Sam Adams Associates: Sy Hersh First Mainstream Journalist Awarded

Sam Adams Club meeting in Washington, DC, 2017 when award was given to Sy Hersh.

By Annie Machon for RT. Since 2002 the unique Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence has been given annually in either the US or Europe. This year the awards took place in Washington DC, and the prize went to veteran journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Seymour Hersh. Why unique? Well, the group comprising the Sam Adams Associates is made up of former Western intelligence, military and diplomatic professionals, many of whom have spoken out about abuses and crimes committed by their employers. For their pains, most have lost their jobs, and some have also lost their liberty. Laureates include US army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley (Time person of the year in 2002 and the first SAA laureate), publisher Julian Assange, UK Ambassador Craig Murray, and coordinator of the US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran in 2007, Dr. Tom Fingar.

First Nations Occupy Fish Farms In British Columbia To Force Gov Action


By Brandon Jordan for Waging Nonviolence – The sign outside the protest encampment on Midsummer Island in British Columbia, Canada, is a blunt summation of what its inhabitants — indigenous people from various First Nations tribes — have been trying to accomplish for the past two months: “Get Fish Farms Out.” Yet, due to a Supreme Court ruling issued last week, it is not the fish farms that must leave the island, but rather the demonstrators and their camp, which consists of two small houses with beds, solar panels and a replenishing supply of food. The court made its decision after receiving an injunction, or demand for removal request, by Marine Harvest, the Norwegian seafood company that operates the facility. Demonstrators were given three days to dismantle the camp and 30 days to leave the island — or risk arrest. As the decision was being handed down, more demonstrators gathered outside the court in Vancouver to tell reporters and supporters that they are still committed to their demand of removing fish farms on indigenous territory. “That doesn’t mean the occupation is over,” said Ernest Alfred, hereditary chief of a few First Nations tribes in British Columbia. “We just have to strategize and come up with a plan of relocation.” The plan that unfolded saw a handful of First Nations people remove and transport all their Midsummer Island supplies, including the homes, to another encampment at nearby Swanson Island, which is also the site of another Marine Harvest facility.

Jury Convicts 'Valve Turner' Leonard Higgins On Both Counts


By Bennett Hall for Corvallis Gazette-Times – FORT BENTON, Mont. — A Montana jury took just one hour to find climate activist Leonard Higgins guilty of misdemeanor trespassing and felony criminal mischief on Wednesday for his role in the “valve turner” protest that briefly shut down the flow of Canadian crude through pipelines in four U.S. states last year. The 65-year-old former Corvallis resident is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 2 by Judge Daniel Boucher in Chouteau County District Court. He faces a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the criminal mischief count. The 12-person jury could have found Higgins guilty of a lesser charge but determined that his actions caused more than $1,500 in damage to the pipeline’s owner, Spectra Energy (now Enbridge Corp.), making the criminal mischief a felony offense. Higgins’ lead defense attorney, Herman Watson IV of Bozeman, said his client intends to appeal the verdict to the Montana Supreme Court. “That’s always been the plan, and we already have the appeal written,” Watson said. Like his four fellow valve turners, Higgins had hoped to employ a necessity defense, which would have allowed him to argue that his crimes were justified by the imminent danger to humanity of climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. Boucher denied that motion, saying that “the energy policy of the United States is not on trial.”

Investigation Reveals Cannibalism, Hepatitis At Major Turkey Supplier

Screenshot 2017-11-24 at 2.00.23 PM

By Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec for The Real News Network – On November 20, animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) released findings from a 9 month investigation into Norbest LLC, one of the United States’ largest turkey suppliers. Activists entered the Norbest facility, where they found turkeys packed in cramped, filthy, industrial sheds. Records obtained by the group found that turkeys in the facility were contracting hepatitis, and that penicillin was distributed to the turkey populations through water. A video from the investigation revealed intensive confinement of turkeys in Norbest’s facilities. Cannibalism was documented among the turkeys, many struggling with open wounds, tumors, cysts, and other injuries sustained from the living conditions. Dead birds littered the 14 industrial barns in Utah where the group conducted their investigation. The turkeys’ claws and beaks were burned off, a standard industry practice to prohibit the turkeys from clawing and pecking one another to death when they are packed by the thousands in tight-space living conditions. “I think this is a lesson we learned from human history over the past 10,000 years since the beginning of human civilization; unaccountable institutional power is dangerous,” said co-founder of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), Wayne Hsiang, in an interview with the Real News.

