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Category Archives: American Indians

Dakota Access Pipeline.

TYT Politics Reporter Jordan Chariton spoke with Native American activist and executive director of Honor The Earth Winona LaDuke, who explained what the Dakota Access Pipeline is really being used for.

They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it. –  Chief Red Cloud (Mahpiya Luta), Oglala Lakota

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Posted by on December 2, 2016 in American Indians, corporatocracy

 

Calls to censor the media and to re-count the vote abound.

Updated below.

There are discussions all over the place about how the media has been manipulated by Russia.  Now we need a war on “fake news”; some news outlets are even publishing lists of what they call fake news or propaganda sites.  It must be that fake news outlets are to blame for the mainstream media failing to forecast the results of the election, because, the thinking goes, the MSM just couldn’t be wrong.  Nor could they have been running questionable polls.  And certainly, they couldn’t have been so in the tank for the war-pig Clinton that they just propagandized themselves into a stupor.  The fact that they gave so much free airtime to Trump all along and drove people to look him up, take him as a serious contender, and attend his rallies to see for themselves what the fuss was about had absolutely no bearing on the election.  Right?  Am I right?  Look, advertising works.  That’s why companies do it.  Even negative advertising works.  People heard Trump’s name over and over.  From the mainstream news; you are the ones who kept talking about him 24 hours a day – you fools are the ones who pushed his name front and center so repeatedly that he actually bragged he didn’t have to pay for advertising.  What did you expect?  Let’s take note of the fact that since the MSM, at the request of the Clinton folks, ignored Sanders until word of mouth brought him a groundswell of attention nonetheless, the opposite principle (lack of media coverage depresses name recognition) worked for a long enough time to help Clinton win the Democratic primary.  Well, that and some good old-fashioned election rigging.  Clinton cost the Democrats the election.  The MSM helped her lose it.  But now we are supposed to believe it was “fake news” sources and the Russians.

To put an end to fake news, there is a push to censor the news.  To censor the news.  Might I remind you that this is in the United States of America.

The Washington Post published an article this week which credits persons unknown for coming up with a list of websites and news sources that are either direct Russian propaganda sites, or that are perhaps “unconsciously being used as pawns by Russia”.  Seriously – they don’t know who the people behind the “information” they are writing about are, and serenely state that the information comes from a group of “anonymous technical experts using scientific methods”.  The anonymous experts have a full list of dozens of such “fake news” sites – all supposedly engaging in “false or misleading news”, most, they claim, is inspired by or coming from Russia.  Some of the websites they list are very liberal sites that I read all the time, with accolades and awards for fine journalism.  Some are financial websites that simply cover the economy.  A couple of them are actually US government-affiliated sites, although the “experts” and the WaPo appear blissfully clueless about that fact.  Breitbart, which is about as tabloid and fakey as you can get, is not on the list.  Neither are FOXNews, CNN, MSNBC, etc.; clearly the coverage from these MSM sources has deteriorated over the years to where one ought to consider them promoters of falsified and misleading information, but the point of this suggested purge of “fake news” is obviously aimed at alternative news websites, most of them to the left of center in political opinion.  

Stranger still is that it seems to be the Democrats who are squealing the loudest about the horrors of what is a contrived Red Scare; in fact, it was Clinton and the Democrats who started this ball rolling with continuous ominous warnings about the Russian Menace during the campaign season.  It’s just pathetic to see the Democrats, once the “party of the people” and “civil rights champions”, usher in a new McCarthy era and restart the Cold War as they flail about trying to explain to themselves how their [despised] candidate could have lost the election.  I can’t stress this enough: we are being pushed into very dangerous territory with these suggestions that certain news outlets or websites be black-listed (i.e., censored) based upon the rantings of some anonymous trolls.   PropOrNot, the faceless group behind “The List”, actually calls for the U.S. government to use the powers of the FBI and DOJ to begin investigations of those on their List for potential violations of the Espionage Act.  They claim that these websites “make propaganda for brutal authoritarian oligarchies” and “are often involved in a wide range of bad business”.  

Ironically, the WaPo is using fake news to write an fake expose on fake news.  And it’s largely the Democrat community that is lauding this Orwellian mess. 

Let me tell you some stuff.  Jeff Bezos (owner, Amazon) buys the Washington Post. Jeff Bezos signs a $500 mm contract with the CIA. Neither the CIA nor Jeff Bezos will state what this contract is for. Do you suppose you can figure it out all by yourself?

In 2013, Congress overturned a long-existing law that prohibited the government from using propaganda in US media to influence Americans. Not that they weren’t directly and openly using propaganda before that – anyone notice the “retired military officers” and “intelligence officers” who outright lied in a successful effort to sell the Iraq war? (Etc., etc.) Changing the law simply made it legal for them to do it again. Do please note that Obama, never a good friend to the freedom of the press idea (see his war on whistle-blowers, for example) signed this bill into law.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-ban-spreads-government-made-news-to-americans/

The US State Dept regularly uses propaganda to try and sway the opinion of people in foreign countries. They have a branch devoted entirely to this effort. When we do it, it is “spreading democracy”. Assuming Russia does it here, it requires a military response. (LOL – yeah, they got hundreds of agents pretending to be journalists who convince editors to run their pro-Russia stories in the media every fucking day. Sure.  The CIA, meanwhile, actually and provably does have hundreds of agents pretending to be journalists, including in the US, whose stories are guaranteed to be run by editors of the MSM every fucking day.)

Voice of America. Look them up, if you don’t know what VoA is. Our tax-payer dollars used to bring correct thinking to the unswayed everywhere. Propaganda, much?

Also see this article, if you want to understand who is really running fake news:

Who’s the Biggest Peddler of Fake News?

and this 18-minute video is food for thought:


We also have a group led by Jill Stein that is trying to get the election results re-counted in three states.  She thinks that the election was rigged in Trump’s favor.  She claimed in one interview (but not in subsequent ones) that the election results were caused by foreign governments’ interference and hacking into our election systems.  I.e., blame the Russians.  This statement was also up on her website temporarily (she has since erased it, but many people noticed it before she did so). This is so stupid I can’t believe she said it. The voting machines are not hooked up to the internet. No-one can “hack in”. They can have malware installed in them at the factory or at the polling place; are we to believe that the Dread Russians sent over so many agents that they were able to install malware in the machines nationwide? The D’s and the R’s, on the other hand, do have access to all the machines right here in the US. As do the companies that provide the machines. George Soros, ever fond of interfering in the governance of foreign nations and running “color revolutions” to overthrow other countries through “internal” methods, owns the company that provides the voting machines in 16 states.  Any tinkering with the machines is done right here by good old Americans.

I voted for Stein (and voted for her in ’12, as well), but almost didn’t. Want to know why I almost didn’t?  This may sound petty, but here goes: She was the only residential candidate to speak out on behalf of the protesters at the Dakota pipeline. That was very good. You go, girl, and all that.  She went to the DAPL protest site at Standing Rock and joined with the protesters. During her brief visit with them, she got herself arrested. She had spray-painted some graffiti on the pipeline company’s bulldozers. This pissed me off to the point where I began to think that she is just another fraud who is using anything and anyone she can to get attention. I know it’s hard for the third-party candidates to get any mention in the media, but this stunt hurt the credibility of the protesters. The tribes and the other protesters have been extremely careful to avoid anything that even hints at violence, illegal acts, or destruction. They want it obvious that they are intent on protecting the land, the water, and their rights, by peaceful means. By defacing equipment (yeah, I get it – it isn’t like she blew up a bunch of equipment with dynamite), she went directly outside the stringent guidelines and limits the protesters decided to impose on themselves as they seek to exhibit their principles and peacefully protest.

So she actually cast the protesters in a bad light – she is the only person on the protester’s side to date who has done anything destructive or illegal at Standing Rock – and she did it for a self-serving attention-getter motive. She only went there to grab a head-line for herself. It just struck me wrong, that she’d put them at risk of being labeled “rioters” or “eco-terrorists” or as destructive in any way, just so she could make the newspapers.

Maybe that makes me a purist, I don’t know. She’s gotten arrested before, protesting third-party exclusion from the debates; that didn’t bother me. I thought she had a point and was correctly directing her protest actions against the two major parties. For God’s sake, Stein was arrested and shackled overnight for protesting a debate, back in 2008; her arrest then was a disgusting example of how hard the two major parties will fight off anyone threatening their duopoly.  But I am sick of the politicians using us as their pawns in their quest to control the country. And Stein herself was using the Sioux in the Standing Rock case. I found it shameful.  I ended up voting for her anyway, because – well, who the hell else was there to vote for?

I find her involvement in this recount effort a bit mysterious for a third party candidate who couldn’t possibly be affected one way or the other by a recount.  It is quite obvious she is trying to help Clinton with this demand.  Or, cynically, just hoping to raise money to pay off her campaign debt.  I sure hope everyone who contributed to the now over $5 mm she’s raised pays attention to what happens with that money.  

Maybe a recount would lead to something good; perhaps we’ll finally get some
investigation into these damned voting machines, but it might also lead to a civil war.  So help me, it just sounds kinda like another politician looking for money. That remark about foreign governments “messing with our elections” should raise serious questions about her motives here.  How peculiar for someone who ran partly on the platform of ending all the wars and who castigated Clinton for being a neoliberal war hawk to now engage in the same propaganda about Russia that Clinton promoted all during the election season.

I had hoped that the one thing we could count on with the election of Trump, the only good thing, near as I can tell (the man is an oaf, a simpleton, a buffoon, a skell looking for a con, a billionaire who will serve billionaires and spit on the commoners) is that there would be an end to the drive for war with Russia. Obviously, I under-estimated the voracious pull of the Clinton black hole. This bullshit “war on fake news” is dangerous, dangerous shit, and that it is driven by a neoliberal/neocon propaganda push against Russia is going to lead to disaster.

America – of all the things we ever lost over recent decades, I miss our minds the most.

