Print

Archaeology of Violence

ARCHAEOLOGY OF VIOLENCE

THE FOREST AS EVIDENCE

In 2012, nearly three decades after its transition to democracy, Brazil’s truth commission was established to investigate State crimes between 1946 and 1988.

One of the most contentious issues examined refers to the violence inflicted upon the indigenous peoples of Brazil after the US sponsored coup of 1964. This situation was particularly acute in Amazonia, where large-scale programs of development and resource exploitation were implemented on native habitat.

The investigation uses remote sensing techniques to locate the village clusters of the indigenous Waimiri-Atroari people, nearly exterminated in the 1970s.

Differentiating old-growth from young forests that overgrown on village ruins, the images manifest the way in which the botanical composition of the forest can be read as archaeological evidences. The cartographies presented here interpret Amazonia as a “constructed landscape”, an environment historically shaped by political and cultural forces.

Researchers

Paulo Tavares

“OPERATION AMAZONIA”

In 1966, the government launched “Operation Amazonia”, a large-scale program of regional development that sought to convert practically the entire Amazon Basin into a vast frontier of resource extraction and agricultural colonization. Aided by cold war mapping and imaging technologies, Amazonia was visualized as a deep territory upon which governmental decisions and grand planning strategies would be projected, leading to dramatic changes in both its natural and social landscapes.

Territorial Design: the continental urban-matrix as planned in the Plan for National Integration (map by INCRA, 1971). These macro-strategies completely reconfigured the map of Amazonia.

The Trans-Amazon Highway under construction, Magazine Manchete, 1973.

The Trans-Amazon Highway under construction, Magazine Manchete, 1973.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEEP CARTOGRAPHY

In order to identify zones of strategic resources, a large-scale mapping survey named Radar Amazonia — or RADAM — was initiated in the early 70s. Employing radar-based remote sensing technologies firstly used in the Vietnam War, RADAM was responsible to produce the first detailed biophysical and geological inventory of Amazonia, and completely altered the ways by which Amazonia was visualized, interpreted and intervened upon. Pages extracted from RADAM’s geological inventory for the region of the city of Manaus.

PTAVARES_image01_RADAM_04

Radar-imaging map extracted from RADAM’s geological inventory for the region of the city of Manaus.

 

 

PACIFICATION

The “Service for the Protection of the Indian” (SPI) was a state agency created in 1910 to establish “peaceful contact” with indigenous groups and oversee their welfare. The SPI employed a similar strategy to the colonial ‘reductions’, concentrating indigenous groups in “Posts of Attraction”, which later turned into agricultural colonies where the Indians were gradually “nationalized”.

The agency founding ethos was simultaneously pacifist and expansionist, humanitarian and governmental, ideologically opposed to the extermination of the Indians while at the same time serving as one of the most efficient mechanisms to open up their lands for colonization. By late the 1960s, when the SPI was composed of a network of more than a hundred posts distributed throughout the Brazilian territory the agency has become complicit in the extermination of indigenous groups.

Pacifist and Expansionist: the indigenist Nilo Oliveira Vellozo, at that time head of the research bureau of the SPI, distributes gifts to Kuikuro indians during a mission to the Culuene River basin in the state of Mato Grosso, southern Amazonia, 1944. Gift-giving was a widely used tactics to make contact with “hostile” indigenous groups.

Pacifist and Expansionist: the indigenist Nilo Oliveira Vellozo, at that time head of the research bureau of the SPI, distributes gifts to Kuikuro indians during a mission to the Culuene River basin in the state of Mato Grosso, southern Amazonia, 1944. Gift-giving was a widely used tactics to make contact with “hostile” indigenous groups.

Protectionist Intervention: map of the network of outposts and bases of the SPI in 1946 (courtesy of Museu do Índio, Rio de Janeiro).

Protectionist Intervention: map of the network of outposts and bases of the SPI in 1946 (courtesy of Museu do Índio, Rio de Janeiro).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOTANICAL ARCHAEOLOGY OF GENOCIDE

Located just a few hundred kilometers to the north of the city of Manaus the territory of the Waimiri-Atroari was subjected to a series of violent raids during the nineteenth century. Rich in mineral resources, this zone was defined as a central ‘pole of development’ within the planning schemes designed for Amazonia.

Between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, it is estimated that nearly two thousand Waimiri-Atroari disappeared, either because of direct action of military forces, (who were responsible to conduct the road-building works), or indirectly through the deadly epidemics brought by workers and settlers. By 1984, when Brazil was entering into civilian rule, 321 Waimiri-Atroari have survived.

Waimiri Atroari Attraction Front: Pages extracted from the plan of pacification of the Waimiri-Atroari designed by father João Giovanni Calleri in 1968 after an identification flight over the Alalaú, Abonari and Uatumã Rivers

Waimiri Atroari Attraction Front: Pages extracted from the plan of pacification of the Waimiri-Atroari designed by father João Giovanni Calleri in 1968 after an identification flight over the Alalaú, Abonari and Uatumã Rivers

“PACIFICATION” OF THE WAIMIRI-ATROARI: Relocation of villagers conducted by the Waimiri Atroari Attraction Front (FAWA)

Map of forced removals and re-settlement of indigenous villages conducted by the Waimiri Atroari Attraction Front (FAWA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the massive population depletion and the subsequent process of directed re-settlement conducted by FAWA in the late 70s and early 80s, the spatial organization of the Waimiri Atroari territory could be described as being similar to other Carib groups of the Guiana shield such as the Yanomami and the Akawaio.

Networks of small and autonomous villages were distributed throughout the margins of the tributaries of the Camanaú, Alalaú and Abonari Rivers, forming larger clusters interconnected by several pathways.

Rigorously geometric, the architecture of the villages was formed by a communal house, circular or oval in shape and extending up to 18/20 meters in diameter, situated at the centre of a larger ellipsoid plaza surrounded by gardens of fruit and nut trees and fields of swidden agriculture. Clearings were gradually expanded around the central nucleus, encircling the village within another ring that could reach over hundred of metres.

Villages were periodically abandoned and moved to different areas, performing a constant movement through the forest landscape. Fallow swiddens tend to re-attract quantities of game and concentrate species of fruit trees and medicinal plants, so the abandoned villages continue to be utilized for several years. Archaeological evidences also demonstrate that most probably the new settlement is located within an area that had been inhabited in the past, since sites of ancient indigenous occupation in Amazonia, which are characterized by the presence of a black soil of anthropogenic nature known as “dark earths”, are extremely fertile and indigenous peoples can identify this.

The nomadic architecture of the mydy taha with its multiple rings of swiddens, gardens and fallows––the historical movement of occupation and abandonment, forest clearings and re-growth performed by the Waimiri Atroari villages––left a traceable footprint in the landscape, whose archaeological record can be identified in the botanical structure of the forest. These secondary forest formations, which began to grow in the 1970s, when the violence was most intense, evidence the location of villages that were destroyed or forcibly evicted.

Second-forest age mapping identifying anthropogenic interventions in the botanical structure of the forest

Second-forest age mapping identifying anthropogenic interventions in the botanical structure of the forest

A potential map of Waimiri Atroari village clusters that existed before the violence in the region of the upper Alalaú River.

A potential map of Waimiri Atroari village clusters that existed before the violence in the region of the upper Alalaú River.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE FOREST

Print

The apparent impossibility of finding architectural records of the Waimiri Atroari settlements, the seeming disappearance of their villages into the forest, requires a shift in the methods of reading the terrain and harvesting spatial data. For rather than leaving no ruins, it is the very nature of the ruins that is radically different from traditional archaeological evidences. When the forest is interpreted as an archaeological resource on its own terms, and patterns of distribution and composition of the living vegetation are read as inscriptions of social-political history, the architecture of the villages erased by the politics of pacification appear registered in the forest fabric. Their geography demonstrates that the Brazilian State was not intervening upon an empty territory, thereby revealing the existence of a planned strategy aimed at disrupting, transforming and annihilating modes of inhabiting the forest that were considered inimical to the project of national development.

