How Many More Dead Whales?

How Many More Dead Whales?

By Carl van Warmerdam

In the last few years whales stranded on the beaches of the East Coast have become common. In just the past two months there have been over a dozen. And that does not include the whales who have died in that time and sank to the bottom of the ocean. Fishermen blame industrial wind farm surveys, the wind industry blames climate change, and the vessel strikes of the global supply chains of civilization will not slow down. All the while mainstream “environmental” groups have become PR people for industrial energy. That stance is mutually exclusive from their professed goal to protect wildlife like desert tortoise, sage grouse, bats and to Save The Whales. 

NOAA declared an official “unusual mortality event” for humpback whales in 2016, when the number of deaths on the East Coast more than doubled from the average in previous years. Coincidentally that is the same year when offshore wind development began, which coincides with the huge jump in NOAA Incidental Harassment Authorizations. The claim that this huge jump in mortality predates offshore wind preparation activities is patently false. This strong correlation is strong evidence of causation, especially since no other possible cause has appeared. It also seems odd that dead whales are now showing up on the west coast just as wind development is starting up there as well.

If what we are seeing is what happens during the surveying process for an offshore wind farm, we can only imagine what will happen when major construction begins. If vessel strikes are a leading cause of death, why on earth would you diminish habitat and increase vessel traffic with the construction of wind turbines? Yet in the recent denial of a vessel speed reduction, NOAA said it was “focused on implementing long-term, substantive vessel strike risk reduction measures.” Hopefully that will include the cancellation of any further wind farm construction. We certainly should not be increasing vessel traffic at this time, we should be restricting it. Vessel strikes and ocean noise from these extra ships and their sonar mapping is killing whales. 

Noise interrupts the normal behavior of whales and interferes with their communication. It also reduces their ability to detect and avoid predators and human hazards, navigate, identify physical surroundings, find food and find mates. Such effects make it difficult for whales to avoid ships. It is one of NOAA’s four threats, along with vessel strikes, fishing gear entanglements and climate change.

Sound travels farther and four times faster in water than in air (at a speed of almost 1,500 meters per second). The noise produced by humans can therefore spread considerable distances underwater. These sounds can be relatively constant, such as the noise produced by a ship’s engine and propeller, or sudden and acute in the case of naval sonar and seismic air guns. The sound produced by a seismic air gun can cause permanent hearing loss, tissue damage and even death in nearby animals.

Evidence for the lethal effects of noise can be hard to document in the open ocean, but seismic surveys have been linked to the mass mortality of squid and zooplankton. In 2017, research revealed that a single air gun caused the death rate of zooplankton to increase from 18% to 40–60% over a 1.2 kilometer stretch of the ocean off the coast of southern Tasmania.

Examination of the dead whales revealed they had suffered trauma similar to decompression sickness. This was believed to have been caused by sudden changes in their deep diving behavior following exposure to sonar. The wind companies are using sonar in the geotechnical and site characterization surveys. There is also the detonation of unexploded ordnance (UXO) items from ship wrecks at this time, accidental and intentional.

Noise increases animals’ physiological stress. Research found that a reduction in shipping following the 9/11 terrorist attacks led to a six decibel drop in noise levels in the Bay of Fundy on Canada’s Atlantic coast. This coincided with lower levels of physiological stress detected in North Atlantic right whales when researchers measured stress hormones from floating whale feces.

During construction of the turbines, high-duty cycle impact pile driving (one strike every ~two seconds) will be used. And the pile driving is expected to occur for approximately four hours at one time for monopile installation, and 6 hours per pile for piled jacket installation.

This takes us to the biggest threat to whales and the ocean ecosystem that they live in: climate change. Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. These are created by industrial development. So climate change is a symptom of industrial development. That is the extractive industries of mining, deforestation, agriculture, factory fishing and dams which provide — through production, manufacture, transport, installation and operation — the current conveniences of a modern way of human life. 

Industrial development destroys ecosystems. More industrial development, by the installation of thousands of offshore wind turbines, will not solve the problem of climate change. There’s one inescapable truth about the headlong rush to cover vast swaths of our countryside and oceans with 800-foot-high wind turbines: the more turbines that get built, the more wildlife will be harmed or killed. And no amount of greenwashing can change that fact. So it is distressing to see the numbers of whales washing up on our beaches. NOAA also says there is no proof that offshore wind is killing the whales. We must remember the onus isn’t on whales to prove guilt, it’s on industrial development to prove their innocence.

The production of the materials as well as the manufacturing processes for wind turbines and associated infrastructure of the extracted energy storage and transmission are made possible by burning fossil fuels. To obtain the raw material used in wind turbines, habitat is destroyed through open pit mining and mountaintop removal. The raw materials are then transported to processing plants to be turned into the component parts. It will take a tremendous amount of energy to mine the materials; transport and transform them through industrial processes like smelting; turn them into wind turbines, batteries, infrastructure and industrial machinery; install all of the above; and do this at a sufficient scale to replace our current fossil-fuel-based industrial system. In the early stages of the process, this energy will have to come mostly from fossil fuels, since they supply about 80 percent of current global energy. Added to current use emissions. After manufacture, the turbine parts need to be transported to the project location. The construction and operation of offshore wind farms increase boat traffic, also leading to more greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. All of which adds to a non-existent carbon budget and thus increasing climate change. Not to mention the increased risk of marine mammal vessel strikes.

All of that energy use has a carbon payback period to plan, build, maintain and decommission the processes involved in an offshore wind turbine and its required infrastructure amounting to many years. This could be up to a quarter of its expected lifecycle. But this does not take into account the wildlife loss and habitat destruction from those processes. And then in 20 years the process must be done all over again. So this is not renewable. Also there are not enough metals on the planet to produce even the first generation of a total electric energy extracting transition, even if we mine the deep sea as we are starting to do. 

Currently only 20% of our energy is electric. The other 80% is fossil fuel, the bulk of which is used by industry. The industrial advantage of fossil fuel is that it is stored energy that is extracted rather than an energy extracting device that requires storage and transmission infrastructure.

The paradox of “renewables” is that they need unprecedented volumes of non-renewable mined materials. Increasing “renewables” means large upticks in battery metals such as copper, cobalt, lithium and nickel. Wind turbines need rare earth metals such as neodymium of which there are scarce amounts. But the work wouldn’t stop there.

