Friday, February 28, 2014

Hundreds march to commemorate Wounded Knee occupation

To the sounds of prayers, drumbeats and gunfire, Native Americans paid homage Thursday to the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee.

Converging from the four compass points, hundreds of marchers celebrated the 41st anniversary of the start of the 71-day occupation led by the American Indian Movement, or AIM. The occupation brought worldwide attention to the struggles of Native Americans.

"It woke up the world," said 60-year-old Earl Tall, who helped supply those in Wounded Knee during the occupation.


LIBERATION DAY: AIM Members Gather at Wounded Knee to Remember 1973 Takeover

Despite wintry temperatures, under a brilliant blue sky, Wounded Knee 1973 veterans, such as Clyde Bellecourt and Bill Means, were joined Thursday, February 27, 2014 with a younger generation of American Indian Movement grassroots members—many of whom were not yet born—to remember the takeover 41 years ago of Wounded Knee.

SF Rally focuses on "Reign of Terror" and the freedom of Leonard Peltier

A great day for everyone who came to the SF rally and demonstration calling on DoJ to investigate the period "Reign of Terror" which took place on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota during 1973-1976. Names of 60 men and women who were murdered during this period were read and with a drum beat and honor songs were acknowledged. The support crowd called for the immediate release of Leonard Peltier who has been unjustly imprisoned now for over 38 years.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Attorney General Holder Meets with Tribal National Leadership Council

Attorney General Eric Holder met this week with members of the Tribal Nations Leadership Council (TNLC) at the Justice Department.  The council, which meets twice a year with the Attorney General and with numerous officials of the Justice Department, was created in 2010 and consists of tribal leaders from around the country. The TNLC advises the Attorney General on issues critical to tribal communities.  On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the council heard about and discussed progress and challenges facing their communities in ensuring public safety, protecting tribal lands and natural resources, and civil rights, among others.   One area of progress noted was the recently announced pilot project under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013), as well as reflected on the first two public meetings of the Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence in Bismarck, N.D., (December 2013) and earlier this month in Phoenix.  The group also discussed tribal grant making at the Department, which has resulted in more than $430 million in grants under the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation over the past four years. 

As Attorney General Holder commented: 

The Tribal Nations Leadership Council plays a critical role in fostering open dialogue between the Justice Department and tribal governments throughout the country. Especially in recent years, we have begun to take historic steps forward in tribal sovereignty and self-determination, including through the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.  In many areas, federal and tribal partnerships are strengthening public safety.  And they are enabling us to invest in the future by focusing on the needs of children, finding ways to reduce the traumatic impact of violence on young lives, and nurture native youth leadership.

The TNLC is composed of tribal leaders selected by tribal governments to advise Justice Department leadership on an ongoing basis, and is the fulfillment of a pledge made by Attorney General Holder at the department’s Tribal Nations Listening Session in October 2009. The TNLC is composed of one tribal leader from each of the twelve regions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs:

Tribal Nations Leadership Council Members:
Michael J. Stickman, First Chief, Naluto Village, Alaska
Lynn Malerba, Chief, The Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, Connecticut
Ron Sparkman, Chairman, Shawnee Tribe, Oklahoma
Bryan Brewer, President, Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota
Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota
Ben Shelly, President, Navajo Nation, Arizona          
W. Ron Allen, Tribal Chairman/Executive Director, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Washington
Juana Majel Dixon, Councilwoman, Pauma-Yuima Band of Mission Indians, California
Merlin Sioux, Council Member, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Montana
John Barrett, Jr., Chairman, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma
Diane Enos, President, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Gary Hayes, Council Member for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Colorado/Utah

Indigenous Humanitarian Commission attacked in Colombia

Guerrillas targeted the car of the Humanitarian Commission of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN) on 20 February, injuring Yoiner Medina Talaga, an Indigenous Guard and Manager of ACIN's human rights monitoring system; Germán Valencia Medina, ACIN Human Rights Coordinator; and Nelson Pilcué, Legal Advisor to ACIN's Women's Program.

The Commission had been attending to over 50 families displaced by an upsurge in fighting prior to their being attacked in Jambaló, Cauca, by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Yoiner Medina Talaga, who was shot in the chest, remains in intensive care. Germán Valencia was shot in the arm while Nelson Pilcué was injured by shattering glass and metal.


Keystone XL Would Endanger Health of Americans, U.S. Senators Say

The oil brought into the United States from Canada via the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would jeopardize the health of Americans, two U.S. senators said Wednesday as they called for a public health impact study.

Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat representing California, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, held a news conference in Washington along with Dr. John O'Connor, an Alberta physician.

O'Connor told the news conference that carcinogens get into the food chain, water and air in communities downstream from the oilsands and that those toxins are linked to cancers occurring in those areas. He said he has "no political agenda" and that he is only advocating for his patients.

O'Connor shared his concerns about higher than average cancer rates, and rare cancers, in Fort Chipewyan, and he told CBC News he is trying to shine a spotlight on the "callous indifference" to the health of those who live downstream from the oilsands.


