The Green Blues Show
In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show:
Canadian mining companies misbehave and get taken to court, a Canadian singer-songwriter pays homage to Johnny Cash, and humanity at the crossroads. One scientist calls for time out and careful thought.
The conviction of a notorious war criminal in The Hague has raised hopes that the rule of law does indeed prevail. Former Serb general Ratco Mladic was handed a life sentence by an international court in The Hague, this past week, for genocide, crimes against humanity, and other assorted atrocious acts committed in the early 1990s, in the ruins of Yugoslavia. Worst among them, the infamous siege of Sarajevo, and the massacre of 8000 Muslim men and boys in the village of Srebenica.
The fact that Mladic has many fans in Serbia today, lionizing him for his heinous acts, is a small reason why celebration should be tempered. The big one, glaring us all in the face: the five permanent nuclear powers at the UN Security Council, are above the law. George Bush, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, the Clintons – Henry Kissinger — will never face justice for the death and disorder they’ve sown.
Nor will Russia, for its support of chemical weapons-wielding Bashar Al-Assad. Russia just blocked a resolution at the UN Security Council, calling for investigation of Assad’s alleged crimes.
And this past September, four Palestinian human rights organizations filed a 700-page report to the International Criminal Court, documenting a host of grave crimes committed by Israel in the course of its fifty-year occupation of Palestine. Among these – unlawful killing, forced transfer, persecution, Apartheid. Under relentless pressure from the US and EU, the ICC complaint will gather dust before it goes to court.
So, the conviction of a notorious Slavic or African warlord suggests that international law prevails. In most other cases, it’s business-as-usual that rules the day.
Speaking of justice, this past summer, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Tahoe Resources of British Columbia, must face its Guatemalan accusers in a Vancouver court room. The group of miners have a right to sue Tahoe for “negligence” and “battery” at its Escobal silver mine in Peru, the Supreme Court ruled, in spite of the longstanding doctrine that foreign courts are the place to seek redress. The Green Blues Show spoke with Jen Moore about this. Moore coordinates the Latin America program for Mining Watch.
It’s been over fourteen years since Johnny Cash shuffled off this mortal coil, for that Grand Ole Opry in the sky. For some years now, a guy named Marcel Soulodre – a Winnipegger – has been channeling Johnny Cash up and down northeastern France and Germany, under the stage name M. Soul. Marcel puts on fine acts, for adoring European fans of Johnny Cash.
Big rivers flowing to the ocean … Everyone knows biologically diverse forests crowd their banks, when permitted to do so. Much less gets said about the voluminous sediments rivers carry, and deposit at their mouths. These vast clouds of particulate and organic matter are more than just wastes washed down Earth’s gutters – as American naturalist Aldo Leopold dubbed rivers. These sedimentary island engineers ably protect dry land from the ravages of the sea.
I spoke about this – and other matters – with Charles Vorosmarty, Einstein Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the City University of New York, and founding director of City University’s Environmental Crossroads Initiative.
In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show, music from John Hammond, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Johnny Cash.