Friday, December 31, 2010

Native Youth Alliance

There is still time in these final days of 2010 to make a tax-deductible donation to Native Youth Alliance. We have many events and projects planned for the coming year, and we are pleased to announce that we are making progress on meeting the goals of our Heritage of Healing Project. For more information, please visit us on the web at

We appreciate any support you can offer. Contributions can be mailed to Native Youth Alliance, PO Box 981148, Ypsilanti, MI 48198. We can also accept donations via PayPal; contact us for specifics on how to do this at 734-550-7094.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Shoshana Beth Phillips, Executive Director
Native Youth Alliance

Scott Sisters are Freed!

Scott Sisters are Freed!
James Ridgeway December 29, 2010 at 7:57 pm Categories: solitary confinement URL:

The Scott sisters are freed. In a release today, Haley Barbour,Governor of Mississippi,made the following announcement:

Dec. 29, 2010


"Today, I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott. In 1994, a Scott County jury convicted the sisters of armed robbery and imposed two life sentences for the crime. Their convictions and their sentences were affirmed by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996.

"To date, the sisters have served 16 years of their sentences and are eligible for parole in 2014. Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her. The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi.

"The Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the sisters' request for a pardon and recommended that I neither pardon them, nor commute their sentence. At my request, the Parole Board subsequently reviewed whether the sisters should be granted an indefinite suspension of sentence, which is tantamount to parole, and have concurred with my decision to suspend their sentences indefinitely.

"Gladys Scott's release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister, a procedure which should be scheduled with urgency. The release date for Jamie and Gladys Scott is a matter for the Department of Corrections.

"I would like to thank Representative George Flaggs, Senator John Horne, Senator Willie Simmons, and Representative Credell Calhoun for their leadership on this issue. These legislators, along with former Mayor Charles Evers, have been in regular contact with me and my staff while the sisters' petition has been under review."
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Rakaa (Dilated Peoples) Free Peltier Album Signing Event, LA, 03 Jan

LPDOC Oakland Chapter, PCG Productions, and Block Report Radio present...

Rakaa (Dilated Peoples) Free Peltier Album Signing Event

This event features special guests Rakaa of Dilated Peoples & Arievolution signing copies of the new album, Free Leonard Peltier: Hip Hop's Contribution to the Freedom Campaign. There will be a listening party for the new album, as well as food and drinks available.

Supporters are invited to voice their support for Leonard for a new documentary; filming will occur during the event. Also, the Free Peltier Album will be available for sale.

Monday, January 3, 2011
7:00 to 9:00 PM

Jinga Jinga
3347 1/2 43rd Place
Los Angeles, CA 90008

Chilean Police Violently Dislodging the Rapanui Parliament‏

Rapanui, Ahu Nau Nau Despite dozens of international calls for a peaceful resolution, the Chilean government has once again mobilized against the peaceful Rapanui people on Easter Island. According to the following press release, on December 29, " just before 7 PM, a contingency of 200 armed police began violently dislodging the Rapanui Parliament from their headquarters in the ...

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31 Dec 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Julian Assange on WikiLeaks, War and Resisting Government Crackdown

2010 can be defined as the year of WikiLeaks. The whisteblowing website first made headlines around the world in April when it released a video of a U.S. helicopter gunship indiscriminately firing on Iraqi civilians killing 12 people, including two Reuters news staff. In July, WikiLeaks created a bigger firestorm when it published more than 90,000 classified U.S. military war logs of the war in Afghanistan. Then in October, WikiLeaks published some 390,000 classified U.S. documents on the war in Iraq—the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history and the greatest internal account of any war on public record. And in November WikiLeaks began releasing a giant trove of confidential State Department cables that sent shockwaves through the global diplomatic establishment. Throughout it all, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange were targeted by the U.S. and other governments around the world. We play our interviews with Assange and with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. [includes rush transcript]
Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: Julian Assange is Not a Terrorist

After WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London an international group of former intelligence officers and ex-government officials released a statement in support of his work. We speak to one of the signatories, Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971. "If I released the Pentagon Papers today, the same rhetoric and the same calls would be made about me," Ellsberg says. "I would be called not only a traitor—which I was then, which was false and slanderous—but I would be called a terrorist... Assange and Bradley Manning are no more terrorists than I am." [includes rush transcript]

Thursday, December 30, 2010

30 Dec 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

"Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hours:" The Explosion that Killed 11 Workers and Led to the Worst Oil Spill in U.S. History

It has been eight months since the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Eleven workers were killed and more than 200 million gallons of oil were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. A major investigation by the New York Times takes an in-depth look into how explosion occurred. Based on interviews with 21 crew members and testimony from 94 others, the investigation concludes every single one of the rig’s defenses failed. We speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Barstow. [includes rush transcript]
Son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg: "My Parents Were Executed Under the Unconstitutional Espionage Act—Here’s Why We Must Fight to Protect Julian Assange"

As the Justice Department considers charging WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917, we speak with Robert Meeropol, the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg—the only U.S. citizens to be executed under the Espionage Act in what’s been described as the most controversial death sentence in U.S. history. This week, Meeropol released a widely read statement in support of WikiLeaks called "My Parents Were Executed Under the Unconstitutional Espionage Act—Here’s Why We Must Fight to Protect Julian Assange." [includes rush transcript]


•Aid Organizations: Situation in Afghanistan Worsening
•Ambassador: Ivory Coast on the "Brink of Genocide"
•Lobbyist Lanny Davis Resigns from Ivory Coast Job
•Ex-Israeli President Convicted of Rape
•Obama Appoints Ambassador to Syria
•U.S Revokes Visa of Venezuelan Ambassador
•Veterans Face Higher Unemployment Rate
•One Tip Enough to Put Name on Terror Watch List
•American Aid Worker Released in Haiti
•Rousseff to be Sworn in as Brazilian President
•Conservative Groups to Boycott CPAC over Gay Group

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

29 Dec 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Allan Nairn: As U.S. Loses Its Global Economic Edge, Its "One Clear Comparative Advantage is in Killing, And It’s Using It"

As 2010 draws to a close, what is the role of the United States in the world today? From the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the cuts to social programs here at home, where is there emerging hope for change around the world? We spend the hour with award-winning investigative journalist and activist Allan Nairn. "You vote for Democrat, you vote for Republican, you get the same thing on state murder, on preventable death. But we here have the right to rebel. We have to use it."


•U.S. Drone Strikes Kill at Least 33 in Pakistan
•Ivory Coast President Rejects Demands from African Leaders
•Palestinians to Ask U.N. to Recognize State
•106 Journalists Killed Worldwide in 2010
•U.S. Companies Created More Jobs Overseas in 2010
•157 Banks Failed in 2010, Most Since 1992
•U.S. Refuses to Help Polish Probe of Secret CIA Prisons
•WikiLeaks: U.S. Rejected Request to Help Probe of Assassination in Dubai
•Eight Squatters Die in New Orleans Fire
•GOP Lawmaker Threatens to Derail EPA Plan to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Cuba commutes sentence of last death row inmate

Signature of Raul Castro.Image via Wikipedia Cuba commutes sentence of last death row inmate

Cuba's Supreme Tribunal has commuted the sentence of the country's last death row inmate, a rights group has said.

Humberto Eladio Real, a 40-year-old Cuban American, was convicted of killing a man in 1994 during an attempted insurgency raid.

The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation commuted his sentence to 30 years in prison.

Cuba has had an effective moratorium on carrying out death sentences for years.

Earlier this month, two other death row inmates also had their sentences commuted.

