Sunday, August 30, 2009

Native Americans granted party status in Yucca Mountain licensing

Before Administrative Judges:
Thomas S. Moore, Chairman
Paul S. Ryerson
Richard E. Wardwell
In the Matter of
(High Level Waste Repository)
Docket No. 63-001-HLW
ASLBP No. 09-892-HLW-CAB04
August 27, 2009
(Granting Party Status to the Native Community Action Council)
On May 11, 2009, CAB-02 ruled that the Native Community Action Council (NCA) would
have been admitted as a party to this proceeding, except for its failure to demonstrate
substantial and timely compliance with Licensing Support Network (LSN) requirements.1 The
Board further ruled that NCA might be admitted as a party upon a showing of subsequent
The Board based its ruling on “NCA’s admission in its reply that it ‘may possess some
documents not in the record, and within the scope of the regulation.’”2 The Board
acknowledged, however, that NCA had filed a new Certification of LSN compliance on May 5,
2009,3 which would be appropriately addressed after time had expired for other parties to
1 U.S. Dep’t of Energy (High Level Waste Repository), LBP-09-06, __ NRC __, __ (slip op. at
99-100) (May 11, 2009).
2 Id. at 99.
3 Id. at 99 n.470; see also Certification of Availability of Native Community Action Council LSN
Document Collection (May 5, 2009).
On July 7, 2009, NCA filed a Notice of Compliance, in which it referenced again its
May 5, 2009 LSN Certification and reported that it had filed timely supplemental certifications for
each subsequent month.4 NCA asserted that “no party has responded or objected to [NCA’s]
subsequent certification of compliance with LSN requirements.”5
NCA has now certified compliance with LSN requirements. No party has objected to
NCA’s demonstration of subsequent LSN compliance. Accordingly, this Board now grants
NCA’s intervention petition and admits NCA as a party to this proceeding. Pursuant to
10 C.F.R. § 2.1012(b)(2), NCA’s admission as a party “is conditioned on accepting the status of
the proceeding at the time of admission.”
It is so ORDERED.
Paul S. Ryerson
Rockville, Maryland
August 27, 2009
4 Notice of Native Community Action Council’s Compliance with LSN Requirements (July 7,
5 Id. at 1.
6 By delegated authority, in the absence of Thomas S. Moore, Chairman.
In the Matter of )
(High-Level Waste Repository) )
I hereby certify that copies of the foregoing ORDER (Granting Party Status to the Native Community Action
Group), dated August 27, 2009, have been served upon the following persons by Electronic Information
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLBP)
Mail Stop T-3F23
Washington, DC 20555-0001
CAB 01
William J. Froehlich, Chair
Administrative Judge
Thomas S. Moore
Administrative Judge
Richard E. Wardwell
Administrative Judge
CAB 02
Michael M. Gibson, Chair
Administrative Judge
Alan S. Rosenthal
Administrative Judge or
Nicholas G. Trikouros
Administrative Judge
CAB 03
Paul S. Ryerson, Chair
Administrative Judge
Michael C. Farrar
Administrative Judge
Mark O. Barnett
Administrative Judge or
ASLBP (continued)
CAB 04
Thomas S. Moore, Chair
Administrative Judge
Paul S. Ryerson
Administrative Judge
Richard E. Wardwell
Administrative Judge
Anthony C. Eitreim, Esq., Chief Counsel
Daniel J. Graser, LSN Administrator
Lauren Bregman, Law Clerk
Zachary Kahn, Law Clerk
Erica LaPlante, Law Clerk
Matthew Rotman, Law Clerk
Joseph Deucher
Andrew Welkie
Jack Whetstine
Patricia Harich
Sara Culler
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (High Level Waste Repository) Docket No. 63-001-HLW
ORDER (Granting Party Status to the Native Community Action Group)
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of the Secretary of the Commission
Mail Stop O-16C1
Washington, DC 20555-0001
Hearing Docket
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of General Counsel
1000 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20585
Martha S. Crosland, Esq.
Nicholas P. DiNunzio, Esq.
James Bennett McRae
Cyrus Nezhad, Esq.
Christina C. Pak, Esq.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication
Mail Stop O-16C1
Washington, DC 20555-0001
OCAA Mail Center
For U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Counsel, Naval Sea Systems Command
Nuclear Propulsion Program
1333 Isaac Hull Avenue, SE
Washington Navy Yard, Building 197
Washington, DC 20376
Frank A. Putzu, Esq.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of the General Counsel
Mail Stop O-15D21
Washington, DC 20555-0001
Margaret J. Bupp, Esq.
Karin Francis, Paralegal
Adam Gendelman, Esq.
Joseph S. Gilman, Paralegal
Daniel W. Lenehan, Esq.
Andrea L. Silvia, Esq.
Mitzi A. Young, Esq.
Marian L. Zobler, Esq.
OGC Mail Center
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of General Counsel
1551 Hillshire Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89134-6321
Jocelyn M. Gutierrez, Esq.
George W. Hellstrom, Esq.
Josephine L. Sommer, Paralegal
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (High Level Waste Repository) Docket No. 63-001-HLW
ORDER (Granting Party Status to the Native Community Action Group)
For U.S. Department of Energy
USA-Repository Services
Yucca Mountain Project Licensing Group
1160 N. Town Center Drive, Suite 240
Las Vegas, NV 89144
Stephen J. Cereghino, Licensing/Nucl Safety
Jeffrey Kriner, Regulatory Programs
For U.S. Department of Energy
USA-Repository Services
Yucca Mountain Project Licensing Group
6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 608
North Bethesda, MD 20852
Edward Borella, Sr Staff, Licensing/Nuclear Safety
For U.S. Department of Energy
Talisman International, LLC
1000 Potomac St., NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20007
Patricia Larimore, Senior Paralegal
Counsel for U.S. Department of Energy
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
1111 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004
Clifford W. Cooper, Paralegal
Lewis M. Csedrik, Esq.
Jay M. Gutierrez, Esq.
Charles B. Moldenhauer, Esq.
Brian P. Oldham, Esq.
Thomas D. Poindexter, Esq.
Alex S. Polonsky, Esq.
Thomas A. Schmutz, Esq.
Donald J. Silverman, Esq.
Shannon Staton, Legal Secretary
Annette M. White, Esq.
Paul J. Zaffuts, Esq.
Counsel for U.S. Department of Energy
Hunton & Williams LLP
Riverfront Plaza, East Tower
951 East Byrd Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Kelly L. Faglioni, Esq.
Donald P. Irwin, Esq.
Stephanie Meharg, Paralegal
Michael R. Shebelskie, Esq.
Belinda A. Wright, Sr. Professional Assistant
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (High Level Waste Repository) Docket No. 63-001-HLW
ORDER (Granting Party Status to the Native Community Action Group)
Counsel for State of Nevada
Egan, Fitzpatrick, Malsch & Lawrence, PLLC
1750 K Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20006
Martin G. Malsch, Esq.
Susan Montesi:
Counsel for State of Nevada
Egan, Fitzpatrick, Malsch & Lawrence, PLLC
12500 San Pedro Avenue, Suite 555
San Antonio, TX 78216
Laurie Borski, Paralegal
Charles J. Fitzpatrick, Esq.
John W. Lawrence, Esq.
Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects
Nuclear Waste Project Office
1761 East College Parkway, Suite 118
Carson City, NV 89706
Steve Frishman, Tech. Policy Coordinator
Susan Lynch, Administrator of Technical Prgms
Bureau of Government Affairs
Nevada Attorney General
100 N. Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701
Marta Adams, Chief Deputy Attorney General
Counsel for Lincoln County, Nevada
1100 S. Tenth Street
Las Vegas, NV 89017
Annie Bailey, Legal Assistant
Bret Whipple, Esq.
Lincoln County District Attorney
P. O. Box 60
Pioche, NV 89403
Gregory Barlow, Esq.
Lincoln County Nuclear Oversight Program
P.O. Box 1068
Caliente, NV 89008
Connie Simkins, Coordinator
For Lincoln County, Nevada
Intertech Services Corporation
PO Box 2008
Carson City, NV 89702
Mike Baughman, Consultant
Counsel for Nye County, Nevada
Ackerman Senterfitt
801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, #600
Washington, DC 20004
Robert Andersen, Esq.
Counsel for Nye County, Nevada
530 Farrington Court
Las Vegas, NV 89123
Jeffrey VanNiel, Esq.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (High Level Waste Repository) Docket No. 63-001-HLW
ORDER (Granting Party Status to the Native Community Action Group)
Nye County Regulatory/Licensing Advisor
18160 Cottonwood Rd. #265
Sunriver, OR 97707
Malachy Murphy, Esq.
Nye County Nuclear Waste Repository Project
Office (NWRPO)
1210 E. Basin Road, #6
Pahrump, NV 89060
Zoie Choate, Secretary
Sherry Dudley, Admin. Technical Coordinator
Clark County, Nevada
500 S. Grand Central Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 98155
Phil Klevorick, Sr. Mgmt Analyst
Elizabeth A. Vibert, Deputy District Attorney
Counsel for Clark County, Nevada
Jennings, Strouss & Salmon
8330 W. Sahara Avenue, #290
Las Vegas, NV 89117
Bryce Loveland, Esq.
Counsel for Clark County, Nevada
Jennings, Strouss & Salmon
1700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006-4725
Elene Belte, Legal Secretary
Alan I. Robbins, Esq.
Debra D. Roby, Esq.
Eureka County, Nevada
Office of the District Attorney
701 S. Main Street, Box 190
Eureka, NV 89316-0190
Theodore Beutel, District Attorney
Counsel for Eureka County, Nevada
Harmon, Curran, Speilberg & Eisenberg, LLP
1726 M. Street N.W., Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
Diane Curran, Esq.
Matthew Fraser, Law Clerk
Eureka County Public Works
PO Box 714
Eureka, NV 89316
Ronald Damele, Director
Nuclear Waste Advisory for Eureka
County, Nevada
1983 Maison Way
Carson City, NV 89703
Abigail Johnson, Consultant
For Eureka County, Nevada
NWOP Consulting, Inc.
1705 Wildcat Lane
Ogden, UT 84403
Loreen Pitchford, Consultant
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (High Level Waste Repository) Docket No. 63-001-HLW
ORDER (Granting Party Status to the Native Community Action Group)
Counsel for Churchill, Esmeralda, Lander,
and Mineral Counties, Nevada
Armstrong Teasdale, LLP
1975 Village Center Circle, Suite 140
Las Vegas, NV 89134-6237
Jennifer A. Gores, Esq.
Robert F. List, Esq.
Esmeralda County Repository Oversight Program-
Yucca Mountain Project
PO Box 490
Goldfield, NV 89013
Edwin Mueller, Director
Mineral County Nuclear Projects Office
P.O. Box 1600
Hawthorne, NV 89415
Linda Mathias, Director
For City of Caliente, Lincoln County, and
White Pine County, Nevada
P.O. Box 126
Caliente, NV 89008
Jason Pitts, LSN Administrator
White Pine County, Nevada
Office of the District Attorney
801 Clark Street, #3
Ely, NV 89301
Richard Sears, District Attorney
White Pine County Nuclear Waste Project Office
959 Campton Street
Ely, NV 89301
Mike Simon, Director
For White Pine County, Nevada
Intertech Services Corporation
PO Box 2008
Carson City, NV 89702
Mike Baughman, Consultant
Counsel for Caliente Hot Springs Resort LLC
John H. Huston, Attorney at Law
6772 Running Colors Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89131
John H. Huston, Esq.
Counsel for Inyo County, California
Berger, Silverman & Gephart
233 E. Carrillo Street, Suite B
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Michael Berger, Esq.
Robert Hanna, Esq.
Counsel for Inyo County, California
Greg James, Attorney at Law
710 Autumn Leaves Circle
Bishop, CA 93514
Inyo County Yucca Mountain Repository
Assessment Office
P. O. Box 367
Independence, CA 93526-0367
Alisa M. Lembke, Project Analyst
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (High Level Waste Repository) Docket No. 63-001-HLW
ORDER (Granting Party Status to the Native Community Action Group)
California Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General
1300 I Street, P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Susan Durbin, Deputy Attorney General
Michele Mercado, Analyst
California Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General
1515 Clay Street, 20th Floor, P.O. Box 70550
Oakland, CA 94612-0550
Timothy E. Sullivan, Deputy Attorney General
California Department of Justice
300 S. Spring Street, Suite 1702
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Brian Hembacher, Deputy Attorney General
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Kevin, W. Bell, Senior Staff Counsel
Nuclear Energy Institute
Office of the General Counsel
1776 I Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-3708
Michael A. Bauser, Esq.
Anne W. Cottingham, Esq.
Ellen C. Ginsberg, Esq.
Counsel for Nuclear Energy Institute
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
2300 N Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20037-1122
Jay E. Silberg, Esq.
Timothy J.V. Walsh, Esq.
Maria D. Webb, Senior Energy Legal Analyst
Counsel for Nuclear Energy Institute
Winston & Strawn LLP
1700 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006-3817
William A. Horin, Esq.
Rachel Miras-Wilson, Esq.
David A. Repka, Esq.
Carlos L. Sisco, Senior Paralegal
Native Community Action Council
P.O. Box 140
Baker, NV 89311
Ian Zabarte, Member of Board of Directors
Counsel for Native Community Action Council
Alexander, Berkey, Williams & Weathers LLP
2030 Addison Street, Suite 410
Berkeley, CA 94704
Curtis G. Berkey, Esq.
Rovianne A. Leigh, Esq.
Scott W. Williams, Esq.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (High Level Waste Repository) Docket No. 63-001-HLW
ORDER (Granting Party Status to the Native Community Action Group)
For Joint Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Group
3560 Savoy Boulevard
Pahrump, NV 89601
Joe Kennedy, Executive Director
Tameka Vazquez, Bookkeeper
Counsel for Joint Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Group
Fredericks, Peebles, & Morgan LLP
1001 Second St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Felicia M. Brooks, Data Administrator
Ross D. Colburn, Law Clerk
Sally Eredia, Legal Secretary
Darcie L. Houck, Esq.
Brian Niegemann, Office Manager
John M. Peebles, Esq.
Robert Rhoan, Esq.
Counsel for Joint Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Group
Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.
One East Main Street, Suite 500
P. O. Box 2719
Madison, WI 53701-2719
Julie Dobie, Legal Secretary
Steven A. Heinzen, Esq.
Douglas M. Poland, Esq.
Hannah L. Renfro, Esq.
Jacqueline Schwartz, Paralegal
Counsel for Joint Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Group
Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.
780 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Arthur J. Harrington, Esq.
[ Original Signed by Linda D. Lewis ]
Office of the Secretary of the Commission
Dated at Rockville, Maryland
this 27th day of August 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

