Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Illegal Imprisonment of Leonard Peltier

March 26, 2010
San Francisco, California


Lenny Foster (Dine’)
Navajo Nation Corrections Project

Board of Directors
International Indian Treaty Council

My name is Lenny Foster (Dine’) and I am the Program Supervisor for the Navajo Nation Corrections Project in Window Rock, Arizona and I have been a volunteer traditional Spiritual Advisor for American Indian adults and juveniles in the respective state and federal prisons for the past thirty years. The Navajo Nation Corrections Project is a counseling and advocacy program for Navajo and other Native American inmates incarcerated in state and federal prisons. I also work with families of incarcerated American Indian prisoners and our major activities include spiritual services such as the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies, Pipe Ceremonies, Talking Circles, Spiritual Gatherings, ecclesiastical visits to Death Row and probation and parole advocacy.

I have been a Board Member for the International Indian Treaty Council since spring 1992. The International Indian Treaty Council is an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North, Central and South Americas, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands working for the Sovereignty and Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples and recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Treaties, Traditional Culture and Sacred Lands.

My submission of this paper will serve to illustrate my support and respect for Leonard Peltier #89637-132, Ojibwa-Lakota from Turtle Mountain, North Dakota who is presently detained at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He has been incarcerated for the last thirty four years. His case illustrates the discrimination and racist attitudes and human rights violations within the United States criminal justice system. His recent denial of his petition to be released on parole shows the biased and skewed decisions based on lack of compliance for the due process of his release on parole by the U.S. Parole Commission. He satisfactorily met the criteria for release on parole after thirty years of incarceration and assured by the Parole Act of 2005.

I have known Leonard Peltier since November of 1970 when we first met in Denver, Colorado when he was 26 years old and I was 22 years old. We were young and idealistic about making changes throughout Indian Country. I participated in the American Indian Movement with him and we both participated in the ancient ceremonial practices of the Lakota Sun Dance; Sweat Lodge Ceremonies and Pipe Ceremonies. He was a role model and mentor to the younger Indians and he was older brother to many of the younger men and women in the movement.

Leonard along with others was implicated in a shootout with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on June 26, 1975 in Oglala, South Dakota. These turn of events began an illegal and unjust incarceration against Leonard Peltier by the U.S. Government. He fled to Canada and was arrested in Canada on February 6, 1976 and he was extradited from Canada in December based on an affidavit signed by a Myrtle Poor Bear, Native American woman who was known to have serious mental health problems and a woman Leonard did not know.

Ms. Poor Bear claimed to have been Leonard Peltier’s girlfriend was not true or factual and yet she claimed to have been present at the time of the shooting and was witnessed to the shootings. She later confessed she had given false statements after being pressured, threaten and terrorized by the FBI agents.
Ms. Poor Bear wanted to testify about her treatment by the FBI agents and provide a full detailed report of threats by the FBI agents; however, the Federal Judge barred her testimony on the grounds of mental incompetence. She provided false testimony to convict Mr. Peltier and that fact is now considered moot. This conviction on disputed evidence led to a decision that convicted Leonard Peltier to two consecutive life terms in federal prison. This conviction was based on fabricated evidence and it ruined the confidence for a free and unbiased trial.

Leonard has been in the United State Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois; Leavenworth, Kansas; and Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and he has been an exemplary and model inmate with no incident reports. He has been a regular participant in the weekly Sweat Lodge ceremonies and Pipe Ceremonies which is a very positive spiritual experience for all those young Native prisoners who partake in the ancient cleansing and purification ceremony. I have been visiting him as his Spiritual Advisor since March 1985 at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas and I have been witness to his changes in his demeanor, spirituality and is a serene and a kind and very respectful person. He has become a very respected and revered elder. He is now sixty-six years old.

It is my opinion that Leonard Peltier is not a threat to the community nor would his release jeopardize the community much less “depreciate the seriousness of the law” or “promote disrespect for the law”. I have prayed and conducted the sweat lodge ceremony with him and he is a very genuine and exudes humanity. He has expressed remorse about the incident and prays for all who were there on that day on June 26, 1975 and I believed he has made amends and has made his prayers of forgiveness to the Creator. He has helped many and encouraged Indian prisoners to rehabilitate themselves by advocating a drug and alcohol free lifestyle while encouraging pride and learning about their culture and traditions. He is a father, grandfather, and a great grandfather. He is considered a wise elder among the younger Indian prisoners and I can attest to that fact because I have been visiting him for twenty five years and I have observed his maturity flourished. He has been experiencing severe health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, losing his eyesight due to diabetes and a jaw that needs immediate medical attention and I hope and pray this serious condition warrants immediate release from prison to serve out his remaining days with his great grandchildren and grandchildren on his home reservation in North Dakota.

While in prison, Leonard has advocated for peace and respect for the rights of others; he has numerous project he has initiated and spearheaded a pilot program with Dr. Steward Selkin on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation on health care deliver including health care delivery and hopefully implement similar programs on Indian Reservations throughout the United States; also he has worked with Professor Jeffery Timmons on a program to stimulate reservation based economics and investments in Native American business enterprises including component to teach business ownership and operation to the Native youth. Also, he helped established a scholarship at New York University for Native American students seeking a law degree. He has raised two of his grandchildren from prison and he has sponsored young children through various boards and programs. He has sponsored and organized emergency food drives and Toys for Tots on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

He has become a very accomplished and self taught painter and has donated many of his paintings to worthy causes, human rights and social welfare organizations and has worked to develop prisoner art programs whereby increasing prisoner’s self-confidence. Many of his paintings are in demand from many Art Galleries and from art collectors throughout the world. Some of the recipients have been American Civil Liberties Union, Trail of Hope, World Peace and Prayer Day, the First Nation Student Association; and the Buffalo Trust Fund along with many others including human rights activists and movie actors. His humanitarian and charitable works reaches far into the community and programs. Leonard has been widely recognized for his humanitarian works and has won several human rights award including the North Star Frederick Douglas Award; Federation of Labour in Ontario, Canada; Humanist of the Year Award; Human Rights Commission of Spain International Human Rights Prize and the 2004 Silver Arrow Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2009 Leonard Peltier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the sixth consecutive year. He maintains his dignity and pride in spite of being incarcerated for thirty-four years.

I recommend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples seek compliance through the Declaration of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and demand a congressional investigation into the human rights violations of Leonard Peltier. Invitations will be made to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples to visit Leonard Peltier at the United State Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I request his petition for Executive Clemency is approved by the United States Justice Department and President Barack Obama.

Thank you.

CCR Challenges Experimental Prison Units: Federal Units Target Muslims, Activists

CCR Challenges Experimental Prison Units that Restrict Communication and Forbid Physical Contact with Family Without Due Process
Segregated Federal Units Target Muslims, Activists

March 30, 2010, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit challenging violations of fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to due process, at two experimental federal prison units called “Communications Management Units” (CMUs). The units are being used overwhelmingly to hold Muslim prisoners and prisoners with unpopular political beliefs.

