Think Progress: “A Startling Admission By The Ferguson Prosecutor Could Restart The Case Against Darren Wilson.”


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From Think Progress

A Startling Admission By The Ferguson Prosecutor Could Restart The Case Against Darren Wilson

BY JUDD LEGUM

 

Ferguson prosecutor Bob McCulloch admitted that he presented evidence he knew to be false to the grand jury considering charges against Darren Wilson. In an interview with radio station KTRS on Friday, McCulloch said that he decided to present witnesses that were “clearly not telling the truth” to the grand jury. Specifically, McCulloch acknowledged he permitted a woman who “clearly wasn’t present when this occurred” to testify as an eyewitness to the grand jury for several hours. The woman, Sandra McElroy, testified that Michael Brown charged at Wilson “like a football player, head down,” supporting Wilson’s claim that he killed Brown in self-defense.

 

McElroy, according to a detailed investigation by The Smoking Gun, suffers from bipolar disorder but is not receiving treatment and has a history of making racist remarks. In a journal entry, McElroy wrote that she was visiting Ferguson on the day of Michael Brown’s death because she wanted to “stop calling Blacks N****** and Start calling them people.” McElroy also has had trouble with her memory since being thrown through a windshield in a 2001 auto accident.

 

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch Breaks Silence

 

McCulloch’s prosecutorial team had McElroy testify to the grand jury over two days.

 

In intentionally presenting false testimony to the grand jury, McCulloch may have committed a serious ethical breach. Under the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers are prohibited from offering “evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.”

 

McCulloch justified his actions by asserting that the grand jury gave no credence at all to McElroy’s testimony. But this is speculation. Under Missouri law, the grand jury deliberations are secret and McCulloch is not allowed to be present.

 

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A Missouri lawmaker, Karla May, called Friday for a legislative investigation of McCulloch’s conduct. May said that there is evidence to suggest that McCulloch “manipulated the grand jury process from the beginning to ensure that Officer Wilson would not be indicted.”

 

Even before Friday’s interview, many legal experts were highly critical McCulloch’s use of the grand jury. Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, said she believed McCulloch “did not want an indictment” of Darren Wilson and turned the grand jury process on its head, acting as an advocate for the defense.

 

Mae Quinn, a law professor at Washington University School Of Law, told ThinkProgress that the unusual decision to present testimony he believed to be false to the grand jury — along with other atypical aspects of the prosecutor’s conduct in the Wilson case — could be an issue. “In terms of personal or professional interest playing a role in the grand jury process, I am struck by the double-bind we keep hearing about. That is, the county prosecutor feeling unable to simply present Darren Wilson’s case like any other without concern for perceived relationships with local law enforcement and others – and then making strategic decisions not singularly focused on representing the county,” Quinn said.

 

If Maura McShane, the Presiding Judge of the 21st Circuit, agrees with this assessment, she could appoint a new prosecutor and effectively restart the case against Darren Wilson.

 

Under Missouri law (MO Rev Stat § 56.110) the presiding judge of the court with criminal jurisdiction — in this case Judge McShane — can appoint another prosecutor if the prosecuting attorney demonstrates a conflict of interest or bias. Courts have interpreted this provision broadly to include “conflicts that reveal themselves through the prosecutor’s conduct in the case.” In State v. Copeland, a 1996 case, a Missouri court replaced the prosecutor because the judge “sensed that [the prosecutor’s] sympathies for [the defendant] may have prevented him from being an effective advocate for the state.” The judge “found the adversarial process to have broken down in that [the prosecutor] appeared to be advocating the defendant’s position.”

 

The recent admission that the prosecution knowingly presented false testimony to the grand jury builds on a pattern of conduct benefiting Wilson’s defense that could justify the appointment of a new prosecutor. This included: vouching for police conduct to the grand jurors, gentle questioning of Wilson himself and aggressive questioning of any witness adverse to Wilson’s defense.

