Friday, April 30, 2010

CACTUS communiqué on Oaxaca caravan attack


The humanitarian caravan, comprised of international observers, human rights advocates, journalists, teachers and members of various Oaxacan organizations, which was headed to the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, was ambushed by a group of armed men, leaving several people injured and some presumably dead.

Official information regarding the number of people dead or wounded is not available as the local government has refused to enter the area. For its part, the federal government has ignored the appeals of several civil society organizations and Deputies and Senators to go in and rescue the victims.

Only the lamentable, sad and painful death of our comrade and sister Bety Cariño, director of CACTUS and member of the Indigenous Community Radio Network of Southeast Mexico, and of Jyri Jaakkola, a Finnish human rights observer, have been confirmed.

Jyri Jaakkola

Bety Cariño Trujillo

Bety Cariño Trujillo was a human rights worker for more than 15 years; she accompanied communities in the Mixteca region, building the capacity of the indigenous peoples of the region and offering solidarity and advice to the women of the area so that they may defend their rights. Similarly, she spurred the creation of economic mutual aid networks in several communities in the area and together with several organizations succeeded in creating the Indigenous Community Radio Network of Southeast Mexico. At the time, she was accompanied by an international organization for the protection of human rights workers given the risks she faced in carrying out her work in defense of the rights of indigenous peoples.

Bety will be remembered as a comrade and tireless fighter who lost her life accompanying a humanitarian caravan that sought, as she always did, to benefit the poorest of the poor; as a reliable comrade, committed and untiring, who will join our struggles with her spirit and who will not let us stop until justice and punishment is achieved for this stupid act of barbarism and violence perpetrated by a paramilitary group which acts under the orders of the state government of Oaxaca.

At the time of sending this communique, at least six people can be considered to have been disappeared from the area of the attack.

Among the disappeared are one Belgian citizen, three members of VOCAL, and two journalists from the magazine "Contralínea" who accompanied the humanitarian mission. The state authorities have refused to enter the area to check on the status of the mission members, though according to comrades' reports, in Juxtlahuaca there is a convoy of approximately 45 state police officers in the company of the District Attorney and specialists who were to enter the area of the attack today at 10 AM. At this moment the result of that operation is unknown.

At this moment the following are disappeared:

1. Martin Sautan - Belgium
2. David Venegas - Oaxaca - VOCAL
3. Noé Bautista - Oaxaca- VOCAL
4. Fernando Santiago - Oaxaca - Brigadas Indígenas (Indigenous Brigades)
5. David Cilia - Contralínea
6. Éricka Ramírez - Contralínea

As a result of this brutal attack against human rights defenders and international observers, of representatives of the media, and of the horrible murder of our comrade Bety Cariño, we demand that the federal and state authorities:

- Enter the area of the attack, recover the bodies, rescue the disappeared or kidnapped, and attend to the wounded.

- Live presentation of the disappeared activists, advocates and journalists.

- Guarantee the security of the wounded and the survivors.

- Involve the Federal Attorney General's Office in the investigation of these events.

- Investigate and sanction the material and intellectual authors of these events, some of whom are inhabitants of La Sabana Copala, as the attack was carried out from houses in the town, and who presumably belong to the paramilitary organization known as Unity for the Social Well-Being of the Triqui Region (UBISORT).

- An impartial, expedient, and accurate investigation led by the Federal Attorney General's Office in order to punish the murderers in this paramilitary group.

- Immediate dismissal from office of the State Interior Minister, the State Attorney General, and the State Minister of Public Security and Public Protection for refusing to intervene in a timely manner once they were aware of the events, preferring instead that the attacking paramilitary group act with impunity.

We request the involvement of national and international civil society organizations to denounce these events, for the media to make them known, and for all of society to jointly demand their clarification.

Center of Community Support Working Together A.C. (CACTUS)
Indigenous Community Radio Network of Southeast Mexico

Mexican Alliance for Peoples Self-determination (AMAP)

Spanish original

4/29 UPDATE: Kristin Bricker reports that two of the disappeared, Noé and David from VOCAL, have made it to Juxtlahuaca. They were with the two Contralínea reporters, Érika and David, who are still in the area of the attack. The other two mentioned in the below statement, Fernando and Martin, are apparently accounted for. Two Triqui woman from San Juan Copala kidnapped by the UBISORT paramilitaries just before the ambush remain disappeared.