UN: Indigenous Peoples and HIV/AIDS

International Day of the World's Indigenous People
Theme of the Observance for 2009: "Indigenous Peoples and HIV/AIDS"

From: Kent Lebsock

"Indigenous peoples also tend to suffer from the low standards of health associated with poverty, malnutrition, environmental contamination and inadequate healthcare. With that in mind, this year’s observance of the International Day focuses on the threat of HIV/AIDS. It is essential that indigenous peoples have access to the information and infrastructure necessary for detection, treatment and protection."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People was observed this year at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday, 10 August 2009.Organized by the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, in cooperation with the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples and the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the theme of the observance at UN Headquarters was "Indigenous Peoples and HIV/AIDS". The event included messages from the United Nations Secretary-General, the President of the UN General Assembly, the Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, and the Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. There were also performances by indigenous artists, and a panel discussion on "Indigenous Peoples and HIV/AIDS".
Link to webcast:

Report to Owe Aku from Kent Lebsock,
Participant in the Panel Discussion at the United Nations

Yesterday an event was held at the United Nations in New York in observance of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The program included a panel discussion on Indigenous peoples and HIV/AIDS. I agreed to participate as both a person living with AIDS and on behalf of Owe Aku. The rest of the panel consisted of the Director of Surveillance and Risk Assessment from Canada’s Public Health Agency, Chris Archibald, the Director of the UN’s New York office of UNAIDS, Bertil Lindblad, and the Special Liaison from Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, Olivia Sloan (Navajo/Tohono O’odham). The panel was moderated by the North American representative on the Permanent Forum, Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga).

The discussion included an examination of the statistics world-wide, some of the best practices that have been identified in working with Indigenous peoples and the need for a holistic approach with respect to health, well-being, and cultural diversity. The ongoing need for surveillance data was also pointed out by the professionals on the panel, a familiar theme with activists around the world regarding Indigenous peoples.

It was very rewarding to see that the 2006 Toronto Charter from the International AIDS Conference that was assembled over many years by a coalition of Indigenous nations, peoples and organizations, and its subsequent presentation and acceptance by the Permanent Forum, is now the standard utilized in guiding and designing programs within the United Nations. Additionally, the panel participants all indicated that the Declaration on the Rights of the World’s Indigenous Peoples provides framework in which non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples can work together.

All of the panelists also commented on the approach to the issues of taboo and stigmatization that occur whenever HIV/AIDS is discussed. The question actually came from a Crimean Tartar woman who was having difficulty discussing treatment, testing and prevention with her people. I gave the example of the American Indian Community House’s program begun back in the early 90s in which the first step was to go directly to the leadership on the territories of the Indian nations in the Community House’s service area. From there, community approaches could be utilized with the blessing of the leaders and elders, somewhat diminishing the people’s concerns about participating in discussions on a sensitive topic. Also, Olivia Sloan said that they used best practices gathered from a variety of sources, but emphasized that they always had to be adjusted for a particular community in finding the right approach.

It was a pleasure to participate and I thank the organizers and my fellow panelists.

Text of Speech:

Here is my written speech although I am not sure how much of this was actually said.

Hau mitaku oyapi, anpetu omniciye waste, wopila

My name is Kent Lebsock and I am a little overwhelmed by the expertise on this panel. My role, I think, is to more or less represent those of us who are the “stigma” we have been discussing. I fall within many categories, none of which, I’m proud to say, make me “normal.” I am Lakota and German, I am gay, two-spirit and I study the Lakota traditions of what is called winkte by the ancestors. I am urban, not rural or from a reservation, growing up in Denver and having lived in NYC for the past 20 years. I have been living with AIDS since 1992 and I also have the Hepatitis C virus and I am currently undergoing treatment for that disease. I fear that Hepatitis C is going to be the next big threat to our communities in that it has all the same risk factors and markers that we have learned about during the HIV epidemic.

I also want to begin by thanking the organizers of the event including Roberto and his committee here at the UN as well as the Secretariat, especially Broddi and the interns who did so much work on this event.

Of course, as is our Lakota tradition, I also want to think the elders and leaders from different nations and places that are here with us today. Looking around I don’t see too many Indigenous elders, except maybe Tonya, but she is far too pretty to be an elder, and of course, I’ll never be one because I am far too mean.

Seriously though, I know that most Indigenous peoples pray for guidance from those ancestors and mentors that have already passed on and I always hope that seen or unseen, whatever I can share comes from a place deeper than I could communicate on my own. Watching the dancers from the Crimea at the beginning of the program, I was struck with just how interesting it was that after hundreds and hundreds of years of this music and dance, it survives here in New York, so strong that it can be performed by a small group of Crimean folks at the UN. My heart is convinced that we all carry with us, in our genetic structure, all the knowledge and wisdom of our ancestors if we only have the patience and humility to listen. .

Also in keeping with our Lakota way, before speaking here today, I checked with the organization I work with at Pine Ridge, Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way. I bring their greetings to you and gratitude for including us in this important event. All of our leaders recognize that health, mental, physical and spiritual, is a critical element to the preservation and restoration of our nation. .

Of course, as a person living with AIDS, an Indigenous person and someone who has been working in the field for many years, I am personally very pleased that the theme of this event is about HIV and AIDS in our communities. I am not any kind of professional but I guess you could call me an activist. One of the great things that I think Indigenous peoples have brought to the UN in general has been the idea that grass roots organizations and disenfranchised peoples can speak directly at the highest levels of international institutions.

The example of HIV and AIDS as an Indigenous issue within the UN is a perfect example. A couple of the other speakers spoke about the Toronto Charter and how it has informed a lot of the practices and programs pursued by UN agencies. The Charter was actually the result of many years of small grass roots Indigenous organizations who came together at the International AIDS Conferences beginning in Durban, South Africa in 2000. The absence of an Indigenous presence was noted and that eventually led to the development of the Toronto Charter. With the adaptation of the Toronto Charter by the Permanent Forum, it became a document distributed and used throughout the UN agencies. This is a great example of grass roots activism.

In my experience, and the experience of the many organizations I have worked with over the years, time and time again it has been shown that community based advocacy from grass roots organizations is the most effective approach regardless of the issue involved. When Indigenous peoples have the opportunity to design and implement programs from within our cultures, the effectiveness and success is naturally more assured. We have seen that this is true for health care, substance abuse, housing or any significant issue affecting the well-being of our peoples’ lives. In addition, there is support for this kind of action in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. With the right of self-determination enshrined in an international instrument, the common-sense notion that we, as Indigenous peoples, control our own destiny has been acknowledged. Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention the treaties that exist between many of our nations and member nations of the UN. The Fort Laramie treaties between the United States and the Lakota Nation provide much of the legal basis for sovereign action by our people on behalf of our own nation. We hope, and see that increasingly, the role of international forums is to support this right to self-determination under the Declaration and international treaty obligations.

We also acknowledge and welcome the many allies that Indigenous peoples have in all of our work. Not only do we welcome your participation in these struggles, we must depend upon them. We are often people with few resources and little “power” in the sense of the modern world. All of the statistics show that. However, to our allies and friends, we hope you are always mindful of the history of colonization and the contemporary need to ensure that it is our leaders and elders, customs and cultures, that must lead in defining programs for our peoples and nations.

There is no question about the universal need for health care access for Indigenous peoples’ world wide. The Secretary General rightly pointed out in his statement regarding this issue yesterday, that poor health, and access to health care makes it impossible for Indigenous peoples to fully pursue our rights and protect our future and environment.

I want to emphasize the serious need in Africa an Asia where Indigenous peoples are often those who are suffering most from the devastation of HIV. This isn’t often talked about, but the folks in central and south Africa who are suffering the most from this disease are from Indigenous nations and communities. In 2000, I was privileged to go to the International AIDS Conference in Durban and I found that often the ‘best practice” in many of their Indigenous communities was providing clean water for people who were suffering from the disease. How unjust and sad to think about. I only recently learned that my survival is a privilege that I enjoy because of where I live at a cost of up to $60,000 a year. Sadly, the vast majority of people with the same disease hope for a glass of clean water.

That doesn’t mean though that Indian communities and reservations in North America are any better off. The average life expectancy on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota where Owe Aku is from, is only about 51 years for men. The average annual income is $4,000. The poorest town in America is Wanblee, also on Pine Ridge, where the average income is $1,600 per year. Right now, Owe Aku is very busy, with very limited resources fighting plural, multi-national corporations in an attempt to end and prevent uranium mining which has proven to contaminate the well water. The water at Pine Ridge, like in many South African communities, is dangerous to drink. This is not a place in central Africa or Southeast Asia. All of this is right here in the occupied territories of the United States.

Thank you very much for your attention. I look forward to answering your questions to the best of my ability. Pila maya yelo.

UN Indigenous Peoples Day

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

Observance of the Day at UN Headquarters
Tentative Programme

10 August 2009, Conference Room 4, UN Headquarters, New York

14:00 Welcome message
By master of ceremonies, Roberto Mucaro Borrero, chairperson of the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

14:05 – 14:30 Messages on the occasion of the Day

Message of the Secretary General
Message of the President of the General Assembly
Message of the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
Message of the Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

14:30 Cultural Event
Crimean Tatar Dance Ensemble

14:50 – 16:30 Panel discussion on Indigenous Peoples and HIV/AIDS

Bertil Lindblad, Director, UNAIDS New York Office.

Kent Lebsock, Owe Aku - Bring Back the Way - a Traditional Lakota (Sioux) Cultural Preservation Organization

Chris Archibald Director, Surveillance and Risk Assessment Division of the Public Health Agency of Canada

Olivia Sloan, (Navajo/ Tohono O'odham)
Special Liaison, Partnerships, Programs and Policy,
Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health,
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The panel will be moderated by Tonya Gonella Frichner, Member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
The Toronto Charter is an initiative of the Planning Committee of the International Indigenous Peoples! Satellite at the 16th International AIDS Conference 2006 and has been endorsed by Indigenous People around the world. The Charter was developed following the organizational efforts of Indigenous peoples at the International AIDS Conference in Durban in 2000 and has been endorsed by the Indigenous Peoples Caucus at the United Nations.
The Toronto Charter
Indigenous Peoples' Action Plan on HIV/AIDS

The Toronto Charter is a call to action directed at people who influence and make decisions about the provision of HIV/AIDS services for Indigenous Peoples around the world.
The Toronto Charter was developed and formulated by Indigenous Peoples throughout the world.
The Toronto Charter is intended to support agencies working in HIV/AIDS to develop programmes that will make a real difference to Indigenous Peoples and the communities from which they come.

Acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples have shared experiences relating to the AIDS epidemic and its impacts on our communities.
Affirm that the AIDS epidemic continues to have a devastating effect on our communities.
Acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples have inherent rights which guarantee them good health and well-being.
Acknowledge that the changing patterns of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are placing Indigenous Peoples at increased risk of HIV infection.
Recognise that Indigenous Peoples have the right to determine their own health priorities.
Reaffirm that Indigenous Peoples have the right to control all aspects of their lives, including their health.