Update 1:

Zerohedge has a brief article up about the mysterious way the Jill Stein recount effort seems to have an ever-increasing need for money.  The more money they raise, the more they need.  How very politician-like.

Just yesterday we noted that Jill Stein was acting on behalf of Hillary Clinton to raise money for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  As we noted then, we continue to be astonished by the amount of money flowing into the fundraising campaign and would love to see which of Hillary’s mega donors have spent the most on the effort…somehow we suspect this isn’t just a “grassroots organizing” effort as Stein described it.

So, in less than 1 day, Jill Stein raised over $3mm, which is more than the $2mm needed to force a recount in Wisconsin.  While she attributed the accomplishment to “the power of grassroots organizing,” we would tend to be a little more skeptical and would love to see exactly where those donations came from.  Then again, maybe we’re wrong and there really are just that many disaffected snowflakes out there willing to blow their money on an extreme long shot.

But, today a new mystery has emerged in Stein’s fundraising efforts.  Apparently, the more money she raises the more expensive the recount effort becomes.  Courtesy of the Wayback Machine we have the following snapshots from her fundraising page over the past couple of days:

[Teri’s note: I didn’t include the screen shots to save space – they show exactly what this article says they do.]

November 24, 2016 at 3:46AM – In the beginning, Stein figured she needed a total of $2.5mm to fund her recount efforts.  That figure included $2.2mm for the actual filing fees and presumably another $0.3mm for legal fees and other costs.

November 24, 2016 at 1:20PM – Then, just 12 hours later, after the cash just kept flowing in, Stein figured she needed at least another $2mm as her fundraising goal was raised to $4.5mm in total.  Of course, the filing fees of $2.2mm didn’t change but the “attorney’s fees” apparently surged by about 300% and the total costs of the effort skyrocketed to $6-7mm.

November 25, 2016 at 6:11AM – Now, just this morning as Stein approaches $5mm in total donations, her overall fundraising goal has surged once again and now stands at $7mm.

So, with nearly $5mm raised so far, the question is no longer whether recounts will occur in WI, MI and PA but just how much Jill Stein will be able to drain from the pockets of disaffected Hillary supporters to fund her long-shot efforts.

All that said, here is Jill Stein admitting to CNN that she has absolutely no evidence of election hacking….even though she asks that you please keep sending your money anyway.
Jill Stein: “We don’t know” if the election was stolen, but it was a “hack-riddled election” https://t.co/yxsdKzEsVg https://t.co/7y9Obwtpyo
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 25, 2016

And another where she says she would have challenged the election result even if Hillary won…though somehow we suspect she wouldn’t have been able to raise quite so much money under that scenario.
Jill Stein says she would still be raising money for vote recounts, even if Clinton had won https://t.co/9ZwRiCbT9u https://t.co/xKY1au3oRj
— CNN (@CNN) November 24, 2016

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-25/mysterious-case-jill-steins-surging-recount-costs

Update 2:

Clinton surrogates now state that they are joining in the recount effort.  Clinton herself is saying nothing.  I’m not sure she has spoken publicly since the election; all statements from the Clinton campaign are coming from spokes-people and former campaign personnel.  Trump has just made the claim, via a “tweet”, that the reason Clinton is ahead in the popular vote is because “millions of people voted illegally”.  So he is also asserting voter fraud and vote rigging, as well.  Of course, he’s too stupid to see that his own claim that millions voted illegally is ipso facto grounds for a recount, but you’ll never hear me accuse him of higher intelligence.


The Obama White House has issued a statement that they find the recount effort unnecessary.  They feel the election was properly run and the results are beyond reproach.

I mentioned in my last post that the people of the US would not have been served well by either Clinton or Trump.  We lose either way.  I would like to expand on that a little here.  I find it unsettling how quickly the Democratic establishment swiveled from the position that Trump is completely unfit for office to one of helpful enabling of the president-elect’s transition into office and his cabinet picks and policy decisions.  I’m not sure, of course, what exactly motivated the Democrats to concede so quickly, but it is clear that the Trump administration and the Republicans in both houses are getting ready to impose the Shock Doctrine on the United States.  [If you have not read Naomi Klein’s book by that title, I suggest you do so.]  America has frequently used shock doctrine methods to neo-liberalize other countries into living hells of economic hardship, corporate/banking ownership of government, and privatization.  Now it our turn.  It is also painfully obvious that the Democrats will offer no resistance to this; in fact, they aren’t even uttering the faintest real protest or any sign that they will oppose what is coming down the pike.  Does anyone remember how the Republican politicians openly sneered at Obama when he won the election in ’08 and vowed that they would work relentlessly to thwart his administration every chance they got?  Trump is not facing any such push-back from the Democrats.

Perhaps the highly-placed Democrats in office didn’t want one of their own in charge as both parties collude to strip what remains of the social safety net, privatize all areas of the public sphere to financially benefit the corporatocracy, and spread further death and destruction on the world.  The plans to do away with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, public education, environmental laws, regulations on Wall Street and corporate cartels, and other such moves have been supported by both parties for a long time.  What Trump and the Republicans have planned for us, and they will be aided substantially through “bipartisan efforts” from the Democrats, will be the final end to any pretense about whom both parties serve.  Trump himself is a form of Shock Doctrine on the country.  His very election helps pave the way for what is coming.  It will be shocks, austerity, destruction, increased poverty, militant (not to be confused with military, although that may happen along the way) rule.  I’m not sure he understands that he is being used by both parties this way.  In fact, he probably thinks he is somehow the “big winner” here.  He is particularly obtuse and childish for a mogul.  Shit, he isn’t even going to security briefings.  He’s sending Mike Pence to get the inside scoop; there should be no doubt that Trump has his Cheney, and that’s who will be running things.  God help us.

In the meantime, Obama hasn’t yet left office.  He is not doing anything to preserve whatever faint populist part of “his legacy” actually exists, or making any attempt to offer protection for the American people against the bare thuggery of the incoming Trump-ettes through whatever quick executive or legislative actions he could finagle before he heads into fabulously wealthy guest-speaker-land.  No, he is pummeling Congress to give him a “must-pass” increase in military spending, handing his illegal drone program and kill list on to Trump, and expanding the reach of our clandestine military forces around the planet.  

This is Obama’s true legacy:

The Obama administration is giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command — the organization that helped kill Osama bin Laden in a 2011 raid by Navy SEALs — expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe, a move driven by concerns of a dispersed terrorist threat as Islamic State militants are driven from strongholds in Iraq and Syria, U.S. officials said.  

(source: Washington Post) 

The most chilling paragraph from this article reads:

The new JSOC task force could also offer intelligence, strike recommendations and advice to the militaries and security forces of traditional Western allies, or conduct joint operations, officials said. In other parts of the world, with weak or no governments, JSOC could act unilaterally.

The article comes from the WaPo, so you are allowed to read it in its entirety.  The WaPo is not on The List of “fake news outlets that ought to be censored”, naturally, since the WaPo itself conveniently provided us with The List.

 

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2016 in American Indians, civil rights, elections, Russia

 

This is for posterity.

Now, if this isn’t just the epitome of Current America.  Illegally turn the city over to an unelected “manager” in a replacement coup of their elected mayor.  Privatize the water system. Don’t monitor said water system.  Find out, belatedly, but after being warned several times, that the water is toxic.  Cover up the facts until people are turning up sick, brain-damaged or dead.  Blame it on A) the Democrats, B) the Republicans, C) anyone no longer in office, D) the janitor, E) God, or F) the impoverished poor people who didn’t (i.e., couldn’t) pay their exorbitant water bills from the price-gouging private company and who therefore deserved what they got.  This is just the invisible hand of the market at work, or some such eternal and bright capitalistic truth, right?  Here are a couple of hard and real truths for you: it is unlikely the people who inflicted this on the public in Flint will ever pay any legal price for it.  It is inconceivable that any of them actually care about the matter, although they may mumble some platitudes about how unacceptable it all is, as though they had no idea how this whole thing happened; if they cared about what sort of crap was flowing from the faucets of the city, they would never have made the decisions they did.  And here’s the saddest truth: the people who have been harmed by the water system are utterly dependent on the ones who let it happen in the first place to find a solution.

However, we can now use this as a teaching moment for these poor young ones so they will learn how to use their new free water filters, which they are going to need for the rest of their lives whether they are living in Michigan’s Dead Zone or some other pit of hell carved out specially for them elsewhere in the nation, because they aren’t ever going to get anything better than toxic waste to drink no matter where they are corralled by the assholes in charge, and it is damn near impossible to get out of one of these poverty pockets once you’ve accidentally landed in one.  They can’t even legally sell their homes and try their luck elsewhere, assuming there was an elsewhere to go to; Michigan law is such that a person can’t sell a home knowing that there is no drinkable water running from the taps.  But apparently, yeah, what all God’s children in Flint (and Detroit and elsewhere) need right now is just a little instruction on how to use those fucking water filters and a lesson about the water cycle.  What you never want to talk about – or for them to learn about – is how democracy is supposed to work and how it has been subverted all over the country by corporate interests and toady politicians, or how the EPA, the USDA, and other protective agencies used to be funded and run, or how this shit never had to happen to them in the first damn place.

Oh, and this is an opportunity to collect artifacts from this historic event.  Don’t want to be last in the game of collecting and collating details on how America killed its own.

I wonder how those babies, black and white, will one day feel about being living “artifacts” while they were growing up in the fetid swamp of this new experimental system of governance where privatization and austerity, controlled by corporate interests and imposed by fiat coming from the very officials who are charged with holding the common good in trust, took their futures away from them.   Maybe they should talk to the American Indians about how it feels to be viewed as part of the historical record of artifacts being gathered even as they are struggling to deal with the events, which are still occurring at ground zero.  Maybe the museum holding this event should ask the descendants of the Tuskegee men if their grandfathers might have felt better about the whole thing if only someone had just thought to accumulate and collate the medical artifacts for the public’s perusal while they were still being experimented on.  (Seriously, what the hell is wrong with this country?)

