Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign
Tele:       718-601-4751

Endorsers (Individuals and organizations): Father Luis Barrios, Activist/Author;  Esperanza Martell, Activist; PIP de Nueva York; The Committee for Puerto Rico at the United Nations; Not4Prophet, AGIT Army; Xen Medina, Artist/Muralist; NBHRN-NYC Chapter; Rev. Sam Cruz and David Galarza, Trinity Lutheran Church; Andrés Torres, Author; Jose "Che" Velazquez, Educator; Casa de las Americas; Cuba Solidarity New York; The July 26 Coalition; May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights; International Action Center; Workers World Party; Peoples Power Assembly Movement; NYC Jericho Movement; Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, NYC Chapter; International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Free Mumia Abu Jamal Coalition (NYC), Sekou Odinga Defense Committee, The Malcolm X Commemorative Committee.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

May 24, 2014 ‘March Against Monsanto’ planned for over 50 countries

Press Release


March Against Monsanto

May 24, 2014 ‘March Against Monsanto’ planned for over 50 countries

INTERNATIONAL (May 24, 2014) - On May 24, millions of activists from around the world will once again March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Currently, marches will occur on six continents, in 52 countries,with events in over 400 cities. In the US, solidarity marches are slated to occur in 47 states.  A comprehensive list of marches can be accessed at

Tami Monroe Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto (MAM), was inspired to start the movement to protect her two daughters. “Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agricultural practices threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity. MAM supports a sustainable food production system. We must act now to stop GMOs and harmful pesticides.”

GMOs are not adequately monitored to ensure public safety. Long term, independent, peer reviewed studies were not conducted before GMOs were introduced for human or animal consumption. In the USA, the revolving door between Monsanto employees, government positions, and regulatory authorities has led to key Monsanto figures occupying positions of power at the FDA and EPA. Monsanto has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to obstruct all labeling attempts; they also suppress any research containing results not in their favor. The scientifically established health risks include, but are not limited to: organ damage, sterility, infant mortality, birth defects, auto-immune conditions, allergies and increased cancer risks. GMOs have been partially banned by Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, South America, Russia, France, Switzerland and Costa Rico, and are currently labelled in 62 countries. Despite this, factory farm animals throughout the world are still fed GMOs.

Roberta Gogos, organizer for Athens, Greece, addressed the importance of the marches in austerity-impacted Europe. “Monsanto is working very hard to overturn EU regulation on obligatory labeling where enforcement is already lax. Greece is in a precarious position right now, and Greece's farmers are positioned to follow the same perilous fate as farmers in countries such as Colombia and Mexico.”

Josh Castro, organizer for Quito, Ecuador’s march observes, “Ecuador is such a beautiful place, with the richest biodiversity in the world. We will not allow this Garden of Eden to be compromised by the destructive practices of multinational corporations like Monsanto. Biotechnology is not the solution to world hunger. Agroecology is. Monsanto's harmful practices are causing soil infertility, mono-cropping, loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, and contributing to beehive collapse. GMO crops cross pollenate with traditional crops, risking peasant farmers' livelihood."

In India, more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide after Monsanto's Bt cotton seeds did not perform as promised.  Farmers, left in desperate poverty, are opting to free their families of debt by drinking Monsanto pesticide, thereby ending their lives. Many farmers in other countries are also stripped of their livelihood as a result of false promises, seed patenting and meticulous legal action on the part of Monsanto and other big-ag interests. In many parts of Africa, farmers and their communities are left to choose between starving or eating GMOs.

An “Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs),”, signed by 828 scientists from 84 countries, detailed concern regarding GMOs coupled with a call for immediate 5 year suspension of GMO crops in order to conduct “a comprehensive public enquiry of agriculture and food security for all.”

Supporting links:

The World according to Monsanto
Total Disinformation Awareness: Monsanto Suppresses Research On GMO Crops
Anniversary of a Whistleblowing Hero
GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans

Data Pool of MAM: 
For media inquiries:
Send messages to the official March Against Monsanto Facebook page:

- See more at:

The Brennan Center for Justice presents:

The Burglary
A conversation with author Betty Medsger and John and Bonnie Raines

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m. Registration and Reception
6:30 p.m. Program

Lipton Hall, NYU School of Law
108 West Third Street (between MacDougal St. and Sullivan St.)
New York, NY 10012

In her new book, The Burglary, Betty Medsger tells the story of the 1971 break-in at the Media, Pennsylvania FBI office by a group of courageous activists—including John and Bonnie Raines—which confirmed what some had long suspected: that J. Edgar Hoover was intentionally using the FBI's broad investigative mandate to suppress dissent, in violation of the U.S. Constitution. She re-creates in resonant detail how this unlikely band of ordinary Americans risked everything to challenge the most powerful man in America—and won.

Join the Brennan Center for Justice for a candid and engaging conversation about the destructive power of excessive government secrecy and the potential power of non-­violent resistance. We will also be screening a sneak preview of 1971, a poignant exposé by Johanna Hamilton that is premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival; Hamilton's film tells this story and begs the question: who’s watching the watchmen?

CLICK HERE to RSVP. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Brennan Center Events Coordinator, Jafreen Uddin, at or 646.292.8345.

