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Pete Seeger Dead: Famed Folk Singer, Songwriter And Political Activist Dies At 94 January 28, 2014

Posted by rogerhollander in Art, Literature and Culture, Revolution.
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Roger’s note: A genuine American hero has left us.  A man virtually with no rival in his field: folk music/humanistic radical politics.  For some years there has been a movement to nominate Pete for the Nobel  Peace Prize .  To think it went to our bellicose president.  Pete Seeger: a life to celebrate and to emulate.
 CHRIS TALBOTT and MICHAEL HILL 01/28/14 06:25 AM ET EST AP
Pete Seeger

NEW YORK (AP) — Buoyed by his characteristically soaring spirit, the surging crowd around him and a pair of canes, Pete Seeger walked through the streets of Manhattan leading an Occupy Movement protest in 2011.

Though he would later admit the attention embarrassed him, the moment brought back many feelings and memories as he instructed yet another generation of young people how to effect change through song and determination — as he had done over the last seven decades as a history-sifting singer and ever-so-gentle rabble-rouser.

“Be wary of great leaders,” he told The Associated Press two days after the march. “Hope that there are many, many small leaders.”

The banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage died Monday at the age of 94. Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, said his grandfather died peacefully in his sleep around 9:30 p.m. at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been for six days. Family members were with him.

“He was chopping wood 10 days ago,” Cahill-Jackson recalled.

With his lanky frame, use-worn banjo and full white beard, Seeger was an iconic figure in folk music who outlived his peers. He performed with the great minstrel Woody Guthrie in his younger days and wrote or co-wrote “If I Had a Hammer,” ”Turn, Turn, Turn,” ”Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.” He lent his voice against Hitler and nuclear power. A cheerful warrior, he typically delivered his broadsides with an affable air and his fingers poised over the strings of his banjo.

In 2011, the canes kept Seeger from carrying his beloved instrument while he walked nearly 2 miles with hundreds of protesters swirling around him holding signs and guitars. With a simple gesture — extending his friendship — Seeger gave the protesters and even their opponents a moment of brotherhood the short-lived movement sorely needed.

When a policeman approached, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger said at the time he feared his grandfather would be hassled.

“He reached out and shook my hand and said, ‘Thank you, thank you, this is beautiful,'” Rodriguez-Seeger said. “That really did it for me. The cops recognized what we were about. They wanted to help our march. They actually wanted to protect our march because they saw something beautiful. It’s very hard to be anti-something beautiful.”

That was a message Seeger spread his entire life.

With The Weavers, a quartet organized in 1948, Seeger helped set the stage for a national folk revival. The group — Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman — churned out hit recordings of “Goodnight Irene,” ”Tzena, Tzena” and “On Top of Old Smokey.”

Seeger also was credited with popularizing “We Shall Overcome,” which he printed in his publication “People’s Song” in 1948. He later said his only contribution to the anthem of the civil rights movement was changing the second word from “will” to “shall,” which he said “opens up the mouth better.”

“Every kid who ever sat around a campfire singing an old song is indebted in some way to Pete Seeger,” Arlo Guthrie once said.

His musical career was always braided tightly with his political activism, in which he advocated for causes ranging from civil rights to the cleanup of his beloved Hudson River. Seeger said he left the Communist Party around 1950 and later renounced it. But the association dogged him for years.

He was kept off commercial television for more than a decade after tangling with the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955. Repeatedly pressed by the committee to reveal whether he had sung for Communists, Seeger responded sharply: “I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American.”

He was charged with contempt of Congress, but the sentence was overturned on appeal.

Seeger called the 1950s, years when he was denied broadcast exposure, the high point of his career. He was on the road touring college campuses, spreading the music he, Guthrie, Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter and others had created or preserved.

“The most important job I did was go from college to college to college to college, one after the other, usually small ones,” he told The Associated Press in 2006. ” … And I showed the kids there’s a lot of great music in this country they never played on the radio.”

His scheduled return to commercial network television on the highly rated Smothers Brothers variety show in 1967 was hailed as a nail in the coffin of the blacklist. But CBS cut out his Vietnam protest song, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” and Seeger accused the network of censorship.

He finally got to sing it five months later in a stirring return appearance, although one station, in Detroit, cut the song’s last stanza: “Now every time I read the papers/That old feelin’ comes on/We’re waist deep in the Big Muddy/And the big fool says to push on.”

Seeger’s output included dozens of albums and single records for adults and children.

He appeared in the movies “To Hear My Banjo Play” in 1946 and “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon” in 1970. A reunion concert of the original Weavers in 1980 was filmed as a documentary titled “Wasn’t That a Time.”

By the 1990s, no longer a party member but still styling himself a communist with a small C, Seeger was heaped with national honors.

Official Washington sang along — the audience must sing was the rule at a Seeger concert — when it lionized him at the Kennedy Center in 1994. President Bill Clinton hailed him as “an inconvenient artist who dared to sing things as he saw them.”

Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as an early influence. Ten years later, Bruce Springsteen honored him with “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” a rollicking reinterpretation of songs sung by Seeger. While pleased with the album, Seeger said he wished it was “more serious.” A 2009 concert at Madison Square Garden to mark Seeger’s 90th birthday featured Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder and Emmylou Harris among the performers.

Seeger was a 2014 Grammy Awards nominee in the Best Spoken Word category, which Stephen Colbert won.

Seeger’s sometimes ambivalent relationship with rock was most famously on display when Dylan “went electric” at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

Witnesses say Seeger became furious backstage as the amped-up band played, though just how furious is debated. Seeger dismissed the legendary tale that he looked for an ax to cut Dylan’s sound cable, and said his objection was not to the type of music but only that the guitar mix was so loud you couldn’t hear Dylan’s words.

Seeger maintained his reedy 6-foot-2 frame into old age, though he wore a hearing aid and conceded that his voice was pretty much shot. He relied on his audiences to make up for his diminished voice, feeding his listeners the lines and letting them sing out.

“I can’t sing much,” he said. “I used to sing high and low. Now I have a growl somewhere in between.”

Nonetheless, in 1997 he won a Grammy for best traditional folk album, “Pete.”

Seeger was born in New York City on May 3, 1919, into an artistic family whose roots traced to religious dissenters of colonial America. His mother, Constance, played violin and taught; his father, Charles, a musicologist, was a consultant to the Resettlement Administration, which gave artists work during the Depression. His uncle Alan Seeger, the poet, wrote “I Have a Rendezvous With Death.”

Pete Seeger said he fell in love with folk music when he was 16, at a music festival in North Carolina in 1935. His half-brother, Mike Seeger, and half-sister, Peggy Seeger, also became noted performers.

He learned the five-string banjo, an instrument he rescued from obscurity and played the rest of his life in a long-necked version of his own design. On the skin of Seeger’s banjo was the phrase, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender” — a nod to his old pal Guthrie, who emblazoned his guitar with “This machine kills fascists.”

Dropping out of Harvard in 1938 after two years as a disillusioned sociology major, he hit the road, picking up folk tunes as he hitchhiked or hopped freights.

“The sociology professor said, ‘Don’t think that you can change the world. The only thing you can do is study it,'” Seeger said in October 2011.

In 1940, with Guthrie and others, he was part of the Almanac Singers and performed benefits for disaster relief and other causes.

He and Guthrie also toured migrant camps and union halls. He sang on overseas radio broadcasts for the Office of War Information early in World War II. In the Army, he spent 3½ years in Special Services, entertaining soldiers in the South Pacific, and made corporal.

He married Toshi Seeger on July 20, 1943. The couple built their cabin in Beacon after World War II and stayed on the high spot of land by the Hudson River for the rest of their lives together. The couple raised three children. Toshi Seeger died in July at age 91.

The Hudson River was a particular concern of Seeger’s. He took the sloop Clearwater, built by volunteers in 1969, up and down the Hudson, singing to raise money to clean the water and fight polluters.

