Saturday, April 22, 2006
Urban Indian health clinics are a lifeline for tribal members who live in cities off reservations. The Bush administration has proposed to sever that lifeline.
Bush's proposed budget would eliminate the Urban Indian Health Program, which funds primary, preventive and behavioral health care for the 60% of American Indians and Alaska Natives that reside in urban areas, for savings of $33 million.
The funding provides services to 34 Indian clinics across the country, and if they are closed, many American Indians would have to seek care from reservation clinics which are not exactly down the street.
At the seventh annual Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council Health Conference in Billings, Mont., Darryl Red Eagle, a council member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine-Sioux Tribes, said reservation health care services are underfunded. He added that dental care is available only on an emergency basis and that patients in need of orthodontic services will not be able to be seen by a doctor until 2017. Anthony Addison, co-chair of the Northern Arapaho Tribe on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, said diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular problems, as well as illicit drug and alcohol use, are prevalent among American Indians, and he attributed lack of immediate care as part of the problem. "We need to come together in a unified, collaborative effort to do our best to address these issues. Even though money is not allocated at levels we need ... it never has been funded at [the proposed] levels," Addison said.
If those clinics are closed, tribal members likely would have to return to their home reservations to receive health care. But the reservation clinics and hospitals are barely able to provide services for those people eligible for care, let alone an influx of others, Montana and Wyoming tribal leaders said.
Urban Indian health programs report that such a cut would result in bankruptcies, lease defaults, elimination of services to tens of thousands of Indians who may not seek care elsewhere, an increase in the health care disparity for American Indians and Alaska Natives and the near annihilation of a body of medical and cultural knowledge addressing the unique cultural and medical needs of the urban Indian population held almost exclusively by these programs. According to the 2000 Census, nearly 70% of Americans identifying themselves as of American Indian or Alaska Native heritage live in urban areas.
Darryl Red Eagle, a council member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine-Sioux Tribes, said there are already medical “horror stories” because of not enough funding for health care services to his tribe.Dental care is available only on an emergency basis, Red Eagle said, and if someone needs braces the system is backed up until 2017. A tribal elder recently rode to Billings in the back of a pickup to get her medical care, Red Eagle said. A man’s gallstones were not considered a matter of “life and limb,” so he could be referred off-reservation for care until a duct ruptured and he became infected. The man is in Billings recovering but had to have part of his pancreas removed and is on dialysis, Red Eagle said.
Red Eagle held up his left arm and rubbed the elbow where bone chips float, a condition that sometimes hampers use of his arm but that isn’t critical enough to make him eligible for IHS treatment.
“There are solutions, but it takes a community to gather our funding,” Red Eagle said. “There is strength in numbers. We’re bringing all of our resources and numbers together.”
Addison said there is a requirement in treaties between the government and tribes for federal funding to provide health care.
“We need to come together in a unified, collaborative effort to do our best to address these issues,” Addison said. “Even though money is not allocated at levels we need … it never has been funded at those levels.”
Diabetes, heart disease, drug and alcohol abuse and cancer are debilitating young and old alike, Addison said. Those are ailments that don’t stop at reservation boundaries but, in most cases, are more prevalent in Indian Country. Part of the problem, he said, is that too often people have to wait until a condition is advanced before health care is available.
“There are preventative measures that can be done,” Addison said. “But there’s just not enough money to do it.”
The following article is from the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Native American health: Marchers demand Bush restore funds for urban clinics
SALT LAKE CITY — To chanting and the pounding of drums, hundreds of people marched Friday against $33 million in proposed federal cutbacks that could shut down some urban health clinics for American Indians.
“We’re upset that our center is being threatened, and we’re here to send a message that you don’t mess with a federal obligation,” said Dena Ned, executive director of the Indian Walk-In Center in Salt Lake City. “Just because we live off the reservation doesn’t mean we’re not in need of health care.”
About 400 people marched peacefully almost two miles from the clinic to the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building for a rally, police Sgt. Lamar Ewell said.
President Bush’s 2007 budget proposal says urban Indians could use regular community-health centers. His budget calls for adding more and larger health centers for poor people under a $182 million funding increase. The budget also would increase funding for clinics on Indian reservations by about 4 percent over the 2006 fiscal year, said Scott Milburn, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget.
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson said those programs would do little to serve American Indians in urban areas, where the clinics double as social-service networks and cultural centers. He said 83 percent of the clients at the city’s walk-in center have no health-insurance coverage. The clinic serves about 4,000 people a year.
Anderson, a Democrat, likened the proposed cut to the government’s “shameful” history of violating tribal treaties. “What is happening now is just part of that pattern of betrayal of Native Americans,” he said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he also opposed the cut. “This health care delivery system has taken decades to create, and if it were to disappear, it would increase the health care disparities and barriers to care for American Indians from that of the general population,” Hatch said in a statement.
Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, said he would work to restore the funding.
Half the country’s 34 urban Indian clinics might have to close if Bush’s proposal stands, Ned said. The remaining clinics would have to cut services, charge clients or raise money through private donations to stay open, she said.
“If these things are cut off, then we’ll have to go back to the reservation with our tails between our legs,” Eleanor Iron Lightning told the crowd. A member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe from Eagle Butte, S.D., she said she’s used the clinic since she moved to Utah in June 2002.
Community health centers aren’t designed to meet the needs of urban Indians, according to the National Association for Community Centers. The centers are for people without health insurance.
In Utah, Community Health Centers Inc. has a $200,000 contract to provide medical care for the Indian Walk-in Center.
But that’s just a fraction of the clinic’s $1.5 million annual operating budget, Ned said. If the center were to lose its $1.1 million in federal contracts, it would also lose grant funding, effectively cutting about 90 percent of its budget.
The center provides diabetes education, immunizations, substance-abuse treatment, mental-health counseling, holistic care, HIV testing and youth programs. It also operates a food pantry for the United Way that handed out some 5,200 boxes of food to Indians and non-Indians last year.
Nationally, some 60 percent of American Indians and Alaska natives live in urban areas, according to the Census Bureau.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Keeping you up to date on the Six Nations who aren't going anywhere.
The following is from the Toronto Star. The second is from Indian Country Today.
Native protestors await word on negotiations
CALEDONIA, Ont. — An uneasy peace settled amid the barricades and bandannas Friday as native protesters occupying a disputed tract of southwestern Ontario land waited to hear whether negotiations to settle the standoff were making any headway.
Chill winds and a steady rain were doing little to weaken the resolve of hundreds of protesters at the half-finished housing development in Caledonia, a community of about 10,000 people a 20-minute drive south of Hamilton.
Some 350 kilometres away, a sympathy protest near Belleville, Ont., halted at least a dozen CN freight trains and disrupted Via Rail's passenger service in one of Canada's busiest travel corridors.
About 50 Mohawks from the Tyendinaga reserve near the town of Maryville, about 200 kilometres east of Toronto, were blocking a CN track to show their support for the Six Nations members in Caledonia.
Acrid black smoke billowed from the scene. A pair of school buses were being used to block a small road leading to the rail tracks. Provincial police officers were watching the protest, but keeping their distance, staying at least 500 metres away.
Members of the Akwesasne reserve near Cornwall, Ont., outside Ottawa staged a small protest near the Canada-U.S. border crossing, holding picket signs and drawing honks of support from passing motorists.
In Caledonia, where huge piles of tires and an abandoned van were set ablaze Thursday as a dramatic show of defiance, smaller fires were burning Friday as protesters wrapped in Six Nations flags huddled in hopes of warmth.
Provincial police were keeping their distance; several cruisers could be seen parked down the road from one of the three barricades preventing access to the makeshift compound as several officers stood in the middle of the road, surveying the scene.
RCMP officers were also lending their support, said Staff Sgt. Paul Marsh. "The RCMP is proving assistance to the OPP in Caledonia, at their request."
The Caledonia standoff erupted Thursday when a police raid aimed at ending a seven-week native occupation resulted in dozens more protesters descending on the scene, pushing police back.
At least 16 people were arrested in the initial raid, but by Friday morning the number of protesters had swelled dramatically, blockading a main highway with burning piles of tires, makeshift barricades and massive piles of gravel.
Sam George, whose brother Dudley was killed by a police sniper during the 1995 clash at Ipperwash Provincial Park, called Friday for calm and urged authorities to treat the dispute in as fair a way as possible.
"Lands now occupied in Caledonia are part of a parcel that were originally promised to the First Nations to be theirs forever," George told a news conference.
"There are probably at least some of the original Six Nations lands that deserve to be returned to them."
Native leaders elsewhere were urging their members to stay away from the scene of the standoff.
"It is clear there are very complex issues involved and the immediate safety of those at the site is of the most urgent concern," Metis Nation of Ontario president Tony Belcourt said in a statement.
Tyendinega Mohawk spokesman Shawn Brant said the Mohawks would remain at the bonfires near Maryville "until proper, dignified and respectful talks" are held to resolve the dispute.
Politicians and aboriginal leaders met all day Friday in an effort to resolve the standoff peacefully, Premier Dalton McGuinty said. No one emerged, however, to report any progress in those talks, which the premier said were attended by the federal and provincial governments as well as police and a mediator.
Several Caledonia schools remained closed Friday as a safety precaution, but school boards in the area said they would reopen on Monday provided tensions at the occupation site don't escalate.
Six Nations Reserve repels Ontario police
© Indian Country Today April 21, 2006. All Rights Reserved
Posted: April 21, 2006
by: Jim Adams / Indian Country Today
OHSWEKEN, Ontario - More than 1,000 residents of Canada's Six Nations Reserve rushed to the site of a standoff between Native protesters and the Ontario Provincial Police during the early hours of April 20 after an armed police raid resulted in 10 arrests and several hospitalizations.
According to one report, two of the hospitalized were non-Native supporters of the protest. About 15 protesters were sleeping at the ''reclamation site'' when a caravan of at least eight police vehicles raided and made arrests.
According to the TV report, police were armed with drawn guns, Taser devices and tear gas, although the weapons were not used.
Protesters at the contested construction site regrouped and pushed police back to the nearby road as the call went out for support from the largely Iroquois community, Amos Key, director of the community radio station CKRZ-FM, said. The Native-run station is broadcasting a live feed from the standoff on its Internet site, www.ckrz.com.
Key said that urgent talks were now under way between the Confederation chiefs and officials of the provincial and federal governments.
Lisa Johnson, of the Bear's Inn in Ohsweken, was following live television coverage of the events all morning and said that residents of the reserve poured into the site as news of the early morning raid spread through the community of 22,000 and by 7:50 a.m. had gathered in sufficient numbers to force the police to leave. As of noon, no police were on the site, although talk spread throughout the community that they were regrouping in riot gear with about 1,000 reinforcements.
The arrests could total up to 15, but protesters who had been arrested were released after being fingerprinted and photographed, although they were warned that they faced jail time if they returned to the site. Several had reportedly rejoined the protesters.
