Thursday, September 30, 2010

Decided on living life to the fullest; Luis Rosa says it’s the only way to make up for time lost while he was in prison

Decided on living life to the fullest
Luis Rosa says it’s the only way to make up for time lost while he was in prison
By Daniel Rivera Vargas /
September 23, 2010 6:05 a.m.

Translated by Jan Susler with edits from Luis Rosa

The youngest of the ex-political prisoners, Luis Rosa is a friendly and expressive man.

The father of three children­ Luis, Inara Tanairí y Esaí Sebastián, the latter two from his marriage to Magdalena Cortés Acevedo, the sister of another ex-political prisoner Edwin Cortés­ is starting to explore the possibility of exporting products to farmers markets in Chicago, where he spent a good part of his life before his arrest in 1980. At 50 years old, he spent 19 years in prison, and is a percussionist and construction worker without any permanent job.

What do you do for a living?

I live in Aguadilla; I’m unemployed; I promote cultural events and work in light construction.

What impacted you most when you came out of prison?

I used to see more countryside, more people proud of working the land, more help in that sector. What impacted me a lot was the amount of cement. I know it’s necessary because it’s related to development, but we lose this sense of culture, that “plantain stain” is a little less of a stain when we’re away from the land. I think that now there’s a resurgence in agriculture. I’m trying to start a project to export agricultural products to Chicago.

How far along is that project?

I’ve already visited a Farmer’s Market in Chicago. I took a suitcase full of avocado and pana (breadfruit). This week I’ll take quenepas, pineapple and bananas. I couldn’t take the corn I’d grown. Man, they fought over the panas. In Chicago they cost $6 or $7 each.

What do you mean about promoting cultural events?

As part of the group “Por la libre,” we organized a festival in Caguas celebrating the 30th anniversary of the group Mapeyé, and then a concert of Batacumbelé in Carolina. And before that, as soon as I came out of prison, we put on a four day long festival, a peace festival in Vieques. We’ve also organized theater and bohemias in this area (Aguadilla, Aguada), along with the exhibit Not Enough Space. We also have something we’re working on presenting soon in Aguada with Sandra Rodríguez that I wrote, “Here’s grandma, with her black rhythm.” It’s in response to the results of the 2002 census. For Chicago, we’ve recruited talent for the Fiesta Boricua there, and a concert were doing for the second year, Navijazz, with talent from here. This year it’s with Luis “Perico” Ortiz. I’m also involved with the struggle for Oscar (López, the only one of the group that’s still in prison). Our priority is to bring Oscar home. Without him, the family isn’t complete. Everything we do is to win his release. Without him, we aren’t completely free.

How’s it gone for you as a percussionist?

I’ve already taped a cd with Tony Rivera and the Orquesta Nacional Mapeyé, and with Los Reyes Cantores de Isabela. Before going to prison, I taped a couple videos for high school, of musicalized poetry that won awards. I’ve also been invited to the stage, especially right after I got out of prison, with Andy Montañez, Roberto Roena, Plena Libre, and several times with Cachete Maldonado.

Don’t you feel discrimination? For example, isn’t it hard to find work after people in the street find out about your past?

No, because before they know who I am, I try to win them over with my work.

It’s been 11 years since your release, after serving 19 years as a political prisoner. What reflections can you share with us?

There’s a saying that time spent is time lost, but I think that now, after all those years in prison, I want to live life to the fullest, appreciating every second of the day. I’ve learned to live life, participating in the struggle for our homeland, the cultural struggle. I think that’s the only way to make up for lost time; well, not to make up for lost time, but to appreciate life.

What was the hardest thing about prison?

I think the hardest thing was being separated from our families. That feeling of ineptitude, of impotence, that when something happens to someone, and we can’t do anything about it. It’s a process of adjustment. Inside prison, there was discrimination because we were political prisoners. There was a process designed to break our spirit. I spent 200 days in solitary, with showers every 14 to 20 days. They transferred me 22 times, to eight different federal and state prisons. There were 28 gangs that controlled the prisons. The jailers tried to put my life at risk, but didn’t count on the prison population’s support and respect for us. But the hardest was being separated from the family. The rest... well, from the beginning, we internalized who we were and what we represented.

What did you represent?

We were Puerto Ricans who wanted to contribute to the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico. That carries a responsibility to help your fellow man, to stay away from vices such as drugs and other harmful things; and it carries with it a discipline, to study, to exercise. You’re not just an individual; you represent a struggle, a people.

Anything positive about prison?

In prison, there were times I could play music. I’m a percussionist. I play conga, timbales, bongó, drums. We set up cultural centers and orchestras. We celebrated the 5th of May, the Grito de Yara, Grito de Lares (revolutionary dates in Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico, respectively). That was very important for our mental health and for peace. We tried to create a neutral space, where the gangs could feel peaceful. We also gave history classes (to other prisoners). It was important to stop the wave of negativity and violence in the prisons. We won the respect of the prison population and our jailers. We didn’t belong to gangs, and we were trying to help. There was even a warden who said, “If I had 100 prisoners like you, this prison would run much better.”

Do you regret the acts they attributed to you in the 70's?

They charged me with offenses that took place when I was only 14 years old. But we didn’t present a defense, because we didn’t recognize the jurisdiction of the criminal court. It’s not a crime to struggle for independence, and that is recognized by international law.

They say that Lolita Lebrón said that armed struggle was a mistake.

I never heard her say those words. My position is that armed struggle is a tactic that is only used in specific moments, and that colonized peoples shouldn’t discard any method of struggle to achieve freedom. Right now (in Puerto Rico), I don’t think that the process of conscientization in society is at that level. I think that there’s a large sector of the population that has been pacified. I don’t dismiss armed struggle as an option. (While) personally I’m not on that wavelength, I wouldn’t deny that right for our people. We were inspired by the Nationalists’ actions. When we arrested, here on the Island initially there not unanimous support within the independence movement, for a variety of factors, including issues about armed struggle and that many of us were children of the diaspora. The poem, “Boricua en la Luna” was written for us by don Juan Antonio Corretjer, after he visited us in jail, addressing some of those issues. The “peón de Las Marías” in the poem was the sisters’ father (Alicia and Ida Luz Rodríguez, also ex-political prisoners).

How do you see the independence movement today in Puerto Rico, and what do you think of the Independence Party?

I see the independence movement today as fragmented. The PIP has functioned as an organization that’s given structure to the independence movement, that has helped to educate about independence, but, like every organization, it should renovate itself, and I think that’s in process. I am really optimistic that a new strategy will soon emerge to unite us all. I think we have the answer to many of the problems that exist in Puerto Rico.

News from Indianz.Com


Elouise Cobell statement on lack of Senate vote for settlement (9/30)
Republican opposition kills vote on Cobell settlement in Senate (9/30)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux candidate opposes rule changes (9/30)
David Quincy: Career ending opportunity at IHS in North Dakota (9/30)
WaPo: Alaska Native shareholders not reaping contract benefits (9/30)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation donation saves rural fire departments (9/30)
Navajo Nation seeks off-reservation land transfer for new casino (9/30)
Revenues at tribal casinos in Arizona fell 15 percent in past year (9/30)
Shinnecock Nation pitches gaming as a boost to area's economy (9/30)
Supreme Court sets November 1 hearing for first Indian law case (9/29)
Native Sun News: County back to normal after uncertain summer (9/29)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets two October field hearings (9/29)
IHS deputy director draws $125K salary on administrative leave (9/29)
Steve Russell: No spot for Indian Country in Tea party movement (9/29)
Opinion: Tribal Law and Order Act will help protect Indian women (9/29)
Podcast: Tribal Law and Order Act addresses longstanding issues (9/29)
County waits for Supreme Court over Oneida Nation foreclosures (9/29)
Agreement reached over popular Shiprock Fair on Navajo Nation (9/29)
Judge ends Montana tribe's agreement for National Bison Range (9/29)
Utah Supreme Court rules in dispute on Indian Child Welfare Act (9/29)
County pursuing action against Cayuga Nation for tobacco sales (9/29)
Victim testifies about shooting at Lakota basketball tournament (9/29)
Sentencing delayed for former Pueblo leader in hit-and-run case (9/29)
Suspect hit with murder charge after Metis man dies from attack (9/29)
Five tribes in Oklahoma awarded $720K in environmental grants (9/29)
Column: Morongo Band still interested in purchasing golf course (9/29)
More headlines...

30 Sep 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Ann Jones on "War Is Not Over When It’s Over: Women and the Unseen Consequences of Conflict"
Ann Jones has spent much of the past nine years in Afghanistan working as a journalist, photographer and humanitarian aid worker. She has focused largely on the impact the war has had on the women of Afghanistan. Her new book "War Is Not Over When It’s Over: Women and the Unseen Consequences of Conflict."

Henry Red Cloud of Oglala Lakota Tribe on Native American Anti-Nuclear Activism, Uranium Mining, and the Recession’s Toll on Reservations
The Nuclear-Free Future Awards are being awarded tonight at New York’s historic Cooper Union. The prize has been described as the most important anti-nuclear award in the world. We speak to one of this year’s winners, Henry Red Cloud, the great-great grandson of Chief Red Cloud. Henry Red Cloud is a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe and founder of Lakota Solar Enterprises, one of the nation’s first Native American owned and operated renewable energy companies.