This cartography also uncovers an image of Amazonia that radically opposes the colonial ideology fostered by the military regime, according to which the forest was a de-populated, underdeveloped, primitive territory. This ideological edifice was inherited from evolutionist descriptions that portrayed Amazonia as a pristine natural environment inhabited by collectives that were incapable of transforming the landscape, but instead of a lack of traces of anthropogenic interventions in the landscape, this botanical archaeology of genocide show signatures of highly manipulated environments. The violent reconfiguration of the socio-ecological architecture of the forest was the means by which the state assumed tighter control over the Waimiri Atroari territory, and despite the lack of all other possible forms of evidence, the history of the violence and its victims survive in the memory of the living forests of Amazonia.

 

image 2 - featured

A Cartography of Risk

A cartography of risk

Risk analysis describes destruction that has not yet taken place. The destruction of buildings that are otherwise still standing intact is a complex reality fabricated by algorithms, fears, hopes, conflicting philosophies and historical experience. But these potential ruins are also “messages from the future”, and shape the economical and urban realities in their present environment through their effect on the prices of property and insurance. The work visualises the abstract nature of risk calculation across Lebanon, alongside another type of “message from the future”, the visual strategies employed by the local construction industry as it seeks to entice foreign investment by depicting a modern image of a future.

Researcher

Helene Kazan

Mapping Risk

This map is produced by extracting information from three reports assessing and projecting the potential of different risks in Lebanon’s future. The three reports are:
1: a Disaster Risk Assessment Report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) produced in 2010,
2: the forecast of ‘The Next Israel Hizbullah War’ written in 2010,
3: and a 2014 Syria Regional Response Plan for Lebanon, completed by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Illustrated map drawn by Blake Fisher

Illustrated map drawn by Blake Fisher

The Beirut real estate market

The real estate market in Lebanon has consistently been regarded as its most dynamic area of investment. Even in the current geopolitical climate, the market is experiencing rapid growth, mostly, as a result of foreign interest and investment in the country. This has resulted in a proliferation of luxury apartment and redevelopment projects, which litter Beirut’s urban landscape. The city, attempts to disassociate parts of itself from latent violence (compounded by the civil war in Syrian) in an effort to create in Beirut, demographic enclaves complacent with the global economy. The images are examples of a visual approach adopted by the Lebanese construction industry which litters the urban public space with an idealized image of a future domestic life.

old as 'A true gateway to Modern Life', this project named B-Central on Bliss Street in Beirut is an image of the future as projected by A&H Construction & Development. The image shows the billboards and architectural visualisations which wrap the construction site, this photograph was taken in December 2013.

Sold as ‘A true gateway to Modern Life’, this project named B-Central on Bliss Street in Beirut is an image of the future as projected by A&H Construction & Development. The image shows the billboards and architectural visualisations which wrap the construction site, this photograph was taken in December 2013.

Dream Ramlet el Biadar Residence 1550 and Star Residence, Star Ramlet 1550 are two large construction projects, one next to the other, situated near the ocean front Corniche, in Beirut. Both use architectural visualisation to wrap the apparently non-active construction sites, the image shows one of the visualisations onsite, with the un-finished building in the background.

Dream Ramlet el Biadar Residence 1550 and Star Residence, Star Ramlet 1550 are two large construction projects, one next to the other, situated near the ocean front Corniche, in Beirut. Both use architectural visualisation to wrap the apparently non-active construction sites, the image shows one of the visualisations onsite, with the un-finished building in the background.

 

FS_1_MG_8098

Down to Earth

Down to Earth

What is our time? How do we measure it?

From the utopian Soviet project to live rationally with nature, to contemporary earth observation: human efforts to plan their environment rely on different forms and technologies of measurement, that negotiate increasingly complex relations with the dynamics of the earth.

The planetary strata are here measured along a trajectory that links remote sensing satellites, a vast geological repository, and a probe reaching the deepest point on the planet at 12 262 meters. Each measurement shapes new territorial assemblages of science and politics. The Kola Superdeep Borehole in the Russian Arctic was a mission to increase geophysical knowledge. It is here shown with contemporary inquiries into the core samples of the British Geological Survey, revealing the connections of human activities to the material traces of the recent history of the earth, searching for the new stratigraphic evidence of the Anthropocene.

Research Team

Anthropocene Observatory:

  • Armin Linke
  • Territorial Agency (John Palmesino, Ann-Sofi Rönnskog)
  • Anselm Franke

Team "Down to Earth"

  • Giulia Bruno
  • Saverio Cantoni
  • Tom Fox
  • Anselm Franke
  • Armin Linke
  • John Palmesino
  • Flavio Pescatori
  • Sarah Poppel
  • Renato Rinaldi
  • Ann-Sofi Rönnskog

 

#3 Down to Earth (single screen online version)

The Kola Peninsula

The Kola Superdeep Borehole is a vertical probe into the Baltic Shield, the largest area of the oldest rocks in Europe, eroded by the harsh climate. At its highest latitudes, well beyond the Arctic Circle, the Baltic Shield meets the Barents Shield, forming the Kola Peninsula, one of the richest areas of the planet in terms of mineral resources.

Exploitation of the vast mineral resources of the peninsula is the basis through which the Soviet Union developed their industrialisation project. It was through tight connections of development of scientific knowledge of geophysics of the region, and technology to develop industry, that the Soviets shaped their territorial architectures.

Dr David M. Guberman, the leader of the Kola Superdeep Borehole experiment, standing on the site of the future Kola SG-3 well. Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Dr David M. Guberman, the leader of the Kola Superdeep Borehole experiment, standing on the site of the future Kola SG-3 well. Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Noosphere

Driven by the large Soviet experiment to live rationally with nature, the territories of the Kola Peninsula have been invested by a large-scale plan to populate the Arctic and to establish the scientific base for the industrial exploitation of its resources.

The Kola Peninsula was one of the sites of a new experiment for a scientific sovereignty, one that reshaped connections between human actions and natural processes. The links between the biosphere, the atmosphere and the geosphere are here extended to the noosphere; the space of human thought conceptualised in the 1920s by Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky. Vernadsky was the leader of KEPS – the commission for the study of natural productive forces of Russia.

Vernadsky and his colleague Aleksandr Evgenievich Fersman, who established the Kola Science Center – were the founders of the Russian school of geochemistry. Fersman was responsible for the programme to survey 20 million km2 of Soviet territory for mineral resources.

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, originator of the noosphere concept (left) with Alexander Yevgenyevich Fersman, founder of Kola Science Centre (right). Courtesy Kola Science Centre.

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, originator of the noosphere concept (left) with Alexander Yevgenyevich Fersman, founder of Kola Science Centre (right). Courtesy Kola Science Centre.

La Biosphère, 1929 by Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky

La Biosphère, 1929 by Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky

The Deepest Point on the Planet

The Norilsk Nickel mine in Zapolyarny, Murmansk Oblast, Kola Peninsula, Russia, at 69°23’47.27” N, 30°36’35.53” E, in the European Arctic, is the site of the Kola Superdeep Borehole. It was a major scientific experiment carried out by the Soviet Union, with the aim of drilling as far as possible into the Earth’s crust.

Drilling started on May 24, 1970 from the Uralmash-4E drilling rig, and continued until 1989, when the SG-3 borehole operating from the newer Uralmash-15000 rig reached the deepest point on Earth at 12,262 metres, deeper than the 10,915 metres of the Mariana Trench.

