A half-year after Donald Trump’s drubbing at the polls, the right-wing effort to criminalize dissent and protest among environmental and social justice activists continues to gain momentum. In early May, Montana governor Greg Gianforte signed into law a bill designed to protect “critical infrastructure” including gas and oil pipelines. Individuals who trespass, or merely “impede or inhibit operations” at these sites could face as much as 18 months in prison and $4,500 fines. Under the new law, protesters who cause more than $1,500 in damage could be faced with a maximum of $150,000 in fines and 30 years in prison. Organizations found to be involved in coordinating with the protesters could be required to pay a maximum fine of $1.5 million. The Montana law is one of a host of copycat bills that have been introduced in Republican-led states over the past several years. Protesters have already been ensnared by these draconian laws. In August 2018, activists from a group called L’eau Est La Vie (French for “water is life”) embarked on a creative protest against a pipeline being built through the bayou country of Louisiana. Using ropes and pulleys, the activists hoisted themselves into ancient cypress trees. “We were targeted,” said Anne White Hat, an Indigenous activist who was arrested at the site and charged with two felony counts of trespassing, which, collectively, carry a maximum sentence of 10 years. White Hat said she and several other protesters were physically accosted by officers. One of her fellow activists was kicked; another, tased. According to a Greenpeace report titled Dollars vs. Democracy, many of the top donors to state legislators who sponsor these anti-protest and “critical infrastructure” bills were fossil fuel companies, including Koch Industries, Berkshire Hathaway, Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, and Marathon Petroleum.
Last weekend, tens of thousands of Brazilians took the streets in more than 200 cities and towns to decry their government's disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic and assault on environmental protections. In São Paulo alone, an estimated 80,000 people took to the streets, in loud, masked, social-distanced protest and resistance. On May 26, a major Federal Police operation to remove illegal gold miners from Munduruku Indigenous Territory turned violent, as armed miners first attacked a police outpost and then turned their fury upon the Munduruku themselves, attacking a village, firing shots, and targeting key leaders. Two houses were set ablaze, according to a statement from the Munduruku's Ipereg Ayu Movement. On May 30th, after a broad mobilization of legal action, including support from the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (APIB) and parliamentarians allied to the cause, a high court gave the federal government a deadline of 24 hours to redeploy security forces to the municipality of Jacareacanga. However, according to local sources, there are no indications yet of a resumption of the operation or increased security in the region. A group of illegal miners, known as garimpeiros, attempted to overrun a police base and plunder equipment. These brazen moves were a show of strength from well-financed criminal networks with the backing of corrupt local politicians and businessmen and the high-level support of the Bolsonaro regime. Bolsonaro stated to visit an illegal mining operation: “We are not going to arrest anyone. This will not be an operation to punish irregular miners. I want to talk to people, [learn] how they live there. To start to get a sense of how much gold is produced,” he said. U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry is currently in negotiations with Brazil's Minister of Environment over the future of the Amazon. Amazon Watch and allies have monitored this escalating threat closely, acting quickly to pressure U.S. leaders to act before tragedy struck in Munduruku communities. Two months ago twelve U.S. Representatives wrote to the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil. To date, the letter has not received a response from the Ambassador. Unfortunately, public statements from the U.S. government about the Munduruku situation or others, like the assault on Yanomami territory, are still lacking. There should also be an in-depth criminal investigation into the supply chains that allow for illegal exploitation of gold and timber on indigenous lands of the Amazon, and their export to the United States, Europe, and other countries.
The G7 countries and South Korea have agreed to end their financial support for coal development overseas, the dirtiest fossil fuel. In order to meet the 2030 target global emissions must be cut by 45% until 2030. The only industry nation which is still expanding their coal capabilities is China. Without a proper reduction target for 2030 China´s long term goal to become carbon neutral until 2060 lacks credibililty and this should be addressed until the cliamte summit in November in Glasgow. There are also other caveats like plans for a coalmine in Cumbria, England or a grant to allow financing coal under limited circumstances for Japan. However it can be considered a winning that Japan is on board because it is a main competitor for China in financing coal overseas mounting coal plants with higher efficiency than China. Joe Biden has granted the oil development project “Willow” in Alaska that would produce 160.000 barrels per day for 30 years. The IEA (International Energy Agency) has warned that governments must desist from new fossil fuel developments in order to keep global warming below 2°. As the climate is heating faster than average in the arctic cooling devices will need to be installed in order to prevent the permafrost soil from dewing for the Willow project.
other news/petitions: poisonous fruit salad: the Mercosur agreement will foster the export of forbidden pesiticides from the EU to Brazil and the reimport of fruits doused with these chemicals. After fierce protests the UNDP Columbia has dismissed their partnership with the oil company Geopark financing paramilitaric groups killing people. petition: Oil Spill Lawsuit, Ecuador, USA: Walk for our Grandchildren.
The question that needs to be asked is not whether Belarusian dictator Lukashenko can reroute an aircraft that is in his airspace, but whether the passenger data of western airlines are still secure. After a Ryanair plane was forced to land in Minsk, the blogger and opposition activist Roman Protassevich was arrested in Belarus, thrown in prison and tortured in order to extort a confession in front of the camera from him that he had incited and organized the mass unrest after the election fraud. His girlfriend from Russia was also arrested. Petition: Demand Protassevich's release.