Year of the Conservative Woman? As Republicans Tout Field of Women Candidates, A Debate With Betsy Reed of the Nation and Former GOP Candidate Princella Smith
Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Linda McMahon—is 2010 the year of the conservative woman? With the midterm elections less than five weeks away, we host a debate between Princella Smith, who recently attempted to become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, and Betsy Reed, executive editor of the Nation Magazine.


•Pakistan Blocks Afghan War Supply Route after NATO Strike
•UN Human Rights Council Backs Gaza Probe
•Federal Judge Rejects Gitmo Deaths Suit
•Gitmo Prisoner Appeals Standards on Court Challenges
•House Backs Tariffs on China
•Lawmakers Authorize $7.4B for 9/11 Responders
•Dems Abandon Net Neutrality Bill
•US Imposes Sanctions on 8 Iranian Officials
•JPMorgan Chase Suspends Foreclosures
•Anti-Gay Bullying Leads to 4 Suicides Nationwide
•2010 Right Livelihood Award Winners Announced

Henry Red Cloud of Oglala Lakota Tribe on Native American Anti-Nuclear Activism, Uranium Mining, and the Recession’s Toll on Reservations

Henry Red Cloud of Oglala Lakota Tribe on Native American Anti-Nuclear Activism, Uranium Mining, and the Recession’s Toll on Reservations
The Nuclear-Free Future Awards are being awarded tonight at New York’s historic Cooper Union. The prize has been described as the most important anti-nuclear award in the world. We speak to one of this year’s winners, Henry Red Cloud, the great-great grandson of Chief Red Cloud. Henry Red Cloud is a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe and founder of Lakota Solar Enterprises, one of the nation’s first Native American owned and operated renewable energy companies.

Tell the Obama administration: Do not spy on me!

The Obama administration is seeking to expand the government’s ability to conduct invasive surveillance online.

This outrageous proposal would mandate that all online communications services use technologies that would make it easier for the government to collect private communications and decode encrypted messages that Americans send. This includes communications sent using texting platforms, BlackBerries, social networking sites, and other "peer to peer" communications software such as Skype.

Sign the ACLU's petition to Attorney General Holder: Rein in FBI surveillance power.

On Defending Sacred Sites‏

Cihuapilli Rose Amador talks with activist Wounded Knee De Ocampo and Native Voice TV, still photographer,Cipactzin David Romero about the desecration of sacred sites on Turtle Island and the importance of standing up to defend them. There is an alarming number of sacred sites in danger of being desecrated or destroyed throughout the United States and ...

Continue Reading:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Defend victims of nationwide FBI/government raids, seizures and subpoenas!

STOP the FBI Raids and Grand Jury Subpoenas!
U.S. Antiwar Movement Under Government Attack!
Defend victims of nationwide FBI/government raids, seizures and subpoenas!

Wednesday 9/29:

Albany, NY - 5 to 6 pm Federal Building
Providence, RI 5 to 6 PM - downtown Federal Building

Friday, 10/1:

Dallas, TX, , 7:00 pm at the Grassy Knoll, near 400 block of Elm


San Francisco Labor Council Resolution – Adopted unanimously Sept. 27, 2010
Condemn FBI Raids on Trade Union, Anti-War and Solidarity Activists

Whereas, early morning Sept. 24 in coordinated raids, FBI agents entered eight homes and offices of trade union and anti-war activists in Minneapolis and Chicago, confiscating crates full of computers, books, documents, notebooks, cell phones, passports, children’s drawings, photos of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, videos and personal belongings. The FBI also raided offices of the Twin Cities Anti-war Committee, seizing computers; handed out subpoenas to testify before a federal Grand Jury to 11 activists in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan; and paid harassment visits to others in Wisconsin, California and North Carolina; and

Whereas, one target of the raid was the home of Joe Iosbaker, chief steward and executive board member of SEIU Local 73 in Chicago, where he has led struggles at the University of Illinois for employee rights and pay equity. Brother Iosbaker told the Democracy Now radio/TV program that FBI agents “systematically [went] through every room, our basement, our attic, our children’s rooms, and pored through not just all of our papers, but our music collection, our children’s artwork, my son’s poetry journal from high school – everything.” He and his wife, a Palestine solidarity activist, were both issued subpoenas. The earliest subpoena dates are October 5 and 7; and

Whereas, the majority of those targeted by the FBI raids had participated in anti-war protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul MN, which resulted in hundreds of beatings and arrests [with almost all charges subsequently dropped]. Many of those targeted in the 9/24 raids were involved in humanitarian solidarity work with labor and popular movements in Colombia – “the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist” – whose US-funded government has been condemned by the AFL-CIO and internationally for the systematic assassination of hundreds of trade unionists; and

Whereas, the nationally coordinated dawn raids and fishing expedition marks a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, which began with 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act. The raids came only 4 days after a scathing report by the Department of Justice Inspector General that soundly criticized the FBI for targeting domestic groups such as Greenpeace and the Thomas Merton Center from 2002-06. In 2008, according to a 300-page report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI trailed a group of students in Iowa City to parks, libraries, bars and restaurants, and went through their trash. This time the FBI is using the pretext of investigating “terrorism” in an attempt to intimidate activists.

Therefore be it resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council denounce the Sept. 24th FBI raids on the homes and offices of trade union, solidarity and anti-war activists in Minneapolis, Chicago and elsewhere; the confiscation of computers and personal belongings; and the issuance of Grand Jury subpoenas. This has all the earmarks of a fishing expedition. The FBI raids are reminiscent of the Palmer Raids, McCarthy hearings, J. Edgar Hoover, and COINTELPRO, and mark a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, international solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, which began with 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act;

And be it further resolved, that this Council make the following demands:

1. Stop the repression against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists.
2. Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, personal belongings, etc.
3. End the Grand Jury proceedings and FBI raids against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists;
And be it further resolved, that this Council participate in the ongoing movement to defend our civil rights and civil liberties from FBI infringement; forward this resolution to Bay Area labor councils, California Labor Federation, Change to Win and AFL-CIO; and call on these organizations at all levels to similarly condemn the witch hunt;

And be it finally resolved, that this Council urge the AFL-CIO to ensure that denunciation of the FBI raids is featured from the speakers’ platform at the October 2, 2010 One Nation march in Washington, DC, possibly by inviting one of those targeted by the raids, for example the SEIU chief steward whose home was raided, to speak at the rally.

Philadelphia: World Day Against the Death Penalty

Saturday, October 9

We demonstrate at the FOP because of their long-term, vicious commitment to executions, even in cases of innocence, and their terrorist attacks against those who fight for justice.


11:30 AM INDOOR RALLY La Familia, 1310 North Broad Street


Total Death Row Prisoners: 3,000+
122+ Exonerated Death Row Prisoners
How Many More Are Innocent?

Several key members of US anti-death penalty organizations have recently made a move to exclude Mumia Abu-Jamal from the movement to abolish the death penalty, arguing that Mumia's inclusion alienated potential law enforcement supporters of the abolition movement! This position caused an international uproar.

October 9 will be a reaffirmation of a real and unifying abolition movement:

Scheduled Participants:



CECIL GUTZMORE, Pan-African scholar and activist based in United Kingdom and Jamaica, involved in political and community work and activism within the African community, one of the editors of the celebrated black theoretical and discussion journal, The
Black Liberator and has published in such journals as Marxism Today, Race and Class, and Jamaica Journal ANournal as well as being a columnist on the Jamaica Daily Gleaner and a contributor to the Jamaica Observer. lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, and the University of North London (now London Metropolitan University); engaged in research and writing on Caribbean folk/popular culture, Creolisation, Pan-Africanism, the history of race and racism, the debate generated by Eric Williams¹ Capitalism and Slavery and the historical-legal basis of the case for Euro-American reparations for the Atlantic 'trade' in and enslavement of Africans, facilitator and founding member of the growing international campaign Reparations! Haiti First! Haiti Now!

PROFESSOR CLAUDE GUILLAUMAUD-PUJOL, Coordinator, French Mumia Abu-Jamal Collective: Member, Steering Committee of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty; Author of the French biography of Mumia Abu-Jamal.


JOURNALIST LINN WASHINGTON, Linn Washington Jr. is an investigative reporter who has researched and written about race/class based inequities embedded in the U.S. criminal justice system for over twenty-five years. He is a columnist for The Philadelphia Tribune and is a founding member of the online progressive newspaper This Can't Be Happening.

PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE COMMITTEE, Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr. and JR Valrey

Sponsors: Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Texas Moratorium Network, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, International Action Center, Witness to Innocence (Philadelphia), Exonorees from Death Row.

NYC bus info: to buy a ticket call, 212-330-8029 ($15)
Buses leave at 6:30 from 33rd Street and 8th Avenue

National Lawyers Guild Hotline and “Know Your Rights” Materials Available for Activists Targeted by the FBI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2010

New York--The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and its Mass Defense Committee provides legal defense and educational resources to activists, including those subjected to the September 24 raids and grand jury subpoenas in Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. The Guild denounces the attacks on free speech, freedom of association, and the right to dissent that these actions represent. The raids and summonses reflect escalating hostility toward individuals and groups working in solidarity with the Palestinian and Colombian people and are blatantly political attacks on peaceful activists.

