Saturday, July 01, 2006

Update from Grand River, July 1st 2006

This is Hazel Hill's latest update from the Six Nations (Kanenhstaton) blockade.

Today is planned to be a lot of activity at the reclamation site. The people have planned a potluck, games and a pig roast for later this evening to keep the spirit of peace, friendship and family atmosphere at the site. There was much concern with the big booze party in Caledonia last night beginning their canada day celebrations, but to my knowledge, there was no problems coming into the site. We left around 11:30 pm. and so far, I've had no reports of any situations.

We’ve had a busy week starting with a visit from Bill Wilson, candidate for Grand Chief of the AFN. He was accompanied by Larry Sault and was given a tour of the site by myself and others of the Six Nations. We had a good visit and the support was much appreciated. Also this week the federal and provincial delegates came and toured the site. Jane Stewart, Barbara McDougal, Ron Doering and a few others (sorry, don't remember all the names) were given a tour of the grounds to help them see that the gossip and rumours that are being spread around Caledonia and in their local newspapers, are just that, gossip and rumours. They were able to see for themselves that there are no bunkers, missile launches, guns or any other weapons of war that we have been accused of having. They left quite pleased by what they saw, and have agreed to let it be known through the media that we are a peaceful people, that our presence there is that of peace, and that the intent is not to bring hostility toward our neighbours, but to remind canada that it has a responsibility to uphold the treaties, recognize our sovereignty, and begin dealing with our traditional council on a nation to nation level as is required according to our relationship with the crown.

Many people, including high profile native leaders, have made attempts to destroy that relationship by making public statements that the Confederacy Council does not represent the people, that there are divisions and factions who do not support, or who believe the confederacy does not speak for them. They are playing right into the governments attempts to create those divisions so that they will not have to deal with the real issues of concern including the land. Who knows, maybe that is the intent. It has been the history of our people that when anything like this happens, there will always be people who don't agree or who try to undermine the good that is happening, even going so far as accepting money to create those divisions. However, it is our position that we will continue.

The confederacy council, who carry the responsibility of protecting and upholding those treaties, have an obligation of ensuring that no harm or hindrance comes to them. That includes from within. The canadian government has been reminded of that. Talks will resume on Thursday, and are continuing toward a peaceful resolution of the land in question........the outcome of which, from our perspective, will be to have the land returned to the Six Nations, according to the original agreements. The people will maintain a presence on the site until this happens. The Caledonia Citizens Alliance thinks differently. They believe that they have a say in what happens to this land, and they have threatened the government that it should not return the land to six nations as they feel it gives us a ticket to their whole town. They've even passed a motion in their council that they are going to expand the borders of their town and are continuing on plans of development of other lands which fall within the jurisdiction of the Haldimand Tract and the Six Nations.

What people don't understand is that the people involved, including Ken Hewitt and others, are not concerned over the land, but are part of a businessman's coalition that are only concerned with the dollar bill and have no interest in the real issues, their only interest is in lining their pockets.

The Six Nations people have a legitimate claim, and will continue on a peaceful path to bring awareness to the world of how corrupt the government has been with respect to the sale of lands to which they hold no title, all along the Grand River. As I’ve stated before, canada is guilty of the biggest white collar crime in the history of their people, and they use people, such as those involved in the citizens alliance to try and deter from the truth. As far as divisions within Six Nations, no one has ever claimed that differences of opinion do not exist. However, the unity of our people, and the support of all of the onkwehonweh nations around the world that has been created, is stronger than any differences of opinion and everyone agrees that the issue of the land must be settled. Not just at Six Nations but all over Canada and beyond.

Many people also do not understand that while differences of opinion occur and consensus over each and every decision is hard to reach within the structure of our government, the bottom line is, that we all can agree and accept when the decisions made are for the highest good for all. This is the process that is being followed. We have a responsibility to all Onkwehonweh Nations of the world. This is why the rail line blockade was put off for now. It is not because anyone "chickened out". It is because the people who initiated those sympathy barricades could see the benefit of working with the rail lines and having them assist by putting pressure on the government to deal honourably with our people. This was viewed to be in the best interest of all concerned.

Every peaceful avenue must be given the chance and that is what having a good mind and upholding our law is all about. I commend those who are working so hard to support us at Six Nations and send a big Nya Weh to Terrance Nelson and all of the others who are working behind the scenes to ensure that the government of canada be held accountable for it's actions. Also, in spite of what appears in the media, we do have people within Caledonia who are in support of the Six Nations land reclamation. They are working hard as well at getting messages off to government officials to recognize the claim of our people, and begin dealing with the issue of our land and our trust fund. Nya Weh to those in Caledonia as well!

Also along the Grand, in Kitchener, there are many organizations including those of the Mennonite community who are in support. They have taken the time to ask about the history of our people, to gain an understanding of how the land was originally deeded to our people "for them and their posterity to enjoy forever", and how later, transfers through the crowns corrupt system has put us in a position of having to take action to force the crown to give the respect that is deserving of our people, and to set right the wrongs that have been committed throughout history. Nya weh to those people as well who have opened their hearts and their minds to understand.

I was told a story last night that one of the families within our territory, some of the Johnsons, who resided within the territory which is now part of Caledonia, had their homes burned to the ground and had their grandmothers chased out by people carrying pitchforks in order to take over the land. Each time the family would re-build their homes, the settlers would burn them out. Talk about terrorism. This is only one small story of the history of how Caledonia was formed. I would like to hear more from anyone who can help our non-native brothers and sisters understand that it isn't as simple as a "sale" as they have been made to believe. I've stated it often in my writings.........the Truth will always be told. That is the beauty of the Haudenesonne people and the oral traditions that we carry. So, I’ll be off to the site now, to enjoy the beauty of this day. The light and love of Creation is singing its song and adding strength to our people. Nya Weh!


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AWOL: GI War Resistance in Canada

A TruthOut Report by Geoffrey Millard and Sari Gelzer

The Department of Defense has recently reported that 8,000 members of the US military are listed as AWOL. Currently 24 war resisters are known to be in Canada trying to establish citizenship, with an estimated several hundred more living there underground. Truthout's Sari Gelzer and Geoffrey Millard report from Buffalo, New York, and Fort Erie, Ontario, to bring you coverage of Peace Has No Borders, an event that brought US attention to political refugees in Canada. Geoffrey Millard interviews war resisters about their decision to refuse deployment to Iraq and seek asylum in Canada.

Watch Video here:

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Hamilton: Six Nations benefit concert, July 6th

A benefit concert to support 6 Nations' land claim at Caledonia

Thursday, July 6, 2006
(Hamilton ON, 306 King Street West at Queen)
all proceeds to 6 Nations

featuring performances by:
Tiny Bill Cody
Kim Koren (and friends)
The Ray Materick Band
Tim Gibbons
Linda Duemo
Katie Caron
and more...

