News from the other islands

Border Dispute

The Native Forest Network, Earth First!ers from Vermont and the IWW blocked US/Canadian Border on the Interstate 89 highway. The blockade was finally broke up heavy handedly by US Border police. Actions were also held at the Arizona-Mexico border. Similar to ‘free’ trade legislation in Europe, NAFTA ( the North American Free Trade Agreement), is quite simply an attempt to legitimise the multi and transnational corporations ability to suck up the wealth from the rest of the world while simultaneously denigrating environmental regulations. For More info on these subjects read recent issues of the The Ecologist and contact American EF!ers. In the words of a participating activist, ‘The multinationals have formed puppet governments... so it’s up to us to rise up and give a clear message to the multinationals, “Go to Hell!”’

Source - Alarm


Earth First! Defends the Danube.

Many people outside of Slovakia have now heard about the Gabcikove Dam controversy, which goes before the world court in Hague after four years of negotiations between the govt’s of Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia. The polemics are vivid indeed, and the whole world is becoming interested in its course and outcome.

I shall write this article with regard to ecological aspects of the problem and shall avoid the political ones which unfortunately have penetrated the whole affair. I shall do my best to describe the whole scope of problems in a most concise way. So let us get to the point.

Construction of the dam began in 1978 as a common project of Hungary and former Czechoslovakia. Following the political changes which took place in 1989 (in both countries), Hungary withdrew from the contract and stopped work on Nagymaros. The Hungarian party claimed the same approach from the Slovak partners but Slovakia hesitated after the revolution. At that time environmentalists all over Czechoslovakia began to protest more loudly. Their activities culminated in 1991 when they blocked the building site and access roads to it several times.

August 3rd, 1991 was a very sad day, as anti-terrorist commandos were used against the demonstrators. All the environmentalists activities on the building site took place in the presence of numerous police troops. The environmentalists naturally had also employed other forms of disapproval before they started direct action. Petitions, letters of protest and scientific studies were tried, but nothing worked and they could not prevent the last step in the construction: the damming up of the Danube on its 1853 kilometre.

Also on that August third, an action took place to prevent the terrible destruction. We - Children of the Earth, Greenpeace & Earth First! - organised a protest cruise along the Danube in inflatable boats from Bratislava to the mentioned 1853rd kilometre. Almost immediately after launching the boats on the Danube, the river police appeared and appealed to us to push ashore. We did not react to those orders given to us via speaking trumpet, and sailed on to our objective, the pontoon, used as an access road by the lorries filling up the Danube.

However, another police boat, a motorized and much more powerful and efficient one ‘started its service’ by bumping into us and by doing so prevented us from occupying the pontoon. While this struggle was going on in the water, some of us managed to get on the shore and tried to block the police but were stopped by the workers working on the construction of the dam. One of us was even knocked out by them.

I need not continue describing all that happened then. It is enough to state that neither in the water nor on the shore did things go the way we wanted. That day we lost again. When I left the building site with my friends, carrying the boat on my shoulders and looking at the defamed countryside misused by peoples’ conceit, I felt very miserable and depressed. All this was made by man and man is proud of it.

Many of you, who must have had chances of seeing something similar (and there have been and still are many chances), must have experienced the same feelings. But watch out: the fight has not finished yet!

All will be decided at the law courts in the Hague, but until then we can continue to evoke pressure on the Slovak govt and their staunch advocacy of this monstrous construction. Those interested in more detailed information should write to my address.

The dam construction has so far damaged 40sq. km of countryside. Up to 1991, 1500 cubic metres of were used on the dam construction. The variants considered to this point range from: completion of the dam according to the treaty of 1977, dam construction without simultaneous completion of the water dam Nagymaros; completion of the water dam with and without checks; employment of the Gabcikovo dam for sailing, flood protection and partly for power production; stopping all work and conservation of the dam; and lastly, employment of some objects, particularly for protection from floods, gradual dismantling of other objects and recultivation of the countryside to environmentally acceptable condition. The last alternative is the one we support, of course.

Please join us in our effort to save the Danube. Write letters of disapproval to: Vladimir to: Vladimir, Premier, Namestie Slobody ٱ1, 813 70 Bratislava, Slovakia. Please send copies of these letters to Slovakian Earth First!: see contact list.

