Friday, January 31, 2014

Edward Snowden German interview (Air Date: 26 January 2014)

Seventh Circuit Rules Prosecutor Can Be Sued For Abusive Investigation and Misconduct

In an important decision on immunity, the United States Court of Appeal for the Seventh Circuit has ruled that a prosecutor is not protected by immunity for allegedly coercing false testimony that sent a man to death row 17 years ago.

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011 ruling in Connick v. Thompson broadly expanding immunity for prosecutors, the Seventh Circuit has affirmed that there are instances when prosecutors should be held civilly liable for their intentional misconduct.

Professor and legal commentator Jonathan Turley reported about the two prosecutors who were accused of misconduct in Fields v. Wharrie. Nathson Fields was convicted of a 1986 double homicide and sentenced to death, but he was granted a new trial a decade later because the original trial judge said he accepted a $10,000 bribe to acquit Fields' co-defendant, Earl Hawkins. After various witnesses recanted their testimony at the second trial and it was revealed that the prosecution used coercion to secure false testimony, Fields was acquitted. He sued prosecutors Lawrence Wharrie and David Kelley for his then 17 years of incarceration, but they insisted that they had immunity, and the district court agreed. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed, stripping Wharrie of immunity.

Writing for the Seventh Circuit panel majority, legal theorist and judge, Richard Posner, said it would be absurd to allow such prosecutors to claim immunity. He writes:

"Wharrie is asking us to bless a breathtaking injustice. Prosecutor, acting pre-prosecution as an investigator, fabricates evidence and introduces the fabricated evidence at trial. The innocent victim of the fabrication is prosecuted and convicted and sent to prison for 17 years. On Wharrie's interpretation of our decision in Buckley, the prosecutor is insulated from liability because his fabrication did not cause the defendant's conviction, and by the time that same prosecutor got around to violating the defendant's right he was absolutely immunized. So: grave misconduct by the government's lawyer at a time where he was not shielded by absolute immunity; no remedy whatsoever for the hapless victim."

Read the opinion:

President Obama: The Keystone XL is not in our national interest

The State Department has issued its final environmental review, confirming that the Keystone XL pipeline could accelerate climate change. Tell President Obama to keep his promise by rejecting the climate-wrecking pipeline and moving us toward a clean energy future instead.

Sign the petition to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline:|utmccn=email|utmcmd=alert&__utmv=-&__utmk=65997034

Monday, 03 February: Nationwide Vigils to Protest Keystone XL

This is an all-hands-on-deck moment to send the message to President Obama that Keystone XL fails his climate test and he must reject it. On the evening of Monday, February 3rd, we’ll come together around the country to make our voices heard. RSVP for an event near you or host your own.

See >>[ZIP]

The No KXL protest vigils are organized by CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, 350, The Other 98%, Center for Biological Diversity, Oil Change International, Bold Nebraska, Energy Action Coalition and The Hip Hop Caucus.

Environmental study of the Keystone XL oil pipeline released

The State Department has just released a final environmental study of the Keystone XL oil pipeline that increases the odds that the long-debated project will win approval from the Obama administration, representing a major disappointment to climate activists.

Today's study contains findings similar to those of a March draft, which found that the project would not cause a major expansion of production from Canada's carbon-rich oil sands.  However, it contains some additional language that could support environmentalists' criticisms of the project.

The report is not the final word on Keystone -- the State Department still must study whether building the Canada-to-Texas pipeline would be in the U.S. national interest, with the final call going to Secretary of State John Kerry. There is no deadline for a final decision.

White House Offers Clemency To More Non-Violent Prisoners

The Obama administration, stepping up its efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system, called Thursday for the early release of more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders from federal prisons.

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, speaking to the New York State Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, said the administration wants to free inmates who no longer pose a threat to public safety and whose long-term incarceration “harms our criminal justice system.” He appealed to defense lawyers to identify candidates for clemency.

"You each can play a critical role in this process by providing a qualified petitioner — one who has a clean record in prison, does not present a threat to public safety, and who is facing a life or near-life sentence that is excessive under current law — with the opportunity to get a fresh start,” Cole told the lawyers.

His remarks were part of a broader prison reform effort by the Justice Department. In August, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that low-level drug offenders with no connection to gangs or large-scale drug organizations would no longer be charged with offenses that called for severe mandatory sentences. President Obama later commuted the sentences of eight inmates serving a long time for crack cocaine convictions.

Each of them had served at least 15 years and had been convicted before the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which sought to reduce the sentencing disparity between those convicted of crack and powder cocaine crimes.

“The president’s grant of commutations for these eight individuals is only a first step,” Cole said Thursday. “There are more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today.”

It’s unclear how many inmates could qualify for clemency, but thousands of federal inmates are serving time for crack cocaine offenses.

Civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, applauded Cole’s announcement.

“The Obama administration is taking an important step toward undoing the damage that extreme sentencing has done to so many in our criminal justice system,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office.

In other action Thursday on criminal justice reform, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance a bill, sponsored by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug offenders by half and allow 8,800 federal inmates imprisoned for crack cocaine crimes to return to court to seek punishments in line with the Fair Sentencing Act.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the panel, called the legislation “a step backward.” In a statement, he cited a letter sent to Holder from the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys that said “the merits of mandatory minimum sentences are abundantly clear.”