Aim of the mission was to investigate the Mohorovičić discontinuity, the boundary between the Earth’s crust and the mantle. During the mission, which spanned two decades, major scientific advancements in the understanding of the physics of the Earth were accomplished, leading to a substantial revision of geophysics.

Geophysical Service at Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Murmansk Regional Museum.

Geophysical Service at Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Murmansk Regional Museum.

Mineralized breccia phyllites, siltstones and sandstones from the depth of 1,675.5m.Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Mineralized breccia phyllites, siltstones and sandstones from the depth of 1,675.5m. Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Core sample extracted from Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Core sample extracted from Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Core sample lifting and extracting at Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Core sample lifting and extracting at Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Digital Elevation Model

This black and white image is formed through data derived by spaceborne synthetic aperture radar: SAR. This geodetic method is used to generate models of surface deformation or digital elevation.

The interferometric SAR method uses complex algorithms to produce a very narrow effective beam. The information on minute topographic variations can be produced only by moving sensors – as the satellites – and is a form of active remote sensing. The satellites’ antennas transmit radar radiations which are then reflected back by the surface of the Earth and detected by sophisticated sensors.

InSAR Synthetic Aperture Radar interferometric map of terrain variation, Kola Peninsula. Elevation data is processed from raw C-band radar signals spaced at intervals of 1 arc-second (approximately 30 metres) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL. Black lines refer to area of void or missing data, areas where initial algorithmic processing did not meet quality standards.USGS and NASA data, elaborated by Territorial Agency.

InSAR Synthetic Aperture Radar interferometric map of terrain variation, Kola Peninsula. Elevation data is processed from raw C-band radar signals spaced at intervals of 1 arc-second (approximately 30 metres) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL. Black lines refer to area of void or missing data, areas where initial algorithmic processing did not meet quality standards.USGS and NASA data, elaborated by Territorial Agency.

Landsat

The Landsat programme is the largest repository of Earth Observation data in history. Launched in 1972, its several satellites have recorded the radiations of the planet to document, survey and measure global environmental change.

Multiple sensors detect the physical and chemical qualities of the atmosphere and surface of the planet. The resulting data can be analysed and presented as an image. Detected through multispectral sensors, the images are the result of algo- rithmic operations on data. They can be approximations of the colours perceived by humans, or analytical images of multiple passes of the satellites, highlighting specific aspects of environmental change.

Satellite image of the Kola Superdeep Borehole site. Landsat 8 data acquired on 11 October 2013, shown in natural col- ours using the Operational Land Imager OLI spectral bands 4, 3 and 2. USGS data, elaborated by Territorial Agency.

Satellite image of the Kola Superdeep Borehole site. Landsat 8 data acquired on 11 October 2013, shown in natural col- ours using the Operational Land Imager OLI spectral bands 4, 3 and 2. USGS data, elaborated by Territorial Agency.

A multi-year analysis reveals vast changes in the impervious sur- faces of the terrain, largely coinciding with mining activities, mili- tary equipment and infrastructure, and urban settlements. Multispectral analysis of USGS data, elaborated by Territorial Agency.

A multi-year analysis reveals vast changes in the impervious sur- faces of the terrain, largely coinciding with mining activities, mili- tary equipment and infrastructure, and urban settlements. Multispectral analysis of USGS data, elaborated by Territorial Agency.

Space Race

The vast experiments undertaken to observe the geological workings of the Earth were mirrored in the Space Race: Americans and Soviets were simultaneously trying to reach the minerals of the Moon and the deepest points on Earth. While it was the USA that first touched ground on the Moon, the Kola Superdeep Borehole outpaced the American attempts to reach deep down into the Earth’s crust and the high-technology involved allowed for a striking series of scientific accomplishments.

The north-eastern extension of the Baltic Shield – the Kola Peninsula was the Cold War border, the point where the Iron Curtain and the Early Warning System for intercontinental ballistic missiles scanning the Arctic met. It was a territory marked by escalation strategies and second-strike retaliation analysis.

A border divided in military, economic and political terms, yet linked by a common rationale based on calculus, simulation and the closed system of scientific technological development.

Control room, Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Control room, Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Ivanovic Vladimir Khmelinsky, private archive.

Preparation of equipment for inclinometer (measurement of bore- hole inclination/deviation), 1980s. Courtesy Murmansk Regional Museum.

Preparation of equipment for inclinometer (measurement of bore- hole inclination/deviation), 1980s. Courtesy Murmansk Regional Museum.

Geophysical Laboratory at Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Murmansk Regional Museum.

Geophysical Laboratory at Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Murmansk Regional Museum.

Earth Observation

Add Content hereThe coevolution of the Space Race and the quest to reach the deepest point of the planet traces a vertical space of measurement, sensing and modelling. It is a space operated through a ‘vast machine’ of sensors and computers of climate change science and integrated system analysis.

Remote sensing satellites orbit the planet and record the intensity of radiation reflected by the atmosphere and the surface of land, ice, and oceans, measuring stations are scattered on the waters of the oceans, seismic surveying stations are deployed across the globe. Information about physical, chemical and biological systems is measured by remote sensors and collected, stored, distributed and analysed.

Earth Observation systems form a vast global archive of data used to assess, monitor and intervene into the dynamics and transformation of the planet. The Earth System, they contribute to analyse, is shaped by the algorithmic procedures of modelling as much as by the technological frameworks of measurement and surveying.

Chief Geologist M.G. Rusanov (sitting) at the Geological Depart- ment, Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Murmansk Regional Museum.

Chief Geologist M.G. Rusanov (sitting) at the Geological Depart- ment, Kola SG-3, 1980s. Courtesy Murmansk Regional Museum.

Stratigraphic Evidence

The National Geological Repository at Keyworth in England operates one of the largest scientific resources on geology. Part of the British Geological Survey, it forms one of the largest collections of borehole cores, cuttings, samples, specimens and subsurface information from the landmass and the continental shelf of the UK.

It originates in the Museum of Economic Geology, and its follower the Museum of Practical Geology, enterprises set up to link the rising industrial revolution in Britain with the development of scientific knowledge and new forms of government and imperial sovereignty.

Today, many members of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Stratigraphic Commission, operating at the repository, inquire into the material forms and traces of human actions. They investigate the afterlives, the unequal durations, ages and rhythms of the industrial attempts to form direct connections between scientific knowledge and an intensified nature.

Museum of Practical Geology, London in 1851. Courtesy British Geological Survey Archives.

Museum of Practical Geology, London in 1851. Courtesy British Geological Survey Archives.

FS_Geoforensics_2_test

Atacama

ATACAMA

The case is located at the Atacama Desert in Chile in which the relation between nature and politics is reconfigured by resource extraction. Working together with local NGOs, the project has provided material and spatial evidence in support of indigenous communities of the Loa basin whose means of subsistence has been destroyed by copper mining. Dispossessed of water and suffering from increasing environmental contamination, these communities are slowly disappearing in the wake of ever-expanding mineral extraction. As a close study of Chuquicamata—the largest open pit copper mine in the world and a symbol of deposed president Salvador Allende’s nationalization project—the project attempts to demonstrate how resource extraction is key to understanding the long history of violence to which local peoples have been exposed. Utilizing a range of remote sensing technologies has turned the surface of the desert into a register of past and present forms of violence. The project registered the way in which the quest to exploit underground resources has led to the destruction of both environments and people.