Maybe the curators of this museum event can start some other collections to document life downwind and down-river from one of the 100 nuclear plants around the US – hey, the people living near Hanford and Indian Point have some stories to share.  The museum officials already missed their chance to compile information on what normal human health was prior to the global take-over of the agricultural systems by the companies that are testing their unproven hypotheses about the safety of genetic modification throughout the food chain and saturating everything with toxic chemicals along the way, as well as destroying any nutritional value that was previously available in these foods.  [Here I must give a shout-out to the Clintons and the Gates, the two families who have done more than anyone else, in joint effort with the GMO companies themselves, to inflict this particular form of mass health speculation on the human beings trying to live on this planet.  Well done.  You have now reached what some individuals consider the peak position in the hierarchy of hominids.  You have become, in essence, the world’s apex predators – of your fellow men.  Some people actually admire that.]   I’ll tell you what: neither the museum curators nor the insurance company sponsoring this event will teach the right lessons for posterity to learn in this exercise, and they aren’t collecting the right “artifacts”, because this situation has fuck-all to do with the water cycle and really very little to do with the purity of the water from the nearby lakes and rivers, either.  It has everything to do with poverty, corrupt grifters acting as government officials, the weakening of whatever remains of any useful regulations, and the imposition of the profit-seeking private corporatocracy on a captive population.  The US takes puffy pride in its claim of equality for all, but here’s the thing; no-one whines that he isn’t equal to the poor slob on the bottom rung.  Everyone wants to be equal to the guy above him.  Our current social, political and economic systems reflect that.  So not much will be done to address the root causes of the water problem in Flint.  The best they can hope for is that the free water filters continue to come in and that those filters aren’t made by the same contractor that made the formaldehyde-laden trailers offered to the hurricane Katrina victims. Nothing will be done to ameliorate, much less correct, the grinding and dismal conditions for the poor in this “most equal” of countries. 

And I’m sure it is only moments before some politician or media asshole starts talking about how the people of Flint are getting too much free stuff in the way of those water filters and bottles of potable water.  That just smacks of socialism and the welfare state, after all, doesn’t it?

Children in Flint, Michigan can now visit the Sloan Museum for “Water Works” classes that teach them how to filter their drinking water. The museum is also compiling notes from the community on the lead-contaminated water crisis for future reflection.

As part of the “Water’s Extreme Journey” traveling exhibit, kids experience the water cycle “from the perspective of a water drop trying not to become polluted,” according to the museum’s website.

“One of the takeaways for the public should be that the health of the Flint River is actually quite good,” Exhibit Manager Warren Lehmkuhle said in a museum statement. “It was the lack of corrosion treatment, treatment that even lake water goes through, that caused the problem with our water.”

Students will be given the opportunity to construct and test their own filtration systems, as well as learn the whole history of Flint’s water systems going back as far as 1873. At the end is a comment board where residents can share their stories of how the water crisis impacted them. 

“I think we have a responsibility to document as much as possible now for future generations because, as with any kind of museum collecting, it is much easier to accumulate artifacts pertaining to current events now, rather than waiting 50 years when they are considered historic,” Curator of Collections Jeremy Dimick said in the statement. “If we do a good job collecting items and information now, the community will be better able to look back on the event 50 and 150 years from now.”

The exhibit, sponsored by local health care plan provider HealthPlus, opened on January 23 and ends May 8.

The city’s water source was switched from the Detroit system to the Flint River in 2014 without the proper follow-up of adding anti-corrosive agents, resulting in lead from pipes seeping into the drinking water supply. Research done in September 2015 by the Hurley Medical Center found that the average number of Flint children under the age of 5 with blood-lead levels considered too high by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had doubled since the switch.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), shortening of attention span, increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment as examples of brain damage children can face when exposed to lead. Other harmful effects include anemia, hypertension, kidney failure, damage to the immune and reproductive systems.

“The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible,” according to the WHO.

https://www.rt.com/usa/332569-flint-museum-filter-water/

And when you residents of Flint leave your stories on the museum comment board about how the water crisis has affected you, please remember; this is for posterity. So, be honest. How do you feel?

 

 

The UN report on indigenous peoples in the US.

We weren’t lost, and we didn’t need any book.  Indians are Jesus, hanging from the cross”.  –  John Trudell   [John Trudell (born February 15, 1946) is an American author, poet, actor, musician, and former political activist. He was the spokesperson for the United Indians of All Tribes’ takeover of Alcatraz beginning in 1969, broadcasting as Radio Free Alcatraz. During most of the 1970s, he served as the chairman of the American Indian Movement, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. – wikipedia entry.  This quote references the Mormon teaching that the Indians are the lost tribe of Israel.]

“It’s like there is this predator energy on this planet, and this predator energy feeds on the essence of the spirit.” – John Trudell

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one: they promised to take our land and they took it.” – Red Cloud (Makhpiya-Luta), Oglala Lakota chief.

Note the final sentence from this account of Wounded Knee:

December 29, 1890: Big Foot’s band of Minneconjous try to reach Pine Ridge and the protection of Red Cloud after hearing of Sitting Bull’s death.  Also present were members of the Sioux band led by Chief Spotted Elk. Hungry and exhausted, they had assembled under armed guard as requested to receive the protection of the Government of the United States of America, surrendering their arms and submitting to a forced search of tents and teepees that yielded but two remaining rifles.

Marched to Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, they were disarmed by the U.S. Army.  A group of 120 men and 230 women and children were counted by Major Samuel Whitside at sundown on December 28, 1890. The next day an unidentified shot rang out and the well-armed 487 U.S. soldiers ringing the defenseless people opened fire. Afterwards, 256 Sioux lay dead and were buried in mass graves.

Twenty (20) Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded the soldiers.

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/imperialism/notes/nativeamericanchron.html

We so condoned this sort of wholesale slaughter that Medals of Honor were awarded to some of the perpetrators.

General George Custer is famous for his role in the Indian wars.  In a sickening little footnote to history, it turns out that Custer liked to have a band to playing an Irish jig called “Garry Owens” during the his attacks on Indian villages; he felt it “gentled” the action and made the killing “more rhythmic”.  – http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/03/these-things-happen/

The UN has been conducting a special investigation into the way the US treats its native populations, including in Alaska and Hawaii.  You have not heard about this because although there are over 5 million Indians in the US, the politicians here do not see them, so the mainstream media rarely covers this issue; therefore, you do not see them.  The UN investigation is about 200 years late in coming, but the sorriest part of the story is that this “exceptional country” cannot bear to examine itself too closely – it takes an outside agency to point out the obvious.  In the time-honored tradition of our Congress regarding Indian matters, not one member of the US House or Senate would meet with the UN representative when he asked to speak to them as a part of his study. The problem of land-grab from the native population continues unabated even today, of course.  Sites sacred to the Hawaiians are constantly being taken over for the purpose of expanding military bases on the islands, towns in Alaska are “relocated” so that oil can be extracted from the ground under them, etc.  We are still unable to live and let live; for some reason, in this land of plenty we view anything our neighbor has as one thing less for us.

As a result of this investigation, the UN finds that there is systemic racial discrimination and their recommendation is that the US should return some of the stolen land back to the Indians.

This article from commondreams.org includes quotes from other articles on the subject, so I have chosen to use it as my resource on the UN finding.  You may want to read the original sources linked within this article as well.

In an investigation monitoring ongoing discrimination against Native Americans, the United Nations has requested that the US government return some of the stolen land back to Native Americans, as a necessary move towards combating systemic racial discrimination.

James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, “said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and ‘numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination,'” the Guardian reports.

“You can see they’re in a somewhat precarious situation in terms of their basic existence and the stability of their communities given that precarious land tenure situation. It’s not like they have large fisheries as a resource base to sustain them. In basic economic terms it’s a very difficult situation. You have upwards of 70% unemployment on the reservation and all kinds of social ills accompanying that. Very tough conditions,” Anaya stated.

I’m talking about restoring to indigenous peoples what obviously they’re entitled to and they have a legitimate claim to in a way that is not divisive but restorative. That’s the idea behind reconciliation.”

* * *

The Guardian/UK: US should return stolen land to Indian tribes, says United Nations

A United Nations investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has called on the US government to return some of the land stolen from Indian tribes as a step toward combating continuing and systemic racial discrimination.

James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said no member of the US Congress would meet him as he investigated the part played by the government in the considerable difficulties faced by Indian tribes….

“It’s a racial discrimination that they feel is both systemic and also specific instances of ongoing discrimination that is felt at the individual level,” he said.
Anaya said racism extended from the broad relationship between federal or state governments and tribes down to local issues such as education.

“For example, with the treatment of children in schools both by their peers and by teachers as well as the educational system itself; the way native Americans and indigenous peoples are reflected in the school curriculum and teaching,” he said.

“And discrimination in the sense of the invisibility of Native Americans in the country overall that often is reflected in the popular media. The idea that is often projected through the mainstream media and among public figures that indigenous peoples are either gone or as a group are insignificant or that they’re out to get benefits in terms of handouts, or their communities and cultures are reduced to casinos, which are just flatly wrong.”

* * *

Inter Press Service: U.N. Wraps Up Contentious Study of Native American Communities

A United Nations special envoy on Friday called on the U.S. government to step up efforts to address historical injustices that continue to affect the country’s indigenous population.

James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, warned that historical wrongs, particularly the loss of land, continue to have an overriding impact on the well-being of Native American communities….

The trip marked the first time that the U.N. has waded into the contentious issue of U.S. treatment of its indigenous communities, one of the poorest and most marginalized populations in the United States.

The unemployment rate for American Indians has typically been double that of the white population. On reservations – self-governed tracts of land given to Native American communities by the U.S. government – Anaya reported a 70 percent unemployment rate.

Native Americans have also long suffered from disproportionately low statistics in health and education, as well.

