August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy Oakland: Moving vigil for wounded Marine Scott Olsen

Veterans for Peace member Scott Olsen stands between
police and crowd at Occupy Oakland to protect the people.
Minutes later he was shot with a police projectile.
Occupy Oakland: Moving vigil for wounded Marine Scott Olsen
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Friends of wounded Marine Scott Olsen gave a moving tribute to Olsen, who remains hospitalized with a skull fracture. Olsen was struck in the head by a police projectile when Oakland police opened fire on peaceful demonstrators Tuesday night.

Olsen was standing with Navy veteran Joshua Shepherd in front of police to protect the crowd from the police. Videos show there was no provocation when police fired directly at the veterans and into the crowd. Olsen, who completed two tours of duty in Iraq, and Shepherd, are both members of Veterans for Peace.

On Thursday night, about one-thousand people gathered for the vigil, with many carrying candles, as the tent encampment of Occupy Oakland was resuming.

Speaking at the vigil, the announcer said of Olsen, "He is conscious and able to write and will not need additional surgery." The crowd cheered as news was announced of his condition and that other vigils for Olsen were being held in Chicago, New York, Austin, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Clare Chadwick described what happened when Olsen was hit, after police began firing on the peaceful gathering, Chadwick looked down to her left and saw that Olsen was hit.

"There was nothing to provoke the police when they started tear-gassing the citizens," she said. Olsen was on the ground and he was not moving. "He was bleeding from the mouth. His eyes were rolling to the back of his head."

Chadwick screamed to the police for medical help. Instead of giving medical help, Oakland police threw a flash grenade toward them.

Keith Shannon, a friend who served in Iraq with Olsen, spoke during the vigil. He met Olsen six years ago. He said when they came back to the United States from Iraq, they had different views of what was happening in Iraq. Shannon said Olsen worked during the days and spent his free time at Occupy San Francisco. "He has been spending every night, and every weekend.”

Another friend, who spent the night at the hospital when Olsen arrived in critical condition, also spoke. "I can not express the outrage," she said, of seeing him with a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage. She described the outrage that Olsen had to take this kind of risk after returning home from two tours in Iraq safely.

Pointing out that this is not the first incidence of police brutality in Oakland, she expressed the “hope that we stand in solidarity with other communities in Oakland that experience egregious police violence." She said she has deep respect for Scott, who came back from Iraq with the sense that real peace will be achieved by standing up for a just economy and redistribution of wealth in the world.

She said Olsen was with the campaign to stop the deployment of traumatized troops. She encouraged people to take care of one another, and look out for one another.

During the vigil, an announcer said Scott still has a bruised brain and would need months of recovery.


DENVER Oglala Vice President confronts Obama on Tarsands

By Tom Poor Bear, Oglala Lakota Vice President
Posted at Censored News
From Tar Sands Action

Today I was removed from Obama’s speech at the University of Colorado in Denver for sharing words that have been weighing on my heart. Because I was stopped before I could fully express myself this morning, I would like to share these words now.

I feel that the United States of America should fulfill their obligation to the Treaty Tribes of the territory of the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties, and also their obligation to us as the true owners of this territory. President Obama must honor these treaties. We just want Obama to respect our Mother, the Earth. We just want Obama to respect our water, which is life – and to respect our future generations. We ask all indigenous people to join us in our plight to oppose the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline. We feel that Obama, in his position as President of the United States, should look at this issue very seriously because he also purports to represent us as indigenous peoples. So we are asking all indigenous peoples and Treaty Nations, as well as all other peoples who also respect our Mother, the Earth, to join our opposition and stop the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline. Through a unified effort, we will accomplish this task. As our great leader of our ancestral days, Crazy Horse, once said: “You cannot sell the land your people are buried on.” I believe today he would say: “You cannot desecrate the land your people are buried on.”
In respect of Mother Earth and our Future Generations,
Tom Poor Bear, Vice President, Oglala Lakota Nation

By Glenn Morris
Hello AIMsters, and fellow renegades,
DENVER -- Yesterday, we had our action at the Obama speech on the Auraria campus. It was pretty awesome, as was the action on Tuesday, despite the cold and rain and snow. I want to acknowledge the leadership that was shown by Scott, Tessa and Sky, in the lead-up to today's action, and for the courage that they showed, in the face of the Secret Service and other police agencies. They stood for hours in the rain and snow with our banners and messages and bullhorns, outside of the Pepsi Center where Obama had his $5000 per person fundraiser, outside of Obama's hotel, stood in line for hours to get the tickets to get inside the Auraria event, They smuggled banners into the event, past Secret Service security, and raised the banners, and the Oglala Sioux, flag at the critical time. Also essential to the action locally were Robert Chanate (who was central to the organizing, and who held up the banner, too),Carol Berry, Jolynne Locust-Woodcock whose pictures of the event can be found on her Facebook page, and Lance Tsosie, an Indian student from DU. Several others who could not get into the event braved the snow to rally outside, including Viki Eagle and other DU students, Lizzie Kerplanek from CU-Denver and Colorado AIM, and especially to Kia Fathi, a strong and solid ally, who worked tirelessly to support this action. There were other AIM people who helped, too: Brenda Jenkins, Dave and Joylynne Woodcock,  Frank who helped with security for us, Harrison Sadler, and Tessa's dad, mom and sister. Deb Freemont was in the event too, but got separated from us by the huge crowd. I also want to commend Steve Keith for creating a beautiful banner for us.

