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Terminally Ill Father Finds Cure in Cannabis Oil but Now on Death Bed After Complying with CPS to Get Children Back*

Terminally Ill Father Finds Cure in Cannabis Oil but Now on Death Bed After Complying with CPS to Get Children Back*

Michael Brooks and his sons having fun at a visit. Source: Brooks family.

 

For nearly three years, Michael Brooks of Northwestern Tennessee has been fighting for his children and for his life. Faced with terminal Hepatitis C, he finally found a treatment that saved his life and brought him into remission.

However, Child Protective Services of Tennessee is using the very thing that brought him from the brink of death – cannabis oil – as grounds to take his children and place them into foster care.  He has been forced to choose between staying in Tennessee and accelerate towards his death or leaving to continue treatment in Colorado and risk being accused of abandoning his children.

In the summer of 2015, Michael, Jamie, and their young son Damon were recovering from lead poisoning that they had acquired from living in an old house.  Jamie was still pregnant with their second son, Elijah.

The couple was horrified to learn that Damon’s blood had high levels of lead, and the poisoning had affected more than 30% of his cognitive abilities.  Damon’s parents had noticed subtle behavioral changes like less eye contact, less social interaction, loss of affection, and the baby banging his head on the wall. They suspected that the baby had autism, but they never expected lead poisoning to be the culprit.

Damon started receiving some therapy, but Michael felt that it wasn’t enough and that he needed more help.  He decided to contact the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) to voice his concerns about his son not receiving sufficient help. He told Health Impact News that he had been under the impression that, when you need help with your family, you call DCS and they will help. In the beginning, it appeared that he might have been correct. DCS sent a therapist to their home.

However, once they were in the home, social workers from Child Protective Services (CPS) got involved and ultimately took Damon.  Michael said that DCS “reverse-engineered” the couple’s past domestic conflicts, which stemmed from the stress of dealing with terminal illness, and they took the baby.  Then, mandatory drug screenings ensued, showing Michael testing positive for THC, a psychoactive chemical in cannabis that alters brain function.  Michael said that CPS began to “run through my life with a fine-tooth comb.”

Traditional Medicine Had No Cure as Michael was Dying

Michael has advanced Hepatitis C that he acquired from a shared tattoo kit that he and his friends used to tattoo crosses on their arms in high school.  He is the only survivor of that group.  He had lived half of his life without knowing that he had the disease.  According to Michael:

They call it the silent killer, and for years it went undetected.  When it affects your internal organs is when you know you have it.

Michael had overlooked signs until he was in excruciating pain.  By the time he sought treatment, he was in the advanced stages.  He said:

I was prescribed life-destroying, addictive substances, over 20 different medicines, like oxycodone, morphine, and benzodiazepines.

He said that the medications were not only “harmful to the body and alters your personality,” but also “cost taxpayers a million dollars” in the past decade.  Additionally, he said that they offered little relief with regard to the pain, and they significantly decreased his quality of life.  He did not like the way the pain medications kept him from being present, in the moment, for his children.

As the disease progressed, Michael arrived at the point where traditional medicine could no longer help him.  His pancreas was so badly damaged that he had to go on diabetes medication, and he was developing cirrhosis of the liver.  He developed acquired haemophilia, and his blood platelet count was so low, that he was no longer eligible for traditional Hepatitis C treatment.  Michael is 6’2”, and at his lowest point weighed 123 lbs.  He was bleeding out of his eye sockets and pores of his skin. He said:

I crawled in my deathbed.  It was hell.  It scared me so much.  I just knew I was going to die.  I prayed for death.  It was the most intense suffering.  I didn’t think a human being could endure what I did.  Now, I know what to be afraid of.

Medical Cannabis Proves to be “Miracle” Cure

When he had his health, Michael was well-known for his talent for restoring antiques and building custom furniture.  He made a name for himself doing custom work for the stars, people like Hank Williams Jr. and Kid Rock.  Michael is bright and has an impeccable eye for detail.

So, when faced with the challenge of beating Hepatitis C, he took to the internet, researching alternative treatments for his condition.

When you’re desperate, you leave no stone unturned.

He was somewhat surprised when his research led him to medical cannabis.  He learned that it slowed down the progression of Hepatitis C.  For the first time since his diagnosis, he had hope.  The possibility that he might have more time to be a father to one-year-old Damon was exhilarating.  Being a good father to his son motivated him more than anything to seek to heal.

Michael contacted Phoenix Tears in Littleton, Colorado, where he learned that he could benefit greatly from cannabis oil.

I had not heard of medical cannabis.  I didn’t know about its medicinal properties.  But, I prayed about it and took it on good faith.  I thought, it could buy me some time.

He later discovered that “a guardian angel” had offered to pay for his treatment including travel and accommodations.  Ideally, he and his family would have moved to Colorado.  But, with an income of $800 a month for disability, it was not financially feasible.  Michael said:

We’re not wealthy enough to relocate.  It’s expensive to relocate to Colorado.

In time, cannabis oil proved to be a miracle medication that exceeded all of Michael’s expectations.  In seven months, the disease was completely eradicated from his body, and all of his internal organs were healing.  His blood platelet count was up, and he gained 50 lbs. He was off all of his other medications.

