Many wildlife sounds on the Internet


This video from the USA is called Wood Thrush singing song close-up. The wood thrush is one of the over 9,000 animal species with sound recordings at the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds from the USA, which is on the Internet.

From Wired.com in the USA:

Nature Zen: Audio Library of Nature

By Gwen Pearson

10.06.14

Stuck at your desk? Need a soundtrack to mellow out on a Monday? I have just what you need! This hour-long recording of a dawn chorus in the mountains of Costa Rica is lovely to listen to, especially as winter edges closer here in the Northern Hemisphere. You might also like an interlude in a very different sounding forest in Queensland, Australia.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a massive digital repository of cool stuff, and a big piece of it is the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds‘s audio and video recordings of wildlife all over the world. Since 1920 scientists at Cornell have been recording wildlife, at first mostly birds, and then branching out to other animals.

In early 2013, they migrated over 150,000 digital recordings online, dating from 1929 to the present. It’s over 10 terabytes of data, representing more than 9,000 species. This museum has thrown open the doors and invites you into rummage around their collection. Beware, though–this library of natural recordings is huge and addictive.

New conservation Internet site


This video from Jamaica says about itself:

Protecting Pedro – Building Conservation Capacity

24 July 2012

Starting in 2005, The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Government of Jamaica, has been working on the Pedro Bank to develop conservation solutions; including thorough environmental and social assessments, a management plan and the establishment of a fish sanctuary surrounding Southwest Cay (Bird Cay).

From BirdLife:

New online resource to help meet global conservation challenges

By Martin Fowlie, Tue, 30/09/2014 – 20:45

A new online resource, capacityforconservation.org has been launched that aims to support and strengthen conservation organisations and help them to achieve – and sustain – their conservation and organisational development goals.

The free online tool, created collaboratively by BirdLife International, Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the Tropical Biology Association and the University of Cambridge, will help conservation organisations to build and expand on existing knowledge and skills, ultimately helping them to better accomplish their conservation goals.

Capacityforconservation.org already contains tools, resources and case studies gathered by the world’s leading conservation NGOs from around the world. It encourages users to upload their own practical tools, resources and case studies covering various aspects of strategic conservation planning, from finance management, fundraising and communications to organisational governance and project development. These tools allow users to learn from best practice, while sharing their own examples so conservationists around the world can learn from each other, ultimately helping to address the complex conservation challenges faced today.

Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson, BirdLife International’s Interim Chief Executive said, “many organisations within the BirdLife Partnership are seeking to become an even stronger force for nature conservation, both nationally and internationally. I believe that capacityforconservation.org is a fantastic platform to help BirdLife Partners to continue to develop and grow, and achieve their organisational goals.”

Two hundred and forty people have already registered on the website, logging on from 103 countries, from Antigua to Zimbabwe. Resources are available in 18 languages, with more being added by users, and work is underway to translate the site into Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

Capacityforconservation.org was created by with support from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading internationally-focussed biodiversity conservation organisations clustered in and around Cambridge, UK.

Bahrain regime arrests human rights defender Nabeel Rajab again


This video is called Nabeel Rajab: Bahrain ‘Bought British Government’s Silence’ Over Human Rights Violations.

From AFP news agency:

October 1, 2014 7:45pm

Bahrain detains top activist over ‘insulting’ tweets

Bahraini police on Wednesday detained prominent rights activist Nabil Rajab after questioning him over remarks posted on Twitter deemed offensive to the security forces, the interior ministry said.

Rajab acknowledged during questioning that he was responsible for the remarks posted on his Twitter account, and “legal measures have been taken to refer him to the general prosecution”, a ministry statement said.

It said Rajab “insulted official bodies in his tweets”.

In one tweet posted on Sunday, Rajab charged that Bahrainis allegedly joining Islamist extremists in Syria were originally members of the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s security forces.

