Why hd porn videos are dangerous nowadays

The advent of the internet and its subsequent spread to virtually every home in the world has radically improved our lives. It enables connections to distant relations and access to information previously unobtainable such as hd porn videos. This ability has also opened the door to more controversial items. One of the most divisive among these is adult videos. The issue of adult media and its perceived dangers is one that many people have debated over the years. The following article lists just a few of the arguments as to why hd porn videos are dangerous.

Creates misconceptions about sex
One issue with sexually explicit films and materials is that they often portrays sex in a false manner. Directors often seek to turn sex into almost a performance act, focusing on the most ‘glamorous’ aspects and removing more unwanted elements. Producers of these videos are also known to employ clever editing techniques to prolong the scenes into something unrealistic during typical intercourse. Furthermore, adult videos often treat many sexual practices as routine that in reality, many people feel uncomfortable doing. This creates expectations that are frequently false while also imbuing a sense of pressure for men and women to engage in sex acts they may not feel comfortable doing.
Fosters unhealthy physical stereotypes

Another danger of hd porn videos is the images that it creates of men and women. Both genders fall victim to this but women typically suffer more. The physical standards portrayed in most sexual content is of men and women with flawless bodies. Plastic surgery is the most common means of attaining these bodies. Such practices, while not inherently wrong, can create feelings of insecurity about a viewer’s own body. This is especially true for young people who may feel compelled to seek radical physical changes in an attempt to meet a perceived societal standard of beauty.
Access to minors

This is the biggest issue that most people have with hd porn videos. Many studies have shown that exposure to this media at a young age can have a detrimental effect on young people. Without having received a basis of understanding on what sex is, witnessing sexually explicit material can cause major social development issues. Despite attempts by internet providers, it is virtually impossible to block all attempts from underage children who want to view pornography. People can freely view hd porn in pornloop (NSFW) as much as they want.


The debate for and against adult films and how to manage access to it will surely go on for sometime. For now, it is prudent for one to educate oneself on the issues prior to making a determination what side of the argument to stand on.… Read More

Relationship of Webcam Porn and Columbia Action Network

The Global Columbia Action Network is a group of young NGOs that are located in 180 countries around the globe. They are headquartered in New York, but the non-profit organization has registered chapters in countries all over the world, including France, Columbia, Ghana, South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico. The group is known for organizing Global Youth Service Day, which is the world’s largest celebration of young volunteers.
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They also help connect youth groups around the world with each other so that they can exchange information and resources to help with their work towards social change. One of the main ways that the Global Columbia Action Network communicate is through webcam porn.
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Columbia Action Network’s need for using live webcam porn chats is extremely important, as each chapter can easily communicate with one another to plan all of their events. A webcam also helps them communicate with other youth groups around the world that have the same goals that they do; mainly, a peaceful and sustainable world. Let us face it, it is the youth that will be the ones to change the world and make it a better place for everyone, particularly when it comes to social change. They strive to promote not to hate or be violent towards others in naked webcam at http://mywebcamxxx.com/, which is something that is needed in the world today.
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Communicating through the use of webcams is key in keeping youths involved in the group’s mission connected with one another. The NGO have done this with the help of TakingITGlobal, which uses social network platforms to promote awareness among youth around the globe. Most of their work is done through their website, which includes discussion boards, petitions, and blogs. They also offer online e-courses, with webcams being an important tool used when conducting these classes.
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Global Columbia Action Network is also partnered with other groups, like the UK based Peace Child International. Without the use of a live webcam porn show, the organizations would not be able to communicate as well as they do.
Live webcams not only allows Columbia Action Network to communicate with their own chapters, but also with other groups that they are affiliated with. None of these youth groups could do what they do without having webcams, or be able to organize the great events that they do. Webcam chats keep all of the youth groups around the world connected, which is a great step towards creating a positive future.… Read More

“La Tramacúa”: Colombia’s Abu Ghraib

Part One in a Series on US Designed Repression in Colombia’s Prison System
By James Jordan
Special to The Narco News Bulletin – August 17, 2010

The name commonly used to refer to the Medium and High Security penitentiary of Valledupar is “La Tramacúa.” What that name means exactly, no one is certain. But it is a name that is infamous throughout Colombia and has become synonymous with reports of torture, beatings and hellish conditions. It conjures up images similar to what we in the United States imagine when we hear the words “Abu Ghraib” or “Guantanamo.” Unlike those prisons, La Tramacua is not directly staffed by the United States government. It was, however, the first of a series of prisons in Colombia to be designed and overseen by the USBureau of Prisons. The US government provided at least $4.5 million toward the development of La Tramacúa.

In fact, Colombia’s entire medium and maximum security system has been restructured with the partnership and management of the US government. Referred to as the “New Penitentiary Culture,” this partnership stands to usher in a “new culture” of repression and intimidation by increasing the capacity of these institutions by 40 percent, or 24,000 new prisoners. Colombia’s political prisoners are being concentrated in the harshest locations and forced to inhabit prisons with high populations of paramilitary prisoners. Paramilitaries are members of private “death squads” that are allied with the Colombian military and political right wing, private business owners and transnational corporations such as Chiquita, Drummond Coal and Coca-Cola. Along with their military allies, they are responsible for 80% of Colombia’s political violence.

