Monday, August 31, 2009

News from Indianz.Com

Suzan Harjo: Appreciation for Sen. Ted Kennedy (8/31)

Chris Stearns: Ted Kennedy touched Indian lives (8/31)

Mark Trahant: Ted Kennedy steps aside for health (8/31)

CSKT Chairman: Straight talk and action on health (8/31)

Turtle Talk: Oversimplifying Indian health system (8/31)

Opinion: Indian health care and public insurance (8/31)

Gyassi Ross: The heavy breathing Indian woman (8/31)

The Observer: Poverty among Native Americans (8/31)

White House hosting tribes for listening sessions (8/31)

Obama declined Aquinnah Wampanoag meeting (8/31)

FBI offers $50K reward for '99 Whiteclay deaths (8/31)

BIA to rule on Robinson Rancheria disenrollment (8/31)

Teen badly beaten to death on Manitoba reserve (8/31)

Sioux leaders hopeful for Black Hills settlement (8/31)

Laguna Pueblo without water for past four days (8/31)

Lummi Nation weighs development partnership (8/31)

Four incumbents re-elected to Mohegan council (8/31)

Opinion: Treat bears better at Eastern Cherokee (8/31)

Felix Valencia: A map to the Pascua Reservation (8/31)

Editorial: Stimulus funds help tribes in Oklahoma (8/31)

Mashantucket Tribe hires firms to deal with crisis (8/31)

Editorial: Take more revenues from tribal gaming (8/31)

California tribes battle state over slot machines (8/31)

City wants more time on Guidiville casino report (8/31)

Column: Ping-pong on Seminole gaming compact (8/31)

Oklahoma racetrack benefits from tribal revenues (8/31)

More headlines...

Obama welcomes Black Hills discussion, tribes say

August 30, 2009

Obama welcomes Black Hills discussion, tribes say
Campaign visit renews talk of returning land

A campaign conversation with the man who would become president of the United States has some Sioux leaders thinking they might finally get part of their sacred Black Hills back. And they're working on a plan to achieve that.

In a May 2008 campaign stop in Sioux Falls, candidate Barack Obama told a gathering of tribal leaders he was open to discussing the Black Hills with them.

In fact, those tribal leaders say, the Obama campaign gave them a proposal that read in part: "Barack Obama is a strong believer in tribal sovereignty. He does not believe courts or the federal government should force Sioux tribes to take settlement money for the Black Hills. ... Obama would not be opposed to bringing together all the different parties through government-to-government negotiations to explore innovative solutions to this long-standing issue."

The promise of such negotiations has Sioux leaders revisiting ideas last considered in the mid-1980s, when New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, like Obama a Democrat, proposed that the U.S. government return 1.3 million acres of federal forests and unoccupied park lands in the Black Hills.

Asked to confirm his campaign proposal, or to say whether Obama would be open to negotiating an "innovative solution" that might include the return of some part of the Black Hills, the White House this week said there would be no comment at this time.

But Patrice Kunesh, a law professor at the University of South Dakota who has worked on tribal rights and land claims issues, said she thinks Obama will carry through with his promise.

"It's very accurate that Obama is sensitive to these issues and would make a sincere effort to bring the stakeholders together to create a discussion around these issues," said Kunesh, who is using a Bush Fellowship to gain her master's of public administration at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Lower Brule Chairman Michael Jandreau said his memory of the May 2008 meeting was that Obama promised "to do everything in his power to work with the tribes to bring about a settlement."

"There was no in-depth conversation about what his idea of settlement meant vis-7/8-vis the tribe's idea of settlement," Jandreau said. "He talked about it more generically."

Leaders hope to meet 'with one mind, one heart'

Sioux leaders have been meeting to try to unify under one voice before approaching the president. Tribal chairmen, council members, elders and traditionalists met in late July at Green Grass on the Cheyenne River Reservation. They are meeting next in mid-September at Lower Brule, and plan many more gatherings after that.

Their actions are prompted in part by a class-action lawsuit filed last spring in Sioux Falls seeking the disbursement of almost $1 billion in principal and interest awarded in old court cases for the improper taking of the Black Hills.

"When we meet with President Obama, it's going to be with one mind, one heart," President Theresa Two Bulls of the Oglala Sioux Tribe said. "The only way to do that is to unite everybody."

That's a formidable challenge. Eight tribes comprise the Sioux Nation that was awarded financial compensation in a decision affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1980. Those tribes consisted of the Oglala, Rosebud, Cheyenne River, Lower Brule, Standing Rock and Crow Creek Sioux in South Dakota, the Fort Peck tribe in Montana and the Santee in Nebraska.

Leadership has to blend not only those eight tribes, but the varying treaty councils, the existing tribal governments formed under the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), and other groups within each tribe. That includes those who want the entire Black Hills back, those willing to accept only a part of the land, and those who say taking the settlement money is the best solution.

"Getting them all together would be phenomenal because of the modern, contemporary way tribes are governed," Kunesh said. "Do you know the last time all nine tribes in South Dakota were unified? It was in the 1960s, when the state of South Dakota wanted to impose state jurisdiction on the reservations."

Tribal chairmen are convinced unity can be forged. Two Bulls said she held two days of meetings in August at her tribe's Prairie Winds Casino to try to find that unity. When the discussion fell into disagreements on the power of tribal governments versus treaty councils or other competing groups, she told them that such debate has to end.

"I said, 'We can't be hanging onto the past,' " Two Bulls said. "We can't be saying, 'I'm recognized as a chief.' 'No, you're not recognized as a chief.'

"I said, 'No more complaining about IRA governments. The protocol is that the IRA government is going to open that door and let treaty people in to meet with Obama, to let him know why the Black Hills are sacred.'

Tribes willing to wait until unity is achieved

Finding that unity might take a year or more, Rosebud Sioux Tribal Chairman Rodney Bordeaux said. The tribes need to agree on a proposal before they go to the president, one that has been negotiated and approved by all the various parties, and that will take time.

"President Obama will be there three more years," Bordeaux said. "If it takes that long to get a united effort, one that gets the approval of President Obama and, hopefully, the Congress, I think we need to be meticulous on this."

Imre Sutton, a retired geography professor at California State-Fullerton who has written extensively on Indian land claims issues, said the Sioux would be wise to act in Obama's first term. He is best positioned to act while Democrats control both houses of Congress - at least through the 2010 election, Sutton said.

Should either house go to the Republicans after that, "that would definitely be in the background to be considered," he said.

While lawmakers and politicians have argued in the past that the Black Hills claims issue was settled by the financial award, there is a precedence for illegally taken land to be returned to indigenous people.

An act signed by President Nixon in 1970 gave back 48,000 acres of land around Blue Lake in New Mexico to the Taos-Pueblo after President Teddy Roosevelt took it in 1906 to establish a public recreation park.

Land has been restored to tribes in Washington, Oklahoma and Connecticut as well.

Bordeaux, Jandreau and Two Bulls insisted that any resolution reached with Obama must include a return of land.

"We would start where we left off the last time with the Bradley bill," said Gay Kingman, head of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association. "That was adopted by all the tribes and all the treaty groups (in the mid-1980s). We wouldn't go back and try to reinvent anything."