Native Americans to stop Keystone pipeline

It is an issue that has galvanized Native Americans, environmentalists, activists and even the Green Party and is not one that is going to go away as conveniently as the Obama Administration hopes it will. The Trans Canada Keystone XL (Export Limited) Pipeline, which will destroy and poison huge swathes of Indian lands and irreversibly pollute large parts of Alberta, Canada and the United States all the way to the Gulf of Mexico should also be galvanizing Canadians but they are for the large part silent. Will Obama and Washington politicians beholden to corporate and big oil interests do the right thing and say no to the pipeline?


A first for mainstream media: Indigenous voices in opposition to the KXL pipeline

WATCH this major network segment that aired last night (2/26/14) that features Gary Dorr of the Nez Perce Nation and Wizipan LIttle Elk of the Rosebud Sioux Nation describing KXL's threat to their sacred sites, treaty rights, and safety of their communities:

Siege of Wounded Knee

On February 27, 1973, 200 American Indian Movement (AIM) leaders and supporters occupied the South Dakota reservation town of Wounded Knee, site of the infamous massacre of 300 Sioux by the U.S. Seventh Cavalry in 1890. Reporters on the scene relay information about the takeover.

Source URL:

Wounded Knee, 1890-1973 in photos

On February 27, 1973, nearly 200 activists from the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized the community of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The siege lasted 71 days as activists briefly held 11 hostages and exchanged gunfire with FBI agents and U.S. marshals. The site was specifically chosen by AIM leaders Russell Means and Dennis Banks to protest living conditions, uninvestigated crimes against Indian people and the federal government’s violation of treaties. During the 71 day occupation, two AIM supporters were killed and a deputy marshal wounded.

Visit:  Wounded Knee, 1890 – 1973 in photos

This Day in History: Wounded Knee II

Negotiations During the Takeover at Wounded Knee, 1973

On the night of February 27, 1973, fifty-four cars rolled, horns blaring, into a small hamlet on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Within hours, some 200 Oglala Lakota and American Indian Movement (AIM) activists had seized the few major buildings in town and police had cordoned off the area. The occupation of Wounded Knee had begun. Demanding redress for grievances—some going back more than 100 years—the protesters captured the world's attention for 71 gripping days.

With heavily armed federal troops tightening a cordon around meagerly supplied, cold, hungry Indians, the event invited media comparisons with the massacre of Indian men, women, and children at Wounded Knee almost a century earlier. In telling the story of this iconic moment, the final episode of We Shall Remain will examine the broad political and economic forces that led to the emergence of AIM in the late 1960s as well as the immediate events—a murder and an apparent miscarriage of justice—that triggered the takeover. Though the federal government failed to make good on many of the promises that ended the siege, the event succeeded in bringing the desperate conditions of Indian reservation life to the nation's attention. Perhaps even more important, it proved that despite centuries of encroachment, warfare, and neglect, Indians remained a vital force in the life of America.

See:  We Shall Remain, a 5-part series, Episode 5: Wounded Knee (May 11, 2009)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Civil Society Consultation on Access to Justice on Apr. 1st‏

For more information and to get involved in planning, please visit:

This consultation will be live webcast and recorded.  Pre-registration is required to attend the consultation in-person.
Lauren E. Bartlett
Local Human Rights Lawyering Project Director
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
phone: 202-895-4556
fax: 202-274-0783

Major defeat for opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline

In a major defeat for opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, an inspector general report largely clears the State Department of violating its conflict-of-interest procedures in selecting an outside contractor to analyze the project.

Anti-Keystone activists have long argued that the contractor that helped State prepare an environmental analysis of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline is unfit for the job.

Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama are expected to make a decision on the pipeline in the next few months.

ACLU Takes a Strong Stand Against Solitary Confinement

The United States uses long-term solitary confinement to a degree unparalleled in other democracies, with an estimated 20,000 prisoners in solitary at any one time, and it's attracting increasing criticism from international human rights bodies. The U.N. Human Rights Committee and Committee Against Torture have both expressed concern about the use of prolonged isolation in U.S. prisons and recommended scrutinizing this practice with a view to bringing prison conditions and treatment of prisoners in line with international human rights norms. And the European Court of Human Rights has temporarily blocked the extradition of four terrorism suspects to the United States on the ground that their possible incarceration in a Supermax prison, where solitary confinement is the norm, could violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

Last week the ACLU urged the U.N. Human Rights Council to address the widespread violations of the human rights of prisoners in the United States associated with solitary confinement. Many of the measures we call for, such as prohibiting solitary confinement of the mentally ill and careful monitoring of prisoners in solitary for mental illness, are also part of Colorado's S.B. 176. Colorado may be only one state, but the bill's introduction is a hopeful sign that the United States may, at last, be turning the corner on solitary confinement.


NLG Submits Testimony to Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Solitary Confinement

On February 25th, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) submitted testimony for the record of the second Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. NLG's testimony outlined the psychiatric, social and economic damage wrought by the use of solitary confinement framed within the larger issue of mass incarceration. In addition to demanding an end to solitary confinement, which NLG stated is a violation of domestic and international law, NLG's testimony called for a reevaluation of the discriminatory U.S. criminal justice system as a whole, offering suggested alternatives and reforms.


Solitary Confinement Costs $78K Per Inmate And Should Be Curbed, Critics Say

Former prisoners spoke about the effects of solitary confinement Tuesday, in a congressional hearing aimed at banning the treatment for some inmates. The federal push to reduce solitary confinement is being led by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who calls it "a human rights issue we can't ignore."

