The U.S. military is banning and blocking employees from visiting The Intercept in an apparent effort to censor news reports that contain leaked government secrets. According to multiple military sources, a notice has been circulated to units within the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps warning staff that they are prohibited from reading stories published by The Intercept on the grounds that they may contain classified information. The ban appears to apply to all employees—including those with top-secret security clearance—and is aimed at preventing classified information from being viewed on unclassified computer networks, even if it is freely available on the internet. Similar military-wide bans have been directed against news outlets in the past after leaks of classified information.
This morning, demonstrators from Massachusetts blockaded the entrance to the headquarters of Footprint Power to protest the company’s proposed natural gas power plant in Salem, Massachusetts. The Salem plant, originally scheduled to come on-line in June 2016, has been delayed in part by legal battles, local grassroots opposition, and an ambitious timeline. These delays have jeopardized the plant’s financing and ultimate construction.Students protest at Footprint Power in NJ August 20, 2014 The protesters, who bound themselves together with chains and superglue, represent Students for a Just and Stable Future, a New England regional group of youth and students that supports strong policies to address the climate crisis.
We South Africans know about violence and hatred. We understand the pain of being the polecat of the world; when it seems nobody understands or is even willing to listen to our perspective. It is where we come from. We also know the benefits that dialogue between our leaders eventually brought us; when organizations labeled “terrorist” were unbanned and their leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were released from imprisonment, banishment and exile. What ultimately forced these leaders together around the negotiating table was the cocktail of persuasive, nonviolent tools that had been developed to isolate South Africa, economically, academically, culturally and psychologically. At a certain point – the tipping point – the then-government realized that the cost of attempting to preserve apartheid outweighed the benefits. The withdrawal of trade with South Africa by multinational corporations with a conscience in the 1980s was ultimately one of the key levers that brought the apartheid state – bloodlessly – to its knees. Those corporations understood that by contributing to South Africa’s economy, they were contributing to the retention of an unjust status quo. Those who continue to do business with Israel, who contribute to a sense of “normalcy” in Israeli society, are doing the people of Israel and Palestine a disservice. They are contributing to the perpetuation of a profoundly unjust status quo.
Since President Obama took office, the Pentagon has transferred to police departments tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft. In May, The New York Times requested and received from the Pentagon its database of transfers since 2006. The data underpinned an article in June and helped inform coverage of the police response this month in Ferguson, Mo., after an officer shot Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. The Times is now posting the raw data to GitHub here. With this data, which is being posted as it was received, people can see what gear is being used in their communities. The equipment is as varied as guns, computers and socks. The Pentagon-to-police transfer program is not new. Congress created it during the drug war, as a way to increase police firepower in the fight against drug gangs. But since 9/11, as the Pentagon geared up to fight two wars, then drew down as those wars ended, the amount of available military surplus has ballooned. Now, after a week of confrontation between protesters in Ferguson and heavily armed police, members of Congress are criticizing the trickle down of military gear.
It should come as no surprise that the wall-to-wall U.S. coverage of the turmoil provoked by the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, was echoed in the global media. And a quick survey of international coverage of the ongoing protests suggests that it often reflects pre-existing views of the United States. Russian and Iranian media have, perhaps unsurprisingly, printed scathing judgments about the police response to protests in Missouri. One Russian site, Svobodnaya Pressa, coined the term “Afromaidan,” implying that the U.S. is getting a dose of its own medicine for backing anti-Russian Euromaidan rallies in Kiev, Ukraine. The article poked fun at the notion of a land of opportunity, signaling that America’s “race war” proves Washington’s hypocrisy. PressTV in Iran led with the Ferguson story on its website Monday. A news feature quoted an African-American historian referring to “institutionalized racism” in the U.S. and calling the country a “human rights failed state.” And Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Facebook page read Sunday: “Look at what they do to the black community in their own country … . The police may beat them to death over the crime of having dark skins!”
An acid spill from a large copper mine in northern Mexico is keeping 88 schools closed starting Monday due to uncertainty over the safety of drinking water. The 12-day-old spill, which sent 10 million gallons (40,000 cubic meters) of toxic wastewater into portions of the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers, may keep schools closed for over a week according to the Associated Press. The Buenavista copper mine, one of the largest copper mines in the world, is located in Cananea, Sonora, about 25 miles south of the U.S. border near Nogales, Arizona. The mine is operated by Grupo Mexico, one of the world’s largest copper producers. Grupo Mexico’s American subsidiary, Asarco, is nearing a deal to gain full ownership of the Silver Bell copper mine across the U.S. border in Marana, Arizona and has been subject to major environmental misconduct charges in the past relating to its mining operations. Mine officials have been criticized for not reporting the massive acid spill to authorities for around 24 hours, with residents downstream detecting the spill the next day as it turned dozens of miles of river orange.