“They provide us leverage to secure cooperation from defendants. . . . They protect law-abiding citizens and help to hold crime in check,” the group said.

Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, called the bill “bipartisan and reasonable” and said it would “save taxpayers billions of dollars by locking up fewer nonviolent drug offenders for shorter periods of time.”

Holder, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, said federal prison costs represent one-third of the Justice Department budget. He called the enormous costs of overburdened prisons “a growing and potentially very dangerous problem.”

The cost of incarceration in the United States was $80 billion in 2010. The U.S. population has grown by about a third since 1980, but the federal prison population has increased by about 800 percent and federal prisons are operating at nearly 40 percent over capacity, Justice officials said.

Source URL:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Coal-Hungry World Brings Tough Choices For Native Americans

Inside a ceremonial longhouse in northern Oregon last September, the sun's rays spilling between the high-peaked beams, Davis Yellowash Washines was seated in full ceremonial dress -- yellow headband, red sash, beaded shoes. A rawhide drum rested in his hand, and to his left sat four teenage boys, each with his own drum and mallet. One wore a black Chevrolet T-shirt. They thumped their instruments and called out native songs as an organized smattering of young children bounced rhythmically counter-clockwise around the dirt floor. Two dozen fellow members of the tribal community, seated in folded metal chairs, looked on.

"This longhouse is used for lots of occasions," Washines said between songs. "But this one is significant."

This ceremony aimed to ward off coal.

Celilo Indian Village, Ore., separated from the Columbia River by only a highway and some railroad tracks, is one of many tribal communities that sit in the path of what could soon become America's coal-export superhighway. If government agencies grant approval to three export terminals proposed for Oregon and Washington, up to 100 million metric tons of coal per year could soon be shuttled in open rail cars from mines in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, along the shores of the Columbia River and the Puget Sound, and through ranches and reservations like this one. The coal would then be loaded onto ships destined for Asia's proliferating fleet of coal-fired power plants.

Many activists currently fighting the plan see the impacts of burning coal on the global climate as their primary motivation. But for the Yakama, Lummi and other tribes, as well as communities in the path of these shipments, it's the local effects that worry them most. There are the potential traffic delays and disturbances to cultural sites. Then there's the very real prospect of toxic coal dust wafting off the passing trains, fouling the air, poisoning local waterways and even contaminating key food resources -- such as the salmon on which many local tribes, including those living in the tiny Celilo Indian Village, depend.

More >>

NCAI President Cladoosby gives first State of Indian Nations

NCAI President Cladoosby gives first State of Indian Nations

Questions and Answers:

Brandeis University: Dead Men Still Walking: A First-Hand Account of Death Row and Wrongful Executions, 06 February

Please join us for a discussion & book signing event with America's most famous anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean.

Dead Men Still Walking:  A First-Hand Account of Death Row and Wrongful Executions  

When: Thursday, February 6, 2014, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Where: Levin Ballroom, Usdan Student Center,  Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA  02454

A Mom Begged The Judge To Let The Sentence Fit The Crime. He Ignored Her And Gave Her Son Life.

Over 2.3 million people are in American prisons. Over half are there for nonviolent crimes. And many, like Rufus, are there for having drugs. Not dealing. Not stealing. But for having drugs. They're there FOR LIFE for a crime that normally carries a 0-5 year sentence and treatment — because of mandatory-minimum laws. Listen to his story.

Rufus fell victim to one of the most egregious laws on the books: the mandatory-minimum three-strikes law. (You can read rdana, sans-serif;">a comprehensive PDF analysis of it and learn more about Rufus.) The evidence against him was a dime bag with cocaine residue in the backseat of the police car that the police drove him in. It was enough for a local judge to sentence him to LIFE IN PRISON — for having a tiny, basically empty plastic bag near him. That's it.

This crime, if you can call it that, under normal circumstances would carry a 0-5 year sentence, with treatment programs to help. But because he had two previous convictions, he is locked away on the taxpayer's dime for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.

Mandatory minimums are not only unfair to the convicted. They keep judges from doing their job. Not every crime is the same. And the idea of a tiny plastic bag putting you away for life is absurd.

We can do better. Here’s how you can help fix these dangerous laws that destroy communities.

And then share this if you think maybe our system is flawed and just might need fixing?

New York Reaches Agreement to End Battle Over Stop-and-Frisk

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday that New York City had reached an agreement with civil rights lawyers who had challenged the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices, which would allow the sweeping reforms ordered by a federal judge last summer to be carried out.
Those reforms, which included the appointment of a federal monitor, were blocked last fall after the Bloomberg administration appealed the judge’s rulings, which found that the city’s stop-and-frisk policies were unconstitutional and that the department had resorted to “a policy of indirect racial profiling.”
The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, had ruled that the policy resulted in “the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.”


Spain: Weekly protests begin in Barcelona for Leonard Peltier in February 2014

Starting in February, the (new) Leonard Peltier support group in Barcelona, Spain, will hold a weekly 1-hour protest in front of the U.S. Consulate.