The television coverage resulted by accident. An employee of Hamilton CHTV, noticed the police activity as he drove to work and notified a camera crew, which broadcast from the site all morning. All other reporters were barred from the site by provincial police.
After the OPP withdrew, protesters blocked Highway 6, also known as Plank Road, which runs by the construction site called the Douglas Creek subdivision, and a secondary road. They set a pile of tires on fire and pulled a large dump truck across the road. A large pile of tires and planks were assembled at another crossing, but at last report it had not been set ablaze.
After the roads were blocked, residents continued to reach the site by walking to the surrounding forest.
On the other hand, police closed streets entering the nearby town of Caledonia, although schoolchildren were bused to school early in the morning. Both schools were closed later in the day and parents on the reserve were still uncertain how their children would be returned home.
Haudenosaunee Confederacy chiefs had met all night before the raid. They reportedly told provincial officials that they did not control the protesters, but they were attempting to negotiate on their behalf.
The timing of the raid was still unexplained, but the developers of the subdivision had reportedly threatened to start a civil action against the OPP to pressure it to remove the protesters.
The crisis brought a rare spirit of unity to the reserve, healing a decades-long split between the elected band council and the traditional confederacy chiefs.
The elected council was imposed on the reserve in 1924 by the federal Canadian government to replace the traditional leadership, but the confederacy persisted as an institution often at odds with the elected governments on both sides of the border.
The band council had expressed doubts about the occupation of the Douglas Creek site, which was supported by the confederacy chiefs.
In the aftermath of the raid, however, the council delegated negotiating authority to the chiefs.
The crisis apparently has also hardened the outlook among the traditional chiefs.
According to Key, the chiefs originally instructed the warrior groups in the protest to leave the site if ordered to by the OPP.
Said Key: ''It's escalated and escalated. We're all frustrated. Our goal is to get to the quality of life second to none that Canada espouses to the world, but we are 30 years behind.''
I keep forgetting what century I am living in. Out here where I live the state Board of Education next door is mandating schools teach nine weeks of abstinance education and some intelligent design. The state legislature right here is debating whether to essentially declare that Christianity is the state religion. Our President, of course, is in constant communication with God Almighty and declares himself to be the "Decider."
Meanwhile, Iran's police force outlined plans on Tuesday for a renewed crackdown against women who they say show off too much of their bodies in the streets of Tehran (who knew?).
Morteza Talai, Tehran's police chief, told the semi-official Fars agency: "In our campaign, we will confront women showing their bare legs in short pants."
"We are also going to combat women wearing skimpy headscarves, short and form-fitting coats, and the ones walking pets in parks and streets," he said.
I should hope so. Bare legged women with skimpy headscarves walking dogs in the park. Good lord, somebody stop this outrage.
When I was 20 I absolutely would not believe that it would come to this.
The following is from AKI (Italy).
IRAN: MORALISATION CAMPAIGN IN TEHRAN SPARKS FEARS OF CRACKDOWN
Tehran, 21 April (AKI) - A crusade for the moralisation of Iran's society kicked off on Friday in the capital Tehran. Women failing to abide by the regime's definition of good Islamic dress will be fined. Young men with long hair or wearing Western-style T-shirts will also face fines, along with anyone walking around with a dog - an animal considered impure by the Muslim religion. The law approved by the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks to defend Islamic values and crack down on Western culture - a move Iranian women interviewed by Adnkronos International (AKI) fear will have a major impact on society.
Some 200 extra police officers - half of them women - are to patrol the streets of Tehran to ensure the new norms are obeyed, said the capital's police chief Morteza Talaii.
From the capital, the Islamisation campaign will be rolled out to other Iranian cities in the coming weeks and many in Tehran fear it will eventually lead to a war against satellite television, private parties and non classical music, be it Iranian or foreign.
"Anyone not wishing to abide by Islamic laws and the government's new measures can start queuing to get a visa and leave the country as soon as possible," suggested Seyyed Mehdi Tabatabaii, a member of parliament with the Abadgaran faction supporting the government.
"We don't intend to use force to impose Islamic rules but expect all citizens to respect our traditions," said Morteza Talaii, Tehran's police chief. There will be no public flogging nor imprisonment for women whose hair might show beneath their headscarves or wearing tight short or tight jackets but there will be very heavy fines.
"The government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cannot punish those failing to respect Islamic rules with flaggings or arrests, also because of international pressure over the issue of human rights," said Azadeh Akbari, a young journalist in the capital. "On the other hand, replacing floggings with fines when the middle classes are in dire financial straits is a very efficient deterrent."
Azadeh said that already very early on Friday morning the new police officers were patrolling the streets of Tehran "armed with electric truncheons and hot pepper gas, stopping for the moment only young men with long hair and sparing women, at least for the moment."
"This fight for moralisation starts at the beginning of every summer, though I fear that this time the change will be much more serious and worrying that in the past years," said Somayyeh Nasiriah, a 25-year-old woman working in the film industry. "The campaign announced by the government mainly concerns normal people and not the organised groups of youths openly defying the Islamic Republic," she said. "They don't fear public flogging, let alone fines."
Somayyeh said that for the past few weeks police officers have started stopping cars to question passengers. Young people who are not related get arrested on "illegal relations" charges if caught in a car together.
"Life in Iran is increasingly difficult and these new measures make it unbearable," said Yalda Moayeri, a photographer. "I'm afraid that the cabinet means to make life hard for those failing to adapt to religious impositions," noted Yalda.
"Youths as well as those who are not young anymore don't have the energy anymore to fight such impositions nor to endure the permanent pressure," she said. "We all at risk of falling into a collective depression."
Sociologist Shiva Zarabadi however doesn't think that "the presence of 200 officers in a city of 15 million inhabitants can change things."
"During the campaign leading to his election, the president promised the return of a very religious society to a part of his electorate, while he vowed to others that he would not use repression to impose social and cultural choices," Zarabadi said. "Today, the government is facing the pressure of the religious electorate demanding a moral clean-up of society which doesn't however provide for offenders to be publicly flogged or arrested but to be fined."
"After all, the international situation has changed and the Islamic Republic cannot ignore criticism over its violation of human rights while it is under international scrutiny for its nuclear programme," noted the sociologist.
Nevertheless, Zarabadi is convinced that the government will not succeed in imposing a dress code in a society "where youths who cannot amuse themselves in any way and have few opportunities to socialise let their creativity out with what they wear."
"If they also close this safety valve for young people, they could loose control of the situation," concluded the sociologist.
I really cannnot imagine what it must be like to live in Iraq today. How does one just go about their daily life. But God bless George Bush the Liberator...
The following is taken from Azzman (Iraq).
More than 19,000 kidnappings in three months – rights groups
By Nidhal al-Mawsawi
More than 15,000 Iraqis were abducted in the first three months of this a year, a statement signed by several Iraqi civil and rights groups said.
The statement said nearly 7,000 families were forced to leave their dwellings and residential quarters as part of the violence linked to sectarian cleansing.
The groups have representatives in each of the countries 18 provinces and the statement described the figures as “conservative.”
“The figures we have arrived at do not represent the real situation. They are less than what actually takes place as our monitors sometimes find it extremely difficult to report due to escalating violence,” the statement said.
It said the fate of all those registered as abducted was not known.
“Among those kidnapped were 2,355 children and 4,959 women,” it said.
The statement said the monitors registered 3,457 “violent acts” across the country in the same period, with 886 of them in Baghdad.
It said the presence of armed militias of various factions were the main reason for the mounting violence.
Taking a look at the struggle for immigrant rights from across the border.
This article is from La Jornada (Mexico)
'What We [Mexicans] Can Do to Help the Migrants'
By Gloria Munoz Ramirez
Translated By Carly Gatzert
RECENT protests in defense of the rights of immigrants in the United States are being called historic by virtue of the enormous number of demonstrators. The protests have even been likened to the awakening of the Latino community from within the entrails of a monster, but another analysis identifies this phenomenon as the climax of a decades-long process of organization.
Resistance in the United States has been constant ever since half of our territory was stolen by the U.S. government. However, it wasn't until the second half of the twentieth century that the battle between the Mexican immigrant community and political agenda of the U.S. government began.
Erasmo Cruz, representative of the Xanichetic cooperative (Los Angeles), identifies the 70s as the pivotal moment in which the Mexican community, Chicanos and immigrants, began to gather strength. At this point in time, a political party united by race, that managed to win the mayor's seat in Crystal City, Texas; and there arose the Crusade for Justice, a militant Chicano alliance, led by Reyes Tijerina; the anti-war Movement of 1970s in Los Angeles; Brown Beret Cafes (inspired by the Black Panthers), in addition to high school student protests, and later on, the struggle of Cesar Chavez and the migrant farm workers.
All of these movements received the answer of the United States Government: repression, imprisonment and outright assassination. In the decade of the 80s we witnessed, beyond the growth of immigrant populations, the strengthening of Latino institutions, accompanied by the emergence of a political and financial elite, who reaped the benefits of the resistance of the 1970s.
According to Xanichetic's analysis, it was not until the 90s that symbols of resistance there was a renewed interest on the part of Mexican and Chicano youth in the search for identity. Today, this battle is taking place in the streets. Since March 7, the underdog has crossed the threshold, voicing resistance to the criminalization of the immigrant work force. These are the successors to the protestors of the 70s; young men and women, many of whom are legal U.S. citizens, either first or second generation immigrants.
What can we in Mexico do to show our support? One proposal is to boycott all U.S. businesses. There is talk of a suspension of immigrant labor in the U.S. on International Workers' Day [The Great American Boycott, 2006] as a pressure tactic, to make it widely recognized that Mexican immigrants should have the right to work, an education for their children and medical services.
This is a protest for the right to life and dignity. Whether or not you support this boycott from our side of the border, (in which we will purchase nothing of U.S. origin, nor from any U.S. franchise such as Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Burger King, Walmart, Seven-Eleven, etc.), we simply can no longer remain indifferent.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
BULLETIN, BULLETIN, THIS JUST IN (then go ahead and read the article etc. below for all the information)
Gathering Place First Nations Canadian News Alert
SIX NATIONS PEOPLE STILL UNDER ATTACK
I have just heard from a family member on the scene the stand off has expanded and there are at least 1,000 opp officers on site and they are gearing up to move against the people of Six Nations again...
People are thinking the army will be brought in against them ... The people of Six nations are unarmed
There have been several people beaten by the OPP including two non natives who were standing with the people . they have been taken to hospital.One of the Clam mothers was also beaten by the police.
I am told that the OPP have M-16 to use against the people who are still resisting and there is a large number of people resisting and the numbers keep growing as more and more people arrive to stand with there brother , sisters aunty's and uncles, grandmothers and grandfather.
I repeat the people of Six Nations are UNARMED and have reminded the OPP many times to put there guns down they do not have guns.
Highway six has been blocked off tires have been set on fire in the middle of the road .
Six Nations people are back on the original site at Douglas Creek.
CHCH TV has been covering this off and on . Right now they have broken away .
This could have been handled in a much better way now the OPP have broken the peace no one knows what will happen before this is over.
