Saudi prince kills 2,100 vulnerable houbara bustards in Pakistan


This video is called MacQueen’s Bustard on a mating dance.

Note: the article below here mentions “houbara bustards“. Meanwhile, biologists consider the MacQueen’s bustards of Pakistan and elsewhere in Asia, as a species, separate from the African houbara bustard. BirdLife still sees the two species as one species; which it considers Vulnerable.

From Dawn daily in Pakistan:

Arab royal hunts down 2,100 houbara bustards in three week safari

KARACHI: A Saudi prince has poached over 2,100 internationally protected houbara bustards in 21-day hunting safari in Chagai, Balochistan, during which the royal also indulged in illegal hunting in protected areas, says a report.

The report titled ‘Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud regarding hunting of houbara bustard’ prepared by Jaffar Baloch, divisional forest officer of the Balochistan forest and wildlife department, Chagai at Dalbandin, says the prince hunted for 21 days – from Jan 11, 2014 to Jan 31– and hunted 1,977 birds, while other members of his party hunted an additional 123 birds, bringing the total bustard toll to 2,100, sources said.

They said that hunting of the internationally protected bird was banned in Pakistan also, but the federal government issued special permits to Gulf states’ royals.

Permits, which are person specific and could not be used by anyone else, allow the holders to hunt up to 100 houbara bustards in 10 days in the area allocated, excluding reserved and protected areas.

The report dated Feb 4, 2014 (No: 216-219 HB/CHI) says that during the 21-day safari the prince hunted the birds for 15 days in the reserved and protected areas, poached birds in other areas for six days and took rest for two days.

Giving a breakup of date-wise as well as area-wise details of the prince’s expedition, the report says that he hunted 112 houbara bustards in the Gut game sanctuary (Arbe pat) which is a reserved and protected area on Jan 11, 2014.

Also read: Houbara bustard butchery | An eulogy for 2,100 bustards

The next two days on Jan 12 and 13th he hunted 116 and 93 birds in the Gut game sanctuary (Sai Rek) which is also a reserved and protected area. Then for the next two days Prince Fahd, who is also governor of Tabuk, visited Sato Gut and hunted 82 and 80 houbaras on Jan 14 and 15, respectively. On Jan 16, he visited Gut-i-Barooth and hunted 79 houbaras. Both these areas are not protected areas, says the report.

For the next six days the Saudi royal camped in the Koh-i-Sultan state forest, which is a reserved and protected area, and hunted 93, 82, 94, 97, 96 and 120 houbara bustards on Jan 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22, respectively.

On Jan 23 and 24, he continued his hunting spree in the Gut game sanctuary (Dam), which is a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 116 and 197 houbara bustards, respectively.

The prince carried out hunting of the protected bird in Thalo Station and hunted 89 houbara bustards on Jan 25 and spent the next two days hunting the birds in Pul Choto, killing 34 and 89 birds on Jan 26 and 27, respectively. Both of these areas are neither reserved nor protected, says the report.

The remaining four days, Prince Fahd spent in the Gut game sanctuary, a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 92, 94, 119 and 97 birds on Jan 28, 29, 30, and 31, respectively. The royal guest took rest on Feb 1 and 2 at the Bar Tagzai base camp after bringing the grand total of his trophies to 1,977.

The report says: “123 birds were hunted by local representatives and other labourers of the hunting party. The total bustards hunted by Prince Fahd bin Abdul Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud are 1,977 and total bustards hunted by local representatives and other labourers are 123 bringing the grand total to 2100”.

See also here. And here.

This reminds me of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s butchery of partridges.

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NSA, Dutch military spy on millions of Somalis for drone attacks


This video says about itself:

Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Yemen & Somalia include targeting Rescuers and Funerals

US Drone Strike statistics based on research by a team of journalists of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

(As of October 10, 2012)

CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004 — 2012:

Total US strikes: 349
Obama strikes: 297
Total reported killed: 2,593-3,365
Civilians reported killed: 474-884
Children reported killed: 176
Total reported injured: 1,249-1,389

For latest Pakistan strike data click here.

US Covert Action in Yemen 2002 — 2012:

Total confirmed US operations (all): 52-62
Total confirmed US drone strikes: 40-50
Possible additional US operations: 119-138
Possible additional US drone strikes: 63-76
Total reported killed (all): 357-1,038
Total civilians killed (all): 60-163
Children killed (all): 24-34

For latest data from Yemen click here.

