Monday, May 31, 2010

Israel attacks humanitarian flotilla

The Hindu: 20 humanitarians killed by Israel soldiers:

Press statement:

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla, comprised of a number of ships, over 700 international passengers, and some 5,000 tons of reconstruction and humanitarian aid materials, while sailing to Gaza to break the crippling siege on the 1.5 million Palestinians living there, was attacked by Israeli military vessels, helicopters and commandos in international waters in an unprovoked act of piracy on the high seas. Israel has used military force on the peaceful, humanitarian flotilla and murdered several unarmed civilians. ISRAEL'S ACTIONS CANNOT GO UNANSWERED!

1. Global - CALL the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and DEMAND that the U.S. Government take immediate action to safeguard innocent lives!
2. Tel: +972 2 622 7207/21/30
3. Fax: +942 2 625 9270/627 2233
4. Global - Call your elected officials and make Israel's violent actions against the peaceful, unarmed internationals an issue.
5. Global - Call your Israeli embassy and demand they stop using military force on unarmed internationals.
6. GLOBAL - Contact news agencies to ensure they are adequately and properly covering the flotilla:
'Bombard' the BBC with requests to report on the flotilla
Suggest the flotilla as a debate topic for the "World Have Your Say" program
Call MSNBC to demand they cover the attacked flotilla: 1 (212) 664-4444
Call CNN to demand they cover the attacked flotilla: 1 (404) 827-2600
7. Global - Join officials' Facebook Pages and comment regarding the Flotilla.
Click here for some sample text
Click here for Facebook Pages for officials in each country. You can join and comment on them all!
8. GLOBAL - Protest in front of your nearest Israeli embassy. This includes a planned protest at all Israeli embassies (and beyond) from Thursday, May 27 onwards to coincide with the arrival of the Flotilla in Gaza coastal waters! In the event that Israel launches any military attack or naval blockade on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, our demonstration will be a powerful protest to demand that it be allowed to pass in peace!
Confirmed regions include:
Chicago, Washington DC, Toronto, Boston, Rome, New York, Philippines, St. Louis ,London, Boulder (CO), Stockholm, Dublin, Ankara, Istanbul, Cairo, Belfast, Houston,
>> To add your protest, please email us at: or register your event.
Petition signatures, signed letters, demands, messages, etc are available for delivery and protest, hunger strike and/or sit-in at the embassy.
9. US - CALL White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and DEMAND that the Obama Administration immediately cancel Tuesday's scheduled visit with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu, and support the creation of an unbiased international commission to investigate and hold the Israeli government accountable for the murder of unarmed civilians!
10. Tel: +1 202 456 6798
11. Fax: +1 202 456 2461
12. US - Contact the White House and ask Obama to do something to ensure the safety of the Free Gaza flotilla and its cargo of badly needed medicines, medical supplies, and reconstruction materials, and the peaceful passengers of those ships, among them several US citizens, including Ret. US Army Col. Ann Wright and Joe Meaders, a survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty (1967). The White House comment line may also be reached at +1 202-456-1111.
13. US - Send an email and fax to your elected officials, including the US President and Congress, calling on them to prevent Israel from using US military aid against peaceful, unarmed citizens.
14. UK - Email the Foreign Commonwealth Office at , ,
15. Global - Send an email and fax to all Israeli embassies and consulates worldwide.
16. US - Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
17. Global - Sign the petition demanding that Israel allow safe passage for the Flotilla.

* * * * *

I sent the following fax and email message to my Congressional delegation: [I modified the text of a message drafted prior to the attack that can be found at . You can substitute your own personal message.]

The "Freedom Flotilla" of unarmed humanitarian aid vessels sailed for Gaza with more than 700 passengers to deliver thousands of tons of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people who have been under a blockade since 2007.

Passengers on these boats included Parliamentarians from several countries. There were also be a number of Americans on board including former State Department official Ann Wright and Hedy Epstein, an 81-year-old Holocaust survivor.

In an act of unprovoked violence, the Israeli Navy attacked at least one of the ships in international waters. Late reports indicate that from 10-16 people were killed and as many as 70 others were wounded or injured by Israel commandos and assault helicopters firing on these unarmed civilians.

This is an act of piracy under international law. It violates all of the internationally accepted norms governing use of the high seas.

YOU are complicit in this barbarism if you voted for any of the generous military and financial aid packages Congress continues to annually bestow on the Israeli government. Those who died or were wounded very likely were casualties of arms either provided directly or paid for by the U.S. government.


There is no acceptable justification for shooting unarmed civilians and particularly in non-territorial waters.

I call upon you as a taxpayer, a citizen, a Jew, a person of conscience and a member of the human family to demonstrate the moral fortitude, personal courage and political integrity that we should be able expect from those elected to represent us. DO THE RIGHT THING!

Michael Eisenscher

I sent the following message to the Israeli Ambassador (modifying the text of a message drafted prior to the attack that can be found at - you can substitute your own message).

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla, comprised of a number of ships, over 700 international passengers, and some 5,000 tons of reconstruction and humanitarian aid materials, while sailing to Gaza to break the crippling siege on the 1.5 million Palestinians living there, was attacked by Israeli military vessels, helicopters and commandos in international waters in an unprovoked act of piracy on the high seas.

Over 50 countries are represented on this Flotilla, including parliamentarians, medical professionals, and peace activists. These individuals have every right to sail into Gaza's sea port and deliver the much needed humanitarian, medical, and construction materials necessary for Palestinians in Gaza to rebuild their lives after Israel's brutal assault on the Strip in December 2008 - January 2009.

I write to call upon Israel to immediately cease all hostile military activities against unarmed civilians, and present all those who conceived of, planned and executed this criminal assault to the International Criminal Court or other neutral international tribunal to answer for their crimes.

Israel seems intent on making itself an international pariah, or what President Bush was fond of calling a "rogue state." It appears to be devolving into a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government.

As a U.S. citizen whose government has helped to underwrite and equip Israel's military, I have called upon my government to cut off all aid to Israel until the perpetrators of these crimes are held to account.

I do this as a Jew who is first and foremost a person of conscience and member of the human family.

I hope the Israeli people assert their own humanity by putting an end to this entire Apartheid project.

Michael Eisenscher


Cynthia McKinney Mourns the Dead of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza: People of the U.S. and the world must end Israeli impunity now!

I am outraged at Israel's latest criminal act. I mourn with my fellow Free Gaza travelers, the lives that have been lost by Israel's needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists. But I'm even more outraged that once again, Israel's actions have been aided and abetted by a U.S. political class that has become corrupted beyond belief due to its reliance on Zionist finance and penetration by Zionist zealots for whom no U.S. weapons system is too much for the Israeli war machine, and the silence of the world's onlookers whose hearts have grown cold with indifference.

I recently visited the offices of IHH, the Turkish humanitarian organization that sponsored one of the Freedom Flotilla boats, and that was targeted by the Israelis for its murderous rampage. Reports are still coming in as to the full extent of the senseless Israeli violence. Of course, I expect Israel's apologists in the press and in the United States government to shift into high gear to support Israel's lying machine. Take note of their names. The 12,000 internet squatters/written word grenade throwers, hired by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to defend Israel and attack peace activists online, are already busy spreading their orchestrated disinformation in cyberspace. Be very careful what you read and believe from special interest press and the internet. You could be reading one of Israel's hired hacks. As a news diversion from what Israel has just done, I suspect that we can also expect to see a lot of historical footage of war's atrocities on television: today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day long ago set aside to remember the sacrifices of U.S. war dead.

