Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tomgram: Chernus on Karl Rove's Bedtime Stories for Americans

Here's how a Washington Post piece soon after the Supreme Court's smack-down of the Bush administration's Guantanamo policies began:

"Republicans yesterday looked to wrest a political victory from a legal defeat in the Supreme Court, serving notice to Democrats that they must back President Bush on how to try suspects at Guantanamo Bay or risk being branded as weak on terrorism… As the White House and lawmakers weighed next steps, House GOP leaders signaled they are ready to use this week's turn of events as a political weapon."

So what's new? The single greatest skill of the Bush administration -- and especially of its presiding political strategist Karl Rove -- has been turning potential disasters (of which there have been so many) into successful attacks on the Democrats, while, against all odds, briefly elevating the President's approval ratings. This talent for fashioning tall tales and going for the political jugular has, as in the presidential race of 2004 (aided and abetted by the Democrats), proven just enough to get the Republicans past the voters in reasonable shape. The ever-devolving catastrophe in Iraq has been but the latest candidate for such treatment -- as, in the wake of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the President announced that "the tide" was again turning in that country, congressional Republicans launched fierce attacks on Democratic cut-and-runners, and the already astronomical numbers of dead bodies flooding into Baghdad's central morgue rose, post-Zarqawi, by 16%.

As religion professor Ira Chernus suggests below, Rove regularly manages to do his work in part by calling on that oldest of American stories, the one about fighting the savages on a distant frontier in order to make the world safe for settlers. Chernus, a professor of religion, canny guy, and regular Tomdispatch contributor, explains just how this process works (over and over and over again).

Of course, sooner or later, all good (and bad) things must end. We know that. The question is: Will November 2006 be the start of that moment or simply more of the same old, same old? Tom

Karl Rove's Scheherazade Strategy

By Ira Chernus

Karl Rove has a simple rule, they say: When you are falling behind, attack your opponents at their strongest point. In the upcoming election, the Democrats' strongest point should obviously be Iraq. With the spotlight eternally focused on the disastrous war there, Rove has to figure out how to turn its dazzling beam to his party's advantage.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Toronto Rally: Stop Israel's Attack on Gaza

This action alert comes to me from the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, about an emergency rally this coming Saturday, July 8th, in front of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto, to demand Israel stop its attack on Gaza and to stand up for Palestinian human rights. Similar events will be taking place in Montreal and Vancouver.

Stop Israel's attack on Gaza
Stand up for Palestinian human rights!

Saturday, July 8
Israeli Consulate
180 Bloor Street West
(nearest subway: St. George)


Take TTC to St. George subway; walk east along north side of Bloor to 180 Bloor Street West, just before Avenue Road.

Muslim Unity Group - Toronto is calling on all those who support peace and justice to join an emergency rally this weekend to stop Israel's attack on Gaza and to stand up for Palestinian human rights.

Since Tuesday, June 27, Israel has laid siege to Gaza by bombing bridges, electricity and water stations and other vital infrastructure, thereby cutting off two-thirds of the Palestinian people from electricity, water and the basic necessities of daily life. As a result, a wide-scale humanitarian disaster is already underway.

In addition, Israel has arrested at least sixty-four Palestinian
Legislative Council members, city mayors, cabinet ministers and law-makers - a clear violation of international law. On Wednesday this week, the Israeli security cabinet met to approve an escalation of its attack and a partial re-occupation of Gaza.

Israel's most recent assault on Gaza is part of a months-long siege of the Palestinian people that began when Western governments, including Canada, cut all aid to the Palestinian Authority in the wake of the free and democratic election of Hamas. Shamefully, Canada has still not restored any funding to the Palestinian Authority despite the increased suffering of the Palestinians and widespread pleas for support from international humanitarian organisations.

Israel's actions can only be described as war crimes, especially its policies of collective punishment. Join us to condemn this vicious attack on the Palestinian people and to demand that humanitarian aid be restored immediately. Saturday's rally is supported by members of Toronto's Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities as well as peace, social justice and solidarity groups. Similar events will take place in Montreal and Vancouver.

Organised by:
Muslim Unity Group - Toronto

Endorsed by:
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation
Canadian Arab Federation
Al-Awda - Right of Return Coalition
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War

For more information, please contact:
Ahmed Motiar, Muslim Unity Group - Toronto: 905-764-8649
Naomi Binder Wall, Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation:
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid:

Muslim Unity Group - Toronto
A city-wide coalition of Muslim organisations, Islamic centres and mosques representing more than 350,000 Muslims from a variety of ethnic, cultural and linguistic communities across the Greater Toronto Area

Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
TCSW is Toronto's city-wide anti-war coalition, comprised of more than fifty labour, faith and community organisations, and a member of the Canadian Peace Alliance. 416-795-5863

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Tomgram: Playing the Destabilization Card at Home and Abroad

The Destabilization Game

By Tom Engelhardt

One of these days, some scholar will do a little history of the odd moments when microphones or recording systems were turned on or left on, whether on purpose or not, and so gave us a bit of history in the raw. We have plenty of American examples of this phenomenon, ranging from the secret White House recordings of President John F. Kennedy's meetings with his advisers during the Cuban Missile Crisis (so voluminous as to become multi-volume publications) and Richard Nixon's secret tapes (minus those infamous 18½ minutes), voluminous enough so that you could spend the next 84 days nonstop listening to what's been made publicly available, to the moment in 1984 when a campaigning President Ronald_Reagan quipped on the radio during a microphone check (supposedly unaware that it was on): "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