The Bradley bill would have returned to the Sioux unsettled land held through the parks, forest service and Bureau of Land Management. Sacred areas such as Bear Butte and Harney Peak would have been temporarily closed for Lakota religious or ceremonial activities in the Bradley bill, which failed to gain much support in Congress.

Kunesh wonders whether the land designated in the Bradley bill would be enough for the Sioux today.

"Who would own it," she said. "Who would be in charge of managing it? Would there be some kind of co-management with a federal entity?"

Congressional delegates won't make commitment

Kunesh said she could see a situation where a small part of federal land in the Black Hills is returned, and then the Sioux are given a fund to buy adjacent land as it becomes available.

"But you know that the state of South Dakota has opposed every single petition by any tribe to put land into trust," she said. "Unfortunately, that's really the issue dividing the state and the tribes over every other issue today, whether it's criminal jurisdiction or health care or land claims. The Black Hills claim sits in the middle of every single one of those issues."

Jandreau said he is almost certain that any agreement negotiated with Obama will need approval from some or all of the state's congressional delegation. Two Bulls said she thinks a "concrete solution that everyone agrees to" will be supported by Sens. John Thune and Tim Johnson and Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

"They have been more bipartisan the last couple of years," Two Bulls said. "I'm pretty sure our congressional people will support us."

If that's true, Johnson, Thune and Herseth Sandlin aren't saying so now.

"That is an issue that the Supreme Court has ruled on," Thune said. "The money was set aside and continues to accumulate interest. That, in my view, is the resolution. I don't have any intention of wading back into that."

Herseth Sandlin said she was encouraged that Obama has expressed a willingness to work with the Sioux tribes.

"We don't know what proposals may result. ... but regardless of the outcome, I'll continue my work in Congress on the issues of great importance to the daily lives of Native Americans," she said.

Asked whether he could support any negotiation between the tribes and Obama that ultimately included a return of land, Johnson's staff sidestepped the question.

"This discussion has been going on for decades," Johnson's spokesperson, Julianne Fisher, said. "It is important for the tribes to first come together and then begin negotiations with the White House. To comment on a nonexistent compromise is to put the cart before the horse in this case."

Perhaps. But if the Sioux unite, if they can find a spokesperson who understands the indigenous ways and the historic wrong that has been done, and who is skilled in the kind of mediation, that person could lead them to what they seek, Kunesh said.

In 1993, a poll by Political/Media Research of Washington, D.C., found that 26 percent of South Dakotans favored returning unoccupied federal lands in the Black Hills to the Sioux people.

Tribal leaders guess at this time, with this president, the momentum could be even greater to finally resolve the Black Hills issue.

"I believe there is a possibility," Jandreau said. "It's been a long time since we had even that."

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Genocide, Assimilation or Incorporation?

Dr. Bonita Lawrence explores institutionalized racism, cultural genocide, and the history of aboriginal policy in Canada. Highly recommended viewing.

Dr. Bonita Lawrence (Mi’kmaw) is an Associate Professor at York University, where she teaches Native studies and anti-racism. She is the author of "Real" Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native People and Indigenous Nationhood(University [...]

You may view the latest post at

31 Aug 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

"The Deadly Choices at Memorial" - Investigation of New Orleans Hospital Tells Story of How Medical Staff Euthanized Patients in Katrina Aftermath
On the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a major investigation reveals harrowing new details of one of the many human tragedies that occurred in the aftermath of the storm. Forty-five patients at the New Orleans Memorial Medical Center died in the days after Katrina’s floodwater knocked out the power in the hospital. A 13,000-word article titled “The Deadly Choices at Memorial” tells the full story of what really happened to some of those patients. It’s the cover story of the New York Times Sunday Magazine this weekend and the product of a two-and-a-half-year investigation. We speak with reporter Sheri Fink of ProPublica.

Four Years After Katrina, New Orleans Still Struggling to Recover From the Storm
President Obama promised Saturday that his administration would not forget the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. He vowed to help people finish the task of rebuilding and recovery while working to prevent similar catastrophes in the future. For an assessment of the pace of recovery four years after Hurricane Katrina, we speak to life-long New Orleans resident and civil rights attorney, Tracie Washington.

A Paradise Built in Hell: Rebecca Solnit on "The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster"
We speak with author, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit about her latest book that examines Hurricane Katrina and other disasters. “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster” chronicles both the crimes of the vigilantes and the powerful during Katrina as well as the numerous instances of altruism, generosity, and courage displayed by the vast majority of people who lived through this catastrophe.


Japanese Voters Oust Conservative Party
August Becomes Deadliest Month for US Troops in Afghanistan
Gen. McChrystal Calls for New Afghan Strategy
Pentagon Cancels Rendon Group Contract
Cheney: Torture Probe “Offends The Hell Out of Me”
Blackwater Tapped Foreigners For Secret CIA Program
Obama Administration Seeks “Emergency Control” of the Internet
Court: Comcast Can Control More of Cable Market
Former Israeli PM Olmert Indicted on Corruption Charges
Sri Lankan Journalist Sentenced to 20 Years of Hard Labor
Sen. Kennedy Buried At Arlington National Cemetery

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oglala Commemoration Update

Hello Everyone,

As we reel from the bad news that came down from the parole board, I am speechless. We have to pick ourselves up again and fight the good fight for Leonard. I know how bad I felt, and just wanted to give up, but then I have to think I am not the one sitting in a cell, and giving up would just be one win for the opponents. We need to pick up and go on. Check in with the LP-DOC to see what their next set of plans will be.

2010 will be the 11th annual Oglala Commemoration instead of a welcome home celebration. Fund raising will begin soon for the event, with alot of beautiful items once again. We are still accepting auction item donation, just email me.

We will be on hand next weekend in Hillard, Ohio for the NAICCO - Labor Day Weekend Pow-wow.

It will be held

Franklin County Fairgrounds.
Hillard Ohio, all 3 days.

We will once again be holding our Pendleton Blanket Raffle, so please stop by and pick up some chances. We are looking for an individual or group to sponsor the Pendleton Blanket. Two were purchased at the Pendleton Store on our way home this year, They were $130 each. If interested please email me at

We will also be collecting school supplies for our 4th annual School Supply Drive for Oglala.

This year we were able to divide the supplies to children who attended the gathering in Oglala, as well as the Manderson School. School items can be dropped off at out booth at the Pow-wow. Along with other drop off points through out the year. Or they mail me mail.

As yahoo will be closing their free websites down in another month. I need some suggestion on where to go for another free site.

Give me a shout for any help listed above.
See you on Ohio.

Oglala Commemoration Committee

Dancing on John Wayne's Head

Set completely against dub influenced music, "Dancing on John Wayne's Head" is a ten-minute film about the connection between black and indigenous peoples in the Americas. It was produced in 1997.

There's been a lot of debate over the years about whether or not John Wayne, the so-called "true American icon" was a racist. Alot [...]

You may view the latest post at

Algonquins of Barriere Lake should have their legitimate leadership recognized


Please take FIVE MINUTES to DEMAND the Algonquins of Barriere Lake have their legitimate leadership recognized!!!

JOIN the community and Barriere Lake Solidarity in showing the Department of Indian Affairs that we will not tolerate another coup d’etat in Barriere Lake!

