Archive | November, 2011

O’odham Pepper Sprayed in Phoenix ALEC Protest

30 Nov

David Ortega, Tohono O’odham native elder, suffered a stroke after being pepper sprayed by police and is now at the hospital. SCOTTSDALE, Arizona—

Photo by Dixie

Tohono O’odham David Ortega, veteran and elder, suffered a stroke today after being pepper sprayed by police at the ALEC protest. Ortega was peacefully protesting when police pepper sprayed a delegation of O’odham. He was taken to a nearby hospital. Alex Soto, O’odham youth shown on the right in the photo, was also pepper sprayed in the face.

  Tohono O’odham protesters at the ALEC protest in Scottsdale, Ariz., in the Phoenix Valley, were peaceful and apparently singled out because police viewed them as key to the protest. Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O’odham and founder of O’odham VOICE against the Wall, said, “There is a lot of unnecessary police brutality.”

  O’odham from Tohono O’odham, Salt River and Gila River have joined Navajos resisting relocation from Big Mountain on the Navajo Nation at the protest to battle the corporate influences underway of legislators and lobbyists.

  Police helicopters are hovering overhead.

  Native American protesters are battling mining interests, the theft of water and land rights, abuse by US Border Patrol agents, desecration of sacred lands and the militarization of the border. On the Navajo Nation, Peabody Coal, responsible for orchestrating the so-called Navajo Hopi land dispute, continues to poison the land, water and air with coal mining for power plants. On the US/Mexico border, the US Border Patrol continues to beat and abuse O’odham and other Indigenous Peoples in their homelands. Uranium mining continues to target the Grand Canyon and Indian lands, while radioactive tailings from the Cold War remain.

  In Arizona, corporate profiteers continue to push copper, coal and uranium mining, devastating the land, water and air, and resulting in widespread health problems for the people.

  Native Americans are battling widespread human rights abuses in Arizona, where white supremacy has spread within the elected Arizona government, fueled by corporate donations. Private prison profiteers continue to fund and work behind closed doors with Arizona legislators.

  The US/Mexico border wall, and its non-functioning spy towers, has been a source of corporate profiteering for US corporations including Boeing, who entered into a contract with the Israeli Apartheid defense contractor Elbit Systems for the border wall and security systems.

  The US is now asking Tohono O’odham to approve new US spy towers on their lands, after the last billion dollar boondoggle of the US, failed spy towers on the Arizona border which did not function. Further, as the media fans racism which aids border profiteers, G4S based in London, profiteers from transportation contracts for the Wackenhut buses transporting detained migrants from the Arizona border.

  Decades of mining has poisoned the water throughout Indian country in Arizona, while many American Indians do not have any safe water to drink. Meanwhile, corporate interests scheme behind closed doors to seize Indian water rights, working in collusion with the US and state governments.

Background: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) begins their meeting today in Scottsdale, in the Phoenix Valley, for their annual State and National Policy Summit from November 30-December 2 2011. Indigenous Peoples, including O’odham, are part of the movement to shut down ALEC. Protesters in the ALEC march were reported pepper sprayed by police and two arrests made.

Please check for updates at www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com  and azresistsalec.wordpress.com

“ALEC itself is a tool for hundreds of corporations to use for the sole purpose of obtaining access to thousands of legislators and then exploiting that access to pass profit-making legislation. ALEC works like a think tank, devising legislation that benefits the corporate elite at the cost of the masses and then putting that model legislation in the hands of legislators along with gifts and incentives to urge their passing and now more than 200 of ALEC’s model bills have become actual laws throughout the country over the past year,” protest organizers said in a statement. “The links between corporate greed, state oppression, and you have never been clearer. This website is dedicated to the rising resistance against ALEC, their planned summit, and all corporate greed that would serve to perpetuate state oppression in already impoverished communities on already occupied land.”

Posted by brendanorrell@gmail.com

cross-posted from here

New Earth First! Journal Hits the News Stands!