He also offered his voice in opposition to racism and the death penalty. He got himself jailed for five days for blocking traffic in Albany in 1988 in support of Tawana Brawley, a black teenager whose claim of having been raped by white men was later discredited. He continued to take part in peace protests during the war in Iraq, and he continued to lend his name to causes.

“Can’t prove a damn thing, but I look upon myself as old grandpa,” Seeger told the AP in 2008 when asked to reflect on his legacy. “There’s not dozens of people now doing what I try to do, not hundreds, but literally thousands. … The idea of using music to try to get the world together is now all over the place.”

___

Associated Press writer John Rogers in Los Angeles and Mary Esch in Saratoga Springs in contributed to this report.

‘The People Have Awakened': Hundreds of Thousands of Brazilians Rise Up Against the System June 18, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Brazil, Democracy, Latin America.
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Roger’s note: Brazil is just another example of a leftist political party winning governmental power and then going ahead and doing the same thing as rightist governments, not excluding the repression of dissent.  Genuine change comes from without (the people) and not from within (government).

Reports of police firing live rounds, close-range pepper spray, and tear gas to disperse the swelling crowds

- Lauren McCauley, staff writerCD

Over 100,000 people took to the streets of Rio de Janiero Monday night. (Photo: Felipe Dana/ AP)

“The people have awakened,” was clearly the message as roughly 240,000 Brazilians railed ‘against the system’ in nearly a dozen largely-peaceful demonstrations in cities across the country Monday night.

Crowding the streets, protesters waved Brazilian flags, danced and chanted slogans such as “The people have awakened” and “Pardon the inconvenience, Brazil is changing,” Reuters reports.

Chaos reigned in some corners as police countered a number of the demonstrations with brute force. In Rio de Janiero, crowds swelled to roughly 100,000 people and police used tear gas, pepper spray and, as evidenced by an video posted on Brazil’s Extra 15, live rounds to disperse them.

In the political capital of Brasilia, demonstrators scaled the roof of Brazil’s Congress building before storming the interior.

And in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte, over 20,000 protesters rallied outside of the Confederations Cup football tournament in the second day of protests against the event.

Other protests were reported in Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Vitoria, Fortaleza, Recife, Belem and Salvador and well as solidarity actions in…

Though the “back-breaking piece of straw,”as Nation editor Dave Zirin writes, that sparked the protests was a spike in transportation fares, the protests are largely against the billions of public funds being invested in tourist infrastructure and events such as the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics while public services and the population continue to suffer.

According to government estimates, hosting the 2014 World Cup will cost the country—where almost one-fifty of the country lives in poverty—approximately $14.5bn. Some tickets are expected to cost more than the country’s minimum wage of $300.

“For many years the government has been feeding corruption. People are demonstrating against the system,” said Graciela Caçador who was protesting in Sao Paulo. “They spent billions of dollars building stadiums and nothing on education and health.”

Thus far, the demonstrations have spread to over 100 towns and cities despite mass police crackdowns. According to AP, more protests are being planned on social media sites for Tuesday in Sao Paulo and Brasilia.

This banner says, “Violencia e a fare,” loosely translated to, “The fares are the real violence.” (Photo: Alex Almeida/ Reuters)

Rio de Janiero:

A woman being pepper-sprayed at short range by police in Rio de Janiero Monday night. (Photo: Victor R. Caivano / AP)

This short video shows the scale of the demonstration in Rio de Janiero.

And this video, posted on Brazil’s news site Extra 15, reveals police shooting live rounds at protesters.

Brasilia:

This banner reads: “If your child is sick, take them to the stadium”. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/ Reuters)

Protesters on the roof of the Congress building in Brasilia. (Photo via Europeans Against the Political System via Facebook)

Belo Horizonte:

Thousands marched on the Mineirao Stadium to protest the soccer tournaments in Belo Horizonte. (Photo: Pedro Vilela/ Reuters)

Barack, Michelle, and the Heckler’s Guide for Those in Power June 6, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Democracy.
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Roger’s note: Here we see the courage and grace of Medea Benjamin versus the arrogance of the First Lady.

 

Michelle Obama was snippy with her heckler, while Barack was graceful to me. But democracy depends on such healthy dissent

 

In the past week, both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been interrupted by what some call hecklers, but I prefer to call protesters. I was the one who interrupted President Obama’s speech at the National Defense University with my impassioned questions about drone strikes and Guantánamo.

 

Anti-war activist Medea Benjamin is led away after heckling Barack Obama during his counter-terrorism speech at the National Defense University in Washington. (Photo: Win Mcnamee/Getty Images)

After my interventions, the president graciously replied, “That woman’s voice is worth listening to.” But when the First Lady was confronted by a lesbian woman speaking up about President Obama’s failure to protect gay people in the workplace, as he had promised, she reacted angrily.

As some who has witnessed (and participated in) many interruptions, here are some examples of what I consider good responses.

Several years ago, I was once at a large conference when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was speaking. Suddenly, a group of black and Latina women interrupted him, shouting out about the need for more buses in their communities, instead of the city plan to spend many millions expanding the metro. The mayor first tried to talk over them, then the audience tried to drown them out, but the women kept shouting. Villaraigosa quieted the audience and then said:

“Look, it takes a lot of courage for these people to get up in a big audience and promote a cause they believe in. Let’s give them a round of applause.”

It was a brilliant way to recognize the passion of the protesters, but turn around the dynamic so he could continue his talk.

Speaking out to express our political beliefs or show disapproval of those in power is part of the venerable practice of nonviolent civil disobedience.At an event in 2007, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner gave a speech in Washington, DC on the heels of remarks that the US and France should prepare for a possible war with Iran. US peace activists, who had been trying hard to prevent war, were appalled. A group of us spoke out at the event and unfurled a banner in French reading: “Va-t-en-guerre san frontieres” (warmonger without borders) – playing off the fact that Kouchner was one of the founders of Doctors Without Borders. Security guards pulled us out of room, but Kouchner asked them to let us back in so he could address our concerns directly, which he did.

When the talk was over, he came over to shake our hands, and even asked if he could have the banner as a souvenir, since he thought it was very clever. “We are used to rowdy audiences in France,” he laughed, “so you made me feel right at home.”

Most protests are coming from frustrated citizens confronting the powerful and are part of a much larger strategy for change. In 1964, civil rights activists, including Bayard Ruskin and James Farmer, shouted down President Lyndon Johnson during his speech at the World’s Fair, calling for passage of the Civil Rights Act. They were arrested, but their intervention was celebrated as part of a much larger nonviolent strategy of the civil rights movement.

Sometimes, it’s not the powerful who are interrupted, but simply someone with a different viewpoint. Speaking at a university, I was once interrupted by a group of students who disagreed with my views on Israel/Palestine. My response was to invite them on stage to use the mic so they could be heard by all. They did, and when they were finished, I thanked them, addressed their issues according to my – very different – perspective; I said I hoped they’d stick around for the Q&A, so we could keep the conversation going.

Speaking out to express our political beliefs or show disapproval of those in power is part of the venerable practice of nonviolent civil disobedience. The tactic might be considered impolite and it disrupts business as usual, but hopefully, it helps push forward a larger debate on issues of great importance to society.

At a campaign event when Obama was first running for president, someone asked him what he would do about the Middle East. Obama repeated the legendary story about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt meeting with labor leader A Philip Randolph about workers’ rights. Reportedly, FDR listened intently, then replied:

I agree with everything you have said. Now, make me do it.

Speaking out on the rare occasions we have to interact with the powerful is just that: pushing those in power to do the right thing.

Medea Benjamin

Medea Benjamin (medea@globalexchange.org), cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. Her previous books include Don’t Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart., and (with Jodie Evans) Stop the Next War Now (Inner Ocean Action Guide).

