Sunday, October 23, 2016


1 Senator Chuckie Schumar opines the TOP PRIORITY for the Democrats in Congress is Corporate TAX REDUCTIONS
What about cutting costs for ACA? What about improving Social Security Benefits and removing the TAX on Social Security ? What about Diplomacy over Saber Rattling? What about Education? What about Treaty Rights? What about Pollution? What about removing Corporate Welfare and Punishing War Profiteers - What about REAL ACCOUNTING at the Pentagon?
C O R P O R A T E T A X C U T S? ? ? Are you kidding?

2. Wikileaks - Hillary wonders aloud, "Is there not someone who can rid me of this troublesome priest?"
Actually her exact words were "Can't we just DRONE THIS GUY?" According to State Department sources.
The statement drew laughter from the room, which quickly died off when the Secretary kept talking in a terse manner sources said Assange after all was a relatively soft target "walking around freely and thumbing his nose without any fear of reprisals from the United States."

3. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council has voted to allow protesters to build a new camp on the reservation, so that permanent structures can be built protecting them from the Dakotas winter [  @aeagleshield ]

4. 12 Millions on or OFF the table
“No matter what happens, she will be in Morocco hosting CGI [Clinton Global Initiative] on May 5-7, 2015. Her presence was a condition for the Moroccans to proceed so there is no going back on this,” top Clinton aide Huma Abedin wrote to campaign manager Robby Mook in a November 2014 email revealed by Wiki­Leaks. In another email, Abedin warned that if Clinton didn’t attend, the $12 million would be off the table.

5. Hands, lets see a show of hands - How many of you have been offered MILLIONS OF DOLLARS of your spouse would show up for a meeting in the princedom of QATAR??

6. ATT/Time Warner Meger-itis?
Good news for anyone who thinks America’s leading telecom companies are too small and powerless — AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for more than $80 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The reported deal is is the largest merger of content and distribution since Comcast purchased NBC Universal in 2011.
The merger will provide AT&T with copious content to distribute via its wireless, broadband, and satellite TV infrastructure. The telecom has been aggressively seeking an entertainment empire to bring under its umbrella, so as to stock an over-the-top video service it hopes to launch by 2017. Acquiring Time Warner gives that video service privileged access to programming from TNT, TBS, CNN, HBO, and Warner Bros.’ film and television studios.
The purchase, then, will be AT&T’s attempt to occupy a profitable place in the age of cord-cutting. As the Journal noted on Friday, Time Warner’s portfolio of news, prestige programming, and high-value sports content is likely to stay in high demand among cable distributors, even if competition from streaming services forces them to shrink their bundles, to bring down monthly fees.
However, that scale could prove the deal’s undoing. Regulators expressed concerns about the Comcast–NBCU deal five years ago. And since then, the appetite for antitrust enforcement — particularly within the Democratic Party — has grown significantly.
Throughout her 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton has pledged to fight the “excessive concentration” of power within key industries. Whether a Clinton administration would deem AT&T’s ambitions excessive remains to be seen. The telecom giant has donated $196,952 to Clinton’s campaign this cycle, according to Open Secrets.

7. Chuckie Schumar TAx cutting FOR coRPSES
What about cutting costs for ACA? What about improving Social Security Benefits and removing the TAX on Social Security ? What about Diplomacy over Saber Rattling? What about Education? What about Treaty Rights? What about Pollution? What about removing Corporate Welfare and Punishing War Profiteers - What about REAL ACCOUNTING at the Pentagon?
C O R P O R A T E  T A X C U T S? ? ?  Are you kidding?

8. GOOGLE - SPYING Yes (and not exactly)
When Google bought the advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy would be the company’s “number one priority when we contemplate new kinds of advertising products.”
And, for nearly a decade, Google did in fact keep DoubleClick’s massive database of web-browsing records separate by default from the names and other personally identifiable information Google has collected from Gmail and its other login accounts.
But this summer, Google quietly erased that last privacy line in the sand – literally crossing out the lines in its privacy policy that promised to keep the two pots of data separate by default. In its place, Google substituted new language that says browsing habits “may be” combined with what the company learns from the use Gmail and other tools.
The change is enabled by default for new Google accounts. Existing users were prompted to opt-in to the change this summer.
The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on your name and other information Google knows about you. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.
The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous. In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.
“The fact that DoubleClick data wasn’t being regularly connected to personally identifiable information was a really significant last stand,” said Paul Ohm, faculty director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law.
“It was a border wall between being watched everywhere and maintaining a tiny semblance of privacy,” he said. “That wall has just fallen.”
Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville emailed a statement describing Google’s change in privacy policy as an update to adjust to the “smartphone revolution”
“We updated our ads system, and the associated user controls, to match the way people use Google today: across many different devices,” Faville wrote. She added that the change “is 100% optional–if users do not opt-in to these changes, their Google experience will remain unchanged.” (Read Google’s entire statement.)
Existing Google users were prompted to opt-into the new tracking this summer through a request with titles such as “Some new features for your Google account.”
The “new features” received little scrutiny at the time. Wired wrote that it “gives you more granular control over how ads work across devices.” In a personal tech column, the New York Times also described the change as “new controls for the types of advertisements you see around the web.”
Connecting web browsing habits to personally identifiable information has long been controversial.
Privacy advocates raised a ruckus in 1999 when DoubleClick purchased a data broker that assembled people’s names, addresses and offline interests. The merger could have allowed DoubleClick to combine its web browsing information with people’s names. After an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, DoubleClick sold the broker at a loss.
In response to the controversy, the nascent online advertising industry formed the Network Advertising Initiative in 2000 to establish ethical codes. The industry promised to provide consumers with notice when their data was being collected, and options to opt out.
Most online ad tracking remained essentially anonymous for some time after that. When Google bought DoubleClick in 2007, for instance, the company’s privacy policy stated: “DoubleClick’s ad-serving technology will be targeted based only on the non-personally-identifiable information.”
In 2012, Google changed its privacy policy to allow it to share data about users between different Google services - such as Gmail and search. But it kept data from DoubleClick – whose tracking technology is enabled on half of the top 1 million websites – separate.
But the era of social networking has ushered in a new wave of identifiable tracking, in which services such as Facebook and Twitter have been able to track logged-in users when they shared an item from another website.
Two years ago, Facebook announced that it would track its users by name across the Internet when they visit websites containing Facebook buttons such as “Share” and “Like” – even when users don’t click on the button. (Here’s how you can opt out of the targeted ads generated by that tracking).
Offline data brokers also started to merge their mailing lists with online shoppers. “The marriage of online and offline is the ad targeting of the last 10 years on steroids,” said Scott Howe, chief executive of broker firm Acxiom.
To opt-out of Google’s identified tracking, visit the Activity controls on Google’s My Account page, and uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services." You can also delete past activity from your account.

