Category Archives: activism

Transmountain Pipeline

Secwempemc Activists: ‘Despite Government Approval the TMX Pipeline Will Never be Built’

Blue River, BC — The Tiny House Warriors responded to today’s official approval of the Transmountain Pipeline by insisting that it will never be built on Secwempemc land, which includes 50% of the proposed pipeline route.

The Tiny House Warriors are a group of Secwepemc land and water defenders who for the past year, have been gathered in a new village of tiny houses on Secwepemc territory near Blue River. Their village site is along the proposed pipeline route and just across from a planned thousand man camp for pipeline construction workers and they are insisting that they will not allow either the man-camp or the pipeline to be built on their territory.

Secwempemc land comprises 50% of the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline route.

“The Trudeau government does not have the right to put a pipeline through unceded Secwepemc land,” says Kanahus Manuel, a spokesperson for the Tiny House Warriors. “To try to legitimize this illegal act, Canada uses what legal scholars call its “cunning misinterpretation of “consent” which is inconsistent with Indigenous, constitutional and international law.””

“The fact that they have a few sellout Indian Act chiefs supporting their pipeline in no way legitimizes it. The salaries of these sellouts are directly paid by the Department of Indian Affairs and they have no right to speak for the people who are the rightful titleholders of the land.”

“The same goes for the idea of selling this worthless pipeline to Indigenous people and using Indian Trust monies to back this up. This is merely trying to put a brown face on the rape of our land. We will not allow that to happen.”

And while the United Nations is today looking into the genocidal murders of Indigenous women and girls uncovered by the MMIWG Report, we will not allow Trans Mountain pipeline to insert a man camp of a thousand white men into our territory to continue and even accelerate the genocidal rape and murders of our women and girls.”

“Today, we are calling on all of our Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to join us in this battle to ensure the man-camps are not built and the Trans Mountain pipeline will not pass.”

Chelsea Manning Challenges Grand Jury Subpoena, Support Committee Issues Statement in Solidarity

Chelsea Manning Challenges Grand Jury Subpoena, Support Committee Issues Statement in Solidarity

Alexandria, VA — Chelsea Manning has been summoned to appear and give testimony before a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) on March 5, 2019.  Following a rich history of contributions to activist communities, Chelsea will utilize every available avenue to challenge this subpoena. In support of Chelsea, activists have begun mobilizing through a support committee called “Chelsea Resists!” the following is the first statement from her support committee:

“By serving Chelsea Manning with a grand jury subpoena, the government is attempting once again to punish an outspoken whistleblower for her historic disclosures. We stand with Chelsea in support of her refusal to participate in this repressive and undemocratic process.

“Grand juries are notoriously mired in secrecy, and have historically been used to silence and retaliate against political activists. Their indiscriminate nature means the government can attempt to artificially coerce a witness into perjury or contempt. Chelsea gave voluminous testimony during her court martial. She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury.

“Since her release in 2017, Chelsea has become a prominent public speaker, emboldening countless activists who resist fascism, white supremacy, and transphobic bigotry. Her 2010 disclosures exposed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and showed the public the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare. By employing these tactics against her, the government is using a roundabout method to further punish Chelsea for her past actions, adding to the seven years of trauma, imprisonment and torture she has already endured.

“Since its first day in office, the current administration has attempted to erase every last piece of Barack Obama’s legacy — from the Affordable Care Act to civil rights protections for transgender people. We reject the coercive tactics of the carceral state and its fascist leaders, who weaponize the law to target activists, immigrants, and anyone who dares speak truth to power. Today, we stand in solidarity with Chelsea, as well as all current and former political prisoners who have resisted grand jury repression.”

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Chelsea Manning is represented by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, appellate attorney Vincent Ward, and local counsel Chris Leibig and Sandra Freeman.

All are encouraged to support Chelsea any way they can.  To learn more about Chelsea Resists or to donate to Chelsea’s legal defense visit: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/chelsea-manning-needs-legal-funds-to-resist-a-grand-jury-subpoena

Questions regarding Chelsea Manning’s support committee should be directed to ChelseaResists@protonmail.com

Charlottesville Anti-Racist Groups Issue Statement in Response to Over-Policing on Anniversary of Deadly White Supremacist Attacks

Charlottesville Anti-Racist Groups Issue Statement in Response to Over-Policing on Anniversary of Deadly White Supremacist Attacks

