Saturday, October 31, 2009

[Friends of Peltier] Friends Digest Vol. 3, No. 14

*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*
"I first interviewed Leonard Peltier in Marion Penitentiary in 1981, and... I inspected the Jumping Bull Ranch at Oglala where the shoot-out had taken place. Later, after reading many if not most of the pertinent documents... I returned to Oglala... Like the FBI, I would hear all sorts of rumors... without learning [who] had fired the fatal shots; however there seemed to me no doubt whatever that Leonard Peltier had been railroaded into prison."--Peter Matthiessen
*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'


* The Tragedy of Leonard Peltier vs. the US by Peter Matthiessen *

On July 27, 2009, I drove west from New York to the old riverside town of Lewisburg in central Pennsylvania, the site of the federal penitentiary where early the next morning I would make an appeal to the parole board on behalf of the American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier in his first parole hearing in fifteen years. On this soft summer evening, a quiet gathering of Peltier supporters from all over the country [shared] a makeshift picnic... [and] were optimistic about a favorable outcome. Surely a new era of justice for minorities and poor people had begun with the Obama administration, and anyway, wasn't Leonard's freedom all but assured by the Parole Act of 2005, which mandated release for inmates who had spent thirty or more years in prison?

Read More: http://www.FreePeltierNow.org/matthiessen20091119.htm


* Circle for Clemency *

When: 05 November 2009; 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Washington, DC

Supporters will gather in Lafayette Park on Pennsylvania Avenue (across from the White House) at 6:00 a.m. From Lafayette Park, supporters will walk to the Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, NW, where tribal leaders will assemble for their meeting with President Obama. For information contact clemencynow@gmail.com.

If you haven't already done so, please be sure to sign the online clemency petition.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Peltier_Clemency2008/


* Do You Know... *

... that prosecutorial misconduct is a major cause of wrongful convictions? More than 25 percent of the first 240 DNA exonerees in the United States cited prosecutorial misconduct in appeals
or civil lawsuits. In 38 percent of those cases, prosecutors were alleged to have withheld evidence that could have proven innocence.

Prosecutorial and other official misconduct are key elements of the Peltier case yet to be addressed by the government. Actively support an Executive Review of the case by writing to Attorney General Eric Holder, today:

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Read more:

http://FreePeltierNow.blogspot.com/2009/09/call-to-action-demand-executive-review.html


* Events *

19 Oct-30 Nov. San Francisco, CA: La Pena Cultural Center and Polu Manu Productions proudly presents: The artwork of Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier. The exhibit can be
viewed either during show times (with admission ticket only) or by appointment. Call 510-849-2568. Opening Reception Date on Friday, 13 November, 6:30 - 8:00 pm.

01 Nov. Philadelphia, PA: Native American Rights and Spirituality--And the Case of Leonard Peltier. A Forum by Lenny Foster, Navaho. 1:00-3:00 p.m., at the Arch Street Meetinghouse,
4th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia.
http://FreePeltierNow.blogspot.com/2009/10/native-american-rights-and-spirituality.html

03 Nov. Washington, DC: National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Embassy of Tribal Nations Gala Open House at 2:00-8:00 pm, 1516 P Street, NW. This event is open to the public. Please RSVP to Tonya Deal at tdeal@ncai.org.

04 Nov. Berkeley, CA: AIM-West will host a benefit in acknowledgement of the 40th anniversary of the occupation at Alcatraz. Come to honor and commemorate those warriors who sacrificed and gave of their time and placed themselves in social turmoil to help re-claim
the destiny for all Indians of the Americas.
http://freepeltiernow.blogspot.com/2009/10/aim-west-salutes-alcatraz-island.html

07 Nov. Washington, DC: Briefing on Indian Country for the UN Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Ms. Raquel Rolnik. 4:00 - 8:00 pm, NCAI Embassy of Tribal Nations, 1516 P Street, NW. For more information or to RSVP, contact April Hale at
202-454-0496 or
ahale@naihc.net. Hosted by the National American Indian Housing Council.

26 Nov. Coles Hill Plymouth, MA: 40th National Day of Mourning. 12:00 noon. Contact: United American Indians of New England, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, (617) 522-6626, info@uaine.org. http://freepeltiernow.blogspot.com/2009/10/26-november-40th-national-day-of.html

26 Nov. San Francisco, CA: Indigenous Peoples Annual Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island. Fisherman's Wharf, Pier #33.
http://freepeltiernow.blogspot.com/2009/10/indigenous-peoples-annual-thanksgiving.html


* New Services *

Facebook Page -- Last week we exceeded the maximum number of friends (5,000) we could have on our Facebook profile. To accommodate the demand, we've created a Facebook page. The page isn't a replacement for the profile. We'll maintain both assets and keep all of our
Facebook family members informed. Enter Friends of Leonard Peltier in your search text box on Facebook or go to:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Leonard-Peltier/170774045123?ref=search&sid=582670118.986017083..1&v=wall.

You also may sign on to one of our other social network resources.

http://www.FreePeltierNow.org/networks.htm

Blog Subscription -- Today, if you want to read/view/watch syndicated online content, you typically have to go to where the content is hosted or know how to subscribe to the feed and
consume the content within an aggregator or reader (e.g. MyYahoo!, FeedDemon, iTunes, etc.) With email subscription capability, you can now receive postings to our major news blog in your inbox, similar to an e-newsletter.

http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=FriendsOfPeltierBlog&loc=en_US"

Of course, you may continue to view our feed in the reader of your choice.
See:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/FriendsOfPeltierBlog.


* Winter Storm *

Another storm hit South Dakota last week. Help provide warmth to Indigenous families this winter. Donations are desperately needed to prevent deaths from freezing in the night.
http://FreePeltierNow.blogspot.com/2009/10/work-with-pathways-to-spirit-to-provide.html

*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*
"Never cease in the fight for peace, justice, and equality for all people. Be persistent in all that you do and don't allow anyone to sway you from your conscience."--Leonard Peltier
*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*:-.,_,.-:*'``'*

Time to set him free... Because it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Friends of Peltier
http://www.FreePeltierNow.org


Mid-year assessment of the 2nd International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

IITC, IWA, AILA NWAC and IOIRD joint submission for the UN Secretary General’s mid-year assessment of the 2nd International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

The International Indian Treaty Council, Indigenous World Association, American Indian Law Alliance, International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development and the Native Women’s Association of Canada, all Indigenous Non-governmental Organizations with UN ECOSOC Consultative Status, submitted the following information to the UN Secretary General. The organizations made the submission in accordance with resolution 63/161 adopted on 18 December 2008, in which the UN General Assembly called on the Secretary General, in consultation with Member States, relevant UN agencies and mechanisms, and other stakeholders including indigenous peoples’ organizations, to submit a mid-term assessment report to the General Assembly at its sixty fifth session, that evaluates progress made in the achievement of the goal and objectives of the Second Decade.

