Peacing things together

Too many people I converse with believe the human capacity for peaceful co-existence is not possible.  I disagree.  We do have a deep capacity for peace, but it has not been fostered in our competitive, consumerist and corporatist culture, one that mines uranium and builds bombs. From the John Lennon and Yoko Ono 1969 Bed-In, a version of Give Peace a Chance edited with images of the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters.

 

And once you have one John Lennon piece, you might as well add another.  Imagine is probably my all-time favourite song.

 

 

Our capacity to imagine is weakened by the fast-paced and regulated lives we live, but when we do allow ourselves time and space to imagine all that Lennon talks about we can more easily climb on board Yusuf Islam’s (Cat Stevens’) Peace Train.

 

Here’s wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.  My gift to you: Sarah McLachlan’s version of John Lennon’s, So this is Christmas.

 

Peace out!

 

With love,

Berlynn@Politics’n’Poetry

Workers exposed to uranium seek redress

From Newsday.com, a story that workers exposed to uranium in the USA are in the courts looking for compensation.  How long until Saskatchewan workers take to the courts?

Verizon hit with suit for ex-nuclear plant risks

|mark.harrington@newsday.com

Five employees of a magazine distribution company once located at a former nuclear-fuel plant in Hicksville will file a lawsuit today seeking to force Verizon Communications Inc. to pay medical-monitoring expenses tied to illnesses they fear they may develop from exposure to toxins at the site, their lawyers said last week.

The complaint, which the lawyers said will be filed in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, accuses Verizon and its predecessor companies of “reckless” and “grossly negligent” operation of a facility that made nuclear fuel rods from uranium and other materials at a plant on Cantiague Rock Road. The plant, which was operated between 1952 and 1966 by Verizon predecessor Sylvania Electric Products Inc., routinely incinerated uranium scrap into the open air and dumped chemical toxins into the ground.

The workers are employed by Magazine Distributors Inc., a company that operated at the former Sylvania site from 1991 to 2002 and has since moved to Farmingdale. MDI is not named as a defendant.

The suit says the workers were exposed “on numerous occasions to hazardous and toxic substances” at the site, where they “inhaled, ingested, or otherwise absorbed” the toxins. As a result, they allege they are at an increased risk of developing “multiple forms of cancer and other serious life-threatening diseases.”

Uranium CEO hit the payroll jackpot!

Interesting bit here, from Larry Hubichs Blog: Saskatchewan CEOs hit the payroll jackpot.  At the top of the heap, the CEO of the uranium giant, CAMECO.

This article in the Friday, Nov. 16, 2007 Regina Leader-Post reveals that a number of Saskatchewan based CEO’s hit the payroll jackpot last year.

According to the article, which quotes the Financial Post Business magazine, the following CEO’s received compensation last year as listed below:

Gerald Grandey, CEO of Cameco Corp.: $7.6 million
William Doyle, CEO of Potash Corp. of Sask.: $3.6 million
Mayo Schmidt, CEO of Sask. Wheat Pool (Viterra): $3.3 million

That 7.6 million, if divided among the people who live in Saskatchewan’s north (where the uranium mining takes place), would mean an extra $200  per year in the pockets of the residents.  And, given the price of groceries, that might mean something.

War Resisters Supreme Court Decision Upcoming

War Resisters Support Campaign

In Regina, there is a vigil for peace ever Thursday at Noon on the Scarth Street Mall at 11th Avenue.

Supreme Court decision on Hinzman & Hughey expected on
THURSDAY NOV. 15th, 2007

The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to post its decision on whether or not it will hear the appeal by US war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey THIS THURSDAY at 9:45 am.

The decision will be posted at: http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/index.html (the case number for Jeremy Hinzman is 32112, and for Brandon Hughey it is 32111).

If the decision is negative, join protests in cities across the country. Check the take action page for listings of protest locations.

If the decision is positive, we will celebrate right across the country – but there will still be much work to do to ensure that US soldiers who refuse to fight in Iraq have refuge in Canada. In TORONTO, join us at 7 p.m. at Grossman’s Tavern, 379 Spadina Avenue (at Cecil Street) for a ‘Leave to Appeal’ party.

Navajo Leads Uranium Roundtable on Capitol Hill

I don’t want to believe that the MSM is corrupt as it is, but, well, give them enough rope…

Anyway, from Native American Times, a report on a meeting, one you’re not likely going to hear about in the MSM:

Navajo Leads Uranium Roundtable on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C.
11/14/2007

Three members of Congress joined the Navajo Nation last week in a discussion on the ban of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.

“Over a half century ago the United States government faced by the threats of the Cold War began a massive effort to mine and process uranium ore for use in the country’s nuclear weapons programs,” said Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, as he gave his opening statement at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill. “Much of that uranium was mine on, or near, Navajo lands and much of it extracted and processed with Navajo hands.”

The Uranium Roundtable, held jointly by the Navajo Nation and Congress, was an open discussion for Navajo leadership and community members affected by uranium mining to come together with Congress and federal agencies.

Federal government agencies represented at the Roundtable included the Indian Health Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Energy.

“Workers, families, and their neighbors suffer increased incidences of cancers and other medical disorders caused by their exposure to uranium,” said President Shirley. “Fathers and sons who went to work in the mins and the processing facilities brought the remnants of uranium in to their homes at the end of the day infecting their families.”

The Roundtable was hosted by Congressman Tom Udall, D-NM-3, who chaired and lead the discussion of the forum.

“We gather today to engage in a discussion of the very serious issues facing the Navajo Nation as a result of uranium development,” said Congressman Udall. “This is an opportunity for all parties to come together to outline specific steps that Congress, federal agencies, and the Navajo Nation can take toward rectifying past wrongs, and creating safer communities in the Navajo Nation.”

