All posts by Sparrow

Indigenous Activists will Confront Imperial Metals at Annual General Meeting

Indigenous Activists will Confront Imperial Metals at Annual General Meeting

Vancouver, BC — Indigenous delegates and tribal allies will be confronting Imperial Metals at their Annual General Meeting at the Executive Plaza Hotel Coquitlam, 405 North Road, Coquitlam, British Columbia at 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.

“It is clear that there are major human rights and Indigenous rights violations happening within Canada and within our unceded Secwepemc Territory,” says Secwepemc land protector, Kanahus Manuel. “This is especially the case with the Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine disaster. The August 2014 tailings pond spill desecrated and destroyed a Sacred area known as Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe in unceded Secwepemc Territory.  The spill has not yet been cleaned up and because of BC’s shoddy mine regulations, the company is now discharging toxic mine wastes directly into Quesnel Lake.”

The Indigenous delegates will warn the Imperial Metals investors they should be aware of the very serious concerns regarding the Mount Polley mine, and the financial risks in investing in poorly run companies like Imperial Metals.

A aerial view shows the damage caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C. Tuesday, August, 5, 2014. The pond which stores toxic waste from the Mount Polley Mine had its dam break spilling its contents into the Hazeltine Creek causing a wide water-use ban in the area. | Photo: Jonathan Hayward

While the company’s shareholders and executives are meeting, the United Nations Working Group for business and human rights is on their first official visit to Canada and will be visiting Williams Lake to investigate Imperial Metals. They will be hearing Indigenous testimonials about the effects of the Mount Polley Mine disaster, and of the continued violations of Human Rights by Canada and Canadian resource extractions companies.

The UN Human Rights Council set up the UN Working Group for business and human rights to address the rights violations often associated with extractive industries. Imperial Metals investors must be made aware of the fact that the whole world is watching them and their actions.

Collective Indigenous consent has never been achieved by Imperial Metals Corporation for any of their operations across British Columbia and there are multiple legal proceedings going on against the company. Imperial Metals has also been met with continued direct actions, disruptions and confrontation from Indigenous Peoples, with mine roads blockaded and their Vancouver headquarters occupied.

The Indigenous land defenders action is being carried out under the legal protection of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which states that Indigenous peoples have the right to block development on their land that was undertaken without their free, prior and informed consent.

Chelsea Manning Releases First Portrait of Herself on Social Media

Chelsea Manning Releases First Portrait of Herself on Social Media

Today, Chelsea Manning released her first full portrait image on social media. The posts on Twitter and Instagram follow her release from military prison yesterday.

Chelsea’s photo can be found here

On Twitterhttps://twitter.com/xychelsea/status/865250670831702016

On Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/p/BUPbwX0htrw/

Okay, so here I am everyone!! 😜 . . #HelloWorld

A post shared by Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea87) on

Caption: okay, so here I am everyone!! =P #helloworld

This photo is also the preferred image to use in stories about Chelsea moving forward for the time being.

Chelsea Manning, Legal Team Confirm Chelsea’s Safe Release from Military Prison

Chelsea Manning, Legal Team Confirm Chelsea’s Safe Release from Military Prison

Be sure to follow Chelsea Manning via her website: luminairity.com

Today, Chelsea Manning was safely released from U.S. military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Said Chelsea Manning:

“After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived. I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me, is far more important than the past. I’m figuring things out right now–which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me.”

Chelsea Manning has released her first photo, of her first steps as a free woman on Twitter @xychelsea and on Instagram @xychelsea87.  The post accompanying the photo reads: first steps of freedom!! ^_^ #chelseaisfree

First steps of freedom!! 😄 . . #chelseaisfree

A post shared by Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea87) on

Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward, Manning’s clemency and appellate lawyers, said in a joint statement: 

“We are able to confirm that Chelsea Manning has been released safely from military prison. Thank you to everyone for ensuring her safe release and respecting her privacy as she starts to adjust to life outside of prison and rebuild her life following seven years of confinement. Chelsea has expressed her deep appreciation to her supporters and looks forward to the future.”

Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU, had the following reaction:

“It is incredible to witness Chelsea Manning’s freedom after having seen and worked with her behind bars for four years. We can all finally truly celebrate the strength and heroism she has shown in surviving and sharing her truth and life with all of us. Through extended periods of solitary confinement and up against the government’s insistence on denying her medical care and existence as a woman, Chelsea has emerged with grace, resilience, and an inspiring amount of love for others. I am humbled to fight alongside such a fierce advocate for justice.”

The FBI is Investigating Donald Trump’s Call for Russian Hacking and Espionage

The FBI is Investigating Donald Trump’s Call for Russian Hacking and Espionage

President Trump’s May 9, 2017 letter firing now-former FBI Director James Comey in part reads, “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation[.]”

However, a recent court filing by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FBI in an ongoing FOIA lawsuit plainly indicates the FBI has an active investigation pertaining to Donald Trump’s actions related to actual or potential election-related hacking and espionage by Russia.

The lawsuit is filed by Ryan Shapiro, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) PhD candidate/Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University research affiliate, and Jason Leopold, Senior Investigative Journalist at BuzzFeed News.

An excerpt from Donald Trump’s termination letter to James Comey.  You can read Donald Trump’s full letter along with accompanying letters from AG Jeff Sessions, and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein HERE

On August 18, 2016, Shapiro and Leopold submitted a FOIA request to the FBI seeking “disclosure of any and all records, including investigative records, mentioning or referring to Donald J. Trump’s statement on 27 July, 2016 [regarding Secretary Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails], ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,’ and ‘I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.’”

When the FBI did not respond in a timely manner to the FOIA request, Shapiro and Leopold sued. During the lawsuit, the FBI initially asserted that it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of documents responsive to this FOIA request.

Excerpt from the Joint Status Report that indicates that there is an active FBI investigation.  Read the full status report HERE

However, the FBI subsequently withdrew this position and agreed to search for the requested documents. Again, the documents requested by Shapiro and Leopold are records, including investigative records, mentioning or referring to a public statement made personally by Donald J. Trump, not his advisors, surrogates, or campaign staff.

Excerpt from the Joint Status Report that indicates that there is an active FBI investigation. Read the full status report HERE

In a court filing in this case on April 6, 2017, a Justice Department attorney representing the FBI informed the Court that there is an “active, ongoing investigation” pertaining to this matter and claimed that disclosing the “records that are responsive to the Russia Request” could reasonably be expected to interfere with “enforcement proceedings.” (As noted elsewhere in the DOJ/FBI’s new filing, the term “Russia Request” refers explicitly to Shapiro and Leopold’s FOIA request quoted above.) The DOJ/FBI’s new court filing acknowledges the existence of records responsive to Shapiro and Leopold’s “Russia Request”, and claimed that all, or virtually all, of these documents cannot be released because of the potential to interfere with active law enforcement proceedings.

On April 7, 2017, the Court set a deadline of July 25, 2017 for the FBI to file a motion explaining the basis for its claim that release of documents responsive to “the Russia Request” would interfere with an ongoing law enforcement operation.

The lawsuit is Case 1:16-cv-01827-KBJ. It is being heard in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Documents

  1. Read the Joint Status Report in 1:16-cv-01827-KBJ HERE 
  2. Read Comey’s termination letter from Trump, Sessions & Rosenstein HERE

About Operation 45

Ryan Shapiro, referred to by Politico as “a FOIA guru at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology”, is an historian of national security, the policing of dissent, and governmental transparency. Shapiro’s pathbreaking FOIA work has already led the FBI to declare his MIT dissertation research a threat to national security. Shapiro is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) at MIT, as well as a Research Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Shapiro is also the co-founder and president of the new transparency organization Operation 45. The Nation has described Operation 45 as “a ray of hope in these dark political times.”

