Articles and Opinion Pieces
Tahoe Resources Mining executive in Guatemala gives direct orders to kill protestors
Alberto Rotondo, executive of Tahoe Mine, San Rafael in Guatemala, gave direct orders to assassinate members of the community San Rafael Las Flores.
The investigation of the mining conflicts in San Rafael Las Flores, Santa Rosa, took a 180 degrees turn, after the Public Ministry submitted audio from wiretapping as evidence. In the audio it can be clearly heard how Alberto Rotondo, head of the San Rafael Mining Security outfit ordered to assassinate opponents of the mine.
The newspaper Siglo.21 published today a report titled “Rotondo ordered: Kill those sons of B..”, the report documents how the Security Chief gave direct orders to assassinate mining protesters and opponents of the mining project.
Three Arrested at Peabody Coal Shareholders Meeting
Rising Tide NA
GILLETTE, WY– Peabody Energy shareholders affiliated with Powder River Basin Resource Council, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), CO-FORCE (Coloradans for Fair Rates and Clean Energy), and Forgotten People from Black Mesa/Big Mountain in Arizona converged in Gillette, Wyoming, on Monday, April 29, 2013, at Peabody’s Annual General Meeting. Peabody has always held its meeting near its headquarters in St. Louis, but moved it this year to avoid public scrutiny. After the meeting, an activist affiliated with MORE was arrested dropping a banner saying, “Peabody Attacks: Pensions, Diné Lands, Climate.” 2 other activists were arrested for holding up banner in the parking lot that said “Peabody Abandons Miners.”
Comment: 1993’s Clayoquot Summer was a game-changer
by Valerie Langer , Eduardo Sousa , Maryjka Mychajlowycz , Jens Wieting and Torrance Coste.
, Times Colonist
Twenty years ago today, about 30 residents of Tofino were driving up and down the highway by Long Beach, communicating via handheld radios, tracking a helicopter carrying B.C.’s premier of the day and select media.
A local guy listening in on emergency, aviation and boat communications was transmitting the play-by-play, while the helicopter sought a quiet landing spot where the premier could make a “contained” statement about the fate of Clayoquot Sound’s forests.
Nothing that followed, however, in what was to become the Clayoquot Summer of 1993, could be construed as “contained.”
Rio Tinto accused of environmental and human rights breaches
by Rupert Neate
Protesters from around the world attacked mining company Rio Tinto for a string for alleged environmental and human rights breaches during a fiery meeting with shareholders in London on Thursday.
Native Mongolian herders claimed that a $5bn (£3.3bn) expansion of the company's Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in the Gobi desert threatened the fresh water supply of hundreds of nomadic people and the area's unique ecology.
Legalizing Sustainability? Santa Monica Recognizes Rights of Nature
by Reprinted from Global Exchange.
On April 9, the City Council of Santa Monica voted 7-0 to adopt the state’s first ever Bill of Rights for Sustainability, directing the city to “recognize the rights of people, natural communities and ecosystems to exist, regenerate and flourish.” Santa Monica joins dozens of U.S. communities, the nations of Ecuador, Bolivia, and New Zealand in the fast-growing movement for Nature’s Rights.
Congratulations to the 2013 Goldman Prize Recipients
On Monday, April 15, we celebrated six environmental heroes in front of an audience of 3,200 at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House. The ceremony was punctuated by powerful video profiles, energizing speeches from the recipients and overwhelming applause from the audience.
Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a reception at San Francisco’s City Hall, where they had the opportunity to meet the Goldman Prize recipients and members of the Goldman family.
Congratulations to the 2013 Goldman Prize recipients: Jonathan Deal, Azzam Alwash, Rossano Ercolini, Mama Aleta Baun, Kimberly Wasserman, and Nohra Padilla.
22-Foot Gash in Pegasus Pipeline Puts Gaping Hole in Safety Claims
by Jon Queally, staff writer
, Common Dreams
Dustin McDaniel, the Arkansas Attorney General announced on Wednesday evening that a "22 foot long and 2 inch wide" gash along the Pegasus pipeline allowed crude oil to flood the town of Mayflower with thousands of gallons of tar sands oil on March 29.
"The pipeline rupture is substantially larger than many of us initially thought." Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel speaks in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, April 10, 2013, about last month's oil pipeline leak in Mayflower, Ark. McDaniel says an ExxonMobil pipeline that burst last month, leaking oil into a neighborhood at Mayflower, has a hole in it that is 22 feet long and 2 inches wide. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) "The pipeline rupture is substantially larger than many of us initially thought," McDaniel said at the press conference.
