UPDATE 29. August 2019: It was found out that a WhatsApp group with hundreds of members had allegedly coordinated to start fires on 10. August 2019. The group is allegedly now being investigated.
UPDATE 28. August 2019: After an outrageous and often hilarious twitter battle with the French President Emmanuel Macron and others at the G7 meeting, Jair Bolsonaro came under international pressure and has now - in addition to 40,000 army soldiers - also mobilized the Brazilian National Guard, infamous for countless murders and assassinations in the impoverished areas of Rio de Janeiro, other Brazilian cities and especially in the Amazon. A military C130 plane with a crack unit of the National Guard is now flying 'spraying missions' in the Amazon forest. The plane is often used to destroy crops of illicit drug-plantations, but it is claimed that this time the plane would spray fire-retardants. No official statement about the true composition of the used chemicals was released. Brazilian spin-doctors dubbed the operation Operation 'Green Brazil' to green-wash the assault directed straight against Indigenous territories and peoples as well as against their forests. The true face behind the neo-fascist, neo-colonial, right-wing governance of Brazil in the moment is General Antônio Hamilton Martins Mourão.
ALERT UDATE 24. August 2019: ECOTERRA Intl. and fPcN have received credible information that the Brazilian Military is using the allegedly issued order by Bolsonaro to stop the Amazon forest fires for unwarranted intrusions and to break into autonomous and sacrosanct territories of Indigenous Peoples - only to commit further atrocities and speed up the genocide of the the Amazon's Aboriginal owners.
ECOTERRA Intl. urges all G7 leaders to invoke strongest possible measures to stop the apocalyptic disaster in the Amazon and appeals to the ICC to hold Jair Messias Bolsonaro responsible for genocide and ecocide. What is happening in the Amazon Forest is Environmental Crime instigated by the highest office of Brazil and the ICC has all the instruments in place to prosecute and bring justice in this case. Bolsonaro and his henchmen, most of them from the military, must be brought to trial at the ICC. All NATO members must reject Trump's proposal to have Brazil in its present state and under the present governance as NATO Affiliate.
Communities in the Amazon (Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay) are encouraged to send further reports from the ground to - or to establish fully secure communication channels - see HERE
Please also continue reporting from the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where President Félix Tshisekedi and Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga - with Kabila Junior still operating from the shadows - must likeweise be held responsible finally for the environmental crimes and the atrocities - often involving the mercenaries sent by the UN (so-called peacekeepers) - committed against Indigenous communities and their natural forest habitat, as well as from the Republic of Congo under President Denis Sassou Nguesso and Prime Minister Clément Mouamba incl. their French masters. The DRC in the western world's scramble for resouces is still the most horrific hotspot of atrocities, followed by Sudan and now Brazil. The ICC also must look now into the Environmental Crimes and Crimes against Aboriginal Peoples (like the Twa) in the DRC and in Angola. Send the reports to or or see HERE for the establishment of secure channels.
Fires consume large tracts of the world’s forest every year. But the present inferno in the Amazon is man-made and requires global action response. WORLWIDE BOYCOTT: STOP BUYING BRAZILIAN SOY, MAIZE/CORN, BEEF OR PORK, ANY TIMBER AND ANY AUTOMOBIL MANUFACURED/ASSEMBLED IN BRAZIL NOW - and until the Amazon is secured! STOP MERCOSUR AT ONCE ! MERCOSUR involves the EU but also Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Norway already declared its dismay concerning the destrution of the Amazon Forest and has withheld funds from Brazil.
And of course there is already a boycott-breaker - apart from Donald Trump's USA - for Brazilian beef: Indonesia, itself having a horrific human rights record and guilty of thousands of murders and assassinations in West Papua.
UN secretary general, António Guterres, urged Brazil to take action. “In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity. The Amazon must be protected,” he tweeted. Celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna and Cristiano Ronaldo have also raised the alarm.
Jair Bolsonaro shrugs as the Amazon burns
| RIO DE JANEIRO
WHEN SÃO PAULO went dark at 3pm on August 19th, the city’s 12m-plus inhabitants were stunned by the black cloud that descended on the city. Some took photos of the dystopian scene; others called loved ones in fear that the end was nigh. A popular religious YouTube channel told subscribers that Jesus was returning for the second coming.
Forget the end of days. This apocalypse is man-made. The mid-afternoon darkness, most accept, was caused by rare atmospheric conditions that brought smoke from the fires burning thousands of kilometres away in the Amazonian rainforest.