National Lawyers Guild lawyers, in their continuing efforts to protect the right to dissent, are coordinating defense of these activists. The NLG offers several resources for activists who are subject to similarly aggressive and politically motivated breaches of their rights.

NLG Hotline: 888-NLG-ECOL (888-654-3265)

-A hotline for U.S. activists who have been contacted by the FBI. Callers are matched with NLG defense attorneys in their states who have experience dealing with similar cases.

Know Your Rights Brochure:

-A two-page brochure that summarizes the rights of citizens when they are contacted or stopped by the police or federal authorities. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Farsi and Punjabi.

Operation Backfire:

-A booklet that discusses government attacks on activists and subsequent prosecutions. Available for free download.

The National Lawyers Guild recommends that activists consult and make use of these resources. The Guild advises anyone visited by the FBI to assert your right not to answer any questions, to get the card of the FBI agent and state that you will have an attorney contact the agent on your behalf.

# # #

News from Indianz.Com

Supreme Court sets November 1 hearing for first Indian law case (9/29)
Native Sun News: County back to normal after uncertain summer (9/29)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets two October field hearings (9/29)
IHS deputy director draws $125K salary on administrative leave (9/29)
Steve Russell: No spot for Indian Country in Tea party movement (9/29)
Opinion: Tribal Law and Order Act will help protect Indian women (9/29)
Podcast: Tribal Law and Order Act addresses longstanding issues (9/29)
County waits for Supreme Court over Oneida Nation foreclosures (9/29)
Agreement reached over popular Shiprock Fair on Navajo Nation (9/29)
Judge ends Montana tribe's agreement for National Bison Range (9/29)
Utah Supreme Court rules in dispute on Indian Child Welfare Act (9/29)
County pursuing action against Cayuga Nation for tobacco sales (9/29)
Victim testifies about shooting at Lakota basketball tournament (9/29)
Sentencing delayed for former Pueblo leader in hit-and-run case (9/29)
Suspect hit with murder charge after Metis man dies from attack (9/29)
Five tribes in Oklahoma awarded $720K in environmental grants (9/29)
Column: Morongo Band still interested in purchasing golf course (9/29)
First Nation seeks James Cameron's assistance in oilsands fight (9/29)
Judge orders former Mashantucket Pequot chairman to pay debt (9/29)
Mohawk woman charged with accessory to murder after the fact (9/29)
Shinnecock Nation outlines plans for up to three gaming facilities (9/29)
Survey points to concerns on Mississippi Choctaw casino project (9/29)
City clearing path for Manzanita Band off-reservation casino bid (9/29)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe reportedly considers Class II casino (9/29)
Sixth annual Florida Gaming Summit takes place October 18-19 (9/29)
Indian Veterans Housing Opportunity Act heads to White House (9/28)
More headlines...

29 Sep 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

1st US Soldier of Alleged "Kill Team" Targeting Afghan Civilians Faces Military Tribunal for War Crimes
Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock is the first of twelve US soldiers accused of forming a secret "kill team" in Afghanistan that murdered unarmed Afghan civilians at random and collected body parts, such as fingers, for trophies. They are also accused of using hashish, dismembering and photographing corpses, and possessing human bones such as a skull and leg bones. The Army is attempting to prevent the release of dozens of photographs that reportedly show Morlock and other soldiers posing with the murdered Afghan civilians. [includes rush transcript]

Mudslide Buries Scores of Homes in Indigenous Mexican Town, But Massive Toll Said to Be Averted
An indigenous town in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca has been buried in mud and stones after incessant rain triggered a landslide early Tuesday morning. Access to the remote and impoverished town of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec has been restricted, with roads and bridges washed out by the rain or blocked by the landslide. Initial estimates suggested hundreds of people could be dead and up to a 1,000 people trapped in their homes, but Mexican authorities now say only eleven people have been confirmed missing. We go to Oaxaca to speak with filmmaker David Riker. [includes rush transcript]

"The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration": Isabel Wilkerson Tracks Exodus of Blacks from US South
We turn now to a pivotal but largely overlooked event in US history, the mass migration of millions of African Americans from the South during the period of the Great Migration, which began in the 1910s and continued to the 1970s. Award-winning journalist and professor Isabel Wilkerson has spent the last decade researching why millions of African Americans decided to leave the towns and farms of the South on such a large scale for her new book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. [includes rush transcript]


•Court Exempts Corporations from Alien Tort Law
•Judge Restores Stem Cell Funding Pending Appeal
•US Soldier Held for Killing 2 Troops in Iraq
•Passengers of Jewish Aid Boat to Gaza Allege Israeli Mistreatment
•Aid Convoy Arrives in Turkey en Route to Gaza
•Pakistan Threatens to End Protection of NATO Supply Routes
•Thousands Protest Siddiqui Sentencing in Pakistan
•Sen. Coburn Stalls Over $900M in Haiti Aid
•Ousted Colombian Senator Vows to Continue Mediation Efforts
•Study: 22% of Plant Species Face Extinction
•Protests Continue Against FBI Raids, Subpoenas of Antiwar Activists

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

General Debate on the UPR process, September 23th 2010. Intervention by Andrea Carmen, International Indian Treaty Council

United Nations Human Rights Council 15th Session
September 13th – October 1st, 2010, Palais de Nations, Geneva
Intervention by Andrea Carmen, International Indian Treaty Council

Agenda Item 6: General Debate on the UPR process, September 23th 2010

Thank you Mr. President. The International Indian Treaty Council expresses its support for the letter presented yesterday, September 22nd, 2010 to the government of Canada by 9 Indigenous Peoples’ and human rights organizations, urging Canada to implement transparent and participatory structures and processes for effective follow-up and implementation of UPR as well as Treaty Body recommendations.

The letter states that “Canada accepted a number of important recommendations made during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council in February, 2009 to develop a more “effective, transparent and accountable” mechanism for follow up and reporting on treaty body review. These NGO’s propose “that a process for reform be immediately instituted, involving civil society, Indigenous peoples and representatives of all levels of government.”

We appreciate the steps the United States has taken this year to involve Indigenous Peoples and civil society in the preparation of its UPR report for the November 2010 review session. However, we reiterate the concerns by many of those participating in this process regarding follow up and implementation of the outcomes. Monitoring and follow up is essential to the credibility and effectiveness of the UPR process in all States including the US, and to ensure this process makes a real difference to communities “on the ground”.

We are particularly concerned that the United States currently has no structures or mechanisms specifically equipped and mandated to work with federal, state and local government agencies, Indigenous Peoples and Tribal governments, civil society organizations and communities to monitor and ensure the implementation of its international human rights commitments and obligations. These include the US’ commitments that will be made to this Council through the UPR process as well as obligations under the UN Treaties and Nation-to-Nation Treaties with Indigenous Peoples which the US has ratified.

In closing Mr. President, we join with the over 300 members of the US Human Rights Network and the Human Rights at Home Campaign to call upon the United States to put effective structures in place to monitor and coordinate implementation with the full participation of all levels of government, Indigenous Peoples and civil society. Our recommendations include a reinvigorated Interagency Working Group on Human Rights within the Federal Government and a National Commission with a human rights mandate.

We urge the US government to take immediate steps to put such mechanisms in place in advance of its UPR review in November, and offer them any assistance we are able to in this regard.

Thank you.

U.N. Report Highlights Need For U.S. Civil And Human Rights Commission

U.N. Report Highlights Need For U.S. Civil And Human Rights Commission

U.S. Should Implement Working Group Recommendations, Says ACLU

September 28, 2010

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;
Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312;

NEW YORK – A report examining the state of human rights of people of African descent in the United States was presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council today. The U.N. Working Group on the Rights of People of African Descent reported that, while the U.S. government has taken some steps to promote the rights of people of African descent, much more needs to be done to bring the U.S. into compliance with international treaty obligations. The international group of experts visited the United States last January at the invitation of the U.S. government, meeting with local, state and federal officials and human and civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and conducting a thorough examination of laws and policies and their impact on people of African descent.

According to the working group's report, "due partially to the legacy of slavery, racism and discrimination, African Americans have had economic, social and educational disadvantages, as well as challenges to the enjoyment of basic human rights." The report noted that people of African descent in the U.S. continue to face unequal access to quality education, electoral disenfranchisement and discrimination in the justice and legal systems, among other issues.

The ACLU called on the Obama administration to implement the working group's recommendations, including by reforming the existing U.S. Commission on Civil Rights into a civil and human rights commission that oversees compliance with human rights treaty obligations.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"This report serves as both a marker of our achievements and a reminder of our failures when it comes to protecting the rights of people of African descent. In order to lead by example, it is imperative that the U.S. establish monitoring mechanisms to uphold civil and human rights in the U.S. The Obama administration should work with Congress to reform the existing U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to include a mandate to monitor our human rights treaty obligations."

The following can be attributed to Chandra Bhatnagar, staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program:

"As the working group report shows, there are still many obstacles to equality facing people, and especially children, of African descent in the United States. The U.S. government should take heed of the group's important recommendations and bring the U.S. into compliance with our international treaty obligations, including taking steps to outlaw racial discrimination and protect the rights of children."

