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In recent weeks, we have had the privilege of hearing from and seeing a number of impressive young people in action. We want to highlight some of the issues that are spurring youth to get active in their communities and what they are doing about them.
Young people are yearning to understand the world, even when the truth is horrible, so that they can change it for the better. Mary Elizabeth Williams writes in Salon: “They’re questioning and curious and skeptical and intensely philosophical. They want to make sense of the world and reasons people do the things they do. They have amazing ideas, ideas that are too often wrung out of them by a school culture increasingly devoted to filling in little circles and insisting there’s only one correct answer to any problem that comes along, and only one way of arriving at that.”
She wrote about a fifth-grade student in Florida who won an award for his essay, “In the Name of Religion,” in which he described the use of religion to justify war and mass murder. His school tried to take away his award and prevent him from reading his essay to his classmates, going so far as to require permission slips for the other students to hear it. His family advocated for him and he was able to both read his essay at school and advance in the competition.
Instead of creating an environment for honest discussion of the past and present which would facilitate reconciliation, school textbooks and programs perpetuate the status quo. High school textbooks often gloss over injustices such as the fact that racial segregation was caused by explicit policies and not by societal norms.
Rather than discussing the US as the world’s largest empire, that imperialist mentality is cultivated at a young age in the guise of a “youth development program,” otherwise called the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (JROTC). Ann Jones writes that this program is “pushed by multiple high-powered, highly paid public relations and advertising firms under contract to the Department of Defense….” She calls it the world’s most effective child soldier recruitment program.
Despite this, students are questioning the injustice they see around them. We marched this week with high school students in Baltimore who are organizing their community to stop the country’s largest trash incinerator from being built in their community. One of their teachers said, “These students already breathe some of the dirtiest air in the state and their young bodies bear a terrible price.”
Another impressive group of students in Baltimore, from the Algebra Project, are working for better conditions in their schools and to stop the school to prison pipeline. So far they have kept a juvenile detention center from being built, and are pushing for recreation and other youth programs. They need to raise a few thousand more dollars to keep their program going. We hope you will support these inspiring young adults.
Militarization and Over-Policing of Schools
The militarization of public schools and our culture generally, is dramatic, particularly in communities of color where police are intervening in increasingly aggressive ways. As Chase Madar writes, “What not long ago would have been seen as normal childhood misbehavior—doodling on a desk, farting in class, a kindergartener’s tantrum—can leave a kid in handcuffs, removed from school, or even booked at the local precinct.”
In Rochester recently, a police officer arrested three teen athletes who were waiting for a school bus to take them to practice. The officer insisted on completing the arrest even after the coach arrived to explain. The only crime they committed was being African American.
Racism in the US is obvious when one looks at mass incarceration and stop-and-frisk statistics. In the US, there are 2.4 million people behind bars, which represent 25% of the world’s prisoners, even though the U.S. is only 5% of the world’s population. The U.S. prison population is enough to comprise a small nation. Rosa Brooks describes what this “Incarceration Nation“—which is larger than 50 nations and would be one of the most densely populated nation’s in the world—would look like. The private prison-industrial complex encourages policies that increase the prison population so that a few can enrich themselves.
Chris Hedges brings us the stories of 28 prisoners he teaches at a maximum security prison in New Jersey. They started writing about life in prison in his class and their essays were made into a powerful play called “Caged.” Their stories reveal their talents and their sacrifice, courage and dedication to their loved ones. Hedges writes that: “The mass incarceration of men and women like my students impoverishes not just them, their families and their communities, but the rest of us as well.”
In New York City, voters hoped that there would be an end to racist stop-and-frisk policies with the election of Bill de Blasio who ran on a platform against stop-and-frisk. Parents and students were given a slap in the face by de Blasio whose first political appointment was the police commissioner William Bratton, who was quoted in the LA Times calling youth a disease. Amnesty International “found a ‘serious problem of police brutality and excessive force’ in the NYPD under Bratton” during the 1990s.
Imagine what these aggressive police actions are doing to students. Recently, almost two-dozen high school students were arrested in California after undercover police infiltrated their school and coaxed them into purchasing small amounts of marijuana. Some students say they don’t know who to trust. Contrast this with the state of Colorado which legalized marijuana last year. Colorado has saved an estimated $60 million and has prevented tens of thousands of arrests so far.
Youth Fight Back Against Militarization, Corporatization, Poverty Jobs and Tuition Hikes
Fortunately, such obvious injustices serve to unite communities to fight back. The growing corporatization and defunding of public schools is fueling a nationwide movement. On December 9, teachers and students wore blue and rallied from coast to coast in the nation’s largest day of mass action to “reclaim public education.”
Sometimes students are fighting to correct historic injustices. In Jacksonville, Florida high school students joined with the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition to change the name of their high school. It will no longer be named after Nathan B. Forrest, a vicious slave trader who committed war crimes as a confederate general and was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The school was named after this extreme racist during the era of desegregation thanks to the Daughters of the Confederacy. Today’s youth corrected that injustice.
Students at the college level are organizing and escalating their tactics on a variety of fronts despite police aggression toward them. College students have many reasons to protest: the corporatization and decline in quality of their education, record student debt, a poor job environment and an uncertain future due to climate change, globalization and increasing austerity.
The mainstream media portray the millennial generation as sheltered, content and lazy without considering, as Michael Corcoran writes in TruthOut, “the context in which young people are struggling to find decent jobs, including the long-term economic impacts of deregulation and neoliberalism pushed by state managers and wealthy elites for some three decades now, which have kept wages stagnant for people of all ages, including young people….”
These greedy and abusive policies have created a systemic failure; policies that were created by the wealthy elite and that steal the millennials’ futures. The media are sending the wrong message to our youth, that the problem is their failure to choose the right major or to work hard enough. Sarah Kendzior describes the current situation well, saying “Individuals internalize the economy’s failure, as a media chorus excoriates them over what they should have done differently. They jump to meet shifting goalposts; they express gratitude for their own mistreatment: their unpaid labor, their debt-backed devotion, their investment in a future that never arrives.”
