Matt Apuso of the New York Times has just published an article on THE UPSHOT detailing information that it received from the Pentagon regarding the transfer of military equipment such as machine guns, night-vision equipment, silencers, armored cars, and aircraft to local and regional police agencies. It is a compelling piece that will help you to track transfers of weapons into your communities since 2006. The original program was created by the Defense Department in the 1990s. Raw data can be found here.
Photo by Getty Images Scott Olson from Ferguson Missouri just before he was arrested by police, for taking photos of their actions. This photo shows police forcing protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 -Getty Images/Scott Olson
Matt Apuzzo New York Times THE UPSHOT
WASHINGTON — Since President Obama took office, the Pentagon has transferred to police departments tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.
In May, The New York Times requested and received from the Pentagon its database of transfers since 2006. The data underpinned an article in June and helped inform coverage of the police response this month in Ferguson, Mo., after an officer shot Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.
The Times is now posting the raw data to GitHub here. With this data, which is being posted as it was received, people can see what gear is being used in their communities. The equipment is as varied as guns, computers and socks.
The Pentagon-to-police transfer program is not new. Congress created it during the drug war, as a way to increase police firepower in the fight against drug gangs. But since 9/11, as the Pentagon geared up to fight two wars, then drew down as those wars ended, the amount of available military surplus has ballooned.
Now, after a week of confrontation between protesters in Ferguson and heavily armed police, members of Congress are criticizing the trickle down of military gear.
Read the whole piece here.
We are all greatly concerned, frustrated, and downright angry about all the things going on in Ferguson, Missouri. But are we shocked?
Yes, “we are shocked, just shocked” to borrow the old line for Casablanca when Captain Renault declared that he was unaware that gambling was going on at Rick’s nightclub. Are we shocked about the militarization of the police? Yes! Are we shocked about the ongoing resistance to the police actions? No! Are we shocked that Americans across the county are standing in solidarity with the residents of Ferguson- No! Are we shocked that these kinds of militarized police forces are probably in place in your community? Absolutely not. And you should not be either.
Today, Daily Kos published the following article describing the intentional election and voting strategies that allow a community that is 70 percent African American to be ruled by a white Republican Mayor, a majority white City Council, and a local police force that has 3 non-white police officers on a force of 50. Sadly Ferguson is not unique in America.
by Steve Singiser Daily Kos Elections
A consistent subplot to the horrors in Ferguson over the past week has been a consistent sense of wonder at how a city that has, over the past two decades, become a majority-black community could have a white mayor, a majority-white city council, and an almost universally white police force.
That wonder emanates from two simple facts: the city’s population is more than two-thirds African American, and the voting precincts that make up the greater Ferguson area are overwhelmingly black and Democratic. And yet the political power structure in the city is white, and the mayor is not only white, he is a Republican.
As two must-read articles (one by Ian Millhiser of Think Progress, the other by Jeff Smith in the New York Times) affirm, the answer, in part, is electoral politics.
It would not be a stretch to say that municipal elections, in no small part, are rigged. Not in the classic “stolen election” sense, of course, but rigged in the sense that a number of factors, chief among them their scheduling, of all things, ensure that political change comes to communities at a snail’s pace, if at all.
Read the entire piece here
A detailed article published this week in Truthout makes a clear case for the link between privatization and commodification of lands, U.S. military and geopolitical goals, and indigenous peoples resistance and struggles in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Privatization of lands for giant energy farms such as wind, and large agricultural developments including biomass, and genetically modified organisms including food products and trees are deep concerns of the Global Justice Ecology Project.
In Oaxaca, a caravan of activists arrives to support those resisting the construction of a giant wind farm, in the face of more than 500 policemen attempting to take control of the territory. (Photo: Santiago Navarro F.)
“Communal Lands: Theater of Operations for the Counterinsurgency”
By Renata Bessi, Santiago Navarro F. and Translated by Miriam Taylor, Truthout
In 2006, a team of geographers from the University of Kansas carried out a series of mapping projects of communal lands in southern Mexico’s Northern Sierra Mountains. Coordinated by Peter Herlihy and Geoffrey B. Demarest, a US lieutenant colonel, the objective was to achieve strategic military and geopolitical goals of particular interest for the United States. The objective was to incorporate indigenous territories into the transnational corporate model of private property, either by force or through agreements. Demarest’s essential argument is that peace cannot exist without private property.
According to researcher and anthropologist Gilberto López y Rivas, “The agents on the expeditions consider the types of communal property in these lands, both collective and autonomous, to be an obstacle for the development plans currently being very aggressively executed, where there is capital from mining companies, pharmaceuticals, energy companies, among others,” he told Truthout. This is despite the fact that these communal lands in Mexico, for example, were recognized after the Mexican Revolution in 1910 and are lands that indigenous communities have possessed since time immemorial.