Former Walmart District Manager Accuses Company of Widespread Inventory Manipulation
by Spencer Woodman
In 1996, Sylvester Johnson left his post as a commanding officer in the US Army and began a career managing logistics at Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Once there, he received a series of rapid promotions, eventually overseeing the HR management of over 26,000 employees in five states. He became friendly with Walmart executive Mike Duke, who became CEO in 2009. In 2002, Johnson received the Sam M. Walton Hero Award, a prestigious company distinction. In 2003, he moved to North Carolina where he oversaw eleven Walmart Supercenters. The company fired him in 2009 for allegedly giving orders to manipulate inventory counts, a claim Johnson denies
UN demands ‘immediate suspension’ of Amazon gas plans
The United Nations has demanded an immediate halt to the expansion of a major gas project in the Peruvian Amazon, over concerns that it poses a grave risk to the lives of uncontacted Indians living nearby.
In a letter to the Peruvian government, the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) requested the ‘immediate suspension’ of plans to expand the existing Camisea gas project further into the Nahua-Nanti reserve, as it ‘threatens the physical and cultural survival of the indigenous peoples living there.’
SOAS law students establish international human rights advocacy network
by Becky Waller-Davies
A group of law students from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS) have established an advocacy network which aims to rival the Harvard Human Rights Clinic in its reach and power.
The network, Banyan, allows students to work pro bono on cases which aim to further human rights, development or social justice and are committed to practical change. The group is offering its research skills and knowledge to civil society agencies, development groups and law firms.
Keystone Public Comments Won't Be Made Public, State Department Says
by By John H. Cushman Jr.,
, InsideClimate News
WASHINGTON—When the State Department hired a contractor to produce the latest environmental impact statement for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, it asked for a Web-based electronic docket to record public comments as they flowed in each day. Thousands of comments are expected to be filed by people and businesses eager to influence the outcome of the intense international debate over the project.
But the public will not find it easy to examine these documents.
My search for a smartphone that is not soaked in blood
by George Monbiot
None of the campaigning groups wants companies to stop buying minerals from eastern Congo. Global Witness and FairPhone, for example, point out that mining supports many families in a country where 82% are considered underemployed. But they also insist that the trade can be dissociated from violence: if, and only if, companies ensure they're not buying minerals which have passed through the hands of militias. Given the potential damage to their reputations, you might have expected these firms to take the issue seriously. With a few exceptions, you would be wrong.
Proceed with caution when betting against environmentalists
by Martin Mittelstaedt
, Globe and Mail
Oil sands investors, it turns out, should have listened to environmentalists after all.
Placing a bet on the oil sands, once thought of as a sure path to riches, is looking like an over-hyped investment theme in the process of confronting a less glamorous reality. Stocks in companies involved in the industry have been taking on water, but they’re not yet cheap enough to make compelling buys.
Kick the Habit, Congress
by By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News
What if there were a really smart, knowledgeable, innovative guy who had dreams of curing cancer or writing a bestselling novel or recording an acclaimed album, but couldn't do any of the above because of a crippling cocaine addiction? Similarly, Congress's deadly addiction to corporate cash is the main reason Washington is unable to solve the myriad problems affecting our economy, environment and politics. If only we could help Congress kick the habit, our government could work for us again.
Corpocrisy: The systematic betrayal of American Workers
by Paul Buccheit
, Nation of Change
Free market idealists argue that capitalism works for anyone with a little initiative and a willingness to work hard. That might be true if job opportunities were available to everyone. But the facts reveal a lack of opportunity, largely because the very system of capitalism that's supposed to work for everyone is betraying its most productive members.
It's a step-by-step process of hypocrisy disguised as free enterprise:
The plight of Cambodia’s garment workers
by Clothilde Le Coz
, Asian Correspondent
The plight of Cambodia’s garment workers
By Clothilde Le Coz Feb 01, 2013 4:50PM UTC
2 Comments and 11 Reactions
A striking garment worker participates in a rally in Phnom Penh. Pic: AP.
Striking workers call on Wal-Mart to take responsibility after supplier skips country owing $200,000 in wages
On Thursday morning garment workers gathered outside the US Embassy in Phnom Penh to follow up with the petition they submitted on Januray 18th, 2013 asking the US government to pressure Wal-Mart. They are owed $200,000 by Kingsland, a Hong Kong-based company that started to operate in Cambodia 10 years ago and worked with Wal-Mart and H&M suppliers.
Here’s What Your $97 Million Drug War in Central America Actually Bought
by Robert Beckhusen
The U.S. isn’t just shoveling cash to stem the tide of narcotics in Mexico and Colombia. Quietly, it’s built up its drug war in Central America, too — spending nearly $100 million over four years on advanced gear for local forces. Not that Washington has any idea what it’s gotten for its money.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office provides a rare glimpse into the Central American war on drugs. Between 2008 and 2011, the report finds, the government spent $97 million for gear and training for its Central American partners. On the plus side, it’s laughably low compared to the more than $640 billion (and rising) the U.S. has spent on the war in Afghanistan.
Bush’s Corporate Education Group Operates from ALEC’s Playbook
by Mike Hall
, AFL CIO
The American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC's) long history of influencing state legislators—sometimes even writing legislation for them—to pass laws and promote policies that advance a corporate profit agenda, and at times an extreme conservative agenda, is well documented.
