Sunday, April 01, 2018

PNN - Progressives are the ANTS at the Big Boys Picnic

PNN - Spring Ahead with leaders seasoned by the past, LIVING in the Now - eyes on the future
Our Guests the Incomparable Brook Hines, with her keen political analysis
Edwin Enciso leader in the progressive community and human rights activist
Michael Panella - love time peace and human rights activist - talks about his transformation from a young seminarian to a Peace Activist

These Heroes of the past, leaders today and Vanguard of Tomorrow
Laboring mightily today to build a better today and tomorrow

Tune In Live Sunday or Anytime


http://www.blogtalkradio.com/newmercurymedia/2018/04/01/pnn--spring-ahead




Louisiana and Minnesota Introduce Anti-Protest Bills Amid Fights Over Bayou Bridge and Enbridge Pipelines
Alleen Brown, Will Parrish
This week, the Louisiana House of Representatives introduced new legislation aimed at criminalizing the activities of groups protesting the extraction, burning, and transport of oil and gas. The bill is similar to a model created by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council. Indeed, in the wake of the massive protest movement at Standing Rock, which attempted to prevent completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, at least seven states have introduced or passed “critical infrastructure” legislation. Louisiana’s version comes as opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline have ramped up protest activities in the state, staging occupations and blockades aimed at halting construction of the project.
The legislation creates new crimes that would punish groups for “conspiring” to trespass on critical infrastructure sites and prescribes particularly harsh penalties for those whose ideas, if carried out, would disrupt the operations of such infrastructure. The definition of the term critical infrastructure would be amended to include pipelines and pipeline construction sites. The language of the bill reaches far beyond cases of property destruction and stands to net individuals who do not participate in or condone such activities.

The Louisiana bill, unlike the ALEC model, does not require that any disruption to a facility’s functioning take place for penalties to apply — an individual could face huge fines or prison time without ever having set foot on the property.

“This is ALEC-plus,” said Pamela Spees, a senior attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who is representing groups opposed to the Bayou Bridge project.

The proposed law appears to be designed to intimidate the array of groups working to halt construction of the 163-mile oil pipeline, which cuts through a sensitive wetland where Louisiana crawfish are harvested. The groups — including the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Bold Louisiana, and the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper — have worked together despite varying goals that range from preserving sensitive habitats and lessening the impact of climate change to defending property rights and protecting the local crawfishing industry.

The Bayou Bridge pipeline shares the same parent company, Energy Transfer Partners, as the Dakota Access pipeline. Indeed, the two projects represent the northern and southern ends of a larger pipeline system.

“I think it shows how very deeply this industry has our state government by the throat,” Cherri Foytlin, a member of the indigenous women’s advisory council for the anti-Bayou Bridge L’eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life) Camp, said of the new legislation. “That they would sacrifice the citizens of South Louisiana, who are trying to protect their water, by criminalizing them over companies like Energy Transfer Partners.”

Mounting Restrictions on the Right to Protest
ALEC, which brings together corporations and right-wing legislators to draft industry-friendly policies, finalized its model “Critical Infrastructure Protection Act” in January based on a law passed in Oklahoma last spring, and since then, similar bills have been introduced in Iowa, Ohio, Wyoming, and Minnesota. Pennsylvania also introduced a critical infrastructure bill shortly after Oklahoma. In addition to ALEC, the nonpartisan Council of State Governments has also promoted the Oklahoma law on its list of “shared state legislation.”

The Iowa bill has passed both bodies of the state legislature and awaits final approval. The Ohio and Pennsylvania bills are pending, and the Wyoming bill passed the legislature before being vetoed by Gov. Matt Mead.

Minnesota’s bill, one of the newest, was introduced earlier this month. A committee of the state’s Republican-controlled House approved the bill on March 12, meaning it will soon go to a vote before the full House. The controversial Enbridge Line 3 pipeline awaits approval in the state, where it’s facing opposition from local tribes and environmental groups — some of which were also involved in fighting the Dakota Access pipeline.

The Minnesota bill appears to be aimed at those groups. Notably, it creates a felony for anyone who “recruits, trains, aids, advises, hires, counsels, or conspires with” an individual who causes significant damage to critical infrastructure such as pipelines. The penalties for such individuals or entities would be the same as those for the person who did the damage — up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. In the same vein, the law creates a misdemeanor for anyone who aids a person caught trespassing on a property containing critical infrastructure, and “vicarious liability” for any damage that occurs during the trespass. Versions of those items were also recommended by ALEC’s model.
The pipeline-related bills are part of a broader legislative crackdown on protest movements. According to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, since Trump’s election, 31 states have considered bills meant to curb protest.

Minnesota lawmakers, for example, will also vote soon on a bill that creates a gross misdemeanor for anyone who interferes with freeway traffic or traffic on roadways near an airport. Additionally, it would increase the potential fine for anyone who interferes with vehicles and the potential jail sentence from 90 days to a year. The bill’s authors have described it as a response to protests that have blocked traffic in recent years, including those that erupted in 2015 after 24-year-old Jamar Clark was killed by Minneapolis police and in 2016 after a St. Anthony, Minnesota, officer shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile

“Where’s the Conspiracy Here?”
In Louisiana, the majority of members of the House — 64 out of 105 — have signed on as sponsors of the critical infrastructure bill. Its primary sponsor, Major Thibault of Pointe Coupee Parish, is a Democrat, as are eight co-sponsors. “I saw what happened in parts of the country like North Dakota. Oklahoma had some legislation, and this is kind of modeled after that,” he told The Intercept. According to data from FollowtheMoney.org, energy and natural resources companies are Thibault’s second leading campaign donor by sector.
Those convicted of “conspiring” to trespass on a pipeline site would be imprisoned for a maximum of five years, fined a maximum of $10,000, or both. If the conspirators’ plan involved disrupting the pipeline’s construction, they would be imprisoned for between six and 20 years, fined a maximum of $250,000, or both.

Those who actually succeed in disrupting the operations of a pipeline or construction site would actually face a lesser maximum fine, $25,000, than if they’d only conspired to do it and the same possible prison sentence, between six and 20 years. Courts would also have the ability to require offenders to pay the costs of any law enforcement response, as well as restitution to the property owner.

“Where’s the conspiracy here? Whose interests are being served? We’re already operating in a state where our regulatory agencies, we’ve seen, are not acting as independent regulators,” Spees said.
“It’s further confirmation that a complete overhaul of the system is going to be what’s required,” said Foytlin. “We will do what we have to do to protect our water, and if that means we can’t be on the pipeline route, then we’ll be in these politicians’ office, and we’ll be running against them and replacing them with people that can put families in Louisiana over the profits of a pipeline company.”


How to Turn Off Third-Party Data Access to Your Facebook Account - Gaius Publius:
Posted on March 30, 2018 by Yves Smith
Yves here.
While some of us have managed to stay far away from the personal data mining operation known as Facebook, some readers who have never been all that keen about Facebook point out that they can’t avoid having an account, since it’s the only way to participate in activities that are important to them, like their kids’ sports teams or local activist groups. This post gives advice as to how to lower your data bleed.
By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. GP article archive  here. Originally published at DownWithTyranny

Facebook has come under scrutiny lately for its role in passively giving data on 50 million of its users to Cambridge Analytica, a company that uses Facebook-type data to target and change electoral outcomes worldwide. (There’s more on the Cambridge Analytica story here and here. Note that Carole Cadwalladr is a co-author of both stories. Her reporting is one of the centers for information about this revelation.)

Cambridge Analytica got that Facebook data, not because Facebook gave it to them, but because Facebook’s policy on info-sharing allowed them to harvest it. Here’s how that was done (h/t Naked Capitalism; emphasis mine):

On March 17, The Observer of London and The New York Times announced that Cambridge Analytica, the London-based political and corporate consulting group, had harvested private data from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their consent. The data was collected through a Facebook-based quiz app called thisisyourdigitallife,

created by Aleksandr Kogan, a University of Cambridge psychologist who had requested and gained access to information from 270,000 Facebook members after they had agreed to use the app to undergo a personality test, for which they were paid through Kogan’s company, Global Science Research.

But as Christopher Wylie, a twenty-eight-year-old Canadian coder and data scientist and a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, stated in a video interview, the app could also collect all kinds of personal data from users, such as the content that they consulted, the information that they liked, and even the messages that they posted.
In addition, the app provided access to information on the profiles of the friends of each of those users who agreed to take the test, which enabled the collection of data from more than 50 million.
All this data was then shared by Kogan with Cambridge Analytica, which was working with Donald Trump’s election team and which allegedly used this data to target US voters with personalised political messages during the presidential campaign. As Wylie, told The Observer, “we built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons.”
Forget the Trump factor and consider simply the Cambridge Analytica app and how it operated.
People who agreed and were paid to use it gave up more information to the app than was disclosed to them. Part of what they unknowingly surrendered was information from the profiles of all of their Facebook friends. That’s how harvesting the data from 270,000 people became a hack, via the app, of data on 50 million, who gave no approval for this transfer.
Not also that the means by which the original data was acquired was a ruse. The company’s interest in its “personality test” — thisisyourdigitallife — was false. All they wanted was the data.
“Exactly How Facebook’s Infrastructure Was Designed to Work”
This is not an aberration; this is how Facebook is designed to work and the source of the great wealth of its founders and investors. These Facebook apps (the games you play, the “tests” you take, and so on) are designed specifically as data transfers.
When you play a game on Facebook, or take part in a “quiz” to see which Roman emperor you most resemble (or whatever), you may think you’re taking part in the “fun” of being on Facebook. In reality, you’re being used by the app makers, and Facebook is making money selling you and your data to them.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) puts it this way (again, my emphasis):
Over the weekend, it became clear that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company, got access to more than 50 million Facebook users’ data in 2014. The data was overwhelmingly collected, shared, and stored without user consent. The scale of this violation of user privacy reflects how Facebook’s terms of service and API [Application Programming Interface] were structured at the time. Make no mistake: this was not a data breach. This was exactly how Facebook’s infrastructure was designed to work.

The only way to fix this situation for yourself is to turn off the ability of Facebook’s “platform API” to send out your data. That means to anyone. You also have to turn off the ability to log into third-party sites using your Facebook account. That so-called “convenience” opens big holes.
Getting Between Zuckerberg and His Money
Below are the latest instructions for doing just that. But before we go there, pause to consider what Facebook is — a company that collects masses of data from billions of users, uses algorithms to analyze that data to get more information about its users, then (a) sells that datato third parties for any use they wish, generally manipulative ones; (b) sells access to its users and their data to third parties via games, apps and other means; and (c) uses that data for its own manipulative purposes if it so wishes.

ow To Turn Off Third-Party App Access to Your Data
Now the fix for your own account. You could, of course, just delete your Facebook account, but until Facebook is regulated, they’re going to keep the data you’ve already given them anyway. #DeleteFacebook is a good personal solution to the problem going forward, but it’s understandably not for everyone.
For those who choose not to do delete their Facebook account, here’s how, as of this writing, to eliminate access to your Facebook data by third-party apps. This comes from the EFF article linked above, but has been modified to reflect changes Facebook has already made since the controversy (what a mild term) erupted.
As the EFF piece warns, “Keep in mind that this disables ALL platform apps (like Farmville, Twitter, or Instagram) and you will not be able to log into sites using your Facebook login.”
Step 1. Click the pull-down arrow in the upper right corner of your Facebook page and select Settings. Then click Apps in the column on the left. (Or click here for a shortcut that takes you to the same place.)
Step 2. Remove your Facebook login from all apps currently using it by looking in the large blue box labeled “Logged in with Facebook,” clicking on the check box below each app name, then clicking Remove.
Explanation: The first large box below “App Settings” is labeled “Logged in with Facebook”. Listed are games, organizations and apps where your Facebook login is already your app login.
My suggestion, don’t ever use your Facebook login as a third-party login. Instead create a login that’s specific to that organization or app and tie nothing to your Facebook account.
When a game or other web-based app asks you to create an account or “sign in with Facebook or Twitter,” you’re handing over access to your account data if you choose the easier Facebook (or Twitter) option — just as those who took money from Cambridge Analytica did. Yes, you can limit this access, but (a) most people don’t, and (b) who knows if app or the organization behind it is doing just what Cambridge Analytica did?
Step 3. Now remove this permission generally. Under “Apps, Websites and Games” see if the setting is “turned on” or “turned off.” If it’s turned off, you’re done.
If it’s turned on, click the Edit button, then click Turn Off. You’re done.
Explanation: As Facebook reminds you, if you turn off this setting:
You won’t be able to log into apps or websites using Facebook
Apps and websites you’ve logged into with Facebook may delete your accounts and activity
You won’t be able to play some games on Facebook [Gameroom], and [some of] your gaming activity may be deleted
Your posts, photos and videos on Facebook that apps and websites have published may be deleted
You won’t be able to interact with or share content from other apps and websites on Facebook using social plugins such as the Share and Like buttons
You may miss the use of Share and Like buttons on websites, but that’s the price. As of this writing, they don’t separate the permissions associated with Share and Like buttons with Facebook’s Gameroom and third-party login permissions. You can always go to Facebook itself and Share or Like a web post.



