since they valued the people and the story enough to tell it, the 35 minute exclusive documentary, “World’s Scariest Drug” has already racked up 330,328 views since Vice News uploaded it to YouTube two days ago on May 11.
As these words are being written, at 8pm Sunday evening, there are (994)… (995) … (996) comments and counting that include:
“I will never go to Colombia,” says jumts18, a YouTube viewer.
“This video has to be a joke,” says another.
After some research, another wrote: “I read somewhere that they use this drug for motion sickness around the world. What the fuck.”
Far from being a joke,the late Dr. Stephen M. Pittel, who was a nationally known forensic psychologist and pioneer of research on the drug culture of San Francisco, wrote that “reports of date-rapes, thefts, kidnapping and other crimes in the U.S. and Canada have been attributed to Burundanga – a potent form of scopalamine that has been used for decades in Columbia in native rituals, as a weapon and by criminals who prey on tourists.”
He said The Wall Street Journal reported in 1995 that the use of Burandanga was increasing rapidly as the favored method of assault by immigrant Columbian criminal gangs in the U.S. who now also use it as a major form of currency.
“In one common scenario, a person will be offered a soda or drink laced with the substance,” the article stated. “The next thing the person remembers is waking up miles away, extremely groggy and with no memory of what happened. People soon discover that they have handed over jewelry, money, car keys, and sometimes have even made multiple bank withdrawals for the benefit of their assailants.”
“This happened to my great aunt, a woman in her late 60’s in Medellin,” says Mel from Naples, Fl, on the Daily Mail web site. “Someone drugged her by blowing [the powder] in her face and took her to the bank where she emptied her bank account willingly for her assailant,” he writes. “When she came out it she couldn’t remember who the person was.”
That may be why in more recent years, the U.S. State Department issued a warning telling travelers to beware of “criminals in Colombia using disabling drugs to temporarily incapacitate tourists and others.”
In Bogata and Cali, Burundanga is given to unsuspecting visitors in chewing gum, chocolate, drinks or dusted on pieces of paper. Even small doses of the drug are reported to cause “submissive” behavior, while larger doses apparently cause almost instantaneous unconsciousness, followed by complete anterograde amnesia (inability to recall recent events)
And why Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to most rural areas of Colombia. The Government of Canada warns that if traveling to Colombia to avoid “going to bars alone. Never leave your drink or food unattended.
There have been numerous incidents of drugs being used (including scopolamine) to incapacitate travelers in order to rob them. Scopolamine can be administered through aerosols, cigarettes, gum, or in powder form. Typically, travelers are approached by someone asking for directions; the drug is concealed in a piece of paper and is blown into the victim’s face. Exercise extreme caution, as scopolamine can cause prolonged unconsciousness and serious medical problems.”
But still some people think the documentary and warnings such as these show a prejudice towards Colombia and Colombians. “It’s so sad that people just sees us Colombians as drug dealers and drug consumer [sic] and to say its a fucked up country is very offensive,” Youtube user rt987 said Sunday. “Colombia has very good people and off [sic] course we have problems as every other country. and we are looking forward to have them solved, making people scared of Colombia i [sic] think is pathetic, Colombia is a great place to live, and to visit.”
But it’s not just the United States or Canada issuing warnings. On its website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombia warns all those interested in “traveling to Colombia to be careful with scopolamine, commonly called burundanga that when mixed with a drink, a cigarette or inhaled (for example on paper in the guise of asking for directions), will lose it absolutely.” The drug is used for robberies and kidnappings in local pubs.
As the documentary states, Colombia has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world.
It’s like they’re a child
Part of Duffy traveling to Colombia, was to interview those who deal the drug and those who have fallen victim to it.
The animated Demencia Black falls in the former category.
As the Daily Mail reports, Black, a drug dealer in the capital of Bogota, says that one gram of Scopolamine is similar to a gram of cocaine, but later called it “worse than anthrax.”
Black also said what makes the drug so frightening is its simplicity in administration.
Black told Vice that criminals can blow scopolamine in the face of an unsuspecting victim, and within minutes, that person is under the drug’s effect.
A 21 year old prostitute that you’ll meet in the documentary uses scopolamine on her clients to rob them. Reuters reported one such incident involving three young Bogota women who preyed on men by smearing the drug on their breasts and luring their victims to take a lick.
Now under the influence, the men readily gave up their bank access codes. The breast-temptress thieves then held them hostage for days while draining their accounts.
“You can guide them wherever you want,” he explains matter of factly. “It’s like they’re a child.”
The drug, he said, turns people into complete zombies and blocks memories from forming. So even after the drug wears off, victims have no recollection as to what happened.
Your brain on scopolamine
So how does this happen? How can a drug leave a person not only with amnesia, but with the inability to exercise free will.