I encouraged and supported U.S.S. Liberty veteran Joe Meadors's participation in the Freedom Flotilla. Unfortunately, the fate of the U.S.S. Liberty innocents on the high seas, while in international waters, has now been visited upon the participants in the Freedom Flotilla, in large measure because of the Congressional- and Presidential-level cover-up of the 1967 Israeli attack on that U.S. surveillance ship. Combined with the failure of just about every other effort to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, and crimes against the peace. Belgium and Spain changed their domestic laws of universal jurisdiction after Israeli appeals to do so. The entire musical chairs gang of rotating Israeli leadership are war criminals. During my imprisonment in Israel for attempting to take crayons to the children of Gaza, I called Israel a failed state. If Israel is threatened by unarmed, humanitarian activists to the point of massacring them, then Israel is a failed state. Israel is a failed nuclear state.

Obama's most recent granting of an additional $205 million for Israeli "missile defense" is unconscionable, when in the same week, reports revealed for the first time, Israel's offer of nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa. Just last week, a paper bearing the signature of former Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, was released by South Africa, revealing that in 1975, Israel could offer South Africa nuclear weapons "in three sizes." South Africa's then-Minister of Defense, P.W. Botha, was South Africa's signatory to the letter. This information would make the entire Obama Administration look sadly farcical as it points an accusing finger at Iran, except that U.S. obeisance to the Israeli bloodthirst is deadly serious. With deadly outcomes.

Earlier this month, Israel was granted admission to the Organization of Economic and Community Development (OECD), a direct affront to ongoing Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) efforts across the world. Once again, Israel has thumbed its nose at the global community--with bloody results--because it can.

I am proud to serve on the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine. Its next sitting will be in London, where we will examine corporate complicity in Israel's crimes against Palestine. The Tribunal will sit from November 5 - 7. Please put this on your calendar. We all must do what we can, where we are to end wars against the people at home and wars against human rights abroad.

Finally, a friend just sent a message to me saying that the Israelis had lost their minds. Sadly, based on the past, the Israelis could very well conclude that they can do anything--imprison me for trying to take love to the children of Gaza and kill humanitarian activists trying to do the same--because they know, in the end, they'll get away with it. Instead, I would suggest that we are the ones who have lost our minds, our souls, our spirits, and our human dignity if we allow the Israelis to get away with murder--again--and we do nothing.

I am calling on the people of the United States to change course now.

On this Memorial Day 2010, I am stunned and outraged beyond belief while mourning the dead of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.


Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Roberto Rodriguez: Arizona: A Critical Resistance Boycott

Arizona: A Critical Resistance Boycott
Special Double-Length Column
By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

The first rule of any boycott is to keep your eyes on the prize; translated, this means never lose sight of the problem, the objectives, the solutions and the bigger picture.

Arizona is speeding towards an apartheid state. Some of this rush has to do with repressive laws (including the legalization of racial profiling and the elimination of ethnic studies) passed by the Republican-dominated legislature and recently signed by the governor. Truthfully, however, this move pre-exists the recent legislation and much of the repression against the Mexican community here is also historical in nature and it is actually nationwide.

On the surface, it is about migration issues. Yet if we probe a little deeper, it’s about power and the future demographic (voter rolls) makeup of the state. Translated: The Browning of Arizona. Probe some more and you will see that much of the hate has little to do with peoples’ legal status. That’s where English-Only and the new anti-ethnic studies law comes in. It is not simply about our physical presence (red-brown), but about our culture – which is thousands of years old and Indigenous to this continent. In this sense, it is beyond physical removal and even beyond thought-control; this is about our souls.

Mexicans-Central Americans in this country are the primary targets. Also generally targeted are peoples who have been in the United States for many generations (Mexican Americans), along with other Indigenous red-brown peoples from South America and the Caribbean. Tragically, in the end, as state and federal governments defend themselves against racial profiling charges, they will move toward a checkpoint society in which officials will demand documentation of everyone in the country, of all ages and at all times.

Some of the people in power in Arizona who are directly responsible for this move towards apartheid are: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio – responsible for refining racial profiling [of Indigenous peoples] into an art form; Rep. Russell Pierce – the architect of most of the anti-immigrant bills; State School Superintendent Tom Horne – the force behind the anti-ethnic studies bills and an avowed opponent of Raza Studies; and the unelected Gov. Jan Brewer – who has signed many of the draconian laws in question. These are but the latest in a long line of culprits.

Across the country, about a dozen states are poised to follow in Arizona’s footsteps and each of these states have their Arpaio-Pierce-Horne-Brewer equivalents. Yet indeed, at the root of this crisis is the federal government’s failure to address the issue of immigration – not on the basis of fear, hate and the politics of blame, but rather, as part of a global economic and labor crisis.

The crazies in the state legislature have been emboldened to create their own immigration and foreign policies because a half-dozen presidents and Congress since 1986 (the last comprehensive reform effort) have failed to address these issues. They actually have addressed them, but strictly from a military/law enforcement point of view. A comprehensive immigration reform law could theoretically nullify these anti-immigrant state laws, but there’s no guarantee that the result will actually be better. At best, it might simply return us to uniform national repressive laws and practices such as the ones that result in the funneling of thousands upon thousands of human beings into the Arizona/Sonora desert, which have resulted in the recovery of some 5,000 bodies since the 1990s… or that create the kangaroo court known as Operation Streamline, now in 5 cities nationwide (In these courtrooms, some 70 migrants are processed daily in one hour). Uniform laws and practices would obviate the need for state boycotts, but then what would be boycotted - the federal government?

The problem will not be solved on a state-by-state basis. The root – the current crisis at hand – can actually be traced to NAFTA. This 1994 trilateral agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico has been a boon for corporations, but disastrous for workers, especially Indigenous peoples from the maiz-growing regions of southern Mexico. Millions have been uprooted as a result of the importation of U.S.-subsidized [genetically modified] corn into Mexico. NAFTA’s original promise was that it would solve the immigration crisis. What has instead occurred is the further devastation of Mexico.

The subsequent agreements covering Central America, (CAFTA) the Americas (FTAA) and the world (GATT) all portend similar results.

For the moment, the national focus is on Arizona. And the question has become: how does one boycott a state? On its face, it seems fairly easy, but there are actually few precedents for successfully boycotting a state. Congressman Raul Grijalva has called for a limited boycott, calling for organizations not to schedule future conventions and conferences in the state. For organizations that have chosen Arizona prior to this call, he expects organizations to make their own decisions about whether to cancel, etc.

Those of us in the trenches are calling for a wider boycott – of tourism and especially against corporations that support and have supported the cabal of extremist politicians in our state. While there is no statewide or national coordinating or sanctioning body (yet) to carry out such a campaign, there are many organizations that have been battling the repression in Arizona for many years, including Tucson’s Derechos Humanos. Contact them for guidance re the boycott, though everyone, including all organizations have to make their decisions re the boycott themselves ( Through all this, there is consensus at the moment but about one thing: while tourists are encouraged to stay away; organizers are encouraged to flood the state. Those who come – akin to the freedom riders of the 1960s – can be housed and fed in homes or in businesses that have allied themselves against these repressive laws and conditions.


People should always remain focused on the big picture. The current objective is to hurt Arizona’s economy to the point where the governor and the extremist legislators will eventually come to their senses. Such objective has to be to assist us in our battles against extremist forces, not to turn against each other. Fanaticism is the last thing we need. As noted, organizers continue to be welcome, and in Arizona, the focus has to continue to be Arpaio-Pierce-Horne-Brewer and their corporate allies, etc. One thing about Arizona is that it is also Indian Country – a factor in considering who/what gets boycotted, etc.