Sunday, November 26, 2017

PNN- The Treaty of Laramie



PNN
ARTICLES OF A TREATY MADE AND CONCLUDED BY AND BETWEEN

Lieutenant General William T. Sherman, General William S. Harney, General Alfred H. Terry, General O. O. Augur, J. B. Henderson, Nathaniel G. Taylor, John G. Sanborn, and Samuel F. Tappan, duly appointed commissioners on the part of the United States, and the different bands of the Sioux Nation of Indians, by their chiefs and headmen, whose names are hereto subscribed, they being duly authorized to act in the premises.

ARTICLE I.
From this day forward all war between the parties to this agreement shall for ever cease. The government of the United States desires peace, and its honor is hereby pledged to keep it. The Indians desire peace, and they now pledge their honor to maintain it.
If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States, shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will, upon proof made to the agent, and forwarded to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Washington city, proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished according to the laws of the United States, and also reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained.
If bad men among the Indians shall commit a wrong or depredation upon the person or property of nay one, white, black, or Indian, subject to the authority of the United States, and at peace therewith, the Indians herein named solemnly agree that they will, upon proof made to their agent, and notice by him, deliver up the wrongdoer to the United States, to be tried and punished according to its laws, and, in case they willfully refuse so to do, the person injured shall be reimbursed for his loss from the annuities, or other moneys due or to become due to them under this or other treaties made with the United States; and the President, on advising with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, shall prescribe such rules and regulations for ascertaining damages under the provisions of this article as in his judgment may be proper, but no one sustaining loss while violating the provisions of this treaty, or the laws of the United States, shall be reimbursed therefor.

ARTICLE II.
The United States agrees that the following district of country, to wit, viz: commencing on the east bank of the Missouri river where the 46th parallel of north latitude crosses the same, thence along low-water mark down said east bank to a point opposite where the northern line of the State of Nebraska strikes the river, thence west across said river, and along the northern line of Nebraska to the 104th degree of longitude west from Greenwich, thence north on said meridian to a point where the 46th parallel of north latitude intercepts the same, thence due east along said parallel to the place of beginning; and in addition thereto, all existing reservations of the east back of said river, shall be and the same is, set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians herein named, and for such other friendly tribes or individual Indians as from time to time they may be willing, with the consent of the United States, to admit amongst them; and the United States now solemnly agrees that no persons, except those herein designated and authorized so to do, and except such officers, agents, and employees of the government as may be authorized to enter upon Indian reservations in discharge of duties enjoined by law, shall ever be permitted to pass over, settle upon, or reside in the territory described in this article, or in such territory as may be added to this reservation for the use of said Indians, and henceforth they will and do hereby relinquish all claims or right in and to any portion of the United States or Territories, except such as is embraced within the limits aforesaid, and except as hereinafter provided.

ARTICLE III.
If it should appear from actual survey or other satisfactory examination of said tract of land that it contains less than 160 acres of tillable land for each person who, at the time, may be authorized to reside on it under the provisions of this treaty, and a very considerable number of such persons hsall be disposed to comence cultivating the soil as farmers, the United States agrees to set apart, for the use of said Indians, as herein provided, such additional quantity of arable land, adjoining to said reservation, or as near to the same as it can be obtained, as may be required to provide the necessary amount.

ARTICLE IV.
The United States agrees, at its own proper expense, to construct, at some place on the Missouri river, near the centre of said reservation where timber and water may be convenient, the following buildings, to wit, a warehouse, a store-room for the use of the agent in storing goods belonging to the Indians, to cost not less than $2,500; an agency building, for the residence of the agent, to cost not exceeding $3,000; a residence for the physician, to cost not more than $3,000; and five other buildings, for a carpenter, farmer, blacksmith, miller, and engineer-each to cost not exceeding $2,000; also, a school-house, or mission building, so soon as a sufficient number of children can be induced by the agent to attend school, which shall not cost exceeding $5,000.
The United States agrees further to cause to be erected on said reservation, near the other buildings herein authorized, a good steam circular saw-mill, with a grist-mill and shingle machine attached to the same, to cost not exceeding $8,000.
ARTICLE V.
The United States agrees that the agent for said Indians shall in the future make his home at the agency building; that he shall reside among them, and keep an office open at all times for the purpose of prompt and diligent inquiry into such matters of complaint by and against the Indians as may be presented for investigation under the provisions of their treaty stipulations, as also for the faithful discharge of other duties enjoined on him by law. In all cases of depredation on person or property he shall cause the evidence to be taken in writing and forwarded, together with his findings, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, whose decision, subject to the revision of the Secretary of the Interior, shall be binding on the parties to this treaty.

ARTICLE VI.
If any individual belonging to said tribes of Indians, or legally incorporated with them, being the head of a family, shall desire to commence farming, he shall have the privilege to select, in the presence and with the assistance of the agent then in charge, a tract of land within said reservation, not exceeding three hundred and twenty acres in extent, which tract, when so selected, certified, and recorded in the "Land Book" as herein directed, shall cease to be held in common, but the same may be occupied and held in the exclusive possession of the person selecting it, and of his family, so long as he or they may continue to cultivate it.

Any person over eighteen years of age, not being the head of a family, may in like manner select and cause to be certified to him or her, for purposes of cultivation, a quantity of land, not exceeding eighty acres in extent, and thereupon be entitled to the exclusive possession of the same as above directed.

For each tract of land so selected a certificate, containing a description thereof and the name of the person selecting it, with a certificate endorsed thereon that the same has been recorded, shall be delivered to the party entitled to it, by the agent, after the same shall have been recorded by him in a book to be kept in his office, subject to inspection, which said book shall be known as the "Sioux Land Book."

The President may, at any time, order a survey of the reservation, and, when so surveyed, Congress shall provide for protecting the rights of said settlers in their improvements, and may fix the character of the title held by each. The United States may pass such laws on the subject of alienation and descent of property between the Indians and their descendants as may be thought proper. And it is further stipulated that any male Indians over eighteen years of age, of any band or tribe that is or shall hereafter become a party to this treaty, who now is or who shall hereafter become a resident or occupant of any reservation or territory not included in the tract of country designated and described in this treaty for the permanent home of the Indians, which is not mineral land, nor reserved by the United States for special purposes other than Indian occupation, and who shall have made improvements thereon of the value of two hundred dollars or more, and continuously occupied the same as a homestead for the term of three years, shall be entitled to receive from the United States a patent for one hundred and sixty acres of land including his said improvements, the same to be in the form of the legal subdivisions of the surveys of the public lands. Upon application in writing, sustained by the proof of two disinterested witnesses, made to the register of the local land office when the land sought to be entered is within a land district, and when the tract sought to be entered is not in any land district, then upon said application and proof being made to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and the right of such Indian or Indians to enter such tract or tracts of land shall accrue and be perfect from the date of his first improvements thereon, and shall continue as long as be continues his residence and improvements and no longer. And any Indian or Indians receiving a patent for land under the foregoing provisions shall thereby and from thenceforth become and be a citizen of the United States and be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of such citizens, and shall, at the same time, retain all his rights to benefits accruing to Indians under this treaty.

ARTICLE VII.
In order to insure the civilization of the Indians entering into this treaty, the necessity of education is admitted, especially of such of them as are or may be settled on said agricultural reservations, and they, therefore, pledge themselves to compel their children, male and female, between the ages of six and sixteen years, to attend school, and it is hereby made the duty of the agent for said Indians to see that this stipulation is strictly complied with; and the United States agrees that for every thirty children between said ages, who can be induced or compelled to attend school, a house shall be provided, and a teacher competent to teach the elementary branches of an English education shall be furnished, who will reside among said Indians and faithfully discharge his or her duties as a teacher. The provisions of this article to continue for not less than twenty years.

ARTICLE VIII.

When the head of a family or lodge shall have selected lands and received his certificate as above directed, and the agent shall be satisfied that he intends in good faith to commence cultivating the soil for a living, he shall be entitled to receive seeds and agricultural implements for the first year, not exceeding in value one hundred dollars, and for each succeeding year he shall continue to farm, for a period of three years more, he shall be entitled to receive seeds and implements as aforesaid, not exceeding in value twenty-five dollars. And it is further stipulated that such persons as commence farming shall receive instruction from the farmer herein provided for, and whenever more than one hundred persons shall enter upon the cultivation of the soil, a second blacksmith shall be provided, with such iron, steel, and other material as may be needed.

ARTICLE IX.
At any time after ten years fro the making of this treaty, the United States shall have the privilege of withdrawing the physician, farmer, blacksmith, carpenter, engineer, and miller herein provided for, but in case of such withdrawal, an additional sum thereafter of ten thousand dollars per annum shall be devoted to the education of said Indians, and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall, upon careful inquiry into their condition, make such rules and regulations for the expenditure of said sums as will best promote the education and moral improvement of said tribes.

ARTICLE X.
In lieu of all sums of money or other annuities provided to be paid to the Indians herein named under any treaty or treaties heretofore made, the United States agrees to deliver at the agency house on the reservation herein named, on or before the first day of August of each year, for thirty years, the following articles, to wit:
For each male person over 14 years of age, a suit of good substantial woollen clothing, consisting of coat, pantaloons, flannel shirt, hat, and a pair of home-made socks.
For each female over 12 years of age, a flannel shirt, or the goods necessary to make it, a pair of woollen hose, 12 yards of calico, and 12 yards of cotton domestics.
For the boys and girls under the ages named, such flannel and cotton goods as may be needed to make each a suit as aforesaid, together with a pair of woollen hose for each.
And in order that the Commissioner of Indian Affairs may be able to estimate properly for the articles herein named, it shall be the duty of the agent each year to forward to him a full and exact census of the Indians, on which the estimate from year to year can be based.

And in addition to the clothing herein named, the sum of $10 for each person entitled to the beneficial effects of this treaty shall be annually appropriated for a period of 30 years, while such persons roam and hunt, and $20 for each person who engages in farming, to be used by the Secretary of the Interior in the purchase of such articles as from time to time the condition and necessities of the Indians may indicate to be proper. And if within the 30 years, at any time, it shall appear that the amount of money needed for clothing, under this article, can be appropriated to better uses for the Indians named herein, Congress may, by law, change the appropriation to other purposes, but in no event shall the amount of the appropriation be withdrawn or discontinued for the period named. And the President shall annually detail an officer of the army to be present and attest the delivery of all the goods herein named, to the Indians, and he shall inspect and report on the quantity and quality of the goods and the manner of their delivery. And it is hereby expressly stipulated that each Indian over the age of four years, who shall have removed to and settled permanently upon said reservation, one pound of meat and one pound of flour per day, provided the Indians cannot furnish their own subsistence at an earlier date. And it is further stipulated that the United States will furnish and deliver to each lodge of Indians or family of persons legally incorporated with the, who shall remove to the reservation herein described and commence farming, one good American cow, and one good well-broken pair of American oxen within 60 days after such lodge or family shall have so settled upon said reservation.

ARTICLE XI.
In consideration of the advantages and benefits conferred by this treaty and the many pledges of friendship by the United States, the tribes who are parties to this agreement hereby stipulate that they will relinquish all right to occupy permanently the territory outside
their reservations as herein defined, but yet reserve the right to hunt on any lands north of North Platte, and on the Republican Fork of the Smoky Hill river, so long as the buffalo may range thereon in such numbers as to justify the chase. And they, the said Indians, further expressly agree:

1st. That they will withdraw all opposition to the construction of the railroads now being built on the plains.

