London climate change protesters daub Brazilian embassy blood red

“state-sanctioned human rights abuses and ecocide”

An activist splashes red paint over the embassy's facade during Extinction Rebellion climate change protest in front of Brazilian Embassy in
An activist splashes red paint over the embassy’s facade during Extinction Rebellion climate change protest in front of Brazilian Embassy in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Climate-change protesters threw red paint at the Brazilian embassy in London on Tuesday to demonstrate against damage to the Amazon rainforest and what they described as violence against indigenous tribes living there.

Police arrested six activists from the Extinction Rebellion group after they glued themselves to the embassy windows and climbed onto a glass awning above the entrance.

The protesters had splattered red paint and sprayed red handprints over the facade, along with slogans such as “No More Indigenous Blood” and “For The Wild”.

Extinction Rebellion, which disrupted traffic in central London for several weeks earlier this year, said Tuesday’s protest aimed to challenge the Brazilian government over “state-sanctioned human rights abuses and ecocide”.

Brazil contains about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, a bulwark against global warming thanks to the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it soaks up and recycles into oxygen.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in January, has long been sceptical about environmental concerns. He argues that the Amazon is a resource that belongs to Brazil and should be economically developed. He also criticizes the existence of protected lands.

Critics say his rhetoric has emboldened loggers, ranchers and informal miners, resulting in a dramatic acceleration of deforestation and in violence against the rainforest’s indigenous inhabitants.

Last week, data from Brazil’s own space research agency showed that deforestation on Brazilian territory had jumped around 67 percent in the first seven months of the year. Bolsonaro has rejected the agency’s data and fired its chief. MORE

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Communities sacrificed – Mount Polley five years later

OPINION: Imperial Metals Corp. and the Mt. Polley Mine have shut down operations for an indefinite period.


Quesnel Lake. PNG

We are a community that was sacrificed by a mining company and the B.C. government for the sake of jobs, which after two years no longer exist.

Three hundred and fifty jobs have disappeared in the small Interior communities of Likely and Williams Lake in the Cariboo, and left behind are 25 million cubic metres of mine waste and two 24-inch pipes that deliver an average discharge of up to 29,000 cubic metres per day of mine waste into a once pristine salmon-bearing waterway, Quesnel Lake.

It is now five years since the worst mining disaster in Canadian history and no charges have been laid against the mining company. Not one dollar in penalties has been levied. This doesn’t appear to be “normal” practice in other provinces.

Imperial Metals Corp. and the Mount Polley mine have shut down operations for an indefinite period, which is unfortunate for employees, suppliers and the Williams Lake and Likely economies. And yet many outstanding questions and concerns remain about how we ended up where we are now, particularly in regards to what the mine closure means to the once-pristine environment in and around Quesnel Lake.

Despite the promises made by the mine in the 1990s — that there would be no mine-water discharge from the mine site, and particularly into Quesnel Lake — the B.C. government has allowed it to discharge basically untreated mine effluent (at best filtered only) directly into the depths of the west arm of Quesnel Lake — a critical habitat for wild salmon in the Fraser River watershed and a source of drinking water and enjoyment for British Columbians.

The refined and improved copper and aluminum removal system should have been in place before the end of 2017, a deadline ignored by the mine for over two years. Now they are requesting an indefinite extension — no deadline date provided. The Mount Polley mine is out of compliance with the permit, and has had more than a dozen (and growing) non-compliance issues since.

At what point will the B.C. government stop granting this company special treatment?

It is obvious now that the Mount Polley Mine is planning to use the pipeline into Quesnel Lake as part of its indefinite future wastewater treatment system. Where is the B.C. government with its duty to protect the previously pristine waters of Quesnel Lake?

The Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake believe that the rationale behind why we vehemently disagreed with the permit approval to discharge mine waste is now being proven, by the simple fact that the mining company has not complied with the permit for over two years. MORE

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Koch-Oil Part 3: The Unspeakable Contradiction: Jobs, Environment, and Prosperity Lost by Raw-Crude Pipeline and US Refinement

No-one yet recognizes the Koch-led US Big Oil plan to extract Saudi-like treasure from Canada’s boreal forests and to transport its toxic crude through and out of Canada with ever-rising environmental damages at all levels is actually throwing away all the Alberta “jobs”, “investment”, “tax revenues” and “prosperity” which it promises to deliver. All of these economic benefits would actually materialize and multiply many times if the tar-sands were processed and refined for Canadian, US and global sale inside Alberta.

Most ironic of all, the biggest immediate danger of Alberta tar-sand crude is that is irreversibly toxic because it is not processed first before transportation over land, aquifers, shorelands, and inland ocean channels. This is what the BC resistance on the ground is most motivated by – the irreversibly disastrous consequences when this unprocessed toxic crude spills anywhere along the rocky, ocean-tempest way. The spills are an historically demonstrated certitude, but like climate destabilization itself are denied by the Big-Oil beneficiaries in future tens of billions in private profit.

As always in the ruling narrative, there is ‘no alternative’. ‘It must be done now to create jobs and get product to market’Astonishingly, no-one in government or the mass media observes the fact that many more well-paying permanent jobs, far more oil revenues, and infinitely more safety from tar-oil spills and dirty-oil carbon effluents are assured by processing the raw bitumen in Alberta itself.

On closer examination not yet considered, the political stampede for the trans-mountain pipeline of toxic Alberta crude through  the BC mountains and coastal waterways is based on a very big lie. If Alberta and Canada’s government, globally competitive Canada oil firms and working people really want to “create jobs”, “get product to market’, “achieve environmental  security”, “provide needed investment and revenues for the Canadian people”, and “reduce climate-destabilizing gases” the option is economically self-evident.

Process the tar-sand product in Canada and Alberta where the uncleanable toxins can be stripped out first by rigorous regulation and safety precautions before flooded through huge breakable pipes across mountains, aquifers, forests, and ocean coasts and the world-renowned lands and waters of a 5000-year-old ecological wonder larger and more unspoiled than any in the world.

Yet just as climate science does not matter to rogue Big Oil, so too the prevention of toxic Alberta crude running through Canada by processing it in Canada first is erased from discussion. No public voice even mentions the environmental risks of pipelining the toxic crude through the mountains and coats of BC when it could be cleaned up in Alberta first. None yet flags all the lost Canadian fortune and economic development going down the drain by raw-crude pipelines straight to the control, refineries and global sale of foreign Big-Oil multi-billionnaires like the Koch brothers. As for the foreign interference in Canada’s elections manipulating every step, no-one reports this either.

For what? The driver is not “jobs and prosperity”, “creating and sharing wealth”, and “making the indigenous people independent” (what a Canada Senator incredibly just wrote to me). The truth is the opposite on every count. Tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, escalated tax revenues, immense new domestic profits and investment opportunities are now all wasted for Canada by letting four times more of the value-added go South to US Big Oil management, refineries and high-grade global sales.

The real driver here is dispossession of Canada’s workers, first peoples, taxpayers and the common wealth by ever more multi-billion private profits extracted from its public lands at the lowest oil-royalties in the world to further enrich the already obscenely rich who are mostly not tax payers and are, in effect, lead destroyers of the life support capacities of the planet. SOURCE

Koch-Oil, Part 1: Big lies and ecocide writ large in Canada
Koch-Oil, Part 2: Canada’s love-in with US Big Oil

Canada’s forgotten rainforest

Inland-Temperate-Rainforest-TheNarwhal-0045
The Goat River valley west of Prince George. Much of the valley, including ancient cedars, is open for clear-cutting. Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal

Less than one-third of the world’s primary forests are still intact. Deep in the interior of British Columbia, a temperate rainforest that holds vast stores of carbon and is home to endangered caribou is being clear-cut as fast as the Amazon

On a balmy day in mid-July, in the heart of British Columbia, Dominick DellaSala steps out of a rented truck to examine the remains of one of the rarest ecosystems on the planet.

