By , August 15, 2006

Red Baseball Caps, Pens and Signatures: Socializing the EIA the Ascendant Way
Anti-Corruption Commission and Ombudsman Come Down Hard on Ascendant
The Army and Ascendant
New Legal Obstacles for Ascendant

14 August
During the past few weeks the company has been going through the motions of “socializing” what they consider to be the Environmental Impact Study for the Junin project. Just as well get the hoax over with as soon as possible, because, Ascendant’s vision of socializing the EIA consists of campesinos, most having the equivalent of, at most, a fourth or fifth grade education, is seeing them wade through hundreds of pages of geological, biological, and archeological data, complete with flow charts, and hundreds of scientific names and sophisticated concepts, while sitting in a small office (we are told that in some cases bodyguards hover the participants to “help them” see the light). In one case a friend of mine went in to inspect the room ascendant had rented to show of their EIA, and someone came out to clean his handgun right in front of him. Another acquaintance tried unsuccessfully to have ascendant give him a copy of the document. After three tries, he gave up. Then again, there’s been denunciations that many of the people signing as having read the EIA, are mostly Ascendant’s workers and/or family members.

What is expected of the people wanting to look at the document is that, after a brief scanning of the pages, the participants are expected to make observations and recommendations on the EIA, and sign a piece of paper saying they have studied it. Then, and only then, do the participants get their very own bright red had with Ascendant embroidered on it.

Guess what percentage go in just for the hat?

Meanwhile, everyone is waiting to see what the Ministry of Energy and Mines says in response to the petition put to him on the July 13th in Quito by Mayor Tituana and presidents of the Parish governments of Intag, when they and hundreds of Intag residents march to the doors of the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Ascendant and the Army. And, the more we uncover, the more dirt we find. The latest was confirmation that nearly two months ago, persons identifying themselves to be members belonging to the equivalent of the Army Corps of Engineers and who said they were in the Junin and Garcia Moreno area to see about a road construction contract between Ascendant and the Corps, turned out to be another lie. The Army Corps of Engineer, in a recent letter, said that they had not authorized anyone to go to the Intag area, and that they did not have any kind of contract with Ascendant, but were only in the conversation phase. They also said that one of the persons who was stopped in the Junin area by locals and who identified himself a member of the Army Corps of Engineers (and who was even carrying a special Army Corps of Engineering identification card) was not a member of the Corps. The letter went on to say that the Defense department was investigating this apparently indemnification theft. Some of these persons who, at the time they were in the Junin area and identified themselves as members of the Corps of Engineers, were involved in acts of aggression and intimidation against anti-mining community activists. This all happened at a time when DaimiServices and Ascendant employees were telling everyone that the Army was coming to build the mine and to fix all the roads in the area. AND…., we just got a hold of some damming new evidence pointing to new and more widespread illegalities related to this unwholesome relation.

Ascendant’s 2nd Semester Report…. yes, they did it- released their 2nd quarter report.
mong the interesting information: they’ve spent nearly 5.7 million dollars in the last seven months, and who knows how much more than that in the 26 months since Ascendant made its appearance in Intag, AND STILL HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO START EXPLORATORY ACTIVITIES IN THE JUNIN MINING CONCESSIONS.

It’s likely they won’t get anywhere near exploring this, or any other year, since they are not only facing the wrath of local governments in Intag and Cotacachi County, new legal cases are being filed by local government officials, and community leaders, but also investigation by the nation’s Ombudsman, as well as the Civic Commission for the Control of Corruption!!! Both of these institutions recently released damming reports on irregularities associated with the mining project, leading the Ombudsman to open an investigation and reporting that it found evidence of human-rights violations (then there is the rainy season that will soon be upon them,,,,,,,,,,)



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