San Francisco Bay Area activists have not allowed a vessel from Israel’s largest shipping company to unload in the Oakland Port for four consecutive mornings. On Tuesday, 19 August, at 6:45am, activists declared yet another victory against the Zim Line, which has been trying to make its way into Oakland since Saturday, 16 August. Lara Kiswani, the executive director of the local Arab Resource and Organizing Center, told The Electronic Intifada that they are now waiting to hear if the Zim Line will leave the Port of Oakland today with the cargo it brought. “If not,” Kiswani wrote in an email, “we will continue to mobilize until it does.” Organizers had initially planned a one-day action for 16 August, delaying the weekly, Saturday-scheduled offloading of the Zim ship by just one full work day. Saturday’s success was seamless: the Zim Pireaus avoided the Oakland Port completely, preferring to remain at sea south of Oakland rather than meet the thousands of protesters who had descended onto the docks. But, fueled off the initial triumph, activists returned to Berth 57 at the Oakland Port the next evening, on Sunday, 17 August. At 5pm Sunday, activists released an urgent call for supporters to convene at the port. Within thirty minutes of the call, hundreds of people returned to the docks. Workers with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) – Local 10 honored the picket line, and refused to unload the ship.
An attorney for the family of a man fatally shot by police at a Wal-Mart store said Tuesday that surveillance video of the shooting shows it was unjustified, and the state’s top lawman said a special grand jury will begin considering whether charges are appropriate against the officers. Attorney Michael Wright, who represents the family of 21-year-old John Crawford III, said in a statement that surveillance video of the shooting “showed that absolutely this young man … was killed without justification or cause.” Police in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek said they shot Crawford on Aug. 5 at the Wal-Mart after he waved an air rifle at customers and refused officers’ orders to drop it. Wright said that the video shows that’s “absolutely incorrect” and that Crawford was simply holding in one hand his cellphone and in the other hand an air rifle he had picked up off a store shelf and intended to buy. A Beavercreek police spokesman did not immediately respond to messages for comment Tuesday. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, provided material to law enforcement officials for their investigation.
The Los Angeles Police Department has delayed the release of a pending autopsy report for Ezell Ford, the 25-year-old unarmed black man with mental illness who an officer fatally shot last week in a South L.A. neighborhood. “Pending further investigative and forensic analysis, the LAPD Force Investigation Division investigators have requested that The Los Angeles County Coroner place an investigative hold on the pending autopsy report,” read an LAPD press release issued Monday. LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told Southern California public radio station KPCC that investigative holds are common in cases that are currently ongoing and and in active investigations, in order to keep witness testimony from being tainted. “They could use information from the autopsy to give credibility to their story,” Smith said. Ed Winter, the assistant chief of investigation at the coroner’s office, told The Huffington Post that he didn’t know how long the hold would last. The delay on the Ford autopsy report comes after two autopsy reports were released regarding the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson. The autopsy revealed Brown was shot six times.
Activists in Seattle are currently extremely active, doing daily protests for Ferguson, Palestine, against Monsanto for environmental issues, among many other causes. Image credit: jglsongs It is under-reported how active these people are, and how much work they have put into making people conscious. Seattle, and more specifically Capitol Hill activists, are in such large numbers and work so peacefully and effectively, that the Seattle Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security are targeting them and doing heavier and heavier surveillance by the day. On a daily basis, helicopters fly over the protests that take place in Seattle, hovering menacingly over completely peaceful people. Innocent people get maced for no reason who aren’t even involved in protesting, and violence is instigated by the police. For example, earlier this week the anarchist Co-Op coffee shop ‘Black Coffee’ was put under blatant surveillance and were met with intimidation by an officer. A female officer parked directly in front of the place and pointed her dashcam camera at the activist coffee shop, videotaping the entire scene for about an hour and a half. This coffee shop is under investigation in several ways , and the police are doing everything they can to shut it down. It will probably have to move to another location in Seattle in the next few months.
