This article is from today's (June 24) issue of the Hamilton Spectator, about a confidential government report written by the federal government's "fact finder" who was sent to Caledonia in March. In this report, Michael Coyle contends that the spat between the provincial and federal governments as to who should pay for the land claims is hampering resolution of the Six Nations crisis:
Government spat hampers land claims
By Marissa Nelson
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jun 24, 2006)
A confidential government report says the spat between Ontario and Canada over who should pay for native land claim settlements is preventing the resolution of the Caledonia crisis.
The report was written by the federal government's "fact finder" who was sent to Caledonia in March.
"Each takes the position that it is confident that if the Crown is liable for wrongdoing in relation to Six Nations' land claims, it is the other government that is legally responsible," Michael Coyle, an assistant professor at University of Western Ontario's faculty of law, writes in his 27-page report.
Read rest of this article here
Tags for this entry: Six Nations
, land claims
MNN "One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch"-Aboriginal Day arrests
These are Kahentinetha Horn's (MNN Mohawk Nation News) thoughts about the recent Aboriginal Day arrests:
“ONE BAD APPLE DON’T SPOIL THE WHOLE BUNCH, GIRL” - “CLEOPATRA”, ARRESTED FOR “GANGSTERISM” ON ABORIGINAL DAY – TO DEFAME INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES?
MNN. June 22, 2006. Most of us ignore “Aboriginal Day”. Like the rest of colonialism, it was imposed by the Canadian state. This year the RCMP celebrated it in a big way with “Project Cleopatra”. They marked the day by arresting 35 people charged with drug trafficking, possession of marijuana, possession with the proceeds of crime and money laundering. On the face of it, it’s hard to see what this had to do with Aboriginal Day. No one involved was native except Sharon Simon and her 21-year old daughter, Annie Arbic. But you’d never know this from the extensive press coverage flaunting Kanehsatake’s good name.
The community is offended. Sharon Simon may live there, but she doesn’t take part in community events.
She’s was known to be a “devout follower of James Gabriel” and he protected her. How else could she have managed to build such a great big house and “crime empire” when Mr. “law and order” was “in charge”.
Indian Affairs has been using their pet Gabriel for years. They poured a lot of money into that guy. Their plan seems to have been designed to tar the reputation of Kanehsatake as well as Mohawks and “Indians” in general. Gabriel was voted out. He needed a job. The word on the street is that he is now helping the cops and the government go after his old followers. He’s been involved in so much fraud and theft that he has no choice but to keep hopping.
The 35 Aboriginal Day warrants were executed on non-natives in Greater Montreal, the Eastern Townships, Saskatchewan and one native in Kanehsatake. Gabriel’s “untouchables” seem to be getting touched now.
Sharon Simon, their Aboriginal Day mascot, married young to a French guy and had two kids. After her divorce she got in with the wrong crowd. She’s a loner who doesn’t bother anybody. She didn’t fit into the community. She lived her life without answering to anyone. She had little to do with her neighbors and relatives even though she lived in Kanehsatake.
According to the Montreal Gazette on June 24th, the RCMP alleged that it was Sharon’s “job” to “run a vast smuggling network that shipped 40 to 50 kilograms of marijuana, as well as some ecstasy, to the US per week”. We wonder who wrote up her job description? Both mother and daughter appeared relaxed in the prisoner’s dock. According to the Gazette, she had two cops on her payroll. Maybe she knows who to pay off. Her experience with the system is completely different from ours as ordinary Mohawks who get into trouble for defending our political beliefs. The court probably likes her. Last winter, the court pounced on Jason Gabriel because he gave the finger to the illicit system. But yesterday Sharon Simon was smiling and blowing kisses in the court room.
The newspaper made her look pretty guilty – and along with her, the rest of Kanehsatake.
There was that picture of a whole bunch of guns. Only those who bothered to read the fine print found out that they were from the St. Therese home of Pascal Leclerc, 27. They were NOT from Kanehsatake. But our town’s reputation was dragged through the mud again. On top of this, there was not a shred of evidence mentioned in the newspaper linking Leclerc to Sharon and her daughter. Sixteen places were hit from here to Saskatchewan. So why are they making such a big deal about Kanehsatake?
There is no evidence that any other “Indians” are involved in this sting. Is the RCMP using Sharon Simon to continue its smear campaign against us? Whatever she was involved in, we weren’t. We all thought it was a cigarette raid. But it was bigger.
We never make the national news unless it’s derogatory. We received a frantic phone call from a woman from Kanehsatake, “Have you heard about my relative. She’s been picked up for being the leader of a big underworld gang right across Canada. They’re calling her “Cleopatra!”
“Hold it!” I said, it sounded like another Aboriginal Day hoax to us.
There’s been a total black out on all news concerning real Indigenous issues. Did Cleo do more than anybody else to get so much notoriety and attention? They paint her as the head of the whole gang, the “Queenpin” of all the Hell’s Angels, who are white bikers. They say she even controls two cops who were helping her get drugs over the border to the U.S. Holy smokes! She’s even suspected of attempting to highjack a load of cigarettes. (According to one Montreal paper, she was actually there but her boyfriend took the rap for her). Now she’s up against conspiring to commit robbery; money laundering; producing drugs for export and ‘gangsterism’. They’re making like she’s Canada’s Oliver North of the CIA in the Iran-Contra scandal. It’s all of these white riff-raff that think all they have to do hook up with a native and they can come on our land and do what they want.
The sting against Kanehsatake was carried out of Westmount, one of the richest ‘burbs in Montreal. Westmount is Kanion’ke:haka/Mohawk land! Look how badly they’re treating the original Westmounters!
The RCMP, Surete du Quebec and the Aboriginal police staged a predawn raid. You’d think they’d found Osama Bin Laden instead of a 48-year old mother of two. They came in with air support (choppers), 3 APC’s, a Leopard tank, vans and two unmarked cars. 350 heavily armed cops descended on the 16 spots simultaneously. She had a big compound and they smashed the APC into the gates. They didn’t bother to see whether the door was locked. Why didn’t they ring the bell?
What is Canada trying to say about Mohawk women? Are they scaring the public into thinking that dames like her might be strung right across Canada in every Indigenous community? In any other society there are always a few bad apples.
The lore about Cleo is that she kept exotic animals in her back yard like zebras and giraffes. The SQ busted her for that because she didn’t have the proper permits. They found 200 pounds of weed and she paid a $35,000 fine and got probation. She also got 6 months jail time for transporting guns. They let her go and started watching her. An AK-47 was allegedly found on the back seat of her car. Was it really hers? She also ran her yacht up and down the Ottawa River with a live jazz band entertaining her and her neighbors.
Are they trying to tell us we have leadership ability? Why didn’t they go after the Hell’s Angels? They’re too scared! They pick this weird woman because they’re afraid to go after the Hell’s and it’s always open season on Indians. Does this mean that once we Indigenous people have a million dollars, we are automatically suspect? Do we have to keep our houses shabby on the outside to avoid suspicion?
They seized her house, cars and everything that wasn’t nailed down. Our question is how are they going to take away her house off the Indigenous territory? It’s definitely going to raise some interesting legal issues. Are they going to dig it out, put it on a wheel barrow and haul it away? We heard they’re giving it to the Mohawk Council. There are no precedents to cover a situation like this. The lack of a precedent never stopped Canada before. The council for the most part is corrupt. So who’s going to get the house?
After looking at the front pages, we said, “Thanks, RCMP. Is this how you honor Aboriginal people on Aboriginal Day?” You set out to embarrass and humiliate us, didn’t you? After talking it over with other Mohawk women, one said, “Hey! They don’t have the real Cleo! Do the cops think that she represents the true spirit of Indigenous women? She does NOT. Nobody supports her. All the money, all the drugs were found at her house. Do they think this is going to hur doing what we t us spiritually and keep us down? Heck no! We are free acting according to the Great Law. This smear campaign can’t stop us”.
It is one person. They sure made a lot out of the fact that she’s an Indigenous woman who ran a big crime gang, making it look like she did it almost single handedly. She took risks, like anybody else who does this.
