Tag Archives: Africa

Lawyer gets threats for defending gays

Yaounde – Cameroon lawyer Alice Nkom, who is known for defending gays and lesbians in a country where homosexuality is outlawed, said on Tuesday that she has been receiving death threats from anonymous callers over her stance.

“Since October 18, I have become the victim of anonymous death threats,” she said, adding that she has been warned to stop defending homosexuals.

“In the beginning, there were calls at 04:00 in the morning. Now they are sending SMSes,” she said, adding that she received the latest text message at 03:00 on Tuesday.

She said one such SMS read: “Lesbian whore, it’s your turn to suffer. Watch your back well as your security is very weak. We will give you a demonstration when the moment comes. No respite for gays in our country.”

Nkom said that the threats also targeted her children, but she vowed that they “cannot discourage me from my fight”.

 

– AFP

Ambam – Two women on trial in Cameroon for homosexuality pleaded not guilty on Thursday as their lawyers sought an annulment of the trial over alleged rights abuses.

“Not guilty”, said Esther, 29, and Martine, 26, whose full names are being withheld to protect them in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

The two are charged with “having intercourse with a person of the same sex”.

Their lawyer, gay activist Alice Nkom, asked the court in Ambam in south Cameroon to annul the case as investigators had failed to inform her clients of their right to legal counsel or to remain silent.

“Since this case began, we have been the laughing stock of our town. We are being treated as witches,” Esther told AFP on leaving the courtroom, which was packed with curious onlookers and supporters

“I do not see what they did wrong to deserve this,” onlooker Fabrice Ngningha told AFP.

But another passerby, who refused to give her name, said: “It is not normal that two women sleep together. They must be condemned, as an example to their children.”

Martine has two children and Esther one.

– SAPA

Liberia’s senate to consider anti-gay bill

2012-02-24 07:50

Monrovia – Liberia’s senate will consider a bill to strengthen the nation’s existing anti-gay laws, a senator said, as another West African nation, Cameroon, announced the arrest of 10 women suspected of being lesbians.

Cameroon Radio Television reported on Thursday that the 10 women are being detained in Ambam, about 300km south of the capital of Yaounde, until they go to trial.

Consensual same-gender sex is considered criminal in Cameroon and punishable by a jail sentence from six months to five years and a fine. Gay rights defender and founder of the Association for the Defence of Homosexuals, Alice Nkom, says detainees in Cameroon are frequently tortured in police stations to force them confess.

Meanwhile, Liberia’s former first lady, Senator Jewel Taylor, submitted a bill last week that would prohibit same-sex marriage and make homosexuality a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“We are only strengthening the existing law,” she said. “Some media are reporting that I said anyone found guilty of involvement in same sex should face the death penalty, I did not say so, I am calling for a law that will make it a first degree felony,” she told the Associated Press.

The current law considers gay relationships a first-degree misdemeanour, which carries a punishment of up to a year in prison.

We are looking at it critically” and will put it before the entire Senate “during our next sitting on Thursday”, Senator Joseph Nagbe, chairperson of the Judicial Committee, told The Associated Press.

Wave of intense homophobia

If passed by the Senate, the strengthened bill would then go the House and then the president.

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a recent Nobel Peace Prize winner, has said she will not sign any such bill into law.

“Liberia is a member of the global community and therefore cannot kick against the rights of others to do what they choose to do,” said Archie Ponpon, chairperson of the newly-formed gay rights advocacy group the Movement for the Defence of Gays and Lesbians in Liberia.

Ponpon and his family have already faced hostility because of his fight for gay rights in Liberia. Weeks ago, his mother’s house was set on fire and he and another advocate, Abraham Kamara, were mobbed by angry students while campaigning at the University of Liberia.

“We will not relent,” he said. “People will come to the realisation that in this day and age, individuals should be free to practice what they wish.”

A wave of intense homophobia has been washing across Africa in the past few years, where homosexuality is already illegal in many countries.

“It’s getting worse,” Cameroon gay rights defender Nkom said of homophobia.

People accused of homosexuality are put in jail straight away” she told reporters in November after three men were each sentenced to five years in prison for homosexual acts.

Death threats

International rights groups, including Amnesty International, have frequently lambasted Cameroon’s homosexuality law, demanding its abolition.

But the authorities have turned a deaf ear to such requests. Last year, the government demanded and successfully obtained the withdrawal of grants allocated the Association for the Defence of Homosexuals by the European Union.

Nkom said she has received numerous death threats from fellow lawyers and Cameroonians, as well as a threat from the Ministry of Justice to dismiss her from the country’s roster of legal practitioners.

Contempt for homosexuals has led to anti-gay legal measures elsewhere in Africa. Last year, Nigeria’s Senate voted in favor of a bill that would criminalize gay marriage, gay advocacy groups and same-sex public displays of affection. Two years ago, Ugandan legislators introduced a bill that would impose the death penalty for some gays and lesbians, though it has yet to become law.

In January, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said African nations should stop treating gays as “second-class citizens, or even criminals”. Ban told African leaders that discrimination based on sexual orientation “had been ignored or even sanctioned by many states for far too long”.

– SAPA

Uganda raids gay rights workshop

2012-02-15 07:53

Kampala – A Ugandan minister on Tuesday raided and shut down a workshop run by homosexual rights activists in Entebbe, Amnesty International reported, days after a draconian anti-gay bill was reintroduced.

The London-based rights watchdog said in a statement that Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo, also a priest, raided the workshop flanked by police and expelled its participants from the Entebbe hotel where it was being held.

This is an outrageous attempt to prevent lawful and peaceful activities of human rights defenders in Uganda,” Amnesty International said.

Ugandan police spokesperson Asuman Mugenyi said: “Gay activities are illegal activities under our law and our law has not been amended.”

Homosexuality is already punishable by life imprisonment in Uganda but a recently reintroduced bill proposes to toughen the law, notably by criminalising acts aiding or abetting homosexuality.

The bill, which enjoys wide support in the east African country’s parliament, initially envisioned making certain homosexual acts punishable by death.