The working group report is available online at:

News from Indianz.Com

Audio from Senate Indian Affairs Committee investigation of IHS (9/28)
IHS to face scrutiny at Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing (9/28)
Cobell probably not included in stopgap appropriations measure (9/28)
No new Indian law cases in Supreme Court's latest docket sheet (9/28)
Harold Monteau: 'Wealthy' tribes need to help the less fortunate (9/28)
Dean Chavers: Indian Country not receiving a fair share of funds (9/28)
Suzanne Jasper: U.S. voted against indigenous rights resolution (9/28)
ACLU: Cheyenne River Sioux women treated just like guinea pigs (9/28)
Caleen Sisk-Franco: Don't tamper with Creator's plan for salmon (9/28)
DOI won't appeal decision over Skull Valley Goshute waste dump (9/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag linguist receives MacArthur 'genius grant' (9/28)
Campo youth stopped and searched by county sheriff's deputies (9/28)
Accident claims lives of three youth from Saskatchewan reserve (9/28)
NPR: Program in Oregon encourages Indians to join teaching field (9/28)
Yavapai-Apache Nation reports record turnout in council election (9/28)
Government's handling of Gulf oil spill compared to Little Bighorn (9/28)
Sen. Murkowski wrong on claim about Aleut word for 'impossible' (9/28)
Manitoba Metis family suffers another tragedy with man's death (9/28)
Kansas officials oppose Wyandotte Nation off-reservation casino (9/28)
Mashantucket Tribe paid out $6M during gaming promotion event (9/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe working on new casino deal with city (9/28)
Tim Giago: The choice between Stephanie and Kristi is quite clear (9/27)
Mark Trahant: What the GOP's 'Pledge' means for Indian Country (9/27)
Cobell not included in bill for African-American farmer settlement (9/27)
More headlines...

28 Sep 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Freed American Hiker Sarah Shourd Reflects on 14 Months in Iranian Prison and Calls on Iran to Release Her Two Friends
In July of 2009, Sarah Shourd and her now-fiancé Shane Bauer and their friend Joshua Fattal were detained and jailed in Iran after being arrested near the Iran-Iraq border while they were on a hiking trip. Earlier this month, Shourd was released on "humanitarian grounds" on $500,000 bail, but Iran is continuing to hold Bauer and Fattal. Sarah Shourd joins us today to discuss her time in solitary confinement, her political activism, how they were detained, her engagement to Bauer, and why she opposes a US attack on Iran. "I would really like to thank people and ask them to now slow down, to not to wait—put my freedom on pause and wait with me, so that we can all enjoy it together once Shane and Josh are with us," Shourd said. [includes rush transcript]

Appalachia Rising: 100 Arrested at White House Calling for End to Mountaintop Coal Removal
Over 100 people were arrested outside the White House on Monday in a protest calling for the abolition of mountaintop removal coal mining. The rally was part of Appalachia Rising, a multi-day event organized by residents of Appalachian communities impacted by mountaintop removal. The protesters were detained after refusing to leave the sidewalk outside the White House fence. The NASA climatologist James Hansen was among those arrested. We speak to journalist and cultural historian Jeff Biggers. [includes rush transcript]

As Settlement Construction Begins Again in the West Bank, Israel Blocks Jewish Activists on Aid Boat Headed to Gaza
Israeli commandos have boarded and seized a Gaza-bound aid ship of Jewish activists just miles off the Gaza coast. The activists were attempting to deliver a symbolic load of medicine, a water-purifying kit and other humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. The Jewish Boat to Gaza was the latest attempt to break the blockade since Israel’s deadly attack on an aid flotilla in May. In the West Bank, Jewish settlers resumed building settlements on Monday one day after Israel refused to extend its partial freeze on settlement expansion. [includes rush transcript]


•CIA Drastically Increases Drone Campaign in Pakistan
•US Attack Helicopters Strike Inside Pakistan
•Video: US Soldier Confesses to Role in Killing Afghan Civilian
•Israeli Commandos Block Gaza-Bound Aid Ship
•Income Gap Between Richest and Poorest Widens to New Record
•White House Seeks Greater Power to Wiretap Online Communications
•Hundreds Protest FBI Raids in Chicago and Minneapolis
•Hugo Chávez’s Party Retains Control of Venezuelan Parliament
•Opposition Colombia Senator Removed from Office
•Mistrial Declared in Blackwater Murder Case
•Report: WikiLeaks Staffers Quit in Dispute
•Arizona Protester Tackled by Sen. McCain’s Security Team

Monday, September 27, 2010

News from Indianz.Com

Tim Giago: The choice between Stephanie and Kristi is quite clear (9/27)
Cobell not included in bill for African-American farmer settlement (9/27)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee to consider four bills at meeting (9/27)
NY Post: Free health care and tax free cigarettes on reservations (9/27)
Catawba Nation leader challenges removal by tribal membership (9/27)
Column: Court rules in California's never-ending compact lawsuit (9/27)
Opinion: Gaming acceptable for everyone in Maine besides tribes (9/27)
Editorial: Candidate for governor in Minnesota eyes state casino (9/27)
Marty Two Bulls: Something stinky about Cobell trust settlement (9/24)
Editorial: Time running out for Senate to act on Cobell settlement (9/24)
Harold Monteau: Tribes missing out on employment opportunity (9/24)
Editorial: Support Indian candidates with upcoming election bids (9/24)
NYT: Tradition and tension at the Pendleton Round-Up in Oregon (9/24)
Navajo Nation chapter claims authority for Shiprock Fair events (9/24)
Grand Traverse Band tribal court sets hearing in election dispute (9/24)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park to transfer 225 bison for tribes (9/24)
First Nations in Saskatchewan seek exemption from gun registry (9/24)
Man convicted of Native girl's murder still working on his appeal (9/24)
Green: Drug war threatens tiny tribe in Colombia with extinction (9/24)
Column: Weaving new relationships through Siletz tribal baskets (9/24)
Interview: Inuit tradition affected by climate change in Greenland (9/24)
The Guardian: First Native film director found his way to England (9/24)
BIA holds consultation on gaming land-into-trust determinations (9/24)
Artman calls gaming land applications 'highly politicized process' (9/24)
Editorial: Even more doubts facing Cowlitz Tribe's casino proposal (9/24)
NLRB continues hearing of union election at Mashantucket casino (9/24)
More headlines...

27 Sep 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

FBI Raids Homes of Anti-War and Pro-Palestinian Activists in Chicago and Minneapolis
Anti-war activists are gearing up for protests outside FBI offices in cities across the country today and Tuesday after the FBI raided eight homes and offices of anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis Friday. The FBI’s search warrants indicate agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and groups in Colombia and the Middle East. We speak to the targets of two of the raids and former FBI officer Coleen Rowley.

Ingrid Betancourt: "Even Silence Has An End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle"
Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped by FARC rebels and held hostage in rebel camps in the middle of the jungle for nearly six and a half years before she was freed in a dramatic military rescue in July of 2008 that made international headlines. She has just published a harrowing account of her time as a hostage of FARC, the abuse she endured, and her numerous unsuccessful attempts to escape.


•Obama Invokes "State Secrets" to Defend Assassination Program
•Soldier Faces Military Tribunal for War Crimes in Afghanistan
•Abused Iraqi Prisoners Held at Abu Ghraib Never Received Compensation
•Karl Rove Builds Shadow Republican Party
•West Bank Settlement Freeze Ends
•IAEA Rejects Resolution Urging Israel to Join Nuke Treaty
•Jewish Activists Set Sail for Gaza
•Activists Shut Down Australian Coal Port
•Harvard Students Protest Martin Peretz
•Stephen Colbert Testifies on Capitol Hill

Community Solidarity Statement with Activists Raided and Subpoenaed on 9/24/10

Community Solidarity Statement with Activists Raided and Subpoenaed on 9/24/10
Submitted by ActivismIsNotTe... on Sun, 09/26/2010 - 20:02

The following statement was read and agreed upon at the community meeting at Walker Church on the evening of Friday, September 24, 2010. If you would like to add your name and/or organization to this list, please email

(Note: not everyone who signed on 9/24 is yet reflected in the list below)

Statement of Solidarity with Activists Raided and Subpoenaed on 9/24/10

The raids and grand jury subpoeanas against antiwar and international solidarity activists on the morning of Friday, September 24, 2010 are not just an attack on particular activists, but on our movements for social justice as a whole. With a united voice, we condemn this repression; we demand the federal government cease its investigation and withdraw the subpoenas immediately; and we vow to continue our work for true justice.

We reject the allegation that the government's investigation into our movements is based on "material support for terrorism" in any form. This allegation is particularly ludicrous considering the terror tactics the U.S. government engages in on a daily basis, both globally and domestically. Aimed against valued members of our community, the raids against activists on Friday morning were particularly offensive to us. However, we recognize that they are unexceptional instances of repression when compared to the daily crimes against humanity carried out by U.S. imperialism.

We refuse to let the accusations of a notoriously untruthful, repressive government divide us in any way. Because an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us, we resolve to set any ideological or other political differences aside and respond in solidarity with one another. Our struggle will continue.