Just last week, a lovely little example of this sort of thing came our way and, twenty-two years after Ronald Reagan threatened to atomize the "evil empire," Russia was still the subject. Last Thursday, at a private lunch of G-8 foreign ministers in Moscow, an audio link to the media was left on, allowing reporters to listen in on a running series of arguments (or as the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler put it, "several long and testy exchanges") between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over a collective document no one would remember thenceforth

The whole event was a grim, if minor, comedy of the absurd. According to the Post account, "Reporters traveling with Rice transcribed the tape of the private luncheon but did not tell Rice aides about it until after a senior State Department official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity as usual, assured them that ‘there was absolutely no friction whatsoever' between the two senior diplomats." (What better reminder do we need that so much anonymous sourcing granted by newspapers turns out to be a mix of unreliable spin and outright lies readers would be better off without?) In, as Kessler wrote, "a time of rising tension in U.S.-Russian relations," the recording even caught "the clinking of ice in glasses and the scratch of cutlery on plates," not to speak of the intense irritation of both parties.

"Sometimes the tone smacked of the playground" is the way a British report summed the encounter up, but decide for yourself. Here's a sample of what "lunch" sounded like -- the context of the discussion was Iraq (especially outrage over the kidnapping and murder of four employees of the Russian embassy in Baghdad):

"Rice said she worried [Lavrov] was suggesting greater international involvement in Iraq's affairs.

"'I did not suggest this,' Lavrov said. ‘What I did say was not involvement in the political process but the involvement of the international community in support of the political process.'

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

MNN is Accused of Inciting Violence at Caledonia

This is Kahentinetha Horn's response to allegations that Mohawk Nation News is inciting violence at Caledonia:


MNN. July 4, 2006.
MNN got an email from someone that our reporting of events is inciting white people in Caledonia to attack the Six Nations people at the reclaimed site, Kanenhstaton (the precious place). We reclaimed this stolen land on February 28, 2006. From our knowledge, it’s a small element in Caledonia which is attacking, rioting and threatening our people who have been lawful and peaceful throughout. The heavily armed Ontario Provincial Police launched a major violent invasions on us which we repelled. Since then organized rioters from the nearby town of Caledonia have constantly swarmed to our site and carried out organized attacks on us.

There are well-educated people of Caledonia who support us completely. They recently held a concert to raise money for our cause. They understand what we are doing and support the rule of law. We all want to live in a world where everyone is treated equally.

It is true, however, there is an element in Caledonia that is attracted to the KKK and other racist behavior. They’ve been raised to believe in “fighting those Injuns”. For the most part, we are constantly defending ourselves from them because we stood up for our rights. It is the same as a woman is not considered guilty of attacking a man when she refuses to be raped.

Some of these people have been conditioned to believe that they are superior to Indians. Their finding out we are all equal can cause a deep emotional disturbance for those at the bottom of the social heap. They are reacting to what they are told is a pressing injustice which they have been told is being perpetrated by the Indigenous people!. They can’t get used to the idea that everyone is equal, that we are all free, and that there is no top or bottom of the social ladder. There is no hierarchy except the one that’s artificially created and enforced at gunpoint.

This means they have to change the way they they’ve been conditioned to deal with us. They inflict violence because they don’t want to change the way they think of themselves. This is the greatest challenge for us Indigenous People. Do we all have to become shamans to cure these confused people? With all the craziness out there, that’s a tall order for us to take on. Shouldn’t they take responsibility for themselves? We aren’t going to continue to be Indigenous. They need to recondition themselves to this reality. Remember all that healing that we are supposed to be doing after all that abuse the non-natives inflicted on us? It’s the abusers, the white people, who need to be healed even more. At least we know we’ve been injured. White people don’t even know their own history.

These people have been conditioned to hate and fear the reality of who we are. They don’t mind us being killed off in the movies, romanticized in the books, or dancing and drumming at shopping centers or pow wows. Can they be cured of this sickness? One of the worst racists in the US like Governor Wallace of Alabama later on saw the error of his behavior and came to understand the social dynamic that had trapped him. They took off their KKK sheets and became friends with Black people. They sat down and talked together instead of sneaking around burning crosses like a bunch of scaredy-cats.

The non-native rioters of Caledonia have to recondition themselves, open up their eyes, clear their ears so they can see and hear. They need to clear their throats so that what comes out is the truth. It’s not easy because there is no mechanism to do this that’s acceptable in their society. The Canadian government makes a show of wringing its hands over the attacks by whites against Indigenous people. They target us by saying, “We won’t tolerate this violence by the Indigenous people”. Then they push the buttons and steam up the violence against us. Is it because they don’t know what to do, or do they know only too well what they’re doing? They get people with little experience and no depth of knowledge about us to charge in to do silly things, like pepper spraying, swinging baseball bats, making gun-shot like noises, throwing garbage at us, threatening to kill us, waving signs saying “Bring in the army” and shouting, “Kill the Indians”.

Why would the Canadian government facilitate the distribution of KKK flyers from Caledonia as happened in the Six Nations Post Office? Why would the Canadian government give grants to make these racist, disgusting, provocative signs? Compare them with those of the Six Nations which say, simply, “This is our land”. The Caledonians pushing native children out of sports arenas is part of this dynamic.

It shows how weak they are. They feel so threatened they can’t even see the olive branches we extend to them. MNN continually asks for “peace, peace, peace”. There has never been any incitement to riot and attack anyone.