"Risk Assessment" Cannot Solve Systemic Injustice of Prisons

After 40 years of waging a failed war on crime in poor communities, conservative and progressive policy makers finally are being compelled to release the pressure valve and find ways to reform our troubled criminal justice system. The increasingly prevailing solution involves risk-assessment tools that often quantify the experience of incarcerated people to determine the extent to which they pose a public safety threat. But can the framework of risk measure the redemptive power of a second chance? And to what degree are the factors that determine “risk” situational - access to jobs, housing and community support, for example - and therefore potentially beset with race and class biases? 


Don't Expect a Safe, Humane Orleans Parish Prison Any Time Soon; Here's Why

Willie Lee, 40, died last month in Orleans Parish Prison, probably the worst jail in the country. He was awaiting trial on charges of breaking into neighbors' apartments and causing property damage. He got into a fight at the jail, collapsed 10 minutes after it was broken up, and was pronounced dead two hours later.

The coroner's report was uninformative in what it listed as the cause of death: "cardiac arrest." Everyone dies when his heart stops beating; the question is what caused it to stop. Silence from the jail so far on that score.

The prison is too large; it's understaffed, and it's filthy. Medical and psychiatric care is terrible and prisoners live in fear of being beaten or raped. In 2012 there were 600 ambulance runs to the emergency room, with far more than half of them related to violence. The rate is up so far in 2014. A comparable jail in Memphis had seven ER runs associated with violence in a year.

In 2013 federal Judge Lance Africk found conditions in Orleans Parish Prison unconstitutional and wrote that they left "an indelible stain on the community." He now has jurisdiction over the jail as a result of a federal consent decree, an agreement between the sheriff, the prisoners who sued, and the U.S. Department of Justice. It requires wide-ranging reforms.

Federal law does not permit the judge to close the jail, or even transfer prisoners out of it. And yet conditions are so bad it's likely to be years before reforms can be completed. In the meantime, the prisoners must try to survive in conditions that the federal court has already declared unconstitutional.

This dilemma stems from the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act, a federal statute passed in 1996 by a Republican Congress hostile to social reform through litigation. No matter how much a federal judge wants to clean up a local jail, the statute drastically limits the tools available for doing so.
This was evident in the hearing on the sheriff's lack of compliance with the consent decree that Africk gaveled to order three days before Lee's death. The tension between what needs to be done and the limited power of the court surfaced repeatedly in exchanges between Africk, a cautious jurist, and Harry Rosenberg, the quirky private lawyer who represents the City of New Orleans in its fight with the city's jailer, Sheriff Marlin Gusman, over how to manage and finance the reforms.

If Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney, were a baseball player, he would steal second base by limping to first after drawing a walk, thus tricking you into believing he couldn't run. His act begins with his hairdo. Imagine Larry of the "Three Stooges" grabbing the globe of a Van de Graaff generator and static electricity sending foot-long tresses straight back into the air from his receding hairline.


Cuban 5 Honored

In the beginning of March the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 nominated the Cuban 5 for Global Exchange's 12th Annual Human Rights Award in the category of People's Choice Award. Alongside the Cuban 5 many other fighters for Human Rights were also nominated. For the Cuban 5, a case that has been kept in relative obscurity in the U.S., this offered solidarity activists calling for their freedom an opportunity to spread the word by getting people they know to vote for their cause. The campaign started slowly but soon took off through the linking of all the committees and individuals who support the Cuban 5 around the world. All the various forms of social media where utilized over and over again as the votes for the Five Heroes piled up and the campaign blossomed into a life of its own. This results is thanks to all the active support and solidarity that produced what can only be described as a success for the movement in support of the Cuban 5. 

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: What Is It?

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.

TPP presents problems.  Learn about the problems and take action:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Global Exchange 2014 Honorees

2014 Honorees

  • Domestic Honoree – Freedom Schools
This year Global Exchange will honor the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Schools, free schools for African-Americans living in the South during the height of the Civil Rights movement. Conceived first by Charles Cobb, an activist with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the schools were launched in 1964, as part of the Freedom Summer. By the end of the summer, more than 40 schools had been opened, serving over 2,500 students. Through critical inquiry and civic engagement, the Freedom Schools inspired a generation of students to take action for voting rights, civil rights, and justice.

Global Exchange will bring Charlie Cobb,  visionary of the Freedom Schools; Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of the Freedom Singers and cultural historian; and Phillip Agnew of the Dream Defenders, an organization committed to training and organizing youth students in nonviolent resistance. These powerful leaders will speak to their activism for civil rights, their challenges, courage and success in changing history, their current work for justice, and how Freedom Schools offer a relevant organizing model for radical social change today.
  • International Honoree – María Estela Barco Huerta
Ms. Barco has played a leading role in organizing Agro-Ecology Learning Exchanges in Chiapas, Mexico at DESMI (Desarrollo Económico Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas), a Mexican non-governmental organization based in the state of Chiapas. These exchanges bring together activists from across Latin America to confront the challenges of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), encroaching agribusinesses, and loss of value and culture for peasant farmers in the region and to create innovative solutions. As Chiapas was and still is ‘ground zero’ for NAFTA and its devastating impact on Mexican agriculture, Ms. Barco’s work to create solutions for small indigenous farmers is crucial.
  • People’s Choice Award – The Cuban Five
Five Cuban agents who were working in Miami, FL, in the 1990s to infiltrate groups openly plotting attacks Cuban civilians, the Cuban Five were arrested following lengthy surveillance by the FBI. The situation surrounding the case of the Cuban Five should be understood as a microcosm for relations between the United States and Cuba at that time, and into the present day. Their capture, detention, and sentencing has been widely criticized, including the call for their release by eight international Nobel Prize winners and Amnesty International.

