Friday, August 04, 2006
This is a month old, but I just ran across it. Also see the Oread Daily article Defend Bear Butte at http://oreaddaily.blogspot.com/2006/07/defend-bear-butte.html
The following was taken from InterContinental Cry.
INDIGENOUS NATIONS OF MEXICO ASK THE US AND SOUTH DAKOTA TO RESPECT TREATIES AND SACRED PLACES
As the Summit of Indigenous Nations to protect Bear Butte, all sacred spaces and all indigenous land, opens in Mato Paha (Bear Butte, South Dakota), here is the declaration from the indigenous people of the Northwest and Central Pacific Regions of the National Indigenous Congress of Mexico. In it, representatives from the Yaqui, Mayo, Comca’ac, Triqui, ñu Saavi, Zapoteco, Wixáritari, Purhépecha, Nahua and Coca Nations address local and national concerns, promising Mexican society to “defend that which belongs to us by any means within our reach, as we have in the last five hundred years”. In addition, showing solidarity for their brothers and sisters of the North, these Nations include a request to the United States Government to respect the Treaties made with the indigenous Nations, and the State of South Dakota to respect Bear Butte.
9 of July of 2006
We, the representatives of the Yaqui, Mayo, Comca’ac, Triqui, ñu Saavi, Zapoteco, Wixáritari, Purhépecha, Nahua and Coca Nations have gathered in the indigenous Comca’ac (seri) community of Soocaix (Punta Chueca), Sonora, Mexico.
In this meeting of words between fraternal nations of North and South we drew attention to the fact that in spite of a history of over five hundred years of destruction, land theft and exploitation, our peoples are still alive, standing and resisting.
Neither the war of extermination unleashed by the yori (European invaders) against the tribes and nations of the North, nor the forced integration imposed by the liberal governments of the central region were able to kill our voice and our culture.
Today we realize that the extermination attempt by the powerful, against the Yoreme (indigenous) tribes and the Comca’ac (Seri) nation, has become a new war of neoliberal conquest and extermination against all the original peoples of Mexico that has as a goal stripping us from our territories in favor of the capitalist interests always supported by the Mexican government at all its levels.
In this meeting we agreed to join our resistance and efforts to defend ourselves against our common enemy to reach the integral liberation and reconstitution of our peoples.
In the same way, we make a pact to strengthen the National Indigenous Congress in the Northwest and in the whole country as the space of unity for the indigenous peoples of Mexico.
With all the programs, money and tricks that the government throws at our peoples to divide and weaken us, we reaffirm our will to continue our struggle and firmly reject the tourist “mega-project” called “Escalera Nautica” (Maritime Stairway) or “Mar de Cortes” (Sea of Cortes), the expropriation of Tiburon Island, heart of the Comca’ac Nation, the privatization of water and of indigenous territories, the construction of gas pipelines, the intensive contamination of Mother Earth with agro-chemicals, and the exploitation and disrespect for the Triqui, ñu Saavi, and Zapoteco agricultural workers living in the communities of Miguel Alemán y Pesqueira of the municipalities of Caborca and Hermosillo.
Supported by the historical right derived from our existence as original peoples of Sonora and other regions of this country, we demand all municipal, state and federal governments respect our territories, autonomy, culture, history, traditions, traditional governments, labor rights, human and social rights, making clear to the national society that we will defend that which belongs to us by any means within our reach, as we have in the last five hundred years.
In this way, we also ask the government of the United States of America to respect the Nation to Nation Treaties made with the Native peoples, the ceremonial places of the original peoples, and specifically we ask de government of South Dakota to respect Bear Butte, a sacred place for over thirty different indigenous Nations. The destruction of these sites for profit is a grievous offense to the spiritual life of the original peoples.
Lastly, we call on the indigenous peoples of the Mexican Northwest to be a part of this historical process of unification amongst fraternal nations.
SOOCAIX (PUNTA CHUECA), TERRITORY OF THE COMCA’AC NATION, SONORA, JULY 9TH, 2006
NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US
FOR THE INTEGRAL RECONSTITUTION OF OUR PEOPLES, NATIONS, TRIBES, COMMUNITIES, AND INDIGENOUS ORGANIZATIONS OF THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS OF THE NORTHWEST AND CENTRAL PACIFIC REGIONS
France is set for an explosion in GM corn planting this year, according to a recent USDA GAIN report.
The Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) study said that French Bt corn acreage is expected to boom from 500 ha in 2005 to 5,000 ha in 2006, as a result of the economic advantages experienced by Bt corn growers in 2005.
But many, many are not happy about it.
And in a few actions taken the last few weeks, some are saying as much as 40% of France's genetically modified crops have been destroyed.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has been ruled guilty of "maladministration" after hiding documents from Friends of the Earth Europe that reveal scientific concerns about the safety of genetically modified foods. The Commission falsely used the premise that World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes should involve the secrecy levels of court cases.
The official ruling was announced by the European Ombudsman July 17. The documents concerned related to the European Communities dispute at the WTO, in which the United States, Argentina and Canada claimed that Europe's precautionary approach on genetically engineered foods was a barrier to trade.
Adrian Bebb, transgenic foods campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe has said, "Genetically modified foods are a sensitive issue in Europe - most people are totally against them. Keeping papers that discuss their safety secret is a disservice to the public."
The Environmental News Service reports the disputed papers outlined scientific concerns about the long term safety of transgenic foods and crops. Further papers, also released to Friends of the Earth Europe earlier this year, outlined these concerns in more detail, warning that cancer and allergies caused by eating genetically engineered foods cannot be ruled out and recommending that these crops should not be grown until their long-term effects are known.
The following comes from the web site Checkbiotech.
Eat To Live: GM cornfields under attack
A headline you are unlikely to read in the United States has been appearing in various versions in the newspapers of southern France this past couple of days.
"Mowers attack harvest" is the general theme. The mowers, however, are not mechanical but human. And the crops they are attacking are genetically modified.
It's an issue that provokes a big yawn in the United States -- if that. But if you want to get blood running high in Europe, just mention the name Monsanto or the words "genetic engineering," which is what the science of modifying the natural makeup of plants is known as in America.
Last Sunday night protesters snuck into two testing fields in southwest France growing genetically modified commercial maize. They destroyed between 6 and 10 hectares of plants.
In the middle of last week, in another field in the region, Greenpeace activists chopped a giant cross through the maize -- the universal danger sign for "contamination."
A court had ordered the French branch of the organization to remove from its Web site a map depicting the sites of GM maize fields across the country. So the protesters are marking them for real -- and have threatened to continue to do so until an official register of GM fields is made available to the public.
Last year it was revealed that 500 hectares in France have been planted with GM crops. A U.S. Global Agriculture Information Network report predicts that figure will have soared to 5,000 by the end of this year.
"Our goal," one of the protesters participating in Sunday's destruction explained to Sud Ouest newspaper, "is not to make an attack upon farmers' revenues, but to denounce what is happening until a genuine public debate on this question (of GM crops) is established."
The demonstrators plan to reimburse the farmers for the value of their damaged crops.
Between 1999 and 2003 the European Union banned GM food imports -- which the U.S. food industry claims has cost it around $300 million in lost sales. Earlier this year the World Trade Organization ruled this a violation of trade rules.
The number of "mowers" ready to destroy crops at the risk of five-year prison sentences or a fine of 75,000 euros ($96,000) is on the rise. In 2003, 300 were registered by name with various anti-GM organizations. This year 6,200 are on the lists. Commercial cultivation, they believe, is illegal since it does not conform to official European directives on the planting of GM crops.
Proponents and producers of genetically engineered foods and crops have made a poor job of marketing them to consumers in the EU member states as safe to health and the environment. The EU's ruling body has been unable, despite voting on more than 10 occasions on allowing their formal introduction, to reach any agreement.
So far, the map of GM fields in France appears on the Web site of the Confederation Paysanne, the peasant farmers' union formed by José Bové, the militant French farmer who has destroyed a Novartis seed production factory and a branch of McDonald's as part of his fight against GM crops. Bové, who wants to see the creation of an independent world court that would protect non-GM agriculture, has called for the continuation of their destruction.
Ali Salem Tamek is a Sahrawi independence activist and trade unionist. He has grown use to rough treatment by the Moroccan authorities who run his country. He has now been denied entry into his own country.