* * *

Reuters: UN official: US must return control of sacred lands to Native Americans

The United States must do more to heal the wounds of indigenous peoples caused by more than a century of oppression, including restoring control over lands Native Americans consider to be sacred, according to a U.N. human rights investigator…

That oppression, he said, has included the seizure of lands and resources, the removal of children from their families and communities, the loss of languages, violation of treaties, and brutality, all grounded in racial discrimination.

Anaya welcomed the U.S. decision to endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010 and other steps the government has taken, but said more was needed.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/05-0

“Indian Sunset” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.   They took a few liberties in this song; Geronimo did not die fighting, for instance.  However, plenty of other chiefs did get murdered exactly as the lyrics say: they were conned into relinquishing their weapons and were then shot dead once they were unarmed.

This post dedicated to Titonwan.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2012 in American Indians

 

“These things happen.”

On Sunday, a US soldier left his base in Afghanistan and broke down the doors of three homes in nearby villages, killing all the people he found and setting fire to some of the dead bodies.  4 men, 3 women, and 9 children were murdered.  The story is shape-shifting daily; at first, reports were of several soldiers, a “group of soldiers, laughing and drunk” as they murdered.  Now, US officials claim it was a lone or rogue gunman – one soldier assigned to the Green Berets or the Navy SEALs as part of their “village stability operation”.  I do not think he understood the phrase “hearts and minds” quite the same way most do.  I am also certain that the Afghans consider him a terrorist and not a “rogue” gunman.

 

An Afghan man who said his children were killed in the shooting spree accused soldiers of later burning the bodies…Afghan officials also gave varying accounts of the number of shooters involved. Karzai’s office released a statement quoting a villager as saying “American soldiers woke my family up and shot them in the face.”…

“I saw that all 11 of my relatives were killed, including my children and grandchildren,” said a weeping Haji Samad, who said he had left his home a day earlier…
The walls of the house were blood-splattered.
“They (Americans) poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them,” Samad told Reuters at the scene.

Neighbors said they had awoken to crackling gunfire from American soldiers, who they described as laughing and drunk.  “They were all drunk and shooting all over the place,” said neighbor Agha Lala, who visited one of the homes where killings took place.
“Their (the victims’) bodies were riddled with bullets.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/11/us-afghanistan-civilians-idUSBRE82A02V20120311

 

The White House is­sued a writ­ten state­ment from Pres­i­dent Obama. It read:

“I am deeply sad­dened by the re­ported killing and wound­ing of Afghan civil­ians. I offer my con­do­lences … This in­ci­dent is tragic and shock­ing, and does not rep­re­sent the ex­cep­tional char­ac­ter of our mil­i­tary and the re­spect that the United States has for the peo­ple of Afghanistan. I fully sup­port Sec­re­tary Panetta’s and Gen­eral Allen’s com­mit­ment to get the facts as quickly as pos­si­ble and to hold ac­count­able any­one re­spon­si­ble.”

Why can we never step away from the opportunity to assert that we and our military are “exceptional”?  We are exceptional only in the number of countries we have invaded and that we currently bomb.  Any war, but especially wars with no reasonable motives and never-defined endpoints, leads to mental instability and cruelty in the soldiers.

Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, had this to say about the “incident”:

“I understand the frustration, and I understand the anger and the sorrow,” McCain said. “I also understand and we should not forget that the attacks on the United States of America on 9/11 originated in Afghanistan. And if Afghanistan dissolves into a situation where the Taliban were able to take over a chaotic situation, it could easily return to an al-Qaida base for attacks on the United States of America.”

Of course, this is an outright lie.  The attacks on 9/11 were carried out in the main by Saudi Arabians, through whatever oversight allowed them in the US.  Osama bin Laden was thought to be in Afghanistan briefly and the Taliban agreed to turn him over if the US had actual charges against him related to 9/11.  Since there was no actual proof of his involvement, the US never brought any charges and the Taliban refused to lead us to him.  The Taliban itself was not our enemy and had nothing to do with 9/11.

Senator Lindsey Graham said:

“No, I believe, one, this is tragic and will be investigated, and that soldier will be held accountable for his actions under the military justice system. Unfortunately, these things happen in war. You had an Israeli soldier kill worshippers by the Dome of the Rock mosque. You just have to push through these things.

“My recommendation to the public is, listen to General Allen, who comes back in two weeks. The surge of forces has really put the Taliban on the defensive… We can win this thing. We can get it right.”

He also obviously views the Taliban as the reason we went into Afghanistan.  Now that there is no al Qaeda there, we need a new enemy.  But these things happen.  We can win this thing.  Just stay there forever…..

And Harry Reid remarked:

“Well, of course, our hearts go out to these innocent people. One of our soldiers went into a couple of homes and just killed people at random. Very, very sad, especially following that incident dealing with the Korans, just not a good situation.

“Our troops are under such tremendous pressure in Afghanistan. It’s a war like no other war we’ve been involved in. But no one can condone or make any suggestion that what he did was right because it was absolutely wrong.”

Actually, we have been involved in such wars before, wars of aggression, wars where we invaded for no reason, wars where thousands of innocents were killed and countries destroyed.  While we cannot condone such behavior, we usually overlook it.  There have even been times we gave medals of honor for just such actions.

This is what happens when we have never-ending wars of conquest for natural resources and economic gain, when the citizens of the country are taught to believe that we can do no wrong and are always justified in every military adventure dreamed up, that nothing we do is ever as horrible as what “the others” do.  How is it that whistle-blower Bradley Manning is in prison and facing court marshal while we do not even know the names of the soldiers operating the Apache helicopter and gunning down Iraqi civilians in the tape he allegedly brought to light?  Obama claims the right to use military force simply on behalf of our economic interests, not to protect our country from real threat, but to preemptively force economic advantage our way through the use of the Army.  Currently there is talk of invading Iran – just on the mere idea that they may be thinking about making a nuclear weapon.  Not that they have one, are close to having one, have threatened to use one, or much less, have ever actually used one.  We are the only country to have ever used a nuclear bomb.  The claim that Japan had to be bombed to force them to surrender is now known to be false (in any case, Hiroshima was not a military target), and there is no rational explanation for the second bomb dropped on Nagasaki.  Since that time, seven countries have gone nuclear (Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Great Britain and France), and it is widely known that Israel (the unacknowledged eighth country) has nuclear weapons.  No-one seriously considered invading any of these countries as a means to preemptively prevent them from developing nuclear capability.  Now we casually talk about invading Iran, even though our national intelligence concludes that the Iranians are not seeking to build nukes.

Gradually but steadily, we have all been immersed in the Pentagon’s Long War, which leads us to accept and expect a never-ending war scenario.  This is the result.  Lindsey Graham is right; “these things happen”.  Especially in a citizenry neglecting introspection, disregarded completely in decisions of war and peace, and taught to believe that terrorists lurk behind every fencepost.  We have ignored the lessons of war, choosing to think that only our enemies commit the horrible atrocities and yet when, really, have we not had a war going on to learn from?  We let the military justify its increasing presence around the globe and always-expanding budget through the only method it has – waging ever more wars.  We are creating enemies where there were none, threatening and attacking countries which have offered no harm to us, and forgetting the primary reason to have a military: to protect us when threatened from without, not to create a threat from without.  We no longer even use Congress to declare wars.  War was never declared against Iraq, Afghanistan, and certainly not Libya.  In the case of Iraq and Libya, we labeled the leaders “monsters” – even though we formerly supported them when it was useful – invaded the country, and decimated it.  We dropped depleted uranium over both countries, refusing to sign the UN ban on such weaponry.  Against Cuba, we have used sanctions as a form of economic warfare for over fifty years, turning against a country once thought our ally because we felt we needed to force our form of capitalism upon it.  Haiti has been victim of our interference for an even longer time.  In 2004, not content with the damage already done, George W. Bush used the CIA to kidnap their elected President (Aristide) and “exile” him to South Africa.  I don’t know why that was not regarded as an overt act of war against Haiti in the eyes of the rest of the world, but Bush managed to perpetrate this act virtually unnoticed even in our own country, in whose name he was acting. (Bush Sr. had instigated the first coup against Aristide in 1991, a military coup led by our CIA.)

Over the years, we have used covert operations against Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Panama, Chile (the list is too long to even enumerate them all) to overthrow or assassinate heads of state in favor of business and financial interests, none of which spread democracy or freedom, but only devastated the citizens of the countries so favored with our attention.

We could have learned from Vietnam.  We used napalm and Agent Orange indiscriminately; use of these would have been considered as forms of chemical warfare and terrorism had they been deployed against us or our forces.  We thought of them as acceptable forms of warfare.  We taught our soldiers that this was the way we did things.  How could our servicemen possibly be expected to respect the lives of civilians while spreading such biologicals across the landscape, which continue to poison the population to this day?  We chose to financially back and arm the murderous Pol Pot, using the trite rubric that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  One of the best known examples of the crimes our soldiers committed then was the My Lai massacre.  Yet, even in the face of irrefutable proof and after having been found guilty, Lt. William Calley was quickly pardoned.

The events in My Lai had initially been covered up by local divisional command. In April 1969, nearly thirteen months after the massacre, a G.I. who had been with the 11th Brigade wrote letters to the President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense. In these letters the G.I. described some of the atrocities by the soldiers at My Lai, that he had been told about.

