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Local Police Train With Special Forces To Raid Farm Houses, Conduct Domestic Raids | The Daily Sheeple
February 17th, 2014
By Brandon Turbeville
On January 20, I wrote an article entitled “Upcoming Military Drill Off Limits To Reporters,” in which I reported on the announcement that South Carolina’s Richland County Sheriff’s Office would be engaged in joint training exercises with unidentified units from Ft. Bragg.
The official Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s press release statedthat “Citizens may see military and departmental vehicles traveling in and around rural and metropolitan areas and may hear ordinance being set off or fired which will be simulated/ blanks and controlled by trained personnel.”
The release also stated that the exercise was being held “Due to Sheriff Leon Lott’s longstanding commitment to making sure that deputies are trained and prepared for every event and potential threat and his desire to assist the military to ensure their preparations.”
It is worth noting that Ft. Bragg hosts some of the U.S. Army’s more elite units such as Special Forces as well as more elite airborne and aviation support units. Ft. Bragg is also home to the elite Delta Force.
Beyond this information, however, very little was known about the drills. That is, until now.
According to independent sources, Special Forces were indeed involved in the drills in concert with local civilian police forces.
Civilian police and military units worked together in practice for setting up and maintaining checkpoints as well as other checkpoint-related drills. Both police and military also worked together to practice chopper insertion – the deployment of troops/operatives by way of helicopters.
What is most disturbing, however, is that, according to sources, both the civilian police and U.S. military forces were also training to raid farm houses and engage in domestic raids.
No wonder the Richland County Sheriff’s Department was so tight-lipped about the operations they were taking part in during the process of these joint drills.
The fact that the police and military are engaging in joint drill exercises in violation of Posse Comitatus and a long-standing American tradition of separation between domestic policing and military activity is concerning enough. However, the fact that they are training for domestic operations such as raiding American farm houses, setting up domestic checkpoints, and conducting other related raids on the home-front should be terrifying to every single American that desires to keep what little shred of freedom they have left.
If the reports of these sources are accurate, the American military and indeed the Richland County Sheriff’s Department clearly see the American people and the people of South Carolina as the enemy.
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 275 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
1. War is immoral.
Murder is the one crime that we’re taught to excuse if it’s done on a large enough scale. Morality demands that we not so excuse it. War is nothing other than murder on a large scale.
Over the centuries and decades, death counts in wars have grown dramatically, shifted heavily onto civilians rather than combatants, and been overtaken by injury counts as even greater numbers have been injured but medicine has allowed them to survive.
Deaths are now due primarily to violence rather than to disease, formerly the biggest killer in wars.
Death and injury counts have also shifted very heavily toward one side in each war, rather than being evenly divided between two parties. Those traumatized, rendered homeless, and otherwise damaged far outnumber the injured and the dead.
The idea of a “good war” or a “just war” sounds obscene when one looks honestly at independent reporting on wars.
When we say that war goes back 10,000 years it’s not clear that we’re talking about a single thing, as opposed to two or more different things going by the same name. Picture a family in Yemen or Pakistan living under a constant buzz produced by a drone overhead. One day their home and everyone in it is shattered by a missile. Were they at war? Where was the battlefield? Where were their weapons? Who declared the war? What was contested in the war? How would it end?
Is it not perhaps the case that we have already ended war and now must end something else as well (a name for it might be: the hunting of humans)?
If we can change our manner of killing foreigners to render it almost unrecognizable, who’s to say we can’t eliminate the practice altogether?
2. War endangers us.
There are more effective tools than war for protection.
War planning leads to wars.
In arming, many factors must be considered: weapon-related accidents, malicious testing on human beings, theft, sales to allies who become enemies, and the distraction from efforts to reduce the causes of terrorism and war must all be taken into account. So, of course, must the tendency to use weapons once you have them. And a nation’s stockpiling of weapons for war puts pressure on other nations to do the same. Even a nation that intends to fight only in defense, may understand “defense” to be the ability to retaliate against other nations. This makes it necessary to create the weaponry and strategies for aggressive war. When you put a lot of people to work planning something, when that project is in fact your largest public investment and proudest cause, it can be difficult to keep those people from finding opportunities to execute their plans. Read more.
War making provokes danger.
While the best defense in many sports may be a good offense, an offense in war is not defensive, not when it generates hatred, resentment, and blowback, not when the alternative is no war at all. Through the course of the so-called global war on terrorism, terrorism has been on the rise. This was predictable and predicted. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion. Read More.
War’s weapons risk intentional or accidental apocalypse.
We can either eliminate all nuclear weapons or we can watch them proliferate. There’s no middle way. We can either have no nuclear weapons states, or we can have many. As long as some states have nuclear weapons others will desire them, and the more that have them the more easily they will spread to others still. If nuclear weapons continue to exist, there will very likely be a nuclear catastrophe, and the more the weapons have proliferated, the sooner it will come. Hundreds of incidents have nearly destroyed our world through accident, confusion, misunderstanding, and extremely irrational machismo. And possessing nuclear weapons does absolutely nothing to keep us safe, so that there is really no trade-off involved in eliminating them. They do not deter terrorist attacks by non-state actors in any way. Nor do they add an iota to a military’s ability to deter nations from attacking, given the United States’ ability to destroy anything anywhere at any time with non-nuclear weapons. The United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China have all lost wars against non-nuclear powers while possessing nukes.