9. Next Cold War Roundup 10/21/16
Civilians are used as human shields by jihadists in both Aleppo and Mosul. UN Human Rights Council voted for a war crimes inquiry in Syria. Russia produced evidence of a Belgian airstrike in Aleppo Kurdish village that killed civilians. ISIS claims a shootdown of a US A-10 warplane in eastern Syria. ISIS leaders are leaving Mosul and a corridor is open for ISIS fighters to flee to Syria. ISIS cells launched attacks in Kirkuk. US allies Turkey and Syrian Kurds are fighting each other in northern Syria.
_ Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports “tensions” between members of the coalition fighting in the battle for Mosul, with Peshmerga, on the “Kurdish front” 30 miles east of Mosul, complaining that the Iraqi army hadn’t taken some of the villages they were supposed to take, and the Iraqi forces saying they were waiting for the Peshmerga to finish their bit. Some major western media seem somewhat eager to report negatively on the Iraqi forces, as demonstrated in this NBC report from Richard Engel on Wednesday.
_ A Pentagon spokesman said the villages in the area are historically Kurdish and the “ethnic dynamic” changes as you get closer to Mosul, where the Iraqi forces will be “more of the frontline troops.” Pauses during advances are done for logistical reasons, according to the spokesman. Some of the WSJ quotes came from a Peshmerga general who is the brother of Iraqi Kurdistan’s president, Masoud Barzani.
_ 5,000 US troops are in the area supporting the Iraqi coalition. Some are American and Canadian special operations forces on the frontlines calling in airstrikes. There are 10,000 Kurdish fighters and 18,000 Iraqi security forces, according to the Pentagon. The Kurds approach from 2 angles in the east, Iraqi forces from 2 angles in the south and southeast.
_ ISIS set oil wells on fire in the town of Hamdaniya as an attempt to stop the Kurdish Peshmerga advance.
_ The UN warned that ISIS is using civilians as human shields in Mosul.
_ Turkey continues to insist that it will play a role in Mosul.  US Sec. Defense Carter said “he will emphasize the importance of respecting Iraq’s sovereignty on his visit to Turkey on Friday.” Carter also “reaffirmed his support for the US-Turkey strategic alliance.”

10. WHO's BEHIND the Dakota Pipeline (80 Arrested)
Enbridge, along with Phillips 66, Energy Transfer Partners, Sunco Logistics and Marathon, are behind-the-scenes of the Bakken Pipeline — which includes the Dakota Access Pipeline — and are banking on a massive payoff at the community's expense. At $1.5 billion, Enbridge acquired the largest ownership stake.¹
An Enbridge-Spectra merger not only creates a mega-corporation, but also increases the power of Big Oil and Gas and emboldens them to continue to build the Dakota Access Pipeline over the objections of Native American water protectors. Beyond this project, they will continue to build out other pipeline and oil and gas export projects to maximize production, all at the expense of targeted communities and our climate. Send a message to block the oil and gas industry from consolidating and running rampant in our communities.
Dirty fossil fuel projects endanger our communities, and we have to look no further than Enbridge and Spectra to see how these corporations are harming us and destroying our environment. In 2010, Enbridge sent thousands of barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, and it was Spectra's pipeline that exploded in Pennsylvania earlier this year, severely burning a person.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

PNN - The Circle of Waters

1. Geoengineering is the deliberate and large-scale intervention into the Earth’s climatic system. This is done through various means, one of which is the spraying of chemicals into the atmosphere via planes. Weather modification actually dates back to the 1940s, when the General Electric Company demonstrated that a cloud of super-cooled water droplets could be transformed into ice crystals when seeded with dry ice.

The Hughes Aircraft Company even has a patent dating back more than twenty years ago, to 1990. You can take a look at it here. It contains 18 claims to reduce global warming through stratospheric seeding with aluminum oxide, thorium oxide, and refractory Welsbach material.
Today, geoengineering programs are spread across various academic institutions. For example, if we look at  SPICE, a United Kingdom government funded geoengineering research project that collaborates with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Bristol, some of the proposed particles to spray in the atmosphere include
  • Sulphate/Sulphuric Acid/Sulphur Dioxide
  • Titania
  • Silicon Carbide
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Alumina
  • Silica
  • Zinc Oxide
SPICE is just one example of multiple programs. It’s always noteworthy to mention that geoengineering has also been used for more mundane purposes, such as to modify the weather in China for the 2008 Olympics. (source) This, to me, seems like a grossly irresponsible use of technology. In fact, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest these programs are already operational, and have been for quite some time. Whether their true purpose is indeed to combat climate change, or something else, is still up for debate.
The CIA and other federal agencies control these programs, and under the guise of national security they remain classified. This means that if they are actually spraying things into the atmosphere, we would never hear about it. A 1996 report conducted by top military personnel in the U.S., titled “Weather as a Force Multiplier; Owning the Weather in 2025,” reveals the supposed urgency to implement these programs.
In addition to specific research programs sponsored by federal agencies, there are other functions related to weather modification which are performed in several places in the executive branch. Various federal advisory panels and committees and their staffs — established to conduct in-depth studies and prepare comprehensive reports, to provide advice or recommendations, or to coordinate federal weather modification programs — have been housed and supported within executive departments, agencies, or offices.

There are literally dozens upon dozens of documents like the ones you see listed above. As you can see, this has been the topic of discussion for many years, but most people are still unaware of it, and these programs have not been publicly discussed until now. That being said, many ‘prominent’ figures have voiced their concerns over the years.
The latest example would be HRH Princess Basmah Bint Saud, humanitarian and daughter of King Saudi, when she compared geoengineering science and programs to weapons of mass destruction, arguing that their implementation is like setting off a bomb without the nuclear explosion. You can read more about in the specific article about her that’s linked below.
Personally, after researching this topic for years, I have come to believe that climate change, while a legitimate threat to our planet, is being used for alternative agendas, and I’m not the only one. It wasn’t long ago when the Australian prime minister’s chief business adviser said that climate change is a ‘ruse’ led by the United Nations to create a new world order under the agency’s control.
You can read more about his comments here. We see the same thing with the ‘war on terror,’ which is now littered with false flag terrorism, or the ‘war on drugs,’ even though the CIA seems to be the biggest drug dealer of them all. The list goes on and on. The global elite are no strangers to creating a problem so they can propose and justify the solution that will best serve their own ends. We seem to be approaching this point with climate change — it’s something that will require drastic measures to solve, so I wonder if geoengineering will be presented as the solution. I hope not.
Below is a video a video of the current CIA director, John O. Brennan, discussing the topic. What are your thoughts?