Let us be the generation that supports justice for aboriginal people

all ages

production 666
Hamilton Action for Social Change
905-525-9140 ext. 26026 or for more.

An open letter to Canadian citizens from Peawanuck

Most Canadians are blissfully ignorant of the dire, desolate situation of many of our First Nations people on their reserves. Kashechewan is one glaring example about which we've heard, and so is the Ojibwa reserve near Sarnia, Ontario. Tragically, there are many more, as evidenced by this impassioned open letter from a Cree woman in Peawanuck, a reserve in Northern Ontario.

Canada has a crisis, and it is not something coming from the world outside our borders. Our crisis is internal, one of our own making, caused by our governments' long neglect, disregard, and abuse of our Native people.

An open letter to Canadian citizens,

I am number 14600***01 and I live in Peawanuck, a Cree community of 250 located on the Winisk River that flows into the Hudson Bay (northern Ontario). It is one of the most beautiful places in the country filled with all the abundance that nature can offer. It is also a First Nations reserve and its citizens are classified as a number, under the Indian Act.

There has recently been more talk of the soaring prices throughout the country. In Peawanuck, this has been a harsh reality for many years. Our current price of gas is $2.75 a litre. Our current price for hydro is 16 cents per kilowatt. We pay over $1600 for a return plane ticket to the closest city, which is Timmins.

Can we afford to live with these costs? No we can't. We are a typical remote First Nation community dictated to and living under the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC), and this is not by choice.

Historically, treaties of "good faith" have brought us rights and the Indian Act maintains our status. In truth, treaties were signed under the premise that they would be nation to nation agreements, not the servant and master agreements as they now seem to be.

In my community there are many issues that need to be addressed and resolved. I would like to bring your attention to our latest, it is one of hydro that directly relates to our economy. We pay an excessive 16 cents per kilowatt in comparison to the regulated 5-5.8 cents of our southern neighbors.

In a discriminating act, INAC lowered our funding to the point where we couldn't afford to run our diesel generator and then gave a company based out of Manitoba, Pritchard Industrial, more money to run it. This act is now generating more than our electricity. It is generating an increased state of poverty for our people and an economic leakage to the province of Manitoba. Pritchard is making a profit at the expense of our poverty.

The funding we receive is based on per capita and in addition to our small population, we are the second most northern community in Ontario. Why isn't geographic location taken into consideration for these so-called funding formulas? It is certainly taken into consideration by the companies who charge us.

It needs to be understood that we rely on funding agreements. In accordance to the 'Indian Act of Canada', it is unlawful to carryout the same economic investment activities that other citizens of Ontario and Canada have and enjoy. Living on Reserve, we cannot secure loans at the banks. Our community cannot get a credit rating so we cannot borrow money similar to municipalities. There is no chance for economic opportunity because of the law, not because of our communities inabilities or lack of know how.

Next week on June 8th, Pritchard Industrial will be paying a visit to Peawanuck to disconnect the electricity for some households. This comes under the direction of Indian and Northern Affairs. They came last year for the same reason and at the time and among the disconnected was a disabled single mother with three small children. Is this how Indian Affairs treats the people whose rights they are meant to protect?

You now may be saying, reduce your consumption, pay your bills. This is not always possible with the combination of the high cost of living and no economy. It is a continuing struggle. So what are the options?

INAC Minister Jim Prentice, MP Charlie Angus and MPP Gilles Bisson, you are invited to be here when households are being disconnected. To watch as the rights you are obligated to protect are being crushed again.

So lets scratch 'genocide and assimilation' and pencil in 'establish meaningful relationships and a more certain dialogue'.

We deserve more than band-aid solutions.

The only downside to seemingly beneficial decisions is this, when the government does decide to help one First Nation, another First Nation suffers. The end result? Divide and conquer. This is a tactic that has gone on long enough.

I dare anyone in this country to bring up the issue of moving the First Nation's population to mainstream society to relieve them of their hardships on Reserve. This act would be one of assimilation and genocide.

Assimilation is the stated purpose of the Indian Act and yet we are still not assimilated. We do not want to be assimilated. We want to be allowed to live in our own traditional way and lands without being penalized by mainstream society for being First Nation people.

We are not a minority. This is a misconception. We are a distinct society, one filled with a history so vast and steeped in tradition, yet this fact is conveniently absent in the history books. The next time you wish to speak ignorantly about your Native neighbors, look up the word 'ethnocentric' in the dictionary and think twice.

We need to be educated, both native and non.

There are a lot of Reserves who are forced to live in third world conditions, it is an every day reality for many. Is this Canada? No, it can't be, can it?

As citizens of this country there are basic human and distinct rights that must be protected despite our differences. How much aid has gone to other countries when the problems they deal with are also right here in Canada? Poverty, genocide, death, discrimination and natural disasters.

As our history is slowly revealed, it will tell of our situation, one of uniqueness and accountability. In fact it is not us who need to be accountable to the Federal Government and Indian Affairs, it is they, who need to be accountable to us.

On an end note, my heart goes out to our neighbors from Kashechewan. They are facing one of the hardest times they will have to face as a community. They deserve our support and they deserve their integrity for the immeasurable amount of strength they have maintained. Do not give up.


Catherine Gull, #14600***01, under the Indian Act

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Six Nations letter to Governor General

Six Nations requests meeting with Governor General

28 June, 2006 - For immediate release

Following is the text of a letter send to Mme. Michaelle Jean,
Governor General of Canada.


Also known as the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy on Turtle Island.

According to attached instructions from Buckingham Palace regarding the protocol to discuss urgent matters between two allies, the Six Nations and Great Britain, we are requesting a meeting to discuss the following:





DATE: June 20, 2006

WHEREAS according to the letter from Her Majesty the Queen you have the duty to deal with this issue of the violations of the agreements between Britain and its ally, the Six Nations. We, the Women Title Holders, support the request for a meeting between the Chiefs and Clan Mothers of the Six Nations and yourself to discuss these matters at your earliest convenience;

WHEREAS the Charter of the United Nations requires respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, requiring its members to ensure that armed force is not used to resolve international differences and to resolve disagreements by peaceful means in conformity with justice and international law;

WHEREAS Canada has ascribed to the internationally recognized standards for respecting political rights of the People as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international legal instruments;

WHEREAS General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV) requires the informed consent of a people before they are included in another state;

WHEREAS the International Court of Justice affirmed Resolution 1541 in the Western Saraha case;

WHEREAS the courts of other colonial states like the Supreme Court of Australia in Mabo have formally repudiated past colonial reasoning and practices;

WHEREAS the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination found on March 6, 2006 that the United States was denying the Western Shoshone people "their rights to own, develop, control and use their land and resources"; warning the U.S. to respect the Convention; and to "freeze", "desist" and "stop" their actions immediately and to abide by the Committee's "Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure";

WHEREAS international law is firmly committed to affirming the equal and inalienable rights of all peoples and rejecting colonial encroachment on other peoples, including Indigenous nations;

WHEREAS both the U.S. and Canada must abide by the international law principle that there can be no development on Indigenous land without consulting the Title Holders; ignoring the true Indigenous people is now universally recognized as being illegal; Indigenous people must be consulted; and our perspectives on the issues can no longer be ignored;

We the WOMEN TITLE HOLDERS and the PEOPLE of the Rotino'shon:ni also known as the SIX NATIONS IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY ask you, our allies, for
support and assistance to help us end the serious breach of the peace that we are suffering from. We would like your support and assistance to encourage Canada to live up to its own laws and solemn commitments.

