Arizona Apache Mobilize Against Bill Which Hands Sacred Native American Land To Mining Company

A group of activists objecting to the sale of Apache sacred lands to a foreign mining company gather in Times Square on July 16, 2015. (Flickr / A Jones)

Originally published at MintPress News.


OAK FLAT, Arizona –— The San Carlos Apache Tribe held a celebratory dinner on July 27 to welcome back members of the Apache Stronghold caravan after a two-week journey from the tribe’s reservation in Bylas, Arizona, to Washington, D.C. The dinner menu featured a traditional Apache acorn soup and juice squeezed from skunkbush sumac berries — both of which are threatened by a proposed $6 billion mining operation.

The Apache Stronghold formed in December in response to a last-minute legislative provision included in the the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015. The provision at issue in the annual Defense Department funding bill grants Resolution Copper Mining, a subsidiary of Australian-English mining giant Rio Tinto, a 2,400-acre land parcel which includes parts of the Tonto National Forest, protected national forest in Arizona where it will create the continent’s largest copper mine.

Some of those lands are considered sacred by multiple Native American communities, including the Oak Flat campground. The area is not recognized as part of the San Carlos Apache Reservation, but it has historically been used by the Apache for trading purposes and spiritual ceremonies.

“This is appalling, this would not happen at any other holy place in the world,” Reddog Rudy, an Apache Stronghold supporter with the Xicano, Ute and Pinoy Nations, told MintPress News. “If someone tried to extract minerals from the Vatican or from Jerusalem it would be seen as an abomination.”

The National Environmental Policy Act stipulates that an impact assessment on the environment, archaeological and historic sites, as well as spaces considered sacred by Native Americans, must be completed prior to a land swap. However, under the NDAA 2015, Resolution Copper will be awarded the land 60 days after the required environmental impact statement has been completed. This raises questions about whether a fair assessment can be completed when Resolution Copper has already been awarded the land for the proposed copper mine.

”The bill says that Congress has already decided that the land swap will take place. So we’ll do the land swap and then we’ll do NEPA,” Jeffrey Altschul, president of the Society for American Archaeology, is quoted by Science magazine as saying in December.

The mine has the support of Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar and Ann Kirkpatrick, as well as Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake. Originally introduced in 2005 by Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange has consistently faced opposition from the San Carlos Apache. Following the passage of the land swap policy rider in the NDAA 2015, Flake commented on the need to include the measure into the much larger NDAA rather than passing the bill on its own.

“It’s never good to see big packages with so many things in them — that’s what we want to get away from,” Flake told the Huffington Post. “But it’s been very difficult to move individual pieces of legislation over the last few years.”

The passage of this particular piece of legislation had been “very difficult” partly because of the threats to Apache land, history and way of life, as well as environmental concerns.

Rudy was one of hundreds of supporters who joined the Apache Stronghold as they traveled to reservations across the country in an attempt to drum up support for their fight. The Stronghold stopped for ceremonies and rallies in cities across the country before finishing their journey outside of the Capitol.

When the Stronghold attempted to meet with Rep. Gosar at his D.C. office the group was threatened with arrest by Capitol Police. As Vonda Cassadore, of Bylas, and other grandmothers with the Stronghold were forced to leave Gosar’s office, Censored News reports Cassadore warned: “We’ll remember this when Election Day comes around. Sacred land means more than money.”

Speaking to MintPress, Cassadore emphasized that the land swap will take away her ability to teach her 8-year-old granddaughter how to cook traditional Apache food. “If Oak Flat turns into a mine and we lose the acorn,” she said, “how am I going to show her how to do that?”

On July 21 and 22 the Apache Stronghold gathered outside the U.S. Capitol, where they sang songs, held prayer, and spoke to anyone who would listen to their plight.

“Today is our day. Today is our ceremony. We’re not here looking at this Capitol like it’s in charge of us,” Wendsler Nosie, an Apache Stronghold organizer and tribal councilman, told Reuters.