2d. That they will permit the peaceful construction of any railroad not passing over their reservation as herein defined.

3d. That they will not attack any persons at home, or travelling, nor molest or disturb any wagon trains, coaches, mules, or cattle belonging to the people of the United S
tates, or to persons friendly therewith.

4th. They will never capture, or carry off from the settlements, white women or children.

5th. They will never kill or scalp white men, nor attempt to do them harm.

6th. They withdraw all pretence of opposition to the construction of the railroad now being built along the Platte river and westward to the Pacific ocean, and they will not in future object to the construction of railroads, wagon roads, mail stations, or other works of utility or necessity, which may be ordered or permitted by the laws of the United States. But should such roads or other works be constructed on the lands of their reservation, the government will pay the tribe whatever amount of damage may be assessed by three disinterested commissioners to be appointed by the President for that purpose, one of the said commissioners to be a chief or headman of the tribe.

7th. They agree to withdraw all opposition to the military posts or roads now established south of the North Platte river, or that may be established, not in violation of treaties heretofore made or hereafter to be made with any of the Indian tribes.

ARTICLE XII.
No treaty for the cession of any portion or part of the reservation herein described which may be held in common, shall be of any validity or force as against the said Indians unless executed and signed by at least three-fourths of all the adult male Indians occupying or interested in the same, and no cession by the tribe shall be understood or construed in such manner as to deprive, without his consent, any individual member of the tribe of his rights to any tract of land selected by him as provided in Article VI of this treaty.

ARTICLE XIII.

The United States hereby agrees to furnish annually to the Indians the physician, teachers, carpenter, miller, engineer, farmer, and blacksmiths, as herein contemplated, and that such appropriations shall be made from time to time, on the estimate of the Secretary of the Interior, as will be sufficient to employ such persons.

ARTICLE XIV.
It is agreed that the sum of five hundred dollars annually for three years from date shall be expended in presents to the ten persons of said tribe who in the judgment of the agent may grow the most valuable crops for the respective year.

ARTICLE XV.
The Indians herein named agree that when the agency house and other buildings shall be constructed on the reservation named, they will regard said reservation their permanent home, and they will make no permanent settlement elsewhere; but they shall have the right, subject to the conditions and modifications of this treaty, to hunt, as stipulated in Article XI hereof.

ARTICLE XVI.
The United States hereby agrees and stipulates that the country north of the North Platte river and east of the summits of the Big Horn mountains shall be held and considered to be unceded. Indian territory, and also stipulates and agrees that no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the same; or without the consent of the Indians, first had and obtained, to pass through the same; and it is further agreed by the United States, that within ninety days after the conclusion of peace with all the bands of the Sioux nation, the military posts now established in the territory in this article named shall be abandoned, and that the road leading to them and by them to the settlements in the Territory of Montana shall be closed.

ARTICLE XVII.
It is hereby expressly understood and agreed by and between the respective parties to this treaty that the execution of this treaty and its ratification by the United States Senate shall have the effect, and shall be construed as abrogating and annulling all treaties and agreements heretofore entered into between the respective parties hereto, so far as such treaties and agreements obligate the United States to furnish and provide money, clothing, or other articles of property to such Indians and bands of Indians as become parties to this treaty, but no further.
In testimony of all which, we, the said commissioners, and we, the chiefs and headmen of the Brule band of the Sioux nation, have hereunto set our hands and seals at Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory, this twenty-ninth day of April, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight.

N. G. TAYLOR,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Lieutenant General
WM. S. HARNEY,
Brevet Major General U.S.A.
JOHN B. SANBORN,
S. F. TAPPAN,
C. C. AUGUR,
Brevet Major General
ALFRED H. TERRY,
Brevet Major General U.S.A.
Attest:
A. S. H. WHITE, Secretary.
Executed on the part of the Brule band of Sioux by the chiefs and headman whose names are hereto annexed, they being thereunto duly authorized, at Fort Laramie, D. T., the twenty-ninth day of April, in the year A. D. 1868.

MA-ZA-PON-KASKA, his X mark, Iron Shell.
WAH-PAT-SHAH, his X mark, Red Leaf.
HAH-SAH-PAH, his X mark, Black Horn.
ZIN-TAH-GAH-LAT-WAH, his X mark, Spotted Tail.
ZIN-TAH-GKAH, his X mark, White Tail.
ME-WAH-TAH-NE-HO-SKAH, his X mark, Tall Man.
SHE-CHA-CHAT-KAH, his X mark, Bad Left Hand.
NO-MAH-NO-PAH, his X mark, Two and Two.
TAH-TONKA-SKAH, his X mark, White Bull.
CON-RA-WASHTA, his X mark, Pretty Coon.
HA-CAH-CAH-SHE-CHAH, his X mark, Bad Elk.
WA-HA-KA-ZAH-ISH-TAH, his X mark, Eye Lance.
MA-TO-HA-KE-TAH, his X mark, Bear that looks behind.
BELLA-TONKA-TONKA, his X mark, Big Partisan.
MAH-TO-HO-HONKA, his X mark, Swift Bear.
TO-WIS-NE, his X mark, Cold Place.
ISH-TAH-SKAH, his X mark, White Eye.
MA-TA-LOO-ZAH, his X mark, Fast Bear.
AS-HAH-HAH-NAH-SHE, his X mark, Standing Elk.
CAN-TE-TE-KI-YA, his X mark, The Brave Heart.
SHUNKA-SHATON, his X mark, Day Hawk.
TATANKA-WAKON, his X mark, Sacred Bull.
MAPIA SHATON, his X mark, Hawk Cloud.
MA-SHA-A-OW, his X mark, Stands and Comes.
SHON-KA-TON-KA, his X mark, Big Dog.
Attest:
ASHTON S. H. WHITE, Secretary of Commission.
GEORGE B. WITHS, Phonographer to Commission.
GEO. H. HOLTZMAN.
JOHN D. HOWLAND.
JAMES C. O'CONNOR.
CHAR. E. GUERN, Interpreter.
LEON T. PALLARDY, Interpreter.
NICHOLAS JANIS, Interpreter.
Executed on the part of the Ogallalla band of Sioux by the chiefs and headmen whose names are hereto subscribed, they being thereunto duly authorized, at Fort Laramie, the 25th day of May, in the year A. D. 1868.
TAH-SHUN-KA-CO-QUI-PAH, his mark, Man-afraid-of-his-horses.
SHA-TON-SKAH, his X mark, White Hawk.
SHA-TON-SAPAH, his X mark, Black Hawk.
EGA-MON-TON-KA-SAPAH, his X mark, Black Tiger
OH-WAH-SHE-CHA, his X mark, Bad Wound.
PAH-GEE, his X mark, Grass.
WAH-NON SAH-CHE-GEH, his X mark, Ghost Heart.
COMECH, his X mark, Crow.
OH-HE-TE-KAH, his X mark, The Brave.
TAH-TON-KAH-HE-YO-TA-KAH, his X mark, Sitting Bull.
SHON-KA-OH-WAH-MEN-YE, his X mark, Whirlwind Dog.
HA-KAH-KAH-TAH-MIECH, his X mark, Poor Elk.
WAM-BU-LEE-WAH-KON, his X mark, Medicine Eagle.
CHON-GAH-MA-HE-TO-HANS-KA, his X mark, High Wolf.
WAH-SECHUN-TA-SHUN-KAH, his X mark, American Horse.
MAH-KAH-MAH-HA-MAK-NEAR, his X mark, Man that walks under the ground.
MAH-TO-TOW-PAH, his X mark, Four Bears.
MA-TO-WEE-SHA-KTA, his X mark, One that kills the bear.
OH-TAH-KEE-TOKA-WEE-CHAKTA, his X mark, One that kills in a hard place.
TAH-TON-KAH-TA-MIECH, his X mark, The Poor Bull.
OH-HUNS-EE-GA-NON-SKEN, his X mark, Mad Shade.
SHAH-TON-OH-NAH-OM-MINNE-NE-OH-MINNE, his X mark, Whirling hawk.
MAH-TO-CHUN-KA-OH, his X mark, Bear's Back.
CHE-TON-WEE-KOH, his X mark, Fool Hawk.
WAH-HOH-KE-ZA-AH-HAH, his X mark,
EH-TON-KAH, his X mark, Big Mouth.
MA-PAH-CHE-TAH, his X mark, Bad Hand.
WAH-KE-YUN-SHAH, his X mark, Red Thunder.
WAK-SAH, his X mark, One that Cuts Off.
CHAH-NOM-QUI-YAH, his X mark, One that Presents the Pipe.
WAH-KE-KE-YAN-PUH-TAH, his X mark, Fire Thunder.
MAH-TO-NONK-PAH-ZE, his X mark, Bear with Yellow Ears.
CON-REE-TEH-KA, his X mark, The Little Crow.
HE-HUP-PAH-TOH, his X mark, The Blue War Club.
SHON-KEE-TOH, his X mark, The Blue Horse.
WAM-BALLA-OH-CONQUO, his X mark, Quick Eagle.
TA-TONKA-SUPPA, his X mark, Black Bull.
MOH-TOH-HA-SHE-NA, his X mark, The Bear Hide.
Attest:
S. E. WARD.
JAS. C. O'CONNOR.
J. M. SHERWOOD.
W. C. SLICER.
SAM DEON.
H. M. MATHEWS.
JOSEPH BISS
NICHOLAS JANIS, Interpreter.
LEFROY JOTT, Interpreter.
ANTOINE JANIS, Interpreter.
Executed on the part of the Minneconjou band of Sioux by the chiefs and headmen whose names are hereunto subscribed, they being thereunto duly authorized.
HEH-WON-GE-CHAT, his X mark, One Horn.
OH-PON-AH-TAH-E-MANNE, his X mark, The Elk that Bellows Walking.
HEH-HO-LAH-ZEH-CHA-SKAH, his X mark, Young White Bull.
WAH-CHAH-CHUM-KAH-COH-KEEPAH, his X mark, One that is Afraid of Shield.
HE-HON-NE-SHAKTA, his X mark, The Old Owl.
MOC-PE-A-TOH, his X mark, Blue Cloud.
OH-PONG-GE-LE-SKAH, his X mark, Spotted Elk.
TAH-TONK-KA-HON-KE-SCHUE, his X mark, Slow bull.
SHONK-A-NEE-SHAH-SHAH-ATAH-PE, his X mark, The Dog Chief.
MA-TO-TAH-TA-TONK-KA, his X mark, Bull Bear.
WOM-BEH-LE-TON-KAH, his X mark, The Big Eagle.
MATOH, EH-SCHNE-LAH, his X mark, The Lone Bear.
MA-TOH-OH-HE-TO-KEH, his X mark, The Brave Bear.
EH-CHE-MA-KEH, his X mark, The Runner.
TI-KI-YA, his X mark, The Hard.
HE-MA-ZA, his X mark, Iron Horn.
Attest:

PNN 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

PNN - Lets Not Talk OIL SPILLS or TAX BILLS!  Lets Talk Battle of the SEXES!!




PNN - Lets Not Talk OIL SPILLS or TAX BILLS!
Lets Talk Battle of the SEXES!!


PNN - 11/19/17
Lets Not Pay Attention to TAX PLANS and OIL Spills


1.Dakota Access Pipeline Company Paid Mercenaries to Build Conspiracy Lawsuit Against Environmentalists

The private security firm TigerSwan worked to build a RICO suit accusing Greenpeace, Earth First, and BankTrack of inciting protests to increase donations.

The private security firm TigerSwan, hired by Energy Transfer Partners to protect the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, was paid to gather information for what would become a sprawling conspiracy lawsuit accusing environmentalist groups of inciting the anti-pipeline protests in an effort to increase donations, three former TigerSwan contractors told The Intercept. For months, a conference room wall at TigerSwan’s Apex, North Carolina, headquarters was covered with a web-like map of funding nodes the firm believed it had uncovered — linking billionaire backers to nonprofit organizations to pipeline opponents protesting at Standing Rock. It was a “showpiece” for board members and ETP executives, according to a former TigerSwan contractor — part of a project that had little to do with the pipeline’s physical security.