"I wanted to get back after a trip to Goulimine, in the south of Morocco, and I was addressed by agents of security who declared t0 me that I am not allowed to get back to my country following orders from Rabat", he said in an interview with the Saharawi Service of Communication in the Canaries Islands.
Numerous human rights organizations including the Saharawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders in the Western Sahara (CDSDHSO in French abbreviation), and the Saharawi Journalists’ and Writers’ Union (UPES in its Spanish abbreviation) denounced the action taken by the Moroccon colonialists.
The Saharawi human rights activist, who was released from prison last April because of international and popular pressures, asked for "protection from humanitarian bodies" against what he considered as "a new form of repression, punishment and provocation" from the Moroccan authorities of occupation.
The following comes to us from the Shara Press Service.
Tamek expulsed from the Western Sahara: his family denounces
Assa (south of Morocco), 03/08/2006 (SPS) The family of the Saharawi human rights activist, Ali Salem Tamek, denounced the interdiction from access by the Moroccan colonial authorities against its son, who was expulsed last Thursday by the Moroccan security from the borders of the Western Sahara upon his coming from Tan Tan in company of the ex-victim of forced disappearance, Mr. Yahya Mohamed Elhafed, the Tamek Family declared in a press release, of which SPS received a copy.
The Tamek family, who condemned is decision qualifying it as a "violation of the international human rights Conventions", estimated that Morocco must assume its responsibilities about all the consequences that may result from this decision".
It also hailed the wide campaign of solidarity of the human rights organisations and the Saharawi activists that aim to unveil "the violations committed by Morocco against the Saharawi citizens in the occupied territories of the Western Sahara and in the south of Morocco".
The family of Ali Salem Tamek finally launched an appeal to all persons concerned about peace and justice for support and to exercise "pressures on the Moroccan Government to compel it put an end to the aggressions that target the Saharawi citizens, especially the Saharawi hum rights activists".
The Saharawi Collective of Human Rights Defenders in the Western Sahara (CDSDHSO in French abbreviation), and the Saharawi Journalists’ and Writers’ Union (UPES in its Spanish abbreviation) denounced the denial of access to the Western Sahara the Moroccan security services imposed on the Saharawi human rights activist last Thursday at the borders of the territory, which is occupied by Morocco since 1975, the two NGOs wrote in press releases.
The two NGOs called on Morocco to "review this decision and to open a just and transparent inquiry on the facts", expressing their solidarity with the human rights activist and ex-political prisoner, Ali Salem Tamek.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Just when you thought you'd heard everything, along comes Pat Robertson suddenly announcing, by golly, there just might be something to this global climate change stuff. As reported all over the place:
The Reverend Pat Robertson says he hasn't been a believer in global warming in the past, but this summer's record-breaking heat is -- quote -- "making a convert out of me."
On his "700 Club" broadcast, Robertson said, "It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air."
Switching sides on an issue that divides evangelical Christians, Robertson said, "We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels."
The religious broadcaster told viewers, "If we are contributing to the destruction of this planet, we need to do something about it."
Now, this news will no doubt upset a bunch of Pat's buddies.
Just the other day a group of "clergy" and friends called the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance at an event hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation came out saying this global warming stuff is a pack of malarky. At the event they spoke of their just issued report titled "A Call to Truth, Prudence, and the Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming." In that report, the Alliance presents "evidence" arguing against the extent and significance -- and possibly even the existence -- of the "purported scientific consensus" on catastrophic, human-induced global warming.
According to AgapePress, an Alliance spokesman, Professor Kenneth Chilton, feels Christians need to have a more balanced view of environmentalism. He says God made human beings to be stewards of the Earth, and they should not be made to feel guilty for using its resources.
And now along comes the very right reverand Mr. Robertson to muck things up.
Despite threats from Mexico's President to disperse protesters in the capital, activists around the country continue their actions demanding a recount in the recent Presidential elections.
Protesters have turned a large slice of central Mexico City into a protest camp as part of an attempt to force a recount of last month's presidential election.
The occupation of the city's main Plaza and about six miles of the Reforma Avenue follows a series of marches that culminated in the biggest demonstration in modern Mexican history on Sunday. Estimates of the number of participants ranged from 350,000 to more than 2 million.
"Defeated" candidate Lopez Obrador has apologized for the disruption, but insisted it was a small price to pay.
Speaking from a stage in the square in Mexico City, one of the world's largest, the former Mexico City mayor said he would decide whether to step up the campaign of civil disobedience after a court decision over a recount, which he expected within days,
"It causes annoyance, anger, we know that, but there is no other choice ... we have to make democracy count in our country," he said while adoring, screaming protesters mobbed him during a tour of their camps.
Meanwhile, President Vicente Fox and the Permanent Congressional Commission urged Mexico City authorities Wednesday to remove the sprawling camps of protesters calling for a vote-by-vote recount in the presidential election, saying they have choked off commerce and tourism in the capital.
Still,demonstrators shut down Mexico's stock market building on Thursday morning. And further actions, including the blockade of the international bridge described below, are in the works.
The following is from El Universal (Mexico)
Tamaulipas activists plan to block bridge
Tamaulipas activists on Wednesday announced plans to block an international bridge in a show of support for the Democratic Revolution Party's demand for a vote-by-vote recount.
Jorge de la Rosa RamÃrez, the Tamaulipas coordinator of the National Democracy Movement, said his organization would block the bridge between Matamoros and Brownsville, Texas, on Friday.
De la Rosa said they would block traffic in both directions on the bridge beginning at 5 p.m. The blockade could last up to 24 hours, added de la Rosa.
"We realize we will be violating federal law, but we believe the Interior Secretariat is guilty of a greater crime by allowing fraud in the presidential election," he said.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says access to the far south of Lebanon remains difficult, and "it is immensely frustrating that we are not able to reach the places where people are most in need."
Ghandour hospital in Nabatieh, a major health provider in the south of the country, was extensively damaged. All hospitals in the affected area are encountering serious shortages of drugs, fuel, electricity and water supplies.
Christopher Stokes, director of operations for Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) Belgium told Reuters,"For us the major issue is clearly the impossible access in the south. This talk of a humanitarian corridor should not mask the real situation."
"It's a kind of humanitarian alibi because in effect there is no real humanitarian access in the south. And we are deluding ourselves, the international community is deluding itself, if it believes there is," he said in his Beirut office.
Now, Greenpeace has offered to help out by providing use of their ship - the Rainbow Warrior - to transport humanitarian aid.
The following article comes from the web site of Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Rainbow Warrior to transport supplies for MSF's humanitarian work in Lebanon
Greenpeace has offered to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) the use of the Rainbow Warrior for transporting much-needed supplies to Lebanon. The vessel was already in the Mediterranean and has now docked in Larnaca, Cyprus for loading medical supplies.
"We understood that there were major difficulties for humanitarian organisations such as MSF in getting bulk supplies quickly from Cyprus to Beirut," says Bruno Rebelle, Programme Director of Greenpeace International. "We are very happy that we can contribute to a temporary solution to these problems as we are, like anyone else, deeply concerned about the consequences of the fighting in the Middle-East for the civilian population."
MSF currently has almost 100 tonnes of medical materials and other relief supplies waiting for transport in a warehouse in Larnaca, with another 80 tonnes scheduled to arrive there soon. Though some of the supplies get through to Beirut, the bulk of them are stuck in the absence of sufficient transport capacity. Very few boats are available for sailing to Lebanon as there is little guarantee for safe passage.
"We have two major transportation problems," says Jerome Oberreit, operational director for MSF in Brussels. "To date it has been very difficult to move large volumes of relief goods from Beirut to southern Lebanon by road. We rely on cars which we stack with boxes to drive along the severely damaged and insecure road to Tyre. Trucks have been hit by missiles, so truck drivers are reluctant to move into the southern region.
"On top of that, we have major problems in getting our materials to Beirut quickly enough. In the short term, the offer from Greenpeace means a partial solution of one of our two problems."
The Rainbow Warrior has capacity for transporting 40 tonnes, equivalent to 105 pallets. It is not clear yet how many rotations the vessel will make for MSF.
MSF has around 30 international staff working in areas in Lebanon that are severely affected by the conflict. The emphasis in MSF's activities is on supporting Lebanese health workers, setting up additional health posts and mobile clinics where necessary, and distributing basic materials (shelter, hygiene kits, cooking utensils, baby powder milk) to displaced families.
"We decided to kill the dogs," Li Haibo, spokesman of the Mouding county government said.