Inmates who are held in solitary confinement spend 23 hours a day in small windowless cells, receiving their food on trays that are pushed through a slot in the cell's door.

The use of solitary confinement is also extremely expensive and counterproductive, according to a news release from the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights,which Durbin leads.

NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson, who attended [the February 25th] hearing, says that Durbin's calls for change, which is aimed only at the rules governing juveniles, pregnant women and the mentally ill, come as some states have already begun to cut the use of solitary confinement.

Read more/Listen to audio:

Signatures needed to stop TPP

Last month, we essentially defeated the first attempt by Congress to “Fast Track” the Internet-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The Camp-Baucus Fast Track bill isn’t going anywhere, thanks to massive grassroots resistance led by FFTF members like you.

But we’re not safe yet. Senator Ron Wyden is the new Finance Committee Chair and he’s deciding right now whether to introduce a new “better” version of Fast Track that could still sneak the TPP through congress without meaningful debate or amendments.

Tell Senator Wyden: Fast Track is obsolete technology that undermines transparency and democracy.

To make sure that Wyden gets the message that Fast Track is outdated and inappropriate for making decisions that affect the future of the Internet, we’ll be pasting your signatures onto old-school floppy disks, and delivering them to Wyden’s offices in Oregon along with Citizens Trade Campaign and other groups.

Senator Wyden has been a champion for Internet freedom in the past. He stood with us against SOPA and asked the NSA the toughest questions. We’re winning the fight against Fast Track and we’re on the offensive now. If we can remind Wyden of his pro-Internet values and get him on the record against Fast Track, we'll be close to a total victory against the TPP’s backdoor internet censorship deal.

Click here to send Senator Wyden a floppy disk. You might just save the Internet.

We’re ramping up our efforts against Fast Track in the coming months. Stay tuned for more.

Indigenous feminism without apology

By Andrea Smith, Unsettling Ourselves

We often hear the mantra in indigenous communities that Native women aren’t feminists. Supposedly, feminism is not needed because Native women were treated with respect prior to colonization. Thus, any Native woman who calls herself a feminist is often condemned as being “white.”

However, when I started interviewing Native women organizers as part of a research project, I was surprised by how many community-based activists were describing themselves as “feminists without apology.” They were arguing that feminism is actually an indigenous concept that has been co-opted by white women.

The fact that Native societies were egalitarian 500 years ago is not stopping women from being hit or abused now. For instance, in my years of anti-violence organizing, I would hear, “We can’t worry about domestic violence; we must worry about survival issues first.” But since Native women are the women most likely to be killed by domestic violence, they are clearly not surviving. So when we talk about survival of our nations, who are we including?

These Native feminists are challenging not only patriarchy within Native communities, but also white supremacy and colonialism within mainstream white feminism. That is, they’re challenging why it is that white women get to define what feminism is.


Today: Day of Action for Human Rights‏

Today, people around the country are joining together to demand our human rights at the local, state and federal levels. Be present on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and share your voice for ...human rights: #humanrights.

We, social justice, civil rights, civil liberties, and other human rights advocates of all stripes, are dominating social media platforms to proclaim the dignity of every person in the U.S. and to hold our government accountable for respecting, protecting and fulfilling our human rights. In remembrance of the injustice in the death of #TrayvonMartin, Jordan Davis #JusticeforJordanDavis, the indignity of domestic violence and miscarriage of justice, as in the case of #MarissaAlexander, #gunviolence and #StandYourGround laws, we lift our voices as one.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

LAPD scopes out Israeli drones, ‘Big Data’ solutions

For the first nine days of February, eight of the Los Angeles Police Department’s top brass were 7,500 miles away from home, being shuttled around Israel in a minibus.

“They complained because it was like in the army — they went from place to place to place, and they needed some rest,” joked Arie Egozi, a partner at i-HLS, the Israeli homeland-security news site that organized the LAPD tour. “You know, the Israelis want to push everything.”

LAPD Deputy Chief Jose Perez, a good-natured 30-year veteran of the department who oversees its central bureau, tweeted updates at nearly every stop. On Feb. 2, he shared a group photo of the Los Angeles delegation visiting the corporate headquarters of Nice Systems, an Israeli security and cyber intelligence company that can intercept and instantly analyze video, audio and text-based communications. (A seemingly tongue-in-cheek inspirational poster on the wall behind them reads: “Every voice deserves to be heard.”) A couple days later, Perez posed for a photo with Samuel Bashan, whom he called “Israel’s premier bomb expert,” at a fancy group dinner.

The group visited private security firms and drone manufacturers, as well as the terror-prone Ashdod Port, a museum in Sderot full of old rockets shot from nearby Gaza (the same one United States President Barack Obama visited on his 2008 campaign trip to Israel), and a “safe city” underground control center in the large suburb of Rishon LeZion, which receives live streams from more than 1,000 cameras with license plate recognition installed throughout the city.

Meanwhile, the tour attracted some skepticism back home. Max Blumenthal, a journalist and critic of Israel with a hefty online following, tweeted: “LAPD delegation heads to Israel to learn lessons in control, domination and exclusion.” Another Twitter user, @JustBadre, tweeted asking Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: “why is #lapd in Israel on taxpayer $? Should #lapd be training with forces that have human rights violations?”