In 2000, the US Ambassador and the Colombian Minister of Justice signed an agreement called the Program for the Improvement of the Colombian Prison System. On the basis of this document the US would provide support to build new prisons throughout Colombia and to restructure the penal system on a US model, one emphasizing security over all other considerations, including the education and resocialization of inmates. The first of these prisons would be in the city of Valledupar, Department of César: La Tramacúa. It was considered to be a model for the “New Penitentiary Culture” and is often referred to as the “the most secure prison in the country”.

La Tramacúa is a modern facility, operational as of November, 2000. As a modern facility one would expect modern conditions. Instead, inmates are only allowed access to water…a trickle coming out of a pipe…ten minutes a day. Sanitation facilities are filthy and more often than not, backed up and not working. Prisoners are frequently fed spoiled food found to contain fecal matter. In 2001, the Office of the UN’s High Commission for Human Rights announced the discovery of fecal contamination after a visit to Valledupar. In 2008, the situation was corroborated by a microbial analysis by the office of the Secretary of Health for the Department of César.

A delegation from the Spanish principality of Asturias tried to visit La Tramacúa in February of this year, but was turned away—the first time this had happened to such a delegation. But based on past visits, interviews with inmates and the work of previous delegations, they gave this description:

“The place suffers extreme temperatures of 35-40 degrees (95-104 degrees Fahrenheit), without any mechanism for alleviation.

“In addition [the prison] suffers from serious structural failures, foremost the lack of water and use of deficient sewer systems, in which open sewage passes near the kitchen.

“Getting water, putting it in plastic bottles and climbing to the second, third, fourth, fifth floor, becomes the priority for survival of the prisoners, the motive behind fights, of coercion and corruption of the prison personnel.”

The bleak conditions are corroborated by Tatiana Cárdenas in an August 13, 2009 article for Colombia’s El Mundo newspaper:

“The inmates lack the minimum sanitary conditions; there is no water, the place is constantly surrounded with excrement from the same prisoners who, not having sanitary services to use, throw bags [of their waste] outside the prison and the lower floors….

“‘The smell you sense from before arriving is a stench that makes one feel sick. The flies are everywhere and the heat is unbearable,’ remembers Catalina [recalling a visit to her imprisoned husband]….”

A report by Radio Guatapurí illustrates the degree to which conditions at La Tramacúa can sink:

“It has been five days that water has not come to the different towers [of the prison], so much so that the inmates may be at the point of collapse, and the center of incarceration in an imminent sanitary emergency because of the accumulation of malodorous fecal materials and the little opportunity they have to bathe and wash clothes. At the most there is some to drink, said a desperate inmate who called the César Tribune.

“A volunteer for the Fire Department, said that water is getting to “La Tramacúa”, but it is not sufficient for the necessities they have.

“The Director of Valledupar’s Public Services recognized that there is low pressure and reported it is because the farms are breaking into the water lines of the system passing through the area in order to water their fields.”

The diversion of water to these farms has been exacerbated by the fact that Valledupar is a major paramilitary center. The Asturian delegation describes “…a theft of water destined for the jail by the surrounding farms, and when an official tried to stop this theft, he was fired. Why? Because in Valledupar there is the paramilitary presence and domination, and these farms belong to paramilitary murderers such as the “Jorge 40,” holders of political and economic power in the region.”

Because of the conditions, Valledupar suffers from a high suicide rate. Just a month after the situation described by Radio Guatapurí, an inmate was hanged in the custody of guards. There are some, however, that claim this was not a suicide, but an execution.

What is the attitude of the authorities toward the many suicides? In 2009 in Tower Nine, Alexandra Correa, hanged herself. When the women prisoners’ human rights representative, Esmeralda Echeverry, reported beforehand that Correa and her partner, Tatiana Pinzon, were threatening to kill themselves, the then-Director of INPEC (Colombia’s National Institute of Penitentiaries and Jails) Dr. Teresa Moya Suta responded, “Let her kill herself—I will assume responsibility.” A week later when INPEC’s second-in-command, Col. Carlos Alberto Barragán, visited the prison, he laughed in her face when Pinzon fell to her knees, begging to be transferred from Valledupar. When Moya Suta vacated her position, Barragán was promoted to the top position.

Nevertheless, a significant victory has been won with the closure of Tower Nine and the transfer of the women inmates from La Tramacúa. These prisoners had received no consideration or treatment specific to their status as women. Tower Nine was also home to one of the largest concentrations of women political prisoners.

After a campaign of several years initiated by the inmates and supported by the Committee in Solidarity with the Political Prisoners (FCSPP-Federación Comité en Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos), the tower was closed on March 26th. The efforts of the Asturian delegation and statements by United Nations and international groups were important catalysts for this victory, along with the struggles of the women and their Colombian supporters. But it was not a victory without sacrifice. Luciano Romero was a unionist and a member of the FCSPP active in the campaign. He was assassinated after returning from a six month visit to Asturias.

Meanwhile, harsh conditions persist for the men of La Tramacúa. On July 13th, 2010, the Campaña Permanente de Solidaridad con las Detenidas y Los Detenidos Políticos/Traspaso Los Muros distributed an alert concerning the prisoners of La Tramacúa’s Fourth Tower:

“Today we received more information about the serious health conditions suffered over the last three months by 40 political prisoners in Tower 4 in Valledupar. The alarming symptoms are loss of hair and nails as well as bleeding from the mouth and in their bowel movements. They have repeatedly requested medical attention as well as medicines to help decrease their ailments. These requests have been denied by INPEC. These negligent acts…have enabled the spread of the symptoms, which are caused by unsanitary detention conditions.”