Memories are facilitated through a brain chemical called acetylcholine. When Scopolamine comes onboard it competes with acetylcholine, wins the competition and blocks the acetylcholine receptor in the brain, so that the lock and key fit isn’t made. This lock and key fit — lock (acetylcholine receptor) fit with the key (brain chemical acetylcholine) — is important in how you make memories.
What we remember goes through three key stages: the initial making of the memory (encoding), creation of long-term memories (storage/consolidation) and recall (retrieval).
Scopolamine blocks the first stage, memory encoding, which takes place in the hippocampus – an area critical for memory. In other words, the information never gets stored in the first place.
So you can understand why scopolamine is so popular with criminals such as rapists and robbers. But what makes it popular for criminals, makes it troubling for police. According to Reuters, since scopolamine completely blocks the formation of memories, unlike most date-rape drugs used in the United States and elsewhere, it is usually impossible for victims to ever identify their aggressors.
“When a patient (of U.S. date-rape drugs) is under hypnosis, he or she usually recalls what happened. But with scopolamine, this isn’t possible because the memory was never recorded,” said Dr. Camilo Uribe, the world’s leading expert on the drug.
An inability to react to external aggression (submissive behavior), probably associated with another part of the brain called the amygdala.
Diagram showing locations of several important parts of the human brain as viewed from the front.
In a post called “The amygdala–our inner nut,” Jean Browman explains
The amygdala is one of the two almond-shaped (the name comes from the Greek word for almond) groups of nuclei that are responsible for our fight-or-flight response. (Actually we have two, one on each side of the brain.) One of the things amygdalae do is shut down the thinking part of our brain so we can take immediate action in an emergency. In some cases this can save our lives.
Or as you will learn in the documentary, take our lives.
As Wired UK reported last year, “we can only speculate that the criminal underworld has unwittingly stumbled upon one of the greatest discoveries of 21st-century neuroscience.”
Except, the discovery might not be so unwitting, after all. Before the criminals used scopolamine, scopolamine was used on the criminals.
Scopolamine and “twilight sleep”
At the beginning of the twentieth century, physicians began to use scopolamine, along with morphine and chloroform, to induce to induce a state of ‘twilight sleep’ during childbirth. While under the influence of the drugs, the women suffered less from labor pains, but experienced somnolence, drowsiness, disorientation, hallucinations and amnesia. Mothers woke up after giving birth, not remembering what happened.
But in 1916 the rural Texan obstetrician Robert House noticed the drug had another unusual effect: that although the new moms were unable to remember what happened during delivery, they were nonetheless able to answer questions accurately and often volunteered exceedingly candid remarks.
House had asked a patient’s husband for the scales to weigh the newborn. When the man could not find them his wife, still in a semi-conscious limbo, said “They are in the kitchen on a nail behind the picture.”
House concluded that “without exception, the patient always replied with the truth. The uniqueness of the results obtained from a large number of cases examined was sufficient to prove to me that I could make anyone tell the truth on any question.”
Enter the CIA
Because of the residual effects in newborns, the technique was abandoned in the mid 60’s. But before it was abandoned in the 1960s, it caught the eye of the CIA.
According to the Central Intelligence Agency website, “In 1922 it occurred to House that a similar technique might be employed in the interrogation of suspected criminals.” and he arranged to interview under scopolamine two convicts from the Dallas county jail who volunteered as test subjects to demonstrate their innocence. To authorities, however, their guilt ” seemed clearly confirmed,” the article states.
Under the drug, both men denied the charges on which they were held; and both, upon trial, were found not guilty. One of the prisoners afterwards confirmed House’s hypothesis: “After I had regained consciousness I began to realize that at times during the experiment I had a desire to answer any question that I could hear, and it seemed that when a question was asked my mind would center upon the true facts of the answer and I would speak voluntarily, without any strength of will to manufacture an answer.’
The CIA says: Enthusiastic at this success, House concluded that a patient under the influence of scopolamine “cannot create a lie” Because he said the drug ‘will depress the cerebrum to such a degree as to destroy the power of reasoning’. … there is no power to think or reason.”
His experiment and this conclusion attracted wide attention, and the idea of a “truth” drug was thus launched upon the public consciousness.
Scopolamine in Interrogation: “Truth Serum”
The phrase “truth serum” is believed to have appeared first in a news report of House’s experiment in the Los Angeles Record, sometime in 1922.
But in time, what was found with infants when they induced twilight sleep during children, was also found with criminals during interrogations: the residual effects out weighed the benefits. According to the CIA:
Because of a number of undesirable side effects, scopolamine was shortly disqualified as a “truth” drug. Among the most disabling of the side effects are hallucinations, disturbed perception, somnolence, and physiological phenomena such as headache, rapid heart, and blurred vision, which distract the subject from the central purpose of the interview.