Jason Leopold is an award-winning Senior Investigative Reporter at Buzzfeed News, specializing in counterterrorism and human rights. Leopold has been called a “FOIA Terrorist” by federal employees for his aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act, which includes successfully suing the FBI to force changes to Bureau FOIA practices.

Shapiro and Leopold are represented by Washington, DC-based FOIA specialist attorney, Jeffrey Light.

You can follow Ryan Shapiro on twitter at @_rshapiro, and Jason Leopold on twitter at @JasonLeopold.

You can support Operation 45’s efforts HERE

Statement from Chelsea Manning and Legal Team on Her Upcoming Release from Prison

Statement from Chelsea Manning and Legal Team on Her Upcoming Release from Prison

Next week, Chelsea Manning will be released from U.S. military prison after serving a seven-year sentence for disclosing classified information that raised public awareness regarding the impact of war on innocent civilians.

Manning, a transgender woman, was serving an unprecedented 35-year sentence for whistleblowing and was forced to serve her sentence in an all-male prison. She received a commutation from President Obama in one of his final acts in office in January after an outpouring of support for Manning from the public over her mistreatment in prison.

The commutation followed a November 2016 request from Chelsea Manning’s appellate legal team, Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward of Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward, PA, to the U.S. Army, the Office of the Pardon Attorney, and the President’s Counsel requesting the commutation of Ms. Manning’s 35 year court-martial sentence to time served and “a first chance to live a real, meaningful life.”

The ACLU filed friend-of-court briefs in support of the appeal of Manning’s conviction and represents Manning in a lawsuit against the Department of Defense that was first filed in 2014 over the department’s refusal to treat Manning’s well-documented gender dysphoria.

In December of 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union and over a dozen LGBT groups sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. More than 115,000 people signed a petition on the White House’s “We the People” platform, asking President Obama to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence to time served.

Chelsea Manning released the following statement:

“For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine. Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts. I am forever grateful to the people who kept me alive, President Obama, my legal team and countless supporters.

“I watched the world change from inside prison walls and through the letters that I have received from veterans, trans young people, parents, politicians and artists. My spirits were lifted in dark times, reading of their support, sharing in their triumphs, and helping them through challenges of their own. I hope to take the lessons that I have learned, the love that I have been given, and the hope that I have to work toward making life better for others.”

Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward, Manning’s clemency and appellate lawyers, said in a joint statement: 

“Chelsea has already served the longest sentence of any whistleblower in the history of this country. It has been far too long, too severe, too draconian. President Obama’s act of commutation was the first time the military took care of this soldier who risked so much to disclose information that served the public interest. We are delighted that Chelsea can finally begin to enjoy the freedom she deserves. And we thank the many, many people and organizations who have supported her and continue to support her as we fight in her appeal to clear her name.”


Said Chase Strangio, the American Civil Liberties Union:

“Like far too many people in prison, particularly transgender women, Chelsea Manning has had to survive unthinkable violence throughout the seven years of her incarceration. Finally, she will be leaving prison and building a life beyond the physical walls of the many sites of her detention. It is a remarkable gift to the world that Chelsea will be able to grow and fight alongside us for justice.

“The transition out of these horrific institutions will not be easy, and part of what we hope is that Chelsea will find the space, love, and support to heal and build a life of her choosing. Her fight to be herself, to access the medical care that she needed, and to gain her freedom have transformed law and society for the better. The urgency of those fights for so many in our communities will continue, and Chelsea’s past and future work will no doubt be a critical force in moving towards a more just society for everyone.”


For Media Requests Please Contact
Ryan Karerat, rkarerat@aclu.org
Christina DiPasquale, christina@balestramedia.com

Chelsea Manning will not be taking interviews at this time. Members of Chelsea Manning’s legal team will be available for interviews between May 9 and May 15. The legal team will provide updates following her release but will not be responding to inquiries directly during the week of the 15th. Follow @nancyhollander, @chasestrangio and @ACLU on twitter for updates