Update regarding the attack on the humanitarian mission that was visiting San Juan Copala, Oaxaca: The death of Bety Cariño is confirmed

(28/04/2010 1:15 PM)

Oaxaca: Paramilitary attack leaves two dead and four disappeared

4/29 UPDATE: Kristin Bricker reports that two of the disappeared, Noé and David from VOCAL, have made it to Juxtlahuaca. They were with the two Contralínea reporters, Érika and David, who are still in the area of the attack. Two Triqui woman from San Juan Copala kidnapped by the UBISORT paramilitaries just before the ambush remain disappeared.


Beatríz Alberta Cariño - Rest in Peace (source)


Jyri Jaakkola - Rest in Peace (source)

UPDATE 8PM: The two individuals whose deaths have been confirmed are Beatríz Alberta Cariño, the director of CACTUS and member of the Southeast Mexican Indigenous Community Radios Network, and Jyri Jaakkola, an international solidarity observer from Finland.

Four people have been confirmed disappeared: David Venegas Reyes and Noe Bautista Jimenez, from VOCAL, and Érika Ramírez and David Cilia, reporters from Contralínea.

Other information: Protests have been held in the city of Oaxaca, where individuals blockaded a major highway with commandeered buses, and Mexico City. Numerous organizations and collectives have denounced the attack. A survivor of the attack held a press conference earlier today, where, as Kristin Bricker notes, she stated the paramilitaries identified themselves as UBISORT and said they have the governor's support. Contralínea reports that the State Investigation Agency did not look for the disappeared today. Photos of the ambushed vehicles can be seen here. Here is an article written by a friend of Bety Cariño. Here is an article about Jyri Jaakkola before he left for Mexico.

If people have more updates or news, please leave a comment.


[See previous entry for more info on the paramilitary ambush of the solidarity caravan in Oaxaca]

My translation of the VOCAL communique. Along with the three disappeared people mentioned, the the two reporters from Contralínea remain disappeared. According to Oaxaca en Pie de Lucha, it was the press vehicle which was attacked in which Beatriz and Tyri (some say Yuri) were riding. They also mention a fourth disappeared, an international whose name is not known. That would bring the disappeared to at least six, with many still unaccounted for.


Oaxaca: Paramilitary attack leaves two dead and three disappeared

Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca
April 27, 2010

To the media
To the people of Mexico
To the people of the world
To the people of Oaxaca

Armed attack against the Caravan of Support and Solidarity with the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca


Yesterday the realization of this caravan to the Triqui region, inside of our state of Oaxaca, was announced to the media. In this caravan there are comrades from the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), Section 22 of the teachers' union, Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL), CACTUS, members of MULTI (Independent Triqui Movement of Unification and Struggle), as well as international observer comrades.

As was already announced, the caravan left today, April 27, 2010, at approximately 11 AM from the city of Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, with the goal of breaking the siege that the Autonomous Triqui Community finds itself in as a result of state and paramilitary repression against the process of autonomy which it is building inside this community. Violent paramilitary attacks have occurred at different moments during the autonomous process of San Juan Copala and have been directed by the paramilitary organization called UBISORT (Union for Social Well-Being in the Triqui Region) which in reality is presided over by Rufino Juárez Hernández and the MULT (Triqui Movement of Unification and Struggle Movement.)

Before the departure of the caravan, the autonomous president of San Juan Copala, Jesús Martínez Flores, placed responsibility for any attack on Evencio Nicolás Martínez, Oaxaca State Attorney General, Jorge Franco Vargas "El Chucky", State Interior Minister, and Carlos Martínez, local PRI candidate for the state congress. Also, he urged UBISORT and MULT to behave responsibly and with earnestness towards the peace negotiations for the Triqui people.


Approximately 100 kilometers before reaching La Sabana, the road was blocked with rocks, and that is where the cowardly armed attack began, by about 15 paramilitaries in the service of the murderer Ulises Ruiz Ortiz's government (the type of weapon is unknown), leaving vehicles destroyed, wounding a comrade, and leaving two people dead.

During the attack, some comrades escaped, hiding in the hill, and of those who don't know their way we are worried that they have been captured by the paramilitaries. Those comrades who as of now are disappeared are NOE BAUTISTA JIMENEZ, DAVID VENEGAS REYES, and DANIEL ARELLANO CHAVEZ, all of them members of VOCAL.

