Tuesday, March 31, 2009

31 Mar 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Seymour Hersh: Secret U.S. Forces Carried Out Assassinations In A Dozen Countries, Including In Latin America
Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh created a stir earlier this month when he said the Bush administration ran an “executive assassination ring” that reported directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving,” Hersh said. Seymour Hersh join us to explain.

Seymour Hersh on "Syria Calling - The Obama Administration’s Chance to Engage in a Middle East Peace"
In the latest issue of the New Yorker, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh looks at Syria’s emerging role in the politics of Middle East peace. He also reveals new details on the behind the scenes dealings of the Bush administration and the then-incoming Obama camp during the Israeli attack on Gaza. The article is called “Syria Calling–The Obama Administration’s chance to engage in a Middle East peace.”

"The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience"
The current financial crisis is widely described as the nation’s worst since the Great Depression. With the comparisons to the 1930s has come a renewed focused in the New Deal, the government initiative of social programs and public service jobs launched by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A new book argues that no voice in the FDR administration was more influential in shaping the New Deal than Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, the first ever woman cabinet member in the United States. The book is called “The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience.” We speak with author, Kirstin Downey.

Obama: Plan For GM May Involve Bankruptcy
Obama Accused of Double Standard On Bailouts
GM CEO to Receive $20 Million in Retirement Benefits
U.S. Seeks International Support For Surge in Afghanistan
Dozens of Israeli Jets and Drones Attacked Sudan in January
Israeli Military Ends Probe Of Army Misconduct in Gaza
U.S. To Release Yemeni Doctor From Guantanamo
Detained U.S. Journalists To Be Tried in North Korea
Boston College Bars Bill Ayers From Speaking On Campus
Canadian Judge Upholds Ban on British MP George Galloway
EPA To Monitor Air Quality Outside 62 Schools
Gov’t-Run Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Lost Billions in Risky Investments
Goldman Sachs Exec Donated To Obama Senate Campaign After He Left Senate
César Chávez Day Marked in Eight States

Regents admit Churchill essay sparked probe

Regents admit Churchill essay sparked probe
By Felisa Cardona
The Denver Post

Posted: 03/30/2009 04:53:59 PM MDT
Updated: 03/30/2009 05:36:47 PM MDT

Three former and current University of Colorado regents testified today that they authorized a review of then-Boulder professor Ward Churchill's speeches and writings only to find out whether they were protected under the First Amendment.

Former regent Patricia Hayes and regent Peter Steinhauer, both Republicans, said they found Churchill's comments in an essay about the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, "anti-American." But they said they also were concerned about other instances where Churchill made speeches that they thought appeared to advocate violence and terrorism.

They testified that they wanted to know whether the speeches and essays were considered protected speech under the First Amendment if Churchill had made them as a public employee representing the university.

Churchill, 61, has sued CU claiming that he was fired two years ago in retaliation for the controversial essay. The trial is in its fourth week in Denver District Court.

The essay called some of the victims in the World Trade Center attack "little Eichmanns," comparing them to Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who engineered the destruction of the Jews during World War II.

Churchill has said he was trying to make a point about America's economic policy and its impact on poorer nations.

CU officials say Churchill was fired in 2007 after a two-year investigation by university committees, which found he had engaged in academic fraud in his scholarly writings.

Churchill's attorney, David Lane, pointed to depositions in which Hayes and Steinhauer testified that they authorized then-chancellor Phil DiStefano to investigate solely based on the Sept. 11 essay and made no mention of concern about other controversial speeches and writings.

Lane asked why it was necessary for the regents to allow DiStefano to look into all of Churchill's writings if all they were concerned with was the Sept. 11 essay.

"Where do you guys get off looking at every word he has ever written when the only thing he wrote that upset you was the 9/11 essay?" Lane asked.

Both regents answered that the inquiry was solely to determine whether his essay was protected speech and what his boundaries were as a public employee representing CU.

Former regent Cindy Carlisle, who also signed the resolution initiating the investigation of Churchill's 9/11 essay but was the only regent to vote against his firing, testified that although she disagreed with terminating Churchill, she accepted the findings of academic-research misconduct.

Carlisle, a Democrat, said the reason she voted against termination was because it went against the recommendation of a majority of the CU Privilege and Tenure Committee, which advised that Churchill be suspended without pay.

"If he was being witch-hunted, what would you have done?" CU counsel Patrick O'Rourke asked Carlisle.

"I would have protested very loudly," she said.

Testimony will continue Tuesday.

Source URL:

31 Mar 2009: Native News from PECHANGA.net

'Frozen River' Draws Mixed Reaction (NEW YORK) -- If the purpose of art is supposed to derive a reaction from its viewer, then "Frozen River" must be considered art.

Crimes against Natives spur community meeting (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- Concerned citizens from myriad cultural backgrounds filled a meeting room Sunday night at Woyatan Lutheran Church in Rapid City to share experiences with racism and search for solutions.

Indian reporters say they have to work harder for same journalistic rights (WISCONSIN) -- An incident between a Sawyer County deputy and a Native American reporter is shedding light on what may be a hidden struggle that main stream reporters don't have to face. Mike Simonson reports.

Regents admit Churchill essay sparked probe (COLORADO) -- Three former and current University of Colorado regents testified today that they authorized a review of then-Boulder professor Ward Churchill's speeches and writings only to find out whether they were protected under the First Amendment.

White Earth to consider new constitution (MINNESOTA) -- The White Earth Reservation’s government could see the most drastic change since 1934 if a proposed constitution is approved. That constitution is set to be ratified by delegates at the reservation’s final constitutional convention April 3 and 4 at the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen.

JODI RAVE: Drawing on history: Conference features competitions in art, Web design (MONTANA) -- On Monday, Nicholas Begay swiftly moved charcoal across white drawing paper, rubbing, drawing and blending the black pigment with skill that captured judges' attention, allowing the art student to nab a first-place finish in a national tribal college drawing competition.

Elouise Cobell: Why Indian Country is disappointed (WASHINGTON, DC) -- As one of the many people in Indian Country, who looked to the Obama administration for change, I am deeply disappointed with what it is saying about our 13-year-old lawsuit over the government's admittedly broken Indian Trust.

AGs air Desert Rock permit concerns (ARIZONA) -- The attorneys general of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont have jointly submitted comments to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voicing concerns regarding the proposed issuance of an air quality permit for construction of the Desert Rock power plant.

More headlines...

Navajo water rights settlement signed into law

Navajo water rights settlement signed into law
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Navajo Nation celebrated on Monday as President Barack Obama signed the tribe's water rights settlement into law as part of a public lands bill.

After decades of work, the tribe reached the agreement with the state of New Mexico five years ago. But the Bush administration balked at the cost of the deal, which authorizes an $870 million water pipeline in addition to securing the tribe's rights to the San Juan River.

The political landscape changed this year with Democrats in control of Washington, D.C. Though there were some hiccups, the 1,218-page Omnibus Public Land Management Act cleared the 111th Congress in record time.

"This is a grand day for the Navajo Nation," President Joe Shirley Jr. said in an interview at the White House after the signing ceremony. "It means water for our communities."

Obama, who was endorsed by Shirley and other Navajo leaders during the campaign, highlighted the tangible impacts of the settlement on the nation's largest tribe. He recognized Frank Chee Willetto Sr., a Navajo Code Talker from New Mexico who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.

"Because of this legislation, Frank, along with 80,000 others in the Navajo Nation, will have access to clean running water for the very first time," Obama said to applause in the East Room of the White House.

Despite the president's signature, the tribe's work isn't finished, Shirley pointed out. Congress still has to appropriate funds to construct the pipeline, which will serve communities on and off the reservation.

"We worked on this for a little over 30 years," Shirley said. "Now all we need to do is put money behind it."

The Navajo Nation isn't the only tribe that will benefit from the new law either. The bill also settles the water rights of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation, whose chairman, Robert Bear, attended the ceremony yesterday.

Other provisions acquire land in trust for the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians of California, for the Shivwits Band of Paiute Indians of Utah and for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

The bill also starts the environmental process for a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The controversial project will benefit the Native village of King Cove.

Another provision helps the 18 Pueblos along the Rio Grande in New Mexico assess their irrigation systems. The tribes will work with federal agencies to find resources to improve their water supplies.