Director Samuels, Federal Bureau of Prisons, clueless about cells

PRISON HONCHO CLUELESS ABOUT CELLS - And not the biology-class kind. Ryan Reilly and Saki Knafo: "It was a tough moment for Charles Samuels, the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. At a hearing on solitary confinement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday afternoon, Samuels, who has been at BOP since 1988, struggled to answer a basic question put to him by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). 'How big is an average cell in solitary?' Franken asked. 'This is a human thing we're talking about. We've got a lot of statistics; how big is the cell?' Samuels took about a minute to answer, repeatedly asking Franken to clarify the question. A frustrated Franken turned to the crowd: 'Am I asking this wrong?' On a day when Piper Kerman, the author of Orange Is The New Black, and Damon Thibodeaux, an exonerated former prisoner who served 15 years in solitary, both testified on the devastating toll exacted by solitary on the human psyche, the former SNL writer elicited a rare laugh." [HuffPost]

41st Anniversary of the 1973 Wounded Knee Occupation: Liberation Day 2014 Homeland Events

February 27th, 2014
Four Direction Walk to Wounded Knee, SD
9am ~ All walkers gather at designated sites North - Porcupine Post Office Office East - 2 miles out on Mouse Creek Road South – HWY 18 & BIA Rd 27 West - Manderson Post Office
10am ~ Begin walking
*Prayers & Gun Salute once all Directions have arrived 
Honoring of Freedom Fighter Carter Camp, Ponca Warrior
Wounded Knee District School Manderson, SD
3pm ~ Coffee is On!
5pm ~ Supper
7pm-10pm ~ Music by Tracy Bone Ojibwe International Recording Artist &  Open Mic for WK 73 Vets
For more info contact; 
Victorio Camp 6054543105 or Mekasi Horinek 5807163497
February 28th, 2014
Unified A.I.M Gathering *AIM Members Only ~ Details TBA
March 1st, 2014
Liberation Day Traditional Wacipi 
Pahin Sinte Owayawa Porcupine, SD
Eyapaha ~ Melvin Young Bear
Homeland Host Drum ~ Oyuhpe Singers
10am ~ Coffee is On!
11am ~ Future Liberation Day Planning Discussions *All are welcomed this  is Our homeland event
1pm & 7pm Grand Entries *All AIM flags and banners Welcomed
*Specials schedualed;
Miss Liberation Day 2014 ~ Miss AIM Grassroots 2014
Best Wicaglata ~ Potato Dance ~ Rabbit Dance ~ Best Sneak Up 
Best AIM Song ~ Best LiiLii ~ Junior Boys Traditional ~ Yellow Thunder Camp Honoring
5pm ~ Supper * All AIM families Welcomed/Encouraged to bring food to  Honor their Families involvement in this Historical event
March 2nd, 2014
Liberation Day Sounds of Resistance Day of Music
Pahin Sinte Owayawa Porcupine, SD
10am ~ Coffee is On!
11am-1pm ~ AIM Recruitment & Conduct
12pm ~ Lunch
1pm-3pm ~ Movement Music Work Shops
5pm-9pm ~ Sounds of Resistance Concert to Honor the Youth *All Youth Welcomed
Artist Scheduled; 
Che Christ .. Revolutionary Rhymes
WicahpiLuta .. N8vFunk 
Indigenize .. Hip-Hop guided by the source of all life
Dr. T & The Blues Criminals 
Ohitika Naji .. Spoken Word 
Almas Fronterizas .. Justice and tradition through sound
*Open Mic between sets for those who wish to be A Voice for the  Voiceless 
10pm-12am ~ AIM Sobriety Dance ~ DJ Colin Neary

577 Billion Ways Extreme Weather and Extreme Energy Are Connected

Can we really expect to emit 577 billion tons of CO2 and not cause major problems for the earth's climate? That is the amount of CO2 humans have put into the earth's delicately balanced atmosphere since the dawn of the industrial age. It has warmed the earth in ways that has increased moisture in the air and raised sea levels. The connection between CO2 emissions and extreme weather is today indisputable.

Extreme weather events (EWEs) are linked to emissions levels, which are being driven upward by extreme energy. Tar sands oil, shale gas, and other `unconventional' fossil fuels are more polluting than conventional fossil fuels.  Together, these fuels continue to meet the bulk of the worlds growing energy demand. Yes, renewable energy is growing too - but it is not displacing fossil-based power. Levels of coal, oil and gas consumption are rising globally. Coal use has risen a staggering 60% since year 2000, according to the International Energy Agency. If present trends continue, the world is looking at somewhere between 3.7 and 4 degrees Celsius of global warming by year 2100.


NFL Hypocrisy: Banning the N-Word, But Supporting the R-Word

The National Football League [NFL] is reportedly about to ban the use of racist and gender-related slurs on the field and elsewhere, even to the point of imposing a 15-yard penalty, or even ejecting a player from the field, for uttering words like "n*gger" and "f*ggot."

But the new rule will apparently ignore one of the most racist, offensive, and derogatory words used hundreds of times every day by the league itself and by one of its teams: "R*dskins."