But the bill’s author, MP David Bahati, said last week after an international outcry that he wanted to drop the death sentence clauses.

Gambia president will cut off gay’s head

2012-02-14 22:34

Banjul – Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on Tuesday reiterated his stance that he would never accept homosexuality in his country, after recent pressure from abroad on African states to respect gay rights.

“We know what human rights are. Human beings of the same sex cannot marry or date,” Jammeh said while swearing in 15 ministers of his new government.

“If you think it is human rights to destroy our culture, you are making a great mistake because if you are in the Gambia, you are in the wrong place then,” he added.

In 2008, Jammeh gave an ultimatum to homosexuals to leave the country and vowed to “cut off the head” of any homosexual found in the Gambia.

In the west African nation homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment, for men and women. Jammeh has threatened to introduce even stricter laws.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently told leaders at an African Union summit they must respect gay rights.

“If we Africans are to build our societies based on outside dictates and structure, our cultures based on alien cultures, we will be the losers,” said Jammeh.

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The Darkness of Blood Diamonds Fueling Civil Wars

Violence Diamonds are supposed to be symbols of love, commitment, and joyful new beginnings. But for many people in diamond-rich countries, these sparkling stones are more a curse than a blessing. Too often, the world’s diamond mines produce not only diamonds – but also civil wars, violence, human rights abuses, worker exploitation, environmental degradation, and unspeakable human suffering. Not long ago, the public started to become aware that large numbers of diamonds are mined in violent and inhumane settings. Consumers are now demanding, with ever greater urgency, that their diamonds be free from bloodshed and human rights abuses. So far, however, the diamond industry’s response has been woefully inadequate. Diamonds with violent histories are still being mined and allowed to enter the diamond supply, where they become indistinguishable from other gems. Violence, human rights abuses, and other injustices remain an everyday aspect of diamond mining. Fueling Civil Wars In just the past two decades, seven African countries have endured brutal civil conflicts fueled by diamonds: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Diamonds intensify civil wars by financing militaries and rebel militias. These groups also fight with each other to control diamond-rich territory. The tragic result is bloodshed, loss of life, and shocking human rights abuses – from rape to the use of child soldiers. Diamonds that fuel civil wars are often called “blood” or “conflict” diamonds. Although many diamond-fueled wars have now ended, conflict diamonds remain a serious problem. Civil conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire, the Central African Republic, and the DRC continue to this day. So far, the war in the DRC alone has cost more than 5 million lives. In addition, millions of people are dealing with the long-term consequences of these wars: friends and family members lost, lives shattered, and physical and emotional scars that will last generations. Human Rights Abuses Diamond mining is plagued by shocking violence and human rights abuses. Killings, beatings, rape, torture, child labor, forced labor, and other abuses all too frequently take place in connection with diamond mining. Often, these abuses happen in the midst of civil wars. But human rights violations are also a regular part of diamond mining in countries that are not officially at war. At Brilliant Earth, we believe it is important to break the link between diamonds and all forms of violence. The diamond industry’s attempt to stop violence tied to diamond mining resulted in the establishment of the Kimberley Process, an international diamond certification scheme, in 2003. Unfortunately, the Kimberley Process only places a ban on diamonds that finance rebel movements in war-torn countries. When diamond miners are killed, tortured, raped, or beaten by their own governments – or when children are forced to mine for diamonds – the Kimberley Process does not take action. Instead, it certifies these diamonds as “conflict free” and allows them to be shipped to consumers around the world. Zimbabwe Despite killings, torture, and other outrageous human rights violations in Zimbabwe’s diamond mining operations, the Kimberley Process certifies Zimbabwean diamonds for export and allows them to be sold in jewelry stores worldwide. Human rights abuses in Zimbabwe starkly illustrate how the Kimberley Process is failing to stop the bloodshed that so often accompanies diamond mining. The trigger for these abuses was the discovery of a massive diamond deposit in 2006. The Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe potentially could produce $2 billion in rough diamonds per year – or over 10% of the global diamond supply. In 2008, the Zimbabwean army decided to seize the Marange diamond fields for itself. In a violent takeover, the army massacred more than 200 local diamond miners, at times shooting live ammunition from helicopters. Since then, the army has forced local adults and children to mine for diamonds on its behalf. Soldiers punish diamond miners who disobey with indiscriminate violence, including killings, beatings, rape, and torture. Profits from this shocking system of mining diamonds are being used to enrich military leaders and help keep President Robert Mugabe, a brutal dictator, in power. In mid 2009, the Kimberley Process finally ordered a review mission to Zimbabwe. The investigation confirmed that Zimbabwe was guilty of serious human rights violations. In response, the Kimberley Process temporarily banned Marange diamond exports. However, the Kimberley Process has since allowed exports to resume. Meanwhile, the army continues to force people to mine for diamonds and even run torture camps for uncooperative diamond miners. Côte d’Ivoire Diamonds are prolonging a bitter civil war in Côte d’Ivoire, also known as the Ivory Coast. Since 2004, the war has been mostly at a stalemate, with the north controlled by rebels and the south by government forces. To prevent diamonds from funding the conflict, the Kimberley Process and the United Nations placed a ban on the export of Côte d’Ivoire diamonds in 2005. Rebels, however, have not abided by the ban. The Kimberley Process has been urged to tighten controls, but has done very little. Every year, rebels smuggle about $20 million worth of diamonds into neighboring countries. Rebels exchange these diamonds for weapons and other supplies. Diamond mining is thus helping to strengthen the rebels and extend the conflict. In 2010, a disputed presidential election led to a constitutional crisis. Rebel soldiers swept southward in support of Alassane Ouattara, their preferred candidate and the rightful election winner. In the five months of fighting that followed, at least 3,000 people were killed and atrocities were committed by both government and rebel forces. These atrocities are still being investigated, but diamond-funded weapons likely contributed to the bloodshed. Angola A decade after the end