Indigenous Roundup: Avenger Missiles, No Clemency, Decampment.

Courtesy Gary Dorr.

Courtesy Gary Dorr.

Mobile Avenger Missile Launcher Appears at Standing Rock.

A first-hand account of the terrifying deployment of an anti-aircraft device pointed at people.

Later, a veteran buddy looked it up to be sure, matched it up with our pictures, and based on his experience noted:

“My suspicion is that the Avenger Missile Systems deployed to Standing Rock are a cost-effective alternative to having an Apache Helo flying overhead when they need it. The Avenger system has Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) Capabilities. The civilian plane and helicopter probably don’t have FLIR and that is when they need an Apache Helo to “monitor” situations under darkness and record for evaluation later. Instead of calling up the Apache, they can have Avengers on-site for instant intelligence day or night. The Avenger system also has video capabilities. It costs them far less to have an Avenger system on the ground 24 hrs a day than to deploy an Apache Helo occasionally. The security ground forces have Night Vision but the Avenger has FLIR and a laser rangefinder along with video capabilities. The FLIR will be at least a plate-sized round lense mounted on the weapon rail on the left side (driver side) if there is one. Just a suspicion. If I am correct, there should be more info to request in a FOIA. The sheriff’s Department can’t all have TS Sec clearances so if they brief them all using Avenger footage, it should be low hanging fruit that would be unclassified.”

[Read more…]

A Shameful Justice System.

Pearl Pearson Jr., a deaf man who was charged with resisting arrest after not listening to officers' instructions.

Pearl Pearson Jr., a deaf man who was charged with resisting arrest after not listening to officers’ instructions.

A deaf man from Oklahoma has been cleared of charges that he resisted arrest because he allegedly failed to hear police officers’ orders.

Pearson was originally pulled over by troopers in February of 2014, and was slapped with a misdemeanor charge for resisting arrest after not obeying officers’ instructions.

[…]

Pearson claims that he tried to inform the troopers who pulled him over that he was deaf, and he says that they proceeded to beat him after pulling him from his vehicle. His 2014 mug shot clearly shows a swollen eye and other injuries that he alleges came from his encounter with police.

[…]

The district attorney cleared the troopers of any criminal wrongdoing in the case, but charged Pearson with a misdemeanor of resisting arrest.

Yes, of course you did, after all, beating the shit out of people is just another day at work, right? Perfectly okay that, and to insist on preferring charges against a deaf person. Makes perfect sense if you’re a regressive, backwards asshole.

Attorneys for Pearson had successfully argued Pearson needed special interpreters for his trial. Pearson learned sign language during segregation, which means his way of communicating differs from traditional American Sign Language, or ASL. District Attorney David Prater, who appeared for the state in person at the hearing requesting interpreters, did not object to the request.

Pearson’s attorney, Scott Adams, says prosecutors told him they were dismissing the case due to the costs associated with the special interpreters for court. The case was scheduled to go to trial next week.

Online court records indicate the case was dismissed without cost to Pearson, though he has had to pay for his own defense attorneys.

Court documents filed by prosecutors say the cost of Pearson’s misdemeanor trial could meet or exceed $40,000.

“It is the District Attorney’s responsibility to be a good steward of the taxpayer’s money,” Prater wrote.

Oh, right. So that’s what it is, deciding on what to do with taxpayer money, sort of an accounting thing, not a justice thing. Mr. Pearson won’t see any justice for being beaten by cops; he’ll still have to pay his lawyers, and if it weren’t for the need to pay special interpreters, you would have gladly wasted a lot of money persecuting him for no good reason. Perhaps with some of that 40k you saved, you should put out some public service announcements: Danger! Don’t Be Deaf Around Cops! Danger! Especially Don’t Be Black and Deaf, No!

Via Raw Story and KOKH.

The Painting Hated by the GOP.

David Pulphus's painting in response to the Ferguson unrest, "Untitled #1", won first place in Missouri's 1st Congressional District in the 2016 United States Congressional Art Competition.

David Pulphus’s painting in response to the Ferguson unrest, “Untitled #1”, won first place in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District in the 2016 United States Congressional Art Competition.