Regrettably, as information is coming in we know that two comrades lost their lives in this paramilitary attack; they are BEATRÍZ ALBERTA CARIÑO TRUJILLO, a member of CACTUS, and TYRI ANTERO JAAKKOLA, an international observer comrade from Finland. Both died as a result of gunshots.

During the events, comrade MONICA CITLALI SANTIAGO ORTIZ was wounded in the back by a gunshot and was attended to by medics in Juxtlahuaca.

Those who stayed in the area of the shooting were taken from the vehicles and brought to the hill to be interrogated; some were threatened with death and later were released on the highway. Comrade RUBÉN VALENCIA NUÑEZ, a member of VOCAL, was detained by paramilitaries who took his I.D., his cell phone, and threatened him with death, then let him go.

An ambulance came to the site of the events to attend to the wounded, but was also cowardly shot at by the paramilitaries, which forced it to leave. While they were leaving, they found a wounded comrade who they attended to, and to whom they confirmed the death of the comrades previously mentioned.

As a result of the confusion and uncertainty of the events, the location of the previously mentioned comrades is unknown, as is their physical and psychological condition.


That this armed attack is a product of the conditions of institutional violence and impunity that paramilitary groups enjoy in this region of our state. Institutional violence directed at the different manifestations of social struggle in Oaxaca, and specifically against the construction of autonomous processes.

This attack occurred in the context of the isolation and state of siege that the municipality of San Juan Copala lives under, where since January the children have not had classes, where the community does not have electricity, potable water, doctors, and lives under permanent paramilitary harassment as a result of the blockade they have established there.


That the murderer Ulises Ruiz's government end the paramilitary attacks in the Triqui region. As well, that he end the financing, arming and impunity that these paramilitary groups enjoy in our state.

The immediate return of our disappeared comrades.


To the people of Oaxaca, of Mexico, to the international community and the different social organizations, collectives, and groups, to visibly show your solidarity and support with the demand for the return, alive, of our disappeared brothers and for the punishing of those responsible. Also, we fraternally call on you to demand an end to the violent conditions facing the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Copala.

The live return of the disappeared comrades!

Punishment for the murderers of our comrades!

End the attacks on the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala!

End the paramilitary blockade that encircles this autonomous Triqui community!

Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Venezuelan authorities investigate Yanomami deaths

Venezuelan authorities are investigating the deaths of six Yanomami Indians in the Amazon.

Yanomami boy Yanomami boy
© Fiona Watson/Survival

Four Yanomami adults of the Alto Orinoco region are thought to have died after drinking water contaminated by illegal gold miners, and two Yanomami children are believed to have been killed by unidentified people, using a liquid substance.

Prosecutors are conducting an investigation to determine how and why the deaths occurred.

The Yanomami Indians number approximately 32,000 and they live in the rainforests and mountains of southern Venezuela and northern Brazil.

Gold-miners are working illegally on Yanomami land, and reports suggest that the number of miners there is increasing.

The miners threaten the lives of the Yanomami by increasing the likelihood of violence and introducing diseases to which the Yanomami have little resistance. Mercury which is used to separate the gold pollutes the water the Yanomami drink and bathe in, and the noise from the dredges and generators in the camps frightens off the game the Yanomami hunt – an important source of protein in their diet.

The Yanomami suffered hugely when up to 40,000 miners invaded their land in the 1980s, killing twenty percent of the Yanomami population.

Survival has written to the Venezuelan and Brazilian governments, urging them to take all necessary measures to ensure that any illegal miners are removed from Yanomami land and that no more miners invade in the future.

Shame on Arizona

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer just signed a law that will authorize officers to pull over, question, and detain anyone they have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in this country without proper documentation. It’s legalized racial profiling, and it’s an affront on all of our civil rights, especially Latinos. It’s completely unacceptable.

Join us in letting Arizona’s leaders know how we feel, and that there will be consequences. A state that dehumanizes its own people does not deserve our economic support.

"As long as racial profiling is legal in Arizona, I will do what I can to not visit the state and to avoid spending dollars there."

Current law in Arizona and most states doesn't require police to ask about the immigration status of those they encounter, and many police departments prohibit officers from inquiring out of fear immigrants won't cooperate in other investigations.

The new law makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. Immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the U.S. could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500. Other provisions allow lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, and make it illegal to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.


