Archive | August, 2010

Epic: Greenpeace Occupies Offshore Rig

31 Aug

Four expert climbers in inflatable speedboats evaded Danish Warship commanders and safely occupied the Cairn Energy oil rig off Greenland in the Arctic. They are now hanging in tents suspended from the rig, 45 feet above the icy ocean. Cairn energy has shut down operations, admitting a serious wrench in their works as they race to finish exploration before Winter conditions set in.

more action shots here

From the Greenpeace Press Release:

Baffin Bay, Greenland – Campaigners have evaded a huge military security operation to scale a controversial oil rig in the freezing seas off Greenland. At dawn this morning four expert climbers in inflatable speedboats dodged Danish Navy commandos before climbing up the inside of the rig and hanging from it in tents suspended from ropes, halting its drilling operation (video and stills available).

The climbers have enough supplies to occupy the hanging tents for several days. If they succeed in stopping drilling for just a short time then the operators, Britain’s Cairn Energy, will struggle to meet a tight deadline to complete the exploration before winter ice conditions force it to abandon the search for oil off Greenland until next year.

Sim McKenna from the United States, one of the campaigners hanging fifteen metres above the bitterly cold Arctic ocean, said: “We’ve got to keep the energy companies out of the Arctic and kick our addiction to oil, that’s why we’re going to stop this rig from drilling for as long as we can. The BP Gulf oil disaster showed us it’s time to go beyond oil. The drilling rig we’re hanging off could spark an Arctic oil rush, one that would pose a huge threat to the climate and put this fragile environment at risk.”

McKenna, who had been helping with the Gulf clean-up operation before joining the Greenpeace ship the Esperanza in the Arctic, continued: “Right now this platform is the most important oil rig in the world. If we can stop them striking oil here in the next few weeks we’ll hold back the oil giants for at least another year, hopefully gaining enough time for a global ban on dangerous deepwater drilling projects like this to be enacted.”

A Danish Thetis-class 120m warship, commandos in speed boats and a flotilla of police boats have been shadowing the Esperanza for the last nine days. The rig has been forced to stop drilling because any breach of the 500m security zone around it results in a routine shutdown. It is currently drilling in volcanic rock, having failed to strike oil, and is due to move soon to a new drill site 100km away. The campaigners hope today’s occupation will delay the move or even cause it to be cancelled.

If the Edinburgh-based company strikes oil, analysts expect a new Arctic oil rush, with Exxon, Chevron and other energy giants already buying up licenses to drill in the area and making preparations to move in.

Jon Burgwald, a Greenpeace campaigner onboard the Esperanza, which is about a kilometre from the occupied platform, said: “Instead of letting the oil companies drill for the last drops of oil in pristine places like the Arctic, our governments should be pushing the development of the clean energy technologies we need to fight climate change and reduce our dependence on dirty fuels. We already have the tools we need to go beyond oil, all that’s missing is the determination to make it happen quickly. That’s why we have to stop this rig from drilling for as long as we can. We can’t let the oil giants take us all in the wrong direction by opening up the Arctic seas to a new oil rush.”

CORRECTION

Yesterday’s post mentioned a Mobilization for Climate Justice – West protest, which took place on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in order to mark the failure of the government once again to protect the Gulf of Mexico from environmental catastrophe—this time in the guise of the BP Deep Horizon spill.

We failed to mention that the 150 people who marched from Chevron office to BP office with a list of environmental demands for Climate Justice manifested one of the largest direct actions against BP to date. Activists blockaded the BP office in San Francisco and the intersection in front of it. 15 were arrested

50,000 Mink Liberated in Greece, and more…

30 Aug

From Bite Back:

Greek media has reported that as many as 50,000 mink were released from cages. In an article in the Makedonia newspaper, the president of a Greek fur breeders association said that it was a “black day” for the industry. The owner of one of the targeted farms estimated his losses at 1 million Euros and said that his farm had been ruined. See the anonymous communique below.


anonymous communique (photo: newsit.gr):

“26.08.2010 – Heliodendro, Kastoria (Greece)
One of the biggest greek mink farms has been hit in our first night of action. All the cages imprisoning animals in 37 sheds of the farm were opened and machinery sabotaged. To let the animals out part of the fence was cut and both gates opened smashing the locks (using the farmer’s tools). Two hours and half of work and we could run away along with thousands of minks (according to media 50.000 were released).

27.08.2010 – Kaloneri, Siatista (Greece)
Another mink farm was our target for a second night of action, this time near the town of Kaloneri, on a road where 10 farms can be easily seen. 8 sheds full of animals had their cages opened in just ten minutes. Before leaving we opened a gate to let the animals run towards freedom (according to media 2.000 were released).

