In Ontario, a group of activists have dug in to halt the construction of Line 9, a pipeline that would transport toxic diluted bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands through communities and watersheds, as well as First Nations, which have not been consulted, nor consented to the pipeline crossing their land. Opposition to the pipeline has been steadily building since June. The facebook page for #SwampLine9 has the most current information, as well as this tumblr, updated often.
Vanessa Gray, Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines is quoted as saying ”The health of Aamjiwnaang is suffering from the effects from Canada’s Chemical Valley as a result of Environmental Racism. We need to act now in defence of the land we depend on before Enbridge permanently destroys our territories. This is a human rights issue that effects future generations of all peoples.” Facts from he facebook include:
Every First Nations band council that intervened in the NEB process said that they had not been consulted in accordance to the Canadian consultation.  Enbridge refuses to carry $1 billion in insurance to cover the costs of a possible spill, arguing that it is unnecessary. Meanwhile, clean up for Enbridge’s Kalamazoo disaster has cost over $1 billion in an area with a population of 7,000.  Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline safety expert with over forty years of experience in the energy sector, says the probability of Line 9 rupturing is “over 90%.” 
Yesterday Trish Mills entered into a plea on the charge of mischief. She was charged for her part in stopping construction at an Enbridge oil station for 6 days. The court did not allow her to make her statement to the gallery, so it was posted on the #SwampLine9 tumblr here. It read:
Today I plead guilty to the charge of mischief.
It is a charge I received for interrupting operations at an Enbridge oil pumping station for a total of six days.
I accept responsibility for my actions, and all which that entails.
My understanding is that this is the type of personal accountability the court wishes to hear.
That said, it is this same moral strength which saw me charged in the first place.
I believe in honouring the land, water and all living things, and that they deserve our respect and protection.
I believe that the communities, treaties and teachings of first nations people deserve our reverence.
Enbridge’s line 9 is a risk to all of these things – both here in Ontario and in a broader context so I see my actions this past summer was nothing less than a harmony between my actions and my principles.
I believe in what I did then and I believe in it now, and I understand that that is not what the court wishes to hear.
But this action was one of necessity, borne of a failed and exclusionary regulatory process. Other means were tried, and failed, because today’s political climate encourages the exploitation of land, water and people.
I know that it would be easier –and safer – to stand here and lie. To show full remorse and voice regret as I’ve been told to do. But I can’t’ do that because, no matter what sentence is handed down today, I have to be able to live with my actions and their implications.
This isn’t to say I have no regrets at all; I have several.
I regret that this action may have put some people of Westover in a difficult situation.
I regret if an individual was hurt by my actions.
I especially regret that action like this must be taken at all, and that people are being criminalized for defending such fundamental things.
And so in making a decision about sentencing today, I wish to remind the court that despite a lack of remorse I have consideration fir others. I do positive things for people and my community through activism, education, advocacy and volunteer work.
I aim to work in animal rescue, and have deferred acceptance into a program.
There was also no person hurt by my actions – physically or financially. It is Enbridge policy to pay their workers in these situations.
Finally, I gained no extrinsic reward for my actions, however I did risk -and I stand here risking – plenty.
My journey these past months has been both interesting and challenging, though not impossible. I have learned much.
To my supporters here today –in case for some reason I can’t tell you later – take note.
There may not ever be any real victory in the courts, but there is always victory in doing what you feel is right.
Don’t give up.
No tarsands. No line 9.
On Thursday January 9th, 2014 Gary Wassaykeesic will be taking his charge from Swamp Line 9 to trial. Gary is a first nations activist initially charged with “break & enter” for asserting his indigenous sovereignty on native land.
John Sopinka Courthouse
45 Main St. East.
For further information on #SwampLine9:
NO PIPELINES. NO TARSANDS. NO LINE 9.