CCR filed Aref v. Holder in the D.C. District Court on behalf of five current and former prisoners of the units in Terre Haute, IN and Marion, IL; two other plaintiffs are the spouses of prisoners. The CMUs were secretly opened under the Bush administration in 2006 and 2007 respectively and were designed to monitor and control the communications of certain prisoners and to isolate them from other prisoners and the outside world.

Transfers to the CMU are not explained; nor are prisoners told how release into less restrictive confinement may be earned as there is no review process. Lawyers say that because these transfers are not based on facts or discipline for infractions, a pattern of religious and political discrimination and retaliation for prisoners’ lawful advocacy has emerged. The five plaintiffs in Aref were designated to the two CMUs despite having relatively or totally clean disciplinary histories, and none of the plaintiffs have received any communications-related disciplinary infractions in the last decade. Several of the plaintiffs expect to serve the entire remaining duration of their sentences at the CMU.

“These units are an experiment in social isolation,” said CCR Attorney Alexis Agathocleous. “People are being put in these extraordinarily restrictive units without being told why and without any meaningful review. Dispensing with due process creates a situation ripe for abuse; in this case, it has allowed for a pattern of religious profiling, retaliation and arbitrary punishment. This is precisely what the rule of law and the Constitution forbid.”

In addition to heavily restricted telephone and visitation access, CMU prisoners are categorically denied any physical contact with family members and are forbidden from hugging, touching or embracing their children or spouses during visits. Attorneys say this blanket ban on contact visitation, which is unique in the federal prison system, not only causes suffering to the families of the incarcerated men, but is a violation of fundamental constitutional rights.

Said the 14-year-old daughter of one of the prisoners in the lawsuit, “The thing that hurts the most is that I can hear him but I can never touch him. I haven’t hugged, kissed or held my dad since December of 2007.”

Between 65 and 72 percent of CMU prisoners are Muslim men, a fact that attorneys say demonstrates that the CMUs were created to allow for the segregation and restrictive treatment of Muslims based on the discriminatory belief that such prisoners are more likely than others to pose a threat to prison security.

Others prisoners appear to be transferred to the CMU because of other protected First Amendment activity, such as speaking out on social justice issues or filing grievances in prison or court regarding conditions and abuse.

For more information on Aref v. Holder, visit CCR’s legal case page.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

Free Lynne Stewart


Lynne Stewart has devoted her life to defending the poor and the oppressed. After forty years of exposing government targeting of the most vulnerable and exploited in our society, the government has now acted to bury her alive.

The government prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of Lynne Stewart is based solely upon the fact that she joined former Attorney-General Ramsey Clark and attorney Abdeen Jabbar in defending Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman against the trumped up charge that he organized and implemented a terrorist plot to blow up noted landmarks, including the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Statue of Liberty and United Nations, along with planning to assassinate then Senator Alphonse D¹Amato and former U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali.

These charges were false. The plot was entirely an FBI plan designed to ensnare young men attending the mosque of the Sheikh in order to create a climate of fear in the United States and to provide a pretext for wars abroad and the drastic infringement of democratic rights at home.

These are the stakes in the government's own conspiracy against all defense lawyers who dare to represent those targeted by a criminal State.

Even federal investigators, high-ranking Justice Department lawyers and Attorney General Janet Reno herself doubted the evidence. The Los Angeles Times reported on August 28, 1993 that "For weeks, federal investigators privately voiced their doubts about the quality of the evidence supporting the government¹s case against Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman."

"But in the end," the article revealed, "Attorney General Janet Reno overcame her own misgivings, as well as those of her subordinates and concluded that the alleged conspiracy was a case that had to be prosecuted."

The then Attorney General was muscled into proceeding with false charges against the Sheikh arising from a plot prepared by the F.B.I. itself, as documented in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and London Times.

Lynne Stewart was herself convicted in a trial where endless hours of footage of Osama bin Laden and the attacks of September 11th, 2001 all entirely unrelated to the events of 1993 were allowed by the court to be introduced in trial in a reckless and illegal attempt to frighten and intimidate the jury.

In a case that is a watershed in the direct assault upon democratic rights in the United States, Lynne Stewart has been railroaded to prison in an ominous threat to any attorney who defends people falsely accused and targeted by the U.S. government. If lawyers can be enfolded within the crime imputed to the client they defend, merely for acting as their attorney, no one can get a fair trial in the United States.

The basis of the government's claim that Lynne Stewart "aided and supported terrorism" by defending Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman is that she released a Press Release to Reuters and other news agencies containing the views of the Sheikh on political events in Egypt!

Unconstitutional restrictions upon defense lawyers had been introduced in the form of new prison administrative procedures called Special Administrative Measures or SAMS. These measures required attorneys to agree not to disseminate information pertaining to their clients.

Thus, while the government uses the Press without restraint to orchestrate official propaganda promoting prosecutorial claims, defense lawyers are to be denied the right to use the press to advocate for their clients and to present their clients opinions and ideas.

The sole penalty for violating these arbitrary administrative restrictions upon the constitutional rights of defense attorneys is that the prison can deny access by the lawyer to the defendant until the matter is resolved.

Even these SAMS designed to muzzle lawyers and prevent them from exercising their free speech rights and to restrict illegally their ability to defend their clients in the public arena are strictly administrative rules.

To defy them as Ramsey Clark and Abdeen Jabbar elected to do no less than Lynne Stewart - carries no legal consequences for the attorney. To breach these administrative restraints is not a crime or an act for which the perpetrator can be charged or prosecuted.

Yet in a mockery of the entire judicial process, the Second Circuit Appellate Judges have deployed the breach of these prison administrative rulings as a major crime one of "enhancing terrorism" and of "perjury" for which decades of imprisonment are in order!

The comments by judges in the Second Circuit are without even the pretence of a judicial or legal basis. They are political rants and reckless threats to Judge Koeltl demanding that he increase the 28 month sentence of Lynne Stewart to decades in prison.

The statements by several Second Circuit Judges are injudicious, hysterical assertions that the Sheikh is one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world. The Second Circuit judges cite a speech that Lynne Stewart gave to a public meeting of law students patent hearsay derived from newspaper reports - in which Lynne is quoted as stating that she had done nothing wrong in advocating for her client and would do it again.

Second Circuit Judges assert that their statements are "a wink and a nod" to Judge Koeltl, letting him understand that unless he increases the sentence of Lynne Stewart to decades in prison, the U.S. government will appeal again and send the case right back to the Second Circuit, at which time these Second Circuit judges will take matters into their own hands and mandate a sentence of decades in prison.

On the basis of this speech, these judges label Lynne a "recidivist enhancer of terror" and a "perjurer." Rarely has their been so brazen an abandonment of judicial impartiality and respect for the law as exhibited by these hanging judges of the Second Circuit.

It is a measure of the subversion of the entire judicial process and of constitutional protections and basic democratic rights that these judges emulate Alice in Wonderland with scarcely veiled threats to Judge Koeltl as they proclaim "Off with her head!"

Lynne Stewart at 70 years of age has survived cancer, suffers from high blood pressure, has been deprived of her medication and denied the surgery that was scheduled prior to her being remanded to prison in a crass display of contempt for common decency.

