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

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 ( 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.

Frito Lay Catches Fire for Mislabeling GMO Products

29 Dec
By Gina-Marie Cheeseman

A lawsuit was filed against Frito-Lay a few weeks ago in federal court for marketing snacks as natural that contain genetically modified, or GMO ingredients. The lawsuit, filed by the law firm Milberg LLP, has one plaintiff, Julie Gengo of Richmond, California. The New York City based Milberg has offices in Los Angeles, Tampa and Detroit.

Frito Lay’s website still states: “We’re proud to make so many of the Frito-Lay snacks you love with all natural ingredients.” Last April, Frito-Lay announced that about 50 percent of its product portfolio will be made with “all natural” ingredients by the end of this year. A press release called it the “largest product transformation in the company’s history,” and went on to state that the products will not contain “any artificial or synthetic ingredients.”

Apparently GMO ingredients are considered to be “all natural” to Frito-Lay.Perhaps the powers that be at the company need to read the World Health Organization’s definition of GMO:

“Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. The technology is often called ‘modern biotechnology’ or ‘gene technology,’ sometimes also ‘recombinant DNA technology’ or ‘genetic engineering.’ It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between non-related species.”

The law suit highlights the fact that the U.S. does not require food or beverage with GMO ingredients to be labeled as such. Milberg’s website states that over 70 percent of the foods on grocery store shelves in the U.S. contain GMO ingredients, “which economically benefit the companies that produce them.” The majority of companies do not disclose if their products contain GMO ingredients.

BP Oil Spill: Prosecutors Reportedly Preparing Criminal Charges

29 Dec

Federal prosecutors are preparing the first criminal charges against BP in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst of its kind in U.S. history, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The charges, reportedly to be revealed early next year, center around several engineers and may include providing false information about the risks of drilling in the Guld of Mexico in federal documents, the WSJ reported.

The charge carries a penalty of a fine as well as up to five years imprisonment.

People familiar with the matter told NPR that no final decisions have been made about the charges, adding that even if prosecutors go ahead with the charges, attorneys for the engineers will have a chance to appeal to other Justice Department officials. BP spokesmen declined to comment to Bloomberg Businessweek on the WSJ report.

The Deepwater Horizon spill off of the coast of Louisiana in 2010 killed 11 and led to more than 200 million gallons of oil spewing under the water. After three months of searching for solutions, the well was finally capped, but not before the oil destroyed hundreds of miles of coastline and devastated the tourism and fishing industries.

The full economic impact of the oil spill is still unknown, with economists’ estimates expected to trickle in sometime next year, the Press-Register reports. Shortly after the spill, economists predicted that in a worst case scenario, the disaster would cost Alabama about two percent of its economic output. Still, the spill’s effects weren’t limited to states like Alabama, which were directly impacted. Businesses around the country were forced to contened with the spill’s aftermath; in restaurants as far away as New York City, business owners felt the pinch of a seafood price hike, according to CBS News.

As of March, the spill had cost BP $41 billion and severely damaged the company’s reputation. In addition, it likely cost BP’s former CEO Tony Hayward his job.

In October, the Obama administration granted BP permission to resume exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, saying that the company’s plans met the administration’s standards for deepwater drilling. But if the crisis were ever to happen again, the same laws would still be in place.

Despite a push from some Democrats to raise the cap on the amount that companies are required to pay to cover economic damages from an oil spill, the legislation never came to fruition.

Still, BP did set up a $20 billion compensation fund for victims of the spill. The Justice Department named BDO Consulting to conduct an independent audit of the claims fund, which is expected in March.

Massive Oil Spill Off Nigerian Coast

29 Dec

By Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Royal Dutch Shell announced on December 21, 2011 that about 40,000 barrels of crude oil leaked into the Atlantic Ocean from the Bonga Deep Offshore Oil Fields. Shell operates the oil field, located about 120 kilometers southwest of the Niger Delta, on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation under a production sharing contract. The oil spill is reported to have occurred while a vessel was being loaded with crude oil. The Associated Press reported on December 26 that the oil spill had been contained. SkyTruth, which monitors oil spills, reported on December 27 on its website that its satellite images taken over the last few days do not contradict Shell’s claims that the spill is contained.

However, an article on the website, claims that crude oil “started arriving in the communities along the Niger Delta Coast.” Deputy Director of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Captain Warredi Enisuoh said that delegates in the Niger Delta area on December 26 cannot yet confirm the source of the crude oil. “But from what our team has just seen, it is appalling, it is not very good to see,” Enisuoh said.

“Like I have said, this one that we have found which is currently threatening the Coast at the moment has to be dealt with immediately and it will not be right to go for or blame somebody. I think the effort should concentrate on fixing the situation as soon as possible,” Enisuoh added.

The Nigerian organization, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) contains eyewitness accounts on its website from several Delta fisherman who report seeing crude oil:

“If you go into the ocean you will find the thick slick of crude oil floating, tossed here and there by the waves. It is spreading according to the direction of the current. That is what we are seeing even right here at the waterside on St. Nicholas,” said Lucky Tema, a fisherman.

“Actually we started noticing this crude oil on the Atlantic a week ago. But it came ashore about two days ago.” He added, “We want Shell to clean up the spill and compensate us for loss of livelihood. Our business has been impacted. Bonga fish that used to come to the surface are no more. The company should not deny us of our Bonga with their Bonga Facility,” said Ayeomane Ayela, a fisherman.

Democracy Now (DN) reported that communities along the Delta are on alert about the oil spill. During an interview on December 27 with Amy Goodman of DN, Nnimmo Bassey, executive director of ERA, said that the oil spill is “hitting the shores in very far and a wide range of places.”

ERA’s monitors “are reporting ground onshore and along the coast, and we are seeing evidence of the crude that is coming from the Bonga field,” Bassey said. Bassey added that Nigerian regulatory agencies are not able to verify if Shell has stopped the flow of crude oil.