Saturday, May 06, 2006


With the blessing of the Nigerian Anglican Church and its leader, Archbishop Peter Akinola, the government of Nigeria has tabled in parliament one of the world's most comprehensive and “oppressive piece of anti-gay legislation.”

The President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo (pictured with his special friend), has declared that homosexual practice "is clearly unBiblical, unnatural and definitely unAfrican."

Canada's Anglican bishops have unanimously endorsed a strong resolution expressing "grave concern" about proposed legislation in Nigeria that "would prohibit or severely restrict the freedom of speech, association, expression and assembly of gay and lesbian persons."

Their motion also criticized the (Anglican) Church of Nigeria for its support of the legislation, reports the magazine Anglican World and ACNS.

George Broadhead, secretary of Nigeria's Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, said: "This is probably the most oppressive piece of anti-gay legislation to have been introduced in modern times. We fear for the safety of all gay people in Nigeria, because when this law is implemented it will unleash a deep-rooted and murderous religious-based homophobia. There will be witch
hunts and persecution on a wide scale.

What is this law all about. Read below for the awful details.

The following is from WHRnet (Women's Human Rights Net)

Criminalizing Homosexuality the Nigerian Way
Source: Uhuru-Wazobia

Nigeria is about to set itself apart, yet again, in one of the most sweeping anti-gay laws in the world. While the pending civil law proposes a lighter sentence than the criminal law, its legal reach is breathtaking. Interestingly, homosexuality is already criminalized in Nigeria. Depending on whether the accused is Christian or Muslim, the penalty is either 14 years imprisonment or death by stoning. So, with such legal deterrents already in place, what is the purpose of the new Same-Sex Bill? Have the numbers of gays and lesbians seeking to marry or procure civil unions in Nigeria become so significant as to warrant a specific prohibition? In fact, the bill is about much more than protecting the sanctity of marriage.

The full title of the pending law is A BILL FOR AN ACT TO MAKE PROVISIONS FOR THE PROHIBITION OF SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PERSONS OF THE SAME SEX, CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE BY THEM AND FOR OTHER MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH. As such, its primary purpose is to prohibit same-sex marriages, whether civil or religious. It extends the criminal ambit to include all persons who aid, assist, preside over, witness or even cater such an occasion. Marriages made and recognized by other countries will become null and void in Nigeria. The law also forbids gay people from forming associations, whether to publicize or defend their lives.

Furthermore, the Nigerian government proposes to criminalize any organization that works on gay and lesbian issues, even if it doesn't do so overtly. Any public display, including a march for gender equality or the rights of the disabled or a group of youth rallying for their favorite sports team, if there is a "gay" person present, will be a criminal act. Any literature on gay and lesbian issues published by the media, even electronically, will be a criminal act. Any one who exercises his/her right to associate and work collectively with people, to write and express ideas, to witness for and advocate on behalf of others, whether those others are actually gay, will have committed a crime. And finally, whether Nigerian citizens do these things in public or in private, they will be legally liable for them.

Effectively, the new law will isolate gays and lesbians from community and from legal recourse. Under the guise of preventing gay marriage it will, in one fell swoop, create a new category of person in Nigeria. This new person need not be identified but may merely be suspected. He or she will have little individual right to protection from injustice because his/her very right to exist will be in legal limbo. He or she may not join others to protect themselves nor seek public or private support and protection because basic rights of association will not exist for them. Such a person, cut off from legal moorings in the polity becomes an outsider and an easy scapegoat in distressing times.

So we ask ourselves, this bill is such a surprise at this moment in Nigerian political life, what else is going on? We know who it hurts but whom does it benefit? At its worst, it stands to unleash hysteria against citizens of Nigeria. At its very least, it is a diversion from something else. By playing on presumed national homophobia, it seeks to divert domestic attention away from other matters. From the looks of the political landscape, it isn't hard to imagine why Nigerians might need some distracting.

President Obasanjo, is trying to force an illegal third term and has polarized the country, raising political tensions to a fever pitch. His challenger is a Muslim whose supporters have made possible and backed the last 30 years of military rule. They now insist that the President will not have a third term. Overall, Muslim and Christian tension is at an all-time high and has lately broken out into deadly violence. Refugee organizations estimate that up to 5 million people have been displaced by communal violence in Nigeria in the last five years.

While disagreeing on many issues, Muslim and Christian leaders in Nigeria seem to agree on the nefariousness of homosexuality. So a political strategy that involves disenfranchising gays seems a reasonable approach to accord between them. Such astute guidance comes currently from the person of the Archbishop of Nigeria, Dr Peter Akinola. (The Archbishop is actively seeking to split the Anglican Church and to move its center to the southern hemisphere, ostensibly to Nigeria.) In order to galvanize support for his more imperial objective, he has demonized gays and uses an anti-gay pulpit to advance his agenda. President Obasanjo publicly supports the Archbishop saying, that homosexuality is "un-Biblical, unnatural and definitely un-African" and that it is "a perversion of the divine order, and sin."

In the meantime, rebellion is in the air in the economic heart of the country. The beleaguered peoples of the Niger Delta have finally taken matters into their own hands with an insurrection that has cut oil exports by over 25%. If eastern parts of the Delta join in, exports could drop to 50%. Between the fears of civil conflict throughout Nigeria and an open armed hostility in oil country, the world's eighth largest exporter, finds itself at another pivotal moment in its history. Its response is to incite furor against an already marginalized group of people who pose no threat either to the government or to the society.

Fomenting anti-gay sentiment is a simple, cost-effective means to animate and coalesce a splintered and critical electorate. This bill is an Abujan horse, a cover that mollifies enough people while sneaking insidious forces into their midst. It is a pre-emptive law that trades on public, national homophobia to pass sweeping controls on the rights of association, conscience, expression and assembly. It will open the way for increased violence against gay and lesbian citizens, violence that is already occurring with impunity and, often, at the hands of public servants.

Next week, the Nigerian parliament is expected to pass this bill into law.

In solidarity with gay and lesbian citizens of Nigeria, human rights organizations, and concerned Christian and Muslim people around the world, we urge the government of Nigeria to:

Withdraw the bill

Guarantee safety and protection for all persons irrespective of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or religion;

Respect its international human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

We urge lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and allies around the world to add their voices against this bill, to support our friends in Nigeria, and to demonstrate to governments of the world that our lives will not be easily used for their political purposes.


Uhuru-Wazobia is an educational, advocacy and social membership organization for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people from Continental Africa. The organization was formed by Africans to respond to our specific needs as members of the larger gay and lesbian community.

Our primary goal is to provide support, contact and growth opportunities for our members who are dealing with the many complexities of being gay, African and living outside of their countries of origin. Uhuru-Wazobia will also serve as an information center for and about African gays and lesbians, a voice for our community in its relationship with government, the media and other relevant organizations.

Uhuru-Wazobia is a democratic, egalitarian, participating organization that aims to be a supportive, safe and empowering space for its members. Uhuru-Wazobia aims to enshrine the best traditions of African community and family, while allowing us to define our own sexual and cultural identities, independent of both western imposed constructs and the imposed constructs of African "heterosexism."


President Bush will give the commencement address at Oklahoma State University today. But even in the late, great state of Oklahoma protesters are ready and waiting.

The following is from KTEN in Stillwater.

Protesters wait to greet president in Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. A protest of President Bush's appearance is being held about a block from Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.

About 250 demonstrators held signs as a band played anti-Bush songs. One protester held a sign that read -- quote -- "Worst President Ever."

Protester Laurie Keeley of Tulsa says she had to take advantage of the fact that Bush came to Oklahoma.

Stillwater police and Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers were on hand, but the protest was peaceful.

But some O-S-U grads thought the protest was inappropriate. Biological Sciences major Vincent Miller of Toronto, Canada, says the day should be about the graduates and that Bush was honoring them with his presence.

Friday, May 05, 2006


NOTE: Although some media are reporting as if the siege is over simply because the Ontario and federal governments have committed to negotiations, this is not the case. Troops have not been withdrawn, and Six Nations people and supporters are still fearful of another invasion. It is also not certain that the Ontario and federal governments will engage in meaningful discussion of the key land issues. Sustained pressure is needed. Please continue to encourage people to take action.

Key current concerns:

OPP, RCMP, and any other police or military forces that have been brought to the area must immediately be withdrawn. Their presence is not protective, but rather encourages escalation.

Six Nations people reclaiming their lands are not criminals. Charges must be dropped against the people arrested on April 20.

Camp communications must not be interfered with. People in the camp must be free to contact media, loved ones, solidarity organizations, etc.

The federal and Ontario governments must move from their past positions and approach the talks with the Haudenoniso (Council of Chiefs) in an honourable and meaningful way.

Search the Oread Daily Archives for numerous previous articles on this subject.

The following comes from First Perspective.

Six Nations short on supplies at Caledonia

People camping out at the Six Nations reclamation site say they need medical supplies, personal hygiene products, food and a variety of other products.

"Sometimes there are 50 people there, sometimes there is a few hundred," Hazel Hill, who is with the group, said Thursday (May 4).

The group, which began its non-violent demostration more than two months ago, has sent an e-mail, which is circulating through its network of supporters, identifying products that are needed. Money can also be donated instead of products, Hill said.

