Voices from Russia

Monday, 8 May 2017

Dissent Denied: “Emergency” US State Law to Silence Protesters

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New laws intended to punish those exercising their constitutional right to disagree with existing legislation and policy will now see possible fines of up to 1 million USD (58.1 million Roubles. 6.9 million Renminbi. 64.3 million INR. 1.37 million CAD. 1.35 million AUD. 910,000 Euros. 770,000 UK Pounds) in the US state of Oklahoma after legislators rushed “emergency” anti-protest laws into effect. The new laws allow for increased fines on those found guilty in Oklahoma of engaging in protest actions that result in the damage of infrastructure, especially oil and gas equipment. They also include a new wrinkle, in which the state could fine those who support, or “conspire” (in the terms of the bill), with the protest up to one hundred times the amount levied on the guilty party. The new statutes allow fines for up to 10,000 USD (581,000 Roubles. 6,900 Renminbi. 643,000 INR. 13,700 CAD. 13,500 AUD. 9,100 Euros. 7,700 UK Pounds) against anyone found guilty of simply intending to destroy infrastructure. The state can assess fines up to 100,000 USD (5.81 million Roubles. 690,000 Renminbi. 6.43 million INR. 137,000 CAD. 135,000 AUD. 91,000 Euros. 77,000 UK Pounds) if protestors actually do real damage. However, the real kicker is a 1 million USD fine for any person or organisation found to be supporting an activist found guilty, including, ostensibly, human rights groups or medical, legal, and logistical assistance at the protest site.

The laws are in direct correlation with increased attempts across America to stymie any dissent against new petrochemical infrastructure, including pipelines and fracking wells. Considered a major oil and gas transfer hub for much of the USA, Oklahoma has a long history of its state government acting as a front for oil companies. According to The Intercept, the town of Cushing OK (the so-called “Oil Pipeline Crossroads of the World”) and surrounding regions saw a striking rise in earthquakes during the fracking boom due to the pumping of a toxic mix of wastewater and chemicals directly into the ground. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is a vocal supporter of the new legislation.

Many are suspicious of the loose wording of the new Oklahoma anti-protest laws, however. Doug Parr, a lawyer who has represented several environmental activists in Oklahoma, told The Intercept that the statute’s claims are too broad:

Say they lock themselves to a piece of construction equipment, and a claim can be made that there were damages from that trespass. Does this statute create a civil action for a pipeline company to then go after a person or organisation that posted a bond or helped pay for a lawyer for that civil disobedience? Those organising peaceful actions of civil disobedience can now be heavily penalised if any attendee chooses to take on a solo act, such as spray-painting a message on a wall. Suppose an organisation decides they want to support a perfectly legal, no civil disobedience, action. Somebody in that crowd, who came to the protest at the request of that organisation, then jumps the fence and runs in there, and spray-paints on a storage tank, “This equipment causes earthquakes. Shut it down”. These statutes could be used to attack that organisation and impose financial liability on them.

The Sierra Club’s Oklahoma head, Johnson Bridgwater, pointed out the possibly illegal ramifications of the new laws, stating:

We don’t necessarily know everyone who’s attending the events. There’s a strong and real fear that this could be used as an attempt to crush a group or a chapter of Sierra Club unfairly.

Common Dreams identified 19 new anti-protest bills in the USA, as of April 2. Similar legislation in Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota aims directly at civil disobedience actions that seek to stop or limit the expansion of petrochemical operations. Many see new laws in Minnesota and other states as responses to previous protest actions blocking roads and highways after white police killed unarmed black men and women in US cities. Referring to an earlier high-profile action of civil disobedience seeking to shut down the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Sierra Club’s Bridgwater observed:

We see all of these bills as nothing more than corporate America being fearful of how successful the Standing Rock protests were.

8 May 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/business/201705081053369767-us-state-law-silences-protest/

Sunday, 4 December 2016

4 December 2016. DAPL Stopped… FOR NOW… Will Trump Reverse the Order?

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There’s much glee about the supposed rerouting of the DAPL by the Army Corps of Engineers. I’d say that it’s much too early to break out the bubbly. Trump will take office in six weeks, and he’s got his own money invested in the pipeline. Furthermore, he’s an asshat who enjoys suckerpunching people. Therefore, just because Obama and the Corps of Engineers rejected the present route, doesn’t mean that Trump won’t reverse that order. There’s no call for any celebration yet. It’s time to organise… for when the plug-uglies pull a fast one (it’s not a question of “if”). Besides, the Corps didn’t nix the pipeline, it merely rerouted it, which means that DAPL is still a threat to the environment. I’d point up that’s there’s no call for joy in Mudville, yet. There’s every chance that the oligarchs are planning a riposte, with their boy in office. Have a care… the times are evil…

The First Nations won a reprieve for the time being, not a lasting victory (sad to say).

BMD

Sunday, 30 October 2016

30 October 2016. What’s Wrong With This Picture? The Bundys Get Off Scot-Free for Armed Rebellion… Natives Get Tasered for Expressing Free Speech

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The First Nations are defending their land again… the MSM refuses to cover their struggle. They’re too busy covering the lawless Bundys and their worthless scummer partners-in-crime. That’s why I HATE “conservatism”… it defends demented “religious” Yahoos with guns and it attacks natives defending sacred land. I’m not the only person to call that evil.

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This is a disgrace. The Bundys and their demented allies took over public facilities on public land by force, using arms. Native American protestors unite against a pipeline that threatens traditional sacred land. The Bundys got off scot-free for their lawless and anarchic behaviour… the Mormon Church (the Bundys are Mormons… why is that no surprise?) refuses to condemn them for their criminality. In contrast, the pipeline company sics attack dogs on the protestors, has its rent-a-cops taser them, and has the real cops arrest them (the protestors are often locked into dog kennels, reputable reports say).

What’s wrong with this picture? Note well that the drooling “conservative” crowd defends the gun-nutter Know Nothings and attacks the First Nation people. I hate “conservatism” more with each passing day. I especially despise their smarmy religiosity… as they have an amoral lack of any scruple when it comes to self-aggrandisement and self-enrichment. (Orthodox people… if you wonder why I hate Whiteford and Dreher so… that’s why). The Bundys engaged in a planned armed rebellion against the state. The Natives engage in spontaneous self-defence of traditional sacred land. I see a difference here… a vast difference.

I didn’t think that I could hate “conservatism” with a greater intensity… I was wrong. The world won’t be safe until we drive a stake into the heart of this infernal and diabolical ideology. Remember… “greed is good”… “winning is the only thing”… I’ve got to find a corner to be sick in…

BMD

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Miners from the Western Ukraine Stage Protest in Kiev

00 Donetsk. Monument to the Coal Miner. 31.08.14.

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On Wednesday, at least 1,000 miners staged a protest action at government buildings in Kiev. Workers from Lvov and Volyn Oblasts in the Western Ukraine took part in the rally. Coal miner union members demanded that the state amend the law “On Ukraine’s State Budget for 2015”, to include spending for stable work and development for the coal industry, labour protection, and wages for miners. The protest action participants drummed their helmets on government buildings’ concrete fences, carrying placards, “Tax on Miners’ Pensions… Government’s Disgrace”, “No to Shutdown of Mines”, “Our Coal… to Power Stations of the Western Region”, “State Without Coal… People without Electric Power”, shouting “Shame”. The protesters said that they have “haven’t been paid their wages since November”. They also demanded the return of cancelled social benefits. The rally participants refused to disperse, saying that they’d continue their action near the Ukrainian President’s building on Thursday.

28 January 2015

ITAR-TASS

http://itar-tass.com/en/world/773781

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