The cloud, as well as recent alarming data about the extent of this year’s fires, provoked an outcry in Brazil. It also kindled a blazing international row over Brazil’s stewardship of the Amazon. President Emmanuel Macron of France took to Twitter to demand that world leaders discuss the fires at the G7 summit which he is hosting in Biarritz on August 24th-26th. “Our house is burning. Literally,” wrote Mr Macron. “It is an international crisis.” Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, weighed in, tweeting that he “couldn’t agree more”. Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, retorted that the Amazon was an “internal issue”. He denounced Mr Macron’s request as evidence of “a misplaced colonialist mindset in the 21st century.”
Mr Bolsonaro, who took power in January, does not believe in climate change. He regards the Amazon as a “virgin” that should be “exploited” for agriculture, mining and infrastructure projects. During the Amazon’s dry season, it is common for farmers to set fires illegally to clear land. But Mr Bolsonaro stands accused of encouraging the wanton destruction of the world’s greatest tropical forest, not least by ordering his environment minister, Ricardo Salles, to sack 21 of 27 senior officials at Ibama, the country’s environmental protection agency.
France and Ireland say they now oppose a trade deal between the EU and Mercosur, a South American trading bloc of which Brazil is the biggest player. The deal, decades in the making, was agreed on in principle this year but has yet to be ratified; it requires the support of each of the parliaments of all participating countries. Claiming that Mr Bolsonaro had lied to him, Mr Macron said: “The decisions and statements from Brazil these recent weeks show clearly that President Bolsonaro has decided to not respect his commitments on the climate, nor to involve himself on the issue of biodiversity.”
Data from the European Union's Earth observation programme show aerosols from the burning forest sweeping from the Amazon down through Brazil’s distant south-east coast (see map).
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has detected 85% more forest fires this year than in the same period last year. But across the region trends so far (half-way through the fire season) are roughly consistent with the average for the last 20 years. That is not necessarily comforting: rampant deforestation and the practice of slash-and-burn agriculture are to blame. Some researchers note that this year's fire count is higher than it was during the past decade, when rates of deforestation in the Amazon dropped because of stronger enforcement.
Scientists worry that the faster rate of destruction is bringing the Amazon uncomfortably close to the threshold, beyond which deforestation begins to feed on itself, turning much of the Amazon basin into drier savannah known as cerrado.
The Amazon is not the only place where forests are burning: satellite images show extensive fires in central Africa (in line with previous years) and in South-East Asia (slightly more than in the past few years). In the Arctic and sub-Arctic, however 2019 has been usual. Vast fires burning both boreal forest and peat soils have consumed parts of eastern Siberia, Alaska and even Greenland since June.
The fires in the high north are worrying because, as well as trees, they are also consuming peat, releasing carbon that has been trapped over hundreds to thousands of years. What is most disturbing about fires in the Amazon is that the burning is a direct result of human activity. Curbing them depends, in large part, on political will—which Mr Bolsonaro so obviously lacks.
Fighting fire with firings
He and his staff claim the clamour over the Amazon is based on lies. When asked about the fires, he ludicrously accused environmental NGOs of starting the fires themselves in retaliation for funding cuts and in order to make his government look bad. After INPE released data showing increasing deforestation in July, the president claimed the numbers were fake. He then sacked the head of the agency, Ricardo Magnus Osório Galvão, a well-respected physicist.
Such belligerence outrages scientists and environmentalists. “Firing the director is an act of revenge against those who expose the truth,” says Marcio Astrini of Greenpeace, a pressure group. The destruction of the rainforest tends to be out of sight, out of mind for a lot of Brazilians, most of whom live in large cities near the coast. The darkness brought it to their doorsteps. “We don’t have much time,” a columnist wrote in the daily newspaper Folha de São Paulo. “Night will fall on all of us.”
BRAZIL IS RUN BY MOBSTERS
Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who came into power promising to clear vast tracts of the rainforest for development, remains unmoved by the worlwide outrage over the Amazon forest destruction. Just after Bolsonaro had sacked the head of IINPE amid rows over the publishing of its deforestation data, which the still-president of Brazil called “lies”, he spoke to Reuters News Agency and dismissed concerns about the rainforest’s destruction by saying farmers needed land. Bolsonaro was quoted to bragg: “I used to be called Captain Chainsaw,” he said. “Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame.” With this he a at least spoke for once the thruth.
Bolsonaro's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, said that the debate over climate change was a “secondary issue” and was last year convicted in court of fraudulently favouring mining companies when he was state secretary for the environment in Sao Paulo.
Furthermore, Bolsonaro has restricted the ability of IBAMA, the forest protection agency, to fine individuals and companies that illegally deforest and pollute. Bolsonaro turned the Amazon up for grabs, violating Brazilian as well as international laws and what he does constitutes environmental crime that mus be brought to trial at the ICC.