The Second Circuit judges revoked her bail in November 2009 ignoring the fact that her Appeal remains under review and a potential Appeal to the Supreme Court is pending.

Mobilize in defense of Lynne Stewart and against the architecture of the fascist State under rapid construction in America.

Proclaim that Lynne Stewart¹s is the Dreyfus Case of our time and that today as then a criminal state wages wars of genocide abroad and authoritarian repression at home while seeking to scapegoat a heroic defender of the oppressed, thus betraying the legacy of the American revolution.

Organize large numbers of people to gather outside and inside Judge Koeltl's Courtroom at 500 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan when Lynne Stewart is scheduled to be re-sentenced on July 15.

Write personal letters to Judge Koeltl opposing the destruction of democratic rights and the threat to all attorneys embodied in the reckless persecution and prosecution of Lynne Stewart.

Remind the Judge that Lynne Stewart has, in his own words, been a national treasure reflecting a lifetime of devoted public service and that he should treat her accordingly and reserve draconian sentencing for the torturers and the wagers of wars of aggression.

Call upon Judge Koeltl to defy attempts by judges on the Second Circuit to usurp his own proper judgment and jurisdiction by dictating a vengeful sentence that is a death sentence upon the U.S. constitution.

Write accordingly directly to: The Honorable Judge John G. Koeltl, United States District Judge, Southern District of New York, 500 Pearl Street, New York, N.Y. 10013.

Email copies of your letter to Judge Koeltl to Ralph Poynter and Lynne Stewart at / / and obtain ongoing information.

Mail a copy of your letter to Judge Koeltl to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee at 350 Broadway, Suite 700, N.Y., N.Y. 10013.

SF8 Update

Join members of the SF8: Francisco Torres, Richard Brown, Ray Boudreaux, Hank Jones & Richard O'Neal




WHERE: SF COURT BUILDING: 850 BRYANT (btw 6th and 7th streets) SF

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown and the state of California have spent more than 2 million dollars to prosecute a 39 year old case based on torture. The charges have already been dropped on 5 defendants and 2 more got probation - all because of lack of evidence. Now it's time for the case to be finished - all charges must be dropped on Francisco Torres as well.


For more information:

Cuban 5: Postcard Campaign Generates Worldwide Interest

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
Postcard Campaign Generates Worldwide Interest

Last year the US Supreme Court ignored an unprecedented number of amicus briefs from all over the world in support of the Cuban Five. In keeping, the Obama administration also continues to ignore messages coming in from all over the world in different shapes and forms asking for the release of the Five and the right of family visits. But the lack of their responses will not deter the strong international solidarity movement that is growing in their support. We know that the US government is fully aware of the case and the pressure that our movement puts on it has to be relentless.

In January our committee launched a postcard campaign directed to President Obama with the list of 10 Nobel Prize who support the freedom of the Five urging him to act by saying "we are waiting for your signature."

Right away support poured in from all over the world and the United States. The idea of the postcards captured the imagination of many who knew about the case and we sent them to Argentina, Austria, Botswana, Canada, Cuba, Italy, Lebanon, México, Peru, Panama, Puerto Rico, Quebec, Ukraine, Russia, South Africa and Spain. Committees and individuals in solidarity with the Cuban Five took the campaign even further by requesting PDF's to print the postcard in their own country and language. These countries included Germany, Spain, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador, France, México, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Inside the United States we received orders from many states including Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oregon, New México, Minnesota, New York, Texas, Washington DC and Wisconsin. In California the requests for postcards came from Banning, Berkeley, Chula Vista, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Paso Robles, Redwood City, San Diego, San Francisco, San José, Santa Barbara and Santa Rosa.

We are planning a number of public activities in the upcoming months and we will need thousands more postcards to distribute. And while the orders continue to come in we have completely run out of the original print run.

Thanks to the solidarity of friends and committees we have covered the cost of the first run. We were able to send postcards free of charge to committees in Latin America that lack economic resources. But in response to the demand from the United States and abroad, we need to place a new order of 20,000 postcards, and to do that, we need your support. Any amount will help and be appreciated.

We urge you to keep the orders coming in and we thank you in advance for your help. We know that the Obama Administration will not be able to ignore the thousands of postcards arriving at the postal room of the oval office, every day, from all over the world.

We need to continue to raise the just demand for the freedom of our brothers. It will soon be 12 years that Rene, Gerardo, Fernando, Antonio and Ramon have been held in US prisons for opposing terrorism.

Despite the silence from the Obama administration, we know that people working together from all over the world are making an impact and the government is gauging our strength. At the re-sentencing hearing for Antonio in Miami last October the US prosecutor recognized the international support for the Cuban Five when she agreed with the reduction of his sentence because "We need to calm the water of contentiousness that swirls around this case."

We need to keep making waves of solidarity that go over the current campaign of slander being orquestrated by Europe and the United States against Cuba. This is nothing more than an attempt to confuse and undermine our solidarity and to silence the case of the Cuban Five.

Everything that our movement does is crucial in the face of so many lies and the shameful silence about the Five; let us redouble our solidarity.

Donate to the Postcard Campaign

WRITE YOUR CHECK TO: International Committee
Send your donation to
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five
P.O. Box 22455
Oakland, CA 94609

TO MAKE A DONATION BY WAY OF A WIRE TRANSACTION, FROM ANY COUNTRY WRITE TO US to: and we will send you the necessary information to make the transaction.

CREDIT CARD DONATION (then scroll down to the donate button) International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

Stay tuned to our website with latest development on the case:

Arctic Summit told to leave it in the ground and more...

Indigenous Environmental Network Newsletter

In this issue:

♦ United States Social Forum: DEADLINE EXTENDED to April 20th by popular demand!

♦ BP Fortnight of Shame!

♦ Take action with Grassy Narrows

♦ Taking on Tarmageddon

♦ FIRST NATION Rights impacted by Alberta Regulations; no Consultation

♦ Oilsands company attempts to silence former Mikisew Chief

♦ EPA Training: Mining Information Session for Tribes

♦ Women on the Border Awards: Ofelia Rivas and Teresa Armenta Mendez

♦ UK and North America groups slam Calgary opening of British ‘tar sands’ bank


News from Indianz.Com

Cobell discusses trust fund settlement at Yakama Nation (3/31)

Gyasi Ross: Cobell a hero and warrior for Indian Country (3/31)

Tribes working to keep cases away from Supreme Court (3/31)

NCAI encourages Indian Country to take part in Census (3/31)

Colville woman heading to Italy to discuss church abuse (3/31)

Muscogee Nation plans $1B investment in Tulsa projects (3/31)

Navajo bilingual classes popular at school in New Mexico (3/31)

Quileute Nation selling items inspired by 'Twilight' series (3/31)

Mashpee Wampanoag woman honored for achievements (3/31)

Editorial: Reach compromise over Alaska Native land bill (3/31)

Interior to support development off Alaska's north shore (3/31)

San Manuel Band announces $5.6M in community grants (3/31)

BIA not involved in gaming dispute within Quapaw Tribe (3/31)

Judge won't let Seneca Nation intervene in gaming case (3/31)

Another California tribe wins case over slot machine cap (3/31)

Town waiting on Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino plan (3/31)

Reports say casino can compete with Wyandotte Nation (3/31)

Chuck Trimble: Guardian Angels come to Indian Country (3/30)

Midwestern tribes hail permanent IHCIA reauthorization (3/30)

Mark Trahant: Obama's exciting pick for Medicaid agency (3/30)

Sarah Eagle Heart: Making Natives count on Census 2010 (3/30)

Dean Chavers: How to get a scholarship and go to college (3/30)

Gary Cunningham: Seeing hope on Pine Ridge Reservation (3/30)

Opinion: Alaska Natives denied chance to exploit resource (3/30)

Marine from Alaska Native village found dead in California (3/30)

Crow Creek Sioux Tribe removes leaders after guilty pleas (3/30)

Blackfeet students spend week teaching Dominican youth (3/30)

More headlines...