My viral load was undetectable.  My doctor cried! I had no idea what it was like to be healthy.  I was doing cartwheels at 47 years old!

Michael’s Health Declines after Ceasing Cannabis to Satisfy CPS Demands

If Michael chooses to stay in Tennessee and cease cannabis treatment in Colorado, he will have a clean drug screening.  If he chooses to leave the state for cannabis treatment in Colorado, CPS will view this as abandoning his children.  With the heart of a loving, nurturing father, Michael has chosen not to leave Tennessee.

My health is going downhill pretty fast.  I was the picture of health before they took my children.

Since he has been forced into mandatory drug testing by Tennessee CPS, he has relapsed back into the disease.  He understands the repercussions of his decision.  He said:

I’m literally dying.  I’m cooperating with this because I love my children.  I don’t count my life as worthy as their lives.  I choose to stay here and be run through the gauntlet.

The Children Suffer in DCS Care

Recently, Michael was told that Damon was having night terrors after visitation with him.  He said that DCS is saying that it is a result of the child seeing his father.  But, Michael disagrees.  He believes that it is because of the trauma of the child being separated from the people who love him. When their visits are over, Michael reports the heartbreak:

I have to pull my son off of my leg.

Michael fears that they will start putting his son on psychiatric drugs.  He longs to be more of a part of his children’s lives.  A while back, when he learned that his son had to have some testing done at Vanderbilt Hospital, Michael begged to be with him.  He said:

I wanted to be there, to love and comfort my son while he goes through such an atrocious event.  I wanted to crawl up in the bed with my son, comfort him where everybody is stabbing him under florescent lights.

Michael was devastated when his request was denied.

Michael said that his kids are being neglected while in DCS custody.  He spoke of a recently supervised visitation at a facility where the kids were playing with toys that had corrosive battery panels.

It was to the point that they were leaking acid—the bin was soaking wet.  I poured the bin out with battery acid.

He said that this was while a caseworker was on her phone “Facebooking” the whole time.  That day Michael had an employee sign a document stating that he witnessed the incident.

Supportive Case Workers Removed from Case

Michael said that there have been many caseworkers, about a dozen since his family’s involvement with CPS, who were supportive of him.  However, they have all been removed.  He said that two caseworkers quit their job because of his family’s situation.  In fact, he said that the first social worker quit three days into his case.

Note: This is very common in most of the Medical Kidnap stories that Health Impact News has reported. At least 75% of the parents who have shared their stories with us have told us that at least one social worker quit or was fired specifically because of their case.

Michael’s Biggest Regret – Calling DCS

Although it was done out of the desire to advocate for his son, the biggest regret of Michael’s life is that fateful phone call to DCS.  He says that at the time he thought, “these are the people we need in our lives.”  Of all of the resources in their area, he felt that DCS could offer the most help.  Laden with guilt, he now continually apologizes to his family:

I’m so sorry for what I’ve put you through … I was so honest with them [DCS].  Honest to a fault.

Despite having one of his doctors offer to testify as an expert witness to the benefit and necessity of cannabis, Judge Mark Johnson has not changed his stance on the issue.

Michael said that, in the beginning, the children were being kept in custody on the basis of his use of “an illicit substance” despite being “warned about the dangers of cannabis around children and disregarding it.”  Now that he has stopped cannabis treatment, their reasons have changed.

They’re saying I’m too sick to take care of my children.

A Dying Father’s Message for His Children

Michael told Health Impact News:

I will continue to decline in health, and will die unless I take my health into my own hands.  I can’t take Hepatitis C medication—it will wipe me out.  There’s nothing that they could do.

Michael said that his local doctor is a Christian who prays with him and wants him to go back to Colorado for treatment.  The doctor told him:

You need to go do what you gotta do.  You’ve got a lot of organ damage.  You were well on your way to recovery [before ceasing cannabis use].

The heart of the matter, however, is that Michael does not want to do anything that could be viewed as abandoning his children.  He wants his boys to know that he would never abandon them and that he is fighting for them—even at the expense of his own life.  He loves his children more than anything, and he just wants to hold them and love on them, like a good father would.

On April 7, Judge Clayburn Peeples is scheduled to terminate Michael’s parental rights, which will make way for the boys’ foster parents to finalize the adoption.

See other stories where someone thought that Child Protective Services could help in a difficult situation, but ended up making the situation far worse:

How You Can Help:

Governor Bill Haslam may be reached at 615-741-2001 or contacted here. His Facebook is here.  His Twitter is here.

Representative Curtis Halford of House District 79 may be reached at 615-741-7478 or contacted here.

Senator John Stevens of Senate District 24 may be reached at 615-741-4576 or contacted here.

Michael’s GoFundMe called Triumph to Tragedy is here.

Gibson County Department of Children’s Services may be reached at 731-855-7864.

