Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mission Impossible

September 30, 2009

The Untold Story of the Cuban Five
Mission Impossible

When the Supreme Court decided not to hear the Cuban Five petition, the Justices acted exactly as requested by President Obama’s Solicitor General, showing that on this issue, there has been no change, certainly not a change we can believe in.

The Supreme Court last June 14 simply joined the other two branches of Government in demonstrating their hostility towards the Cuban people. During the 1990s this official animus, had among its main features their connivance with a terrorist campaign that has cost lives, caused human suffering and material damages, which the US instead of preventing – as was its obligation – tolerated or promoted.

Immediately after the break up of the Soviet Union, Cuba entered an extremely severe economic crisis, worst for us than the Big Depression of 1929. It was precisely the time chosen by the US to strengthen its economic blockade as reflected in the Torricelli Amendment (1992) and the Helms-Burton Act (1996). The trio – Torricelli, Helms and Burton –replying to those objecting the illegal extraterritorial legislations assured their colleagues that it was the last year of the Government led by Fidel Castro.

Others made easy money in those days publishing cheap texts, announcing with specific datelines the inevitable end of the Cuban Revolution. It became an uncontested dogma for many scholars, politicians and journalists and a source of encouragement for those who have actively sought revenge for decades.

Some, unsatisfied with what they perceived as Washington’s insufficient aggressiveness, tried to make a final assault on the abandoned, isolated island.

Paradoxically in September 1994 and May 1995, Cuba and the US succeeded in negotiating new migration accords in an exercise of quiet private diplomacy that involved the commitment to move towards the lifting of the embargo and a promise to curb terrorist actions against Cuba.

It was then that Mr. Basulto and his cohorts ramped up their airborne incursions. Basulto was very open in explaining his intentions. The alleged “humanitarian” nature of their previous flights – to help undocumented Cubans to enter the US – had disappeared with the new US policy, since May 2, 1995 to send them back to the Island. From that day on, as recognized by Basulto, the flights would continue and be multiplied with a subversive purpose. Almost daily he was on the media announcing the next provocation and proclaiming that Cuba was so weakened by the economic crisis that it could not protect its borders or even impede him to overfly downtown Havana as he did on more than one occasion. The US authorities knew what he and his group were doing, as it was known by anybody having a TV set because the provocations were filmed and reported live by the Miami local stations of national TV networks.

In 1995 and early 1996 we made our outmost to persuade Washington to prevent those completely illicit air provocations. We were just asking the US Administration to respect international law and abide by its own domestic laws and regulations.

A rather intense wave of official communications took place between the authorities of both countries through which the US side explicitly recognized the illegal character of the flights and initiated, with Cuban cooperation, administrative proceedings against the transgressors. Or so they reiterated in diplomatic notes.

Apart from the open channel we warned time and again, at the highest level, both US civilian and military authorities.

Fidel Castro was personally involved in those efforts. He spent many hours with more that one US important visitor, some with clear White House endorsement. And we succeeded in getting a very specific commitment by President Clinton that those provocations will never happened again. (Indictment À la Carte, Counterpunch, September 3, 2009; Annals of Diplomacy, Backfire, The New Yorker, January 26, 1998).

Something rather strange happened on the road from Washington to Miami. It appears that President Clinton gave specific instructions to fulfill his commitment. But in that peculiar town (Remember Elian?) the US Commander in Chief’s orders are not always obeyed. As soon as the Miami mafia learned of the President’s instructions, the provocateurs organized their last violation. That was the real conspiracy, the only one, leading to the tragic events of February 24, 1996.

President Clinton astonishingly reacted as if he never knew anything and rushed to sign the Helms-Burton Act in a deplorable ceremony at the White House, joyfully surrounded by some of the true culprits, the very individuals who defied him. It was a presidential election year and Clinton won easily in Miami.

That experience would have been more than enough to anybody in terms of believing in the possibility of serious talks and engagement with such frivolous partners, some kind of mission impossible.

But we tried it again. We didn’t have a choice.

Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada is president of the Cuban National Assembly

The Red Rock Wilderness Act: Our Chance to Be Present at the Creation

Huffington Post
By Robert Redford

This week marks an historic turning point for people who love the wild canyon country and sweeping mesas of Southern Utah. For the first time, the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest, and Public Lands will consider a bill designed to protect millions of acres of spectacular Utah lands as wilderness.

All of these lands -- some of the last great places on earth -- are owned by the public, but most of them remain vulnerable to industrial development. America's Red Rock Wilderness Act would protect them from oil and gas development, uranium mining, and off-road vehicle use. Meanwhile, hunters, anglers, hikers, and families could continue to enjoy these lands, including the renowned Cedar Mesa, San Rafael Swell, and the Book Cliffs.

This is our chance to be present at the creation. If we pass the Red Rock Wilderness Act, we can tell our grandchildren that we helped birth the latest Yellowstone. We can say we preserved treasures equal to Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks. We can add to the wilderness inheritance of future generations, and they will thank us for it.

I love the extraordinary lands encompassed in America's Red Rock Wilderness Act. I have spent decades exploring them, and I am still awed by the beauty of their serpentine canyons and alcoves filled with stone houses built by the ancestors of today's Pueblo people. I have profoundly inspiring memories of the time I've spent hiking with my family under sculpted arches, through pink sand dunes and across mesas that open up to a sea of redrock vistas.

Fortunately, there is growing support in Congress for protecting precious wildlands like these. This February, Congress passed the Omnibus Public Lands Act -- the most significant conservation law in decades. The law designated more than 2.1 million acres of wilderness in nine states. Significantly, this was a bipartisan effort.