Imagine the irony, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.  "Call an American Indian player a "r*dskin" on the field and you will be lose yardage and then be ejected, but use the same word in reference to an entire team and you are defended and rewarded."


Silent Bear / Pete Seeger: Freedom For Leonard Peltier (Bring Him Home)

Music- Pete Seeger- Lyrical Adaptation- Silent Bear
Publisher- Stormking Inc. ( B.M.I)

Pete Seeger- Banjo, Background Vocals
David Amram- Penny Whistle
Silent Bear- Guitar, Lead Vocals, Harmonica

Recorded at the Seeger Home in Beacon, N.Y on 3/6/13
Engineers- Brian Bauers and Jeff Haynes
Mixed by- Silent Bear and Morgan Harris
Mastered by David Glasser at Airshow Mastering

* Dedicated in loving memory to Pete and Toshi Seeger

America's Secret Police

More than four decades after his death, J. Edgar Hoover still haunts the US political landscape. For 48 years Hoover served, first as head of the Bureau of Investigation and later as head of the FBI, his power expanding in tandem with the country's growing global footprint. While the scandals that broke in the early 1970s unleashed a flood of revelations, there was so much the bureau had undertaken that much remained unexamined, to say nothing of secrets still buried. Now as the new millennium begins to hit its stride, something of a second pass is taking place. In that respect two new contributions stand out.


US War on Peacemakers in Indian Country

The US war on peacemakers is revealed in the details of spying on peace activists today by Democracy Now! The current details are no surprise to Native American and First Nation peace activists who are blacklisted and censored, which exposes the role of the US government and media in the promotion of the military and bogus wars.

Buffy Sainte Marie was censored, blacklisted and forced out of the music industry in the US. Louise Benally was censored by Indian Country Today when she compared the war in Iraq with the forced Longest Walk of Dine' to the prison camp of Fort Sumner.

During an interview that was censored by Indian Country for nine years, Cree singer Buffy Sainte Marie said it was her stance against the Vietnam War and her song, "Universal Soldier," that led to her being targeted by the US government and eventually forced out of the music industry in the US.


Crime and Punishment and Obama

New York Times
23 February 2014
Op-Ed by Bill Keller

I DOUBT any president has been as well equipped as Barack Obama to appreciate the vicious cycle of American crime and punishment. As a community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s, he would have witnessed the way a system intended to protect the public siphoned off young black men, gave them an advanced education in brutality, and then returned them to the streets unqualified for — and too often, given the barriers to employment faced by those who have done time, disqualified from — anything but a life of more crime. He would have understood that the suffering of victims and the debasing of offenders were often two sides of the same coin...

In March I will give up the glorious platform of The Times to help launch something new: a nonprofit journalistic venture called The Marshall Project (after Thurgood Marshall, the great courtroom champion of civil rights) and devoted to the vast and urgent subject of our broken criminal justice system. It seems fitting that my parting column should address the question of how this president has lived up to those high expectations so far...

...The economics of imprisonment, the ebbing of crime rates, the horror stories of overcrowded penitentiaries and the persistent activism of reform advocates had begun to generate a public consensus that merely caging people is not a crime-fighting strategy. Fiscal conservatives alarmed at the high cost of incarceration, evangelicals shocked by the waste of lives, and libertarians who spotted another realm of government power abused have clambered onto what was once a liberal bandwagon. (How much those conservatives will be willing to invest in alternative ways of protecting the public — drug treatment, more intensive parole and probation programs, job training and so on — is another question.)

In his first term Obama did not make this a signature issue; he rarely mentioned the subject. But his proxy, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., was outspoken from the start. Six months into the first term, he was already at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York talking about the social costs of mass incarceration and pressing for policies that would divert low-level drug offenders to treatment and ease the re-entry of former prisoners into a productive life. In the last five years, Holder has become increasingly bold, and encountered little backlash. This month he exhorted states to repeal policies that deny felons the right to vote, policies that disenfranchise 5.8 million Americans, including nearly one in 13 African-American adults. He framed it not just as an act of compassion but as a way of re-engaging prodigal souls.
“By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes,” Holder said...
...In practice, the administration’s record has been more incremental than its rhetoric.
By the crudest metric, the population of our prisons, the Obama administration has been unimpressive. The famously shocking numbers of Americans behind bars (the U.S., with 5 percent of the world’s people, incarcerates nearly a quarter of all prisoners on earth) have declined three years in a row. However the overall downsizing is largely thanks to California and a handful of other states. In overstuffed federal prisons, the population continues to grow, fed in no small part by Obama’s crackdown on immigration violators.

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. Read more

Monday, February 24, 2014

Guerrilla guide: Boycott, divestment, sanctions

Israel’s apartheid wall is planned to span 790 kilometres and utilise three million metres of barbed wire. Its construction is an attempt to annex Palestinian land through the forced displacement of families from their homes and farms. The International Court of Justice issued an advisory ruling in 2004 that the wall was illegal. But governments did not take action to prevent companies profiting from the building of the wall – and did not exclude Israel from international organisations or stop the flow of military aid.

In response to this inaction, in 2005 a coalition of Palestinian and Israeli civil society groups called on people around the world to implement boycotts, run divestment campaigns and press for sanctions against Israel.

This boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) strategy allows ordinary people to take action in their communities and workplaces and be a part of the popular struggle for freedom in Palestine. 