Source*

Related Topics:

Public School System Exposed for Reporting Parents to CPS for Homeschooling*

Arizona Child Traffick Racketeering via CPS and Doctors on Trial before U.S. Supreme Court*

Homeschooling Family Sues CPS*

Three Texas CPS Agents Indicted*

CPS Takes Grandchildren as Grandmother Flees for her Life*

 

 

Keystone XL Foes Brace for Battle*

Keystone XL pipeline segments Credit:Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Keystone XL Foes Brace for Battle

 

President Donald Trump approves permit for Keystone XL Pipeline across Canadian border re-igniting opposition

President Donald Trump’s approval of the cross-border permit that would allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be laid across the 49th Parallel eliminates the hurdle that stopped it in 2015. But other obstacles have cropped up in the meantime, and opponents of the TransCanada project in both the U.S. and Canada are joining forces to fight the pipeline—led by Indigenous Peoples.

“Today, the fight to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline begins anew—and Donald Trump should expect far greater resistance than ever before,” said Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

“Indigenous people are rising up and fighting like our lives, sovereignty, and climate depend on it—because they do. Over and over again, we’ve seen Trump choose the profits of his billionaire friends over our sovereign, treaty and human rights. It shows a clear disregard of our tribal rights to consent and self-determination, and it is unacceptable in this day and age.”

Trump had signed executive orders and memoranda days after taking office that were designed to move forward both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Soon afterward the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave Energy Transfer Partners the last permit it needed to drill under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. And on Friday March 24, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon signed a permit for TransCanada “to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the U.S.-Canadian border in Phillips County, Montana for the importation of crude oil,” according to a State Department press release. (Newly appointed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, had recused himself from the decision, according to McClatchy newswire.)

“Today we begin to make things right,” Trump said on Friday March 24, according to The New York Times.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said the approval would do anything but. Chairman David Archambault II decried the Keystone XL approval and vowed that the tribe would fight it as vociferously as it had stood ground against DAPL.

“Once again, the treaty lands of the Great Sioux Nation are threatened by Keystone—a perilous pipeline,” Archambault said in a statement.

“President Trump has described the proposed pipeline as ‘the greatest technology known to man or woman.’ If that is the case, then I would encourage him to do some research and look at the number of oil spills we’ve experienced throughout this country, the levels of water pollution, and the science behind climate change. This is not the way of the future.”

The $8 billion pipeline is slated to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of viscous bitumen from the Alberta Oil Sands in Canada, to the U.S. and eventually to the Gulf Coast for likely export. Given the need to reduce fossil fuel extraction and consumption, Obama in 2015 declared it was not in the best interests of the United States.

The project has been hit with resistance in both the U.S. and Canada.

“Governments should be supporting action to fight climate change and support Indigenous rights, not trying to ram through projects like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline,” said Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart in a statement from the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, a consortium of 122 First Nations and tribes on both sides of the border.

“Indigenous peoples across the continent will stand together to protect our rights and our traditional territories.”

The indigenous groups oppose expansion of the Alberta oil sands in general and has been working to block passage of various pipeline and rail projects to transport crude from that region.

Trump’s actions do not ensure that the pipeline will be built. It lacks permits in key areas, and some of its existing permits have expired elsewhere, meaning the company will have to reapply. And opponents such as Bold Nebraska, where the route remains unapproved, plan to step up their game.

“TransCanada still has no state permit or approved route in Nebraska,” Bold Nebraska said in a statement. “The Nebraska Public Service Commission just launched an 8-12 month review of their pipeline route permit application. The process includes public hearings and formal ‘intervenor’ proceedings that will take legal, Treaty and water experts.”

Also standing between TransCanada and approval “is the core group of brave farmers and ranchers, who for seven years have refused to give in to TransCanada’s threats of using eminent domain for their private gain,” Bold Nebraska said.

“Landowners have fought the TransCanada’s attempts to seize their land against their will and continue to fight this abuse of eminent domain for private gain in the courts.”

With exemptions to Trump’s stated requirement that Keystone XL be made with U.S. instead of foreign steel, plus the minimal number of jobs that would be created, are not engendering much faith in the project’s necessity.

“The Trump Administration’s review of this toxic pipeline was tainted from the beginning, leaving no doubt that Trump would try to force this pipeline through regardless of the consequences it would have on the communities it touches, or on our climate,” Goldtooth said. “We’ve stopped the toxic Keystone XL Pipeline once, and we will do it again. Indigenous nations stand united not just here in the U.S. but around the world. This fight is not over, it is just beginning.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Two Major Pipelines Spill the Same Week Trump Advances KXL, DAPL*

Trump Signing Executive Order Forcing Continuation of DAPL and Keystone XL*

Canada Forcing the Indigenous to Give Up their Land*

Native Tribes in U.S. and Canada Sign Treaty Again Opposing Oil Pipelines*

In Alaska, Indigenous Voices Raised in the Struggle Between Life and Oil*

 

U.S.-Led Coalition Bombs School in Raqqa*

U.S.-Led Coalition Bombs School in Raqqa*

More than 30 Syrian civilians were killed when the U.S.-led coalition bombed a school in the town of al-Mansour in the Raqqa province, Turkish Anadolu news agency reported.

Earlier in the day, an informed source cited by the SANA news agency also said that the U.S.-led coalition raid struck a school south of the town of Mansour, nearly 19 miles west of Raqqa. Unverified reports estimated up to 33 people may have been killed in the strike. The school was being used as a shelter for refugees.

