Archive | December, 2011

May the New Year be Wilder

31 Dec

…with more wolves, bears, birds, forests. More crumbling industrial economies and displaced corporations. More connection to the landbase. More attacks on the destroyers of the Earth. More burning banks and bulldozers. More freedom of movement across nationalist boundaries. More wild spirit.

Speaking of wild, check out this New Year’s performance by eco-anarchists from a Lake Worth dance troupe…“Isn’t this awesome?!”

Undercover Cops View “Having Sex with a Large Number of Partners (Protesters) as ‘Part of the Job'”

31 Dec

By and , Cross posted from The Guardian

Promiscuous Undercover Cop Mark Kennedy (Above) infiltrated numerous activist groups in Europe

Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of “promiscuity” with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years.

The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups.

Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists.

The one stipulation, according to the officer from the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a secret unit formed to prevent violent disorder on the streets of London, was that falling in love was considered highly unprofessional because it might compromise an investigation. He said undercover officers, particularly those infiltrating environmental and leftwing groups, viewed having sex with a large number of partners “as part of the job”.

click here for the full article

Stop Logging in the Traditional Territory of Grassy Narrows First Nation

30 Dec

by Grassy Narrows First Nation

A Message Delivered to Weyerhaeuser Canada/U.S. and the Province of Ontario:

Take notice that until such time as you cease all logging and sourcing in these contested territories, or as long as there is community opposition to your operation in Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinaabek traditional territory (Grassy Narrows First Nation) we will be calling for a complete boycott of all Weyerhaeuser products.

According to the Whiskey Jack Forest Management Plan, 324,000 cubic meters of poplar and birch is allocated from the Whiskey Jack Forest Management Unit each year to supply the Weyerhaeuser Timberstrand/Trus Joist Kenora mill. This is 42 percent of the total allocated timber harvest from the Whiskey Jack and a full 50 percent of the wood supply for the mill.

Your withdrawal from this territory will be a significant step in preserving what remains of the intact forest which is crucial to the Anishinaabe way of life, estimated to be only 30 percent of what it was before mismanagement by logging companies.

As you know, The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently released a lengthy decision in Keewatin v. Minister of Natural Resources (Keewatin), which held that the Province of Ontario lacked authority to “take up” lands for forestry, or other activities that may significantly infringe upon First Nations’ hunting and fishing rights, with respect to certain lands under Treaty 3 (the Keewatin Lands). This supports the position of Grassy community members who have been engaged in the longest standing blockade in Canada, at Slant Lake near their reserve, since 2002, when they stood in front of logging trucks to protect their traditional lands from further logging.

Grassy Narrows is trying to rebuild an economy and way of life that have been devastated by decades of severe environmental contamination and destruction. The people of Grassy Narrows have already made it clear that multinational logging companies like Weyerhaeuser are incompatible with their vision for the preservation and use of their territory.

A recent unfavourable independent audit contains a staggering 21 recommendations to address material “non-conformances to a law and/or policy” and “a significant lack of effectiveness in forest management activities.” The report concludes that, “forest sustainability…will not be achieved unless corrective measures are immediately taken.” This independent audit of logging in the, 964,000 hectare, Whiskey Jack Forest, from 2004-2009, clearly indicates that the forest has been mismanaged and is in decline.

We call on you to join forest products companies; Boise, Abitibowater, Domtar and Ainsworth, who have already agreed not to source conflict wood from Grassy Narrows territory.

We maintain that it is not only unsupportable, but unethical for Weyerhaeuser to resume sourcing from the Whiskey Jack, for the Kenora, Ontario, mill, that makes Weyerhaeuser iLevel Trus Joist Timberstrand Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL), or any other forest products.

O’odham Sacred Site of Quitovac Threatened By ‘a Low Cost’ Heap Leach Gold Mine

30 Dec

from Intercontinental Cry

After being saved from a toxic waste dump more than three years ago, the O’odham Sacred site of Quitovac is once again facing a serious threat.

In late September, the US mining company Silver Scott Mines announced that it had acquired a 12,000 hectare concession near the site of Quitovac in Sonora, Mexico.