‘They won’t stop until the whole area is destroyed’


Media ……. my last entry at FDL

Nurse listening to a radio during World War II John Atherton – Flickr creative commons

From the very first the media – newspapers and such – has been first and foremost about selling stuff. And that means advertising. And the more people read these first newspapers and then magazines, the more advertising could be sold and the more could be charged for it. It’s as simple as that.

Even as the technology improved this aspect of the media – in this country at least – has not changed. And to get people to read and in the case of broadcasting watch and/or listen, it had to be entertaining. Even the advertising itself. Secondary to this – in the case of newspapers at least – to present the views and beliefs of the publisher. Political, social, economic and [in some cases] religious. In the case of broadcasting – radio and television – almost not at all. William S. Paley put CBS news at the forefront in the late 1930s just before WWII with the likes of Charles Collingwood, William L. Shirer, Eric Sevareid,[4] John Charles Daly, Joseph C. Harsch[2]:501 Cecil Brown, Elmer Davis, Quincy Howe, H. V. Kaltenborn and Robert Trout.[5], then Edward R. Morrow. All top notch journalists and experienced. He was the first one to do so. But even he knew this “News” division had to attract listeners and viewers, so they also had to be able to present the news stories in an entertaining fashion.

From the first “News” had to be entertaining as well as informative and attract listeners and then viewers. There has been little if any difference between the media in this country and the itinerant snake oil salesmen of old. With products hocked of equally questionable use and quality. Maybe less so.

The cardinal rule though in broadcasting was not to air anything that might alienate any white males, since they had the money. So everyone – not just minorities – were presented as stereotypes, even the white males themselves. Always well dressed and well spoken. Even on the news.

Madison Av. demographics ruled the day, for they were the ones who paid. If Madison Av. thought it would be offensive to any one group – particularly white – if simply did not get on. The media in this country always followed, if never lead. Why minorities did not have their own shows until it was determined that a majority of whites would accept them as appearing as near equals. Why Vietnam reporting did not become serious until the majority of whites became disenchanted with it. Why people and entertainers critical of the current establishment rarely, if ever got on. Pete Seager, Phil Ochs, Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl. Why The Smothers Brothers got cancelled. Why the biggest and most popular entertainer of the 1950s could not get sponsors for a show. So Nat King Cole had to fund his own show. Having a black man have his own show would offend white bigots and most whites were [and still are] bigots.

Why Walter Cronkite took a major risk delving into Watergate when he did. These days serious journalists simply do not get on the air. The closest you can get is on HBO or The Comedy Channel. Cable only. Most Website blogs are generally “Preaching to the converted”.

The media rarely showed or told the truth. It showed what white people wanted to see, which generally was a fantasy version of life. Where all the women are strong, all the men good looking and all the children well behaved and above average.

An Appreciation of FDL Contributors


As Firedoglake goes offline this weekend, those of us who are launching Shadowproof would like to take the time to show appreciation for all the contributors, who helped make FDL special through the years.

Keeping FDL online and filled with daily content during hiatus was a struggle. It would have been even more impossible without the regular contributions of Ruth Calvo, Crane-Station, Frederick Leatherman, Lawrence Hudetz, and CTuttle.

Ruth kept up the “Saturday Art” series, which has highlighted something wonderful and magnificent each weekend. Lawrence continued his weekly “Camera Work” feature, which highlighted something captivating about photography each week. Crane-Station provided insightful commentary as part of “Over Easy” and with weekly posts.

Frederick (who blogged for some time under the name “Masoninblue”) increased his contributions during hiatus and published about three posts per week with sharp commentary on pressing legal issues of the day.

CTuttle put in a lot of hours finding content from places like Common Dreams and Mint Press News, which deserved to gain a wider audience. He took on some editing duties and maintained his regular “Late Night” postings, which featured something music-related each day.

