Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arizona Law: On Suspicion of Being Brown

SOA Watch

Arizona's governor just signed SB 1070 into law, effectively making it legal to racially profile in the state. The bill requires local law enforcement to question anyone they have "reasonable suspicion" of being undocumented. Translation: you could be pulled over for no other reason than that you are brown-skinned or speak Spanish.

That Gov. Jan Brewer could sign such a discriminatory law - one of the worst in the nation - is a moral outrage. We need to send a clear message that Arizona does not deserve economic support from the rest of the country. Tourism is a huge industry in the state - bringing in $18 billion last year. With the passage of SB 1070, it's time to say shame on Arizona and pledge not spend our dollars in a place where racial profiling is legal. Our friends at Presente.org have set up an online action through which you can send a message to the governor of Arizona, state and local tourism and commerce officials:


SOA Watch supports the struggle for Justice for Immigrants. We understand that many immigrants to the United States are victims of U.S.-sponsored military training and atrocities in Latin America. In our fight to close the SOA, we continue to work towards a world that is free of suffering and violence. We recognize the SOA/ WHINSEC and the unjust immigration policies like SB 1070 as being parts of the same racist system of violence and domination. We ally ourselves with those most affected by SOA violence and their families in our effort to create a better world.

Many immigrants that come to the United States from Latin America are victims of SOA graduates who carry out violence against civilian populations in their own countries. Right now in Colombia, paramilitary groups are terrorizing villages, which causes displacement and migration. But this is hardly a new phenomenon. In the 1980s, during the civil wars in Central America, military and paramilitary groups uprooted people from their homes, and many fled to the United States.

The anti-immigrant politicians who passed SB 1070 may not care about justice and human rights, but they definitely care about the tourism industry that brings in billions of dollars to the state. We need to show them that their decisions have consequences. Will you join us in saying shame on Arizona and pledging to stay away from the state? It only takes a moment:


Thank you and ¡Adelante!
SOA Watch

Photo: Migrant Quilt Project for those who died in the Sonoran Desert/Photo Brenda Norrell

Monday, April 26, 2010

Community Indictment Against Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, et al



18 U.S.C. § 241
Section 241: Conspiracy against rights

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured - They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

18 U.S.C. § 242

Section 242: Deprivation of rights under color of law

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated
sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

The Mexicans who, in the territories aforesaid, shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican Republic, conformably with what is stipulated in the preceding article, shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States. and be admitted at the proper time (to be judged of by the Congress of the United States) to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States, according to the principles of the Constitution; and in the mean time, shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and secured in the free exercise of their religion without restriction.
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Adopted on December 10, 1948
by the General Assembly of the United Nations (without dissent)

Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Adopted by the General Assembly September 13, 2007
Article 36

1. Indigenous Peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.

2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.

Before the
National Human Rights Commission of the United States
Arizona Working Group

The Spirit of Justice, the True Light of Law

Rodriguez: Arizona: This is what Apartheid Looks Like

Arizona: This is what Apartheid Looks Like
By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
Censored News
Photo: Crosses in remembrance of migrants who died crossing the Sonoran Desert, San Xavier, Arizona. Photo Brenda Norrell

Those who think that there’s an immigration crisis in Arizona are correct, however, this is but part of the story. The truth is, a civilizational clash is being played out in the same state in which the state legislature questions the birthplace and legitimacy of President Barack Obama and where Sen. John McCain competes with Senate hopeful, J.D. Hayworth, to see who is the most anti-immigrant.

It is also the same state that several years ago, denied a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., and that today permits virtually anyone – on the basis of trumped-up fear – to carry concealed weapons anywhere.

Welcome to Apartheid Arizona – the land of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “States Rights” and a desert that has claimed thousands of migrant lives. By way of the same extremist legislature, the battle here is even much larger and more profound. This civilizational clash is being waged daily here via more bills involving who belongs, what language can be spoken here and who and what can be taught in the state’s schools. This is beyond the notion of who is “legal.”

Whoever said that this crisis is proof that the illegal Mexican American War never ended is partially correct because this conflict is even older than that war in which Mexico lost half its territory to the United States. The irony regarding the recently signed SB 1070 – which permits law enforcement to question people about their citizenship, based on “reasonable suspicion” – is that those principally targeted will be those who look the “most Hispanic.”

“Looking Hispanic” has always been a misnomer; what it really means is those who are dark and short and who look the “most Indigenous.” Truthfully, here in Arpaio Country, that profiling that everyone fears is already here with us. And to dispel illusions, the darkest amongst us have always been subjected to racial profiling by the “migra” and by law enforcement agencies everywhere in the country. This is true whether we’ve been here for a few days or for thousands of years. And to dispel further illusions, this civilizational clash alluded to is national in scope; witness the many hundreds of anti-immigrant bills nationwide since 2006. Only its epicenter is here.

What is changing with SB 1070 is that racial profiling is no longer outside of the law; here it now has legal cover. But to be sure, people of conscience will never accept it as law. And just as Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva is calling for a national and international boycott of Arizona – many are calling on law enforcement to have the moral courage to refuse to recognize SB 1070 as a law and simply view it as a proposal until the courts decide on its constitutionality.

SB 1070 brings us to a moral precipice. After World War II, a consensus developed here that it had been wrong to have incarcerated the Japanese in internment camps because such action was morally wrong. Virtually no one had the courage to assert this while it was happening. Law enforcement has that chance today, to refuse to obey SB 1070 that is both, morally repugnant and outside of the U.S. Constitution.

Regarding the larger civilizational struggle, the context is akin to when Europeans first came to this continent. The conquistadors came for gold, land and bodies (slaves). The friars, on the other hand, came for souls. Similarly, the migra and extremist legislators want bodies deported; the state school superintendent, Tom Horne, wants souls.

Last year, the state legislature attempted to eliminate Ethnic Studies from the state’s K-12 curriculum. The real target was Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies (MAS) program. After young students ran from Tucson to Phoenix in 115 degree heat, the bill was defeated. This year, a similar, yet more preposterous bill is back. HB 2281 seeks to outlaw curriculum that is anti-American and that advocates the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. The bill creates a mechanism by which books will be judged to be in compliance. American Indian and African American classes are exempted and thus the clear target again is the MAS program. Horne is on record claiming that only things from Western Civilization (Greco-Roman) should be taught in Arizona schools. Pre-Colombian Indigenous knowledge from this continent – the foundation for the highly successful MAS program – is considered outside of Western Civilization.

Amid the immigration crisis, the legislature is slated to also pass HB 2281 this week. This conjures up the line from the movie, The Other Conquest: “They came for our souls, but they didn’t know where to look.”

President Obama and Congress may yet nullify SB 1070 and similar bills nationwide, but this will not discourage those who continue to want our bodies… and souls.

Rodriguez, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, can be reached at: XColumn@gmail.com

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra

22 de Abril Cochabamba, Bolivia

Photo Michelle Cook, Navajo

Hoy, nuestra Madre Tierra está herida y el futuro de la humanidad está en peligro.

De incrementarse el calentamiento global en más de 2º C, a lo que nos conduciría el llamado “Entendimiento de Copenhague” existe el 50% de probabilidades de que los daños provocados a nuestra Madre Tierra sean totalmente irreversibles. Entre un 20% y un 30% de las especies estaría en peligro de desaparecer. Grandes extensiones de bosques serían afectadas, las sequías e inundaciones afectarían diferentes regiones del planeta, se extenderían los desiertos y se agravaría el derretimiento de los polos y los glaciares en los Andes y los Himalayas. Muchos Estados insulares desaparecerían y el África sufriría un incremento de la temperatura de más de 3º C. Así mismo, se reduciría la producción de alimentos en el mundo con efectos catastróficos para la supervivencia de los habitantes de vastas regiones del planeta, y se incrementaría de forma dramática el número de hambrientos en el mundo, que ya sobrepasa la cifra de 1.020 millones de personas.

Las corporaciones y los gobiernos de los países denominados “más desarrollados”, en complicidad con un segmento de la comunidad científica, nos ponen a discutir el cambio climático como un problema reducido a la elevación de la temperatura sin cuestionar la causa que es el sistema capitalista.

Confrontamos la crisis terminal del modelo civilizatorio patriarcal basado en el sometimiento y destrucción de seres humanos y naturaleza que se aceleró con la revolución industrial.

El sistema capitalista nos ha impuesto una lógica de competencia, progreso y crecimiento ilimitado. Este régimen de producción y consumo busca la ganancia sin límites, separando al ser humano de la naturaleza, estableciendo una lógica de dominación sobre ésta, convirtiendo todo en mercancía: el agua, la tierra, el genoma humano, las culturas ancestrales, la biodiversidad, la justicia, la ética, los derechos de los pueblos, la muerte y la vida misma.

Bajo el capitalismo, la Madre Tierra se convierte en fuente sólo de materias primas y los seres humanos en medios de producción y consumidores, en personas que valen por lo que tienen y no por lo que son.

