The Daily GRRR! - Nov. 25 2014 - “Too Bad It’s Only Tuesday” Edition

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Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! live on the airwaves at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and SoundFM.ca on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Tuesday morning show for November 25, 2014.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Nov. 25, 2014
1. No justice for Mike Brown as grand jury declines to indict murderous cop
2. Arrests continue on Burnaby Mountain as Kinder Morgan protest grows
3. Cops shoot and kill distraught, disoriented man in East Vancouver
4. Unarmed, mentally ill woman killed by Ohio cops called to help her
5. Pennsylvania’s fracking ponds grow from 11 to 529 in only 9 years
6. Fossil Free Guelph draws attention to divestment on campus
7. Grassy Narrows links capitalism and ecocide for National Child Day

1. No justice for Mike Brown as grand jury declines to indict murderous cop

As a white person, it is not my place to talk about how enraged this decision makes me because I can never truly know or understand the experience of anti-black racism. (Fellow white folks, it’s not our space to take in this conversation and, to quote a righteously frustrated friend of mine, we “do not get ally points for noticing that the systemic execution of black people is happening”.) So for coverage of this story -- both in our headlines and for today’s feature -- I’m instead going to read from the articles already written by reporters of colour, because those are the critiques we really need to be listening to right now.

In the words of Mother Jones writer Jaeah Lee, “After weeks of rising tension in Ferguson and the broader St. Louis region, the St. Louis County grand jury reviewing the death of Michael Brown has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on August 9. Reported leaks during the grand jury proceedings suggested there would be no indictment—and that outcome fits a long-standing pattern. Few police officers who shoot and kill citizens in St. Louis have been investigated by a grand jury, let alone charged by one, according to data from city and county prosecutors.

“...But with a case like Wilson's, weeks of high-profile public protests likely pressured the prosecutor's office to present a case to a grand jury, says Delores Jones-Brown, a law professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "This way the prosecutor cannot be accused of having made a unilateral biased decision." Still, the prosecutor has a lot of sway in how a case is presented to the grand jury, she noted.

“Prior to the decision in Wilson's case, McCulloch said he would seek to release transcripts and audio from the grand jury investigation if it resulted in no indictment for Wilson. But it remains unclear whether a circuit court judge will approve that request for transparency.”

2. Arrests continue on Burnaby Mountain as Kinder Morgan protest grows

Two 11-year-old girls were among the protesters who crossed a police picket line on Burnaby Mountain this past Sunday to protest testing being done by Kinder Morgan for the company’s proposed pipeline expansion. As many of our listeners are likely aware, the area in question is a conservation area where Kinder Morgan has been conducting drilling and survey work related to its proposal to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, which currently transports Alberta oil to a terminal in Burnaby but now seeks to export it overseas via oil tankers off the west coast. Kinder Morgan got approval for the work from the National Energy Board, who have shown themselves to be a bunch of pushovers with this and other pipeline approvals, like the now-infamous Line 9 pipeline that runs through Ontario and Quebec. But while the company has received permission at the federal level, the city of Burnaby has vehemently opposed the project and protesters have been participating in civil disobedience since Thursday, when police moved in to enforce the injunction against those who had been camped out in the public park.

But opponents of the project continue to pour in to the area to show their resistance and solidarity, clearly not dissuaded by the 60+ arrests that have been made over the past five days. On Sunday, legendary environmental leader David Suzuki made a speech before the police line where, moments earlier, his granddaughter Tamiko and women from the Klabona Keepers -- a group from the Tahltan Nation in northern B.C. -- announced to the crowd that they were going to cross the police line. They crossed a wall of about 20 RCMP officers and were detained, as were the many others who have made choice to be arrested, in a move that some would call noble but constructive critics in fact call out as an act that is not only limited in its effectiveness but also limited to those with the privileged status of being able to risk arrest. There were trainings organized for yesterday morning so that "participants can make informed choices about whether they want to be arrested” by violating the injunction order through symbolic acts of civil disobedience. In the wisely critical words of one longtime activist in B.C., “ hope that at some point people stop making plans to get arrested and instead start making plans to shut down Kinder Morgan's work (maybe without getting arrested). Solidarity to all those holding it down for weeks. Less solidarity for folks going up for their arrest photo op. Most places in the world, where people are seriously challenging power, people don't make arrests the goal of their actions.”