3. War threatens our environment.
A major motivation behind some wars is the desire to control resources that poison the earth, especially oil and gas.
Oil can be leaked or burned off, as in the Gulf War, but primarily it is put to use in all kinds of machines polluting the earth’s atmosphere, placing us all at risk. Some associate the consumption of oil with the supposed glory and heroism of war, so that renewable energies that do not risk global catastrophe are viewed as cowardly and unpatriotic ways to fuel our machines.
The interplay of war with oil goes beyond that, however. The wars themselves, whether or not fought for oil, consume huge quantities of it. The world’s top consumer of oil, in fact, is the U.S. military. Not only do we fight wars in areas of the globe that happen to be rich in oil; we also burn more oil fighting those wars than we do in any other activity. Author Ted Rall writes:
“The U.S. Department of [War] is the world’s worst polluter, belching, dumping, and spilling more pesticides, defoliants, solvents, petroleum, lead, mercury, and depleted uranium than the five biggest American chemical corporations combined. According to Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, 60 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions between 2003 and 2007 originated in U.S.-occupied Iraq, due to the enormous amount of oil and gas required to maintain hundreds of thousands of American military forces and private contractors, not to mention the toxins released by fighter jets, drone planes, and the missiles and other ordnance they fire at Iraqis.”
The U.S. military burns through about 340,000 barrels of oil each day. If the Pentagon were a country, it would rank 38th out of 196 in oil consumption.
The environment as we know it will not survive nuclear war. It also may not survive “conventional” war, understood to mean the sorts of wars now waged. Intense damage has already been done by wars and by the research, testing, and production done in preparation for wars.
Wars in recent years have rendered large areas uninhabitable and generated tens of millions of refugees. War “rivals infectious disease as a global cause of morbidity and mortality,” according to Jennifer Leaning of Harvard Medical School.
Perhaps the most deadly weapons left behind by wars are land mines and cluster bombs. Tens of millions of them are estimated to be lying around on the earth, oblivious to any announcements that peace has been declared. Most of their victims are civilians, a large percentage of them children.
The Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan have destroyed or damaged thousands of villages and sources of water. The Taliban has illegally traded timber to Pakistan, resulting in significant deforestation. U.S. bombs and refugees in need of firewood have added to the damage. Afghanistan’s forests are almost gone. Most of the migratory birds that used to pass through Afghanistan no longer do so. Its air and water have been poisoned with explosives and rocket propellants.
If militaries were made green in terms of their operations, they would lose one of their main reasons for war. (Nobody can own the sun or the wind.) And we would still have a long list of … More reasons to end war.
4. War erodes our liberties.
We’re often told that wars are fought for “freedom.” But when a wealthy nation fights a war against a poor (if often resource-rich) nation halfway around the globe, among the goals is not actually to prevent that poor nation from taking over the wealthy one, after which it might restrict people’s rights and liberties. The fears used to build support for the wars don’t involve such an incredible scenario at all; rather the threat is depicted as one to safety, not liberty.
In close proportion to levels of military spending, liberties are restricted in the name of war — even while wars may simultaneously be waged in the name of liberty. We try to resist the erosion of liberties, the warrantless surveillance, the drones in the skies, the lawless imprisonment, the torture, the assassinations, the denial of a lawyer, the denial of access to information on the government, etc. But these are symptoms. The disease is war and the preparation for war.
It is the idea of the enemy that allows government secrecy.
The nature of war, as fought between valued and devalued people, facilitates the erosion of liberties in another way, in addition to the fear for safety. That is, it allows liberties to first be taken away from devalued people. But the programs developed to accomplish that are later predictably expanded to include valued people as well.
Militarism erodes not just particular rights but the very basis of self-governance. It privatizes public goods, it corrupts public servants, it creates momentum for war by making people’s careers dependent on it.
One way in which war erodes public trust and morals is by its predictable generation of public lies.
Also eroded, of course, is the very idea of the rule of law — replaced with the practice of might-makes-right.
5. War impoverishes us.
War has a huge direct financial cost, the vast majority of which is in funds spent on the preparation for war — or what’s thought of as ordinary, non-war military spending. Very roughly, the world spends $2 trillion every year on militarism, of which the United States spends about half, or $1 trillion. This U.S. spending also accounts for roughly half of the U.S. government’s discretionarybudget each year and is distributed through several departments and agencies. Much of the rest of world spending is by members of NATO and other allies of the United States, although China ranks second in the world.
Wars can cost even an aggressor nation that fights wars far from its shores twise as much in indirect expenses as in direct expenditures.
The costs to the aggressor, enormous as they are, can be small in comparison to those of the nation attacked.
War Spending Drains an Economy:
It is common to think that, because many people have jobs in the war industry, spending on war and preparations for war benefits an economy. In reality, spending those same dollars on peaceful industries, on education, on infrastructure, or even on tax cuts for working people would produce more jobs and in most cases better paying jobs — with enough savings to help everyone make the transition from war work to peace work.