We wish to inform you that:

1. We, the Rotino'shon:ni people have always been allies, not subjects of Britain, nor citizens of its successor state, Canada.
Valid relations between us and the colonial state were founded on the Two Row Wampum and the Covenant Chain which required mutual respect and cooperation in accord with both ancient and modern principles of international law.

2. Our nations, the Rotino'shon:ni, formed a Confederacy before colonial contact. Our confederation is founded on relations of equality and mutual respect as affirmed by the Kaianereh'ko:wa, our Great Law of Peace.

3. As affirmed by Wampum 44 of the Kaiahereh'ko:wa, we Women have a trust obligation to maintain the land for the future generations of our People.

4. Our current problems with Canada are because of our alliance with Britain. Some of us were forced to leave our traditional settlements in what is now New York State during the revolt of British subjects known as the American Revolutionary war.

5. On October 25, 1784, General Frederick Haldimand pledged Britain's protection for the Rotino'shon:ni people on a tract of land within our traditional domain extending six miles deep on either side of the Grand River running from its mouth in Lake Erie to its source, "to them and their posterity forever".

6. Britain and its colonial agents failed to respect and protect the agreements that have been made between the Rotino'shon:ni Six Nations and the British Crown. Today we have only 5% of our original tract. The rest is illegally occupied. Canada allowed most of our resources to be taken by squatters, illegal land transfers and fraud. Scores of cities and towns were established on our land without our consent. Indian Affairs dissipated our trust funds to speculative investments over our objections or through gifts to outside institutions, including the Law Society
of Upper Canada [the bar association of Ontario].

7. The problems experienced by the Rotino'shon:ni with the British Empire and its Canadian colony were first brought to international attention in 1923. At that time the Six Nations Confederacy from Grand River sent Deskaheh to the League of Nations as our representative. He applied for membership of the Six Nations in the League. He was denied a hearing. His mistreatment set a precedent for ignoring the sovereignty of colonized Indigenous nations. Since then we have never been allowed to speak to the other nations of the world as the sovereign nation we are.

8. In 1924 Canada imposed a puppet government under its illegal Indian Act. It was passed in violation of the constitution of Canada. It denied our traditional Rotino'shon:ni government access to our national treasury which they held in trust. One of the reasons why our government was deposed was because we were trying to get a court hearing so we could demonstrate that Canada's Indian Act was ultra vires the British North America Act 1867. We are not and never were British subjects. We are not Canadians. We are independent.

9. We have been allies of Great Britain. Should both parties wish to maintain this alliance, we strongly recommend that the Crown honor its side of the agreement. Should you disregard this recommendation and continue to deliberately breach this agreement, then you will force us to take the necessary measures to correct the injustices that have been committed against us.

10. In 1982 Britain enacted Canada's Constitution Act which includes formal recognition and affirmation of "Existing Aboriginal and treaty rights" in Section 35. However, Canada continues to violate our sovereignty and our right to self-determination, insisting on dealing with us only through its puppet Indian Act government. Canada continues to block all our attempts to rectify these injustices, to obtain the return of all our land and compensation for the assets that were taken fraudulently.

11. Canada and the province of Ontario have continued to issue permits for the use of our land even though they know they do not have legal title. As a result, a private company called Henco Industries began building a subdivision on the "Haldimand Tract" for sale to non-Indigenous people who may not have been aware that there was no legal root to the title they were given.

12. On February 28th, 2006, the Rotino'shon:ni decided to stop this new encroachment on our land by blocking the entrance to the housing project known as the "Douglas Creek Estates". Most Canadians do not know anything about our history. We have never surrendered our sovereignty or given Canada jurisdiction over us or our land.

13. On March 17, 2006, Henco Industries obtained an ex parte order from an Ontario court to evict us from our land. Our people have been protesting these thefts of our land for over 200 years. Our complaints were well-known. Yet, Henco was never required to prove the legality of its title. Ontario was never required to prove its capacity to issue title. No attempt had been made to speak with us.

14. On April 20th 2006, the people protecting our land, including grandmothers and small children, were attacked by a heavily armed force of the Ontario Provincial Police. None of our people were armed. Many were severely beaten up and assaulted with batons, pepper spray and taser guns. 16 were arrested. However, many reinforcements arrived and the police retreated. We are still occupying our land.

15. We have reason to believe Canada was planning a much more serious assault. Neighboring jails and hospital wards were cleared before the attack. A convoy of ambulances and paddy wagons appeared. An unknown number of police and military forces were marshaled in support. The procedures being used were a blatant violation of the international covenants and agreements that Canada has signed and
are contrary to the principles and purposes of the United Nations.

16. After the attack the Indian Act band council voted to turn land issues over to the people and the Confederacy chiefs of our traditional government.

17. Canada has appointed "negotiators" but our land is not negotiable. At least one of the appointees, Jane Stewart, is in a conflict of interest because she and her husband are involved in another housing project on our land. There has been no indication that any of Canada's representatives are interested in respecting our rights or the laws.

At the current talks we've been told point blank by a "negotiator" from Ontario that we must leave our land and take down our barricades. Meanwhile a build-up of armed forces around us continues. Our delegates carry our voice to the table following the protocol set out in the Two Row Wampum Agreement/Covenant Chain to which we are both bound. Canada's representative have met our delegates with ultimatums and threats of war while we send them in Peace.


We, the Women Title Holders and the People of the Rotino'shon:ni, accordingly request the following;

1. that Canada withdraw its police and military forces and stop its armed siege at the Six Nations Grand River territory.

2. that Canada must carry out its pledge to uphold freedom, justice and peace in the world, including the inherent right of all people to self-determination.

3. that Canada must deal with us on a nation-to-nation basis and uphold its commitment to ensure that all unresolved issues are determined either by consensus or by a neutral third party.

4. that the Rotino'shon:ni Six Nations people have never surrendered our sovereignty and Canada must deal with us through our freely chosen representatives and not through the Indian Act machine that it imposed on us in 1924.

