Destroying Drug Labs, Preserving the Environment

first_img Community Support But Ares is the only task force under the direct command of the Air Force. Col. Garzon said 77 tons of cocaine pass through his area of responsibility in a year, moved by criminal gangs and the 10th and 16th fronts of the terrorist group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Ares’ other security responsibilities include eradicating coca plants, stopping criminal and terrorist support networks, seizing illegal chemicals used for cocaine production and halting shipments. This remote area is exploited by narcotrafficking and terrorist organizations, which process cocaine and ship it down the morichales toward the Venezuelan and Brazilian borders before being shipped covertly to Central America and beyond. Ares Task Force is charged with stopping drug movement by land, water and air in the Colombian departments of Arauca, Guainía and Vichada. It operates from a base situated alongside the Tomo River and Tuparro National Park. In executing its mandate, Ares is protecting Colombia’s environment and indigenous communities from the harsh chemicals that drug processors dump indiscriminately onto the land and into the water. “If there is not an intervention to disassemble and dismantle these laboratories and the infrastructure for coca processing, it’s a permanent activity,” she said. During the “summer months, when the rains come, all these chemicals seep into the earth and end up in the waterways.” While drug laboratories are often located far from communities, their impact is sometimes felt in the form of adverse health conditions as well. Morales said that indigenous communities have complained about health impacts on infants. Col. Garzon added that community members have respiratory ailments. Both agreed that Ares is following special protocols to manually destroy cocaine laboratories in a way that minimizes further environmental damage. Colombia’s eastern savanna covers an area of more than 107,000 square miles of green plains where tea-colored water flows in the dry season. The waterways are known as “morichales,” named for the 20-meter-high hardwood trees that grow thickly on the banks. “This is our operational concept: Basically, what we are trying to do is negate, block, seize and destroy everything that has to do with narcotrafficking,” said Colonel Sergio Garzon, commander of Ares Task Force. Colombia’s Espada de Honor (Sword of Honor) strategy established nine joint commands in 2012 to fight narcoterrorists in the country. All are interagency, with Army, Navy, Air Force and National Police components working together. To Col. Garzon, the Tuparro National Park has special significance. A protected area of more than 1.2 million acres in the department of Vichada, Tuparro is home to more than 500 species of plants, 74 species of animals and 320 species of birds. Ares conducts daily aerial surveillance of the park and has eradicated 326 acres of coca plants, destroyed six laboratories and seized 1,000 gallons of fuel within the limits of the protected area. “This is the crown jewel for us, the Tuparro National Park. Truthfully, we have a special place for it – all the base’s actions are directed at protecting this jewel,” he said. The results after one year of work are telling. Ares has neutralized 28 drug labs, seizing 15,507 gallons of gasoline, 2,260 gallons of diesel and 630 gallons of recycled hydrocarbons used in the production of cocaine. The seizures are believed to have prevented the production of 209 kilos of cocaine and immeasurable negative impacts to the local environment and community. By dramatically cutting cocaine production in the area, Ares also reduced the number of detected illegal drug flights from 58 in 2012 to six in the first half of 2013. Restoring the Environment Elssye Morales, advisor for illicit crops in the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, which oversees the nation’s national parks, said the growing and processing of illicit crops has many tangential impacts. Those include burning areas to be used for coca growing and processing, introducing nonnative plant and animal species to support the personnel at the laboratory, introducing trash and motor vehicles, and most importantly, polluting the waterways along which labs are often constructed. By Dialogo July 01, 2013 To win this campaign, Col. Garzon and his force of 150 men must operate in such a vast and remote territory, deal with underdeveloped communications systems that can impede intelligence gathering, and unpredictable weather that can threaten a mission. Most importantly, winning the support of the local population is critical to the Ares Task Force mission. Col. Garzon explained that the criminals processing drugs are causing environmental damage and putting the health of local communities in danger. “Generally, the people who are hiding in these remote areas can cause significant environmental damage. They destroy the foliage and hide their laboratories in the middle so that they cannot be detected by air or by land,” he said. “We are trying to reach the hearts and minds of the enemy as well as the population that lives here,” Col. Garzon said. Three-quarters of the base’s operations are designed to reach out to the 70 percent indigenous and 30 percent farming population in Vichada, he said. In addition to weekly meetings with community members, the base provides medical treatment, food and even barber services. One of the most popular and important programs helps indigenous people gain land titles so they can farm. Morales said there is close coordination between the environmental ministry and security forces in the region, a necessity, she said, due to the heightened security situation. The environmental ministry provides cartographic information about the parks to public security forces. The cooperation in Vichada, for example, led Ares to help restore zones used for coca growing and processing. After seeing an affected area firsthand, Warrant Officer Figueroa said, “When you go to the areas where there was a laboratory nearby, there is a lot of fuel and the vegetation is dead, lying dead on the soil,” he explained. “They do not treat the chemicals. They simply process them and throw them in the river because their principle objective is to process a certain tonnage of cocaine, a certain tonnage of coca paste, and they don’t care what happens to the ecosystem.” “At the same time that they eradicated the zones, they planted species so that the zone could be restored,” she said. Morales explained that replanting native species where illicit activities were taking place allowed the ecosystem to be brought back into balance. As commander of Ares, Col. Garzon praises the efforts of his men, and the progress made through interagency cooperation to achieve the many goals set for the new task force. “We group together all these capabilities in order to work together in direct action. These operations are very quick; we enter, strike a blow and exit right away,” he said. Underscoring a goal that has yet to be realized, he continued: “Our dream – because you always have a vision, something social, we all have something altruistic –is that Vichada will be the first department of the Orinoco basin free of illicit crops. I think we’re on the right path.”last_img read more