of a brutal diamond-funded civil war, Angola is now a member of the Kimberley Process and the world’s fifth largest diamond exporter. But a flourishing diamond trade has not made Angola a more responsible diamond producer. Angola’s diamond fields are once again the scene of horrific violence. In recent years, diamond miners from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been streaming into northeast Angola to mine for diamonds. Most miners cross the border illegally and do not have legal permission to mine. Angolan soldiers, as well as private security guards for mining corporations, have been brutally cracking down on these foreign miners. Thousands of miners and their families have been beaten, tortured, sexually abused, and even killed. Soldiers routinely demand bribes, beating and killing those miners who do not cooperate. In 2009, the Angolan army launched an operation that, over a seven month period, led to the violent expulsion of 115,000 Congolese miners. In 2011, a United Nations monitor documented 21,000 cases of serious human rights violations – including rape, beatings and torture – among miners who recently had been expelled. The monitor also found evidence that Angolan soldiers are systematically raping Congolese women and girls. Central African Republic A toxic mixture of diamonds, corruption, and ethnic tensions is tearing the Central African Republic apart. This small country in the middle of Africa now has two rebel groups using diamonds to finance their insurgent activities. Rebel groups have been violently seizing control of diamond mines and even fighting with each other to control diamond mining territory. In 2011, diamond-fueled violence flared up near the diamond mining town of Bria, in the eastern part of the country. Clashes between rebels led to the deaths of at least 50 people. It is now clear that diamonds from the Central African Republic are contributing to chronic instability. Nevertheless, the Kimberley Process continues to certify diamonds from the Central African Republic as conflict free. Democratic Republic of Congo Of all the conflicts in the world today, the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the deadliest by far. Since the late 1990s, rebel armies have been exploiting the country’s gem and mineral resources and funneling the profits toward insurgent activities. To date, more than 5 million people have died as a result of the war. Many more people have been raped, terrorized, and uprooted from their homes. Diamonds helped start this conflict, and they continue to fuel the violence. Partnership Africa Canada, a leading human rights organization, has documented how rebel soldiers are exploiting diamond-rich areas in eastern Congo. These diamonds are sustaining a civil war that, well into its second decade, is still tearing lives apart. Army abuses Zimbabweans to control diamond fields-HRW * Police and army use brutal force, rights group says * HRW says income funnelled to Mugabe party officials * Minister says reports of killings false By Tiisetso Motsoeneng JOHANNESBURG, June 26 (Reuters) – Zimbabwean police and army are using brutal methods to control diamond fields, forcing children and adults to work and beating local villagers, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday. In a report on Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields, it said the military, which remains under the control of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF under a power-sharing deal, killed more than 200 people in a takeover of the fields in late 2008. “The police and army have turned this peaceful area into a nightmare of lawlessness and horrific violence,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Zimbabwe’s new government should get the army out of the fields, put a stop to the abuse, and prosecute those responsible.” Mugabe’s unity government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is under pressure to create a democracy and improve Zimbabwe’s human rights record to get billions of dollars from Western donors demanding political and economic reforms. The new administration says it needs $10 billion to rebuild a shattered economy and win the confidence of millions of Zimbabweans who have faced years of bare hospitals, potholed streets and staggering unemployment. But foreign investors and donors are likely to remain cautious for months, if not years, piling pressure on old foes Mugabe and Tsvangirai to work together and enact reforms, including greater government transparency. “Some income from the fields has been funnelled to high-level party members of ZANU-PF, which is now part of a power-sharing government that urgently needs revenue as the country faces a dire economic crisis,” the report said. Zimbabwe’s Deputy Mines and Mining Development Minister Murisi Zwizwai told a business seminar that reports of killings in Marange were false and “contrary to allegations, nobody was killed by security”. Industry experts say legal diamond output and sales account for less than 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s mining earnings, but have potential to join gold and platinum among country’s big earners if the government clamps down on smuggling. Foreign investors are looking anew at mining opportunities mineral-producing Zimbabwe, especially deposits of platinum, gold and diamonds. While some have ventured back, others are waiting for the legal framework to be strengthened. Human Rights Watch said it based its findings on more than 100 one-on-one interviews with witnesses, local miners, police officers, soldiers, local community leaders, victims and relatives, medical staff, human rights lawyers, and activists in Harare, Mutare, and Marange district in eastern Zimbabwe. “Those interviewed said that police officers, who were deployed in the fields from November 2006 to October 2008 to end illicit diamond smuggling, were in fact responsible for serious abuses — killings, torture, beatings, and harassment — often by so-called ‘reaction teams’, which drove out illegal miners,” it said. (Writing by Michael Georgy) REUTERS Blood Diamonds From Zimbabwe Human rights observers agree: diamonds from Zimbabwe are blood diamonds. Zimbabwean diamonds are tainted by human rights violations including torture, forced labor, child labor, sexual violence, and murder. They are also helping to keep a brutal dictator in power. Unfortunately, the discovery of a massive diamond deposit is about to make Zimbabwe the world’s leading diamond producer. Unless something is done, blood diamonds from Zimbabwe will soon flood the market. Sadly, the Kimberley Process (KP), the international diamond certification scheme created to halt the blood diamond trade, has failed to put a stop to Zimbabwe’s horrendous mining practices. The KP certifies Zimbabwean diamonds as “conflict free,” allowing human rights abuses to continue and giving its stamp of approval to torture, rape, and murder. As a result, consumers are at a greater risk than ever of buying a blood diamond. 