Ernesto Cruz Leon and Otto Rene Rodriguez Llerena, both from El Salvador, had been convicted over a bombing campaign of tourism sites in Cuba in the 1990s which killed one Italian and injured 11 other people.

They were sentenced to death by firing squad but their sentences were commuted to 30 years at a hearing on 7 December.

Cuba's last executions were in 2003, when three people convicted of attempting to hijack a boat to escape to the United States were killed by firing squad.

Two years ago, within a month of taking over the presidency from his brother Fidel, Raul Castro issued a decree lifting the death sentence for 30 prisoners.

In a groundbreaking deal brokered by the Roman Catholic church, Mr Castro has also agreed to free the 52 most prominent political prisoners on the island.

The majority are now with the families in Spain, but 11 are refusing to go into exile and have yet to be released, says the BBC's Michael Voss in Havana.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

28 Dec 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

From Snowstorms to Heat Waves, How Global Warming Causes Extreme Weather and Climate Instability

The East Coast is struggling to recover from the massive blizzard that slammed into hundreds cities and towns from the Carolinas to Maine. The storm was a grimly fitting end to 2010, which was characterized by extreme weather from start to finish with heat waves, floods, volcanoes, blizzards, landslides and droughts. While TV networks closely follow extreme weather events around the world, they rarely make the connection between extreme weather and global warming. We speak with Dr. Paul Epstein of Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. [includes rush transcript]
Indian Human Rights Activist Dr. Binayak Sen Sentenced to Life in Prison in Widely Criticized Ruling

Renowned Indian physician and human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen has been sentenced to life in prison on charges of sedition and conspiracy. Described as Indian’s most famous political prisoner, Dr. Sen is known as the "physician of the poor." We play an interview with Dr. Sen, speaking while out on bail earlier this year, and we talk to his wife, Ilina Sen. [includes rush transcript–partial]


•U.N.: Security Worsening in Afghanistan
•Afghan Gov’t Condemns Deadly U.S. Raid
•19 Killed in Iraq Bombing
•Maliki: No Extension for U.S. Withdrawal Deadline
•African Presidents Issue Ultimatum to Ivory Coast President
•Palestinians Mark 2nd Anniversary of Gaza Assault
•Israeli Peace Activist Sentenced to 3-Month Term
•Huckabee Tied to Firm Accused of Defrauding Struggling Homeowners
•Report: 98 Bailed-Out Banks Risk Failure

Monday, December 27, 2010

27 Dec 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

The Show Must Go On: As Monster Snowstorm Blankets East Coast, Democracy Now! Crew Shares Tales of "Thundersnow"

A fierce winter storm has dumped over a foot of snow in areas along the East Coast from the Carolinas to Maine. In New York City, 20 inches of snow covered the streets with snowdrifts four feet high. The subway system was badly crippled. To make it in for the 8am broadcast, the Democracy Now! team had a challenging morning commute. Some donned ski gear and trudged through thigh-high snow to walk over bridges to Manhattan, some rose with the sun to find a working subway and some even hitchhiked.
As Thousands Flee Ivory Coast, Former Clinton Adviser Lanny Davis is Paid Lobbyist for President Who Refuses to Cede Power

A general strike has been called for in the Ivory Coast today to force incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo to cede power. Gbagbo has refused to step aside following the disputed presidential election last month. Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara has been widely recognized as the winner of the vote. Meanwhile, the president of ECOWAS threatened that the West African bloc may use force to remove Gbago from power. We speak with Syracuse University professor, Horace Campbell.
From the Pentagon to the Private Sector: Boston Globe Analysis Finds Large Numbers of Retiring Generals Entering Defense Industry

A new investigation by the Boston Globe find that retiring generals are leaving the military in large numbers to take lucrative jobs in the defense industry with little concern for any conflicts of interest. We speak with Bryan Bender, national security reporter for the Globe.


•Extreme Winter Storm Hits U.S. East Coast
•45 Killed in Bombing at WFP Site in Pakistan
•Afghan Civilian Casualties Up 20%
•Investigators: Involvement of Companies Undermining Oil Spill Probe
•Report: All of Rig’s Defense Systems Failed During Explosion
•Cables: Panamanian President Asked DEA to Help Spy on Opponents
•WikiLeaks Founder Assange to Write Autobiography
•Dozens Protest Restrictions, Wall in West Bank
•Thousands Greet Return of Flotilla Ship in Turkey
•Bolivia Recognizes Independent Palestinian State
•FCC Chair Issues Draft Approval for Comcast-NBC Universal Merger
•Kissinger in 1973: Gassing of Soviet Jewry "Not a U.S. Concern"
•Senate Confirms Prison Industry-Tied Marshals Nominee
•ACLU Added to Tennessee Anti-Terrorism List for Urging Religious Inclusion

Friday, December 24, 2010

Prison Dispatch from Lynne Stewart

12/19/10; 12:03pm

Dear Folks:

Some nuts and bolts and trivia

1. New Address

Lynne Stewart #53504 - 054
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
Unit 2N
PO Box 27137
Fort Worth TEXAS 76127

2. Visiting is very liberal but first I have to get people on my visiting list Wait til I or the lawyers let you know. The visits are FRI, SAT, SUN AND MON for 4 hours and on weekends 8 to 3. Bring clear plastic change purse with lots of change to buy from the machines. Brief Kiss upon arrival and departure, no touching or holding during visit (!!) On visiting forms it may be required that you knew me before I came to prison. Not a problem for most of you.

3. One hour time difference

4. Commissary Money is always welcome It is how I pay for the phone and for email. Also need it for a lot that prison doesn't supply in terms of food and "sundries" (pens!) A very big list that includes Raisins, Salad Dressing , ankle sox, mozzarella (definitely not from Antonys--more like a white cheddar, Sanitas Corn Chips but no Salsa etc. To add money, you do this by using Western Union and a credit card by phone or you can send a USPO money order or Business or Govt Check. The negotiable instruments (PAPER!) need to be sent to Federal Bureau of Prisons , 53504-054, Lynne Stewart, PO Box 474701, Des Moines Iowa 50947-001 (Payable to Lynne Stewart, 53504-054) They hold the mo or checks for 15 days. Western Union costs $10 but is within 2 hours. If you mail, your return address must be on the envelope. Unnecessarily complicated ? Of course, it's the BOP !)

5. Food is vastly improved. Just had Sunday Brunch real scrambled eggs, PORK sausage, Baked or home fried potatoes, Butter(sweet whipped M'God !!) Grapefruit juice Toast , orange. I will probably regain the weight I lost at MCC! Weighing against that is the fact that to eat we need to walk to another building (about at far as from my house to the F Train) Also included is 3 flights of stairs up and down. May try to get an elevator pass and try NOT to use it.

6. In a room with 4 bunks(small) about two tiers of rooms with same with "atrium" in middle with tv sets and tables and chairs. Estimate about 500 on Unit 2N and there are 4 units. Population Black, Mexicano and other spanish speaking (all of whom iron their underwear, Marta), White, Native Americans (few), no orientals or foreign speaking caucasians--lots are doing long bits, victims of drugs (meth etc) and boyfriends. We wear army style (khaki) pants with pockets tee shirts and dress shirts long sleeved and short sleeved. When one of the women heard that I hadn't ironed in 40 years, they offered to do the shirts for me. (This is typical of the help I get--escorted to meals and every other protection, explanations, supplies, etc. Mostly from white women.) One drawback is not having a bathroom in the room---have to go about 75 yards at all hours of the day and night --clean though.

7 Final Note--the sunsets and sunrises are gorgeous, the place is very open and outdoors there are pecan trees and birds galore (I need books for trees and birds (west) The full moon last night gladdened my heart as I realized it was shining on all of you I hold dear.