America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, introduced by true champions Senator Richard Durbin and Congressman Maurice Hinchey, also has bipartisan support. It has a remarkable 139 cosponsors in the House and 31 in the senate--that's almost 1 out of every 3 Members of Congress.

I believe two key forces are fueling this renewed desire to protect the public's lands.

First, lawmakers are finally recognizing the toll climate change is taking on fragile landscapes like Southern Utah. The highly regarded NRDC is releasing a report tomorrow documenting the impacts of global warming on national parks, and Zion is one of the 25 most imperiled. The same extreme heat and drought that plague Zion stretch across the region.

Already, conditions are so dry that high winds are picking up Utah's red dust and dumping it hundreds of miles east on Colorado's San Juan Mountains. Skiers call this red snow or watermelon snow.

When you build roads and lay drill pads and pipelines on this kind of delicate landscape, it rips apart the biological soils that retain precious water and prevent erosion. Scientists agree that protecting large roadless areas is critical for combating climate change.

Lawmakers are also beginning to realize that we can power our nation with cleaner, more sustainable options than dirty fossil fuels. Energy efficiency and plug-in hybrids will do far more to free us from our oil addiction than the tiny amount of fuel found in Utah -- home to just 2.5 percent of the nation' natural gas reserves and 1 percent of oil reserves.

But there is also a second force behind the growing movement for America's Redrock Wilderness Act: the American people. I don't think popular support for wilderness has ever waned in this country -- exploring untrammeled ground is too deeply embedded in American tradition. But I do believe that during the Bush administration, those voices were not heard above industry's clamor.

Still, Americans burst through the din last November, when the Bush administration gave 77 drilling leases as a parting gift to their friends in the oil and gas industry. The leases were all in Southern Utah and many of them were in full view of beloved national parks. More than 150,000 people filed protest comments with the Bureau of Land Management, and the successful effort to block the leases received national attention. It became clear just how much Americans care about this corner of Utah.

There is also strong local support for America's Redrock Wilderness Act. The lands included in the bill were inventories by hundreds of Utah volunteers, and Utah activists, religious leaders, and businesspeople have called on politicians to pass it. The natural assets of the state of Utah and the quality of life they provide continue to be a primary reason individuals and families move there and stay there.

As well, many Utah residents see the economic benefits of choosing wilderness over industrialization. Back when President Clinton first proposed protecting the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, some locals hated the idea. Now many say it was one of the best things that happened to their region. According to a report by the Sonoran Insitute, using data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, labor income and personal earning power increased significantly in the years after the monument was designated.

The truth is no generation regrets setting aside land for another. No generation looks back and chastises the previous one for leaving a wilderness inheritance.

The America's Redrock Wilderness Act is our chance to add to this natural heritage. You can do your part by telling your lawmakers to support the bill.


Ask your Members of Congress to support the Redrock Wildereness Act:

Seitz Interview, Between The Lines for 5pm Sunday 10/04

Between The Lines for 5pm Sunday 10/04

This week's most under-reported news stories plus the following interviews:

--> Scott Harris talks with Greg Grandin, professor of history at New York University, who discusses the latest developments in Honduras after ousted president Manual Zelaya clandestinely returned to his nation - taking refuge in the Brazilian Embassy.

Melinda Tuhus interviews Eric Seitz, attorney for Native American activist and political prisoner Leonard Peltier. He discusses his client’s recent unsuccessful attempt to be released on Parole.

--> Scott Harris talks with Journalism Professor Christopher Martin, who summarizes the results of a study he and Professor Peter Dreier conducted on the corporate media’s flawed coverage of alleged scandals surrounding the community organizing group ACORN.

Between the Lines is heard each Wednesday at 12 Noon and Sunday at 5pm EST.

More information at Between The Lines web site.

Listen online:

American Indian Movement at UN: The Right to Speak

American Indian Movement at UN: The Right to Speak


September 24,2009
The Right to Speak

In President Obama’s speech to the United Nations on September 23, 2009, he spoke of a ‘new direction’. Two years ago, four solitary nations voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, they were Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America. The Australian government has since reversed its vote and now support the international human rights standard toward Indigenous people.

The American Indian Movement asks the question of the Obama Administration: Will his administration recognize and support the international standard approved by the vast majority of the world’s nations?

The United Nations 64th year brings world leaders together to our sacred homeland to discuss the effects of the world’s problems to humankind. The American Indian Movement respects the right of all world leaders to speak. We support the right of Moammar Al Gathafi, leader of Libya. We respect the right of Evo Moralas, President of Bolivia. We respect the right of Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela. We respect the right of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran. We respect the right to speak at the United Nations of all the world leaders visiting our homeland.

We often talk in terms of the first world, or the west; or the second world, the east; or the third world, or the non-aligned nations. Another important dimension to this concept is the fourth world of natural and Indigenous people. Peoples whose populations oftentimes go beyond geo-political boundaries. While these struggles have been going on for hundreds of years, the international community has, for the most part, ignored this reality.

One of the greatest crimes against humanity occurred right here in the United States of America. Support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is a start to right this great wrong.

Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder American Indian Movement
Bill Means, International Indian Treaty Council
Chief Terrance Nelson, Vice Chairman American Indian Movement

SF8 Update: Call to Action



Dear friends,

Once again we are asking for your help with a phone and fax campaign to demand that CA Attorney General Jerry Brown drop the charges against Francisco Torres, the last of the SF8 still facing prosecution. Brown has not yet dropped the charges against Francisco Torres, but he knows there is no case against him. He needs to get the message from people all over the country that we will not give up this just demand.