In both cases we had checked carefully the farms to know how to organize a faster and more secure action. With these actions we decided to hit the fur industry and especially the disgusting ‘fur towns’ of Siatista and Kastoria, plagued with hundreds of fur stores. Liberating animals from cages is a way to put our ideas into practice. We oppose the oppression, exploitation and imprisonment that this civilization has created for any living being, regardless of species, race, gender or sexual preferences.

In these desperate days we still strive for freedom. Eat vegan on the barricades!

A.L.F.”

In further animal news, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nation’s leading bird conservation organization, in cooperation with the Amazon Conservation Association (ACA), has helped finance the purchase 7,427 acres of world-class bird and wildlife habitat in southern Peru that may contain the highest bird diversity for a single site in the world.

On the political front, conservation groups expressed dismay today after a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to deny a petition to ban toxic lead bullets and shot that commonly kill and harm bald eagles, trumpeter swans, endangered California condors and other wildlife. An estimated 10 million to 20 million birds and other animals die each year from lead poisoning in the United States.

In other news, 100 protesters marched down the streets of San Francisco to commemorate Hurricane Katrina and call for an end to fossil fuels. Organized by the Mobilization for Climate Justice, the protest began with a die-in outside of a Chevron office, briefly blocking the entrance to the headquarters of Chevron Energy Solutions, before marching to the EPA office and demanding real solutions to climate change. The march was harried by 6 motorcycle cops attempting to force the marchers on to the sidewalk, but police eventually realized the futility of their efforts and agreed to non-violently “escort” the peaceful marchers to the EPA.

Check out the Katrina Action Network to see their corporate accountability campaign, 27 Days of Action: Remembering Katrina and Rita (August 29 -September 24).

Big Day for Indigenous Support: Black Mesa, Save the Peaks

29 Aug

Save the Peaks!

On August 30th, Flagstaff City Council will decide whether or not to sell Flagstaff’s precious drinking water to a single private business for recreation. Visit true snow for details.

As City water prices go up and Flagstaff is threatened to run out of water by 2050, Arizona Snowbowl Ski Business has been offered $11 million tax payer dollars by the USDA to subsidize their plan to make fake snow. This amounts to a corporate bailout for a business located outside of city limits.

The Inter-tribal Tribal Council of Arizona just made a statement affirming opposition to the plan. Save the Peaks Coalition will be holding a rally and prayer vigil at 4:00 PM at Foxglenn park (near Sinagua at 4200 E. Butler Ave) before the council meeting. As Snowbowl threatens to start cutting trees as early as next week, we need your support more than ever.

Here is an article with columns by the Wall Street Journal and the Navajo Times about the issue.

Black Mesa Update

Back in 1974 Public law 93-531 was passed by congress calling for the
relocation of over 10,000 Navajos and 300 Hopi Indians to make way for
Peabody Coal Company to develop the land for open surface mining; to this
day the mine is still in operation sucking up resources and ignoring the
native people. The tribal governments are the lease holders to the
corporation operation on Indian reservations and they will do anything to
sell it out! Traditionally we are supposed to respect the land and live in
Harmony with the Earth, Sky, water and Air. We still try to live that way
here at Big Mountain and yet, it’s a crime.

August 30, 2010 is the deadline date for people that are interested in
Relocation Housing and benefits. You will have to have been head of
household in 1974, full time resident of the HPL. People currently
resisting relocation and people that have signed The 75 Year Lease with
the Hopi tribe are not eligible for Relocation program. The 75 Year Lease
Project is not insuring lease obligations; there is an ongoing movement to
recall the 75 Year Lease Agreement and the few families that didn’t sign
lease or relocation benefits continue to live out here and we are the
people not given any services from The Hopi and Navajo tribal Governments.
Over the summer of 2010 the Hopi Tribal Council developed a resolution to
create a facility that will store carbon in the Cow Springs area of the
western Navajo Nation; there is a movement to oppose this developing
project too.
There is a great need for weatherization assistance, such as wood hauling
for winter months and roof repairs etc. Please contact Black Mesa Indigenous Support for more.

blackmesais@gmail.com

PO Box 23501 Flagstaff, AZ 86002
928-773-8086

Tohono O’odham VOICE Against the Wall

In a statement to the National Guard released Sunday, O’odham activist and global climate justice delegate, Ophelia Rivas, opened a direct line of communication, explaining “When you are out on our land, be mindful that you are visitor on our lands, be respectful, be courteous and do not harm anything.” “We are not compliant people,” she states, “we are people with great dignity and confidence. We are a people of endurance and have a long survival history. We are people that have lived here for thousands of years. We have our own language, we have our own culture and traditions.” Listing several O’odham practices, Ophelia Rivas explains the peaceful traditions of her people, striking a tone of reason with the government. She closes the statement on no uncertain terms: “Remember we do not want you on our lands, we did not invite you to our lands.
Do remember that we have invited allies that will be witnessing your conduct on our lands and how you treat our people.”

