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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Monday, January 31, 2005

The following analysis also appeared in Indian Country Today.
Oil, mining decisions build momentum for ANWR

WASHINGTON - As President George W. Bush took his oath of office on Inauguration Day, the Bureau of Land Management's director in Alaska announced plans for winter oil and gas exploration and coal mining in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. NPRA's northeast portion, on Alaska's North Slope, is primary caribou habitat, a molting ground for wild geese and waterfowl, and a center of subsistence harvesting. The geese and caribou migrate from the area in the winter, leading to BLM's conclusion that restricted winter exploration and drilling can be done with minimal intrusion on the environment.

The conclusion is bound to be controversial, given the high profile of environmental issues in Alaska.

The Jan. 20 date of Henri Bisson's speech in Anchorage, Alaska, may have been coincidental, but it dovetails efficiently with a Bush priority - the Republican Party's upcoming all-out effort to pass law permitting oil and gas exploration and extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The NPRA North Slope lands are not within ANWR; but lease tracts there and the accompanying explanations bolster the argument and build the momentum for opening ANWR. The rush is on. Full Analysis

ICT article about columbus day acquittals

This article appears in today's web edition of Indian Country Today.

Columbus Day protesters victorious in court
Posted: January 31, 2005
by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today

DENVER - The Denver City Attorney dropped charges against protesters who blocked the Columbus Day Parade, after eight organizers argued that the celebration of Columbus represents hate speech and encourages the theft of land and loss of language and culture in Indian country.

''Our acquittal last week and the dismissals today are a great victory for historical accuracy and for the power of our spiritual ways - both the pipe and the drum were present in the courtroom and I believe that our trial was the first time in history that the AIM song was sung in open court,'' co-organizer Glenn Morris told Indian Country Today on Jan. 23.

''It was amazing. This set of developments is a total surrender by the City of Denver, and a complete vindication of our confrontation of the hate speech that is embodied in Columbus celebrations,'' Morris said.

''The trial was also a powerful consciousness-raising tool that the legacy of Columbus is alive and well in the theft of Shoshone treaty territories in Nevada, the trust fund thefts, the continuing destruction of Indian languages, culture and young people's lives - all of that was offered as evidence in our case.''Full article

Also, further down in the article, Brenda Norrell reports on the general backlash(among the mainstream media coporations and their "opinion shapers")that resulted from the acquittals.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Report about KHOW show last Friday

On Friday afternoon(Jan 28) KHOW’s “Caplis and Silverman Show” did a live broadcast from the University of Colorado at Boulder. “The Caplis and Silverman Show” is a 4 hour, weekday, call-in program. Their stated purpose for being on the campus was to seek the termination of Professor Ward Churchill.

Dan Caplis

Craig Silverman

Both men, one an avowed Republican and the other a former state Prosecutor, had spent the previous week stoking outrage among their fans against the Indigenous Peoples and their allies who were either acquitted or had their charges dismissed. Those charges stemmed from their efforts to confront the Convoy of Conquest which rolls through the streets of Denver to celebrate Christopher Columbus.

Though neither of them had been to the trial, they portrayed the acquittals of the first 8 defenders as a case of jury nullification. They based their opinions on a remark that the jury foreman made to a local reporter. When asked about it while appearing on their program, the jury foreman explained the other factors that went into his decision, not just the evidence of ethnic intimidation. That clarification seemed to be an obstacle in advancing their agenda so it was an explanation they chose to ignore- instead choosing to stick to the “ethnic intimidation” line in order to whip up more antagonism against the Indigenous Peoples and allies who were acquitted.

In both talk show jocks’ biographies, they make claim to being experienced trial attorneys. One look at their neatly coiffed hair and tailored suits is enough to determine that both men have enjoyed careers that have made them wealthy and established players in Denver “Civil Society.” So why is it that they gave the impression that the jury foreman was the only person responsible for acquitting the first 8 defenders and wouldn't comment on the other factors that went into his decision? Surely, both talk show jocks knew that there were also 5 other jurors who arrived at the same decision. At least one juror stated that the prosecution never proved it’s case but that was never repeated on their show. Was it simple ignorance of the judicial process on their part, or could it also have been a case of deliberate deception?

Neither of the 2 talk show jocks would permit callers to discuss the genocide that Columbus was personally responsible for. Their position was that the first amendment protected the Convoy organizers right to celebrate the genocide of Indigenous Peoples. If Indian people took offense, then they should stop being so sensitive because “freedom of speech” was guaranteed to everyone, no matter how offensive their words, and once you started censoring one person where do you draw the line?

When told that celebrating the man and colonialism(as the convoy organizers have admitted to) incited a strong negative reaction among Indigenous Peoples and damaged their children as well, both talk show jocks claimed that it was not incitement. Caplis and Silverman dismissed the idea that Indigenous Peoples had a reason to confront the Convoy of Conquest. Take one more look at their pictures and determine if there might be some reason for them to deny that the celebration of genocide against Indigenous Peoples should offend anyone, even Indigenous Peoples themselves. Better yet, see if you notice any distinguishing characterstics that bestow upon them(in their minds at least) the moral authority to determine what is offensive and who is allowed to be offended.

Dan Caplis

Craig Silverman

Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman were on the Boulder Campus in an attempt to get Ward Churchill fired for an essay he wrote over 3 years ago. Oh yeah, Ward Churchill also happened to be one of the acquitted 8 defenders that Caplis and Silverman had been railing against in the prior week.