US Covert Action in Somalia 2007 — 2012:

Total US strikes: 10-23
Total US drone strikes: 3-9
Total reported killed: 58-170
Civilians reported killed: 11-57
Children reported killed: 1-3

For complete data on Somalia click here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Saturday 8 March 2014, 03:46 (Update: 08-03-14, 09:17 AM)

Dutch data may be used to carry out drone attacks on targets in Somalia. This turns out, according to NRC Handelsblad daily, from documents of the U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service(MIVD) intercepted the telephone messages of millions of Somalis and shared that information with the US American security service NSA.

From Snowden‘s documents it would appear that the Americans have no access to the local telephone network in Somalia. According to the NSA, the MIVD does have access to those data, the newspaper writes.

Civilians

The information from the MIVD according to NRC Handelsblad is used in the drone attacks on Somalia. The U.S. military is currently engaged in attacks on members of the terrorist group al- Shabaab. The drone attacks are controversial, as in those attacks often innocent civilians are killed as well.

The Dutch Department of Defense says Dutch information may be used in the attacks, but if at all, that would probably be to a very limited degree.

US drone strikes in Somalia part of drive to control Horn of Africa: here.

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British politician criticized for racism


This video is called Racism In England Against British Pakistanis (British Nationals).

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Ukip ‘disowns’ Cambridgeshire councillor Peter Lagoda following complaints he used ‘racist and offensive’ language

Party claims local politician remains suspended since he was charged with benefit fraud last year

Ukip has been forced to deny links to a local councillor in Cambridgeshire after he was reportedly made to apologise to firefighters for using “racist” and “deeply offensive” language.

Peter Lagoda was the subject of a formal complaint from one member of the fire service when, during a visit to a station last month, the councillor described his north African sister as a “w**” and relatives in Germany as “Mongols” whose children had “slanty eyes”.

When questioned about the incident, Mr Lagoda admitted using the language but said it was in the context of a “private conversation” and that he must have been misunderstood by the firefighters because his “English must be greater than theirs”, according to the Huffington Post.

He told the website: “Yes, my cousin married Mongols and now all their little children are ever so cute and they have slanty eyes.

“They’ve taken it the wrong way and my English must be far greater than theirs because I looked in the dictionary and a person from Mongolia is called a Mongol. It’s always the British that bastardize words.”

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “w**” is an offensive term used to describe foreigners, especially those who are not white.

Mr Lagoda is listed on the Cambridgeshire County Council website as being a member for Ukip, and according to the Huffington Post it was the party’s local group that forced him to write an apology to the firefighters he offended – a letter he says “shouldn’t have gone out”.

Yet a spokesperson for Ukip insisted he has not been an “acting councillor” for the party since he was suspended last year after being charged with benefit fraud.

The spokesperson said Ukip takes the incident “very seriously”, but added: “Councillor Lagoda was suspended from the party before this incident occurred. He is not an acting councillor for Ukip now and he was not an acting councillor for Ukip at the time of this incident.”

Other local politicians rounded on Ukip following Mr Lagoda’s comments. Martin Curtis, head of the Cambridgeshire council’s Conservative group, told the Times: “As far as I’m concerned he is still a party member. He still sits with the UKIP group at our council. He still sits in their group meetings as well. They say they are disowning him but it doesn’t look like it from the outside.”

Labour MEP Richard Howitt told the Huffington Post the remarks were “very shocking” and “deeply offensive”, and criticized Ukip for letting him remain a member.

“The national leadership of Ukip consistently try to distance themselves from what is the overt prejudice and racism that exists in their membership, but their failure to remove the whip from this particular councillor cries out loud about the true nature of the party,” he said.

Mr Lagoda becomes the latest in a string of party members to be involved in controversy in recent months.

Earlier in February, a BBC Newsnight investigation found that the party’s former Commonwealth spokesman Mujeeb Bhutto used to be the “boss” of a kidnapping gang in Pakistan. Bhutto, who is still a wanted man in Pakistan, has claimed the charges against him were “simply because of political rivalry”. He told Newsnight he admitted to leading the kidnapping gang in 2005 to avoid the risk of deportation and being hanged.

In January, the Ukip councillor David Silvester was suspended from the party in the wake of comments suggesting recent storms could be blamed on David Cameron’s decision to legalise gay marriage.

In November last year, one of the party’s MEPs Stuart Agnew sparked a furore after he said women don’t “have the ambition” to get to the top in business because babies “get in the way”.

And a month earlier, the MEP Godfrey Bloom was famously suspended from Ukip for describing women who don’t clean their fridges as “sluts”, hitting out against sending aid to “bongo bongo land” and physically hitting a reporter over the head with a party brochure.

Party leader Nigel Farage has previously responded to the rows by pledging to cleanse the party of anyone with “extremist, nasty or barmy views” – while insisting that there have been similar “outbreaks” of such views from people “of all political persuasions”.