In the end, the solution to the migration crisis has to be national and international in scope. These policies cannot or will not be solved at the state or even national levels. The administration has the responsibility to create a solution, but any solution – including agreements with other nations – have to have human beings at the center. Any solution that does not recognize migrants as full human beings with corresponding full human rights is but a recipe for legalized human smuggling, a new bracero program, maximum exploitation and dehumanization and the further militarization of both the border and nation.


If these laws are replicated by the 12 other states, it would be difficult to carry out a boycott of Arizona only, and in a global economy, it probably would also be difficult to limit a boycott to 13 states, particularly if the president eventually signs a law that primarily focuses on borders/walls and further militarization. Is a boycott of the United States a possibility or even feasible? Already, both of these laws in question were denounced last week by UN human rights experts in Geneva. Arizona is not hyperbole, but rather, a laboratory or a spear point for hate and racism. These and similar laws are in clear violation of international laws – laws that clearly single people out for both their color/race and culture. And at the moment, whom they are singling out are not simply Mexicans/Central Americans – but generally, those with Indigenous features (and their/our ways of thinking). That’s why many of us say that this is the culmination of a 518-year war – centering on issues of legalities and illegalities. This is also why Indigenous leaders from throughout the continent last year unanimously proclaimed that peoples from this continent cannot be illegal on this continent. Any boycott must affirm this principle.

The theft of a continent is not a closed chapter in human history (Nor has it become legal simply because of the passage of time). And yet, truly, no human being can be illegal on any continent. This truly is a civilizational clash – between those that believe, vs. those that don’t believe, that all peoples deserve to be treated as full human beings with full corresponding human rights – regardless of where they/we live.

For many of us, this is the context of the boycott, and yet, it is beyond a boycott.

Rodriguez, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, ca be reached at:

-- ----------------------
Thanks & Sincerely
Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
Column of the Americas
PO BOX 85476
Tucson, AZ 85754


You change my way of writing, you change my way of thinking. You change my way of thinking, you change who I am.
Photo: Roberto Rodriguez walking for migrants from Tucson to San Xavier. Photo by Brenda Norrell.

Global Leaders in Houston to Expose the True Cost of Chevron May 2010

For immediate release:
May 24, 2010

Diana Pei Wu 510-333-3889,

Sangita Nayak 414-412-4518,

Global Leaders in Houston to Expose the True Cost of Chevron

Spotlight on Chevron's human rights abuses and environmental destruction at local events and Wednesday shareholder meeting

HOUSTON-- This week, community leaders from around the world are in Houston to expose the true cost of Chevron and will challenge the company on key issues at its shareholder meeting this Wednesday. Authors of a recently released report 'The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report' will be available for interviews.

WHO: Houston-based experts join community and Indigenous leaders from Ecuador, Burma, Nigeria, Colombia, Angola, Australia, Kazakhstan, Canada, California, Mississippi, Alaska, and Iraq War Veterans in a series of Houston events to challenge Chevron's destructive operations around the globe.

Schedule of events:

Tuesday, May 25:

WHAT: Press Conference with 'The True Cost of Chevron' report authors/ global community leaders will speak
WHEN: 11 a.m.
WHERE: In front of Chevron's Houston offices, 1400 Smith St. Houston, TX
GREAT VISUALS: Giant 'True Cost of Chevron' ads depict full scope of Chevron's global operations, and turtle costumes

WHAT: The True Cost of Chevron Public Forum
WHEN: 6-8 p.m.
WHERE: Rice Media Center, Entrance 8 on the Rice University Campus, Stockton @ University Blvd, Houston, Texas
Full list of speakers at

Wednesday, May 26:

WHAT: Colorful rally outside Chevron annual shareholder meeting
WHEN: 7 a.m.
WHERE: Chevron's Houston headquarters, 1500 Louisiana, Houston, TX
GREAT VISUALS: Large banners, ads, turtle costumes, oily fish

WHAT: Community leaders challenge Chevron on dangerous human rights and environmental practices inside the Chevron shareholder meeting.
WHEN: Chevon shareholder meeting starts at 8 a.m.
WHERE: Chevron's Houston headquarters, 1500 Louisiana, Houston

WHAT: Toxic tour of Houston led by Texas Environmental Justice and Advocacy Service. Global community leaders will join the tour.
WHEN: A bus will depart immediately following shareholder meeting.
WHERE: The bus will tour the Houston Ship Channel including Chevron Phillip's Pasadena Chemical Facility.
RSVP to Sangita Nayak, Global Exchange Media, 414-412-4518, to reserve a spot on the bus.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CHEVRON: The Truth Behind Big Oil Exposed

Contacts: Diana Wu; +1.510.333.3889; (English / Spanish / French / Portuguese)

Sangita Nayak; +1.414.412.4518; (English)

The Truth Behind Big Oil Exposed

Unprecedented Global Network of Chevron-Affected Communities Releases

“True Cost of Chevron: an Alternative Annual Report.”

- Interviews Available Now with Report Authors/Frontline Oil Community Leaders -

SAN FRANCISCO – As public outrage at the oil industry intensifies and questions on how to reign in the industry abound, an unprecedented global coalition of communities harmed by – and fighting back against – the industry present both a groundbreaking report, “The True Cost of Chevron: an Alternative 2009 Annual Report,” and a landmark organizing model for taking on Big Oil.

Written by dozens of community leaders from sixteen countries and ten states across the United States where Chevron operates, the 60-page report encompasses the full range of Chevron’s activities, from coal to chemicals, offshore to onshore production, pipelines to refineries, natural gas to toxic waste, and lobbying and campaign contributions to greenwashing.

From the coalfields of Alabama to the oil fields of Indonesia, the report reveals Chevron operations mired in accusation of extreme human rights abuse (Angola, Burma, Indonesia, Chad, and Nigeria); mass environmental and human health devastation (including Ecuador, Kazakhstan, and Canada); toxic abuse of its neighbors (including Alabama, California, Mississippi, Texas, Thailand, and the Philippines); abuse of its workers (including Utah); threats to endangered species (including Australia and the U.S. Gulf Coast); and, in Iraq, intensifying the violent insurgency and putting the lives of U.S. and Iraqi service members at greater risk.

All the while, Chevron continued to promote itself as a ‘green’ energy company while, the report reveals, expanding its coal operations (it was recently named as operating one of the most dangerous mines in the U.S., the Kemmerer, WY mine), offshore, and Canadian Tarsands operations; being named California’s single largest stationary Greenhouse Gas emitter; and being identified by Barrons as one of the ‘oiliest’ of the world’s major oil companies.

“Chevron spent less than 2% of its total capital and exploratory budget on green energy in 2009, its lowest rate in any year since at least 2006,” explained Antonia Juhasz, lead author and editor of the report and author of The Tyranny of Oil: the World’s Most Powerful Industry—And What We Must Do To Stop It. “Chevron’s misrepresentation of its actual business practices translates across Chevron’s operations and is the reason why it is the focus of one of the largest and most unique networks of communities organizing to hold the oil industry to account.”

On May 25, forty report authors will appear in Houston at a press conference to address the true cost of Chevron’s operations in their communities. On May 26, they will deliver the report directly to Chevron inside the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) while supporters rally outside.

The 2009 report has gained even greater import in the wake of the BP/Transocean explosion as it exposes Chevron’s role as the largest leaseholder in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and its role at the forefront of lobbying to expand offshore drilling across the U.S. and around the world. Chevron also contracts with Transocean for its massive offshore operations.

Report author, Bryan Parras, of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS) in Houston, explained, “The oil industry operates with impunity here in Houston and across the Gulf Coast. It is critical that our communities work together to hold these companies to account.”