And so they did.
On Saturday, a woman was walking her dog - a small white animal she'd had for a long time - in a Yunnan Province alley.
Several men approached, talked her into handing them the leash and then beat the dog to death as the owner looked on in horror.
The killing, reports the Shanghai Daily, was only a small part of a campaign by Mouding County government officials to slaughter 50,000 canines between July 25 and Sunday, local media reported. The campaign was touched off by reports that at least three people had died recently in the county from rabies and many others had been bitten.
The Shanghai paper wrote of the slaughter:
Witnesses indicated the slaughter was often carried with the sort of dramatic elements found in a grade-B horror film.
Around midnight, shadows would flash along the walls of homes as men carrying clubs made noises to set the village dogs barking. Homing in on the sounds, the men would find their quarries, and the barks would be replaced by shrill yelps as the animals were dispatched.
Only military dogs guarding an ammunition storehouse and police dogs were allowed to survive.
Authorities first encouraged dog owners to kill their own pets, offering a 5 yuan incentive (62 US cents), and then sent in the task force to finish those that escaped the first-round slaughter.
The midnight raids were carried out by the task force officers.
The following report is from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
China’s Culture of Cruelty
China’s long history of animal abuse is back in the spotlight as one Chinese county indiscriminately massacres every dog in sight—more than 50,000 in total—some right in front of their families. This and other appalling atrocities—such as feeding live sheep and chickens to tigers in zoos and skinning conscious animals, including dogs and cats, for their fur, which is then exported to the West—take place because China has no animal protection laws.
Tens of Thousands of Dogs Are Being Clubbed, Poisoned, and Electrocuted
In a hideously cruel response to an outbreak of rabies in late July, authorities in Mouding County in Southwest China ordered the killing of more than 50,000 dogs, including 4,000 who were immunized against the disease. Officials clubbed many animals to death in the street right before their guardians’ eyes. Animals who were not beaten mercilessly died equally violent, gruesome deaths by poisoning or electrocution.
PETA’s offices have been inundated over the years with calls from people around the world who are outraged by China’s dog “exterminations.” Eyewitnesses have noted that many dogs have died slow, agonizing deaths in these mass slaughters, which illustrate the nation’s lack of adequate animal control plans. PETA’s offers to assist Chinese officials in implementing such plans—in order to avoid drastic, widespread killings—have not been accepted.
China’s Shocking Dog- and Cat-Fur Trade
Chinese authorities pay citizens a 60-cent bounty for each dog whom they kill. Surprised that this nation places a price on the head of “man’s best friend”? Don’t be. Dogs and cats are killed for their fur in China.
It’s not just a bad dream. PETA recently conducted an undercover investigation into the Chinese dog- and cat-fur trade in order to show people what the industry is so desperate to hide. Even our veteran investigators were horrified by what they found: Millions of dogs and cats in China are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses so that their fur can be turned into trim and trinkets.
Think that’s nightmarish? If you’re buying fur, you might be wearing the skin of the very species of animals that you share your home with. Chinese fur is often deliberately mislabeled as fur from other species, and it constitutes more than half the amount of finished fur garments that are imported for sale in the United States. Because dog and cat fur is mislabeled so frequently, the bottom line is that if you wear fur, there’s no way of knowing whose skin you’re in.
China: The World’s Top Leather-Exporting Country in 2004
With the world’s largest population of sheep, lambs, goats, and kids, China’s massive role in the global skins trade also includes its position as the world’s most prolific exporter of the hides of these animals as well as those of cows. In 2004, Chinese leather constituted more than one-third of all exported leather in the world.
Other skins come from more familiar faces. Hundreds of thousands of dog and cat skins are traded in Europe each year; it’s estimated that 2 million dogs and cats are killed in China each year in order to meet this demand.
Many of the millions of animals slaughtered for their skins are skinned alive.
Buying leather directly supports factory farms and slaughterhouses, because animals’ skins are the most economically important byproduct of the meat industry. Every time that you buy a pair of leather shoes, you sentence an animal to a lifetime of suffering. Instead, you can choose from hundreds of styles of nonleather shoes, clothing, belts, bags, and wallets. Fashion should be fun, not fatal!
Live-Animal Markets: China’s Cruel Counterpart to Slaughterhouses
Considering the fact that 45 percent of the world’s “food” animals are raised and killed in China, the nation’s notoriously cruel live-animal markets a hotbed of agony for animals.
Domestic and wild animals housed in these markets are subjected to egregious cruelty. Animals of many species—from cats, dogs, birds, and boars to deer and even reptiles—are confined to wire cages where they can hardly move. Fish are left to flail helplessly in filthy water, while turtles and frogs are crushed by their peers in extremely crowded enclosures. None of the animals are fed, and some do not receive water or shelter from the elements.
The slaughter of these animals is no less depraved. Caged dogs and cats—whether they’re killed for their flesh, their skin, or both—are jabbed with metal spikes and dropped from great heights before being bludgeoned and butchered. Crocodiles are stabbed in the neck and then skinned alive while they are still conscious, as are frogs. Turtles have their shells pulled off so that “steaks” can be hacked from their back muscles. They continue to walk around the market stall until customers have bought enough of their flesh to induce fatal hemorrhaging.
China’s Gory Captive-Exotic-Animal Industry
China’s lack of animal protection laws has allowed the growth of a gory captive-exotic-animal industry. Wild-animal parks have exploded in China, as nearly 30 have opened since 1993; these wild-animal parks house tens of thousands of tigers, lions, monkeys, and other animals. Many of these parks conduct live feedings of their captive tigers and lions, taking oxen, horses, sheep, cows, and pigs into the enclosures so that visitors can watch the gory spectacle. Some of these “safari” parks allow patrons to purchase live domesticated chickens, wild chickens, ducks, and small birds to feed to the animals. The big cats are kept hungry in order to ensure that they will pursue the purchased prey. One park even slaughters tigers who are no longer needed and sells their meat and “tiger-bone wine” in its restaurant.
Thousands of Bears Suffer in Agony on Chinese Bile Farms
About 7,000 Asiatic black bears—also known as Moon bears—are confined to tiny pens on China’s more than 200 bear-bile farms. Although alternatives to their bile—which some people believe has healing properties—exist, bears are still subjected to crude surgeries in order to implant catheters or to create permanent holes in their abdomens (for “free-drip” collection of this digestive liquid from their gallbladders). Many of the bears in these cruel operations are missing limbs, indicating that they were captured in the wild with snares or traps. Farmers remove their canine teeth and claws, and the animals languish for years with injuries, parasites, atrophied muscles, and peritonitis.
China’s Filthy Monkey-Breeding Facilities and Their Ties to Vivisection in the U.S.
China supplies more than half the monkeys imported to the U.S. for experiments, and that number has increased sevenfold in the last 10 years. This is particularly disturbing given reports of substandard conditions at China’s breeding facilities. After visiting China’s primate facilities, John Reid of AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Company pronounced, “Overall, none of them currently meet the international standards, and that’s going to be a big issue in getting them up to quality.” Even Weizhi Ji, director of China’s Kunming Primate Research Center, agreed: “I think that most facilities [in] China are not good enough ….”
You Can Help
Please contact China’s ambassador and let him know that you and your family will not look favorably upon China until it enacts and enforces animal welfare laws:
His Excellency Zhou Wenzhong
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
The following update on the health of Fidel Castro comes from La Prensa.
Fidel Castro Perfectly Well
Havana, Aug 2 (Prensa Latina) President Fidel Castro said in a message addressed to the Cuban people he is perfectly well and his health is stable, and thanked his country and the world for the solidarity it has shown.
In a text broadcast on the regular Cuban roundtable TV program Tuesday, the Cuban leader stated that his country works perfectly well and is ready to defend the Revolution with the support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the people.
The statesman regretted having caused concern and sorry and expressed his confidence in the Cuban Revolution"s strength.
President Fidel Castro has provisionally delegated his responsibilities as leader of State, government, the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), and the Communist Party (PCC).
In a proclamation to the people of Cuba, the Revolutionary leader explained that he was temporarily ceding his national and international State obligations for education, health and energy savings.
The functions of Commander-in-Chief of FAR, State Ministerial Council president, and first PCC secretary were assumed by First Vice President Gen. Raul Castro Ruz, who is also FAR minister and second PCC secretary.
According to the message, Fidel Castro"s health has been under extreme stress, which provoked internal intestinal bleeding.