For the political prisoners and prisoners of war, the problems are multiplied. Housed where paramilitary criminals are also concentrated, the danger of violence is a daily concern. The paramilitary inmates are granted privileges not available to others and are known to carry weapons, sometimes provided by the guards themselves. Beatings, torture and collective punishment are common at the hands of both the guards and paramilitary gangs.

In an article titled “Life as a Political Prisoner in Colombia”, Vincenzo Gonzalez writes,“…Colombian prisons have been turned into ‘theaters of military operation’, where civil authority is subordinate to military and police authority and where universal and constitutional human rights are persistently violated….”

According to the Political Prisoners Collective “Adan Izquierdo”, founded by FARC-EP prisoners at La Tramacúa, their members are severely tortured and grossly mistreated by the INPEC prison guard:

“Every time the FARC takes any action against paramilitaries on the outside, the prison guard punishes the prisoners inside with beatings and other forms of torture. It is their way of demonstrating their allegiance to the state paramilitary strategy. The prisoners are denied the right to stay in touch with events outside the prison walls and are forbidden to receive newspapers or magazines. They are not allowed radio or television. Getting medical treatment requires extreme measures such as cutting the veins in their own wrists to attract attention. This is what one prisoner Enrique Horta Valle was forced to do when he desperately needed to see a doctor. They are frequently kept in their cells for 24 hours a day. Visiting family and friends are warned by the paramilitaries patrolling the prisons that they will be killed if they ever come back. The INPEC guard goes to great lengths to point out which visitors are coming to see political prisoners.”

A British study carried out in the late 1970s listed some of the forms of torture occurring in Colombian jails, including simulated drowning, simulated executions (usually referring to “firing” an unloaded pistol to the head), and beatings with blunt instruments while handcuffed. With the “New Penitentiary Culture,” these old practices have not disappeared. In the first six months of 2008, INPEC’s office for internal disciplinary control documented some 79 cases of physical and/or verbal abuse directed at prisoners. These included broken bones, beatings, hog-tying prisoners with both hands and feet handcuffed, sexual harassment, threats of death and the denial of medical care.

Between April and June, 2008, the FCSPP carried out a survey with 230 prisoners. When asked if the inmates had been tortured at least once during their jail time, 54% answered they had — 46% did not answer the question. Eighty-six percent said that they had experienced psychological torture, including threats to relatives and simulated executions. At least one Director in one of these “New Penitentiary Culture” prisons has had training at the School of the Americas in psychological operations — Col. José Alfonso Bautista Parra. SOAis infamous for its training in techniques of both physical and psychological torture.

The Colombian Coalition Against Torture explains that between July 2003 and June 2008, “at least 899 persons were victims of torture….Of all the cases where the alleged perpetrator is known (666 victims), in 92.6% of the cases the State’s responsibility is involved ….During the same period, the number of victims of torture dropped by 43.56% compared to the cases registered between July 1998 and June 2003. However, the increase by 80.2% in the number of registered cases directly attributed to the Army and Security forces (Army and Police-Fuerza Pública) is worrying.”

Not included in this study were cases of prison torture. However, the skyrocketing increase in incidents of torture by the Public Forces may be some indication. Many of Colombia’s medium and maximum security institutions are under the command of active and retired officers of the Public Forces. This is further evidence of Gonzalez’ assertion that these prisons have been turned into “theaters of military operation.” One also wonders if the general increase in torture is less a decrease than a concentration of such practices in the prisons.

Citizens of the US may well ask why the US has invested time, money and oversight in the Colombian prison system and, especially, in La Tramacúa. Former political prisoner Gustavo Mendoza explains,

“…the Interior Minister said recently that overcrowding is the main cause of the violations of the rights of prisoners. As a…solution, the Minister announced the construction of 11 new prisons with a capacity of 24,000 inmates-an increase of 40% of total capacity at the national level….Thus the Minister unveils plans [in keeping with the goals of]…Phase 2 of Plan Colombia, whose basic theme is the social control of the territory….Phase 2 of the plan is realized through the prosecution of activists from the social movement. By undermining the so-called ‘investor confidence’, these social movements are now the main obstacle to ownership of our natural resources by multinational corporations…. The increase in the number of detainees is also to be linked with the increasing social conflicts caused by the economic crisis looming on the horizon, reflecting the dependence of the Colombian economy to the North American market….”

The idea that Colombia must prepare for social and economic upheaval, and its results, is understandable.… Read More

LASC5: Conference to Build a Stronger Movement to End US Militarism and the Militarization of Latin America

Militarism and the Militarization of Latin America

LASC5: Education and Strategy Conference to Build a Stronger Movement to End US Militarism and the Militarization of Latin America
Washington, DC – April 8-10, 2011
Pre-Register Now

Sponsored by: Latin America Solidarity Coalition in Conjunction with School of the Americas Watch Days of Action (April 4-11, 2011)
Register now to attend an informative and exciting conference to build a larger movement to end US militarism and the militarization of US relations with Latin America and the world. Join Latin America solidarity activists, people of faith, academics, youth and students, anti-war and immigration activists, labor, women, and all sectors which are working to build a better world. The United States is at a crossroads. Down one road lies permanent war, a stagnant economy and loss of liberty. Down the other lies a new world of cooperation, prosperity and freedom. This conference is all about how we can work together to travel on the road to a new and better world.

