Thursday, April 26, 2007


If it is okay with y'all, I'm gonna take a few days off to catch up on some things. The Oread Daily will return on May 7th. Catch ya later...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Coca farmers and Peruvian police are facing off again this week. The farmers are essentially fighting for their very right to live.

Militancy amongst Peruvian coca growers is a direct response to the eradication policies of President Alan Garcia, who has pledged to wipe out narco-trafficking through Colombia style military-chemical means. Now, he is even resurrecting the Shining Path movement, at least rhetorically, tarnishing protesters against his policies with a terrorist brush.

Several hundred thousand Peruvian peasants are making a living -- but not much of one -- by growing coca.

"We cocaleros are people who live in extreme poverty and we have to grow the sacred leaf to survive," said Nelson Palomino, head of the country's largest coca grower union, the National Confederation of Agricultural Producers of the Coca Valleys (CONCPACCP). "We are honest, hard-working Peruvians, and we are not guilty of anything for growing the coca plant to subsist," he told
Drug War Chronicle during a meeting in Lima, chewing coca leaves as he spoke. "What are we to do? Alternative development has failed. The foreign money that is supposed to come to the valleys goes into the pockets of functionaries in Lima," Palomino complained. "We hope the world will understand that our intentions are good."

"Coca is our culture; coca is Peru," Palomino said fiercely. "To talk about coca is to talk about health. The coca needs to go for medicine, food, and other uses. Why can't the rest of the world accept this? The coca plant contains many alkaloids. While some are bad, others are good, and we worry that your country does not know about the good side of coca. We need for the American press, the American Congress to know this information."

"The NGOs and the government are vampires," said Abdon Flores Huaman, secretary of the cocalero defense organization the Federation of Agriculture Producers of the Valleys of the Apurimac and Ene Rivers (VRAE), as he was interviewed in the CONCPACCP office in nearby Kimbiri on the banks of the rain-swollen Apurimac River. "They use our names to gain support for their so-called alternative development projects, but only 10% to 15% of those resources actually reach us," he claimed. "What we want is to get rid of these intermediaries that prey on us and get direct support for our local and regional authorities and directly to the campesinos, too. Our unions can play a role in this."

The following is from the web site Living in Peru.

Civil unrest breaks out between Peru's coca farmers and police

Peru's coca farmers are back at it again. This time coca farmers from Peru's San Martin jungle region tangled with police authorities as they attempted to remove road blocks erected by the striking farmers.

According to a report in Peru 21, at least four major area roads, including the Huanuco-Tingo Maria Highway, have been blocked by protesters who are demanding the end to government sponsored eradication efforts.

Reports in the Peruvian media say some coca farmers have been protesting since 2:00 a.m. this morning, leaving many travelers stranded alongside blocked highways.

Just this afternoon, as law enforcement authorities attempted to reestablish order by removing rocks, sticks, and burning tires from the Huanuco-Tingo Maria Highway, a group of protesters frustrated their efforts by throwing rocks and physically attacking officers.

Peru's RPP Radio reports that at least two people have been seriously injured in the altercation. They have been transported to the Hermilio Valdizan hospital in Huanuco.

Peru's coca farmer representatives are blaming Peruvian President Alan Garcia and Prime Minister Jorge Del Castillo for not meeting their demands when they had the opportunity to do so.

"We civilly wanted to avoid all types of social costs. Now, the masses (of coca farmers) are acting out on their convictions," commented coca farmer representative Eduardo Ticeran.

Yesterday, conversations between both parties were abandoned by Huanuco coca farmers who walked out on the talks due to the government's persistence in continuing eradication efforts during the talks.


Tension seems to be easing at Greek prisons, according to some reports, after uprisings in prisons spread across the country this week. Police intervention at Malandrinos prison this morning forced some inmates to return to their cells. However, at that prison a group of prisoners remain on the building’s roof armed with makeshift weapons and are still demanding better living conditions.

On Corfu, the inmates returned to their cells following the police’s intervention.

A justice ministry spokesman said "order has been fully restored" at the high security Korydallos Prison in Athens, where police fired tear gas and stun grenades.

Greek authorities also claim the police intervention has put an end to the revolt at the detention centres in Thessaloniki and Trikala.

Police also intervened to take inmates back to their cells at a prison in Patras, southwestern Greece, and were on standby outside other penitentiaries. A police raid is due to take place in Larissa and Corfu soon, they say.

Disgraceful holding conditions, lack of water, regular beatings, electronic surveillance and the extremely short time they are allowed outside their cells is the reality for many Greek prisoners.

In solidarity with the prisoners there were actions outside the residency of the greek president where 150 anarchists gathered, and in Thessaloniki where the following statement entitled THE DICTATORSHIP OF DETENTION IS A REFLECTION OF DEMOCRACY was released:

A revolt is taking place at two wings of the Malandrino Prison, following the beating of anarchist Yiannis Dimitrakis by prison guards earlier on the day.
Democracy beats up, tortures, murders and degrades the hostages in its inferno-like prisons.

Exterminating detention conditions; lack of water; regular beatings, surveillance cameras, architecture of violence, inhumanely short time allowed in the outside yards are all regular features of the Malandrino Prison, only temporarily broken thanks to the il-legal break offered by revolt.

Nothing has been offered to us by the humanitarian façade of democracy's executioners; everything has been won by the screams of those in revolt, those standing on the rooftops of their prisons.



Others actions are planned for tonight including one at Omonia Square in Athens.

The following article is from Ekathimerini (Greece)

Prison unrest spreads across the country

Prisoners in at least nine jails yesterday staged protests about the conditions in which they are being held, prompting riot police to move into Korydallos Prison, Greece’s largest jail, in Athens to quell a demonstration amid fears that some inmates were trying to escape.

In one of the widest protests of its kind, prisoners at Diavata Prison in Thessaloniki, Aghios Stefanos Jail in Patras as well as facilities in Trikala, Komotini, Hania, Larissa and on the island of Corfu refused to eat or to return to their cells.

In some cases, such as at Korydallos, inmates climbed onto the roof of the prison. Prison guards had earlier prevented convicts from using the exercise yards because they feared copycat protests.

Some inmates, however, made it onto the roof and began tearing down barbed-wire fences. Riot police used tear gas to force the prisoners back into the jail. Seven inmates were slightly injured in the process.

The demonstrations were sparked by a protest at the maximum-security Malandrino Prison in central Greece that began on Monday. Prisoners there refused to return to their cells and then went onto the roof and began voicing demands.

They said that they were protesting conditions at the jail. They also alleged that prison guards had beaten one of the inmates. Authorities denied the claims.