We’ve heard that the Hell’s Angel won’t let any “Indians” in their gang. Is the RCMP trying to enforce the equality provisions of the Charter of Rights on the Hell’s by proxy?
The big question is why are they trying to pin leadership of this drug operation on Sharon Simon instead of the Hell”s?. It’s embarrassing but is true. She was the head. Are they doing a number on the public and trying to cover up their failure to crack the gang and get to the root of the drug operation? All her partners in crime were non-natives – the cops and the bikers who were former SQ. Sharon Simon is an icon of assimilation. Is the real problem they have with us our refusal to get involved in their dirty crimes and our insistence on law and order for everyone, including the cops and Indian Affairs?
MNN Mohawk Nation News
Please see our store and subscribe to MNN www.mohawknationnews.com
Tags for this entry: Kanehsatake
June 22: Update from Grand River (Six Nations - Caledonia)
This is spokesperson Hazel Hill's June 22 update from Kanenhstaton:
Update from Grand River, June 22, 2006
Sago from Grand River!
I thought I'd better write and let you know that we're still here. A lot has been happening since the barricades came down, most of it internal and it has kept us busy! The biggest thing is that the people are still maintaining our position on the land, and that in spite of propoganda, we're not re-routing Caledonia's water, we haven't got bunkers built, ammunition stored, nor are we toting guns around and terrorizing the citizens of Caledonia. It is very distressing to hear such things because all along we have tried our best to remain peaceful, even in the face of racial discrimination and acts of hate crimes. We have continued to act in good faith, even when we have been met with politicians who know only ultimatums and not nation to nation dialogue, and we continue to carry the spirit of truth and justice for Creation as well as upholding our responsibilities to our Law, our Land and our People, even though Judge Marshall is still asking why his order to have the injunction enforced and have our people removed from the site is not being adhered to.
Today, Premier McGuinty suggested that since the province has agreed in principal to purchase the land from Henco and to hold the land in trust, that we should all go home now. Perhaps someone out there should remind Mr. McGuinty about Kanesetake and how they were made a lot of promises including having the land put in trust, but it still has not resolved the situation nor have they followed through on any of their promises. Guess we know who was paying attention and who wasn't because the position of the people is exactly as it was the day we came onto the site, we are here until the land is back in title to the original titleholders and according to the original agreement. Land held in trust is no different than calling it Crown land, and as we've politely pointed out several times, the land to which we hold title, the crown has no jurisdiction over. And if you're paying attention to the Canadian parliament as it nears its summer recess, the opposition party is really laying it on hard about how the government must do something about the situation in Caledonia. Too bad they're not standing there reminding the government of its responsibilities to the Two Row and the Silver Covenant Chain, or even their own Constitution Act and British North American Act. No, they're standing there suggesting that the government has to do something to remove us from our homelands because the citizens of Caledonia are living in fear, they can't sleep at night, they can't even barbeque in their backyards! I think all politicians should be required to have common sense before being allowed to run in an election and before standing in their legislation commenting about something that they have no knowledge of other than gossip! Especially one who is supposed to be representing not only Caledonia, but also those at Six Nations who choose to vote in their system. First of all, they need to stand around in some of those people's backyards, bring the steaks and barbeque for them because they will see for themselves that we are not bothering anyone. The children are not afraid to play outside in the school yard because they continually laugh and play and wave at our people on the site. When the Frisbee comes across the fence, we don't hold it hostage, we give it back! They should also have been there on the Friday night when the good law abiding citizens of Caledonia held their rally and besides drinking publically and throwing their empties at us (thanks by the way, the 10 cents a bottle helps), and throwing stones at us while they were shouting racist remarks about us and our welfare cheques, how the only good Indian is a dead Indian, and how they were gonna go home and get their shot gun. Better yet, did anyone bother to contact the OPP and ask about the reported incidents of continuous gun fire and reports of their fences being burned. If they had, they would have learned as one of our local newspaper reporters had that there were no such incidents. Or perhaps they could talk to the principal of the school as did that same reporter and they would have learned that the children are not afraid of us and that they don't have to hide under their desks or table to eat their lunch. And as far as gun fire, the only sounds representing gun fire is the times that fire crackers were being shot off around the May 24 weekend, or when fireworks were being shot directly at us the night the first barricade was taken down. Or maybe I should have just forwarded parliament a copy of the minutes of the Caledonia Citizens Alliance group meeting where they discussed arming themselves and that the OPP had given them the nod of approval (which according to the OPP is utter nonsense) or how they were going to use their children as a cover when they attended their next rally and that their strategy was to "create chaos, continually dial 911 and rush toward the fence but do not cross the police line". Who does this? And yet they call us lawless and a militant faction. Did anyone ever wonder why, when the footage is shown on TV during those violent "stand-offs" , that the OPP are always facing the Caledonia people and not the Onkwehonweh? It's because that is where the violence is coming from. The aggressive behaviour and attempts to incite violence is coming from their people not ours. And yet we're pegged as the "terrorists" in the media. Somebody somewhere is working really hard to disrupt the Peace but it certainly isn't us! And to top it all off, they are being rewarded for their behaviour. Canada is handing out millions of dollars to Caledonia for their loss of business due to the barricades. Maybe they should just check the stats of how many Six Nations people are no longer giving their business to Caledonia because of the racist attitudes that have grown deeper and more openly in the last 100 day's and they'd realize that it isn't the barricades that has decreased their sales, it is their own attitude toward our people. And if that wasn't enough, they had to turn on the children and barricade them out of the arena. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot. They created the situation they are in, and now are demanding compensation for it! And of course the government obliges. Guess it's better to keep pouring money into racial discrimination than it is to actually pay their debt to the Six Nations. As long as they keep rewarding those behaviours they won't actually have to deal with the real issue, which is the land and our sovereignty. The way one fellow put it, it's like dealing with a "bad little kid". You don't reward bad behaviour by giving them candy because when that's all gone, they're gonna want more and their behaviour is going to get worse!
With respect to the 7 people charged, two so far have been arrested and released. The Confederacy Council is still conducting it's investigation with respect to the alleged illegal activities and during that process the individuals are still required to stay off of the site. What I want to know is, how come our people are being tried twice for the same crime? They are being held accountable to our traditional government as required by our Law, the Kaierenekowah, but are also being forced through the Canadian justice system, which we've already established has no jurisdiction over our people. And the more our investigation uncovers, the more I am convinced that it was a big set up! Can't give details till we've gathered all
evidence but the TRUTH always reveals itself if only we look.
On a lighter note, the Concert held at Chiefswood Park on the 16th of June in support of the land reclamation was an overwhelming success. I gotta give a big Nya Weh to David and Kimberley Maracle, as well as Tuesday Johnson and TAP Resources and all of the other volunteers who worked so hard to make this happen. To all of the artists who donated their time and shared their music, artwork and other talents to make this concert such a great experience I can't thank you enough!!!!!!!!! We haven't got a total yet as far as how much the concert raised for the reclamation site, but as
soon as we do, I will let everyone know. Everyone had a great time.............I even got to sing with my sister ElizaBeth and we didn't clear out the park so I guess we did good! But the most important part is that it was FUN! Everyone had a good time and an awesome experience. Already David and Kimberley have been approached as to when the next one is going to be. Even I can't wait! Good Work Everyone!
Well, as far as things at the reclamation site, we are continuing with our cultural examination of the land as far as the possibility of burial grounds. A well known archaeologist and friend of mine, Professor Bill Noble and his wife Jacquie paid us a visit at the site. The sad news is that the archaeological study that was conducted on behalf of Henco, quite possibly destroyed crucial evidence to the existence of village sites and other points of interest to our people. However, they did provide us with an 8 page report which we immediately sent to Premier McGuinty outlining several areas of their law which could have been broken during this archaeological study and have asked that it be forwarded to the appropriate ministries to be dealt with according to their laws. Henco is ultimately responsible and needs to be accountable for those inconsistencies before any money is paid to him. Again, something that should have been monitored but conveniently ignored.
