TNR Brief: SPLC and the Protection of Vulnerable Populations, IPBES and the Protection of Pollinators, DCN Drone News

Warsaw, Poland, November 20, 2013

Warsaw, Poland, November 20, 2013  (photo:  The Nation Report)

The Southern Policy Law Center (SPLC) has called on President-Elect Trump to go a step further than disavowing the hate speech that has permeated the country since his November 8 election.

In a press briefing hosted by the SPLC at the National Press Club in Washington, DC this morning, Richard Cohen President of the SPLC spoke in conjunction with officials from the National Conference of La Raza, the American Federation of Teachers, Muslim Advocates Charities Program, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Moms Rising.  The groups released two reports that document hate-related activity and point to “President-Elect Trumps own words that have sparked hate incidents around the country and have a profoundly negative effect on our schools.”

One report titled Ten Days After:  Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the Election outlines 867 incidents of hate collected in the ten days following the election in schools, public streets and parks, retail establishments, or people’s own homes.

The other report, After Election Day:  The Trump Effect is based on the first 10,000 reports from educators about the impact of the election on their students or their schools.  Cohen said that teachers are reporting “heightened anxiety among marginalized students” such as immigrants.

Over 2,500 specific incidents of the use of Trump’s name or election campaign verbiage were a part of the incident leading up to the reporting by the educator.


In a paper released by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) the possible extinction through anthropogenic causes of an increasing number of pollinator species is presented for consideration.  The paper titled  “Safeguarding Pollinators and Their Values to Human Well-Being” raises concerns about the declining bee population and the chain-link reaction of the impact of few pollinators on the global food system.

IPBES is an independent intergovernmental body, established by United Nations member States in 2012. It provides policymakers with objective scientific assessments about the state of knowledge regarding the planet’s biodiversity, ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people, as well as the tools and methods to protect and sustainably use these vital natural assets.  IPBES functions similarly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC which examines climate change, but instead focuses on biodiversity.

The report discussed the loss of pollinator-dependent crops and the significance to the loss of food production, but also discussed the impact of the loss of those specific crops to the global population including vitamin A deficiency which could in turn lead to preventable diseases such as heart disease.  Those impacts could in turn lead to increased death rates and early deaths.

“Pollinators are vital contributors to world food production and nutrition,” said Professor Simon Potts, Co-Chair of the IPBES Assessment. “Yet global knowledge and actions have not kept pace with the threats to pollinators and pollination services.  IPBES has critically evaluated the available evidence – separating facts from speculation – and by doing so has identified policies and practices that are genuinely effective in safeguarding pollinators.”

 The thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity will take place in Mexico next month when member states meet to better understand and manage the global ecosystem.

The full report can be found here.


A legal appeal for public information to be released on the number and location of Reaper drones in operation in the United Kingdom was denied last week by the Information Commissioner which upheld an earlier refusal by the Ministry of Defence to release the information.

The drone watchdog group Drone Wars UK requested the information and appealed in June of 2016 when the request was denied.  Drone Wars UK has announced the continued appeal efforts to have access to the information despite the Ministry of Defense claim of “operational security.”

Drone Wars UK has presented arguments of bias since information about military aircraft involved in the fight against ISIS and the Taliban has been available along with updates .  Drone Wars UK has held the position that “armed drones are no different from its other military aircraft” but by refusing to release the requested information the Ministry of Defence is “clearly treating them differently.”

Drone Wars UK has suggested that this rationale for information non-disclosure might be because the Ministry of Defence might want to reserve the use of the drones for “covert operations.”

“We know some of Britain’s fleet of ten armed Reapers have been deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Shader, as the UK military deployment against ISIS in Iraq and Syria is named.  However we are not allowed to know if they have all been deployed there, or if some remain in storage in the UK, or if some have been deployed on operations elsewhere.  Press reports name Kuwait as the base for UK Reaper operations in Iraq and Syria.”

UK’s Reaper drones were reported to have been used in August of 2015 to target Reyaad Kgan in Syria, but an additional concern is the use of Reapers indiscriminately on surveillance or strike missions.

Maya Evans, UK Coordinator for Voices for Creative Non-Violence responded to the news to The Nation Report, “British secrecy around weaponised drones allows our government to conduct covert operations without scrutiny or accountability, meaning anyone (including British citizens) can be assassinated with a drone with few to no questions asked. The fact that my Government refuses to be transparent about the current drone program is very sinister. Drones have now become notorious for targeting the wrong people, civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time- surely as a British citizen I have the right to know what my elected government is doing in my name, especially when that involves the killing of innocents.”

Drone Wars UK will soon take their appeal for the statistics to an Information Tribunal for ruling.

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