Many of the products that are needed are low-value items, which means shipping costs would be significant in relation to the value of the products. Kitchen/food needs include such things as cookies, meat, drink crystals, cheese, ice, milk, cheese and sugar as well as dish soap, large Styrofoam cups, and plastic cutlery. Medical needs include a spinal board, a stethoscope, blankets and bandages. In all about six dozen items are listed.

Hill and another supporter at the blockade, Janie Jamieson, say they have been receiving tremendous moral support from across Canada and around the world.

"I am just totally amazed with the e-mails, " Hill said. "In the four directions around the world we are getting support"

People wanting to make donations can call 519-445-0719.

The situation near the southern Ontario town of Calcedonia has also ben marred by ugliness, with reports of pamphlet of the Ku Klux Klan being ciruculated at demonstrations by non-Aboriginal people upset by the blockade set up by Six Nations Mohawks. A public demonstration last week also included signs such as "Where is John Wayne when you need him?" Some of the people with the blockade have speculated that some people are trying to provoke confrontation so that Ontario calls in the military to take down the blockade.


Several thousand South Korean riot police using blasts of water and the sheer weight of their numbers stormed a school compound near Camp Humphreys on Thursday and ousted protesters who’d been barricaded there for months.

Villagers and farmers don't feel like being evicted to make way for the camp's expansion.

The camp is to be tripled in size by 2008 to accommodate both the command headquarters in Yongsan, Seoul and infantry units stationed north of Seoul.

A consultation carried out before the eviction did not result in the farmers' concerns being taken into account, and appeared to be mainly for show, according to those protesting the eviction. Protesters have complained that the Ministry of National Defence, which initiated the request for an eviction order, acted unilaterally in deciding on an eviction deadline and was not prepared to listen to the needs of the residents.

In December 2004 the Korean government planned to give an extra 2,851 acres to the US Army base Camp Humphreys in Kyonggi province. In December 2005 the government's Land Expropriation Committee approved the 'imminent domain' seizure of the village of Daechuri, a move which made the farmers' existence on their land illegal.

After the "consultation" led by the Ministry of National Defence, the residents of Daechuri were offered a lump sum in compensation, determined on a low estimation of the value of their land. The area is reclaimed from tidal flats, meaning the land price was already low compared to other farming areas. It would be almost impossible to buy equivalent areas of land for subsistence farming with the lump sum offered.

The following, interestingly enough, comes from

South Koreans Protest Planned U.S. Base

Pyongtaek South Korea -- Anti-US activists and villagers scuffled with police for a second day on Friday, May 5 at a site designated for expanded US military facilities south of Seoul. Several people were injured, according to police.

On Thursday, police armed with batons and shields evicted the remaining occupants and activists from an elementary school, a makeshift headquarters for the protesters. More than 500 were arrested, and some 210 police and protesters were injured.

"We will never fail to cultivate paddies. No farming means death for us," said a resident at Daechuri, who refuses to leave the village despite a government offer of monetary compensation.

To halt farming and ensure eviction, military engineer troops erected a 29-kilometre-long wire fence near Camp Humphreys in Pyongtaek, 70 kilometres south of Seoul, with the help of 15 UH-60 transport helicopters.

The Pyongtaek City government also designated 2.85m pyong (one pyong equals 3.3 square meters) as a restricted area for military facility protection at the request of the Defence Ministry.

"We will take steps to counter the government action, such as how to circumvent checkpoints surrounding the villages," said a civic activist from an ad hoc committee opposing plans to expand Camp Humphreys.

The land has been earmarked to enable Camp Humphreys to triple in size by 2008 and become the US military's chief installation in South Korea.

The US military plans to relocate its Yongsan Garrison in downtown Seoul and the 2nd Infantry Division near the border with North Korea to Pyongtaek.

But some farmers and organized protesters have defied government orders to leave the site and vowed to plant a new spring rice crop in spite of government efforts to evict them.

The Humphreys expansion is part of the US global troop realignment plan to transform its fixed military bases into more mobile, streamlined forces.

About 30,000 US troops are stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. The two Koreas are still technically in a state of war since the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.


The obvious failure and lunacy of the War on Drugs by now should be apparent to everyone. It is not, of course.

I began advocating for "Harm Reduction" way back when while working at a Free Clinic and watching helplessly as this nation's drug policy became a lethal one in the face of HIV.

As my worklife became more and more involved with what the medicos referred to as IVDUs or Intravenious Drug Users it became increasingly apparent and so obvious that Harm Reduction is the most practical, realistic approach to drug problems (both that of society and that of the individual). So obvious in fact that I sometimes fail to understand why anyone of sound mind can't see it.

Of course, then I remember where I'm living and when I'm living.

I suppose a rational drug policy can be viewed as comprising four elements: drug treatment, criminal justice, drug use prevention and harm reduction. In Vancouver, this is known as the Four Pillars Drug Strategy.

The Four Pillars Drug Strategy is the City of Vancouver's policy and plan for reducing drug-related harm in Vancouver. The "four pillars" of the city's drug policy are:

Harm reduction - reducing the spread of deadly communicable diseases, preventing drug overdose deaths, increasing substance users' contact with health care services and drug treatment programs, and reducing consumption of drugs in the street;

Prevention - using a variety of strategies to help people understand substance misuse, the negative health impacts and legal risks associated with substance use and abuse, encouraging people to make healthy choices, and providing opportunities to help reduce the likelihood of substance abuse, including affordable housing, employment training and jobs, recreation and long-term economic development;

Treatment - offering individuals access to services that help people come to terms with substance misuse and lead healthier lives, including outpatient and peer-based counseling, methadone programs, daytime and residential treatment, housing support, and ongoing medical care; and,

Enforcement - recognizing the need for peace and quiet, public order and safety in the Downtown Eastside and other Vancouver neighbourhoods by targeting organized crime, drug dealing, drug houses, problem businesses involved in the drug trade, and improving coordination with health services and other agencies that link drug users to withdrawal management (detox), treatment, counseling and prevention services.

The Harm Reduction Coalition, a national organization in the United States, defines harm reduction as a set of practical strategies that reduce the negative consequences of drug use, incorporating a spectrum of techniques that range from safer use to managed use to abstinence. Harm reduction strategies meet drug users where they're at, addressing conditions of use along with the use itself. Because harm reduction demands that interventions and policies designed to serve drug users reflect specific individual and community needs, there is no universal definition of, or formula for, implementing harm reduction.

The following is from Drug War Chronicle.

Harm Reductionists Gather in Vancouver 5/5/06

More than a thousand activists, front-line workers, researchers, and civil and political officials from 93 countries gathered in Vancouver this week for the 17th Annual International Harm Reduction Conference sponsored by the International Harm Reduction Association. While famed for its stunning physical setting and Pacific Rim cosmopolitanism, it is the city's well-deserved reputation for cutting-edge drug law reform and harm reduction projects that makes it a natural for the IHRA.

While the conference supported the city's vanguard efforts, the city also supported the conference. "I see addiction as a disability," said Sam Sullivan, Vancouver's wheel-chair-bound mayor, who just two weeks ago stirred up a firestorm by suggesting the city should provide heroin and cocaine to its addict population. "I am committed to changing the appalling way we deal with our drug-disabled people," he said to loud applause at the opening session of the gathering. "This is an issue I am committed to die on."

Sullivan was followed by IHRA executive director Gerry Stimson, who congratulated the crowd on its size and vowed to make the conference more user friendly. "It's great to see how large this meeting is," Stimson said. "We've always put a great emphasis on user involvement. This is IHRA's conference, but it is also your conference," he said.

Indeed, the five-day conference was replete with sessions devoted to, led by, or including activist drug users, including a session on "Advancing Harm Reduction Through Human Rights." In that session, Dirk Schaeffer of the German user group JES explained how the "network of junkies, users, and methadone people" developed over the past 15 years to become a formidable presence in German drug policy. The group now operates 10 workshops a year organized by drug users for people in rural areas and advocates for the involvement of drug users in setting policy, as well as the standard harm reduction measures.

"Drug users cannot be ignored in Germany anymore," said Schaeffer. "Like all men and women, drug users have human dignity, and they don't need to obtain it by abstaining from drug use." While drug users can be seen as a threat to the social order, Schaeffer said, user groups and other harm reduction workers should work together. "All of us want to stop the criminalization of drug users and secure these people's human rights," he said.

But the drug users' organizations still feel to some degree like black sheep at a conference dominated by salaried workers with official positions. One of the many satellite activities at the conference was drug user groups' efforts to form an international network, a task on which members worked throughout the week before issuing a joint declaration.

Mayor Sullivan was only the first of a cavalcade of Canadians who addressed the conference on a dizzying variety of topics, sharing with the rest of the world the knowledge they had developed in years of ground-breaking work in the Great White North. In a Tuesday session on regulating drugs, Vancouver Coastal Health Addiction Services clinical supervisor Mark Haden laid out a painstaking grid of issues surrounded the regulated distribution of drugs: Should there be restrictions on sales locations or sales hours or packaging or advertising? Should buyers be licensed or required to pass a pre-test or unrestricted? Should sales be done by private enterprise or by government?

Haden, a public health specialist, did not explicitly recommend any one set of restrictions, but instead noted that these mind-numbing issues are the ones that will have to be dealt with if an end to drug prohibition is to be seriously considered.

