Native Americans rally against DAPL during White House Tribal Nations Conference

On the 26th of September, Obama met with tribal leaders at the White House Tribal Nations Conference. Outside, Native Americans and allies rallied around the demand that the US Army Corps of Engineers and other parts of the Executive Branch block and reject the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).Presumably the DAPL and other pipelines that threaten Indigenous health and survival were near tne top of the agenda given current events in Standing Rock, N Dakota.

Speakers at the Defending the Sacred Rally against the DAPL included Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, President of the National Congress of American Indians Brian Cladoosby, Standing Rock Youth Representative Grace Claymore, Dallas Goldtooth with the Indigenous Environmental Network, and many others.

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21 arrests at Pentagon war protest

On September 26, 2016, after years of unsuccessfully seeking meetings with elected and appointed government officials over the ongoing US wars, proxy wars and military occupations, armed drones, US war crimes, and the increasing Pentagon budget activists associated with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) went to the Pentagon today once again seeking a meeting with decision-makers in the Pentagon chain of command including Secretary Ashton Carter. They told Pentagon police they wouldn’t leave until they spoke to an official in a position of authority about war crimes committed by the US and that they were following their obligations under Nuremberg to draw attention to these crimes of US government elected and appointed officials. Although the activists were nonviolent the Pentagon police placed 21 activists under arrest and charged them with “Violation of a Lawful Order”.

The presence of antiwar activists today at the Pentagon follows the International Day of Peace, the over 700 actions of nonviolence around the US and other countries organized by Campaign Nonviolence calling for an end to war, poverty, and for serious efforts to address the climate crisis and environmental degradation. In addition, many of the activists had attended the World Beyond War conference held in Washington, DC at American University over the weekend entitled “No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism”. The attempted meeting by activists was a continuation of the over 700 events organized by Campaign Nonviolence this month in addition to carrying the message of World Beyond War to the Department of Defense and Obama Administration. The activists tried to also deliver a petition signed by over 23000 people to President Obama, Secretary Carter, and German Chancellor Merkel calling for the closing of a drone relay station at US Air Force Base Ramstein in Germany which has been linked to the deaths of innocent civilians. Activists in Germany also attempted to deliver this petition to Merkel today. Australian activists acted in solidarity at the US military base in Pine Gap and another solidary action was held at West Point, NY by others concerned about the US drone program.

Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska one of those arrested explained why she was at the Pentagon seeking a meeting today “The measure of a healthy society is how we treat the marginalized. How we can care for them in a just and humane manner when 56% of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon for its 800+ military bases and the killing? That fills the pockets of the weapons manufacturers!” The World Beyond War conference and Campaign Nonviolence say there is a link between poverty, war, and the environmental threat to the planet. They say that there needs to be a new way of running our planet and resolving international conflict through nonviolence. “The reason why I took action today is because I am moved by conscience by the words of the late peace activist Daniel Berrigan who said “Because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total – but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial.” We all need to get out of our comfort zone and away from what is convenient for us when it comes to taking action. We cannot continue on the path of more war while so many social problems exist in society. War is a threat to Mother Earth and all humanity. The way of war is not sustainable” Kilbride said.

Those arrested include Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Richard Ochs, Malachy Kilbride of Maryland, Alice Sutter, Felton Davis, and Chat Gunter of New York, Don Cunning and Manijeh Saba of New Jersey, Brian Terrell of Iowa, Phil Runkel of Wisconsin, Joan Stallard, Art Laffin and Eve Tetaz of Washington, DC, JoAnne Lingle of Indiana, Howard Mettee of Ohio, Phoebe Sorgen of California, Henry Lowendorf and James Pandaru of Connecticut, Beth Adams and Paki Wieland of Massachusetts, Nancy Gowen of Virginia.

A November 3, 2016 court date has been scheduled in the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. The activists said they are looking forward to their day in court.

Code Pink’s Youtube video from the Pentagon civil disobedience. warning: Hosted on Youtube/Google (tracking warning)

NCNR photo

Still from Code Pink video

Still from Code Pink video

Still from Code Pink video

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Terrence Sterling remembered at predawn torchlight rally,rush hour blockade of NY Ave

Beginning at 4AM on Sep 26, Black Lives Matter activists gathered at 3rd and M st to remember Terrence Sterling, shot off of his motorcycle by DC Police at 4:20AM on Sep 11, 2016. Demands at the rally included releasing all video from the shooting plus the names and addresses of the officers involved. A further demand was that the DC police be disarmed, their guns be taken away.As morning rush hour reached its peak the group marched onto NY Ave and shut it down with a curb to curb blockade

At one point the blockade transformed into a two minute die-in, still blocking NY Ave. After protesters returned to their feet, police read a claim over their “riot horn” that emergency vehicles needed to use NY Ave but this is a stock message and the only emergency vehicles to be seen were police cars. Blocking them is considered a benefit, not collateral damage. In at least one instance such a claim has been used by a police deparment to get protesters to move enough to get more police vehicles to the protest. Protesters did move off the road to avoid arrest, but plan to return at 1PM on Tuesday, Sep 27. Before they left the area a Black Lives Matter banner was dropped over I-395. Perhaps police murdering Terrence Stirling on Sep 11 gives new meaning to the demand “Stop Police Terrorism.”

Shortly before Terrence Stirling was shot, police chasing him for “riding erratically” on a motorcycle (and nothing more) were told by dispatch to “stand down” and discontinue the chase. Instead a cop rolled down his window and opened fire in what protesters said can only be called a drive-by shooting.

Until police and Mayor Bowser meet protesters demands concerning Terrence Stirling, it looks like highways near 3ed and M sts are going to be a bad place to drive a Lexus en route to a $250,000 a year job in a GOP lobbying firm on K st.

