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Jan 29 2011
After 13 years of continuous battle, the people’s movements to save the Niyamgiri hills from bauxite mining have won their land and livelihood back from the jaws of extinction. Niyamgiri is one of a series of threatened bauxite capped mountains in Orissa. On August 21st 2010 a review of the Vedanta mining project carried out by the Ministry of the Environment exposed the company’s “total contempt for the law”, having violated a number of environmental regulations, and revealed “an appalling degree of collusion” by local government officials with Vedanta. A few days later Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh called a halt to the project. Read More
Jan 28 2011
Magnús Sveinn Helgason
The Reykjavík Grapevine
While history—meaning: ‘the past’—does not change, history—meaning: ‘the narration of past events’—does in fact change. This is because we view history through the lens of the present. As events unfold, the meaning and significance of the past changes. And because our view of the past changes we constantly need to change our history textbooks.
So, it is pretty hard to predict how any event, let alone a whole decade, will be remembered. Because we do not know what the future holds, or what academic fads will reign among future historians, it is exceedingly difficult to say with any certainty how future historians will judge this first decade of the 21st century. Still, even if we lack the necessary hindsight of history, we can make some pretty good educated guesses. Read More
Nine protesters on trial for entering the Iceland parliament may be jailed despite a lack of evidence against them
Nine people went on trial in Iceland last week, charged with threatening the country’s parliament – a charge that has only been used once before and that carries a maximum life sentence. They were among 30 demonstrators who entered the parliament building via the visitors’ door during a small protest in December 2008 at a time when thousands of Icelanders took to the streets to express their outrage at the government’s part in the financial crisis. Read More
Jan 25 2011
Landsvirkjun, the national power company, will not use the permit for experimental drilling in the Gjástykki area in northeast Iceland issued by the National Energy Authority on Monday but rather await the government’s plan for the area.
Gjástykki is a rift valley north of the caldera Krafla and the potential harnessing of energy there is controversial. Environmentalist Ómar Ragnarsson is making a documentary about the area. To paper over their highly destructive drills in other geothermal areas in north Iceland the Landsvirkjun PR department helped finance the documentary.
According to Fréttabladid, the Energy Authority’s permit does not authorize Landsvirkjun to harness geothermal energy in the area, only to investigate its feasibility. Read More
Jan 24 2011
According to sources close to the business newspaper Viðskiptablaðið, Alcoa has lost all patience with the situation in Húsavík and will drop plans to build a proposed aluminium smelter in the region.
The project has been fraught with obstacles since its inception. Most notably, Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir has been an outspoken opponent of the plan. A damning assessment from the Icelandic National Planning Agency concluded that the proposed smelter would also have a “significant negative impact” on the environment not just of the surrounding area, but on Iceland as a whole. A few days ago Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s National Energy company, announced that they would neither fight for or against the protection of the area and that they will not perform “test” drills in Gjástykki (a globally unique geothermal area in the north of Iceland with ravines, faults, lava fields and volcanic craters) until the government had completed the process of protecting the area, even if they had got a go a head to do so by the National Energy Authority. Read More
Jan 20 2011
“The trial of the ‘Reykjavik 9’ is an attempt to criminalise retroactively Iceland’s democratic protests in 2008 and thus depoliticise them. The defendants include Solveig Jonsdottir, the leader of Attac,” said Andrej Hunko, Member of the German Bundestag, regarding the trial of the nine Icelandic activists. “The charges are based on the accusation of an ‘offence against Parliament’. This can mean up to life imprisonment, and carries a minimum sentence of one year’s imprisonment,” explained Mr Hunko, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
It was the determined mass protests in December 2008, known as the “saucepan revolution”, which finally forced the resignation of the conservative government, which was embroiled in the banking scandal. Two days before the blockade of Parliament at the heart of the current trial, 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos was shot dead by the police in Greece. Across Europe, social movements had taken to the streets. Read More
Jan 14 2011
Statement from Saving Iceland Concerning the Case of Undercover Policeman Mark “Flash/Stone” Kennedy
The Saving Iceland collective is at the moment inundated with requests from the corporate media for detailed information about the infiltration of our network by police spy Mark Kennedy . We have also been receiving pressure from individuals who have been active with SI to collaborate with journalists.
Saving Iceland would like to make it clear that we are mindful about keeping our vow to respect and protect the privacy of all the great people who have taken part in our struggle against the corporate destruction of Icelandic nature.
By entering into discussions with journalists on matters outside the sphere of the issues of our struggle, such as the private lives of individuals in our network, we would be in serious breach of the trust and solidarity that has been the core of our network.
Below is a statement Saving Iceland released to the Guardian on 13 January 2011. This is the only platform that we are prepared to discuss Mark Kennedy’s time with Saving Iceland. Read More
A solidarity concert for the Reykjavík Nine will take place this coming Thursday, January 13th in Nasa, Reykjavik. Some of Iceland’s most known bands and musicians will perform as well as authors and one of the accused will give talks during the concert. The performers are (in no particular order): múm, Reykjavík!, Sin Fang Bous, Diskóeyjan, KK and Ellen, Parabólurnar, Steini (guitarist and singer of the reggea-band Hjálmar), Prins Póló, Ellen K. and Pétur H., Elín Ey, Arnjótur, Idir and Einar Már Guðmundsson. More acts might be announced in the next days. Read More
A good friend and comrade through the years, Jason Slade, is facing heavy charges in the US for his participation in a protest against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in Washington D.C. on April 26th 2009. For the last years Jason has lived back in forth in Iceland and is a veteran Saving Iceland and Food Not Bombs activist over here, to name only a few examples. We are calling for support of him, especially financial assistance at this moment.
During the above-mentioned protest, Jason was handcuffed after wanting to check out a friend of his who had been attacked by the police and arrested. In the end he was though not arrested until the next day when leaving the city in a car with that same friend. They got pulled over by a policeman who told them they had not given a turn signal. Shortly afterwards a policeman from the day before turned up and arrested Jason. Read More
Jan 04 2011
An international week of actions has been called for 10th – 16th of January, 2011 in support of the Reykjavik Nine, nine individuals including anarchists and radical leftists, who face up to 16 years in prison for protest against the Icelandic parliament.
In December 2008 the bullet that killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos set fire to the streets of Athens, a fire that soon spread to every city across Greece. That same December on the opposite shore of Europe, in Iceland another revolt was already under way born out of the wreckage of the economy that had collapsed that fall. In the winter of 2008, Iceland, the first ‘victim’ of this global crisis, was witness to the largest mobilization in its history. Demonstrations, mass gatherings and popular assemblies, direct action and confrontation on a daily basis and finally mass riots managed to bring down the right wing government at the time. But, just like in Greece that bullet was only one cause to a revolt that had a thousand reasons behind it, in Iceland the bubble that burst that fall was only the spark for the pent up rage and frustration resulting from two decades of neoliberal government – and well, against the political and economic system in its entirety.
As we speak, the Icelandic state threatens with imprisonment nine individuals chosen to be the scapegoats of the uprising that brought down the government in January 2009. They are the Reykjavik Nine. Read More