EDITORIAL

Prosecutors, saviours of the forests

For the last two decades, NINE O’CLOCK has been the daily paper that frequently emphasised the entire destruction system of Romanian forests. Unlike other daily papers that sometimes referred to isolated cases, focusing especially on wood theft from the forests, our publication showed an outstanding consistency in describing the entirety of the complex of negative factors. These factors appeared from the destruction of the forests, that was far from accidental, but following a diabolical long-term plan, conceived by both local and foreign Mafia leaders, similarly ignoring Romania’s interests, as well as those of Europe. Because, as international institution keep warning with increased frequency, the destruction of the forests, even on isolated spaces, negatively affects the whole climate of the planet. Thus, the natural balance, that once defined the succession of seasons and the terrestrial space in its entirety, is completely devastated today.

And the frequent anti-Mafia accusations in our articles, placing a focus on the complex of negative, destructive factors, are completely confirmed today by the aiding interventions of the Prosecutors’ Office. These interventions are quite late, indeed, because the anti-forestry Mafia actions went on and on for almost two decades. Yet, although they are quite late, the interventions of the Prosecutor’s Office are welcome, as they stop, at least for a little while, am ample Mafia action. For the first time during the last two decades, ever since the systematic destruction of the Romanian forests started, now we are getting confirmation that this action has a yet unsuspected amplitude and complexity. For a long time, everybody thought that the initial harmful, destructing factors are mere wood thieves, local small criminals frequently arrested by the police. Today, though, we have the revelation of what we were suspecting for a very long time: the most detrimental factors are actually part of a complex network, that features, in some of the worst and most condemnable roles of their lives, highly positioned politicians from the Parliament and the Government, some of the first people who abruptly accused the poor Romanian peasants for daring to allow their cattle to grass in the yard.
And the criminal actions of these powerful figures from Romania (nobody can say they are “of Romania”) were rigorously divided in time and space. They had fast interventions when heirs of feudal families demanded retrocession of huge forest-covered properties based on documents with an unclear legal status, yet, well-supplemented as far as corruption was concerned. And when, after the pressure by several political factors, the retrocession of forest-covered property was approved, the respective approval was previously conditioned by the sale of the respective forest properties the representatives of the second category of –mafia members, who were highly active in the field of raw wood export. The third Mafia category, this time from abroad, was purchasing the raw wood at an outrageously low price, processing it industrially and selling it on the European markets, or on those outside Europe and earning money without any positive impact upon Romania’s national economy, which it was thus undermining.
This complex of criminal actions had other consequences as well. Entire settlements were facing overnight the fact that they were left with no forest or agricultural lots whatsoever, although they owned documents of hundreds of years attesting their rights of property. Yet, the actions of corrupt judges ignored all those documents and always approved the feudal-mannered territorial demands. An entire network of local counts, barons and other feudal lords, who pretended to be in the possession of absolute rights, soon became the owners of several thousands of forest-covered or agricultural hectares without granting the actual legal owners as much as a notification of these actions so far, in order to give them the opportunity to defend themselves in court. No, this entire process of undermining the territorial unity of Romania itself was taking place furtively, as a further attempt to federalize Romania.
And, throughout all this time of illegal demands of forest and agricultural territories, the respective lots were destroyed through abusive, criminal woodcutting, while the agricultural ones were left abandoned, uncultivated, until the possibility of selling them to the third Mafia category appeared. As the result of these criminal actions, that led to the destruction of approximately two millions of hectares of wood, climate changes torment Romania one year after the other, while also affecting wider regions surrounding our country. The frequency of droughts or floods, the massive landslides that completely isolated or even destroyed some settlements and all of their ways of access, the destruction of protection barriers and bridges, as well as many other issues have forced the Romanian land into an increasingly painful ecological and economical disaster.
The disaster that clashed upon the Romanian forestry base also worried the EU, which is a beneficiary, at least at the level of climate, of the Carpathian forests. As a result, politicians in Romania suddenly changed their attitude and faked that they share the international stupefaction caused by the massive forest robbery. Obviously, they only do it formally. On one hand, they pretend to follow EU instructions and elaborate a new Forestry Code that would protect the Romanian forestry base. On the other hand, though, after long and sterile discussions on the stipulations of the new Forestry Code, they hesitate applying it. And it is precisely during this long hesitation that politicians’ attempts to undermine the positive conclusions reached under the pressure of the EU occur.
The obvious malevolency of politicians took a break for a while and, suddenly, we witness it surfacing again. The ulterior discussions of the new Forestry Code in the specialized committees of the Parliament caused further surprises.
The same MPs who previously expressed their agreement to the laws of the new Forestry Code, referring to the emphasis placed on the protection of existing forests, suddenly changed their minds. They are “shading” their position by suggesting new ideas that would favour the same forest-destroying Mafia clan. Under new masks, the same show is going on. Nonetheless, the new masks are worn by the same tragicomic actors. The abusively cut and cheaply exported wood (at prices that are blatantly inferior to that of the products resulted from its industrial processing) Mafia is thus gaining support inside the Romanian Parliament.
Let us hope that the present investigations of the Prosecutors Office, revealing an increasingly ample and persuasive image of the amplitude of the Romanian Mafia-like corruption, will have the unanimous positive impact desired by the population, including the start of new and new investigations by legal institutions that will thus lead to the much-desired fairness of our leading politicians.

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