DellaSala, a scientist studying global forests that hold vast stores of carbon, is silent for a moment as he surveys a logging road punched through an ancient red cedar and western hemlock grove only days earlier.

A spared cedar tree, at least 400 years old, stands uncloaked in the sun beside the road, an empty bear den hidden in its hollow trunk.

“I haven’t seen logging this bad since I flew over Borneo,” says DellaSala, president and chief scientist at the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon, a partner in an international project to map the world’s most important unlogged forests.

“It was a rainforest. Now it’s a wasteland.”

Dr. Dominick DellaSala in front of a slash pileDominick DellaSala, president and chief scientist at the Geos Institute, in front of a slash pile waiting to be burned in the Anzac River Valley of British Columbia. Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal

Vast majority of rare inland rainforest slated for clear-cutting

To encounter a rainforest more than 500 kilometres from B.C.’s coast, with oceanic lichens that sustain endangered caribou herds during winters, is something of a miracle.

By all accounts, a rainforest shouldn’t be scattered in moist valley bottoms stretching from the Cariboo Mountains east of Prince George to the Rocky Mountains close to the Alberta border. Other temperate rainforests, far from the sea, are only found in two other places in the world, in Russia’s far east and southern Siberia.

…Following decades of industrial logging, much of what remains of B.C.’s undisturbed and unprotected inland rainforest is now at risk of being clear-cut — including the few unlogged inland rainforest watersheds between Prince George and the U.S. border, 800 kilometres to the south.  MORE

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Putting ecocide on a par with genocide

Readers give their views on strengthening protection of the environment


‘The pursuit of wildlife for “trophies” to adorn our walls … is the cruellest wildlife crime of all.’ Photograph: Heinrich van den Berg/Getty Images

Calls for a new Geneva convention to protect wildlife and nature reserves in conflict zones are welcome (Make environmental damage a war crime, say scientists, 25 July). But we should go further. Humanity is waging a veritable war on wildlife and nature every day. We are destroying habitats, changing the climate and persecuting animals that encroach on farmland that was once their home. The pursuit of wildlife for “trophies” to adorn our walls and with which to pose is the cruellest wildlife crime of all. Scientists have warned that “sport” hunting of lions is leading to a loss of genetic diversity that puts their survival at risk. The combined rate of deaths from poaching and trophy hunting is now greater than the birth rate of elephants. Permits are granted to hunters to shoot species that are extinct in the wild and of which just small numbers remain in private collections.

The late Polly Higgins, the acclaimed environmental lawyer, called for ecocide to be considered a crime on a par with genocide. If we are serious about protecting wildlife, world leaders should implement her recommendation. We must also take steps towards abolishing trophy hunting, a “sport” that is as senseless as it is damaging to wildlife. We can begin by banning the import of hunting trophies into Britain, and by calling on Cites at its conference next month to close the loophole that presently allows trophy hunters to shoot endangered species. SOURCE

Latest Sisson Mine approval leaves First Nations, conservation groups uneasy

“It’s unfortunate but the economic arguments in favour of large mining projects almost always outweigh the environmental damages that projects like the Sisson Mine will do” — Lois Corbett, Conservation Council of New Brunswick

Tailings pond for proposed mine north of Fredericton requires damming two fish-bearing brooks


The proposed mine project includes a tailings pond and ore processing plant, covering 12.5 square kilometres of Crown land.(Northcliff Resources Ltd.)

For two years, Nick Polchies of Woodstock First Nation and his dog Arizona have been waking up in the woods, on land that someday — and for centuries to come — could be a toxic tailings pond.

