Archive for 2010

Jul 13 2010
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Saving Iceland Mobilisation Call-Out


... Join our resistance against the industrialization of Europe’s last remaining great wilderness and take direct action against heavy industry!

The Struggle So Far
The campaign to defend Europe’s greatest remaining wilderness continues. For the past five years summer direct action camps in Iceland have targeted aluminium smelters, mega-dams and geothermal power plants.

After the terrible destruction as a result of building Europe’s largest dam at Kárahnjúkar and massive geothermal plants at Hengill, there is still time to crush the ‘master plan’ that would have each major glacial river dammed, every substantial geothermal field exploited and the construction of aluminium smelters, an oil refinery, data farms and silicon factories. This would not only destroy unique landscapes and ecosystems but also lead to a massive increase in Iceland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Read More

Jul 12 2010

The Mob Against the Prosecution!


Here is a video from The Mob Against the Prosecution!, an art event that took place in solidarity and support with the Reykjavík 9, in the Living Art Museum in Reykjavík, Saturday July 3rd. Many of Iceland’s best and sharp musicians, poets, authors and visual artists, took part in the event and thereby showed their rage against the court case that the Icelandic state has filed against these nine individuals. To name few of the artists: Einar Már Guðmundsson, Magnús Pálsson, Katrín Ólafsdóttir, Reykjavík!, Örn Karlsson, RÚST!, Sara Björnsdóttir, Jón Örn Loðmfjörð, Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson.

The artworks from the event have now been gathered and put up in an exhibition in the museum, which will last until August 14th. During that period, more events will take place there, including a panel discussion about the court case, freedom of expression, media and human rights. More information will be published soon on www.rvk9.org and www.nylo.is.

Skríllinn gegn ákæruvaldinu from Haukur Már Helgason on Vimeo.

Jul 09 2010

Reykjavík Nine: Solidarity Demonstration in Barcelona


Barcelona The following text and photos came from Barcelona:

On Thursday, July 8th at about 12:30, 20 people went to the Icelandic consulate in Barcelona to show there outrage against the Icelandic state; for there existence and there heavy repression of the 9 people of Reykjavík because of their actions at the parliament December 8th 2008. If there were any kind of true democracy their demands would have been welcomed and allowed a space. But since obviously there can never be true state democracy, the peoples demands were repressed and silenced. Read More

Jul 06 2010

Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel


Out of This Earth Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel
By Felix Padel and Samarendra Das
Published by Orient BlackSwan

Aluminium is a metal that many take for granted in hundreds of artifacts but fewer understand where it comes from and its real costs. Behind the shining image of aluminium is a dark side of environmental catastrophes, political manipulations and cultural genocide.

Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel written by Felix Padel and Samarendra Das is an extraordinary book that explores the aluminium industry over its entire life cycle, from the mining of Bauxite to its various end uses.

With a foreward by Arundathi Roy it focuses on the Adivasis struggle against  mining activities in the state of Odisha (former Orissa). There industrialization is imposed under the guise of development, growth and poverty alleviation, a process that has already displaced thousands of people and destroyed tribal society‘s structures. The book traces a hidden history of how one country after another has swallowed promises of prosperity and plunged into a cycle of exploitation and unrepayable debt. One of the real contributions of Out of This Earth is the commendable effort of the authors to painstakingly trace the forces that actually drive and control the global aluminium industry – how it is driven by a cartel that fuses mining companies, investment bankers, government deals, metals traders and arms manufacturers. Read More

Jul 04 2010
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“We who also Attacked Parliament…”


Iceland protest fire A glaring inconsistency in the charges against the Reykjavik Nine is frequently pointed at: the nine were actually part of a group of over thirty, which itself was part of a movement of thousands. Here we publish the translation of a statement signed by over seven-hundred (at time of writing) other participants of the so called ‘Cutlery Uprising’. Their analysis is sharp and their demands clear: drop the charges against the nine accused, or charge us all.

The president of Iceland’s Parliament Ásta Ragnheiður Jóhannesdóttir received this statement by hand on 24 June 2010.

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Jun 30 2010
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Iceland’s Post-Collapse Trial


Arrest in the court during RVK9 court hearing in May 2010 Iceland’s first post-collapse trial continued yesterday. Nine participants of the ‘Cutlery Uprising’ face charges of ‘endangering the autonomy of parliament.’

In relation to the events surrounding Iceland’s economic collapse of 2008, nine Icelandic citizens stood in court yesterday. Each face up to sixteen years imprisonment. Yet they weren’t the politicians, bankers and businessmen who landed the country with a crippling €50 billion debt. Quite the opposite, actually.