Forest Service wields an uncommon mining law
by Marshall Swearingen
The Mining Law of 1872 is famously generous to miners when it comes to granting them rights to the riches on public lands. But in northern Idaho, a scuffle between miners and the Forest Service hinges on a related, but lesser-known law: the Mining Claims Rights Restoration Act of 1955. And unlike the 1872 law, this law gives the public lands agency the upper hand in dealing with mining on public lands.
Nigerian farmer wins against Shell oil
by Yvonne Ndege
Today's ruling in the Netherlands which found the Nigerian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell guilty of causing pollution, is a historic legal victory for oil producing communities in Nigeria and probably across Africa.
72 year old fish farmer Friday Akpan, from Akwa Ibom State, one of Nigeria's richest oil producing states, was one of four fish farmers who was able to prove that Shell Nigeria, the subsidiary of one of the world's most profitable companies Royal Dutch Shell, which made more than $30 billion dollars in profit in 2011, failed to properly maintain oil pipelines and other installations in Ikot Ada Udo community. Shell Nigeria's negligence led to oil spills that devastated Friday Akpan's 47 fishponds.
State of California Orders Walmart-Contracted Warehouse to Pay More than $1 Million in Stolen Wages
The state of California has ordered a Southern California warehouse that processes merchandise for Walmart and other retailers to pay 865 workers more than $1 million in stolen wages.
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued the citations Monday, Jan. 28 against Quetico, LLC, a large warehouse complex in Chino, California. Back wages and unpaid overtime total more than $1.1million and in addition the state issued about $200,000 in penalties.
Hey Citizen, Can You Spare $1,000? How About $10 Million?
by Blair Bowie
, Huffington Post
When was the last time you contributed $1,000 to a political candidate or cause? If you’re like most people, the answer is “Never -- if I have that kind of money it’s in the college savings account.”
Well, candidates for the U.S. Senate this election got nearly 64 percent of the money they raised from individuals in contributions of at least $1,000 -- from just four one-hundredths of one percent of the population.
An Outrageous Form of Corporate Waste
by Alyce Lomax
Shareholders invest in publicly traded companies for many reasons, not least of which is to make decent returns. Generally speaking, investors hope their companies invest capital into productive channels: inventing, innovating, delighting customers with their products, and otherwise paving the road to growth, leading to fantastic financial results over the long haul.
Missouri Bill Introduced to Require GM Fish and Meat Labeling
A state Senator from St. Louis has introduced a bill requiring the labeling of genetically modified meat and fish in Missouri.
State Sen. Jemilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) introduced Senate Bill 155 this week.
“While I understand that food production is an integral Missouri industry, I don’t feel the trend of biotechnology and genetically engineered foods is always apparent to the average citizen, “ said Sen. Nasheed. “I am merely asking for clarity in the sale of certain genetically engineered, or GE, foods to Missouri’s customers.”
The global water grab
by Shiney Varghese
Writing in National Geographic in December 2012 about “small-scale irrigation techniques with simple buckets, affordable pumps, drip lines, and other equipment” that “are enabling farm families to weather dry seasons, raise yields, diversify their crops, and lift themselves out of poverty” water expert Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project cautioned against reckless land and water-related investments in Africa. “[U]nless African governments and foreign interests lend support to these farmer-driven initiatives, rather than undermine them through land and water deals that benefit large-scale, commercial schemes, the best opportunity in decades for societal advancement in the region will be squandered.”
Organic Farming Crucial to Food Security, Addressing Climate Change
As the world begins to wrestle with rising food insecurity associated with climate change, a report from Worldwatch points to the crucial role organic farming plays.
Not only is organically produced food more nutritious, but it sustains livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries, because unlike conventional agriculture, it relies on labor. And it increases crop yields.
Do You Live in One of the 32 States that Has Been Fracked?
by Natural Resources Defense Council By Matthew McFeeley
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a “progress report” on its ongoing study of hydraulic fracturing and the impacts of fracking on drinking water. The progress report contains a lot of interesting information, but one particular map caught my eye. The map shows that fracking has occurred in more states than previously known, including places like Arizona, Nevada and Maryland. All in all, we now know that fracking has occurred in at least 32 states since 2005.
SEC's Republicans won't back political disclosure rule
by By Sarah N. Lynch | Reuters – 20 hrs ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is not enough support among top U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials to advance a proposal that would require companies to disclose their political spending, a Republican commissioner said on Wednesday.
Daniel Gallagher said the agency had other priorities, and said the two Republican commissioners would not back such a measure.
With the SEC currently divided between two Democrats and two Republicans, the lack of support effectively kills for now the measure which has been pushed by disclosure activists.
Climate Change Series: Where Science And Ethics Meet
What do we mean when we talk about the imminent threat of rapid and irreversible climate change?
And what ethical responsibilities do we — especially those of us in the societies most responsible for the emission of destabilizing greenhouse gases — have in the face of that threat?