 

A prosecutor handling any case where a law enforcement officer is accused of misconduct, nevermind one that attracts national attention, finds themselves in “a really hard position,” Quinn said. Quinn added that “[i]f such outside considerations weigh on the mind of a prosecutor, ultimately impacting the way a case is handled, that seems unfair not only to the victim and community – but the prosecutor, too. A special prosecutor in police cases, one who is insulated from these ongoing relationships and concerns, likely would engage in far less second-guessing and ancillary analyses.”

 

It’s now up to Judge McShane to decided if a new, independent prosecutor is warranted in the Darren Wilson case.

 

(Full Video) Ferguson grand jury announcement

 

 

ERIC GARNER: How Prosecutors Manipulate Grand Juries – Chris Hayes

 

 

MSNBC Chris Hayes on Ferguson Witness #40

 

 

Misconduct? Outrageous, FALSE Grand Jury Instructions by Wilson Prosecutors – Lawrence O’Donnell

 

 

Wilson Grand Jury FRAUD! More on LIES Given by Prosecutors – Lawrence O’Donnell

 

 

Lawrence O’Donnell LOL Destroys Ferguson Prosecutor’s (Robert McCulloch) Reliance On “Key” Witness

 

 

Lawrence O’Donnell Rips St. Louis Prosecutor For Making It Impossible For Darren Wilson To Fail

 

Thank you Think ProgressJUDD LEGUM

 

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Catherine L. Crump, Waukegan Woman, Files Trademark Claim For ‘I Can’t Breathe’


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From Chicago Tribune:

Waukegan woman wants trademark for ‘I Can’t Breathe’

 

Waukegan woman wants exclusive use of “I Can’t Breathe” for hoodies and T-shirts

 

 

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose wears a shirt reading "I Can't Breathe" while warming up for a game against the Golden State Warriors at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, December 6, 2014. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose wears a shirt reading “I Can’t Breathe” while warming up for a game against the Golden State Warriors at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, December 6, 2014. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

A Waukegan woman has filed a trademark application for the phrase “I Can’t Breathe,” words that have become a national rallying cry for civil rights and racial justice in the wake of cases involving the deaths of unarmed black men during encounters with police.

 

Eric Garner, of New York, died in July after uttering the phrase when police put him in a chokehold. After a grand jury Dec. 3 declined to indict the police officer involved in the Garner case, “I Can’t Breathe” has been prominently featured at protests across the country — chanted by demonstrators, etched on banners and printed on T-shirts, including one worn during pregame warm-ups by Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose.

 

Catherine L. Crump, 57, filed the application Dec. 13 with the United States Patent and Trademark office, saying she wants the phrase for “clothing, namely hoodies, T-shirts for men, women, boys, girls and infants.”

 

Crump declined to comment to a reporter Friday after answering the door at her home.

 

In the application, Crump said she began using the phrase in commerce as early as Aug. 18. Crump filed the trademark application as an individual, and included in her filing photos that partially show clothing with the phrase printed on it. She paid $325 to file.

 

University of Chicago law professor Jonathan Masur said if Crump was not the first person to produce “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts and hoodies, she will not receive the trademark, even if she was the first to apply and regardless of whether anyone else files.

 

“If she’s not the first person to make these T-shirts, she’s going to be out of luck,” Masur said.

 

The trademark application for the phrase “I Can’t Breathe” only applies to its use on the clothing identified in the application and would not prevent others from using the phrase in other materials or goods, or in demonstrations, law professors said.

 

“You don’t get absolute monopoly rights over the words you trademark,” said Cynthia Ho, a law professor at Loyola University in Chicago. “because that would violate the basic premise of free speech.”
Trademarks are different from patents and exist only to identify particular products with a specific source. Anyone can file a trademark application online. Once filed, the application is reviewed by trademark examiners, who will rule on its merit.

 

If Crump is granted the trademark, others who produce “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts or hoodies would have to work with her on licensing and pay royalties.

 

If someone successfully trademarks the phrase “I Can’t Breathe” for clothing, Masur said, “It’s conceivable it could be worth a considerable amount of money. They could make a tidy sum.”

 

Dan Moran of Tribune Newspapers contributed.

 

Thank you 

 

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I am so curious if Ms. Catherine L. Crump will want to trade mark these versions of #ICantBreathe as well…….