Prayers are needed as well as phone calls to any and all of the numbers listed below...
The Politicians: Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper harper@ parl.gc.ca; Justice Canada webadmin @justice.gc.ca; Indian Affairs InfoPubs @ainc-inac.gc.ca; European Union firstname.lastname@example.org; Minister Indian Affairs Jim Prentice email@example.com; Ontario Govt. Brendan.Crawley@jus.gov.on.ca; Ontario Premier ; Governor General: Michaelle Jean Fax (613) 998-1664 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Chinese Consulate in Toronto Fax: (416) 324-6468; OPP Brantford 519-756-7050; Hamilton 905-572-2401; Jim Potts OPP liaison 613-795-3907; RCMP London 519-640-7267; Dalton McGuinty, Dalton .McGuinty@premier.gov .on.ca Premier. Legislative Building, Queen's Park, Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Owner and Editor
Gathering Place First Nations Canadian News
A confrontation between indigenous protesters and police escalated this morning hours after Ontario Provincial Police staged a pre-dawn raid at an occupied Caledonia construction site, southwest of Hamilton.
Around 5 a.m., dozens of officers stormed the Douglas Creek Estates to evict native activists who'd occupied the site for almost two months.
However, by 8:30 a.m. an estimated 75 native protesters were back on the site, prompting the OPP to retreat from the area.
Go to http://oreaddaily.blogspot.com/2006/04/six-nations-arent-going-to-back-down.html for background information from an earlier OD article.
The following is from the blog "Sketchy Thoughts."
Ontario Provincial Police Attack Six Nations Reclamation
Early this morning the Ontario Provincial Police attacked the reposession at Douglas Creek, just outside of Caledonia in Ontario. The site had been occupied by members of the Mohawk Nation and their supporters for fifty one days.
Below is a lengthy report by Kahentinetha Horn who was there when the police attacked. One hopes readers will understand if it is at times slightly disjointed – it was clearly written as events unfolded.
What must be put front and center, and repeated, is that the initial police attack was repelled. Nine people were arrested and unknown numbers brutalized, but as of 8:30 am all police had been driven off as hundred of people from Six Nations reservation moved onto the site.
This may be a victory, but the day is still young. People who can are strongly urged to get themselves to the reclamation/occupation site.
If you cannot get there, consider what action you ca take where you are. Pickets, demos, whatever. Or else you can always phone/fax/email the criminals responsible for this:
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, email@example.com
OPP Brian Haggith 905-772-3322
OPP Indian Advisor Jim Potts 613-795-3907
RCMP London 519-640-7267, 519-756-7050
OPP Caledonia 905-765-2339
C. P. Wright 289-260-9345
Michaelle Jean, Governor General
Phone: (613) 993-8200
Toll Free: 1-800-465-6890
Fax: (613) 998-1664
Michael Bryant, Ontario Attorney General
Phone: (416) 326-2220 or (416) 326-2210
Toll Free: 1-800-518-7901
Fax: (416) 326-4007
What follows is the report by Kahentinetha Horn (please forward far and wide):
ALERT! ALERT! OPP INVADES SIX NATIONS - AIDED BY INDIAN TRAITORS - GO AND WITNESS
Thursday, April 20th 2006
WATCH FOR FURTHER UPDATES
4:20 am the OPP attacked to arrest them. Hauled first 9 off. Some protesters took the Caledonia bridge. Reserve people arrived and repelled the cops. At least 150 heavily armed cops. Vans, trucks, paddy wagons, ambulances (for the cops). They repelled them. The cops came back. They were repelled again. Now at 9:00 am the people have taken the land in question back.
How to get there: From Niagara Falls and Toronto, take Highway 6 straight south from Hamilton to Caledonia.
From buffalo take Highway 3 west to Highway 6 and north on Highway 6 to Caledonia.
From Windsor take Highway 3 East to Highway 6 and go north. These are backways and cops are not likely to be looking at it too much.
8:30 am OPP DISRUPTS PEACE IN QUIET CALEDONIA
The OPP has created an ongoing battle. They sit in their cars, give out false news reports, and wait for reinforcements to come in to squash the Six Nations people but they can't. Everyone is reporting to everyone.
All police have been chased off the perimeter of Douglas Estates for now. Cop were sneaking behind the unfinished houses. One woman went over. A women cop told her she was under arrest. "What do you mean I'm under arrest. You're violating the laws, both ours and international law". Other cops came out and wrestled her down on the ground. She fought all of them. They kneed her to handcuff her. She started booting the cops. Then other Indians arrived on the scene and chased the cops off. As they were leaving they shot her son in back with tasers. The big woman cop was carrying a big gun, something like an Ouzi. "It was a big one". Those cops were fully packed, she said. They failed to arrest her because she resisted. There are 9 arrested. They're supposed to only keep them for 2 hours. 'We haven't seen them back yet". The People are shutting Caledonia down. "We are not armed. We got our land back. Were in! We're at the fire!"
At the 6th Line where the Douglas Estates comes out on the road at the entrance, out to Highway 6 that goes onto the rez. The bypass that goes around Caledonia. At the 6th line overpass, the people there had been blocking that road, they were attacked by the cops, paddy wagons were there. They fought back. It was a brawl. People started coming from the rez and supported them. Immediately there were hydro poles around which they threw on the road and set on fire. They are cutting off Highway 6 the main supply line that goes goes to Nanticoke Hydro Electric plant down on Lake Erie. It is the main transport truck road to Hamilton. This is being blocked.
Some protesters are still holding Caledonia Bridge, the main artery of the city. It's total confusion.
If you have satellite TV, look for Hamilton CH which has a live feed. They have helicopters filming everything.
It is an ongoing situation. 9 people arrested.
There is fighting going on at the No. 6 Line Bridge. It is blocked off. The traditional Longhouse people put a fire there and the OPP pepper sprayed them. But the people started fighting back. The people have moved onto the main bridge in Caledonia. The people moved the police off the land and are going back to the main door and are still there holding on. The cops are still on the road shutting down the bypass. The OPP were chased off by the people and told to get out. OPP got off the land and are in their cars watching and waiting for "orders".
Get the news on the radio stations, newspapers, television.
7:05 am. Two snipers were chased off by the people. They have 50 cops trapped in, who can't get out. A media black out could work against them. More cops are going to come in. Indians don't have weapons but they do have tons of cameras.
In Ipperwash there was a media blackout. The only way the information got out was because some of the people told what they saw. That's why we need people in there. The police showed in that public inquiry there was a deliberate attempt to stop the press from finding out. There were attacks upon people with cameras, those who tried to get the story out. What the police learned is how to do this the right way next time. This is it. They learned all the weaknesses We learned the invaders are psychologically twisted people who pretend to be supporting the law. These are megalomaniacs who think they can say what the law is because they have access to guns. This time they will do it "right". The CTV have made two major movies showing what happens when these twisted personalities are allowed free reign on Indians. We get killed.
There are back room deals in police headquarters to hide the information and protect the police officers that give orders. In the case of Ipperwash, three OPP police officers died suddenly just before they were going to give evidence at the enquiry. What a strange coincidence. It is unfortunate that the poor jerks that are just "following orders" do not realize that they are putting their lives on the line. They are not at risk from Indians, so why all these coincidences?
The Six Nations people have been burning tobacco during this entire occupation for their protection. This is the only weapon that we have. We know the truth is on our side. We are calling upon the natural forces to give us wisdom and guidance through this whole siege. There are repercussions to those involved when you go against people who are innocent and justified in what they are doing. The megalomaniacs who do these kinds of things are only looking out for themselves. They are a danger to all of society. We Indigenous people are within our rights. We want Canada to obey their own laws, and to respect international norms. We want an open and fair hearing. If the colonizers think they own our land, they need to prove it. With this attack they have trashed any pretension to right and decency, democracy and the rule of law. Canada is beginning to slide quickly down the slippery slope of despotism. How can Canada decolonize. The test lies in how they feel toward people who challenge their assumptions. Are they going to use batons, guns and pepper spray? Or are they going to get out their documents and take a serious look at the evidence.
The answer is obvious. Just look at what is happening today. This is a colonial government's hard core. Canada does not believe in reasoned researched and documented solutions. We are seeing how colonial government is going to deal with any kind of questioning of their "might makes right" authority. These are the signs of how a tyrannical government is going to suppress the people from expressing legitimate dissent against a takeover by the powerful elitist interests that are involved. It appears that individual rights are being eliminated systematically all over Turtle Island. This destruction of dissent at Six Nations is done under the cover of media darkness. This is the way it will be done in the future against all people across Turtle Island. This is an experiment in police state tactics against unarmed people who are exercising our rights.
These are the lessons they learned at Gustafsen Lake in 1995 where 77,000 rounds of ammunition were shot at the Indians. In Saskatoon, where Six Indian boys were found frozen to death outside the city put there by police officers. In Winnipeg where J.J. Harper was murdered by the Winnipeg police. At Ipperwash where Dudley George was murdered in cold blood by the OPP. There are over 500 Indigenous women who have "disappeared" and the police have done nothing about it. In the 1960's there was a complaint made in British Columbia because men were looking for Indian children to have sex with them in the streets. The police did nothing about it. Child prostitution is an on-going problem in Vancouver. We don't want the blood lust of Canada's police force to be whetted by spilling the blood of Indians. This vampire regime is moving in on Indians like sharks who smell blood in the water.
Go to Six nations. Take part in the Canadian "democratic" process. Get pepper sprayed. Get beat up. Get arrested. Get killed. No one will know what is going on. Seriously, the media black out is giving the lawless their power. They can do anything they want and who knows where it will stop. Take photos and tell your friends. We don't want another Chile. The state has been involved in murders before like Anna May Aquash. These attackers find a place where they can live out their bizarre fantasies and manias. These people have a twisted view of society and a gun is put in their hands. No psychological testing is done on these guys in police, armies, and bureaucracies. The only test for surviving is a willingness to "follow orders", not the law. These people have no concept of what the law or true democratic rule is.
Cops all over the place. People are there. More people coming. Pepper sprayed. So far they let everybody go. Some might have been seized. Don't know. Canada using Gestapo tactics instead of making things right. Canada following big brother george bush mentality - invasion, containment, imprisonment and torture of Indigenous people and their families. Next Canada will start hunting down those who continue to protect and try to maintain the sov and jurisdiction of our people. lets not be surprised if Canada puts a deck of 52 for its most wanted Indigenous people and their friends and allies. Free land is our land that is free of Indians.
At 5:55 am this morning, Thursday, April 20th, over 150 heavily armed Ontario Provincial Police with Native mercenaries as body shields, invaded Six Nations land. Some carrying M-16's, in riot gear. 6th line is still open. The Rotinoshon'no are not fighting because they are unarmed. Tear gas has been thrown at them. Some were pepper sprayed. The traitors are the same kind of people who stabbed Crazy Horse, Geronimo, and those who fought for our sovereignty and our lives.
One bridge to the property has been closed.