What needs to happen for things to settle down? The Canadian government needs to talk to us on a nation-to-nation basis. The whites don’t have communication with their government. The government may or may not be conscious of what they are doing. Nonetheless, they are trying to enforce an old paradigm of domination/control and submission of their population. They don’t want their bad act to come to an end. While everyone in the world is working for peace, they do as much as they can to promote violence. Violence is an emotional reaction that comes before facing up to settling for peace.

Indigenous people learn at an early age to deal peacefully. Culturally, we Rotino’shon:ni/Iroquois must all have our say. We talk to each other, to our family, to our clans and to our community peacefully. For us it’s important to establish dialogue and do things together. When we meet non-natives, most people find us to be peaceful.

As an egalitarian society, we constantly find ourselves fighting against the hierarchical structure that is imbedded in every institution in Canada. We notice that this system makes people violent because of the iniquities of a few at the top getting everything and the rest at the bottom getting little.

One of the most important events put on by the Indigenous people to honor the land reclamation was the recent “Redstock” concert at Chiefswood. It was an outstanding success. It wasn’t covered by the press. It was free. Anyone could go to it. Many non-native people went. Those who want to make trouble in Caledonia stayed away. They did not know how to cope with the atmosphere of friendship that pervaded the grounds. They don’t know how to live in peace. They seem scared of something so simple as a picnic on the grass listening to native music.

How can non-natives learn to deal with their fear of us?

We’re still being repressed. For example, we are speaking our languages in our communities. If we speak them in public outside of our communities, some non-native people become uncomfortable. They think we are witches and demons. Then all kinds of things happen to us out of the clear blue sky.

We have been so subjected to racism all of our lives that we can look people in the eye and respond to their taunts in a calm way. This reminds me of a time when my grandchildren and I want to the SPCA in Vancouver to adopt a cat. Our non-native landlord came with us. Hearing me speak in Mohawk to the children, the worker made excuses not to give us a cat. My friend overheard the helper telling the worker to make sure that we were refused a cat. She expressed racism that we have become accustomed to. She even said that the landlord might not approve. My friend told them she was the landlord and did approve. That’s when they called the police, who arrived and refused to investigate. Eventually we were forced to leave. My 5 year old granddaughter asked me, “Isn’t there any place in Vancouver where a Mohawk can get a cat?” Both my friend, who got furious, and my granddaughter learned that day that there is no protection from racism in Canada.

We can’t force anyone to change. Can the people in Caledonia who are awake influence their anti-native neighbors who are asleep?

Are the racists in a trance? They can’t seem to see the truth with their own eyes. They seem to be full of ghosts and fantasies. As such, they are dangerous. People with fantasies have killed many native people in the past. So far no one has been killed in Caledonia. Canadian government agencies are continuing to finance and press all the racism and hatred buttons they have pushed in past circumstances, such as in Chateauguay and Oka. There is a very real danger that things could degenerate. The cops have not been arresting the non-native people who have committed violence against us. They have been ignoring our peaceful efforts and using the media to criminalize us, calling us hoods, thugs and terrorists. This is sanctioned from the highest level of their hierarchic government. The strategy is to use their people at the lower levels of their social structures as a weapon against us.

If they really want to avoid violence in this situation, if they truly want a peaceful solution and a transition to a harmonious relationship with Indigenous people, Canada must find a way to reassure their own people. They should stop them from taking out their insecurities on us.

The government needs to act as role models instead of rattling their sabers and giving us ultimatums. Conspicuously missing from their ultimatum has been any declaration that anyone who attacks an Indian will be arrested. In fact, their behavior at the site has shown that public misbehavior by non-natives against Indians will be tolerated by the state.

Also conspicuously absent have been public meetings on a nation-to-nation basis. Canada is treating us as if we were their subjects, rather than their equal allies.

We don’t know what kind of training their diplomats have. Perhaps if they consulted their Department of Foreign Affairs, they might get better advice on how to handle their people in such situations. They are setting a bad example by treating us as subject. They’d be setting a better example if they treated us as equals.

Kahentinetha Horn, MNN Mohawk Nation News,

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MNN UN "Rip Off" Declaration of Indigenous Rights!

These are Kahentinetha Horn's outspoken, indignant comments about the UN Draft Declaration of Indigenous Rights, and the hypocrisy contained therein:


MNN. July 4, 2006. Who do they think they’re kidding? This is a rip-off of Indigenous people! Nothing less is acceptable to us Rotino’shon:ni/Iroquois than full acceptance into the UN as a nation equal to all the others. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of “hot air” to stop us from getting in.

We are still under forced “colonial rule”.

Who do we complain to when the UN violates us? We know we are being set up to be undermined even more. The UN is controlled by the multinational corporations. It looks like they're setting up a “World Indigenous Affairs” to control us, our lands and our resources. Conspicuously missing from this declaration is any acknowledgement of the fact that many of the United Nations members are still occupying territory stolen from Indigenous People through the oppressive colonial processes, which are still going on [and not being stopped by the UN]. Otherwise, they’d get off our land and go home. Why on earth does the UN need to say that Indigenous people have a right to be “citizens” of the states that’s oppressing them and ripping them off? That’s because the UN refuses to admit that they have recognized a whole lot of colonial states that have taken over Indigenous people’s countries.

We still don't have any say, except maybe in an advisory capacity, with no way to enforce any violations. We can say “shame, shame on you” which doesn’t bother the the thick-skinned insensitive parasites called colonizers. We have to accept submission to a colonial state in order to be heard. Control over us will be so far away that we can't even see it. They hope no one else will either. They won't respect our title to Turtle Island. It’s just another layer of bureaucracy for us to plow through so we can have the edifying experience of being snubbed once more. [they’ll have their feet on a clean empty desk and tell us, “That’s not my department. You’ll have to go across the globe to talk to so and so”].

