'Arms Industry' Tag Archive

Jul 06 2010

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


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

Jan 15 2010

Green is the New Spectacle


By Jason Slade
Originally published in the Nor easter

The Spectacle

Environmental issues can oftentimes be very complex. Some issues directly relate to climate change, and some do not. However, it is very important to connect the dots between issues because almost all environmental problems are caused, at their base, by capitalist expansion, commodification and privatization. Corporations have used the climate crisis and growing public concern about environmental issues to their advantage. They have learned to use the rhetoric of environmentalism to justify extremely oppressive projects whose sole purpose is to increase their power and to continue the cycle of production and consumption. Incredibly destructive projects, such as hydrofracture natural gas extraction in Upstate New York, are marketed as clean. This absurd spectacle must be stopped.

In Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, he writes, “The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as all of society, as part of society, and as instrument of unification … The spectacle grasped in its totality is both the result and the project of the existing mode of production. It is not a supplement to the real world, an additional decoration. It is the heart of the unrealism of the real society. In all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present model of socially dominant life … It is the sun which never sets over the empire of modern passivity. It covers the entire surface of the world and bathes endlessly in its own glory.” And now the light of that sun is green. The green spectacle is confronting the climate crisis with hollow solutions presented to us in a pleasant, prefabricated package that can be bought if we can afford them and allow us to pollute in good conscience. In an absurd twist, these corporate false solutions cause the poor, and those who resist these schemes, to be blamed for destroying the planet. “It is not the oil companies who are to blame for climate change, but the poor who do not buy carbon offsets when they travel.” Thus, the climate crisis becomes another way to make money and increase corporate power. Read More

Nov 17 2009
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Development of Iceland’s Geothermal Energy Potential for Aluminium Production – A Critical Analysis


By Jaap Krater and Miriam Rose
In: Abrahamsky, K. (ed.) (2010) Sparking a World-wide Energy Revolution: Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World. AK Press, Edinburgh. p. 319-333

Iceland is developing its hydro and geothermal resources in the context of an energy master plan, mainly to provide power for expansion of the aluminium industry. This paper tests perceptions of geothermal energy as low-carbon, renewable and environmentally benign, using Icelandic geothermal industry as a case study.
The application of geothermal energy for aluminium smelting is discussed as well as environmental and human rights record of the aluminium industry in general. Despite application of renewable energy technologies, emission of greenhouse gases by aluminium production is set to increase.
Our analysis further shows that carbon emissions of geothermal installations can approximate those of gas-powered plants. In intensely exploited reservoirs, life of boreholes is limited and reservoirs need extensive recovery time after exploitation, making geothermal exploitation at these sites not renewable in the short to medium term. Pollution and landscape impacts are extensive when geothermal technology is applied on a large scale.

Krater and Rose – Development of Iceland’s Geothermal Energy – Download as PDF
The full publication will be available from Jan. 15, 2010. ISBN 9781849350051.

Aug 06 2009

Saving Iceland Targets Alcoa – The Only Way to Real Changes Lies in the Protection of Nature!


Last Tuesday, August 4th,  Saving Iceland targeted the aluminium producer Alcoa. We knocked on the doors of the company’s office by Suðurlandsbraut but nobody answered, so the green skyr (traditional dairy product – historical for being used in protests) and other filthy stuff we had, ended up on the door, walls and the floor in front of the office. Compared to Alcoa’s role in the destruction of Iceland’s wilderness and other environmental and human crimes across the globe, this was a minimum punishment.

Though Alcoa’s aluminium smelter in Reyðarfjörður (east of Iceland) is now working with full force, driven on by the highly critical Kárahnjúkar Dam, there is still a fair reason for attacking the company. The smelter in Reyðarfjörður was the beginning of the heavy industry madness, the first sign of how effect the government’s advertisement campaign about the country’s cheap energy and people’s little as no resistance, was. (1) The smelter in Reyðarfjörður was the ball the pushed forward the idea that aluminium production is the premise for life. After the construction of the Kárahnjúkar Dam, all other energy projects look so small that only very few people seem to see a reason for fighting against them. And the police’s mistreatment towards those who dared to put their feet in between the construction, did for sure not encourage many to continue the resistance.  Read More

Jul 30 2009

A Number of Small Actions in Reykjavík


During the last days, a number of small actions have taken place in Reykavík; banner drop in the center of Reykjavík, graffiti and stinky liquid at Jarðboranir and a nighttime shut-down of Útlendingastofnun.

This morning, July 30th, a huge banner was dropped in the center of Reykjavík, bringing attention to the connection and co-operation between the aluminium industry and the weapon industry. The banner said: “30% of all aluminium goes to the weapon industry – Stop the aluminium industry!” From the beginning of our campaign we have not only focused on the destructive environmental impact of aluminium production and big dams, but also the social and humane impacts. Alcoa in Iceland has steadily refused the connection, but with only a little look at the website of n.b. Alcoa Defense, one sees with own eyes that Alcoa does not only produce aluminium for weapon manufacturing, but proudly takes a huge part in the design of military equipment of all types. Read More

Oct 24 2008

“Building smelters part of economic crisis,” says Björk


”They are saying in the paper every day, let’s throw up these aluminium smelters because of the economic crisis. This is a bad idea because in a way building smelters is part of the economic crisis. These huge loans that companies take is too big a chunk for the Icelandic economy to pay. We are on an economic roller coaster ride right now,” said Björk in a recent interview with ITN news. Read More

Sep 29 2008

Hypocrisy?


By Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson, orignally published in Morgunblaðið

“Do you know that your wheelchair is made out of aluminium?” said a police officer to one of those who stopped work in Helguvík this summer. Thereby he swamped all the arguments of the opposition to aluminium for good, didn’t he? Shortly after the publication of Jakob Björnsson’s (former director of energy affairs) article about the singer Björk Guðmundsdóttir and her usage of aluminium, the editors of Morgunblaðið got ready and wrote an editorial where it says that the opposers of aluminium are probably not self-consistent most of the time. Most of them use aluminium everyday and even Saving Iceland cooks in aluminium pots and uses aluminium polse to hold up their tents. “Hypocrisy” said Morgunblaðið.

This critique is far from being new. It has systematically been used against those who object to the further build-up of heavy industry here in Iceland, the destruction of Iceland’s nature for energy production, the destruction of ecosystems worldwide because of bauxite mining, and energy realization to a company that prides itself of its collaboration with the U.S. millitary. In addition to when aluminium opposers are all said to be wanting to move the Icelandic society back to the turf huts and build the country’s economy on picking mountain grass, this has been the main criticism.

No matter how many times it has been pointed out that at least 30% of all produced aluminium is used for the arms industry; no matter how many times it has been pointed out how much aluminium ends as a land-filling after having functions as single use drinking facilities; no matter that the context between low energy prices and the fact how easy it is for us to produce aluminium, use it once, throw it away and produce more – still we are being told that we are not self-consistent.

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Sep 25 2008

Saving Iceland Disrupts International Aluminium Conference in Germany


Today, the 11th International Conference on Aluminium Aloys (ICAA) met with angry protests. Activists from the environmentalist network Saving Iceland disrupted the proceedings at the University in Aachen. Early this morning, during one of Rio Tinto Alcan’s lectures, the fire alarms in the building were put on. Later today – again during Rio Tinto Alcan’s lecture – stink bombs were thrown and a high volume rape alarm was put on and suspended out of reach by green and black helium baloons. The auditorium was also strewn with information leaflets. The aim was to call attention to the industry’s singular involvement in ecological destruction in Iceland, as well as on a global scale.

The ICAA conference is a weeklong event held at a different international location every 2 years. This is its first appearance in Germany and as such is run in parallel to the Aluminium trade fair in Essen, about 80 km away. This double event is sure to call together all major players of an industry that still tries to present itself as having a green conscience, and with some success: Alcoa has been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, for the 7th year running. [1] Environmentalists dispute this depiction in the strongest terms.

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Aug 30 2008

Letter about Crazy Horse to Saving Iceland


From Reverend Billy

A year ago we were with you in Iceland, the land of fire and ice and spirits and charms! This year we get news and images on the computers. Congratulations on the Century Aluminum Smelter blockade. You slowed down the output from that day, July 21, 2008. You’re saving lives! Every hour that an F-16 is not yet in the air…

Wandering your website, I remember my sermon last year. I tried to conjure the memory of Crazy Horse and bring his spirit to your struggle for Iceland. Savitri remembers the recurring phrase, “The land is innocent and powerful.” I don’t remember much of the specifics of my talk that afternoon, which was itself an on-the-spot remembering. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the river valley in our windows and simultaneously my boyhood love of the stories of Crazy Horse, from when my family lived in the Dakotas.

And so if you will read this letter, and help us bring back that day in the hotel conference room in Olfus… Writing is an act of memory and by writing this letter to you today — maybe some of your year-ago campaign, and our sermon within it, will resurface in these pages. Read More

Jul 25 2008
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Saving Iceland Invades Landsvirkjun for Alcoa’s Severe Human Rights Abuses


PROTESTS AGAINST LANDSVIRKJUN’S PLANNED DAMS IN ÞJÓRSÁ RIVER AND THE CONNECTION BETWEEN LANDSVIRKJUN AND ALCOA

REYKJAVÍK  – Today 30 activists from the international campaign Saving Iceland have invaded the Landsvirkjun (national power company) building (Háaleitisbraut 68) to disrupt work. Earlier this morning Saving Iceland activists dammed the house of Landsvirkjun director Friðrik Sophusson and nailed an eviction notice to his door.

“We oppose Landsvirkjun’s intentions to build the four Þjórsá and Tungnaá dams for Rio Tinto at Straumsvik (1,2), despite the referendum. They are also negotiating to dam Skjálfandafljót and Jökuslá á Fjöllum for ALCOA’s planned Bakki smelter (3,4). This is on top of the mess they are making of Þeistareykir (5) and the deep drilling into Mount Krafla, right next to the tourist attraction. LV are doing this for a company that is a self-admitted arms dealer (6) and has been in the news again and again for it’s gross abuse of human rights. (7) This company should not be welcomed by Landsvirkjun,” says Jaap Krater from Saving Iceland.

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