Not Guilty By Virtue of Videotape, Which, Unlike the Police, Doesn’t Lie March 1, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Criminal Justice, Occupy Wall Street Movement, Police.
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03.01.13 – 12:04 PM, http://www.commondreams.org

by Abby Zimet

In the first jury trial stemming from Occupy Wall Street protests, activist and community organizer Michael Premo was found innocent of all charges after his lawyers presented video evidence that directly contradicted the story told by police and prosecutors. Premo was facing felony charges of assaulting an officer during a demonstration in Lower Manhattan that also drew clergymen. Police said he tackled officers as they were kettling protesters, but unearthed video from Democracy Now showed that in fact police threw him down to the ground. Lesson of the day: Keep filming.

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gardenernorcal19 minutes ago

Keep those cameras running folks. It’s your only protection. The fact that the police lied about what they filmed is just incredible. Thanks to a Democracy Now camera man this guy is free.

In the police version of events, Premo charged the police like a linebacker, taking out a lieutenant and resisting arrest so forcefully that he fractured an officer’s bone.

Now the only question is how did the cop get his bone broken. It clearly wasn’t by this protester.

I suggest if you attend a protest carry a charged camera, know how to turn it on fairly easily, carry a bandana and some form of glasses for pepper spray and ear plugs. And buddy up. Never be out there on your own

U.S. drones out of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere! February 28, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in War.
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Be part of the action on Saturday, April 13 at the White House

U.S. drones out of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere!

Dear roger,

National and local organizations are coming together for a major protest on April 13 at the White House to Say NO to U.S. Drone attacks in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and everywhere.

The Coalition sponsoring the demonstration is growing rapidly as new organizations join the effort.

Endorsers include:

ANSWER Coalition; Cynthia McKinney, former Congressperson; Akbar Muhammad, International Rep. of Nation of Islam; Revival of Pan Africanism Forum; African Diaspora for Democracy and Development; CRI-Panafricain; Democratic Union of Gambian Activists – D.C.; Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general; Veterans for Peace; Col. Ann Wright; CODEPINK; CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations); CAIR-MD; Nisa Muhammad, writer, Final Call newspaper; Jared Ball, radio host, WPFW (Pacifica); Rev. Graylan Hagler, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ; Imam Mahdi Bray, Freedom Coalition; Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund; Zaki Baruti, Universal African Peoples Organization; American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC); Peta Lindsay, Party for Socialism and Liberation; Haiti Liberte; Political Education and Action Committee-Howard University; Students for Justice in Palestine-Temple U.; Conflict Free Campus Initiative–Temple U.; and many more.

Add your name or the name of your organization to the endorser’s list now.

Join the rising tide of support for the April 13 demonstration and start mobilizing from your area to be at the White House on as we take our message straight to the war makers!

Buses, vans and car caravans will be coming from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other cities.

Background:

As U.S. forces have begun to deploy to Niger to expand the deadly drone warfare program, now more than ever the importance of the April 13 demonstration is becoming clear. 100 armed U.S. troops are heading to Niger to set up a drone base aimed at assisting the French-led intervention in that country. This is on top of the 4,000 troops currently training in various war-fighting tactics to serve as a fast-response and “training” force for Africom. On every level and in a number of countries, the United States is expanding its drone program and deepening its military presence on the African continent.

On April 13 at the White House a growing coalition of groups and individuals will be coming together to say NO to this expansion of imperialist military power with drones at the tip of the spear. Endless war and hostility to the peoples of Africa and around the world is a policy that is totally contrary to the interests of the broad mass of American people. On the eve of the massive budget cuts of the so-called sequester, and despite all the hype about “Pentagon cuts,” the machine of war still rolls on in the African continent and across the world, as working and poor people in America will be made to suffer more hardship.

The message from the Obama administration, Congress, the Pentagon and the entire elite establishment is more war, less for people’s needs, here and across the globe. Add your name to the growing list of endorsers. Organize from your cities and towns to be in Washington, D.C., on April 13 to demand U.S. Imperialist Drones Out of Africa and Everywhere!

Please help us cover the many costs of the April 13 mobilization by making an urgently needed donation right now.

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Neoliberalism No More: Making Common Cause to Defeat the Harper Agenda January 28, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Environment, First Nations, Idle No More.
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Roger’s note: there is an old Canadian political saying that goes like this: the NDP are Liberals in a hurry.  The truth is that Conservatives are Liberals in a hurry (as Republicans are Democrats in a hurry).  In a hurry to what?  In a hurry to protect and expand the rule of capital over living human beings.  It is not just the Harper agenda but rather the agenda of Capital that we are talking about.  Replacing Harper’s Conservatives with either Liberals or watered down NDP will not stop but only slow down the agenda.  The Idle no More Movement and the passionate radicalism of large elements within the First Nations peoples are important and hopeful signs.  Such movement should not be diluted by believing that electoral politics is a solution to the destruction of our human rights and of the very planet we inhabit.
Published on Monday, January 28, 2013 by Rabble.ca

by Archana Rampure

Stephen Harper has an agenda and it is all about turning Canada into a resource-extraction economy. He would like to make sure that nothing and no one stands in the way of exploiting the oil and the gas, the minerals and the water.

When Aboriginal people stand up for their rights and demand that they be consulted before natural resources are ripped out of the earth, the racist rhetoric begins to fly. When environmentalists suggest that this is a short-sighted, unsustainable and one-time-only plan, they are called radicals and terrorists. NGOs that network with the Global South peoples whose resources we exploit find themselves replaced by mining companies.

The list goes on: trade unions are demonized as big labour and compared to big corporations as though there is any real comparison between the power and influence wielded by corporations and that of the union movement. Aboriginal communities are abandoned by a Federal government which accuses their leaders of financial mismanagement.

These are the smoke-screens being put up to obscure a neo-liberal agenda that will brook no opposition. What I remember from my first anti-free trade protest more than a decade ago still rings true: deregulation, privatization and globalization is still the name of the game.

To me, much of this comes down to the sharp new focus on bilateral trade agreements that this Federal government has made its trademark. Free trade agreements and foreign investment promotion and protection agreements seem to be the Harper Conservatives answer to every problem we are facing. Their relentless drive to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU is emblematic of their mistaken policies: at a time when Canada`s industrial heartland is struggling with the loss of unionized manufacturing jobs, we are deep in the final stages of negotiating an agreement that might open up other sectors of our economy to transnational competition.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a“next generation”free trade agreement that Canada and the EU have been negotiating since 2009. Make no mistake about this — it might not be called a free trade agreement but it will be Canada’s most expansive free trade initiative since NAFTA. It will impact the ability of our elected governments to regulate and it will have a huge impact on how municipal and provincial governments use procurement for local economic development or for environmental sustainability. As far as we can tell from the leaked documents that have been made public so far, the provisions that it will include on investor-state dispute resolution will once again allow foreign corporations to bypass our legal system and appeal to secretive tribunals. The EU’s demands around intellectual property translate into billions of extra dollars for brand-name pharmaceuticals.

And the Canada-EU CETA is only one among the stack of free trade deals that the Harper government has tied itself to: there are now on-going negotiations on free trade between Canada and India, Japan, Korea, Morocco, the Ukraine, the Dominican Republic and a number of other countries. There are also multi-lateral trade agreement negotiations that we are participating in such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Investment promotion and protection agreements are another key feature of this government’s foreign policy initiatives: in 2011 and 2012 alone, FIPAs have been negotiated between Canada and the Czech Republic, Romania, Latvia, the Slovak Republic, Benin, Kuwait, Senegal, Tanzania, China – the now infamous one! – and Mali.

At a time when Canada is supporting a resource war in Mali, and when we “partnering” with multinational mining corporations as part of our international “development” work, it hardly surprising that this government is so enthusiastically supporting Canadian “investment” and “investors” in places such as sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe.

