Category Archives: Politics

Happy Anniversary Bilaterals.org!

Congratulations to Bilaterals.org, an important website monitoring the status and developments of unjust bilateral trade agreements around the world.  This crucial movement asset was founded by a group of global justice activists 10 years ago, including GJEP Board member Aziz Choudry.

3 September 2014

bilaterals.org is a collaborative website for the exchange of information and analysis about bilateral free trade and investment agreements. It was launched in September 2004 by the Asia-Pacific Research Network, Global Justice Ecology Project, GATT Watchdog, GRAIN, IBON Foundation and X Minus Y Solidarity Fund.

What brought these diverse groups together was a shared concern about the growth of bilateral trade and investment deals outside the remit of the World Trade Organisation, and a feeling that these less visible but very powerful agreements were still “under the radar” of many activists.

bilaterals.org was thus set up as an open-publishing site where people would be able to find and post their own information and analysis about the full range of free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties being negotiated and signed across the globe, and keep up to date with where and what forms of resistance are taking place.

bilaterals.org is now ten years old. To mark the moment, we made this slideshow to remember some of the key struggles against FTAs or BITs that have rocked our worlds these past ten years, all the people who participated and all that was achieved. (Special thanks to Juan Vicente for his musical contribution!)

We are also running an online survey where you can tell us what you think about bilaterals.org and how to improve it. Please help us out and participate! We are also about to undertake a major redesign of the site, so more is coming soon. thanks for your support!

the bilaterals.org collective

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, Politics, Uncategorized, World Bank, WTO

Moyers & Company Report Reveals Much about America’s Oil Train Problems

Oil is our focus this first Friday of  September. We are pleased to link you to this Moyers & Company piece published earlier this week. This is one of the most comprehensive pieces on the growing Oil Train issue that we have seen recently. Kudos to multi-media producer and author John Light for bringing this to the growing Moyers & Company audiences!

July 16, 2013. tankers lined up at the Port of Albany, Albany New York. Photo-AP/Mike Groll

July 16, 2013. tankers lined up at the Port of Albany, Albany New York. Photo-AP/Mike Groll

 America’s Exploding Oil Train Problem
By John Light, Moyers & Company. September 2, 2014

If you reside in the US, there’s around an eight percent chance that you live in an oil train’s blast zone. And there’s a fight going on at the state and federal levels, between monied interests and regulatory agencies, over efforts to ensure that these trains — which have shown a tendency to burst into flames — will be relatively safe.

The increased use of hydraulic fracturing — fracking — has made oil that was previously inaccessible available to drillers. The crude then has to make its way to refineries, and while the boom in pipeline projects has received quite a bit of attention, roughly 60 percent of it travels by rail.

Read the whole story here

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Oil, Politics, Pollution, Tar Sands, Uncategorized, Water

Veolia Water Company slams into Detroit!

The city of Detroit’s state appointed emergency manager has hired the notorious Veolia North America, the American subsidiary of the equally notorious Veolia Environment, headquartered in Paris.  Veolia, one of the leading privatizers of water systems in the world and Veolia North America has colonized American cities, especially those located on the Great Lakes.

Photo courtesy Food and Water Watch

Photo courtesy Food and Water Watch

The Company has been hired to “advise” the city on “how to find cost savings” in the sewer and water department.  The city has now opened up bids on privatizing the water and sewer system in Detroit, which has been resisted for years.

Wait, it only gets worse. The United States is in the middle of negotiating a trade deal with the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, aka TTIP, which could undermine communities ability to halt hostile privatizations efforts, hinder attempts to reclaim water systems from EU corporations and make it harder to hold private water companies accountable.

Just what Detroiter’s that are already suffering human rights violations and access to water need! We see the future and it is here.

Read the whole story in Mitch Jones’ story at Food and Water Watch

How Free Trade Might Harm Detroit Again
Mitch Jones, Food and Water Watch. Sept 2, 2014.

While once a central component of the economic activity of the United States, Detroit – like other American cities reliant on manufacturing – has fallen on hard times. To be clear, this isn’t an accident of misfortune. Detroit was targeted by both the “free trade” and anti-labor agenda that took over American politics in the 1970s. As a result, the city lost thousands of jobs and its economy suffered. The current crisis in Detroit involving water shut-offs is a symptom of this agenda.

