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Category Archives: Government Oppression

Monitoring group documents Turkey-backed profiling in Netherlands – Turkey Purge

Posted: February 26, 2017 at 11:48 pm

The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoan have extended the ongoing oppression on critics to abroad by using government institutions, quasi-official structures and front NGOs, areport released byStockholm Center for Freedom (SCF)has revealed.

The report, drawn from a case study on the Netherlands where close to half a million Turks live, exposes how the current government in Turkey, has intensified spying, intelligence gathering and profiling of critics that at times led to harassment, intimidation, hate crimes and even physical attacks including arson attempts.

We mapped out ways and means of how Turkish government has been pursuing its critics and opponents in foreign countries, exporting divisiveness and stirring troubles, said Abdullah Bozkurt, the President of SCF.

Frankly, this amounts to a hostile, unfriendly and unlawful practices especially in the Netherlands, a country that is a NATO ally of Turkey, he added.

Although critics from all walks of life including Kurds and Alevis were targeted in general in this stigmatizing effort by the Turkish government, members of the Glen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, have borne the brunt of this major campaign of witch-hunt.

The movement denies any involvement.

According to the SCF report, Turkish embassies, government agencies including intelligence service and non-governmental organizations affiliated with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government have all involved in profiling and harassment of the Gulenists.

This persecution is personally sanctioned by the Turkish President himself who stated that no country in the world would be safe for members of the movement, vowed to pursue them wherever they are. His propagandists have even suggested assassinating and abducting critics abroad, and offered bounty on their heads.

To its credit, the Dutch government has so far taken some counter-measures including legal and diplomatic actions to prevent such blatant interference by Turkish government into the countrys internal affairs and protect people from the long arm of Erdogan.

SCF has documented many cases in this report, mostly from open sources and interviewed some victims. There have been other cases for which the victims do not want to report incidents for fear of further reprisals by the Turkish government such as jailing of victims relatives back in Turkey or unlawfully seizing their assets.

SCF believes that the information presented in this research is accurate to the best of its knowledge and declares that it remains open to make corrections, updates if further information becomes available.

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Transport groups hold nationwide transport strike to protest government’s PUV modernization program – CNN Philippines

Posted: at 11:48 pm

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) For the second time this month, jeepney operators and drivers hold a nationwide transport strike and commuters are feeling the crunch.

The members of transport groups PISTON, Stop and Go Coalition, and No to Jeepney Phase-out Coalition are expected to gather at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City to kick off today’s nationwide transport strike.

According PISTON President George San Mateo, this jeepney strike is not only happening in Metro Manila, but in over 20 cities and municipalities across the country.

San Mateo said this is their response to the government’s inaction to their plea to scrap the current version of the jeepney modernization program of the government – which they believe is a phase-out.

The same groups also organized a similar nationwide transport strike last February 6.

The previous transport strike was resolved when officials of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) called for a dialogue which was attended by the transport leaders.

However, transport groups were unsatisfied with the results of the dialogue, and on the same day declared their intention to organize a much bigger strike the one happening today.

San Mateo apologized to all affected commuters, but threatened if the government continues to be dismissive of their pleas, their groups will organize regular monthly strikes like this.

The jeepney groups are against the provision of the Transportation Department’s order that will disallow jeepney models that are 16 years and older from plying their routes.

San Mateo said if they disallow these jeepney models, the government is actually phasing them out. He called this move a clear oppression of small jeepney operators and drivers, which will ultimately deprive them of their livelihood.

Apart from jeepneys, this modernization program also affects other types of public utility vehicles like buses and vans.

Commuters in several parts of the Metro are feeling the effects of the strike this early in the day.

There are fewer jeepneys arriving in Philcoa, along Commonwealth Avenue as of six in the morning.

The jeepneys passing along the area are mostly full.

Passengers say that their Monday commutes are usually difficult, but it’s made worse today because of the striking jeepney drivers.

The members of PISTON from Quezon City came here as early as 2 a.m., to express their grievances.

This group will be converging with other PISTON members all over Metro Manila in Mendiola before lunch time today.

The police and personnel from the MMDA have positioned themselves in the area ready to assist the commuters.

In Monumento, the number of jeepneys ferrying commuters is growing smaller as the day progresses.

Some passengers here have been walking around, chasing available jeepneys. Others have been waiting for over 30 minutes hoping to get a ride.

Sonny Magalang, a commuter, said, “Lalo na mamayang ala-sais, agawan na ‘yan tapos hindi na sila magpi-pick up… Inagahan ko para makapasok, pero hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin ako nakakasakay.”

[Translation: Come 6 a.m., it will be difficult to get a ride. People will jostle each other to get a ride, but then jeepneys won’t pick up passengers anymore… I got up early to go to work, but I haven’t been cable to catch a ride up to now.]

The LTFRB and the Metro Manila Development Authority have pre-positioned government vehicles to offer free rides.

The LTFRB has also commissioned some buses to ferry commuters for minimal fees.

Some MMDA personnel and members of the police are also assisting passengers.

Class and work suspensions in several areas nationwide were declared on Sunday to ease the burden on commuters.

READ: #WalangPasok: Class and work suspensions for Feb. 27 due to transport strike

CNN Philippines correspondent Yumi Lugod contributed to this report.

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Transport groups hold nationwide transport strike to protest government’s PUV modernization program – CNN Philippines

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Another Jewish cemetery desecrated; what will the President say? Isn’t the government supposed to help? – San Diego Jewish World

Posted: at 11:48 pm

Posted on 26 February 2017.

establish justice, insure domestic tranquility From the preamble of the U.S. constitution

By Bruce S. Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania Just Sunday afternoon, I was gazing at an internet photo of cemetery headstones, some overturned, bearing names like Singer, Weiss, Goldstein and Markowitz three miles southeast of my apartment in Northeast Philadelphia.

The desecration of nearly 100 headstones at Mt. Carmel Cemetery over the weekend is the latest crime directed at Jewish cemeteries, community centers, synagogues and other facilities during the past few months. Mt. Carmel is part of a collection of cemeteries across the street from the Frankford Transportation Center, the northern terminus of the citys elevated train which I ride frequently.

It is disturbing enough that American Jews are targeted so much at this time, but it would be far scarier if the government refused to address this problem. The introduction to our constitution states that we enforce the law and keep all of us as safe as possible. This is a contract between the American people and our government.

The Jewish community has been able to rely on this premise, as have all other racial, religious and ethnic groups at least in modern times. So-called President Trump managed to disrupt this comfort zone when the issue arose at his first presidential news conference and he persisted in stumbling through this episode when he sought to reassure American Jews.

Let us give him the benefit of the doubt that Trumps response was due to sloppy governance, not cynical pandering to anti-Semites who form part of his base. Idiocy is scary enough.

Certainly, every American must be protected by the government, but starting on Feb. 16 the Jewish community experienced a five-day period of confusion over the governments reliability to ensure as much as possible the safety of Americas estimated 5.3 million Jews.

This is personal. Despite my exposure to anti-Semitism, I have always felt I could depend on the government at all levels to address illegal actions toward Jews be it physical assault, vandalism or job discrimination.

That is so fundamental. Jews throughout history have been vulnerable to anti-Semitic acts because the government either sponsored them or was lax in addressing the offenses. Not in America. In fact, my people have been relatively fortunate here in the past 227 or so years.

The system cannot prevent all anti-Jewish acts nor control the thinking of anti-Semites, but it can and does address these incidents as they happen.

Today, police automatically investigate reports of criminal acts against Jews. Moreover, vandalism of synagogues and other Jewish facilities often prods our non-Jewish neighbors to come out in droves to repair the damage. Agencies on the state and federal levels routinely respond to claims of workplace bias. The FBI usually investigates nationwide crime patterns that victimize Jews as well as everyone else.

As The New York Times reported it, Trump muffed an ideal opportunity to reinforce the governments role on Feb. 16 when reporter Jake Turz asked, What we are concerned about and what we havent really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it.

As Turz recounted the spate of bomb threats at Jewish facilities and similar incidents from Maine to California, Trump interrupted him in mid-sentence, saying, I understand the rest of your question

(HmmmTrump revealing his psychic skills.)

I am the least anti-Semitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life, Trump continued.

(Apparently, our president did not even understand the initial part of your question.)

I find it repulsive, Trump went on. I hate even the question because people that know me

He admonished Turz for ignoring Benjamin Netanyahus friendship with Trump whom the Israeli prime minister regards as a friend of Israel and the Jewish people instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that. Just shows you about the press, but thats the way the press is.

Like many allies of Netanyahu, Turz is Orthodox and reports for Ami Magazine, an Orthodox Jewish weekly based in Brooklyn. He is conspicuous at White House news conferences by his Orthodox-style attire. To clarify, more of the Orthodox are prone to vote Republican, press for hardline Israeli actions and even take Christian right-type positions such as opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

The response from mainstream Jewish groups was swift and biting. Summing it up well was David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, who said, Use your bully pulpit not to bully reporters asking questions potentially affecting millions of fellow Americans, but rather to help solve a problem that for many is real and menacing.

In short, Trump shattered the contract between American Jews and government protection from oppression.

Practically speaking, Trumps response to the reporter will probably make no difference in the lives of American Jews, but officially it was a breach. Maybe he intentionally ignored the real thrust of the question to please his anti-Semitic supporters, or maybe he had such a lapse in concentration that he simply misunderstood the question. This was the president talking about constitutional policy and traditional routine practice. As George Costanza of Seinfeld asked about pigeons who historically fly away when cars approach until one such bird flouted tradition, Dont we have a deal with the pigeons?

Of course, Trump has threatened the security of Muslims, Hispanics and others, but his breach with Jews was done in a sharper manner. He could not tout any excuses that Jews might be dangerous and he acted in a more specific, categorical manner for no discernible reason. Especially, consider his staunch backing of Israel and his family relationship (his daughter as convert to Judaism).

His efforts to fill the breach were downright tepid. He waited five days after the confrontation with the reporter before offering an easy answer. In a flat, static tone of voice, he said, The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

Another Trump comment was nice but a tad mystifying. As The New York Daily News reported, he said, Anti-Semitism is horrible. And, its gonna stop and it has to stop.

Anti-Semitism is horrible? Is this a matter of debate? As for stopping anti-Semitism, Trump would surpass the likes of Oskar Schindler, Raoul Wallenberg and Meep Gies as gentiles who saved Jews during World War II should he accomplish this feat.

It will be sufficient if Trump can end acts of anti-Semitism. American Jews will appreciate that deal.

* Ticker is a freelance writer in Philadelphia. He may be contacted via[emailprotected].

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Another Jewish cemetery desecrated; what will the President say? Isn’t the government supposed to help? – San Diego Jewish World

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McAuliffe vetoes bill to disclose refugee records – WRIC

Posted: at 11:48 pm

RICHMOND, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill Friday that would have required the state Department of Social Services to publish non-identifying information for refugees resettled across Virginia.

Many individuals and families placed in Virginia through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program are fleeing governmental oppression, persecution, and violence, McAuliffe said in his veto statement.

Many leave their countries because they are targeted by their home countrys government, often for helping to further American interests. Disclosing such information in this political climate not only sends a message of discrimination and fear, but it also poses a real danger to many of our newest Virginians.

House Bill 2002, introduced by Del. Charles Poindexter, R-Franklin County, would have required immigrant resettlement agencies, such as the Catholic Diocese and the U.S. State Department, to report demographic information on refugees, including the total number of refugees, the localities in which they have been placed and other facts, to Virginias Department of Social Services. Those reports would then be forwarded to other government agencies, including the General Assembly and the governors office.

Supporters of the bill argue these reports would give government officials the ability to plan for benefits, health care and other related social costs, as well as lay out education-related expenses that would allow children of refugees to enroll in Virginia public schools.

McAuliffe said those requirements would instead put undue stress on the organizations in charge of resettling refugees.

House Bill 2002 would create an unnecessary burden for already overworked nonprofit organizations and would limit these organizations ability to accomplish their mission of safely settling refugees in the commonwealth, McAuliffe said.

The governor added that the regulations would also discourage those wanting to relocate from tenuous circumstances in foreign countries to the commonwealth.

Refugees are in the United States legally, he said. They undergo a more rigorous screening process than anyone else allowed into the United States. Creating a publicly available list of these individuals would send a message of exclusion to people looking for the chance to rebuild their lives free of tyranny and oppression.

As Virginians, we know the many benefits and contributions that refugees bring to our communities and Virginias economy, McAuliffe added. House Bill 2002 sets us on the wrong path. It does not reflect Virginias values.

The bill will now return to the General Assembly, where supporters will face an uphill battle in overriding the governors veto. In order to successfully countermand McAuliffes ruling, supporters would need to gather a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers.

With three Republican delegates already opposing the bill in the House and a 21-19 party-line split in the Senate, supporters would have to persuade more than a dozen legislators to flip their vote in order to enact the legislation.

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Opinion: The Relevance of Orwell’s 1984 – Emertainment Monthly (registration) (blog)

Posted: February 25, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Haley Saffren 20 /Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

In 1949, George Orwell created a classic novel about a dystopian society that takes place in, what seemed at the time, a futuristic version of the year 1984. The story follows a man named Winston who is entrenched in a corrupt society that uses lies and propaganda to ensure that its citizens follow the Inner Party without any questions. Winston harbors a strong hatred for the party and yearns for a rebellion to one day overthrow it. When Donald Trump became president, sales of this book, which has been in publication for many decades, began to spike because of the eerie similarities to what is going on today in the US government. It is not difficult to understand why.

In the novel, extreme oppression of independent thoughts and ideas is rampant, especially if these thoughts and ideas present a challenge to the government. If someone is even suspected of being a traitor to the government, they are manipulated into revealing their position, captured, and tortured. From just the first few weeks of Trumps presidency, his methods seem eerily similar to those of the followers of Big Brother and the Inner Party in 1984. While no one has been treated as harshly by the US government as they were in 1984 (so far), extreme occurrences of discrimination and oppression of freedom of speech already have occurred. Police arrested journalists at Trumps inauguration protests, holding some of them overnight just for doing their jobs.

This was a clear attempt to stop them from reporting accurate accounts of events and highlighting how more people seemed to show up for the protests against the new president than for his inauguration. Trumps administration tried to manipulate the media coverage to trick the public into believing that more people showed up for his inauguration than Obamas in 2009 and 2013. When the Muslim Ban was put forth, Trumps staff tried to say it was not a ban, even though Muslims were being explicitly held at airports and arriving Muslims were sent out of the country. Trumps methods are not as extreme as the atrocities Big Brother committed in 1984, but Trumps administration is showing signs of taking the government down a similar, dark path to the ruling body in the book.

Increased sales may also be due to the fact that some people are scared. They know the near future looks bleak as long as Trump is in power.1984 shows readers how far Trump could go with the power he has. However, this book also reminds us to never stop fighting for civil rights so that the US government cannot take the terrible turn Winstons government did in the novel. If people stop fighting wrongs and exercising their rights, Trump will be allowed to do whatever he wants. Even though most believe it could never happen, it could get to the point where he is willing to torture people who remotely oppose him. In 1984, when Winston was suspected of being a rebel, the government had one of his coworkers pretend to be an ally and gain his trust. Once this so-called friend figured out Winston was against Big Brother, he exposed him.

They tried to change his way of thinking by using torturous methods including electroshock therapy and drastically exposing him to his worst fear (which involved him being nearly eaten by rats). Although this is the worst case scenario, it is still a possibility in our world. The book is a marvelous showcase of what effects a government under the worst form of dictatorship could have on society. Although it is hard to imagine America falling to this level, the US is entering unknown waters and a period of a horrifying use of power.

The increase in sales of 1984 reveals the terror and resolve people are feeling in order to address this dark era. People are trying to understand what government looks like under extreme, oppressive leadership, especially since Trump is already exhibiting these characteristics. Not only is this book informative, but also it gives people hope that things are not as bad as they could be, and, unlike the citizens in 1984, a lot of people in the United States are actively standing up for what they believe is right.

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Cycles and Oppression – Patheos (blog)

Posted: at 3:53 pm

As I get older, Im more and more inclined to see life as a collection of cycles. What goes around, comes around; to everything there is a season, from glorious Spring to blazing Summer, from brilliant Autumn to frozen Winter, to glorious Spring again.

Like the moon, everything waxes and wanes our economies, our schools, our families, our governments large and small even our diets. Sometimes things are going well, sometimes badly. Sometimes things are going marvelously well. Sometimes unbelievably badly. Sometimes a brilliant sunset, sometimes a rainbow, sometimes a snowstorm.

Cultural norms swing from liberal to conservative, from conservative to liberal, and back and forth again; hemlines rise and fall, neckties and lapels grow wider and narrower, beards grow, and are shaved away, and grow again. As a people we seem to move from comfortable to excess, to contraction, to comfortable; from comfortable to belt-tightening, to recovery, to comfortable.

Good government waxes and wanes, too, like the moon.

Powerful people take charge, creating new departments, expanding little empires, taking on bigger and bigger projects until eventually the departments are bloated, the projects are full of hot air, and the bubble bursts, putting good people out of work at the same time as getting rid of deadwood.

Perhaps you see some of this the same way, or perhaps not; you are your own Spiritual Authority.

Someone asked me today how I would respond, as a Wiccan, to our present national situation. Here is my reply:

I call to the powers of Air; I ask that you lend clarity of thought, release of oppressions, a cleansing breeze to blow through the corridors of power and sweep away what does not serve our nation and all its people.

I call to the powers of Fire; I ask that you lend passion to the ideas of liberty and justice, and that you transform the ideas of power-over, of greed, of privilege, of unfair taking; bringing in their place the warmth of shared community and shared resources throughout our nation.

I call to the powers of Water; I ask that you lend gentleness to the deliberations of our legislators, that they enter the flow of caring for the highest good of this land and its many peoples; I ask that you dissolve the barriers that set us to seeing each other as red states and blue states and let us see our common interests and feel our common devotion.

I call to the powers of Earth; I ask that you lend stability and support to our judges and our executives at all levels of government; that you remind them often of this holy ground on which they stand, and lead, and rule our peoples.

Later I realized I had asked for guidance and support from the Elements, but had not made corresponding pledges of my own. So here are some now:

I pledge to be mindful, as I read the news, that not everything published is true, and not everything true is right or fair.

I pledge to be mindful, as I cast my ballots, that not every candidate is honorable and not every candidate will be able to resist the work of lobbyists and horse-traders.

I pledge to use my voice, and the privileges I have been granted, to lift up and amplify the voices of those who bear greater oppressions than my own. I pledge to acknowledge and work to reduce my sense of entitlement and my unearned privilege.

But this post would not be complete without mention of a grave confusion I feel, a grave error I see around me, some important questions whose answers escape me: What is it in our humanness that leads so many of us to act as if we need to oppress some group in order to be sure of our own value? How is it that so many of the people I would naturally love have somehow concluded that they deserve more consideration than people who dont look like them, or who dont believe like them, or even who are a different gender than they are?

And a corollary, whether I can ever answer those questions or not: What can I do to reduce the oppression in which I participate, and to prevent new oppressions from arising?

All around me is reason for despair, but also reason for hope. More of my companions are deeply engaged than Ive seen in decades. More actual work is being done to reduce racism, ageism, sexism, ableism, and what I have to call religionism.

I know, as I said at the beginning, that everything goes in cycles. The pendulum swings, sometimes farther and sometimes more briefly. May the present cycle of oppression and doublespeak be brief, may the hard work continue and may it be effective; may the pendulum swing back toward center, and may we dwell in a fair-minded place longer than before.

So mote it be.

Maggie Beaumont, Halfway to Ostara at the Dark of the Moon

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Disobedience Checks Unjust Laws – The Oberlin Review

Posted: at 3:53 pm

Is it ever acceptable to break the law? This question has gained new urgency under the oppression of the Trump presidency. For example, is it morally acceptable to hide our neighbors and friends from violent deportation raids? Can we destroy government property to slow the progress of unconstitutional proposals like Trumps border wall? How can we stand up against an incompetent administration that refuses to recognize our most basic human rights?

These questions are not new. In fact, this country was founded through lawbreaking when the 13 colonies decided to reject an oppressive government that did not fairly represent their interests. Countless other examples of disobedience from Rosa Parks to the Stonewall Riots that sparked the modern movement for LGBTQ equality have been defining moments in U.S. history.

The key point is this: There is sometimes a difference between what is legal and what is right, and understanding that distinction is a critical part of what it means to be a patriot in the United States. Standing up for ones country does not mean blind obedience. As the famed Civil War General Carl Schurz said, [The U.S. is] my country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. In some cases, setting the country right may involve working within the system and following the rules, but other times it may not. Perhaps in a perfect world the need for disobedience would not exist, but sadly, this world is far from perfect, and an unjust law is no law at all. Our actions, therefore, must be dictated not by legality but by our conscience.

When the law is found to be lacking in morality, crime can be a powerful force of good. For example, in 2014, a 90-year-old Floridian was repeatedly arrested for feeding the homeless an illegal act punishable with a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. This goes to show that the law is not always representative of justice or the will of the people it is simply a tool for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the status quo. However, the act of breaking the law can reject a corrupt status quo, inviting a new status quo to take its place. As a result, disobedience becomes an unofficial last resort in a system of checks and balances.

Now, Im not advocating for anything malicious. Disobeying the law does not necessarily require one to harm another person in any way. In fact, one should be disobedient only when there are no alternatives that may be taken in good conscience, such as in cases of defending oneself or others from police brutality or unjust deportation raids.

Some argue that breaking the law can be detrimental to ones own cause. The alt-right movement has used crimes against white supremacist leaders as propaganda, disguising themselves as victims rather than oppressors. A prominent example of such propaganda is the alt-rights use of the viral video of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer being punched by a protester. Ultimately, it is important to remember that lawbreaking is an inherently risky activity especially for anyone who lacks the protection of social privilege and should not be taken lightly.

So if you choose to break the law in any way, choose an issue that matters one that is worth the consequences, whatever they might be. Productive crime is only necessary because legislation is fallible. Laws are only as fair as the people who write them sometimes less so and if they are not constantly questioned, then our democracy is already lost.

In the end, well-behaved, law-abiding citizens seldom make history. Bystanders are well-behaved. These were the people who shrugged as the slave trade thrived, who allowed the Nazis to commit their atrocities, and who now turn a blind eye to police brutality, immigration raids and the cruelty of the rising alt-right movement, simply because these injustices were or are considered legal. A petition and a nice speech are rarely enough to change the world. Sometimes, when the rules are rigged, the best thing to do is break them.

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Lateral Oppression Hurts Us All – The Lakota Country Times

Posted: February 23, 2017 at 1:46 pm


Sicangu Lakota

Sicangu Scribe

One of the most amazing things about the anti-pipeline movement is witnessing human beings unite in prayer. The spiritual energy created by the people who came together in this movement was experienced by many visitors to the Oceti Sakowin, Rosebud or Sacred Stone camps. No matter what happens, that spiritual fire will always burn in our hearts.

In the first few days of the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), only a handful of people occupied Sacred Stone Camp. A couple of months later, the Water Protector camps were home to 10,000 people. Wopila to all the human beings whove established a residence near the Cannon Ball river over the past year.

Many people across Unci Maka sacrificed to stand up for the Water of Life. President Obama lent a false sense of hope when he denied a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The temporary halt of DAPL construction in December 2016, was another action bringing a false sense of hope that the black snake wouldnt be built. Yet, believing that the federal government would truly support a permanent halt to more pipeline construction was just too much to hope for.

For many people, it was no surprise to see newly-elected Trump take quick action to revive the big oil pipeline projects after he was sworn in as president. Unfortunately, many of us knew the politicians holding oil investments would push these projects forward. Its all about the profit margin for these capitalists.

In addition, much of the action Trump has taken or is promising to take, is not environmentally friendly at all. The fight against those whove made it their life purpose to destroy Mother Earth has just started. In the continuing battle to project Mother Earth, we have to remember that our own people are not to blame.

For example, there are derogatory remarks posted on social media about elected officials at Standing Rock. Granted, there arent many fans of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) systems governing our reservations, but its the only form of government we have. And nothing about tribal government is going to change until we unite as tribal citizens and fix it ourselves. In any case, its extremely disheartening to read the negativity of peoples minds on public social media platforms.

There are also social media musings written by people questioning the validity of all the prayer thats been made for the Water of Life. People who question the power of prayer show their lack of faith. Without faith, you will always question your prayer.

These are examples of lateral violence. When an individual uses their energy to lash out at others, it shows how much of their focus is on others, instead of their own self-improvement. Focusing on the perceived shortcomings of others wont heal us. Each individual has to do their own work to heal their inner spirit.

Wikipedia defines Lateral Violence as something which occurs within marginalized groups where members strike out at each other as a result of being oppressed. The oppressed become the oppressors of themselves and each other. Common behaviors that prevent positive change from occurring include gossiping, bullying, fingerpointing, backstabbing and shunning. https:// Lateral_ violence

Lateral violence is the residual of intergenerational trauma that many of us carry because of our history with the government; it continues to cripple our efforts at healing. Some healing is work we must do on ourselves. We have to help one another understand how violence inflicted upon on ancestors still affects us today. The more steps we take on our path to healing, the less painful that same journey will be for our descendants.

Again, the fight for Mother Earth has only just begun. Our energy would be better used fighting the real enemy, who are moving now to kill our planet. If you cant travel to a protest site, you can always pray. Despite what some may believe, its the daily prayers of the faithful that have transformed the antipipeline movement into what it is today.

Posting crap about your own people on Facebook doesnt do Mother Earth any good. It just shows the rest of us how much healing you need to go through in order to get over your tendency to engage in lateral violence. Time grows short. Look within and heal yourself. Our children are depending on healthy adults to protect the Mni Wiconi and save Unci Maka.

*Vi Waln is an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota Nation and is nationally published journalist.


Lateral Oppression Hurts Us All – The Lakota Country Times

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Governor Treen brought sunshine to Louisiana governmental conservatism – Bayoubuzz

Posted: at 1:46 pm

Dave Treen was sworn in as Louisianas Governor 37 years ago. Anyone who knew him noted what a nice guy he was. But Treens legacy will not be based on his friendliness. History will treat him well and acknowledge that he was the first, and perhaps only, true conservative Louisiana Governor in the past century.

His philosophy was simple. Have state government provide basic public services, keep up the infrastructure, and provide publicprotection. No meddling in private business; No political deals to benefit supporters.He just wanted to create a healthy business climate, run the state efficiently, and then tell government to just get out of the way.See that the trains run on time. Nothing creative or entrepreneurial.That wasnt the job, according to Treen, of state government.

Dave Treen was elected Louisiana Governor in 1979 in a close election against then Public Service Commissioner Louis Lambert.Voter fraud had been alleged in both the primary where Lt. Governor Jimmy Fitzmorris had been nudged out of the runoff, as well as the general election itself.I joined the statewide fray having been elected as Secretary of State at the same time. Shortly after taking office, the new Governor suggested we meet to talk over the election process.He wanted a full investigation into any of the election fraud allegations, and we both agreed on creating an Election Integrity Commission, the first such investigative body by any state in the country.

I never saw anyone so enmesh themselves in the details of government.Some criticized Treen for being so deliberative and slow to make a decision.He would be ridiculed unmercifully by Edwin Edwards in their future election confrontations when Edwards accused Treen of taking an hour and a half to watch 60 minutes.But that was his strength.He did not jump head first into some quick fix financial boondoggle expecting immediate results.Treen knew it would take years to dig the state out of the hole left by short-range thinking administrations going back many decades.

I tagged along on a helicopter trip with the Governor when we were both invited to speak to a Chamber of Commerce meeting in New Iberia.He read over a request on a budget matter the whole way over and back, something Edwin Edwards might have spent 4 or 5 minutes with.These decisions often set precedents that are followed by years, he said.I want to be sure I get it right.

I talked with Greg LeRoy, author ofJobsScam, about state giveaways to bribe out-of-state businesses to move in.He recognized Dave Treen as a solid conservative who knew that the best way to attract new companies was with lower business taxes and a healthy business climate rather than dangling subsidies. And, according to Greg, Louisiana has still not learned Dave Treens lesson. By impoverishing their tax base in the name of jobs, the Louisiana public officials continue to perversely harm the business climate.

And the former Governor was certainly a strong conservative in courageously raising his objections when he felt there was government oppression.Treen wrote the forward to the biography of Edwin Edwards. Heres what he had to say about the Edwards conviction.I believe the federal government, and by that I mean JudgeFrank Polozola, doubled his (Edwards) sentence from the prescribed five years purely out of vindictiveness,Treen wrote in the foreword. They didnt like him. Thats not a good reason to double someones sentence and is, I believe, a misuse of power.

Dave Treen had strong feelings about what government should do and not do.He eloquently expressed a litany of conservative values and ideas in a book he wrote back in 1974 while in Congress about conservative principles and pursuing what you believe in.It was calledCan we afford this House?Ideas have consequences, he wrote. They need to be implemented.Dave Treen wanted to have government help in a number of ways, but knew there were costs to consider and consequences.

Yes, Dave Treen was a nice guy. But history will remember him as having core beliefs and sticking to his guns.We could use a lot more like him in public office today.

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Browns syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at You can also hear Jims nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at

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Governor Treen brought sunshine to Louisiana governmental conservatism – Bayoubuzz

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I want an international probe into failed Turkey coup Fethullah Glen – Citifmonline

Posted: at 1:46 pm

On the night of July 15, 2017, Turkey went through the most catastrophic tragedy in its recent history as a result of the attempted military coup. The events of that night could be called a serious terror coup.

Turkish people from all walks of life who thought the era of military coups was over showed solidarity against the coup and on the side of democracy. While the coup attempt was in progress, I condemned it in the strongest terms.

Twenty minutes after the military coup attempt surfaced, before the real actors were known, President Erdogan hastily blamed me. It is troubling that an accusation was issued without waiting for the events details and the perpetrators motives to emerge. As someone who has suffered through four coups in the last 50 years, it is especially insulting to be associated with a coup attempt. I categorically reject such accusations.

I have been living a reclusive life in self-exile in a small town in the United States for the last 17 years. The assertion that I convinced the eighth largest army in the world from 6,000 miles away to act against its own government is not only baseless, it is false, and has not resonated throughout the world.

If there are any officers among the coup plotters who consider themselves as a sympathizer of Hizmet movement, in my opinion those people committed treason against the unity of their country by taking part in an event where their own citizens lost their lives. They also violated the values that I have cherished throughout my life, and caused hundreds of thousands of innocent people to suffer under the governments oppressive treatment.

If there are those who acted under the influence of an interventionist culture that persists among some of the military officers and have put these interventionist reflexes before Hizmet values, which I believe is unlikely, then an entire movement cannot be blamed for the wrongdoings of those individuals. I leave them to Gods judgment.

No one is above the rule of law, myself included. I would like for those who are responsible for this coup attempt, regardless of their identities, to receive the punishment they deserve if found guilty in a fair trial. The Turkish judiciary has been politicized and controlled by the government since 2014 and, consequently, the possibility of a fair trial is very small. For this reason, I have advocated several times for the establishment of an international commission to investigate the coup attempt and I have expressed my commitment to abide by the findings of such a commission.

Hizmet movement participants have not been involved in one single violent incident throughout its 50-year history. They havent even taken to the streets to confront Turkish security forces while they have been suffering under the governments witch hunt, to use Mr. Erdoans own words, for the last three years.

Despite being subjected to a smear campaign and suffering under state oppression for the last three years in the hands of a politically controlled law enforcement and the judiciary, Hizmet movement participants have complied with the law, opposed injustices through legitimate means and only defended their rights within the legal framework.

Turkeys legal and law enforcement agencies have been mobilized for the last three years to investigate and reveal an alleged parallel state that they claim that I run.

The administration called the 2013 public corruption probe an organized attempt by Hizmet sympathizers within the bureaucracy to bring down the government. Despite detaining 4,000 people, purging tens of thousands of government employees and unlawfully seizing hundreds of NGOs and private businesses, authorities were unable to find a single piece of credible evidence to prove their claims.

Turkeys prime minister called an opportunity to meet with me heaven-sent in May 2013; however, after the public corruption probe emerged in December 2013, he began using hate language such as assassins and blood sucking vampires when referring to Hizmet movement participants.

After the treasonous coup attempt of July 15, the attacks have become unbearable. Turkish government officials also began referring to me and people sympathetic to my views as a virus and cancer cells that need to be wiped out. Hundreds of thousands of people that have supported institutions and organizations affiliated with the Hizmet movement have been dehumanized in one way or another.

Their private properties have been confiscated, bank accounts taken over and their passports cancelled, restricting their freedom of travel. Hundreds of thousands of families are living through a humanitarian tragedy due to this ongoing witch hunt. News reports show that nearly 90,000 individuals have been purged from their jobs and 21,000 teachers teaching licenses have been revoked.

Is the Turkish government forcing these families to starve to death by preventing them from working and prohibiting them from leaving the country? What is the difference between this treatment and the pre-genocide practices throughout European history?

Ive witnessed every single military coup in Turkey and, like many other Turkish citizens, have suffered during and after each one. I was imprisoned by the order of the junta administration after the March 12, 1971 coup. After the coup of September 12, 1980, a detention warrant was issued against me and I lived as a fugitive for six years.

Right after the February 28, 1997, post-modern military coup, a lawsuit asking for capital punishment was filed against me with the charge of an unarmed terrorist organization consisting of one person.

During all of these oppressive, military-dominated administrations, three cases accusing me of leading a terror organization were opened and, in each case, I was cleared of the charges. I was targeted by the authoritarian military administrations back then, and now, I face the very same accusations projected in an even more unlawful manner by a civilian autocratic regime.

I had friendly relations with leaders from various political parties, such as Mr. Turgut Ozal, Mr. Suleyman Demirel and Mr. Bulent Ecevit, and genuinely supported their policies that I found to be beneficial to the larger community. They treated me with respect, especially when recognizing Hizmet activities that contribute to social peace and education.

Even though I distanced myself from the idea of political Islam, I praised the democratic reforms undertaken by Mr. Erdogan and AKP leaders during their first term in power.

But throughout my life, I have stood against military coups and intervention in domestic politics. When I declared 20 years ago that there is no turning back from democracy and secularism of the state, I was accused and insulted by the same political Islamists who are close to the current administration. I still stand behind my words. More than 70 books based on my articles and sermons spanning40 years are publicly available. Not only is there not a single expression that legitimizes the idea of a coup in these works, but, on the contrary, they discuss universal human values that are the foundation of democracy.

Emancipating Turkey from the vicious cycle of authoritarianism is possible only through the adoption of a democratic culture and a merit-based administration. Neither a military coup nor a civilian autocracy is a solution.

Unfortunately, in a country where independent media outlets are shut down or taken under government custody, a significant portion of Turkish citizens were made to believe through relentless pro-government propaganda that I am the actor behind the July 15 coup. However, world opinion, which is shaped by objective information, clearly sees that what is going on is a power grab by the administration under the guise of a witch-hunt.

Of course, what matters is not majority opinion but the truths that will emerge through the process of a fair trial. Tens of thousands of people, including myself, who have been the target of such gross accusations, would like to clear our names through a fair judicial process. We do not want to live with this suspicion that was cast on us. Unfortunately, the government has exerted political control over the judiciary since 2014, thereby destroying the opportunity for Hizmet sympathizers to clear their names of these accusations.

I openly call on the Turkish government to allow for an international commission to investigate the coup attempt, and promise my full cooperation in this matter. If the commission finds one-tenth of the accusations against me to be justified, I am ready to return to Turkey and receive the harshest punishment.

Participants in the Hizmet movement have been overseen by hundreds of governments, intelligence agencies, researchers or independent civil society organizations for 25 years and have never been found to be involved in illegal activity. For this reason, many countries do not take seriously the accusations of the Turkish government.

The most important characteristic of the Hizmet movement is to not to seek political power, but instead to seek long-term solutions for the problems threatening the future of their societies. At a time when Muslim-majority societies are featured in the news for terror, bloodshed and underdevelopment, Hizmet participants have been focusing on raising educated generations who are open to dialogue and actively contributing to their societies.

Since I have always believed that the biggest problems facing these societies are ignorance, intolerance-driven conflicts and poverty, I have always encouraged those who would listen to build schools instead of mosques or Quran tutoring centers.

Hizmet participants are active in education, health care and humanitarian aid not only in Turkey, but also in more than 160 countries around the world. The most significant characteristic of these activities is that they serve people of all religions and ethnic backgrounds not just Muslims.

Hizmet movement participants opened schools for girls in the most difficult areas of Pakistan and continued to provide education in the Central African Republic during the countrys civil war. While Boko Haram took young girls hostage in Nigeria, Hizmet participants opened schools that educated girls and women.

In France and the French-speaking world, I have encouraged people who share my ideas and values to fight against groups that embrace radical Islamic ideologies and to support the authorities in this struggle. In these countries, I strived for Muslims to be recognized as free and contributing members of society, and have urged them to become part of the solution rather than be associated with the problems.

Despite receiving threats, I categorically condemned numerous times terrorist groups such as Al Qaida and ISIS who taint the bright face of Islam. However, the Turkish government is trying to convince governments around the world to act against schools that have been opened by individuals who did not take part in the July 15 coup attempt, and who have always categorically rejected violence. My appeal to governments around the world is that they ignore the Turkish governments claims and reject its irrational demands.

Indeed, the Turkish governments political decision to designate the Hizmet movement as a terrorist organization resulted in the closure of institutions such as schools, hospitals and relief organizations. Those who have been jailed are teachers, entrepreneurs, doctors, academics and journalists. The government did not produce any evidence to show that the hundreds of thousands targeted in the governments witch hunt supported the coup or that they were associated with any violence.

It is impossible to justify actions such as burning down a cultural center in Paris, detaining or holding hostage family members of wanted individuals, denying detained journalists access to medical care, shutting down 35 hospitals and the humanitarian relief organization Kimse Yok Mu, or forcing 1,500 university deans to resign as part of a post-coup investigation.

It appears that, by presenting the recent purges as efforts that target only Hizmet participants, the Turkish government is in fact removing anyone from the bureaucracy who is not loyal to the ruling party, while also intimidating civil society organizations. It is dreadful to see human rights violations occurring in Turkey, including the torture detailed in recent reports by Amnesty International. This is truly a human tragedy.

The fact that the July 15 coup attempt which was an anti-democratic intervention against an elected government was foiled with Turkish citizens support is historically significant. However, the coups failure does not mean a victory for democracy. Neither the domination by a minority nor the domination of a majority that results in the oppression of a minority nor the rule of an elected autocrat is a true democracy.

One cannot speak of democracy in the absence of the rule of law, separation of powers and essential human rights and freedoms, especially the freedom of expression. True victory for democracy in Turkey is only possible by reviving these core values. By:

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I want an international probe into failed Turkey coup Fethullah Glen – Citifmonline

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