Bolivian president to sue US govt for crimes against humanity
Published time: September 20, 2013 04:50
Edited time: September 20, 2013 06:27
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales.(AFP Photo / Filippo Monteforte)
He has decried the US for its intimidation tactics and fear-mongering after the Venezuelan presidential jet was blocked from entering US airspace.
“I would like to announce that we are preparing a lawsuit against Barack Obama to condemn him for crimes against humanity,” said President Morales at a press conference in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz. He branded the US president as a “criminal” who violates international law.
In solidarity with Venezuela, Bolivia will begin preparing a lawsuit against the US head of state to be taken to the international court. Furthermore, Morales has called an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to discuss what has been condemned by Venezuela as “an act of intimidation by North American imperialism.”
The Bolivian president has suggested that the members of CELAC withdraw their ambassadors from the US to send a message to the Obama Administration. As an additional measure he will call on the member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas to boycott the next meeting of the UN. Members of the Alliance include Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Saint Lucia.
“The US cannot be allowed to continue with its policy of intimidation and blockading presidential flights,” stressed Morales.
The Venezuelan government announced on Thursday that President Nicolas Maduro’s plane had been denied entry into Puerto Rican (US) airspace.
The world’s largest recorded deep earthquake occurred on May 24, 2013, at a depth of 609 km in the subducting Pacific plate beneath the Sea of Okhotsk near Kamchatka, Russia, as shown in the schematic vertical cross-section above and on the map below. (Credit: diagram by L. Ye and T. Lay, map by Ye et al., Science)
A magnitude 8.3 earthquake that struck deep beneath the Sea of Okhotsk on May 24, 2013, has left seismologists struggling to explain how it happened. At a depth of about 609 kilometers (378 miles), the intense pressure on the fault should inhibit the kind of rupture that took place.
“It’s a mystery how these earthquakes happen. How can rock slide against rock so fast while squeezed by the pressure from 610 kilometers of overlying rock?” said Thorne Lay, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Lay is coauthor of a paper, published in the September 20 issue of Science, analyzing the seismic waves from the Sea of Okhotsk earthquake. First author Lingling Ye, a graduate student working with Lay at UC Santa Cruz, led the seismic analysis, which revealed that this was the largest deep earthquake ever recorded, with a seismic moment 30 percent larger than that of the next largest, a 1994 earthquake 637 kilometers beneath Bolivia.
Deep earthquakes occur in the transition zone between the upper mantle and lower mantle, from 400 to 700 kilometers below the surface. They result from stress in a deep subducted slab where one plate of the Earth’s crust dives beneath another plate. Such deep earthquakes usually don’t cause enough shaking on the surface to be hazardous, but scientifically they are of great interest.
An international team of scientists from Switzerland, Australia, Germany and the United States has discovered remains of three hunter-gatherer settlements in the western Amazon.
This map shows location of three hunter-gatherer settlements in the Bolivian Amazon: the site of Isla del Tesoro – SM1, a site west of the Mamoré River – SM2, a site east of Trinidad – SM3 (Lombardo U et al).
Hundreds of ‘forest islands’- small forested mounds – are found throughout the region. Their origins attributed to termites, erosion or ancient human activity.
The team reports that three of these islands are shell middens, mounds of seashells left by settlers more than 10,000 years ago. Samples of soil from these mounds revealed a dense accumulation of freshwater snail shells, animal bones and charcoal forming the middens.
Bolivian president offers asylum to NSA leaker Snowden
Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, Bolivian President Evo Morales
By Daniel Arkin, Staff Writer, NBC News
The president of Bolivia joined a group of South American countries that have indicated they would offer asylum to fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who is believed to be hiding inside the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport as the United States continues efforts to have him extradited.
Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua said Friday they would grant safe haven to the former National Security Agency contractor.
Venezuela “decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden” so he can live without “persecution from the empire,” Maduro said, referring to the United States. He extended the invitation to Snowden during a speech Friday commemorating the anniversary of Venezuela’s independence, according to the Associated Press.
REYKJAVIK, Iceland—Icelandic lawmakers introduced a proposal in Parliament on Thursday to grant immediate citizenship to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who admits to revealing key details of U.S. surveillance activities.
Ogmundur Jonasson, whose liberal Left-Green Party is backing the proposal along with the Pirate Party and Brighter Future Party, put the issue before the Judicial Affairs Committee, but the idea received minimal support.
Snowden is believed to be stuck in a Moscow airport transit area, seeking asylum from more than a dozen countries. At one point, he told the Guardian newspaper that he was inclined to seek asylum in a country that shared his values—and that “the nation that most encompasses this is Iceland.”
But to apply for asylum in Iceland, Snowden would have to reach the island nation’s soil.
Granting Snowden immediate citizenship would circumvent that issue. The same tactic helped get eccentric chess master Bobby Fischer to Iceland from Japan in 2005 to escape U.S. prosecution for breaking sanctions imposed on the former Yugoslavia.
Posted: Jun 21, 2013 8:43 AM CST Updated: Jun 21, 2013 10:43 AM CST
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung). A banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, is displayed at Central, Hong Kong’s business district, Friday, June 21, 2013.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung). A TV screen shows the news of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at a shopping mall in Hong Kong Friday, June 21, 2013.
By JENNA GOTTLIEB Associated Press
REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) – An Icelandic business executive said Friday that a private plane is on standby to transport National Security Agency secrets leaker Edward Snowden from Hong Kong to Iceland.
Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson said he has not spoken directly with Snowden but has been in touch with a third party representing him.
The businessman, who has connections to the WikiLeaks secret-spilling organization, said he has access to planes in Hong Kong and mainland China that Snowden could use.
But Iceland’s government says it has not received an asylum request from Snowden, who has revealed his role in providing secret NSA documents about widespread surveillance programs.
Iceland Interior Ministry spokesman Johannes Tomasson said Snowden hasn’t approached the ministry and could initiate an asylum request if he was already in Iceland.
When asked about the reports of Sigurvinsson chartering a private plane to fly Snowden to Iceland, Tomasson said: “We don’t object to that. But we don’t have any knowledge other than what has been in the news. We can’t comment any further on that.”
U.S. officials have expressed an interest in prosecuting Snowden for his admitted role in the publication of the documents. Snowden fled to Hong Kong and is hiding.
Sigurvinsson said that Snowden’s potential private flight is being funded by private donations.
Published time: July 04, 2013 10:19
Edited time: July 04, 2013 16:13
The plane of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales lands at Las Palmas airport, on the Spanish Canary Island of Gran Canaria on July 3, 2013. (AFP Photo)
Russia has blasted the European countries which barred the Bolivian presidential aircraft from entering their airspace as unfriendly action, adding that such moves could compromise passengers’ safety.
“The actions of the French, Spanish and Portuguese authorities could hardly be seen as friendly towards Bolivia and towards Russia, from which the Bolivian President Evo Morales was leaving upon completion of his Moscow visit. The refusal to grant the aircraft the right to overfly could create a threat to the security of its passengers, including the head of a sovereign state,” reads the statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
Russian diplomats added that they will continue to press for unconditional observation of international rules that guarantee the personal immunity of heads of state that prevent any attempts on their life, freedom and dignity.
On Wednesday, the Bolivian presidential aircraft had to land in Vienna, Austria, and remain grounded for 12 hours as France, Spain and Portugal closed their airspace for transit over a suspicion it could have been carrying NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Bolivia immediately called the grounding an act of aggression, accused the US authorities of backing the unfriendly move and promised to file a complaint with the UN.
“We’re talking about the president on an official trip after an official summit being kidnapped,” Bolivia’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Sacha Llorenti Soliz, told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday.
“We have no doubt that it was an order from the White House,” Ambassador Llorenti said. “By no means should a diplomatic plane with the president be diverted from its route and forced to land in another country.”
President Morales demanded an explanation from the governments of the countries that refused him entry into their airspace, saying he was not a criminal and the world was no longer in the colonial period. He also denied the possibility that Snowden could be on board of his plane, noting that “this young man isn’t a suitcase that I can take with me to Bolivia.”
The forcing down of the Bolivian President’s jet was a clear breach of the Vienna Convention by Spain and Portugal, which closed their airspace to this Head of State while on a diplomatic mission. It has never been thought necessary to write down in a Treaty that Heads of State enjoy diplomatic immunity while engaged in diplomacy, as their representatives only enjoy diplomatic immunity as cyphers for their Head of State. But it is a hitherto unchallenged precept of customary international law, indeed arguably the oldest provision of international law.
To the US and its allies, international law is no longer of any consequence. I can see no evidence that anyone in an official position has even noted the illegality of repeated Israeli air and missile strikes against Syria. Snowden, Manning and Assange all exposed illegality on a massive scale, and no action whatsoever has been taken against any of the criminals they exposed. Instead they are being hounded out of all meaningful life and ability to function in society.