By Tomas Kolenka Slovakian Earth First'


The riverscape and countryside between Bratislava and Gyor is almost untouched.

Together with the adjoining Austrian floodplain forest, side-arms and ox-bow lakes are regularly flooded. The wide range of biotopes play host to a huge diversity of life. In this region researchers have recorded many different birds and fish, as well as populations of red deer, river otter and beaver. There are about 5,000 animal species, many still unknown to the scientists.

In the future, it will no longer be the Danube that flows through this landscape, but just a streamlet of two to ten percent of the present flow. Even more crucial will be the loss of the actual river dynamics; smaller average sized floods will no longer spill over the floodplains causing the groundwater to drop several metres. As a result, this whole floodplain area will lose the very basis of its existence. It is expected that at least 20,000 hectares of the floodplain will dry up.

Many plant and animal communities and rare species will die out in this completely altered habitat. Directly endangered are 130 species of birds, 30 species of mammals, 8 species of reptiles 6 species of amphibians and 28 species offish.

In the Slovak part of the Danube floodplain, at least 17 ‘protected’ areas would be negatively influenced. The CormorantIsland ‘nature reserve’ has already been destroyed, and at least four other ‘reserves’ have been recently endangered. Twenty other areas proposed for ‘protection’ would be negatively influenced. If no change in the attitudes toward the Gabcikovo project occurs, the proposed national or international DanubePark will fall by the wayside.

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Nuke News

In January, around 500 demonstrators tried to block the transport of low/medium level radioactive waste. The containers were coming from Mol in Belgium to the so-called ‘interim’ storage site near the village of Gorleben. When demonstrators attempted to halt transport, police stormed in with tear gas and baton charges. Though the federal and state governments gave their go ahead, the state government (Lower Saxony) is publicly against nuclear power. The environmental secretary is the former head of Greenpeace-Germany, (well it’s not surprising then is it!)

Swiss Bio-tech Corporation Bombed

For the third time in a year, the Swiss company Bioengineering AG was attacked. In February, when an explosion at a factory in the village of Wald caused over $300,000 damage.

Bio-engineering AG provides products and services to the pharmaceutical industry. Two anonymous calls claimed the attacks by the ‘Group of Iranian Martyr Mustapha Sadeki and Ali Sadeh’, (Sadeki and Sadeh were political prisoners in Iran who died after being injected with bacteriological materials provided by Switzerland).

According to communiqués, Bio-engineering AG provided assistance to Iran in developing biological weapons. The group also claimed that German firm Bayer directed the sales to Iran. According to police the group fixed explosives to several bio-reactors in the AG facility.

Wilderness Defenders Jailed

53 Finn eco-warriors were fined in kajaani for disobeying the police. In October 1991, the activists took part in civil disobedience actions in defence of the Porkkasalo forest in Eastern Finland. Most of the activists will refuse to pay their fines and will instead go to jail. Their sentences vary from 4-22 days.

The logging in the area, situated at the border of the Hiidenportti National Park, was carried out by the National Forest Board, before a survey of the biodiversity of the area was even carried out. The activists, mainly from Luontto-Litto (The Nature League) resisted the logging for two weeks until finally being taken into custody. The logging operation was then guarded around the clock by a regiment of police. Only weeks before the court case a report confirmed the ecological importance of the Porkkasalo forest, as an important corridor from the Hidenportti National Park to the forests of Russian Karelia.

Legal wilderness protection is abysmal in Finland. Only about 2% of Finnish forests are ‘protected’, mostly in the Northern part of the country. In Southern Finland not more than 0.3% of the forest land is protected, forest reserves not only cover primary and old-growth forests but also a variety of managed forests. Researchers reckon that over 1692 species of plants and animals are endangered in Finland, 43% are dependant on forest habitats. 800 ofthese are becoming extinct due to clearcutting and peat ditching. Britain is a major consumer of Finnish timber. It is our responsibility to open up the lie of Finnish sustainable forestry.

For more information on the campaign contact:

Luonto-Litto, Tallbergin Katu 1D/113, 00180 Helsinki, tel. (09) 694-7899

South Downs EF!ers can provide info on Scandinavian forestry and are preparing to visit groups in Finland, Sweden and Norway.

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