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Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo Targeted by Intelligence Agencies as 'Security' Threat

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Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo Targeted by Intelligence Agencies as 'Security' Threat

This morning on Democracy Now!Amy Goodman and Juan González interviewed Kumi Naidoo regarding leaked diplomatic cables showing a number of foreign requests to South African intelligence to spy on activists, NGOs and politicians. According to Al Jazeera, one document shows South Korea sought out a "specific security assessment" of Greenpeace International's Executive Director Kumi Naidoo in the run-up to a meeting of G20 leaders in Seoul in 2010. This document is one of many that were leaked to Al Jazeera by a South African intelligence source.

Kumi explains in the interview that, "We were contacted late last year with the information that Al Jazeera had some surveillance intelligence that they had picked up. And essentially, this was in 2010, when I was planning to go to the G20, when his request was made."

He goes on to say, "I would urge us to take some comfort to say that we are winning the [climate change] argument, and those trying to hold us back are getting desperate. I would see this as more an act of desperation rather than act of strength on the part of the governments in question."

Kumi concludes the interview by saying, "We are very clear that it is the interests of the current oil, coal and gas companies, which actually own many of our governments, that are holding us back."

Watch here to get the full scope of this timely and important interview:

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A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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