Bolivia’s president Evo Morales at Schwechat airport, near Vienna, where his plane was diverted. Photograph: Helmut Fohringer /AFP
Bolivia filed a complaint at the United Nations on Wednesday over what it called the kidnapping of its president, Evo Morales, whose plane was diverted to Vienna amid suspicions that it was carrying the surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The country’s ambassador to the UN, Sacha Llorenti, said the enforced rerouting to Austria was an act of aggression and a violation of international law. The US admitted that it had been in contact with other nations over potential flights by Snowden.
“We will demand appropriate explanations from those countries that submitted to North American imperialism and briefly put President Morales in such a helpless situation,” Llorenti told the state radio Patria Nueva. Bolivia’s vice-president, Alvaro García Linera, said Morales was “kidnapped by imperialism”.
South American nations accused the United States of being behind the extraordinary manoeuvring, furious at what they regarded as the humiliation of Morales. In Washington, the state department would not comment on the Morales flight but conceded that it discussed the issue of flights by Snowden with other nations.
“We have been in contact with a range of countries that had a chance of having Snowden land or travel through their country but I am not going to outline what those countries were or when this [contact] happened,” said spokeswoman Jan Psaki.
The diplomatic crisis may have been set off by a remark by Morales during a television interview in Russia, where he had been attending an energy conference. Morales said that he sympathised with Snowden, who is believed to be holed up in the transit area of Sheremetyevo airport, and hinted that Bolivia might accept an asylum petition. “If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea,” Morales told RT Actualidad, the Spanish-language service of the Russian broadcaster RT.
Later that day, soon after Morales was bound for La Paz, Spain, Italy, France and Portugal refused to allow the presidential jet to fly through their airspace over suspicions that Snowden was on board, according to the Bolivian government’s account.
Snowden case: France apologises in Bolivia plane row
Bolivian protesters threw stones at the French embassy in La Paz and burned the French and European flags
France has apologised to Bolivia for refusing to allow President Evo Morales’ jet into its airspace, blaming “conflicting information”.
Bolivia accused France, Italy, Spain and Portugal of blocking the plane.
It said some wrongly believed US fugitive Edward Snowden was on board.
Speaking in Berlin, French President Francois Hollande said he granted permission as soon as he knew it was Mr Morales’ plane.
President Morales was flying back to Bolivia from Moscow when the plane was forced to stop in Vienna.
The French foreign ministry issued a statement on the incident.
Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said: “The foreign minister called his Bolivian counterpart to tell him about France’s regrets after the incident caused by the late confirmation of permission for President Morales’ plane to fly over [French] territory.”
Footage shows Bolivian President Evo Morales waiting inside Vienna airport, as Steve Rosenberg reports
The episode sparked angry reactions from heads of state across Latin America.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner referred to “not only the humiliation of a sister country, but of the South American continent”.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said on Twitter: “I reaffirm all our solidarity with Evo [Morales] and from Venezuela, with dignity, we will respond to this dangerous, disproportionate, and unacceptable aggression”
Vladimir Putin and Evo Morales met on Tuesday. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters
Bolivia threw a possible lifeline to the surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden on Tuesday, telling Russian television it would consider granting him political asylum to escape from what it called the espionage network of the US “empire”.
Snowden’s father, meanwhile, stepped up the rhetoric in favour of his son’s actions on Tuesday, publishing an open letter that compared him to colonial independence fighter Paul Revere.
The letter was signed by Lon Snowden and his lawyer, Bruce Fein, who also reported receiving a phone call from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Fein told the Associated Press that Assange, in the phone call on Saturday, delivered what he said was a message from Snowden to his father, asking him to keep quiet.
Speaking in Moscow, Morales said Bolivia had not received a formal application for asylum from Snowden yet, but hinted it would consider any request favourably.
“If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea,” Morales told RT Actualidad, the Spanish-language service of Russian broadcaster RT.
“I know that the empires have an espionage network and are against the so-called developing countries. And in particular, against those which are rich in natural resources,” he added.
His comments were echoed by favourable noises from the Venezuelan government, another possible exit route for the former NSA contractor. President Nicolas Maduro said Caracas was also ready to consider Snowden’s asylum should he ask for it.
Maduro said Snowden should be given a “humanitarian medal” for revealing details of NSA surveillance programmes on US and foreign citizens. “He did not kill anyone and did not plant a bomb,” Maduro told Russia‘s Interfax news agency. “What he did was tell a great truth in an effort to prevent wars. He deserves protection under international and humanitarian law.”