In August, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, Donald Trump’s personal attorney for more than a decade, filed a 187-page racketeering complaint against Greenpeace, Earth First, and the divestment group BankTrack in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota, seeking $300 million in damages on behalf of Energy Transfer Partners. The NoDAPL movement, the suit claims, was driven by “a network of putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims.”

It was as if the entire campaign came in a box. And of course it did,” the suit alleges. “Its objective was not to protect the environment or Native Americans but to produce as sensational and public a dispute as possible, and to use that publicity and emotion to drive fundraising.”

Among the nonprofit network’s alleged crimes: “perpetrating acts of terrorism under the U.S. Patriot Act, including destruction of an energy facility, destruction of hazardous liquid pipeline facility, arson and bombing of government property risking or causing injury or death.”

We felt compelled to file the lawsuit against Greenpeace and others because we want the truth to come out about the illegal actions that took place in North Dakota and the funding of these actions,” ETP spokesperson Vicki Granado told The Intercept. “In many cases, the only way the truth comes out is through the legal process.”

The case was filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, passed in 1970 to prosecute organized crime — primarily the mob. Greenpeace says it amounts to a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or SLAPP, designed to curtail free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation.

It grossly distorts the law and facts at Standing Rock,” said Greenpeace general counsel Tom Wetterer. “We’ll win the lawsuit, but it’s not really what this is about for ETP. What they’re really trying to do is silence future protests and advocacy work against the company and other corporations.”

[The lawsuit] had some major racist overtones. They were basically saying that we were not intelligent enough to know for ourselves what the possibilities were in case the pipeline were to leak. They were basically saying we were manipulated,” said Linda Black Elk, a member of the Catawba Nation who lives on the Standing Rock reservation and organized against the pipeline months before the protests began. “I think the whole purpose of it is to scare tribes from further activism when it comes to the fossil fuel industries and to scare these green groups to keep them from supporting us in those future fights.”

Short-Lived Line of Work

TigerSwan, which got its start working U.S. government contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq, was hired by Energy Transfer Partners to coordinate the DAPL operation in September 2016, after dogs handled by private security officers were caught on film biting pipeline opponents. The firm began collecting information on the movement’s funding streams soon afterward, submitting intelligence to ETP via daily situation reports, more than 100 of which were leaked to The Intercept by a TigerSwan contractor.

But the effort to build a lawsuit began in earnest in January. TigerSwan personnel were tasked directly by lawyers working for ETP with fulfilling information requests, according to two former contractors. Situation reports from the beginning of February note that the company planned to “continue to proceed with the ETP legal team’s requests.”

In response to the requests, TigerSwan personnel sent reports on trespassing incidents and pipeline sabotage, including information about who was suspected to be involved and monetary damages caused by the work stoppages. The firm also compiled descriptions of movement leaders and individuals arrested by law enforcement, and tracked donations to DAPL-related GoFundMe accounts. Much of the intelligence collection was carried out via fake social media accounts and infiltration of protest camps by TigerSwan operatives.

According to the former contractors, the company intended to sell its legal investigative services to future clients. A PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Intercept, which a former contractor described as marketing material to attract a new contract, shows TigerSwan applying its follow-the-money tactics to a new pipeline fight against Pennsylvania’s Mariner East 2 project. The presentation traces nonprofit funds to various “action arms,” which include activist groups — Lancaster Against Pipelines and Marcellus Shale Earth First — as well as a member of the press, StateImpact, a regionally focused public radio project.

As concerns StateImpact, the TigerSwan graphic is incorrect,” editor Scott Blanchard told The Intercept. “StateImpact, which covers Pennsylvania’s energy economy, is independent of outside influence and is not aligned with any stakeholders.”

While TigerSwan eventually landed security work on the Pennsylvania pipeline, its RICO work for Energy Transfer Partners was short-lived. By early March, the legal team working for ETP had pulled the security firm off the lawsuit. Former TigerSwan contractors speculated the firm’s lack of experience building legal cases made it ill-equipped for the project.

Michael Bowe, the Kasowitz attorney representing ETP in the RICO case, told The Intercept, “We did not retain or work with TigerSwan.” Former TigerSwan personnel agreed that the ETP lawyers working most closely with TigerSwan were not with Kasowitz.

ETP declined to comment on TigerSwan’s work, stating, “We do not comment on any specifics related to our security programs.” A TigerSwan spokesperson stated, “We do not discuss the details of our efforts for any client. We are proud of our work to provide the very best in consultative risk management services to our clients around the world.”

Hunting Paid Protesters

Internal documents and interviews with the former TigerSwan contractors display some of the fruits of the firm’s investigation, which include claims that echo prominent right-wing conspiracy theories.

A PowerPoint presentation created in the fall of 2016 describes what TigerSwan dubbed the Billionaire’s Club: “an exclusive group of wealthy individuals, [which] directs the far-left environmental movement.” Several slides are dedicated to the anti-pipeline nonprofit Bold Nebraska, whose parent organization, Bold Alliance, is named in the ETP suit.

Underlying Bold Nebraska’s homespun, grassroots facade is a significant, growing, well-funded and well-organized financial support network originating from wealthy far-left environmental interests thousands of miles away,” one slide states. The language is pulled verbatim from a 2014 report by the Republican minority staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, titled “Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.”

TigerSwan claimed that among the wealthy interests behind Bold Alliance was billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett, whose donations to foundations that support environmental causes, one slide states, benefited an oil-by-rail business owned by Buffett’s investment company Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett also appears at the center of a TigerSwan links map, obtained by The Intercept, meant to depict movement funders and influencers.

One of the theory’s most obvious flaws is that Buffett has a significant financial stake in the Dakota Access pipeline. Berkshire Hathaway is the largest investor in the oil and gas firm Phillips 66, which owns a 25 percent stake in DAPL. Buffett did not respond to a request for comment.

Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Alliance, told The Intercept that the group raised money for food and shelter at the DAPL resistance camps. They also had an indigenous staff member on the ground for six months who was involved in organizing protests.


We’d be happy to take Buffett’s millions, but we don’t have any of that money,” she said, noting the organization relies on thousands of small donors. “There’s literally never been a foundation or a major donor that has given us money and said, ‘You have to do XYZ and target XYZ person.’”

It’s remarkable that because we are a nonprofit and because I get paid a salary, and I pay our organizers a salary, that somehow makes us a paid protester,” Kleeb added.


Indeed, according to one of the former TigerSwan contractors, a goal of the firm’s RICO work was to identify “paid protesters.”

Throughout the protests, prosecutors and police also took interest in identifying such protesters, indicating that the oil industry’s hunt for a conspiracy was taken up by the public sector.

Multiple TigerSwan situation reports note law enforcement efforts to follow the money. For example, on March 3, a TigerSwan operative wrote, “Spoke with FBI Agent Tom Reinwart in reference to funds being funneled to protesters.” Another report from February 11 describes the Bureau of Indian Affairs tracking individuals “assessed to be assisting in the facilitation of moving money and supplies to the camps.”

Meanwhile, Lynn Woodall of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department also regularly forwarded a protester social media activity bulletin from a Gmail account to an array of law enforcement officials. The bulletins summarized Facebook and Twitter statements made by DAPL opponents, tracked the progress of various anti-DAPL fundraising campaigns, and at times noted posts made by groups named in the lawsuit — including 350.org, Greenpeace, and Earthjustice — under a category labeled “Protest Supporters and Amplifiers.” In at least one case, the bulletin was forwarded to a TigerSwan operative.

A spokesperson for Morton County told The Intercept that a law enforcement staff member collected the fundraising information for “situational awareness.” Neither the FBI nor the Bureau of Indian Affairs responded to The Intercept’s requests for comment.

State’s attorneys were also interested in funding linked to media coverage of the protests, repeatedly singling out Democracy Now, the news outlet whose footage of private security dogs attacking protesters attracted widespread criticism of the pipeline project and galvanized many to join the opposition movement. In a motion filed last December as part of a criminal case against pipeline opponents, state’s attorney Ladd Erickson repeated right-wing talking points. “Some DAPL protester videos are designed for fundraising, to get actors weeping into cameras,” he said, adding, “Pretend journalists like Amy Goodman of Democracy Now or The Young Turks have published manipulated DAPL social media videos with faux narratives in an attempt to be recognized as a news source by those who are duped by fake news.”

In a November 29 email, the acting state’s attorney of McKenzie County, Todd Schwarz, relayed to a North Dakota State and Local Intelligence Center officer a secondhand story he’d heard about someone a colleague sat next to on a flight. “He indicated to Ron that he is a paid protester, $ 3000/day plus expenses. His check comes from Democracy Now who receives their money through the DNC from the Clinton Foundation. I have no way to confirm this but was asked to pass it to you.” Schwarz noted it was “the first time I’ve had it confirmed from the person who actually heard it from the paid protester.” Schwarz did not respond to a request for comment.


These claims are baseless and absurd,” Julie Crosby, general manager for Democracy Now, told The Intercept. “The Young Turks’ Jordan Chariton took six trips to Standing Rock, where he conducted interviews that shined a light on the truth and raced to cover the front lines of the demonstration,” a spokesperson for the network told The Intercept, calling the narrative pushed by ETP “a continuation of right-wing, corporate intimidation tactics.”

Of course, as police and prosecutors searched for the big-money backers of the protest movement, they were receiving their own share of billionaire support. Throughout the protests, police used ETP equipment including ATVs, snowmobiles, and a helicopter. This past October, ETP paid the state of North Dakota $15 million for law enforcement expenses, and went on a tour of pipeline counties in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois, handing out giant checks totaling $1 million — “gifts without condition,” as one ETP executive put it.

Using Lawsuits to Chill Free Speech

When it was adopted, RICO was thought to be a mafia tool,” Jeffrey Grell, who teaches courses on RICO at the University of Minnesota School of Law, told The Intercept. “Now it’s going through a renaissance,” he added, noting that while federal courts tried to limit applications of the law, winning the case is often not the primary motive of those filing charges.

I do not think this pipeline claim is a very legitimate use of this statute … but in legal reality, whether you have a good claim or not does not matter,” Grell said. “If you are an energy company, you have a lot more money than some of these protest groups, so paying a lawyer for two or three years to sue these protesters, who cares? But I guarantee you, the protest groups, they’re going to care.”

If you have got money in our country, you can use litigation for a lot of purposes, and many times those purposes are not to win a court case.”

Marc Kasowitz’s firm was also behind a RICO suit filed last year against Greenpeace on behalf of logging company Resolute Forest Products. That suit was dismissed in October, although Resolute has filed an amended complaint.

Kasowitz attorney Michael Bowe told Bloomberg Businessweek that Energy Transfer Partners and Resolute are not the only companies with an interest in suing Greenpeace. “When Greenpeace directly attacks a company’s customers, financing, and business, that company has little choice but to legally defend itself,” he said. “I know others who are considering having to do so and would be shocked if there are not many more.”


Several states have passed “anti-SLAPP” legislation in an effort to counter the use of lawsuits for the purpose of chilling free speech, but North Dakota is not one of them. “There’s no question that whether it’s a civil damages lawsuit or a criminal prosecution, if part of what’s motivating it is a desire to suppress speech, that it’s a First Amendment problem,” Seth Berlin, an attorney who has defended the First Amendment rights of advocacy groups and political organizations, told The Intercept.


It’s a big threat to the environmental movement,” said Wetterer, the Greenpeace lawyer. “These baseless lawsuits have to be thrown out at the initial stage because the longer they go on, the corporations win.”

https://www.documentcloud.org/search/projectid:33327-TigerSwan


2. Dakota Access-Style Policing Moves to Pennsylvania’s Mariner East 2 Pipeline

(Intercept)

As Dakota Access opponents moved to new pipeline fights in other states, the repressive tactics deployed against the NoDAPL movement migrated too.

After months of employing military-style counterinsurgency tactics to subvert opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and South Dakota, the private security firm TigerSwan is monitoring resistance to another project — the controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline.

Like DAPL, Mariner East 2 is owned by Energy Transfer Partners. The pipeline is slated to run for 350 miles, transporting ethane, butane, and propane through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to a hub near Philadelphia for shipment to both domestic and international markets. Internal TigerSwan documents reviewed by The Intercept suggest the company has had a presence in Pennsylvania since at least April.

