Firebugs for Hire

A few months ago there were major headlines in the global media about the incidence of catastrophic fires in the Amazon Basin in Brazil. Hollywood celebrities stepped up to protest the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro and donate to the cause of saving the Amazonian rainforest.

Four activists were recently arrested in Brazil on suspicion of setting some of those catastrophic fires. It turns out that these firebugs had allegedly been the recipients of some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars donated by the actor Leonardo di Caprio to save the rainforest. The more fires, the greater the donations — right?

Many thanks to José Atento for translating this Brazilian news report, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   An operation of the Pará civil police arrested four brigade members
00:04   suspected of involvement in the fires that hit Alter do Chão, in Santarém, in September.
00:09   The prisoners are NGO members linked to the “Health and Joy Project”, an award-winning organization
00:15   for its work in the Amazon. Searches were also conducted at their headquarters.
00:18   According to the Pará police investigation,
00:22   the organization would have signed a contract with the international NGO WWF
00:27   to sell 40 images of the fires for 17 thousand dollars.
00:30   Also, according to police, the dissemination of the images sensitized actor Leonardo di Caprio,
00:36   who donated US$500,000 for firefighting in the region.
00:39   Of this amount, $300,000 were passed on to the brigade members
00:43   who would have falsified invoices upon receiving the money.
00:46   The Alter do Chão fires lasted four days before being extinguished by the brigade and firefighters.
00:52   The resort is one of the main tourist destinations of Pará,
00:55   and is on the banks of the Tapajós River. According to
00:58   the federal prosecutor, the fire may have originated in an environmental preservation area,
01:03   which has been targeted by land-grabbers
01:06   and has been occupied irregularly to build a private housing estate.
01:09   In a statement, the NGO Alter do Chão Brigade says that the innocence of the members will be proved
01:15   and the prisoners at this stage of the operation were previously heard
01:18   by the police and cooperated with the investigation.
01:21   Coordinators of the NGO “Health and Joy Project” say they were surprised.
 

One thought on “Firebugs for Hire

  1. Rain Forests do not burn as by itself or incidentally by human action. It’s necessary to be, firstly, cut down, has timbers removed, waits for the rest to dry up and only then the remaining material is purposedly burnt, so that to make the soil clean enough to be precessed for agriculture.
    The whole amount of the Brazilian Legal Amazon rainforest already cut down has been accessed and measured in around 3%.
    By all means, cutting down Amazon Rain Forest is considered an ilegal and criminal affair. Only three kinds of people are committed to the practice of cutting down Rain Forests: land-grabbers, ilegal miners, and timber smugllers.
    It’s highly improductive, for the agrobusiness to destroy forest of this type to form pastures or cultivate crops. It’s economically inviable.
    However, when small producers are settled in these small areas of cut down forest and start familiar agriculture, its a ‘cultural’ practice to use fire for cleaning the soil so that to be planted for any sort of crop. These smal fires have been, however, wrongly put into the account of the “Burnt Amazon Rain Forest”, what shows a thorough ignorance on the real facts. Actually, Brazil has so far the best performance to protect its Rain Forests in comparison with the rest of the world.Cleansing lands through controlled fires is, unafortunatedly a practice adopted by the most majority of small agricultural producers in the whole Brazilian territory.
    Only one tipe of producer doesn’t use fire to prepare its cultivating areas: the large-sacale enterpreneurial producer, who uses the best of tech and corrects efficienty its soil to make its production a sustainable activity.

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