**Join the campaign at to boycott Arizona.

SIGN THIS PETITION! <---- go here and sign the petition to veto the bill allowing police in Arizona to pull over and arrest anyone with BROWN skin. Veto this racist bill!!! Click on the button that says "Take action, click here" take a minute to fill it out and a step towards ending racism! VIDEO: AZ Students arrested trying to stop racial profiling+hate bill in AZ - PLS ACT:




Monday, April 19, 2010

CIA trying to shore up Afghan war support

Wikileaks published this classified CIA analysis from March, outlines possible PR-strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan. After the Dutch government fell on the issue of dutch troops in Afghanistan last month, the CIA became worried that similar events could happen in the countries that post the third and fourth largest troop contingents to the ISAF-mission. The proposed PR strategies focus on pressure points that have been identified within these countries. For France it is the sympathy of the public for Afghan refugees and women. For Germany it is the fear of the consequences of defeat (drugs, more refugees, terrorism) as well as for Germany’s standing in the NATO. The memo is an recipe for the targeted manipulation of public opinion in two NATO ally countries, written by the CIA. It is classified as Confidential / No Foreign Nationals.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Iraq War Vet: "We Were Told to Just Shoot People, and the Officers Would Take Care of Us"

by: Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t | Report

(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: The U.S. Army, K. OS, whiteblot)

On Monday, April 5, posted video footage from Iraq, taken from a US military Apache helicopter in July 2007 as soldiers aboard it killed 12 people and wounded two children. The dead included two employees of the Reuters news agency: photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh.

The US military confirmed the authenticity of the video.

The footage clearly shows an unprovoked slaughter, and is shocking to watch whilst listening to the casual conversation of the soldiers in the background.

As disturbing as the video is, this type of behavior by US soldiers in Iraq is not uncommon.

Truthout has spoken with several soldiers who shared equally horrific stories of the slaughtering of innocent Iraqis by US occupation forces.

"I remember one woman walking by," said Jason Washburn, a corporal in the US Marines who served three tours in Iraq. He told the audience at the Winter Soldier hearings that took place March 13-16, 2008, in Silver Spring, Maryland, "She was carrying a huge bag, and she looked like she was heading toward us, so we lit her up with the Mark 19, which is an automatic grenade launcher, and when the dust settled, we realized that the bag was full of groceries. She had been trying to bring us food and we blew her to pieces."

The hearings provided a platform for veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to share the reality of their occupation experiences with the media in the US.

Washburn testified on a panel that discussed the rules of engagement (ROE) in Iraq, and how lax they were, to the point of being virtually nonexistent.

"During the course of my three tours, the rules of engagement changed a lot," Washburn's testimony continued, "The higher the threat the more viciously we were permitted and expected to respond. Something else we were encouraged to do, almost with a wink and nudge, was to carry 'drop weapons', or by my third tour, 'drop shovels'. We would carry these weapons or shovels with us because if we accidentally shot a civilian, we could just toss the weapon on the body, and make them look like an insurgent."

Hart Viges, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army who served one year in Iraq, told of taking orders over the radio.

"One time they said to fire on all taxicabs because the enemy was using them for transportation.... One of the snipers replied back, 'Excuse me? Did I hear that right? Fire on all taxicabs?' The lieutenant colonel responded, 'You heard me, trooper, fire on all taxicabs.' After that, the town lit up, with all the units firing on cars. This was my first experience with war, and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the deployment."

Vincent Emanuele, a Marine rifleman who spent a year in the al-Qaim area of Iraq near the Syrian border, told of emptying magazines of bullets into the city without identifying targets, running over corpses with Humvees and stopping to take "trophy" photos of bodies.

"An act that took place quite often in Iraq was taking pot shots at cars that drove by," he said, "This was not an isolated incident, and it took place for most of our eight-month deployment."

Kelly Dougherty - then executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War - blamed the behavior of soldiers in Iraq on policies of the US government.

"The abuses committed in the occupations, far from being the result of a 'few bad apples' misbehaving, are the result of our government's Middle East policy, which is crafted in the highest spheres of US power," she said.

Michael Leduc, a corporal in the Marines who was part of the US attack on Fallujah in November 2004, said orders he received from his battalion JAG officer before entering the city were as follows: "You see an individual with a white flag and he does anything but approach you slowly and obey commands, assume it's a trick and kill him."

Bryan Casler, a corporal in the Marines, spoke of witnessing the prevalent dehumanizing outlook soldiers took toward Iraqis during the invasion of Iraq.

"... on these convoys, I saw Marines defecate into MRE bags or urinate in bottles and throw them at children on the side of the road," he stated.