The inmate in question, Yiannis Dimitrakis, is one of the highest-profile prisoners at the jail. The 29-year-old was one of the so-called “robbers in black” that staged an armed robbery on a National Bank branch in central Athens last January that led to three people being injured in the ensuing shootout.

Some 460 people are being held in Malandrino, which only has a capacity of 280 inmates.

Almost all of the inmates had climbed onto the roof yesterday. They demanded better conditions and the reduction of life sentences to 12-year terms and changes to other sentences.

Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras acknowledged that the facilities at Greek prisons had to be improved but he said there was no room for debate on sentencing.

“The government will not negotiate upholding the law… but we are willing to listen to prisoners’ grievances,” he said.

Overcrowding is a feature of most Greek jails. The government has so far completed one of the five new jails that are being built to ease the problem. Greece is also financing the construction of a new prison in Albania so Albanian nationals can serve their sentences there rather than in Greek institutions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The Zapatista movement has put an Indigenous Intercontinental Conference on the table for later this year. The news comes out of a gathering in Mexico just concluded. The gathering included amongst others indigenous representatives from tribes in Sonora, Mexico and tribal members from Arizona Indian tribes. On hand were O’odham from Sonora, Yaqui from Rio Yaqui, Sonora, Mayo from Sinoloa and Raramuri from Chihuahua in Mexico. Coming from the United States were O’odham, O’otham, Navajo, Apache and Hopi.

Subcomandante Marcos said he hopes the Intercontinental gathering will “touch the hearts and recuperate the souls” of Indigenous people struggling throughout the continents. “When Indigenous Peoples come together from all regions, they will realize that money means nothing when compared to the values of Indigenous Peoples.”

The declaration for the Indigenous Intercontinental Conference, signed April 22, states that it has been 515 years since the invasion of ancient Indigenous territories and the onslaught of the war of conquest, spoils and capitalist exploitation.

The press conference where the announcment was made was held at the Rancho Penasco, biodiversity ranch, 11 kilometers south of Magdalena, on the main highway to Hermosillo. Magdalena is less than a two-hour drive south of Nogales, Ariz..

The following announcement and story is from the Narco News.

Zapatistas Select Yaqui to Host Intercontinental Summit in Mexico
Indigenous Representatives from All América, and the World, to Gather October 11-14 near Guaymas, Sonora
By Brenda Norrell
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

RANCHO EL PENASCO, Sonora, Mexico – Indigenous Peoples from Mexico and the United States met with Subcomandante Marcos and Zapatista Comandantes to establish the Indigenous Intercontinental Conference for 2007.

The Intercontinental gathering will be held in the Yaqui community of Vicam in Rio Yaqui, Sonora, on the northwest coast, Oct. 11 – 14, 2007.

Comandante David, Mayan from Chiapas, welcomed the world’s Indigenous Peoples to the intercontinental gathering.

“At this moment, we want to let the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico, Canada, the United States, Central America, South America and the whole world know what we are planning,” Comandante David said in an interview here, speaking in Spanish.

“The object of this meeting is to meet one another and to come to know one another’s pains and sufferings. It is to share our experiences, because each tribe is different.”

Juan Chávez, Purépecha elder from Michoacan, said the conference would expose the treatment of Indigenous Peoples, organize resistance in defense of Mother Earth and ask the question, “What are we, as Indigenous Peoples, struggling for?”

“The answers will come in the gathering as we talk with one mind and one heart. Our brothers and sisters will be together, speaking to one another with one heart,” Chavez said in an interview.

The declaration for the Indigenous Intercontinental Conference, signed April 22, states that it has been 515 years since the invasion of ancient Indigenous territories and the onslaught of the war of conquest, spoils and capitalist exploitation.

Now, there is a new war of neoliberal extermination, which continues the destruction of Indigenous communities. Despite the long history of domination, Indigenous resistance has kept Indigenous communities alive and fighting for survival.

The Indigenous struggle was uplifted by the emergence of the EZLN, Zapatista Army of National Liberation, in the year of 1994.

The national governments of the Americas have always sought to divide Indigenous communities through the establishment of borders, reservations and legislation to fragment and neutralize Native efforts of autonomy.

However, with unity and knowledge, the struggle for liberation will be strengthened. This struggle must be known to the world, so that all people who are honest in the fight for democracy and freedom will become companions in the struggle, the declaration states.

Marcos, speaking of the need to arise in defense of Mother Earth, told Indigenous gathered here of his recent trip to support the fishing rights of the Cucapa and Kiliwa Peoples in Baja California, Mexico.

Marcos spoke of the assault on Indigenous Peoples in the Americas by corporations and governments. Holding an eagle feather given to him by the Kiliwa, Marcos said the eagle, like the Kiliwa, are at risk of becoming extinct.

Marcos held private meetings with Indigenous to organize the intercontinental conference and listen to concerns of Indigenous Peoples from different regions of Mexico and the United States.

Sharing concerns over environmental damage, hazardous dumps and the loss of languages, lands, traditions and culture were O’odham from Sonora, Yaqui from Rio Yaqui, Sonora, Mayo from Sinoloa and Raramuri from Chihuahua in Mexico. Coming from the United States were O’odham, O’otham, Navajo, Apache and Hopi.

At the heart of this gathering was the outdoor kitchen with two roaring fires, where Yaqui, O’odham and Mayo women prepared Sonoran tortillas and huge pots of soups, beef and beans. O’otham from Salt River in Arizona brought buffalo meat. Zapatista youths from Tucson, Ariz., brought chocolate cakes and others brought watermelons, papayas and pineapples.

The American Indian Movement provided security at the planning session, with AIM security guards around the clock at the entrance gate. Closer to the highway, there were up to a dozen vehicles of local and federal Mexican police and undercover officers.

Although Mexican police attempted to intimidate Indigenous Peoples by questioning them when they arrived, AIM security demanded the police halt the intimidation, which they did. While traveling in northwest Mexico, undercover police continuously followed Marcos and the Comandantes.

Marcos first came to Rancho el Penasco, south of Magdalena, in October of 2006, for the listening session with O’odham during the Other Campaign. Marcos and 10 Comandantes returned on April 8 enroute to the Cucapa Peace Camp to uphold fishing rights. Marcos and members of the Zapatista delegation returned for the Intercontinental summit planning session here April 21 –22.

With its flock of sheep and historical memorabilia, the biodiversity ranch, with a hotel/hostel and campground, have been made available to the Zapatistas by the owner.


The following piece appeared in today's edition of the Guardian. It isn't that it tells us a whole lot we don't already know, it is rather the way it is all put together in such a clear manner.

