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July 14, 2017

When Historic Preservation Begins

Again. The damage had been done, and the implications were clear. Like the rape of Mother Earth, in creating their territory with roads, like in Rondo, there was the State of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation.  viking hat

“I’m beginning to think we do not matter to you,” said member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Matthew Northrup. After five years of planning, the Fond du Lac Band was not consulted, no ‘flags’ were raised, where highway construction by the Minnesota Department of Transportation was taking place. Have you ever had to deal with the arrogance of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, no matter what political party held power?

Whose land? What treaty? Only after desecrating a cemetery in Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood near Minnesota Highway 23, said Charlie Zelle, Commissioner for Governor Mark Dayton, after five years of planning: “We’re just beginning to understand the pain and the anger that comes from a disruption that we could have avoided.”

A disruption? This is a fake apology over the damage to burial places of the First People by a Minnesota state agency while building a new access road to West Fourth Street, replacing the Mission Creek bridge on May 15. Because the State of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation’s ‘process’ did not include working with the band, ‘the process’ had failed. Ten days later, the Fond du Lac Band was notified of work in the area. By a historian.

History is such a burden. It was announced that “The State” will study the bones and artifacts that have been unearthed in a non-invasive way. There was a time, perhaps when these bones of the Anishinaabe were buried, when Church was not split from state.

When you belong to a Land, you know things. Growing up in Fond du Lac, Historian Christine Carlson contacted the Fond du Lac Band after driving past the site on May 25th. This isn’t the first time construction has disturbed Fond du Lac graveyards, said Carlson. Noticing construction in the area that Carlson knew held documented graveyards, she brought the road construction project to the attention of the Fond du Lac. This land has served both as a gathering place as well as a burial site for Lake Superior Chippewa since at least the 1600s. Was it the first time the State of Minnesota failed to consider the historic nature of the LAND or the nature of the Peace Treaties?

Eleven days later, on June 6, 2017, human remains were found, which ruined “the process.” Said project manager Roberta Dwyer, “We need to restore and recover the graves that have been, unfortunately, damaged.”

Could you hear the missing passion in this statement? Did you ever identify the threat in all the Spiritual, Not Religious around in descendants of the Old World who have lost something, in the split of Church and State. People who think this is all hooey. With 50 states, there are all of these conflicts over the units – unitaty– making up the Spiritual identity of the political state. As if the new people would rob the sacred burial places, of the dead and of the living Spirits? Now the State of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation has to work to restore the affected area in partnership with the band. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Initially, State of Minnesota’s Department of Transportation had stated that the State Historic Preservation Office which operates under the Minnesota Historical Society, also had to “approve” the plans. And imagine what would have happened without the publicity? Like in the days when the Authority knew those treaties would be lost if not forgotten. Gutless politicians.

The gutting. Minnesota Historical Society public relations manager Jessa Kohen wrote in an email to the Duluth News Tribune: “The State Historic Preservation Office was not given an opportunity to review and consult with Mn-DOT on the Highway 23 reconstruction plans in their entirety. In this case, State Historic Preservation Office was asked by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the bridge replacement portion of the road project, only.”

After human remains were found June 6, law enforcement authority has not arrested anyone under the employment of Charlie Zelle or Mark Dayton. Historian Christine Carlson tracked a similar history during the initial construction of Minnesota 23, of unearthed bodies. In 1937. An initial occurrence of unearthed bodies was in 1869 as railroad construction roused the dead. Said Fond du Lac Band Chairman Kevin Dupuis, “If I were to drive a backhoe through your cemetery, I would be arrested, I would be in jail.”


December 18, 2013

Watching a Humanitarian Crisis Take Seed

Filed under: Domestic Absue — baseball91 @ 6:29 AM
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With 125,000 dead and more than 2.2 million Syrians already displaced to other lands, there are 4.25 million people internally displaced in Syria. There is, for the 20 million still trying to survive in Syria, food for 14 million. Did you ever wonder how business was conducted during a civil war? Or how food was grown? Did you wonder how the neighboring nations could absorb so many of these refugees — with 3 million Syrians, per one source, now in neighboring countries — from a nation where most had lived a middle class existence. It is estimated by David Wright Miliband that fifty percent of the population was now either internally or externally displaced.