This foreign policy — where the ultimate goal is to extract resources — is a mirror reflection of Harper’s economic roadmap for Canada. What the Global North exported to the Global South has now come home to us all: if we do not form Common Cause to stop this government, our home on native land will continue to experience the consequences of a single-minded drive for resource extraction combined with an attack on universal public services. It is more than time for us to come together, to act now, for ourselves and for those with whom we have Common Cause — aboriginal peoples, immigrants and migrants, environmentalists, trade unionists, students, seniors, the poor and the marginalized, activists — anyone who still believes that there is an alternative to the neo-liberal model of life. We cannot wait till 2015. We have to act together now.

Today, I will be standing up against Harper and his neo-liberal vision for us all as part of a joint day of action called by Idle No More and Common Causes. I hope it will be the first of many actions that Common Causes is part of, that it sparks the kind of committed, continuous action that will help us build a better Canada, and a better world.

© 2013 Archana Rampure

Archana Rampure works as a researcher for the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Champions of ‘Idle No More’ Stage Blockades Across Canada January 16, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, First Nations, Idle No More.
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Published on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 by Common Dreams

Demonstrators and spin-off protests undeterred by mild divisions within fast-growing movement

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Though not officially sanctioned by the Idle No More campaign, First Nations chiefs and activists have picked up the momentum and are rallying across Canada Wednesday as part of a national day of action in solidarity with the ongoing environmental and indigenous rights campaign.

A protestor holds a flag aloft and an Idle No More spinoff protest in Cayuga, Ontario on Jan. 16. (Photo via @CBCHamilton)

Chiefs unsatisfied with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s slow response to First Nations demands have declared the day to assert their rights and hopefully hasten official recognition and legislative action.

Demonstrations, round dances and rallies occurred across Canada while roadblocks of local railway lines and a large demonstration at North America’s busiest border crossing have also been confirmed.

“We’re sending the message very clearly with the railway blockade that [there's] going to be no more stolen property being sold until such time that they come to the table and deal with the original owners,” said Terry Nelson, a former chief of the Roseau River First Nation in southern Manitoba.

APTN National News reported Wednesday: “Rail blockaders in Manitoba. CN confirms regional traffic has been shut down.”

Rail blockaders in Manitoba. CN confirms regional traffic has been shut down. fb.me/21aVHcafB

Also, the Global News announced earlier:

Posts on social media Wednesday morning called on supporters to meet at the Red Sun Smoke Shop and Gas Bar just northwest of Winnipeg to join a convoy headed to the intersection of the Trans-Canada and the Yellowhead highways near Portage la Prairie. A blockade of a railway near the intersection is planned.

Occupy Carlisle (@occupycarlisle) tweeted: “Via Rail says blockade between Belleville, Ont. and Kingston, Ont. has forced company to stop trains #IdleNoMore”

Another large grassroots group led an “economic slowdown,” targeting the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ont. and Detroit, Mich.

Organizer Lorena Garvey-Shepley was clear to point out the action was “not a blockade,” adding, “we don’t want to inconvenience people too much. But we want to be in places that are going to get us noticed and allow us to get our information out.”

MT @jvrCTV: protest blocking US bound traffic at Windsor-Detroit crossing. May be moving off road now pic.twitter.com/kj8ETJuR

Organizers held a “peaceful walk” towards the bridge concluding with a rally at the base on the Canadian side.

Organizers reiterated that today’s actions are expected to be peaceful though protesters are prepared to get arrested.

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabaska Chipewyan First Nation said that if the indigenous movement’s demands are not recognized soon, more dramatic actions, including roadblocks, can be expected.

“The people are upset with the current state of affairs in this country and things are escalating towards more direct action,” he said. 

Across Canada, protestors marched the streets—often blocking traffic—banging drums and carrying banners blatantly displaying “Idle No More.”

protest in Sarnia by Aamjiwnanng – about 100 including kids from local daycare asking for clean air pic.twitter.com/Xk9w8epx

More pictures from today’s actions can be seen here.

CBC News has listed a partial overview of the solidarity actions planned for Wednesday.

_____________________

Though inspired by the Idle No More movement, Wednesday’s actions—particularly the bridge and street blockades—highlighted protest tactics not condoned by the campaign’s founders, marking potential divisions as the movement grows beyond itself.

“If you have an impromptu blockade that doesn’t follow the legal permits, then you’re irritating the public and that’s not the purpose behind Idle No More,” said Sylvia McAdam, one of the movement’s four originators. “A lot of our children and elders are involved in the [Idle No More] activities, so their safety is our priority.”

The movement leaders are instead focusing on a Jan. 28 Idle No More International Call-to-Action during which they will protest at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill as “MPs return to the legislature after their winter break.”

In a recent interview, McAdam specified that, despite heavy media attention given to co-founder Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s recent hunger strike, Idle No More has no one leader, saying:

The grassroots movement of Idle No More is the face of all grassroots people…The founders might be considered guides or maintaining the vision, but Idle No More has no leader or official spokesperson.

A recent press release on the Official Idle No More website echoed this sentiment:

This movement has been guided by Spiritual Elders, dreams, visions, and from peoples’ core values. We are here to ensure the land, the waters, the air, and the creatures and indeed each of us, return to balance and discontinue harming each other and the earth.

January 11th’s official Day of Action and meeting between First Nation leaders and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper exposed a rift in leadership when Idle No More leaders, namely Chief Spence, rejected the meeting on the basis it did not meet their demands while a number of other Chiefs partook despite the protest.

A poll on the official Idle No More website asks “Do you think the media is playing up the perceived divisions within IDM?”

The poll will run for a month, but thus far readers have responded 56 percent voted ‘Yes, we are stronger than ever!’, 14 percent responded ‘I’m not sure’ while 30 percent said ‘No, there are divisions and the media is playing it just right.’

Idle No More’s Global Day of Action January 11, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Environment, First Nations, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
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Published on Friday, January 11, 2013 by Common Dreams

Protest movement takes message to Canadian capital and beyond

- Common Dreams staff

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Idle No More protesters gather in front of Canada’s Parliament on Friday. (Photo: Twitpic via Samson Cree Nation)

A movement spawned by First Nation activists over indigenous rights and environmental protections in Canada has spread far and wide as Idle No More‘s Global Day of Action spurred solidarity demonstrations across the country Friday.

“The goal is to raise the profile of the movement, demonstrate our global presence, and give visibility to the growing momentum as a people’s movement first,” announced one solidarity group associated with the movement.

A major rally outside Canada’s Parliament building occurred as a meeting between some First Nation leaders and representatives from the Canadian government began in Ottawa.

_____________________

The Idle No More movement swelled to international prominence over the last month as Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, now on the 32nd day of a hunger strike, gave voice to anger over new government laws that undermined long-standing agreements with First Nations.

Though some leaders agreed to attend a “nation to nation” meeting between First Nation Chiefs and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Spence is boycotting the meeting saying it would not meet the demands declared by the Idle No More movement.

“I clearly stated from the beginning that the meeting has to include both the Governor General and the Prime Minister in attendance,” Spence said in a statement. “We continue to push for justice, equality, and fairness for all Indigenous peoples.”

Despite evidence of friction between some First Nation leaders, the Idle No More movement has in many regards outgrown specific earlier demands as a broader movement for indigenous and environmental rights has grown up around it.

As Canadian activists Maude Barlow and Ken Georgetti explain: “All Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to Chief Theresa Spence’s and Elder Raymond Robinson’s hunger strikes. These individuals are calling attention to an intolerable situation among First Nations communities. They are also highlighting concerns common to many Canadians about dangers posed by unilateral government actions to the natural environment and the state of our democracy.”

Elsewhere in Canada, protesters in British Columbia set up a blockade at the Port of Vancouver with plans to march on City Hall. Demonstrations were also reported in other major cities, including Winnipeg, Calgary and Montreal, and smaller cities and towns nationwide.

As part of the international day of action, indigineous people were encouraged not to buy anything Friday unless they do so on a reserve, CBC reports.

Rallies on campuses and other cultural sites around the country were also expected, including at the University of Winnipeg, Canadian Mennonite University, the University of Manitoba, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Native Education Centre in Vancouver.