 

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I mean if you’re going to be a greedy racists bitch who profits off the death, pain & suffering and heartbreak of a Black family, why not cover all your profit bases?

The actual trademark application can be found here.

 

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“I can’t breathe,” the nationwide rallying cry against injustice, may soon be trademarked for financial gain.

 

An Illinois woman has called dibs on the rights to Eric Garner’s last dying words after filing an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,the Smoking Gun reported.

 

Catherine Crump, a 57-year-old woman listed as living in Waukegan, filed an application Saturday for its use on hoodies and T-shirts for men, women, boys, girls and infants.

 

Crump states that she has been using the slogan for commercial use since “at least as early as” August 18 — that’s one month after the New York man’s death.

 

She told the Smoking Gun that her filing has “nothing to do with the Garner family” and she hasn’t spoken with them.

 

She further claimed that her application — which cost $325 — is not to make money, though she didn’t provide any other reasoning for it.

 

Since Garner’s filmed death, which captured the 350-pound asthmatic gasping for air after being tackled to the ground by police in a chokehold, his final words have been used across the country to protest his death and a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved.

 

I’d say the horse is already out the barn and shutting that door is unnecessary….#ICantBreathe is already in the public domain.

 

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Now if anyone outside the Garner family has any claim to the hashtag of #ICantBreathe it would be Mr. Ramsey Orta, who used his cell to record the video of Eric Garner being choked to death. He was the first to reveal Mr. Garner whisper his last words, “I Can’t Breathe.” He might have a legal claim to these last words spoken by Mr. Garner since he was present and recorded the murder on his phone. Ms. Crump can go consume feces and expire.

 

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The Last 24™


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Mr MilitantNegro™

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President Obama holds the 2014 Year-End Press Briefing

 

 

Raw: President Obama, Family Depart for Hawaii

 

 

Obama: No Lame Duck

 

 

West Wing Week: 12/19/14 or, “Todos Somos Americanos”

 

 

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch Breaks Silence

 

 

Assata Shakur: What Does New U.S.-Cuba Pact Mean for Exiled Black Panther Wanted in New Jersey?

 

 

 

 

Hollywood Cancels Another Film After North Korea Threats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Obama Creates the Task Force on 21st Century Policing

 

 

Trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services.

 

In light of the recent events in Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, and around the country, the Administration announced new steps to strengthen the relationships between local police and the communities they are supposed to protect and serve. One of the primary actions was the creation of a task force to improve community policing.

 

This afternoon, President Obama signed an Executive Order to create the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and announced the members of the new task force.

 

 

Watch: The President’s Science Advisor Answers Your Questions About Climate Change

 

Last month, Dr. John Holdren — the President’s science advisor — invited the public to ask him anything about climate change on social media using the hashtag #AskDrH.

 

Since then, he’s gotten a lot of questions. Brandon, a seventh-grader, wanted to know if climate change will affect him during his lifetime. A number of people asked whether climate change is driving extreme events, like the heavy snowfall we’ve seen recently in Buffalo, New York. Some people wanted to know what Dr. Holdren is doing to prevent climate change himself.

And Dr. H answered. In a video series we’re releasing today, Dr. Holdren answers some of the questions you asked about our climate, and explains some of the science behind how our planet is changing.

 

 

 

Statements and Releases

Statement by the President on Executive Order “Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Crimea Region of Ukraine”

 

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Federative Republic of Brazil to Attend the Inauguration of Her Excellency Dilma Rousseff

 

Statement by the Vice President on the Selection of Avril Haines as Deputy National Security Advisor

 

Statement by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on the Selection of Avril Haines as Deputy National Security Advisor

 

Fact Sheet: Task Force on 21st Century Policing

 

 

Speeches and Remarks

Statement by the President on Cuba Policy Changes

 

 

President Obama is Taking Action on Immigration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Nitorioussoapbox

 

I have such fun on social media, well I should say Twitter cause I don’t visit FaceBook much, way too many dumbasses hang out there. I have so many great followers on Twitter, and I follow so many great people as well. I also have a lot of dumbasses who attempt to interact with me on Twitter, and thats where the fun comes in. See, I’m the type of Man who could give a fuck about what others think of me, “I’ll be too busy looking good to notice.” Thats a line from Bruce Lee’s film “Enter The Dragon” spoken by legendary martial artist and actor Jim Kelly (RIP).