The result, for those who are fighting back against the system, is solidarity between students, faculty and campus service workers. This solidarity has been building for years from coast to coast and is now escalating to sympathy strikes such as this one at UC Santa Cruz. The power structure better watch out if students and workers combine forces it will be a powerful challenge to the unfair economy and dysfunctional government.
In the UK, students are similarly protesting austerity, the corporatization of education and mistreatment of workers. In response, campus administration is clamping down. In central London, students were beaten and arrested during a peaceful demonstration and the school banned further protests. Students say these extreme tactics are a powerful recruitment tool and they expect their movement to grow. In fact, the new documentary, Street Politics 101, which tells the story of the student protests in Montreal, shows that “every time the cops struck, the student movement got bigger and angrier.”
Students at CUNY are also fighting the creeping militarization of their college. The student body is primarily made up of working-class youth and they see the campus administration preying upon them for military recruitment. Last year the ROTC was brought back to campus after having been banned for 40 years. This year, General Petraeus was hired to teach. Students have faced retaliation for their protests: police violence, arrests and the closing of a popular student center used for organizing. Their lawyer, Ron McGuire, characterizes this struggle as determining “the intellectual landscape of the United States … whether that landscape is going to be a militarized society, with a wealthy ruling class sitting on top and black and Latino working-class youth fighting wars all over the world.”
The battle continues at Cooper Union over the move to start charging tuition although it was founded as a free university. Students marked the one-year anniversary of their occupation of Foundation Hall with what they called the ping-pong-pocalypse. They dropped 1,500 ping pong balls with dollar signs on them down a four-story open stairway. This video lists their numerous grievances.
Millenials are also concerned about climate change. The most recent data show that climate change is accelerating and we must take action quickly to both mitigate it and prepare for its consequences. Students at more than 300 universities are working in solidarity to pressure their schools to divest from fossil fuels. They say that the schools cannot claim to be green if they invest in dirty energy. A large rally and protest was held recently by students from 10 schools in Boston. They vow to continue to escalate the pressure to demand divestment.
Young people are escalating their tactics to stop Obama’s deportations under the #Not1More campaign. Statistics were recently released showing that Obama has deported a record 2 million people during his presidency so far. #Not1More reminds us that every one of those 2 million has a family that is torn apart by their detention and deportation. On December 16, protesters on both coasts shut down immigration facilities as part of the growing movement to stop deportations and they similarly vow to escalate their nonviolent tactics.
Students and Youth Have The Power To Transform The Nation
Students and youth do have the power to create the kind of future they want to live in. This is demonstrated most clearly in Chile where four ex-student leaders were elected to Congress. Now the re-election of Michelle Bachelet means that the country has the real potential to move back onto the path that President Salvador Allende, also a physician, began in the 1970s before a U.S.-supported coup. Bachelet promotes an overhaul of the economy and education. She says, “Profits can’t be the motor behind education because education isn’t merchandise and because dreams aren’t a consumer good.”
It may take a while before we see similar changes at the same electoral level in the US, but the landscape is already changing at the local level. This year we saw hopeful signs with the election of Kshama Sawant in Seattle and a number of independent labor candidates in Ohio. We will have to continue to educate ourselves, organize and work together strategically to shift power away from the wealthy elite in order to make electoral gains in our mirage democracy.
Education is not only available to those in colleges. Our newest writer at PopularResistance.org, Stephen Wallace, made his debut with a tribute to Noam Chomsky for his 85th birthday. Wallace has been mentored by Chomsky and is largely self-taught. He describes radical social change as, “The flow of daily life free from authoritarian attitudes, the abolition of oppressive institutions, and the deepest reaches of our humanity in choosing to live decent and ethical lives.”
We feel hopeful for the future when we look at the many young people around us who are taking on the monumental task of transforming the world. We think back to the Civil Rights Movement when the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led the way on many fronts because the more traditional organizations led by older adults were too timid and willing to compromise.
SNCC field organizers showed tremendous commitment, energy and courage as they went into violent areas and refused to be intimidated in their mission for equality and voting rights. They organized using a grassroots model that empowered those who are most affected by the issues to speak out and become leaders. They were fighting for their future and they knew it. We see the same type of approach, gravity, commitment and courage in many youth today all around the country.
This article was produced by PopularResistance.org in conjunction with AlterNet. It is based on PopularResistance.org’s weekly newsletter reviewing the activities of the resistance movement. Sign up for the daily news digest of Popular Resistance.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Updated 12.28.2013 2:07pm – I did receive specific information for his Hearing, see the update below.
Rob’s story begins in these posts here:
This is a message from Lori Marques today, about Rob Marques and what is going on with him now:Hello Judy hope you had a very merry Christmas and a fabulous birthday… I have an update if you could share that would be great. Rob was sent to Annapolis and at that meeting the states attorney told Rob “well if we don’t send you to SC then then SC can sue MD so sign the waiver and deal with the charges down there. My brother asked if he was a public servant and he him hauled around the question and said “well kind of”.. Needles to say the corruption goes very high up the ladder. They sent rob back to Washington county as hr would not sign. I have an email from my parents I would like you to share. Were asking for lots of energy for robs Jan 2 court date. Rob is now very confident and ready to move forward he just needs a little help from the people. I love and appreciate you and all the others who are holding him in the light as he is truly trying to help free everyone by going through this experience..
Please attend 4th Reconsideration Hearing by the Washington County District Court to be extradited to South Carolina as a fugitive for writing a document to help free another living being in South Carolina. (this is the bogus charge) You may google robert michael marques to see the real reason that Rob feels he is being held.
All are welcome. Please attend in peace and honor. If you would like to participate in the audience as a witness, please bring a note pad and pen to record the corruption and breaches of trust by the court. When all are asked for living witnesses in the court here to witness robert michael of the House marques, pease raise your hand with your pad in hand.