2. The new Snowden Movie
It turned out, last night was more than a live interview with Mr Snowden, it was a sneak preview of the new Snowden movie by Oliver Stone. The film was made with grace and respect. It was on a par with his (Oliver Stones') JFK FILM. Stone gives us a guided tour into the life of a gifted hacker, who through skills and his internal compass of honor rose rapidly in the elite of technical programmers. 
Quite effectively guiding us into the world of security hacking in a way that made clear Snowden's slow inexorable tilt (think of King slow bending arc of Liberty) to a place where he recognized that the "possible" wasn't always a positive achievement and "the good guys"  by circumventing all safeguards and stepping cunningly around constitutional limits, these guardians had become the barbarians not at the gate, but had become the barbarians that had loosed the hell of "the end of privacy" and a new global insecurity state. 
Superbly drawn, telling not just a human tale, and a intricate technological story.  But weaving in the Glen Greenwald, Laura Poitras Hong Kong press revelation and exposure story and keeping us cooped up, waiting with Snowden in that Hong Kong hotel suite, We too begin to succumb to a feeling of being exposed and vulnerable. We too are one human, poised against the security state, while trying to thread the needle of international media and real danger. Hoping to somehow keep his very endangered skin all in one piece. 
A story of high geekdom, and managing to explain effectively the precarious state of our vanishing liberties in the age of global interconnectivity.  Snowden in the post film chat gave us one other important set of metaphors about privacy.
He said, and I paraphrase - "PRIVACY is at its root the very center of self. We can have no freedom with out privacy. Freedom of speech alows us to define ourselves by what WE CHOOSE to reveal, and what we choose to keep inside. Our Constitutional guarantee of protection from unreasonable searches and seizure is at its core about PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS even the idea of ownership is impossible without a privacy right. And those who drag out that dangerous old saw - I you have nothing to hide... hardly ever recognize that was HERMAN GOEBBELS logic, when asked about the POLICE STATE " 
Highly recommended- 
PNN - Listen
  1. The Feds will soon be able to hack anyone (LEGALLY)
igital devices and software programs are complicated. Behind the pointing and clicking on screen are thousands of processes and routines that make everything work. So when malicious software—malware—invades a system, even seemingly small changes to the system can have unpredictable impacts.
That’s why it’s so concerning that the Justice Department is planning a vast expansion of government hacking. Under a new set of rules, the FBI would have the authority to secretly use malware to hack into thousands or hundreds of thousands of computers that belong to innocent third parties and even crime victims. The unintended consequences could be staggering.
The new plan to drastically expand the government’s hacking and surveillance authorities is known formally as amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the proposal would allow the government to hack a million computers or more with a single warrant. If Congress doesn’t pass legislation blocking this proposal, the new rules go into effect on December 1. With just six work weeks remaining on the Senate schedule and a long Congressional to-do list, time is running out.
The government says it needs this power to investigate a network of devices infected with malware and controlled by a criminal—what’s known as a “botnet.” But the Justice Department has given the public far too little information about its hacking tools and how it plans to use them. And the amendments to Rule 41 are woefully short on protections for the security of hospitals, life-saving computer systems, or the phones and electronic devices of innocent Americans.
Without rigorous and periodic evaluation of hacking software by independent experts, it would be nothing short of reckless to allow this massive expansion of government hacking.
If malware crashes your personal computer or phone, it can mean a loss of photos, documents and records—a major inconvenience. But if a hospital’s computer system or other critical infrastructure crashes, it puts lives at risk. Surgical directives are lost. Medical histories are inaccessible. Patients can wait hours for care. If critical information isn’t available to doctors, people could die. Without new safeguards on the government’s hacking authority, the FBI could very well be responsible for this kind of tragedy in the future.
No one believes the government is setting out to damage victims’ computers. But history shows just how hard it is to get hacking tools right. Indeed, recent experience shows that tools developed by law enforcement have actually been co-opted and used by criminals and miscreants. For example, the FBI digital wiretapping tool Carnivore, later renamed DCS 3000, had weaknesses (which were eventually publicly identified) that made it vulnerable to spoofing by unauthorized parties, allowing criminals to hijack legitimate government searches. Cisco’s Law Enforcement access standards, the guidelines for allowing government wiretaps through Cisco’s routers, had similar weaknessesthat security researchers discovered.
The government will likely argue that its tools for going after large botnets have yet to cause the kind of unintended damage we describe. But it is impossible to verify that claim without more transparency from the agencies about their operations. Even if the claim is true, today’s botnets are simple, and their commands can easily be found online. So even if the FBI’s investigative techniques are effective today, in the future that might not be the case. Damage to devices or files can happen when a software program searches and finds pieces of the botnet hidden on a victim’s computer. Indeed, damage happens even when changes are straightforward: recently an anti-virus scanshut down a device in the middle of heart surgery.
Compounding the problem is that the FBI keeps its hacking techniques shrouded in secrecy. The FBI’s statements to date do not inspire confidence that it will take the necessary precautions to test malware before deploying them in the field. One FBI special agent recently testified that a tool was safe because he tested it on his home computer, and it “did not make any changes to the security settings on my computer.” This obviously falls far short of the testing needed to vet a complicated hacking tool that could be unleashed on millions of devices.
Why would Congress approve such a short-sighted proposal? It didn’t. Congress had no role in writing or approving these changes, which were developed by the US court system through an obscure procedural process. This process was intended for updating minor procedural rules, not for making major policy decisions.
This kind of vast expansion of government mass hacking and surveillance is clearly a policy decision. This is a job for Congress, not a little-known court process.
If Congress had to pass a bill to enact these changes, it almost surely would not pass as written. The Justice Department may need new authorities to identify and search anonymous computers linked to digital crimes. But this package of changes is far too broad, with far too little oversight or protections against collateral damage.
Congress should block these rule changes from going into effect by passing the bipartisan, bicameral Stopping Mass Hacking Act. Americans deserve a real debate about the best way to update our laws to address online threats.

  1. Detention of Turkish Intellectuals
Repression of Turkish intellectuals elicits global response

Prolonging religious holidays to make them long vacations has been an established practice in Turkey. Religious holidays were seen as opportunities to heal social wounds and settle disputes. But nowadays, that practice appears to further deepen existing political and ideological fissures while enabling millions of Turks to hit the roads for short holidays.

At dawn on Sept. 10, the apartments of two Turkish opinion leaders and public intellectuals were raided by police in Istanbul. They have been under detention since the first hours of the nine-day-long Eid al-Adha holidays. Nobody has heard from them. Their lawyers could not find the prosecutor who signed their detention warrants because he was on vacation, and they were not allowed to see their clients.

The detainees are not only neighbors in the same condominium, they are also brothers. The elder brother, Ahmet Altan, 66, is a best-selling novelist, a veteran journalist and the former editor-in-chief of Taraf, the controversial daily that rocked Turkey with sensational news stories on the alleged coup preparations of the military against the Justice and Development Part government during the first decade of the 2000s.

The younger brother, Mehmet Altan, 63, is a professor of economics but is better known as a columnist who pioneered the trend called “Second Republicans” demanding the termination of the “First Republic” founded by Kemal Ataturk, whose guardian was the military.

Both are household names in Turkey, known for their irreconcilable hostility to anything related to the military. Yet, a public prosecutor — one of those who orchestrated the unprecedented crackdown in Turkey’s recent history — charged the brothers with colluding with the military. With no substantial evidence to prove the brothers’ association with the failed coup, the prosecutor brought up an unheard-of charge, accusing the Altans of participating in a coup plot by giving “subliminal” or “subconscious” messages in a television talk show a day before the coup attempt.

Subliminal” messages!

The Altans’ lawyers, who had no access to their clients nor to the prosecutor himself, uncovered the brand-new allegation from information the prosecutor’s office had leaked to the press.

The two brothers are spending the long religious holiday in detention and in unknown conditions. The Turkish media — those that are pro-government propaganda tools under the strict control of authorities and also circumscribed by the State of Emergency — has remained silent about the fate of their well-known colleagues. Some even found this an opportunity to settle scores using pro-government propaganda tools and to engage in vendettas.

As much as there is silence in the media of today’s Turkey, there is simultaneously an uproar in the world’s intelligentsia.

The detentions of Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan created an enormous backlash across the world, with hundreds of international intellectuals signing a letter of protest against the Turkish government. At the time of this writing, the number of international intellectual celebrities had reached 217, and the number continues to soar. [See related reading below.]

The campaign — initiated by Nobel laureates J.M. Coetzee of South Africa, the recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in literature, and Orhan Pamuk of Turkey, a 2006 Nobel winner — has been joined by Herta Muller of Germany, the 2009 Nobel laureate.