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all
Naomi Wolf
Tuesday April 24, 2007

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.

Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will be no defined end."

Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the "global conspiracy of world Jewry", on myth.

It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.

2. Create a gulag

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place.

At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, "enemies of the people" or "criminals". Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists - are arrested and sent there as well.

This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.

With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA "black site" prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.

Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can't investigate adequately.

But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don't generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: "First they came for the Jews." Most Americans don't understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.

By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.

3. Develop a thug caste

When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution

Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode - but the administration's endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.

Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.

In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.

In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

5. Harass citizens' groups

The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.

Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organisations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as "terrorism". So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the opposition.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.

In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela's government - after Venezuela's president had criticised Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.

Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist Watch list".

"Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that," asked the airline employee.

"I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution."

"That'll do it," the man said.

Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of "enemy of the people" tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.

James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and released several times. He is still of interest.

Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.

It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the list, you can't get off.

7. Target key individuals

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate", in Goebbels' term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalise or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.

Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.

Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were "coordinated" too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.

8. Control the press

Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.

Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy - a form of retaliation that ended her career.

Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters such as the BBC's Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN's Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.

Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.

You won't have a shutdown of news in modern America - it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it's not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can't tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

9. Dissent equals treason

Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times' leaking of classified information "disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the "treason" drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.

Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five months, and "beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and threatened with death", according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, dissent was muted in America for a decade.

In Stalin's Soviet Union, dissidents were "enemies of the people". National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy "November traitors".

And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realise that since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.

Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy prisoners. That is why Stalin's gulag had an isolation cell, like Guantánamo's, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)

We US citizens will get a trial eventually - for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials. "Enemy combatant" is a status offence - it is not even something you have to have done. "We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model - you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we're going to hold you," says a spokeswoman of the CCR.

Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests - usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn't real dissent. There just isn't freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.

10. Suspend the rule of law

The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.

Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."

Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act - which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias' power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.

Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.

Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.

It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere - while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: "dogs go on with their doggy life ... How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster."

As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the "what ifs".

What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack - say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani - because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.

What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year? What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.

Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of us - staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate collection of people needs everybody's help, including that of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.

We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this is the way it is now.

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.


Judy Vergara Correa, mother of four children, member of the Corporation for Peace and Social Development, known as Corpades; President of the Meeting of Communal Action of the district the Manger; adviser in the projects of the Mothers of the Candlemas and militant of the Alternative Democratic Pole in Antioch, was stabbed to death (some reports indicate she was shot) yesterday as she traveled in an urban bus.

The assassins, according to a preliminary report, escaped in a light truck.

"The only theory we have is that Judith was killed by people who did not like the complaints she was making about demobilized paramilitaries demanding that people continue paying extortion money," said a colleague of Vergara who asked not to be named.

Mauricio Romero, who is overseeing the demobilization as a member of the National Commission for Reparation and Reconciliation told Reuters News Agency,"This murder calls attention to the poor security conditions that exist in areas governed by demobilized paramilitaries. It is a big hole in the peace process."

Medellin, the violent domain of drug lord Pablo Escobar in the 1980s, is in a period of "tense calm" since the demobilization, Corpades chief Luis Quijano said.

Left-leaning community leaders such as Vergara continue to be killed, he said.

The following is from MISNA.


Judy Vergara Correa, 32, a Colombian community leader and human rights activist, especially active in denouncing crimes committed by the right-wing paramilitary groups, was killed yesterday by unidentified armed men. The rights advocate, mother of four, was stabbed to death on a bus in the city of Medellin. Judy Vergara, member of the Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA), was president of the Corporation for Peace and Social Development, which analyses and criticises the phenomenon of right-wing paramilitary squadrons, and collaborated with the ‘Mothers of Candelaria’, a women’s association that have for long demanded that the leaders of the paramilitary movement confess to the disappearances and assassinations of their sons, husbands or brothers. The police has referred that there is still not sufficient evidence in regard to the motive and authors of the murder, while the organisations that Judy Vergara worked with attribute the assassination to the extreme right-wing paramilitary circles still active in Medellin. The murder of the rights advocate, whose social work was remembered yesterday by the mayor of Medellin, was only the latest of a series of killings of human rights activists. Based on statistics of the Colombian jurists commission, at least 131 human rights activists were killed or disappeared in Colombia since 2000, almost all in attacks attributed to paramilitaries.

Monday, April 23, 2007


From the good news department comes this article courtesy of National Irish Freedom Committee. See Oread Daily Monday, August 08, 2005 "Free the Rossport Five" and Oread Daily Monday, October 03, 2005 "THE ROSSPORT FIVE ARE FREE."

Rossport Five man wins $125,000 Goldman Environmental Prize

Anti-Shell campaigner Willie Corduff among six winners of world's largest prize for grassroots environmentalists

Mayo farmer Willie Corduff, who was jailed for three months in 2005 over his opposition to Shell's inland gas refinery at Bellanaboy and high-pressure pipeline through his farm, has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.

Awarded annually to six grassroots environmental heroes, the $125,000 no-strings-attached prize is the largest of its kind in the world and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize for the environment.

In 2000, Corduff (53) and his wife Mary began rallying their neighbours in Rossport and nearby communities in the Co Mayo Gaeltacht to challenge the
$900 million Corrib gas project. They were concerned about the likely health, safety and environmental effects of the proposed refinery and pipeline in what is an area of outstanding natural beauty and in the catchment area of a lake supplying drinking water to 10,000 people.

The residents called for the gas to be processed at sea, as it is at Kinsale and other similar projects around the globe, and in 2005 the campaign adopted the name Shell to Sea.

In June 2005, Shell E&P Ireland attempted to enter the farms of Corduffs and his neighbours to begin work on a production pipeline to carry untreated, toxic gas through Rossport to the refinery site. When several of the landowners refused Shell access to their property, Corduff and four other men were jailed for 94 days.

Due to the public support generated by the courage of the "Rossport Five", work on the pipeline and the refinery site was halted. On April 18th, 2007,
Justice Mary Laffoy delivered a High Court judgment giving legal vindication to the stance of the Rossport Five and other local landowners, awarding
costs against Shell and rendering the original pipeline route formally defunct.

The 2007 Goldman Prize winners also include Icelandic entrepreneur Orri Vigfússon (64), awarded for his 17-year campaign to protect North Atlantic
wild salmon by brokering innovative fishing rights buyouts with North Atlantic governments and commercial interests.

Since Vigfússon founded the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF), commercial open-sea fishing in the Atlantic has fallen by over 75 per cent, and more
than five million North Atlantic salmon have been saved. Vigfússon has prompted driftnet fishing bans by several European states, most recently
Ireland, in January 2007.

