Bougainville Independence in 10 Days to shake the world…

A long time coming, it is likely that Bourgainville will be independent – and still may or may not reopen the mine that made Riotinto billions. 15k dead seems a bargain for all that copper now, right guys (ps. you deserve to be dragged from the boardroom at 6 St James Square and fed to the sharks).

This is from Australian Foreign Affairs (dodgy source, sure but its for hte details):

 

13 NOVEMBER 2019

WITH JONATHAN PEARLMAN

The future of Bougainville

 

In ten days, the people of Bougainville will start voting in a referendum on whether to break away from Papua New Guinea and create a new state. A decisive majority is expected to vote for independence. The long-awaited referendum marks the start of a new era for the province, following Australian colonial rule for most of last century and the civil war (from 1988 to 1998) that left between 10,000 and 20,000 people dead. Last Wednesday, Mauricio Claudio, an American who is the chief electoral official, said the two-week voting period is likely to be peaceful, credible and “joyous”. “The people of Bougainville have waited for this moment for decades,” he said.

But challenges will arise in the aftermath of the referendum. According to a peace deal signed in 2001, the result of the vote will not be binding but will be followed by negotiations between the Port Moresby and Bougainville governments. This process was proposed by former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer, in December 2000, to end a deadlock in talks between PNG and Bougainville leaders.

In a recent book on the referendum, Anthony Regan, an Australian National University researcher and former adviser to Bougainville parties, noted that Downer gave both sides “separate assurances” to win support for the referendum. To the Bougainvilleans, Downer insisted that a pro-independence vote – like the one in Timor-Leste – would be backed by the international community and lead to statehood. To Port Moresby, he said that the fate of Bougainville would ultimately depend on PNG’s parliament – a claim that persuaded PNG’s leaders that they could reject a vote for independence and retain Australia’s support.

Now, as the referendum finally arrives, Canberra will have to abandon this evasive diplomacy. Instead, it should endorse Bougainville’s peaceful and seemingly inevitable move towards independence. Australia is well positioned to use its close ties with PNG to encourage swift and equitable post-referendum talks. During the civil war between the PNG military and Bougainville separatists, Australia was perceived by Bougainvilleans as being on PNG’s side, particularly as Canberra continued to support its military. But Australia has since conducted peacekeeping operations and provided substantial aid to the region, which has improved its reputation there.

As journalist Ben Bohane wrote in the most recent issue of Australian Foreign Affairs, Australia has largely avoided commenting on the prospect of independence – which has prompted many Bougainvilleans to assume it supports PNG. Bohane, who covered the civil war and will be in Bougainville for the referendum, said Australia should now help to resolve the island’s status and must not be regarded as blocking independence. “Australia, along with New Zealand, should act as ‘honest brokers’ and help to nudge all sides towards a final settlement, rather than allow long-running resentments to fester, which could result in more distant powers such as China increasing their involvement,” he wrote.

One of the main challenges facing the province involves the reopening of the controversial Panguna mine, which has one of the world’s biggest copper deposits. In the 1960s and 1970s, Australia – then the colonial power – allowed the development of Panguna. It was this mine, originally operated by a forerunner of Rio Tinto, that sparked the tensions between local landowners and the PNG military that led to the civil war. The mine was closed in 1989 but in recent years, various Australian entities have been eyeing its reopening. However, the initial concerns of local landowners, such as over environmental degradation and financial exploitation, still remain.

The PNG government’s attitude towards independence is unclear, but there are signs that it is ready to embrace a new collaborative future with Bougainville. Last Wednesday, a reconciliation ceremony was held in PNG between former fighters from the PNG military and from Bougainville. Both sides apologised, and accepted each other’s apologies – they shook hands, broke bows and arrows, and together planted a coconut tree. PNG’s former military commander, Major General Jerry Singirok, described the war as the worst event in his country’s history, adding that he blamed it on his government and on foreign entities. Bougainville’s fate, he said, should be determined by Bougainvilleans. “It was not my choice to go to Bougainville,” he said. “I was only an instrument of a state institution.”

 

 

Riotinto’s Tonto Forest greed in Apache’s Arizona sacred site

your fuck off Riotinto Copper moment of the day:

I had missed this one from the Washington Post in December:

LAS VEGAS — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Saturday criticized a last-minute addition to a major defense policy bill that would hand 2,400 acres of land in Arizona to an Australian mining corporation.

The land, part of the Tonto National Forest in Arizona, sits atop one of the nation’s largest copper deposits. It would be given to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, the London- and Melbourne-based mining behemoth that produces aluminum, iron, copper, uranium, coal and other commodities across the globe.

But the land also includes sites sacred to the San Carlos Apache tribe, including Apache Leap, where warriors once leapt to their deaths rather than being killed or captured by U.S. troops moving west through the frontier.

The proposed land exchange had failed several times before, including once in 2013 when House Republicans scheduled a vote while Native American leaders were meeting with White House officials in Washington. Tribal activists pressured lawmakers into spiking the vote.

But it returned again this week, in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass bill that sets the nation’s defense policy. The exchange was among a handful of non-defense-related provisions in the bill, which would also create six new National Parks in states from Washington to Rhode Island to New Mexico, and 14 National Heritage Areas.

Jewell on Saturday called the land elements of the NDAA, many of which had been stalled in Congress for years, “a mixed bag.”

“I’m happy to see public lands bills make progress,” Jewell said. “The preference on public lands bills is that they go through a typical process of public lands bills and they get debate and discussion.”

But, she said of the Tonto National Forest land swap: “I think that is profoundly disappointing.”