Brandon Jordan published a daily “Round Up,” which had an invaluable quality to it. The collection of links was something I sometimes referenced when putting together my weekly podcast show, Unauthorized Disclosure. He also contributed news reports periodically.

Others who deserve mention for their work throughout the past decade: Spocko, wendydavis, msmolly, PeasantParty, Suzanne, Ed Walker, Richard Taylor, Chris Maukonen, masaccio, SouthernDragon (RIP), Jeff Kaye, Gregg Levine, bmaz, Jim White, Marcy Wheeler, David Dayen, and Lisa Derrick.

Two editors, who helped make FDL function, deserve acknowledgment too. Ellie Elliott did a lot to support the work of contributors. John Chandley or “Scarecrow,” who died from cancer a few years ago, was hugely responsible for keeping things going during the day. (more…)

Camera Work: Some FDL Final Thoughts

Mountains of the Gorge_1

Since this will be my last post on FDL, and at the encouragement of folks on Ruth’s Saturday Art, I decided I would run it.

The photo shown is a pivotal image, and has been my splash screen on my Desktop since 2008 or 09. It is there because the look evolved while I was listening to an opera aria: “Marietta’s Song” from an opera called “The dead City” by Eric Korngold. Now Korngold is mostly known for his music accompanying Errol Flynn sagas, and others as well. I discovered it quite by accident, and was listening to it while I was working on this image. I was never happy with it yet, and while listening to the presentation, ideas began taking shape.

But it wasn’t till the final closing epilog, all orchestral that it happened. The light I knew behind the clouds started to glow and there it was. Now Korngold was quite fond of the work of Richard Strauss, and so he paid homage to Strauss by using a familiar unexpected key change (BbM to DM for the musically inclined),and when I heard that, the job was complete.

Music and photography have a strong connection, going back at least to Alfred Stieglitz with his series called Equivalents”; equivalent to music.Abstractions of clouds which spoke to him of music.

In fact, at about age 15, I actually tried that myself after hearing the first of the Debussy “Three Nocturnes”: “Nuages” Clouds. I knew nothing of Stieglitz at the time and the experiment was a miserable failure, especially technically. Unknowingly, I was hooked. I already played a musical instrument and I was on my way to photography.

In this case, I’m not trying to imitate Stieglitz. Far from it. Instead, I connect musically with the visuals through more of a metamorphosis than imitation. The photos are done. They need editing to bring them into balance. Music holds the key.

Yet, in the most recent case, the image posted last week, it was a finished piece, which I brought up to date using current (and very powerful) new tools in Photoshop. What happened there is I heard the music looking at the finished image, in my head, so much so I dashed downstairs and played it almost verbatim, more like improvising but essentially complete. Problem was: Where is it from and who is the composer? It was movie music, I knew that, so I went on line and the first thing I checked out was “Out of Africa” Nope. It took me a while but I finally found it in the music for “Dances with Wolves”. The composer? John Barry, who also composed “Out of Africa”.

Movie music can be banal, much of it is, but consider the whole. I’m tying music into my productions and what is a movie? A moving image.

So much informs me about what I am doing (I haven’t touched on intuition) that it all comes down to somewhere, sometime, I have to click a shutter!

Here is a link to Marietta’s Song:

With this I’ll say good luck and farewell to FDL

Photo ©2008-2015 Lawrence Hudetz All rights Reserved

The Roundup for August 1st, 2015

Special Announcement

This is my last Roundup for Firedoglake, something I did not expect to write a few months ago. Even the song for today is something I always knew would be good to place for the end, but never expected it so soon.

I feel, perhaps as you, somber. I carried a rich tradition here with the Roundup. It was David Dayen who started the Roundup with this post. Afterward, fatster took over with her first ever Roundup post here. Then I took over with my first post on September 12th, 2013. (Let’s not forget Christy Hardin Smith’s contributions with this first post here)

Now it ends with me. As sad as I am, I am thankful for the opportunity. I often loathe to hear my voice, which is why you rarely see me comment on things as compared to my early days. Yet, I must say the Roundup is all the work of you, the readers. The ones who offered their suggestions, their comments and, surprisingly, tolerated me at the helm.