(All organizational affiliations listed are for identification purposes only unless otherwise noted)
Adam Briesemeister
Adam Greeley
Alicia Ronney
Amy Selvins, AFSCME 3800
Andrea Palumbo
Andrew Carhart, AFSCME 3800
Andrew Somers, Students for a Democratic Society
Angel Buechner, Welfare Rights Committee
Angella Khan, Welfare Rights Committee
Anne Benson
Bill Sorem
Brandom Madsen, Socialist Alternative
Brett Hoven, UAW 879, Socialist Alternative
Brian Payne
Bruce Berry, Vets for Peace
Bryan Berry, Junkyard Empire
Bryan Jones
Catherine Salonek, Socialist Alternative
Chante Wolf
Charlene Wilford, Welfare Rights Committee
Charles Underwood
Christopher Clauson
Christopher R. Cox, Junkyard Empire
Chuck Turchick
Cian Prendiville, Socialist Party--Ireland
Coleen Rowley
Colleen McGilp, Women Against Military Madness
Communities United Against Police Brutality (organization)
Cynthia Clark
Dan DiMaggio, Socialist Alternative
Danny King, Welfare Rights Committee
Darryl Robinson, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Dave Bicking, Green Party
David Keuhl, Anti-War Committee
David Riehle, United Transportation Union
Deb Konechne, Welfare Rights Committee
Deborah Howze, Welfare Rights Committee
Dori Ullman, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Doug McGilp, IBT--Retired
Earl Balfour, Mayday Books
Earth Warriors are OK! (organization)
Elizabeth Raasch-Gilman, RNC 8 Defense Committee
Eric J. Angell, Our World in Depth
Erik Zakis
Eryn Trimmer, RNC8
Garrett Fitzgerald, RNC 8
Gary North
Gaylyn Bicking
Greg Gibbs
Hallie Wallace
Heather Haymond
Jaime Hokanson, RNC 8 Defense Committee
Jane Franklin, Twin Cities Indymedia
Janelle Colway, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Janet Nye, Green Party
Jean Heberle, Women Against Military Madness
Jennie Eisert, Anti-War Committee
Jim McGuire, Industrial Workers of the World
Joan Feakins
Joann Gonzalez, Welfare Rights Committee
Joanne Schubert
John Everett Till
John J. Braun, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Pax Christi USA
John Kolstad
Joyce Wallace, Women Against Military Madness
June C. Conner, Welfare Rights Committee
Karen Redleaf, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network--Twin Cities, Our World in Depth
Karthik Ramanathan, Minnesota Cuba Committee
Katie Molm
Katrina Plotz, Anti-War Committee
Kieran F. Knutson, Industrial Workers of the World
Kimberly A. DeFranco, Welfare Rights Committee
Kira Downey
Kristen Keuhl
Kurt Seaberg
Linda Leighton, IPAC, SEIU 284, Industrial Workers of the World--Twin Cities
Linden Gawboy, Welfare Rights Committee
Lucas de Gracia
Luce Guillén-Givins, RNC8
Marie Braun, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, WAMM
Max Specktor, RNC 8
Melinda McGowan
Melissa Hill, Twin Cities Indymedia
Mia Overly, Univ. of Minn. Students for a Democratic Society
Michelle Gross, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Michelle Mandeville
Mickey Patterson, Women Against Military Madness
Minneapolis Autonomous Radical Space (organization)
MK Davis
Monica Bicking, RNC8
Nicole Duxbury
Phil Grove
Phillip Lickteig
Phyllis Walker
Polly Kellogg, Professor, St. Cloud State University
Rachel E.B. Lang, National Lawyers Guild--Minnesota Chapter
Rebecca Zaremba
Riva Garcia
RNC 8 Defense Committee (organization)
Robert Heberle, Veterans for Peace
Roger W. Cuthbertson
Roshaun White, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Sandra K. Bandli
Scott & Carrie Support Committee (organization)
Socialist Alternative (organization)
Stephen Abraham
Sue Ann Martinson, Women Against Military Madness
Susan Kolstad
Susanne Waldorf
Suzanne Linton, Green Party of Minnesota
Theodros Shibabaw, Socialist Alternative
Thomas Dooley, Mayday Books, Veterans for Peace
Timmy Ramone, Usual Suspects
Tom Schumacher, Boneshaker Books
Tonia Secor
Treana Mayer
Ty Moore, Socialist Alternative
Virginia Amy Weldon, Welfare Rights Committee
Welfare Rights Committee (organization)

If you would like to add your name and/or organization to this list, please email

U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

But law enforcement officials contend that imposing such a mandate is reasonable and necessary to prevent the erosion of their investigative powers.

“We’re talking about lawfully authorized intercepts,” said Valerie E. Caproni, general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We’re not talking expanding authority. We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”

Investigators have been concerned for years that changing communications technology could damage their ability to conduct surveillance. In recent months, officials from the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, the White House and other agencies have been meeting to develop a proposed solution.

There is not yet agreement on important elements, like how to word statutory language defining who counts as a communications service provider, according to several officials familiar with the deliberations.

But they want it to apply broadly, including to companies that operate from servers abroad, like Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry devices. In recent months, that company has come into conflict with the governments of Dubai and India over their inability to conduct surveillance of messages sent via its encrypted service.

In the United States, phone and broadband networks are already required to have interception capabilities, under a 1994 law called the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act. It aimed to ensure that government surveillance abilities would remain intact during the evolution from a copper-wire phone system to digital networks and cellphones.

Often, investigators can intercept communications at a switch operated by the network company. But sometimes — like when the target uses a service that encrypts messages between his computer and its servers — they must instead serve the order on a service provider to get unscrambled versions.

Like phone companies, communication service providers are subject to wiretap orders. But the 1994 law does not apply to them. While some maintain interception capacities, others wait until they are served with orders to try to develop them.

The F.B.I.’s operational technologies division spent $9.75 million last year helping communication companies — including some subject to the 1994 law that had difficulties — do so. And its 2010 budget included $9 million for a “Going Dark Program” to bolster its electronic surveillance capabilities.

Beyond such costs, Ms. Caproni said, F.B.I. efforts to help retrofit services have a major shortcoming: the process can delay their ability to wiretap a suspect for months.

Moreover, some services encrypt messages between users, so that even the provider cannot unscramble them.

There is no public data about how often court-approved surveillance is frustrated because of a service’s technical design.

But as an example, one official said, an investigation into a drug cartel earlier this year was stymied because smugglers used peer-to-peer software, which is difficult to intercept because it is not routed through a central hub. Agents eventually installed surveillance equipment in a suspect’s office, but that tactic was “risky,” the official said, and the delay “prevented the interception of pertinent communications.”

Moreover, according to several other officials, after the failed Times Square bombing in May, investigators discovered that the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, had been communicating with a service that lacked prebuilt interception capacity. If he had aroused suspicion beforehand, there would have been a delay before he could have been wiretapped.

To counter such problems, officials are coalescing around several of the proposal’s likely requirements:

¶ Communications services that encrypt messages must have a way to unscramble them.

¶ Foreign-based providers that do business inside the United States must install a domestic office capable of performing intercepts.

¶ Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must redesign their service to allow interception.

Providers that failed to comply would face fines or some other penalty. But the proposal is likely to direct companies to come up with their own way to meet the mandates. Writing any statute in “technologically neutral” terms would also help prevent it from becoming obsolete, officials said.

Even with such a law, some gaps could remain. It is not clear how it could compel compliance by overseas services that do no domestic business, or from a “freeware” application developed by volunteers.

In their battle with Research in Motion, countries like Dubai have sought leverage by threatening to block BlackBerry data from their networks. But Ms. Caproni said the F.B.I. did not support filtering the Internet in the United States.

Still, even a proposal that consists only of a legal mandate is likely to be controversial, said Michael A. Sussmann, a former Justice Department lawyer who advises communications providers.

“It would be an enormous change for newly covered companies,” he said. “Implementation would be a huge technology and security headache, and the investigative burden and costs will shift to providers.”

Several privacy and technology advocates argued that requiring interception capabilities would create holes that would inevitably be exploited by hackers.

Steven M. Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, pointed to an episode in Greece: In 2005, it was discovered that hackers had taken advantage of a legally mandated wiretap function to spy on top officials’ phones, including the prime minister’s.

“I think it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” he said. “If they start building in all these back doors, they will be exploited.”

Susan Landau, a Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study fellow and former Sun Microsystems engineer, argued that the proposal would raise costly impediments to innovation by small startups.

“Every engineer who is developing the wiretap system is an engineer who is not building in greater security, more features, or getting the product out faster,” she said.

Moreover, providers of services featuring user-to-user encryption are likely to object to watering it down. Similarly, in the late 1990s, encryption makers fought off a proposal to require them to include a back door enabling wiretapping, arguing it would cripple their products in the global market.

But law enforcement officials rejected such arguments. They said including an interception capability from the start was less likely to inadvertently create security holes than retrofitting it after receiving a wiretap order.

They also noted that critics predicted that the 1994 law would impede cellphone innovation, but that technology continued to improve. And their envisioned decryption mandate is modest, they contended, because service providers — not the government — would hold the key.

“No one should be promising their customers that they will thumb their nose at a U.S. court order,” Ms. Caproni said. “They can promise strong encryption. They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.”

Boston: Protest FBI Attacks on Progressives in Minneapolis and Chicago


WHEN: Monday, September 27, 2010 -- Between 4pm - 6pm.
WHERE: In front of the offices of the FBI. JFK Building. Government Center, Boston
WHAT: Bring your signs, chants and outrage at this latest attack on freedom of expresion and political dissent

The government of Barack Obama is responsible for the acts of the FBI and we should demand an explanation and an immediate stop to the persecution of progressive activists. People in the U.S. should remember the Palmer Raids of yesteryears and say that we will not tolerate a repeat of history. We also have to work towards repealing the law that allows the state to persecute progressives: the Patriot Act.