Tom Anderson explains how to do ‘BDS’:

Canadian government under fire for “distorting” history of aboriginals (Video)

No where in Canadian history books, in primary schooling, or secondary schooling will you find the truth about Aboriginals and what happened as a result of the Europeans.

Aboriginals in Quebec plan to change that and are demanding that the government correct history. A petition was launched in March calling for the Quebec government to require that all Canadians in secondary school be taught the history of the aboriginal people and that it be mandatory and not elective.

This week Montreal will play host to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission takes record and allows aboriginals to tell their stories about Indian Residential Schools set up by the Canadian Government, and the impact it had on aboriginal children. More than 150,0000 first nations were taken from their families and placed in these schools, many suffering from emotional, physical and sexual abuse, overcrowding, unhealthy eating and poor sanitation.

In November 2010 Canada officially endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. It acknowledges collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues, but many aboriginals say that it is simply the first step and injustice continues but its' time to educate non-natives and that should be done by natives.

Watch video:

Six Nations meeting rallies community against Bill C-10

“The introduction of Omnibus Bill C-10 is an attempt to criminalize the hard-working families and entrepreneurs of Six Nations and other territories,” Jonathan Garlow said to over two hundred people gathered at the Polytechnic of the Six Nations of the Grand River on February 22.

“It will disrupt the reconciliation efforts by Canada to restore the relationship of peace and respect with Indigenous nations, possibly resulting in another confrontation.”

The meeting was organized by the Two Row Times newspaper. Garlow, founder of the Two Row Times and owner of a small printing shop in Six Nations, told BASICS the community meeting was held to inform the many families in Six Nations who are involved in and benefit from the tobacco trade about the upcoming Bill and to start a conversation about resisting it.

The law not only criminalizes unstamped tobacco, it also introduces mandatory minimum sentencing that could land ‘offenders’ in prison for at least two years.

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No Medals for Massacre -- Justice for Wounded Knee Killings of Native Americans!

"As representatives of the Minneconjou (and now Oglala), and citizens around the world, we humbly request your support as Commander-in-Chief to assist in the revocation of at least eighteen Medals of Honor, awarded to soldiers who participated in the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, where between 165 and 300 unarmed native men, women and children were slaughtered. Honoring the authors of this massacre is a smear upon the honor of all, and diminishes the value of the Medal award to others for their legitimate valor and sacrifice. We also need a proper memorial at Wounded Knee, one that contains the correct names of the victims (such as Chief Spotted Elk) and leaves out no one. The House and Senate have already agreed to support such a memorial in prior resolutions, but twenty-three years later, even while Wounded Knee is a National Historic Landmark, nothing has been done."


Panama: Ngäbe Communities Remain on High Alert

Ngäbe communities in Panama remain on high alert after the government announced its intention to evict the Tabasará River area in western Panama.
Gathered on the banks on the river Tabasará, Ngäbe from the village of Kiabda and other affected communities have established a protest camp to halt the completion of a 28.58 megawatt hydroelectric dam, Barro Blanco. The completion of the project will result in the communities losing their homes, livelihoods and cultural heritage.

Join Us Feb. 26th - ICCPR Day of Action for Human Rights‏

People around the country are joining together this Wednesday, February 26th, and throughout the year to demand our human rights at the local, state and federal levels. Be present on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and share your voice for ...human rights: #humanrights.

We, social justice, civil rights, civil liberties, and other human rights advocates of all stripes, are dominating social media platforms to proclaim the dignity of every person in the U.S. and to hold our government accountable for respecting, protecting and fulfilling our human rights. In remembrance of the injustice in the death of #TrayvonMartin, Jordan Davis #JusticeforJordanDavis, the indignity of domestic violence and miscarriage of justice, as in the case of #MarissaAlexander, #gunviolence and #StandYourGround laws, we lift our voices as one.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Last Week in Indian Country

Read the roundup of news important to Indian Country last week, by Indian Country Today Media Network:

FREE PASS FOR PEDOPHILES?: A bill in the South Dakota legislature that appears intended to give several dozen Native American childhood-sexual-abuse plaintiffs their day in court may do just the opposite.

CHICKASAW PITCHER HONORED: A Chickasaw athlete known for feats of brilliance on softball fields throughout Oklahoma and the nation was inducted into the Oklahoma Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame.

ABORIGINALS ON ICE: At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, one semifinal matchup in the Men's Hockey bracket featured a showdown of two Native stars: American forward T.J. Oshie and Canadian goalie Carey Price. Canada triumphed 1-0, and headed to the finals, where the team defeated Sweden for gold. In the bronze-medal match, the U.S. fell to Finland 5-0.

TRAGIC VIOLENCE: At Cedarville Rancheria tribal headquarters near Altura, California, 44-year-old Cherie Rhoades gunned down her brother, niece and nephew at an eviction hearing. It later came to light that the shooter was being investigated by the FBI for over $50,000 in missing grant money meant for the Cedarville Rancheria Tribe.

KEYSTONE SETBACK: A judge has ruled that the Nebraska law that enabled the governor to approve a route for the Keystone XL pipeline violates the state constitution, causing potential delays in the project just as President Barack Obama is on the verge of making a decision.

