Protect Koalas from State-Sponsored Extinction

Originally published on August 18, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Mike Baird, Premier of New South Wales

Goal: Prevent a highway project from destroying a vital koala habitat

A colony of source population koalas is under threat by the recently approved plans to construct a highway through the Blackwall Range Wildlife Corridor. Critical to the survival of coastal koalas, the colony is expected to become extinct within the next 20 to 25 years due to the creation of the roadway. Although the highway could be built along multiple alternate routes, the current plans will entail bisecting the koala habitat and will threaten the survival of several other endangered species.

Commissioned by the Ballina Council, a Koala Habitat Study reported that construction of the highway would be a key threatening process endangering the lives of the koalas and other species. Previous studies of deforestation show that the koala population will rapidly decrease following the wanton destruction of their habitat. With no concern for the wellbeing of the animals or the environment, the Stage 10 upgrade of the Pacific Highway will ravage a habitat filled with biodiversity.

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Reform Corrupt Institution of Dirty Cops and Corrections Officers

Originally published on August 17, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Bujar Nishani, President of Albania

Goal: Reduce the numerous cases of police brutality, corruption, and human rights abuse in Albanian prisons

Investigations reveal multiple cases of Albanian police officers using excessive force and often beating suspects during interrogations to elicit confessions. Albanian jails are reported to be in such poor condition as to constitute inhuman treatment. Reports of torture committed by prison guards are rarely investigated, while the courts rarely prosecute corrupt government officials.

According to the U.S. State Department, corruption in all branches of the Albanian government is pervasive. With a mountain of evidence against them, high profile government officials are often found not guilty in court. Many other corrupt officials never have charges brought up against them.

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Former Navy Contractor Guilty of Bribery Scam

Originally published on August 15, 2014, at NationofChange.org

Seven men have been arrested in connection to a bribery scheme to collect roughly $5.5 million in government contracts. On August 12, Scott Miserendino, Sr. became the sixth man to plead guilty for his role in the crime. The former U.S. Navy contractor, Miserendino, pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting bribes and conspiring to commit bribery.

Scott Miserendino joined the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command in 1994. With a fleet of 110 ships posted around the world, the defense contractor is the leading provider of transportation for the U.S. Navy. On January 7, 1998, the Military Sealift Command published a press release awarding Miserendino for his cost-saving strategies. The press release has since been removed from the site.

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Enforce Stronger Laws Against Animal Cruelty

Originally published on August 14, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Elio Di Rupo, Prime Minister of Belgium

Goal: Create stronger laws to deter animal cruelty in Belgium

Instead of enforcing laws with tough sentences against purveyors of animal cruelty, the Belgian government chooses to turn a blind eye to animal abuse. Ignoring the problem will not make violence against animals simply disappear. The Belgian government must create and enforce laws protecting animals from physical abuse and mistreatment.

Numerous cases of malnourished, neglected, and abused animals have been reported with minimal punishment given to the perpetrators. Instead of deterring people who commit animal abuse, lenient sentences allow them to become repeat offenders with little to no consequence for their actions. Because these animals cannot stand up for themselves, they need us to protect them from harm.

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Demand an End to Rampant Police Brutality

Originally published on August 14, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, President of Yemen

Goal: Prosecute security officials guilty of torture, unlawful killings, and other human rights abuses

The government of Yemen has become complicit with human rights abuses taking place by law enforcement officials. Ignoring reports of arbitrary arrests, torture, and illegal executions, the government of Yemen refuses to investigate the perpetrators of these crimes. Such widespread corruption will only lead to further abuses if nobody takes action now.

Numerous reports exist documenting security forces committing unlawful killings. Government forces often utilize excessive force when dealing with protests or demonstrations. Innocent civilian bystanders have been killed as security forces attempt to suppress free speech.

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Save Zoo Animals from Severe Cruelty and Neglect

Originally published on August 13, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand

Goal: Improve the miserable living conditions of animals in Thailand’s Phuket Zoo

Animals in captivity at the Phuket Zoo in Thailand are barely surviving due to decrepit living conditions. Zoo officials have refused to address the fact that their animals live in filthy cages with dirty drinking water. Many of the animals appear malnourished and suffer from untreated wounds. Demand that the animals trapped in this zoo receive protection against further cruelty and mistreatment.