Haden was followed by Vancouver drug policy coordinator Donald Macpherson, who explained the tensions among the different parts of the city's Four Pillars -- prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and law enforcement -- drug strategy. "The city has been very strong on promoting dialog on these complex, thorny issues," he said. "There is a tension here in Vancouver between the police and the other pillars, but we need law enforcement to come to the table."

But for Macpherson, it's ultimately about getting the police out of the picture. "We need new laws and regulations for psychoactive substances," he said. "Our current laws create harm; prohibition does not stop sales and use. Instead, we need to incorporate public health principles."

Macpherson also seconded Mayor Sullivan's call for free heroin for addicts, adding that drug maintenance should not be limited to heroin. While noting that Sullivan had asked him to pull together research to support expanding the city's NAOMI heroin maintenance pilot program, Macpherson said there was already sufficient scientific support for such programs from other countries. The program could include treating crack users with amphetamines, he added.

Former Colombian Attorney General Gustavo de Greiff, now titular head of the Latin American anti-prohibitionist organization REFORMA, was characteristically forthright in his discussion of legalization and harm reduction on the same panel -- in fact he did not even speak the words "harm reduction" during his presentation. "Drug prohibition is a failure, not because I say so, but according to their own reports. What we need is legalization, which is regulation of the production, trade, and consumption of drugs," he said.

The usefulness -- and the limitations -- of the North American Opioid Maintenance Initiative (NAOMI) were made clear in a moving address by Diane Tobin, head of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU). "I'm a 30-year heroin addict," she said. "I knew when I was 17 I needed heroin to get through the day. Recently enrolled in the NAOMI program, Tobin said it has helped stabilize her life. "I don't have to go out scoring to get drugs illegally," she said. But while life is better now, Tobin and the dozens of other NAOMI participants face the prospect of being gradually cut off when their one-year experiment ends.

It's not only access to drugs, but being able to use them safely, said Luiz Paulo Guanabara of the Brazilian drug policy, harm reduction, and virtual users' group, Psicotropicus. "Cocaine is deeply rooted in peoples' imaginary. We have to accept this fact," he said as he discussed a Psicotropicus program that distributed hepatitis prevention kits (a plastic straw and a condom enclosed in a package with health warnings) to cocaine users. In a study of the prevention kit program, Guanabara reported, he found that 88% of cocaine snorters shared straws and 50% snorted until their noses bled, while only 36% always used a condom.

Still, said Guanabara, users like and make use of the kits. Such efforts can increase the safety of cocaine users, he said. "It is a heresy to say you can take cocaine safely, but most users are unharmed," he said. "Yes, safe cocaine exists."

With its 112-page program appearing as big as a medium-sized book and hundreds of sessions, satellite sessions, and related events, it is impossible to do justice to the Vancouver harm reduction conference in one article. Suffice it to say that the array of topics covered ranged across the spectrum from the mechanics of dealing one-on-one with drug users to the big picture view of global drug and harm reduction policy.

As part of the big picture, the misguided efforts of the United States in the global sphere received repeated and critical attention. "US foreign policy on HIV is a hybrid religious-moral/scientific approach," complained Jonathan Cohen of Human Rights Watch's HIV/AIDS Project. "They prefer funding faith-based organizations, while they ban money for needle exchange programs, and they apply the misleading idea that abstinence is 100% effective." Still, said Cohen, the administration is uncomfortable appearing to stray too far from science, and there is room for harm reductionists to maneuver. "Demand guidance from them," he said. "Ask them just what their rules mean and how they apply. Make them justify them."

The US government also drew critical attention from Pedro Chequer, former director of Brazil's National AIDS Program, who accused the US of "subverting" the war against AIDS. "Religious proselytizing in the US fight against AIDS is back," Chequer complained, noting that Brazil had been forced to reject a $39 million USAID grant because it would require Brazilian groups to abide by "religiously-based policies crafted by pseudo-moralist politicians."

The conference officially ended Thursday afternoon, but related events continue through the weekend. The Vancouver-based Keeping the Door Open, a harm reduction and social justice organization, continued holding events past the official closing. Today, Canadian drug user groups will meet in an effort to form a national front. And tomorrow, Vancouver's cannabis nation will take to the streets as part of the Million Marijuana March, whose theme this year is "Free Marc Emery," the downtown Vancouver seed seller and marijuana activist now threatened with extradition to the US.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


On May 1, 1970, President Richard Nixon escalated the Vietnam War and launched the invasion of Cambodia. Across the country, college campuses erupted in protest.

On May 4, 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire into a busy college campus during a school day. A total of 67 shots were fired in 13 seconds. Four students - Allison Krause, William Schroeder, Jeffrey Miller, and Sandra Scheuer - were killed. Nine students were wounded.

To this day, no one has been held accountable.

Following the shootings at Kent State students across the country took to the streets in ever more massive protests more often then not shutting down their universities.

At Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi, there was the added issue of historical racial intimidation and harassment by white motorists traveling Lynch Street, a major thoroughfare that divided the campus and linked west Jackson to downtown.

On May 14 police murdered two students there.

A five-story dormitory was riddled by gunfire. FBI investigators estimated that more than 460 rounds struck the building, shattering every window facing the street on each floor. Investigators counted at least 160 bullet holes in the outer walls of the stairwell alone -- bullet holes that can still be seen today.

When the order to stop shooting was finally given, two young men were dead. One of them was Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, 21, a junior pre-law major and father of an 18 month-old son; and the other was 17 year-old James Earl Green, 17, a senior at Jim Hill High School in Jackson, who was walking home from work at a local grocery store when he stopped to watch the action. Twelve other college students lay on the ground wounded.

The injured students, many of whom lay bleeding on the ground outside the dormitory, were transported to University Hospital within 20 minutes of the shooting. According to an investigation conducted into the shootings by US Senators Walter Mondale and Birch Bayh, police did not call any ambulances to treat the wounded until they had picked up all of the shell casings that they could find. In other words, they did not call the ambulances until they had removed the evidence.

Just as in the aftermath of the Kent massacre, officials claimed that they had been shot at. Of course, no evidence to substantiate this claim was ever found.

As an historic and personal footnote, I would like to add that the following July police in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas (and where I lived and did what I could) shot Rick "Tiger" Dowdell in the back of the head killing him instantly as he departed a meeting at Afro House. Rick Dowdell was not just any black teenager (heck, cops shoot young black men all the time), he was an active member of the Kansas University Black Student Union, a son of a well known local black family, a man who carried a weapon because his life had been threatened by local police on more than one occasion. His killing occurred when police chased and stopped the vehicle in which he was riding after spotting it leaving Afro House.

As the Oread Daily Review (a year end summary of events put out in a sort of comic book fashion by the Oread Daily collective) described then here is what happened. "After hitting the curb, the Volkswagen halted. Dowdell disembarked, and he headed up an alley. Firing commenced. Dowdell lay dead, shot by pig William Garrett. Shot, we might add in the BACK of the head."

After the Dowdell killing, uprisings occurred in the black community and in the white hippie-radical neighborhood. It was during those uprising that Nick Rice, a young white man was gunned down. I was standing a few feet from Rice when he was killed. We were part of a crowd that had been "herded" down the street by shotgun wielding Lawrence police. They opened fire, Nick was dead and another man, Mert Olds, was wounded.

Another local underground paper, Vortex, reported, "When others tried to aid the two men, they were driven back with more tear gas. Nick Rice lay bleeding and dying on Oread Avenue, shot through the head. As usual, police claimed that it was sniper fire that killed him."

I was there. There was no sniper fire. Rice was killed by police firing on an unarmed crowd that was backing away from them at the time.

An inquest which was held a few weeks later pretty clearly laid out exactly which officer fired the shot that killed Rice. Vortex reported, "Stroud says he fired only once at long haired youth, missed. Nick Rice was standing directly in line with Stroud's shot. Stroud fired with a 9 millimeter bullet. Wound in Rice was 9 millimeter. The truth is loose and rampages through the courtroom. Like a naked man walking through the room screaming yet nobody says anything about it."

Totally contradicting all of the evidence presented, the inquest amazingly concluded that Rice had been killed by unknown snipers firing from the other direction. That conclusion was absurd. Hundreds of witnesses (including yours truly) were there and saw or heard no snipers. There were no bullets found where these snipers bullets should have ended up. And why would snipers be out shooting Rice anyway. The inquests own evidence was absolutely contrary to that conclusion.

Kent State is oft remembered (and rightly so) but it should also be remembered that it was only one of many unnamed places where those who opposed racism, or the war, or, well you name your injustice, were shot and killed by the "authorities" who then went happily on their merry way. The truth should be known.

The following history is from the Kent May 4th Center. The schedule of events for today is from the May 4th Task Force as is the speech which follows.

KENT STATE 1970: Description of Events May 1 through May 4
written by
May 4 Task Force students

On April 30th, President Nixon announced on national television that a massive American-South Vietnamese troop offensive into Cambodia was in progress. "We take these actions," Nixon said, "not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia, but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam, and winning the just peace we all desire."

These were familiar words to a war-weary public. Some felt that this decision was essential for attaining a "just peace" and sustaining America's credibility in the world. Yet others, particularly students, believed that this action represented an escalation of the war and a return to ex-President Johnson's earlier hopes for a military victory. As the fires from the artillery began to burn in Cambodia, a raging fire of protest spread across the United States.