Please join us for a weekend of plenaries and workshops to educate and inspire each other and to plan actions, strategies, and organizing tools to build a greater movement to overcome US militarism. Participate in SOA Watch’s Days of Action including lobbying and direct action to shut down the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, better known as the School of the Americas. Agitate for closing US military bases in Latin America and for an end to US militarization throughout the Americas and the world. Click HERE to register.

We recognize that US militarism affects both the entire world and everything about our daily lives. If you are working to end US wars, morally stand in favor of peace, are in solidarity with the oppressed,

are working to end racism and the criminalization of immigrants, stand solidly in favor of our First Amendment freedoms, or are working to create new economic models that defend the interests of workers and farmers over those of corporations and bankers – then you should attend this conference to build a strong and unified movement against US militarism.

Some topics covered by this conference will include: US military bases, military spending, immigration and border militarization, coups, war profiteers, privatization of war, closing the School of the Americas, foreign

military and police aid, growing our skills in media, research, and other organizing, counter recruitment and support for active duty resisters, US relations with Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, etc., organizing within sectors to resist militarism, cross movement organizing, domestic costs of militarism, direct action, and much more.

Register HERE and visit the LASC web page at www.lasolidarity.org frequently to see updates on workshops, plenary speakers, direct actions and other preparatory information. Visit the SOA Watch Days of Action web page for details on actions scheduled from April 4-11, 2011. We recommend that you plan your trip to participate in SOA Watch’s activities before and after the conference.… Read More

The FBI’s ‘War on Dissent’

Posted: October 1, 2010 01:27 PM

FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley points out that last week’s raids on anti-war and solidarity activists in Chicago and Minneapolis came just days after a “scathing review” by the Justice Department’s inspector general, which slammed the agency’s post 9/11 “terrorism investigations” of peace and social justice groups.

The FBI is conducting a “war on dissent, rather than terrorism,” she writes.

The IG report apparently “gave no pause to the FBI,” which is “continuing to do more of the same,” Rowley writes.

The FBI’s “anti-terrorist” activities highlighted by the report (which covers 2002 to 2006) included investigations of pacifist groups such as Catholic Workers, Quakers and the Thomas Merton Center of Pittsburgh. Environmental and animal rights groups were put on terrorist watch lists.

The report reveals “shameful red-baiting at its worst,” editorialized the Boston Globe, which argued that the net effect of the FBI’s activities was to stifle dissent.

It’s “a reminder of how easily civil liberties can be cast aside during suspicious frenzies,” wrote the New York Times in its editorial column, noting cases in the report where the FBI “trumped up routine civil disobedience violations” as “potential terrorism.”

And with federal officials commenting on the newest raids repeatedly referring to an “ongoing criminal case” and “a law enforcement investigation,” it’s worth noting that the IG report revealed that FBI Director Robert Mueller gave false information to Congress when he testified that surveillance of the Merton Center was “an outgrowth of an FBI investigation.”

Instead, as the Globe noted, it was a “make-work assignment” on a “slow day.”

The raids are being taken as a sign that the FBI is eager to exploit the huge opening afforded by a Supreme Court decision in June that found that a law banning “material support” for designated terrorist organizations could legally prohibit speech and advocacy – even advocacy in support of human rights and international law.

The court overruled repeated findings by lower courts that the law’s provisions restricting speech are unconstitutional.

“For the first time ever, the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment permits the criminalization of pure speech advocating lawful, nonviolent activity,” wrote David Cole, Georgetown professor and attorney for the Humanitarian Law Project in the case.

He points out that by advising Hezbollah and other groups on election procedure, as he did in Lebanon last year, former President Jimmy Carter arguably committed a crime punishable by 15 years in prison, under the Supreme Court ruling. (Indeed, Carter spoke out against the ruling.)

Under the new “material support” interpretation, anti-apartheid and solidarity activists in the 1980s could have been subject to harassment and prosecution, as National Lawyers Guild ‘s Bruce Nestor points out. (NLG has opened a hotline and issued a know-your-rights guide for activists harassed by the FBI.)

Back then, U.S. activists communicated and worked with the African National Congress and the FMLN of El Salvador, both considered terrorist groups by the State Department — while the U.S. government actively or tacitly backed large-scale, brutal repression by the existing governments of South Africa and El Salvador. Today, with repressive apparatuses dismantled, both the ANC and the FMLN are governing their nations through fair and free elections.

In 1991 a federal judge ruled that multiple FBI investigations of the Chicago chapter of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, based on unsubstantiated charges of “terrorist” activities, violated the 1981 consent decree in the Chicago Red Squad case. That decree barred investigations of activities protected by the First Amendment. (It was vacated last year.)

If the FBI is serious about investigating material support for terrorism – and not cracking down on domestic dissent – they could raid the corporate offices of Coca-Cola. Several union leaders have been killed and hundreds of union members at Coke bottling plants in Colombia have been detained and tortured by paramilitaries working with plant management, according to the labor-backed Campaign to Stop Killer Coke.