Researcher

Godofredo Pereira

In partnership with

Alonso Barros (Lawyer)

Copper

The history of the Atacama has been characterized by different cycles of mineral extraction, particularly nitrate and copper. The control of nitrate, exploited from the nineteenth century onwards, was one of the reasons for the Pacific War of 1879–83 in which Chile occupied the Atacama Desert, annexing the territory from Bolivia and Peru. It also led to the civil war that in 1891 saw President Balmaceda committing suicide after failing to nationalize the nation’s resources. The nationalization of copper mines was the economic basis for Salvador Allende’s plans to make Chile economically independent. It was therefore one of the reasons for the coup that would topple his democratically elected government in 1973 and lead to his own suicide. In contrast to the image of a perpetual El Dorado, the race for resources in the Atacama, from guano to nitrate, from copper to lithium, resulted in environmental contamination and in the dispossession of indigenous peoples.

“Chile Uses Nitrate to ‘Buy American.’” 1946 color print advertisement for the National City Bank of New York.

“Chile Uses Nitrate to ‘Buy American.’” 1946 color print advertisement for the National City Bank of New York.

Photo of Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro visiting Chuquicamata copper mine. He would later compare the mine to the pyramids in Egypt. November 14, 1971.

Photo of Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro visiting Chuquicamata copper mine. He would later compare the mine to the pyramids in Egypt. November 14, 1971.

Footage of Chuquicamata copper mine and the indigenous villages of San Francisco de Chiu Chiu and Quillagua, which have been affected by water shortages, vegetation decrease, and environmental contamination due to mining operations.
Extracts from the Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile, 1971. Approved in the first year of Salvador Allende’s presidency, this constitutional reform allowed for the nationalization of Chile’s copper resources.

Extracts from the Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile, 1971. Approved in the first year of Salvador Allende’s presidency, this constitutional reform allowed for the nationalization of Chile’s copper resources.

The urbanization of the Atacama Desert by mining. Image: Godofredo Pereira.

The urbanization of the Atacama Desert by mining.
Image: Godofredo Pereira.

Bones

With close to zero humidity, the Atacama is one of the most arid places in the world, where human remains can be preserved for thousands of years. But despite its vast archeological findings from the pre-Hispanic era, the presence of bones in the Atacama is also the result of a more recent history of violence. After the 1973 coup d’état, a military group commanded by Arellano Stark was ordered by General Pinochet to embark on a tour around the country “expediting” judicial processes. The result of this “caravan of death” was multiple mass graves, many of them in the Atacama, filled with the bodies of political detainees. Their discovery is made all the more difficult by military operations in the area where these remains were exhumed, meaning that bodies had been blown up, scattered around the desert, or thrown into the sea. Forensic sciences have been able to identify some of the victims based on small bone fragments, but most of the disappeared are still uncounted for.

Coup d’état, September, 11, 1973. From: Ciencia, Justicia, Verdad, Memoria, a publication by Agrupación de Familiares de Los Detenidos Ejecutados y Desaparecidos de La Moneda and Museo de La Memoria y Los Derechos Humanos. August 2012.

Coup d’état, September, 11, 1973. From: Ciencia, Justicia, Verdad, Memoria, a publication by Agrupación de Familiares de Los Detenidos Ejecutados y Desaparecidos de La Moneda and Museo de La Memoria y Los Derechos Humanos. August 2012.

Declassified memorandum Genesis of Project FUBELT, September 16, 1970. Also known as Track II, FUBELT consisted of US funding and support to prevent Salvador Allende from being elected president of Chile and was later used to aid the coup on September 11, 1971 by military forces under the command of Pinochet.

Declassified memorandum Genesis of Project FUBELT, September 16, 1970. Also known as Track II, FUBELT consisted of US funding and support to prevent Salvador Allende from being elected president of Chile and was later used to aid the coup on September 11, 1971 by military forces under the command of Pinochet.

Report by the Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation. Established after the return to democracy in 1991, this commission focused on human rights violations during the years of Pinochet’s military regime. Translation by United States Institute of Peace.

Report by the Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation. Established after the return to democracy in 1991, this commission focused on human rights violations during the years of Pinochet’s military regime.
Translation by United States Institute of Peace.

Interview with Dr. Patricio Bustos, director of Chile’s medico-legal service (SML), on the exhumation of President Salvador Allende and the search for disappeared detainees. March 2013.
Multispectral image from 2013 focusing on an area 5 km south of Calama where marks resemble a 2 km-long curved dagger, the infamous corvo characteristically used by the Chilean military to slit the throat of foreign enemies. © 2013 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All Rights Reserved. False color composite: Godofredo Pereira.

Multispectral image from 2013 focusing on an area 5 km south of Calama where marks resemble a 2 km-long curved dagger, the infamous corvo characteristically used by the Chilean military to slit the throat of foreign enemies.
© 2013 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All Rights Reserved. False color composite: Godofredo Pereira.

Declassified cable on Operation Condor, FBI, September 28, 1976. Operation Condor consisted of a joint intelligence operation between the South American military dictatorships of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolívia, Paraguay, and Uruguay and was supported by US intelligence.

Declassified cable on Operation Condor, FBI, September 28, 1976. Operation Condor consisted of a joint intelligence operation between the South American military dictatorships of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolívia, Paraguay, and Uruguay and was supported by US intelligence.

Microsoft Word - Chile90-Report.doc

Report by the Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation. Translation by United States Institute of Peace.

Arsenic

As a transversal agent of contamination, arsenic foregrounds both the potentials and the perils inherent to exploiting the Earth’s resources. As a by-product of copper mining, arsenic reflects the immense wealth that lies beneath the ground in the Atacama. But the urbanization of the desert by mining has brought entire populations into a volcanic environment whose waters are naturally contaminated. Moreover, its continuous release into the air, water, and soils has affected not only those in the vicinity of Chuquicamata copper mine but also populations affected by emissions from smelter operations throughout Chile.

Map of environmental contamination sources in the area of Chuquicamata and San Francisco de Chiu Chiu.  Godofredo Pereira, 2013.

Map of environmental contamination sources in the area of Chuquicamata and San Francisco de Chiu Chiu.
Godofredo Pereira, 2013.

Extracts from the report on the expansion of the Talabre tailings pond by Alonso Barros and Godofredo Pereira, Atacama Desert Project, Forensic Architecture, September 2013. Presented by the community of San Francisco de Chiu Chiu during the process of indigenous consultation on the Chilean national copper corporation Codelco’s mining expansion project RT Sulfuros.

Extracts from the report on the expansion of the Talabre tailings pond by Alonso Barros and Godofredo Pereira, Atacama Desert Project, Forensic Architecture, September 2013. Presented by the community of San Francisco de Chiu Chiu during the process of indigenous consultation on the Chilean national copper corporation Codelco’s mining expansion project RT Sulfuros.

Expansion of the Talabre tailings pond (measuring sixty-five square kilometers), where liquid waste resulting from the processing of Chuquicamata’s copper is deposited. Photo: Godofredo Pereira, September 2013.

Expansion of the Talabre tailings pond (measuring sixty-five square kilometers), where liquid waste resulting from the processing of Chuquicamata’s copper is deposited.
Photo: Godofredo Pereira, September 2013.

Expansion of the Talabre tailings pond (measuring sixty-five square kilometers), where liquid waste resulting from the processing of Chuquicamata’s copper is deposited. Photo: Godofredo Pereira, September 2013.

Expansion of the Talabre tailings pond. Photo: Godofredo Pereira, September 2013.

Extracts from the report on the expansion of the Talabre tailings pond by Alonso Barros and Godofredo Pereira, Atacama Desert Project, Forensic Architecture, September 2013. Presented by the community of San Francisco de Chiu Chiu during the process of indigenous consultation on the Chilean national copper corporation Codelco’s mining expansion project RT Sulfuros.

Extracts from the report on the expansion of the Talabre tailings pond by Alonso Barros and Godofredo Pereira, Atacama Desert Project, Forensic Architecture, September 2013. Presented by the community of San Francisco de Chiu Chiu during the process of indigenous consultation on the Chilean national copper corporation Codelco’s mining expansion project RT Sulfuros.