Relevant Documents:


Source URL: http://www.indianz.com/News/2009/013840.asp

Justice Department Finds DNA Collection From Arrestees Overloads

Justice Department Finds DNA Collection From Arrestees Overloads
Backlog In Crime Labs (3/30/2009)

States Should Limit Collection To Convicted Offenders, Says ACLU

CONTACT: (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON – In response to this month’s audit from the Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG) finding that excessive DNA collection laws exacerbate delays in DNA analysis, the American Civil Liberties Union reiterates its view that federal and state laws seeking to collect DNA samples from people not yet convicted of a crime are unconstitutional and problematic.

“The idea that DNA collection and analysis are the silver bullet for law enforcement has been debunked by accounts from law enforcement across the country,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “This month’s audit from DOJ is further proof that excessive collection and over-reliance on DNA does more harm than good.”

According to the IG report, recent advancements in DNA technology have created increased demand for scientific analyses. That demand has created massive backlogs of DNA evidence throughout the nation. Overzealous collection of DNA has made the backlogs even worse.

Many states have conducted their own assessments on the status of DNA analysis with similar findings. The Illinois state auditor recently found that between 2002 and 2007 the backlog in Illinois’ crime labs has tripled, leading to an “inability to arrest suspects.” Michigan had a similar discovery since it passed a law in 2008 to collect DNA from all arrestees. Michigan State Police Captain Michael Thomas has noted that the expansion has put considerable stresses on his state’s ability to analyze DNA samples.

“The inspector general’s findings are consistent with what we are seeing in states all across the country – backlogs are growing and states are still pursuing legislation that aggravates those backlogs by expanding the collection of DNA,” said Larry Frankel, ACLU State Legislative Counsel. “This is essentially tossing more hay onto the pile while still searching for the needle. DNA is not a perfect science and it is also costly. In order to make our law enforcement systems as effective as possible, we should limit DNA collection to those cases, such as sexual assault, that it is most likely to help resolve.”

The ACLU also objects to the over-collection and storage of DNA on constitutional grounds.

“Scientific innovation has huge potential for the advancement of our society, but when it also opens the door to genetic profiling of citizens still presumed innocent, it shows its great potential for danger as well,” said Fredrickson. “Our criminal justice system recognizes that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. Permanently warehousing DNA from people not yet convicted of a crime
violates their privacy, while making it more difficult to find those who have engaged in illegal activity.”


Second Annual Mother Earth Father Sky Music Festival

To the DDR Camp in Chaco Rio, NM.

From Shiprock, NM:
Go 28 miles south on US Hwy 491 to Littlewater, NM (pass Redmesa Express & the bridge)
Turn L (going East) on Road 5092 & go 10 miles

Coming from Gallup, NM:
Go 76 Miles North on US Hwy 491, Turn R (East) on Road 5092OR
Take US Hwy 491 North, go to Littlewater (Redmesa Express)
Just before you Get To The Gas Station
There should be a sign on the east side of road
Turn R (going East) on Road 5092 & go 10 miles

drive around a blue 2 story house and pass a windmill.

There should be signs up along the dirt road.

Also, to get an idea of where you are going.

Find Littlewater, NM on a map.

Before you start driving.

Monday, March 30, 2009

30 Mar 2009: Native News from PECHANGA.ne

Hagan supports recognition of Lumbees (NORTH CAROLINA) -- A U.S. senator from North Carolina is drawing fire from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for throwing her support behind a plan that would give full federal recognition to Lumbee Indians in the eastern part of the state.

State moves to purge offense place names (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- A Pine Ridge man wanting to honor a promise to a friend is celebrating the passage of legislation that will continue efforts made in 2001 to remove derogatory names from geological sites and landmarks statewide.

Report: Refund loans costly to many Indians (NEBRASKA) -- Six U.S. counties with American Indian reservations -- including Thurston County in Nebraska -- ranked highest in the nation for the percentage of taxpayers who claimed a federal income tax credit for low-income workers but who lost part of the benefit to costly refund anticipation loans, a children's advocacy group said.

A new tribal constitution? (MINNESOTA) -- The White Earth Reservation’s government could see the most drastic change since 1934 if a proposed constitution is approved.

Tribes want more time to develop ID cards for use at the Canadian border (WASHINGTON) -- Local American Indians say they shouldn't be forced to comply when new passport requirements go into effect on June 1 along the U.S. border with Canada.

Tulalip tribe developing own ID to cross border (WASHINGTON) -- The Tulalip Tribes are working to create their own identification cards Indians could use to cross the Canadian border when the passport requirement takes effect June 1.

Moment for Crow seen as crucial (MONTANA) -- To many members of the Crow Nation, that was the most important factor in Saturday's primary election for a new tribal chairman.

Black Eagle, Not Afraid advance in election (MONTANA) -- Cedric Black Eagle, interim chairman of the Crow Tribe, received more than 60 percent of the votes in Saturday's primary election, to win one of two spots on the ballot in the tribe's upcoming April 18 general election for tribal chairman.

Tribal leader sees Adelstein appointment as plus for tribes (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- The nomination of Rapid City native Jonathan Adelstein to head the federal Rural Utilities Service could help bring important improvements in computer services to isolated Native American reservations, a tribal leader said Thursday.

A vision for better Native health care (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- Fred Koebrick’s first job with the Indian Health Service was as a technician in the acquisitions office. Twenty-three years later, the 45-year-old Oklahoma native has been named the chief executive officer in charge of the Rapid City IHS service unit at Sioux San Hospital.

Changes come to Sioux San's sweat lodge policy (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- Sweat lodges on the grounds at Sioux San Hospital are as much a part of Native American clients' healing as the prescribed medical therapies administered.

Crimes against Natives spur community meeting (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- Concerned citizens from myriad cultural backgrounds filled a meeting room Sunday night at Woyatan Lutheran Church in Rapid City to share experiences with racism and search for solutions.

More headlines...

Summit of the Americas: Draft Declaration falls short on human rights

March 27, 2009

Summit of the Americas: Draft Declaration falls short on human rights

The draft declaration being negotiated by governments in advance of the Fifth Summit of the Americas falls short on human rights, warned Amnesty International today, as it issued a series of recommendations to improve the official declaration.

“The draft declaration being taken to the Americas Summit is disappointing when it comes to human rights,” said Susan Lee, Americas Director at Amnesty International. “It is only by making meaningful commitments to strengthen human rights protection that governments will truly improve the lives of their citizens. Failure to put human rights at the centre of the Summit will put the lives of millions at risk.”

In its briefing, Amnesty International highlights that while addressing many serious issues, the official declaration needs to strengthen its human rights component. In particular, the organization believes the Summit’s declaration must emphasize issues including:

--Poverty, by making a clear commitment to addressing the high levels of preventable maternal mortality and the deprivation suffered by millions living in slums across the Americas.
--Energy projects, by addressing the negative impact some projects can have on people’s enjoyment of their right to adequate healthcare, housing, food and livelihood and particularly on the land rights of the hemisphere’s Indigenous Peoples.
--The operations of companies, by acknowledging the need for strong legislation to hold corporations to account for their potentially negative impact on human rights.
--Climate change, by committing to the adoption of policies that put human rights considerations at the centre of both reversing and mitigating climate change.
--Public security, by committing to ensure that public security laws and practices, including those dealing with terrorism and organized crime, comply fully with human rights obligations, such as the right not to be arbitrarily detained, tortured or subjected to enforced disappearance.
--Strengthening democratic governance, by promising to improve the low rate of ratification of most of the hemisphere’s human rights treaties.

Amnesty International’s recommendations also highlight the need for the US to lift its economic embargo on Cuba, which is preventing Cubans from enjoying human rights such as adequate healthcare, education and housing.

“Human rights cannot be considered an optional extra; they must be at the heart of all deliberations and commitments arising from this Summit,” said Susan Lee. “The rights of people living in slums, of Indigenous Peoples facing dislocation from their land, and of people caught-up in abusive public security laws must be unequivocally recognized and firmly protected. Human rights provide the blueprint for the “secure future” the Declaration envisions for citizens of the Americas.”