El capitalismo requiere una potente industria militar para su proceso de acumulación y el control de territorios y recursos naturales, reprimiendo la resistencia de los pueblos. Se trata de un sistema imperialista de colonización del planeta.

La humanidad está frente a una gran disyuntiva: continuar por el camino del capitalismo, la depredación y la muerte, o emprender el camino de la armonía con la naturaleza y el respeto a la vida.

Requerimos forjar un nuevo sistema que restablezca la armonía con la naturaleza y entre los seres humanos. Sólo puede haber equilibrio con la naturaleza si hay equidad entre los seres humanos.

Planteamos a los pueblos del mundo la recuperación, revalorización y fortalecimiento de los conocimientos, sabidurías y prácticas ancestrales de los Pueblos Indígenas, afirmados en la vivencia y propuesta de “Vivir Bien”, reconociendo a la Madre Tierra como un ser vivo, con el cual tenemos una relación indivisible, interdependiente, complementaria y espiritual.

Para enfrentar el cambio climático debemos reconocer a la Madre Tierra como la fuente de la vida y forjar un nuevo sistema basado en los principios de:

· armonía y equilibrio entre todos y con todo

· complementariedad, solidaridad, y equidad

· bienestar colectivo y satisfacción de las necesidades fundamentales de todos en armonía con la Madre Tierra

· respeto a los Derechos de la Madre Tierra y a los Derechos Humanos

· reconocimiento del ser humano por lo que es y no por lo que tiene

· eliminación de toda forma de colonialismo, imperialismo e intervencionismo

· paz entre los pueblos y con la Madre Tierra.

El modelo que propugnamos no es de desarrollo destructivo ni ilimitado. Los países necesitan producir bienes y servicios para satisfacer las necesidades fundamentales de su población, pero de ninguna manera pueden continuar por este camino de desarrollo en el cual los países más ricos tienen una huella ecológica 5 veces más grande de lo que el planeta es capaz de soportar. En la actualidad ya se ha excedido en más de un 30% la capacidad del planeta para regenerarse. A este ritmo de sobreexplotación de nuestra Madre Tierra se necesitarían 2 planetas para el 2030.

En un sistema interdependiente del cual los seres humanos somos uno de sus componentes no es posible reconocer derechos solamente a la parte humana sin provocar un desequilibrio en todo el sistema. Para garantizar los derechos humanos y restablecer la armonía con la naturaleza es necesario reconocer y aplicar efectivamente los derechos de la Madre Tierra.

Para ello proponemos el proyecto adjunto de Declaración Universal de Derechos de la Madre Tierra en el cual se consignan:

· Derecho a la vida y a existir;

· Derecho a ser respetada;

· Derecho a la continuación de sus ciclos y procesos vitales libre de alteraciones humanas;

· Derecho a mantener su identidad e integridad como seres diferenciados, auto-regulados e interrelacionados;

· Derecho al agua como fuente de vida;

· Derecho al aire limpio;

· Derecho a la salud integral;

· Derecho a estar libre de la contaminación y polución, de desechos tóxicos y radioactivos;

· Derecho a no ser alterada genéticamente y modificada en su estructura amenazando su integridad o funcionamiento vital y saludable.

· Derecho a una restauración plena y pronta por las violaciones a los derechos reconocidos en esta Declaración causados por las actividades humanas.

La visión compartida es estabilizar las concentraciones de gases de efecto invernadero para hacer efectivo el Artículo 2 de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático que determina “la estabilización de las concentraciones de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera a un nivel que impida interferencias antropogénicas peligrosas para el sistema climático”. Nuestra visión es, sobre la base del principio de las responsabilidades históricas comunes pero diferenciadas, exigir que los países desarrollados se comprometan con metas cuantificadas de reducción de emisiones que permitan retornar las concentraciones de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera a 300 ppm y así, limitar el incremento de la temperatura media global a un nivel máximo de 1°C.

Enfatizando la necesidad de acción urgente para lograr esta visión, y con el apoyo de los pueblos, movimientos y países, los países desarrollados deberán comprometerse con metas ambiciosas de reducción de emisiones que permitan alcanzar objetivos a corto plazo, manteniendo nuestra visión a favor del equilibrio del sistema climático de la Tierra, de acuerdo al objetivo último de la Convención.

La “visión compartida” para la “Acción Cooperativa a Largo Plazo” no debe reducirse en la negociación de cambio climático a definir el límite en el incremento de la temperatura y la concentración de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera, sino que debe comprender de manera integral y equilibrada un conjunto de medidas financieras, tecnológicas, de adaptación, de desarrollo de capacidades, de patrones de producción, consumo y otras esenciales como el reconocimiento de los derechos de la Madre Tierra para restablecer la armonía con la naturaleza.

Los países desarrollados, principales causantes del cambio climático, asumiendo su responsabilidad histórica y actual, deben reconocer y honrar su deuda climática en todas sus dimensiones, como base para una solución justa, efectiva y científica al cambio climático. En este marco exigimos a los países desarrollados que:

· Restablezcan a los países en desarrollo el espacio atmosférico que está ocupado por sus emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero. Esto implica la descolonización de la atmósfera mediante la reducción y absorción de sus emisiones.

· Asuman los costos y las necesidades de transferencia de tecnología de los países en desarrollo por la pérdida de oportunidades de desarrollo por vivir en un espacio atmosférico restringido.

· Se hagan responsables por los cientos de millones que tendrán que migrar por el cambio climático que han provocado y que eliminen sus políticas restrictivas de migración y ofrezcan a los migrantes una vida digna y con todos los derechos en sus países.

· Asuman la deuda de adaptación relacionadas a los impactos del cambio climático en los países en desarrollo proveyendo los medios para prevenir, minimizar y atender los daños que surgen de sus excesivas emisiones.

· Honren estas deudas como parte de una deuda mayor con la Madre Tierra adoptando y aplicando la Declaración Universal de los Derechos de la Madre Tierra en las Naciones Unidas.

El enfoque debe ser no solamente de compensación económica, sino principalmente de justicia restaurativa – es decir restituyendo la integridad a las personas y a los miembros que forman una comunidad de vida en la Tierra.

Deploramos el intento de un grupo de países de anular el Protocolo de Kioto el único instrumento legalmente vinculante específico para la reducción de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero de los países desarrollados.

Advertimos al mundo que no obstante estar obligados legalmente las emisiones de los países desarrollados en lugar de reducir, crecieron en un 11,2% entre 1990 y 2007.

Estados Unidos a causa del consumo ilimitado aumentó sus emisiones de GEI en 16,8% durante el periodo 1990 al 2007, emitiendo como promedio entre 20 y 23 toneladas anuales de CO2 por habitante, lo que representa más de 9 veces las emisiones correspondientes a un habitante promedio del Tercer Mundo, y más de 20 veces las emisiones de un habitante de África Subsahariana.

Rechazamos de manera absoluta el ilegitimo “Entendimiento de Copenhague”, que permite a estos países desarrollados ofertar reducciones insuficientes de gases de efecto invernadero, basadas en compromisos voluntarios e individuales, que violan la integridad ambiental de la Madre Tierra conduciéndonos a un aumento de alrededor de 4ºC.

La próxima Conferencia sobre Cambio Climático a realizarse a fines de año en México debe aprobar la enmienda al Protocolo de Kioto, para el segundo período de compromisos a iniciarse en 2013 a 2017 en el cual los países desarrollados deben comprometer reducciones domésticas significativas de al menos el 50% respecto al año base de 1990 sin incluir mercados de carbono u otros sistemas de desviación que enmascaran el incumplimiento de las reducciones reales de emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero.

Requerimos establecer primero una meta para el conjunto de los países desarrollados para luego realizar la asignación individual para cada país desarrollado en el marco de una comparación de esfuerzos entre cada uno de ellos, manteniendo así el sistema del Protocolo de Kioto para las reducciones de las emisiones.

Los Estados Unidos de América, en su carácter de único país de la Tierra del Anexo 1 que no ratificó el Protocolo de Kioto tiene una responsabilidad significativa ante todos los pueblos del mundo por cuanto debe ratificar el Protocolo de Kioto y comprometerse a respetar y dar cumplimiento a los objetivos de reducción de emisiones a escala de toda su economía.

Los pueblos tenemos los mismos derechos de protección ante los impactos del cambio climático y rechazamos la noción de adaptación al cambio climático entendida como la resignación a los impactos provocados por las emisiones históricas de los países desarrollados, quienes deben adaptar sus estilos de vida y de consumo ante esta emergencia planetaria. Nos vemos forzados a enfrentar los impactos del cambio climático, considerando la adaptación como un proceso y no como una imposición, y además como herramienta que sirva para contrarrestarlos, demostrando que es posible vivir en armonía bajo un modelo de vida distinto.