About the Human Rights Awards

Global Exchange’s Human Rights Awards are grounded in our commitment to ensuring that the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are respected and upheld by our world’s governments and private institutions. Since our founding in 1988, we have partnered with individuals and organizations throughout the world to educate people about threats to political, economic, social and environmental justice and to activate individuals and communities to confront these problems effectively. With these annual awards, Global Exchange recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations defending human rights in their own countries and around the world.

Emails Show Sen. Corker's Chief of Staff Coordinated with Network of Anti-UAW Union Busters

Leaked documents obtained [1] by Nashville TV station NewsChannel 5 WVTF reveal communications between the employees of two Tennessee Republicans - Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam - and a network of prominent anti-union professionals during the United Auto Workers' union drive at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga earlier this year [2].

Sen. Corker and Gov. Haslam have been blamed by the union for contributing to the drive's defeat by making public statements against the UAW. Prior to the election, Corker claimed that the plant would add an additional SUV assembly line if workers voted against the union, while Haslam implied [3] that businesses had told him that they might not relocate to Tennessee if workers at Volkswagen voted to join the UAW.

There was no direct evidence, however, that these politicians were coordinating with the various anti-union forces that had gathered in Chattanooga to oppose the drive, although In These Times reported [4] in November 2013 that Washington, D.C.-based anti-union campaigner Matt Patterson had bragged about developing anti-UAW messaging with "politician [sic] and businessmen" in Tennessee. The documents by NewsChannel 5 provide the first direct proof of such coordination. In addition, In These Times magazine has obtained documents and conducted interviews with a top anti-union consultant that shed new light on the origins of the anti-union videos referenced in the communications.


Climate Science’s Dire Warning: Humans are Baking the Planet

By Amy Goodman
The majority of the world is convinced that humans are changing the climate, for the worse. Now, evidence is mounting that paints just how grim a future we are making for ourselves and the planet. We will experience more extreme weather events, including hurricanes and droughts, mass extinctions and severe food shortages globally. The world’s leading group of climate-change experts, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has issued its most recent report after a five-day meeting last week in Yokohama, Japan. The IPCC, over 1,800 scientists from around the world, collects, analyzes and synthesizes the best, solid science on climate and related fields. The prognosis is not good.
At the news conference announcing the report, IPCC chairperson Rajendra Pachauri warned, “If the world doesn’t do anything about mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases and the extent of climate change continues to increase, then the very social stability of human systems could be at stake.” Pachauri speaks with the discipline of a scientist and the reserve of a diplomat. The latest report, though, states clearly: “Climate change can indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence.” It stresses how the world food supply, already experiencing stress, will be impacted, and those who are most vulnerable will be the first to go hungry. But the problem is even larger.
The IPCC’s previous comprehensive report came out in 2007. Since that time, the amount of scientific findings has doubled, making human-induced climate change an irrefutable fact. But there are still powerful deniers, funded by the fossil-fuel industry. Oxfam, a global anti-hunger campaign organization, also is challenging the deniers with a report released last week called “Hot and hungry—how to stop climate change derailing the fight against hunger.” Oxfam’s Tim Gore says that “corporations like Exxon, the powerful economic interests that are currently profiting from our high-carbon economic model ... stand to lose the most from a transition to a low-carbon, fair alternative.” Undaunted, ExxonMobil issued its own report following the IPCC’s this week, asserting that climate policies are “highly unlikely” to stop it from producing and selling fossil fuels in the near future.

Last Week: The Big Stories in Indian Country

A recap of the stories that mattered most in Indian country, by the Indian Country Today Media Network:

WINNERS: At the 2014 Juno Awards ceremonies, the DJ collective A Tribe Called Red was named Breakthrough Group of the Year, and Surrender by singer-songwriter George Leach captured Aboriginal Album of the Year honors.

BIG HIRE: Ted Nolan, Ojibwe, was named head coach of the Buffalo Sabres after serving as the club’s interim head coach since mid-November. He signed a three-year contract extension.

A LOOK BACK: 40 years ago, the rock group Redbone made a run to the top 5 of the U.S. charts. ICTMN spoke with Pat Vegas, the group's bassist.

MUCH ADO: Following a comedy bit on the Colbert Report that was intended to satirize Dan Snyder's Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, Stephen Colbert became the target of a grassroots Twitter campaign by Asian Americans who objected to his joke. The vehement demands for Colbert's cancellation effectively drowned out the Native outrage over the original story.

BRILLIANT CAREER: Shoni Schimmel, Umatilla, finished her Louisville Cardinals college basketball career with 31 points in a loss to Maryland in the NCAA Tournament.

FESTIVAL BOUND: Drunktown's Finest, a film about Gallup, New Mexico starring such young Native talent as Jeremiah Bitsui, Carmen Moore, Morningstar Angeline and Kiowa Gordon, a Sundance Film Festival standout, and is now finding its way to other film festivals.

SDPI EXTENDED: Native health advocates have been pressing for years for a permanent reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI), but the federal government says tribes and Indians will have to settle for another one-year extension.

CANCEL THIS: The Peruvian TV character known as “Paisana Jacinta” is racist and insulting to indigenous people according to Congresswoman Hilaria Supa, a Quechua leader and human rights activist. Supa publicly called on the Frequencia Latina Channel to remove the “Paisana Jacinta” show from the air.