Female Chilean Soldiers Play Important Roles in UN Peace Missions

first_img“We are treated just like the men, and not feeling like we are someone they need to protect is important to us. We are equals, and we have the same obligations and duties as the male service members,” said 1st Lieutenant Carolina Molina, a communications officer with Chile’s 22nd Battalion. Female Chilean Soldiers are playing key roles in United Nations peacekeeping missions, working to prevent conflict and defending human rights. Of the 104,000 service members from different countries deployed in UN peacekeeping missions around the world, 4,088 are women — all with the same responsibilities as their male counterparts. Overall, women comprise about 14 percent of the Chilean Armed Forces; they’ve served as pilots, physicians, political advisers, machinery commanders, radio operators, combat nurses, and Military Staff Officers. Female Chilean Soldiers are playing key roles in United Nations peacekeeping missions, working to prevent conflict and defending human rights. To ensure the resolution’s implementation, the government of Chile has drafted guidelines known as Action Plans. Chile is one of 38 countries which have developed such plans, launching the first one in 2009. In March of this year they completed drafting a second action plan, making Chile the 10th country in the world to generate a second-stage document on women, peace, and security. “Women have expanded the limits of what is possible in peace missions, not only because they have shown on the ground that they can perform in the same roles, to the same standards and under the same conditions as their male counterparts,” President Bachelet said. Women Soldiers treated as equals In March, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet lauded the contributions of female Soldiers at the launch of the Second National Action Plan for implementing Resolution 1325. By Dialogo May 07, 2015 “We are treated just like the men, and not feeling like we are someone they need to protect is important to us. We are equals, and we have the same obligations and duties as the male service members,” said 1st Lieutenant Carolina Molina, a communications officer with Chile’s 22nd Battalion. Overall, women comprise about 14 percent of the Chilean Armed Forces; they’ve served as pilots, physicians, political advisers, machinery commanders, radio operators, combat nurses, and Military Staff Officers. The second National Action Plan “commits the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and SERNAM [National Women’s Service], to coordinate actions aimed at mainstreaming gender in conflict prevention strategies and operations of peacekeeping; increasing the participation of women in decision-making; strengthening and expanding measures to ensure the security and integrity of women and girls, and promoting their access to mechanisms in post-conflict recovery.” The second National Action Plan “commits the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and SERNAM [National Women’s Service], to coordinate actions aimed at mainstreaming gender in conflict prevention strategies and operations of peacekeeping; increasing the participation of women in decision-making; strengthening and expanding measures to ensure the security and integrity of women and girls, and promoting their access to mechanisms in post-conflict recovery.” Of the 104,000 service members from different countries deployed in UN peacekeeping missions around the world, 4,088 are women — all with the same responsibilities as their male counterparts. Women Soldiers treated as equals Including women in peacekeeping missions adds value to the mission without discounting the intrinsic Military value of their involvement, Navarro said. “There are more and more women participating in peace missions over the years. In this company, we have eight women,” Chilean Captain Andrea Fuentes, an officer with an engineering company in Port-au-Prince, said in a video released by the Chilean Ministry of National Defense. “Women have expanded the limits of what is possible in peace missions, not only because they have shown on the ground that they can perform in the same roles, to the same standards and under the same conditions as their male counterparts,” President Bachelet said. In 2000, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 1325, which promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women in order to achieve the goals of peace and development. Since then, about 200 Chilean service members –including 75 Officers and 125 Non-Commissioned Officers — have served on overseas UN peacekeeping missions. Most of these service members focused on conflict resolution and defending human rights, in addition to contributing to basic peacekeeping efforts. “There are more and more women participating in peace missions over the years. In this company, we have eight women,” Chilean Captain Andrea Fuentes, an officer with an engineering company in Port-au-Prince, said in a video released by the Chilean Ministry of National Defense. In 2000, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 1325, which promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women in order to achieve the goals of peace and development. Since then, about 200 Chilean service members –including 75 Officers and 125 Non-Commissioned Officers — have served on overseas UN peacekeeping missions. Most of these service members focused on conflict resolution and defending human rights, in addition to contributing to basic peacekeeping efforts. In March, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet lauded the contributions of female Soldiers at the launch of the Second National Action Plan for implementing Resolution 1325. “The presence of female service members makes it easier to approach the local population; this is important in a peace mission, and women provide a great deal of support,” said Miguel Navarro, a researcher at the National Academy of Political and Strategic Studies (ANEPE) in Chile. To ensure the resolution’s implementation, the government of Chile has drafted guidelines known as Action Plans. Chile is one of 38 countries which have developed such plans, launching the first one in 2009. In March of this year they completed drafting a second action plan, making Chile the 10th country in the world to generate a second-stage document on women, peace, and security. “The presence of female service members makes it easier to approach the local population; this is important in a peace mission, and women provide a great deal of support,” said Miguel Navarro, a researcher at the National Academy of Political and Strategic Studies (ANEPE) in Chile. Including women in peacekeeping missions adds value to the mission without discounting the intrinsic Military value of their involvement, Navarro said. FOR ME, THESE WOMEN ARE WORTH A LOT, GOD BLESS THEM Needed research for women in armed conflict for Model United Nations, Thanks for this!!!!!last_img read more