For more information on the authors, fact sheets, visuals and a schedule of Houston events, go to:


Organizations Contributing to The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report: Amazon Watch, Black Warrior River Keeper, Coalition for a Safe Environment, Communities for a Better Environment, Cook Inletkeeper, CorpWatch, Crude Accountability, Dooda Desert Rock, EarthRights International, Environment California, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Environment Texas, Filipino-American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity, Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI), Global Exchange, Gulf Coast Sierra Club, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Justice in Nigeria Now, Kebetkache Women Resource and Development Centre, Organizacion Wayuu Munsurat, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Powder River Basin Sierra Club, Project for Ecological Awareness Building, Rainforest Action Network, Richmond Progressive Alliance, Surfrider Foundation, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, Trustees for Alaska, Turtle Island Restoration Network, West County Toxics Coalition, The Wilderness Society of Western Australia

HOUSTON EVENTS: Global Rally at Chevron Shareholders Meeting

Chevron's Annual Shareholder Meeting

Houston Sunday and Tuesday evening events

Sunday 23rd 8:00 pm-
Screening of Crude: The Real Price of Oil and Q & A with Ecuadoran delegates Mariana Jimenez and Guillermo Grefa.
Sedition Books, 901 Richmond Ave, Houston, Texas 77002

Mariana Jimenez is a 70-year-old grandmother of 27, mother of 7 and a campesina whosettled in Ecuador's Oriente rainforest in 1971 - at the start of Texaco'soil drilling operations in northeastern Ecuadorean Amazon rainforest.
Guillermo Grefa is a Kichwa leader from the community Rumipamba in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest. Guillermo has been a staunch advocate for the Kichwa people and the four other Indigenous peoples that have been severely affected by the oil contamination for which Chevron is responsible
in his rainforest home.

Tuesday May 24th 8-30pm-
JINN is hosting a film screening of the profoundly moving documentary "Sweet Crude" w/ Macon Hawkins, Emem Okon, Omoyele Sowore, and filmmaker Sandy Cioffi
Immediately following the Rice media Center event.
Angelka Theater, 500 Texas St Houston TX

The screening will include Q & A with oil worker Macon Hawkins who was held hostage by MEND, who has also worked in the Gulf Coast and who is sympathetic to the demands of the militants who held him hostage and to the demands of nonviolent local villagers. Joining Macon as part of our all star line up will be Emem Okon a leader of the Nigerian Women's Movement and the takeover of the Chevron platform that galvanized international attention, during which they threatened to strip naked if the company didn't negotiate with them. And, Omoyele Sowore, the always-rousing activist from Chevron producing area in the Delta. Abby Rubinson and Laura Livoti if JINN will join filmmaker Sandy Cioffi at the Angelika. It will be a very special night to see this on the eve of the Shareholder meeting and with the powerful voice of Macon, Emem and Sowore. A one and only must see moment. Please tell your friends.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Roberto Rodriguez: Welcome to Apartheid, Arizona, USA

Welcome to Apartheid, Arizona, USA

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

“If I am alien, where is my spaceship?”

This is how we feel right now in Tucson.

It’s a line in a poem from Cantos Al Sexto Sol (Wings Press, 2002). This is how we feel right now in Arizona. It is insane here.

First they have come for our bodies (to deport those of they can); now they come for our souls.

No matter what they do, they will never have our spirits. The last part, I believe, is a line from Aztlan Underground.

In setting its sights on Arizona, most of the nation has focused on the draconian anti-immigrant law: SB 1070. But what has to be clear is that this is the culmination of a 518-year ongoing and relentless war. Nothing less. The mood here is not anti-immigrant. It is anti-Mexican. The racial profiling law has little to do with legalities; it is about the expressed targeting of Indigenous peoples.

Law officers do not or will not target Hispanics or even Mexicans. Their profile is 100% Indigenous. That’s why American Indians in Arizona too understand precisely what this law is all about (Navajo Times, May 13); they are subject to this profile because the similarities are obvious: short, dark hair, dark eyes and red-brown skin. Spaniards or other Europeans are not at risk.

How do we know this? Look to the historic practices of the migra. Or let’s look at the practices of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They have been racial profiling for years, and now, the governor has authorized all law enforcement to be able to do the same, under the threat of lawsuits, etc. For years, those of us with red-brown skin have lived this reality anywhere along the U.S./Mexico border. Nowadays, this anti-Mexicanism, under the veneer of anti-illegal immigrant fervor, is nationwide.

That is about our bodies. And I repeat, the target is Indigenous.

In past years, they’ve gone after our tongues. In Arizona, in the year 2000, it was proposition 203 – a measure that virtually gutted bilingual education, on the belief that it is better to be monolingual, than to be bilingual. To this day, the question remains: what does language have to do with legalities and illegalities?

The latest salvo is HB 2281; this one is about our souls.

This new law is an attempt by Superintendent Tom Horne to eliminate Ethnic Studies. Specifically, Horne has targeted Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies program, arguing that what is taught there, is outside of Western Civilization and should not be taught in Arizona schools.

This law has nothing to do with “illegal immigration.” If anything, it closely resembles the practices of the early European friars who deemed Indigenous knowledge to be Godless and attempted to both destroy it and demonize it. The burning of the books of our ancestors – Indigenous peoples of this continent – resides deep in our psyche. The philosophical foundation for Mexican American Studies in general is Maya-Nahuatl knowledge – derived from thousands of years of maize culture. Anthropologists refer to it as Mesoamerican knowledge. One part of it is: In Lak Ech – Tu eres mi otro yo – you are my other self (me). It is an ethic that teaches us that we are all part of each other and connected to each other. It is a human rights ethos connected to social justice and love of humanity and of all things living and non-living.

This is what Horne wants to ban, what he wants to eliminate. Could book-burnings and an Inquisitorial auto-de-fe be next? Of course. This is what he wants. This is what he demands. He has singled out Rodolfo Acuña’s book, Occupied America and Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed as examples of books that preach hate, promote segregation, anti-Americanism and the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.

After the law was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, metaphorically, an auto-de-fe was precisely what Horne came to do at TUSD the very next day. Hundreds upon hundreds of middle and high school students laid siege to the TUSD headquarters. When he failed to show his face, he then scheduled a press conference at the nearby state building. The same students marched to the state building laying siege to that building. Eventually, 15 arrests were made (I was one of them).

Why are students willing to be arrested? Because the two books singled out are but the beginning. The new law – despite being in compliance per the TUSD legal counsel – authorizes the monitoring and censorship of books to ensure they are in compliance with the law. Only non-educators could have come up with this one.

And so here we are again; welcome to apartheid arizona.

Rodriguez, a professor at the University of Arizona, can be reached at:

Thanks & Sincerely
Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
Column of the Americas
PO BOX 85476
Tucson, AZ 85754


Joe Frisk: The Lost Pipestone of Avoca, Minnesota

The Lost Pipestone of Avoca, Minnesota
A Pioneer Era Mystery

By Joe Frisk

Censored News

I stood holding a slab of red stone my dad had just handed me. I asked him what kind of stone it was, where it came from and how he came to possess it. He explained the stone was pipestone, taken from the quarry in Pipestone, Minnesota; a quarry held sacred to American Indians, and his mother had placed some of it in her rock garden. He went on to relate a story, set back in 1924-1925, of pioneer people, their attempt to rebuild a school and their relationship with the indigenous people of Minnesota.