The signatories include very prominent literary figures from all around the world. The names of Elena Ferrante, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Hanif Kureishi, Julian Barnes, Elif Shafak and Gunter Walraff are just some among the scores of important pens.

Internationally acclaimed philosophers and sociologists have quickly joined in. Among leading intellectuals and academics are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Noam Chomsky — a familiar name for similar campaigns — international heavyweight and octogenarian American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein, renowned French philosopher Etienne Balibar and his Irish colleague Philip Pettit. Many belong to the most prestigious learning institutions in the world.

Names ranging from British movie star Emma Thompson to her compatriot — the well-known playwright Tom Stoppard — and Nick Cave, a big-name musician with millions of fans around the globe, are united in solidarity with the Altans and other prominent Turkish intellectuals and journalists such as Asli Erdogan, Sahin Alpay and Nazli Ilicak, who were arrested during the witch hunt, which continues in the wake of the failed coup.

To bring together so many influential literary, artistic and intellectual heavy guns is no easy task. It serves as a clue to the severity of the repression of intellectuals in Turkey. It beckons with the call: Nobel laureates and prominent intellectuals of the world unite! Unite against the repression of Turkish intellectuals!

Indeed, the British online daily The Independent published an article headlined ‘Novelists fighting for jailed Turkish writer Ahmet Altan is the kind of modern diplomacy we urgently need’. Alessio Colonnelli wrote, “With Western leaders failing us, we need great international minds to act. They have a clear vision and an audience of tens of millions of people.”

He brilliantly stated, “These writers have huge international readerships, with their words translated into [dozens] of languages. Their timely reaction is precisely what has been lacking in the handling of diplomatic and cultural events such as these up until now. We are seeing the direct engagement of our finest minds in addressing brutality on our behalf. We pay for their work, and they speak for us; a personal relationship between writer and reader of the type we used to see regularly until the end of the 1970s.”

From Turkey to Egypt, the imprisonment of creative[s] and intellectuals has reached unprecedented levels,” read Colonnelli’s piece in The Independent — realizing that the governments of those countries are increasingly becoming a burden on the civilized world.

Turkey in particular–different from Egypt–is part of the Western world and a member of Western organizations, institutions and alliances. Turning their backs to such irregularities in Turkey for the sake of short-range interests and realpolitik is becoming a shameful act on the part of Turkey’s Western friends and allies.

It is getting to be more and more unsustainable. The growing reaction of the international intelligentsia is a glimpse of hope not only for the freedom of Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan — who are spending the long holiday in an Istanbul jail — but also for other jailed intellectuals and journalists and for Turkey itself.

Cengiz Candar is a columnist for Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse. A journalist since 1976, he is the author of seven books in the Turkish language, mainly on Middle East issues, including the best-seller Mesopotamia Express: A Journey in History. Currently, he is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Stockholm University Institute of Turkish Studies (SUITS). On Twitter: @cengizcandar

Related reading:
World outrage over detentions in Turkey of writers and journalists, published by Platform 24, Sept 14, 2016 (updated on Sept 16, 2016)

The number of international writers and scholars supporting a letter protesting persecution of Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and other prominent writers in Turkey has reached 241 as of Sept 16, 2016.

PNN the Circle of Waters, whether dividing us or linking us, we must drink deep. We find ourselves discussing how we come together to protect each other and the sacred waters in a wonderful heart to heart with Nicole Williams a deeply committed member of the First Nations who has committed so much of her life as has her family to protecting the waters that surround and nurture us. She talks with us about the Standing Rock confrontation where the PROTECTORS have faced vicious dogs and pepper-spray and bulldozers are they try to awaken an understanding of the seriousness of the threats to their sacred burial lands, their precious water and the waters that ultimately nourish millions who depend on the Missouri River. We stand with her and with all those who oppose the poisoning of our Earth and her Sacred Waters upon which we all depend.

Brook and I will also be joined by Lucy Garin a psychologist whose family fled Armenia during the Turkish genocide and found refuge in Syria and Lebanon. Her young life was spent in these countries and she offers us a very different perspective than you might obtain from CNN or MSNBC.
Finally, we have the great good fortune to welcome a Progressive webcaster Gwendolyn Holden Barry who will share her insights both spiritual and political sharing with us the benefit of her long experience defending the Earth and her family.
Brook will as always share her political insight on the democratic party and the party movers and molders.
(Some much moldier than others)

Sunday, August 28, 2016


1. Email

A new batch of emails released Monday by the watchdog group Judicial Watch illustrates the inner workings of the nation’s capital and highlights a system that allows big donors to receive the type of access unavailable to ordinary Americans.

The 725 pages of emails show that Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin was asked time and time again to provide Clinton Foundation donors with access to the Secretary of State. These requests often came from Doug Band, a top executive of the Clinton Foundation.

“[Crown prince] of Bahrain in tomorrow to Friday. Asking to see her. Good friend of ours,” Band wrote in a June 23, 2009 email to Abedin. According to the Clinton Foundation’s website, the crown prince set up a scholarship fund with a value of $32 million.
Two days later, Abedin confirmed an appointment with Clinton — after acknowledging that the Secretary of State had previously not wanted to commit to a meeting when it was requested through “normal channels.”

In another exchange, Band asked Abedin to help a member of a British soccer club get an interview at the embassy in London. This was done at the request of Casey Wasserman, who has contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation through his own foundation.

In this case, Abedin seemed to express reservations.
“I doubt we can do anything but maybe we can help with an interview. I’ll ask,” she wrote on May 5, 2009. However, in another email on the issue, Abedin wrote: “I got this now, makes me nervous to get involved but I’ll ask.”

A couple hours later Band answered: “Then don’t.”
Judicial Watch released the emails on the same day it was announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had discovered an additional 14,900 emails from Clinton  not yet turned over. The State Department and Judicial Watch now have to work out a plan for how these emails will be released. U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg ruled that the process has to begin within a month and not in October, as the State Department has proposed.

In any case, the email issue will continue to haunt Clinton as she tries to win the presidency.

“These new emails confirm that Hillary Clinton abused her office by selling favors to Clinton Foundation donors,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “There needs to be a serious, independent investigation to determine whether Clinton and others broke the law.”

Clinton’s opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump, has seized on the issue.
“Hillary Clinton is the defender of the corrupt and rigged status quo. The Clintons have spent decades as insiders lining their own pockets and taking care of donors instead of the American people,” Trump said in a statement Monday. “It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history. What they were doing during Crooked Hillary’s time as Secretary of State was wrong then, and it is wrong now. It must be shut down immediately.”
In a year in which anger at the establishment is particularly high, Clinton’s biggest liability has been that she is viewed as dishonest — in large part due to the email scandal. According to a recent NBC survey, only 11% of respondents said the statement that Clinton is “honest and trustworthy” applies.
The newly released emails will do nothing to change the perception of Clinton as an insider.

2. Wells 
After generating an uproar last summer over plans to drill for oil in the Everglades near Miramar, the Kanter family of Miami has submitted paperwork for state permits that could result in decisions by late summer or early fall.
The family has proposed a single exploratory well about six miles outside Miramar, in hopes of adding to the modest group of oil fields that have been operating in South Florida since World War II.
Environmentalists have denounced the proposal, and city commissions throughout Broward County adopted resolutions in opposition. Members of the Broward CountyCommission, from which the family would need to obtain a zoning change, have said they would never support it.
But the family pressed on and recently submitted detailed responses to questions from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in hopes of completing its applications with that agency. Once the applications are determined to be complete, the agency will have 60 days to decide on one of them and 90 days to decide on the other. Applications are also pending with the Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District.

