Archive | November, 2011

Timber Barons are the 1%: Occupy Eugene Meets Forest Defense

18 Nov

Cascadia Forest Defenders and marchers with Occupy Eugene shut down Umpqua Bank yesterday from noon to close.  Activists raised a banner reading “Stumpqua funds clearcuts,” and soft blockaded both customer entrances. Umpqua, which was the first stop in a series of N17 Occupy Eugene bank closures, chose to lock its doors rather than call on
law enforcement.

Umpqua Bank has a long history of providing low interest loans to Oregon’s timber barons. The bank is most infamously tied to Roseburg Forest Products’ sole owner, Allyn Ford, who is also the chairman of Umpqua Bank’s board of directors. Over the last year RFP logged hundreds of acres of Cascadia’s ancient temperate rainforests and laid off over 200 Oregon mill workers. In targeting Stumpqua, activists hope to thwart attempts of green and local washing on
the part of bank executives.

After the Umpqua action, marchers proceeded on to U.S. Bank, Bank of America, and Chase. Between the three banks, law enforcement arrested 17 activists for similar soft blockades.

FBI “Closing in On” Alleged Animal Liberation Brigade Member

16 Nov

According to an FBI press conference, they are “closing in on” Daniel Andreas San Diego, an alleged member of the Animal Liberation Brigade.

San Diego is on the FBI’s most wanted list for several bombings including two bombs at Chiron Corp, a biotechnology corporation in Emeryville California.

Announcing a tip received by the television show “America’s Most Wanted”, the FBI said they are focusing their efforts on Western Massachusetts, particularly the Northampton area.

They also gave descriptions of San Diego’s physical features, his diet, and mannerism which we will not repeat here.

By all means, do not help the FBI in their investigation. You never need speak with the FBI.

Rainforest Action Network: Eight Arrested During Protest at Bank of America Headquarters

16 Nov

Photo Credit: Rainforest Action Network

Eight people arrested protesting Bank of America’s reckless financing practices, including the banks role as the lead financier of coal. Two people were arrested after unfurling a banner reading “Not with Our Money” from atop two 50-foot flagpoles at the entrance of Bank of America’s headquarters in downtown Charlotte. Six more were arrested below: two while supporting the climbers, and four while blocking the main entrance to the bank’s headquarters.

“As the authorities attempt to evict Occupy protestors from public spaces, they are going to start showing up at Bank of America doorsteps across the country. Bank of America is in the center of the Occupy Movement because of its reckless financial practices that put profit before people and planet,” said Amanda Starbuck, Rainforest Action Network’s Energy and Finance Campaign Director. “If Bank of America would like to regain the trust of the 99 percent, it must adopt sound economic and environmental policies that reflect the values of its customers. Bank of America can start by getting out of bed with the coal industry, and shifting its funding toward renewable energy sources that will have long term benefits for our environment, our health and our economy.”

“Bank of America is foreclosing on our neighbors and it’s foreclosing on our climate. To be honest, I’m embarrassed that I’m still a customer,” said Jamie Trowbridge, an Appalachian State University student who was one of the two climbers arrested at today’s protest. “Coal is dirty at every stage in its lifecycle. No longer will Bank of America fund coal with my money. When I get back to school, I’m going to cut up my BoA debit card, and help other students do the same.”

In the past two years alone, Rainforest Action Network has found that Bank of America has pumped $4.3 billion into the U.S. coal industry; $1.3 billion more than other top banks. With today’s protest, environmentalists have joined the mounting outrage at Bank of America’s reckless financing practices, a critique which has been on display with the Occupy Movement and with the record transfer of customer accounts to credit unions. According to the Credit Union National Association, 700,000 consumers across the nation have joined credit unions since Sept. 29 and credit unions have added $4.5 billion in new savings accounts.

Bank of America funds every sector of the U.S. coal industry, including companies that operate the most controversial coal-fired power plants and the most devastating forms of strip mining, including mountaintop removal coal mining. Today’s action comes only a month after RAN announced its Not One More Dollar for Campaign, which asks Bank of America customers to close their accounts until Bank of America stops subsidizing the coal industry.