Each year since 1982, the Congressional Institute has sponsored a high school art competition whereby students submit artwork to their congressional representative’s office, which in turn selects a winner. The 435 winning artworks are then exhibited in Washington, DC, hung salon style in a hallway between the Capitol Building and Longworth House Office Building for a year. The office of Representative William Lacy Clay, a Democrat from St. Louis, Missouri, selected a painting by Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School senior David Pulphus in early May 2016. Early this month, the untitled painting was hung in the Capitol. A few days later, the Independent Journal Review, a right-wing website with a mixed record on factual reporting, published an article titled, “Painting of Cops as Pigs Hung Proudly in US Capitol.” A cycle of outrage began. Fox News picked up the story. In a ginned up moment, Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican from San Diego, California unscrewed the painting from the wall, delivered it to Representative Clay’s office, and went to Fox News to brag about it. Today, Representative Clay and members of the Congressional Black Caucus rehung the painting. Shortly thereafter Representative Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, removed it again, only to have Representative Clay rehang it again. Congressional Republicans are discussing how to remove it permanently.

The full story is at Hyperallergic. For people who almost never shut up about being persecuted or censored (or criticized), conservatives are always the first ones to try and censor anything they don’t like.

MMIW Website.

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Families of missing and murdered Indigenous women should sign up for MMIW inquiry emails while they wait to register to participate, inquiry commission officials say.

The emails will provide updates ahead of the inquiry, which is expected to begin in spring.

“We want to create a families first process,” said Michael Hutchinson, the commission’s director of communications. “Nobody has a list of the people that want to take part in the national inquiry.… We’re trying to collect that information from families.”

The MMIW inquiry has a new website, where families should be able to register soon.

[…]

The commission is only now starting to connect with families through the new website, to develop a database of who wants to give formal testimony to the commission in the new year.

Hutchinson said they are developing a form to simplify the process of registering with the inquiry.

A crisis line is also available for family members or friends who need support at 1-844-413-6649.

Via CBC.

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Ethics? We don’t need no stinkin’ ethics!

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In a secret vote held behind closed doors Monday night, House Republicans voted to cripple the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body created in 2008 to rein in corruption and other misconduct by members of Congress.

The move was spearheaded “by lawmakers who have come under investigation in recent years,” according to Politico. Among those speaking in favor of the changes were Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who was accused by a staffer of sexual harassment, and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), who allegedly received “an impermissible gift when he and his wife traveled to Taiwan in October 2011.”

Under the new rules, the Office of Congressional Ethics would be renamed the Office of Congressional Complaint Review and, critically, lose its independence. It would be placed under the auspices of the House Ethics Committee, which famously has turned a blind eye to wrongdoing by members of Congress. It became clear that an independent body was necessary after scandals largely ignored by the the Ethics Committee sent several members of Congress, including Randy “Duke” Cunningham and Bob Ney, to jail.

Ooooh, a complaints department! We’re all so sure that will work wonderfully, right?

Many of the new restrictions on the body appear designed to make it easier to sweep misconduct under the rug.

The new Office of Congressional Complaint Review cannot make any of its findings public — or make any other public statement — without the approval of the House Ethics Committee.

Ah, how cozy. All the corrupt, unethical, immoral republicans now have a lovely shelter, and no one will ever tell them they are wrong.

Even if the Office of Congressional Complaint Review finds evidence of criminal conduct, it cannot report it to the police without prior approval.

Even better! If caught, they can’t be punished.

The rules also prohibit the new office from considering anonymous complaints or investigating any conduct that occurred before 2011.

Very convenient. That effectively prohibits any investigation via a complainant who might have every reason to be concerned about retaliation.

The House leadership will get a chance to prove their opposition Tuesday, when a public vote on a rules package that includes the changes to ethics oversight will occur on the House floor.

Yeah, I’m not gonna hold my breath. More American Greatness™ folks, Look Ma, no ethics! Via Think Progress.

No Peace for Our Time.

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This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine. Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you: ‘ … We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.

British PM Neville Chamberlain, 1938

Make no mistake: Donald Trump’s Administration is coming for Indian Country—we’re suddenly big targets on his radar. We haven’t had quite this big of a place on the national and international stage in a long time. It makes sense—Native communities have about 25% of the nation’s on-shore oil and gas reserves and developable resources and this upcoming administration is oil-thirsty.