5. that its courts or representatives are not in a position to act as a neutral arbiter in any disputes with the Rotiino'shon:ni Six Nations.

6. that Rotino'shon:ni Six Nations land is inalienable.

7. that we want to resolve a situation that Canada created when they broke both their law and international law and our agreements with the Crown. Canada unlawfully forced their laws on us without the fully informed consent or consensus of our people.

8. that Canada has no right whatsoever to charge or criminalize anyone of our people under Canadian laws because we are not Canadian. Our people should not be criminalized for upholding our obligations according to our constitution, the Kaianereh'ko:wa, to preserve our land for our coming generations. Our acts have been totally defensive. The aggression has always been against us by agents of the state.

9. that everyone should put their documents on the table so that everyone can see who owns what; that the Governor General request the appointment of an independent international mediator who is agreeable to both sides and has no conflict of interest to bring this to a legal resolution. We do not want to wait another 200 years.

Madame Governor General, we, the Women Title Holders, and the People of the Rotino'shon:ni Six Nations insist on an immediate end to Canada's on-going aggression and institute an open and public process of dialogue between our nations so that we can reach solutions by consensus. The Rotino'shon:ni will no longer tolerate the violation of our constitution, ancient customs, traditions and agreements. We will not tolerate Canada's representatives threatening us with guns and violence to squash our inherent rights and steal our possessions. Their attempt to pacify us through time-wasting and meaningless "negotiations" is an insult to our historic relationship with Canada and Great Britain.

For over 200 years Canada has tried to impose its institutions on us. Canada, it is never too late to polish the Covenant Chain. We would like to invite Canada to take part in renewing the spirit of the Two Row Wampum, which has since been affirmed in international law. We would like the settler population to experience the power of our Great Law, the solemn relations that were established and to enter the kind
of talks that will make consensus possible, the kind that were used in the beginning the settlers first arrived.

Rotino'shon:ni Women Title Holders
Kahentinetha /s/ __________________
Katenies /s/ __________________
% P.O. Box 49, Kanatakon Akwesasne H0M 1A0

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Indigenous Land Claims


To: Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

We are writing to express our concerns about recent decisions made by your government as well as some statements made to media. In addition, we demand you come to the table to negotiate with the Confederacy a resolution to the reclamation of Kanenhstaton by the Rotinosoni people of the Six Nations of the Grand River.

Specifically, you have been quoted as saying that the current system for resolving land claims "is not working effectively” and your government is considering ways to simplify the process. Given the Conservative Government’s recent rejection of the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we can only assume that your version of “simplifying” the lands claims process is to continue the practice of not recognizing who holds title to the lands of Turtle Island.

First of all, we wish to contest the assumption that the Canadian government has the unilateral right to dictate the processes by which Indigenous land is recognized as such. The following are premises on which title to land should be recognized and reflects not only what Indigenous leaders are asking for but justice by any definition of the word:

1) Disputes over title to land should be negotiated on a nation-to-nation basis with the legitimate leaders of our nations, as opposed to the Indian Act councils established and controlled by federal legislation.

2) The burden of proof for land ownership should be on the government or private owners and not on Indigenous nations. Institutions, groups or individuals must prove their title to the land by producing a bill of sale, treaty, deed or legal document signed by a legitimate leader of the Nation that holds title to that land. (Good luck with that.)

3) In cases where Indigenous nations are not exercising their title, those nations must be compensated fairly for lands that have been leased, sold or developed without the consent of the legitimate leadership. Compensation must be negotiated on a nation-to-nation basis.

4) In cases where agreement cannot be reached in a nation-to-nation process, an arbitration or mediation process, if they are to take place, must be negotiated on a nation-to-nation basis. It is doubtful that such a process would result in the appointment of anyone associated with the Canadian government, since they would be in a conflict of interest, to mediate or arbitrate in such an event.

5) In cases where nation-to-nation negotiations do not resolve land title disputes to the satisfaction of Canadian authorities, the Indigenous nations should be presumed to have title.

In sum, this land belongs to the Indigenous nations. The government cannot “give back” what it does not own, regardless of any processes put in place. Your government can “simplify” the land claims process by recognizing Indigenous title. Period.


Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty

PS: The Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty is based in Toronto comprised of: An Indigenous Caucus, Al-Awda - Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, Arab Students Collective U of T, CKLN Community Radio, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Indigenous Caucus, CUPE 3903, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Ontario Public Interest Research Group, New Socialist Group, No More Silence Coalition, No One is Illegal and Sumoud.

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Tomgram: Chip Ward on Pentagon Fireworks

[Note to Tomdispatch readers: The next post at this site will not be until Wednesday, July 5th. Tom]

One of the least noticed success stories of George Bush's years in power has been his administration's ability to focus the world's attention so singularly first on Saddam Hussein ‘s "nuclear program" -- remember that yellowcake brick road? -- which had absolutely no basis in reality; then on a meager (though frightening) North Korean nuclear force (of questionable use), and finally on a questionable Iranian nuclear bomb, which, according to the latest National Intelligence Estimate, is perhaps ten years away and yet somehow has been ever in our midst.

The near-civilization destroying Israeli nuclear arsenal is hardly ever even noted. The Pakistani/Indian arsenals, aimed at each other on a hair-trigger and constantly being upgraded, are rarely in the news (though they may be the most obvious flashpoint for a nuclear conflagration on the planet). Above all, the great nuclear arsenals of the two Cold War superpowers, those MAD (or mutually assured destruction) creations, have been allowed to slip into obscurity without faintly slipping into oblivion. The Russians are again upgrading their aging nuclear forces and, with an ever shakier military, have, if anything, become more reliant on nuclear power for great-power status; while the Bush administration has been eager to upgrade the already gargantuan American arsenal with various kinds of mini-nukes, "bunker busters," and other weapons of mass destruction.

Everyone knows that the only nuclear weapons ever used against civilian populations came out of the American arsenal on August 6th and 9th, 1945, obliterating the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Everyone also knows that, since then, no power on Earth has ever used nuclear weapons against civilian populations -- an absolute truth that absolutely isn't so. In fact, the vast program of nuclear testing that the U.S. undertook in the American West from the 1950s into the early 1990s has taken a terrible disease toll on "downwinders," particularly the citizens of Utah and Nevada (and wherever else fallout landed in the U.S., not to say, on the planet) as did the Russian nuclear testing program on its citizenry (as did the French program, though they were cannier and tested their bombs not outside Avignon but in the South Seas).

The power of nuclear weapons was so beyond normal comprehension that the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, "the father of the atomic bomb," Robert Oppenheimer, on observing the first atomic test, immediately invoked the powers of the gods. As he described it (taken from Richard Rhodes book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb):

"We waited until the blast had passed, walked out of the shelter and then it was extremely solemn. We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita: Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him he takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another."