The Brazilian governance has become unbearble under a man hailing from a family of Italian settler-takers (Bolzonaro from Veneto) that perfectly copied the Conquistadores when it comes to the tretment of the Indigenous poples of Brazil, which in fascist style Bolsonaro wants to forcibly adapt (that constitutes already genocide). ICC investigations will also have to look into his strategically developed clan and links to international organized crime.
- Jair Bolsonaro (born 1955), President of Brazil
- Carlos Bolsonaro (born 1982), Jair Bolsonaro's son, politician
- Eduardo Bolsonaro (born 1984), Jair Bolsonaro's son, lawyer, federal police officer and politician
- Flávio Bolsonaro (born 1981), Jair Bolsonaro's son, lawyer, entrepreneur and politician
- Michelle Bolsonaro (born 1980), Jair Bolsonaro's wife, First Lady of Brazil
Journalist Glenn Greenwald called Bolsonaro "the most misogynistic, hateful elected official in the democratic world". Bolsonaro's own Wikipedia page alone reads like a gangster profile of a criminal psychopath. Accodring to the Mail&Guardian Bolsonaro’s sons, an ex porn-actor and a police officer — who achieved fame after killing a suspect on camera — were elected through their connection to Bolsonaro.
After 1988, when rainforest defender Chico Mendes was assassinated in Brazil, the world woke up to the problems in the Amazon. Then and in 1997 as well as in 2004 honest Brazilians and good international cooperation achieved to drastically decrease the deforestation rate in the Amazon against all odds and against massive, recurrent actions by crime syndictes that cut the forest down and engage in mining of gold and other precious minerals. But since 2018 the pendulum swang to the other side again and now - with Bolsonaro leading the mob on - the forest destruction and the killing of Indigenous people has reached unprecedented levels - unabated. That must be stopped - once and for all times.
Satellite images from Planet reveal devastating Amazon fires in near real-time
by Rhett A. Butler on 22 August 2019
- While many of the images currently being shared on social media and by news outlets are from past fires, satellites can provide a near real-time view of what’s unfolding in the Amazon.
- With near-daily overflights and high-resolution imagery, Planet’s constellation of satellites is providing a clear look at some of the fires now burning in the Brazilian Amazon.
- Beyond dramatic snapshots, those images also provide data that can be mined for critical insights on what’s happening in the Amazon on a basin-wide scale.
While many of the images currently being shared on social media and by news outlets are from past fires — some from as long as 15 years ago — satellites can provide a near real-time view of what’s unfolding in the Amazon. With near-daily overflights and high-resolution imagery, Planet’s constellation of satellites is providing a clear look at some of the fires now burning in the Brazilian Amazon.
Beyond dramatic snapshots, those images also provide data that can be mined for critical insights into what’s happening in the Amazon on a basin-wide scale, according to Greg Asner, the director of the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University, whose team is using Planet’s data to assess the impact of the fires on carbon emissions.
“Planet data provides unprecedented detail in mapping forest change down to individual trees which allows us to assess the damage from these kinds of large scale disturbances,” Asner told Mongabay. “Our Planet Incubator Program is currently tracking forest carbon emissions all over the world — including the Amazon — using Planet Dove and SkySat imagery.
“If you took all of the carbon stored in every tropical forest on Earth and burned it up, you would emit about five times the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that is already there. The Amazon rainforest represents about half of this forest carbon to give you an idea of how serious this current situation is and the kind of impact it will have on climate change.”
Planet wouldn’t comment what the images show specifically, but there are strong indications from other sources that many fires are burning near areas of recent deforestation. Analysis released this week by IPAM Amazônia, a Brazilian research group, shows that the 10 Amazonian municipalities that had the most fire outbreaks this year were also the ones that had the highest deforestation rates.
“These municipalities are responsible for 37 percent of the hotbeds in 2019 and 43 percent of recorded deforestation through July,” states the IPAM report. “This concentration of forest fires in newly deforested areas with mild drought represent a strong indication of the intentional character of the fires.”
In other words, fires are being set to clear lands for agriculture, most likely cattle pasture, which accounts for 70 to 80 percent of forest conversion in the Brazilian Amazon. Typically a landowner will cut and harvest valuable timber trees before slashing and burning the remaining trees. The resulting ash provides a temporary source of nutrients for pasture grass, but the soil degrades quickly without careful management.