Avoca, Minnesota
Avoca is a small town in Southwest Minnesota’s Murray County, situated about twenty-three miles North of Worthington and East of Pipestone, Minnesota. Named after a township in Ireland, Avoca was built on a site purchased from the Saint Paul & Sioux City Railroad by Bishop John Ireland, Bishop of the St. Paul, Minnesota Catholic diocese.1 Desiring a school, he recruited the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus who arrived on May 25th, 1883. The school soon became an Indian boarding school, The Holy Child Academy, and the first Indians, thirteen Sioux girls, arrived on September 4th, 1884. Later, a few Chippewa girls were brought in. The Academy received $85 per year, per Indian student, from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.2

In 1893 the Indian school closed after policy changes were made at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and in September of 1905, the school became St. Bernard's Hall, a military school for boys. On the frigid day of February 12th, 1910, a fire broke out. With their water supply frozen, the townsfolk could only stand and watch as it burned to the ground.3

Father Tibesar

Father Tibesar came to Avoca in 1911, and like many townsfolk, he wanted to rebuild the academy as a convent school. In the early 1920s, he began work on the project, but the job was never completed. He had started on the foundation, digging a basement, but left the parish late in December of 1924. His replacement, Father Kearney, put an end to the project.4

My Dad’s Story

In 1924, my dad, Merrill Joseph Frisk, was eight years of age when he stood with his father and witnessed the unfolding of events surrounding the convent school project. As he related, he watched as a steam locomotive, probably from the Omaha Railroad, rolled into Avoca. Men, my grandfather Emil among them, began to offload the cargo. Emil was a drayman and worked unloading trains and hauling material and merchandise he placed on a long, flat, horse-drawn cart called a dray. As my dad stood watching, red pipestone, taken from the quarry in Pipestone, Minnesota, was laboriously hauled off the train and transported to a building site on lots across the street from the Catholic Church. The purpose of the stone was to provide a decorative front for the new convent school. With the basement dug, all that remained for the project to proceed was to complete financing. Financing fell through and the project was terminated. Later, under the direction of Father Kearney, my dad watched as the red stone was dumped into the basement pit and covered over, remaining buried to this day. When I asked my dad to be specific as to how much stone he saw dumped, his response was “Oodles of it! Boxcars full of it!” I asked him if he knew the exact location of the stone. He told me it was directly across from the front of Saint Rose Catholic Church in the location of the current town park and ball diamond. My grandma Annie carried some of the stone away in a wheelbarrow for use in her rock garden, stone that had inspired this story. I felt tons of buried stone would be a significant recovery for the Indian people.

Let it Rest?

While in graduate school, I commented on the stone to my professor and opined I should inform the Indian people of this matter. At the time, I was the only person who knew where the stone was supposed to be buried, as my dad had died in October of 2001. The professor suggested the stone might need to rest where it was.

(Photo: Emil Frisk on far left.)
My uncle E. J. was deaf and spent many days alone, back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, walking along the shoreline of Avoca’s Lime Lake. He once found a small pike carved from the red stone. The possibility of an American Indian camping along the shore and using the pike to bring good luck to his fishing was intriguing. He might have suffered an accident and the pike broke off of his pipe. These little things beckoned me to explore the world and culture of people who lived here before my ancestors arrived and helped to build a new nation but also messed up the natural beauty of the prairie and the lives of those who were here before them. I did not want to let the issue rest.

The Quarry

Pipestone, Minnesota is a town of over 4,000 people located in the southwestern corner of the state. It lies in a prairie area and is less than a mile south of the quarry it is named for. The quarry was designated Pipestone National Monument, in 1937, and is run by the United States National Park Service. The 282-acre quarry has a four-century history.

Geologists say the pipestone was formed when marine deposits were compressed between layers of quartzite during the glacial age. A stream system deposited layer upon layer of sand and other sediment in the area, as the area was once a part of an ancient sea where the climate was tropical. The sand compressed and formed sandstone and the red clay under it compressed into clay stone. Four glaciers from the Laurentide Ice Sheet moved through the area and exposed some sandstone. Under the pressure and high temperatures of the glaciers, the sandstone turned to quartzite and the red clay sediment turned into pipestone. The vein of soft pipestone runs between two layers of the hard Sioux quartzite, around four to twelve feet below the earth's surface.5

Pipestone is found in Montana, Arizona, Kansas, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Pipestone from Minnesota's sacred quarry has been found in burial mounds all over North America, leading historians to believe tribes journeyed to the quarry from thousands of miles away.6 Religious beliefs dictated tribes approach the quarry with reverence, leave all weapons behind, give an offering, and be at peace as they removed the stone and carved and smoked their calumets or peace pipes as white settlers called them. To the Lakota, the stone is the blood of their ancestors. Many of the Dakota consider the stone to be the blood of Mother Earth. Though different tribes have controlled the quarry, all have cherished it.

A Dishonored Gift?

My research found evidence the pipestone taken to Avoca around 1924 was not given to the Catholic parish. I believe the parishioners took it in the absence of Indian control of the quarry at the time. Considering the history of the old Indian school, my dad opined the Indians probably gave Father Tibesar the stone as a donation or Father Tibesar bought the stone from the tribes. I doubt this, because there was little Indian presence at the quarry at the time of the building project. The Yankton, who had been in control, left the quarry in the 1850s to dwell on a reservation. They last quarried at Pipestone in 1911. It was not until 1928 that only Indians were allowed to quarry at Pipestone and quarrying by others was terminated.7 Parishioners likely quarried the stone or bought it from whites or the few Dakota Indian quarriers who were operating at Pipestone. I do not feel the settlers took the stone with malice in mind or knowledge they might have committed a wrong. Pro-settlement sentiment was high, and the parishioners were probably encouraged by locals to take and use the pipestone. However, if the Indians gave the stone to the parish, it can be regarded as dishonored by being unceremoniously dumped and buried.

Searching for the Lost Stone
Can you trust the boyhood recollections of an octogenarian? My dad, being a bright boy and a veracious reader, was well equipped intellectually to understand what he was seeing at ages eight and nine. In his eighties, he was of sound mind, recalling details, and in a small town like Avoca, this building project was a big deal. I believe my dad’s recollection of the quantity of stone dumped and covered, “Oodles of it! Boxcars full of it!” was accurate. Since Sioux quartzite was the premiere building stone from the quarry, quartzite could have been present and dumped along with the pipestone, as the two stones were used together due to their complimentary colors. If the building was to be wood-framed, with pipestone set into stucco or used in some other way for the facade, little quartzite would have been needed. If the building was to be made of stone, much of the stone my dad saw dumped could well have been Sioux quartzite, a light pink rock. I believe the school was going to be wood-framed, as there were no stone buildings in Avoca. Judging from the size of the basement in the old groundbreaking photo, this was going to be a large school and could have utilized tons of pipestone. Unfortunately, the plans for the school, still existing in the rectory of the St. Rose Church, in the 1950s, were no longer to be found.

Another way to use the stone would have been to set it into a walkway. A pipestone pathway would have made sense and looked beautiful to the settlers. They would have needed a lot of pipestone to do this. However, if this was the case, I believe they would have kept the stone and created a walkway at Saint Rose Church when the convent plan fell through. Why throw it out? Pipestone is also a soft stone and would wear quickly on a heavily traveled outdoor surface. My grandma did not use the stone she hauled home to build a path; she just stacked it in a rock garden. Years later, Mr. Pau, a neighbor, took most of the stone from the rock garden to place along the shore at his home on Lime Lake.