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL STATEMENT


Report from the 35th Annual International Indian Treaty Conference, Ustupu, Kuna Yala, Panama

Report from the 35th Annual International Indian Treaty Conference, Ustupu, Kuna Yala, Panama

The 35th annual conference of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) was held on the island of Ustupu, Kuna Yala, Panama from August 29th – 31st, 2009. Over 300 participants representing Indigenous Peoples of North, South and Central America, the Caribbean and Pacific attended the conference. During the 3-day gathering, presentations were made addressing the theme of the conference, “Water is Sacred, Water is Life”, including presentations by Kuna traditional elders and Spiritual leaders.

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL REPORT


Indigenous Peoples Annual Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island


Indigenous Peoples Annual Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island
November 26, 2009

Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz and Giving Thanks to the Creator for our Continued Resistance and Survival

Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier #33
San Francisco, California
Box office opens at 4:30 AM, boats depart 4:45 AM – 6:00 AM.
Tickets $14, children under 5 free.
Purchase advance tickets at www.alcatrazcruises.com or call (415) 981-7625.
For more information contact: Morning Star Gali, morningstar@treatycouncil.org,
(415) 641-4482.

Sponsored by the International Indian Treaty Council & American Indian Contemporary Arts

We hope to see you there, everyone is welcomed!


Obama: Make a fresh commitment to indigenous peoples


Obama: Make a fresh commitment to indigenous peoples
http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/opinion/64737137.html

When President Obama meets with Indian and Alaska Native leaders Nov. 5, he should announce that he will embrace the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and work to adopt an
American Declaration on the human rights of Native nations. As a starting point for improving the situation of Native nations, this country needs to affirm the fundamental rights of Native nations and individuals. It is a disgrace that the United States has not done so. The U.S. was one of just four countries to vote against the UN Declaration two years ago, and the United States is still following the Bush Administration orders not to negotiate on the American Declaration that is nearing completion in the Organization of American States.

Without a clear public commitment to respect fundamental rights, there is not likely to be any substantial change in the federal government’s continuing discriminatory and unjust treatment of Indian and Alaska Native nations. Without such a commitment to human rights, including treaty rights and federal constitutional rights, federal programs will be little more than temporary measures that can never overcome the economic hardship and deprivation that Native peoples endure. If there were a federal commitment to fundamental justice, Native nations could have a fair chance of overcoming the generations of federal mistreatment and mismanagement.

As a starting point for improving the situation of Native nations, this country needs to affirm the fundamental rights of Native nations and individuals.
The White House should make that commitment and reverse the Bush policy of rejecting all measures for indigenous human rights. Native leaders deserve an answer Nov. 5 – a real commitment to respect the human rights of Native nations – and the best way to do this is to endorse the UN Declaration. Leaders of many Indian nations in the United States have demanded this for years, and they will surely demand it Nov. 5 as well.

Despite the pretended reasons for voting against the Declaration, the U.S. representatives at the UN publically agreed to practically all of the provisions of the UN Declaration. In the open negotiations, the U.S. delegation repeatedly voiced its support for most of the rights in the Declaration, because almost all these rights are already a part of United States law or are required by the U.S. Constitution.

Some of the provisions concerning land rights were actually proposed by the United States. The U.S. vote against the Declaration was dictated by the Bush policy of rejecting all new human rights commitments, not because of serious opposition to the provisions of the Declaration. The U.S. objections were hardly more than a cover story for voting “no” on human rights. The Obama administration should promptly reverse that stupid policy.

For many generations, the federal government has kept Native nations begging yearly for support to meet the crying human needs on reservations – while never making a formal commitment to respect the most basic rights to fairness, equality before the law, respect for treaty commitments, and self-determination.

I hope Obama will take this opportunity to reverse the senseless Bush policy and truly embrace the UN Declaration and the developing American Declaration.
Native leaders have little choice but to lobby constantly for programs and appropriations that can provide jobs and other relief for desperate human needs in Indian communities. Leaders are also forced to seek “fixes” for seemingly endless new problems caused by federal wrong-doing related to their lands, their resources, their money and their self-government. But to end this sad cycle, Native leaders are also demanding – and they deserve – real respect for the fundamental rights that others enjoy, including the human rights contained in the UN Declaration.

I hope Obama will take this opportunity to reverse the senseless Bush policy and truly embrace the UN Declaration and the developing American Declaration.

And by the way, the OAS will have a negotiating session on the American Declaration in Washington, D.C. Nov. 30 – Dec. 2. I urge Indian and Alaska Native leaders to be there and participate in the negotiations. The Obama administration needs to be there too with a fresh and positive commitment to human rights for indigenous peoples.

Robert T. Coulter is executive director of Indian Law Resource Center.

This Week from Indian Country Today

Obama meeting exclusion insults state recognized tribes
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The White House announcement that President Barack Obama and tribal leaders will meet in early November was greeted with elation at the National Congress of American Indians annual conference, but that happiness soon turned to disappointment for representatives of state-recognized tribes who learned they would be excluded from the historic event. Read more »

Peltier supporters to seek clemency during White House meeting

WASHINGTON – Leonard Peltier supporters will seek clemency for the imprisoned American Indian Movement activist during a historic meeting between President Barack Obama and hundreds of tribal leaders of federally recognized nations. Read more »

Headlines

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe commissions economic impact study
Akwesasne Mohawk retrieve Olympic Flame from Greece
Apaches request Interior NAGPRA review
Elephant of Indian racism discussed
Obama meeting exclusion insults state recognized tribes
Navajo Nation suspends president
Indian country philanthropy yields $284,000 plus for elders, embassy
MT tribe says politics won’t hurt recognition bid
Blackfeet Tribe launches new Web site
Help Cheyenne River Youth Project bring joy to children this Christmas
A lengthy legal battle lands in tribal court
Judge: Unkechaug meets tribal sovereignty, immunity criteria
Keybank and Raymond James partner on affordable housing for Tulalip Reservation
Holy Road
Tribe needs nuclear waste solution
Tribes honored for preserving Okla. battlefield
Coquille Tribe harvesting organic cranberries
Indian health bill gains steam, again
Jefferson Keel elected NCAI president
Redskins litigants win support from psychologists, justice advocates
2nd Circuit denies Schaghticoke political influence appeal
Pressure mounts for Obama to settle Indian farmer case
Experts: Justice grants not a long-term solution to ending violence
Holy Road
Jana will be Goodwill Ambassador for TIMOTCA

More

Northeast
Southeast
Great Lakes
Midwest
Plains
Southwest
Northwest
Alaska/Hawaii

Opinion

Wildcat: The climate is changing. … and it better

In a little less than three weeks, from Nov. 18 – 21, at the Mystic Lake Casino and Resort of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux, Winona LaDuke and I will convene the second Native Peoples Native Homelands Workshop. Only 11 years ago, in the fall of 1998, the first Native Peoples Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop was convened in Albuquerque as the first U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change was being developed. Read more »