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake held a leadership selection ceremony on June 24, 2009 on their traditional territory. The community selected a new Customary Chief and Council, confirming their confidence in long-time Customary Chief Jean Maurice Matchewan.

Since March 2008, the Department of Indian Affairs has refused to recognize the legitimate Customary Chief and Council of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. This has been just the latest government tactic to undermine Barriere Lake’s historic Trilateral agreement – a land management plan covering 10,000 square kilometers of their traditional territories – that the Customary Chief and Council have been fighting to have implemented since its signing in 1991. For the last year and half, the Department of Indian Affairs has recognized a Chief and Council who were not, according to Barriere Lake’s Elder’s Council, selected according to the community’s Customary Governance Code, Mitchikanibikok Anishnabe Onakinakewin, and who are only supported by a minority community faction.

To have their legitimate leadership recognized and to continue the fight for the Trilateral agreement, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake held a leadership selection ceremony at the end of June, but the ball is now in the federal government's court. The Department of Indian Affairs should recognize the results and enter into relations with Matchewan and his Council, but they have shown that they do not want to deal with an assertive leadership pushing for respect for their customary government and land rights.

The community needs supporters to put pressure on Indian Affairs to recognize and abide by the results of Barriere Lake's leadership selection.




Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl
Phone: (604) 847-9711, 1-800-667-2808
Fax: (604) 847-9744

Quebec Regional Director of Indian Affairs Pierre Nepton
Phone: (418) 648-3270
Fax : (418) 648-2266

And PLEASE cc us at

[See talking points for telephone calls and more background information below]


Dear xx,

I am writing to you regarding the recent selection of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake Customary Chief and Council.

I am urging you and Indian and North Affairs to recognize the leadership selection for the following reasons:

First, the Elder's Council in Barriere Lake confirms their Customary Governance Code was followed in this selection and that there is a broad community consensus among the eligible community members about the selection.

Secondly, the entire leadership selection respected due process, transparency, and was documented by Keith Penner, former parliamentarian and author of the Penner Report on Aboriginal Self-government. On top of Penner’s documentation, several outside observers were present, including David Bleakney of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Algonquin Nation Secretariat Grand Chief Norman Young, and Chief Harry St. Denis of Wolf Lake First Nation, who all confirm that customary traditions were exercised in the leadership selection process.

Thirdly, Indian Affairs' recognition of Customary Chief Jean Maurice Matchewan and his Council should now be a mere administrative gesture.

I am aware that Pierre Nepton stated in a letter addressed to Loraine [sic Jeanine] Matchewan on June 23rd, 2009 that he would not recognize the leadership selection in Barriere Lake because of a judicial review, launched by the Elder's Council of Barriere Lake, to challenge Indian Affairs’ decision to recognize a minority faction as Chief and Council in March 2008. The fact that there is an ongoing judicial review should not prevent Indian Affairs from recognizing the outcome of the leadership selection of June 24, 2009.

Once again, I strongly encourage Indian and Northern Affairs to recognize the customary Chief and Council recently selected by the Algonquins of Barriere Lake (as follows):

· Jean Maurice Matchewan - Chief
· Benjamin Nottaway - Councillor
· Eugene Nottaway - Councillor
· Joey Decoursay – Councillor
· David Wawatie - Councillor

In closing, you can be sure I will be closely watching the Barriere Lake leadership recognition by the federal government, and their situation broadly.


Your name here


-The Elder's Council in Barriere Lake confirms their Customary Governance Code was followed in this selection and that there is a broad community consensus among the eligible community members about the selection

-The entire leadership selection respected due process, transparency, and was documented by Keith Penner, former parliamentarian and author of the Penner Report on Aboriginal Self-government

-Indian Affairs' recognition of Customary Chief Jean Maurice Matchewan and his Council should now be a mere administrative gesture

-The fact that there is an ongoing judicial review, launched by the Elder's Council of Barriere Lake, to challenge Indian Affairs decision to recognize a minority-faction as Chief and Council in March 2008 should not prevent Indian Affairs from recognizing the outcome of the leadership selection of June 24,2009


After almost a year and a half of fighting through numerous channels to have their customary government recognized, on June 24, 2009, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake held their customary governance process of leadership selection on their traditional territory in Barriere Lake.

In March 2008, the Minister of Indian Affairs recognized a small, minority-faction of the community as leaders over the customarily selected council because, as documents now confirm, this minority faction would be less assertive than Barriere Lake’s customary council about implementing their historic Trilateral agreement (see:

The selection was held on the ABL's traditional summer settlement, called Barriere Lake, about 50 km to the north of the reserve of Rapid Lake. Many families continue to use this area as the base for their hunting, trapping, and fishing, in both the winter and summer seasons. As Norman Matchewan put it at the end of the day, "This is where everything begins for us.”

The Nottaway Council had been pushing for a leadership reselection process since early last summer. Nottaway and the Tribal Council argued that if Ratt were confident that he in fact had the majority of the community's support, he should go ahead and have it confirmed by a reselection. Nottaway had always promised to abide by such a result. Despite the best efforts of the Elder's Council and Nottaway's, they have not been able to persuade the Casey Ratt-led minority faction to participate in this process. The Ratt Council has consistently refused to participate and most recently, their lawyer Michael Swinwood, tried to motion for an injunctive release, essentially trying to block the Elder's Council in the community from actually convening meetings to discuss the leadership reconciliation or reselection.

The Nottaway-led group suspended the leadership reselection process last month and tried to involve the Ratt group in a reconciliation process, but these efforts have also failed. The Ratt Council had been given opportunity to select a co-facilitator, but either stalled or refused to do so, so the community finally re-set their date and proceeded with the process without them.

So, on that bright, beautiful day in June, with more than 100 eligible people in attendance – to be eligible to participate one must be over 18, live on the traditional territory of Barriere Lake, and have connection to and knowledge of the land - the Elders' Council chose Jean-Maurice Matchewan as Customary Chief of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. Matchewan led the community's struggles in the 1980s and '90s, overseeing the signing of the Trilateral Agreement.

For more information:

Supervisors write in support of SF8


August 27, 2009

To Attorney General Jerry Brown:

We want to express our deep concern over the unjust, costly and flawed prosecution of the San Francisco 8.

Based on "confessions" and other testimony extracted by torture and denial of right to counsel, this prosecution has been a disservice to the people of San Francisco.

For the last six years, prosecution of this case has ripped respected elders from their families and from their community service. It has exacted an incalculable toll on all of them.

The cost of this case to the people of San Francisco has now run into the millions of dollars.

The results to date of this prosecution speak to its inherent weakness and injustice:

* On July 6, your office was forced to drop all charges against four of the San Francisco 8 (Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones and Harold Taylor), acknowledging that you had "insufficient evidence" to prosecute them.
* Your office had already been forced to drop all charges a year earlier against a fifth member of the SF8, Richard O'Neal.
* Your office offered and accepted pleas to greatly reduced charges from two other SF 8 defendants, Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim, in exchange for time served and probation.

Francisco Torres is now the only remaining SF 8 defendant. Your office also offered him probation and time served in exchange for a plea to a lesser charge. He refused your offer, and maintains his innocence.

Mr. Torres was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. He is a Vietnam Veteran who fought for the rights of Black and Latino soldiers upon his return to the states. A former member of the Black Panther Party, he has been a long-time community activist and mentor
to youth. He is a husband, a father and a grandfather.