As the ideologue of these expeditions, Demarest considers collective land ownership to be the birthplace of delinquency and insurgency, and thus believes that collective property must be destroyed. He graduated from the School of the Americas, which is under the administration of the US Army and was founded in 1946 in Panama, with the objective of training Latin American soldiers in war and counterinsurgency tactics. In recent years, graduates from the School of the Americas have participated in assassinations in Colombia, formed part of the drug trafficking organization The Zetas, in Mexico, and were involved in the coup in Honduras in 2009, as was demonstrated by activists through a School of the Americas Watch lawsuit against the Department of Defense in February 2013. “Demarest is one of the coordinators of these expeditions. He was trained in the School of the Americas, later served as military attaché for the United States Embassy in Guatemala in 1988 and 1991, where a counterinsurgency project was implemented that caused terrible massacres of indigenous populations,” says López.
Read the full Truthout article here.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Uncategorized
1992 Protest in Tasmania. PhotoLangelle.org
According to Rick Morton in The Australian:
The Tasmanian government’s controversial anti-protest laws targeting “dreadlocked” forestry industry disrupters are so broad they could capture parents, pensioners and anyone else who “hinders” business, a labour law firm has warned unions.
Hindering can include any kind of delay or inconvenience caused.
“According to the legislation, a business does not even need to be harmed economically to meet the test,” [Tasmanian Law Society Anthony Mihal] said.
“If a protester briefly blocks a taxi, van and a truck, each one of those vehicles, being a business, counts as a separate offence against the act.
“A judge has to fine the protester a minimum of $5000 for the first offence and the second offence, which could happen in the same protest, would attract a penalty of three months’ imprisonment and up to two years.”
Organisations face fines of $100,000, with $10,000 for officials.
This push to limit environmental protest is linked, of course, to the push for increased logging of protected areas of the Tasmanian forest spearheaded most recently by Tony Abbott.
The struggle for Tasmania’s forests has been going on for decades, as noted by the above photo from GJEP Board Chair and Co-Founder Orin Langelle from a protest in Tasmania in 1992. The Forestry Commission was shut down for the day.
Source- Censored News, July 29, 2014
It appears that Brenda Norrel’s excellent Censored News blog is now over, but the work is carried on by Indigenous Resistance, a new blog which represents a collective of writers. Indigenous Resistance came to the internet in early July. Norell continues her posts there. Climate Connections has long followed and been a big fan of Censored News.
The final post on Censored News, dated July 29, 2014 “Thank-you the journey was never my own” is a beautifully written reflection of some of Brenda’s and the Censored New’s turning points. She writes:
Today, between a hospital stay and fight for my life in May, and a journey to the Zapatista Stronghold in Chiapas in August, I’m especially thankful for this road I’ve been on, which was never really my own. I’ve never spoken in public about journalism over the past 32 years, because, for me, it was a matter of following my inner voice, and what some call the Spirit or Creator.
There were turning points along the way, and today, I will remember a few of those. The first turning point came when Louise Benally of Big Mountain on Black Mesa shared the truth with me about Peabody coal. “The corporations lie,” she said. At the time, I was a new reporter for Navajo Times and living in a log cabin in the Chuska mountains on Navajoland. During those years, my friends took me to the home of Chief Frank Fool’s Crow on Pine Ridge. While on Hopi land, Dan Evehema, more than 100 years old, told me, “Don’t ever apply for grants, or they will own you.” (And I didn’t.)
Orin Langelle, Chair of the Board of Global Justice Ecology Project, which publishes Climate Connections, shared the description of Brenda Norell which appears on the final Censored News blog post:
Brenda Norrell has been a reporter in Indian country for 32 years, beginning with Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was a correspondent for AP and USA Today while living on Navajoland. Then, she served as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today. In 2006, she was censored and terminated by ICT, under new ownership, and created Censored News as a result. Censored News was published for eight years as a labor of love with no advertising or grants. Censored News exposed what is being censored in Indian country and provided a publishing platform for grassroots voices. Censored News archives continue to be read around the world by thousands of readers each week in countries circling the earth. Today, the new Indigenous Resistance, a collective of writers, continues this work.
By Miles Howe, June 21, 2014. Source: Halifax Media Co-op
Segewaat, who has been tending the sacred fire for over a week, was among the first to be arrested Photo by M. Howe
12 more people were arrested today in their attempts to stop SWN Resources Canada from conducting seismic testing along highway 126, in Kent County, New Brunswick.
At about 1:15pm, a convoy of cars parked themselves on River Lane, near the town of Kent Junction, about 100 metres from the thumpers. About 40 people then stationed themselves on the side of the road adjacent to the 3 thumpers, and began drumming and singing. The thumpers stopped their procession, and a group then stationed themselves in front of the trucks, blocking their paths.