Hearing is to take place at 1PM ~ Room 1 Reconsideration Hearing for ROBERT MICHAEL MARQUES Washington County District Court of Maryland 36 West Antietam Street Hagerstown, Maryland 21740
Love, Light, Peace and Gratitude All ways, terry marques
Any questions please feel free to email me @email@example.com
P.S. If Rob does not appear in the courtroom for the hearing, then you will know something else has gone awry. They tend to use all kinds of trickery.
Family and friends of Kevin Hill last night gathered outside the Queensland Corrective Services Department offices in Brisbane, to protest the way he was being treated in prison.
The Queensland Government, under new “anti-bikie laws”, moved motorcycle club members to the Woodford Correction Centre about 100 kilometres north of Brisbane.
They have been separated and placed into solitary confinement.
Kevin Hill was jailed for assault and sent back to jail for breaching parole.
But Grace Hill said her husband had been moved to solitary at Woodford because of his past connections with bike club The Bandidos.
“He was a model prisoner; he used to train guide dogs and do the Aboriginal paintings for Fred Hollows Foundation,” she said.
“Why should he be put under [the new anti-bikie laws] and do time for something he hasn’t done?”
Gabriel Buckley, President of the Queensland Liberal Democrats political party and a candidate at the upcoming Redcliffe by-election, said several civil liberties groups were sprouting up in Queensland in response to the state government’s law-and-order policies.
Mr Buckley, who recently organised a protest in Brisbane which attracted 2000 people, said prisoners with bike-club links were now doing it tough.
“People are certainly being subject to a lot harsher treatment,” he said.
“Kevin is a prime example.”
NITV News asked Corrective Services Queensland if Kevin Hill was placed in solitary confinement because he was formerly associated with a bike club.
In a statement, the department said:”Queensland Corrective Services is not in a position to provide specific information about the management of individual prisoners.”
Musicians, the power of music to affect change can’t be underestimated, the revolutionary spirit of the 60′s was driven primarily by artists like Jimi Hendrix, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Bob Dylan, The Doors and Janis Joplin speaking out against the “system” thru their music, books and interviews with mass media. It’s way past time for musicians to step into leadership roles, you have a voice. Use it! Write music that speaks to the heart about corruption, then use social media to gather a larger fan base while making a difference that counts for everyone on the planet…Rock on Rebels!!
Sincere thanks to the petition signers, letter writers, marchers and demonstration participants involved in helping HELCO understand community concerns about new geothermal development. If you would like to keep up with Hawai`i geothermal health and safety issues, please click the link below to
Posted on the Hawaii Electric Light Company’s geothermal website:
Notice (Updated as of December 20, 2013):
After careful review of all geothermal bids, Hawaii Electric Light has determined that none of the submitted bids sufficiently met both the low-cost and technical requirements of the Geothermal RFP. We are currently working with the Independent Observer to develop a request that will be sent to the bidders. The request will give the bidders the opportunity to provide additional information so that we can make an informed decision that is in the best interests of our customers and residents and that meets the goals of the Geothermal RFP. These goals include lowering customer bills, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, allowing for continued integration and management of intermittent renewable resources, maintaining reliability of service, and protecting the health and safety of the public and environment. We appreciate the efforts the bidders have made to date and look forward to working with them and the Independent Observer on next steps.
- By Zack Kaldveer and Katherine Paul
Organic Consumers Association, December 17, 2013
For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Politics and Democracy page.
In his epic book of poetry, Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman advises “Resist Much. Obey Little.” But when it comes to corporations trampling on local rights, the city of Madison, Wis., advises other cities and counties to do what it has done: Resist much. Obey not.
In October, the Madison City Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring the city a “TPP-Free Zone,” and promising that if Congress passes the Trans Pacific Partnership, a global trade agreement, “We will not obey” it.
The TPP is the largest global trade pact to be negotiated since the World Trade Organization (WTO). Most of the details of the deal remain a mystery. Negotiations are being conducted in secret. But we know, from some of the drafts that have been leaked, that the TPP would hand transnational corporations the power to “protect their future profit potential” by suing countries, states, counties or cities in order to wipe out existing laws—laws specifically designed to protect communities’ best interests.
Those interests could include everything from internet freedom and banking and finance regulation, to the passing of bans on growing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
“Call it a sovereignty issue, or local control, or threat of lowering local standards with regard to government procurement (elimination of any “buy local” ordinances), food safety ordinances, living wage ordinances, environmental requirements, prevailing wage requirements on construction, etc.—[Madison City Council members] saw all these as threats to their authority and the job they had been elected to do,” said David Newby of the Wisconsin Fair Trade Coalition. Newby played a key role in passing the “TPP-Free Zone” resolution in Madison, and another in Dane County, Wis.
The “TPP-Free Zone” concept is modeled after the successful grassroots strategy that helped defeat a similar trade agreement in 1998, called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). The basic premise was to convince elected officials, city by city, county by county, of the need to refuse to obey the MAI if it became law. The anti-MAI grassroots effort succeeded by exposing the dark side of the MAI, and by proving its unpopularity with the public.
A scenario similar to the anti-MAI grassroots movement is unfolding today, this time with the TPP as its target. According to the latest poll, 61 percent of the public in key countries, including the U.S., oppose the TPP. Opposition has grown, thanks to the work of many groups, including the Organic Consumers Association, who have publicly opposed the deal, and launched massive public education campaigns to expose the unprecedented secrecy surrounding the deal, and the potential for the TPP to subvert democracy for the benefit of corporate profits.
TPP protesters recently turned out in mass in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. More than 400 organizations representing 15 million Americans have already petitioned Congress to do away with Fast Track, a tactic the Obama Administration wants to use in order to ram the deal through Congress, without debate.