War Spending Increases Inequality:
Military spending diverts public funds into increasingly privatized industries through the least accountable public enterprise and one that is hugely profitable for the owners and directors of the corporations involved.
War Spending Is Unsustainable, As Is Exploitation it Facilitates:
While war impoverishes the war making nation, can it nonetheless enrich that nation more substantially by facilitating the exploitation of other nations? Not in a manner that can be sustained.
Green energy and infrastructure would surpass their advocates’ wildest fantasies if the funds now invested in war were transferred there.
6. We need $2 trillion/year for other things.
It would cost about $30 billion per year to end starvation and hunger around the world. That sounds like a lot of money to you or me. But if we had $2 trillion it wouldn’t. And we do.
It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water. Again, that sounds like a lot. Let’s round up to $50 billion per year to provide the world with both food and water. Who has that kind of money? We do.
Of course, we in the wealthier parts of the world don’t share the money, even among ourselves. Those in need of aid are right here as well as far away.
But imagine if one of the wealthy nations, the United States for example, were to put $500 billion into its own education (meaning “college debt” can begin the process of coming to sound as backward as “human sacrifice”), housing (meaning no more people without homes), infrastructure, and sustainable green energy and agricultural practices. What if, instead of leading the destruction of the natural environment, this country were catching up and helping to lead in the other direction?
The potential of green energy would suddenly skyrocket with that sort of unimaginable investment, and the same investment again, year after year. But where would the money come from? $500 billion? Well, if $1 trillion fell from the sky on an annual basis, half of it would still be left. After $50 billion to provide the world with food and water, what if another $450 billion went into providing the world with green energy and infrastructure, topsoil preservation, environmental protection, schools, medicine, programs of cultural exchange, and the study of peace and of nonviolent action?
U.S. foreign aid right now is about $23 billion a year. Taking it up to $100 billion — never mind $523 billion! — would have a number of interesting impacts, including the saving of a great many lives and the prevention of a tremendous amount of suffering. It would also, if one other factor were added, make the nation that did it the most beloved nation on earth. A recent poll of 65 nations found that the United States is far and away the most feared country, the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world. Were the United States responsible for providing schools and medicine and solar panels, the idea of anti-American terrorist groups would be as laughable as anti-Switzerland or anti-Canada terrorist groups, but only if one other factor were added — only if the $1 trillion came from where it really ought to come from.
Some U.S. states are setting up commissions to work on the transition from war to peace insustries.
Protests in Venezuela continue (despite President Maduro’s proclamation that the nation is in “absolute calm”), with both the government and the opposition holding rallies, leaving several streets and subway stations in Caracas closed. 10 students who were arrested amid violent protests last week have been released, though 6 students remain in custody. Demonstrators do not yet have the numbers or support base to unseat President Nicolas Maduro’s administration, but as Stratfor notes, these protests could mark a turning point as the economic situation deteriorates there is a chance that protests like this could begin to generate additional social momentum in rejection of the status quo.
What’s going in Venezuela (in a nutshell)
And as Stratfor notes, things could be changing for Maduro…
Relatively large student-led opposition protests convened in Caracas, Valencia, Maracaibo and many other cities throughout the country. Rough Stratfor estimates put the crowd in Caracas at between 15,000-20,000 people based on aerial photos posted on social media. Venezuela’s students are very politically active and protests are frequent. However, the relatively large turnout and widespread geographic distribution of this week’s protests indicate that the movement may be gaining traction.
The challenge that the student movement will face is in finding a way to include Venezuela’s laboring class, which for the most part still supports the government, and relies on its redistributive policies. Their inability to rouse broad support across Venezuela’s social and economic classes was in part why previous student uprisings, including significant protests in 2007, failed to generate enough momentum to trigger a significant political shift.
But the situation has changed in Venezuela, and as the economic situation deteriorates there is a chance that protests like this could begin to generate additional social momentum in rejection of the status quo. President Nicolas Maduro has been in office for less than a year, and in that time the inflation rate has surged to over 50 percent and food shortages are a daily problem. Though firmly in power, the Chavista government is still struggling to address massive social and economic challenges. Massive government spending, years of nationalization and an overreliance on imports for basic consumer goods have radically deteriorated inflation levels, and undermined industrial production.
How the government responds will play a key role in the development of these protests going forward. The government cannot afford to crack down too hard without risking even worse unrest in the future. For its part, the mainstream opposition must walk a careful line between supporting the sentiment behind open unrest and being seen as destabilizing the country. Maduro retains the power to punish opposition politicians, and reaffirmed that Feb. 11 when he stated on national television that he intends to renew the law allowing him to outlaw political candidates who threaten the peace of the country. The statement was a clear shot over the bow of opposition leaders, and may foreshadow a more aggressive government policy designed to limit political opposition.