Family patriarch Joseph Kanter, who developed real estate during South Florida's postwar boom years, accumulated 20,000 acres in the Everglades for a town that was never built.
John Kanter, president of Kanter Investments Inc., described the approval process as extremely thorough and said the company was committed to producing a plan that would protect the environment.
"I would tell you at this preliminary stage we are involved in the rigorous permitting process to address all comments and concerns of the Florida Department of Environment Protection," he said. "We are focusing all of our efforts on acting responsibly in accordance with the law, while protecting our water supply and the environment."
Opponents say they will fight the plans, if the project wins approval.
"We're just waiting to see what the verdict is going to be from DEP so we can ascertain what the next steps are going to be," said Miramar Mayor Wayne Messom, who has rallied much of the opposition to the plan. "The thought of oil drilling just outside our city limits, piercing our fragile drinking water supply out in the Everglades is just unconscionable. To think there would be any technology that could guarantee its safety just seems unbelievable."
The Kanter company filed hundreds of pages of documents to the state environmental department, in response to its request for details on construction plans, safety measures, standards for pipes and other equipment. It also asks what is being proposed to minimize impact to wetlands, monitor water quality and protect wildlife. In addition, the company had to specify its plan for a potential release of hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas that has been released by oil drilling.

The company said the risk of spills or blowouts is small because the oil likely to be found there would be thick and under little pressure, contrary to the popular image of the Texas gusher.

"The Sunniland Trend contains minimal amounts of natural gas, so the oil is under low pressure," the company told the environmental department. "As a result of the low pressure and viscous consistency, the oil does not naturally come to the surface in the manner most people associate with oil wells. Submersible pumps are required to bring the oil to the surface."
At the same time, the company applied to the Army Corps of Engineers for permission to destroy 6.83 acres of wetlands, which would be "mitigated" by improving or expanding wetlands elsewhere. The Corps recently received additional information requested from the Kanters and is now evaluating whether the application is complete, spokeswoman Nakeir Nobles said.
The applications are for an exploratory well only. If sufficient oil is found to make recovery financially worthwhile, the family would have to go through another round of applications for permission to extract and ship the oil.
3. gouging with an epicene

4. Nestle’s Thirsty
Nestlé's arrogance is so stunning it's almost impossible to believe.
After decades of Nestlé pumping water out of the San Bernardino National Forest virtually free of charge using an expired permit, we sued.
In response, the Forest Service offered them a new permit to keep pumping for 5 more years. All Nestlé had to do was sign on the dotted line.
And Nestlé STILL refused -- because they said it would be a violation of THEIR rights to even seek a permit.(1)
The judge hearing our lawsuit is on the verge of making a ruling, and we have a good chance to win. But the longer this case drags on, the more our legal bills pile up. Will you chip in to help keep the pressure on and see the case through?

Numerous rulings by a former Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) favored energy companies his lobbyist wife worked for at the time, a DeSmog investigation can reveal.
Philip Moeller left FERC in late 2015 after nearly ten years on the Commission.
Throughout his entire tenure, Moeller’s wife, Elizabeth Moeller, was employed as a lawyer and lobbyist for the Washington DC-based firm Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw & Pittman LLP (Pillsbury Winthrop).
According to internal FERC documents obtained by DeSmog, the Commission’s counsel repeatedly authorized Moeller to rule on matters concerning companies represented by his wife or others at Pillsbury Winthrop.
Elizabeth Moeller’s Timely Move to Pillsbury Winthrop
A month before Moeller was nominated by President George W. Bush to FERC in March 2006, Elizabeth Moeller, a veteran Capitol Hill lobbyist, moved from the firm of Squire Patton to Pillsbury Winthrop.
One of her first clients at the new firm was Puget Sound Energy (PSE), a FERC-regulated utility providing electricity and gas to more than a million costumers in the Northwest.
According to congressional disclosure documents, Elizabeth Moeller had consistently lobbied for PSE from April 2006 to April 2014 on various issues relating to climate change, energy policy, and taxation. During the same time span, Commisioner Moeller sat on many FERC rulings involving PSE, where he ruled in favor of the company.
In 2007, Moeller and the Commission approved the upgrade and expansion of a PSE storage facility.
A year later, they approved PSE’s merger with a consortium led by the investment firm Macquarie.
Soon after, Moeller was involved in approving PSE’s purchase of Sumas Pipeline Company’s natural gas import facility in Whatcom County, Washington.
In 2011, FERC approved PSE’s rate increase. Two years later, Moeller approved PSE’s new service agreements with Morgan Stanley Capital.

FERC Allows Moeller to Sit on Rulings

When first nominated to FERC, Moeller disclosed to the Commission the conflict relating to his wife’s work.
In a letter to FERC’s Designated Agency Ethics Official, Moeller stated he would “not participate personally and substantially, if confirmed, in any particular matter that will have a direct and predictable effect on my spouse’s employment interest in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.”

Office of Government Ethics rules strictly forbid public officials from working on matters where they have a personal financial stake, unless authorized in writing by the agency’s Ethics Official.

Excerpt from Commissioner Moeller disclosure statement, March 2006
Internal FERC memoranda show the Commission’s legal staff repeatedly authorized Moeller to participate in rulings involving companies represented by Pillsbury Winthrop.

In February 2007, only months after his appointment to FERC, Moeller asked the Commission’s Ethics Official for a blanket waiver to participate in matters involving companies represented by his wife or Pillsbury Winthrop.

 The waiver was on the condition that neither Elizabeth Moeller or Pillsbury Winthrop was participating directly in the issue before the commission.

The official granted the waiver, arguing “[I] believe it is highly unlikely your Commission decisions in matters that involve your wife’s or Pillsbury’s clients, when represented by other counsel, would have any affect on the financial interests of either your wife or of Pillsbury.”

The Ethics Official also cited Moeller’s unique role in the regulatory process. “As a result, your role cannot be performed by another Commission employee and you should not be recused unnecessarily.”

Soon after, in early 2008, Moeller asked FERC’s counsel to participate in several rulings concerning PSE.

Even though Elizabeth Moeller was already lobbying for PSE at the time, FERC allowed him to participate after verifying that neither she nor her firm was directly participating in the specific matters before the Commission concerning PSE.

FERC’s counsel wrote, “in my view, these matters will not have any direct and predictable effect on the Moeller’s finances.”

In one of the rulings concerning PSE, Moeller stated: “Transparency in the Commission’s process is necessary in light of our significant enforcement authority.”

In late 2009 Moeller asked FERC for a waiver to participate in pending settlement rulings relating to California’s energy crisis of 2000-2001, where one of the parties in the matter, Chevron, was being represented by Pillsbury Winthrop.

Oddly, at the time Moeller told FERC’s counsel he was unaware his wife had become an equity partner at Pillsbury Winthrop 11 months earlier. This means Elizabeth Moeller automatically benefited financially with every increase in her firm’s total income.

Still, FERC granted him the waiver to participate in the settlements, saying: “Mrs. Moeller stands to benefit only in an indirect and attenuated way from the resolution of the Settlements.”