Es necesario construir un Fondo de Adaptación, como un fondo exclusivo para enfrentar el cambio climático como parte de un mecanismo financiero manejado y conducido de manera soberana, transparente y equitativa por nuestros Estados. Bajo este Fondo se debe valorar: los impactos y sus costos en países en desarrollo y las necesidades que estos impactos deriven, y registrar y monitorear el apoyo por parte de países desarrollados. Éste debe manejar además un mecanismo para el resarcimiento por daños por impactos ocurridos y futuros, por pérdida de oportunidades y la reposición por eventos climáticos extremos y graduales, y costos adicionales que podrían presentarse si nuestro planeta sobrepasa los umbrales ecológicos así como aquellos impactos que están frenando el derecho a Vivir Bien.

El “Entendimiento de Copenhague” impuesto sobre los países en desarrollo por algunos Estados, más allá de ofertar recursos insuficientes, pretende en si mismo dividir y enfrentar a los pueblos y pretende extorsionar a los países en desarrollo condicionando el acceso a recursos de adaptación a cambio de medidas de mitigación. Adicionalmente se establece como inaceptable que en los procesos de negociación internacional se intente categorizar a los países en desarrollo por su vulnerabilidad al cambio climático, generando disputas, desigualdades y segregaciones entre ellos.

El inmenso desafío que enfrentamos como humanidad para detener el calentamiento global y enfriar el planeta sólo se logrará llevando adelante una profunda transformación en la agricultura hacia un modelo sustentable de producción agrícola campesino e indígena/originario, y otros modelos y prácticas ancestrales ecológicas que contribuyan a solucionar el problema del cambio climático y aseguren la Soberanía Alimentaria, entendida como el derecho de los pueblos a controlar sus propias semillas, tierras, agua y la producción de alimentos, garantizando, a través de una producción en armonía con la Madre Tierra, local y culturalmente apropiada, el acceso de los pueblos a alimentos suficientes, variados y nutritivos en complementación con la Madre Tierra y profundizando la producción autónoma (participativa, comunitaria y compartida) de cada nación y pueblo.

El Cambio Climático ya está produciendo profundos impactos sobre la agricultura y los modos de vida de los pueblos indígenas/originarios y campesinos del mundo y estos impactos se irán agravando en el futuro.

El agro negocio a través de su modelo social, económico y cultural de producción capitalista globalizada y su lógica de producción de alimentos para el mercado y no para cumplir con el derecho a la alimentación, es una de las causas principales del cambio climático. Sus herramientas tecnológicas, comerciales y políticas no hacen más que profundizar la crisis climática e incrementar el hambre en el planeta. Por esta razón rechazamos los Tratados de Libre Comercio y Acuerdos de Asociación y toda forma de aplicación de los Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual sobre la vida, los paquetes tecnológicos actuales (agroquímicos, transgénicos) y aquellos que se ofrecen como falsas soluciones (agrocombustibles, geoingeniería, nanotecnología, tecnología Terminator y similares) que únicamente agudizarán la crisis actual.

Al mismo tiempo denunciamos como este modelo capitalista impone megaproyectos de infraestructura, invade territorios con proyectos extractivistas, privatiza y mercantiliza el agua y militariza los territorios expulsando a los pueblos indígenas y campesinos de sus territorios, impidiendo la Soberanía Alimentaria y profundizando la crisis socioambiental.

Exigimos reconocer el derecho de todos los pueblos, los seres vivos y la Madre Tierra a acceder y gozar del agua y apoyamos la propuesta del Gobierno de Bolivia para reconocer al agua como un Derecho Humano Fundamental.

La definición de bosque utilizada en las negociaciones de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático, la cual incluye plantaciones, es inaceptable. Los monocultivos no son bosques. Por lo tanto, exigimos una definición para fines de negociación que reconozca los bosques nativos y la selva y la diversidad de los ecosistemas de la tierra.

La Declaración de la ONU sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas debe ser plenamente reconocida, implementada e integrada en las negociaciones de cambio climático. La mejor estrategia y acción para evitar la deforestación y degradación y proteger los bosques nativos y la selva es reconocer y garantizar los derechos colectivos de las tierras y territorios considerando especialmente que la mayoría de los bosques y selvas están en los territorios de pueblos y naciones indígenas, comunidades campesinas y tradicionales.

Condenamos los mecanismos de mercado, como el mecanismo de REDD (Reducción de emisiones por la deforestación y degradación de bosques) y sus versiones + y ++, que está violando la soberanía de los Pueblos y su derecho al consentimiento libre, previo e informado, así como a la soberanía de Estados nacionales, y viola los derechos, usos y costumbres de los Pueblos y los Derechos de la Naturaleza.

Los países contaminadores están obligados a transferir de manera directa los recursos económicos y tecnológicos para pagar la restauración y mantenimiento de los bosques y selvas, en favor de los pueblos y estructuras orgánicas ancestrales indígenas, originarias, campesinas. Esto deberá ser una compensación directa y adicional a las fuentes de financiamiento comprometidas por los países desarrollados, fuera del mercado de carbono y nunca sirviendo como las compensaciones de carbono (offsets). Demandamos a los países a detener las iniciativas locales en bosques y selvas basados en mecanismos de mercado y que proponen resultados inexistentes y condicionados. Exigimos a los gobiernos un programa mundial de restauración de bosques nativos y selvas, dirigido y administrado por los pueblos, implementando semillas forestales, frutales y de flora autóctona. Los gobiernos deben eliminar las concesiones forestales y apoyar la conservación del petróleo bajo la tierra y que se detenga urgentemente la explotación de hidrocarburos en las selvas.

Exigimos a los Estados que reconozcan, respeten y garanticen la efectiva aplicación de los estándares internacionales de derechos humanos y los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, en particular la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, el Convenio 169 de la OIT, entre otros instrumentos pertinentes, en el marco de las negociaciones, políticas y medidas para resolver los desafíos planteados por el cambio climático. En especial, demandamos a los Estados a que reconozcan jurídicamente la preexistencia del derecho sobre nuestros territorios, tierras y recursos naturales para posibilitar y fortalecer nuestras formas tradicionales de vida y contribuir efectivamente a la solución del cambio climático.

Demandamos la plena y efectiva aplicación del derecho a la consulta, la participación y el consentimiento previo, libre e informado de los Pueblos Indígenas en todos los procesos de negociación así como en el diseño e implementación de las medidas relativas al cambio climático.

En la actualidad la degradación medioambiental y el cambio climático alcanzarán niveles críticos, siendo una de las principales consecuencias la migración interna así como internacional. Según algunas proyecciones en 1995 existían alrededor de 25 millones de migrantes climáticos, al presente se estima en 50 millones y las proyecciones para el año 2050 son de 200 a 1000 millones de personas que serán desplazadas por situaciones derivadas del cambio climático.

Los países desarrollados deben asumir la responsabilidad sobre los migrantes climáticos, acogiéndolos en sus territorios y reconociendo sus derechos fundamentales, a través de la firma de convenios internacionales que contemplen la definición de migrante climático para que todos los Estados acaten sus determinaciones.

Constituir un Tribunal Internacional de Conciencia para denunciar, hacer visible, documentar, juzgar y sancionar las violaciones de los derechos de los(s) migrantes, refugiados(as) y desplazados en los países de origen, tránsito y destino, identificando claramente las responsabilidades de los Estados, compañías y otros actores.

El financiamiento actual destinado a los países en desarrollo para cambio climático y la propuesta del Entendimiento de Copenhague son ínfimos. Los países desarrollados deben comprometer un financiamiento anual nuevo, adicional a la Ayuda Oficial al Desarrollo y de fuente pública, de al menos 6% de su PIB para enfrentar el cambio climático en los países en desarrollo. Esto es viable tomando en cuenta que gastan un monto similar en defensa nacional y destinaron 5 veces más para rescatar bancos y especuladores en quiebra, lo que cuestiona seriamente sus prioridades mundiales y su voluntad política. Este financiamiento debe ser directo, sin condicionamiento y no vulnerar la soberanía nacional ni la autodeterminación de las comunidades y grupos más afectados.

En vista de la ineficiencia del mecanismo actual, en la Conferencia de México se debe establecer un nuevo mecanismo de financiamiento que funcione bajo la autoridad de la Conferencia de las Partes de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre cambio Climático rindiendo cuentas a la misma, con una representación significativa de los países en desarrollo para garantizar el cumplimiento de los compromisos de financiamiento de los países Anexo 1.

Se ha constatado que los países desarrollados incrementaron sus emisiones en el periodo 1990 – 2007, no obstante haber manifestado que la reducción se vería sustancialmente coadyuvada con mecanismos de mercado.

El mercado de carbono se ha transformado en un negocio lucrativo, mercantilizando nuestra Madre Tierra, esto no representa una alternativa para afrontar el cambio climático, puesto que saquea, devasta la tierra, el agua e incluso la vida misma.