For news you won't get from Indian Country Today, see Censored News.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Time for Net Neutrality


Time for Net Neutrality
We must enshrine basic principles of openness and fairness into the rules governing how Internet service providers operate -- giving the FCC the authority to be the proverbial cop on the cyber beat and ensuring that these principles of freedom and competition are upheld in the marketplace. In this way we can preserve the best of what the Internet is even as it continues to evolve.
Rep. Ed Markey, SavetheInternet.com

Net Neutrality: Spur to Entrepreneurship
An open wireless network, built on the same principles as the extremely successful wired network, will unleash investment, innovation and job growth that could be a major driver in our economic recovery. Those who oppose Net Neutrality claim that government involvement is somehow bad for business. This claim is wrong.
Mitchell Baker and John Lilly, Wall Street Journal

Why the Future of Online Speech Depends on Net Neutrality
The future of free speech is inextricably tied to the ways in which individuals are permitted to use the Internet. For this reason, it's paramount that people work to advocate for Net Neutrality in the United States and other countries around the world.
Clothilde Le Coz, MediaShift


America’s Other Guantanamo


Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails
America’s Other Guantanamo

522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
November 9th, 2009 @ 7pm


The $3 billion dollars of annual U.S. aid to Israel helps fund Israeli prisons and detention centers where 8,100 Palestinian prisoners — including 60 women, 390 children, and 550 administrative detainees held without charge — are imprisoned in substandard conditions and subject to torture.

Human rights activist Ala Jaradat, the program manager of Addameer, the Palestinian prisoners rights organization in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, and a former Palestinian political prisoner, will be sharing his experiences campaigning against political prosecution, for the rights of political detainees, actively working against the use of torture, arbitrary detention, the use of isolation, and other forms of political repression.

A Report on the Conditions of Palestinian Political Prisoners
featuring human rights activist Ala Jaradat
from Addameer – Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association

522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
November 9th, 2009 @ 7pm

We regret due to last-minute visa approval and short notice for planning, the event is not wheelchair accessible.

Sponsored by the US Palestine Community Network
Endorsed/Co-Sponsored by Break the Siege, Freedom Archives, SF 8 Defense Committee


Mexican Political Prisoners Gloria Arenas and Jacobo Silva Released


Mexican Political Prisoners Gloria Arenas and Jacobo Silva Released
Written by John Gibler
Thursday, 29 October 2009

Source URL: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/2188/1/


Gloria Arenas Agís was released from prison around 7:30PM on October 28, ten years after Mexican federal agents abducted, tortured, and then—after several days of being held incommunicado—arrested her and her husband Jacobo Silva Nogales on charges ranging from terrorism and homicide to rebellion.

One day later, on October 29, Jacobo Silva was released from federal prison in the state of Nayarit, to where he had been recently transferred after nine and a half years inside Mexico’s highest security prison, known as the Altiplano.

Arenas and Silva are the co-founders of the ERPI (the Insurgent People’s Revolutionary Army, or Ejercito Revolucionario del Pueblo Insurgente), a guerrilla movement based in Mexico’s impoverished Guerrero State, with roots going back to the Lucio Cabañas guerrilla up-rising of 1967-1974.

Mexico State prison officials released Arenas without advanced notice or asking her to sign a single document.

"I did not know that I was going to be released," Arenas told a reporter from La Jornada upon leaving the Mexico State prison in Chiconautla, "all of a sudden they just told me, get your things and leave."

Minutes later she was standing outside the prison, alone, with two plastic bags. Elizabeth Silva, Jacobo Silva’s sister, arrived first and took Arenas to her house where she was met by scores of family members and supporters.

Silva conducted both his and Arenas’s legal defense from within maximum-security prison for years, submitting a series of successful appeals that should have won their release as early as 2007.

In 1999, Silva and Arenas pleaded guilty to the charge of rebellion, though they denied charges of terrorism and homicide for an armed attack on an army convoy in Guerrero in 1996. At that time in Mexican law, the crime of rebellion carried a five-year prison sentence. A judge initially gave Arenas and Silva a sentence of over forty years for multiple counts of homicide and rebellion.

But Mexican law states that anyone guilty of rebellion shall not be charged with additional crimes against the state that may have been committed in the act of rebellion, such as the deaths of soldiers or the destruction of army vehicles that occur during battles. The judge had justified the long sentence for the crime of homicide, not rebellion.

Arenas and Silva both denied having participated in the armed attack of which they were accused, though they fully acknowledge belonging to the ERPI guerrilla movement. When the judge asked Silva his profession in 1999, he responded: "Guerrillero."

Silva’s main appeal led the judge to drop the charges of homicide, upholding the charges of rebellion and property damages. Both Silva and Arenas should have been released immediately—having served more than the five-year sentence for rebellion by that time—but were not. Years after their trial, the Mexican legislature changed the sentence for rebellion from five to fourteen years. Silva appealed again and won. Again they should have been released, but a judge from another jurisdiction said that Arenas and Silva were subject to another five-year sentence on conspiracy charges.

Silva filed yet another appeal, though its resolution had not yet been announced when Arenas was suddenly told to gather her things and leave.

Arenas said that she would start working immediately with existing social movements and the Other Campaign to help free all the political prisoners in Mexico.

"I was released due to the movement and social struggles," Arenas told La Jornada. "And there are still hundreds of compañeros who need to be freed."


Letters to AG Holder for Mumia


REMINDER

YOU HAVE LESS THAN TWO WEEKS LEFT TO GET LETTERS SIGNED FOR MUMIA. PLEASE GET THEM SENT TO ARRIVE AT OUR PO BOX BY TUESDAY, NOV 10, OR DELIVER THEM AT ST. MARY'S CHURCH (DATES, TIMES, & ADDRESS LISTED BELOW)

FOR MAILING THEM TO US: FMAJC, PO BOX 16, COLLEGE STATION, NEW YORK, NY 10030

We will be delivering letters to Eric Holder at the Department of Justice on Thursday, November 12. In order for us to have them properly prepared for our early, early morning departure from NYC on that day, we must have them at our PO box by Tuesday, November the 10th. You can also deliver them to us either this coming Friday night, October 30th from 6 PM to 9 PM at St. Mary's Church, 521 West 126th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue (opposite a police station), or the following week, Friday night, November 6th, again from 6PM to 9PM, at St. Mary's.

SAMPLE LETTER

US Department of Justice
Washington, DC
April 2009

To Eric Holder, US Attorney General:

We write to you with a sense of grave concern and outrage about the US Supreme Court's denial of a hearing to Mumia Abu-Jamal on the issue of racial bias in jury selection, that is, the "Batson issue". Inasmuch as there is no other court to which Abu-Jamal can appeal for justice, we turn to you for remedy of a 27- year history of gross violations of US constitutional law and international standards of justice as documented by Amnesty International and many other legal groups around the world.