The bottom line is we have to be compliant or we’ll be ignored. What we’re getting here is a watered down version of all our rights that are supposed to be in all the other UN conventions that are already being ignored. We have news for you, we are people too! Are the Rotino'shon:ni/Iroquois in fact being set back? We should declare that we do not go along with this counterfeit they call a “Declaration of Indigneous Human Rights”. We want Canada and the U.S. to live up to the original relationship with us which is nation-to-nation. We don’t want to become citizens of their states. It’s a puff of smoke and a hall of mirrors, reflecting the same old colonial game.

Let’s explain some of what the "Plain language" version of the Draft Declaration put out by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Commission really says.

It deals with self-determination, culture and language, education, health, housing, employment, land and resources, environment and development, intellectual and cultural property, indigenous law and treaties and agreements with governments.

We’re seeing that there will be no nation-to-nation relationship which is the only way that the issues can be resolved. This is the only way there’s a chance they can understand our ways of thinking.

The "plain language" version is intended to help indigenous communities, organisations and the general public understand the Draft Declaration.

It is actually insulting to our intelligence. It seems to assume that none of us are smart enough to understand this baffle gab. For indigenous people who are rooted to the soil, it’s astounding to think that we have any more rights just because they say we have a right to a “country”. This suggests we can be displaced.

The preamble lists some of the reasons, which led the United Nations to develop a declaration on indigenous peoples' rights. They want recognition of their rights as distinct peoples, including the right to self-determination, and the right to control development of their societies.

Do we need them to give us this “human right”? No! It’s as human as the will to live. Self-determination is part of nature. It’s the reason why the thistle seed grows into a thistle. It’s the reason why a chicken egg hatches a chicken and not a lizard. Do they expect with this declaration that a lamb will grow into a jackass?

Rejection of the view that some peoples are better than others as racist and wrong.

We never thought or accepted that anyone was better than us. Oppression is a state of mind and it was enforced at gunpoint, with swords, cutlasses, ropes, chains, instruments of torture, laws, theft and economic monopolies.

Colonisation - indigenous peoples have been deprived of their human rights and freedoms and this has led to their colonisation and the taking of their land.

We still have title to our land but we’re occupied. Colonization is a hoax enforced at gun point. We don’t need fancy words. They just need to stop stepping on our feet and get off our land.

Respect - Recognition of the urgent need to respect the rights of indigenous peoples, particularly their rights to their land and resources.

No guarantee here. By the way, did they remember to mention they’ve taken everything and they don’t think the resources are ours? If they really wanted to respect our resources, they’d give us our places at the table with all the other nations and conglomerations of lost souls.

Indigenous Organisations - indigenous peoples are getting together to end discrimination and oppression.

Now here is a real contradiction. If all people are equal, how could it make on jot of difference what the chosen few who get to speak at the UN dictate? The UN cannot end oppression and discrimination from above. It is their very concept of hierarchy that creates oppression. If they want to end their violations of human rights, they have to start behaving respectfully, give up all they’ve stolen from us and stop dictating to us. Invite us to help them to overcome their illnesses and delusions. It’s like a drug addiction. There’s no point in writing fine declarations of intent. You either kick the drug or you don’t. The first step to overcoming addictions is to acknowledge that you have a problem. We don’t see any acknowledgement here.

Environment - respect for indigenous peoples' knowledge can contribute to fair and lasting development and better management of the environment.

Fair and lasting developing”! What do they mean by this? Last time we looked, their concept of development meant destroying the environment as we know it. If they’re serious about respecting Indigenous people, they should set up a plan to restore the environment to the state it was in when they vandalized and stole it. Hey! Has anyone noticed the glaring omission in this document? There is not one word of remorse or apology for colonialism and there isn’t even an announcement that it’s over.

Fundamental Rights

Article 1: Human Rights - Indigenous peoples have the right to all the human rights and freedoms recognized in international law.

Who’s going to enforce this and how? Here’s another conspicuous absence. The colonial states that belong to the UN have proved themselves to be notoriously negligent in the past when it comes to restraining its citizens from violating our rights. Their response has generally been to legalize the violations that were committed. In fact, they are still claiming sovereignty over us on the basis of theft and murder by their citizens.

Article 2: Equality - Indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples. They must be free from discrimination.

Statements like this actually serve to validate and reinforce the old way of looking at things. Instead of acting on the ideals they profess and inviting us to the table as equals, they just announce that we should be treated as equals and leave us shut out in the cold. What’s the big deal? Are they afraid that if they sit beside us to eat an apple, that somehow they wont be fed?

Article 3: Self-determination - Indigenous peoples have the right of self-determination.

This is a gross attempt to usurp the power of nature. All people are born as they were conceived. All have a right to be, whether or not anyone cares to pronounce on the matter. No one can give anyone else the right to self-determination. It is an innate instinct that asserts itself even before birth and continues when we take our first breath. The pine seed produces a pine tree. A human produces a human. Do they think that any palaver at the UN is going to change that?

This means they can choose their political status and the way they want to develop.

Here’s a piece of two-face hypocrisy. We Mohawks have chosen our status as nations equal to others. Our confederacy applied for membership in the League of Nations in 1923 and also for membership in the United Nations. But we haven’t even been allowed to present our case. How does this qualify as “free choice of our political status”? As a matter of fact, we are being attacked over this very issue at Six Nations right now.