The international environmental group has garnered the support of thousands of Bank of America customers, who in the last few weeks have pledged to close their accounts, citing the bank’s insistence on underwriting the coal industry. Coal is responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and the U.S. is the world’s second largest coal producer. Coal-fired energy generation is responsible for pollutants that damage cardiovascular and respiratory health and threaten healthy child development.

For full article see source as cross-posted from here

Another related article here

Three Types of Rhinos Either Definitely or “Possibly” Extinct This Year

14 Nov

Cross posted from El Mundo

The latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides a lot of bad news for biodiversity. The reason is that it says the West African black rhino, black rhino Western (‘Diceros bicornis longipes’) officially extinct.
Despite conservation programs, 25% of mammals are in danger of extinction. Reassessments of several species of rhinos show that, besides the western black rhino species, subspecies of white rhino in central Africa, northern white rhinoceros (‘Ceratotherium simum cottoni’), is on the brink of extinction and has been classified as possibly extinct in the wild.
According to IUCN, the Javan rhinoceros (‘Rhinoceros sondaicus’) is the same way, since it is likely that the subspecies ‘Rinoceros sondaicus annamiticus’ has become extinct because of poaching of what is believed to be the last animal Viet Nam in 2010. Although this is not the end of the Javan rhino, it does reduce the species to a single small population in Java. The main threats to rhinos are the lack of support and political will to undertake conservation efforts in many of its habitats, international organized crime groups linked to the rhinos, and increased poaching rhino horn commercial purposes.
“This update gives good and bad news on the status of many species around the world,” said Jane Smart, Head of Global Species Programme of IUCN. “We know with absolute certainty that conservation works if executed in a timely manner, but without a strong political will coupled with specific resources and efforts, the wonders of nature and the services offered could be lost forever.”

Free Earth First! Journal subscription to the first person who Tars and Feathers Brandon Darby

12 Nov

Today government informant Brandon Darby, along with other Tea Party assholes, wrestled an editor of the Earth First! Journal and other immigrant solidarity activists out of a Tea Party conference in Orlando featuring pro-border, anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County, Arizona.


EF! Journal editor Ana Rodriguez also confronted anti-immigrant City Commissioner Scott Maxwell in Lake Worth in Nov. 2009. What a badass.

Ana Rodriguez, an immigrant activist and editor with the Earth First! Journal, was dragged across the floor of the conference center. She had this to say:

“I got thrown out of an Arpaio Tea Party event by Brandon Darby and all I got was this lousy rug burn on my ass!”  

Another activist also entered the conference handing out this flyer. They too were kicked out, after having a black sheet thrown over them and also being physically forced from the Orlando Airport Marriott conference center, also by Brandon Darby.

It seems that Darby, who entrapped two young activists during the 2008 RNC and put them in prison, is now the pseudo-populist right wing’s goon of choice. Being that he’s on a speaking tour around the country, the Earth First! Journal is offering some incentive to greet him properly in your town. We will give a free year’s subscription to anyone who delivers his just desserts.

Keystone XL Pipeline Busted Down for Review

11 Nov

By Bill McKibben, crossposted from tarsandsaction.org

Um, we won. You won.

Not completely. The president didn’t outright reject the pipeline permit. My particular fantasy–that he would invite the 1253 people arrested on his doorstep in August inside the gates for a victory picnic by the vegetable garden–didn’t materialize.

But a few minutes ago the president sent the pipeline back to the State Department for a thorough re-review, which most analysts are saying will effectively kill the project. The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess. There’s no way, with an honest review, that a pipeline that helps speed the tapping of the world’s second-largest pool of carbon can pass environmental muster.

And he has made clear that the environmental assessment won’t be carried out by cronies of the pipeline company–that it will be an expert and independent assessment. We will watch that process like hawks, making sure that it doesn’t succumb to more cronyism. Perhaps this effort will go some tiny way towards cleaning up the Washington culture of corporate dominance that came so dramatically to light here in emails and lobbyist disclosure forms.

