Animals of colonel’s illegal zoo freed

This video says about itself:

18 August 2016

From the extremely spiritual and important Swinhoe’s Soft-shell Turtle, to the enigmatic greater Bamboo Lemur, these are 22 of the RAREST Creatures on Earth!

A symbol of Vietnam’s independence died in 2016. The critically endangered Swinhoe’s softshell turtle was found dead in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem (Hone Keem) Lake. Better known as Yangtze (yank-zee) turtles, experts claim it was one of only four such turtles in existence. One lives in a different lake in Hanoi while the other two live in a zoo in China. Estimated to be between 80 to over 100 years old, the 440 pound animal is considered to be the rarest turtle species on the planet. The animal’s death caused a nationwide outpouring of grief … rare sightings of it were deemed to be good fortune, giving it a key role in Vietnamese mythology. In a story taught to generations of Vietnamese schoolchildren, the turtle is considered the sacred custodian of the magic sword of the 15th century rebel leader Le Loi, who vanquished Chinese invaders.

Pygmy Three Toed Sloth — aka the Monk Sloth or Dwarf Sloth, it’s native to the small island Isla Escudo de Veraguas (vair-ah-gwas) off the coast of Panama. Because the animal is found only in the red mangroves of the Panamanian island, its numbers have always been low … but in 2012, the sloth’s total population was estimated at only 79. They’re listed as critically endangered.

Javan Rhino — This one-horned species of rhino is known to survive in just one location — the Ujung Kulon (you-jung ko-lon) National Park in western Java. The population of rhinos there is thought to number no more than 61 animals. Quite possibly the rarest large mammal in the world, the rhino’s numbers have declined as a result of poaching and loss of habitat.

Ploughshare Tortoise — This species of tortoise is only found in the dry forests of the Baly Bay area in northwest Madagascar. Its colorful shell makes it a target for poachers engaged in the illegal international pet trade. Population estimates for the tortoise range from 440 to 770, but those numbers are decreasing. The tortoise has a very high risk of extinction, possibly becoming extinct in the next 10 to 15 years.

Dusky Gopher Frog — Native to the southern US, this frog once flourished along the Gulf Coastal Plain in Mississippi, Alabama, and lower Louisiana. Today, the only known population remaining is comprised of about 100 adult frogs from a single site in Harrison County, Mississippi. The Dusky Gopher Frog is considered the most rare amphibian in North America.

Greater Bamboo Lemur — Named as one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates, it’s current range is held to southeastern Madagascar, although fossils indicate it may have roamed as far north on the island as Ankarana. Recent estimates place the population at around 500 individuals.

Red Crested Tree Rat — About the size of a guinea pig, this animal was sighted for the first time in decades in 2011. Prior to that, its last recorded sighting was in 1898 … back then, two creatures that were found and studied, serving as the source of all information about the animal until it reappearance after 113 years. There’s no information concerning the size of its population, but it has been listed as critically endangered since its habitat in coastal Colombia is affected by feral cats, deforestation and climate change.

Gooty Tarantula — aka the Metallic Tarantula, it’s found in India … what’s left of them, anyway. Actually the size of its population is unknown. Deforestation and firewood collection are reasons for this spider facing a decline in its populations.

Araripe Manakin — This critically endangered bird was discovered in 1996 and is native to the Araripe Uplands in the northeastern region of Brazil. Its total population is estimated at 500 pairs of the animal surviving today. Due to threats from deforestation and water diversion, the bird is listed among the world’s 100 most threatened species.

Tonkin Snub Nosed Monkey — Native to Vietnam, these animals are known for their black and white coloring and pink nose. They were thought to be extinct until the 1990s, until it was rediscovered in 1992. Despite conservation efforts, it continues to be listed as among the world’s 25 most endangered primates. In 2008, less that 250 primates were thought to exist.

Madagascan PochardThe extremely rare diving duck was thought to have gone extinct in the late 1990s … but the species was rediscovered in Madagascar in 2006. As of 2013, the population numbered approximately 80 individuals. Rice cultivation, cattle grazing on shores, and hunting are among the factors that have led to the duck’s diminishing numbers.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Malnourished chimpanzee in rusty cage in illegal zoo Guinea

Today, 09:20

In Guinea an illegal zoo of rare animals has been closed down. A colonel of the Guinean army had captured 33 animals for sale, including crocodiles, parrots, a serval, baboons, tortoises and a chimpanzee.

There is a lot of money in Guinea in the illegal animal trade. Not only ivory and skins of exotic animals are sold, also live specimens of rare species are traded by criminal gangs.

The zoo was detected during an investigation of four years by a wildlife organization, Interpol and the Ministry of the Environment of Guinea. During raids three people were arrested in two places, the colonel later reported to the police.