“Governments in the Americas have an unprecedented opportunity to make this a summit of meaningful commitments and problem-solving if they make sure it is a summit focused on human rights,” said Susan Lee. “For millions of the Americas’ poorest citizens, it is literally a matter of life and death.”

Background Information

An Amnesty International delegation will participate in the fifth Summit of the Americas, to be held in Trinidad and Tobago between 16 and 18 of April 2009 and in the Summit of the People, between 14 and 16 April 2009.

The team will be made up of Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada (English); Ivahanna Larrosa, Director of Amnesty International Uruguay and Stacy Shapiro, Americas Campaign Coordinator.

For more information or to arrange an interview with one of Amnesty International’s experts, please contact:

Josefina Salomón, P:+44 207 413 5562. M:+7778 472 116,

Tell CN Rail to drop the lawsuit! against Tyendinaga Mohawks


Tell CN Rail to drop the lawsuit! against Tyendinaga Mohawks

The Tyendinaga Support Committee is putting together a month-long campaign to
pressure Canadian National Railway (CNR) to drop their recently announced
lawsuit against members of the Mohawk Community of Tyendinaga.

They are asking individuals and groups interested in supporting the campaign to
take on three tasks:

To send a call out to their contacts [...]

Neither nobles nor savages

Neither nobles nor savages
In the five-part series 'We Shall Remain,' WGBH aims to put Native Americans at the center of the American experience
By Joanna Weiss, Boston Globe Staff March 29, 2009

SALEM - On a steamy day last summer, the reproduction Colonial cottages at Salem's Pioneer Village buzzed with modern-day activity: cameras and boom mikes and makeup artists, real chickens, and a deer made of foam. Actors playing Pilgrims, bearing the heat beneath thick woolen coats, milled about a table set with berries and nuts. Native Americans in traditional garb lounged near a rental truck, waiting to be called into action.

Their task: to re-create the first Thanksgiving for "American Experience," the public-television history series produced by WGBH. But this retelling - part of the upcoming series "We Shall Remain" - would be different from other Thanksgiving stories. It would be told from the point of view of Massasoit, the Wampanoag leader who made the risky choice to forge an alliance with the British colonists of Plymouth.

And it would end with a pointed question about whether Massasoit might have regretted his decision, since the trust he built with the colonists wouldn't last to the next generation. Among the props on the set was a model of a human head: Massasoit's son, King Philip, which the colonists would later impale on a stick.

The Wampanoags' arc, from hope to despair, makes up the first episode of "We Shall Remain," an ambitious five-part series that premieres on PBS on April 13. Less a historical survey than a set of portraits, it aims to tell Native American history from the Native Americans' perspective - and focuses on individual leaders, tragic and heroic, who affected the course of history.

When it comes to Native Americans on film, that sense of depth is rare, said Chris Eyre, the Cheyenne/Arapaho filmmaker who directed two of the "We Shall Remain" episodes, including the Thanksgiving story, and codirected a third with documentary filmmaker Ric Burns.

Eyre, who gained fame as director of the acclaimed 1998 film "Smoke Signals," said he developed his own sense of Native American identity - along with a simmering sense of anger - when he took a college course on director John Ford, whose iconic Westerns seared a less-than-flattering image of Indians into the public consciousness.

"I still think the portrayal of Indians in the mass media is in the Stone Age," Eyre said. "Hopefully what's changing here is that we're starting to portray ourselves as three-dimensional characters. We don't want to be nobles and we don't want to be savages."

Indeed, soon after producers started researching the project, they realized that the tribes were "very active players in their own history," said Mark Samels, the executive producer of "American Experience." So while the overarching story of Native Americans is bleak - a string of broken promises and dark, unhappy endings - they're also quintessentially American stories of stubbornness and survival.

The documentaries intersperse analysis from Native Americans and academics with dramatic reenactments. (There is also a website and an outreach effort that includes a project called "ReelNative," which encouraged novice Native American filmmakers to tell their own stories.) They also share a sense of expansiveness, offering shots of a pristine landscape, untouched by modern development: a continent of possibility, before history took its course - the product of careful camerawork, eagle-eyed editing, and a wee bit of CGI to eliminate an errant building here or there.

A major challenge for producers, at the start, was winnowing down the potential tales, said Sharon Grimberg, the series' executive producer. She and her colleagues wanted to begin with a first-contact story and end in the late 20th century, she said, to dispel the myth that Native American history is locked in the past. They looked for characters who represented different ways Native Americans have tried to control their fates.

Massasoit's story, told in the film "After the Mayflower," imagines the possibility of cooperation. Other episodes focus on Tecumseh, the Shawnee leader who pursued the then-radical idea of a pan-Indian alliance, and the Ridges, a family of wealthy and assimilated Cherokees who tried to protect their ancestral land through the American legal system - and even won their case in the US Supreme Court.

Another episode centers on Geronimo, whose resistance movement - and eventual celebrity - left him a controversial figure among his fellow Chiricahua Apaches. And the final installment, filled with archival media footage, tells the story of the 1973 occupation of South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation by members of the American Indian Movement resistance group, which helped spark a modern movement to resist assimilation and reclaim Native American identity.

Choosing those five sagas means many others aren't told: Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, and Pocahontas, among others, are never mentioned in the series. Grimberg has already fielded complaints from tribes who wonder why their stories were left out.

"The way to tell history is to tell stories," she said. And these characters "were people who had ingenuity and imagination and they fought back. Tecumseh belongs to all of us. He is an American hero."

Of course, even some of the tribes whose stories were told raised early doubts about the series and the wisdom of participating. Cassius Spears, 45, a Rhode Island native from the Narragansett tribe, said that when a call went out for extras in "After the Mayflower," young people in his large extended family wanted to take part. But some of his older relatives were skeptical.

"We're used to seeing one mistake after another when they try to show or represent native communities," Spears said. "It's just like no one actually took the time to get involved in the details."

Spears started out as an extra for the film, alongside his son, but took on a larger role after he started critiquing the details on the set. On the Salem shoot, he adjusted the size of the native's feather pieces, and clarified how Massasoit would have shaken the pilgrims' hands, grasping their wrists, not their palms.

Nipmuc tribe member David White, 36, a Brimfield resident and electrician by trade, was the episode's language adviser, reviewing the scripts for both dialect and meaning. (In real life, White does his part to keep the Nipmuc language alive, teaching it to small groups of Native Americans in their homes, and sharing Nipmuc culture with schools and Cub Scout troops.)

In a scene in which a gravely ill Massasoit gets a visit from Pilgrim leader Edward Winslow, White asked producers to cut a line in which Massasoit said "My friend, I'll never see you again." Native Americans don't see death as an end, White said, but as part of a life cycle.

As they put together the series, producers strove to use living examples of Native American culture. Many of the actors and extras wore their own traditional garb: White's cousin Troy Phillips, a builder from Lenox who played the English-speaking tribesman Squanto, arrived on the "After the Mayflower" set with his own loincloth, headdress, and earrings.

And for "Trail of Tears," the series' third episode, a group of Cherokee elders returned to their ancestral homeland to appear in reenactment scenes. They found camaraderie with veteran actor Wes Studi, who played Cherokee leader Major Ridge - and had grown up speaking Cherokee, though he had never had a chance to speak the language on film.

"I would sometimes walk over to Wes and say, 'What are you guys talking about?' " said Eyre, who directed the episode. 'And Wes would look at me strangely and say, 'Don't you wish you knew?' I would laugh and I'd walk away and then I would call 'Action.' There's no substitute for essence, for true essence."

Eyre said the series has taught him more about Native American history than he learned growing up in Oregon; he had heard the name Wampanoag, for instance, but didn't know the tribe's full story. And he said he hopes the series prompts viewers to rethink characters like Ridge, who had been vilified by his fellow Cherokees for signing away his tribe's homeland in a treaty and moving from Georgia to Oklahoma.

Given the complex political situation Ridge faced - and the fate of his fellow Cherokees who refused to move - viewers might watch the "Trail of Tears" film and wonder if he made the right decision, after all, Eyre said.

The fact that the series poses those questions "is the thing I'm more proud about," Eyre said. "It's not romanticizing the wars that native people fought and looking at their buckskins and feathers. It's about the complications of the characters and the decisions they had to make, and that's what defines a hero."