29 Nov

The newest issue of the Earth First! Journal is out and chocked full of radical analysis, campaign updates, fiction, poetry, and art. Below are a few of the articles available here in pdf format to read online. (click the image above to get a closer look at the table of contents)

Click here to subscribe and we’ll ship you a print copy out!

To read the newest Earth First! Newsletter “News from the Frontlines” click here.

To read “Loxahatchee” a new piece of eco-terroristic science-fiction click here.

To read “the Battle of Millicoma” about new forest defense campaigns in Cascadia click here.

To read “GPS Tracking” about government surveillance using GPS and how to dismantle it click here.

Arrests as anti-tar sands protesters blockade DfT

28 Nov

Cross posted from Edie.net

photo courtesy clay/greenpeace

Police swooped on a group of protesters who attempted to blockade the offices of Government building.

The protesters blocked the door of the Department for Transport (DfT) building in central London this morning (November 28).

Activists from campaigning group Greenpeace, using chains, plywood boards and cars blockaded entrances, with the aim of stopping any deal that would see petrol refined from tar sands oil being sold at UK petrol pumps.

According to the group mining for tar sands is ‘wrecking’ the Canadian boreal forest, ‘destroying’ the homelands of indigenous people and ‘accelerating’ dangerous climate change.

Greenpeace energy campaigner, Paul Morrozzo, said: “British ministers should be more concerned with creating green jobs in Europe than dirty jobs in Canada, but instead they’ve been caving in to the demands of oil industry lobbyists.

“This morning our volunteers prevented them from doing big oil’s dirty work but now Nick Clegg should intervene and rescue his party’s environmental reputation by backing a European ban on tar sands.”

The action ended when 16 environmental activists were arrested after the two main doorways into the ministry were closed off for more than seven hours.

Luke Walsh

Forget Doha: Japan Joins TPP

27 Nov

By Sasha

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is quickly and silently bringing about the largest free trade area in the world. Negotiations have lingered in the corridors of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits since 2002, leading to a core agreement between Brunei, New Zealand, Singapore, and Chile in 2006. The present expansion, which is to include Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, the United States, and Peru brings with it a mind bending breadth that makes the failed Free Trade Area of the Americas look like a simple card trick. What’s more interesting is that the astronomical negotiations seem to be expanding still to swallow up the entire Pacific Rim, including most notably Canada, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia, and China.

It is clear that free trade tends to create a situation of winners and losers, a scenario of accumulation of capital at the top and lowering of standards for the rest. As the Eurozone economic crisis spills over into Asia, exports from most of the the TPP countries have started to fall off. In recent weeks, Indonesia and Australia both lowered their interest rates. The TPP may increase exports, but only at the price of increased dispossession and environmental destruction. It stands to benefit the elites of all of the countries involved, while throwing down the hopes of environmentalists, labor activists, and indigenous peoples throughout the region. Wealthier nations with advanced manufacturing sectors will use this agreement to take advantage of the poorer nations.

Like most free trade agreements, the TPP has covered the bases of investor protections, sanitary and phytosanitary harmonization, tariff elimination, intellectual property protections, and government procurement prohibitions. Ecocide is the name of the game: Vietnam will increase oil and textiles production; Malaysia and Indonesia will increase palm oil production and mining; New Zealand and Australia will expand their industrial farming sectors. Brunei, an emerging tax shelter, will play host to increased finance capital markets, as will Singapore. The illegal fishing sector, criticized throughout the world for its rapacity, will be given added shelter, as will gold and coal mining giants throughout the region.

The largest importer of coal in the world, Japan hit the talks running this month, likely looking to compete with South Korea in the export market, as well as cheaper markets for coal after the disgrace of its nuclear industry. It is not a coincidence that the TPP seeks to involve the top three coal exporters in the world (Australia, Indonesia, Russia) and four out of the top five coal consumers (China, USA, Russia, Japan). While reaching for protections on cheap coal production and trade, all of the TPP countries are also looking for trade-related solutions to domestic feet-dragging on alternative energy production. Japan, in particular, is likely thirsting after cheap biofuels to add carbon credits to its strong automobile industry, with the encouragement of the US.

