Salton Sea, California - An October storm of noxious dust sweeps across the desert, turning the sky sepia and choking out residents. Like water bodies across the West, the 340-square-mile saline lake known as the Salton Sea is drying up as drought, fueled by climate change, further dwindles its inflow from the Colorado River basin. As the lake evaporates, its solution of pesticides, chemicals and heavy metals grows more concentrated. Winds whip the hazardous lakebed dust into the air, and more children here than anywhere else in California visit emergency rooms or are hospitalized with asthma-related illnesses. It’s an environmental disaster with a decades-long history.
In late July, a large sinkhole appeared near the town of Tierra Amarilla in Chile’s Copiapó province in the Atacama salt flat. The crater, which has a diameter of more than 100 feet, emerged in one of Chile’s most lucrative regions for copper and lithium extraction. The nearby Candelaria mining complex—80 percent of the property is owned by Canada’s Lundin Mining Corporation and 20 percent is owned by Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation—had to halt its operations in the area. On August 1, Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) tweeted that it had assembled a team to investigate the sinkhole that appeared less than 2,000 feet away from human habitation.
When Ky NoHeartInWar got a call telling them to get over near to a new digging site at Thacker Pass, or Peehee Mu’huh (Rotten Moon), they knew it was a “pretty intense” situation. NoHeartInWar got to the site, put their drone into the sky and filmed an individual taking what they say was “spearheads” out of the ground while collecting dirt samples as archeological procedures began for the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine in April 2022. The land where construction is slated is at the site of a massacre perpetuated by the U.S. government in 1865. NoHeartInWar sat down to speak with Unicorn Riot in April 2022 about what they filmed near Fort McDermitt on April 16, 2022. In a recorded interview featuring drone footage that NoHeartInWar took, they take us through what they saw that day and explained how Biden’s new Defense Production Act is allowing mining projects to supersede past “agreements between sovereign nations” while disobeying NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act).
In an interview with British journalist Matt Kennard at his home in El Trópico, a small town four hours from Cochabamba in the heart of the Amazon rain forest, former Bolivian president Evo Morales (2006-2019) called for an international campaign to eliminate NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization]. According to Morales, this campaign should explain to people worldwide that “NATO is—ultimately—the United States. It is not a guarantee for humanity or for life. I do not accept—in fact, I condemn—how they can exclude Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. When the U.S. has intervened in Iraq, in Libya, in so many countries in recent years, why have they not been expelled from the Human Rights Council? Why was that never questioned?”
Orovada, NV — The Winnemucca Indian Colony filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuits against Lithium Americas Corporation’s planned Thacker Pass lithium mine on Friday, February 11th, stating that “to build that Thacker Pass lithium mine on lands held sacred to Colony members would be like raping the earth and their culture.” They are the third Native American Tribe to seek to join litigation against the proposed mine, along with the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Burns Paiute Tribe. The tribes argue that Thacker Pass is a sacred and culturally significant site, and that the federal government failed to consult with tribes as required by law. The intervention is particularly noteworthy, as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has claimed that it consulted with the Winnemucca Indian Colony (WIC) prior to approving the Thacker Pass mine.
The government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to create a state-owned company for the exploration and exploitation of lithium, announced the Secretary of Energy, Rocío Nahle. In an interview to local media, the official highlighted on Wednesday that "lithium is a strategic mineral," and gave as an example its use as a "raw material for the manufacture of electric batteries." According to Nahle, this state-owned company would be established in the secondary law of the energy reform proposed by the Mexican president. "It is going to pass for the exploitation of lithium," she emphasized. She also made reference to the expropriation of oil that occurred during the government of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940).
On Friday, January 15th, two activists drove eight hours from Eugene, Oregon, to a remote corner of public land in Nevada, where they pitched a tent in below-freezing temperatures and unfurled a banner declaring: “Protect Thacker Pass.” You’ll be forgiven if you’ve never heard of the place—it’s seriously in the boonies—but these activists, Will Falk and Max Wilbert, hope to make it into a household name. One of the activists is Will Falk, a writer and lawyer who helped bring a suit to US District Court seeking personhood for the Colorado River in 2017. He describes himself as a “biophilic essayist” and he certainly lyrical in describing the area where they set up.
Bolivia - According to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, over 7.031.294 people are expected to vote out of the country's estimated population of 11.428.245 citizens. On October 18, the Plurinational State of Bolivia will carry its first presidential elections after a coup that forced former left-wing Indigenous president Evo Morales to resign on November 10, 2019. Following the coup, Bolivia has faced continued turmoil, political instability, and killings and persecution of progressive leaders promoted by the de facto government of Jeanine Àñez, who tried to change the election date several times to cling to power.
Once again, a scenario of multiple crises that began with the November coup defines Bolivia’s future. De facto President Jeanine Áñez’s main achievement was to unleash a shameless wave of racist repression against Morales’ Movement for Socialism (MAS) and the Aymara and Quechua Indigenous peoples. Áñez kept none of the promises she made to pacify the people after the November coup, nor did she offer any assistance to the poor during the twin crises of COVID-19 and the ensuing economic collapse.
On July 24, 2020, Tesla’s Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that a second U.S. “government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people.” Someone responded to Musk soon after, “You know what wasn’t in the best interest of people? The U.S. government organizing a coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia so you could obtain the lithium there.” Musk then wrote: We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it. Musk refers here to the coup against President Evo Morales Ayma, who was removed illegally from his office in November 2019. Morales had just won an election for a term that was to have begun in January 2020. Even if there was a challenge against that election, Morales’ term should rightfully have continued through November and December of 2019.
Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, wants to build an electric car factory in Brazil. He was supposed to meet Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, in Miami in early March, but he was too busy; instead, Musk will go to Brazil sometime this year. All eyes are on the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, whose Secretary of International Affairs Derian Campos is in direct contact with Musk...
The Companies of United States are planning to extract Afghanistan’s enormous reserves of valuable rare earth minerals, Reuters reported after U.S. President Donald Trump met with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani on Thursday. Afghanistan has some of the world’s largest un-extracted reserves of rare earth minerals valuable in electronic production, such as lithium, as well as gold and various gemstones. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the total value at least US$1 trillion. According to a White House statement, the presidents agreed that the development of Afghan minerals by U.S. companies would..