Fidel Castro stated in his message that Cuba"s specific situation, due to possible US plans, makes his state of health a State secret and it cannot be constantly published.
"I will say that my health is stable, but it needs time," asserted the Cuban head of State.
"We have to fight and work," expressed Fidel Castro when concluding his letter addressed to his people.
Fidel Castro"s proclamation has had great international repercussion, noted panelists of the roundtable television and radio program.
Outstanding figures and presidents worldwide continue expressing their wishes for Fidel Castro"s prompt recovery, and there have been several examples of solidarity with the Cuban statesman and people, the panelists stressed.
"We need your good sense and competence to assure the presidency of the Non-Aligned Countries Movement Summit with natural authority," said Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika when expressing his votes for the rapid recovery of the Cuban leader.
A federal judge yesterday found freelance journalist Josh Wolf in contempt and ordered him jailed immediately for refusing to turn over a videotape he made of a June 2005 battle between anarchists and the San Francisco police to a federal grand jury investigating possible damage to a city police car.
Wolf's lawyer, Jose Luis Fuentes, said for Wolf to turn over the unpublished information would amount to him becoming "an arm of the government."
Thomas Burke of Davis Wright Tremaine, who worked with the American Civil Liberties Union on a friend-of-the-court effort is quoted on the web site of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press as stating,
"The Josh Wolf case is the best example in my mind to date for how precarious it is for a reporter to be completely protected in state court but entirely vulnerable in a federal grand jury context," Burke said. "It now undisputed that if he was dealing with a state grand jury prosecution he would have completely immunity from being held in contempt. In this situation it's particularly an unusual and a bad situation because of the very tiny federal nexus between federal funds to purchase the police car and federal grand jury investigation. There's nothing that's stopping local authorities from prosecuting this, but to make this a 'federal case' has just made Mr. Wolf and all other journalists similarly situated in a much more precarious situation."
The following is taken from San Francisco Independent Media.
Independent Journalist Jailed for Resisting Grand Jury Subpoena
Federal judge denies constitutional arguments -- incarceration based on non-existent damage to SFPD vehicle
San Francisco -- Independent journalist Josh Wolf was jailed today for refusing to provide video footage to a federal grand jury convened in January. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup denied Wolf's First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment arguments, found him in civil contempt, and ordered him immediately jailed. Wolf, 24, was taken to the Dublin federal detention center, and could remain there until July 2007, for the duration of the grand jury.
Wolf was present at, and reporting on, a protest on July 8, 2005, in the Mission district against the Group of 8 (G8), meeting in Scotland at the time. Numerous witnesses at the demonstration reported that a police vehicle was driven into the crowd of protesters. This action was followed by two police officers exiting the vehicle and violently assaulting multiple people on the street. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Finigan is supposedly seeking video footage for what the government claims is attempted arson on a San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) vehicle. However, no damage has ever been reported by SFPD.
"It's outrageous that the court is compelled to jail someone, let alone a journalist, over an incident that involved no property damage or harm to anyone," said Kris Hermes of the Grand Jury Resistance Project (GJRP), a coalition in support of Wolf and activists being harassed by the government. "Wolf's incarceration has an undeniable chilling effect on his work, the work of other journalists, and people wanting to speak out against U.S. policies."
Activists and Lawyers supporting Wolf have contended that this grand jury is an attempt to avoid California’s strict Reporter Shield Law, which protects journalists’ files and notes. "Local police could be investigating this incident, but they're not," continued Hermes. "the federal government absurdly asserts that this incident rises to the level of a federal crime because SFPD receives federal funds." Although similar shield laws exist in a majority of the state, no federal shield law exists to protect reporters.
At the close of today's hearing, Judge Alsup abruptly denied Wolf's request for bail. Alsup also denied a motion by Wolf's attorney, Jose Luis Fuentes, to stay the incarceration until an attempt to overturn the contempt ruling could be heard by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Later in the day, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors were due to vote on a resolution introduced by Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Tom Ammiano aimed at “resisting the federal government’s intervention in the City and County of San Francisco’s investigation of the July 8th, 2005 G-8 protest and expressing support for the California Shield Law.” The Supervisors charge that the grand jury is an “attempt to circumvent the local judicial system,” and they opposed federal government intervention in this matter. The resolution was sent to committee and will be heard within the next two weeks.
Wolf’s experience with the federal government and this grand jury is not isolated, and comes as dozens of journalists and activists across the country are being threatened with indictments and jail time. “The U.S. government’s harassment of Josh Wolf is part of a broader, renewed use of the federal grand jury to suppress dissent,” said Samantha Levens of the GJRP. In May, Jeff Hogg, a full-time nursing student who works with developmentally disabled adults in Eugene, Oregon, was jailed for refusing to comply with a federal grand jury investigating environmental and animal rights activists. In San Francisco, a federal grand jury has recently been reconvened to investigate the animal liberation movement. Many activists refused to testify for the previous grand jury that expired in May. However, new subpoenas to appear in August have been served on multiple animal rights activists.
Information compiled by the Grand Jury Resistance Project (GJRP), a coalition that provides education on politically motivated attacks by government and support to people targeted by these attacks, shows that grand juries are currently being used against environmental and animal rights activists, as well as groups that have historically struggled for self-determination. The GJRP reports that in the past year, at least 66 individuals have been subpoenaed and/or indicted in Atlanta, Denver, Eugene, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, Tampa, FL, and Trenton, NJ. At least fourteen people have refused to testify, and some were jailed for contempt. In an affidavit filed in connection with the indictment of three environmental activists in Auburn, CA, the FBI irrelevantly referenced “anarchists” and “anarchism” 26 times. GJRP believes that the grand jury to which Josh Wolf has been subpoenaed is part of the same broad and unconstitutional federal investigation into anarchist and antiwar activity and other political movements that oppose U.S. policies.
For further information go to http://www.joshwolf.net/blog/.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
The big shot conservatives, much of the mainstream media and even timid democrats have renewed their attempts to unseat populous Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney one more time. Cynthia McKinney is facing a runnoff election in the democratic primary August 8 in the 4th Congressional District in Georgia. Her current opponent like her previous one Denisse Majette is being supporter by crossover Republican votes and Republican money.
Google Cynthia and you find a zillion "anti" articles and blogs. It's amazing.
Or is it.
I don't usually have anything to say about electoral politics, but I think the article below deserves a read.
The following piece comes from the Black Commentator.
Cynthia McKinney: Our Brightest Light
by Glen Ford and Peter Gamble
Cynthia McKinney is a unique presence in the Congressional Black Caucus: a genuine “movement” activist. For that reason, she is hated and feared by white racists, for whom she is the epitome of the uppity Black; by corporate America and its vicious media, whose power she does not respect; by Democratic House leadership, which abhors activist Black lawmakers more than it does Republicans; and by cowardly African Americans who feel threatened by her example of principled speech and action for social justice and world peace. That’s why it is imperative that all people of good will assist McKinney in keeping her seat from Georgia’s 4th district, just outside Atlanta.
The racists and cowards smell blood. McKinney was forced into a runoff election, set for August 8, after failing to win a clear majority in this month’s Democratic primary. Turnout was abysmal – only 60,000 voters showed up, versus 95,000 in 2004 when she took back her seat after a two year absence.
McKinney garnered 47 percent of the vote in a three-way race, only 1,500 votes ahead of second place Hank Johnson, a compliant Black Dekalb County commissioner who brags that he is a “pothole” politician who will not stir up controversy. A white businessman got more than eight percent of the vote. His share will undoubtedly wind up in Hank(erchief head) Johnson’s column, on August 8. Clearly, McKinney must bring out her troops – which takes money. Her opponent’s surprise showing has invigorated those who backed Denise Majette with tons of cash to oust McKinney in 2002, and now see another chance to rid themselves of their nemesis.
McKinney, who unfailingly acts in solidarity with progressives, cannot expect to be treated in kind by many of her Black Democratic colleagues. According to The Hill, the Washington newspaper that covers Capitol Hill issues:
[Black] Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) predicted that most of her congressional colleagues would not rally to her aid.
“Some will, but a great majority will distance themselves. It’s called ‘avoidingitis,’” he said. “We avoid her. Cynthia won’t approach people beyond her real friends.”
