'India' Tag Archive

Jan 23 2007
4 Comments

ELF Strikes Against ALCAN in Iceland


Click here for the Saving Iceland Press Release Regarding the RUV News About the ELF Action in Hafnarfjordur

Earth First
January 2007

In the first week of the new year ELF (Earth Liberation Front) struck in Iceland for the first time. The target was the Alcan Aluminium smelter in Hafnarfjordur which is being expanded into pristine lavafields without local democratic consent which was promised in the town council elections.
This factory is part of ongoing heavy industrialisation of the Icelandic wilderness powered by large dams and geothermal power stations all around the country.

Three peices of machinery (2 diggers and a crane truck) were heavily sabotaged and the ELF signature was left on a workshed wall. Read More

Jan 09 2007
1 Comment

Down with ALCAN!


“It’s ALCAN the Aluminium Man
The Aluminium Man with the Aluminium Plan
For making lots of aluminium
Out of other peoples land!

Will this Man of Aluminium
Realize what he’s done,
Once he’s done what he is about to start?
He’s got aluminium, but he’s got no heart!”

 

UPDATE 2007: Recently Alcan had to give up its participation in the bauxite mine because of protests against its human rights violations and environmental devastation. Alcan has been accused of cultural genocide in Kashipur because mining and dams have already displaced 150,000 mainly tribal people there.

Canadian mining and aluminium giant Alcan (in Iceland Alcan Iceland Ltd. and ISAL) want to get their hands on one of the world’s richest deposits of bauxite – the raw material for aluminium – in the Kashipur region of India. The $1.4 billion monster strip-mine and refinery promises to displace up to 20,000 people, destroy their livelihoods and culture, contaminate food and water sources and obliterate their spiritual sites.

Villagers have been fighting the mine for the past 12 years but in November 2004 politicians decided that the Alcan mining project was to be launched at any cost – since then repression has been seriously stepped up. People have been murdered by the police and recently it surfaced that the ALCOA sharks have smelt the blood and are now showing interest in joining in… Read More

Dec 25 2006
2 Comments

Christmas Victory for Trinidadian anti-smelter movement


In his Christmas year-end review, Trinidadian Prime Minister Patrick Manning announced that he is to scrap his plans to build an Alcoa Aluminium smelter by the towns of Chatam and Cap de Ville, where local residents have fiercely campaigned against the government’s smelter plan. Read More

Nov 09 2006
1 Comment

‘Blood and bauxite’ by Chandra Siddan


Montreal Mirror
Nov 20-26.2003
Vol. 19 No. 23

kashipur dance 

 

Impoverished Indians fight ALCAN’s bid to open a mine in their backyard. Since this article was written the repression has been stepped up.
Read More

Oct 28 2006

Report from the Iceland / Trinidad Funeral march in London


The following is a report back from one of the people at the London protest against the heavy industrialisation of Iceland and Trinidad on the 27th of October 2006.

The demo was attended by about 40 people, not too bad for a weekday demo in inner city London (we chose to have the demo then so that we could get into the embassies.) Perhaps next time we will organize something on a weekend. About a quarter of the demo were Trinidadians. We started the event with an emotional funeral ceremony, with talks from an anti-dam activist who’se been involved in the anti-Narmada dam campaign (India) as well as the anti-Karahnjukar dam campaign (Iceland); Sue Doughty, former Liberal MP, talked about her attempts to get the UK parliament to ask the Icelandic state to reconsider its path of heavy industry; two Trinidadian speakers: talked about the neo-colonialist-liberal invasion by western corporations of the third world, and the beauty of the Cedros Peninsula and tragedy of the Aluminium development, respectively; then an Icelandic speaker who talked about the loss of the Icelandic Karahnjukar wilderness, and the future plans of heavy industry in Iceland. Read More

