Alaska's King

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Discussion Topic: An Independent Alaska

From time to time, we will be discussing the pros, cons, and whatever else of an Independent Alaska. Please post your comments, and you will note you can post anon. Spam will be deleted, so don't bother.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

WAGNER RENOUNCES CLAIMS TO CHILE’S BURIED TREASURE

Government Expected Contentious Debate Over Rights To Loot

(Oct. 5, 2005) A new twist in the story of buried treasure on Robinson Crusoe Island, which has kept Chile and the world in suspense for the last three weeks, surfaced Monday after Wagner Technologies renounced all claims to the treasure supposedly worth US$10 billion.

Wagner Technologies, the company that claims it discovered the treasure, met late Monday with government officials in Valparaíso in what was expected to be a contentious debate over the rights to the treasure.

But according to Fernando Uribe-Etxeverría, lawyer for Wagner Technologies, the company does not believe it is capable of excavating the treasure; all it wanted was the free press.

This abrupt turn of events surprised government officials, who were prepared to discuss excavation permits and decide how to divide the treasure with the company. Wagner instead agreed to turn over the coordinates to the government on the condition that if the treasure is excavated, a portion would be given to a number of Chilean charities, as well as the island’s residents.

Uribe-Etxeverría’s announcement also surprised journalists because of the commotion the company generated with threats to withhold the location of the treasure unless the government agreed to give them a cut of the loot (ST, Oct. 3).

Wagner still maintains that “Arturito,” a mobile robot designed by one of their engineers, detected the presence of 800 metric tons of gold and jewels on the west side of Robinson Crusoe Island in southern Chile. However, the company claims that the treasure is located in a very difficult-to-reach spot that requires divers to enter through sub-marine caves on the island’s coast.

Wagner representatives said the company is withdrawing from the controversy that surrounded their claims because of the difficulty involved in removing the treasure.

“There is no company in the country capable of excavating this treasure,” said Uribe-Etxeverría. “For this, you will need something bigger: the state.” He also added that for Wagner, the treasure did not represent a business opportunity. Instead, the company’s exploration was meant to publicize the extraordinary capabilities of their robot.

The robot in question, Arturito, operates like a robotic bloodhound. He can be programmed to search for a particular substance, such as water, gold, or even DNA. Using a variety of tools from geo-radar to a “gamma-camera,” capable of differentiating between atomic molecules, he searches a specified area for the presence the programmed substance. According to Manuel Salinas, designer of the robot, with the right sample, Arturito could help police find missing persons, wanted criminals, and water in the desert.

Debates have also surfaced in Chile over the history of the newly discovered treasure: what treasure is actually buried on the island and how it got there. Robinson Crusoe Island is located along the Spanish colonial navigation route that connected Spain’s Latin American colonies with Europe. At the time, Spain was mining vast amounts of silver and gold from Peru and Bolivia for transport to Europe. These ships were a favorite of pirates operating in the South Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Some treasure-seekers believe a popular legend which holds that the Spanish navigator Juan Esteban Ubilla y Echeverría, in charge of transporting the treasure back to Spain, landed on the island in 1715 and interred it instead. Sometime later, an English pirate named Cornelius Webb unearthed the treasure and reburied it elsewhere.

Others believe another legend claiming that the treasure was stolen from the Aztec Empire in Mexico by Spanish conquistadors. A third theory holds that it was the bounty taken off the Spanish galleon “Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo” in 1741 by the English lord George Anson.

The island first became famous for hosting the real-life character of Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe,” Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailing master marooned on the island between 1704 and 1709. Selkirk was pirating the Spanish off the coast of South America in the early 1700s when his ship was badly damaged by a series of fights with the Spanish armada.

Fearing that the ship would soon sink, he asked the captain to set him ashore at the next port and ended up stranded off the coast of Chile on an uninhabited island in the Juan Fernandez archipelago. Selkirk was later picked up by English privateers and continued pirating Spanish fleets until 1712, when he finally made his triumphant return to Scotland as a very rich man.

SOURCE: PUBLIMETRO, LA NACIÓN
By Nathan Gill (editor@santiagotimes.cl)

Weyhrauch Supports State of Alaska's Intervention in Kensington Mine Lawsuit

(Juneau) - Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch (R – Juneau) announced today he strongly favors the State of Alaska's intervention in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups challenging permits issued to the Kensington Gold Mine in Juneau. Rep. Weyhrauch endorses the Kensington and feels it will be a substantial boost to the Northern Southeast region.

"I strongly support the Governor's and the State's intervention in this case on behalf of the project," said Rep. Weyhrauch. "The Southeast Conference supports this mine and the State's intervention. This last session, none of the Senators or Representatives from Southeast Alaska opposed House Concurrent Resolution 10, which supported development of the Kensington Mine. This project has demonstrated that it can proceed in an environmentally responsible manner and gained the support of the United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters and the Southeast Alaska Fishermen's Alliance. This is not a tradeoff between good jobs and or negative environmental impacts. This mine can be developed in an environmentally responsible manner and at the same time greatly contribute to our communities."

Rep. Weyhrauch noted the success of the Greens Creek Mine on nearby Admiralty Island. The Kensington Mine received all the necessary permits to begin construction in 2005 and more than 180 people are now working on the project. Southeast Alaska environmental groups filed the lawsuit in September. The Mine will employ 300 workers during construction and provide an estimated payroll of $16 million. Once underway it will provide 225 employees to our local economies including corporate income taxes in addition to generating local tax revenue.

For more information, contact Terry Harvey (907) 465-3744