Water

Mining operations require water for mineral processing, dust suppression, and drinking. Implemented during the military dictatorship, the 1981 Water Code separated the ownership of water from the ownership of land, allowing it to be freely bought and sold with little regard for the adverse effects upon the surrounding environment. The use of water for mining purposes enhanced its scarcity, making the lives of indigenous communities unsustainable and resulting in a drastic population decrease in proximity to the mines. As a vital resource for indigenous communities and mining operations, in the Atacama region water has become simultaneously a central object of conflict and the very means by which conflict takes place.

Abandoned village in Quebrada de Mani, downstream from Quebrada Blanca copper mine, Pozo Almonte. Photo: Gonzalo Pimentel, 2013.

Abandoned village in Quebrada de Mani, downstream from Quebrada Blanca copper mine, Pozo Almonte.
Photo: Gonzalo Pimentel, 2013.

Abandoned village in Quebrada de Mani, downstream from Quebrada Blanca copper mine, Pozo Almonte. Photo: Gonzalo Pimentel, 2013.

Abandoned village in Quebrada de Mani, downstream from Quebrada Blanca copper mine, Pozo Almonte.
Photo: Gonzalo Pimentel, 2013.

NDVI analysis by Jim Norton (GISCorps) indicating a clear decrease in vegetation over the last forty years. Atacama Desert Project, July 2013.

NDVI analysis by Jim Norton (GISCorps) indicating a clear decrease in vegetation over the last forty years.
Atacama Desert Project, July 2013.

Abandoned village in Quebrada de Mani, downstream from Quebrada Blanca copper mine, Pozo Almonte. Photo: Gonzalo Pimentel, 2013.

Abandoned village in Quebrada de Mani, downstream from Quebrada Blanca copper mine, Pozo Almonte.
Photo: Gonzalo Pimentel, 2013.

Abandoned village in Quebrada de Mani, downstream from Quebrada Blanca copper mine, Pozo Almonte. Photo: Gonzalo Pimentel, 2013.

Abandoned village in Quebrada de Mani, downstream from Quebrada Blanca copper mine, Pozo Almonte.
Photo: Gonzalo Pimentel, 2013.

FS_P15 File Kivalina_kvl_01

Kivalina

KIVALINA

Kivalina is an Iñupiaq village of 400 people situated on a barrier island in the Arctic, on the northwest coast of Alaska. In recent years global warming has been postponing the formation of sea ice, exposing the shore to autumnal sea storms and thus placing the existence of Kivalina increasingly under threat. The lack of basic infrastructure, compounded by erosion and flooding, have pushed the village to seek relocation.

In 2006 Kivalina sued the twenty-four largest oil and gas corporations, maintaining that they should be held accountable for the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore contribute to relocation costs. Following the failure of the legal forum to address Kivalina’s claims and the standstill of governmental relocation attempts, the Modelling Kivalina group traveled to Alaska to conduct a series of interviews with village residents, scientists, and political representatives.

Researchers

Modelling Kivalina:

  • Andrea Bagnato
  • Daniel Fernández Pascual
  • Helene Kazan
  • Hannah Meszaros Martin
  • Alon Schwabe

Collaborating Organisation

"Kivalina, "the Coming Storm" - Video documentary

Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation et al. Opinion by Judge Sidney R. Thomas, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in which Kivalina’s appeal is rejected.

Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation et al.
Opinion by Judge Sidney R. Thomas, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in which Kivalina’s appeal is rejected.

Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation et al. Opinion by Judge Sidney R. Thomas.

Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation et al.
Opinion by Judge Sidney R. Thomas.

Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation et al. Opinion by Judge Sidney R. Thomas.

Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation et al.
Opinion by Judge Sidney R. Thomas.

Oral argument at the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit San Francisco, November 28, 2011
Excerpts:

[1:18] “This case presents the question of whether a federally recognized Native American tribe and Alaskan municipality may proceed past the pleading stage with their damages lawsuit—a lawsuit seeking damages from defendants for their significant emissions of greenhouse gases and for the conspiratorial actions of some of those same defendants whom we allege engaged in agreement to continue their tortious conduct. There is a fundamental principle of public nuisance law that underlies this case, and it is essential to resolving the questions of displacement—a political question—and that principle is that when you sue in public nuisance for a damages case, particularly one seeking damages for severe harm, you don’t need to engage in a balancing of the utility of the defendants’ conduct against the harm to the plaintiff.” Matt Pawa, plaintiff attorney for the native village of Kivalina.

[12:10] “State Courts […] that have been hearing cases of severe harm, like the Wisconsin Court hearing the Jost case or Emerald Mines in the North Carolina case, have found that when you have a plaintiff whose property is being severely harmed by the defendant, the pollution and the conduct is not a license to harm even though under balancing test you might let it continue. But it is unreasonable not to compensate the plaintiff and the plaintiff here is being completely wiped out, and under that law it is very clear that the plaintiff need not demonstrate that the value of Kivalina is greater than the value of fossil fuels. I mean, I think it is clear it’s not.” Matt Pawa, plaintiff attorney for the native village of Kivalina.

[35:30] “The problem here is not that they pleaded too little but they pleaded too much. I mean, their allegations are quite candid as to what it is that they are doing here. They don’t say that they can in fact do any kind of retraceability, they say it all gets filtered through a globally mediated system that mixes everything together and eliminates traceability, and then injuries pop out on the other side. So when you’ve made that kind of an allegation, everything else that we’ve argued legally flows from that, and it’s not so much an issue that they didn’t plead enough facts. And that’s why a leave to amend would have been futile in this case.” Daniel Collins (Munger, Tolles, & Olson), defendants’ attorney.

FS_P13 _NATO_e

NATO as Architectural Critic

NATO AS ARCHITECTURAL CRITIC

“NATO as Architectural Critic” is a videotaped conversation about the NATO bombings of Belgrade in the spring of 1999 and its forensic dimensions vis-à-vis architecture and urbanism. Four particular targets, all in Belgrade, are addressed in this video: the Yugoslav Army headquarters; the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party; the headquarters of Radio Television Serbia (RTS); and the Chinese Embassy.

The records used in this video conversation include news articles, legal documents, video clips, architectural drawings, websites, texts, and visual simulations. The objective in this visual investigation is to examine the role of a perpetrator as a cultural critic of the aesthetics of the space of the perpetrated in the process of choosing the targets. It points to the methods used by perpetrators such as the “proportionality principle,” which calculates the legitimate collateral damage committed in strikes. The aesthetics in this video are perceived as a fluid, malleable, susceptible, and yet persistent process illustrating an elastic relationship with international law.

Researcher

Srdjan Jovanović Weiss

"NATO as Architectural Critic" – Video

Newspaper Reporting

During the 1999 NATO bombing of Belgrade, the media⎯ which was under the control of the collapsing socialist state of former Yugoslavia⎯found itself in a real conundrum when faced with the actual threat of bombing: whether to continue media operations and risk the lives of its staff, or simply turn a blind eye. On Monday, April 5, 1999, a daily newspaper from Novi Sad called Dnevnik published an article translating as “Dangerous criminal claws of USA,” with a subtitle “Socialists of Priština warn European public.”

Politika Daily extended its reporting on the bombing on April 26, 1999 with several articles, one of which could be roughly translated as “First time in the history of war since the invention of television: television headquarters deliberately destroyed.” On the same date Politika Daily also ran an article commenting on the strategy for NATO’s “Merciful Angel” operation against Yugoslavia. The editors of Politika Daily were quick to counter the “Merciful Angel” branding of the military operation with a Serbian medieval icon: the “White Angel,” a medieval fresco at the Mileševo monastery. It was the “merciful” against the “white.” The “merciful” angel prevailed.