Over the weekend, thousands of Australians rallied in opposition to long-lines and special hunting licences that would see the deaths of countless sharks and other animals around the western australian coast. The Huffington Post reported,
“Western Australia’s government will install 72 hooks with bait, close to Perth’s beaches, to kill the sharks, whow have been responsible for seven fatal attacks on swimmers in just three years. The policy will begin on January 10th.
Any shark which is more than three metres long, which might include Great White Sharks, will be shot and killed by commercial fishermen, given the contracts for the cull.”
A 72-hook long line is set to be installed off the coast of Perth this month which will not only catch and kill the intended smaller sharks, but also dolphins, turtles and fish of all kinds. Great White Sharks are a protected species, and yet, the contracts to kill sharks will include them, as well as tiger and bull sharks.
Reports are saying that between 4000-4500 people showed up on Cottesloe Beach in Perth to protest the cull. Sea Shepherd Australia director Jeff Hansen said: “Western Australians have spoken. It’s the biggest rally I think we’ve ever seen in WA – and it’s for sharks. People are educated and they understand the importance that sharks play in our oceans.” Surfers were interviewed and said that anyone who goes into the water to surf on this coast understands the risks associated with doing so, and that it doesn’t justify killing these sharks and endangering the ocean ecosystem. There is a second rally at Cottesloe scheduled for Feb 1.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Australia has announced that they intend to deploy activists in boats to watch the fishermen with the contracts for the culling of sharks larger than 3m, and photograph each kill as well as take every possible measure that is legally afforded to them to save sharks that are in danger from fishermen. The contracted fishermen have been advised to carry tarps with them to inhibit the killing from being documented. The government denies encouraging secrecy, but reminded individuals that they faced up to $25,000 in fines and 12 months jail for unlawfully interfering with fishing gear, and a $10,000 fine for interfering with lawful fishing activity.
A petition opposing the cull now has over 36,000 signatures from WA, Australia and internationally.
The family of a schizophrenic teenager had called the police in to help them control an incident only to have the event unfold as a tragic police killing. The boy, 18 year-old Keith Vidal was holding a small electronics screwdriver and acting erratic. Two officers who were initially on the scene had been able to calm the boy down, and get him to a ‘more rational’ state of mind, according to a family friend, when a third officer arrived at the family residence. The third officer gave the order for the boy to be tased and restrained, after he instructed the other officers to “stop negotiating” and the boy tried to flee into a bathroom. It was that same officer who shot him in the chest at close range saying “we don’t have time for this.” Had it not been for his father engaging the officer, he would have fired a second shot into the boy.
Anthony Owens, a family friend describes the killing in this article on BoingBoing.Net,
“As Vidal’s father tried to step in and grab the screwdriver, the Southport Police Officer that had instructed the other officers to use their tasers moved between the father and the pile of people on the floor and said ‘We don’t have time for this’ and shot Vidal once in the chest as the other two officers held him on the floor. Vidal’s father then grabbed the officer as he was lining himself up for another shot.” 
“Owens insists that Vidal did not threaten anyone and has no history of violence: “[The officer] could have just as easily killed one of his own. If it weren’t for Keith’s father grabbing the officer, he would have shot him again. Keith was … about 5’3 to 5’5 and 90 to 100lbs. Keith was small for his age.” “
We all hope that Keith and his family see justice for this execution, and we extend sincere condolences to his family, friends and community.
FULL STORY HERE: http://boingboing.net/2014/01/06/ncsummaryexecution.html
The Guardian and other news sources are reporting that workers at a French Goodyear Tyre plant are holding who of their executive bosses hostage. After being described as “lazy and overpaid” by an American tycoon, Staff at the doomed Goodyear tyre factory in Amiens, northern France, have kidnapped production manager Michel Dheilly and Human Resources director Bernard Glesser.
The executives arrived to have a meeting with union representatives on Monday morning, but were met by 200 workers who barricaded them into a meeting room with a tractor tyre “for the foreseeable future.” The workers have allowed the executives to keep their phones and are giving them water, but have made it clear that they have no intention of leaving the building, and have vowed to bring mattresses and sleep on site until things are resolved.