Rusty cages

The animals were kept in rusty cages that were often too small. The chimpanzee was malnourished and was also kept alone, while chimpanzees live in groups.

Many of the animals have now been released in a national park. Exceptions are some animals that are not native, like ostriches and a few turtles.

The chimpanzee must be in quarantine first, to recuperate and to make sure it can not transmit diseases.

‘Dutch government, don’t deport refugees to Ebola countries’

This 26 June 2014 video is called Monkey Meat and the Ebola Outbreak in Liberia.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

“Asylum seekers should not be returned to Ebola countries”

Monday Oct 20, 2014, 11:06 (Update: 20-10-14, 11:17)

Teeven, Dutch State Secretary of Homeland Security and Justice, temporarily should not return asylum seekers to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia because of the Ebola crisis. [Opposition parties] SP, D66, Christian Union and Green Left say so, reports The Morning radio show.

The opposition parties think it is inhumane to send back asylum seekers to those countries now. Also, the government has “double standards,” said D66 parliamentarian Schouw in the show. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends not to travel to those countries, but the Justice Department says that asylum seekers can be deported there OK.”

According to Schouw, the Netherlands should follow Belgium’s example. There, it has already been decided that asylum seekers will not be returned to countries where Ebola is rampant.

The world’s political and economic elite, the financial aristocracy that dominates the global capitalist system, will take only token measures to help the millions who face sickness and death in the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa. This is clear from the dismal response to appeals from doctors, nurses and aid workers fighting the epidemic, and from leaders of the three hardest-hit countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea: here.

TV audiences in Britain could be forgiven for believing that international aid is confined to US and British military personnel arriving in west Africa to build medical facilities, alongside representatives of Medecins Sans Frontieres. Thursday’s early morning BBC World News did let slip that medical teams from China were also there, but that’s it. Morning Star readers know the impact that socialist Cuba has in not only deploying 50,000 health professionals in 66 developing countries but in sending its teams immediately when crises erupt: here.

Let Africans die from Ebola, racist politician Le Pen says

This video says about itself:

3 April 2014

There is an ongoing outbreak of the Ebola virus in Guinea in west Africa. Medical experts are concerned about it appearing in a densely populated area – the capital city of Conakry – and into neighbouring countries. Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases known to man and can kill up to 90% of the people it infects in a very short time period. But what causes it? How does it spread from human to human?

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Le Pen: ebola will solve immigration issue

Update: Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 13:35

“Mr. Ebola may solve the immigration problem in three months.” Jean-Marie Le Pen said this yesterday at a meeting of his party, the right-wing populist National Front.

The deadly Ebola virus, according to Le Pen, will stop the “flood of immigrants” to Europe. The virus ​​in recent months made many victims in West Africa.

Le Pen, the founder of the National Front, now sits in the European Parliament and is a candidate for a new term. He is controversial because of his numerous discriminatory statements. The National Front is led by his daughter Marine.

See also here.

In an interview in March, Le Pen said he does not rule out cooperation with the Greek Golden Dawn nazis after the European elections.

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African slave became famous violinist

This is a video from Britain on the play The Tin Violin.

By Susan Darlington in Britain:

The Tin Violin


Wednesday 25 July 2012

It would be easy to make the true story of a slave who overcame prejudice to become a famous violinist a didactic, worthy affair.

All credit to Bish Bash Bosh Productions then for making Alan M Kent’s The Tin Violin a gentle, warm play about our common cultural and creative identity.

Through a series of flashbacks it follows the life of Joseph Emidy, who was enslaved as a teenager by Portuguese traders in his native Guinea.

From there he was taken to Brazil and subsequently Portugal, where his career in the Lisbon Opera was curtailed when British sailors kidnapped him during the Napoleonic wars.

Finally abandoned as a freeman in Falmouth in 1799, he was given a tin violin made by a blind miner as a gift and started to build his reputation as a performer and pioneering composer.

The changing fates of Emidy are beautifully expressed by Oraine Johnson, whose expressive face communicates confusion and rapture in the power of music. His social and cultural transformation is told through his evolving wardrobe – from loincloth to trousers to tailored jackets.

A figure of gentle humility, Emidy is the one constant while around him there swirl mad sailors, the lewd Queen of Portugal and a chorus of “simple, mackerel-chewing” Cornish fishwives.

Performed by a core of four actors, these secondary characters add levity and areas of common humanity.

Molly Weaver brings a touch of Carry On via Blackadder to her role as Queen Maria, fake beauty spot quivering while she makes double entendres to an uptight British naval commander (Steve Jacobs) and,as fishwives who just want to sing and dance, Alex and Robin Kristoffy offer a reminder of the universality of music.

Given the integral role of the violin to the plot, it would have been a nice touch if some of the cast had been able to play an instrument on stage. Instead, recordings of fiddled sea shanties, coastal birdsong and chattering crowds support the action.