Our solidarity goes to all the activists that have been targeted on this act of repression and intimidation.

Below is a brief news summary of the events we protest:

The FBI searched eight homes in Minneapolis and Chicago as part of a "terrorism" investigation on Friday 9/24. FBI spokesman Steve Warfield told The Associated Press agents served six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago ."These were search warrants only," Warfield said. "We're not anticipating any arrests at this time. They're seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism." The home of Minneapolis anti-war activists Mick Kelly and Jess Sundin were among those searched, they told the AP.

"The FBI is harassing anti-war organizers and leaders, folks who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America ," Kelly said before agents confiscated his cell phone. Sundin called the suggestion they were connected with terrorism "pretty hilarious and ridiculous." The agents took "computers, several boxes of papers, everything related to data like discs," Sundin said.

Both Sundin and Kelly were organizers of a mass march on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in St. Paul two years ago, and recently appeared at a news conference to announce plans for another protest if Minneapolis is selected to hold the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Police estimated the peaceful march drew 10,000 protesters; organizers put the figure at 30,000. More than 800 people were arrested during the four days of the convention, including Sundin and Kelly. Sundin said they've already sought permits for 2012, "something I don't think terrorists would do."

Call issued by the Boston May Day Committee

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Borders are...

by Serj Tankian

Borders Surround
Borders Bound
Borders Marginalize
Borders Frame
Borders Divide
Borders Kill

Borders are the ultimate man-made walls separating and differentiating us beyond our cultures, beyond our beliefs, beyond economic hierarchies.

Borders are subjective, unnatural lines drawn by humans delineating land, water, and air for partisan collective utilization.

If borders were natural, other animals, in fact all beings would be bound by them. Obviously, they aren’t.

Indigenous cultures never recognized borders, cognizant of the fact that the land owns us and not the other way around.

Borders lead to war, occupation, and bigotry, even genocide.

Worst of all, borders are a deceptive, yet constant reinforcement of the notion that we are alone, separate from each other and all things around us.

The multi-layered borders of our lives stratify separation in its undignified definition.

There are people dying in Kashmir due to border disputes. Shots are fired daily between North and South Korea over border disputes. The Berlin Wall separated the German people for almost half a century, at the border. Israel and Palestine continue to endure conflict over their borders, and the predecessors of modern-day Turkey (Ottoman Empire) felt they had to carry out genocide to protect their borders.

Borders represent the foundation of civilization, expansionism, abusive capitalism, and presumptive occupation.

Floods don’t recognize borders.
Earthquakes don’t recognize borders.
Diseases, famine, and drought don’t recognize borders.

Why should we?

We deserve to live without the borders of mind, body, and spirit.
Given the unprecedented changes we are witnessing in the world.

We really have no choice.

This Week from Indian Country Today

Black farmers turn away from Cobell, senators respond
WASHINGTON – Important allies are turning their backs to the way Congress is currently considering the Cobell settlement.

Leaders with the National Black Farmers Association are drawing major attention to their desire that a settlement under consideration by Congress involving African-American farmers be considered separately from a settlement on a different case involving Native American trust mismanagement by the federal government. Read more »


•Diane Benson makes a run for state office in Alaska
•Black farmers turn away from Cobell, senators respond
•Close elections in Washington state
•Appeals court rules tribe can’t join poultry suit
•Recovery Act project improves crime data reporting and access to law enforcement in Indian country
•Cooperation leads to seizure of marijuana crop on trust land
•Ariz. city files suit to block planned casino
•Authenticity is art show’s intent
•Card room organizers indicted on gambling violations
•‘Far-talking’ broadband network to reach rural Indian country
•One of original Navajo Code Talkers dies in Ariz.
•Honoring the steps of a man
•‘I’ll be the judge of that’
•Will Oglalas be disenfranchised?
•18th-century artifact heading to tribe’s northern NY reservation
•Gila River tribe files lawsuit to block sister tribe’s proposed casino in Glendale, Ariz.
•Oneida files injunction after court approves state cigarette tax
•Obama misstates Cobell case
•Tackling problems and defining solutions
•Father Tom Connolly retires
•Intergovernmental relations thrive and deteriorate in Southern California
•NIGC announces second delay for Class II MICS
•Chester Cayou, respected Swinomish leader
•First hand development of Hawaii culture
•Libraries fight for improvements


Monteau: Tribes missing opportunity for thousands of jobs
Tribes, by not enforcing, or having their Tribal Employment Rights Offices enforce Indian preference with regard to any contract for procurement of goods and services purchased by their casino, resort, hotel or retail establishments, are forgoing an opportunity to create thousands of jobs for their people. They are also forgoing the opportunity for training and apprentice positions by not requiring their business entities to adhere to Indian preference. Read more »

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

Protest the Torture of Political Prisoner Avelino Gonzalez Claudio


Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Avelino Gonzalez Claudio is being held in solitary confinement in MDC Brooklyn and is being denied his Parkinson's Disease Medication.

The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign denounces this torture and is calling on our allies and supporters to join us as protest this injustice!


Picket on Tuesday September 28th, 2010 at 5pm
MDC Brooklyn 80 29th St.
(btwn. 2nd and 3rd Avenues) Take the D train to 25th St.


For more info. contact The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign: 718-601-4751

FBI Agents Conduct Raids on Homes of Anti-War Activists in Minneapolis and Chicago

FBI Agents Conduct Raids on Homes of Anti-War Activists in Minneapolis and Chicago

Below are two interviews with activists in Minneapolis whose homes were raided on September 24, 2010 by FBI agents under the guise of a "material support for terrorism" investigation. These actions have been condemned by organizations across the United States.

Jess Sundin on FBI Raids Against Anti-War Activists in Minneapolis

Mick Kelly on the FBI Raids in Minneapolis

FBI raids anti-war activists' homes

FBI raids anti-war activists' homes
Agents looking for links to terrorists, federal spokesman says
September 24, 2010By Andy Grimm and Cynthia Dizikes, Tribune reporters

Federal agents searched homes of anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis on Friday in an investigation of possible links with terrorist organizations in the Middle East and South America.

About 20 FBI agents spent most of the day searching the Logan Square residence of activists Stephanie Weiner and Joseph Iosbaker, Weiner said.

In Jefferson Park, neighbors saw FBI agents carrying boxes from the apartment of community activist Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network. In addition, Chicago activist Thomas Burke said he was served a grand jury subpoena that requested records of any payments to Abudayyeh or his group.

"The warrants are seeking evidence in support of an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism," said Steve Warfield, spokesman for the FBI in Minneapolis, where six additional homes were searched Friday.

Warfield said no arrests had been made and that there was no "imminent danger" to the public.

Ross Rice, an FBI spokesman in Chicago, gave the two Chicago blocks where agents had searched homes Friday, but he declined to name the targets.

Melinda Power, an attorney for Weiner and Iosbaker and a longtime friend, said agents took about 30 boxes of papers dating to the 1970s, including a postcard from an old girlfriend of Iosbaker's.

"They said they would determine what was evidence later," Power said.

Weiner, who said she and her husband for years have been active in labor causes and the anti-war movement, complained the search was an attempt to intimidate her and other activists.

"We aren't doing anything differently than we have in 20 years," said Weiner, a teacher at Wilbur Wright College. Iosbaker is a staff member at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a union steward for Service Employees International Union Local 73.

Burke said he received a grand jury subpoena requesting records of payments to Abudayyeh's organization as well as two groups among the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The subpoena also requested "items relating to trips to Colombia, Jordan, Syria, the Palestinian territories of Israel." Burke said he toured Colombia eight years ago with members of an oil workers union there.

Burke, a former school custodian-turned-stay-at-home father, belongs to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, a group mentioned in subpoenas and search warrants issued Friday to activists in Minneapolis.

Burke said he knows Weiner, Iosbaker and Abudayyeh from years of involvement in demonstrations and activities in Chicago. Most of the people whose homes were searched or who were issued subpoenas attended anti-war rallies at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., he said.

In a statement issued on behalf of the activists, Minneapolis activist Steff Yorek said the homes of a number of anti-war, socialist or pro-Palestinian groups had been searched by the FBI.

Yorek, whose home was also searched Friday, called the searches "an outrageous fishing expedition."

"Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and are encouraged to politely refuse," she said.

Several of those targeted with warrants or subpoenas are also occasional contributors to Fight Back!, a socialist newsletter that is generally supportive of leftist groups and critical of U.S. "wars of occupation" in Iraq and Afghanistan, Burke said.

"We pretty much all know each other," Burke said. "We barely have money to publish our magazine. We might write about (revolutionary groups) favorably, but as for giving them material aid, nothing."

Weiner and Iosbaker were also subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago on Oct. 5, Power said.

Not long after the FBI agents left, a group of about 20 demonstrators gathered outside the couple's home, carrying signs and singing "Give Peace a Chance."

Sarah Simmons, 51, held a piece of paper printed with a peace sign. She said she had known the couple for 15 years. "I think this is outrageous," she said.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Authorities Order Total Evacuation of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca

After months of paramilitary violence--including physical and verbal abuse, rape, kidnapping and murder--Indigenous authorities have ordered the total evacuation of the town of San Juan Copala. Kristin Bricker reports. Authorities of the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, have ordered the total evacuation of the town, which has been under siege since February of this ...