Supporters in the United States were among those across the globe participating in the #J11 Global Day of Action events. Other solidarity actions were also planned in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Hawaii, Italy, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.

_____________________

Ottawa:

Over 3,000 of demonstrators have overtaken Parliament Hill and blocked the main entrance to the prime minister’s office ahead of a meeting between the Harper and members of the First Nations community.

CBC News reporter Julie Ireton tweeted that protesters closed streets in the capital city, drumming and dancing as the swarm of people swelled as they made their way towards the Hill.

The demonstrators began their march on Victoria Island, where Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence has been camped for more than a month during her hunger strike protest.

_____________________

Montreal:

In Montreal, a round dance spanned two city blocks as over 1,500 gathered outside the Palais des Congrès. You can view a live stream from the demonstration below.

_____________________

Yellowknife:

Demonstrations spread far as this crowd gathered in the Northwest Territories on Friday afternoon.

_____________________

Paris:

Street art goes up in solidarity in Paris, France.

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(Photo: Solguy via Twitter)

_____________________

_____________________

To Meet or Not To Meet?

First Nation women standing in solidarity with the Idle No More movement tried to block Matthew Coon Come, Chief of the Cree Nation, from joining the meeting with the Prime Minister and then voice outrage as he enters the offices:

Chief Shawn Atleo, head of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), also attended the meeting. Like Chief Coon Come, he received scorn from some and threats that his ongoing leadership might be challenged.

_____________________

Promises of more to come:

The Toronto Star reports that many First Nation chiefs are committed to continuing their campaign of protest regardless of what comes out of today’s meeting in Ottowa:

The threat comes as First Nations are calling for a national day of action on Jan. 16 that could fill streets with protesters and shut down rail lines and highways.

“We’re going to rally on Jan. 16 right across Canada,” said Wallace Fox, chief of the Onion Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. While it’s billed as a peaceful protest, it also promises disruptions similar to what Canadians have seen in recent weeks from the Idle No More movement. “You’ll see more of that. Highway blockades, rail lines,” he said.

The meeting with Harper was cast in doubt as angry chiefs voiced their frustration with the prime minister’s refusal to meet on their terms.

“We’re not going to meet with Harper on his agenda because we initiated this as chiefs,” Fox said. Instead, Harper has dictated the terms of the meeting “on my terms, my turf,” he said. “We’re not agreeing with that.”

_____________________

Idle No More‘s promo video for #J11:

Published on Friday, January 11, 2013 by Rabble.ca

Why Idle No More Has Resonated with Canadians

Imagine a country where the national government introduces and passes legislation that detrimentally affects all of its First Nations communities but it doesn’t bother to consult with them. Then a chief of an impoverished northern First Nation community goes on a hunger strike to get a meeting between the First Nations leadership and the government several months after this legislation was passed. Does this have implications for all Canadians? You bet it does. This will not be the last time that individuals or groups will take such extreme measures in response to the federal government’s public policy process or lack thereof.

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All Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to Chief Theresa Spence’s and Elder Raymond Robinson’s hunger strikes. These individuals are calling attention to an intolerable situation among First Nations communities. They are also highlighting concerns common to many Canadians about dangers posed by unilateral government actions to the natural environment and the state of our democracy.

The hunger strike has galvanized widespread protests by youthful and energetic supporters of the Idle No More movement. These are all predictable responses to a government that routinely bullies anyone who does not agree with it, refuses to consult, and prefers ideology over evidence when developing and implementing public policy.

Of major concern to First Nations and many other Canadians are two omnibus budget bills (C-38 and C-45) that were imposed upon the country during the past year. These bills each comprised hundreds of pages and contained legislative changes that went far beyond what was contained in the budget.

The omnibus bills will have an especially damaging impact on First Nations communities. Bill C-45 amends the Navigable Waters Protection Act to ensure that future resource projects will no longer trigger a federal environmental assessment or force corporations to notify the federal government of their plans. Certain key rivers in British Columbia, along the path of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, for example, will now be excluded from federal government environmental oversight.

This same bill also changed the Fisheries Act in ways that First Nations believe will adversely affect their traditional fishing rights. The omnibus bills also replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with new laws that will limit First Nations involvement in environmental assessments on their own lands, as well as doing away with assessments entirely for some projects. All of this will limit the ability of First Nations, and the public at large, to present views and concerns on the environmental impact of various resource development projects.

Bill C-45 also makes changes to the Indian Act that will make it easier to lease out land for economic development without adequately consulting band residents. The Assembly of First Nations believes this means resource exploitation on reserve land can occur without the solid consent of their community.

The government acted in a similarly high-handed way when, without any consultation, it used Bill C-38 to raise the age from 65 to 67 at which Canadians are eligible for the Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. When this change is implemented, its greatest negative effects will be felt by the most vulnerable workers. Those who have toiled for low wages, often in the most physically demanding jobs, will be forced to work for two extra years before receiving old age security benefits. This happened despite overwhelming evidence from experts across the political spectrum that this change was unnecessary.

Here is the problem. This government drafts public policy and passes laws without facts or evidence to support its positions. Ottawa allows only limited and perfunctory consultation for stakeholders. If you stand up and speak out, you are criticized and attacked in the House of Commons and the Conservative public relations machine goes into overdrive to discredit your position or organization. If you are a recipient of federal government funding, you lose it by the next budget cycle. It’s bully American-style politics at its worst.

Many Canadians are deeply ashamed of the persistence of poverty and deplorable living conditions in First Nations communities, and that we still have not settled land claims with them. Many also share First Nations’ concerns about the environmental implications of changes to fisheries, environmental assessments, and water protection.

The hunger strike by Chief Spence and actions undertaken by the Idle No More movement have resonated with Canadians. National Chief Shawn Atleo has arranged for a crucial meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss urgent issues that cannot wait. We salute individuals and the movement that have created the conditions to force this conversation to occur. It is completely un-Canadian and a national disgrace that it took a hunger strike and national protests to create an opportunity for dialogue and input that should have happened in the first place.

The real shame is how little Canadians expect of their national government and how disengaged and unaffected they feel about politics at the national level. It is only a matter of time before Canadians realize that this government serves only the interests of a few. Citizens will begin to contemplate individual and collective responses and actions to change this situation.

Decisions that leave people behind force them into the streets. This was true of the Occupy movement and the Quebec students’ protest, and now we are seeing it with Idle No More. It is likely Canadians will witness more in the future given this government’s tendency to make substantive policy changes that alter the fabric of society without consultation.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, chairperson of Food and Water Watch in the U.S., and co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which is instrumental in the international community in working for the right to water for all people.

Ken Georgetti

Ken Georgetti is president of the 3.3 million member Canadian Labour Congress.

Published on Friday, January 11, 2013 by Huffington Post

Idle No More: Think Occupy, But With Deep Deep Roots

idle_no_more_banner

I don’t claim to know exactly what’s going on with #IdleNoMore, the surging movement of indigenous activists that started late last year in Canada and is now spreading across the continent — much of the action, from hunger strikes to road and rail blockades, is in scattered and remote places, and even as people around the world plan for solidarity actions on Friday, the press has done a poor job of bringing it into focus.

But I sense that it’s every bit as important as the Occupy movement that transfixed the world a year ago; it feels like it wells up from the same kind of long-postponed and deeply-felt passion that powered the Arab spring. And I know firsthand that many of its organizers are among the most committed and skilled activists I’ve ever come across. In fact, if Occupy’s weakness was that it lacked roots (it had to take over public places, after all, which proved hard to hold on to), this new movement’s great strength is that its roots go back farther than history. More than any other people on this continent, they know what exploitation and colonization are all about, and so it’s natural that at a moment of great need they’re leading the resistance to the most profound corporatization we’ve ever seen. I mean, we’ve just come off the hottest year ever in America, the year when we broke the Arctic ice cap; the ocean is 30 percent more acidic than it was when I was born.

