Apr. 15, 2013
Good morning, you are listening to The Daily GRRR! on 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and Soundfm.ca on the web.
We are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, Grand River Territory of the Six Nations (Haudenosaunee).
Grand River Radical Radio is a project of the Grand River Media Collective; visit us on the web at grandrivermc.ca
The Daily GRRR! is supported by WPIRG, LSPIRG, and the Community Radio Fund of Canada.
My name is Weslie and I will be your host today for The Daily GRRR! with our Defending the Land: Dispatch edition.
We begin today with headlines:
<strong>1. Thousands protest in Greece against Canadian gold mine project</strong>
<strong>2. Muskrat Falls Inuit arrested battling Churchill River hydroelectric dam in Labrador</strong>
<strong>3. Chinese authoriites squash protests by traditional Mongol herders against state land-grabs</strong>
<strong>4. Awá Peoples send another urgent plea to evict loggers from their homeland</strong>
<strong>5. Indigenous Amazonian community will “go to war” with Brazilian government over dam projects</strong>
<strong>6. Update: ELF prisoner Daniel McGowan forbidden from publishing articles without government permission</strong>
<strong>7. Event: ‘Movement for Justice in El Barrio’ Speaking Tour stops in KW</strong>
1. <strong>Thousands protest in Greece against Canadian gold mine project</strong>
Thousands of Greek protesters on Saturday rallied against a Canadian gold mining project underway in the northeastern region of Halkidiki, which locals say will cause irreversible damage to the environment.
About 2,000 people took part in the march in Athens and another 1,500 in Greece’s second-largest city Thessaloniki. Carrying banners against the project run by Hellenic Gold, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Eldorado Gold, the demonstrators chanted: “We want forests, land and water, not a grave made out of gold.”
“Fields full of cyanide and arsenic, that is what remains from gold” was another slogan. They also called for the release of two people who were arrested earlier this week in connection with a sabotage attack carried out on the mining worksite two months ago.
Citizens’ groups have been trying to halt the project since 2011, when the Greek government gave Hellenic Gold permission to dig in the region.
While the company has boasted that its project will create hundreds of jobs in the recession-hit country — where the unemployment rate has topped 27 percent — opponents have retorted with the dangerous facts that it will drain and contaminate local water reserves and fill the air with hazardous chemicals including lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury. Frequent marches have taken place in recent months, with protesters enjoying the backing of main opposition radical leftist party Syriza, the second-largest in parliament.
In the February attack, dozens of hooded activists firebombed Hellenic Gold’s worksite, injuring a guard and damaging equipment. Earlier this week, angry locals trashed the police station of the nearby Ierissos village over claims that officers had used excessive force in the pre-dawn arrest of the pair suspected to be linked to the sabotage attack.
2. <strong>Muskrat Falls Inuit arrested battling Churchill River hydroelectric dam in Labrador</strong>
Seventy-four-year-old Inuit Elder James Learning has ended a hunger strike and been released from jail after being arrested along with seven others protesting the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam on the Churchill River in Labrador. Though seven were released on bail the same day, Learning refused to sign a written promise to stay off the land on the grounds that doing so would extinguish his aboriginal title and rights to his people's traditional territories.
At issue is the Muskrat Falls power project, a $7.7-billion plan to build a hydroelectric power station and a new dam on the Churchill River. The project would also see massive transmission lines installed to supply power to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Several months after a judge issued an unusual permanent injunction against disruption of dam construction, members of the community blocked the Trans-Labrador Highway on April 5 in protest over what they see as being shut out of any negotiating processes, the community council said. But another of the arrestees says the protesters, who have been fighting for decades to gain full national recognition as Inuit descendants in Canada's easternmost province, are undaunted.
“We've been pushed around for generations,” said Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council (formerly the Labrador Métis Association), who was taken into custody along with Elder James Learning for blocking roads to protest the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. “We will defend ourselves in the court system, but we will continue to assert our aboriginal rights to our traditional territory, and we will continue to mount protest after protest if that's what it takes to have our views known and our rights respected.”
The community council has been locked in a battle for government recognition for years. Also known as Inuit-Métis or Labrador Métis, the community traces its lineage to Inuit people living along the Atlantic coast in Labrador who signed a treaty with Europeans in 1765. When research revealed in 2006 that the Labrador Métis, though mixed blood, are direct descendants of the Inuit, the Labrador Métis Association renamed itself the NunatuKavut Community Council, meaning “our ancient land.”