Thank you. It really means a lot to me.

And thank you to Ellie Elliott and Jane Hamsher, two people I owe a lot in my life.

The Roundup is on hiatus indefinitely. Perhaps it may return, perhaps not. For now, Farewell and Goodnight.

One more thing, please support Shadowproof. We must always support independent media and new outlets are always good to help. We do not know the future, but we do hold the power to shape it into what we want it to be.

Saturday Art and Archaeology: Avebury stone circle


Avebury encircles the stone circle

The opportunity to visit historic sites such as the neolithic stone constructions of Avebury, England’s, stone circle, the fascinating Stonehenge, and excavated barrows in the area, has been one I was very fortunate to have during my recent trip to Great Britain.   As you know here at FDL, discovery and exploration are exciting to me, and I cannot recommend enough that what is out there you will find worth a visit.

While the Druids did have ceremonies at these ancient sites, intensive research has revealed that they were originally created by neolithic inhabitants, dating back to around 3,000 B.C. in their origins.

Avebury (/ˈvbri/) is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, in southwest England. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, it contains the largest stone circle in Europe. It is both a tourist attraction and a place of religious importance to contemporary Pagans.

Constructed around 2600 BCE,[1] during the Neolithic, or ‘New Stone Age’, the monument comprises a large henge (a bank and a ditch) with a large outer stone circle and two separate smaller stone circles situated inside the centre of the monument. Its original purpose is unknown, although archaeologists believe that it was most likely used for some form of ritual or ceremony. The Avebury monument was a part of a larger prehistoric landscape containing several older monuments nearby, including West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill.

By the Iron Age, the site had been effectively abandoned, with some evidence of human activity on the site during the Roman occupation. During the Early Middle Ages, a village first began to be built around the monument, which eventually extended into it. In the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods, locals destroyed many of the standing stones around the henge, both for religious and practical reasons. The antiquarians John Aubrey and William Stukeley however took an interest in Avebury during the 17th century, and recorded much of the site before its destruction. Archaeologicalinvestigation followed in the 20th century, led primarily by Alexander Keiller, who oversaw a project of reconstructing much of the monument.


The construction of large monuments such as those at Avebury indicates that a stable agrarian economy had developed in Britain by around 4,000–3,500 BCE. The people who built them had to be secure enough to spend time on such non-essential activities. Avebury was one of a group of monumental sites that were established in this region during the Neolithic. Its monuments comprise the henge and associated long barrows, stone circles, avenues, and a causewayed enclosure. These monument types are not exclusive to the Avebury area. For example, Stonehenge features the same kinds of monuments, and in Dorset there is a henge on the edge of Dorchester and a causewayed enclosure at nearby Maiden Castle.[21] According to Caroline Malone, who worked for English Heritage as an inspector of monuments and was the curator of Avebury’s Alexander Keiller Museum, it is possible that the monuments associated with Neolithic sites such as Avebury and Stonehenge constituted ritual or ceremonial centres.[21]

Archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson noted that the addition of the stones to the henge occurred at a similar date to the construction of Silbury Hill and the major building projects at Stonehenge and Durrington Walls. For this reason, he speculated that there may have been a “religious revival” at the time, which led to huge amounts of resources being expended on the construction of ceremonial monuments.[22]

Archaeologist Aaron Watson highlighted the possibility that by digging up earth and using it to construct the large banks, those Neolithic labourers constructing the Avebury monument symbolically saw themselves as turning the land “inside out”, thereby creating a space that was “on a frontier between worlds above and beneath the ground.”[23]

When the Celts arrived, the stone construction had been around for aeons, and their arrival dated around 1000 A.D.    At that point, the stone arrangements were a mystery to them as they are now for us.