Closed mines themselves are a huge source of devastation. If all mining stopped today there would still be an area at least the size of Austria with degrading and, in some cases, dangerous levels of heavy metals. Mining brings materials that have been locked up in concentrations underground and lets them out into the world. Mines usually operate at depths below the water table — they need to be constantly dewatered using pumps. When a mine is abandoned, the ground water gradually re-floods underground passages and mineral seams over many months, creating acidic reservoirs of water. Above ground there are tailings ponds and piles of low-grade ore with traces of heavy metals. All of this material is exposed to oxygen and water. Exposing such elements wreaks havoc on ecosystems, soils and water supplies through acid leaching. A mine that is abandoned can have chronic pollution for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Cleaning up a mine consists of reducing water acidity, detoxifying the soil and treating waste before reintroducing flora and fauna to the site. It’s a lengthy, expensive process and can cost billions for a single large mine. Avoiding an environmental catastrophe and cleaning all the world’s mines at once would cost hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars. So mining the materials needed for renewable energy will increase the threats to biodiversity. These threats will surpass those avoided by “renewable” climate change mitigation.

The concept of material footprints, in addition to carbon footprints, should be taken into consideration by governments. If not, the planet’s scarce non-renewable resources will continue to be destroyed. These factors will more than offset BOEMs calculations for climate change in the DEIS.

During their operation wind turbines create a disturbance in the air that can have far-reaching effects on the environment. The turbulence created is known to warm up the surface temperature around them by up to 2℉. This will change the climate by taking away the cooling breeze. Wind turbines will change weather patterns and currents which will create more and stronger storms.

Michael Moore, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said whales face “a suite of risks” as turbines are built, such as increased vessel traffic and potential changes to the ecology. But that ecological change, he said, “needs significant further study to truly understand its significance.”

As Sunrise Wind admits, their planned construction and operations activities are not expected to “take” MORE than small numbers of marine mammals. They say incidental long-term impacts that have negative effects on large whales from the presence of turbine foundations is uncertain. For the right whale, according to NOAA Fisheries, “The potential biological removal level for the species, defined as the maximum number of animals that can be removed annually while allowing the stock to reach or maintain its optimal sustainable population level, is less than 1.” This means the death of a single right whale could make the difference between extinction and recovery.

There is no question wind turbines kill wildlife. Humans and domestic animals account for 96% mammal biomass on the planet. Only 4% is wild. Our activity has reduced the biomass of wild marine and terrestrial mammals by six times. Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens all life on the planet.

Prof Bob Watson, one of the world’s most eminent environmental scientists and currently chair of an intergovernmental panel on biodiversity that said that the “destruction of nature is as dangerous as climate change.”

Jennifer Jacquet, a professor of environmental studies at New York University, said, “But we know that even in the face of a shifting climate, direct exploitation remains the largest factor affecting aquatic animals.”

BOEM is basing its conclusions in the DEIS on a false analysis that offshore wind turbines will reduce climate change. They will not. It makes no sense to increase disturbance to whales when they are suffering through an unusual mortality event. Whales as a keystone species are the canary in the coal mine. As they go, so do we. That in the effort to save the climate and continuance of business as usual, we are destroying the environment. If this offshore wind project continues, it will be humans who experience an unusual mortality event.

Public comment on the Sunrise Wind Project ends February 14th:   https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/BOEM-2022-0071-0001

Public comment on the New England Wind Project ends February 21st: https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/BOEM-2022-0070-0001


Carl van Warmerdam has lived his life on the West Coast of Turtle Island. He has always aligned with the counter culture ideals there. Now he currently lives on the coast of New England, the ancestral home of the North Atlantic Right Whale. If you would like to help Save the Whales email Lafongcarl@protonmail.com. We stopped offshore wind before, we can do it again.

Featured Image “Blue whale stranding” by Nozères, Claude is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Wisconsin Town Gets Sued for Regulating Factory Farms

Wisconsin Town Gets Sued for Regulating Factory Farms

Editor’s Note: Even when local governing units make decisions for the welfare of the environment, state laws are designed to crush them. The following story covers how a small town is getting sued for passing a local ordinance to prevent pollution from factory farms. The basis of the lawsuit is that the ordinance is against the state law of Wisconsin. This story was originally published by Grist. You can subscribe to its weekly newsletter here.

This lawsuit is far from one of its kind. Similar lawsuits have been filed against a local government for trying to protect the environment against corporate interests. DGR News Service covered a series regarding the fight of Lake Eerie Bill of Rights in the state of Ohio. Read more about it here.


By John McCracken / Grist

The small community of Laketown, Wisconsin, home to just over 1,000 people and 18 lakes, is again at the center of a battle over how communities can regulate large, industrial farming operations in their backyards.

The town, which is half an hour from the Minnesota border, is the target of a lawsuit supported by the state’s largest business lobbying group, which claims the town board overstepped its role when it passed a local ordinance to prevent pollution from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs*.

Filed in Polk County Circuit Court in October, the lawsuit pits local farmers against the municipality, where decisions are made by a single town chair and two supervisors. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, or WMC, a lobbying group that defines itself as the state’s “largest and most influential business association” is representing the residents suing the town through its litigation center.

Early this year, WMC sent a letter to the town board that they would see legal action if the ordinance was not repealed. The notice of claim, sent in April, argues the town passed an ordinance with various illegal provisions under state law. The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Litigation Center, who have previously filed lawsuits to rollback state protections against water pollution, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

“They see this ordinance, if not challenged, as something that may become more the norm around the state,” Adam Voskuil, staff attorney for the nonprofit law office Midwest Environmental Advocates, told Grist. This law office has issued its support for Laketown’s ordinance in the past but is not representing the municipality in this ongoing litigation.

As the agricultural industry increasingly forces farmers to “get big or get out,” CAFOs have become plentiful across Wisconsin and the country at large, with more and more animals living on CAFO operations in recent years. The size of these farms varies within a state but generally are seen as operations with 2,000 or more pigs, 700 or more dairy cattle, or over 1,000 beef cattle.

The growth of these operations has been linked to public health problems like various cancers as well as infant death and miscarriages, caused by water contaminated with waste runoff from farms. On the other side of Wisconsin, residents in Kewaunee County have seen manure coming out of their faucets from one the largest CAFOs in the state, who sued the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource last year when they were denied a request to nearly double their size.

