Naomi Klein On The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

It was 11 am and Evo Morales had turned a football stadium into a giant classroom, marshaling an array of props: paper plates, plastic cups, disposable raincoats, handcrafted gourds, wooden plates and multicolored ponchos. All came into play to make his main point: to fight climate change, “we need to recover the values of the indigenous people.”

Yet wealthy countries have little interest in learning these lessons and are instead pushing through a plan that at its best would raise average global temperatures 2 degrees Celsius. “That would mean the melting of the Andean and Himalayan glaciers,” Morales told the thousands gathered in the stadium, part of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. What he didn’t have to say is that the Bolivian people, no matter how sustainably they choose to live, have no power to save their glaciers.

Bolivia’s climate summit has had moments of joy, levity and absurdity. Yet underneath it all, you can feel the emotion that provoked this gathering: rage against helplessness.

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Why Argentina Is Better Than The US & UK

They tried and sentenced former leader Reynaldo Bignone for crimes against humanity,

Reynaldo Bignone, 82, was convicted along with five other former military officers for 56 cases involving torture, illegal detentions and other crimes in one of Argentina’s largest torture centres, the Campo de Mayo military base.

He was appointed president by the military junta in the waning years of the dictatorship and it fell to him to protect the military as Argentina returned to democracy. He granted amnesty to human rights violators and ordered the destruction of documents related to torture and disappearances of political opponents before agreeing to transfer power to the democratically elected Raul Alfonsin.

Argentina’s courts and congress eventually overturned the amnesty, and President Cristina Fernandez has made a priority of prosecuting leaders of the dictatorship.

At present there is ample evidence to justify a criminal investigation of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld & associates; Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Alastair Campbell & associates. Even without such an investigation there is a great deal of evidence of a torture program and an international conspiracy  in order to enable them to perpetrate the supreme crime of a war of aggression that all of them were party to. Subsequent behaviour by the Obama government strongly suggests he and associates are also engaged in criminal activities -torture, summary execution, destruction of evidence/covering up of previous administrations’ crimes.

Now admittedly it took Argentina 27 years to nail their former leader so I’m willing to be a little patient… a little. Also see Otto @ IKN, Uruguay also shows some impressive moves-

Uruguay has just slapped down one of its dictator-era scum today. Ex Chancellor in the dictator era Juan Carlos Blanco was this morning sentenced to 20 years behind bars. The guilty verdict was for his involvement in the disappearance of schoolteacher Elena Quinteros in 1976 and was determined to be a “very specially aggravated murder”.

There is still a way to go, about 30,000 people were ‘disappeared’ in Argentina’s dirty war there are many culprits, political and military figures who used the state apparatus to perpetrate the worst crimes imaginable.

murder, rape, torture, extortion, looting and other serious crimes went unpunished, as long as they were carried out within the framework of the political and ideological persecution

That ideological and political framework was in large part Neoliberal Shock Treatment, a political movement that now retains its h0ld on all the major parties of the US & UK making elections a mockery of actual democracy. Predictably the USA supported and cooperated with the regimes, a slight cooling off during Carter’s term was overturned by St. Ronnie who loved some Latin American blood on his hands, an aspect completely censored from the mainstream hagiographic necrophilia the Empire has for the late senile bad actor & bigot I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

The Anglosphere & North really thinks it is the bees knees, I think the rest of the world is disabusing us of that delusion, and not a moment too soon. Lead, follow or get out of the way; well our leadership is clearly a load of shit, so take note-

Prensa Latina April 20, 2010 — Cochabamba, Bolivia — Bolivia’s President Evo Morales Ayma condemned the capitalist system in the opening session of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth today.

Morales, speaking at the April 20 conference inauguration, started his speech with a slogan, “Planet or death, we shall overcome”. He said that harmony with nature could not exist while 1 per cent of the world’s population concentrates more than 50 per cent of the world’s riches. Capitalism is the main enemy of the Earth, only looking for profits, to the detriment of nature, and capitalism is a bridge for social  inequality.

