Peruvian police detain filmmaker after showing documentary critical of Hudbay Minerals

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(Phoenix, Ariz) The Peruvian National Police and immigration authorities detained InvestigativeMedia owner and filmmaker John Dougherty on April 21 after he finished screening his documentary film “Flin Flon Flim Flam” in Cusco, Peru.

 

The documentary reports on Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals’ worldwide mining operations.

More than a dozen plain-clothes officers surrounded Mr. Dougherty and Jen Moore, Latin American program coordinator for MiningWatch, Canada, on the street outside the Cusco Cultural Center and forced them into a vehicle without a warrant. They were taken to the immigration office in Cusco. In a statement released early Monday, Mining Watch, Canada detailed Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore’s unlawful apprehension.

Police held Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore for four hours before being released early Saturday morning. Mr. Dougherty refused to sign documents or declarations police were pressuring him to sign without the presence of English-speaking legal counsel.

Peru National Police officer Edgar Abarca Lezama holding documents during detention proceedings Cucso, Peru against John Dougherty and Jen Moore.

Peru National Police officer Edgar Abarca Lezama holding documents during detention proceedings in Cucso, Peru against John Dougherty and Jen Moore.

An immigration hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m., Monday, April 24 at immigration offices in Cusco.

Upon the advice of legal counsel, Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore left Peru on Saturday. Peruvian attorneys will represent Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore at the immigration proceeding. Mr. Dougherty intends to contest the immigration case and is pursuing all other legal remedies. The police allege Mr. Dougherty was prohibited from screening the film under a tourist visa. Filmmakers attending film festivals routinely enter Peru under tourist visas.

“I strongly believe that Hudbay directed the Peruvian National Police and immigration authorities to detain us because Hudbay does not want the Peruvian people to know the truth about its long history of environmental contamination, allegations of serious human rights abuses and conflicts with local communities near its Constancia mine in Peru,” Mr. Dougherty says.

“Hudbay has had a contract to pay the Peruvian National Police for security services in the past and I believe that such an agreement is still in place,” Mr. Dougherty says. “The company is now taking the dangerous step of using the state to criminalize a journalist engaged in the distribution of truthful information that it wants to hide.”

This relationship between Hudbay and the Peruvian National Police has previously been reported in the media and elsewhere.

At no time since the film’s release in October 2015 has Hudbay stated there was an error of fact. “Hudbay was given every opportunity to comment on the film during the production and refused,” he says.

Hudbay also appears to have direct influence over the Peruvian Interior Ministry, which issued a statement Saturday (English translation) that strongly suggested criminal charges were being prepared against Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore for allegedly inciting rural communities to take violent actions against Hudbay.

“In fact, the documentary shows Hudbay’s contract employees, the Peruvian National Police, taking violent action in Nov. 2014 against Peruvian citizens peacefully marching and protesting Hudbay’s alleged failure to abide by agreements,” Mr. Dougherty says.

At no time during question and answer sessions after the screenings of the film in Peru did Mr. Dougherty suggest or encourage any violent action against Hudbay or any other mining company. Ms. Moore made no public statements during any of the events. Her role was to act as a translator for Mr. Dougherty.

“The fact that Ms. Moore was detained for doing nothing more than translating shows how far Hudbay and its police contractors are willing to go in its shameful attempt to silence free speech and intimidate the press,” Mr. Dougherty says.

The film screenings in Chamaca, Velille and Cusco were free and open to the public. DVD copies of the film were distributed free and Mr. Dougherty encouraged their reproduction and distribution. Hudbay and other mining supporters were welcome to attend the events and ask questions about the film, which they did.

Hudbay’s effort to stop the distribution of the film will not succeed. The film will be shown at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 25 at CCPUCP, Avenue Camino Real, 1075 San Isidro, Lima.

Mr. Dougherty will attend the screening and answer questions via Skype.

The documentary, dubbed in Spanish and Quechua, reports on Hudbay’s history of contaminating Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada with heavy metals and poisoning children; legal proceedings in a Toronto civil court where the company stands accused of murder, a shooting that paralyzed a man and gang rapes in Guatemala; conflicts with Peruvian communities where police used teargas and beat peaceful demonstrators and Hudbay’s plans to build the Rosemont open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson.

Mr. Dougherty’s tour in Peru was assisted by Cooperacción and Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras – Cusco. These groups arranged for screenings in different communities where they have developed relationships with community leaders. The organizations had no role in the financing, production, and editing of the film. Mr. Dougherty paid for all his expenses in Peru and conducted no commercial business.

Quechua version:

Spanish version:

 

Mother of deceased Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighter files petition with Arizona Supreme Court

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The mother of Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighter Grant McKee has filed a petition with the Arizona Supreme Court to review lower court decisions that rejected her wrongful death claim in connection with the death of her son during the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013.