The action today is in response to an American Headquarters decision to close the factory, costing over 1000 people to lose their full time employment. From the Daily Mail, outlining an exchange with the chairman of Titan International, who was written a letter asking him if he’d consider taking over the struggling plant:
Mr Taylor wrote in a letter: ‘I have visited the factory several times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. ’They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three hours and work for three. I told the French union workers this to their faces. They told me that’s the French way!’  He added: “You can keep your so called ‘workers’.”
Well, it looks like the “French way” also includes taking your executives hostage until you treat them fairly… like in 2009, the Chief Executive Officer and Human Resources Director of Sony France were held captive by workers demanding better severance packages. Or in 2008 when the English boss of a car-parts factory in eastern France was held for 48 hours in his office, and the altercation at an ice-cream factory where police stormed in to free a manager who had been held hostage by workers angry over job cuts. (At least 14 staff were injured trying to stop police releasing him.)  For a bunch of supposedly lazy people, they sure seem willing to fight for their jobs, and for fair treatment.
Interested in reading more about this? Check out articles written about it at:
The Guardian, The Daily Mail, and The Independent
For the story about previous French boss-nappings, check out this article on The Guardian Website from 2009.
BREAKING NEWS out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has released a press statement today announcing that their 3-ship fleet has made contact with the japanese poachers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. So far they can confirm that the whalers have killed 4 minke whales, as their helicopter footage showed three slain whales on the deck of the Nisshin Maru, and a substantial amount of blood from the fourth, which had already been butchered.
Video footage from the helicopter, which discovered the fleet a little over 24 hours ago, can been seen here. Since they found the fleet whaling has been impossible as the poachers run from the Sea Shepherd ships. As of 07:23AEDT, the whalers are out of their self-imposed killing grounds, and continue running north. All whaling ships are now accounted for and fleeing.
“The Steve Irwin, The Bob Barker and The Sam Simon are now in pursuit of the whaling fleet, driving them away from their intended poaching grounds, disrupting their illegal hunt, and preparing to shut down their whale-killing operations.
The Steve Irwin’s helicopter first located the Nisshin Maru at 64°44′ S, 162°34′ W, in New Zealand’s sovereign waters in the Ross Dependency Antarctic region, and inside the internationally recognized Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Sea Shepherd has obtained compelling footage and images of three dead protected Minke Whales on the deck of the Nisshin Maru, taken at the time the factory ship was first located. A fourth whale, believed to be a Minke, was being butchered on the bloodstained deck.” [...]
“Managed and led by Sea Shepherd Australia, Operation Relentless is Sea Shepherd’s tenth Antarctic Whale Defence Campaign. In its previous nine campaigns, Sea Shepherd saved the lives of over 4,500 whales.
Sea Shepherd Australia remains the only organization committed to defend the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary by directly intervening against the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet.”
For more info please visit http://www.seashepherd.org.au/news-and-media/2014/01/05/sea-shepherd-locates-whale-poachers-1554
AN UPDATE ON OPERATION RELENTLESS:
Sea Shepherd has all ships in the Japanese whaling fleet accounted for, and can confirm that the whale poaching fleet is scattered and currently not hunting whales. The harpoon ships are separated by hundreds of miles. The Nisshin Maru is on the run and unable to stop and whale in its self-designated whale-poaching grounds.
The Japanese whaling fleet was escorted across 60° S and past the northern limit of the Antarctic Treaty Zone by the Sea Shepherd ships The Sam Simon, The Steve Irwin andThe Steve Irwin’s helicopter.
The three Sea Shepherd ships are still in the Southern Ocean and will continue patrols. Should the Nisshin Maru attempt to return to the whaling grounds, Sea Shepherd will be ready to once again intercept and shut down their illegal whaling operations.