Archive | July, 2011

Tim DeChristopher Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison

26 Jul

(Cross-posted from peacefuluprising.org)

Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to 2 years in prison today at the Salt Lake City federal courthouse. He was taken immediately into custody, being denied the typical 3 weeks afforded to put his affairs in order and say goodbye to his friends and family.

Federal prosecutors asked for Tim to receive an extra harsh prison sentence in an effort to intimidate the movement that stands with him. They hoped that by condemning him to years behind bars, they would “make an example out of him” and deter all of us from taking meaningful action. But Tim is already an example. He’s an example of the courageous acts that people across our movements are taking to fight for justice and a liveable future. We support Tim by continuing to organize. Our response to this sentence is an affirmation: we will not be intimidated.  What’s your response?

The government’s statement is clear. Tim has been sentenced to 2 years as punishment for his politics; for the uncompromising content of his speeches and organizing in the two years since his act of civil disobedience protected 150,000 acres of land. Ironically, his principled views and motivations behind his actions he took were never allowed to enter a courtroom, due to their “irrelevance.” In a highly political trial, the jury was unjustly stripped of its right to be their community’s conscience and manipulated into making a political prisoner of a peaceful and concerned young man.

Tim DeChristopher

Author and activist Terry Tempest Williams said, “To think that a young man in an act of conscience might [do any amount of time] in a federal prison for raising a paddle in an already illegal sale of oil and gas leases, compared to the CEO of BP or the financial wizards on Wall Street who have pocketed millions of dollars at our expense  – and who will never step into a court of law to even get their hands slapped, let alone go to jail, is an assault on democracy.”

She’s right. But we have the power to turn this assault on democracy into a battle for democracy. Today the Salt Lake City community is expressing both their love and their outrage.

Fossil fuel lobbyists knew that Tim would be indicted the evening before it was officially filed, Jury members explained that they were intimidated throughout the process. The fossil fuel industry should not control our justice system.

Unless we decide to respond accordingly, as Tim serves his time, the real criminals — the fossil fuel industry wrecking our planet and our communities — will continue to run free, unaccountable for the countless oil spills, asthma attacks, contaminated waterways, cancer clusters, and carbon seeping into the air we breathe every day. If the justice system is intent on prosecuting the people protecting rather than pillaging the planet, we must confront the real criminals ourselves. With our heads held high, we continue to stand on the moral high-ground – and will do what’s right, despite the consequences. We know that mother nature’s consequences of inaction are far harsher than any imposed by a court system.

But we are not isolated individuals. We come together with our communities as groups of empowered agents of change who know our system is broken and does not represent us. Our communities represent us, and our vision of a resilient, just, and sustainable world that we are fighting for.

Tim’s sentence is a call to action.

For those of us who’ve been following his story fervently, our hearts were broken today. It is a sad moment. But we now have an opportunity and a responsibility to act on those feelings of hurt and outrage. For Tim’s sacrifice to truly mean something, for the spark it ignites in each of us to burn, we all must take action.

2011 has already become a year of peaceful uprisings around the country. As Tim once said, we were never promised that it would be easy. We know it will take courage, sacrifice and a willingness to sustain our resistance in our fight for real Justice. Tim has taken a step and we will take the next thousand.

Here are a few upcoming action opportunities to join:

We’ll see you on the streets,

—Peaceful Uprising and Tim’s community of courage.

Eco activists detained at industrial wind energy test site

26 Jul

By Jakob Vesterager

cross-posted from here

COPENHAGEN, July 26 (Reuters) – Police in Denmark detained six environmental activists on Tuesday protesting the felling of trees in a forest to make room for a research centre for wind turbines.

Protesters said they were not opposed to the centre, but to the location.

The test centre is meant to further Denmark’s position as world leader in wind power, commonly seen as environmentally friendly renewable energy as it consumes no fossil fuels and produces no emissions.

The protest began 10 days ago at Thy in windy northwestern Jutland where Denmark’s wind industry aims to test giant turbines up to 250 metres high (820 feet).