Love Struggle,


Why Indefinite Detention By Executive Order Should Scare the Hell Out of People

December 23, 2010

Why Indefinite Detention By Executive Order Should Scare the Hell Out of People

Obama's Liberty Problem

The right to liberty is one of the foundation rights of a free people [sic]. The idea that any US President can bypass Congress and bypass the Courts by issuing an Executive Order setting up a new legal system for indefinite detention of people should rightfully scare the hell out of the American people.

Advisors in the Obama administration have floated the idea of creating a special new legal system to indefinitely detain people by Executive Order.

Why? To do something with the people wrongfully imprisoned in Guantanamo. Why not follow the law and try them? The government knows it will not be able to win prosecutions against them because they were tortured by the US.

Guantanamo is coming up on its ninth anniversary – a horrifying stain on the character of the US commitment to justice. President Obama knows well that Guantanamo is the most powerful recruitment tool for those challenging the US. Unfortunately, this proposal for indefinite detention will prolong the corrosive effects of the illegal and immoral detentions at Guantanamo rightly condemned world-wide.

The practical, logical, constitutional and human rights problems with the proposal are uncountable.

Our system provides a simple answer developed over hundreds of years – try them or release them. Any other stop gap measure like the one proposed merely pushes the problem back down the road and back into the courts again. While it may appear to be a popular political response, the public will soon enough see this for what it is – an unconstitutional usurping of power by the Executive branch and a clear and present danger to all Americans.

The US government has never publicly said who can be prosecuted and who they have decided to hold indefinitely because they think they cannot successfully charge them. Now, after holding people for years and years, they think they can create a new set of laws by Executive Order which will justify their actions?

Recall that dozens of the very same people who would now be subject to indefinite detention have already been cleared for release by the government. How can indefinite detention of people we already cleared to go home possibly be legal?

The government proposes essentially to detain people for being a potential member or friend of the enemy force – a standard that is too open ended and inconsistent with the US and international laws of war.

Our criminal process, requiring charge, conviction and other safeguards, is the primary means by which the government may deprive a person of liberty, with carefully limited exceptions.

“Freedom from bodily restraint has always been at the core of the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause from arbitrary governmental action.” The Supreme Court has “always been careful not to “minimize the importance and fundamental nature of the individual’s right to liberty.” Foucha v Louisiana, 504 US 71 (1992).

The liberty of all persons is protected by the criminal process guarantees, among other rights: the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; probable cause for arrest; right to counsel, right to indictment by grand jury; right to trial by an impartial jury; the right to a speedy public trial; the presumption of innocence; the right that government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt every fact necessary to make out the charged offense; a privilege against self-incrimination; the right to confront and cross examine witnesses; the right to present witnesses and use compulsory process; the duty on the government to disclose exculpatory evidence; prohibition against double jeopardy; prohibition against bills of attainder and ex post facto laws; and a prohibition against selective prosecution.

For hundreds of years judges and legislatures and advocates for justice have struggled to create protections for our liberty [like genocide against Indigenous people, slavery, colonialism and war]. People who suggest bypassing all of these protections of our liberty in the name of safety or politics do our people and our history a grave disservice.

Some wrongfully suggest that preventive detention by the Executive would be allowed because the law already allows civil confinement. But there are only very narrow circumstances when limited civil confinement is allowed by law. It is clear government cannot use civil detention or anything like it to effect punishment or to escape the comprehensive constraints of the criminal justice system. Kansas v Crane, 534 US 407, 412 (2002) (noting that civil commitment must not “become a mechanism for retribution or general deterrence.

Further, preventive detention also violates international law, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), article 9.

The proposal to create a special new legal system by Executive Order is an end run around Congress and the Judiciary. It will lengthen the illegal detentions in Guantanamo and will force this entire system back into the courts for years. It will further damage US efforts to portray itself as a fair country of laws, and will threaten the liberty of every single US citizen who is not in Guantanamo because it will damage the due process guarantees which have built up over the years to protect each one of us.

Vince Warren is the Executive Director at the Center
for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

Bill Quigley is Legal Director of CCR and law
professor at Loyola University New Orleans. You can reach Bill at

UN to investigate treatment of jailed leaks suspect Bradley Manning

Logo used by WikileaksImage via Wikipedia UN to investigate treatment of jailed leaks suspect Bradley Manning
Office of rapporteur on torture confirms it is looking into complaint made by Manning supporter

The United Nations is investigating a complaint on behalf of Bradley Manning that he is being mistreated while held since May in US Marine Corps custody pending trial. The army private is charged with the unauthorised use and disclosure of classified information, material related to the WikiLeaks, and faces a court martial sometime in 2011.

The office of Manfred Nowak, special rapporteur on torture based in Geneva, received the complaint from a Manning supporter; his office confirmed that it was being looked into. Manning's supporters say that he is in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day; this could be construed as a form of torture. This month visitors reported that his mental and physical health was deteriorating.

The Pentagon denies the former intelligence analyst is mistreated, saying he is treated the same as other prisoners at Quantico, Virginia, is able to exercise, and has access to newspapers and visitors.

He was charged in July with leaking classified material including video posted by WikiLeaks of a 2007 US attack in Baghdad by a Apache helicopter that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver. He is also suspected of leaking other material to the website, which is posting more than 250,000 secret state department cables. Manning has not commented on whether he is the source.

In an interview with MSNBC, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, described Manning as a political prisoner and called on human rights organisations to investigate.

Nowak, an Austrian rights lawyer, has been involved in cases related to the Balkans, Guantánamo Bay, Iraq and China.
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24 Dec 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Dr. Gabor Maté on the Stress-Disease Connection, Addiction, Attention Deficit Disorder and the Destruction of American Childhood
Today, a Democracy Now! special with the Canadian physician and bestselling author, Dr. Gabor Maté. From disease to addiction, parenting to attention deficit disorder, Dr. Maté’s work focuses on the centrality of early childhood experiences to the development of the brain, and how those experiences can impact everything from behavioral patterns to physical and mental illness. While the relationship between emotional stress and disease, and mental and physical health more broadly, is often considered controversial within medical orthodoxy, Dr. Maté argues too many doctors seem to have forgotten what was once a commonplace assumption, that emotions are deeply implicated in both the development of illness, addictions and disorders, and in their healing. [includes rush transcript]


•Senate Passes Nuke Treaty & 9/11 Health Bill
•Obama Signs "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" Repeal
•Sen. Reid Returns Ring to Dan Choi After Repeal of DADT
•Congress Bans Transfer of Gitmo Prisoners to U.S. for Trial
•U.N. Probes Detention of Bradley Manning
•Julian Assange: Bradley Manning is a "Political Prisoner"
•WikiLeaks Cables Released about West Papua
•U.N.: 173 Have Died in Ivory Coast
•U.N. Increases Size of Force in Somalia by 50%
•Alaska Supreme Court Rules Against Joe Miller
•More Headlines…

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Police Raid on Lakota Strong Heart Warrior Society activist

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Police Raid on Lakota Strong Heart Warrior Society activist
Cante Tenza: Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Lakota People, December 22, 2010, Sharp's Corner, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD, Lakota Nation

By Strong Heart Warrior Society

Sunday Night Police Raid on Strong Heart Activist and White Clay Blockade Leader Duane Martin Sr. Ignites Firestorm
Press Conference and Protest Planned for Friday

PINE RIDGE, South Dakota - The Strong Heart Warrior Society continues to ask both Native and non-native supporters to call, fax and email Oglala Sioux Tribal Government officials and Police Chief Everett Little Whiteman to get accountability for the Sunday night police raid on activist Duane Martin Sr.'s home in Sharp's Corner following a "set-up" false call from an area drug dealer.