The Commission also cited the need to maintain a quorum of commissioners in such matters.

From a 2009 internal FERC memorandum, authorizing Commissioner Moeller to rule on matters involving companies represented by Pillsbury Winthrop

In 2012, Moeller was again authorized to rule in similar settlements involving Chevron. FERC’s counsel reasoned that “Mrs. Moeller does not work on matters involving Chevron, and has recently been ‘walled off’ from any profits received from the firm’s FERC’s practice.”

Elizabeth Moeller’s Fracking and Coal Clients

Lobbyist Elizabeth Moeller
Yet during these years Elizabeth Moeller represented other energy clients, of which there’s no evidence her husband asked for waivers to his obligated recusal.
In 2010, Elizabeth Moeller began lobbying for Mitsui Oil Exploration shortly after the company purchased agreements to drill for natural gas in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale.
Soon afterwards, Moeller and the Commission approved a number of new natural gas projects in the Northeast carrying fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale. These include Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern Appalachia to Market project and New Jersey-New York Expansion project.
During her husband’s tenure as FERC Commissioner, Elizabeth Moeller also lobbied for Laurus Energy, which develops underground coal gasification. Apart from her lobbying activities, she serves on the Board of Directors of General Synfuels International (GSI), an oil shale gasification company.
DeSmog could not find evidence of any instance where Moeller recused himself from rulings involving his wife’s clients.
A FERC spokesperson declined to comment and referred DeSmog to former Commissioner Moeller.
DeSmog was unable to contact Moeller directly but Brian Reil, a spokesperson at Edison Electric Institute, where Moeller currently works, said: “Mr. Moeller followed the law with an abundance of caution and in accordance and consultation with FERC‘s ethics office. Regarding Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd., Mr. Moeller was only approached after he announced he was leaving FERC and was then recused on issues involving the company during his remaining time atFERC.”
DeSmog also requested comment from Elizabeth Moeller, but got not response.

Philip Moeller’s Own Revolving Doors
Moeller himself embodies the revolving door phenomenon, where public servants move seamlessly to and from the private sector, potentially blurring their allegiances and interests.

In the years before his nomination to FERC, he worked as lobbyist for Alliant Energy and Calpine Corporation.
Moeller also chaired the Federal Affairs Executive Committee for Edison Electric Institute, a national utilities trade and lobbying group.

Soon after leaving FERC in October 2015, Moeller went back to work for the industry he had until recently regulated.
Within three months of his departure, Moeller rejoined Edison Electric Institute, this time as Senior Vice President of Energy Delivery and Chief Customer Solutions Officer.
Moeller Joins LNG Company Board – Lobbied for by his Old Colleague 

Moeller then joined the Board of Directors of Liquified Natural Gas Ltd., an Australian company developing several LNGexport terminals worldwide.

Liquified Natural Gas Ltd is currently awaiting FERC’s approval for its Magnolia LNG, a large terminal in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Liquified Natural Gas Ltd’s subsidiary for the project, Magnolia LNG, began its FERC review process in 2013, when Moeller still served as Commissioner.

The company has hired the firm K&L Gates to both manage its FERC application, and provide lobbying services.
One of Magnolia’s lobbyists from K&L Gates is Moeller’s ex-boss and longtime friend, former US-Senator Slade Gorton. Moeller worked as Gorton’s Energy Advisor when the former served in the Senate.

Lobbying disclosure documents show K&L Gates registered specifically to lobby on Magnolia LNG’s behalf to “[L]icense application with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” and that the entities it lobbied included FERC. Gorton himselflobbied on Magnolia LNG’s behalf in early 2015, while Moeller still served at FERC.
Within less than a year, Moeller would switch sides and join the Board of Magnolia LNG’s parent company.
Slade Gorton told DeSmog that although his firm K&L Gates listed him as a lobbyist for Magnolia LNG, he has “absolutely no memory of ever lobbying for LNG Ltd on any subject.”
As to his current relationship with Philip Moeller, Gorton, says he was “an outstanding member of my Senate staff whom I am delighted to see once or twice a year.”
In another project, Liquified Natural Gas Ltd recently announced it will connect its planned Bear Head LNG terminal in Canada’s Novia Scotia to a Spectra Energy pipeline in the Northeast US.
Spectra’s recent major upgrade to its New England pipeline – Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) – was approved by Moeller and the Commission in March 2015.
As DeSmog first reported, the environmental review processes for Spectra’s new natural gas projects in the region is mired with alleged conflicts of interest.
The contractor hired by FERC to assess the impacts of the company’s AIM and Atlantic Bridge projects – Natural Resource Group (NRG) – was already working directly for Spectra on related pipelines, suggesting it had a financial interest in approving the projects it was called upon to review independently.

6. Standing Rock Souix Pipeline

Judge Delays Injunction Ruling as Native American Pipeline Protest Grows
Protesters hoped a federal judge would halt the controversial Dakota Access pipeline being built across the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Activists resisting a controversial oil pipeline in a growing protest camp in Cannon Ball, N.D. hoped to hear a federal judge side with them Wednesday by issuing an injunction stopping its construction. Instead, they learned they may have to wait up to two weeks to hear the judge's decision.

In the meantime, the activists, who have formed a camp of largely Native American protesters that has swelled to more than 1,200 people, vowed to keep fighting.

They were joined in protest by a group of about 300 who gathered outside the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday to urge Judge James Boasberg to issue the injunction. That group included environmental activists and celebrities, including Susan Sarandon.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, sought a preliminary injunction to stop construction of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline. An injunction would give the court time to assess the plaintiffs' claims that the pipeline violates the Clean Water Act and other federal statutes.

Boasberg is now expected to rule on the injunction by Sept. 9. 

The pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners did not respond to a request for comment. A company spokesperson told InsideClimate News last week that the pipeline is being constructed "in accordance with applicable laws, and the local, state and federal permits and approvals we have received."

The delay ensures continued tension between protesters and the company. 

"I think folks are frustrated," said Tara Houska, national campaigns director for Honor the Earth, an indigenous environmental justice group. "I'm frustrated... [But] it is not going to dampen our efforts to ensure this pipeline" doesn't get built, she said.

Houska is among the activists camped out at Sacred Stone Camp, an impromptu community of trailers, teepees and tents four miles north of Cannon Ball.

Dallas Goldtooth, a campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, said there was "confusion and bewilderment" in the camp when he announced the delayed court decision.

The $3.8 billion pipeline is designed to deliver 450,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois, where it will be shipped to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Construction began this spring, and the project hasn't gained nearly as much national attention as the Keystone XL oil sand pipeline, which became a touchstone climate change issue and President Obama rejected last year. Unlike the Keystone, which would have crossed an international border, Dakota Access doesn't require presidential approval.

The pipeline route crosses the Missouri River near Cannon Ball, on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The tribe fears a pipeline spill would contaminate the river, which provides water for drinking and irrigation and plays an important role in its culture.

The grassroots campaign against Dakota Access launched in April when a few dozen people set up Sacred Stone Camp. After the section of the pipeline crossing waterways near the reservation was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in late July, the activists sued to stop it. Hundreds more began to join the movement.

"It really is a temporary little town," said Houska, who drove from Washington, D.C. to Cannon Ball. "I've seen artwork displayed, concerts performed.... There is a sharing of culture, children playing together. It's a beautiful thing to see."

The chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, however, said local authorities have been increasingly hostile toward the protesters.

"In recent weeks, the state has militarized my reservation, with road blocks and license-plate checks, low-flying aircraft and racial profiling of Indians," David Archambault II wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday. "The local sheriff and the pipeline company have both called our protest 'unlawful,' and Gov. Dalrymple has declared a state of emergency."

A Lawsuit on Environmental Grounds

The tribe's lawsuit argues the Corps of Engineers failed to adequately survey for cultural artifacts along the route, or to fully account for the project's environmental impacts. The suit alleges violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

When protesters temporarily shut down construction near Cannon Ball last week, Energy Transfer Partners agreed not to resume building until after Wednesday's hearing, but the company did not comment on how it will respond to the delayed ruling.

Construction was also halted in Iowa, after state regulators ordered the company on Tuesday to stop building along part of its Iowa route, in response to a lawsuit from 15 landowners in the state. On Thursday, regulators denied the landowners' request, allowing construction to continue.

Energy Transfer Partners has claimed in court filings that more than half of the pipeline is already built, said Jan Hasselman, an attorney from the environmental law firm Earthjustice who filed the lawsuit for the tribe.  

"We're really concerned," Hasselman said. "This company has pursued a strategy of getting this thing in the ground so fast that the rights of people to be a part of the process have been trampled on. The law gives the tribes important rights to protect sacred places and cultural heritage, and even if we're right ... by the time a court can vindicate them, it'll be too late."

Energy Transfer Partners has filed a separate lawsuit against the tribe to ban protesters from the construction site. A hearing on that suit was originally scheduled for Thursday, but is now postponed until Sept. 8.

Protest Goes National

Jane Kleeb, president of the activist group Bold Alliance, was among the protesters in Washington on Wednesday, where she said the mood was "very serious."

"It definitely did not feel joyous," she said. "But there was a strong sense of solidarity."

Kleeb said the court delay gives protesters more time to organize and put pressure on the White House to intervene.

Hasselman hopes President Obama is already aware of the pipeline's significance.

Obama visited Standing Rock Sioux reservation two years ago, and gave a speech on government-tribal relations in Cannon Ball, just a few miles from where Sacred Stone Camp lies today.

"He stood at a site where you could see the crossing of the pipeline [route], at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers," Hasselman said. "That's where the tribe hosted the president.... So we know the [White House] is aware of this."

7.  Native American Pipeline Protest Halts Construction in N. Dakota
Construction halted after more than 1,000 people swarm to protest the Dakota Access pipeline they believe threatens the Missouri River.

A groundswell of Native American activists has temporarily shut down construction on a major new oil pipeline with an ongoing protest that has drawn around 1,200 people to Cannon Ball, N.D.

Construction workers walked away from their bulldozers Monday after protesters surrounded the equipment and called for an end to construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. A group of protesters on horseback also staged a mock charge toward a line of law enforcement officials guarding the site, and the county sheriff alleged others have fired guns and set off pipe bombs.

The $3.8 billion pipeline at the heart of the protest would carry about half a million barrels of crude oil per day from the Bakken oil field to Illinois where it would link with other pipelines to transport the oil to Gulf Coast refineries and terminals.

The protest was staged at a spot where the pipeline would pass beneath the Missouri River, just upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, a community of 8,500 along the Missouri River in North and South Dakota.  

Protesters from dozens of tribes across the country are now camping in tents, tepees and mobile homes at the Sacred Stone Camp a mile and a half from the construction site. A video shows a second, more recently established campsite, the Red Warrior Camp.

"We have to be here," David Archambault II, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who was arrested at the site last week, said in a statement. "We have to stand and protect ourselves and those who cannot speak for themselves."

The pipeline's builder, Energy Transfer Partners, said through a spokesperson that it is "constructing this pipeline in accordance with applicable laws, and the local, state and federal permits and approvals we have received."

"This is an important energy infrastructure project that benefits all Americans and our national economy," it said. The company did not respond to a request for additional comment.

The Standing Rock tribe, one of the poorest communities in the nation according to 2010 census data cited by the tribe, relies on the Missouri River for drinking water, irrigation, fishing and recreation, and for cultural and religious practices. The reservation covers about 3,600 square miles along the river.

"An oil spill would represent a genuine catastrophe for the people who live there," said Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental organization that filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Standing Rock Tribe against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which approved the pipeline. "It isn't just cultural and religious, it's their economic lifeblood."

The suit alleges the pipeline violates the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

Protests against the pipeline have been ongoing since April. In July, a group of roughly two dozen from the Standing Rock tribe completed a nearly 2,000-mile relay from Cannon Ball to Washington, D.C. They delivered a petition with 150,000 signatures to the Corps calling on it to halt construction of the project.

On July 25, the Corps approved construction of the section of the pipeline upstream from the Standing Rock reservation, and ground was broken on August 10. Protests at the site started small, with about 50 people and grew to an estimated 1,200 on Wednesday, according to Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.

Mekasi Horinek Camp, a member of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma and coordinator of the environmental group Bold Oklahoma, claimed the Sioux bands "haven't come together in this traditional way since the Battle of the Little Big Horn."

"It's an historical time," he said, "and just a beautiful thing to be a part of."

As the number of protesters at the construction site and the nearby Sacred Stone Camp swelled, tensions between activists and law enforcement rose.

Protesters came on horseback Monday and a video shows what appears to be a mock charge aimed at law enforcement officials who had formed a line along a steep embankment near the entrance to the construction site. The video shows horses charging toward the officers and pacing in front of their line, directed by activists who yelled a "war whoop," or battle cry.

Neither the horses nor the protesters made physical contact with the officers, according to Montgomery Brown, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe who was at the protest. The officers, however, appear visibly frightened in the video and quickly scrambled up the embankment away from the horses.

Camp said the demonstration was part of a traditional ceremony that brings in the spirit of horses, and Brown called it a traditional way of introducing warriors from separate tribes. The officers were notified of the ceremony ahead of time, Camp said, and were asked to back up to give the horses space.

Kirchmeier said the protest had become "unlawful" as his officers reported incidents of shots being fired, pipe bombs, vandalism and assaults on private security personnel. Construction on the pipeline near Cannon Ball has been "discontinued for the time being," Kirchmeier said.

Protesters denied those allegations. "Firearms and weapons are not allowed at the Sacred Stone Camp and our security has done an exemplary job at maintaining safety amongst the crowd," according to a statement released by Sacred Stone Camp protesters with the groups Honor the Earth and the Indigenous Environmental Network. "As our camp was established on an act of prayer, we are committed to nonviolence."

"We are disappointed that there are those who will put the lives of others in jeopardy," the Energy Transfer Partners' spokesperson said. "We will continue to put the safety of our workers and those who live in the area as our top priority."

The Army Corps of Engineers declined to comment on the project citing the ongoing litigation.

While the protest in Cannon Ball is primarily Native Americans, ranchers are challenging the project elsewhere along its 1,168-mile path. On August 9, lawyers representing 14 Iowa landowners filed a motion to halt construction of the pipeline across their property. The suit challenged Dakota Access's use of eminent domain to seize land for what it says is private use.  

Over the past year, protests  against fossil fuel infrastucture projects nationwide have increaseed, and at least 24 dozen projects have been rejected or canceled for myriad reasons, the most prominent among them the Keystone XL pipeline.