La reciente crisis financiera ha demostrado que el mercado es incapaz de regular el sistema financiero, que es frágil e inseguro ante la especulación y la aparición de agentes intermediarios, por lo tanto, sería una total irresponsabilidad dejar en sus manos el cuidado y protección de la propia existencia humana y de nuestra Madre Tierra.

Consideramos inadmisible que las negociaciones en curso pretendan la creación de nuevos mecanismos que amplíen y promuevan el mercado de carbono toda vez que los mecanismos existentes nunca resolvieron el problema del Cambio Climático ni se transformaron en acciones reales y directas en la reducción de gases de efecto invernadero.

Es imprescindible exigir el cumplimento de los compromisos asumidos por los países desarrollados en la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático respecto al desarrollo y transferencia de tecnología, así como rechazar la “vitrina tecnológica” propuesta por países desarrollados que solamente comercializan la tecnología. Es fundamental establecer los lineamientos para crear un mecanismo multilateral y multidisciplinario para el control participativo, la gestión y la evaluación continua del intercambio de tecnologías. Estas tecnologías deben ser útiles, limpias, y socialmente adecuadas. De igual manera es fundamental el establecimiento de un fondo de financiamiento e inventario de tecnologías apropiadas y liberadas de derechos de propiedad intelectual, en particular, de patentes que deben pasar de monopolios privados a ser de dominio público, de libre accesibilidad y bajo costo.

El conocimiento es universal, y por ningún motivo puede ser objeto de propiedad privada y de utilización privativa, como tampoco sus aplicaciones en forma de tecnologías. Es deber de los países desarrollados compartir su tecnología con países en desarrollo, crear centros de investigación para la creación de tecnologías e innovaciones propias, así como defender e impulsar su desarrollo y aplicación para el vivir bien. El mundo debe recuperar, aprender, reaprender los principios y enfoques del legado ancestral de sus pueblos originarios para detener la destrucción del planeta, así como los conocimientos y prácticas ancestrales y recuperación de la espiritualidad en la reinserción del vivir bien juntamente con la Madre Tierra.

Considerando la falta de voluntad política de los países desarrollados para cumplir de manera efectiva sus compromisos y obligaciones asumidos en la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático y el Protocolo de Kioto, y frente a la inexistencia de una instancia legal internacional que prevenga y sancione todos aquellos delitos y crímenes climáticos y ambientales que atenten contra los derechos de la Madre Tierra y la humanidad, demandamos la creación de un Tribunal Internacional de Justicia Climática y Ambiental que tenga la capacidad jurídica vinculante de prevenir, juzgar y sancionar a los Estados, las Empresas y personas que por acción u omisión contaminen y provoquen el cambio climático.

Respaldar a los Estados que presenten demandas en la Corte Internacional de Justicia contra los países desarrollados que no cumplen con sus compromisos bajo la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático y el Protocolo de Kioto incluyendo sus compromisos de reducción de gases de efecto invernadero.

Instamos a los pueblos a proponer y promover una profunda reforma de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), para que todos sus Estados miembros cumplan las decisiones del Tribunal Internacional de Justicia Climática y Ambiental.

El futuro de la humanidad está en peligro y no podemos aceptar que un grupo de gobernantes de países desarrollados quieran definir por todos los países como lo intentaron hacer infructuosamente en la Conferencia de las Partes de Copenhague. Esta decisión nos compete a todos los pueblos. Por eso es necesaria la realización de un Referéndum Mundial, plebiscito o consulta popular, sobre el cambio Climático en el cuál todos seamos consultados sobre: el nivel de reducciones de emisiones que deben hacer los países desarrollados y las empresas transnacionales; el financiamiento que deben proveer los países desarrollados; la creación de un Tribunal Internacional de Justicia Climática; la necesidad de una Declaración Universal de Derechos de la Madre Tierra y; la necesidad de cambiar el actual sistema capitalista.

El proceso del Referéndum Mundial, plebiscito o consulta popular será fruto de un proceso de preparación que asegure el desarrollo exitoso del mismo.

Con el fin de coordinar nuestro accionar internacional e implementar los resultados del presente “Acuerdo de los Pueblos” llamamos a construir un Movimiento Mundial de los Pueblos por la Madre Tierra que se basará en los principios de complementariedad y respeto a la diversidad de origen y visiones de sus integrantes, constituyéndose en un espacio amplio y democrático de coordinación y articulación de acciones a nivel mundial.

Con tal propósito, adoptamos el plan de acción mundial adjunto para que en México los países desarrollados del Anexo 1 respeten el marco legal vigente y reduzcan sus emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero en un 50 % y se asuman las diferentes propuestas contenidas en este Acuerdo.

Finalmente, acordamos realizar la 2ª Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra en el 2011 como parte de este proceso de construcción del Movimiento Mundial de los Pueblos por la Madre Tierra y para reaccionar frente a los resultados de la Conferencia de Cambio Climático que se realizará a fines de año en Cancún, México.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Aboriginal News Group condemns US murder of journalists and civilians

Aboriginal News Group Press Statement

“If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”
-- Justice Robert H. Jackson, Prosecutor, Nürnberg War Crimes Trials

To the Original Peoples of the Fourth World and all International Press Services:

At this time, the editors of the Aboriginal News Group wish to extend our condolences and solidarity to the families, friends and colleagues of Reuters journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen, Saeed Chmagh, and to the other innocent Iraqi non-combatants shot to death as the result of an unprovoked aerial assault on the civilian neighbourhood of New Baghdad on July 12th, 2007 by American military forces. It is in the spirit and desire for justice, peace and an end to the war and occupation that we present the following commentary:

As of this writing, more than 2.5 million people have viewed a copy of a classified military video that was clandestinely obtained, analysed and eventually made public on April 5th of this year, at great personal risk, by wikileaks.org,1 a citizen-journalism portal that specialises in making whistle-blower data available to the general public. Presented as a piece of evidence, this video has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the 2007 incident was not only unnecessary but completely inconsistent with the initially-reported “dangerous conditions” on the ground that supposedly led to the attack in the first place.2

Although it is duly acknowledged that skirmishes had occurred earlier that morning in a related region, (the very reason for the presence of the two Reuters reporters) there was no visible fighting or disturbances on the street in which Noor-Eldeen, Chmagh and the other unfortunate victims were walking through. Not only does the video show in graphic detail the vicious needlessness of the initial shooting attack, but more importantly, it documents the purely sadistic second attack on the family, which included two young children, that stopped to rescue a severely wounded survivor of the initial ambush.

This is very bad business indeed, and there is little a civilised person can say about a case in which more than a dozen innocent civilians are shot and killed without reasonable cause by American military personnel other than to state what is blatantly obvious. This incident is not simply another story about the unfortunate casualties of war, it is an empirical testament as to why the United States has absolutely no business occupying, much less waging war against, the people of the nation of Iraq. This massacre is a particularly gruesome and undeniably illuminating example of a war crime in progress and it deserves due recognition as such under the established rules of international law.

Without reservation, the editors of The Aboriginal News Group roundly condemns the unprovoked attack on our fellow journalists and the other innocent Iraqi civilians wrongfully shot to death in the residential community of New Baghdad, Iraq, 06:21:09 Zulu Time, July 12th, 2007 as an act of unmitigated colonialist violence. In our view, the video documentation of this incident is empirical evidence of clear violations of the US military Rules of Engagement for Iraq; the established principles of international law as recognised by the Fourth Geneva Convention in relation to the protection of civilian persons in time of war; the “Martens Clause” addendum to the Hague Convention of 18993; the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court4 (adopted 07.17.1998); the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 33145 (adopted 12.14.1974) and Principles: IV, VI(b)(c); The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (General Assembly Resolution 260) and VII of the 1945-46 Nürnberg Trials as codified in draft by the International Law Commission6 as it concerns the definition of war crimes as acts of:

“Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation of slave labor or for any other purpose of the civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity”.7

While we wholeheartedly support the growing public demand that the Obama administration immediately compel the United States military to objectively reinvestigate this matter without delay or prejudice, the Aboriginal News Group does not believe that the US government can be expected to investigate or judge its own illicit use of deadly military force impartially. Instead, we call for the creation of an autonomous, citizen-led review commission based on the model of the Russell International War Crimes Tribunals of 1966-67 that would serve to critically reaffirm the rule of international law and the responsibilities of combative states to protect common citizens from unwarranted military violence.

This international commission would independently and objectively investigate the 2007 ‘New Baghdad Massacre’ by attempting to answer the following questions:

1- Did US military helicopter crews randomly and eagerly decide to attack non-aggressive human targets of a purely civilian character in a residential Iraqi neighbourhood without reasonable cause on July 12th 2007?


2- Did the US military political and public relations structure purposefully misrepresent this incident to the international press?

This citizen’s commission should also be permitted to objectively observe any official investigations into this matter as a demonstration of bureaucratic transparency and faith in the public’s right to know. This commission should also pledge that the proceedings and final report of such investigations will be made readily available, unredacted, to all interested parties and the international press.