Such a focus on real material support for terrorism by the FBI is not likely, alas, since earlier last month the State Department certified Colombia is “making progress” on human rights (“though there continues to be a need for improvement,” the department reported to Congress, mentioning the small problem of impunity for human rights violations) — and thus worthy of $30 million in military aid for fiscal year 2011.

This despite a recent report from the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the U.S. Office on Columbia showing that Colombian army units receiving U.S. aid “allegedly kill more civilians and frame the deaths as combat kills,” as Global Post reports. This gets them “job perks and promotions.”

Extrajudicial killings of civilians surged significantly in regions that received the largest increases in U.S. aid, the human rights groups found.

Talk about material support for terrorism. That’s our tax dollars at work, friends.

From the Palmer Raids through McCarthyism and COINTELPRO and on to today, the FBI has policed and suppressed political dissent. The September 24 raids are just the opening chapter in the latest episode.

A dozen or so activists have been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in Chicago on October 5. There, as Nestor points out, they’ll “have to answer questions: Who do you know? Who do you talk to? What do you think? And if you don’t answer them you can sit in jail for 4 or 6 or 8 or 18 months until the grand jury term ends.”

It’s “an attempt by the federal government to criminalize anti-war organizing,” writes Ron Jacobs at Counterpunch. The Grand Jury Resistance Project has called on the government “to end the use of grand juries as a political tool to suppress political dissent.”

It’s “a declaration of war on the activist left, in which grand juries are deployed as omnibus weapons of political persecution under an infinitely expandable anti-terrorism rationale,” writes Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report. “The constitutional lawyer in the White House has tossed the founding document into the National Security State shredder.”

The newly-formed Chicago Committee Against Political Repression has called a rally and vigil at the Federal Building, 230 S. Dearborn, for October 5 from 8:30 to 3:30 p.m. The national Committee to Stop FBI Repression says there will be rallies that day in dozens of cities.… Read More

Indigenous resistance, from Colombia to Palestine

Anna Baltzer writing from Lopez, Colombia, Live from Palestine, 16 September 2010

 

A teenager sits above the Toez Indigenous Reserve at dusk. Her community has been repeatedly threatened with displacement by the Colombian government.

“They only see our water, our land, our trees. They don’t care about us. They want the land — without the people on it.”

These words are not of a Palestinian farmer but of Justo Conda, governor of Lopez Adentro Indigenous Reserve in southwestern Colombia, whose community was repeatedly threatened with displacement under former president Alvaro Uribe Velez. Uribe, recently appointed by the United Nations to investigate Israel’s fatal attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, has a notoriously horrific track record on human rights. Less explored are the clear parallels between his government’s mistreatment of indigenous peoples of Colombia and Israel’s abuses of the indigenous people of Palestine.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Colombia has one of the largest populations of internally displaced people in the world, numbering as many as 4.9 million. According to the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement more than 286,000 Colombians were uprooted from their land in 2009 alone. Approximately ten percent of the Colombian population has suffered forced displacement, many of them indigenous communities, afro-Colombian descendants of former slaves, and campesinos (farmers).

Like Israel, Colombia is the largest recipient of US military aid in its hemisphere. Six billion US tax-dollars over the past ten years have placed Colombia third in the world for US military assistance, after Israel and Egypt. Armed with US weapons and political backing, Uribe’s government and other armed actors have forced out millions through extrajudicial assassinations and terror tactics, clearing the way for the exploitation of natural resources by the government and multinational companies. Always in the name of security and the “War on Terror,” Colombian soldiers have burned villages, ransacked homes and destroyed the livelihoods of communities who have taken the radical decision of staying on their own land.

For many indigenous communities, this is not the first time they’ve been uprooted. With the Spanish invasion five hundred years ago and the founding of Colombia three hundred years later, indigenous peoples have been repeatedly forced to flee their fertile valleys rich with water and minerals, moving further and further into the Andes mountain ranges where the climate is harsher and the land less arable. Now the government wants to take even that land, leaving the communities trapped — community members say if they head higher into the mountains they may be threatened by guerillas who are fighting to maintain control of those areas, while going down into the valleys they will face aggression from paramilitaries, corporations and the army.

There is something eerily familiar about this violent and calculated expulsion and it is no surprise that Israel has now become Colombia’s number one supplier of weapons, advisor on military organization and intelligence-gathering and model for “fighting terror” (“Report: Israelis fighting guerillas in Colombia,” Ynet, 10 August 2007, as cited in “Uribe’s appointment to flotilla probe guarantees it’s failure,” Jose Antonio Gutierrez and David Landy, The Electronic Intifada, 6 August 2010). But like the Palestinians, the people of Colombia are not prepared to abandon their homes and livelihoods without a struggle. Almost twenty years ago, up against a military armed to the teeth, the indigenous communities of southwestern Colombia developed their own form of protection: La Guarda Indigena (The Indigenous Guard).

 

Justo Conda, governor of the Lopez Adentro Indigenous Reserve, standing in front of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca flag with the ancestral staff that identifies him as a member of the indigenous guard.

Standing before the flag of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca in the indigenous reserve of Lopez, Governor Conda explained:

“The Colombian government does not represent us, so we have constructed our own system of security. In each indigenous community, individuals are selected to serve for one year defending our land. Each indigenous guard receives a staff, passed down by its previous user, which represents the authority and responsibility of the position. Guards carry their ancestral staffs everywhere they go. It is received voluntarily; nobody is paid to defend their people. And although everyone in our communities would fight for our freedom, the staffs indicate those of us who have been physically and psychologically prepared during the year to defend our people and our land.”