So, I guess I've updated enough tonight. It's getting late and I'm a bit tired. Hopefully I will have other news to report soon so that you won't have to wonder if I got buried in those bunkers! Take care,
In Love, Light and Peace,
Tags for this entry: Kanenhstaton
, Six Nations
In this piece, Ben Dangl, editor of Toward Freedom
writes that Charles Mann's famous book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
, should be required reading in high schools. But he contends that Mann doesn't draw enough on the stories and histories that exist among the descendants of the Mayan, Mapuche, Incan and Aymara people, who still practice their ancient politics, customs and religions.
Dangl goes on to say that while reading this book, he realized how inaccurate it is to describe the Americas as the "New World", since the Americas were inhabited by people 20-30,000 years ago. In comparison, Europe was occupied by humans more recently, 18,000 years at the most. Indeed, the real
'savages' were the Europeans, as you will read further in Dangl's article.
Read Ben Dangl's full article here. (Toward Freedom)
"In many high school history classes students are told that before Columbus arrived the Americas were full of untamed wilderness loosely populated with savage Indians. Charles Mann’s book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus proves that the opposite is true.
He draws from recent archeological and scientific discoveries to describe booming civilizations which thrived throughout the Americas centuries before the arrival of Europeans. Like Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States this book made me want to call up my old history teachers and tell them they were very wrong. In fact, Mann’s self-described thesis is to show that indigenous societies before the arrival of Columbus deserve more than a few misleading pages in a textbook.
Tags for this entry: The Americas
, New World
, Indigenous Peoples
Justin Vogler is a correspondent for Upside Down World and lives in Chile. He has studied the history of his region, and knows the economic plight and political marginalization of Chile's oldest people: the Mapuches.
"As four Mapuche activists imprisoned under draconian anti-terrorist laws spend 70 days on a hunger strike, the troubled relationship between the Chilean state and "the oldest of Chileans" is rockier than ever", writes Vogler, in his compelling article.
"Throughout the twentieth century Santiago encouraged "colonization" of the Araucania region by offering free land to European immigrants with the result that the Mapuche territory shrunk, from 10 million hectares in 1883, to under 500,000 today. Indeed, most of the original Mapuche State is now owned by logging companies of which one, the Matte group, possesses twice as much land as all the Mapuche communities combined." Read Justin Vogler's full article here. (Toward Freedom)
"Like their economic plight, the political marginalization of Chile’s indigenous people is acute. The Chilean constitution doesn’t recognize them and, unlike other Latin American states, Chile has not ratified the International Labor Organization’s International indigenous people’s rights convention (C169 1989)".
Tags for this entry: Mapuche
, Indigenous Peoples
Toronto: OCAP events this week-end, June 24-25
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty June Fundraising Days are coming to a close... please support our events next weekend and remember that the Photo Exhibition at Tinto's Coffee Shop (89 Roncesvalles) is still open!
1. OCAP Rummage Sale and a Call for Donations
2. Raise the Rates Film Night
***1. THE ANNUAL OCAP RUMMAGE SALE
Saturday June 24th
starting at 9:00am
in Dufferin Grove Park (across from Dufferin Mall, on Dufferin south of Bloor)
This is one of our biggest fundraising events of the year- Please come out for used books, furniture, appliances, clothes and more...IF YOU HAVE DONATIONS:
feel free to bring them to the park on the morning of the sale or call Mike D at 416 925 6939 to arrange pick-up
***2. RAISE THE RATES FILM NIGHT
*Debut screening of a new Documentary film about the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty's campaign to raise social assistance rates in Ontario.
Following the campaign for the last year, this documentary includes first hand accounts from 5 women on assistance involved in the campaign and footage from recent demonstrations and actions.**
Sunday June 25th, 2006
Innis Town Hall- 2 Sussex Avenue (corner of Sussex and St. George)
Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 at the door.
(Or Pay-what-you can!)
Advance tickets are available at:
OPIRG-U of T (563 Spadina Ave) or at the OCAP Office (10 Britain St.)
Or by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org
OR 416-978-7770SPEAKERS INCLUDE:
- Margarita Navarro
- Gaetan Heroux and Anna Heroux
- Representative of OCAP Women of Etobicoke
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6
416-925-6939 email@example.com www.ocap.ca
[Note to Tomdispatch readers: In part 1 of this interview, Reading the Imperial Press Back to Front, I offered my thoughts on how the mainstream media works, among other matters. Here, in the second part of my discussion with Nick Turse, I turn to my life at Tomdispatch. Releasing this two-parter has been my way of announcing that all the interviews I've done so far for the site are being collected in a paperback book to be published by Nation Books this October. It will be entitled Mission Unaccomplished, Tomdispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters and I'll urge it on you at the proper moment. This interview will end the book. In the meantime, I hope you'll consider checking out my history of American triumphalism, The End of Victory Culture (from which I regularly crib passages for Tomgrams). Studs Terkel called it "as powerful as a Joe Louis jab to the solar plexus." Or, for that vacation moment this summer, pick up my novel, The Last Days of Publishing, which focuses on the other world I've inhabited -- as a book editor. Reviewing it in the Los Angeles Times, Herbert Gold wrote: "A satisfyingly virulent, comical, absurd, deeply grieving true portrait of how things work today in the sleek factories of conglomerate book producers... a skillful novel of manners -- of very bad manners." Tom]
On Not Packing Your Bag and Heading Home When
Things Go Wrong
A Tomdispatch Interview with Tom Engelhardt (Part 2)
NT: The site has become home to diverse voices. What makes a Tomdispatch writer? Is there a defining trait you're looking for?
TE: I can only explain this with an image. When I was young, we kids would go hunting for clams with our toes. The question naturally was: How do you know what a clam feels like? Of course, nobody can tell you. You just feel around until, amid the empty shells, stones, and live crabs sooner or later you hit a clam. Then you know.
Ditto Tomdispatch writers. Ditto how I operate in life. Many Tomdispatch writers I already knew. I had edited their books. Tomdispatch is a non-submission site, because I'm the only one answering the mail and I'm usually working another job or two. I just can't deal.
The real adventure of my site, by the way, is all those e-letters pouring in. This wows me. I check the site e-mail and there's a convoy commander from Iraq telling me about his experiences, or an anti-imperial conservative from some southern state, or residents of small towns all over America.
In the nineteenth century, people fled small towns for the big city. Now, when they feel isolated, they flee onto the Internet looking for company. So I get letters regularly from people who sign off with the name of a town in Kansas or Montana or Texas, and in parentheses maybe, "pop. 250." Sometimes, they'll add something like: "From Red State Hell." Wonderful letters from people I would never in a million years meet: Iraqi exiles, Germans who want to tell me about our President, an American ex-pat in Athens who let me know that a Greek college student had recommended the site to him. Imagine that!
Click here to read more of this dispatch.
Toronto: JUNE 29 : On Our Terms - Muslim Youth Speak Out
This event is being organized in collaboration with several Student Groups, Social Justice & Antiwar movements around the GTA. Please pass on this info. Hope you can attend.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
*Please Circulate Widely*
On our own terms:
Muslim Youth Speak Out
A Town Hall event
Thursday June 29
Doors open: 6:00pm
Evening begins: 7:00pm
J.J.R. MacLeod Auditorium
Medical Sciences Building
1 King's College Circle
University of Toronto
(nearest subway: Queen's Park)
This event will feature open, honest discussion addressing important
issues - and your voice is necessary!
Join us for an evening that could change the future of Islam in Canada!
Is there really a rising tide of religious extremism?
Can our civil liberties be protected?
What is our experience of living in our modern globalised culture?
A free event - all are welcome!!
Transportation from outside Toronto: Buses to the event are being arranged from three locations: Mississauga, Brampton and Scarborough.
However, space is limited! To reserve a spot email firstname.lastname@example.org Bus reservations will be made on an e- first come, first serve basis.
Tags for this entry: Toronto
, civil liberties
June 22: Clan Mother representatives at screening event in Toronto
FREE SCREENING EVENT at WonderWorks on June 22 from 7 – 9pm.
WonderWorks is thrilled to present the documentary “Signs Out Of Time” by renowned filmmaker Donna Read and Starhawk about Marija Gimbutas’ life and work. Her work presents hard archeological evidence of ancient Goddess worshiping cultures in Europe, inspiring us to strive towards such peacefulness again.
