Clear cutting the rainforest is having MURDEROUS consequences. On May 24, the dead bodies of rainforest activist Jose Caludio Riberio da Sliva (who had predicted his death six months earlier at an environmental conference) and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo were found next in a rural town in Brazil. Da Silva’s ear had been cut off, probably taken as a trophy taken by the killers as proof their mission had been accomplished (so they could get paid by whoever ordered the killings).

In recent years the Brazilian government has made progress in slowing the destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest, reducing the area of forest that has been cut down from 10,500 square miles in 2004 to just 2,300 square miles in 2010. In Xingu National Park, in the center of the country, more than 10,000 forest fires were recorded in 2010, destroying 10% of the rainforest. But brutal murders like these show that the authorities can slow down the cutting of trees, but not the cutting down of environmentalists by enraged loggers who want to cut down and sell the huge trees that thrive in the rich rainforest soil. Woods like mahogany and teak are some of the most expensive lumber in the world, despite the fact that their sale is banned in many countries.

In the Oct. 7-13 edition of the Guardian Weekly, Tim Phillips and Gabriel Elizondo quote forensic scientist Jose Augusto Andrade, who found the bodies, as saying, "I’m used to barbarous crimes but not to seeing someone commit a murder, then mutilate a person. It is not common."

Brazil’s powerful agribusinesses are defending the country’s right to strip what remains of the Earth’s tropical rainforests, with disastrous consequences. Xingu is now surrounded by farms, and these farmers want to set fire to the trees so they can grow corps on the fertile land. In only a few minutes, one fire completely destroyed an indigenous village. In the November 17th edition of the New York Times, Leao Serva quotes Chief Auaulukuma, leader of the local Waura Indians, for whom the park is precious ancestral land, as saying, "Fire escapes now. It doesn’t stop."

Some of the things that humans do have unforeseen consequences. For instance, in 1998, a mysterious man that Whitley Strieber calls the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all kinds of things he didn’t know–but when he checked them out later, he found out they were TRUE. One of the few things that Whitley could NOT check out was MOTKE’s provocative statement that we are stuck on this planet because the parents of the child who would have given us the ability to travel into space was killed in the holocaust!

You can get The Key in your favorite bookstore or from the Whitley Strieber Collection–and if you get it from us, it will come with an autographed bookplate designed by Whitley.

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