Month: May 2009
The following interview was published in Le Monde on 25 May 2009 and translated by NOT BORED! 27 May 2009. It also appears in the Tarnac9 blog, and here, as well as in this tag collection. Spread the word!
LeMonde | 5.25.09 – Here are the responses to the questions that we [Isabelle Mandraud and Caroline Monnot] posed in writing to Julien Coupat. Placed under investigation on 15 November 2008 for “terrorism,” along with eight other people interrogated in Tarnac (Correze) and Paris, he is suspected of having sabotaged the suspended electrical cables of the SNCF. He is the last one still incarcerated. (He has asked that certain words be in italics.)
Q. How are you spending your time?
A. Very well, thank you. Chin-ups, jogging and reading.
Q. Can you recall the circumstances of your arrest for us?
A. A gang of youths, hooded and armed to the teeth, broke into our house. They threatened us, handcuffed us, and took us away, after having broken everything to pieces. They first took us into very fast cars capable of moving at more than 170 kilometers an hour on the highways. In their conversations, the name of a certain Mr Marion (former leader of the anti-terrorist police) came up often. His virile exploits amused them very much, such as the time he slapped one of his colleagues in the face, in good spirits and at a going-away party. They sequestered us for four days in one of their “people’s prisons,” where they stunned us with questions in which absurdity competed with obscenity.
The one who seemed to be the brains of the operation vaguely excused himself from this circus by explaining that it was the fault of the “services,” the higher-ups, all kinds of people who want [to talk to] us very much. Today, my kidnappers are still free. Certain recent and diverse facts attest to the fact that they continue to rage with total impunity.
Q. The sabotage of the SNCF cables in France was claimed [by someone] in Germany. What do you say about that?
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colonos is reproducing here an Amazon Watch news release. Our comment: no news there.
Date: May 19, 2009
Source: Amazon Watch
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2009
USA – Gregor MacLennan (415) 395-6734 gregor AT amazonwatch.org
PERU – Edson Rosales +511 99-787-6616, +511 265-5011 comunicaciones AT aidesep.org.pe
Oil Production Interrupted as Peru Sends in Army to Suppress Peaceful Indigenous Protests
Dozens Injured in Government Attacks on Protesters
Video footage, photos, interviews available upon request
LIMA, Peru, May 19, 2009— Yesterday, on the 40th day of sustained protests by Peru’s indigenous peoples, the state oil company Petroperu, announced it had shut down the country’s main oil pipeline. On Saturday, the Garcia Government authorized the intervention of the armed forces to crack down on peaceful protests that have swept the Amazon region.
A recent article, which I first read on a mailing list without knowing its source, starts very promising, is very informative, at times sad, and in many ways, to me, reads as a good introduction to why people become freedom fighters. In the end, however, unsurprisingly given the publisher of the article, the article turns into an advocacy for a middle-class, affluent, surburban existence in a foreign, stable country, “with firm, positive views, but without the blind idealism“, in other words, against the ideals of youth that lead people to take affirmative action to change the world. All youthfulness written off as “blind idealism” with suburbia as the only alternative?
The article is about the Tamil Tigers, which began as a movement against the genocide that the Sinhalese controlled state of Sri Lanka is committing on the Tamil minority. They were freedom fighters that the state – and now the international community – condemn as terrorists. Perhaps they have become terroristic rather than freedom fighting, but being the underdog, the minority and the victims of genocide, who have not been heard, it is difficult to see how the Tamil people in Sri Lanka could escape their lose-lose scenario.
Just roll over and die as a people and as a culture? Die fighting? Or perhaps keep fighting in the hope that you can gain the rights and recognition required to live in “peace”?
Is an existence as a suburban, affluent mother more worthy, a better morally choice, than being a freedom fighter for your people? Direct, intentional violence – or indirect, ignorant violence? Shop or fight? Is that really all there is to it?
Amazon Defense Coalition: Chevron Lawyer Stumbles in 60 Minutes Interview over Ecuador Oil Contamination
This is a story that deserves wide circulation. Makeup doll blowback:
Amazon Defense Coalition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2009-05-04
Karen Hinton, 703-798-3109
Sylvia Garrigo Compares Makeup on Her Face to Heavily Contaminated Toxic Waste Pits; “Public Relations Disaster” for Chevron
New York (May 4, 2009) – Chevron shocked the public relations and legal worlds Sunday by allowing a relatively unknown in-house lawyer to stumble through an interview trying to defend the company on 60 Minutes against charges that it is responsible for the world’s largest oil contamination in Ecuador, where it faces a $27 billion liability.
The spokesperson, Sylvia Garrigo, did not disappoint the company’s detractors – she quickly made the bizarre claim that trace amounts of oil in the makeup on her face was no more harmful that the toxic sludge filmed by 60 Minutes in hundreds of unlined waste pits Texaco built in Ecuador’s rainforest that are still polluting soils and groundwater, according to an independent court expert.
One viewer who posted comments on the internet compared Garrigo’s performance to satirical appearances by Dan Akroyd on Saturday Night Live. Another found it shocking that Chevron did not put forth David O’Reilly, the company’s CEO, to defend the company in what 60 Minutes called the largest environmental legal case ever.
Sadly for Chevron, Garrigo’s performance had nothing to do with satire.
The colonos blog has been following the plans and projects for commodity corridors – corredores – in South America unfolding under the IIRSA banner for several years now. IIRSA is a central element in the collaboration between Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Lula (Brasil), Chavez (Venezuela) and Evo Morales (Bolivia) and the rest of South American in the Great Plan to turn the entire continent into an industrial production site. Soon, as sad as it is, one of the key nodes in this network of destruction will be completed: the Interoceanic Highway, connecting the coast of Peru and the coast of Brasil:
The nightmarish prospect of a scarred Amazonian jungle reeking of diesel fumes from end to end, as heavy-laden trucks thunder by in round-the-clock convoys, is fast becoming a reality.
Since 2000, teams of road builders have been cutting a vicious swathe of destruction through vast stretches of rainforest in the Peruvian province of Madre de Dios. This is done in the name of “free trade” and neoliberal “development”.
Scheduled for completion in 2010, the Interoceanic Highway will link up with Brazil’s existing Amazonian road network. This will create a coast-to-coast trucking route for Brazilian-based agribusiness exporting soy and other primary products to China via Peru’s Pacific ports.
This is yet another report about industrial activities in Ecuador, a country ruled by an authoritarian, economistic anti-environmentalist, who despises traditional ways of living when it stands in his way of mining and drilling for oil, building roads, riverways and airports, but who loves to present himself – in the media – as a friend of indigenous peoples, wearing traditional outfits and speaking (mountain) Kichwa. Welcome to Correa’s Ecuador:
Locals fight mining in Ecuador’s cloudforest
Green Left Weekly, 2 May 2009
Many people still speak sincerely about the existence of “corporate responsibility”. While doing volunteer work in the Ecuadorian community of Junin, I got a different picture.
The story of the efforts of Copper Mesa Mining, one of Rio Tinto’s collaborators in gold and copper exploration in Ecuador, to overcome community resistance is an example of what modern “corporate responsibility” looks like.
The mining concession Copper Mesa bought from the Ecuadorian government is centered on the community of Junin and the Intag River.
The proposal was to evict four entire communities, 100 families in all. These people live off their land and depend on the outside world for only electricity and medical supplies.
Mining would destroy their entire way of life.
Today the colonos blog received hit number 100.000.
Thanks to those who dropped by – and many thanks to those who keep coming back. It is muchly appreciated.
With the Best of Wishes,
colono y colona