Also that evening… We are honoured to have a special guest from a living society of woman-centred reverence and respect. Josephine Sandy of Six Nations of The Grand River joins us to share her unique insights of Indigenous infrastructure, centred on the Clan Mothers responsibility to reflect and build community consensus, guided by the wisdom of The Great Law. The women protect Mother Earth, the men protect the
79A Harbord Street
Toronto, ON M5S 1G4
T: 416 323 3131
Thursday, June 22 from 7 - 9 pm www.gowonderworks.com
Below is an update from the person who is hosting this event:
It is my pleasure to be introducing the film & Jo Sandy
[ forewarning due to crucial talks she is involved in regarding the land claims, it is possible that she will not be able to attend - won't know for sure til I go to pick her up at Six Nations this afternoon - even if she personally cannot be with
us, we will share our knowledge of her society of harmony, peace, and balance with Nature ]--- Shel
Tags for this entry: Six Nations
, Clan Mothers
Toronto event: Forum on National Security, Arbitrary Arrests and Criminalization of Dissent - June 23rd
A Community Forum on
National Security, Arbitrary Arrests and the Criminalization of Dissent in Canada
Friday June 23, 2006 - 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM WHERE:
Ryerson Auditorium L-72, Ryerson University, Podium Building(adjacent to Jorgenson Hall) 350 Victoria Street (off Gould Street, just East of Yonge) ORGANIZERS:
Community Initiative for Human Rights and Justice
¬- a grassroots coalition of social activists, human rights lawyers, academics, trade unionists, students and others.
The recent arrests of 17 young Muslim men, the mass arrests of about a 100 African-Canadian men (many were later released without charge), and the ongoing attacks on Indigenous communities bring to a head many questions about racial/cultural profiling, protection of fundamental human rights and liberties of marginalized groups, and concerns about the criminalization of dissent.
In most of these and other similar cases there has also been a rush to judgment by political leaders, the security agencies, and the media. As well, it seems that a two tier citizenship is swiftly taking shape - those who are considered as insiders, and others who are seen as being on the outside.
The speakers at the forum will address these and other related issues, and participants will be provided an opportunity to raise concerns from the floor.
We feel that an organized community response is imperative to redress the climate of fear, intimidation and injustice. The forum will highlight these issues and develop strategies to fight the attack on civil rights and liberties in the name of national security, safe streets, safe schools and zero tolerance. Speakers
* Rocco Galati
* Rinaldo Walcott
Professor and Canada Research Chair, OISE
* Sherene Razack
* Winnie Ng
Ont. Regional Dir., Canadian Labour Congress
* P.A. Jayakaran
Tamil Resource Centre
* Amina Ally
* Tariq Amin-Khan
Forum of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians
* Zainab Amadahy
Member, Indigenous Caucus, Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty
* Speaker from the Canadian-Arab community Show your support: participate and make a difference!
FREE EVENT. WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE.
For more information:
Tags for this entry: Canada
, national security
, civil rights
Solidarity on Stolen Land
Solidarity on Stolen Land: Linking Struggles and Building Mutual Support
Wednesday June 28th, 2006
OISE (252 Bloor St. West), Room # 2-214 Speakers:
Zainab Amadahy is a Black Cherokee who immigrated across the artificial line we call a border to Canada from the US. She is a writer, singer/songwriter and activist with the Indigenous Caucus of the Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty. Bonita Lawrence:
Bonita Lawrence (Mi’kmaw) teaches anti-racism and Native Studies in the School of Social Sciences at Atkinson, York University. She has recently published “Real” Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native People and Indigenous Nationhood. UBC Press, 2004
. With Kim Anderson, she has co-edited a collection of Native women’s scholarly and activist writing entitled Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival (Toronto: Sumach Press 2003)
as well as an edition of Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal,
entitled Indigenous Women: The State of Our Nations
. She is a traditional singer who continues to sing with a group in Kingston at Native social and political gatherings. Magaly San Martin:
Magaly San Martin is a community activist involved with the solidarity movement, feminist movement, anti-racist groups. For the last eight years she has been working as a community legal worker at Parkdale Community Legal Services in the Social Assistance, Violence and Health Division (SAVAH). She mainly works on issues of Social Assistance, violence against women and policing. She is also active in community development and organizing for legal reform and social justice. In her spare time, she is trying to finish her doctoral thesis in Sociology and Equity Studies. Rafeef Ziadah
(to be confirmed)
This forum is being organized by No One is Illegal (Toronto)
and the Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty, Indigenous CaucusDONATIONS IN SUPPORT OF KANENHSTATON WILL BE ACCEPTED AT THE EVENT
This conversation builds critically on the important solidarities that have existed historically between Indigenous peoples and communities of colour. While such alliances have been crucial in movements against racism and colonialism, they are particularly important at the contemporary moment as the Canadian state assumes its sovereignty through determining who can come here and under what conditions through essentially racist immigration and settlement practices. Meanwhile, Canada denies its complicity in establishing and maintaining the conditions that displace and marginalize people elsewhere. Canada also remains in denial about its colonial and racist foundations, refuses to recognize Indigenous sovereignty and continues to carry out a centuries-old genocide project.
This discussion provides an opportunity to begin a conversation on how we as immigrants, refugees, racialized and Indigenous peoples can support each others’ struggles and build a common movement that addresses all of our issues. Endorsed by:
No More Silence, New Socialist Group, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Sumoud, Al-Awda, and others.
Tags for this entry: Kanenhstaton
, Indigenous Peoples
, Social Justice
MNN:"Liar's Club" meets in Court re: 6 Nations
The following is written by Kahentinetha Horn of MNN Mohawk Nation News regarding the court process on Friday June 16th 2006:
This is our report on the court proceedings. Kinda long but worth the read. Kahentinetha
A SUBDUED “LIAR’S CLUB” MEETS IN CAYUGA COURT TO TALK ABOUT THE SIX NATIONS RECLAMATION OF STOLEN LAND
MNN. June 20, 2006. Ontario Provincial Police, Caledonians, the Henning brothers, their girlfriends or employees, railroad people, worried government agents – looking so much like those “John and Jane Does” the OPP are looking for – turned up at Cayuga court on Friday, June 16th. A guy came in who looked like one of those kids on “South Park” – with a round soft pumpkin face, no hair and a slit drawn in for a mouth. It turned out to be Judge David “He’s-got-land-on-the-Haldimand-Tract” Marshall. There was no Indigenous representation. There were about a dozen natives sitting quietly, spying and nodding, 50 lawyers, 10 court workers, 15 OPP inside, dozens outside, spies, secret service and other unknowns. It was a sea of white hair and bald heads. About 50 media were inside and another 50 outside standing around in the hot sun.
There was a Union Jack on the left and a Maple Leaf on the right of the judge’s chair. Does this mean he can declare “Marshall” law anytime he pleases? We didn’t see a warrior flag anywhere! It was an austere old-looking room that could have used some dusting and polishing, just like their laws and their disobedience to them. Everyone was hoping for the “big decision” that will keep their game of robbing us going.
I sat there with a scarf over my head and huge sunglasses that covered most of my face. The jury box was full of reporters. Later I joined them. The native lawyer for the Six Nations Band Council approached me about taking off my glasses. I said, “But sir, they’re prescription”. He left me alone. Everyone spoke English. All officials were Caucasian except for one OPP female officer whom I happen to know as a child. She promised she wouldn’t tell anyone she spotted me.
One OPP car had Indigenous police. Most of these gun-wielding goons are fifi-ish. Too many donuts at the Tim Horton’s? They’re so out of shape they have to hire outside goons like the KKK and skinheads to do their fighting for them.
An obese reporter sat at the press table. He probably got that beer belly sitting night after night at the Toronto Newspaperman’s club, bragging about being “out on the ‘front lines’ at the ‘6’” as they call Six Nations. Another ‘heavy’ sat next to him wearing one of those Jewish caps.
