Forest Paradise lost - with napalm and Compound 1080

Louis Rrashidas at
Sat May 1 18:25:51 EST 2004

playing at (Doug Bashford) wrote in message news:<10965q72ngo9pd6 at>...
> Courage to those who speak up in Tasmania.
> Paradise lost - with napalm
> I am writing this in our autumn, once Tasmania's most 
> beautiful season. But the pure china-blue skies are 
> now nicotine scummed, as the smoke from the burning 
> of an old growth forest floats over Hobart in a dense 
> pall and the city is lit by an eerie orange glow, an 
> inescapable reminder that not far distant the total 
> destruction of ancient forests­like no others in the 
> world­is accelerating. 
> In Tasmania, an island the size of Ireland, a land whose great
> primeval forests astonished nineteenth century European explorers with
> their incomparable beauty, an incomprehensible ecological tragedy is
> now being played out.
> Recent calls emanating from Britain to boycott Tasmanian goods 
> and tourism are not going to end old growth logging. But in 
> an Australian election year, when the fate of Tasmania's 
> forests is emerging as a major election issue, they form 
> part of the growing chorus of international condemnation 
> that demonstrates to Australians that these forests are 
> not just a natural resource, but globally significant wild lands.
> In Tasmania, rainforest unique in the world is being 
> clearfelled and then burnt with napalm. Forests of 
> the tallest hardwood trees in the world, eucalyptus regnans, 
> are being reduced to mud and ash. 
> The monocultural tree plantations with which old growth 
> forests are replaced are soaking up so much groundwater 
> that rivers are drying up.  1080 poison is laid to kill 
> off native animals that threaten to graze the plantation 
> seedlings. The indiscriminate slaughter that results sees 
> not only possums, wallabies, and kangaroos die in slow agony, 
> but other species­including wombats, bettongs, and 
> potaroos­killed in large numbers in spite of being 
> officially protected species, some of which are rare.
> The survival of extraordinary creatures such as the giant 
> Tasmanian freshwater crayfish­the largest in the world­is 
> now in doubt because of logging. Scientists warn that 
> numerous insect species still unrecorded are disappearing 
> in the conflagration. Local communities discover their 
> water supplies contaminated with atrazine run off.
> This is an industry driven solely by greed. It prospers 
> with government support and subsidies, and it is accelerating 
> its rate of destruction, so that Tasmania is now the largest 
> hardwood woodchip exporter in the world.
> Why is this happening? Because one company, a monopoly 
> called Gunns, the largest logging company in Australia, 
> is making record profits selling these forests as woodchips, 
> which will in turn be made into paper and cardboard.
> But the woodchippers greed now destroys not only Tamania?s 
> globally significant natural heritage, but distorts its 
> parliament, deforms its polity, cows its media, and stunts 
> its society.
> The extremely close personal relationship leading 
> Tasmanian politicians enjoy with Gunns goes beyond 
> the sizeable electoral donations given to both major parties, 
> to a political sensibility that willingly altered the 
> state's electoral system, under a Liberal-Labor deal 
> in 1997, to minimise Green representation. 
> It goes beyond the extensive network of corporate 
> and government spin doctors; beyond the alternate buying 
> and cowing of Tasmanian media, to a culture of bullying, 
> cronyism and threats.
> Because of the forest battle, a subtle fear has 
> entered Tasmanian public life; it stifles dissent, 
> avoids truth, and is conducive to the abuse of power.
>  To question or to comment is to invite the possibility 
> of ostracism and unemployment.
> The reality, relentlessly denied with lies, is that logging 
> old growth brings neither wealth nor jobs to struggling, 
> impoverished rural communities.
>  Most wealth made out of woodchips flows out of the state: 
> less than 15% of Gunns profits stay in Tasmania. 
> Tasmania remains the poorest Australian state.
>  Contrary to the government's routine claim that 10,000 
> jobs would be lost if old growth logging ends, John Gay, 
> Gunns managing director, recently admitted only 480 
> Gunns jobs were at stake.
> Yet the ongoing giving away of such an extraordinary public resource
> now threatens Tasmania's broader economic prospects.
> Key industries in which job growth is concentrated, 
> such as tourism and fine foods and wines, 
> trade as much on the island's pristine image, as they do 
> on the products they sell. There is growing concern 
> in all these industries at the relentless damage being 
> done to the Tasmania's name by images of smouldering 
> forest coupes.
> Since woodchipping began thirty-two years ago, Tasmanians 
> have watched as one more extraordinary place after another 
> of their country has been sacrificed to the woodchippers' 
> insatiable greed. Beautiful places, holy places, 
> lost not only to them, but forever.
> Tasmanians have lived the woodchippers' deceit all their lives and
> borne dumb witness to their great lie that delivers wealth to a
> handful elsewhere, poverty to many of them, and death to their future.
> They overwhelmingly want the practice of old growth logging ended,
> Wilderness Society polling showing that 69% of Tasmanians are opposed
> to the practice.
> But with both major parties in Tasmania as one in their rigid support
> of Gunns and old growth logging, Tasmanians cannot stop this coalition
> of greed and power from within their island. Change can only be
> brought about by the Australian government, and it will only act when