The refugees were peaceful citizens who had fled the fighting from the cities of Aleppo, Raqqa and Palmyra and had come to al-Mansour for safety.

The province of Raqqa is still under the control of Daesh terrorists, but there are also Syrian civilians living there.

The bombing killed mostly women and children. It is noteworthy to point out that it was the Syrian Human Rights Monitoring Centre that confirmed the attack as being carried out by the western coalition.

Following the attack, the official representative of the western coalition told CBS News that there is yet no evidence that civilians were killed in an airstrike. He highlighted that the coalition is quite serious about such information and is checking it thoroughly.

Informed sources told SANA news agency earlier in the day that the school, which served as a shelter for 50 refugee families, was completely destroyed.

The news agency also reported about an airstrike on the Tabqa region in the western part of Raqqa, killing at least 40.

Furthermore, there were reports that the coalition had bombed a mosque in the village of al-Jin in Aleppo where people were praying at the time. As a result of the bombing locals took out 42 bodies from under the rubble.

On Friday, U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said that the strike targeted an adjacent building. Davis also said that the Pentagon was not “aware of any credible allegation of civilian casualties.” The strike killed 42 people, most of them civilians, as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday.

However, despite oral testimonies of activists and photographic materials, the Pentagon hastened to state that the aircraft dropped bombs not on the mosque, but on the building next to it where al-Qaeda militants were allegedly hiding.

A representative of the U.S. Central Command, Colonel John Thomas, said that the evidence provided by the activists will be carefully studied and the incident will be investigated but he did not specify what measures will be taken against the perpetrators who killed innocent civilians.

It is becoming quite clear that the mainstream media doesn’t like to highlight failures of the international coalition. It is not only in Syria but in Iraq too that the media fails to cover attacks carried out by the U.S.-led coalition. For example, when covering the operation in Mosul most of the mainstream media preferred not to stress their audience’s attention on civilian casualties and the humanitarian situation in the region.

The liberation of Aleppo, which took place at the end of 2016, was also presented from a different perspective. The leading mainstream media covering Aleppo emphasized the suffering of the city’s residents who were forced to leave their homes and flee.

However, the fact that the Russian and Syrian military created special corridors for safe passage of the civilians was not highlighted.

The situation around the city was assessed as a humanitarian disaster with journalists claiming that it was unfolding against the backdrop of war crimes allegedly committed by government troops.

There were about 100,000 civilians held hostage in Aleppo, whereas, in Mosul in Iraq there are more than 750,000 people who cannot exit the city due to the presence of terrorists; however, the media hasn’t highlighted that enough.

On March 4, a monthly report by the Combined Joint Task Force said that “at least 220 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition’s strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve” and expressed regret over the loss of lives.

Source*

Related Topics:

Syrian Army Gains Upper Hand in Damascus Fighting*

Trump-Israel Struggling to Save ISIS to divide and Conquer Syria and Iraq*

Syria’s Water Cut off by Turkey Following McCain, Erdogan Meeting*

“E.U. has been supporting the terrorists in Syria from the very beginning”*

Syrian Education Ministry Launches the Psychological and Social Support Guide*

USD 8 million is the Value of Syrian Fruit and Vegetable Exports to Belarus in Past 3 months*

Public Buses in Aleppo take to the Streets after 5 Years of U.S.’s ISIS war on Syria*

Amnesty Int’l Admits Syria’s ‘torture prison’ Report Fabricated Entirely in U.K.*

Priceless Ancient Seed Bank Saved from Destruction in Syria*

The Congolese in their Struggle for Freedom*

The Congolese in their Struggle for Freedom*

By Daniel Fisher

Congolese people continue to pay a steep price in their resistance to a dictatorial regime backed by the U.S. and its allies. The world takes little notice. Congo is an immensely rich nation, but it is among the poorest due to a history of political meddling and resource theft by Western powers. The time has come to stand in solidarity with Congolese people.

Thirty-four Congolese civilians were murdered last December and hundreds detained after calling for President Joseph Kabila to respect his constitutional term limits and leave office. If you are anything like the average American, you probably haven’t heard any coverage of the Congolese youth risking their lives for political, social, and economic justice. News from Central Africa is sporadic, decontextualized and confined to a modern version of the ‘dark continent’ narrative.

Researchers have found that there is “a widespread belief in broadcasting that audiences are not interested in factual programming on the developing world.”

But: “Apparent in all of the groups was a greatly increased level of interest in the subject matter once the conflict was understood as resulting from a system of relationships in which the group members themselves were in some way involved.”

In other words, contextualized discussions re-conceptualized African problems as human problems that are interconnected to global structural problems.

The western corporate press is either silent or frames Congolese news in the least productive way imaginable. As we go about creating a new media in light of the abject failures of our corporate mainstream media, we must make sure we don’t leave behind some of the most courageous and democratically principled people on the planet: the Congolese population.

The ghost of Christmas past

Throughout King Leopold II of Belgium’s life he sought to acquire territory around the world for colonial purposes. In the mid-1870 he found a piece of territory that he believed had immense potential for riches: the remaining territory of the Kingdom of Kongo.