More than 15,000 representatives from five continents were present at the Esteban Ramirez Ecological Stadium in Tuquipaya when Morales read a letter to future generations to alert of the danger the planet faces.

The letter, written by Morales, said the Earth is giving signals by means of earthquakes, seaquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, droughts and typhoons, so there is a great need to protect the planet.

In his letter, Morales called the attention to climate migrants, 50 million people going from one place to another, a number that could increase to up to 200 million in 2050, because of negative environmental impacts.

Bolivia’s president called on the peoples of the world to join together to face those who kill people and purchase weapons. If capitalism is not changed or eliminated, measures adopted to defend Mother Earth will be precarious and temporary.

Morales criticised the 15th UN climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a place where the voices of entire peoples and social organisations were not heard. “It is necessary that the UN member countries listen and respect the will of the peoples of the world”, he said.

He confirmed the creation of an alternative organisation of the peoples of the world in defence of nature.

The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth will conclude on April 22 with the celebration of International Day for the Mother Earth at the Felix Capriles Stadium in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This is a Bolivian proposal approved by the UN General Assembly in 2009.

According to the Bolivarian Information Agency, taking part in the summit are the presidents of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez; Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Paraguay, Fernando Lugo; Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega; and Bolivia, Evo Morales. Also present are two Nobel laureates: Argentinean Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu, among other personalities.

More than 50 scientists, social movement leaders, researchers, academics and artists have agreed to speak on 14 panels, including NASA scientist Jim Hansen; Bill McKibben, environmental journalist and leader of 350.org; Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva; best-selling author Naomi Klein; Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano; Miguel D’Escoto, former president of the UN General Assembly; Lumumba Di-Aping, former lead negotiator for the G77; along with leaders from leading environmental organisations and communities at the frontline of climate change.

Statement By UK Chagos Support Association On Miliband’s BIOT Scam

(BIOT – British Indian Ocean Territory consists of 55 tiny islands and a quarter of a million square miles of ocean)

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband has today announced the creation of a marine protected area (MPA) in the Chagos islands. The full text of his statement is available below.

Whilst committing the Government to the establishment of an MPA, Mr Miliband’s (no doubt carefully worded) statement frustratingly leaves open several key questions that the UK Chagos Support Association will be working to find answers to over the coming days and weeks.

In particular, the statement does not make clear whether the “no-take” marine reserve – the area within which any and all commercial fishing is comprehensively banned, which supporters of the Chagossians’ right of return believe would severely jeopardise their chances of resettling the islands – will stretch to include the entirety of the British Indian Ocean Territory, or whether ‘zones’ could be established within which limited, sustainable fishing could take place.

Secondly, the statement is careful to point out that the Government will “continue to work closely with all interested stakeholders” when implementing the MPA. Leaving aside the questionable usage of the word ‘continue,’ this does clearly leave open the possibility that the Chagossians – the indigenous people of the archipelago – could be involved in the planning, creation, and management of the eventual MPA; after all, even the FCO recognised the islanders as “stakeholders” during its consultation process.

Of course, it speaks volumes that the Chagossians are not mentioned once in the Foreign Secretary’s statement.  This is a disgusting attempt to ignore the Chagossians’ campaign for justice that should be completely and comprehensively condemned.

The above questions notwithstanding, it is nevertheless bitterly disappointing that the Government has felt it appropriate to make its announcement now, whilst Parliament is on recess, in flagrant contradiction of assurances given by FCO Minister Ivan Lewis earlier this month that MPs would be kept informed about developments.

Similarly, it is of serious concern that this decision has been arrived at so quickly, just weeks after the conclusion of the consultation, and after the FCO’s own Facilitator is on record as stating that a response would take at least three months to produce.