Now, the most religiously zealous administration in our history is invoking the "divine" power to destroy untold millions in seconds in the happy pursuit and maintenance of global nuclear superiority. The Bush administration is, in fact, strikingly eager to proliferate in its supposed war against nuclear proliferation and so is willing once again to turn Americans into nuclear guinea pigs. Chip Ward, whose book Canaries on the Rim took up the earlier round of testing in the Western U.S., returns to the subject below, giving those Fourth of July fireworks a slightly different meaning. Tom

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Aboriginal leaders halt blockade plan

The Roseau River First Nation in Manitoba has been battling with the federal government for years over a 1903 land claim and says it is owed at least $60 million. By talking directly with CN and calling off the blockade, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs have shown good faith. It is now up to governments to step up to the plate and follow suit. They must move forward and address these outstanding land claims that should have been settled in a fair and just manner a long time ago...

June 28, 2006

WINNIPEG (CP) - Native leaders have called off a planned blockade of two southern Manitoba rail lines.

They had planned to block the lines for 24 hours starting tomorrow in an effort to pressure the federal government to settle outstanding land claims. CN Rail was in court seeking an injunction to stop the action. But lawyers for the native groups say they have reached a deal with CN Rail and will hold rallies instead of blocking rail traffic.

In exchange, CN has agreed to write to the federal Indian Affairs minister and urge him to resolve native land claims.

Read rest of this Canoe/CNews article here.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Bush on Guantanamo Trials

The U.S. Supreme Court finally took a firm stance on Bush's abuse of presidential powers in its ruling Thursday on Guantanamo trials. The ruling was 5-3 with the the three conservative justices, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, strongly in support of the government.

While the administration could come up with a new system, a better option would be to hold regular military courts-martial for detainees, the high court said. Those trials, used for soldiers, provide somewhat similar legal protections to those that defendants receive in U.S. courts.

The Bush administration did not appear ready to accept that.

U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Guantanamo Trials
Top U.S. court: Bush overstepped authority with Guantanamo war crimes trials


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court rebuked President Bush and his anti-terror policies Thursday, ruling that his plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law.

The president and congressional Republicans immediately pledged to work on a new strategy for special trials for some of the hundreds of suspected al-Qaida and Taliban operatives rounded up in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries.

Bush said the ruling "won't cause killers to be put out on the street."

The court declared 5-3 that the president's attempt to resurrect a type of military trial last used in the aftermath of World War II violates U.S. military law and the Geneva conventions that set international standards for dealing with people captured in armed conflicts.

The ruling focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a one-time driver for Osama bin Laden who has spent four years in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He faces a single count of conspiring to commit terrorism.

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, Hamdan's Navy lawyer, said he told the Yemeni about the ruling by telephone. "I think he was awe-struck that the court would rule for him, and give a little man like him an equal chance. Where he's from, that is not true," Swift said.

The decision could have a broad impact on the administration's legal justification for many of its policies in the global fight against terrorism, from eavesdropping to detention policies in Iraq.

Read full article here: AOL News, June 29, 2006

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Iraqi Withdrawal From Iraq

This article by Dahr Jamail (Iraq's Dispatches) was first published on today. For the sake of expediency, I am reposting it here in part, with a link to the remainder. Dahr's compelling article is about the exodus of Iraqis desperate to flee the violence and utter chaos in their riven, ravaged country.

Dubya and his war-hawk neocons turn blind eyes to the devastating effects their illegal war is having on Iraqis. They see only the fortified Green Zone. Perhaps they don't mind the Iraqis fleeing their own country, for then it will be easier for the US to completely take over the spoils, and get down to the business of why they are really there in the first place: oil -- the black gold needed to fuel America's military-industrial complex and the gas-guzzling SUV's of that country's citizenry.

Yes, there is a withdrawal from Iraq, but it is not the US/Coalition troops. The only people withdrawing from Iraq are the Iraqis...

By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Wednesday 28 June 2006

Recent days have found a media feeding frenzy at the trough of the "National Reconciliation" plan by the US puppet "prime minister" of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki. This "plan" was clearly a political move orchestrated from within Pentagon and State Department circles in preparation for the upcoming November mid-term elections in the US and has effectively changed, on the ground in Iraq, approximately nothing.

Broadcast by the corporate media and lapped up by US politicians and other groups, the day after it was announced the "plan" had its key element - that of granting amnesty for resistance fighters, removed. Apparently, the "plan" aimed to show some sort of political progress in Iraq.

It is amazing to witness that people, even many within the anti-war movement in the US, seem willing to believe anything presented by Maliki, including this "plan." A man who was inserted into his position after Jack Straw and Condoleezza Rice visited Baghdad in order to brush Jaafari, the prime minister chosen by the supposedly-elected Iraqi parliament, aside. Do we need any clearer evidence of who pulls the strings of Maliki?

Click here to read rest of this article.

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who spent over 8 months reporting from occupied Iraq. He presented evidence of US war crimes in Iraq at the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York City in January 2006. He writes regularly for TruthOut, Inter Press Service, Asia Times and TomDispatch, and maintains his own web site,

For more writing, commentary and photography, visit Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches website.

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Was CIA given access to Canadians' banking records?

Has the US been collecting confidential data on Canadians? It may be a likely scenario, and Canada's privacy commissioner is investigating the possibility that US officials and the CIA may have access to our banking records.

Also, the human rights group Privacy International filed formal complaints against SWIFT, the company in question. And last week, the New York Times revealed details of a secret program under which US officials and the CIA gathered data about banking transactions from SWIFT. These could include the transactions of Canadians, amongst those of many other countries.

Yesterday, a human rights group based in London filed formal complaints in 32 countries, including Canada, against the Brussels-based banking consortium known as SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, the International Herald Tribune reported.

The rights group, Privacy International, contends that SWIFT has violated rules in other jurisdictions by providing the United States with confidential information about international money transfers.

SWIFT is the hub of the global banking industry. It runs an electronic messaging service that 7,800 financial institutions — including Canadian ones — use to communicate, and to transfer billions of dollars daily.

Other countries are very upset about this program that is making headlines around the world. "CIA has access to your bank records," the Telegraph printed yesterday, and The Irish Times said "CIA monitors personal bank data of Irish citizens."

NSA spies on Americans, the CIA spies on Canadians and the rest of the world, all in the name of Dubya's GWOT. That should make us feel safer and sleep better at night, eh?

Read full Toronto Star article here.

UPDATE: After I had finished this post, I came across this article on the Political Cycles blog, about our very own Canadian spying by the CSE, given extraordinary powers via the Anti-Terror Act of 2001.

All in the name of protecting us from terrorism, right? Now we can really sleep better, as our world morphs into George Orwell's 1984.