Charlottesville, VA — This weekend as Charlottesville community members prepared to mourn communal losses including Heather Heyer’s murder, reflect on the tragic events of last year’s deadly ‘Unite the Right’ white supremacist rally, and organize collectively against perennial systems of oppression, they faced the fifth largest deployment of law enforcement in Virginia history. This included hundreds of police, officers in riot gear, and the National Guard with military equipment. In response to these events, Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, Showing Up for Racial Justice Charlottesville, Congregate Charlottesville, and UVA Students United have issued the following statement:

“This weekend in Charlottesville, we were able to join together in grief, rage, and celebration of resistance. In spite of a massive police presence, we showed love for each other and took care of each other: with songs, snacks, marches, meals, small groups of mutual aid, smiles, tears, heartfelt embraces and with jail support for the three who needed it. Despite attempts by police to corral and intimidate us, we held space to listen to survivors of the physical and emotional trauma of last year’s white supremacist attack. We celebrated the collective resilience of our ongoing anti-racist community mobilization.

“The over-policing of this weekend failed to rectify the damage of last year’s police stand down. That lapse resulted in injuries to dozens, the death of Heather Heyer, and irreparable harm to the moral fabric of our city. We have been clear about the necessary steps to begin to rectify that harm, which include: full accountability from the University of Virginia for enabling white supremacists to attack students and community members on August 11, 2017;  the University of Virginia meeting the students’ demand to pay or forgive all remaining medical bills for survivors injured August 11-12, 2017; the Commonwealth Attorney not prosecuting Black community members for defending themselves against white supremacists who targeted them on August 12, 2017; the Charlottesville Police Department ending racist stop-and-frisk practices; and city planning that curtails the rising tide of gentrifying real estate development while building urgently needed public housing for very low income people. And Charlottesville must remove the racist Jim Crow monuments to the confederate antebellum slave regime.

“Together, we have refused to let our community be used as a platform for a white supremacist genocidal agenda. Together, we will continue to challenge the white supremacy inherent to policing and other institutions. We fight white supremacy in all its forms. We fight against fascism and for racial justice, and we will win.”

Charlottesville Rally Goers Refuse to Cede to Confines of Policing Apparatus Forced Upon Them

Charlottesville Rally Goers Refuse to Cede to Confines of Policing Apparatus Forced Upon Them

Charlottesville, VA — This evening UVA students and Charlottesville community members who intended to reclaim the North Plaza of the Rotunda and demand justice for those who have suffered at the hands of white supremacy arrived to a policing apparatus they did not agree to.  In response to this situation UVA Students United as issued the following statement:

“Last Year They Came With Torches, This Year They Come with Badges

“We will not be holding the rally within the confines of policing apparatus forced upon us by the University Administration. It is a betrayal of our ideals and our community.

“What you see around you is not what we asked for. We asked the university for the following demands:

  • Payment or Waiving of Medical Fees for ALL survivors of August 11th and 12th

  • Denouncement of White Supremacy in the form of issuing Lifelong No Trespass orders to identified White Supremacists present on August 11th

  • Transparency for the undisclosed profits raised by the Concert for Charlottesville

“Here is how the University retaliated:

  • To ‘require’ that we choose a select group of community members to join with us at the rally

  • They suggested we physically mark attendees with wristbands and prohibiting attendance to people without student IDs

  • They put up barricades surrounding the space, and police around and within the perimeter, armed with riot gear

  • They designated a space for white supremacist counter-protestors, protecting their violence

  • The University is housing nearly one thousand State Police in dorms that students pay for

  • They gave us an ultimatum–to accept their “security plan” or not hold the rally at all.

  • Last year, armed white supremacists surrounded and attacked students. The police watched from across the street until the torch-bearing mob left. As anti-racist protestors recovered from the attack, the Police barricaded those still inside of the Plaza and issued a dispersal order with the threat of arrest.

“You may think that the cops are here to protect us, but we disagree. We know instead that:

  • Cops have a history of violence against anti-racist protestors, as we experienced last year at the KKK rally and saw in the past 10 days in Portland and Berkley.
  • The institution of policing was created from the system of slave patrols. Today the function of the police continues to be to over patrol Black communities, target people of color and protect wealth.
  • Police are routinely exempt from punishment regardless of biased, excessive force and violence. Furthermore, the Courts, in the service of police control, intentionally punish anti-racist activists.
  • Increased police presence only results in increased police violence.

“The City and the University’s desire to control images and protect their brands has created a dangerous police state. They’re not here to protect us, they’re here to control us. We will not comply.”