This particular case stands out as an atrocity of historical dimensions primarily because it presents the entire western community with a direct empirical challenge to its political passivity and ethical hypocrisy in the face of a bold lie. Even in the considerable wake of the public release of this disturbing video, the Pentagon still stubbornly stands by what was originally reported to the mainstream media, including Reuters, in 2007 when Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, representing US and coalition forces in Iraq told the press:

“There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force...”8

The day after the incident, the Reuters agency described the tragedy this way:

"The cause of their deaths is unclear. The US military issued a statement describing the incident as a firefight with insurgents and said the killings were being investigated. Witnesses interviewed by Reuters said they saw no gunmen in the immediate area and that there had been a US helicopter attack, which police described as "random American bombardment"."9

This video is clearly just one example among many within an unending series of brutal war crimes brought down upon the general citizenry of Iraq. We feel that the usage of the word “random” by Iraqi police within this context is of great explanatory value, as it confirms the numerous independent news reports that described the use of indiscriminate military violence against non-combatant Iraqi civilians during the occupation. To his credit, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the current US Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) recently substantiated these reports when he admitted that these incidents in fact do occur with an alarming frequency. According to Gen. McChrystal:

"I do want to say something that everyone understands. We really ask a lot of our young service people out on the checkpoints because there's danger, they're asked to make very rapid decisions in often very unclear situations. However, to my knowledge, in the nine-plus months I've been here, not a single case where we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it. That doesn't mean I'm criticizing the people who are executing. I'm just giving you perspective. We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."10

While it appears unusual, the surprising candour expressed in these statements are not expressions of remorse or the acceptance of moral and professional responsibility for imperialist injustice. They are at heart examples of contemporary Orwellian banality, the expression-less American Euro-settler tolerance for xenophobic-justified atrocities in the name of “Americanism” and “democracy” against “worthwhile” victims casually identified as “The Other”. The US occupation is not about “peace”, it is attempting to create a sustainable and workable colonial social order of capitalist indoctrination in the effort to win over the “hearts and minds” of the Iraqi people. But with ever-increasing levels of war stress, stop-loss and troops unaware that they are burdened by the subconscious cultural-trauma of more than 500 years of racist, pro-Europocentric colonialist oppression, it comes as no surprise to us that American troops are losing positive control over their inner-colonialist demons while serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hostile locations where the United States has a military and economic interest.

While the New York Times has reported that under Gen. McChrystal’s command the United Nations has documented a 28 percent reduction in civilian casualties in the last year,11 this does not take away from the fact that coalition occupation forces, privately employed mercenaries and corrupt US-recruited native troops often use defenceless Iraqi citizens for target practise and occasionally as literal human punching-bags for their personal amusement and psychological ‘war-guilt’ vomitus.12 One such recent case involved the February 12th killing of two pregnant women, a teenage girl, a policeman and his brother during a raid by US forces in in Kabul, Afghanistan. There is little doubt that this story was originally suppressed by both the US military and the mainstream news media and we now know that US special forces personnel actually crudely removed their own bullets from their victims bodies and then cleansed the would with chemicals before submitting a false report about the incident. Under mounting pressure, NATO officials eventually admitted responsibility for the deaths, but continue to deny that a cover-up ever took place and maintain that there exists no credible evidence of inappropriate military conduct.

Further, international news agencies such as Reuters have repeatedly criticised the use of hostile force against their employees by the US military. Reports of journalists being detained by US forces include stories of physical and sexual abuse in their custody, and in one account from 2004, three Reuters employees were severely beaten and threatened with further violence by US military personnel in base near Fallujah. Counterpunch’s Patrick Cockburn reported in July of 2007 that:

"Soldiers laughed, taunted, abused, photographed and degraded them by forcing them to insert their fingers up their anuses and then lick them."13

Perhaps this is an obvious point, but all of this clearly illustrates that the United States military war machine has yet again shown itself to be little more than a willing agent of brutal anti-human physical destruction under the auspices of defending the laudable ideals of “freedom and democracy”. As Indigenous people we point to the painfully obvious “colonialist attitudes” displayed by the helicopter crews clearly intent on opening fire on the pedestrians milling peacefully below them. We perceive this to be nothing less than “Indian Hunting”, the colonialist practise of indiscriminately seeking out native citizenry to violently prey upon, perhaps the ugliest by-product of all wars and conflict. The audio commentary overheard during the video is without qualification disgusting as well, but it provides us with further evidence of the obvious disregard many US military personnel have developed towards the human rights and safety of Iraq’s civilian society.

The testosterone-fuelled eagerness and abject merriment of the soldiers involved in this atrocity we feel reflects much more than military insensitivity, it is indicative of the socio-political culture, history and spirit of American Euro-settler colonialist aggression. This video makes it abundantly clear that these “American” soldiers were consciously seeking out someone, anyone, to shoot at and possibly kill, simply for the mere “sport” of it. We feel that for all accounts and purposes, these troops acted as if they were playing a “Cowboys and Indians” video game in real-time and that understanding of this historical dynamic is manifestly critical towards comprehending the deeper meanings beneath both the tactless dialog overheard during this atrocity as well as the very occupation of Iraq itself.

As Indigenous people, we understand viscerally the contradictions raised by this document. It shows brazen and inexcusable conduct unbecoming of any professional army anywhere in the world, but it is exceedingly heinous when such acts are performed by the supposedly “democratic” and “moral” armies of Pax Americana. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, the Obama administration has declined to comment at length on the circumstances surrounding this incident other than to suggest that such things happen in war time. And while the Pentagon does admit that the video is an authentic document, (perhaps one day they will happen to locate their own “lost” copy)14 they still authoritatively maintain that their personnel acted appropriately and in accordance with the “rules of war”. To add further insult to injury, official sources are also insisting that no special investigations will be conducted to empirically deconstruct the root causes behind this terrible event.15 Predictably, the mainstream corporate-owned US news stream has already forgotten about the story.16

As Indigenous people, the editors of the Aboriginal News Group respectfully point to the sober observations of US Justice Robert Jackson who repeatedly reiterated during and in the years following the Nürnberg trials that the crimes in which he sat in judgment were crimes of indiscriminate violence against people, irregardless of intent and no respect to which nations in the world may happen to commit the act. However, when the Nürnberg Principles are raised in regards to the behaviour of the United States and its treatment of Indigenous and occupied peoples at home and abroad, the discourse almost always sinks into a morass of nationalistic, theological and ultimately racist Europocentric excuses for Western Empire and Judeo-Christian hegemony.

In our view it is not by chance or mistake that the helicopters used in the 2007 attack are called “Apache”, or that one of the mission crews used “Crazyhorse” as an identification monicker. As conscious Indigenous people, we understand that the imperio-colonialist’s subconscious rationale behind the utterly disrespectful use of these and other proud North American Indigenous names and symbols is concretely indicative of their lack of comprehension, compassion or sense of responsibility towards the victims of their violent belligerence.

It is not overstating the argument to insist that the United States republic suffers from its own unique form of holocaust denial. This denial is manifested in the love-hate relationship US Euro-settlers and their self-colonialised non-European lackeys have with America’s First Peoples and most of its ex-slave African population. This analysis is evidenced by the considerable social and racial unease that has emerged in the United States following the election of Barack Obama. As one of our editors has insightfully observed, the use of Indigenous names, symbolisms and racial epithets by the US military and other security-focused systems is more than simple cultural misappropriation, it is a wholly intentional and pitiful attempt to harness the actual identities of these Original Peoples and the other nations they have unsympathetically conquered through violence. He continues his Indigenist analysis by observing that:

“The Lakota were never defeated in battle with the U.S. and so with that spirit, the Americans including their military, use invocations coded in their command identifications as if they are summoning the supernatural or even Crazy Horse's diety to help them not lose in battle or any campaign. This is why the Lakota or Apache are always used because of our "never give up" spirit. They can never, ever become Lakota or Apache.”

The international Aboriginal community has been aware for some time that American military personnel and private mercenary units such as those employed by Blackwater/Xe regularly refer to Iraqis as “Indians”, “Redskins”, “Injuns”, “Savages” and “Niggers” who are receiving righteous "payback for 9/11".17 For the uninitiated, these terms are traditional racial epithets in the United States and are still used in negative reference to North America’s Original and African Peoples. In light of the undeniably colonial and imperialist nature of the US occupation of Iraq, it comes as no surprise to us that the Iraq and Afghan peoples are defined as “Indians” and “Niggers”.18 It is obvious that Iraq’s Arabs are also being viewed by some American troops as yet another sub-human “other race” that many may be misinterpreting as a license to kill.19

The Aboriginal News Group believes that the application of these specific racially derogatory terms in reference to Iraq’s Arab population more than anything else substantiates the Indigenist argument that American Euro-settler colonialism is the real US mission in Occupied Iraq, not the pursuit of western-style democratic reform. In short, the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq is nothing more than a contemporary act of “Manifest Destiny” and any honest accounting of this crisis must begin from that historical juncture. There exists no credible intellectual excuse to ignore such an analysis as it relates directly to what led to the “New Baghdad Massacre” and the current establishment’s official and unofficial disdain for transparency on this and many other similar instances of indiscriminate US, coalition and private mercenary abuses of military power.