We call on you and the Justice Department to immediately commence a civil rights investigation to examine the many examples of egregious and racist prosecutorial and judicial misconduct dating back to the original trial in 1982 and continuing through to the current inaction of the US Supreme Court. The statute of limitations should not be a factor in this case as there is very strong evidence of an ongoing conspiracy to deny Abu-Jamal his constitutional rights.

We are aware of the many differences that exist between the case of former Senator Ted Stevens and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Still, we note with great interest the actions you have taken with regard to Senator Stevens' conviction to assure that he not be denied his constitutional rights. You were specifically outraged by the fact that the prosecution withheld information critical to the defense's argument for acquittal, a violation clearly committed by the prosecution in Abu-Jamal's case. Mumia Abu-Jamal, though not a US senator of great wealth and power, is a Black man revered around the world for his courage, clarity, and commitment and deserves no less than Senator Stevens.

Cordially,

NAME

ADDRESS
E-MAIL


PLEASE RETURN TO:


FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL, PO BOX 16, COLLEGE STATION, NEW YORK, NY, 10030, (212) 330-8029, www.freemumia.com

Continued Aggression Leads to Mapuche Declaration of War


Continued Aggression Leads to Mapuche Declaration of War

Continued aggressions of the Chilean state has led the Arauco Malleco Coordinator of Mapuche Communities in Conflict (CAM), a radical indigenous Mapuche organization, to formally renounce their Chilean citizenship and declared war on the government. The declaration was issued on Oct. 20, the same day that two trucks belonging to the El Bosque forestry corporation were [...]

You may view the latest post at
http://intercontinentalcry.org/continued-aggression-leads-to-mapuche-declaration-of-war/.

07 Nov 2009: Support Political Prisoner Jeff Luers during his transition out of prison


Dear Friends,

The benefit dinner on November 7th is coming along nicely, but we need your help. For local Eugene-area folks, please look over the list of food ingredients we need donated in order to complete our menu. Are you able to purchase an item in bulk and give us a portion? Give us a gift card to purchase the items ourselves? If you are able to donate any of the items or have questions, please contact Daniel at CLDC at
Daniel@cldc.org or go to www.cldc.org for more information. Below the ingredient list is the details on the benefit.

And we hope to see you all at the benefit!

A flyer is available here:

http://freejeffluers.org/assets/photos/JeffBenefitFlyer.jpg

If you are not able to attend, please still consider donating to support Jeff:
http://freejeffluers.org/donate.html.

Thank you!


Friends of Jeff Free Luers

Items needed for benefit dinner:

olive oil
canola oil
flour
rolled oats
lemon juice
apple cider
balsamic vinegar
vanilla
10 lbs black beans
tomato sauce - (6) 32-oz cans, Muir Glen
Organic sugar

---

Support Political Prisoner Jeff Luers during his transition out of prison after 9.5 years.

Vegan Benefit Dinner at the Morning Glory Cafe (450 Willamette St., Eugene)
Saturday November 7th, 2009
6:30-10:00pm (Seatings at 6:30pm and 8pm only)

Reservations Required!
Four-course gourmet vegan dinner plus beverage and live flamenco guitar music!

For reservations and more information go to
www.cldc.org or call 541-687-9180
Payment required when making reservations

minimum $18-20 donation (or gift card of equal or greater value)
* suggested gift cards: REI, McKenzie Outfitters, KIVA, PRI, Wandering Goat (local restaurants & cafes)


Upcoming Events


* Circle for Clemency *

What: Peaceful rally in support of Leonard Peltier’s freedom
When: 05 November 2009; 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Washington, DC

Supporters will gather in Lafayette Park on Pennsylvania Avenue (across from the White House) at 6:00 a.m. From Lafayette Park, supporters will walk to the Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, NW, where tribal leaders will assemble for their meeting with President Obama. For information contact clemencynow@gmail.com.

If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to sign the online clemency petition.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Peltier_Clemency2008/

Also:


San Francisco, CA: La Peña Cultural Center and Polu Manu Productions proudly presents: The artwork of Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier. The highly-praised artwork of Native American activist, political prisoner and six-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Leonard Peltier - curated by Bird Levy Strain of Polu Manu Productions, SF - will be exhibited in Berkeley's La Peña theater from October 19 until November 30, 2009. The exhibit can be viewed either during show times (with admission ticket only) or by appointment; call 510-849-2568. Opening Reception Date: Friday, 13 November, 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

Philadelphia, PA: Native American Rights and Spirituality--And the Case of Leonard Peltier. A Forum by Lenny Foster, Navaho. Sunday, 01 November 2009, 1:00-3:00 p.m., at the Arch Street Meetinghouse, 4th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia.

Washington, DC: National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Embassy of Tribal Nations Gala Open House on Tuesday, November 3, at 2:00-8:00 pm, 1516 P Street, NW. This event is open to the public. Please RSVP to Tonya Deal at tdeal@ncai.org.

Berkeley, CA: AIM-West will host a benefit in acknowledgement of the 40th anniversary of the occupation at Alcatraz on Wednesday, 04 November 2009. Come to honor and commemorate those warriors who sacrificed and gave of their time and placed themselves in social turmoil to help re-claim the destiny for all Indians of the Americas.

Washington, DC: Briefing on Indian Country for the UN Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Ms. Raquel Rolnik. For more information or to RSVP, contact April Hale at 202-454-0496 or ahale@naihc.net. Hosted by the National American Indian Housing Council, 07 November, 4:00-8:00 pm, NCAI Embassy of Tribal Nations, 1516 P Street, NW.


Child's Play?


Physical Fitness and Cultural Awareness




Native World Network is the movement that aims to bring young professionals and entertainers to the forefront of today's global market through e-social-marketing and online services. Check out featured profiles at www.nativeworldnetwork.com.


Bruce Springsteen + Little Steven - NATIVE AMERICAN 1987



NATIVE AMERICAN

[Steven and Bruce]
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah Woh
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah Woh
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah Woh*

[Steven] Life was forever when we were young
[Bruce] The land was protected for everyone
[Both] Forever as long as the rivers run
[Steven] But now the water no longer comes

[Steven and Bruce]
And now all that remains
Is darkness a poisoned Earth
And now before it's too late
We must provide our own new birth

I am Native American
I am Native American

[Bruce] The question of honor you must decide
[Steven] The soul of the nation has been denied
[Both] Our dreams have been stolen before our eyes
[Bruce] How do you say there's no tomorrow to a child?

[Steven and Bruce]
From us there is much to learn
There is so much you've forgotten
You can't change me
Try and understand I am proud of who I am

I am Native American
I am Native American

[Steven] We must try and remember what we're here for
[Bruce] You will suffer the darkness alone no more
[Both] You will have the strength of all of us gathered here today
[Bruce] That is something they can never take away

[Steven and Bruce]
I am Native American
I am Native American

Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah Woh
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah Woh
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah Woh
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah Woh
Ho Ka Hey Wah Nah [fade]


News from Indianz.Com

SD American Indian, 88, seeks release from prison


An 88-year-old convicted sex offender has asked a court to vacate his 1993 conviction because the two men he was accused of molesting as children recanted their testimony.