Concerned Citizens & Environmental Groups Stop Oil Train In Its Tracks


By Staff of Center for Biological Diversity – BAKERSFIELD, Calif.— A coalition of concerned citizens, environmental groups, and health and safety advocates successfully challenged the approval of a massive refinery and rail project that will further harm air quality in the San Joaquin Valley and subject residents in several states to the catastrophic risks of a derailment involving scores of tanker cars filled with explosive Bakken crude oil. The Alon Bakersfield Refinery Crude Flexibility Project, approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors, would have enabled the refinery to unload crude from over 200 tanker train cars per day, allowing it to import up to 63.1 million barrels of crude oil per year. A lawsuit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Association of Irritated Residents, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club claimed that Kern County’s certification of an environmental impact report (EIR) failed to meet its legal duty to fully assess the project’s risks and disclose them to the public. The court agreed. Bakken crude emits high levels of volatile organic compound emissions that lead to ozone pollution, which in turn causes respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Already one in six children in the Valley will be diagnosed with asthma before age 18. The crude oil being transported to the Alon Bakersfield Refinery from the Bakken formation in North Dakota poses a higher risk of explosion in the event of a rail accident than heavier crudes.

Teamsters Union Claims Big Win vs. Largest Opioid Distributor


By Staff of People’s World – WASHINGTON (PAI) — In what is a big win for shareholder activism, and in particular for Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall, stockholders in the nation’s largest opioid distributor, McKesson, voted down the firm’s compensation policies and ordered the board to split the positions of chairman and CEO. The twin moves punished current boss John Hammergren for his failure to halt the company’s role in the opioid scourge. “For the first time ever, shareholders voted to hold a company accountable for its role in the opioid epidemic,” said Hall, a West Virginian whose state has been hit notably hard by the plague. “The country’s largest drug distributor cannot get away with ballooning executive pay and failures in” its president’s “oversight as Americans die every day from opioid addiction.” Hall also said the vote “should serve as a warning” to the nation’s other big drug distributors that their shareholders, too, want to hold corporate conduct accountable. McKesson is the top drug distributor in the nation, but paid particular attention to flooding West Virginia with the pharmaceuticals. With McKesson leading the way, the three largest drug distributors shipped enough hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia from 2007-12 to provide 235 pills to every West Virginian. And even after Hammergren took over with promises of oversight, a corporate whitewash ensued, state investigators later found.

'Valve Turner' Trial Begins: Case Hinges On Amount Of Damage Caused By Corvallis Activist


By Bennett Hall for Corvallis Gazette-Times – FORT BENTON, Mont. — Leonard Higgins admits he broke into a remote Montana control facility in October 2016 and turned an emergency shutoff valve on the Spectra Express pipeline. But exactly how much harm did he do? That was the central question during the opening day of his trial on trespassing and criminal mischief charges, which began Tuesday in Chouteau County District Court in Fort Benton, Montana. The 65-year-old former Corvallis resident was one of five “valve turners” who took part in a coordinated action last year to close down oil pipelines in four states to dramatize what they call a climate change emergency. If Higgins is convicted of trespassing — which he admits to doing — he could face up to a year in jail. The criminal mischief charge, however, is a felony count that could earn him a much longer sentence — up to a decade in the Montana State Prison. But under Montana law, the state must prove Higgins caused more than $1,500 in damage to get a felony conviction. Chouteau County Attorney Steven Gannon says he did. In his opening statement on Tuesday, Gannon noted that Higgins used bolt cutters to cut through four steel chains and a padlock to enter the fenced enclosure and free the wheel that operates the emergency shutoff valve, damaging an actuator cover in the process.