“We are not against the centre, we are not against the wind industry — on the contrary,” Kent Klemmesen, chairman of the campaign against the project, told Reuters. “We are against the location, because we feel there are far better alternatives.”

Protesters argue that the effects of the huge windmills on human and animal life have not been studied adequately and the 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres) of forest should be preserved.

Though tree felling has begun, Amos Stenner, an activist who spent five hours up in a tree on Tuesday, said he was not giving up. “It is very possible, that I will go up a new tree tomorrow,” he told Reuters.

The test centre project is run by the Danish Technical University DTU, with support from industry, including wind turbine manufacturers Vestas and Siemens and state-owned DONG Energy.

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Tasmania’s forests defense groups ramp up protest action

25 Jul

By Danielle McKay

For full article go here

Tasmanian Still Wild Still Threatened activists scaled Parliament House in Canberra yesterday in protest at Sunday’s Heads of Agreement signing and have pledged to continue action.

Huon Valley Environment Centre also vowed to continue non-violent actions yesterday, including illegally boarding woodchip ships, chaining protesters to forestry equipment, blocking roads with tripods, and community walk-ins.

Environment centre spokeswoman Jenny Weber said the agreement failed to offer immediate protection to high conservation areas because verification of the final 430,000ha would take months. Ms Weber said it also fell well short of protecting the initial 572,000ha that conservation groups identified as high-conservation-value forests.

“We will be maintaining our vigilance and will continue to engage in non-violent action until the forests are protected as promised,” she said.

For further coverage go here

Help celebrate 200 Years of Luddite Uprising

25 Jul

November 2011 – January 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the Luddite uprisings, in which artisan cloth workers smashed machines which were destroying their trades, undercutting wages and forcing them into unemployment and destitution.

Today, the industrial system that the Luddites were rebelling against has led to climate change and huge losses of biodiversity, and new technologies, such as nuclear power, genetic engineering and nanotechnology which raise equally profound issues… For more news on plans for action to celebrate Luddite revolt check out the Luddites at 200 site.

Educational and organizational events have already begun in England. The Earth First! Journal is looking for submissions to publish in the next issue reflecting on Luddite rebellion past and present. And we are hoping to see more plans as we get closer to November.

Update: San Francisco Peaks Convergence

24 Jul

From Infoshop.org

Today is day six of the cook shack convergence on the Holy San Francisco Peaks. What follows is a short collection of videos and photos that have come out of the cook shack convergence as well as background information on the encampment against further desecration and destruction.

Monday July 18, was an intense day at camp. The mountain was host to an intense hail storm that left piles of hail at the base of everyone’s tents. There was also intense thunder and lightning throughout the day and night. This did however lead to a brief halt in construction though. Unfortunately, once the hail letup workers resumed destruction quickly. Huge fires have been consuming the slash-piles at the base of the mountain day and night.

We have been visited from friends as far away as LA. On Friday July 15 LA Food Not Bombs came out to support the camp with a crew ready to cook. They helped the camp till Sunday. Since then meals have been taken on by the rest of the camp. The camp has received a large amount of in-town-support in the form of food donations as well as basic camping supplies in response to a call-out for supplies from the cook shack. The camp has fluctuated in numbers since Friday but camp spirits have remained positive throughout everyone’s stay.

Interactions with security and the state in general have been minimal. However a few brushins and one trespassing citation have emerged from the almost week-long stay. The upper parking lot area where cookshack is located is a day use area only meaning, technically during the times of 8pm and 6am when snowbowl road is closed the upper parking lot is as well. On the morning of the 16, as two campers approached their vehicle between 5-6am had a snowbowl security personnel speed towards them and take their pictures with zero consent or any beforehand interaction. The security guard later approached and asked one of the campers if they would mind filling out a form with their persynal information. When the camper refused to do so and stated that they were being profiled. The security guard deferred to a “i’m just doing my job” stance and further stated that Snowbowl instructed him to document everyone that was in the upper parking lot area past the day use hours. He said it was due to “suspicious activity” occurring in the parking lot.