The petition, which was filed by Scottsdale attorney David L. Abney on behalf of Marcia McKee, raises four issues:

  • Whether the City of Prescott legally approved an Intergovernmental Agreement with the state that made McKee and the other 18 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died during the fire temporary state employees and therefore providing the state employer-based immunity from a wrongful death claim.
  • A jury should have been allowed to determine whether the state’s conduct in managing the Yarnell Hill Fire amounted to “willful misconduct” which would have nullified the state’s employer-based immunity protection.
  • Neither Grant McKee, or his mother asked for, nor accepted, any workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, Marcia McKee did not waive her right to sue the state for causing her son’s wrongful death.
  • Is Marcia McKee entitled to assert claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from the state causing her son to suffer a horrendous death and from the state’s cover-up of its wrongdoing?

A Sardinian gold mine unearths the deceptive business tactics of Rosemont Copper’s former top executives led by Richard Warke

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InvestigativeMEDIA is republishing its 2012 series of stories on the original investors of the Rosemont Copper Mine and their role in a failed Sardinian gold mining project through a Vancouver, B.C. based mining company called Sargold Resource Corp.

One of the original Rosemont investors, Richard Warke, remains a key player in Arizona by seeking permits to develop a massive open-pit silver mine near Patagonia. Warke is now chairman of Arizona Mining Inc., which is seeking state and federal permits to develop the Patagonia mine.

Warke runs an array junior mining companies from Vancouver, B.C. and also serves as Executive Chair of NewCastle Gold Ltd., a company focused on exploring its multi-million ounce gold deposit in California.

These businesses are part of the Augusta Group of Companies, a conglomerate that Warke founded in 2006 comprised of Arizona Mining, NewCastle Gold Ltd. and Armor Minerals.

As detailed below, Warke’s management of Sargold Resources and its Sardinian gold mine raise serious questions. For additional information on Warke’s history of failing to disclose personal and corporate bankruptcies, cease trade orders and stock exchange delistings click here. A video timeline of Warke’s business history is here.

Warke is also featured in InvestigativeMEDIA’s 2012 award-winning documentary Cyanide Beach.

InvestigativeMEDIA’s series of stories on Warke and his business partners including the Sargold investment was later  featured in Global Mining Observer.

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. purchased Rosemont Copper when it acquired Augusta Resource Corp. in 2014 in a $550 million stock deal. Warke was Chairman of Augusta Resource at the time of the purchase. Augusta Resource, under Warke’s direction, purchased the Rosemont copper prospect for $20 million in 2006.

Hudbay is now seeking state and federal permits to develop the Rosemont mine. InvestigativeMEDIA released its documentary Flin Flon Flim Flam on Hudbay’s worldwide operations and plans to develop the Rosemont mine in October 2015.

InvestigativeMEDIA’s original 2012 story on Warke’s investment strategy in the Sardinian gold mine through the now defunct Sargold Resource Corp. follows below.

Introduction

Augusta Resource Corporation is seeking government approvals to construct a massive open-pit copper mine and dump waste rock and mine tailings on more than 3,000 acres of the Coronado National Forest in the Santa Rita Mountains 35 miles south of Tucson.

The mine would be operated through Augusta’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Rosemont Copper Company.

Augusta, a Vancouver, British Columbia speculative mining company, has never operated a mine and has a very limited business history.

Five of the eight current members of Augusta’s board of directors, however, do a have mining history.

Between 2003 and 2007, these executives were on the board of directors of Sargold Resource Corporation. Sargold owned and operated an open-pit gold mine near the small farming village of Furtei in south-central Sardinia.

InvestigativeMEDIA reviewed Sargold’s publicly available business records and traveled to Sardinia and Vancouver to conduct interviews. The reporting lead to the video documentary “Cyanide Beach”.

InvestigativeMEDIA also prepared the following report on Sargold’s business history that includes a detailed analysis at the end of the historical narrative.

InvestigativeMEDIA offered to meet Augusta officials in Vancouver, but Augusta declined interview requests with the five current Augusta board members to discuss their actions as Sargold directors.

The history and analysis is annotated with links to Sargold’s press releases, regulatory disclosures, court records, Canadian mining claim reports, news articles and scientific studies on the unfolding environmental disaster left behind after the Sardinian gold mine was abandoned. [Read more…]

Questions remain three years after Yarnell Hill Fire disaster

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Hearses carrying the bodies of Granite Mountain Hotshots passes through Peeples Valley. Photo By John Dougherty

Hearses carrying the bodies of Granite Mountain Hotshots pass through Peeples Valley, AZ. Photo By John DoughertyNews Analysis

News Analysis

Jasper, Alberta—Three years ago today, at 4:42 p.m., 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed when a fast-moving wildfire entrapped them in a box canyon at the base of the Weaver Mountains west of Yarnell, AZ.

Since that day of wildland firefighting infamy, three books have been published that have yet to answer why the men were in a location they should never have been. And now, a major Hollywood movie is in production that will ultimately completely distort what happened on that tragic afternoon. (How could you, Jeff Bridges?)

More than 22,000 comments have been posted on this site, some of which have helped piece together much of what happened on the worst day of firefighting in the history of Interagency Hotshot Crews after two state-sponsored investigations failed to provide a clear explanation.

But the ultimate “Why”, remains sealed, locked in the code of silence that permeates the world of wildland firefighting where the fear of telling the truth falls a distant third to securing a high-dollar government pension and avoid being blacklisted.

[Read more…]