An indoor farms lots of pigs, corralled in different stalls

As more confined animal feeding operations, like the hog farm pictured, pop up across the country, towns and counties have attempted to regulate their growth. chayakorn lotongkum / Getty Images Grist

When communities try to respond with local-level enforcement, both industry interests and a lack of power at the local level cause townships to get creative with their responses.

Every state has some form of a “right-to-farm” law, which stops farms from being targeted for nuisances related to the daily operations of the industry, such as odor, noise, and effects on the environment. From there, each state has some form of a regulatory process that outlines how large farms are allowed to operate.

In Iowa, which leads the country in CAFOs, the state government sets all regulatory requirements and local towns and counties are out of luck when it comes to enforcement, according to John Robbins, Planning and Zoning Administrator for Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. He said the county once had a restrictive ordinance for CAFO zoning on the books, but after a state law took control, counties now have “very limited authority.”

Last year, when a Missouri hog farm spilled 300,000 gallons of waste into nearby waterways, two counties attempted to regulate CAFOs differently than the state government. Those counties had to sue to challenge state-level laws and are now awaiting trials in the state Supreme Court.

Further West, Gooding County, Idaho has seen the whole gambit of what Wisconsin towns could be facing. In 2007, the central Idaho county named after a famed state sheep rancher passed an ordinance regulating CAFOs in the county limits. A month later, industry groups Idaho Dairymen’s Association and Idaho Cattle Association started a court battle with the county that ended two years later, with the state supreme court ruling in the county’s favor. Gooding County’s legal representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Wisconsin’s Livestock Facility Siting Law generally restricts how local municipalities can stop or slow new CAFOs or expansions to current facilities. This law is at the crux of arguments in opposition to Laketown and other surrounding communities’ proposed or passed ordinances.

Other Wisconsin communities have enacted local level ordinances to regulate these large farms. In 2016, northern Bayfield County enacted a CAFO ordinance that imposed a one-time fee and required operators to have increased manure storage options. After a large hog farm estimated to produce over 9 million gallons of manure a year was proposed in Polk County a few years ago, the county attempted a moratorium on CAFOs, but the measure did not pass.

Since then, at least five neighboring towns of Laketown have passed similar ordinances.

“This is one of the first times I’ve seen a town refuse to back down to some of these letters.”
Adam Voskuil, Midwest Environmental Advocates staff attorney

The Laketown ordinance that sparked the lawsuit is an operations ordinance, unlike Bayfield’s ordinance which focused on zoning. Laketown CAFO operators are asked to file a one-time fee equal to a dollar for every animal unit as well as give detailed plans of how they will prevent ground and air pollution stemming from their facilities. Passed in 2021, the ordinance states it is based upon Laketown’s obligation to “protect the health, safety and general welfare of the public.”

All along the way, industry groups Venture Dairy Cooperative and the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance, its website features the slogan “Fighting for CAFOs Every Day,” have sent threatening letters to towns that passed ordinances or moratoriums, with the help of WMC.

“This is standard operating procedure for the Big Ag boys,” said Lisa Doerr, a Laketown resident of over 20 years who raises horses and commercially farms hay and alfalfa with her husband.

Doerr has been involved at the local level in opposition to CAFO since Polk County learned of a proposed 26,000-hog farm. Doerr, who worked with the Large Livestock Town Partnership, a multi-town committee that examines the environmental impact of CAFOs, said she worried that the landscape of the town and county would change if local action wasn’t taken.

“The name of our town is Laketown because we’ve got lakes everywhere,” she said. “We still have a middle class farming community. We haven’t had corporate ag take over everything.”

In its recently filed response letter, Laketown’s attorney said WMC’s argument falls flat as it is based solely on the state-level zoning law, while the town’s ordinance regulates the operations and conduct of a facility. They also noted that since the ordinance passed, no facilities have applied for a permit, which means the town has not yet enforced any actions WMC says are unlawful. Laketown board chair Daniel King declined to comment, citing the ongoing lawsuit.

Midwest Environmental Advocates attorney Voskuil said he was heartened to see that Laketown has been holding its ground. “This is one of the first times I’ve seen a town refuse to back down to some of these letters,” he said.

Farther south in Wisconsin, another county is reeling from letters threatening legal action. Crawford County, which borders Iowa, enacted a CAFO moratorium in 2019 but did not renew the moratorium after studying the issue for a year. Forest Jahnke, a coordinator with the Crawford Stewardship Project, said the decision to not renew the moratorium was highly influenced by the deluge of similar threats of litigation and backlash, which had a “chilling effect” on efforts to move forward.

“The fear of litigation is a very strong and deep one in our local municipalities and county governments,” Jahnke, who was a member of the committee studying the CAFO moratorium in Crawford County, said.

Since the moratorium rolled back, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources greenlit a Crawford County hog farm, home to 8,000 pigs and expected to generate 9.4 million gallons of manure each year


Featured Image: Hog farm by via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Thacker Pass Sacred Sites Are Already Being Damaged

Thacker Pass Sacred Sites Are Already Being Damaged

Tribal Chairman: “It’s Our Responsibility to Protect Sacred Sites”

RENO, NV — The Thacker Pass Lithium Mine in northern Nevada is headed back to Federal Court on January 5th as the lawsuits against the project near completion, but project opponents are raising the alarm that Lithium Nevada Corporation has already begun work on the proposed mine.

Lithium Nevada’s workers at Thacker Pass have begun digging test pits, bore holes, dumping gravel, building fencing, and installing security cameras where Native Americans often conduct ceremonies. Lithium Nevada also conducted “bulk sampling” earlier this year, and may be planning to dig dozens of new test pits across Thacker Pass. They’re claiming this work is legal under previous permits issued over a decade ago. But Tribes and mine opponents, including the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, disagree.

They point to language in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine that says “authorization of [the mine] will terminate the [earlier permits].” The Federal permit for Thacker Pass was approved on January 15th, 2021.

Will Falk, attorney for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, explains: “Lithium Nevada told the government and the American public that it would terminate the older permits upon BLM’s approval of the Thacker Pass Project. Now they are going back on their word, it appears they are lying to get a headstart on building the Thacker Pass mine, and the BLM is allowing them to get away with it.”

Thacker Pass, known as Peehee Mu’huh in Paiute, is a sacred site to regional tribes whose ancestors lived in the area for thousands of years, and were massacred there on at least two occasions.