Circle of stones, Avebury
Circle of stones, Avebury
West Kennet Long Barrow
West Kennet Long Barrow, above

Below, earth mound at West Kennet



Stone circle and mound at Avebury
Stone circle and mound at Avebury

Below, Stone tools excavated at Stonehenge



Late Night FDL: It’s All Going to Pot

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard – It’s All Going to Pot

Well, L/LN pups my long run at FDL has come to an end. Tonite is my very last LLN, however, tomorrow nite Suz will officially close down LLN.

Currently, Ruth and I are exploring avenues to provide a sort of FDL Cafe to swap stories and to keep in touch with one another. In the meantime y’all can friend me at Facebook or follow me at twitter: @CTuttle0

It has been a real honor and pleasure to post and host for such a terrific bunch of people from all over the country, and at times the World…!

Mahalo Nui Loa…! *g*

*sigh* Now, I suppose it’s high time for me to get a real f*cking job…! 😉

During Baltimore Uprising, City Officials Criminalized Hashtags & Labeled Social Media Postings as ‘Threats’


In the early moments of the uprising in Baltimore after police killed Freddie Gray, Baltimore city officials monitored social media. The officials labeled activists and other users, who were posting about reported rioting, protest activity, and police action, as “threats.”

The spreadsheet listing individuals deemed to have posted “threats” was released in a cache of 7,000 internal emails sent during the uprising by city officials.

It is unclear who specifically was compiling this list. No agency is listed in the spreadsheet as being responsible. However, what is apparent is officials followed hashtags and essentially criminalized certain flows of information being shared by individuals.

Officials compiled 71 “threatening” pieces of content from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube on April 27 [PDF].

Each threat was designated as some kind of a “violation.” These “violations” included “chatter,” “cyber threat,” “riot,” “physical threat,” “threat,” “violence,” and “rebellion.”

“All of Your Anonymity is Gone”

One of the activists singled out was @ConstantNatalie. She has the distinction of being the only user who was accused of promoting “rebellion,” which is not defined anywhere in the spreadsheet.

Remarkably, @ConstantNatalie was nowhere near Baltimore. She was in Chicago. The posting that garnered attention was not her own posting either. It was something she retweeted about providing medical attention to protesters from @brazenqueer (who was not listed as posting a “threat”).

Natalie recalled the experience of having a “beast”—the surveillance state—look at you and then later you find your name in a government document.

“It feels like all of your anonymity is gone,” she stated. “Once [the state] starts monitoring, then they start digging.” And, “Those in power want people, who are posting to social media in times of rebellion, to “be quiet and good in the face of horrific injustice.”

Other people noted in the spreadsheet were @UntoldCarlisle, a journalist, and Deray McKesson, a prominent voice in the movement for black lives.

The city tracked the following hashtags: #Baltimorecitypolice, #AmeriKKKa, #justiceforfreddie, #justiceforfreddie, #FreddieGray, #Amerikkka, #Amerikkka, #BaltimoreRiots, #BaltimoreRiots #idgt, and #mondawmin, #Baltimore, #OPFREDDIE, #blacklivesmatter, etc.

Essentially, city officials criminalized a select group of people, who engaged in freedom of expression and associated their expression of political discontent with any of these hashtags. (more…)

Potential Oil Spill Concerns Arise As Shell Begins Arctic Drilling

Shell No Campaign

There is increasing concern that Shell’s presence in the Arctic will lead to an oil spill, as the company begins to drill in the Chukcki Sea off the shore of Alaska.

Shell is no stranger to the Chukchi Sea. In 1988, the firm spent $300 million to drill for oil only to find dry holes.

Today Shell’s technology is more advanced, but that does not mean it can protect against potentially disastrous spills. A report by the Department of Interior—specifically the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management—found a 75 percent chance of a large oil spill in the Arctic should drilling occur.