ARTIFACTS SEIZED: A collection of cultural artifacts that took a 91-year-old Indiana man eight decades to amass was seized by the FBI. There were American Indian items among the collection of Don Miller, who has not been charged or arrested.

SOVEREIGNTY: U.S. Rep. Steve Daines (R-Montana) has introduced a bill that he hopes will correct a federal error that has hurt the Northern Cheyenne Tribe for more than a century. The Northern Cheyenne Lands Act (H.R. 4350) would allow the tribe more control over their lands, minerals and trust funds, while strengthening tribal sovereignty for the tribe and increasing the tribe’s ability to serve its people.

URANIUM CLEANUP: Kerr-McGee Corp. and its parent Anadarko Petroleum Corp. will pay a record $5.15 billion to remediate polluted industrial sites around the U.S., with copy billion of that going to uranium cleanup on the Navajo Nation, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

NEGATIVE EFFECTS: An indigenous student has written an open letter to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign administrators and all indigenous and Native peoples of the world saying she wants to commit suicide. She says she would use a gun on the school’s quad because of the painful burden she experiences in dealing with the Chief Illiniwek mascot.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Statement of Leonard Peltier on the Passing of Peter Matthiessen

4/6/2014 8:34 a.m. The other day Peter Matthiessen came into my thoughts, I thought I better call him and see how he is doing. Since I knew he was sick, I did not want to concern or disturb him with my problems, as he had enough to be worried about. Today I received word from Indigo that my friend had passed on.

Man, I thought he was going to live forever. Peter was one-of-a-kind. Truly --ONE that will go down in history. He fought for the poor and the weary, the sick, and anyone who had problems that were brought to his attention. He took time from his own life to try to help them in whatever way he could. He ALWAYS gave freely when someone needed anything, fought for those who were being mistreated. I mean, this man's life was like a movie script. Not to mention the great books he wrote. Some of them are mind blowing. This man had the kind of talent that we may never see again. One story he told me was about his Grandfather when he was mayor (or was it governor) of N.Y.? He always had Indians hanging around the mansion so the conservatives and wealthy were always giving him problems about that; they did whatever they could to discredit his administration. These people made some very racist statements about him being an “Indian Lover” and so on. Native People need to know, we owe a great debt to this man, Peter Matthiessen. He was a very brave man, a true warrior. He battled HARD for us as a people. He fought tirelessly for my freedom.

He was one of the very few who did not care if his career was destroyed, which the F.B.I. tried to do when he tried to help me. Yes, he told me they threatened his career and even his very life. I know this to be true, and he was not the only one they did this to.

When he wrote his book about my case and conviction “IN THE SPIRIT OF CRAZY HORSE," the F.B.I. first tried to ruin his career by filing false, multi-million-dollar libel suits against him and his publishing company, also effectively BANNING the book during the lawsuits. When that did not work, they threatened his life and the lives of his family. In true warrior form, Peter told them to get off of his property. Peter told me “Sure I was concerned," but his beliefs in the Constitution and his belief in America were stronger than any fear they could put on him.

Others who were threatened and became afraid, burned thousands and thousands of copies of our book; yes!… in modern times they burned In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.

Governor Bill Janklow threatened all of the book stores in South Dakota to BAN the book. This is all just part of the thousands of pages of documentation that surrounds my case.

All I want to say is that it was a great honor for me to have lived in the same world Peter lived in as a human being on Earth.

Thank you Peter, for your brotherhood and love.

I believe we (all peoples) owe this man SO MUCH! There is so much to say about him as a human, a man, a writer and yes, he WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST forefathers in this century, of the Environmental Movement. WE should lobby for the highest award the United States can give to him. This should have been done before he passed away, at the very least from Native Nations.

He deserved an apology from the F.B.I who are employees of the American People.

We should lobby Hollywood to do a movie about his courageous life and his contributions to mankind, the wild animals such as the glorious Snow Leopard, birds, the fish, and the very earth we live in.

Hollywood needs some REAL heroes, not the fake ones you see everyday in movies. Peter Matthiessen was a REAL HERO.

Peter, if you are looking down on us; you can see ME as I'm writing this.
MY eyes are not clear and I miss you already.
I asked you in our last phone conversation to please not leave me here.
Wait for me. I know in my heart you tried.
I Love you and I will miss you terribly.
I will see you soon, my brother, as my time is coming.

To Peter’s family, please accept my deepest gratitude for every single moment Peter gave to me, that you as a family sacrificed for me, fought for me and worked so diligently all these years for myself and my people. My most sincere condolences. I wish I was there to cry and mourn with you. The ancestors have a special spot in the Tipi for Peter.

I send all my love to you all.

Hold closely those true friends that fight and sacrifice for what is right.

TRULY; In the Spirit Of Crazy Horse


Leonard Peltier

Berkeley: Leonard Peltier Benefit Concert, 19 April

Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee of Berkeley, CA presents...

Leonard Peltier Benefit Concert!

Come show solidarity with Leonard Peltier, an innocent man who has been imprisoned the last 38 years.

*Deuce Eclipse w/ DJ El Kool Kyle
*MC K-Swift
'Monk Hardtostop
*Dregs One

Hosted By
DJ Free Leonard, aka Aaron Mirmalek, 1st cousin of Leonard Peltier and Director of LPDOC Berkeley.