Article 4: Distinct Characteristics - Indigenous peoples have the right to keep and develop their distinct characteristics and systems of law. How can we do this when the colonists have illegally forced their system of subjugation over us and our land?”

We want our original jurisdiction over our land, ourselves, our resources and so on which we never gave up according to international law.

They also have the right, if they want, to take part in the life of the rest of the country.

Yeah. It’s always been that way. We’ve heard of this before. It’s called “assimilation” or “civilization” depending on which generation is saying it. What about our right to be left alone with our possessions? This has not been respected. To become Canadians! Is this held out as a privilege, to become a sell-out colonist? We constantly rejected this and they still don’t get it. Canadians don’t want to be Americans!

Article 5: Citizenship - Every indigenous person has the right to be a citizen of a country.

Just a minute! That’s what we’re fighting against. We are citizens of our own nations. Yet we are still being forced to become citizens of foreign colonial societies. A “Citizen” is a “freeman of a city”. Why would we want to live in cities when we are rooted in the land of our ancestors?

There is much disagreement over what self-determination means. Indigenous peoples base their claims to self-determination on the fact that they were the first peoples in their territories.

What’s wrong with that? Self-determination means the right of indigenous peoples to choose their political status and to make decision about their own development. Determined by who? No, we base self-determination on our essential belongingness to nature. We have the same right to self-determination as an oak tree to a newt. And we don’t intend to start laying dinasaur eggs

Some governments reject the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination or try to limit its scope. They are fearful of independence movements and the possibility of national disintegration.

Why should colonists continue their oppressions and theft of everything of ours in their sight? Well, the one thing they forget is that if a nation is a nation, they remain a nation, no matter what! A pine forest will not become a flock of geese. (Though at this point this declaration seems about to produce a bucket of vomit).

Indigenous representatives at the UN consider this view to be racist and discriminatory. The UN Charter and the main human rights instruments state self-determination as a right of all peoples.

Aw, shut up!

Article 6: existence - Indigenous peoples have the right to live in freedom, peace and security.

Even if we’re in one of your colonial jails for defending these very freedomsl as so many of us are? Can we reclaim our stolen possessions? Is that possible? Or is that another jail term for us?

They must be free from genocide and other acts of violence.

How will this stop Canada from attacking us for justly reclaiming our land, from listening to our phone conversation and interfering with our emails just for telling it like it is?

Governments shall prevent the taking of their land and resources.

Like Canada helping DeBeers Diamonds and other resource development companies to steal from and destroy Northern communities like Kashechewan. The Crees are being removed from their land and being brutalized for not going along with DeBeers and Canada’s theft from their traditional territory. They have been removed from their communities by coercion.

Writing about this piece of trash called the Draft Declaration of Indigenous Rights is getting boring. Everyone gets the general idea that the United Nations wants to maintain colonialism, does not want to stop the genocide by respecting our constitutional jurisdiction over our land, does not want to respect our title and rights over all our land and resources, will not stop states from forcing their laws and taxation of our labor and goods on us and our land. Our people will continue to be killed, jailed and vilified for standing up for our inherent powers to our sovereignty, lands and resources.

In other words, they will not recognize our nations as equal to any other in the world and will not make the colonists deal with us on a nation-to-nation basis. Yes, they will let us do our songs, chants, dances and wear our “customs” for their entertainment. Our cultural property, Turtle Island, will continue to be occupied and environmentally devastated by the colonizers.

This is a whitewash to help the corporate takeover of the world. It’s a distraction and a red herring. What they’re really doing is depriving more and more people and putting us into subordinate positions. It’s stopping people from noticing what’s really going on. They’ve created a delusion so no one will notice that we are one of the last little problems that need to be “cleaned up” and put in our place.

The bottom line is that real legality is not coercive. It means that everybody has to be on the same page. This is a document meant to work under the coercive laws of the colonizers. If there was a real intention to decolonize and to treat us as equal human beings, it would not take this form. We would be told about the “big” meetings that are happening and would be invited to sit at the table as equal nations of the world.

Kahentinetha Horn

MNN Mohawk Nations News

Native Youth Barricade Street in Toronto - Toronto Fringe Festival

6 performances only at the Toronto Fringe Festival !

Gary Farmer's Laughing Dog Plays
with the support of Grand River Employment and Training
from Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario


collectively created by the actors, under the direction of Jodi Miller.

Seven young performers of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Confederacy) express their diverse viewpoints. Energetically using innovative contemporary theatrics while grounded in Indigenous traditional forms digitalNDN portrays life on the Rez: Sav-Rap, video clips, tainted water, clowning, and of course BINGO ! ( someone's gotta win, will it be you ? )

Native Youth Barricade Lippincott Street in Toronto !

In an attempt to get your attention, and that of federal and provincial officials stalling at the negotiating table, digitalNDN will blockade Lippincott Street in Toronto. Attention must be paid. These youth have found their voices, and you need to listen.

Reporters have not been allowed onto the controversial Reclamation Site in Caledonia since the the action began 28 February 2006. Mainstream Media has frequently projected a negative spin on this peaceful demonstration. digitalNDN offers a unique opportunity to hear directly from the coming generation of native artists about this historic crossroads, and to be entertained all the while.

Hilarious and honest, these stories will stay with you!