Subsequently, Leopold launched a propaganda campaign to gain formal recognition of his territory which he would later rename the Congo Free State. Pushed by lobbying efforts from the United States Chamber of Commerce, wealthy businessman Henry Shelton Sanford, and Congressional allies like former Confederate General/then Alabama Senator John Tyler Morgan, the United States broke the glass ceiling for King Leopold by becoming the first country to formally recognize his colony.

It would be a costly recognition. Leopold’s 23-year reign as owner of the ‘Congo Free State’ would kill an estimated 10 million Congolese. King Leopold unleashed one of the largest state terrorist campaigns in modern history. His 23-year imperial rule institutionalized beheadings and forced children to rape/kill their mothers/sisters if they did not meet their forced labor quotas on palm oil plantations.

Overcoming decades of brutality, Congo won its independence in 1960. In their first election as a free country, they elected anti-colonialist Patrice Lumumba. The 34-year-old’s time as prime minister would be short-lived. Immediately the United States sought to remove him from power. Former head of the CIA Allen Dules stated that Lumumba’s “removal must be an urgent and prime objective” of covert action. President Eisenhower “expressed his wish that Lumumba would fall into a river full of crocodiles.”

The prospect of Congolese citizens self-determining how to allocate resources was simply too risky for the United States. At first, the CIA tried to poison Lumumba but couldn’t get close enough. Undeterred, the United States decided they would pay off future 40-year dictator Mobutu Seseseko to murder him. By handing the Congo to one of the most notorious kleptocrats of the 20th century, the United States and other western allies ensured this would be the last peaceful transfer of power until today. With funding and military assistance, the United States and its western allies would help Mobutu crush and rob the Congo (which he renamed Zaire) of its natural resources until the end of the last century.

In the early 1990s, Congolese youth again overcame a brutal regime and took to the streets to demand democratic reforms. With great sacrifice, they slowly won reforms from the government. At the same time, America was shifting from Cold War dictatorial allies to a ‘new generation’ of leaders who would open their countries up to neoliberal reforms under the guise of promotion of democracy.

Mobutu was suddenly described as a ‘dinosaur’ who had to step down immediately. If he refused the U.S. and its allies would have the ‘responsibility to protect’ the Congolese citizens. This responsibility to protect doctrine would prove to be a leading argument for humanitarian imperialism.

Mobutu refused to leave power and so began what is typically referred to as Congo’s first war (1996-1997). United States regional allies successfully invaded Congo (Zaire) and successfully overthrew Mobutu and installed Laurent Kabila as leader of the newly named Democratic Republic of Congo. Laurent proved to not be as willing to allow the West and regional allies to loot Congolese resources as originally imaged.

Again, the American allies invaded DRC and, in 2001, assassinated Laurent Kabila and installed his son, Joseph Kabila, as president of the DRC. The war resulted in approximately 5 million deaths. Following the war, the United Nations found that Rwanda and Uganda systematically looted billions of dollars in resources from the DRC. Uganda was ordered to pay $10 billion by the International Court of Justice for their plundering. Apparently, after almost a decade, paying the fine is still being considered by President Yoweri Museveni.

The minerals include cassiterite, or tin ore, as well as coltan, used in devices such as mobile phones

 

The idea of humanitarian imperialism is quite striking. Namely, our allies could openly repress their populations, but if enemies of the state violated democratic principles they could be overthrown for humanitarian purposes. For example, Rwanda for a decade has been carrying out a global assassination campaign of Rwandans who have fled President Kagame’s autocratic regime. Presidential candidates have been jailed and former military officials have been killed for challenging Kagame’s narrative of the Rwandan genocide as well as his role in it. Yet, the U.S. continues to praise Kagame as a shining example of democratic values. President Museveni meanwhile has successfully blocked an international criminal court investigation into atrocities committed during the Congo war.

The ghost of Christmas present

Since being appointed as the head of the DRC, Joseph Kabila has won presidential elections twice. Both times were rife with voter suppression and irregularities. In 2011, Kabila was not able to secure 50% of the vote, but that was enough. Before the election he successfully removed the electoral runoff requirement. Despite the voter repression and boxes of votes apparently never counted, the United States endorsed the election results both times.

Throughout Joseph Kabila’s tenure he has jailed protesters, incorporated war criminals into positions of power, and unleashed his security forces on the Congolese population to quash dissent. The U.S. has at most voiced ‘concern’ (they endorsed plans to incorporate Rwandan war criminals into the Congolese security forces and were silent on the runoff removal) but has continued to support the Kabila regime because he allows (and gets a cut of) American allies to plunder Congolese resources.

As long as Kabila allowed access to what NATO refers to as critical resources and what the Pentagon calls strategic minerals, the U.S. would allow him to consolidate power by robbing the Congolese population of billions of dollars for his corporate western partners and himself.

The U.S. has gone as far as blocking language condemning the Rwandan M23 proxy invasion in 2012. After a year of the M23 using child soldiers, murdering civilians, raping women, and occupying cities to solidify criminal resource smuggling networks, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Kagame and told him to knock it off. Bosco Ntaganda would emerge from the woods and turn himself in to the ICC shortly after the call.