Calley was charged on September 5, 1969, with six specifications of premeditated murder for the deaths of 104 Vietnamese civilians near the village of My Lai, at a hamlet called Son My, more commonly called My Lai in the U.S. press. As many as 500 villagers, mostly women, children, infants and the elderly, had been systematically killed by American soldiers during a bloody rampage on March 16, 1968. Had he been convicted, Calley could have faced the death penalty…
Calley’s trial started on November 17, 1970. It was the military prosecution’s contention that Calley, in defiance of the rules of engagement, ordered his men to deliberately murder unarmed Vietnamese civilians despite the fact that his men were not under enemy fire at all. Testimony revealed that Calley had ordered the men of 1st Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry of the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) to kill everyone in the village…

After deliberating for 79 hours, the six-officer jury (five of whom had served in Vietnam) convicted him on March 29, 1971, of the premeditated murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians. On March 31, 1971, Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labor at Fort Leavenworth…Of the 26 officers and soldiers initially charged for their part in the My Lai Massacre or the subsequent cover-up, only Calley was convicted. Many saw My Lai as a direct result of the military’s attrition strategy with its emphasis on “body counts” and “kill ratios.”…

On April 1, 1971, only a day after Calley was sentenced, U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered him transferred from Leavenworth prison to house arrest at Fort Benning, pending appeal…
Ultimately, Calley served only three and a half years of house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning… Later in 1974, President Nixon tacitly issued Calley a limited Presidential Pardon. Consequently, his general court-martial conviction and dismissal from the U.S. Army were upheld, however, the prison sentence and subsequent parole obligations were commuted to time served, leaving Calley a free man.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Calley

We could clearly see that the Bataan Death March during WW2 was a war crime committed by the Japanese against us, but cannot examine our consciences about the same done by us to others in the Philippine-American war, or in the Trail of Tears during the Indian wars. (The US “relocated” Indians at gunpoint. The Five Civilized Nations underwent at least a 50% mortality rate during these forced marches.)

Certainly we know about the torture methods used by the Filipinos (the “water torture” was a frequent topic of discussion during the Bush administration; in just a few short years, however, we have “forgotten” our objections), who were fighting for their independence from the US during the Philippine-American war, but we seem to have erased from our minds the awful atrocities we unleashed on the Filipinos.

In light of the massive casualties suffered by the civilian population, Filipino historian E. San Juan, Jr., alleges that the death of 1.4 million Filipinos constitutes an act of genocide on the part of the United States.

Atrocities were committed on both sides. United States attacks into the countryside often included scorched earth campaigns in which entire villages were burned and destroyed, the use of torture (water cure) and the concentration of civilians into “protected zones”. In November 1901, the Manila correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger reported:”The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog.…”

Throughout the entire war American soldiers would write home about the horrors and atrocities which the United States committed in the Philippines. In these letters they would criticize General Otis and the U.S. military; when these letters reached anti-imperialist editors they became national news and forced the War Department to look into their truthfulness.

[An example of]…the letters went as follows:

Corporal Sam Gillis: “We make everyone get into his house by seven p.m., and we only tell a man once. If he refuses we shoot him. We killed over 300 natives the first night. They tried to set the town on fire. If they fire a shot from the house we burn the house down and every house near it, and shoot the natives, so they are pretty quiet in town now.”

However, General Otis’s investigation of the content of these letters consisted of sending a copy of them to the author’s superior and having him force the soldier/author to write a retraction. Then, when a soldier refused to do so, as Private Charles Brenner of the Kansas regiment did, he was, remarkably, court-martialed…

Filipino villagers were forced into concentration camps called reconcentrados which were surrounded by free-fire zones, or in other words “dead zones.” Furthermore, these camps were overcrowded and filled with disease, causing the death rate to be extremely high. Conditions in these “reconcentrados” are generally acknowledged to have been inhumane. Between January and April 1902, 8,350 prisoners of approximately 298,000 died. Some camps incurred death rates as high as 20 percent…In Batangas Province, where General Franklin Bell was responsible for setting up a concentration camp, a correspondent described the operation as “relentless.” General Bell ordered that by December 25, 1901, the entire population of both Batangas Province and Laguna Province had to gather into small areas within the “poblacion” of their respective towns. Barrio families had to bring everything they could carry because anything left behind—including houses, gardens, carts, poultry and animals—was to be burned by the U.S. Army. Anyone found outside the concentration camps was shot…The commandant of one of the camps referred to them as the “suburbs of Hell.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine%E2%80%93American_War

 

We had obviously declined to learn anything from the preceding Civil War and the so-called Indian Wars, which officially lasted over 25 years.  The State militias had been called up to form the Army for the Civil War.  The portion of the Army assigned to General William Tecumseh Sherman was dispatched in 1865 to the West to finally exterminate the Plains Indians in an effort to make way for the railroads.  The  Indian War had already been going in earnest for some time, with several Army units having been assigned to the West during the Civil War.   Sherman was a particularly brutal man who used the word “extermination” frequently in regards to his intentions about the Indians.

We should consider the Indian Wars as an example of what happens when we pursue war simply for economic gain and at the behest of corporations; our interest in the Indian lands was largely driven by the railroad lobby, not (until the media helped whip it up) innate hatred of the Indians by the white settlers.  Interestingly, Canada was able to build its transcontinental railway system without resorting to a policy of complete annihilation, and the Plains Indians from the US sometimes sought their refuge by crossing into Canada.  Thomas DiLorenzo points out, “It is not true that all whites waged a war of extermination against the Plains Indians. As noted earlier and as noted throughout the literature of the Indian Wars, many whites preferred the continuation of the peaceful trade and relations with Indians that had been the norm during the first half of the 19th Century. (Conflicts sometimes occurred, of course, but “trade” dominated “raid” during that era.)” [see: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/100610b.html ]

General Sherman ordered the men under him to “kill without restraint” and assured them that any blow back from the public or the media would be handled by him.  That turned out to not be much of a problem, as the media was easily led into a frenzy of anti-Indian sentiment and eagerly seized on each action as justified.  In 1867, Sherman wrote in a letter to Ulysses S. Grant (then Commanding General of the Federal Army) that unrestrained slaughter was his plan for the Final Solution to the Indian Problem.  He used that exact term on several other occasions and, yes, you read that correctly.  “Final Solution” is a phrase more commonly associated with Adolf Hitler; who, it turns out, had quite an early and avid affinity for studying the American west and did indeed base his final solution on the way America handled the Indians.

“Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of British and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild West; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination—by starvation and uneven combat—of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.” John Toland, Adolf Hitler (New York: Doubleday, 1976), p. 802.

Later, Sherman was rewarded for his leadership by being made the Army’s Commander General once Grant became President.  The Indian wars were basically a genocide, and the soldiers were allowed to indulge in horrendous actions.  Two of the most famous incidents of the time were the Battle of Sand Creek – hardly a “battle” – and Wounded Knee.  Sand Creek is described in this excerpt [I have left out the worst parts of the account, which are simply too sickening to be borne]:

 

As one of Chivington’s guides said, of the 600 or so in the camp at the time of the attack, there were about “thirty-five braves and some old men, about sixty in all” (the remainder being women and children). Chivington had 700 armed soldiers and artillery….

…the Indians were attacked under both the American and white flags [i.e., the Indians were flying both flags themselves, thinking it afforded them protection]…

While the massacre was a source of outrage among many people, despite an investigation by Congress, no real severe penalty was handed out to anyone involved…

‘I went over the ground soon after the battle. I should judge there were between 400 and 500 Indians killed…. Nearly all, men, women, and children were scalped. I saw one woman whose privates had been mutilated.’
 – Asbury Bird, Company D of the First Colorado Cavalry

‘The bodies were horribly cut up, skulls broken in a good many; I judge they were broken in after they were killed, as they were shot besides. I do not think I saw any but what was scalped; saw fingers cut off [to take rings] saw several bodies with privates cut off, women as well as men.’
 – Sergeant Lucien Palmer, First Cavalry’s Company C…

One last quote, not from a participant:
‘[The Sand Creek Massacre was] as righteous and beneficial a deed as ever took place on the frontier.’
 – Theodore Roosevelt

http://www.operationmorningstar.org/sand_creek_massacre.htm

Note the final sentence from this account of Wounded Knee:

December 29, 1890: Big Foot’s band of Minneconjous try to reach Pine Ridge and the protection of Red Cloud after hearing of Sitting Bull’s death.  Also present were members of the Sioux band led by Chief Spotted Elk. Hungry and exhausted, they had assembled under armed guard as requested to receive the protection of the Government of the United States of America, surrendering their arms and submitting to a forced search of tents and teepees that yielded but two remaining rifles.

Marched to Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, they were disarmed by the U.S. Army.  A group of 120 men and 230 women and children were counted by Major Samuel Whitside at sundown on December 28, 1890. The next day an unidentified shot rang out and the well-armed 487 U.S. soldiers ringing the defenseless people opened fire. Afterwards, 256 Sioux lay dead and were buried in mass graves.

Twenty (20) Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded the soldiers.

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/imperialism/notes/nativeamericanchron.html

 

We so condoned this sort of wholesale slaughter that Medals of Honor were awarded to some of the perpetrators.

General George Custer is famous for his role in the Indian wars.  In a sickening little footnote to history, it turns out that Custer liked to have a band to playing an Irish jig called “Garry Owens” during the his attacks on Indian villages; he felt it “gentled” the action and made the killing “more rhythmic”.

We seem to have learned nothing from this history, except that “these things happen”. Today we have a standing army, which we were warned against from the very inception of this country.  For example, James Madison said, “… Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.  Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people..”   He also wrote, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few…No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Prior to WW2, the US Army was raised for periods of two years at a time. The Continental Congress established the Continental Army in 1775 to fight the revolution. The Legion of the United States was established in 1792- 1796 to fight the Native Americans (which means it was established and renewed once).  Congress raised the Army for the War of 1812 and again in 1846 for the Mexican-American War.  The state militias were called to form an army for the Civil War and the Indian Wars, which drifted into the 1890’s.  The state militias were centralized into the National Guard through the Militia Acts of 1903 and 1908, leading to the National Defense Act of 1916; this latter Act largely created the accepted concept of the standing army we have now. The annual Federal subsidy allocated to the armed forces was replaced with an annual budget and the Guardsmen could be drafted into federal service for the first time.  After WW2, and with the onset of the Cold War, the National Security Act of 1947 created the actual working framework for today’s modern military.  At first, this was called the National Military Establishment; in 1949, it was renamed the Department of Defense.  Today, we have 1.43 million active duty military personnel and 848,000 in reserve components.  In other words, we sort of drifted into having a standing army, which now demands the largest portion of our tax monies.

