Fwd (GLW): UNITED STATES: Rio Tinto tries to choke Bougainville suit

Alan Bradley abradley1 at bigpond.com
Sun Dec 9 06:08:36 MST 2001

The following article appears in the current issue of Green Left Weekly

UNITED STATES: Rio Tinto tries to choke Bougainville suit

For 10 years the Bougainvilleans have fought, with bullets and guns, against
the world's second largest mining multinational: Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto hid behind multiple veils. The war was - the media told us - a
civil war between Bougainvilleans, or a war between Bougainville
"secessionists" and Papua New Guinea, and only - when those first two veils
had been removed - a war against Australia.

In reality, of course, it was a war against capitalism. The Bougainvilleans
had imagined that because the Panguna gold and copper mine was in the middle
of their island, their country, polluting their land and rivers, they could
close it, take it away from its "legal" owners, Rio Tinto.

But this is totally against capitalist law, and Rio Tinto fought a dirty
10-year war using PNG troops and Australian pilots to get its property, its
mine, back. The war, and a total blockade of the island, killed, in one way
or another, 15,000 Bougainvilleans, 10% of the population.

Normally, reasonably, the Bougainvilleans should have been defeated and the
Panguna mine restored to Rio Tinto, its "rightful" owner. But quite
unexpectedly the plans for a rapid reconquest - hatched in Port Moresby,
Canberra and London - didn't work out.

The Bougainvilleans won the war, and have kept the Panguna mine, "stolen"
from Rio Tinto, closed.

Now these Bougainvilleans - cheeky buggers! - are even suing Rio Tinto in a
US court for damages and reparations for the deaths and devastation they
suffered in the 10-year war.

<the remainder of the article can be found at:
http://www.greenleft.org.au/current/475p14.htm >

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