Thanks to the same fossil fuel industry that’s ripping apart Aboriginal lands, we’re at the very end of our rope as a species; it’s time, finally, to listen to the people we’ve spent the last five centuries shunting to one side.

Eighteen months ago, when we at the climate campaign 350.org started organizing against the Keystone XL Pipeline, the very first allies we came across were from the Indigenous Environmental Network — people like Tom Goldtooth and Clayton Thomas-Muller. They’d been working for years to alert people to the scale of the devastation in Alberta’s tar sands belt, where native lands had been wrecked and poisoned by the immense scale of the push to mine “the dirtiest energy on earth.” And they quickly introduced me to many more — heroes like Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Cree Nation who was traveling the world explaining exactly what was going on.

When, in late summer 2011, we held what turned into the biggest civil disobedience action in 30 years in this country, the most overrepresented group were indigenous North Americans — in percentage terms they outnumbered even the hardy band of Guilty Liberals like me. And what organizers! Heather Milton-Lightning, night after night training new waves of arrestees; Gitz Crazyboy of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta absolutely on fire as he described the land he could no longer hunt and fish.

In the year since, the highlights of incessant campaigning have been visits to Canada, always to see native leaders in firm command of the fight — Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus in Yellowknife, or Chief Reuben George along the BC coast. Young and powerful voices like Caleb Behn, from the province’s interior; old and steady leaders in one nation after another. I’ve never met Chief Theresa Spence, the Attawapiskat leader whose hunger strike has been the galvanizing center of #IdleNoMore but I have no doubt she’s cut of the same cloth.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, for Canada and for the world. Much of this uprising began when Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper rammed through Parliament an omnibus bill gutting environmental reviews and protections. He had no choice if he wanted to keep developing Canada’s tar sands, because there’s no possible way to mine and pipe that sludgy crude without fouling lakes and rivers. (Indeed, a study released a few days ago made clear that carcinogens had now found their way into myriad surrounding lakes). And so, among other things, the omnibus bill simply declared that almost every river, stream and lake in the country was now exempt from federal environmental oversight.

Canada’s environmental community protested in all the normal ways — but they had no more luck than, say, America’s anti-war community in the run up to Iraq. There’s trillions of dollars of oil locked up in Alberta’s tarsands, and Harper’s fossil-fuel backers won’t be denied.

But there’s a stumbling block they hadn’t counted on, and that was the resurgent power of the Aboriginal Nations. Some Canadian tribes have signed treaties with the Crown, and others haven’t, but none have ceded their lands, and all of them feel their inherent rights are endangered by Harper’s power grab. They are, legally and morally, all that stand in the way of Canada’s total exploitation of its vast energy and mineral resources, including the tar sands, the world’s second largest pool of carbon. NASA’s James Hansen has explained that burning that bitumen on top of everything else we’re combusting will mean it’s “game over for the climate.” Which means, in turn, that Canada’s First Nations are in some sense standing guard over the planet.

And luckily the sentiment is spreading south. Tribal Nations in the U.S., though sometimes with less legal power than their Canadian brethren, are equally effective organizers — later this month, for instance, an international gathering of indigenous peoples and a wide-ranging list of allies on the Yankton Sioux territory in South Dakota may help galvanize continued opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, which would help wreck those tar sands by carrying the oil south (often across reservations) to the Gulf of Mexico. American leaders like Winona LaDuke of the White Earth Indian Reservation have joined in the fight with a vengeance, drawing the connections between local exploitation and global climate change.

Corporations and governments have often discounted the power of native communities — because they were poor and scattered in distant places, they could be ignored or bought off. But in fact their lands contain much of the continent’s hydrocarbon wealth — and, happily, much of its wind, solar and geo-thermal resources, as well. The choices that Native people make over the next few years will be crucial to the planet’s future — and #IdleNoMore is an awfully good sign that the people who have spent the longest in this place are now rising artfully and forcefully to its defense.

© 2012 Bill McKibben

 

Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben is Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and co-founder of 350.org. His most recent book is Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

FBI Documents Reveal Secret Nationwide Occupy Monitoring December 25, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Democracy, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
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See the released documents here

  • December 22, 2012

FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.

The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.

“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).  “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.  These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

“The documents are heavily redacted, and it is clear from the production that the FBI is withholding far more material. We are filing an appeal challenging this response and demanding full disclosure to the public of the records of this operation,” stated Heather Benno, staff attorney with the PCJF.

  • As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest.

 

  • The FBI’s Indianapolis division released a “Potential Criminal Activity Alert” on September 15, 2011, even though they acknowledged that no specific protest date had been scheduled in Indiana. The documents show that the Indianapolis division of the FBI was coordinating with “All Indiana State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies,” as well as the “Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center,” the FBI “Directorate of Intelligence” and other national FBI coordinating mechanisms.

 

  • Documents show the spying abuses of the FBI’s “Campus Liaison Program” in which the FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to “sixteen (16) different campus police officials,” and then “six (6) additional campus police officials.”  Campus officials were in contact with the FBI for information on OWS.  A representative of the State University of New York at Oswego contacted the FBI for information on the OWS protests and reported to the FBI on the SUNY-Oswego Occupy encampment made up of students and professors.

 

  • Documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and corporate America. They include a report by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector,” discussing the OWS protests at the West Coast ports to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” The DSAC report shows the nature of secret collaboration between American intelligence agencies and their corporate clients – the document contains a “handling notice” that the information is “meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…” (The DSAC document was also obtained by the Northern California ACLU which has sought local FBI surveillance files.)

 

  • Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) reported to the DSAC on the relationship between OWS and organized labor for the port actions. The NCIS  describes itself as “an elite worldwide federal law enforcement organization” whose “mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps ashore, afloat and in cyberspace.” The NCIS also assists with the transport of Guantanamo prisoners.

 

  • DSAC issued several tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest” which it defines as ranging from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.” It advised to dress conservatively, avoid political discussions and “avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues. Even seemingly peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces. Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas or other measures to control crowds.”

 

  • The FBI in Anchorage reported from a Joint Terrorism Task Force meeting of November 3, 2011, about Occupy activities in Anchorage.
  • A port Facility Security Officer in Anchorage coordinated with the FBI to attend the meeting of protestors and gain intelligence on the planning of the port actions. He was advised to request the presence of an Anchorage Police Department official to also attend the event. The FBI Special Agent told the undercover private operative that he would notify the Joint Terrorism Task Force and that he would provide a point of contact at the Anchorage Police Department.

 

  • The Jacksonville, Florida FBI prepared a Domestic Terrorism briefing on the “spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement” in October 2011. The intelligence meeting discussed Occupy venues identifying “Daytona, Gainesville and Ocala Resident Agency territories as portions …where some of the highest unemployment rates in Florida continue to exist.”

 

  • The Tampa, Florida FBI “Domestic Terrorism” liaison participated with the Tampa Police Department’s monthly intelligence meeting in which Occupy Lakeland, Occupy Polk County and Occupy St. Petersburg were discussed. They reported on an individual “leading the Occupy Tampa” and plans for travel to Gainesville for a protest planning meeting, as well as on Veterans for Peace plans to protest at MacDill Air Force Base.

 

  • The Federal Reserve in Richmond appears to have had personnel surveilling OWS planning. They were in contact with the FBI in Richmond to “pass on information regarding the movement known as occupy Wall Street.” There were repeated communications “to pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies and the following information received from the Capital Police Intelligence Unit through JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force).”

 

  • The Virginia FBI was collecting intelligence on the OWS movement for dissemination to the Virginia Fusion Center and other Intelligence divisions.

 

  • The Milwaukee division of the FBI was coordinating with the Ashwaubenon Public Safety division in Green Bay Wisconsin regarding Occupy.

 

  • The Memphis FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force met to discuss “domestic terrorism” threats, including, “Aryan Nations, Occupy Wall Street, and Anonymous.”