Venezuela certainly does not appear the “absolute calm” the President described it as…
THE SCENE WAS ABSURD: four activists, each with a bundle of 75 black and gold helium-filled balloons, riding an escalator. As we reached the top, we clipped our banner to the bundles and let go, watching our work rise slowly toward the hundred-foot ceiling of the lobby of a downtown Toronto office tower. Suddenly there were security guards rushing toward us. One of them jumped to make a grab for the bottom edge of the banner. We held our breath. He missed by mere inches and groaned. And then for just a moment, everyone in the lobby was standing still, staring up, as our huge painted banner rose until the balloons bumped and jostled against the ceiling. The bold red letters made our message clear: “HUDBAY MINERALS, CORPORATE CRIMINALS.”
The banner announcing “Hudbay Minerals, Corporate Criminals” stayed up in the lobby of the building where Hudbay’s shareholders were meeting for two hours until the company was able to remove it.
Outside on King Street, we joined the group of protesters who had already been standing in the pouring rain for more than two hours. A banner just like the one we had raised inside was stretched out, soaked, between two elders from the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation. They had traveled from northern Manitoba to confront Hudbay at this shareholder meeting where important decisions were being made by people who may have a financial stake but whose lives will never be directly impacted by the actual workings of any of the company’s mines.
Hudbay Minerals is one of several Canadian-owned mining companies censured by environmental activists, human rights organizations and more recently by mainstream media for carrying out violent forced evictions, murdering a community leader who resisted one of their mines, robbing Indigenous peoples of their lands, supporting brutal police and security operations and criminalizing anyone who has tried to resist their mining projects around the world and here in Canada. Hudbay has gained increasing attention recently because they are the first Canadian company to be tried in Canadian courts for crimes committed at mines overseas.
I [Rachel] have been directly involved in supporting communities resisting Hudbay’s mines since 2010, when I traveled to Guatemala as part of a human rights delegation and had the chance to meet people in a Mayan Q’eqchi’ community impacted by a mine formerly operated by the company. One of those people was Angelica Choc, who is now at the centre of Choc vs. Hudbay, the groundbreaking lawsuit currently being heard by Canadian courts. Angelica’s journey through the Canadian justice system began with the murder of her husband in 2009. Her community’s struggle against Canadian-owned mining companies goes back decades and is interwoven with armed conflict, genocide, government corruption, and Canada’s international development policy.
The history of the Fenix nickel mine, on the shores of Lake Izabal in western Guatemala, began in the 1960s when it was started by Inco, a Canadian company with a deep involvement in the Guatemalan government’s efforts to wipe out opposition. The Canadian government provided significant financial support to Inco’s Guatemalan subsidiary while people who protested or organized against the mine were killed, kidnapped, threatened, and whole communities were forcibly evicted from lands that had been their traditional territory for generations. Inco shut down mining operations in the 1980s, and the Fenix mine site was purchased by two Canadian companies – first Skye Resources in 2004 and then Hudbay in 2008. Shortly after the announcement of a lawsuit against Hudbay for negligence concerning violent acts committed by its employees and subsidiaries, Hudbay sold the Fenix mine to Russian company Solway Group at a $290 million loss.
The banner lift I organized in Toronto in the spring of 2013 was staged for the annual Hudbay shareholder meeting. It was an opportunity for organizations like the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network to counter the company’s media spin and to make evident – if only for the few hours that the crowds assembled outside and the banner floated near the 100 foot high lobby ceiling – that there was a bigger story at play than the record growth investment and corporate social responsibility initiatives that Hudbay was announcing inside. It was one small part of a series of actions and events that tied together Angelica’s quest for justice and that of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (MCCN) in Manitoba.
Leahjane Robinson with 300 balloons, moments before packing them into a uhaul to drive downtown to Hudbay’s shareholder meeting. Photo by Ashling Ligate.
MCCN has never been consulted by Hudbay or the province of Manitoba regarding the company’s mining operations on their territory. In an effort to assert their claim to the land and prevent Hudbay from carrying out their operations without permission, Chief Arlen Dumas formally issued stop work orders against the company in January and March of 2013, and band members organized peaceful gatherings at the mine site where they held drumming and singing ceremonies.
Hudbay responded by obtaining injunctions against the community and by launching a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Chief Dumas. The result of the company’s retaliatory actions is that MCCN people, who live off the land, have been instantly criminalized and held in contempt of court for trying to maintain their livelihood. Because of a mining operation they don’t want and never agreed to, they can no longer legally hunt and fish on their own land. MCCN has since delivered formal eviction notices to Hudbay and the Province of Manitoba.
Clayton Thomas-Muller, a member of the Pukatawagan Cree Nation and campaigner with Idle No More & Defenders of the Land, also came into town to stand with protesters outside Hudbay’s Toronto meeting. He addressed the crowd: “Investing in disputed Indigenous Lands, not respecting our nations’ right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, trying to use the courts to suppress our Cree Nations’ sovereign right to protect our lands and water, are all signalers that the board and CEO of Hudbay are negligent, uninformed and morally bankrupt.” The community of Pukatawagan is located less than a hundred kilometres from the mine site.