**In order for this fax campaign to be a success, we need you to help spread the word and take a few minutes to make the call and send the fax. Please send as many individual faxes as possible. We want to flood his office! And please also send us an email when you have done so at (new working email).

**You can print out and use the attached letter to fax and/or use the phone script below, all to Jerry Brown's office.

916-322-3360 #7 for comments

I am calling to demand that Attorney General Jerry Brown drop all charges against Francisco Torres of the San Francisco 8. The state of California recognized that there was insufficient evidence to move forward with the case and dropped charges against four of the men. There is clearly no basis to prosecute Francisco Torres, the only remaining person facing charges in connection with this 38-year old case which is based on torture-coerced evidence. It is an incredible waste of money in this time of severe budget crisis to proceed with this case, and is a huge injustice to Mr. Torres and his family. Drop all charges immediately!


Dear Attorney General Jerry Brown:

Thousands of people around the U.S. and the world have joined the call to drop all charges against the San Francisco 8. On July 6th the state of California recognized that there was insufficient evidence to move forward with the case and dropped charges against four of the men. There is clearly no basis to prosecute Francisco Torres, the only remaining person facing charges in connection with this 38-year old case which is based on torture-coerced evidence. It would be an unconscionable waste of tax payer money and an egregious injustice to Mr. Torres and his family to proceed with this case. I urge you in the strongest possible terms to drop the charges against Francisco Torres immediately!



Monday, Oct 5 - Call-in on behalf of indigenous political prisoner

MONDAY, OCTOBER 5th, 2009: Call in on behalf of indigenous political prisoner
Byron Shane Chubbuck! End the torture!
For more information on Byron:

Byron Chubbuck, who's Indian name is Oso Blanco, is serving 80 years for expropriating money from banks and sending thousands of dollars to Chiapas Mexico to help fund the Zapatistas and feed indigenous children. Because of his political background he has been subject to horrendous treatment at U.S. Penitentiary Lewisburg which must be stopped!

There is going to be a coordinated effort to call in on behalf of Byron Shane Chubbuck. Contact USP Lewisburg on Monday October 5th, 2009 between the hours of 10am-12:00pm Eastern Standard time, (7am-9am Pacific) If you cannot make this time frame, you can still CALL at another time on the 5th, but make sure you do CALL. It is essential that we maintain a unified effort in letting the prison staff know that we oppose the abuse against Mr. Chubbuck.

The number at USP Lewisburg is:
570-523-1251 (keep trying if no answer!)
ask for the Warden’s office (Warden Troy Williamson)

What to Say
Hello, I am calling out of concern for inmate Byron Shane Chubbuck, prisoner #07909051. I am aware that his mail is being tampered with, he has been denied medical treatment as well as religious rights, and has sustained both physical and psychological abuse by staff at your facility. I am requesting that steps be taken to correct this misconduct and hope to hear a response from you as soon as possible. Mr. Chubbuck will let us know if this continues.
Thank you,

Let Oso Blanco know that you supported him! It is absolutely essential that Oso Blanco knows how many people he has on the outside that will not allow him to be forgotten, even if it is a single letter.

Byron Chubbuck (Oso Blanco)
#07909051 / USP Lewisburg
U.S. Penitentiary, PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

In Oso's Words.
Please. Everyone Roll with it! Nationwide action! Email, letters, calls. June 23rd Lt. Hooper assaulted me with A. Smith and 3 others. Lt. Argueta and 4 others assaulted me September 24.
WE Never Back Down!

Love and Power of the gente!

Free Oso Blanco!

11/14 NY Fundraiser for Sundiata Acoli


7 TO 11 P.M.


310 W. 43rd STREET, btw. 8th & 9th AVENUES

NEW YORK, NY 10036



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

Recent killings linked to Canadian-owned nickel mine in Guatemala

Recent killings linked to Canadian-owned nickel mine in Guatemala

Two Maya Qeqchi have been killed and more than a dozen injured in two separate attacks this week, near the site of a Canadian-owned nickel mine in El Estor, Guatemala. Leading up to the attacks, on September 11, the Qeqchi communities of El Estor condemned and rejected the company's presence in their territory. TheDominion [...]

You may view the latest post at

News from Indianz.Com

30 Sep 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Insurance Industry Whistleblower Wendell Potter Blasts Senate Panel Rejection of Public Insurance Option
Efforts to create a government-run health insurance plan were dealt a setback Tuesday after the Senate Finance Committee rejected a pair of amendments to create a public option. Both amendments were defeated when a group of Democrats, including Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, joined with Republicans to oppose the public option. We speak with Wendell Potter, the former chief spokesperson at CIGNA, one of the nation’s largest private insurers, and now one of the health insurance industry’s most prominent whistleblowers. [includes rush transcript]

Dr. Cornel West Releases Long-Awaited Memoir, "Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud"
Dr. Cornel West, the celebrated Princeton University professor of religion and African American studies, has just come out with his long-awaited memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. In it, he writes, “Until now, I’ve never taken the time to focus on the inner dynamics of my soul.” In a wide-ranging conversation, we speak to Dr. West about his upbringing, public healthcare, post-election disappointment, the role of music in his life, his spat with former Harvard president and current White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers, and more.


