Well, certainly picked a strange holiday marketing strategy.


Please note below (sentence enlarged) that they are only stocking and selling 1-pound propane canisters! All normal grills use at least 15-pound canisters. This is a purposeful attack on the Water Protectors who are trying to survive in sub-freezing weather in North Dakota. Everyone should demand they keep their stores in the area stocked up fully! Human lives depend on it! This is outrageous! --Bonnie Weinstein, bauaw.org

Oak Brook, Ill.,




Ace Hardware statement on North Dakota protest and product sales

Update: As of Thursday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. local time, Ace Hardware stores in Bismarck, N. D., are in-stock and selling 1 lb. propane canisters. 

At Ace, our local store owners take great pride in serving their neighbors and it is our policy to serve all customers without discrimination and to follow all laws in each respective community.

We understand the concerns that have been shared with us regarding product sales related to the recent protests in North Dakota and have been working very hard to gather all of the facts from our locally-owned Ace stores that operate in the area and local authorities. To be candid, we've been working feverishly to unearth all of the facts, which have been cloudy at times.

In an effort to clear any misunderstanding and/or misinformation, Ace Hardware can now confirm that there is no ban on the sale of products at our locally-owned Ace stores; customers should feel free to check with their local store for inventory availability. 




North Dakota: Stop Using Cold Water to Blast Unarmed Protestors in Sub-Freezing Temperatures


14,000 GOAL

As we gear up to celebrate Thanksgiving, Native Americans are fighting for their right to their own land, clean water and now, their lives. On Sunday night, Dakota Access Pipeline unarmed protesters were blasted with tear gas, mace, rubber bullets and water cannons for hours in 23-degree weather, all while simply trying to clear the road for emergency services.

While all of this violence is unacceptable, the freezing cold water cannons are especially cruel given the temperature; protesters could easily get hypothermia and even die! Please join the Standing Rock medics in begging Morton County law enforcement to stop the use of water cannons on peaceful protesters immediately.

Protesters were simply trying to clear the road to allow emergency services to get to their camp when the militarized police force assaulted them for hours on end. The medics at the scene said 300 people were injured, 23 of whom ended up in the hospital. The majority of the injured got hypothermia from the freezing water cannons.

Frontline journalists were also targeted and shot with rubber bullets, press drones were shot down and some protectors were shot in the head with rubber bullets and fell unconscious.

This dangerous, potentially lethal treatment of peaceful protesters cannot stand. These people are using legal and unarmed tactics to simply protect their water supply and Morton County may end up killing them. Add your name to ask them to cut the worst of their tactics out: using a freezing water cannon in sub-freezing temperatures.

Sign Petition Here:




Message from the National Boricua Human Rights Network 



Hi all:

We are asking all organizations, communities, unions, churches, activists, political parties- to CALL ON THEIR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS to sign this petition and spread the word- this is a time-sensitive request!

We must try to achieve the signing of 100,000 signatures by December 11.

No matter how many petitions you have signed- SIGN THIS ONLINE PETITION and get everyone else to do the same. Do not let anyone tell you they have signed petitions or letters before- this is the one that will be highlighted.



Coordinating Committee

National Boricua Human Rights Network

2739 W. Division Street

Chicago IL 60622



International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity





Black Children Punished for Anthem Protests

After young 11 and 12-year-boys of the Beaumont Bulls football knelt during the anthem to protest police violence against Black youth, their local executive board canceled their entire football season, suspended the coaching staff, and threatened to arrest their parents if they attended any future games, practices or events.

For these young Black kids, the plight of injustice in America is their own. Instead of supporting the boys and their protests, their executive board and league officials abandoned them. The board has decided to strip these kids of the team that they love to punish them for asking for basic rights and dignities. This is about the board reinforcing that police violence in our communities doesn't matter, that our issues aren't important and that speaking onthem makes you subject to punishment.

These kids are brave for refusing to give in to the executive board and for standing against injustice. We need to support the fight of these children and show them that their protest is heard.

To the Beaumont Bulls Executive Board,

Immediately reinstate the Beaumont Bulls coaching staff, apologize to the boys and their parents, and allow them to finish their season.


We need to support the fight of these children and show them that their protest is heard. 





Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:












Rally and March

Friday December 9, Rally Oscar Grant Plaza, OAKLAND, 4pm 

Followed by March to OPD Headquarters 

Join us for a National Day of Action on December 9 to FREE MUMIA NOW!


in coordination with his Philadelphia and New York supporters 

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther who police tried to execute on the streets of Philadelphia in 1981, was framed by a racist judicial system and sentenced to death. Like other Black Panthers he was an innocent target of the FBI's repressive COINTELPRO campaign. From death row Mumia, became known as the "voice of the voiceless", exposing deplorable prison conditions and fighting racist police killings, imperialist wars and capitalist oppression. International protests got him off death row, but now they are trying to kill him by medical neglect. They are withholding life-saving Hep C medication he and 7,000 other Pennsylvania prisoners desperately need. After 35 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, it's time to mobilize to FREE MUMIA and other political prisoners like him now! 

A recent US Supreme Court decision, "Williams vs. Pennsylvania" could open the door for Mumia's freedom but only if this fundamentally racist judicial system is confronted with mass protests like those that got him off death row. This decision ruled that a prosecutor cannot later sit as judge over the same defendant's appeal. This is exactly what happened in Mumia's case. On this basis Mumia's attorneys have filed a new legal action. If successful, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rulings that upheld his conviction would be overturned. Mumia could then re-appeal the issues of his innocence, jury bias and falsified evidence to win an outright dismissal of charges or get a new trial. Mumia was framed by corrupt cops, prosecutors, and judges for the murder of a policeman that he did not commit!! 

We say: Free Mumia Now! 

 Endorsers for the December 9th Free Mumia Coalition: 

Angela Davis; ANSWER Coalition; Anti Police-Terror Project; BAMN; Black Panther Commemoration Committee, NY; (Former) Black Panthers: Cleo Silvers, Eddie Conway, Larry Pinkney, William Johnson; Cal BSU; Code Pink, Freedom Socialist Party-Bay Area; Haiti Action Committee; International Action Center; John Brown Society; Justice for Palestinians-San Jose; Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal; Love Not Blood Campaign/Uncle Bobby; National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party; Oakland Socialist Group; Oakland Teachers for Mumia; Oasis Hepatitis C Clinic; Occupy 4 Prisoners; Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and State Repression; Party for Socialism and Liberation; Peace and Freedom Party; Socialist Organizer; Socialist Viewpoint; Speak Out Now; Veterans for Peace – East Bay; Workers World Party

See you at Oscar Grant Plaza (City Hall), Oakland, 4 pm, December 9th

More Info: Tova, 510-600-5800; Jack, 510-501-7080; Gerald 510-417-1252

(This message from: Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal).



In Philadelphia on December 9th:

3-6pm - Rally outside next to the hated Rizzo statue across from City Hall in Thomas Paine Plaza 

6-9pm - Indoor event at Arch Street Methodist Church, Arch and N. Broad Street streets (food will be available.)



January 20, 2017, 7:00 A.M.

Freedom Plaza

1355 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.

(14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.)

Washington, D.C.

Here in San Francisco:

Fri. Jan. 20, 5pm
SF Protest: Say NO to Trump and the Trump Program on Inauguration Day
Fight Racism, Sexism and Bigotry—Defend Immigrants!
UN Plaza, near Civic Center BART, San Francisco

Share on Facebook

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Sign up to volunteer! Become an organizer in the fightback movement against Trump!

n8 sf

Progressive people from all over the country will be descending on Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2017, to stage a massive demonstration along Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day along with corresponding actions in San Francisco and other West Coast cities.

Trump's appointees are a motley and dangerous crew of billionaires, white supremacists and other extreme rightwingers. They have nothing good in mind for anyone but the banks, oil companies and the military-industrial complex.

It is more important than ever that we keep building the grassroots movement against war, militarism, racism, anti-immigrant scapegoating and neoliberal capitalism's assault against workers' living standards and the environment.

Real social change comes from the bottom, the mobilized grassroots, and not from the centers of institutional power, the professional politicians or the capitalist elites.

This country needs a real political revolution. Millions of people feel entirely disenfranchised by a political system that delivered the least favorable and trusted candidates in U.S. history. Many hoped that the Bernie Sanders campaign would represent a new direction and opportunity to take on entrenched power and extreme inequality, for a higher minimum wage, to defend Social Security, rebuild the labor movement, provide universal health care and free tuition.

Donald Trump is a racist, sexist bigot. On Inauguration Day, thousands will be in the streets to give voice to the millions of people in this country who are demanding systemic change and who reject Trump's anti-people program.

Join us on January 20, 2017, for a massive mobilization of the people!

More info: www.ANSWERsf.org or 415-821-6545. 



Read more about this action at:




Chelsea Manning Support Network

Support Chelsea's petition to reduce sentence to time served

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View it in your browser.

Support Chelsea's petition to Obama:
Reduce sentence to time served

"New York Times, November 14, 2016 -- Chelsea Manning, who confessed to disclosing archives of secret diplomatic and military documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 and has been incarcerated longer than any other convicted leaker in American history, has formally petitioned President Obama to reduce the remainder of her 35-year sentence to the more than six years she has already served."

Sign the whitehouse.gov petition in
support of Chelsea's request today!

White House petition

Official clemency application from Chelsea Manning.

November 10, 2016

Also coverage by the Guardian and the New York Times. November 14, 2016

Washington DC action this Saturday!The White House Committee to Pardon Chelsea Manning invites you to join them this Saturday, November 19th from noon to 2pm in front of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC. They are calling on President Obama to pardon Chelsea Manning. Facebook page for more info.

Fort Leavenworth vigil this Sunday! The Kansas City Peace and Social Justice group is organizing a vigil for Chelsea this Sunday, November 20th at 2pm at the public right-of-way near the long driveway into Ft. Leavenworth, near Metropolitan & North 10th Street.

Chelsea tried committing suicide
a second time in October

Chelsea_Manning-Feb2015_2Chelsea has been informed that the Army will hold another disciplinary hearing on the second attempted suicide, which was prompted by the punishment given by the first disciplinary hearing following her initial suicide attempt.

New York Times

November 4, 2016

Chelsea Manning tried to commit suicide last month as she was starting a week of solitary confinement at the prison barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., her punishment for a previous attempt to end her life in July.

Ms. Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking archives of secret documents to WikiLeaks, disclosed the attempted suicide, which took place Oct. 4, in a statement she dictated over the phone to a member of her volunteer support network. She asked that it be sent this week to The New York Times, according to members of the network who want to keep their identities private.

Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Ms. Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, confirmed the attempt, which raised new questions about the military's handling of the troubled soldier, dating to when she was permitted to deploy to Iraq and kept at her post in a secure facility despite signs of erratic behavior.