A special message of appreciation to Tom Poor Bear and his daughter, Evangeline, who drove down from Pine Ridge, and who were in there with us. Tom is a long-time AIM veteran of the Trail of Broken Treaties, Wounded Knee "73, Yellow Thunder Camp, Camp Justice, and many other AIM sponsored actions; he is now the Vice-President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Several other members of the OST Council said that they were going to join us, but Tom was the only one with the courage actually to show and confront Obama. He was also instrumental in shouting to Obama about honoring Indian treaties, stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, and respecting our mother the Earth. Also very important to the action was Jennifer Baker, an attorney from the Smith, Shelton and Ragona law firm, who is lead advisor to Tom on the Keystone pipeline impact on the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Jennifer hung in there with us through the actions on Tuesday night, and came into the Obama event, and help us hold up the Keystone banner.

The events above caused Obama to stammer, lose his place in his speech, pause, and then directly to respond to the messages that were shouted, and the message on the banners that were located right in front of him: "Honor Indian Treaties," and "Stop The Keystone Pipeline." Obama stopped and said that a decision had not yet been made, and he said, "I know your deep concern about it. We will address it." The Secret Service then surrounded our group and ordered us to stop shouting, and to take the banners down. When Sky told them that we weren't taking the banners down, they ordered us to leave the room, which we did, eventually.

In the news articles below, you can see that the fact Obama stopped his written speech, and responded to the Keystone issue, was a first. These stories were reported locally, nationally, and internationally -- including on Associated Press, Reuters, and in the New York Times, some links are below -- for more Google news search the terms "Obama, Denver, Keystone."

Indigenous Resistance to the Tar Sands - our local FB page:

Occupy Oakland Photo Brings Global Solidarity

Photo copyright by Justin Warren/Oakland Oct. 26, 2011

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
OAKLAND, Calif. -- When this photo by Justin Warren was posted of Occupy Oakland on Wednesday night -- after the violent repression by Oakland police on Tuesday night -- it was retweeted by Egyptian activists, and brought solidarity from people around the world.

Voices of support and solidarity came from Western Shoshone in Nevada and from Santiago, Chile, China, South Africa, New Zealand, Spain and Romania. Messages of love and support came in from Fiji, BC, Canada, Germany and Wales.

On Censored News' Facebook, (brenda.norrell) the photo was "liked" and shared more than 2,000 times within 12 hours. Elsewhere on the web, there were 15,000 views.

Veterans for Peace released a statement concerning Scott Olsen, the US Marine who was hit in the head by an Oakland police projectile on Tuesday night, and suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling.

A video shows Olsen and Navy veteran Joshua Shepherd, both member of Veterans for Peace, standing in front of the crowd to protect them.

The video shows Oakland police firing tear gas canisters directly at the veterans, who were separated from the crowd behind them by police fencing. It shows police firing at Olsen a second time while friends attempted to rescue him as he was fallen on the pavement.

In a second video, a young man who helped carry Olsen from the scene describes a second projectile crashing close to Olsen's head as they were moving him to the hospital. Olsen's condition was upgraded to fair on Thursday and he was reported breathing on his own.

Watch videos and read statement:

Occupy Oakland filled the streets on Wednesday night, as Occupy San Francisco prepared for arrest with a huge dance party outside, with a California senator and city officials present to ensure the peoples rights were not violated as they were in Oakland the night before.

At the same time, Occupy Oakland took to the streets. In a general assembly on Wednesday night, Occupy Oakland voted for a city-wide general strike on Nov. 2.

To prevent Oakland protesters from joining San Francisco, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) stations were blocked by police in Oakland and closed near Occupy San Francisco, at the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

When Occupy Oakland began considering taking the Bay Bridge, BART suddenly announced the stations would be opened again.

In San Francisco, as people prepared for arrest, Senator Leland Yee said he was there to make sure the peoples rights were protected. San Francisco City Supervisors were also present.

Thanks were sent out to Wikileaks and the hactivists at Anonymous. One of the reasons that the Occupy movement began was because the banks and PayPal froze all Wikileaks accounts. The US used the banks to silence the truth, after the Wikileaks' exposures of the US killing of civilians and journalists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the midnight hour, Oakland activists began catching rides to San Francisco after BART blocked its doors in Oakland. Eventually, the police raid in San Francisco was called off in the dawn hours of Thursday.

Thanks resounded around the world to Occupy Oakland, photographer Justin Warren and the global community.


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