Senate Panel Votes Against Public Insurance Option
17 Arrested at Insurance Company Offices
US to Withdraw 4,000 Troops from Iraq
Obama Receives NATO Backing on Afghan Occupation
Judge Defends Gaza Inquiry Alleging Israeli War Crimes
State Dept.: US Diplomat Held Talks with Cuba
100 Killed in South Pacific Tsunami
Guinea Toll Approaches 160 in Military Attack on Protest
2 US Soldiers Killed in Philippines
Afghan Immigrant Pleads Not Guilty to Bombing Plot
Court Dismisses Rather Suit Against CBS
Farm Workers Reach Deal Boosting Tomato Prices, Labor Standards

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

517 Years of Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Colonization

Press and Public Announcement

“517 Years of Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Colonization in the Americas-1492-2009”

A benefit to bring attention to those who sacrifice daily for our Mother Earth; we are the memory of our ancestors.

Grandfather, I want my people to live. Lakota prayer

When: Monday, October 12, 2009
Where: Inter-Tribal Friendship House, 523 International Boulevard, Oakland (near Lake Merritt BART Station).
Time: 6 – 9:30 pm (film 7:15)

The event benefit’s AIM-WEST Annual Summit, scheduled November 23-27, in San Francisco (check website).

A selected film presents “Longest Walk-1978” with cast of familiar faces including the legendry Bill Wahpepah, Dick Gregory, Paul Owns Sabre, John Trudell, Ron Dellums, Phillip Deer, and Lehman Brightman, a must see, very historical. A short clip will be shown of the Mascot demonstration protest recently at Oakland Coliseum.

M.C. Jimbo Simmons of AIM, and Mary Jean Robertson, DJ of KPOO Radio 89.5 FM in San Francisco!

With special guests, local entertainment, Drummers, dancers, with traditional Mexicas, are welcome.

Guest speakers include Prof. Lehman Brightman, and Ms. Carol Wahpepah, Director, Inter-tribal Friendship House in Oakland.

A raffle, prizes, food and refreshments (bring your favorites to share!)

COVER CHARGE at the door $ 5.00 Kids under ten years free, no one turned away.

Event is co-sponsored by Inter-Tribal Friendship House 510-452-1235.

*The event will be announced on KPFA Radio 94.1 FM and on “The Rock” during the Annual Sun Rise Gathering, on October 12TH.

The Public is invited!

For more information please call: 415-577-1492


News from Indianz.Com

Land-into-trust bill lacks Republican sponsors (9/29)

Turtle Talk: Single US Attorney not full solution (9/29)

Gyasi Ross: Funerals as Indian family reunions (9/29)

Opinion: Native people should join mainstream (9/29)

Letter: Mascots not an honor for Native people (9/29)

Driver testifies in trial over Pueblo man's death (9/29)

Bill Lawrence shuts down landmark newspaper (9/29)

Little Traverse chairman knocked for interview (9/29)

USDA not ready for Indian discrimination talks (9/29)

Native children overrepresented in foster care (9/29)

Stimulus funds aid Indian women in Minnesota (9/29)

Ottawa woman to enter Michigan Hall of Fame (9/29)

No charges for officers who shot Soboba man (9/29)

Arrest made for murder of ex-Cabazon leader (9/29)

Sho-Bans deny church group's housing permit (9/29)

City threatens to cut services to Coquille Tribe (9/29)

Supreme Court to hear religious freedom case (9/29)

Ex-Congressman implicated in Abramoff probe (9/29)

Florida Gaming Summit set at Seminole casino (9/29)

Tribe gets court date in off-reservation lawsuit (9/29)

Skokomish Tribe closes casino due to economy (9/29)

Editorial: Negotiate deal for Shinnecock casino (9/29)

More headlines...

29 Sep 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Internal Pressure Forces Honduran Coup Regime to Reverse Civil Liberties Crackdown, But Repression Continues
The Honduran coup regime has been forced to reverse a harsh crackdown on civil liberties amidst growing protests for the restoration of the ousted President Manuel Zelaya. But Honduran forces still blocked a large protest march and shut down two media outlets that have criticized the coup regime. Meanwhile, a top US diplomat criticized the coup regime’s decision but then turned around to issue a harsh condemnation of ousted Zelaya. We go to Honduras to speak with Andrés Conteris from inside the embassy where Zelaya is hiding and speak to Luther Castillo, a Honduran doctor who is in Washington to speak with US lawmakers. [includes rush transcript]

Fmr. UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter Warns Against "Politically Motivated Hype" on Iran Nuke Program
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter joins us to discuss what he calls “politically motivated hype” over Iran’s nuclear program. The Obama administration has warned of sanctions unless Iran allows inspections of a newly disclosed nuclear site. Iran insists the site has been used for peaceful purposes. The row comes just after Iran’s test-firing of medium- and long-range missiles and before Iranian officials are due to hold talks with the US and five other nations in Geneva.

As Senate Panel Debates Public Option, Groups Take Direct Action to Promote Single Payer
As debate continues over healthcare reform on Capitol Hill, we hear from two groups taking action to call for a single-payer system: Mad As Hell Doctors, who have been driving across the country in the lead-up to a rally tomorrow in Washington, DC, and Mobilization for Health Care for All, which is launching “Patients Not Profit” sit-ins at insurance company offices nationwide.