Polchies initially went to the site, about 80 kilometres northwest of Fredericton, to help the Wolastoqi grandmothers already camping out there to protest the proposed Sisson Mine.

Northcliff Resources Ltd., a Vancouver-based company, says its open-pit tungsten and molybdenum mine would create 500 jobs during construction and 300 jobs for the 27 years it is expected to operate.

The $579-million mine near the community of Napadogan would also have a storage pond for toxic waste that would last for many years after the mine is abandoned. The waste facility would require the damming of two fish-bearing brooks.

Polchies’s resolve to fight the project only deepened when the mine and the tailings pond proposed for the unceded Wolastoqey land got approval this summer from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“Basically, my mind kind of went to an old meme,” said the frustrated Polchies. “It’s like ‘how many times must we teach you this lesson, old man?’ Like it’s not going to happen, we’re not going to allow it to happen.” MORE

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What is ‘ecocide’ and why did Extinction Rebellion park their boat outside the law courts?

Oxford Circus boat
Protesters occupied Oxford Circus as part of Extinction Rebellion demonstrations. Getty Images

Earlier this week Extinction Rebellion parked a blue boat outside the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand and occupied the busy London street with a sit-down protest, causing traffic jams and commuter chaos. It came at the start of a week of protest events around the country.

This is not the first time the non-violent environmental protest group have caused disruption in London. In April this year, they occupied Oxford Circus (where they parked a pink boat) and brought traffic on Waterloo Bridge to a standstill with 11 days of protests that the group described as the ‘biggest act of civil disobedience in recent British history’.

But while some protesters have been arrested for public order offences, the demonstration outside the High Court was not related to any of those cases. Instead, it was in memory of an environmental lawyer called Polly Higgins who died earlier this year, and (among other demands) to promote her proposal for a new international law criminalising ‘ecocide’.

What is ‘ecocide’?

According to the Stop Ecocide campaign, ‘Ecocide is serious loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems including climate and cultural damage.  We believe ecocide should be recognised as an atrocity crime at the International Criminal Court – alongside Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.’

A more legalistic definition of ecocide states that it involves ‘loss or damage to, or destruction of ecosystem(s) of a given territory(ies), such that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been or will be severely diminished.’ (‘Peaceful enjoyment’ in this context means ‘peace, health and cultural integrity’.)

That definition comes from the website Ecocide Law which further explains that ‘Despite the existence of many international agreements – codes of conduct, UN Resolutions, Treaties, Conventions, Protocols etc – the harm is escalating. Not one of these international agreements prohibits ecocide. The power of ecocide crime is that it creates a legal duty of care that holds persons of “superior responsibility” to account in a criminal court of law.’

They argue that if ecocide is established as an international crime, prosecutions could be brought by nations who are signatories to the Rome Statute, under which the International Criminal Court operates.

A model law

model law has been drafted that would amend the Rome Statute to create a specific offence of ecocide. It would create ‘an international and transboundary duty of care’ both on governments or relevant ministers and businesses who exercise rights over a given territory to ‘ensure ecocide does not occur’.

The statute currently recognises four core international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and (since 2010) the crime of aggression. The ICC can only investigate and prosecute those crimes in situations where states are unable or unwilling to do so themselves.

Any signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court can propose an amendment, but such an amendment requires the support of a two-thirds majority of the states parties, and will not enter into force until it has been ratified by seven-eighths of the states parties. This process is likely to take some time, even if a state party takes the first step of proposing the necessary amendment. However, it has been done before, by the addition of the crime of aggression in 2010. So it is certainly not impossible.

Can it work?

Although it may sound unfamiliar, the concept of ecocide is not new. Use of the term goes back half a century, to the early 1970s when the use of chemical defoliants such as Agent Orange during the Vietnam War were condemned by environmentalists as a form of ecocide. It appears to have been included in the early versions of the Draft Code of Crimes Against the Peace and Security of Mankind (as the Rome Statute was initially known), but was dropped by the time it had been formalised and signed as the Rome Statute of the International Court in 1998.