On April 1, the Mariner East 1 pipeline, which runs parallel to the proposed path of ME2, spilled 20 barrels of ethane and propane near Morgantown, Pennsylvania. On the day of the incident, an email provided to The Intercept by a TigerSwan contractor shows the firm was watching social media for signs the spill would become a rallying point for pipeline opponents.

At this time the incident has NOT gained any public interest,” a TigerSwan 
operative wrote in the email.

TigerSwan founder James Reese replied, “We nees [sic] to monitor social media for blow baxk [sic] on the leak.”

The company had been monitoring Dakota Access opponents’ social media for months and analyzing press coverage related to that pipeline fight, according to more than 100 internal situation reports leaked to The Intercept. The documents routinely referenced counterinformation efforts to produce and distribute propaganda favorable to the pipeline.

TigerSwan apparently carried at least some of these practices to Pennsylvania. It would be weeks before the public learned of the leak of highly explosive natural gas liquids. According to a source with direct knowledge of TigerSwan’s operation, making sure nobody found out about the incident was part of TigerSwan’s mission on the project. Nearby residents were kept in the dark until April 20, when Sunoco, which recently completed a merger with Energy Transfer Partners, confirmed to a local media outlet that the leak had occurred.

As Dakota Access opponents moved to new pipeline fights across the country, other repressive tactics deployed against the NoDAPL movement migrated too. TigerSwan’s entry into the ME2 struggle comes as industry-supported lawmakers in Pennsylvania, a center of the nation’s fracking boom, are advancing legislative efforts to increase fines and charges associated with anti-pipeline direct action protests.

The TigerSwan situation reports show that as early as February, as state officials prepared to evacuate the first pipeline resistance camp in North Dakota, the security firm was monitoring the potential for DAPL opposition to spill over into grassroots struggles against other pipeline projects, including ME2 and Energy Transfer Partners’ Rover pipeline in Ohio. “Recently, Illinois activists have begun to shift their focus in earnest from anti-DAPL to anti-pipeline,” a situation report dated February 21 reads. “They have started sharing information on multiple pipeline projects across the country. There has not yet been any mention of Mariner East or Rover, but there is an active effort to continue their momentum in fighting pipeline construction and operation.”

Public records also show an increased interest by the company in areas through which other Energy Transfer Partners projects would pass.

Last November, TigerSwan obtained business licenses in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, the three states in the path of ME2. On June 1, TigerSwan also obtained a business license to operate in Louisiana, where Energy Transfer Partners is building the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which would connect to the Dakota Access Pipeline system and carry Bakken shale oil to Gulf Coast export terminals.

At a February hearing held by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, TigerSwan advisory board chair James “Spider” Marks, a retired U.S. Army major general, spoke in favor of building the pipeline — without revealing his association with TigerSwan. He also published an op-ed in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser newspaper decrying the “anti-energy agitators” who oppose the project.

No Louisianan wants to live under the conditions that those unsuspecting North Dakota residents were subject to — with protesters trespassing, interrupting the local flow of traffic, and generally injecting elements of fear and the unknown into their daily lives,” Marks wrote. “A timely approval process of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, however, would prevent the possibility of such conditions arising in this state.”

In May, Marks wrote another opinion piece that failed to disclose his TigerSwan affiliation, this time for the Pennsylvania news site PennLive, warning readers there to “be wary of professional pipeline protesters” who turned Standing Rock into a scene of “hapless violence and bloodshed.”

Many of the same professional agitators who fomented chaos in North Dakota are turning their efforts to the Mariner East II Pipeline in Pennsylvania,” Marks wrote. “These orchestrators make no qualms about their intent to turn Camp White Pine — a small but growing protest area in Huntingdon County — into the next national showdown.”

Energy Transfer Partners declined to comment, writing in an email to The Intercept that it does not “discuss details of our security initiatives, which are designed to ensure the safety of our employees and the communities in which we live and work.” In an email sent to The Intercept from a TigerSwan account, an unnamed representative of the firm declined to answer questions about TigerSwan’s work on ME2, but commented on its social media monitoring efforts. “Of course we monitor social media during any type of situation,” the person wrote. “With the advent of so many bots on twitter and those organizations who perpetuate defamatory and outrageous slander against not only American companies but local, state and national law enforcement on the internet, we wouldn’t be doing our job unless we did.” Marks did not respond to a request for comment. Last week, TigerSwan retweeted a comment characterizing his PennLive piece as a “TigerSwan op-ed.”



Opponents of the ME2 project say they’ve noticed an increased security presence around the pipeline’s path in recent months. “They’ve been making us feel that we’re under constant threat and observation,” Elise Gerhart told The Intercept.

Elise and her parents, Ellen and Stephen Gerhart, have campaigned against ME2 for more than two years and currently host Camp White Pine on their 27-acre property along the pipeline’s right of way in Pennsylvania’s Huntingdon County, where they stage tree-sits to protest the clearing of land for construction. As the pipeline’s construction moves closer, Elise said unmarked pickup trucks have parked across the road from their driveway at night, shining their high beams toward the camp. Helicopters have regularly hovered low over their land, a tactic familiar to Standing Rock protesters.

According to StateImpact Pennsylvania, a spokesperson for Sunoco and Energy Transfer Partners denied that the newly merged company or its partners had flown helicopters over the Gerhart property.

In southeastern Pennsylvania’s Delaware County, Eric Friedman, president of a local homeowner’s association, said that as resistance to the project has grown more vocal, so has residents’ sense that they are being watched. Friedman’s group is concerned that the pipeline will move pressurized natural gas liquids through a densely populated suburban area, in close proximity to schools and a senior living facility. Last month, one of the schools started practicing emergency drills to prepare for a possible pipeline explosion, and a study commissioned by a local coalition for community safety warned of the worst-case consequences of potential leaks, including the ignition of “a fireball with a blast radius up to 1,100 feet.”

In recent months, administrators of area Facebook groups opposed to the pipeline reported getting requests from individuals they “have questions about,” Friedman noted. “I suspect that they’re here and using the same kinds of tactics,” he told The Intercept, referring to private security agents. “My sense is that they escalate their response in accordance to the resistance that they’re being met with.”

While the unmarked trucks and strange Facebook requests couldn’t be definitively traced to a private security contractor, TigerSwan’s documented efforts on behalf of Energy Transfer Partners to repress the anti-DAPL movement have raised concerns for ME2 opponents.

A year ago, people didn’t realize that the company that was using these kinds of tactics in North Dakota was the same company that’s proposing to build this project here. There wasn’t a lot of awareness,” Friedman said. “Now that’s very much in everybody’s mind.”

In Pennsylvania, as in North Dakota, public officials have also played a role increasing pressure on pipeline opponents.

On May 4, state Sen. Scott Martin hosted a closed-door forum between first responders in Lancaster County and officials from North Dakota who were involved in policing the NoDAPL movement. The next day, citing costs associated with the North Dakota protests, Martin distributed a memorandum seeking a co-sponsor for a bill he was drafting that would hold individuals “civilly liable for response costs related to a demonstration if the person is convicted for rioting,” “is a public nuisance,” or “is involved in hosting the demonstration.”

Martin represents much of Lancaster County, which is home to the Lancaster Stand, an action camp located on private property whose organizers have promised to use the grounds as a base for direct actions against the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline once construction begins.

This isn’t the first anti-protester legislation to be pushed in the state. State Sen. Mike Regan recently introduced a measure defining a new type of felon: the “critical infrastructure facility trespasser.” The label could be applied for as little as “attempt[ing] to enter a critical infrastructure facility, knowing that the person is not licensed or privileged to do so.” An individual who succeeded in entering the property with “intent” to damage or destroy equipment or even simply to impede facility operations would face up to two years in prison and a minimum $10,000 fine, as would anyone “conspiring” with others to trespass. Critical infrastructure is defined in the bill as including numerous types of oil and gas infrastructure. The bill was scheduled for a judiciary committee vote last month, which was canceled at the last minute.

As Pennsylvania’s Raging Chicken Press reported, language in the bill mirrors that of a recently approved Oklahoma law penalizing oil and gas industry protesters. And indeed, it’s part of a trend of anti-protester legislation introduced in more than a dozen states across the U.S., including bills aimed at oil infrastructure protesters in Colorado, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

But even without the new legislation, ME2 opponents have faced stiff penalties for hindering construction.

In March 2016, as contractors for Sunoco began cutting down trees, Huntingdon County sheriff’s deputies arrested Ellen Gerhart on her own property when she attempted to warn construction crews that her daughter, Elise, was in a tree dangerously close to where they were clearing. Two other pipeline opponents were also arrested. One of them, Alex Lotorto, was detained for three days on a $200,000 bail. Gerhart, a retired special education teacher, was later arrested a second time on her property, and according to a public comment she submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection, was held in isolation for three days without access to a lawyer.

Charges against her were eventually dropped, but Sunoco later requested that a Pennsylvania judge allow law enforcement to arrest trespassers on the pipeline easement — even if they happened to own the easement land. On April 28, in a rare decision, Huntingdon County Judge George Zanic complied with the request, ordering what’s known as a “writ of possession” enabling authorities to arrest the Gerharts for trespassing on their own property.

Meanwhile, in Delaware County, disputes between property owners and the pipeline company have also ramped up. In May, after some stakes that a pipeline survey crew had placed along the project site were removed overnight, a project manager representing Sunoco emailed an attorney for the local homeowners association. “Because of this, the survey will have to be done again and further monitoring of the property will be requested from the local authorities,” the agent warned in an email reviewed by The Intercept. The Sunoco agent added that “the professional survey crew staked within the limits of the project and did not trespass on anyone’s property.”

But Eric Friedman disputes that and says the stakes were placed by the pipeline company on the private property of the Andover Homeowners’ Association and private lots within the subdivision. “The very idea that Sunoco’s agents would call upon law enforcement to protect their trespass strikes me as completely backwards,” Friedman told The Intercept.

I took that as a threat to use law enforcement against us,” he added. “It indicated to me that he was at some level in contact with the Pennsylvania State Police and threatening to activate them against us.”

Lt. James Hennigan of the Pennsylvania State Police, which is in charge of the area where the incident took place, wrote in a statement to The Intercept that the agency “responds to all calls for service. Our members take appropriate action if any crime has been committed.”

In North Dakota and Iowa, TigerSwan regularly shared information with law enforcement. The Huntingdon County Sheriff’s Office, in the Gerharts’ county, and the police department in Caernarvon Township, where the Mariner East 1 leak took place, did not respond to requests for comments about collaboration with private security.

Friedman said he hopes local law enforcement will work with residents rather than pipeline representatives. “We live here, we are your neighbors, we are the same as you,” he said. “These people are not, they are outsiders, and you should be working for us. We are your constituents.”



3. Dakota Access Pipeline Company Paid Mercenaries to Build Conspiracy Lawsuit Against Environmentalists

The private security firm TigerSwan worked to build a RICO suit accusing Greenpeace, Earth First, and BankTrack of inciting protests to increase donations.
The private security firm TigerSwan, hired by Energy Transfer Partners to protect the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, was paid to gather information for what would become a sprawling conspiracy lawsuit accusing environmentalist groups of inciting the anti-pipeline protests in an effort to increase donations, three former TigerSwan contractors told The Intercept. For months, a conference room wall at TigerSwan’s Apex, North Carolina, headquarters was covered with a web-like map of funding nodes the firm believed it had uncovered — linking billionaire backers to nonprofit organizations to pipeline opponents protesting at Standing Rock. It was a “showpiece” for board members and ETP executives, according to a former TigerSwan contractor — part of a project that had little to do with the pipeline’s physical security.
In August, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, Donald Trump’s personal attorney for more than a decade, filed a 187-page racketeering complaint against Greenpeace, Earth First, and the divestment group BankTrack in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota, seeking $300 million in damages on behalf of Energy Transfer Partners. The NoDAPL movement, the suit claims, was driven by “a network of putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims.”

“It was as if the entire campaign came in a box. And of course it did,” the suit alleges. “Its objective was not to protect the environment or Native Americans but to produce as sensational and public a dispute as possible, and to use that publicity and emotion to drive fundraising.”

Among the nonprofit network’s alleged crimes: “perpetrating acts of terrorism under the U.S. Patriot Act, including destruction of an energy facility, destruction of hazardous liquid pipeline facility, arson and bombing of government property risking or causing injury or death.”