Witnesses required. This will not be on the national news. Go there and see what is going on. This is a scary precedent. Take pictures. Make reports. Let the world know. report. REPORT. REPORT. Help the people so no one gets hurt. we never wanted violence. Canada has opened to the door to covert state violence on a scale that is unprecedented in Canada. This si the end of any pretense of negotiation with Indigenous people. they're just going to take the land. Canada came in with armaments, guns, paddy wagons (we don’t know what's in there).
Don't let Canada become another Chile. Tell the world. The Rotino'shon:we are on our own land.
MNN Mohawk Nation News
Aaron Swartz saw it all - live and in person. He saw the "screaming guards. The pressure points. The knee takedowns. The acrid ammonia stick shoved in the face of a rubber-legged 14-year-old named Martin Lee Anderson."
''They killed that boy. They didn't help him. They beat him,'' Aaron, also 14, told The Miami Herald.
Like Martin's family, Aaron thinks there's a coverup. He believes he overheard one guard repeatedly talking of ''revising'' and changing a report or reports, but he doesn't know which ones. He said around 6 p.m. on Jan. 6 a camp counselor told the boys Martin had died of natural causes -- only about two hours after Dr. Charles Siebert finished the autopsy.
Martin Anderson was the fifth kid to die in Florida state custody in the past three years.
The first article below is from the Tallahassee Democrat. The second is from the student newspaper at Florida A and M.
Students stage sit-in at Capitol
Local college students, dissatisfied with Gov. Jeb Bush's response to their demands for justice on behalf of Martin Lee Anderson, spent the night camped outside the governor's office.
"We're staying until we feel the appropriate attention and focus and priority is brought to this issue," said Raymon Alexander, president of the Florida A&M University student body.
The students - from FAMU, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College - rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday morning and asked for a meeting with the governor. He met with four representatives of the group - including FSU student body President Gabriel Pendas and Alexander - for about 45 minutes Wednesday afternoon.
The students made seven demands: a public apology; a change in venue from Bay County for any trial; release of the second autopsy report; arrest of the guards; a civil suit against the Bay County Sheriff's Office and FDLE; removal of Dr. Charles Siebert as medical examiner in Bay County and removal of the boot-camp nurse.
Alexander described the talk with Bush as political.
"Enough effort has not been committed toward this case," Alexander said.
The students wanted a public discussion with Bush, but the governor declined and would only speak with them privately. Alexander said Bush explained his limitations to them.
"But it's absolutely not good enough," Alexander said. "The governor has used his bully pulpit on many issues. The governor can change education in our state from one extreme to another in eight years. Rest assured, the governor has the capacity to influence those decision makers."
Bush is supposed to meet with Anderson's parents today. However, state Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, was adamant that Bush told him he will issue an apology. The governor's spokesman could not confirm the apology, but did confirm a meeting with Anderson's parents today.
A spokesman for the governor said Bush was concerned about the erased e-mails by State Attorney Steve Meadows. Meadows denied trying to hide anything related to Anderson's death.
Anderson, 14, died after an incident at the Bay County boot camp where he was restrained, hit and kneed on Jan. 5. He died Jan. 6 at a hospital in Pensacola. He was sent to the camp for a probation violation.
The incident was caught on the camp's videotape.
As the students settled in on the first floor of the Capitol on Wednesday, about 50 more students gathered in the courtyard in a show of support. Many pressed their faces against the glass to see what was happening inside.
The 35 or so students inside the Capitol dressed in suits and ties, and those outside wore Band-Aids and marched carrying placards and signs stating "Justice for Martin," "Know justice, know peace. No justice, no peace," and "If it had been your child."
Rep. Curtis Richardson, D-Tallahassee, commended the students on the sit-in and for putting pressure on Bush.
Richardson said Bush is being "conspicuously silent on the issue."
Vanessa Baden, a 20-year-old junior at FSU, said Bush did not empathize with the Anderson family.
"That could have been us," Baden said. "I'm holding (Bush) accountable for what we elected him for."
Danyell Shackelford, a 21-year-old sophomore at TCC, shared the same sentiments.
"We are holding Governor Bush accountable for the state-sponsored cover-up," she said.
Capitol police told the group that anyone who left would not be allowed back in. Media who left were not being allowed back in, either.
Only employees and legislators had access after the building was closed at its normal time of 5:30 p.m.
Between a half-dozen and dozen legislators stopped by Wednesday to show their support, bringing chairs for the students and offering to bring in food.
Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, didn't debate whether the students should continue their protest, but she did say that she was pleased with the governor's actions so far.
"To me the governor has gone over and beyond his duty in this case," she said. She is frustrated by the delay in the second autopsy report and the investigation.
March organized for justice in camp beating
Florida A&M University students, along with students from Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College, will come together Friday to rally for justice for the death of Martin Lee Anderson.
The 14-year-old died Jan. 6 at a Bay County Department of Juvenile Justice boot camp after suffering from repeated blows and kicks from boot camp officers. The entire incident was caught on surveillance cameras located on the outside of the boot camp facility.
The rally will begin at 9 a.m., where students from all of the campuses will meet at the Donald L. Tucker Center will march to the Capitol for the rally.
The protest and rally are expected to last until noon.
Legislators and lawyers from around the state of Florida have come together to raise awareness regarding this issue. The Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and members from Parks & Crump, the law firm representing the family, are among those scheduled to speak at the rally.
Other prominent figures expected to attend include Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, former TLC member, and Afeni Shakur, mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur.
The rally was planned by students from all three participating schools.
"(FAMU) has been working hard with Florida State and TCC to
ensure that we have an effective rally," said Philip Agnew, student body vice president. "All of our campus leaders have come together to make this work."
Agnew, along with the other campus leaders, met during the past two weeks to finalize plans for Friday's event. The most important thing Agnew stresses is to show support for the cause. "Many people believe that there is no point of marching,
but they have to remember that marching got us where we are today," he said.
Joshua Moore, 21, a senior biology student from Miami, said, "Society too often focuses on individual events, rather than what the fight is really about." Moore said the issue is more than skin deep. "This is a movement for justice, not about race. We need to let (the government) know that we are not going to stop until justice is served."
Moore is urging people to come out and support the rally in any way possible. "We have tables set up at TCC, FAMU, and FSU about the march on Friday. Just stop by a table and fill out a pledge card. You can help volunteer by donating your time to this magnificent cause; we are accepting monetary donations as well."
Volunteers will be carrying signs and banners, and passing out informational pamphlets to those who attend the rally.
"The key goal is to send a powerful message to the government," Agnew said. "We want to show (the government) that a great majority of students and citizens are opposed to what the government is doing in regards to this situation."
In the past four years, five boys have died because of internal complications after being enrolled in these camps. Three of these young men were black, and two were white. "The government is the perpetrators of this crime. They are the ones that are obstructing justice. We are here to let them know that this will not be tolerated," Agnew said.
Anderson entered the Bay County juvenile boot camp Jan. 5. A couple of hours after his arrival he was sent away in an ambulance. The first autopsy report on Anderson performed by Charles Seibert, a medical examiner, showed that Anderson died of a complication of a sickle cell anemia trait.
A second autopsy revealed there was no way that Anderson could have died from natural causes related to a sickle cell trait.
ensure that we have an effective rally," said Philip Agnew, student body vice president. "All of our campus leaders have come together to make this work."
Agnew, along with the other campus leaders, met during the past two weeks to finalize plans for Friday's event. The most important thing Agnew stressed was support for the cause. "Many people believe that there is no point of marching, but they have to remember that marching got us where we are today," he said.
Joshua Moore, 21, a senior biology student from Miami, said, "Society too often focuses on individual events, rather than what the fight is really about." Moore said the issue is more than skin deep. "We need to let (the government) know that we are not going to stop until justice is served."
Moore is urging people to come out and support the rally in any way possible. "We have tables set up at TCC, FAMU and FSU about the march on Friday. You can help volunteer by donating your time to this magnificent cause; we are accepting monetary donations as well," he said.
Volunteers will be carrying signs and banners, and passing out informational pamphlets to those who attend the rally.
"We want to show (the government) that a great majority of students and citizens are opposed to what the government is doing in regards to this situation," Agnew said.
In the past four years, five boys have died because of internal complications after being enrolled in these camps. "The government is the perpetrators of this crime. They are the ones that are obstructing justice. We are here to let them know that this will not be tolerated," Agnew said.
Anderson entered the Bay County juvenile boot camp Jan. 5. A couple of hours after his arrival he was sent away in an ambulance. The first autopsy report on Anderson performed by Charles Seibert, a medical examiner, showed that Anderson died of a complication of a sickle cell anemia trait.
A second autopsy revealed there was no way that Anderson could have died from natural causes related to a sickle cell trait.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Communities in Milwaukee are continuing to voice outrage over an all-white jury's decision to acquit three white police officers charged with brutally beating an African-American man.
U.S. attorneys are now considering filing federal charges against the officers and Milwaukee's Chief of Police has launched an internal investigation.
The victim, Frank Jude, was nearly killed in October 2004 when he was beaten at a party by a group of off-duty police officers, all of whom are white.
According to news accounts, they accused Jude of stealing the wallet and badge of one of the officers. As many as 15 officers surrounded Jude and viciously beat him.
The following article is from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Following that is an interview conducted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now with Doris Jude Porter, Frank Jude's aunt. Doris has been organizing rallies to bring attention to Frank's case with the group Justice for Jude, Justice for All and Jonathan Safran, Frank Jude's civil attorney. He attended the trial and has been closely following the case.
Thousands march to protest verdict
After NAACP session, McCann says police injuries will be reviewed sooner
By GEORGIA PABST, JESSE GARZA and BOB PURVIS
Several thousand people marched peacefully downtown on Tuesday to protest a jury's acquittal of three former Milwaukee police officers in the beating of Frank Jude Jr. and to call for changes in the justice system.
After marching from the Milwaukee County Courthouse, protesters gather in front of the Federal Courthouse on Tuesday to demonstrate against the acquittal of three former Milwaukee police officers charged in the beating of Frank Jude Jr. Protesters chanted Justice for Jude, Justice for All along the way.
Frank Jude Sr. joins marchers protesting the acquittal of officers charged with beating his son, on the steps of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
Mary Gagnon of Milwaukee (left), her daughter, Mariah Gagnon (center) and Patty Stapleton of Wauwatosa march through the streets downtown. Mariah Gagnon was a witness who testified on behalf of the prosecution.
Also Tuesday, Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann announced that starting Monday, anyone injured by police while being arrested in Milwaukee County will be interviewed by the district attorney's office within hours, not days, as is the current practice.
Led by Milwaukee civil rights pioneer Vel Phillips, marchers gathered at the Milwaukee County Courthouse before proceeding along N. 9th St. and Wisconsin Ave. to the Federal Courthouse.
"We want to let people know Milwaukee is not really the Selma of the North. . . . This sends a message to a lot of people," Phillips said.
The march attracted numerous state and local public officials, ministers and community leaders. Although the crowd was diverse, it was mostly African-American.