 

  • The Birmingham, AL division of the FBI sent communications to HAZMAT teams regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement.

 

  • The Jackson, Mississippi division of the FBI attended a meeting of the Bank Security Group in Biloxi, MS with multiple private banks and the Biloxi Police Department, in which they discussed an announced protest for “National Bad Bank Sit-In-Day” on December 7, 2011.

 

  • The Denver, CO FBI and its Bank Fraud Working Group met and were briefed on Occupy Wall Street in November 2011. Members of the Working Group include private financial institutions and local area law enforcement.

 

  • Jackson, MS Joint Terrorism Task Force issued a “Counterterrorism Preparedness” alert. This heavily redacted document includes the description, “To document…the Occupy Wall Street Movement.”

You can read the FBI – OWS documents below where we have uploaded them in searchable format for public viewing.

The PCJF filed Freedom of Information Act demands with multiple federal law enforcement agencies in the fall of 2011 as the Occupy crackdown began. The FBI initially attempted to limit its search to only one limited record keeping index. Recognizing this as a common tactic used by the FBI to conduct an inadequate search, the PCJF pressed forward demanding searches be performed of the FBI headquarters as well as FBI field offices nationwide.

The PCJF will continue to push for public disclosure of the government’s spy files and will release documents as they are obtained.

Click here to see the FBI documents obtained by the PCJF.

As Chief Spence Starves, Canadians Awaken from Idleness and Remember Their Roots December 25, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, First Nations.
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Published on Monday, December 24, 2012 by the Globe & Mail

  by  Naomi Klein

I woke up just past midnight with a bolt. My six-month-old son was crying. He has a cold – the second of his short life–and his blocked nose frightens him. I was about to get up when he started snoring again. I, on the other hand, was wide awake.

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Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, shown in December, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick /THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A single thought entered my head: Chief Theresa Spence is hungry. Actually it wasn’t a thought. It was a feeling. The feeling of hunger. Lying in my dark room, I pictured the chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation lying on a pile of blankets in her teepee across from Parliament Hill, entering day 14 of her hunger strike.

I had of course been following Chief Spence’s protest and her demand to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the plight of her people and his demolition of treaty rights through omnibus legislation. I had worried about her. Supported her. Helped circulate the petitions. But now, before the distancing filters of light and reason had a chance to intervene, I felt her. The determination behind her hunger. The radicality of choosing this time of year, a time of so much stuffing – mouths, birds, stockings – to say: I am hungry. My people are hungry. So many people are hungry and homeless. Your new laws will only lead to more of this misery. Can we talk about it like human beings?

Lying there, I imagined another resolve too – Prime Minister Harper’s. Telling himself: I will not meet with her. I will not cave in to her. I will not be forced to do anything.

Mr. Harper may relent, scared of the political fallout from letting this great leader die. I dearly hope he does. I want Chief Spence to eat. But I won’t soon forget this clash between these two very different kinds of resolve, one so sealed off, closed in; the other cracked wide open, a conduit for the pain of the world.

But Chief Spence’s hunger is not just speaking to Mr. Harper. It is also speaking to all of us, telling us that the time for bitching and moaning is over. Now is the time to act, to stand strong and unbending for the people, places and principles that we love.

This message is a potent gift. So is the Idle No More movement – its name at once a firm commitment to the future, while at the same time a gentle self-criticism of the past. We did sit idly by, but no more.

The greatest blessing of all, however, is indigenous sovereignty itself. It is the huge stretches of this country that have never been ceded by war or treaty. It is the treaties signed and still recognized by our courts. If Canadians have a chance of stopping Mr. Harper’s planet-trashing plans, it will be because these legally binding rights – backed up by mass movements, court challenges, and direct action will stand in his way. All Canadians should offer our deepest thanks that our indigenous brothers and sisters have protected their land rights for all these generations, refusing to turn them into one-off payments, no matter how badly they were needed. These are the rights Mr. Harper is trying to extinguish now.

During this season of light and magic, something truly magical is spreading. There are round dances by the dollar stores. There are drums drowning out muzak in shopping malls. There are eagle feathers upstaging the fake Santas. The people whose land our founders stole and whose culture they tried to stamp out are rising up, hungry for justice. Canada’s roots are showing. And these roots will make us all stand stronger.

© 2012 Naomi Klein

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Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, now out in paperback. Her earlier books include the international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (which has just been re-published in a special 10th Anniversary Edition); and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). To read all her latest writing visit www.naomiklein.org. You can follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein.

I am cut and pasting my comments from a like article just to give readers an idea of what entailed here.

What the Government has proposed is to allow the concept of “private property rights” onto Reserve lands. What they claim is that by doing so they will “Create wealth”.

What will really happen is a small group of natives will be granted title to the lands and then be able to sell the land off to developers. This is Capitalism at work where one small group gets rich and the rest get nothing.

By converting it into “Private Property” the land that could not be sold because it owned by the tribe as a whole, the land suddenly acquires “monetary value” under the capitalist system and this is pointed to as proof that they create wealth.

That the tribe in the future might have no land base at all because the “wealth creators” sold it all off for personal gain to someone wanting to build ski lodges or condo’s is of no concern to the Government. (Added to that allowing the corporation to then pollute the land they now own at will thus removing all those treaty impediments to more tar sand development or pipeline construction)

No clearer example exists.

Private property is theft.

  • ceti

    NAFTA did that to the indigenous communities of Mexico. Harper’s stealth final solution for Aboriginal peoples dovetails well with his authoritarianism, corporatism, neo-conservativism and arch-Zionism. It is all part of the one big nasty ideology of 21st century fascism as a North American response to the 21st century socialism of South America (where incidentally, the poorest, most exploited heart of the American continent is again beating strong due to the efforts of the Morales government with the support of Chavez and Correa).

  • Deborah R. Martin

    Love Canada’s First Nations! Believe in Canada, the native one. http://www.MillionaireProjects…

  • giovannalepore

    When a concept exists which claims the very Earth is a commodity to be exploited and commodified all other crimes follow. What madness to think that that which we did not create somehow can belong to some particular individual when the reverse is true: People belong to the Earth and not the other way around. Western thinking is dangerous in its immaturity.

  • George Washington

    Thank you for your excellent insights.

  • rtdrury

    No, private property is not theft.  Allowing an elite few to own most/all property IS THEFT.  Liberalism teaches us to blame “things” instead of blaming elites and their rotten egos and evil intentions.  Liberals serve master this way. It’s very likely that the optimum system consists of private property on a very small scale, to allow for owning specialized tools for creative work.  But strong limits on how far that can go.  Likewise, elitism is needed in the sense that certain highly productive “fountainheads” can benefit the society as a whole, but again, strong limits on how far that can go.  In other words, keep the human ego on a VERY short leash.  But don’t blame the idea, don’t blame the tool, don’t blame the system.  Blame the sociopath elites with their rotten egos and evil intentions.

     

  • Gabriele Drozdowski

    rtdrury – you seem to have missed the point.  Individual land ownership is a large part of the cause of the problem, as it divides people, and encourages only caring about their small portion, whereas communal land ownership encourages larger scale thinking (i.e. seven generations ahead), the health of not just one parcel, but the local environment.  Yes, people still can have their own houses and land, but if individuals degrade the land or abuse it, the community as a whole can address this.  A fragmented populace of individual owners is powerless to stop the destruction by the Elite, as it is clear that the courts or justice systems often get corrupted as well.

  • Mary McCurnin

    .