A Trip To Avoca
On August 2nd, 2007, my sister and I made a trip to Avoca. The town was much like I remembered it in 1987. I viewed the house my grandparents once owned, now sold to someone else and vacant, and saw a manicured lawn where my grandma had a rock garden. Heading over to the old church grounds, the church had been torn down, and in its place stood a memorial bell Father Lovas had built. I walked across the street to find the lots that were once going to be the site of the new convent school and where the stone was supposed to be buried. Now a softball diamond and park, the area was quiet and nicely kept, though there were signs of a recent drought. Avoca has a population of 146, half of what it used to have when my dad was growing up, but it seemed nearly deserted. As I photographed the area, I sensed the stone was at rest and was going to remain undisturbed. It was such a large area, if a recovery effort was to be made, special equipment might be needed just to get an idea of where to begin digging.

Holes In My Dad’s Story
I wrote to the Pipestone County Museum, asking for their opinion on my story. I received a reply from the museum’s Betty McCabe, who explored the quarry and visited with the Superintendent of the Monument, Mr. Jim LaRock. Mr. LaRock stated it was impossible to obtain “tons” of pipestone from the quarry. He told her the trains stopped only at the quartzite quarries and not at the catlinite quarry pits. He said people did obtain pipestone from the quarry but they purchased it from the Indian families that lived in town and quarried there. The pipestone layer is hard to get at and hand tools have to be used due to its fragility. Only a 2-3 inch layer is suitable for pipes. It would be tough enough to haul away stone to the trains and even tougher to get much out of the vein of stone. Betty’s evidence indicated my dad was wrong and the stone he thought was pipestone was in fact Sioux quartzite.

Betty went on to describe the situation at the quarry in the early 1900s. She wrote, “Natives from Flandreau, including Indian Joe Taylor, kept coming to quarry. Yes, there was slow time and there was much controversy about ownership of the land. This may have kept some Natives away.” She explained to me how Moses Crow came and quarried and a few other families arrived and quarried in the 1920s. Chuck Derby, the present day leader of the Pipestone area pipe carvers, is a descendent of Moses Crow. So, there was an Indian presence at the quarry and Betty also believes it was illegal to quarry pipestone without permission, even in the early 1920s.

Betty had heard there were once several waterfalls at the quarry area and one was blasted to drain land for settling. She went on to say the stone I possess is likely Sioux quartzite. She said Chuck Derby could verify this if I brought him the stone.

Betty believed the Avoca parish might have gotten stone the Indians had discarded due to high quartzite content. She wrote; “Pipestone (catlinite) would not wear well outside in the weather. If stepped on it would crack over time. Could be someone sold pieces of the leftover pipestone -- the part the Natives discard -- because there are elements of quartzite in it and (it’s) too hard to carve. To add there was no "company" working the quarries within the area designated sacred. The closest companies were the ones working the commercial quarry right on the border of the area. Being that the priest wanted stone from the sacred quarry I doubt whether he would go to a white man. He would deal directly with a Native or with the school Superintendent. Charles Bennett passed away in 1926. He would be the only other person the priest may go to but Charles would just be the go between with[sic] Native and priest. Charles Bennett was a good friend of Strike the Ree and other natives. I am sure your father thought the stone was pipestone. Most people do (actually even natives) think the quartzite is pipestone. If you look at ebay the stone looks like the real stuff until you try to cut it.”

Betty had a theory of how the Avoca parish could have been assisted in getting stone, “Being that Avoca had an Indian School (I don't know how long you had it) and we had St. Leo's Church here in the 1920s (I think Winona is Pipestone diocese as well.) I would think the priest in Avoca would have contacted the priest here about his idea and then maybe both priests went to the Pipestone Indian School Superintendent and got the stone from them. It would make sense.”

In Defense of My Dad’s Story
The pipestone layer is fourteen to eighteen inches thick and tons of this heavy stone could be removed if damage to the thinner layer does not matter and if pipe making is not the intended use of the stone. This stone was to be used for decorative purposes and its carving quality made no difference to the parishioners. There would be plenty of unusable pipestone lying around the Indians present would have been more than happy to sell or even donate to the parish. As Betty stated, the stone the Saint Rose parish brought in could have been unusable, waste stone to the Indian pipe carvers. The priest who ministered at the Pipestone Indian School would have helped Father Tibesar get whatever stone he needed, as Betty theorized in her email. Additionally, settlers were using tools heavier than hand tools to quarry at Pipestone, as the Indians were concerned they would take all the stone. They were taking quartzite by the trainload and the Sioux quartzite is also considered to be sacred. In 1937, when the quarry was made a national monument, the stipulation that only hand tools would be allowed was put into effect to prevent any further mass plundering of stone. Sacred or not, just as settlers had blasted away one of the waterfalls to clear farmland, they certainly would have blasted out stone. My research indicated settlers had been digging in the sacred quarry area to procure catlinite. They wanted quartzite and catlinite, stones with contrasting color. In fact, as far back as 1838, Joseph Nicollet's men had blasted open the catlinite vein as a favor to and with the blessing of the Indians quarrying there at the time.8

The pieces of stone I had from the rock garden seemed more like claystone than quartzite. If confirmed as quality pipestone, this would indicate Father Tibesar had access to the top quality stone and much of what he brought in might have been of high quality. Still, quality did not really matter; red coloration is what Father Tibesar was after. Father Tibesar did not believe that the stone was sacred, as this would have been sacrilegious to Catholic clergy. After all, a goal of Christianizing was to get Indian people away from earth worship.

An Activist’s Opinion
Allen and Wes Hare have long sought Yankton control of the sacred quarry, and neither believes the red stone should be sold. They want the quarry utilized by Indians only, for ceremonies, and the stone used for pipes only. They were two organizers of the June 2007 Run for the Sacred Pipe that ended with a protest at Pipestone. I wrote to Allen Hare to ask for his opinion on my dad’s story and what recovery might or might not mean to the Yankton. Allen emailed me in answer, “It was possible for the pipestone to be quarried in the amount mentioned. I have been told by an elderly man in the Standing Rock area that his grandfather witnessed the stone being taken out in huge amounts, and it was not being quarried in the traditional manner.” Allen went on to suggest that the stone, if present in Avoca, should be repatriated to the quarries.

Case Not Closed
This story might seem disappointing in that it lacks closure and full closure could well be fleeting. Yet, this story needs to be told, and time has a way of exposing hidden secrets, bringing truth to light. The Lakota say a two-word prayer, Mitakuye Oyasin, meaning "All My Relations." It celebrates the harmony and interrelatedness of everything on Earth: people, animals, plants, and even rocks. It advises we are in a “hoop of life” and what affects one thing affects another.9 My dad’s story had implications for all. If true, it raises questions concerning ownership of the stone and whether or not it is worth the time and effort of the Sioux or entire American Indian community to attempt recovery. With the help of the Yankton and Pipestone communities, as well as the people of Avoca, an attempt to find the stone could become a reality, bringing closure to this mystery and the story an elderly father told to his son, of an event which was said to have occurred long ago between two societies connected in the hoop of life.


1. St. Rose Parish. Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church 100 Years (Avoca, Minnesota: St. Rose Parish, 1978).

2. Diamond Jubilee. Diamond Jubilee Memorial Avoca, Minnesota (Avoca, Minnesota: Diamond Jubilee, 1953), 11-13.

3. Diamond Jubilee, 14.

4. Diamond Jubilee, 19.

5. National Park Service, “Pipestone, Administrative History,”

6. Ray, Lisa M., “A Brief History of Pipestone, Minnesota,” Pipestone County Museum,

(March/April 1994):

7. National Park Service, “Pipestone National Monument- Minnesota,”

8. Nicollet, I.N., Report Intended To Illustrate A Map of the Hydrographical Basin of the

Upper Mississippi River (Washington: Blair and Rives, Printers,1841), 16. Google Books:,






9. Martin, Thomas James, “Mitakuye Oyasin,” Suite, (October 2001):

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kiowa: Federal Government Stops Ballot Election

May 8, 2010
press statement


ANADARKO, Oklahoma—A judge with the U.S. Interior Department used federal powers to stop a ballot election from being held by the Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma. Federal orders kept Kiowas from going to the polls and exercising their rights to vote since March, in a special election that would have decided whether to recall Don Tofpi as Kiowa Business Committee Chairman and ban him from holding future office.