And they’re coming for what Tribes have; Dakota Access was the warm-up. Trump’s line-up of cabinet nominees tells us that his Administration is coming squarely for Native land and Native natural resources. Rick Perry, who sits on the Board of Directors for the Energy Transfer Partners (the company that owns the Dakota Access Pipeline), was nominated as the Energy Secretary. Trump also nominated Scott Pruitt to be the new head of the EPA; Pruitt said that “hydraulic fracking, a technological innovation that has done more to reduce carbon emissions in this country than any other technological advancement of our time.” No really—that’s what he said. He also wrote a letter to Obama In 2012, Pruitt and Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wrote a letter to President Obama asking to eliminate a Bureau of Land Management proposal that requires oil companies to disclose the chemicals used in fracking operations on Native American land.

These cats want to separate Native people from our lands and mineral resources. It’s westward expansion, manifest destiny!

Again.

Gyasi Ross has an outstanding article up at ICTMN about the current political mess, and what it’s going to mean to Indian Country:

The Thing About Skins: Make no mistake, Donald Trump’s Administration is coming for Indian Country.

In an earlier edition, Marty Two Bulls made his feelings about certain Indians active in the current mess quite clear:

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© Marty Two Bulls.

The Reality of Oil Spills.

Pastor Dahua, president of the community of Monterrica, on the Marañón River in the Peruvian Amazon, scoops oil from a spill from a Petroperu pipeline on his community's land. Barbara Fraser.

Pastor Dahua, president of the community of Monterrica, on the Marañón River in the Peruvian Amazon, scoops oil from a spill from a Petroperu pipeline on his community’s land. Barbara Fraser.

Hunching his shoulders against a driving rain Pastor Dahua scrambled down a muddy bank and stepped across a pool of blackened water to a makeshift shelter that marked the place where crude oil had spilled from an oil pipeline.

The spill in Monterrico, the community of Kukama and Urarina people of which Dahua is president, is one of 10 that have occurred since January along the pipeline that runs from oil fields in the Peruvian Amazon across the Andes Mountains to a port and refinery on the Pacific coast.

The rain worried Dahua. Between November and May, water levels in Amazonian rivers rise by 30 feet or more, flooding villages and forests. If the spill was not cleaned up by the time the flooding began in earnest, Monterrico’s only water supply—a stream that crossed the pipeline near the end of the oil spill—could be contaminated.

Monterrico is one of dozens of communities affected by recent spills. Even more people are exposed to contamination from 40 years of oil operations that dumped oil and salty, metals-laden water into rivers, streams and lakes in Peru’s oldest Amazonian oil fields.

Government agencies have identified more than 1,000 sites needing cleanup, but have a budget of only about $15 million for testing and remediation. Experts say that is just a fraction of the amount that will be needed.

Anger over the sluggish pace of efforts to address decades of pollution and neglect have come to a head in Saramurillo, on the bank of the Marañón River, a few hours by boat downstream from Monterrico.

Hundreds of people from more than 40 indigenous communities converged there on September 1, blocking boat traffic on the Marañón River, a key transportation route in the northeastern Peruvian region of Loreto, where there are virtually no roads.

Despite an initial meeting with government officials in October, the protest dragged on into December, amid tensions among both the protesters and the travelers and merchants trapped by the blockade.

Indigenous protesters stand watch on bank of Marañón River in Saramurillo, Peru, blocking boats from passing, as they pressure the government to solve problems related to pollution from four decades of oil production in the Peruvian Amazon. Barbara Fraser.

Indigenous protesters stand watch on bank of Marañón River in Saramurillo, Peru, blocking boats from passing, as they pressure the government to solve problems related to pollution from four decades of oil production in the Peruvian Amazon. Barbara Fraser.

This in depth look at the reality of oil spills, and their impact on Indigenous people is very necessary reading. The impact of such is not at all limited to Indigenous people, and the more Indigenous people fight against having pipelines on their land, the more the impact of spills will spread, further and further out, into a horrible web of contamination.

Everyone needs to stand up against fossil fuels, now more than ever, with the new climate change denying, fossil fuel loving administration poised to take over.

The full story is at ICTMN.

Oceti Sakowin Camp.

Photo by Tom Jefferson.

Photo by Tom Jefferson.