On Sunday night December 19, nine Oglala Tribal Police officers raided Duane Martin's house in Sharps Corner following a tip call alleging a "house party" where drugs and alcohol were present. Duane, 22 years sober, is a well known activist and is widely recognized for leading Strong Heart and the Lakota people in stands against drug dealing, bootlegging, and the scourge of alcohol sales in White Clay, Nebraska. Police officials have since admitted they did not follow up on the false call and did not have plans to investigate.

This raid is one insult in a larger series of actions that has targeted Duane and Strong Heart for their stand against drugs and alcohol. Officials in the Oglala Tribal Government and Tribal Police with ties to these illegal activities have made a concerted effort to intimidate, discredit, and deny the efforts of Duane and Strong Heart to protect the Lakota People.

In November, Duane led Strong Heart in a show-down with Tribal Police when thirteen traditional Grandmothers were arrested for "inciting a riot" because they protested then Tribal Council President Theresa Two Bulls. Following a threatened take-over of the Tribal Government offices by Strong Heart, the Grandmothers were released without charges. Within the last two weeks, Duane's use of his residence in Sharp's Corner has been threatened by Oglala Tribal Housing and custody of his son was awarded to a known drug dealer and sex-offender by a retiring Oglala Court Judge Patrick Lee.

Strong Heart is planning a protest in the Sharp's Corner community on Pine Ridge, Friday December 24. A press conference kicks-off at 10:00am. Protest march begins at 1pm.

For more information or news interviews, contact Duane Martin Sr. at 605) 517-1547 or (605) 454-5552.

Cante Tenza Okolakiciye is the Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Lakota Nation, an ancient warrior society as well as a grassroots civil rights movement that works to protect, enforce and restore treaty rights, civil rights, and sovereignty of Native people and their communities across Turtle Island. In addition to activist efforts such as the annual Blockade of White Clay Nebraska, each year Cante Tenza collects and freely distributes shoes, winter coats, school supplies, food, and other support to Oglala Lakota elders, children and families.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lenny Foster update on Leonard Peltier, Dec. 2010

WikiLeaks: FBI Now Keeping Tabs on Native Americans -- in South America?

December 20, 2010
WikiLeaks: FBI Now Keeping Tabs on Native Americans -- in South America?

While historic FBI shenanigans committed against Native Americans within the United States are well known, WikiLeaks documents now reveal that the law enforcement agency has set its sights on other indigenous peoples farther afield -- in South America no less. The revelations are contained in a U.S. cable dating from early 2008 and relate to a meeting between Bush-appointed U.S. ambassador in Santiago Paul Simons and Chilean Interior Minister Edmundo Pérez Yoma. According to the document, the Interior Minister was concerned about "the potential radicalization of Chile's indigenous population." Though the United States has a sorry record when it comes to handling indigenous relations, the Chileans were interested in "drawing on the U.S. experience."

Speaking with the Americans, Pérez said that Mapuche Indians, Chile's largest indigenous group, could be receiving financial support from the likes of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, Colombian FARC rebels or even ETA Basque separatists. Pérez conceded that links between foreign entities and the Mapuche, which had only recently been involved in high profile land occupations in Chile, were dubious. The intelligence, Pérez added, was "unclear" though local authorities would surely benefit from U.S. assistance in following the money trail. American officials were happy to oblige, noting that "the FBI is coordinating with the Carabineros [Chile's military police] to assist in identification and potential prosecution of actors within Chile."

It's a little unclear which "actors" were being monitored, though at another point in the cable the Americans note that they were "working with Chilean colleagues to identify FARC and ETA actors outside Chile." Perhaps, outside involvement in Mapuche land struggles was a red herring and an excuse of sorts for the Michelle Bachelet government to simply obtain U.S. assistance in its overall political battle with the Mapuche. Indeed, according to the cable U.S. officials were involved in collecting intelligence not only on FARC and ETA but also Mapuche radicals "who might have potential links" to foreign groups.

The Simons-Pérez meeting took place against the backdrop of escalating domestic tensions in Chile. Just one month before, Carabineros had reportedly shot and killed a university student during an indigenous land occupation. Amnesty International called for a full investigation into the killing, though it was certainly not the first time that the organization had focused its attention on human rights abuses committed by Chilean security forces operating within Mapuche territory. Indeed, as early as 2006 the group decried a Carabinero raid on an indigenous community in which police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition on unarmed local residents.

WikiLeaks mention of FBI-Carabinero collaboration is an ominous development. For years, the Mapuche have been persecuted by the Chilean state under draconian anti-terrorism laws dating from the Pinochet military era. The Indians claim that the security forces storm into indigenous homes, sometimes without a warrant. The authorities then destroy household items or objects of cultural value while simultaneously hurling racial epithets and mistreating children and the elderly. When it comes to using lethal weapons, the police reportedly do not hesitate.

At its root, the Mapuche conflict centers around corporate greed and connivance of the Chilean state which is bent on exploiting the country's resources. Unfortunately for the Indians, such natural resources including mining, forests and salmon farming are to be found on Mapuche land. Publicly, Bachelet touted her socialist credentials though her government pursued relentless free trade with the outside world. In line with its pro-corporate orientation, the government provided incentives to logging companies seeking to operate on ancestral Mapuche lands.

In cables, U.S. diplomats frequently express sympathy for the Mapuche. Indeed, in late 2009 the Americans even conducted a fact-finding trip to Indian lands and concluded that the area was largely non-violent, "if not tense and distrustful." The trip took place against the backdrop of Chile's presidential election, with the Chilean right stoking fears of Mapuche radicalization. In his report, however, ambassador Simons wrote "despite vocal allegations in the press, the opposition has yet to produce credible evidence that there is significant and on-going cooperation between the Mapuche community and FARC and ETA terrorists."

Simons should be credited for his level headed approach, yet it's unclear whether the FBI shares the ambassador's more enlightened ideas. If the FBI did take a sympathetic view of the Mapuche struggle, such a position would be out of keeping with the bureau's domestic record within the United States. Indeed, starting in the 1970s the FBI resorted to increasingly more violent tactics within Indian country. The most notorious case which came to public attention involved indigenous activist Leonard Peltier, who was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a gun battle at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The FBI claimed that the incident was a result of a cold blooded Indian ambush, though indigenous activists believe the FBI provoked the shootout as part of a well thought out raid which simply spiraled out of control.

Since Simons wrote his report, a new right wing government has come to power in Chile. If the ostensibly socialist Bachelet government collaborated with the FBI, then what can we expect from newly-elected Sebastián Piñera? Given its sordid past in indigenous matters, the FBI is the last U.S. government agency which should be involved in the Chilean government's fight with the Mapuche. At this point the public needs to know what the FBI is up to in Chile and how long the agency has been collaborating with local authorities. Hopefully, missing WikiLeaks cables pertaining to Chile will fill in the necessary gaps in this important story.

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave, 2008) and No Rain in the Amazon: How South America's Climate Change Affects the Entire Planet (Palgrave, 2010). Visit his website,

US announces QUALIFIED support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

International Indian Treaty Council

Information Office 2940 16th Street, Suite 305 San Francisco, CA 94103-3664 P (415) 641-4482 F (415) 641-1298

E - Administration Office 456 N. Alaska Street Palmer, AK 99645 P - (907) 745-4482 F - (907) 745-4484 E -



“Implementation is what we are waiting for now”

The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) welcomed the announcement today by US President Barrack Obama of the United States’ support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The President's long-awaited statement of support was made in Washington DC during a Tribal Nations Conference attended by over 300 Tribal Leaders from throughout the US.