A half-hour screening of "After the Mayflower" will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 9 at the WGBH theater, with a panel discussion featuring Cassius Spears, David White, Sharon Grimberg, and Mark Samels. The event is free but reservations are required. Sign up at www.wgbh.org/events.

Reviewing Criminal Justice

March 30, 2009
Reviewing Criminal Justice

America’s criminal justice system needs repair. Prisons are overcrowded, sentencing policies are uneven and often unfair, ex-convicts are poorly integrated into society, and the growing problem of gang violence has not received the attention it deserves. For these and other reasons, a bill introduced last week by Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, should be given high priority on the Congressional calendar.

The bill, which has strong bipartisan support, would establish a national commission to review the system from top to bottom. It is long overdue, and should be up and running as soon as possible.

The United States has the highest reported incarceration rate in the world. More than 1 in 100 adults are now behind bars, for the first time in history. The incarceration rate has been rising faster than the crime rate, driven by harsh sentencing policies like “three strikes and you’re out,” which impose long sentences that are often out of proportion to the seriousness of the offense.

Keeping people in prison who do not need to be there is not only unjust but also enormously expensive, which makes the problem a priority right now. Hard-pressed states and localities that reduce prison costs will have more money to help the unemployed, avert layoffs of teachers and police officers, and keep hospitals operating. In the last two decades, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, state corrections spending soared 127 percent, while spending on higher education increased only 21 percent.

Meanwhile, as governments waste money putting the wrong people behind bars, gang activity has been escalating, accounting for as much as 80 percent of the crime in some parts of the country.

The commission would be made up of recognized criminal justice experts, and charged with examining a range of policies that have emerged haphazardly across the country and recommending reforms. In addition to obvious problems like sentencing, the commission would bring much-needed scrutiny to issues like the special obstacles faced by the mentally ill in the system, as well as the shameful problem of prison violence.

Prison management and inmate treatment need special attention now that the Prison Litigation Reform Act has drastically scaled back prisoners’ ability to vindicate their rights in court. Indeed, the commission should consider recommending that the law be modified or repealed.

Mr. Webb has enlisted the support of not only the Senate’s top-ranking Democrats, including the majority leader, Harry Reid, but also influential Republicans like Arlen Specter, the ranking minority member on the Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham, the ranking member of the crime and drugs subcommittee.

There is no companion bill in the House, and one needs to be written. Judging by the bipartisan support in the Senate, a national consensus has emerged that the criminal justice system is broken.


Organization focused on American Indian issues opens headquaters

Organization focused on American Indian issues opens headquaters

A social service agency focusing on helping American Indians recently opened its headquarters in Marshalltown.

"We help with rent, utilities, water bills - things like that," said John Miller, one of the founders of the organization. "We also do drug and alcohol counseling. Everything we do is spiritually based."

The organization's roots go back several years to when Miller and his business partner, John Bucheit, were in prison together. While there, they came up with a plan to help American Indians who find themselves in some tough situations.

After getting out of prison, they started the Native American Freedom Foundation. They have a passion to help American Indian people and, because of that goal, they are planning on opening offices in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Idaho and in Canada.

"There's not really a whole lot of organizations out there that specialize in Native Americans," Miller said. "More than 50 percent of our staff is native including me and my partner John."

The funding has mainly come from the pockets of the partners who started the project, but they are hoping for more funding as time goes on.

"We're not able to help as many people as we would like to, but there is a lot of need in this area," Miller said.

Source URL:

News from Indianz.Com

30 Mar 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

A 21st Century Hooverville: Seattle's Homeless Population Builds "Nickelsville", A Tent City Named After the City's Mayor
As the nation’s economic and housing crisis worsens, homelessness is also on the rise and an increasing number of people are setting up roving encampments or shanty towns that are popularly known as tent cities. Seattle’s newest tent city is called Nickelsville. The encampment is made of up over a 100 fuchsia tents and is named to protest the mayor Greg Nickels’ policies toward the homeless.

Sustainable Seattle: City Launches New Compost Pickup Program As Part of Zero Waste Strategy
We speak with Richard Conlin, one of the leading voices in the movement to build sustainable cities and reduce waste. Conlin is President of the Seattle City Council and a co-founder of the organization Sustainable Seattle.

Citing Failed War on Drugs, Former Seattle Police Chief Calls For Legalization of Marijuana and All Drugs
Norm Stamper is a 34-year police officer who retired as Seattle’s chief of police in 2000. He now supports the legalization of marijuana and an advisory board member of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and a speaker for the 10,000 member Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

"I Made Major Mistakes" - Ex-Seattle Police Chief Admits Response to 1999 WTO Protests Was Too Heavy-Handed
We speak with Norm Stamper, the police chief of Seattle during the 1999 WTO protests when police responded to protests by firing teargas and rubber bullets into the mostly peaceful crowd. The protests resulted in 600 arrests and in the eventual failure of the WTO talks. Stamper resigned soon afterward. “I made major mistakes,” Stampers says of his handling of the situation.

Inequality Is Unhealthy: Dr. Stephen Bezruchka On How Economic Inequality is Dangerous To Our Health
As lawmakers continue to debate health care proposals we take a look at how the economic crisis can impact the health of people in this country. We speak with Dr. Stephen Bezruchka who teaches at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. He’s written extensively on the impact of societal and economic inequalities on the health of a population and argues that combating inequality might be the best way to ensure improved health.

Spanish Court Launches Probe of Bush Administration Officials
Waterboarding, Torture of Abu Zubaydah Produced False Leads
Dozens Killed in Pakistan as Militants Seize Police Academy
President Obama Outlines Plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan
White House Forces Out GM CEO Wagoner
Unemployment Rate Over 10% in Seven States
35,000 Protest in London Ahead of G20 Summit
Gates: US Has No Plans to Shoot Down N. Korean Missile Test
Vast Electronic Spy Network Unveiled; Targeted Dalai Lama
Israeli Troops Shoot at West Bank Protesters
Campaign to Boycott Motorola Launched in New York
Eight Die In NC Nursing Home Shooting
Union Activist & Folklorist Archie Green, 91, Dies

Saturday, March 28, 2009

On Behalf of Robert Seth Hayes

Hi Folks,

A request from Seth for help in raising $$$ for legal assistance with a parole appeal.
If you would like to help and get a tax write off please send a check to
IFCO/NYCJERICHO and on the message line put for Seth or Robert Seth Hays and we will collect the funds and send them to Cheryl Kates his parole attorney. If you need more information call me at 718-853-0893 or 646-271-4677.
Thanks for your help -- Paulette, NYC JERICHO

P.O.Box 1272
NY, NY 10013

You can also drop Seth a note at the following address:

Robert Seth Hayes #74-A-2280
Wende CF, Wende Rd., PO Box 1187, Alden, NY 14004-1187

Or check out his website:

March 24, 2009

Open Letter To:

Anarchist Black Cross Federation, NYC
Resistance N Brooklyn
New York Task Force
Jericho NYC
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

From Robert Seth Hayes

Re: Request for Economic Assistance in Lieu of Parole Litigation


I have retained the services of Attorney Cheryl Kates to address my parole appeal. I believe her skills are both fundamentally sound and needed, and having this opportunity before me is nothing short of a blessing. We spoke and though it's not etched in stone, the cost appears to hover around $2,500.00 outside of unforeseen expenses. I am therefore requesting assistance from you to establish this funding so that the operation of appeal can begin. Anything you can offer, in whatever amount will be greatly appreciated.

So that there is no doubt of my sincerity to leave any stones unturned, be advised that I am also pursuing Buffalo Community Activist as well as Canada to help secure the completion of this economic contract. Please feel free to pledge your commitment to me in whatever form, as soon as possible so that I can assess how far a field I may have to travel henceforth.

Thank you for your consideration of my request and thank you for whatever commitment/pledge you render.


Robert Seth Hayes

European protesters march in G20 rallies

European protesters march in G20 rallies
By DEAN CARSON, Associated Press

LONDON – Thousands of people marched through European cities Saturday to demand jobs, economic justice and environmental accountability, kicking off six days of protest and action planned in the run-up to the G20 summit next week in London.

