This video shows a young rufescent tiger-heron in Brazil.
This video shows a young rufescent tiger-heron in Brazil.
The foreign policy establishment and military industrial complex wage one regime change war after another under the guise of humanitarianism—wars that INCREASE the people’s suffering and devastation in those countries, and strengthen jihadists like al-Qaeda.
This video from Canada is called Barred Owl and her babies.
The documentary The Lady and the Owl (1975) highlights the work of Kay and Larry McKeever, a retired Canadian couple who dedicated themselves to caring for orphaned, injured and starving owls. From their home in Ontario, they could provide safe haven for up to 100 owls at once, serving creatures of varying sizes and needs: here.
This 11 April 2019 video from the USA says about itself:
Church Arson Suspect Arrested, You Won’t Believe Who His Dad Is
Police arrested the 21-year-old son of a sheriff’s deputy in connection to fires at three historically black churches in one Louisiana Parish in just 10 days. The fires were devastating to the St. Landry Parish community.
Investigators arrested suspect Holden Matthews Wednesday evening. He was charged Thursday morning with three counts of simple arson of a religious building. The maximum penalty for each counts is 15 years in prison. …
Records show Matthews lives in Saint Landry Parish, where the churches burned just a few miles apart.”
Sheriff’s deputy’s son took an interest in black metal and pagan social media pages, which had connections to neo-Nazism and white supremacy: here.
By Aaron Murch in the USA:
Arrest made in connection with church burnings in Louisiana
12 April 2019
Three historically black churches in St. Landry Parish, in south-central Louisiana, have been set on fire in a span of ten days. On Wednesday, April 10, Holden Matthews, the 21-year-old son of a St. Landry sheriff’s deputy, was arrested as the suspected arsonist behind the fires.
The string of arsons began on March 26 in the town of Port Barre, where the St. Mary Baptist Church burned down under suspicious circumstances. One week later, in nearby Opelousas, two more churches caught fire, the Greater Union Baptist Church on April 2 and the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church two days later.
The churches were empty at the time of the fires and no injuries have been reported, but given the region’s dark history of racist attacks by whites against black churches local parishioners were concerned about a possible racial motivation behind the burnings.
The Democratic governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, gave a press conference laying out the tone of the investigation: “I don’t know what this young man’s motive was, I don’t know what was in his heart, but I can say it cannot be justified or rationalized,” Edwards said, “It has been especially painful because it reminds us of a very dark past of intimidation and fear.”
According to the latest Census data, St. Landry Parish, west of Baton Rouge, is home to over 83,000 people. Located in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole community St. Landry’s population is about 56 percent white and 42 percent black. Holden Matthews is white.
Given that the churches targeted were historically black—St. Mary’s in particular has been around for 126 years as an African American Baptist Church—the Southern Poverty Law Center is classifying these burnings as a hate crime. The sheriff’s department has not explicitly declared the burnings a hate crime and prosecutors have not yet brought hate crime charges, which carry with them harsher sentences.
According to authorities, Matthews’ truck was caught on camera leaving one of the churches and a specifically branded gas can used in the burnings was found in his possession.
While it is unclear if racial hatred was a major motivating factor, Matthews, a musician in a local metal band, has made comments on Facebook praising black metal artists known for burning churches in Norway in the early 90s. According to his profile Matthews is a fan of “black metal”, a subgenre of hard rock, which in some areas has attracted advocates of white nationalism and neo-Nazi ideologies.
Matthews’ father Roy Matthews is a deputy at the local sheriff’s department but was not involved in the investigation. He claimed he was unaware of his son’s activities and did not know of any racist bias his son may have had.
The New Orleans division of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms led the investigation into the attacks, claiming to advocate a “zero tolerance” approach to the case. “These were evil acts,” Governor Edwards said at the news conference.
The NAACP called the burnings “domestic terrorism” …
Whatever his motives in the church burnings, and their connection to far-right, neo-Nazi ideology, Matthews’ actions are a warning sign of a greater social crisis in a region which is impoverished and has had public education virtually gutted in recent decades under both Republican and Democratic leadership.
The Lafayette area has itself seen a steady decline in good paying manufacturing and oil jobs over the years. In St. Landry Parish the most common job available is custodian, at extremely low pay.
