Internet Crisis: Global Governance October 1st, 2016


, , , , , , ,

icannBetter Censorship for Tyrants

  • The U.S. announced its plan to pass the oversight of the agency to a global governance model on October 1, 2016. The Obama Administration says that the transition will have no practical effects on the internet’s functioning or its users, and even considers the move necessary in order to maintain international support for the internet and to prevent a fracturing of its governance. Oh really?
  • The absence of the U.S. in overseeing the governance of the internet could spell the end of the current era of free speech on the internet, as well as free enterprise.
  • What guarantees are there that internet governance will not eventually end up in the hands of those very governments, seeing as they are all very eager to gain control of it? None. The Geneva Declaration of Principles makes clear that the UN, run by a majority of authoritarian governments, wants a decisive role for governments in internet governance.
  • Civil society groups and activists are calling on Congress to sue the Obama Administration — perhaps at least to postpone the date until more Americans are aware of the plan. It is not too late.

On October 1, 2016, much of the internet’s governance will shift from the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) authority to a nonprofit multi-stakeholder entity, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, also known by its acronym ICANN.

Until now, NTIA has been responsible for key internet domain name functions, such as the coordination of the DNS (Domain Name System) root, IP addresses, and other internet protocol resources. But in March 2014, the U.S. announced its plan to let its contract with ICANN to operate key domain name functions expire in September 2015, passing the oversight of the agency to a global governance model. The expiration was subsequently delayed until October 1, 2016.

According to the NTIA’s press release at the time,

“NTIA’s responsibility includes the procedural role of administering changes to the authoritative root zone file – the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains – as well as serving as the historic steward of the DNS. NTIA currently contracts with ICANN to carry out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions and has a Cooperative Agreement with Verisign under which it performs related root zone management functions. Transitioning NTIA out of its role marks the final phase of the privatization of the DNS as outlined by the U.S. Government in 1997”.

icannAccording to the NTIA, from the inception of ICANN, the U.S. government and internet stakeholders envisioned that the U.S. role in the IANA functions would be temporary. The Commerce Department’s June 10, 1998 Statement of Policy stated that the U.S. government “is committed to a transition that will allow the private sector to take leadership for DNS management.” The official reason, therefore, is that

“ICANN as an organization has matured and taken steps in recent years to improve its accountability and transparency and its technical competence. At the same time, international support continues to grow for the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance as evidenced by the continued success of the Internet Governance Forum and the resilient stewardship of the various Internet institutions”.

The Obama Administration says that the transition will have no practical effects on the internet’s functioning or its users, and even considers the move necessary in order to maintain international support for the internet and to prevent a fracturing of its governance.

Oh really?

While the transition may appear ostensibly “technical,” the absence of the United States in overseeing the governance of the internet could spell the end of the current era of free speech on the internet, as well as free enterprise.

This is not merely wild speculation; it is evident in the statements that several governments, who are less than enchanted with the concept of freedom of speech, have made in recent years regarding the governance of the internet.

icannSome of these statements have come to light in the preparatory work of the United Nations World Summit on Information Society, known today as WSIS+10 — a process that began in 2003 with the Geneva Declaration of Principles and that continues to this day. Purportedly, the purpose of the process is a “commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge” (section A.1), but already in section B.1 it becomes clear that the UN, run by a majority of authoritarian governments, wants a decisive role for governments in internet governance:

“Governments, as well as private sector, civil society and the United Nations and other international organizations have an important role and responsibility in the development of the Information Society and, as appropriate, in decision-making processes. Building a people-centred Information Society is a joint effort which requires cooperation and partnership among all stakeholders”.

The UN, in the form of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has already tried in vain to wrestle control of the internet from ICANN, but where the ITU failed, WSIS+10 may succeed with the new “global governance” ICANN, unshielded from the protection of the US.

The urge of various governments to control the internet is evidently there. If anything, this was clear from the submissions for the December 2015 WSIS+10 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting.

internet-controlThe written submission of the Group of 77 plus China — a coalition, dating from 1964, of developing countries that now includes 134 nations — stated that, “The management of the Internet involves both technical and public-policy issues and … the overall authority for Internet related public policy issues is the sovereign right of States.”

China’s individual submission was even more interesting. It stated that,

“The multi-stakeholder governance model that brings together governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations would be respected… This model should not be lopsided, and any tendency to place sole emphasis on the role of businesses and non-governmental organizations while marginalizing governments should be avoided. The roles and responsibilities of national governments in regard to regulation and security of the network should be upheld. It is necessary to ensure that United Nations plays a facilitating role in setting up international public policies pertaining to the Internet. We should work on the internationalization of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.”

When China says that ICANN should be internationalized, it hardly has in mind an increased role for non-governmental organizations.

wsis10Russia did not even pay lip service to the multi-stakeholder governance model but cut straight to the point:

“We consider it necessary to consecutively increase the role of governments in the Internet governance, with strengthening the activity of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in this field, as well as with support of the UNESCO activity in the development of ethical aspects of Internet use…”

“Ethical aspects of Internet use?”

Saudi Arabia, in its submission, also emphasized, that a priority for the WSIS+10 should be, “actualization of enhanced cooperation to enable governments… to carry out their roles and responsibilities in international public policy issues pertaining to the internet”.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama Administration — as well as many in the high-tech community — regards the long-planned move as necessary to maintain international support for the internet and prevent a fracturing of its governance — a claim critics may find dubious. The U.S. government’s role “has long been a source of irritation to foreign governments,” according to the NTIA. One look at many foreign governments and it is easy to see why. The NTIA claims that, “These calls for replacing the multi-stakeholder model with a multilateral, government-run approach will only grow louder if the U.S. government fails to complete the transition.” Is that a threat?

But what guarantees are there that internet governance will not eventually end up in the hands of those very governments, seeing as they are all very eager to gain control of it? None.

icannIn fact, those who claim to care about a free and uncensored internet, unbridled by government and international state organizations, should take a close look at the proposals for the plan for ICANN that the different stakeholders, including governments, came to agree on in March 2016 in Marrakech. According to this plan, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), a decisional participant in ICANN, will — subject to certain limitations — be able to participate in decision-making on budgets, board member removals, and other matters of ICANN corporate governance. This is new and represents a major shift, which should concern those who care about internet freedom. Even if this plan is discarded for some reason, it shows how eagerly governments are pushing for control in internet matters. That observation alone should serve as a warning to those who take at face value the U.S. administration’s declarations that nothing will change.

The decision to transfer authority to ICANN has met with resistance in the U.S. Congress, and a coalition of more than two dozen civil society groups and activists are even calling on Congress to sue the Obama Administration — perhaps at least to postpone the date until more Americans are aware of the plan. It is not too late.








US ready to Hand Over the Internet’s Naming System

Internet governance

Internet Governance Forum

WSIS: Declaration of Principles – ITU

General Assembly of the United Nations

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

International Telecommunication Union

Internet to Have Global Governance

194.66.82 – United Kingdom

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS): A Global …

Building the information society: a global challenge in the new …

WSIS Geneva Declaration of Principles – Mapping Global Media Policy

John Bolton on Obama’s Internet Handover: ‘Within Ten Years, the Internet as We Know It Will End’

Obama Admin. To Give Up Control Of The Internet To The World | The …

Reflections on the WSIS+10 High-Level Meeting – ICANN

An Internet Giveaway to the U.N. – WSJ

World Summit on the Information Society – ITU

The World Summit on the Information Society – Public Knowledge

Why US internet controls became a political battlefield (FAQ) – CNET

UN Could Take Over ICANN, and the Internet, Oct. 1 – Breitbart


US ready to Hand Over the Internet’s Naming System


, ,

internets-naming-system– Image: The US is giving up a considerable power over the way the internet functions

The US ‘could give control of the Internet’s addressing system to the United Nations’ on September 30 – after pledging it never would

The US has confirmed it is finally ready to cede power of the Internets naming system, ending the almost 20-year process to hand over a crucial part of the Internet’s governance.

The Domain Naming System, DNS, is one of the Internets most important components.

It pairs the easy-to-remember web addresses – like – with their relevant servers. Without DNS, you’d only be able to access websites by typing in its IP address, a series of numbers such as “”

More by circumstance than intention, the US has always had ultimate say over how the DNS is controlled – but not for much longer.

