Memorandum of Understanding between Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Forestry Tasmania and the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, February 2012:
• Use the TT News dropdown (top Nav Bar) for the range of breaking stories on this issue. Click on NEWS to get the World Google wrap. Breaking News in the Dropdown gives you the wrap of your local area ...
Earlier on Tasmanian Times:
• Sarawak Report: “Eco-Terrorists”? – Exclusive Revelations, HERE
• Meanwhile in Sarawak: First Pictures From Sealed-Off Bakun Dam Zone
Thursday, 23 February 2012, 10:26 am
Press Release: Bruno Manser Fund
Bruno Manser Fund, Basel, Switzerland
22nd February 2012
Exclusive: First Pictures From Sealed-Off Bakun Dam Zone Reveal Social And Environmental Disaster
Bruno Manser Fund investigation in the Bakun dam’s exclusion zone shows increased poverty due to Malaysia’s disaster dam – Displaced indigenous communities forced to live in floating homes on Bakun impoundment
Sarawak’s 2,400 MW Bakun dam – Asia’s largest dam outside of China Hydro-Tasmania was last year awarded another lucrative contract to do a due diligence report on the safety of the Bakun Dam, in advance of the inundation. While the portal has blogged about the “evidence of a persistent practice whereby workers watered down the concrete used in the dam…. tampering with the mixture of ingredients”, Hydro-Tasmania appears to have “damned the project with faint praise” This quote is from an earlier link, HERE
(BASEL, SWITZERLAND) The Swiss Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has today disclosed a series of shocking pictures from the Bakun dam exclusion zone showing disturbing poverty and environmental destruction in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo. A BMF research team has managed to overcome the tight security measures preventing journalists or NGOs to travel behind the recently filled Bakun dam wall, Asia’s largest dam outside China and the world’s second-tallest concrete-faced rockfill dam.
The only recently completed 2’400 MW hydropower dam was meant to bring development and progress to the people of Sarawak. Pictures now disclosed to the public, however, show its real consequences: displaced indigenous communities forced to live in floating homes and the destruction of a unique rainforest habitat that counts among the most biodiverse in the world.
“The extent of suffering by the displaced communities is shocking”, said BMF campaigner Anna Meier, who had visited the dam site. “Hundreds of displaced people are living in floating homes on the Bakun impoundment. Malaysia’s showcase development project has turned into a disaster dam.” An indigenous Ukit community now living in floating homes was forcibly displaced while their village and graveyards were flooded. “Our aim is to build a new longhouse onshore near our former village”, the headman of the Ukit community said. “But we lack the funds and the government refuses to support us. They have not even paid us compensation for our submerged land because we refused to move to the resettlement site of the government.” As their traditional farmlands have been flooded, the Ukits live from fishing, hunting and harvesting some of the trees flooded by Bakun dam.
People displaced by Bakun dam - hundreds are living in so-called floating homes
The Bakun dam construction submerged 695km2 of rainforest, an area the size of Singapore, and with it parts of one of the worlds’ biodiversity hotspots. The visitor can now watch a unique world drowning in the waters of Bakun impoundment: trees change their colour from green over brown to grey until they will finally disappear in the rising water for ever. Close to 10’000 Sarawak natives have been forcibly displaced but some refused to move to the resettlement site and returned to what is left of their former lands.
The Bruno Manser Fund calls on the Sarawak state government to immediately lift all travel restrictions to the Bakun dam site and to the Murum dam construction site in order to allow independent journalists and the public to take notice of what is really going on with these mega-projects. Malaysia is also asked to assist the Ukits and other indigenous communities in the Bakun region to return to their unflooded traditional lands and to pay the full compensation for their submerged lands and houses.