About a decade ago the United Nations recommended actions taken against western corporations for illegal dealings in the DRC, but again, the report was ignored by all parties. The social consequences are devastating. The United Nations Human Development Index ranks the DRC near dead last. Humanitarian intervention doesn’t apply when it suits our geopolitical interests.

But now Kabila’s second term has ended. Thanks to the courageous activism of Congolese youth, years of trying to change the constitution to increase the term limits have failed. Unsurprisingly, they have paid a heavy price. LUCHA, Telema, and other Congolese civilians have been killed (the UN described the pattern of killings as shoot-to-kill orders) and arbitrarily detained for demanding Kabila follow the constitution and to stop stealing billions of dollars of their resources.

LUCHA activist Luc Nkulula described why Kabila is having difficulty crushing the Congolese youth:

“The government is scared of us because we are calling for change and we are not like the opposition groups it is used to dealing with. We have no single leader so the government does not know how to control us.” A true democratic movement.

Instead of throwing diplomatic weight behind these peaceful democratic youth groups, the United States has reduced their statements to a timely election (that is, years past the constitutional deadline). Even more disgusting, the United States issued its standard “both-sides-should-stop” statement that is eerily similar to Obama’s call for the American indigenous population and the North Dakota police to BOTH knock off the violence.

Spokesman John Kirby stated,

“We appeal to all sides to exercise restraint and refrain from statements or actions that could incite further violence.”

A meaningless statement. The press didn’t ask a single follow up question after this statement, instead the discussion largely focused on Russia.

At the same time the United States is calling for Kabila to not change the constitution, they are silent about Kagame changing the constitution so he can run for a third term! To the United States, the DRC must continue to be a weak state for the Congolese people. The only function of a state that the DRC is allowed to exercise is violence on their population. This suppresses Congolese self-determination. At the same time, the DRC’s designed institutional corruption allows the US to maintain a footprint in a critical part of the continent while wearing a humanitarian veil.

The ghost of Christmas future

Unfortunately, for Congo it may soon find itself in the war on terror narrative. As one LUCHA activist put it, “If the government squashes the Lucha, this not only means the failure of the Lucha, but the failure of non-violence, which is extremely dangerous.”

That’s probably okay in the United States’ mind, for one, the United Nations Security Council has already approved a drone program in the DRC. A resolution passed under the cover of the Rwandan sponsored M23 invasion. As the U.S. continues to expand the world as a battlefield through drone warfare, raw materials required for drone assembly will become increasingly critical. The U.S. has no domestic coltan so expect the ‘American interests’ in the region to expand in a country that has 24 trillion dollars’ worth of mineral reserves.

 

Days to leaving office, Obama formally declared war on Al-Shabab. The United States and the Africa Union rely heavily on Ugandan troops in Somalia. “Kampala is the political equivalent of a brokerage firm for rebels, rebellions and peace missions. It has more troops abroad than any other country aside of the U.S. itself.” That will mean the continuation or furthering of American diplomatic immunity provided to corrupt Congolese forces and the American regional allies.

As Central Africa is incorporated into the war on terror and the United States continues its long legacy of defining democracy as choosing between candidates that ensure access to ‘American interests’ we must counter this narrative with a deeper contextual discussion of African problems as our problems. Supporting and standing in solidarity with groups such as Friends of Congo, Telema, and LUCHA will begin to make up for the atrocities committed in our names. Challenges to corrupt institutions are rightly being covered by alternative news outlets, but we will never be able to create a just world system without standing in solidarity and listening to those who have experienced the brunt of the injustice.

Source*

Related Topics:

The Secret Race to get Congo’s Uranium to Destroy Hiroshima*

How the World Runs on Looting the Congo*

U.S. Sponsors Rape in Congo*

Leaked Trump Presidential Memo Would Free U.S. Companies to Buy Conflict Minerals from Central African Warlords*

You’re not a ‘Hitler’ if you Kill Ten Million Africans*

What Does Ebola, Gas and Oil Have in Common?*

 

ND Governor Orders Immediate Evacuation of Oceti Sakowin Camp*

ND Governor Orders Immediate Evacuation of Oceti Sakowin Camp*

By Levi Rickert

Photo by Jenni Monet

North Dakota  Governor Doug Burgum on Wednesday afternoon issued an Evacuation Order of Oceti Sakowin camp “effective immediately.”

With between 300 to 400 campers still camping on Wednesday at Oceti Sakowin camp, several have been attempted to leave the camp. Reports out of camp are Morton County sheriff deputies have been stationed at the main entrance to the camp and been arresting some attempting to leave. Personal belongings are being confiscated. 

… February 14, 2017, Maj. French Pope of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Headquarters Operations Center will visit the main protest camp – which lies on Corps-managed federal land – to assess the situation and determine what resources are needed to complete the environmental cleanup before potential major spring flooding arrives.