HARPER'S HISTORY: Keith Harper, a presidential nominee to become a human rights ambassador to the United Nations, is being called out by Native American lawyers for alleged intimidation tactics. These lawyers, who have had disagreements with him over the Cobell litigation, say they are speaking out to shed light on his character before the full Senate considers whether to confirm him.

NO MORE CASINOS FOR YOU: On Wednesday the New Mexico Senate rejected the Navajo Nation's proposed gaming contract that would have increased the number of casinos the tribe operates in the state from two to five over 15 years.

REMAINS FOUND: Tribes with ancestral ties to Kentucky have not been consulted about an archaeological site discovered last summer during a survey for a natural gas pipeline.

WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?: A system of conspiracy and bribery comes to a close on the Navajo Nation as former Navajo Nation Public Safety Committee Chairman Raymond Joe pleaded guilty to charges on February 18.


Five Epic Fails in the FCC's New Net Neutrality Plan

On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission broke its silence and issued the agency’s first big announcement since a federal court struck down the Net Neutrality rules last month.

Give the statement a speed-read and you might think the agency is moving in the right direction. There are some great buzzwords in there. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler talks about accepting the court’s invitation to “preserve a free and open Internet” as a “platform for innovation and expression.”

But all this announcement does is kick the can down the road — the wrong road.


Oglala Commemoration: Auction Update

The Oglala Commemoration auction page has been updated. Take a look at lots of new items, including another piece of Leonard Peltier's artwork, a beautiful shawl and lots more. Place a bid today.

Belfast mural in honor of Leonard Peltier

This year, Ireland for Peltier and NAIS - Actiongroup Flanders for Peltier joined forces in a most fitting and lasting tribute to Leonard Peltier, an icon of the oppression suffered by all Native Americans.

We extend our heart warmed than
ks to Danny Devenny and Marty Lyons for their sacrifice made to paint the mural honoring Leonard. The cold, rain nor gael force winds deterred these 2 outstanding men from reaching their objective.

The mural is located on the Falls Road in Belfast, Ireland on the International Wall. Through the years, it has earmarked the struggles both locally and internationally, attracting hundreds of visitors daily. We are honoured Danny Devenny has given Leonard his own wee patch on the wall. Thank you again.

Tiocfaidh ár lá Free Leonard Peltier

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gateway Pacific Terminal Consultant Threatens Journalists at IC Magazine, Whatcom Watch

In a letter dated February 5, 2014, Gateway Pacific Terminal consultant Craig Cole accused IC Magazine columnist Jay Taber and Whatcom Watch reporter Sandra Robson of committing libel, going so far as to threaten a lawsuit against Whatcom Watch for publishing Robson’s January 2014 article, “What Would Corporations Do? Native American Rights and the Gateway Pacific Terminal”.
Robson’s article and Taber’s subsequent editorial, “Echoes of Racism”, expose the convergence of Peabody Coal, Pacific International Terminals, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and the Tea Party with the “Ku Klux Klan of Indian country”-- Citizens Equal Rights Alliance -- as a looming threat to Lummi Nation and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians that has resolved to stop schemes for exporting Tar Sands oil, Bakken Shale oil and Powder River Basin coal from proposed terminals on the Salish Sea between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Artist Stands Up to the NSA and Wins

Dan McCall, a Minnesota artist and satirist, is known for productions which often target the U.S. government as social commentaries. However, when his target became the National Security Agency (NSA), he got more than laughs. He received a cease and desist notice from the Department of Justice.

What did the NSA and DOJ want McCall to stop producing, claiming a copyright violation? This:


Read what happened:

Action Page: Tell The FCC To Save Net Neutrality‏

Submit your comments directly to the FCC in the docket they have created just for this purpose.

Save Net Neutrality action page:

The "petition" in this case is just 7 words.

"Reclassify The Internet As A Common Carrier"

Please feel free to add your own comments, as this helps demonstrate that each and very one of our submissions was done by a real person.

The background is this: On January 14, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the FCC's Open Internet rules on a technicality, that the internet was not classified as a common carrier by the FCC. This threatens the whole future of net neutrality, and would allow big telecom companies to discriminate in how they carry internet traffic.

But all the FCC simply needs to do is correct this classification oversight, entirely within their own administrative power, and reclassify the internet as a common carrier, which all common sense says that it is.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition on the White House website asking President Obama to take action. But while expressing his support the president declined to intercede with the FCC himself.

So it's all up to us now. Please submit this form to send your comments supporting net neutrality directly to the FCC.

Save Net Neutrality action page:

Four dead in attack at Native American tribal office in California

Four people were killed and two others critically wounded when a woman opened fire at a Native American tribal office near the Oregon border in Northern California on Thursday, police said.

A 44-year-old former tribal leader identified as Sherie Lash, also known as Sherie Rhoades, was arrested at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Office on charges of murder and attempted murder, a spokeswoman for the Alturas police department said.

The attack took place during an eviction hearing involving Lash, police told Reuters.

Four people were shot and killed after the attacker pulled a gun and began "systematically shooting individuals" in the office, Alturas Police Chief Ken Barnes said. Two others were shot, and one of them possibly wounded with a knife, as they tried to escape.

"This is like nothing I have had to deal with in my 25 years of being with the city of Alturas," Barnes said. "It's just tragic."