1. Diamond fields in Zimbabwe could be the most valuable ever discovered. In 2006, villagers in the Marange district of eastern Zimbabwe discovered a massive diamond deposit. By some estimates, the Marange diamond fields could produce as much as 40 million carats a year—worth about $2 billion, or over 10% of the global diamond supply. The total value of Marange gems may be as high as $800 billion, making the Marange diamond fields the richest ever found. If predictions are correct, Zimbabwe will become the world’s leading diamond exporter within a few years. Zimbabwe’s astonishing diamond resources could help lift millions of people out of poverty and transform Zimbabwe’s economy. But in Zimbabwe’s case, such vast diamond wealth has led to human misery on an equally grand scale. 2. Zimbabwe’s diamonds are linked to grave human rights abuses including torture, forced labor, sexual violence, and murder. In 2008, the Zimbabwean army seized control of the Marange diamond fields, at times shooting live ammunition from helicopters. More than 200 local miners were massacred. After the takeover, the army began running mining operations itself. Local residents, including children, were forced to mine for diamonds in slave-like conditions. Killings, beatings, torture, and sexual violence were used by the army to keep local residents working and maintain a climate of fear. Despite widespread international attention, little has changed. The military has not withdrawn from the Marange diamond fields. Serious human rights abuses continue, including forced labor, torture, beatings, and harassment. In October 2011, the BBC confirmed that the Zimbabwean military runs secret camps where diamond miners who fail to hand over their earnings are tortured, beaten, and raped. 3. Zimbabwean diamonds are helping to sustain a brutal dictator. Top military officials and political allies of President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s despotic leader, are smuggling Marange diamonds out of the country and keeping the profits for themselves. Mugabe is depending on diamond revenues to fill the coffers of his political party, ZANU-PF, as national elections near. In power since 1980, Mugabe has used his office to torture, harass, and kill his political opponents. His wrongheaded policies have led to mass impoverishment, the outbreak of epidemics, and the death of thousands of people. In 2010, the United Nations rated Zimbabwe last on its index of human development. Mugabe is considered a target for prosecution for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court. 4. The Kimberley Process certifies blood diamonds from Zimbabwe as “conflict free.” In November 2009, the KP placed a temporary ban on the export of Marange diamonds. Zimbabwe was asked to withdraw its army from the Marange diamond fields, end human rights abuses, and curb smuggling. Zimbabwe clearly has not complied with KP demands. To add further insult, in June 2010, Zimbabwean police raided the offices of an organization working directly with the KP to document human rights abuses in the Marange diamond fields. Farai Maguwu, the organization’s director, was arrested and jailed. He was later released, but only after his designation as a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. Despite Zimbabwe’s complete lack of compliance, the KP has bowed to political pressure. In November 2011, it lifted the ban on Marange diamonds. Zimbabwe is now permitted to export these blood diamonds with “conflict free” certification. As diamond industry veteran Martin Rapaport notes, “Instead of eliminating blood diamonds, the KP has become a process for the systematic legalization and legitimization of blood diamonds.” 5. Zimbabwean diamonds are about to flood jewelers’ inventories. The KP’s decision in 2011 opens the floodgates to blood diamonds from Zimbabwe. Since 2006, Zimbabwe has stockpiled an estimated $1.7 billion in Marange diamonds. These diamonds are now being released into the international diamond supply. In future years, as production ramps up, more blood diamonds worth billions of dollars will be entering the diamond supply chain. Safeguards to prevent U.S. consumers from purchasing blood diamonds remain inadequate. A study of jewelry retailers found that 56% of jewelers do not even have an auditing procedure in place to prevent the retail of conflict diamonds. Those jewelers claiming to sell “conflict free” diamonds almost always rely on the faulty KP certification. In fact, KP certification provides no protection against the purchase of a blood diamond from Zimbabwe. Financial Overhaul Bill Takes Aim at Dirty Gold The financial regulatory bill signed into law by President Obama last month primarily aims to overhaul the guidelines that govern Wall Street. While we will leave it to the political pundits and the economists to provide commentary on the bill’s implications for the U.S. financial system, we would like to highlight a little-noted provision in the bill that affects the market for luxury jewelry. Hidden away in a section entitled “Miscellaneous Provisions” is a measure requiring large, publicly-traded companies to report to the federal government whether certain “conflict minerals” in their products come from the Democratic Republic of Congo or the surrounding region. Since 1998, a civil war in Congo has claimed more than 5 million lives, making it one of the deadliest wars in history. As we wrote in our blog last December, the conflict has been fueled, in large part, by contestation over mineral resources. The goal of the provision is to create a degree of transparency and accountability surrounding minerals in these regions. The provision in the financial bill targets several minerals—including tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold—that are mined in Congo and that have been contributing to the bloodshed. Many of these minerals are typical components of products such as laptops and cell phones. Gold, of course, is a major component of jewelry. However, most major jewelry retailers in the United States are presently unable to say with any certainty whether the gold in their jewelry comes from Congo. We attribute this untenable situation to indifference and lack of initiative, as well as to the difficulties inherent in tracing a fungible metal like gold back to the source. At Brilliant Earth, we use only recycled gold and fair trade gold in our jewelry, allowing us to be certain that none of our gold originates in Congo and that it meets the highest of ethical standards. We, at Brilliant Earth, hope this bill will use government leverage to speed up the process of creating a more transparent and accountable gold supply chain. Although the bill does not ban the sale of gold from Congo, it should give consumers and jewelry retailers the information they need to avoid buying and selling such gold. Potentially just as important, the bill may spur reforms that will make all gold, not just gold from Congo, more easily traceable. In many places, although gold is not contributing to civil wars, it is not being mined in a way that is ethical or environmentally responsible. Jewelry buyers deserve to know where their gold comes from and the conditions under which it is mined so that they can make informed decisions. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has until April 17, 2011 to promulgate regulations that will clarify the meaning of the bill’s measures against Congo gold. Much of the effectiveness of the law will depend on the regulations that the SEC adopts. As the law is implemented, Brilliant Earth will continue to fight for increased transparency in the gold supply chain and to support efforts to develop responsible sources of gold. READ MORE AT:http://www.brilliantearth.com/confict-diamond-trade/