The President stated that “… today I can announce that the United States is lending its support to this Declaration. The aspirations it affirms -- including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples -- are ones we must always seek to fulfill.”

This endorsement by the US for the Declaration is a positive, necessary and long-overdue step forward. The US is the last country to express its support for the Declaration which recognizes a broad range of rights for Indigenous Peoples in the US and around the world. Australia, New Zealand and Canada joined with the US to vote “NO” when the Declaration was adopted by a vote of 144 countries in favor at the UN General Assembly on September 13th 2007. With today’s announcement, all 4 of the opposing States have changed their position.

IITC Executive Director Andrea Carmen, Yaqui Nation, participated in the work on the Declaration at the United Nations over many years. Hearing today’s news, she expressed IITC’s appreciation to the thousands of Indigenous Nations, organizations and human rights allies who called upon the US to express unqualified support for the Declaration since the US announced the “formal review” of its position in April of this year.

However, she also expressed IITC’s strong disappointment with the limitations the US decided to place on its support. The “Announcement of U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” released today contains a number of qualifications which call into serious question the US government’s intention to fully recognize and implement many of the key rights contained in the Declaration.

Several references are made to implementation of rights in accordance with existing Federal Laws and policies. Of particular concern is the statement that the US plans to recognize “a new and distinct international concept of self-determination specific to indigenous peoples…“different from the existing right of self-determination in international law.” This interpretation by the US has no basis in the actual text of the Declaration or the principles of international human rights standards which uphold non-discrimination and equal rights. In Article 3, the Declaration defines Self-determination for Indigenous Peoples consistent with the language affirming this right for “All Peoples” in international law.

The US statement also limits the US interpretation of the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent contained in many provisions of the Declaration to “consultation”, a much more limited and diminished standard.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an international standard adopted overwhelmingly by the UN General Assembly. It must not be subject to selective redrafting or new interpretations by the US or any other State attempting to redefine or limit the inherent rights it recognizes. It also can’t be limited by narrow interpretations subject to existing federal laws and policies. The IITC calls upon the US government to reassess its position on these qualifications and express its full support for all of the Declaration’s provisions. The next step will be to evaluate and, wherever needed, raise its own laws and policies up to the minimum standard contained in the Declaration. These actions will convey the good faith, mutual respect and true spirit of partnership between States and Indigenous Peoples which the Declaration intends to promote.

Chief Gary Harrison of Chickaloon Village Traditional Council in Alaska participated in many of the United Nations sessions during the Declaration’s development. As a tribal leader, he was present at the meeting today in Washington DC when the announcement was made by President Obama. Chief Harrison also focused on the need for implementation. He said that “It is about time the US took this step after opposing the Declaration for so many years. Now they need take measures to ensure that it’s more than just an aspirational document for the American Indian, Alaska and Hawaiian Native Nations. Since Chickaloon Village is currently facing threats of unwanted coal mining in our traditional homelands, the rights in the Declaration to free prior and informed consent, self-determination, subsistence, land and resource rights are especially important to us. Implementation is what we are waiting for now”.

The UN Declaration was the first UN human rights instrument developed with the consistent, direct and full participation of the "subjects” of the rights under discussion. Any programs, policies or mechanisms established by the US to implement its new commitment to Indigenous Peoples must be planned and implemented with the full participation and consent of Indigenous Peoples to be in keeping with the provisions of Declaration. Reviewing the status of compliance with US Treaty obligations to Indigenous Nations, and establishing a fair and participatory mechanism to provide effective redress, would be a good place to start in this process.

The International Indian Treaty Council was founded in 1974 in Standing Rock South Dakota and was the first Indigenous organization to receive Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council in 1977. IITC was involved in each stage of the 25-year process at the United Nations to draft and adopt the Declaration. For more information, please contact the IITC at (907) 745-4482 or (415) 641-4482, email to or


“Announcement of U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”:


For additional information on the UN Declaration, what it contains and how it was developed, download “Making the Declaration Work”:


Mayors Association requesting liberation of Oscar López Rivera

Mayors Association requesting liberation of Oscar López Rivera
December 20, 2010
by Juan A. Hernandez

Mayors from across the island signed a petition Sunday for the release from prison of pro-independence activist Oscar López Rivera.

The petition, dubbed the "Comerío Statement", was signed by members of the Puerto Rico Mayors Association, who characterized López Rivera’s incarceration as “ideological punishment.”

“It is high time for this brother, whose only crime is his activism in favor of Puerto Rico’s independence, to come back home to his family,” Comerío mayor Josean Santiago said.

The petition states that López Rivera’s 70-year sentence makes him a political prisoner whose conviction is due only for being associated to a political and military organization that promotes independence for Puerto Rico.

In 1980 López Rivera was convicted of seditious conspiracy by the U.S. government because of his alleged involvement with the National Liberation Armed Forces (FALN for its Spanish acronym), a Nationalist group linked to several bombings and five deaths during the 1970’s.

López Rivera, born in San Sebastián, is a Vietnam era veteran and received a Bronze Star medal for meritorious service. Prior to his conviction López Rivera was a respected community activist and Puerto Rican independence leader in the city of Chicago.

Santiago’s involvement in the campaign for the release of López Rivera came last summer, when he met the prisoner’s brother José during a visit to Chicago.

“The Puerto Rican community there had dedicated their main festivities to Comerío and I was invited to the event. There I met José, who told me about his brother and the difficulties he faces in prison. It was hard for me not to feel sympathy for his sibling,” Santiago said.

“This Puerto Rican brother has spent 29 of his 67 years in a prison just for his beliefs. That is cruel and extreme punishment. It is time for him to come back home,” he added.

The petition will be sent to the president of the federal Parole Board, Isaac Fulwood. The petition reiterates another sent in November by U.S. Congress members Luis Gutiérrez (Ill), Nydia Velázquez (NY) and José Serrano (NY) --all born in Puerto Rico.

“We have to put aside all political considerations. This is a matter of humanity ? I’m confident thaat with the support of these Congress members, along with the support of our Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi there is a good chance for us to have Oscar back home with us soon,” Santiago said.

Congressman Gutiérrez, who is visiting the island during the holidays, anticipated he will present the petition to the new Congress next Jan. 4th.

“I’m convinced that conditions are favorable for Oscar’s release thanks to the support of the Resident Commissioner and the Puerto Rican community,” Gutiérrez said.

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Announcement of U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Seal of the U.S. Department of the Interior, f...
Announcement of U.S. Support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC

December 16, 2010

President Obama today announced United States support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The announcement, made during the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the U.S. Department of the Interior, underscores the U.S. commitment to strengthening government-to-government relationships with federally recognized tribes and furthering U.S. policy on indigenous issues.

The decision to support the Declaration represents an important and meaningful change in the U.S. position, and resulted from a comprehensive, interagency policy review, including extensive consultation with tribes. While the Declaration is not legally binding, it carries considerable moral and political force and complements the President’s ongoing efforts to address historical inequities faced by indigenous communities in the United States.

The President’s speech can be found on A more detailed statement regarding U.S. support for the Declaration and our recent related initiatives in Indian country can be found at

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Keep Portland Weird!