Three decades into the HIV/AIDS epidemic Indigenous Peoples are adversely affected by this epidemic.
The epidemic is having a profound effect on families and communities from which we come.
In some countries, Indigenous Peoples have disproportionately higher rates of HIV infection than non-Indigenous people.
The impact of HIV/AIDS on Indigenous Peoples is compounded by a range of socio-cultural factors that place Indigenous Peoples at increased risk of HIV/AIDS.
It is essential that HIV/AIDS data on Indigenous Peoples be collected, analysed and reported in a manner that is respectful of the needs of Indigenous Peoples as identified by Indigenous Peoples themselves.
Indigenous Peoples have a holistic view of health which includes physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions all of which need to be considered and emphasized as a basis for defining approaches to Indigenous Peoples’ health.
Indigenous Peoples have the right to a state of health that is at least equal to that of non-Indigenous people.
Governments are responsible for ensuring equitable access to health services and equitable health outcomes for all citizens.
Governments must be committed to consulting with Indigenous Peoples in order to ensure that health programmes meet the needs of Indigenous Peoples.
Health and social programmes for Indigenous Peoples must provide culturally appropriate service delivery. Programmes need to incorporate and integrate traditional healers and systems where appropriate.
Indigenous Peoples must be able to have access to their own languages in the provision of health and social services.
Health and social programmes must be disseminated and communicate information about the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS that is relative to the reality in which Indigenous Peoples live.

Ensure the central participation of Indigenous Peoples in all programmes related to the prevention of HIV and programmes for the care and support of Indigenous Peoples living with HIV/AIDS.
Provide adequate resources to Indigenous Peoples to design, develop and implement HIV/AIDS programmes.
Increase current resources so that Indigenous communities can respond in a timely and effective way to the demands placed on communities by the AIDS epidemic.
Ensure the process of participation of Indigenous Peoples in United Nations forums is strengthened so their views are fairly represented.
Incorporate this Charter in its entirety in all policy pertaining to Indigenous Peoples and HIV/AIDS.
Monitor and take action against any States whose persistent policies and activities fail to acknowledge and support the integration of this Charter into State policies relating to HIV/AIDS.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Obscure Border Agency Worst in Federal Government

August 10, 2009
10:49 AM
CONTACT: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

Obscure Border Agency Worst in Federal Government

Chronic Mismanagement Threatens Flooding and Sanitation Catastrophes

WASHINGTON - August 10 - A little-known agency called the United States Section, International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) is arguably the most incompetent and abusive in federal service, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Lack of any oversight in this agency threatens horrendous water pollution, disastrous flooding and waste of tens of millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds.

Created 120 years ago, the USIBWC implements border treaties with Mexico and, in so doing, operates several international dams and water treatment plants along the border. The current Commissioner, C.W. "Bill" Ruth is a lame-duck Bush appointee who serves at the pleasure of the President.

A 2005 State Department Inspector General report concluded that "Internal management problems have engulfed USIBWC, threatening its essential responsibilities for flood control and water management in the American Southwest." Since that report, conditions have only deteriorated:

Two international storage dams operated by USIBWC have been rated unsafe. Millions of residents on both sides of the border are at high risk of inundation by floods due to the disrepair;
Two water treatment plants located in the U.S., located in Nogales, Arizona and San Ysidro, California, are both under court orders to clean up their effluent; and
In 2008, Ambos, Mexico (across the border from Nogales, Arizona) sustained millions of dollars in damages as a result of the crumbling USIBWC-built flood channel whose needed repairs were not on the agency's priority list.
Meanwhile, the USIBWC, based in El Paso, Texas, has received $220 million in Recovery Act funds, to build levees along the Rio Grande. Whereas some of the levees are planned to protect cities along the border, the USIBWC is building questionable agricultural levees in other areas of Texas and New Mexico.

"We can understand the Obama administration being focused on big issues but it needs to pay some mind to these dusty corners of government because the consequences of neglect can be epic," said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "Numerous reports say that this agency is in crying need of oversight - the one thing it is not getting."

For years, USIBWC, where the Commissioner sets his own salary, has been the setting for scandal and abuse witnessed at the agency. The State IG report cited "an alarming departure of key Personnel" and crippling management weaknesses. Not surprisingly, USIBWC employees are among the unhappiest employees in the federal government, according to surveys by the Partnership for Public Service. The agency ranks near the bottom on every category and dead last when it comes to "effective leadership".

"The leadership circle in this place should be swept out," Ruch added. "The Obama administration should also consider sponsoring legislation to bring this rogue operation under the reins of regular accountability controls."

Read the State Department Inspector General Report

See the FEMA list of "high hazard" federal dams

View one of the court orders on polluting USIBWC water treatment systems

Look at the USIBWC employee ratings

Find out about the current budget

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national alliance of local state and federal resource professionals. PEER's environmental work is solely directed by the needs of its members. As a consequence, we have the distinct honor of serving resource professionals who daily cast profiles in courage in cubicles across the country.

Guantanamo torture continues under Obama

Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama
By Jeremy Scahill

The 'Black Shirts' of Guantanamo routinely terrorize prisoners, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles, and 'dousing' them with chemicals.

As the Obama administration continues to fight the release of some 2,000 photos that graphically document U.S. military abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, an ongoing Spanish investigation is adding harrowing details to the ever-emerging portrait of the torture inside and outside Guantánamo. Among them: "blows to [the] testicles;" "detention underground in total darkness for three weeks with deprivation of food and sleep;" being "inoculated … through injection with 'a disease for dog cysts;'" the smearing of feces on prisoners; and waterboarding. The torture, according to the Spanish investigation, all occurred "under the authority of American military personnel" and was sometimes conducted in the presence of medical professionals.

More significantly, however, the investigation could for the first time place an intense focus on a notorious, but seldom discussed, thug squad deployed by the U.S. military to retaliate with excessive violence to the slightest resistance by prisoners at Guantánamo.

The force is officially known as the the Immediate Reaction Force or Emergency Reaction Force, but inside the walls of Guantánamo, it is known to the prisoners as the Extreme Repression Force. Despite President Barack Obama's publicized pledge to close the prison camp and end torture -- and analysis from human rights lawyers who call these forces' actions illegal -- IRFs remain very much active at Guantánamo.

IRF: An Extrajudicial Terror Squad

The existence of these forces has been documented since the early days of Guantánamo, but it has rarely been mentioned in the U.S. media or in congressional inquiries into torture. On paper, IRF teams are made up of five military police officers who are on constant stand-by to respond to emergencies. "The IRF team is intended to be used primarily as a forced-extraction team, specializing in the extraction of a detainee who is combative, resistive, or if the possibility of a weapon is in the cell at the time of the extraction," according to a declassified copy of the Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta at Guantánamo. The document was signed on March 27, 2003, by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the man credited with eventually "Gitmoizing" Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prisons and who reportedly ordered subordinates to treat prisoners "like dogs." Gen. Miller ran Guantánamo from November 2002 until August 2003 before moving to Iraq in 2004.

When an IRF team is called in, its members are dressed in full riot gear, which some prisoners and their attorneys have compared to "Darth Vader" suits. Each officer is assigned a body part of the prisoner to restrain: head, right arm, left arm, left leg, right leg. According to the SOP memo, the teams are to give verbal warnings to prisoners before storming the cell: "Prior to the use of the IRF team, an interpreter will be used to tell the detainee of the discipline measures to be taken against him and ask whether he intends to resist. Regardless of his answer, his recent behavior and demeanor should be taken into account in determining the validity of his answer."The IRF team is authorized to spray the detainee in the face with mace twice before entering the cell.

According to Gen. Miller's memo: "The physical security of U.S. forces and detainees in U.S. care is paramount. Use the minimum force necessary for mission accomplishment and force protection ... Use of the IRF team and levels of force are not to be used as a method of punishment."

But human rights lawyers, former prisoners and former IRF team members with extensive experience at Guantánamo paint a very different picture of the role these teams played. "They are the Black Shirts of Guantánamo," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented the most Guantánamo prisoners. "IRFs can't be separated from torture. They are a part of the brutalization of humans treated as less than human."

Clive Stafford Smith, who has represented 50 Guantánamo prisoners, including 31 still imprisoned there, has seen the IRF teams up close. "They're goons," he says. "They've played a huge role."

While much of the "torture debate" has emphasized the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" defined by the twisted legal framework of the Office of Legal Council memos, IRF teams in effect operate at Guantánamo as an extrajudicial terror squad that has regularly brutalized prisoners outside of the interrogation room, gang beating them, forcing their heads into toilets, breaking bones, gouging their eyes, squeezing their testicles, urinating on a prisoner's head, banging their heads on concrete floors and hog-tying them -- sometimes leaving prisoners tied in excruciating positions for hours on end.

The IRF teams "were fully approved at the highest levels [of the Bush administration], including the Secretary of Defense and with outside consultation of the Justice Department," says Scott Horton, one of the leading experts on U.S. Military and Constitutional law. This force "was designed to disabuse the prisoners of any idea that they would be free from physical assault while in U.S. custody," he says. "They were trained to brutally punish prisoners in a brief period of time, and ridiculous pretexts were taken to justify" the beatings.

So notorious are these teams that a new lexicon was created and used by prisoners and guards alike to describe the beatings: IRF-ing prisoners or to be IRF-ed.

Former Guantánamo Army Chaplain James Yee, who witnessed IRFings, described "the seemingly harmless behaviors that brought it on [like] not responding when a guard spoke." Yee said he believed that during daily cell sweeps, guards would intentionally do invasive searches of the Muslim prisoners' "private areas" and Korans to "rile the detainees," saying it "seemed like harassment for the sake of harassment, and the prisoners fought it. Those who did were always IRFed."

"I'll put it like this," Stafford Smith says. "My clients are afraid of them."

"Up to 15 people attempted to commit suicide at Camp Delta due to the abuses of the IRF officials," according to the Spanish investigation. Combined with other documentation, including prisoner testimony and legal memos, the IRF teams appear to be one of the most significant forces in the abuse of prisoners at Guantánamo, worthy of an investigation by U.S. prosecutors in and of themselves.

The IRF-ing of Omar Deghayes

Perhaps the worst abuses in the Spanish case involve Omar Deghayes, whose torture began long before he reached Guantánamo, and intensified upon his arrival.

A Libyan citizen who had lived in Britain since 1986, in the late 1990s, Deghayes was a law student when he traveled to Afghanistan, "for the simple reason that he is a Muslim and he wanted to see what it was like," according to his lawyer, Stafford Smith. While there, he met and married an Afghan woman with whom he had a son.

After 9/11, Deghayes was detained in Lahore, Pakistan, for a month, where he allegedly was subjected to "systematic beatings" and "electric shocks done with a tool that looked like a small gun."

He was then transferred to Islamabad, Pakistan,where he claims he was interrogated by both U.S. and British personnel. There, the torture continued; in a March 2005 memo written by a lawyer who later visited Deghayes at Guantánamo, he described a particularly ghoulish incident:

"One day they took me to a room that had very large snakes in glass boxes. The room was all painted black-and-white, with dim lights. They threatened to leave me there and let the snakes out with me in the room. This really got to me, as there were such sick people that they must have had this room specially made."

Deghayes was eventually moved to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he was beaten and "kept nude, as part of the process of humiliation due to his religion." U.S. personnel placed Deghayes "inside a closed box with a lock and limited air." He also described seeing U.S. guards sodomize an African prisoner and alleged guards "forced petrol and benzene up the anuses of the prisoners."

"The camp looked like the Nazi camps that I saw in films," Deghayes said.

When Deghayes finally arrived at Guantánamo in September 2002, he found himself the target of the feared IRF teams.

"The IRF team sprayed Mr. Deghayes with mace; they threw him in the air and let him fall on his face … " according to the Spanish investigation. Deghayes says he also endured a "sexual attack." In March 2004, after being "sprayed in the eyes with mace," Deghayes says authorities refused to provide him with medical attention, causing him to permanently lose sight in his right eye. Stafford Smith described the incident:

"They brought their pepper spray and held him down. They held both of his eyes open and sprayed it into his eyes and later took a towel soaked in pepper spray and rubbed it in his eyes.

"Omar could not see from either eye for two weeks, but he gradually got sight back in one eye.

"He's totally blind in the right eye. I can report that his right eye is all white and milky -- he can't see out of it because he has been blinded by the U.S. in Guantánamo."

In fact, Stafford Smith says his blindness was caused by a combination of the pepper spray and the fact that an IRF team member pushed his finger into Deghayes' eye.

The Spanish investigation into Deghayes' torture draws much from the March 2005 memo, which described several acts of abuse of Deghayes at the hands of the IRF teams. (The memo refers to IRF by its alternative acronym ERF):

ERF-ing Omar -- The Feces Incident

On one of the ERF-ing incidents where Omar was abused, the officer in charge himself came into the cell with the feces of another prisoners [sic] and smeared it onto Omar's face. While some prisoners had thrown feces at the abusive guards, Omar had always emphatically refused to sink to this level. The experience was one of the most disgusting in Omar's life.

ERF-ing Omar -- The Toilet Incident

In April or May 2004, when the Guantánamo administration insisted on taking Omar's English-language Quran, he objected. The ERF team came into Omar's cell and put him in shackles. He was not resisting. They then put his head in the toilet, pressed his face into the water. They repeatedly flushed it.

ERF-ing Omar -- The Beating

In one ERF-ing incident, Omar was shackled by three American soldiers in their black Darth Vader Star Wars uniforms. The first was going to punch Omar, but before he could, the second kneed Omar in the nose, trying to break it. The third queried this, and the second said, "If his nose is broken, that's good. We want to break his ******* nose." The third soldier then took him to hospital.