The following statement was issued by the Governor Burgum on Tuesday:

“With near-record high temperatures expected later this week and significant meltwater flooding already occurring, the situation grows increasingly unsafe by the day. Immediate action is needed to protect human life and prevent any further pollution of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers. Today’s assessment by the Army Corps of Engineers is crucial to accelerating the cleanup process so this land can be properly cleared of garbage, structures, vehicles and human waste before it washes into the rivers. We cannot afford to wait any longer.

The National Weather Service reports that watersheds including the Knife, Heart, and Cannonball rivers should be on the watch for rising water levels and an increased risk of ice-related high water near the end of the week.

Source*

Related Topics:

Police and Military Attack Oceti Sakowin Treaty Camp*

Company Behind DAPL Reported 69 Accidents, Polluted Rivers in 4 States in Only 2 Years*

Trump’s Latest Executive Order Means More Criminalization of Protests*

White House Comment Line Back in Operation: Call Today with Your #NoDAPL Comment – 202-456-1111*

California City of Davis Divests from Wells Fargo in DAPL Protest*

Louisiana Pipeline Explodes, Injuring 2 Workers and Leaving 1 Missing*

NFL Players Pull out of Israel Propaganda Tour*

NFL Players Pull out of Israel Propaganda Tour*

By Michael F. Brown

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, left, talks to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, following a 37-18 Seattle victory at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, 25 September 2016. In solidarity with Palestinians, Bennett this week pulled out of an Israeli-government backed propaganda junket for NFL players.

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, left, talks to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, following a 37-18 Seattle victory at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, 25 September 2016. In solidarity with Palestinians, Bennett this week pulled out of an Israeli-government backed propaganda junket for NFL players.

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, left, talks to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, following a 37-18 Seattle victory at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, 25 September 2016. In solidarity with Palestinians, Bennett this week pulled out of an Israeli-government backed propaganda junket for NFL players.

Joe Nicholson USA TODAY Sports

Immediately after contributing to his team’s Super Bowl victory last Sunday, Martellus Bennett of the New England Patriots was asked what he thought about an upcoming visit to Mexico to represent the National Football League (NFL).

“Tear down the wall! Tear down the wall! That’s what I think about going to Mexico,” he cried.

Bennett then became the first of a number of Patriots players who confirmed they would skip a visit with President Donald Trump at the White House.

Hasbara tour

But The Forward reported that Bennett would be taking a different trip. Along with 11 other NFL players he would be “heading to Israel after the team’s historic win on a hasbara, or Israeli public relations tour for American football players.”

The headline even quoted Bennett purportedly declaring, “I’m going to Israel.”

Palestinians living under a system Human Rights Watch has labeled “separate and unequal,” would surely wonder how Bennett could oppose Trump’s plans to extend the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but be unconcerned about the impact of Israel’s wall on occupied Palestinian land. Trump has explicitly praised Israel’s wall-building as his model.

But in a week of sudden reversals, Dave Zirin reported for The Nation that despite media reports that Bennett would go to Israel, he had “confirmed that this is not the case.”

Zirin noted that other players named in a Times of Israel report on the planned junket “are reevaluating whether they will attend.”

By Friday night three of the players named as potential participants – Martellus Bennett, his brother Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks and Kenny Stills of the Miami Dolphins – had repudiated the trip.

Players pull out

In an open letter published by The Nation on Thursday afternoon, activists, writers and athletes, including Angela Davis, Alice Walker, John Carlos and Craig Hodges, appealed to the NFL players to reconsider participation in the trip. Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover later signed the letter.

They praised the athletes for using their celebrity “to shed light about and support various struggles including Black Lives Matter,” and lauded those who had announced they would not go to the White House.

They urged the players not to allow themselves to be used as part of a propaganda campaign “to help the Israeli government normalize and whitewash its ongoing denial of Palestinian rights.”

The same day, NFL player and rights activist Michael Bennett tweeted he would not be going.

In a fuller statement released on Twitter and Instagram Friday night, Michael Bennett said he would “not be used” by Israel’s government. He recalled that the late Muhammad Ali, one of his heroes, “always stood strongly with the Palestinian people.”

“I want to be a ‘voice for the voiceless,’” Bennett added,

“and I cannot do that by going on this kind of trip to Israel.”

pic.twitter.com/7KERLCguoh

— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) February 11, 2017

The Dolphins’ Kenny Stills retweeted Bennett’s statement, adding, “Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m in!” – indicating he was also bowing out of the trip.

Couldn’t have said it any better. I’m in! https://t.co/F1vFBVJlmR

— Kenny Stills (@KSTiLLS) February 11, 2017

Martellus Bennett also retweeted his brother’s statement.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) thanked Michael Bennett “for standing on the right side of history, for justice and equality.”

Thank you @mosesbread72 for standing on the right side of history, for justice & equality. NFL champion says no to #Trump & #Netanyahu #BDS https://t.co/dWEIt0QpNo

— BDS Movement (@BDSmovement) February 10, 2017

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who is not going, but has been in the public eye due to his decision not to stand for the national anthem in support of Black Lives Matter activists, retweeted to his one million followers a tweet stating that anyone protesting Trump’s Muslim ban, would surely also have to be “livid about the apartheid tactics Israel forces on Palestinian Muslims.”