But if efforts to thwart the deal fail, states, cities and counties can follow the lead of Madison and Dane County by passing their own TPP-Free zones. Ruth Caplan, with the Alliance for Democracy, hopes they will. In a recent interview, Caplan urged people to work with their local governments to “build a democratic movement of resistance.”
“This starts from the grass roots, in the communities where we live . . . This is not, ‘Please, Congress, do the right thing,’ but language of resistance. We need to say, ‘If you create this secretly negotiated corporate trade agreement and it is rubber-stamped by Congress, we will not obey.’”
The Berkeley Peace & Justice Commission (PJC) has approved a TPP-Free Zone resolution, and says the Berkeley, Calif. city council could take it up this month.
For citizens or officials interested in passing TPP-Free Zone resolutions in other states and counties, the Alliance for Democracy website provides information, model municipal laws that can be edited to fit the needs of any community, and includes pointers on how to convince wavering local officials to pass “We Will Not Obey” resolutions.
The TPP, Monsanto and the future of food
Specifically, the TPP would require countries to accept food that meets only the lowest safety standards of the collective participants. That means consumers could soon be eating imported seafood, beef or chicken products that don’t meet even basic U.S. food safety standards. And the (FDA) would be powerless to shut down imports of these unsafe food or food ingredients.
Countries, including those in the European Union, could also find it increasingly difficult to ban, or even require the labeling of, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) if biotech companies determine that those countries’ strict policies restrict fair trade and infringe on the companies’ “rights” to profit.
To top it off, corporations would be allowed to resolve trade disputes in special international tribunals, effectively wiping out hundreds of domestic and international food sovereignty laws. Products labeled fair trade, organic, country-of-origin, animal-welfare approved, or GMO-free, could all be challenged as “barriers to trade.”
With the world’s food supply, and consumers’ health, already endangered by chemical-intensive industrial agriculture and climate change, the U.S. and other governments should be looking for ways to promote sustainable food and agriculture policies, not restrict governments’ abilities to do so. Instead, the Obama Administration is subverting the principles of democracy in favor of handing a few transnational corporations unprecedented power to put profits above the health and well-being of consumers.
Fortunately citizens are protesting. And city and county governments are claiming the power to resist.
The land that the house was built on was not included in the mortgage so the family decided to destroy the house and give it to its new owner. The remains of the building were loaded on a big truck and moved to the central district office of the bank in the city of Teteven, where the contract for the mortgage was signed.
The man who was in debt to the bank and his whole family entered the office and started crying and begging for mercy, but the director said that they can’t make exceptions and the family had a week to vacant the house.
Imagine the director’s face after the family got out of the office and his precious new house was unloaded in front of the bank’s main entrance…
In 2006, it was reported that the NSA had maxed out capacity of the Baltimore-area power grid. Insiders reported that
“The NSA is already unable to install some costly and sophisticated new equipment. At minimum, the problem could produce disruptions leading to outages and power surges.
At worst, it could force a virtual shutdown of the agency.”
August 6, 2006
In other words, the NSA has an Achilles heel.
To get around the physical limitation of the amount of power required to monitor virtually every piece of communication around the globe, the NSA started searching for new locations with their own power supplies.
The new Utah Data Center opening in Bluffdale was chosen due to the access to cheap utilities, primarily water. The water-cooled supercomputers require 1.7 million gallons of water per day to function.
No water = No data center.
The water being provided to the Utah Data Center comes from a political subdivision of the state of Utah.
They have the ability to turn that water off.
The situation is the same at many other locations. Read on for more details.
4TH AMENDMENT PROTECTION ACT
The model legislation (HERE), ready for introduction in any state, would ban a state (and all political subdivisions) from providing assistance or material support in any way with the NSA spying program.
This would include, but is not limited to:
- Refusing to supply water or electricity from state or locally-owned or operated utilities
- A ban on all law enforcement acceptance of information provided without warrant, by the NSA or it’s Special Operations Division (SOD)
- Severe penalties for any corporations providing services for or on behalf of the state which fill the gap and provide the NSA the resources it requires to stay functional.
While the federal government would not be prevented from bringing in its own supplies, it’s not likely that they have the capacity to do so.
The states and local communities should simply turn it off.
The legal doctrine behind this is “anti-commandeering.” It’s the principle that the federal government doesn’t have the authority to force the states (or local communities) to carry out federal laws, regulatory programs, and the like. The Supreme Court affirmed this three times in recent years, the cases being: 1997 Printz, 2002 New York, 2012 Sebelius. It also affirmed this doctrine in the 1842 Prigg case where states refused to assist the federal government in capturing and returning runaway slaves.
This is also consistent with what James Madison advised when writing about the Constitution in Federalist #46. Among the four steps he advised as “powerful means” to oppose federal power was “a refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union.”
It’s not just Utah. The NSA is reliant on many states and local communities to provide the resources required to operate their spying programs.
In Texas, the new data center opening in San Antonio has its electricity provided exclusively by the the city-owned power company. And the NSA was quite upfront about the fact that Texas was chosen because of its independent power grid. The NSA is extremely concerned about basic utilities.
And states providing them don’t have to.
In Augusta Georgia, the “threat operations center” has its water and even sewage treatment provided by local government services.
There’s also NSA “data centers” or “listening posts” in Colorado, Washington, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Hawaii. Each one is a unique circumstance where a multi-prong strategy can and will create roadblocks to implementation.
While many locations rely on state or local governments to assist or directly provide badly-needed utilities, others partner closely with corporations to do so.
For example, in Augusta, Georgia, a partnership with Georgia Power (a subsidiary of the massive electric holding company in the US, the Southern Company), literally kept the lights on.
The local paper reported that “Before a partnership in 2006 with Georgia Power, outages were a regular occurrence on post, particularly during the summer, when heavy demands were placed on the system.”
