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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

articles july 20

Tohono O’odham and Yaqui: ‘No more walls’
Posted: July 20, 2004 - 11:25am ESTby: Brenda Norrell / Southwest Staff Reporter / Indian Country TodaySAN XAVIER, Ariz. -
Tohono O’odham and Yaqui leaders told a United Nations representative that a proposed wall along the international border on O’odham ancestral land would bring further misery to indigenous peoples already suffering from the militarization of the border.
 
"They are planning to seal the border," said Tohono O’odham Ophelia Rivas, organizer of the O’odham Voice Against the Wall Project, opposing a wall planned for construction through O’odham lands on the international border."We do not want this wall," Rivas said at the Tohono O’odham elders center, as she welcomed Liberato C. Bautista, representative to the United Nations of the General Board of the Church and Society of the United Methodist Church.Bautista, Filipino, said he came to support the struggle for self-determination and preservation of traditional ways.
 
He said indigenous people have not been recognized by the nation states of the United Nations."We are issues, not yet people at the United Nations." full article

BIA plans to attend Shoshone gathering
By ADELLA HARDING, Staff Writer 

ELKO - U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has confirmed that agency representatives will answer questions at an Elko gathering about the new law allowing for cash distribution of more than $145 million.The meeting planned for 9 a.m. July 31 at the Elko Convention Center is an informal gathering for the people, according to Wayne Nordwall, Western regional director for the BIA out of Phoenix.

He said in a memo to all Western Shoshone tribal leaders that the "meeting is not a hearing and is not intended to elicit any kind of testimony."The claims steering committee that pushed for cash distribution arranged the meeting and invited BIA officials to come to Elko to answer questions about the bill President Bush recently signed into law full article

Sentencing disparity blamed on poverty
John-John Williams IV jjwilliams@argusleader.com
published: 7/20/2004
Report finds race isn't why punishments differVERMILLION -
A long-awaited report on the treatment of Native Americans in South Dakota courts will state that poverty, unemployment and other factors - rather than race - are to blame for disparities in punishment.
 
Some details of the report were released Monday by Richard Braunstein, a University of South Dakota professor who led the project."I don't believe there is an intentional bias against American Indians," he said. "This does not change the fact that severe disparities exist that negatively affect American Indians."As a group, Braunstein said, Indians receive longer sentences than whites. And they are less likely to get probation instead of prison time, he said full article

The Ghost of Gonismo
"Popular Participation" in Bolivia's Gas Referendum*

By FORREST HYLTON
When Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez gave the signal for the propaganda onslaught -- accompanied, coincidentally, by paramilitary threats and harassment -- in favor of his referendum in October 2003 (in which 81% of the Colombian population abstained from participating), some Colombian analysts reminded readers that Hitler had used referendums to build fascism.
 
Referendums can be demagogic instead of democratic. Brought to power on the strength of a popular, indigenous-led insurrection in October, Bolivian President Carlos Mesa is a different species of politician than Uribe or Hitler, of course, but his July 18 gas referendum -- one of the three pillars of the program imposed on the government (the other two being a constitutional assembly and an end to government impunity) -- fit squarely in the demagogic camp. full article

UN refugee agency ‘deeply concerned’ for indigenous community in Colombia
20 July 2004 – The United Nations refugee agency today voiced “deep concern” for the safety of more than 1,200 indigenous people in northwest Colombia who have returned to the homes they fled in March because of fighting, calling on the government to protect them from irregular armed groups that still remain in the area.

Although expressing fear about security at home, the Embera people said lack of their traditional foodstuffs and inadequate health services in the receiving communities compelled them to go back – despite the fact that authorities provided basic emergency assistance. They are among millions of people who have been displaced over the past 15 years by Colombia’s long-running civil war. full article

National Indigenous body essential, committee hears
A Senate select committee has heard that it is essential that a democratically-elected national body be set up to represent Indigenous people.

The point was raised at a public hearing on the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) in Alice Springs.

Northern Territory central zone commissioner Allison Anderson told the hearing that the organisation should be made up of representatives from around the country and not necessarily based on state borders. full article

America, by an American
I hear a great deal of protests from Americans when world opinion does not subscribe to America"s points of view.  The foreign press is labeled anti-American when they disagree with America, and we launch righteous indignations from our perspective. 

Conversely, we seemingly do not have a problem with lambasting countries and governments - we have this notion that we should be immune but others may not.  I cite France"s position on the Iraq war.  We were hot with steaming emotions and wanted to tell them a thing or two. And, we pretty much did. We strained our relations with France, and France is not the first country we have had a war of words with. 
The question becomes why the dual standards.  Perhaps it is our attitudes that the world sees and doesn"t appreciate. 

We can"t seem to show respect, but we demand it. 

We send our missionaries abroad to convert people to Christianity.  We tell them their soul is damned to hell, God is going to strike them dead, and whatever else.  We insist that they adopt a belief system that is different than theirs. Why can"t we respect their belief system?  

Just after the Civil War, we slaughtered with impunity a whole civilization - the American Indian. We stripped them of their heritage and their past - without those two, we took away their future.  Everything west of the Mississippi is actually stolen land - our attitude is, so what. But it was still, in reality, Government level ethnic cleansing and genocide.  full article

Realists, Neocons in New Iran Argument

by Jim Lobe

A new round in the ongoing battle between realists and neoconservative hawks over Iran policy got underway here Monday with the publication by a task force of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) of a new report urging Washington to engage Tehran on a selected range of issues of mutual concern.

The task force, which was co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under former President George H. W. Bush, argues that neoconservative and other analysts who are urging that Washington pursue "regime change" in Iran underestimate the staying power of the current government there. full article 

Iraq Scandals: Media Failures Next

by Danny Schechter 

In July of 2004, much of what was left of the pretexts and rationalizations for the US invasion of Iraq had unraveled.

Richard Clarke, President’s Bush’s own Terrorism coordinator went public with a view of the war as evidence of a FAILURE of policy. It was, he charged based on insider knowledge, not only NOT part of the war on terror but undermining of it.

Experienced Military leaders like General Zinni and others condemned it as military FAILURE.

A Senate Committee in the US and a commission headed by Lord Butler in the UK catalogued extensive intelligence FAILURES. The Senators condemned what they called “group think.”

These critics—including the 911 Comission—remain relatively narrow in their approach focusing on problems or process and organizational defects. Few look at the larger picture or dare to hold politicians directly accountable. The Butler Commision specifically exonerated Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Critics consider many of these inquiries as part of a cover-up, not signs of serious investigation to expose wrong doing and, more importantly, its consequences. In Intelligence circles, this is called a “limited hang out” in which some disclosures are dribbled out to avoid revealing more while creating an illusion of real candor. full article 



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