Tuesday, April 12, 2011
How the West Was Won
I should be working but have spent most of the morning transfixed by footage of a meeting between the richest man in Australia, his lawyers and the Yindjibardi people of Australia's north west. Twiggy wants their land ... but only for the next few generations or until the iron ore runs out.
When the Yindjibarndi people began to prove difficult, citing the proposed agreement as unequitable and offensive, FMG called a Native Title meeting and stacked it with a paid, voting splinter group. FMG also paid the lawyer representing the splinter group. This lawyer chaired the meeting when an independant native title chairman walked out.
A public discrediting of traditional owners' Native Title testimonies followed, including that of a 105 year old man who was present. One agenda motion called for the dissenting claimants (four out of the seven) to be removed from the entire decision-making and voting process.
The footage of this meeting gets more and more appalling. I have never seen anything like it. Thank goodness it was filmed. This is the real, dirty face of Western Australia's 'resources boom.'
You can find the video and more information about the Yindjibarndi people's fight here.
Note for today: Vimeo pulled the video last night, saying they'd been contacted by FMG lawyers concerning defammatory and misleading statements about the FMG CEO ... but if you follow the link above, you can still see it streaming on You Tube. To read the YAC response to this situation, go here.
For Crikey's article on the FMG public relations officer's overnight editing of Wikipedia pages, go here.
Image: Fortescue Metals Group's Andrew 'Twiggy' Forest and Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation CEO Michael Woodley.