Orang-utans driven to the brink
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Personal note: Read this article and the report and maybe have your eyes opened to even a little to what anyone exposing wildlife crimes has to contend with. When conducting such work one constantly is told of the Mafia's (Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian, etc) influence - it seems to be everywhere in south-east Asia. Not forgetting, massively corrupt governments, secret police, government paid informers, etc.
In addition, if you report environmental/conservation groups for their many failings, they also do all they can to discourage you. A couple of months ago, the infamous Ministry of Forestry in Indonesia convened a meeting with some such groups to discuss how best to deter Nature Alert from exposing both the Ministry and the groups concerned.
Imagine if you will, some well known so-called conservation groups colluding with a Ministry repeatedly alleged in the Indonesian media to be very corrupt. The only item on the agenda, I have been told, was Nature Alert. Incidentally, only one group has ever written to me to deny anything I have said publicly about them, but even then they had no evidence to disprove my claims….they simply did not like the exposure. I never write about any group without first giving them privately, several opportunities to explain themselves and the work they claim to be doing. The more these organisations conspire to block exposure, it only makes me and others more determined to expose them.
Tuesday September 29, 2009 The Star, Malaysia
By HILARY CHIEW
Documenting green crimes has grown increasingly dangerous for journalists.
IN a report that focuses on threats faced by environmental journalists worldwide, media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders – better known by its French acronym RSF or Reporters Sans Frontieres – warned that these journalists are on the frontlines of a new war.
“There is a lot at stake in the environment. The gathering of information alone is threatening for many companies, organised crime groups, governments and the various kinds of intermediaries that profit from misuse of the environment.
“Environmental concerns complicate their plans. As a result, investigative journalists and environmental activists are seen as an unwanted menace and even as enemies to be physically eliminated,” said the report, The Dangers For Journalists Who Expose Environmental Issues.
The seven-page report documented 21 cases in 17 countries, the majority of which are developing countries where depletion of natural resources have proven to be politically sensitive issues.
Death threats, abductions, physical assaults and libel suits were levelled at 14 journalists, one blogger and one filmmaker in the last decade.
It included the hideous maiming of Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov, a vocal critic of local authorities who fought to save the Khimki forest affected by the construction of a motorway between Moscow and St Petersburg. He survived a savage beating outside his house in 2008 after having a leg and several fingers amputated.
Another Russian journalist, Grigory Pasko, battled espionage charges after he supplied footage of the Russian naval fleet dumping radioactive waste in the Sea of Japan to Japanese TV station NHK in 1997.
After spending 20 months in prison, he was tried and sentenced to four years in prison in 2001. He served two-thirds of his sentence and was released on parole. He has filed his case at the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the Russian court verdict that branded him a traitor.
Logging in the tropical rainforest appears to be a taboo subject for journalists. In the Philippines, Joey Estriber, a radio host in Aurora province (north-east of Manila) has been missing since March 2006 following his kidnap by four men. He had criticised logging by companies with allies inside the government and had campaigned to have the logging permits withdrawn.
Journalists who exposed illegal logging in Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Guinea-Bissau received threatening phone calls. Radio Free Asia reporter Lem Piseth of Cambodia fled to Thailand after getting this threatening phonecall: “You are insolent, do you want to die? ... There will not be enough land to bury you.”
Lucio Flavio Pinto, the founder and editor of Jornal Pessoal, a Brazilian bi-monthly in the northern state of Para in the Amazon basin, faced 33 lawsuits for publishing a series of reports on deforestation.
His Brazilian colleagues were also constant targets of intimidation. Vilma Berna, the editor of an environmental daily who had exposed clandestine overfishing in Rio de Janeiro Bay, hired bodyguards after a half-burnt body was dumped outside his house as a warning in May 2006. He, however, is without protection now as he could no longer afford the security fees.
Another Brazilian, Fabricio Ribeiro Pimenta, fled his hometown of Espirito Santo after being assaulted in July for denouncing an illegal marble factory of causing toxic dust pollution in a residential district.
Uzbek journalist Solidzhon Abdurakhmanov, who had written extensively about the Aral Sea ecological disaster, was arrested on a drug trafficking charge in June 2008 and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment despite irregularities and enormous gaps in the prosecution case. His arrest is said to be deliberately planned to punish him for his reporting.
Egyptian blogger Tamer Mabrouk was fined 6,000 (RM30,000) in May for libel after he blogged about a chemical company dumping untreated water into Lake Manzalah and the Suez Canal, near Port Said.
The report also highlighted the difficulties in gathering information when investigative journalists are shunned by the local population that are beholden to the polluters for employment.
In southern China, for example, foreign journalists were chased out of villages where most of the world’s discarded computers are stripped apart in an environmentally disastrous manner.
The report also noted the curse of “envelope journalism” where reporters are bribed into silence and whistle-blowers are jailed under punitive security laws.
■ Read the full report at www.rsf.org/IMG/rapport_en_mdf.pdf
It's in East Kalimantan where The Nature Conservancy has its office and massive budget linked to USAid/OCSP.
This illegal logging, including in the Kutai National Park, has been going on for years. Great ship loads of illegal timber leaving the port, and it's taken until now for this to come to light publicly.
So, are you wondering why it is we never seem to hear from thse big groups like WWF, WCS, TNC about such logging? Do you wonder how this logging in East Kalimantan (Borneo) could have carried on so blatantly without a conservation group out there raising hell? I am.
Tuesday, 29 September, 2009 | 17:02 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Several senior police officers in Kalimantan have been removed from their post for ongoing illegal logging in their jurisdiction, the national police informed on Tuesday.
The National Police Chief Bambang Danuri, who has been dragged into the anti-graft commission controversy said on Tuesday in an inspection in East Kalimantan Province, that he has replace the Chief of Central Kalimantan Police Brigadier General Syamsuridzal and removed several chiefs at the lower units below the provincial police.
“I have replace the Central Kalimantan Police Chief. There was ignorance on illegal logging in the province, everyday there were timber-loaded cargo boats leave the region,” General Bambang said at Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan.
Police chiefs from several regency-level police headquarters (one level below the provincial police) were also sacked, General Bambang said.
Bambang was in the province to inspect a haul of around 17,000 logs of timber from illegal logging operation in Paser Regency in East Kalimantan.
Two officials from the forestry office in Paser Regency have been named suspects by the police, while two timber contractors from PT Anugerah Abadi Multi Usaha and CV Sukses Abadi were currently on the run.
Nurni Sulaiman , The Jakarta Post , Paser, East Kalimantan | Tue, 09/29/2009 THe Jakarta Post
National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri visited Paser regency in East Kalimantan on Tuesday to inspect a large batch of seized timber, proving the province is still rife with illegal logging.
During the crackdown, the East Kalimantan police confiscated over 16,000 logs of high-priced meranti, kruing, bengkirai and ulin woods in Paser and Penajam Paser Utara regencies, the biggest catch ever unveiled by the police in Kalimantan.
The officers arrested two suspects but are still hunting down two others. They also seized 12 excavators, 14 bulldozers and two dump trucks belonging to the suspects.
Police found the suspects failed to show the documentation required to fell the trees.
East Kalimantan police chief Insp. Mathius Salempang and Paser police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hery Sasongko accompanied Bambang during the inspection.
Malaysia's capital of cronyism