Copyright of all pictures: Bruno Manser Fund, BMF
• Download the Garry Stannus report of Deputy Premier Bryan Green’s welcome yesterday at Launceston airport:
• Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law tackles corruption in Borneo
David Cohen David Cohen
22 Feb 2011
In a flat above a restaurant in Covent Garden, an investigative reporter called Clare and a tribesman from Borneo covered in tattoos prepare to transmit their daily revolutionary radio broadcast deep into the Borneo jungle.
They make for an unlikely double act - she is a white, middle-aged Englishwoman, and he the proud grandson of a Dayak headhunter who broadcasts under the pseudonym Papa Orang Utan. Their aim is no less outlandish: to expose the alleged corruption of Taib Mahmud, chief minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo 6,500 miles from London, and bring an end to his 30-year rule.
“This is Radio Free Sarawak,” begins Papa Orang Utan, donning his headphones to interview a village headman who has been forcibly removed from his land and who, quite remarkably, speaks to them on a mobile phone from the edge of the Borneo rainforest. Clare briefs Papa: “Make sure you ask if he knows that it’s chief minister Taib who has stolen their land? And get who he’ll be voting for!”
Until now the identity of the “pirates” behind Radio Free Sarawak has been a closely guarded secret - and for good reason. Scandal-plagued Taib, 74, is one of the world’s most ruthless and wealthiest men - richer allegedly than the Sultan of Brunei, whose independent country lies alongside - and locals who oppose him can feel the full force of his retribution.
But today is a watershed: the duo have bravely decided to out themselves ahead of the upcoming Sarawak elections, expected in April. Indeed, the Evening Standard can reveal that the mystery Englishwoman who set up Radio Free Sarawak four months ago and who brought out the tattooed tribesman - real name Peter John Jaban - to front her broadcasts is in fact Clare Rewcastle Brown, sister-in-law of former prime minister Gordon Brown.
The last time she was in the public eye was in May 2009 when she published a letter defending the then prime minister’s cleaning arrangements in the wake of the expenses scandal. Her piece, “The true story of Gordon Brown, the cleaner and my husband”, laid out their “very ordinary shared cleaning arrangements” and explained why The Telegraph’s front page “scoop” was groundless.
“My poor husband Andrew,” she recalls, “was the face on the front page on the first day of the expenses scandal, which was pretty damn unfair given that Gordon’s arrangement with the cleaner was later judged wholly legitimate. The reporters arrived on our doorstep thinking they’d ‘got Gordon’ but they hadn’t done their due diligence and when we presented them with the truth, they didn’t want to hear it.”
Today she sees less of her husband’s older brother, “Gordon and Sarah being mainly up in Scotland”, but they are “a close-knit family” and “Gordon is hugely supportive,” she says.
Rewcastle Brown, 51, born in Sarawak to British parents in the days before the former British colony was handed over to Malaysia, lived in the region until the age of eight, and she is the author of the hard-hitting Sarawak Report, a hitherto anonymous blog that gets 18,000 hits a day.
“English is still the unifying language in Sarawak and I use my blog and broadcasts to expose the outrageous deforestation which has seen 95 per cent of Sarawak’s rainforest cut down and replaced by logging and palm oil plantations which have enriched Taib and his family,” she says. “What’s more, my investigations indicate some of the Taib family money is right here in London and includes a lucrative property portfolio in the heart of our capital.”
Her work, she adds, is also about “giving the 2.5 million oppressed people of Sarawak a choice”.
“The leader of the opposition party, a charismatic human rights lawyer called Baru Bian, inspires hope of real change in the upcoming election, but scandalously only one-third of the electorate are registered to vote and the corrupt Malaysian government turn a blind eye because Taib always delivers them Sarawak, their richest state.”
She says their decision to go public was prompted by death threats posted to the Sarawak Report website and by the mysterious fatality of her chief whistleblower in America. “Before Christmas, Taib’s disaffected US aide Ross Boyert was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room with a plastic bag around his head. The inquest is still pending but there was a sense that Peter and I could be in danger. Rather than hide, we’ve decided to come out fighting.”