The psychological remnants of this anti-Indigenous colonialist history can also be seen in the American campaign against the Japanese Empire in the 1940’s. US troops were known to execute, torture and mutilate the corpses of captured and surrendering Japanese troops. According to Simon Harrison, author of “Skull Trophies of the Pacific War: Transgressive objects of Remembrance”, among the Japanese war dead repatriated from the Pacific immediately following the war, nearly 60 percent of the cadavers were shipped home without their heads. 20 Once the war moved to mainland Japan, US troops began committing other atrocities such as the sexual assault of more than 4,336 Japanese women during the first few days of the US occupation.21 Numerous military officers and historians at the time, including in the contemporary era, have attributed this behaviour, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the long-held American perception that Asians were a sinister and malevolent "Eastern subhuman race" and therefore not deserving of humane treatment or civil respect during wartime or social weakness. These dangerous anti-Asian attitudes were to emerge again in Vietnam, most notably during the 03.16.1968 massacre at My Lai (Pinkville).

If we are to understand how such things can occur in the contemporary era of international moral and legal recognition for the human rights of all peoples and the rights of sovereign states to be free from unwarranted aggression, let us begin at the beginning. To fully comprehend the nature of this particular Western Asian occupation, it is imperative to understand the earlier North American occupation that became the operational model for all others the United States would later undertake.

In sum, the “Indian Wars” are far from over, and its high time that all the militaries of the world take responsibilities for their violent actions against the human rights of all peoples. In particular the common, non-combatant civilians unwillingly caught up in the insanity of armed conflict.

Stop the violence by stopping the war.

The Aboriginal News Group


The Aboriginal News Group is an international association of Indigenist blog-journalists working to provide accurate under-reported Indigenous news items to the people of the Fourth World and others with a concern for human justice and Aboriginal political issues.



1- Dupre', Deborah. “Pentagon targets Wiki Whistblowers for exposing its dirty secrets”, Human Rights Examiner, 03. 27.2010

2- Fromm, Charles. “US-IRAQ: Leaked Video of Shooting Spurs Calls for New Probe”, Inter-Press Service, 04, 06, 2010

3- “Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague II); July 29, 1899. archived in the Avalon Project at Yale Law School. Source: Wikipedia.

4- Scharf, Michael P. “Results of the Rome Conference for an International Criminal Court. The American Society of International Law”, Pub: August 1998

5- United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3314 defines the crime of aggression. Acts of aggression are defined as armed invasions or attacks, bombardments, blockades, armed violations of territory, permitting other states to use one's own territory to perpetrate acts of aggression and the employment of armed irregulars or mercenaries to carry out acts of aggression. The definition's distinction between an act of aggression and a war of aggression make it clear that not every act of aggression would constitute a crime against peace; only war of aggression does. States would nonetheless be held responsible for acts of aggression. Source: Wikipedia.

6- Report: “Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nürnberg Tribunal and in the Judgement of the Tribunal”, Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1950, vol. II. Source: Wikipedia

7- Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nürnberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, 1950.

8- Bumiller, Elisabeth. “Video Shows U.S. Killing of Reuters Employees”, NYT April 5, 2010

9- “Reuters journalists killed in Baghdad”, 2007-07-13 11:11:07. ReutersLink News : http://www.reuterslink.org/news/reuterskilledjournos.htm

10- Elliott, Justin. “Gen. McChrystal: We've Shot 'An Amazing Number Of People' Who Were Not Threats”, TPM, April 2, 2010.

11- Oppel Jr., Richard A. “Tighter Rules Fail to Stem Deaths of Innocent Afghans at Checkpoints”, NYT, March 26, 2010.

12- "'Autopsy reports reveal homicides of detainees in U.S. custody'", ACLU. 10.24.2005. (http://action.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/102405/).

13- Cockburn, Patrick. “Journalist in the Iraq War Zone”, counterpunch, 07.16.2010.

14- BBC News: “US military 'trying to retrieve' Iraq killings video” 7th, April 2010.

15- “Admin Refuses to Call for Probe of US Killing of Iraqis”, democracynow.org; 04.07.2010.

16- “Iraq Killings and Media Indifference: Leaked video mostly ignored by corporate media”, fair.org: 04.072010.

17- Schulman, Daniel. “Justice Dept.: Blackwater Contractor Saw Killing Iraqis as 9/11 Payback”, motherjones.com , Sep. 8, 2009.

18- Scahill, Jeremy. “Blackwater Accused of Racism on Its Anti-Piracy Ship”, rebelreports.com.

19- Gardner, David. “‘Ha ha, I hit 'em': Top secret video showing U.S. helicopter pilots gunning down 12 civilians in Baghdad attack leaked online”, mailonline.co.uk; last updated at 9:19 AM on 7th April 2010.

20- Simon Harrison “Skull Trophies of the Pacific War: transgressive objects of remembrance” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S) 12, 817-836 (2006) p.828 Source, Wikipedia.

21-Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II

Aboriginal News Group (ANG) http://aboriginalnewsgroup.blogspot.com/
Notice: This communication (including attachments) is covered by the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2521.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Osenbrugge: What's Wrong with Germany's Signature on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

What’s Wrong with Germany’s Signature on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

by Jessica Osenbrugge
Censored News

Since I journeyed over the Atlantic seas from my native land, America, to the country of Germany, I have discovered the Old World; an old world where what is new is this: this land is now one of many European countries tied into a larger union of nation-states. These nation-states like the United States of America and the provinces and territories of Canada sign big, important documents at big, important buildings around the globe and make big, important decisions about peoples they may continue to spectacle through a nickelodeon.

While this union of European states has its legal, economic, and political underpinnings in a series of Treaty agreements following World War II, and continues some sort of semblance of dignified unity straight into the 21st Century, at a base level one could not nor should mistake a German of French identity nor of British or Greek or Hungarian. Each country, if not solely by right, retains and claims a unique heritage and pride to language, culture, ancestry, and land.

Certainly, no one in Germany would appreciate nor think it wise if a Hungarian or a Briton re-discovers and claims as his own, the much-regarded German forests and rivers. No one would think it cute if he then proceeds to attempt a codification of language and culture that resembles nothing of what is distinctly German. Nor, claim a parcel of land that is meant for German children and their children, disparage and degrade it, and churn the rotten spoils over. No one would find it just to forsake the life and livelihood of a peoples for the economic benefit of a few who may have never once stepped foot inside the country of Germany.

Thus, it seemed quite hopeful and remarkable that the member states of the European Union (EU), including Germany, signed the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September 2007. One would think that the EU would have no other perspective and tradition in its bootstraps that could belie the equal rights of indigenous peoples around the globe. The indigenous have a right to retain and claim as members states of the EU do, and as the Preamble of the Declaration declares, Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources.

It becomes, then, quite a confounding conundrum, a baffling riddle of the phoenix, as to what would lead Germany and other European nation-states to disrespect North American indigenous rights since signing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This, in light of the glorious ratification of the UN declaration 2 1/2 years ago. Is it, perhaps, that the quill dried up before the German and European media could halt the printing presses from doing an immaculate, triumphant PR job – firing up the good kindling to make smoke signals for North American native peoples? Wafting messages that European nations and peoples are indeed a friend.

Why is it then that when I came to Germany in January of 2008, and began discussing and educating about rights conflicts that affect indigenous peoples and children of the United States, Canada, and Mexico – conflicts that occur with each inhale we take and exhale we push, today, right now, this second – it was evinced that “the topic” was either too controversial, or, yawn, too uninteresting? Double-yawn.

We shall all be aware that the global human rights regime is yet another circuit pervaded by both expected, benign internal bickering and politicking. After all, one can become quite clenched and a real dullard meeting with the same circles of advocates every day. These folks may be located in places where war and the lack of clean water is something they have only know from position papers and draft resolutions. Then, there is the more nefarious kind – serious conflict-of-interests when crossing politics with human rights agendas. Meddling from double-down, high-rolling politicians, whose power platforms are derived in elegant-sounding careers and within elaborate networks of very big, important people, shapes the what and the who human rights groups may actually be interested in helping. Couple this with the oh-so-other big, important objective of the promotion of the westernized brand of capitalistic democracy, you may just lose your poker face and all your cards.

Then, there is the natural criticism of how human rights groups do what they do. Many organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam are routinely accused of selection bias, poor research methodologies, and for being pro- or anti- whatever movement or country or peoples strikes the fancy of democratized governments at that precise moment (the focus of the types of human rights to be examined and theorized on, I have found, are a fashionable commodity). These accusations are what they are, and should be left to each individual or organization to assess the criticism, to weigh the level of assistance they could receive despite the risks, and then discern whether or not to approach such human rights agency.