Many carried printed signs that said "Stop the Violence with Peace and Love." Others made their own signs that said "Frank We Are Here 4 U," "Stop Police Crimes" and "Justice for Jude." One large poster displayed Jude's bloodied face after the beating.
Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said the department no longer makes official crowd size estimates. March organizers estimated the crowd at about 5,000. Others who attended estimated the size at 3,000 people.
The march was hastily organized over the weekend after an all-white jury late Friday acquitted former police officers Jon Bartlett, Daniel Masarik and Andrew Spengler of the October 2004 beating of Jude outside an off-duty officers' party in the Bay View neighborhood. The ex-officers are white. Jude is biracial.
At the start of the march, sheriff's deputies lined the courthouse steps, while others were mounted on horseback. Some also had dogs.
"I was appalled when I saw the dogs," said Tim Frazer, 44, a legal assistant at a law firm. "I don't think it's necessary."
Organizers handed out leaflets explaining that the march was to show "the verdict was unjust," that the U.S. attorney should bring federal charges against the three officers and that the community needs to solve its problems by organizing.
State Sen. Lena Taylor (D- Milwaukee) said she believed the march "gives people an opportunity to express their anger, disappointment and frustration in a productive way."
Roosevelt Sanders brought his seven children, who are on spring break from school, as a live civics lesson. "I want them to know what happened to Frank Jude. What happened will reflect on their future. I don't want my kids to be afraid of the police. That's why we're marching today."
Members of the Jude family attended the rally. His mother, Debra Evans, who is white, addressed the crowd. "We appreciate the community coming out," Evans said. "We all have to work together and stand together for justice, not just for my son, but for justice for all."
McCann's announcement came at the end of a brainstorming session hosted by the NAACP with McCann, Milwaukee Police Chief Nannette Hegerty, U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic and representatives from Mayor Tom Barrett's office. The closed meeting was held at the M&I Bank at 2754 N. King Drive.
"This would be an opportunity for a person at an early stage if they were injured and if they felt they were wronged to talk with us," McCann said of the move to expedite the complaint process. "It would give us the chance early on to look at these cases."
McCann said individuals reserve the right not to talk and ideally would have a public defender present.
Dennis Hayes, national NAACP general counsel, told reporters that the meeting addressed the handling of the Jude investigation, ensuring racially proportionate jury representation, and touched on racial disparities in the judicial system.
He also said the NAACP plans to help form a community network to address instances of police brutality.
"We certainly want to ensure that there is an apparatus in place to address these issues so that the community feels confident that the facts get out on the table when these things do arise," Hayes said. "The purpose of this coalition will not be to beat up on police. . . . We know that most police officers do a good job, but certainly more can be done to foster better relations between the police community and the minority communities."
Hegerty told those at the meeting that the department would include new training on how to handle on-duty and off-duty officers as suspects.
Tuesday evening, Hegerty told about 60 people at a town hall meeting at Marquette University High School that the investigation of the beating was hampered by several factors: a police sergeant's failure to take control of the situation, a "code of silence" followed by off-duty officers at the party and the lack of physical evidence.
Hegerty said Corstan Court, a sergeant who was the first police supervisor to arrive at the beating scene, encountered a situation that was "everybody's nightmare."
However, Court, who was demoted, sent officers involved in the incident into the same house when he should have separated them, she said.
McCann had to build his case largely on statements by people at the scene, Hegerty said.
"It's very hard to convict people on statements," she said. "And the scene was very chaotic that night so a lot of those statements were conflicting."
Hegerty acknowledged a "very deep-rooted, deep-seated culture" in the Police Department that has included a code of silence, not unlike other professions.
"But it's different with us because we wear that uniform that says to everybody, 'We're the good guys,' " she said.
"These officers that did this tarnished not only the badge of Milwaukee police officers, they tarnished my badge," Hegerty said, adding that she believes that Court and other officers involved who were fired and suspended were held accountable.
"They have been held accountable by me as far as my power goes," she said.
AMY GOODMAN: We go now to Milwaukee to speak with two guests. Jonathan Safran is Frank Jude’s civil attorney. He attended the trial and has been closely following the case. We are also joined by Frank Jude's aunt, Doris Jude Porter. She's been organizing rallies to bring attention to Frank's case with the group Justice for Jude, Justice for All. And we welcome you both to Democracy Now! I would like to begin with Frank Jude's aunt, Doris Jude Porter. Tell us what happened back in October of 2004, as you understand it.
DORIS JUDE PORTER: Hi. Can you hear me?
AMY GOODMAN: Yes.
DORIS JUDE PORTER: 2004, my nephew, Frank Jude, Jr. was beaten near death and from October to January, it was silence. Hello? The case was silence, until Frank Jude's attorney, Safran, released the photo in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and that's how the community found out the severity and even also the family found out the severity of Frank Jude's injuries in the beating and who was total responsible. The code of silence and the contaminating the scene and no one coming forward also hampered the criminal investigation. We had to rally for months on end in order to get any participation with the chief of police, or because D.A. McCann said originally, at first, he was not going to charge any of the officers until the rallies.
So, therefore, and now I'm so disappointed, even the outcome, it was overwhelming of evidence. Even the jurors, they took the interpretation of Frank fighting -- like I said, they didn't listen to the witnesses. The witness was one of the ones who observed, and they said was so credible. And Tony said they pulled Frank out of the truck. Frank was not fighting back. They beat him severely. They counted, and still they chose to ignore the true evidence and interpreted the way they want. That's just like Milwaukee. All this justified beatings and homicide. The system has been interpreting the way they want, and they always come out justified, justified, and we want to put an end to this.
AMY GOODMAN: Jonathan Safran, I want to ask you the same question, going back two years. You also sat there, as did Doris Jude Porter, through the trial. But if you can explain, Frank Jude went to the party with a group of people, and this was a party of a lot of police officers?
JONATHAN SAFRAN: Correct. He was with another gentleman who was a friend of his. He was with two other women that were also invited to this party. And he arrived at the party, felt after he came inside, after only being there for a few minutes, as to how the reaction was of those in the home, that he might not be welcome. He felt uneasy. Again, the gentleman he was with, Mr. Harris, is black. Mr. Jude is biracial. The two women that were with them coming to the party were white. And they immediately felt, in their words, bad vibes. And they left within a very few minutes and left the home.
AMY GOODMAN: And the police officer there accused Frank Jude of stealing something?
JONATHAN SAFRAN: Right. After they left, they were immediately surrounded by a group of up to15 of the off-duty officers who were yelling, "Where's the badge? Where's the badge?" Supposedly Mr. Spengler, whose home it was, who was hosting the party, claimed that his badge had been stolen. He claimed that he had left his badge out on a night table in his bedroom, even though there were -- that was the room that everyone would come into in putting their coats on. He claimed he left the badge on his night table. Drinking had been going on since approximately 7:00 or 7:30 the night before. This was, again, about 2:45 in the morning the following day. And he claimed that his badge that had been left in open view had been stolen, and these individuals with Mr. Jude were accused of stealing this badge.
AMY GOODMAN: And so they took him out of the car?
JONATHAN SAFRAN: Right. They demanded that they get out of the car. They identified themselves as police officers, continuously yelling at them, "Where's the badge?" Mr. Jude and Mr. Harris were literally pulled out of the vehicle by a number of these off-duty officers. They were immediately confronted, and things went down from there. Mr. Jude was eventually taken to the ground, and the beating began.
AMY GOODMAN: Charges were not brought against these officers until this picture of Frank Jude brutalized in a hospital bed appeared in the Milwaukee Sentinel?
JONATHAN SAFRAN: What happened was we had continuously been working with the District Attorney's office, as far as providing them with our cooperation, trying to gather evidence ourselves, independent from what the District Attorney's office was doing, but we began to realize that things were not moving very fast. This was, again, now, two or three months after this incident occurred. And although we were repeatedly being told that charges were in the process of being issued, it wasn't happening. And we made a decision that the best way at that point to try to move things along was to get this out into the public's eye. We then came to the Journal Sentinel, which is our local newspaper, had one of the reporters there do a very large article that appeared on a Sunday morning, and that just started the uproar in the community and eventually led within a relatively short period of time after that to charges being issued against three of these officers.
AMY GOODMAN: The Milwaukee District Attorney, Michael McCann, explaining the amount of time it took, four months, to bring criminal charges, said -- he blasted a, quote, “police code of silence.” How did it actually break? Did police officers come forward?
JONATHAN SAFRAN: Well, there were two on-duty police officers that were eventually called to the scene, and those two officers gave testimony early on in this case and provided statements implicating at least these three officers that were eventually charged, among others, and so the District Attorney's office relied upon the testimony by these two on-duty officers to eventually bring the criminal charges against those three officers that were charged.
AMY GOODMAN: They were drinking?
JONATHAN SAFRAN: There was a lot of drinking. There were a good amount of testimony indicating that a number of these officers were significantly impaired. And it is interesting that the rules that apply to the Milwaukee Police Department and their officers says that officers either on-duty or off-duty cannot be under the influence of intoxication -- cannot be intoxicated, cannot be under the influence at all. There were clearly evidence of significant amounts of drinking. There were three kegs of beer. There were significant amounts of other alcohol there. But no testing was done of these officers to determine their levels of intoxication, even though other officers testified that some were significantly impaired.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, this latest report of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the records of these police officers who were just acquitted, two of them, can you talk about their backgrounds?
JONATHAN SAFRAN: Well, one of them, as has been reported, was involved in a significant number of complaints relating to the use of Taser guns, stun guns in Milwaukee. The other officer, Jon Bartlett, was involved in a police shooting that led to the death of a gentleman by the name of Mr. Jenkins, and he is a defendant in a civil 1983 case that is pending in federal court in Milwaukee. It is actually going to go to trial beginning, I believe, next week. So, he has certainly been involved in some other incidents and, according to the records, was involved in a criminal conviction a number of years ago, when he was involved with apparently being charged with fleeing from the police.
AMY GOODMAN: Jonathan Safran is Frank Jude's civil attorney. There were also reports the crime scene was poorly handled, that there was possible tampering with evidence. Can you explain?
JONATHAN SAFRAN: Well, sure. There was, amazingly, the first responding on-duty supervisor was a sergeant who had literally been a sergeant for only two or three months. This was a chaotic scene, as described by everyone, and it was not handled in the way that any of us would believe would be a normal crime scene. The area where Mr. Jude was being beaten, although there was blood on the ground, was never taped off. There were these on-duty -- whether off-duty officers were running throughout the streets in and out of homes, in and out of bushes.
And the four, what were considered to be the four main suspects at the time, three of whom were charged, were allowed to remain in Mr. Spengler's home without any officers being in there to watch them or separate them, which gave them obviously an opportunity to potentially compare their stories. Their clothes were never analyzed as far as blood, or their shoes were never analyzed as far as blood. Some photographs were taken of their hands many hours later. But one of the officers who was charged, his hands and his clothes were never analyzed, never photographed at all.