Venue 27 - Central Tech School (the Front Steps): Lippincott Street, just north of Harbord, 1block east of Bathurst, south of Bloor

Thu, July 6 @ 7:00 pm - show code: 1480
Fri, July 7 @ 7:00 pm - show code: 1481
Sat, July 8 @ 7:00 pm - show code: 1482

Thu, July 13 @ 7:00 pm - show code: 1483
Fri, July 14 @ 7:00 pm - show code: 1484
Sat, July 15 @ 7:00 pm - show code: 1485

Tickets: $10 "At The Door" / $10 Advance ($8 + $2 SC) / Passes: $6.50 - $8
Running Time: 60 min.

Order Tickets Online

Other Ticketing Options

Advance Tickets by Phone: 416-967-1528 June 20 - July 4, Mon - Fri, 10am-6pm.
July 5 - 16, daily, noon-8pm.

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Books for the Fourth of July

Want to Counter U.S. Lies
this July 4th?

(psst ...check out the new book from Greg Palast, and (new to leftbooks) C.L.R. James' Black Jacobins!)

Well, you need not spend endless days at the library or on the Internet preparing arguments against the firecracker-enhanced, patriotic cheers for U.S. war in Iraq. Here at leftbooks we tirelessly search for the books and dvds that make it crystal clear why the U.S. must end its occupations and wars and stop supporting and funding the occupation and war crimes against the Palestinian people.

We also know that information alone won't end war and occupation - a powerful movement will. So, at leftbooks your money doesn't get wasted going to some giant corporation, it goes towards building that movement against war and injustice.

And, your money gets you more here. For orders of at least $60 you can choose one of the featured books at the end of this email FOR FREE!!! (One is by Ramsey Clark!).

Your $60 dollars also gets you FREE SHIPPING!!*

Let's start by honoring the birthday of an activist who is still very active - Ron Kovic:

Born on the Fourth of July
by Ron Kovic

Born on the Fourth of July, by Ron Kovic

"Ron Kovic's memoir is a classic of antiwar literature."
Howard Zinn

This classic has an updated introduction by the author. Ron Kovic calls on this new generation to stop the U.S. war in Iraq, "...I have watched in horror the mirror image of another Vietnam unfolding. So many similarities, so many things said that remind me of that war thirty years ago that left me paralyzed for the rest of my life."

Ron Kovic served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War as a Marine Corps sargeant. He was paralyzed from the chest down in combat in Vietnam on January 20, 1968, and has been in a wheelchair ever since. He is an accomplished author and painter, and a tireless advocate for peace. Along with Oliver Stone, Kovic was co-screenwriter of the Academy Award-winning film Born on the Fourth of July (starring Tom Cruise as Ron Kovic).

2005 edition, softcover, 216pp

Greg Palast is Back:

Armed Madhouse
Dispatches from the front lines of the class war
by Greg Palast

Armed Madhouse - Dispatches from the front lines of the class war, by Greg Palast

Author of The New York Times bestseller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Palast is best known in his native USA as the journalist who broke the story of how Jeb Bush purged thousands of Black citizens from Florida's voter rolls before the 2000 election, thereby handing the White House to his brother George. Palast's reports on the theft of election 2004, the spike of the FBI investigations of the bin Ladens before September 11, the secret State Department documents planning the seizure of Iraq's oil fields and other exposés have won him a record six "Project Censored" prizes for reporting the news U.S. media doesn't want you to hear.

Palast's Sam Spade-style television and print exposés about elections manipulation, War on Terror and globalization, have been seen and heard on BBC's Newsnight and Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!

Hardcover, 360pp, Index.

The Black Jacobins
by C.L.R. James

The Black Jacobins, by C.L.R. James

A classic and impassioned account of the only successful slave revolution.

This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba. It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of master toward slave was commonplace and ingeniously refined. And it is the story of a barely literate slave named Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led the Black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forces and in the process helped form the first independent nation in the Caribbean.

Softcover, First edition 1963, 2nd edition 1989, bibliography, appendix, index, 420pp

Find Out How the U.S. Supports Israeli Occupation:

Dishonest Broker
The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine
By Naseer H. Aruri

Dishonest Broker - U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine

In this fully revised and updated version of his highly acclaimed book, The Obstruction of Peace: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, Naseer H. Aruri dismantles the many myths about the failed Middle East "peace process."

Aruri analyzes the evolving relationship between the United States and the two protagonists--the Palestinians and Israel-- and argues that the U.S. government, rather than serving as an "honest broker," has allowed Israel to use violence and violate international law to maintain its occupation.

South End Press, Naseer H. Aruri, 2003, paperback, ISBN:0-89608-687-9, 263pp

Strange Liberators:
Militarism, Mayhem and the Pursuit of Profit
By Gregory Ilich

Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem and the Pursuit of Profit, by Gregory Ilich

"Using a wealth of historic evidence and revelatory analysis, deep research and eye-witness investigation, Gregory Elich treats what lawyers call the 'hard cases': Yugoslavia, Croatia, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and certain untouched questions about Iraq, issues that have been most thoroughly misrepresented in the corporate media and even by political commentators and activists who claim to be on the left ... He ties in his deeply informed case studies to the wider issues of U.S. imperial policy, the broader questions of war and peace, and the general crisis that faces the entire world and the planet's ecology itself. Thereby he performs a most valuable service to persons all across the political spectrum."—Michael Parenti 401pp, Extensive Notes

(Hurry, Offer Expires July 5, 2006!!!)

Choose either one with your $60 order (IT'S FREE!):

Either Choose This -
War, Lies and Videotape:
How Media Monopoly Stifles Truth
By Lenora Foerstel (Ed.)