Harvard chemist James Anderson and Northeastern philosopher Ronald Sandler examine the interplay of science and ethics as Cognoscenti and the Open Classroom kick off our series Climate Change. Challenges. Solutions.
The Business Case for DISCLOSURE
What makes a company decide, in the wake of the Citizens United decision, NOT to spend money on T.V. and radio ads about candidates? Fear of reprisal? For some, sure, especially when those companies which spent money directly in the 2010 Midterms got heat from shareholders and customers.
The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government.
Create A Better Future Now
Polling shows that the vast majority of people in the United States, no matter what political party they belong to, oppose the Citizens United decision. We need to tap into this energy.
Environmentalists, forest industry struggle to complete Great Bear Rainforest conservation plan
by Gordon Hamilton
Environmentalists are ready to give up on negotiations over the acclaimed Great Bear Rainforest conservation agreement, saying the forest industry is not moving quickly enough to achieve ecological and economic goals in the world’s largest temperate rainforest.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Environmentalists+forest+industry+struggle+complete+Great+Bear+Rainforest+conservation/7776998/story.html#ixzz2HpU24Wve
The U.S. Chamber, Citizens United, and Federal Elections
Citizens United made it possible for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money from their general treasuries on ads for or against candidates. Corporations which did this directly in the 2010 elections faced backlash from shareholders and customers. Many corporations chose to fund the ads they wanted through the U.S. Chamber instead.
Corporations and carpools
by Tim Redmond
I absolutely love this story: A Marin activist named Jonathan Frieman, who runs a small nonprofit corporation (the JoMiJo Foundation) was driving in the carpool lane on highway 101 in Marin when he was stopped by a cop and given a $478 ticket. Ah, but Frieman insists he wasn't driving alone; beside him in the car were the articles of incorporation and other relevant corporate paperwork for his foundation — and in the United States, corporations are considered people. In fact, the California Vehicle Code refers to “natural persons or corporations.”
King Coal Gets a Boost through ALEC
As Americans experienced epic droughts, freakish hurricanes, and other extreme weather over the past few years, many are eager to see our nation secure a sustainable energy supply for the future that won’t break our climate. But others – most notably the polluting fossil fuel industries – are eager to double down on the same old technologies that are responsible for the climate crisis in the first place.
Fossil fuel industry lobbyists descended upon the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual policy summit in Washington, DC last month. The Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force met again to discuss new ways to block renewable energy and encourage the burning of fossil fuels. On the docket, a new bill, that would end run the EPA and promote the development of new coal mines (or something like that that is much more specific).
Top 10 Stakeholder Issues 2013
As a team, The Future 500 staff, board, and senior fellows believe passionately in the promise of corporations and NGOs coming together to advance systemic solutions to our most urgent sustainability challenges. Each Fall, we hold a series of strategic planning meetings where we synthesize the trends we see, outlining our core issues of focus for the coming year and beyond.
From that promise, we identify what we anticipate are the Top 10 issues that activists and corporations will likely contend with in the coming. For 2013, we have expanded our focus beyond the top overarching issues to identify the key issues facing key sectors in which we work: Energy, Technology, and Consumer Brands.
The Irish Media and the Corrib Gas Project
by by Foras Teamhrach
, The Speckled Blog
On the 22 April 2009, a protest was taking place at the site in Glengad, Co. Mayo where the Corrib Gas Pipeline is planned to come ashore. This site had been occupied by protesters for weeks, attempting to prevent the erection of fencing by Shell, despite the apparent lack of planning permission. Winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize and member of the Rossport 5 Willie Corduff lay under a Shell truck, preventing work from continuing. According to Mr. Corduff’s statement, in an attempt to remove him from beneath the truck, Gardaí threw stones and insulted him. At 11.30pm, what Shell to Sea describes as “a handful of protestors” unravelled some fencing surrounding the site. 
David Ravelo and the Struggle for Colombia
by Tom Whitney
Colombian political prisoner David Ravelo, jailed since September 14, 2010, learned late in November, 2012, that he had been convicted and sentenced to 18 years in jail. His case, based on spurious evidence, reflects epic military, police, and judicial repression carried out under a regime of big landowners and the urban elite. After 50 years they are still intent upon military victory over insurgents defending agrarian rights. Ravelo’s case deserves attention: Colombia’s prison population has increased 30 percent during the tenure of President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombian jails now house 10,000 political prisoners, Ravelo’s human rights record is exemplary, and his case has taken on every sign of a judicial frame-up.