Furthermore, the physical action is long, far outlasting the psychological effects.
The CIA writes that only a handful of cases in which scopolamine was used for police interrogation came to public notice, though there is evidence suggesting that some police forces may have used it extensively.
“One police writer claims that the threat of scopolamine interrogation has been effective in extracting confessions from criminal suspects, who are told they will first be rendered unconscious by chloral hydrate placed covertly in their coffee or drinking water.”
Placed covertly in their coffee or drinking water. Sound familiar?
Why is the drug such a rampant problem in Colombia?
According to Reuters, some analysts blame it on a culture of crime in the Andean nation, home to the world’s largest kidnapping and cocaine industries, not to mention Latin America’s longest-running guerrilla war. But according the young prostitute has another idea: She says everything about using scopolamine is about hurting people.
Pure and cheap, scopolamine is that country’s way, at least in part, she says, of hurting others who themselves have been hurt. Her cocky bravado melts away, just for a moment during the video, when she describes that this is the only way she knows how to live.
She describes that she learned this behavior while living on the streets in order to survive her childhood. In an unguarded and searing moment, the camera pans the room and shows the viewer shots of teddy bears that surround her as she explains further that having the life that she has and being hurt in the past, makes her feel like she is worthless.
A person who does not hold value within themselves, because they’ve never experienced someone of worth holding value for them, so that they internalize they themselves are worthy of care, will reflect that in not holding value for others. She confirms this when she says that since her life doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter what she does.
As she wipes tears away and before the bravado returns, she reflects, that she never wanted or imagined having a life doing what she does. “I never imagined it,” she says.
“Scopolamine is a drug like no other. Nothing can compare,” said Demencia Black, a Colombian drug dealer, to Vice’s Ryan Duffy during an interview that was later compiled into a full-length, investigatory documentary. “You could be walking … and suddenly ‘poof’ (implying that you quickly blow scopolamine powder in someone’s face) … with just that flash the person is totally drugged.”
“You wait a minute and when you see it kick in, then you know that you own that person. You can guide them wherever you want. It’s like they’re a child. You say, ‘Take me to your house, give me your checkbook, take out your savings, give me your credit card numbers,’ just like that.”
This is precisely what happened to a woman named Carolina who was drugged with scopolamine and apparently told to rob her own house, and hand over the belongings to her captors. Though she does not remember any of it, Carolina says she happily gathered all of her belongings, as well as her boyfriend’s savings and camera equipment, and helped load it up into the vehicles of her captors.
Carolina counts herself blessed, despite her losses, as many others have had much worse things done to them while under the influence of scopolamine. Reports indicate that scopolamine is often used for much worse crimes, including as a means by which to influence a person to commit more atrocious acts like rape or even murder.
All of this information about scopolamine brings to mind the recent Batman massacre in Colorado which, as we reported on recently, does not seem to match the official story (http://www.naturalnews.com). Incongruous evidence and conflicting eyewitness reports have led many to wonder whether James Holmes, the man being blamed for the crimes, was under the influence of mind-control drugs during the incident that caused him to become the convenient scapegoat for a much more sinister agenda instigated by outside forces. (http://www.naturalnews.com)
One rainy evening in the gold mining city of Segovia in northeastern Colombia, José Leonardo Atehortua was working late at the refinery — or entable — where miners bring their ores to be processed. Atehortua entered the cramped, concrete room and began his labor — roasting balls of amalgam composed of equal parts gold and mercury, an ancient process used to separate one of the world’s most valuable elements from one of the most toxic.
The next thing Atehortua remembers it was morning. He wanted to rise to his feet, to say something, but when he tried to speak saliva poured uncontrollably over his lips and down his chin. He had tunnel vision. He was unable to move his eyes. His limbs were stiff as a plank. He was lying on a cot in the entable surrounded by men saying “José está azogado” — Jose is mercuried.
The mercury poisoning of Atehortua reflects a growing threat in Colombia and other parts of the world as small-scale gold mining expands in response to rising gold prices. Gold and mercury are interdependent commodities. When the price of gold increases — as it has since 2002 — so does mercury pollution. The source of this pollution is a little known but widely practiced variety of small-scale gold mining, found throughout rural districts of the developing world.
To separate precious gold from common stones, small-scale miners cart their ore to town, where it is mixed with mercury in cylindrical mills filled
An estimated 15 to 20 million gold prospectors are now active in more than 60 countries.
with steel balls that grind the ore into a fine flour. Mercury and gold bind as one, until, sundered by fire, the more volatile mercury is vaporized from the elemental union. The result, in backwater towns like Segovia, can be the exposure of large numbers of people to high levels of mercury vapor, which, in extreme cases like Atehortua’s, can lead to life-threatening mercury poisoning.