Indonesia and Malaysia are first and second in the world respectively in the cultivation of palm oil, which is the prime ingredient in biofuels. While both nations have signed schemes that mandate “green” palm oil plantations, they are also taking advantage of the REDD+ climate agreements, which posit indigenous subsistence farming as a greater ecological threat to than the deforestation concomitant with palm oil farming—a claim that enables the state to seize land held informally for the “conservation” of rainforests, which are subsequently cut down and replanted with palms. (for more, see the REDD Papers released by the Indigenous Environmental Network)

If the TPP was not enough, earlier this week a business consortium comprised of General Electric, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Airbus, Siemens, and ThyssenKrupp joined forces to request that Obama launch a Trans Atlantic Partnership inclusive of the US and sovereign countries of the European Union! Although Obama would likely consult Congress before such an agreement would be initiated, there is no indication that either party would shoot such an opportunity down. In fact, the Obama Administration is staring down the short end of a set of trade agreements that will effectively blow apart the Doha round of world trade talks, annihilating eleven years of failed attempts to increase environmental and economic accountability in global trade.

Blast from the Past: “The Politics of Radical Environmentalism” 1987 Earth First! documentary

24 Nov

 

This film is a pre-released version of the documentary “Earth First!: The Politics of Radical Environmentalism” produced by Chris Manes. Its an examination of Earth First! in the early days, filmed at, and around the time of, the 1987 Grand Canyon Round River Rendezvous–a definitive work of that era.  While Manes has not been present in the Earth First! movement for well over a decade, he was featured recently in the  “Where Are They Now” section of the Earth First! Journal 30th Anniversary edition.

The documentary features live footage of tree spiking, monkey wrenching, early blockades and tree sits. And along with totally 80’s hair styles under camo hats and eco-militancy expressed in Sesame Street-sounding sing-alongs, it’s also chock-full of  powerful interviews: Earth First! co-founders Nancy Morton, Howie Wolke, Mike Roselle and Dave Foreman; former EF! Journal editor John Davis; prominent voice for deep ecology, author Bill Devall (who passed on last year); and voices from government agencies, the timber industry and mainstream groups like the Sierra Club.

This version of the film was posted on Youtube summer 2011 by longtime EF! activist and movement documentarian  Andy Caffrey.  Since this summer, Caffrey has added over 50 historical EF! videos online via his Youtube channel. He’s also running for Congress in 2012. And while we could more-or-less give a shit about who gets elected, we’re glad to see some of these videos back in circulatation amidst his campaign endeavors.

Tropic of Chaos, Green Scare 2.0 and Talking Strategy with Christian Parenti

22 Nov

Check out these two new contributions from former Earth First! Journal editor, Sasha, featured in the Reviews and Articles sections of the EF! Newswire:

Tropic of Chaos: book review and interview with author Christian Parenti;

and Green Scare 2.0: Drugs, Terror, and Environmentalism

Protect Florida panther habitat, stop another massive FPL power plant in the Everglades

21 Nov

The following are excerpts from a message sent by Matt Schwartz, Executive Director of South Florida Wildlands Association:

Until Friday, November 25th, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is accepting comments on a plan to expand the National Wildlife Refuge System in south Florida. The proposed “Headwaters of the Everglades National Wildlife Refuge” would protect 150,000 acres of still to be identified ranch lands north of Lake Okeechobee at a price tag of 700 million dollars. The patchwork quilt of properties created would include 50,000 acres purchased outright while a conservation easement would be placed on 100,000 additional acres to prevent development. Cattle ranching would continue on 2/3 of the new refuge. Although an occasional male panther finds his way to this area, females are not as adventurous. With no breeding opportunities, the males seldom stick around. The entire proposal can be found here.