Previous attempts to prosecute this case were dismissed in 1975 when it was revealed that so-called "confessions" were the product of torture by the New Orleans police department.

As members of the Board of Supervisors, we reiterate our opposition to the use of torture against any suspects.

In the name of fairness and justice and human rights, we urge you to reconsider the continuation of this misguided prosecution.

Signed By:

Supervisor Eric Mar
Supervisor John Avalos
Supervisor Chris Daly

Call to action for Leonard Peltier

As a result of Peltier’s recent parole denial, Ben Carnes, Choctaw Nation, and a Sun Dance Chief, states he will go to Washington, D.C. to stand and fast in front of the White House between September 5th – 12th, in hopes of securing a meeting with President Obama. Read more >>

More news to follow.

ACLU Lawyers Mine Documents for Truth

August 30, 2009
A.C.L.U. Lawyers Mine Documents for Truth

WASHINGTON — In the spring of 2003, long before Abu Ghraib or secret prisons became part of the American vocabulary, a pair of recently hired lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union noticed a handful of news reports about allegations of abuse of prisoners in American custody.

The lawyers, Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh, wondered: Was there a broader pattern of abuse, and could a Freedom of Information Act request uncover it? Some of their colleagues, more experienced with the frustrations of such document demands, were skeptical. One made a tongue-in-cheek offer of $1 for every page they turned up.

Six years later, the detention document request and subsequent lawsuit are among the most successful in the history of public disclosure, with 130,000 pages of previously secret documents released to date and the prospect of more.

The case has produced revelation after revelation: battles between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the military over the treatment of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp; autopsy reports on prisoners who died in custody in Afghanistan and Iraq; the Justice Department’s long-secret memorandums justifying harsh interrogation methods; and day-by-day descriptions of what happened inside the Central Intelligence Agency’s overseas prisons.

“This is certainly a landmark case in every respect, including in the history of the Freedom of Information Act,” said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists and an expert on the act.

But Mr. Aftergood said the case also illustrated how costly litigation was often necessary to unearth documents the government preferred to protect. “The law gives you standing to fight,” he said. “It doesn’t guarantee victory.”

In fact, the A.C.L.U. and its partners, a New Jersey law firm, Gibbons P.C., and four other advocacy groups, estimate that they have put more than 10,000 hours of legal work into the case. The parties have filed more than 100 motions before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the United States District Court in Manhattan; appeared for formal court arguments a dozen times; and twice taken disputes to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. And now, for the first time, the government is seeking a hearing before the Supreme Court.

The total costs in lawyers’ time and other expenses may exceed $2 million, and under the law, the plaintiffs are entitled to seek reimbursement from the government if they “substantially prevail” in their quest — a standard almost certainly met in this case.

The Freedom of Information Act has a mixed reputation with advocates, journalists and companies who use it regularly. It can be notoriously slow to generate results, and in the case of classified documents — the vast majority of the records at issue in the A.C.L.U. case — the pages often come back with all or most of the content blacked out.

Agencies sometimes do not take a case seriously until the requestor takes the government to court. The A.C.L.U.’s initial October 2003 request for documents on the treatment of prisoners produced a single document — an innocuous set of State Department “talking points” — before the organization filed suit in June 2004, joined by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for Peace.

Documents began to flow only after September 2004, when Judge Hellerstein issued a ruling criticizing the “glacial pace” of the government’s response and added, “If the documents are more of an embarrassment than a secret, the public should know of our government’s treatment of individuals captured and held abroad.”

Mr. Jaffer, 37, a Canadian-born lawyer who left a lucrative practice with a private firm to join the A.C.L.U., said, “Maybe our inexperience was a good thing, because we actually thought we might get something.”

Ms. Singh, 40, the daughter of the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, graduated from Yale Law School, is married to an American and holds dual Indian and American citizenship.

Ms. Singh recalls being teased by a senior colleague in 2003 who asked, “ ‘Are you clearing out shelf space for all the documents you’ll get?’ ” The joke backfired, as reams of paper began to arrive. The organization eventually had to create a new computer system to handle the large electronic database, and in 2007 the two lawyers published a book-length collection of the documents obtained by then, called “Administration of Torture.”

The largest share of documents (2,814) have come from the Defense Department, the A.C.L.U. said, followed by the State Department (998), the F.B.I. (872), other units in the Justice Department (145) and the C.I.A. (49).

A C.I.A. spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, said the agency “takes very seriously — and devotes considerable resources to meeting — its legal obligations under the Freedom of Information Act” and has released tens of millions of pages of documents over the years.

But the recent C.I.A. disclosures caused deep unease inside the agency. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the former C.I.A. director, said releasing documents the agency had designated as top secret could undermine crucial cooperation from foreign intelligence services. The decision by President Obama in April to release Justice Department memorandums describing C.I.A. interrogation methods is leading to a cascade of disclosures, General Hayden said.

Four former C.I.A. directors and the current one, Leon E. Panetta, had all argued unsuccessfully against the release, which had not yet been ordered by the court in the A.C.L.U. case, though the plaintiffs’ lawyers said they believed that the release would eventually happen.

“We got publicly rolled,” General Hayden said. “So our foreign partners may say there is no value to our promise in the future that ‘Don’t worry, we can keep this secret.’ ”

In May, Mr. Obama decided to fight the release of hundreds of photographs of abuse, saying they could encourage attacks on American troops abroad. It is the photo issue that the administration is taking to the Supreme Court.

The A.C.L.U.’s success has led some news organizations to take a new look at the potential of the Freedom of Information Act to expose government secrets. But the A.C.L.U. lawyers note that their effort has repeatedly fed off the work of investigative reporters who have identified cases of abuse, legal opinions and other documents that the organization then pursued in court.

Their lawsuit continues. On Monday, the government faces yet another court-imposed deadline to turn over more documents — including the 2001 presidential directive authorizing the secret prisons — or explain why they must be withheld.

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Serious setback for Leonard Peltier

Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker
Society for Threatened Peoples
Postfach 2024
37010 Göttingen


Göttingen, 24 August 2009

Serious setback for Leonard Peltier

Peltier denied parole - Native Americans' Mandela must remain in prison

Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) / Society for Threatened Peoples is extremely disappointed to learn that Native American civil rights activist Leonard Peltier must stay in prison. Last Friday in Fargo (North Dakota) U.S. attorney Drew Wrigley announced the Parole Commission's decision not to approve Peltier's release on parole after 33 years in prison. "The Commission has dealt a severe blow not just to Peltier himself but to thousands of Native Americans who see him as the figurehead of the struggle to achieve their civil rights“, according to Yvonne Bangert, GfbV/STP's Indigenous Peoples officer, who remarked disappointedly on Monday that "the rejection of Peltier's application is utterly incomprehensible, because he long ago completed the 30 years that is normally served for this kind of sentence.“

Peltier received two life sentences in 1977 after being found guilty of killing two FBI agents on the basis of the perjured evidence of an alleged eye-witness. The two agents were killed during a shoot-out with members of the American Indian Movement on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1975. The eye-witness later retracted her statement, which had allegedly been extracted under pressure by the FBI. Important evidence was withheld from the Defence, for example the results of a ballistic analysis that ruled out Peltier's gun as the murder weapon. State attorney Lynn Crooks admitted eight years after Peltier was convicted and sentenced that the government had no idea who had killed the two agents or what role Peltier had played in the affair. The civil rights activist will be 65 years old on 12 September and intends to appeal the Parole Commission's decision.