Holden Matthews‘ arrested for allegedly burning down three historic Black churches in Louisiana came on Wednesday. But the suspected white supremacist was still getting sympathy in mainstream media coverage. The Associated Press made sure to report early on in its story Friday that Matthews’ friend said the man accused of racist arson was actually “a really sweet guy”: here.
‘Hate’ May Have Driven Suspect Holden Matthews To Burn Black Churches: here.
This 17 March 2019 video says about itself:
Christchurch, New Zealand shooting survivor recounts attack
Muhammad Luthfan Fadhli, who is 19 and originally from Indonesia, recalled his time inside the mosque where a shooter unleashed gunfire on March 15 that killed 50 people.
By Tom Peters in New Zealand:
Australian police dismissed death threat by Christchurch terrorist
12 April 2019
A few hours after the March 15 mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch which killed 50 people and injured more, New Zealand’s police commissioner Mike Bush was asked in a press conference: “Why were these people [initially there was more than one suspect] not on a security watch list? Were they completely unknown to police?”
He replied: “No agency had any information about these people… I’ve been in contact with my Australian colleagues, they have no information on them at all either.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the media that the shooter, Australian fascist Brenton Tarrant, was “on nobody’s radar, anywhere.” New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern made a similar statement.
In fact, it is now clear that the gunman had come to the attention of Australian police more than two years before the attack. On Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that in September 2016, a man went to police in the Melbourne suburb of Eltham after receiving a death threat from Tarrant via Facebook.
The man had criticised the United Patriots Front (UPF), an extreme-right group that was planning an anti-refugee rally in Melbourne. In response, Tarrant said: “The UPF is the leading ethno-nationalist group within Australia… When you speak against the UPF you speak against my right to a home for my people and my culture. This marks you.”
Tarrant warned the man to “choose your words carefully” and “think of who you insult.” He then added: “If you are a nationalist I hope you one day see the light, and if you are a Marxist I hope you one day meet the rope.”
Victoria Police told the ABC yesterday they had “no record” of the 2016 complaint, adding that they had “strong arrangements in place for monitoring and tracking people who pose a threat to the community.”
There is no innocent explanation for police refusing to investigate or even, apparently, make a record of Tarrant’s death threat. The episode raises extremely disturbing questions about the relationship between the police and Australia’s anti-immigrant and fascist groups.
The death threat was not an isolated incident. Tarrant made numerous public comments on Facebook in 2016 hailing the UPF and its neo-Nazi leader, Blair Cottrell, and threatening “globalists and Marxists.”
In one instance, when members of the UPF violently clashed with counter-protesters in Coburg, Tarrant wrote: “Communists will get what communists get, I would love to be there holding one end of the rope when you get yours traitor.” All of this was apparently ignored by police and intelligence agencies.
In New Zealand, police similarly dismissed a complaint made in late 2017 by Peter Briedhal, who was concerned about the racist, anti-Muslim comments expressed by members of the Bruce Rifle Club, which Tarrant had joined after moving to New Zealand that year. When Briedhal went to police he was told not to worry, and his complaint was not recorded.
If authorities had “no information” on the Christchurch terrorist, this is because police in Australia and New Zealand had deliberately shielded him. For several years he was allowed to travel the world, donate to fascist groups in Europe, amass a stockpile of weapons and prepare his atrocity, all while making public comments on Facebook and 8chan expressing his murderous hatred of Marxists and Muslims.
The reason Tarrant was not stopped is suggested in his fascist manifesto, which expresses support for the military and police and states that he did not want to shoot any police officers in the course of his attack. He estimated that in Europe hundreds of thousands of far-right nationalists were employed in the armed forces.
The manifesto has been banned by New Zealand’s chief censor in order to prevent public discussion of Tarrant’s political motivations. The ruling elite do not want any questions raised about whether members of the police and intelligence agencies in New Zealand and Australia share Tarrant’s fascist views.
The document shows the similarity of the gunman’s anti-immigrant and anti-Marxist politics to those of the political establishment throughout the world, including the administration of US President Donald Trump.
In Australia and New Zealand, anti-Muslim racism has been cultivated for decades to justify the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have killed more than a million people. … New Zealand First, which is part of the Labour-led government, has frequently demonised Muslims and Chinese people, using language similar to that of the Christchurch shooter.