22 Dec 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Census: As Red States Grow, So Do Hispanic Populations Within

The Census Bureau has altered the nation’s political landscape with its once-a-decade rearranging of congressional districts to reflect changes in the population. Democratic states such as New York and Massachusetts lost seats, while Republican-leaning states, such as Arizona and Texas, gained seats. However, much of the population growth is attributed to Hispanics, who tend to vote Democratic. We speak with Tim Storey, senior fellow at the National Conference of Legislatures. [includes rush transcript]
"I’ve Been to 44 Funerals in the Last 4 1/2 Years"–9/11 First Responder John Feal Calls on Senate to Pass Zadroga Bill

More than nine years after the September 11th attacks, the Senate may be on the verge of finally voting on legislation that would grant $6.2 billion medical coverage and compensation to thousands of 9/11 first responders exposed to toxic substances at Ground Zero. The House passed a $7.4 billion version of the bill in September. But the Senate version has been held up by a Republican filibuster. We speak with John Feal, a former construction worker and 9/11 first responder.
"Barbour is an Unreconstructed Southerner": Prof. John Dittmer on Mississippi Governor’s Praise of White Citizens’ Councils

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is facing a national controversy for praising the role of the White Citizens’ Councils, which opposed racial integration in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition, Barbour recalled the civil rights struggle in his hometown, Yazoo City, Mississippi, saying, "I just don’t remember it as being that bad." We speak with John Dittmer, Professor Emeritus of History at DePauw University in Indiana.


•Obama to Sign Order for Indefinite Detention
•Holder: U.S. Seeks to "Neutralize" U.S.-born Cleric
•WikiLeaks: U.K. & U.S. Embrace Bangladeshi Death Squad
•Senate Appears Set to Approve Nuke Treaty
•FBI Subpoenas Editor of Pro-Palestinian Electronic Intifada Website
•Judge Rules Bush Conducted "Unlawful Surveillance"
•U.N.: Ivory Coast Could Slide Back into Civil War
•Halliburton Settles Bribery Dispute in Nigeria
•Israeli Jets Bombard Gaza
•Request Filed to Arrest Army Officers Linked to Murder of Victor Jara

Sunday, December 12, 2010

¡BOMBA Y PLENA pa' los presos!

¡BOMBA Y PLENA pa' los presos!
Happy Three Kings Day Celebration!

Happy 68th Birthday Oscar Lopez Rivera!

Sat. January 8th, 2011 @ 7pm
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
521 w126th St.
(Btwn. Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue)
Take the 1 train to w125th St.

Suggest donation: $10 (no one will be turned away due to lack of funds!)

Join ProLibertad for a night of incredible CULTURE, RESISTANCE and CELEBRATION! Come and have a great time as we celebrate Three Kings Day and the 68th birthday of Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera with:

The incredible BombaYo:

BombaYo emerges from the streets and schoolyards of the Bronx, where salsa and hip hop were born. Under the direction of Jose L. Ortiz aka Dr. Drum and Melinda Gonzalez, this group of teens brings youthful energy to a centuries old Afro Puerto Rican music and dance tradition. BombaYo starts from within. At the core is a connection to the soul, where drum and dance become one. African inspired call and
response singing complete the synergy.

And the amazing poetry of:

The Powerful Bonafide Rojas
Nuyorican Poet/Activist Papoleto Melendez

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday, 12/11, Campaign to Free Oscar Lopez Information‏

Hola Companero/a,

As you know, we have been in an intense campaign to collect 40,000 petitions requesting the release of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez River. The National Boricua Human Rights Network has begun to mail the petitions to the U.S. Parole Commission and know that many have already been received.

Urgent! If you have been collecting letters, we need to get those petitions as soon as possible (by the end of this weekend, if possible) so we can mail them in bulk. There are some ways of doing this:

--come to our event this Saturday and bring the petitions
--make arrangements so we can get the petitions from you – let me know and we’ll figure it out.

If you can’t do either of the above, you can mail them directly to the parole commission, but contact me for important information.

Please join us this Saturday, December 11 to learn more about the campaign and help strategize and intensify our campaign for Oscar Lopez’s release.

Time - 12:30pm - 2:00pm
National Gathering: Freedom for Oscar López Rivera
Words by former Puerto Rican Political Prisoner, Ricardo Jimenez and Jose Lopez, brother of Oscar Lopez.
Place - Julia De Burgos Cultural Center 1680 Lexington Avenue (corner of 106th St.),
2nd floor

From there we’ll walk to the Mural for a short program
2:30pm - 3:30pm
Patriots of Resistance: Cultural Program at Mural of Oscar López Rivera and
Avelino González Claudio
Mural located at 107th St. between Lexington & 3rd Avenue

In the evening, there is a free concert at Hostos Community College, 149 Street and Grand Concourse, Small Theatre, 6pm doors open, 7pm event starts
Concert is free, but ticket required from Hostos box office (opens at 6pm)

Help us get the 40,000 petitions; get involved in growing the movement until Oscar comes home!



This Week from Indian Country Today

Breaking News
Appeals court rejects NY state cigarette tax effort
New York's 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the state’s request to lift injunctions against the collection of cigarette taxes on sales in sovereign Indian country while challenges to the tax laws by several Indian nations are pending. More soon.

Reid drops controversial online poker proposal
Just after Indian Country Today went to press with the report below that Sen. Harry Reid had dropped his online poker proposal, news came that the bill is still alive. Capitol Weekly reported Dec. 9 that Reid said his comments about dropping the bill were taken out of context. Other legislation to legalize online poker has been reintroduced by Sen. Rod Wright, D-Calif. The legislation would require the California Gambling Control Commission to enter into contracts with up to three hub operators who would be allowed to offer online poker to California residents under contracts lasting up to 20 years. The Weekly reported that Reid’s bill was seen by critics as an effort to make sure that Nevada casinos would not be left out of any nationally sanctioned online poker system. It noted that those casinos, particularly Harrah’s and MGM, have donated heavily to Reid, especially this year, when he survived a tough general election challenge during the mid-term elections.


•$850K for species recovery projects in Pacific Northwest
•Billy Frank Jr., Russell Jim named conservation heroes
•Bowechop helps assess oil spill prevention
•New chairman, officers for Lummi Nation
•Reid drops controversial online poker proposal
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•Obama signs historic Cobell settlement
•The urgent need for a clean and transparent Carcieri fix
•Purchase and rules transform Navajo power
•Hawaii takes a close look at geothermal energy
•Access to recovery promotes Native-style community treatment
•Changes to SBA’s 8(a) program: The view from the Lower 48
•‘Carcieri fix’ held hostage
•Fall ceremony foreshadows spring services
•Long history of Native leadership in Washington State Legislature
•Internal tribal conflict seeks solution
•California housing organization receives $800,000 for first project
•Sacred run and sacred paddle provide solemn memorial for Massachusetts Natives
•Cobell settlement clears House; on to president
•Native women caucus focused on increasing awareness
•Onondaga Nation faces new environmental threat: Fracking
•Seneca Nation files FERC notice for Kinzua Dam license
•High court declines uranium review
•Carcieri ‘wrongly framed’ as a gambling issue, say critics
•Election reflections


Black Eagle: A historic day for Crow water rights
On Nov. 30, 2010, the United States Congress passed the Claims Settlement Act of 2010, a package of bills settling claims against the United States related to the hard-fought Cobell Indian trust lawsuit, the Pigford lawsuit by African-American farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and four Indian water rights settlements – Crow Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe, Taos Pueblo, and Aamodt settlements. This act provides for settlement of some of the longest standing court cases in this country. Perhaps most importantly, these settlements provide much needed certainty for Indian country and for the United States government. Read more »

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

Prayer Request

Grandmother Roselyn Jumping Bull is in the hospital in Rapid City. Complications due to her diabetes. Her sugar level has dropped and has kidney complications.

Please remember her in your prayers.