Photo credit: Ned Oliver, The Virginia Mercury

Peter King Skips Town Hall for Closed Door Meeting, Activists Release Transcript

Peter King Skips Town Hall for Closed Door Meeting, Activists Release Transcript

Massapequa Park, NY – Members of new group, New York’s 2nd District Democrats (NY02 Dems) have been requesting meetings with Rep. Pete King. He has refused to schedule constituent meetings or hold a Town Hall. He has also been deleting dissenting comments from his Facebook page, and blocking constituents. On Friday, February 3, the group joined a half dozen local organizations and faith groups in organizing a rally to protest Rep. King’s support of President Trump’s Executive Order, banning refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Liuba Grechen Shirley, the founder and district organizer, of NY02 Dems called to request a meeting before the rally began, and was told that staff would try to meet with her and a few members that afternoon. When they arrived, the office was locked. Grechen Shirley called the district office, and was transferred to the Washington, D.C. office, who told her that the police insisted the NY office lock its doors. Hundreds marched, and Rep. King agreed to meet with Grechen Shirley and three other members on February 21.

Read Full Transcript of their Meeting HERE

After the meeting, King told WCBS 880 he personally met with leaders of “protest groups.” Grechen Shirley called King’s office to explain that she was in fact a “taxpaying constituent,” not a “leader of a protest group.”

During their meeting they discussed topics including: 

Town Hall

Rep. King told Grechen Shirley that his constituents know his positions, because he is regularly on television, and he refused to host a Town Hall adding that, “No one wants to have a confrontation.”

“The purpose of a Town Hall is not for constituents to hear our Representative’s positions, but for him to listen to ours. He works for us. He represents us – all of us, even those who didn’t vote him. When my boss calls me into a meeting, I cannot say no. Pete King is refusing to do his job,” said Liuba Grechen Shirley.

Grechen Shirley has been following up with his office regarding the telephone Town Hall, and has been told that, while not confirmed, the tentative date is this Wednesday, March 8. She suggested that one day’s notice is not sufficient for constituents with busy schedules.

“Rep. King’ office is clearly not taking this seriously. His constituents want to speak with him, and he cannot even give one day’s notice for a telephone Town Hall.  People have jobs, children, schedules to juggle. This is his attempt to limit the number of people able to attend,” said Grechen Shirley.

Russia Investigation

When asked if he would support Rep. Jerry Nadler’s Resolution of Inquiry to investigate President Trump’s ties to Russia, Rep. King responded, “There’s no need for it.” He added that, “The public report and the classified report does not give much evidence.”

Rep. King does not support a special prosecutor, independent commission, or even a select committee investigation.

When interviewed by Bill Ritter on Channel 7, Rep. King said there was no evidence of President Trump’s ties to Russia, except three tenuous connections. Liuba Grechen Shirley asked if he thought it was “fair to say that Trump’s former campaign manager, national security advisor and Secretary of State were tenuous connections,” and Rep. King responded that “If you go to Manhattan right is now there is any number of business people who have connections to Russia.”

Rep. King said that, “An investigation is going to prove nothing right now.”

Grechen Shirley asked, “How do you reconcile your assertion that there is no evidence, with the intelligence community’s conclusion that Putin interfered with our election to get Donald Trump elected?”

Rep. King responded, “Putin could have favored Trump.” “That’s not a reflection on Trump. Assume Putin did that.”

Trump’s Lies

Rep. King referred to President Trumps lies as “quirks” and a “stream of consciousness.” He said, “You want me to define a lie? When something is obviously wrong and you say it, is it really a lie? I don’t know.”

When discussing President Trump’s lie about an attack in Sweden, Rep. King said, “I can see how somebody can do that. I mean Hillary Clinton said she was shot at in Bosnia.” When Grechen Shirley said, “When you’re in that position you can’t do that,” he seemed to excuse it by saying, “You cant, but again I can show you any number of things that Bill Clinton said or I’ve said.”

Undermining the Media

Grechen Shirley asked Rep. King, “Donald Trump recently called the media ‘the enemy of the American people.’  Bannon said the press should ‘keep their mouths shut.’  Do you think those comments are crossing a line?”

Rep. King responded, “No they don’t cross the line.  First of all he’s not doing anything. Nobody went after the press more than Obama did as far as leaks.”

When pressed on this, King said, “That to me is just political.  Listen the stuff that the Press says about Trump I don’t get offended. All of us are big people in this business.  There’s no doubt there’s a bias.” “The First Amendment also guarantees the president freedom of speech. Nothing he’s saying is worse that what the media is saying about him.”

When asked about McCain’s statement, “This is how dictatorships start,” Rep. King said:
“I think John McCain is wrong for saying it overseas.  There is no hint of any dictatorship in this country. Trump is taking no action against the media. He’s not cutting off the media.  I supported John McCain’s presidents in 2000. We are personal friends. But I don’t think an American politician should first of all criticize the president when he’s overseas.”