The small-scale mining sector, much of it illegal and unregulated, is expanding worldwide faster than at anytime in history and, with it, the health threats posed by mercury. This global gold rush began in Brazil in the late 1970s, before sweeping every mineralized country in South America, Asia, and Africa, with an estimated 15 to 20 million prospectors now active in more than 60 countries.
Today’s small-scale mining industry is motivated less by adventure than survival. Poverty-driven miners rely on inexpensive, outdated, polluting technologies and chemicals — chief among them mercury — with heavy costs for human health and the environment.
Nowhere is this problem of mercury contamination more urgent than in Colombia. Gold mining is Colombia’s fastest growing industry, with 200,000 small-scale miners producing more than 50 percent of the country’s gold. This growth has turned Colombia into the world’s leading per-capita emitter of mercury, especially in states such as Antioquia, where Segovia is located.
Ground-level concentrations of mercury gas in gold-processing hamlets like Segovia are so high, experts fear the outbreak of an environmental health crisis worse than any caused by mercury since Minamata, Japan, where releases of mercury from a factory in the mid-20th century killed more than 1,700 people. Last year, scientists working for the United Nations Global Mercury Project recorded levels of mercury gas in Segovia’s center — near public schools and crowded markets — 1,000 times higher than World Health Organization limits.
As Atehortua was being transported to a local clinic, he recalled how nausea and headache had punished him with such intensity the previous night that he had stopped his work to lie down. Unable to be treated at the clinic, Atehortua was sent to the state capital, Medellín, where his blood could be filtered with activated carbon. There the doctors told him to dictate a will. “You are going to die,” they said.
(Atehortua later told his story to Kris Lane, a professor of Latin American history at the College of William & Mary, who interviewed Atehortua in 2008 and 2009 as part of his research for his book on Colombian mining, The Colour of Paradise. Lane relayed Atehortua’s story to me.)
In the ensuing weeks, Atehortua’s molars fell out; he was besieged by ringing in his ears, loss of hearing and appetite, impaired vision and
Segovia and four nearby cities release as much as 100 tons of mercury each year into the air and soil.
balance, and damaged kidneys — ailments common to acute mercury vapor intoxication. But somehow kidney dialysis worked, and, slowly, movement returned to his arms and legs. Four months later, Atehortua returned to the entable, famous among Segovia’s miners as the azogado who had miraculously recovered from paralysis.
“Unfortunately, people in Segovia say about José Atehortua, ‘Too bad for him, but great story,’ rather than ‘Watch out or this could happen to you,’” says Lane.
It is unclear what made the night of Atehortua’s poisoning different from other nights. One theory is that the unusually late shift occurred in the entable just as the air temperature was dropping and the day’s accumulated mercury vapor was precipitating from the ceiling. What is clear is the attack on Atehortua’s nervous system ought to have sounded alarms about an imminent threat to the urban residents of Antioquia’s mining regions.
“There is no other case in the world like this where an urban population of 150,000 people is exposed to such high levels of mercury vapor,” says Marcello Veiga, a professor of geochemistry and mining engineering at the University of British Columbia and former director of the United Nations Global Mercury Project. “The entables must move from the cities.”
Ordinarily, gold processing occurs in rural districts or industrial zones, away from densely-populated areas. But in Colombia, where security forces are preoccupied battling violence from all directions, the risks of working in the bush are too extreme to operate unprotected. (While I was there last fall, bandits robbed and murdered four brothers at their mine.) So gold refiners seek the security of city centers. In Segovia and four nearby cities, an estimated 350 entables release 50 to 100 metric tons of mercury each year into the air and soil of northeast Antioquia.
Yet cases where mercury-afflicted miners return to work in heavily contaminated areas remain common because of the Colombian Health Ministry’s practice of testing urine rather than blood; only blood tests can gauge how much mercury may have reached a person’s brain. “When the level of mercury in urine is normal,” Veiga says, “the patient can return to the same polluted work environment, without any evaluation of how much mercury has accumulated in the brain.”
Meanwhile, evidence is accumulating that more chronic varieties of the acute symptoms endured by Atehortua are affecting the most vulnerable segment of the population. In neurological tests administered to 196 children in Segovia, aged 7 to 13, 96 percent failed at least one measure of intoxication, whose indicators include attention, memory, language, and executive functions. These data are included in a UN health report, published in January, which describes the mercury situation in Antioquia as “dramatic.”
“It is no exaggeration,” the report concludes, “that in Segovia and Remedios” — the towns are adjacent — “the proportion of the population exposed to a high risk of mercury intoxication approaches 100 percent.”