There’s a similar simplicity in the staging of the show under Dean Nolan’s direction. The passage of the Indefatigable naval vessel is illustrated by the movement of wood planks while the ship itself is outlined by a row of flags and knotted rope ladders.

These techniques help to focus attention on the basic human interest story, with the closing scenes adding pathos to a life that has only in recent years been rediscovered and celebrated through Black History Month.

Tours nationally until August 4. Details at

Will xenophobia spare Strauss-Kahn jail for rape?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Hotel workers protest as Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves court

New York City union hotel workers protest as former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair leave Manhattan Criminal Court after Strauss-Kahn‘s arraignment hearing on sexual assault charges in New York.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Strauss-Kahn Case Seen as in Jeopardy


Published: June 30, 2011

The sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is on the verge of collapse as investigators have uncovered major holes in the credibility of the housekeeper who charged that he attacked her in his Manhattan hotel suite in May, according to two well-placed law enforcement officials.

Although forensic tests found unambiguous evidence of a sexual encounter between Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a French politician, and the woman, prosecutors now do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself.

“Sexual encounter”; what an euphemism for what was presumably rape.

Among the discoveries, one of the officials said, are issues involving the asylum application of the 32-year-old housekeeper, who is Guinean, and possible links to people involved in criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.

Well, if you are poor, as you cannot afford a New York City rich people’s house on a chambermaid wage, then you probably live in a “poor” neighborhood. A New York City neighborhood where some people do not see other ways of making money than drug deals etc. And if those people live, eg, next door to you, then you know them, and then there is a “possible link”. It is very twisted logic to infer from this that a poor African immigrant woman probably lied about being sexually attacked by one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.

George W. Bush lied about very many things, like those supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction which were a pretext for the Iraq war. Yet this does not mean we should doubt Bush’s veracity when he said that Dick Cheney would be his election running mate, as Cheney indeed turned out to be his running mate.

It seems that prejudices against women, against Africans, against immigrants, against working class people, play a role amongst New York authorities involved in the Strauss-Kahn rape case.

And now, the other issue mentioned by the New York Times. “The asylum application of the 32-year-old housekeeper”. Mr Strauss-Kahn, not being female, not being poor, not being African, could get easily into the USA.

For the Guinean chambermaid, things are different. Guinea is a bloody dictatorship; there is much sexual violence against women. Yet, xenophobia in the USA makes it difficult for Guineans to get political asylum.

So, she may have, technically, “lied”. Like some other refugees from poor countries, faced with rigid bureaucracy and rigid rules in rich countries, do.

Ms Ayaan Hirsi Magan (real name of “Ayaan Hirsi Ali”), when she applied for political asylum, and later for a Dutch passport, in the Netherlands, lied about her name, about her birth date, about her whereabouts before applying for asylum. Other women (and men) of Somali origin doing that would be harshly punished with deportation by the Dutch authorities.

However, Ms “Ali” was not punished, as her attacks on Islam were useful for the political right wing in its anti-immigrant witch-hunt.

The New York City Guinean chambermaid does not seem to be useful to the establishment, like Ms “Ali” is.

Don’t let xenophobia, racism, misogyny and anti-worker prejudice prevail over justice in the Strauss-Kahn case!

Portia Crow, Inter Press Service: “Despite questions about her credibility, the Sofitel maid who is accusing former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault is still a victim and should be treated as one, according to her attorney… He claimed that District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. was trying to drop the case in order to save face, and stressed that the 32-year-old alleged victim still deserved justice”: here.

Violence Against Migrant Women Won’t End After DSK Case. Michelle Chen, Colorlines: “The narrative of the immigrant housekeeper allegedly assaulted by a European official perfectly illustrates an axiom of violence and power: the wider the gap between genders and races, the greater the latitude of injustice. Yet the same story plays out every day on an endless loop around the globe: a retaliatory rape against a young girl sends a warning to the enemy militia; a wife is pummeled into bloody silence, her bedroom beyond the purview of traditional local courts; a daughter is married off to pay down a farm debt. The stories weave into a pattern that a media-fatigued public has come to normalize”: here.

Nafissatou Diallo Interviews: Dominique Strauss-Kahn Accuser Speaks: here.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Case: Hotel Maid‘s Lawyer Says Her Remarks Were Wrongfully Portrayed: here.

Nafissatou Diallo Sues Dominique Strauss-Kahn Over NYC Hotel Encounter (VIDEO) : here.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn allies allegedly offered £4m to silence ex-lover: here.

Arrests after Strauss-Kahn speech in UK. Police detain man and woman protesting against speech by French politician who quit as IMF chief over rape accusations: here.