The search for oil in the Arctic is viewed as a necessity by the oil industry. According to the U.S. Geological Service, there are potentially 90 billion barrels of oil under the Arctic ice. The National Petroleum Council, comprised mostly of oil and gas companies, released a report earlier this year highlighted the usefulness of depending on Arctic oil:

Arctic exploration today may provide a material impact to U.S. oil production in the future, potentially averting decline, improving U.S. energy security, and benefiting the local and overall U.S. economy.

Erik Milito, director of upstream at the oil industry-funded American Petroleum Institute, argued on behalf of Arctic drilling as essential for U.S. energy security:

The safe and responsible development of oil and natural gas in the Arctic is critical to our economy and national security…Failure to develop these resources would put America’s global energy leadership at risk at a time when Russia and other Arctic nations are forging ahead.

Although, a 2012 report co-written by API’s Arctic Oil Spill task force found, in spite of some advantages, “logistical challenges” in responding to an oil spill.

John Deans, a Greenpeace Arctic campaigner specialist, told Firedoglake an oil spill in the Arctic would be a “catastrophe.” Moreover, he said risky extractions, such as tar sands, are slightly similar to drilling in the Arctic, yet the latter carries more risks.

“With the Arctic, it is another extreme extraction. The environmental risks are so much higher and difficult to deal with,” Deans said. (more…)

World Bank Peddling Private, For-Profit Schools In Africa, Disguised As Aid

File: Students pick crops outside a world bank school in Kenya. (Flickr / World Bank Photo Collection)
A row of students study from textbooks beneath a chalkboard at a World Bank School in India. (Flickr / World Bank Photo Collection)
A row of students study from textbooks beneath a chalkboard at a World Bank School in India. (Flickr / World Bank Photo Collection)

Originally published at MintPress News.

EDINBURGH — Private, for-profit schools in Africa funded by the World Bank and U.S. venture capitalists have been criticized by more than 100 organizations who’ve signed a petition opposing the controversial educational venture.

A May statement addressed to Jim Kim, president of the World Bank, expressed deep concern over the global financial institution’s investment in a chain of private primary schools targeting poor families in Kenya and Uganda and called on the institution to support free universal education instead.

The schools project is called Bridge International Academies and 100,000 pupils have enrolled in 412 schools across the two nations. BIA is supported by the World Bank, which has given $10 million to the project, and a number of investors, including U.S. venture capitalists NEA and Learn Capital. Other notable investors include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Pierre Omidyar and Pearson, a multinational publishing company.

In a speech delivered in April, Kim praised BIA as a means to alleviate poverty in Kenya and Uganda. Critics responded that many Kenyans and Ugandans cannot afford private education, further arguing that this type of investment merely supports Western businesses at the expense of local public services.

A section of the letter addressed to Kim asserts:

“We, civil society organisations and citizens of Kenya and Uganda, are appalled that an organisation whose mandate is supposed to be to lift people out of poverty shows such a profound misunderstanding and disconnect from the lives and rights of poor people in Kenya and Uganda. If the World Bank is serious about improving education in Kenya and Uganda, it should support our governments to expand and improve our public education systems, provide quality education to all children free of charge, and address other financial barriers to access.”


Opposition to educational neocolonialism

The statement reflects a growing global movement questioning Western policies pushing private education in developing countries. It was written and signed by 30 organizations in Uganda and Kenya and supported by 116 organizations around the world, including Global Justice Now and ActionAid. They claim BIA uses highly standardized teaching methods, untrained low-paid teachers, and aggressive marketing strategies targeted at poor households.

In his speech supporting BIA, Kim said that “average scores for reading and math have risen high above their public school peers.” Opponents questioned these figures, noting that they appear to have been taken directly from a study conducted by BIA itself.

Global Justice Now added that the World Bank president’s assertion that the “the cost per student at Bridge Academies is just $6 dollars a month” was misleading.

“This suggestion that $6 is an acceptable amount of money for poor households to pay reveals a profound lack of understanding of the reality of the lives of the poorest,” Global Justice Now, a London-based organization promoting social justice, wrote on its website in May.