Matt Taibbi: After Laundering $800 Million in Drug Money, How Did HSBC Executives Avoid Jail?
by Matt Taibbi
The banking giant HSBC has escaped indictment for laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and groups linked to al-Qaeda. Despite evidence of wrongdoing, the U.S. Department of Justice has allowed the bank to avoid prosecution and pay a $1.9 billion fine. No top HSBC officials will face charges, either. We’re joined by Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi, author of "Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History." "You can do real time in jail in America for all kinds of ridiculous offenses," Taibbi says. "Here we have a bank that laundered $800 million of drug money, and they can’t find a way to put anybody in jail for that. That sends an incredible message, not just to the financial sector but to everybody. It’s an obvious, clear double standard, where one set of people gets to break the rules as much as they want and another set of people can’t break any rules at all without going to jail." [includes rush transcript]
Let’s Keep Making Noise About Why Organics Matter
This is a guest post from Anne Pernick, Executive Director of Corporate Ethics International and the Business Ethics Network. The Business Ethics Network (BEN) is a project of Corporate Ethics International, a 501(c)(3) working to bring corporations back in service to and under the control of the citizenry.
This year has brought quite a dust up about organic food. The controversy tells us much more about our need to be spokespeople about the issues we care about than it does about organics, however.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/lets-keep-making-noise-about-why-organics-matter.html#ixzz2FBDST9Li
Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation’s Underground Water Supply
by by Abrahm Lustgarten
Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.
In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.
We got a copy of the subpoena Chevron sent a rebellious shareholder
by By Philip Bump
Chevron has a lot of money. Which is a good thing, because lawyers are expensive, and Chevron has developed quite an affinity for lawyers. And if you’re a Chevron shareholder who dares speak out, expect to hear from them.
The fossil fuel giant faces an $18 billion fine levied by a court in Ecuador stemming from massive pollution in the Amazon rainforest throughout the 1970s and ’80s. Chevron is understandably loathe to write a check for that amount, given that it constitutes almost nine months’ worth of 2011 profits (or, if you prefer, 25 days worth of revenue). Instead, it would rather unleash an army of esquires who are already on retainer.
The racist roots of 'right to work' laws
by Chris Kromm
This week, Republican lawmakers in Michigan -- birthplace of the United Auto Workers and, more broadly, the U.S. labor movement -- shocked the nation by becoming the 24th state to pass "right-to-work" legislation, which allows non-union employees to benefit from union contracts.
Bayou Frack-Out: The Massive Oil and Gas Disaster You've Never Heard Of
by By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report
For residents in Assumption Parish, the boiling, gas-belching bayou, with its expanding toxic sinkhole and quaking earth is no longer a mystery; but there is little comfort in knowing the source of the little-known event that has forced them out of their homes.
Located about 45 miles south of Baton Rouge, Assumption Parish carries all the charms and curses of southern Louisiana. Networks of bayous, dotted with trees heavy with Spanish moss, connect with the Mississippi River as it slowly ambles toward the Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen and farmers make their homes there, and so does the oil and gas industry, which has woven its own network of wells, pipelines and processing facilities across the lowland landscape.
by PATRICK BOND
This week’s World Toilet Summit offers an opportunity to contemplate how we curate our crap. Increasingly the calculus seems to be cash, generating contradictions ranging from local to global scales, across race, gender, generation and geography. Nowhere are they more evident than in the host city, my hometown of Durban. We’ve suffered an 18-year era of neoliberal-nationalist malgovernance including toilet apartheid, in the wake of more than 150 years of colonialism and straight racial-apartheid.
BREAKING: Sustained Hunger Strike Launched with Blockade at Valero’s Houston Refinery
UPDATE: 4:00 PM – Diane and Bob Refuse Their First Meal in Jail – The Hunger Strike Has Begun
Blockading the dirty fuel and chemicals entering the Manchester community was just the opening salvo of Bob and Diane’s action. Today the two lifelong friends begin a sustained hunger strike to demand that Valero, which has made the largest commitment to tar sands from Keystone XL, divest entirely from this dangerous project and invest that money into the health and well-being of the people of Manchester. Hunger strikers will begin their protest in theHarris County Jail.
First Nation and Metis groups denied effective access to justice
November 26, 2012 Fort McMurray, AB – Today the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) received a decision from the Alberta Court of appeal dismissing their application for leave to appeal a decision of the Joint Review Panel to not review the adequacy of Crown consultation before deciding whether to approve Shell’s Jackpine Mine expansion project. The First Nation is extremely disappointed and is currently reviewing their options to address the lack of adequate consultation with respect to Shell’s tar sands project.
Photos Show Walmart Apparel at Site of Deadly Factory Fire in Bangladesh
by Josh Eidelson on November 26, 2012 - 11:41 AM ET
NGOs are slamming Walmart following a Saturday fire that killed at least 112 workers at a Bangladesh factory supplying apparel to the retail giant. While Walmart says it has not confirmed that it has any relationship to the factory, photos provided to The Nation show piles of clothes made for one of its exclusive brands.
In a statement e-mailed Sunday night, Walmart expressed sympathy for the victims’ families, and said that it was “trying to determine if the factory has a current relationship with Walmart or one of our suppliers…” The company called fire safety “a critically important area of Walmart’s factory audit program,” and said that it has been “working across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.” Walmart added that it has “partnered with several independent organizations to develop and roll out fire safety training tools for factory management and workers.”