ERF-ing Omar -- The Drowning

The ERF team came into the cell with a water hose under very high pressure. He was totally shackled, and they would hold his head fixed still. They would force water up his nose until he was suffocating and would scream for them to stop. This was done with medical staff present, and they would join in. Omar is particularly affected by the fact that there was one nurse who "had been very beautiful and kind" to him to [sic] took part in the process. This happened three times.

ERF-ing Omar -- Tango Block

Omar was out on the Tango block rec yard when 15 ERF soldiers came, with two other soldiers in the towers, armed with guns. They grabbed him (and others) and sprayed him.

They then pulled him up into the air and slammed his face down, on the left side, on the concrete. They had someone from the hospital there, and she just watched. She then came up to him and asked whether he was OK. He was taken off to isolation after that.

A medical examination cited in the Spanish investigation confirmed that Deghayes suffered from blindness of the right eye, fracture of the nasal bone and fracture of the right index finger, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and "profound" depression.

Evidence Destroyed?

At the Pentagon, an official paper trail should exist that documents the IRF-ing of Deghayes. What's more, according to Gen. Miller's SOP memo, all of the actions of the IRF teams were to be videotaped as well.

After a prisoner was IRF-ed, "The medical personnel on site will conduct a medical evaluation of the detainee to check for any injuries sustained during the IRF," and, "all IRF Team members are required to submit sworn statements." These statements, reports and video were "to be kept as evidence."

As of early 2005, there were reportedly 500 hours of video; the ACLU attempted to force their release, but they never have been produced.

"Where are those tapes?" asks CCR President Michael Ratner. In some cases, the answer may well be that they never existed or no longer do. "When an IRFing took place a camera was supposed to be present to capture the IRFing," said Army Spec. Brandon Neely, who was on one of the first IRF teams at Guantánamo. "Every time I witnessed an IRFing a camera was present, but one of two things would happen: (1) the camera would never be turned on, or (2) the camera would be on, but pointed straight at the ground."

Neeley recently gave testimony to the University of California, Davis' Guantánamo Testimonials Project. He also described one IRF-ing where the video of the incident was destroyed.

Regarding the videos, Stafford Smith says, "There are some things I can't talk about, but I will confirm there is photographic evidence. I am absolutely confident that if all of the photographs were revealed to the world, they would provide irrefutable physical evidence that the prisoners had been" abused by the IRFs.

As for the "sworn statements" by IRF team members, a review of hundreds of pages of declassified incident reports reveals an almost robotic uniformity in the handwritten accounts, overwhelmingly composed of succinct portrayals of operations that went off without a hitch. Almost all of them contain the phrases "minimum amount of force necessary" and the prisoner "received medical attention and evaluation" before being returned.

"All internal investigations of Gitmo so far have completely whitewashed the IRF process," says Horton. "They did so for obvious reasons."

"The IRF program was supported by advice secured from the Justice Department suggesting that insubordinate behavior could be cited to justify a departure from guidelines against physical force. It has a conspiratorial odor to it," says Horton. "In fact the use of IRFs was illegal, a violation of Common Article 3 [of the Geneva Convention] and a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which forbids the use of unnecessary force against prisoners."

While Spain will probably pursue the role the IRF teams played in the torture of its citizens or residents, its scope goes far beyond those specific incidents.

"I have seen detainees IRF'ed while they were praying, or for refusing medication."

Deghayes' treatment at the hands of the feared IRF teams mirrors that of several other released Guantánamo prisoners.

David Hicks, an Australian citizen held at Guantánamo, said in a sworn affidavit, "I have witnessed the activities of the [IRF], which consists of a squad of soldiers that enter a detainee's cell and brutalize him with the aid of an attack dog ... I have seen detainees suffer serious injuries as a result of being IRF'ed. I have seen detainees IRF'ed while they were praying, or for refusing medication."

Binyam Mohamed, released in February, has also described an IRF assault: "They nearly broke my back. The guy on top was twisting me one way, the guys on my legs the other. They marched me out of the cell to the fingerprint room, still cuffed. I clenched my fists behind me so they couldn't take [finger]prints, so they tried to take them by force. The guy at my head sticks his fingers up my nose and wrenches my head back, jerking it around by the nostrils. Then he put his fingers in my eyes. It felt as if he was trying to gouge them out. Another guy was punching my ribs, and another was squeezing my testicles. Finally, I couldn't take it any more. I let them take the prints."

A report prepared by British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, documents the alleged abuse of a Bahraini citizen, Jumah al Dousari by an IRF team. Before being taken to Guantánamo, al Dousari was widely known to be "mentally ill." On one occasion, the IRF Team was called into his cell after al Dousari allegedly insulted a female soldier. Another prisoner who witnessed the incident described what happened:

"There were usually five people on an ERF team. On this occasion there were eight of them. When Jumah saw them coming, he realized something was wrong and was lying on the floor with his head in his hands. If you're on the floor with your hands on your head, then you would hope that all they would do would be to come in and put the chains on you. That is what they're supposed to do.

"The first man is meant to go in with a shield. On this occasion, the man with the shield threw the shield away, took his helmet off, when the door was unlocked ran in and did a knee drop onto Jumah's back just between his shoulder blades with his full weight. He must have been about 240 pounds in weight. His name was Smith. He was a sergeant E-5. Once he had done that, the others came in and were punching and kicking Jumah. While they were doing that the female officer then came in and was kicking his stomach. Jumah had had an operation and had metal rods in his stomach clamped together in the operation.

"The officer Smith was the MP sergeant who was punching him. He grabbed his head with one hand and with the other hand punched him repeatedly in the face. His nose was broken. He pushed his face, and he smashed it into the concrete floor. All of this should be on video. There was blood everywhere. When they took him out, they hosed the cell down and the water ran red with blood. We all saw it."

Force Feeding as a Form of Torture

The IRF teams were also used to force-feed hunger-striking prisoners at Guantánamo, including in August 2005. Deghayes was among the hunger strikers, writing in a letter, "I am slowly dying in this solitary prison cell, I have no rights, no hope. So why not take my destiny into my own hands, and die for a principle?"

While the U.S. government portrayed a situation where the hunger strikers were being given medical attention, lawyers for some of the men claim that the tubes used to force feed them were "the thickness of a finger" and "were viewed by the detainees as objects of torture."

According to attorney Julia Tarver, one of her clients, Yousef al-Shehri, had a tube inserted with "one [IRF member] holding his chin while the other held him back by his hair, and a medical staff member forcibly inserted the tube in his nose and down his throat" and into his stomach. "No anesthesia or sedative was provided to alleviate the obvious trauma of the procedure." Tarver said this method caused al-Shehri and others to vomit "substantial amounts of blood."

This was painful enough, but al-Shehri, described the removal of the tubes as "unbearable," causing him to pass out from the pain.

According to Tarver, "Nasal gastric (NG) tubes [were removed] by placing a foot on one end of the tube and yanking the detainee's head back by his hair, causing the tube to be painfully ejected from the detainee's nose. Then, in front of the Guantanamo physicians … the guards took NG tubes from one detainee, and with no sanitization whatsoever, reinserted it into the nose of a different detainee. When these tubes were reinserted, the detainees could see the blood and stomach bile from the other detainees remaining on the tubes." Medical staff, according to Tarver, made no effort to intervene. This was one of many incidents where IRF teams facilitated such force-feeding.

Aside from hunger strikes, other forms of resistance were met with brutal reprisal. Tarek Dergoul, a prisoner interviewed by Human Rights Watch, described how IRF teams beat him because he "often refused to cooperate with cell searches during prayer time. One reason was that they would abuse the Quran. Another was that the guards deliberately felt up my private parts under the guise of searching me."

Dergoul said, "If I refused a cell search, MPs would call the Extreme Reaction Force, who came in riot gear with plastic shields and pepper spray. The Extreme Reaction Force entered the cell, ran in and pinned me down after spraying me with pepper spray and attacked me. The pepper spray caused me to vomit on several occasions. They poked their fingers in my eyes, banged my head on the floor and kicked and punched me and tied me up like a beast. They often forced my head into the toilet."

Jamal al-Harith claims he was beaten by a five-man IRF team for refusing an injection: "I was terrified of what they were going to do. I had seen victims of [IRF] being paraded in front of my cell. They were battered and bruised into submission. It was a horrible sight and a frequent sight. … They were really gung-ho, hyped up and aggressive. One of them attacked me really hard and left me with a deep red mark from my backbone down to my knee. I thought I was bleeding, but it was just really bad bruising."

The IRF-ing of Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean Baker

Ironically, perhaps the most well-publicized case of abuse by this force was not inflicted on a Guantanamo prisoner, but on an active-duty U.S. soldier and Gulf War veteran.

In January 2003, Sgt. Sean Baker was ordered to participate in an IRF training drill at Guantánamo where he would play the role of an uncooperative prisoner. Sgt. Baker says he was ordered by his superior to take off his military uniform and put on an orange jumpsuit like those worn by prisoners. He was told to yell out the code word "red" if the situation became unbearable, or he wanted his fellow soldiers to stop.

According to sworn statements, upon entering his cell, IRF members thought they were restraining an actual prisoner. As Sgt. Baker later described:

They grabbed my arms, my legs, twisted me up and, unfortunately, one of the individuals got up on my back from behind and put pressure down on me while I was face down. Then he -- the same individual -- reached around and began to choke me and press my head down against the steel floor. After several seconds, 20 to 30 seconds, it seemed like an eternity because I couldn't breathe. When I couldn't breathe, I began to panic and I gave the code word I was supposed to give to stop the exercise, which was 'red.' … That individual slammed my head against the floor and continued to choke me. Somehow I got enough air. I muttered out: 'I'm a U.S. soldier. I'm a U.S. soldier.'

Sgt. Baker said his head was slammed once more, and after groaning "I'm a U.S. soldier" one more time, "I heard them say, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa,' you know, like … he was telling the other guy to stop."

According to CBS:

Bloodied and disoriented, Baker somehow made it back to his unit, and his first thought was to get hold of the videotape. "I said, 'Go get the tape,' " recalls Baker. " 'They've got a tape. Go get the tape.' My squad leader went to get the tape."

Every extraction drill at Guantanamo was routinely videotaped, and the tape of this drill would show what happened. But Baker says his squad leader came back and said, "There is no tape."

The New York Times later reported that the military "says it can't find a videotape that is believed to have been made of the incident." Baker was soon diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. He began suffering seizures, sometimes 10 to 12 per day.

"This was just one typical incident, and Baker was recognizable as an American," says Horton. "But it gives a good flavor of what the Gitmo detainees went through, which was generally worse."

IRF-ing Continues Under Obama

On Jan. 7, 2009, a prisoner named Yasin Ismael threw a shoe in frustration at the inside of a cage to which he had been confined. The guards accused Ismael of attacking them and called in an IRF team.

According to his attorneys, "The team shackled him, and he put up no resistance. They then beat him. They blocked his nose and mouth until he felt that he would suffocate and hit him repeatedly in the ribs and head. They then took him back to his cell. As he was being taken back, a guard urinated on his head. Mr. Ismael was badly injured, and his ear started to bleed, leaving a large stain on his pillow."

Less than two weeks later, on Jan. 22, newly inaugurated President Obama issued an executive order requiring the closure of Guantánamo within a year and also ordered a review of the status of the prisoners held there, requiring "humane standards of confinement" in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

But one month later, the Center for Constitutional Rights released a report titled "Conditions of Confinement at Guantánamo: Still In Violation of the Law," which found that abuses continued. In fact, one Guantanamo lawyer, Ahmed Ghappour, said that his clients were reporting "a ramping up in abuse" since Obama was elected, including "beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-force feeding detainees who are on hunger strike," according to Reuters.

"Certainly in my experience there have been many, many more reported incidents of abuse since the inauguration," Ghappour said.

While the dominant media coverage of the U.S. torture apparatus has portrayed these tactics as part of a "Bush era" system that Obama has now ended, when it comes to the IRF teams, that is simply not true. "[D]etainees live in constant fear of physical violence. Frequent attacks by IRF teams heighten this anxiety and reinforce that violence can be inflicted by the guards at any moment for any perceived infraction, or sometimes without provocation or explanation," according to CCR.

In early February 2009, at least 16 men were on hunger strike at Guantanamo's Camp 6 and refused to leave their cells for "force feeding." IRF teams violently extracted them from their cells with the "men being dragged, beaten and stepped on, and their arms and fingers twisted painfully." Tubes were then forced down their noses, which one prisoner described as "torture, torture, torture."

In April, Mohammad al-Qurani, a 21-year-old Guantánamo prisoner from Chad managed to call Al-Jazeera and described a recent beating: "This treatment started about 20 days before Obama came into power, and since then I've been subjected to it almost every day," he said. "Since Obama took charge, he has not shown us that anything will change."

Al-Jazeera reported:

Describing a specific incident, which took place after change in the U.S. administration, al-Qurani said he had refused to leave his cell because they were "not granting me my rights," such as being able to walk around, interact with other inmates and have "normal food."

A group of six soldiers wearing protective gear and helmets entered his cell, accompanied by one soldier carrying a camera and one with tear gas, he said.

"They had a thick rubber or plastic baton they beat me with. They emptied out about two canisters of tear gas on me," he told Al-Jazeera.

"After I stopped talking, and tears were flowing from my eyes, I could hardly see or breathe.