On Capitol Hill, including within the Congressional Black Caucus, bucking the leadership is anathema – a kind of capital crime. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi appears to despise McKinney, who defied her order that Democrats boycott a committee investigating the Katrina disaster, and ignored Pelosi’s demand that all Democrats vote “no” on a November, 2005 bill to immediately withdraw from Iraq. Only Florida’s Robert Wexler and New York’s Jose Serrano joined McKinney in resisting Pelosi’s edict.
Pelosi had her revenge. When McKinney got into a physical altercation with a white Capitol Hill cop, this spring, Pelosi ordered her poodle, Black Caucus chairman Mel Watt (NC) to humiliate and isolate the congresswoman. Watt dutifully complied, first demanding that McKinney apologize on the House floor, then attempting to prevent Caucus members from standing with her in solidarity. (See “The McKinney Affair: Rampaging Racism, Cowardly Caucus,” BC April 13, 2006.)
Pelosi’s hateful obsession with McKinney is longstanding. The San Francisco lawmaker, once co-chair of the Progressive Congressional Caucus, denied McKinney restoration of her seniority when she returned to the House in 2005. After six terms in the House, McKinney is considered a freshman. Such is the penalty for a Black woman who bucks the leadership.
Vote Flipping and Other Tricks
The integrity of the Georgia voting process is deeply in doubt. In an election day interview with Atlanta Progressive News, McKinney campaigner Karen Fitzpatrick complained:
“You’ve got electronic voting machines. Many people called in and shared their concern. They pushed the button for Cynthia McKinney and Hank Johnson came up. It wasn’t one time, it wasn’t two times, it was many, many times.
“It started early this morning. There were well over 25 to 30 calls that came in [to the campaign office]. Many of them went to the poll manager [after this happened]. In some cases, the poll managers said there’s nothing we can do. In some cases the voter left frustrated as if their vote had been compromised, as if it had been stolen.”
More of the same can be expected in the August 8 runoff. In addition, McKinney’s opponents have launched a campaign of disinformation to further dampen turnout – a result that can only help Hank Johnson. In a letter to her supporters, McKinney said:
“You won't believe what they're doing now! Incredibly, the local news media are confusing the people by telling them that if they did not vote in the July 18th Primary, they cannot vote in the August 8th Runoff election. This is devious and patently untrue. We've launched our Refuse2Lose hotline at 404-419-6239 and today's message tells the truth to our voters about this calculated deception. In addition, the Republicans are filling my opponent's coffers with cash. The last thing we need in Washington is a ‘Republicrat.’ My opponent promises to go to Washington and say nothing. You know I'm committed to stand up and speak out. Help me now so I can continue to be your voice in Washington, DC.”
Corporate Media Crimes
McKinney faces a solid wall of corporate media hostility, most notably from the daily newspaper monopoly Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). In 2002, the AJC was an extension of Denise Majette’s successful campaign against McKinney. The paper claimed Majette was building a “biracial coalition” of voters who were tired of “civil rights-type” politics; that Black middle class voters would flock to Majette’s banner in disgust at McKinney’s activism. It didn’t happen that way. Instead, Majette won with massive white support, including loads of cross-over Republican voters. Nevertheless, the newspaper claimed to have done a post-election study that showed strong Black support for Majette. Black Commentator exposed that lie, in a November, 2002 investigative article by editor Bruce Dixon.
“Rather than being elected by a ‘biracial coalition of voters,’ Denise Majette was the beneficiary of an abnormally large white turnout, which she carried at a rate of 90% or better. This ‘biracial coalition,’ hailed in the Washington Post, the Journal-Constitution and elsewhere, is revealed on close inspection to be less like a patchwork quilt and more like a big white sheet.”
The “white sheet” is now draped over Hank Johnson’s campaign. He is counting on another low Black turnout for the August 8 runoff, a massive infusion of hate-McKinney money, vote-flipping by Diebold machines, and rabid anti-McKinney corporate media.
Just as the powers-that-be consider this contest to have national implications, so should progressives. In the last two years, the deterioration of the Congressional Black Caucus has been painfully manifest. This year, two-thirds of Black congresspersons voted for the giant telecom corporations’ bill to strip localities of influence over cable television operations, and to make the Internet a toll road. Last year, 37 percent of the Black Caucus backed Republican bills of one kind or another.
Cynthia McKinney does not stand alone as a consistent progressive among Black Caucus members – seven other members have perfect voting records, according to the Congressional Black Caucus Monitor’s Report Card, and eight more members rate Honor Society status. But McKinney is, indeed, different. She sees no distinction between her legislative and activist work – both are extensions of her total commitment to social change. She needs money. Go to her web site, and give her some: cynthiaforcongress.com.
The following is Radio Havana Cuba's English-language version of the text of the Proclamation issued by Cuban President Fidel Castro and read on Cuban television at 9:15 p.m., Monday, July 31, 2006.
Announcement from the President to the Cuban people
DUE to the enormous effort made to visit the Argentine city of Córdoba, participate in the MERCOSUR meeting, in the closing session of the Summit of the Peoples in the historical University of Córdoba and the visit to Altagracia, the city where Che lived as a child, and in addition to that immediately attending the commemoration of the 53rd anniversary of the assault on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes garrisons on July 26, 1953 in the provinces of Granma and Holguín, compounded by days and nights of continuous work with barely any sleep have all resulted in my health, which has stood up to every test, being subjected to extreme stress and breaking down. This provoked an acute intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding which obliged me to undergo a complicated surgical operation. All the details of this health accident are confirmed by X-rays, endoscopies and filmed material. The operation has obliged me to take various weeks of rest, at a remove from my responsibilities and duties.
Given that our country is threatened in circumstances like this by the government of the United States, I have taken the following decision:
1) I provisionally delegate my functions as first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba to the second secretary, comrade Raúl Castro Ruz.
2) I provisionally delegate my functions as Commander in Chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces to the abovementioned comrade, General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz.
3) I provisionally delegate my functions as president of the Council of State and the government of the Republic of Cuba to the first vice president, comrade Raúl Castro Ruz.
4) I provisionally delegate my functions as the principal instigator of the National and International Public Health Program to member of the Political Bureau and Minister of Public Health, comrade José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera.
5) I provisionally delegate my functions as the principal instigator of the National and International Education Program to comrades José Ramón Machado Ventura and Esteban Lazo Hernández, members of the Political Bureau.
6) I provisionally delegate my functions as the principal instigator of the National Program of the Energy Revolution in Cuba and cooperation with other countries in this sphere to comrade Carlos Lage Dávila, member of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers.
The funds corresponding to these three programs: Health, Education and Energy, should continue being managed and prioritized, as I have been doing personally, by comrades Carlos Lage Dávila, secretary of the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers; Francisco Soberón Valdés, minister president of the Central Bank of Cuba; and Felipe Pérez Roque, minister of foreign affairs, who have accompanied me in these matters and who should constitute a committee for that objective.
Our glorious Communist Party, supported by the mass organizations and all the people, has the mission of assuming the task entrusted in this announcement.
The Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, scheduled for September 11-16, should receive the greatest attention of the Cuban state and nation to take place with the maximum brilliance on the agreed date. I would ask everyone to postpone the anniversary of my 80th birthday, which thousands of personalities so generously agreed to celebrate on August 13, to December 2 of this year, the 50th anniversary of the Granma Landing.
I ask the Central Committee of the Party and the National Assembly of People's Power to give their firmest support to this announcement.
I do not harbor the slightest doubt that our people and our Revolution will fight until the last drop of blood to defend these and other ideas and measures that are necessary for safeguarding this historical process.
Imperialism will never be able to crush Cuba.
The Battle of Ideas will continue advancing.
¡Viva la Patria!
¡Viva la Revolución!
¡Viva el Socialismo!
¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!
Fidel Castro Ruz
Commander in Chief
First Secretary of the Party and
President of the Councils of State and
Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.
July 31, 2006, 6:22 p.m.
The "In God We Trust" celebration Sunday evening at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield California turned out not to be exactly what the organizers had planned.
All was going well until volunteers for "The World Can't Wait: Drive Out the Bush Regime" walked in front of the podium and unfurled a green banner, the same one they held outside moments earlier.
It read: "No to women-hating anti-gay Christian fascist theocracy."
A man in the audience shouted, "End to theocracy! Freedom of religion!"
The report below comes from the organization "The World Can't Wait."
From Bakersfield to D.C…We Don’t Want Theocracy!”