For the rest of this story as well as pictures and videos please see:
http://survivalsolidarity.wordpress.com

Solidaridad Chiapas: la liberación de los 4 presos políticos de San Sebastián Bachajón Movimiento

24 Jul

 

Júbilo en el El Barrio, Nueva York por la liberación de los 4 presos políticos de San Sebastián Bachajón Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio, La Otra Campaña Nueva York quisieramos compartir con tod@s las grandes noticias sobre la liberación de los luchadores sociales que aguantaron una condena injusta impuesta por el mal gobierno del gobernador represor delPRD Juan Sabines y del Presidente represor del PAN Felipe Calderon por venganza pura, sólo porque resistieron y defendieron sus tierras y su autonomia como pueblos indigenas. Desde hace 5 meses Juan Aguilar Guzman, Jeronimo Guzman Mendez, Domingo Perez Alvaro y Domingo Garcia Gomez , Recluidos en el CERESO 17 Playas de Catazaja, tuvieron que soportar un encarcelamiento injusto. Su resistencia y su valentía han sido para Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio una inspiración y una poderorísima razón para seguir luchando. En El Barrio, Nueva York celebramos pues sabemos que esto no fue un triunfo del estado de derecho que no existe en México, sino de la organizacion y movilización de todos nuestr@s hermanas y hermanos ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón y de nuestros compañer@s de buen corazon en Mexico y todas partes del mundo. A tod@s ell@s l@s abrazamos y l@s festejamos también. Con el espiritu de “Si nos tocan a uno, nos tocan a tod@s”, juntos luchamos y logramos la liberacion de nuestros hermanos de San Sebastián Bachajón. ¡Viva las y los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón! ¡Viva el EZLN! ¡Viva La Otra Campaña!

ANTECEDENTES: http://solidaridadchiapas.wordpress.com/

Statement from Coal River Mountain tree sitter Catherine-Ann MacDougal

23 Jul

UPDATE: Day 4 of the West Virginia tree sit on Coal River Mountain. Reports from the direct action group RAMPS say the new canopy residents are staying dry despite the rain and collecting rainwater with their tarp. Both sitters are very glad that the rain has brought some slightly cooler weather. A message this evening from the sitters:  “Our first visit from a cop! He was nice. Not as cute as the baby bears though.” Apparently he was “just making small talk. Wanted to see us. Asked if we were in it for the long haul.”

Excerpt from Catherine-Ann MacDougal’s statement:

[T]he fabric of these ancient and diverse forests is being torn apart. There is no way that I can begin to detail the comprehensive destruction that surface mining and mountaintop removal wreak on the forest ecosystem of the southern Appalachian mountains. Valley fills choke ephemeral, intermittent, and other headwater streams, eliminating their function in providing organic matter downstream, increasing the sediment load, and causing flooding. Sulfuric acid released during mining leaches heavy metals that poison aquatic life and humans. The forests that are clear-cut before a mountaintop is destroyed cannot begin to grow back on a reclaimed site; the geology, hydrology, topography, substrate, and chemistry of a strip mined site cannot be manipulated to resemble those of the original forest, making reclamation an empty promise. The soils will take a century to recover, and the mountain itself will be gone forever…

I feel, with the keen urgency of extinction, that Alpha Natural Resources cannot be allowed to tear apart Coal River Mountain and allow all those living below it to suffer for their profits. Legal resistance to strip mining has been failing for decades; we can’t allow ourselves to be gulled into believing that we should confine ourselves mildly to sanctioned channels for change while those who profit from exploitation set the terms. We need to throw everything we can into the gears of big coal, costing them as much money and shame as possible. To this end, I am going to sit about fifty feet up in a tree for as long as I can.

I do this out of passion, and I do it out of love. I do it as an act of anger and of penance. I do it out of obligation and out of freedom.

If you haven’t begun already, I invite you to join us in the fight.

New Earth First! Journal, Beltane 2011, out NOW

23 Jul

Click here to see a PDF of the full Table of Contents for Beltane 2011

The Beltane 2011 issue of Earth First! Journal is now available.