"Peltier's reintegration into normal society will not pose any problems“, Bangert observed, "because he already has a home on his Anishinabe (Chippewa) Turtle Mountain reservation in North Dakota to return to and a job waiting for him as an art teacher at the local college". As a young man Peltier was keen to study art and during his time in prison has become an artist of note. His pictures are owned by prominent collectors including Oliver Stone, Peter Coyote, Jane Fonda, Val Kilmer and Michael Apted. He has used the proceeds from his work to fund his own defence and also to support educational, health and other community projects for young people on the Indian reservation. As one of 13 brothers and sisters Peltier grew up in great poverty and at the age of eight he was sent to a government boarding school where the students were forbidden to speak their own language and subjected to physical and mental abuse.

Many prominent figures have campaigned on Leonard Peltier's behalf, among them Simon Wiesenthal, the Nobel Peace Prize winners Rigoberta Menchú and Nelson Mandela. In 1996 in an initiative organised by GfbV / STP more than 70 members of the German Federal Parliament joined former Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker in calling for Peltier to be granted a pardon. They included former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, former Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping and Justice Minister Herta Däubler Gmelin and Gregor Gysi, Hans-Ulrich Klose, Count Otto Lambsdorff, Christian Schwarz-Schilling and Antje Vollmer.

The Berlin publishers Turandot Verlag awarded Peltier its literature prize for his book "Prison Writing: My Life is My Sun Dance". In 1986 he received the Spanish Human Rights Commission's International Human Rights Prize.

Peaceful protest for Peltier

Host: NW AIM chapter
Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009
Time: 6:00am - 9:00am
Location: Blaine WA


There's going to be a run starting at 6 a.m. at the Old Lummi HS, there's going be a protest march from Salishan Park (Blaine Ave & Alder St) ending up at the Peace Arch in Blaine WA starting at 12 noon. There will be speakers at the Arch from 1-3, concert from 4-5, and dinner served from 5 o'clock on.

This is being done to raise our voices in protest against the unfair denial of Leonard Peltier's parole.

This Week from Indian Country Today

Indian country mourns loss of Sen. Edward Kennedy
SEATTLE – Sen. Edward M. Kennedy passed away at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. Aug. 26. He was 77. Kennedy was a larger than life political icon, the last surviving brother of President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Read more »


Remains discovered in Kivalina
Unkechaug seeks dismissal of Bloomberg’s federal case
Millican Valley pictograph site listed nationally
Tribal effort to fix broken world hinges on condor
Interior secretary tours proposed Ariz. mine site
St. Regis Mohawk files treaty boundary lawsuit
Caddo citizen becomes first Native chair of Oklahoma Democratic Party
Sen. Gillibrand visits Seneca-Iroquois National Museum
Sacred white and black buffalo in danger
Peltier denied parole
CERT names Osage chief as new chairman
Cherokee chief celebrates 10 years in office
Grassroots organization asks Interior secretary to intervene
EchoHawk signs reservation proclamation for Gun Lake Tribe
Police seize marijuana plants on Native lands
Excavation begins on Flint burial site
Eighth Generation shoes: Made for walking in two worlds with style
Illness forces longtime ICWA advocate to leave program she started
S.D. tribal leaders ask state’s US senators for help
Wyoming tribe breaks ground on hotel
Montana museum to mark anniversary of settlers
NIGC’s Hogen issues ‘vigorous response’ to call for his replacement
Air regulators to audit Navajo equipment
Dozens of Shiprock homes crumbling
Lake Erie fishing rights denied for tribe


Great Lakes


Stevens: They came to us first

Much talk has been made recently of Indian tribes meeting with the administration or Congress, but history shows us that the United States came to see us first. Read more »

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

Friday, August 28, 2009

News from Indianz.Com

28 Aug 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Immigrants' Champion: Juan Gonzalez on Ted Kennedy's Support for Cesar Chavez and Migrant Workers
Juan Gonzalez discusses the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s longtime advocacy of union leader Cesar Chavez and migrant workers acrtoss the country. “From the Imperial Valley of California to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, from the apple orchards of Washington to the cane fields of Florida–in all those places where invisible immigrant hands still pick America’s food–[Ted Kennedy] will be sorely missed,” writes Gonzalez in the New York Daily News.

Pentagon Hires Rendon Group to Profile and Rate Journalists Covering Afghanistan War
The U.S. Army in Afghanistan has admitted it pays a private company to produce background profiles on journalists covering the war. The Pentagon has been on the defensive ever since the Army newspaper Stars and Stripes revealed this week that journalists were being screened by the Washington-based public relations firm, The Rendon Group, under a $1.5 million dollar contract with the military. Documents obtained by the paper reveal journalists were evaluated with pie charts breaking down their coverage into percentages of “positive,” “neutral” or “negative.”

Report: Taxpayers to Pay Subprime Players Billions To Fix Loan Mess
A new report by the Center for Public Integrity has found that any of the lenders that helped fuel the housing crisis by issuing risky subprime loans are now lining up to receive more than $21 billion dollars in taxpayer money intended to help bail out borrowers. At least 21 out of the top 25 participants in the Making Home Affordable program specialized in servicing or originating subprime loans.

Former Wells Fargo Subprime Loan Officer: Bank Targeted Black Churches As Part of Predatory Subprime Lending Scheme
Up until two years ago Elizabeth Jacobson was the top producing loan officer in the subprime division at Wells Fargo. Today she is speaking out against the practices of her former company. Earlier this summer she filed a sworn affidavits with a federal court in support of the city of Baltimore"s lawsuit against Wells Fargo for pushing high-interest, subprime loans onto African-Americans in Baltimore and the Maryland suburbs, leading hundreds into foreclosure.

"From Recession to Depression: The Destruction of the Black Middle Class"
We speak with Dedrick Muhammad of the Institute for Policy Studies about his latest article with Barbara Ehrenreich called “The Destruction of the Black Middle Class.” They write “For African Americans–and to a large extent, Latinos–the recession is over. It occurred between 2000 and 2007. … What’s happening now is a depression.”


20,000 Pay Respects to Sen. Kennedy
Mohamed Jawad To Sue U.S. Government Over Gitmo Detention
U.S. Criticized For Bombing Afghan Medical Clinic
Holbrooke Holds “Explosive” Meeting With Hamid Karzai
South American Summit To Focus on U.S.-Colombian Military Pact
Staff At State Dept Recommends Cutting Off Aid to Honduras
Banks At Risk of Failure Has Reached 15-Year High
Carter: All Israeli Settlements Should Be Removed
FCC To Probe Cell Phone Industry
Man Arrested For Threatening to Kill Abortion Provider
GOP Candidate Jokes About Hunting President Obama
Arkansas Decertifies Green Party
Cindy Sheehan Protests Obama’s War Polices

And a Web exclusive:

Part II: Tim Robbins on Activism in Hollywood from the 1930s to the Present

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Freedom denied again for Leonard Peltier

Freedom denied again for Leonard Peltier
Michele Bollinger examines the federal authorities' politically biased decision to keep political prisoner Leonard Peltier behind bars.