Polly Higgins proposed adding it back in to the Statute at the United Nations in 2010 and continued to campaign for such an amendment, most recently at the Hague Talks to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 2018. But it is clear that such amendment could be a long and drawn out process and, even if successful, it could be many years before any prosecutions were concluded.

How effective would such a remedy be as a deterrent to environmental destruction which, by its nature, needs both urgent and concerted international action. Is transnational criminal law really the best instrument to use? MORE

Extinction Rebellion boat named in memory of Stroud eco-warrior Polly Higgins


A BLUE boat named after Stroud eco-warrior Polly Higgins was used to block traffic in this week’s Extinction Rebellion protests.

The ‘Polly Higgins’, named after the Stroud based lawyer who campaigned for an international crime of ecocide, had been parked outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London since Monday as part of a week-long protest.

But as of 7.40am this morning, Extinction Rebellion boats have been banned from London, after the Metropolitan Police imposed a new condition on the climate change protests.

A force spokesman said: “The information and intelligence available at this time means that the Met feels this action is necessary in order to prevent disruption.”

Met commander Jane Connors said: “The condition imposed today is limited and absolutely allows lawful protests to continue.

“My officers continue to engage with those exercising their right to protest however, we need to balance this with the rights of those wishing to go about their daily lives and action will be taken against those who choose to ignore this condition and/or break the law.”

The Polly Higgins was one of five boats used by protesters to stop traffic in Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, and London as part of a five-day ‘summer uprising’.

Jojo Mehta, Polly’s friend and colleague, said: “I know that whatever dimension she’s in, she’s smiling at the fact that this boat has been named after her by Extinction Rebellion.

“It’s absolutely resonant that this is in front of the Royal Courts because Polly was of course a lawyer.”

In a statement Extinction Rebellion said that they were protesting outside the Royal Courts of Justice ‘to demand the legal system take responsibility in this crisis, and ensure the safety of future generations’ environment, especially when deliberate.

They said they are there with ‘a clear and simple demand: make ecocide law’.

“In making ecocide law, the role the UK legal system can play in averting catastrophe is clear.”  SOURCE

 

Extinction Rebellion climate protests spread across UK

Demonstrators disrupt five UK cities calling for legal recognition of ‘ecocide’ as an international crime.


Hazel Shearing / BuzzFeed News

London – As activists erected the mast of a boat emblazonedwith “act now”, hundred of climate change protesters gathered in front of the vessel blocking traffic on The Strand, one of the UK capital’s major arteries.

A similar boat, now a symbol of the Extinction Rebellion protests, blocked Piccadilly Circus in April when the climate activist group brought much of London to a standstill for 10 days.

The group kicked off a new round of demonstrations across the UK on Monday targeting five cities – London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol and Leeds – with creative and civil disobedience action through to Friday.

They aim to cause disruption to raise awareness of the climate crisis and urge the government to enact policy measures aimed at achieving a net-zero carbon footprint by 2025. Action in each city focuses on a different theme, including “climate refugees” and rising sea levels.

In London, protesters at the Royal Court of Justice demanded the “legal system take responsibility in this crisis” and called for “ecocide” to become an internationally recognised crime.

“At the moment, the damage and destruction to our planet that continues day by day does so because it’s permitted,” Jojo Mehta, director of a campaign called “Stop ecocide: change the law”, told Al Jazeera.

Mehta, a longtime environmental activist, cofounded the campaign with Polly Higgins, a lawyer who died of cancer in April after spending a decade calling for ecological damage to be criminalised, so governments and corporations that are responsible could be held to account.

‘An achievable route’

She said such criminalisation could be “straightforward” at the international level. It would require an amendment to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, adding ecocide to a list of existing international crimes.

“Any head of state that is a member, no matter how small, can propose an amendment to the Rome Statute, and there’s no veto to that,” Mehta explained.