Lawless Land : Libya



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Published on Apr 23, 2012 by journeymanpictures

Divided Libya awaits election results amid ongoing violence

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Gaddafi may be gone but Libya is now a country in chaos. Rebel groups are flush with weapons and taking the law into their own hands, persecuting those thought to have been allied to Gaddafi’s regime.

Libya’s power vacuum has been filled by heavily armed rebels who still control much of the war-torn nation. Images of the sprawling refugee camps reveal the extent of the country’s destroyed infrastructure. Mohammed Swehli, a commander of one of the major Misratan Rebel Brigades, denies the widespread allegations of torture and abuse. “They’re not bandits, they’re not militia groups”, he says of the rebels. But video after video has emerged of the torture of perceived Gaddafi loyalists, most of them far too gruesome to broadcast. In some cases the brutal treatment appears to be based solely on the colour of the victim’s skin. This report gained rare access to the prisons where thousands are being held indefinitely without charge. One former prisoner shows pictures of his injuries. “This is when they beat me with electric cables. They called me slave”, he says. With upcoming elections and new fears over a split between the country’s east and west, what does the future hold for post-revolution Libya?

A Film By SBS
Distributed By Journeyman Pictures
April 2012


Big pharma takes aim at deadly counterfeits

 

By Katie McQue [Source]

GATEWAY TO AFRICA | In Africa the cost of all medications, including generic drugs, exceeds the means of most and many people are faced with a grim choice: purchase counterfeit medications, ingredients unknown, or go without treatment.

With 30% of the total available pharmaceuticals in Uganda believed to be counterfeit, the country, like many others, is struggling to keep control of a business that is both deadly and lucrative.

“A lot of deaths occur. But nobody reports these and nobody is going to investigate,” said Suraj Ali, a partner at the Ugandan legal firm Muwema & Mugerwa.

The situation in Uganda is typical in much of sub-Saharan Africa, and the reasons are economic. In regions of high prevalence of poverty the cost of all medications, including generic drugs, exceeds the means of most. Few people have medical insurance, and they are faced with a grim choice: purchase counterfeit medications – ingredients unknown – or simply go without treatment.

The big pharmaceutical firms are worried. “When you visit a market in Tanzania, you see that they are being sold everywhere,” Ed Wheatley, AstraZeneca’s investigations director for the region, said at June’s Visiongain Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting conference, in which representatives from major drug makers gathered to deliberate the problem.

This big problem is also a big business – it is widely estimated that counterfeit drugs have an annual turnover of US$75 billion worldwide, with a profit margin of about 70%. This means that the global share of counterfeit medications is 10% of the pharmaceutical market. Around the world 200,000 people die annually due to counterfeits.

Most of the fakes hail from factories in China, India and Pakistan, and counterfeiters are more concerned with matching the packaging than the ingredients of the original. Criminals steal hospital vials with branded labels, print their own hologrammed boxes – even buy tablet-making presses on eBay.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 32.1% of these drugs do not contain any active ingredients; 20.2% have incorrect quantities of active ingredients; 21.4% include wrong ingredients and 8.5% have high levels of impurities or contaminates.

The loss of sales and reputation is significant, as users of the fake drugs may still associate their illness with the genuine article. In some countries, drug makers can also be liable for harm caused by fakes.

In Germany, for example, a company can be called to account if it can be proven that it did not utilise all the possibilities provided by state-of-the-art technology to prevent counterfeiting. In most US states, any part of the manufacturing and sales chain can be liable for damages to the consumer arising from faults in a product’s construction, manufacturing or labelling.

Given this risk it is understandable why pharmaceutical companies are keen to intervene in the African counterfeit market. Some assist local governments with on-the-ground intelligence, leading to raids and prosecutions. This assistance is necessary in countries where awareness is low, resources devoted to the problem are scarce and corruption is high.

“There is a lot of corruption,” Ali said. “A lot of the magistrates are underpaid and they get bribed.

“We have a national drug authority that is supposed to prevent counterfeiting, but it is underfunded,” he added. “There are very few inspectors; they don’t have the equipment to check drugs properly… Things find their way into the country – the borders are very porous.”

 


The IMF And Monsanto :How They Rape Humanity

 

Source
AUSTRALIAN SBS-TV ‘DATELINE’: MR TSVANGIRAI HAS IN FACT, TOGETHER WITH THE CIA/MOSSAD – BEEN PLOTTING TO KILL PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE.

Henk Ruyssenaars

October 13th 2010 – Zimbabwe is in the mainstream propaganda press again: president Mugabe named six ambassadors and did not inform his prime minister Tsvangirai, it says. That’s – according to Tsvangirai ‘illegal’ – so he sends letters protesting this to the United Nations, the European Union, South-Africa, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. Asking those not to acknowledge the new ambassadors because they are supposed all to belong to Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF.

Concerning ‘justice’ and Africa one has to read it on Internet too: in many articles Zimbabwe and Mugabe are by the MSM described as too bad and as lawless, but when, how and why did it start?

Personally I don’t think any info in the MSM is correct at all. The problems in Zimbabwe in full strength began when Mugabe told the multinationals, IMF, World Bank – and especially Monsanto and its vile products – that he was throwing them out of the country.

Any country or people – not fully complying with the criminal multinational industrial/financial clan’s usurers – is attacked, demonized like Mugabe, and possibly destroyed.

In Africa (I lived there for ten years too, as many know by now) the predators have already been at work a long time, and so have their ‘economic hit men’ and errand ‘secret’ services like the CIA/NED etc. As well as global criminal organisations like the International Murder Fund (IMF) and the World (robbing) Bank. – Url.: http://tinyurl.com/6chyze

And of course the compliant propagandists in the warmongers media don’t mention it, but Australian TV in 2002 showed Tsvangirai preparing to kill Mugabe with some (fake?) Canadians, which most probably was a CIA/Mossad killing team.*

“Mr. Tsvangirai has in fact, been plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe,” the SBS-TV presentation of its documentary said. Which – as I said – also is kept out of the mainstream propaganda/information as well:

ZIMBABWE: TSVANGIRAI ACCUSED OF HIGH TREASON.

BY AFROL ZIMBABWE.

Afrol News, 25 February – 2002 – Morgan Tsvangirai, favourite to Zimbabwean presidential elections on 9-10 March and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), today was informed he would face charges of high of treason when he was questioned at Central Harare Police Station. Tsvangirai today was brought to the police station and was interrogated for two hours, but later released.