Continue Reading:

Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee: 'If it can happen to me, it can happen to you'

Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee: 'If it can happen to me, it can happen to you'

Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee: Federal prosecutors: Justice in the balance

Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee: Federal prosecutors: Justice in the balance: "Justice in the balance Full coverage - Explore cases - Methodology A USA TODAY investigation documented 201 criminal cases across the nat..."

Help lift Indian candidates

Help lift Indian candidates
Originally printed at

Each election season, Kalyn Free dives into the fray, making phone calls to political donors and Native American candidates running for state offices across the country.

She does so because she wants to protect tribal sovereignty and she knows the candidates her organization supports will do just that.

She does so because she wants non-Indians to take Indian candidates seeking local, state and national offices seriously.

But the main reason Free, president and founder of the Indigenous Democratic Network, or INDN’s List, fights for Indian candidates is this: She wants to give Indian children strong role models.

“These elected officials give our young Indian boys and girls hope that one day they can seek and win office,” said Free, who is Choctaw. “Little Indian boys and girls cannot be what they cannot see.”

This fall, INDN’s List, a grassroots political organization devoted to recruiting and electing Natives to local, state and national office, has endorsed 28 Indian candidates from 12 states. Those candidates come from a wide variety of tribes and backgrounds. They are seeking such offices as district attorney in Oklahoma and commissioner for a community college in California. Most are seeking seats within state legislatures.

Too many of the candidates INDN’s List is supporting this year would be, if elected, the first Indians to hold state office in their states. They include Chris Deschene, a Navajo state legislator who is seeking the office of Arizona secretary of state. Deschene attended the U.S. Naval Academy, serving two tours of duty overseas in the Marine Corps, and later earned a law degree and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

“Unfortunately, Indian country has, for the most part, let Indian candidates down,” Free said.

She said few tribes have stepped up to make significant and vital financial contributions to Native candidates, though tribes across the country typically contribute millions of dollars each election year to non-Indian candidates seeking federal office.

Free said Indian candidates who fail to win local and state office are unlikely to ever win a federal office. And without adequate financial support – so necessary to conduct effective political mailing and marketing campaigns – Indian candidates for local and state office are unlikely to win, she said.

“We could be and should be supporting our own folks,” Free said.

Why is it important that Indian country support Indian political candidates? First and foremost, Free said, because those candidates tend to support tribal sovereignty. In fact, INDN’s List will only endorse Native candidates who commit themselves to supporting tribal sovereignty. The organization also only puts its weight behind candidates who have a real chance of winning.

Since its inception in 2005, INDN’s List has supported both Republicans and Democrats, those who support abortion and those who oppose abortion. While Free admits to being a registered Democrat, she said she puts her personal politics aside when helping Indian candidates get elected.

However, INDN’s List doesn’t sit idly by waiting for viable Indian candidates to run for office on their own.

The group has hosted Campaign Camps in 2005 and 2007 that served as boot camps where Indian candidates learn to operate marketing campaigns, target voters and reach out to non-Indian voters, who often are reluctant to vote for Indian candidates because of stereotypes they have of Indians.

“You can’t just win your race with the Indian vote,” Free said. “You’ve got to have non-Indians vote for you.”

The group’s efforts to train and directly support Indian candidates have been successful, as INDN’s List has helped elect 45 candidates, or 70 percent of the candidates it has endorsed. INDN’s List also recruits potential Indian candidates.

“Recruiting to me is a 24/7, 365-day operation,” Free said.

The organization supports its candidates by providing lists of potential donors, as well as direct support by raising funds for those candidates. INDN’s List tries to raise the maximum amount of financial support allowed in each state for a candidate from an individual donor for each of its endorsed candidates.

“We have some fantastic candidates,” Free said.

Now she just needs Indian country to help lift those candidates into positions of power. We hope tribes and individual Native people will do just that.

News from Indianz.Com


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Harold Monteau: Tribes missing out on employment opportunity (9/24)
Editorial: Support Indian candidates with upcoming election bids (9/24)
NYT: Tradition and tension at the Pendleton Round-Up in Oregon (9/24)
Navajo Nation chapter claims authority for Shiprock Fair events (9/24)
Grand Traverse Band tribal court sets hearing in election dispute (9/24)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park to transfer 225 bison for tribes (9/24)
First Nations in Saskatchewan seek exemption from gun registry (9/24)
Man convicted of Native girl's murder still working on his appeal (9/24)
The Guardian: First Native film director found his way to England (9/24)
BIA holds consultation on gaming land-into-trust determinations (9/24)
Artman calls gaming land applications 'highly politicized process' (9/24)
NLRB continues hearing of union election at Mashantucket casino (9/24)
Kiowa Tribe celebrates opening of its second casino in Oklahoma (9/24)
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes arrest employee in casino theft probe (9/24)
John Boyd: Cobell lawsuit delaying African-American settlement (9/23)
Onondaga Nation the latest to see dismissal of land claims case (9/23)
United Keetoowah Band hopeful for BIA land-into-trust approval (9/23)
Tribes in Wisconsin honor late attorney with a traditional funeral (9/23)
Chickasaw woman and partner lose home in possible hate crime (9/23)
Series: The 'underground' tobacco industry on Mohawk reserves (9/23)
Editorial: Contraband cigarettes an 'economic cancer' in Canada (9/23)
Tribes share in law enforcement grants from Justice Department (9/23)
Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation holds primary for chairman (9/23)
Voters tired of endless Colorado River Indian Tribes recall efforts (9/23)
More headlines...

24 Sep 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Obama UN Speech on Mideast Talks "Filled with Empty Words"–Palestinian Attorney Diana Buttu
President Obama makes the Israel-Palestine conflict the centerpiece of his address to the UN General Assembly. Urging the international community to support his plan for peace, the President called on Palestinians to move ahead with "genuine reconciliation" with Israel and said Israel should extend it’s "settlement moratorium." We speak with attorney Diana Buttu, a former adviser to Palestinian negotiators.

Paul Mason on Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global
The Census Bureau’s latest report shows that the numbers of Americans living in poverty and without health insurance have skyrocketed. 43.6 million people—about one in seven—lived below the poverty level of $22,000 for a family of four in 2009, pushing the national poverty rate to a fifteen-year high of 14.3 percent. We speak with British journalist Paul Mason about his new book, Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global.

Fatima Bhutto on the Floods in Pakistan, the Government Response and Her Memoir, Songs of Blood and Sword
As Pakistan struggles to recover from one of the worst natural disasters in its history, President Asif Ali Zardari is coming under criticism for his handling of the crisis. We speak with Pakistani writer and poet, Fatima Bhutto. She is the niece of former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, her father, Murtaza Bhutto, was killed in 1996 in Karachi. She has written a memoir about her family, it’s called Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir.


•CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan Have Killed Americans
•Contractor Deaths Exceed Military Ones in Iraq and Afghanistan
•Ahmadinejad: US Behind 9/11 Attacks
•At UN Summit, Brazil Criticizes US Invasion of Iraq
•Democrats Put Off Vote on Repealing Bush Tax Cuts
•Virginia Executes First Woman in Nearly 100 Years
•Muslim Workers Face Increasing Employment Discrimination
•Pakistani Scientist Sentenced to 86 Years in US Prison
•US Grants Asylum to Mexican Journalist
•FCC Votes to Open up TV White Spaces for Wireless
•Tea Party Backer David Koch Becomes Wealthiest New Yorker

Eric McDavid Update: 23 September 2010

Update September 23, 2010

Dear friends,

It is with heavy hearts that we write to tell you that Tuesday, September 21st, the 9th circuit court denied Eric's appeal of his conviction and sentencing. Given all that has happened these past 4+ years, this news isn't shocking so much as it is maddening and upsetting. The state has, from the beginning, used dirty tricks and lies to hold Eric captive. As many have said, they wished to make an example of him...

And in that, at least, they have been successful. But not in the way that they might have wished. Because for us, Eric has been a constant example of strength, courage and integrity. Of staying the course, even when the deck is totally stacked against him. And of not losing one's Self in the midst of potentially crushing adversity.

This is a very difficult time for Eric and his loved ones. Please send Eric a note of support to let him know he is not forgotten. For more info on how to write Eric, you can visit his website at:


Eric's lawyer is pursuing a petition for a rehearing. This is not quite the end of the road as far as appeals are concerned. We will keep you updated on any progress.

If you would like to read the 9th Circuit's decision, it can be found here:

Ernest Withers’ reports on Martin Luther King went to COINTELPRO command

Ernest Withers’ reports on Martin Luther King went to COINTELPRO command
September 22nd, 2010 8:32 pm ET
By Michael Richardson, COINTELPRO Examiner

..The revelation by the Memphis Commercial Appeal that acclaimed photographer Ernest Withers was an informant on the civil rights movement to the Memphis office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has put COINTELPRO back in the news.

Operation COINTELPRO was a vast, illegal and clandestine program ordered by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to “disrupt” political activity that Hoover felt undesirable. Spanning a number of years and targeting thousands of individuals and groups nationwide, COINTELPRO came to dominate FBI priorities in the 1960’s as Hoover stepped up his own private war on American citizens engaged in political activity.