BBC debates between Clegg and Farage: A political fraud: here.

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Stop oil sheiks’ killing of Pakistani MacQueen’s bustards


This video is about a MacQueen’s bustard mating dance.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Pakistan urged to ban Arab sheikhs from hunting endangered birds

Special licences given to high-rolling dignitaries to kill houbara bustard, which is considered to be at risk of extinction

Jon Boone in Karachi

Tuesday 4 February 2014 07.00 GMT

Pakistan is witnessing a mounting backlash against Arab sheikhs who spend part of their winters hunting a rare bird that conservationists warn is at risk of extinction.

Activists in the country say they are determined to end the annual killing of houbara bustards,

Recently, the birds in Pakistan are considered to be a separate species, MacQueen’s bustard, from the houbara bustards of North Africa.

an elusive bird that migrates each winter from central Asia to Pakistan’s warmer climes.

Although the birds are officially protected, VIP visitors from the Gulf enjoy their traditional hunts with falcons and believe the houbara‘s meat has aphrodisiac properties.

“Is there any more ridiculous reason to kill an animal?” said Naeem Sadiq, a Karachi-based activist who petitioned the Lahore high court to ban the practice. “If it’s illegal for Pakistanis to kill these birds why should the Arab sheikhs be allowed to do it?”

On Friday, the court slapped an interim ban on hunting in Punjab province, where the government has issued special hunting permits to royalty from across the Arab world.

Numbers of houbara, which are considered to be at risk of extinction by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, have fallen dramatically in recent decades.

They have been almost wiped out on the Arabian peninsula and various countries in the region, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, have set up breeding programmes to try to revive numbers.

While houbara hunting has been banned in India for decades, Pakistan continues to give special licences to Arab rulers and senior officials. This year Pakistan issued 33 permits allowing dignitaries to kill up to 100 birds each.

The list of licence holders is a who’s who of Gulf potentates, including the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the president of the UAE.

The Arab kingdoms are home to huge numbers of Pakistani expatriate workers and the government is loth to jeopardise its relationship with such important regional allies.

“Arab dignitaries have been coming for hunting for decades and decades – it’s a longstanding tradition,” said Tasneem Aslam, from Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs. “Ten years ago there wasn’t so much public awareness about the issue but now we see more voices raising their concern.”

It’s not just environmental activists and the country’s boisterous media that increasingly focuses on the comings and goings of Arab dignitaries but also politicians determined to stop the sport.

Sindh, one of Pakistan’s four provinces where a large number of licences were issued for the hunting season, is attempting to challenge the foreign affairs ministry’s right to issue permits.

“We believe the constitution gives the right to give licences to the provinces,” said Sikandar Ali Mandhro, a Sindh provincial government minister leading the fight. “If we succeed we will immediately introduce a five- or 10-year ban because the bird numbers have become so low.”

Few outsiders have witnessed one of the bustard-hunting expeditions, but stories about the high-rolling Arab falconers are legendary in Pakistan.

Tons of equipment is flown in by private transport planes, including the falcons used to hunt the rare quarry. Luxuriously appointed camps are set up for the sheikh and his guests, who often stay for weeks.

Local communities value the money spent by their annual visitors, who have paid for improvements to roads and airstrips, as well as paying for the means to build mosques and schools.

An official from the Houbara Foundation Pakistan, which rescues birds captured for illegal shipment to the Gulf, said there was a desperate need for a proper national survey of houbara numbers in order to decide whether limited hunting should be allowed to continue.

“The real problem arises once a hunting camp is set up and other people come and take advantage,” said the official, who did not wish to be named. “We have informal information about locals shooting the birds.”

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Greek nazi murder of Pakistani worker on trial


This video is called Golden Dawn: Greece‘s neo-fascists.

From Dawn of the Greeks blog:

The trial for the racist murder of Sachzat Loukman starts again tomorrow

Posted on January 7, 2014 by dawnofthegreeks

On Wednesday, January 8 continues the trial for the murder of Sachzat Loukman, trial which began on 18 December in Mixed Jury Court of Athens. The 27 year old migrant worker from Pakistan Sachzat Loukman [was] murdered in Athens, the morning of 17 January 2013 as he walked with his bike to work. The 29-year old Chris Stergiopoulos and 25 year old Dennis Liakopoulos, armed with folding knives, attacked and murdered him by stabbing him seven times. They were arrested after a few hours and immediately confessed. Following the arrest of two men with [the ]crime weapon, police searched their homes, [where they] found material of the Golden Dawn and other murderous weapons which makes clear the racist motives of the perpetrators.

Greek source: koutitispandoras.

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