Governor Conda added:

“In the face of a highly-militarized state that consistently denies us our basic rights, the indigenous guard is the only defense we can exercise. We have declared ourselves neutral, allied with neither the guerillas nor the army. We are offering a peaceful solution based on an end to colonization and respect for life and culture. We have no weapons or guns. We don’t need weapons or guns to exercise control. Our guards stand outside our gates, armed only with their colorful staff — a symbol of our strength and our values. And although we have received many threats, many authorities have also come to respect the indigenous guard.”

Conda explained that at the end of each guard’s term, he or she chooses a successor and the authority and responsibility rotates. Next to Conda, the current community guards stood up one by one, a diverse group of men and women; young and old; a pregnant woman; a village elder. They held the staffs, each meant to reach as high as its carrier’s heart.

Colombia’s indigenous communities have a long history of popular resistance. In the 1920s, tribes collectively boycotted taxes imposed by the government on indigenous people to live and work on their own land. Since then, councils have been formed to decide how to recuperate territory and resist expulsion. Although their presence preceded European colonization, indigenous Colombians are often treated as foreigners and invaders.

The response to organized indigenous resistance to displacement has been brutal. Last year alone, four members of the small Lopez Adentro community alone were assassinated (“The Struggle for Survival and Dignity: Human Rights Abuses Against Indigenous Peoples in Colombia,” Amnesty International, 23 January 2010 [PDF]). According to human rights advocate Felix Posada, 1,400 indigenous persons were assassinated during Uribe’s eight-year tenure, representing one percent of Colombia’s total indigenous population. Colombia has the highest rate of indigenous killings in Latin America, numbering 114 last year, reported Posada behind bulletproof doors in his office in downtown Bogota.

Right-wing paramilitary groups are suspected in many of the incidents, despite the Uribe administration’s claim of their demobilization in 2006 (“Colombian Paramilitaries’ Successors Called a Threat,” Simon Romero, The New York Times, 3 February 2010). The “disarmament” was widely seen as a publicity stunt in which individuals dressed up as militants handed over their guns in photo-ops in exchange for a handsome reward. Countless cases have confirmed collaboration between the Colombian army and the paramilitaries (renamed “organized delinquents” these days), the latter often doing the dirty work in exchange for power and immunity.

 

A mother at the Lopez Adentro Indigenous Reserve.

In October of 2008, following direct action by the Indigenous and Popular Minga (Community Mobilization) of La Maria in Piendamo, soldiers entered the municipality and vandalized cars, forced inhabitants out of their homes with tear gas, stripped men in front of their neighbors and set fire to residents’ huts, beds, bicycles and even children’s dolls (Video: “La Maria Piendamo,” 22 October 2008). A mass march from La Maria was met with soldiers and helicopters, leading to a stand-off of stones, sling-shots and ancestral staffs versus the army’s tear gas and live ammunition (Video: “Minga de la Maria Piendamo,” 22 October 2008). If Uribe’s administration’s chosen response to wooden, ancestral wooden staffs was bullets, what could he possibly say to Israel’s killing of nine Turks who may have been carrying chair legs?

The gravest threat of all faced by Colombia’s indigenous population is cultural destruction and extinction. Of Colombia’s 102 indigenous tribes, 32 percent are in danger of disappearance. Eighteen tribes have fewer than two hundred persons remaining. One of the most important forms of resistance for many communities has been the preservation of language, cultural values and traditions.

Until recently, the state-imposed educational system mandated schooling in Spanish, but today native languages are taught in classrooms on the reserves. The people have won other victories along the way as far back as 1991 when the new constitution finally recognized the diverse ethnic identities of the Colombian people and their rights to preserve their land and culture. But too often the constitution and laws are ignored in favor of other interests, notably expanding control over natural resources.

Unwilling to continue waiting after twenty years of unkept promises, the indigenous communities of the Cauca and Valle de Cauca regions of southwest Colombia have joined together on a common platform of four priorities: unity, land, culture and autonomy. The vision is a complete one, with freedom conditional on the fulfillment of each element. Another member of the Lopez Adentro community explained: “Peace is not simply an end to war. Peace will come when indigenous rights to land, culture and self-determination are respected. There can be no peace through the destruction or submission of the indigenous population.”

This definition of true peace is a timely one as Israel and the illegitimate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas resume negotiations while ignoring the fundamental requirements of justice for the Palestinian people, including their respective rights to land, culture and self-determination.

It is difficult to imagine a leader as enthusiastic about Israel’s repression tactics as Uribe being a fair judge as to the legality of Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. His former administration’s close relationship to the Jewish state alone precludes him as an impartial investigator. And although there are notable differences between the situations in Colombia and Palestine, the likeness of the Colombian and Israeli governments’ responses to indigenous resistance is unmistakable. It would be not only out of character but downright hypocritical for Uribe to hold Israel accountable for the same type of behavior that characterized his own presidency.

Meanwhile, the sumoud and resilience of the indigenous Colombian people persists. Governor Conda continued, “Just as we have for five hundred years, we will continue to struggle and move forward. In fact, we are ready to work harder than ever.”

All images by Anna Baltzer.