Some of the officers left. Some of the officers came back. There's evidence that some of the officers changed their clothes by the time they came back. There just was no possible way that this investigation was handled the right way. And that led to, obviously, very great difficulties by the District Attorney's office in having what we would consider to be normal sufficient evidence to pursue you their case.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what can happen now, in terms of this case being pursued?
JONATHAN SAFRAN: Well, one of the -- there were five counts and five verdicts that were provided as part of this criminal case, as far as state charges. The jury was hung on one of the charges relating to Mr. Bartlett . The District Attorney's office has already indicated that they plan to retry Mr. Bartlett on that charge. There are some other charges pending against one of the other officers, as far as a perjury charge relating to this investigation. And I spoke to the U.S. Attorney's office Saturday morning after this verdict came in late Friday night, and I have assurances from the U.S. Attorney that they will develop the resources necessary to investigate this, to pursue the claim, to get it in front of a grand jury, hopefully have indictments issued and to prosecute. And I believe that if they do that, there will be many more officers involved. Hopefully all of the officers who were present may very well be involved in this investigation, which will hopefully lead to other additional criminal charges and further prosecution and hopefully convictions.
AMY GOODMAN: Jonathan Safran is Frank Jude's civil attorney. Doris Jude Porter, what was the response of Frank Jude himself to the verdict, the acquittal of the three police officers?
DORIS JUDE PORTER: Well, response of Frank, he was unhappy that they got off, and hopefully -- he told everyone to be calm, but also take action and making sure that these officers doesn't beat anyone else again. He wants them off the streets.
AMY GOODMAN: Given the racial mix of the community, how is it that it was an all-white jury?
DORIS JUDE PORTER: It was up to the Bartlett’s and Spengler’s and Masarik’s attorney and the District Attorney who select the jurors.
AMY GOODMAN: You are headed off to another protest today. What are you demanding and what kind of organizing is going on in your community?
DORIS JUDE PORTER: Justice for Jude, Justice for All, Campaign Against Violence, Police Accountability, Urban Underground, Citizen Action, MICAH, and other organizations are coming together to protest change into the community. We do not want a watered-down version to distract us in the heat of the moment. We want to make sure that we definitely get changes in the judicial system here, making sure that these officers when they have misconduct, they do not get paid when they are fired or suspended. We also want this code of silence to be out of the police force, because if they are truly protectors of peace officers, what purpose do they need a code of conduct. You need a code of conduct, when you’re going to hide something. And they have been hiding things too long, for the last 30 years that I can recall. Officers that committed crimes have all came back not guilty, and homicide justified.
AMY GOODMAN: What is the relationship between the community and the police of Milwaukee?
DORIS JUDE PORTER: Distrust. Even written records, written statements, verbal statements, complaints, we feel that they falsify information. Even past records now, we have doubt that -- we feel strongly that they false witness, false testify and gave false reports. We are very distrusting of the police officers, and some of the children -- I know my children look at them like monsters or boogiemen.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask --
DORIS JUDE PORTER: And they have absolute power and can do -- pardon me?
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you very quickly about another case. I’m looking at the Chicago Tribune, reporting that after nearly a month of questions, the families of two Milwaukee boys, missing since they left home to play basketball several weeks ago, received tragic answers Saturday. Their children accidentally drowned in a lagoon about a mile from their homes. Their bodies were found, Purvis Virginia Parker, 11, and Dre Henning, 12, recovered Friday night in a park lagoon. Autopsy results Saturday confirmed their identities. This was right before one of the protests. Their bodies were found after the verdict. Can you talk about that case, as well, and what it has meant for the community?
DORIS JUDE PORTER: Yes. Justice for Jude, Justice for All was in front of the Safety building before the verdict even arrived, asking for calm and non-violence, because we wanted to pursue this case in a calm manner, because we do not want to give the city any more of our money through jails or through hiring attorneys or burying our children, or getting, you know, medical attention. So that's why we asked for peace and calm.
And when the verdict -- when I found out about the missing boys, it’s the exact same time when I found out the verdict was in. And to me, it overwhelmed me, because the distraction from one end, it was a distraction, and the community felt that it was a distraction. And some people think it’s conspiracy to -- some people think the police officers were involved in this missing boys case, and the community’s just really confused about the whole issue because of the verdict and the missing boys was found came in at the same time. It’s mind-blowing.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Doris Jude Porter, I want to thank you very much for being with us. We will continue to follow the story. I head to Milwaukee. We’ll be there on Thursday. Doris Jude Porter is Frank Jude's aunt. She has been organizing rallies to bring attention to Frank's case with the group Justice for Jude, Justice for All. We have also been speaking with Jonathan Safran, Frank Jude's civil attorney, who attended the trial throughout. Again, the three white police officers charged in his brutal beating have been acquitted by an all-white jury.
To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, click here for our new online ordering or call 1 (888) 999-3877.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
On May 10, 2006 the New Orleans House of Blues presents the Jefferson Family Galactic Reunion. All proceeds will benefit Common Ground. Common Ground's mission is to provide short term relief for victims of hurricane disasters in the gulf coast region, and long term support in rebuilding the communities affected in the New Orleans area. Common Ground is a community-initiated volunteer organization offering assistance, mutual aid and support. The work gives hope to communities by working with them, providing for their immediate needs and emphasizes people working together to rebuild their lives in sustainable ways.
Please support this amazing effort by purchasing tickets from the House of Blues.
These artists have generously donated their time and energy to support the people of the Gulf Coast. Please spread the word!
My Day of (trying to) Absentee Vote
Guest Commentary By Lance Hill
April 18, 2006
Feel free to reproduce
I am surprised at how many people responding to my column earlier this week thought the early voter system for the New Orleans Mayor’s election was successful in helping displaced black voters. They were amazed to hear that only 4% of the black registered voters made it to the eleven polls set up around the state to accommodate voters still in exile. I understand their surprise. The main story on the vote outcome was in the New Orleans Times-Picayune's story on April 16 which reported the total number of votes cast in early voting but not in comparison to the total number of registered voters, especially those displaced. What was reported under the subheading “Large Black Turnout,” was Louisiana Secretary of State Al Ater’s estimate that 70% of the 10,585 people who cast ballots were black, which translates into 7,409 black votes. That sounds like a lot of votes unless you include what the Times-Picayune omitted: that these were 7,409 voters of out a total of 188,166 eligible black registered voters. Put in this context, the real story was that 96% of the eligible black voters did not show up to the satellite polls and will have to vote absentee or in person.
How Easy is Absentee?
As of today, April 18, if you want to vote absentee you need a computer, internet connection and fax machine, not items that most poor evacuees scooped up along with their children when they evacuated. I decided to cast an absentee ballot since I will be out of town the day of the election. First I had to download the "absentee ballot request form" from the Secretary of State’s site. I filled it out and then had to walk to a local coffee shop to find two strangers willing to sign as witnesses—otherwise I had to pay a notary. Then I had to fax in the request and wait. One problem: there is no fax number on the request form. So I called the 1-(800)-833-2805 which is listed as an information line on the form. I dialed that and got the following: “The toll free number you have dialed in not in service.” Then I called the Secretary of State office at the regular number and they gave me their own fax number and said the toll-free line must not be operating. Then I dialed the Secretary of State fax number at (225) 922-0945. Busy.
Then I called the local voter registrar and they gave me a local number which did work. I am now waiting for them to fax me a ballot. And waiting. When and if it comes I will fax the completed form back to the voter registrar’s office and hope it arrives along with the other tens of thousands of ballots. I can't imagine what displaced people in the Baker, Louisiana FEMA trailer court, with no phones, no computers, no faxes, and no money are going to do.
So how will this affect the black turnout? Secretary of State Al Ater says that since 70% of the people who voted at satellite polls were black, which compares to the current black
registered vote of 65%, so he thinks the satellite system worked and the election will be fair to displaced black voters. Consider his math. First, the fact that only 288 voters out of 100,000 New Orleanians living in Houston cast a vote in Calcasieu Parish, the closest poll to Houston, proves that the system did not work for displaced voters, black or white. People don't like to drive hundreds of miles and spend $100 on gas to vote. I don't even like driving six blocks and standing in line 10 minutes. Secondly, the goal of a fair election is to get black voters outside of New Orleans proportionate to the current displaced voter population, not the former black population or registered voter population. Blacks comprise far more than 65% of the displaced population in most big cities.
Statistically, if you accept that the current population of New Orleans is 150,000 and that it is evenly divided racially, that means there are 240,000 blacks and 50,000 whites still displaced--or roughly five times as many blacks as whites. To be proportionately fair, blacks in displaced communities would have to be voting at rates five times as high as whites and requesting absentee ballots at five times the rate. Based on Ater's numbers, they are showing up at about twice the rate, at best.
Hiding these troubling numbers creates the impression that black voter turnout will be normal, which can lull black voters into a false sense of security. The racial fairness of an election, its success in overcoming obstacles for displaced black voters, can only be measured by reporting the turnout percentages, not simply vote totals. Otherwise we are in for a big surprise. Consider the consequences: If black turnout is as low as 33%, which I think is quite possible, and white turnout is 70%, which is very likely, then whites will outpoll blacks 63,466 to 62,094, even though blacks have twice the registered voters.
With numbers like these, one can make a convincing case that, regardless of intentions, the effect of mail registration and absentee ballots will be similar to the literacy and property qualification tests used to limit black vote in 1898. Given that 40% of African Americans in New Orleans read at the lowest level of literacy, almost identical to the general literacy rate in 1898, it will be extremely difficult for displaced voters to obtain and properly complete the complex mail voter registration and absentee ballot forms. And since 80% of the black community rented before Katrina and little effort has been made to restore rentals, public housing, or move FEMA trailers into the city, home-ownership amounts to the new property test: if you own a home, you are more likely to get to vote.
Lance Hill is Executive Director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University and author of "Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement. He can be reached a Lhill@tulane.edu
Hooray is all I can say. You've heard about it. Now read a little insider stuff about it.
(FYI-for the next week I'll be doing just a limited Oread Daily, as I entertain out of town guest known as my little sister)
The following is from the blog site DownWithTyranny!
NEW NEIL YOUNG ALBUM-- LIFE IN WAR-- WON'T PROVIDE ANY CAMPAIGN DITTIES FOR BUSH AND THE RUBBER-STAMP REPUBLICANS
I smoked my way through college-- I mean like every single day-- and then I went for a two year drive across Asia and a few months smoking black Mazar-i-Sharif hash in Afghanistan-- the psychedelic stuff that never gets exported-- and... presto... I was cured. All interest in drugs were gone. Forever. It was great while it lasted but it was gone. Years later I washed up on the shores of corporate America and somehow wound up as president of Reprise Records-- Neil Young's label. Every time Neil delivered a new album-- or if I'd go up to his ranch to listen to a work in progress-- I'd take a toke, just one (and one was all I needed), from whatever he was smoking. I'd be high all day.
