Saturday, August 1, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

Quiqui Lee Photos: Halting Shell's Arctic Ship at Portland Bridge







.




Thank you to Quiqui Lee, Opata Apache photographer, for sharing these incredible photos 
with Censored News. To publish these photos, contact her at Quiquilee@hotmail.com

At St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon, activists spent 40 hours suspended blocking the icebreaking ship hired by Shell to begin its Arctic drilling. Police and Coast Guard moved in to remove them.

(c)Quiqui Lee photos

Democracy Now: Police Remove Greenpeace Activists from Portland Bridge After They Forced Shell Ship Back to Port



Police Remove Greenpeace Activists from Portland Bridge After They Forced Shell Ship Back to Port


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Police Remove Greenpeace Activists from Portland Bridge ...
In Portland, Oregon, law enforcement officers have removed Greenpeace activists who spent 40 hours suspended from the St. Johns Bridge in order to block an icebr...
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In Portland, Oregon, law enforcement officers have removed Greenpeace activists who spent 40 hours suspended from the St. Johns Bridge in order to block an icebreaking ship commissioned by oil giant Shell from leaving for the Arctic. Hundreds of activists have been gathering on the bridge and in kayaks since Tuesday night in efforts to stop Shell's plans to drill in the remote Chukchi Sea. Early Thursday morning, the suspended Greenpeace activists successfully forced Shell's ship to turn back to port in a showdown that grabbed international headlines. Joining us to discuss the action is Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We begin today's show in Portland, Oregon, where law enforcement officers have removed Greenpeace activists who spent 40 hours suspended from a bridge in order to block an icebreaking ship commissioned by the oil giant Shell from leaving for the Arctic. Hundreds of activists have been gathering on the bridge and in kayaks since Tuesday night in efforts to stop Shell's plans to drill in the remote Chukchi Sea. Early Thursday morning, the suspended Greenpeace activists successfully forced Shell's ship to turn back to port in a showdown that grabbed international headlines. Greenpeace activist Kristina Flores discussed watching the ship turn around as she stood on top of St. Johns Bridge on Thursday.