31 Mar 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Al Jazeera Chief Wadah Khanfar on Obama’s Expansion of the Afghan War, US Policy in the Middle East and the Role of Independent Voices in the Media
As US and NATO forces are preparing to launch a major military offensive in the Afghan city of Kandahar this June, we speak with Wadah Khanfar, the Director General of Al Jazeera. “Bombing and killing will always increase the anger and frustration against the Americans, and it will always be in favor of the Taliban,” says Khanfar. We also look at the US military’s history of targeting Al Jazeera’s reporters, including Sami al-Hajj, who was held at Guantánamo for over six years without charge. [includes rush transcript–partial]

“We Are Tearing Down Our Mountains”: Photojournalist Antrim Caskey on West Virginia’s Fight Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
The Environmental Protection Agency took a significant step last week toward blocking one of Appalachia’s largest and most disputed mountaintop removal coal mines. On Friday the EPA proposed a veto of the Clean Water Act permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia. Earlier this month, we interviewed Antrim Caskey, a photojournalist who has been chronicling the nonviolent fight against mountaintop removal coal mining. Her new book is Dragline. [includes rush transcript]


Obama Proposes Lifting Offshore Drilling Moratorium
Final Installment of Healthcare Bill Signed
Heath Insurance Companies Drop Plan to Exploit Loophole in Bill
12 Die in Pair of Blasts in Southern Russia
Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Teenager During “Land Day” Protest
Obama Calls for New Sanctions Against Iran
Report: Iranian Nuclear Scientist Defects to US
Haiti to Unveil Reconstruction Plan at UN Donors Conference
CodePink Protester Attempts to Make Citizen’s Arrest of Karl Rove
Father of Dead US Marine Ordered to Pay Anti-Gay Protesters
Report: Global Warming Skeptics Bankrolled by Koch Industries
UK Panel Clears “Climategate” Scientists
Northeastern States Declared Disaster Areas After Heavy Rains
Indonesian TV Station Cancels Nairn Interview Due to Military Pressure


Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Headlines for March 30, 2010
Rage on the Right: Christian Militia Raided in Michigan; Tennessee Skinhead Pleads Guilty to Obama Assassination Plot
“Our President Is Deceiving the American Public”: Pentagon Papers Whistleblower on President Obama and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
Real Video Real Audio MP3 Los Titulares de Hoy

Monday, March 29, 2010
Headlines for March 29, 2010
Economist Dean Baker: Banks Could Be Big Winners of President Obama’s Foreclosure Prevention Program
As Obama Visits Afghanistan, Tavis Smiley on Rev. Martin Luther King and His Opposition to the Vietnam War
Dissident Female Catholic Bishop Calls for Pope to Resign over Sex Abuse Scandal

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Universal Periodic Review: Call to Action for Leonard Peltier

There have been a lot of recent activities on Leonard’s behalf. For example, in front of even the lead banner at the major anti-war protest in San Francisco this week, strode a contingent of Native Americans and their supporters calling for freedom for Leonard Peltier. Awesome!

Last week, four persons attending the U.S. State Department “listening” session in Albuquerque spoke up on Leonard’s behalf. More mention was made at the second Albuquerque session the next day. Other supporters will speak on Leonard’s behalf today and tomorrow at the Berkeley and San Francisco “listening" sessions, respectively. We can’t thank you enough.

For your information, the remaining sessions (as of this writing) include:

-- Detroit/Dearborn, MI, on April 7, 2010, at Wayne State Law School (Host organizations: NAACP, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee)
-- Chicago, IL, on April 13-14, 2010, at John Marshall Law School (Host Organizations: Housing Action Illinois, John Marshall Law School)
-- Birmingham, AL, Date TBD (week of April 19) at Miles College (Host Organizations: Greater Birmingham Ministries, Alabama ARISE)
-- NEW! Washington, DC, on April 22-23, 2010, Location TBD, (Host organization: Federalist Society).

If you are unable to attend a session, you’re encouraged to send a message directly to the U.S. Department of State. Those interested in providing their views, comments, proposals and recommendations regarding the human rights violations related to the Peltier case can send an e-mail (

With YOUR support, we’ll build a strong case to put before the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the UN. So, again, thank you for all you do on Leonard’s behalf.

In solidarity and as appropriate, the LP-DOC will become a signatory to cluster reports currently under development. These reports are being developed by a coalition of human rights organizations and each report addresses a specific area of concern. The LP-DOC has already submitted material for the cluster report on political prisoners and will submit its own report directly to the United Nations next month. We plan also to participate in the UN session in Geneva later this year which will conclude the review of the United States government’s record in meeting its human rights obligations.

Posted by the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee

Navajo Human Rights 'Listening Session'

Navajo Human Rights 'Listening Session'
By Kathy Helms
Dine Bureau
Gallup Independent

WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Nation Council Delegate Rex Lee Jim – who is also a medicine man – did a house blessing the other day at a new home in Monument Valley. “The reason was because the other house was contaminated with uranium,” he told members of the U.S. Department of State during their visit Wednesday to the Navajo Nation capital.

The owner of the new home has health problems believed to be related to radiation exposure. “We're doing the best we can with what we have. We ask for your help,” Jim said as he welcomed federal representatives to the Navajo Nation.

Environmental issues, sacred sites, relocation, racism, and unsolved deaths were just a few of the topics discussed as the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission hosted a federal government “listening session” to discuss the federal government's record on human rights in preparation for the Universal Periodic Review in November.

The United States has not endorsed the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, passed in September 2007 by the U.N. General Assembly. The commission is strongly advocating for ratification of the declaration to protect the Dine way of life.

Representatives of the Nation's three-branch government were on hand to express concerns, however, President Joe Shirley Jr. was unable to attend due to another obligation. However, he and First Lady Vicki Shirley did meet later with Jodi A. Gillette, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Shirley requested her assistance in arranging a meeting with President Obama.

Harrison Tsosie of Navajo Department of Justice appeared at the session on behalf of Shirley to raise the issue of the federal government's failure to acknowledge land ownership.

“It denies Navajo people economic opportunities, progress and other benefits as enjoyed by citizens who hold fee title to their own land,” he said. “I think it's time the United States address this issue.”

Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan said the Navajo people have been subjected to abuses for many years, with deaths and beatings being common acts of violence in border towns.

“These acts were mostly done by non-Native people,” he said, citing an example of two Navajos killed in Gallup in the 1970s. “They told the court that they thought they were jackrabbits – and the court bought that,” Morgan said.

Chief Justice Herb Yazzie said it was 142 years ago that the federal government entered into a treaty with the Navajo Nation. “We were at a concentration camp (Bosque Redondo), but a treaty was entered, promises were made, and today I want to impress upon you that that promise, that treaty, guaranteed self-determination.

“We are here to express several concerns about racism, about legal issues, about environmental concerns. I would submit to you that these concerns came to exist because the United States government has not lived up to that promise, this law that they entered into that is supposed to be the supreme law of the land,” he said.

Howard Shanker, an attorney from Flagstaff who has represented the Navajo Nation and other tribes in litigation to protect Dook'o'oosliid, or the sacred San Francisco Peaks, told the delegation there really is no law that substantively protects these sacred sites.

“For decades we have been fighting the U.S. government and we've been fighting the Justice Department,” he said, but the U.S. Supreme Court, in Lyng vs. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association, “essentially held that Native Americans have no First Amendment rights when it comes to government land use.”

Though sacred to 13 Arizona tribes, when it came to protecting the San Francisco Peaks from what the tribes perceived as desecration through the use of reclaimed sewer water to make artificial snow for the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort, the court ruled against them.

“President Shirley, on the stand, said this is like making me watch you rape my mother,” Shanker told them.

Arista La Russo, originally from Sand Springs, said her father resided in the Joint Use Area., but he and her family were relocated in the 1970s. “My parents were advised they had to move because it was the law and that if they did not, they would be forcibly removed by the military,” she said.

Thousands of Navajos and hundreds of Hopis were relocated, resulting in their children and grandchildren being disenfranchised.

There is no federal policy addressing the children of the relocatees who are displaced, she said. “The incompetent planning by the federal government was with no regard to the children of relocatees.” As a result, many turned to drugs, alcohol and violence. “Many children of relocatees do not have a home to come home to,” she said.

Marie Gladeau who lives on Hopi Partitioned Land, said the Accommodation Agreement of 1987 gives legal jurisdiction to the Hopi tribal government and responsibility for services to the Navajo Nation. In doing so, it greatly limits their freedom, she said.

“Things got fast-tracked to get the AA signed into law. The law has created conflict over who has exclusive rights to the home sites, cornfields, and livestock. ... The law is based on Colonial tactics with the outcome being to divide and conquer what was once a shared and equal right to land use,” she said.

Perry Charley, director of Dine Environmental Institute at Shiprock Dine College, said the Navajo Nation faces many challenges in the coming years due to climate changes, including depletion of non-renewable natural resources and water.

Though the federal government instituted the National Environmental Policy Act, CERCLA, or Superfund, and other laws designed to guarantee a safe living environment “oftentimes, these laws fail to recognize Native American cultures and traditions,” Charley said.

Federal policies and regulations also fail to recognize Native American sovereignty issues, as exemplified by the March 8 decision by the 10th Circuit Court which upheld the license for Hydro Resource Inc. to mine uranium in Churchrock, despite the Navajo Nation's ban on uranium mining and processing.

Wahleah Johns of Black Mesa Water Coalition told the delegation, “Water is life, and a basic human right. We don't look at it as a resource, but a sacred element that sustains all life. Without water, life cannot grow.”

Johns told them there is physical evidence of damage to the Navajo aquifer from Peabody Western Coal Co.'s use of it to mine coal. She asked the State Department to look into the “shifting of the water.”

Office of Intergovernmental Affairs' Gillette said the Obama Administration is committed to strengthening the nation-to-nation relationship.

“I know that a lot of you are coming to us with information that you said before in the past. It's been a long time that you've been saying these things and it feels like nobody's listening; but I'm here to tell you that we are listening, I'm listening with an open heart and an open mind. All of us are going to go back and do our best.”

Duane H. “Chili” Yazzie, chair of the Navajo Human Rights Commission, said they will look for a sign within 90 days that the United States has heard them.

“One signal that we will look for is some word from a very contemporary tragedy that continues -- the illegal imprisonment of my brother Leonard Peltier. Show us! Give us a signal that says, 'Yes, these United States of America will sign on to this declaration.'

“It's not something that we should have to ask for. It's not something that we should have to beg for. It's not something that we want to demand. It's something that we should expect from the greatest democracy on this face of the earth.”

Source URL:

US human rights record challenged

US human rights record challenged
Originally printed at

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Where do Indian nations go when United States’ courts have failed them, and justice is unattainable?

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy – the oldest continuous democratic government in North America – has long argued that Indian nations should not expect to win justice from colonizing governments, and instead must act as sovereign nations taking their quest for justice to the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms.

Though it claims to be a defender of human rights around the world, the United States is among the worst offenders of Native peoples’ rights, judging by statistics that indicate Indian women are the most raped and abused in the nation, while rampant poverty, disease, crime and unemployment are a way of life on reservations.

There’s also the inexplicably high number of Supreme Court cases decided against tribes that have led to the massive loss of Native lands and natural resources, most often without compensation.

That negative image was bolstered during the Bush regime when the U.S. was voted off the U.N. Human Rights Council, and later was one of only four countries to oppose the adoption of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Declaration was adopted in September 2007 with 144 states in favor, 11 abstentions, and only four votes against – by the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – countries with the largest indigenous populations who own vast amounts of land and natural resources.

Since its adoption, Australia has reversed its position and endorsed the Declaration, while Canada, Colombia and Samoa have recently indicated support.

That leaves the United States and New Zealand standing alone, refusing to support the basic human rights of the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples.

Many hope this will change under President Barack Obama, an adopted son of the Crow Nation of Montana, who has appointed more Native Americans to his administration than any president in history.

Since his election, the United States has regained a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, and the president has made positive statements to Indian nations about settling longstanding claims.

Review of human rights record

Against that backdrop, the Human Rights Council is conducting a year-long Universal Period Review of the United States’ human rights record, holding “listening sessions” around the country, with two devoted to concerns of Native peoples.

A national report will be compiled and presented to the 47-member Human Rights Council that will make recommendations on how America can improve its compliance with international human rights obligations.

More than 100 people came to the University of New Mexico Law School to hear and present testimony from tribes and individuals about discriminatory and illegal tactics historically used by the federal government to confiscate land, natural resources, even children, and to suppress their rights to self-determination.

Among them were at least nine top-level officials from the Obama administration who were sent from the departments of Justice, Housing, Health, Education and Agriculture to listen and help formulate solutions for Indian country.

Doctrine of Discovery denounced

Oren Lyons, a faithkeeper from the Onondaga Nation and the Six Nations’ Council of Chiefs, spoke on a panel of leaders about the right to self-determination and the need to honor treaties made by Indian nations with the United States.

“We remind the USA that the Haudenosaunee hold some of the earliest treaties made by your government with European settlers. The Department of Justice last month re-affirmed the continued validity of the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua in an amicus brief it filed in support of the Cayuga Nation. We have faithfully complied with our treaties; unfortunately the same cannot be said of the USA.”

