Israeli gov’t is trying to defund +972 Magazine, report says

Israel asked the German government to pressure two left-leaning political foundations to stop funding +972 Magazine, according to a report in the German media Thursday. +972 was able to independently verify the report.

The total contributions from the two foundations, Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, comprise only 9 percent of +972’s overall 2018 budget as of September. In the past two years, 40 percent of our budget has come from the support of our readers.

Both foundations have pledged to continue supporting +972 despite the political pressure.

Israel has been working to curtail critical voices in recent years, often by portraying them as foreign agents and seeking to dry up their funding.

By +972 Magazine Staff

Handout photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, June 4, 2018. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Handout photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, June 4, 2018. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Israel asked the German government to pressure two left-leaning political foundations to stop funding +972 Magazine, according to a report in the German media Thursday. +972 was able to independently verify the report.

The total contributions from the two foundations, Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, comprise only 9 percent of +972’s overall 2018 budget as of September. In the past two years, 40 percent of our budget has come from the support of our readers.

Both foundations have pledged to continue supporting +972 despite the political pressure.

Show your support for +972 Magazine: Make a donation today!

According to Die Tageszeitung, the progressive German newspaper that broke the story, Israel sent a letter to the German government requesting that it “fundamentally rethink” its support for dozens of human rights organizations in Israel.

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The seven-page letter accused the non-governmental organizations of intervening in Israel’s internal affairs and promoting anti-Israel activities. It specifically mentioned +972 Magazine, claiming that the platform goes against Israel’s interests because “the authors regularly accuse Israel of apartheid.”

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung described the allegations as absurd. “Unfortunately, we have been seeing for some time that the pressure on NGOs critical of certain policies of the Israeli government is increasing,” a spokesperson for the foundation, associated with the German Green Party, told Die Tageszeitung. “[An attack on a] critical magazine like +972, which reflects Israel’s diversity of opinion, is also an attack on the well-known journalists of Israel.”

Other organizations targeted by the letter, and supported by other German foundations, include Coalition of Women for Peace, Breaking the Silence, and B’Tselem.

The German government would not confirm or deny whether the letter was drafted and sent directly by the Israeli government. Contacted by the paper for comment, though, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs denied sending the letter.

+972 Magazine is an independent publication created and owned by a group of Israeli and Palestinian writers committed to ending the occupation, and advancing democratic values and freedom of information.

The magazine is published by the nonprofit “972 — Advancement of Citizen Journalism.” The nonprofit also publishes the Hebrew-language news site Local Call together with Just Vision.

The current Israeli government has been working to curtail and eliminate critical voices within Israeli society in recent years, particularly those fighting to end the occupation and expose human rights violations against Palestinians and marginalized communities. One of the main tactics for doing so has been to portray anti-occupation and human rights groups as agents implementing the agendas of foreign, anti-Semitic, European governments. Much of those times those campaigns have been carried out such as NGO Monitor and Im Tirzu.

We at +972 Magazine have never believed that the Israeli government was a supporter of our work, and we will continue to conduct fierce, independent journalism determined to end the occupation and advance human rights and democratic values in Israel-Palestine.

Knowing once and for all that the Israeli government would rather we not exist only makes us more determined to carry out that mission.

We are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to ensure our work can continue. If you believe in our mission, please make a donation today.

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The post Israeli gov’t is trying to defund +972 Magazine, report says appeared first on +972 Magazine.

Agency Nixes Fracking Leases on Pawnee Tribal Land

Agency Nixes Fracking Leases on Pawnee Tribal Land

The government admits it failed to follow its own rules when approving new oil and gas leases on Pawnee land, part of a broader pattern of agency misconduct.




Walter Echo-Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, discovered in 2015 that the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management had approved oil and gas leases on Pawnee land without telling the tribe.

Walter Echo-Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, discovered in 2015 that government agencies had approved oil and gas leases on Pawnee land without telling the tribe.

Photo by Stuart Isett

It was a typical summer day in 2015 when Walter Echo-Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, discovered fracking operations near his home on Pawnee lands about 55 miles west of Tulsa.

After stumbling upon a work crew surveying for a proposed pipeline, Echo-Hawk called the oil company responsible to find out more information. The company stonewalled him. He then contacted several government agencies. Eventually, Echo-Hawk learned the truth: Two years prior, regulators had approved 17 oil and gas leases on Pawnee lands. They didn’t bother to notify the tribe.

Echo-Hawk immediately began mobilizing fellow tribal members to fight the leases. But regulators at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management said it was too late. The leases had already been approved. The agencies also claimed the Pawnee couldn’t take them to court because the tribe had failed to ask for reconsideration of those decisions when they were made.

The Pawnee, however, hadn’t been aware of the decisions because the agencies — in violation of their own rules — neglected to notify the tribe in any way.

A Confederate flag hangs from a Crown Oil fracking operation upstream from Echo-Hawk’s home.