The state-appointed emergency manager for Detroit opened up bids for privatizing the sewer and water department. Recently, the city hired private water company Veolia Water to advise the city on “cost savings” within the department. Headquartered in Paris, Veolia Environnement operates as Veolia Water North America in the United States and is the second largest water company in the country, serving about 10.5 million people in 32 states. In addition to advising the city on cost savings within the department, Veolia is also one of the companies that have expressed interest in a privatized Detroit water system.

Read the whole story here

Demand System Change

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, BREAKING NEWS, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Great Lakes, Politics, Uncategorized, Water, World Bank

White House Council on Environmental Quality buries its head in sand on climate change ruling – DeSmog Blog

Over the past weekend Steve Horn published an important analysis of the recent federal decisions by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to not offer guidance to the federal agencies that it coordinates regarding energy policy and climate change. Industry pushback is given as a primary reason that the CEQ has dropped the ball.

Maybe organizers and participants at the September 17-24  Week of Action surrounding the People’s Climate March in New York can find a way to fit an objection into their busy “demands” list!

Photo from FOEI

Photo from FOEI

 Legal Case: White House Argues Against Considering Climate Change on Energy Projects
By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog. August 31, 2014.

Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions.

It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

 

Read the whole article here

Demand System Change!

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Commodification of Life, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Hydrofracking, Keystone XL, Media, Oil, Political Repression, Politics, Pollution, Tar Sands, Uncategorized, War, Waste, Water, World Bank, WTO

Labor Day Special: Chris Hedges calls out the Climate March

Chris Hedges posted a new piece at Truthdig yesterday, “The last Gasp of the Climate Change Liberals.” Besides getting directly to the point of the critiques associated with the September 21 Climate March, he gives a little love to Climate Connections founder and Global Justice Ecology Project’s Executive Director, Anne Petermann. This is a most important piece. Please read it.

Thanks Chris!

June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama  wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington.   Courtesy truthdig-AP Photo/Charles Dharpak

June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington. Courtesy TruthDig-AP Photo/Charles Dharpak

 

The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. August 31, 2014.

The upcoming climate change march in New York is the last gasp of conventional liberalism. The time for reform and accommodation has ended. We will build a radical movement or be extinguished in a climate inferno.

The climate change march in New York on Sept. 21, expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, is one of the last gasps of conventional liberalism’s response to the climate crisis. It will take place two days before the actual gathering of world leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. The marchers will dutifully follow the route laid down by the New York City police. They will leave Columbus Circle, on West 59th Street and Eighth Avenue, at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday and conclude on 11th Avenue between West 34th and 38th streets. No one will reach the United Nations, which is located on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River beyond First Avenue—at least legally. There will be no speeches. There is no list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair.

Read the Full Article Here

Click here to read Anne Peterman’s August 14, 2014 Climate Connections post, “The Need for Clear Connections at the People’s Climate March.”  

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, BREAKING NEWS, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Independent Media, Keystone XL, Media, Occupy Wall Street, Political Repression, Politics, Posts from Anne Petermann, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Tar Sands, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized

Florida governor fakes interest in climate change to grab votes

From Jeb Bush to Rick Scott, Floridians have had about as much luck with politicians as the 40-year-old Virgin did with the ladies. Of course, they do keep voting these boneheads into office, so our pity for their plight is limited.

In his latest charade as a human being with a conscience, Florida Republican governor Rick Scott, who has been adamant that climate change ranks up there with unicorns and Bigfoot, finally acquiesced and met with scientists. According to Farron Cousins of Desmogblog, the meeting was more about propaganda than protecting the environment.

Florida State University environmental science professor Jeffrey Chanton gives a presentation to Florida governor Rick Scott on climate change on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 in Tallahassee, Fla. Photo: Brendan Farrington/AP)

Florida State University environmental science professor Jeffrey Chanton gives a presentation to Florida governor Rick Scott on climate change on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 in Tallahassee, Fla. Photo: Brendan Farrington/AP

See, Scott’s biggest rival in the next election (Charlie Crist – again) does actually believe in climate change, so this meeting was all about Scott cleaning up his drill-baby-drill persona in order to nab the votes of those lucky folks living on the Florida’s soon-to-be-submerged coastlines.

Florida Governor Rick Scott Meets With Climate Scientists, Learns Nothing
by Farron Cousins, Desmogblog, August 26, 2014

[...]