3. <strong>Chinese authorities squash protests by traditional Mongol herders against state land-grabs</strong>
Earlier this month, authorities in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region blocked an attempted cross-country march by traditional Mongol herders, with police assaulting hundreds in two incidents. In the first incident, herders gathered at Hohhot train station on March 1, intending to march nearly 500 kilometers to Beijing. But police quickly arrived and broke up the gathering, according to the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center. The following day, troops in a dozen police vehicles descended on Halgait village, breaking up another group that intended to march on Beijing. The herders hoped to arrive in Beijing for the meeting of the National People’s Congress to protest confiscation of grazing lands.
In addition to land-grabbing by corrupt officials, some grazing lands have been seized for new military bases. According to reports received from the impacted communities, 1,767 herders from 470 households had recently been displaced for the expansion of the Beijing Military Command’s Zureh Military Training Base. The base, which is the largest of its kind in China, already occupies around 1,000 square kilometers of the best grassland in Inner Mongolia\\.
Some lands are also being turned over to mining operations. The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center has cited reports of herders being beaten by goons in the employ of the Yi Cheng Coal Mining company when they protested the seizure of their lands. The Center has charged that herders in Inner Mongolia have been “continuously displaced” without adequate compensation.
Internet posts about the marches being shut down were removed from blogs and social media. A Beijing-based activist named Yu Guofu was accused of being an “anti-revolutionary” and threatened with arrest by local authorities in for posting information online about the March 2 incident.
4. <strong>Awá Peoples send another urgent plea to evict loggers from their homeland</strong>
The Awa Peoples have issued another appeal to the Brazilian government urging the immediate eviction of loggers, ranchers and settlers who have illegally occupied the Awa’s forest homelands northeast of the country. A government survey estimates there could be “up to 4,500 invaders, ranchers, loggers and settlers” occupying just one of the Awa’s four territories, whose own total population stands at just over 450.
According to Survival International, a federal judge previously ruled that the government must remove the invaders by the end of March 2013; however, “not a single person has yet been evicted”. The Awá are becoming increasingly desperate as the illegal loggers continue to close in on them and settlers continue to encroach on their territory.
In a rare video appeal to Brazil’s Minister of Justice, an Awá man said: “I am angry, very angry… The loggers come here and chop down the trees… The Minister of Justice in Brasília can help us here, now. He must help us now!” Another Awá man stated, “For a long time, we have been asking for the invaders to be evicted. It has to happen now. They must be removed. The loggers have already destroyed many areas; we refuse to lose all our land.”
The Awa face many different threats as a result of the invasion and destruction of their territory. For one, there is a very high risk of confrontation should the Awa cross paths with any of the invaders. Over the last seven months there have been two such documented attacks: In September 2012, an Awá man was left for dead after being brutally attacked by a group of loggers; and in January 2013, an Awá girl was reportedly ‘burned alive’ following another attack. Feeling threatened by the possibility of further violence, many Awa now avoid entering the forest to hunt and gather food. The pressure on the Awa’s subsistence economy is also increasing as more and more trees are felled.
5. <strong>Indigenous Amazonian community will “go to war” with Brazilian government over dam projects</strong>
An Amazonian community has threatened to “go to war” with the Brazilian government after what they say is a military incursion into their land by dam builders. The Munduruku Indigenous people in Para, Brazil, state say they have been betrayed by the authorities, who are pushing ahead with plans to build a cascade of hydropower plants on the Tapajós river without their permission. Public prosecutors, human rights groups, environmental organisations and Christian missionaries have all condemned what they call the government’s strong-arm tactics.
According to witnesses in the area, helicopters, soldiers and armed police have been involved in “Operation Tapajós”, which aims to conduct an environmental impact assessment needed for the proposed construction of the 6,133 megawatt dam. Under Brazilian law, major infrastructure projects require prior consultation with indigenous communities. Federal prosecutors say this has not happened and urge the courts to block the scheme which, they fear, could lead to bloodshed. In a statement released, they emphasised that “the Munduruku have already stated on several occasions that they do not support studies for hydroelectric plants on their land unless there is full prior consultation.” However, a court ruling last week gave the go-ahead for the survey.
Officials say the “security” presence is for the safety of the survey scientists and the local population, but missionaries have decried the presence of armed troops near Sawré Maybu village as intimidating, degrading and an unacceptable violation of the rights of the residents. “In this operation, the federal government has been threatening the lives of the people,” the Indigenous Missionary Council said. “It is unacceptable and illegitimate for the government to impose dialogue at the tip of a bayonet.”
The group added that Munduruku leaders ended a phone call with representatives of the president with a declaration of war. They have also issued open letters calling for an end to the military operation. “We are not bandits. We feel betrayed, humiliated and disrespected by all this,” a letter states.