KRISTINA FLORES: This morning was quite the adventure. It felt really, really great to watch the Fennica turn around and go back to port. That was just a really great, great sign that we are winning, that we are strong, and when the people come together, we can win. And we will win.
AMY GOODMAN: Joining us from Portland, Oregon, is Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA.
Annie, we spoke to you a few days ago. You were on the bridge at the time, as the Greenpeace activists descended by rope from the bridge to try to stop this Shell rig from going through. Can you tell us what's happened since?
ANNIE LEONARD: Well, yesterday was an absolutely incredible day, a display of people power. Throughout the day, the crowds just kept growing, as you said. There were hundreds of kayakers going in shifts, filling the river so that if the boat tried to leave, there would be both lines of defense—the aerial barricade and then the people.
In the morning, Shell went—got a hearing in a court in Alaska. Shell had taken out a preliminary injunction prohibiting us from going within a certain distance of them and prohibiting us from interfering with their work. The court did find us in contempt of court and ordered us to get off the bridge and fined us hourly fines starting at $2,500 an hour, going up to $10,000 an hour. We met with the climbers on the bridge. We really felt it was their decision, first and foremost. And we all decided to stay on the bridge, that saving the Arctic was worth more than the monetary value of the fine that they were imposing. So we stayed absolutely put there.
Then, around 3:00 in the afternoon, the police came out to the bridge and began to escort the anchors off. The anchors were the people that each climber had on the bridge to ensure their safety, who stayed there 24/7. They took them away, gave them very minor citations and released them. Then they started to force the climbers down. And in an incredible display of just absolute chaos, the police and the Coast Guard came, forced the climbers down and began to take them all away. And they only opened up—didn't take all of them; they opened up an opening large enough for the Shell ship to come through. The ship started to come, and dozens and dozens of kayakers came and threw themselves in front of the ship. People jumped out of their kayaks to try to stop them. People were on inflatable pool toys. And it was absolute chaos. The Coast Guard ran over one of the kayakers. I mean, it was absolute mayhem.
The Coast Guard managed to pull all the kayakers away, one by one, in a very dangerous situation, clearing just enough space for the Shell vessel to squeak through. It came so close to the remaining climbers that were there, squeaked through. People on the shore literally started crying. It was just heartbreaking to watch this thing go through, because we know the climate implications. It squeaked through, and then it headed out to sea to go up to the Arctic and start the drilling process.
AMY GOODMAN: So, let's talk about why that ship came into port in Portland. In fact, it was already out at sea. It was already in the Arctic but got a hole in it somehow? Sprung a leak?
ANNIE LEONARD: Right, that's a very—that's a very important point, too. This whole thing happened in Portland because of Shell's incompetence. The Arctic is a very, very dangerous place to drill, and all the other oil companies have dropped out and said it is too dangerous, too expensive, it just doesn't make sense. This ship is required to be there when the drilling happens. The permit requires it. It ran into something and got a 39-inch hole in its hull. It couldn't be fixed in Alaska, presumably didn't want to go back to Seattle, where there had been such protest, so it came to Portland on a very tight timeline to repair it and then get back up to the Arctic. And that's why this blockade was so powerful, was that any delay that we could have shortened the amount of time that Shell can drill this summer, because they have such a short ice-free window. They have to get up there, drill and get out before the winter ice returns.
AMY GOODMAN: So how long did it take this ship, that had sprung a leak, which makes you nervous about other things that could go wrong in the Arctic that involve oil spills—it took it what? Something like 12 days to make its way down, in this very narrow window, to get fixed, turn around and then come back—go back?
ANNIE LEONARD: That's right. And so, presumably, it will take another 12 days to get back up there.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, what about the people who suspended themselves from the bridge? Can you talk about exactly what they did? I mean, the action called "Rappel Shell" is pretty astounding, the bravery of doing something like this. It was sort of like—I thought of Bree Newsome, who climbed the flagpole to take the Confederate flag down, but this was going the other way: They were rappelling down.
ANNIE LEONARD: Right. So, they went up into the bridge in the middle of the night, secured themselves very safely—they really are professionals at this; I mean, Greenpeace knows what it's doing on the technical front—and then rappelled off the side of the bridge. They had hammocks, they had climbers'—kind of like rock climbers use—bags of equipment, and they stayed there for 40 hours. And I cannot explain to you what the conditions were like. Portland is having record heat. It was over 100 degrees during the day and then very cold at night. They stayed there, and up until the end, they were emotionally and physically strong, and said they wanted to stay, because their commitment to keep that Arctic oil in the ground was stronger than their human frailties at that moment. They absolutely wanted to stay.
AMY GOODMAN: Annie, I wanted to go to this point. This is not just incidental to the story, when you talked about this record heat. From AccuWeather.com this morning, "Record-Challenging Heat Wave Bakes Seattle and Portland, Oregon": "Temperatures will crack the century mark throughout Oregon's Willamette Valley and many of the valley locations of the interior Northwest." Can you talk about this record-breaking heat wave and why Greenpeace is doing what it's doing?
ANNIE LEONARD: It is so baking hot in Portland. I grew up in this region. This is just unprecedented. There were times that I was actually worried about the climbers' physical health. And I thought, how ironic that it is climate change that drove them up there, and at times I thought it might be climate change that would force them down. Absolutely so hot.
And the Arctic is connected to this, because scientists have said that we need to keep 80 percent of the known fossil fuel reserves underground if we're going to stay below that two-degree threshold over which climate scientists say will be absolute catastrophe. If we go up to two degrees, it's still going to be bad, but absolute catastrophe. Scientists have looked at what oil reserves around the world need to stay underground, and the Arctic is at the top of the list. It is really well documented at this point that extracting Arctic oil from the region and then putting it into market and then burning it will guarantee that we go over two degrees. So this is—this is a situation where Shell is not just threatening an ecosystem that provides important habitat or threatening a beautiful forest or river that we're fond of. This is a situation where Shell's Arctic oil drilling is actually threatening everything and everyone that we love. And we want to do whatever we can to stand up and stop it.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, Annie Leonard, Shell can't do this on their own. So explain how the Obama administration is involved. I saw some of the banners yesterday of some of the people hanging from the bridge, and they had Obama's name on them.
ANNIE LEONARD: Well, that's because Shell still does not have the absolute final permit that it needs to drill. Even though they've spent about $4 billion so far invested in drilling this summer and have all their equipment up there or now on the way up there, they still need one final permit. And so, the future of the planet, in so many ways, is in Obama's hands. He still has time to deny that one final permit. And in a way, we were doing him a favor, by buying him a little extra time, holding that ship back and giving him time to stand up, be the real climate leader he keeps saying he wants to be, and deny that permit. It's crazy that they've granted it at all, because even the Department of the Interior's own scientists have said that if an oil company drills in this region where Shell wants to drill, that there is a 75 percent chance of a major oil spill. And I thought, my gosh, would you get on an airplane with a 75 percent chance of crashing? I mean, it is just crazy for this project to go forward.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, the judge said he was going to fine Greenpeace. But was everyone there involved with Greenpeace? Did people spontaneously get involved with these actions?
ANNIE LEONARD: That's a very good point. The people on the bridge were Greenpeace. The people on the ground and in the water, which really grew to hundreds and hundreds of people, were not Greenpeace. They were Mosquito Fleet, 350, Rising Tide, and then just everyday citizens that were unaffiliated. People just came down by the scores to just fill the crowd. People were driving across the bridge, dropping off food and water for the climbers. We got emails of support from all around the world. There were a couple of news channels that were live doing this. I got messages from Argentina and Turkey, where people said that all around their offices and homes they were gathered around the TV watching this. I have never, in my 30 years of work as an environmental activist, seen this level of support coming in from locally and all around the world.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, but the ship made it out, so what is Greenpeace doing next?
ANNIE LEONARD: We are doubling down on this campaign. I feel like the climbers came down, but really what they did was pass the baton to the rest of us, that we need to now pick it up and run with this. Greenpeace everywhere has made this a global priority, and we are just doubling down to protect the Arctic and stop that drilling.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you, Annie Leonard, for joining us, executive director of Greenpeace USA, speaking to us from Portland, Oregon.
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.orgThe War and Peace Report. When we come back, the controversy around Planned Parenthood. Will Congress defund it? Stay with us.