How Big Oil Spent Part of Its $90 Billion in Profits So Far in 2012
by By Daniel J. Weiss and Jackie Weidman
, EcoWatch/Center for American Progress
Lingering high oil and gasoline prices contributed to another quarter of huge profits for the big five oil companies: BP plc, Chevron Corp, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp and the Royal Dutch Shell Group. They earned a combined $28 billion in the third quarter of 2012, reaping more than $90 billion in profits through the first three quarters of the year (see Table 1). As they did last year, the “big five” are on track to easily exceed $100 billion in profits this year.
Everyone hates Citizens United
by Alex Seitz-Wald
Maybe it’s the fact that people are tired of having their favorite TV shows as a side dish to political attack ads this time of year, but a new poll shows that Americans think there’s way too much money in politics. Almost 90 percent of respondents agree there’s too much corporate money in politics, with 51 percent strongly agreeing, according to a new poll released today by the Corporate Reform Coalition. The poll of 804 Americans was conducted by the Democratic-leaning P.R. firm Bannon Communications.
Lies, Damned Lies And Coal Company Biologists
by Ted Zukoski
, Earth Justice
Coal companies have been blasting mountains, dumping waste rock into streams, and undermining private and public lands for more than a century. It’s apparently lucrative to do so.
But a recent filing by a coal company shows just how far they have drunk their own Kool-Aid (or coal ash?) in justifying the damage mining can cause.
How the Komen Board is Cashing in on Shale Gas Pinkwashing Fracking?
by STEVE HORN
The Wizard of Oz was spot on when he said to “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” That’s good life advice if you fall into the “Ignorance is bliss” camp. For a journalist though, it’s doing the exact opposite that’s a sin qua non for the job.
Kevin Begos of the Associated Press took the Wizard’s advice to heart in his July 22 story titled, “Experts: Some fracking critics use bad science.”
World Bank Refuses Call to Halt Land Deals
by By Carey L. Biron
The World Bank has rejected a call to suspend its involvement in large scale agricultural land acquisition following the release of a major report by the international aid agency Oxfam on the negative impact of international land speculation in developing countries.
“We share the concerns Oxfam raised in their report,” the bank stated in an unusually lengthy public rebuttal to the Oxfam Report. “However, we disagree with Oxfam’s call for a moratorium on World Bank Group…investments in land intensive large-scale agricultural enterprises, especially during a time of rapidly rising global food prices.”
Nicaragua Withdraws from School of the Americas
by Collette Cosner - Yes! magazine
, Nation of Change
After a meeting on September 4 with international peace activists from School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) and Nicanet, president Daniel Ortega announced that Nicaragua would withdraw its troops from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC)—formerly and more widely known as the School of the Americas (SOA). A combat training school located in Fort Benning, Georgia, the WHINSEC is notorious for training Latin American military personnel in techniques of repression, including human rights violations such as torture, forced disappearance, and selective assassination.
TPP: Corporate Power Tool of the 1%
Have you heard? The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” agreement is a stealthy policy being pressed by corporate America, a dream of the 1 percent, that in one blow could:
offshore millions of American jobs,
free the banksters from oversight,
ban Buy America policies needed to create green jobs and rebuild our economy,
decrease access to medicine,
flood the U.S. with unsafe food and products,
and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards.
Closed-door talks are on-going between the U.S. and Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam; with countries like Japan and China potentially joining later. 600 corporate advisors have access to the text, while the public, Members of Congress, journalists, and civil society are excluded. And so far what we know about what's in there is very scary!
Activists warned to watch what they say as social media monitoring becomes 'next big thing in law enforcement'
by Kevin Rawlinson
Political activists must watch what they say on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, sites which will become the “next big thing in law enforcement”, a leading human rights lawyer has warned.
John Cooper QC said that police are monitoring key activists online and that officers and the courts are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to social media. But, speaking to The Independent, he added that he also expected that to drive an increase in the number of criminals being brought to justice in the coming months.
Science and human rights: a valuable perspective
by David Dickson
Promoting a human rights approach to S&T advances will reinforce moves towards inclusive development. But implementation challenges remain.
There was a time when debates on the links between science and human rights focused on the plight of individual scientists, and in particular on their rights — both as humans and as intellectuals — to the freedom of expression.
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Key nonprofit coalition partners in the Campaign include the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (represented by Clean Water Action and Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition), the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth and Women’s Voices for the Earth. The Breast Cancer Fund, a national 501(c)(3) organization focused on preventing breast cancer by identifying and eliminating the environmental links to the disease, serves as the national coordinator for the Campaign.
Campaign to Shut Down the Crawford and Fisk Coal Plants
Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, Eco-Justice Collaborative, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Environment Illinois, Greenpeace, Faith in Place, Illinois Student Environmental Coalition, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Nuclear Energy Information Service, Pilsen Alliance, Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization, Protestants for the Common Good, Rainforest Action Network Chicago, Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, Doctor’s Council SEIU, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Southeast Environmental Task Force
Wal-Mart drops plans for first-ever New York City store in Brooklyn
by By Martinne Geller, Reuters
Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday it had failed to reach a deal with a developer to have a store in Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood, dealing the company a setback in its attempt to open its first location in the largest U.S. city.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, had been in talks with Related Companies to open a store that would have anchored the Gateway Two Plaza development in Brooklyn. A Shop Rite supermarket will instead occupy that space.