"They then beat me again to the ground, one of them held my head and beat it against the ground. I started screaming to his senior 'see what he's doing, see what he's doing' [but] his senior started laughing and said 'he's doing his job.'"

In another incident after Obama's inauguration, prisoner Khan Tumani began smearing excrement on the walls of his cell to protest his treatment. According to his lawyer, when he "did not clean up the excrement, a large IRF team of 10 guards was ordered to his cell and beat him severely. The guards sprayed so much tear gas or other noxious substance after the beating that it made at least one of the guards vomit. Mr. Khan Tumani's skin was still red and burning from the gas days later."

The CCR has called on the Obama administration to immediately end the use of the IRF teams at Guantánamo. Horton, meanwhile, says "detainees should be entitled to compensation for injuries they suffered."

As the abuse continues at Guantánamo, and powerful congressional leaders from both parties and the White House fiercely resist the appointment of an independent special prosecutor, the sad fact is that the best chance for justice for the victims of U.S. torture may well be an ocean away in Madrid, Spain.

"The Obama administration should not need pressure from abroad to uphold our own laws and initiate a criminal investigation in the U.S.," says Vince Warren, CCR's executive director. "I hope the Spanish cases will impress on the president and Attorney General Eric Holder how seriously the rest of the world takes these crimes and show them the issue will not go away."

Jeremy Scahill, an independent journalist who reports frequently for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now, has spent extensive time reporting from Iraq and Yugoslavia. He is currently a Puffin Writing fellow at The Nation Institute. Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His writing and reporting is available at Rebel Reports.



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Zapatistas March 9, 2009 (Spanish/Espanol)

Listen at (Espanol):

Palabras de bienvenida de las compañeras bases de apoyo

Como siguiente número va dar la bienvenida una compañera base de apoyo.

Compañeras y compañeros:
Hoy, 8 de marzo de 2009, nosotras como mujeres, hombres, niñas y niños, ancianos y ancianas bases de apoyo del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional les damos la cordial bienvenida a todas ustedes los que vienen de otros estados y de otros países del mundo. Que vienen a participar con nosotras en el evento político, deportivo, cultural y artístico Mamá Corral.

Les decimos, pues, que sean bienvenidas y bienvenidos a este evento y a este lugar muy humilde y muy sencillo. Pero nosotras, como mujeres bases de apoyo, estamos muy contentas que nos acompañan en este evento en nuestro caracol. Sentimos que estamos solos y solas por eso les decimos que gracias por su acompañamiento y su presencia.
Este es el lugar y la casa de ustedes, y la casa de todos los hombres y las mujeres, los niños y los ancianos, los que luchamos por democracia, libertad y justicia.
Por eso, les decimos que estén contentas y contentos en este evento de mujeres zapatistas y las mujeres de otros estados y de otros países.

Es todo, muchas gracias.


Palabras de bienvenida de las compañeras de la Junta de Buen Gobierno

Compañeras y compañeros, hermanas y hermanos, bases de apoyo, responsables locales y regionales, insurgentas, insurgentes y milicianas y milicianos, promotoras y promotores de educación, promotoras y promotores de salud, autoridades de los municipios autónomos, y compañeras y compañeros de las diferentes áreas de trabajo, compañeras y compañeros de los diferentes caracoles que hoy nos acompañan en este evento para las mujeres zapatistas y mujeres de La Otra Campaña.

Hermanas y hermanos de la sociedad civil nacional e internacionales y de La Otra Campaña que vienen de los diferentes países del mundo, que con su presencia y acompañamiento para este encuentro tan histórico para las mujeres, y que es un recordatorio más a nuestras compañeras caídas por el sistema capitalista.

Por eso, nosotras las mujeres zapatistas nunca olvidaremos de ellas. Por eso, les decimos a todas las compañeras que sigamos adelante en nuestra lucha y para nosotras las mujeres es un ejemplo a seguir.

A nombre de las compañeras y compañeros integrantes de la Junta de Buen Gobierno les damos la más cordial bienvenida a todas ustedes. Y les decimos, como Junta de Buen Gobierno, que aquí estamos y seguiremos adelante con nuestro pueblo. A pesar de todas las amenazas y ataques que nos hace el mal gobierno, nosotros y nosotras, las zapatistas, junto con ustedes seguiremos construyendo nuestra autonomía. Se necesita hacer cada vez más fuerte nuestra lucha.

Atentamente, la Junta de Buen Gobierno, Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas delante del Mundo, Zona Altos de Chiapas, México, 8 de marzo 2009.



Palabras de bienvenida del CCRI-CG del EZLN

Compañeras y compañeros bases de apoyo.
Compañeras y compañeros de los diferentes áreas de trabajo
Compañeros responsables locales y regionales, representantes y comisiones de los cinco caracoles que vienen a participar en este evento.
Compañeras y hermanas de La Otra Campaña y la Sexta Internacional
Compañeras y hermanas de otros países del mundo.
Hermanas y hermanos todos.

A nombre de las niñas, de los niños y jóvenes zapatistas. A nombre de todos los pueblos y comunidades zapatistas. A nombre de las compañeras y compañeros autoridades de las diferentes áreas de trabajo. A nombre de las compañeras y compañeros de los responsables locales y regionales en esta zona. A nombre de las compañeras autoridades de los municipios autónomos. A nombre de las compañeras y compañeros integrantes de la Junta de Buen Gobierno. A nombre de las milicianas, milicianos, insurgentas e insurgentes del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional.

El Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena les da a todas y todos la más cordial bienvenida a este Evento político, deportivo, cultural y artístico Mamá Corral. Y gracias por venir a participar en este evento que tratamos de llevar a cabo. Porque en esta manera celebremos el 8 de marzo. Y recordamos a nuestras compañeras de lucha, quienes han caído en el cumplimiento de su deber. Y otras han fallecido por alguna enfermedad. Pero a todas las tenemos presentes y tratamos de seguir sus ejemplos.
Sabemos que no es gran cosa de lo que estamos haciendo ahora, pero les pedimos a todas las compañeras y hermanas, los que acompañan, los que vienen muy lejos, pero hicieron lo posible por llegar hasta acá, en el lugar digno y rebelde contra el sistema capitalista.

Les decimos que participen con ganas, que demuestren su alegría, su capacidad, su inteligencia, y su decisión de luchas a través de los deportes, bailables, cantos, poesías, teatros, entre otras cosas como quieran participar.

Aunque no sabemos cómo va a salir todo nuestro evento, pero lo importante que participemos. Y que recordemos este día 8 de marzo es el día internacional de la mujer. Sabemos que el día de hoy, en todos los caracoles zapatistas, muchas compañeras, las que no llegaron hasta aquí, están celebrando en cada una de zona, o en cada una de ellas.

Pero también, sabemos que hay miles de mujeres de México y del mundo salen en las calles para manifestarse y exigir sus demandas. Por eso, desde aquí les mandamos nuestros saludos y solidaridad. Compañeras, hermanas y compañeros presentes, sean bienvenidos pues, y que participen con ganas, con alegría y con decisión.

Porque sabemos cuántas veces vamos a celebrar como ésta. Depende cómo nos va la guerra que nos hace el mal gobierno que cada día nos amenaza. Pero mientras vivimos la debemos seguir celebrando y seguir luchando por Democracia, Libertad y Justicia. Es todo nuestra palabra y muchas gracias.

Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena-Comandancia General del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional.

Desde el Caracol II, Oventik, Zona Altos de Chiapas, México, 8 de marzo, 2009.


Discurso central del CCRI-CG del EZLN

Compañeras bases de apoyo, responsables locales y regionales,
Compañeras del Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena de todas las zonas,
Compañeras de los diferentes áreas de trabajo como promotoras de salud, promotoras de educación, autoridades de las sociedades cooperativas, compañeras encargadas de los trabajos organizativos,
Compañeras locutoras y operadoras de radio de comunicación,
Compañeras autoridades civiles de los Municipios Autónomos,
Compañeras de las Juntas de Buen Gobierno de los cinco Caracoles,
Compañeras insurgentas y milicianas del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional,
Compañeras adherentes y simpatizantes de la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona, que nos acompañan.

Hoy, 8 de marzo de 2009, estamos aquí reunidas para celebrar el día internacional de la mujer, estamos aquí las mujeres zapatistas y las mujeres de La Otra Campaña de México y del mundo. Están también las mujeres que luchan de alguna forma en sus pueblos, en sus estados y en sus países.

Es un día donde debemos celebrar y recordar a nuestras hermanas obreras de Nueva York, Estados Unidos. Un día como hoy, 8 de marzo, donde fueron quemadas dentro de la fábrica. Sus delitos: sólo por exigir y protestar las malas condiciones laborales y los malos tratos que reciben dentro de la fábrica. Sólo por pedir un salario justo y exigir jornadas de trabajo, sólo por rebelarse, por levantarse sus voces ante los patrones y explotadores, las masacraron y las quemaron en centro de trabajo.

Por eso, un día como hoy, 8 de marzo, es donde debemos recordar siempre a nuestras hermanas obreras de Nueva York. Pero también, este día debemos recordar y tenerlas presentes a nuestras compañeras caídas desde que nació nuestra organización del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional. Recordamos también a nuestras compañeras y hermanas desaparecidas, encarceladas y perseguidas por el mal gobierno.

Pero hoy es un día especial para sentir que su presencia, su ejemplo, su lucha, su valentía, su honestidad, su furia, su rebeldía y sus corazones que tan grandes fue que hasta dieron la vida por un mundo nuevo y libre. Para nosotras es un ejemplo tan grande que seguir, porque a nuestras compañeras caídas en el cumplimiento de su deber no le tuvieron miedo a la muerte y no conocieron la rendición.

Aunque quizás hubo momentos difíciles en sus vidas, en su caminar, pero lo pudieron vencer, pudieron resistir y lo hicieron posible lo imposible. Esas luchas de nuestras hermanas y compañeras las debemos considerar como un espejo donde lo debemos ver, donde lo debemos apreciar, donde la debemos mirar como un horizonte, porque la situación de injusticias que sufrimos ahora las mujeres en cualquier parte del mundo son insoportables.

Siempre sufrimos de alguna manera la explotación, el maltrato, la humillación, la discriminación, el olvido, la muerte y el desprecio de los malos gobernantes del sistema capitalista neoliberal. Son ellos los responsables cuando los hombres nos tratan a las mujeres con dominación y desigualdad, porque hasta la fecha sufrimos la triple opresión: por ser mujer, por ser indígena y por ser pobres. Por eso hay que hacer algo para salir de esta situación desigualdad y de las injusticias.

Compañeras y hermanas, el día 8 de marzo del año 2009, decidimos celebrar en un evento donde pueden participar puras mujeres. Pero cuando estábamos decidiendo su característica de nuestro evento supimos la muerte de nuestra compañera Concepción de García de Corral. Aunque no la conocimos personalmente, pero sabemos que fue una persona buena y luchadora. Entonces, por ser una compañera de lucha y una compañera que ha luchado incansablemente durante su vida, y por las y los desaparecidos y en honor a ella decidimos llamar nuestro evento: Evento político, deportivo, cultural y artístico Mamá Corral.

Y para esto nos hemos reunido miles de mujeres zapatistas pertenecientes en el Caracol de Oventik. Y además, en cada Caracol han enviado una pequeña comisión para participar en este evento. Pero también, hay miles de mujeres que quedaron pendientes en sus pueblos, en sus comunidades, que no pudieron llegar hasta acá por falta de recursos económicos y por las movilizaciones de militares y paramilitares que hacen para provocar por todas partes.

Pero en este evento es donde demostramos lo poco que hemos podido aprender durante estos años de lucha y de resistencia. Y también compartir la poca experiencia que tenemos con nuestra hermana y compañera de lucha de México y del mundo. Es un día donde debemos celebrar con alegría el día 8 de marzo, día internacional de la mujer. Pero también, es un día de convivencia de las mujeres zapatistas, porque en otras ocasiones hemos celebrado cumpliendo nuestros compromisos en las diferentes áreas de trabajos. Otras veces trabajando en nuestros hogares. A veces, haciendo manifestaciones. O algunos años, simplemente no nos acordamos esta fecha tan importante.

Pero ya llevamos más de 15 años de nuestro levantamiento armado contra las injusticias, contra la muerte, contra el olvido, y en contra de los malos tratos que recibimos en todas partes. También las mujeres decidimos decir: Ya Basta, el 1 de enero de 1994. Hemos decidido organizarnos para luchar en diferentes formas de lucha, tanto en la política, en lo militar, en lo económico, en lo ideológico, en lo cultural y en lo social.

Pero durante estos 15 años de guerra y resistencia, no ha sido fácil para cumplir todos los niveles de trabajo. Pero por nuestros, perdón, pero por nuestro esfuerzo que hemos hecho todas las mujeres, hemos podido dar nuestra participación como promotoras y coordinadoras en la salud, promotoras y coordinadoras general de la educación, autoridades y mesas directivas de las diferentes cooperativas, participación de las mujeres en la organización y realización de los trabajos colectivos y organizativos.

Participación de las mujeres como milicianas e insurgentas. Participación de las mujeres como locutoras de radio comunitaria. Participación de las mujeres como operadoras de radio de comunicación de cada comunidades. Participación de las mujeres de vigilar y dar seguridad de nuestras comunidades. Participación de las mujeres como autoridades de los municipios autónomos y miembros de las Juntas de Buen Gobierno.