Scott Ewing, who served in Iraq from 2005-2006, admitted on one panel that units intentionally gave candy to Iraqi children for reasons other than "winning hearts and minds.

"There was also another motive," Ewing said. "If the kids were around our vehicles, the bad guys wouldn't attack. We used the kids as human shields."

In response to the WikiLeaks video, the Pentagon, while not officially commenting on the video, announced that two Pentagon investigations cleared the air crew of any wrongdoing.

A statement from the two probes said the air crew had acted appropriately and followed the ROE.

Adam Kokesh served in Fallujah beginning in February 2004 for roughly one year.

Speaking on a panel at the aforementioned hearings about the ROE, he held up the ROE card soldiers are issued in Iraq and said, "This card says, 'Nothing on this card prevents you from using deadly force to defend yourself'."

Kokesh pointed out that "reasonable certainty" was the condition for using deadly force under the ROE, and this led to rampant civilian deaths. He discussed taking part in the April 2004 siege of Fallujah. During that attack, doctors at Fallujah General Hospital told Truthout there were 736 deaths, over 60 percent of which were civilians.

"We changed the ROE more often than we changed our underwear," Kokesh said, "At one point, we imposed a curfew on the city, and were told to fire at anything that moved in the dark."

Kokesh also testified that during two cease-fires in the midst of the siege, the military decided to let out as many women and children from the embattled city as possible, but this did not include most men.

"For males, they had to be under 14 years of age," he said, "So I had to go over there and turn men back, who had just been separated from their women and children. We thought we were being gracious."

Steve Casey served in Iraq for over a year starting in mid-2003.

"We were scheduled to go home in April 2004, but due to rising violence we stayed in with Operation Blackjack," Casey said, "I watched soldiers firing into the radiators and windows of oncoming vehicles. Those who didn't turn around were unfortunately neutralized one way or another - well over 20 times I personally witnessed this. There was a lot of collateral damage."

Jason Hurd served in central Baghdad from November 2004 until November 2005. He told of how, after his unit took "stray rounds" from a nearby firefight, a machine gunner responded by firing over 200 rounds into a nearby building.

"We fired indiscriminately at this building," he said. "Things like that happened every day in Iraq. We reacted out of fear for our lives, and we reacted with total destruction."

Hurd said the situation deteriorated rapidly while he was in Iraq. "Over time, as the absurdity of war set in, individuals from my unit indiscriminately opened fire at vehicles driving down the wrong side of the road. People in my unit would later brag about it. I remember thinking how appalled I was that we were laughing at this, but that was the reality."

Other soldiers Truthout has interviewed have often laughed when asked about their ROE in Iraq.

Garret Reppenhagen served in Iraq from February 2004-2005 in the city of Baquba, 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) northeast of Baghdad. He said his first experience in Iraq was being on a patrol that killed two Iraqi farmers as they worked in their field at night.

"I was told they were out in the fields farming because their pumps only operated with electricity, which meant they had to go out in the dark when there was electricity," he explained, "I asked the sergeant, if he knew this, why did he fire on the men. He told me because the men were out after curfew. I was never given another ROE during my time in Iraq."

Emmanuel added: "We took fire while trying to blow up a bridge. Many of the attackers were part of the general population. This led to our squad shooting at everything and anything in order to push through the town. I remember myself emptying magazines into the town, never identifying a target."

Emmanuel spoke of abusing prisoners he knew were innocent, adding, "We took it upon ourselves to harass them, and took them to the desert to throw them out of our Humvees, while kicking and punching them when we threw them out."

Jason Wayne Lemue is a Marine who served three tours in Iraq.

"My commander told me, 'Kill those who need to be killed, and save those who need to be saved'; that was our mission on our first tour," he said of his first deployment during the invasion.

"After that the ROE changed, and carrying a shovel, or standing on a rooftop talking on a cell phone, or being out after curfew [meant those people] were to be killed. I can't tell you how many people died because of this. By my third tour, we were told to just shoot people, and the officers would take care of us."

When this Truthout reporter was in Baghdad in November 2004, my Iraqi interpreter was in the Abu Hanifa mosque that was raided by US and Iraqi soldiers during Friday prayers.

"Everyone was there for Friday prayers, when five Humvees and several trucks carrying [US soldiers and] Iraqi National Guards entered," Abu Talat told Truthout on the phone from within the mosque while the raid was in progress. "Everyone starting yelling 'Allahu Akbar' (God is the greatest) because they were frightened. Then the soldiers started shooting the people praying!"