There are still people at the Oceti Sakowin camp, a considerably smaller number, around 2,000, who will stay until DA is gone. They are requesting that no one new come into camp right now, as weather conditions are very harsh. Those of us fighting the Black Snake still need help. You can signal boost, get involved in various actions, or donate, all is appreciated, deeply.

Have a look at the Oceti Sakowin Camp site, and see if there is a way to add your voice to the many.

The Dakota Access Pipeline may be on hold, but Water Protectors are still fighting for their freedom.

SUF Uppsala: Demonstration mot DAPL!

https://twitter.com/SUFUppsala

Perry the Prayer to Be Energy Secretary.

Rick Perry speaks to Fox News (screen grab).

Rick Perry speaks to Fox News (screen grab).

Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, whose style of governance was basically “hey, let’s pray!”, has been tapped by Trump to be Secretary of Energy.

CBS is reporting that President elect Donald Trump has chosen former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to be his energy secretary.

[…]

According to Major Garrett of CBS, two sources have confirmed Perry will be offered the spot  and will accept.

As CBS notes, Perry sits on the boards of two major energy companies, including Energy Transfer Partners which owns a subsidiary Dakota Access LLC, which is attempting to build the Dakota Access Pipeline.

It’s not enough to say all these rich assholes are living in one another’s pockets, they are living in each others rectums. It’s quite the racket Trump is setting up, making sure that all his investments don’t suffer by protecting his fellow investors, all of whom are climate change deniers, and pro-fossil fuels. (See here for the Exxon mess.)

People must get serious about fighting filthy energy, our lives are at stake. When we remove the earth’s ability to sustain us, we’ll die, and not pleasantly so. When we have poisoned all the water, we’ll die. And once again, water systems are not neatly contained puddles. Water flows, it meets other water, it’s an intricate and beautiful network, one which is vital to the health of our earth, and the life residing on it. Everywhere you look, more pipelines are being approved, against public sentiment and wishes. Trudeau, who styled himself a friend to the Indigenous nations of Canada, recently approved two major pipelines. Trump has vowed to okay Keystone XL, and while he won’t be pinned down on DAPL, he says “there will be a fast resolution”. As he’s heavily invested in ETP, I’m sure it doesn’t take much work to figure out which way he will go. The coal industry is also getting much more pushy, pinning their hopes on a Trump presidency. As usual, much of the pipelines and planned coal stations will be on Indigenous land, and treaties will be broken left and right, while colonialists happily destroy the ability of Indigenous people to sustain themselves, and make sure their land and water is always at risk of being poisoned beyond repair.

Does anyone think that the blatant disregard shown by Trump and his appointees won’t matter? Climate change is real, and we are already feeling the effects of it. Sea levels are rising. Water is routinely poisoned by gas and oil. Land which used to yield food is now rendered blasted and useless from fracking. Things will continue to get worse unless we change things right. fucking. now. Trump and his cronies have no interest in that at all. They plan to accelerate all the damage. When great swathes of the U.S. are no longer inhabitable for 3 to 6 months a year, what’s going to happen? Do you have enough money to purchase alternate residences, and the money cushion involved in moving back and forth? Are you going to get out your precious, beloved gun and start shooting people who don’t have resources? What do billionaires care about any of that? The entitlement brought on by having endless amounts of money and power allows them to think they will never, ever be victimized by such things, but planetary climate change doesn’t care about billionaires, and while it might get them last, it will get them.

The most recent pipeline leak here in nDakota, it was not detected by all that supposed early detection equipment, so no more of the same, tired bullshit about how safe pipelines are, and oh, they have detection equipment, because that crap does not work, and pipelines leak, end of story.

People in Arkansas and Oklahoma need help to stop a pipeline.

…More. Right. The orange man is on deck. Trump the troll. His minions. Pipeline lovers. Oil-addicted junkies. Wall builders and bigots. The illegal immigrants in this country are not brown. I’ve said this before. Many times. These gibbed geeks are the descendants of European invaders. But enough of that. Word is the oil-and-gas fat cats at Energy Transfer Partners are pissing and moaning into their whiskeys and ryes. Whiny brats. They said they’ll push on. President Andrew Jackson pushed on, too. The Trail of Tears happened anyway. “Justice Marshall made his decision, now let him enforce it.” Another whiny brat.

