'Democracy deficit' Tag Archive

Jul 23 2011

Mixed Feelings About Iceland’s Energy Master Plan – Landsvirkjun Presents its Future Strategy


The making of Iceland’s Energy Master Plan, a framework programme concerning the exploitation and protection of the country’s natural resources, which has been in the making since 1999, has reached a critical state as a report on the process’ second phase was published in the beginning of July. The report includes a list of more than 60 areas, arranged from the perspectives of both protection and exploitation, which is supposed to lay the foundation for a final parliamentary resolution concerning the Master Plan. While those in favour of further exploitation, parallel to the continuous build-up of heavy industry, seem generally happy with the report, environmentalists are both sceptical and critical, stating that the exploitation value was always in the forefront of the process.

Like explained on the project’s official website the process was “split into two phases. The first phase, 1999–2003, evaluated and ranked 20 large-scale hydro-power options, mostly located in the highlands, and the same number of geothermal options in 8 high-temperature areas.” The second phase was supposed to “rank all the options to produce the final result,” including “an evaluation of whether some areas should be conserved completely, without any energy-harnessing activities.” Proposed power projects were said to be “evaluated and categorised on the basis of efficiency, economic profitability, and how they will benefit the economy as a whole,” while the “the impact on the environment, nature, and wildlife” was also supposed to be evaluated, “as well as the impact on the landscape, cultural heritage and ancient monuments, grazing and other traditional land use, outdoor activities fishing, and hunting.” Read More

Jun 24 2011
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Environmentalists Excluded from Master Plan on the Future of Nature Conservation


At the beginning of July the results of a framework programme, concerning the exploitation and protection of Iceland’s natural resources, will be presented publicly. The timing of the presentation has much more to do with demands from the labour market agents, rather than the government’s will to try to reach a settlement about the result, according to the Icelandic Nature Conservation Association (INCA, or NSÍ in Icelandic), which is highly critical of many aspects of the making of the framework programme.

One of the association’s primary criticisms is directed towards the fact that a particular committee, nominated to sort the areas in question into three different categories: protection, hold and utilization – did not include a single representative from environmentalist organizations. Whereas representatives from the energy and tourism industries, as well as the ministries of environment and industry, had seats on the committee. The viewpoint of nature conservation has thus no spokesperson in the working progress, states a press release from INCA. Read More

Jun 23 2011
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The Reykjavík One: The Trials and Tribulations of Geir H. Haarde


By Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson
Originally published in The Reykjavík Grapevine

A little more than a year ago, several Icelandic bankers were arrested and kept in custody in relation to the Special Prosecutor’s investigation into the 2008 economic collapse, its antecedents and causes. Appearing in political TV talk show Silfur Egils shortly afterwards, French-Norwegian magistrate Eva Joly, who at that time served as the Prosecutor’s special assistant, talked about how society does not expect—and has problems to deal with—politically and economically powerful people being arrested, interrogated and possibly sentenced.

Eva Joly was right. And the reason? Habit. Whether a journalist, police officer, lawyer, judge or a powerless citizen, in a civilised society based on dualistic ideas of good and evil, one is most likely unable to recognise well-dressed and eloquent people—with possessions and power in their pockets—as anything other than good. During the interview, Eva compared those people with drug users and dealers that are brought to court, who generally are immediately seen by society as criminals deserving to face “justice”. Another rightful comparison would be political dissidents. Read More

May 20 2011
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Cover-ups and Evasions Condoned by the Minister of the Interior


Statement from Saving Iceland regarding the recently published report by the National Commissioner’s ‘National Security Unit’. The report was requested by the Minister of the Interior and was supposed to answer the questions if the Icelandic police were aware of and collaborated in British police spy Mark Kennedy’s infiltration of the Saving Iceland network. (Translated from Icelandic.)

The Saving Iceland network has spent some time examining the report authored  by the National Commissioner’s ‘National Security Unit’ published on May 17. Already at this stage we would like to make a considerable number of remarks.

First of all we have to express our astonishment if Ögmundur Jónasson, the Minister of the Interior is going to accept as valid the poorly reasoned cover-ups that are resorted to by the report’s authors. It is also remarkable how superficial and simply untrue the Minister’s own interpretation of the report has been so far. Unfortunately the same is true of the coverage of the report made by some of the Icelandic corporate media.

The report’s most serious flaw is of course the fact that it completely evades the responsibility that it was officially intended to assume. The only de facto information about the report’s actual subject is on page 12,  where it is stated that the police received “confidential information” concerning the intended protests against the Kárahnjúkar dam from both domestic and foreign “informers”, and that this information was used to organize the police’s reaction. Read More

May 12 2011

German MP Appeals to Icelandic Authorities to Come Clean About Spying on Saving Iceland


Statement issued by German Linke MP Andrej Hunko sent to all Icelandic MPs and media.