Governor Scott recently met with prominent climate scientists from universities with the expressed goal of learning all that he could about climate change.  The truth, however, is that the entire experience was more of a publicity stunt than a science lesson.

According to the scientists, at least half of the thirty-minute meeting was spent with Scott asking questions about the scientists’ education, classes they teach, and various other “small talk” questions.  This left them only 15 minutes to explain the science behind anthropogenic climate change to the inattentive governor.

Check out the full article on Desmogblog. To read a play-by-play of the “meeting,” check out the aptly titled article, “After Climate Meeting, Scientists Still Aren’t Sure That Rick Scott Is ‘Climate Literate,’” by Katie Valentine from Think Progress.

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Filed under Climate Change, Humor, Political Repression, Politics

Human rights and environmental concerns intersect with the murders of Honduran children deported from the US

All across the globe people are displaced because of violence.

These displacements are stimulated by land grabs, often incentivized by economic policies and politics that turn traditional lands into plantations for so-called green energy strategies.

If you are a regular reader of Climate Connections you know that these include giant wind farms, genetically engineered tree plantations, biomass farms, or other exploitive economic schemes that loot the land and kill the people.

All across the globe there are real faces and real people that suffer the tremendous consequences of the kind of exploitation. It is rooted in the rise of the dominant culture that promotes profit for the few and an apocalypse for the many.

Global Justice Ecology Project focuses on these intersections and we have written about this frequently. Our publication Green Shock Doctrine is an important piece that promotes a fundamental need for systematic change as a strategy for transforming the planet to a truly livable and sustainable place for all of us.

Those that defend deportation of political, economic, and environmental refugees, those that stand next to busses of frightened and detained children along our borders, those that literally rock the busses and threaten to set fire to them, are either ignorant of the US role in the economic exploitation of these cultures and the resulting impact on climate change, or are deliberately set upon the poor people of the earth in a genocidal campaign to eliminate humanity from this earth.  Look into the lives of these children and their families and understand what we have done.

Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back to Honduras
By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee. ThinkProgress. August 19, 2014.

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona. CREDIT: VALERIA FERNÁNDEZ/ AP

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona.
CREDIT: VALERIA FERNÁNDEZ/ AP

Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world. That distinction has also been backed up by an U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic, which found that many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras believes that about 80 percent of Hondurans making the exodus are fleeing crime or violence.

Read the whole article here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Migration/Migrant Justice, Political Repression, Politics, Racism, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Uncategorized

NY Times publishes data on military weapons provided for police across country

Matt Apuso of the New York Times has just published an article on THE UPSHOT detailing information that it received from the Pentagon regarding the transfer of military equipment such as machine guns, night-vision equipment, silencers, armored cars, and aircraft to local and regional police agencies. It is a compelling piece that will help you to track transfers of weapons into your communities since 2006. The original program was created by the Defense Department in the 1990s. Raw data can be found here.

Photo by Getty Images Scott Olson from Ferguson Missouri just before he was arrested by police, for taking photos of their actions.   This photo shows police forcing protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 -Getty Images/Scott Olson

Photo by Getty Images Scott Olson from Ferguson Missouri just before he was arrested by police, for taking photos of their actions. This photo shows police forcing protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 -Getty Images/Scott Olson

 

Data on Transfer of Military Gear to Police Departments

Matt Apuzzo New York Times THE UPSHOT

WASHINGTON — Since President Obama took office, the Pentagon has transferred to police departments tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

In May, The New York Times requested and received from the Pentagon its database of transfers since 2006. The data underpinned an article in June and helped inform coverage of the police response this month in Ferguson, Mo., after an officer shot Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.

The Times is now posting the raw data to GitHub here. With this data, which is being posted as it was received, people can see what gear is being used in their communities. The equipment is as varied as guns, computers and socks.

The Pentagon-to-police transfer program is not new. Congress created it during the drug war, as a way to increase police firepower in the fight against drug gangs. But since 9/11, as the Pentagon geared up to fight two wars, then drew down as those wars ended, the amount of available military surplus has ballooned.

Now, after a week of confrontation between protesters in Ferguson and heavily armed police, members of Congress are criticizing the trickle down of military gear.

Read the whole piece here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, BREAKING NEWS, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Events, Occupy Wall Street, Political Repression, Politics, Uncategorized, War