There’s little justice in this world, but on December 4, Native Americans got a taste. It’s always a fine feeling when good prevails over evil. And that’s what these pipelines are. Evil. Pure. Unadulterated. How could they not be? The oil oafs and their seedy oligarch asshat homies know pipelines leak. And they know people get sick when they do. Just ask the folks in the gulf who are still suffering from the massive BP oil spill. They agonize from chronic respiratory illnesses and skin diseases. THEY know what happens when pipelines leak and poison the water, sink into the soil. But these paunchy pipeline pricks turn a blind eye in the name of profit. They are gibbed vermin, and they deal in deception. …

Excerpt from Simon Moya-Smith, writing from the Oceti Sakowin Camp.

Standing Rock: No DAPL Roundup.

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© Marty Two Bulls.

Standing Rock: No DAPL Roundup.

Sacred Stone Media/YouTube Grassroots coalition against DAPL announces December as a month of action, focused on banks.

Sacred Stone Media/YouTube
Grassroots coalition against DAPL announces December as a month of action, focused on banks.

We, the below stated, are a coalition of grassroots groups living and working in the Dakota Access resistance camps along the Cannon Ball River in Oceti Sakowin treaty lands.

Sacred Stone Camp | Indigenous Environmental Network | International Indigenous Youth Council | Honor the Earth

The following is a coalition statement on the next steps for the #NoDAPL fight:

As we reflect on the decision by the U.S. Army (NOT the U.S. Army Corps) to suspend the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) river crossing easement and conduct a limited Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the resistance camps at Standing Rock are making plans for the next phase of this movement.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II has asked people to return home once the weather clears, and many will do so. Others will stay to hold the space, advance our reclamation of unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie, and continue to build community around the protection of our sacred waters. They will also keep a close eye on the company, which has drilled right up to the last inch it can, and remains poised and ready to finish the project.

[…]

[Read more…]

Pacific Northwest Tribes vs Fossil Fuel.

Members of the Lummi Nation burn a symbolic check in protest of the proposed Gateway Pacific coal export terminal in 2012. The terminal was eventually defeated when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ruled that the project would impact the Lummi Nation’s fishery at Cherry Point, which is protected under the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. Credit: Paul Anderson.

Members of the Lummi Nation burn a symbolic check in protest of the proposed Gateway Pacific coal export terminal in 2012. The terminal was eventually defeated when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ruled that the project would impact the Lummi Nation’s fishery at Cherry Point, which is protected under the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. Credit: Paul Anderson.

The Quinault own and manage Lake Quinault and the Quinault River from the lake to the Pacific Ocean, and co-manage the fisheries throughout their fishing areas—inland and at sea. But the tribe’s ancestral lands and resources are under threat by Houston-based Westway Terminals, which has applied for permits to expand its current crude oil shipping and storage facilities in Grays Harbor, Washington.

If approved, the expansion would add capacity to receive, store, and ship about 17.8 million barrels of oil annually by rail, and store an additional million barrels on site. It’s one of many proposed projects that would increase the transfer of raw fossil fuels to proposed ports on the Pacific coast, dubbed the “gateway to the Pacific,” for export to lucrative Asian markets.

In response, the Quinault have joined a growing coalition of other governments and allies to form a resistance to fossil fuel expansion along the West Coast, at the heart of which is hundreds of years of treaty rights and case law.

“We are a fishing, hunting, gathering people who care deeply about our land, water, and resources, as well as all life dependent on a healthy ecosystem,” said Fawn Sharp, the nation’s president. “These proposals threaten our economy, our environment, and our culture.”

[…]

Sharp, who is also president of the 57 Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, said the best solution to the challenges created by what she called “the temperament of greed in this country” is the grassroots momentum that rises when the people—both tribal and nontribal—share a common vision and take action in their votes, voices, lifestyles, and the lessons they convey to their families.

“We know this country can’t break its addiction to oil overnight,” she said. “But we know that, over time, it has to be eliminated from use, and we know that process of elimination is a task that must be undertaken now.”

[…]

Throughout the Pacific Northwest, strength against the persistent intimidation of the fossil fuel industry has been found in this tribal-led coalition. “Tribal people are now, and have always been, the caretakers of the land,” Sharp said. “Our words have not always been heard. But when it comes to our sacred land, air, and water, we will always take a stand on behalf of life and the natural heritage we have inherited.”

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Full story at ICTMN.