On the Thursday before they arrived on the Boulder Campus, the 2 talk show jocks used their program to promote the next day’s appearance, in which they would demand that Ward Churchill be fired from his position as a professor. Caller after caller phoned in to express their support and vowed to stand with them on Friday afternoon.

“The Caplis and Silverman Show” began broadcasting from the Alfred Packer Grill at 3 p.m. On hand to greet them were about 80 supporters of Ward Churchill. There to support Caplis and Silverman were 3 men in their 50’s and about 5 College Republicans. The College Republicans had a table with a petition to fire Ward Chuchill(presumably, all 8 Caplis and Silverman supporters signed it).. Behind their table was a sign that read “Fire the Auschwitz Loving Lunatic!!.”

Ward Churchill was their first guest, calling in from Ohio. Caplis and Silverman employed the standard tactics of other talk show jocks. They asked questions and then interrupted when they were not getting the answer they wanted. They made transparent attempts to spin the answer they had just received into one in which they could express outrage over.

This was the typical level of their “discourse.”

C & S”Mr Churchill, you want innocent Americans to get killed by mustard gas, don’t you?”

W.C”I wrote that mustard gas might be used, in a retaliatory act, if U.S foreign policy doesn’t change.”

C&S”So you that’s what you want isn’t it? For innocent Americans to get killed with mustard gas.”

W.C”That’s not what I said. Are you guys going to be adults about this or are you going to play dumb the whole time?”

C &S”I think that answer speaks for itself. Churchill is afraid to admit that he wants innocent Americans to get killed by mustard gast.”

At one point, thinking they had found a way to find a contradiction, Caplis & Silverman asked Ward Churchill if he had ever killed anyone in his life. They expected him to say “no” at which point they were going to try and argue that he advocates violence(which he stated he does not) but had never personally killed anyone(Yes, that was actually the level the 2 talk show jocks were reduced to operating at) When Churchill answered that he had been in special forces in Vietnam, and answered their question in the affirmative, Caplis & Silverman changed their “gotcha” question to”I mean, have you killed anyone since you came back from Vietnam?”

And so it went for the better part of an hour. Caplis and Silverman were clearly on the losing side despite their best attempts to muddy the waters. At times, they would interrupt Churchill or attempt to talk over him. This would cause the crowd to erupt with chants of “Let him speak” or “Freedom of speech.” If the talk show jocks would persist in their interruptions, the crowd would begin booing loudly, effectively drowning out the voices of the talk show jocks. This would cause the talk show jocks to claim their freedom of speech was being trampled on by the students.

After Ward Churchill exited the program, the talk show jocks had guests and callers to fill out the rest of the program. When presented with ideas they did not agree with, they would hang up on the callers. When guests held opposing views, they had their microphones cut off. It was petulant behavior from 2 men who had been claiming that “freedom of speech” was paramount in their lives. Their actions were more like those of spoiled little boys than of the thoughtful prognosticators they pretend to be.

Craig Silverman seems to fancy himself as some sort of moderate democrat. He is a relatively tall, standing around 6’4 but does not really cut an imposing figure because of his high pitched, tinny voice(he sounds as if he has just inhaled helium) He admonishes Indigenous Peoples for “wallowing in their victimhood” while, in the next breath, he goes on to talk about how 1/3 of his people were killed in the Holocaust. He invokes Auschwitz and prattles on about his work on behalf of victims rights whenever given the chance. Silverman also is supposed to possess a great legal mind. This may be true(his ignorance of the legal issues that resulted in the acquittal of the 8 defenders notwithstanding) but he displays a profound ignorance of the history of this land.

During Friday’s program, Silverman claimed that prior to Septermber 11, 2001, the largest act of mass homicide had taken place when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred Murrah Building. What was revealing in that statement was that Silverman doesn’t know anything about the policies of the United States government that resulted in massacres of Indigenous Peoples that surpass that of Timothy McVeigh. In fact, David Stannard has listed at least 250 nations, of Indigenous Peoples, that have been completely exterminated on these lands. None of this knowledge has managed to find it’s way into Silverman’s knowledge of this land.

The other half of this duo, Dan Caplis, is a skinny, skittish, easily frightened man who is quick to see danger and threats from everywhere. At one point, after being jeered by the crowd on Friday, Caplis claimed that the crowd(vocal college students sitting at dinner tables) was “violent and bloodthirsty.” No one was standing within 15 feet of him, no one was throwing anything at him, no one was threatening him with bodily harm. The crowd was booing him because of an insulting remark he directed at them. That they responded with boos was cause enough for Caplis to hysterically claim that the crowd was “bloodthirsty and violent.” If Caplis believes that jeers are the equivalent of bloodthirsty violence, then one can begin to understand how skewed his perspective really is.

At one point, a student asked to sit with the talk show jocks so as to share his views which ran counter to theirs. He was allowed to sit down and participate for all of about 2 minutes before Caplis asked that his microphone be cut off. This student, understandably upset by the blatant hypocrisy of the talk show jocks, stood up and denounced them. The easily startled Caplis jumped to his feet and, ever the alarmist, told his fans that an act of violence had just occurred. There was a bemused CU police officer watching the exchange and he never moved to intervene let alone arrest the student on any charge. It was just another instance of the excitable Caplis trying to win public support by falsely claiming to be, get this, a victim of an imagined act of violence against him. Not even a real act, but one that existed only in Caplis's overactive imagination.