> the issue becomes one of inescapable national shame.
> Of course, it can be argued that in an ever more ubiquitous, bland
> world the destruction of one more unique piece of our natural world,
> while regrettable, is at times such as these small change next to the
> horror of Madrid, or the tragedy of Iraq. But in the lineaments of the
> struggle in a distant island it is possible to see a larger battle,
> the same battle the world over, of that between truth and power.
> Gunter Grass, writing of Tasmania's forests, has described their
> destruction as another aspect of the same attitude that led to
> bookburning by the Nazis. Could it be that in this strange time, when
> all our skies appear to be darkening, it is about recognising in the
> great forests of Tasmania a symbol of hope for us all?
> This article was first published on The Guardian opinion 
> pages on Wednesday, April 21.
> >>>>        ////////////=========================mmmmmmm
> The Guardian link
> RAPID RESPONSE EMAIL: What do you think?
> If you bounce, tuffinlindsay at
> Friday, April 23, 2004
> ____________
> Flanagan in the firing line ... the writer's response
> THE MERCURY: FORESTS Minister Bryan Green launched a 
> vitriolic attack on acclaimed Tasmanian author 
> Richard Flanagan yesterday. Angered by a Flanagan report 
> on Tasmanian forestry practices this week in The Guardian, 
> a quality British newspaper, Mr Green called him an 
> "author-turned propagandist". Using the safety of State 
> Parliament, Mr Green accused Flanagan of sabotaging 
> Tasmania and called on the Greens to dissociate themselves 
> from him. The row is expected to re-ignite bitterness 
> between the State Government and some sections of the 
> Tasmanian arts community, still smarting over being 
> labelled "cultural fascists" by former premier Jim Bacon. 
> Writer in the firing line 
> The writer's reply in full:
> I am proud to come from a Tasmanian family of labourers, farmers and
> teachers who over five generations helped build this island?s society.
> My writings have brought the attention of the world to Tasmania as a
> place of wonder and beauty. 
> My article spoke positively of Tasmania and Tasmanians. It concluded
> by saying the great forests of Tasmania could be a source of hope for
> the world.
> It spoke negatively of Gunns.
> Mr Green?s comments invoke a language reminiscent of attacks on
> writers in eastern Europe in the 1980s. But in attacking me Mr Green
> is not defending Tasmania, he is defending Gunns and its millionaire
> owners.
> Tasmanians ought beware; if you care about this island and stand up to
> those who are destroying this island?s natural heritage for profit, if
> you take a position the evidence repeatedly shows is shared by the
> majority of Tasmanians, this government will seek to destroy your
> reputation, it will seek to intimidate you, and you will be made
> appear an enemy of our society.
> Not since the days of Bjelke Petersen?s moonlight state, have we seen
> a government of such dubious intent behave with such thuggery toward
> its own.
> But I would urge my fellow Tasmanians to not be cowed by this bullying
> and to continue to fight for what they know to be true, knowing the
> world is now watching.
> What the Greens reckon 
> RAPID RESPONSE EMAIL: What do you think?
> If you bounce, tuffinlindsay at
> Friday, April 23, 2004
> Peg Putt MHA
> Thursday, 22 APRIL 2004
> Government Attack Targets the Messenger
> The Tasmanian Greens today defended Tasmanian prize-winning author
> Richard Flanagan as a patriotic Tasmanian standing up for the
> protection of this State?s natural treasures, as the government
> attacked him under the protection of parliamentary privilege.
> Greens Opposition Leader Peg Putt MHA highlighted the culture of
> bullying and intimidation surrounding forest issues in Tasmania, and
> the government?s use of smear tactics to target the messenger.
> Ms Putt believes today?s attack on Flanagan was an attempt to create a
> diversion from the government?s parlous performance in Parliament and
> the escalating problems in Health.
> ?Richard Flanagan is one the great living Tasmanians and his concern
> is indicative of the emotions sweeping Tasmania about an industry
> which has been allowed to go too far,? Ms Putt said.
> ?This attack by the Forests Minister is a demonstration of the culture
> of bullying and intimidation around speaking out on forestry in
> Tasmania and quite hypocritical from a government whose own forestry
> propaganda is designed to create misleading impressions.?
> ?The way to stop adverse international comment on the destruction of
> Tasmania?s ancient wild forests is to end the destruction.?
> It is ironic that in his article Flanagan wrote:
> ?Because of the forest battle, a subtle fear has entered Tasmanian
> public life; it stifles dissent and is conducive to the abuse of
> power.  To question or to comment is to invite the possibility of
> ostracism and unemployment.?
> ?Richard Flanagan is a Tasmanian patriot and his statements flow from
> his love for this place.?
> ?He is a hero for speaking out in the knowledge of the attack on him
> which would surely come,? Ms Putt said.
> Brenda J Rosser
> Tasmania, Australia
> shelter at

I am very disturbed to learn about clear cutting of Tasmania'a old
growth forests. It is sort of reminiscent of what happened to the
Northwestern forests of US and Canada and the rain forests of
Indoneisa. More disturbing is the threat of unemployment to those
Tasmanians courageous enough to protest such destruction. What can
foreigners do to speak their minds to stop this? Will writing to
Tasmanian government officials help?

A Concerned Observer.

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