While South Florida Wildlands Association (SFWA) certainly supports the idea of protecting habitat which could someday be turned into more of the suburban sprawl for which our region has become famous, we believe there is a better and more strategic way to spend at least some of massive amounts of money the American people are being asked to invest. Last May, readers… were shocked to learn that Florida Power and Light (FPL) was considering the purchase of approximately 3000 acres of primary Florida panther habitat in the Big Cypress basin on a piece of land known as “McDaniel’s Ranch”. The property would be home to the “Hendry Next Generation Clean Energy Center” – the largest fossil fuel plant in the country. An article [here] describes the project.

FPL’s “West County Energy Center” in Loxahatchee, a virtual twin of the proposed Hendry County plant, gives an idea of what the new "Clean Energy Center" would look like.

In spite of mountains of evidence showing that this land is of the highest important for the critically endangered Florida panther and numerous other plant and animal species which share its habitat (e.g. wood storks, crested caracara, black bears, wild turkey, eastern indigo snakes, fox squirrels), FPL ultimately decided to spend $40 million dollars to purchase this property – while giving the previous owner, Eddie Garcia, a $25 million dollar profit on the $15 million dollars he invested in 2005. Vacant land prices in a state with some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country have hardly moved upwards since 2005. We have to assume that the enormous price FPL was willing to pay for this property reflected the rezoning Mr. Garcia successfully accomplished through the Hendry County Commission—converting (so far only on paper) a completely rural piece of south Florida into one of the largest industrial projects in the country.

Green areas on the map represent the network of already acquired public lands which would surround this monster sized project – the Big Cypress National Preserve to the south; Holeyland and

Map of collared male panthers in the vicinity of the proposed power plant from a recent Florida panther annual report produced by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas and Storm Water Treatment Areas 3, 4, 5 and 6 to the east; the Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area and the Okaloacoochee State Forest to the north and west. In addition to direct loss of habitat, a plant of this size would also dramatically increase traffic and open up the entire area to sprawl, road building, and habitat fragmentation.

While SFWA is willing to expend its limited resources aggressively fighting this project as it winds its way through the vast and complex state and federal permitting process (e.g. South Florida Water Management District, Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), there is another solution which would benefit all parties concerned—including the panther. In 2001, the Florida Forever program was established by the state legislature in order to protect dwindling wildlife habitat statewide. As stated in the Florida Forever Act of 1999:

“The continued alteration and development of Florida’s natural areas to accommodate the state’s rapidly growing population have contributed to the degradation of water resources, the fragmentation and destruction of wildlife habitats, the loss of outdoor recreation space, and the diminishment of wetlands, forests, and public beaches.”

The purpose of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to: “administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.”

The marriage between state, federal, and private interests which would be accomplished by incorporating Panther Glades (including the newly acquired FPL property) into the new Headwaters of the Everglades National Wildlife Refuge could not be better. Panther Glades has already been extensively studied for its wildlife and habitat importance. It is also a key part of the northern watershed of Big Cypress National Preserve which provides fresh, clean water to much of Everglades National Park and other public lands further south. As of May of this year, Panther Glades was ranked highest in importance of all Florida Forever “Critical Natural Lands Projects” in south Florida. In the state’s current fiscal conditions, however, Florida Forever has received zero dollars in funding from the Florida legislature. See complete report on the Panther Glades property here.

Your support for this simple request will help move this issue forward. It could even be the catalyst which drives FPL and the USFWS to hammer out a deal. With only about 100 panthers left in south Florida on habitat which continues to shrink all the time, this is an opportunity we do not want to miss. Please send an email to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before the November 25th deadline and ask them to take whatever steps are necessary to include the complete “Panther Glades” property in their new refuge.

Support for South Florida Wildlands Association can be sent here:
P.O. Box 30211
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33303

Or made online here.

Find SFWA on Facebook here

Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to finish the job started by Florida Forever over 10 years ago. Protect lands needed by the Florida panther by acquiring all of “Panther Glades” now. Submit comments by email here: EvergladesHeadwatersProposal@fws.gov

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