Braving high temperatures and a challenging political climate, demonstrators from Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and San Francisco staked out two street corners near the Rabobank Theater in downtown Bakersfield to protest the blessed union of Church and State. Four years ago, to the day, local City Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan met victory on her home turf: the words “In God We Trust” were placed atop of the Bakersfield city seal (the conventional national motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” dropped to the bottom) and she and her allies took up a new crusade. Not long after, Sullivan founded “In God We Trust - America, Inc.,” a group intent on placing the words “In God We Trust” in civic buildings throughout the state and across the nation. Conveniently, the date aligns perfectly with the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Congress adopting the words as a national motto. Sullivan’s efforts up to now have convinced nineteen cities to display the McCarthy-era slogan.
In an interview given that evening, Councilwoman Sullivan commented on the success of the anniversary extravaganza: “It was a very faith-based, patriotic evening. It has motivated a lot of people to get involved. We plan to make a lot of progress this next year.” Such are the dressed-up machinations of right-wing functionaries in Bakersfield, and cities like it throughout the country. Allied in common deed or common cause, they support an array of issues from stacking the Supreme Court with the aid of the church (“Justice Sunday”), to petition drives to require parental notification for a minor to receive an abortion. Many uphold that America is, at root, a Christian nation with Christian values, and ultimately would love to see a Christian government take up the Bible as God’s law over man. Any hurdle they can clear on this path is cause for celebration in their camp. It’s worthy of the utmost resistance in ours.
“Religion is one thing, Theocracy’s another…The Religious Right is Wrong!”
Four World Can’t Wait San Francisco Bay Area volunteers drove five hours to meet the Bakersfield chapter, bringing with them two prize-winning banners from their Gay Pride Parade float. Each read: “No to Women-hating anti-gay Christian fascist theocracy!” Megaphones at the ready, chanting started and picked up a rhythm. The crowd in line to enter the theater stirred, and firefighters carrying out a drill on site likewise grew agitated. With signs and banners on display and chants echoing throughout Downtown, we attempted to talk to people as they headed for the theater. Some were interested and took copies of the call to read. Others questioned us on the significance of the slogan. A few shielded their children from us and quickly shuffled them away.
A large group from Los Angeles soon arrived, boosting our numbers to over twenty. More banners were in tow: “October 5th: Bring this to a Halt!” Bilingual signs also drew the attention of several families driving by the corner. A few passers-by expressed real appreciation for what we were doing. Two ladies just off work took the call, even as the volunteer talking with them was hounded and threatened with arrest. One said, “Yeah, I’d go to jail for the cause.”
Not long after the crowd picked up, site management approached and made it clear that the Theater and Arena, though owned by the city, was the temporary property of the group renting the facility. Thus we found ourselves and our banners confined to a narrow space just off the curb. As the property manager came out a second time, expressing sympathy with us, a firefighter broke from his crew and officiously marched along the sidewalk. We were soon confronted by the Bakersfield Police Department, saying that we were, indeed, blocking the sidewalk. Our envelope once again narrowed, we shuffled around our banners and continued as best we could.
Media then began to show up, only to find their scoop by surprise. A newspaper reporter and photographer worked among the crowd, and soon a TV cameraman headed to our corner, followed by two reporters from local radio stations. Their reporting brought us two minutes of local TV coverage and a front-page article in the newspaper. Our action has been a day-long feast for conservative talk radio in town, giving World Can’t Wait more publicity than we could have anticipated.
“Ban the Marriage of Church and State!”
Robertson the bride and Bush the groom: a match made in heaven. Rule without end, Amen? Activists sporting masks of the two iconic representatives of church and state, respectively, or Christian fascism taken together, joined in a mock wedding. Before Bush could wed the “good breeder” he had found in Robertson, the ceremony was interrupted by other World Can’t Wait demonstrators. We on the street called for the bond to be severed, while the crowd inside listened to Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy read a personal address by President Bush, evoking the words of Francis Scott Key: “Let this be our motto, In God be Our Trust!” The metaphorical wedding apparently was proceeding inside the theater, much as it unfolds with much less ceremony every day in this country.
“2…4...6…8…We Don’t Want a Fascist State!”
Threats of citation increased as the demonstration continued, and threats of immediate arrest followed. Just after the wedding, three of our fellow volunteers from the Bay Area were seen emerging from the hall, one freely walking and the other two being held by the police, a crowd of some ten to fifteen officers and security guards. We waited, and anxiously tried to see what was happening with the two being held, while listening to a report from the fellow who made it out. Their plan to seize the occasion and chant down Bush’s address, a bold and courageous move, rapidly evolved once they were inside. In the end, amidst red and blue background lights, a lone spotlight and near pitch black throughout the hall, the two had made it on stage and unfurled the banner: “No to Women-hating anti-gay Christian fascist theocracy!” The details here are best saved for another report, but the break with the planned ceremony electrified the crowd, and won us the headline in newspaper coverage of the event. Their action has already proved controversial, even among progressives in town, but when people come to see the urgent need to confront the threat of Christian fascism before it becomes an unspeakable truth, we may find ourselves with the immediate potential to mobilize against this threat on a truly massive scale.
A 20-year-old man was arrested for allegedly stabbing a man in the neck in an apparent hate crime. Everett Thompson was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder and a hate crime in the stabbing of 40-year-old Iqbal Singh, a Sikh.
Hate crimes against Sikhs sky rocketed after September 11, 2001.
Just last week, the Dashmesh Darbar Sikh Temple (Salem, Oregon) was attacked. The saffron flag with the Khanda, known as the Sri Nishaan Sahib, the symbol of the Sikh faith which is held in the highest of reverance was set ablaze. The flames spread to a nearby grassy area and fence. Only luck saved the Temple itself.
On Sept. 15, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi, member of the Sikh temple of El Sobrante, was shot to death in front of the gas station he owned in Mesa, Ariz. His alleged killer reportedly told police: "I stand for America all the way."
According to the Contra Costa Times, It was the nation's first fatal post-9/11 hate crime.
FYI: 'The Gold Bracelet' is the first film to deal with the tragedies faced by many American Sikhs and Arabs following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers in N.Y. It was released earlier this year. Based on actual events, the very refreshing and original story deals with the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy faced by a Sikh family. For more information on the film, visit www.TheGoldBracelet.com
The following is from the Mercury News (San Jose).
Santa Clara Sikh stabbed in apparent hate crime
By Leslie Griffy and Sean Webby
The day after the stabbing of a Santa Clara grandfather left South Bay Sikhs reeling, prosecutors are weighing hate crime and attempted murder charges against his neighbor, who apparently believed the man belonged to the Taliban.
Iqbal Singh, 40, was waiting in his carport with his 2-year-old granddaughter around 10:50 a.m. Sunday when the suspect approached him and stabbed him in the neck with a steak knife, Santa Clara police Sgt. Kurt Clarke said.
Singh was still in the hospital Monday with serious injuries. The girl was unhurt.
``It's terrifying,'' his brother-in-law, Gurmeet Singh, said. ``Here he is standing outside of his home, and he is attacked.''
That the stabbing might have been driven by hate doesn't surprise Gurmeet Singh.
``We Sikhs are the most targeted for hate crimes,'' he said. ``People see us, and they don't understand who we are. They associate us with terrorists.''
Santa Clara police arrested Everett Thompson, 20, of Santa Clara, later Sunday, Clarke said. He was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder and a hate crime, Clarke said.
Investigators are trying to determine why Thompson allegedly attacked Singh.
There are indications that Thompson, who may suffer from mental illness, believed Singh was a member of the Taliban, officials said Monday. Singh is not.
The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist movement based in Afghanistan. Sikhism is an unrelated religion and culture founded in the Indian state of Punjab.
``We send our prayers not just to Mr. Singh and his family, but to the entire Sikh community,'' said Jay Boyarsky, the supervising deputy district attorney who oversees hate-crime prosecutions in Santa Clara County.
Boyarsky, who praised the Santa Clara Police Department for its ongoing investigation, added: ``Sadly, this is not the first time that a person has wrongfully targeted a Sikh person on the basis of physical appearance.''
The prosecutor cited a case shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, in which two men assaulted a Sikh and set his ice cream truck on fire.
When Singh was attacked, he was waiting for the rest of the family to come down to the carport from their upstairs apartment on Agate Drive. They were on their way to worship services at San Jose Gurdwara Sahib, Gurmeet Singh said.