In London, more than 150 groups threw their backing behind the "Put People First" march. Police said around 35,000 attended the demonstration, snaking their way across the city toward Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park. Protest organizers said they wanted leaders from the world's top 20 economies to adopt a more transparent and democratic economic recovery plan.

Brendan Barber, who heads an umbrella group for Britain's unions, told assembled protesters in London's Hyde Park that the G20 needed to "take actions to lay the foundation for a better world."

"If we can generate fabulous wealth, as we can, then surely we can learn how to distribute that wealth more fairly. If we can unleash a technological revolution then surely we can ensure that everyone on this planet gets the food, the shelter and the health care that they need," he said.

Not all demonstrators focused on the economic main message. Some chanted "Free, free, Palestine." One man dressed in a banana suit waved a sign reading: "Bananas for Justice."

Big protests were also held in Germany. Around 15,000 people gathered in Berlin, and a demonstration also was held in Frankfurt, Germany's banking capital, under the slogan: "We won't pay for your crisis."

Demonstrators in Berlin sported headbands reading "pay for it yourselves" and some carried a black coffin topped with red roses symbolizing what they said was the death of capitalism.

Some protesters in Berlin skirmished with police toward the end of the demonstration, and the windows of some police cars were broken.

In Vienna, around 6,500 people gathered in the city center, with paper piggy banks, balloons or signs that read "We won't pay for your crisis" and "Capitalism can't be reformed." Others blew whistles, chanted or danced to music blasting from trucks or a stage in front of parliament.

In Paris, a small but focused group of around 400 protesters dumped a pile of sand outside the city's stock market to mock supposed island tax havens. Protesters sat atop the sand pile in beach chairs — tossing around colored bills with "5,000 euros, tax free" written on them.

Trade unions and left-wing groups in Geneva mobilized some 250 people who marched through town with banners reading "Capitalism is a mistake" and chants of "Revolution."

More protests are planned in London on Wednesday and Thursday, while left-leaning teach-ins, lectures, and other demonstrations are scheduled throughout the week. Protesters said the crisis could energize those hoping to challenge the economic and political status quo.

"The whole economic meltdown ... There's a really good opportunity for governments to get together and invest in a sustainable future," said unemployed Steve Burson, 49.

Security was tight around a small group of people waving anarchist flags Saturday. They and others have promised violence before the G20 meeting Thursday, and the British capital is bracing for a massive police operation as delegates fly in to London.

"We've got a long week ahead," said Christian Evans, 40, an anarchist supporter flanked by black and red flags in London. "The streets are our streets."

BOP ordered to comply with FOIA


Prison Legal News – For Immediate Release

March 28, 2009


Washington, DC – On March 26, 2009, Prison Legal News (PLN), a non-profit monthly publication that reports on criminal justice-related issues, obtained a favorable ruling from the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. in a lawsuit filed against the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) under the Freedom of Information Act.

The suit was originally filed in September 2005 after PLN submitted a FOIA request to the BOP for documents related to taxpayer funds the agency had paid as a result of verdicts and settlements in lawsuits. The BOP tried to impose a $7,000 fee for the requested records, and, following a two-year delay, refused PLN's request for a fee waiver despite PLN's non-profit status and intent to report the results from its FOIA request to the general public as a member of the news media.

"The public needs to know what the government does in its name," noted Ed Elder, PLN's attorney. "The information PLN will get from this case will help show what kind of treatment the government provides citizens it incarcerates."

On June 26, 2006, the U.S. District Court found that the BOP had improperly withheld public records from PLN by denying the fee waiver. The BOP was ordered to produce the requested documents. While BOP officials turned over a number of records, they were incomplete and deficient; further, the BOP refused to provide some documents, claiming they were subject to various FOIA exemptions.

The court ruled in its March 26, 2009 order that the BOP had failed to show it conducted an adequate search for records responsive to PLN's FOIA request. The court also found the BOP had failed to prove that the withheld documents were properly subject to FOIA exemptions. Accordingly, the BOP was ordered to either "conduct a new search of its files for the records," or provide proof that the agency's initial search was sufficient.

"The BOP's continued failure to adequately produce public records is in direct conflict with a recent memo issued by the U.S. Attorney General's office, which directed federal agencies to apply a `presumption of openness' when responding to FOIA requests," stated PLN editor Paul Wright. "Following the district court's most recent order, perhaps the BOP will finally produce the records we first requested almost six years ago."

The case is Prison Legal News v. Lappin, U.S. District Court (D. D.C.), Case No. 1:05-01812-RBW. PLN is represented by attorney Edward Elder, of Washington, DC.

Prison Legal News (PLN), founded in 1990 and based in Seattle, Washington, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human rights in U.S. detention facilities. PLN publishes a monthly magazine that includes reports, reviews and analysis of court rulings and news related to prisoners' rights and criminal justice issues. PLN has almost 7,000 subscribers nationwide and operates a website (www.prisonlegalnews.org) that includes a comprehensive database of prison and jail-related articles, news items, court rulings, verdicts, settlements and related documents.

For further information, please contact:

Paul Wright
Prison Legal News, Editor
P.O. Box 2420
West Brattleboro, VT 05303
(802) 275-8594 office
(802) 257-1342 cell

Edward Elder, Esq.
1335 Taylor Street, NW
Washington, DC 20011
(202) 213-7240

Feature Articles: Read The New American Dream


The New American Dream

.... well ... because the whole country is a freeking free-speech zone.

See it TODAY - TOMORROW - and all weekend

Feature Interviews:

TODAY: BRIAN KASORO, of Brooklyn, the publisher of The Liberator Magazine. He is THE hope of the country, he and his friends, more-so than Obama and his friends. Really.

TOMORROW: ALEJANDRO ROJAS, of THE Mutual UFO Network. It's time to take an interest, don't you think? Why not? UFOs are interested in you.

Poetry by Ava Bird of Berkeley and David Ray of Tucson.

A Brand New Cartoon from Ben Heine of Brussels.

Mickey Z. asks why Americans are cowards.

Sherwood Ross says "what about closing Leavenworth, Lewisburg, San Quentin," — the hell-hole county jail across the street?

Home-Made Disarmament: Some Swedish folks show us
how it's done.

and ...

Writer Jack Saunders has written over 300 novels since the '70s — here's a taste of the big buffet.


27 Mar 2009: SF8 Update

Today in a San Francisco courtroom with two to three times more security officers than 'normal,' members of the San Francisco 8 and their attorneys continued to press for the release of federal wiretap surveillance of the Black Panther Party offices. More written arguments are now to be filed by mid April with oral arguments scheduled for Friday, April 24th at 9 am.

Prosecutors are reluctant to make these documents public since they would undoubtedly tie the FBI's COINTELPRO program to this prosecution. COINTELPRO illegally targeted the Black Panther Party, its members and associates in precisely the time period covered by the prosecution's conspiracy allegations (1968-1973).

The increased courtroom security included the handcuffing and shackling of Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim. This issue had been argued and resolved twice before, resulting in a court ordered agreement with the San Francisco County Sheriff to allow the two jailed defendants full use of their hands in court and the dignity of not being fully restrained. Their attorneys refused to move forward unless directly ordered by the court, and eventually the defendants were freed of handcuffs for this pro forma hearing. This issue is likely to arise again before the next court hearing.

The next hearing will be Friday, April 24th at 9:00 a.m.


Family Secrets: Mob turncoat gets 12 years


Family Secrets: Mob turncoat gets 12 years
Families of Nicholas Calabrese's 14 murder victims express shock
By Jeff Coen
March 27, 2009

It was a judgment day like none Chicago has ever seen.

Mob hit man Nicholas Calabrese, the admitted killer of 14 people, stood before a judge Thursday as the only made member of the Chicago Outfit ever to testify against his superiors. His cooperation solved some of the Chicago area's most notorious gangland killings and sent three mob leaders away for life.

Weighing Calabrese's terrible crimes against his unprecedented testimony in the Family Secrets trial, a federal judge sentenced him to just 12 years and 4 months behind bars, leaving relatives of Calabrese's many victims outraged and distraught.

One widow, Charlene Moravecek, collapsed moments after leaving the courtroom and was taken from the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on a stretcher. She had earlier glared at Calabrese in court and called him "the devil."