 

There are dumbasses on Twitter who hate me because I AM Me. That bothers less intelligent self loathing idiots who hate themselves even more than they hate me….cause I’m not weak, as they are. I find it amusing to read tweets all about me on Twitter accounts, where I am the entire focus of a thread…ALL about ME. Instead of taking care of their business or championing a cause, they spend hours spewing gossip on @MrMilitantNegro. Thats the ultimate mind control. When someone can’t stop stalking you or obsessing over what you do on Twitter. Copying your style. Mirroring your swag. Pretending to be You.

 

Gives you more power than you should legally have. You know who you are. I know who you are as well. I know all about you. Where you are. Where you work and where you play. Social media is a wonderful thing. Let the games begin.

 

President Obama Only Calls on Women During his Final Press Conference

 

 

Camels: It’s What You Do – GEICO

 

 

FOX NEWS HOSTS RUTHLESSLY ATTACK ELIZABETH WARREN – VIDEO

 

 

One More Time…in case you missed this lunacy…..

 

Ferguson Prosecutor Admits His Handling of the Grand Jury in the Darren Wilson Case Was Not Normal

 

Oh Yeah, I almost forgot. You haters/stalkers…you’d have much more success pissing through the eye of a number 6 sewing needle than changing who I am, controlling what I do or bothering me by spending a rather unhealthy amount of time obsessing on and over me. Merry Holidays to you all.

 

 

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The MilitantNegro SoapBox™: Advice To Senator Warren, Save Us From Hillary Or Sit Down & Shut The Fuck Up.


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Yes, those are very harsh words for such a nice lady as Senator Elizabeth Warren. She needs a boot to her ass. If she doesn’t run for the Oval Office, we get Hillary as the nominee….and thats a disaster of biblical proportions. Standing & making speeches on the Senate floor are great, but what exactly does that skill accomplish? Is anyone who matters really paying attention? The mid term election results would say hell no.

 

Remarks by Senator Warren on Citigroup and its bailout provision

 

Senator Warren speaks good. She speaks the facts & truth as well. Problem is she stands alone as a Senator. Not much help right now and even less help in January 2015, when the dumbass GOPuke 114th CongrASS takes over both The House of Repukes and The SINate. 

 

Sen. Warren urges Republicans to oppose bailout provision in government funding bill

 

Like I said, she speaks well, the voice of a President Of The United States, not a lonely Senator speaking truth in the Senate chamber.

 

Will Elizabeth Warren run for President?

 

See, we need someone inside the Oval Office to fight for Us, like Senator Warren does from the Senate Floor….someone we can trust and who will do what they say needs to be done. Besides, anyone name me just TWO things Senator Warren has accomplished since being first elected to Senate prominence? Just TWO accomplishment, besides speak truth and facts, which intelligent folks already knew were truth & facts. Uh Huh……I’m waiting…..

 

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Buried inside a spending bill making its way through Congress is a provision upping individual political party contribution limits for to $324,000. Currently, individuals are allowed to spend $32,400 annually, which is ten times less than the proposed change.

 

 

Democracy for sale? Bill raises campaign contribution limit ten-fold

 

 

 

I mean lets face it, is Senator Warren scared of being treated like this………

 

 

 

I am so tired of hearing dumbasses say things like Senator Warren can do more good in the Senate. They never explain how she can do more good in a SINate that is a majority of TeaTardedRepubliCANTS. How she can do more good standing on the 114th SINate floor talking to deaf conselfishservatives. Actually, she could do much more good if she resigned her Senate seat and became a lobbyist for the good causes. Gun Control. Immigration. Climate Control/Change. Wall Street Reform. Student Loan Reform. The list is endless.

 

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I am never a “Clintoon” supporter, Hillary should have been persona non grata after her racist 2008 Presidential campaign. Instead a conciliatory Barack gave her Secretary Of State. I would have given her racist ass a swift kick. A diplomat I could never be.