Video of the takeover of NY Ave

Remembering Terrence Sterling, killed at 4:20AM on Sep 11 in this very location.

Two torches shed a little extra light on the situation

Blocking NY Ave in memory of Terrence Stirling

Die-in on NY Ave

Banner dropped across I-395 after protesters had departed NY Ave and marched onto the sidewalk of this bridge

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Renters Day of Action rally in DC demands rent freeze, eviction moratorium

The 22nd of September was the national Renter’s Day of Action, with protests in over 50 cities. In DC, tenants from Congress Heights, Museum Square, and other threatened buildings gathered on Alabama Ave by 3200 13th st. Geoff Griffis of City Partners(investor) and Sanford Capitol(landlord) plan to demolish it and the adjacent occupied buildings anyway to build luxury apartments. They are stopped at the moment by Metro refusing to put a related land sale on the agenda. The banner at 3200 13th st read “liberated territory” and police acted like they expected OneDC and Justice First! to sieze the building like what happened at Parcel 42 back in 2010.

At one point “special police” just like those who killed Alonzo Smith walked right through the protest, photographed a building street number sign, then went into the parking lot behind the still-occupied building. For police or security to brazenly walk right through protesters like this is often considered and in some cases may be intended as an act of aggression. Afterwards they walked around the adjacent vacant building (3200 13th st) carrying some kind of bags. This was the sort of behavior that suggested they expected a building takeover.

One DC and Justice First had no such plans because with WMATA’s related land sale to Geoff Griffis/City Partners tabled, the luxury apartments slated to replace Congress Heights cannot be built. Geoff Griffis, City Partners, and Sanford Capitol will probably lose this fight. It’s just a matter of how many protests at their homes, their places of work, and their parties they want to endure before they and abandon their now almost impossible luxury apartment dreams in Anacostia.

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Indigenous youth show up at Sen Barasso’s office, demand hearing on Dakota Access Pipeline

Representatives of the International Indigenous Youth Council have called on Senator Barrasso, chair of the Indian Affairs Committee, to hold a hearing on the Dakota Access Pipeline. He has refused to do so. On Sep 20, Youth Council representatives and allies delivered a message loud and clear to Barrasso’s office.

Video from the visit to Sen Barasso’s office

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TD Bank at 15th and P locks doors over ONE #NoDAPL protester

On the 17th of September, visits to TD Bank Branches by first six and then four #NoDAPL protesters were sufficient to shut two branches down. On the 20th of September, one activist paid “recon by action” visits to three TD Bank branches to see if this meant a single protester could also shut them down. Results were mixed. The TB Bank at 15th and P was repeatedly hit by Keystone XL protests including a barrel lockdown during that campaign so they were quick to lock their doors so long as that one protester entired the ATM lobby and did not just stand on the sidewalk. If a customer entered that lobby alone, the doors were quickly unlocked and relocked.

With multiple protesters on site, the TD Bank Branches at 801 17th st and at 14th and F sts would keep their doors locked, locking out customers and effectively shutting down. One protester could not accomplish the same. No response to a single protester in the street at 801 17 and with bike cops hanging around the nearby White House it was deemed risky to enter the lobby alone. At 14th and F a lobby entry was not detected in time by security, allowing a quick protest inside the branch itself before security responded. When the protester returned to the sidewalk the guard monitored the inner door closely here but did not choose to lock it.

Thus is is concluded that teams of 4 can reliably shut down TD Bank branches, allowing a team of 12 to take on three TB Bank branches at once. Teams of two or three have not been tested, solo operations (each person takes on one branch) can get some branches to lock up but can only close them down by resorting to civil disobedience.

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Kayaktivists take No LNG export at Cove Point message to Annapolis

On the 17th of September, “We Are Cove Point” took to the water in Annapolis, MD in several kayaks and a sailboat against Dominion’s LNG export plant at Cove Point, MD. The kayaktivists were demanding that MD Governor Hogan order a quantitative risk assessment (QRA) to determine just how dangerous the under-construction fracked gas export plant really is. Given the recent explosion of leaked residential gas that was enough to demolish an apartment building in Silver Spring, MD, it pays to take the risks associated with natural gas seriously. Several large LNG plants have exploded over the years, and amount of gas potentially involved in such blasts can be measured in kilotons. The Cove Point plant is unique for being in a populated area.

Those who live in Lusby and especially in Cove Point fear that an accident at Dominion’s plant could leave the entire southern half of Calvert County with no way out except over the “long bridge” to St Mary’s County. That bridge is two lanes each way and is simply not capable to accomodating an evacuation of half a county as a “situation” develops at the gas plant. The quantitative risk assessment would presumably have to consider that as well as the fact that only road out of Cove Point itself goes right past the front gates of the plant, the 450,000 gallons of propane also proposed for storage there, the 1.8 KM “vaporization radius” in a worst-case blast,the maximum total amount of LNG stored, the position of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant relative to the “severe damage” radius of a worst-case explosion, and more.

In addition to the dangers posed by the LNG plant itself, protesters added that the risks posed by fracking itself as well as every pipeline feeding the export facility needed to be considered. Without gas export, a lot of those pipelines would not be built and a lot of additional fracking would not take place due to low domestic gas prices.

Governo Hogan has the authority to issue a “stop work” order against Dominion’s gas export plant. So does FERC, though FERC has become infamous for rubberstamping these projects. Still, the events surrounding the Dakota Access fracked oil pipeline, the defeat of the Keystone XL, and the defeat of an LNG export facility elsewhere in the US show that protest works, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and these projects can be stopped.

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