RCMP forces then arrived, and a confrontation – as happened last Friday morning when 12 people were arrested attempting to halt the thumpers – ensued. The RCMP approached the gathered crowd in a line formation that spanned the highway. The crowd in front of the thumpers thinned to about ten people while the remainder of the crowd moved to the shoulder of the highway and continued to drum and sing. Continue reading
June 22, 2014. Source: WW4 Report
Photo from peruviantimes.com
Gregorio Santos, regional president of Cajamarca in northern Peru, was ordered to turn himself in for “preventative” imprisonment by a local anti-corruption prosecutor on June 17. The prosecutor, Walter Delgado, said Santos is under investigation by Peru’s Public Ministry for “illicit association” and bribery, although no details were provided. (La Republica, June 17) The left-wing Santos has been an outspoken opponent of the US-backed Conga mining project in Cajamarca. With Santos’ support, the Conga site has for months been occupied by peasant protesters who oppose the mine project. A major mobilization was held at the site on June 5, to commemorate World Environment Day. (Celedín Libre, June 7) Continue reading
Asserting Indigenous Law Over Unceded Lands
Source: Reclaim Turtle Island
-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- June 18th, 2014 [Unist’ot’en Territory - near Smithers, BC] Amid threats of a raid and impending pipeline approvals, the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation are prepared to continue to defend their territories against the incursion of government and industry. A soft blockade was erected in 2009, which remains today, to insure that pipeline projects which violate Wet’suwet’en Law would not trespass onto Wet’suwet’en territories to develop projects without their consent. Yesterday the Federal government approved the Northern Gateway Pipeline, but the Uni’stot’en Camp still remains in the path of the proposed pipe as well as several others. The Northern Gateway is intended to expand the Athabasca Tar Sands facilitating the export of bitumen to international markets via supertankers off the West Coast. The Uni’stot’en Clan is part of the hereditary chief system which has governed Wet’suwet’en lands since time immemorial and is not subject to the Indian Act or other impositions of colonial occupation. “Harper is illegal, Canada is illegal. The Provincial and Federal governments are illegal because they don’t have jurisdiction in our peoples territory. We have never signed any treaties, this land is unceded.” states Freda Huson, Unist’ot’en Clan member and spokesperson for the camp. Huson references a Supreme Court ruling in the Delgamuukw vs. British Columbia case that clearly states the ownership of unceded territories remains with the Indigenous peoples and that Band Council Chiefs and Indian Act Agents have no authority over these lands. In fact, consultation and consent must be given by the traditional and hereditary governance systems. Huson explains, “They’ve tried to get our consent and our Chiefs have said no to these projects and no means no. Wet’suwet’en law applies to these [projects]. Developers can go ahead and try and put their projects through here but they will be considered trespassers and we’ll enforce Wet’suwet’en law against trespassers… We’re not afraid of the Harper government, we’re not afraid of anyone who is going to try and forcefully put their project through our territory when we’ve already said no.” Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island have been standing up against resource extraction projects which infringe on our collective sovereignty and attack our territories, our peoples and our nations. Continued pushes for pipeline project approvals, tar sands expansion and fracking by the Federal government will only result in increased mobilization by Indigenous peoples. “Our numbers are quite high across Canada, Indigenous people probably out-number settler people and you can guarantee that if there is an uprising in one community – especially with a bigger project that impacts the whole world through global warming – you’re going to have a lot of upset people across Canada, this impacts every body.” Temporary highway, rail and port blockades have been used to show support with other Indigenous communities across Turtle Island and Huson asserts that any attack on the Unist’ot’en will result in widespread, global support. “We had people make vows that they will shut down major highways to impact the Canadian economy if the Harper government is going to ignore Indigenous people.” Dini Ze Toghestiy, a Hereditary Chief for the Likhs’amisyu Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and member of the Unist’ot’en Camp asserts, “Supporters are repositioning themselves in surrounding towns to help build local support, and people in the cities are mobilized now. There’s individuals all over the world who have pledged to do what they can to help us.” Concerning the threat of a raid on the camp, there was no police presence on Unist’ot’en territory on June 15th – the date set for the anticipated raid. A tip from the BC Civil Liberties Association informed the Unist’ot’en Camp that there’s a rumour going around Victoria that the government, rather than file an injunction against the camp, file a charge for trespass using the Crown Lands Act. “But this is not Crown land” stated Toghestiy, “this land is unceded and we’re still here. We’re not going anywhere. People are showing up to the camp every day, our numbers are growing. This war is far from bring over and we’re going to win this one. We’re going to win it decisively.”
Media Contact: Freda Huson: 778-210-1100