Hudbay’s actions against MCCN, first ignoring the community’s right to determine what happens on their land, and later responding to resistance with significant legal threats, is heavy-handed and repressive, but less overtly violent than the threats faced by Angelica Choc’s community and those nearby. In 2007, Mayan farmers near the Fenix mine site were forced from their lands by hundreds of armed men from police, military, and private security forces who then burned down their homes.
In a village called Lote Ocho, eleven women were gang raped by the police, army, and security forces hired by Hudbay during an attempted eviction. The Canadian Ambassador to Guatemala attempted to discredit documentary film evidence of these violent evictions, claiming that the scenes were staged, or were filmed during the country’s armed conflict decades earlier. A Canadian court later found him guilty of slander, and ordered both the Ambassador and the Canadian Government to pay almost $10,000 in damages and costs to the filmmaker.
Angelica Choc addresses the supporters gathered outside of the courthouse where the trial began to hold Canadian company Hudbay accountable for the death of her husband. Also pictured: Grahame Russell fromRights Action. Photo by Veronica Díaz.
Two years later, in the face of another round of possible evictions, Angelica Choc’s husband Adolfo Ich Chamán, a community leader and outspoken critic of the mining company’s operations, was shot and killed by security forces. On the same day, German Chub was shot and permanently injured. These incidents, along with the brutal gang-rapes in Lote Ocho, are part ofthe case against Hudbay currently being heard in the Superior Court of Ontario. There are currently three lawsuits against the company, all for negligence resulting in death or significant harm.
Angelica’s message to Hudbay, which she shared with those who came to support her during a Toronto court appearance, is unflinching. “You made a mistake with me because I did not remain silent with my arms crossed…I demand justice.” She is a powerful speakerher words and her emotions impacted the crowd deeply as they heard about the brutality her community, like many others, has experienced in their efforts to resist violations of land and human rights.
“They need to pay for all the damage caused to my family and our communities. What Hudbay has done is deplorable. Even now they hide behind walls, refusing to accept the damages caused in Guatemala. I call upon everyone, and even more so, my Indigenous peoples, who are here [gathered in Toronto] right now, to remember who we are, where we come from and where we are going. I know this is not only the case in Guatemala, and I am not working, I am not fighting, only for Guatemala. This struggle is for the whole world, to defend the earth.”
On the day of her court appearance, in solidarity with Angelica and the other claimants, local Idle No More organizers led a round dance outside the courtroom. Members of the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network hung up t-shirts and sweaters on a clothesline as a way of “airing Hudbay’s dirty laundry”. Each piece of clothing had been painted by someone in Canada with messages about Hudbay’s activities, including a shirt painted by Angelica the night before. Photographs of this clothesline have since appeared in numerous media stories about the court case and the status of Hudbay’s corporate reputation.
A few of the pieces created to express solidarity with the plaintiffs and to air Hudbay’s dirty laundry. Photo by Leahjane Robinson.
Although the progress of the Choc vs. Hudbay case through the Canadian courts is a legal victory for the claimants and the lawyers representing them, back in the communities surrounding the Fenix mine repressive threats have intensified. Communities and families have been deliberately divided by offers of money and by campaigns of misinformation spread by mine officials and the government.
As disturbing as it is that these claimants are experiencing threats, it comes as little surprise to those of us who have worked on mining resistance. Unfortunately, Canadian mining companies regularly act illegally and with impunity in repressing resistance. This is especially easy to do in Guatemala, a country with one of the highest rates of impunity in the world. It is also a country where human rights activists and those organizing around the defense of land are routinely targets of violent attacks and murders.
Angelica Choc holds up the shirt she created for the laundry line. Photo by Monica Gutierrez.
Angelica knows that it will take the voices and commitment of many Canadians to make a change in the actions of Canadian-owned companies operating in her country. Surprisingly few Canadians realize that the majority of mines around the world are owned by companies based here, or the magnitude of the impact these mines are having.
To many Mayan peoples in Guatemala, the abuses carried out by Canadian companies on their land, across Central America, and globally are understood to be simply one part of a long and violent history of colonization, which they have been fighting against for hundreds of years.
Increasingly, settlers (non-Native people) in Canada are realizing what Indigenous peoples have been saying for a long time – these aren’t accidents, or the story of a few bad apples. If we’re going to change the way these companies act, we’ll need to challenge complex systems with a multitude of players that serve to concentrate power and resources in the hands of a few, often at the expense of Indigenous peoples.
And we need to acknowledge that, knowingly or not, we are all complicit in these harms, whether through the investments of our pension plans, the actions of our elected officials, the jewelry or electronics we buy, or by our tacit acceptance of systematic racism, colonialism and other oppressive, violent forces. It will be a long struggle to reverse these patterns.
The last time Angelica was in Toronto, she and I ate an early breakfast of pupusas in my kitchen before she left for the airport. We didn’t speak about much, but there was a weight to our conversation. We both knew just how dangerous it had been for her to come to Canada, and the risks she faced as she headed back to her community. We both knew that there is a very real threat of more evictions now that the mine has new owners. There was little I could say except to feebly send her off with a hug and a “please take care”.