By this point, the crowd had tired of their antics and began to drift off. Though they were entertaining at first, in a bumbling sort of way, their act became repetitive and increasingly shrill. The incongruity of watching 2 wealthy, privileged attorneys with their own talk show calling for the dismissal of a professor on the grounds that his speech was offensive, while simultaneously cutting off callers and removing guests who’s views they did not like, all the while claiming to be victims, ceased to be amusing.

Driving back to Denver, we heard the final caller to “The Caplis and Silverman Show.” He was “Bob from Hawaii.” He identified himself as an American Indian and a military veteran. Bob reminded Caplis and Silverman that the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas had been fighting terrorism since 1492. Caplis and Silverman responded in the predictable way.

They hung up on him.

Next October, these 2 talk show jocks will once again use their show to champion the Convoy of Conquest and denounce Indigenous Peoples and their allies for opposing it on the grounds that "freedom of speech" should reign supreme. In the meanwhile, they will be doing their best to get Ward Churchill fired because they find his words to be offensive.

2 more unpublished letters

Here are a two more letters that were submitted to the local papers and have gone unpublished.

Letter 1

To the Editor:

Considering the uproar over Ward Churchill's essay on 9/11, it is very instructive that almost nowhere have I read anything that considers some basic points:

What is the larger context of the remarks and the reaction to them? hy is this only coming up now, years after the essay was written? Why is it that the dominant culture can and does say many things that are disrespectful, ignorant, and even dangerous, with no outcry, but if an indigenous person says something challenging, there are repercussions?Why is it that some people cannot disagree with another person respectfully, without calling for his dismissal from the University?

The larger context is the general history of the United States government and its relationship not only to indigenous peoples within its borders but also to other nations on the planet, of which Ward Churchill, among others such as Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky have so eloquently written.

This essay has been available since 9/11/2001. Can the fact that this controversy is erupting now have anything to do with the victory that Ward Churchill and 239 others had last week with the acquittals and dismissals of charges against those protesting the celebration of genocide posing as 'Columbus Day'? Go to www.transformcolumbusday.org or coloradoaim.org for more information.

Many times there are racist and ignorant things written and said about indigenous people with nary a comment or reaction. There is definitely a double standard when it comes to something written by an indigenous person, especially someone as astute as Ward. It seems that, when all else fails, there are ad hominem attacks. I urge readers to not be distracted by reactions to a few words, but rather to look more deeply at the validity of his arguments.

It doesn't have to be difficult to disagree with someone's words and still maintain respect for the writer and his work. I don't personally agree with calling victims of the 9/11 attacks 'little Eichmans', but if one reads the entire essay, there is much more nuance and many valid points that are being ignored. Additionally,Ward Churchill's books, such as "A Little Matter of Genocide", should be required reading for anyone in this country whose ancestors came from elsewhere. To try to dismiss a writer as prolific, authoritative, and eloquent as Ward over one comment suggests an organized campaign to discredit not only him, but his ideas, something that should be anathema at a university.

Sincerely, Ellen Klaver

Letter 2

After reading Richard Cohen's piece, "Prince Harry and the Nazis," I was struck by the parallels to the Columbus controversy. The final paragraph epitomizes how the efforts of REWA, TCD and other organizations are interpreted. It becomes an issue of convenience and one cannot be bothered with the truths of Columbus and would rather remain comfortable with the comfort of a lie.

With respect to Mr. Cohen, I have taken some liberty: Our (TCD, REWA and many, many other organizations) ongoing efforts seem like nagging, and because of genocide there are no actual survivors, and the obligation to remember the truth and honor it diminishes. Our efforts to tell the truth are trivialized, mocked and questioned because some people believe and may insist that those "Indians, savages, primitive peoples" had it coming anyway, "We won you lost, get over it."

For most will not attempt to understand because the ongoing painfully unjust treatment of the native peoples of this land is "too dense, a historic burden, a hideously heavy truth about who we can be, no just who we would like to be."

As eyewitness history fades, our purpose burns brighter and we become more dedicated to educate and remember the voices of our ancestors. And so regardless of how far away we get from the event, the truth must still be known and never diminished.


Stephanie Rossi

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Letter to editor-not published-from LJ

The letter below was sent to the Denver Post, RMN, and
the Boulder Weekly.


The absolutely abysmal white male hysteria spewing
forth from the editorial pages of Denver's papers
lately leaves one to conclude that the dismissal of
the 239 anti-Columbus Day defenders' cases must have
seriously hit these sideline commentators in their
racist pride.

Their hypocritical position on the Columbus Day parade
is comparable to a group of white-robed priests
writing in the editorial pages about their First
Amendment right to continue viewing child pornography,
while the victims of their sexual predations take to
the streets to protest outside their archdioceses as
witnesses to these priests' heinous crimes.

Nice imperialist try guys, but the people who are the
victims of genocide and racist hate speech are the
ones who get to make the decisions about what behavior
is harmful to them and when and how the predators who
wield extraordinary power over their lands and lives
will be confronted . When the victims are satisfied
that justice has been done, then and only then will
there be peace in this community.