Douglas White, an American Indian spiritual leader from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, has asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to order a re-examination of his 1993 aggravated sexual abuse conviction. White was accused of molesting two young boys, and the appeals court later upheld his conviction and sentence of more than 24 years in federal prison.

White sought to have his case reheard, but U.S. District Judge Richard Battey ruled that White missed his one-year window after the first witness recanted his testimony.

White's attorney, Terry Pechota of Rapid City, argues that White couldn't have succeeded in getting his sentence overturned until both witnesses recanted, and that White filed his papers within one year of the second witness recanting in December 2007.

Pechota wants the appeals court to instruct Battey to rehear the case. White, who is scheduled for release in February 2014, has cancer, Pechota said.

Mark Salter, an assistant U.S. attorney in Sioux Falls, said his office does not comment on pending cases.

White, who oversaw religious ceremonies for fellow Oglala Sioux Tribe members, is the subject of a documentary, "Holy Man," that is scheduled for release later this year. Written and directed by a New York couple, Jennifer Jessum and Simon Joseph, and narrated by Martin Sheen, the film follows White's case and his life behind bars.

Jessum said she and her husband met White in 1992 before the indictment and visited him frequently after the conviction when he was in a Denver prison.

"Our interest in this started very innocently. We just thought, wow, here's this gem really for the tribe and for our country because this guy is in his 80s, he speaks this ancient language, really doesn't know the Western world, is very much entrenched in his Lakota traditional world and we just wanted to film him, to kind of preserve him for the tribe and for everybody because he was such a fascinating person," she said.

The documentary was finished a year ago but will be updated and released later this year, Jessum said.

"We decided to just sort of keep it on hold until Douglas' case went through the system because we were convinced from all the evidence that we would have a new ending of Douglas getting out of prison."

Source URL: http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/news/state-and-regional/article_4bee0988-6a59-5948-ac64-99de1de74c01.html
___

On the Net:

http://www.holymanfilm.com/

Watch the trailer:



Peltier supporters to seek clemency during White House meeting


Peltier supporters to seek clemency during White House meeting
Originally printed at http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/national/67580927.html

WASHINGTON – Leonard Peltier supporters will seek clemency for the imprisoned American Indian Movement activist during a historic meeting between President Barack Obama and hundreds of tribal leaders of federally recognized nations.

The Circle for Clemency for Leonard Peltier is organizing a peaceful and prayerful act of solidarity “to bring attention to Mr. Peltier’s continued unjust imprisonment as a Native American political prisoner,” according to Rob Fife, one of the organizers.

The event will take place in conjunction with the first-of-its-kind White House Tribal Nations Conference on Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Interior Department building in Washington, D.C.

Fife, a Nez Perce Cayuse Indian, and Ben Carns, a member of the Choctaw Nation, fasted and offered prayers for seven days in September in front of the White House in the hope of having an audience with Obama and asking him to consider issuing an executive order of clemency for Peltier. The meeting did not occur, but the gesture gave rise to a renewed focus on Peltier’s plight in the indigenous community.

The Circle for Clemency was founded in October by Fife, Carns, and indigenous rights activists Wanbli Tate, Larry Monterrey and Barbara Low.

Peltier has been in prison for more than 33 years. He was convicted in 1977 and given two consecutive life sentences for the murder of FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, who were killed during a shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota June 26, 1975.

Although Peltier has served more than the minimum sentence required for the crime, he was denied parole Aug. 21. Parole officials said granting parole would diminish the seriousness of the crime.

The 64-year-old Peltier has maintained his innocence, but controversy over whether he committed the murders, and over the fairness of his trial persist. Those convinced of his guilt say he shot the two agents in cold blood and deserves to stay in prison for the rest of his life.

Peltier’s supporters, which include a huge international component and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, say he is America’s most famous and longest serving political prisoner.

Fife, a horse-trainer, said he has never met Peltier, but he has signed petitions and written letters in support of him. The decision to deny Peltier parole was devastating both to Peltier and his supporters, Fife said.

“I wouldn’t really describe myself as an activist, but I want to do the right thing by my mother’s side of the family and more than anything I want my country to do the right things as they promised, but they’re making up the laws as we go along.”

Fife said Peltier’s innocence or guilt is no longer relevant.

“There are people who have committed much more heinous crimes. Leonard has served his time. There are people who can argue Leonard’s innocence or guilt much better than I can. But I do know the guilt of this nation in dealing with Leonard and with indigenous people and doing it in a way that’s different from the way they deal with people of European ancestry.”

The White House Tribal Nations Conference seemed like the logical next step to take in pushing forward Peltier’s cause, Fife said.

“We wanted to find a spiritual connection to this so it wasn’t just a protest or demonstration, but something that is unifying and would bring attention to Leonard’s imprisonment again, bring it back into the public eye.”

The Circle for Clemency and supporters will gather at Lafayette Park in front of the White House for sunrise prayers conducted by traditional spiritual leaders at 6 a.m. Nov. 5. Then they will walk to the Interior Department building “to respectfully greet their tribal representatives, welcome them to the conference and ask that each of them include within their individual nation’s agenda a simple request for clemency regarding Leonard Peltier,” Fife said.

The participants will spend the rest of the day in a prayer vigil for Peltier’s release at the Interior Department.


DOJ announces Indian Country crime initiatives


Attorney General Eric Holder attended the second day of the Department of Justice tribal nations listening conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Thursday.

Holder announced the creation of the Tribal Nations Leadership Council to advise the department on Indian Country issues. The council, composed of tribal leaders representing the 12 regions of the U.S., will meet twice a year, he said. He also plans to visit reservations in the new several months.

Holder said the Obama administration supports passage of the
S.797, the Tribal Law and Order Act, and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. He said the department will work with Congress to ensure Indian youth are a priority in the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

Through the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the department has provided nearly $400 million in grants to tribes and Alaska Natives.

Get the Story:


Tribal leaders pleased with Obama’s pledges (The Fargo Forum 10/30) Username: indianz@indianz.com, Password: indianz
Holder dedicates money and plan to improving safety on tribal lands (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 10/30)
Holder: DOJ helping tribes reduce violence (Minnesota Public Radio 10/29)
Holder vows to help tribes fight crime (UPI 10/29)

Relevant Documents:

Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks at the Tribal Nations Listening Session (October 29, 2009)
Remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder at Press Conference Following Tribal Nations Listening Session (October 29, 2009)

Related Stories:

Department of Justice holds listening conference (10/28)
DOJ holds tribal working session in New Mexico (9/21)
DOJ to host tribal nations listening conference (08/20)


Cultural training needed for FBI


Cultural training needed for FBI
Originally printed at
http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/opinion/editorials/67340687.html


Federal Bureau of Investigation agents don’t receive cultural awareness or language training when assigned to serve Indian reservations. Many tribal communities don’t believe non-tribal court personnel and non-tribal police are culturally sensitive.