Read the full NYT article here

Sign the whitehouse.gov petition in
support of Chelsea's request today!









Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)




Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser



Today is the 406th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan

languishes in prison doing felony time for a misdemeanor crime he did not

commit. Today is also the day that Robert McKay, a spokesperson for the

Free Rev. Pinkney campaign, gave testimony before United Nations

representatives about the plight of Rev. Pinkney at a hearing held in

Chicago. The hearing was called in order to shed light upon the

mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States and put it on an

international stage. And yet as the UN representatives and audience heard

of the injustices in the Pinkney case many gasped in disbelief and asked

with frowns on their faces, "how is this possible?" But disbelief quickly

disappeared when everyone realized these were the same feelings they had

when they first heard of Flint and we all know what happened in Flint. FREE


Please send letters to:

Marquette Branch Prison

Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671

1960 US Hwy 41 South

Marquette, MI 49855

Please donate at http://bhbanco.org (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:

c/o Dorothy Pinkney

1940 Union St.

Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Contributions for Rev. Pinkney's defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.



State Seeks to Remove Innocent PA Lifer's Attorney! Free Corey Walker!

The PA Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed legal action to remove Corey Walker's attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein, in November 2014. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the evidentiary hearing to terminate Wolkenstein as Corey Walker's pro hac vice lawyer continues before Judge Lawrence Clark of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in Harrisburg, PA.

Walker, assisted by Wolkenstein, filed three sets of legal papers over five months in 2014 with new evidence of Walker's innocence and that the prosecution and police deliberately used false evidence to convict him of murder. Two weeks after Wolkenstein was granted pro hac vice status, the OAG moved against her and Walker.

The OAG claims that Wolkenstein's political views and prior legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal and courtroom arrest by the notorious Judge Albert Sabo makes it "intolerable" for her to represent Corey Walker in the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Over the past fifteen months the OAG has effectively stopped any judicial action on the legal challenges of Corey Walker and his former co-defendant, Lorenzo Johnson against their convictions and sentences to life imprisonment without parole while it proceeds in its attempts to remove Wolkenstein.

This is retaliation against Corey Walker who is innocent and framed. Walker and his attorney won't stop until they thoroughly expose the police corruption and deliberate presentation of false evidence to convict Corey Walker and win his freedom.

This outrageous attack on Corey Walker's fundamental right to his lawyer of choice and challenge his conviction must cease. The evidence of his innocence and deliberate prosecutorial frame up was suppressed for almost twenty years. Corey Walker must be freed!

Read: Jim Crow Justice – The Frame-up Of Corey Walker by Charles Brover

Go to FreeCoreyWalker.org to provide help and get more information.



TAKE ACTION: Mumia is sick

Judge Robert Mariani of the U.S. District Court has issued an order in Mumia's case, granting Mumia's lawyers Bret Grote and Robert Boyle's motion to supplement the record. 

New medical records documenting Mumia's deteriorated condition from February and March, will be presented June 6th. Judge Mariani has also instructed the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide any updates and changes in DOC hep C treatment and policies which affect the plaintiff's treatment.

Calling into Prison Radio, Mumia noted: 

"My friends, my brothers, it ain't over 'til it's over, but there is some motion. It means that we're moving closer to hopefully some real treatment not of my symptoms, but of my disease. I thank you all for being there. And freedom is a constant struggle. I love you all. From what used to be death row, this is Mumia, your brother."

Mumia remains quite ill. While stable, his curable hepatitis C is still active and progressive. The only treatment Mumia has received over the last 14 months to this day is skin ointment and photo therapy. He has not received the medically indicated treatment for hep C, the very condition that put him in the Intensive Care Unit in March 2015. 

Hepatitis C is a progressive disease that attacks Mumia's organs, skin and liver. Unless the court orders the new hepatitis C treatment - one pill a day for 12 weeks, with a 95% cure rate - Mumia's health will remain at serious risk.

Before the court is the preliminary injunction motion, which demands immediate medical care.

The exhaustion of administrative remedy and the procedural hurdles make it extremely difficult for people in prison to actually get their grievances heard through the review process. The Prison Litigation Reform Act was passed specifically to create these very almost insurmountable barriers to access to the courts.

Please read the New Yorker article, Why it is Nearly Impossible for Prisoners to Sue Prisons.

In Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes, one very telling point was when the DOC's Director of Medical Care, Dr. Paul Noel, took the stand. He said that he had never testified before in court! He has worked for the DOC for over a decade.   

That meant that no prisoner had access to adversarial cross examination. Before Mumia's day in court in late December 2015, no prisoner ever had the opportunity to expose the PA DOC's blatant lies. Lies so bold that Dr. Noel disavowed his own signed affidavit, and in court he stated that he "did not sign it and it was false and misleading". The knowingly false and fabricated document was put in the record by Laura Neal, Senior DOC attorney.

Take Action for Mumia

Call prison officials to demand immediate treatment!

Dr. Paul Noel-Director of Medical Care, DOC
717-728-5309 x 5312

John Wetzel- Secretary of DOC
717+728-2573 x 4109

Dr. Carl Keldie-Chief Medical Officer, Correct Care Solutions
800-592-2974 x 5783

Theresa DelBalso-Superintendent, SCI Mahanoy
570-773-2158 x 8101

    Tom Wolf, PA Governor 

    Phone  717-787-2500

    Fax 717-772-8284 

    Email governor@pa.gov

    Sign the Petition now to demand Mumia's right to life-saving hepatitis C care.

    Help Mumia's lawyers prepare to demand access to Mumia's medical records from court!

    Thank you for keeping Mumia in your heart and mind,

    Noelle Hanrahan

    Director, Prison Radio


    The Oasis Clinic in Oakland, CA, which treats patients with Hepatitis-C (HCV), demands an end to the outrageous price-gouging of Big Pharma corporations, like Gilead Sciences, which hike-up the cost for essential, life-saving medications such as the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, in order to reap huge profits. The Oasis Clinic's demand is:







    This message from:

    Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

    PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org

    06 January 2016

    Mumia Is Innocent!  Free Mumia!




    Imam Jamil (H.Rap Brown) moved

    Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) was moved by bus from USP Canaan in Waymart, PA. to USP Tucson, Arizona.  His mailing address is:  USP Tucson United States Penitentiary P.O. Box Tucson, AZ. 85734  (BOP number 99974555)

    Sign the Petition:

    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE Bureau of Prisons, The Governor of Georgia

    We are aware of a review being launched of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted and or deserve a new trail because of flawed forensic evidence and or wrongly reported evidence. It was stated in the Washington Post in April of 2012 that Justice Department Officials had known for years that flawed forensic work led to convictions of innocent people. We seek to have included in the review of such cases that of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. We understand that all cases reviewed will include the Innocence Project. We look forward to your immediate attention to these overdue wrongs.

    ASAP: The Forgotten Imam Project

    P.O. Box 373

    Four Oaks, NC 27524


    Luqman Abdullah-ibn Al-Sidiq




    Major Battles On

    For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.

    Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.

    Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.

    Remember I mentioned, "paid?"

    Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!

    In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!

    And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)

    To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!

    In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.

    He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.

    Other men have done more for less.

    Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.

    In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.

    Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.

    And the fight ain't over.

    [©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]

    Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support

    Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.

    The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.

    This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.

    It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.


      Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!

      Go to JPay.com;

      code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

      Tell Philadelphia District Attorney

      Seth Williams:

      Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by police and and prosecution.

      Call: 215-686-8711 or

      Write to:

      Major Tillery AM9786

      SCI Frackville

      1111 Altamont Blvd.

      Frackville, PA 17931

        For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot


        Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



        Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

        Sign the Petition:


        Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.

        "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case

        Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.

        In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.

        Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.

        Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

        Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."

        Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

        Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.

        In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.

        In solidarity,

        James Clark
        Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
        Amnesty International USA

          Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org

          Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

          Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin.  He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence.  In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.

          There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:

            The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?

            The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."

            Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.

            These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.

            The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.

          Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.

          The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.

          The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

               This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015




          Sign the Petition:


          Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:

          Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.

          I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.

          American Federation of Teachers

          Campaign for America's Future

          Courage Campaign

          Daily Kos

          Democracy for America


          Project Springboard

          RH Reality Check


          Student Debt Crisis

          The Nation

          Working Families



          Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

          Updates from Team Lorenzo Johnson

          Dear Supporters and Friends,

          Show your support for Lorenzo by wearing one of our beautiful new campaign t-shirts! If you donate $20 (or more!) to the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, we will send you a t-shirt, while supplies last. Make sure to note your size and shipping address in the comment section on PayPal, or to include this information with a check.

          Here is a message from Lorenzo's wife, Tazza Salvatto:

          My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!

          Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 

          This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo's prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.

          Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo's innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are "slow walking" his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.

          When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he's labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo's wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.

          Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 

                                    Lorenzo's wife,

                                     Tazza Salvatto

          Lorenzo is continuing to fight for his freedom with the support of his lead counsel, Michael Wiseman, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, and the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson.

          Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit our website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!

          Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                      DF 1036

                      SCI Mahanoy

                      301 Morea Rd.

                      Frackville, PA 17932

           Email: Through JPay using the code:

                        Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                        Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com


                        Directly on ConnectNetwork -- instructions here

          Have a wonderful day!

          - The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson

          Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                      DF 1036

                      SCI Mahanoy

                      301 Morea Rd.

                      Frackville, PA 17932

           Email: Through JPay using the code:

                        Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                        Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com













          1) Forest Fires Raging Across Palestine

          Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh for Salem-News.com

          The European pine tree, not indigenous to Palestine, is highly flammable.

          Nov-25-2016 16:40 Follow @OregonNews

          Palestine fires

          Fires ablaze in Palestine. 
          Image: http://mekomit.co.il/

          (LONDON / BETHLEHEM) - Over 200 forest fires are raging in Palestine (now renamed the Jewish State of Israel including its occupied Palestinian territories). Many countries are helping put out the fires including four teams of Palestinian firefighters (no body helped Gaza when it was being fire-bombed by white phosphorous). 

          But the fascist racist government of "Israel" blamed the Palestinians for the fires! Even some decent Israelis pointed out that fires are raging across Western Asia (aka the "Middle East"). 

          Here is a map (link) put out by one Israeli website of location of fires across the region including in Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey.

          Perhaps coincidentally or otherwise, right after war criminal Netanyahu blamed Palestinians, new fires erupted near Palestinian communities. If you really want to know who is to blame for the damage, it is clearly Zionism as I wrote in many articles and books before. 

          In 1901 at the World Zionist Congress and despite objections of conscientious Jews, a Jewish National Fund (Keren Keyemet Li'Israel, or KKL) was establish to further "Jewish colonization" (the term they used) of Palestine. 

