Thursday, 8 July 2010

Sarah Palin and the Pebble Mine Sticker Controversy - Alaska Restaurant Owner Jon Corbett refuses to bow to the Queen - UPDATE!

Fish pic
Wild Salmon at Bristol Bay, Alaska

By Kathleen

Sarah Palin and the London born producer Mark Burnett, former Section Commander of the notorious UK Parachute Regiment have been busy filming and interviewing residents during the previous days in the Bristol Bay area for a controversial new TV docudrama series about the Last Frontier State. The documentary will feature Sarah Palin, her family, views of the tundra caribou, moose and wolves and seas tumultuous with salmon, whales and belugas whilst sorry walrus bask on shores. It is supposed to be broadcast on TLC/Discovery.

Bristol Bay is home to one of the last surviving fishing grounds of wild sockeye salmon in the Northern hemisphere. As such it is an immense and valuable renewable resource which presently supports the livelihoods of approximately 6000 independent fishermen and the main industries of commercial fishing companies and canneries which exist there.

According to many people living nearby, Bristol Bay and its ancient heritage of fishing face a threat from a proposal by mining companies Anglo American and Northern Dynasty who want to set up the largest open pit copper and gold mine in North America on the shores of Bristol Bay. Many local protestors against the mine claim that pollution from contaminated mine waste could have a huge effect on the salmon population and industry. Local protestors are also concerned that further proposals to build huge dams to contain the waste are also insufficient because the area is in an active seismic zone through which the Lake Clark fault line runs less than twenty miles from the proposed Pebble Mine site. As salmon fishing has played a huge role in native culture for the many people living in small communities, all of which connect to each other, it is also thought that thousands of years of culture and tradition will be lost if the mining companies proposal succeeds and traditional ways of life are displaced.

For more details please watch this trailer for the documentary "Red Gold":

Red Gold | trailer from felt soul media on Vimeo.

However it’s not all moist wetlands, osprey, brown bear and weathered rocks on the tundra. Sarah and Mark’s tour of the Bristol Bay Lowlands brought them face to face with the owner chef of The Windmill Grille in Dillingham, Jon Corbett, a keen environmentalist who took advantage of their visit to show his support for the "Save Bristol Bay" movement and his anti mine sentiments.

Sarah Palin and No Pebbke Mine Photo
Sarah Palin with Jon Corbett a few days ago

Now I know for a fact that Palingates readers are sophisticated, alert and well read and that the majority of you will have noticed the very large anti Pebble Mine sticker conveniently stuck to the smoked salmon that Jon displays.

Pebble Mine Sticker enlarged

It seems that Sarah Palin, despite the fact that she has clearly favoured the mining proposal in the past, had no hesitation in posing next to an anti Pebble Mine sticker proudly advertised on the packaging of the rather delicious looking salmon. Should we be surprised by this?

Has Sarah been persuaded that such a large mining operation and the environmental consequences associated with it could be disastrous for the local communities which have existed there for thousands of years?

Predictably, the answer is a resounding no. Sarah Palin yet again created a situation that required a clean up operation by a “Palin family member”. Jon Corbett was put on notice by said “member of Todd Palin’s family” and a “family friend” that he should remove from his facebook a picture of Sarah Palin posing next to the suddenly noxious sticker.

It's telling, isn't it? Sarah Palin's position was compromised by her own stupidity and someone from Todd's family seeks to cover her ineptitude by insisting that a photo is removed so a record of her stupidity does not exist. It’s the number one Palin rule, never admit your mistake, just erase it from the record and it no longer exists. Simple, isn’t it? However, Jon is sticking to his guns and refuses to compromise and it seems as if Sarah Palin will be forced to make a statement regarding Bristol Bay Mining and the fact that she did not notice the sticker with its offending logo.

Jon Corbett writes on his blog "Green Alaska":

"So, what to do? ? ? I was just asked by a member of Todd Palin’s family and a family friend to remove my posted facebook profile picture, because of the No Pebble Mine picture. They said that Sarah would have to soon make a statement along the lines of “That is not her position and that she was not aware of the No Pebble Mine logo being present.” . . .

This is my take on this. She willingly came into my place of business and discussed the business of Fish with me and the producer, Mark Burnett. We kept the conversation on fish and the business of fish. The dangers and threats to Bristol Bay were briefly mentioned, but not expounded upon. I will say this about the picture, this is most definitely not Sarah Palin’s position… as the “family friend” put it, “I don’t think anyone knows Sarah’s position.” I wanted to scream, but held my composure and acknowledged that he was correct. Anyone remember Proposition 4?

“Days before voters went to the polls, Governor Sarah Palin publicly stated her opposition to Proposition 4.

(Palin said:) “Let me take my governor’s hat off just for a minute here and tell you, personally, Prop. 4, I vote no on that.”
While polls before her statement showed Proposition 4 ahead by a small percentage, in the end almost 60% of voters went against it. Not only did critics call Gov. Palin’s statements highly unethical, but a legal complaint was filed against the state for improperly taking sides on the measure, which is illegal. The Alaska Public Offices Commission ordered the content to be taken off the state website, but cleared Palin, saying she made it clear it was a personal opinion."

He then gives a few links for reference:

New York Times, October 21, 2008: "Palin's Hand Seen in Battle Over Mine in Alaska", August 21, 2008: "Alaskan greens say McCain’s VP pick has anti-environmental record"

Here is another one:

Jon concludes:
"I will not remove the picture. This picture was taken as it is shown…I was being opportunistic in getting my political belief out to the world. I enjoyed sitting down with Mrs. Palin and talking about Fish and Alaska. I hope the best for her and her Family as they travel around Alaska filming a portrait of our great state to share with the rest of the World through TLC/Discovery Channel. I think I can speak for a lot of people around Bristol Bay in saying that we hope the episode on Salmon and the fishing business is positive and will do something to promote the image and protection of this great sustainable resource."

To my mind John Corbett shows real American spirit. He understands that some issues are worth taking a stand on no matter who it is that tries to stand in your way. The issue regarding Pebble Mine is about renewable resources versus non-renewable resources and it is about the long term sustainable future of communities pitched against the short term gain of large corporations. Jon Corbett gets it. Sarah Palin and the corporations who want to exploit the area do not.

Jon Korbett - Facebook profile pictures - screenshot

(h/t to EyeOnYou for pointing us to Jon's blog!)



"Pondering political peacemaking in hopes of getting the Green movement and Progressive line of thought some legitimacy and traction here in ALASKA… For the FISH.
But, I wrote the above on July 2d, the afternoon following my conversation with Sarah Palin about FISH. Afterwards I posted a picture on my Facebook profile. In the picture, I am holding a fresh frozen Wild caught Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon with a No Pebble Mine Sticker while standing next to Sarah Palin. The picture was taken in my restaurant, The Windmill Grille in Dillingham, Alaska. I will admit that this picture was taken solely in the spirit of opportunism and I feel that I can safely say that the. General Anti Pebble Mine is NOT shared with Sarah Palin…
And with what I heard about the Discovery/TLC crew being run by Mark Burnett Productions (Survivor-CBS) going around having people cover signs and logos that are really a part of the FISHING culture here in Bristol Bay, I wonder about the opinions of Discovery Communications as well. I bet we don’t get an answer.
So, opportunity came along, and you are damned right in assuming that I will take full advantage of it, for the FISH."

So that is what's happening. Sarah Palin wants to present her own, clean, censored version of Alaska. No pesky fishermen and others who try to protect their culture and their subsistence. Shameful!

(h/t Vilca!)

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