Dan Bacher: Protesters sing, wave signs and blast Delta tunnels at "open house'

Photo Dan Bacher: Chief Caleen Sisk at the protest against the Delta Tunnels in front of the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento on July 28. More photos at: 
Protesters sing, wave signs and blast 

Delta tunnels at "open house' 

by Dan Bacher 
Censored News

As consultants and state and federal officials promoting the Delta tunnels plan used poster displays to tout the alleged benefits of Jerry Brown’s project, Stockton activist and performer Jonathan Michelsen stood up on a chair with his guitar in the dark ballroom of the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento and began belting out his song, “Sanctuary.” 

“The Delta is our home, we won't let you take what is ours,” he sang. “We come against darkened forces of political control, political control that comes to take our sanctuary.” 

As he continued singing the song over and over, a crowd of tunnels opponents, many of whom had come on buses from Stockton, the Delta and the Bay Area, began to gather around. They began clapping and singing along to the lyrics. 

The consultants and officials around the room at the California Water Fix “open house” in Sacramento on July 29 seemed amused by the song and didn’t stop him from singing. After he played the song for several exciting moments in the otherwise sedate and bureaucratic affair, he got down off the chair. 

“We must be bold. We have our home here in the Delta. We must stand up for what belongs to us. It is our land, our crops and our fish,” he told me in a short interview. 

“As a Christian, I am called to give witness to the persecuted around the earth,” he added. 

Michelsen is a music teacher at Delta College and had joined Restore the Delta and other tunnel opponents last year at protest against the project at the State Capitol. He performs regionally, nationally and internationally. 

Surrounded by posters around the room touting the alleged ecological and water supply benefits of the California Water Fix, Michelsen said, “The tunnels only take away from the natural ecosystem, not restore it.” 

The state and federal agencies organized the “open house” for the review of Delta Tunnels EIR/EIS (formerly known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.) The Department of Interior and California Natural Resources Agency recently divided the project into two parts - the tunnels component, the California Water Fix, and the habitat "restoration" component, California Eco Restore. 

The agencies promoting the project made no formal presentation to the public and set no time aside for the public to express their concerns in a community setting. Instead, the set up the "open house" like a science fair, with the public moving from one exhibit to the next. 

Some took advantage of a chance to give a comment to the court reporter in attendance. Others at the event handwrote their comments on forms provided by the agencies. 

As Michelsen performed and others wrote their comments on forms, other Delta advocates gathered with a variety of colorful signs and props on the sidewalk in front of the hotel to protest the tunnels plan. The protesters included Delta farmers and residents, fishermen, Winnemem Wintu Tribe leaders, local environmental activists and others concerned about the fate of the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. 

Karen Cunningham, a Delta cattle rancher on Bradford Island, said, “The tunnels will destroy the ecosystem and take three-quarters of the fresh water out of it. They will be bad for fish, otters, turtles, since they need fresh water. So do the farmers and ranchers.” 