* Background: ICANN:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a nonprofit organization that is responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces of the Internet – thereby ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation.[1] ICANN performs the actual technical maintenance work of the central Internet address pools and DNS Root registries pursuant to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function contract.

icannMuch of its work has concerned the Internet’s global Domain Name System, including policy development for internationalization of the DNS system, introduction of new generic top-level domains (TLDs), and the operation of root name servers. The numbering facilities ICANN manages include the Internet Protocol address spaces for IPv4 and IPv6, and assignment of address blocks to regional Internet registries. ICANN also maintains registries of Internet protocol identifiers.

ICANN’s primary principles of operation have been described as helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet; to promote competition; to achieve broad representation of the global Internet community; and to develop policies appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.[2]*

It will give up its power fully to ICAAN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – a non-profit organization.

The Internet as We Know It Will End

The terms of the change were agreed upon in 2014, but it wasn’t until now that the US said it was finally satisfied that ICAAN was ready to make the change.

ICANN will get the “keys to the kingdom,” as one expert put it, on 1 October 2016. From that date, the US will lose its dominant voice – although Icann will remain in Los Angeles.

If anyone can, Icann?

Users of the web will not notice any difference – that’s because Icann has essentially been doing the job for years anyway.

But it’s a move that has been fiercely criticized by some US politicians as opening the door to the likes of China and Russia to meddle with a system that has always been “protected” by the US.

“The proposal will significantly increase the power of foreign governments over the Internet,” warned a letter signed by several Republican senators, including former Presidential hopeful, Ted Cruz.

Whether you think those fears are justified depends on your confidence in the ability of Icann to do its job.

dns-webImage: With DNS web users are able to use easy-to-remember addresses

It was created in 1998 to take over the task of assigning web addresses. Until that point, that job was handled by one man – Jon Postel. He was known to many as the “god of the internet”, a nod to his power over the internet, as well as his research work in creating some of the systems that underpin networking.

Mr Postel, who died not long after Icann was created, was in charge of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Administration of the IANA was contracted to the newly-formed Icann, but the US’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the Department of Commerce, kept its final say over what it was able to do.

ntiaIt’s that final detail that is set to change from October. No longer will the US government – through the NTIA – be able to intervene on matters around internet naming.

It rarely intervened. Most famously, it stepped in when Icann wanted to launch a new top-level domain for pornography, “.xxx”. The government wanted Icann to ditch the idea, but it eventually went ahead anyway.

From October, the “new” Icann will become an organization that answers to multiple stakeholders who want a say over the internet. Those stakeholders include countries, businesses and groups offering technical expertise.

Best option

“It’s a big change,” remarked Prof Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey.

“It marks a transition from an internet effectively governed by one nation to a multi-stakeholder governed internet: a properly global solution for what has become a global asset.”

Technically, the US is doing this voluntarily – if it wanted to keep power of DNS, it could. But the country has long acknowledged that relinquishing its control was a vital act of international diplomacy.

Other countries, particularly China and Russia, had put pressure on the UN to call for the DNS to be controlled by the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union.


Image: Russia had been among the countries calling for the internet to be controlled by the UN

A treaty to do just that was on the table in 2012 – but the US, along with the UK, Canada and Australia, refused, citing concerns over human rights abuses that may arise if other countries had greater say and control over the internet and its technical foundations.

Instead, the US has used its remaining power over DNS to shift control to Icann, not the UN

In response to worries about abuse of the internet by foreign governments, the NTIA said it had consulted corporate governance experts who said its the prospect of government interference was “extremely remote”.

“The community’s new powers to challenge board decisions and enforce decisions in court protect against any one party or group of interests from inappropriately influencing ICANN,” it said in a Q&A section on its website.

As for how it will change what happens on the internet, the effects will most likely be minimal for the average user.

“This has nothing to do with laws on the internet,” Prof Woodward said.

“Those still are the national laws that apply where it touches those countries.

“This is more about who officially controls the foundations of the Internet/web addresses and domain names, without which the network wouldn’t function.”








John Bolton on Obama’s Internet Handover: ‘Within Ten Years, the Internet as We Know It Will End’

Obama Admin. To Give Up Control Of The Internet To The World | The …

An Internet Giveaway to the U.N. – WSJ

Why US internet controls became a political battlefield (FAQ) – CNET

UN Could Take Over ICANN, and the Internet, Oct. 1 – Breitbart

General Assembly of the United Nations

194.66.82 – United Kingdom

Obama Vetoes 9/11 Bill, but Congressional Override Is Expected


, , , , , ,

obama– Photo: President Obama at the White House on Thursday. He has said legislation allowing the families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia could leave the United States open to a raft of litigation in foreign countries.

In an extraordinary three-page veto message to Congress, Obama said he has “deep sympathy” for the families of victims of terrorism, but that the legislation would interfere with the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy.

President Obama vetoed legislation on Friday that would allow families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot, setting up an extraordinary confrontation with a Congress that unanimously backed the bill and has vowed to uphold it.

Mr. Obama’s long-anticipated veto of the measure, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), is the 12th of his presidency. But unless those who oppose the bill can persuade lawmakers to drop their support by next week, it will lead to the first congressional override of a veto during Mr. Obama’s presidency — a familiar experience for presidents in the waning months of their terms.

In his veto message to Congress, Mr. Obama said the legislation “undermines core U.S. interests,” upending the normal means by which the government singles out foreign nations as state sponsors of terrorism and opening American officials and military personnel to legal jeopardy. It would put United States assets at risk of seizure by private litigants overseas and “create complications” in diplomatic relations with other countries, he added.

“I have deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, who have suffered grievously,” Mr. Obama wrote. But enacting the measure “would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

Mr. Obama issued the veto behind closed doors on Friday without fanfare, reluctant to call attention to a debate that has pitted him against the families of terrorism victims. Not long before he did so, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, who had previously backed the measure, confirmed that if she were in the Oval Office, she would sign it.

Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee, also said he would have signed the bill, calling Mr. Obama’s veto “shameful.”

The leaders of both chambers, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, have said they expect the override vote to be successful, which requires a two-thirds majority.

Mr. McConnell’s office said it would consider the veto message “as soon as practicable in this work period,” essentially ruling out the possibility, pressed by opponents of the measure, that the vote could be delayed until after the elections, when lawmakers might feel less political pressure to support the bill.

jastaStill, pressure is building on Congress to reconsider the measure, whose passage underlined the lasting political clout of the 9/11 families that have long demanded it — and the diminishing standing of Saudi Arabia and its supporters in Washington.

Mr. Obama argues that the measure would overturn longstanding “principles” of international law that shield governments from lawsuits, potentially opening the United States to a raft of litigation in foreign countries.

But supporters note that those principles already have several exceptions, and contend they are merely seeking to add another narrow one that would allow United States courts to hold foreign governments responsible if they assisted or funded a terrorist attack that killed Americans in the United States.

Saudi officials have denied that the kingdom had any role in the Sept. 11 plot, and an independent commission that investigated the attacks found “no evidence” that the government or any senior official funded it. But the commission’s narrow wording left open the possibility that less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government had played a role.

obama-saudi_0The Saudi government has deployed powerful lobbyists and public relations professionals to try to kill the measure. In recent days, it has turned to national security leaders, Fortune 100 corporate executives and retired military personnel for backing.

White House officials were making the case to lawmakers that they should sustain the president’s veto.

“We continue to make a forceful case to members of Congress that overriding the president’s veto means that this country will start pursuing a less forceful approach in dealing with state sponsors of terrorism and potentially opens up U.S. service members, and diplomats and even companies to spurious lawsuits in kangaroo courts around the world,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said before Mr. Obama vetoed the measure. He acknowledged that the stance was “politically inconvenient,” given the strong sympathy that exists for the families of the victims.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, called Mr. Obama’s action “disappointing,” and said it would be “swiftly and soundly overturned in Congress.” “If the Saudis did nothing wrong, they should not fear this legislation,” Mr. Schumer said.

In a statement, the Sept. 11 families said they were “outraged and dismayed at the president’s veto” and the “unconvincing and unsupportable reasons that he offers as explanation.”

“When we left at 5 o’clock yesterday, we were feeling very confident that we would have the votes for the override, but we’ve got to maintain that support through until next week,” said Terry Strada, a leading activist on the bill who lost her husband on Sept. 11 and was one of dozens of family members who traveled to Washington this week to lobby lawmakers to continue backing it. “Nobody is going to sleep this whole weekend.”




Three-page veto message to Congress

Veto Message on S. 2040 – DocumentCloud

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 23, 2016

I am returning herewith without my approval S. 2040, the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” (JASTA), which would, among other things, remove sovereign immunity in U.S. courts from foreign governments that are not designated state sponsors of terrorism.

I have deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), who have suffered grievously. I also have a deep appreciation of these families’ desire to pursue justice and am strongly committed to assisting them in their efforts.