          One of the tasks was to raise money and they used the gimmick of collecting money for trees. Indeed they did plant trees but it was unfortunately the highly flammable European pine tree.

          After 1948-1949 when some 500 Palestinian villages and towns were depopulated, their lands (cultivated with figs, almonds, olives and other trees) were razed to the ground and again resinous and inflammable pine trees were planted. 

          The same happened after 1967 when here Palestinian villages were demolished and their village lands planted with the same European pines, one of those villages is the biblical Imwas (see photos before and after here: freepaly.wordpress.com/tag/environmental-racism.

          The choice of European pine trees was because a) they grow fast, b) they give a European look to the otherwise "Arab" landscape, c) their leaves on the ground make acidic preventing growth or regrowth of endogenous trees. In total, KKL boasts that it planted 240 million pine trees. 

          Resinous pine is like petrol and burns with a ferocity. This was not the only environmentally catastrophic decision by the Zionist movement in Palestine (others include draining the Hula Wetlands and the diversion of the water of the river Jordan and now the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal). 

          Environmentally, the current fires are deadly to all living creatures regardless of their origins and they do spread t the remaining few indigenous forests and to human dwellings (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist without distinction).

          We environmentalists (Palestinian and Israeli) have longed warned of the catastrophic consequences of politically driven decisions guided by colonial ideology but devastating to native animals and plants.

          So here we are the remaining native Palestinians watching our lands go up in flames and being blamed for it. This is not unusual and we are the victims of others from long ago. We even paid the price of what happened in WWII (by Europeans to fellow Europeans). 

          I am thinking now if a meteor hits earth, we Palestinians will also pay a disproportionate price. 7 million of us are refugees or displaced people.

          We in the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (http://palestinenature.org) urge protection of our nature. Environmental conservation is a priority for all decent human beings including guarding biodiversity (and human diversity).

          My presentation in Paris: DESCLAUX_SALACHAS/slideshow

          How did Zionism became the dominant feature among Jews in the world?

          Here is a clue from 1942 that, however, does not even mention that Palestine had its native population who are now mostly refugees or displaced people (7 million of 12 million native Palestinian Christians and Muslims). Thanks to this colonial ideology called Zionism...

          "Zionism an Affirmation of Judaism / A reply by 757 Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Rabbis of America to a Statement Issued by Ninety Members of the Reform Rabbinate Charging That Zionism Is Incompatible with the Teachings of Judaism."

          This statement is by "American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs New York 1942" [note that these Rabbis themselves use "colonial" without mentioning natives but that is typical of such movements but also note that they are responding to 90 decent Jewish Rabbis. Alas the struggle continues between the two camps I discussed in my last weekly email].

          Stay human and come visit us

          Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD (formerly of Yale and Duke universities) teaches at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine and chairs the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People. Professor Qumsiyeh has authored over 110 scientific papers in areas of mammalogy, biology, and medicine including mammalian biology and evolution, clinical genetics, and cancer research. He has published over 100 letters to the editor and 30 op-ed pieces in International, national, regional and local papers on issues ranging from politics to environmental issues. His appearances in national media include the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others. He is the founder and president of the Holy Land Conservation Foundation and ex-President of the Middle East Genetics Association, and Prof. Qumsiyeh won the Jallow activism award from the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee in 1998. Those are just a small list, visit Mazin Qumsiyeh's amazing and informative Website to learn more: qumsiyeh.org, and also pcr.ps.



          2)  Even as Trudeau Reaches Out to First Nations, Mercury Rises

           NOV. 27, 201





          Billy Gauthier, an Inuk artist who lives in Labrador on Canada's remote northeastern coast, began his hunger strike on Oct. 13 after a plate of salmon. The meal was highly symbolic.

          The Nunatsiavut government in Labrador had released a study from a Harvard mercury researcher on the effects of the newly constructed Muskrat Falls dam. The study showed that water flooding the reservoir behind the dam would contain methylmercury levels "to the point that they exceed regulatory thresholds for exposure," building up over time in fish and other game consumed by the native population.

          And so Mr. Gauthier refused to eat the fish that the Muskrat Falls project would contaminate. Thirteen days later, the provincial government promised to act on an independent assessment of the health risks to the people of Labrador, and Mr. Gauthier celebrated with a plate of arctic char.

          He may have celebrated too soon. Already the government's commitment is looking doubtful, with Stan Marshall, the chief executive of Nalcor Energy, the company responsible for the dam, publicly playing down the methylmercury risks.

          Muskrat Falls has brought up urgent questions for the country as a whole at a turning point in our relationship to First Peoples: How serious are we about the process of truth and reconciliation?

          Muskrat Falls will affect three peoples — the Innu, the Nunatsiavut and the NunatuKavut — who will have to alter their diets, and as such their cultures. Methylmercury has a particularly strong effect on women and children and can lead to intellectual impairments and immune system problems. Some of the hydroelectric dams have already disrupted the hunting and fishing traditions of the Cree living nearby.

          Justin Trudeau, who wears a shoulder tattoo based on the print "Raven Bringing Light to the World" by the Haida artist Robert Davidson, made truth and reconciliation with Canada's First Nations a priority of his election platform.

          Since Mr. Trudeau's election a year ago, changes grand and subtle have been made. At Toronto schools, morning announcements begin with recognizing the original settlers of the land. "I would like to acknowledge that this school is situated upon traditional territories," it begins, before establishing which peoples the territories belonged to (in Toronto's case, the Mississaugas of the New Credit), and concluding, "I also recognize the enduring presence of aboriginal peoples on this land."

          Other changes have been more material. In his cabinet, Mr. Trudeau appointed the first indigenous minister of justice in the country's history, Jody Wilson-Raybould, a woman who had served previously as regional chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations.

          This past summer, the Trudeau government announced a national inquiry into the continuing crisis of murdered and missing aboriginal women. The first Liberal budget added $8.4 billion over five years for indigenous community infrastructure, in order to bring "transformational change" in reserves across the country.

          But in the middle of the well-intentioned festivities, the crisis in Muskrat Falls arrived like a bloody ghost, summoning up the very worst of Canadian history. Muskrat Falls echoes what the Canadian historian James Daschuk has called "the politics of starvation." In his 2013 study, "Clearing the Plains," Mr. Daschuk argued that famine was a conscious settlement strategy to "create ecological conditions in which disease exploded."

          In a famous anecdote, Justin Trudeau's father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, made the same point in a meeting with Marlon Brando when the American actor wanted to discuss native rights.

          "There are differences in the way we treated our natives," he said. "You hunted them down and murdered them. We starved them to death."

          A flip remark, but one based in history. Recent historical research has uncovered evidence that federal government officials, in remote communities in northern Manitoba in the 1940s, used malnourished indigenous peoples to test theories of vitamins. In 1947, they tested on 1,000 hungry children in half a dozen residential schools, deliberately withholding milk rations to get a "baseline reading" of the effects of malnutrition.

          Nutritional questions have always been cultural questions for the indigenous peoples of Canada. Hunting and fishing are more than a traditional way of life. The land is the connection to the larger world and to history. High methylmercury levels would render the land untrustworthy. If you cannot trust the land, what can you trust?

          When the Harvard study of Muskrat Falls was released, Nalcor initially proposed simply putting up advisory warnings to limit the consumption of fish. The company had resisted the obvious, expensive solution — clearcutting the land for the dam's reservoir and stripping the topsoil before flooding, which removes the buildup of methylmercury in organic matter.

          "I'd like to say I was surprised, but I wasn't surprised," Mr. Gauthier declared, renewing his promise to resume the hunger strike if Nalcor failed to live up to its commitments.

          Will Canada live up to its commitments? Mr. Trudeau represents a new generation in Canadian politics, literally and figuratively. He has brought in a new, much younger, team to Ottawa. That generation, like President Obama's eight years ago, came to power with the idea they were better than those who went before.

          Now they are facing the oldest confrontation in Canadian history: the power of economic motives against indigenous claims to the land with the federal government in between as, at best, a dubious intermediary. Well-meaning phrases at the school announcements will not suffice. How can you atone for a crime while you're still in the middle of committing it?



          3)  Ace Hardware Stores Near Standing Rock Stopped Selling Supplies to Protestors After Police Requested It

          By Megan Reynolds, Jezebel

          01 December 16


          n the heels of an emergency evacuation order from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple and fines of $1,000 set for those who would deliver supplies like water and food, it seems like Ace Hardware has fallen in line with law enforcement and is refusing to sell supplies to protestors. 

          Singer Neko Case tweeted what appears to be an official statement from Ace Hardware that plainly states that they will be complying with law enforcement's desires and will "refrain from selling materials that could be used at the camps."

          Citing the "safety" of their employees, customers and services, but clarifying that their refusal to sell goods to the protestors is "not a reflection of any corporoate viewpoint on the pipeline project," the statement rightfully infuriated many people. On Wednesday night, the hashtag #BoycottAceHardwarestarted making the rounds on Twitter. 

          The fines are one thing –nefarious and unnecessarily cruel–but Ace Hardware refusing to sell supplies to these protestors is somehow worse. With 2,000 veterans pledging to stand in solidarity as a "human shield" on December 4, Ace Hardware's compliance with law enforcement's attempt to cut the protest off by literally starving them out and hitting them with water cannons and rubber bullets could very quickly make a bad situation even worse. 

          Update, 12:38 A.M.: A statement from Ace Hardware clarifies that there is "no ban on the sale of products" at "locally-owned Ace stores" and that they have been "working feverishly to unearth all of the facts, which have been cloudy at times."


          We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

          General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

          Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

          - The RSN Team 

          +1# librarian1984 2016-12-01 10:18

          Boycott Ace Hardware!

          Call them and tell them you're boycotting them for that reason. Let's get these economic actions started.


          I just called their customer service line at this number:


          I was told they have issued an online statement saying they ARE still selling to protestors.


          +2# indian weaver 2016-12-01 10:46

          Copy this ad on paper and hand it to your ACE hardware and tell them then, in person, you won't buy anything from them as long as they are doing this. I am going to do this today here in Cortez, CO. This is ratcheting up slowly. I'm waiting for 100s of veterans in bring in their own supplies and armament to enable delivery. Something like that will happen next. We could well see a military confrontation between them and these goons from "law enforcment". I can only hope it comes to that. This event at Standing Rock seems likely to ignite the revolutionary war we need. Just depends on 1000s if not 10s of 1000s showing up at Standing Rock to overwhelm the goons and for citizens to keep on coming until all the liars and cowards like obama understand this is the time to get honest or ...

          0# danireland46 2016-12-01 11:21

          Big Brother is not only watching, he's in charge of the local economy.



          4) Obama administration expands elite military unit's powers to hunt foreign fights globally

          Washington Post November 26, 2016

          WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command - the same 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.