Hoover felt the growing black power movement was America’s most serious domestic threat and targeted its leaders including Martin Luther King. Although King preached non-violence, King’s high profile made him a COINTELPRO target and the subject of close surveillance and counter-intelligence plots.

Withers’ reputation will forever be marred by his stint from 1968 to 1970 as a COINTELPRO informant and his new exposure as an extortionist and influence-peddler. As a state employee Withers pled guilty to extortion of $8,500 from a bar owner. Withers was also fired as a local policeman and narrowly escaped prosecution for attempting to arrange cash-for-freedom deals for prisoners.

Withers’ Beale Street photography studio put him in the center of Memphis black life and he became a human institution in the community. Working the nightclubs after dark and his photo studio by day, Withers dropped everything else when a civil rights event needed recording.

Withers reported to the Memphis FBI agent in charge of local COINTELPRO duties, William Lawrence. There is no evidence that Withers was aware of the secret COINTELPRO mandate or that he talked with anyone else higher in the FBI chain of command. However, Withers’ reports were studied closely at the highest level in Washington, D.C.

Although J. Edgar Hoover commanded daily operations in FBI headquarters which he called the “Seat of Government” and read many of the reports sent to him from around the nation, Hoover’s initials are absent from Withers’ reports. Instead, Hoover relied on a directorate to make summaries and brief him on developments in cities and groups he was interested in.

Two names that do appear on the secret COINTRELPRO reports from Memphis are William Sullivan and George Moore, who both show up on distribution lists and initialed or signed the reports indicating they had read and approved them.

Sullivan, long the third in command of the FBI, was chief architect of COINTELPRO while Moore headed the “Racial Intelligence” unit of COINTELPRO. Both men despised King, as did Hoover, and they followed information supplied by Withers closely.

Hoover first ordered wiretaps and hidden microphones on King in the late 1950’s on the premise that King was a suspected Communist agent. Hoover later ended the bugging of King when he became concerned of exposure. Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General, ordered the next round of secret monitoring of King to keep tabs on the civil rights movement.

Sullivan, on his own initiative, would order a third round of eavesdropping on King in the mid-1960’s for political intelligence. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech outraged Sullivan who wrote to Hoover that King was “demagogic”.

Sullivan advised Hoover, “We must mark [King] now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation… may be unrealistic to limit ourselves as we have been doing to legalistic proofs or definitely conclusive evidence that would stand up in testimony in court or before Congressional Committees.”

In December of 1963 Sullivan convened a headquarters meeting of various FBI offices about the investigation of King. Sullivan told the assembled agents that King was “unfit” and declared, “We must continue to keep close watch on King’s personal activities.”

After King was named “Man of the Year” by TIME magazine, Sullivan gave his own “trespass” order and arranged for the installation of microphones in King’s hotel rooms. Sullivan began an aggressive bugging program sending FBI sound teams and “black-bag” experts around the country as King traveled.

Sullivan wrote a memo presaging the anonymous letter advising King to commit suicide he is also presumed to have authored.

“We will at the proper time when it can be done without embarrassment to the Bureau, expose King as an immoral opportunist who is not a sincere person but is exploiting the racial situation for his own personal gain.”

During the time Withers was providing information to Lawrence, Moore and Sullivan were using the secret reports in their campaign against King--even after King’s 1968 assassination. Withers passed on information that he gleaned while attending King’s funeral.

In January 1969, Moore sent Sullivan a memo warning of a move to make King’s birthday a national holiday. Moore urged Sullivan to have material ready from the hotel room tapes to play for the incoming Nixon administration in an effort to stop the new national holiday.

Sullivan passed on Moore’s suggestion to Hoover and on January 23, 1969, just three days in after Nixon’s inauguration, Hoover sent the Attorney General designee, John Mitchell, a Top Secret memo.

“In view of this [national holiday plans] there is enclosed a document regarding the communist influence on King during his career and information regarding King’s highly immoral personal behavior. For your information, a copy of this document is also being furnished to the President.”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ex political prisoner Carmen Valentín enjoys her work as an English teacher

Doubly Free
Ex political prisoner Carmen Valentín enjoys her work as an English teacher
by Daniel Rivera Vargas /

September 22, 2010

translated by Jan Susler

Whether it’s an irony of destiny or not, ex political prisoner Carmen Valentín earns her living offering tutorials in English at a pro-statehood city college in San Juan.

Valentín, at age 64, works a lot. In addition to the tutorials, which is a full time 40 hour job, she has a second, part-time job at a pharmacy in the Condado. That’s where she’s lived since shortly after her release in 1999, in a small apartment with a spectacular view of the ocean.

Regretting that her closest family lives in the United States, she lives among paintings done by her friend, Oscar López, who is still in prison.

It’s curious that she’s chosen to teach English, after being in prison in U.S. prisons. “First, we need to learn that languages are important, all languages. Second, they helped me find this job. It’s a federal program to give attention on an individual, group, or class basis.”

What kind of students do you have?

Interestingly, when I entered prison, I was working at a community college, working with low income students, and it was something that spoke to me. When I got to Puerto Rico, I found a job... with low income students, who I really understand.

What are you referring to?

Well, I come from a situation of poverty, and I overcame it. I always try to advise them. I love to be surrounded by people I can help, and stimulate them to move forward.

You also have a second job...

I also work at a pharmacy. Like all good Puerto Ricans, I love to work, and so I found this second job. Things aren’t so great right now, but eleven years ago the economic situation was better, when I found this job. It’s not like I want to get rich, but that’s one of the problems we have here: low salaries and a high cost of living.

Have you ever felt discrimination when people learn that you were a political prisoner?

Never, not a single time. I work in a predominantly pro-statehood environment. (Carlos) Romero Barceló founded the college (of San Juan), which has always been in the city’s hands. There, I am loved and admired by everyone. I feel comfortable, happy. I’ve never been rejected. Maybe when I was looking for work initially, I had a disagreeable situation. Looking for other work, someone said, ‘Only in Puerto Rico could it happen that a terrorist would want to work in a federal program.’ Someone who overheard that comment called me and said, ‘They’re not going to hire you.’ That was one of the only times.

It’s been 11 years since your release. What are your thoughts about spending those 19 years in prison?

For me, and I think for everyone who struggles for an ideal, that makes prison more tolerable. We have so many examples of people who were in prison for many years, and come out mentally healthy. It’s not that we didn’t encounter huge problems in prison, but we were able to overcome them. I was studying for my doctorate in psychology at the time I was arrested, and I had a lot of knowledge about how to deal with some guards, the ones who caused us problems. I always try to remember the good people I met in prison... prison is full of good people. I try to keep my memories positive.

What’s the most positive thing you recall about prison?

The day we left, we had to say goodbye to that entire population that had accompanied us for so many years. We never had problems with the population, but that day, they showed us the love and respect they felt. The prison administration couldn’t control the masses of prisoners who left their jobs to bid us farewell.

And the worst thing?

The searches they'd do were completely indecent. After our visits, they would rob you of any good feelings you had from having shared with your family, when you felt almost free. They would require you to completely strip, and, well, I won’t even go into the details. That was something that was really repugnant.

Do you sometimes regret your participating in pro-independence groups?

I was 34 years old when I joined. I was an adult. I joined with a clear head. I was
convinced that the colonial situation of Puerto Rico could not continue. When one acts like in such a way, then the decision is clear and firm, and you can tolerate whatever comes. As Ramón Emeterio Betances said, ‘if you want to eat an omelet, you have to break the eggs.’ Thus we decided to confront that with humility, to make that offering to our homeland.

What struck you when you left prison and returned to Puerto Rico?

My parents had to emigrate when I was little, and I would come to visit. You have that romantic view of the Island, that it could be paradise if we weren't in this colonial situation. One thing I didn’t know: I love flowers, and near here they sell flowers. I asked the man, ‘Those flowers, are they from Aibonito?’ ‘No, from Colombia,’ he responded. Then I was going through Lares, and I stopped to buy some tubers (ñames) and I asked the man: ‘No, they’re from Costa Rica.’ One thing that shocks me is that here, agriculture no longer exists, that we have to buy from them, because it’s more advantageous for the U.S. government. In prison I would ask, ‘God, let me get to a free country. I don’t want to leave prison to return to the colony and have to face all that for which I’ve been a prisoner all these years.’ But that didn’t happen. You have to think that some day it will happen.

Will we ever get independence here?

I can’t tell when. There is a contradiction, and I think contradictions demand a resolution. Other countries have achieved their independence. I don’t know why Puerto Rico can’t. It’s inevitable. It will happen. There is a strong nationalist sector here that isn’t heard, that doesn’t vote, but that doesn’t alarm me. The little I recall of the history of the United States is that they won when their revolutionary struggle was the most fragmented. The independence movement has been the target of much repression and abuse, and I respect them because they've gone through so much.

Is armed struggle an option?

Armed struggle is what will save the homeland in the future. As long as that contradiction exists, there will be people who take up arms. Those acts (the acts attributed to the Armed Forces for National Liberation, the group she was connected to) weren't done with the intention of bringing down the most powerful empire in the world. They were symbolic acts to show the empire and the entire world that not all Puerto Ricans accept colonialism. The acts had the advantage of showing that, for one instant, we were free. We never thought we were going to destroy the United States.