Kimber to Tour Northern California with his Latest Book,"What Lies Across the Water - The Real Story of the Cuban Five"

After a successful East Cost tour last September that included a presentation in Boston at MIT, alongside Noam Chomsky, award-winning writer, editor and broadcaster Stephen Kimber will give presentations of his newly released book "What Lies Across the Water, The Real Story of the Cuban Five" in Northern California. The book recounts the events leading up to the 1998 arrest of the Cuban Five, five Cuban intelligence agents convicted of conspiring to commit espionage against the United States. The tour through the San Francisco Bay Area will occur from February 25th to March 4th. Kimber will be making presentations in universities and at community events. He will also give a number of media interviews and will meet with elected officials.   


Tuesday February 25
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616
Sponsored by: Chicano Studies

Chabot College
25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545
Room 554 in Building 500
Sponsored by: Faces of Cuba

Wednesday February 26 
U.C. Berkeley
402 Barrows Hall on the UC Campus, Berkeley, CA 94720
Sponsored by: Center for Latin American Studies

Thursday February 27 
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132
Burke Hall: 337
Sponsored by: Latina/Latino Studies SFSU
Cuba Educational Project SFSU
College of Ethnic Studies

Friday February 28 
Community Event
Marin Interfaith Task Force
Redwood Presbyterian Church
110 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, CA 94939

Sunday March 2 
Community Event
La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA
Community Event
Special Guests
Mayor of Richmond Gayle McLaughlin
Mayor of Berkeley, Tom Bates 

Monday March 3
College of Marin
835 College Avenue, Kentfield, CA 94904
Fusselman Hall 110

Tuesday March 4 
Sonoma State University
1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Room TBA
Sponsored by: Project Censored and Media Freedom Foundation
and SSU Sociology Club

U.S. Spied On Negotiators At 2009 Climate Summit

WASHINGTON -- The National Security Agency monitored the communications of other governments ahead of and during the 2009 United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to the latest document from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The document, with portions marked "top secret," indicates that the NSA was monitoring the communications of other countries ahead of the conference, and intended to continue doing so throughout the meeting. Posted on an internal NSA website on Dec. 7, 2009, the first day of the Copenhagen summit, it states that "analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries' preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies."

"Second Party partners" refers to the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with which the U.S. has an intelligence-sharing relationship. "While the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference remains uncertain, signals intelligence will undoubtedly play a significant role in keeping our negotiators as well informed as possible throughout the 2-week event," the document says.

The Huffington Post published the documents Wednesday night in coordination with the Danish daily newspaper Information, which worked with American journalist Laura Poitras.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

OST to bar TransCanada from Pine Ridge Reservation

The Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Health and Human Services committee has passed a resolution reasserting the tribe’s opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline by passing a resolution barring TransCanada official Phil Fontaine from entering its territory.

Fontaine is a former Assembly of First Nations chief, who last December accepted a position with the TransCanada Corporation. TransCanada is the Calgary based energy company that is developing and operating energy infrastructure across North America. They are also the company responsible for the development of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The energy company has been under enormous scrutiny for its product, assumed environmental impact as well as the legal leeway it has been granted by American courts. In 2012 a Texas Judge ruled that TransCanada has the legal right of eminent domain and can acquire land from owners who refuse to sign an agreement to give the company a right-away on their property to the company. They have also been accused of reporting potentially resistant landowners in the U.S. to the Office of Homeland Security.

Fontaine’s position with the company requires him to go to Indigenous Nations across America and explain the company’s position on the KXL pipeline, however last week at an event at the University of Winnipeg he was met by significant protestors who refused to allow him to finish his speech. Fontaine defended himself in a statement to the Canadian Press. He said, “Have I been satisfied with everything that I’ve learned? Absolutely not. Have I expressed those views with industry? Absolutely, (The protest) was not one of our shining moments as an aboriginal community.”

The Oglala Sioux Tribe has been opposed to the pipeline and has made every effort to make their position clear. Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer told representatives of the U.S. State Department that if the pipeline makes its way towards Lakota Country that, “We are ready to fight the pipeline and our horses are ready.”

The resolution passed in the Health and Human Services committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribe also said that they were greatly opposed to the pipeline by passing the resolution.

“We are taking a step that we don’t want him here speaking to anybody. We want to ban him from even trying to promote the Keystone XL pipeline. Every committee and council person is opposed to this pipeline and we do not want him around here talking to our people,” said Lydia Bear Killer, chairperson of the tribe’s health and human services department. “A lot of people come to our reservation with information that isn’t always accurate. They sell things real easy to our people and we need to protect our environment and or water for the future generations,” Bear Killer said.

The council is expected to vote on the resolution at this week’s council meeting.

Source URL:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 30: 2014 State of Indian Nations

2014 State of Indian Nations
Thursday, January 30th
10:30 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Knight Studios, Newseum
Washington, DC

This is a free, ticketed event.
Request Audience Tickets HERE

*Note, due to limited space we will not be able to distribute tickets to all who are interested. NCAI apologizes for the inconvenience.

Contact with questions.
Click HERE to watch the event live.

NCAI Releases R-word Video Ahead of Super Bowl

The National Congress of American Indians has release a video extending their efforts to eradicate the offensive R-word.

Just days before Super Bowl XXLVII, the NCAI is reminding Americans that Native people are not mascots.

“This week’s celebration of football is exactly why we need to keep talking about the D.C. mascot,” the organization said in an email to ICTMN. “Cheering for a football team should never include the casual use of a racial slur. It is important for all teams and all of their fans that the name of the D.C. team is changed.”