So now we are in a situation where we house soldiers in 800 bases located in 150 different countries.  We are drone-bombing six or seven countries and the drones are operated by four separate agencies of the government, at least one of which does not answer to any Commander-in-Chief.  The use of drones over American land has been authorized at the same time that the current president has declared he has the right to kill American citizens at his whim. (Which makes his comment today regarding the massacre in Afghanistan all the more, well….interesting: “The United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens, and our children, who were murdered. We’re heartbroken over the loss of innocent life,” Obama said.)  This is from the same man who recently had three US citizens living abroad, one of them a teen-aged boy, assassinated.

On that subject, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a nominal Democrat, said in conversation to CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday:

CROWLEY: Right. Let me ask you something about — something the attorney general said recently. He was giving a speech to Northwestern University Law School. And he was suggesting — he said, you know, people are arguing that for some reason the president needs to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a U.S. citizen overseas who’s an operational leader in al Qaeda.

He says that’s just not accurate. That due process and judicial process are not one and the same….Do you have any problem with that? Do you understand what that means exactly?

REID: No, I don’t. But I do know this…the American citizens who have been killed overseas who are terrorists, and, frankly, if anyone in the world deserved to be killed, those three did deserve to be killed.

CROWLEY: And these were the three that were killed in Yemen…are you slightly uncomfortable with the idea that the United States president, whoever it may be, can decide that this or that U.S. citizen living abroad is a threat to national security and kill them?

REID: Well, I don’t know what the attorney general meant by saying that. I’d have to study it a little bit. I’ve never heard that term before. But I think the process is in play. I think it’s one that I think we can live with. And I think with the international war on terror that’s going on now, we’re going to have to make sure that we have the tools to get some of these people who are very bad and comply with American law.

CROWLEY: And you think that the president should be able to make that decision in conjunction with the folks in the administration without going to a court, without going to you all, anything?

REID: There is a war going on. There’s no question about that. He’s the commander-in-chief. And there has been guidelines set. And if he follows those, I think he should be able to do it.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1203/11/sotu.01.html

The militarized forces have metamorphosed us into a society that accepts as natural preemptive wars without Congressional votes, “spy on your neighbor” programs, the whole-of-government approach to terrorism (where every agency in the gov’t aids in the search for suspects in the US),  police forces equipped with military hardware, new laws restricting protest, intrusive scans while traveling, government eavesdropping of phone calls and internet use, the indefinite detention of US citizens, and even the assassination of anyone, anywhere in the world at the president’s direction.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of one million Americans are now on the “terror watch lists”.

It is time and beyond time to face who we are and how we got here.  It is time to learn for once and all the lessons we neglected to study in all these years.  Atrocities such as the massacre in Afghanistan over the weekend do not need to just “happen”.

It is time to have an end of this forever war.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Afghanistan, American Indians, Congress, Haiti, MIC

 

Eminent Domain

You may not have noticed, but we are losing a lot of property – both public and private – to both the military and to private corporations.  Cities are selling what used to be public resources to private companies for what amounts at times to pennies on the dollar.  The private corporations then make profits for themselves at the expense of the taxpayers, who also lose along the way the right to any discussion on the amount of fees collected or the intended usage and management of the resource.  Banks collect foreclosed homes daily, although what they will do with all these properties is an interesting question.  Right now, millions of them sit growing mold from lack of electricity and upkeep after the homeowners have been forced out.  Perhaps they will be left to crumble to the ground – ground the banks now also own and which will perhaps eventually sold to Saudi Arabia or China.  The government takes over more and more property to use as military sites, as they did recently in Hawaii, forever altering the sacred site at Mauna Kea. (Mauna Kea, the most sacred site to the native Hawaiians, has largely been turned into an air base with Osprey and Chinook helicopters constantly zooming in and out, and a live firing range located on its flanks.)  Our national parks and wild lands, which are supposedly held in trust for the people by the government, are instead being leased out to oil and gas companies who tear up the land, poison the water with their mining procedures and pollute the air at alarming rates.  I am pretty sure the Native Americans glommed onto all this quite some time ago, and luckily for us white people, they still lead the fight on the issue of land grab.  As I noted in an earlier post, the US military would like a piece of land larger than some of our states for a drone base.

Now, Congress would like to take over public and private land to create a massive, state-sized drone base and training/testing area in Colorado.  Air space above the land base would bleed out to include 60 million acres of airspace over both Colorado and New Mexico.

…Under this plan, 7 million acres (or 11,000 square miles) of land in the southeast corner of Colorado, and 60 million acres of air space (or 94,000 square miles) over Colorado and New Mexico would be given over to special forces testing and training in the use of remote-controlled flying murder machines. The full state of Colorado is itself 104,000 square miles. Rhode Island is 1,000 square miles.

The U.S. military (including Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) is proceeding with this plan in violation of the public will, new state legislation on private property rights, an exceptionally strong federal court order, and a funding ban passed by the United States Congress, and in the absence of any approved Environmental Impact Statement. Public pressure has successfully put the law on the right side of this issue, and the military is disregarding the law….

Not1moreacre is sistered with the Purgatoire, Apishapa, and Comanche Grasslands Trust to work on this specific issue.  They have managed to hold the hostile take-over of these lands at bay for now, but the plans to commandeer this land have been in the works for a long time, most vigorously pursued since 9/11… http://teri.nicedriving.org/2011/10/drone-state/

The definition of eminent domain is given as:
“eminent domain n. the power of a governmental entity (Federal, state, county or city government, school district, hospital district or other agencies) to take private real estate for public use, with or without the permission of the owner. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides that ‘private property [may not] be taken for public use without just compensation.’ The Fourteenth Amendment added the requirement of just compensation to state and local government takings. The usual process includes passage of a resolution by the acquiring agency to take the property (condemnation), including a declaration of public need, followed by an appraisal, an offer, and then negotiation. If the owner is not satisfied, he/she may sue the governmental agency for a court’s determination of just compensation. The government, however, becomes owner while a trial is pending, if the amount of the offer is deposited in a trust account. Public uses include schools, streets and highways, parks, airports, dams, reservoirs, redevelopment, public housing, hospitals and public buildings.”  – from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/eminent+domain

George W. Bush set some limits on the taking of private property.

On June 23, 2006, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13406 which stated in Section I that the federal government must limit its use of taking private property for “public use” with “just compensation”, which is also stated in the constitution, for the “purpose of benefiting the general public.” The order limits this use by stating that it may not be used “for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken“. However, eminent domain is more often exercised by local and state governments, albeit often with funds obtained from the federal government.

– wikipedia, on eminent domain

President Obama recently declared he would wait until 2012 to decide on the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will come from Canada, cross the US, and end up at the Gulf of Mexico.  For some reason, his announcement that he would postpone the decision was heralded as a “victory” by many liberals and progressives.  Strange sort of victory.  He isn’t making any concrete statements one way or another right now and there is no reason to think he will oppose the pipeline a year from now.  Let’s remember that this is the same guy who fast-tracked new deepwater drilling operations in the Gulf after the BP oil spill and did the same for new nuclear facilities here in the US while the Fukushima disaster still continues to unfold.  He may be forced by Republicans into promising opposition to the pipeline during the primary season, but I am hard pressed to think of any promise he has kept to date.  If he wins the next election, he’ll simply renege on the “promise”.  If he loses, the decision is up to whatever Republican wins – and that person will approve the pipeline as quickly as possible.  It is interesting how the politicians who want this pipeline talk about how it will “secure our energy independence”.  They know, although most of your average American citizens seem not to, that the pipeline merely carries the crude down to the Texas refineries for the private companies to sell on the open market.  It won’t end up in your car unless the US bids highest on it.  The oil does not belong to the US just because we are willing to tear up our land and risk poisoning our waterways to build the damn pipeline.

In the meantime, TransCanada, the owner of the proposed pipeline (not an American company, as you might surmise by the name) is already trying to force landowners into giving up their properties by threatening the force of “eminent domain”.

NYT, 17 Oct, 2011:

A Canadian company has been threatening to confiscate private land from South Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico, and is already suing many who have refused to allow the Keystone XL pipeline on their property even though the controversial project has yet to receive federal approval.

By its own count, the company currently has 34 eminent domain actions against landowners in Texas and an additional 22 in South Dakota.

In addition to enraging those along the proposed pipeline’s 1,700-mile path, the tactics have many people questioning whether a foreign company can pressure landowners without a permit from the State Department — the agency charged with determining whether the project is in the “national interest.” …

Eminent domain laws generally allow for the confiscation of private property if taking it is judged to serve a larger public good. These kinds of laws differ slightly from state to state as do the processes by which pipelines are approved and licensed. As a result, there is both debate and confusion over whether TransCanada has the right to use the courts to demand easements from property owners in advance of final approval for the project…

While it is impossible to say how many cases are working their way through the legal system, in addition to the 56 Texas and South Dakota cases, TransCanada acknowledges it has sent “Dear Owner” letters to dozens of families in Nebraska.  Timothy Sandefur, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit advocate for property rights issues, said that if the project is approved, the company will be on firmer ground. As unfair as the laws might seem, he said, the right of way of pipelines and railroads as public goods has been well established, regardless of whether they are foreign-owned. “Property owners almost never win these suits,” he said…

Supporters of Keystone XL argue it will help bolster domestic energy security and spur job growth. But many politicians, particularly in Nebraska, oppose much of the pipeline’s route because they say it poses a danger to the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides more than a quarter of the water for the country’s agricultural crops.Environmental groups argue that extracting and burning the heavy crude drawn from Alberta’s oil sands will increase greenhouse gas emissions. They also warn that if there is a spill or a leak, it would cause severe environmental damage and be extremely hard to clean up.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/us/transcanada-in-eminent-domain-fight-over-pipeline.html?_r=1

James Camaron, maker of the movie “Avatar”, was recently taken on an aerial tour of the Alberta tar sands area in Canada.