Son estos trabajos los que hemos realizado durante estos años. Pero queremos decirles compañeras que debemos seguir avanzando una vez más los trabajos de cada uno de los niveles, porque no es suficiente lo que pudimos hacer durante estos 15 años de lucha. Porque, para poder lograr lo que queremos, es muy importante y necesaria que las mujeres zapatistas que entendamos y que sepamos bien cuáles son los trabajos que nos toca hacer en nuestros pueblos y así poder ejercer nuestros derechos en nuestras comunidades zapatistas.

Por eso, les hacemos un llamado especial a todas las mujeres zapatistas, las que todavía no tienen ninguna responsabilidad, que participen en los distintos niveles de trabajo. A las mujeres bases de apoyo del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional tienen la obligación de nombrar más responsables locales y regionales de cada pueblo los que todavía no tienen. Se deben nombrar más compañeras del Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena y también las mujeres deben estar siempre formando parte como autoridades de los municipios autónomos y de las Juntas de Buen Gobierno.

Necesitamos formar más trabajos organizativos o trabajos colectivos y seguir sosteniendo y fortaleciendo nuestros trabajos colectivos y nuestras sociedades cooperativas que ya existen. Porque es un fuente de ingreso donde podamos trabajar para solucionar algunas necesidades urgentes. Estos trabajos organizativos es para poder resistir los ataques y los golpes económicos que da el mal gobierno.

Como zapatistas se existe más mujeres que tomen en serio su responsabilidad como promotoras de salud, promotoras de educación, ser también promotoras de agroecología, para aprender cómo cuidar nuestra madre tierra y nuestra naturaleza.

A las mujeres que ya tienen responsabilidad como locutoras de radio comunitaria y radio de comunicación: que por ningún motivo dejen abandonados sus trabajos. Ya que ahora ya lo tenemos en nuestras manos y lo debemos aprovechar ese espacio para dar nuestro servicio.

También, es muy importante y necesaria que las jóvenas formen parte como milicianas e insurgentas, porque el mal gobierno nos pueden atacar en cualquier momento. Y cuando son atacados nuestros pueblos tenemos que saber defenderlos y, sobre todo, defender a nuestros niños.

Estos trabajos y compromisos, que ya mencionamos todo, es para fortalecer nuestra autonomía y, además, es la que marca en nuestra Ley Revolucionaria de Mujeres, que se dio a conocer el 1 de enero de 1994. Necesitamos hacer valer ese derecho y esa obligación, porque durante cientos de años no nos han dado este lugar.

Ahora, es el momento de romper las cadenas que nos amarraban. Es el momento de romper nuestro silencio. Es el momento de levantarse. Es la hora de vernos cómo estamos. Es la hora de decir ya basta al sentirse inferior a los hombres. Es el momento de dejar atrás nuestra timidez y nuestra vergüenza.

Es el tiempo de actuar y el tiempo de agarrar con nuestras manos nuestros derechos, que nos corresponden como mujeres. Y es el tiempo de empezar a caminar. Es la hora de rebelarse. Es la hora de tener fuerza y valor para salir de la triple opresión de todas las mujeres de México y del mundo.

La única salida para liberarse de esta situación injusta que vivimos las mujeres, solamente es decir: Ya Basta y luchar por nuestros derechos. Es que tenemos que agarrar nuestra fuerza, es que nosotras las mujeres de cualquier parte de Chiapas y de México y quizás todo el mundo, somos la mayoría. Más de la mitad de la población son mujeres, entonces se necesita esa mitad de la población se rebele y luche contra un sistema social injusto que nos explota y nos mata en todos los sentidos.

Entonces, con nuestra fuerza y furia podemos derrotar el gran enemigo que es el sistema capitalista neoliberal. Pero nosotros y nosotras siempre decimos que es mejor luchar junto, tanto hombres y mujeres. Por eso, las mujeres debemos demostrar nuestra dignidad y espíritu de lucha que tenemos a cada una de nosotras. Si nuestros pueblos nos nombran para cualquier cargo o responsabilidad lo debemos tomar con alegría, con mucho amor porque quiere decir que nos toman en cuenta a las mujeres.

Por eso, debemos hacer los trabajos con decisión y con ganas, claro, con muchos sacrificios. Cuando no nos toman en cuenta es que no nos ven como persona, es que nos consideran como incapaces, que no sabemos pensar, que no sabemos actuar y que no podemos tomar cualquier responsabilidad.

Por eso, debemos aprender y valernos nosotras mismas. Pero también debemos saber que con el mal gobierno no tenemos esperanza que va a cambiar la situación de nuestros pueblos, sea de Chiapas, de todo México o de cualquier parte del mundo. Porque lo que se ve es que los poderosos cada vez más están preparando cómo acabar y matar a nuestros pueblos y comunidades. Y así como lo hizo en Acteal, Unión Progreso, en San Salvador Atenco, Oaxaca, en Guerrero, en muchas partes de México y del mundo.

Los malos gobiernos nos matan, encarcelar y asesinar a nuestros compañeros y compañeras, las que luchan por sus derechos. Pero no sólo eso, sino que también nos quieren comprar nuestra conciencia de lucha, con sus proyectos económicos y sus programas vergonzosos. Según dicen que es para dar solución a nuestras demandas con que nos hemos levantado en armas en 1994. Pero, para nosotras y nosotros, no es la que queremos. Nosotros y nosotras luchamos por una verdadera democracia, libertad y justicia para todos.

Pero nos da la lástima que hay personas que se dejan engañar y vender su dignidad con algunos regalitos que da el mal gobierno. Los programas del mal gobierno sólo provocan divisiones y desánimos en algunas comunidades pero los que caen en esa trampa del mal gobierno ya quedan conformes, ya no quieren seguir en la lucha y se salen de la organización. Ya sólo quieren resignarse, quieren ser sometidos y dominados por las ideas del sistema capitalista.

Por eso, no nos dejamos de engañar ni convencer con el mal gobierno, porque se ve claro que no es la solución de nuestras demandas, sino que sólo es un engaño y una burla para nuestros pueblos.

Pero, a pesar de las amenazas, de la persecución, represión, encarcelamiento, asesinato, y masacre de nuestras compañeras y hermanos, nuestra lucha sigue y seguirá adelante hasta triunfar.

No importa lo que haga el mal gobierno ya no nos podrá convencer. No podrá comprar nuestra conciencia. Ya no podrá detener y acabar nuestra lucha, porque ahora ya somos miles y millones de hombres y mujeres que estamos levantando la bandera de lucha por democracia, libertad y justicia para todos. Está claro que nosotras como mujeres zapatistas y las mujeres de La Otra Campaña hace falta que nos organicemos cada vez más, que estemos presentes siempre en cada uno de los trabajos que se realicen.
Porque si no participamos las mujeres, a quién esperamos a que vengan a hacer algo por nosotras. No, compañeras, sino que tenemos que hacer un esfuerzo y sacrificios para la lucha, por nosotras mismas. Porque si nosotras las mujeres, las que estamos aquí, no queremos hacer nada, qué ejemplo vamos a dejar a nuestras hijas y qué cuenta vamos a dar a nuestras compañeras caídas.

No, compañeras, a nuestras caídas y caídos debemos decirles que aquí estamos y no nos rendiremos ni nos venderemos. De esta forma, respetamos la sangre de nuestras caídas y caídos, que ellos y ellas ya están abonando la santa madre tierra y dé la fuerza a nuestra lucha. Y esa semilla que nos ha dejado, algún día se cosechará. Pero sólo si nosotras hacemos grande y fuerte nuestra lucha.

Por eso, tenemos que seguir luchando sin descansar hasta lograr nuestros objetivos, o sea, por democracia, libertad y justicia. Y para esto, no nos queda de otro que seguir luchando, resistiendo, organizando y superando todos los obstáculos que vayamos encontrando en nuestro caminar.

También, les decimos a todas las mujeres zapatistas que ya tienen responsabilidad antes y después de 1994 que no se desanimen, que no dejen de participar. No abandonen sus compromisos y no se dejen convencer por los problemas que vayan encontrando. Porque ustedes ya demostraron que sí pueden resistir. Aunque vemos que es muy poco lo que podemos hacer es cada uno de los trabajos. Pero todo es muy importante y necesario para nuestra lucha. Sólo se necesita un poco de esfuerzo, voluntad y sacrificio por cumplir nuestros compromisos.

Y también, les hacemos un llamado especial a todas las jóvenas de las nuevas generaciones, que vean la forma cómo prepararse para que puedan participar en las diferentes áreas de trabajos: tanto en la salud, en la educación, en la comercialización, en los trabajos colectivos, y en otros trabajos que se necesita en nuestra organización. Y que tengan ganas de luchar. Que tengan la sencillez de sus corazones, porque son ustedes las futuras generaciones que van a llevar adelante nuestras lucha de liberación.
Pero, también, va un agradecimiento a todos los compañeros, quienes ya han entendido la importancia de la participación de las mujeres. A que hayan dejado participar a sus compañeras en los distintos niveles de responsabilidad. Que sigan entendiendo y que sigan apoyando a sus compañeras.

Y también les decimos a los compañeros, los que todavía no dejan a sus mujeres a que participen en los distintos áreas de trabajo: que traten de entender y ayuden a sus compañeras y que le den su libertad a las compañeras para que realicen los trabajos, porque sabemos que se necesita la participación de todos en esta lucha.

Por último, les hacemos un llamado a todas las mujeres de La Otra Campaña, a todas las mujeres de la Sexta Internacional, a todas las mujeres honestas, a todas las mujeres explotadas, a todas las mujeres despreciadas y olvidadas por el sistema capitalista neoliberal a que se sigan organizando, a que sigan resistiendo y que luchen en las medidas de sus posibilidades pero no dejen de luchar.

Es todo lo que queremos decirles compañeras y hermanas. Esperamos que habrá otro momento para celebrar así el día 8 de marzo. Y si no, cada quien en sus pueblos, en sus centros de trabajo, o en cada una de nosotras. Pero lo importante que recordemos siempre a nuestras hermanas y compañeras quienes han dado la vida por luchar para exigir libertad y justicia. Son nuestros héroes y mártires. Voy a dar.

¡Viva el día internacional de la mujer!
¡Vivan las mujeres luchadoras de México y del mundo!
¡Vivan las mujeres y las niñas zapatistas!
¡Vivan las niñas de México y del mundo!
¡Libertad a todos los y las presas de México!
¡Viva Chiapas!
¡Viva México!

Por el Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena-Comandancia General del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, desde el Caracol II, Oventik, Chiapas, México, a 8 de marzo de 2009.

Muchas Gracias.


Palabras de compañeras del Caracol de La Realidad

Soy la compañera Everilda del Caracol Madre de los Caracoles Mar de Nuestros Sueños. De la Zona Selva Fronteriza.

Recibimos su invitación compañeras del Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena de este Caracol Corazón Céntrico de los Zapatistas Delante del Mundo, Zona Altos de Chiapas.

Venimos en representación de las compañeras bases de apoyo, responsables locales y regionales de nuestra zona. Ya que ellas y ellos se quedaron celebrando en los distintos pueblos. Y otras y otros en regiones.

Hoy este día, 8 de marzo, día internacional de la mujer revolucionaria, de nuestra Zona Selva Fronteriza, de nuestro Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, venimos aquí y nos da mucho gusto estar aquí, celebrando juntas, otro aniversario más, día internacional de la mujer revolucionaria.

Hoy, 8 de marzo 2009. Un día como hoy, en el año de 1886, entregaron sus vidas estas mujeres, en la ciudad de Nueva York, Estados Unidos. En una fábrica de textil. Fueron las primeras mujeres que se levantaron la voz en contra del sistema capitalista. Y en nuestra lucha hemos sido muy importantes.

Porque el primero de enero de 1994, cuando nos alzamos en armas, recibimos con valentía y firmamos para hacer la guerra en contra del mal gobierno y su ejército federal.

Sin importar nuestras responsabilidades de cuidar nuestras hijas, nuestros hijos, es decir, nuestras familias. Hombres y mujeres fuimos, fueron, a la guerra. Como mujeres, no detuvimos a nuestros hombres, sabiendo los riesgos que era de vida o muerte. Que estaba en cada uno de los combatientes.

En ese entonces, y precisamente por eso, hoy las mujeres, todas las mujeres del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, hemos podido organizarnos en los distintos trabajos colectivos, en los pueblos, en las regiones, en los Municipios Autónomos, y en las Zonas.

También, muchas compañeras participamos ya en todo el EZLN, en distintos cargos y desempeños de dirección, comités, suplentas, candidatas a comités, regionales. Y también en nuestra organización civil autónoma.

Están desempeñando cargos de comisariadas ejidales, agentas municipales, promotoras de salud, promotoras de educación, consejas municipales, de los municipios autónomos.
Compañeras que están trabajando en las Juntas de Buen Gobierno, y otras actividades que, como mujeres del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, desempeñamos desde nuestros pueblos, nuestras regiones, nuestros municipios autónomos, nuestras zonas.