To the National Guard: We, the allies of the O’odham people, are watching. The whole world is watching.

Photos from the Humboldt Tree Sit

29 Aug

From Forest Defender’s Blog: “just got these photos from Jacoby Creek taken from over 100 feet up in the canopy, that show the nearby logging and the tree-sit platform. It is reported to be quiet there today – no loggers, just the security guard.”

Four tree sitters have created a platform 100 feet up in the redwoods of Jacoby Creek to prevent loggers from clearcutting the beautiful second growth forest. Though Green Diamond claims to take precautionary measures to protect the tree sitters, those up in the trees tell of loggers felling trees dangerously close to their platforms. Shawna of the Redwood Forest Defenders declared that this is an example of “the most company-caused danger forest activists have encountered since the days of struggle against Maxxam’s Pacific Lumber. We don’t want to hurt anyone, we just want them start listening to the people and stop destroying our watersheds by clear cutting redwoods. Maybe the timber wars aren’t over, after all.”

For more information, check out

Beyond Fossil Fuels: Protest and Awareness on the Eve of Katrina’s 5th

28 Aug

Three days ago, Greenpeace activists held up a banner (seen above) during testimony by Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to remind the Commissioners and federal officials that safe offshore drilling is a pipe dream. The direct action statement preceded an official statement by Greenpeace marine biologist, John Hocevar. Hocevar insisted, “What is clear at this stage is that where we have offshore drilling, we have risk of serious accidents that can neither be cleaned up nor quickly recovered from – either ecologically or economically. As this Commission assesses appropriate responses to the BP Horizon disaster, Greenpeace urges you to recommend a ban on new offshore drilling, beginning with the extremely risky operations planned for the remote and pristine waters of the Arctic.”

Greenpeace ships have been present during the cleanup effort in the Gulf of Mexico, and the ship, Esperanza, is currently poised near Greenland, at an Arctic site chosen by Scottish oil company, Cairn, for new offshore drilling. The potential Cairn site puts the arctic in the same danger as the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps more due to the extreme weather conditions. Just last month, a pipeline in China burst, spilling 400,000 gallons of oil into the Yellow River. Firefighter, Zhang Liang, died while assisting in the clean-up. Most people will look at the news today, see that 4 Tibetans were shot dead yesterday by Chinese police while protesting a mine, and think that we lead precious lives in the USA. That we are so well looked after. Those people will have forgotten that 11 people have already died due to the Deep Horizon spill, and thanks to the policy of forbidding respirators to “avoid public hysteria,” many more are likely to perish. Like the Esperanza, the whole world is poised to stop the slaughter of human and non-human life and the murder of our planet. It is clear what is holding us back.

This Sunday is the 5-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Our friends at Mobilization for Climate Justice—West (MCJ-West) will be throwing a teach-in in the San Francisco Bay area, followed the next day by a rally, march and non-violent direct action. Events commemorating the disastrous event are being held throughout the US. The BP spill, which still lurks in the waters of the Gulf, serves as a reminder of how corporations and the government have continuously failed the people of the Gulf Coast. In an interview with The Root, popular film director, Spike Lee, insists that the making of his new HBO movie on Hurricane Katrina, If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, has opened his eyes: “The thing that affects me the most — and I don’t know how it would affect other people, but me personally — is that we have to get off our addiction to fossil fuel, and it really enlightened me, so I’m going green now. I’m fanatic on the lights, man, lights off. We never recycled at my office, 40 Acres and a Mule, before, but now we’re on it. Because I was ignorant like a lot of people who were [thinking] that this was some white, hippie, you know … but that was ignorant thinking on my part. This is everybody’s earth, everybody’s planet.”

From thousands of Germans flooding the streets in protest against new infrastructure projects to the ongoing actions of sabotage against development in Spain, the new wave of environmental resistance is just beginning. It may not have an end in sight.

Animal Alerts

27 Aug

Today, two new updates have shaken the Animal Liberation community.