He traced the roots of 220 years of discriminatory policies designed to remove Native peoples from their homelands, decimate their populations, forcibly take children to boarding schools to be cleansed of their language and culture, and generally perpetrate cultural genocide.

Lyons also denounced discriminatory legal doctrines that underlie United States law. “Among the most damaging of these is the Doctrine of Christian Discovery which claims that Europeans acquired rights over lands used and occupied by indigenous peoples, simply because they were Christians. They deemed Native peoples as heathens, savages and pagans with no right to own land.”

Lyons cited a new study by Tonya Gonnella Frichner, Special Rapporteur for North America to the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which examines the impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery as a foundation for the violation of human rights.

He called on the United States to endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to ensure that all pending federal legislation (including climate change) contains protections for indigenous human rights, and to honor the border crossing and passport rights of the Six Nations Confederacy which straddles the international border imposed by the U.S. and Canada.

The Black Hills

Chairwoman Theresa Two Bulls of the Oglala Sioux, accompanied by Lakota attorney Mario Gonzalez, recounted the many treaty violations that led up to the “legalized theft” of more than 48 million acres of their homeland under the Indian Claims Commission.

She cited one example of how the federal government would not allow the tribes to fire their attorneys and – without the knowledge or consent of Sioux tribes – the claims attorneys signed a stipulated settlement to accept $40 million for more than 48 million acres of land rich in timber and minerals.

The Lakota leadership of treaty chiefs and elected officials have long refused to accept money for the Black Hills, a sacred place, and were appalled when a class action suit, Different Horse v. Salazar, was filed last year to force the Interior Department to distribute money for Docket 74-A and 74-B Sioux land claims as per capita payments to tribal members.

With interest, that amount exceeds more than $1 billion. But if the money is distributed, Sioux tribes fear the U.S. will argue that they have relinquished their claims to the land.

“We’ve come to the realization that the courts of the United States are not designed to protect the Oglala Sioux’s interests in our claims to ancestral lands and resources. Rather, they are designed to protect the interests of non-Indians who have settled on tribal lands,” Two Bulls said. “The only viable remedy we have to settle our land claims is through negotiating with Congress.”

She was encouraged by President Barack Obama’s statement regarding the Sioux land claims indicating he did not believe the courts or federal government should force Sioux tribes to take settlement money for the Black Hills.

“He said he was open to bringing together all parties through government-to-government negotiations to explore innovative solutions to this long-standing issue,” she said, giving her people hope that the tribe will be able to obtain the return of federally held lands within their aboriginal territories.

Gonzalez said the Rosebud Sioux Tribe has taken the lead intervening in the lawsuit and requesting a dismissal.

He is encouraging the treaty councils and tribal councils to unite and seek a realistic settlement plan with the Obama administration that would include restoration of federally held lands and compensation for the denial of the “exclusive use and occupation of the Black Hills as guaranteed by the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

Others testified about environmental racism, infringement on Native spiritual practices, the militarization of the borders, and violence against Native peoples.

The listening session was co-hosted by the American Indian Law Center and the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, and coordinated by a committee from the All Indian Pueblo Council, Native American Rights Fund, International Indian Treaty Council, and National Congress of American Indians.

Written submissions up to five pages will be accepted until April 19, 2010 by e-mailing to: UPRsub

Part two of this story reports on environmental racism, uranium mining, sacred sites, violations of religious freedom and prisoner’s rights.

The Case of Hugh and Tiga: Enhanced Prosecutorial Techniques

March 26 - 28, 2010

The Case of Hugh and Tiga
Enhanced Prosecutorial Techniques

No news is good news, as the saying goes, but when it comes to the legal case of Hugh Farrell and Gina "Tiga" Wertz, no news is ambiguous.

Farrell and Wertz engaged in peaceful protests against the I-69 highway, and the State of Indiana has charged them with felony racketeering and several misdemeanors.

Wertz is charged with intimidation, a class A misdemeanor, two counts; conversion (unauthorized use of someone else's property), a class A misdemeanor, two counts; and corrupt business influence (racketeering), a class C felony. Her bond was set at $10,000.

Farrell is charged with two counts of intimidation, two counts of conversion and corrupt business influence; his bond was set at $20,000.

At the Petersburg courthouse on Jan. 21, at the first court hearing since Wertz and Farrell's arrest, their attorneys moved for the judge to dismiss the racketeering charge and to reduce the misdemeanor charges. The judge responded that he would take the issue "under advisement" and make his decision "soon."

According to, at the hearing, "The prosecutor was playing dirty, even going so far as to liken Tiga and Hugh's charges with murder." Yet in their protests no one was hurt, nor was any property damaged.

A pretrial court hearing was scheduled for March 4. On March 2 Farrell and Wertz learned that the March 4 hearing was postponed indefinitely, and the judge hadn't announced his decision about dismissing and reducing the charges.


The arrest warrants allege that the defendants were affiliated with Roadblock Earth First! and describe the organization as "an enterprise with the stated and actual objective of discouraging and/or obstructing the lawful construction of I-69. . . ."

"At the Petersburg courthouse on Jan. 21, ... their attorneys moved for the judge to dismiss the racketeering charge and to reduce the misdemeanor charges."
Farrell and Wertz are charged with intimidation for removing furniture and posting an eviction notice on the front door of an state I-69 office; allegedly participating in a tree sit; and, according to Farrell's arrest warrant, "kicking over chairs, climbing on a table and shouting at members of the public" during an I-69 informational meeting.

The felony racketeering charges stem from the defendants' allegedly "conspiring" to commit the above actions, along with their door-to-door visits to homeowners living in the path of the highway.

The arrest warrant accuses the defendants of "advocating anarchy, property destruction and violence, including advocating literature and materials which advocate anarchy, property destruction and violence. ..."

Activists say Farrell and Wertz are being prosecuted because they have been some of the most outspoken opponents of I-69. The charges are clearly political, intended to silence and punish them for their views and for exercising their right to free speech.

According to local activist Alex Smith, "The state is taking a forceful and draconian approach. The state feels they have to crush this because the opposition is big, and there is resistance. The state is trying to alienate the activist community from those who are also against I-69, but who are not taking an activist approach. Their strategy is to create a wedge."


The arrests, by the Indiana State Police and Indiana Department of Natural Resources Ecoterrorism Task Force, bear the earmarks of FBI involvement.

"The judge responded that he would take the issue 'under advisement' and make his decision 'soon.'"

Harassment through the legal system is a standard FBI method of dealing with activists. The outlandish charges with high bail are calculated to intimidate and frighten. Frequent postponement of court hearings bogs down the defendants, wasting their attorneys' time and raising their fees and travel expenses. The harassment says to community organizers, "Be careful -- we're watching you. If you speak out, you might be charged with a criminal offense."

Covert action directed against political activists, as points out, is the quintessential FBI activity. "Part of COINTELPRO and other intelligence agendas, the FBI has been engaged in domestic surveillance activities and have been falsely targeting political activists since the 1960s."