Lauranna Johnson
Denver, Colorado

Friday, January 28, 2005

Brace Yourselves

First, this call goes out to all AIM members and our allies in the Denver area. At 3 pm today, Friday, January 28th, the Kaplis and Silverman radio show (KHOW in Denver) will be attacking one of our Colorado AIM members, Ward Churchill. We must not stand by while this happens. Anyone who can get to Boulder should show up at the Alferd Packer grill in the University Memorial Center at the CU Boulder campus to confront this attack on us.

One question to ask Silverman and Kaplis is: where did the current story about Ward's 9-11 essay originate? Is it merely a coincidence that local white media commentators (including Kaplis and Silverman) were condemning our acquittals in the Columbus Day trials when suddenly an "exposé" about a three year-old essay rises to the surface? Did this hapen by chance? I don't think so. It is part of a pattern in the local media that when AIM is successful politically or legally -- as in the recent dismissal or acquittal of 243 Columbus resister's cases--then they begin their personal attacks on specific AIM members, and our allies. People should brace themselves for expanded attacks on all of the defenders who were acquitted, and we should all be prepared to respond with strength, resolve and integrity.

All of these attacks by privilged, white columnists (Bob Ewegen - Denver Post, Vince Carroll - Rocky Mountain News, Mike Rosen - Rocky Mountain News, Ed Quillen - Denver Post, David Harsanyi - Denver Post) reflect their fear that our successes spell the demise of their power. Well, they are correct -- their days of unfettered celebration of anti-Indian icons, who have carried out the destruction of our people, are over. Our efforts have shaken powerful people from their seats of comfort. We must keep it up, and we must remember why we are doing this -- for the ideological and physical liberation of our homeland. Resist ever, surrender never.

KHOW show to be in Boulder at 3pm today

The Silverman and Kaplis show will be broadcast live from Boulder today, starting at 3p.m. The purpose of their show, as they stated, is to get Ward Churchill fired from his position as a professor at the university. They will be broadcasting from the Alfred Packer Grill, which is located on the first floor of the University Memorial Center, on the University of Colorado Boulder Campus. This is a call in show and the number is 303-713-8255.

These are the 2 talk show jocks who claimed that no one in the Columbus Day had a right to be angry with the Columbus Day Protests because it wasn't offensive(in their eyes). They also said that the celebration of a man who committed genocide against Indigenous Peoples and enslaved African Peoples was not inciteful. They argued that this sort of celebration was protected as "free speech" and dismissed the TCD requests to have the city take a position condeming the Convoy of Conquest.

Another argument they ridiculed was the one put forth by TCD that taxpayer money was being wasted by the city's annual santioning of the Convoy. Now, they are arguing that their tax dollars shouldn't be spent to continue Ward Churchill's employment at the University.

Feel free to call or attend their show and point out any contradictions you may have noticed.

First Nation protest Highway Act with blockade

The Kashechewan First Nation is currently implementing a blockade to protest the Highway Traffic Act. The Kashechewan Nation predates, but is locaated in, the Canadian province of Ontario.

Kashechewan residents protest Highway Traffic Act

Residents of Kashechewan have organized a peaceful blockade in protest of the limitations put on their people by the Highway Traffic Act, which will be implemented on the winter road.

By Heather Duhn
Wednesday January 26, 2005

Timmins Times — Residents of Kashechewan have organized a peaceful blockade in protest of the limitations put on their people by the Highway Traffic Act, which will be implemented on the winter road.

Tommy Koosees, resident of Kashechewan said his people are upset about the implementation of the Act because they believe the winter road does not meet the standards of the Act.
He said the winter road is more of a trail, which they use to trap, hunt, gather wood, ski-doo, and have access to Moosonee.
Koosees said the implementation of the Act by the Ontario Provincial Police is solely the cause of DeBeers, who wants to minimize traffic for themselves.
full article

ICT-Descending into Ignorance

The following editorial excerpt appears in today's web edition of Indian Country Today.

Once they came for us - Descending into ignorance

It is always a dangerous thing when a country's government turns increasingly fundamentalist around one particular faith, including Christianity. Whatever the attacks on the liberal philosophy, which the ''Christian'' right harshly condemns as the work of the devil on earth, the notion of a secular, tolerant, open-minded society remains the best possible way to democratic intelligence and truth in decision making.

We believe this to be a self-evident truth and one of the most genial of all the foundational elements of the American republic. Formed socially and intellectually from the social climate of the European enlightenment and influenced by American Indian social and governmental examples, the political thought of the U.S. founding fathers rode on some wonderful ''new'' notions of human intellectual, social and personal freedoms. Dominant among these was the freedom of intellectual, scientific pursuit of knowledge, free, precisely, from the dogma of the major Christian churches, given as these were to condemn all new knowledge that might contradict any of their faith-based dictums and mandates.