The entire Australian political establishment and media have viciously attacked refugees fleeing wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, creating an environment in which right-wing nationalist groups have flourished. The UPF and True Blue Crew have received significant promotion on TV and radio programs. One Channel 7 report in January 2018 described these fascist organisations, led by admirers of Adolf Hitler, as concerned “patriots” seeking “to help average Australians deal with what they are calling an immigrant crime crisis.”
The working class must draw the necessary political lessons from the systematic promotion of the extreme right by capitalist parties and the media, and the protection given to fascists like Tarrant by the police. The official response to the Christchurch shootings is to cover up the political roots of the attack and push for censorship of the internet and other police-state powers. These will be used, not against fascists, but against workers and young people who are moving to the left and seeking to fight against austerity and militarism.
“The historic function of fascism,” Leon Trotsky wrote in 1934, “is to smash the working class, destroy its organisations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery.” He warned workers that it was fatal to rely on the police or bourgeois parliaments to oppose fascism.
Today, while fascism is not a mass movement, it presents a growing danger to working people throughout the world, amid the most severe crisis of global capitalism since the 1930s. The working class must respond by building a socialist movement to unite workers around the world in a political fight to abolish capitalism, which is the source of nationalism and fascism as well as social inequality and war.
The author also recommends:
Why was the New Zealand terrorist attack not prevented?
[27 March 2019]
Australia’s political spy agency boss told a Senate estimates hearing this week there was no reason to refocus intelligence gathering on right-wing extremism, despite an Australian white supremacist being charged with the killing of Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15: here.
New Zealand soldier linked to fascist groups arrested: here.
The Islamic Women’s Council, in its submission to a royal commission of inquiry into the Christchurch shootings, stated that the attacks would not have happened if government agencies had acted on warnings about rising xenophobia and threats to the Muslim community. These included violent threats against the Al Noor mosque by Christchurch neo-Nazis in 2016. Nothing was done and the warnings were dismissed: here.
This April 2012 video is about nature reserve Polders Poelgeest.
I went there on 10 April 2019.
Near the entrance, grey lag geese and black-headed gulls swimming.
A bit further, mute swans. And a tufted duck couple.
From a garden on the other side of the canal, a dunnock sings.
Egyptian geese and Canada geese.
And an unusual couple: a Canada goose with a hybrid barnacle goose-Canada goose individual.
A great cormorant flies.
In the canal between the southern and northern lakes, a great crested grebe swims.
I found some red fox poop on the footpath.
In the northern lake: teal and northern shoveler ducks.
About a dozen black-tailed godwits. Most have already gone to their nesting areas.
A male and a female shelduck.
A gadwall couple.
À grey heron flies along the railroad canal.
A snipe flying.
In the northern lake, three avocets foraging.
White dead-nettle flowers.
In the northern meadow and the northern lake, grey lag geese goslings with their parents.
This 12 April 2019 video says about itself:
Sudan between hope and despair | DW News
The army has seized power in Sudan and warns anti-government protestors to stay off the streets as it imposes a strict curfew. It’s not quite what demonstrators were hoping for when they demanded the end to the presidency of Omar al-Bashir.
By Jean Shaoul:
Pre-emptive military coup ousts Bashir to protect Sudan’s elite
12 April 2019
Awad Ibn Auf, the minister of defence and deputy president, announced Thursday that the military had arrested al-Bashir, who seized power in a coup in 1989, suspended the constitution, shut border crossings and closed the country’s airspace for the next 24 hours.
He declared a three-month state of emergency, putting the country under military rule, and said that the army would oversee a two-year transitional period leading up to elections. Political prisoners would be released, he claimed.
The military coup follows four months of social unrest triggered by a government decision that tripled the price of bread. The spontaneous protests quickly developed into nationwide anti-government demonstrations calling for al-Bashir to step down. The movement drew in ever broader sections of the population with nationwide strikes of workers, including at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, and several work stoppages and protests at major telecom providers and other corporations.
Al-Bashir responded with brutal measures aimed at crushing resistance to the government, including the use of live ammunition by snipers, tear gas and baton charges. At least 60 people have been killed, including children and medics, some of whom died in prison as a result of torture.
Security forces arrested hundreds of demonstrators, with at least 800 sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment. Women were sentenced to floggings. There have been numerous arrests of oppositionists, including leaders of the main opposition Umma Party and the Sudan Communist Party (SCP).