Donald Trump’s Tax Returns

Regarding President Trump’s tax returns, Rep. King said, “I wouldn’t push. I don’t think that should be legislated. Okay? I think that’s really a political issue in the best sense of the word and it’s up to the American people to decide that.  I don’t believe in forcing people to disclose that.”

Syria

Rep. King said that Obama was “the one that brought Syria back into the Middle East.”“Obama invited Putin in!  Obama’s the one who — Putin was not involved in Syria, Putin had nothing to do with Syria.  Obama invited him in, because he wouldn’t enforce the red line.”

This of course is a false narrative, trying to paint Obama as weak and miscalculating. Assad, and Putin have had a longstanding relationship, and close ties between the two countries stretch back four decades. Syria is Russia’s only key surviving ally in the Middle East. Syria’s coastal city, Tartus, has hosted a Russian naval port since 1971. The port allows the only Russian access to the eastern Mediterranean. Russia has cast vetoes on several UN resolutions against Syria – even before the so-called red line was crossed.

Paris Bataclan Attack

Rep. King said that there were certainly “refugees involved” in the Paris Bataclan attack, even though we know that all but one of the terrorists were identified as European nationals.  The outlier, who died near the Stade de France, could only be identified as Ahmad Al Mohammad —a name used in a falsified Syrian passport.  Authorities belive that he too was likely a EU citizen and was using the fake passport to travel to and from Syria.  Contrary to King’s claims, none of the terrorists were refugees.

European authorities made an error in not identifying the counterfeit passport Ahmad Al Mohammad carried. The extreme 24-month vetting of Syrian refugees under President Obama included biometrics, background checks, ground investigations and interviews. Mohammad’s October 3, 2015 entry to Europe via Greece did not have similar vetting.

Steve Bannon

When asked whether he supported Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council, Rep. King said that, “Congress cannot interfere with the president as far as who is on the president’s staff.”

Anti-Semitism

When asked about President Trump’s use of the term “America First,” considering its connection to Nazi-friendly Americans in the 1930s, Rep. King said that Trump is “the most non anti-Semitic president we’ve ever had. That I can say. Long before it was fashionable.

ICE Raids

Rep. King: “The numbers I’ve seen roughly 90-95% of those who have been deported in these recent series all got criminal records.”  “Most of them have been aimed at criminals or have expanded it somewhat, people who may not have criminal charges against them, but who local police believe to be involved in gang activity.  From all the numbers I’ve seen, it’s been overwhelmingly people with criminal records.”

Muslim Ban

Rep. King said that the Executive Order was not a Muslim Ban. When Grechen Shirley reminded him that the “order specifically says they’re going to prioritize Christian refugees over Muslim refugees,” Rep. King responded “The logic in that would be, that if you know that a person is a Christian, you can assume they’re not an Islamic terrorist.  If a Jew is coming from Nazi Germany, you can assume they were not Nazis.”

Border Wall

Rep. King supports building the wall at any cost. When asked what programs we would have to cut to fund it, he said we will “Find a way to pay for it — same way you have to pay for anything.  To me, you have to pay for national security — national security has to be paid for.”

“If we have a growing economy, we have to cut where you have to.”

Medicaid

When asked why he says that he supports Medicaid expansion, when he voted for the Ryan budget that turns Medicaid into block grants, Rep. King explained, “That would go into the category of a protest vote.”

Mike Flynn vs. Karl Rove

Rep. King called Mike Flynn a “hero and a patriot” and said that whoever leaked the tapes should be prosecuted. Twelve years ago he said that Karl Rove deserved a medal and was trying to protect American lives when he exposed CIA agent Valerie Plame. Grechen Shirley asked, “What makes one a criminal and one a whistle-blower?”

Rep. King said, “Karl had nothing to do with Valerie Plame.” He added, “Karl Rove, I give him credit for standing up, but he did not, he didn’t leak it.”

Sexual Assault

When discussing President Trump boasting about sexual assault, Rep. King said, “Listen Bill Clinton is a friend of mine. It’s one thing to talk about, it’s another thing to do it.” Grechen Shirley responded that, “One thing is sex between two adults and the other is boasting about sexual assault!” Rep. King added, “Well were they consenting? It’s a whole different story between having a young girl in the White House. I don’t want to get into it…”

Rand Paul

Rep. King: “I was attacked by Rand Paul, the other day. He called me a big government Republican. Actually he and I hate each other anyway.”