Order a copy online, or contact the EF! Journal collective to find out how you can become a distributor.

Articles on eco-sabotage, tree sits in Tazmania, reports from the EF! Organizers & Winter Rendezvous in Florida, Futurists and the Alberta tar sands, Iraqi wetlands recovery, jaguar conservation in the Borderlands, Gulf oil disaster revisited, the EF! J tries animistic realism… PLUS crossword puzzle, horoscopes, comics!

Check out EarthFirstJournal.org or call 561-249-2071


Animal activists protest police shooting of bear in Clifton, North Jersey

23 Jul

BY HANNAN ADELY

Cross-posted from here

Animal activists are planning a protest Sunday to condemn the recent fatal shooting of a bear that was seen crossing back and forth on Route 46 in the city of Clifton in North Jersey. The protest will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the intersection of Clifton and Van Houten avenues in Clifton. Animal activists said police should have used non-lethal methods to deal with the situation Wednesday, when the 79-pound male bear was spotted about 2:30 p.m. near Valley Road.

“We think this was complete overkill or overreaction,” said Elaine Dunn, a member of the Bear Education and Resource Group and a Bloomingdale resident. “This cub did not need to be shot.”

City police said the bear had not exhibited dangerous behavior, but was put down in a wooded area because it was creating a hazardous traffic condition by crossing back and forth on Route 46, near Route 3. Detective Sgt. Robert Bracken said the police’s stance has not changed since the day the bear was shot, when he said police did it because of the risk to the public. “At this time, we have no further comment,” Bracken said.

Activists said police should have waited for workers from the Division of Fish and Wildlife to arrive on the scene so they could tranquilize the bear and relocate it to a safer area. They said a deer or dog caught crossing the road would not have been shot with bullets.

One woman who saw the bear in a parking lot outside the office complex where she works in Little Falls said she was “extremely disappointed” with the police use of force. “This little bear cub was clearly lost and hungry, was crossing the road and not harming anyone,” said Jessica Ciccarelli.

But a spokesman from the state Department of Environmental Protection said Clifton Police followed proper procedures.

“It’s at their discretion,” said spokesman Larry Hajna. “Local law enforcement on the scene — they have to make decisions regarding public safety.”

Hajna said the yearling bear was the same one that was seen earlier in the week at locations in Fairfield, Cedar Grove and North Caldwell, where home video captured the bear taking a dip in a residential pool.

Clifton police said the bear sighting was highly unusual for the city of 82,000. The DEP has about a dozen sightings of bears in urban areas like Clifton each year, Hajna said.

For more information also visit here

Photo credit: HBarrison

Undercover police officer unlawfully spied on UK climate activists

23 Jul

Judges rule that Mark Kennedy was arguably an agent provocateur

Undercover police officer Mark Kennedy was ‘involved in activities that went much further than the authorisation he was given’, the appeal court judges ruled

officer Mark Kennedy

Source: guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 July 2011

Three senior judges have ruled that the undercover police officer Mark Kennedy unlawfully spied on environmentalists and arguably acted as an “agent provocateur”.

In a damning ruling explaining why they quashed the convictions of 20 climate change activists, the appeal court judges said they shared the “great deal of justifiable public disquiet” about the case.

The judges, who included the lord chief justice, said “elementary principles” of the fair trial process were ignored when prosecutors did not disclose evidence about Kennedy’s work to activists’ lawyers.

The court announced on Tuesday that it would quash the convictions of the activists, who were wrongly accused of conspiring to break into Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in 2009.

The judgment also made several criticisms of Kennedy, including that his deployment could have been construed as “entrapment”. It revealed Kennedy was part of a long-term programme “to infiltrate extreme leftwing groups” in the UK. Other court documents say the spy programme was called Operation Pegasus…

The judgment added that Kennedy played a “significant role in assisting, advising and supporting … the very activity for which the appellants were prosecuted”.

That finding could prove damaging for senior police responsible for the surveillance operation.

Read the full article