The tone of Mr Miliband’s statement can also be observed to closely mirror those made before the consultation took place, which raises questions as to how much importance was genuinely attached to the outcome of the consultation: have the alternatives put forward by supporters of the Chagossians really been considered? And if so, why were they rejected?

So far, little has been offered in the way of explanation.

David Miliband’s statement is undoubtedly an affront to the Chagossians and to all of those who believe in the Chagossians’ right of return.  However, it will not spell the end of the campaign for justice.

Peoples’ World Referendum on Climate Change

In a January 5 statement, Bolivian President Evo Morales called on “the peoples of the world, social movements and Mother Earth’s defenders … scientists, academics, lawyers and governments that want to work with their citizens to the Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights”.

The conference will be held over April 20-22 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Morales said that “climate change is a product of the capitalist system”. He noted “the failure of the Copenhagen Conference caused by countries called ‘developed’, that fail to recognize the climate debt they have with developing countries, future generations and Mother Earth”.

As well as analysing the structural causes of climate change and developing concrete measures to tackle it, Morales said the conference would help organise his proposal for a “Peoples’ World Referendum on Climate Change” and develop a plan for a Climate Justice Tribunal.

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Donate To Haiti Relief

Lots of ways here or Disasters Emergency Committee Haiti Earthquake Appeal or more grassroots efforts- Partners in Health or Haiti Emergency Relief Fund or Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP).

Also demand your govts stop deportations of Haitians and release them from migrant jails, in the US case grant Temporary Protected Status, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano temporarily halted deportations but that is all so far (ht2 Nezua).

Update: Temporary Protected Status has now been granted.

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Earth Is Saved!

The human infestation will soon be over!

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Save Vestas

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The Iran-Pakistan Pipeline

Pepe Escobar writes@ Asia Times Online about the new deal between Pakistan and Iran, the Great Game thickens, excerpt-

The earth has been shaking for a few days now all across Pipelineistan – with massive repercussions for all the big players in the New Great Game in Eurasia. United States President Barack Obama’s AfPak strategists didn’t even see it coming. 

A silent, reptilian war had been going on for years between the US-favored Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline and its rival, the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, also known as the “peace pipeline”. This past weekend, a winner emerged. And it’s none of the above: instead, it’s the 2,100-kilometer, US$7.5 billion IP (the Iran-Pakistan pipeline), with no India attached. 

Now, IP reveals Islamabad’s own interests seemed to have prevailed against Washington’s (unlike the virtually US-imposed Pakistan army offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley). The Barack Obama administration has been mum about IP so far. But it will be very enlightening to hear what former Bush pet Afghan Zalmay Khalilzad – who’s been infiltrating himself as the next CEO of Afghanistan – has to say about it. 

Sanaullah Baloch roundly denounces the “civil-military elites” of Pakistan as implicated in the systematic repression going on in Balochistan; “Without their consent, no political regime can undo their policy of continued suppression.” 

And his analysis of why Islamabad has made a deal with the Taliban in Swat but won’t do a deal with Balochis could not be more enlightening: “The establishment in Pakistan has always felt comfortable with religious groups as they do not challenge the centralized authority of the civil-military establishment. The demands of these groups are not political. They don’t demand economic parity. They demand centralized religious rule which is philosophically closer to the establishment’s version of totalitarianism. Islamabad’s elite are stubborn against genuine Baloch demands: governing Balochistan, having ownership of resources, and control over provincial security.” 

So Islamabad still has all it takes to royally mess up what it has accomplished by approving IP. For the moment, Iran, Pakistan, China and Russia win. The SCO wins. Washington and NATO lose, not to mention Afghanistan (no transit fees). But will Balochistan also win? If not, all hell will break loose, from desperate Balochis sabotaging IP to “foreign interference” manipulating them into creating an even greater, regional, ball of fire. 

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What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

Since 1945, the United States has lost 11 nuclear weapons

And if you live near Savannah, Georgia… I’d move.