“We felt compelled to file the lawsuit against Greenpeace and others because we want the truth to come out about the illegal actions that took place in North Dakota and the funding of these actions,” ETP spokesperson Vicki Granado told The Intercept. “In many cases, the only way the truth comes out is through the legal process.”

The case was filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, passed in 1970 to prosecute organized crime — primarily the mob. Greenpeace says it amounts to a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or SLAPP, designed to curtail free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation.

“It grossly distorts the law and facts at Standing Rock,” said Greenpeace general counsel Tom Wetterer. “We’ll win the lawsuit, but it’s not really what this is about for ETP. What they’re really trying to do is silence future protests and advocacy work against the company and other corporations.”

“[The lawsuit] had some major racist overtones. They were basically saying that we were not intelligent enough to know for ourselves what the possibilities were in case the pipeline were to leak. They were basically saying we were manipulated,” said Linda Black Elk, a member of the Catawba Nation who lives on the Standing Rock reservation and organized against the pipeline months before the protests began. “I think the whole purpose of it is to scare tribes from further activism when it comes to the fossil fuel industries and to scare these green groups to keep them from supporting us in those future fights.”

 Short-Lived Line of Work
TigerSwan, which got its start working U.S. government contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq, was hired by Energy Transfer Partners to coordinate the DAPL operation in September 2016, after dogs handled by private security officers were caught on film biting pipeline opponents. The firm began collecting information on the movement’s funding streams soon afterward, submitting intelligence to ETP via daily situation reports, more than 100 of which were leaked to The Intercept by a TigerSwan contractor.

But the effort to build a lawsuit began in earnest in January. TigerSwan personnel were tasked directly by lawyers working for ETP with fulfilling information requests, according to two former contractors. Situation reports from the beginning of February note that the company planned to “continue to proceed with the ETP legal team’s requests.”
In response to the requests, TigerSwan personnel sent reports on trespassing incidents and pipeline sabotage, including information about who was suspected to be involved and monetary damages caused by the work stoppages. The firm also compiled descriptions of movement leaders and individuals arrested by law enforcement, and tracked donations to DAPL-related GoFundMe accounts. Much of the intelligence collection was carried out via fake social media accounts and infiltration of protest camps by TigerSwan operatives.

According to the former contractors, the company intended to sell its legal investigative services to future clients. A PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Intercept, which a former contractor described as marketing material to attract a new contract, shows TigerSwan applying its follow-the-money tactics to a new pipeline fight against Pennsylvania’s Mariner East 2 project. The presentation traces nonprofit funds to various “action arms,” which include activist groups — Lancaster Against Pipelines and Marcellus Shale Earth First — as well as a member of the press, StateImpact, a regionally focused public radio project.

“As concerns StateImpact, the TigerSwan graphic is incorrect,” editor Scott Blanchard told The Intercept. “StateImpact, which covers Pennsylvania’s energy economy, is independent of outside influence and is not aligned with any stakeholders.”
While TigerSwan eventually landed security work on the Pennsylvania pipeline, its RICO work for Energy Transfer Partners was short-lived. By early March, the legal team working for ETP had pulled the security firm off the lawsuit. Former TigerSwan contractors speculated the firm’s lack of experience building legal cases made it ill-equipped for the project.

Michael Bowe, the Kasowitz attorney representing ETP in the RICO case, told The Intercept, “We did not retain or work with TigerSwan.” Former TigerSwan personnel agreed that the ETP lawyers working most closely with TigerSwan were not with Kasowitz.

ETP declined to comment on TigerSwan’s work, stating, “We do not comment on any specifics related to our security programs.” A TigerSwan spokesperson stated, “We do not discuss the details of our efforts for any client. We are proud of our work to provide the very best in consultative risk management services to our clients around the world.”
Hunting Paid Protesters Internal documents and interviews with the former TigerSwan contractors display some of the fruits of the firm’s investigation, which include claims that echo prominent right-wing conspiracy theories.

A PowerPoint presentation created in the fall of 2016 describes what TigerSwan dubbed the Billionaire’s Club: “an exclusive group of wealthy individuals, [which] directs the far-left environmental movement.” Several slides are dedicated to the anti-pipeline nonprofit Bold Nebraska, whose parent organization, Bold Alliance, is named in the ETP suit.

“Underlying Bold Nebraska’s homespun, grassroots facade is a significant, growing, well-funded and well-organized financial support network originating from wealthy far-left environmental interests thousands of miles away,” one slide states. The language is pulled verbatim from a 2014 report by the Republican minority staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, titled “Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.”

TigerSwan claimed that among the wealthy interests behind Bold Alliance was billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett, whose donations to foundations that support environmental causes, one slide states, benefited an oil-by-rail business owned by Buffett’s investment company Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett also appears at the center of a TigerSwan links map, obtained by The Intercept, meant to depict movement funders and influencers.

One of the theory’s most obvious flaws is that Buffett has a significant financial stake in the Dakota Access pipeline. Berkshire Hathaway is the largest investor in the oil and gas firm Phillips 66, which owns a 25 percent stake in DAPL. Buffett did not respond to a request for comment.
Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Alliance, told The Intercept that the group raised money for food and shelter at the DAPL resistance camps. They also had an indigenous staff member on the ground for six months who was involved in organizing protests.
“We’d be happy to take Buffett’s millions, but we don’t have any of that money,” she said, noting the organization relies on thousands of small donors. “There’s literally never been a foundation or a major donor that has given us money and said, ‘You have to do XYZ and target XYZ person.’”

“It’s remarkable that because we are a nonprofit and because I get paid a salary, and I pay our organizers a salary, that somehow makes us a paid protester,” Kleeb added.
Indeed, according to one of the former TigerSwan contractors, a goal of the firm’s RICO work was to identify “paid protesters.”

Throughout the protests, prosecutors and police also took interest in identifying such protesters, indicating that the oil industry’s hunt for a conspiracy was taken up by the public sector.

Multiple TigerSwan situation reports note law enforcement efforts to follow the money. For example, on March 3, a TigerSwan operative wrote, “Spoke with FBI Agent Tom Reinwart in reference to funds being funneled to protesters.” Another report from February 11 describes the Bureau of Indian Affairs tracking individuals “assessed to be assisting in the facilitation of moving money and supplies to the camps.”
Meanwhile, Lynn Woodall of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department also regularly forwarded a protester social media activity bulletin from a Gmail account to an array of law enforcement officials. The bulletins summarized Facebook and Twitter statements made by DAPL opponents, tracked the progress of various anti-DAPL fundraising campaigns, and at times noted posts made by groups named in the lawsuit — including 350.org, Greenpeace, and Earthjustice — under a category labeled “Protest Supporters and Amplifiers.” In at least one case, the bulletin was forwarded to a TigerSwan operative.

A spokesperson for Morton County told The Intercept that a law enforcement staff member collected the fundraising information for “situational awareness.” Neither the FBI nor the Bureau of Indian Affairs responded to The Intercept’s requests for comment.

State’s attorneys were also interested in funding linked to media coverage of the protests, repeatedly singling out Democracy Now, the news outlet whose footage of private security dogs attacking protesters attracted widespread criticism of the pipeline project and galvanized many to join the opposition movement. In a motion filed last December as part of a criminal case against pipeline opponents, state’s attorney Ladd Erickson repeated right-wing talking points. “Some DAPL protester videos are designed for fundraising, to get actors weeping into cameras,” he said, adding, “Pretend journalists like Amy Goodman of Democracy Now or The Young Turks have published manipulated DAPL social media videos with faux narratives in an attempt to be recognized as a news source by those who are duped by fake news.”

In a November 29 email, the acting state’s attorney of McKenzie County, Todd Schwarz, relayed to a North Dakota State and Local Intelligence Center officer a secondhand story he’d heard about someone a colleague sat next to on a flight. “He indicated to Ron that he is a paid protester, $ 3000/day plus expenses. His check comes from Democracy Now who receives their money through the DNC from the Clinton Foundation. I have no way to confirm this but was asked to pass it to you.” Schwarz noted it was “the first time I’ve had it confirmed from the person who actually heard it from the paid protester.” Schwarz did not respond to a request for comment.

“These claims are baseless and absurd,” Julie Crosby, general manager for Democracy Now, told The Intercept. “The Young Turks’ Jordan Chariton took six trips to Standing Rock, where he conducted interviews that shined a light on the truth and raced to cover the front lines of the demonstration,” a spokesperson for the network told The Intercept, calling the narrative pushed by ETP “a continuation of right-wing, corporate intimidation tactics.”

Of course, as police and prosecutors searched for the big-money backers of the protest movement, they were receiving their own share of billionaire support. Throughout the protests, police used ETP equipment including ATVs, snowmobiles, and a helicopter. This past October, ETP paid the state of North Dakota $15 million for law enforcement expenses, and went on a tour of pipeline counties in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois, handing out giant checks totaling $1 million — “gifts without condition,” as one ETP executive put it.

Using Lawsuits to Chill Free Speech

“When it was adopted, RICO was thought to be a mafia tool,” Jeffrey Grell, who teaches courses on RICO at the University of Minnesota School of Law, told The Intercept. “Now it’s going through a renaissance,” he added, noting that while federal courts tried to limit applications of the law, winning the case is often not the primary motive of those filing charges.

“I do not think this pipeline claim is a very legitimate use of this statute … but in legal reality, whether you have a good claim or not does not matter,” Grell said. “If you are an energy company, you have a lot more money than some of these protest groups, so paying a lawyer for two or three years to sue these protesters, who cares? But I guarantee you, the protest groups, they’re going to care.”

“If you have got money in our country, you can use litigation for a lot of purposes, and many times those purposes are not to win a court case.”

Marc Kasowitz’s firm was also behind a RICO suit filed last year against Greenpeace on behalf of logging company Resolute Forest Products. That suit was dismissed in October, although Resolute has filed an amended complaint.

Kasowitz attorney Michael Bowe told Bloomberg Businessweek that Energy Transfer Partners and Resolute are not the only companies with an interest in suing Greenpeace. “When Greenpeace directly attacks a company’s customers, financing, and business, that company has little choice but to legally defend itself,” he said. “I know others who are considering having to do so and would be shocked if there are not many more.”
Several states have passed “anti-SLAPP” legislation in an effort to counter the use of lawsuits for the purpose of chilling free speech, but North Dakota is not one of them. “There’s no question that whether it’s a civil damages lawsuit or a criminal prosecution, if part of what’s motivating it is a desire to suppress speech, that it’s a First Amendment problem,” Seth Berlin, an attorney who has defended the First Amendment rights of advocacy groups and political organizations, told The Intercept.

“It’s a big threat to the environmental movement,” said Wetterer, the Greenpeace lawyer. “These baseless lawsuits have to be thrown out at the initial stage because the longer they go on, the corporations win.”


4.Dakota Access-Style Policing Moves to Pennsylvania’s Mariner East 2 Pipeline
(Intercept)

As Dakota Access opponents moved to new pipeline fights in other states, the repressive tactics deployed against the NoDAPL movement migrated too.
After months of employing military-style counterinsurgency tactics to subvert opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and South Dakota, the private security firm TigerSwan is monitoring resistance to another project — the controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline.
Like DAPL, Mariner East 2 is owned by Energy Transfer Partners. The pipeline is slated to run for 350 miles, transporting ethane, butane, and propane through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to a hub near Philadelphia for shipment to both domestic and international markets. Internal TigerSwan documents reviewed by The Intercept suggest the company has had a presence in Pennsylvania since at least April.
On April 1, the Mariner East 1 pipeline, which runs parallel to the proposed path of ME2, spilled 20 barrels of ethane and propane near Morgantown, Pennsylvania. On the day of the incident, an email provided to The Intercept by a TigerSwan contractor shows the firm was watching social media for signs the spill would become a rallying point for pipeline opponents.

“At this time the incident has NOT gained any public interest,” a TigerSwan
 operative wrote in the email.

“We live here, we are your neighbors, we are the same as you,” he said. “These people are not, they are outsiders, and you should be working for us. We are your constituents.”