Es por esto, y por esta razón hemos podido llegar hasta aquí, para celebrar un aniversario más el día internacional de la mujer revolucionaria de México y del mundo.

Las luchadoras y trabajadoras sociales tuvieron que entregar sus vidas, cumpliendo con sus deberes, de luchar para conseguir mejores condiciones de trabajo. Es decir, pocas horas de trabajo. De lo que el patrón les imponía. Así como también el reconocimiento de un salario más justo para ellas. Nos queda claro, que ellas cumplieron su deber.

Así como han cumplido su deber las compañeras continuadoras y fundadoras de nuestra organización. Así como también las compañeras que se han muerto en nuestra lucha por enfermedades, como la compañera Lucha y la Comandanta Ramona.

Para todas ellas, que han cumplido con nuestro lema de Vivir por la Patria o morir por la Libertad.

Gracias compañeras, gracias compañeros.


Palabras de compañeras del Caracol de Morelia

Nosotras venimos, una comisión, del Caracol IV, Morelia. Por eso venimos a decir nuestras humildes palabras.

A nombre de todas las compañeras bases de apoyo del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, Zona Tzots Choj, Caracol IV, Morelia.

Hoy, 8 de marzo de 2009, esta fecha muy importante para nosotras a todas las mujeres. Porque ahí recordamos las mujeres obreras, trabajadoras, textileras, en Nueva York. Que ellas fueron quemadas dentro de sus centros de trabajo. Son violadas por sus derechos, porque nunca fueron escuchadas, ni tomadas en cuenta. Por reclamar un salario justo, menos horas de trabajo.

Porque siempre los patrones son explotadores y discriminadores hacia las mujeres. Pero, hasta ahora, todavía existe esa clase de violación de derechos hacia nosotras las mujeres campesinas, trabajadoras y obreras en los centros de trabajo.

Pero ahí no tienen la libertad de expresar lo que sienten, lo que piensan, ni mucho menos tiene la oportunidad de organizarse. Porque si lo hacen, serán despedidas o quitadas de sus trabajos. Hasta son perseguidas o encarceladas.

Así siempre el pinche sistema, siempre nos está haciendo mucho daño, hasta ahora. Pero, para nosotras las mujeres zapatistas y las mujeres luchadoras, en diferentes partes de nuestro país, estamos muy concientes y bien claro hasta dónde viene la raíz de toda esta explotación, la desigualdad y el individualismo.

Este es el sistema capitalista. Y esto hay que acabar compañeras. Por eso, tenemos que luchar juntas y juntos con nuestros compañeros. Las mujeres y hombres de todo México y todo el mundo. Pero para luchar se necesita voluntad, conciencia y sacrificios. Para que así podemos lograr la libertad, la justicia y la democracia para todas y todos.

Ánimo pues compañeras, compañeros. Estamos con ustedes, no están solas.

A los que no pudieron llegar a este gran Encuentro deportivo, cultural, artístico Mamá Corral, les deseamos, con mucho cariño, las felicidades.

Decimos unas vivas:

¡Vivan las mujeres valientes que luchan por un mundo nuevo!
¡Viva el 8 de marzo, día internacional de la mujer!
¡Libertad para las presas políticas!

Es todo compañeros y compañeras.


Palabras de compañeras del Caracol de Roberto Barrios

A nombre de mis compañeras y mujeres de la Zona Norte, venimos a representar nuestros pueblos de los municipios autónomos en nuestro lugar de desarrollo político y cultural de las mujeres en lucha.

Hermanos y hermanas de la sociedad civil nacional e internacional.
Compañeras y compañeros de La Otra Campaña y de la Sexta Intergaláctica.
Compañeros y compañeras de los otros caracoles que están presentes.

Tengan muy buenas tardes. Hoy, 8 de marzo, nos encontramos reunidos en este Caracol de Oventik, celebrando el día internacional de la mujer. Como mujeres zapatistas venimos a celebrar el 8 de marzo. Un día como hoy, pero en el año de 1908, fue un paso más de las mujeres obreras. En ese entonces, no se celebró una fiesta, como lo hacemos ahora. Fue una tristeza porque fueron masacradas, quemadas en una fábrica de textil, en la ciudad de Nueva York.

En el solo hecho de exigir mejores salarios, estas mujeres son mal pagadas. Los manipulaban en el trabajo, haciéndolas trabajar doce horas sin salir a pasear o divertirse, porque el patrón ordenaba que esas mujeres no tienen derecho ni a hablar, ni defenderse.
Esas mujeres, poco a poco, fueron conociendo sus derechos. Empezaron a manifestarse, sus manifestaciones fue hacer marchas. A manifestar sus palabras. Es por eso que esas mujeres fueron encerradas en esa empresa. Fueron quemadas 129 mujeres.

Estas primeras compañeras luchadoras nos sembraron el ejemplo de las luchas de los pueblos del mundo en el campo, en la ciudad. Por ejemplo, hoy vemos que la situación de las comunidades no era nada diferente. Ya que existían muchas discriminación.

Nosotras, nuestras abuelas, o madres, no trabajaban en fábricas. Pero sí trabajan en la casa, en el campo. Como mujeres, no teníamos el derecho de la educación, que nuestro trabajo era sólo el trabajo en la casa, para criar hijos. Esa consecuencia no es producto de nuestros padres o el hombre. Es el mismo producto de la idea del capitalismo. Que nos ha enseñado y dominado el sometimiento y abandono social.

Y todo esto es lo que aguantamos las mujeres. Los golpes, las amenazas. Ninguna mujer podría defender sus derechos. Tuvimos que aguantar mucho tiempo hasta quitarnos el miedo. Tener valor, enfrentar a un poco de todo esto.

Antes del levantamiento armado de 1994, se hacían las pláticas políticas clandestinas. Había muy pocas mujeres. Después de esto, la misma organización empezó a hablar sobre el derecho de nosotras las mujeres zapatistas y de todas. Fue así como empezamos. Empezó el colectivo de participación de mujeres como autoridades municipales. Comisiones de las diferentes áreas de trabajo: promotoras de educación y salud, agroecológicas, entre otras.

También, la participación en asambleas ejidales. Así como también en la organización, les decimos también que nosotras las mujeres somos una parte muy importante dentro de la lucha. Todo esto lo hemos ganado, gracias a muchas luchas en nuestras organizaciones, de muchas mujeres.

Ésta es nuestra palabra, que hoy decimos en este festejo de nuestro día. Día de la esperanza. Día en el que todas las mujeres, sin distinción de raza, credo, o color, debemos retomar el ejemplo de aquellas mujeres que han sabido luchar por nuestros derechos.

Porque es así como vamos a conquistando, a bases de luchas, a sacrificios y hasta la muerte. Como lo estamos haciendo ahora. Pensamos que esta lucha tiene que ser constante, contra el sistema capitalista. En contra de esa bola de piñazos flojos que están allá arriba. Inventando leyes a su gusto. Aquellos que dicen representan al pueblo, que nos imponen sus leyes en favor de los grandes capitalistas del mundo.

Contra ellos es nuestra lucha. Y no para aquellos que piensan que las mujeres somos una pieza fundamental dentro de la familia, en el trabajo, en lo social, en la organización, en el pueblo, en nuestro país, en el mundo.

Hoy, las mujeres tenemos que ser más fuerte que nunca. En el presente, estamos sembrando semillas que muy pronto va a dar fruto. Hacemos un llamado a aquellas compañeras que quieran unirse para que esto se haga más resistente, mucho más grande. No importa cuanto tiempo más tengamos que caminar. No importa lo difícil que sea. No importa cuántos muertos tengamos que tener. Con este se harán más grandes nuestras esperanzas.

Por eso les decimos: aquí estamos y seguiremos adelante, compañeras y compañeros.

Vamos a decir unas vivas:

¡Vivan las mujeres en lucha!
¡Vivan todas las mujeres!
¡Viva la Comandanta Ramona!
¡Vivan las mujeres del pueblo de Atenco, que fueron encarceladas y violadas!
¡Vivan las mujeres en Oaxaca!
¡Vivan las madres de luchadores desaparecidos!
¡Viva el EZLN!


Palabras de la compañera Insurgenta Elena.

Buenas noches compañeras y compañeros. Queridas compañeras comandantas, responsables, autoridades, bases de apoyo, milicianas, promotoras de salud y de educación, y abuelitas y niñas.

Queridas compañeras de La Otra Campaña nacional e internacional.
Compañeras que se encuentran reunidas para recordar este 8 de marzo, día internacional de las mujeres luchadoras.
Queridos compañeros que están presentes ayudando a las compañeras de este encuentro y los que quedaron en la casa.
Compañeras y compañeros.

Reciban muchos saludos revolucionarios por parte de mis compañeras insurgentas e insurgentes. Ellas no pudieron venir y yo las vine a representarlas.

Compañeras y compañeros: hoy, este Caracol II de Oventik, Chiapas, están presentes todas las mujeres indígenas y no indígenas, en general. Hoy, 8 de marzo, es un día muy especial para las mujeres luchadoras.

Compañeras: esta historia dolorosa de aquellas mujeres que verdaderamente fueron valientes a defender sus derechos como mujeres trabajadoras. Hoy, sentimos realmente estos momentos de aquellas mujeres, fueron valientes, bien puestas para enfrentar a los patrones. Y entregaron la vida, para conseguir el derecho de las mujeres trabajadoras.

Es un ejemplo para nostras las mujeres trabajadoras en el campo y en la ciudad. En todo el mundo. Que verdaderamente con valor y coraje fueron a enfrentar al enemigo.

Ahora, nosotras tenemos que analizar, mirar más allá: dónde nació, cómo nació, de que las mujeres sólo sirven para tener hijos, mantener la familia, estar en la casa. En las fábricas, en el campo, todo, todo el tiempo, todo el día trabajando sin descansar.

Compañeras: tenemos que defendernos, porque nuestro sexo y figura de ser mujer nos ven como una cosa sin valor. Nos tratan que no entendemos la vida. Nos dicen que no tenemos pensamiento, sentimiento, conocimiento. ¿A poco no somos humanas?

Nos quieren esterilizar a todas las mujeres, para ya no tener más hijos. El gobierno y los ricos nos quieren seguir controlando, calladas con toda su fuerza política y militar. Ideológicamente, económicamente.


Palabras de la niña Lupita.

Buenas tardes compañeras y compañeros, niños y niñas, de todos los caracoles y países del mundo.

Voy a leer un pequeño mensaje: Nosotras las niñas y las mujeres somos maltratadas de los hombres. Pero no solas las mujeres somos maltratadas, sino que todos somos maltratados y maltratadas por el gobierno.

Pero unidos y unidas un día los vamos a vencer con nuestra fuerza y con nuestro poder. Y así ganaremos la lucha y viviremos con paz, justicia, con tierra y libertad, y democracia. Y con una vida feliz.

Es todo.

Muchas gracias

Story for Mama Corral by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

For Mama Corral
(stories to replace injections)

January 2009

To whom it may concern:

It was before dawn when the news arrived. The cold night got colder and the upon daybreak, we discovered something like a hole, as if we were missing something, as if we had lost something very much our own.

The geography from which we fight, the Zapatistas, is extensive. On maps it carries the name “Mexico,” and to get to each of its corners is a task even more extensive.

In the calendar of the Sixth we arrived at one of its strangest corners, because despite what the map and the mileage counter indicated, history, that complex network of calendars and geographies from below, signaled that we had arrived at one of our most pained hearts: Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

Ciudad Juárez. That of the young women workers killed with impunity. Killed for being women, for being young, for being workers… for being. That of the dignified rage of the inhabitants of Lomas de Poleo, resisting attacks, traps, slander, silence.

That of Mamá Corral.

No, I’m not going to tell her story. That is for those who have been with her all this time, and who remain at her side, struggling for the return of the disappeared.

We went to talk to her. It was a private meeting with her and other relatives of the disappeared. That’s what she asked for, that’s what we asked for. It was in the living room of her house. There we piled in some 15 or 20 people.

Doña Concepción García de Corral was the oldest… and the strongest.

As if the calendars she lived through searching for her son, José de Jesús, had not tired her. As if not giving up had allowed her to see further.

The relatives spoke. They said, in so many words, “We want to know the truth.”

Doña Concepción went beyond that: “If God has given me so many years of life it is because José de Jesús is still alive and I am going to find him.”

No, I don’t remember if those were her exact words, but I think that was the meaning.

Then I spoke.
I didn’t say much.

Or I said everything.

I don’t really remember, but I think that I told them what I would want people to tell my relatives if there were such a time, place, and manner: we didn’t go away because we didn’t love you, but rather because we do love you, but in a different way, in another manner.

Don’t give me too much credit, but it was then that I hugged Doña Concepción García de Corral and said in her ear, “Mamá Corral”.

Then I left.

I always leave.

Again the geographies and calendars came to bring us and take us. But it is in them and because of them that we know about her.

I think once we even dedicated a text to her. It should be around out there somewhere.

Maybe she read it. Maybe she smiled. Maybe she understood what we told her: “Here we are and we will not forget.”

So it happens that I was writing some stories because someone was sick and we had to give them something, even if from a distance.