She has already been impacted by ecological changes on her property, a result of the construction of the False River Barrier. For example, she said the area where her and her family normally catch bluegill now has a current that is too strong for panfish to hold. 

In addition, she noted that if the tunnels are built, you can expect the same lack of concern for endangered species that the state has shown when it put in the False River Barrier. 

“We saw how the state acted when I found five endangered Giant Garter Snakes while the Department of Water Resources (DWR) was installing the barrier this year,” she said. “I tried to speak to a biologist on the project site, but my phone calls never resulted in a scientist coming out to the site. This is just an inkling of what will happen if the tunnels project is built.” 

In addition to driving salmon, Delta smelt and other species closer to extinction, the tunnels project also violates tribal rights, according to Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, who showed up with her son, Michael, and her sister, Helene, at the “open house.” 

“The government has conducted no on-the-ground cultural studies, as required under Public Law 106, protecting burial sites, villages and traditional fishing areas,” said Sisk. “They are solely relying on the libraries for their information. They have not consulted with any of the Tribes. Tribes have been left out of the water process.” 

She emphasized, “Right now the existing water projects continue to damage our ecology. They have already harmed our fish and driven them to extinction. The tunnels will only complete the job. The tunnels that they want to build are large enough to divert the entire Sacramento River." 

“The tunnels are one key part of the plan that includes the Sites Reservoir, Shasta Dam Raise and Proposition 1,” she said. 

She said the water for the tunnels would be provided by Shasta Lake and Sites Reservoir – and that to fill Sites Reservoir, the Shasta Dam would be raised to hold more water from the Sacramento River. 

“This state was built for salmon, not almonds and pistachios,” Chief Sisk said. “We should base our economy on salmon. If people want to see a healthy environment and healthy watersheds, we should bring back the salmon." 

“A lot of countries are now acknowledging the rights of nature. We should allow nature to have the right to support us,” she concluded. 

During the protest outside of the hotel, a video crew organized by Restore the Delta interviewed people to share their actual public comments with the Secretary Jewell at the Department of the Interior and with President Obama 

Speaking to the video camera, Michael Frost, Restore the Delta Board Member and recreational angler, offered a four point plan. 

“First, we need to retire drainage impaired land,” he said. “Second, we need to increase freshwater flows through the Delta. Third, we must repair the levees. Fourth, we must determine the amount of water that we actually have in the system (not paper water.” 

The agencies backing the California Water Fix also held an open house the following day from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm in Walnut Grove at the Jean Harvie Senior and Community Center. A big crowd of tunnels opponents also showed up at this event to comment - and to wave signs opposing the tunnels also. 

Outside of the center, members of North Delta Cares parked a boat, outfitted with fishing rods, on a trailer. They also outfitted the boat with signs protesting the tunnels. 

Eugene Phillips, an artist, builder and photographer who restored the historic Miyasaki Bath House in Walnut Grove, set up in front of the center a big model of the tunnels project that he is working on. The model he brought depicts a family standing in the bottom of the tunnels, with a father and daughter in one tunnel and a mother and daughter in the other. 

"I placed a family standing in the tunnels to give a clear perspective of how really large the tunnels will be," he stated. "This model gives a human scale to the tunnels project." 

He plans to build a full scale tunnels model - and is encouraging people to help build their own sections of the tunnels, based on his pattern, so they can be interlocked. 

"I live on the river and often sit on the river and watch the water flow by in the evening," he noted. "The tunnels will have a clearly detrimental impact on the Sacramento River by pulling more water out of it." 

Background: The Revised BDCP EIR/EIS at 48,000 pages of appendices, footnotes, tables, and renumbered alternatives is now open for public comment. The original 45-day comment period was met with outrage by community groups and agencies. The comment period has now been extended until October 30, 2015

Written comments are due by close of business Friday, Oct. 30. Comments should be mailed to BDCP/WaterFix Comments, P.O. Box 1919, Sacramento, CA 95812 or emailed to BDCPComments [at] icfi.com 

.

Helen Sisk
.


More photos at: 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nihigaal bee lina Dine' Walkers: Cortez Block Party



(Photo above) "We're hiding from the sun, it's really hot today. Please feel free to contact us if you'd like to donate a canopy!

By Nihigaal bee lina
Censored News
CORTEZ, Colo. -- Today in Cortez! Please come out if you are in the area. We will be discussing border town violence, environmental racism, economic development, capitalism, and being Diné.

As we approach Dibé Nitsaa, the elevation climbs, leading to cooler climes, and colder nights. Two of our walkers don't have a sleeping bag, so anyone who can donate a sleeping bag, please do. We are in the Cortez, Colorado area! 'Áshóódí!