At Kent State University, the reaction to Nixon's announcement was similar to that of other campuses across the nation.

FRIDAY MAY 1, 1970

At noon about 500 students gathered around the Victory Bell on the Commons, the traditional site for rallies. A group of history students, who had organized the protest, buried a copy of the Constitution, which they claimed had been murdered when US troops were sent into Cambodia without a declaration of war by Congress.

Three hours later, Black United Students held a rally, which had been scheduled before Nixon had made his announcement. Some 400 people gathered to hear black students talk about recent disorders with the Ohio National Guard on their campus. Word spread quickly that another rally, one to oppose the invasion of Cambodia, was scheduled for Monday, May 4, at noon.

Friday night, one of the first warm evenings of the spring, several hundred students gathered in downtown Kent in an area with a number of bars, known as "the Strip," on North Water Street. A spontaneous anti-war rally began in the street. Twice, while the rally was in progress, passing police cruisers were hit with beer bottles. Afterwards, police stayed away from the area.

Meanwhile, more people were leaving the bars. Many in the crowd chanted anti-war slogans, and a bonfire was set in the street. The crowd blocked traffic for about an hour and then moved toward the center of town. Some members of the crowd began to break windows. Primarily "political targets" were attacked, including banks, loan companies, and utility companies.

After being informed of the events, Kent Mayor Leroy Satrom declared a "state of emergency," and arbitrarily ordered all of the bars closed. Kent police, along with the mayor, then confronted the crowd. The riot act was read and police proceeded to clear the area. People inside the bars were ordered to leave, forcing hundreds more into the streets.

The crowd was herded toward the campus with tear gas and knight sticks, which was in the opposite direction in which some of them lived. Fourteen persons, mostly stragglers, were arrested. About $5000 in damage was done as 43 windows were broken--28 in one bank.


On the morning of May 2, some KSU students assisted with the downtown cleanup. Rumors of radical activities were widespread, and KSU's ROTC building was believed to be the target of militant students that evening. During the Vietnam War, students on many college campuses opposed the presence of ROTC and often were successful in forcing the removal of ROTC from their campuses.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed on the city of Kent, and students were restricted to the campus. At 5 p.m., shortly after assessing the situation, Mayor Satrom alerted the Ohio National Guard. KSU officials were unaware of this decision.

Shortly after 8 p.m., about 300 people gathered on the Commons, where a few anti-war slogans were chanted and a few brief speeches given. An impromptu march began and participants headed towards the dormitories to gain strength. Large numbers of people joined the march. The now 2,000 marches swarmed the hill overlooking the Commons and crossed the Commons. Then they surrounded the ROTC building, an old wooden World War II barracks which was scheduled to be demolished. Windows were broken and a few persons eventually set the building on fire.

Plain-clothed police who were standing nearby made no attempt to stop the students at this point. Firemen arrived on the scene but their actions were abandoned because some of the crowd attacked the firemen and slashed their hoses. The blaze quickly died out. The firemen eventually regained control and the fire died out. The building was ignited again. This time, however, firemen arrived with massive police protection. Police surrounded the building and dispersed the students with tear gas. The firemen again got the fire under control.

The crowd then moved to the front of the campus. The students retreated to the Commons to find the ROTC building smoldering at both ends. Within minutes, the building was fully ablaze.

The crowd then assembled on the wooded hillside beside the commons and watched as the building burned. Many shouted anti- war slogans. In the first two weeks of May, thirty ROTC buildings would be burned nationwide.

Armed with tear gas and drawn bayonets, the guard pursued students, protesters and bystanders alike, into dormitories and other campus buildings. Some stones were thrown and at least one student was bayoneted. The question of who set the fire that destroyed ROTC building has never been satisfactorily answered by any investigative body.

SUNDAY, MAY 3, 1970

May 3 was a relatively quiet day. By now, however, the campus was fully occupied by Ohio National Guard troops, and armored personnel carriers were stationed throughout the campus. Although some students and guardsmen fraternized, the feeling, for the most part, was one of mutual hostility.

That morning, Ohio Governor James Rhodes, who was running for US Senate, arrived in Kent and along with city officials, held a news conference. Rhodes, running on a "law and order" platform, attempted to use this opportunity to garner votes in the primary election, which was only two days away.

In a highly inflammatory speech, Rhodes claimed that the demonstrations at Kent were the handiwork of a highly organized band of revolutionaries who were out to "destroy higher education in Ohio." These protesters, Rhodes declared, were "the worst type of people we harbor in America, worse than the brown shirts and the communist element...we will use whatever force necessary to drive them out of Kent!"

Later that evening, a National Guard commander would tell his troops that Ohio law gave them the right to shoot if necessary. This merely served to heighten guardsmen's hostility toward students.

Around 8 p.m., a crowd gathered on the Commons near the Victory Bell. As the group increased in size, Guard officials announced the immediate enforcement of a new curfew. The crowd refused to disperse. At 9 p.m. the Ohio Riot act was read. Tear gas was fired from helicopters hovering overhead, and the Guard dispersed the crowd from the area. Students attempted to demonstrate that the curfew was unnecessary by peacefully marching towards the town, but were met by guardsmen.

Students then staged a spontaneous sit-in at the intersection of East Main and Lincoln Streets and demanded that Mayor Satrom and KSU president Robert White speak with them about the Guard's presence on campus. Assured that this demand would be met, the crowd agreed to move from the street onto the front lawn of campus.

The guard then betrayed the students and announced that the curfew would go into effect immediately. Helicopters and tear gas were used to disperse the demonstrators. As the crowd attempted to escape, some were bayoneted and clubbed by guardsmen. Students were again pursued and prodded back to their dormitories. Tear gas innundated the campus, and helicopters with searchlights hovered overhead all night.

MONDAY, MAY 4, 1970

At 11 a.m., about 200 students gathered on the Commons. Earlier that morning, state and local officials had met in Kent. Some officials had assumed that Gov. Rhodes had declared Martial Law to be in effect--but he had not. In fact, martial law was not officially declared until May 5. Nevertheless, the National Guard resolved to disperse any assembly.

As noon approached, the size of the crowd increased to 1,500. Some were merely spectators, while others had gathered specifically to protest the invasion of Cambodia and the continued presence of the National Guard on the campus. Upon orders of Ohio's Assistant Adjutant General Robert Canterbury, an army jeep was driven in front of the assembled students. The students were told by means of a bullhorn to disperse immediately. Students responded with jeers and chants.

When the students refused to disperse, Gen. Canterbury ordered the guardsmen to disperse them. Approximately 116 men, equipped with loaded M-1 rifles and tear gas, formed a skirmish line towards the students. Aware of bayonet injuries of the previous evening, students immediately ran away from the attacking National Guardsmen. Retreating up Blanket Hill, some students lobbed tear gas canisters back at the advancing troops, and one straggler was attacked with clubs.

The Guard, after clearing the Commons, marched over the crest of the hill, firing tear gas and scattering the students into a wider area. The Guard then continued marching down the hill and onto a practice football field. For approximately 10 minutes, the guard stayed in this position. During this time, tear gas canisters were thrown back and forth from the Guard's position to a small group of students n the Prentice Hall parking lot, about 100 yards away. Some students responded to the guardsmen's attack by throwing stones. Guardsmen also threw stones at the students. But because of the distance, most stones from both parties fell far short of their targets. The vast majority of students, however, were spectators on the veranda of Taylor Hall.

While on the practice field, several members of Troop G, which would within minutes fire the fatal volley, knelt and aimed their weapons at the students in the parking lot. Gen. Canterbury concluded that the crowd had been dispersed and ordered the Guard to march back to the commons area. Some members of Troop G then huddled briefly.

After reassembling on the field, the Guardsmen seemed to begin to retreat as they marched back up the hill, retracing their previous steps. Members of Troop G, while advancing up the hill, continued to glance back to the parking lot, where the most militant and vocal students were located. The students assumed the confrontation was over. Many students began to walk to their next classes.

As the guard reached the crest of the Blanket Hill, near the Pagoda of Taylor Hall, about a dozen members of Troop G simultaneously turned around 180 degrees, aimed and fired their weapons into the crowd in the Prentice Hall parking lot. The 1975 civil trials proved that there was a verbal command to fire.

A total of 67 shots were fired in 13 seconds. Four students: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder were killed. Nine students were wounded: Joseph Lewis, John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Robbie Stamps, Donald Scott MacKenzie, Alan Canfora, Douglas Wrentmore, James Russell and Dean Kahler. Of the wounded, one was permanently paralyzed, and several were seriously maimed. All were full-time students.

Commemorating May 4 at Kent State

Here's what is happening today :

• Annual Silent Candlelight Vigil
What: The annual vigil will be held in
the spaces where the four slain students fell in the Prentice Hall Parking Lot. Participants will be standing for half-hour shifts.
When: Midnight to 12:24 p.m.
Where: Prentice Hall Parking Lot

• 36th Annual May 4 Commemoration
What: "The Cost of War: Then and Now."
Speakers include Medea Benjamin, founding director of Global Exchange and co-founder of Code Pink: Women for Peace, and Mary Ann Vecchio, witness to the May 4 shootings. There will also be performances by Emma's Revolution and ep3.
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: KSU Commons
What else: Rain location will be in the
Kent State Ballroom.