Oct 27 2006

Smelter Struggle: Trinidad Fishing Community Fights Aluminum Project


“What you got…..we don’t want,
what you’re selling…..we ain’t buying!
So no matter, how hard you’re trying,
we want no industrial wasteland in our yard”
(Anti-Smelter Warriors Anthem, chorus)

by Sujatha Fernandes, CorpWatch September 6th, 2006

The roads that wander through the southwestern peninsula of Trinidad pass small fishing villages, mangrove swamps, and coconut plantations; they skirt herds of buffalypso and reveal sheltered beach coves. This February, Alcoa signed an agreement in principle with the Trinidad and Tobago Government that threatens to fundamentally alter this gentle landscape. Plans by the Pittsburgh-based manufacturing company to build a large aluminum smelter have sparked criticism from local residents and environmentalists. Read More

Apr 23 2006

The Nature Killers – A Brief Run Down of the Corporations Involved in the Kárahnjúkar Dam


CorporateNews.org.uk
April 4th, 2005

Barclays Bank
Already fund the notorious Narmada dam project in India – and have played a ‘key role’ in financing the dam by arranging a $400 million loan to Landsvirkjun, the Icelandic power company that will run the dam.

Impregilo

work 

Dodgy Italian construction conglomerate, in charge of building most of the dam . One of Impregilo’s consultants has already been found guilty in 2003 of offering bribes to a Lesotho hydro-electric firm, and the company itself will face another hearing before the Lesotho courts in April 2005. Impregilo were also involved in building the Argentina’s Yacyreta dam, which went almost $10 million over budget and was labeled byPresident Carlos Menem ‘a monument to corruption’ . Impregilo were also one of the firms planning to build the infamous Ilisu dam.

Invest In Iceland
Part of the Icelandic Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Promotes investment in Iceland, and seem to be one of the quasi-governmental agencies that has been pushing for the hydro dam.

National Power Company of Iceland (Landsvirkjun)
This is the company that will run the Karahnjukar dam. Initially set up to explore hyro-electric power opportunities, Landsvirkjun now supplies electricity to the whole of Iceland. Owned jointly by theIcelandic State (50%) and the two biggest towns Reykjav í k (45%) and Akureyri (5%). Landsvirkjun also take part in greenwash operations with Alcoa, such as ‘The Alcoa/Landsvirkjun Sustainability Group’, which co-oprdinates projects such as spreading hay to stop soil erosion – which won’t, however, stop the massive erosion caused by the dryung out of dammed river beds. More on greenwash in the Alcoa section. You can track the progress on the dam, day by day, on this part of their website: http://www.karahnjukar.is/en/

Alcoa
The US company that will run the aluminium smelter. Alcoa is the world’s largest producer of aluminium, serves the most industries as well as producing ‘bacofoil’. It is very influential in US as well as Icelandic poltics: Ethical Consumer described Alcoa’s operations as ‘a near textbook example of how to win friends in high places’, counting the US Treasury Secretary, Paul O ’ Neill, as one of its former CEOs. While a major polluter, Alcoa undertakes greenwashing exercises such as the ‘Alcoa forest’ project, which claims to plant ‘ten million trees’. However, in Western Australia Alcoa have simply planted trees on top of the blasted and mined remains of former forest land; the new growth cannot compensate for the loss old eco-system, resulting in substantial erosion of topsoil. Read More

Mar 09 2006

Alcan Threatens Icelandic Government


Alcan has announced that it may well pull out of Iceland if it does not get the go-ahead to expand its factory at Straumsvík. The announcement was made after talks between Alcan and the PM Asgrimsson. Alcan would appear to have been pressuring the Icelandic Government into making available electricity to support the expansion program. This would entail the building of more dams and thus continuing the ongoing ecological destruction of the Icelandic wilderness.

This is a clear example of a large corporation attempting to exert economic dominance over a small democracy, a tactic echoed throughout the world where corporations gain ground to unduly influence goverments economic policy.

Saving Iceland rejoices at the idea of ALCAN leaving Iceland for good. They should also have the decency to leave India and the long suffering Adivasi people of Kashipur in peace. See www.kashipur.info

Celebrations have been announced in Reykjavik.