After the birth of industrial-scale mining in the late 19th century, small-scale mining receded to the corners of crumbling, impoverished states, offering a refuge for the global poor — “drought-driven work” — during periods of privation and crop failure. Unlike industrial mining operations, small-scale mines never abandoned mercury. Cheap, abundant, and easy to use, mercury used in gold mining causes 30 percent of global mercury pollution, eclipsing all sources except mercury gas emitted from coal-fired power plants. But because of a widespread perception that small-scale mining was no longer a global force, serious efforts to document these toxic emissions only began in the last decade.
In Colombia, two modest technical adjustments — adding mercury after, rather than during, the grinding of ores, and capturing its vapor in ovens — could eliminate nearly all mercury emissions from entables. But most miners and processors lack the resources to change, while the country’s culture of conflict means there are no easy solutions.
Operating entables inside municipal limits has been illegal in Colombia since 1995, when a federal decree gave mayors a ten-year window to relocate refineries. Ten years turned into 15. The federal government pointed to the state agencies, the state to the mayors, the mayors to the miners, all to no effect. The mayors did not want to lose their votes. They also did not want to lose their lives.
At a September meeting of 55 public officials in Medellin, Miguel Enrigue Franco Menco, the mayor of Nechí — another gold mining town in Antioquia — issued a sober lament of his state’s mercury crisis. “Responsibility falls on the mayors,” he said. “But behind the gold market
‘The proportion of the population exposed to a high risk of mercury intoxication approaches 100 percent,’ said the UN.
there is violence threatening us, and public officials are turning a blind eye to this problem. We have fear.”
The mayor of Nechí was countered, swiftly and unsentimentally, by a vow from the region’s attorney general, Fanny Enriquez, to imprison any mayor who failed to move the entables. “Comply with the law!” she cried into a microphone, drowning protests from miners and mayors.
During my recent trip to Colombia, I had planned to tour entables in Segovia, but protests over the arrival of a Canadian mining company made that journey impossible. Trade union leaders were persuading miners that UN efforts to curb mercury emissions were part of a foreign conspiracy to expropriate their mines under environmental pretense.
I went instead to the town of Amalfi, visiting a small mine with modest quarters for sleeping six, a privy, and a kitchen. Under a tin roof were eight ball-mills, lined up next to each other near an opening in the rock face just wide enough for a cart the size of a small sled to be wheeled down into the darkness.
The mine starts as a sharply sloping tunnel descending 50 or 60 meters, before leveling off into the first large opening where dynamite had blasted a space big enough to stand upright. From here the miners had followed quartz veins, expanding underground into a disorienting series of tunnels that dip another 50 meters, leaving you fatigued from ducking beneath low clearings and squeezing between narrow walls.
Carted up from the mine below, the ores are run through a sluice to strain and separate large from small rocks, then combined with mercury in the ball-mills where they are ground for five or six hours. After that, the floured concentrate is panned in a wide-lipped cedar bowl, until what’s left is the gold and mercury amalgam, ready to be burned.
“Of course we know miners who are mercuried,” said Cesar Zapata, the mine’s operator. “We want to change. The problem is we don’t know how, and we don’t have means. And we don’t have means because we are not legal.”
Many miners are aware of the danger posed by mercury. One common practice to keep from inhaling mercury vapor is for miners to hold a large leaf over the roasting amalgam. “The problem,” said Oseas García Rivera, who directs a mercury pollution project administered jointly by the government and UN, “is they take that leaf and go like this” — he pretended
Development experts view environmental needs as inseparable from questions of poverty and property.
to throw something into the forest — “so the mercury ends up in the environment anyway.”
Garcia is among an increasingly vocal wing of development practitioners who view environmental needs as inseparable from questions of poverty and property. Only when miners have access to credit and capital, the thinking goes, can they invest sustainably in pollution controls. And without formal mining claims, small-scale gold miners in Colombia and elsewhere have no collateral against which they can borrow.
But mobilizing governments to recognize mineral rights in the small-scale mining economy is a struggle, especially when foreign companies wield influence through investment in large-scale resource extraction.
Among small-scale miners, the perception is they are engaged in a game that is rigged against them. “The companies arrive and the laws are immediately changed to help them, while we have to wait ten years to get titles,” says Roberto Lema Castro, president of a national miners association called Fenamicol.
Such problems present a vexing paradox: Acute environmental health crises such as urban mercury emissions demand immediate intervention, yet sustainable solutions lie in healing deeper social and political afflictions.
“We have too many problems to expect one big solution,” García Rivera says. “But what we can hope for is to get a group of entables, five or ten, to try a different way, and use mercury as an excuse, a tool, to create a progressive process.”Source
by Johan Galtung, 14 May 2012 – TRANSCEND Media Service
Basel, Switzerland, World Peace Academy
Six conflicts, four current, one past and one future are shaping our present reality. Conflict is a relation of incompatibility between parties; not an attribute of one party. It spells danger of violence and opportunity to create new realities. Thus, to understand the shoa the narratives of unspeakable German atrocity and infinite Jewish suffering are indispensable. But so are the narratives of German-Jewish relations, Germans to others, Jews to others. Failure to do so blocks rationality: if conflict is in the relation, then the solution is in a new relation. This is not blaming the victim. What matters most is changing the relation. Are we able?