I'm retired now and Neil won't be delivering his new album to me and I won't be taking any tokes off anyone's joints. But I was thrilled this morning when a small company I work with, JamBase, reported that Neil has a new record, and, apparently, he's as sick of the corrupt, lying Bush Regime as the rest of us are!
Neil made it pretty clear with GREENDALE, a truly incredible but underrated album, that he isn't happy with the direction George Bush has taken the country. He told David Fricke of ROLLING STONE "This is a time, I believe, of great inner turmoil for the majority of the American people. There is a new morality coming out of this administration -- fundamentalist religious views; a holier-than-thou attitude towards the rest of the world -- that is not classically American. I don't think Americans felt holier-than-thou in the twentieth century. We were happy and successful, with a great lifestyle. But something else is going on now. That's what Greendale is about. That's what Grandpa's problem is. He can't understand what's going on. He sees all of these things that the Patriot Act has taken away from what he feels is America."
Just after debuting his new film at SxSW Neil shocked the music world by announcing, kind of off-the-cuff, that he had recorded a brand new album and that it's all ready to go. (The guy introducing him, SxSW director Roland Swenson, had referred to how important Neil's song "Ohio," about the National Guard shooting down college students at Kent State, was to another generation then gearing up to end an earlier unpopular war, and how we needed something like that now. Neil took it seriously.) The new album is called LIVING WITH WAR.
One of Neil's collaborators, filmmaker, Jonathan Demme, describes it as "a brilliant electric assault on Bush and the war in Iraq.” The linchpin track, "Impeach the President," features an edited-together Bush rap set to a 100-voice chorus chanting "flip/flop." The album, with Young on Old Black, Rick Rosas on bass and Chad Cromwell on drums, took three days to finish. Yep; that's Neil. No release date is set yet but... hopefully it'll be before November.
10:30AM UPDATE: HOPEFULLY I WON'T HAVE TO SMOKE UP BUT...
I just got off the phone with Neil's manager and he offered to play me the album. So I'm gonna saddle up and ride WAY out to the middle of nowhere and listen. And then I'll report back. Stay tuned.
3 PM UPDATE: Grrrrrr...
Ok; first: the album is beyond belief. I mean it's so great I was jumping out of my skin. That's the good news. The less good news is that they wouldn't play it for me unless I agreed not to write about it for "a few days." (Not even the label has heard it yet and they felt it would be impolite for me to go blabbing the whole story all over the world until after they get to play it for Reprise and the NY Times.) So what can I tell you before "a few days?" Not much. From the time Neil started writing the songs until he finished recording the whole incredible project: 9 days.
Every song is about... you know what (and who). Musically it is so powerful and emotionally it's even more powerful that that!! Many tears while I sat alone with the headset on. Since I already mentioned "Let's Impeach the President," I'll just say a few things about that. It's this great rocker that ends as a gospel song and reads like an indictment. I mean Neil sounds like he's been reading Daily KOS or FireLakeDog! Someone's gotta get this to Henry Waxman! Neil even lays out some evidence in the form of Bush running his mouth on tape.
Will this go down as Neil's greatest album ever? It will be a contender musically. And the impact lyrically could be profound. I'll talk more about that when my period of musical purdah is up next week. If you're walking down the street and someone comes up to you and offers you the opportunity to hear just one song, ask him to play "Flags of Freedom." (Have kleenex handy.)
SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE: NEIL RELEASES LYRICS FROM THE TITLE TRACK
Neil has a streaming message up on his own website talking about the new album. "I think it is a metal version of Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan... metal folk protest? It's called LIVING WITH WAR." And he promises to release the lyrics on the ticker of the website. Today he has the lyrics to the title track up-- the second song on the record and one of the ones I instantly loved:
I'm living with war everyday
I'm living with war in my heart everyday
I'm living with war right now
And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man
And on the flat-screen we kill and we're killed again
And when the night falls, I pray for peace
Try to remember peace (visualize)
I join the multitudes
I raise my hand in peace
I never bow to the laws of the thought police
I take a holy vow
To never kill again
To never kill again
I'm living with war in my heart
I'm living with war in my heart and my mind
I'm living with war right now
Don't take no tidal wave
Don't take no mass grave
Don't take no smokin' gun
To show how the west was won
But when the curtain falls, I pray for peace
Try to remember peace (visualize)
In the crowded streets
In the big hotels
In the mosques and the doors of the old museum
I take a holy vow
To never kill again
Try to remember peace
The rocket's red glare
Bombs bursting in air
Give proof through the night,
That Our flag is still there
I'm living with war everyday
I'm living with war in my heart everyday
I'm living with wat right now.
Monday, April 17, 2006
I know it dates me, but I remember when...
The following piece is from Granma.
45 YEARS AFTER THE BAY OF PIGS INVASION
"We lost because Fidel is with them,"
--José M. Gutiérrez, Bay of Pigs invader
BY GABRIEL MOLINA
In mid-April 1961, organized into militia units, the Rebel Army and the police, the people brought down like a sandcastle the long- and carefully-prepared Operation Pluto, with which the United States hoped to wipe the Cuban Revolution and its example off the face of the continent.
Some 1,500 CIA-trained men, equipped with the most modern weapons utilized by the U.S. Army and with extensive aerial coverage, were defeated in combat in just 72 hours on the sands of Playa Girón, the first great military defeat of the United States in Latin America.
The defeat of the invasion eliminated the possibility of direct intervention by the United States and prevented Cuba’s victory from being incomparably more costly. An end to the myth of the great power’s invincibility had begun. From then on, many things began to change in the world.
APRIL 17: THE INVASION
The moon, in its fourth quarter, was invisible at nightfall. A soft breeze blew in from the north at 15 to 25 miles per hour. The night was cool when militia member Mariano Mustelier and literacy teacher Valerio Rodríguez saw a light approaching over the ocean waves in the darkness. It was a ship that was sending signals.
They moved the jeep they were manning until it faced the boat that was signaling, and signaled back.
The time was just after midnight, April 17, on Playa Girón (Girón beach).
It was the ship Blagar, one of seven navigated by more than 1,500 men financed, trained and led by the CIA to invade Cuba. There was also a group of combat frogmen, led by officers of the U.S. Army and other U.S. agencies.
From the ship, they began firing on the jeep. Mustelier responded with his FAL rifle. The shots wounded the 13-year-old literacy teacher, who had been teaching local residents how to read and write. Mustelier took him to a small militia encampment and then returned with five men. Cannon fire began to come from the ship as the frogmen who had disembarked ordered them to surrender.
"Patria o muerte (Homeland or death)!" was the firm response they had learned from Fidel.
Those simple words symbolized what awaited the invaders.
The shrapnel wounded two of the brave defenders. Another was sent to the Covadonga sugar mill to sound the alarm, and a fourth went to a radio station to communicate with Santa Clara and report the landing.
A squadron attached to Battalion 330 of the National Revolutionary Militias of Cienfuegos had been situated to protect the location on Playa Larga, at the central interior point of the Bay of Pigs about 31 kilometers from Playa Girón on the right-hand entry into the bay coming from the south. At midnight, the squad’s five men saw the flashes of the gunfight on Playa Girón. At 2:00 a.m., a small boat approached. The order to halt was answered with rifle and machine-gun fire. Combat began immediately, and squadron leader Ramón González Suco radioed the Australia sugar mill complex.
Together with their leader, García Garriga, Hernández, Jaramillo and Quintana fought until their ammunition ran out. At 2:45 a.m., they retreated after informing the mill complex.
The Larga and Buenaventura beaches were also fired on from the ships Houston and Barbara J. On the latter, a Navy boat responded with fire from the dock.
As soon as Captain Cordero, head of battalion 339, comprised of 528 workers and students from the city of Cienfuegos, received the report at the Australia sugar mill complex, he informed Havana. On the orders of the commander-in-chief, he left for Girón at 2:30 a.m., a 68-kilometer journey. By then, from the small boats with skull-and-crossbones painted on their sides, invaders carrying M-3s and other weapons had landed at three points of the Bay: Playa Girón, Playa Larga and Hornos.
The militia members who fought back during the initial moments had been sent there the day before when, during a tour of the area, Commander Juan Almeida, chief of the armed forces in central Cuba (in the east, it was Commander Raúl Castro, and in the west, Commander Che Guevara), noted the communication difficulties in the zone and dispatched a company to it.
At the first landing point, Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro received the information and confirmed that a landing was underway, backed up with heavy weapons.
Fidel later commented that the imperialists had only analyzed the landing area from a military point of view, without being interested in the fact that in Ciénaga de Zapata, the local population had been "redeemed from the worst misery, the worst isolation."
In a place where even dogs used to die of hunger, where men came to buy sacks of charcoal for 80 cents, people were now earning eight to 12 pesos daily. Roads and tourist centers had been built.
Moreover, 200 literacy campaign volunteers had been sent to the area, and 300 campesino children were going to school in Havana.
The Revolution had accomplished so much in the area that when one of the invaders, José Manuel Gutiérrez, found out on the way from Nicaragua to Cuba that they were going to the Ciénaga de Zapata, and knowing what was taking place there, commented: "It’s all over! Because if there’s anywhere that the government has influence..."
Gutiérrez was one of the men who landed on Playa Larga and heard the militia members yell "Patria o muerte! Viva Fidel Castro!"
Along with infantry battalions, the invaders unloaded battalions of heavy motorized cannons and a tank company, and a battalion of paratroopers landed at dawn.
The militia battalion from Cienfuegos, with light weapons, clashed with the invaders at dawn. After the decision to move the 339, Fidel ordered Captain José R. Fernández, with the battalion of militia chiefs, to go from Matanzas to Jovellanos, and another battalion from Matanzas to advance. He directed Battalion 117 from Las Villas to move toward Yaguaramas and Covadonga.
The invading paratroopers were launched on the rearguard of Battalion 339 from Cienfuegos and the rearguard of the Las Villas battalion.
The Commander-in-Chief ordered the revolutionary air forces to attack.
At 5:00 a.m., only three planes had been activated. The Air Force was suffering from a lack of spare parts because of the blockade. In addition, 11 planes, of various types, had been rendered useless after the bombings of air bases two days earlier, on April 15, by planes bearing the insignia of the revolutionary Air Force in order to cause confusion and surprise.
Fidel telephoned and asked for pilot Enrique Carreras. "You have to sink those ships for me!" was the order.
Captain Carreras left in a Sea Fury, followed by Bourzac. Silva Tablada was in the third plane, a B-26.
From the air, Carreras saw the impressive spectacle of the seven or eight ships, and "an undetermined number of small boats and landing craft in full activity."
He noted that one of the large ships was sailing into the bay, followed by a war frigate. It was full of troops and war material. Light from the tracers and explosions from missiles fired from the ships attempted to block his path as he dove down against them. Carreras was the first to fire his rockets on the Houston.
Bourzac and Silva also hit the ship. The first vessel was out of combat. The war frigate escorting it fled when it saw that it was lost.