For more updates on this ongoing resistance to Kinder Morgan’s ecocidal plans, follow Burnaby Mountain Updates at Facebook.com/BurnabyMountain, which we’ve also linked to on our podcast page.

https://www.facebook.com/burnabymountain

3. Cops shoot and kill distraught, disoriented man in East Vancouver

A 51-year-old man, who was acting erratically at a busy intersection, was fatally shot by police this past Saturday night. According to a police news release, he had been shouting and waving a two-by-four piece of lumber on a street corner and, when officers arrived, the man confronted them and refused to follow their directions. Even if this was the case, police are, in general, notoriously inept when it comes to responding appropriately to individuals who are experiencing mental distress of any kind, having not received training for responding to such situations. The officer who shot the man in this case had less than five years experience on the job, and cops called to intervene in such situations in general often know only how to respond with over-zealous force. This tragic reality is exemplified in a quote from the police statement in this case, which says, “Officers deployed less-lethal bean bag rounds in an attempt to disarm him and take him safely into custody, but eventually the man was shot.”

Let’s think about this critically for a moment: You have a team of heavily armed police trying to take down one man carrying a piece wood, which is clearly not a fair fight. Moreover, there is good reason to believe that the man was not posing a serious threat, according to a witness at the scene who added that, prior to the arrival of police, the man was even approached by an elderly gentleman who clearly felt safe enough to engage with him. The witness also paints the picture of a situation that was rapidly escalated by police: "He did look very much like he was in a mental state of discontent and didn't really know what was going on and they fired on him right away," he said. "He did not threaten anyone else before that and he even had a man approach him. They gave him one warning, then the cops fired two shots," he said. "He ended up in the middle of the intersection and they fired on him with a pistol, and he went down."

4. Unarmed, mentally ill woman killed by Ohio cops called to help her

As reported by Counter Current News, Cleveland police officers recently killed a 37-year-old black woman who died after police slammed her head on the concrete, just outside of her family’s home. Her brother explained that Tanesha Anderson was pronounced dead at Cleveland Clinic after the assault by the Ohio cops. The pronouncement came early Thursday about two hours after the police “takedown” caused Anderson to bash her head on the concrete outside of her home.

“They killed my sister,” Joell Anderson, Tanesha’s 40-year-old brother said as he fought back tears. “I watched it.” Officers came to the house after a call from a family member who thought the police could calm the bi-polar Tanesha down, during an argument. Police came, responding to the situation as a “disturbing the peace” call. It seemed that everyone agreed Tanesha should undergo an evaluation at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, according to police sources. Two male officers escorted Tanesha Anderson, who was prescribed medication for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, to the police cruiser. She sat herself in the backseat but became nervous about the confined space and tried to get out, Anderson said. As Tanesha called out for her brother and mother, an officer used a “Judo” takedown move after having pressed her head down repeatedly in the backseat in what seemed to be a “smothering” manner. Joell says that after she hit her head on the concrete, and the officer placed his knee on her back, she never opened her eyes or spoke another word.

To add insult to injury, Joell says that his sister’s sundress was lifted above her waist, where it remained as officers refused to administer any aid to the unconscious woman. Joell says that he was forced to go over and use his own jacket to cover her naked lower body, because police would not, even when he asked them to.

In speaking about his sister after her death, Joell described his sister as “outgoing, silly, always joking.” Unfortunately, he said, “She just wasn’t doing very well that day.” But even on our bad days, people dealing with mental health issues don’t deserve to be killed by police, although this happens painfully often. Of course, the fact that Tanesha was black must be taken into consideration as well when looking at how quickly the police escalated to violence in this situation, as the tragic legacy of black men’s and women’s deaths at the hands of police continues.