Theatrics At Durban

Jewish Voice for Peace sent an email with a link to Muzzlewatch who are following the Durban II pantomime, as they point out, Israel is there in strength-

Turns out Israel is here in full force at Durban II. Earlier today I told you about the range of Israeli-government-narrative-only events being held in UN buildings, while Palestinian NGOs have been banned from holding side-events. (The transparent excuse is that the side-events can not be region specific, only issue specific. The real story is the UN simply folded to pressure.)

As one respondent told me, the UN Human Rights Commissioner is still reeling because she folded on all of the US demands to essentially cleanse the Palestinian narrative from the conference, and still the US and others pulled out. Of course, the UN can’t say no to any leader of state who wants to speak. I’ll post more later about the disaster that was Ahmadinejad’s speech, which, it can be said with certainty, put the issue of Israel and the US back into the center of the conference. In fact, his speech made the scarily well-run Israeli government/pro-occupation NGO propaganda campaign almost unnecessary.

Ahmadinejad has as expected lived up to his gallery playing reputation and the um broohaha shall we call it will of course be used to obscure the very real racist elements of zionism. But why the walk out? Surely a debate and right to reply would be constructive, the walk outs all seem to be desperate not to appear in the same room as someone the Israel lobby use as their bogeyman. As if they have the monopoly on declaring who is racist. Ahmadinejad’s hardly above criticism, so why run away from him? But as Abe Foxman’s attack on Desmond Tutu shows, they are in fact all about defending their racism against exposure and comparison with others bigotry. A rather entitled and exceptionist approach. Which makes you wonder at the countries who ally with them and walked out. No nation can truthfully claim it is without biases and prejudices, institutional and otherwise. Enforcing a no discussion approach will only allow injustices to fester, in all nations.

Update: It turns out the walkout was prearranged, so theatrics indeed.

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Ballard, Crashed

So long JG Ballard, I think his books will grow in importance, he occupied a unique territory, actually taken seriously when writing SF. But most importantly he defied such simple classification. I tend to think he reported on the human condition and its cultural and psychological fetishes in a fiercely original and revelatory way. Where other authors might strive for effect and sensationalism I think he was always sincere, his perspective was accurate and creative. Those who couldn’t take him, were those whose worldview was constucted on denial, prurience and hypocrisy (New Labour?).

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Cruel, No Matter What

“I haven’t got over the mental scars. Solitary confinement and sleep deprivation remain as deeply embedded scars in my soul. Sometimes when I am walking on a high bridge I feel like a tug to topple over. It just evokes the memory of walking from or to the interrogation cell (during a spell of 168 days in solitary confinement). There was always that feeling of whether I should throw myself over the balcony.”[1]

“The isolation in confinement and sleep deprivation – it just reaches deep inside you. And people forcing their will on you; it destroys a certain element of self-consciousness and liveliness which is inside yourself.” [2]

As the mediasphere continue to call torture anything but torture this quote shows sleep deprivation and solitary confinement have a lifetime of repercussions let alone water boarding.

And who is the evil sympathy conjuring terror monster who is spewing this dangerous ‘human rights’ porn?

Answer below the fold, see who the torture apologists side against-

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Haven Is a Place on Earth

TIEAs only tackle tax evasion and we need to address tax avoidance, too, if the likes of Barclays are to be stopped from undertaking activities recently disclosed by this paper. A new form of accounting called country-by-country reporting could tackle this issue and make it immensely hard for corporations to hide money in tax havens, even if legally. The opportunity to introduce this has been overlooked.

Richard Murphy

No, not the holiday camps. List of tax havens, promulgated at the G20 but published by the OECD, which shows how proud the G20 are of dealing with it. The list is fiddled, the laws needed remain a remote possibility-

Richard Murphy:- The Crown Dependencies of Jersey Guernsey and Isle of Man are not on the list because they have signed a series of what can at best be called token tax information exchange agreements with places like the Faroe Islands.