Nevertheless, FBI agents have an extensive range of language and cultural sensitivity training courses available to them when serving in foreign nations. In recent years, FBI headquarters established a Language Services Translation Center, capable of translating in 100 languages, and has developed language training and cultural awareness materials available to FBI employees in 32 different languages. Most of the FBI’s linguistic and cultural training is focused on monitoring terrorist activities in foreign countries. None of the language or cultural awareness training offered to FBI employees includes support for FBI agents assigned to tribal communities.

In Indian country, FBI agents are responsible for investigating the various serious crimes listed in the Major Crimes Act including murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, assaults, arson, burglary, robbery and various felonies. County or state police are responsible for investigating major crimes on reservations in Public Law 280 states.


The method of revolving police assignments limits the ability of FBI agents to gain cumulative knowledge and experience, and get to know how to better serve tribal communities.

However, most FBI agents do not have experience with investigating most crimes on the Major Crimes Act list. FBI investigation priorities include counterterrorism, counterintelligence, cyber crime, public corruption, civil rights violations, organized crime, white-collar crime, and major thefts or violent crimes. Indian country crimes are listed under major thefts or violent crimes. Since Major Crimes Act violations are federal offenses, FBI agents are assigned to investigate major crimes in non-Public Law 280 Indian reservations.

For most FBI agents, investigating crime on Indian reservations is a low priority assignment. Few agents apply for the service to spend their careers investigating crime on Indian reservations. They tend to move between assignments as they work through their careers and often agents serve a particular group of Indian reservations for limited times. Hence non-tribal federal police officers have limited opportunities to learn and understand a tribal community before they are reassigned to new postings or other types of activities. The method of revolving police assignments limits the ability of FBI agents to gain cumulative knowledge and experience, and get to know how to better serve tribal communities.

Tribal community members are concerned about the absence of cultural understanding and awareness expressed by FBI agents. The agents are not trained in American Indian cultures, histories, languages, or contemporary policies or law. FBI agents are assigned to several tribal communities at the same time, further inhibiting the possibility that they will get to know any one reservation community well enough to conduct effective interviews, elicit cooperation, and gain trust from the tribal communities.

In recent years, the FBI has found that it must increase its commitment to train agents in language and cultural awareness to effectively operate in foreign countries. Reservations are communities with distinct cultures, languages, community relations, histories, legal and policy relations, and FBI agents could more effectively serve tribal communities if they had more cultural training and sustained interactions with tribal communities.

More direct contact and cultural understanding by FBI agents will build trust, cooperation, and greatly facilitate more effective crime investigations and crime solving on Indian reservations. Tribal communities need to know that FBI agents will carry out their duties with respect for tribal community, goals and values. Without greater cultural understanding from FBI agents, community supported justice will be hard to achieve on federal Indian reservations.


30 Oct 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Is the Recession Over? Author, Democratic Senate Hopeful Jonathan Tasini on "The Audacity of Greed: Free Markets, Corporate Thieves and the Looting of America"
With the US economy snapping a record streak of four straight quarterly declines and expanding 3.5 percent in the third quarter, many economists are claiming the nation’s worst recession since World War II may now be over. We speak to Jonathan Tasini, author of the new book The Audacity of Greed: Free Markets, Corporate Thieves, and the Looting of America. Tasini is challenging Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary for the 2010 US Senate special election in New York.

Deal Reached in Honduran Coup Crisis; Zelaya Restoration Would Depend on Vote by Honduran Congress
The Honduran coup regime and representatives of the ousted President Manuel Zelaya reached an agreement late Thursday that would pave the way for Congress to restore Zelaya to office and allow him to serve out the remaining three months of his term. We go to the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa to speak with Andrés Conteris, who has been holed up at the embassy since Zelaya took refuge there last month. [includes rush transcript]

Leading Political, Legal Blogger Glenn Greenwald on Afghanistan, State Secrets, Healthcare and the Media
One of the leading political and legal bloggers in the country, Glenn Greenwald, joins us to talk about about the war in Afghanistan, the Obama administration’s use of state secrets, the healthcare debate, the renewed military commissions at Guantanamo, and the coverage of it all by the corporate media. Greenwald is a constitutional law attorney who writes for Salon.com and is the author of three books.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, Co-Chair of Progressive Caucus, Vows to Bring "Robust" Public Option to House Floor
We speak to Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. On Thursday, Grijalva said he was deeply disappointed at the healthcare bill unveiled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He has pledged to fight for a floor vote on including a robust public option in the bill.

Headlines

Coup Regime, Zelaya Reach Tentative Deal
Progressive Dems Criticize Pelosi Health Reform Bill
Study Links Deaths of 17,000 Children to Lack of Insurance
4 Arrested at Baltimore Single-Payer Protest
Report: 7 Members of House Defense Panel Under Ethics Inquiry
US Awards $1.2B in Stimulus Contracts to Scandal-Linked Firms
Obama Witnesses Return of US War Dead
Ft. Carson Soldier Shoots Himself to Avoid Afghan Redeployment
Marri Sentenced to 8-Year Term
Stimulus Fuels 3.5% GDP Growth
Key Figure in Chevron-Ecuador Case Has Criminal Past
Penn. Court Tosses Thousands of Juvenile Cases Tried by Bribed Judge


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reminder: Freedom Dance


FREEDOM DANCE
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14
7 P.M. TO 11 P.M.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. LABOR CENTER, 1199 SEIU
310 W. 43rd STREET, btw. 8th & 9th AVENUES
NEW YORK, NY 10036


$20 Admission, Food & Beverages for purchase

Fundraiser for the Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign (SAFC)

On Saturday, November 14th, we will dance and celebrate at Freedom Dance. This celebration is an opportunity for us as a community to acknowledge our victories and renew our efforts to continue this essential work. We celebrate the liberation and freedom of our sister Assata Shakur, who along with many other Political Prisoners (who still remain behind the walls) set the example of unselfish sacrifice for our beloved people. We also celebrate the sacrifice of those freedom fighters whose spirits were released due to their physical demise. This is a celebration for them all. We will especially honor Sundiata Acoli. Through music and the warm meaningful collective interaction of dance and laughter, we will reaffirm our commitment to their freedom.

“I want so much for Sundiata to know how much he is loved and respected. I want him to know how much he is appreciated by revolutionaries all over the world. I want Sundiata to know how much he is cherished by African people, not only in the Americas, but all over the Diaspora. I want him to know how much we admire his strength, his courage, his kindness and compassion. Sundiata loves freedom and we must struggle for the life and freedom of Sundiata.” - Assata Shakur


The Misdeeds of Prosecutors


The Misdeeds of Prosecutors
From The Innocence Project
Posted: 29 Oct 2009 02:32 PM PDT

In
a post this week on Reason Magazine's website, Radley Balko writes about the cases of people from Massachusetts to Florida to Mississippi convicted of crimes they didn't commit based in part on misconduct by prosecutors. Most of the prosecutors he profiles are still in their offices today; some are now judges.