Anthony Ortiz, whose father, Richard, was shot to death by Calabrese outside a Cicero bar, called the sentence pathetic.

"To me, that's a serial killer," Ortiz said of Calabrese. "That's less than a year for every person that he killed."

Making the sentence even harder for the families to swallow is the likelihood that Calabrese, 66, will be released from prison in as little as four years. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he must serve 85 percent of his sentence, but Calabrese has been incarcerated in connection with the Family Secrets case since November 2002.

Bob D'Andrea, the son of mobster Nicholas D'Andrea, whom Calabrese admitted beating with a baseball bat, said he expected the judge to be somewhat lenient. But Calabrese won't receive his ultimate penalty in this life, he said.

"If he believes in God, he knows what he has coming," D'Andrea said.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel, who had to balance rewarding Calabrese for his extraordinary cooperation with punishing him for the 14 murders, knew his decision wouldn't be acceptable to many relatives of the victims. He spoke directly to them in a slow, deliberate tone.

"None of this happened without Nicholas Calabrese," Zagel said of the landmark Family Secrets prosecution.

The judge reminded the crowded courtroom that Calabrese had given families some sense of closure. Zagel said he also had to consider that other would-be mob turncoats must be given some incentive to provide information too.

Federal prosecutors left the sentence to Zagel's discretion but later expressed support for his decision. However, "pure justice" would have required that Calabrese be imprisoned for the rest of his life, said First Assistant U.S. Atty. Gary Shapiro.

Shapiro, a veteran mob-fighter, noted that Chicago has been "the toughest nut to crack" in the U.S. when it comes to turning mob insiders.

"Here Judge Zagel has sent the word out that if you do what Nick Calabrese has done, you have the chance of not spending the rest of your life in prison," he said.

With images of many of his 14 victims flashing on a screen just a few feet away, Calabrese had refused to even look that way. He instead stared down at the empty defense table looking like he was trying not to cry.

Wearing a plain gray shirt and jeans, he finally walked to the lectern with a slight limp. He apologized for his wrongdoing and said he thinks about his crimes all of the time.

"I can't go back and undo what I done," he told Zagel as his wife and children looked on. "I stand before you a different man, a changed man."

Calabrese's testimony had riveted Chicago in summer 2007 as he pulled back the curtain on murder after murder. He testified about wetting his pants during his first killing, fatally shooting friend and hit man John Fecarotta and taking part in the notorious slayings of Las Vegas mob chieftain Anthony Spilotro and his brother, Michael. At trial, five men were convicted, including mob bosses James Marcello, Joey "the Clown" Lombardo and his brother, Frank Calabrese Sr. Four of them were linked to 18 murders in all.

All of the victims' family members who addressed Zagel in court Thursday said they understood the significance of what Calabrese had done, but they still said they wanted him to pay fully. They recounted years of heartbreak, with the men violently taken from them missing holidays, weddings and births.

"I have waited half a life for the chance to come face to face with the person responsible for my father's death," said Janet Ortiz, the daughter of Richard Ortiz.

Peggy Cagnoni, whose husband, businessman Michael Cagnoni, was killed in a car-bombing on the Tri-State Tollway that Calabrese had said took a hit team months to pull off, called Calabrese "the ultimate killer."

"I feel you are truly heartless and deserve no mercy," she said. "You got caught in a trap and had nowhere to go."

Calabrese had decided to cooperate after investigators confronted him in 2002 with DNA evidence taken from a pair of bloody gloves he dropped while leaving the scene of the Fecarotta homicide in 1986.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Markus Funk called Calabrese a "walking, breathing paradox." Funk acknowledged that the unassuming Calabrese could sometimes be a cold, robotic killer but said he had shown remorse and had done as much or more than anyone before him to damage the Outfit.

Calabrese's lawyer, John Theis, sought a sentence of less than 8 years in prison, which effectively would have meant his immediate release. Calabrese will forever live in fear, Theis said, but should be given the chance to once again be with his family.

Zagel said he doubts Calabrese will ever truly be free. No matter how long he lives or in what protected place it will be, Calabrese will always have to look over his shoulder.

"The organization whose existence you testified to will not forgive or relent in their pursuit of you," he said.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Msg. Posted on Behalf of the LP-DOC

We beg supporters' patience as regards service delays as we deal with the current flood emergency in Fargo and the surrounding area.

Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee

In the Warrior Spirit: Paintings by Leonard Peltier

In the Warrior Spirit
Paintings by Leonard Peltier
Benefit Exhibit, 22 May - 6 June 2009

Curated by Bird Levy of Polu Manu Productions

Opening Reception: Friday, May 22, 2009 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

ART AUCTION CLOSING NIGHT: Saturday, June 6, 2009 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm

Auctioneer: Michael Horse

Leonard Peltier, Native American Activist and Political Prisoner has now spent one half of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit. New strategies have come to light, a parole hearing is forthcoming, Leonard’s attorneys are hard at work to see if a release can be forthcoming. With this work in progress funds are needed. Leonard’s Defense Committee consists of his sister, Betty Ann Peltier-Salano, and Kari Ann Cowan. By attending this event and the events pertaining to the show, you can help to raise funds for the LP-DOC (Leonard Peltier Defense/Offense Committee).

Please visit this website to learn more about Leonard Peltier: www.whoisleonardpeltier.info.

We will have Native American performers and speakers for the opening night, May 22.

Back to the Picture\SoMa Gallery
1110 Howard Street @ 7th Street - San Francisco, CA 94103

This Week from Indian Country Today

Rosebud woman nominated to lead IHS

WASHINGTON – Rosebud Sioux tribal member Yvette Roubideaux, 46, was nominated March 23 by President Barack Obama to direct the IHS. If confirmed by the Senate, she will become the first American Indian woman to ever lead the agency. Read more »


Virtual Indian stamp collection grows

Tribes want policies to help them aid nation’s hydropower needs

USET president: Indian country faces opportunities and opposition

Cobell disappointed with Obama administration

Schaghticoke files 2nd Circuit appeal for acknowledgment restoration

Indian leaders suggest improvements to Obama’s budget


Great Lakes

Lead Editorial

Palermo: Native America is being defined by others
“Of all the things we lost after contact, one of the most important and overlooked was our loss of agency; the ability to speak for ourselves, to say, ‘This is who we are. This is what we believe.’” – Kevin Gover, National Museum of the American Indian
Read more »

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

27 Mar 2009: Native News from PECHANGA.net

Agreement draws city and tribe closer (WASHINGTON) -- The city of Tacoma and Puyallup Tribe of Indians have many common interests and have interacted with each other on an increasing basis in recent years.

Defense: Alleged AIM slaying gun was with police (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- A defense lawyer for one of two men charged with the 1975 slaying of an American Indian Movement member has accused prosecutors of putting "erroneous and untrue" accusations in a court filing because the alleged murder weapon was locked up at the time.

Witness: Churchill was not apologetic (COLORADO) -- Jurors again asked challenging questions to a witness who was testifying on behalf of the University of Colorado this morning in the Ward Churchill trial that continues in Denver District Court.

A Radical Takes the Stand (COLORADO) -- Old hippies with gray-streaked ponytails, sporting their best Indian radical-chic finery, arrived early and waited in a marble hallway of the District Court here, chowing down on breakfast burritos from the cafeteria.

JODI RAVE: Is There a Money Claim Against the US Post-Carcieri? (MONTANA) -- I see now that the Dept. of Interior is (un)officially segregating Indian tribes for purposes of trust acquisitions (see email reported on Indianz), shutting down (apparently) some trust applications and allowing others to proceed, that the first impacts of Carcieri have reached Indian Country, as expected.

Shirley appeal stalled by hearing officer controversy (ARIZONA) -- After four months, President Joe Shirley Jr.'s appeal of a Navajo Election Administration decision rejecting his two government reform initiatives remains at a standstill in the Office of Hearings and Appeals.

$50M promised for housing on Alberta reserves (ALBERTA) -- Alberta's First Nation communities are getting $50 million in federal funds to help alleviate a housing crunch on reserves.