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Tomgram: Bacevich on the Misuse of American History

I recently wrote about Karl Rove's gamble that Americans would prefer a Green-Zone version of our world to grim political reality and that, in the process of telling "Green-Zone stories" to the public, it was useful if you could also "Green Zone" history -- enclosing small parts of the past (like the President's version of World War II) that were useful to you and sending the rest down the memory hole. As it happens, a recently published book from a liberal hawk offers another version of the Green-Zoning of history, as Andrew Bacevich indicates in a review that will appear in the latest issue of the Nation magazine and is posted here with the kind permission of that magazine's book editor, Adam Shatz.

Bacevich, historian, Vietnam Vet, and conservative, has been a fascinating figure in these last years. He himself is almost single-handedly in the process of reclaiming our history for us. His most recent book on how the neocons fell in love with American military might, The New American Militarism, is simply a must-have for any political library. To read more on Bacevich's views and experiences, check out his interview at Tomdispatch. Tom

The American Political Tradition

By Andrew J. Bacevich

The Good Fight: Why Liberals -- and Only Liberals -- Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again. By Peter Beinart. HarperCollins. 288 pp. $25.95.

Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq. By Stephen Kinzer. Times. 384 pp. $27.50.

[This column, which will appear in the July 17/24 issue of The Nation Magazine, is posted here with the kind permission of the editors of that magazine.]

When it comes to foreign policy, the fundamental divide in American politics today is not between left and right but between those who subscribe to the myth of the "American Century" and those who do not. Peter Beinart is a true believer. In his eyes America's purpose today remains precisely what it has always been: to confront and destroy the enemies of freedom at home and abroad. In The Good Fight, he summons liberals to recover their crusading spirit and to "put anti-totalitarianism at the center of their hopes for a better country and a better world." Liberalism must become once again what it was in its heyday: "a fighting faith."

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

June 29-Live 8 Anniversary in Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square !

The anniversary of the Live 8 concerts that rocked the world and put out a global call to make poverty history is just around the corner. On June 29th, campaigners and celebrities in G8 countries will be marking the anniversary of Live 8 and calling on world leaders to deliver on their promises.

Join Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies, Mayor David Miller and Make Poverty History supporters on June 29 in Nathan Phillips Square at 10:30 AM . Wear white. Wear a white band.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Harper-Valley: "O'Connorgan's Isle"

Scout, who is the creator of the irreverent, extremely humourous political satire blog Harper-Valley, has done it again! This time with a parodic version of the old "Gilligan Isle" song. Scout's version is called, "O'Connorgan's Isle". True to form, it is a wonderfully funny parody that you will not be able to stop singing.

The last song he did was his take on the "Harper-Valley PTA" tune which was also hilarious. I have a link posted to it somewhere in my recent archives.

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Iraq Dispatches: Rebuilding Not Yet Reality for Fallujah

*Inter Press Service*
Dahr Jamail and Ali Fadhil

*FALLUJAH, Jun 24 (IPS) - One and a half years after the November 2004 U.S. military assault on Fallujah, residents tell of ongoing suffering, lack of jobs, little reconstruction and continuing violence.*

The U.S. military launched Operation Phantom Fury against the city of Fallujah - destroying an estimated 70 percent of the buildings, homes and shops, and killing between 4,000 and 6,000 people, according to the Fallujah-based non-governmental organisation the Study Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (SCHRD).

IPS found that the city remains under draconian biometric security, with retina scans, fingerprinting and X-raying required for anyone entering the city. Fallujah remains an island: not even the residents of the surrounding towns and villages like Karma, Habbaniya, Khalidiya, which fall under Fallujah's administrative jurisdiction, are allowed in.

Security badges are required for anyone wishing to enter the city. To obtain a badge, one has to be a Fallujah native from a certain class. That is, if one is from Fallujah and a government official, a high-class badge of grade G will be issued. Journalists with an X-grade badge will be allowed. Then there are B for businessmen and C for those who have contracts with U.S. military in the city. Last are the R-grade badges, which will not be admitted through the main checkpoint at the east side of the city, and must seek entrance through "second class" checkpoints

Having entered the city through the main checkpoint, the first thing visible is the destroyed homes in the Al-Askari district. Virtually every home in this area has been completely destroyed or seriously damaged.

"I could not rebuild my house again because rebuilding is rather costly nowadays," Walid, a 48-year-old officer with the former Iraqi army, told IPS. With sorrow in his eyes he told of how he built his home six years ago. After the destruction, "They [U.S. Military] paid us 70 percent of the compensation and with the unemployment in the city we spent most of it on food and medicines. Now everybody is waiting for the remaining 30 percent."

Slightly different version of this same story could be told by the hundreds of people who lost their houses in the April and November 2004 bombing campaigns.

Across the Euphrates River from the city sits Fallujah General Hospital. Built in 1964, the hospital was unable to function during either U.S. siege because it was being occupied by the U.S. military.

Doctors were reluctant to talk to IPS unless promised anonymity. "It is more a barn than a hospital and we are not honoured to work in it," said one doctor. "There is a horrible lack of medical supplies and equipment, and the Ministry of Health is not doing much about it," added another doctor, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

When IPS mentioned a new hospital under construction in the city, one of the doctors replied, with irony, that half of the people of Fallujah would be dead before that hospital project was completed. He said an emergency plan for the existing hospital is essential, especially because people are too afraid of seeking medical attention in any of the Baghdad hospitals for fear of being kidnapped and killed by death
squads. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Ramadi General Hospital, often used by residents of Fallujah, is no longer accessible due to the ongoing U.S. military siege of that city.

During the interview of the doctors, patients and their companions gathered around and started complaining about "the lack of everything" in the hospital. "You press people always come here and talk to us, but there is no result," said an elderly woman in a challenging tone. "If you put me on television, I will tell the whole world how bad the situation is in this city."

The doctors interviewed, however, did praise the role of some local and international NGOs that had offered help to the hospital on occasion.

The people of Fallujah are struggling to survive amidst skyrocketing unemployment, lack of supplies and ongoing violence in the city. At a grocery market, there was another side to the story. Haji Majeed Al Jumaily, 64, was a blacksmith before his hands weakened. He asked the grocer a dozen times how much an item cost before saying, "I only have 2,000 dinars, less than a dollar and a half, to spend and I don't know what to buy with it. Everything is so expensive and my nine family
members must be fed."

He told IPS how his two sons were killed by random gunfire from the new Iraqi army two years ago. "Now I have to take care of their two wives and six children as well as my wife," he said. The market was full of people, but poverty is obvious from the way people wandered about trying to balance what to spend with what they have in hand.

"Unemployment in Fallujah is a major problem that should be handled," commented Jassim Al Muhammadi, a lawyer. "The financial situation is collapsing every day and people do not know what to do. The siege is adding a lot to this problem."