          The missions could occur well beyond the battlefields of places like Iraq, Syria and Libya where Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has carried out clandestine operations in the past. When finalized, it will elevate JSOC from being a highly-valued strike tool used by regional military commands to leading a new multiagency intelligence and action force. Known as the "Counter-External Operations Task Force," the group will be designed to take JSOC's targeting model - honed over the last 15 years of conflict - and export it globally to go after terrorist networks plotting attacks against the West.

          The creation of a new JSOC entity this late in the Obama's tenure is the "codification" of best practices in targeting terrorists outside of conventional conflict zones, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss administration deliberations. It is unclear, however, if the administration of President-elect Donald Trump will keep this and other structures set up by President Obama. They include guidelines for counterterrorism operations such as approval by several agencies before a drone strike and "near certainty" that no civilians will be killed. This series of presidential orders is known as the "playbook."

          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 global focus is reminiscent of when U.S. forces first went after al-Qaeda in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. As approaching U.S. troops forced militants to flee their safe havens in Afghanistan and scatter across the globe, the United States followed in pursuit, using CIA assets to grab suspected al-Qaeda operatives in dozens of countries, sometimes capturing, imprisoning and torturing them under murky legal authorities.

          Some in the Pentagon hope to see the new task force working in tandem with the CIA, elevating a sometimes distant relationship to one of constant coordination to track and go after suspected terrorists outside of traditional war zones.

          In recent years the agency's involvement in global paramilitary operations has waned - with fewer strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, and its armed drones in Syria transferred to the Pentagon. It's still unclear how much the CIA may be willing to cooperate with JSOC and more broadly with the Pentagon following the White House's decision.

          The agency, with its broad contacts overseas, espionage networks and long experience in covert operations still has much greater reach than JSOC.

          The CIA declined to comment.

          The new JSOC task force will report to the Pentagon through the U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, according to U.S. military officials, creating a hybrid command system that can circumvent regional commanders for the sake of speed.

          In the past, units such as the Army's Delta Force - which is part of SOCOM and its subordinate command JSOC - were usually deployed under those regional commanders, known as geographic combatant commands. The new task force, however, will alter that process by turning SOCOM's chief, Army Gen. Raymond "Tony" Thomas, into a decision-maker when it comes to going after threats under the task force's purview.

          The task force will essentially turn Thomas into the leading authority when it comes to sending Special Operations units after threats.

          "Now [Thomas] can request whatever he wants and . . . unless there's some other higher competing priority, the combatant commanders have to cough it up," said a former senior defense official.

          Turning SOCOM into a command with a global reach has been on the table for the last 15 years. In 2001, Air Force Gen. Charles Holland, then SOCOM's commander, was hesitant to create a command structure that would effectively put SOCOM on the same level as the geographic combatant commanders. He believed it would cause too much friction with regional commanders. Instead, he decided that only in rare instances would SOCOM actually direct Special Operations forces.

          It remains to be seen if the new organization will generate tensions between Special Operations Command and the generals in charge of U.S. forces in places such as the Middle East or Europe. In his March congressional confirmation testimony, Thomas suggested that assigning more authorities to SOCOM would allow for "synchronized operations" against nonstate threats that span geographic boundaries. But regional commanders, all four star generals, guard their turf carefully.

          Officials hope the task force, known throughout the Pentagon as "Ex-Ops," will be a clearinghouse for intelligence coordinating and targeting against groups or individuals attempting to plot attacks in places like the United States and Europe.

          According to officials familiar with plans for the task force, it will initially draw on an existing multinational intelligence operation in the Middle East that tracks foreign fighters, called Gallant Phoenix, and one of JSOC's intelligence centers in Northern Virginia.

          While in the past the smaller task forces, such as Gallant Phoenix, were staffed by representatives from different intelligence agencies, the new task force aims to have decision-makers present, ensuring that the targeting process happens in one place and quickly.

          "Layers have been stripped away for the purposes of stopping external networks," said a defense official. "There has never been an ex-ops command team that works trans-regionally to stop attacks."

          The defense official said U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies will support JSOC personnel as they synthesize information and offer recommendations on how to handle specific threats.

          Over the past decade JSOC has also built strong relations with police agencies in Germany, Britain, France and Turkey, as they have moved to combat the flow of foreign fighters returning to their home countries.

          The number of participating intelligence agencies, both internationally and U.S.-based within the task force is in flux, the official added, as intelligence-sharing laws and internal friction have kept some on the periphery of the organization.

          JSOC - rarely mentioned by name by U.S. officials due to the clandestine nature of its work - was cited specifically by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter last month in Paris after he and Thomas met with defense ministers involved in the fight against the Islamic State. The command "has been put in the lead" of countering the Islamic State's external operations outside conflict zones, Carter said, surprising some defense officials in Washington.

          The White House, asked to comment on the plan, issued a statement that did not use JSOC's name, but acknowledged the role Special Operations forces play in tracking foreign fighters away from the battlefield.

          "These forces on the ground, operating in close concert with our partners, have gathered critical intelligence off the battlefield, and have shared that information with our coalition partners and allies," the statement said. "This information is helping us ramp up actions against [Islamic State] leaders and operatives planning attacks, track foreign fighters returning to their home countries and improve law enforcement actions aimed at interdicting potential plotters."



          5)  Blackwater-Linked Private Military Firm Exposed Coordinating Intel for Police at Standing Rock

           November 29, 2016


          In an interview with Democracy Now, award-winning national security journalist Jeremy Scahill revealed stunning connections between a private security firm called TigerSwan, operated by a former Delta Force operative, and law enforcement intelligence operations at Standing Rock.

          Co-founder of the Intercept, Scahill, has spent years reporting on private security contractors such as the private security firm TigerSwan. In these most recent revelations, Scahill exposes how TigerSwan has links to the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater and is in charge of coordinating intelligence for the Dakota Access pipeline company.

          As the interview was wrapping up, Democracy Now host Juan Gonzalez questioned Scahill as to whether he had found any connections between the Morton County Sheriff's Office and private security firms.

          "I think we have about a minute left, but, Jeremy, I wanted to ask you, in terms of the—you reached out to the Morton County Sheriff's Office to try to get some information on the private security firms. What happened?"


          "Well, the Morton County sheriffs, they released documents, internal documents, about their investigation into the dog handlers. And what they inadvertently revealed was that this company, TigerSwan, run by these Delta Force guys, was actually in charge of coordinating the intelligence operations against the protesters.

          One word of advice to all the protesters there: Do not believe that your cellphones or your computers are clean and uncompromised. I guarantee you that they're using the entire suite of surveillance devices. I know that people have been complaining that their cellphones have been down, their internet has been down. That can be caused by surveillance weaponry targeting their devices. It could be because there are so many people using them. But my guess would be that they are using people's devices, meaning law enforcement and private security, as geo-tracking devices. And people should be very aware that the full CIA/NSA-developed suite of tools that now have made it into the hands of local law enforcement in this country are most certainly trained on those activists and their supporters."

          Scahill further elaborated on this stunning revelation by noting that,

          "TigerSwan, was founded by a Delta Force operative named James Reese and has done voluminous amounts of covert and overt work for the U.S. military in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. And, you know, you realize that you have this convergence of all that has been so wrong in the post-9/11 world, with these big environment-destroying companies, the stripping even further of indigenous rights, private security forces, the brutality against protesters, the paramilitarization of law enforcement."

          The reality that tech originally developed for military use in hunting global terror suspects is now being used against peaceful protestors here in the United States should send a shiver down your spine. The fact that this technology is being used in Standing Rock reveals the truly insidious nature of a creeping police state that combines weapons of war with domestic policing to the detriment of free expression and dissent.

          It is important to note that private security forces are not necessarily the problem as they are far easier to hold accountable than government agencies like police. However, what Scahill describes in the situation above is anything but private. It is a non-governmental agency melding forces with government — the de facto definition of corporatism.



          6)  Great Barrier Reef Threatened by Climate Change, Chemicals and Sediment

          "The report also ignores plans by the Queensland State government to allow the development of one of the world's biggest coal mines about 200 miles inland from the reef, and it does not acknowledge the damage to the reef that could flow from the mine or from coal-burning."

           DEC. 1, 2016


          YDNEY, Australia — Climate change and the flow of farm chemicals and coastal sediment into the waters that wash over one of Australia's most significant nature areas, the Great Barrier Reef, pose the biggest threats to its survival, according to a government report to Unescoreleased early Friday.

          The report was intended to reassure the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization that those risks were well managed and that the reef should not be placed on an "in danger" list. But it paints a grim picture of the scale of protecting the 1,400-mile-long reef, and may severely understate the cost of doing so.

          The report also ignores plans by the Queensland State government to allow the development of one of the world's biggest coal mines about 200 miles inland from the reef, and it does not acknowledge the damage to the reef that could flow from the mine or from coal-burning.

          This week, scientists from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reported that the reef had suffered the worst coral bleaching and die-off ever recorded, with stretches of its northern reaches dead after the coral was bathed in warm summer waters. The reef extends along much of the eastern coast of Queensland.

          Queensland's environment minister, Steven Miles, and the federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, who is also responsible for Australia's energy policy, said in the report that "good progress has been made in the first 18 months of this 35-year plan." They were referring to the governments' Reef 2050 Plan, released in March 2015.

          The update shows that of 151 planned measures, including the limiting of sediment and chemical runoff from farms and the better management of starfish predators, 32 have been completed and 103 are underway or on track to begin. At least one is stalled, after the Queensland Parliament rejected laws to prevent land clearing, which speeds erosion and can lead to more sediment flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

          But in an introduction to the report, Ian Chubb, formerly Australia's chief scientist and now the chairman of an independent panel on the reef, warned that climate change posed the most significant threat. "The major impacts on the reef will most likely result from the long-term release of substantial quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," he wrote. The burning of fossil fuels creates emissions that contribute to the Earth's warming.

          "There are effects already," Mr. Chubb continued. "This year saw the most significant coral bleaching event ever recorded for the reef. The clear implication of global warming is that bleaching conditions are highly likely to become more frequent and prolonged."

          Reef 2050 was a response to the Unesco World Heritage Committee's call for a long-term management plan to ensure the reef retained the World Heritage status it received in 1981. Last year, the United Nations warned that the reef's outlook was poor, and it asked for an updated report and for evidence of the plan's effectiveness, as well as an investment strategy to finance the efforts.

          In the interim, the Queensland government commissioned a study to estimate the costs of achieving water quality targets that would significantly improve the reef's health. Queensland and the federal government have said that halting nitrogen runoff from farms and fine sediment that leeches into the ocean would improve the water quality and allow the reef to better withstand the impacts of climate change and shocks from severe weather like cyclones.