Regardless, the general public the world over generally believes one thing. A human rights organization, global or regional, is there for this defined reason: to serve all human beings or a collection of human beings who are experiencing a deprivation of their very right to exist on planet Earth, galaxy Milky Way.

I believed as such in Germany. I also believed that there would be far more openness and willingness to hear about what precisely are the conflicts for North American indigenous peoples. Today.

Although I appear by the suit the world has donned me as a cynic, I come from an ancient blood-line of ardent, yet down-and-out optimists. I thought it prudent to approach the German human rights regime and ask a basic question: now that you have signed it, what does the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples mean to you and your country?

I concede that perhaps I wouldn’t have been so motivated to make such an inquiry if I hadn’t had the knowledge and understanding that German and European banks finance and private business firms partake in economic industrial development projects nearby, around, in the neighborhood of, or squarely on and underneath and above indigenous ancestral, Treaty, spiritual, and ceded lands, and upon indigenous peoples in North America. In fact, almost all member states of the European Union are thespians in this theatrical production. With identical method acting from the United States and Canada, they play a strong part on the world’s stage, “The 21st Century Uprising: Collaboration for Conflict against North American Indigenous”.

I had a good, logical, and basic question.

After all, what did Article 32, Clause 2 of the declaration reaffirm? States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.

I had an even more logical quest to erect a meaningful discourse in Germany and throughout Europe about what could be done to actually respect and promote the inherent rights of North American indigenous peoples as provided for in the Declaration. Perhaps, they didn’t know that their economic project interests and activities in North America were actually betraying and violating the 46 Articles. An affiliate of a multi-national German firm, with a larger economy than most nation-states in the world, confessed it. They expressed that the largest industrial project in the world, in which this company reaps big, important money from, does in fact cause substantial damages to the land and the indigenous way of life. Perhaps, Germany and the European Union needed to revisit Article 7, Clause 1, Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person.

Imagine my surprise then, that after all this education, advocacy, and discussion-blistering that went on in Germany, that I found myself smack in the city center of Berlin face-to-face with an individual who was a former Human Rights Secretary General and currently is an EU Parliament member. I was inside the illustrious golden-gate palace on the rights of mankind with an organization that possesses consultative status to the UN, and was told by this individual that I, “…would not get very far talking about anything indigenous here.”

Say what? Come again?

I would not get very far talking in Europe about North American indigenous peoples!? Nor would I get too far discussing the rights violations they face day in and day out that. Conflicts that can at times be whittled down to a question of life or death.

Wait. Didn’t Germany agree to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and aren’t you an agency that helps, well, people?

Shall we then suppose that although Germany signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights and The Geneva Conventions, that one would not get too far discussing human rights or genocide in the country?

This individual, I believe, was in some part being soulfully candid while also lamenting that I will, indeed, root out and face a sinister truth in my endeavors. Simultaneously, I understood that North American indigenous conflicts were not a trendy accessory to this organization. Nor is it fashionable for any politician in the EU who wishes to sustain their power and political capital to even mention the dirty word…indigenous. Shhhhhhhh. This individual, like many politicians in America and Canada, may wield a mighty wand upon a petal of illusions – the abidance to the universal and global corpus of human rights. Yet, they must entertain the notion that there is a rigorous set of cogs within the internal workings of the international economic and political diplomacy machine. To ensure its austerity they may set the sails and temper the water with approved human rights agendas.

Following this mid-summer day’s epiphany in 2009, the organization still requested of me to perform a small checklist of things to do. This checklist included writing letters to German businesses and banking firms, posting my lecture notes on their webpage and to network with a troop of human rights advocates including those in the United States. They believed that North American indigenous rights matters really belonged in the jurisdiction of America, even though they were all surprised to learn Germany’s involvement in the perpetration of indigenous rights conflicts from Canada to the wild, western American frontiers. It was noted that the checklist work was supposed to come first before they would engage in any [minor] action to support North American indigenous peoples.

They had not felt convinced enough to begin work on their own. Sure, they could have called Germany’s top banks and multinational corporations and asked, ‘hey, we got some American Frau in here talking about Indians - what are you guys doing over there in North America?’ They should have called the numerous community-based, grass-roots indigenous organizations in Canada and the United States and asked, ‘how can we help and support you? How can we begin giving real meaning in our commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?’

The human rights organization later alleged that it asked around with its members and constituents to see if anyone would be behooved to formulate a “working group” with me on North American indigenous conflicts. It was alleged that it was bidded once. Twice. Thrice. No Takers. Yawn.

It struck me after a period of weeks that the organization had written up an appeasement. A Treaty, if you will. If I complied and satisfied all of their demands, perhaps indigenous rights conflicts would receive a little food and fry bread in Germany. Like the entire embodiment of Treaty agreements with North American indigenous peoples, a lack of adherence created bad consequences for only one side. Naturally. The purveyors of the accord, of course, do not take the penalty. If I didn’t perform the requested duties, then the organization shall not claim any responsibility for doing nothing at all. They would be absolved of any accountability towards rolling out a beginner’s indigenous-rights-for-dummies model; to actually behave in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Any escalation of injustice for indigenous peoples was not blood on their own hands.

This organization has kept their hands polished and their pedicures up-to-date, despite an understanding of the gritty transgressions that German businesses continue to conduct on indigenous lands. Political careers are still intact. And the organization taps its goody two-shoes for its congenial behavior.

If there are obstacles in the discussion of indigenous rights in German human rights circles, what then of German educational and cultural institutions? Has anything changed since Germany signed the declaration, in the approach and/or strategies of education about, or even by, indigenous peoples?

When I posed this question, along with a few others, to the Federal Foreign Office of Germany’s Human Rights Council in the spring of 2009, they were very eager to explain to me how the country of Germany and other EU member nations sponsored the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Their unique stance respects indigenous rights and promotes, by economic development projects, fairer standards of living and livelihoods. Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) environmental guidelines are followed, at least in spirit, in their interaction with the Earth Mother.

What was deeply embedded in this series of communications is that this grand undertaking is directed towards indigenous peoples who reside in developing nations. Germany underlines “…that there is no specific German approach towards North American indigenous peoples.”

It would be remiss to not point out that the declaration did not differentiate between native peoples in developing nations and native peoples in developed nations. In fact, no specificity was given. Both groups need equal recognition of rights because both groups may reside in countries where Articles 27 and 28 have not been satisfactorily observed and performed.

Article 27

States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

Article 28

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or, when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.

2. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or other appropriate redress.

Perhaps, Germany is not aware that the American and Canadian legal redress processes are, at times, hardly laudable. Or that Treaty and land negotiation processes have been found incompetent by numerous civil societies and rights groups, and even recently by the Organization of American States (OAS). Or that monetary compensation for the continued perpetration of injustice and rights violations against North American indigenous is not the only solution in making friends. That possibly, possibly, possibly it will take action, a physical manifestation of doing, to bring to life the magic ink on a recycled piece of UN paper.

I thought perhaps the German Human Rights Council may have been absent-minded in informing me on how the university system and cultural institutions have adjusted its programs. Maybe they didn’t know themselves. I went straight to the source, then, to uncover my answers. I contacted several universities in Germany to ask this question, “now that you have signed it, what does the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples mean to you and your country? Have you changed anything in the educational programs? Are you aware that Article 15 states, Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.”


Perhaps, it is my all-American education from a very well-known and regarded public college on the Upper East Side of New York City that propels me into a misunderstanding of what higher education is all about in Germany. Clearly, in New York City, one will find every social and political viewpoint and activism in the world, and public universities seem quite eager to let them in. Everyone has a voice. Everyone has an opinion. And the cloak of democracy, at least, is maintained. The aura of open-thought, diversity, and progressiveness - which may betray every fiber in your very being - isn’t this what young adults expect when they go to college?

It is incredibly unfortunate that these enlightened college years do not befall every human being between the Atlantic and the Pacific, Canada and Mexico, and east and west of the Mississippi. For those who have been graced by higher education institutions, it seems that all this open-thought may not have permeated and saturated other areas of the American consciousness. Those college years, man, they were a blast anyway though.

I am quite confident that mind-jerking and a massage of the brain muscles actually does occur in the German university system. Surely, surely, surely too German student life resembles precisely American student life with the all-night deluges in binge-drinking and keggers – though, I am sure the kegs look far more sophisticated, if not bigger, in Germany. But in between the beers, I am aware that German students receive a hell of a good education. Those who chose so, receive their Euro’s worth of Native American literature and education courses. Yes, they facilitate discussions on the writing power of Sherman Alexie just like America students do. Try to understand reservation life just like American students do. Plaster through their political science, economics, and social injustice, and globalization courses. Just like American students do.