First case: USA vs Latin America-Caribbean. The recent meeting of the Organization of American States ended 32 against 1, USA. The 32 wanted Cuba readmitted and decriminalization of marijuana. Obama vetoed both; the relation a scandal, overshadowed by a sex scandal.
Solution: The USA yields to democracy on both, negotiates some time for the transition, and a review clause after 5 years. The USA also welcomes CELAC–the organization of Latin American and Caribbean states without USA and Canada–with OAS as a meeting ground for equitable and amicable South-North relations. Washington would be embraced by CELAC and the whole world. A sigh of relief. And the world could continue its fight against the far more lethal tobacco.
What stands in the way? A falling empire clinging to the past, fear of looking weak, elections, huge problems like a crisis economy and social disintegration: Charles Murray Coming Apart and Timothy Noah The Great Divergence. Backyard treatment of the US backyard.
Second case: Israel vs Iran; the nuclear issue; war or not. Uri Avnery[i]: “–in our country we are now seeing a verbal uprising against the elected politicians by a group of current and former army generals, foreign intelligence [Meir Dagan, Mossad] and internal security [Yuval Diskin, Shin Beth] chiefs–condemn the government’s threat to start a war against Iran, and some of them condemning the government’s failure to negotiate with the Palestinians for peace.”
Diskin: “Israel is now led by two incompetent politicians with messianic delusions and a poor grasp of reality. Their plan to attack Iran will lead to a world-wide catastrophe. Not only will it fail to prevent the production of an Iranian atom bomb–it will hasten this effort–with the support of the world community.
Uri Avnery on the not exactly dialogical, talmudic response:
“They did what Israelis almost always do when faced with serious problems or serious arguments; they don’t get to grips with the matter itself but select some minor detail and belabor it endlessly. Practically speaking no one tried to disprove the assertions of the officers, neither concerning the proposed attack on Iran nor the nuclear issue. They focused on the speakers, not on what was said: Dagan and Diskin are embittered because their terms of office were not extended. They felt humiliated–venting personal frustration”. Then Diskin on Netanyahu: “a Holocaust obsessed fantasist, out of contact with reality, distrusting all Goyim, trying to follow in the footsteps of a rigid and extremist father-altogether a dangerous person to lead a nation in real crisis” according to Avnery.
Solution: A Middle East nuclear free zone with Iran and Israel; 64 percent of Israelis are in favor, Iran the same provided Israel is in it. Could also be a model for the Korean peninsula. Agreement to try, a sigh of relief all over, both countries would be embraced.
There are problems: under whose auspices and whose monitoring. How about Pakistan and Ali Bhutto’s “islamic bomb”, impossible without India that has superpower denuclearization as condition?
There are answers, all worth discussing, in depth, seriously.
Israel is wasting its time. A wonderful talmudic tradition, a precious freedom of expression–generally very present in Ha’aretz–and misused for personal abuse instead of for solutions to very real crises. Like Peter Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism, and Gershom Gorenberg, The Unmaking of Israel (2011).
What stands in the way? The horrors of the past defining the discourse. Like some Iraqis use the Baghdad massacre in 1258, some Israelis use the holocaust as a framework for world events, blind to the differences, and to what could have been done at that time. And many let this pass not to hurt Israeli-Jewish feelings or for fear of being labeled as anti-Semites or holocaust-deniers. Not Dagan, Diskin and some generals. Nor real friends searching for solutions: not anti-Semites, nor holocaust deniers, nor prisoners of the past.
Third case: Israel vs Palestine. I have argued since 1971 a Middle East Community of Israel with five Arab neighbors, Palestine recognized according to international law, 1967 borders with some exchanges, Israeli cantons on the West bank and Palestinian cantons in northwest Israel. Solution: A two-state Israel-Palestine nucleus within that six-state community within an Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East (or West Asia). Model: Germany-France 1950, + EEC as of January 1 1958, + OSCE from 1990 onwards. Open borders, a council of ministers, commissions for water, border patrols, economy; capitals in the two Jerusalems; right of return, also for Palestinians: numbers to be discussed, as Arafat insisted.
What stands in the way? Key Israeli and Arab contra-arguments: “Surrounded by hostile Arabs we cannot let them in that close, they overpower us numerically, push us into the sea” says one; “The Jews penetrate us economically and run our economies”, says the other.