Call the Dine' walkers at 928-221-7292 for more information, and to offer support!

Cortez Block Party! July, 29, 2015 at 6 pm.

Cortez City Park, Cortez, Colorado, 405-534-4620.
****
Journey for Existence is now walking to Dibé Ntsáá (Hesperus, Colorado.) The walkers began in January with their walk to Dził Nahodiłii (Huerfano, NM). They recently walked to Doo'o'k'osliid (San Francisco Peak, Flagstaff, Arizona.) The walkers said, "In the fall we will go all the way to Sisnajiní (Blanca Peak, Alamosa, Colorado). All combined, we will be walking over 1000 miles in 2015."




Subcomandante Moises: Second Grade of the Zapatista Little School

Second Grade of the Zapatista Little School

English Espanol
ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION
MEXICO
July 27, 2015
To the National and International Sixth:
To the former students of the Zapatista Little School:
Compas:
The date for the second grade (only for those who passed the first) of the Zapatista Little School is approaching.
As we had previously announced, the dates are July 31 and August 1 and 2 of 2015.
No, don’t rush. This time it isn’t about coming to Zapatista territory. Rather, this time it is about not coming here, at least not for the Little School. The second grade will be everywhere, outside of Zapatista territories.
Let us explain:
As we have already said, we see that the economic situation is really difficult. Well, not just the economic situation. The government repression against the originary peoples, including the Yaquis (in Sonora) and Nahuas (in Santa María Ostula, Michoacán, and in Ayotitlán, Jalisco), and against the democratic teachers union (first in Oaxaca, later it will come in other states) reminds us all that those above do not honor their word and betrayal is part of the way they do politics.
With respect to the economic situation, we know that it is not easy to get together the money for daily things, much less for frequent travel to spend a few days here.
We Zapatistas know very well that if we say come to the Little School to continue learning how to really see us, well there will be people who can.

Frontera NorteSur ceases publication due to lack of funding

Ayotzinapa: The Missing 43

Censored News regrets that Frontera NorteSur will cease publishing due to a lack of funding. Journalist Kent Paterson and FNS have been a voice for human rights and justice, and for the voiceless, dying, and disappeared. This voice will be missed on the border. -- Brenda Norrell

Dear FNS News Readers:

It is with great regret that I write to inform you of the closing of FNS News that will take place by September 1 of this year.

Keeping FNS News funded had become an increasingly uphill battle, and during this year of severe budget cuts, university funding for FNS News has ceased altogether for the academic year 2015-16.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the readers and in particular those of you who made financial contributions that have been essential to keeping this news-service running.

I would also like to thank Kent Paterson for the quality and consistency of his journalism.  He has brought decades of expertise on Mexico and the Border Region to FNS News.  Over the years his articles have covered a huge variety of issues crucial to the region.  They have been read widely both nationally and internationally by educators, researchers, government agencies, people working in both private and non-profit sector, as well as citizens interested in the Border Region.

The Center for Latin American and Border Studies keeps a physical archive of all past issues that is open for consultation. We also plan to maintain an electronic archive of past issues of FNS News for consultation. Readers can go back and check articles dating from the 1990s through the summer of 2015 on immigration, the drug war, violence against women, New Mexico history, Mexican politics, border economy, and many more topics. The address is:

http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/

Please be assured that we will not release your e-mail address to third parties. We will maintain the list to occasionally notify the public of events of interest sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Border Studies at New Mexico State University.

Thank you once again for your constant support and readership.

Sincerely,


Iñigo García-Bryce
Director
CLABS

igarciab@nmsu.edu

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Censored News is reader supported news, with no advertising, grants or salaries. Please donate so we can continue live coverage in 2015! Censored News is in its 9th year! Thank you!
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About Censored News
Censored News was created in response to censorship by Indian Country Today. Censored News publisher Brenda Norrell was a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, when she was censored repeatedly and terminated in 2006. Now in its 9th year with no advertising, grants or sponsors, Censored News continues as a labor of love, a service to grassroots Indigenous Peoples and human rights advocates.

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 33 years, beginning at Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She served as a stringer for AP and USA Today on the Navajo Nation and later was based in Tucson and traveled with the Zapatistas in Mexico.

After being blacklisted by all the paying media, Norrell has continued to work without pay, providing live coverage with Earthcycles from Indian lands across the US, including live coverage of the Longest Walk, with the five month live talk radio across America in 2008.