Judge Phil Lujan, with the BIA’s Court of Indian Offenses, commonly known as CFR Court, issued Temporary Restraining Orders and Injunctions against the Kiowa Hearing Board and the Kiowa Election Board that restrain them from completing their duties in the recall election of Chairman Don Tofpi, until such time as the orders are further modified by the Court.

For more than a month, federal injunctions on the election remain in full force and effect, essentially shutting down the Tribe’s ability to function as a constitutional democracy. According to Judge Lujan’s decree, violation of the orders by either of the Kiowa Boards, or their members individually, will be punishable by the Court in contempt actions.

Don Tofpi asked Judge Lujan to enforce the Temporary Restraining Orders and Injunctions, after evidence presented in constitutional recall proceedings, and a vote by the Kiowa Hearing Board, did not go his way. Judge Lujan issued CFR Court orders right before the recall was to go to the Kiowa Indian Council for a vote. The Kiowa Indian Council is composed of enrolled tribal members at least 18 years old, and is recognized as the sovereign governing body of the Tribe by federal and state governments.

With the federal orders in effect, Don Tofpi continues to occupy the Chairman’s position on the Kiowa Business Committee. Recently, he has been spending his time and the Tribe’s money traveling to various cities, including Tulsa and Los Angeles, reportedly recruiting support for a new constitution and a new casino.

Many Kiowa members living outside Hobart and Lawton, the places where papers published news about the recall, said they were unaware of the recall or what charges are pending against Chairman Tofpi.

Documents presented in a formal recall hearing in March reveal 21 charges against Tofpi, filed by Charles “Buddy” Toyebo, former Vice Chairman of the Kiowa Business Committee. The charges allege malfeasance in office, intentional violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), unauthorized control of Kiowa gaming, and attempting to abolish the Kiowa constitution and its tribal governing structure as a democracy, where final authority rests with the Kiowa Indian Council not the Kiowa Business Committee.

“Mr. Tofpi, with the support of the Kiowa Business Committee and in partnership with the CFR court, and by extension the BIA, has chosen to assure he remains in office by a non-Tribal means,” wrote Lee Rhoades, a Kiowa Indian Council member, in a letter to the Director of the BIA Southern Plains Regional Office. “[They] have made the Kiowa Tribe wards of the government.”

The government connections in this case literally lead to the same federal agency in Anadarko, Oklahoma at the United States Department of the Interior. Don Tofpi, prior to his position with the Kiowa, was a career employee at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The same U.S. Department that runs the CFR Court in Anadarko where Judge Lujan is located. Judge Phil Lujan, in addition to his role on the bench, is also an enrolled Kiowa, registered to vote in tribal elections.

Objecting to the judge’s jurisdiction, Lee Rhoades called the restraining order “an assault on the sovereignty of the Tribe.” He cites U.S. federal law 25 CFR 11.118, which states in part, “a Court of Indian Offenses may not adjudicate an election dispute, take jurisdiction over a suit against a tribe, or adjudicate any internal tribal government dispute, unless the relevant tribal governing body passes a resolution, ordinance or referendum granting the court jurisdiction.”

According to Rhoades, “no issue concerning CFR Court jurisdiction has been brought to the Kiowa Indian Council to vote upon, let alone approve.”

Kiowa Indian Council member Deborah Cocker points to Judge Lujan’s past decision record, and the impact his federal powers might have on the Kiowa’s future. “Similar actions to this current restraint on the Kiowa constitutional process were enacted by the CFR under Lujan’s direction in the past and overturned through BIA directive,” said Ms. Cocker.

“The upcoming tribal election has been adversely affected,” she said.

Just days ago, Don Tofpi used the federal government’s orders as a legal basis for declaring his eligibility in the upcoming election since no recall has yet been held, and filed papers with the Kiowa Election Board seeking another term as Chairman.


Media contact information:

Charles “Buddy” Toyebo (Kiowa)

Former Vice Chairman

Kiowa Business Committee


Lee Rhoades (Kiowa)

Former Chairman

Kiowa Casino Operating Authority



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kevin Annett: The Vatican's Dark Crows Come Home to Roost

The Vatican's Dark Crows Come Home to Roost
by Kevin D. Annett

There's a joke circulating in Rome these days, that Pope Benedict is considering having his title changed to "Innocent" in anticipation of his upcoming trial for aiding and abetting child rapists in the Catholic church.

It's no joke, really. When I and a handful of people tried to hold a memorial service for children who died in Catholic Indian schools outside the Vatican this past Easter, we were swarmed by fifteen state police and halted from our witness. The church, and its accomplices in government, know very well that they are on the verge of facing criminal charges that could bring down the church.

That's the optimistic scenario. What's more likely, according to Vatican sources, is that the church will swing a deal and have the Pope retire for "health reasons" and take the fall for what the international media are calling the worst scandal to hit the Vatican since its diplomatic concordat with Adolf Hitler in 1933.

The Pope, Joseph Ratzinger, is not a popular guy, even in Catholic circles. A German, former Hitler Youth member, and arch reactionary who led the church's Inquisition against liberals in Catholic ranks for decades, Ratzinger was fondly known as "Joe the Rat" among his fellow Cardinals. But he has a lot of power, and authored the policy, still in place, that compels clergy to suppress evidence when children are raped by priests: a criminal act which has lawyers for rape victims smacking their lips.

"The man should be on trial" stated one American jurist last month.

"The Pope not only ordered priests to silence rape victims, but he moved rapists around within the church, and he protected them. That much we know. Doing that in one country is one thing, but Ratinzinger ordered it done in other countries, which is known as international obstruction of justice. That's a crime against humanity under international law."

The image of Interpol or local police arresting the Pope when he touches down in other countries is more than compelling, but Vatican lawyers insist that as a "head of state", Ratzinger has diplomatic immunity from any kind of prosecution. The Vatican, it seems, has never heard of the Nuremburg Trials.

"That's not going to stop me from arresting him" declared Paddy Doyle to me last month, at a protest outside the Irish Parliament in Dublin. Doyle is a survivor of church torture who has become an international spokesman for victims.

"I'm going to be there in the front row when the Pope does his mass in London this September. I'll drive my wheelchair right into him and arrest him, and let them try to stop me!" declared Doyle to TV cameras and cheering supporters, prior to his meeting with Irish government officials and demanding legal sanctions against the Catholic church.

People like Paddy Doyle are stepping forward in greater numbers these days, for their time has clearly come. I had the honor of meeting many of them in my recent tour to Europe, where I began to rally them into an international campaign to bring charges against the Roman catholic church in international courts.

The murder and torture of generations of children in church run facilities happened across the world, according to the same type of church-government collusion that characterized Indian residential schools here in Canada. Indeed, in 2004, the Canadian government actually sent officials to Ireland to give politicians there advice about how to contain and co-opt the growing movement of church victims in Ireland.

"You Canadians are very good at excusing yourselves for your mass murder of Indians. Clearly our government has a lot to learn from you, and as a result, it's been very successful at avoiding prosecution for how it helped the church kidnap and exploit little children" described Mary McKinney, a human rights activist, to me during my sojourn in Dublin.

