CIA destroyed torture evidence


This video from the USA, 19 December 2007, is called Dan Abrams – Destruction of CIA Torture Tapes.

From the BBC:

The Central intelligence Agency (CIA) [of the USA] has destroyed 92 tapes of interviews conducted with terror suspects, a US government lawyer has admitted.

The agency had previously said that it had destroyed only two tapes.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched a lawsuit against the CIA to seek details of the interrogations of terror suspects.

Techniques involved are understood to have included water-boarding, which the Obama administration says is torture.

What next? The CIA admitting it was not 92 tapes, but 9292 tapes?

In a long-anticipated action, the Justice Department, at the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, finally released today [2 March 2009] the controversial memos used by the Bush Administration to support its erosion of constitutional rights [by torture]: here.

US Justice Department memos: the specter of military dictatorship: here.

The controversy generated by Senator Patrick Leahy’s effort to organize a “truth commission” underscores the fragility of social relations in the US and the real threat of police-state dictatorship: here.

GOP senator would support probe of ‘shocking’ anti-terror memos: here.

The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center acknowledged this week that there are more than 1 million names on its official terrorist watch list, a number that suggests the vast scale of the police-state measures undertaken by the US government on the pretext of waging a “war on terror”: here.

CIA reveals it has 3,000 pages of documents relating to destroyed interrogation tapes: here.

Suriname, 13th day, savanna


This video from Colombia is about brown-throated parakeets; a species which occurs also in Suriname, including Hannoversavanne.

15 February, from Paramaribo to the south, to the Hannoversavanne. This is a drier part of Suriname than elsewhere, with much grassland instead of forests.

The first birds we see there are crested oropendola, yellow-headed caracara, and tropical kingbird.

A rusty-margined flycatcher.

A solitary sandpiper flying overhead.

A grey-breasted martin.

A white-eyed parakeet.

A chestnut-fronted macaw.

A tropical kingbird chasing away a yellow-headed caracara.

A ringed kingfisher. There has been sand quarrying here in the past. It has stopped now, leaving many ponds.

A southern rough-winged swallow on a pole near a pond. A blue-grey tanager.

A paradise jackamar.

Golden-winged parakeets.

A male pompadour cotinga on a distant tree.

Footprints of a crab-eating raccoon in the wet sandy path.

A tropical mockingbird. A red-billed toucan.

More footprints, this time tailprints as well: of a green iguana.

A little frog in a puddle.

Together on a shrub, swallow-winged puffbird, yellow-bellied elaenia, and brown-throated parakeet.

A brown-crested flycatcher joins a grey kingbird on another shrub.

Then, a special bird. A fork-tailed flycatcher, on a shrub not far away. This North American winter migrant prefers open space to rainforests. So, this is one of few places in Suriname where one may see it.

At Zanderij airport, we search for another North American migrant, the eastern meadowlark. Sometimes, a few wintering ones can be seen here. Sometimes they cannot be seen. Today they cannot.

Dynamics of the Leaf-Litter Arthropod Fauna Following Fire in a Neotropical Woodland Savanna: here.

January 2011. The rich grasslands in South America, home to one of the world’s most valuable ecosystems is fast disappearing and migratory grassland birds, which play an important role by dispersing seeds and controlling insects, are also rapidly declining in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay: here.

Waterboarding ban by US Obama administration


This is a video about the United States Bush’s administration’s torture policy; especially about waterboarding.

From Reuters:

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ruled out the use of “waterboarding” as an interrogation technique for terrorism suspects on Monday, calling it a form of torture that the Obama administration could never condone.

Waterboarding is torture … My Justice Department will not justify it, will not rationalize it and will not condone it,” Holder, who his heading a review of the treatment of terrorism suspects, said in a speech to the Jewish Council of Public Affairs in Washington.

Javanese-Surinamese culture


Suriname, 14 February.

After the walk in Leonsberg, there was a cultural night, where several hundred people of the Javanese-Surinamese community were present.

I sat a table with a couple, now living in Rotterdam, but back in Suriname for a short time. Half of their family living in the Netherlands, the other half in Suriname. Typical for many Surinamese.

First on stage were three men: two electric guitarists, one singer. They started playing English language love songs. Not particularly Javanese or Surinamese, and not causing really much reaction from the audience.

However, that changed drastically with the first notes of their third song.

It was Bob Marley‘s No Woman No Cry. People applauded just after the first notes; in the middle of the song; and at the end of the song.

Then came traditional Javanese dancing, performed by Javanese-Surinamese ladies working at the Indonesian embassy, to recorded gamelan music.

Javanese-Surinamese gamelan: here.

Third on stage were an angklung orchestra with scores of male and female angklung players and a woman organ player. An angklung is a bamboo instrument, originally from West Java. This orchestra was founded five years ago, in the Evangelische Broedergemeente, the biggest Protestant church in Suriname. They played songs like Edelweiss from the Sound of Music, and Spanish Eyes.

Suriname, Leonsberg birds


Suriname, 14 February.

After arriving back from Marienburg, a walk in Leonsberg.

A dead cane toad: roadkill. Here, that toad was in its native environment. Contrary to Australia, where cane toads were introduced and now cause much trouble; which scientists try to resolve.

Two pale-breasted thrushes.

In a tree near the Suriname river sits a rufous crab-hawk.

A flower petal falls in a spider’s web. The spider runs to it, but then decides not to make a cocoon around it.

A smooth-billed ani on the road.

A white-lined tanager on a wire.

Brown-throated parakeets flying overhead.

Two ringed kingfishers flying overhead, calling.

A buff-throated saltator on a wire.

A pied water-tyrant near a ditch.

The Surinam toad is a very unusual-looking toad with a flat body and head. As well as distinctive webbed feet, it has a unique mating and breeding behavior: here.

Panorama Mesdag painting on the Internet


From Dutch NOS TV:

The painting Panorama Mesdag in The Hague will be shown on the Internet from 2010 on. 10,000 digital detail photos have been made of the 120 meter long and 14 meter high work. Panorama Mesdag shows Scheveningen and The Hague in 1881; it was made by Hendrik Willem Mesdag and his wife Sientje.

See also here.

Guantanamo Bay update


This video is a documentary about Guantanamo Bay.

HONOUR COURTS’ DECISION TO FREE GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEES – Reprieve urges Obama: here.

In a cynical bid to quash a Supreme Court ruling on the Bush administration’s detention of “enemy combatants,” the Obama Justice Department has brought criminal charges against the last individual held in the US on this basis, Saleh Kahla al-Marri: here. See also here.

FORMER Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg said on Sunday that torture victim Binyam Mohamed was “eager to pursue justice”: here.

Binyam Mohamed free after years of imprisonment and torture: here.

THE government came under increasing pressure on Sunday to launch judicial and police inquiries into allegations by former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Binyam Mohamed that British intelligence was complicit in his torture: here.

Former Guantánamo guard details prisoner abuse: here.

And how about Bagram? Here.