A Confederate flag hangs from a Crown Oil fracking operation upstream from Echo-Hawk’s home.
Courtesy of Walter Echo-Hawk

Echo-Hawk was furious that federal agencies were treating Pawnee lands like “an oil and gas fiefdom.” After all, it was hardly the first time the U.S. government had run roughshod over tribal rights. In addition, the Pawnee were already gravely familiar with the threats posed by oil and gas drilling. Over the years, previous operations had left a legacy of contaminated groundwater and illegal wastewater dumping on tribal land.

“We aren’t against oil and gas production, but we are certainly against methods [that] hurt our land base, minerals and water,” wrote W. Bruce Pratt, president of the Pawnee Nation, in a press release.

In addition to water contamination, geologists have linked fracking to a surge in earthquakes, both in Oklahoma and across the country. In 2014, Oklahoma surpassed California as the most seismically active state in the lower 48. Oklahomans historically had felt an average of one or two sizable rumbles per year, but in the last few years, that number jumped to two or three per day.

A man takes photos of damage to a building in downtown Pawnee, Okla., following a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in 2016. Geologists have linked fracking to an uptick in earthquakes.

A man takes photos of damage to a building in downtown Pawnee, Okla., following a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in 2016. Geologists have linked an uptick in earthquakes to fracking.
David Bitton / AP

Despite this threat, government regulators didn’t bother to address the earthquake risk when approving the leases. Nor did they address the impacts of drilling near the Cimarron River, a 698-mile cinnamon- and paprika-colored ribbon of water that supports a native fishery protected under Pawnee tribal law. The government authorized the oil and gas company to suck millions of gallons of water from the Cimarron for fracking. Regulators also approved drilling operations on the river’s floodplain, where a spill of oil or fracking chemicals could contaminate the Cimarron, which tribal members like Echo-Hawk rely on to recharge their domestic water wells.

In 2015, the tribe requested that the agencies issue a moratorium on all new oil and gas approvals on tribal land while concerns about earthquakes and water contamination were addressed. Despite the Nation’s request, and the ongoing earthquakes, regulators continued approving new operations like water withdrawals for drilling on the leases.

“It became apparent that the agencies were not inclined to be accountable to tribal or U.S. law,” says Echo-Hawk. So the Pawnee decided to contact Earthjustice.

In early September 2016, the tribe’s fears about fracking were realized after the most powerful earthquake recorded in Oklahoma history struck the Pawnee area. The jolt was also felt by six neighboring states.

Earthjustice attorney Mike Freeman

Earthjustice attorney Mike Freeman represents the Pawnee in their lawsuit against the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management.
Matt Nager for Earthjustice

“My house is made of brick and stone, and it shook as though it were made of straw,” says Echo-Hawk, whose home was among the many houses and administrative buildings badly damaged in the quake. Since then, several studies, including one from the U.S. Geological Survey, have found evidence linking fracking wastewater injections to earthquakes across the country.

Shortly after, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management on behalf of the Pawnee Nation, as well as Echo-Hawk and other individual Pawnee members. Earthjustice attorney Mike Freeman says the Pawnee situation illustrates a larger pattern where the federal government violates the law by approving oil and gas projects on tribal lands without telling the affected tribes. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, for example, has used a similar maneuver in recent years in New Mexico, Maine, and on tribal lands in Oklahoma

“Our government has run roughshod over the rights of Native Americans when approving oil and gas development,” Freeman said. “But the law requires federal agencies to respect tribal laws and sovereignty.”

In addition to the federal court lawsuit, Earthjustice asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to reconsider its leasing decision through a legal mechanism known as an administrative appeal. In May, the agency’s internal review agreed with the tribe’s argument, determining that the Bureau of Indian Affairs violated the law by approving the oil and gas leases without informing tribal members and without examining fracking’s environmental impacts. The agency’s review invalidated three of the leases and declared another 10 expired and therefore no longer in effect.

Only four leases now remain, and the tribe, represented by Earthjustice, is elevating the issue to the national level by bringing the case to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals, a federal review body. At the same time, Earthjustice’s challenge against the Bureau of Land Management’s drilling permit approvals is moving forward in district court.

While some drilling has been approved on the four remaining leases, Freeman said they have the same legal defect as the leases that were already invalidated.  As a result, he is hopeful the federal review board will strike down those four leases as well.

“The bureau has already admitted it violated the law in approving these four leases,” says Freeman. “They can’t now just turn a blind eye to those mistakes.”  

Walter Echo-Hawk

Walter Echo-Hawk
Photo Courtesy of Walter Echo-Hawk
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Fracking, Gas, Oil
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Cache of long-lost photos found in abandoned bathroom reveal secrets of Frida Kahlo’s life – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

They are images that shed new light on the private life of the world’s most famous female artist. But hundreds of photographs belonging to Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, on show at the Bendigo Art Gallery from this week, almost never saw the light of day.

Source: Cache of long-lost photos found in abandoned bathroom reveal secrets of Frida Kahlo’s life – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Residents fear losing Capistrano Beach as storms chip away at their ‘piece of paradise’

Walking along a battered stretch of her beloved beach, Sandie Iverson ticked off the destruction from recent storms. The boardwalk and a seawall collapsed. Palm trees were ripped from their roots.

As winter rains alight on Southern California, Iverson couldn’t help but wonder what fresh calamity…