Rachel and Joanne are spending February and March visiting with mining-impacted communities in Guatemala. For more info on mining in Guatemala, and for writing from their trip, see Under-Mining Guate. Visit the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network for updates on related issues, campaigns and actions. You can also read more about Canadian mining injustices abroad in A\J‘s Resource Wars issue.
Having described Venezuela as “absolutely calm” today – when it was anything but; the fact that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has the stones to accuse Agence France Press of “manipulating” news coverage is stunning.
- *VENEZUELA ASKS INFO MINISTER TO TAKE ACTIONS AGAINST AFP NEWS
Furthermore, Maduro has taken a TV station off-air that competed with Telesur (the state-owned TV station). Of course, we should not worry as Maduro has explained the violence is all protesters’ fault and that he will propose his “peace plan” tomorrow.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro asked his information minister in a national address to take unspecified actions against AFP France Press. Maduro accused AFP of “manipulating” news coverage
Decision to take Colombian TV station NTN24 off the air in Venezuela was made by the government, Maduro says
“The NTN24 station tried to compete with Telesur and yesterday created confusion about the possibility of a coup. Off the air”: Maduro
“I denounce AFP for manipulating information, and I’ve asked the information minister to speak clearly with their correspondents”: Maduro (Telesur is TV network owned by Venezuelan government)
And here is Maduro presenting his perspective of the troublemakers from his Twitter account:
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) February 13, 2014
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) February 13, 2014
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) February 13, 2014
And yet he also told us that things were “absolutely calm”?
By Michael De Groote, Deseret News National Edition
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 4:00 a.m. MST
Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 4:44 p.m. MST
Targeted junk mail marketing is just one way data brokers may affect people’s lives.
Devonyu, Getty Images/iStockphoto
Data brokers are gathering more information on people and packaging the data in ways that may surprise consumers.
This story is part of theDeseret News National Edition, which focuses on the issues that resonate with American families.
Which marketing list are you on?
Is it the list of seniors with dementia? Are you on the list of impulse buyers? Maybe you are on the list of people with “newly activated credit cards” or “obese and morbidly obese consumers.”
Maybe you show up on “badcustomer” or on people with “mental health problems.” There are even marketing lists of rape victims, people with addictive behaviors, people suffering from AIDS, and lists of police officers, according to testimony given before the U.S. Senate by World Privacy Forum’s executive director, Pam Dixon.
These are just a few of the many lists created by data brokers, companies that scour the Internet and other public and private records to compile everything from your age to what you bought, when you bought it, what you responded to, what you posted on Facebook, and on and on — anything that will give companies an edge when they try to sell you things.
The records data brokers create are permanent and under virtually no regulation.
Julia Angwin, author of the forthcoming book, “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance,” tried to find out from multiple data brokers what kind of information they had about her.
It used to be that data brokers had limited information, Angwin says. They gathered home addresses, telephone numbers, car records and other public information such as property records. “But now they can put together a comprehensive picture of your life,” Angwin says. “And once you know everything about me, you have a lot of leverage on me. They are going to have an edge.”
Imagine walking in to buy a car, she says, and the salesman knows how much you make, how much you paid on your last car, even how often you make purchases.
Dixon, in her testimony in Washington, said even if people are careful with their information, “they will still have detailed information about their private and in some cases professional lives collected, bundled, bought, trade, sold … and used in various ways to target or to deny goods, services and opportunities.”
When Angwin gathered some reports from data brokers, she says she was horrified. “They knew I had bought underwear the week before,” she says. “Does anybody really need to know that? But it is in the report, and it is never going to be out of there.”
The use of data is illustrated by a New York Times article from 2012 that explained how Target was able to predict which female customers were pregnant by looking at their purchases. Women who switched to scent-free lotions and soaps and followed other patterns of sequenced buying behavior indicated they were expecting. Target then sent mailers to those women that included baby products.
But part of the problem isn’t just that data brokers get personal information about what type of underwear you are buying or that they can use patterns and data to predict your interest in various products but that they can get it wrong.
Sometimes they get bad information. As Dixon told Congress, sometimes thieves steal somebody’s identity and then their purchases and other illicit actions can get on their victims’ permanent data broker records.
Other times, data brokers make unwarranted assumptions about people based on what they know about those people.
For example, Angwin lives in Harlem, N.Y. — which makes some data brokers assume she is a single mother and has no college degree, neither of which are true.
“(The brokers’ data base) says more about what the list makers think about people who live in Harlem than it does about me,” she says. “I am almost as disturbed by what data brokers get wrong as when they get it right.”
As technology and improved algorithms help the data brokers improve their results, Angwin worries that the resulting lists will become more precise and personal. They aren’t just doing this to find the most accurate target market, she says. They are learning what people’s vulnerabilities are so they can exploit them.
The price we pay
Jeff Atwood, a blogger in El Cerrito, Calif., who co-founded the programmers website stackoverflow.com, says giving up personal information is the price people pay to do things on the Internet.
“I consider it standard practice,” he says. “So much that we do is free. That is the cost of free.”
Angwin tried to get her data removed from various data brokers’ records. “I was not very successful,” she says. “They are not required by law to remove your data.”
