Washington, DC and Ottawa – The Peruvian government should immediately cease any violent repression of mining protesters, over 80 leading environmental and human rights organizations wrote today in a statement that will be delivered to Peruvian embassies and consulates in the United States and Canada. The statement condemns the recent brutal repression and human rights violations that have left five people dead, and dozens more injured, after police opened fire on protestors of US-based Newmont Mining Corporation’s proposed Conga gold mine in the country’s northern Andean province of Cajamarca.
CAJAMARCA, PERU –– “Um, I think we have to find another place to meet,” I shouted into the phone on the morning of the Fourth of July. I was supposed to meet a local professor in the downtown Plaza de Armas here in Cajamarca, Peru, but at our designated meeting time, police were throwing tear gas into the plaza, and I saw them kicking and beating people who were slow (or too defiant) to move out of the way.
I’m here researching mining conflicts – reading, observing, and interviewing protestors, government officials, NGO staff, community members, and other stakeholders. On Tuesday night, July 3, a State of Emergency was declared here in the city of Cajamarca and two neighboring provinces of Celendín and Bambamarca after clashes between police and anti-mining protestors turned fatal. In Peru, a State of Emergency suspends certain constitutional rights such as freedom of assembly, gives police power to arrest without warrant, and gives the armed forces a frighteningly broad mandate to help the police maintain order. That evening, tear gas and violence swept through downtown Cajamarca, as described by OnEarth Magazine’s George Black. Many activists interpret the crackdown as a piece of a bigger puzzle: the criminalization of social protest in Peru.
As you know by now, the Big Gas Mafia held a much ballyhooed media/PR conference to get their fracking story straight to combat all the bad press and their failure to convince the American public that they can frack safely. I paid to attend that conference and wore my name badge the entire time.
Transparency was a big theme–hiding/spinning wrongdoings just escalates the public distrust. Yet here they are with the media equivalent of a spill — admissions that they’re using and encourage use of military tactics against American citizens. Yet, rather than owning it and admitting wrongdoing and addressing the problem they are instead trying to divert and obfuscate.
Riffing off revelations by Earthworks' Texas Sharon that the fracking industry is using military tactics in shale gas communities, today DeSmogBlog posted an excellent story explaining what military psychological operations are and how they've been used in our communities.
You should read the whole thing. But some highlights:
I've spent most of the day talking to reporters about the PSYOPS story that broke yesterday and has now gone viral. This is the most fun version of the story.
I'm not a good note taker which is why I thought I would record parts of the conference. After the first panel, I decided to record the entire thing. And Matt Pitzarella of Range Resources and Matt Carmichael of Anadarko got caught with their pants down -- recommending using military tactics on communities.
Their attempts to spin out of the mess they created has been tragicomic.
For a long time, the hydraulic fracturing-enabled drilling industry has been fighting a war to be accepted in communities around the country.
They've been losing the war.
That is, the more they've operated, the more they've polluted, and the worse name they've received. Thanks to the good work of community groups, Josh Fox, DeSmogBlog, ProPublica, the New York Times, and many, many others, the word has gotten out that you allow the drilling industry into your community at the peril of your drinking water, clean air, and the very fabric of your community.
So industry was (and still is) faced with a choice: