“Standing Rock and Beyond” march demands DAPL pipeline be cancelled, Leonard Peltier be freed

On the 10th of December, the Standing Rock and Beyond march and rally demanded that Obama move to finish off the Dakota Access Pipeline and grant executive clemency to Leonard Peltier. Leonard Peltier’s eldest son spoke at the rally on both his father’s ongoing political imprisonment and on the dangers of corporate power over water.

After the rally at the US Capitol, marchers proceeded to the EPA’s headquarters on 12th st, just across 12th st from Trump Hotel. There are great fears in many quarters that under Trump the EPA will become as corporate-captured and spineless as FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC is known as the frackers and pipeline builder’s rubber stamp. Water defenders at Standing Rock are now in a “watch and wait” mode as the pipeline builders announce plans to defy the US Army Corps of Engineers and Trump takes office in barely over 40 days. There are still things Obama can do to make it very difficult for Trump to ram the DAPL through, from denying the easement outright (it is now only denied pending more study and an EIS) to declaring the lake a national monument.

Energy Transfer Partners is now bleeding $12 million a day with construction stopped, and the Energy Transfer stock Trump had to sell off had lost 90% of its value. There is no way now the pipeline can be pumping oil on Jan 1, meaning both the oil companies and the banks will be free to “renegotiate” their contracts. Obama may kill the “black snake” or it my choke on these contract renegotiations, but water protectors assuming nothing and prepared for the worst.

Video-Leonard Peltier’s son speaks on corporate control of water, marching to the EPA past Trump Hotel

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Georgetown Solidarity Committee vs Nike: University President’s office occupied

On the 8th of December, the Georgetown Solidarity Committee decided they have had enough of Georgetown University’s refusal to cancel their contracts with Nike. At 10AM, a crew of students occupied the University President DeSioia’s office, then at around noon a much larger solidarity rally marched into the building and occupied the lobby in front of it as well. As of 6:30PM Dec 8 students are still holding out.

Georgetown’s athletic programs have long been partnered with Nike, but Nike is now refusing to allow the Workers’ Rights Consortium access to their factories and is refusing to comply with Georgetown’s Code of Conduct’s policy on living wages. Athletes forced to wear Nike’s shoes have resorted to taping over Nike’s corporate logo at some games.

Nike actually offers a Georgetown branded Air Jordan sneaker, part of their notorious line of overpriced shoes assembled in sweatshops in Vietnam, then sold for as much as $200, mostly profit.

Nike has long been infamous for sweatshops, back in the WT0/Seattle era Nike was often targetted by anti-globalization protesters. There are those of us who remember that Niketown was one of the few businesses smashed by the masked anarchist Black Bloc at the Nov 30. 1999 Battle of Seattle. The WTO’s 1999 ministerial opening ceremonies were forcibly shut down in that round of protest and street fighting. The rest of the talks then got nowhere. The relaunched Doha Round of talks ended in defeat a few years later.

Nike still has not learned, so now they are being hit with divestment campaigns like the campaign at Georgetown University. In the past the Georgetown Solidarity Committee has held barefoot days and delivered petitions for divestment from Nike but these have been ignored.Thus the need to take it directly to President DeSioia by occupying his office until Georgetown dumps Nike and Nike Air Jordans either are no longer made in VIetnam’s sweatshops-or are no longer made at all. The “Swoosh” may soon be swishing down the toilet at Georgetown-unless Nike finally decides to abandon the sweatshop model of production for sub-living wages. There is a report in the Guardian that “deplorable” conditions in Nike’s factory in Vietnam may mean this is the last year for those Nike Georgetown Air Jordans.

Perhaps Georgetown University President DeSioia should visit the archivists at Columbia University to talk about what happened in 1968 when Columbia refused to listen to students opposed to the “Army Math” research program there and a gym that encroached on Harlem. He could also visit nearby University of MD to talk about the sit-ins and adminstration takeovers that resulted from university ties to the former Apartheid regime in South Africa. It does not pay for any university to defy the students who pay their bills with those outrageous tuition checks and a lifetime of debt.

Video including a participant’s footage of the building entry and an interview taken inside

Banner on the outside of the Adminstration Building

The president’s office is behind the doors in the back of this photo. More students are inside

Thumbnail from an online live video feed shows the students inside Georgetown President DeSioia’s office

Another view of the occupied lobby outside the also occupied University president’s office

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Mayor Bowser gets protest for Terrence Sterling at her house

On Sep 11, 2016 Terrence Sterling was shot off his motorcycle by a DC cop while riding home to his family. Ever since then, his personal friends, Black Lives Matter, and SURJ-DC (Standing Up For Racial Justice, DC chapter) activists have been protesting on Monday nights demanding answers from Mayor Bowser and prosecution of the cop who shot Terrence Sterling. On Mon, Dec 5 they escalated by moving their protest from 3ed and M sts (where Terrence was shot) to Mayor Bowser’s house near 16th st and the MD line. She got home in the middle of the protest and refused to say even a word.

The protest seemed to catch the police by complete surprise. Probably they expected protesters at 3ed and M st, where they have gathered every Monday at 7PM since Terrence Sterling was shot by police. The march arrived at the Mayor’s house ahead of any police presence other than the security guard in the booth outside the house. Police then began showing up, followed by Mayor Bowser herself, who refused to even look towards protesters and probably would have made other plans had she known protesters were coming. There are those who believe that by living on the outskirts of the city (and away from Metro) they can exempt themselves from accountability to the public. As Mayor Bowser just found out, that does not work.

Video-Terrence Sterling protest catches Mayor Bowser arriving home

Mayor Bowser’s bodyguard escorts her into her own house after passing protesters

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Veterans hold Standing Rock solidarity “Stand-in” at Capitol after pipeline easement denied

On the 5th of December, DC-MD-VA Veterans Stand with Standing Rock held an all-day”stand-in” on the East side of the US Capitol. Congressman Grijalva was the keynote speaker, warning Trump not to attempt to undo Obama’s Dec 4 refusal via the US Army Corps of Engineers to grant an easement to finish the pipeline.

Water protectors fear Trump will reverse this victory. There are again reports that Energy Transfer plans to drill without an easement, pay the $50K a day fines, and wait for Trump to take over. Water protectors are staying put and the campaign continues.

Here in DC, there will be another Standing Rock solidarity event at the Potter’s House on Tuesday Dec 6 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Another major march against the pipeline is scheduled for Saturday Dec 10 starting 1PM on the West Lawn of the US Capitol and marching to the EPA. As some in Standing Rock have said, we are not leaving until THEY leave, meaning the drill pads are dismantled and Energy Transfer Partners packs up their shit and leaves.

While there has been much jubiliation about the denial of the easement, there are great fears this victory is temporary. If it holds it may be greatest Native American victory over the forces of destruction, displacement, and genocide in living memory, but Obama has less than two months left in office. Trump may be cracking a bit under the pressure, now saying he will “study” the issue of rerouting the pipeline but he has said before he supports its completion. All of the pipeline except the part for which the US Army Corps of Engineers has denied the easment is now finishd. Thus, rerouting the pipeline would require Energy Transfer to walk away from already-completed sections of pipe, essentially building them twice.This may have been deliberate on their part, an effort to force a decision at great risk to their investors (TD Bank, Citibank, Wells Fargo etc.)

Veterans are still arriving at Standing Rock as this is written, and on tthe 5th of December marched in a blizzard towards the disputed Highway 1806 bridge. Reports that Energy Transfer is ALREADY drilling under the river have been said by the Standing Rock Sioux to be false, but reports are rife they plan to start drilling soon, permit or not. Sacred Stone Camp is asking on their blog if Obama and the current US government is willing to use force to stop Energy Transfer from completing the pipeline in defiance of the denied easement. The $50,000 a day fines obviously would end the day Donald Trump takes office. Fines not backed up by jail time and the willingness to use force cannot stop any activity that pays more than the cost of the fines.

Video-Congressman Grijalva speaks(6:29)

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Wells Fargo board member Elaine Cho gets home protest over Dakota Access Pipeline

On the 3ed of December, SURG DC and other opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline marched from the Columbus monument at Union Station to the Capitol Hill home of Wells Fargo board member Elaine Cho at 217 C st NE. She is married to Senator Mitch McConnell(R-K), and her home in Kentucky received a simultanious protest from the SURJ chapter there. Wells Fargo has agreed to meet with Standing Rock elders but has yet to stop disbursing loan money to the Dakota Access Pipeline project and divest of their major financial interests in the “Black Snake” pipeline.

In addition to the march on Elaine Cho’s home, SURJ DC distributed fliers warning of an “Arlington Access Pipeline” to be built through Arlington Cemetary following the example of the Dakota Access Pipeline desecrating comparable Native American burial grounds. The back sides of the fliers explains that the Arlington Access is fictional but that readers should be not “stop caring now” just because it is someone else’s burial grounds being defiled.

SURG DC is the DC chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice or SURG.

Video of the NoDAPL march on Wells Fargo board member Elaine Cho’s home

The march started here, at the Columbus monument in front of Union Station

Water protectors in front of Elaine Cho’s house

Front of the flier given out to Elaine Cho’s neighbors

Back of the flier given out to Elaine Cho’s neighbors

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Climate First!, Greenpeace protest Citibank’s funding of Dakota Access Pipeline

Dec 1, 2016 was a global day of action against the Dakota Access Pipeline(DAPL). Here in DC, Climate First! showed up at four Citibank branches demanding they divest from the project. The fourth and final branch had already been visited earlier the same day by Greenpeace. Citibank organized the loan package that is funding construction of the DAPL.

At each Citibank branch a delegation from Climate First! went inside to discuss the Dakota Access pipeline while others stayed outside with the banner and fliers. One branch had been visited two weeks earlier and same as before their manager was “out to lunch.” At the last branch the temporary manager said he had never heard of the pipeline until the previous week when it was all over the news, and that Greenpeace has been there earlier in the day.

Other guilty banks include TD Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Suntrust, and Goldman-Sachs. Well Fargo agreed to meet with Standing Rock tribal elders after yet another lockdown in a Wells Fargo branch, Unicorn Riot reports that lockdown was thus able to unlock and disengage after securing that promise. Goldman-Sachs might be vulnerable to the same kind of campaign that forced them to pressure Fortress to call in their $100M loan to Huntingdon LIfe Sciences back in 2011. TD Bank branches lock their doors at the first sign of a protest. The wall of loans that props up the Dakota Access Pipeline project may be on the verge of crumbling, and without it the pipeline cannot be finished.

Below are the demands made of Citibank by Greenpeace, note that there are essentially NO circumstances under which the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe would agree to a pipeline expected to poison their water. Therefore these demands are effectively demands for withdrawing from the loan agreement entirely:

*All further loan disbursements to the project are immediately put on hold.

*Citi demands from the project sponsor that all construction of the pipeline and all associated structures is put on hold until all outstanding issues are resolved to the full satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

*In case such a resolution of outstanding issues is not achieved with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Citi will fully withdraw from the loan agreement

*A public statement is made by Citi on how it will act on the issues identified above.


More on the Minneapolis lockdown that forced Wells Fargo to agree to meet with Standing Rock tribal elders

Video from Climate First!’s four Dec 1 NoDAPL Citibank protests

Reminding a Citibank branch that water is life!

Elsewhere: the Minneapolis lockdown that forced Wells Fargo to agree to meet with Standing Rock tribal elders. Photo by Unicorn Riot

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Code Pink occupies HP Government Affairs Office building over biometric sales to Israel

On the 28th of November, Code Pink protested Hewlett-Packard’s sale of biometric and identity-tracking software to Israeli prisons, settlements, and the Israeli government in general for use at checkpoints. During the protest, someone came out the door of the building housing HP’s Government Affairs office-and the open door let in several members of Code Pink, who stopped further traffic in and out by turning the elevator into occupied territory of a different kind.

The kind of biometric and identity verification software HP sells for use in prisons and at apartheid checkpoints in Israel and around the world rightfully should be considered malicious software when used as intended. It invoked the prior examples of IBM’s sale of punchcard data systems to Nazi Germany and of computer equipment to the former Apartheid regime in South Africa. It is the worst form of complicity by both the Hewlett-Packard bosses and by the coders who write this malicious software.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise sells the biometric ID system used at Israel’s checkpoints, the entire “IT” infrastructure used by the Israeli Navy to coordinate the blockade of Gaza, and even sells directly to Israeli settlements. In addition they have contracts with ICE and with prisons throughout the US. Clearly they have no scruples about selling hardware and software whose sole purpose is to inflict misery and suffering to oppressors.

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