Spread from Politika Daily, April 5, 1999.

Spread from Politika Daily, April 5, 1999.

Spread from Politika Daily, April 26, 1999, with continuing coverage of NATO bombing of Serbian broadcasting company RTS.

Spread from Politika Daily, April 26, 1999, with continuing coverage of NATO bombing of Serbian broadcasting company RTS.

FS_P0_Nestler_2a Nanex_W&R-1s

Financial Forensics

FINANCIAL FORENSICS

The Flash Crash of May 6, 2010 was the biggest one-day market decline in history. It saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunge by about 1,000 points—9 percent of its total value—only to recover these losses within minutes. A forensic investigation of this financial event conducted by the data analyst Nanex revealed that, in contrast to claims by US authorities, which put the blame on human trading, it was in fact trade orders executed automatically by algorithms that caused the crash. Nanex noticed evidence of market activity at fractions of milliseconds by analyzing the Flash Crash at a time resolution far quicker than conventional data records, which usually show one-minute trading intervals. Computer-based high-frequency trading is beyond the capacity of human experience or action. In order to support their claim, Nanex used otherwise secret trading data provided by Waddell & Reed, the mutual fund blamed for the crash. Here the traditional role of the expert witness is replaced by a collaboration between the forensic analyst and the renegade company, which joined forces to provide information in contravention of the industry’s unwritten law of secrecy.

Researcher

Gerald Nestler

 


Countering Capitulation

Countering Capitulation engages with the inquiries following the Flash Crash of May 6, 2010, an event that went down as the biggest one-day market decline in history. Focusing on a remarkable forensic analysis that not only contradicted the official findings of the regulatory authorities but also shed light on the impact of high frequency trading, Nestler argues that in the current legal framework, evidence of financial market events can only be produced by having two individuals share the role of expert witness: the forensic analyst joined by a renegade whistleblower. The video concludes with a call for renegade solidarity between the forensic analyst, the whistleblower, and the general public as the basis for an informed political debate on the effects of algorithmic trading, not just on financial markets but on society at large.

Both charts show E-mini S&P 500 index depth and cumulative Waddell & Reed contracts sold. Nanex’s findings contradict the official report issued by the SEC (the US Securities and Exchange Commission) and the CFTC (the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission) as regards the catalyst of the Flash Crash by showing that the bulk of trades by the mutual fund Waddell & Reed “occurred after the market bottomed and was rocketing higher—a point in time that the SEC report tells us the market was out of liquidity.”  Quoted from: May 6th 2010 Flash Crash Analyses: Continuing Developments: Sell Algo Trades, Nanex, October 8, 2010, http://www.nanex.net/FlashCrashFinal/FlashCrashAnalysis_WR_Update.html. Images: © Nanex, LLC.

Both charts show E-mini S&P 500 index depth and cumulative Waddell & Reed contracts sold. Nanex’s findings contradict the official report issued by the SEC (the US Securities and Exchange Commission) and the CFTC (the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission) as regards the catalyst of the Flash Crash by showing that the bulk of trades by the mutual fund Waddell & Reed “occurred after the market bottomed and was rocketing higher—a point in time that the SEC report tells us the market was out of liquidity.” Quoted from: May 6th 2010 Flash Crash Analyses: Continuing Developments: Sell Algo Trades, Nanex, October 8, 2010, http://www.nanex.net/FlashCrashFinal/FlashCrashAnalysis_WR_Update.html.
Images: © Nanex, LLC.

E-mini S&P 500 index depth and cumulative Waddell & Reed contracts sold. Images: © Nanex, LLC.

E-mini S&P 500 index depth and cumulative Waddell & Reed contracts sold. Images: © Nanex, LLC.

Nanex Flash Crash Summary Report, Nanex, September 27, 2010. This timeline graph distinguishes “the events that caused the crash from those that were effects of the crash. The main chart covers from 14:42:30 to 14:52:00 in 1 second intervals, and the inset covers from 14:42:43 to 14:42:46 in 25ms intervals.” Image © Nanex, LLC.

Nanex Flash Crash Summary Report, Nanex, September 27, 2010. This timeline graph distinguishes “the events that caused the crash from those that were effects of the crash. The main chart covers from 14:42:30 to 14:52:00 in 1 second intervals, and the inset covers from 14:42:43 to 14:42:46 in 25ms intervals.” Image © Nanex, LLC.

These charts by Nanex show the growth of high frequency quoting (left) and high frequency trading (right) 2008–2012. Nanex estimate that algorithmic trading accounts for 70% of trades and 99,9% of quotes. Hence, algorithmic trading constitutes market liquidity. The obvious conclusion: algorithmic trading machines have taken over. Images © Nanex, LLC.

This chart by Nanex shows the growth of high frequency quoting, 2008–2012. Nanex estimates that algorithmic trading accounts for 70% of trades and 99,9% of quotes. Hence, algorithmic trading constitutes market liquidity. The obvious conclusion: algorithmic trading machines have taken over.
Images © Nanex, LLC.

These charts by Nanex show the growth of high frequency quoting (left) and high frequency trading (right) 2008–2012. Nanex estimate that algorithmic trading accounts for 70% of trades and 99,9% of quotes. Hence, algorithmic trading constitutes market liquidity. The obvious conclusion: algorithmic trading machines have taken over. Images © Nanex, LLC.

This chart by Nanex shows the growth of high frequency trading, 2008–2012. Images © Nanex, LLC.

FS_P10_18_1

Arsenic

ARSENIC

This project follows arsenic—one of the deadliest earth poisons, whose identification was most crucial to the formation of the forensic science of toxicology—in order to explore complex entanglements of natural and human violence. Case studies range from murder trials in Victorian England to environmental poisonings in Bangladesh and West Papua. The project claims that in contemporary times the entanglement of natural and political violence is so extreme that forensic investigations must look at complex and diffused structures of causality. It is in response to these entangled causalities, involving human and nonhuman actors alike, that the legal forums of the future must emerge.

Researcher

Nabil Ahmed

Prologue

The cyclone captured in the iconic “Blue Marble” image taken by the crew on the Apollo mission in November 1972 came to stand for the entanglement between natural and political violence in Bangladesh’s war of national liberation, Nasa’s Landsat satellite program, the launch of the Green revolution as a neocolonial system of agriculture around the world, as well as a record of how cyclones can return as affect.

Bhola cyclone

The Bhola cyclone plays a major role in the modern history of Bangladesh. It was one of the worst natural disasters recorded in human history. In November 12, 1970, it devastated Bangladesh’s coastal zones and killed, according to some estimates, half a million people. Trying to subdue separatist sentiments, the ruling government in West Pakistan mishandled the relief effort and on March 24, 1971 launched a military offensive on Bengali civilians that escalated into what is called the Mukti Judho (War of National Liberation) in Bangladesh. The military and its collaborators were later accused of the genocide of three million people, a violence that still haunts the nation today.

Although the war and genocide remain central to the political imagination of every Bangladeshi, the role of the cyclone remains largely unknown. More than just catalyzing the sequence of events that led to the birth of the Bangladeshi state, the cyclone and genocide led to the reconceptualization of the tool of contemporary humanitarianism. It saw two new types of response that are still with us: on the one hand the humanitarian rock concert, and on the other, military intervention propounded as a means to stop genocide.

Satellite image of the cyclone before it made landfall, taken by the ITOS 1 satellite on November 11, 1970.

Satellite image of the cyclone before it made landfall, taken by the ITOS 1 satellite on November 11, 1970.

A cyclone shelter in Cox’s Bazaar, Chittagong and a radio operator of the Cyclone Preparedness Program. The coastline is dotted with these shelters, representing humanitarian architecture in the battle against a deadly planet Earth. Image: Nabil Ahmed, 2013.