In October 2013, the organization released a 29-page report called Ending the Legacy of Racism in Sports & the Era of Harmful ‘Indian’ Sports Mascots, which ICTMN covered

The video called “Proud to Be” illustrates the strength and beauty of tribal nations and highlights prominent and influential Native people throughout history. The roughly two-minute video ends by saying that Native Americans call themselves many things, but not the R-word; and the last shot of the video is a picture of the ‘Redskins’ helmet.


Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y.
His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
More >>

Monday, January 27, 2014

BREAKING: Internet companies will be allowed to disclose info on national security orders and requests

The Obama administration will allow Internet companies and others to disclose the "number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests, and the underlying legal authorities," said Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in a joint statement today.

The move comes after President Barack Obama pledged more transparency about NSA surveillance requests during his speech at DOJ earlier this month.

"While this aggregate data was properly classified until today, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with other departments and agencies, has determined that the public interest in disclosing this information now outweighs the national security concerns that required its classification," the joint statement indicated.

For more information...

The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI

On March 8, 1971, eight American citizens led by mild-mannered Haverford College physics professor named William Davidon stole secret records from the offices of the FBI in Media, Pennsylvania. It was perhaps the most powerful single act of nonviolent resistance in American history. These burglars kept their role silent for over forty years:

"On the night of March 8, 1971, the eight burglars carried out their plan. Under the cover of darkness and the crackling sounds in nearly every home and bar of continuous news about the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier world heavyweight championship boxing match taking place that evening at New York's Madison Square Garden and being watched on television throughout the world, the burglars broke into the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, a sleepy town southwest of Philadelphia. ...

The F.B.I. field office in Media, Pa., from which the burglars stole files that showed the extent of the bureau's surveillance of political groups.

"The files stolen by the burglars that night in Media revealed the truth and destroyed the myths about Hoover and the institution he had built since he became its director in 1924. Contrary to the official propaganda that had been released continuously for decades by the FBI's Crime Records Division -- the bureau's purposely misnamed public relations operation -- Hoover had distorted the mission of one of the most powerful and most venerated institutions in the country.

"The Media files revealed that there were two FBIs -- the public FBI Americans revered as their protector from crime, arbiter of values, and defender of citizens' liberties, and the secret FBI. This FBI, known until the Media burglary only to people inside the bureau, usurped citizens' liberties, treated black citizens as if they were a danger to society, and used deception, disinformation, and violence as tools to harass, damage, and  -- most important -- silence people whose political opinions the director opposed.

"Instead of being a paragon of law and order and integrity, Hoover's secret FBI was a lawless and unprincipled arm of the bureau that, as Davidon had feared, suppressed the dissent of Americans. To the embarrassment and frustration of agents who privately opposed this interpretation of the bureau's mission, agents and informers were required to be outlaws. Blackmail and burglary were favorite tools in the secret FBI. Agents and informers were ordered to spy on -- and create ongoing files on -- the private lives, including the sexual activities, of the nation's highest officials and other powerful people.

"Electoral politics were manipulated to defeat candidates the director did not like. Even mild dissent, in the eyes of the FBI, could make an American worthy of being spied on and placed in an ongoing FBI file, sometimes for decades. As the authors of The Lawless State wrote in 1976, the FBI 'has operated on a theory of subversion that assumes that people cannot be trusted to choose among political ideas. The FBI has assumed the duty to protect the public by placing it under surveillance.'

"Until the Media burglary, this extraordinary situation -- a secret FBI operating under principles that were the antithesis of both democracy and good law enforcement -- thrived near the top of the federal government for nearly half a century, affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. The few officials who were aware of some aspects of the secret FBI silently tolerated the situation for various reasons, including fear of the director's power to destroy the reputation of anyone who raised questions about his operations. ...

Farmhouse, near Pottstown, Pa., where the burglers spent 10 days sorting through the documents.

"This historic act of resistance -- perhaps the most powerful single act of nonviolent resistance in American history -- ignited the first public debate on the proper role of intelligence agencies in a democratic society. Perceptions of the bureau evolved from adulation to criticism and then to a consensus that the FBI and other intelligence agencies must never again be permitted to be lawless and unaccountable. By 1975, the revelations led to the first congressional investigations of the FBI and other intelligence agencies and then to the establishment of congressional oversight of those agencies.

"For more than forty years, the Media burglars have been silent about what they did on the night of March 8, 1971. Seven of the eight burglars have been found by this writer, the first journalist to anonymously receive and then write about the files two weeks after the burglary. In the more than forty years since they were among the most hunted people in the country as they eluded FBI agents during the intensive investigation ordered by Hoover, they have lived rather quiet lives as law-abiding, good citizens who moved from youth to middle age and, for some, now to their senior years. They kept the promise they made to one another as they met for the last time immediately before they released copies of the stolen files to the public -- that they would take their secret, the Media burglary, to their graves.

"The seven burglars who have been found have agreed to break their silence so that the story of their act of resistance that uncovered the secret FBI can be told."
The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI
Author: Betty Medsger 
Publish: Knopf
Date: Copyright 2014 by Betty Medsger
Pages: 6-10

If you wish to read further: Buy Now

Conflict with mining company, Motoling Picuan community members shot by police

Three members of the Motoling Picuan indigenous community in North Sulawesi were seriously injured when a conflict between the community and PT Sumber Energi Jaya, a gold mining company operating in the area, escalated around midday last Monday, 6 January.