She was only able to find information on less than half of the data brokers. Only about half of those offered opt out — 92 out of the 212 she identified.
She posted lists of the data broker information on her website, www.JuliaAngwin.com, identifying those who gave her information about what they knew about her and those that allowed her to opt out.
Some wanted money to remove the information. One wanted a copy of her driver’s license. Some required a mail form or fax. Others wanted too much information — such as a credit card number.
“They don’t make it easy to get out,” she says.
MLK’s spirit rises: 2014 Worldwide Wave of Action for Truth, Justice, Freedom (1 of ?) Washington’s Blog
Purpose of this operation:
- Expose 1% oligarchs in the US and elsewhere as OBVIOUS criminals centering in war, money, andmedia (also in ~100 other crucial areas).
- Cause their surrender through arrests or Truth & Reconciliation.
- Initiate true freedom for all Earth’s inhabitants to explore ready breakthroughs in economics (links below) and technology, and discover what it is to be human without psychopathic criminals who joke about killing millions, harming billions, and looting trillions.
There are suggested actions here for your consideration how you can lead/participate in your own best way.
Why do this? As bullet-pointed above, let’s look at just a few areas of OBVIOUS US 1% oligarchic crimes that anyone who cares to see can easily confirm as factually accurate:
- US wars began by “Big Lies,”
- Debt we’re told is “money” and bankster looting,
- US assassinations of President Kennedy and Dr. King,
- Allowing a million children to die every month from preventable poverty,
- “Coverage” of corporate media to hide these crimes.
US wars began by “Big Lies”: Current US wars were thrust upon trusting US military and families with lies known to be false as they were told. The 1% continue their mockery of veterans by allowing their growing homelessness and suicides, despite obvious solutions available for everyone’s full-employment and health care. This continues a long history of lie-began US Wars of Aggression since theUS invaded Mexico; despite Abraham Lincoln’s powerfully accurate rhetoric of President Polk’s lies to steal half of Mexico at the expense of US military and Mexican civilian lives. The most decorated US Marine general in his day also warned all Americans of this fact of lie-started wars for 1% plunder. TheseUS-led wars have killed ~30 million since World War 2 alone; more than killed by fascist Nazis.
Debt we’re told is “money” and bankster looting: 1% US “leaders” in economic management from government and finance/banking cause trillions in damages to our families every year in OBVIOUS lies:
- They tell us debt is “money” in Orwellian psychopathic viciousness. Adding more debt, as these mechanics can only do, will only and always increase the debt. This “monetary system” also guarantees total debt is perpetual and unpayable, making the 99% permanent debt-slaves to 1% asset-holes (documentation here, here, here). The mechanics and mathematics of only being able to add negative numbers to existing negative numbers is certain and simple.
- Government Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) have literal multiple trillions in surplus taxpayer assets, as they fraudulently claim deficits “forcing” austerity upon the 99%. For example, California’s own CAFR proves a ~$16 billion claimed budget deficit is absolutely refuted by ~$100 billion in liquid surplus funds and ~$500 billion in claimed investments (explanation and complete documentation here, television interview to explain here, documentation of official lies to keep this information hidden here).
- They lie in omission by keeping obvious solutions secret: including government directly paying for all public goods and services with debt-free money created by government (and here). Several models (and here) of cost-free government are known, beginning with Benjamin Franklin’s pamphleton colonial Pennsylvania operating its government without taxes to Thomas Edison explaining debt-free money with Henry Ford in a 1921 summer media tour.
In fact, government could (and should) be the employer of last resort for infrastructure (hard – like roads, and soft – like health care, education). Such a structure would provide full-employment, the best infrastructure we can imagine, and falling prices because infrastructure creates more economic output than the infrastructure investment cost (documentation here, here, here).
US assassinations of President Kennedy and Dr. King: President John Kennedy and Dr. Martin King, Jr. were assassinated by a US oligarchy, with those crimes “covered” by corporate media. If you’re not aware of these powerful histories, it’s time you learned. The conservative academic standard for historical consideration is that if there is powerful evidence that we cannot refute, then we hold that evidence within our explanation of what happened. In both “official” narratives of these assassinations, the evidence linked makes those narratives impossible to have happened.
Allowing a million children to die every month from preventable poverty: I worked to help create two UN Summits for heads of state for ending poverty. The investment cost is less than 1% of the developed nations’ income, with outcomes of saving a million children’s lives each month from horrific deaths, reducing population growth rate, and supporting environmental resources. There is no academic or political argument against the investment and effectiveness of the known solutions. But what we receive is ongoing lies of omission and commission from our 1% oligarchy and corporate media to keep the powerful facts hidden from the public. Full documentation here.
“Coverage” of corporate media to hide these crimes: You may wish to consider this expert testimony of 30+ Emmy journalist, Bill Moyers. “Corporate media” are six corporations that “cover” OBVIOUS crimes centering in war and money by a 1% US oligarchy. They lie by commission and omission (full explanation and documentation here, here, here), with propaganda techniques obvious upon inspection.
Your response? Whatever you find best, go for it.