Honduran Coup Leaders Block Protest, Close Media Outlets
Admin Admits It Could Miss Gitmo Closure Deadline
Dozens Killed in Guinea Protest
30 Afghan Civilians Die in Roadside Bombing
15 Killed in Iraq Violence
Hamas Backs Egyptian Proposal on Palestinian Unity
Media Group Urges Journalist Protections in Mexico
US Income Disparity Grows
World Bank President Warns on US Currency, Fed Powers
US Chamber of Commerce Loses Members over Climate Stance
Senate Dems Unveil Telecom Immunity Repeal Bill

Monday, September 28, 2009

News from Indianz.Com

Opinion: Create US Attorney for Indian Country (9/28)

Ex-tribal member wants Indian 'emancipation' (9/28)

IHS eyes youth treatment centers in California (9/28)

Tribes face funding and training hurdles at jails (9/28)

Wiyot woman's death investigated as homicide (9/28)

Pojoaque Pueblo disputes county property tax (9/28)

EPA board issues ruling for Navajo power plant (9/28)

Travel: Navajo Nation opens doors to the world (9/28)

Issue: Wisconsin considers Indian child welfare (9/28)

Column: America has outgrown Redskins name (9/28)

Column: Finding a new name for Fighting Sioux (9/28)

Editorial: Behind Mashpee Wampanoag protest (9/28)

Column: Red carpet for seniors at tribal casinos (9/28)

Column: Drunk driving links to Mohegan casino (9/28)

Opinion: Gaming brings jobs to Massachusetts (9/28)

More headlines...

28 Sep 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Nearly 200 Arrested as Police Unleash Tear Gas, Sound Cannons at G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh
As leaders of the world’s richest nations gathered in Pittsburgh for the G-20 summit, thousands took to the streets in protest amidst a heavy police crackdown. Heavily armed riot police were out in force and used tear gas, stun grenades, smoke canisters and sound cannons, which direct extremely loud shrill sounds. Democracy Now! producer Steve Martinez files a report from the streets of Pittsburgh.

Author Arundhati Roy on the Human Costs of India's Economic Growth, the View of Obama from New Delhi, and Escalating US Attacks in Af-Pak
We’re joined from the Indian capital of New Delhi by the Booker Prize-winning novelist, political essayist and global justice activist Arundhati Roy. Her books include the Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things and her latest essay collection, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. We speak to Roy about India’s conflict with Maoist rebels, the occupation of Kashmir, ongoing Indian-Pakistani tensions, Obama’s war in “Af-Pak,” and more.


Honduran Coup Regime Imposes Media, Protest Crackdown
US Threatens “Severe” Sanctions for Iranian Nuke Site
Israeli Troops Fire on Palestinian Protests
G-20 Concludes with Vague Pledges on Global Warming, Finance
South America-Africa Summit Launches Regional Bank, Urges Security Council Reform
US to Open Naval Bases in Panama
Unemployed Workers Exceed Job Openings by 6 to 1
Watada to Be Discharged for Resisting Iraq War
Uninsured Ohio Student Dies After Delaying Medical Care for Swine Flu
Oklahoma Bombing Tapes Appear to Be Edited

Web Exclusive
Arun Gupta asks "What Anti-War Movement?"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

27 Sep 2009: Native News from

Family caught in health dispute / Conflicts between insurance law, tribal sovereignty arise in case (COLORADO) -- Stephen and Naomi Dobbs have some of the same complaints about stonewalling by their health-insurance company as many people.

Tackling the tax of tribal health care benefits (WASHINGTON, DC) -- As tribes that offer health care benefits for its members face increased scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service, tribal leaders are growing increasingly perplexed.

‘Health Care Reform’ on the Flathead Indian Reservation (MONTANA) -- The Tribal Health and Human Services Clinic under construction in downtown Polson represents more than bricks and mortar – it is a visible example of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe’s objective to at once provide adequate primary health care to tribal members and show their commitment to Indian health care providers.

Should counties be required to notify tribes of custody cases involving their members? (WISCONSIN) -- Three decades after the passage of a federal law to protect American Indian families in child custody cases, the state's tribal children still are placed in foster care at twice the rate of non-Indian children, according to state figures.

Justice grants going to tribal programs (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- Three area tribes are the beneficiaries of Department of Justice grants recently announced by Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D. “Unfortunately, our reservations and Indian communities are subject to the highest rates of domestic and violent crime,” Johnson said.

Tribe Lacking Jails Gets Boost From Stimulus Funds (ARIZONA) -- The empty dirt lot between the court building and the police station here is a big reason authorities say criminals on the western side of the Navajo Nation have little fear of jail time.

Navajo Nation opens window to its world (ARIZONA) -- On the road through the tree-studded high desert toward the small town of Chinle, Arizona, the car radio was picking up the local Navajo station, with a playlist heavy in Top 40 hits, peppered with Navajo-language station breaks and car commercials.

Smithsonian awards job to Sault Printing (MICHIGAN) -- Washington DC’s Smithsonian Institution has selected Sault Printing Company to be its printer of choice this fall for a variety of printing projects for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).

Tribe opposes UND nickname (NORTH DAKOTA) -- Members of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe who oppose the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname say they will seek reversal of a Tribal Council resolution supporting the moniker.

Schnepf: Finding UND a new nickname will be tricky (NORTH DAKOTA) -- Thursday is the supposed deadline for the University of North Dakota to get the support it needs to retain its Sioux nickname.

Tribe Appealing Everglades Ruling (FLORIDA) -- The Miccosukee Tribe is appealing a judge's decision that would allow Florida water managers to move ahead with a $536 million deal to buy land from U.S. Sugar Corp. for restoring the Everglades.

In Arizona, Push for Indian Law on State Bar Exam (ARIZONA) -- As an attorney specializing in American Indian law, Robert Brauchli routinely fields questions from fellow lawyers about where to file a complaint if a client slipped and fell in a tribal casino or if there was a vehicle accident on reservation land.

Supreme Courtship (NEW YORK) -- In 1937, faced with a Supreme Court that he saw as mulishly blocking his effort to rescue the country from the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared war on the justices — and on the whole notion of deferring to their interpretation of the Constitution.

Energy Poll Results Mirror Debate Surveys Show Different Views of Global Warming (WISCONSIN) -- State global warming legislation will send jobs out of Wisconsin or create jobs in the "green" economy, likely voters say -- depending on whose poll you believe.