Iqbal Singh, he said, wears both a turban and a beard. Those are two symbols of Sikh culture that many don't understand, said Gursharan Singh, a Milpitas-based reporter for the magazine Punjab Today who is not related to the victim.
Different cultures use turbans to signify different things; for some it is a sign of religious learning, and for others it is part of cultural dress.
For Sikhs, Gursharan Singh said, the turban is not as much religious as it is cultural.
The religion, like others, promotes peace and understanding.
``We are simply trying to peacefully live, earn a living and practice our religion,'' Gurmeet Singh said. ``This hate is driven by ignorance.''
Monday, July 31, 2006
TEN STAFF FOR THIRTY THOUSAND STUDENTS IN NEW ORLEANS
The New York Times recently opined that there is "optimism in many corners" of New Orleans on educational reform in the city. I'm not sure what corners they've been hanging out at, but they are not in poor black neighborhoods.
The Recovery School District (RSD) is the unit within the Louisiana State
Department of Education charged with running the 107 New Orleans schools
that were placed in receivership last fall. The RSD estimates that they
will have 30,000 students in the district by January 2007, most of these
returning displaced students from the poorest black neighborhoods in the
city. A few weeks ago the first signs appeared that something was amiss:
the RSD postponed school openings and admitted that they had not hired a
single teacher for the district. By the time the RSD began vetting
applicants last week, the charter schools and suburban districts had long
since hired most of the available teachers. When I heard that recent
meetings of the RSD staff were virtually all white, I contacted several
members of the RSD staff and could not get a response to my questions about
the current staffing levels and diversity. Last week I finally received an
email from Katherine Whitney, the RSD Chief of Staff (below) who told me
that the RSD had only ten people on staff: ten people running a school
system of 30,000 students! Of the ten staff members, I can only identify
one person responsible for special education programs in which approximately
6,000 special needs students will have to be placed individually--by school
opening day, September 7th. Now the RSD is talking about staffing the
schools with substitute teachers--who were virtually impossible to recruit
How can the RSD justify this inexcusable lack of planning for the needs of
poor African American students? No matter what occurs in the next few
weeks, there is reason to question what, if any, thought and planning has
gone into the curriculum and instructional resources for the schools. Had
these been 30,000 middle class white children, is there any doubt that the
media--including the New York Times--and business and civic leaders would be howling in protest and demanding that drastic corrective measures be taken immediately?
What cause is this for optimism?
Lance Hill, Ph.D.
Southern Institute for Education and Research
Sunday's bombing in Qana sparked an immediate surge in opposition within Israel to the fighting in Lebanon. Spontaneous demonstrations and petitions were organized within hours, and drew more people than the organized demonstrations of the previous two weeks.
One petition, which collected more than 200 signatures within a few hours Sunday, was organized by Haifa resident Orit Ben Artzi. It calls for a cease-fire and the opening of negotiations.
In addition, Haaretz reports more than 600 people, including Israeli professors and senior Meretz party officials, have signed an international petition calling for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. Among the signatories to this petition are former Meretz MKs Naomi Chazan and Mussi Raz - though the latter has meanwhile obeyed an emergency call-up order for army reserve duty
The following comes from the web site of Gush Shalom (Israel).
"THE KANA MASSACRE -- A WAR CRIME!"
Immediately after the news about the Kana Massacre became known today (July 30), spontaneous protest demonstrations started near the Ministry of Defense compound in Tel-Aviv. In the evening, a larger demonstration was held. In spite of the fact that there was hardly any prior notice, more then 200 demonstrators gathered, including activists of Gush Shalom, Hadash, Anarchists Against Walls, Ta'ayush and other organizations.
This time, a group of Meretz member, who rebelled against their party leadership, was also present. They included former Meretz MKs Ya'el Dayan and Naomi Hazan. Also present were Hadash MK Dov Hinin and former MK Tamar Gojansky.
Conspicuous by its absence was Peace Now. The director of this organization, which has ceased to exist as an active peace movement years ago, appears now in the Media as one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the war. When a journalist wrote by mistake that Peace Now had taken part in a demonstration, the director denied it vigorously.
Meretz leaders Yossi Beilin, Haim Oron and the others, except MK Zahava Galon, also publicly supported the war.
"Peretz, Peretz, don't worry / Bush will meet you at The Hague!" shouted the demonstrators through their megaphones, which could be clearly heard in the ministry compound. The Hague, of course, is the seat of the International Criminal Court. "Peretz, you have promised education and pensions / all you gave us is tanks and dead bodies!" - "Children want to live / both in Beirut and in Haifa!" - "Killing Children is a war crime!" - "Labor in government / brings only war!" - "Olmert's agreement with Bush: / War and occupation!" (All these rhyme in Hebrew.)
"It is rank hypocrisy to assert that the Kana inhabitants have been warned to leave their homes," former MK Uri Avnery said. "From the first day of the war, our army has bombed the roads and whole families were killed on the way. They have concluded that it is safer to stay in a shelter at home than to move on the roads." Avnery added that a commander who bombs and shells an inhabited area must know such disasters are bound to happen."
"The criminal returns to the scene of the crime," commented Gush Shalom spokesman Adam Keller, referring to the massacre that happened in Kana in 1996, when Shimon Peres started a war in Lebanon. "That massacre compelled Peres to break off his war. The conclusion is that we must stop this war at once, before it is too late."
Opposite, a small counter-demonstration took place. Usually, the fascists of the Kahane group play this role, but this time they were Labor Party members, who support the war completely.
In the course of the demonstration, a special unit of the riot police appeared and for a moment it seemed that they were about to attack the protesters, but they only drove them off the road.
After two and a half weeks of suppressing every voice against the war, this demonstration was covered on TV and the radio.
At the same time, demonstrations were held around the country, mostly by of Arab citizens.
A gang of masked men armed with hatchets and golf clubs, entered a Catholic area of Belfast last week and proceeded to break several windows of homes and vandalise a number of cars.
Daily Ireland reported one local resident said of the attack, “There must have been about 40 of them and from all ages. The oldest ones would have been in their mid-30s right down to teenagers.
“They had crossbows and one of them even had a gun. The rest had bricks and stones. I came out because I thought someone was putting stuff in a skip we had hired but, when I got out, one of them pointed the crossbow at me and shouted ‘UVF’. He was wearing a balaclava.
“We have been attacked here before but never as bad as this. Everyone is very frightened,” she said.
A north Belfast Sinn Féin councillor demanded the erection of a security gate on the Whitewell Road following the loyalist attack. Councillor Cunningham slammed the Northern Ireland Office for its refusal to put a gate on the alleyway used in the attack. “We have fought long and hard to get this alleyway closed off at night but still nothing has happened.
Meanwhile, the family of Paul McCauley are maintaining a vigil at Paul's bedside at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. The 29 year-old civil servant remains in a critical condition and unconscious more than a week after he was attacked in the garden of his home in Derry by a loyalist mob. Paul suffered a fractured jaw and the family have been told he 'died' twice after the attack and had to be resuscitated. A second man, who suffers from a disability, sustained serious injuries including a broken jaw, while the third escaped with minor injuries.
Paul's father told the Derry Journal, "The chilling truth is that there's a potential murder gang on the loose in the Waterside leaving the community in fear."
The following is taken from Sinn Fein News.
Masked unionist mob attacks Whitewell homes and UDA gang behind Derry sectarianism
Masked unionist thugs armed with crossbows, hatchets, iron bars and baseball bats attacked up to five homes in Catherine Court off the Whitewell Road in Belfast late on Sunday night 23 July. In one of the houses attacked the terrified mother of a six day old baby told of how she and her husband barricaded themselves in as they feared the mob was about to break their front door down.
Speaking to the media 12 hours after the attack the woman, who would only be identified as Danielle, said she was nursing six day old baby Emin on the sofa beside the front windows of the house when the loyalists struck.
"They were beating the windows and doors with iron bars. We just barricaded ourselves in", said Danielle.
In June Danielle's 91 year old grandmother was in her Crumlin Road home when it suffered a similar attack. "What kind of people attack a 91 year old woman and a six day old child", asked Danielle.
As the 40 strong loyalist gang rampaged its way through the small cul-de-sac smashing windows of homes and windscreens of cars, mother of two Kelly O'Kane came out of her home.She was confronted by a masked man who pointed a crossbow at her head. Her nine year old son witnessed the incident and according to O'Kane the boy couldn't sleep afterwards.