Jan 16 2006

‘Damned Iceland’


Peace News, Issue 2470

Over the summer of 2005, about a hundred activists from around the world got together to protest against overwhelming environmental destruction and corporate greed. No, not the “pop Muppets” in Hyde Park, this was a gathering of international protesters — who trooped into the Arctic Circle to show much-needed support and solidarity to the Saving Iceland campaign.

The Saving Iceland campaign began in 2004, when the Icelandic government had bypassed a series of laws in order to allow the national power company, Landsvirkjun, to build a gigantic hydroelectric dam, now being constructed in the country’s eastern highlands.

The National Planning Agency originally refused to grant permission to the first proposal in 2001 due to the irreversible negative environmental impact the dam would have.

Incredibly, the then environment minister (whose only qualification is a GNVQ in physiotherapy) announced that the project was actually environmentally sound, and overturned the NPA decision — even though the dam will be of no benefit to her country or its inhabitants.
Power will not be generated for the Icelandic people, but for a smelter for US aluminium giant Alcoa: they are building their metal furnace in a pristine fjord at Reydarfjordur. With abulging back-pocket of cash, this hugely costly project — both financially (it will ultimately cost $1 billion) and of course ecologically — was set to begin. Interestingly, Alcoa is also facing massive criticism over a proposed 340,000 metric ton smelter plant in Cap De Ville in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad.

A hellish creation

Karahnjukar, the location chosen for the dam, offers a stunning landscape of jagged black mountains and sweeping green hills which frame the ferocious glacial river, Jokulsa Bru. It is this river which is being diverted into another large river — Jokulsa iFljotsdal — and dammed to power the hydro-electric plant. Not only is a glacial river being manipulated, but the construction of the plant also involves dynamiting a dormant volcano, and the entire hellish creation rests on a cluster of active geological fissures.
Sound dodgy yet? Well, the environmental vandalism doesn’t stop at Karahnjukar, as most of Lansvirkjun’s other plans envisage the harnessing of several rivers formed at Europe’s largest ever glacier Vatnajokul and the creation of reservoirs in surrounding areas. The biggest reservoir, Halson, will reach 57 square kilometres in area and be created by the highest rock-fill dam in Europe — covering three percent of breathtaking Icelandic beauty in murky water. All to generate power for a long queue of salivating multinationals.
People living in towns and farms near the dam-affected areas have been persuaded by the promise of employment — even though there is virtually no unemployment in Iceland and most people interviewed said that they would not work in an aluminium smelter in any case. But once the natural resources have been exhausted, employment in these regions will probably be lower than ever, because all that will be left for bored teenagers to hang out on — and for visitors to marvel at — will be a barren corpse of nature.

Greenwashing, skyr style

Unsurprisingly, the announcement that Europe’s least polluted country (a virtue the government has used to lure tourists onto the island for years) is to be given an industrial makeover has been met with outrage from most of the people who live there.
Icelanders have stood for hours in silent vigils outside the commons and Bjork’s mother did a three-week hunger strike. However, fluffy protest seemed to have little effect.
Direct action finally arrived in Iceland when three activists chucked green skyr (Icelandic yoghurt) over delegates at an international aluminium conference, drawing attention to the greenwashing that has been used to cover up the real cost to the environment of aluminium smelters and the dams that power them.
The meeting was completely disrupted and the three activists were arrested and later charged with trespass and cleaning bills of up to #320,000. Their case returned to court in January, with two of the activists sen tenced in a Reykjavik municipal court to two months in prison (suspended), a #6,000 “cleaning up bill”, plus a fine and court costs. The owners of Hotel Nordica reckoned it cost more than #5000 to hire a carpet cleaner for two hours.