The MDC leader’s lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, said his client was to face charges of high treason over his alleged plot to “eliminate” President Robert Mugabe. High treason is punishable by death in Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai however said he had reason to believe police would not proceed with a prosecution before the election.

A special edition last week of Australian SBS-TV’s program ‘Dateline’ titled ‘Killing Mugabe – The Tsvangirai Conspiracy,’ claimed to “present evidence that the opposition leader has had no intention of letting the electoral process take its course. While parading his supposed democratic credentials, Mr Tsvangirai has in fact, been plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe,” the SBS presentation of its documentary says. Tsvangirai rejected these accusations, claiming the video showing himself and several Canadian consultants discussing what is to happen in Zimbabwe after “the head of state has been eliminated” had been a trap set up by the Zimbabwean government.

DISCUSSION AROUND THE ISSUE OF THE ELIMINATION OF MUGABE

Indeed, the Canadians suddenly “from nowhere introduced discussion around the issue of elimination,” moving him to “burst out of their meeting,” Tsvangirai declared last week. The MDC later found the Canadian company had contacts with ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe’s ruling party.” – [end excerpt] – You can read the rest, and make up your own mind about Zimbabwe and Africa at Url.: http://tinyurl.com/6grol6

The multinationals do in Africa what they’ve done – and are doing – elsewhere too: stealing and killing if they don’t immediately get what they want. – HR & Africa – Url.: http://tinyurl.com/5mj7sj

I’VE SAID IT BEFORE: FIRST WE ROB THEM BLIND FOR AGES.

AND THEN WE ACCUSE THEM OF NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE!

This is what president Mugabe and many other Africans are utterly angry about too: the inhuman Rothschild empire’s financial usury system does to countries and continents the worst in its quest for power and profit; at any cost to the others. No wonder they see red now and then.

The worst picture depicting African reality, symbolizing everything going on, is this picture of the vulture waiting for a child to die. No wonder photographer Kevin Carter committed suicide some time after taking the picture. For which he – while still alive – got a Pulitzer Prize as well. Then he killed himself. – Url.: http://tinyurl.com/6x59ms

Look at what the day and night do to people all around the world, and in Africa too: according to a UNICEF report, which did not get any publicity and at first was hard to find:

Five million children die in Africa yearly, and more than 10 million children around the world: Nigeria – The Tide – Sunday, Jun 1, 2008 – More than 10 million children around the world die before their fifth birthday every year, according to a new report by UNICEF, the United Nations Children Fund.

10 MILLION CHILD DEATHS ANNUALLY

The report, titled ‘The State of Africa’s Children 2008’ which was launched on May 28 at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Japan, which looked at the successes and failures of governments regarding the health and survival of the children of Africa, is complementary to a broader UNICEF report on the health of the world’s children.

Although Africa accounts for only 22 percent of births globally, half of the 10 million child deaths annually occur on the continent. Africa is the only continent that has seen rising numbers of deaths among children under five since the 1970s.

Many of these children die of preventable and curable diseases. UNICEF’s report says malaria is the cause of 18 percent of under-five deaths in Africa. Diarrheal diseases and pneumonia “both illnesses that thrive in poor communities where sanitation is severely compromised, and where residents are often undernourished and exposed to pollution” account for a further 40 percent of child deaths. Another major killer is AIDS.” – [end excerpt]

For those who don’t know yet about the ongoing infanticide, you can read the rest here at UNICEF – Url.: http://www.unicef.org/media/media_46565.html

The multinationals and their financial criminal cartel, rape humanity.

Empire you said? Vultures! That’s what they are!

DEMOCRACY FROM THE BARREL OF A GUN

Concerning Africa and many other continents, the US/UK junta and its financial cartel tries to take more and more, still via their propaganda lying it’s ‘helping’ people, or, a still worse threat: ”We want to come and spread democracy.”

They spread their brand of ‘democracy’ from the barrel of a gun, killing millions of human beings.

As an independent former Africa correspondent during ten years, I can only confirm that the multinational predators even try to get the last bit of meat on the cadavers. And globally the criminal banking cartel kills for profit and power. Until we people stop them.

Looks like we have to ‘neutralize’ them, before they kill us all.

Barbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

We here at the ranch know how to deal with pests. Specifically, flies. Flies can be a major source of discomfort to both animals and humans, and the larger the fly population gets, the more miserable your existence around them. These insipid pests buzz around and bother you until you either get rid of them or simply give up and leave until they are gone.

Flies are not only pests, but they carry disease. They feed on just about any type of food, digested or not, and are so persistent that they quickly monopolize any food anywhere. They lay eggs in wounds, which hatch into maggots that eat necrotic flesh.  Think of Monsanto as just such a pest. The difference being that the maggots know when to stop, Monsanto does not.  Think of the times that Monsanto has destroyed organic farms, laid its genetically modified “eggs” in the field, then stuck around to feed on the desperation and devastation its products cause.

When flies become a serious problem, then eradication is necessary – not only for health’s sake, but sanity as well, and it’s high time we got out the flyswatter and started eradicating some pesky, disease-ridden flies aka Monsanto. How? At the ranch remove all things that they are attracted to –  clean out the stalls, rotate and drag the pastures, and keep the manure piles down to a minimum because that is where they like to hatch their eggs. You also starve them until they no longer come around by removing food sources. In the case of one of the biggest pests around, Monsanto, you clean out your cupboards, rid your house of all biotech products, and keep your contact with them at a minimum. You starve the company until it no longer can make a dime off of you.

A Monopoly is a Monopoly is a Monopoly…

All species that feed off of others want a monopoly, and Monsanto and Goldman Sachs are no different. They don’t like to share their food supply, and we are on the table, dressed up like Thanksgiving turkeys. They feed off our ignorance, and if we do not recognize the deceptions they use, we can run out of precious life blood in no time. Make no mistake about it, these bloodsuckers will drain you dry until you drop dead, with smiles on their faces.

Monsanto is doing to our food supply what Goldman Sachs is doing to finances. And just how is that working out for us so far? Not too well you say?