          That study, released in July, said the cost for meeting targets along the length of the reef was 8.2 billion Australian dollars, or about $6 billion, to be spent over 10 years. That figure was sharply higher than the roughly $1.5 billion the state and federal governments said would be spent over the next decade on all measures to protect the reef.

          "The scale of the investment required is commensurate with the scale of the challenge," the study said. "Virtually all of the relevant science indicates the Great Barrier Reef is in decline."

          The report to Unesco on Friday said that about $95 billion had already been committed to reef-specific measures over the next five years. That amount is part of the federal and the state governments' $1.5 billion commitment over a decade.

          The federal and Queensland governments said the study's overall cost estimate included "some very expensive high-risk actions," like nearly $4.2 billion for erosion in one valley to prevent the flow of sediment into the ocean. Removal of that big-ticket item brought the study's report closer into line financially with the government report to Unesco.

          The report on Friday was only an update. It did not offer new spending measures for the reef, nor new targets to reduce pollution. It is likely to draw sharm criticism from environmentalists.

          The government ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change last month. The agreement's target is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to between 26 percent and 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. But environmentalists say the development of new coal mines highlights the government's lack of commitment to halting global warming. Opening up a new mine is incompatible with Australia's environmental obligations, Greenpeace said.

          The report to Unesco said the reef's scale and resilience meant it could recover from the bleaching this year. It said that managing the risks to the reef would be difficult, but that there was a determination to succeed. "The progress to date does not reduce the urgency to address key issues and risks," it said.



          7)  Cuba-Trained Doctors Head to Standing Rock

          By teleSUR

          December 2, 2016


          A delegation of doctors trained at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba announced they will head to Standing Rock to "serve in solidarity."

          In a late Thursday Facebook post, a group of U.S.-based medical professionals trained at Cuba's famous Latin American School of Medicine, or ELAM, announced they will head to Standing Rock "to humbly serve in solidarity with the Sacred Water Protectors on the front lines of the current human rights and ecological crisis occurring right now in North Dakota."

          Dr. Revery P. Barnes, a graduate of ELAM, said in a post on Facebook, "We answer the call to serve in alignment with the mission and core principles of our alma mater and dedication to our commitment to serve underserved communities in our HOME country." The delegation will work in collaboration with the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council. 

          "While Cuba instilled in us an unwavering commitment to internationalism, with the acceptance of a full scholarship to medical school at ELAM, we made the moral commitment to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable communities here at home in the U.S.," the statement continued. 

          On Wednesday, the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council – which has been providing emergency and chronic health care services to the thousands of water protectors gathered at Standing Rock – issued a warning about the grave health and safety threats posed by escalating use of violence by Morton County Sheriff's Department and Dakota Access Pipeline security personnel, whom they described as creating "war-like conditions."

          While the Facebook statement did not give details about the size of the delegation or when it is expected to arrive, the announcement comes as thousands of U.S. Army veterans are expected to arrive at the Oceti Sakowin camp this weekend in anticipation of the Dec. 5 eviction notice given to the camp by the Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Governor, Jack Dalrymple. 

          Health and safety concerns for the thousands of Water Protectors, who are asserting their Indigenous sovereignty in attempts to block the multi-billion dollar Dakota Access Pipeline project, are also on the rise as harsh winter conditions have been exacerbated by state law enforcement threats to cut off supplies and access to emergency services. 

          The Latin American School of Medicine was created in 1999 by the Cuban government and is one of the largest medical schools in the world, with approximately 19,550 students from 110 countries. All students receive a full scholarship, including room and board, and preferential treatment is given to applicants from marginalized groups who intend to return and practice in their own communities. The school plays a key part in Cuba's widely-hailed medical internationalism, which has seen the socialist country send over 80,000 health care workers to over 94 countries to provide treatment and assistance to impoverished or underprivileged populations.



          8)  Canadian Journalist's Detention at U.S. Border Raises Press Freedom Alarms

          DEC. 2, 2016




          Ed Ou, a Canadian freelance photojournalist, spent 10 years covering the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. He endured aggressive interrogations at border crossings in some of the world's most authoritarian nations.

          But he says a recent confrontation at the United States border has left him shaken. The incident has been criticized by advocates of privacy and press freedom.

          Mr. Ou, 30, said he was detained on Oct. 1 for more than six hours when he tried to fly from Vancouver, B.C., to Bismarck, N.D., to cover the protests of an oil pipeline project near the Standing Rock reservation.

          He was ultimately denied entry, and he said though he was not given a reason, he was told his name matched that of a "person of interest." During the hours of detention, he was asked to describe how and why he had traveled to each country he had visited in the past five years, and questioned about whether he had seen anyone die.

          Agents requested access to his phones and to look through his photos so that they could make sure he was "not posing next to any dead bodies," he said. When he refused, citing the need to protect his sources as a journalist, they took the phones, he said.

          The phones were later returned and showed signs that the SIM cards had been replaced, he said. Giving up the contents of his private phone would be akin to a doctor giving up confidential patient information, he said.

          "I'm not going to open my phone for any other country," Mr. Ou, a New York Times contributor who was an intern for the news organization in 2010, said in a phone interview on Thursday from Nunavet, Canada. "I can't be expected to do the same for the U.S."

          Jason Givens, a United States Customs and Border Protectionspokesman, declined to comment on Mr. Ou's case, citing privacy laws. But he said agents had inspected 4,444 cellphones and 320 other electronic devices in 2015, amounting to 0.0012 percent of the 383 million arrivals.

          "Keeping America safe and enforcing our nation's laws in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully examine all materials entering the U.S.," Mr. Givens said in a statement on Thursday.

          The American Civil Liberties Union wrote a letter to Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security, protesting Mr. Ou's treatment and calling it "harassing and exceptionally intrusive." It demanded an explanation of his detention, and asked for a guarantee that any copies of his belongings had been destroyed.

          Agents made photocopies of several documents in his possession, including a personal journal, Mr. Ou said.

          It should have been clear to agents that Mr. Ou was a working journalist who had traveled freely to the United States in the past and had longstanding connections to American news agencies, Hugh Handeyside, a lawyer, wrote in the A.C.L.U. letter.

          "We believe that C.B.P. took advantage of Mr. Ou's application for admission to engage in an opportunistic fishing expedition for sensitive and confidential information that Mr. Ou had gathered through his news-gathering activities in Turkey, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere," he wrote.

          Electronic privacy advocates said the episode illustrated a governmental loophole that's especially problematic for journalists but that could apply to anyone: Without a warrant, American border agents can legally search digital devices that they wouldn't be able to touch anywhere else.

          The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, but the Supreme Court carved out space for border patrol agents to examine personal property without a warrant, said Sophia Cope, a staff lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that defends civil liberties in the digital age.

          Security officers at United States airports don't need a judge's permission to search a traveler's backpack before he or she boards a flight the way a police officer would when stopping someone on the street. But it has to be for the narrow purpose of assuring immigration or security compliance, she said.

          The privacy implications of examining a cellphone are entirely different from rifling through a suitcase, which contains limited personal information, Ms. Cope said. The law regarding digital devices is "really unsettled," she said.

          "The government is saying the old rule at the border applies to digital devices, even though our entire lives are on these devices," Ms. Cope said.

          A Homeland Security policy from 2009 says that searching digital devices requires the owner of the digital device to be present during the search, though it doesn't guarantee the owner can monitor the search. Agents can make copies of the data, but the copies must be destroyed within seven days if there is no probable cause to seize it. Devices can be detained for up to five days, barring "extenuating circumstances."

          The policy's assurance that agents would "protect that information from unauthorized disclosure" is particularly comforting for journalists, who fear the contents of their devices could unmask sources who would be in danger if the government learned their identities.

          Maria Abi-Habib, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, recounted a similar episode in a Facebook post in July after she was detained at Los Angeles International Airport and asked to turn over her cellphones. The request was eventually withdrawn after Ms. Abi-Habib, a United States citizen traveling on an American passport, objected and asked to call lawyers for her newspaper.

          Trevor Timm, the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, said that for journalists like Mr. Ou who have worked in the Middle East to be treated with suspicion, potentially forcing them to break promises of confidentiality to sources just to enter the country, sets a poor international precedent, he said.

          "If this is requisite for journalists who are not U.S. citizens to enter the U.S., that is an enormous violation of press freedom," he said.

          Mr. Ou was assigned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to cover the Standing Rock protests as part of a project on indigenous health care in North America. He said the agents knew he intended to cover the protests, which have prompted the police to use rubber bullets, pepper spray and water cannons against hundreds of people.

          His experience at the border led to an "awful realization," Mr. Ou said: "That wall of naïveté that I had about the freedom of the press in the U.S. kind of shattered at that moment."



          9) Sons of executed spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg ask Obama to exonerate their mother

           December 1, 2016


          On the day Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were scheduled to face the electric chair as convicted spies in June 1953, their sons, Michael and Robert, then 10 and 6, were told to go to a friend's house and play baseball until dark.

          When they walked back in the house that evening, Michael asked family members if his parents' lives had been spared. When he didn't get a direct answer, he knew his worst fears had been realized. 

          It was just days after the two boys had protested at the White House and handed a letter to a security guard asking the president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, for clemency. The request hadn't been granted. 

          On Thursday morning, the two brothers — who took the last name of their adopted family, Meeropol — returned to the White House. Now 73 and 69, they approached the northwest gate with a letter addressed to President Obama asking that he issue a statement exonerating their mother, who they say was wrongly convicted and sentenced.

          "We are giving the United States government the chance to acknowledge the injustice done to our mother," Robert Meeropol said to a group of reporters and onlookers. "This is a test to see if our government has the courage and commitment to true justice to acknowledge the terrible wrong it did to her and to us."

          "After 40 years of research and struggle, we are sharing with President Obama the fruits of that struggle and once again asking for presidential action," said his brother, Michael. 

          "This time we are not merely advocates for our family, but for our country. It is never too late to learn from the mistakes of the past," he said. 

          Citing evidence that was unsealed last year, the brothers say their mother was not a spy and that she was convicted based on perjured testimony and judicial misconduct.

          "Our claim is that the trial of Ethel Rosenberg was a perversion of justice," Robert Meeropol said. "The FBI files show that my mother was only arrested to use as a lever against her husband."

          The Rosenbergs were arrested in 1950 and charged with conspiring to provide technical information about building an atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.

          Ethel Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass, who was working on the top-secret Manhattan Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, had been arrested earlier that year. He told investigators that his brother-in-law was a Soviet agent who had recruited him to steal classified information.

          Initially, Greenglass told a grand jury that his sister was not involved in any espionage activities, but he later changed that story and said she typed up notes for her husband about the information Greenglass provided. That reversed testimony led to the charges against Ethel. 

          Many years later, Greenglass said he implicated his sister to protect himself and his wife.