It’s important to understand how unlikely this victory is. Six months ago, almost no one outside the pipeline route even knew about Keystone. One month ago, a secret poll of “energy insiders” by the National Journal found that “virtually all” expected easy approval of the pipeline by year’s end.  As late as last week the CBC reported that Transcanada was moving huge quantities of pipe across the border and seizing land by eminent domain, certain that its permit would be granted. A done deal has come spectacularly undone.

The American people spoke loudly about climate change and the president responded. There have been few even partial victories about global warming in recent years so that makes this an important day.

The president deserves thanks for making this call–it’s not easy in the face of the fossil fuel industry and its endless reserves of cash. The deepest thanks, however, go to you: to our indigenous peoples who began the fight, to the folks in Nebraska who rallied so fiercely, to the scientists who explained the stakes, to the environmental groups who joined with passionate common purpose, to the campuses that lit up with activity, to the faith leaders that raised a moral cry, to the labor leaders who recognized where our economic future lies, to the Occupy movement that helped galvanize revulsion at insider dealing, and most of all to the people in every state and province who built the movement that made this decision inevitable.

Our fight, of course, is barely begun. Some in our movement will say that this decision is just politics as usual: that the president wants us off the streets – and off his front lawn – until after the election, at which point the administration can approve the pipeline, alienating its supporters without electoral consequence. The president should know that If this pipeline proposal somehow reemerges from the review process we will use every tool at our disposal to keep it from ever being built; if there’s a lesson of the last few months, both in our work and in the Occupy encampments around the world, it’s that sometimes we have to put our bodies on the line.

We need to let the president and oil companies know that we’re ready to take action should they try to push this pipeline through in a couple of years. There’s a pledge to take nonviolent action against the pipeline up on our site, and I’ll be keeping your names an emails safely stored away so that you’ll be the first to know about anything we need to do down the road. You can sign the pledge here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/pledge

In the meantime, since federal action will be in abeyance for a long stretch, we need to figure out how best to support our Canadian brothers and sisters, who are effectively battling against proposed pipelines west from the tar sands to the Pacific. And we need to broaden our work to take on all the forms of ‘extreme energy’ now coming to the fore: mountaintop removal coal mining, deepsea oil drilling, fracking for gas and oil. We’ll keep sending you updates from tarsandsaction.org; you keep letting us know what we need to do next.

Last week, scientists announced that the planet had poured a record amount of co2 into the atmosphere last year; that’s a sign of how desperate our battle is. But we take courage from today’s White House announcement; it gives us some clues about how to fight going forward.

And I simply can’t say thank you enough. I know, because of my own weariness, how hard so many of you have worked. It was good work, done in the right spirit, and it has secured an unlikely victory. You are the cause of that victory; you upended enormous odds.

I’m going to bed tired tonight. But I’ll get up in the morning ready for the next battle, more confident because I know you’re part of this fight too.

Earth First Padova (Italia) Call Out for December 11

11 Nov

December 11, 2011: a day of struggle to defend our future

translated by Lilac

At the beginning of October 2010, significant efforts had taken place to combat the megaprojects of our country in Messina, Florence, and the Val di Susa had launched an appeal for a week of action “to gather, from the far North to the Deep South of Italy impoverished by speculation, resigned to degradation, drugged by distorted information, devastated by a huge cast of concrete.”

People responded to the call in the tens of thousands, to say no to the bridge over the Strait, no audio-visual subliminal advertisement on the route to Florence, NO high tension electricity lines and high speed trains for Lyon-Turin. In those same days the citizens of Stuttgart took to the streets to reject the draft of a megaprojects reflecting our own reasons: a bridge of solidarity had joined them, and our struggles.

The response of Messina, Florence and the Susa Valley was a sign of recovery of a country that resists a country that fights the intertwining politics / business / mafia; that opposes the destruction of the environment and defends the common good; that does not accept the logic of the “state of emergency” and requires a policy capable of looking to the future; that is opposed to the militarization of the territories and the return to nuclear power; that rejects the cancellation of rights and defends the democratic spaces of participation. It is a country that wants to be protagonists of its own future and does not intend to use the policy governed by lobbyists; a country that practices political unity, and is capable of giving voice to those who are organized from the bottom, responding to needs without blackmailing the party secretaries.