The NSA has its tentacles deep into the youth as well, with heavy partnerships at Universities in all but 8 US states. In late 2012, the NSA reported that there are now 166 universities in this program. (see the full list here)
These “Centers of Academic Excellence” are not just a recruiting ground for future analysts in the massive spy centers around the country, they provide valuable research partnerships to bolster the NSA’s spying and data-collection capabilities. Universities are often provided with funding, scholarships and other tools to expand research and recruitment.
The NSA has often claimed to be engaging in such activities to protect you from “terrorists,” and many people have accepted this kind of personal intrusion with the belief that they were being kept safe. But the fact is that their programs are much broader – by far.
The Special Operations Division (SOD) was a highly-secret federal unit which is passing information collected without warrant by the NSA to state and local law enforcement for the investigation of regular crimes – not terrorism-related at all.
A multi-prong strategy is an absolute must when working to prevent the kind of 4th Amendment violations seen under the NSA spying program.
Currently, activists are engaged in the support of lawsuits from EFF and ACLU, and in support of Congressional legislation to limit or stop the NSA. But waiting for these to play out positively is a dangerous game of chicken.
A recent vote in Congress which failed to defund the NSA spying program indicates that relying on them to stop the NSA isn’t enough.
By approaching the NSA on multiple fronts, it’s certainly possible to overwhelm them and make their programs too difficult or costly to carry out. A program to Turn it Off and render the NSA’s spying program as good as null and void intersects in 5 main areas:
- State legislation – passed in every state, banning cooperation, compliance, and law enforcement collaboration.
- Local Resolutions – passed in every possible county, city and town, supporting these principles and calling on the state to pass the 4th Amendment Protection Act
- Corporate Protests – and opposition to those corporations providing the resources needed to carry out the NSA spying program.
- Campus Actions – including both protests against NSA/University partnerships, and organizational and student government resolutions formally calling for an end to such partnerships.
- Environmental concerns – the waste of resources is massive, with millions of gallons of water being used every single day at just one NSA facility.
From Thoreau to Rosa Parks, and from Ghandi to you – a successful strategy to protect your liberties requires non-compliance and peaceful resistance.
And, as Rosa Parks proved, saying “NO!” can change the world.
More here: http://offnow.org/
In 2011 the state of Montana took over gray wolf management after the species lost federal protection. Ever since, the state’s stewards have done little but find new ways and new reasons to kill wolves.
Following delisting the state immediately instituted a wolf-hunting season. In 2012 it added wolf-trapping; in 2013 it nearly doubled the bag limit for wolves. Now Montana has decided it needs to authorize even more ways to “regulate” this still-recovering keystone species.
The latest proposed amendments from the state will allow landowners or their agents to kill a wolf on their property without license or permit. All that’s required is that the landowner think the wolf is a “potential threat” to human safety, livestock or domestic dogs. The new rules will also permit setting year-round traps for “problem wolves,” which could lead to indiscriminate killing of gray wolves and other nontarget species.
Since delisting, 493 gray wolves have been killed in Montana by hunting and trapping. Enough is enough.
Please take action now and tell Governor Steve Bullock and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to stop their plans to expand wolf-killing.
1.6 million people have taken the streets in Ukraine to protest against oppression and what appears to be Russian control of their government. Many reports have mistakenly named these massive demonstrations as pro-EU, but it is much more appropriate to label them anti-government. People are waking up to their power and dignity all around the world. The bankers are exposed in the truth if their global corruption harming us all. This is the aftermath of the 2012 GLOBAL AWAKENINGS. People want a new way of living worldwide. Our current model serves a few & harms many more. It is also important to note that these protests are going on in spite of a protest ban. Activists and students in Independence square, were brutality beaten, injured, and hospitalized by police attacks in the early morning hours of November 30th.
Protestors fought police, seized governmental buildings, blockaded police, and have continued to stand united calling for government resignations in the millions! A protestor in a bulldozer even pushed back police lines while others stood hand in hand. Students began pepper spraying cops. People have had enough. Just as we have seen from Egypt, to the London Riots, to The Israeli summer, Americans Autumn, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand & dozens of more nations- people are standing up for justice. The tyranny and brutality of the Ukrainian government has been on full display via beatings and gas grenades. A new world is possible. Remove the corrupt bankers & create a new system.
Publisher. World News Channel HD
(P) & (C) World News Channel
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Italian – I Polizziotti Si Tolgono Il Casco E Stanno Con I Manifestanti
For more coverage like this, follow me on twitter at @OccupyEye and watch me stream protests live at Ustream.tv/OccupyEye
Note: Canada – Canadian indigenous tribes need your support, please take action NOW. Join the growing movement to prevent more corporate environmental destruction in New Brunswick. Mahalo!
Updated Oct. 31, 2013Nineteen-year-old David Mazerolle of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society describes how Mi’kmaqs were denied all their rights in jail and placed in solitary confinement after police brutally attacked the anti-oil and gas drilling camp in Elsipogtog, New Brunswick.
A second Mi’kmaq Warrior, Mi’kmaq Warrior Chief Jason Augustine, said he was repeatedly kicked in the head by police while down and diagnosed with a concussion.
“I was kicked in the head three times when I was taken down,” Augustine told APTN. “I wasn’t resisting arrest, I had my hands behind my back, and this one RCMP started bashing my head in.”
David Mazerolle describes the treatment in the Moncton jail in this video. ”I was one of the six that got left in there.”
“They left us in there with no blanket, no bed.”
“After we got split up and put in solitary confinement, my buddy Aaron, as he was being transferred, got beat up while he was in handcuffs.”
“They said we could talk to our lawyers, but none of us got to talk to our lawyers.”
“We were just constantly in that hole.”
The Mi’kmaq Warriors were denied toilet paper and toothpaste, and access to the phone and attorneys.
|RCMP and snipers in Oct. 17 raid on Mi’kmaq camp.|
David appealed for help for the four Warriors who remain in jail. “They are not allowed to call out.”
“Help the Warriors that are still in there because they are not being treated right.”