Sernike Merentek, a member of the Motoling Picuan indigenous community was shot by police from behind with the bullet penetrating his stomach. He was taken to Kando Malalayang hospital, Manado, in a critical condition. He is now reported to be conscious and able to communicate, though minimally.
In addition to Sernike, Hardi Sumangkut, 36 years old, and Asni Runtunuwu, 40 years old, were also both injured by police gunfire. Another victim, Terok Jefri, 38, was wounded in the arm by arrows fired by hired thugs working for the company.
Other community members have also since been arrested. "Six members of the indigenous Motoling Picuan community are reported to have been arrested and mistreated by police. They are still being held," said Second Deputy to the Secretary General of AMAN, Rukka Sombolinggi.

How to Send Us Files More Securely

Joining others of the media, today ProPublica launched a new system to help sources send investigative journalists messages and files more securely than they can via things like email and FTP.

The system uses SecureDrop, an open-source tool developed for The New Yorker by Kevin Poulsen and the late Aaron Swartz. The software is now maintained by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, who worked to set it up at ProPublica. To help protect sources' identities, it is only accessible using the Tor system. ProPublica does not record sources IP addresses or information about the browser, computer or operating system used.


Spy Agencies Probe Angry Birds and Other Apps for Personal Data

New documents show the NSA and its British counterpart have access to advertiser data on smartphones, which can include your gender, income, and even whether you're a "swinger."

When a smartphone user opens Angry Birds, the popular game application, and starts slinging birds at chortling green pigs, spy agencies have plotted how to lurk in the background to snatch data revealing the player’s location, age, sex and other personal information, according to secret British intelligence documents.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

KBOO Community Radio (Oregon), Prison Pipeline: Leonard Peltier and the 18th Annual NW Regional Clemency March and Rally

Prison Pipeline
Air date:  Mon, 01/27/2014 - 6:30pm - 7:00pm
Corvallis 104.3 FM • Hood River 91.9 FM • Portland 90.7 FM

Adam Carpinelli and a member of Tacoma Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee discuss amnesty for long term U.S.-held Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier. Leonard, a Native American man, was convicted in 1977 and has been serving two consecutive life sentences as a result of being an FBI target. The FBI's Counter Intelligence Program was an illegal operation during the 1970's targeting progressive activists from many different social movements. In 1975 two FBI agents openly fired on residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where Leonard was protecting at the time. This shootout resulted in the deaths of two agents. Two of the three activists present were let off for self defense. Leonard maintains his innocence but was charged for these murders. He is almost 70 years old and currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida. The 18th annual NW Regional Clemency march and rally for Leonard Peltier will take place in Tacoma, Washington on February 8, 2014.


Stories that mattered to Indian Country last week

WELCOME BACK: It has been a month of sweat lodges, job searching and spending time with his wife for Brandon Olebar as the Nuu-chah-nulth/Sto:lo man eases back into normal life after a decade of  imprisonment for a crime he did not commit.

FIXING FEMA: With disaster assistance now available to tribes through the 2013 Stafford Act, the Navajo Nation has set out to streamline the process of applying for its residents.

FAREWELL: Artist and AIM activist Bill Soza, also known as Billy War Soldier, has walked on.

BEAR WITNESS: Actress Misty Upham, who currently appears in August: Osage County and is also known for Jimmy P. and Frozen River, is hoping to use her star power to improve the lives of captive bears.

PELTIER BOOST: James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, made a historic visit to American Indian Movement member Leonard Peltier in prison on Friday – an event expected to boost the growing movement to free the American Indian activist who is believed by Amnesty International and other organizations to be a political prisoner.

CASE DISMISSED: A lawsuit claiming that the current Oklahoma license plate is a violation of a Methodist minister’s First Amendment rights and a promotion of “pantheism” has been dismissed in federal court.

SAFETY REPORT: Radical, revolutionary, exceptional or just plain common sense are some of the terms used to describe "A Roadmap to Making Native America Safer," the result of two years' work by the nine-member Indian Law and Order Commission established by the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010.

Mark your calendar now and plan to attend a day of remembrance on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Oglala, South Dakota, 26 June 2014.  Details TBA.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Facing the New Conquistador: Indigenous Rights and Repression in Rafael Correa’s Ecuador

On 10 January Andrés Donoso Fabara, Ecuadorian Secretary of Hydrocarbons, filed a formal complaint against eight indigenous leaders: Humberto Cholango and Bartolo Ushigua, President and Vice-president of CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador); Franco Viteri, President of GONOAE (Governing Body of the First Nations of the Ecuadorian Amazon); Sarayaku leader Patricia Gualinga; Zapara leaders Cléver Ruiz and Gloria Ushigua, and Achuar leaders Jaime Vargas and Patricio Sake. The Minister accused them of ‘making threats’ while opposing the government’s 11th round of oil auctions, and recommended they be imprisoned.
Cecilia Velasque, former public attorney with the national Department of Indigenous Peoples and Communities, and now Coordinator of REMPE (the Network of Political Women of Ecuador), says: “More than 200 leaders have been prosecuted, both indigenous activists and trades unionists. Marlon Santi of Sarayaku is one of those prosecuted.”
Marlon Santi, former head of CONAIE was president of the Amazonian Kichwa community of Sarayaku when it successfully argued before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that Ecuador had violated their rights by allowing oil companies to operate on their land without their consent. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has also ordered precautionary protective measures be implemented to protect the Tagaeri and Taromenane Peoples in the Yasuní region of the Amazon.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Administration's Decision on Keystone Due Late Spring

ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION ON KEYSTONE DUE LATE SPRING - WSJ: "The Obama administration is set to complete a critical phase of its Keystone XL pipeline review next month, setting the stage for President Barack Obama to make a call on the politically charged decision in the thick of the midterm campaign season. The State Department, which has been studying the project for years, aims to release a report on the environmental impact of the proposed pipeline extension in early or mid-February, people inside and outside the government familiar with the decision said Thursday. That would put Mr. Obama on track to make a decision by May or June. Until now, Obama administration officials have been vague about the timing of the State Department review. Officials have released no timetable for a decision and a series of delays in considering the project have left some observers thinking it could stretch beyond the November midterm elections. The State Department has described the environmental study as highly technical and involved, accounting for the time taken to date. An administration official said the State Department didn't want to 'rush out' the report, wanting to abide by the regulations and 'legal hoops.'" [WSJ]

ICTMN: Anaya’s Visit to Peltier Boosts Clemency Efforts

James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, made a historic visit to American Indian Movement member Leonard Peltier in prison on Friday – an event expected to boost the growing movement to free the American Indian activist who is believed by Amnesty International and other organizations to be a political prisoner.

Peltier, Turtle Mountain Ojibway, is in United States Federal Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida, now serving his 37th year in prison in what is widely believed to be a wrongful conviction.

Anaya made an official visit to the U.S. in the spring of 2012 to examine the human rights situation of Indigenous Peoples here. After visiting and hearing testimony from Indigenous Nations, Peoples, organizations and communities around the U.S. he issued a report, called “The situation of Indigenous Peoples in the United States of America,” in which he talked about Peltier’s case:

“A more recent incident that continues to spark feelings of injustice among Indigenous Peoples around the United States is the well-known case of Leonard Peltier,” Anaya wrote. “After a trial that has been criticized by many as involving numerous due process problems, Mr. Peltier was sentenced to two life sentences for murder, and has been denied parole on various occasions. Pleas for presidential consideration of clemency by notable individuals and institutions have not borne fruit. This further depletes the already diminished faith in the criminal justice system felt by many Indigenous Peoples throughout the country.”


UN Special Rapporteur Meets with Leonard Peltier in Prison

COLEMAN, FLORIDA –  On Friday January 24, 2014, United Nations Special Rapporteur, Professor James Anaya visited United States Penitentiary Coleman 1 in Florida, to meet with American Indian political prisoner Leonard Peltier.  Professor Anaya was accompanied by Leonard “Lenny ” Foster, member of the Board of Directors of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), Supervisor of the Navajo Nations Correction Project, and Spiritual Advisor to Mr. Peltier for nearly 30 years. The historic, nearly four hour meeting began around 9 am.

While the discussion Friday morning was meant to focus on executive clemency for Leonard Peltier, the conversation touched on many subjects, as Mr. Peltier was eager to hear the Special Rapporteur’s perspective on the worldwide condition of indigenous peoples.

In a trial that is widely recognized as a miscarriage of justice, Leonard Peltier was convicted in 1977, in connection with a shootout with US Government forces, where two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and one young Indian man lost their lives. Every piece of evidence to convict Mr. Peltier has been since proven false.

Professor Anaya is currently serving his second term as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People. In September 2012, following a series of consultation sessions with Indigenous Peoples throughout the United States, the Special Rapporteur produced  a  “ Country Report  on the Situation of Indigenous Peoples In the United States of America” (A/HRC/21/47/Ad)]. In the report, Professor Anaya called for freedom for Leonard Peltier, and stated: “Pleas for presidential consideration of clemency…have not borne fruit. This further depletes the already diminished faith in the criminal justice system felt by many indigenous peoples…”

The effort to engage the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the struggle to address justice for Mr. Peltier began in 2008, during a discussion between Lenny Foster and Alberto Salomando, former attorney for the IITC.

Following today's visit Lenny Foster stated: ‘The visit by U.N. Special Rapporteur James Anaya to Leonard Peltier in prison is very significant and historic for us.  We thank him for make this possible. This will support efforts for Executive Clemency for Leonard Peltier and promote reconciliation and justice in this case”

Leonard Peltier said Friday, “If the Constitutional violations that took place in my trial are allowed to stand, it will set precedence for future trials, and jeopardize the freedom and constitutional rights of all Americans.”

Also in attendance of the meeting Friday were:  David Hill, Director of the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (ILPDC), Peter Clark, ILPDC Chapter Coordinator and member.