Commenting on the acquisition, John Ryan, CEO of Silver Scott, stated, “We are very pleased to have acquired this expanded land position to support what is shaping up to be a very productive and exciting gold play in Mexico. With gold at historic high metal prices, we expect Quitovac can produce as a low cost heap leach mine. Additionally, we are excited to begin detailed examination of the entire Quitovac property which will help us target our drilling which includes testing part of the gravel covered pediments.”

Traditional O’odham leaders officially responded to the announcement on November 7 with a resolution condemning the company’s intentions, and requesting that “the Mexican Federal Government and the Government of the State of Sonora to enforce the existing cultural and environmental protections laws of Mexico, and to conduct a transparent Impact Assessment and a Cultural and Environmental Impact Study, so as to allow the community of Quitovac and its representatives to make an informed decision regarding the proposal.”

The Traditional O’odham Leaders further charged both governments “to honor its responsibility to facilitate open communication with the O’odham representatives in the State of Sonora, Mexico, and to support decisions in the best interest of the O’odham, the Original people of the Land.”

Silver Scott hasn’t been wasting any time. On December 20, the company said it had obtained a 10-year extendable surface land agreement for exploration. It also says the community of Quitovac voted unanimously in favor of their mine proposal, which included a .7 per cent production royalty and a 5-year review process with the community. At the time of publication, Intercontinental Cry was unable to reach any O’odham community members for confirmation.

Yesterday, December 22, the company announced that it had initiated a 6000-meter drilling program at the Quitovac gold mine site.

Quitovac is one most sacred places to the O’odham People. According to their creation story it is the site where the Elder Brother, I’itoi, spirit of goodness, first gave shape to the People. To celebrate this event, the O’odham from Arizona and Sonora gather each summer at Quitovac for a rejuvenation ceremony.

Protests Continue Over Mining Expansion in Kajaran

30 Dec

A view of Kajarian

cross posted from Asbarez.com

The mayor of a remote Armenian village joined on Thursday more than 100 environmental activists in demonstrating in Yerevan against a German-owned company’s plans to expand open-pit mining in the southeastern Syunik region.

The mostly young crowd gathered outside the prime minister’s office and then marched to President Serzh Sarkisian’s official residence to demand that the Armenian government withdraw support for the project.

The government last April decided to give the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) 181 hectares of land currently belonging to six Syunik villages. Residents of at least one of those villages, Kajaran, are strongly opposed to the land transfer, saying that mining activities near their community would prove disastrous for the local ecosystem.

The Kajaran mayor, Rafik Atayan, resigned and terminated his membership in Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) in protest earlier this month.

“We are asking our government to invalidate that infamous decision,” Atayan said through a megaphone as the protesters reached the presidential palace, holding up anti-mining slogans and chanting “Kajaran!”

“With a great deal of hope, we expect our president to scrap that decision,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in separate comments. “We have big hopes.”

Organizers of the protest, among them parliamentarians from the opposition Heritage party, demanded a meeting with Sarkisian. “We were told that he can’t receive us because the president of Armenia and the chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia is busy,” Heritage Party’s Zaruhi Postanjian told the crowd moments later.

Environment Minister Aram Harutiunian said on Tuesday that the government will try to address Kajaran residents’ concerns but declined to specify possible solutions. Harutiunian also made clear that the ZCMC cannot go ahead with the project before an environmental impact assessment by his ministry.

The ZCMC, which is based in a Syunik town also called Kajaran, has said that it is taking villagers’ concerns seriously and is ready to offer them “beneficial and acceptable solutions.” But it has yet to respond to ecologists’ claims that mining operations would contaminate local water sources and agricultural lands.

“I won’t give up my house, I won’t give up my mother’s grave,” said Atayan. “I’m speaking on behalf of all villagers.”

Indonesian Protesters Sew Their Mouths Shut Over Deforestation/Palm Oil

29 Dec

by Joseph Kirschke

A resident from the Meranti Islands in Riau province sewed his lips shut during an environmental protest outside the House of Representatives building in Jakarta. On Friday six protesters who sewed their mouths shut had to be carried to hospital as they had grown weak after going five days without food. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

If there were any doubts about the fierceness of the debate over Indonesia’s palm oil controversy, they were silenced effectively outside the Jakarta’s House of Parliament on December 21. Ten protestors joined 18 of their fellow migrants and activists from Riau province in the ultimate act of protest against a government concession to a pulp and paper company near their land on Padang Island. They sewed their mouths shut.