“Once it’s tabled, it’s just a question of adding signatures. It’s an achievable route,” she added, before being called on board the boat, named after her friend, to deliver a speech.

Extinction rebellion protest [Ylenia Gostoli]
Extinction Rebellion protesters block The Strand in central London [Ylenia Gostoli/Al Jazeera]

As performers and speakers hit an improvised stage, some activists made banners while others glued their arms together, linking their hands with a black tube symbolising an oil pipe. Five police vans were positioned on the road nearby, blocking their route to Waterloo Bridge.

Following Extinction Rebellion’s previous round of climate protests, the UK Parliament declared a “climate emergency”, passing a non-legally binding motion tabled by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In June, the UK was the first country to commit to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 – either by avoiding emissions or offsetting them with projects aimed at soaking up carbon dioxide. But Extinction Rebellion called this target too little, too late. MORE

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The Koch Brothers and the Tar-Sands

I encourage you to read the entire article by John McMurtry. This is the BIG STORY never investigated by Canada’s media — one that should definitely influence how you vote.

Big Lies and Ecocide in Canada

As we know, big lies can run free across borders with few people joining the dots. For example, no media has been reporting that China’s growing dispute with Canada is based on Canada’s enforcement of the Trump administration’s unilateral embargo against Iran. This is what politicians called ‘the rule of law’. In fact, it is assisting the US takedown of China’s superior IT competition – Huawei – for not obeying the illegal US embargo.

One lie builds on another. Repetition institutionalizes it. Then that becomes the truth that sells. As explained long ago by Edward Bernayes, the founder of public relations, democracy is “the manufacture of consent.” What he did not say is that only system-supporting lies may be on offer.

So, the imprisonment of Huawei’s vice-chairwoman and CFO Meng Wanzhou, continues as justified by ‘the rule of law’ and China is at fault for not recognizing it. Official Canada again reverts to type. It attacks the designated US Enemy, in junior partnership with its global corporate command.

Yet this time there is a new twist. Canada is attacking itself on all levels without knowing it. China has imprisoned two Canadian citizens and blocked long-standing major agriculture imports to our increasing public humiliation. The US, the actual cause of the problem, has done nothing to resolve it, and all the while, a deeper self-destruction of Canada unfolds to serve US Big-Oil demands.

The usual leaders of Canada’s branch-plant culture in politics, media news and ‘expert’ commentary just continue their barking.

Great Canada

A US Big-Oil backed juggernaut of Conservative provincial governments and the federal Opposition have been advancing for months in a campaign to reverse longstanding parliamentary decisions, environmental laws, climate action initiatives, Supreme Court directions, and First-Nations negotiations, with the goal of bringing down the current government of Canada. Yet no-one in public or media circles has joined the dots.

Canada’s vast tar-sands deposits are world famous as surpassing Saudi Arabia oil-field capacities in total barrels of potential yield. Great Canada! Yet few notice that over two-thirds of the entire tar-sands operations are owned by foreign entities sending their profits out of Canada, and that almost all its raw product is controlled for US refining and sale from which Canada is cut out.

What is particularly kept out of the daily news is the incendiary fact that the infamous, election-interfering and oft-EPA-convicted Koch brothers – who are behind Trump’s destruction of the US Environmental Protection Agency – have a dominant stake in the Alberta tar-sands as well as the massive BC-pipeline with its toxic sludge heading to tidewater while new colossal tankers plough through and pollute the BC coast.

Koch-owned industries have already extracted countless billions of their now $100-billion fortune from the Alberta tar-sands and have deployed their well-known voter-manipulations to change the balance of power in Canada as they have done in the US.

The objective is the same in both cases – ever more tax-free, publicly subsidized and state-enforced control by US Big Oil of Alberta’s massive oil resources with no public or government regulations or interferences in the way. This is called the ‘free market’. MORE