A 15-mile stretch of the Ohio River closed after a fuel oil spill reopened to river traffic on Tuesday with some restrictions as containment and cleanup continued. River traffic in that area must get Coast Guard clearance and maintain a safe speed, agency spokeswoman Lt. Katherine Cameron said. The area was closed to all traffic, including barges carrying commercial goods, after the spill from a Duke Energy power plant in New Richmond. The spill at the W.C. Beckjord Station happened at about 11:15 p.m. Monday during a routine transfer of fuel oil from a larger tank to smaller ones and was stopped within about 15 minutes, Duke spokeswoman Sally Thelen said. The spill at the plant 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati was considered medium-sized, a designation that applies to inland leaks between 1,000 and 10,000 gallons of oil, Cameron said. Authorities earlier estimated about 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of oil spilled, but the Coast Guard and Duke Energy later Tuesday lowered those estimates to up to 5,000 gallons. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that the federal agency had taken the lead as on-scene coordinator and was directing the cleanup efforts being carried out by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy.
The Conservative government on Friday slammed the door shut on a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. Tory MPs outnumbered NDP and Liberal parliamentarians on a special House of Commons committee to vote down a recommendation for a public inquiry as part of a special parliamentary probe. Claudette Dumont-Smith, executive director of Native Women’s Association of Canada, called the newly released Tory report “discouraging.” She said the recommendations are “more the status quo, but the status quo doesn’t work,” pointing to the steady increase of aboriginal women who go missing or are murdered. “It is appalling that after hearing witness after witness testify that much more needs to be done on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the Conservatives could produce a sanitized report saying that everything is fine,” said NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Jean Crowder. Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett said the report “only contains recommendations approved by the government, and does not reflect the testimony of witnesses, is in flagrant disregard of Parliamentary principles.”
Let’s talk about an active role for white people in the fight against racism because racism burdens all of us and is destroying our communities. And, quite frankly, because white people have a role in undoing racism because white people created and, for the most part, currently maintain (whether they want to or not) the racist system that benefits white people to the detriment of people of color. My white friends who’ve spoken out harshly against the murder of Michael Brown end with a similar refrain: What can I do that will matter in the fight against racism? White people who are sick and tired of racism should work hard to become white allies. In the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown, may he rest in power, here are some ways for white people to become white allies who are engaged thoughtfully and critically in examining the situation in Ferguson and standing on the side of justice and equity.
When will it stop? The police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, coming on the heals of the killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man by a policeman’s choke hold in Staten Island, New York, is yet another painful, traumatic reminder of the long history of occupation, torture, abuse and killing of Black people in America, particularly Black men. Indeed, within hours of the killing of Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, an unarmed Black man with a history of mental problems, was killed in Los Angeles under suspicious circumstances. It doesn’t matter that there is an African American President of the United States or that Blacks are mayors of major American cities, run Fortune 500 companies or are pace setters as high paid and adored hip hop moguls, entertainers and athletes; the killing of Black men continues. Once again legions of Black people and people of conscience and goodwill are in the streets in Ferguson, Missouri and in solidarity rallies across the country. But, to add insult to injury, in scenes reminiscent of the brutalizing of civil rights protesters in Birmingham and Selma in the 60’s, St. Louis County Police units with sharpshooters, sniper squads, mine-resistant trucks and a “Bearcat armored truck” unleashed a ferocious assault on peaceful marchers, firing tear gas, stun bombs and rubber bullets into the ranks of terrorized protesters. The whole nation and the world witnessed this vicious onslaught against the First Amendment by highly militarized police that looked more like soldiers on the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan than the suburb of a major American city. There was “shock and awe” throughout the land.
This article is from our associated project, CreativeResistance.org. This is a bronze sculpture of a wicker fan back chair that rests on a square steel base with a mirrored surface. The chair refers to a famous portrait of Huey Newton, one of the founders of the Black Panther Party. This picture shows Newton seated in a rattan chair that Sam Durant’s sculpture replicates. The title, “Monument for the Alameda County Courthouse” directly relates to the Oakland Museum’s proximity to this building across 12th Street where many of the Black Panther trials were conducted in the late 1960s. With this sculpture, the artist is proposing that there be a tangible recognition of the legacy of the Black power movement. This work is also interactive since it is intended to be used by the public. Viewers are encouraged to sit in the chair to metaphorically set themselves in and consider the history that the work alludes to. Visitors are allowed to sit in the chair.