Several German and EU universities also have 3– and 4- day extracurricular conferences that are trying to paint a picture on where the co-existence of indigenous peoples and Caucasian peoples is precisely going now that the world is being knocked off its rocker. How do we analyze this co-habitation on a planet that is still reeling from the coinages of new terms such as: rapid globalization, post-modernism, post-industrial societies, advanced-market economies, service-based economies, climate change, post- September 11th, and information revolution?

What sense does any human being – indigenous and non-indigenous alike – make of this when the feel on the ground, in every-day life, is stuffed to the brim with joblessness, hunger, homelessness, and injustices in their own backyards? With walls and surveillance, mineral and natural resource mining, warped legislation and laws written by and for those who raise a powerful pillar made of capital, right on the backs of humanity.

In these academic conferences, there’s a hankering to linger the examination on the co-existence of native peoples with the rest of the world via the lens of college-approved arts and humanities. While these things are incredible and worthy contributions in their own right, everyone susurrates to the same tip-toe dance that human rights organizations often do, or at least the ones that may actually attempt to support indigenous peoples. You never just come out and say what the conflicts are about. You never specify who the players really are, how it began, and what variables continue to inflame it. It seems to be impish and impolite gossip to mention ill-conceived North American public policies of today and yesteryear, transnational economic industrial projects, and judicial processes that are trained to negate or flat-out reject the construction of matters that concern indigenous peoples.

In my speaking engagements, I didn’t tip-toe. I stated it clearly - from bad United States public policies, opportunistic multi-national economic ventures that take advantage of policy, and the rights violations of indigenous men, women, and children. I rabbled on about how the legal processes exacerbate the conflicts and have minimized the indigenous right to self-determination and sovereignty. This right is indeed declared, at least on paper, by the United States and Canadian governments. Each indigenous nation’s constitutions, which they have a right to create, upholds identity and sovereignty. No kidding! How uncanny, then, that Article 3 of the Declaration applauds the right of nationality and the determination of self, Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

In my pursuits, I regaled German students with not only the qualms of scientific-less federal legislation policies, but how German and European firms have quantifiable economic-steads in industrial projects on North American indigenous lands, be it the equivalent of hundred bucks to a 100 million greenbacks. It seems that these presentations went well and students had many good questions. However, after being allowed in to some German universities to raise awareness on contemporary rights conflicts, I felt a sour, cold bluster. After receiving an invite, I would be disinvited or unreciprocated in communications. Could be that everyone just got busy. Could be.

The idea, though, of examining the rights conflicts from a domestic and international economic level or a policy level, or, simply from a ground-level, this may have been cast to the realm of political activism. It is controversial, touchy, risqué. Shouldn’t be done. It may just be a career-killer for a soon-to-be tenured professor who invites an educator or a supporter who actually criticizes and announces they absolutely dislike North American public policy against indigenous peoples. Or, it’ll expose the unwitting student of actually learning another perspective they have never conceived of. At the expense, of course, of killing a career in international politics and business. While clicking their pearly student heels, the mantra may be: There’s no place like North America. Must get along. It makes for good political and economic relations. It is vital to deepening my pockets.

Activism – be it political, social, or environmental - may have a bad rap in the German university system since the late 60’s. This too may be growing in the United States system, though, I still clutch to the hope that the cacophony of the left-leaning and right-leaning voices are welcomed. In Germany, however, if the discussion of anything “indigenous” is to be had in the hallmark of higher learning, it could be that it is viewed from only the orientation of activism. It couldn’t be that it just may come from an indigenous truth about the very world we all live in together. It couldn’t be that colonialism shouldn’t be talked about in only a historical context. It couldn’t be that the violation of rights affects indigenous children today. And will do so tomorrow. “Indigenous” somehow is unable to be disassociated from “activism” unless you apply the apt poultice of scholarly arts and humanities point-of-views to assuage the discussion. To tip-toe. To portend the real significant substance. To never find out the truth. Even if it is different than your own. How truly American this is!

Leave it to the theorists, they say. Leave it to those “elites” who by very grade of their educational status should know how to discuss and treat North American indigenous peoples. Leave it to those educators who may have spent 3 months out of their lives in an indigenous community in the States or Canada, and perhaps studied an anthropological motif and made it a celebrated thesis. Their academic analysis on other peoples, while it helps to fuel cozy trans-Atlantic diplomacy, weighs more in gold than the voice of indigenous leadership. Today.

Otherwise, the opinion may remain as one regarded cultural educator in the south of Germany told me -while it is a challenge to stop the process of evolution, and cultures and peoples are influenced by one another, “… [indigenous cultures] are not going to disappear, but they are adapting to new situations. In this context, some [indigenous] cultural traits are indeed lost, but replaced by new ones.”

Is this really acceptable? Is this really what the body of diverse indigenous leaders are calling for in their community actions and calls for critical support from the indigenous and non-indigenous? Are they indeed suggesting that it’s a wonderful blessing to lose cultural traits and to replace the old with the new? Or simply resign themselves to this degenerative condition?

Or, could it be that indigenous peoples are asking to “just say no” to bad domestic and international Euro-American policy and big business who dare not to actually revere the earth in the same vein as their own mother? To just say that this is not only a matter of the subliminal loss of cultural traits here and there, but rather to object and to not tolerate the genocide of indigenous peoples’ knowledges?

I have been told by some European professors that they wouldn’t dare to invite contributors who appear on this very blog site, Censored News. I have been told that there is little public awareness that the country of Germany and EU member states signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Some didn’t know it themselves. How, then, can we expect any change in the way we respect the world and the people in it when the youth, which everyone unequivocally concurs are the inheritors of this hunk of maternal rock, are following a leadership that only finds change in the blotting of the ink on paper? Of writing a grandiose webbing of spirited words in big, important declarations, and then carve no spirited motivation towards actually performing those words?

Perhaps then, I’ll gander an educated guess on how indigenous and non-indigenous children of today will view each other tomorrow, and what kind of spoiled apple they will inherit.

Is the southern United States and Mexico border wall and ensuing conflict touchy? I suppose for some in Germany who already know the atrocity of wars and walls, it could be. Is the mineral mining in the western half of the United States that perpetrates a whole host of continuous indigenous conflicts of rights, risqué? Sure. For German and European big business monsters that stand a galatical chance to deepen their pockets with wealth. Is oil drilling in the Boreal Forest of Canada and off-shore in Alaska too controversial? It could be so. Does shutting the door on real examination, analysis, research, and discourse on indigenous rights instruments thereby remove German and EU nation responsibility from them? Or is it of the view that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is not even, as people say about UN declarations, worth the paper it is written on?

The German public like the American or Canadian public is none the wiser either. How could they be when their attention spans are warped by 30-second spins around the global television box about Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan? Then, a barrage of incentives to seduce you to consume. This is the only real job the westernized, industrialized, and democratized public has. While members of the German public will tell me to my face that they have nothing to do with those Indians in North America (yet 40,000+ Germans will dress up like one for the nostalgic wonderment and romance of it all), it has not tugged their consciousness to think again about the sources of materials that just may be lodged in their chest of drawers -chock full of lifestyle and technology. That reality says that these did not only come from a far away, exotic place that have indigenous peoples in them such as Africa and South America (yes, this has been seen on TV), but also from the indigenous under the Star-Spangled Banner and the Red Maple Leaf.

If every Article and Clause of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was actually followed, with every ‘t’ crossed and ‘i’ dotted, every European, American, and Canadian would live in a world they have never experienced before. This may feel, in fact, too touchy, risqué, and controversial. Scary. However, if the dominance of one view was actually supplanted with the notion of equality for all of mankind, our children would inherit an age-old passing of a universal truth we all hold dear. A promise from the old sages to the sprightly youth not yet conceived of - a lighter and balanced world exists and it has finally been bestowed to you. If this shall happen, then we would know that a philosophy, as outlined in Article 1, has metamorphosed from a state of abstractionism to tangible reality, Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.

Like in America and Canada there are human beings sprinkled throughout Germany and the European Union who are not afraid of realizing this reality. They are committed to shaping the future judgment of these times by the posterity of their children. They are open to hearing the voice of indigenous peoples and supporting indigenous leadership. They are willing to commit to spirited action with or without the big, important declarations. They will not stand-by in complicity and tolerate governments and businesses who fancy antiquated parlor-tricks in ignorance, greed, and vanity over the killing of the soul in another.

Please Germany and the EU, do not feign leadership nor follow in the foot-steps of the three westernized, democratized nations that have a government-to-government relationship with indigenous nations, and who still have not committed to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The thousands of indigenous peoples and nations in North American, if not solely by right, retain and claim a unique heritage and pride to language, culture, ancestry, and land, as you exercise. And they are asking of you, “now that you have signed it, what does the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples mean to you and your country? How will you respect North American indigenous rights?”

Do not make nothing of just another signature.

You can begin by actually doing a big, important action, Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources.


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