Congressmen Jim Matheson, D-UT-2, and Rick Renzi, R-AZ-1, participated in the three hour forum attended by more than 60 people, including many from the Navajo Nation, and the neighboring town of Grants, New Mexico.

During the Roundtable, Congressman Renzi asked Dr. Charles Miller of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the process of permits for mining uranium on the Navajo Nation.

“Our approach is to carry out the review of the license,” responded Dr. Miller, explaining that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seated with responsibility to conduct a review of granting permits for uranium mining. He further explained that their process does not prohibit the Navajo Nation from enforcing Navajo laws to stop uranium mining.

In 2005, the Navajo Nation Council passed the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act, which places a ban on uranium mining on Navajo lands.

Other Navajo leaders who participated in the Roundtable included Council Delegate Phil Harrison of Red Valley and Cove Chapters. Harrison, a member of the Navajo Nation Council Committee on Natural Resources, spoke on the contamination of uranium mining in Navajo communities.

“We’re talking about a situation that is occurring today in places like Tuba City, and other places throughout Navajo Indian country,” said Harrison. “The experiment on our health and welfare, being conducted with the complicity of the United States government continues.”

Watch for PMS and Brad Wall to continue with their “experiments” based in ecological racism on the First Nations communities in Saskatchewan’s north.

Uranium, Indigenous Rights and Corporatism

This story provides some clarity for me around the reasons why the Harperites refused to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. It provides opportunity for indigenous peoples to boot corporate pigs off their lands! And PMS won’t be wanting that!

OWE AKU & BLACK HILLS SIOUX NATION TREATY COUNCIL
DEFEAT URANIUM CORPORATION
(From Owe Aku International Human Rights and Justice Program, New York City) As explained in the following article, Owe Aku, a grass roots Lakota organization, just utilized the principle of free, prior and informed consent as set forth in the recently passed United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

JUDGE ISSUES RULING…N.A.E.G. EXCLUDED FROM PINE RIDGE
Pine Ridge, SD… On October 29, OST Chief Judge Lisa Adams issued an exclusion order to remove the Native American Energy Group (N.A.E.G.) from the Pine Ridge reservation, declaring that the company has been trespassing on tribal lands. The finding gave NAEG 30 days to vacate the reservation.

The Judge also noted that N.A.E.G. ignored a tribal resolution that accepted the OST Environmental Technical Team’s recommendation that the Tribe not enter into any working relationship with N.A.E.G. Further, the order stated that OST Member, Eileen Janis, failed to inform N.A.E.G. about OST ordinances prohibiting exploration and mining for uranium.

Environmental Nightmares provides more info about the current struggles of the Lakota peoples. The Lakota Nation is, for those with short memories or too young to remember, the nation of Leonard Peltier who has been held as a political prisoner in the USA for 30 years for allegedly murdering 2 FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Reservation located in the Black Hills. Another twist in the story is the extradition of John Graham, a citizen of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations of the Yukon, Canada, to the USA on charges of murdering Anna Mae Aquash.

…the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld the extradition of former AIM member John Graham to stand trial in South Dakota in the chilling murder more than 30 years ago of Canadian Mi’kmaq Anna Mae Aquash.

…Mr. Graham and his many supporters argue, however, that he is being framed by the FBI, as they believe well-known native activist Leonard Peltier was.

…In a case that continues to arouse emotions today, the main evidence used to extradite Mr. Peltier was a sworn affidavit by native Myrtle Poorbear that later proved to be false. Many, including Amnesty International, have called for Mr. Peltier’s release.

Graham’s daughter says,

John Graham is a political prisoner. I will fight until John Graham, my dad, is free to live his life in peace and to exercise his right to protect Mother Earth.

Interesting how things happen. Searching out this piece I learned that the John Graham Defense Committee will hold a benefit this Friday, November 16, in Vancouver. Even more interesting is that John Graham has a history of advocating for environmental and aboriginal rights, most particularly in SK where he was an organizer of no nukes activities in the First Nations and Metis communities.

How convenient for the pro nukers that, at a time when the uranium industry wants to expand, former indigenous leaders in opposition to it, sit in US prisons.

Uranium market looking fragile

I just don’t get how people such as David Berman in the Financial Post can actually say, “the world needs uranium, and lots of it” given all we know about its hazards, the fact that the US nuclear weapons arsenal is huge, that there is no proven safe storage for nuclear waste and that it is not a solution for climate change.

 

But look beyond the most recent gyrations, you will find that the entire global uranium market is looking fragile these days, with many stocks down 50%. Production problems aside, investors have a bigger issue to deal with: Is interest in uranium stocks fizzling?

Yesterday, Uranium One Inc. joined the casualty list when it cut its production estimates for 2008 by 38%. The reason relates to delays at its Kazakhstan mines, where there is a shortage of sulphuric acid used for extracting uranium. The stock (UUU/TSX) fell 17.6% to $10.49, bringing its total loss for the year to 34%.

Leonie Soltay, an analyst at Wellington West Capital Markets, put a brave face on the setback, arguing the delayed production is good for uranium prices, since lower production keeps the supply-and-demand dynamics tight. She also pointed out that the company is becoming a must-have name for investors who want unhedged international uranium production.

“We believe any short-term weakness should be treated as a buying opportunity by long-term investors,” Ms. Soltay said in a note to clients, in which she lowered her price target to $13 from $16.

These stock-price reversals seem strange given that the world needs uranium, and lots of it. According to the World Nuclear Association, planned nuclear power reactors have leapt 37% since the start of the year.


And who is planning these reactors? The uranium industry, of course, as part of its 2002 plan for a nuclear renaissance.

Interesting, isn’t it?