Protesters at the Sacred Stone Camp said they are hopeful that a federal court will rule in their favor when their case is heard on August 24. In the meantime, they are planning to continue their protests.

Brown, the Standing Rock member, who is also a former Navy medic, said he is seeking additional medical professionals to help ensure the demonstrations can last.

"One of my main concerns right now is either pneumonia or tuberculosis since we are camped so close around each other," Brown said. "From a medical standpoint, you are going to need a lot of staff for these people to self-sustain."  


Our Sante River folks are doing a great job here in High Springs Fl. The more collisions the louder our voice will be. To be heard a local group must be formed at each voting predicted in all counties from the panhandle following the pipeline down to its destination. My fellow ecocentrics, let's face reality, residents of South Florida, have never enjoyed the connection with the land. Poor city souls, never swam in a clean spring or river, never canoed down the Santa Fe and camped wherever the wanted at dusk. This is the most beautiful land in the U S. Let's divide into groups centered around polling locations. Activate to Educate
People won't know what they had until it is gone. We can do it!

8. OFF with their ALLIES
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — In January, a Muslim woman from Myanmar screamed “I did not kill” and pled with her attackers for mercy, but they showed none. In the center of an intersection, she was publicly beheaded in front of spectators, her death caught covertly on video.

It’s the kind of horrifying tableau that has become almost commonplace in Western media, as it plays out each time ISIS claims its latest victims. But this woman, Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, wasn’t a victim of ISIS, but one of 110 prisoners executed by Saudi Arabia so far this year. In fact, this U.S. ally has beheaded almost twice as many prisoners as ISIS in 2015 and may be on pace to achieve a record-breaking number of executions.

Iran’s PressTV reported on Basim’s death along with several others, both foreigners and Saudi nationals, in July:

“Basim then screamed as a sword-wielding man struck her neck. Second and third blows completed the beheading and authorities swiftly removed her body from the road.”

By the time of Basim’s death, Saudi Arabia had already executed more prisoners than it had in all of 2014, warned Amnesty International in July. Human Rights Watch noted that about half were killed for drug-related crimes, and Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at HRW, called the increased rate of executions “yet another stain on the kingdom’s human rights record.”

Saudi Arabia beheaded Mugrib al-Thanyan, a citizen convicted of killing another Saudi, on Aug. 3, bringing the kingdom’s total number of executions in 2015 to 110, according to a report from The Independent’s Henry Austin. Based on execution figures compiled by Agence France-Presse, Austin noted:

“[T]here has been no let-up in the number of beheadings and there are fears the nation will surpass its modern-day execution record of 192, set back in 1995. Saudi Arabia advertised eight new executioners in May to carry out and increasing number of death sentences.”

By contrast, ISIS has carried out 65 beheadings so far this year, according to figures compiled by the editors of Wikipedia. Khaled al-Asaad, an 81-year-old Syrian archaeologist, is ISIS’ latest victim. He was beheaded on Aug. 18 after refusing to reveal the location of certain antiquities from the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, BBC News reported last week.

Al-Asaad’s death is part of an ISIS campaign against Palmyra and other historic sites in the Middle East that has shocked the world. Prior to his death, he was instrumental in having Palmyra declared an official UNESCO World Heritage site, and ISIS accused al-Asaad of “idolatry” for his dedicated work to protect the city.

However, while the actions of ISIS are condemned worldwide, Saudi Arabia continues to enjoy the political, military, and financial support of the United States, including direct support for the kingdom’s bloody bombing campaign against Yemen. And since candidates like Hillary Clinton benefit from Saudi Arabian money, even a new administration seems unlikely to unseat the nation from its role as a treasured American ally.

9. Harassing a negro… oops he’s the chief

It’s fairly common for New Yorkers who are stopped and frisked by the police to claim that they have been targeted, or profiled. But this time, a lot more people are listening to this claim than usual.

A Caucasian police officer has in fact been punished and pulled off active duty after he was proven to have have harassed NYPD Deputy Chief Douglas Zeigler.

Zeigler is the highest-ranking African American officer in the NYPD. He says point blank that he was the victim of racial profiling.

He explains that he was parked in a department-issued SUV, but was wearing plainclothes. That’s when two lower-ranking NYPD officers approached him, according to the New York Daily News.

“In his briefing to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Zeigler said the two cops, who are white, had no legitimate reason to approach his SUV, ranking sources said.

“After they ordered him to get out, one officer did not believe the NYPD identification Zeigler gave him.”

NYPD Chief Douglas Zeigler’s account is very different than the two officers claim.

“When one officer spotted Zeigler’s service weapon through the rolled-down window, he yelled “Gun!” according to sources who have spoken with the officers, the New York Daily News reports.

Both cops raised their weapons and ordered the driver out of the car, sources said.

Instead of saying he was an armed member of the NYPD, Zeigler shouted, “Don’t you know who I am?” the sources said.”

The two officers have been reprimanded, with the department acknowledging that this was a clear instance of racial profiling.

WCBS reports the following:

The incident was reported as police are being criticized for stopping and frisking record numbers of pedestrians — about 145,000 in the first quarter of this year. The majority of them were black or Hispanic.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been leading demonstrations in the city to protest the acquittals of three police officers in the shooting death of an unarmed man as he left his bachelor party, took note of the Zeigler incident while speaking at his weekly rally in Harlem.

“You can’t make this stuff up!” he said. “The problem isn’t that they didn’t recognize him. It is that they don’t recognize our rights!”

State Senator Eric Adams commented, “something is wrong with our Police Department and their interactions with people of color.”

Do you agree that there is a systemic problem with racial profiling amongst police officers? Or was this just an isolated incident?

8. Teacher shot 

Teacher Tries To Leave Party, Cop Jumps On Hood of Her Car, Opens Fire and Kills Her
A preschool teacher went to a field party. She ended up dead. In spite of the tragedy that has outraged the victim’s community, it was announced Thursday that her killer won’t face charges.

How could this be?

The facts speak for themselves. The shooter’s identity is known to police and prosecutors. The details demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooter acted in a criminal manner. But because of the profession of the shooter, he has evaded charges for his crime.

You see, the shooter was a police officer.

The gunman shot four times through 19-year-old Samantha Ramsey’s windshield after he ended up on top of her hood after trying to stop her from driving away from the party.

Just moments before he had been beside the car, but somehow just seconds later was both struck by the car AND had the ability to draw his weapon from a retention holster and fire four rounds through the windshield, killing Samantha.

Of course, if anyone not wearing a badge had done this, he’d be in jail a long, long time. But it was a cop, Deputy Tyler Brockman of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, in Kentucky, near the border with Cincinnati, Ohio.

The grand jury announced today there would be no charges filed.

Conveniently, Brockman’s microphone wasn’t working, and the shots were fired just out of view of his dashboard camera. He claims he hurt his footsie after falling off the hood of the dead girl’s car. But he did it all to protect the innocent, of course.

From his statement, we read: “The shots were fired not only to save his life, but also the pedestrians walking on the road and the officers currently just down the road initiating other arrests.”

And then there was the self-pitying statement from Brockman’s attorney:

“While Tyler and his family remain extremely thankful he is alive, his survival came with the heavy burden of doing what he had to do to protect himself and others. He sincerely regrets the loss the Ramsey family has suffered. “