Michon Eben, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, says the site is incredibly important to Native American history. “Peehee Mu’huh is a sacred place where our ancestors lived and died. We still go there to pray, gather food and medicine, hunt, and teach our youth about the history of our people.” Eben and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony are currently hosting an exhibit on the impacts of mining on Native people of Nevada.

Tribal members have stated in court filings that, because of the history of battles and massacres on the site, Thacker Pass is as significant to their culture as a site like Pearl Harbor is to American history. Arlan Melendez, Chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, understands the importance of battle and massacre sites as both a Native American and as a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

“As tribal leaders, it’s our responsibility to protect and honor our sacred places,” says Melendez. “Throughout US history, tribes have always been set up to lose in the US legal system against BLM. This Lithium Mine stands in the way of our roots and it’s violating the religious freedoms of our elders, our people.”

Falk, the Tribal attorney, says that Lithium Nevada’s construction activities at Thacker Pass are also violating tribal consultation rights.

“The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Summit Lake Paiute Tribe are still engaged in consultation with the BLM about the September 12, 1865 massacre site, a site that will be completely destroyed by Lithium Nevada’s mine if this project is built,” Falk says. “It’s hard to believe a government agency is consulting in good faith when they are already allowing the site to be harmed.”

Shelley Harjo, a tribal member from the Fort McDermitt Shoshone Paiute Tribe and an employee of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, has called the planned destruction of Thacker Pass “the biggest desecration and rape of a known Native American massacre site in our area.”

The upcoming January 5th hearing in Reno’s Federal Courthouse will be the final oral argument in the ongoing lawsuits against the Thacker Pass mine. Mine opponents are planning a march and rally outside. Plaintiffs, including the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Burns Paiute Tribe, four environmental organizations, and local rancher Edward Bartell, have alleged numerous violations of the law, and Judge Miranda Du is expected to issue her opinion in the case within days or weeks of the January 5th hearing.

“No matter what happens in court on January 5th, Thacker Pass is being destroyed right now and that threat will be ongoing,” says Max Wilbert, co-founder of Protect Thacker Pass. “We have to stop that.”

Lithium Nevada claims that its lithium mine will be essential to producing batteries for combating global warming, and the Biden administration has previously indicated some support for Thacker Pass. Opponents of the project have called this “greenwashing,” arguing that the project would harm important wildlife habitat and create significant pollution. They say that electric cars are still harmful to the planet.

Timeline

January 15, 2021 — Due to “fast-tracked” permitting under the Trump Administration, the Bureau of Land Management releases a Record of Decision approving the Thacker Pass mine less than a year after beginning the Environmental Impact Statement process. On the same day, Max Wilbert and Will Falk established the Protect Thacker Pass camp.

February 11, 2021 — Local rancher Edward Bartell files a lawsuit (Case No. 3:21-cv-00080-MMD-CLB) in U.S. District Court alleging the proposed mine violates the Endangered Species Act by harming Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, and would cause irreparable harm to springs, wet meadows, and water tables.

February 26, 2021 — Four environmental organizations (Basin and Range Watch, Great Basin Resource Watch, Wildlands Defense, and Western Watersheds Project) file another lawsuit (Case No. 3:21-cv-00103-MMD-CLB) in U.S. District Court, alleging that BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Land Policy Management Act, and other laws in permitting the Thacker Pass mine.

June 24, 2021 — The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, calls on the Department of the Interior to rescind the permits for the Thacker Pass project.

Spring and Summer 2021 — Rallies, protests, and prayer runs take place in Orovada, Winnemucca, Reno, Carson City, and at Thacker Pass. More than 100 mine opponents gather at Thacker Pass to commemorate the 156-year anniversary of a September 12, 1865 massacre of at least 31 Northern Paiute men, women, and children committed by the 1st Nevada Cavalry. Thousands of people visit the site.

July 19, 2021 — The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu (People of Red Mountain) files a successful motion to intervene in Federal District Court (Case No. 3:21-cv-00080-MMD-CLB) alleging that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in permitting the planned lithium mine.

August 2, 2021 — Burns Paiute Tribe files a motion to intervene on the side of tribal plaintiffs (Case No. 3:21-cv-00080-MMD-CLB).

September 15, 2021 — Bureau of Land Management accuses Will Falk and Max Wilbert of trespass for providing bathrooms to native elders at Thacker Pass, fining them $49,890.13.

October 8, 2021 — Eighteen native elders from three regional tribes request a BLM permit for their ceremonial camp. The BLM does not respond.

November 29, 2021 — The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony files an amended complaint in federal court alleging major previously unknown violations of the law. In January, Judge Miranda Du rejects the amended complaint because she wants to make a final decision on the case within a few months (note that the case has now continued for another calendar year).

February 11th, 2022 — Winnemucca Indian Colony files a motion to intervene in the lawsuit on the side of plaintiffs, claiming that BLM’s contention that they consulted with the Tribe is completely false. Judge Du rejects this motion shortly afterwards with the same reasoning used above.

April 4th, 2022 — Reno-Sparks Indian Colony files a Motion for Discovery Sanctions alleging that the BLM has been disobeying court orders and making “reckless, false statements” in a deliberate attempt to abuse the justice system and limit judicial oversight. Judge Du agrees with RSIC, but rejects the motion on a technicality.

August 2022 — BLM “discovers” five new historic sites at Thacker Pass and for the first time acknowledges the September 12, 1865 massacre took place, but continues to reject tribal expertise.

September 2022 — Lithium Nevada Corporation begins digging up portions of Thacker Pass for “bulk sampling” despite consultation still being ongoing between the Bureau of Land Management and regional tribes over cultural sites.

October 2022 — Dozens of mining activists from four continents visit Thacker Pass as part of the Western Mining Action Network biennial conference.

Contact:
Will Falk, Attorney for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Summit Lake Paiute Tribe
Bethany Sam, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Media Relations
Max Wilbert, Protect Thacker Pass

Dwindling Salmon and Clearcuts in Oregon

Dwindling Salmon and Clearcuts in Oregon

The salmons are dying, all for the greed of humans. Salmons are only one of the numerous species at risk due to industrial civilization. We lose 200 species a day. This is an ecological crisis that we are facing. This is a call for action. Join a resistance. For all the species that we are losing every day. For the salmon. Align yourself with the natural world.