• Arlington Mid-West Memorial
What: A memorial to the fallen soldiers
of Iraq and Afghanistan. Individual tombstone markers bearing the names of every casualty represent the cost of war and encourage open dialogue on the cost of war. Exhibit brought to campus by the Northeast Ohio Peace Coalition.
When: All day
Where: KSU Commons

• March for Peace
What: A rally will commence after the
commemoration and will proceed to the gazebo on Franklin Street in downtown Kent.
Where: Starts at KSU Commons
When: After the commemoration

May 1 - Bury the Constitution! - Speech of May 1, 2006

This gathering has been called today by the May 4th Task Force to bury the Constitution of the United States. We do not harbor any malice towards the document, in fact, we mourn its death. The news that the Constitution is dead should not be alarming, for it has been dead for quite some time now. The occasion of this date marks the 36th Anniversary of the May 1, 1970 burial. Members of the World Historians Opposed to Racism and Exploitation interred this document because it had been murdered by the Chief Executive of the United States, President Nixon. President’s Nixon abuse of powers at home and abroad to execute an Imperialist war. The bombing of Cambodia was the incensing act that demonstrated how the executive branch had “become an all powerful fascist organ with the other three powerful branches of government serving only as remnants of a once dissipated power.”

It is at this gathering that we recognize the further desecration of the US Constitution at the hands of President George W Bush. The fear that Iran may be the Iraq War’s Cambodia is more than a small measure of concern. Meanwhile, Bush has learned from Nixon’s murderous ways, COINTELPRO has become NSA territory, the home of the domestic-spying program that has sidestepped FISA Courts. This product of Bush Administration’s “unitary executive theory” is just the beginning of a long list of grievances the US public has against its President and his murderous ways.

While signing statements ensuring the use of torture takes any remaining life from the Constitution, the freedoms of every American are being threatened, and the values we stand for made a mockery . An endless war has been protracted on the basis of lies and deception. Failures resulting in death and chaos only convince those motivated by greed to continue on with more occupation, more war, and more fear.

The role of the government is to perpetuate war.

As in 1970, “the Constitution now serves as a weapon to suppress the people rather than protect them from tyranny.

We, as vigilantes of justice and truth, and torchbearers of history at Kent State University now declare the Constitution dead. President Bush has murdered it – we only recognize the fact. For violating our legal rights, we now brand Bush an outlaw and a traitor and sorrowfully commit the remnants of the Constitution to its grave.

Power to the people.

Kevin Heade
Senior Education, Political Science Major /2006

Based on the original speech written by Chris Plant, as published in Middle of the Country (1970)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Nurses are the backbone of healthcare and healthcare seems intent sometimes on breaking their backs. Nurses in New York like nurses all across the country are getting tired of it all.

The first article below is from the New York State Nurses Association. The second is from the Albany Times.

Union Nurses Join Forces to Protect Patients
Rally at the State Capitol, demanding end to mandatory overtime

ALBANY, N.Y., May 2, 2006 — Hundreds of nurses from four prominent nurses’ unions came to Albany today to call for legislation that would ban mandatory overtime and ensure safe nurse staffing.

Busloads of nurses came from all over the state to attend a rally on the steps of the State Capitol. They were members of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), the Nurse Alliance of New York State 1199 SEIU, the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF), and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT).

Mandatory overtime is used by healthcare employers to keep nurses on the job beyond their regular shifts. Nurses say they are more likely to make mistakes in patient care when they work long hours. In a 2002 survey by the State Education Department, 59% of registered nurses reported they had been “mandated” – forced to work overtime.

“Nurses throughout New York State and across the country are struggling to deliver the care patients deserve,” stated 1199 SEIU Executive Vice President Jennifer Cunningham. “Chronic short staffing, low wages, and mandatory overtime have sent this industry into a crisis, and these issues need to be addressed immediately.”

“This isn’t a nursing issue. It’s a public health issue,” said Verlia Brown, president of the New York State Nurses Association and a critical care nurse at Kings County Medical Center in Brooklyn. “Short staffing and mandatory overtime put patients’ lives at risk. Our lawmakers must have the courage to ensure that patients have what is most fundamental to their well-being: care from registered professional nurses.”

“The negative effect of mandatory overtime on patients and nurses is becoming one of the most serious health care issues of our time,” said PEF President Roger Benson. “At least 11 other states have passed laws or adopted new regulations to protect the public by limiting the number of hours caregivers can work. It’s time New York state legislators and the governor addressed this problem.”

“In 2002, Capital Region reporter Michael Hurewitz died at a hospital in New York City after donating part of his liver to his brother,” said Alan B. Lubin, executive vice president of NYSUT, which represents several thousand nurses statewide. “An investigation found that Hurewitz didn’t receive adequate care after surgery due to insufficient staffing. It took his death to get the Department of Health to adopt minimum nurse staffing rules for liver transplants. Does another high-profile New Yorker have to die before the state establishes patient-to-nurse ratios for all patients?”

NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation, with more than 34,000 members. It is the union for registered nurses working at 150 facilities in New York and New Jersey, including hospitals, nursing homes, county health departments, home care agencies, public schools, and New York City public hospitals and mayoral agencies. NYSNA is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

NYSUT, the largest union in New York State, representing more than 525,000 classroom teachers and school employees, including 12,000 healthcare professionals: hospital nurses, school nurses, therapists, nursing instructors, lab technicians, and psychologists. NYSUT also represents academic and professional faculty at the state’s community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York; other education professionals; and retirees.

The Nurse Alliance of New York State/1199 SEIU is the coordinating body for over 27,000 Service Employee International Union RNs, LPNs, and Advanced Practice RNs in New York State.

The New York State Public Employees Federation represents 54,000 professional public employees, including more than 8,500 registered nurses who work in the state’s 70 correctional facilities, three SUNY hospitals, 28 New York State Office of Mental Hygiene facilities; Roswell Park Cancer Institute and other state agencies.


Nurses say they need less OT, more help

ALBANY — It's not uncommon to get a call 15 minutes before the end of a shift and be told you have to work more hours, nurses who want to end mandatory overtime and convince hospitals to hire more staff said during a rally outside the Capitol yesterday.

Working regular double shifts, often while sleep-deprived, threatens patient safety, they said. Studies have shown that nurses who work beyond their regular hours make more mistakes, according to four nursing unions that organized the event.

Barbara Serafin of Blauvelt and Beverley Williams of Spring Valley said there were more than a dozen vacancies for nurses at Rockland Psychiatric Center, plus workers out for injuries they got on the job.

Williams, 55, said she remembered being off one Christmas and receiving an early-morning call saying she was needed at the hospital. Fifteen minutes before her shift was over, she received a call telling her she had to stay until 11:45 p.m.

"I didn't get any sleep that night. I missed Christmas. I missed everything," she said.

At least 11 states limit the number of hours caregivers can work, Roger Benson, president of the New York State Public Employee Federation, told hundreds of nurses from around the state who gathered outside the Capitol.

"Nurses and other medical staff dispense medication, make life-and-death decisions and perform procedures that with one mistake caused by exhaustion can have life-threatening consequences," he said.

The Legislature is considering a bill that would bar health-care employers from requiring nurses to work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours in a week. There would be exceptions for emergencies, and nurses could voluntarily accept overtime. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Thomas Morahan, R-New City, and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, D-Queens.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, Rensselaer County, said he was in discussions with legislative leaders about passing a bill.

"We support it conceptually. We've got to get it done," he said.

The Assembly is holding a hearing on the issue May 18.

"We are seriously concerned that our nurses are being overworked to the point where fatigue is driving your colleagues out of the profession," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, told the nurses.

But Gov. George Pataki said patient safety should be paramount and sometimes working overtime might be necessary.

"Suppose there is a time when, at the last minute, two or three people call in and aren't going to be there for their shift. Are you going to tell the patients they won't have nurses for the next three or four hours?" he asked.

A spokesman for the Healthcare Association of New York State said the majority of hospitals do not have mandatory overtime.

"No one likes mandatory overtime. Employers don't like it. Staff don't like it," spokesman William Van Slyke said. "However, it's a reality and it's a manifestation of the real problem, and that is the critical nurse shortage New York and many other states are facing."

The best way to resolve it to get more people into nursing, he said.

According to the nursing unions, 59 percent of registered nurses reported in a 2002 survey that they had been forced to work overtime.

There are 237,000 registered nurses in the state, but more than 69,000 are not practicing, the unions said.


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to give the keynote address at the 130th Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2006 on May 22, the Boston Collaege (BC) officially announced. She is also to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

BC Professor Father David Hollenbach says, as the point person and architect of the war in Iraq, Secretary Rice is not an appropriate role model for graduating seniors. Others agree.

The following is from the Boston Globe.

Invitation to Rice debated at BC
Honorary degree draws objections

Two leading theologians at Boston College have written a stinging letter objecting to the college's decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at graduation and to give her an honorary degree.

Nearly 100 faculty members have signed the letter, according to the theology department, which declined to release their names.

The letter, which will be delivered to the president and board of trustees, has set off a fiery debate.

