This man turned an opium field into a sustainable coffee farm in Thailand

Somsak Sriphumthong is on a caffeine-fueled mission.

After years living and working abroad, the organic farmer and community leader returned to his native Thailand several years ago — during a time when the forests were being cleared for opium fields and rice plantations.

Seeking a sustainable alternative, he started growing and selling organic coffee beans on reclaimed land. Why coffee? Sriphumthong says he “didn’t want to take advantage of society … or harm people” while earning a living.

Scientists Say They Found A Woman Who Can See 99 Million Colors More Than The Rest Of Us

Researchers say they have finally found a true “strong tetrachromat,” someone who has four cone cells in the eyes and is able to interpret these signals in their brain, opening their eyes to an additional 99 million colors the rest of the human population can’t see. But before we get too jealous, the study is still ongoing and must be published and peer-reviewed.

So you’re a tetrachromat? But are you the “strong” type?

Tetrachromacy is the possession of four cone cells. This allows organisms to have a four-dimensional color experience—something that fish, reptiles, and diural birds all have. Humans normally detect color through three cone cells in the eyes, making us trichromats. Ultimately, this difference means that humans see far less colors than these other organisms.

Conjuring The Insurrection w/ Dr. Bones

In this installment, the Free Radical Media crew is joined by our friend and repeat guest Dr. Bones, the Hoodoo Anarchist Sorcerer of the Revolution. Dr. Bones is the founder of The Conjure House and a prolific writer at Disinformation as well as the great Gods and Radicals. Among many other subjects, we discuss anarchism, insurrection, the current election cycle, the recent French Uprising, and spirituality in the context of resistance.

Jalisco Moves to End Political Immunity and Usher In a New Kind of Politics for Mexico

In Jalisco, located in western Mexico, the state Congress oversaw a historic session on July 14, 2016, when they approved the removal of the fuero, a law that offers constitutional protections to the political class and government employees, preventing them from being prosecuted for crimes while still in office. The approved reform would take this political privilege away from 1,598 public employees, including the governor.

To be enacted, the constitutional reform needs the support of at least 63 of the 125 city councils in Jalisco. Whatever happens with the city councils, the Jalisco Congress’ unanimous endorsement is being widely described as a milestone in the fight against political impunity and corruption.

Brazil Human Rights Defender Found Drowned in Dam

The bodies of murdered women should not have to be the catalyst for responsible development, writes Erin Kilbride.

Last week, a human rights defender’s body was found drowned in the hydro-electric dam she spent three years fighting. Nilce de Souza Magalhães was a fierce opponent of the Usina Hidrelétrica Jirau, a rock-fill dam in north-western Brazil. She was murdered in January 2016 by a man who said he wanted to ‘silence’ her. On 21 June, dam workers found Nilce’s body washed up on the side of the dam’s river bank. Her hands and feet had been tied with ropes and attached to large rocks that kept her body submerged under water for six months.

Brazil is one of the deadliest countries in the world for those who work to defend people’s right to land. Front Line Defenders has documented almost 30 killings of environmental, indigenous, and land rights defenders in Brazil in 2016 alone – Nilce is the 27th. In 2015, Global Witness ranked Brazil as the deadliest country in the world for environment rights defenders.

Venezuela: Dissidents Allege Torture, Coerced Confessions

OAS Should Press Authorities to Drop Charges

The Organization of American States (OAS) should press authorities from Venezuela’s Maduro administration to release and drop criminal charges against anyone who has been arbitrarily detained and charged, Human Rights Watch said today. The OAS should also press Venezuela so its authorities investigate allegations that several detainees have been beaten and tortured in custody, and make the results of the investigations public.

Since May 2016, the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional, SEBIN) and National Guard have detained 21 people on allegations that they were planning, fomenting, or had participated in violent anti-government actions. Most allege they have been tortured or otherwise abused in custody. In several cases, prosecutors failed to present any credible evidence linking the accused to crimes, but courts charged them anyway. In some cases, the evidence included mere possession of political materials, including pamphlets calling for the release of political prisoners.

Children Detained in War Zones

Thousands Held Without Charge, Tortured

Thousands of children in conflict-affected countries have been detained without charge for months or even years as national security threats, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Untold numbers have been tortured or have died in custody. Governments should immediately stop detaining children without charge and appropriately punish those who mistreat them.

The 35-page report, “Extreme Measures: Abuses against Children Detained as National Security Threats,” documents the arrest and detention of children for alleged association with non-state armed groups or involvement in conflict-related offenses. Overbroad and vague counterterrorism legislation adopted in response to extremist armed groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram has increased the detention of children perceived to be security threats. Human Rights Watch specifically examined the detention and treatment of children in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Nigeria, and Syria.

Macedonian Youth Speak Out About Freedom of Expression Through Mini-Videos

Young video artists from Macedonia tackled the issue of free speech through a series of short videos, which were produced as part of an open competition and screened during the French Film Festival in Skopje. The festival and the competition are part of the long-term cultural cooperation between France and Macedonia.

The two main entries were made in the silent movie tradition, which immediately expanded their reach and relevance with viewers, regardless of language. The video which was finally selected as the winner of the competition is “Shhh…” by Bruno Veljanovski:

Kenyan Authorities Disappear People

Kenyan security forces have forcibly disappeared at least 34 people in the past two years during abusive counterterrorism operations in Nairobi and in northeastern Kenya. The military was actively involved in raiding homes and compounds to arrest people who were allegedly suspected of links with the armed Islamist group, Al-Shabab. But months, and in some cases over a year, later, suspects have not been charged with any crimes and families cannot locate them. In each case, although families reported the disappearance to the police and sought help from various authorities, the authorities failed to inform them of the detainees’ whereabouts or to properly investigate allegations of abuse.
Concern for the well-being of the 34 people is compounded by at least 11 cases in the past two years in which dead bodies of people previously arrested by state agents have been found, in some instances far from the location of their arrest. As far as Human Rights Watch is aware, police have not meaningfully investigated these deaths. In one instance, a body was exhumed in Mandera in response to public demands, but the government has not conducted an inquest or any meaningful investigations as required by Kenyan law.