This was the best of the freedom that America pledged to sustain. Indian people early joined this debate over their own spiritual concepts and traditions with Christian missionaries and what comes across from those early documents is how versatile and free the Indian thinkers were relative to the ''black robes'' who came among them. Indian people died in large numbers to maintain their independence of culture and ownership of their own lands, even as many chose to embrace the narratives of Christian culture beyond or in addition to their own indigenous narratives of emergence and Creation.
Full Ecitorial

Post and News articles about Ward

The Post relegated the acquittals of the C-day Defenders, the dismissals and the subsequent press conferenece to the B section, but today, their article about Ward appears on their front page. It's too bad that the Post editors didn't read Ward's essay a few years ago, when it actually came out, so they could have been more timely with their breaking front page news. Three years later and the story finally breaks in the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. Could it be that last weeks acquittal of Ward had something to do with this "late breaking" 3 year old story? Notice how all of the articles mention the acquittal.
CU prof won't take back 9/11 comments

By Howard Pankratz
Denver Post Staff Writer

Two Colorado congressmen demanded Thursday that a University of Colorado professor apologize for comparing victims of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack to Nazis.

But professor Ward Churchill, chairman of the ethnic studies department at CU- Boulder, said he wouldn't back off his statement that the victims were "little Eichmanns."

His comparison of the victims to Adolph Eichmann, who managed the Nazi plan to exterminate Jews, has split New York's Hamilton College, where Churchill is scheduled to speak on a panel next week.Full Article

The following article is from the Rocky Mountain News.
Churchill a lightning rod

CU prof at center of 9/11 dispute has been there before

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
January 28, 2005

So, people are mad at Ward Churchill. What else is new?

For a man who has weathered anonymous death threats telephoned to his home, the latest turmoil is comparatively tame.

Churchill, chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Colorado, is at the center of controversy - again. This time it's students at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., upset about his scheduled appearance there next week.

They are disturbed by an essay Churchill wrote in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks suggesting they were justified.

In an essay written the day after the attacks, Some People Push Back: On the Justice Of Roosting Chickens, he said America was merely reaping what it had sown through a long history of violent domination and assault upon indigenous peoplefull article

Thursday, January 27, 2005

"The Ghosts of 9-1-1" essay by Ward Churchill

The Ghosts of 9-1-1
by Ward Churchill

Reflections on History, Justice and Roosting Chickens

As ye sow, so shall ye reap

September 11, 2001, will now and forever be emblazoned in the shorthand of popular consciousness as a correlation to the emergency dialing sequence, "9-1-1." On that date, a rapid but tremendous series of assaults were carried out against the paramount symbols of America's global military/economic dominance, the Pentagon and the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center (WTC), leaving about one-fifth of the former in ruins and the latter in a state of utter obliteration. Initially, it was claimed that as many as 5,000 U.S. citizens were killed, along with 78 British nationals, come to do business in the WTC, and perhaps 300 other "aliens," the majority of them undocumented, assigned to scrub the Boors and wash the windows of empire.

Even before the first of the Trade Center's towers had collapsed, the "news" media, as yet possessed of no hint as to who may have carried out the attacks, much less why they might have done so, were already and repeatedly proclaiming the whole thing "unprovoked" and "senseless." Within a week, the assailants having meanwhile been presumably identified, Newsweek had recast the initial assertions of its colleagues in the form of a query bespeaking the aura of wide-eyed innocence in which the country was by then, as always, seeking to cloak itself. "Why, the magazine's cover whined from every newsstand, "do they hate us so much?"

The question was and remains boggling in its temerity, so much so that after a lifetime of spelling out the reasons, one is tempted to respond with a certain weary cynicism, perhaps repeating Malcolm X's penetrating observation about chickens coming home to roost and leaving it at that. Still, mindful of the hideous human costs attending the propensity of Good Americans, like Good Germans, to dodge responsibility by anchoring professions of innocence in claims of near-total ignorance concerning the crimes of their corporate state, one feels obliged to try and deny them the option of such pretense. It is thus necessary that at least a few of those whose ravaged souls settled in upon the WTC and the Pentagon be named.

At the front of the queue were the wraiths of a half-million Iraqi children, all of them under twelve, all starved to death or forced to die for lack of basic sanitation and/or medical treatment during the past ten years. These youngsters suffered and died because the U.S. first systematically bombed their country's water purification, sewage treatment and pharmaceutical plants out of existence, then imposed a decade-long--and presently ongoing--embargo to ensure that Iraq would be unable to repair or replace most of what had been destroyed.4 The point of this carefully calculated mass murder, as was explained at the outset by then-President George Herbert Walker Bush, father of the current Oval Office occupant, has been to impress upon the Iraqi government--and the rest of the world as well--that "what we say, goes."5

In other words, though no less bluntly: "Do as you're told or we'll kill your babies."Full essay

"Free Speech Champions" want Ward Churchill to resign

This article appeared in today's edition of the Rocky Mountain News.

CU prof's essay sparks dispute
Ward Churchill says 9/11 victims were not innocent people

By John C. Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News
January 27, 2005

A University of Colorado professor has sparked controversy in New York over an essay he wrote that maintains that people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were not innocent victims.

Students and faculty members at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., have been protesting a speaking appearance on Feb. 3 by Ward L. Churchill, chairman of the CU Ethnic Studies Department.

They are upset over an essay Churchill wrote titled, "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens."

The essay takes its title from a remark that black activist Malcolm X made in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
full article

It's obvious that this column-and today's self righteous indignation by the usual reactionary suspects- was motivated by the acquittal of Ward as one of the 8 defenders in last weeks trial.

Colorado State Representative, Bob Beauprez, saw an opportunity to score political points with his conservative base and demanind that Ward not only apologize, but resign as well.

CU Distances Itself From Controversial Prof.