One of the community’s leaders, Valdenir Munduruku, has warned that locals will take action if the government does not withdraw its taskforce by 10 April, when the two sides are set to talk. He has called for support from other indigenous groups, such as the Xingu, facing similar threats from hydroelectric dams. Environmental groups have also expressed concern, as the 1,200-mile waterway is home to more than 300 fish species and provides sustenance to some of the most biodiverse forest habitats on Earth. Ten indigenous groups inhabit the basin, along with several tribes in voluntary isolation.
6. <strong>Update: ELF prisoner Daniel McGowan forbidden from publishing articles without government permission</strong>
We regret to bring you this update now, following on a story reported in a previous Defending the Land: Dispatch. Last week, we told you that Earth Liberation Front activist Daniel McGowan was re-arrested for publishing an article in The Huffington Post. McGowan has been serving the remainder of his 7-year-sentence in a halfway house in Brooklyn, and the article publicised the political reasons for which he was imprisoned in high-security control management units. He was taken into federal custody again on the basis of that he had violated a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) regulation prohibiting inmates from "publishing under a byline”. However, since that regulation was declared unconstitutional in 2007, Daniel was once again released and returned to his halfway house the following day.
But we have since learned that, upon his return, McGowan was presented with a document and made to sign it. The document states that McGowan is “not permitted to have any contact with the media without approval from the Residential Reentry Manager. Accordingly, Resident McGowan was advised that writing articles, appearing in any type of television or media outlets, news reports and or documentaries without prior BOP approval is strictly prohibited."
Not only is this unconstitutional, it is worth noting that McGowan hadn't been asked to sign this document when he first arrived at the halfway house - nor, as far as his lawyers can tell, has anyone else there been asked to sign it. In fact, there's nothing in the Bureau of Prison's published media policy that requires pre-approval before publishing anything. This is another frustrating development in Daniel McGowan’s case, which is hoped to resolve with the conclusion of his sentence in June.
7. <strong>Event: ‘Movement for Justice in El Barrio’ Speaking Tour stops in KW</strong>
Monday, April 15th
Downtown Community Centre (35B Weber St. W, Kitchener)
The Movement for Justice in El Barrio was founded by immigrants and low-income people of color of East Harlem to fight for dignity and against neoliberal displacement.
Movement operates on a commitment to self-determination, autonomy, and participatory democracy.
Driven by multi-national corporations and profit-seeking landlords, and facilitated by city officials, gentrification has swept New York City, causing the wholesale displacement of low-income people of colour and immigrants from their communities. East Harlem is experiencing a wave of harassment, abuse, and intimidation as greedy landlords attempt to evict the community from their homes in order to raise rents and increase profits. With over 750 members, Movement has gone door-to-door, building-to-building, and block-to-block to organize with their fellow neighbors to build a neighborhood-wide movement for dignity and justice.
Deeply inspired by the Zapatistas, Movement has organized in the heart of NYC through community-led, horizontal, grassroots participatory democracy.
•Through their “Consultas del Barrio” process, thousands of community members participate directly in community-wide votes and town hall meetings.
• Movement has organized local and international "Encuentros" where representatives of groups have participated from across the world to share their struggles against neoliberal displacement.
Brought to you by Common Cause Kitchener-Waterloo. Food, coffee & refreshments will be provided.
Please email commoncausekwgmailcom for any questions or comments.
Location: Kitchener Downtown Community Centre: 35B Weber St. W - Senior's Day Program Room
Free event, everyone welcome.
Presented by Common Cause, Kitchener-Waterloo Solidarity Network and WPIRG.
That’s it for the day’s headlines, but we’ll continue our Defending the Land: Dispatch next with featured coverage of the Native Hawaiian resistance to use of their land for GMO experiments by Monsanto. So stay tuned for that in a few minutes’ time after we break for a little music. Here’s Dan Mangan singing “Basket”.
<strong>Midway Music</strong>: <em>Dan Mangan - "Basket”</em>
And we are back, you just heard Dan Mangan’s song "Basket" here on 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and Soundfm.ca on the web.
You are listening to The Daily GRRR! continuing today with more from our Defending the Land: Dispatch. I’m Weslie, your host for this morning’s show, taking you now into the feature portion of our broadcast with news of the Native Hawaiians standing up against use of their land for GMO experiments by Monsanto. We’re pleased to bring you this article from the Deep Green Resistance News Service.
That was an article from the Deep Green Resistance News Service, reporting on news of the Native Hawaiians standing up against use of their land for GMO experiments by Monsanto. Thanks for tuning in for The Daily GRRR!, heard Monday to Friday at 9am here on 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and Soundfm.ca on the web.
The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by WPIRG, LSPIRG, and the Community Radio Fund of Canada. Thank you for listening, and be sure to tune in again tomorrow for another edition of The Daily GRRR!
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