          The Rosenbergs' trial began on March 6, 1951. They were convicted on March 29 and sentenced to death a few days later. Opposition to the sentence came from figures as varied as Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and Pope Pius XII, who petitioned Eisenhower to spare the couple's lives.

          Michael Meeropol said Thursday that he remembers taking part in the White House protest 63 years ago and seeing a broad coalition of supporters and signs that said such things as "The electric chair can't kill the doubts in the Rosenberg case." 

          He also remembers his brother asking, "When are we going to see mommy and daddy?" for many weeks after their parents died. 

          The brothers have fought for years to clear the Rosenbergs' names. Although they admit that their father was a spy for the Soviet Union, they do not believe he passed along secrets about the atomic bomb, the crime for which he was tried and executed. 

          Their mother, they say, was not guilty of spying. They dismiss assertions made by some historians of their mother's guilt as "absolutely absurd."



          10)  Earth, the Final Frontier

          DEC. 2, 2016





          Rochester — On April 1, 1960, the newly established National Aeronautics and Space Administration heaved a 270-pound box of electronics into Earth orbit. In those days, getting anything into space was a major achievement. But the real significance of that early satellite, Tiros-1, was not its survival, but its mission: Its sensors were not pointed outward toward deep space, but downward, at the Earth.

          Tiros-1 was the first world's first weather satellite. After its launch, Americans would never again be caught without warning as storms approached.

          This small piece of history says a lot about the call by Bob Walker, an adviser to President-elect Donald J. Trump who worked with his campaign on space policy, to defund NASA's earth science efforts, moving those functions to other agencies and letting it focus on deep-space research. "Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission," he told The Guardian.

          NASA critics have long wanted to shut the agency out of research related to climate change. The problem is, not only is earth science a long-running part of NASA's "prime mission," but it is uniquely positioned to do it. Without NASA, climate research worldwide would be hobbled.

          NASA's role in earth science began at its inception: The Space Act of 1958, which created NASA, made the study of our atmosphere one of its top priorities. During the Reagan years, Congress amended the act to make Earth the first of NASA's nine fundamental missions. Right now there are at least 15 earth-science satellites that NASA helped build, launch and operate; they monitor everything from global rainfall to soil moisture.

          These spacecraft foster billions of dollars of economic activity and affect millions of lives. Soil moisture measurements, for example, make their way back to farmers planning their crops. Ice-pattern measurements find their way to the shipping industry for navigation. Space-based measurements of environmental conditions make it to medical workers predicting the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses.

          None of these missions were explicitly designed to study climate change. They were planned to study the Earth, which naturally includes the climate. But the data from these missions tell us that Earth's climate is changing.

          Consider NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or Grace, mission. It was designed to study Earth's gravity field, meaning the planet's distribution of mass. Grace could "see" changes in ocean currents, precipitation runoff on land and changes in groundwater storage. Grace showed us the spreading of drought conditions as water tables dropped. In this way the Grace data speak directly to a fundamental mistake of the agency's critics. Climate change is not the direction of NASA's earth-science enterprise; it's a conclusion of that effort.

          The sheer scale of NASA's 60-year mission to study Earth is why conclusions about climate change caused by human activity are so firmly established. And it's that scale that makes proposals to move NASA's earth-science program somewhere else a recipe for taxpayer waste.

          Critics make it seem like the program's $2 billion budget goes to a handful of climate-crazed computer modelers, and that moving earth science from NASA would just be an exercise in pushing desks around. But that money covers a lot: It goes to thousands of technicians building satellites for NASA and its contractors. It goes to people at Cape Canaveral who launch satellites atop of 100-foot pillars of high explosives. It goes to engineers operating those satellites as they wheel some 300 miles overhead.

          NASA's storied success comes in part through its economies of scale. Engineers building instruments for a Mars mission will bring their expertise to developing sensors for an earth-science satellite. Thus the kind of experience NASA has built isn't fungible. Just as it would be folly to ask the Army to build and operate submarines, asking someone else to do NASA's job would be an invitation to organizational chaos.

          Agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Geological Survey also represent monumental accomplishments of American science. But neither has the reach or experience to take on what America asks of NASA. NOAA, an agency of the Department of Commerce, has a budget of just $6 billion, a fraction of which is spent on earth science. Asking it to absorb part or all of NASA's earth science effort would be like watching a snake try to swallow an elephant.

          Proposals to get NASA "back to" some other kind of science not only ring false but their wasteful price tag would also fly in the face of fiscal conservative values. And worse, NASA's climate critics miss an essential point in their effort to politicize the science. The planet is changing, and that change will pose challenges and opportunities. NASA brings the capacity to know something about what tomorrow will bring. We would be foolish to mess with that kind of competence.



          11)  Fake Cowboys and Real Indians

          "...Jon Stewart once described the national holiday just passed. 'I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way,' he said. 'I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.'"

            DEC. 2, 2016




          For most of this past week, a winter storm has lashed at the North Dakota prairie camp where the Standing Rock Sioux are making a stand to keep an oil pipeline away from water that is a source of life for them.

          The sight of native people shivering in a blizzard, while government authorities threaten to starve them out or forcefully remove them, is a living diorama of so much awful history between the First Americans and those who took everything from them.

          The authorities have brought water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas, helicopters and dogs against what has become one of the largest gatherings of tribes, from all nations, in a century. They've given the protesters, who will soon include a brigade of veterans, until Dec. 5 to disperse.

          Now flash back a few years to another Western standoff, the Nevada siege of Cliven Bundy, the deadbeat rancher who drew heavily armed white militia members to defend a man who stiffed the government while grazing his cattle on public land. There, the feds backed off.

          Mr. Bundy and his thugs on the range were praised by Fox News and Tea Party Republicans. His two sons later took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, occupying that sanctuary of birds until they were arrested. In October, the Bundys and five others were acquitted of conspiracy and weapons charges.

          At the heart of these cases is land — who owns it, and the narrative justification for a way of life. The Bundy brothers are comic-book cowboys. One of them runs a valet service in Phoenix. The other has a construction company in Utah. But they look the part; playing the role of principled Western men doin' what a man's got to do.

          For the Indians, the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will run from oil fields in North Dakota to a terminal in Illinois, is an existential threat. "Water is life" is the protest name. As planned, the pipeline would pump an artery of oil under the Missouri River — the source of the tribe's water. The Indians want the pipeline rerouted.

          The new administration of Donald J. Trump will be heavy with people who see public land, and Indian Country, as just one thing — a place to drill for oil, move it along, or get out of the way.

          The story behind the policy is all-important here — what Senator Al Franken called "the complex burden of historical trauma." Consider how Jon Stewart once described the national holiday just passed. "I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way," he said. "I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land."

          Now consider what the Bundy brothers said they were fighting for when they took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge by armed force earlier this year. They wanted the government to give up turf owned by every American and let a handful of white ranchers "come back and reclaim their land."

          This prompted collective whiplash from members of the Paiute Tribe, whose people have lived in the high desert of Oregon for centuries. "For them to say they want to give the land back to the rightful owners — well, I just had to laugh at that," the tribal chairwoman, Charlotte Rodrique, said at the time.

          The Indian view is much more than P.C. revisionism, if you believe in the rule of law. A huge swath of the northern Plains was promised to bands of the Sioux in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, one of the few times when Native Americans forced the government to terms after defeating it in war.

          The tribes lost much of that treaty land to intruders, backed by the Army. "A more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealings will never, in all possibility, be found in our history," the Supreme Court concluded in 1980. One of the legacies of the great Sioux tactician, Red Cloud, was an apt description of how the big emerging nation treated the diminished ones. "They made many promises," he said. "But they kept but one: They promised to take our land, and they took it."

          The "complex burden" of trauma that Senator Franken referred to includes images of frozen Indian bodies in the snow after the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890. And yet, even with that history haunting the present protest, many of the natives at Standing Rock are not bitter, and see this stand in spiritual terms.

          "In the face of this we pray," Lyla June Johnston, a young Native leader, told me the day after the blizzards blew in. "In the face of this we love. In the face of this we forgive. Because the vast majority of water protectors know this is the greatest battle of all: to keep our hearts intact."



          12)  How Big Banks Are Putting Rain Forests in Peril

          DEC. 3, 2016



          In early 2015, scientists monitoring satellite images at Global Forest Watch raised the alarm about the destruction of rain forests in Indonesia.

          Environmental groups raced to the scene in West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo, to find a charred wasteland: smoldering fires, orangutans driven from their nests, and signs of an extensive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

          "There was pretty much no forest left," said Karmele Llano Sánchez, director of the nonprofit International Animal Rescue's orangutan rescue group, which set out to save the endangered primates. "All the forest had burned."

          Fingers pointed to the Rajawali Group, a sprawling local conglomerate known for its ties to powerful politicians like Malaysia's scandal-plagued prime minister. But lesser known is how some of the world's largest banks have helped Rajawali — and other global agricultural powerhouses — expand their plantation empires.

          The year before the clearing of trees in West Kalimantan, Rajawali's plantation arm secured $235 million in loans — funds that the Indonesian company used to buy out a partner and bolster its landholdings — from banks including Credit Suisse and Bank of America, according to an examination of lending data by The New York Times.

          The deal forms part of at least $43 billion in loans and underwriting to companies linked to deforestation and forest burning in Southeast Asia alone, according to a tally compiled by the California-based Rainforest Action Network, the Dutch consultancy Profundo and the Indonesian nongovernmental organization TuK Indonesia. More than a third of that sum comes from American, European and Japanese banks, many of which have sustainability pledges that specifically mention deforestation.

          That figure is almost certainly incomplete because not all financing is made public. It also excludes loans made by the same banks to forestry projects outside Southeast Asia, or financing provided to other, more global players. And it contrasts with efforts by companies like Nestlé and Procter & Gamble to distance themselves from suppliers linked to deforestation.

          And while there has been a growing movement among endowments and pension funds to divest from the fossil-fuel industry — and banks have started to back away from financing coal projects — any move away from deforestation has been slower to catch on, experts say. The role of banks has come under the spotlight in recent weeks after environmentalists called out banks like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs for financing the contentious Dakota Access oil pipeline project.

          The money is aiding a process that scientists say destroys ecosystems, displaces indigenous communities and covers the region each year in a thick, suffocating smog that stretches from Jakarta to Hong Kong.

          Deforestation — and the fires that frequently accompany it — also generates one-tenth of total global warming emissions, making forestry loss one of the biggest single contributors to global warming, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

          "Destroying the world's forests makes fighting climate change almost impossible," said Andrew W. Mitchell, executive director of the Global Canopy Programme, a forestry think tank. "The finance sector is really lagging behind in realizing that."