In February, al-Bashir announced a year-long state of emergency, making mass demonstrations illegal, and dismissed his cabinet and all the 18 provincial governments, replacing the governors with military and security officers.
This did little to curb the widespread unrest over unemployment, soaring inflation and controls on accessing foreign currency and cash that have made living conditions intolerable. There is enormous popular hatred of al-Bashir’s regime for its never-ending wars in different parts of the country, brutal repression, corruption and indifference to endemic poverty.
The regime has suppressed all opposition to its policies over the last 30 years and waged war against its own people in South Sudan and Darfur, with armed conflicts still ongoing in South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces, in what has become known as Sudan’s third civil war.
Al-Bashir announced his resignation from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), appointing his close associate Ahmad Harun as deputy head of the NCP, who called for a “national dialogue.” But this was understood as a manoeuvre to win over some elements of the bourgeois opposition and maintain NCP rule via stage-managed elections in 2020—where Harun or Bashir would run.
Sudan’s rallies have been led by a coalition that includes the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) of doctors, lawyers and teachers, the National Consensus Forces (NCF), Sudan Call, the Unionist Gathering and the Umma Party.
Limiting the movement to al-Bashir’s ouster would always serve to give the regime a facelift, as has now been proven. …
Masses of workers and youth have come out onto the streets, not for a military coup or political reshuffle at the top, but rather a fundamental transformation of the entire social order. Since Saturday, the anniversary of the military coup that forced Jaafar Nimeiri to step down in 1985 after 16 years in power following massive protests, there have been mass demonstrations outside the military’s headquarters in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. At least 800,000 people took part Saturday, with the number swelling to 2 million the next day, the biggest protest against the government in Sudan’s tumultuous history.
There were reports of some soldiers intervening to protect demonstrators after security forces tried to disperse a mass sit-in outside the defence ministry, with al-Bashir’s gunmen killing at least 20 people.
On Monday, Al-Ahram Online reported after Sunday’s meeting of the National Defence and Security Council, headed by al-Bashir, “It has become clear that the army has picked its side.” The council issued a statement published by the Sudanese official news agency that “the protesters represent a segment of society that must be heard.” It had cooked up a deal for al-Bashir to step aside, with the military intervening “on the side of the people”.
According to Al-Ahram, the army was split over al-Bashir’s replacement, with one faction opposed to Defence Minister Auf because, like al-Bashir, he is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur when he was head of military intelligence. Al-Bashir’s forces are accused of killing up to 400,000 people. Other military figures tipped for the post are retired Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Lieutenant-General Emad Al-Din Mustafa Adawi and Lieutenant-General Kamal Abdul-Marouf, the military’s joint chief of staff.
The coup was clearly green-lighted by the United States and the UK, the former colonial power in Sudan, along with Sudan’s neighbour, the Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who made his second visit to the White House earlier this week. El-Sisi’s discussions with President Donald Trump were held against the backdrop of a similar attempt to neuter anti-regime protests in Algeria—with the military announcing the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika—as well as the raging civil war in Libya.
Referring to Libya and Sudan, el-Sisi said, “We cannot afford a leadership emerging in Libya or Sudan that tolerates, or even worse condones, militant Islamic activity. This is why … we are keeping a close eye on any possible transition of power in Sudan.”
On Wednesday, the US, Britain and Norway, who played a key role in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a 30-year civil war and paved the way for the secession of South Sudan, issued a statement backing a pre-emptive coup. The statement said, “The time has come for the Sudanese authorities to respond to these popular demands in a serious and credible way. The Sudanese people are demanding a transition to a political system that is inclusive and has greater legitimacy.”
While the fall of al-Bashir was greeted with euphoria, the demonstrations have continued. Some protesters mocked the announcement, with one tweeting, “LOL, Awad Ibn Auf probably walked out [after] that speech and went straight to Bashir at his house arrest.”
The Sudanese Professionals Association said, “It’s a coup and we’re not budging” and called for protests to continue until authority is passed on to “a civilian transitional government that represents the revolution’s forces.”
… The only way to establish a democratic regime in Sudan is through a struggle led by the working class to take power and expropriate the ill-gotten wealth of the entire ruling class, in the context of a broad international struggle of the working class against capitalism and for the building of socialism.