 

I like and respect Senator Elizabeth Warren, but she needs to be the POTUSA in 2016 so she can actually effect change on the issues she speaks so passionately about on the Senate Floor.

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Time to either take a crap or get her ass off the toilet. Get off the bench and get in the game. Save The United States Of America……from Hillary Clintoon.

 

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Congress Raids Ancestral Native American Lands With Defense Spending Bill. Whose Next…Orphans?


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apacheleap

Apache Leap an area that would be included in the Copper mining land grab that Sen McCain snuck into the recent defense bill.

 

From The Daily Kos & One Pissed Off Liberal

Our heroes in Congress are stealing Indian land (again)

And it’s not even the 1800s. All I have to say about this story is…

Holy FUCK! Look what these assholes are doing now!

 

When Terry Rambler, the chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, woke up Wednesday in Washington, D.C., it was to learn that Congress was deciding to give away a large part of his ancestral homeland to a foreign mining company.

 

Rambler came to the nation’s capital for the White House Tribal Nations Conference, an event described in a press announcement as an opportunity to engage the president, cabinet officials and the White House Council on Native American Affairs “on key issues facing tribes including respecting tribal sovereignty and upholding treaty and trust responsibilities,” among other things.

 

Rambler felt things got off to an unfortunate, if familiar, start when he learned that the House and Senate Armed Services Committee had decided to use the lame-duck session of Congress and the National Defense Authorization Act to give 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest in Arizona to a subsidiary of the Australian-English mining giant Rio Tinto.

 

“Of all people, Apaches and Indians should understand, because we’ve gone though this so many times in our history,” Rambler said.

 

Congress Raids Ancestral Native American Lands With Defense Bill

 

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Kill black people, steal Indian land. Kill black people, steal Indian land. Could somebody please put on a different record? This one is getting old.

 

On Thursday, the Justice Department released the results of a 20-month investigationinto the use of force by Cleveland police. The review was unequivocally damning, finding the department responsible for an alarming pattern of excessive and sometimes deadly force, as well as other forms of misconduct and a general failure among supervisors to respond to this behavior.

 

Cleveland — where a police officer recently shot and killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black child who was holding a toy gun — is only the latest city to have its police force subject to DOJ scrutiny following allegations of chronic misconduct. In the months and years leading up to the Cleveland investigation, the city’s police were responsible for a number of highly publicized incidents involving alleged brutality. In particular, the DOJ report notes a 2012 incident in which a prolonged police chase involving 62 cars ended with Cleveland officers firing 132 rounds into a car containing two unarmed suspects. The suspects, both black, died after each suffering more than 20 gunshot wounds.

 

What The Justice Department Finds When It Investigates City Police Is Truly Disturbing

 

And people wonder why I’m pissed off.

 

UPDATE: From Azazello in the comments:

The long-stalled land-swap bill was added to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act this week at the urging of supporters in the House and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., a supporter of the bill. McCain’s office did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

 

How surprising that there are republicans involved.

 

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John McCain and Congress helping mining company steal ancestral, ceremonial Apache land

By Carissa Lovelace Daily Kos Staff

 

On December 4, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

 

Hidden in the defense bill was a package granting an illegal land swap near Superior, AZ, for the benefit of a foreign company Rio Tinto PLC who seek to mine copper. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as part of the Senate Armed Services Committee was instrumental in pushing to get the provision language included.

 

All 2,400 acres are part of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands. So although Republican lawmakers have tried for years to secure the transfer of these lands, they have always run into strong opposition from the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Democratic lawmakers and conservation advocates.

 

Apache leaders learned of the inclusion of the provision to the NDAA while attending—ironically—the White House Tribal Nations conference.

 

Conservation advocates and American Indian groups, particularly the San Carlos Apache Tribe, say the mine would damage natural resources and culturally sensitive areas. A site called Apache Leap in the Tonto National Forest has been of particular concern.

 

Resolution Copper—a Rio Tinto venture with BHP Billiton Ltd.—would be given more than 2,000 acres of federal land in return for more than 5,000 acres of company land.

 

The NDAA now goes to the Senate for vote.