Denver Broncos running back Justin Forsett also announced on Saturday via Twitter that he would not be going on the trip, and shared Michael Bennett’s statement. But Forsett added that “we made the decision before all this info came out” – an apparent reference to the Israeli government’s propaganda goals.

For those who are wondering I will not be on this trip to Israel. https://t.co/RlZHLUQfKK

— Justin Forsett (@JForsett) February 11, 2017

We made the decision before all this info came out.

— Justin Forsett (@JForsett) February 11, 2017

Other players named as participants in the junket are Cliff Avril, Delanie Walker, Mychal Kendricks, Cameron Jordan, Calais Campbell, Carlos Hyde, Dan Williams. Former NFL linebacker Kirk Morrison is also expected to participate.

Damaged brand

Several days ago the Israeli parliament passed legislation retroactively legalizing the theft of large tracts of private Palestinian land for Israeli colonization.

This generated a storm of international protests, even from Israel’s closest allies such as the European Union, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Israel’s propaganda officials hope the American football players’ visit will be a welcome distraction and a chance to burnish Israel’s badly damaged brand.

“I see great importance in the arrival of this delegation of NFL stars to Israel,” Gilad Erdan, Israel’s strategic affairs minister who is in charge of combating the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, said.

The junket is an initiative of Erdan’s own ministry along with the tourism ministry and America’s Voice in Israel, a group whose mission is “to bolster Israel’s image in the United States by bringing media and radio personalities” to the country.

Erdan confirmed the overtly propagandistic intent of the visit, stating that the NFL players would “present the beautiful face of Israel to their tens of millions of fans in the United States,” to help offset the impact of BDS.

Israel has allocated a huge budget to this effort with little effect. In a recent strategic document, the Anti-Defamation League and the Reut Institute, two key organizations that oppose Palestinian rights, reportedly conclude that the fight against BDS has failed.

Meanwhile, despite a multi-million dollar advertising campaign by the tourism ministry – including celebrity junkets – the number of visitors to Israel has continued to fall.

Commenting on Israel’s faltering strategy, Clayton Swisher observed,

“You’re losing when your country legalizes apartheid and then invites a mishmash of NFL players to try and make it look normal.”

You’re losing when your country legalizes Apartheid and then invites a mishmash of @NFL players to try and make it look normal #Israel #BDS https://t.co/tUCU9eQVyA

— Clayton Swisher (@claytonswisher) February 6, 2017

Swisher, an investigative reporter for Al Jazeera, recently presented a four-part film called The Lobby shedding light on Israel’s covert efforts in the U.K. to win friends and punish perceived enemies.

Imbruglia cancels

Activists hoping that there is still time to persuade more NFL players to bow out will be encouraged by what looks like another victory.

BDS campaigners have been urging Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia to cancel a 1 March concert in Israel.

The Tel Aviv date appears to have been recently removed from her official tour schedule and is marked as “canceled” on her Facebook page.

 

Source*

Related Topics:

Israel’s Lobby Lawsuits Aim to Slow Boycott in Spain*

Iceland’s Capital Votes to Boycott All Israeli Products*

U.S. Labor Board Affirms Union’s Right to Boycott Israel*

First “boycott ban” Case Defeated in U.K. High Court*

Netherlands Rejects Calls by Israel to Ban ‘Boycott of Israel’*

Israeli Minister: “Brussels Wouldn’t Be Attacked If E.U. Didn’t Boycott Israeli Products.”*

Army Corps Clears Way for DAPL Construction*

Army Corps Clears Way for DAPL Construction*

A North Dakota National Guard vehicle idles on the outskirts of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S.

A North Dakota National Guard vehicle idles on the outskirts of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S.

 

The previously denied easement was granted just weeks after President Donald Trump’s executive order reviving the pipeline.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted Tuesday the final easement needed to finish the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, according to a court filing seen by Reuters.

The pipeline had been delayed for several months after protests from Native American tribes and climate activists. The US$3.8 billion line, which is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, needed a final permit to tunnel under Lake Oahe, a reservoir that is part of the Missouri River.

President Donald Trump, days after being sworn in, issued an executive order directing the Army Corps to smooth the path to finishing the line. Tuesday’s filing was made in U.S. Federal District Court in Washington, D.C.

In December, under the watch of former President Barack Obama, the Army Corps had previously stated they would undertake a further environmental review of the project.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation is adjacent to the line’s route, said last week they will fight the decision arguing that the Army Corps cannot circumvent a scheduled environmental impact study that was ordered in January.

The tribe along with thousands of water protectors had fought the line for months attracting national and international solidarity, fearing contamination of the local drinking water source and damage to sacred sites on Indigenous land.

Their protests, along with those of climate activists, resulted in the Obama administration’s decision to delay a final permit that would allow construction under the Missouri River.

Source*

Related Topics:

Standing Rock Sioux Speak Out Following Violent Removal of Water Protectors*

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Message to Water Protectors and Allies*

Call on Feds to Consult with Tribes, Follow the Rule of Law before Moving Forward on Oil Pipeline*

Trump Blocked From Addressing U.K. Parliament for ‘Racism and Sexism’*