'NAFTA on Steroids': New Round of Secret Trade Negotiations Begins
Trade negotiators from the US and eight other Pacific Rim countries met outside of Washington, DC Wednesday, commencing a new round of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement negotiations, also known as 'Nafta on steroids.'
The TPP negotiations began in 2007 and have been carried through by the Obama administration and several Pacific nations under conditions of 'extreme secrecy' without press, public or policymaker oversight. Although most of the content involved in the discussions have been kept in secret, document leaks have revealed that negotiators are working out deals which could hamper free speech on the Internet, reduce access to affordable medicines, deregulate environmental laws, and harm labor rights around the world.
Famine, Global Poverty and The Destruction of the Family Farm
by By Julie Lévesque
, Global Research
The fundamental causes of famine and poverty are rarely exposed in the mainstream media and too often obfuscated by an unconsciously racist worldview in which people in underdeveloped countries are the authors of their own misfortunes. The underlying economic and social roots of poverty are actually the expression of centuries of domination of the North over the South.
To honestly address poverty issues would require a fundamental reform in an unfair global economic system based, among other things, on the outright takeover of farming by corporate agribusiness, leading to the social demise of large sectors of the rural population.
Podcast: Kim Barker on the Tactics Fueling Dark Money
by by Minhee Cho ProPublica,
Super PACs have been lauded as the ultimate game changers this election season, but ProPublica's Kim Barker points us to their often-ignored cousins, social welfare nonprofit groups, otherwise known as 501(c)(4)s, and how they're bankrolling the campaigns. These nonprofits have already spent more than $71 million on TV ads mentioning a candidate for president, more than all super PACs combined, according to estimates from Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group. They continue to use questionable tactics to pour dark money into elections.
Corporate America’s newest union insult
by David Sirota
Big Industrial Ag pretends to go organic. PC behemoths mimic Apple products. Barack Obama goes to the right of the Republicans on civil liberties. Mitt Romney suddenly portrays himself as a left-leaning moderate on immigration. It seems no matter the arena, the most cliched move in corporate and political combat is to co-opt an opponent’s message, expecting nobody to notice or care.
China’s Oceans: Basically Unhealthy!
by Posted by Kristen McDonald / August 17th, 2012
, Pacific Environment
Which one is true: “Oceanic environment ‘basically healthy’ in 2011” or “Marine environment deteriorating”? China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) just issued its 2011 state of the oceans report. The news articles cited above both discuss the report and were released on the same day, suggesting the SOA report leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
The results are that China’s marine species – such as spotted seals, sea turtles, and sharks – are disappearing
How Politicians and the Press Overstated Military Budget Cuts by $100 Billion
by by Justin Elliott
Anxiety is rising in Washington about the big cuts to military spending slated to go into effect in January unless Congress takes action.Republicans, defense industry executives, and some Democrats are arguing hard against the automatic cuts, which were the result of last summer’s deal to raise the debt ceiling and would also cut nondefense spending equally. Multiple members of Congress have warned that slashing defense spending by $600 billion would devastate the military, with Sen. Lindsey Graham this month predicting the cuts would deal “a death blow to our ability to defend ourselves.”
Toxic Wastewater Dumped in Streets and Rivers at Night: Gas Profiteers Getting Away With Shocking Environmental Crimes
by By Aaron Skirboll
Allan Shipman was found guilty of illegally dumping millions of gallons of natural gas drilling wastewater. But he's part of a much bigger problem.Ken Dufalla sits at a table inside Laverne’s Restaurant on Route 188 in Waynesburg, PA. The former park ranger, 65, is sporting a camouflaged trucker’s hat and enjoying Laverne’s cream of chicken and biscuits with mashed potatoes. It’s midmorning, between the breakfast crowd and the lunch patrons. Waiters and waitresses are attentive and the coffee is flowing.
Johnson & Johnson to Remove Formaldehyde From Products
by By KATIE THOMAS
Johnson & Johnson, which makes a range of personal care products like baby shampoo, acne cream and antiwrinkle lotion, announced plans Wednesday to remove a host of potentially harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, from its line of consumer products by the end of 2015, becoming the first major consumer products company to make such a widespread commitment.
Success Reported in Safeguarding a Butterfly Habitat
by By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: August 15, 2012
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Illegal logging has been practically eliminated in the western Mexico wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly, according to a research report released Wednesday, and Mexican officials now hope to use the successful program of antilogging patrols and payments to rural residents to resolve other forestry conflicts.
Belo Monte Dam Suspended by High Brazilian Court
by Zachary Hurwitz
, International Rivers
Federal Judge Souza Prudente of the Federal Tribunal of Brazil's Amazon region suspended all work today on the Belo Monte Dam, invalidating the project's environmental and installation licenses.