From Time magazine 22 Nov, 2011:

…Alberta’s oil sands…represent an enormously valuable resource for Canada and the U.S. Canada is already the biggest exporter of oil to the U.S., and the nearly 200 billion bbl. of oil available in the Albertan sands could make Canada richer and help shift the U.S. away from its politically problematic dependence on Middle Eastern oil. But nothing comes easy, and oil-sands development can be devastating to the environment, leading to water and air pollution and scarring the land for decades…

Cameron, a native of Ontario, had an opportunity to get both sides of the story. Accompanied by a few nervous energy executives, he toured a handful of the major oil-sands sites near the Albertan boomtown of Fort McMurray. Even with friendly experts touting all that the energy companies had done to clean up the oil-sands developments, there’s no avoiding just how extensively industry has altered the land. The first generation of Albertan oil-sands development involved open-pit mining, and there are still vast chunks carved out of what was once forest, though some exhausted sites are being reclaimed. The story was a little different at newer developments that employed a process called in situ mining. Instead of digging the sands from the surface, in situ involves injecting steam deep into the ground, which heats the sands into a viscous liquid and allows them to be pumped to the surface like conventional oil. The result is cleaner on the surface — less deforestation, less pollution…But in situ has its own drawbacks. Lots of natural gas is needed to generate all that steam, and the carbon footprint from a barrelful of oil sands can be significantly higher than with conventional oil. That worries Cameron. “We’re not talking about a millennial scale for climate change now,” he says. “We’re talking decades” — and oil sands might speed up that catastrophe…

For the indigenous people of Alberta, the catastrophe is hitting now. In the tiny, isolated village of Fort Chipewyan, downstream from the massive oil-sands mines, community members packed a town hall to see Cameron. They told stories of water pollution from the mines’ tailings ponds, higher cancer rates and early deaths… But the oil sands aren’t going away. There are plans to build a huge new pipeline to the U.S., cementing the oil sands’ role in American energy. In Alberta, for now at least, the machines will keep rolling, the oil will keep flowing, and not even the creator of the Terminator is likely to stop it.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2030904,00.html#ixzz1fHgL91qv

Tomorrow, Friday Dec. 2, tribal leaders from the US and Canada have a meeting with Obama.  They will discuss the pipeline and present him with the Mother Earth Accord.

“This Friday, tribal leaders from across the continent will meet for their third summit with the president in Washington, and one of the prime items on the agenda will be the fight against the Keystone Pipeline. They’ll talk about the way both the pipeline and the process of approving it have violated treaties, and they’ll present the president with a copy of the Mother Earth Accord adopted in a special meeting at the Rosebud reservation a few weeks ago. It’s a strong document, full of details about the impacts of tar sands mining and pipeline leaks and carbon emissions — but it also speaks with the real power of the people who’ve lived longest and best on this continent. Indeed, it begins by affirming that ‘the earth is our true mother, our grandmother who gives birth to us and maintains all life.’ ”    –  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-mckibben/native-leaders-keystone-xl-obama_b_1120697.html

The Mother Earth Accord, in full.  I realize that this is rather long, but the whole paper should be read:

Mother Earth Accord
September 2011

Tribal Government Chairs and Presidents, Traditional Treaty Councils, and US property owners, with First Nation Chiefs of Canada, impacted by TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and tar sands development present at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Emergency Summit, September 15-16, 2011, on the protection of Mother Earth and Treaty Territories:

Recognizing that TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline would stretch 1,980 miles, from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Nederland, Texas, carrying up to 900,000 barrels per day of tar sands crude oil, which would drive additional tar sands production;

Recognizing the existing resolutions and letters in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline;

Guided by the principles of traditional indigenous knowledge, spiritual values, and respectful use of the land;

Affirming our responsibility to protect and preserve for our descendants, the inherent sovereign rights of our Indigenous Nations, the rights of property owners, and all inherent human rights;

Affirming our Indigenous view that the Earth is our true mother, our grandmother who gives birth to us and maintains all life;

Recognizing that the tar sands in northern Alberta, Canada is one of the largest remaining deposits of unconventional oil in the world, containing approximately 2 trillion barrels, and there are plans for a massive expansion of development that would ultimately destroy an area larger than the state of Florida;

Recognizing that tar sand development has devastating impacts to Mother Earth and her inhabitants and perpetuates the crippling addiction to oil of the United States and Canada;

Recalling in September 2010, the Assembly of First Nations of Canada called on the United States government to take into account the environmental impacts of tar sands production on First Nations in its energy policy, citing the high rates of cancer in the downstream Fort Chipewyan community, which prominent scientists say are potentially linked to petroleum products;

Recognizing the findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that tar sands production releases 13 elements considered priority pollutants under the U.S. Clean Water Act, including lead, mercury, and arsenic into the Athabasca River in northern Alberta, which flows 3,000 miles downstream to the Arctic Ocean;

Recognizing that tar sands production produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional oil and NASA climate scientist James Hansen has said that if the tar sands are fully developed, it will be “essentially game over” for the climate;

Recognizing that Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands development have more than doubled since 1990, which is the main reason Canada is failing to meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol;

Concerned that Indigenous people are most vulnerable to the social, cultural, spiritual, and environmental impacts of climate change;

Recognizing that Exxon-Imperial and ConocoPhillips Heavy Haul shipments are attempting to haul more than 200 oversized loads of heavy oil machinery from the Port of Lewiston, Idaho along Highway 12 into Montana, then north to the tar sands project in Alberta, Canada;

Concerned that tar sands crude oil is more toxic, corrosive, and abrasive than conventional crude oil and poses additional pipeline safety risks that have not been fully assessed by the U.S. Department of State in its final Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline, issued August 26, 2011;

Recalling that TransCanada’s year-old Keystone pipeline, from Manitoba, Canada to Patoka, Illinois and Cushing Oklahoma, has had 14 spills in the U.S. portion since it started operation in June 2010, and was temporarily shut down by regulators in late May, 2011;

Recognizing TransCanada’s extremely poor safety record for the Keystone pipeline, it is probable that the Keystone XL pipeline will have frequent spills because it will have similar design specifications;

Concerned that oil spills from the Keystone XL pipeline would destroy live-sustaining water resources, including the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for millions of people and farmland irrigation throughout the Midwestern United States;

Concerned that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline will impact sacred sites and ancestral burial grounds, and treaty rights throughout traditional territories, without adequate consultation on these impacts;

Concerned that the Keystone XL pipeline would increase air pollution in the communities surrounding the refineries that the pipeline would service where people of color, Indigenous peoples, and poor people are already experiencing high rates of cancer and respiratory illness;

Recalling that TransCanada’s permit application to the Canadian government for the Keystone XL pipeline said it will increase oil prices in the United States by $4 billion per year;

Acknowledging that the Keystone XL pipeline is not designed to provide the United States with energy security and that industry documents indicate Gulf Coast refineries operate in a free trade zone and plan to refine tar sands oil into petroleum products that are intended for export overseas;

Therefore, we are united on this Mother Earth Accord, which is effective immediately, that it be resolved as follows:

We support and encourage a moratorium on tar sands development;

We insist on full consultation under the principles of “free, prior and informed consent,” from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples both in the United States and Canada;

We urge regional authorities to halt the Exxon-Imperial and ConocoPhillips Heavy Haul shipments of tar sands equipment through the United States and Canada;

We urge the United States and Canada to reduce their reliance on oil, including tar sands, and invest in the research and development of cleaner, safer forms of sustainable energy and transportation solutions, including smart growth, fuel efficiency, next-generation biofuels and electric vehicles powered by solar and wind energy.

We strongly believe that the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in the national interest of the United States or Canada; and

We urge President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to reject the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

I will offer this quote (again):
“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.” 

– Red Cloud (Mahpiya Luta), Oglala Lakota Chief

 

Update:  Received from CredoAction Sat., 3 Dec.:

President Obama may have delayed his decision on the pipeline, but Republicans have redoubled their efforts, and could be dangerously close to forcing its approval.
House Republicans said Friday that they are planning to push a bill to force a decision on the pipeline and strip the President’s authority to make that decision. Worse, they will attach this bill to the President’s payroll-tax and unemployment benefit extension package — considered a must-pass piece of legislation that contains crucial help for our long-term unemployed.
According to Politico’s reporting of the closed-door meeting of House Republicans:
Speaker John Boehner referred to the package he’s putting forward as turning “chicken-sh — into chicken salad,” according to people who attended the meeting in the Capitol basement.
Translation: He’s going to pass President Barack Obama’s preferred tax cut, but he wants some skin from Democrats for it.
That skin is the Keystone XL pipeline. The House bill would take Keystone XL decision making authority away from the President and State Department and force the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to make a decision in 30 days, substantially restricting FERC’s discretion to reject the project in the process.
The current review process by the State Department has been restarted to evaluate a new route in Nebraska, and unlike FERC, will notably consider the climate change impacts of the project, an area that wasn’t taken into account in the State Department’s initial sham process.

 

Drone State.

Congress is considering giving a portion of US land to drones – a chunk of land larger than many states.  Drones (unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAV’s) actually have their own caucus in Congress.  The caucus currently has 50 members; a full list of members can be read here:
http://www.auvsi.org/advocacy/uscongressionalcaucuses/unmannedsystemscaucus/

The Congressional drone caucus gets a shitload of money from lobbyists and insists that drones would be useful over US air space and that the increased production of drones for domestic use would create jobs, which, of course, is true.  Unfortunately, almost all the jobs creation ideas Congress comes up with involve the military, the manufacturing of weapons, or the operation of weapons.

Nick Mottern at truthout.org April 16, 2011:

The story of how planes without on-board pilots will gain entry into our crowded airspace, where birds are life threatening, possibly within the next three years, is one involving campaign contributions, jobs and fear. As we will see, safety appears not to be the top priority.

I became aware of the pro-drone legislation from a February 10, 2011, Syracuse Post Standard report that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) was supporting an amendment to the pending Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill (S. 223) that would create test zones for the introduction of drones into general airspace.