Rio Tinto has been pushing for the land swap for years. The company says opening the area to copper mining will generate $61 billion in economic activity and 3,700 jobs over the next four decades, although environmentalists and those who oppose the deal dispute those numbers.

Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) backed a House version in 2013, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he would introduce companion legislation if it passed the House. The House passed the NDAA last week, and the Senate is expected to give final approval on Monday.

Bougainville: shareholders v board

Radio Australia, 8 May 2014

Bougainville Shareholders support corporate review

Updated 8 May 2014, 9:30 AEST
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility says it is encouraged that most Bougainville Copper shareholders are in favour of appointing an independent jurist to investigate the company’s involvement in counter-insurgency activities during the Bougainville civil war.

The Centre’s resolution, put to the Bougainville Copper annual meeting in Port Moresby was overwhelmingly defeated.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett

Caroline le Couteur, Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacific/radio/program/pacific-beat/bougainville-shareholders-hsupport-corporate-review/1307728

Half million Riotinto drop – payout scum

Possibly the shabbiest thing I have heard since yesterday:

to Vikki
5 hours agoDetails
PNG Exposed, 4 April 2014

Australian academics paid $500,000 over two years for mining work on Bougainville

April 3, 2014

Two Australian academics have been paid almost $500,000 by the Australian government for two years work towards reopening the Panguna mine in Bougainville.

The figures have been revealed by the Australian Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee.

Bougainville has twice rejected Regan’s controversial new Mining Law paid for by Australia

20140405-073139.jpg

Controversial ABG advisor Anthony Regan has been paid over $270,000 – K680,000 – for his work drafting a controversial new Mining Law and other legislation.

Regan’s draft law has twice been rejected by the people pf Bougainville as being too biased in favor of foreign mining companies including Rio Tinto.

The figure revealed by the Committee as paid to Regan includes reimbursable travel costs and covers the period from June 2011 to November 2013.

A second Australian academic Ciaron O’Faircheallaigh has been paid $215,000 over two years for his work on negotiation “of a mining agreement to govern the Panguna mine”.

In total Australia is funding 22 ‘advisor’ positions in Bougainville – at an annual cost of $2.9 million in 2012/13. Some of the positions are full-time, some part-time and some are currently vacant according to the Committee.

original here

Panguna No to reopening Riotinto death mine

Just in:

On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Bougainville Freedom Movement wrote:
PNG Minewatch, 31 March 2014

Panguna Mothers Reject BCL and Mine

Clive Porabou via Facebook

The Meekamui Women of Panguna find it ridiculous to hear that the Bougainville Women in Mining are supporting the reopening of Panguna Mine when they themselves are ignorant of the facts why the mine was closed.

Stella Placid one of the principal female landowner in the mine pit said that BCL [Rio Tinto] is not welcome in Panguna.

“They are responsible for the 20,000 lives who perished during the uprising.

They also used dangerous chemicals to destroy the eco-system on the land and we cannot grow taro or do any fishing in the rivers.

As you can see today; the Jaba river is polluted, our people relocated with a complete disregard for their needs and the needs of future generations and we lost our land”, said Stella Placid.

“Therefore, our concern not to open the mine must be respected by ABG and stop their political rehetorics and develop the agriculture and fishing sector.

The truth is that we the landowners in the mine pit areas are united in our opposition to the reopening of the mine”; said Stella Placid.

http://ramumine.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/panguna-mothers-reject-bcl-and-mine/

Filthy bastard mining corp Riotinto slips the (legal) noose once again (the law is an ass)

Rio Tinto wins end to human rights abuse lawsuit in U.S.

Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:47pm EDT
* Bougainville residents sued over activity linked to mine
* 9th Circuit rules after top U.S. court narrows law’s reach
By Jonathan Stempel
June 28 (Reuters) – Benefiting from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Rio Tinto Plc has won the dismissal of a nearly 13-year-old U.S. lawsuit accusing the Anglo-Australian mining company of complicity in human rights abuses on the South Pacific island of Bougainville.
Friday’s ruling by a majority of an 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ends litigation begun in 2000.
Roughly 10,000 current and former Bougainville residents had sought to hold Rio Tinto responsible for human rights violations and thousands of deaths linked to polluting a copper and gold mine it once ran.
The ruling follows the Supreme Court’s April 17 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co, where the justices limited the sweep of a 1789 U.S. law that lawyers had used for roughly three decades to fight human rights abuses worldwide.
Five justices said the Alien Tort Statute was meant to cover international law violations occurring in the United States, and that violations elsewhere must “touch and concern” U.S. territory “with sufficient force” to displace that presumption.
The Bougainville residents alleged that after workers in 1988 began to sabotage the Rio Tinto mine, the company goaded Papua New Guinea’s government to exact retribution and conspired to impose a blockade, leading to thousands of civilian deaths.
On April 22, the Supreme Court threw out an earlier 9th Circuit ruling that let the lawsuit proceed, and asked it to revisit the matter in light of Kiobel.
Steve Berman, a lawyer for the Bougainville plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
He had asked the 9th Circuit to send the case back to the Los Angeles district court so that his clients could try to proceed with other claims, “sans invocation of the ATS.”
Kiobel was also cited this week by a Virginia federal judge who dismissed a lawsuit accusing defense contractor CACI International Inc of conspiring to torture detainees a decade ago at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The judge in that case said that because the alleged abuse occurred outside the United States, he lacked jurisdiction to consider claims by four former detainees. They plan to appeal.
The case is Sarei et al v. Rio Tinto Plc et al, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 02-56256.