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Why Is Environmental Damage Of War Considered A Taboo Subject?

Activist Post

September 22, 2016

By Diane Mantzaris

 

“What the imperialist warlords don’t understand is that no one nation or elite class can survive the climate catastrophe without saving the planet as a whole, given the multitude of interconnectedness of the earth’s eco- and geophysical/chemical/climate systems. In fact, allowing massive suffering in ‘unimportant’ regions will logically lead to further decimation of ecosystems and the transfer of their biomass carbon into the atmosphere, as people will be driven to seeking out the last of water and sustenance amid crop failures, droughts and wildfires… We are literally one people, sharing one fate. Human rights is not only a moral issue, it has very sound physical and existential basis.” – Maggie Zhou [Source]

 

syria_on_fire-777

While Australia’s so called progressive left has been hollering about the environmental damage caused to our planet and lamenting the impact of climate change, they still find it “too difficult” to make a call for an end to Australia’s participation in the US/allied dirty war on Syria.

This resistance to speak out occurs even after the RAAF bombing massacre of a few days ago.

Those who remain silent continue to use the excuse of war complexities and “regime change” propaganda in the disinformation spread that travels from the US/UK to Australia – the disinformation shoved under our noses every day.

At least Ann Wright of Consortium News has the courage to ask these questions. As Wright reports in her article, “Greenwashing Wars And The U.S. Military,

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has come in for criticism due to its lack of attention to the detrimental effects of wars and military operations on nature. Considering the degree of harm to the environment coming from these human activities, one would think that the organization might have set aside some time at its World Conservation Congress this past week in Hawaii to specifically address these concerns.

Yet, of the more than 1,300 workshops crammed into the six-day marathon environmental meeting in Honolulu, followed by four days of discussion about internal resolutions, nothing specifically addressed the destruction of the environment by military operations and wars.

At a presentation at the USA Pavilion during the conference, senior representatives of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy regaled the IUCN audience of conservationists with tales about caring for the environment, including protecting endangered species, on hundreds of U.S. military bases in the United States.The heavy funding the IUCN gets from governments is undoubtedly the rationale for not addressing this “elephant in the room” at a conference for the protection of the endangered planet – a tragic commentary on a powerful organization that should acknowledge all anti-environmental pressures.The presenters did not mention what is done on the over 800 U.S. military bases outside of the United States. In the one-hour military style briefing, the speakers failed to mention the incredible amounts of fossil fuels used by military aircraft, ships and land vehicles that leave mammoth carbon footprints around the world. Also not mentioned were wars that kill humans, animals and plants; military exercise bombing of entire islands and large swaths of land; and the harmful effects of the burn pits which have incinerated the debris of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.Each military service representative focused on the need for training areas to prepare the U.S. military to “keep peace in the world.” Of course, no mention was made of “keeping the peace” through wars of choice that have killed hundreds of thousands of persons, animals and plants, and the bombing of the cultural heritage in many areas around the world including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

Such terrible human suffering and genocide is inflicted upon Syrians by an Australia purporting to be at war with ISIS.

I can only respond in this manner: I swear most people do not have a pulse.

Did it ever occur to you that war, climate change and the refugee crisis are linked?

It is thus very highly ironic that it is too taboo to discuss the ongoing displacement of people caused by war while being so concerned about refugees at the same time.

And yes it was the Australian Greens (Christine Milne) that pushed through cruel sanctions on Syria during Labour’s term in Australia: the same party purporting to care for refugees and the environment today.

Apparently it is also taboo to discuss the massive environmental devastation caused by war and imperialism.

 

[Diane Mantzaris is an Australian artist known for her pioneering application of digital imaging to printmaking and for her unconventional approach to image making, which is often both personal and political in content. Mantzaris pioneered the use of computers as a printmaking and art-making tool in the early to mid-1980s, exhibiting widely, nationally and throughout Asia in touring exhibitions, to considerable acclaim. Her practice now crosses into several fields associated with the visual arts, printmaking, drawing, photography, sculpture, performance and public art. She is represented in most state and public collections throughout Australia and significant private collections throughout Asia and Europe. She was was drawn into action over Syria while watching the events unfold with colleagues in Aleppo.]

diane-mantzaris

Diane Mantzaris ©
‘Garden of Eve: the Ages of Inhumanity’ 2012 
206cm (Height) x 120cm (Width) 
C-Type Photograph

Media Conspiracy of Silence While Colombia’s Largest Indigenous Group is Dying

 United World Revolutionary Front in Defense of Life and Humanity

August 5, 2016

By Dan Kovalik

 

Earlier this week, on August 1, the Supreme Court of Colombia orderedPresident Manuel Santos and other individuals and entities to take all appropriate and necessary measures, in an efficient and coordinated manner, to ensure that children and adolescents of The Wayuu indigenous community receive access to clean drinking water, food, health care, housing and other basic amenities necessary for their survival.

