More than 100 heavily armed Brazilian police special forces officers have arrived in the Amazonian town of Tailandia in one of the largest ever federal operations to curb illegal logging.
Operation Amazon Guardian is meant to "send a message" to the whole country, officials say.
Every logging operation in Tailandia, which many experts say is the centre of the Brazilian logging industry, is set to be inspected.
The move comes after environment ministry inspectors were last week forced to retreat from the town after being overpowered and surrounded by an angry crowd of 2,000 Tailandia residents - many of them workers in illegal logging mills.
The officials had been attempting to shut down illegal logging operations based in this city when the confrontation took place, forcing a retreat to the city of Belem, the capital of the state of Para, to re-group.
The incident was a major embarrassment to the government, which promised to launch a nationwide crackdown on illegal logging after a report released in January showed a sharp spike in deforestation in Brazil.
Tailandia is a dusty, economically depressed place of about 65,000 people about four hours by car south of Belem.
It is home to about 70 different logging operations but it is believed only 22 have proper permits.
The rest are believed to be illegal but this cannot be verified until the inspectors are allowed back in with protection – a process which is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.
Tailandia is home to about 70 logging
operations, mostly illegal
More than 70 per cent of the town's residents make their living from Amazon logging and about 20,000 people could be left jobless if the government closes down the illegal logging operations.
The owner of one of the few hotels in town, who asked not to be identified, told Al Jazeera that once logging was shut down she would close her hotel, because there would be no more customers.
Tailandia is also a "reception point", where illegally felled trees are sent to be trucked or shipped to ports for resale so shutting down operations in here would affect illegal loggers throughout the region.
The federal police have expressed concerns about providing security in Tailandia, which is ranked the seventh most dangerous city in Brazil in government statistics.
There had previously been little police presence in Tailandia, so illegal loggers could act with impunity and one of the leading federal inspectors involved in the government operation to shut down illegal loggers received death threats as recently as this weekend.
Billion dollar industry...
RLCC: People have to be given other ways to live. There needs to be as much planting of trees as there is cutting of them. Forestry needs to be balanced and sustainable.
AL JAZEERA on February 27, 2008, 12:53amfrom
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
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Political Campaign Intervention
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Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
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Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)