And also because I’ve received a ton of protest letters. Some from supposed medical societies reprimanding me for my declarations against injections, and others from furious mamaces (mothers) because they were left holding the prepared syringe when the victim refused the torture, citing a supposed point in the supposed national program of struggle that supposedly prohibited the production, traffic, and consumption of injections. In sum, they hold me responsible of the most terrible epidemics and endemics.

That’s a lie. I haven’t received any letters of protest. But my ears are buzzing, which, according to my mother, means that someone is talking badly about you.

So, pressured by Lupita and Toñita, I went to work in my laboratory to produce an alternative medicine for injections. That’s when the first of the “Stories to replace Injections” came out.

While I was awaiting the decision of the Comandantas about whether they were going to have a sport and cultural event for March 8, I got the news, before dawn, of the death of Mamá Corral.

It came in a letter signed by the Committee of the Mothers of the Political Disappeared of Chihuahua that ended like this: “Subcomandante Marcos, please receive our acknowledgement and our condolences. Mamá Corral has left, but she’s still here at your side and at ours. Receive a big hug and our blessing.”

It hurt. A lot.

Later I reread those lines and I thought yes, she is at our side and on our side. And so, with the appropriate permissions, I made a few changes and modifications to the first of the “Stories to replace Injections,” and I told it to Mamá Corral, to Helena, and to all of the mamaces who hurt, just like I tell it here:

I. Remedy for a broken heart:

The Story of the Other Little Leaf

Once upon a time there was a little leaf that was at the top of a tree, the highest part of the tree. The little leaf was happy because she had a lot of other little leaves around and they all sang so nicely when the wind moved them. And the little leaf could see very far, the whole valley and even the neighboring mountains.

Of course, this also had its downside because, for example, since there were a lot of little leaves together, well, the gossip would fly. “Did you see so-and-so all stuck together with so-and-so,” they would say. And this would create a ruckus because the rumor would circulate and then somebody else would answer, “well look who’s talking, you who is always up there close to so-and-so from over there.” So, the little leaves fought a lot among themselves, as they are known to do.

It also would happen that, when it rained, the little leaves at the top were the first to get wet and they couldn’t say that thing about “how nice it is to see the rain and not get wet.”

But this had its compensations, because when the sun came out, those at the top were the first leaves to dry off.

So there the little leaf from this story was, swinging in the rains and the suns, when a strong wind came and threw her off the branch where she had been living. And the little leaf began to fly, turning somersaults, up and down with the air currents.

“¡Sweeeet!” said the little leaf, that was somewhat of a skater.

“¡Yesssssssss!” she yelled when she could do a double loop very close to the roof of a hut. Later a gust of wind drew her close to a cloud painted with many colors that said: “Freedom and Return of the Disappeared.”

And another read: “The good thing about skating the clouds is that the police can’t get up here.”

And the little leaf went from here to there like that.

But then the wind took its song somewhere else and the law of gravity applied itself in all its rigor and the little leaf, not really wanting to, fell all the way to the ground.

“¡Órales!” said the little leaf, “now what am I going to do?”

The little leaf wanted to return to the highest part of the tree. That’s where her friends were, even if they were gossipy. And even though she was the first to get wet in the rain, she was also the first to warm up in the sun, and she really could see far. And even if the wind knocked her off again, she could try the new pirouettes that had occurred to her, and she was even thinking about skating a cloud that had letters in many colors and funny sizes demanding freedom and justice.

The little leaf tried walking, but since she had always been hanging onto a branch in the tree, well she couldn’t really get the hang of walking.

Just then a little ant passed by. The little leaf recognized it, because it was a little ant that had come one time to the top of the tree and she had even given it a bite of her leaf.

“Hi!” said the little leaf to the little ant.

“And you, who are you? Do I know you?” responded the little ant, who, for a change, was in a bad mood.

The little leaf introduced herself: My name is Little Leaf and I live in the highest part of the tree, but I fell and now I want to go home but I don’t know how to do it, can you help me?

The little ant just looked at her awhile, then looked at the tree, then looked at the little leaf again. The little ant spent awhile just looking.

Finally the little ant said, “Well no, here you’re out of luck, because I would have to carry you and I’d have to climb alllllll the way up the tree without the birds eating me, or the anteater. And then, even if we get to the highest part of the tree, well then the problem is how we’re going to stick you back on the branch where you belong.

The little leaf stayed there looking at the little ant awhile, and then looked at the tree. She was there awhile just looking, that is, she was picking up the manners of the little ant.

Finally the little leaf said, “It won’t be a problem, because we can go buy glue in the copy shop or I can just hang on really tight to the branch where I belong.”

The little ant listened to the little leaf and stayed there looking at her awhile and…. well, now we’re not going to say she spent awhile looking because the story is going to get really long that way.

So the little ant said, “Alright then, I’ll take you, but first I have to go see my comadre (close friend) to ask for corn because I ran out. You want to come with me or you want to wait for me here?

The little leaf thought that, when the little ant found her comadre, they were going to take awhile just looking at each other and then the story was going to end without her having solved her problem, so she answered, “I’ll go with you! And that way we can by glue in the copy shop on the way.”

So the little ant carried the little leaf up the hill and started to walk in the direction of her comadre’s house.

On the way, the little leaf was looking at lots of things that she had never seen before, or that she had but from the top of the tree where she lived.

They passed by the little noncomformist stone on one side, the one that wanted to be a cloud, and they thought it looked quite large. While she was watching the little nonconformist stone do exercises to lose weight, the little leaf thought, “from above things look really different.”

“Or they aren’t seen at all,” said the little ant, who in addition to being hot-tempered could also hear the thoughts of other beings.

“Yeah, or they aren’t seen at all,” the little leaf thought.

They kept walking.

Well, the little ant walked that is, because the little leaf just went along looking at the same world that she had seen from above but, seen from below, it was another world.

And the little leaf looked and looked.

For example, she saw the bad and the bad guys, dressed as government functionaries, as businessmen, as airplanes bombing little children, as police beating and killing young people and disappearing social activists, as men raping women, as those who persecute those who practice other loves, as racists, as radio and television broadcasters, as journalists, as political analysts, as commissars of thought.

But she also saw a beetle with a helmet on, smoking a pipe and writing in an ultra-mini-micro-computer.

And she saw Lupita and Toñita playing with some giraffes that somebody gave them in the Festival of Dignified Rage. And she saw the Sup when he told the little girls that those weren’t giraffes, they were a couple of cows that had stretched their necks out because somebody wanted to make stew out of them, but the cows refused and resisted because they were rebellious cows and their necks stayed stretched out because of their resistance, but they weren’t giraffes. And she saw Toñita and Lupita scolding the Sup and they showed him a book of animals so he would see that these were indeed giraffes and not cows with their necks stretched out. And she saw that the Sup responded that that wasn’t true, that the same people who wanted to make stew out of the cows had written that book, so that it wouldn’t get out what they had tried to do. And she saw the little girls bringing syringes because they said the Sup was sick and that’s why he said so many dumb things, and they were going to cure him. And she saw the Sup running away. She didn’t see if they caught up with him or not.

And she saw the dark side of the moon, when Shadow, the warrior, carried her by in a sling.

And she saw Elias Contreras, Commission of Investigation for the EZLN, take some flowers to the tomb of Magdalena.

And she saw Old Antonio rolling a cigarette.

And she saw indigenous men and women, who had never gone to school, explaining the world to a researcher with a doctorate in the social sciences.

And she saw Zapatista troops building a shed to house Insurgent Radio.

And she saw Moy talking to the Autonomous Agrarian Commissions about a land problem.

And she saw a couple touching each other, their skin completely naked, and she saw that it didn’t matter if the couple was a woman and a man, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or an other and an other.

And she saw that someone had scratched on a wall, “A wall without graffiti is like a cone without ice cream,” and she saw that the wall had become a flag.

And she saw that nobody was prepared to confront Polifemo.

And she saw the calendars and geographies walk to meet each other.

All these things and more the little leaf saw, but that is for other stories.

Finally they arrived where the little ant’s comadre lived, and, as was expected, the comadre wasn’t there because they took so long and she had to go appear in another story, so they went to the copy shop to buy glue.

The little leaf, with everything she had seen, had forgotten that she was going to buy glue. So she said to the copy shop attendant, “I want a notebook and some fun colored pencils.”

The attendant responded, “How can colored pencils be fun? Colored pencils are colored pencils.”

From there followed a long discussion about whether inanimate objects can have feelings, a discussion that we won’t go into here because if we do the story will go in another direction.

Anyway, it turns out that the little leaf gets her colored pencils, her notebook, and her glue (because the little ant reminded her why they had gone to the copy shop).

A little while later, the little ant and the little leaf arrived at the foot of the tree.

They had already started climbing when, boom! It felt like an earthquake.

Everything began to crack and break.

As if a jigsaw puzzle had been taken apart and the pieces mixed up.

The radio, the television, and the newspapers from above didn’t say anything about it because they had also come apart, so what could be found out was due to alternative media having published it.

It turns out that the Zapatistas had won the war against oblivion and the whole world was turning to look and ending up backward.

Now the sun didn’t come up in the east, but in the west.

And what had been above ended up below and what had been below, above.

And it turns out that, to get to the branch where the little leaf lived, now they had to go down instead of up to get to the top of the tree.

“Sonofa…” said the little leaf and the little ant, and they started to argue with each other.

The little leaf blamed the little ant because it had taken so much time looking and during that time the Zapatistas had won and turned the world upside down.

“So that the world is right side up,” that’s what the Zapatistas said, and, as is usually the case, nobody understood them.

The End

Vale. Cheers and patient rage, Mamá Corral, patient rage.

Mexico, January 2009


28 de Enero del 2009

A las compañeras de la Otra Campaña, de la Zezta Internacional y mujeres adherentes a la
VI Declaración:


Como parte de las celebraciones por el próximo día Internacional de la Mujer que lucha, las Comandantas del CCRI-CG del EZLN van a organizar un evento deportivo, cultural y político los próximos días 7 y 8 de marzo de este año del 2009, en el Caracol de Oventik, en Los altos de Chiapas.

Cuando aún se discutían entre las Comandantas las características de este encuentro de Mujeres en Lucha, nos llegó la mala noticia del fallecimiento de nuestra compañera de la Otra Campaña en Chihuahua, Doña Concepción García de Corral.

“Mamá Corral” le decíamos nosotras, nosotros los zapatistas a esta mujer, madre de luchadores caídos en combate y tenaz luchadora por la presentación de los desaparecidos políticos. Ella nos acogió como sus hij@s sin oportunismos de temporada, sin condiciones y con un cariño sin templetes y fotos de por medio. Cuando la conocimos personalmente quienes formamos parte de la delegación de la Comisión Sexta, sentimos en ella esa fuerza que, es seguro levantó más de una vez a nuestras compañeras Madres de Desaparecidos Políticos de Chihuahua, nuestras “mamaces” en la lucha.

Aunque planeado inicialmente para mujeres zapatistas, las Comandantas pensaron también de invitar a las OTRAS mujeres que también son nuestras compañeras en México y en el Mundo, y, enteradas de la muerte de Doña Concepción García de Corral, decidieron llamar a esta celebración con el nombre de lucha con el que la conocimos y conocemos, “MAMÁ CORRAL”, para así honrar a las mujeres que son madres y que, sin importar la edad, ni se rinden, ni se venden, ni claudican.

Entonces, cumpliendo las órdenes de nuestros mandos, las Comandantas zapatistas, les hacemos la siguiente invitación al…


Que se realizará los dias 7 y 8 de marzo del 2009, en el Caracol de Oventik, Chiapas y que tendrá las siguientes características:

.-Sólo podrán participar directamente MUJERES, sin importar su edad, raza, creencia religiosa, idioma, nacionalidad o preferencia sexual, en los deportes y en los actos artísticos y culturales.

.- Los hombres que asistan sólo podrán participar cocinando o cuidando niñ@s o haciendo el aseo o trabajando para apoyar el evento.

.- Habrá 3 deportes: Basketbol, Volibol y Futbolito.

.- Habrá actos culturales como canciones, poesías, obras de teatro, periódicos murales, bailables.

.- Los equipos de mujeres que se formen para participar en deportes deben inscribirse en la página electrónica de Enlace Zapatista, diciendo en qué deporte van a entrar, cuántas mujeres forman el equipo, cómo se llama su equipo y cómo es su uniforme si es que se van a poner uniforme. Esto es para poder hacer la programación de los partidos en el torneo.

.- Las mujeres o grupos de mujeres que van a participar en los actos culturales deben también incribirse en la página electrónica de Enlace Zapatista, diciendo qué van a hacer de lo cultural, cuántas son y cómo se llaman si es que se ponen un su nombre, para así poder hacer la programación.

.-Los partidos deportivos van a empezar el dia 7 de marzo del 2009 en las canchas deportivas del Caracol de Oventik y según si son muchos equipos pues siguen el día 8 de marzo del 2009.

.-Los actos culturales se van a acomodar en la noche del 7 de marzo y la tarde y noche del 8 de marzo, según cuántas estén anotadas.

.- El día 8 de marzo del 2009 las comandantas zapatistas van a dar un mensaje de lucha.

Es todo.


Desde las montañas del Sureste Mexicano.
Por el Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena-Comandancia General del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
México, Enero del 2009.

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