"This year's Prize recipients have succeeded in combating some of the most important environmental challenges we face today," said Goldman Prize
founder Richard N. Goldman. "Their commitment in the face of great personal risk inspires us all to think more critically about what ordinary people can
do to make a difference."

The Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony on Monday, April 23, 2007 at 5 p.m. at the San Francisco Opera House. They winners will subsequently be honoured at a series of events in Washington DC hosted by, among others, the National Geographic Society and the World Wildlife Fund, and will have the opportunity to meet with US Congressional leaders.

Reacting to the news, Willie Corduff said: "We didn't start this campaign to win any prizes, but it shows that someone out there could see that we were
doing the right thing. We always knew we were, but this means people elsewhere in the world saw it that way too.

"Seven years is a long time to be fighting something, trying to get people to listen to you," Corduff said. "I hope more people in Ireland will become
aware before it's too late, before the damage is done. There's still time to do this the right way. We'll have more power after this prize; more people
in the world will realise what Shell is doing to our community. I hope more people will take on what the Irish government haven't had the courage to."

Corduff and the Shell to Sea campaign have also highlighted the extraordinarily generous terms under which multinationals can exploit gas and oil found under Irish waters. Their campaigning has raised issues of community consent for major infrastructure projects and has inspired other communities in similar situations elsewhere in Ireland.

In October 2006, Shell broke the blockades at Bellanaboy and resumed work on the refinery site. In recent months, campaigners have lodged numerous
complaints of Garda violence and abuse close to the site. Several protesters have been hospitalised.

"We can't afford to back down," says Corduff, the first Irish winner in the 18-year history of the Goldman Prize. "There's too much at stake. Things are
still as bad as they were. I'll do anything to get this project done the right way."

Corduff was nominated for the prize by Denny Larson, Executive Director of Global Community Monitor, based in San Francisco. "Since visiting Rossport for the first time in 2004, I have been trying to help internationalise their struggle," Larson said. "I'm very concerned about the environmental
injustice and the human rights issue, but also about the precedent this would set for onshore refineries."

About the Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1990 by San Francisco civic leader and philanthropist Richard N. Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda H. Goldman. It has been awarded to 119 people from 70 countries. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

Endorsed by more than 100 Heads of State, including Ireland, and often referred to as the Nobel Prize for the environment, the Prize rewards
grassroots leaders for their outstanding work in protecting the environment and campaigning to preserve vulnerable natural habitats.

Previous Prize winners have been at the center of some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges, including seeking justice for victims of
environmental disasters at Love Canal and Bhopal, India; leading the fight for dolphin-safe tuna; fighting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge; and exposing Monsanto's role in introducing the rBGH hormone into the US dairy industry.

Since receiving a Goldman Prize, eight winners have been appointed or elected to national office in their countries, including several who became
ministers of the environment. The 1991 Goldman Prize winner for Africa, Wangari Maathai, won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. The 1995 winner for Africa, Ken Saro-Wiwa, was executed over his opposition to Shell's activities in Ogoniland in the Niger delta.

The 2007 Goldman Prize Winners are:

Europe: Willie Corduff (53) Ireland: In the small farming community of Rossport, Corduff and a group of fellow local residents successfully forced
Shell Oil to halt construction on an unprecedented, high-pressure gas pipeline through their land. They are still campaigning to have the gas
processed at sea, rather than at an inland refinery.

Islands & Island Nations: Orri Vigfússon (64) Iceland: With business savvy and an unwavering commitment to reverse the near-extinction of wild North
Atlantic salmon, Vigfússon brokered huge international fishing rights buyouts with governments and commercial interests, helping bring to an end
destructive commercial salmon fishing in the region.

North America: Sophia Rabliauskas (47) Canada: Working on behalf of the Poplar River First Nation, Rabliauskas succeeded in securing interim
protection for a portion of the boreal forest of Manitoba, effectively preventing destructive logging and hydro-power development while calling on
government and international agencies to permanently protect the region.

Africa: Hammerskjoeld Simwinga (45) Zambia: In Zambia's North Luangwa Valley, where rampant illegal wildlife poaching decimated the wild elephant
population and left villagers living in extreme poverty, Simwinga created an innovative sustainable community development program that successfully
restored wildlife and transformed this poverty-stricken area.

Asia: Ts. Munkhbayar (40) Mongolia: Munkhbayar successfully worked with government and grassroots organizations to shut down destructive mining
operations along Mongolia's scarce waterways. Through public education and political lobbying, Munkhbayar has effectively protected Mongolia's precious water resources from additional unregulated mining.

South & Central America: Julio Cusurichi Palacios (36) Peru: In the remote Peruvian Amazon, Cusurichi secured a national reserve to protect both
sensitive rain forest ecosystems and the rights of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation from the devastating effects of logging and mining.


The army's anti-leftist terror continues in the Philippines with an attack on a militant leader last night.

Like many governments around the world, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s government has used Washington’s phony “war on terrorism” as cover for unleashing state terror. Her regime has been cracking down on dissent since coming to power in 2001. Repression has been stepped up since the beginning of 2005.

A document from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which was recently leaked to media showed that attacking militant party list groups is part of the government’s drive to crush the left wing opposition.

The document entitled “SPECIAL SOT PROJECT: COUNTER PARTY-LIST AT THE BARANGAY COUNCIL (12 MONTHS IMPLEMENTATION)” lists several measures aimed at “neutralizing” the “communist threat” including “special operations-Palparan model.”

The AFP hierarchy have repeatedly denied having a hand in the extra-judicial killings and disappearances and that it is attacking unarmed militant groups, but their claims are disputed by just about everyone.

See also Oread Daily Monday, March 26, 2007 "BUSH AND ARROYO GUILTY AS CHARGED" and Oread Daily Thursday, April 05, 2007 "THE KILLINGS CONTINUE IN THE PHILIPPINES."

The following article is from Davo Today (Philippines).

Attacks on Leftists in Philippines Continue

MANILA — The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the ANAKPAWIS party list group condemned the latest attack on one of its leader in Central Luzon by forces of the military late last night as armed men looking for Ka Joseph Canlas, chairman of the ALyansa ng Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), a regional chapter of KMP and ANAKPAWIS-CL coordinator forcibly entered his home in Barangay Balite, Arayat, Pampanga..

According to Ka Willy Marbella, internal deputy secretary general of KMP and ANAKPAWIS party list nominee, “the death squads are really intent in crippling our organization in the vain hope that by terrorizing our leaders and members we would abandon our struggle for genuine land reform and a more just society. In this specific time frame their plan is stop us from campaigning for ANAKPAWIS and from further exposing the corruption and rottenness of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime,”

“The death squads and Gloria are dreaming if they think that we would abandon our principles. And mark our words justice will eventually be served to their victims,” added the peasant leader.