A huge lady with long frizzy white shoulder length hair sat in front of me. She was from the Attorney General’s Office in Toronto. She’s here trying to help with the rip-off of our land. To her left was the publicist for the Henning brothers. The Henning brothers, in regulation golf shirts, sat next to their publicist. Their lawyer sat next to them. Every once in a while they would get up and stand in a huddle, like they do in football. One guy turned and waved to someone, “Hi, Jason”. They all smiled and waved to each other as if they’re all from the same club.
Some were walking around nervous. A number of those “fist flying” Caledonians were there too. It was hard to recognize them without their professionally printed “Bring in the Army” signs. We read in a local paper that they are having 250 more printed and are selling them for $7 each. Ontario entrepreneurship! [Did they get a grant from the Canadian Business Development Bank?] We wondered if we could ask that printer to give us a good deal by slightly changing the message to “Bring in the clan mothers”.
One of the lawyers brought in two people from Caledonia to speak as friends of the court. No, it wasn’t Caledonia Mayor Marie “Who-Hates-Po’-Indins” Trainer, who keeps asking, “Is there two laws?” We thought they’d put duct tape on her big racist mouth! We still wonder what those big medals she wears around her shoulders represent? Does it mean she’s up to her neck in colonialism?
Right after the court opened, Judge Marshall adjourned it so the lawyers could have a meeting with each other and discuss when they could have another meeting. “A lot has happened since we last met. The blockades have come down, the roads and railroad are open”. They really don’t have anything to cry and scream about. So how can they keep this thing going? It takes the tinge out of their complaints about us.
The provincial government gave the Caledonians $1.78 million to keep their businesses going. The Caledonia Citizens Alliance CCA is having another meeting on June 19th. Their meetings have been very productive. They got a $560,000 grant and the nod from the OPP to purchase guns. It’s obvious they haven’t let go of their fantasies about “Little Big Horn”.
The province now has an agreement with Henco Industries [the developers who were illegally building a housing project on Six Nations Land] to “buy” the property which we own. Development will not proceed because it’s ours and we do not want it. They said they want to balance everybody’s interests, especially their bank accounts. Talks will continue between the Six Nations and the province. 250 acres have been made available of the Bertsch Lands, where their huge jail use to be. The Six Nations have planted crops. Judge Marshall wants something to be “fair and reasonable”, but not lawful. He just loved how everybody came to his court. It makes him feel so important.
The Attorney General of Canada said that the federal government is now part of the talks. They should be there because they are one of the criminals!
The lawyer for the Henning “Golf Shirt” brothers said, “The details of the agreement are being worked out. They will buy Douglas Creek Estates”. Off of who? It is now a barren piece of dry wasteland.
The OPP lawyer said, “We don’t know where the OPP stand. There have been 23 violent incidents. He forgot to mention that the OPP had arranged them all. Warrants have been issued against those Indians who got in the way of the Caledonia rioters’ baseball bats, pepper spray, cars, fists, racist taunts, flying garbage , bread, cheese and beer bottles and other unidentified flying objects. They’re trying to find some criminal charges to put on the Indigenous people they’ve selected. Since we are unarmed and peaceful they’re having a very hard time. Yes, the OPP have not charged any of the vicious violent non-native rioters. They even brought in the ATF from the United States to help them incriminate the Indians, but that failed because the Indians smoked them out. The Indians circled their wagon. The OPP thought the ATF knew how to get innocent people in jail better than them. They found out the US tactic is to kill everybody, no questions asked. Are the OPP in the process of getting permission to do that? At least, this is what we thought we heard in the courtroom.
Yes, we’re afraid the rule of law has been suspended [by the OPP]. The inflammatory comments of the Ontario Police Association doesn’t help! Mr. McCarthy said, “Rule of law with regard to title, the relationship between the Crown and the patents and the change of title are important issues of law. The statements having been made the concerned discern no additional useful contributions in these present changed circumstances”. In other words, they don’t want to deal with the land and title issue!
Someone from the prestigious law firm of Gordon Ladner of Toronto said, “This is a very difficult case. It’s not a “peaches and cream” case. It has a nasty side”. Right! You guys are a bunch of nasty colonists, just like your ancestors!
After the break, there was a discussion about this return of land to the Six Nations and how it places all other developments into jeopardy. Right on! The lands are all Six Nations lands. They never asked us if they could put in a $40 million strip mall in Brantford. Jane Stewart, who’s representing Ontario at the talks with us, didn’t ask us if she could build 23,500 houses in Paris, Ontario. The Henning brothers are planning to put up 1,500 houses in Cayuga, not far from the courthouse. Caledonia Mayor Marie Trainor didn’t ask us about her ten-year growth plan on our land.
The Hennings want their initial $6 million investment plus the $40 to $60 million they might have earned. If they don’t get this, are they planning to keep our land? It’s still ours. Six Nations has a right to compensation from Henco for the irreparable damage they’ve done to our land.
Their calculations are all wrong. According to the Supreme Court of Canada in Musqueam v. Glass, the Hennings can only be compensated for the fair market value of their land. In Vancouver prime reserve land goes for half the market value. On the Haldimand Tract it might be even less, particularly since we never consented. Ontario taxpayers will probably be forced to give them an inflated price because the news is being kept out of the corporate media. Will Jane Stewart want to be paid off too? Ontario is giving them a settlement, not the land! Now we hear Ontario or someone is going to put the land into trust. Another scam! We never asked them to do that! So far they’ve been totally untrustworthy from the beginning of our association.
The judge said that all these people will be called back “when it’s useful” [to who?].
The precedent being set is that Ontario has been hit with the truth about their theft of our land. They’re trying to bury this issue.
They did not mention what was behind their quiet subdued demeanor. The Supreme Court of Canada has set new trends in dealing with Indigenous people. In the Haida Nation and Mikkisew Cree Nation cases, there can be no development on Indigenous land without consulting us. Anyone going against these Supreme Court of Canada decisions is in contempt of court.
Chief Justice Beverly McLaughlin said in Haida, “Knowledge of a credible but unproven claim is enough to trigger a duty to consult. The Crown can no longer delay settling a native claim. Canada needs a credible reason not to settle with us. We can’t be ignored anymore. They’ll come up with some reason not to deal with us, like saying they can’t deal with terrorists. In the past they made an excuse that they could not deal with us because of their policy that we were “non-persons”. Today Canada has had to admit we are persons under both domestic and international laws. The time has come for all of us to repossess all our land.
In Mikkisew Justice Binney of the Supreme Court wrote that it was illegal for government officials to be indifferent. Ignoring us in now illegal. But they still need our permission to look at us.
The duty to consult is grounded in the honor of the Crown. The Crown has to keep its word. They have to look at Indigenous matters from our perspective. Do they realize they are ignoring us? Are they scared to deal with us?
Aboriginal rights is based on the principle fact that “we were here first”. In the case law, Section 35.1 reconciles this principle against the aspersion that the Crown has sovereignty. This principle doesn’t exist and never did. It was all a hoax that the colonists enforced with guns. It’s like a stick up! Our position is supported internationally. The court has to see things our way. The question we have to keep asking is, “What are you doing here?”
In Mikkisew Treaty 8, Canada thought that a treaty is once and for all. They told themselves that once they took our possessions with their phony treaties, then everything belongs to them. They thought they could push us around and do whatever they wanted. No so. In Mikkisew the relationship with the Crown requires continuous negotiation. The signing of treaty 8 was not the end. It was just the beginning of a long journey that is not likely to end soon. It may never end because we are never going to end and disappear. We will always be the original people here. They will always be the colonists and they will always have to negotiate with us. And if they don’t negotiate in good faith, there will always be trouble. Or they can go home. They will always have to explain to us what they’re doing here because we’re going to keep asking. Get it, Canada?
Canada has to understand the relationship as an ongoing treaty of alliance rather than as a one shot deal. As Binney pointed out in Mikkisew the Crown has an obligation to take our representations seriously. Our legal concept of living together is not based on dominance and submission. It’s based on negotiation and mutual respect. They must now do that.
They have a duty to consult the People, not their own illegal Indian Act band councils. They have to take what we want into account. They have to respect our boundaries.
All in all, the court was awfully quiet. Maybe they have come to realize that this situation is serious. They just can’t push us around the way they thought they could.