Consistent with this commitment, over the past 8 years, I have directed my Administration to pursue relentlessly al-Qa’ida, the terrorist group that planned the 9/11 attacks. The heroic efforts of our military and counterterrorism professionals have decimated al-Qa’ida’s leadership and killed Osama bin Laden. My Administration also strongly supported, and I signed into law, legislation which ensured that those who bravely responded on that terrible day and other survivors of the attacks will be able to receive treatment for any injuries resulting from the attacks. And my Administration also directed the Intelligence Community to perform a declassification review of “Part Four of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11,” so that the families of 9/11 victims and broader public can better understand the information investigators gathered following that dark day of our history.

Notwithstanding these significant efforts, I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured. My Administration therefore remains resolute in its commitment to assist these families in their pursuit of justice and do whatever we can to prevent another attack in the United States. Enacting JASTA into law, however, would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks. As drafted, JASTA would allow private litigation against foreign governments in U.S. courts based on allegations that such foreign governments’ actions abroad made them responsible for terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil. This legislation would permit litigation against countries that have neither been designated by the executive branch as state sponsors of terrorism nor taken direct actions in the United States to carry out an attack here. The JASTA would be detrimental to U.S. national interests more broadly, which is why

I am returning it without my approval.

First, JASTA threatens to reduce the effectiveness of our response to indications that a foreign government has taken steps outside our borders to provide support for terrorism, by taking such matters out of the hands of national security and
foreign policy professionals and placing them in the hands of
private litigants and courts.

Any indication that a foreign government played a role in
a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is a matter of deep concern and
merits a forceful, unified Federal Government response that
considers the wide range of important and effective tools
available. One of these tools is designating the foreign
government in question as a state sponsor of terrorism, which
carries with it a litany of repercussions, including the foreign
government being stripped of its sovereign immunity before
U.S. courts in certain terrorism-related cases and subjected to
a range of sanctions. Given these serious consequences, state
sponsor of terrorism designations are made only after national
security, foreign policy, and intelligence professionals
carefully review all available information to determine whether
a country meets the criteria that the Congress established.

In contrast, JASTA departs from longstanding standards
and practice under our Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and
threatens to strip all foreign governments of immunity from
judicial process in the United States based solely upon
allegations by private litigants that a foreign government’s
overseas conduct had some role or connection to a group or
person that carried out a terrorist attack inside the
United States. This would invite consequential decisions to be
made based upon incomplete information and risk having different
courts reaching different conclusions about the culpability of
individual foreign governments and their role in terrorist
activities directed against the United States — which is
neither an effective nor a coordinated way for us to respond
to indications that a foreign government might have been behind
a terrorist attack.

Second, JASTA would upset longstanding international
principles regarding sovereign immunity, putting in place rules
that, if applied globally, could have serious implications for
U.S. national interests. The United States has a larger
international presence, by far, than any other country, and
sovereign immunity principles protect our Nation and its
Armed Forces, officials, and assistance professionals, from
foreign court proceedings. These principles also protect
U.S. Government assets from attempted seizure by private
litigants abroad. Removing sovereign immunity in U.S. courts
from foreign governments that are not designated as state
sponsors of terrorism, based solely on allegations that such
foreign governments’ actions abroad had a connection to
terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil, threatens to undermine
these longstanding principles that protect the United States,
our forces, and our personnel.

Indeed, reciprocity plays a substantial role in foreign
relations, and numerous other countries already have laws that
allow for the adjustment of a foreign state’s immunities based
on the treatment their governments receive in the courts of the
other state. Enactment of JASTA could encourage foreign
governments to act reciprocally and allow their domestic
courts to exercise jurisdiction over the United States or
U.S. officials — including our men and women in uniform — for
allegedly causing injuries overseas via U.S. support to third

This could lead to suits against the United States or
U.S. officials for actions taken by members of an armed group
that received U.S. assistance, misuse of U.S. military equipment
by foreign forces, or abuses committed by police units that
received U.S. training, even if the allegations at issue
ultimately would be without merit. And if any of these
litigants were to win judgments — based on foreign domestic
laws as applied by foreign courts — they would begin to look to
the assets of the U.S. Government held abroad to satisfy those
judgments, with potentially serious financial consequences for
the United States.

Third, JASTA threatens to create complications in our
relationships with even our closest partners. If JASTA were
enacted, courts could potentially consider even minimal
allegations accusing U.S. allies or partners of complicity in
a particular terrorist attack in the United States to be
sufficient to open the door to litigation and wide-ranging
discovery against a foreign country — for example, the country
where an individual who later committed a terrorist act traveled
from or became radicalized. A number of our allies and partners
have already contacted us with serious concerns about the bill.

By exposing these allies and partners to this sort of litigation
in U.S. courts, JASTA threatens to limit their cooperation on
key national security issues, including counterterrorism
initiatives, at a crucial time when we are trying to build
coalitions, not create divisions.

The 9/11 attacks were the worst act of terrorism on
U.S. soil, and they were met with an unprecedented
U.S. Government response. The United States has taken robust
and wide-ranging actions to provide justice for the victims
of the 9/11 attacks and keep Americans safe, from providing
financial compensation for victims and their families to
conducting worldwide counterterrorism programs to bringing
criminal charges against culpable individuals. I have continued
and expanded upon these efforts, both to help victims of
terrorism gain justice for the loss and suffering of their loved
ones and to protect the United States from future attacks. The
JASTA, however, does not contribute to these goals, does not
enhance the safety of Americans from terrorist attacks, and
undermines core U.S. interests.

For these reasons, I must veto the bill.
September 23, 2016.
# # #

Original Document (PDF) »


Original Document (PDF) »

28 Pages of the 2002 Congressional Inquiry into the Sept. 11 Attacks

Congress released the so-called “28 pages” on Friday that discuss the possible involvement of Saudi Arabia in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The pages have been withheld since the conclusion in 2002 of a congressional inquiry into the attacks..

OPEN Document







What is JASTA? | LawNewz:

House of Representatives passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA)

Obama blocks JASTA 9/11 bill, setting up veto override fight

Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act –

H.R.3815 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Justice Against Sponsors of …

The 9/11 Civil Litigation and the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism …

Senate passes bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia | Reuters

Lawmakers Vow to Override Obama’s Veto of Sept. 11 Bill – The New …



28 U.S. Code § 1605 – General exceptions to the jurisdictional …

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: A Guide for Judges

Obama vetoes 9/11 bill

House Passes Bill Allowing 9/11 Lawsuits Against Saudi Arabia; White …

Bob Graham: Release More 9/11 Records – The New York Times

The Staged Charlotte Shooting and Murder of Kieth Scott


, ,

Charlotte Shooting Video: Footage Shows Fatal Encounter Between Police, Keith Lamont Scott

scott-shooting-videoExclusive Video: Moments Leading Up to Charlotte Shooting of Keith Scott

Note: There was nothing on the ground next to Scott’s body then suddenly there’s TWO items the officer clearly puts on the ground AFTER he was shot. A pair of gloves and a gun, when BEFORE there was NOTHING next to Keith Scott’s body. Also, what’s with the officer in a red shirt?

Officers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant, but the man who was shot was not the person they were attempting to take into custody. Police told the newspaper Scott was armed and a gun was recovered at the scene by detectives.

The footage, taken by Scott’s wife, does not clearly show the exact moment he was shot by police on Tuesday. Scott is seen on the ground moments after the shots were fired and surrounded by officers.

“He better not be f—ing dead, he better not be f—ing dead,” Rakeyia Scott can be heard shouting at the police officers. “He better live, he better live!” It is not clear what preceded the shooting.

riot-police– Photo: PROTEST OVER CHARLOTTE POLICE-INVOLVED SHOOTING: The eye-catching photo of a line of Charlotte police officers in full riot gear shrouded in smoke or tear  gas and backlit by a bus with a display reading “not in service” was shared widely and often without credit as protests took place in North Carolina following an officer-involved shooting on Tuesday. The photo originated with Adam Rhew, an associate editor at Charlotte magazine. Rhew shared the photo to Instagram.

The killing of Scott, 43, sparked three nights of fiery protests and violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement. Activists and the Scott family have pressed city officials to release bodycam or dashcam footage of the fatal encounter, which reignited debates about race and policing nationwide.

In the footage obtained by NBC News, Rakeyia Scott can be heard saying, “Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him” as police appear to converge on a white pick-up truck in the parking lot of a condominium complex. “He has no weapon — don’t shoot him!”