A cyclone shelter in Cox’s Bazaar, Chittagong and a radio operator of the Cyclone Preparedness Program. The coastline is dotted with these shelters, representing humanitarian architecture in the battle against a deadly planet Earth.
Image: Nabil Ahmed, 2013.

Interview with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1971 calling for a military intervention on humanitarian grounds in support of Bangladesh. India entered the conflict on December 3, 1971. BBC, 1971.

There was immense destruction of physical infrastructure in Bangladesh in 1972 following the war of independence. The same year saw the launch of a new land survey satellite, LANDSAT 1, for the acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. One of its first applications was to rationalize the Green Revolution by reading land cover changes for crop and water management. Aimed at solving the world’s food shortage, this was a US-led global agricultural program that the Americans hoped would pacify the planet’s poor and prevent uprisings.

The hands of Dr. Hasan holding a recently exhumed skull from a mass grave in Dhaka. Dr. Hasan is the convener of the Bangladesh War Crimes Fact Finding Committee who led the only forensic investigation into the mass killings. In the accompanying interview conducted in Dhaka in June 2012, Dr. Hasan described his practice as a forensic investigator. His investigations were crucial in producing the list of those accused in the war crimes trials that are currently taking place in Bangladesh. Photo: courtesy of Dr. M. A. Hassan

The hands of Dr. Hasan holding a recently exhumed skull from a mass grave in Dhaka. Dr. Hasan is the convener of the Bangladesh War Crimes Fact Finding Committee who led the only forensic investigation into the mass killings. In the accompanying interview conducted in Dhaka in June 2012, Dr. Hasan described his practice as a forensic investigator. His investigations were crucial in producing the list of those accused in the war crimes trials that are currently taking place in Bangladesh.
Photo: courtesy of Dr. M. A. Hassan

Yahya Khan, the president of Pakistan who would order the killing of a civilian population of ethnic Bengalis four months after this photo was taken, surveying the devastation of the Bhola cyclone from his helicopter on November 15, 1970. Daily Purbodesh. National Archive of Bangladesh. Image: Nabil Ahmed, 2013.

Yahya Khan, the president of Pakistan who would order the killing of a civilian population of ethnic Bengalis four months after this photo was taken, surveying the devastation of the Bhola cyclone from his helicopter on November 15, 1970.
Daily Purbodesh. National Archive of Bangladesh. Image: Nabil Ahmed, 2013.

Freedom fighters led a guerilla war for independence until hostilities ceased on December 16, 1971, when the Pakistani military command surrendered to the allied forces.
Animation of arsenic contamination at a territorial scale showing spatial variability in arsenic concentration from <0.25 μg to 1660 μg. The highest arsenic concentrations are shown to be in the alluvial and deltaic sediments.

 

Arsenic

Arsenic is the perfect poison because the traces it leaves behind are hard to detect. Complicating the matter was the fact that in Victorian times, it was present in a domestic setting, especially in wallpaper and paint. The toxic Victorian house has metaphorically and literally anticipated the large-scale environmental contaminations of the present.

Medical jurisprudence, forensic medicine and toxicology

The Marsh test apparatus was developed by the chemist James Marsh in 1836 to detect arsenic traces that provided the first applications of forensic toxicology used as evidence in court. These nineteenth century toxicological drawings and microscopic images show some of the processes of visualizing the geology of an invisible killer inside the human body. Environmental geologists later used forensic apparatus such as the Marsh Test as models for developing tests to detect arsenic in the soil and earth. Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Reproduction of lithographic plates and illustrations. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, 1877 and 1893. Legal Medicine and Toxicology, 1909.

Earth poison

In 1972, Bangladesh emerged as a new state after the cyclone and national war of liberation. Following the war, UNICEF, inspired by the Green Revolution, undertook a major public health engineering project that aimed to provide safe drinking water by drilling millions of hand pumps. Over subsequent years, constructing private tube wells became normative practice. Although considered a major success, it exposed a significant part of the population to ground water aquifers (underground layers of permeable rock, sediment, or soil that yield water) rich in arsenic. Several decades on, the gradual environmental damage continues to have an impact upon populations in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. The same state and humanitarian players implicated in causing this damage are now charged with dealing with its consequences. Binod Sutradhar was the lead claimant in Sudtradhar v. NERC, the only legal case brought against the British Geological Survey and the National Environmental Research Council by a group of NGOs and lawyers who were seeking redress for the victims of arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh. They attempted to sue for negligence in failing to test for arsenic in Sutradhar’s well water in 1992. The BGS technical report was used by the state to draw up a national water policy that did not include arsenic testing.

P10_14 b_image_update

Seven water samples and their arsenic concentration taken from the area surrounding Binod Sutradhar’s house in Ramrail village, Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh in July 2013. The water samples are the main focus for a set of interviews conducted with the activists and lawyers who led the case, Sharmeen Murshid of non-governmental organization Brotee and Shubhaa Srinivasan of law firm Leigh Day.

Seven water samples and their arsenic concentration taken from the area surrounding Binod Sutradhar’s house in Ramrail village, Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh in July 2013. The water samples are the main focus for a set of interviews conducted with the activists and lawyers who led the case, Sharmeen Murshid of non-governmental organization Brotee and Shubhaa Srinivasan of law firm Leigh Day.

The Grasberg Mine

Arsenic is a main by-product of copper mining. One of the most devastating contemporary examples of territorial arsenic-related environmental poisoning is from the Grasberg mine. Containing the world’s largest gold and copper reserves, it is located high in the mountains of West Papua, a troubled province of Indonesia with an ongoing indigenous independence movement. The mine is at the heart of the ancestral land of the Amungme and the Komoro, two of the many ethnically Melanesian indigenous peoples that make up Papua. Freeport PT Indonesia, a subsidiary of the US mining company Freeport McMoRan, began a large-scale mining project in West Papua while Papuan territory was still the subject of dispute with the Dutch in the 1960s. Handed over several years before the so-called 1969 “Act of Free Choice,” the Freeport Grasberg mine came to both symbolize and act as a site of conflict for the annexation of indigenous territories. Using remote sensing technologies, the project seeks to unpack the complex processes of territorial poisoning emanating from the Grasberg mine.

The ruins of Devon Great Consols copper mine in Tavistock, Devon. Once the richest copper mine in Europe, between 1844 and 1903 the mine produced half of the world’s arsenic. Arsenic was widely used in Victorian Britain and throughout the world in textile industries, domestic environments, and agriculture.

The ruins of Devon Great Consols copper mine in Tavistock, Devon. Once the richest copper mine in Europe, between 1844 and 1903 the mine produced half of the world’s arsenic. Arsenic was widely used in Victorian Britain and throughout the world in textile industries, domestic environments, and agriculture.

The Grasberg mine, at 4,100 m above sea level, is the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine on Earth.

The Grasberg mine, at 4,100 m above sea level, is the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine on Earth.

Grasberg Mine

Grasberg Mine

P10_18 outline map

UNTEA symbol overprinted on existing Dutch New Guinea stamps, 1962.

UNTEA symbol overprinted on existing Dutch New Guinea stamps, 1962.

UNTEA symbol overprinted on existing Dutch New Guinea stamps, 1962.

UNTEA symbol overprinted on existing Dutch New Guinea stamps, 1962.

Time magazine, July 15, 1966. After an anti-communist purge that killed more than 500,000 people and led to the overthrow of Sukarno, the founding president of the Indonesian Republic, General Suharto came to power and established the “New Order” (in Indonesian the Orde Baru). Under the New Order economic policy of attracting foreign investment formulated by the “Berkeley Mafia,” a group of Indonesian economists trained at the University of Berkeley, the natural resources sector was the first to open up, and the first company to sign a contract of work with Indonesia was Freeport McMoRan.