By Max Wilbert

Earlier this month I spent a week in the coastal mountains of Oregon, where industrial logging has replaced old-growth forests with monocrop plantations, released vast quantities of greenhouse gases, eviscerated biodiversity, and harmed rivers and streams via siltation and other forms of habitat destruction, water temperature increases, and chemical pollution.

On this trip, I camped a few feet from a salmon stream and was kept up by the sounds of Coho heading upstream to spawn — four fish. Just four.

The rivers and streams of Washington, Oregon, and California are in crisis. Where salmon and steelhead have not already been driven extinct there are only small remnant populations holding on.

In the Western contiguous United States, four hundred and six salmonid populations have already been entirely destroyed, and one-third of remaining populations are listed under the endangered species act. Overall Pacific salmon numbers have declined by 98-99%.

The forests and rivers of the West need defenders. We have work to do. If salmon are going to survive, four things need to happen:

  1. Protect the forests. Industrial logging needs to stop.
  2. Protect the water. The dams must come down. Floodplains, wetlands, and estuaries must be restored and allowed to flourish. Toxic chemical pollution from stormwater runoff and forestry spraying must be stopped.
  3. Protect the fish. Commercial fishing must halt. Salmon farming must be stopped.
  4. Protect the cold. Global warming must be stabilized and reversed.
Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons by Turkey

Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons by Turkey

Editor’s note: The Rojava conflict, also known as the Rojava Revolution, is a political upheaval and military conflict taking place in northern Syria and Iraq known among Kurds as Western Kurdistan or Rojava.

In this social revolution a prominent role is played by women both on the battlefield and within the newly formed political system, as well as the implementation of democratic confederalism, a form of libertarian socialism that emphasizes decentralization, gender equality and the need for local governance through direct democracy.

As an eco-feminist organization, DGR agrees with Women Defend Rojava that all women should aspire to the principles of self-defense. That this consciousness must be established in society as a culture of resistance. The power of the State will always attack those who resist and rise up against patriarchal violence and fight for a free life. As part of the women’s revolution, the Rojava takes an important role in building alternatives to the current patriarchal-capitalist world system and defending them. 

“A society can not be free with out women’s liberation” (Abdullah Öcalan)

This is an open letter from Women Defend Rojava and other signatories requesting an investigation into Turkey’s alleged use of chemical weapons in Kurdish people based in Syria and Iraq.

 


Open letter from Women Defend Rojava

On the occasion of November 30, the Day of Remembrance of all Victims of Chemical Warfare, we write with deep concern about disturbing allegations of the use of prohibited weapons by the Turkish military in its ongoing military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Moreover, we are writing at a time in which the Turkish state is once again targeting civilians inside Syria and mobilizing for another possible ground invasion.

On October 18, local media released video footage showing the impacts of alleged chemical weapons exposure on two PKK guerrillas. Both were among 17 of the group’s fighters who lost their lives as a result of alleged chemical attacks in recent months.

The footage followed a report published by the NGO International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) last month that examined other allegations of Turkish chemical weapons use and called for an international investigation based on its findings.

In 2021, human rights monitors and local media reported at least once instance of civilian harm potentially caused by alleged Turkish chemical weapons use. The authors of the IPPNW report attempted to meet with the impacted civilians, but were blocked from doing so by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

We understand that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) can only investigate allegations of chemical weapons use when a request is made by a state party.

However, it is our view that these existing mechanisms do not reflect the realities of warfare today. Peoples without states and non-state political and military actors are deeply involved in modern conflicts. So are autocratic regimes that stifle the voices of those who wish to hold their governments to account for their behavior in war.

Both of these conditions are relevant here. The Kurdish people do not have a government that can speak up for them. They live under repressive regimes with powerful allies in the West—Turkey, for example, is supported by its NATO allies despite consistent evidence of serious human rights abuses.

This means that, while Kurds are disproportionately more likely to be subjected to war crimes and violations of international law as a result of their status as an oppressed minority, they are also disproportionately less likely to have access to justice mechanisms to hold perpetrators accountable.

In order to be effective, human rights law and the laws of war must be implemented as universally as possible, free from political considerations. There should be as many avenues as possible for credible allegations of human rights violations and violations of the laws of war to be investigated by impartial international bodies—particularly serious violations like the use of prohibited weapons.

Furthermore, these investigations should not simply be aimed at the historical record. They should build towards justice and accountability for all who violate international law, as well as durable political solutions to ongoing conflicts.

To that end, we the undersigned make the following recommendations:

To the OPCW:

  • Amend investigation procedures to allow greater access to justice and accountability for alleged chemical weapons use.
  • Investigate allegations that Turkey may have used chemical weapons in Iraqi Kurdistan.

To the government of Turkey:

  • End all cross-border military activity in Iraq and Syria immediately.
  • Cooperate fully with local and international investigations of alleged chemical weapons use and other alleged war crimes and human rights abuses and hold perpetrators accountable if violations are found.
  • Return to peace negotiations with the PKK to resolve the Kurdish issue by political means.

To the Kurdistan Regional Government:

  • Allow international investigators full access to impacted regions and communities to determine if Turkey has used chemical weapons in its military operations.

To concerned governments:

  • Request an investigation of alleged Turkish chemical weapons use via existing OPCW mechanism.
  • End arms sales and security assistance to Turkey.
  • Pressure Turkey to end cross-border military operations in Iraq and Syria.
  • Support and assist in return to peace negotiations between Turkey and the PKK to resolve the Kurdish issue by political means.

To international civil society:

  • Support the demands listed here by signing this letter and engaging with relevant governments and international institutions.