Senator Schumer was interested in the pro-drone amendment because MQ-9 Reaper drones, killer drones that are flying over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, are stationed at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse. However, FAA safety restrictions have limited drone flights out of Hancock.

“If Schumer’s legislative move succeeds this week,” said the Post Standard, “it would help ensure the future of 1,215 jobs at the (air) base in Mattydale (New York) and potentially lead to millions of dollars in radar research contracts for local defense companies.”

Drones have a grisly war history of misidentification. For example, on April 11, 2011, The Los Angeles Times carried a story of how a failure of US Air Force drone operators at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to accurately identify the enemy led to the deaths in February 2010 of at least 15 non-combatant Afghani men, the wounding of 12 more and the deaths of a woman and three children…

Drones like the Reaper are also used for assassination, killing people without trial or conviction, a violation of international law, compounded by the problem of misidentification.

The Reaper can also be used strictly for surveillance and there are a variety of drones that can perform either killer or surveillance functions. Drones are also being produced for commercial uses, which include scanning land and oceans for agricultural, mining and fishing enterprises…

We knew we were starting very late. On February 15, we presented a letter (appearing at the end of this article) at Senator Schumer’s Peekskill, New York, office urging him to abandon the drone amendment. He did not respond and his staff did not provide any information to us until well after the FAA reauthorization bill, with the pro-drone language embodied in an omnibus amendment, cleared the Senate on February 17.

According to Open Secrets.org, Senator Schumer received $10,000 for his 2010 re-election campaign from Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is one of at least 50 companies making drones of various sizes and types and it produces Hellfire missiles, used by drones and other aircraft. Lockheed employs 2,200 in Syracuse.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also supported the drone amendment, saying in a press release: “This bill is about making southwest Ohio a critical part of this high-growth initiative. UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) could be used for a host of important purposes, from patrolling the border, to surveying Kandahar province, to combating drug smuggling and it’s critical that Wright-Patterson Air Force Base plays a key role in their development and testing. I’ve worked on a bipartisan basis – first with (former) Sen. (George) Voinovich and now with Sen. (Rob) Portman – to enable the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson and the Springfield National Guard to test unmanned aerial systems in Southwest Ohio.”

Among other Senate supporters of the drone amendment were Sens. Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) and John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), whose state seeks to be a center of drone development and where the University of North Dakota claims to be the first in offering a four-year degree program for drone pilots “hoping to take the sticks in a field expected to swell to a $20 billion industry over the next decade.”

Senator Hoeven said on the Senate floor, in support of the amendment:

“We’re already flying UAVs in airspace all over the world. Now we need to open the skies for them at home to make our nation more secure, our communities safer and our economy more dynamic, creating jobs and opportunities in our country. If we don’t you can be sure other nations will.”

http://www.truth-out.org/lobbying-report-drones-fly-through-congress-enter-us-skies/1302937200

“We need to open the skies for them at home.”   Why?  Why do we need to do that?  For what purpose, exactly?  Drones are used for surveillance or bombing what is underneath them.  What would be under a drone airborne over the US that particularly needs extraordinary surveillance or bombing?  One can only assume that Senator Hoeven thinks that US citizens need the same sort of protection from each other that the Pentagon and CIA seem to think the US needs from terrorists abroad. The fact that we are constantly killing innocent people overseas with this technology does not concern the Pentagon, the CIA, or Congress; for some reason, they think it would be a good idea to do the same here.  Our right to privacy is no deterrent to these power-mad goons, either.   To be fair, however, it must be pointed out that the American people appear quite willing to give up those rights voluntarily.  “We’re already flying UAVs in airspace all over the world.”  How casually admitted, this violation of the airspace over sovereign nations.  And the unspoken assumption is that since we are already violating the sovereignty of nations abroad and the rights (and lives) of the citizens in them, why the hell not do it here at home?  The UN considers drones to be asymmetrical warfare and condemns the use of them.  However, 56 countries now have drone technology and it is unlikely that the world will suddenly return to a state of sanity.  (The UN also condemns the use of depleted uranium, white phosphorus, and cluster bombs –  most countries have become signatories to the ban agreements on those weapons, with the exception of the US and Great Britain, who are, after all, exceptional in all cases.  For that matter, the UN condemns the use of mercenaries.)

But drones are currently used over both borders of the US and we can assume they are here to stay.  Now we need more pilots for all these drones.  And that is where the University of North Dakota comes in (mentioned in the above cited article) with its new 4-year degree program in drone assassination piloting.  No doubt we will see a few more colleges offering the program soon enough, and no shortage of students hoping to learn how they, too, can spy on and perhaps bomb their fellow citizens remotely.

October 27 2011, reporting from Washington — “The Homeland Security Department is adding three surveillance drone aircraft to a domestic fleet chiefly used to patrol the border with Mexico even though officials acknowledge they don’t have enough pilots to operate the seven Predators they already possess….”

The complete article can be viewed at:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-us-drone-20111027,0,1704002.story

Now, Congress would like to take over public and private land to create a massive, state-sized drone base and training/testing area in Colorado.  Air space above the land base would bleed out to include 60 million acres of airspace over both Colorado and New Mexico.

David Swanson has written a good article about this on warisacrime.org.  At the end of his article he gives a link to not1moreacre.org, a site developed to oppose this action.  I include his link within the excerpt of his article:

Weaponized UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), also known as drones, have their own caucus in Congress, and the Pentagon’s plan is to give them their own state as well.

Under this plan, 7 million acres (or 11,000 square miles) of land in the southeast corner of Colorado, and 60 million acres of air space (or 94,000 square miles) over Colorado and New Mexico would be given over to special forces testing and training in the use of remote-controlled flying murder machines. The full state of Colorado is itself 104,000 square miles. Rhode Island is 1,000 square miles. Virginia, where I live, is 43,000 square miles.

The U.S. military (including Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) is proceeding with this plan in violation of the public will, new state legislation on private property rights, an exceptionally strong federal court order, and a funding ban passed by the United States Congress, and in the absence of any approved Environmental Impact Statement. Public pressure has successfully put the law on the right side of this issue, and the military is disregarding the law….

I would ask opponents of drone warfare to consider the likely impact of setting aside 60 million acres of air space for testing drones.

“We cannot allow the sacrifice of our democracy to politicians who are bought by military contractors,” says Aguerre. “If they are able to get this 51st state for robotic warfare, I think the economy will be irretrievably lost. These are unbelievably beautiful and pristine lands. Our rural areas are where the genetically modified seeds are being planted, where the lands and mountains are being mined, and where the military is going to destroy an area the size of a state, because the rural people are so few. Gary Hart was able to attack the last short grass prairie without political cost.”

Why is there no political cost? Because “we can’t get the word out.”

Let’s help get the word out by sharing this link: http://not1moreacre.org

http://warisacrime.org/content/51st-state-armed-robotic-drones

 

Not1moreacre is sistered with the Purgatoire, Apishapa, and Comanche Grasslands Trust to work on this specific issue.  They have managed to hold the hostile take-over of these lands at bay for now, but the plans to commandeer this land have been in the works for a long time, most vigorously pursued since 9/11.  The Pentagon and contractors who want this land will not stop their efforts – they want this land and they are unrelenting.  They have a significant number of Congressmen already working in their behalf and an endless supply of lobbyists from the weapons manufacturers (think of them as army ants) bringing bribes to encourage those Congressmen and lure others to their cause.

The region under threat contains:
  • some of the richest concentrations of the human record in the American West, reflecting 12,000 years of human experience in the region;
  • unique bioregions of canyonlands, forested mesas, grasslands and riparian systems providing habitat for diverse flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth and the largest block of native prairie remaining on the High Plains;
  • restored Dust Bowl lands – Comanche, Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands — offering robust safe haven to threatened and endangered species of plants and animals, including rare insects and reptiles yet to be named;
  • wild rivers and complex wetlands vital to native fish, migrating birds, unique wildlife and environmental health;
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail, the 19th century transportation route that connected Missouri with Santa, Fe, New Mexico, with historic ranches, stage stops and trading posts illustrative of the American Southwest;
  • the longest “dinosaur freeway” in North America, marking where 150 million years ago many different species of dinosaurs traveled along the shoreline of an interior seaway from present-day Colorado to New Mexico and Oklahoma.  [from not1moreacre.org website]

 This land also happens to contain some of the traditional sacred sites of the area’s Indian tribes and some of the most beautiful wilderness camping areas in the US.  Not to mention the privately-held property of local ranchers which is under threat of governmental seizure.

The facts that this area is sparsely populated, fairly accessible to the new airport outside Denver (speculated to be the site of large underground bunkers to house certain important government and military personnel in the case of a national emergency), and on the “high ground” (always a good strategy for the war planners), are probably coincidental.

******

So efficient, these drones.  Killed 50 people in one day, Thursday, 27 Oct., in 3 different countries.  None in America.  Yet.  Bet you can’t wait until we get some of this action.

Nearly fifty people have been killed in separate US assassination drone strikes in Somalia, Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan and Yemen in a single day.

On Thursday, 13 people were killed and several others were injured when the US military launched an attack using a remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle on the outskirts of Bilis Qooqaani town, which is located 448 kilometers (278 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The US also launched drone strikes on the outskirts of Afmadow city, situated in the middle of the Juba region and 620 kilometers (385 miles) south of Mogadishu, on Thursday. At least 25 people were killed in the aerial attack.

In addition, six people were killed in a non-UN-sanctioned US drone attack on Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region near the border with Afghanistan.

According to Pakistani officials, two unmanned aircraft fired six missiles at a vehicle traveling through Tura Gula village in the Azam Warsak area on Thursday.

Three people were also killed in attacks carried out by unmanned US aircraft in southern Yemen on Thursday.

A Yemeni government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the drone strikes targeted Shaqra village in Abyan Province. He added that six people were also injured in the aerial attacks.

The US says its remote-controlled unmanned drones only target militants. However, reports have shown that most of the people killed in the drone strikes are civilians.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/206934.html