Gauges to warn tribe of floods

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For centuries, members of the Havasupai Tribe have relied on their senses to serve as a flood warning.

But after a flood ravaged the village and popular tourist destination near the Grand Canyon this summer, tribal members got an upgrade.

A team of workers finished installing a pair of flood gauges 20- and 45-miles upstream from the village earlier this month to provide more accurate information about the volume of water flowing through the 3,000 square-mile watershed.


Worst Companies in the World: US, Monsanto, Peabody and Barrick

The United States was voted the Worst Company in the World, followed by Monsanto, Peabody Energy Corp. and Barrick Gold

Navajo and Hopi protest Peabody. Photo Mano Cockrum

By Brenda Norrell

Photo by Mano Cockrum

The United States was voted the “Worst Company in the World,” in a reader poll conducted by the Censored News blog that ended today. Readers, primarily Indigenous Peoples, voted Monsanto as the second Worst Company in the World. Peabody Energy Corp., recently granted a life of mine permit to expand coal mining on Navajo and Hopi lands, was voted the third Worst Company in the World.
Barrick Gold Corp., which began the destruction of the Western Shoshone’s Mount Tenabo region during Thanksgiving, was voted the fourth Worst Company in the World. Blackwater Worldwide, responsible for murders and brutality worldwide, was voted the fifth Worst Company in the World. GEO Group, Inc., formerly Wackenhut, profiteering from the misery of migrants and people of color in prisons, was voted the sixth Worst Company in the World.
Cameco uranium mining and Sithe Global/Navajo Nation, tied for the seventh Worst Company in the World. Israel’s Elbit Systems and Raytheon tied for eighth place. Boeing, constructing the US/Mexico Apartheid Border Wall, followed in ninth place. Newmont Mining was voted the 10th Worst Company in the World by the readers of Censored News blog, which focuses on the censored news of Indigenous Peoples and international human rights.
The United States emerged in truth as one of the worst violators of international human rights during the Bush regime, with torture, kidnappings and secret renditions in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The bogus war in Iraq resulted in the widespread murder and displacement of Iraqi people. Corporations seized the freefall of US democracy, with mercenaries, private prison profiteers and war manufacturers reveling in their profits. During the Bush regime, the United States ceased to be viewed as a democracy by many US citizens, who now view the United States as a company comprised of select individuals seeking corporate gain and control.
It was not just the US corporations that benefited. In the corporate get-rich schemes to construct the US/Mexico border wall, the contractor Boeing subcontracted Israel’s Apartheid border wall builder, Elbit Systems, for the multi-million dollar dysfunctional debacle of the US border spy towers. While xenophobia and racism toward migrants ruled in US television news, Wackenhut, owned by G4S in England and Denmark, seized the opportunity to profiteer from a Homeland Security contract for the transportation of migrants from the US/Mexico border.
Monsanto, in second place, continued to threaten the future of humanity with genetically altered seeds. Depleting the world of a rich diversity of seeds and crops, Monsanto continues to destroy sustainable systems of food production around the world. Monsanto was the primary supplier of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Even Prince Charles exposed Monsanto recently, revealing that thousands of farmers have committed suicide in India because of Monsanto’s promise of riches. Those promises only resulted in failed crops and a flood of debt in India’s “Suicide Belt” after switching to genetically modified seeds.
Navajos and Hopis united and protested a life of the mine permit for Peabody coal mining on Black Mesa. However, the US Office of Surface Mining approved the permit in December, continuing the US genocide on Black Mesa, where more than 14,000 Navajos have already been relocated to make way for coal mining. The so-called Navajo Hopi land dispute was orchestrated by Peabody Coal.
The Navajo Nation Council’s 88 members receive their salaries and travel expenses primarily from energy leases, while many Navajos live without running water and electricity.
Klee Benally, Navajo, said the US permit was a blatant act of US genocide.
Calvin Johnson, Navajo, said, “Our local leaders, including the president of the Navajo Nation, continue to pursue this senseless plan to give Peabody a life of mine permit and continue using pristine water for coal operations without the impacted resident’s decision, which continues to be ignored. When will our leaders stand up and fight for us?”
Vernon Masayesva, Hopi, said the US permit, “The decision was announced during the Hopi Soyalung ceremonies throughout our villages. Soyalung is when Hopis plant their prayers for the coming year. It is a time the priests carry out sacred rituals to renew the earth, and pray for peace and harmony throughout the world. It is similar to the Jewish Chunaka observance, of bringing light to darkness.This is the ancient ritual the Office of Surface Mining has rudely interrupted. It is a blatant action sanctioning Peabody to exploit our natural resources for the benefit of its wealthy owners, officers and stockholders.”
Barrick Gold, responsible for the deaths of Indigenous Peoples around the world, began its onslaught on the sacred lands of the Western Shoshone at Mount Tenabo during the Thanksgiving holidays. Before leaving office, President Bush Sr. made it possible for Barrick to lease lands for gold mining in Nevada. Once out of office, Bush Sr. went to work for Barrick as a senior consultant.
In Australia, DR Congo, Ghana, Tanzania and New Guinea, Indigenous Peoples are fighting Barrick’s destruction in solidarity with the Western Shoshone. They are fighting the coring out of mountains for minute particles of gold and the poisoning of water with cyanide leaching.
Carrie Dann and other Western Shoshone grandmothers said the United States is trespassing on Western Shoshone treaty land, destroying mountains, trees, food and medicine, while leaving dirty polluted water ponds for birds and animals.