There are answers: Decisions would have to be by consensus. Start slowly with free flow of goods, persons, services and ideas; settlement and investment perhaps later. Build confidence. Change a relation badly broken by naqba into a peaceful, evolving relation.
Fourth case: A recipe for disaster: minorities, outsiders in key niches like economy-culture: Turks vs Armenians, Hutus vs Tutsis, Indonesians vs Chinese. But not Malays vs Chinese due to Mahathir’s discrimination in favor of the majority. Israel would gain from lifting the Arabs out of this social rank discordance; also a feature of Germany. Add the Versailles Treaty humiliation, Hitler and willing executioners.
Solution? Cancel the Versailles treaty in 1924, lift the German majority through education and employment into equality and we might have avoided World War II in Europe. What is rationality? Not justify, but explain, understand, and then remove the causes!
What stood in the way? Very few thought of this.
So much for a major fourth conflict of the past. Fifth case: rampant US anti-Semitism, now latent, using scapegoating to explain the decline of the USA and Israel; failing to grasp solutions for their eyes, both lost in the past, one in glory, one in trauma.
Imagine USA losing even more: support from allies, the magic of being exceptional-invincible-indispensable gone, torn between misery at the bottom and incredible riches at the top, the dollar no longer a world reserve currency, etc. A real fear right now: rampant anti-Semitism in the USA. This must be handled constructively, not by churning out anti-Semitism certificates, scaring US congressmen from questioning Israel, thereby jeopardizing US democracy itself. The tipping point from christian zionism to an anti-Semitism against Israel, Wall Street and American Jews in general may be close.
Solution: The US mainstream media become more pluralistic, less monochromatic, opening up to a range of discourses and solutions. Criticism of Israel and Wall Street is not enough, constructive solutions are needed. A solution culture, not a blaming culture. Like the ideas above for USA vs CELAC, Israel vs Iran, Israel vs Arab states. Nothing extreme, outlandish, and much to discuss.
But mainstream media constructive discussions are few in the US. There are hundreds of points to be made, like there once were when Europe was emerging from the ruins of World War II. Instead of degrading and humiliating Germany two brilliant French invited them into the family (now with its problems). Let thousand good ideas blossom! There is too much about the Cartagena sex scandal and too little about new ways of lifting the bottom of US poor into dignity, reducing the ever increasing inequality devastating the US economy.
What stands in the way? Clinging to the past, vested interests, the war industry, a blaming culture rather than a solution culture. But vast majorities and new and old media should be able to overcome.
Sixth case, very much related to this: debt bondage. China-Japan-EU vs USA; Germany vs Greece-Italy-Portugal-Spain-Ireland (GIPSI); the World Bank vs the Third World, with John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man as a gruesome illustration.
Yes, I have mentioned that fabrication by the Russian secret police, the Protocols–a conspiracy revealed long time ago. But like Mein Kampf condemnation is not enough, better know what one talks about. The Protocols read like a textbook on how to get others into debt bondage, starting with making workers believe they can be better paid and how these entitlements as they are called in the US debate can push a country into bondage. The first reaction to credit is a sigh of relief, the second is not knowing how to cut expenses or make some income to service the debt. The third is hatred mobilizing old traumas–look at Greece and Germany.
Solution: debt forgiveness, and contracting fewer debts. The time horizon can vary, and it must be accompanied by mobilization of all internal resources to lift the bottom up from suffering and into some acquisitive power, rejuvenating countrysides with agricultural cooperatives, trade among GIPSI countries. The threat to EU today is not only a single currency with no treasury–much better would have been the euro as a common currency–but a debt bondage gradient in what should be a more egalitarian community. The material out of which aggression is made. Not only forgiveness but also stimulus would be in Germany’s interest relative to the EU periphery, and the same goes for China relative to the USA (possibly coupled to agreed reduction of their arms budgets), and to the World Bank in general.
What stands in the way? Long on neo-liberal market ideology, short on eclecticism, of all good ideas, for alternative economies.
Conclusion: Humanity has vast positive and negative experiences. We should all join building on them, wherever they can be found.
(*) Some recent statements of mine, quoted out of context, have hurt some feelings. I apologize most sincerely for that, it was entirely unintended. One such context was the Breivik case in Norway with its many ramifications. A deeper context are the six conflicts addressed in this presentation.
[i] Uri Avnery, “A Putsch against War.” TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS May 7 2012.
Johan Galtung, a Professor of Peace Studies, is Rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years – 100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.
Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgment and link to the source, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS, is included. Thank you.
Ten of the world’s most powerful oil, gas and mining companies own 6,038 subsidiaries and over a third of them are based in secrecy jurisdictions, a new Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Norway report today reveals.
Secrecy jurisdictions facilitate illicit financial flows, to which the developing world loses US$1 trillion a year. The financial opacity created by the use of secrecy jurisdictions also undermines trust in markets and damages market efficiency.