Mining waste pushed for road construction (WASHINGTON, DC) -- A spending bill for the Interior Department approved by the Senate this week provides an incentive for contractors to buy mine waste in the polluted Tar Creek area for use in highway projects.

Contaminated mine site gets EPA attention / SALT CHUCK: Tribe pushes for cleanup to protect children. (ALASKA) -- An old mine near where clams and mussels are contaminated with arsenic and heavy metals is being proposed for priority cleanup as a federal Superfund site.

EPA to reconsider Navajo coal plant permit (NEW MEXICO) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have to reconsider an air permit the agency issued last year for a proposed $3 billion coal-fired power plant on the nation's largest American Indian reservation, a federal appeals board has ruled.

More headlines

Dan Berger on Political Prisoners in the United States

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Dan Berger on Political Prisoners in the United States

By Angola 3 News

This new interview with author/activist Dan Berger was conducted in the Winter of 2009. The interview is mostly based on Berger's essay "The Real Dragons: A Brief History of Political Militancy and Incarceration: 1960s to 2000s," which is featured in the book "Let Freedom Ring: A Collection of Documents from the Movements to Free U.S. Political Prisoners" (PM Press, 2008).

In part one, Berger discusses his new research into US prison movements of the 1970s, which Berger is researching and writing about for his PhD dissertation at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

In part two, Berger discusses prisoner movements today, particularly in light of the recent ten-year anniversaries of both Critical Resistance and The Jericho Movement.

Dan Berger is a writer and activist living in Philadelphia. He is the author of "Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity" (AK Press, 2006) and co-editor of "Letters From Young Activists: Today's Rebels Speak Out" (Nation Books, 2005). Presently, along with his dissertation about 1970s prison movements, he is editing a book about 1970s-era radicalism, titled "Hidden Histories of 1970s Radicalism" (forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in Fall, 2010). His writings have also been published in The International Journal of Communication, The Nation, Punishment & Society, WireTap, Z Magazine, and

The grandson of Holocaust survivors, Berger has long been involved in struggles for social justice. From 2000 to 2003, he served as founding co-editor of ONWARD, a now-defunct internationally distributed quarterly anarchist newspaper based in Gainesville, Florida, that emerged out of the global justice movement. Berger has also been involved in an array of
organizing efforts against war, racism, and the prison industrial complex. A longtime activist in support of U.S. political prisoners, Berger has published and presented scholarly essays on news images and prison abuse, alternative media and globalization, and race and social movements.

This new video-interview is made by Angola 3 News, which is an official project of The International Coalition to Free the Angola 3. Over 37 years ago in Louisiana, 3 young black men were silenced for trying to expose continued segregation, systematic corruption, and horrific abuse in the biggest prison in the US, an 18,000-acre former slave plantation called Angola. In 1972 and 1973 prison officials charged Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King (who then became known as the Angola 3) with murders they did not commit and threw them into 6x9 ft. cells in solitary confinement, for over 36 years. Robert was freed in 2001 after 29 years of continuous solitary confinement, but Herman and Albert remain behind bars.

Through our work supporting the Angola 3, we seek to spotlight the broader issues that are central to their story, like racism, repression, prisons, human rights, solitary confinement as torture, political prisoners, the legacy of the Black Panther Party, and more. Our first video focused on California death row prisoner Kevin Cooper. Please stay tuned for future videos and more original multi-media projects by visiting and our other websites:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This Week from Indian Country Today

NIGC's Hogen to retire; Skibine to be interim chair
WASHINGTON – Phil Hogen, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission will be stepping down after nine years on the job. Read more »


Blumenthal files amicus brief
Dorgan’s ‘Carcieri fix’ introduced to Senate
Conference focuses on opportunities for health care reform
Tribal environmental employee selected for national committee
North Dakota tribes urge settlement in Keepseagle case
Tackling the tax of tribal health care benefits
Tribes ‘oversubscribed’ to bonding authority program
Cherokee history is new focus in southeast Tennessee
The land of many welcomes
Crews save ocean life by cleaning up lost gear
NIGC's Hogen to retire; Skibine to be interim chair
Fellowship focuses on conservation
Redskins litigants press Supreme Court action
Awarding eagle feathers at graduation ceremony stirs controversy
Translated NC mission records describe tribal life
Boise woman works to protect American Indian site
NIGC offers new database for background information
Onondaga ceremonially buries 180 ancient ones after repatriation
Urban Natives rally to keep Seattle OICW office open
$2 million housing grant, new tribal court help build Mashpee Wampanoag nation
Determining fate of looted relics could take years
School dress code proves a hardship for US tribe
The land of many welcomes
Silver Reef takes on a college air with training program
Stimulus money will fund habitat restoration projects


Great Lakes


Trimble: From ‘Untied’ to United?

Two years ago my wife and I vacationed in France, although I had some apprehension about the trip. For many years I had a general dislike for the French. I had the impression that they hated Americans, and had heard that the French don’t really like anyone except the French. As a matter of fact I had the impression that no European country liked any other European country very much. Read more »

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

Friday, September 25, 2009

Indian prison has lessons for modern Guantanamo

Indian prison has lessons for modern Guantanamo
By Chuck Raasch, Gannett National Writer

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The ghosts of 1875 are all around.

Beginning that year and continuing off and on into the 1880s, American Indians suspected of terrorizing white settlers pushing West were confined in a prison here not unlike the one at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The country struggled to define the Indians' legal status. Were they criminals, prisoners of war, or agitators who needed to be confined to stop them from attacking again?