Saturday Night April 19th, 2014

7:00pm - Film screening of "Free Leonard Petier Free 'Em All" Documentary
7:45pm - Discussion on the case of Leonard Peltier
8:30pm - Dregs One
8:45pm - DJ Free Leonard
9:00pm - Monk of Hard to Stop
9:15pm - MC K-Swift
9:30pm - Deuce Eclipse with DJ El Kool Kyle
10:00pm - Open Mic for Solidarity Statements
10:30pm - Closing words by
Lakota Harden

La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, California 94705

Submit Comments to 8 Federal Agencies Weighing In On Keystone XL Decision

Keystone XL opponents recently submitted over 2 million comments to the U.S. State Department, urging Sec. Kerry to recommend that Pres. Obama reject this risky tarsands export pipeline, as part of the "National Interest Determination" process for the pipeline.

Now, eight federal agencies are in the midst of a 90-day comment period where they may also weigh in on whether Keystone XL is in our nation's interest. While none of these agencies are formally accepting comments from the public on their Keystone decision-making process, we want Pipeline Fighters to reach out and tell them we think KXL is all risk and no reward for our land, water and climate. 

The federal agencies currently providing feedback to the State Department are the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy and Homeland Security. Agencies must submit their comments by May 7, 2014. 

Send a handwritten letter, make a phone call, email or tweet and let them know why KXL is NOT in our nation's interest:

(You should include a note that you are contacting them in reference to the National Interest Determination for Keystone XL.) 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)EPA Administrator: Gina McCarthy (Twitter: @GinaEPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.Washington, DC 20460(202) 272-0167 

U.S. Department of Transportation-Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Adminstration
PHMSA Administrator: Cynthia Quarterman (Twitter: @PHMSA_DOT)
East Building, 2nd Floor
Mail Stop: E27-300
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590
Click here to submit an online comment to PHMSA

U.S. Department of DefenseSec. of Defense: Chuck Hagel (Twitter: @DeptofDefense)1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400
(703) 571-3343

Click here to submit an online comment to DOD

U.S. Department of JusticeAttorney General: Eric Holder (Twitter: @RealEricHolder, @TheJusticeDept)
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Public comments line: (202) 353-1555

U.S. Department of the Interior
Sec. of Interior: Sally Jewell (Twitter: @SecretaryJewell, @Interior)1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
(202) 208-3100

Click here to submit an online comment to Interior Dept. 

U.S. Department of Commerce
Sec. of Commerce: Penny Pritzker (Twitter: @PennyPritzker, @CommerceSec)1401 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20230
(202) 482-2000

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Sec. of Homeland Security: Jeh Johnson (Twitter: @DHSgov)
The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane SW

Washington, D.C.  20528

Robert Redford renews fight to release jailed AIM activist Leonard Peltier

Robert Redford's 1992 documentary, Incident at Oglala, recounted the facts of the case and focused in on Peltier's trial. Now that Leonard Peltier is in poor health, Redford and others are renewing their efforts to draw attention to the case.

"I felt that he did not receive a fair trial," he tells The Sunday Edition this weekend.

But when Redford first visited Peltier in prison, he was initially skeptical.

"I was trying to be neutral in my feelings about him. I didn't want to be taken in by anything. I did feel that of course there would be desperation to a person in prison trying to get the word out.

"But I came out of it very sympathetic," Redford now says.

Subsequent investigations over the years have shone a disturbing light on the tactics used by the FBI in their handling of the incident.

Naturally, the bureau was incensed that two of their young agents had been cut down in cold blood. Redford says the FBI wanted "an eye for an eye."

Documents released subsequently under freedom of information legislation have shown that the FBI tampered with evidence, in one instance manufacturing testimony.


Note:  Michael Enright's full interview with Robert Redford, and an interview with Leonard Peltier's lawyer, Michael Kuzma, can be heard on The Sunday Edition, at 9:15 a.m. Both interviews are also available in full on The Sunday Edition's website.

Indigenous Mayans Win Huge Battle to Ban GMO Soy Beans in Mexico

Mayans of the Campeche Region have just won a two-year legal battle to get rid of Monsanto and their GMO soybeans (suicide beans). Following the ban of GM maize in Mexico, this ancient and agriculturally savvy culture has won a major battle against biotech monopolies around the globe.

The Second District Court ruled in favor of three Mayan communities from the Hopelchén township who dared to take on the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock , Rural Development, Fisheries and Food ( Sagarpa) and the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources ( SEMARNAT).

Join the next March Against Monsanto on May 24th in your area:

 See more at:

Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86

Peter Matthiessen, a roving author and naturalist whose impassioned nonfiction explored the remote endangered wilds of the world and whose prizewinning fiction often placed his mysterious protagonists in the heart of them, died on Saturday at his home in Sagaponack, N.Y. He was 86.
His son Alex said the cause was leukemia, which was diagnosed more than a year ago. “He continued to fight gallantly to the end and was surrounded by his family,” Alex said. “He was terrifically brave.”
Mr. Matthiessen’s final novel, “In Paradise,” is to be published on Tuesday by Riverhead Books.
Mr. Matthiessen was one of the last survivors of a generation of American writers who came of age after World War II and who all seemed to know one another, socializing in New York and on Long Island’s East End as a kind of movable literary salon peopled by the likes of William Styron, James Jones, Kurt Vonnegut and E. L. Doctorow.

Federal death row inmate wins stay

A death row inmate once slated to be the first person executed by the federal government on President Barack Obama's watch has won an indefinite stay of execution from a federal judge.

