Monday, June 24, 2019

Water Protector Legal Collective Report Condemns Government Treatment of Native Protesters

Standing Rock Water Protectors brutally arrested during Prayer and Ceremony by Morton County and militarized U.S. police. Image from new film.
Water Protector Legal Collective Report Condemns Government Treatment of Native Protesters

Contact: June 24, 2019
Michelle Cook
Water Protector Legal Collective
Divest, Invest, Protect
617 233 5432

BISMARCK, North Dakota — Today, the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona’s Rogers College of Law, submitted a report to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), showing violations of Indigenous peoples’ rights while protesting fossil fuel industry projects. The OHCHR and IACHR have called for input on human rights defenders in the Americas.
The report documents illegal treatment of water protectors by law enforcement and courts. It charges this conduct as violations of constitutional and human rights law. The report calls for government accountability and drastic changes in U.S. practices towards Indigenous environmental protectors and their supporters.
WPLC facilitated defense for 841 people who were arrested in pipeline protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota. All of the cases were prosecuted but of the 836 state court cases, prosecutors obtained only twenty-two convictions, with more than half the state criminal cases dismissed or acquitted at trial. Five Indigenous water protectors are serving federal prison sentences or are on supervised release.
The report details unlawful law enforcement abuse of nonviolent protesters. The police violence has included using high pressure fire hoses in freezing temperatures, shotgun-fired munitions, and chemical weapons causing severe injuries; suspicionless mass arrests; and harsh jail conditions. The report discusses an alarming trend of “critical infrastructure bills” being pushed through by the oil and gas industry, which criminalize environmental protest with up to twenty years in prison, aimed at suppressing the growing anti-fossil fuel movement in which Indigenous people and nations have played a central role.
The OHCHR is the leading UN body charged with protecting human rights worldwide. The IACHR is an independent agency of the thirty-five nation Organization of American States. It monitors human rights violations in the Americas and investigates complaints.
The report highlights testimony of Indigenous water protectors at an IACHR hearing held in May in Kingston, Jamaica. Casey Camp Horinek, councilwoman for the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, shared her experience while on unceded Sioux tribal land on October 27, 2016.
“Our people stood or sat in prayer...None of us were armed with anything more than our prayers and Sacred Pipes and Eagle Feathers Staffs...We were pepper sprayed in our faces, struck down, tased, then hands zip tied behind us, thrown to the ground and eventually 142 of us were taken by bus to jail.”
The WPLC report also quotes RedFawn Fallis, an Oglala Sioux woman who is serving a 57-month federal prison sentence.
“On October 27, 2016, I was tackled from behind and brutally arrested without probable cause and accused of having a gun. The only gun that was brought into the camp was brought by Heath Harmon, [who I later learned was] an FBI informant. He started a dishonest relationship with me. It was his gun that I was accused of possessing.”
The US sent several representatives to the May IACHR hearing. The WPLC report responds to the government’s claims there, delineating the failure to protect Indigenous environmental defenders from human rights violations, and its failure to consult Indigenous nations on extractive industry projects which encroach on Indigenous lands, and failure to comply with existing US laws and treaties. Dine (Navajo) human rights lawyer Michelle Cook said, “The United States should be protecting Indigenous peoples from all forms of violence; including the use of excessive force by police and private security. Without accountability for the harms which have occurred in Standing Rock the US sets a dangerous standard where colonial legacies of violent resource extraction continue.”
WPLC Executive Director Carl Williams said, “We are calling on the UN OHCHR and IACHR to urge the US to uphold its legal obligations to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples to speak out against the climate and environmental destruction that threatens us all.”

• WPLC Report to the OHCHR and IACHR –

• Video of excerpts from the IACHR Hearing –

WPLC is a Native led nonprofit organization that provides criminal and civil legal representation to Indigenous and other people engaged in Native led environmental actions affecting Native land. Originally formed during the Dakota Access pipeline protest in Standing Rock, WPLC now advocates on behalf of Water Protectors across the country.

Read full report

Video: Indigenous Women Testify on Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders

Casey Camp Horinek, Ponca, Michelle Cook, Dine', Leoyla Cowboy, Dine' and Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham.
Photo by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, in Jamaica.

New video shows power of Water Protectors, and police abuse at Standing Rock, with testimony before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Jamaica. Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, testified on Homeland Security's Border Patrol abuse at the southern border.

Michelle Cook said, "Witness the strength of indigenous women protecting their rights and people! Listen to the United States's response to Standing Rock. Thank you to all my friends and partners for their support over the years to make this hearing and report happen! Our report to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will be released on the WPLC website at 10 am! Indigenous Women Testify on Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) video premieres at 10 am."

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Aleut Concentration Camps, Migrant Child Concentration Camps: US Violates Human Rights with Ongoing Torture and Imprisonment

Aleut children in internment camp 

Update six and one-half years later. The original article below was posted on Nov. 18, 2012.
Censored News came under attack by trolls who wanted to discredit the facts this weekend in June of 2019, so we have reposted it, with our current Facebook comment added:
"Aleut Concentration Camps -- It took a long time to find this link, which Google buried, of Aleut  concentration camps during World War II in Alaska. Aleuts were placed in these camps and left to starve and die of diseases without medicine. We posted this article after PBS covered this atrocity. Entire families suffered and many died. Today, migrant children, alone, frightened, sick and abused are being placed in these concentration camps. The U.S. has a history of this torture, genocide and violation of international human rights. Most Americans are too busy shopping at WalMart and distracting themselves." -- Brenda Norrell

The horrible and untold story of Aleuts forced into US internment camps is told in 'Aleut Story' now on public television stations

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
No. 18, 2012

Watch film:
Now available in Russian!