Examining companies’ annual reports and stock exchange filings, PWYP Norway identified and located all of these companies’ subsidiaries. The report, Piping Profits found that:
2,083 (34.5%) of the 6,038 subsidiaries belonging to the 10 of the world’s most powerful Extractive Industry companies are incorporated in secrecy jurisdictions.
The global Extractive Industry’s favourite place to incorporate is by far the US state of Delaware with 15.2% of the subsidiaries located there.
The second favourite Extractive Industry Company (EIC) Secrecy Jurisdiction is the Netherlands, where 358 subsidiaries belonging to EI giants are based.
Chevron is the most opaque EIC major in this study. 62% of Chevron’s 77 subsidiaries are located in Secrecy Jurisdictions. ConocoPhillips is the second most opaque oil and gas major in this report with 57% of its 536 subsidiaries incorporated in Secrecy Jurisdictions.
Chevron, Conoco and Exxon are the three US EI major companies surveyed in this report. Combined, 439 (56.1%) of those three North American oil majors’ 783 subsidiaries are incorporated in Secrecy Jurisdictions.
Glencore International AG is the most opaque mining company in the Piping Profits survey with 46% of its 46 subsidiaries incorporated in Secrecy Jurisdictions.
These findings are of critical concern as natural resources offer the largest financial potential to improve economic and social opportunities for hundreds of millions of people living in least developed and emerging countries. By incorporating over a third of their subsidiaries in secrecy jurisdictions, the extractive industry is potentially complicit in suppressing these opportunities.
This is why, in order to combat this veil of secrecy, PWYP Norway believes every company should publish their full revenues, costs, profits, tax and the amount of natural resources it has used, written off and acquired in any given year in every country it operates. This is known as country-by-country reporting (CBCR).
The enormous scale of the Extractive Industry’s reliance on secrecy jurisdictions, which have the potential to be used by companies in complicated ownership structures to shroud revenues and profits, comes as pressure mounts on US and EU policymakers to come up with measures that could counter corruption and aggressive tax avoidance by forcing companies to reveal key financial information in every country where they do business.
Mona Thowsen, national co-ordinator of Publish What You Pay Norway, said: “What this study shows is that the extractive industry ownership structure and its huge use of secrecy jurisdictions may work against the urgent need to reduce corruption and aggressive tax avoidance in this sector.
“This is why there is a large and growing body of opinion throughout the world now demanding the introduction of CBCR because it is a vital tool to reduce corruption, secrecy and aggressive tax avoidance that particularly harms people in developing and emerging economies.”
The Piping Profit report also involved journalists from Bolivia and Ecuador attempting to establish key financial and operational performance information from strategically important natural resource companies in their countries. However a month-long concerted attempt to gain information from companies yielded nothing, reflecting the veil of secrecy which citizens face in the campaign to find out what is happening to their resources.
“I always heard it was very complex – and sometimes even dangerous – to obtain financial information about Extractive Industry activities,” said Bolivian Marco Escalera, co-ordinator for major Southern Hemisphere campaign group Somos Sur, after spending six weeks attempting to draw out key financial information from EICs operating in his country. “Whether it is the extractive industries or the state itself, they close ranks against the common enemy: civil society questions. The story is repeated over and over again: Access to timely and reliable information is not good enough.”
Notes to Editors
1) The 10 Extractive Industry Companies featured in Piping Profits are BP, Chevron, ConoccoPhillips, Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell plus Anglo-American, Barrick Gold Corporation, BHP Billiton, Glencore International AG and Rio Tinto.
2) All data was based on these companies’ subsidiaries and taken from Annual Returns filed at Companies House in the UK and Stock Exchange filings made at the US Securities Exchange Commission and the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada.
3) Secrecy Jurisdictions are defined using an Opacity Score benchmark which was devised as part of the 2009 Financial Secrecy Index. All jurisdictions which scored over 50% are defined as Secrecy Jurisdictions. Our study, Piping Profits also scored companies against Tax Haven Lists created by the IMF and the US Internal Revenue Service. Please see the attached report.
4) Delaware is an acknowledged headquarters of global corporate secrecy where among other things details of trusts on public record are not available; international regulatory requirements are not sufficiently complied with; company accounts are not available on public record; beneficial ownership of companies is not recorded on public record and company ownership details are not maintained in official records.
5) The Netherlands is the largest host of conduit companies worldwide and is an important jurisdiction for corporate internal debt shifting.
6) The 2010 Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Act (Dodd-Frank) requires all American firms to report to the SEC the detailed payments made to any state in which it operates. The SEC is finalising how those rules will be applied. In addition, the European Commission is expected to present proposals for country-by-country financial reporting for extractive companies to the European Parliament and EU member states in October 2011 Source
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