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Global News and Analysis

Peru’s dangerous environmental regression

Source: Al Jazeera

New laws cozy up to big mining companies and give police impunity in quelling eco-protests

This December, Peru will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, during which representatives from 194 countries will convene in Lima to set the stage for a comprehensive international climate change agreement in 2015. The agreement would succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on carbon emission reductions, which is set to expire in 2020.

Ironically, in the run-up to the conference, Peru has substantially pared domestic environmental regulations — arguing that this is necessary to attract investment. The Associated Press summarizes the terms of a new law enacted by Peruvian President Ollanta Humala in July: read more

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Global News and Analysis

Human Rights Watch’s Revolving Door

Source: Jacobin

Human Rights Watch’s edicts and positions have often been suspiciously in line with US policy.

Let’s pretend that we want to start an organization to defend the rights of people across the globe that has no affiliation to any government or corporate interest. Which of the following characters should we therefore exclude from intimate roles in our organization’s operation? (You may choose more than one answer.)

    1. An individual who presided over a NATO bombing, including various civilian targets.
    2. An individual who was formerly a special assistant to President Bill Clinton, a speechwriter for Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright and a member of the State Department’s policy planning staff who in 2009 declared that, under “limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place” for the illegal CIA rendition program that has seen an untold number of innocent people kidnapped and tortured.
    3. A former US Ambassador to Colombia, who later lobbied on behalf of Newmont Mining and J.P. Morgan — two US firms whose track records of environmental destruction would suggest that human wellbeing falls below elite profit on their list of priorities.
    4. A former CIA analyst.

    If you answered “all of the above,” you’re one step ahead of Human Rights Watch, which has played institutional host not only to persons matching descriptions A–D but to many others with similar backgrounds. read more

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Global News and Analysis

America’s War on Immigrants

Source: Al Jazeera

In the name of safeguarding the nation, acute violations of human rights go unchallenged

As the interminable debate in Washington over immigration reform wears on, undocumented migrants in the U.S. continue to exist at the mercy of law enforcement efforts that defy all pretenses of justice and legality.

Earlier this year, Al Jazeera America reported on the stop-and-frisk-style raids being conducted in New Orleans by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to boost migrant deportation quotas. In that article, a Honduran immigrant recounts his experience of being handcuffed and shackled in the back of an ICE vehicle, which had been deployed to round up undocumented people using racial profiling techniques, saying, “I heard one of the agents say to another, ‘This is like going hunting.’ … And the other responded, ‘Yeah, I like this s—.’” read more

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Global News and Analysis

Monsanto Cotton: Dirty White Gold

Source: Al Jazeera

Monsanto’s claim that it’s a “sustainable agriculture company” doesn’t hold water.

The website of US-based biotech giant Monsanto boasts that the corporation qualifies as “a sustainable agriculture company”.

Given Monsanto’s legacy as a producer of the lethal defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, Southeast Asian agriculture would presumably beg to differ with this characterisation.

Sustainability is also not the first word that comes to mind when contemplating Monsanto’s policy of sowing the earth with genetically modified seeds that destroy soil and are designed with nonrenewable traits so as to require constant repurchase as well as acquisition of a variety of other company products like fertilizers and pesticides. read more