While old-growth Amazon rainforest doesn’t typically burn naturally outside droughts and El Niño years, fires set intentionally in degraded forests and agricultural lands can burn hot enough to spread deep into otherwise untouched forests. That seems to be what’s happening this year, which, as IPAM noted, isn’t especially dry.
However that may soon change — for the worse.
With climate models forecasting a much hotter Amazon due to rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, a growing chorus of scientists are warning that the combination of continued deforestation and climate change could tip the wet Amazon rainforest toward a much drier, savanna-like ecosystem. Since the trees of the Amazon generate much of region’s precipitation, such a shift could be devastating for the region’s water supplies. The agricultural heartland of South America is predicted to be particularly hard hit by water scarcity, but diminished rainfall would also affect cities’ electricity supplies, which are disproportionately dependent on hydropower. Drier conditions would exacerbate fire and air pollution risk as well.
Fires and deforestation up in 2019
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has been trending upward since bottoming out in 2012 at 4,571 square kilometers (1,765 square miles), but the issue didn’t get a lot of public attention until this week, when the skies of São Paulo, one the world’s largest cities, were blackened midday by smoke from the fires. The shocking descent into darkness prompted an outpouring of concern across social media, with the #PrayforAmazonas hashtag garnering more than 300,000 tweets in two days.
But while the fires in the Amazon have indeed increased significantly over last year, they aren’t off the charts relative to the past 20 years.
The difference this year is that weather conditions led the smoke from the fires to blanket densely populated urban areas. A similar phenomenon is seen in Southeast Asia: Indonesia’s peat fires get the most attention when winds blow the resulting haze over Singapore, the regional financial hub, as was the case in 2015.
However, to environmentalists worried about the anti-environment rhetoric from President Jair Bolsonaro, the Armageddon-like conditions in São Paulo and sharp rise in deforestation seem be playing out like a worst-case scenario for the Amazon.
According to the country’s national space research institute, INPE, forest loss in the world’s largest rainforest is already pacing 57 percent ahead of last year. And the region is only halfway through the peak deforestation season that runs from May to October. Data from Imazon, a Brazilian NGO that independently tracks deforestation in the Amazon, is expected to confirm the trend when it releases the latest numbers next week.
Stung by criticism over rising deforestation, Bolsonaro has asserted INPE is manipulating deforestation data and fired the agency’s director. INPE has not released any deforestation updates since the firing. Bolsonaro also claimed, without evidence, that NGOs are responsible for starting the fires as a fundraising strategy, although he backtracked on those remarks today.
Bolsonaro, however, hasn’t been able to effectively refute the satellite data coming from places like Planet and NASA. Scientists and civil society groups are now poring over that data to look for links between Bolsonaro’s policies — including weakened environmental laws, relaxed law enforcement, and amnesty for illegal deforesters — and what’s happening on the ground in the Amazon.
“While links between Brazilian government policy and these wildfires are unknown, the unprecedented data coming from Planet will allow us to help evaluate the extent to which their policies need to be reexamined,” Asner said.
Charles Bremner, Biarritz
President Macron will try to put international pressure on Brazil over fires that are raging unchecked in the Amazon at the opening today of what is shaping up to be a tense G7 summit.
The blazes, which have destroyed vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest, have already prompted angry exchanges between the French president and Jair Bolsonaro, his Brazilian counterpart.
Mr Macron tweeted on Thursday: “Our house is on fire. Literally. The Amazon, the lung of our planet which produces 20 per cent of our oxygen, is burning.”
Mr Bolsonaro responded by accusing him of interfering in his country’s affairs with the arrogance of a colonist.
EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
The EU ought to consider banning Brazilian beef unless it takes action on forest fires, Finland, the holder of the EU presidency, has said.
"The EU and Finland are urgently exploring the possibility of banning imports of Brazilian beef," Mika Lintila, the Finnish finance minister, announced on Twitter on Friday (23 August).
"Finance ministers are responsible for a number of instruments ... to mitigate climate change. These actions threaten to be rendered useless if carbon sinks are systematically destroyed," he added.
EU finance ministers would discuss the ban at an informal meeting in Helsinki on 13 September if there was "no progress before then", he noted.
EU foreign ministers will already discuss the situation more broadly at an informal meeting next Thursday, Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto also said on Friday.
And the two ministers have the full support of Finnish leader Antti Rinne, who said the same day: "I contacted the European Commission yesterday evening, and I expect that the EU will take action".
He did not mention the beef ban, but he said: "It goes without saying that in terms of climate change, the world cannot sustain such fires".
Brazil's embassy to the EU said it could not comment because its ambassador was on holiday.
A commission spokeswoman said EU officials would react to Finland's beef idea once they had found out more about it.