The Masters: Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau among Rich Beem’s picks | Golf News

first_img Tyrrell Hatton has top-10 finishes in four of his last six worldwide starts Tyrrell Hatton has top-10 finishes in four of his last six worldwide starts

SC backs QC court-warrants in Negros raids

first_img“If respondents feel aggrieved withthe issuance, the proper remedy is to file a motion to quash either before thecourt that issued them or before the court where the cases are eventuallyfiled,” Hosaka told reporters on Sunday. “The Court Administrator was quick tonote that the Executive Judges of Manila and Quezon City are really authorizedto issue SWs (search warrants) which may be implemented nationwide in certaininstances and provided that the legal requirements are met,” Hosaka said. Under court rules, in determiningprobable cause in the issuance of a search warrant, a judge must be convincedof facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable, discreet and prudentman to believe that there has been a crime committed and the things and objectsconnected to the crime committed are in the place to be searched.  For nine hours, Villavert reportedlypropounded the questions to deponents from Negros to ensure Constitutional requirementsfor the issuance of search warrants. Some 32 assorted firearms, threefragmentation grenades, two grenade launchers, and assorted ammunition werereportedly confiscated during the operations. Burgos-Villavert issued the warrantsearlier this week after an exhaustive interview with the applicants of thewarrants and their witnesses. BACOLOD City – The Supreme Court (SC) has defended the authority of aQuezon City judge in issuing seven search warrants against alleged frontorganizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army inBacolod and Escalante cities in Negros Occidental.center_img He said Chief Justice (Diosdado)Peralta immediately directed the Court Administrator to remind judges to bedeliberate, circumspect, and prudent with the issuances of warrants. Executive Judge CecilynBurgos-Villavert of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89 is “presumed tohave acted correctly and legally on the issuance of these search warrants,” SCspokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said on Monday. Hosaka made the statement reacting tothe petition of leftist groups led by Neri Colmenares asking the HighCourt to sanction a Quezon City judge who issued search warrants used by jointteams from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army in arresting57 suspected communist group members during a series of raids on theoffices of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Kilusang Mayo Uno, Anakpawis,Gabriela, and National Federation of Sugar Workers. Joint police and Army operativesconducted the raids in Bacolod City and Escalante City on Thursday and Friday,respectively. Militant groups, however, claimed thepieces of evidence were merely planted by government operatives during theraids. (With a report from PNA/PN)last_img read more

Condon: Trip to suit Aspect

first_img Press Association Condon said: “I’m very happy with her. She won a Listed race over an inadequate trip at Tipperary and she will be more comfortable over seven furlongs. “I think she has improved since, but she will need to if she is to be involved. She is in good form and I’m expecting her to run well. “I booked Johnny on Wednesday when I knew Shane Foley wouldn’t be available.” Foley will partner Glassatura for his boss Mick Halford, a filly who made a winning debut at the Curragh before finishing fourth in a Listed heat at Naas. Halford said: “She is in good form, she’s had a nice break since her last run. She has been working well and I’m hoping for a good run.” As is so often the case, the contest is dominated by Aidan O’Brien. The master of Ballydoyle has saddled eight previous Debutante winners and is this year represented by Tapestry (Joseph O’Brien), Minorette (Michael Hussey) and Perhaps (Seamie Heffernan). The field is completed by Paul Deegan’s Avenue Gabriel. The daughter of Haatef came right back to five furlongs to claim the Listed Tipperary Stakes a month ago, her second career win from four juvenile appearances. She will be partnered by Johnny Murtagh as she faces six opponents at Group Two level this weekend. center_img Ken Condon believes a step up to seven furlongs will bring out the best in Sacred Aspect in the Friarstown Stud Debutante Stakes at the Curragh.last_img read more