5. Pennsylvania’s fracking ponds grow from 11 to 529 in only 9 years

In 2005, Pennsylvania had 11 frack water pits. Just eight years later, aerial maps show that number has jumped to 529. It’s unclear how many of these sites store fresh water used for fracking, and how many store the toxic wastewater that results from oil and gas drilling operations, because the state’s Department of Environmental Protection could not provide the data to public health researchers working on a health impact study funded by the National Institute of Health. The researchers had to turn to the nonprofit data sleuths from an enviro-digital organization called SkyTruth, who have documented the fracking ponds with the help of aerial imagery and citizen scientists from around the world. Since state environmental regulators have no reliable knowledge of where these sites are located, volunteers from across the globe studied the aerial images from 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2013. The accuracy of the data was carefully vetted by SkyTruth’s methodology, which included training on how to distinguish a frack pond from a duck pond. But the organization has not yet figured out how to distinguish the toxic from the non-toxic fresh water holding ponds. And of course, unless the fight against fracking grows stronger here in Canada, we could be looking at more and more toxic ponds of our own.

6. Fossil Free Guelph draws attention to divestment on campus

The campus organization has been stepping up its game in the struggle for fossil fuel divestment at the University of Guelph. Last week, they dropped an impressive banner on campus that read “It’s Not An Investment If It’s Wrecking The Planet” and “Investment Change NOT Climate Change”, and their petition to the University of Guelph’s Board of Governors for formal divestment of university funds from all fossil fuel corporations is up to 355 of 400 necessary signatures. Here’s what their letter says on the issue:

“We, the undersigned students, staff, and alumni at the University of Guelph, along with concerned citizens, call upon the Board of Governors of the University of Guelph to respond to the seriousness of climate change and immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, including the top 200 fossil-fuel companies (as defined by the Carbon Tracker Initiative), Enbridge Inc., Kinder Morgan Inc., TransCanada Corporation, and any subsidiaries of these companies. We also call upon the Board of Governors of the University of Guelph to completely divest from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds within three years. Public pressure to confront climate change is building and we believe such action on behalf of the University of Guelph will not only be a sound decision for your financial portfolio, but also for the well-being of current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity of a future that isn't defined by climate chaos.”

7. Grassy Narrows links capitalism and ecocide for National Child Day

The northern Ontario nation issued a moving statement on their website for National Child Day on November 20th, which reads as follows:

In Grassy Narrows we have children and youth that outnumber the adults in our total on reserve population of 800. These children and youth are true survivors as they inherit the legacy of a land devoured by consumerism – namely from the logging industry. This industry is also what dumped 9,000 kgs of mercury into the English Wabigoon river system effectively poisoning a water that is supposed to be life giving and is now life taking.

I will say to the readers that not all children in grassy narrows are disabled, but with each year, there are more children and youth born with health problems. The very sad part about all this, is with our continuous untiring effort to get justice there is nothing that will solve this loss of health and good life for these children and youth. We are at the front of the big mouth of consumerism and there is no humanity or compassion for these children and youth.

After many protests, Weyerhaeuser boycott, rallies, awareness pickets, information tours since 1975, we are still in the legacy of our children and youth being poisoned. The river is still flowing with its mercury laden sediment. We watch as our children inherit illnesses labeled with diseases that they cannot treat effectively in hospitals. We know it is because of mercury poisoning.

An example I will give is of a five year old child that cannot talk. The many medical doctors that have seen and assessed her cannot figure out how she can be so smart and yet not form words. She is not the only one with this mysterious ailment. Speech therapy does not help these children.

In closing, with this National Day of the Child, we seek justice for our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and we call on article 24 on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The river needs to be cleaned up to stop this unlawful relentless poisoning of innocent Anishinabe children at Grassy Narrows.

http://freegrassy.net/2014/11/20/statement-on-national-day-of-the-child/

Midway Music: Dancing in the Sky by Dani and Lizzy

Feature: “Ferguson, goddamn: No indictment for Darren Wilson is no surprise. This is why we protest.” by Syreeta McFadden for The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/24/ferguson-no-indictm...

Closing Song: Be Free by J. Cole

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