In recent years the FBI identified the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation front as the top domestic terrorism threats. "Eco-sabotage" is the government's top domestic terrorism priority. The focus on these activist organizations is now being used to justify repression against community organizers.

The FBI has a long history of coordinating operations with other arms of law enforcement. In one infamous case, the assasination of Chicago Black Panther Fred Hampton in 1969, the Chicago police carried out the murder with the help of a map of Hampton's apartment the FBI provided.

FBI agents have been spotted at Wertz and Farrell's two court dates, as well as on the day of the arrests.

The FBI's Ecoterrorism Task Force has an office in Bloomington. Eugene, Ore., is the only other city that has such an office.


"The prosecutor was playing dirty, even going so far as to liken Tiga and Hugh's charges with murder."With reference to Operation Backfire, an earlier "eco-sabotage" investigation that the FBI spearhearded in 2005, a news release from the National Lawyers Guild quotes Executive Director Heidi Boghosian, "In the past few years, the Guild has witnessed a disturbing trend of targeting protesters engaged in dissent, and in imposing draconian sentences for expressing such dissent. Life sentences for property damage offenses where the actor has no intent to harm an individual are simply unconstitutional -- the punishment does not fit the crime."

Before 9/11, it would have been impossible to bring such "draconian" charges against people engaged in nonviolent action. Since then the government has increasingly criminalized dissent under the heading of domestic terrorism. The FBI needs a new domestic target so it looks like it's accomplishing something. Arresting activists makes law enforcement look good.

Conviction of Farrell and Wertz would set a powerful precedent, allowing the government to more boldly charge visible and public organizers in a variety of movements with exotic charges.

Linda Greene can be reached at

This article originally appeared on the
Bloomington Alternative.

This Week from Indian Country Today

Health care reform signed into law
WASHINGTON – Historic national health care legislation, which includes reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and other Indian country provisions, has passed Congress and received the president’s signature. Read more »


Executive director’s representation at awards event nixed
Chairman James Ramos continues San Manuel leadership
Malerba named lifetime chief of Mohegan Tribe
New face at the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs
Health care reform becomes law
US human rights record challenged
Uranium licenses are upheld by a split federal appeals court
Census Road Tour to visit ND tribes
California first to create position for Native American vets
Tribe receives $12.3 million in stimulus broadband funds
Cobell denounces ‘rumor’ of what she could receive
Priorities differ on old boarding school site
College, university presidents pledge to make ‘Pathways’ a priority
Tribes need to prepare for inflationary future
Proposed cigarette tax regulations will ‘mire’ NY in litigation
Judge urges tribal courts to adopt codes of judicial conduct
Osage reservation was ended, court rules
Spurr leaves diverse legacy, builds a brighter future for tribe
Police conduct interviews in pictograph vandalism
Event honoring film industry icon Robert Redford
Congress hears Cobell critiques; collusion charged
Native farmers eagerly watch Obama African-American deal
ICWA: Individual and tribal survival at stake
Pow wow marketing 101
3 Va. tribes gain state recognition


Great Lakes


Revisiting Deloria’s words on tribes and corporations

Vine Deloria Jr., once wrote, “The corporation forms the closest attempt of the white man to socialize his individualism and become a tribal man” (“Custer Died for Your Sins,” 1969). He penned these words at an optimistic moment in American history, when, as he further wrote, “modern society and Indian tribes will finally reach a cultural truce” through the development of corporate structures. His remarks echoed sociologist Émil Durkheim, who suggested corporations provided the answer to overcoming modern man’s moral and spiritual malaise, integrating him into society through new communal bonds. Read more »

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

Friday, March 26, 2010

News from Indianz.Com

26 Mar 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Juan Gonzalez: NY Pays 230 “Consultants” $722M Per Year for Computer Project 7 Years Behind Schedule
In a cover story for the New York Daily News, Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez reports New York City is “paying some 230 ‘consultants’ an average salary of $400,000 a year for a computer project that is seven years behind schedule and vastly over budget. The payments continue despite Mayor Bloomberg’s admission the computerized timekeeping and payroll system—called CityTime—is ‘a disaster.’” [includes rush transcript]

Congress OKs Final Changes to Healthcare Overhaul
Congress has approved a package of final changes to the landmark healthcare overhaul. The House of Representatives put the finishing touches on the bill Thursday night after the Senate approved the package on a 56-43 vote. The reconciliation package does not include a public insurance option, though backers of the plan said they will work to see it implemented in follow-up legislation. [includes rush transcript]

A Look at Arne Duncan’s VIP List of Requests at Chicago Schools and the Effects of his Expansion of Charter Schools in Chicago
When President Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, was the head of Chicago’s Public Schools, his office kept a list of powerful, well-connected people who asked for help getting certain children into the city’s best public schools. The list—long kept confidential—was disclosed this week by the Chicago Tribune. We speak with the Chicago Tribune reporter who broke the story and with two Chicago organizers about Duncan and his aggressive plan to expand charter schools.

Labor Struggle in Boron: Union Workers in CA Town Locked Out by Mining Giant Rio Tinto After Stalled Contract Talks
The California mining town of Boron is the site of the second-largest borax mine in the world. A labor struggle is unfolding between some 600 workers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 30 and the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto. Workers at the mine have been locked out of their workplace for nearly two months after contract negotiations with Rio Tinto hit a stalemate. We talk to one of the locked-out workers and a spokesman of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.


Congress Approves Final Healthcare Provisions
Sen. Sanders Praises Expansion of Primary Healthcare
Report: 1,700 Corporations Lobbied on Healthcare
Suspicious White Powder Sent to Office of Rep. Weiner
Conservative Think Tank Fires Former Bush Speech Writer
Student Loan Package Passed in Congress
GOP Blocks Jobless Benefits Bill
Obama to Announce New Program to Help Homeowners
Pope Faces Increasing Criticism in Sexual Abuse Scandals
Indonesian Human Rights Groups Call on Army to Stop Denying Assassination Report
US-Israel Agree to $250M Arms Deal
Rights Group Criticizes Arrest of Venezuelan Critics
Last Decade Was Warmest on Record
Regulators Reject Entergy’s Effort to Spin Off Nuclear Power Plants
Student President Vetoes UC Berkeley Divestment Resolution

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Censored News


--Cynthia McKinney halted by Border Patrol enroute to Splitting the Sky trial
--ROME: Aboriginal Elders Hold Pope Responsible for Residential School Abuse
--First Nations Given Tainted Buffalo Meat
--Roberto Rodriguez' final column

and more ...

Brenda Norrell, Censored News


Alexie wins the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Sherman Alexie's War Dances (Grove Press) has been selected as the winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The announcement was made on March 23 by the directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Susan Richards Shreve and Robert Stone, Co-Chairmen.

The judges--Rilla Askew, Kyoko Mori, and Al Young--considered close to 350 novels and short story collections by American authors published in the US during the 2009 calendar year.

Submissions came from over 90 publishing houses, including small and academic presses. There is no fee for a publisher to submit a book.

To download the full press release, click here.

The PEN/Faulkner Award is America's largest peer-juried prize for fiction in the United States.