Jeffery Paul, 37, obtained the order Thursday from U.S. District Court Judge Richard Roberts after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in January that he was wrong to refuse Paul's request to join a pending lawsuit in which three other death row prisoners have challenged the federal government's lethal injection protocol. Those three prisoners are covered by a similar order barring their execution while the litigation proceeds.

An attorney for Paul welcomed the judge's new order (posted here).

"We were gratified that the Court of Appeals gave Mr. Paul a chance to vindicate his rights by joining the lawsuit, and it is equally gratifying to learn that his execution will be stayed so that he can pursue the case to its conclusion," Keith Rosen of Chadbourne & Parke said Thursday.


America's War Against Black Power

By Charlene Muhammad -National Correspondent-
Updated Apr 3, 2014 - 8:36:39 AM
( - Human rights activists are calling on the government to grant amnesty and unconditional freedom to all political prisoners incarcerated because of COINTELPRO, a secret federal law enforcement program that destroyed Black and dissident organizations in the 1960s and 1970s.

Men and women who sacrificed their lives so others could enjoy civil liberties and human rights in America are now aging and suffering failing health as they languish in prison, some for 40 years, and many in solitary confinement cells, unfit even for dogs, said their advocates.
It is imperative that those they fought for remember and fight for them, said the activists.
J. Edgar Hoover, former head of the FBI, began the covert, illegal CounterIntelligence Program in 1956 to destroy militant organizations.
The National Jericho Movement, which advocates for political prisoners inside the United States, wants emergency congressional hearings on the impact and continuing legacy of America’s domestic war against soldiers in the Black Liberation Struggle. It also wants political prisoners released and some activists want the freedom fighters compensated for their unjust suffering.
“The effort to try to expose the horrible impact of the FBI’s CounterIntelligence Program has been an ongoing thing,” said Jihad Abdulmumit, chair of the National Jericho Movement. That exposure undergirds Jericho’s push for the congressional hearings. Although Mr. Hoover announced in 1971 that COINTELPRO had ended after the anonymous Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI exposed the program, secret government operations, set-ups, stool pigeon operations and political assassinations continue today, activists warned.
“COINTELPRO by any other name is still COINTELPRO. … Homeland Security as an institution of the United States security now, the Patriot Act, the Anti-Terrorism Effective Death Penalty Act I and II—all of this now has really led up to still what we have today as a CounterIntelligence Program and the War on Terrorism,” Mr. Abdulmumit told The Final Call.
The online petition, “Jericho: Congressional Hearing on Cointelpro’s Legacy and Continuing Impact,” is part of Jericho’s attempts to educate people and have the U.S. government revisit COINTELPRO’s continuing legacy.
In the future, the group plans to deliver the petitions to Congressional Black Caucus members and the record of a 2011 Peoples’ Tribunal Hearings on COINTELPRO. Organizers hope the campaign will inspire Black Caucus members to speak up for political prisoners. They also hope to send 100,000 signatures to the Obama administration before he leaves office.

I'm Not Your Disappearing Indian

Sometimes, you forget you’re an "Indian"—someone who is just a figment of someone else’s imagination. You're a princess or a fierce warrior. On Halloween, you're that pocahottie costume that attracts the guys; at a football game, you're that headdress the fans wear as they put back the beer and scream at the refs. Or you're even that disappearing Indian, riding away on his faithful steed into the mists of time, not around to be interviewed about what is going on today, not fit to comment on issues that concern Native people.

RELATED: Snyder Wins: How 'CancelColbert' Drowned Out the Native Voice

You forget, and then -- there are abrupt experiences that remind you.

For instance, Rooney Mara, a non-Native actress, was recently cast as Tiger Lily in a remake of Peter Pan, and journalists were up in arms about it and wrote some 87 articles about it in the national press. These writers—African American, Asian American, feminist, people of color—all failed to include us in their coverage of an issue that was ostensibly about us. Will Hollywood try to pull off Redface or are they simply whitewashing roles to avoid the issue all together?

And then last Thursday, it happened again, this time it was the folks on social media trending #CancelColbert and completely forgetting about Dan Snyder and the real foundation to promote the racial slur Redsk*ns. Once again, ostensibly about us, but of the issue garnered no real attention until it fell in someone else’s hands and then they, once again, forgot about us.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

The “Cuban Twitter” Scam Is a Drop in the Internet Propaganda Bucket

This week, the Associated Press exposed a secret program run by the U.S. Agency for International Development to create “a Twitter-like Cuban communications network” run through “secret shell companies” in order to create the false appearance of being a privately owned operation. Unbeknownst to the service’s Cuban users was the fact that “American contractors were gathering their private data in the hope that it might be used for political purposes”–specifically, to manipulate those users in order to foment dissent in Cuba and subvert its government. According to top-secret documents published today by The Intercept, this sort of operation is frequently discussed at western intelligence agencies, which have plotted ways to covertly use social media for ”propaganda,” “deception,” “mass messaging,” and “pushing stories.”

These ideas–discussions of how to exploit the internet, specifically social media, to surreptitiously disseminate viewpoints friendly to western interests and spread false or damaging information about targets–appear repeatedly throughout the archive of materials provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Documents prepared by NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ–and previously published by The Intercept as well as some by NBC News–detailed several of those programs, including a unit devoted in part to “discrediting” the agency’s enemies with false information spread online.

The documents in the archive show that the British are particularly aggressive and eager in this regard, and formally shared their methods with their U.S. counterparts. One previously undisclosed top-secret documentprepared by GCHQ for the 2010 annual “SIGDEV” gathering of the “Five Eyes” surveillance alliance comprising the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S.–explicitly discusses ways to exploit Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media as secret platforms for propaganda.


Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing

Out the Montauk Highway, south toward the water, then a quick right before the beach and you’re there, at the Sagaponack house where the author and Zen teacher Peter Matthiessen has lived for the last 60 years. The home used to be the garage and outbuildings of a larger estate, and there is an improvised, of-the-earth sprawl to the place. One side of the main house is grown over with ivy, and under the portico, in between two piles of chopped firewood, an immense finback whale skull balances on blocks. Just to the left of the front door sits a tree stump covered stupalike with shells and other found objects.

After I ring the doorbell and rap a few times on the glass, Matthiessen emerges from his living room and waves me in.  He has spent much of his career going back in time — up to ancient villages in the remote reaches of the Himalayas, out to the vast plains of Africa in search of the roots of man — but now time has caught up to him. He’s 86, and for the last 15 months he has been countering leukemia with courses of chemotherapy. You can still see the intensity in his long, serious face and clear blue eyes, but there is an unexpected softness to him as he pads back toward the living room in an old sweater and stockinged feet. His latest novel, “In Paradise,” is being promoted by his publisher as his “final word,” but Matthiessen doesn’t want to talk about the book or his career in those terms. He has no desire for sympathy points. Though he did not want to dwell on it, he acknowledged that his medical situation was “precarious,” and a few weeks after our two days together his health would decline to the point that he had to be admitted to a hospital, with family standing by. It gave our conversations the feeling of stolen time.



Why He Was in Memphis

Most Americans today know that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was killed 46 years ago -- on April 4, 1968 -- in Memphis, Tennessee. But fewer know why he was there.
King went to Memphis to support African American garbage workers, who were on strike to protest unsafe conditions, abusive white supervisors, and low wages -- and to gain recognition for their union. Their picket signs relayed a simple but profound message: "I Am A Man."
If he were still alive, King would surely join the growing campaigns to unionize and improve pay and working conditions for janitors, security guards, hotel workers, hospital employees, farmworkers, grocery employees, and others who earn poverty-level wages. He might disrupt Walmart stockholder meetings to demand that the company pay employees a living wage, join fast-food workers in their quest for decent pay, and urge consumers to boycott the Gap, Walmart and other companies until they stop manufacturing their products in overseas sweatshops. He'd also be working with unions, community groups, and fellow clergy to pressure Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, which was one of the demands of the March on Washington.
Today we view King as something of a saint, his birthday a national holiday, and his name adorning schools and street signs. But in his day, the establishment considered King a dangerous troublemaker. He was harassed by the FBI and vilified in the media. He began his activism in Montgomery, Alabama, as a crusader against the nation's racial caste system, but the struggle for civil rights radicalized him into a fighter for broader economic and social justice. He recognized the limits of breaking down legal segregation. What good was winning the right to eat at a dime-store lunch counter if you couldn't afford a hamburger and a Coke?
A half-century before Occupy Wall Street, King warned about the "gulf between the haves and the have-nots" and insisted that America needed a "better distribution of wealth."


Robert Redford on Leonard Peltier

Robert Redford on Leonard Peltier

Interview, air date 4.4.2014

Robert Redford is of course, one of the world's biggest film stars. He is also a prolific and much-respected film director - and he has made a personal and financial commitment to environmental issues and to the plight of American Indians, particularly that of Mr. Peltier.

NSA Blows Its Own Top Secret Program in Order to Propagandize

Over the last 40 years, the U.S. government has relied on extreme fear-mongering to demonize transparency. In sum, every time an unwanted whistleblower steps forward, we are treated to the same messaging: You’re all going to die because of these leakers and the journalists who publish their disclosures! Lest you think that’s hyperbole, consider this headline from last week based on an interview with outgoing NSA chief Keith Alexander...


Der Spiegel: NSA Put Merkel on List of 122 Targeted Leaders

Secret documents newly disclosed by the German news magazine Der Spiegel on Saturday shed more light on how aggressively the National Security Agency and its British counterpart have targeted Germany for surveillance.

A series of classified files from the archive provided to reporters by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also seen by The Intercept, reveal that the NSA appears to have included Merkel in a surveillance database alongside more than 100 others foreign leaders. The documents also confirm for the first time that, in March 2013, the NSA obtained a top-secret court order against Germany as part of U.S. government efforts to monitor communications related to the country. Meanwhile, the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters targeted three German companies in a clandestine operation that involved infiltrating the companies’ computer servers and eavesdropping on the communications of their staff.

Der Spiegel, which has already sketched out over several stories the vast extent of American and British targeting of German people and institutions, broke the news last October that Merkel’s cellphone calls were being tapped by the NSA – sparking a diplomatic backlash that strained US-Germany relations. Now a new document, dated 2009, indicates that Merkel was targeted in a broader NSA surveillance effort. She appears to have been placed in the NSA’s so-called “Target Knowledge Base“ (TKB), which Der Spiegel described as the central agency database of individual targets. An internal NSA description states that employees can use it to analyze “complete profiles“ of targeted people.


#Not1More: Into the Streets Against Deportations

On April 5th, groups are holding events across the country to say: 2Million2Many! Not One More Deportation!

See >>

President Obama's Shameful Milestone

Since President Obama has been in office, over two million people have been deported from the United States. That’s more than under George W. Bush in eight years and more than double Bill Clinton’s number. It’s more than any President, ever.