Prosecutorial misconduct is a major cause of wrongful convictions. More than 25% of the first 240 DNA exonerees cited prosecutorial misconduct in appeals or civil lawsuits. In 38% of those cases, prosecutors were alleged to have withheld evidence that could have proven innocence.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week in the case of
Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, in which two Iowa men filed a civil rights lawsuit against prosecutors who allegedly coerced false testimony to convict them of crimes they didn't commit. Prosecutors in the case have claimed that they are protected by absolute immunity, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit disagreed, finding that prosecutors had violated the men's right to due process.

The case of Ralph Armstrong is an example of how withholding evidence and other misconduct can block justice. Armstrong, an Innocence Project client, served more than 28 years behind bars in Wisconsin for a murder evidence shows he didn't commit. He had been in prison for 14 years when a woman called the prosecutor to tell him Armstrong's brother had confessed to the murder. This phone call was not shared with defense attorneys.

In 2006, when Armstrong had been in prison for 25 years, prosecutors violated a court order and conducted secret DNA tests on evidence in the case. The results were inconclusive and the evidence was consumed, meaning no further testing could ever be conducted. In dismissing the case against Armstrong, a state judge wrote that the prosecutor's actions "stemmed from a series of conscious decisions that had very adverse consequences."

"This is a particularly chilling case of prosecutorial misconduct," Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck said after Armstrong was cleared. "Even after the state Supreme Court threw out Ralph Armstrong's conviction based on evidence of his innocence, the prosecutor continued to withhold yet more evidence of his innocence."

More on prosecutorial misconduct as a cause of wrongful conviction.


Dept. of Justice has dialogue on Indian crime


Dept. of Justice has dialogue on Indian crime

Associated Press - October 28, 2009 6:14 AM ET

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Officials from the Department of Justice will be in the Twin Cities over the next two days to discuss public safety issues on American Indian reservations around the country.

Members from all 564 federally recognized tribes nationwide - including Alaskan Natives - were invited to attend the 2-day listening session. It starts Wednesday and runs through Thursday.

Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to attend Thursday's session.

The goal is to give tribal leaders the chance to raise issues they feel are critical to public safety and law enforcement.

Based on data tribes report to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, violent crime rates in some parts of Indian Country are 10 times the national average.

The event is not open to the public.


News from Indianz.Com


House Resources hearing on land-into-trust fix (10/29)

Indian Affairs Committee hearing on recognition (10/29)

Employment: HeadStart fiscal content specialist (10/29)

Changes in store for Native contracting program (10/29)

Federal Register: Changes to SBA 8(a) program (10/29)

Dennis Johnson: Common sense car buying tips (10/29)

Mark Trahant: Send Medicaid funds right to IHS (10/29)

Editorial: Fix broken federal recognition at BIA (10/29)

Editorial: Terminated tribes deserve more land (10/29)

Navajo president calls investigation 'personal' (10/29)

Oglala man seeks release from federal prison (10/29)

Crow man sentenced for robbery with toy gun (10/29)

Cowichan Tribes reach deal over Olympic gear (10/29)

Museum opens Native cancer survivors exhibit (10/29)

Some Flathead Reservation bars allow smoking (10/29)

Extension possible for 'Fighting Sioux' nickname (10/29)

Mashantucket officer attacked at burial grounds (10/29)

Hannahville Tribe lobbies off-reservation casino (10/29)

Chickasaw Nation wins bid for racetrack in Texas (10/29)

Man sentenced 50 years for Pueblo casino theft (10/29)

More headlines...

29 Oct 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Public Option Faces New Test with Pelosi House Proposal, While Uncertainty Grows over Prospects in Senate
The healthcare debate on Capitol Hill is expected to intensify today with the unveiling of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s healthcare bill. The measure reportedly includes a government insurance option and an expansion of Medicaid but drops a proposal to include a public option that would establish reimbursement rates to providers based on Medicare rates. Meanwhile, in the Senate questions remain over whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has enough votes to pass the Senate version of the healthcare reform bill. [includes rush transcript]

Healthcare Roundtable: With Exclusion of Single Payer, What Opportunities Remain for Meaningful Reform?
While much of the healthcare debate in Washington and the media has focused on the proposal to create a government-run insurance program, the legislation being considered includes many other provisions that could change how healthcare is delivered in this country. We host a roundtable with three guests who have been closely following the debate: Lois Uttley, co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need; Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president of Health Initiatives at Community Service Society of New York; and Dr. Oliver Fein, president of Physicians for a National Health Program. [includes rush transcript]

Russian Journalist Elena Milashina Speaks Out on Alarming Rise in Murders, Threats Against Critics of Government Abuses in North Caucasus
Russia has seen an alarming rise in the murders of journalists and activists speaking out about government abuses in the embattled North Caucasus region. We speak to Elena Milashina, a Russian investigative journalist who has just won the 2009 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism from Human Rights Watch. She was friends with both the activist and journalist Natalya Estemirova, who was killed in July, and the internationally renowned Anna Politkovskaya, who was killed in October 2006.

Headlines

Pelosi to Unveil Public Option Measure Without Safeguards to Contain Rates
Group: 37 Arrested at Insurance Sit-Ins Nationwide
Obama Signs Record $680B War Bill, Extends Military Commissions
Dems to Probe CIA for Misleading Congress
US Speeds Military Assistance to Pakistan
UN General Assembly Calls for Lifting Cuba Embargo
Zimbabwe Deports UN Torture Investigator
FBI Accused of Authorizing Racial Profiling
White House Pay Czar Opposes Expanded Authority
Sen. Sanders Calls for Extending Jobless Benefits
White House Denies Giving Perks to Donors


San Francisco Labor Council Passes a Resolution in Support of the Cuban Five


International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

San Francisco Labor Council Passes a Resolution in Support of the Cuban Five

On Monday October 26th, 2009, the San Francisco Labor Council (SFLC) passed a resolution in support of the Cuban Five and their rights for family visitation. The Cuban Five are five men who came to the United States to monitor anti Cuban terrorist groups in Miami to protect the lives of not just Cubans but U.S. citizens as well. They are facing lengthy sentences and have been incarcerated for over 11 years. As this case gains international support there has been a significant increase in the number of resolutions by unions and city councils and the support of personalities in the U.S. This particular resolution was brought up to the Executive Board of the SFLC by the American Federation of Teachers local 2121, that passed a similar resolution on August 25th and amongst other things stated that they will ask the SFLC for endorsement.

The San Francisco Labor Council is the local body of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and serves as headquarters to the Labor Community in San Francisco. The SFLC represents more than 100,000 union members and their families who belong to over 150 affiliate unions. The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in the United States and Canada.