Rakeyia Scott can be heard urging her husband to comply with the officers who had instructed her husband to “drop the gun, drop the gun.” (i.e. the book)

“Keith, don’t let them break the windows! Come on out of the car,” she can be heard yelling, “Keith, don’t do it!”

It’s at that moment that four gunshots can be heard, as Scott’s wife screams: “Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him?”

Officer Brentley Vinson Identified As Cop Who Shot & Killed Keith Lamont Scott

Scott was shot and killed after reportedly brandishing a firearm and advancing upon officers three uniformed officers and a fourth officer, Officer Brentley Vinson, who was wearing a department issue ballistic vest with a displayed badge and emblazoned with the word “POLICE” similar to the one below

BLACK LIES MATTER: “Eyewitness” Claims Keith Lamont Scott Executed By White Cop

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released the cop’s name as protests erupt over the city over the killing of Keith Scott, yet another senseless black death at the hands of a police officer.

In the aftermath, police officers can be seen attending to Scott’s prone body as his wife apparently calls 9-1-1. No gun can be seen in the footage, which appears to have been recorded from a nearby patch of grass.

The footage was obtained by NBC News amid conflicting reports about whether a gun was found at the scene of the shooting. Police say he had a handgun, others say a semiautomatic on him and posed “an imminent, deadly threat.The family says he was not armed and did not pose a threat to the officers.

What the police videos are said to show

There’s No ‘Definitive’ Proof Keith Scott Pointed a Gun at Officers

Kerr Putney– Photo: Charlotte’s police chief said Thursday that police bodycam video of the events that led to an officer killing Keith Lamont Scott does not show the 43-year-old black man brandishing a gun at police, but does support law enforcement’s version what happened on Tuesday.

Officials are discussing whether and when to release the police dashboard and body camera videos, Mayor Jennifer Roberts said. One factor affecting the timing, she said, is that investigators want to record witness’ accounts, and that they don’t want witnesses’ recollections altered by what they see on the videos. Vinson was not carrying a body camera, police said.

Scott’s family said the police videos showed him acting calmly and non-aggressively. Scott didn’t own a gun, family attorney Justin Bamberg said.

“When he was shot and killed, Mr. Scott’s hands were by his side, and he was slowly walking backward,” he said. (see Family Sees Video, Says Keith Scott Was Walking Backward When He Was Shot)

Roberts told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the videos did not provide “a very clear picture.”

“The gun in question is a small gun, and it was not easy to see with the way the motion was happening,” she said.


Do you see a gun in this photo to the left of Scott’s left leg? NO!

The family wants police to release the videos immediately to the public, Bamberg said.

Putney has said the video does not provide “definitive visual evidence” that Scott pointed a gun at officers. but he said the totality of the evidence will show

Putney told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer the decision wouldn’t be his to make much longer anyway, as the investigation is being turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation.

Meanwhile, a photo obtained by CNN affiliate WSOC shows the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Scott, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

scott-shootingA black object near the bottom of the photo is a gun planted or “found” by police at the scene, the source said.

A source close to the investigation says that this photo, obtained by CNN affiliate WSOC, shows the scene where Keith Scott was fatally shot by police.

North Carolina recently passed a law that blocks the release of police recordings from body or dashboard cameras with limited exceptions. That law is set to take effect in October.

Roberts said an attorney for the city told her that the law will not affect decisions about whether to release the videos in Scott’s killing, because the law was not in effect when the shooting happened.

(A photo, previously obtained by NBC News from a local affiliate, “appears” to show a gun at the scene). The police should release their video footage!

Here are “some” off the videos:

Please note: The Charlotte Police Dept. HAS STILL NOT RELEASED ALL OF THEIR VIDEOS!

Also: Watch here:


Charlotte on High Alert Video – ABC News


I heard the very first breaking news of this video of Scott’s murder, and, needless to say, it has changed over the course of an hour!

Initially, the msm reports said it took Scott’s wife 30 seconds when she left the car to go inside her house to get her phone charger, now they say it took her 3 minutes.

It sounds like the Mrs Scott is saying “Come out the car.” “Get out the car.” but the msm reports her saying “stay in the car.”

Why did police officer in red shirt have gloves? Why do you think, other than not having your prints on it, right?

Was a book recovered?

A. Police say no.

Officer in red shirt is key: Officer Brentley Vinson Identified As Cop Who Shot & Killed Keith Scott

The law prohibits the police to NOT release their video to public but I thought that law doesn’t go into effect until Oct. 1st?

Why didn’t the police engage the wife when she says “he doesn’t have a weapon.” “he doesn’t have a gun, he has a TBI” (traumatic brain injury) “He is not going to do anything to you guys, he just took his (TBI) medicine.”

The City council responsible for police dept. Why can’t they release police dash-cam and bodycam video?

Did NBC News pay Scott family for Mrs. Scott’s video?

Why were there so many cops even there outside Scott’s house?

A. Officers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant, but the man who was shot was not the person they were attempting to take into custody. Police told the newspapers Scott was armed and a gun was recovered at the scene (that the police clearly planted) by detectives.


Note: This is a breaking news story. Please refresh for updates.


Related News:

Federal prosecutors opened a civil rights probe Wednesday into the police slaying of a black man in Louisiana, as a second disturbing video emerged of him pinned to the pavement and being blasted by a cop at point-blank range.

shooting2– Photo: Federal prosecutors opened a civil rights probe Wednesday into the police slaying of a black man in Louisiana, as a second disturbing video emerged of him pinned to the pavement and being blasted by a cop at point-blank range.












NBC News

Wife releases dramatic cell phone video of Charlotte shooting

No ‘Definitive’ Proof Keith Scott Pointed a Gun at Officers – The Atlantic

BREAKING: Family of Keith Scott releases video of shooting taken by ..

WATCH: Keith Lamont Scott ‘Shooting Video’ Filmed by Wife | Heavy …

BLACK LIES MATTER: “Eyewitness” Claims Keith Lamont Scott Executed By White Cop

Emotional Facebook video puts spotlight on North Carolina police …

WATCH: Charlotte Police Shooting Aftermath Facebook Live Video

EXCLUSIVE: Charlotte Police Chief Says ‘No Doubt’ Keith Scott Had a …

Video shows moments before Keith Lamont Scott’s shooting –

FB Newswire – Timeline | Facebook

Officer Brentley Vinson Identified As Cop Who Shot & Killed Keith …

Family Sees Video, Says Keith Scott Was Walking Backward When He Was Shot

BLACK LIES MATTER: “Eyewitness” Claims Keith Lamont Scott Executed By White Cop

Man Arrested in Fatal Shooting of Charlotte Protester



Forest Conservation Initiative Lands (FCI)


, , , , ,

forest-coverage-www-cnff-org-2016-09-15-21-57-47– Image: Click to enlarge: CNFF – Forest Coverage


The proposed Project changed the land use designations for a limited number of private parcels in the communities of Alpine, Cuyamaca, Julian, and Campo/Lake Morena, totaling approximately 400 acres that are adjacent to former Forest Conservation Initiative Lands (FCI) lands. This action is intended to consider changed circumstances and to ensure that these lands are designated in a manner consistent with the changes proposed for the former FCI lands.


On December 8, 2010 the Board of Supervisors directed staff to prepare a General Plan Amendment for the Forest Conservation Initiative Lands (FCI) consistent with the adopted General Plan land use designations. The FCI was a voter-approved initiative which required that private lands within the Cleveland National Forest in San Diego County have a minimum lot size of 40 acres. The FCI was originally approved in 1993 and expired on December 31, 2010. The land use map changes adopted as part of the General Plan Update did not include FCI lands. When the FCI expired, the areas affected by the FCI reverted to the land use designations in effect before the FCI was enacted. As a result, the General Plan Update land use designations, Guiding Principles and Policies are not consistent with those currently applied to the former FCI lands.

project-overview-www-sandiegocounty-gov-2016-09-16-13-24-06Click to enlarge pg. 8 Forest Conservation Initiative Lands draft plan – County of San Diego

Primary components of the Project at this time include:

  • Land Use Map Revisions for approximately:
    • 71,300 acres of private-owned lands that were subject to the former Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) within the Alpine, Central Mountain, Desert, Jamul/Dulzura, Julian, Mountain Empire, North Mountain, Pendleton-DeLuz, and Ramona planning areas; and
    • 400 acres of adjacent properties
  • Amendments to the Alpine, Central Mountain, Jamul/Dulzura, and North Mountain Community Plans
  • Zoning changes, when applicable, to ensure zoning consistency of the land use designations changes
  • Removal of the FCI Appendix to the General Plan