August 27, 2009

THE U.S. Parole Commission has once again denied parole to American Indian activist and renowned political prisoner Leonard Peltier. After languishing in prison for 33 long years for a crime he did not commit, Peltier has been condemned by the U.S. government to remain behind bars for at least 15 more years.

In 1977, Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the deaths of two FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, who were killed in a gunfight on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota on June 26, 1975 in what is known as the "incident at Oglala."

Peltier did not kill the agents--a fact that the U.S. government has not disputed for years. At an appellate hearing in the 1980s, the U.S. attorney conceded: "We had a murder, we had numerous shooters, we do not know who specifically fired what killing shots...we do not know, quote unquote, who shot the agents."

Given this concession, the continued denial of parole for Peltier is awful enough. But federal officials didn't stop with that. The commission set a "reconsideration hearing" for Peltier--in which he will get another chance to plead for parole--in the year 2024. Given his grave health issues, Peltier is unlikely to live until then.

FBI official Thomas Harrington had the nerve to gloat that Peltier deserves to remain in prison because he "demonstrated a complete disrespect for human life and for the law." Indeed, there has been an ongoing smear campaign against Peltier for years, led most notably by former FBI agent Joseph Trimbach.

In reality, the FBI's flagrant abuse of the law--both in the circumstances that surrounded Peltier's case and during his trial--is the real crime.

During the 1977 trial, the U.S. government relied on suppressed evidence, used perjured testimony and even fabricated evidence in order to exact revenge for the deaths of Coler and Williams.

In the years that followed, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, "There is a possibility that the jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier had the records and data improperly withheld from the defense been available to him in order to better exploit and reinforce the inconsistencies casting strong doubts upon the government's case."

But the court system has refused to grant Peltier a new trial.

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PELTIER'S FREEDOM--either via parole or clemency--would validate what his family, friends and supporters have argued for over three decades: that Leonard's prosecution and conviction were due solely to his involvement in the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

AIM led struggles for justice for Native Americans around the country, including a series of high-profile actions such as the 1972 takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C., and perhaps most famously, the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973.

These struggles exposed the treacherous conditions of racism and deep poverty faced by American Indians--particularly in places such as the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, where people fought against the corrupt and thuggish rule of tribal president Dick Wilson, who ran the Guardians of the Oglala Nation (known as the GOONs).

Federal officials and Wilson's GOONS launched a vicious attack on Wounded Knee. Some 500,000 rounds of ammunition were fired into the camp. In the wake of the occupation, AIM was targeted by both the FBI, through its murderous COINTELPRO program against radicals, and a local "reign of terror" carried out by Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) police and GOONs.

Between 1973 and 1976, the per capita murder rate on Pine Ridge was the highest in the country--170 per 100,000 people, or around 20 times the U.S. average. This was the context of the famous "incident at Oglala."

On June 26, 1975, two unmarked cars chased a red truck onto the Jumping Bull property on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Across the field from the road was the compound where the Jumping Bull family lived, and where AIM members and their families had set up camp. When the agents, who hadn't identified themselves, began firing on the ranch, Peltier and others, who were defending the compound against violence, fired back, not knowing who the men were or what they wanted.

Within minutes, more than 150 FBI SWAT team members, BIA police and GOONs had surrounded the ranch. The two FBI agents, as well as one Lakota man, Joe Killsright Stuntz, were killed. To this day, no one has been convicted of Joe Stuntz's death.

The largest FBI manhunt in history followed, culminating in the murder charges against Peltier, Bob Robideau and Dino Butler. Robideau and Butler were acquitted in 1976 in an embarrassing defeat for the U.S. government. This is why U.S. officials went after Peltier with a vengeance in his separate trial--and why they have such a stake in keeping him in prison.

But ever since Peltier was put behind bars, his supporters in the U.S. and around the world have waged a campaign to free him. In recent months, large numbers of people signed petitions and wrote letters in support of parole. On July 28, people traveled for a vigil and rally outside of the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pa.

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THE DENIAL of parole is a devastating blow to Leonard, his family and the millions of people around the world who have demanded Leonard's freedom. While Leonard's supporters are no strangers to disappointment, many felt they had reason to be optimistic this time.

As the Leonard Peltier Defense-Offense Committee put it on its Web site:

[F]rom the time of Peltier's conviction in 1977 until the mid-1990s--according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice--the average length of imprisonment served for homicide in the United States ranged from 94 to 99.8 months (about 8 years). Even if you were to take Peltier's two consecutive life sentences into account at the higher end of this range, it is clear that Peltier should have been released over a decade ago.

On that basis alone--according to the due process and equal rights protections of the U.S. Constitution--Leonard Peltier should immediately be released.

Peltier has met all the requirements for parole, in addition to maintaining a model prison record. In addition, he is almost 65 years old, in poor health and in need of quality, specialized medical attention.

What's more, Peltier's parole hearing took place in a new political climate. President Barack Obama is no stranger to Peltier's case. Many Peltier activists supported Obama for president in part due to the promise he made to the Crow Nation while campaigning last year.

"I know what it's like to not always have been respected, or to have been ignored, and I know what it's like to struggle," Obama said then. "And that's how I think many of you understand what's happened here on the reservation. That a lot of times you have been forgotten. I want you to know that you will never be forgotten--you will be on my mind every day that I am in the White House."

But American Indians need more than sentiment and reassurances from Obama. A broader struggle to free Leonard will need to be mobilized in order to win--and that means pressuring Obama to act.

In the late 1990s, activists forced former President Bill Clinton to publicly discuss the possibility of freeing Peltier through executive clemency. Instead, Clinton bowed to FBI pressure to deny clemency for Peltier--instead extending his generosity to the likes of multimillionaire crooked businessman Marc Rich.

President Barack Obama has the power to grant executive clemency. But for this to happen, the movement to free Leonard Peltier will need to be galvanized and take a more visible form. The potential for this certainly exists--and people can take their cues from Leonard's fighting spirit.

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Published by You may use this article for non-commercial purposes, as long as it is attributed to the author and

News from Indianz.Com

Tribes win stimulus funds for justice programs (8/27)

Turtle Talk: Vacancies on Federal Circuit Court (8/27)

Indian retailers ordered to stop tobacco sales (8/27)

Standing Rock Sioux court hears election case (8/27)

Foundation preserves Native advocate's home (8/27)

Twelve from Awa Tribe massacred in Colombia (8/27)

EchoHawk weighs off-reservation gaming policy (8/27)

Seminole Tribe continues compact negotiations (8/27)

Mashantucket Tribe asserts 'business as usual' (8/27)

Connecticut tribes pay $25M in gaming dispute (8/27)

Wilson: Indian Country mourns loss of Kennedy (8/26)

NPR: Gang violence an issue in Indian Country (8/26)

Mashantucket Tribe in 'dire' financial condition (8/26)

Editorial: Final salute to Navajo Nation soldier (8/26)

Rep. Herseth Sandlin upset with IHS criticism (8/26)

Volunteers bring free health care to Ute Tribe (8/26)

Trial postponed for beating of Blackfeet man (8/26)

Nisqually Tribe part of stimulus cleanup effort (8/26)

Taos Pueblo asks state to cite bridge vendors (8/26)

Onondaga Nation to rebury ancestral remains (8/26)

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe sued out of state (8/26)

Indictment and sentence for theft of artifacts (8/26)

Hualapai man arrested for pulling over driver (8/26)

More headlines...