Will this operation be successful? Yes, in so far that it seems our best action to take at this time. As human guests on this beautiful yet dominated planet, our roles are limited. We can only do what we can imagine in good-faith effort to help build a brighter future.
But perhaps you simply have no other choice but to act for this planetary upgrade, or live further under its psychopathy. Perhaps this famous quote makes sense to you now:
“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Vol. 1.
CBC | By THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark BlinchPosted: 02/06/2014 8:55 pm EST | Updated: 02/07/2014 9:59 am EST
The Canada Revenue Agency is currently conducting extensive audits on some of Canada’s most prominent environmental groups to determine if they comply with guidelines that restrict political advocacy, CBC News has learned.
If the CRA rules that the groups exceeded those limits, their charitable status could be revoked, which would effectively shut them down.
Many of the groups are among the Conservative government’s fiercest critics. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty signalled clearly in his budget of 2012 that political activity of these groups would be closely monitored and he allocated $8 million to the effort. The environmental organizations believe they have been targeted with the goal of silencing their criticism.
“We’re concerned about what appears to be an increase in audits around political activity and in particular around environmental organizations” said Marcel Lauzière, president of Imagine Canada, an umbrella organization for charities.
“There’s a big chill out there with what charities can and cannot do.”
The list of groups CBC has now confirmed are undergoing audits reads like a who’s who in the environmental charity world. They include:
– The David Suzuki Foundation
– Tides Canada
– West Coast Environmental Law
– The Pembina Foundation
– Environmental Defence
– Ecology Action Centre
“This is a war against the sector,” says John Bennett, of Sierra Club Canada. His group is not yet being audited, but he said he is prepared.
“In the 40-year history of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, it’s been audited twice in 40 years” so there are more audits than usual, Bennett said.
CBC has confirmed that at least one group, Environmental Defence, has received its report back from the CRA and they are appealing it. Sources said their report threatened to revoke their charitable status. Another group, West Coast Environmental Law, had auditors fly in from Ottawa to enhance the work of the local CRA team. One source said the Ottawa CRA people called themselves “The A team.”
Most groups on this list would not talk on the record, but sources say executive directors of these groups are meeting regularly by phone to discuss a united response to the government.
By law, charities are allowed to use a maximum of 10 per cent of their resources for political activity or advocacy, but the guidelines are clear that it cannot be partisan activity. That has been interpreted for years to mean that a group can oppose a government policy but cannot back a specific candidate in an election.
During a pre-budget consultation in December, Flaherty said he is considering making even more changes to rules for charities that have a political aspect.
“We’re reviewing that,” Flaherty said. “We spent some time on it last year and we’re looking at it again now as I prepare the budget.”
He went on to warn charities: “If I were an environmental charity using charitable money, tax-receipted money for political purposes, I would be cautious.”
Bennett said the rules seem to be constantly changing.
“We don’t know what rules we’re playing by. The problem with this is that they gave the power to CRA to walk in and shut you down. And then if you want to complain, you can go to court afterwards.”
The government insists it does not target certain charities, nor does it tell CRA to do so. Auditors alone determine whether they investigate a charity.
“I assume they receive all sorts of information from all sorts of Canadians, in terms of who they should or should not audit. Ultimately it is up to them as an independent agency who they audit or not,” Alberta Conservative MP James Rajotte said.
CBC News contacted the CRA several times to ask how auditing targets are chosen. Spokespeople suggested responses could be found on their website. There it states some of the reasons a charity could be selected for an audit including random selection, to review specific legal obligations under the law and to follow-up on possible non-compliance or complaints.
According to lawyer Mark Blumberg, who specializes in charity law, the CRA often audits charitable organizations based on complaints.
“If there are a number of complaints about a charity and its political activities, that could trigger an audit by CRA,” he said. That assessment is echoed by a number of groups currently undergoing audits.
“I believe our audit was complaint driven,” said Ross McMillan, the president and CEO of Tides Canada.
“I am confident of a positive outcome as we take seriously our responsibility to act in compliance with the Income Tax Act and Canada Revenue Agency guidelines,” he said.
Pro-oilsands group has filed complaints
McMillan goes on to cite complaints from Ethical Oil, a group that has formally submitted complaints to the CRA about Tides Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and Environmental Defence.
The complaints are all filed through legal counsel and are part of a campaign Ethical Oil has started to strip these environmental groups of their charitable status.
Ethical Oil is a registered non-profit non-governmental organization that describes itself as an “online community” to empower people to become grassroots activists in defence of the oilsands development.
The group was founded by Alykhan Velshi, who is currently the director of issues management in the Prime Minister’s Office. Environmental groups say Ethical Oil is funded by the oil and gas industry to try to undermine their work
CBC News has repeatedly asked Ethical Oil to reveal who their funders are but no specific list has been made public.
Environmental groups are not the only ones who have been audited. Social justice groups like Amnesty International Canada are also currently undergoing an audit about their political activities. CBC News contacted them but they declined to comment.
All the groups say they will be watching Tuesday’s budget for new rules that may affect their charitable status.
“We have an important role to play in our society and we want to play that role,” said Bennett. ” But we need a governing system that actually welcomes public dialogue instead of discouraging it.”