War, Lies and Videotape: How Media Monopoly Stifles Truth, by Lenora Foerstel

What passes as news today had been predigested by a handful of media megacorporations. In this book, hard-hitting media critics, journalists, and activists examine the newly-emerging global media systems.

Authors include: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Scott Armstrong, Barbara Nimri Aziz, Ben Bagdikian, David Barsamian, Ramsey Clark, Michel Collon, Thomas Deichmann, Benjamin Dupuy, Nawal El Saadawi, Laura Flanders, Sara Flounders, Manse Jacobi, Diana Johnstone, Charles Levendosky, Manik Mukherjee, Michael Parenti, Zoran Pirocanac, Peter Phillips, Adel Samara, and Danny Schechter.

280 p.p., Index

Or This -

The Fire This Time
U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf War
By Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark

The Fire This Time - U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf War, by Ramsey Clark

This new edition of the groundbreaking work by Ramsey Clark tells the truth about U.S. war crimes against the Iraqi people in the 1991 war. With a special new introduction: After September 11th, an assessment of the U.S./Iraq conflict.

The Fire This Time, an invaluable resource for those organizing opposition to a new U.S. war against Iraq. It’s an important book to be in the hands of anti-war activists, students, and readers worldwide.

Praise for Ramsey Clark and The Fire This Time:
"A strong indictment of the war and especially of the needless deaths of civilians caused by bombing." --New York Times
"The Fire This Time shows that our leaders committed war crimes in the Persian Gulf War no less surely than the Nazis committed war crimes in World War II." --Kurt Vonnegut
"He risked his life by traveling for three weeks through Iraqi cities in an old American sedan at a time when the U.S. was staging 3,000 bombing sorties a day." --Los Angeles Times

And there's much, much more -

*Free Shipping and a Free Featured Book on all orders of at least $60 to be delivered by standard shipping. Expedited delivery available at cost.
Hurry, offer expires July 5, 2006


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Qataris protest Gaza offensive

Hundreds of Qataris have marched through the capital, Doha, in a protest at Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip. In a rare protest in the Gulf state, men wearing traditional long white tunics and women dressed in black raised banners and shouted slogans critical of Israel.
Full Story

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Iraq Dispatches: Orwell in Iraq: Snow Jobs,Zarqawi and Bogus Peace Plans

I've received this update about the Iraq situation from my friend Dahr Jamail yesterday, but did not republish it here til now, as I took a couple of much-needed day's off from the computer and my activism, TV/news and blog. To retain one's sanity, sometimes a person needs to get away from all the depressing news, and simply 'chill out'. During the hot, muggy days of southern Ontario summer, I will be posting fewer pieces, and spending more time outdoors with family and friends.

I would like to wish my fellow bloggers and readers a safe, joyous summer. Take time to enjoy the outdoors and your loved ones, make new friends and memories... Most of all, enjoy each day and seize it, for we don't know what the future may bring. Carpe diem!

Orwell in Iraq: Snow Jobs, Zarqawi and Bogus Peace Plans

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

Monday 03 July 2006

"My personal opinion is that the only way we will lose this war is if we pull out prematurely," said Colonel Jeffrey Snow, who commands a brigade of soldiers in Iraq. Snow, as reported by AFP on June 30th, fears losing public support in the US for the ongoing occupation of Iraq because of "negative perceptions" at home due to news that is "always bad."

Reuters reported, also on June 30th, Snow admitting that resistance attacks in Baghdad have risen despite the recent security crackdown that brought tens of thousands of American and Iraqi soldiers, new checkpoints and curfews in the capital city.

The same Col. Snow, unable (or more likely, unwilling) to provide statistics on the increased number of attacks, instead used the excuse that the steps the US military took to tell the Iraqi people about the new security measures kept resistance fighters informed of the military's plans. On that note, it couldn't be more obvious that someone in his position is there for his ability to follow orders, rather than
his aptitude toward the application of logic.

In another dazzling flash of brain activity, Snow, who obviously thinks "war" is a suitable term for the illegal occupation of Iraq, commented, "We expected there would be an increase in attacks, and that is precisely what's happened." He also added, "I believe that these attacks are going to go down over time. So I remain optimistic."

Snow is obviously annoyed with the fact that select media outlets continue to report the increasing violence, ongoing deaths of Iraqi civilians and US soldiers, and that the country is, at this point, essentially as devastated as it was when Hulagu Khan's Mongols sacked Baghdad 748 years ago.

Just three days before the flash of brilliant analysis by Snow, the Iraqi health ministry announced it had received 262 corpses within the previous four days as the result of armed operations all over the country. It also reported that 580 people were injured in the same time period, and did not count people known to have been abducted and murdered but whose bodies have not yet been found.

But Snow seems to be less concerned with the reality on the ground than he is with public perception of the hell that Iraq has become. While he admits that his own troops have come under a greater number of resistance attacks, he preferred to offer his professional critique of media coverage on the failed state of Iraq.

"Our soldiers may be in the crosshairs every day, but it is the American voter who is a real target, and it is the media that carries the message back each day across the airwaves. So when the news is not balanced and it's always bad, that clearly leads to negative perceptions back home," said the leader of the 1st Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, which has been in Iraq nearly one year.

Determined to leave reporters with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside about the situation in Iraq, as well as to explain his obvious contradictions, Snow added, "The way I would answer that is that attacks here recently are up in our area. However, the overall effectiveness is down. So you may perceive that as double-speak."