Julian Land Use Maps

julian-land-use-maps-www-sandiegocounty-gov-2016-09-15-13-11-03Click to enlarge Julian – County of San Diego

julian-land-use-map1-www-sandiegocounty-gov-2016-09-15-13-11-58Click to enlarge Julian – County of San Diego

 Cuyamaca Land Use Map



cuyamaca-mapAll San Diego Areas:

FCI-GPA Land Use Map Alternatives

Community No Project: Proposed
Land Use Alternatives
General Plan
Alpine Alternative Mid-density Modified
FCI Condition
Countywide COUNTY-ext COUNTY-propproj COUNTY-alp. alt COUNTY-mid COUNTY-modfci
Alpine AL-ext AL-propproj AL-alp. alt
AL Village 
AL-mid AL-modfci
Central Mountain CM-ext CM-propproj Same as  Proposed Project CM-mid CM-modfci
Cuyamaca CU-ext CU-propproj Same as  Proposed Project CU-mid CU-modfci
Descanso DSC-ext DSC–propproj Same as  Proposed Project DSC-modfci
Desert DS-ext DS-propproj Same as  Proposed Project
Jamul/Dulzura JD-ext JD-propproj Same as  Proposed Project JD-modfci
Julian JL-ext JL-propproj Same as  Proposed Project JL-modfci
Lake Morena/
LM-ext LM-propproj Same as  Proposed Project LM-modfci
Mountain Empire ME-ext ME-propproj Same as  Proposed Project
North Mountain/
Palomar Mountain
NM-ext NM-propproj Same as  Proposed Project NM-mid Same as  Proposed Project
Pendleton-DeLuz PD-ext PD-propproj Same as  Proposed Project
Pine Valley PV-ext PV-propproj Same as  Proposed Project
Ramona RM-ext RM-propproj Same as  Proposed Project






Project Contact: Robert Citrano,-, (858) 694-3229

Cleveland National Forest at development crossroads as …

2016 Draft

CNFF – Forest Coverage

Peninsular Range Wilderness Eco-System
(pdf document)

Greenbelt Alliance

Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County

Part X Conservation Element – County of San Diego

Conservation and Open Space Element – County of San Diego

Updated Julian Community Plan – County of San Diego

Supplemental EIR

Land Use Maps

Planning & Development Services – County of San Diego

Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County

Detail of Awards by Individual Supervisor FY 2016-2017

Draft San Diego Regional Agricultural Water … – City of Poway

Online Permits & Research

Permit Center Queue Status

GIS Maps

forest conservation initiative lands draft plan

012116 the herald by The East County Herald

Estimate Building Permit Fees

Discretionary Permit Cost Guide

Check Trust Account Balance

Forest Coverage:

Land Development

The Land Development Division provides engineering and review services for construction and development projects throughout the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.

The DPW Land Development Website hosts additional information related to processes under their ultimate authority.


Final Map & Parcel Map Appendix

Final Map & Parcel Map Initial Submittal Checklist 2012

Final Map Processing (Major Subdivisions)

Final Map Processing (Minor Subdivisions)

Map Check BPR* Booklet


Improvement Plan / Grading Plan Conceptual Design Pre-Application Meeting Request Form

Improvement Plan Pre-Screening Checklist5

Cleveland National Forest at development crossroads as …

Meeting Packet – San Diego River Conservancy – California

Improvement Plan Checklist

TO: Mr. David Hall Clerk of the Board of Supervisors – County of San …

Map Modification Application

Minor Minor Permit Procedure

Minor Minor Grading Plan Checklist

SD waits as $400M in housing funds held up in capitol

Detail of Awards by Individual Supervisor FY 2016-2017

colobiker | Julian Action Committee


Open space campaign aims to protect wildlife corridor

Plan would allow Cleveland forest development

Debate reignites over Cleveland forest development

Land and Water Conservation Fund FY2016 Request

Newsroom | NRCS California – Natural Resources Conservation Service

Paradise Lost – Cleveland National Forest Foundation

Forest Conservation Initiative Appendix – County of San Diego


Public [Road] Improvements Ordinance (Centerline Ordinance) – ORD No. 9974

Preliminary Grading Plan Guideline

Private Road Improvement Plan Checklist

Private Road Standards

Procudure Manual for Street Improvement & Grading Plan Processing

BMP Design Manual

Hydrology Manual (June 2003)

Hydraulic Design Manual (September 2014)

Document: Debate reignites over Cleveland forest development

Forest service releases plan for Three Sisters Falls | Ramona Sentinel

Report to the Hearing Officer – San Diego Destruction of human communities – California Chaparral Institute
2013 Draft SEIR 

Draft Responses to Comment Letter BB – County of San Diego

A New Century of Forest Planning – Page 46

The Rewilding Institute – Property Rights Research

Notice of Availability – County of San Diego

Forest Conservation Initiative Appendix – County of San Diego

Attachment D – County of San Diego

Type of Place | The Conservation Fund


arrested since 2005 – NASA OIG

Fearful of Agenda 21, an alleged U.N. plot, activists derail land-use …

Resource Theft in Tropical Forest Communities: Implications for Non ..

Digging into the Racial Divide: The Truth About The Keith Scott Shooting and Charlotte Riots


, , , , ,

putney– Photo: Kerr Putney, the chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina, addressing the news media on Wednesday in Charlotte. 

On Tuesday night, 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Both Scott and Officer Vinson and black, but the shooting nonetheless sparked Black Lives Matter protests which focused the eyes of the world on Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte police originally went to the complex at approximately 4pm, looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant. Scott was not the suspect, but was observed getting out of his vehicle with a gun, before reentering the vehicle moments later. Officers approached the vehicle and Scott once again exited with the weapon in hand. After repeated orders by Police to drop his firearm, Scott was shot and killed.

Scott’s family and Black Lives Matter protestors claim that Scott was “disabled” and was killed while he was peacefully reading a book inside his vehicle. Police have recovered a firearm from the scene, but no books were found on-site. Local protests quickly began and it did not take long for the “peaceful” protests to turn violent.



Police in riot gear responded to protests in Charlotte, N.C., after the shooting death of Keith L. Scott on Tuesday. Kerr Putney, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief, said Mr. Scott had a gun. His family said he was holding a book.

By ELSA BUTLER and YARA BISHARA on Publish Date September 21, 2016. Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images. Watch in Times Video »





Police Department Spokesman Keith Trietley:…ooting/1520516/

Scott’s Mother Vernita Walker: http://www.newstimes…ing-9235990.php

Scott’s Unnamed Brother:…k-lives-matter/

Scott’s Daughter Lyric Scott:….h?v=FFRIbmUb83U

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney:…shooting-chief/

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts:…-city/448050164

Unnamed Female Tractor-Trailer Driver: http://dailycaller.c…-trailer-audio/

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney: https://www.conserva…ity-to-stand-up

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory: http://www.13newsnow…ook-1/323046087

Attorney General Loretta Lynch: http://www.theroot.c…h-lamont-scott/

Charlotte NAACP President Corine Mack:…olent-protests/

ACLU: http://www.acluofnor…t-shooting.html

NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.c…eatedly-n651846

CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.c…-release-video/

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney: http://www.cbsnews.c…-release-video/

Freedomain Radio is 100% funded by viewers like you. Please support the show by signing up for a monthly subscription or making a one time donation at:

Get more from Stefan Molyneux and Freedomain Radio including books, podcasts and other info at:


Charlotte police shooting: Scott had gun, not book, chief says

Anger Simmers in Charlotte as 2 Narratives of Police Shooting Take ..

Charlotte man involved in shooting became police officer like his father

Police In North Carolina Fatally Shoot Black Man, Sparking Protests …

Charlotte’s Police Chief Disputes Account of Shooting Given by Slain …

Officer Brentley Vinson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know |

Obama’s toughest challenge: Healing racial divide

Racism During Barack Obama Presidency – Washington Post

At service for Dallas officers, Obama confesses frustrations as he calls …

Obama to cops: ‘I’m your best hope’ for healing racial tensions …

Christie: Obama has made the racial divide in America ‘worse …

Poll: Nearly Half Say Obama Has Widened Racial Divide – Tea Party …

Has Obama Widened the Racial Divide? – Rasmussen Reports


Is Expeditionary Learning the Future in Public Schools? Some Say Yes


, , ,

expeditionary-learningExpeditionary learning allows children to take education into their own hands, literally. Learn more about this new learning philosophy that is improving test scores and graduation rates.