Anna Baltzer is an award-winning lecturer, author and activist for Palestinian rights. Author of Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories, she is contributor to four upcoming book on the subject. For more information visit www.AnnaInTheMiddleEast.com.

from electronicintifada.net… Read More

My body is my house, my house is my territory.. I will not give away the keys

International Summit of Women and People of the Americas against Militarization

In August, Colombia hosted the first “International Summit of Women and People of the Americas against Militarization,” which was attended by almost 3000 people, including around 200 international delegates from the Americas and Europe. The event provided a unique space for organizations and social activists to come together to share, denounce, and visibilize the effects of militarization and war on the bodies of women, territories, and civil society, with the objective to systemize the experiences of resistance against militarization and to define a strategic agenda to coordinate a social movement of women and people for the defense of territories. Although the Colombian Constitutional Court deemed the agreement leasing seven Colombian bases to the U.S. unconstitutional on the second day of the summit, the focus of the attendees remained centered on building a strong opposition to the rise of U.S. military presence in Latin America.

The summit, convened by the Social Movement of Women Against the War and for the Peace, came out of a long process involving 60 Colombian social organizations that have spent the last four years developing a common agenda against militarization. According to Betty Puerto of the Women’s Popular Organization (OFP), the goal of the movement is to eventually present a proposal of peace from women to the Colombian national government urging a political negotiation to the armed conflict, along with various measures to assure that human rights are protected in Colombia. The Social Movement of Women was spearheaded ten years ago by the OFP, when they began to collect information about the suffering of women caused by the effects of the internal conflict. Jacqueline Rojas, the Barrancabermeja regional coordinator, said that they later opened to the movement to other regions of the country, where other organizations already had initiatives, and began a campaign of popular education in schools and neighborhoods, teaching the effects of militarization on the bodies of women and civil society.

The movement now includes indigenous communities, labor unions, housewives, Afro-Colombian communities, political organizations, church organizations, academics, student movements, displaced people, small-scale farmers, community mothers, and regional peace processes, all of whom were represented in the summit, united under the slogan “We do not birth sons and daughters for war.”

The summit took place at a moment when U.S. imperialist forces are carrying out aggressive strategies of re-colonization to reposition and recuperate from the crisis of the capitalist system, according to the women of the movement. This has had dire effects on the people of the entire region; inequality, unemployment, violence, sexism, and poverty are becoming endemic in Latin America.

Colombia is no exception – a country abundant in natural resources such as minerals, petroleum, carbon, water, and biodiversity, where 65% of the population lives in poverty on less than $5 a day and 56% of Colombians are unemployed or underemployed, according to Felix Posada of the Popular Center of Communication in Latin America, who gave a talk on the Colombian context the first day of the summit.

The territories of Colombia, and likewise all of Latin America, are being exploited by transnational companies, who use the tactics of militarization, war, displacement, and murder of the people to claim control of territories. U.S. economic interests are protected by U.S. military bases, which are strategically positioned all over the continent, and have been used to exert influence and control over the region. Although the history of U.S. military intervention in Latin America is well known, many feel the trend continues – the plane that carried the Honduran president out of the country after a military coup last year stopped at a U.S. base, suggesting U.S. participation. Berta Cáceres, a summit atendee and resistance leader in Honduras, thinks the CIA was behind it.

Violations of human rights are further aggravated by U.S. presence – in Colombia, U.S. military personnel contracted by an oil company to protect a pipeline participated in the massacre of 17 civilians in 1998. A recent study published by FOR found that despite legal mechanisms to prevent U.S. military aid to Colombian army units that commit human rights violations, not only has the U.S. provided assitance to such units, the number of extrajudicial executions went up in more than half of the units after they received aid linked to Plan Colombia.

The implications for women living around bases are even grimmer, where the number of rapes goes up dramatically, with a 98.6% impunity rate for the perpetrators, according to summit speaker Ana Maria Diaz, the sub-director of Investigation at the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ). A 2009 annual report released by the Interamerican Court of Human Rights shows the state can be held responsible for 65.8 % of sexual violations in Colombia (committed by both public forces and paramilitary groups linked to the public forces). Diaz claims that other sources point to an even higher rate, with the military as the major perpetrator. Another concern of Diaz’ is that U.S. soldiers in foreign countries generally receive diplomatic immunity, meaning they can’t be tried for their crimes in foreign countries, and there are numerous cases of sexual abuse committed by U.S. personnel, sometimes to young girls, that remain in impunity. Prostitution rates also skyrocket around bases, with military-sanctioned “entertainment houses.”

To see these effects first hand, international delegates from 19 different countries participated in humanitarian commissions to twelve different heavily militarized regions around Colombia in the first days of the summit. They found evidence of multinational companies around the country allied with police, military, and paramilitary forces to end social organizations and gain control of territory, according to the report written and presented during the summit. They found women to be extremely victimized in these regions due to the militarization, and social movements to be severely stifled by the state.

 

In Barrancabermeja, the delegates joined over 2000 Colombian activists from the organizations that make up the Social Movement of Women Against the War for two days of seminars, workshops, and speeches. Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba, who has been involved with the Movement for sometime, told the effects that the largest business in the world, war, has brought to Colombia – cadavers floating down the Magdalena River, women’s corpses missing a head or arms, and more than 5000 false positives, civilians killed and dressed up as guerrilla by the army.