This is merely the latest, if most macabre, chapter in a protracted tug of war at the heart of the world’s biggest palm oil producer. Squaring off are environmentalists—domestic and foreign—local populations and indigenous farmers, and an industry worth billions.

Palm oil’s benefits to Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, coupled with mineral and gas reserves, are tough to overstate. Production is anticipated to surge by 6.5 percent—or between 1 million and 1.5 million—to 24.5 million tons by next year, nearly half the world’s output, according to World Wildlife Federation statistics.

Palm oil, and its refined version, or “olein,” is an edible cooking oil used highly in leading, fast-growing food-consumer nations—mainly China, India and Pakistan—and domestically. Increasingly, with E.U. countries steering away from oil, it also has value as a bio fuel.

The mechanics of Indonesian palm oil reverberate across the globe. This fall, for instance, Jakarta reduced olein export tariffs to spur investment and boost production. Ever since, Indian refinery capacity has been convulsing while the Malaysian market, which Indonesia overtook in 2007, struggles bitterly to recover.

But Indonesian palm oil faces the crosshairs over other, higher-profile reasons: The world’s fourth-most-populous nation is under immense pressure to curb forest and peatland clearing—for the sake of endangered species, livelihoods and reduced carbon emissions.

Phuket Media Watch - Land rights protest in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Jonathan McIntosh

The sheer volume of Indonesian palm oil has drawn criticism. An announcement of a 1.3 million-hectare increase in land devoted to palm oil production between 2000 and 2008, up to 7.3 million hectares, hasn’t helped. This comes amid a 2,000 percent increase over 30 years, according to Indonesia’s Center for International Forestry Research.

Read the rest of the article here.

The Campaign to “Decolonize” Oakland: Native Americans Say “Occupy” Terminology Is Offensive

29 Dec

by: Queena Kim, Truthout

A group of protesters at the Occupy Oakland action to shut down the Port of Oakland on December 12, 2011. (Photo: Queena Kim)

The Occupy movement is known internationally for protesting the inequalities of the global financial system, so much so that in four short months, “Occupy” has essentially become a brand known the world over.

But now there’s an effort by Native American activists in Oakland to get rid of “Occupy” and replace it with “Decolonize” – as in “Decolonize Oakland.” They say the term “occupy” is offensive in light of the brutal history of occupation by early colonizers and the United States government. Native Americans in  Seattle,  Albuquerque,  Portland and Sedona have launched similar campaigns.

The name change is proving contentious at Occupy Oakland, with some protesters accusing Native Americans of  guilt tripping in the name of supporting the oppressed. But cut through the chatter, and the basic point seems to be this: Occupy doesn’t want to give up the brand. 

“That name change could … alienate Oakland from the wider movement,” wrote John C. Osbourn, who has been reporting on the Occupy movement on his blog the Classist. “The brand recognition if you will.”

The irony of Occupy Oakland being captivated by “branding” isn’t lost on Morning Star Gali, a Native American activist from Oakland who’s helping lead the name change effort. The Occupy movement, in general, shuns the corporatization of society

More to the point, Gali says that for many Native Americans, especially those who came up in the “Red Power” movement in the 1960s, the term “Occupy” has a lot of baggage.

Native Americans tribes were brutally “occupied” by Spanish and English colonizers. Later, the United States government waged war on the Native American tribes and forced them into camps or reservations. More than 90 percent of North America’s indigenous population was wiped out by “occupiers,” either through war or the spread of disease.

And Bay Area Native American activists believe the occupation continues. In California, many Bay Area tribes are still struggling to gain federal recognition as sovereign nations. In the absence of a treaty, or compensation for their land, Native American activists in the Bay Area say they continue to live under outside rule. 

As a Native American, “it’s nauseating to hear the word ‘occupy’ over and over again.'” Gali said.  “We need to occupy this, we need to occupy that. It’s the modern day colonial language.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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