For generations, Catholic orphanages in Ireland, England and other nations ran sweat shops where children as young as four worked as slave labor producing rosary beads and other religious artifacts: just like in Canadian Indian residential schools. And the death rate in these facilities was remarkably constant, hovering between one third and one half of all the little inmates.

"The church must pay back what they stole from these children and their forced labor. They must point out where the dead are buried, too" declared Sean Hennessey, an Irish lawyer for victims, last year.

"What the church made off these children exceeds a billion dollars, just in our country alone. We demand real reparations, and jail terms for the church officers, not merely token

How to make the Vatican accountable under the law is another matter. As in Canada, the church has so far evaded any criminal charges for the death and torture of children under its care.

And yet this issue will not go away, any more than a government and church-appointed "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" (TRC) in Canada will shove under the rug a century of crimes in Indian residential schools. For the scale of the crime is enormous.

According to Ojibway Chief Louis Daniels in Winnipeg, who will be protesting outside the first official TRC forum in that city on June 15, the time for lies is over.

"I was tortured in a United Church residential school and saw my friends murdered there, and now I'm supposed to not name the names of their murderers in front of the TRC. And I can't sue the church, or bring charges against it. It all proves that we'll never get justice in the white man's system. We need the UN or someone to come in here and charge Canada with genocide. Just like what happened in other countries."

Chief Daniels will be part of a delegation of native elders who will travel with me back to Europe in September to link with other survivors of church crimes in Ireland, England, Germany and Italy. And he'll stand outside the Vatican with me to help exorcise a spirit of lies and murder from the oldest institution in history.

Says Chief Daniels,

"The church is a wolf in sheep's clothing. But we're all waking up to that now. Their time is over."

May 8, 2010
Kevin Annett, M.A., M.Div.
260 Kennedy St., Nanaimo, B.C. Canada V9R 2H8

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Denver Post: Biased and twisted article about military helicopters at Wounded Knee

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The Denver Post published a biased and twisted article concerning the Lakota protest of the military helicopters attempting to land at Wounded Knee on Saturday. The Denver Post twisted the facts into a pro-military press release, disguised as a news article, without quoting any of the Lakotas or their reasons for halting the helicopters.
The statements by Debra White Plume, Lakota, and others were easily available on the Internet on Monday, even an armchair journalist at the Denver Post could have found those.
This is one of the real problems with the collapse of the news industry, a reporter can take a small bit of information and twist it into their own crusade, in this case a pro-military article. Whey doesn't the Denver Post have contacts with the Lakota people on Pine Ridge? If the Denver Post is going to publish articles about Lakotas, why don't they know any Lakota people that they can quote, other than politicians? This is armchair journalism at its worst.
This Denver Post article violates all the ethics of journalism:
Please read instead the statement of Debra White Plume, Lakota, and others posted here:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Roberto Rodriguez: Anatomy of Arizona Apartheid II

Anatomy of Arizona Apartheid II

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

TUCSON HIGH SCHOOL: As I prepare to speak to an innovative class here about Indigenous philosophies, the students begin their class in the following manner:

In Lak Ech – Tu eres mi otro yo – You are my other self. I am you and you are me. If I hurt you, I hurt myself. If I hate you, I hate myself. If I love and respect you, I love and respect myself.

Students here, part of Tucson Unified School District’s highly successful Mexican American Studies (MAS) K-12 program (the largest in the nation), are taught this and other Indigenous concepts, including other ways of measuring time (Aztec & Maya calendars). Not coincidentally, academically, MAS students – many of who were doing poorly prior to entering this program – consistently outperform their peers, and it is virtually a college-bound factory.

State capitol, Phoenix, Arizona: 518 years after Columbus initiated the theft of a continent, Arizona’s state superintendent of schools, Tom Horne has just declared, via the passage of HB 2281, that Indigenous peoples and Indigenous knowledge are [still] outside of Western Civilization.

In his relentless campaign against Ethnic Studies, the would-be governor has just engineered the passage of a new draconian state law that seeks to ban the teaching of ethnic studies [by withdrawing its funding]. This is the same state that recently passed the racial profiling SB 1070 law; the primary targets would be Mexicans and Central Americans with Indigenous features, suspected of being “illegal aliens.”

Despite the success of the MAS program, Horne has long expressed the view that the only things that should be taught in Arizona schools are things that originate in Western or Greco-Roman Civilization. While his bill affects the whole state, his actual target has long been Tucson’s program.

HB 2281 causes the geographic dislocation of the continent. Acting as Royal cosmographer, Horne has ruled that maiz (Mesoamerican) knowledge – indigenous to this continent and the philosophical foundation for MAS – is subversive and not part of Western civilization and does not belong in the West. Through the bill, he also mischaracterizes the program by claiming that its teachers preach hate, segregation, anti-Americanism and the violent overthrow of the government. The bill sets up an inquisitorial mechanism that will monitor books and curriculum. Horne has been especially critical of Rudy Acuña’s Occupied America and Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (Separately, the Arizona Department of Education has banned teachers with heavy accents from teaching English classes).

Welcome to Apartheid Arizona. Despite Arizona’s oppressive climate, many claim that the use of the term apartheid is overblown.

Tucson federal courthouse: Like clockwork, at 1:30 p.m., 70 short, brown men (sometimes a few women) occupy the left side of the courtroom, shackled at the ankles, the waist and the wrists. Within one hour, they are charged, tried and convicted en masse of being illegally present in the United States. After being dehumanized, they are then paraded out of the courtroom. Most have either served or are sentenced to the private detention facility, operated by the Correctional Corporation of America. This drama unfolds everyday here, every weekday of the year.

Welcome to Operation Streamline. Its goal is to criminalize every migrant that steps into this kangaroo court, while enriching CCA to the tune of some $15 million per month.

Southside Tucson: Several days BEFORE the state legislature passes SB 1070, a massive raid involving 800 military-clad U.S. federal agents swoops into this primarily Mexican-Indigenous community, occupying and terrorizing its residents, all for the purpose of arresting 48 suspects in a human smuggling operation.

Maricopa County: While Sheriff Joe Arpaio denies a racial motivation, over the weekend, he showcases his 15th major “crime sweep” since early 2008 in Phoenix. The sweeps – which target Mexican-Indigenous communities – may have actually backfired. They provide a glimpse to the world as to how the entire state and nation could look like if SB 1070 is affirmed. To conduct these sweeps, Arpaio utilizes the state’s anti human smuggling law, accusing migrants of being accomplices in their own smuggling. Such a use of the law smacks of official kidnapping and terror.

While there were undoubtedly many Arpaio’s in South Africa during the apartheid era, there were no Operation Streamlines there. Kangaroo courts yes, but not daily one-hour mass-show trials.

The Arizona/Mexico border: In the realm of violence, Arizona is no South Africa, but we do have our own killing fields. For the past dozen years, some 5,000 migrants have been found dead in the inhospitable desert; medical reports confirm that many have died due to violence, including blunt trauma to the head (go to: That many thousands of migrants are funneled through the desert annually has long been official policy by U.S. immigration officials. Under international law, at best, this could be construed as negligent homicide.

Washington D.C.: Ironically, in response to these draconian laws and measures, even Democrats have been cowed into pushing for more apartheid measures (walls, more agents and the further militarization of the border) as a solution.

Just solutions for the problems listed here require calling for [international] agreements that place human beings at the center, without losing their citizenship, culture, rights or their humanity.

Rodriguez, an assistant professor for Mexican American and Raza Studies at the University of Arizona, can be reached at:

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Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
PO BOX 85476
Tucson, AZ 85754


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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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