https://i1.wp.com/img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/scalefit_630_noupscale/57a1032d13000018007c28c1.png
PHOTO: Daniel Kovalik, July 24, 2016
Wayuu Children, La Guajira, Colombia

This order follows the December 11, 2015 decision of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) which directed the Colombian government to take similar immediate “precautionary measures”  to ensure the lives and personal safety of Wayuu children in La Guajira, Colombia.  The IACHR decision was prompted by the documented deaths of 4770 Wayuu children during the past 8 years as a result of thirst, malnutrition and preventable disease.   For their part, The Wayuu claim that over 14,000 children have died.  In any case, these numbers are staggering for the 100,000 Wayuu who live in the communities covered by the IAHCHR decision.

The biggest threat to The Wayuu and their children comes from the lack of drinkable water – a fact which I witnessed on a recent trip I made to La Guajira with the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).   The water that The Wayuu once had has been stolen from them – both by climate change which they had no part in creating, and by the damming of The Rancheria River which once fed their communities but which is now being used for the private benefit of coal mining giant Cerrejon.   Cerrejon uses 17 million liters of water a day while each resident of La Guajira is left with an average of 0.7 liters per day to live on.


PHOTO: Daniel Kovalik, July 24, 2016
Wayuu Leader & Human Rights Defender, Matilde López Arpushana,
looks out upon The Rancheria River — nearly dry as a bone.

Despite the IAHCR ruling nearly 9 months ago, the Colombian authorities have done next to nothing to alleviate the suffering and untimely death of The Wayuu children, thus precipitating the August 1 Supreme Court decision which again orders the government to take urgent measures to address this crisis.   In the meantime, as the IAHCR itself explains, the chief advocate on behalf of The Wayuu in these cases, Javier Rojas Uriana, has received death threats by right-wing paramilitaries trying to pressure him into halting his legal actions to protect The Wayuu.

Just as remarkable as the dire situation facing The Wayuu is the almost total lack of press coverage regarding their situation.   Thus, while the press covers the shortages in Venezuela nearly every day, and in a quite histrionic fashion which ignores the complexities and subtleties of the situation there, there is almost a total blackout of the real famine confronting The Wayuu of Colombia just over the border.   And, it is this media blackout, even in the face of major rulings by both the IACHR and Colombia’s high court, which of course allows this famine to continue without pause.

La Guajira, Colombia. (Photos: Dan Kovalik, Slideshow: Ryin Gaines)

 

 

[Dan Kovalik is a human rights, labor rights lawyer and peace activist. He has contributed to articles CounterPunch and TeleSUR. He currently teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.]

 

Further reading: Gold and Misery in Colombia: The Sad Case of Segovia

 

 

Oil, Contact, and Conservation in the Amazon: Indigenous Huaorani, Chevron, and Yasuni

CUNY Queens College, Department of Political Science and Environmental Studies Program

January 10, 2013

by Judith Kimerling

Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2013

Eye On Amazon Watch

Image courtesy of Eye on Amazon Watch

Abstract:

Texaco’s discovery of commercially valuable oil in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador ignited an oil rush that made the conquest of Amazonia a national policy imperative. Texaco (now Chevron), Ecuador, and missionaries from the Summer Institute of Linguistics carried out a campaign to “contact” and pacify Indigenous Huaorani (Waorani) who lived in areas slated for oil development. Chevron’s operations also caused massive environmental damage which led to the ongoing, and increasingly complex, litigation now known as “the Chevron Ecuador Litigation.” This Article begins with a brief review of events leading to the litigation and an analysis of petroleum policy, Amazon and indigenous lands rights policy, and environmental protection policy in Ecuador. A discussion of the litigation (in the United States, Ecuador and the Hague) follows. Recent developments in the litigation are shifting much of the focus of the legal and political contest from allegations about Chevron’s misconduct to allegations of misconduct by the lawyers and activists who manage the litigation in Ecuador, and have eclipsed the situation on the ground, where environmental conditions continue to deteriorate and peoples’ rights are still being violated. The Article then examines the situation of the Huaorani who are struggling to survive and protect what remains of their ancestral territory in Yasuni National Park and the Tagaeri-Taromenane Intangible Zone. It includes a discussion of the gap between promises in the law and the reality on the ground, and ways in which conservation bureaucracies and NGOs are also violating the rights the Huaorani and posing new threats to Huaorani territory and self-determination.

Download the paper: SSRN-id2332782

Update via TeleSUR, August 8, 2016: US Court Rules in Favor of Chevron in Ecuador Pollution Case

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Court-Rules-in-Favor-of-Chevron-in-Case-Against-Ecuador-20160808-0009.html