Jan 27, 2005 5:03 pm US/Mountain
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) The University of Colorado said Thursday a professor who compared the victims of the World Trade Center attacks to Nazis doesn't reflect the views of the school but that he has a right to express his opinion.

Also Thursday, a Colorado congressman called the comments "outrageous" and urged the professor, Ward Churchill, to resign.

Churchill, chairman of the ethnic studies program at CU, has been invited to speak next month at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., where news of his visit ignited protests. full article

Really, if apologies are to be issued, Bob Beauprez should issue an apology to the Indgenous Peopls who were massacred and driven out of the State of Colorado so that he could sit around and hypocritcally condemn an American Indian. I suggest that people call Beauprez's office, at 303-940-5821, and urge him to issue a formal statement, apologizing for benefitting off the murder of Indigenous Peoples.

Also, 2 radio talk show jocks have been urging that people sign an online petition calling for the termination of Ward from the University of Colorado. They say that his essay is inciteful and is not protected as free speech. They also claim that, as taxpayers, they do not want their tax dollars going towards a person who's speech they don't agree with.

And yet, last week, these 2 same guys were arguing that celebrating an indian killer and African slave trader was not inciteful(to them, of course) and that we should just accept it. They also said it didn't matter that taxpayer money(over a million as estimated by the RMNJ) be spent sanctioning the Columbus Day Convoy because you couldn't put a price tag on free speech. Now they are arguing that taxpayers money should't be put towards Ward, via CU, because they don't like his criticism of U.S foreign and domestic policy.

What happened to Freedom of Speech and the lectures about tolerating the views of someone that you did not agree with? What happened to the admonishments about accepting unpopular views and battling ideas and speech with opposing ideas and speech. Could it be that these people are merely hypocrites who are even more intolerant than the people they criticize? I think we all know the answer to those questions.

Here is the first few paragraphs to WArd's article The Ghosts of 9-1-1-Reflections on History, Justice and Roosting Chickens.

The Ghosts of 9-1-1
by Ward Churchill

Reflections on History, Justice and Roosting Chickens

As ye sow, so shall ye reap

September 11, 2001, will now and forever be emblazoned in the shorthand of popular consciousness as a correlation to the emergency dialing sequence, "9-1-1." On that date, a rapid but tremendous series of assaults were carried out against the paramount symbols of America's global military/economic dominance, the Pentagon and the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center (WTC), leaving about one-fifth of the former in ruins and the latter in a state of utter obliteration. Initially, it was claimed that as many as 5,000 U.S. citizens were killed, along with 78 British nationals, come to do business in the WTC, and perhaps 300 other "aliens," the majority of them undocumented, assigned to scrub the Boors and wash the windows of empire.

Even before the first of the Trade Center's towers had collapsed, the "news" media, as yet possessed of no hint as to who may have carried out the attacks, much less why they might have done so, were already and repeatedly proclaiming the whole thing "unprovoked" and "senseless." Within a week, the assailants having meanwhile been presumably identified, Newsweek had recast the initial assertions of its colleagues in the form of a query bespeaking the aura of wide-eyed innocence in which the country was by then, as always, seeking to cloak itself. "Why, the magazine's cover whined from every newsstand, "do they hate us so much?"

The question was and remains boggling in its temerity, so much so that after a lifetime of spelling out the reasons, one is tempted to respond with a certain weary cynicism, perhaps repeating Malcolm X's penetrating observation about chickens coming home to roost and leaving it at that. Still, mindful of the hideous human costs attending the propensity of Good Americans, like Good Germans, to dodge responsibility by anchoring professions of innocence in claims of near-total ignorance concerning the crimes of their corporate state, one feels obliged to try and deny them the option of such pretense. It is thus necessary that at least a few of those whose ravaged souls settled in upon the WTC and the Pentagon be named.

At the front of the queue were the wraiths of a half-million Iraqi children, all of them under twelve, all starved to death or forced to die for lack of basic sanitation and/or medical treatment during the past ten years. These youngsters suffered and died because the U.S. first systematically bombed their country's water purification, sewage treatment and pharmaceutical plants out of existence, then imposed a decade-long--and presently ongoing--embargo to ensure that Iraq would be unable to repair or replace most of what had been destroyed.4 The point of this carefully calculated mass murder, as was explained at the outset by then-President George Herbert Walker Bush, father of the current Oval Office occupant, has been to impress upon the Iraqi government--and the rest of the world as well--that "what we say, goes."5

In other words, though no less bluntly: "Do as you're told or we'll kill your babies."Full essay

Emails for Vincent Carroll, Ewegen, Quillen and Harsanyi

We've been asked to post emails for the various reactionaries that have been pouting about the dismissal of the defenders cases. Here they are.

Vincent Carroll

Bob Ewegen

Ed Quillen

David Harsanyi

Keep in mind that most of their bellowing has to do with trying to impose their sense of superiority. That's why they don't examine and discuss the legal issues in the case or the historical reality of what Columbus did. So, the law and history are not of concern to them.

This is their argument in a nutshell. Columbus Day doesn't offend me(because I a benefit from what was and is being done to Indigenous Peoples and Nations) therefore, it shouldn't offend anyone.

Unpublished letters sent to the RMN and Post

We typically post letters to the editor that never make it into the paper. The Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post have a solid track record of ignoring letters that are written in support of our various actions.