David Hill stated, “Americans can no longer afford to tolerate this miscarriage of justice and we shall make every effort to bring these judicial violations to the attention of all Americans, as well as internationally”


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Russell Means, the Movie: Watch 20 Minutes of 'Conspiracy to Be Free'

The late Lakota activist Russell Means was also a film actor, so this won't be the first time his face has loomed large on the silver screen. But this is different from Natural Born Killers and Last of the Mohicans, two of Means' better known films -- this time, Means isn't playing a character in a story. This time, in Conspiracy to Be Free, Russell Means is the story. The documentary is being executive-produced by Pearl Daniel-Means, Russell's widow, and directed by Colter Johnson.


Below is a 21-minute clip described by the filmmakers as the "full teaser" of Conspiracy to Be Free.

The guy behind the "Free Leonard" signs - Shane's Campaign to Free Leonard Peltier

For years, Shane Gray has been on a singular quest to raise awareness of the jailed Indian activist. But now his ubiquitous signs are drawing the ire of local law enforcement.

Just past 5 p.m. on a windy January day, Shane Gray rides onto the Central Avenue catwalk that stretches across Interstate 80. He leans his battered bicycle against the fencing, puts a red-tailed hawk feather in his mouth, and begins waving a bright-red placard that reads "Free Leonard" at evening commuters.

Some drivers honk their horns in support even though many don't know that "Leonard" refers to imprisoned Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who was controversially sentenced to life in federal prison in 1977 for the shooting deaths of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

"It's good when they honk," Gray says cheerfully as a chilly wind tosses his thinning blonde hair, "because then the people who don't know who Leonard is will take notice.... They'll ask, 'Who's this Leonard guy, anyway?'"

More  >>

Wrongfully Imprisoned Native Brandon Olebar Adjusts to Freedom

It has been a month of sweat lodges, job searching and spending time with his wife for Brandon Olebar as the Nuu-chah-nulth/Sto:lo man eases back into normal life after a decade of  imprisonment for a crime he did not commit.

Olebar, 30, walked out of prison in Washington State a free man in December, thanks to the efforts of law students working with the Innocence Project Northwest, after serving 10 years of a 16-year sentence for robbery and burglary.


Court Rules in Favor of Native Youth Attacked at Flagstaff Dew Downtown Event

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — A Flagstaff Judge ruled today that Snowbowl ski area supporter Lindsay Lucas, must pay restitution for assaulting two Native Youth at a Flagstaff event called Dew Downtown on February 9, 2013.

“I’m pleased to report that the Judge was in our favor. It’s been a very long year of constant continuances. We’ve all suffered emotionally as a family from this ordeal.” sated Leslyn Begay, Diné (Navajo) mother of the two boys who were 11 & 13 when assaulted. “It’s nerve wrecking walking into the judicial system not knowing what to expect. As a Diné and person of color you worry it may not go in your favor.” said Ms. Begay.

As part of a weeklong call for actions, more than 50 people gathered in downtown Flagstaff for an Idle No More flash mob round dance to support protection of the holy San Francisco Peaks.
As part of a week-long call for actions, more than 50 people gathered in downtown Flagstaff for an Idle No More flash mob round dance to support protection of the holy San Francisco Peaks.

On February 9, 2013, more than 50 people had gathered in downtown Flagstaff for a peaceful Idle No More round dance in protest of Snowbowl ski area expansion and snowmaking with treated sewage on the holy San Francisco Peaks.

 The protest coincided with Dew Downtown, a City of Flagstaff sponsored event in partnership with Arizona Snowbowl.

The group formed a circle and were closing the protest with the American Indian Movement song when the Snowbowl supporter rushed into the circle of protesters swinging her arms and tore through a large banner, pulling it from the people holding it and smashed it on the ground. She then pushed further into the circle and assaulted the two young Diné who were singing and drumming. After punching at them, she grabbed at the drums and tried to break them.

Police initially refused to charge the assaulter.


Texas Shouldn't – BUT JUST DID – Execute a Mexican National

Yesterday, at 9:32 p.m., the state of Texas executed Edgar Arias Tamayo, a 46-year-old Mexican national. Injecting lethal drugs into Mr. Tamayo's bloodstream was a clear violation of the United States' international obligations, and yet the state of Texas wasn't deterred.

What's going on here? The short answer: a deadly combination of a blood-thirsty state and a stalled Congress...

Next March, the United States' untenable position on the death penalty will be subject to a review by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, a body of independent experts that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a treaty the United States ratified in 1992. In a shadow report to the committee, the ACLU highlighted the system's many flaws, including the fact that the death penalty is applied in arbitrary and discriminatory manner without affording vital due process rights, such as access to effective counsel and the right to remedy to halt executions - not to mention that methods of execution and death row conditions have been condemned as cruel, inhuman, or degrading.

The train has left the station. It is only a matter of time until all states join the evolving international consensus that rejects the legal and moral foundation of the death penalty. Unfortunately, it will be at higher human cost and unacceptable flouting of international law.