Kenneth Himes, chairman of the department of theology, and the Rev. David Hollenbach, who holds the Margaret O'Brien Flatley chair in the department, titled their letter ''Condoleezza Rice Does Not Deserve a Boston College Honorary Degree," and sent it to the entire faculty inviting members to sign on. The writers said they were distressed with the university's decision to invite Rice to commencement May 22. Her selection was announced Monday.

''On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice's approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College's commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university's work," the letter said. It pointed out Pope John Paul II's opposition to the war in Iraq.

''I have no objection to her coming here to speak -- I am in favor of free speech -- but I don't believe we should be honoring her with an honorary degree," Hollenbach said.

The debate over the Rice invitation underscores the tensions between liberal and conservative Catholics. Both camps yesterday accused the other side of selectively invoking Catholic teaching in their arguments.

''This is the only time these people have cited Pope John Paul II on anything," said the Rev. Paul McNellis, who is an adjunct professor in the philosophy department.

Student activist Reena Parikh, a senior English major, found a contradiction in BC's taking a Catholic teaching stance against abortion and gay rights, while at the same time inviting Rice to accept an honorary degree.

''Boston College has selectively chosen which Catholic teachings it's going to privilege and which ideas of Catholic teaching it's going to censor," Parikh said.

Other faculty members and students supported the invitation, saying that having such a notable speaker is an honor for the university. Political science professor Marc Landy said the letter was a ''grotesque mistake" and sent a letter asking colleagues not to sign the Himes-Hollenbach letter.

''This isn't about agreeing or disagreeing with Condoleezza Rice," Landy said. ''She is the secretary of state of the United States, and there is a presumption in favor of according a warm and dignified reception to arguably the third most important executive officer."

Student and faculty groups are meeting to hammer our positions on the invitations, and propose courses of action.

The US State Department would not comment on the letter or say whether Rice had accepted the invitation. According to BC, however, she has confirmed.

''Given that Dr. Rice's schedule allows her to make only one commencement speech per year, we are pleased that she has chosen to address graduating students at Boston College, a university with a proud tradition of preparing its alumni for careers in public service," director of public affairs Jack Dunn said in an e-mail to the Globe.

The letter, which will be presented to the college president and the board of trustees, stopped short of asking BC's administration to rescind its invitation. But it didn't take long after the the letter hit cyberspace for some members of the faculty to suggest it.

The Rev. David Gill, a classics professor, said he thinks it would be a waste of time to ask the administration to rescind its invitation to Rice, because it would never do so. But he supported raising debate about it.

''The secretary of state can also find something else to do that day if she needed to," he said.


On April 28th the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), issued the following press release:

In a meeting today with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., asked for a Justice Department review into the brutal beating and sexual assault of David Ritcheson, a 16-year-old Hispanic resident of Houston, Texas. Ritcheson remains in extremely critical condition at a Houston-area hospital.

“Under any circumstances, this is a horrific and tragic crime. That the young man’s ethnicity may have played a role in the severity and savagery of the assault is appalling and unbelievable,” stated Murguía.

“Today we urged Attorney General Gonzales to use the full authority of the Department of Justice to look into this matter, and we very much appreciate that he agreed to do so. We also pledged to him that NCLR would do whatever it could to assist in this effort,” concluded Murguía.

In a case that's garnering national attention, the 17-year-old victim clings to life at Memorial Hermann Hospital while the two young men are in the Harris County Jail — charged with aggravated sexual assault after prosecutors accused them of beating and sodomizing him with a pipe because they thought he tried to kiss a 12-year-old white girl.

This hate crime did not just fall from the sky.

Earlier in April anti-Mexican slogans were scrawled on the sides of a San Diego area Mexican restaurant and the restaurant was set ablaze.

Last week came news that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante have been receiving death threats.

Last October a Sacramento, California man and two other suspects were arrested and charged with allegedly attacking and injuring six people in a hate-crime spree at two local parties. The perpetrators were charged with using brass knuckles after shouting epithets against Hispanics and proclaiming "white pride" at a party.

Read the excellent reportage below to get an idea of where it came from...and the growing anti-immigrant bigotry being promoted from the far right (and the not so far right).

The following piece is from our friend Bill Berkowitz and first appeared on Inter Press Service News Agency.

Amid Solidarity, "Nativists" Grow More Violent

Bill Berkowitz*

OAKLAND, California, May 2 (IPS) - Even as millions of people demonstrated across the U.S. Monday to call for amnesty for the nation's 11 million undocumented workers, other events have shed more heat than light and turned into boisterous anti-immigrant gatherings where violence against immigrants has become a rallying cry.

On Apr. 27 -- four days before a mass movement that includes undocumented workers, legal immigrants and U.S. citizens refused to go to work or school in observation of the "Great American Boycott" -- more than 1,000 people attended an anti-immigrant meeting called "Demagnetise America" in Franklin, Tennessee.

Those in attendance heard Nashville radio talk show host Phil Valentine say that he thought that U.S. Border Patrol Agents should consider shooting undocumented immigrants as they come across the border.

According to the news story posted at the website of the Centre for New Community's Building Democracy Initiative, Susan Tully, the national field director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) -- present at the event -- "chuckled at the idea, while the large crowd erupted into applause".

The meeting was hosted by Valentine and broadcast over SuperTalk 99.7 WTN radio.

Devin Burghart, an expert on nativism at the Chicago, Illinois-based civil rights organisation, told IPS that the Centre for New Community "was the first organisation to report on Valentine's shooting remark".

According to Burghart, the centre has received a number of reports of veiled threats of violence coming from radio talk show hosts in other parts of the country as well.

"In early March, Brian James, a fill-in talk radio show host with Phoenix AM radio station KFYI, suggested on the air that a solution to the immigration problem in Arizona would be to kill undocumented immigrants as they cross the border. 'What we'll do is randomly pick one night every week where we will kill whoever crosses the border,' James said in the broadcast. 'Step over there and you die. You get to decide whether it's your lucky night or not. I think that would be more fun.'"

Burghart pointed out that "James said that he'd be 'happy to sit there with my high-powered rifle and my night scope' and kill people as the cross the border. He also suggested that the National Guard shoot illegal immigrants and receive '100 dollars a head.'"

Even worse than the increasingly violent rhetoric is the marked increase in violent incidents, most recently exemplified by "the brutal attack in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, where two white power skinheads attacked a 16-year-old Latino, brutally sexually assaulting him with a PVC pipe, and stomping his head with their boots while cursing him as being a Mexican," Burghart said.

Recently, two civil rights organisations, the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League, issued reports documenting the rise in both violence and the threat of violence against undocumented immigrants.

The SPLC recently reported that Laine Lawless of the anti-immigrant group, the Border Guardians, has repeatedly called for violence against undocumented workers.

An e-mail dated Apr. 3 and sent to Mark Martin, commander of the Western Ohio unit of the National Socialist Movement, was titled, ''How to GET RID OF THEM!''

According to SPLC's report, Lawless, who was an original member of Chris Simcox's vigilante militia before it became the Minuteman Project in early 2005, suggested a number of ways to harass and terrorise undocumented immigrants, including robbery and ''beating up illegals'' as they leave their workplace.

''Make every illegal alien feel the heat of being a person without status... I hear the rednecks in the South are beating up illegals as the textile mills have closed. Use your imagination,'' Lawless wrote.

''Discourage Spanish-speaking children from going to school. Be creative,'' she said.

''Create an anonymous propaganda campaign warning that any further illegal immigrants will be shot, maimed or seriously messed-up upon crossing the border. This should be fairly easy to do, considering the hysteria of the Spanish language press, and how they view the Minutemen as 'racists and vigilantes.'''

In the e-mail, Lawless urged her followers to ''Make every illegal alien feel the heat of being a person without status ... I hear the rednecks in the South are beating up illegals as the textile mills have closed. Use your imagination.''

Lawless also suggested that Spanish-speaking children should be "discouraged" from going to school.

In its report entitled "Extremists Declare 'Open Season' on Immigrants: Hispanics Target of Incitement and Violence", the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) examines "how white supremacists, racist skinheads and others identifying with far-right extremist groups are using the national debate over immigration reform as a means to encourage likeminded racists to speak out, or even commit violent acts against immigrants".

"This report reminds us that there is a direct connection between the national policy debate and the atmosphere surrounding the daily lives of immigrants," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director.

"Extremist groups are seeking to exploit the flow of foreign workers into this country to spread a message of xenophobia, to promote hateful stereotypes and to incite bigotry and violence against Hispanics, regardless of their status as citizens."

While the overwrought Phil Valentine and Brian James, and a handful of neo-Nazi groups have openly advocated violence against the undocumented, anti-immigrant politicos and several cable news television personalities have contributed to the increasingly toxic climate.

On Apr. 24, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a longtime media watchdog group, issued a press release pointing out that anti-immigrant fervour was being stirred up on a regular basis by Lou Dobbs, the host of CNN's nightly programme "Lou Dobbs Tonight."

FAIR pointed out that "Dobbs' tone on immigration is consistently alarmist; he warns his viewers of Mexican immigrants who see themselves as an 'army of invaders' intent upon re-annexing parts of the Southwestern U.S. to Mexico, announces that 'illegal alien smugglers and drug traffickers are on the verge of ruining some of our national treasures,' and declares that 'the invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans' through 'deadly imports' of diseases like leprosy and malaria."