27 Aug 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Worldwide Tributes Honor Sen. Ted Kennedy; "Liberal Lion" Was Key Champion of Healthcare Reform
The late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy was honored across the nation and around the world Wednesday, hours after his death at the age of seventy-seven. We hear tributes from President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and play clips of Kennedy speaking about healthcare reform, which he saw as the cause of his life.

As Kennedy Mourned, Massachusetts Lawmakers Begin Debate on His Wish for a Quick Successor
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick says he hopes to carry out one of Ted Kennedy’s last public wishes, appointing a temporary successor. Last week Kennedy asked Massachusetts lawmakers to change the state’s succession laws, which call for a special election at least 145 days after a vacancy occurs. That would leave Kennedy’s seat vacant until at least mid-January. We speak to Boston Phoenix political reporter David Bernstein.

As Obama Golfs with UBS CEO Days After Firm Avoids Criminal Prosecution, UBS Whistleblower Given 40-Month Jail Term
On the first day of his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, President Obama spent five hours golfing with UBS executive Robert Wolf, an early financial backer of Obama’s presidential campaign. As the pair teed off, another UBS banker, Bradley Birkenfeld, had just been handed a forty-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to assisting a client evade taxes. It was the first sentence in a wider scandal that has seen UBS admit to helping wealthy Americans dodge their tax obligations. On his own initiative, Birkenfeld blew the whistle on UBS. His disclosure and cooperation with US authorities provided inside information into the bank’s conduct and sparked the massive federal investigation.

Actor, Director Tim Robbins Takes Up Historic Vietnam War Protest in Production of "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine"
Academy Award-winning actor, director and writer Tim Robbins is involved in a new production of Father Daniel Berrigan’s acclaimed play The Trial of the Catonsville Nine. The play centers on the events of May 17th, 1968, when nine Catholic peace activists, including Father Daniel Berrigan and his brother, the late Father Philip Berrigan, entered a draft board in Catonsville, Maryland, and removed draft files of young men who were about to be sent to Vietnam. They were arrested and then sentenced in a highly publicized trial that galvanized the antiwar movement. We speak to Robbins about the play, which is being staged by his Los Angeles troupe, the Actors’ Gang.


Kennedy Mourned as Mass. Governor Backs Succession Request
US Attacks Afghan Medical Clinic
US Troop Deaths Tie Monthly Record
Feingold Calls for Withdrawal Timetable from Afghanistan
Southern Iraq Facing Dire Water Shortage
CIA Interrogators Certified after Two-Week Training
Kucinich Seeks Testimony from Health Industry CEOs
Study: Health Industry Accounts for Half of Blue Dog Campaign Donations
UNASUR Summit to Take Up Colombia Bases Row
Mexico Decriminalizes Small-Scale Drug Use
Africans Mull Call for Billions in Global Warming Compensation
Groups: Mass Graves Discovered in Pakistan’s Swat Valley
Amnesty Calls for Tribunal on East Timor Killings
Fed Official: Actual US Unemployment at 16%
Top Bailout Recipients Donated $6M to Lawmakers Since Election
Report: Richardson Won’t Face Charges in Donor Probe

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sankofa of Torture in the USA

Tune in tomorrow August 27th, 2009, and listen to “Voices With Vision”, a news magazine heard every Thursday, at 11am on 89.3FM radio in metro DC or on on the internet.

Tomorrow's edition is a commemoration special of Black August 2009: “Sankofa of Torture in the USA”, looking at the past & understanding the present to better manage the future in the wake of Obama’s administrations handling of the issue, with:

· Prof. Benjamin Davis-Professor of Law at the University of Toledo College of Law; (by phone)
· Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry;
· Maybe-Rep. Cynthia Mc Kinney (by phone);
· Prof. & Attorney Zachary Wolfe- Deputy Director of First-Year Writing at George Washington University and co-founder of Peoples Law Blog at (live in the studio).

Ryme Katkhouda

Founding Director--Peoples MEDIA Center, Inc.

Executive Producer of "Voices With Vision", Th 11am on 89.3FM in DC 
co-founder of the and
VOICES WITH VISION a radio news magazine produced by Ryme Katkhouda (executive producer) and members of the *, the Latino Media Collective, and the independent media movement worldwide, is hosted by Ryme Katkhouda and members of the (*a radio news training and production program which started at WPFW as a partnership between WBIX.Org, Free Speech Radio News and Independent Media Center; committed to covering the world from the grassroots perspective, celebrating, serving and training the disenfranchised communities in the metro area and the world. Mostly coming from the Washington, DC metro region, young and older reporters, artists and activists, techies as well as city and federal employees, professionals, students, the unemployed, and the homeless, training members of the community and college students and faculty in sound gathering, news reporting, proper use of equipment, computer literacy, and digital audio production. Such training serves as a tool for people to cover the world from their experiences and their communities, which would otherwise be overlooked by mainstream media). It is housed today at Peoples MEDIA Center, 4132 Georgia Avenue, NW WDC 20011.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Voices With Vision is a progressive experimental mix of voices, news, music and spoken word intending to allow the listener and the participants to Rethink the News. The listener and producers will be taken on an audio journey where they experience for themselves the subject matter handled, linking the local to the global and vice versa, and helping all realize their power through grassroots media coverage of the world. Done in a non-linear story telling, it plays on the MTV era attention span without loosing track of the subject at hand, coming at it cognitively and artistically, activating the conscience and the sub-conscience, digging deeper at every turn. This is done through the content and the process of the show, juxtaposing experiences, sounds and points of view rarely heard together in a quilt format.

PROGRAM GOALS: The Voices With Vision process aims at exposing new radio producers to pre-produced or live radio production, to provide outlets for messages, issues and the creative skills and energies of the DC metro community as well as to expose these producers to working within a diverse collective in a new audio format where the boundaries between music and words and experts and listeners melts. The content of Voices With Vision aims at sampling events and issues to fully distribute excerpts of public information and promoting the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms locally and globally. We strive at engaging and intellectually stimulating the audience and producers. Through our content and easy access we hope to awaken the listeners interest and activate them to step out and effect positive change in the community and the world, and celebrate the accomplishment and struggles of those who are already working for this positive change, The content quilt format intends to show an alternative to unintelligent media. This sets a dialog rarely experienced by the participants and the audience that provokes reflection and challenge the status-quo for a greater understanding among people, underlining the sources of conflict and incoherence of a system which is no longer educating all involved. The national distribution of the show strives at bringing a heightened national sensitivity and awareness to the metro issues and talents.

PROGRAM DISTRIBUTION: Aired on WPFW 89.3FM in metro DC Thursday 11am-noon, published on

SHOW LENGTH: 1 hour.