“Many #Bahrain men who joined #terrorism & #ISIS came from security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator,” he wrote, referring to one acronym for the Islamic State jihadist group.

Rajab, who heads the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was released in May after serving two years in jail for participating in unauthorised protests.

The vocal activist had led anti-government protests following a crackdown on Shiite-led demonstrations against the Al-Khalifa ruling family in March 2011.

See also here.

Bahrain’s Prominent Human Rights Activist Arrested for Criticizing Police Defectors Who Joined ISIS: here.

We, the staff and Advisory Board members of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), call for the immediate release of our colleague Nabeel Rajab, GCHR Director, who has been arrested today in Manama. Rajab, who is also President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), returned home from Europe last night, 30 September, after being away for a couple of months: here.

Nabeel Rajab Arbitrarily Detained. Please ask your [British] MP to support the campaign by writing to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: here.

Media Coverage of Nabeel Rajab Arrest: here.

During his visit to Ireland in late August, Rajab spoke with Malachy Browne about his experience in a Bahraini prison, the failure of western media and governments to support human rights in the Gulf, and the challenges facing the pro-democracy movement which began in earnest in February 2011: here.

Record number of visits to my blog this September


This video is called Create a free Blog or Website on WordPress.com.

August 2014 brought a record number of visits to my blog.

In September 2014, there were even more visits. The most ever during one month: 30,853.

Where did those visits come from?

Top Views by Country for 30 days ending 2014-10-01 (Summarized)

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 20,981
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 2,101
Jamaica FlagJamaica 832
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 698
Sweden FlagSweden 554
Canada FlagCanada 457
Germany FlagGermany 411
France FlagFrance 335
Australia FlagAustralia 319
India FlagIndia 293
Spain FlagSpain 210
Italy FlagItaly 178
Greece FlagGreece 134
Japan FlagJapan 126
South Africa FlagSouth Africa 124
Korea, Republic of FlagRepublic of Korea 112
New Zealand FlagNew Zealand 109
Romania FlagRomania 109
Belgium FlagBelgium 104
Norway FlagNorway 101
Brazil FlagBrazil 93
Ireland FlagIreland 92
Pakistan FlagPakistan 90
Switzerland FlagSwitzerland 87
Philippines FlagPhilippines 87
Turkey FlagTurkey 84
Indonesia FlagIndonesia 80
Malaysia FlagMalaysia 78
Bahrain FlagBahrain 69
Singapore FlagSingapore 65
Poland FlagPoland 65
United Arab Emirates FlagUnited Arab Emirates 65
Sri Lanka FlagSri Lanka 54
Thailand FlagThailand 52
Armenia FlagArmenia 50

Archbishop’s secret child porn archive discovered


Archbishop Wesolowski

From the Corriere della Sera in Italy:

Child Porn Found [on] Former Nuncio’s Computer

Józef Wesołowski knew how to use technology to make illicit internet connections. Grave violation of duties

by Fiorenza Sarzanini

ROME – Monsignor Józef Wesołowski kept a secret archive on a computer at the Santo Domingo nunciature. The 66-year-old Polish former archbishop, arrested three days ago for paedophilia by Vatican gendarmes at the order of Pope Francis, had more than 100,000 files containing pornographic photos and videos. Some were downloaded from internet and others the victims themselves were forced to take. The prelate stored part of this chamber of horrors on his own laptop. Images show youngsters aged between 13 and 17 being humiliated for the camera, filmed naked and forced to have sexual relations with each other or with adults. Inquiries to discover others involved continue as investigators seek anyone who may have aided Wesołowski to procure minors or taken part in sex acts. The charge sheet explicitly mentions “offences committed in complicity with persons unknown” and case documents make it clear that Vatican investigators have already found evidence that will help them to identify the offenders. The case file pieces together the picture of an affair that looks anything but over and could still produce more spectacular revelations. Wesołowski is suspected of belonging to an international network that extends well beyond what has emerged so far.