Today we launch a new appeal: a day of struggle that sees widespread protests at the local level to join with the force of reason against the violence of a political mafia attacking the conditions of life in the name of profit. From Vicenza, flooded not only by water in a region consumed by overbuilding but mostly from the mud of a military base which is a tool for policy of aggression against other peoples and militarization of the territory, to Messina, which is not resigned to having to endure the bridge of the special interests and the business; from the Val di Susa with the determination of twenty years of popular resistance, to Naples and the Campania region where dissent is hidden by the waste and lies of politicians and gangsters with names and surnames; from L’Aquila, which was able to raise its voice from under the rubble of an earthquake—a tragedy for many and a new business opportunity for a few—to denounce the militarization disguised as reconstruction, to many realities around the country that will not withstand megaprojects that bear only the scope and destruction of the corporations.

We will organize two appointments in all, in the Val di Susa and Terzigno. The appointment of the South will try to bring together, in one inter-parade, all the experiences that have long criticized the territories and the environment, causing widespread pollution. The high level of conflict expressed by the resistance of Terzigno and Giugliano has shown how it is possible not to yield to the arrogance of a corrupt political power. After years of instrumental use of the state of emergency, characterized by the suspension of the rule of law (police overtime, production of special laws and militarization of the territory), it is time to reaffirm, by a single body, which we will no longer willing to accept the degradation imposed by profit.

The need is to find ourselves in a single day, from different areas but equally contaminated, to give concrete form to a shared horizon of the contents of a dispute that arises at this stage the fight, reject the effects of current environmental policies, place the needs / desires of the population first, defend ourselves and our land from the aggression of privatizing public goods, and produce self-determination of social policy as a direct and autonomous organization in his life.

December 11: This day becomes a struggle to say NO to the devastation of the environment and the militarization of the territories, NO to the unnecessary megaprojects with destructive and unsustainable costs. NO to the logic of the emergency of waste, NO to cancellation of rights. This is a day of struggle for the defense of territories, to assert the interests of the people, and a signal to immigrants forced to climb the crane to be visible to tell them that the country taking to the streets is on their side.

On the same date, there will also be held demonstrations in other cities in Europe, promoted by a coordinating committee that brings together Spanish, French, Italian, German and Slovenian who oppose the High Speed Train, on this occasion we can build a bridge between the different struggles: the longest bridge over the Strait of that should never be.

Oil Executive Calls Anti-Fracking Movement an Insurgency, Applies Psy-Ops

10 Nov

By: Eamon Javers

Last week’s oil industry conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Houston was supposed to be an industry confab just like any other — a series of panel discussions, light refreshments and an exchange of ideas.

It was a gathering of professionals to discuss “media and stakeholder relations” in the hydraulic fracturing industry — companies using the often-controversial oil and gas extraction technique known as “fracking.”

But things took an unexpected twist.

CNBC has obtained audiotapes of the event, on which one presenter can be heard recommending that his colleagues download a copy of the Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency manual. [Follow this link to listen to the audio]That’s because, he said, the opposition facing the industry is an “insurgency.”

Another told attendees that his company has several former military psychological operations, or “psy ops” specialists on staff, applying their skills in Pennsylvania.

The comments were recorded by an environmental activist, who passed along audio files to CNBC. The activist, Sharon Wilson, is the director of the Oil & Gas Accountability Project for the nonprofit environmental group Earthworks. She said she paid full price to attend the two day event, and wore a nametag identifying her organization as she recorded the conference.

In a session entitled “Designing a Media Relations Strategy To Overcome Concerns Surrounding Hydraulic Fracturing,” Range Resources communications director Matt Pitzarella spoke about “overcoming stakeholder concerns” about the fracking process.