Ali Ahmed, a 17-year-old student, interrupted: "We do not need press releases in this city, sir. What we really need is a solution to the everlasting problem of this city... The Americans and Iraqis in power accused us of terror, killed thousands of us and now they are just talking about reconstruction. Well, they are all thieves who only care for what they can pinch off the Iraqi fortunes. Just tell them to leave
us alone as we do not want their fraudulent reconstruction."

Ahmed added that the U.S. military continues to kill and arrest people for any reason whatsoever, and sometimes for no reason.

Infrastructure in Fallujah is just as bad as any other part of Iraq. Water, electricity, cooking gas, fuel, telephone and mobile services are very poor. All of the residents interviewed complained about the government's indifferent attitude towards them. The majority believed it was for sectarian reasons, although some others thought it is the same all over Iraq.

The mayor of Fallujah was not available to interview, but in his latest appearance on television he announced his resignation. In his statement televised on Jun. 14, he declared firmly, "The Americans did not fulfill their promises to me and so I resign."

Similar reports about the situation in Fallujah were made by the United Nations Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) on May 21: "there is still slow progress on humanitarian issues, according to local officials."

The report stated that two-thirds of the city's residents had returned, but 15 percent remained displaced in the outskirts of Fallujah, "living in abandoned schools and government buildings."

"Approximately 65,000 people are still displaced out of Fallujah," reported Bassel Mahmoud, director of the city's reconstruction projects.

The IRIN report, similar to what IPS found here, said, "Despite Baghdad allocating 100 million dollars for the city's reconstruction and 180 million dollars for housing compensation, very little can be seen visibly on the streets of Fallujah in terms of reconstruction. There are destroyed buildings on almost every street. Local authorities say about 60 percent of all houses in the city were totally destroyed or seriously damaged and less than 20 percent of them have been repaired so far...
Power, water treatment and sewage systems are still not functioning properly and many districts of the city are without potable water."

Residents complained to IPS that they had less than four hours of electricity per day, and there was great frustration that at least 30 percent of the allocated reconstruction funds were shifted to pay for extra checkpoints and security patrols in the city.

And while the residents continue to wait for the promised compensation funds, of the 81 reconstruction projects slated for the city, less than 30 have been completed and many others will most likely be cancelled due to lack of funding, according to a Fallujah council member who spoke with IPS on condition of anonymity.

Current estimates of the amount needed to rebuild Iraq are between 70 and 100 billion dollars. Only 33 percent of the 21 billion dollars originally allocated by the United States for reconstruction remains to be spent. According to a report by the U.S. inspector general for reconstruction in Iraq, officials were unable to say how many planned projects they would complete, nor was there a clear source for the hundreds of millions of dollars a year needed to maintain the projects that had been completed.

As for Fallujah in particular, security has eaten up as much as 25 percent of reconstruction funding, but even more has reportedly been siphoned off by corruption and overcharging by contractors.

Last year, a U.S. congressional inspection team was set up to monitor reconstruction in Iraq. On May 1, they published a scathing report of the failure of U.S. contractors to carry out projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The report also noted that nearly nine billion dollars in Iraqi oil revenues which had been disbursed to ministries was "missing."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media. Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

Note: Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches are republished on this site thanks to the kind, explicit permission of the journalist.

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Toronto: Indigenous Events


1) Solidarity on Stolen Land
Wednesday June 28th, 2006
OISE (252 Bloor St. West), Room # 2-214

25 St. Clair Avenue East
Just east of Yonge. Near St. Clair Subway Station.


Solidarity on Stolen Land: Linking Struggles and Building Mutual Support

Wednesday June 28th, 2006
OISE (252 Bloor St. West), Room # 2-214


Zainab Amadahy:
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 Caucus


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.

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Tomgram: Running with the Barbarians

Green Zoning It All the Way

By Tom Engelhardt

As every political junky in the country now knows, just before finding himself not indicted by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Karl Rove went to a fundraiser in New Hampshire and launched the Republican campaign for the 2006 midterm elections. Its simple goal was to keep a Democratic majority (and so the power to investigate) out of either house of Congress. He promptly attacked Rep. John Murtha and other Democrats for their "cut and run" attitudes on Iraq. ("They may be with you for the first shots, but they're not going... to be with you for the tough battles.") He swore that the administration had been right to take out Saddam Hussein ("We have no excuses to make for it...") and proposed a new version of the administration's most successful post-9/11 ploy -- the constant linking of Saddam Hussein to the al-Qaeda attacks. Now, he would link the wreckage of administration policy in Iraq to future terrorist attacks. If we "cut and run," he pointed out in a fabulous Mobius strip of political logic, "It would provide a launching pad for the terrorists to strike the United States and the West."

His President had only recently announced the turning of "the tide" in Iraq with the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the installation of a new Iraqi government in Baghdad's Green Zone. Vice President Cheney would soon answer a question about whether we were still in the "last throes" of the Iraqi insurgency by insisting that the Democrats wanted to "bail out" just as we were "making very significant progress" in Iraq. The Congressional Republicans, whatever their private hesitations, were brought into line with the Rove plan and launched the sort of offensive that, in the past, has proven so ineffective in Iraq and so effective at home.

Given the disaster that Iraq actually is, some alterations of argument were obviously in order. Put in terms of Colin Powell's infamous "Pottery Barn rule" ("If you break it, you own it"), this particular formulation would go something like: You've barged into Pottery Barn, an invading bull in a China shop and you've been breaking things right and left ever since; management, employees, and other customers are enraged, so what choice do you have but to stay and keep breaking things? Bail out now and all those angry folks will be heading for your house to break your things.

Once upon a time, this administration's top officials and associated neocons dreamed of shock-and-awing the Middle East into the shape they wanted, settling into Iraq for the long haul, dominating the planet in geopolitical and energy terms, ensuring that no nation or bloc of nations would ever again challenge the U.S. and, in the bargain, installing the Republicans as the dominant domestic party for at least a generation. Now, forced to hitch their fates to the President's disastrous war, they simply hope to squeak through the mid-term elections and, two years later, hand ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan off to another president. Joshua Marshall of the Talking Points Memo website recently described the President as "like an owner of a business that's slowly going under… And he won't just liquidate and save what he can, because then he'd have to come to grips with the fact that he's failed. So his policy is denial and slow failure. Here of course the analogy to President Bush is rather precise since he only has to hold out until 2009 when he can give the problem to someone else, just as he did in his past life with other businesses he drove into the ground."

In fact, whether it works or not, Rove's political gamble is breathtakingly bold in its simplicity. He's throwing the dice on a single proposition: That, in the end, Americans will prefer the illusion of living in a Green-Zone world all the way and so will swallow the Green-Zone fictions that go with it.

Let's consider, then, a few small pieces of the Green-Zone world our President has created:

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Monday, June 26, 2006

MNN The Real "Rat Pack" (Rats, summer and Canada's "Indian problem")

What do rats, summer and Canada's "Indian problem" have in common? Read Kahentinetha Horn's (MNN Mohawk Nation News) June 25th article and find out...