You can send her a card:

Roselyn Jumping Bull
PO Box 207
Oglala, SD 57764

Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Dec 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Nobel Awarded to Jailed Chinese Human Rights Activist Liu Xiaobo
The jailed Chinese human rights activist and writer Liu Xiaobo has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize in Olso. Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison last year after spearheading a petition calling for freedom of assembly, expression and religion in China. For the first time since the 1930s, a representative of the winner is not on hand to collect the award.

China Faces International Criticism at Nobel Ceremony in Olso and Climate Talks in Cancún
The Nobel Committee’s decision to award Liu Xiaobo has enraged the Chinese government. In Cancún, Chinese climate negotiators reportedly refused to talk with their Norwegian counterparts. We discuss China’s reaction to Xiaobo’s award and its role at the climate talks with Lucia Green-Weiskel of the Beijing-based Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation.

Bolivian President Evo Morales at Cancun Climate Summit: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Diplomacy of Empire"
Speaking at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, Bolivian President Evo Morales warned against throwing out the Kyoto Protocol, saying such a move could result in ecocide or genocide. Bolivia has become a leading critic of how the climate talks have developed and of last year’s U.S.-backed Copenhagan Accord. At a news conference, Morales also talked about U.S. dispatches on Bolivia unearthed by WikiLeaks, and his response to recent criticism from Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa.

Guardian Reporter John Vidal: With Climate Talks on Verge of Collapse "You Could Argue That America Has Done Very Well Out of This"
On the final scheduled day of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, negotiations remain deadlocked and negotiators are scrambling to come up with some form of agreement to prevent the talks from collapsing. We speak to John Vidal, the environment editor at the Guardian newspaper.

Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: Julian Assange is Not a Terrorist
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will remain in a London prison until a British court takes up a Swedish request for extradition for questioning on sexual crime allegations. An international group of former intelligence officers and ex-government officials have released a statement in support of Assange. We speak to one of the signatories, Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971. "If I released the Pentagon Papers today, I would be called a terrorist," Ellsberg says. "Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are no more terrorists than I am, and I am not."


•U.N. Human Rights Chief Concerned Over WikiLeaks Targeting
•Cables: Pfizer Targeted Nigerian Attorney General in Drug Case
•Alleged Nuclear, Missile Site Reported in Burma
•Military Bars Removable Media Devices to Stem Leaks
•Lula Backs WikiLeaks Release
•House Dems Reject Obama-GOP Tax Deal
•Senate GOP Blocks Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal, DREAM Act, 9/11 Settlement
•Liu Xiaobo Awarded Nobel Prize
•Thousands Protest Student Fee Hikes in Britain
•Free Speech Radio News Faces Closure

Criticism is not a crime: Human Rights Day 2010

High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navane... Criticism is not a crime: Human Rights Day 2010

“Despite grave risks, human rights defenders everywhere continue to champion the vision of the Universal Declaration through their ideas and deeds. They know that silence and inaction embolden those who violate human rights.” In her speech to a special Human Rights Day event in Geneva UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay focused on the work of human rights defenders and the groups of people who require special efforts in the safeguarding of their rights.

Pillay acknowledged the famous defenders, those who have become “icons”. Others, she said, “may be less famous but are not less determined and courageous.”

The High Commissioner spoke of the Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, murdered in 2006, and Foribert Chebeya Bahizire found dead earlier this year. Many others remain unknown: Pillay recalled the kidnapping and murder of Guatemalan activist, Emilia Quan only days ago.

In both her speech and statement for 10 December Pillay singled out a number of groups for special focus – groups who through force of circumstance find themselves particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse with little or no chance of redress.

The High Commissioner pointed to the world’s 370 million indigenous peoples many of whom “are considered unwanted guests in their own ancestral lands”; the 200 million migrants world-wide, especially those who are undocumented and irregular who face chronic forms of discrimination; and half of the worlds population, women, who in many places still do not receive equal pay for equal work and whose rights generally continue to be restricted.

Pillay spoke of the necessity to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals through legislative reform and education initiatives; of the stigma, neglect and abuse directed against the elderly; and of the prejudice and resistance faced by persons with disabilities as they struggled to affirm their rights.

The High Commissioner called on Governments “to acknowledge that criticism is not a crime, and to release all those people who have been detained for peacefully exercising their fundamental freedoms to defend democratic principles and human rights.”

10 December 2010
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Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."

Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Leonard Peltier Denied Eighth Amendment Rights

Leonard Peltier Denied Eighth Amendment Rights
Wednesday 08 December 2010
by: Dan Battaglia and Preston Randolph, t r u t h o u t

The Eighth Amendment in the US Constitution prohibits, among other things, cruel and unusual punishment of prisoners. This prohibition is the grounds for a lawsuit filed by federal inmate #89637-132, Leonard Peltier, who is considered by many worldwide to be a political prisoner. In 1977, Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the deaths of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and remains incarcerated to this day, despite the fact that all evidence in his conviction has been debunked and proven fabricated.

Peltier has endured many hardships during his incarceration, but perhaps the most shocking and cruel is the inadequate medical treatment he has received at the hands of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The medical mistreatment affecting Mr. Peltier began in the early 1990s. Peltier had suffered from tetanus, and, consequently, from one of its known side effects – lockjaw.

It wasn't until 1995 that Peltier was referred to an oral surgeon by a dentist in the Leavenworth, Kansas US Penitentiary. Not soon thereafter, Peltier was transferred to a medical facility in Missouri where, in the first months of 1996, he was finally treated. It would take more than three surgeries to get Peltier to be able to chew and open his mouth to a certain extent. At one point, Peltier's mouth was frozen open by thirteen millimeters. Peltier's medical records clearly show that he was not supposed to return to Leavenworth until he was able to chew. Instead, Peltier was returned before he could successfully open and close his mouth. The premature transfer resulted in an enormous public outcry from his supporters worldwide. In addition, Peltier himself filed a lawsuit claiming that the BOP had violated his right to not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment. The lawsuit was dismissed along with his subsequent appeal.

Peltier has also faced medical mistreatment with regard to his diabetes. It is common knowledge in the medical field that if more than one person uses the same electronic diabetes test kit, the results can be somewhat inaccurate. Peltier, now in his sixties, asked for permission to get his own testing kit. He was denied his request. This denial resulted in a massive uproar by Peltier supporters. Many, including myself, called the prison (Lewisburg USP) where Peltier was and still is incarcerated, demanding that he be allowed to have his own testing kit. We went as far as to offer to buy it for him, but our offer was also denied. It was only after a significant period of time had gone by, calls to the warden had been made and numerous other proactive actions had been taken that the BOP finally permitted Peltier to have his own private testing kit.

Last year, Peltier began experiencing symptoms synonymous with those of prostate cancer. Due to his family's medical history, his new illness became an immediate cause for concern. After being urged by Peltier's attorneys to address these symptoms, the BOP finally agreed to perform a standard blood test in June of 2010. It took four months to get the results to Peltier. As it stands now, there is a chance that he may have prostate cancer. The cure rate is known to be high only if the patient was diagnosed early in the stages of the cancer itself. Peltier first began to see warning signs just over a year ago, but since it has taken the "powers that be" over a year to fully look into his condition, his health may now be in serious jeopardy. This negligence, combined with the extreme medical neglect he has experienced in the past, only furthers the position of those that have long held that this six-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee should be released immediately.

According to Dr. Norma Bowe of Kean University, who holds a Ph.D. in community health policy and has worked for many years teaching college level health education courses to inmates in New Jersey's state prisons, "There are standards of practice for care, and waiting a year when a person is symptomatic does not meet those standards. A delay of four months in the processing of lab tests in cases of prostate cancer can result in an increased chance of metastasis. Delaying these tests is nothing short of negligence."