AL-BASHIR’S HORRIFIC LEGACY Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president deposed by his own military after mass protests against his 30-year dictatorship, played a central role in some of the worst atrocities of the past century and left a legacy of human suffering. [HuffPost]
The truth about a true frog: Unknown Costa Rican frog hidden amongst a widespread species
April 11, 2019
Known to science since 1857, a common species of true frog (a “true frog” is one assigned to the family Ranidae), found from north-eastern Honduras, through Nicaragua and Costa Rica to central Panama, turns out to have been keeping its “multiple identities” a secret all along.
According to British and Costa Rican herpetologists, who recently used DNA barcoding to study the species in question, what we currently call Warszewitsch’s frog is in fact a group of “cryptic” species. The study, conducted in the Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica, by James Cryer, Dr Robert Puschendorf, Dr Felicity Wynne from the University of Plymouth, and Dr Stephen Price, UCL, is published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.
In their paper, the authors suggest that the well-known Central American frog species, commonly known as the Warszewitsch’s frog, may in fact consist of multiple different “cryptic” species. This phenomenon is well documented among tropical amphibian fauna, where high levels of genetic variation within populations of a single species surpass levels found between different, classified species.
By utilizing a technique known as DNA barcoding, which compares short snippets of DNA sequences between individuals sampled, the scientists analysed specimens from three different geographic areas within Costa Rica and Panama. In this case, the researchers used sequences derived from mitochondria, the energy-producing “power houses” found in animal cells. Their results indicated there was enough genetic variation to suggest cryptic species are indeed present.
The team chose this particular species because cryptic species were previously identified at two Panamanian sites. Now, the samples from Costa Rica broaden the study area, suggesting that there could be multiple species going by the name Warszewitsch’s frog all across its known distribution.
Conservation biologist and lead author James Cryer says:
“The next step will be to gather more samples throughout the full range of the species. Additionally, if we are to fully discern one species variant from another, further studies that compare the physical, behavioural and ecological characteristics of the frogs, alongside more genetic testing is needed.”
Overall, findings like these are important to help improve our understanding of amphibian biodiversity and, thus, work towards its conservation.
“If indeed there are multiple species, it may be that they have different ecological requirements, and therefore different approaches to their conservation are needed.” Cryer says. “This study further reinforces the power of DNA barcoding for rapid, preliminary species identification. Especially in the tropics, where habitat loss, climate change and infectious disease continually threaten many undescribed amphibian species.”
Japanese scientists have identified the molecular mechanism that gives the skin secretions of a species of frog effective antimicrobial properties. Unraveling the molecular mechanism that facilitates antimicrobial activity of these peptides can help us better understand how the defense system of the frog has evolved, and how this can be used to fight microbial infections of medical importance: here.
This photo shows Dutch army Major Marco Kroon and his many medals.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
The Public Prosecution Service will prosecute Marco Kroon for an incident with policemen on Carnival Sunday in Den Bosch. According to the Public Prosecution Service, the holder of the Military William Order has been guilty of indecent exposure, insult and manhandling.
Due to the seriousness of the allegations, the Ministry of Defense decided to suspend Kroon. That means that for the time being he may not do his work and may not wear a uniform, says a spokesperson.
Peeing in public, headbutt
The police saw Kroon pee in public on March 3 and spoke to him about it. He then treated three officers in various ways, unfairly and in a criminal way, says the Public Prosecution Service.
The Defense organization already announced last month that it would not reimburse Kroon’s costs of legal assistance this time. On previous occasions that Kroon came into contact with police, his employer did so.
Marco Kroon received the Military William Order in 2009, the highest bravery award in the country. The medal was awarded for his performance as platoon commander in Afghanistan.
Afterwards Kroon discredited himself several times. In 2011, eg, he was convicted of possessing [illegal] electric shock weapons. The Public Prosecution Service also opened an investigation last year when Kroon announced that he had murdered an Afghan in 2007 and had not reported that to the Defense organization. This did not lead to prosecution because the investigation did not result in confirmation or denial of Kroon’s account.
The incident in Den Bosch has no consequences for Kroon’s Willems-Orde award, says the spokesperson for the Defense department. That may be the case with a conviction of at least a year in prison or with a dishonourable discharge by the Ministry of Defense.