Jack Cafferty, a CNN personality who contributes to the afternoon programme "The Situation Room," "has attacked and belittled immigrants' rights protesters while ignoring or dismissing their concerns several times in recent weeks."

When asked about the increase in violent rhetoric and incidents against undocumented immigrants, Burghart said that, "Unable to muster even a fraction of the numbers that immigrant rights supporters have turned out, and fearful that Congress will pass some form of a 'guest worker' programme, the ramp up of these calls to violence is symptomatic of a nativist movement that has grown increasingly desperate and ever more radical."

"This new nativism is grounded in violence: from the hysterical 'invasion' and 'civil war' rhetoric, to the racist 'reconquista' conspiracy theories, to the dehumanising of immigrants, to the calls to form militias to 'round up' immigrants and worse. It's always been there, the current context has just pushed that violent undercurrent to the surface."

*Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His WorkingForChange column "Conservative Watch" documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the U.S. Right.


After a sit-in, hunger strikes and a nine-week walkout, janitors at the University of Miami decided yesterday to return to work, as the university's cleaning contractor reached a settlement with the Service Employees International Union.

For theService Employees International Union it was a major win against a big U.S. janitorial.

A statement from Students for a New Democracy (STAND) put it this way,

"For those that remain unclear, this means basically one thing: we have won. We fought for the workers’ right to make their own decision under reasonably fair and democratic circumstances; we fought against UNICCO’s and the University’s insistence that only a (deeply flawed) NLRB secret ballot election was acceptable. We fought for the workers’ rights to organize in a safe environment and to choose their own electoral process, and despite vicious, almost-unrelenting, well-funded and well-publicized opposition, we won. We won, we won, we won. Or, more appropriately, the workers won, and we share their victory."

The following is an announcement from the SEIU.

Victory for Janitors at University of Miami is Second Win in a Week for Service Workers Uniting for Improvements at Major U.S. Campuses

Nearly 1,000 Faculty from Over 100 Universities Nationwide Signed Petition To Pressure Administration at UM

WASHINGTON - May 2 - Coming on the heels of a similar victory for janitors last week at Georgetown, 450 poverty-wage janitors at the University of Miami won an agreement yesterday that gives them the right to form a union and raise living standards for their families.

The agreement came after a two-month strike by hundreds of service workers at the UM, a 17-day hunger strike by 10 UM janitors and 6 UM students, and an outpouring of support from students, faculty, and religious leaders, as well as national leaders like former U.S. Senator John Edwards.

In a major national outreach effort to university faculty, nearly 1,000 professors from nearly 200 colleges and universities across the country – from UCLA to Yale, UT-Austin to the University of Michigan -- signed a petition to UM President and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala.

“This victory for workers at UM is a victory for workers throughout Florida and beyond,” said UM professor Jane Connolly. “Low-wage workers at other colleges and universities have been watching this struggle closely and will likely follow suit. My conversations with faculty across the country indicate that workers will have their strong support, just as they have had at UM.”

In addition to the University of Miami and Georgetown, other universities where there are now ongoing movements by students and faculty to improve conditions for service workers include Harvard and the University of Virginia.

UNICCO, the national company that has the cleaning contract at the University of Miami, agreed to a process to verify that a majority of its workers are interested in forming a union with SEIU. Under the agreement, once a neutral arbitrator has independently verified that 60 percent of the janitors working for UNICCO have signed cards saying they want to form a union with SEIU, UNICCO will recognize SEIU as the janitors’ union.

At Georgetown, cleaning contractor P&R Enterprises signed a similar agreement last week allowing janitors to organize through a majority sign-up process after university administrators stepped in on workers’ behalf.

In their petition to Shalala, faculty urged her to “bear your skills as a leader and an administrator in order immediately to resolve the strike… At stake are two core principles with far-reaching implications for tens of thousands of contract workers at institutions of higher education across the country: the basic right to stand up for a better life and choose to form a union free from intimidation or the threat of firing, and the ethical and moral responsibility of all institutions of higher learning to hold their contractors accountable for their actions, and to ensure contractors cannot break the law and violate their employees’ basic rights without consequences.”

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Some extremely ugly idiots (see photo) attacked a gay club in Moscow last night. They hurled debris and shouted slogans and obscene invectives. Old women held strange icons.

Russian MP Alexander Chuyev (Just Plain Dumb People's Party) said gays had provoked Orthodox believers to hold such protest actions.

The extremely ugly protesters threatened to stage more battles if a pride celebration scheduled for later this month is allowed to go ahead.

In March Russian Patriarch Alexy II announced his backing for Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's refusal to give a parade permit to organizers of the event.

In an open letter Alexy praised the mayor for his decision to “prevent public propaganda for immorality”.

A month earlier the leader of Russia's Muslims called for a "violent mass protest" if gay leaders go ahead with Pride celebrations.

Chief Russian Mufti Talgat Tajuddin said gays could be killed if they go ahead with their plans.

The country’s Chief Rabbi joined his buddies in the hatefest.

Rabbi Berl Lazar said that anything promoting what he called “sexual perversions” does not have the right to exist (Didn't there used to be some guy named Adolph who used to make such pronouncements?).

You can always count on these religious leaders to demonstrate the beauty of their respective faiths at times like these.

Organizers of the pride festival and parade said it will go ahead as planned for May 26-27. They warn that if the city attempts to prevent the march they will take the issue to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

I gotta tell you, that will take some guts.

The first article is from the BBC. The second is from Pink News.

Protests cancel Moscow gay party

Protesters shouting homophobic slogans and hurling eggs and bottles have forced
a Moscow night club to cancel a mass gay and lesbian party.

Police kept back the crowd of at least 100 skinheads, nationalists and elderly
religious protesters.

No serious injuries were reported but revellers had to be turned away and police
escorted those inside to safety.

The incident comes weeks before Moscow authorities are due to rule on allowing
the city's first Gay Pride parade.

Organisers had been hoping to attract about 1,000 people to the "Open Party" at
the Renaissance Event Club on Ordzhonikidze Street in the south of the Russian

However, just before 2200 (1800 GMT) on Sunday, as the final preparations were
being made inside, protesters began gathering in the street.
They included skinheads and elderly women carrying Russian Orthodox icons and

Demonstrators chanted "Down with pederasts" and "No perverts here".

An AFP correspondent reports that at least one party-goer was beaten by
protesters before being rescued by police but there were no official reports of

Party organisers say police numbers outside increased only gradually and there
was anxiety inside as messages arrived by mobile phone about missiles being
thrown at revellers trying to approach the club.

However, the officers were praised by gay rights campaigners for preventing any
serious violence.

Special buses laid on took people from inside the club into Moscow city centre.

Nikolai Alexeyev, one of the chief organisers of the Moscow Gay Pride, noted
that the protest had caught the city authorities unawares, coming on the eve of
the May Day holiday.

It was, he said, a "mass, coordinated action aimed at intimidating Russian gays
and lesbians".

Igor Artyomov, a leader of the Nationalist RONS party, told AFP outside the club
that the demonstration was a "peaceful" protest against "sin".

Moscow's authorities have said they will ban the Pride parade, scheduled for 27
May, because of the public disorder it might provoke.

A formal decision is not due until the middle of the month when the organisers
submit their application for permission.

Moscow gay club night cancelled following attack

The club in the Russian capital was attacked

Homophobic protesters hurling eggs and bottles have forced a gay club in Moscow to cancel what was billed as the city's largest gay and lesbian party.

Police were forced to intervene when at least 100 skinheads, fascists nationalists and elderly Christian fundamentalists clutching Orthodox icons descended on the club at 10pm (6pm GMT) last night.

Organisers had hoped to attract over a thousand people to the "Open Party" at the Renaissance Event Club in the south of Moscow.

The AFP news agency reported that at least one gay clubber was beaten by protesters although the police have not officially reported any injuries.

Nikolai Alexeyev, one of the organisers claimed of Moscow's gay pride which is due to take place later this month (with or without permission) said the attack was a "mass, coordinated action aimed at intimidating Russian gays and lesbians".

Igor Artyomov, of the Nationalist RONS party, told AFP that the demonstration was a "peaceful" protest against "sin".

The capital has been under scrutiny from the international community since its mayor, Yury Luzhkov said: “all attempts to organise a gay parade, in any form, open or disguised, will be resolutely quashed".

Responding to this, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone told in February, “I believe that equality for lesbians and gay men is a fundamental human right. Equality must include the right to hold Gay Pride Parades and other public events, which celebrate the contribution of the lesbian and gay communities to the life of the world's great cities. That is why I support the Moscow Pride Parade.”


A day-long protest dubbed "A Day Without Gringos" drew thousands of Mexicans into the streets on Monday and kept many away from U.S.-owned supermarkets and fast-food restaurants to support rallies in the United States demanding immigration reform. Subcommandante Marcos joined the rally in Mexico City and led a march to the U.S. embassy there.

The article below is from the Spanish news agency - EFE.

"Marcos" leads march supporting Mexican emigrants in U.S.

Mexico City, May 1 (EFE).- The head of the Zapatista rebels, Subcomandante Marcos, on Monday joined the business boycott staged by Mexican emigrants in the United States and led a protest march to the U.S. Embassy in this capital.