 

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Urgent action needed: Don’t give ancestral Apache land to foreign mining companies

 

Petitioning
Senator John McCain, Senate Armed Service Committee and Congress
Created By
Daily Kos

On December 4th, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Hidden inside the defense bill was a strange provision–2,400 acres of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands are to be handed over to Rio Tinto, PLC–a foreign mining company seeking to mine copper in the area.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was instrumental in getting the provision inserted into the entirely unrelated defense bill. He took this action after years of opposition from the San Carlos Apache Tribe, conservation activists and Democratic lawmakers.

The Senate is set to vote on the NDAA bill very soon and we have to stop this outrageous land grab.

Sign the petition to Senator John McCain, Senate Armed Service Committee and Congress:

 

Petition Text

Ruler_short

Our Message to Senator John McCain, Senate Armed Service Committee and Congress

Swapping ancestral Apache lands in order to line the pockets of a foreign mining company is not acceptable. Remove this provision from the NDAA before the final vote.

 

Congress Raids Ancestral Native American Lands With Defense Bill

By Huffington Post

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WASHINGTON — When Terry Rambler, the chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, woke up Wednesday in Washington, D.C., it was to learn that Congress was deciding to give away a large part of his ancestral homeland to a foreign mining company.

 

Rambler came to the nation’s capital for the White House Tribal Nations Conference, an event described in a press announcement as an opportunity to engage the president, cabinet officials and the White House Council on Native American Affairs “on key issues facing tribes including respecting tribal sovereignty and upholding treaty and trust responsibilities,” among other things.

 

Rambler felt things got off to an unfortunate, if familiar, start when he learned that the House and Senate Armed Services Committee had decided to use the lame-duck session of Congress and the National Defense Authorization Act to give 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest in Arizona to a subsidiary of the Australian-English mining giant Rio Tinto.

The Liar in Chief, Barack Hussein Obama

The Liar in Chief, Barack Hussein Obama

“Of all people, Apaches and Indians should understand, because we’ve gone though this so many times in our history,” Rambler said.

 

Rambler knew there was a possibility that supporters of the move — which failed twice on the House floor last year — would slip the deal into themust-pass legislation, but aides and officials involved had declined to reveal it. Even Tuesday evening, when Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee released summaries of the bill, the land deal was left out.

 

Rambler and other opponents couldn’t find out until late Tuesday night when the bill, named the “Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015” (after the retiring Senate and House committee chairmen), was finally posted online. The news that Apache burial, medicinal and ceremonial grounds would be given to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, was on page 1,105.

 

“The first thing I thought about was not really today, but 50 years from now, probably after my time, if this land exchange bill goes through, the effects that my children and children’s children will be dealing with,” Rambler said in an interview.

 

The land includes territory where Apaches gather medicinal plants and acorns — a food source that Rambler said has sustained his people for as long as they know. It also surrounds the Apache Leap, a summit from which trapped Apaches once jumped to their deaths rather than be killed by settlers in the late 1800s.

 

“Since time immemorial people have gone there. That’s part of our ancestral homeland,” Rambler said, referring to the overall area in question. “We’ve had dancers in that area forever — sunrise dancers — and coming-of-age ceremonies for our young girls that become women. They’ll seal that off. They’ll seal us off from the acorn grounds, and the medicinal plants in the area, and our prayer areas.”

 

There are supposed to be two areas excluded from mining, including Apache Leap, but the bill specifies Resolution Copper can get permission in just 30 or 90 days to drill among the oaks.

 

Rio Tinto has pursued the deal for a decade, and it was apparently pushed into the NDAA largely thanks to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). It passed the House once in 2011, but when leaders brought it to the floor twice last year, they couldn’t find enough votes, and pulled it. Most Democrats opposed it and growing numbers of Republicans were concerned about how it was being conducted. To many, it looked like a sweetheart deal being made outside of the regular process of dealing with federal land. And some were unhappy that the prime beneficiary, Rio Tinto, also owns a uranium mine in Africa with Iran. Others worried that most of the copper will go to China, which owns 10 percent of Rio Tinto.

 

The argument for the land swap — the government will acquire other lands in exchange — is economic development and jobs. The company claims it will generate $61 billion in economic activity and 3,700 direct and indirect jobs over 40 years. Opponents dispute those numbers, but Rambler is not sure they matter, even if they are accurate.