Four volumes and deleted photos

The extent of the network emerges clearly from an expert IT report that reconstructs the activities of the Santo Domingo nuncio, who was recalled by the Holy See a year ago and then defrocked. In the report, experts underline “the particular ability of the defendant to use electronic instrumentation that can be procured for illicit connections. The defendant pursued these actions in a manner that was strongly compulsive”.

Józef Wesołowski had “more than 100,000 files of a sexual nature, to which must be added more than 45,000 deleted images”. Investigators were alerted by the discovery of an archive on a Vatican-owned computer “divided into four volumes and containing about 130 videos and more than 86,000 photographs”. The former archbishop had saved the rest on the laptop he used mainly when he was travelling. The material, which is classified by type, shows dozens of young girls engaged in sexual activities but the preference is for males.

Network of accomplices and email traffic

The report reconstructs all the relevant data traffic, including visits to gay sites and Wesołowski’s correspondence. Analysis of his network connections, email and other writings stored on the hard disk could reveal the identity of those with whom he exchanged images and provide leads to his accomplices. Investigators are confident that Francisco Javier Occi Reyes, the deacon arrested by Dominican police in June 2013 who subsequently blew the whistle on Wesołowski in a letter to the Vatican hierarchy, is only a pawn in a much bigger game. Now they have extended their inquiries to all the countries where Józef Wesołowski was based before he went to Santo Domingo. Above all, they want to investigate people with whom he was in frequent contact.

Testimony of three children

Wesołowski is believed to have solicited dozens of children but the case file names only three minors and their mothers as prosecution witnesses who have elected to denounce the horror and violence to which the prelate subjected them. They have confirmed what the Dominican police had partially reconstructed with the help of a local TV journalist who had conducted an investigation into Józef Wesołowski’s double life. One of the charges faced by the former priest is that he “acted, as a high-ranking member of the church hierarchy, in grave violation of his institutional duties in such a way as to cause damage to the public image of the state and the Holy See”. This is understood to be what convinced the Pope to approve the exceptional measure of house arrest.

Nuncio claims “I can explain”

When he was brought before prosecutors to be served with a detention order last Tuesday, Wesołowski said he wanted to make a statement: “I can clear my position and explain the mistake”. He was informed that he could do so with a lawyer, even though the evidence against him is overwhelming. It was this that led to action being taken against him so quickly. There was a serious risk that the nuncio would be arrested on Italian territory at the request of the Dominican authorities and then extradited. In that case, he would have had to be imprisoned until proceedings with the Holy See were completed. Prosecutors, acting in full collaboration with the Santo Domingo judicial authorities, preferred to avoid this situation. Józef Wesołowski will be questioned in the next few days and could face a fast-track trial, in compliance with international treaties on violence against minors.

English translation by Giles Watson

Article in Italian here

26 September 2014

Australian civil liberties attacked under ‘terrorism’ pretext


This video from Australia is called Civil Liberties Australia Jim Collier speaking at Wikileaks Rally in Launceston.

By Glenn Greenwald:

Abbott exploits terrorism to seize new powers

Saturday, September 27, 2014

If you’re an Australian citizen, you have a greater chance of being killed by the following causes than you do by a terrorist attack: slipping in the bathtub and hitting your head; contracting a lethal intestinal illness from the next dinner you eat at a restaurant; being struck by lightning.

In the post-9/11 era, there has been no terrorist attack carried out on Australian soil: not one. The attack that most affected Australians was the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali which killed 88 of its citizens; that was 12 years ago.

Despite all that, Australia’s political class is in the midst of an increasingly unhinged fear-mongering orgy over terrorism. The campaign has two prongs: ISIS (needless to say: it’s now an all-purpose, global source of fear-manufacturing), and the weekend arrest of 15 people on charges that they planned to behead an unknown, random individual based on exhortations from an Australian member of ISIS.

The Australian government wasted no time at all exploiting this event to demand “broad new security powers to combat what it says is a rising threat from militant Islamists.”