"They have just shot and killed at least four of the people praying," he said in a panicked voice, "At least 10 other people are wounded now. We are on our bellies and in a very bad situation."

Iraqi Red Crescent later confirmed to Truthout that at least four people were killed, and nine wounded. Truthout later witnessed pieces of brain splattered on one of the walls inside the mosque while large blood stains covered carpets at several places.

This type of indiscriminate killing has been typical from the initial invasion of Iraq.

Truthout spoke with Iraq war veteran and former National Guard and Army Reserve member Jason Moon, who was there for the invasion.

"While on our initial convoy into Iraq in early June 2003, we were given a direct order that if any children or civilians got in front of the vehicles in our convoy, we were not to stop, we were not to slow down, we were to keep driving. In the event an insurgent attacked us from behind human shields, we were supposed to count. If there were thirty or less civilians we were allowed to fire into the area. If there were over thirty, we were supposed to take fire and send it up the chain of command. These were the rules of engagement. I don't know about you, but if you are getting shot at from a crowd of people, how fast are you going to count, and how accurately?"

Moon brought back a video that shows his sergeant declaring, "The difference between an insurgent and an Iraqi civilian is whether they are dead or alive."

Moon explains the thinking: "If you kill a civilian he becomes an insurgent because you retroactively make that person a threat."

According to the Pentagon probes of the killings shown in the WikiLeaks video, the air crew had "reason to believe" the people seen in the video were fighters before opening fire.

Article 48 of the Geneva Conventions speaks to the "basic rule" regarding the protection of civilians:

"In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives."

What is happening in Iraq seems to reflect what psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton calls "atrocity-producing situations." He used this term first in his book "The Nazi Doctors." In 2004, he wrote an article for The Nation, applying his insights to the Iraq War and occupation.

"Atrocity-producing situations," Lifton wrote, occur when a power structure sets up an environment where "ordinary people, men or women no better or worse than you or I, can regularly commit atrocities.... This kind of atrocity-producing situation ... surely occurs to some degrees in all wars, including World War II, our last 'good war.' But a counterinsurgency war in a hostile setting, especially when driven by profound ideological distortions, is particularly prone to sustained atrocity - all the more so when it becomes an occupation."

Cliff Hicks served in Iraq from October 2003 to August 2004.

"There was a tall apartment complex, the only spot from where people could see over our perimeter," Hicks told Truthout, "There would be laundry hanging off the balconies, and people hanging out on the roof for fresh air. The place was full of kids and families. On rare occasions, a fighter would get atop the building and shoot at our passing vehicles. They never really hit anybody. We just knew to be careful when we were over by that part of the wall, and nobody did shit about it until one day a lieutenant colonel was driving down and they shot at his vehicle and he got scared. So he jumped through a bunch of hoops and cut through some red tape and got a C-130 to come out the next night and all but leveled the place. Earlier that evening when I was returning from a patrol the apartment had been packed full of people."

Friday, April 09, 2010

Perenco in press storm about uncontacted tribes

Anglo-French oil company Perenco is caught in a press storm over plans to build a pipeline into uncontacted tribes’ land in Peru in one of the most biodiverse parts of South America.

Perenco’s plans for the pipeline, recently revealed, were reported in leading Peruvian newspapers such as the Lima daily El Comercio which highlighted the ‘controversy’ over the company’s plans and the opposition to them. The pipeline plans were also reported by La Primera in a story headlined ‘Danger: pipeline’ which described how the company is ‘ignoring the uncontacted tribes’ and failing to ‘take into account the negative impacts’ of the pipeline on the ‘exceptional wealth of fauna and flora’ in the region.

Perenco claims the tribes don’t exist, but a recent statement from Peru’s Energy Ministry admitted that their existence was ‘possible’ and requested the company to prepare an ‘anthropological contingency plan’ in case of contact. The head of the government’s indigenous affairs department, INDEPA, has promised to form a ‘team of experts’ to investigate further, according to a press report.

Perenco is chaired by Francois Perrodo, an Oxford University graduate now estimated to be one of the wealthiest men in France. His sister, Nathalie, runs the Chateau Labegorce in Margaux.

Survival has collected a great deal of evidence of the uncontacted tribes’ existence in the region where Perenco is working.

Act now to help the Uncontacted Indians of Peru

Your efforts are crucial in defending the Uncontacted Tribes. Get involved in this urgent effort in the following ways.