While Snow was busy contemplating his gifts of double-speak the next day, July 1st, a car bomb attacked a police patrol in Sadr City, Baghdad, killing at least 62 people and wounding over 100.

With the plan to secure Baghdad, "Operation Forward Together," now three weeks old, and the so-called terror leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed, the security situation has only continued to deteriorate.

"Killing Zarqawi has not improved the situation in Iraq one bit," said Loretta Napoleoni, Fullbright Scholar at Johns Hopkins University, author of the books Terror Inc. and Insurgent Iraq. While speaking to an audience in Seville, Spain, where we both gave lectures about the situation in Iraq this past weekend, the expert about Zarqawi and terror groups now operating in Iraq added, "In fact, it might well have made things worse. There is evidence to back the claim that al-Qaeda gave information to the Multi-National Forces about Zarqawi to have him
killed, since they had been having problems with him for quite some time. Thus, killing him may well have strengthened the link between al-Qaeda and Sunni resistance groups in Iraq."

When I interviewed Napoleoni, she told me that the image of Zarqawi portrayed by Western media outlets was basically the antithesis of reality. "He [Zarqawi] was not in control of the Sunni resistance. He was in control of a very small group of jihadists, predominantly foreign fighters. He was extremely unpopular among the other factions of Sunni resistance fighters. Some of the members of the resistance even tried two times to remove him because he was a negative political influence."

While talking with Napoleoni I wondered if Col. Snow truly believed his own rhetoric. I asked her what she thought of the constant assertions in Western corporate media outlets that Zarqawi was the "leader of the Iraqi resistance."

"Well it's not true. It's absolutely not true," she told me, "I don't know what they base these kinds of statements on. The resistance in Iraq is quite complex, including the Shia factions, and of course al-Zarqawi was not in control of that. Finally, al-Zarqawi was a foreigner. This is the key element. The Iraqi resistance would never follow a foreigner as a leader."

Hoping to shed some light on how people like Col. Snow, along with so many US citizens, remain so ignorant about the reality on the ground in Iraq, I asked Napoleoni, who lectures regularly on the financing of terrorism as well as being an economist, another question.

Who is actually conducting the terrorism in Iraq? "The majority of the suicide missions are carried out by non-Iraqis. There are lots of people coming from the Gulf. There is a jihadist web site that lists the names of the martyrs, and you can see that they come from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and even from the Emirates. This is the majority of the suicide missions. Some people come from Syria and Jordan, but the vast majority of people come from the Gulf."

So much for ongoing attempts by the Cheney administration to implicate Syria and Iran in collaborating with the Iraqi resistance. All Cheney needs to do is have his puppet, Mr. Bush, ask his pal, the King of Saudi Arabia, why they are allowing so many martyrs into Iraq.

Col. Snow take note, because if you really want to know what you are attempting to hide from people in the US, you should ask Napoleoni. According to her, the reason why Zarqawi and the few terrorist groups operating in Iraq are given so much media attention is because the Cheney administration "needs to personalize the enemy and needs to have a dichotomy between good and evil. This has been, very much, the Bush
[Cheney] administration's policy right from the beginning. His [Bush's] first speech after 9/11 was "You are either with us or you are against us." So he clearly stated there is nothing in between. So al-Zarqawi had to be an evil individual the same way that Saddam Hussein was portrayed as an evil individual because, you know, there is a moral battle here."

Col. Snow and other gullible US citizens should heed her conclusion about why the myth of Zarqawi was blown so large and wide. "Of course this [moral battle] is the umbrella under which the economic battle and the hegemonic battles are taking place," she said.

While we were discussing the US-propagated myth of Zarqawi, I decided to ask Napoleoni to comment on the absurd statements made by Western corporate media outlets claiming that Zarqawi was in control of Fallujah during the November 2004 massacre in the city.

"Al-Zarqawi was never in control of Fallujah," she told me, "In fact, he was never in Fallujah." As we discussed the second US assault on Fallujah in depth, she mentioned that negotiations between resistance groups, tribal leaders and the US military were happening right up to the launching of Operation Phantom Fury against Fallujah.

"The reason why that negotiation failed was because after it was agreed, the Americans basically demanded to have al-Zarqawi, and of course the people of Fallujah couldn't give him to the Americans because he was not in Fallujah," she said, confirming what I'd been told by my sources in the city.

Another recent clue as to why resistance attacks against US and Iraqi forces have been on the rise as of late is the "failed" reconciliation plan put forth by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The vague plan offered by the Shia-dominated puppet government was flawed from the beginning, and when I asked Napoleoni what she thought of the "plan" she said, "I don't think it is going to work at all. I think it is a window dressing for the West. I think it is one of these political decisions in order to sell an image to the West saying, "Oh, the new government in Iraq is actually offering peace. But this peace is
going to be rejected; therefore the new government has no other choice but to continue repressing the people."

She continued, "I don't think there was anything in that proposal that was written in order to bring a deal. Because if you look at this, it is impossible for any of those groups to accept it. It's too vague, for a start. Also, it basically prohibits amnesty for anybody who has done any activity motivated by political violence. So of course this was rejected because there was no way an amnesty is going to be accepted by the Sunni when we are in a situation where the government is in the hands of the

There is one thing that Col. Snow said about the US corporate media that he and I agree on. Napoleoni, who worked for several banks and international organizations in Europe and the US as well as having brought heads of state from around the world together to create a new strategy for combating the financing of terror networks, agreed as well.

And that is when Col. Snow told reporters, "It is the American voter who is a real target."

(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 my site with the kind, explicit permission of the journalist.

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