 

“It seems like us Apaches and other Indians care more about what this type of action does to the environment and the effects it leaves behind for us, while others tend to think more about today and the promise of jobs, but not necessarily what our creator God gave to us,” he said.

 

He is particularly worried about the longterm impact. The company intends to use a variety of “block cave” mining that digs underneath the ore and causes it to collapse from its own weight. Resolution Copper describes the process in a video:

 

Resolution Copper Mining Method

Published on Nov 8, 2012

Resolution Copper will use the panel caving mining method, a variation of block caving to break up the underground ore. This technique uses gravity primarily to break the rock. Panel caving is more efficient than other underground mining methods for this type of deposit. It will result in lower operating costs and will allow us to mine the most ore while creating the least amount of waste. The technique is also favorable because it is safe, allows a high degree of mechanization, and results in both high production rates and favorable economies of scale

 

 

The land above such mines eventually cracks and subsides.

 

“What those mountains mean to us is that when the rain and the snow comes, it distributes it to us,” Rambler said. “It replenishes our aquifers to give us life.” He’s not sure how that will happen once the land starts subsiding. Resolution Copper promises to monitor it.

 

In comments to The Huffington Post on Tuesday, spokespeople for the mine said that it had filed an operating plan with the federal Forest Service and was starting a review under the National Environmental Policy Act, which is supposed to ensure that federal lands are protected.

 

But Rambler found little assurance in that, since NEPA only applies while the land belongs to the federal government.

 

“This is what will happen — the law in one area says there will be consultation, but the law in another area of the bill says the land exchange will happen within one year of enactment of this bill,” Rambler noted, correctly. “So no matter what we’re doing within that one year, the consultation part won’t mean anything after one year. Because then it’s really theirs after that.”

 

Two properties within the land would remain in the hands of the federal government, one around the Apache Leap and one an area called Oak Flats. Outside of those places, the federal government would have no say under NEPA, an official with the Bureau of Land Management said.

 

“We would only have to do NEPA on any activity that would take place on remaining federal land,” said Arizona BLM official Carrie Templin. The company promises to stop 1,500 feet short of Apache Leap, but reserves the right to drill in Oak Flats.

 

The Arizona exchange is not the only land measure in the defense bill.

 

In fact, there are dozens of other land-related items, including at least one more that is angering Native Americans. A transfer of 1,600 acres from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State for industrial development has also sparked protest by tribes, who note that the area also contains lands important to them, and which are already undergoing various federal evaluations that would be short-circuited by the legislation.

 

Still another deal would benefit a Native American corporation in Alaska called Sealaska. It is opposed by environmental groups, though, because it would open some 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest to logging.

 

Environmental groups approve of some of the deals in the bill, but those have been attracting anger on the right. Two leaders of the Heritage Foundation campaign arm described them in an op-ed as a “land grab” that had no place in a defense bill. Another, Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment, also slammed it in a statement.

 

“The federal lands package added to the National Defense Authorization Act is a backroom deal that would lock up use of hundreds of thousands of acres of land,” said Ebell, although it is likely he would favor the part of the Rio Tinto deal that allows mining since he favors using federal land for resources. “Many of these federal land lockups could never be enacted on their own if debated and voted in the light of day.”

 

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) also doesn’t think the land bills belong in the defense measure, and has vowed to stall the bill as long as possible until they are removed.

 

The bill is expected to be voted on in the House as soon as this week, and sent to the Senate in a manner that does not allow it to be amended. If anything is to change in the bill, it would have to happen before then, and House leaders would have to agree to allow amendment votes.

 

UPDATE: 11:15 p.m. — Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) tried Wednesday night to offer an amendment to remove the Resolution Copper deal from the defense bill, but lost in the House Rules Committee on a 6-4 vote, with three Democrats supporting him, and his GOP colleagues voting against him. The Rules Committee determines how measures will be considered on the floor. It decided to give the NDAA one hour of debate, with no vote on Cole’s amendment.

 

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to himon Facebook.

 

Huffington Post

 

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