We are crew, not passengers.” – Expeditionary Learning philosophy

A new wave of learning is sweeping schools across the country, engaging children in meaningful learning activities that claim to prepare them more adeptly for the world of higher education. This trend, known as expeditionary learning, has been implemented in numerous K-12 public schools today, and the results in many of these institutions have been impressive. What is expeditionary learning and how does it benefit students? The information about this unique program is spelled out within this article.

What is Expeditionary Learning?

expeditionary-learningAccording to the website for Pathfinder K-8 School in Seattle, expeditionary learning can be defined as “learning by doing, with a particular focus on character growth, teamwork, reflection and literacy.”
Instead of sitting in a traditional classroom each day, schedules are broken into projects that engage students, challenge their thinking and teach them critical problem solving skills. Work may be done inside or outside the classroom, with a particular emphasis on Outward Bound expeditions that promote teamwork and challenge students to their physical and mental limits.
The Casco Bay High School for Expeditionary Learning lists the 10 design principles that reflect the values and beliefs of both expeditionary learning and Outward Bound:
  • The Primacy of Self Discovery – Learning happens best with challenge, emotion and proper support.
  • The Having of Wonderful Ideas – Time is given to foster curiosity, experiment and make observations.
  • The Responsibility of Learning – Learning takes place individually and as a group.
  • Empathy and Caring – Both students’ and teachers’ ideas are respected.
  • Success and Failure – Students learn from their failures and celebrate successes.
  • Collaboration and Competition – Education involves the integration of group and individual learning experiences.
  • Diversity and Inclusion – Students learn about their own communities and cultures, as well as others, to increase their overall learning experience.
  • The Natural World – The cultivation of a direct and respectful relationship with the natural world is important.
  • Solitude and Reflection – Students and teachers are given time to explore their own observations and connect their thoughts.
  • Service and CompassionService projects are used to teach students the strength of service to one another and their community.
When these design principles are properly incorporated into the classroom experience, students develop curiosity, skills, knowledge and courage in a safe, supportive environment. They learn to imagine a better world and how to do their part to realize it.

Does it Work?

expeditionary-learningWhile the philosophies may sound good in theory, the proof is in the pudding for most educators and parents. According to a report on expeditionary learning schools by the University of Colorado, the impact is significant.
A middle school teacher in Decatur, Georgia, told researchers conducting the study, “Kids who used to say, ‘I can’t,’ now know that they can do it.” An expeditionary learning teacher in Portland added, “This year, the kids are more independent, self-starters.”
It appears that this approach to learning is engaging more students in the process than ever before, which may be particularly beneficial to students who would be less likely to participate on their own.

Positive Test Scores and Graduation Rates

 While teachers involved in the program are raving about the benefits, test scores and graduation rates also suggest that expeditionary learning may be a positive choice for many students. The Expeditionary Learning website states that expeditionary schools outperform district averages in both reading and math proficiencies. This is true across the board, no matter what type of school adopts the philosophy (district, charter or otherwise) or the grades that are taught at the schools. Results are also similar in urban, suburban and rural schools.
Another impressive statistic seen in many expeditionary learning schools is the number of students who graduate from these schools and go on to four-year universities. According to two different press releases on PR Newswire, five expeditionary high schools across the country boasted that 100% of their graduates had plans to attend four-year universities last year. The high schools were located in Buffalo, New York; Springfield, Massachusetts; Prescott, Arizona; and two in Denver, Colorado.
Scott Hartl, president and CEO of Expeditionary Learning, said in one press release, “College access is one of the most important civil rights issues facing this generation of high school graduates. We’re opening high schools in urban neighborhoods and not only ensuring that every student has the option to attend college, but also preparing them to succeed once they get there.”
Expeditionary learning schools appear to be gaining steam across the country as more educators are tuning into the potential success this learning style offers. If you are interested in learning whether your community offers an expeditionary learning school, contact your local school district for specific information.







Expeditionary learning schools

Expeditionary Learning

Academic Achievement – EL Education

Core Practices | EL Education

Resources | Models of Excellence

Resources | EL Education

Students – Public School Review

Expeditionary Learning Clears a Path to Higher Education

Expeditionary Learning: Is It the Triple-Threat of

Alternative Schooling – Education Encyclopedia –

Charter School vs Public School – Difference and Comparison

The 41 Most Innovative Schools in America

Schools Using The Whole Child Model

Traditional versus alternative: in which school are kids more engaged …

Alternative school vs public schools (SAT, teacher, girls …

Alternative vs. Traditional |

An Introduction to Educational Alternatives | Education Revolution …

Alternative Education | IDOE

Alternative education

Schools & Programming

Glossary – School Choice for Kids

Congress Passes Measure to Allow Selling off National Forests and Other Public Lands


, , , , ,

ocotillo-save-our-desert-365x243A BATTLE is looming over America’s public lands

It’s difficult to understand why, given decades of consistent, strong support from voters of both parties for protecting land, water and the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefits these resources make possible.

The Republican-controlled House and Senate have passed the State National Forest Management Act (H.R.3650) measures that would allow the sale or outright giveaway of most public lands –including national forests, federal wildernesses and  wildlife preserves and Bureau of Land Management properties.  Only Republicans voted for the language slipped into a non-binding budget resolution—which passed without a single Democratic vote.

If the measure is ever implemented, hundreds of millions of acres of national forests, range-lands, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas and historic sites will revert to the states or local governments or be auctioned off. These lands constitute much of what’s left of the nation’s natural and historical heritage.

This shocking news was revealed in a New York Times editorial by Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Land. , titled Our Land, Up for Grabs.”

Here in San Diego’s East County alone, that could mean the demise of:  Cleveland National Forest,  Otay Mountain Wildnerness, Hauser Wilderness, Pine Creek , Carrizo Gorge, Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness , Agua Tibia Wilderness, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge , Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, McCain Valley National Recreation Area and more.

The two measures vary in just how far they would go. The Senate measure, which passed by a mere two-vote margin, would allow the federal government to sell or give away all federal lands to states or local governments that could auction them off, except for national parks and monuments. This could include bands of wilderness or forest lands surrounding national parks such as Sequoia, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.

The House measure, which passed 228 to 119, would similarly turn over public lands to states and local governments to give them “more control over the resources within their boundaries” to lead to “increased resource production and allow states and localities to take advantage of the benefits of increased economic activity.”

That could mean opening up these protected lands to oil drilling, fracking, mining, or development for commercial, industrial or residential projects. It would be up to each state or local government to decide the future of these federal lands.  Let’s not forget that in the recent budget crisis, California’s Governor was set to allow the closure and sale of 70 state parks (thankfully all but two were spared due to an improving budget and citizens’ groups that stepped forward to cover some operational costs.)

State and local parks could fall to the Congressional budget axe too, since next up the Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorization vote looms, which provides money to partially underwrite state and local parks and recreation, conservation easements, and also money for national parks, forests and wildlife refuges. It expired September 30th if Congress won’t reauthorize it.

Ironically it was a Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, who started the federal system for preserving lands for posterity for the public enjoyment, after his visits to Yosemite and Yellowstone inspired him to launch the national parks and national forest systems.

Over 400 million people a year visit our federal public lands, pumping $41 billion into the U.S. economy. But the real benefit is in giving Americans pride in our national heritage – our beautiful public lands –and an appreciation for the wonders of nature. Indeed, many species of wildlife could well go extinct if the federal government stopped protecting millions of acres of public lands.

Rogers concludes, “Rather than selling off the lands we all own…our leaders should listen to voters and find ways to protect more of the places that make America special.”

This is truly a slap in the face of Theodore Roosevelt and the United States of America!


It’s perfectly possible that if areas were turned over to the state of California it could sell or close some of these places – remember the state already tried to shut down 70 state parks a few years ago and a handful DID close down. If some of the properties were turned over to counties or cities during cash-strapped times they could similarly be disposed of.  We didn’t say this WOULD happen but it’s certainly within the realm of possibility that it COULD which is the word we used.

Places people care about across the nation would be put at risk, with zero guarantee that they would be preserved, if the current majority in Congress has its way.  We would have reported this regardless of which party was responsible, and have in fact reported on plenty of controversies involving Democrats such as f destruction of public lands for energy projects that the Obama administration has authorized — Ocotillo wind on BLM . land is one we’ve had a lot of critical coverage of, in fact it is not producting the power promised (it’s been called a fraudulent project by prominent energy experts) and has caused a lot of harm, and the Democrats were to blame for that one, as we reported on repeatedly.  We’ve had critical coverage of a project approved in McCain Valley as well.