And there is also the bizarre way in which Hong Kong and Macau are listed – for which I suspect the Crown Dependencies are excluded as a corollary. They were the bargaining chip.

This is going to create real political difficulties for the process – a quick straw poll at Excel tonight amongst people I did not know showed universal bizarre reaction to the exclusion of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

And as he writes in the Guardian-

So there is no doubt – April 2 2009 is a very important date in the process of ending tax haven abuse. It will go down in the history of that campaign. But it is not the day when the end of tax havens and banking secrecy was announced. It was the day the process really started, and that process will need a lot of work and thought before it delivers the results we want.

Is a time of crisis really the time for fudging, compromising and bartering? That the G20 do not properly and immediately tackle tax havens tells us the crisis will remain a lot less severe for the wealthy and corrupt. And who the elites answer to and make their peace with while lecturing us on democracy and sacrifice. Those who are to pay will be those with the least ability to pay…and for other people’s frauds, irrational greed and Washington consensus fundamentalism. And whatever Gordon says, the UK is widely considered a whole nation that operates as a tax haven and unlike you or me he was in the best position of anyone on planet Earth for the last 12 years to do something about that. Unless I’ve misunderstood that whole Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister thing.

*cough* April 2007

the web site of UK Trade and Investment, a government sponsored site on which there is a blatant article promoting the UK as a tax haven, admittedly written by PWC. It says:

This may come as a surprise to many of you but whilst the UK lacks the climate of a traditional tax haven, it does have many of the tax advantages of a traditional tax haven. It is also perhaps the only tax haven which has the high degree of respectability sought by the international business community.

Provided that you are “not domiciled” for UK tax purposes, it is possible to structure your tax affairs to minimise your tax liability considerably. The following explains the concepts and outlines the basis of taxation for non-UK domiciled individuals.

Damn you Internet, why must you not help put every damn lie we are fed into the memory hole! Still, enjoy the corporate media (there’s a clue there) spread the G20 Good News Bible. I am looking to see what they did with this historic opportunity to help not destroy this planet thing we all depend for life on…still looking.

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I Don’t Care

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2009

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2009

It’s a White Bengal Tiger from West Midlands Safari Park rolling a snowball! If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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War Criminal’s Stalking Horse

After Israel’s assault on Gaza (well its big one, it’s still attacking) the notion of war crimes and accountability led to the government and the IDF going schtum on the names of personnel so as to make charges harder. But this expanded beyond their borders (there’s a joke in there somewhere) with Tzipi Livni [my favourite demo pic from Obsolete @ septicisle.info] claiming  that efforts in Spain to launch war crimes enquiries would eventually be stopped as the Spanish government would remove the law that allowed Spanish jurists to consider war crimes wherever they take place. There is some question as to where she got this claim from, that Spain was bowing to Israeli pressure, but remember it’s election season. It has now spread to Britain where according to Israeli media the Israeli and British governments are conspiring together to change the law to remove the legal jeopardy for war criminals. However Israel is not simply an appalling leader in pro -war crime law debasement but governments with war crimes liabilities will be quite happy to have this added impetus to weaken and destroy laws that if enforced mean their former members could do jail time. In short the ruling elites and their penchant for slaughter as a viable tool of policy has few limits and through the massacres in Gaza new opportunities are arising for them to remove those few limits. Just as the occupied territories provide a living laboratory for the Israeli arms industry and its Western allies to test and demonstrate its wares the situation is also a prototype for how governments can murder us and get away with it. With climate change, peak oil, peak water looming this century the groundwork is being laid for population control at its most basic to ensure continuity of luxury for our ‘Great & Good.’

nb. The Belgian law that used to allow for universal jurisdiction was defeated some years ago by the usual suspects-

On July 12, 2003, the incoming government of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt [Baby Thatcher] announced that scrapping this law would be among the first acts carried out. In September of that year, the Belgian Supreme Court threw out the cases against the former President Bush and other US officials, as well as Israelis.