"We will expel the capitalists from Mexico, including the big U.S. capitalists," Marcos told the rally of some 3,000 people in front of the U.S. mission here.

The leader of the Zapatista rebels - who now eschew armed struggle for grassroots activism - has been traveling around the country for the past four months on a tour he calls "the other campaign" to differentiate it from the electoral activities of the political parties in the runup to July's presidential and congressional elections.

"We're joining the boycott against all the U.S. products that circulate in Mexican territory," Marcos said.

After the rally, Marcos, with his traditional military garb and with his face covered by a hood, headed a march designated "The other May Day," in which hundreds of people, among them some Italian and French tourists, participated.

The political parties also held a meeting in the lower house of the Mexican Congress to express their support for the emigrants fighting in the United States for favorable immigration reform in that country.

In the Mexican capital, spokesmen for the local Wal-Mart stores told EFE that their sales had not been affected by the so-called "commercial boycott," while the fast-food chain McDonald's refused to provide any information on their own sales.

In the northern industrial city of Monterrey, a group of women passed out tacos in front of a McDonald's as a sign of support for the boycott.

In Nuevo Laredo, some 300 people carrying signs with slogans against U.S. President George W. Bush blocked the international bridge and tried to prevent the passage of vehicles and people into the United States, causing friction with those who were crossing the border.

In Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, about 1,000 people blocked the Cordova international bridge for about 40 minutes and Mexican authorities said that the protest definitely had affected the flow of traffic across the international boundary.

At other international bridges there were also demonstrations that reduced the number of crossings. EFE ea/bp


With the words, "Considering that, through historical struggles at the cost of much bloodshed, the people have won the right to control our hydrocarbon riches..." president Evo Morales decreed the nationalization of Bolivia's oil and gas reserves, yesterday, May Day. Morales was acting in compliance with the results of a national referundum of July, 2004, in which the population voted to return ownership of the country's reserves to the state.

Later with threats of sabtage looming Morales sent troops to guard the fields as well.

In a speech at the Government Headquarter in front of a crowd that had waited many hours for his arrival from the southern region, where he signed the nationalizing measure, Morales told those companies who don't want to invest anymore in Bolivia, "to get out."

He added that those firms will be welcome if they accept the people´s sovereign will and follow the Bolivian laws and Constitution, as well as the nationalization decree.

Under the terms of the nationalization decree, all foreign operators in the country have 180 days to comply with the new rules; the most important of which is that the Bolivian state-run firm, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), is to has complete control over commercialization and will "define domestic and export conditions, volume and prices." The measure boosts to 82 percent the Bolivian participation in the profits of production from the main gas producing wells.

This is not the first time Bolivia has nationalized its petroleum sector. In 1937 in confiscated the assets of Standard Oil. And in 1969 it confiscated the assets of Gulf Oil. In a speech celebrating the nationalization, Morales called his May Day decree the "third, definitive nationalization."

The article below which explores what the future holds and what can be expected from the United States is from VHeadlines.

Evo Morales' courageous move now makes him a target along with Hugo Chavez commentarist Stephen Lendman writes: To get a good sense of where US policy is heading, one need only read the front page of the New York Times or Wall Street Journal -- painful as that may be to do. I skip the NYT but do read the WSJ daily because of the audience it reaches -- high level people in business and government who want real information to guide them in their work.

So despite the WSJ being a voice for US business and imperialism, knowing how to read it, and doing it carefully, yields useful information and clues about what future US policy is likely to be.

Today's WSJ was a good example as they had a feature front-page story headlined "Bolivia Seizes Natural-Gas Fields In a Show of Energy Nationalism." That alone signals a call to arms that's backed up strongly in the copy that follows.

The WSJ begins its heated rhetoric claiming Evo Morales has been "emboldened by Hugo Chavez's moves against private oil companies" and yesterday (symbolically on May Day celebrating working people around the world including in the US in a big way for the first time) nationalized the country's largest natural gas field, San Alberto, and ordered the army to "take control of it and the country's other fields." It went on to explain that it ordered foreign oil companies to relinquish control of the fields, accept "much tougher operating terms or leave the country."

Bolivian law is clear that the state owns the resources in the country.

Up to now it's allowed foreign investors to operate the fields and take the majority share of production from them to sell for their gain.

Last year, however, Bolivia raised the state's take to an effective 50% of production by increasing taxes and royalties. Yesterday the government went further by declaring the state owns the gas once it's been extracted and that the companies operating in the two largest fields would only get 18% of the production for themselves.

A little translation is in order. What the WSJ didn't explain, and never would, is that those "tougher operating terms" are simply Bolivia's right as an independent nation (and all other nations as well) to get the majority benefits from its own natural resources and that foreign investors are there sharing in them only because the country allowed them to.

But instead of being grateful, the WSJ makes clear, without stating it, that the investors are greedy and want the lion's share and on their terms.

What's also left unsaid or unsatisfactorily explained is nationalization does not mean expropriation.

Evo Morales has made it clear that foreign investors will not lose the rights to their investments. What they will lose once Morales' plan is implemented (he's giving them six months to comply) is their unfair share of the profits and benefits they never had a right to have in the first place.

Under the Morales plan, a new contract will be made between the government and foreign investors guaranteeing that the people of Bolivia will receive the majority of benefits from its own resources while at the same time foreign investors will receive their fare share but no more than that. It also means the government alone now will decide the terms of revenue sharing and tax obligations due rather than Big Oil dictating them with the long shadow of the US looming in the background, which is still the case, of course.

The WSJ then becomes more inflammatory than it has in its past and recent railings against Hugo Chavez. It claimed high energy prices have sparked a resurgent wave of nationalism from Caracas to Moscow.

Of course, it forgot to mention the one country above all others where so-called nationalism and protectionism is a national religion -- the United States of America.
Here where I live, no outside investors are allowed in (especially from developing nations) to profit except on the ironclad rules we set, take it or leave it. So by US imperial rules (the only ones, no others allowed), what's good for us is not acceptable or allowed for anyone else because we said so.

The WSJ went on to say Morales is mimicking measures against Big Oil by "Mr. Chavez" (he happens to be the President and should be addressed that way), and that Morales and Chavez are "both playing a game of chicken with foreign oil companies."

It also couldn't resist raising the specter of Fidel Castro and the fact that Chavez and Morales signed a free trade accord over the past weekend with the man the imperial US hates most.

There's more to this story as well which the WSJ points out into their long article...

The leading Peruvian candidate, Ollanta Humala, in the upcoming presidential run-off election against US choice-by-default Alan Garcia, has also called for nationalization of the country's natural gas and mining resources.

...and Evo Morales has made it clear he intends to nationalize Bolivia's other natural resources likely beginning with its forests and mines.

Further, to cap off a growing US Latin American nightmare, last month Ecuador passed a law designed to cut the windfall profits of foreign crude producers (including US-based Occidental Petroleum) by giving the government (meaning the people) 50% of oil company profits whenever the international oil market exceeds the prices established in existing contracts.

There certainly is trouble for the US in Latin America and in the oil patch there as well as in Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and who knows where else it may spread.

So what can we make of all this ... and what is most likely to happen going forward.

The US is now spending hundreds of billions of dollars trying to hold on to the oil treasure it stole by invading Iraq. It's also made it clear it has designs on those same resources in neighboring Iran, and may attack that country using nuclear weapons. And if that isn't enough on one plate to digest, it faces a dilemma in Venezuela it's tried unsuccessfully three times to solve.

Venezuela has even greater hydrocarbon reserves than Iraq or Iran (possibly the largest in the world even above Saudi Arabia's) and is led by a courageous man unwilling to surrender his nation's sovereignty to its imperial northern neighbor demanding it. And now the heavenly virus of the desire to be truly independent is beginning to spread to Bolivia, Peru (if Humala wins the run-off election), hopefully Ecuador and significant opposition groups outside the governments in other countries as well like Nigeria and Nepal.

These nations, or opposition groups in them, are demanding equity and justice for their people, and are beginning to raise their heads and demand the rights they're entitled to.

If they all get them, that's bad news for the US and the dominant corporate interests here that profit handsomely by exploiting the resources of underdeveloped nations and its cheap labor as well.

Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales know this and have spoken out and acted courageously against these long-time abuses in defense the rights of their own people. But their doing so is intolerable to the US which will do everything in its power to reverse the loss of its special privilege.

So what can we expect ahead.

I have no doubt whatever (and I've written about this several times), when the heat is turned up against US interests, this country won't go quietly into the night.

The plans are well underway now for a fourth attempt to oust Hugo Chavez that may include assassinations and possibly an armed assault by US invading forces.

Last Sunday, VHeadline published a commentary/review I wrote about Noam Chomsky's new book 'Failed States.' In an email I received from Chomsky on April 29 he updated the views he stated in his new book and gave a blunt assessment of what may be in prospect which I'll quote again here: he said he "wouldn't be surprised to see (US-inspired) secessionist movements in the oil producing areas in Iran, Venezuela and Bolivia, all in areas that are accessible to US military force and alienated from the governments, with the US then moving in to 'defend' them and blasting the rest of the country if necessary."

I share that view, although I'm not privy to what hostile plans my government has in mind. I'll only state my strong belief that something big is planned to oust President Chavez (and now maybe Evo Morales as well) that will only become apparent once the fireworks begin.