Sound familiar?

It must be stated clearly: There are vast moral differences between Native Americans fighting for ancestral homes and Islamic fundamentalist terrorists bent on mass murder of Americans in their homes and cities.

But British statesman Edmund Burke's famous admonition, "Those that don't know history are destined to repeat it," seemed especially poignant during my tour this month of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, one of the oldest European colonial forts in North America.

From 1875-1878, this facility – by then known as Fort Marion– became a prison camp for 72 Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Caddo and Arapaho leaders and their families. In the 1880s, hundreds of Apaches were confined here.

Some early captives had survived the Sand Creek massacre in Colorado in 1864, a military attack on a Cheyenne and Arapaho encampment in which more than 400 died.

The status of the prisoners was left to the attorney general's office to sort out, said Brad Lookingbill, a professor of history at Columbia College in Missouri, and author of a 2006 book, War Dance at Fort Marion: Plains Indian War Prisoners.

"Are they criminals, warriors, treated like soldiers?" Lookingbill said. "They left it open. They didn't resolve it."

This was pre-Geneva Convention, there was no ACLU to defend the prisoners, and there had been no declaration of Indian wars. They were imprisoned in Florida, away from their tribes, "because they were potential troublemakers," Lookingbill said.

Two years after the Sioux wiped out Gen. George A. Custer's 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn, this first group of prisoners was allowed to either return home or go to school.

They had become a tourist attraction and a cause for wealthy New Englanders. Fort Marion's commander, Army Capt. Richard Henry Pratt, cut the men's hair, made them wear uniforms and drill, and dressed the women and children in skirts and pants.

A Cheyenne leader, Medicine Water, was a Sand Creek survivor who had killed settlers and surveyors in the Oklahoma Territory. He told his family that he was held in a small cave and interrogated.

"They wanted to know who was helping him, where they were, so they would be able to go get them," said Dolores Subia BigFoot, an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma's Health Sciences Center. "And he would never tell. And this was the story that was handed down through the generations, starting in the 1880s."

BigFoot had ancestors held at Fort Marion. Her late husband, John Sipes Jr., a Cheyenne chief and great-great grandson of Medicine Water, began recording the history of the Fort Marion prisoners in the 1990s.

Fort Marion can provide some lessons for Guantanamo.

Some paths out of captivity do not lead to violence.

Some Fort Marion prisoners ended up at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, where Pratt tried to convert Indian students to Christianity. One of Carlisle's largest contingents was more than 1,000 Sioux from the Dakotas, who had been scattered, pursued and pushed back to reservations after Custer's defeat.

Over the school's 40 years of existence, some Carlisle graduates assimilated into white culture, some ran away, some died on campus, and some graduated into a netherworld between tradition and the dominant culture.

Making Medicine, one of the fiercest Cheyenne fighters held at Fort Marion, went to Carlisle and became Episcopal Bishop David Pendleton Oakerhater.

An unrepentant Medicine Water went straight home to Oklahoma and hauled freight for the government that had imprisoned him. Generations later, his descendants fight to defend his actions during a time when Native Americans were considered the terrorists.

News from Indianz.Com

Police Crackdown on G20 Protests: Democracy Now! Reports from the Streets

Police Crackdown on G20 Protests: Democracy Now! Reports from the Streets

World leaders are gathering in Pittsburgh for the G20 summit under the shadow of a police crackdown on protesters in the streets. Heavily-armed riot police are out in force all over the city, using tear gas, stun grenades, smoke canisters, and sound cannons, which direct extremely loud shrill sounds. This is believed to be the first time sound cannons have been publicly used in the United States. Democracy Now! producer Steve Martinez reports from the streets of Pittsburgh.


Tune in on Monday for Steve’s full report.

25 Sep 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Report: U.S.-Initiated WTO Rules Could Undermine Regulatory Overhaul of Global Finance
As the G20 meets in Pittsburgh, a new report from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch warns that the World Trade Organization has long advanced extreme financial deregulation under the guise of trade agreements and could undermine the current push for increasing regulation. We speak to Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division.

G20 Summit in Pittsburgh Highlights Economic Decline of Former Steel Capital
Leaders and delegates for the G20 arrived in Pittsburgh Thursday evening under the shadow of a police crackdown on protesters. The city is no stranger to protests and has a long history of labor uprisings. We speak to longtime Pittsburgh resident, historian, and labor organizer Charles McCollester on the changing face of this former steel capital.

Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai: If U.S. Moves Forward on Climate Change, Rest of World Will Follow
A new overview of research on global warming has found climate change is happening faster and on a broader scale than scientists projected in 2007. The new findings come in a week where the issue of global warming is at the fore with a one-day UN summit on climate change and the G20 in Pittsburgh. We speak with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, who was chosen to speak on behalf of international civil society at the UN summit.

At Historic Summit, Security Council Passes Resolution to Limit Nuclear Proliferation
The UN Security Council has unanimously passed a U.S.-drafted resolution aimed at shoring up the international commitment to limiting the spread of nuclear weapons. But critics say it failed to include mandatory provisions that would have required nuclear states to take concrete disarmament steps. We speak to John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy. He recently met with several UN missions of Security Council members regarding the nuclear vote.