Even by the warped standards of the West’s 9/11 era liberty abridgments, these powers are extreme, including making it “a crime for an Australian citizen to travel to any area overseas once the government has declared it off limits.”

Already pending is a proposal by the attorney-general to make it a criminal offence “punishable by five years in jail for ‘any person who disclosed information relating to ‘special intelligence operations’”; the bill is clearly intended to outright criminalise WikiLeaks- and Snowden-type reporting, and the government thus expressly refuses to exempt journalists.

This morning, Australia’s Liberal Party Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, delivered a speech to the nation’s parliament that is a perfect distillation of the key post-9/11 pathologies of Western democracies. It was a master class in how politicians shamelessly exploit terrorism fears to seize greater power.

Abbott assumed the grave demeanor and resolute tone that politicians in these situations don to convince others that they’re the modern incarnation of Winston Churchill: purposeful, unyielding, and courageously ready for the fight.

He depicted his fight as one of Pure Good v. Pure Evil, and vehemently denied that his nation’s 10-year support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq plays any role whatsoever in animosity toward his country in that region (perish the thought!) (“It’s our acceptance that people can live and worship in the way they choose that bothers them, not our foreign policy”).

And, most impressively, he just came right out and candidly acknowledged his real purpose: to exploit the emotions surrounding the terrorist arrests to erode liberty and increase state power, telling citizens that they will die if they do not meekly acquiesce.

“Regrettably, for some time to come, Australians will have to endure more security than we’re used to, and more inconvenience than we’d like,” he said.

“Regrettably, for some time to come, the delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift.

“There may be more restrictions on some so that there can be more protections for others. After all, the most basic freedom of all is the freedom to walk the streets unharmed and to sleep safe in our beds at night.”

With those scary premises in place, Abbott proceeded to rattle off a laundry list of new legal powers and restraints on freedom that he craves. It begins with “creating new offences that are harder to beat on a technicality”, which he said is “a small price to pay for saving lives.” It includes brand new crimes and detention powers (“Legislation to create new terrorist offences and to extend existing powers to monitor or to detain terror suspects will be introduced this week”).

There’s also this: “it will be an offence to be in a designated area, for example Raqqa in Syria, without a good reason.”

His Christmas list also (of course) entails vastly increased spending on security (“the government committed an additional $630 million to the Australian Federal Police, Customs and Border Protection, the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and the Office of National Assessments … biometric screening will start to be introduced at international airports within 12 months”).

And the government — already a member of the sprawling Five Eyes spying alliance — will vest itself with greater surveillance powers (“as well, legislation requiring telecommunications providers to keep the metadata they already create and to continue to make it available to police and security agencies will be introduced soon”).

The ease with which terrorism is exploited by Western governments — a full 13 years after 9/11 — is stunning. Americans now overwhelmingly favour military action against a group which, three months ago, almost none of them even knew existed, notwithstanding admissions that the group poses no threat to the “homeland.”

When I was in New Zealand last week for a national debate over mass surveillance, the frequency with which the government and its supporters invoked the scary spectre of the Muslim Terrorist to justify all of that was remarkable: It’s New Zealand. And now the Liberal Party’s prime minister in Australia barely bats an eye as he overtly squeezes every drop of fear he can to justify a wide array of new powers and spending splurges in the name of a risk that, mathematically speaking, is trivial to the average citizen.

Political leaders love nothing more than when populations are put in fear of external threats. In that regard, these Western leaders share exactly the same goal as ISIS: to terrorise their nation’s citizens by grossly exaggerating its power and reach. Any museum exhibit on the degradation of Western behaviour in the post-9/11 era would be well-advised to put Abbott’s full speech on the wall, as it illustrates the fear-mongering games and propagandistic tactics that have led to all of that.

AUSTRALIA dramatically extended secret police powers yesterday in a move condemned by free speech campaigners: here.