Time magazine, July 15, 1966. After an anti-communist purge that killed more than 500,000 people and led to the overthrow of Sukarno, the founding president of the Indonesian Republic, General Suharto came to power and established the “New Order” (in Indonesian the Orde Baru). Under the New Order economic policy of attracting foreign investment formulated by the “Berkeley Mafia,” a group of Indonesian economists trained at the University of Berkeley, the natural resources sector was the first to open up, and the first company to sign a contract of work with Indonesia was Freeport McMoRan.

Grasberg Mine

Grasberg Mine

The violence of mine tailing from the Grasberg mine in the Timika region, West Papua, Indonesia. This LANDSAT 8 false color composite display shows how an area of 293,000 hectares, including the Otomina and Ajkwa rivers, which spill into the Arafura Sea, is used as a geotechnical system for tailing deposition. The journey of the toxic waste begins at over 4,000 m above sea level and leads down to the lowland estuaries, crossing eight different ecologies over a distance of 100 km. Over 200,000 metric tons of tailings flow through the river per day into this area, containing highly toxic arsenic, copper, cadmium, and selenium. The image shows the urbanization and militarization of the forest and mining area, as well as tropical and mangrove deforestation.

The violence of mine tailing from the Grasberg mine in the Timika region, West Papua, Indonesia. This LANDSAT 8 false color composite display shows how an area of 293,000 hectares, including the Otomina and Ajkwa rivers, which spill into the Arafura Sea, is used as a geotechnical system for tailing deposition. The journey of the toxic waste begins at over 4,000 m above sea level and leads down to the lowland estuaries, crossing eight different ecologies over a distance of 100 km. Over 200,000 metric tons of tailings flow through the river per day into this area, containing highly toxic arsenic, copper, cadmium, and selenium. The image shows the urbanization and militarization of the forest and mining area, as well as tropical and mangrove deforestation.

In 1962 West Irian was declared the first UN protectorate, in order to appease a territorial dispute between the Dutch Government and its former colony, the newly formed Republic of Indonesia. The UNTEA (United Nations Temporary Executive Authority) sent a peacekeeping force of 1,500 Pakistani troops. These very soldiers later fought in the war against Bengali nationalists and India in 1971. Pakistani soldiers guard a radio tower in Hollandia (present-day Jayapura). Photo: UN, 1962.

In 1962 West Irian was declared the first UN protectorate, in order to appease a territorial dispute between the Dutch Government and its former colony, the newly formed Republic of Indonesia. The UNTEA (United Nations Temporary Executive Authority) sent a peacekeeping force of 1,500 Pakistani troops. These very soldiers later fought in the war against Bengali nationalists and India in 1971. Pakistani soldiers guard a radio tower in Hollandia (present-day Jayapura). Photo: UN, 1962.

Pakistani UN Force on West Irian stamp, printed in three languages: English, Urdu, and Bengali.

Pakistani UN Force on West Irian stamp, printed in three languages: English, Urdu, and Bengali.

UN Resolution 2504 (XXIV) adopted by the General Assembly during its twenty-fourth session in 1969 outlining the agreement between the Republic of Indonesia and the Netherlands concerning West New Guinea (West Irian). The UN resolution notes the “Act of Free Choice” in 1969 when selected Papuan indigenous leaders were coerced to vote in favor of joining Indonesia in a display staged for UN observers.

UN Resolution 2504 (XXIV) adopted by the General Assembly during its twenty-fourth session in 1969 outlining the agreement between the Republic of Indonesia and the Netherlands concerning West New Guinea (West Irian). The UN resolution notes the “Act of Free Choice” in 1969 when selected Papuan indigenous leaders were coerced to vote in favor of joining Indonesia in a display staged for UN observers.

In the Stomach of the Dragon, Survival International and Small World Productions. Shot undercover and in secret inside West Papua in the 1990s, this film exposes atrocities committed by the Indonesian military against the Amungme and documents the environmental impact of the Grasberg copper and gold mine. Courtesy of Small World Productions.

FS_Di-Aping Press Conference 01

Climate Crimes

CLIMATE CRIMES

Two accusations of genocide in the Sahel: The first issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2008 regarding war crimes in Sudan; the second issued 2009 by the Sudanese diplomat Lumumba Di-Aping directed at the world’s developed nations. The first favors the West. The second deflects and returns the claim and thereby it raises the specter of a new form of violence. This work tests what it would take to support Di-Aping’s claim and in doing so raises a number of questions about the violence wrought by climate change, especially the forums in which it is debated and eventually legitimized.

What will be the role of forensic climatology in reconnecting the causes of environmental violence with their effects? And what will be the political consequences? Drawing on recent scientific research that shows a correlation between aerosol emission in the northern hemisphere and desertification in the Sahel, this project makes visible a new geopolitical cartography that ties together distant fates, linking industrialization in the North to deprivation in the South. In this way, it demonstrates that Di-Aping’s claim is a legitimate one.

Researcher

Adrian Lahoud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Case for Di-Aping

In 2009, a new era of violence was announced. Climate forums like the COP are part of an attempt by the world’s most developed nations to legitimize the colonization of the sky, inaugurating a new age of economic warfare waged through the atmosphere and against some of the most vulnerable people on Earth. Here, two videos and two documents are brought together in order to raise a series of questions about anthropocenic violence and the forums that legitimize it. Drawing on recent scientific research that shows a correlation between aerosol emission in the northern hemisphere and desertification in the Sahel, it makes visible a new geopolitical cartography that ties together distant fates, linking industrialization in the North to deprivation in the South. In this context, can we begin to think about forums like the COP as crime scenes?

The “Danish text” is the draft of a proposed agreement established between the most developed nations in which a commitment is made to keep the global average temperature increase to two degrees Celsius. As many scientists have agreed, this would mean a catastrophic rise of 3.5 degrees in many parts of the African landmass, leading to widespread desertification, exacerbating existing conflicts, and eventually leading to annual mortality rates estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.

The “Danish text” is the draft of a proposed agreement established between the most developed nations in which a commitment is made to keep the global average temperature increase to two degrees Celsius. As many scientists have agreed, this would mean a catastrophic rise of 3.5 degrees in many parts of the African landmass, leading to widespread desertification, exacerbating existing conflicts, and eventually leading to annual mortality rates estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.

Arrest Warrant for Omar al-Bashir Arrest warrant issued from The Hague by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, alleging that Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir systematically attempted to eradicate the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit peoples of Darfur. The charges in the warrant include war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Arrest Warrant for Omar al-Bashir. Arrest warrant issued from The Hague by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, alleging that Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir systematically attempted to eradicate the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit peoples of Darfur. The charges in the warrant include war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Camera phone video footage of the Lumumba Di-Aping press conference during the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15) in 2009. As lead negotiator for the G77 representing 132 of the poorest nations on Earth, Di-Aping denounced the “Danish proposal” tabled during COP 15 for “colonizing the sky,” claiming that it would condemn millions in Africa to “certain death” and “climate genocide.”

The “Danish text” is the draft of a proposed agreement established between the most developed nations in which a commitment is made to keep the global average temperature increase to two degrees Celsius.

The “Danish text” is the draft of a proposed agreement established between the most developed nations in which a commitment is made to keep the global average temperature increase to two degrees Celsius.

Arrest Warrant for Omar al-Bashir

Arrest Warrant for Omar al-Bashir.

Arrest Warrant for Omar al-Bashir.

Arrest Warrant for Omar al-Bashir.

FS_39_blood on walls

ICTY Court Records

Researcher

Susan Schuppli

Research assistance

  • Blake Fisher
  • Hannah Meszaros Martin
  • Lindsay Weiss