Women presented the topic and talked about the issues they faced from various perspectives: indigenous, small-scale farmers, Afro-Colombians, urban dwellers, union leaders, artists, and internationals were all represented. One afternoon the Movement held the largest march to happen in Barrancabermeja in 8 years; participants carried banners, candles, and rocks to remember those who had lost their lives in the conflict.

On the last day of the summit, the group caravanned to Puerto Salgar, home to the air base Palenquero, one of the seven bases “given” to the U.S. in the 2009 agreement. According to a study contracted by the Social Movement of Women and released at the summit, prostitution has grown at an alarming rate in Puerto Salgar since the installation of the base. The study also showed the strong influence the base has had on cultural, political, and social life in Puerto Salgar. The women held an 8-hour vigil in front of the base, complete with musicians, speakers, dancers, and theater acts. One impressive youth dance group from Barrancabermeja highlighted the devastation to the environment and civilian life in the city due to oil company control.

Colombian Senator Gloria Ines Ramirez spoke of the need to continue the struggle, and a message of encouragement to the Movement was read aloud, written by Clara Lopez, the president of the Polo Democratico, the only major Colombian political party to oppose to the U.S.-Colombia bases agreement.

The summit successfully brought together a lot of people working against the expansionist interests of the U.S. in the region, people who denounce the growing militarization of the region as a strategy of appropriation of the natural resources and wealth of territories, and the effects on women in particular. Women’s bodies are used as commodities in war, and while femicide rates are rising, women are frequently left behind to raise and support the family when their partners go to war or are killed. The event brought hope and promise to a broken movement, a movement that has been systematically marginalized, threatened, and suppressed by the powers that be. Already many women who helped organize the event have received subsequent threats – one organizer has been followed by men on motorcycles taking pictures outside her house, another has been forced to flee the country. Around the time of the event a human rights defender was found murdered in retaliation for her participation in public, international human rights events. The picture remains grim inside Colombia and out, but the international community of opposition to the status quo gets stronger after each event such as this one.… Read More

Welcome Supporters of Colombia

March 20th: From Baghdad to Bogota: No More Blood for Oil!
On March 20th the Colombia Action Network stands in solidarity with the anti-war movement! We join with the anti war movement to demand an end to US intervention in the Middle East and an end to the occupation of Iraq! Unfortunately, while the US increased its attacks on Iraq, it also quietly escalated a conflict in another part of the world: Colombia.Since 2000, the US has been funding a war against the Colombian people through its aid proposals entitled Plan Colombia.Colombia, after Israel and Egypt, is the 3rd highest recipient of military aid from the US, and their government is using American tax dollars to kill trade unionists, human rights workers, and civilians.This is a brutal effort by the US government, just like in Iraq, to push forward another agenda determined by corporate economic interests.

Plan Colombia
Since 2000 the U.S. has invested three billion dollars in Colombia’s civil war. Most of the aid is fumigation chemicals, attack helicopters,weaponry, hi-tech surveillance planes and equipment. U.S. military aid to Latin America has more than tripled in the past 5 years. In 2003, the Bush Administration won more increases in military aid and involvement, including a $100 million military aid project to protect Occidental’s oil pipeline in northern Colombia.That money was attached to the Bush administration’s request for funds for the war in Iraq. Bush states his goal is to arm the Colombian government in an effort to fight “terrorism” and to defeat the rebel armies. Bush is attempting to connect his military interests and his rhetoric with the U.S.’ ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Colombian human rights, labor and other activists are calling for an END to U.S. military aid and intervention. Paramilitary death squads work hand-in-hand with the Colombian military, and reap the benefits of US military aid.The paramilitaries and military are responsible for 80% of Colombia’s human rights violations—the worst record in Latin America. Political assassinations and disappearances are all too common, and trade unionists are the hardest hit.U.S.corporations even employ paramilitary groups to intimidate, threaten and murder Colombian union leaders. Coca-Cola is now the subject of an international boycott campaign, because of its use of paramilitary violence against its union workers.

The US’ interests in Colombia
Much like Iraq, Colombia has oil. Mexico,Venezuela and Colombia provide a substantial amount of the oil the US uses. Corporations like BP Amoco and Occidental Oil want to increase their holdings in the country,however Colombia is not a ‘safe place for investment’ with a long-standing civil war. Both guerrilla armies feel that Colombians should receive the economic benefit of their natural resources and fight against the oil industry’s expansion into new territory—including swindling Indigenous lands.

US Out of Colombia!
On Feb.2nd Bush proposed a federal budget for 2005,which includes a proposal for 700 million in aid to Colombia— including 109 million to finance a special Colombian military brigade to protect an oil pipeline and to train and equip new military leaders. Call Congress and the president to say NO to continuing Plan Colombia! Call 202-224-3121 for the Capitol switchboard.Call to say money for human needs not for war in BOTH Colombia and Iraq!

Join the Boycott of Killer Coke!
In response to the call from workers, the Colombia Action Network has been leading a boycott of Coca-Cola products from coast to coast.They have organized two days of student protest in 2003 with over forty campuses and eighty student groups participating in one or both of the national days of action.The national days of action have given students the opportunity to stand together at their separate campuses and demand that their universities break their exclusive contracts with Coca-Cola, and to educate other students on the connection between Coke and the right wing paramilitary death squads in Colombia. Join the CAN in our next day of national coordinated action on April 15th!. Stand with people across the country against the U.S.’ sponsorship of the murder of trade unionists!… Read More