Moving away from Chief Wahoo? (MICHIGAN) -- Correspondent DMarks reports on his recent trip to Cleveland, Ohio--home of America's most offensive racial icon: There is a tiny wallet-sized folding "Cleveland Indians 2009 Schedule" available everywhere, at all the gas stations and hotels, that has Chief Wahoo in the corner of the front page, and also printed on the front page is the slogan "Are you IN the Tribe?"

Former Noc-A-Homa = (oxy)moron (GEORGIA) -- Now: “Political correctness is an oxymoron, like ‘pretty awful’ or ‘military intelligence.’ The first indication is that it starts with the word ‘political.’ That tells you there’s something wrong.

Natives, Bay Street form country's biggest farm (SASKATCHEWAN) -- The image of the typical farmer handed down through our national mythology is not that of an investment banker in a suit, nor is it that of a native chief in traditional dress.

Indigenous health care lessons unveiled for doctors (ONTARIO) -- Medical residents and practising doctors will be offered educational programs on First Nations, Inuit and Métis health topics under a pilot project announced Wednesday.

Safe water for First Nation communites (ONTARIO) -- The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure members of the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation have access to safe and reliable water facilities by supporting the construction of a new water treatment plant for the community.

Yuma County, city, tribes to get energy conservation stimulus funds (ARIZONA) -- Southwestern Arizona will receive more than $15 million for Energy Efficiency Conservation projects through stimulus money, but some local recipients aren't sure how the money will be spent.

Otter, tribe sign Lake Coeur d'Alene plan (IDAHO) -- A plan to address water quality in the Lake Coeur d'Alene watershed has been completed and turned over to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Gov. Charlie Crist to downsize Everglades-U.S. Sugar deal (FLORIDA) -- His hand forced by a failing economy, Gov. Charlie Crist is poised to dramatically downsize his proposed Big Sugar buyout -- and his vision for Everglades restoration.

Helping Native American business owners network and expand (OKLAHOMA) -- Owning and running a small business can be difficult, but for Native Americans taking on the task there is an organization willing to help.

Majestic sleepover in Monument Valley, Utah (UTAH) -- Forrest Gump stopped running here; Thelma and Louise did not. Half a century ago, when advertisers conjured up the Marlboro Man as the personification of the American West's folklore of freedom and rugged individualism, Monument Valley was already the perfect stage.

Senecas approved for radio station (NEW YORK) -- Coming soon to your FM radio dial: A new station to be run by the Seneca Nation of Indians. The Seneca Nation, this week, acquired a construction permit from the Federal Communications Commission to operate the station that will cover virtually all of the Indian tribe’s territory.

More headlines...

Daniel McGowan: Support the Good Time Bill

March 2009

Dear family and friends,

Greetings from the "
Communication Management Unit" (CMU) at USP Marion. I hope this letters finds you well and enjoying the springtime weather.

I am writing you today to let you know about a piece of federal legislation introduced in Congress recently that has the potential to reduce my sentence-and many federal prisoners' sentences-by increasing the level of 'good time' credit we receive. This bill,
H.R. #1475, also known as the Federal Work Incentive Act of 2009, introduced by Representative Danny Davis (IL) has the potential to pass, given the dire economic situation and the Democrat-majority Congress. Nonetheless, this bill needs your support.

I am requesting that you write a letter to your House Representative urging them to co-sponsor the bill and vote for it when the time comes. (You can find out who your rep. is by typing your address into the tool at
https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml or www.goodtimebill.info/takeaction.html).

You can read the text of the bill, background information on the situation with federal prisons today, talking points and sample letters on the new website,
http://www.goodtimebill.info/ This will be the only site you need to check for updates - feel free to contact them to get more involved at x-msg://518/mc/compose?to=support@goodtimebill.info

When writing your Representative on this issue, it's OK to mention you know someone in federal prison but also, raise issues of cost and overcrowding as well [e.g. federal prisons are 40% overcrowded, costs U.S. taxpayers 7.6 billion annually and over 3/4 of the prisoners are serving time for non-violent offenses]. Currently, the population in federal prisons is 203,000 (and growing), parole was abolished 20 years ago and we serve about 85% of our sentence. This bill can begin to remedy these issues and give prisoners incentives for early release and good behavior.

You can sign up to receive more information or join the 'Good Time Bill' Facebook group by visiting the above website. In the next couple of months, we will be asking for you to follow your letter up with an email and before a vote, a simple two minute phone call to your Rep's office urging a 'yes' vote. Please do your part in addressing a very relevant problem in our society by working to pass this bill - it has the potential to reduce the sentence of the majority of the 203,000 peoples' sentences and return us to society to live productive lives.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for all the support. Be sure to check the
http://www.goodtimebill.info/ website for more information, updates and more detailed information about the Good Time Bill.

With love from Little Guantanamo,

Daniel McGowan
USP Marion-CMU
PO Box 1000
Marion, IL 62959

National Day of Solidarity with the RNC8

Join in the National Day of Solidarity with the RNC8!

Saturday, March 28th
Brooklyn, NYC

(Exciting RNC Protest Footage!)

(Delicious & Vegan!)

& Speakers
(Short & Sweet! Learn about the RNC8 & the current state of Domestic
Terrorism Laws)

How Much?

The Change You Want See Gallery
84 Havemeyer Street, Storefront
Brooklyn, NY 11211
L to Bedford
J to Marcy
G to Metropolitan

More Info:
The street battles that took place in St. Paul, Minnesota over the course of the Republican National Convention are now a memory–battles hard won by those brave protesters who defied the thousands of police and National Guard in place throughout the Twin Cities to guard what is most precious to those in power: law and order.

The authorities had hoped to preemptively contain the RNC protests by unleashing a tsunami of repression against local organizers who were involved in logistical support work. Eight people, after early morning house raids and preemptive arrests mere days before the action would begin, have now been charged as terrorists under a state-version of the Patriot Act and are facing 12 and a half years in prison and fines of $25,000 per person.

Just as the authorities failed to quiet the protests that engulfed downtown St. Paul, we must act to once again disrupt their well-laid plans! Through ingenuity and solidarity we can accomplish the most amazing feats, as those on the streets of St. Paul can attest. The prosecution of the RNC8 is a naked attempt to criminalize above-
ground legal organizing — and we will not let friends and fellow travelers go to jail without a fight!


This case is pivotal! If the RNC8 are found guilty, this will serve as a precedent for prosecuting those who organize in their communities to resist the systems of greed and exploitation that threaten us all.


A Historical Roadmap for Liberating the Cuban Five


March 27-29, 2009

A Historical Roadmap for Liberating the Cuban Five
Gesture For Gesture

Recent declarations by President Raúl Castro reveal a willingness to engage the United States in negotiations that, if successful, could mean the return of the Cuban Five. Responding to reporters´ questions last December, Raúl revealed a willingness to free some prisoners currently held in Cuba in response to a gesture from the United States to free the Cuban Five. Gesto a gesto, he called it: gesture for gesture.1

Gibbon said that the only way to judge the future is by the past. And history gives us the lantern that illuminates a possible political solution to one of the thorniest issues that still mars relations between the United States and Cuba: prisoners.


There is historical precedent for a mutual release of prisoners on the basis of unilateral, but reciprocated, gestures. It is little known, but thanks to US government-declassified documents, we can now learn about the delicate negotiations that led to a mutual release of important prisoners thirty years ago.

In September of 1979, the United States unilaterally released four Puerto Rican nationalists, and ten days later Cuba reciprocated by releasing four United States citizens who were in prison in Cuba.2

It is curious to note that the phrase gesto-a-gesto that Raúl is now using to urge the release of the Cuban Five is the same one that his brother, Fidel, used in 1978, when he told US diplomats Robert Pastor and Peter Tarnoff,

I do not understand why you are so tough on the Puerto Ricans. The U.S. could make a gesture and release them, and then we would make another gesture­without any linkage­just a unilateral humanitarian gesture.3

US government documents confirm that discussions between the U.S. and Cuban governments occurred during 1978 and 1979 regarding an exchange of prisoners. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said in a letter in 1979 to the Justice Department:

Castro and his representatives have said publicly and told us privately that, if we release the four Puerto Ricans, they will, after an appropriate interval, release the four United States citizens imprisoned in Cuba. . . . . while we should not accept nor even consider an exchange, the fact that a positive decision by the U.S. is likely to lead to a positive decision by Cuba to release U.S. citizens is a welcome prospect. 4


At the time of their release in 1979, the Puerto Ricans, Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores Rodríguez, and Oscar Collazo, had been in prison in the United States for over 24 years. The Americans who Cuba released ten days later, Lawrence Lunt, Juan Tur, Everett Jackson, and Claudio Rodriguez­had spent more than 10 years in Cuban prisons.