MNN Mohawk Nation News
Tags for this entry: First Nations
, Six Nations
Roseau River Railway Blockade
Roseau River Railway Blockade
Information from Chief Terrance Nelson
Roseau River will peacefully blockade two railway lines for exactly 24 hours starting Thursday June 29th at 4:00 p.m. and ending Friday June 30th at 4:00 p.m. One of these railway line blockades will be north of Dominion City, four miles east and one and half miles north of the main Roseau River reservation, the other railway line to be blockaded is north of Letellier, which is approximately two and half miles west of Roseau River and one mile north of Letellier. Both railway lines move goods and services into and from the United States and will affect business in North Dakota, Minnesota and beyond. Both railway lines run on our traditional territory, we hold underlying title to those lands.
At noon on Thursday June 29 in front of the Roseau River Community Hall, two Roseau River drums will begin singing. People will gather to hear from the elders, the leadership and from the people themselves why First Nations are angry enough at Canada to initiate this action. Roseau River’s traditional territory was over 2000 square miles in south central Manitoba prior to the signing of Treaty # one on August 3rd 1871.
The Crown promised, that no white man would ever be allowed to set foot upon the reservation without our permission. The Crown pledged on their honor that if we agreed to the treaty giving them access to our 3 million acres of land that the reserved lands would be ours forever. Just 32 years later on January 30th 1903, the government would force the surrender of 12 sections or 70% of our reserve. Mr. Atkinson would be shot and killed for refusing to leave his home. It takes the Minister of Indian Affairs, twelve days to recommend an Order in Council and in just 26 days by February 25 1903 the white farmers have full ownership of 12 sections of our reserve with a signed Order in Council.
In 1993, we had RCMP snipers in our fields when we tried to open a casino that could have bought in 100 million dollars a year for us. Once again our jurisdiction, our right to govern ourselves was denied by force of arms. We could not enjoy the same rights as our Anishinabe relatives in the States. We still have 77% unemployment. We are denied any recognition of our right to lease our 3 million acres of traditional lands and each year we receive less and less funding. It took us 125 years to get Treaty Land Entitlement recognized. Eight years we have waited to have our TLE land converted and still we have to wait, but it took the white farmers only 26 days to get an Order in Council taking our 12 sections of reservation lands away.
Roseau River is owed at least 60 million dollars from the 1903 land claim. We have been peaceful, we have been patient, we have waited 103 years for justice but meanwhile in Caledonia the white people got compensation already, millions of dollars have already been pledged by the government, yet the white people only had to wait 100 days, not a 100 years for the government to act.
Yes we believe that there are two sets of laws in Canada, one for whites and another for the Indians.
The Supreme Court of Canada decided in Haida that “Knowledge of a credible but unproven claim is enough to trigger a duty to consult.” In spite of the law as decided in Mikkisew, where Justice Binney of the Supreme Court wrote that it was illegal for government officials to be indifferent, it is exactly what the Government of Canada does, Liberal or Conservative, they ignore the law if it is in favor of the Indians. Why do you think that in 1982, Premier Lyons of Manitoba would absolutely refuse having the Right of Property recognized in the Charter? They tried to stack the law in their favor but it didn’t work so they ignore the law when it is convenient for them to ignore it.
Over five hundred murdered and missing First Nation women in Canada. Our people fill the jails and prisons in Canada. Over 50% of the people killed at the hands of police in Canada are First Nations people. Over 6000 land claims in limbo because Canada refuses to put in place a process that will deal with these matters. The Conservatives refused to deal with the Kelowna accord despite the fact ten provincial premiers, three territories and the previous federal government had agreed to it. In Six Nations/Caledonia land claim, it was the people who took action, it was the people who finally had enough and decided not to be sidetracked by a useless Canadian government process, they, the people took direct action.
So I ask the question, are the people tired? Are you tired of watching hundreds of billions of dollars of resource wealth paid to the governments of Canada, while you, the original owners are denied a share of your own wealth. Are you tired of the housing problems, the lack of education opportunities, the denial of health coverage, the injustice, the brutality, are you tired of being the poorest of the poor in Canada. Are you tired of watching immigrants to our lands taking our resource wealth, while at the same time they call you down for not paying taxes to their government?
We at Roseau River will stand up as we have always done. We will not be ignored. We will not obey any white court injunction that the railway companies might try and get imposed upon us, an injunction that will be unilaterally imposed, an injunction that would deny our right of property.
We signed a treaty with Canada. They are obligated by the terms and conditions of that treaty. The immigrant to our land gets their title from the Crown but the Crown got their rights from us, the indigenous people of these lands. We were here first, these are our lands. We hold the underlying title to all these lands including under the rail lines.
At 3:30 p.m. vehicles will pull out of the reserve headed to the blockade sites. At exactly 4:00 p.m. cars will be driven onto the rail lines and we will stay exactly 24 hours to send a message to Canada, that we will no longer tolerate our rights being ignored. The Okiijida Society will provide security and will not tolerate any acts of violence from anyone. We will welcome all peaceful people to join us on June 29th and 30th 2006. We ask that you get there at noon in order to ensure everyone knows their responsibility.
Chief Terrance Nelson
Tags for this entry: Roseau River
, First Nations
, Kelowna Accord
Toronto: THURSDAY! June 22 Islam is not the enemy:war and racism are not the answers
Islam is not the enemy
War and racism are not the answers
Once again, anti-Islamic hysteria is sweeping Toronto after the arrest of 17 people on charges of terrorism. The last time such a sweep happened, almost three years ago, no charges were laid, but the anti-Islamic stain remained. Come and discuss the background to this hysteria, and the way it dovetails with the war drives of Stephen Harper, Tony Blair and George Bush.
Sedef Arat-Koc ? Professor, Ryerson University
Ali Mallah ? Leading member, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
Phil Marfleet ? Socialist Workers Party (UK), author Intifada and Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Iran
Thursday, June 22, 7pm
Room 2212, OISE, 252 St. George St.
(At St. George subway)
Organized by the International Socialists
For more info contact 416-924-9042 ? email@example.com ? www.socialist.ca
Download a flyer for the meeting here ...
Tags for this entry: Toronto
A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position. Critics said the reference underscores the Pentagon's failing policies on gays, and adds to a culture that has created uncertainty and insecurity around the treatment of homosexual service members, leading to anti-gay harassment.Full Story (TruthOut)
Tags for this entry: Pentagon
A leaked cable from the US embassy in Baghdad signed by the ambassador paints a grim picture of Iraq as a country disintegrating, in which the real rulers are the militias, and the central government counts for nothing. The cable, signed by the US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and sent to the State Department in Washington on June 6th, is wholly at odds with the optimistic account of developments given by President George Bush and Tony Blair in their recent visits to Iraq. Read full TruthOut story here.
Tags for this entry: Iraq
Over 7,200 family dwellings sit empty throughout New Orleans. No, not FEMA trailers. These are solid brick public housing projects that survived Katrina. They only require interior repairs, and thousands of displaced low income families want to move back in. But instead, they are being fenced off and condemned. Why? Chris Hume and L. Wild Horse speak with Professor Bill Quigley and several former tenants.
I have watched this video, and it is heart-wrenching to see the St. Bernard Parish Public Housing Project with some of their former tenants' belongings still in the vacant buildings, while the tenants are locked out by a huge padlocked fence. They sleep in tents, on the street..
All of the people interviewed would be more than willing to paint and do whatever repairs were needed to make these dwellings habitable. It would not take that much, as these buildings are structurally sound, without major damages. However, the city does not want these inhabitants of the 'projects' back. City officials want to tear down the buildings to make upscale developments and a golf-course. It is all part of the gentrification of New Orleans, where low-income residents are the unwanted detritus.
"God did in one weekend what we've been trying to do for 20 years", a local Congressman said after Katrina, according to Prof. Quigley."
Quigley asserts that there are Lower Ninth Ward-type areas scattered throughout the U.S., in all major cities. He talks about the enormous sums spent on American militarisation around the globe, and how that money could be put to so much better use to fix America's urban infrastructures and social programs.
By this callous, ruthless disregard for its poorer citizens, USA the global bully, shows the world: "do as I say, not as I do"...