3.     UPDATE “How Doug Jones could pull off a stunner in Alabama”
[Politico].
“[Jones] does have a path. Here’s how it looks, according to interviews with nearly a dozen Democrats within and near Jones’ team since Moore was hit with accusations of pursuing — and in two cases abusing — teenage girls. First, create a permission structure for alienated Republicans who are skeptical of Moore — primarily those who voted against him in the GOP primary — to cross the aisle. At the same time invigorate the base, especially African-Americans, who make up over a quarter of registered voters, according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. And finally, keep the national Democratic Party and its despised brand as far out of the picture as possible, while still benefiting from its money.” [Naked Capitalism]

    UPDATE “Ballotpedia has had good coverage of the swing districts situation” [bears2267, Reddit] (original). Figures as of November 15: “Currently they have it 49-48 D with 3 races too close to call, officially it sits at 51-49 R with election results certified or ready to be certified. The Virginia Democratic Party is challenging 55 ballots in District 28 (and a potential challenge of 668 votes intended for the 28th that might have been mistakenly cast in the 88th instead). Once those challenges are figured out in the courts, the state board will certify the results and then recounts can begin and the 3 Democrats in the 3 swing districts have all indicted they were request their allowed recount. So a couple of weeks still until we know the final results.” [Naked Capitalism]
    UPDATE “Latest 28th District fight focused on Fredericksburg precincts” [Inside NOVA]. “Now that all the votes have been counted, Democrat Josh Cole fell 82 votes short of beating Republican Bob Thomas in the 28th District race to replace retiring House Speaker Bill Howell. Since then, Democrats have been raising challenges to the results, including a pending federal lawsuit, in the hopes of flipping the race and forcing a tie in the House — Republicans are still clinging to a 51-49 majority following a wave election for Democrats on Nov. 7.” [Naked Capitalism]


    UPDATE “Rural white voters didn’t show up for Virginia’s election” [Vox]. “What fueled Democrats’ victories on Tuesday? A quick analysis from the New York Times suggests this was a “suburban rebellion,” with moderates shifting from Donald Trump to Democrats. A look at the Virginia vote, however, suggests that votes in the most rural, conservative counties may hold the real story.” Readers will have noticed the “suburban rebellion” strategy pre-positioned by Democrats for whom that is the preferred 2018 and 2020 strategy, so this article is a useful corrective. More: “The analysis above suggests that Democrats did well because white, conservative, rural Republicans, — those who gave Trump his victory last year — simply didn’t show up this time.” So, why would that be? [Naked Capitalism]

    UPDATE “Independent upset: Dems crush everywhere—except Charlottesville” [Cville]. “The unprecedented evening continued in Charlottesville, where Nikuyah Walker bucked the Democratic groundswell and became the first independent to win a seat on City Council since 1948. Also unprecedented: It’s the first time two African Americans will serve on council when she joins Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy on the dais in January…. Walker’s win ‘breaks up the total Democratic control on council,’ says UVA Center for Politics’ Geoffrey Skelley. “It’s meaningful in the aftermath of all the terrible things that happened in Charlottesville” with the monument debate and neo-Nazi invasion, which some put at the feet of City Council. ‘Walker was offering something different,’ he says. ‘It’s a reaction locally when Democrats were crushing it everywhere else. It’s a reaction to local issues that have become national issues.'”
[Naked Capitalism]
4. As US Fuels War Crimes in Yemen, House Says US Involvement is Unauthorized
Posted on November 19, 2017 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield


Jerri-Lynn here: This Real News Network interview with Mike Weisbrot discusses the non-binding resolution the House of Representatives passed last week concerning the unauthorized role of the United States in the war in Yemen. This Saudi war has triggered an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, including a cholera epidemic and widespread hunger and starvation. No end to the crisis is in sight.
Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. and  author of the book Failed: What the “Experts” Got Wrong About the Global Economy (Oxford University Press, 2015), co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: The Phony Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2000). He writes a column on economic and policy issues that is distributed to over 550 newspapers by the Tribune Content Agency and his opinion pieces have appeared in The Guardian, New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo. He is also president of Just Foreign Policy.
SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen is getting increasingly dire every day. On Thursday, the directors of the World Health Organization, WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the UNICEF, and the World Food Program issued a joint statement urging Saudi Arabia to lift its blockade on Yemen. Last Monday, the House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution with a vote of 366 to 30 calling attention to the U.S.’s unauthorized role in the war in Yemen. The ongoing Saudi war in Yemen has already killed over 10,000 Yemenis. Another 50,000 children could die before the end of the year from starvation according to the organization Save the Children.
Also, about 20 million Yemenis are in the need of humanitarian assistance and over 900,000 have been infected by cholera, the largest such outbreak the world has seen in decades. Joining me now to discuss the U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen is Mark Weisbrot. Mark is the co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research and is the author of Failed What the Experts Got Wrong About the Global Economy. He’s also president of Just Foreign Policy. He joins us today from Washington, D.C. Mark, good to have you back.

MARK WEISBROT: Thanks, Sharmini.
SHARMINI PERIES: Mark, you’ve been closely following the House resolution on U.S. involvement in Yemen. What exactly does this resolution do to stop the U.S. involvement in Yemen?

MARK WEISBROT: Well, it was intended to do that. However, the sponsors of the resolution were unable to do that because the Republicans were able to use the Rules Committee to block them from doing that, so they ended up as a compromise, a non-binding resolution. It doesn’t actually cut off the U.S. role, involvement in the war, which is refueling the Saudi planes and helping them target bombing targets with intelligence and so on. What it did do though was two very important things. One, is that they had a little bit of a debate for the first time in the House, and they had also, they were able to force the U.S. military to admit their role there. Then, the resolution declares that that role is unauthorized.

Those were two really big things, and it was as big step towards cutting off this aid. I think the reason that the Republicans agreed to this … As you mentioned, there was an overwhelming vote, was because they really don’t want a full and open debate. They don’t want this to become a real political and possibly electoral issue, I mean a big issue. That’s what they’re afraid of because it’s completely indefensible. That’s very important I think. The details are kind of important for people to know because there’s a real chance of stopping this terrible war, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
SHARMINI PERIES: By adopting this resolution so quickly, which is non-binding from what I understand, this essentially stopped debate and discussion in Congress about this.
MARK WEISBROT: Well, no, because the next step is going to go to the Senate. In the Senate, somebody’s going to introduce a companion resolution, and then they’ll have another fight over this. This has set the stage for that, and that’s very important. The Senate is closer. For example, there was a vote in June on cutting off some of the arms sales through Saudi Arabia and it only failed by a margin of 53 to 47, and there were five Democrats who voted the wrong way. If you could get four of them to switch and you could even pick up, there are Republicans you could pick up like Flake and Corker for example who have been very critical of the Trump administration, extremely vocal. It is possible to have the binding resolution in the Senate.

This is all based on the War Powers Act or the War Powers Resolution as it’s called, which says that a member of Congress when the U.S. is militarily involved somewhere, a member without authorization from Congress, a member of Congress can demand a for vote and get it on this military involvement; a debate and a for vote. That’s the next step in this Senate.

SHARMINI PERIES: Now, Mark, so we sell arms to Saudi Arabia. We are providing logistical support, which is things like on-air fueling of the airplanes that are bombing Yemen. We also assisting them in terms of targeted bombings and creating this enormous humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Why is this resolution non-binding?
MARK WEISBROT: Well, that’s because they didn’t have enough power in this last week to force the binding resolution. I mean, theoretically, they could have come back over and over again. I think that’s what the Republicans were afraid of, so they reached this compromise in order to get something fast so then they could move on to the Senate. Also, to get it on the record that what the U.S. was really doing there, and that is was unauthorized. You do see some media responses. For example, this week the New York Times had an editorial from its Editorial Board saying that the Saudis were trying to starve Yemen into submission, calling it a war crime and specifying that the U.S. was involved in this war crime. This is something I’ve never seen in the New York Times where the New York Times Editorial Board to say, and I’m pretty sure it’s never happened before. That the U.S. was actually involved, militarily involved in the perpetration of wars crimes while it’s actually happening.
There’s a lot of opposition building. There’s opposition in Congress, and I think this is the way this war is going to end. I emphasize it’s not just because I care about this a lot, but also because historically this is pretty much the main way that foreign policy has been changed. In 2013, you remember when the Congress wouldn’t vote for President Obama’s attempt to bomb Syria. You can go back to the 1980s when the Congress cut off aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. These are the times when you can actually change something. This shows, really it’s amazing, because this is a House of Representatives that’s controlled by the Republicans and still they were able to force this vote and force the military through the hearings to admit what they were doing, and then to push it. Now they’re going to push it further in the Senate.
If people contact their members of Congress and especially their senators now, the members of Congress can also and are going to be trying to persuade the senators, so both of them. I think that could really be the beginning of the end of this war. It’s really urgent, you know, because as you mentioned the humanitarian groups, the UN are saying that really millions of people are at risk and people are dying there every day.
SHARMINI PERIES: Now, if the United Nations and so many agencies within the United Nations has come out berating Saudi Arabia for this blockade and not allowing humanitarian aid, stopping the landing of aid, cargo from arriving in Yemen, and if members of Congress are so opposed to the U.S. support for Saudi war in Yemen as the vote we discussed reflects, 366 to 30, why not stop it by invoking the War Powers Act, and how could that unfold in Congress?
MARK WEISBROT: Well, I think the next place it could unfold is in the Senate, it will be the same strategy, using the War Powers Resolution to force a debate and vote. That’s a debate where in the Senate it’s closer as I mentioned. It could be cut off. I think it’s become much more urgent in the last couple weeks, even more. It was always terribly urgent because as you mentioned, 900,000 people have gotten cholera and now you’re … they’re cutting off, in the last two weeks, they’re cutting off supplies again. Hodeida, which is the port that gets something like 80% of the imports is now blockaded by the Saudi-led coalition again with U.S. help. Food is running short, medicine, supplies. Food prices have skyrocketed because of the cut off in supplies. More people are being malnourished and pushed to the brink of starvation. There’s 7 million people according to the UN that are on the brink of famine right now.
SHARMINI PERIES: Right. Mark, this issue just begs the question: Why isn’t Senate acting more quickly on this? And if they did invoke their powers and act on this, that just means that they will stop providing logistical support, not necessarily stop selling arms to the Saudis. I imagine the military industrial lobby in Congress is pretty heavy, has a lot to do with why this resolution isn’t binding, has a lot to do with why Congress isn’t invoking the War Powers Act.
MARK WEISBROT: Well, a lot of it is even more than the arms industry. It’s the Trump administration and their geostrategic holds in the region. They’re saying that the people that they’re bombing are the insurgents they’re trying to defeats. The Houthis are aligned with Iran, and they are … so of course they’re getting aid from Iran, so they’re portraying and they’re going to do that when it comes to the Senate as a fight against Iran and Irani interference even thought it’s an indigenous group. For them, it’s a power struggle, and for the Saudis too. The Saudis want the U.S. to intervene, to reassert the dominance of Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East against Iran. That’s the real power struggle going on, and that’s why there really has to be a negotiated solution. I think if the U.S. does cut off its refueling and targeting aid, the Saudis could be forced to the negotiating table.
SHARMINI PERIES: If it is what you say, which is partly to prop up Saudi Arabia in the region as the region of power as opposed to Iran, does the administration have the right to go about doing that at the cost of this kind of humanitarian disaster?
MARK WEISBROT: Of course, there’s no right to do any of this stuff. These are, as the New York Times said, these are actual war crimes. They are literally starving the whole population to force the people that they’re opposing to give in. Of course, it’s illegal under international law, but it’s horrific. As I said, it’s the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and this is one of the ways we can stop it. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten the attention that it deserves in the U.S., in the media overall internationally, but it’s getting a lot more. Again, if people, all these groups, you know there’s a lot of groups been working on this. The peace groups, the anti-war groups, the humanitarian groups. Groups like Code Pink, Win Without War, the Friends Committee on National Legislation. People can contact any of these groups and in terms of how they influence their members of Congress. This is I think the best hope of putting an end to this war before thousands and potentially hundreds of thousands and millions of people die as a result.
SHARMINI PERIES: Mark, thank you so much for joining us and bringing us this resolution to light for discussion.
MARK WEISBROT: Thank you.
SHARMINI PERIES: Thank you for joining us here The Real News Network.