“We have several former psy ops folks that work for us at Range because they’re very comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments,” Pitzarella said. “Really all they do is spend most of their time helping folks develop local ordinances and things like that. But very much having that understanding of psy ops in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania.”

cross-posted from CNBC.com

FBI Informant speaks alongside anti-immigrant sheriff at Tea Party conference in Orlando this weekend

9 Nov

That’s right, government informant Brandon Darby and border-loving sheriff Joe Arpaio are scheduled to speak side by side at the Choose Liberty 2012 conference hosted by the Eastern Orlando Tea Party, a group based in central Florida. This event will take place on Saturday, November 12, 2011 from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, at the Orlando Airport Marriott, 7499 Augusta National Drive, Orlando.

Darby, who is being promoted as a “Former Black Panther turned FBI Informant,” is also featured on the Earth First! Newswire’s Informant Tracking page. He had been providing information to the government since at least 2007. His efforts resulted in the arrest of two activists during the 2008 Republican National Convention who were allegedly planning to attack police cars in response to preemptive repression against the protesters in Minneapolis.

And Arpaio, famous for his pro-border anecdotes and civil liberties violations, will apparently be available for pictures and signing his “famous pink Merchandise” (a reference to his stupid efforts to humiliate prisoners and detained immigrants by making them where pink underwear.)

As repulsive and pathetic as that conference sounds, it isn’t the worse of what’s to come in Florida. If you want to test out your gag reflex, or see how much your blood can boil, take a look at the list of participants for GAIM USA 2012 in Boca Raton, January 22-25. This conference includes 200 of the most influential institutional allocators of capital and investors who have discretion over $215 bn and over $8 tn under advisement  (those are shorthand for billion and trillion, folks!! bet you didn’t even know trillion had a shorthand.) If you can imagine an industrial evil, it will have a representative there.

Protests Continue Against Iron Mining

9 Nov

Armenia - Protesters destroy drilling samples at a would-be iron mine near Hrazdan, Nov 9 2011.

By Karlen Aslanian

Cross-posted from here

Opposition politicians and environmental activists joined on Wednesday about two hundred residents of the central Armenian town of Hrazdan in protesting against the opening of an iron mine which they believe would have grave ecological consequences.

The crowd rallied in Hrazdan’s central square before heading to a nearby hill rich in iron ore in a convoy of buses and cars.

Bounty Resources Armenia Limited (BRAL), a company partly owned by a Chinese firm, plans to launch open-pit operations there and in two other, larger iron deposits elsewhere in the country in the coming years. A team of geologists hired by BRAL is currently working there to ascertain iron reserves hidden underground through test drilling.

Environment protection groups are strongly opposed to iron mining in the area, saying that it would pollute air, agricultural land and the Hrazdan river, the main supplier of irrigation water to the fertile Ararat Valley in the country’s south.

Many Hrazdan residents share these concerns. Some of them already demonstrated against the project late last month.

“There is a ghost town in China near a similarly exploited mine,” said one woman taking part in the protest. “We would have the same situation here.”

Miasnik Malkhasian, a geologist coordinating test drilling at the site, dismissed such concerns as he and his workers were confronted by the angry crowd. “There is no danger whatsoever,” he said.

The protesters remained unconvinced. Some of them smashed wooden boxes containing drilling samples. Police officers monitoring the demonstration did not intervene.

“Such criminal decisions are not made in Hrazdan,” Karine Hakobian, a leader of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, told the protesters before the march. “They are made in Yerevan, at the presidential palace and the government building. They have turned us into slaves in our own country.”

Sasun Mikaelian, a Hrazdan-based former parliamentarian affiliated with the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), singled out former Environment Minister Vartan Ayvazian for blame.

The Hetq.am news service reported last January that by Ayvazian and his family at least partly control BRAL. The ex-minister, who now chairs one of the standing committees of the Armenian parliament, did not deny that.

The Hetq report followed the announcement by the Chinese company Fortune Oil that it has paid $24 million to acquire a 35 percent share in BRAL. Fortune Oil has the option of raising the stake to 50 percent for an additional $16 million.

Ayvazian had considerable regulatory authority over the mining industry when he served as environment minister from 2001-2007.