Canlas said that, five of eight heavily-armed barged broke though the door of his house at about 10:30 pm and mauled his nephew to extract information when they learned that he was not at home.

Augusto Nicdao, his nephew was hit with rifle butts and sustained injuries, Canlas said.

The armed men who used a white van with no license plates searched the entire house and took the Nokia 1100 mobile phone of his nephew, Canlas said.

Only Nicdao, his wife and their one-year old daughter where in the house when the assailants came. Their clothes and other belongings were strewn and in disarray when the assailants left, Canlas said.

The assailants held Nicdao, his wife and daughter at gun point while they searched the house. Nicdao’s wife, who was crying at the time was gagged by the assailants to minimize noise that might attract neighbors, Canlas said.

He said two armed men positioned themselves as look-out outside the house while five went inside. The driver sat inside the van which was parked nearby, Canlas said.

Canlas, who has been under intense surveillance since the long spate of abductions and extra-judicial executions started in Central Luzon in 2005 said he was in the vicinity but did not sleep in his house at the time of the attack.

“If I was there, I would probably be dead by now. I suspect elements of the 703rd army brigade headquartered in Barangay San Juan Bano, Arayat to be behind this despicable attempt on my life,” Canlas.


A key organizer of an aboriginal blockade, which paralyzed passenger and freight rail traffic on the busy Toronto-Montreal corridor, is warning that the protest that ended early Saturday is just the beginning in a series of "escalating" actions.

Shawn Brant, a blockade leader, said that other economic targets were being eyed by those protesting land issues in the Bay of Quinte region. "We wanted to show [the government] that we were serious and we don't feel they should be questioning our resolve in dealing with this matter because we will act on the next target," he said yesterday.

"We've identified targets as part of this campaign, one being the railway, one being provincial highways and one being the town [of Deseronto] itself," Brant told the Globe and Mail.

"The disruption on the CN line was a first in a series of economic disruptions, the first in a campaign." he said. "The campaign calls for an ever-escalating degree."

The quarry takeover and the rail blockade were instigated because of slow moving land claim negotiations with the federal government.

The Mohawks peacefully removed their railway blockade ahead of schedule on Saturday morning, ending a standoff with police and freeing up trains.

The quarry, which was the source of gravel for a condominium project in Deseronto by a Kingston developer, is part of a 950-acre Culbertson land tract the Mohawks say was illegally taken from them in 1832.

Brant said the quarry takeover and rail barricade were aimed at speeding up negotiations. Brant and about two dozen followers staged Friday's blockade without the approval of Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief Don Maracle or the band council

Supporters are also taking aim at the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) in Toronto.

In fact a call has gone out to support the claims of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte entitled, "DEMAND THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO REVOKE QUARRY LICENSE" which says:

Gather at:

LOCATION: Ministry of Natural Resources
Whitney Block (at the corner of Queen’s Park Circle and Wellesley, in front of two large canons)

DATE: Monday, April 23

TIME: 11 am

Join us as we tell the Ontario government to uphold its duties to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) and to the environment. Join us as we deliver direct evidence of illegal dumping and a message sent by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte to the steps of the Ministry of Natural Resources. It is time the MNR and the Province of Ontario stepped up and took responsibility for their part in the destruction and theft of indigenous land.

One month ago, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte reclaimed a portion of the Culbertson Tract – 925 acres of land taken from their community, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, in 1832.

The land reclaimed by the Mohawk community pointedly includes a gravel quarry. Beyond the obvious direct thieving of stolen land which quarry operations so blatantly embody – more than 100,000 tonnes of land are trucked out every year, to benefit settler Canadian business interests - it has since been discovered that the crimes against the Mohawk Territory are greater than first imagined.

Thurlow Aggregates, the quarry operators, were also carrying out illegal dumping of waste on this site. Building materials, batteries and highway asphalt have been uncovered. The operators went so far as to try and bury the evidence of this scandalous activity, when they became aware of the Mohawk’s intended reclamation of the land.

While this information was made public several weeks ago, the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) – responsible both for the licensing and environmental standards of quarry operations in this province - has refused to inspect it.

Since day one of the quarry takeover, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte have demanded that the quarry license be revoked. Not only has the MNR refused to comply, but the MNR District Manager came to the Territory, only to refuse to see the evidence of the dumping and environmental destruction at the quarry.

The MNR refuses to act despite Federal government recognition of the validity of the Mohawk’s claim to the land. The Province of Ontario has failed in every way – no proper monitoring of the quarry, no revocation of the license to ensure its rightful owners can clean up the mess that has been made and put the land to healthy use, complete risk of the local environment and local water supply. Before the quarry was reclaimed, the MNR sat back and collected fees from the operation of removing stolen land from the Culbertson Tract.

Join us on Monday, as we demand the Province of Ontario own up to its inaction and answer for its role in the devastation and pilfering of indigenous land.

This demonstration is organized by a coalition including No One Is Illegal-Toronto, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, and members of the Coalition In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty.

The following comes from CJOB (Winnipeg, Canada).

Aboriginals who blocked rail line take protest outside Toronto MNR building

An aboriginal group that caused major disruptions by blocking rail traffic in eastern Ontario is taking its protest to the offices of the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources in Toronto.

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte say the province hasn't upheld its commitments to aboriginals, or the environment, and must acknowledge evidence of illegal dumping on their land.

On Friday, demonstrators parked a school bus across a rail crossing - a move which shut down all freight and passenger service from Toronto eastward to Ottawa and Montreal until Saturday.

A month ago, the same group erected barricades outside a gravel quarry near Deseronto, Ont., on land which they say is rightfully theirs. They say a company has been allowed to profit from their land and has been dumping illegally on the site.

The group says the government hasn't investigated their claims and won't revoke the company's licence to collect materials from their land.

The rail blockade, which lasted about 30 hours, was held on the one-year anniversary of a provincial police raid against an aboriginal occupation in Caledonia, Ont.

Aboriginal groups had warned that a lack of political will to settle that claim had protesters considering further standoffs in Ontario.

The Mohawks are also upset with a developer's plan to build condominiums on land called the Culbertson Land Tract, which they say is theirs.

The quarry, which is operated by Thurlow Aggregates and sits on the disputed land, was targeted by one-day blockades last November and in early January.

The federal government has appointed a land-claims negotiator to try to resolve the dispute, but Mohawk protest leader Shawn Brant has said the talks are moving too slowly.