“Why doesn’t the mining company go dig up the Vatican or the Mormon Tabernacle instead of Western Shoshone lands, I’m sure they will find gold there,” said Mary McCloud, Western Shoshone grandmother, mourning the bulldozing of the pines near the ceremonial grounds on Mount Tenabo in November.
Near the Porgera mine in New Guinea, Jethro Tulin of the Akali Tange Association, told Barrick Gold, “Your security guards have been shooting and killing our people and raping, even gang-raping, our women with impunity for years now.”
GEO Group, formerly Wackenhut, and other private prisons continued to profiteer from the orchestrated hysteria against migrants and people of color at the southern border, gaining lucrative US and state prison and detention contracts from California to Texas. GEO was recently named in charges filed in Texas, in an attempt to prosecute Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for private prison profiteering, resulting in the death of at least one inmate.
A second private prison profiteer, Corrections Corp of America, imprisons and abuses migrant women and children at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas.
Cameco is the Canadian company which purchased the mysterious shipment of 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from Iraq, transported by the US to Montreal in July of 2008. Cameco continues to push for uranium mining on Lakota lands, resulting in the poorest of the poor struggling to fight the world’s largest uranium mining company in court in Nebraska. In Australia, Aboriginals at Alice Springs continued their protests of Cameco, while research studies in Port Hope, Canada, show the people are being poisoned by Cameco’s uranium mining.
“The result of testing conducted on a small group of residents of Port Hope has found contamination by uranium of military or industrial origin. Four of nine people tested had unusual types of uranium in their bodies, including one who carried measurable quantities of depleted uranium, which is used to make armour-piercing weapons, and another who had uranium at levels about three times higher than average concentrations of the element,” according to the Globe and Mail.
Sithe Global, in a relationship with the Navajo Nation elected government, is pushing to build a coal fired power plant, Desert Rock, on Navajo lands in New Mexico. Grassroots Navajos at Dooda Desert Rock continue to fight the power plant, which would be the third power plant in the area, where the air, land and water are already poisoned by unreclaimed uranium tailings from the Cold War and widespread oil and gas wells. Sithe Global’s financier is Blackstone Group, cofounded by Steve Schwarzman of the Bush elite Skull and Bones secret society based at Yale University.
Israel’s Elbit Systems, a producer of Apartheid spy and border wall systems in Israel, continued to gain US contracts, including Boeing’s subcontract for the border wall. Raytheon Missiles continued to be protested in Tucson for its weapons production and contamination. Raytheon has a manufacturing plant on the Navajo Nation’s commercial farm of Navajo Agricultural Products Industries, where potatoes, corn and other crops are produced with Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds.
Boeing continued to build the US/Mexico border wall, as Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived all federal laws to build the border wall, including the laws designed to protect endangered species and the graves of Native Americans. On the Tohono O’odham Nation, Boeing dug up the graves of the Tohono O’odham ancestors in 2007. In Arizona, border wall construction endangered the jaguar, Sonoran pronghorn and other species in violation of all federal laws. Further, Indigenous Peoples traveling in their own territories on the border are harassed, threatened and treated as criminals by the US Border Patrol.
Tohono O’odham human rights activists continued to be targeted as they defined their homeland as an occupied militarized zone.
The poorest of the poor in America used their last dollars in 2008 to fight the United States construction of the US/Mexico border wall and seizure of their lands, including the Lipan Apache in Texas who are in court to protect their lands from seizure by Homeland Security for the border wall.
At the northern border, the United States pushed for more militarization of the region.
Kahentinetha Horn, publisher of Mohawk Nation News, is among the authors published in Censored News. Kahentinetha was beaten by Canadian border guards on June 14, 2008 and suffered a heart attack as border police tightened a stresshold. Mohawk Nation News editor Katenies was also beaten and jailed. Kahentinetha is recovering and the two Mohawk grandmothers have filed suit.
In recent articles, the Mohawk Nation News exposed the fact that carbon market scams seek the seizure of Indigenous Peoples forests for corporate profiteering and the fact that Canadian officers are being trained in Israel, where the border has become a militarized war zone. The carbon credit scam, profiteering for the World Bank and private corporations, is one of the most censored stories worldwide.
Throughout the United States, the poorest of the poor fought for justice during the Bush regime, often resulting in arrest or imprisonment. While the US and multi-national corporations received millions, billions and trillions in bailouts, widespread unemployment and hunger increased in the US.
While the US spy factory vaporized rights guaranteed by the US Constitution, the US media gave up the fight.
While the corporate seizures of lands was dismal during the Bush regime, Indigenous elders spoke of a time of cleansing and regeneration.
“We will outlive their ways. Our ways will outlive America’s ways. It is because we regard the earth as sacred,” said Floyd Red Crow Westerman said before his passing to the Spirit World.
In the Censored News poll, one-half of those voting chose the United States as the Worst Company in the World (50 percent.) The other percentages of total votes were: Monsanto (30 percent) Peabody Coal (26 percent) Barrick Gold (20 percent) Blackwater (17 percent) GEO (15 percent) Cameco and Sithe Global/Navajo Nation tied (14 percent) Raytheon and Israel’s Elbit Systems tied (12 percent) Boeing (11 percent) and Newmont Mining Corp (9 percent.)