The Canadian police, RCMP, and heavily armed snipers with attack dogs stormed the peaceful anti-fracking camp at Elsipogtog on Oct. 17, 2013. Mi’kmaq women and elderly were abused and pepper-sprayed. At least two Mi’kmaqs were shot with rubber bullets. Fourteen people were arrested.
Mi’kmaq were defending their land from Southwestern Energy of Houston, which has targeted their land for fracking. Southwestern Energy has already been sued in Pennsylvania and Arkansas for fracking and poisoning the drinking water with carcinogens which caused cancer.
Update from APTN: Second Mi’kmaq Warrior beaten after arrest: “I was kicked in the head three times when I was taken down,” said Augustine. “I wasn’t resisting arrest, I had my hands behind my back, and this one RCMP started bashing my head in.”
Support jailed Warriors at Moncton Courthouse, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 at 9 am
Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, Moncton Courthouse
TO THE MI’KMAQ PEOPLE AND SETTLERS LIVING ON THE LAND
LET US JOIN TOGETHER IN UNITY TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR OUR PROTECTORS.
Update: Video of press conference Nov. 1, 2013 outside Moncton Courthouse:
In the news:
APTN: Anonymous located audio of racist cop attacking Mi’kmaq in anti-fracking camp, officer who uttered slur under internal review: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2013/10/31/rcmp-investigating-officer-uttered-slur-raid-elsipogtog-anti-fracking-camp/
Please share this link: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2013/10/mikmaq-warriors-denied-all-rights-in.html
Some cry tears of joy as a truce is called between Thai protestors and police. CNN’s Paula Hancocks reports.
Can you imagine participating in a protest outside the White House and forcing the entire U.S. government to resign? Can you imagine a group of randomly chosen private citizens rewriting the U.S. constitution to include measures banning corporate fraud? It seems incomprehensible in the U.S., but Icelanders did just that. Icelanders forced their entire government to resign after a banking fraud scandal, overthrowing the ruling party and creating a citizen’s group tasked with writing a new constitution that offered a solution to prevent corporate greed from destroying the country. The constitution of Iceland was scrapped and is being rewritten by private citizens; using a crowd-sourcing technique via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. These events have been going on since 2008, yet there’s been no word from the U.S. mainstream media about any of them. In fact, all of the events that unfolded were recorded by international journalists, overseas news bureaus, citizen journalists and bloggers. This has created current accusations of an intentional cover up of the story by mainstream U.S. news sources.
An “iReport” on CNN, written by a private citizen in May 2012, has questioned the reasons why this revolution has not been widely covered in the U.S., suggesting that perhaps the mainstream media is controlled by large corporate interests and thus has been unwilling to report on Iceland’s activities. That report is currently making its way around social media. CNN today placed a statement on its website saying: “We’ve noticed this iReport is being shared widely on Facebook and Twitter. Please note that this article was posted in May 2012. CNN has not yet verified the claims and we’re working to track down the original writer.” It is interesting to note that CNN’s European version, CNN Europe, already covered the story of the protests and the government’s resignation, leading many to question why CNN would now need to “look into” the claims.
Besides CNN Europe’s own coverage of the scandal, the events in Iceland were widely covered by international media and are easily verified by a simple search on Google which leads to a variety of reputable international news sources that ran numerous stories on the Icelandic revolution. A whole documentary has been made on the governmental overthrow called Pots, Pans and Other Solutions, and now, the conversation is focused on whether or not the citizens’ actions actually worked to make Iceland a more equitable nation.
To understand the enormity of what happened in Iceland, it’s best to draw parallels between the initial banking fraud that caused Iceland’s economy to collapse and the banking fraud in the U.S. that caused the mortgage crisis six years ago. In Iceland, unscrupulous bankers had inflated the value of Iceland’s banks internationally which in turn caused the “bubble” to eventually burst in 2008 and saw most of Iceland’s banks going bankrupt.
A similar situation happened in the U.S. just one year before the collapse in Iceland, with the mortgage crisis of 2007. Mortgage lenders in the U.S. knowingly lent money to prospective homeowners who could not afford to purchase a home. This, in turn, led to falsely inflated home values and a vicious cycle of too much lending. Just as in Iceland, the bubble burst and many U.S. banks were about to declare bankruptcy. In Iceland, the citizens took to the streets by the thousands, banging pots and pans in what is known as the “pots and pans revolution,” leading to the arrest and prosecution of many unscrupulous bankers responsible for the economic collapse. Icelandic citizens also refused to pay for the sins of the bankers and rejected any measures of taxation to bail them out. In the U.S., the government bailed out the banks and arrested no one.
The pots and pans revolution in Iceland was not covered by mainstream U.S. media. In fact, any information about this revolution is found only on international newspapers, blogs and online documentaries, not on mainstream front-page articles as would be expected from news organizations covering a story of this magnitude. The New York Times published a small handful of piecemeal stories, blogs and opinion pieces, but mostly glossed over the main narrative by saying the 2008 financial collapse in Iceland caused “mayhem far beyond the country’s borders” rather than pointing out that Icelanders took to the streets with pots and pans and forced their entire government to resign.
As the saying goes, “there are two sides to every story,” but a more accurate articulation of this phrase would be “in any story, there are multiple sides, viewpoints, opinions and perspectives.” The story in Iceland is no exception. Socialist and Marxist blogs here in the U.S. say that there’s been a massive U.S. news conspiracy and cover up about the revolution in Iceland because the U.S. media is controlled by corporations, including banks, and the “powers that be” don’t want U.S. citizens getting any ideas to stage a revolution of their own. Some conservative Icelandic bloggers claim that while there was, indeed, a revolution, it did not lead to a successful or widely accepted new constitution. They say the situation in Iceland is worse than ever, and that international news reports of an effective democratic uprising leading to a better government are simply myths. Social media commenters are scratching their heads over why they were robbed of the story of Iceland’s pots and pans revolution.