Here is the timeline of the implosion of hunger and the growing humanitarian crisis, as ninety percent of the schools remain closed as well as more than one-third of the hospitals, with a new outbreak of polio as first the historic land of Syris is destroyed, and then its people — as world leaders play their own cruel form of tug of war, as inequality threatens stability. The UN now estimates that out of a total population of 20.8 million, 4.25 million people are internally displaced — many driven from place to place as the front lines move. All of Syria’s 14 governorates are affected, though the situation is particularly precarious in Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa, Homs, Rural Damascus, Hama, Idleb and Dera’a; 6.8 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance, per the estimate from the United Nations. In most of areas, basic commodities such as fuel, gas, warm clothes, water and food have become unaffordable as both displaced and local populations virtually are deprived of income sources at a time when their savings and their coping mechanisms are slowly getting exhausted. And what none of the news stories tell the reader is that what uprooted lives — not dissimilar to what was the catalyst to the Arab Spring in Tunisia — was the drought in the north of Syria in the harvest of 2008. This bit of information is significant as new famine sets in in 2014 in the same region of Syria. As the world just sits and watches.

Nov 1, 2003 – Agriculture today remains a pillar of economy, in Syria.

Jan 26, 2009 – During 2008/09, Syria moved from a net exporter to a net importer of wheat due ….. While the General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade (Hoboob) bought 970,000 tons from the 2008/09 crop….

May 9, 2012 – “Syrian grain imports are being transacted in large volumes using offices in Lebanon to handle the paperwork and act as initial buyer,” one trader said. … “Major wheat supplies to Syria seem to be arriving under state-to-state .

Jul 25, 2013 – AMMAN (Reuters) – Civil war in Syria has cut the wheat harvest to its … wheat trade that subsidized their production, to look for other buyers.

Aug 22, 2013 – “Syria’s efforts to step up food purchases are being thwarted by sellers unwilling to risk delays in payments from frozen foreign bank accounts. Civil war and a deepening humanitarian crisis have prompted the government of President Bashar al-Assad to issue a series of tenders for sugar, wheat, flour and rice in recent weeks. The country needs to import around 2 million tonnes of wheat this year as civil war has sliced its crop to a near-30 year low at 1.5 million tonnes, less than half the pre-conflict average.” -per a opyright tory by Thomson Reuters 2013.

Sep 2, 2013 – Syria has cancelled a tender to buy tonnes of white sugar, its second … The state grain agency on August 20 cancelled a tender for 200 000… Syria cancelled an urgent tender to buy sugar on Monday, two weeks after cancelling a bid to buy wheat, the latest signs that President Bashar al-Assad’s government is losing its ability to buy food as civil war destroys its harvests. In the failed transactions, Syria offered to pay for the food with funds held in frozen bank accounts abroad.

Sep 2, 2013 – Abu Dhabi/Beirut: Syria cancelled an urgent tender to buy sugar on … the General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade (Hoboob), the state wheat buyer, cancelled a tender for 200,000 tonnes of soft milling wheat on 20 August. At the time it said it had received two offers but they did not meet specifications. Syria’s civil war, now in its third year, has killed more than 100,000 people and driven millions from their homes. “We are in no urgent need to tender because we have a good strategic stock, we have always maintained a 12-month stockpile,” said the official, who declined to be identified. He said Hoboob had purchased 820,000 tonnes of wheat from the domestic harvest in the current procurement season and still holds its normal pre-war reserve of 3 million tonnes.

Sep 12, 2013 – In its worst harvest in decades, as civil war rages, means more … “The government is in extreme denial about its food stocks,” said one trader based in the … the General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade (Hoboob), the state wheat buyer…

Sep 13, 2013 – The General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade (Hoboob), the state wheat buyer, insists it has 3 million tons of wheat in store… Syria’s worst harvest in decades, as civil war rages, means more pressure to import on a government whose currency reserves are dwindling — even if support from Assad’s sponsor Iran, and a shrinking population to support as Syrians flee the country and provinces fall to rebel control, ease the burden and buy time. How Syria’s stocks of grain stand is impossible to say with confidence. State grain buying agency, the General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade, insists it has 3 million tons of wheat in store, equivalent to a year’s supply for the entire 22 million population.