Protests Outside Mar-a-Lago Over Haitian Immigration

Protest against Trump on Haitian immigration

By Staff for NBC6. The Rally for TPS Extension & Permanent Status left Miami Gardens and headed to the Palm Beach County as a Facebook page organizing the protest said they want the Temporary Protection Status renewed for all immigrants from Haiti and Central America while also asking for a “clean” Dream Act for children of immigrants. President Trump is expected to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at his Florida home and travel from Washington D.C. on Tuesday. Over 60,000 people who relocated following that earthquake are affected, as the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that conditions have improved enough that the status will only be allowed to continue until 2019.

Macy's Day Parade Blocked By Undocumented Youth

Undocumented youth  block Macy's Day Parade 11-23-17

By Roberto Juarez for Cosecha. “Undocumented youth are refusing to put our destiny in the hands of establishment politicians. We are choosing to fight for the dignity of our entire immigrant community, and that begins with us. We are your classmates, your coworkers, and your neighbors” said Hector-Jario Martinez, one of the Undocumented Youth who was arrested at the Macy’s Day Parade. “We are not just the future of this country, but we are also the present workers that it depends on. We are millions of young undocumented students and workers who are the backbones of our schools, industries, and communities. We are calling on our community members to stand up and fight for our right to work and live in this country. “

Divest Black Friday


By Staff of Mazaska Talks – Keystone I just leaked 210,000 gallons of oil on the Sisseton Wahpeton Reservation; Nebraska just approved Keystone XL; First Nations in British Columbia are building tiny houses in the pathway of Trans Mountain; and Enbridge has loaded the state of Minnesota with pipe, even though Minnesota hasn’t approved Line 3 yet. Hundreds of indigenous people have formed camps and occupations of spaces in the paths of these pipelines, with dozens of arrests already. Treaties are remarked as Supreme law of the land in Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, yet law enforcement is protecting and serving oil corporations instead of the constitution. Wall Street clearly hasn’t learned their lesson from the #NoDAPL movement, as they continue to finance these repressive corporations. So, we’re getting together this Takesgiving to remind them…

Monopod Blocks Tree Clearing & Construction Of Mariner East 2 Pipeline In Pennsylvania


By Staff of Earth First! Newswire – A monopod has been erected to block the heavy machinery that is currently clearing and chipping trees in South Central Pennsylvania to make way for Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) Mariner East 2 pipeline. The monopod—which is made out of a tree that ETP cut down last year—is currently about 200 feet from the encroaching heavy equipment. This action is being carried out by Camp White Pine in South Central Pennsylvania. Camp White Pine has been physically blocking pipeline construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline since February, and the Gerhart family, whose property the camp is on, has been resisting the pipeline project since 2015. The treesits that activists have been occupying for months are located on the west end of the property, while this new monopod blockade is on the east end. This latest phase of cutting and clearing off the east end of the property began in late October and has been moving closer to the camp each day.

Net Neutrality Protests Hitting Verizon Stores Across U.S. During Busy Holiday Shopping Season


By Evan Greer for Fight for the Future – Ajit Pai’s plan is expected to contain a “total repeal” of net neutrality protections, posing a grave threat to the future of freedom of expression, access to information, and small businesses particularly for communities of color and low income communities. The December 7 protests represent growing grassroots backlash to the FCC’s plan, which polls show is wildly unpopular with people from across the political spectrum. The events are supported by Team Internet, a grassroots network of nearly half a million volunteer activists spearheaded by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund, three of the groups behind the massive July 12 net neutrality day of action that drove millions of comments, emails, and phone calls to the FCC and Congress. Over recent months the groups behind the protests have organized thousands of constituents to attend more than 600 town halls and meetings with lawmakers to demand their support for net neutrality. A phone call campaign through has generated nearly 250,000 phone calls to legislators offices. At the protests participants will be encouraged to take a group photo and tweet it at their local members of Congress. Where possible, protesters will march to a nearby lawmaker’s office and deliver petition signatures. Protests are currently planned in Phoenix, Denver, San Francisco, New York City, Indianapolis, Miami, Boston, Seattle, and several other cities across the country.

Stop Obama- And Trump-Supported War On People Of Yemen!