Time for more action

The support and attention generated by the yoghurt incident suggested that more spiky actions were the way forward. When environmentalists from the UK, US, Poland, Sweden, Spain, Germany and France landed in Karahnjukar during the summer, Icelanders were treated to a fireworks show of direct action with the area seeing the nation’s first ever protest camp!
The hills of moss mattresses decorated with fairy-sized flowers of the most vibrant colours became beds for six weeks, and the delicate streams that laced them, washing facilities. Here, in excellent proximity to the dam (the entrances to the site were five minutes’ walk along the stream) they were able to reccie, plot and carry out a succession of actions. As more protesters arrived in Iceland after the G8, sufficient numbers were gathered to carry out an effective blockade.
On the anniversary of the signing of contracts with Alcoa — 19 July — activists decided this was an appropriate date to lock-on to road vehicles at one of the main road intersections of the site.
Baffled policemen stood scratching their heads for three hours whilst work on the entire site was halted: people were arrested but not charged.
Although the police and security responded peacefully on this occasion, on a second blockade — where protesters were locked onto the front of vehicles by their necks — officers instructed drivers (many of whom are Chinese or Portuguese and do not speak Icelandic) to turn on their engines, risking people’s lives. Fortunately no one was hurt, but three people were piled into a bus by specially flown-in riot police (the “Viking Squad”!) and one young man was reportedly held down and repeatedly punched in the stomach by the poice.
Due to pressure from the authorities, the owners of the land where the camp was based withdrew their permission to let people stay. The camp relocated nearby and, despite heavy police surveillance, more actions were successfully carried out. During one action a group of protesters entered the construction site and unravelled a long banner down the dam wall displaying a massive jagged black line. This drew attention to a newly-developed crack in the dam area which, geologists fear, is just the first of many to come. If the dam bursts the results will be catastrophic, killing thousands and wrecking the viable farmland in the east.
In a separate action three cranes were also occupied at the aluminium smelter, stopping work for five hours! The police nervously climbed the cranes to remove protesters and arrested them when back on the ground.

Catalysing support

Although much more Icelandic support had been gained as a result of last summer’s events, the international network of support for the campaign also represents a global struggle. The conversion of powerful, living and beautiful nature into heavy industry in Iceland is a microscopic example of what’s taking place all over the world — from the Narmada Dam in central India to the Three Gorges Dam in China.
In January there was a big environmental benefit gig, held to draw attention to the situation in Iceland. Acts included Bjork, Damon Albarn, Damien Rice and Sigur Ros. It tookplace in Reykjavik and all proceeds will go to “ecological resistance”. We don’t know if it will go to Saving Iceland but if it does then it will fund this summer’s protest camp. Two more benefit gigs will also take place — one in Sheffield [held as PN went to press], followed by one in London in spring.
Over the next few months, Saving Iceland campaigners will also be spreading the word in a European Tour and preparing for the next protest camp — due to start on 21 July 2006. The flooding of Karanhjukar is scheduled to start at the beginning of September — so we will need all the help we can get!
Although we can sometimes feel small as activists, if we can stop what will only be an environmental tragedy in Iceland, we can send a powerful message to the other corporate monsters — to wrench their filthy claws out of our planet.

————————————————————————————————————

For more info see the “Join the Fight” section at http://www.savingiceland.org.
Support actions are very welcome – anywhere in the world. Email  savingiceland at riseup.net.

Jan 06 2006

Narmada: Call for Action – Sardar Sarovar Dam Might be Raised Again


Dear Friends – Narendra Modi (CM, Gujarat) has called a meeting of CMs of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh on 7th January 07 (tomorrow) to seek consent on erecting the gates on the Sardar Sarovar Dam wall, which is already raised to 122 mts height when thousands of affected families are yet to receive land and get resettled and rehabilitated. If the gates are erected and height is raised to 138.68 mts, it will lead to a watery grave, unjust and illegal. This must not happen after 21 years of struggle by the people, adivasis and farmers, who raised basic questions related to development. Please therefore get into action here and now. Read More

Náttúruvaktin