November 30, 2022

Signatories:

  1. Souad Abdelrahman, Head of Palestine Women’s Association – Palestine
  2. Dr Goran Abdullah – Scotland
  3. Ismet Agirman, Kurdish activist – UK
  4. Prof Dr Tayseer A. Alousi, Secretary General of the Arab Assembly for Supporting Kurdish Issue and President Sumerian Observatory for Human Rights – Netherlands
  5. Dr Maha Al-Sakban, Centre for Women’s Human Rights board member – Iraq
  6. Mick Antoniw MS, Senedd Constituency Member, Welsh Labour Group, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution – Wales
  7. Chiara Aquino, PhD Candidate, University of Edinburgh – Scotland
  8. Benedetta Argentieri, Journalist and filmmaker – Italy
  9. Rezgar Bahary, Journalist – UK
  10. Naamat Bedrdine, Politician and writer – Lebanon
  11. Walden Bello, International Adjunct Professor of Sociology, SUNY Binghamton, and recipient ot the Right Livelihood Award (aka Alternative Nobel Prize) in 2003 – USA
  12. Janet Biehl, Independent scholar, author, artist – USA
  13. Jonathan Bloch, Writer – UK
  14. Baroness Christine Blower, House of Lords – UK
  15. Debbie Bookchin, Journalist and author – USA
  16. Prof Bill Bowring, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London – UK
  17. Jane Byrne, Teacher – UK
  18. Robert Caldwell, Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies, University at Buffalo – USA
  19. Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) – UK
  20. CND (Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament) – UK
  21. Margaret Cerullo, Hampshire College – USA
  22. Maggie Cook, UNISON NEC member – UK
  23. Mary Davis FRSA, Visiting Professor of Labour History at Royal Holloway University of London – UK
  24. Defend Kurdistan Initiative – UK
  25. Mary Dibis, Mousawat for Women – Lebanon
  26. Penelope Dimond, Writer and actor – UK
  27. Gorka Elejabarrieta Diaz, Basque Senator, Director EH Bildu International Relations Department – Basque Country
  28. Federal Executive Committee of Women’s Union Courage – Germany
  29. Silvia Federici, Author and Professor Emerita of Social Science, Hofstra University – USA
  30. Andrew Feinstein , Executive Director, Shadow World Investigations – UK
  31. Dr Phil Frampton, Author – UK
  32. Freedom Socialist Party – Australian Section
  33. Freedom Socialist Party – USA Section
  34. Andreas Gavrielidis, Greek-Kurdish Solidarity
  35. Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition – UK
  36. Selay Ghaffar, Exiled women’s rights activist from Afghanistan
  37. Prof Barry Gills, Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science – UK
  38. Dr Sarah Glynn, Writer – France
  39. Mustafa Gorer, Kurdish activist – UK
  40. Kirmanj Gundi, KHRO (Kurdistan Human Rights Observer) – UK
  41. Prof Michael Gunter, General Secretary of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) – USA
  42. Rahila Gupta, Chair of Southall Black Sisters – UK
  43. Kazhal Hamarashid, Board member of the Toronto Kurdish Community Centre – Canada
  44. Niaz Hamdi, KHRO (Kurdistan Human Rights Observer) – UK
  45. John Hendy QC, Barrister – UK
  46. Nick Hildyard, Policy analyst – UK
  47. Ava Homa, Writer, journalist and activist – Canada/USA
  48. Srecko Horvat, Co-founder of DiEM25 & Progressive International
  49. Dr Stephen Hunt, PiK Ecology Network – UK
  50. John Hunt, Journalist – UK
  51. Alia Hussein, Women’s Affairs Committee of the General Federation of Iraqi Trade Unions – Iraq
  52. Lord Hylton, House of Lords – UK
  53. Serif Isildag, Journalist – UK
  54. Ruken Isik, Adjunct Lecturer at American University – USA
  55. Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Crymru – Wales
  56. Jin Women’s Association – Lebanon
  57. Ramsey Kanaan, Publisher, PM Press – UK
  58. James Kelman, Author – Scotland
  59. Gulay Kilicaslan, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University – Kanada
  60. Nida Kirmani, Women Democratic Front, Haqooq-e-Khalq Party – Pakistan
  61. Nimat Koko Hamad, Associate researcher and gender specialist – Sudan
  62. Kongra Star Women’s Movement – Rojava & Syria
  63. Claudia Korol, Founder of Popular Education Collective Pañuelos en Rebeldía, Feministas de Abya Yala – Argentina
  64. Balazs Kovacs, Consultant – UK
  65. Kurdish Women’s Relations Office (REPAK) – Kurdistan Region of Iraq
  66. Şeyda Kurt, Journalist and Writer – Germany
  67. Coni Ledesma, International Women’s Alliance (IWA) Europe – Netherlands
  68. Dr Anjila Al-Maamari, Center for Strategic Studies to Support Women and Children – Yemen
  69. Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet – Scotland
  70. Fazela Mahomed, Kurdish Human Rights Action Group – South Africa
  71. Saleh Mamon, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) – UK
  72. Dr Carol Mann, Director of Women in War – France
  73. Mike Mansfield QC, Barrister – UK
  74. Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer of Political Sociology, Fellow of Darwin College, University of Cambridge – UK
  75. Zahraa Mohamad, Journalist – Lebanon
  76. Francie Molloy, MP for Mid Ulster – Ireland
  77. David Morgan, Journalist – UK
  78. Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Green Party Member of the House of Lords – UK
  79. Maryam Namazie, Human rights activist, commentator, and broadcaster – UK
  80. Dr Marie Nassif-Debs, President of Association Equality-Wardah Boutros – Lebanon
  81. Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions – UK
  82. Margaret Owen, O.B.E., President Widows for Peace through Democracy – UK
  83. Prof Felix Padel, Research associate at Center for World Environmental History, University of Sussex – UK
  84. Sarah Parker, Anti-Capitalist Resistance – UK
  85. Patriotic Democratic Socialist Party (PPDS) – Tunisia
  86. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign – UK
  87. Maxine Peake, Actress – UK
  88. Rosalind Petchesky, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Political Science, Hunter College & the Graduate Center, City University of New York – USA
  89. Dr Thomas Phillips, lecturer in law at Liverpool John Moore University – UK
  90. Eleonora Gea Piccardi, University of Coimbra, PhD candidate – Italy
  91. Ulisse Pizzi, Geologist, UK engineering consultancy – UK
  92. Dr Anni Pues, International human rights lawyer – UK
  93. Radical Women – USA
  94. Radical Women – Australia
  95. Bill Ramsay, Ex-President Educational Institute of Scotland and Convenor of Scottish National Party – Scotland
  96. Ismat Raza Shahjahan, President of Women Democratic Front – Pakistan
  97. Trevor Rayne, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! – UK
  98. Gawriyah Riyah Cude, Women’s Trade Union Forum – Iraq
  99. Dimitri Roussopoulos, Writer, editor, publisher, political activist – Canada
  100. Nighat Said Khan, Women Democratic Front, Women Action Forum WAF – Pakistan
  101. Dr Michael Schiffmann, Linguist, English Department of the University of Heidelberg, Translator – Germany
  102. Paul Scholey, Morrish Solicitors – UK
  103. Bert Schouwenburg, International Trade Union Advisor – UK
  104. Chris Scurfield, Political activist – UK
  105. Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor UNISON Scotland and NEC member – Scotland
  106. Geoff Shears, Vice-Chair of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies(CLASS) – UK
  107. Tony Shephard, Musician and graphic designer – UK
  108. Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation – UK
  109. Radha D’Souza, Professor of law at the University of Westminster – UK
  110. Oskar Spong, Operator – UK
  111. Chris Stephens MP, Glasgow South West – Scotland
  112. Steve Sweeney, International Editor, Morning Star – UK
  113. Tooba Syed, Women Democratic Front – Pakistan
  114. Greta Sykes, Writer and artist – UK
  115. Tim Symonds, Novelist – UK
  116. Joly Talukder, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Garment Workers Trade Union Centre – Bangladesh
  117. Latifa Taamalah Women’s Committee – Tunisia
  118. Shavanah Taj, General Secretary Wales TUC – Wales
  119. Lisa-Marie Taylor, CEO of FiLiA – UK
  120. Saadia Toor, Women Democratic Front – Pakistan
  121. Tom Unterrainer, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation – UK
  122. Prof Abbas Vali, Professor of Modern Social and Political Theory – UK
  123. Dr Federico Venturini, University of Udine – Italy
  124. Andy Walsh, Chair, Greater Manchester Law Centre – UK
  125. Julie Ward, Former MEP – UK
  126. Arthur West, Secretary, Kilmarnock and Loudon Trades Union Council – Scotland
  127. Prof Kariane Westrheim, Chair of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) – Norway
  128. Alex Wilson, PhD student at York University in Toronto, Ontario – Canada
  129. Dr Fiona Woods, Lecturer, Technological University Shannon – Ireland
  130. Paula Yacoubian, Member of Parliament – Lebanon
  131. Rosy Zúñiga, Latin America and Caribbean Popular Education Council CEAAL – Mexico
We Are Not Leaving: Indigenous Tribe Takes Back Their Land