Don Maracle, chief of the Tyendinaga Mohawks, has said he sympathized with Brant's group but added the Mohawk council did not sanction the quarry blockade.

The tract is part of land granted to the Mohawks in 1793, but the Mohawks say it was illegally taken from them in 1832.

A land claim was filed for the property in 1995 and accepted as valid in 2003.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Czech Republic Outlaws Advocacy of Socialism

The first article below is from the Prague Post of November 29, 2006. That is followed by an appeal sent to me today which allows for you to sidn on to a letter of support. I may be a half year late, but whatever...

Communist youth protest ban
KSM files complaint based on the right to freedom of speech
By Hilda Hoy
Staff Writer, The Prague Post
November 29th, 2006

Communist Youth Union Chairman Milan Krajča, 23, is concerned about the rising tide of anti-communism he says is sweeping across Europe.

The lanky, baby-faced 23-year-old fell tiredly into his seat at the Lucerna Café in New Town recently and needed a few sips of espresso before he was rejuvenated and ready to talk. And talk he did: As a young communist, he is full of ideas he wants to share.

Krajča spent the first half of the day as a university student, attending history classes at Charles University. Then he spent the afternoon busy in another role: chairman of the country's Communist Youth Union (KSM).

That meant shuttling around foreign delegates in town to attend the International Conference of Communist and Leftist Parties Nov. 25-26. The theme of the meeting, and the issue weighing heavily on Krajča's mind these days, is the rising tide of anti-communism that he said is sweeping the Continent, particularly in the Czech Republic.

"Anti-communism is not an issue only for communists," Krajča says earnestly. "This is about the defense of democratic rights for everybody."

The KSM has been in the spotlight since the Interior Ministry banned the group Oct. 12, saying that its mission statement, which advocates the abolition of private ownership, violates the Czech Constitution. On Nov. 20, the KSM filed a retaliatory legal complaint, alleging the dissolution violates their right to free expression.

"[We] started monitoring the KSM's activities at the request of the police," said spokesman Petr Vorlíček. "After a thorough analysis of texts published on the KSM's Web site, the police came to the conclusion that there were reasons for dissolving the association."

Across the European Union, there are examples of democracies with laws on their books that blur the line between free and outlawed speech, opinion and belief.

France recently made it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I. British Historian David Irving was jailed in Austria earlier this year for denying the Holocaust. In Germany, any allegiance to Nazism is illegal.

But what is perhaps most surprising is how relatively few social observers here in the Czech Republic view the government's crackdown of the KSM as a threat to basic civil liberties.

"I don't think [the KSM's] rights were violated," said political analyst Bohumil Doležal. "Especially after the experiences with communism we've had in this country."

Even the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) has been relatively quiet on the issue.

'Witch hunt'

The KSM, founded 15 years ago, has 600 high school- and university-age members across the country. Like members of any other youth group, they spend time just hanging out together, but also organize and attend pro-communist rallies and marches.

The wrangling between the Interior Ministry and the KSM goes back 12 months. They first clashed over a technicality: The KSM, registered only as a civic group, was attempting to do the work of a political party, the ministry said. The ministry then challenged the union's mission statement, which called for a socialist revolution and the abolition of private property.

Krajča said the ministry's actions have been nothing short of a politically motivated "witch hunt. The [KSČM] is the main enemy for them."

But others say the KSM's speech is not the issue.

"I think nobody, not even the Interior Ministry, is against the KSM's right to hold opinions," said Jaromír Štětina, a former anti-communist dissident and an independent member of the Senate. "The Interior Ministry's reservations are against the KSM's methods of achieving its political goals, namely Marxism-Leninism, because it is an appeal for violence and terror."

Under sections 260 and 261 of the Criminal Code, it's illegal to support or propagate any movement "that provably aims at suppressing human rights and freedoms."

Observers often cite this.

"The dissolution [of the KSM] does not seem to be a direct attack on freedom of speech," said Jana Reschová, a professor of constitutional law at Charles University. "However, there has been, in my opinion, an indirect limitation of the freedom of speech. Additionally, the ministry seems to be very selective and not very consistent in its sanctions of ideas having the potential of violating the constitution."

For now, little has changed: Until the KSM's complaint makes its way through the Czech courts, the union is allowed to continue operating as normal.

Whatever the courts decide, the KSM and its brethren worldwide vow to maintain their ideological battle. An online petition opposing the government's recent actions has garnered about 9,400 signatures, including that of Bono, the frontman for Irish rock group U2.

If necessary, the KSM will consider taking its case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, Krajča said. "Lots of people in the Czech Republic disagree with the system. [The government] can use this precedent against others," he said.


International Appeal

(Please fill out endorsement coupon below, and please help us circulate
this appeal widely)

Against the Banning of the 'KSM' Youth Organisation (Czech Republic)

On October 12, 2006, the Home Office of the Czech Republic decided to
dissolve a Czech communist youth organisation called the 'KSM'.

And what crime had it committed? Its statutes are in favour of
"collective ownership of the means of production". In the text announcing and
explaining this decision, the Home Office declares:

"Paragraph 2 of the KSM's program declares: "The KSM declares it is in
favour of going beyond capitalism in a revolutionary way and replacing
it by collective ownership and social conditions that could bring about
social democracy" ...

"The above statements found in the KSM's program involve the KSM in
activities that are not compatible with the protection of every
individual, which can be read in article 11, § 1 of the Charter of Fundamental
Rights and Liberties. To attempt to deny the right to private ownership
of the means of production is incompatible with elementary democratic
principles. It ensues from paragraph 2 of article 9 of the Czech
Republic's Constitution that it is unacceptable to change the democratic
foundations of the legal democratic state. It is thus necessary to reject
any attempt that could bring about the violation of the Constitutional
decisions recalled above and which ensue from principles also asserted
in the European Convention for the protection of human rights and
fundamental liberties."

The Home Office has rejected the KSM's argument that it does not intend
to achieve its aim by any means that are undemocratic or illegal. The
Home Office goes on to state:

"The KSM answers that it is only aiming at the ownership of means of
production and not at ownership in general. Š That argument cannot be
taken into account, because the law, as it is expressed in article 11, §
1 of the Charter, concerns all types of ownership, without distinction,
whether such private property be intended for production or not. There
can thus be no question of accepting 'the abolition of private
ownership of the means of production and replacing it by collective

So it is that the Home Office of the Czech Republic, a member country
of the European Union, reinforced by a European Convention, purely and
simply outlaws all idea of collective property of the means of
production. And it puts forward this European Convention to justify its
decision to ban an organisation that has not been found guilty of any action
whatsoever, but simply advocates in its program the future perspective
of collective ownership of the means of production.