According to the Voice of the Voiceless, law enforcement sources reported a mink fur farm liberation in Franklin, Idaho. 30 mink were released from cages. No group has claimed responsibility.

Through anonymous channels: “The Animal Liberation Investigation Unit has obtained damning photographs from within Primate Products, Inc. in Miami, Florida. The photographs reveal the true faces of vivisection and the global primate trade.”

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Animal liberation actions against vivisection have been consistent over the past few months. A week or so ago, locks were glued firmly shut at the offices of Fortress Investment Group and several paint bombs were thrown at the UK HQ of AstraZeneca. Both of these companies are guilty of allowing Huntingdon Life Sciences to continue killing 500 animals a day. Just yesterday, Huntingdon Life Sciences customer, Bayer, had paint thrown on one of its buildings by the Animal Liberation Front in Sweden.
Also in Sweden, REKAB construction company got three windows smashed for their involvement in the building of a new animal experimentation lab, over 200,000 fish were freed when saboteurs cut nets at two fish farms owned by Fiskeman AB in Gallejaure (Västerbotten) and Miekojarvi (Norrbotten), in northern Sweden, an animal park was sabotaged in Slottsskogen in Gothenburg. These methods work, as is shown by the closing of a fur shop Andreassons in Gothenburg after repeated attacks.

Other animal liberation actions this month have included the firebombing of a bullfighting ticket booth, a mink farm liberation in Italy and a building sabotaged in Mexico.

In the USA, Walter Bond was arrested on July 22, 2010 in connection with the April 30 fire at the Sheepskin Factory in Glendale, Colorado that caused $500,000 in damages. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail until trial.

Letters of support can be sent to:

Walter Edmund Bond
P.O. Box 16700
Golden, CO 80402-6700

Go to Bite Back for а more complete listing of actions.

CGZ Locks Down in West Virginia Amidst Controversy

27 Aug

Protesters Arrested, Action Video Posted
from Climate Ground Zero.org

Joe Hamsher and Sarah Seeds, activists with Climate Ground Zero, were arrested yesterday morning while blocking the entrance to the headquarters of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). They have been charged with trespassing, obstruction of justice and disrupting government processes. Their bail was set at $5000 dollars each. Hamsher has posted bail. Seeds remains locked up at South Central Regional Jail in Kanawha County.

The protesters chained themselves to a metal barrel in front of the DEP and remained locked to the barrel for an hour and a half. They sought to condemn the DEP for sanctioning mountaintop removal mining and for failing to enforce the Clean Water Act. “There is no way to operate a mountaintop removal mine without violating the Clean Water Act. Even Don Blankenship admitted that in Charleston when he debated Robert Kennedy” said West Virginia native Joe Hamsher. “The DEP ought to step up and do their job by enforcing the Clean Water Act. But instead, Randy Huffman, and his boss Joe Manchin, try to find loopholes around it.” Hamsher, Seed and CGZ will continue to hold the DEP accountable for its crimes against West Virginia.

In addition to putting pressure on the DEP, Climate Ground Zero and its allies will be gathering in Washington D.C. on September 25 through September 27 for Appalachia Rising, a mass mobilization to call for an end to mountaintop removal mining and bring the issue to the national stage.

Please contribute to the legal defense fund by clicking here.

In related news, the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club released a report entitled In Harm’s Way about the perilous threat that coal ash poses to the US’s water supply. Terrible management of toxic coal waste has led to the discarding of 150 million tons of coal ash (ingredients: dangerous toxins like arsenic, selenium, lead, cadmium, mercury, and even sometimes chromium, cobalt, barium, sulfides and others) into ponds and dumps nationwide, causing hazardous toxicity in 39 sites over 21 states and high toxicity levels in 100% of sites surveyed. Studies based on the groundwater near La Grange, Texas, and Joilet, Illinois, provide excellent examples of the reports findings.

Prompted by the TVA disaster of 2008, the EPA has finally begun hearings to set a national standard for ponds or landfills used to dispose of waste from burning coal (i.e., is coal ash toxic waste, or isn’t it — correct answer being YES!!!!!). The first hearing will take place on Monday in Arlington, WV.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has come out against a law suit that calls coal burning plants a “public nuisance.” Seeking to indemnify coal plants on the basis of their contributions to Climate Change, this law suit made it to the Supreme Court, but Obama has taken the part of the Power companies, insisting that the placement of power plants is a political, not a judicial, matter, and should therefor be decided in legislative bodies rather than the courts. Even Obama’s allies are flabbergasted at his reactionary stance on climate change.

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