We Are Not Leaving: Indigenous Tribe Takes Back Their Land

This is a press release by Process of Liberation of Mother Earth, originally published in Liberacion de la Madre Tierra. The Nasa people of Cauca had been pushed to the mountains by the invaders in the 16th century. For the past 17 years, they have shifted to direct action to get back their land. Although their pursuit had been disrupted in the past, they have now stayed in their original land despite state attempts to remove them. Both right leaning and left leaning governments have attempted to remove them from their rights to their land. DGR extends our solidarity to the Nasa people of Cauca valley in their struggle for land reclamation.


Now that the 48 hours have passed, we send this letter to the world to tell about our struggle and the danger that awaits us, and what we are going to do in face of the danger. The great chief sent word, that we are invaders and gives us 48 hours to abandon our struggle and the land where we fight, or the full weight of the law of the Colombian state will fall on us.

First we tell you about our struggle. This last September 2nd, 17 years have passed since we returned to direct action to fight for the land, a struggle that has roots in 1538, when our people decided to declare war to the invaders. The invaders took over our land and pushed us into the mountains, the invaders made of dispossession a way of life, the how of their civilization, and today they have in their possession the most fertile lands and they have documents that prove they own and they are an organized power that moves the strings of politics and economy and justice and the media in Colombia to keep the documents up to date and to exploit Mother Earth more and more until skinning her and sucking her blood and digging into her entrails and this is called progress, development.

For us, families of the Nasa people of northern Cauca, the land is Uma Kiwe, our mother. Everything that is in it has life, all of it is life, all beings are our brothers and sisters and all beings are worth the same. The invader indoctrinated us to teach us that we humans are outside our Mother and that we are superior to her, but deep in our hearts, nasa üus, we know that people are Uma Kiwe just like the condor and the butterfly and the corn and the stone are Uma Kiwe. The invader indoctrinated us to teach us that the moor is a resource that produces money, that by cutting down the jungle we can increase bank accounts, that by digging into Uma Kiwe’s entrails with large tubes we can access a life of well-being. That is the word of the invader and he calls it the goal, the life plan.

The lands of the Cauca river valley, where we now live, from where we fight, is the house and home of hundreds of animals, plants, rocks, waters, spirits, in a way of life that in Spanish they called tropical dry forest. The invader destroyed everything, that house and home no longer exist, he has damaged the face of Mother Earth. In their eagerness to impose their civilization, those who have the documents of these lands, planted the entire valley of the Cauca River with sugarcane and there are 400 thousand hectares where the cane is planted up to the riverbank. In other regions of Colombia, the invader displaced communities with war and planted oil palm on thousands and thousands of hectares, and in other regions they have displaced communities to build dams or to extract gold or petroleum.

And once, in a region called Antioquia, the Cauca River rebelled and damaged the machines and equipment of the dam and it overflowed and the people who had already been displaced by the hydroelectric project had to move again because once again their lands were flooded. For these facts there are no guilty parties, the invaders of the Cauca River, the displacers of those communities and those who committed the massacres to impose development, have not yet received the full weight of the law of the Colombian state. And so, every corner of this country they call Colombia, the oldest and most stable democracy in Latin America, is made up of patches of development projects installed where the war displaced entire communities, where the forests, moors, savannahs, mountains, jungles and plains were or are being razed so that a few people can enjoy the honeys of development.

We, the indigenous families of the Nasa people who walk the struggle platform of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC -by its acronym in Spanish), our organization, we don’t believe in that development and we don’t believe in that civilization that imposes death through laws and legal actions to generate coins. They indoctrinated us to believe in their civilization and told us that humans are superior to other beings, but we see that among humans there are levels, some humans who are superior than others, the superiors take all the wealth and the inferiors have to live cornered in the corners that development leaves us available, but they tell us that if we try hard or sell ourselves we can rise to the level of the superiors. We don’t like that way of life, we don’t accept it.