There is no mention of any political activity the KSM might be engaged
in that could provide the grounds for justifying the Home Office's
decision. The outlawing of the KSM flouts even the most elementary
democratic rights; such a decision would simply cross out more 150 years of the
history of the labour movement.

This decision is an attack on democracy by forbidding an organisation,
whatever that organisation may be, from putting forward a political
program and attempting to win over a majority of the population to its
goal of collective ownership of the means of production.

This decision, with the simple stroke of a pen, would seek to deny 150
years of the history of the labour movement, and even of democracy
itself -- because ever since 1848, the labour movement and the various
supporters of socialism have made obtaining collective ownership of the
means of production an essential part of their analyses and program.

Following this decision, the Home Secretary of the Czech Republic is
thus forbidding, in the name of the European Convention of Human Rights
and Fundamental Liberties, any organisation whatsoever from having the
right to adhere to Marx and Engel's Communist Party Manifesto, which
asserts: "communists can summarize their theory in one single formula:
abolition of private property; the property that exploits working for a

The Home Secretary is thus forbidding any organisation whatsoever to
claim to have its roots in the Socialist Encyclopaedia written before the
First World War by socialists such as Compère-Morel, Bracke, Pierre
Brizon, Hubert-Rouher, Jean Longuet, Paul Louis, Charles Rappoport,
Sixte-Quenin, Jean-Baptiste Séverac, the future deputy general secretary of
the French Socialist Party, the SFIO, that, summarizing half a century
of socialist ideas and action in various
countries throughout the world, declared the "necessity for collective
ownership", explaining that: "Individual ownership was defendable when
the instrument of labour was personal, it must become collective when
production also becomes collective. It is only in its collective form
that ownership can become something that is universal and become for
each individual not a theoretic right, but something certain, a reality."

The Home Secretary is thus forbidding any organisation whatsoever to
claim to have its roots in the literature of Jules Guesde, Jean Jaurès,
Rosa Luxemburg, Léon Blum, the founders of Czech Social-Democracy,
members up to 1918 of the Austro-Hungarian Social-Democratic Party, who
declared the necessity for collective ownership.

The French Workers' Party founded by Jules Guesde asserted right away
in its founding congress in October 1879: "The Congress declares that
all possible means must continue to be used, so as to obtain collective
ownership of all labour instruments and all the production workforce.
It insists on the necessity for the proletariat to form its own class
political party and to break away completely from the bourgeoisie." (Paul
Louis, Le Parti socialiste en France, Encyclopédie socialiste, pp
11-12 (The Socialist Party in France,
Socialist Encyclopaedia).

Jean Jaurès demanded "the coming of a new order in which ownership,
ceasing to be individual and private, will become social" (26th November
1900). As for Léon Blum, he declared: "Socialism is a movement of
ideas and action that leads to a complete transformation of the regime of
ownership, the transformation of an economic regime founded on private
ownership into a regime founded on collective or common ownership" (27th
December 1920). On September 1st 1946, he still asserted: "We are the
Socialist Party and our aim is to achieve revolutionary transformation
of the social structure, i.e. of the production and ownership regime."

Otto Bauer, one of the founders of the Austro-Hungarian
Social-Democratic Party, of which the Czech Social-Democracy was also a part until
1918, declared in a text about "the slow revolution": "Collectivisation of
the State economy starts with large industries collectivisation starts
with expropriation: the State brings in a law by which it declares that
the current owners of large industries are no longer the owners.
Collectivisation has a dual aim: on the one hand, improvement of the
situation of the blue-collar and white-collar workers in the collectivised
branch of industry and on the other hand, making available for the
community the revenues that until then had been going to the capitalists"

The Home Secretary is forbidding any organisation whatsoever to even
make reference to nationalisation decrees voted, for example, just after
the Second World War by the British Labour Party government, by various
coalition governments such as the French government, in which there was
even a Christian-Democratic Party (the MRP), or by various
Social-Democratic or Labour governments.

The collective form of ownership has indeed appeared, from time to time
throughout history, as being a necessity, and not only within the trend
of socialist ideas. So it was that in 1894, the writer Leo Tolstoy in
his "Advice to those receiving orders" proposed to bring up in Russia
"the question of expropriation of land, with or without compensation, so
as to nationalise the land thereafter". Would the Czech Home Secretary
ban the distribution of such works in the name of the European
Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties?

The Czech Home Secretary has made this decision at the same time as
directors of large companies are massively cutting back on jobs throughout
the world, thereby threatening the very lives of the laid-off workers,
with scorn for the interest of society in general, simply in the name
of the private financial interests of the owners and of the dividends
for the large shareholders.

The Czech Home Secretary has made this decision at the same time as a
policy of privatisation and dismantling of State services and of
nationalised companies is being implemented, resulting in the suppression of
tens of thousands of jobs in all countries that are members of the
European Union, in the name of "free and un-tampered competition", as
demanded in the Maastricht Treaty.

- We, the undersigned, remark that this banning is a first application,
detrimental to fundamental liberties, of the Council of Europe's
resolution 1481 condemning "communism".

- We, the undersigned, denounce the ban against including the call for
collective ownership of means of production in the program of a
political organisation, in the name of a Convention supposedly defending human
rights and fundamental liberties, and we denounce the dissolution of
the KSM which the Czech Home Secretary has deduced is thus necessary.

- We, the undersigned, denounce this measure, which is in response only
to the demands of those who own capital, but is hypocritically masked
as being in defence of individual liberties -- for it is an intolerable
attack on political democracy, on freedom of opinion, of thought, of
expression and of organisation, and we demand that it this ban be