They both have monopolies – one on seeds, the other on finances, and they have joined forces. Together, they are working hard at monopolizing both our natural seeds and finances, taking us to the brink of genetic extinction and leaving us to climb up, sick and penniless, out of the primordial ooze created by a deadly combination of pseudo-science and greed and topped off with an unhealthy dose of pure narcissism. To put it bluntly, we are living in a cesspool of genetically engineered garbage, the long term effects of which are just now being exposed, and we are being force-fed these abominations through stealth. They are not labeled, and these corporations don’t want them to be. While Goldman Sachs strangles the economy, throwing more and more people into low-income food assistance programs, people who have received the brunt of these destructive agendas eat what they can get, and what they get is processed GMOs, courtesy of Monsanto and all the other biotech firms following closely on the heels of the swarm leader.

A More Profitable Union

Not only does it appear that Monsanto and Goldman Sachs have a similar business ethic or lack thereof, but Goldman Sachs is currently taking a big interest in corn as well as promoting Monsanto. A marriage made in…. well, you know.

All throughout the epic surge in corn prices, the big Kahoona, Goldman Sachs, where buy means sell, and sell means Goldman’s traders are buying everything its clients have to dump, was quiet. That is no longer the case: “we recommend a short May-13 CBOT wheat position vs. a long May-13 CBOT corn position.” In other words, Goldman will now be selling May 13 corn.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/goldman-enters-corn-trade

And just who has a monopoly on corn via its genetically modified (GMO) corn seed? Why, Monsanto, of course! And just how much of the corn grown in the U.S. is GMO?

More than 90 percent of all soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified (GM) for herbicide resistance and are consequently sprayed with massive quantities of those toxic chemicals. Fully 85 percent of all corn grown in the country is also genetically engineered, either for herbicide resistance or to produce pesticides within its tissues. Since farmers sell their corn and soy to large distributors who mix the product together for processing, this essentially means that 100 percent of non-organic corn and soy products on the US market are GM.

http://www.naturalnews.com/034812_GMO_corn_soy.html#ixzz25L8Hin21

Here is Monsanto’s presentation for the Goldman Sachs Agricultural Biotech Forum 2011.

I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I think of Monsanto and Goldman Sachs flying wing in wing to their next victim, don’t you? Just think of the possibilities…. Then get serious about getting out of the system and into a more independent lifestyle.

What’s It Gonna Take?

Many local community gardening projects are springing up all over. One such project is LA Green Grounds. Elon writes, “LA Green Grounds volunteers design and build the new gardens, generally in front yards, teaching volunteers along the way and fostering community”.[read more]

 

 

 


Mefloquine: Roche’s Monster Gitmo’s God

 

Mefloquine hydrochloride (Lariam, Mephaquin or Mefliam) is an orally administered medication used in the prevention and treatment of malaria. Mefloquine was developed in the 1970s at the United States Department of Defense’s Walter Reed Army Institute of Research as a synthetic analogue of quinine. The brand name drug, Lariam, is manufactured by the Swiss company Hoffmann–La Roche. In August 2009, Roche stopped marketing Lariam in the United States. Generic mefloquine from other manufacturers is still widely available. Rare but serious neuropsychiatric problems have been associated with its use.

Medical uses

Mefloquine is used to both prevent and treat certain forms of malaria.[1]
Malaria prevention

Mefloquine is useful for the prevention of malaria in all areas except for those where parasites may have resistance to multiple drugs.[2] It is typically taken for one to two weeks before entering an area with malaria.[1] Doxycycline and atovaquone/proguanil provide protection within one to two days and may be better tolerated.[3][4] If a person becomes ill with malaria despite prophylaxis with mefloquine, the use of halofantrine and quinine for treatment may be ineffective.[5]
Malaria treatment

Once a person has contracted malaria, mefloquine is recommended as a second-line treatment for chloroquine-sensitive or resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria, and is deemed a reasonable alternative for uncomplicated chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax malaria.[1][5]

It is not recommended for severe malaria infections, particularly infections from P. falciparum, which should be treated with intravenous antimalarials.[1][5] Mefloquine does not eliminate parasites in the liver phase of the disease, and people with P. vivax malaria should be treated with a second drug that is effective for the liver phase, such as primaquine.[6]
In pregnancy and breastfeeding

A retrospective analysis of outcomes in more than 2,500 women found no evidence that mefloquine was associated with an increased risk of birth defects or miscarriages.[7]

The World Health Organization gives approval for the use of mefloquine in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and use in the first trimester does not mandate termination of pregnancy.[2] Women should not become pregnant and should use effective birth control while taking mefloquine.[8] It may be used during breastfeeding, though the drug appears in breast milk in low concentrations.[2][9]
Adverse effects

Mefloquine is contraindicated in those with a previous history of seizures or a recent history of psychiatric disorders.[1] Severe side effects requiring hospitalization are rare.[2] Rates of side effects appear similar to other medications used for malaria prevention.[3]
Neuropsychiatric

Neuropsychiatric effects are reported with mefloquine use.[1] The FDA product guide states it can cause mental health problems, including anxiety, hallucinations, depression, unusual behavior, and suicidal ideations, among others.[8] Some have reported severe central nervous system events requiring hospitalization in about one in 10,000 people taking mefloquine for malaria prevention, with milder events (e.g., dizziness, headache, insomnia, and vivid dreams) in up to 25%.[10] When some measure of subjective severity is applied to the rating of adverse events, about 11-17% of travelers are incapacitated to some degree.[3]
Pneumonitis

The FDA has reported an association with pneumonitis and eosinophilic pneumonia.[11]
Cardiac

Mefloquine may cause abnormalities with heart rhythms that are visible on electrocardiogram. Combining mefloquine with other drugs that cause similar effects, such as quinine or quinidine, can increase these effects. Combining mefloquine with halofantrine can cause significant increases in QTc intervals.[12]
Mechanism of action

The exact mechanism of action is uncertain. However, it is proposed to share a similar mechanism of action with chloroquine, which is inhibition of heme polymerase.
Elimination