Phuket Zoo is most famous for allowing tourists to take pictures with a heavily sedated tiger that has been chained to the floor. Sadly, the mistreated tiger is one of the few animals allowed to rest in the shade all day. Most of the zoo’s inadequate enclosures do not provide the animals with protection from the elements, completely depriving overheated animals of shade and forcing them to remain uncovered during rain or thunder. With little food and no fresh water, most of the animals appear sickly and lethargic.

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Stop the Torture of Political Prisoners

Originally published on August 13, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, King of Saudi Arabia

Goal: End the heinous practice of torture and human rights abuses in Saudi prisons

Although the law prohibits the use of torture, many prisoners in Saudi Arabia are regularly beaten and humiliated by their jailors. Imposing degrading punishments on their prisoners, government officials in Saudi Arabia consistently break both Sharia law and statutory law by continuing these practices well into the 21st century. Instead of falsely claiming that inflicting torture prevents terrorist attacks, government officials simply torture prisoners to flaunt their abusive power.

According to the U.S. State Department, the Saudi Arabian government is guilty of kidnapping, torture, human trafficking, illegally detaining citizens without charges, and murder. By regularly committing human rights abuses against its own people, the Saudi Arabian government exerts its power through absolute fear and intimidation. Human rights activists are often secretly arrested without committing a crime, and then are imprisoned and tortured.

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FBI Investigates Rioting After Cop Kills Unarmed Teen

Originally published on August 12, 2014, at NationofChange.org

The FBI has joined the investigation into the police shooting of an unarmed teenager that incited rioting and looting this weekend in Ferguson, Missouri. As incidents of police brutality continue to escalate in violence, the residents of Ferguson retaliated by vandalizing stores and police cars while pelting officers with rocks, bricks, and bottles.

On the afternoon of August 9, Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson were walking in the street when a police car pulled up alongside them. According to the Ferguson Police Department, Brown shoved the officer as he was exiting the vehicle. A struggle ensued inside the car over the officer’s firearm. The officer fired a single shot, and Brown fled from the vehicle. Brown was roughly 35-feet from the police car when the officer fired multiple shots killing Brown, who was unarmed.

But Dorian Johnson and multiple witnesses disagree with the official version of events. According to Johnson, the officer pulled up next to them and ordered, “Get the eff onto the sidewalk.”

After exchanging a few words, the officer extended his arm out of the window and grabbed Brown’s neck. The officer allegedly choked Brown while pulling the 18-year-old into the car. As Brown managed to escape, the cop exited the vehicle and fired.

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Stop Fur Farming

Originally published on August 12, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark

Goal: Ban the brutal industry of fur farming in Denmark

Denmark continues to practice fur farming in its country even though it has been banned in many other countries for being too cruel to animals. In Denmark, 14 million minks are killed each year for their fur. This animal cruelty is no longer necessary for our survival and must come to an end.

The Netherlands, Croatia, Austria, and the U.K. have all banned fur farming in their countries. Norway and Sweden are also in the process of banning fur farms because of their cruelty to innocent animals. We are beyond the point where we need to slaughter animals and skin them for our survival.

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Don’t Weaken Protections for Indigenous People and the Environment

Originally published on August 12, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank

Goal: Reverse the World Bank’s decision to provide less protection to indigenous people and our ecosystems

The World Bank is weakening regulations that protect the environment and indigenous people in developing countries. By deregulating mining and logging corporations, the World Bank is endangering the lives of the residents and the ecosystems in which they inhabit. Do not allow corporate greed to trample the lives of innocent people.

A leaked draft of the World Bank’s new policies revealed that mining and logging corporations no longer have to consult with the indigenous people before taking over their land. The residents who are not violently removed will be subject to high levels of pollution in their air, water, and food. By stepping away and allowing the governments and corporations to make up their own rules, the World Bank has opened the door to historical human rights and environmental abuse.

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