By Lauren Carasik, January 7, 2014. Source: Al Jazeera America
Police officers detain a protester outside the Supreme Court in Tegucigalpa in 2012. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
In remarks last month, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske decried pervasive impunity in Honduras as the single biggest threat to human rights during an International Human Rights Daycommemoration. In a country already plagued by grinding poverty and unrelenting violence, entrenched impunity does present a terrifying threat to justice. However, despite her own admission that the Honduran legal system is dysfunctional, Kubiske blamed those being oppressed by that impunity for taking the law into their own hands to defend their rights.
Kubiske specifically reproached peasant farmers in the fertile lands of the Lower Aguan Valley, who are engaged in a desperate struggle with local wealthy landowners and the government for control over their lands, which has left 113 members of their campesino community dead since the 2009 coup that overthrew democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. Over the last two decades, campesinos lost the lands granted to them in the 1970s under agrarian reform initiatives through a combination of corruption, intimidation, intentional division, force and fraud. Efforts to seek legal redress were largely unsuccessful. Zelaya was ousted shortly after he vowed to institute measures that would reverse illegitimate land grabs by oligarchs, including Miguel Facusse Barjum, a palm-oil magnate.
When land grabs continued under President Porfirio Lobo, a landowner, the campesinos, with no other options, resisted the encroachment by peacefully occupying their lands. State security and paramilitary forces responded with escalating repression and bloodshed. Last month, after a complaint lodged by Rights Action, an international human-rights organization, the World Bank’s independent auditor issued a report on its private lending arm’s funding for Dinant Corp., which is headed by Facusse Barjum. World Bank President Jim Kim has indicated that he is preparing an action plan in response to the findings. As the investigative process drags on, repression continues unabated in the Lower Aguan.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Hydroelectric dams, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, World Bank
December 1, 2013. Source: Portland Rising Tide
Near the Port of Umatilla two people locked down to a megaload of equipment bound for the Alberta tar sands halting its departure from the Port of Umatilla as tribal members and climate justice groups rallied nearby. The two were later removed from the truck and arrested. The equipment, a 901,000 lb. water purifier 22 feet wide, 18 feet tall and 376 feet in length was met by fifty people and was prevented from departing. Around midnight work was called off and the shipment remains at the port. It had planned to leave the Port of Umatilla, head south on 395, then east on 26 on Sunday night.
This week’s protest was larger than a similar protest last week as news of the shipment has spread throughout the region. An estimated 50 people greeted the megaload with signs as it’s schedule departure time neared. Before it could depart two participants locked themselves to the trucks hauling the megaload, the first time the shipments have been blockaded in this way. This is the first of three megaloads the Hillsboro, OR based shipping company Omega Morgan has scheduled to move through the region in December and January. Similar loads sparked major protests moving through Idaho and Montana including a blockade by the Nez Pierce tribe in August.
Groups organizing the protest, including chapters of Rising Tide and 350.org, oppose the shipments due to the final use of the equipment in the expansion of the Alberta tar sands. This expansion would supply oil for the controversial Keystone XL and other pipelines and many have called the tar sands most destructive industrial project on earth. Umatilla Tribal Member Shana Radford said, “We have responsibility for what happens on our lands, but there are no boundaries for air, the carbon dioxide this equipment would create affects us all. The Nez Pierce tribe said no to megaloads, and so should we.”
By Naomi Klein, October 29, 2013. Source: AlterNet
In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles.
But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”).
Standing at the front of the conference room, the geophysicist from the University of California, San Diego walked the crowd through the advanced computer model he was using to answer that question. He talked about system boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”
September 12, 2013
Middlebury College, VT — At 3:00PM on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, five protesters removed thousands of flags desecrating occupied Abenaki lands. The U.S. flags were part of a 9/11 memorial established by Middlebury College students.
Amanda Lickers, a member of the Onondowa’ga Nation, states, “In the quickest moment of decision making, in my heart, I understood that lands where our dead may lay must not be desecrated. In my community, we do not pierce the earth. It disturbs the spirits there, it is important for me to respect their presence.”