As with most narratives, the truth may lie somewhere in the middle of all of these varying perspectives. One thing is clear, though: it’s nearly impossible to find one mainstream U.S. news report of the pots and pans revolution in Iceland, the resignation of Iceland’s entire government, and the jailing of the bankers responsible for the economic collapse there. Whether or not the revolution led to a more fair government or a workable and effective constitution is irrelevant to the fact that the U.S. media has essentially skipped over this story for the past five years.
Is it possible that mainstream media sources purposely covered up the Iceland story to appease their corporate sponsors? It doesn’t seem likely, and yet, what explanation could be given as to why this news never made it to the front pages of our most trusted media organizations here in the U.S.?
As Iceland struggles to regain its footing with a new government, U.S. citizens may or may not be able to look to Iceland as an example of perfect democracy in action. The real question, though, is why weren’t U.S. citizens given the information about the ousting of the Icelandic government and the jailing of the unscrupulous bankers? Are journalists in control of the mainstream media or is there some truth to accusations that big business may, in fact, be strong-arming reporters to keep quiet about world events that could inspire similar actions here in the U.S.?
Published Wednesday, December 4, 2013 6:30AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 4, 2013 12:50PM EST
KYIV, Ukraine — As protests roiled the Ukrainian capital and other cities, three of the country’s former presidents on Wednesday gave support to the demonstrators and warned the tensions could be spinning into an uncontainable crisis.
Separately, the head of the Council of Europe, the continent’s main human rights body, met with government officials and opposition members to try to persuade them to enter into dialogue, but said many in Ukraine are resistant to compromise.
The head of Ukraine’s police ordered his officers not to use force against peaceful demonstrators, a statement indicating that officials are aware of how the club-swinging dispersal of protesters this week galvanized already strong anger over the president’s shelving of a long-awaited pact with the European Union.
Thousands rallied again Wednesday night on Kyiv’s central square — where protesters have erected barricades on feeder streets — and other demonstrators were blocking the cabinet of ministers, a show of determination to press their demands for the government to step down.
But the government is showing no sign of yielding and a resolution remained elusive.
In a statement released to Ukrainian news agencies, Ukraine’s first three post-Soviet leaders said “we express solidarity with the peaceful civil actions of hundreds of thousands of young Ukrainians.”
“However, a solution to the crisis has not been found. The crisis is deepening and we see risks of losing control over the situation,” said the statement from Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko.
Council of Europe head Thorbjorn Jagland said after his meeting with opposition figures and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov that “we are trying to find out whether and how a dialogue can be established. But I have also seen that too many are focusing on how to aggravate the situation.”
He did not specify if the aggravators were among officials, protest leaders or fringe elements.
Opposition leaders remained vehement. “The blockade of administrative offices will continue,” declared Oleh Tyanhybok, head of the nationalist Svoboda party.
Azarov urged the opposition to end its blockade of government buildings and warned the western regions of the country — where protest strikes were announced — that they may be left without federal funding.
Azarov survived a chaotic no-confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday.
Law enforcement bodies have brought dozens of charges against demonstrators, and nine people remain in detention following Sunday’s rally, when several hundred thousand protested Yanukovych’s decision and the use of force against a handful of peaceful demonstrators at an earlier protest.
“We must decide all this in a calm environment. Not in the streets, but in a responsible dialogue,” Azarov told a Cabinet meeting.
Demonstrators have set up scores of tents on Kyiv’s Independence Square and blocked several streets leading to it with tall barricades of wooden pallets and random material. Large piles of wood dot the square, fuel for fires that keep the demonstrators warm in the freezing temperatures.
“We are now defending … 46 million people. Either they will defeat us, or we will defeat them,” opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk told reporters.
Last month, Yanukovych’s government abruptly halted preparations to sign the key political and economic agreement with the EU and focus on ties with Russia instead. Russia has used strong economic pressure to derail the deal, unwilling to lose the former part of its empire to the West.
Anger is growing about the status of the nine demonstrators who were beaten and arrested. Officials have said the action was in response to provocations by the demonstrators, but supporters of the arrested say radical nationalists were responsible.
Six of those arrested are in intensive care and three others are in jail medical units, their relatives told a news conference on Wednesday. They complained the men have been denied adequate legal help.
“They didn’t even allow us to send him a lawyer,” said Yana Stepanova, the fiancee of Mykola Lazarovskyi, one of those in intensive care.
She said she had lost touch by telephone with him during the demonstration on Sunday, then heard from friends that riot police had routed the protesters.
Hours later, he called and “he said just two words, that he was in the hospital,” she said.
Supporters of those arrested say state lawyers who had not met the defendants represented the arrested at court hearings and alleged that independent lawyers are being intimidated against taking any of the cases. The arrested face a possible seven years in prison if convicted of charges of organizing mass protests.
Nina Bolotova, whose husband Yuri was among them, sarcastically cast doubt on authorities’ claim that the arrested were the organizers of the provocations.
“It’s interesting to me that out of so many people, the law-enforcement agencies were able to detain the specific organizers,” she said.
After this month’s Remembrance Day parade, I repaired to a central London boozer with fellow veterans to stew my brain in ale. Pinned to chests all around me were glinting banks of medals. A statistically improbable number of airborne maroon and commando green berets were on display. Groups of veterans bunched together, slurring war stories.
The soldierly clique is cultural. While trained to be aggressive we are also taught to be quiet, keeping dark deeds and informed opinions “in-house.” If spoken aloud to outsiders, our stories would make us appear—and for some, leaving the heroic fantasy intact allows one to continue living at the center of it. To break that tribal silence carries risks.
Many people say we have fought for freedom and democracy. Given this consensus one might think veterans are as entitled as anybody to contribute to the political discourse, as serving senior officers regularly do. Not so.