He has also just spoken to White House officials, asking for their response to claims made by the Bolivian defence minister that Portugal’s decision to refuse Morales’ plane access to their airspace was influenced by the US.
White House officials say that these are questions for the Austrian and Portugese authorities to answer.
President Morales was returning to Bolivia from Russia where he had met with president Vladimir Putin at a summit of major gas exporters in the Kremlin.
Speaking to RT Actualidad, the Spanish-language service of the Russian broadcaster Russia Today, Morales said Bolivia had not received an asylum request from Edward Snowden, but hinted any request would be looked at favourably.
If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea.
I know that the empires have an espionage network and are against the so-called developing countries. And in particular, against those which are rich in natural resources.
Bolivian presidential plane forced to land in Austria over suspicions Snowden on board
Published time: July 02, 2013 22:39
Edited time: July 03, 2013 00:31
AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev
After departing from Russia the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to landing in Austria Wednesday morning over suspicions that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board, a claim Bolivian authorities denied.
Snowden had requested asylum from Bolivia, which has yet to answer; he also petitioned Austria but was rejected. Reports indicated the plane was hindered in navigating Western Europe as France and Portugal would not allow the La Paz-bound plane to enter their airspace.
David Choquehuanca, the Bolivian Foregin Minister, refuted the idea Snowden was on the plane, saying “we don’t know who invited this lie, but we want to denounce to the international community this injustice with the plane of President Evo Morales.”
Bolivian president Evo Morales (RT photo / Semyon Khorunzhy)
“This is a lie, a falsehood. It was generated by the US government,” Bolivian Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra told CNN. “It t is an outrage. It is an abuse. It is a violation of the conventions and agreements of international air transportation.”
Edward Snowden has made 21 applications for asylum. Photograph: The Guardian/Reuters
According to a statement from WikiLeaks, the US whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for asylum in a total of 21 countries. Snowden, who has been charged under espionage laws in the US after leaking top-secret documents on US surveillance programmes, has been trapped in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since 23 June after flying in from Hong Kong. He has yet to receive a positive response to his applications for asylum. Some countries have yet to respond but a number have already rejected his request.
No. The interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, said Snowden would have to submit his request for asylum while on Austrian soil. But she added that he would not be deported if he arrived in Austria because “there is no international arrest warrant”.
Possible. President Evo Morales said no application has been received, but if it were it would be considered. “If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea,” Morales told Spanish language RT Actualidad.
No. The president, Rafael Correa, said he was not considering Snowden’s asylum request. In an interview with the Guardian, Correa said Snowden would have to reach Ecuadorean territory before the country would consider any asylum request. The US has cancelled Snowden’s passport, and Correa said his government would not give Snowden an authorised travel document to extract himself from Moscow airport. “The right of asylum request is one thing, but helping someone travel from one country to another – Ecuador has never done this.”
Peter Earl, Rurelec chief executive, said: “Bolivia has never gone to arbitration before — they have always settled beforehand. I think they thought we were a small company and they could bully us and we would cave.
“They never realised we had strong shareholders, or that we would get the support of the British Government.”
Rurelec raised money from shareholders to pay the legal costs of the arbitration process and said William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, had personally backed its case.
The company had said it would be willing for settle for a minimum of the book value of the assets, which it puts at $75m, plus interest. But Mr Earl said Bolivia had never even suggested a figure.
New Law in Bolivia to Protect Women from Violence (including “Femicide”)
The United Nations human rights office has welcomed a new law in Bolivia which broadens the protection of women against various forms of violence. “We welcome the promulgation, on 9 March 2013, of the Comprehensive Law to guarantee women a life free from violence in Bolivia (Law 348), which broadens protection of women against various forms of violence and establishes the eradication of violence against women as a priority of the State,” the spokesperson for the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, told journalists in Geneva.
The law also includes the crime of ‘femicide’ – in which a woman is murdered due to the fact that she is female – in the penal code, with a prison term of 30 years without pardon.
A person from the city of Oruro, contracted and died from yellow fever in the tropical regions of Cochabamba, Bolivia, being the first such fatality from the mosquito borne viral disease, according to a La Razon report Feb. 14 (machine translated). This has prompted health authorities to urge people to get vaccinated against yellow fever at least 10 days prior to travel to tropical areas. In addition, they remind the public that the yellow fever vaccine is free. The report also says that dengue fever, another mosquito borne disease is present in the area where there are currently nine cases and over 120 suspected cases.
Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
A person from Oruro died due to yellow fever in the Cochabamba [department] tropics. This occurrence put the health authorities on alert and they requested the populace to get vaccinated 10 days before traveling to the tropical area.
Jorge Claros, Director of the Departmental Health Services (SEDES) reported that the fatality “is a person from the interior, from the Oruro area, who had visited the tropics and contracted the yellow fever [virus] infection there.”
Given the presence of the disease, it is recommended that before entering the topical area people must be vaccinated against yellow fever. “The vaccine is free and there are health centers [that have it],” [he said].
[Yellow fever virus is endemic in the Amazon Basin of the South American tropics. This is undoubtedly a case of sylvan (jungle) yellow fever, where the virus infects wild primates and is transmitted to people by forest mosquitoes. It is critical that individuals in these areas be vaccinated against yellow fever virus infections, to not only protect themselves, but to prevent introduction of the virus into the urban cycle where significant numbers of cases, with a high (30 per cent) case fatality may occur, as happened in Paraguay in 2008. It is good that the local health authorities have responded to the occurrence of this case.
Mother Earth supports all life not just human beings. We are all tied to her. Our responsibility is to keep her healthy and her creatures safe. Man has trashed her in the name of money. Will money bring back the animals that have been wiped off the face of Mother Earth? Will money reverse the damage done by greedy companies that have cared nothing for the animals or the earth in their avarice for riches? Our duty is to protect Mother Earth and her creatures for she is unique and cannot be replaced. Those who are destroying her in the name of money must understand that we will have no where to go once they have destroyed her. Their money will not bring her back , nor her precious creatures.
It is time Governments understood that we will not allow this to happen. The time of the greedy corporations trashing our Mother Earth is coming to an end. It must stop as we will all perish with her and money will not bring her back.
Where do they think they will go when the air is no longer fit to breathe and the water no longer fit to drink? Money cannot replace t he beauty and splendor that they are destroying and it MUST STOP NOW!
Ecuador’s Sani Isla Kichwa people have asked for our help to stop the government turning their forest home into an oil field. A massive scandal in the global media challenging President Correa to act on his environmental principles could persuade him to pull back and stop the Amazon oil rush. Sign the petition now:
The local indigenous people have been resisting, but they are afraid that oil companies will break up the community with bribes. When they heard that people across the world might stand with them and make a stink to save their land, they were thrilled. The president of Ecuador claims to stand for indigenous rights and the environment, but he has just come up with a new plan to bring oil speculators in to 4 million hectares of jungle. If we can say ‘wait a minute, you’re supposed to be the green president who says no one can buy Ecuador’, we could expose him for turning his back on his commitments just as he is fighting for re-election.
He doesn’t want a PR nightmare right now. If we get a million of us to help this one community defend their ancestral land and challenge the president openly to keep to his word, we could start a media storm that would make him reconsider the whole plan. Sign the petition now and tell everyone — let’s help save this beautiful forest:
After Texaco and other oil companies polluted Ecuadorian waters and irreversibly devastated precious ecosystems, Correa led his country to be the world’s first nation to recognize the rights of “Mother Earth” in its constitution. He announced Ecuador was not for sale, and in Yasuni National Park promoted an innovative initiative where other governments pay Ecuador to keep oil in the ground to protect the rainforest rather than destroy it. But now he’s on the verge of selling out.
Shockingly, the Sani Isla Kichwa land is partly in Yasuni National Park. But even more shocking is Correa’s bigger plan — in days government officials begin a world tour to offer foreign investors the right to drill across 4 million hectares of forest (an area larger than the Netherlands!) Ecuador, as any country, may argue it has the right to profit from its natural resources, but the constitution itself says it must respect indigenous rights and its amazing forests, which bring millions in tourist dollars every year.
Right now, Correa is in a tough fight to be re-elected as president. It’s the perfect time to make him honour his environmental promises and make this green constitution come to life. Sign now to stand with the Kichwa people and save their forest:
Our community has fought year after year to protect the Amazon in Brazil and Bolivia, and won many victories standing in solidarity with indigenous communities. Now it’s Ecuador’s turn — let’s respond to this urgent call for action and save their forest.
With hope and determination,
Alex, Pedro, Alice, Laura, Marie, Ricken, Taylor, Morgan and all the Avaaz team
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