And the locked-out, homeless residents are planning a march to reclaim their homes on that biggest of national American holidays: the 4th of July. WATCH VIDEO
Tags for this entry: New Orleans
A group of Muslim and Arab-Americans, frustrated by what they say is the climate of suspicion and fear that dogs their re-entry into the United States from trips abroad, sued the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI yesterday, demanding that the courts protect their civil rights.Read more about this on TruthOut.org.
Tags for this entry: Arab-Americans
, Homeland Security
Democrats Shape Plans on Iraq / Japan to Withdraw Its Troops From Iraq
Leading Senate Democrats called Monday for a "phased withdrawal" of US forces from Iraq, outlining what they hope will become a consensus position on the war that will help their party speak with a more unified voice.Read more on TruthOut.org here
.Japan to Withdraw Its Troops From Iraq
Japan's government will withdraw its troops from Iraq, ending a mission that broke post-war taboos by sending its troops into foreign combat zones for the first time since 1945.Read more on TruthOut.org here
Tags for this entry: Democrats
*Inter Press Service*
Dahr Jamail and Ali Fadhil
*RAMADI, Jun 19 (IPS) - As the threat of a giant U.S. military operation in Ramadi lingers and sporadic clashes plague the city daily, residents struggle to cope, both inside and outside the sealed city.*
A week spent in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad, reveals that residents are suffering from lack of water, electricity, cooking gas and medical supplies for the hospitals. The streets are eerily empty, and it appears that many people have now left the city, although possibly as many as 150,000 still remain in their homes, either because they are too afraid to leave or they have nowhere to go.
"We will survive anyway," Um Qassim, a middle-aged housewife with six children, told IPS. "It is Allah who gives life and he is the only one able to take it away."
Despite the horrible conditions here, with armed resistance groups controlling vast swathes of the city, and other areas subject to frequent shooting from U.S. snipers on the rooftops of houses, she said that people should be grateful to their god whatever happens to them, adding, "Those Americans will leave."
The operation is part of a renewed crackdown on what the Pentagon says is a stronghold of the Sunni Arab resistance. As the threat of an all-out U.S. attack on the city looms, Imad Al-Muhammadi with the Iraqi Red Crescent in Ramadi told IPS, "Ramadi is a lot more difficult than the Fallujah crisis because people cannot flee to Baghdad and many other cities due to the threat of sectarian death squads, so it is very difficult to provide them with safe shelter at a reasonable distance
from the military operations."
Muhammadi said that many of the families who had left are facing "horrible living conditions in tents, abandoned schools and are staying under any roof that protects them from the burning summer sun."
"There is no positive sign on the American side that shows a different solution from those of Fallujah and other cities which have been 'deleted' in order to be 'liberated'," he added. "Civilians, as usual, are the ones living the hardships of occupation and definitely the ones dying in vain."
According to Maurizio Mascia, programme manager for the Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS), a non-governmental group based in Amman, Jordan that provides relief to refugees in Iraq, minor clashes were reported on Monday, mainly in Al-Qadisiya, Al-Mala'ab, Al-Andalus, Al-Aramel, Al-Aziziya, Al-Qattana, Al-Soufiya, the city centre (close to Abd Al-Jaleel mosque) and 30th of July.
Additionally, U.S. and Iraqi forces are reported to be attacking the eastern side of the city in an effort to push into Ramadi.
ICS reports that the number of checkpoints and the frequency of Multi-National Forces (MNF) patrols have increased since the beginning of the crisis, making it likely that both the MNF/Iraqi forces and insurgents are preparing themselves for a heightened battle.
"The population is still leaving the city and the number of families in displacement traced in Anbar by ICS monitors is close to 3,200 now," Mascia told IPS by telephone. "The new IDPs [internally displaced persons] are mainly approaching Rutba and Al-Baghdadi, while Heet remains the main destination of Ramadi IDPs." He said about 1,000 IDP families are present now in Fallujah and surrounding areas.
However, he added that "Most of the families are avoiding approaching Fallujah due to the complicated procedure enforced by MNF to enter the city." Mascia said that the number of families recorded by ICS is almost certainly low, since his group only logs families who get direct relief aid from their workers.
"The Americans, instead of attacking the city all at once like they've done in their previous operations in cities like Fallujah and Al-Qa'im, are using helicopters and ground troops to attack one district at a time in Ramadi," Mascia told IPS from his office in Amman.
"Access to Ramadi is extremely difficult," he continued. "The checkpoints are set up at the two bridges and make it extremely difficult to access the city by vehicle. The only available option to avoid the checkpoints is the desert way heading to Al-Ta'meem district."
"The main dangers for the population are the MNF at the checkpoints and the snipers: both usually shoot at any movement that they consider dangerous -- causing many victims among civilians."
According to Mascia, services at the main hospital, as well as health clinics, is down to a "low standard due to the security situation and lack of medical supplies".
And similar to the tactics used during the U.S. assault on Fallujah in November 2004, the U.S. military continues to use loudspeakers to ask people to either hand over "insurgents" who are present in their neighbourhoods, or to evacuate their homes and flee the city. ICS reports that some of the messages have specifically made reference to what happened in Fallujah.
Correspondents with the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in Baghdad recently reported on the use of snipers by the U.S. military in Ramadi: "People in Ramadi... estimate that about 70 percent of the city's population have fled in the last week, many of them holding white flags for fear of being shot at by Marine snipers."
The IPS correspondent in Ramadi also witnessed snipers shooting at civilians in the city.
"The ongoing violence between U.S. Marines and the insurgents, air strikes, and outages in the water, electricity and phone networks have already made life untenable," adds the IWPR report. "Ramadi residents say U.S. troops regularly take over houses to fight the insurgents, and combatants on both sides have been seen using rooftops as sniper positions."
The Association of Muslim Scholars, based in Baghdad, has encouraged the residents of Heet, which is near Ramadi, to host those fleeing the city. Some more vulnerable families are also staying in mosques that are offering shelter to refugees.
An IWPR reporter in Baghdad wrote that a 17-year-old student who fled Ramadi with his parents, Ghayath Salim al-Dulaimi, said his relatives had been prevented from leaving by U.S. air strikes two days earlier.
"Our neighbourhood has emptied completely -- there's no one left," he told IWPR. "People are leaving in droves and there aren't any services at all. You can't get to hospital because movement is restricted."
Responding to a question about the situation in Ramadi at a Jun. 15 news briefing, Brig. Gen. Carter Ham from the Pentagon said, "I think those who are looking for perhaps a large-scale offensive may be somewhat off the mark. And I think what we will see increasingly is the Iraqis finding ways to increasingly establish the presence of Iraqi security forces, and we'll help them do that in any way that we can."
(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
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Tags for this entry: Ramadi
PEACE Pledge At The New Peace Team Site
This action alert is for progressive American readers who are concerned about the Iraq War and want to see their troops brought home:
As the Senate today debates a resolution to start bringing our troops home from Iraq, this would be a great time to tell them that only those with the COURAGE to take a stand for national sanity deserve to get re-elected. No matter how many lies they tell to the American people about how great things are going in Iraq, a leaked cable communication from our own embassy reveals they are telling THEMSELVES that the situation is growing increasingly worse.
Voters For Peace are sponsoring a peace pledge which says:
"I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."
And when you submit the action page at the new Peace Team site above you can add your name to the tens of thousands signing the peace pledge right now, AND you can send a personal message to all your members of Congress at once calling on them to bring our troops home now.
Vice president Cheney, who is in fact the acting dictator for all matters of real policy decisions, was just quoted at a press conference saying "I don't think anybody anticipated the level of violence we've encountered."
Leaving aside that just a year ago he tried to lull us into thinking the insurgency was in it's "last throes", this is the same administration that tried to tell us that nobody could have anticipated that the levies in New Orleans would be breached, when in fact they did. And this is the same administration that tried to tell us that nobody could have anticipated terrorists flying planes into buildings, when in fact they DID!
But of course EVERYBODY with the integrity to tell the the truth to the American public about any of these things they have systematically driven out of government. And anybody outside of government who would dare to speak the truth is ruthlessly smeared by a corporate media controlled by their campaign contributor cronies.