Two women, aged 19 and 45, and two men aged 30 and 50, died, authorities said. One of the dead men was a tribal leader.

The two victims who survived the attack, which took place at about 3:30 p.m. Pacific time (2330 GMT) on Thursday, were airlifted to hospitals in a critical condition.

One victim, who had been shot at least four or five times and possibly stabbed, was out of surgery and in an intensive care unit, Barnes said. The other victim, who was shot once, was recovering after surgery.

Lash, of Cedarville, California, was being held at the Modoc County Jail on charges of homicide, attempted murder, child endangerment and brandishing a weapon. She would be moved to an undisclosed facility, for her safety, Barnes said.

After apparently running out of bullets, the attacker picked up a large kitchen knife and chased one of the victims who had been shot and fled the building, said Barnes.

Eventually, an uninjured employee was able to detain the attacker in the parking lot area, he added.

Alturas is in remote northeastern California, about 30 miles south of the Oregon border.

Around 35 members of the Northern Paiute group live on 26 acres at The Cedarville Rancheria, according to its website. The group could not be reached for comment.

The tribal office, in Alturas, about 20 miles west of Cedarville, is where "day-to-day business is conducted and tribal events are held," the website said.

Police found two semi-automatic handguns at the scene, Barnes said.

#TDIH: Malcolm X Assassinated (21 February 1965)

In New York City, Malcolm X, an African American nationalist and religious leader, is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, Malcolm was the son of James Earl Little, a Baptist preacher who advocated the black nationalist ideals of Marcus Garvey. Threats from the Ku Klux Klan forced the family to move to Lansing, Michigan, where his father continued to preach his controversial sermons despite continuing threats. In 1931, Malcolm's father was brutally murdered by the white supremacist Black Legion, and Michigan authorities refused to prosecute those responsible. In 1937, Malcolm was taken from his family by welfare caseworkers. By the time he reached high school age, he had dropped out of school and moved to Boston, where he became increasingly involved in criminal activities.

In 1946, at the age of 21, Malcolm was sent to prison on a burglary conviction. It was there he encountered the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, whose members are popularly known as Black Muslims. The Nation of Islam advocated black nationalism and racial separatism and condemned Americans of European descent as immoral "devils." Muhammad's teachings had a strong effect on Malcolm, who entered into an intense program of self-education and took the last name "X" to symbolize his stolen African identity.

After six years, Malcolm was released from prison and became a loyal and effective minister of the Nation of Islam in Harlem, New York. In contrast with civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X advocated self-defense and the liberation of African Americans "by any means necessary." A fiery orator, Malcolm was admired by the African American community in New York and around the country.

In the early 1960s, he began to develop a more outspoken philosophy than that of Elijah Muhammad, whom he felt did not sufficiently support the civil rights movement. In late 1963, Malcolm's suggestion that President John F. Kennedy's assassination was a matter of the "chickens coming home to roost" provided Elijah Muhammad, who believed that Malcolm had become too powerful, with a convenient opportunity to suspend him from the Nation of Islam.

A few months later, Malcolm formally left the organization and made a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, where he was profoundly affected by the lack of racial discord among orthodox Muslims. He returned to America as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and in June 1964 founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which advocated black identity and held that racism, not the white race, was the greatest foe of the African American. Malcolm's new movement steadily gained followers, and his more moderate philosophy became increasingly influential in the civil rights movement, especially among the leaders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.

On February 21, 1965, one week after his home was firebombed, Malcolm X was shot to death by Nation of Islam members while speaking at a rally of his organization in New York City.

Groups Appeal to UN to Halt Imminent Forced Evictions of Indigenous Ngöbe Community

Washington D.C. – Environmental and human rights organizations submitted an urgent appeal to United Nations Special Rapporteurs on behalf of members of the indigenous Ngöbe community – the community faces imminent forced eviction from their land for the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam project in western Panama. The eviction would force Ngöbe communities from their land, which provides their primary sources of food and water, means of subsistence, and culture.
The urgent appeal, submitted by the Ngöbe organization Movimiento 10 de Abril para la Defensa del Rio Tabasará (M10) and three international NGOs, the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and Earthjustice, asks the Special Rapporteurs to call upon the State of Panama to suspend the eviction process and dam construction until it complies with its obligations under international law. Given that the project is financed by the German and Dutch development banks (DEG and FMO, respectively) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the groups also urge the Special Rapporteurs to call on Germany, the Netherlands, and the member States of CABEI to suspend financing until each country has taken measures to remedy and prevent further violations of the Ngöbe’s human rights.

29 August: Rally to Demand Justice for the illegal theft of the Black Hills at the Homestake Gold Mine


United Native Americans Demand Reparations and Accountability from the Hearst Corporation for CONTINUING VIOLATIONS OF THE FORT LARAMIE TREATIES OF 1851 & 1868

RALLY to DEMAND JUSTICE for the illegal theft of the Black Hills at the Homestake Gold Mine @ Homestake Gold Mine, 160 West Main Street, Lead, S.D. 57754

August 29th 2014

Digital Story Telling — 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Press Conference — 9:00 a.m. to 10 a.m.



Quanah Brightman-Executive Director of U.N.A.
(510) 672-7187