Oglala Commemoration Update for 24 Mar 2010

The 2010 Button design has been picked out of the entries we received. We are very pleased to announce that Lisa Hinchsliff was the winner. We would like to thank everyone who sent in designs. A donation has been made to the LP-DOC in her name.

Buttons will be out shortly.

I will also be taking pre-paid orders for the 2010 t-shirts. I need to recieve payment before the order gets place the first week of May. due to our limited budget, we have a very limited supply of t-shirts, and limited sizes, so if you want one please place your pre-paid orders soon. I am not real sure what color we are going with yet, Prices will be posted in a couple of days, as soon as I get the price list.

Another leg of the auction is up, new items, so take a look.

Remember this makes up alot of the budget for this free event.

Also school supplies can be dropped off at the Washington University's Pow-wow in St. Louis on April 10th. We have a large supply of back packs, we need fillers, we have very little of these, which includes pencils, pens, crayons, glue, art supplies etc.

The 2010 Commemoration Concert has been announced, take a look at the concert page, its not finished yet.
Thanks goes out to Owen Black Elk for working on this. Should be a good concert.

Lisa for the
Oglala Commemoration

Calle 13 Band Leader Says the Cuban Five Must Return Home

Calle 13 Band Leader Says the Cuban Five Must Return Home

South Journal, March 22, 2010

In a spontaneous meeting with journalists upon his arrival in Havana, on Sunday, Calle 13 musician Rene Perez told reporters that he supported the release of the Five Cuban antiterrorist fighters held in US jails for over 10 years now.

“I hear from them (The Cuban Five) through my dad; he tells me about them because he learned about them. The case is quite difficult; there are Five there (in the USA), so we have to see what we can do to get an agreement that brings them back,” said Rene Perez in conversation with Cubadebate.

Rene Perez and Eduardo Cabra arrived in Havana onboard a Copa flight coming from Venezuela. Perez said “we are very happy and we are eager to enjoy with the Cuban people and learn from the people and take a tour here on the streets…I want to meet people, brother, and I want to see this country.”

He said his family loves Cuba and he noted “My dad came back in the 1980´s, my sister who is around here, came to work here at solidarity camps. We have always had a connection with Cuba through music and cinema. We are just right there, very near.”

The band leader said that they are scheduled to visit the Carlos Muñiz Varela elementary school in the locality of San Antonio de los Baños, “because Carlitos Muñiz was a friend of my family. You know, my name is Rene but I was going to be named Carlos after Carlos Muñiz, because he was one of my dad’s closest friends. My dad has a friend called Rene and I was finally named Rene. There is a close relationship between my family and Carlitos´; we always follow the work of Carlitos´ father.

Carlos Muñiz, a Cuban who migrated to Puerto Rico, was murdered in the capital San Juan on April 28, 1979 by the Omega 7 terrorist organization, which was opposed to any relationship between Cuban émigrés with their country. His murderers are still unpunished.

Rene also said that he opposes all blockades, including the economic, commercial and financial blockade maintained by the United States against Cuba. “Blockades are negative in all their aspects. We Puerto Ricans are not affected, except for traveling here; however, there are worst things affecting us in Puerto Rico,” Rene said.

He said they decided to give their concert at Havana’s Anti-Imperialist Tribune because the place “has a poetic, historic meaning and it is in front of the sea. I will enjoy its aesthetic and physical aspect. The concert will take place in the afternoon, so it is going to be good.”

The Calle 13 concert will take place March 23 at 5 pm. The band is made up of 25 members who will be joined by Cuban Kelvis Ochoa.

The Puerto Rican band was invited by the Cuban Music Institute. The visitors will stay for four days in Cuba and will later travel to Miami, where they will give another concert: “I have many Cuban friends there. We bring our music to many parts of the world, but Miami is the place where we have not played our music that many times.”

They will also meet with Cuban and other Latin American artists at Havana’s Casa de Las Americas cultural institution, and will visit the International TV and Cinema School, in San Antonio de los Baños.

News from Indianz.Com

Cobell team to discuss trust fund settlement in Wyoming (3/25)

7th Circuit subjects Menominee Nation business to OSHA (3/25)

Judge will make decision on Chehalis Tribe taxation case (3/25)

New York court hears Cayuga Nation tobacco tax lawsuit (3/25)

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe raises treaty in poaching case (3/25)

Bond Buyer: House jobs bill includes tribal bond provision (3/25)

Police call halt to search for 14-year-old First Nation teen (3/25)

Saskatchewan to restrict tax-free cigarettes on reserves (3/25)

California tribes enact bans against free tobacco samples (3/25)

Salish Kootenai College transitions to its second president (3/25)

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe a 'champion' for minority business (3/25)

Seminole Tribe close to deal for Class III gaming compact (3/25)

Eastern Cherokee council members protest Class II move (3/25)

Letter: Passamaquoddy casino not about culture, welfare (3/25)

Opinion: United Auburn gaming revenues help community (3/25)

Mille Lacs attorney defends charges against former leader (3/25)

More headlines...

25 Mar 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Will Proposed Financial Regulatory Overhaul Actually Reform Wall Street?
With the main healthcare reform bill signed into law, Democrats say congressional efforts to reform Wall Street and the nation’s financial regulatory system will soon top the Obama administration’s agenda. A measure put forward by Sen. Christopher Dodd is being described as the biggest overhaul of financial rules since the 1930s, but critics have faulted the proposal for giving additional power to the Federal Reserve while gutting the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency and housing it inside the Fed. [includes rush transcript]

Students Rally for Aid Overhaul, DREAM Act
Hundreds of students rallied on Capitol Hill Tuesday to support a massive overhaul of student loan programs. The measure would end the role of private banks in federally backed student loans and make the government the primary lender. Student protesters have also converged in Washington to call for passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. The DREAM Act would grant permanent citizenship to undocumented workers’ children if they completed two years of college, trade school or military service. [includes rush transcript]

International Uproar over Uganda Anti-Gay Bill, Study Finds American Evangelicals Encouraging Homophobia
Proposed anti-gay legislation in Uganda has sparked international uproar. Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but the new bill would impose much harsher punishments including life imprisonment and even the death penalty for some homosexual acts. We speak with a leading Ugandan gay rights organizer and a Zambian priest who has documented the role of American evangelicals in fostering homophobia in Uganda.


GOP Forces New House Vote on Healthcare Bill
Dems Face Threats over Healthcare Bill
Media Barred from Signing of Anti-Abortion Order
US, Russia Reach Arms Pact
US, Israel at Impasse in Settlement Dispute
Report: US Eases Iran Sanctions to Win Russia, China Backing
Afghan Militant Group Submits Peace Offer
US Hosts Pakistani Officials, Pledges Increased Cooperation
El Salvador Offers Apology on 30th Anniversary of Romero Murder
Argentina Marks 34th Anniversary of Military Coup
Island in Bay of Bengal Disappears Under Rising Sea
Pentagon to Announce Curbs on Gay Military Ban
Report: Pope Ignored Molestation of 200 Boys by US Priest
Indonesian Media Reports Nairn Faces Arrest