We would like to thank Barbara Cohen and Lauranna Johnson for sending these letters to us.

Papers openly hostile
On this day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz/Birkeneau it is with a heavy heart that I write to the "free and open press" in this city. This is a democracy where we treasure our jury system.

The open hostility of the Denver papers to how a jury of "our peers" decided the Columbus Day case is appalling. You can disagree, don't call your fellow citizens morons for making a decision in a legal case where you did not participate. As a Jew who finds this is becoming increasingly hostile to people who are not Christians, I am also appalled by your lack of sensitivity to the peoples who lived in
this country before it was invaded by Columbus.

Columbus was an admitted slave trader who was personally responsible for the murder of millions of people. Yes, he can be compared to Hitler, Pol Pot, and others who
were likewise responsible for genocide. Those of us who support transforming this "holiday" support celebrating Italian culture. All we have asked is to take out one word from this supposed celebration.

Barbara Cohen
Denver, Colorado

A history lesson for Ed Quillen

In his designation of the north part of Ireland as Protestant and the south part of Ireland as Catholic, Ed Quillen in "These Are Civil Rights?" reveals himself to be long overdue for a lesson in both history and demographics. Fortunately, Professor
Glenn Morris is not the only person in this cow town who can take ole Ed to school.

Despite Mr. Quillen's limp rant against American Indians struggling for national liberation and respect in their own land, and his willful ignorance of his
Ulster Scots' history, the Six Counties of the North of Ireland do NOT belong to the Protestants any more than North America belongs to treaty-breaking whites.

This I know because Ed Quillen's Scot-Irish ancestors, like my own, were invaders and dispossessors of the Native American nations in which he and I now find
ourselves illegal immigrants, as well as Scottish invader-settlers in the North of Ireland who served as mercenary buffers for Anglo-Saxon theft and domination
of the lands and resources of the native and Catholic Irish.

Johnson - my colonized, patriarchal surname - is an Anglicization of the clan name McSeoin (literally, son of Sean). The McSeoins are descendants of the Dal Riada people of County Antrim of the North of Ireland who became Scottish by way of emigration from Antrim to the Argyle area of Pictland in Britain in approximately 500 A.D. under the dynastic leadership of Fergus Mor MacEirc.

Making alliances with the Picts against Roman and Viking rape and plunder, we grew in such strength and numbers as to overwhelm the native Picts so that this area became known as Scotland. Scotti is a Roman word for Irish. Through later conflict with the invading Anglo-Saxons, many Scots were steadily dispossessed of their lands and driven into exile in the urban lowlands and then into the Protestant English "Plantation of Ulster" as a colonizing hedge against the defeated Catholic Irish. Being largely Scots Presbyterian, these settlers often faced as much
exploitation by their Anglican English landlords as the Catholic Irish.

The threat of a Scots Presbyterian/Catholic peasant alliance against these landlords under the leadership of Wolf Tone and his United Irishmen is what gave rise to the counter-Revolutionary Orange Order and its first parades in the 1790s. Wolf Tone, a Protestant, is considered the father of Irish Republicanism because of his daring assertion that the people of the the island of Eire are all Irish whether "Protestant, Catholic, or Dissenter." As this alliance threatened
England's domination of Ireland, the rebellion of Wolf Tone's United Irishmen was brutally suppressed.

However, it needs to be emphasized that saying that the conflict known as "The Troubles" in the North of Ireland today is Protestant versus Catholic is like
saying that the Vietnam War was about Christian versus Buddhist. The problem is one of power - who has it and who does not. In the North of Ireland, the English and their quisling puppets the Ulster Scots Orangemen have held overwhelming control since King William of Orange's defeat of King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. It is this victory that Orangemen all over the North have celebrated
every summer since the late 1700's with an orgy of murderous pogroms of Catholics that often follow the Orange Order's triumphalist parades.

The Loyalist lynch mobs who followed Nationalist protesters back to their ghettos to beat and burn them out of their homes subsequent to the Civil Rights marches in the late 1960s was what gave rise to the neighborhood armed defense groups that became the IRA. Some of the most severe rioting in the history of Northern Ireland happened in the Battle of the Bogside (a Catholic ghetto) following an Orange parade in
August 1969 in which the Loyalists hurled pennies from the old walls of the city of Derry down onto the dispossessed, poverty-stricken residents of the Bogside. The Irish response to this state sanctioned celebration of subjugation was a three-day riot that barricaded the ghetto behind No-Go areas that the Loyalist-controlled police were forbidden to enter.

In a familiar echo of triumphalist jeering last October, the paraders in the Columbus Day "Convoy of Conquest" violently hurled candy at American Indian
defenders and their allies in an act of extreme contempt comparable to the Orange Order and their hate-filled, genocidal parades. Needless to say, the Transform Columbus Day alliance has been amazingly restrained in light of such despicable provocations.

Mr. Quillen, you and I are relatives. We belong to the same wave of European-American invasions that overwhelmed and dispossessed, in blatant violation of
numerous treaties, the indigenous nations of this land just as we were once overwhelmed and dispossessed of our indigenous heritage in the lands of our Celtic ancestors. The difference between you and I sir, is that you are on the losing side of history, wrong-headedly making an example of the St. Patrick's Day parade that celebrates native Irish pride and freedom as being on par with an Orange parade that celebrates the Irish people's conquest and subjugation. They are not the same!