  • glen taves

    We’re Idle No More empirePie  Dec 22cnd, 2012

    We’re Idle no more we’ve been conned too many times before so I’ll say it once more we’re idle no no more

    we’ve been conned by the right we’ve been conned by the left we’ve been rounded up poisoned and left bereft

    Now corporate Harper has a new plan for us we’re all under the bus with this omnibus bill to poison our water for short term gain for they’ve sold our soul to the corporate store

    they have pallets of cash a forty five thousand million dollar stash for a first strike jet we don’t need for an empire that don’t lead the apple pie empire of bad seed

    we’ve been conned by the right, left and middle too we’ve been rounded up poisoned and left bereft so Join hands in a circle of strength

    dance to the east dance to the west

    dance to the south dance to the north

    for we’re Idle no more for we’re Idle no more for we’re Idle no more

  • Qimountain

    I nominate Chief Spence for the Nobel Peace prize on behalf of Mother Earth. Hell, if Obama can get the award, why not a authentic hero?

  • galen066

    Here’s a hint for those of you who are not living in Canada who post on CD, about Stevie harper: He’s a psychopath.

    Harper will let Chief Spence starve herself to death. And he won’t give a tin-plated damn. He refuses to listen to anyone who is not either: A) a Corporate bagman, or B) a boot-licking sycophant. He has all but openly mocked Chief Spence as being a manipulative cry-baby.

    Harper has a long and well documented history of being possessed of a virulent, violent bias and racist view of Canada’s native peoples, pretty much along the lines of “Damn, dirty drunken injuns oughta just go and die.”

  • theoldgoat

    Intercontinental Cry is compiling videos and links that speak to the conversation about and to better understand history, the intense actions by corporations and government around the world to cut off indigenous rights to their traditional lands, culture, ways of being, stewardwship of resources and future generations right to determine their own sustainable models of development.

    http://www.commondreams.org/vi…

  • Gabriele Drozdowski

    Yes, Intercontinental Cry is a great resource for documentation on indigenous lands and rights abuses happening across the globe.

  • scrufmuffin

    This episode would do as a  a new chapter in an updated, “Shock Doctrine”; right in line with  the usual neo-con tricks so well documented. This scheme sounds exactly like what happened to Russia under Boris Yeltsin”s privatization policies with the help and advice of US neo-con advisors, who also became very rich. The result was seven billionaire oligarchs and the the Russian poverty rate hitting 50 % as Russia’s immense socialized resources and enterprises were sold off at below bargain rates and the economy collapsed.  Credit Bill Clinton for that one, he sent the “experts”;  Milton Freeman  and the Chicago School strike again. See Janine Wedel, The Shadow Elite for a thorough description.

  • pdxpress

    Portland is with you

    http://www.oregonlive.com/port…

  • HenryWallace2012

    Good story, gal! Love Canada’s First Nations! Believe in Canada, the native one.

  • HenryWallace2012

    Naomi Klein does and I do. Just let’s do it and have a better world starting with Canada. In the USA we can believe in our First and founding people.

  • wildcarrots

    Why should anyone believe in Canada’s first nations?

  • Gabriele Drozdowski

    Idiot.

  • Gabriele Drozdowski

    Lack of, or under education about indigenous people is a serious flaw in our Western society.  The conquering nations have worked hard at keeping it that way.

  • wildcarrots

    Gabriele. Henry Wallace responds to most indigenous issues with the same response, ” I believe in  america or canada the native one.”  It was a reasonable question, why do you believe in the native america, as in why do you always say that without ever saying why.  Yes, that lack of education works both ways.

  • galen066

    Well that and cultural and actual genocide of Canada’s natives…

  • Suspiria_de_profundis

    I am afraid the day the Cultural Genocide of Our First nations people will be complete is when their lands and tribal holdings turned into “private property” that can be bought and sold.

    Aurora borealis The icy sky at night Paddles cut the water In a long and hurried flight From the white man to the fields of green And the homeland we’ve never seen.

    They killed us in our tepee And they cut our women down They might have left some babies Cryin’ on the ground But the firesticks and the wagons come And the night falls on the setting sun.

    They massacred the buffalo Kitty corner from the bank The taxis run across my feet And my eyes have turned to blanks In my little box at the top of the stairs With my Indian rug and a pipe to share.

    I wish a was a trapper I would give thousand pelts To sleep with Pocahontas And find out how she felt In the mornin’ on the fields of green In the homeland we’ve never seen.

    And maybe Marlon Brando Will be there by the fire We’ll sit and talk of Hollywood And the good things there for hire And the Astrodome and the first tepee Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me Pocahontas.

    (Neil Young)

  • wildcarrots

    And how about you, how do you stand in solidarity with Native people?

  • giovannalepore

    In the midst of despair a ray of hope: The indigenous peoples of our common home planet are on the rise and if any peoples exist who understand what needs doing it is them. Solidarity!

  • rtdrury

    Actually fasting is healthy, up to around 30 days.  Do your body good, whack the franken-food industry, and scare the politicians all in one fell swoop.

     

  • galen066

    There is a MASSIVE difference between fasting (which means limited *intake* of food) and a Hunger Strike (which is voluntarily starving yourself to death if necessary to make a point).

    Spence is on a Hunger Strike, and I have the very bad feeling she is going to become Harper’s ‘Bobby Sands’.

  • David

    When is the last time you fasted for 30 days?  What were the benefits?

  • HenryWallace2012

    Try hung parlament procedure which would have prevented the Con servatives from getting into government in the first place. Virtually every other parliamentary system has it. It works.

  • galen066

    Too bad Harper views Parliamentary procedure as an impediment to the looting of the nation’s economy and resources.

  • JoeTWallace

    You’ll want to get started.

  • itsthethird

    Happy Holidays a simple truth:

    When we negate the ego (world) we negate the world pain, suffering, oppression etc…and heal ourselves and the world.

  • JoeTWallace

    Best wishes to indigenous peoples and their common-sense ethic of stewardship and sustainability.

  • disqus_7ONuyIuYuR

    Stephen Harper was elected with 38% of the vote because Canada has two strong parties (plus the Green Party, which elected  its first member of parliament) to the left of Harper, which split the vote.  The only answer is to change to a proportional, or at least an instant-runoff, system.

  • Yunzer

    Or, not even anything that fancy.  Just require regular runoffs in every riding that didn’t get a 50%+1.  This would have prevented the current Canadian govt.

  • HenryWallace2012

    I firmly believe Canada will throw out the Con servative or Tories at the next federal election.

  • frigate

    I don’t understand how after our Bushite catastrophe and other conservative disasters worldwide, Canadians could have voted for a conservative Prime Minister.

  • Mary McCurnin

    Maybe the election was hacked and stolen. In my gut I feel this has been going on for decaded in the USA.

  • frigate

    it seems that the only way conservatives can win is to steal elections.

  • hamster99

    “Conservatives”. What a ridiculous name for people who only want to conserve the right to destroy everything in the name of profit.

  • Rich Smith

    They used to be called reactionary.   Words are potentially so powerful yet rarely used to reflect that power.  Call it as you see it rather than using words that others foist upon you.

  • galen066

    There is a growing amount of evidence that the last Federal Canadian election was tampered with in favor of Harper.

  • Shizel

    I woke up the other night hungry. I ate something and went to go sleep. But, something was gnawing at me. I knew enough people didn’t care enough to stop Harper and I wished I was wrong. It’s not the beginning, it’s the end. This single protest won’t be the spark. Yawn! And if it were, it would be too little too late even if we did miraculously stop the Canadian tar sands… too skeptical to believe… z-z-z-z…

  • wildcarrots

    wow, you are very brave to accept your fate, but one day you will still have to stand up.

  • Shizel

    No, I’m afraid standing up never goes as planned. It will cause Canadians to split as never before. It won’t be pretty.

  • David

    I’d rather it not be pretty and be right, than be uglier yet in silence.

  • wildcarrots

    That is a good reply.  Some day we will all have to stand up and that will be a good day.

  • windship

    First Nations have a ten thousand year history in Canada, which is a Crown Confederation less than 150 years old. Canada is a Royal Occupation with far less historical legitimacy than Israel’s. Is Queen Elizabeth staying up at night worrying about Chief Spence? Or will she make the usual Royal Proclamation from the gilded tower: “Let them eat cake!”

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