International infiltration of protest movements to be investigated

“I appeal to the Icelandic authorities to bring to light, in their investigations, the covert activities of foreign police in Iceland. Given that the British police spy Mark Kennedy was active not only in Germany, but also in France, Italy, Poland, Ireland and Iceland, it is obvious that these operations targeted left-wing activists with international links,” said Andrej Hunko, Member of the German Parliament, after gathering new evidence on Kennedy’s activities in Iceland.

Hunko continued:

“I’m glad to see investigations by activists and parliamentarians in their countries to uncover the cross-border efforts to infiltrate anti-capitalist groups. But most interior ministries in the EU member states are remaining silent about their cooperation or are giving conflicting responses. Read More

May 11 2011

Landsvirkjun Wants Icelanders to Settle Upon 14 New Power Plants


Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s national energy company, plans to build fourteen power plants in the next 15 years; ten hydro dams and four geothermal plants, costing between 4,5 and 5 billion US dollars. If the plans go ahead Landsvirkjun will increase its electricity production by eleven terawatt hours (TWh), resulting in annual production of 40 TWh. “A new Kárahnjúkar dam is on the cards,” said Katrín Júlíusdóttir, minster of industry, when discussing  energy plans in parliament recently.

Landsvirkjun’s new plan was presented at the company’s annual general meeting, which took place on April 15th. According to the company’s director, Hörður Árnason, the planned power plants are to be built in several rivers, including Þjórsá, Tungnaá and Hólmsá, as well as geothermal areas in the north of Iceland. The construction of Búðarháls Dam in Tungnaá has already started and Landsvirkjun plans to start energy production there in 2013, whereas all the other options are still being looked at in the making of a framework programme concerning the use and protection of Iceland natural resources. Read More

May 03 2011
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New Photographic Evidence Shows that Icelandic Police Lied About their Dealings with Mark Kennedy


In January 2011, when the illegal covert actions of UK police in Icelandic jurisdiction hit the pages of the international media, the local police forces of the two Icelandic towns Seydisfjörður and Eskifjörður in Eastern Iceland issued a statement in response to queries from the Icelandic National Broadcaster (RUV). The Broadcaster asked if the Icelandic police had been aware of the infiltration of the Saving Iceland network by British police spy Mark Kennedy. According to the Broadcaster the two police forces denied that they had had any “dealings with Kennedy during the protests against the Kárahnjúkar dams.”

Saving Iceland can now reveal evidence that shows clearly that the two police forces are not telling the truth about their dealings with Kennedy. The top photograph accompanying this statement shows two Icelandic police officers grappling with Mark Kennedy during a Saving Iceland action that took place on 26 July 2005 at the site of the Kárahnjúkar central dam. Clearly the incident pictured shows that the Icelandic police most certainly had “dealings” with the British spy. Read More

Apr 14 2011
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Alcoa in Greenland: Empty Promises?


By Miriam Rose

After many years of preparations the Greenlandic government say the final decision on Alcoa’s proposed smelter will be taken at the spring 2012 of the parliament. It is more likely, as the global history of the industry and the evidence in Greenland tells us, that the decision has in fact already been made undemocratically behind closed doors, despite the decreasing support of the Greenlandic people. In fact Alcoa and the Greenland government are so keen on passing the project that they have just hired an eighth employee at their national company Greenland Development- formed to enable the industry to go ahead. Juaaka Lyberth’s explicit remit is to influence public opinion on the smelter through the media. Greenland Development paints a rosy picture of an aluminium future for Greenland, but will their promises of prosperity come true? A comparison to Alcoa’s Fjardaal project in East Iceland suggests that many will not. Read More

Mar 03 2011

Young Locals Do Not Want More Dams in Þjórsá!


The following statement was unanimously agreed upon on by a well attended open meeting against the planned dams in Þjórsá river, held in Reykjavík on March 2nd 2011, organized by young locals.

Due to the fact that the Ministry of Environment has now certified the land-use plan of Flóahreppur and Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur municipalities, allowing for the construction of three dams by Urriðafoss, Hvammur and Holt, the environmentalist organization Sól á Suðurlandi (Sun in the South) challenges the government to state officially that no dams will be built in the lower Þjórsá river, against the peoples wishes. Read More

Mar 01 2011
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From the Resistance Against ALCOA in Greenland


Below is a press release sent to the media in Greenland jointly by two organizations: “Against Aluminium Smelter in Greenland” and “Avataq” (environmental organization).

Who is in power? Naalakkersuisut or Alcoa?

Last week’s meeting between members of the Greenland Government (Naalakkersuisut) and Alcoa clearly shows the power relationship between the industry giant and our nation, that has characterized the project’s development from the beginning, Alcoa dictates and Naalakkersuisut obey across the population.

This form of government is undemocratic and demeaning to our people who are still recovering from 250 years of colonial rule.

Alcoa has made it clear to Naalakkersuisut that a condition to continue the aluminum project in Maniitsoq is the issue of cheap foreign labor will be resolved immediately. Read More

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