          The Palm Oil Boom

          In funding Rajawali's palm oil plantations, the banks appear to have violated their own sustainability policies. In its forestry and agribusiness policy, adopted in 2008, Credit Suisse says it will not finance or advise companies with operations in "primary tropical moist forests" like those of West Kalimantan. Bank of America says in a banking policy, adopted in 2004, that it will not finance commercial projects that result in the clearing of primary tropical moist forests.

          The 2014 deal financed Rajawali's expansion into palm oil by helping the conglomerate buy out a former partner, invest in new palm oil mills and increase its landholdings. Demand for palm oil is surging worldwide, driven by rising incomes in markets like China and India and a switch away from trans fats by Americans and Europeans.

          Rajawali's plantations have been accused by environmental and labor groups of deforestation and illegal burning. Indonesia is one of the world's biggest palm oil producers, and forestry loss there and elsewhere ranks as one of the biggest single contributors to global warming.

          Sebastian Sharp, a spokesman for Rajawali's plantation arm, acknowledged that the burning and clearing on its West Kalimantan forest sites might be illegal but said local communities encroaching on its properties and starting the fires were to blame. He said the company did not engage in illegal burning or clearing.

          Credit Suisse declined to comment on its Rajawali deal or to say whether the deal violated its sustainability policies. A Bank of America spokesman, Bill Halldin, said that the most serious accusations against Rajawali came after the 2014 loan, in which the bank played "a very small role."

          "Today, we would certainly consider more information before making any decision on any client," he said.

          Brigitte Seegers, a spokeswoman for ABN Amro, declined to comment.

          A Deadly Haze

          Climate concerns have been brought into sharp relief by the impending presidency of Donald J. Trump, who has called climate change a hoax. Mr. Trump has said he will pull the United States out of the Paris accord, a commitment by 95 countries to take concrete measures to reduce planet-warming carbon emissions.

          Daily emissions from Indonesia's forest fires last year at times exceededemissions produced by all economic activity in the United States. A recent Harvard and Columbia study estimated that the fires caused at least 100,000 premature deaths across Southeast Asia. The World Bank estimates that the fires cost Indonesia's economy $16 billion.

          Although deforestation has slowed in many parts of the world, notably in the Brazilian Amazon, forest clearing is on the rise in Southeast Asia. Indonesia, in particular, suffers the world's highest rates of forest loss, an average of almost 2.1 million acres a year, a study published in 2014 found.

          About 15 percent of the world's historical forest cover remains intact, according to the World Resources Institute. The rest has been cleared or degraded or is in fragments.

          Rajawali originally operated its palm plantation business, Green Eagle Holdings, as a joint venture with the French conglomerate Louis Dreyfus. But starting in 2014, Rajawali took the first step to consolidate the palm oil business under its control, and invest in new infrastructure.

          Its loans from Western banks were crucial. In January 2014, Green Eagle attracted a $120 million loan from a group of lenders led by ABN Amro. In July of that year, it scored an even bigger loan of $235 million from a syndicate led by Credit Suisse. Bank of America also took part in that loan.

          The financing allowed Green Eagle to buy out Louis Dreyfus to invest in new palm oil mills and increase its landholdings. In November 2014, Green Eagle merged with another plantation operator, BW Plantation; Rajawali is majority shareholder of the resulting company, Eagle High Plantations.

          The banks issued those loans as Rajawali was being accused of extensive forest and peatland destruction, illegal burning, use of child labor and the use of force against workers at plantations under its control.

          Land-cover mapping by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and satellite imagery from Global Forest Watch, show forest loss at two sites in West Kalimantan from 2011 to 2013 and again in 2015, with much of the forest gone by the end of the year. Those sites included around 11,000 hectares of peat, which, when set alight, can smolder for months underground.

          Zamzami, who goes by one name, a Greenpeace staff member in Indonesia who visited a Rajawali plantation in West Kalimantan in September 2015, said the burning continued. "It was difficult to breathe because of the smoke," he said in field notes. "Far away, on the horizon, I could see the forest wall."

          Confronting Child Labor

          Eagle High is now one of Indonesia's largest palm oil plantation operators, with more than a million acres in land rights under its control, according to an investors' presentation dated September 2014.

          Human rights organizations have reported that children as young as 6 work to support their parents in another Rajawali-controlled plantation in the Papua province. That plantation has promised to support the abolition of child labor by ensuring that there are no children on plantation sites.

          In December 2015, a 22-year-old worker was shot dead at the plantation by state security forces. It was unclear why state forces were on private property.

          Mr. Sharp, the Eagle High spokesman, blamed local villagers for the forest clearing and burning on its sites. "It's being done by local communities, and we have no control over that," he said. Environmental groups argue that plantation companies are responsible for protecting their sites.

          Mr. Sharp said that there were instances in which workers brought their children to plantations but that the company was "trying to brainstorm ways in which we can stop them from doing that."

          He also questioned the wisdom of Indonesian labor law. "Why can't we hire children at 15? Families need income," he said. Under the country's law, the minimum age for hazardous work, including jobs on plantations, is 18.

          The worker who was killed, Marvel Doga, was "drunk and violent, poured petrol everywhere and threatened to set fire, and he had with him a bow and arrow" when nearby state security forces tried to incapacitate him, leading to his death, Mr. Sharp said. He said Eagle High paid "thousands of dollars" to his family in compensation.

          Credit Suisse and ABN Amro declined to discuss specific deals. Bank of America declined to comment on the accusations.

          But in a February 2015 research note, Credit Suisse deemed Rajawali's palm oil push a success. Eagle High's increased landholdings and land rights signaled "significant headroom for expansion" of palm oil production, Priscilla Tjitra, an equity analyst for the bank, said in a report to clients.

          "The allocation of finance is so influential in our economy and to our environment," said Tom Picken of the Rainforest Action Network. "But there's little way we can hold financial sectors to account."

          Running Out of Refuges

          The orangutan rescues continue. The world has lost 60 percent of its population of Bornean orangutans since 1950, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In July, the Bornean orangutan was listed as critically endangered.

          International Animal Rescue, which runs a temporary shelter for about 100 orangutans in West Kalimantan, said its staff had rescued roughly 50 of the primates during the 2015 burning season, twice the number the organization rescues in an average year.

          "They were all starving, all skinny," said Ms. Sánchez, the orangutan rescue group's director. So far this year, about 25 orangutans have been rehabilitated.

          "The problem is that every time an area is destroyed and orangutans are under real threat, we have to look for areas to release them, and that's challenging," she said. "We're running out of places where we can release these orangutans."

          In September, Rajawali's plantation arm secured a $192 million loan from Bank Negara Indonesia, a state bank, to refinance the debt held by its plantation subsidiaries and to double the capacity of palm oil refineries in Papua and West Kalimantan.

          Bank Negara Indonesia's sustainability policies say that its clients must adopt "minimum environmental, social and governance standards." The bank did not respond to requests for comment.



          13)  Rodrigo Duterte Says Donald Trump Endorses His Violent Antidrug Campaign

          DEC. 3, 2016


          MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines said on Saturday that President-elect Donald J. Trump had endorsed his brutal antidrug campaign, telling Mr. Duterte that the Philippines was conducting it "the right way."

          Mr. Duterte, who spoke with Mr. Trump by telephone on Friday, said Mr. Trump was "quite sensitive" to "our worry about drugs."

          "He wishes me well, too, in my campaign, and he said that, well, we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way," Mr. Duterte said.

          There was no immediate response from Mr. Trump to Mr. Duterte's description of the phone call, and his transition team could not be reached for comment.

          Since his election last month, Mr. Trump has held a series of unscripted calls with foreign leaders, several of which have broken radically from past American policies and diplomatic practice. A call on Friday with the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, appeared to be out of sync with four decades of United States policy toward China and prompted a Chinese call to the White House.

          Mr. Duterte has led a campaign against drug abuse in which he has encouraged the police and others to kill people they suspect of using or selling drugs. Since he took office in June, more than 2,000 people have been killed by the police in what officers describe as drug raids, and the police say several hundred more have been killed by vigilantes.


          • 712

            suspects killed in police operations
          • 1,067

            people killed by vigilantes
          • 10,205

            drug-related arrests
          • 640,233

            suspects voluntarily surrendered to the police

          The program has been condemned by the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and others for what rights organizations have characterized as extrajudicial killings. In rejecting such criticism from the United States this fall, Mr. Duterte called Mr. Obama a "son of a whore."

          In a summary of the phone call with Mr. Trump released by Mr. Duterte's office on Saturday morning, Mr. Duterte said the two had spoken for just a few minutes but covered many topics, including the antidrug campaign.

          "I could sense a good rapport, an animated President-elect Trump," Mr. Duterte said. "And he was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem."

          Mr. Duterte added: "He understood the way we are handling it, and I said that there's nothing wrong in protecting a country. It was a bit very encouraging in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country."

          Mr. Duterte, who has said he was seeking "a separation" from the United States, a longtime ally, and has threatened to bar American troops from his country, also said, "We assured him of our ties with America." He did not elaborate on that comment.

          Mr. Duterte also said that Mr. Trump had invited him to visit New York and Washington, and that Mr. Trump said he wanted to attend the summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations next year in the Philippines.

          Mr. Duterte has often been compared to Mr. Trump for his blunt speech and populist positions.

          "I appreciate the response that I got from President-elect Trump, and I would like to wish him success," Mr. Duterte said. "He will be a good president for the United States of America."



          14)  A Nation in Mourning: Images of Cuba After Fidel Castro

          (Take note of the Cuban military personnel along side of the road waiting for Fidel's ashes to pass. They are completely unarmed! --BW)

          By TOMAS MUNITA, MAURICIO LIMA and AZAM AHMED <http://www.nytimes.com/by/azam-ahmed>DEC. 3, 2016

          Cuba declared nine days of mourning after Fidel Castro's death, a period that will culminate in his funeral on Sunday. Photographers for The New York Times crossed the nation to capture the mood of Cubans grappling with life without him.

          Continue reading the main story
          Students gathered at the University of Havana. CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times 

          Havana, by nature, is a noisy place. Honking, chatter and pulsing music are just three strands of the city's braided soundtrack. But the death of Mr. Castro brought an eerie silence.

          The government banned drinking, partying and loud music, leaving the city on mute, bereft of its melody and verve.

          Mr. Castro's ashes were taken into the countryside, on a route that retraced, in reverse, the steps of the revolution he led in 1959. Tens of thousands crowded roads and open stretches along the way.

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          A carriage carried Fidel Castro's ashes in Havana. CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times 
          Sorrow in Santa Clara as his ashes passed by. CreditTomas Munita for The New York Times 
          A ubiquitous image, here in a hair salon in Havana. CreditTomas Munita for The New York Times 
          Military personnel awaited the carriage in Ciego de Ávila. CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times 

          For many Cubans, the death of Mr. Castro felt like that of a father — one with whom they had a complicated relationship. In his nearly 50 years leading the nation, he brought much to Cuba, including free health care and education, but he also oversaw economic deprivation and stifled freedom.