Screenshot 2017-11-22 at 3.12.37 PM

By Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace – Barack Obama’s administration gave the green light to the Saudi war on Yemen. Back then, this war could not have been launched and executed without direct support from the U.S. military. That remains the case to this day. The United States provided intelligence sharing and targeting, air-to-air refueling, logistics support, while participating in the naval blockade and selling billions of dollars in weapons. We in the Black Alliance for Peace call on the people of the United States to demand an end to all military support to the murderous Saudi dictatorship. We demand that the blockade be lifted, and humanitarian aid be provided. We demand that the United Nations Security Council move to resolve the war in Yemen by calling for an immediate cessation of military actions, followed by a diplomatic resolution of the governmental crisis in that country. We call on the U.S. Congress to launch an immediate investigation into the Saudis possibly violating U.S. law by using U.S. arms to commit crimes against humanity.

2 Workers Assassinated In Mexico: NAFTA Renegotiation More Important Now Than Ever


By Celeste Drake for AFL-CIO – The need to fundamentally improve the labor provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement took on a new urgency over the weekend, as a group of armed civilians, calling themselves the “Tonalapa Community Police,” (Policía Comunitaria de Tonalapa) attacked striking workers, killing two, at the Media Luna mine in Guerrero, Mexico. The murders occurred just five hours south of Mexico City, where representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico are in the midst of their fifth round of talks about rewriting NAFTA. The aggressors, meanwhile, were released after being briefly detained by an army squadron. The striking workers, who want to be represented by the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Related Workers of the Mexican Republic (Los Mineros) and are demanding the removal of the employer-dominated “labor” federation CTM (Confederación de Trabajadores de México), identified local CTM leaders as among those responsible for the attack. The practice of false unions siding with the employer over workers is a common feature of Mexico’s failed labor relations model. Employer-dominated “labor” federations are antithetical to the idea of democratic worker-led unions whose goal is to help workers build better lives.

Anti-Fracking Protest Shuts Down Traffic At Energy Companies’ Offices


By Julia Conley for Common Dreams – The protesters set up two tripod structures in the middle fn a main intersection leading to Southpointe, a 589-acre property in suburban Washington County, Pennsylvania—home to companies including Halliburton, Chesapeake Energy, and Range Resources, all of which participate in fracking and mining. Two community members climbed onto the tripods while three others sat between them with their arms in lockboxes for about four hours before police broke up the demonstration, according to Rising Tide North America, a grassroots environmental group. A woman who was seated between the structures said the companies that operate at Southpointe are “impacting our lives every day in our communities. I’ve been run off the road twice because of truck traffic. I have to wonder about the health of my daughter every day living within a half mile of gas wells.” She added that “the coal operator here is also destroying our only state park,” referring to the efforts of Consol Energy, another company at Southpointe, to obtain a mining permit for Ryerson Station State Park. A community member named Patrick Young said that the disruption of traffic into the office park can’t be compared to the damage being done by the companies.

Call To Action: ‘Promise To Protect’ Join Resistance Against Keystone Pipeline


By Staff of No KXL Promise – State authorities in Nebraska just approved a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline – but along a different path than the original route TransCanada wanted. We’re still determining exactly what this re-route means, but we know one thing for sure: this pipeline can’t be built. Our allies in Nebraska will challenge this decision, and they’re confident the pipeline will never get built. But the rest of us are out of agencies or governments to appeal to–instead, we’ve got to rely on each other. Together we’ve stopped them for many years, and we are going to keep stopping them. But we need everyone’s help. We need you to take a stand no matter what land you live or work on. The struggle to save Mother Earth begins with you. In fact, we need everyone’s help to do something hard: sign up today to commit to creative peaceful resistance along the pipeline route when called upon by frontline leaders, likely next spring. When the time to resist comes, you’ll get an invite from leaders along the route–in particular the leaders from the Dakotas. If you can’t come to the upper Midwest to help, we still need you, and there will be other ways to engage from where you live. We — Indigenous leaders, farmers and ranchers, students, scientists, faith leaders, and more — will make a series of peaceful stands along the proposed pipeline route; resolute displays of our continuing opposition to a plan that endangers the waters of the Midwest and the climate of our one earth. Water is life; climate is life–those will be our rallying cries against a project that will endanger both.