Sinn Féin councillor Tierna Cunningham, speaking to An Phoblacht at the scene said the PSNI took a number of crossbow bolts away on Monday morning. She described these as eight inch steel bolts. "Clearly the attackers fired a number of these bolts during this incursion. I dread to think of the consequences had one of them struck a resident".Other residents maintained that at least one of the gang was armed with "some sort of air rifle".
60 year old Teresa Knowles who lives in the first house on Catherine Court confronted the gang as they smashed her windows in. "I was so angry that I went out to confront them but they threatened me". The pensioner had to be treated for shock by paramedics who were called to the scene of the attack.
Tierna Cunningham demanded that the NIO seal off the alleyway between the Whitewell Road and the unionist Graymount area from where the attackers came.
"All people want is some kind of gate so their homes are protected", said Cunningham. The NIO maintain that to erect the gate at the adjacent Methodist Church would be to create a fire hazard but unless something is done someone along the Whitewell Road will be killed".
Meanwhile sectarian tensions in North Antrim remain high after two Catholic churches in Ballycastle and Bushmills were targeted by loyalists. The Church in Glenshesk near Ballycastle suffered smoke and fire damage after intruders started a fire in the sacristy last Tuesday 18 July. In a second attack, on Saturday 22 July Bushmills Church had a tar-like substance thrown over the front of the building.
It has also emerged that a teenager who witnessed the killing of 15 year old Michael McIlveen in Ballymena in May is under threat. 16 year old Christopher Graham's parents took their son out of school in June after the PSNI warned them he was at risk of attack.The teenager's father Danny said he feared for his young son's safety after the warning and after his 27 year old son Paul was badly beaten by loyalists close to where Michael McIlveen was attacked.Graham said that his family gave the PSNI witness statements about the McIlveen killing and since then, "they [the PSNI] have left us on our own".
UDA gang behind Derry sectarianism
A community activist involved in monitoring the Fountain 'peaceline' in Derry has told An Phoblacht that the UDA is behind the catalogue of attacks on nationalists in the city in recent months. These revelations come as 29-year-old Paul McCauley fights for his life in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital after being savagely beaten by a loyalist mob in Derry in the early hours of Sunday morning 16 July.
According to the activist a well known UDA man, originally from the Waterside area of Derry, moved into the Fountain Estate and moved a number of other men - originally from Scotland - into the estate with him. This man, whose name has been given to An Phoblacht, has been seen at the scene of a number of attacks yet the PSNI have taken no action against him or his gang.
We have also been told that the man and two accomplices were arrested by the PSNI at Horace Street, which runs off the Fountain Estate, armed with iron bars, gloves and masks yet no action was taken against them.
Paul McCauley suffered serious head wounds after he and two friends were set upon by an eight strong loyalist gang as they attended a barbecue in the Chapel Road area of the Waterside. The gang launched their attack, which has been described as "attempted murder" from the loyalist Irish Street estate and as they escaped afterwards witnesses said they were laughing.
During the incident McCauley was beaten to the ground where he was repeatedly kicked, suffering a fractured skull. Speaking to the media McCauley's father Jim said that his son died clinically twice in the aftermath of the beating and had to be resuscitated by medical staff.
Of the two men attacked with Paul McCauley one, a disabled man suffered a broken jaw and was also treated in hospital for cuts and bruising to his body.
The attack on Paul McCauley was the most serious in a litany of sectarian attacks carried out by loyalists in Derry in recent months.
Between June and Thursday 13 July upwards of 15 incidents attributed to loyalist gangs have been recorded across Derry by community workers who have been working to stop trouble at the Fountain/Bishop Street interface.One of those assaulted was a community activist who intervened to prevent a number of young nationalists being attacked by loyalists. The loyalists turned on the 38 year old and struck him with a baseball bat, breaking his arm.That attack occurred on 24 June. An English visitor was set upon by a 15 strong loyalist gang earlier that day. The gang escaped into the Fountain after the attack.
Speaking to An Phoblacht the community activist stressed that it is only a minority of people living in the Fountain who are responsible for the sectarian violence.
"Most of the residents are elderly and do not want the violence but the UDA, for whatever reason, are intent in stirring up trouble".
Sinn Féin's Peter Anderson said that on two occasions eyewitnesses to assaults offered to accompany the PSNI and identify the assailants but the PSNI refused.
He also pointed out that incidents occurred within range of cameras in the British Army's Masonic Hall base yet the attackers seem able to act with impunity.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
IF YOU READ THIS AND ARE ANYWHERE NEARBY, GO TO THIS DEMONSTRATION!
Urgent demonstration today in Tel Aviv against second Qana massacre
Urgent demo against the second Qana massacre will be held right now 12.30 , Kaplan Petah Tikva Str.
At 16.00 in front of the Ministry of Defence, Kaplan st. , Tel Aviv
for more details call :
Yonatan Polak 0546327736
Tamar Berger 054-5331484,
Anat Matar 052-8560001
AND FROM YESTERDAY AND Y NET NEWS
Protesters: War a man’s issue
Some 1,500 participants in ‘Women Against the War’ march carry signs inscribed with slogans such as: ‘Prisoner swap better than body bags’ and ‘Stop killing, start talking’; spokeswoman of the Coalition of Women for Peace: Every general or colonel in reserve duty sets the policy, and we, as women, only lose.
Former Member of Knesset Tamar Gozansky, who participated in the left-wing demonstration against the war in Lebanon on Saturday, said "War has been and will remain a man's issue. We denounce the conception that everything must be solved through force."
Some 1,500 demonstrators marched from Rabin Square to King George Street in Tel Aviv carrying signs inscribed with slogans such as: "Prisoner swap better than body bags" and "Stop killing, start talking NOW" and "If we want, there is someone to talk to."
Ten women's organizations were behind the organization, under the banner "Women Against the War," espousing the outlook that "women don't gain from war, but men do. Every general or colonel in reserve duty sets the policy, and we, as women, only lose." Adi Dagan, spokeswoman of the Coalition of Women for Peace, said "We as women have more motivation for the war to end."
Gozanksy explained, "If you check thoroughly you will see that among the powerless victims there are a lot of women and children. Women are an exploited, degraded, and oppressed population that pays the price of her weakness even after the war. I'm sure that after this war we will hear of many women who were fired and whose rights were not upheld because they couldn't get to work. The public did not vote for the parties so that they would support war."
Not just for women
At the demonstration, not a small number of men were present. Dan Yahav explained, "I think that this is one of the stupidest wars ever. The captive soldiers were not the trigger for the war. One must coldly think what the real reasons that caused the government to go to war."
He beleives some potential reasons could be "the arrogance and the lack of preparedness to compromise, especially on territory. This is also the main reason for the lack of peace with Syria. Similar to the first Lebanon War, the goal is to rearrange Lebanon, to change the ethnic balance in Lebanon according to the vision of the West - that is the US. The leaders want to prove themselves."
Matti Shmuelaf, a poet and editor, joined the protestors claiming, "I came to demonstrate because I think a fateful mistake has been made that is exacting an enormous price on the periphery, on the soldiers, and on Lebanon and Gaza. Hundreds of people are dying. I think we are a pioneering army in the true camp of peace."
Economic security beyond borders
Yaheli Hashash of Haifa, a member of the Ahoti (My Sister) movement said that she came to the demonstration "because our security in Israel is first and foremost economic security. The economic security of women has deteriorated in the last 15 years. The achievements of the social welfare movements in the last elections have been thrown out the window with the grinding down of entire populations in the north. Who will compensate women in the north who receive hourly or daily wages? The money that is invested now in supposedly saving us from Katyushas was supposed to save us from unemployment and a lack of economic security. Beyond the border there also needs to be economic security, because that is our security also."
Neta Rotem of Jerusalem, a member in the Anarchist Group, said that in her opinion the war must stop immediately. "Our voice calls out to stop thinking that to every problem there is a violent solution, a competitive solution, a solution in which one side has to lose and the other side has to win. The aggression of Israel and the Hizbullah cannot bring about a decisive victory to one side, or a decisive loss to the other side. The solution must be an agreement between the two sides from which everyone will benefit, and won't die from."
Dagan called the Government of Israel to respond to offers of an immediate ceasefire, to prisoner exchange, and to diplomatic negotiation.
"We believe that this war will not achieve security for the residents of Israel, only negotiations and peace agreements with Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority will. We women are always politically active for the end of the occupation, and equality for women and minorities, and therefore we were the first to organize against the war."