The horrible and untold story of Aleuts who were forcibly taken from their homes in Alaska and placed in US internment camps during World War II, is told in the Aleut Story.

Aleut survivor Harriet Hope, interned at Burnett Inlet Duration Camp, "The story was never told. It was purposely held secret."

The film, showing this week on public television, reveals the ever-present death in these camps, where disease was rampant, from boils, to tuberculosis. Aleut were placed in damp and rotting buildings for years, with little food or medicine.

Aleut survivor Mary Bourdukofsky, interned at Funter Bay Duration Camp said, "We really didn’t know where they were going to take us."

"American citizens were starving, were dying," said Aleut survivor Jake Lestenkof, interned at Funter Bay Duration Camp.

Aleut waited for weeks, then months, then years to return to their home islands. The survivors spent decades seeking justice.

The Aleut Story reveals the inherent racism of the US government. During this time, the Aleut men were forced into slave labor as seal hunters, with the US threat of never being able to return to their homes if they did not.

When Aleut return to the camps later as adults, they visit the graves of those who died there.

Aleut Story
From isolated internment camps in Southeast Alaska to Congress and the White House, this is the incredible, untold story of Aleut Americans’ decades-long struggle for human and civil rights.
In 1942, as World War II invaded Alaska, Aleut Americans were taken from their homes and removed to abysmal government camps 1,500 miles away. Death was ever-present in the camps. An estimated 10 percent of the men, women and children sent to the camps would die there—a death rate comparable to that suffered by Americans in foreign prisoner of war camps. As the Aleuts prayed for deliverance, "friendly forces" looted their homes and churches in the Aleutian and Pribilof islands.
Those who survived would fight for their rights—in the nation’s courts and on Capitol Hill. In a historic action—one that continues to influence our lives and our nation’s ideals—Aleuts joined Japanese Americans in seeking wartime reparations from the federal government.
Aleut Americans ultimately prevailed.
Richly textured with all the elements of great human drama—war, suffering, sacrifice, faith, self-discovery and renewal—Aleut Story is a poignant and timely film about the least known chapters of the American civil rights experience.
Filmed on location in Alaska and Washington, DC on 35mm and S16mm, Aleut Story moves viewers through a distant landscape with mesmerizing cinematography, presents rare archival images and contemporary interviews. Narrated by Emmy® winner Martin Sheen, historical readings by John O’Hurley, vocals and flute by Grammy® winner Mary Youngblood.

Aleut Story was developed, researched, filmed and edited for national television over five years. Thousands of pages of historical documents, public testimony, congressional debate, personal memoirs, photographs and scholarly texts were reviewed. Filmed entirely on location, the project took the film crew to the Aleutian Islands, the Pribilof Islands, the historic sites of federal duration camps at Funter Bay and Killisnoo, to Anchorage, Juneau, Seattle and Washington, D.C. But the real strength of this film is the chorus of first person voices.

To order this film:

Friday, June 21, 2019

Chief Arvol Looking Horse 'World Peace and Prayer Day' June 21, 2019

World Peace and Prayer Day / Honoring Sacred Sites Day

“All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer” Following the birth of a White Buffalo Calf in 1994, the 19th Generation Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations— Chief Arvol Looking Horse, was directed to honor the Four Directions with ceremony on Summer Solstice/June 21st. According to Lakota prophecy, the birth of “Miracle,” a female white buffalo, signaled a time of Earth changes and the coming of The Mending of the Hoop of all Nations. The Summer Solstice is said to be a powerful time to pray for peace and harmony among all Living Beings. Chief Looking Horse believes that this day of collective prayer will create an energy shift to heal the earth and achieve a universal consciousness toward obtaining peace. He believes that it is time all people understand Mother Earth is the Source of life, not a resource. WPPD has been held in the US, Costa Rica, Ireland, S Africa, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Brazil. June 21st, 2017 will mark the 22nd year of World Peace and Prayer Day / Honoring Sacred Sites Day and will be held in the Hawaiian Islands and sacred sites around the world.
Published on Mar 20, 2017

Maori Chase Trespassing Oil Companies Out of Their Pacific Waters

Video by Mike Smith
Maori Chase Trespassing Oil Companies Out of Their Pacific Waters

Mike Smith said, "Check these Maori out. The real deal, trespassing oil companies, saving the climate, winners! This is the intrepid crew of Te Matau a Maui 100 kms off the east coast, booting out Chevron and Equinor (formally Statoil.) Yesterday these companies packed their bags and left, Mahi rangatira!"
Watch video on Facebook, from Maori waters in the South Pacific:

Published with permission of Mike Smith.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

'Protecting the Protectors' -- Challenging the Ridiculous 'Riot Booster' Law in South Dakota, Photos by Jean Roach, Lakota

Photos by Jean Roach, Lakota

'Protecting the Protectors' -- Challenging the Ridiculous 'Riot Booster' Law in South Dakota
Photos by Jean Roach, Lakota
Article by Brenda Norrell, Censored News
RAPID CITY, South Dakota -- The American Civil Liberties Union told a federal district court that South Dakota's three so-called "riot boosting" laws are unconstitutional and violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of Free Speech and Assembly.  In federal court on June 12, the ACLU asked the court for an injunction so the measure does not go into effect on July 1.