Smithsonian museum features tribe’s salmon-recovery effort

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Washington, D.C.:  Below the 45-foot model of a right whale named Phoenix, behind the case that holds a rare giant squid and not far from the remains of a prehistoric coelacanth that was caught off Africa is an exhibit highlighting Pacific Northwest salmon and the Nisqually Tribe’s efforts to restore a wild run.

Though it may not be the flashiest display in the new, $49 million Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, curators say that it’s a unique story about a fish that migrates thousands of miles against almost overwhelming odds before returning home to spawn.

There’s also a human side to the tale. Salmon are the lifeblood of a Native American culture that stretches from Northern California to Alaska, and restoring the dwindling runs is an almost sacred duty. The northwest Pacific Coast became the most heavily populated Native American region because of the salmon.

Oldest Spider Web Found, Scientist Says

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London, England: The tiny tangled threads of the world’s oldest spider web have been found encased in a prehistoric piece of amber, a British scientist said Monday.

Oxford University paleobiologist Martin Brasier said the 140-million-year-old webbing provides evidence that arachnids had been ensnaring their prey in silky nets since the dinosaur age. He also said the strands were linked to each other in the roughly circular pattern familiar to gardeners the world over.

“You can match the details of the spider’s web with the spider’s web in my garden,” Brasier said.

Tarahumara Feats Inspire Awe

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Leadville, Colorado: Last weekend, Ken Chlouber was laboring up a dirt road about 25 miles into an ultra marathon when he was passed by two other runners. He looked at the runners, and then at their feet — which were bare except for sandals made out of used tires, leather thongs and nails.  “Maybe I’m spending too much on shoes,” Chlouber half-joked as the runners passed him.

Those sandal-clad feet were the first to cross the finish line at the Leadville Trail 100 Ultramarathon, America’s highest and possibly most rugged ultra-marathon. The runners, Victoriano Churro and Cerrildo Chacarito, are Tarahumara [Raramuri] Indians from the Copper Canyon area of  Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental.  The pair finished one-two after 20 hours while another Tarahumara [Raramuri], Manuel Luna, was fifth. And they did it their way, on sandals, called “huarachas,” pieced together from tires picked up at the Leadville junkyard.

“I think this will set the ultramarathon community on its ear,” smiled Kitty Williams, who, with Rick Fisher of Tucson, was primarily responsible for bringing the Tarahumaras [Raramuris] to Leadville.

Harvard for Free

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Massachusetts: Harvard University announced that from now on undergraduate students from low-income families will pay no tuition. In making the announcement, Harvard’s president Lawrence H. Summers said, “When only ten percent of the students in elite higher education come from families in the lower half of the income distribution, we are not doing enough. We are not doing enough in bringing elite higher education to the lower half of the income distribution.”

All of their financial aid is awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need—there are no academic, athletic or merit-based awards. Harvard meets the full need of every student, including international students, for all four years.

Building on the success of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI), which eliminated the parental contribution from families earning $60,000 or less, Harvard recently announced major financial aid enhancements to ensure greater affordability for middle- and upper-middle income families. Beginning in the 2008–09 academic year, parents with incomes of $180,000 or less will be asked to contribute significantly less to the cost of a Harvard education. Additionally, home equity will no longer be considered in determining a family’s ability to contribute and students will not be expected to take out loans, which will be replaced by need-based Harvard scholarship.

Police seek help to find eagle feather, stone pipe

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Ottawa, Canada:  It must have looked like a decent haul for a quick thief: two duffel bags sitting in an unlocked car in a west-side parking lot. Inside one of the bags was camera equipment.

But what was inside the other bag was far more important to its owner: a pipe and an eagle feather, ceremonial objects sacred in First Nations spirituality.

Ottawa police are investigating the theft of the bags earlier this week, and Thursday asked for the public’s help in finding the sacred objects. The duffel bags were taken between Dec. 8 and Dec. 10, while a vehicle belonging to a Michigan man was parked in the 1300 block of Carling Avenue, police said.