During his second flight, Carreras fired his rockets at the Río Escondido ship, destroying a good part of the mercenaries’ supplies. Before returning, Carreras shot down a B-26, but either it or the enemy anti-aircraft fire hit his engine, making his return to base difficult.
By the end of the first day, the Revolutionary Air Force had sunk four ships and shot down five enemy planes.
In the morning, Fidel had gone to the front lines. At the Australia sugar mill complex, he laid out the strategy to be followed to a group of officers and gave the order to carry it out.
Combat continued uninterruptedly for the entire day.
The revolutionary government issued a communiqué that day announcing the landing, which ended by saying:
"Onward, people of Cuba, because the Revolution is invincible, and all enemies of her and the heroic people who defend her will be smashed!
"Let us shout out now, with more zeal and firmness than ever before, when Cubans are already sacrificing themselves in combat:
"¡VIVA CUBA LIBRE! ¡PATRIA O MUERTE! ¡VENCEREMOSI"
Fidel Castro Ruz
Commander-in-Chief and Prime Minister of the Revolutionary Government
APRIL 18: THE COUNTEROFFENSIVE
On the second day of battle, dawn saw an offensive by our tanks in the direction of Playa Larga itself, backed by anti-aircraft fire. The night before, a good part of those forces could not be used because of enemy planes.
Alongside the militia battalions who initiated active defense with the goal of clearing out the invaders – the forces from Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Las Villas and the one made up of militia chiefs – Fidel mobilized Columns One and Two of the Rebel Army, a tank company, anti-tank batteries, four 122-mortar batteries, and the First Police battalion.
But the enemy was dominating the air with its B-26 planes, and the batteries stopped at determined locations to wait for nightfall before moving on, given that the revolutionary planes were being used to destroy ships, and could not provide protection to the land forces that were advancing along vulnerable roads.
The battalion of militia chiefs was protected by two planes when it crossed Matanzas on its way there.
The 11 men defending the Covadonga sugar mill complex received orders to keep resisting until reinforcements arrived, and that’s what they did; the same situation occurred at the Australia mill.
The most important outcome of the first day was the incredible feat by the Revolutionary Air Force. With an extremely small number of planes (one-third of the enemy’s) and 10 pilots, without relief or replacement and no spare parts, they sunk half of the enemy’s naval forces, shot down five planes and provided air protection to the infantry so that it could hold the beachhead on the west side of the Ciénaga.
The militia battalion spent the night of April 17 attacking Playa Larga from the highway, since it was the only way to cross the swamps. The advance was heroic, given that enemy aircraft constantly raked their way. But by nightfall the anti-aircraft guns and tanks arrived.
At 12:00 p.m. the anti-aircraft artillery of Battalion 122 began attacking Playa Larga and by dawn the tanks had reached the edge of the beach.
At dawn, Battalion 111, which was in the Australia center, was also ordered to advance to Cayo Ramona, which was under enemy control, and locate itself in the rearguard. One battalion would go around Buenaventura to take Playa Larga.
In addition, Fidel ordered other troop movements: a company of tanks to Yaguaramas so that they would be there by the night of April 18; four batteries of Artillery Force 122 to Covadonga; a company of heavy tanks, as a reserve to Yaguaramas; another tank company to be used on the morning of the 19 and a special combat column and a police battalion, which entered through Australia-Girón.
ON THE ENEMY SIDE
The invaders perceived the battle in the following way: "¼ when night fell (on the 17), Fidel’s tanks began to arrive. Then everyone one looked at each other and said: But, what’s going on here, where are the militias that were going to meet us here?... the next day they sent us to cover the retreat from Playa Girón, so that everyone could leave, and they sent us in behind..."
One of the invading paratroopers, Antonio Fernández Alvarez, narrated what happened on the enemy’s side the morning of the 18.
"Around 7:00-7:10 a.m. the same militia that had attacked the first advance began to attack again, but this time with mortars, the famous 120 mortars, and when these hit our first trenches and wounded many of our comrades, Alejandro del Valle (chief of the paratroopers) ordered a retreat to another place called Dos Vías, or that we called Dos Vías, I don’t know what its real name might be; there was a tiny hamlet there at the crossroads.
"The troops went back to take possession of the trenches again and to wait for the enemy, but this time they were already calling for another relief battalion, because people were already getting discontented. Because they said that the troops were going to relieved, that the fighting was not going to be continuous, that they weren’t going to fight... They sent another battalion to that Dos Vías place and there was more combat there; again we were pushed back by artillery, by now everyone was retreating to the beach..."
Meanwhile, in Havana and other locations in the country, the State Security agencies, efficiently assisted by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs), detained bands that they had been following and made preventative arrests of people suspected of being potential enemy collaborators.
On April 15, the capture of a band in Pinar del Río, directed by U.S. American Howard Frederick Anderson, owner of the Coney Island amusement park located on Mariano beach, was announced.
The band, made up of 15 people, had eight tons of arms cached in a place known as Las Furnias, in Pinar del Río.
Anderson was a CIA agent who put the band, led by Joaquín del Cueto, a former lieutenant in Batista’s army, in contact with a U.S. embassy official and CIA agent known as Mr. Avignon who, before the breaking off of relations, was one of those directing internal subversive activities.
The meeting place was a store located at 70 and 29-F, Mariano.
The eight tons of arms had been received on February 22, 1961, brought from the United States by a U.S. boat to the Pinar del Río coast. The military equipment included 40 cases of rifles; 12 cases of automatic rifles; 18 cases of Thompson machine guns; 18 cases of 30-caliber machine guns; 5 cases of bazookas and 5 mortars; one box of plastic dynamite, etcetera.
On April 17 the CDR detained the priest Eduardo Boza Masvidal, a known counterrevolutionary leader, who had stashed a large volume of propaganda and medicine in La Caridad church, which he distributed.
International solidarity, for its part, spread around the world. Two eloquent expressions of that are eloquent ones: General Lázaro Cárdenas, former president of Mexico, prepared the means to come to Cuba and fight alongside the Cuban people, provoking a great impact when Cuban Foreign Minister Raúl Roa announced this news in the UN General Assembly.
And from the distant Soviet country which, at that time, had much impressed the world with the heroic feats of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, thus making the Soviet Union’s rockets even more respectable, the government sent a message to the U.S. government expressing the indignation of its people and warning: "¼ there should be no confusion in relation to our position: we will lend the Cuban people and its government all the assistance necessary to repel the armed aggression of Cuba."
APRIL 19: THE VICTORY
In the morning of the 19, the third day of the invasion, the revolutionary forces began to attack Playa Girón with artillery, tanks and infantry. Other troops with the same arms were fighting to take San Blas and succeeded between 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
After that came an extensive artillery preparation against enemy positions in Girón.
At 2:40 p.m., when the Cuban forces were two-and-a-half kilometers from Girón, two U.S. Navy destroyers that had escorted the invading fleet from Nicaragua to Cuba came into view.
In 10 minutes, an extraordinary number of barges, motorboats and other vessels set off from the destroyers and headed for the shore. Captain Fernández, who was leading of the Cuban troops there, thought that it was another landing and ordered his troops to fire. Some of the vessels turned back.
A Cuban airplane arrived and fired on the barges and boats. Those heading for the shore had to retreat to the destroyers.
Later, one of the prisoners, the son of José Miró Cardona, stated that he was still fighting in Girón when he suddenly realized that the leadership of the invaders had left. That immediately caused the complete disintegration of the troops. The U.S. Navy destroyers were attempting to evacuate San Román and others, but failed.
The U.S. president had been pressured by the CIA, the Miró Cardonas and Tony Varona, to directly intervene with the U.S. armed forces. Aware of the tremendous consequences that would entail, Kennedy decided not to authorize it. Instead he permitted U.S. naval units to evacuate the mercenaries.
Hours earlier, he had also authorized protection for the last B-26 air strike, using reaction craft from the Essex aircraft carrier, which was nearby escorting the invading force.
The U.S. Navy planes arrived poorly coordinated after the incursion of the B-26. That day a further five enemy planes were shot down bringing the figure to 10. Four of these last pilots were U.S. Americans under CIA contract, since those of Cuban origin refused to continue. One of them was Leo Francis Baker of Boston. The U.S. government began to send a check for $245 to the four widows every two weeks.
In total, 12 enemy B-26 planes were downed.
In Playa Girón, the last mercenary resistance was undertaken by two tanks. Being left with no leadership, they surrendered.
Fidel ordered the organization of a cordon to capture enemy troops who had escaped and the survivors of the sunken boats. One of them, Ulises Carbó, son of the former owner of the Havana Prensa Libre daily, was aboard the Houston when it sunk. Like many others of that battalion unable to land due to the aim and bravery of the revolutionary air fleet, he swam to the shore and hid out for days before turning himself over to the militias.
Meanwhile, members of the brand-new Congress, the front for the invasion, had been closeted in an abandoned air base in Opa-Locka, Florida.
Arthur M. Schlesinger went there to visit them on Kennedy’s orders. He was met by a CIA official known as Frank Bender, of German origin, and Schlesinger’s account is a great tragicomedy:
"They took us with evident stealth in a car parked nearby. We traveled for a while: later we parked in front of a hamburger stand where we switched cars. One was beginning to feel like a character in a Hitchcock movie. Then we resumed our trip for miles and miles of sterile Florida landscape. Finally we arrived at the Opa-Locka airbase... we stopped a few yards from a strange and indescribable timber-frame house, located in the farthest reaches of the base. The grounds were patrolled by young American GIs with revolvers visible in their holsters..."
In the meeting, Varona accused the CIA and it was he who most vehemently demanded the intervention of U.S. Navy planes and infantry. He was the embodiment of a traitor to his country.
Schlesinger brought them to Washington to meet with Kennedy.
"After listening to Kennedy they were much more submissive in the morning," wrote Schlesinger in his book A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House.
However, on that day, the 19, the battle had already been decided.
The balance of the invasion was: 89 invaders dead and 1,197 taken prisoner. The revolutionary armed forces lost 157 men.
The Cuban forces dealt a crushing defeat to the enemy in less than 72 hours. The dreams of the CIA turned to dust.
The CIA headquarters in Washington sent a cable to its stations around the world on April 19, instructing them to treat the invasion as if it were a supply mission to the rebels in the Escambray mountains.
The cable was intended to cover up the first defeat of U.S. imperialism, by stating that the supply operation had been a success. It was simply ridiculous.
In a televised statement after his capture, José Manuel Gutiérrez, one of the members of the invasion’s 2506 Brigade, perhaps without meaning to, demonstrated one fundamental difference among many between those who came to assault Cuba at the behest of a foreign power and those who defended it.
"The other morning a jeep passed shooting and saying: ‘Surrender, surrender;’ a little later a group of us came out and turned ourselves over; it was Fidel in that jeep, and I said to someone: ‘That’s why we lost, because Fidel is with them, fighting on the frontline and those who were with us, those who embarked us and left us stranded, went off afterwards "
(Revised excerpt from the book Diario de Girón (Girón Diary), Editora Política, 1984)