More >>

Live Q&A with Edward Snowden on Thursday, 23rd January

Questions posed:

  • @mperkel #ASKSNOWDEN They say it's a balance of privacy and safety. I think spying makes us less safe. do you agree?
  • @mrbass21 Recently several threats have been made on your life by the intelligence community. Are you afraid for your life? Thoughts? #AskSnowden
  • @ferenstein what's the worst and most realistic harm from bulk collection of data? Why do you think it outweighs national security? #AskSnowden
  • @LukasReuter #AskSnowden How should the community of states react to the new information concerning surveillance? What actions have to be made?
  • @wikileaks #AskSnowden The Ecuadorean Consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, lost his job after his helping you to safety was spun. Message for his family?
  • ‏@jaketapper #AskSnowden Under what conditions would you agree to return to the U.S.?
  • @Valio_ch #asksnowden Do you think that the Watchdog Report by Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board will have any impact at all? 
  • @RagBagUSA #AskSnowden what (in your opinion) is the appropriate extent of US national security apparatus? Surely some spying is needed?
  • @MichaelHargrov1 #AskSnowden Was the privacy of your co-workers considered while you were stealing their log-in and password information?
  • @auerfeld #AskSnowden do you think it's a shame that #Obama gave his #NSA speech before his Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board reported?
  • @VilleThompson What do you think about Obama's whistleblowing protection act? #AskSnowden
  • @midwire How quickly can the NSA, et. al. decrypt AES messages with strong keys #AskSnowden Does encrypting our emails even work?
  • @savagejen Do you think it is possible for our democracy to recover from the damage NSA spying has done to our liberties? #AskSnowden
See all of Snowden's responses:

The mass surveillance of the American People must STOP!

This last weekend the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, was all over the news intimating that Edward Snowden's current residence in Russia was evidence that Russia had helped him before the fact.

Stop The Mass Surveillance Of The American People action page:

This is nothing but the most reckless and ignorant innuendo. And the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, acted like she was actually taking him seriously. But today, nobody who made these ridiculous assertions is willing to back them up.

The whole, entire world knows why Snowden was STRANDED in Russia. Our own government yanked his passport while he was trying to make a connection to a flight to South America. How is it that anyone on the "intelligence" committee does not know this? Why should we trust or believe any of the other scary hyperbole coming from the mouth of such a one?

The fact is that there is not a shred of evidence that the unprecedented 4th Amendment abuses of the NSA have done anything to make the American People more safe in any way. Their sole intent was, and remains, to CONTROL the American People through fear and intimidation.

Why are they spying on the American People in such a totalitarian way? Are the American people the enemy? They are spying on each and every member of Congress, that's right, even you. Are members of Congress terrorists? Why are they building a billion dollar data storage facility in Utah if they aren't recording and warehousing the full content of all our communications right now? And they are so clearly lying about that too.

The mass surveillance of the American People must STOP!

Stop The Mass Surveillance Of The American People action page:

Puerto Rico: 1st Oscar-Mandela Protest on 22 March 2014

Join The First Oscar – Mandela Protest in Puerto Rico on Saturday, March 22, 2014, on the Abolition of Slavery Day, to peacefully protest for the decolonization of Puerto Rico and the release of our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. It is the perfect day to protest the enslavement of Puerto Rico by the government of the United States.

We will march from the Roosevelt Avenue Urban Train Station at 2 PM to the United States Court in Puerto Rico on Chardón Street in Hato Rey.

If you belong to any particular group, feel free to bring your flags and signs to our protest. We want it to be a collective effort involving everyone who believes that colonialism is a crime against humanity and a threat to world peace. We need to have as many people as possible, because those who practice or accept colonialism, don’t believe in justice for all!

Un abrazo,


We Can't Eat Gold in Bristol Bay - An Interview with Yup'ik spokesman Bobby Andrew

Bobby Andrew, Bristol Bay, Alaska, has re-captured headlines as the battle to protect the area from the extractive industry continues. Last week the Pebble Mine Partnership's efforts to establish a vast gold mine in the region was dealt a devastating blow by the EPA's latest watershed assessment. This extensive study definitively reveals that large-scale mining operations would have severe detrimental effects on local fisheries, wildlife and Native culture in the home of the world's largest and most spectacular wild salmon runs.

More >>

ALEC: All power to the (corporate) people

Legislatures normally have platoons of young lawyers who work as drafters for the entire body. The legislators put their raw ideas into a hopper and it’s the job of the permanent employees to find where the ideas should go and how they should be expressed so as not to conflict with what’s already there. In Washington, these folks work for the Office of Legislative Counsel. In Texas, they work for the Texas Legislative Council...

No legislator has to go into a room alone and create a law from scratch, and it’s a serious question whether laws should be born that way even if it were commonly possible...

Not all laws come out of the regular bureaucracy. Some lobbyists are lawyers, and those who are not employ lawyers, and lobbyists are happy to take on as much of a legislator’s work as they are allowed. All of this description about elected representatives and the bureaucrats who serve them is backdrop to the matter of lobbyists going beyond giving out information and actually writing laws...

There’s an 800-pound gorilla in that cage that claims it’s not a lobbyist, and he is known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is an organization that brings together big corporations, the outfits that Mitt Romney reminded us and the Supreme Court instructs us are “persons” with state legislators...

ALEC gives legislators the gift of ready-made laws that privilege corporate persons over human persons. Because ALEC only works this agenda in state legislatures, I need to explain why Indians should care, because Indian law is a federal sausage rather than a state one...

ALEC was the invisible man in state government until it involved itself in the interests of the National Rifle Association, which has for some time been less the interests of gun owners than the interests of gun manufacturers. That is, laws directed to surfing the demographic trends by selling more guns to fewer customers. In 1993, ALEC began producing for the NRA by opposing a waiting period to buy guns...