Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Update: Azerbaijani oil & corruption

Just filling out a bit of a black hole of my coverage: oil and corruption in and around Azerbaijan. First, an American businessman is in trouble over bribing his way towards control over oil:

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog / Breaking: Jury Finds Frederic Bourke Guilty of Bribery-Related Charges
Frederic Bourke, a founder of the accessories firm Dooney & Bourke, guilty of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the travel act and making false statements to federal law-enforcement officials. The charges were related to a scheme to bribe Azerbaijan government officials in connection with the privatization of the State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan.

Village Voice / Azerbaijan Bribery Trial Features George Mitchell, Suitcases Stuffed with Money
Along with Viktor Kozeny, an investor buddy who was his neighbor at a ski residence in Aspen, Bourke schemed to pay millions to the government of Azerbaijan in order to gain control of the state-owned oil company there.

Second, bloggers are targeted by authorities:

Azerbaijan: Citizen media in defense of detained activists, bloggers
(They are being charged with hooliganism for being 'militant pacifist bloggers'!?!?)

Third, a chopper has crashed:

A case brought before court over SOCAR staff copter crash in Azeri part of Caspian Sea

All just from a Google search of recent news. I will not forget that region from now on, promise.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stealing sun and water

News in crime: theft of solar panels and fresh water is up.

March 2008 we saw people stealing bees, essentially a work force in horticulture up in demand and down in availability due to diseases. Lately I have seen stories about people stealing water and solar panels.

In fact, Treehuger / Solar Panel Theft is Rampant in California Wineries links to older stories about the trend and has tips on securing your panels! In New Mexico police busted a couple of criminals who seemed to have specialized in solar panel theft and dealing (see Solar panel theft ring busted in Farmington). Energy prices are up, solar panels are expensive, in demand and out there often not being watched and relatively easy to run off with.

Then there is water. Most obviously in need in poor, drought stricken areas, right. Like Kenya where a crime syndicate is diverting half the capitals water for farm irrigation. In the city water is now rationed and feared a possible source of disease. (See BBC / Nairobi water 'stolen for farms'.) But the truth is we need not go to the "third world" to see crime erupt over resources. As prices go up so does the incentive to "bend rules" a bit it seems. I'm sure this example of corruption - city workers tampering with water bills - is far from the first, the only or the last we'll see.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Workers of polluting and nature exploiting industries in violent attacks against environmentalists

Remember October 2008 when Old growth forest lumberjacks attack[ed] environmentalist protestors?

Now fishermen have assaulted Greenpeace activists who suspected foul play.
[As activst Emma boarded the vessel on sea] they punched her, pulled her hair, picked her up and threw her overboard [and later on the pier] She was viciously assaulted by a burly sailor twice her size, holding her down and punching her repeatedly in the face.

Read A black eye for Emma and another step forward for bluefin tuna at the Greenpeace Staff Blog.

An interestingly identical video appeared even before I managed to blog the above: Coal mine workers verbally abuse anti-coal protesters at what appears to be a quite cozy event. See Treehuggers Pro-Coal Thugs Crash Peaceful Anti-Coal Event in West Virginia - This is Getting Ugly (Video) or click play right away:

Both the big fat lumberjacks and the big, fat and half naked coal miner are just physically intimidating while intellectually challenged. But notice the female coal worker says:
"You may have another way of earning a living, but we don't."

That might as well be a quote by the equally bone headed oil industry. Rather than exploring new ways of "earning a living" they sponsor anti-environmentalist propaganda organizations (just a quick search immediately found a note about Exxon at SourceWatch.org and a website called "Follow the Oil Money".)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Canadian gas pipeline bombed

For the 6th time in nine months a natural gas pipeline in western Canada has been bombed.

"We are dealing with domestic terrorism. This is an attack on a critical infrastructure."
- Dan Moskaluk, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

EnCana, the natural gas company owning the pipeline, has received threats to cease natural gas production in the area. It has offered a reward of half a million Canadian dollars for the capture of the bomber.

So far no person or nature has been harmed but authorities fear this is only a matter of time.

Sources: Gas pipeline bombed again in W Canada, Gas pipeline in W Canada targeted by second bomb in four days, Canadian gas pipeline hit by 6th bomb

Search This Blog