But people are speaking out. More and more every day. And you can too, by signing the peace pledge and telling your members of Congress that not a single additional one of our brave servicemen and women shall die for the Bush administration's premediated knowing lies.
Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.
Tags for this entry: Peace
, US Senate
, Iraq War
[Note to Tomdispatch readers: The person who runs Tomdispatch is not usually the focus of this site, but I decided to make an exception and run this two-part Nick Turse interview with me. It's my way of announcing some Tomdispatch news: All the interviews I've done so far for the site are to be collected into a paperback that Nation Books will release late this October. It will be entitled Mission Unaccomplished, Tomdispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters and I'll urge it on you at the proper moment. This interview with me will end the book. In the meantime, for any of you who might care to read my earlier writings, check out my history of American triumphalism, The End of Victory Culture (from which I regularly crib passages for Tomgrams). Studs Terkel called it "as powerful as a Joe Louis jab to the solar plexus." Or, for that vacation moment this summer, pick up my novel, The Last Days of Publishing, which focuses on the other world I've inhabited -- as a book editor. Herbert Gold wrote of it in the Los Angeles Times, "A satisfyingly virulent, comical, absurd, deeply grieving true portrait of how things work today in the sleek factories of conglomerate book producers... a skillful novel of manners -- of very bad manners." Tom]
Reading the Imperial Press Back to Front
A Tomdispatch Interview with Tom Engelhardt (Part 1)
Nick Turse stands at the door, a frizz of curly black hair, a fringe of beard, in a dark T-shirt and green cargo pants. Slung over his shoulder is a green backpack (a water bottle sticking out of a side pouch) so stuffed that he might well have been on a week's maneuvers. When I mention its size, he says, "Genuine military surplus," smiles, and lets it drop to the floor with a thunk. Immediately, he begins rummaging inside it and soon pulls out a tiny box sporting drawings of futuristic robot warriors and covered with Japanese characters (but also with a tiny "Made in China" in English). "Knowing your tastes," he says, handing it to me. He found it at a toy store in Tokyo on his way back from Vietnam.
Young as he is, he's been in the government archives for years and is one of our foremost experts on American war crimes in Vietnam. In fact, the combination of historic crimes and toys first brought us together at a diner a block from my apartment, perhaps three years ago. I had written a book, in part on Vietnam, in part on how an American "victory culture" had once expressed itself in the world of children's play. He read it and was looking for a little advice on his work. Soon after, he began sending out to friends his own homespun version of Tomdispatch and put me on his e-list.
Overwhelmed by such send-outs, I ignored his for a while, but he had such an eye for the place where toys, entertainment, and the military-industrial complex merged that I finally found myself paying attention, and one day called, asking if he would write a Tomgram on the subject. The rest, as they say, is Tomdispatch history. Now, in a busy life that includes writing two books and working a couple of jobs, he spends his spare time as the site's associate editor and research director -- I may not have much money to offer but titles are plentiful -- and has become one of its more popular writers.
As we walk into the dining room, reviewing our past history, he says wryly, "You found me in the cabbage patch." For a brief moment, at the dining room table, we're both absorbed in preparations. Cellophane wrappers come off tapes that are clicked into tape recorders. Then we seat ourselves and, for the first time since I began these interviews, I swivel my two machines so they face me.
Outside, on this late spring Sunday, the sky has darkened and rain is beginning to fall. Nick says into his tape -- he's the pro here, having interviewed many vets from the Vietnam era -- "May 21, 2006, Turse Interview with Tom Engelhardt…" And when I give him a quizzical look, he adds, "I don't know how many tapes I've gone through and then thought: Who was I interviewing? Who is this guy?" Who is this guy turns out to be the theme of the afternoon.
Click here to read more of this dispatch.
|Walk for the boreal! || |
Join KI's walkers for the last 3km to Queen's Park on June 21st ·
A Committed People in a Threatened Forest
Canada's boreal forest and the First Nations communities that call it home are being threatened by mining activity and industrial development. On June 21st, lead walker Mark Anderson (right) of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Innuniwug will be joined by other community members and supporters as he completes his amazing 2100km awareness walk from northern Ontario to Queen's Park in Toronto.
The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Awareness Walk: our land, our children our future is intended to bring attention to the need to protect the lands, water and the environment of KI for the future and for their grandchildren. Mining activity is currently threatening KI's lands. Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug invites you to join them on June 21st they peacefully take their message to Queen's Park.
Walk with them and Stand up for the boreal forest.
When: 8:30 am on June 21st.
Where: the sidewalk beside Upper Canada College on Avenue Road at Lonsdale
Duration: approx. 1 hour Or greet them at Queen’s Park at 9:30 am (click map to enlarge)
Tags for this entry: The Boreal
, First Nations
, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Innuniwug
As the U.S. death toll in the Iraq War passes 2,500, the Washington Post continues its longstanding campaign to disparage Democratic war critics, this time by calling them people who try to "exploit bad news without appearing to rejoice in it." These ugly charges have been part of the Post's pattern of de-legitimizing dissent against George W. Bush's war policies since 2002.
For the full story of how the biggest Washington daily keeps getting the Iraq War story wrong, go to Consortiumnews.com
Tags for this entry: USA
Canada stalling on UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights
Canada is shameful in how it has teamed up with the US and Australia to stop the UN from passing a declaration on Indigenous rights. By aligning us with Bush and Howard, PM Harper has shown, once again, his true colours in the total disregard for the rights of our First Nations Peoples and for human rights in general. With this, he has moved us closer to the ideology of the Straussian school and its neocon agenda, of which the PM is an alumnus
like his good friend Bush.
Canada stalling UN declaration on indigenous rights: Amnesty International
21:35:56 EDT Jun 19, 2006
MONTREAL (CP) - Canada has teamed with the United States and Australia to stop the United Nations from passing a declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, says Amnesty International.
The human rights group, along with opposition parties, accused the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday of stalling the declaration along with these other nations. It's been twenty years that the international community has been working on a declaration on aboriginal rights, said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.
"It's difficult to imagine an important issue of human rights that the governments of the world have taken more time to resolve," Neve said Monday.
"The problem of the human rights of indigenous peoples is urgent," said Angus Toulouse, president of the Assembly of First Nations.
"It's not necessary for the rights of these people to come in second place in order to please the United States, New Zealand and Australia."
Last month, representatives of those three countries sent out a joint statement calling the declaration "profoundly imperfect."
The UN declaration would guarantee "auto-determination" for indigenous peoples, giving them the right to reclaim traditional territory and refuse military activity upon traditional lands.
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice said the declaration contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, when it comes to aboriginal land claims, as well federal laws on national defence.
"The text is clearly in need of work," Prentice said.
But "we support the adoption of a declaration on the rights of aboriginal peoples and we're working on that."
The UN's new council on human rights will consider the declaration at a meeting that began Monday and will last through to June 30.
First Nations and Amnesty International hope the council adopts the declaration. If they do, the text could be put to the general assembly of the United Nations at their next meeting in September.
If Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand succeed in convincing the council not to adopt the law this time around, First Nations groups said they fear it will never happen.
At the beginning of the month, a House of Commons committee adopted a Bloc Quebecois motion demanding Ottawa support the declaration.
On Monday, Liberal MP Anita Neville chided the Conservatives for abandoning the leadership shown by the Liberals, who she said supported the motion.
Prentice responded by saying that "no Canadian government ever supported" the declaration.
No excuses, Mr. Prentice. You and your neocon minority
government is turning the clock back to Canada's colonial beginnings. Meanwhile, on the world stage we are increasingly perceived as a country that is emulating the U.S. (Add Kyoto, etc. to the list!)
Canadians may as well kiss their image as a progressive, peace-keeping, 'just society' good-bye! In your blind haste to get rid of Martin's Liberals, you have elected a Bush-Howard wannabe. You asked for it, you got it, and when you see your own precious rights and liberties go down the drain, you will have your just rewards.
Shame on Canada! Shame on us all!
Tags for this entry: Canada
, Amnesty International
, Indigenous Rights