The American and British militaries clamped down on social media in the mid-2000s—on the grounds of security, they claim. The Canadian military currently is trying to stop wounded veterans from criticizing the military in public. There is only one hymn sheet in the military, and it is decided upon on high.
I was gagged by a military court in 2009 even though I had spilled no secrets. All I did was claim the Afghanistan occupation was an illegitimate, shambolic disaster. The keenest soldiers I know say the same, but I said it on television rather than in the regimental bar. I spent five months in a military jail over a banality. Others have faced similar or worse treatment.
Ben Griffin was the quintessential British paratrooper, an SAS soldier and a founder of Veterans for Peace UK. He left the army after refusing to return to Iraq and later blew the whistle on war crimes being carried out in Baghdad. He was gagged in the high court and promised jail time if he ever spoke about UK involvement in rendition again. “I knew I would get in trouble for speaking about our activities in Iraq,” he told me, “but I felt then and now that the public needs to be told about the true nature of war.” Kidnapping and handing over non-combatants to the Americans while knowing they’d be tortured is fine; telling the public about it is criminal.
Recently, when I visited Toronto to help start a new project called Front Lines International, I met soldiers facing long prison sentences for speaking out. For me, Jules Tindungan, 26, and Chris Vassey, 27, were virtually impossible to tell apart from the average Canadian, but both of them are American soldiers on the run and applying for asylum in Canada.
They were experienced, door-kicking infantrymen in the US 82nd Airborne when they went to Afghanistan. After 15 months they returned home changed men. Both of them believed they had been involved in war crimes nad fled to Canada—Jules first, then Chris—where they would be able to speak out. Men like these do not refuse lightly.
Chris told me that whenever his patrol took incoming in Afghanistan “it was no holds barred… the day after, when people come to your base saying you shot up their home, tractor, farm… all we would say was, ‘Well, the enemy was on the run… don’t let them fire at us from your backyard and this won’t happen again,’ as if they had condoned it.” He saw Afghan national army soldiers “butt-stroke” local women in the face with their rifles during raids. It was, he was told, how thing were done in Afghanistan.
Jules explained that after one firefight his platoon recovered remains—bodies and body parts. These were strapped “to the hoods of trucks and driven through local towns as a sort of warning.”
Both men have been vocal in the Canadian antiwar movement. They will suffer for their words if deported. “Dudes who speak out get harsher punishments,” Jules told me. “Statements made to the media, as well as in social media, are used as evidence against you when you are sentenced.”
Jules also told me that one soldier who ended up back in the US phoned him from military prison, warning him to clear his Facebook posts and emails of any criticism of the military or the war. “They compiled a very thick docket of his Facebook statements and emails as evidence against him,” Jules said.
Chris is now an ironworker but easily slips back into telling expletive-filled soldier stories about his long months spent doing “illegal shit” in “A-stan.” He confirmed what Jules had said about the risks of speaking out: “Video or audio of you speaking out is used against you—usually guaranteeing a stiffer sentence.”
Soldiers who just go AWOL are often simply “shit-bagged” (discharged) from the army, but those who speak out like Chris and Jules get longer sentences. One got a 25-month sentence after the prosecution at his court martial “showed the videos of his public speeches.” But it’s not just war resisters like Chris and Jules who face threats.
Heather Linebaugh came to Canada from the States a few weeks later, joining us at a rural veterans’ retreat. Heather served in the US Air Force in drone intelligence from 2009 to 2012 and was honorably discharged. She was good at her job, earning the nickname “Harbinger of Death” from her comrades. Not every assignment went smoothly, though: “One mission in particular, I remember that we were told to keep quiet about, and to this day, I can still not discuss it.” Like Chris and Jules she fled to Canada, a place she felt safe to speak out from.
Heather says she challenged an officer of more senior rank on the issue. She asked what would happen if people spoke out about “sloppy strikes.” She was taken to her commander and warned about “talking recklessly” and asking “stupid questions.”
In her unit there was a watchword used to keep people quiet: Manning. “If we spoke out about certain missions to the general public, and definitely the media, we would ‘end up like Bradley Manning.’” The effort to instil fear was being ramped up around the time she was leaving the military. “I saw quite a few posters going up with an image of the typical soldier sitting in a jail cell in handcuffs.”
Heather still honors the non-disclosure agreement that came with her security clearance. Having been involved in numerous kills she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, but she says that she cannot claim the veteran’s benefits she is entitled to because she can’t detail to doctors the missions that saw her develop the condition. If she does, she risks jail. Heather is 24 years old.
I approached older vets, wondering if today’s silencing tactics were novel. Nick Velvet fought in Vietnam. He rebelled against the war and went on to help found the Old School Sappers, a radical antiwar group made up of veterans. The Sappers endure. For a new kid like me, they are a kind of elder council.
I asked how the military silenced soldiers back during the Vietnam era, and he explained that Vietnam vets were harder to silence because they had the advantage of numbers. Military prisons were overflowing and the government simply didn’t have enough resources to clamp down on all of the antiwar veterans. Some organizers went to prison or were given bad discharges, but when his own subversive activities came to the attention of his commanders, Nick laughed in the Army’s face. He would have “welcomed a court martial” because he had “keen movement lawyers who would relish [fighting] the case, gratis.” Nick got away with it because he had support. He fears for the new generation of rebel soldiers. “I wasn’t alone,” he says. “These guys are.”
Freedom and democracy are rights that extend to veterans only conditionally. If we speak ill of the war, we are ignored and sometimes we are silenced. The military and—I personally suspect—a percentage of the population in countries like the UK and the US derive comfort and a perverse sense of gratification from praising us. But, as Jules suggests, they flinch at the idea of soldiers “thinking critically about the global impact of what we are doing.” Nothing can be allowed to puncture the war dream and woe must betide those who stray from the script.
Joe Glenton is a writer, journalist and Afghanistan veteran. His book Soldier Box: Why I Won’t Return to the War on Terror, is out now from Verso Books.
Follow Joe on Twitter: @joejglenton