As US Fuels War Crimes in Yemen, House Says US Involvement is Unauthorized
Posted on November 19, 2017 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield
Jerri-Lynn here: This Real News Network interview with Mike Weisbrot discusses the non-binding resolution the House of Representatives passed last week concerning the unauthorized role of the United States in the war in Yemen. This Saudi war has triggered an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, including a cholera epidemic and widespread hunger and starvation. No end to the crisis is in sight.
Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. and  author of the book Failed: What the “Experts” Got Wrong About the Global Economy (Oxford University Press, 2015), co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: The Phony Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2000). He writes a column on economic and policy issues that is distributed to over 550 newspapers by the Tribune Content Agency and his opinion pieces have appeared in The Guardian, New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo. He is also president of Just Foreign Policy.

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen is getting increasingly dire every day. On Thursday, the directors of the World Health Organization, WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the UNICEF, and the World Food Program issued a joint statement urging Saudi Arabia to lift its blockade on Yemen. Last Monday, the House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution with a vote of 366 to 30 calling attention to the U.S.’s unauthorized role in the war in Yemen. The ongoing Saudi war in Yemen has already killed over 10,000 Yemenis. Another 50,000 children could die before the end of the year from starvation according to the organization Save the Children.
Also, about 20 million Yemenis are in the need of humanitarian assistance and over 900,000 have been infected by cholera, the largest such outbreak the world has seen in decades. Joining me now to discuss the U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen is Mark Weisbrot. Mark is the co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research and is the author of Failed What the Experts Got Wrong About the Global Economy. He’s also president of Just Foreign Policy. He joins us today from Washington, D.C. Mark, good to have you back.
MARK WEISBROT: Thanks, Sharmini.
SHARMINI PERIES: Mark, you’ve been closely following the House resolution on U.S. involvement in Yemen. What exactly does this resolution do to stop the U.S. involvement in Yemen?
MARK WEISBROT: Well, it was intended to do that. However, the sponsors of the resolution were unable to do that because the Republicans were able to use the Rules Committee to block them from doing that, so they ended up as a compromise, a non-binding resolution. It doesn’t actually cut off the U.S. role, involvement in the war, which is refueling the Saudi planes and helping them target bombing targets with intelligence and so on. What it did do though was two very important things. One, is that they had a little bit of a debate for the first time in the House, and they had also, they were able to force the U.S. military to admit their role there. Then, the resolution declares that that role is unauthorized.
Those were two really big things, and it was as big step towards cutting off this aid. I think the reason that the Republicans agreed to this … As you mentioned, there was an overwhelming vote, was because they really don’t want a full and open debate. They don’t want this to become a real political and possibly electoral issue, I mean a big issue. That’s what they’re afraid of because it’s completely indefensible. That’s very important I think. The details are kind of important for people to know because there’s a real chance of stopping this terrible war, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
SHARMINI PERIES: By adopting this resolution so quickly, which is non-binding from what I understand, this essentially stopped debate and discussion in Congress about this.
MARK WEISBROT: Well, no, because the next step is going to go to the Senate. In the Senate, somebody’s going to introduce a companion resolution, and then they’ll have another fight over this. This has set the stage for that, and that’s very important. The Senate is closer. For example, there was a vote in June on cutting off some of the arms sales through Saudi Arabia and it only failed by a margin of 53 to 47, and there were five Democrats who voted the wrong way. If you could get four of them to switch and you could even pick up, there are Republicans you could pick up like Flake and Corker for example who have been very critical of the Trump administration, extremely vocal. It is possible to have the binding resolution in the Senate.
This is all based on the War Powers Act or the War Powers Resolution as it’s called, which says that a member of Congress when the U.S. is militarily involved somewhere, a member without authorization from Congress, a member of Congress can demand a for vote and get it on this military involvement; a debate and a for vote. That’s the next step in this Senate.
SHARMINI PERIES: Now, Mark, so we sell arms to Saudi Arabia. We are providing logistical support, which is things like on-air fueling of the airplanes that are bombing Yemen. We also assisting them in terms of targeted bombings and creating this enormous humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Why is this resolution non-binding?
MARK WEISBROT: Well, that’s because they didn’t have enough power in this last week to force the binding resolution. I mean, theoretically, they could have come back over and over again. I think that’s what the Republicans were afraid of, so they reached this compromise in order to get something fast so then they could move on to the Senate. Also, to get it on the record that what the U.S. was really doing there, and that is was unauthorized. You do see some media responses. For example, this week the New York Times had an editorial from its Editorial Board saying that the Saudis were trying to starve Yemen into submission, calling it a war crime and specifying that the U.S. was involved in this war crime. This is something I’ve never seen in the New York Times where the New York Times Editorial Board to say, and I’m pretty sure it’s never happened before. That the U.S. was actually involved, militarily involved in the perpetration of wars crimes while it’s actually happening.
There’s a lot of opposition building. There’s opposition in Congress, and I think this is the way this war is going to end. I emphasize it’s not just because I care about this a lot, but also because historically this is pretty much the main way that foreign policy has been changed. In 2013, you remember when the Congress wouldn’t vote for President Obama’s attempt to bomb Syria. You can go back to the 1980s when the Congress cut off aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. These are the times when you can actually change something. This shows, really it’s amazing, because this is a House of Representatives that’s controlled by the Republicans and still they were able to force this vote and force the military through the hearings to admit what they were doing, and then to push it. Now they’re going to push it further in the Senate.
If people contact their members of Congress and especially their senators now, the members of Congress can also and are going to be trying to persuade the senators, so both of them. I think that could really be the beginning of the end of this war. It’s really urgent, you know, because as you mentioned the humanitarian groups, the UN are saying that really millions of people are at risk and people are dying there every day.
SHARMINI PERIES: Now, if the United Nations and so many agencies within the United Nations has come out berating Saudi Arabia for this blockade and not allowing humanitarian aid, stopping the landing of aid, cargo from arriving in Yemen, and if members of Congress are so opposed to the U.S. support for Saudi war in Yemen as the vote we discussed reflects, 366 to 30, why not stop it by invoking the War Powers Act, and how could that unfold in Congress?
MARK WEISBROT: Well, I think the next place it could unfold is in the Senate, it will be the same strategy, using the War Powers Resolution to force a debate and vote. That’s a debate where in the Senate it’s closer as I mentioned. It could be cut off. I think it’s become much more urgent in the last couple weeks, even more. It was always terribly urgent because as you mentioned, 900,000 people have gotten cholera and now you’re … they’re cutting off, in the last two weeks, they’re cutting off supplies again. Hodeida, which is the port that gets something like 80% of the imports is now blockaded by the Saudi-led coalition again with U.S. help. Food is running short, medicine, supplies. Food prices have skyrocketed because of the cut off in supplies. More people are being malnourished and pushed to the brink of starvation. There’s 7 million people according to the UN that are on the brink of famine right now.
SHARMINI PERIES: Right. Mark, this issue just begs the question: Why isn’t Senate acting more quickly on this? And if they did invoke their powers and act on this, that just means that they will stop providing logistical support, not necessarily stop selling arms to the Saudis. I imagine the military industrial lobby in Congress is pretty heavy, has a lot to do with why this resolution isn’t binding, has a lot to do with why Congress isn’t invoking the War Powers Act.
MARK WEISBROT: Well, a lot of it is even more than the arms industry. It’s the Trump administration and their geostrategic holds in the region. They’re saying that the people that they’re bombing are the insurgents they’re trying to defeats. The Houthis are aligned with Iran, and they are … so of course they’re getting aid from Iran, so they’re portraying and they’re going to do that when it comes to the Senate as a fight against Iran and Irani interference even thought it’s an indigenous group. For them, it’s a power struggle, and for the Saudis too. The Saudis want the U.S. to intervene, to reassert the dominance of Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East against Iran. That’s the real power struggle going on, and that’s why there really has to be a negotiated solution. I think if the U.S. does cut off its refueling and targeting aid, the Saudis could be forced to the negotiating table.
SHARMINI PERIES: If it is what you say, which is partly to prop up Saudi Arabia in the region as the region of power as opposed to Iran, does the administration have the right to go about doing that at the cost of this kind of humanitarian disaster?
MARK WEISBROT: Of course, there’s no right to do any of this stuff. These are, as the New York Times said, these are actual war crimes. They are literally starving the whole population to force the people that they’re opposing to give in. Of course, it’s illegal under international law, but it’s horrific. As I said, it’s the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and this is one of the ways we can stop it. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten the attention that it deserves in the U.S., in the media overall internationally, but it’s getting a lot more. Again, if people, all these groups, you know there’s a lot of groups been working on this. The peace groups, the anti-war groups, the humanitarian groups. Groups like Code Pink, Win Without War, the Friends Committee on National Legislation. People can contact any of these groups and in terms of how they influence their members of Congress. This is I think the best hope of putting an end to this war before thousands and potentially hundreds of thousands and millions of people die as a result.
SHARMINI PERIES: Mark, thank you so much for joining us and bringing us this resolution to light for discussion.
MARK WEISBROT: Thank you.
SHARMINI PERIES: Thank you for joining us here The Real News Network.


5. Mass Turnout at Hillsborough School Board Meeting

Imagine a thousand people turning out for a school board meeting. People are stirred up. They have reason to be. Read League member Pat Hall’s testimony at the November 14th meeting. by Pat Hall

Thirteen hundred teachers, children and others attended this meeting, more than ever in the history of Hillsborough County! Salary negotiations have broken down, promises made and not kept, the budget is strained and nerves are frayed. I spoke because four more charter schools were on the agenda for school board approval adding 4404 students in the next 5 years. We’ve asked for an estimate of FTE (full time equivalent) dollars; approximately $7,178 per student per school year that will fly to these four charters as well as PECO (public education capital outlay) dollars lost to traditional schools by the addition of four more charters.

My goal in this statement was to wake up parents and the public to this boondoggle. “The management company for SLAM (Sports Leadership Management Academy) – proposed to teach 2750 children in two buildings is Academica. Academica is under multiple year federal investigation the last I checked. Eric Fresen was Chair of the Education Committee of the Florida Legislature for 8 years. Fresen is the brother-in-law of Academica owner Fernando Zulueta. Fresen is now in jail for fraud and tax evasion. He did not file returns the 8 years he was in the Legislature. Newpoint Company (for-profit management charter co.) has been indicted in Escambia County on fraud charges including Pinellas, Duval and the closing of Newpoint High in Hillsborough County in 2013.

The charter friendly atmosphere here changed immediately after the firing of Mrs. Elia. Tom Gonzales and Jenna Hodgens (H.C. Director of Charter Schools) had a strong case against Kids Community Charter school in Brandon and it was dropped at the request of Mr. Eakins and the Board (chaired by Susan Valdes in 2015).

Statewide 2.7 million traditional students attend public schools. Hillsborough County has 215,000 students including 22,500 in charters. Charter schools represent 10 to 11 % of school aged children in Florida but have grabbed the lion’s share of PECO funds for years. Most for profit charters have been built in the last seven years. The average age of individual schools in Hillsborough County is fifty years. The dramatic shift to charter schools was orchestrated in the legislature by convicted felon Eric Fresen and his very wealthy pals –Jon Hage, owner Charter Schools USA and F. Zulueta, owner of Academica. Research done by Noah Pransky of WTSP, CBS Channel 10 in August, 2014 proved millions of dollars had been stuffed in the pockets of legislators to influence their votes. Governor Scott took $50,000 in 2014 from Hage. In 2014 and 2016 in election contributions we documented, at least three current school board members have taken money from numerous for profit charter school owners, developers and real estate affiliated companies.

One board member took a five day long trip to Miami to visit SLAM there at taxpayer expense of over $1,200. Why 5 days? Why no limits on school board travel when the budget is so tight? This board member collected $13,000 from charter school operators.

Large for profit managed charters receive millions of FTE dollars as do traditional schools based on enrollment. While 86% of traditional school money is spent on instruction, our investigation has proven that large for profit managed charters spend 45 to 48% of FTE on classroom instruction and teachers. The owners take 42-50% of our taxpayer dollars for management fees and real estate leases and rent fees.

When these schools close or go out of business –these buildings we have paid for remain the property of the charter school owners! In Hillsborough County we have authorized 123 schools since 1997 (under Jeb Bush, Governor). We now have 51 open-7 consolidated like Pepin Academy- but 65 never opened or have closed. What are taxpayers choices?

LISTEN