“For over 500 years our people have been under attack. The theft of our territories, the devastation of our waters; the poisoning of our people through the poisoning of our lands; the theft of our people from our families; the rape of our children; the murder of our women; the sterilization of our communities; the abuse of generations; the uprooting of our ancestors and the occupation of our sacred sites; the silencing of our songs; the erasure of our languages and memories of our traditions. I have had enough.” stated Lickers.
Lickers was at the college to facilitate a workshop on Settler Responsibility and Decolonization.
Note: Industrial hydroelectric power is yet another false solution to climate change. Across the world, from northern Quebec to Mexico, from the Amazon to the Mekong basin, mega-dams displace Indigenous Peoples, fisherfolk and peasant farmers, often via military-backed violence and forced displacement. Widespread destruction of vital ecosystems is inevitable, as massive swaths of forest and farmland are flooded.
And, as the all-too frequent story below shows, the most outspoken local leaders against these projects are often targets of assassinations, usually paid for by the companies building the dams.
When environmentalists lend broad support to the development of hydroelectricity, they are lending broad support to murder, ecocide, massive land grabbing and forced evictions.
-The GJEP Team
August 4, 2013. Source: Weekly News Update on the Americas
Mexican environmental activist Noé Salomón Vázquez Ortiz was murdered the early afternoon of Aug. 2 in his hometown, Amatlán de los Reyes, in the eastern coastal state of Veracruz. The killing came one day before the town was to host the Tenth National Meeting of the Mexican Movement Against Dams and in Defense of Rivers(MAPDER). Vázquez Ortíz and a minor were gathering flowers and seeds for a floral tribute to be used at the conference when a group of men appeared, ordered the minor to leave and began stoning Vázquez Ortíz. His body was found later with the hands and legs bound and the throat slit. State police arrested four men the day of the murder; they reportedly said they had personal differences with the murdered man.
Vázquez Ortíz, a construction worker who also painted pictures and created handicrafts, started doing environmental work while in high school. During the last two years he was active with the organization Green Defense: Nature Forever and fought against construction of a local dam by Hidroeléctrica El Naranjal SAPI de CV, a company owned by Guillermo González Guajardo. Vázquez Ortíz also worked in opposition to another hydroelectric project, the Bandera Blanca Project.
Note: Spanish below. Español abajo.
-The GJEP Team
By Dawn Paley, August 1, 2013. Source: Media Co-op
A view over Magdalena Teitipac, Oaxaca. Photo: Claude Denis.
A Denver, Colorado based mining company is the owner of a mining project that had its machines returned by local authorities in the village of Magdalena Teitipac last month.Media reports and news releases previously misidentified the parent company of the local subsidiary Minera Plata Real as a Canadian company, Linear Gold.
“Yes, Minera Plata Real is the owner of the concessions at Magdalena Teitipac, and yes, Sunshine Silver Mines Corp. became the parent of Minera Plata Real in 2011,” wrote Phil Pyle from Minera Plata Real in an email to the Media Co-op.
The move to peacefully evict the company came after a community assembly in February, during which the majority of community members voted against the mining project and any kind of exploration in their territories. Magdalena Teitipac is a Zapotec community governed according to customary practices, with assemblies representing the maximum local authority.
By John Ahni Schertow, July 1, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
On Friday, June 28, 2013, the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) passed resolution declaring their traditional lands to be “frack free” and calling on the Yukon government to prohibit all fracking in the territory.
The resolution reads:
Be it resolved that the Council of First Nations calls on the Yukon Govt. to prohibit fracking in the Yukon and declares our traditional territories to be frack-free.
As reported at Rabble.ca, “The resolution was passed by full consensus of the general assembly of those present.”
The Council of Yukon First Nations is a central political organization that represents eleven of the fourteen First Nation governments in the Yukon on a national and International level.
First Nation governments in the Yukon consist of:
- Carcross/Tagish First Nation
- Champagne and Aishihik First Nations
- Ehdiitat Gwich’in Council
- First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun
- Gwichya Gwich’in Council
- Kluane First Nation
- Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation
- Nihtat Gwich’in Council
- Selkirk First Nation
- Ta’an Kwach’an Council
- Teslin Tlingit Council
- Tetlit Gwich’in Council
- Tr’ondek Hwech’in
- White River First Nation
Note: You can support Barrett Brown’s defense here: freebarrettbrown.org. Barrett has been imprisoned for 292 days, where he awaits trial for a sentence of up to 105 years in prison. He goes to trial in September.