One of the most interesting of the declassified documents is a memorandum written by National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in early 1979 to John R. Standish, Department of Justice Pardon Attorney. In the memo, Brzezinski recommends that the US government commute the sentences of the four Puerto Ricans.

The Obama Administration could well learn from the Brzezinski memo the benefits of a gesture-for-gesture negotiation that, if used now, could reap diplomatic benefits for both countries. In his memo to the Department of Justice, Brzenzinski pointed out that the continued imprisonment of the Puerto Ricans lends fuel to critics of US policy, and that commuting their sentences would be welcomed as a compassionate and humanitarian gesture. Brezenzinski goes on to argue that:

the release of these prisoners will remove from the agenda of the United nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, and other international fora, a propaganda issue which is used each year to criticize the U.S., and is increasingly used as an example of the inconsistency of our human rights policy.5

Robert Pastor makes a similar point in a memorandum dated September 26, 1978. After conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the situation, Pastor concludes:

I have come to believe that the risks of releasing (the Puerto Rican nationalists) unconditionally are minimal, while the benefits, as a humanitarian, compassionate gesture, are considerable. I also believe that the President would obtain considerable political benefit in Puerto Rico as there is widespread support for such a move there.6


Critics of US policy today point to the case of the Cuban Five as an example of American double-standards: the terrorists are allowed to roam free in Miami and those who went to Miami to protect Cuba against the terrorists are thrown in jail. The Cuban Five are part of a team of agents that Cuba sent to Miami to gather evidence against those guilty of orchestrating a campaign of terror against civilian targets in the island: a campaign of terror that has claimed over 3,000 lives. The team infiltrated Cuban-American terrorist groups in Miami, and using the evidence that the Five gathered Cuba provided the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) with the names and whereabouts of the terrorists. Rather than arrest and prosecute the terrorists, the FBI learned that Cuba had penetrated the Miami-based terrorist network and arrested the Cuban Five in 1998. On June 8, 2001, they were convicted and sentenced to four life sentences and 75 years collectively.

The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule sometime this year whether the Court in Miami that convicted and sentenced them erred by forcing their trial in a Miami consumed with hostility and prejudice against Cuba. Ten Nobel Prize winners have submitted amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs asking the Supreme Court to review the case. The Nobel laureates are joined by hundreds of parliamentarians around the world, including two former Presidents and three current Vice Presidents of the European Parliament, as well as numerous US and foreign bar associations and human rights organizations.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission noted that a climate of bias and prejudice in Miami surrounded their trial, and the Commission’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions concluded that the trial did not take place in the climate of objectivity and impartiality that is required to conform to the standards of a fair trial.7

However, even if the Cuban Five were to win their case before the United States Supreme Court, their case would be far from over. Instead, it would mean the beginning of a new trial in a jurisdiction other than Miami. A far more elegant and swifter solution to their continued imprisonment would be a Presidential Order of Executive Clemency that would permit their immediate return to Cuba.


One important point of diplomatic disagreement between the two countries is that to Cuba they are political prisoners, whereas to the United States the Five are common criminals.

Innocent of the conspiracy charges against them, Cuban officials maintain the Five were convicted in a biased and hostile environment in violation of their constitutional rights.

The issue of classifying the Five as political prisoners is particularly thorny, since President Obama will certainly reject the implication that the US is holding political prisoners. Yet, President Barack Obama has consistently called for Cuba to release its political prisoners, before any normalization of relations.

Cuba, in turn, claims that its own prisoners are serving sentences on the island for violations of the law and that they are not political prisoners.

A direct prisoner exchange runs the risk of the public equating the crimes, but a unilateral gesture that is followed by a gesture from the other side softens the criticisms.

Again, history illuminates our way out of political gridlock. Prior to the mutual exchange of prisoners in 1979, both Cuban and American negotiators initially tripped over the use of the adjective political to describe the prisoners. That is why they shied away from a direct prisoner exchange that would have been seen as a tacit acceptance of the notion that each country was holding political prisoners.

In a letter to Congressman Benjamin Gillman in 1979, Brzezinski said “we want to avoid making any connection between the two cases, and certainly the appearance of equating their crime.8 And in a memorandum immediately after release of the Puerto Rican nationalists, Brzezinski said:

we rejected the possibility of a prisoner exchange since we did not consider the Puerto Ricans political prisoners . . . Now that President Carter has decided to commute the sentences of the Puerto Ricans, it occurs to us that it is Castro’s turn to fulfill his promise.9

The key to a mutual release of prisoners is therefore to avoid a linked prisoner exchange and instead engage in gesture-for-gesture negotiations.


If the Obama Administration extended a gesture to Cuba and unilaterally released the Cuban Five, what reciprocal gesture could Cuba offer? What prisoners could it free and send to the United States?

Miami’s El Nuevo Herald recently cited the cases of several prisoners in Cuba that may be of particular interest to the United States, including some of those who were arrested in March of 2003 and convicted in Cuba for working under the direction and control of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, as well as other Cuban citizens imprisoned for espionage in Cuba.10

Through diplomatic channels, the United States can signal which of Cuba’s prisoners are a priority. That is not a problem.


The power to commute a sentence is the President’s alone. It is not a pardon. It simply reduces the period of incarceration. The President need not comment on the convictions, or on the alleged crimes. He need not condition the commutation of sentences on another country’s actions. He simply orders that the prisoners’ sentences be reduced.


First as a candidate and now as President, Barack Obama has let it be known that he is interested in improving relations with Cuba through direct diplomacy. The case of the Cuban Five is a major stumbling block to any rapprochement between the two countries.

If President Obama extends executive clemency to the Cuban Five and commutes their long prison sentences, thus facilitating their return to Cuba and to their families, it would be quite a significant gesture and, after reciprocal gestures from Cuba, could eventually lead to the normalization of relations between the two countries.

José Pertierra is an attorney. He represents the government of Venezuela in the extradition case involving Luis Posada Carriles. His office is in Washington, DC.


1 Raúl Castro marca su lógica a Washington, por Patricia Grogg, IPS, 20 de diciembre de 2008.

2 See TIME Magazine, Monday October 1, 1979. “A diplomatic issue involving Cuba was resolved last week when Havana released four Americans from its prisons. For four years, Fidel Castro had said that they would be freed if the US released four Puerto Rican nationalists who were in prison for trying to assassinate President Truman and House leaders in the 1950s. Carter granted them clemency two weeks ago. . . . On arrival in Miami, one of the former prisoners in Cuba, Lawrence Lunt . . . readily admitted that he had been spying for the CIA.”

3 That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: the United States and the Cuban Revolution, by Lars Schoultz, the University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2009 at page 324.

4 Undated letter from Zbigniew Brzezinski to John R. Standish, Pardon Attorney, for the Department of Justice. Found on pages 267 and 268 of volume 2 of Futuros Alternos (Documentos Secretos) Edited by Jaime Rodríguez Cancel and Juan Manuel García Passalacqua, EMS, 2007.

5 Ibid.

6 Memorandum from Robert Pastor of the National Security Council to Zbigniew Brzezinski and David Aaron regarding Lolita Lebron, dated September 26, 1978. Futuros Alternos, Ibid, at pages 228 and 229.

7 Grupo de Trabajo sobre la detención arbitraria (Naciones Unidas), Opinión No. 19-2005. Opinión adoptada el 27 de mayo de 2005.

8 Letter to Congressman Benjamín Gillman, US House of Representatives, from Zgigniew Brzezinski. See Futuros Alternos at page 213.

9 Memorandum from Zbigniew Brzezinski to Frank Moore regarding US Prisoners in Cuba, See Futuros Alternos at page 214.

10 Abogados de espías cubanos no descartan “negociación política”, por Wilfredo Cancio Isla, El Nuevo Herald, 25 de enero de 2009.