Mefloquine is metabolized primarily through the liver. Its elimination in anyone with impaired liver function may be prolonged, resulting in higher plasma levels and an increased risk of adverse reactions. The mean elimination plasma half-life of mefloquine is between two and four weeks. Total clearance is through the liver, and the primary means of excretion is through the bile and feces as opposed to only 4% to 9% excreted through the urine. During long-term use, the plasma half-life remains unchanged.[13][14]

Liver function tests should be performed during long-term administration of mefloquine.[15] Alcohol use should be avoided during treatment with mefloquine.[16]
Chirality

Mefloquine is a chiral molecule with two asymmetric carbon centres, which means it has four different stereoisomers. The drug is currently manufactured and sold as a racemate of the (R,S)- and (S,R)-enantiomers by Hoffman-LaRoche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company. Essentially, it is two drugs in one. Plasma concentrations of the (–)-enantiomer are significantly higher than those for the (+)-enantiomer, and the pharmokinetics between the two enantiomers are significantly different. The (+)-enantiomer has a shorter half-life than the (–)-enantiomer.[3]

According to some research,[17] the (+)-enantiomer is more effective in treating malaria, and the (–)-enantiomer specifically binds to adenosine receptors in the central nervous system, which may explain some of its psychotropic effects. It is not known whether mefloquine goes through stereoisomeric switching in vivo.
History

Mefloquine was invented at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in the 1970s shortly after the end of the Vietnam war. Mefloquine was number 142,490 of a total of 250,000 antimalarial compounds screened during the study.[18]

Mefloquine was the first Public-Private Venture (PPV) between the US Department of Defense and a pharmaceutical company. WRAIR transferred all its phase I and phase II clinical trial data to Hoffman LaRoche and Smith Kline. FDA approval as a treatment for malaria was swift. Most notably, phase III safety and tolerability trials were skipped.[18]

However, mefloquine was not approved by the FDA for prophylactic use until 1989. This approval was based primarily on compliance, while safety and tolerability were overlooked.[18] Because of the drug’s very long half-life, the Centers for Disease Control originally recommended a mefloquine dosage of 250 mg every two weeks; however, this caused an unacceptably high malaria rate in the Peace Corps volunteers who participated in the approval study, so the drug regimen was switched to once a week.[3]

The first randomized, controlled trial on a mixed population was first performed in 2001. Roughly 67% reported greater than or equal to one adverse event, with 6% of the users reporting severe events requiring medical attention.[18]

With these data, the FDA and other international licensing authorities certainly would not have approved mefloquine for prophylactic use.[18]

No studies have been conducted on the effects of coadministration of mefloquine and other drugs. The ensuing fatal drug reactions might have been a result of this lack of knowledge of possible contraindications. Trials in the 1990s and early 2000s verified mefloquine’s neurotoxicity and significant potential for neuropsychiatric side effects.[18]

Postmarketing data were easily discounted as anecdotal and “media hype” by the US Army researchers and travel medicine practitioners.[18] Since the side effects mefloquine can cause have not been fully defined, and with no apparent incentive for the current manufacturers to further investigate mefloquine, the drug may be discarded.[18] As evidence, the US military dropped mefloquine as its primary antimalarial in 2009.[19][20]
Society and culture
United States military

On 2 February 2009, Lieutenant General Eric Schoomaker, Army Surgeon General, issued the following directive:

“In areas where doxycycline and mefloquine are equally efficacious in preventing malaria, doxycycline is the drug of choice. Mefloquine should only be used for personnel with contraindications to doxycycline and who do not have any contraindications to the use of mefloquine . . . . Mefloquine should not be given to soldiers with recent history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) or who have symptoms from a previous TBI. Malarone would be the treatment of choice for these soldiers who cannot take doxycycline or mefloquine.”[20]

The following September, Hon. Ellen Embry, then Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health, issued the same policy, making doxycycline the antimalarial of choice across all the US armed services.[19]

The 2012 CDC travel yellow book was recently amended to include a section of “special considerations for US military deployments”. It makes doxycycline the primary antimalarial prophylactic to be used for all military deployments. As a note of historical significance, Col Alan Magill and Col Robert Defriates coauthored this section.[21] Both were the primary promoters for the continued use of mefloquine by the US military in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Magill is the former commanding officer of the drug research unit at WRAIR that performed the studies to find a safer version of mefloquine. Defraites chaired the investigation into the 2002 murder/suicides at Ft. Bragg. There, four soldiers were accused of murdering their wives; two of these soldiers committed suicide. Their actions, as well as other military suicides, have been linked to Lariam use.[22][23]
Research

In June 2010, the first case report appeared of a progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy being successfully treated with mefloquine. Mefloquine can also act against the JC virus. Administration of mefloquine seemed to eliminate the virus from the patient’s body and prevented further neurological deterioration.[24]

WRAIR has published several papers outlining ongoing efforts at that institution to make mefloquine safer by producing a drug composed of only the (+)-enantiomer.

 


Ghosts of Rwanda

 

When the United Nations sent peacekeepers to this small, Central African nation — with the full support of the U.S. government — most of the policy-makers involved believed it would be a straightforward mission that would help restore the U.N.’s battered reputation after failures in Bosnia and Somalia. Few could imagine that, a decade later, Rwanda would be the crisis that still haunts their souls.

Ghosts of Rwanda, a special two-hour documentary to mark the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide — a state-sponsored massacre in which some 800,000 Rwandans were methodically hunted down and murdered by Hutu extremists as the U.S. and international community refused to intervene — examines the social, political, and diplomatic failures that converged to enable the genocide to occur.

Through interviews with key government officials, diplomats, soldiers, and survivors of the slaughter, Ghosts of Rwanda presents groundbreaking, first-hand accounts of the genocide from those who lived it: the diplomats on the scene who thought they were building peace only to see their colleagues murdered; the Tutsi survivors who recount the horror of seeing their friends and family slaughtered by Hutu friends and co-workers; and the U.N. peacekeepers in Rwanda who were ordered not to intervene in the massacre happening all around them.

 


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