Iran Admits Existence of New Uranium Enrichment Plant
UN Security Council OKs Nuclear Proliferation Measure
5 US Troops Killed in Afghanistan
US Strike Kills 4 in Pakistan
Senate Finance Panel Rejects Curbs on Drug Costs
Jailed Suspect Charged in Terror Plot
Zelaya Rules Out Coup Regime Talks
White House Retracts Promise to Block Israel War Crimes Prosecution
Chavez Criticizes US-Colombia Base Deal
US Opens Burma Junta Talks
Study Warns of Global Temperature Rise
Patrick Appoints Interim Kennedy Successor
Thousands Protest Budget Cuts, Tuition Hikes at California Schools

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Second Guarani village burned in Mato Grosso do Sul

On the morning of Sept. 18, the Guarani community of Apyka'y was violently attacked by a group of ten armed men. One Guarani was injured after the men fired randomly toward their village camp, which is situated along the BR-483 highway in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Several others were "beaten with fists and knives". The [...]

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It's Time To Roll Back The So-Called Patriot Act

A group of Senate Democrats led by Russ Feingold (WI) and Dick Durbin (IL) have proposed the Judicious Use of Surveillance Tools in Counter-terrorism Efforts (JUSTICE) Act, a bill that would introduce stronger safeguards and higher standards of judicial oversight for surveillance activity. It aims to reform the most abusive characteristics of the PATRIOT Act and would also roll back a controversial provision of the FISA Amendment Act that granted telecom companies retroactive immunity for their participation in the Bush administration's extralegal warrantless surveillance program.

Senator Feingold says that the goal of the act is to ensure that surveillance and intelligence-gathering activities are properly empowered while guaranteeing that rights are respected and investigative privileges are not misused. The proposal is broadly endorsed by privacy advocates and civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But in order for it to pass, WE THE PEOPLE must speak out to demand it.

This one click form will send your personal message to all your selected government representatives, with the subject "Pass the Justice Act." At the same time you can send your personal comments only as a letter to the editor of your nearest local daily newspaper if you like.

Go >>

Prisoners’ Rights

September 24, 2009
Prisoners’ Rights
NY Times Editorial

In 1996, Congress passed a law that made it much harder for inmates to challenge abusive treatment. It has contributed significantly to the bad conditions — including the desperate overcrowding — that prevail today. The law must be fixed.

In the name of clamping down on frivolous lawsuits, the Prison Reform Litigation Act barred prisoners from suing prisons and jails unless they could show that they had suffered a physical injury. Prison officials have used this requirement to block lawsuits challenging all sorts of horrific conditions, including sexual abuse.

The law also requires inmates to present their claims to prison officials before filing a suit. The prisons set the rules for those grievance procedures, notes Stephen Bright, the president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, and they have an incentive to make the rules as complicated as possible, so prisoners will not be able to sue. “That has become the main purpose of many grievance systems,” Mr. Bright told Congress last year.

In the last Congress, Representative Robert Scott, Democrat of Virginia, sponsored the Prison Abuse Remedies Act. It would have eliminated the physical injury requirement and made it harder for prison officials to get suits dismissed for failure to exhaust grievance procedures. It would have exempted juveniles, who are especially vulnerable to abuse, from the law’s restrictions.

The bill’s supporters need to try again this year. Conditions in the nation’s overcrowded prisons are becoming increasingly dangerous; recently, there have been major riots in California and Kentucky. Prisoner lawsuits are a way of reining in the worst abuses, which contribute to prison riots and other violence.

The main reason to pass the new law, though, is human decency. The only way to ensure that inmates are not mistreated is to guarantee them a fair opportunity to bring their legitimate complaints to court.

News from Indianz.Com

Thune seeks commitment for public safety fund (9/24)

BIE school closed for large number of flu cases (9/24)

NPR interviews IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux (9/24)

Hope fades for Native man missing over a year (9/24)

Montana tribes receive grants to build new jails (9/24)

Umatilla Tribes to create jobs with bond project (9/24)

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe takes hit on budget (9/24)

Navajo Nation hopes to expand elderly services (9/24)

Judge rejects mistrial over Pueblo man's death (9/24)

Blog: Union to announce partnership with tribes (9/24)

Letters: Readers react to Redskins controversy (9/24)

City sues Coquille Tribe over missed payments (9/24)

Alaska Natives oppose delay on climate change (9/24)

Lots of drama as Abramoff figure trial continues (9/24)

First Nation erects blockade against moose hunt (9/24)

Pauma Band sues to invalidate gaming compact (9/24)

Tribe awaits date in off-reservation gaming suit (9/24)

Racetracks in Texas welcome Chickasaw Nation (9/24)

Editorial: Milking the Seminole Tribe casino cow (9/24)

More headlines...

24 Sep 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

After 20 Years of Filmmaking on US Injustices, Michael Moore Goes to the Source in "Capitalism: A Love Story"
Beginning with the 1989 classic Roger & Me, the Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore says his films “come back to a central core concern: the economic system we have is unfair, unjust and undemocratic.” With his new film, Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore tackles the financial system and the interchanging circles of Washington politicians and corporate managers that run it. Moore says, “I thought I’d cut to the chase and propose we deal with this economic system and restructure it in a way that benefits people and not the wealthiest one percent.” [includes rush transcript–partial]


2 Hondurans Killed in Anti-Coup Protests
Obama Calls for “New Era of Engagement” in UN Address
Obama to Chair Security Council Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament
Gaddafi Delivers 1st UN Address
Hundreds Protest Ahmadinejad Outside UN
Iran to Let Nuclear Experts Meet Western Counterparts
Greenpeace Unfurls Protest Banner on Pittsburgh Bridge
McChrystal to Submit Afghan Troop Request
Obama Won’t Seek New Indefinite Detention Authority
Report: Massive FBI Data-Mining Program Extends Beyond Terror Cases
Congress Debates Reauthorizing PATRIOT Act Spy Methods
White House Scales Back Overhaul of Financial Rules