Why has he been doing this? Because President Obama wanted to prove to Congress that he wasn’t “soft on immigration,” in the hopes that they would pass comprehensive immigration reform. So far, that plan hasn’t worked out too well.

Congress has only stepped up calls for enforcement-only immigration reform. In fact, some members of Congress have stated that they won’t support comprehensive reform because they’re afraid the President won’t enforce the law.

So we need to pull the plug on this false bargain now. This historic and shameful milestone can be a turning point if we join together and tell President Obama that it’s time to end his support for enforcement-only policies that separate families through unnecessary deportations.

With so many American households made up of a mix of U.S. citizens and permanent or undocumented residents, the millions of deportations carried out in the past five years have torn apart countless families.

Let’s stand together and tell President Obama enough is enough: end the mass deportation of immigrants and ensure basic due process protections.


The Price of a Slur

MINNEAPOLIS — THE idea of the “Indian giver” has always been deeply ironic, since it’s Indians who have been on the receiving end of some very bad gifts indeed. Last week’s offering from Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, was only the latest.

On March 24, Mr. Snyder announced the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, a charitable organization with the stated mission “to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities.” To date, the foundation has distributed 3,000 winter coats, shoes to basketball-playing boys and girls, and a backhoe to the Omaha tribe in Nebraska.

The unstated mission of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation is clear: In the face of growing criticism over the team’s toxic name and mascot imagery, the aim is to buy enough good will so the name doesn’t seem so bad, and if some American Indians — in the racial logic of so-called post-racial America, “some” can stand in for “all” — accept Mr. Snyder’s charity, then protest will look like hypocrisy.

In his news release and public statements, Mr. Snyder refers to “our shared Washington Redskins” heritage. To be clear: There is no “our” that includes Mr. Snyder. And there is no “Redskins” that includes us. There has been a sustained effort for decades by activists to change the name of this team and others.
Members of my tribe, the Ojibwe, have been a big part of such efforts.
But the franchise, valued at $1.7 billion, has a long history of sacrificing decency at the altar of commerce: George Preston Marshall refused to integrate the team until 1962 (the rest of the N.F.L. began doing so in 1946). When the government forced the team to include black players, fans protested outside carrying signs saying “Keep Redskins White!” At stake back then was money (Marshall was afraid that he’d lose fans if African-Americans were on the roster). Money is similarly at stake now. According to Forbes, the Redskins are the eighth most valuable sports franchise in the world. Just consider the merchandise alone.

Seldom has the entwined nature of ethics and money and influence been revealed as so unavoidably intestinal in its smell and purpose: to consume the material, to nourish the host and to expel the waste. American Indians — who do not see or refer to ourselves as “redskins” and who take great exception to the slur — are that waste.

This isn’t merely symbolic. In 1863, the Cheyenne chief Lean Bear traveled to Washington to protest the government’s treatment of his people. He received a peace medal presented by President Lincoln. He was wearing the same medal when he was gunned down by the United States Cavalry at Sand Creek in 1864.
Census data shows that four out of the five poorest United States counties are found within the borders of Indian reservations. So, sure, the gifts of a backhoe and coats are much needed and much appreciated. But gift-giving to Indians rather than systemic change has been an all-too-familiar practice over the centuries, and whether the gifts are beads, backhoes or presidential medals, we know just how much they’re really worth.

Mr. Snyder has been quick to point out that he has the support of a handful of those he calls “tribal leaders,” such as the Lower Brule Sioux tribe vice chairman, Boyd Gourneau, and the Pueblo of Zuni governor, Arlen Quetawki, both quoted in the news release.

“Tribal officials” might be a better term here than “tribal leaders” because although they are elected, it is in no way clear that they actually represent the sentiments of their constituents any more than John Boehner represents the sentiments of most Americans. These officials’ public-relations-ready comments — “I appreciate your sincerity” and “the entire tribe is so appreciative” — are the diplomatic words of dignitaries, nothing more. It would be a mistake to assume that those words imply democratic consent.

The pity that Mr. Snyder seems to feel for Indians and our plight is intimately connected with age-old ideas and images — strength, bravery, a warrior spirit, noble savagery — all of which are conjured by the cartoonish use of Indian names and mascots. We are pitied and feared as Macbeth and Caesar and Achilles are pitied and feared: great but for a fatal flaw (a heel, an ego, ambition). Our tragic flaw, however, is having been subjected to hundreds of years of warfare, colonialism, racism and exclusion.

To pay tribute only to brave warriors and pitiful reservations is to engage in a fantasy that erases the lives of real Indians for whom the racial slur “redskins” is intolerable.

The name will change. Either the N.F.L. will make Mr. Snyder change the name, or we will. But in trying to buy off that inevitable end, Mr. Snyder has made a terrible mistake in confusing charity with donations. Charity, or caritas, can be defined as an act of generous love. Donations, on the other hand, are material objects for which the owner has no real need and can part with easily and painlessly. What Mr. Snyder has created is not a charity. It is a donation depot.
If Mr. Snyder’s hope is that by offering his donations and having them be accepted he has forged a kind of treaty with American Indian tribes — the exchange of coats for the return of good will — he can be sure this is a treaty Indians will break.

Correction: April 4, 2014 

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the case of a Cheyenne chief who was killed in battle while wearing a medal that Abraham Lincoln had given him. The chief was Lean Bear, not Black Kettle, and he was killed in 1864, not 1868.

David Treuer is an Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota and the author of “Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through the Land of His People.”