Former International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a French court yesterday he was unaware that female participants at hotel orgies in Paris and Washington were prostitutes. He and 13 co-defendants are on trial accused of aggravated pimping in connection with a sex ring centred on the Hotel Carlton in Lille: here.

Guinean junta massacres opponents

Moussa Dadis Camara

From British daily The Morning Star:

Opposition gunned down in rally attack

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Tom Mellen

Guinea‘s military junta was threatened with sanctions by the African Union on Tuesday after soldiers massacred at least 157 people attending an opposition rally in the capital Conakry.

Up to 50,000 people crammed into the capital’s stadium on Monday to protest against coup chief Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (pictured) when armed soldiers reportedly opened fire.

Guinean human rights activist Souleymane Bah said: “Soldiers were firing at people and those who tried to get out of the stadium were caught and finished off with bayonets.”

He witnessed dozens of corpses in the stadium and confirmed widespread reports of horrific abuse by soldiers.

“I saw soldiers strip women naked, spread their legs and stamp on their privates with their boots,” he reported.

Two former prime ministers, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Sidya Toure, were injured by soldiers as they were being detained. Several other leading opposition politicians were also hurt.

Mr Toure described the massacre as “a deliberate attempt” to eliminate the opposition to the coup.

It stepped up protests in recent weeks amid rumors that Cpt Camara, who has vowed not to stand in presidential elections scheduled for January 31, may go back on his word.

The African Union (AU) forcefully condemned the stadium masacre and “the indiscriminate firing on unarmed civilians, which left dozens dead and many others injured, while serious other violations of human rights were committed.”

It called on Cpt Camara to confirm that he would honour his pledge not to stand in the upcoming election, thus easing the transition to civilian rule.

“The AU commission is preparing a report on the developments in Guinea and possible measures to be taken, including sanctions,” it said.

UN chief Ban Ki Moon slammed the “excessive use of force” and said that he was “shocked by the loss of life, the high number of people injured and the destruction of property.

See also here. And here.

Armoured vehicles sold to the Guinean regime by a subsidiary of BAE Systems were used in the massacre of peaceful demonstrators, Amnesty International has revealed.

Niger’s political opposition have urged the new military junta to hold elections as soon as possible and restore civilian rule after a coup ousted president Mamadou Tandja: here.

London demonstration against killing strikers in Guinea


From Judith Amanthis in Britain:


Monday 29 January 2007, 12.30pm

Meet outside Charing Cross station near the Burger King.

Demonstrators will then make their way towards Trafalgar Square.

There we will be demonstrating and protesting for about 3/4 of an hour.

Then a delegation of about 40 people will head to the Embassy of Guinea at 48 Onslow Gardens, SW7, in South Kensington off Fulham Road. Very near South Kensington tube.

See background below

At least 59 people have been killed by the military in Guinea since a general strike started on 10 Jan 2007.

Workers’ World, 26 Jan 2007

Moktar Ba, a reporter for Radio France International in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, says the real reason for the general strike is the people’s growing misery.

Most people survive on less than $1 a day-even though Guinea is the world’s second biggest producer of bauxite, the source of aluminum, and possesses about one-third of the world’s reserves.

It also is a major producer of gold. The union movement called two widely followed general strikes last year.

The Independent, London

Soldiers open fire on Guinea protesters

By Alex Duval Smith

Published: 23 January 2007

At least 17 people were killed yesterday when soldiers opened fire on street protesters in Guinea in the deadliest day since the start of a mass uprising against the regime of West Africa’s longest-serving president.

The violence has claimed at least 37 lives since the start of a general strike two weeks ago and threatens Guinea’s war-scarred neighbours, Sierra Leone and Liberia, on whom Britain and the United Nations continue to spend millions of pounds to secure fragile peace.

Trade unions and opposition parties in Guinea – a poor country despite having one of the most mineral-rich subsoils in the world – are protesting against the autocratic 23-year rule of Lansana Conté.

They are supported by the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches as well as prominent Muslim leaders.

“We have total support,” Rabiatou Serah Diallo, the leader of the National Confederation of Guinean Workers, said.

“The resolve of the people is enormous. You can see that because they are prepared to continue turning up for peaceful marches despite the fact that the security forces now clearly have orders to open fire.”

The trade unions called the strike after President Conté, 73, last month ordered the release of two of his friends who had been jailed for corruption.

“That arrogant show of impunity was just too much for the people,” Jean-Marie Doré, the leader of the opposition Union Pour Le Progrès de la Guinée, said. ”

They are fed up with living in a country where nothing works even when there is not a general strike. People have nothing to lose.”

Since it started on 10 January, the general strike has spread rapidly beyond the capital, Conakry, to the former French colony’s railways and its mining industry, which includes the world’s biggest source of aluminium ore (bauxite).

President Conté has, however, maintained a low profile since the start of the protest.

Guinean writer interviewed: here.