The Reykjavik Nine (RVK9) are a gaggle of Icelanders who legally entered their Parliament to demand their politicians resign; one month and half before their government stood down. They each face charges of endangering parliament’s ‘autonomy’.

In April this year a parliamentary report was published which singled out the ‘gross negligence’ of seven high-power individuals responsible for crippling the islands economy. Said Johanna Sigurdardottir, the countries new prime minister, ‘The private banks failed, the supervisory system failed, the politics failed, the administration failed, the media failed, and the ideology of an unregulated free market utterly failed.’

Ironically, the counter-establishment protesters are the ones who have been charged. Read More

Jun 29 2010
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A Spade is a Spade, Repression is Repression


From the Court, spring 2010 Ólafur Páll Sigurdsson

Environmental network Saving Iceland declares full solidarity with the Reykjavik Nine defendants (RVK9), who face between one and sixteen years in prison for exercising their democratic right to peacefully protest against a disgraced parliament, on 8 December 2008.

These nine people have been picked out of the thousands whose protests brought down the previous government, whose corruption and ineptitude was responsible for the historical crisis Icelandic society is still being torn up by. This same government has now been confirmed by the Special Investigation Committee report (SIC – an apt acronym) as instrumental in the abuse that lead to the complete crash of the Icelandic economy; and as a major force in the severe corruption, democracy deficit and ethical crisis which have since emerged as the underlying reasons for the total failure of Icelandic democracy.

Criminalizing political opponents, even those who use non-violent civil disobedience, is an old diversion tactic used by states worldwide. This act of political repression is in glaring contradiction to the sanctimonious declarations of ‘shouldering responsibility’ and ‘taking heed of lessons’ paid by the parties responsible for the crisis. Icelanders should take seriously the systematic abuse of power which has been uncovered in the Icelandic establishment. Read More

Jun 09 2010

The Chinese Invasion


ÞeystareykirHe Guoqiang, party secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Chinese Communist Party, is visiting Iceland along with a delegation of business personale. They will be meeting with the country´s president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and the foreign minister, Össur Skarphéðinsson, along with the heads of certain companies they´re interested in cooperating with.

On the 9th of June, he and his delegation attended a meeting with heads of Landsvirkjun (National Power Company) where a letter of intent was signed on behalf of Landsvirkjun on one side, one of China´s biggest contracting companies, China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) and the government owned Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) on the other. The letter regards participation on tender offers to harness energy in Iceland. The letter does not commit any of these partners to any deals, but Landsvirkjun claims the letter displays their interest in doing business with these partners and CWE´s interest in bidding on the Búðarhálsdam project, with Exim Bank willing to finance some of CWE´s projects for Landsvirkjun. Read More

Jun 09 2010
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The Impact of Heavy Industry Whitewashed – The Report of the Special Investigation Commission


Wilderness under attackThis article originally appeared in the June issue of the independent newsmagasine Róstur.

The Whitewash report, or “Investigative report of the Special Investigation Commission”  made by the Special Investigation Comission (SIC) on orders from Alþingi (The Icelandic Parliament) under the pretence of investigating “the prelude to and cause of the crash of the Icelandic banks and related events”, which also is the subtitle of the report, has been disected by the media and heavily discussed on public forums for the last couple of months. The major medias and other groups of interest have been busy covering it chapter by chapter, drawing out the main conclusions of each part into few sentances to make it easily accessable to their readers. But not all of the chapters are getting equal coverage. Most of the focus has been on selected chapters relating to indictable actions and negligence on behalf of government and bank officials in the run-up to the collapse, the processes of the privatisation policy, especially towards the banks, and the loan books and other financial documentation revealed by the report. In that way, the major medias and other public opinionmakers are, like always, backing up the authorities in their defence of the current political system. All coverage about the report is directed towards these few selected parts, scapegoating a few people from the pre-crash financial sector along with expendable and retired politicians to spare the rest. This has resulted in a black-out of all discussion about the most important and revealing parts of the report, namely the parts about the economic impact of the industrialisation policy. Read More

May 31 2010
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Róstur: A New Monthly Newspaper


RosturA new Icelandic, independent, monthly newspaper recently started circulating in Iceland. The paper’s name is Róstur, being an old word for turmoil or riot. The first issue came out in March, with final work being put into the fourth issue in these written words.

Whereas all major medias in Iceland are either run by the state or parts of the financial elite, they dutifully serve their owners agendas over their obligations towards their readers, and are mostly just propaganda tools, each for their own respectful shareholders. News mediums who don’t dare critisize big corporations and advertisers are not just a local problem, but a global one. Their kind allows these companies to buy the image they want to project of themselves and serve it to the public through loyal medias, or to let their misdeeds pass ignored by the medias who don’t wish to ruffle the feathers of their biggest sponsors.

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