UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 19, 2009

THE HIDDEN OIL WARS

Oil Depletion Analysis Centre - It has been called the world's second "oil war", but the only similarity between Iraq and events in the jungles of northern Peru over the last few weeks has been the mismatch of force. On one side have been the police armed with automatic weapons, tear gas, helicopter gunships and armored cars. On the other are several thousand Awajun and Wambis Indians, many of them in war paint and armed with bows and arrows and spears.

In some of the worst violence seen in Peru in 20 years, the Indians warned Latin America what could happen if companies are given free access to the Amazonian forests to exploit an estimated 6bn barrels of oil and take as much timber they like. After months of peaceful protests, the police were ordered to use force to remove a road bock near Bagua Grande.. . .

Peru is just one of many countries now in open conflict with its indigenous people over natural resources. Barely reported in the international press, there have been major protests around mines, oil, logging and mineral exploitation in Africa, Latin America, Asia and North America. Hydro electric dams, biofuel plantations as well as coal, copper, gold and bauxite mines are all at the centre of major land rights disputes.

A massive military force continued this week to raid communities opposed to oil companies' presence on the Niger delta. The delta, which provides 90% of Nigeria's foreign earnings, has always been volatile, but guns have flooded in and security has deteriorated. In the last month a military taskforce has been sent in and helicopter gunships have shelled villages suspected of harboring militia. Thousands of people have fled. Activists from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta have responded by killing 12 soldiers and this week set fire to a Chevron oil facility. Yesterday seven more civilians were shot by the military. . .

Meanwhile in West Papua, Indonesian forces protecting some of the world's largest mines have been accused of human rights violations. Hundreds of tribesmen have been killed in the last few years in clashes between the army and people with bows and arrows.

"An aggressive drive is taking place to extract the last remaining resources from indigenous territories," says Victoria Tauli-Corpus, an indigenous Filipino and chair of the UN permanent forum on indigenous issues. "There is a crisis of human rights. There are more and more arrests, killings and abuses.

"This is happening in Russia, Canada, the Philippines, Cambodia, Mongolia, Nigeria, the Amazon, all over Latin America, Papua New Guinea and Africa. It is global. We are seeing a human rights emergency. A battle is taking place for natural resources everywhere. Much of the world's natural capital – oil, gas, timber, minerals – lies on or beneath landsnds occupied by indigenous people," says Tauli-Corpus.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

These indigenous people need to know what the Viet Cong knew, a helicopter can be brought down with a bow and arrow that trails a long piece of wire. Once the wire is caught in the prop, the helicopter is in for serious problems.

June 20, 2009 11:12 AM  

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