WPFW MISSION SUPPORT: Both the format and content of Voices With Vision fulfill the mission of WPFW to provide outlets for the creative skills and energies of the community, to contribute to a lasting understanding between individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors, and to promote the full distribution of public information. The show is a collage of music (Jazz and other genres), news and public affairs, accessible to African Americans, Hispanics, Arabs, Asians and other cultural groups, women, seniors, youth and other ethnic and non-traditional groups like trans-genders and GLBTQI (gay lesbian bi-sexual trans queer intersexed). Voices With Vision Universalist programming make the concept of community radio real by providing the local majority population with important and relevant education, information and entertainment. Through its live programming and outreach, the show acts as a networking agent for the community at large working at being engaging and intellectually stimulating which is pretty much the mission of WPFW!

PROGRAM CONTACTS: Ryme Katkhouda 202-538-1331 or or To keep in touch with the DC Radio Coop, please see

Canada: U.S. Parole Commission denies Leonard Peltier parole

Re: US Parole Commission’s decision to deny Leonard Peltier parole.

The Indigenous Action Movement supports the call for the immediate release on parole of Leonard Peltier, currently serving two consecutive life sentences.

"Denying, yet again, parole for Leonard Peltier who has spent more than three decades, wrongfully convicted, in prison, is sadly, expected, yet horrific news. Ironically, as hard as the political system, which it undoubtedly is, works against us, the goal, to undermine Indigenous strength and beliefs, only serves to make us more determined to continue to do the work we do, as advocated for our people, indigenous rights, freedoms and land. Leonard is even more in our hearts and people will forever know his name.

It is so obvious that the FBI have something to hide, something so great that if they set Leonard free the truth will set the government and FBI aflame. Yes, racism and genocide and breaches of human rights are alive and well on this continent we call North America.

The U.S. Parole Commission denied parole for Leonard Peltier, irregardless of the fact that there was so absolute proof of guilt as well as the prosecution's star "witness," Myrtle Poor Bear, who later revealed that her testimony was forced and coerced. The land of the free is only true if you are Non-Native American." -- Kat Norris, Coast Salish, Indigenous Action Movement

Please check out this site:

Letter of the Day: What’s the difference?...

What’s the difference?...
by Charlet Estes
26 August 2009, Pacesetting Times, Horseshoe Bend, AR

What is the difference between someone who not only follows a blatant, murder-inducing cult leader but becomes the leading spokesperson for the group and is caught red-handed (intended) with a gun pointed at the President of the United States...and someone who was present during a conflict in what was considered a civil war within a “sovereign nation” and was never proven to have ever held the "smoking gun?"

It's a minimum of 13 years and a maximum of when the last trumpet sounds, according to a United States Parole Commission decision handed down on Friday, August 20. The decision states, the parole of 64-year-old Leonard Peltier, accused of the killings of two FBI agents during a 1975 riot, has been denied and his next opportunity for a hearing has been set at 2024.

Lynette Fromme was a teenage runaway who had taken refuge with "the Manson family," and had been arrested numerous times, with the charge of attempting to kill an ex-adherent with an overdose of LSD which Fromme had put in her food included. When Manson and the co-defendants in the Tate-LaBianca murder case were sentenced to life imprisonment, Fromme became the family leader. She took a Colt .45 to an appearance by President Gerald Ford, pointed it at him and was arrested by the Secret Service.

During her prison stay, Fromme hit another prisoner in the head with the business end of a hammer and made at least one temporarily successful escape. She is the only member of the original "family" who has not denounced Manson as her leader/mentor. To paraphrase a statement made by Fromme shortly after her arrest for the Ford incident, you can lay blood in front of them and...they don't think anything of it.

On Friday, August 14, 2009, Fromme was released after serving 34 years of her life sentence for threatening a United States President with death. The reasoning behind her release, she's earned "good behavior time" for every year she's served.

A man who was convicted of killing 270 people, Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, better known as the Lockerbie Bomber, sentenced to life (a minimum of 27 years) for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, was also recently given his freedom. The powers that be lobbied for his release based on compassionate auspices. He’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Many questions have arisen as to whether or not there were insidious economic reasons behind that decision.

Regardless of whether she was a good girl in prison…or because we need the oil, the point is, both of these murderer/ attempted murderers were set free amongst much fanfare and media exposure.

During these crime investigations, there was some question as to proof. In Fromme’s case, we know she pointed a gun at the President. She states she ejected the shell from the chamber before leaving her residence, but none the less it had ammo, and her actions signaled her intent. Al Megrahi was a Libyan Intelligence officer. In his case, the evidence was based on clothing fibers found on the instrument of destruction. He maintains his innocence.

They now go free.

Peltier, originally of the Turtle Mountain Reservation, is a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), a group not unlike many of the Black and Hispanic civil rights movement groups of the 1960s and 70s. He joined the Pine Ridge Reservation which, along with his own rez were some of the first places affected by the government’s Termination Policy. Under this policy, the sovereignty of the reservations was dissolved and they were absorbed into mainstream United States. The people there remained and languished in the tumultuous limbo of those changes. A quazi-mafia group known as the Guardians of the Oglala Nation developed during that period.

Run by a man named Dick Wilson, the Guardians, or GOONs as they were known ruled the disenfranchised with an iron fist. The under-educated and at-risk individuals found themselves at their mercy.

AIM members and the GOONs were in constant conflict during the time between 1972-1975 and the reservation was thrown into an atmosphere of civil war. During this period, 64 unsolved NA murders and disappearances, and 350 assaults were committed, making the Pine Ridge area crime rate the highest in the state of North Dakota.

The FBI’s COINTELPRO counter intelligence division became involved in the conflict, conducting a counterinsurgency campaign against AIM. Residents were constantly on edge.

In 1975, a man by the name of Jimmy Eagle, accused of the theft of a pair of boots, was being sought by the FBI. Two agents out of Los Angeles picked up on a red truck which they thought was Eagle’s. They followed it at high speed onto the reservatoin and a ranch where an encampment had been established. The driver exited the truck, as did the agents who were attempting to retrieve their rifle from the trunk of the car.

A gunfight ensued. Bob Robideau, his cousin Leonard Peltier and Dino Butler were among the AIM members present (who stated they thought the pursuers were members of GOON.) Robideau fired two shots from a distance which he later learned had hit the agents after they had exited their car. The shots were non-fatal. During the later course of the shootout however, both agents were shot at point-blank range with .223 rounds. A young resident of Pine Ridge was also a victim, but his death was never investigated on the basis that he was killed by friendly fire during the course of a riot.

Robideau and Butler were acquitted on the grounds of self defense. Peltier was sentenced to life for the fatal shots and remains in prison despite the fact that there was no conclusive ballistic evidence, no fingerprints or other identifying marks at the murder scene, and no reliable witnesses.

The only “witness” brought forth was a mentally challenged woman who admitted at a later date (in 1977) that she had been threatened with the custodial loss of her daughter and, with her own death if she didn’t state under oath that she saw Peltier shoot the agents.

The U.S. Prosecuting Attorney admitted, “The government does not know who killed our agents, nor what part Leonard Peltier had in this.”

Other quotes from the case: “We knew the whole world was watching;” (this was shortly following the Wounded Knee uprising); “Somebody had to pay.”

According to everything that could or has been presented, this should remain an open cold-case.

Peltier has served 33 years, has suffered several brutal prison beatings, and is in poor health. So why are Fromme and al Megrahi walking free based upon “good behavior” and “imminent death” (respectively) while this man remains in lock-up?