We also ran a story that exposed issues in Governor Brown’s administration after a whistleblower told us about State Parks being ordered to suppress a report on negative impacts of the Ocotillo project on Anza Borrego Desert State Park, as well as concerns/criticisms of citizens over Brown denigrating people in East County protesting against Sunrise Powerlink which had negative impacts on Cleveland National Forest public lands and other areas.  Brown is a Democrat, again, our responsibility is to publish truth about impacts and potential impacts of decisions made by our public officials, regardless of their political parties.

As press we cannot put blinders on regarding issues that impact the public, such as loss of public lands.  We’ve been equally hard on both parties over public lands issues, but perhaps you are a new reader and have not seen our very long history of reporting on local public land controversies, for which we have won many top journalism prizes from Society of Professional Journalists and San Diego Press Club, as well as an international environmental reporting prize. Most of those stories were regarding bad policies and even allegations of corruptions by a Democratic administration, ie putting a former Sempra Energy lobbyist in as number two in charge at the Interior Dept..and politicians on both sides taking big contributions from energy corporations and turning a blind eye to impacts of those projects in their districts. We don’t play favorites with anyone here.

Anyone not tied to special interests or blinded by partisan loyalty should want the press to publicize actions that are so controversial and with such massive potential negative impacts.  It’s called public interest reporting, and it’s exactly what more media should be doing.You are way off base







H.R.3650 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): State National Forest …

State National Forest Management Act of 2015 (H.R. 3650) – GovTrack ..

HR 2316 – House Committee on Natural Resources

H.R. 3650 State National Forest Management Act of 2015 | POPVOX

HR 3650 Is Threatening Our Public Lands

Our Land, Up for Grabs – The New York Times

The Trust for Public Land


Conservation fund gets 3-year lifeline in spending bill | TheHill

The Rise to Power of the Congressional Anti-Parks Caucus | Center …

Newer Posts – TRCP Blog – Theodore Roosevelt Conservation …

public lands – Intelligent Discontent

This Land Was Your Land – The American Prospect

Selling Public Land

Legislation for Land and Water Conservation Fund – for LWCF

The Rise to Power of the Congressional Anti-Parks Caucus | Center …

House considers devastating public lands takeover bills |

Facts vs. Myths about America’s Public Lands |

California Integrated Resource Management Plan

california interagency mobilization guide 2016 – National Geographic

Selling public lands | East County Magazine

Congress Passes Measure to Allow Selling off National Forests and …

This Land Was Your Land: East County Suffers Loss Of Our Public

The Great Public Land Heist Has Begun | Outside Online

East County Magazine | Back Country Voices

Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act … – Lisa’s leaks

California Sovereign Lands | Lisa’s leaks – ‘Madness in the Magnolias’

Back Country Voices | Citizen’s Action Group

Sunrise Powerlink | East County Magazine

CPUC Alpine EMF Report_June2016 – Alpine Education Foundation

ocotillo wind energy facility plan of development – Bureau of Land .

Ocotillo Underscores Challenges Of Developing On Public Lands

WIND: Interior ignored tribal concerns about wind farm impacts …

P1_Megan Ahn.txt – Notepad – FTP Directory Listing

In the Fight for Public Lands, the Outdoor Industry Is a Rising Force .

Desert Update Summer 2015 by Anza-Borrego Foundation – issuu

Email from the San Diego Backcountry… – San Diego Mountain Biking ..

The Great Public Land Heist Has Begun


, , , , , ,

land-heist-begins_h– Photo: This land is your land. Literally. The federal government holds it in trust for your use, and funds derived from it are spent on public projects. You can (and do) visit it to hike, climb, paddle, hunt, explore, fish, and do pretty much anything else outdoors; it’s a crucial part of both our national identity, and our daily lives.    Photo: Chris Brinlee Jr.

House bill to sell national forests passes committee

Without demonstrable public will and with strong opposition from environmentalists, hunters, anglers, the Department of the Interior, and the outdoor recreation industry, among others, Republican lawmakers are attempting to transfer control of your public lands from federal to state governments in a thinly-veiled attempt to force their sale for purposes of resource exploitation. Now, the first blow has been struck. 

Last week, the House committee on Natural Resources voted to adopt HR 3650, the summary of which reads:

“This bill directs the Department of Agriculture, through the Forest Service, to convey to a state up to 2 million acres of eligible portions of the National Forest System (NFS) in it that it elects to acquire through enactment by the state legislature of a bill meeting certain criteria. Portions of the NFS conveyed to a state shall be administered and managed primarily for timber production.”

It’s hard to discuss this issue without appearing partisan. While opposition to the land heist is bipartisan, support for it comes exclusively from Republican lawmakers, and the corporations which fund them. HR 3650 passed committee with the support of all but one Republican congressman, every Democrat on the committee opposed it. Last year, SA 838, which called for the sale of national forests and other public lands, was also unanimously supported by Republicans, and unanimously opposed by everyone else. 

Timber production itself isn’t the issue here. In 2014, the federal government raised $202,721,030.86 by selling timber from national forests. Rather than the states rights issue supporting lawmakers are painting it as, this move to transfer ownership of your public lands to states is instead widely understood as an effort to force its sale. According to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel, who has spoken out strongly against the heist, states couldn’t even afford the annual firefighting budget such large tracts of land require, positively guaranteeing their sale to private interests. 

jewell11jpeg-f60de9e1e635c228– Photo: Sally Jewell, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, speaks at a news conference in the Harney County Courthouse in Burns on Monday, March 21, 2016. Jewell and Mike Connor, the department’s deputy director, met with local government officials, federal employees and tribal members for briefings on the impact of the wildlife refuge occupation.

Why is private ownership of vast tracts of land you currently own bad? Well, it’s historically been demonstrated to reduce public access, and moves the land out of any unified, managed or regulated conservation program. Yes, there is a significant financial gain to be had by selling these lands, but that’s a one-off instance of profit from lands that currently contribute massively to local, state, and the national economy. The outdoor recreation industry alone, which relies on land access to exist, employs 6.1 million Americans and contributes $650 billion to the economy annually. The land where you and I currently go to camp, climb, cycle, hike, hunt, fish, and paddle is under threat. 

www-outdoorindustry-org-2016-09-17-23-07-20– Image: The Outdoor recreation economy – Outdoor Industry Association

The Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership—an organization of hunters and fishermen—called the bill an “overt attempt to undermine public land ownership.” Its president and CEO, Whit Fosburgh, went on to state, “Make no mistake, these are the first votes on legislation that would legitimize the wholesale transfer or sale of America’s public lands.”

In fact, the heist is so blatantly anti-American that even Donald Trump opposes it. “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do,” Trump told Field & Stream. “I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t think it’s something that should be sold. We have to be great stewards of this land. This is magnificent land.”

Why Public Land Is Important

history-of-the-trust-for-public-land-43-638I don’t need to explain this, some of our nation’s greatest thinkers and leaders have already done so:

“There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.” — Theodore Roosevelt

“Today, across our land, the National Park System represents America at its best. Each park contributes to a deeper understanding of the history of the United States and our way of life; of the natural processes which have given form to our land, and to the enrichment of the environment in which we live.” — George B Hartzog, Jr.

“The fundamental idea…is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

“National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.” — John F. Kennedy

Public Lands: Where Our Adventures Happen

Want to learn more, or work to keep these lands? Visit







HR 3650

All Info – H.R.3650 – 114th Congress (2015-2016 … –

Actions – H.R.3650 – 114th Congress (2015-2016 … –

The Trust for Public Land: Home

Indefinitely Wild

‘This land belongs to all Americans,’ Interior … –

Defense Bill Passes, Giving Sacred Native American

There’s evidence that some of the most fierce protectors of public lands are sports fishers and hunters.  You can find case’s where the hunters in a particular area want the elk or deer populations somewhat higher than would be truly sustainable (makes them easier to find) but on the whole, I’d listen to what these guys have to say. Welfare Ranching – Angelfire)

Public Lands | Sierra Club

H.R.1902 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Protect Our Public Lands Act …

Keep Our Wild in public hands |

ACTION ALERT: Help protect public lands in Northwest California …

Map: Where Fracking Threatens our Public Lands – Food & Water Watch

Cleveland National Forest – Home – US Forest Service

Public land

Federal lands

Bureau of Land Management

High Desert Partnership

Western Watersheds Project

The Plan – Brand New Congress

Government Sales of Public Land (BLM)

Republican Senators Just Voted To Sell Off Your National Forests

Auctions and Sales –

Our Land, Up for Grabs – The New York Times

States and Federal Government at Odds Over Public Lands

These Are the Representatives Who Want to Sell Your Land

Maps – Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

Background – Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

Basin and Range Watch

Why Congress Can Sell Off Our National Forests, But Not National Parks

Payments in Lieu of Taxes | U.S. Department of the Interior – (The federal government pays annual Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to local governments)

If you don’t like the way the Feds enforce the land laws, then just pass a law that forbids them from enforcing the land laws: After Bundy Clashes, House GOPers Push Bill To Kneecap Feds On …

Our governments politicians only value their individual profits and John McCain, you’re on the way out. You stole this sacred land and kept it secret while doing so. But the clock is ticking on the oligarchys rule and we’re going to sweep the deck clean of you leeches.

Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act of 2016

H.R.4435 –

H.R.1735 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): National Defense …

The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act …

H.R.687 – 113th Congress (2013-2014): Southeast Arizona Land …

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act



Does the Federal Government sell public land?


, ,

publiclandsforsaleDoes the Federal Government sell public land?

The answer is yes.

Lands identified as excess to the public’s and Government’s needs or more suited to private ownership are sometimes offered for sale. This brochure explains the procedures and where to go for more details.

First, it’s important to understand the Federal Government has two major categories of property which it makes available for sale: real property and public lands.

Real Property is primarily developed land with buildings, usually acquired by the Federal Government for a specific purpose, such as a military base or office building. If you are interested in real property, contact the General Services Administration (GSA). This Federal agency is responsible for selling developed surplus property. Addresses and telephone numbers for the GSA regional offices are listed in the back of this brochure.

Public Land is undeveloped land with no improvements, usually part of the original public domain established during the western expansion of the United States. Most of this land is in the 11 Western States and Alaska, although some scattered parcels are in the East. This land is the responsibility of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). (Note: Because of land entitlements to the State of Alaska and to Alaska Natives, no public land sales will be conducted in Alaska in the foreseeable future.)

Each western state also received federal “Public land” as trust lands designated for specific beneficiaries, which the States are to manage as a condition to acceptance into the union. Those trust lands cannot any longer be considered public lands as allowing any benefits to the “public” would be in breach of loyalty to the specific beneficiaries. The trust lands (two sections, or about 1,280 acres (5.2 km2) per township) are usually managed extractively (grazing or mining), to provide revenue for public schools. All states have some lands under state management, such as state parks, state wildlife management areas, and state forests.

The BLM does not offer much land for sale because of a congressional mandate in 1976 to generally retain these lands in public ownership. The BLM does, however, occasionally sell parcels of land where our land use planning finds disposal is appropriate.

We receive numerous questions about land sales and have prepared a page to answer the most common ones. You may also obtain more detailed information from one of the BLM state offices.

Where are these public lands?

us_federal_land-agencies-svg– Photo: Map of all federally owned land in the United States. National Atlas of the United States and one more author, “All Federal and Indian Lands

Almost all are in the Western States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

There are also small amounts in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

There are no public lands managed by the BLM in Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Is any of this land available free through homesteading?
No. Congress has repealed the Homestead Act.
What lands are available?
Although homesteading is a thing of the past, the BLM does have some lands suitable for purchase by private citizens. These are lands that have been identified as unneeded by the Federal Government or as better utilized in private ownership. By law, these lands are made available for sale at no less than fair market value.
How are these lands selected for sale?
The law states that the BLM can select lands for sale if, through land use planning, they are found to meet one of three criteria: 1) they are scattered, isolated tracts, difficult or uneconomic to manage; 2) they were acquired for a specific purpose and are no longer needed for that purpose; or 3) disposal of the land will serve important public objectives, such as community expansion and economic development.
What do the lands look like?
Land types vary widely. Some may be desert; some are rural. Some are small parcels of just a few acres; some are several hundred acres in size.
Is any land suitable for farming?
Any lands with agricultural potential will be clearly identified in the sale notice. However, most public lands have little or no agricultural potential.
On the average, what would public land cost per acre?
There is no “average” cost. Each parcel is evaluated separately through established appraisal procedures, based on the value of surrounding parcels. Fair market value is determined for each parcel. No parcel can be sold for less than fair market value.
How is the land actually sold?
The BLM has three options for selling land: modified competitive bidding where some preferences to adjoining landowners are recognized, direct sale to one party where circumstances warrant, and competitive bidding at public auction. The sale method is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the circumstances of each particular parcel or sale.
Are there any preferences for veterans?
No laws currently exist allowing the BLM to give veterans any preference for land purchases.
Where can I find out about land that is going to be sold?
(Government Sales of Public Land) Your best source is the BLM office with jurisdiction over the area you’re interested in. The BLM State Offices and their jurisdictions are noted in the back of this brochure. They can send you sale information. Sale information will also be published and broadcast in local news media.
Where are land sales held?
They are held near the area to be sold, either at the local BLM office or in a suitable public location. Sales by the BLM are not held in Washington, D.C.
Are there any restrictions on who can bid on these parcels?
Federal law states that the BLM can sell public land only to U.S. citizens or corporations subject to Federal or State laws.
Must I appear in person to participate at the sale?
Your personal appearance is not required, but it is always to your advantage to examine the parcel and know exactly what you are bidding on.

Sales can be conducted by oral bid, sealed bid, or a combination of both. However, even if only oral bidding is allowed, you can be represented by an agent.

Details on procedures for a particular sale are specified in the sale notice available from the BLM. The notice will specify type of sale, the percentage of the full price that must be deposited with each bid, and the time period allowed for full payment. The highest qualified bidder is eligible to buy the land; the deposits of unsuccessful bidders are returned

How is payment made? Is there financing available?
A certain minimum percentage of the full price is required with each bid. If you are the successful high bidder, the balance must be paid in full to the BLM within a set period of time before a deed or patent can be issued. Long-term financing must be arranged through private lenders.
Once the BLM issues my deed, can I do anything I want with the land?
Yes, according to the terms of the deed and subject to State or local restrictions. The sale notice will clearly specify any Federal reservations or conditions of sale. These might include reserving mineral rights to the Federal Government, or allowing some currently authorized uses, such as grazing, to continue for a certain period of time, or reserving rights-of-way or easements for powerlines, pipelines, etc.

You are advised to review these conditions carefully so that you fully understand what your deed does and does not include.

What about local taxes, zoning, etc.?
Once you receive title, the land is subject to all applicable State and local taxes, zoning ordinances, etc.
Are water, power, and sewer service available on all parcels?
You should check with the city or county involved to see if such services are available.
Are there roads or easements that guarantee I can get to the property?
The sale notice will explain legal access to the property or any access restrictions. You are advised to check out the parcel before you buy, including finding out if available access meets your needs.
I’d like to find out what parcels the BLM currently has listed for sale. Where can I obtain that information?
The BLM State Offices are your best source. They can tell you what sales are currently scheduled and what prospects are coming up. You can write, call, or visit them periodically for latest details.

If a sale is currently scheduled, information can be requested from the BLM describing the property and method of sale.

More detailed information, such as land reports, environmental assessments, etc., is also available upon request for a small copy fee.

Some local governments sell private land on which taxes have been delinquent to satisfy the tax debt. The Federal Government has no involvement in these sales. The best source for information is the local county tax assessor in the area involved.
State governments sometimes sell state-owned land. Information on these types of sales can be obtained through the State Lands Office in the State capital.


Note: In an attempt to present a balanced view of the history and uses of America’s public lands, two teams trekked the US, from the Canadian and Mexican borders, in a project known as American Frontiers: A Public Lands Journey.




Cleveland National Forest – Home – US Forest Service

Public Lands | Sierra Club

The Trust for Public Land: Home

Indefinitely Wild

‘This land belongs to all Americans,’ Interior … –

Defense Bill Passes, Giving Sacred Native American

Senate Votes To Help States Sell Off Public Lands – ThinkProgress

Government Sales of Public Land (BLM)

Republican Senators Just Voted To Sell Off Your National Forests

Why Congress Can Sell Off Our National Forests, But Not National Parks

H.R.1902 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Protect Our Public Lands Act …

Auctions and Sales –

Our Land, Up for Grabs – The New York Times

States and Federal Government at Odds Over Public Lands

These Are the Representatives Who Want to Sell Your Land

Public land

Federal lands

Bureau of Land Management

Oil and Gas Statistics
Coal Lease Statistics
2016-17 Renewable Projects
Lease Sale Results

Keep Our Wild in public hands |

ACTION ALERT: Help protect public lands in Northwest California …

Maps – Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

Background – Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

Basin and Range Watch

The Plan – Brand New Congress


Map: Where Fracking Threatens our Public Lands – Food & Water Watch