First Endorsers

ALLAIN Auguste (France); ANTONINI Daniel, international secretary of
the 'Pole of Communist Renaissance in France' (France); AUDEJAN Noëlle,
author (France); BARDIN Georges, internationalist militant, former
French Resistance fighter (France); BARROIS Jean-Pierre, Senior lecturer at
Paris-XII University, anti-war activist (France); BEDÖ János
(Hungary); BELISSA Marc, University Lecturer (France); BLANCHARD Daniel, former
member of 'Socialism or Barbarity' (France);
BLANCHARD Arnold, former member of 'Socialism or Barbarity' (France);
BLANCHARD Helen, former member of 'Socialism or Barbarity' (France);
BODIN Martine teacher-trade-unionist (France); BOMBARDIERI Bernadette,
'Free-Thinker' (France); BORISOV Todor, president of the Bulgarian
Workers' and Peasants' Party (Bulgaria); BOURHIS Gilles, CNRS-trade-unionist
(T.N.: Scientific research) (France); BREITBACH Ulrich, member of the
Union of German writers and of the Union of German journalists, Ver.di
Trade Union (Germany); BREMOND Hansi, 'Free-Thinker' and political
militant (France); BRICMONT Jean, University Lecturer (Belgium); CANALI
José, working-class militant, communist, trade-unionist (France); CAUMIERES
Philippe, teacher qualified in philosophy (France); CHABERT Raymond,
pensioner (France); CHALLIER Alain, sculptor (France); CHENET Jacques,
'Free-Thinker' (France); CHUBERRE Hervé (France); CLESSE Pascal,
'Free-Thinker' (France); CUENCA Jean (France); DE MONTLIBERT Jean, emeritus
professor of sociology (France); DERUETTE Serge, Lecturer in
political science at Mons University (UMH), (Belgium); DOUJON
Jean-Pierre, University Lecturer (France); DOUPSIS Georges, 'Free-Thinker';
DUBOIS Françoise, retired teacher; DUBOIS Pierre, visual artist (France);
ELIARD Michel, Sociologist, University Lecturer (France); EXCOFFON
Sylvain, University Lecturer in history (France); FABRE Marguerite,
working-class militant, 'Free-Thinker' (France); FABROL Emile, 'Prométhée',
communist site, militant in Vitry (France); FAYET Jean-François, PhD
(France); FERNANDES Grégory, student in Lyon, RYA militant (France);
FERRAT Jacques, teacher (France); FLAMMANT Thierry , history teacher
(France); FOGLER Tibor (Hungary); FRATANOLO Janos, president of the
Hungarian Workers' Party 2006 (Hungary); GAVOIS Marc-Olivier, history and
geography teacher (France); GIRAUDON Liliane, author (France); GLEIZAL
Jean-Jacques, University Lecturer in Grenoble (France); GÔME Gérard,
trade-unionist (France); GOTLIB Igor, regional coordinator of Alternatives
- St-Petersburg (Russia); GROS Dominique, retired law teacher (France);
GUERRIEN Bernard, Lecturer in economy at Paris-I University (France);
GUITTON Michel, 'Free-Thinker' (France); HEBERT Alexandre,
anarchist-trade-unionist (France) ; IMSIROVIC Pavlusko, militant of the Labour
Political Alliance, former political prisoner, condemned in the "Trial of
six people" (ex-Yugoslavia); JAKOCS Dániel (Hungary); JEKOV Todor,
president of the Labour-Peasant Party (Bulgaria); JOBIC Christian (France);
JOHNSTONE Diana, journalist, author (USA); JONY Iván (Hungary); JULIEN
Stéphane trade-unionist
(France); KASTLER Claude, emeritus professor of Stendhal University in
Grenoble (France); KOSTIOUK Rouslan, doctor of history,
Saint-Petersburg (Russia); LABRASCA Frank, University Lecturer, trade-unionist
(France); LACROIX-RIZ Annie, historian (France); LARUE LANGLOIS François,
author (France); LAVALLEE Ivan, State Doctorate in Science (France);
LEFEBVRE Michel, trade-unionist SNES (France); LEMASLE Arnaud (France);
Françoise LONDON-DAIX (France); LOSURDO
Domenico, Lecturer in History and Philosophy at the University of
Urbino (Italy); MAITTE Hervé, CGT trade-unionist (France); MARCELE Philippe
(France); MARIE Jean-Jacques, historian, responsible from 1976 to 1980
for the French edition of 'Listy', the newspaper of the Czech Socialist
Opposition, founded by Jiri Pelikan (France); MARTIN Roger, author,
French Communist Party militant (France); MATHIEU Olivier, teacher and
trade-unionist (France); MOLENAT Jean-Pierre emeritus director of research
at the CNRS (France); MOQUETTE Yvan, trade-unionist (France); MORELLI
Anne, university lecturer (Belgium); NOEL Bernard, author (France);
O'CONNOR Emmet, (Ireland); PAPP Julien, historian (France); PATRIZIO
Marie-Ange, psychologist (France); PAUWELS Dirk, ergonomist, manual
therapist, physiotherapist (Belgium); PESTIEAU Jean, Lecturer at the Catholic
University of Louvain (Belgium); PLANTIVEAU Gérard, trade-unionist
(France); POINTCHEVAL Jacques, 'Free-Thinker' (France); POULAIN Philippe,
visual artist (France); PASLAR Vitaly, member of the Komsomol (Moldavian
Republic); POLIANSKI Mikhail, member of the Komsomol (Moldavian
Republic); POULAIN Philippe, visual artist (France); POUPKINE Vassia,
(Russia); PRAT Didier, author, compositor, musician (France); PRENEAU
François, trade-unionist (France); PROST Laurent (France); QUENTIN Bernadette,
employee of PTT-FT (France); REMBOTTE Gilles, trade-union militant
(France); REZNIK Aleksandr, of the "Student Solidarity" Union, State
University of Perm (Russia); RIVAL Michel, retired primary school teacher,
French Communist Party militant (France); ROBINET Marie-Line, DDA Val de
Marne (France); ROCHEFORT Jacques, assistant (France); ROQUES Monique,
teacher (France); ROUET Jean-Jacques, municipal councillor in Fondettes
(37) (France); ROY Pierre, historian, 'Free-Thinker' (France); RYJKINE
Mikhaïl Ivanovitch, assistant of the Elected Member of the Douma of
the Russian Federation of Kibirev (Russia); SANTOLINI Arnaud, teacher,
researcher, trade-unionist (France); SEPPECHER Pascal, teacher, (France);
SEREZAT André, (France); SERGERE Julien, education assistant (France);
SERNICLAY Clément, French Assistant in Zurich (Switzerland); SAVASTIN
Liudmyla member of the Komsomol (Moldavian Republic); SERGERE Julien,
education assistant (France); SYBELIN Yannick, hospital trade-unionist
(France); VERCRUYSSE Pierre, CGT trade-unionist (France); VAN CAMPEN
Marc, early-retired steel worker, Charleroi (Belgium); VIARD Jean, retired
CGT trade-unionist (France); WEBER Michel, Doctor in Philosophy
(Belgium); WEINSTEIN Max, pensioner, former French Resistance fighter
(France); WHITEHEAD Fred, historian and 'Free-Thinker', Kansas (USA); ARGUE,
Steven, Liberation News,



[ ] In my personal capacity (organisation and title will be listed
for id. only)

[ ] On behalf of my organisation


Organisation and title (list if for id. only):




[please fill out and return to Jean-Jacques MARIE, c/o CERMTRI,
28 rue des petites écuries, 75010 Paris, France, or by e-mail to
. Please send a copy to]