          Some people hardly mourned at all, yet kept quiet all the same, out of fear, respect or a sense of social obligation.

          But along the pockmarked highway to Santiago de Cuba, where Mr. Castro will be buried Sunday and where his revolution began, the clearest impression was borne on the banners and shirts of those paying their respects: Yo soy Fidel.

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          Tears as the caravan passed in Santa Clara. CreditTomas Munita for The New York Times 
          A basketball court in Havana. CreditTomas Munita for The New York Times 
          A vegetable market in Havana. CreditTomas Munita for The New York Times



          15)  Standing Rock Pipeline Protesters, Ordered to Leave, Dig In

          DEC. 3, 2016




          Protesters facing off with the police on Friday outside the Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota. The authorities have ordered the protesters to evacuate the camp by Monday.CreditCassi Alexandra for The New York Times 

          CANNON BALL, N.D. — Lee Plenty Wolf knows the government wants him to clear out of the snowbound tepee where he stokes the fire, sings traditional Oglala songs and sleeps alongside a pair of women from France and California who came to protest an oil pipeline in the stinging cold. But he and thousands of protesters are vowing to make what may be their last stand at Standing Rock.

          The orders to evacuate the sprawling protest camp on this frozen prairie just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation came down last week from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor's office. After four months of prayer marches and clashes with law enforcement officials who responded with tear gas and water cannons, the protesters now have until Monday to leave.

          The government said it would not forcibly remove anyone, but could cite people for trespassing or other offenses.

          At the camp, defiance is rising like smoke from the stovepipe of Mr. Plenty Wolf's tepee. People are here to stay. They are building yurts and hammering together plywood for bunkhouses and lodges. The communal kitchen stops serving dinner at 9:30 p.m., and reopens a half-hour later as a sleeping space.

          "I ain't going nowhere," Mr. Plenty Wolf said one night as he cradled a buffalo-hide drum and reflected on grievances that run deeper than groundwater among Native Americans here. "We're getting tired of being pushed for 500 years. They've been taking, taking, taking, and enough's enough."

          The approaching deadline to leave the camps and the dwindling days of President Obama's term create a feeling that any opportunity to stop the Dakota Access pipeline is fading. The fight has drawn thousands of tribal members, veterans, activists and celebrities and transformed a frozen patch of North Dakota into a focal point for environmental and tribal activism.

          The main camp sits on federal lands that people at the camps say should rightfully belong to the Standing Rock Sioux under the terms of an 1851 treaty. To Mr. Plenty Wolf, closing it amounts to one more broken treaty.

          The Standing Rock Sioux's concerns about an oil spill just upriver from their water source has resonated with environmentalist and clean-water groups across the country, and dozens have rallied to support the tribes. Climate-change activists who fought the Keystone XL pipeline have also joined the protests. "Keep it in the ground" is a rallying cry on banners.

          Even as violent confrontations erupted in fields and along creeks and about 600 people were arrested, crews kept digging and burying the pipeline. Its 1,170-mile path from the oil fields of North Dakota to Southern Illinois is nearly complete.

          Since September, the Obama administration has blocked construction on a critical section where the pipeline would burrow underneath a dammed section of the Missouri River that tribes say sits near sacred burial sites.

          The tribe and activists are pushing Mr. Obama to order up a yearslong environmental review or otherwise block the project before he leaves office. President-elect Donald J. Trump said on Friday that he supported finishing the $3.7 billion pipeline.

          Nobody here knows what to expect. The Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the federal land on which the main camp sits, says it wants protesters to make a "peaceful and orderly transition" out of the camps and to a "free speech zone" nearby. Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier of Morton County, a critic of the protesters who leads the law enforcement response, said his officers would not go into the camps to remove people.

          With winter storms arriving, children took the opportunity to go sledding down a hill near the protest camp on Thursday. CreditCassi Alexandra for The New York Times 

          The divide between law enforcement officials and the tribe and protesters now feels more brittle than ever.

          Dave Archambault II, the Standing Rock Sioux chairman, has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of civil rights violations. He criticized officers for using rubber bullets and sprays of freezing water against what he called unarmed, peaceful "water protectors."

          "I'm worried about the next confrontation," he said. "The escalation has continued to rise. They have concertina wire all over the place. They're almost daring the water protectors. That's not safe."

          Sheriff Kirchmeier dismissed the claims.

          "I reject it all," he said in an interview in the basement of the county offices, where stacks of snacks, fruit and juice donated by the public sat beside scuffed riot shields. "The protesters are forcing police and us into taking action. They're committing criminal activities."

          He said protesters had used sling shots to attack officers and thrown rocks and bottles. He and other local officials continue to criticize the federal government's response. They say the decision to delay the pipeline created months of instability that have cost Morton County $8 million. They say federal officials have offered little in the way of manpower or money to help.

          On Friday, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said she had asked Justice Department officials who handle tribal-justice issues and community policing, as well as the United States attorney for North Dakota, to help mediate.

          In recent days, conflicting statements from local and state officials have stirred confusion a about how vigorously officials will enforce the closure of the camps. A Morton County spokeswoman initially said people could face $1,000 fines for trying to bring supplies to the camp, only to be contradicted by a governor's spokesman who said that North Dakota had no plans to block supplies.

          The authorities are still enforcing a blockade of the fastest, most direct route into the camp. But other roads – and supply lines – were still open. Pickup trucks and U-Hauls carried in lumber and propane tanks, pallets of bottled water, firewood and food. A container truck managed to crawl down the icy, flag-lined ramp into camp.

          Cusi Ballew, a Pottawatomie member from southern Ohio making his second trip to the camp, was up on a ladder drilling pieces of plywood together to make a bunkhouse for Sioux tribal members. "Humans have been surviving winters for over 250,000 years," he said. "What's important isn't how we're doing it but why we're doing it. We're here for prayer and for action."

          And more people were pouring in.

          Veterans' groups were hoping to bring 2,000 Native and non-Native veterans to Standing Rock over the weekend. The Bismarck airport was a hive one morning: the actress Patricia Arquette could be seen heaving a suitcase off the baggage carousel; the director of a clean-water group was on the phone figuring out transportation; California friends from the Burning Man festival arrived with $5,000 worth of turmeric and medicinal herbs and oils.

          At the camp, children sledded down the icy hills and horses cantered through the snow, and as night fell and people clustered around campfires to cook chili and fry bread, Laurie Running Hawk made her way to a small camp by the banks of the river. In the distance were the sounds of Native men drumming and singing, and the sight of tall floodlights along a ridge that marked the path of the pipeline.

          Ms. Running Hawk grew up on the southern end of the Standing Rock Reservation and said she had been home from Minnesota for a powwow this summer when she and her 7-year-old and 15-year-old sons chanced onto one of the first major confrontations to block the pipeline. They joined in, and four months later, she was back, sleeping in a yurt with four teenagers from Minnesota who nearly froze to death on their first night in camp.

          "I'm here," she said. "You're not going to kick me out. This is my land."

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          16)  Fashion Steps Up at Standing Rock

          Kerby Jean-Raymond, the founder of the independent, critically acclaimed fashion label Pyer Moss, planned to attend more than a dozen events at Art Basel Miami Beach this weekend, including an exhibition that showcases some of his label's shoes.

          Instead, he'll be flying to North Dakota.

          Mr. Jean-Raymond is among a number of designers and brands that are responding to the basic needs of demonstrators fighting to prevent the Dakota Access pipeline from being built near the Standing Rock Reservation out of concern for the environment and Native American ancestral lands.

          Activists have requested nylon coveralls, heavy-duty sleeping bags, gloves, wool clothes and blankets, along with monetary donations, on their own websites and on Amazon.

          After all, temperatures in Cannon Ball, N.D., the town near which protesters have gathered, range from highs in the low 30s to single digits. And it's not about to get any warmer. On Monday, Gov. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota cited "anticipated harsh weather conditions" when issuing a mandatory evacuation order.

          Exacerbating the effects of the cold are the water cannons that the police have used against protesters, causing early signs of hypothermia in some.

          Over the last several days, Mr. Jean-Raymond, 30, has worked to secure an assortment of warm clothes, using his personal funds and his connections.

          "I called Nike and I said, 'Instead of me keeping a couple of thousand dollars worth of sneakers that I'm not going to wear, let me send these back to you,'" Mr. Jean-Raymond said. "'Let me get some thermals instead.'" In exchange for the free sneakers, he received credits that he then used to purchase thermal clothing. He has also personally purchased outerwear from Uniqlo.

          It's not the first time the designer, whose youthful but streamlined collections often engage with heavy topics, has taken a dive into activism. For his spring 2016 show, Mr. Jean-Raymond prepared a short film about race relations in the United States. And two years ago, he designed a T-shirt listing names of victims of police brutality, profits from which went to the American Civil Liberties Union.

          Designers with less visible profiles have also jumped in to help Standing Rock demonstrators.

          Bethany Yellowtail, a Los Angeles-based designer who is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and who grew up on the Crow reservation in Montana, created a line of "Protector Gear," including T-shirts, hoodies, water bottles and hats, with profits to go directly to the Standing Rock Sioux, the tribe leading the protests. So far, the effort has raised over $10,000, Ms. Yellowtail said.

          Louie Gong, founder of the brand Eighth Generation, sent 60 blankets to the Standing Rock campsite, at a cost he estimated to be about $10,000. "It seems like a small and superficial sacrifice, however, when compared to our cousins sleeping in tents that are covered in snow," Mr. Gong, who grew up in the NookSack tribe, wrote in an email.

          Bliss and Mischief, a Los Angeles brand, is donating 15 percent of proceeds from every purchase until the end of 2016 to a cause of the customer's choice, with the Standing Rock Sioux offered as an option.

          And at least one major corporation is involved. Patagonia gave a $25,000 grant to the Indigenous Environmental Network, a nongovernmental organization, to support the indigenous community at Standing Rock.

          Ms. Yellowtail expressed enthusiasm about the outflow of support the tribes have received, but she cautioned non-Native American volunteers, whether in the fashion industry or otherwise, against blindly appropriating the cause of the tribes at Standing Rock.

          "They're not asking allies to come out and speak for them, they're asking for people to stand in solidarity and be supportive," she said. "Ask yourself: Are you going for your own agenda or to listen and follow protocol?"

          For Mr. Jean-Raymond, the purpose of his trip is simple. "I'm bringing as much supplies as I can out there," he said. "If I can do anything past that, I'll do it. If I feel like I'm unnecessary, I'll leave."


















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