While the project has been suspended previously on numerous occasions, and those suspensions overturned on political grounds, this latest decision could have some legs. The decision breaks down in the following way:
Mexico: Monsanto loses to Yucatan beekeepers
Source: The Yucatan Times, August 6, 2012
Beekeepers have succeeded in preventing, through two suspensions obtained in amparo (specialized protection), the seeding of transgenic soy for 253,500 hectares in Campeche, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz, and Chiapas.
Will Chevron Ever Come Clean?
New America Media
Sierraclub.org, First Person, Michael Brune , Posted: Aug 11, 2012
For thousands of people in the San Francisco Bay Area communities of Richmond, North Richmond, San Pablo, and El Cerrito, last Monday was a night of terror.
Keystone XL pipeline may threaten aquifer that irrigates much of the central U.S.
by By Steven Mufson,
LINCOLN, NEB. — Jane Kleeb is a savvy activist who, Nebraska’s Republican governor once said, “has a tendency to shoot her mouth off most days.” A Florida native who moved to Nebraska in 2007 after marrying a rancher active in Democratic politics, she did as much as anyone to bring the massive Keystone XL crude oil pipeline to a halt last year.
Miracle-Gro goes out on a limb with donation
by T.W. Farnam
In an election year filled with secret campaign money, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has made the unlikely choice to go public with a big political donation. The Ohio-based company, familiar as the producer of a ubiquitous plant fertilizer, is now a political player, donating $200,000 in June to the Restore Our Future super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Hope: A Message to the Movement
Last week I walked out of federal prison, flew home, and was greeted by my smiling parents at the airport gate. Unlike most other prisoners, I didn’t have to take a 14 hour Greyhound bus; or use my bright red, inmate ID card; nor wear my prison clothes en route. My privilege returned to me the moment of my release. Friends picked me up and drove me to the Westin hotel for a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream. Although it was July 11th and there was a heat wave burning through the country, I was still cold from my incarceration.
TV News Is Not Aware Of This Libor Scandal Of Which You Speak
by Mark Gongloff
Maybe instead of asking why Americans don't care about the Libor scandal, we should be asking whether they've even heard of it.
The scandal that has been not-crazily called the biggest financial scandal in history has gotten all of zero minutes' air time on the ABC and NBC nightly news broadcasts and only a little more time than that on CBS and the major cable news channels, according to a report by the progressive media watchdog Media Matters.
Keystone Moves North, Where Big Oil Is Losing
by Jeff Goodell
, Rolling Stone
When president Obama halted the Keystone XL pipeline last January, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper revved up an alternative scheme to deliver oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta to the international market: Sell the oil to the Chinese. Within weeks, Harper was traveling to China to personally court Chinese president Hu Jintao and push a new route for the pipeline – one that would establish Canada as a leading petro-state, a kind of North American Saudi Arabia with ice hockey.
Third viral outbreak on Mainstream farm
Friends of Clayoquot Sound
Mainstream Canada announced Monday they have detected the Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) virus on another one of their open net-cage salmon farms in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The virus was found at the Millar Channel farm, which is located in between Mainstream’s Dixon Bay and Bawden Bay farms, both of which tested positive for the same virus in May.
Diseased fish shed viral particles, which can then pass through the open net-cages and come in contact with the gills of other fish both within the farm and in surrounding ocean waters, thus transmitting the disease. The Dixon Bay farm could have been shedding billions of IHN particles per day. Because salmon farms are located in areas with strong tidal flow to disperse the feces from hundreds of thousands of fish contained in close proximity, these same tidal currents can spread viral particles many kilometres.
The Hidden Epidemic Of Murder: Environmentalists Are Being Killed In Record Numbers Around The World
by by George Black, via OnEarth
Three weeks ago, photographer Ron Haviv and I were in Cajamarca, Peru, where the Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation plans to spend $4.8 billion on a new gold mine, Conga, in an environmentally sensitive area of the high Andes. The project has provoked massive opposition, and as I described in my last column, Haviv and I were detained by security officials when we tried to visit the mine site and later tear-gassed by riot police during a demonstration protesting the killing of five opponents of the Conga project earlier that day.
United Steel Workers and California Labor Federation Stand Up for Colombian Unions and Peace
by James Jordan
, Alliance for Global Justice
North American unionists have taken a significant step forward in solidarity with Colombian unionists-one that raises intriguing possibilities for the development of a new kind of worker to worker internationalism. Both the United Steel Workers (USW) and the California Labor Federation (CLF) have spoken out on behalf of the the beleaguered peasant labor federation FENSUAGRO (the National Unitary Federation of Agricultural Unions), with special attention called to their role in the Patriotic March. The Patriotic March (Marcha Patriótica) is a new Colombian popular mobilization that advocates for a political solution to the country’s decades long armed and social conflict. It is not a single event, but an ongoing campaign.