That is why 17 years ago, on September 2, 2005, we came down from the mountains to make a struggle that we continue today and that we have called the liberation of Mother Earth. Because we say that people will not be free while Uma Kiwe is enslaved, that all animals and beings in life are slaves until we get our mother to recover her freedom. At that time, September 2005, we had a tactical error, as one liberator said, and we negotiated an agreement with the Uribe government, an error that cost us a nine-year delay. But then we came back to enter the sugarcane agribusiness farms in December 2014, which means that we are almost eight years old, and in these eight years the oldest and most stable democracy in Latin America has not managed to evict us from the farms despite more than 400 attempts, and we are not going to leave, and we have been advancing by entering in these lands, so much that we already have 24 farms in process of liberation, already eight thousand hectares.

When we enter the farms we cut the cane and instead of the cane the food we sow grows, the forest also grow because Uma Kiwe has to rest, chickens, ducks, cows and little pigs grow, wild animals return… We are returning the skin and the face to Mother Earth. That is our dream, or if you prefer, our life plan. And there is still a long way to go, sometimes the word of the invader arrives and confuses us, but as a community we are talking and clarifying things. And other times the media from agribusiness or power in Colombia arrive and brand us as terrorists, lazy, that we slow down development, and tell us that we are invaders, as the current government of Petro and Francia says, and now they have planted the lie that we are stealing the land from our neighbors of the Afro-descendant communities who live cornered on the banks of the cane fields: what we can tell you with complete certainty is that the documents of the 24 farms that are in process of liberation, they are listed in the name of Incauca, the largest owner, and other landowners, or their land is leased to Incauca or other mills that process cane for sugar or agrofuels.

And also the judicial apparatus of Colombian democracy says that because we are terrorists they are going to capture us at checkpoints or with arrest warrants and they are going to take us to jail. And the paramilitaries, organized by the sugar cane agribusiness say that since the Colombian state has not managed to kill us, they are going to do it and they have already arrived at the farms in process of liberation to shoot us with short and long range weapons, but our range is longer because we already know how they are organized and how they work. And the agro-industrialists -Incauca, Asocaña, Procaña- have been sending us negotiation or association proposals for seven years and we have answered NO because a struggle is not negotiated and NO because for them being partners means that we put the labor as cheap as possible and that they provide the capital, NO gentlemen, we are not here to change bosses, we fight so that there are no more bosses.

And now that a new government and a new congress have arrived to strengthen the oldest and most stable democracy in Latin America, the congress tells us that we can send proposals for the agrarian reform law “because the liberation of Mother Earth is a concrete agrarian reform”; we haven’t responded yet, but we know how to restore the balance of Uma Kiwe, our Mother Earth, and it goes far beyond an agrarian reform. And the latest thing that has happened is that the new government of President Petro and Vice President Francia tell us that we are invaders and that we have 48 hours to leave these lands where we fight, we sow, we graze, we watch the forest grow and the wild animals return, well, in this land where we live, and that’s how we started this letter.

At the end of 48 hours, this September 2, the state attacked with the army and esmad (Mobile Anti-riot Squadron (Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios or ESMAD), there was no half hour of dialogue, as the new government had promised, the tank came in shooting gas. Later the army fired its long-range weapons against us, the communities that are liberating Mother Earth, there was no dialogue either. 17 years ago, on September 2, 2005, it was Uribe who ordered the esmad and the army to fire their weapons at us. This new government is from the left, the Uribe government was from the right. After eight hours of trying to evict us from one of the farms in process of liberation, the esmad and the army of the oldest democracy… they failed to evict us, here we continue, from here we launch this letter to the world.

We, the process of liberation of Mother Earth in northern Cauca, send word to the great chief that we are NOT going to evict, that here in these lands we are staying because this is our home to live and fight II. We say II because before we have already written that this is our home to live and fight I. At that time, 2018, the paramilitaries gave us a deadline to leave this land, but the paramilitaries gave us a slightly longer, more rational deadline, because they gave us two months, and when the two months were up we told them NO, that we couldn’t leave because this is our house to live and fight. That’s why we say II, because despite everything we don’t lose our smile. And you have to know that neither Uribe, nor Santos, nor Duque ever told us “they have 48 hours.” And we also tell you that we are not leaving because here in these lands in process of liberation, 12 compañerxs have fallen since 2005, murdered by the private company of Incauca, Asocaña and Procaña, and by the Colombian state. Here we already take root. We continue here until the government completes the process of delivering the documents to our indigenous authorities, either through agrarian reform or by the fastest way, and if it doesn´t happen, for the years of the years, we will continue here.

We also sent word to the great chief that we are going to enter in other farms because our struggle doesn’t stop. Yesterday we were in a great action to accompany a community that is liberating a farm because the esmad has been bothering them with gas every day for several days, despite the fact that they promised us that the esmad was going to end, then to transform and then that it was going to change it’s clothes, and it’s true because they wear a sports uniform for a soccer game while here they continue to shoot gas at us. We will continue our actions to root ourselves more with this land , so that our word has sustenance, because otherwise it would be like a decree or a campaign promise, which is written and signed but not fulfilled.

To the communities that in other regions of Colombia are fighting directly for the land, we invite to not leave the farms. We invite more families, more communities in the northern Cauca and in Colombia and in the world to enter in more farms and take possession and build life and community as we are already doing in these lands, the same way as many struggles that have been branded as invaders by the great chiefs of the country, because no fight has been won with little kisses on the cheek.

We also send word to our compañerxs who are now in the power of the Colombian state not to get tangled up along the way. Because they have walked alongside our struggles but now we see that they are forgetting where they come from, something that can happen to anyone who reaches a peak, who doesn´t see that after the top comes the descent. That is why we also sent word that we will enter to another farm where we will carry out rituals and plant food to share with them and we will pray for them so that when they finish their time in the state they continue to be the same people who one day arrived there with the votes of millions of people who saw in them some kind of hope.

So far this letter ends, but our word goes on. We write our word on the farms where we are liberating, that is our first word. The documents, the letters, the videos, the radio…, the second word, that helps us to tell the world what we do, the danger that awaits us and how we will continue walking in the face of danger. Thanks to the struggles and peoples of the world who listen to us and stand in solidarity with us. As we have already said in “this is our house to live and fight I”, the best way to support us is to strengthen your fight: it will be very difficult for capitalism to evict or bring down with the full weight of the law thousands and thousands of battles throughout the world.

Process of liberation of Mother Earth

Nasa people, Northern Cauca,

Colombia September 3, 2022.

Featured image: Cauca valley by Alliance for Biodiversity International and CIAT via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)