The SFLC Resolution, calls for President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to consider the violation of International Covenant and due process for a fair trial associated with the conviction and imprisonment of the Cuban Five. The resolution also calls for diplomatic improvement in the relationship between the United States and Cuba. Additionally it calls for the pardon and release of the Cuban Five to their homeland. It also demands that the US government to immediately grants visas to Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez to visit their husbands in prison. And finally the SFLC calls on President Richard Trumpka of the AFL-CIO to send a letter to President Obama expressing support for the content of the resolution.

Copies of this important resolution will be sent to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Bay Area Congressional members, including State Senate members Mark Leno and Leland Yee, California State Assembly members Tom Ammiano and Fiona Ma, and all the members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.


Loosening of F.B.I. Rules Stirs Privacy Concerns


October 29, 2009
Loosening of F.B.I. Rules Stirs Privacy Concerns

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/us/29manual.html
By
CHARLIE SAVAGE, NY Times


WASHINGTON — After a Somali-American teenager from Minneapolis committed a suicide bombing in Africa in October 2008, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating whether a Somali Islamist group had recruited him on United States soil.

Instead of collecting information only on people about whom they had a tip or links to the teenager, agents fanned out to scrutinize Somali communities, including in Seattle and Columbus, Ohio. The operation unfolded as the Bush administration was relaxing some domestic intelligence-gathering rules.

The F.B.I.’s interpretation of those rules was recently made public when it released, in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit, its “Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide.”; The disclosure of the manual has opened the widest window yet onto how agents have been given greater power in the post-Sept. 11 era.

In seeking the revised rules, the bureau said it needed greater flexibility to hunt for would-be terrorists inside the United States. But the manual’s details have alarmed privacy advocates.

One section lays out a low threshold to start investigating a person or group as a potential security threat. Another allows agents to use ethnicity or religion as a factor — as long as it is not the only one — when selecting subjects for scrutiny.


“It raises fundamental questions about whether a domestic intelligence agency can protect civil liberties if they feel they have a right to collect broad personal information about people they don’t even suspect of wrongdoing,” said Mike German, a former F.B.I. agent who now works for the American Civil Liberties Union.

But Valerie Caproni, the F.B.I.’s general counsel, said the bureau has adequate safeguards to protect civil liberties as it looks for people who could pose a threat.

“Those who say the F.B.I. should not collect information on a person or group unless there is a specific reason to suspect that the target is up to no good seriously miss the mark,” Ms. Caproni said. “The F.B.I. has been told that we need to determine who poses a threat to the national security — not simply to investigate persons who have come onto our radar screen.”

The manual authorizes agents to open an “assessment” to “proactively” seek information about whether people or organizations are involved in national security threats.

Agents may begin such assessments against a target without a particular factual justification. The basis for such an inquiry “cannot be arbitrary or groundless speculation,” the manual says, but the standard is “difficult to define.”

Assessments permit agents to use potentially intrusive techniques, like sending confidential informants to infiltrate organizations and following and photographing targets in public.

F.B.I. agents previously had similar powers when looking for potential criminal activity. But until the recent changes, greater justification was required to use the powers in national security investigations because they receive less judicial oversight.


If agents turn up something specific to suggest wrongdoing, they can begin a “preliminary” or “full” investigation and use additional techniques, like wiretapping. But even if agents find nothing, the personal information they collect during assessments can be retained in F.B.I. databases, the manual says.

When selecting targets, agents are permitted to consider political speech or religion as one criterion. The manual tells agents not to engage in racial profiling, but it authorizes them to take into account “specific and relevant ethnic behavior” and to “identify locations of concentrated ethnic communities.”

Farhana Khera, president of Muslim Advocates, said the F.B.I. was harassing Muslim-Americans by singling them out for scrutiny. Her group was among those that sued the bureau to release the manual.

“We have seen even in recent months the revelation of the F.B.I. going into mosques — not where they have a specific reason to believe there is criminal activity, but as ‘agent provocateurs’ who are trying to incite young individuals to join a purported terror plot,” Ms. Khera said. “We think the F.B.I. should be focused on following actual leads rather than putting entire communities under the microscope.”

Ms. Caproni, the F.B.I. lawyer, denied that the bureau engages in racial profiling. She cited the search for signs of the Somali group, Al Shabaab, linked to the Minneapolis teenager to illustrate why the manual allows agents to consider ethnicity when deciding where to look. In that case, the bureau worried that other such teenagers might return from Somalia to carry out domestic operations.

Agents are trained to ignore ethnicity when looking for groups that have no ethnic tie, like environmental extremists, she said, but “if you are looking for Al Shabaab, you are looking for Somalis.”

Among the manual’s safeguards, agents must use the “least intrusive investigative method that effectively accomplishes the operational objective.” When infiltrating an organization, agents cannot sabotage its “legitimate social or political agenda,” nor lead it “into criminal activity that otherwise probably would not have occurred.”

Portions of the manual were redacted, including pages about “undisclosed participation” in an organization’s activities by agents or informants, “requesting information without revealing F.B.I. affiliation or the true purpose of a request,” and using “ethnic/racial demographics.”

The attorney general guidelines for F.B.I. operations date back to 1976, when a Congressional investigation by the so-called Church Committee uncovered decades of illegal domestic spying by the bureau on groups perceived to be subversive — including civil rights, women’s rights and antiwar groups — under the bureau’s longtime former director,
J. Edgar Hoover, who died in 1972.

The Church Committee proposed that rules for the F.B.I.’s domestic security investigations be written into federal law. To forestall legislation, the attorney general in the Ford administration, Edward Levi, issued his own guidelines that established such limits internally.

Since then, administrations of both parties have repeatedly adjusted the guidelines.

In September 2008, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey signed the new F.B.I. guidelines that expanded changes begun under his predecessor, John Ashcroft, after the Sept. 11 attacks. The guidelines went into effect and the F.B.I. completed the manual putting them into place last December.

There are no signs that the current attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., plans to roll back the changes. A spokeswoman said Mr. Holder was monitoring them “to see how well they work” and would make refinements if necessary.

The F.B.I., however, is revising the manual. Ms. Caproni said she was taking part in weekly high-level meetings to evaluate suggestions from agents and expected about 20 changes.

Many proposals have been requests for greater flexibility. For example, some agents said requirements that they record in F.B.I. computers every assessment, no matter how minor, were too time consuming. But Ms. Caproni said the rule aided oversight and would not be changed.


She also said that the F.B.I. takes seriously its duty to protect freedom while preventing terrorist attacks. “I don’t like to think of us as a spy agency because that makes me really nervous,” she said. “We don’t want to live in an environment where people in the United States think the government is spying on them. That’s an oppressive environment to live in and we don’t want to live that way.”

What the public should understand, she continued, is that the F.B.I. is seeking to become a more intelligence-driven agency that can figure out how best to deploy its agents to get ahead of potential threats.

“And to do that,” she said, “you need information.”