-The GJEP Team
By Arun Gupta, June 28, 2013. Source: Reader Supported News
Brown is not a household name like Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning. But after helping expose a dirty tricks plot, he faces jail.
Any attempt to rein in the vast US surveillance apparatus exposed by Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing will be for naught unless government and corporations alike are subject to greater oversight. The case of journalist and activist Barrett Brown is a case in point.
Brown made a splash in February 2011 by helping to uncover “Team Themis“, a project by intelligence contractors retained by Bank of America to demolish the hacker society known as Anonymous and silence sympathetic journalists like Glenn Greenwald (now with the Guardian, though then with Salon). The campaign reportedly involved a menagerie of contractors: Booz Allen Hamilton, a billion-dollar intelligence industry player and Snowden’s former employer; Palantir, a PayPal-inspired and -funded outfit that sells “data-mining and analysis software that maps out human social networks for counterintelligence purposes”; and HBGary Federal, an aspirant consultancy in the intelligence sector.
The Team Themis story began in late 2010, when Julian Assange warned WikiLeaks would release documents outlining an “ecosystem of corruption [that] could take down a bank or two.” Anticipating that it might be in Assange’s sights, Bank of America went into damage-control mode and, as the New York Times reported, assembled “a team of 15 to 20 top Bank of America officials … scouring thousands of documents in the event that they become public.” To oversee the review, Bank of American brought in Booz Allen Hamilton.
Note: Clayton Thomas-Muller is a good friend and Global Justice Ecology Project board member.
-The GJEP Team
By Laura Stone, June 27, 2013. Source: Global News
Demonstrators with the Idle No More movement block an intersection in downtown London Ontario, Thursday, March 21, 2013. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Aboriginal protesters involved in an Enbridge pipeline occupation are vowing more action this summer.
Clayton Thomas-Muller – who speaks on behalf of the Sovereignty Summer group, an extension of last winter’s Idle No More movement – said the group plans more protests in Ontario, including a proposed 4,400-kilometre pipeline that would carry between 500,000 and 850,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada.
“The Energy East TransCanada pipeline proposal is problematic. We’re very concerned about it. They should expect resistance to that proposal,” Thomas-Muller said in an interview. He also said they’re targeting a fracking project on a First Nations reserve in New Brunswick.
On Wednesday morning, 18 people were arrested and five charged criminally following a week-long occupation of an Enbridge pumping station outside Hamilton, Ont. Thomas-Mueller said the group opposed a plan to reverse the Line 9 pipeline from the Great Lakes to Portland, Me.
“We don’t want dirty tar sands crude flowing through southwestern Ontario,” he said.
By Susie Cagle, June 21, 2013. Source: Grist
We already know this summer’s gonna be a scorcher, weather-wise. (Sorry, Colorado …) It’s also shaping up to be a hot one for climate activists.
Last year was no chilly picnic: In August, we saw journalist-turned-activist Bill McKibben and more than 1,000 other peaceful protesters arrested for civil disobedience at the White House. That was pretty big! But this 2013 “Fearless Summer” will likely be even bigger.
A mash-up between grassroots efforts and large, national environmental groups, Fearless Summer is a coordinated effort ofmore than 50 organizations and unaffiliated individuals that takes aim “against all forms of dirty energy.” From the campaign’s mission statement:
Refusing to trade one community’s suffering for another, the organizations endorsing Fearless Summer are coming together to resist any form of energy that destroys people’s health and communities. They reject the ideas that natural gas is “better” than coal, that nuclear energy is a solution to the climate crisis and that industrial biomass is renewable and therefore good. … In sharp contrast to Washington inaction, ordinary citizens around the country are increasingly turning to the proud American traditions of direct intervention and civil disobedience to resist the destruction of their communities by dirty energy and the climate crisis.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydroelectric dams, Hydrofracking, Mining, Mountaintop Removal, Oil, Tar Sands