MNN. June 25, 2006. Summer is the season when Canada likes to work on taking care of its “Indian problem”. Now is the time for us to ponder what is before us. We would like to sit outside and shoot the breeze beside the lakes and streams. But the colonial bureaucrats are sitting in their air conditioned 'war rooms' atop the tower of power.

This year their insulting tactics are really off the wall. First, they honored “Aboriginal Day” by dumping a truckload of manure on all Indigenous women. But it slid right off us like water off a duck’s back. They can say anything they want. It doesn’t bother us anymore. We’ve become almost immune to racism. Their trick was to have the RCMP pick up Sharon Simon of Kanehsatake and make as if she was the “Queen Pin” of the whole Hell’s Angels. She and her daughter were the only natives among the 35 arrested all the way from Montreal to Saskatchewan. The way they told it, everything happened at Kanehsatake.

Next, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said he wants all of us Indians to “get off” our land and “go home” – What? We are home! He made this announcement on his last day in the legislature so nobody could question him. When asked what he would do if we stayed, he just said, “We’ll see”. Then he ran away for the summer. Member of the Legislature, Toby Barrett, brought a busload of paid Caledonia provocateurs to the Ontario legislature just before it closed. Something’s being set up, right!

If history repeats itself, the summer months are when we can expect the big action. According to what has become a Canadian tradition, swarms of heavy duty cops and army troops will descend on Indian country. The Kanehsatake Oka Crisis was from July to September 1990. Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash both finished in early September 1995 - just before the fall sessions of the provincial legislatures and Parliament.

We weren’t born yesterday! We can see what’s coming. We’ve cornered the rat. Our land has been reclaimed by the Six Nations people. Everything we’ve done has been legitimate. They can’t get out of it. What does a rat do when it can’t escape? He stands up on his hind legs and bares his teeth. What do we do? Take off his head, of course.

The rat we are facing is the quagmire called “Canada” and all its slimy tentacles – cops, judges, government, bureaucrats, corporations that control everything - ALL tied into their global control agenda.

What is it about us that they don’t like? We own the land. Canada, the gig is up! Your “crown land” hoax has been exposed. The Rotino’shon:ni/Iroquois and our friends and allies are the true United Nations. Our law, the Kaianereh’ko:wa/Great Law of Peace, is meant for everybody. Your law is just for you. And you wonder why you have to use guns to get your way?

We are getting some clues foreshadowing the coming events. The “powers that be” are scared that we Indigenous people everywhere are losing our fear of them. We are freeing our minds. What’s worse, their peons trapped in their society – the ones they thought were enslaved forever - are joining us.

When we have no fear we are in the perfect state, the natural reality. We can face all obstacles and resolve them using our minds. This is what scares the rat the most. He has all the weapons of mass destruction which the rabid rat is ready to use. What we have to do is take the rat’s head off by waking the people before they get rabies too.

When the politicians leave for the summer, the bureaucRATS and the police are in charge. That’s when the shit really hits the fan.

The rat survives by lying, twisting the facts, making false public displays in the media, bluffing, using the ignorant masses to do their dirty work so they can blame them and walk away smelling like roses. Of course, behind all that is the gun. They take out phony charges in the courts, cajole, and deceive everybody. The rat sneaks around doing all kinds of bad shit.

There never were rats on Turtle Island. The “old world rats” came with the colonists. It was a sign of trouble when the rats jumped ship in 1775. They were actually a breed of sewer rats. They are opportunistic survivors who live with or near humans, parasiting off them. In the English language calling somebody a “rat” is an insult. To “rat on someone” is to betray them.

This is what we are up against.

By most standards rats are considered beasts or vermin. They can be very destructive to crops and property. Rats can quickly “populate” when they have no predators or have killed them all off. It is likely that between one-fifth to one-third of the world’s total food output is either spoiled or destroyed by rats and other rodents. Who does this sound like? BureaucRATS are even worse. They take half the economy and more when they can.

Rats are nocturnal. They hide from the light. When rats are seen out and about in the daytime, it can mean their nesting areas are being disturbed or there is an overpopulation of them in the local area. This must be what’s happening in Caledonia.

We need a vermin control measure or super rat catchers to stop the spread of the diseases they carry, such as colonialism and genocide. Rats are rarely seen in the open preferring to hide in dirty places and dark holes like air conditioned offices. When they’re cornered, they take sick leave or go on long summer breaks.

We need a “Pied Piper”, like they had in Hamlin, dressed in red, yellow and black to guide the rats back to where they came from. Just like the story of July 13th 1336, the corporation and the mayor did not keep their promises [sound familiar?]. As a result all their children were lured away and never seen again. History is repeating itself. The colonial rats too may lose their children. Their children may end up following the ways of the Indigenous people. The cat, the Great Law of Peace, is out of the bag. Look out rats. Here comes the cat!

Kahentinetha Horn

MNN Mohawk Nation News

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Caledonia a product of failed Indian land claims

Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom is one of the few mainstream media writers whose articles deal objectively and truthfully with regard to the Six Nations land claims and Canada's failure regarding all Indigenous land claims, as evidenced by this article from yesterday's paper:

Eight months ago, the Caledonia dispute began as a quiet protest by a handful of local Indians, angered by a developer's plan to build housing on land they claimed as theirs. Now, after weeks of fistfights, name-calling, racial taunts and outright sabotage, the name of this small Hamilton-area town has become a metaphor for the bitterness and inconsistency that surround Indian land claims.

In particular, Caledonia has raised two fundamental and competing questions. First, do land claims place Indians above Canadian law? In effect, that's what Ontario Superior Court Justice David Marshall is asking. He has called a third hearing next week to find out why the Ontario Provincial Police never enforced an injunction he issued in March ordering protestors to leave the Douglas Creek housing development on Caledonia's outskirts.

Read the rest of Thomas Walkom's article here.

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Media Coverage of ILGA's 2006 World Conference in Geneva

After ILGA's 23rd World Conference in Geneva this spring, media around the world reflected on the preconferences, the politics of the event, and the progress that can be made after sharing experiences with other activists. ILGA has collected links to some of these articles, along with descriptions of the diverse organizations that attended and reported on the conference itself.

ILGA is the Internatinal Lesbian and Gay Association, working for the rights of LGBT people. For those interested, I have included links to download ILGA's magazine in both English and Spanish, and also a link to their website for additional information and coverage of their campaigns.

Download ILGA’s magazine in English

In Spanish

For additional coverage on ILGA's campaign for LGBT recognition at the United Nations and up-to-date coverage of the issues facing sexual minorities around the world, visit their homepage at It’s a great way to keep the world informed on your issues, and a useful resource for everyone to learn from their diverse campaigns around the globe.

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