The EU buys 120,000 tonnes a year of beef from Brazil, about one tenth of its total beef exports, and pays some of the highest prices for prime cuts.
European imports were set to increase due to tariff cuts under a new trade deal between the EU and Mercosur, a South American bloc.
But France and Ireland have also said they would not sign the trade pact unless Brazil tries to stop the blaze.
"There is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments," Irish leader Leo Varadkar said on Friday.
"In these conditions, France will oppose the Mercosur deal as it is," French president Emmanuel Macron's spokesman also told the Reuters news agency.
Using undiplomatic language, the Elysee spokesman accused Bolsonaro of having "lied" to Macron on climate promises at a recent summit in Japan.
A Finnish diplomat told EUobserver that Helsinki had not yet taken a position on the Mercosur proposal.
In separate action, Germany (€35m a year) and Norway (€30m a year) have frozen deforestation aid to Brazil.
The fires have been linked to far-right Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro's, permits for cutting down trees to help big business.
Macron earlier said the blaze would be discussed by G7 leaders meeting in France this weekend.
But Bolsonaro told him to butt out, while accusing him of having "a misplaced colonialist mindset".
"Isn't Norway that country that kills whales up there in the North Pole? Take that money and help [German leader] Angela Merkel reforest Germany," he also said on Norway.
Comment: On the Whale killing Bolsonaro mixed Norway with the Denmark-administered Faroe-Islands. In making such blatant mistakes Bolsonaro is as bad as his mentor Trump, who believes he can just buy the people of Greenland and their Danish-governed territory.
Trump then wondered that he got rebuffed by the Greenlanders as well as by the Danish government and childishly cancelled the planned state visit to Denmark, though the Danish and the USA are actually accomplices in crime - having expelled Indigenous Inuit from that area of Greenland where the USA built and expanded the Thule airbase. Thule has given its name to the northernmost United States Air Force airfield, Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland. The Russian Federation closed in April 2019 the free passage for foreign warships (incl. submarines), which want to use the Northern Sea Route (NSR), They have now to request permission 45 days prior to the voyage. The NSR is in the Exclusive Economic Zone (under international law - UNCLOS) of Russia. The move has been rejected by the USA and NATO, but so far no warship tested or challenged the new regulation and Russia is very serious in the defence of its rights. Since the trade-war with China was now escalated by Donald Trump, the USA faces a similar problem in the South China Sea.
Finnish minister proposes Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
By AFP -
Finland will propose a ban on Brazilian beef imports to protest over Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro's response to massive Amazon fires, the country's finance minister said on Friday.
French President Emmanuel Macron is leading international pressure on Bolsonaro over the Amazon rainforest fires, threatening to block a major trade deal with the EU.
Finland's Finance Minister Mika Lintila condemned the destruction of rainforests and proposed "the EU and Finland urgently look into the option of banning the import of Brazilian beef".
Finland currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Council.
"Now we need effective action from the EU... I am ready to raise the issue with my EU Finance Minister colleagues who will be coming to Helsinki in September, if there is no progress before then," Lintila said.
The fires in the world's largest rainforest have sparked protests around the planet and ignited a war of words between Bolsonaro and Macron, who has described the wildfires as an "international crisis".
Slideshow: These Planet images of fires in the Amazon were taken Aug. 21, 2019, and processed by the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at ASU. Images courtesy of Planet Lab Inc. and CGDCS.
The Anglo-American Kraken - like always spearheading the Taker Societies - and their mainstream media try desperately to help Bolsonaro to safe the face he already lost. The BBC, Bloomberg and others put out laughable pieces of counter-spin that would be just ridiculous if the situation would not be so grave.:
The BBC highlights that Bolsonaro ordered now the military and would have now two U.S. water-bombers (only one a Boein 747-400) "WITH THOUSANDS OF LITERS OF WATER" to air-drop on the fires. That is NOTHING, nil, zero, zilch given the magnitude of the fires and the vast areas affected, against which Bolsonaro launched earlier HUNDRED-THOUSANDS of landless, impoverished citydwellers like locust to destroy the forests and Indigenous territories and to prepare them for the takeover by BigTimber, BigMining and BigAgro. .
The BBC also tries to divert the attention of the public and presents in pictures: Wildfires ignite also across Indonesia - a similar menace triggered by BigPalmoil since years. Yes, also there the destruction must stop, but to push it right now is just to divert the attention from the Amazon.
Likewise Bloomberg takes on the attention-diverting spin:
Nota Bene: The number of fires alone doesn't say anything about the atrocities.
Also in Africa Nature is set ablaze: WATCH