On the other hand, it should be noted that not everyone within the BOP has been spiteful to Leonard Peltier. In the course of the vast research for our current film, "Wind Chases the Sun," we were able to contact various prison officials who have come to know Peltier over the past thirty years and have witnessed firsthand the mistreatment of inmates behind prison walls. Retired BOP official Bruce Smith acknowledges the wrongdoings toward Peltier within the correctional system. "There is no doubt that Leonard has received inadequate health care in prison. I've witnessed it," said Smith. "I have seen inmates let die because they have not been properly treated." Ultimately, the root of Peltier's health problems, according to medical professionals within the BOP, stems from lack of treatment.

Bruce Smith worked at Leavenworth Federal Prison for nearly twenty years and speaks fondly of Peltier. "It's a crime that this guy's in prison. He could be doing so much more for his people on the outside," said Smith. Smith said one of his most notable memories is of the day Peltier abruptly stopped a riot in the making between the Native American and African-American inmates. This act of peace, according to Smith, is one of the many admirable and noble actions Peltier frequently carried out. "I think the world of Leonard and pray he gets out," said Smith.

Another BOP official, now retired, who asked that his name be withheld, concurred with Smith's position. With regard to Peltier's incarceration, he suggested, "The FBI is out for blood because their agents were killed. If he ever does get out, they'll never leave him alone." The retired officer added, "I've had the opportunity to view Peltier's case files, and I too think he was set up. He doesn't deserve to be in prison." This is a reality Peltier has learned to accept; however, despite the grim outlook, Peltier and his millions of supporters worldwide refuse to stop fighting for his freedom. This battle will continue to be extremely difficult and may even seem unwinnable to some. In addition, Peltier's situation is further complicated by his current health status.

Former BOP Officer Smith concludes, "What's wrong is wrong and what's right is right. What is happening to Leonard is wrong."

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09 Dec 2010: Today's Democracy Now!

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa on WikiLeaks, the September Coup, U.S. Denial of Climate Funding, and Controversial Forest Scheme REDD
Secret U.S. diplomatic cables recently published by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks revealed new details about how the U.S. manipulated last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen. Ecuador was one of the nations that lost funding after it refused to sign on to the U.S.-led Copenhagen Accord. Democracy Now! asks Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa about the latest WikiLeaks revelations on how the United States denied his country aid, the failed coup against him earlier this year, and his support for the controversial market-based forest protection scheme known as REDD.

Is REDD the New Green? Indigenous Groups Resist Market-Based Forestry Scheme to Offset Emissions
A controversial proposal to protect forests worldwide is on the table at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancún. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), would include forests in the emerging carbon markets, allowing governments and corporations to purchase permits to protect forests as a way to offset the carbon released into the atmosphere through its industrial pollution. Though often reported as a means to stop deforestation, there is widespread opposition to REDD from environmental and indigenous groups. We speak to Anne Petermann of the Global Justice Ecology Project.

After Touting Sustainability, Walmart Chair Rob Walton Refuses to Answer on Company’s Record in Local Communities
Rob Walton, the chairman of Walmart, traveled to Cancún this week to take part in Wednesday’s event promoting the controversial market-based forest protection proposal known as REDD. Walton is the eldest son of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart and one of the wealthiest men in the world. He said sustainability has become a key issue for Walmart, but then refused to answer a question from Democracy Now! on his company’s effect on small businesses in local communities.

Prominent Indigenous Environmental Activist Blocked from U.N. Climate Talks
One of the most prominent North American indigenous activists attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancún was blocked from entering the summit on Wednesday, one day after he publicly criticized the U.N. process. Tom Goldtooth, the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, who had received credentials from the United Nations, was denied entry and then removed from the summit grounds.

Offsetting Emissions or Pollution Profiteering?: Debating the Surge of Cap and Trade
At the Cancún Climate Summit, World Bank president Robert Zoellick announced the launch of a new multi-million-dollar fund to help set up markets to trade carbon in China, Mexico, Chile and Indonesia. Carbon trading has been a hot topic here at the climate talks. John Hamilton files a report.

Commodifying Wildlife? World Bank Launches Market Scheme for Endangered Species
At the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancún, World Bank President Robert Zoellick discussed a new initiative to create a financial market to help save endangered animals. Some critics have described the plan as an effort to turn wild animals into commodities.

Greenpeace: Climate Justice Movement Must Intensify Efforts Ahead of 2011 Climate Talks in South Africa
While the U.N. climate talks in Cancún are reaching a critical stage, many delegates have begun looking toward the 2011 U.N. climate summit scheduled to take place in Durban, South Africa. Democracy Now!’s Mike Burke spoke with one of the leading South African climate change activists, Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace International.


•Cables: Shell Boasted of Infiltrating Nigerian Gov’t
•U.S. Diplomat: China Has "No Morals"
•U.S. Asked Uganda for Notice on War Crimes
•WikiLeaks Said to Possess Gitmo Files
•Pro-WikiLeaks Computer Hackers Launch Cyber-Attacks
•Fox Analyst Calls for Assange’s Killing
•House Votes to Block Gitmo Trials
•Senate to Take up DREAM Act Following House Passage
•2 Killed in Haiti Election Protests
•Baltimore Resident Arrested for Attempt at Military Recruitment Center
•Obama Authorizes Settlements for Native Americans, Black Farmers

Prominent Indigenous Environmental Activist Blocked from U.N. Climate Talks

Prominent Indigenous Environmental Activist Blocked from U.N. Climate Talks
One of the most prominent North American indigenous activists attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancún was blocked from entering the summit on Wednesday, one day after he publicly criticized the U.N. process. Tom Goldtooth, the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, who had received credentials from the United Nations, was denied entry and then removed from the summit grounds.

National Conference of Black Lawyers urges U.S. to address Political Prisoner issue‏

December 6, 2010

Contact: Florence Morgan, (917)584-9764

Contact: StanWillis, (312)750-1950

The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) is warning that a special March 201l meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council may be the “last chance” for the United States to address the plight of numerous political prisoners who after decades, remain incarcerated because of their political beliefs and associations.

The warning comes in a newly-published statement (posted at that details NCBL’s commitment to achieve justice for political prisoners.

“It is a situation that is undeniable, unjust, unacceptable, and a violation of international human rights laws” says Florence Morgan, an NCBL spokesperson.

The United States holds itself out as having the best criminal justice system in the world. However, this position is wholly inconsistent with its actual practice regarding the horrendous treatment of this class of prisoners.

“It is time the United States purge itself of this venom that continues to spread and destroy the lives of many families who suffer the inevitable injustice that is the fate of their loved ones languishing in prisons for no reason other than retribution and vengeance” says Standish Willis, another NCBL spokesperson.

The UN's Human Rights Council conducts a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in which dozens of human rights groups submit reports documenting the scale and extent of human rights violations in the U.S. The U.S. government's report will not be formally adopted by the Council until March, 2011.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

News from Cancun Climate Summit Dec. 8, 2010‏

Censored News: Live at the Cancun Climate Summit

Evo Morales Indigenous Peoples are at the heart of the climate struggle and protests here, giving talks and marching, in Cancun. President Evo Morales meets with the people on Thursday. Wonderful spirit at Via Campesina with the farmers, Indigeous Peoples and workers. Gwich'in Sarah James walked all day in yesterday's climate march and Ofelia Rivas, O'odham is speaking on border issues. Ponca Casey Camp and Tom Goldtooth are giving hard hitting talks on the scam of carbon credits and genocide. Huicholes are forming alliances to fight mining on sacred land. Red Road Cancun is streaming live from the Indigenous Environmental Network, with Earthcycles. See Censored News for more on the Indigenous climate heroes:

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