Oct 11, 2013 – (Reuters) – Deliveries of wheat are starting to reach Syria’s ports as its bank accounts abroad are gradually being freed from sanctions, with grain traders detecting a greater willingness from European governments to allow deals to go ahead on humanitarian grounds. As civil war grinds on, Syria is facing its worst wheat harvest in three decades. President Bashar al-Assad, who has already escaped air strikes as punishment for chemical weapons attacks, will now be able to bolster depleted food supplies. Trade sources familiar with commercial deals said at least 500,000 tonnes of bread-making wheat that Syria had tried to obtain months ago, but which could not be paid for because its foreign bank accounts were frozen, were now starting to be delivered. “What we are seeing at the moment is Syrian government business that was done in the past — between four to six months ago — that is only now being executed,” a Middle East based trade source involved in deals said. “It looks like the payment issues are being resolved.” A source with Syria’s state wheat buyer, the General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade, (Hoboob), confirmed deals were struck months ago for 500,000 tonnes of wheat, adding that 150,000 tonnes had recently been delivered using previously frozen funds. “The willingness amongst governments that have frozen Syrian assets to offer waivers allowing the regime to tap into these funds in order to buy food staples is likely to increase in the short term,” said Torbjorn Soltvedt of risk consultancy Maplecroft.”



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In a series of stories for The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald, the columnist from The Guardian, reported on the National Security Agency’s vast international and domestic surveillance programs, based on thousands of classified documents embezzled by Edward Snowden, for no personal gain, from the NSA’s internal computer systems. which, finally, has resulted this week in judges giving oversight again to the U S Constitution again.

Greenwald this week said with respect to the British newspaper — rather than any media at the time in the United States — raising the conflict of privacy over security: ” I am very proud of the journalism we have done. We published only a small fraction of the ones that we have been given so far because we have gone through each of them and made sure that nothing we are publishing endangers human lives. What we have done is created a debate inside the United States and around the world, one that crosses ideological and partisan lines, about the dangers of the surveillance state.”

So many Americans are caught up in the trees, maintaining the status quo with their own cellphones and their own valued private lives, that they cannot see the forest. And wasn’t that the story of what had gone wrong in Syria and their police state?

How could so many elected officials ignore for so long the first ten amendments of the constitution of the United States? Wasn’t this the same problem from the first eight years of the New Millennium, directed at the time at the Securities and Exchange Commission, when the regulators quit regulating — and next the judges who quit judging in open court.

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August 11, 2011

Domestic Surveillance Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

NSA logo There are at least sixteen agencies in Washington which have since September 2001 been involved in domestic and international intelligence. In one of these agencies, concerning how the Obama Administration is interpreting parts of the Patriot Act, the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says that it is “difficult to answer” whether the government has the right to track Americans’ location through cellphones for intelligence purposes, according to a letter sent to Congress on August 11th.

In response to questions presented by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who asked in a letter to the the Office of the Director of National Intelligence whether the intelligence community has the authority to collect geolocation information on American citizens, Kathleen Turner, the director of legislative affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, responded that the government is still defining its “view of the full contours of this authority and will get back to you.”

As the senators asked just where such authority might come from, the response from the director of legislative affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was that though the amount of evidence that can be collected and the procedures required to get it haven’t been settled yet, “the government has some authority to collect cell phone mobility data under appropriate circumstances.” So how many people in the U.S. have had their communications reviewed under authority granted by 2008 legislation, amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? The response of the director of legislative affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was, “It is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed.”

As the Obama Administration has been in practice over 1466 days.addressing these issues, this response was disingenuous. How can this “Hope and Change” government still be defining its “view of the full contours of this authority.” If it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed, how was it possible for law enforcement to identify the people whose communications they selected to review? It might be difficult to justify whether the government has the right to track Americans’ location through cellphones for intelligence purposes, it might be difficult to rationalize actual domestic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but it should not be difficult to answer the question after 1466 days executing the law. This was one sign an arrogance had developed after 1466 days, not much different than the arrogance of the previous administration.

Didn’t the legislative branch know the day-to-day effort of protecting the liberty of the American public on these shores? Or didn’t the executive branch see the irony of a nation, which now fought foreign wars to export democracy and freedom at a cost of $193 million dollars per day, spying at home on its own citizens? Or didn’t the electorate see the real reason for the ongoing cost of cheap money, to finance the wars without a tax increase? As the value of the currency was diminished forty percent over the last ten years.

Concerning all of the cost of war, when Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon had also the same above questions to an attorney from the National Security Agency earlier this week, he received a similar answer. However the attorney from the NSA indicated that his intelligence community would be working on a better response before the first meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee in September. The NSA attorney seemed wise enough to recognize the full contours of contempt of Congress, where arrogance of one branch of government was a still a crime.

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