The one represents a risen people defending their homelands against another people celebrating the conquest and theft of those same lands. Sound familiar? It should! Every October in Denver, the Sons of Italy - New Generation celebrate Christopher
Columbus and his rape, plunder, and genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Thankfully, it goes not go uncontested. And it never will!

Comparing St. Patrick's Day parades with Orange Parades is like comparing Martin Luther King Day parades with KKK marches. They are not the same and they do not deserve equal protection. A Klan march constitutes ethnic intimidation and is a violation of Colorado law and international law. You know, Mr. Quillen, we hanged the Nazis at Nuremberg for their genocidal conduct in Europe. In addition, we held the German people accountable for failing to prevent the rise of the Nazis in the first place by confronting their racist parades long before they could become
the mass rallies that would ultimately lead to the devastation of two-thirds of the Jews of Europe.

Judge Burd, during the trial of the Denver Eight Defenders in her courtroom, told the jury that there were two times when citizens had great influence over the course of their government - the ballot box and the jury box. But there is yet another box that Judge Burd left unspoken. When the ballot box and the jury box fail to render a just society because of the tyranny of an apartheid government - there is, in the
last resort, the ammo box, as the IRA and South African freedom fighters have more than amply demonstrated.

Let us hope that the good citizens of the city of Denver can come to some reasonable agreement as to what it means to live in respectful, mutually cooperative
relationship with all the Nations, native and non-native alike, in this beautiful land. To begin making this happen, non-Indians like Ed Quillen need to stop whining about their "rights" and start stepping up to their responsibilities.

Otherwise, in the words of Padraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rebellion in Ireland's war for independence from England: "Beware the risen
people / Ye who have bullied and bribed / Ye who have harried and held."

Lauranna Johnson
Denver, Colorado

RMN Editor still chewing sour grapes-Post columnist still clueless

The FMN editorial page is proof that one of the editors is still chewing sour grapes. To the RMN "On Point" author, I would like to offer these familar words of advice. Get over it and move on with your life.

On Point,
January 27, 2005


In their latest flight from reality, Denver's anti- Columbus Day leaders have compared the annual parade to a rally by Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan and demanded Mayor John Hickenlooper declare the gathering unwelcome in his city. Hicken- looper has rejected this outlandish request, and no wonder. Nazis and Klan members are animated by bigotry, hatred and fear; that is the main reason people take on these identities to begin with. Intimidation is part of their historic playbook.

The history of Columbus celebrations - which came into their own in 1892 on the 400th anniversary of the explorer's arrival in the Caribbean - simply isn't burdened with the same ugly freight.

Some who pushed for a national holiday were animated by pride in Italian heritage and achievements of the immigrant community. Others saw the holiday as an opportunity to celebrate the larger accomplishments of America itself.

The parades in the decades since have continued to be affirmations of the positive - whatever Columbus himself may have said or done in a hemisphere so unenlightened at the time that cannibalism and human sacrifice were still widely practiced.

Here, Vincent Carroll once again displays his ignorance of history. He knows nothing about the history of what Columbus did to the Indigenous Peoples of Hispaniola. Columbus was personally responsible for the genocide of the Indigenous Peoples there and Carroll claims that this genocide in no way carries any sort of "freight."

Here's something to keep in mind when people like Carroll dismiss this genocide. He sees this from the vantage point of a privileged, white male who benefits from what Columbus did. Ultimately, that's where his criticism is rooted at. It's in his self interest to minimize the crimes from which he has benefitted from. The same goes for people like Ed Quillen, Bob Ewegen, Dave Harsanyi etc.

Speaking of Dave Harsanyi, he penned this column which appears in today's edition of the Denver Post.

Protesters' acquittal irresponsible
By David Harsanyi
Denver Post Staff Writer

Thursday, January 27, 2005 -

It's national No Name-Calling Week.

No joke. In observance, I will refrain from calling the jurors who acquitted leaders of a Columbus Parade protest in Denver ignoramuses.

But that's where my participation in No Name-Calling Week ends.

As for the eight acquitted leaders, they took the chance after their victory to make self-comparisons to Martin Luther King Jr. and generally revel in their imagined, lofty historical achievement.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, it was clear that these activists were plugging themselves into the wrong end of the civil rights equation.

They're the ones with contempt for the Constitution and freedomfull column

In October, Dave Harsanyi demonstrated his firm grasp of the issues by condeming Vernon Bellecourt for his role in organizing the annual protests in Denver.(In case Harsanyi is reading this-Vernon Bellecourt has never been in Denver on Columbus Day, smart guy)

Harsanyi begins his column in a way that demonstrates a classic case of psychological projection-that is, attributing his own detachment from reality onto those who blocked the Convoy of Conquest.

Joining him in this delusional world is one Dr. Dona De Sanctis.

To compare what these people have done to King is almost sacrilegious," says Dr. Dona De Sanctis, deputy executive director of the Order of the Sons of Italy. "King advocated a peaceful demonstration. He was willing to go to jail for what he believed."

So what's wrong with that quote? Well, for one thing, those that blocked the convoy were peacefully demonstrating. In fact, a jury decided that they had peacefully assembled in the street and all the police officers testified that no acts of violence had occurred on their part.

Another is that Mr Luther King Jr. went to jail in Birmingham, that much is true, but what Dr. Sona De Sanctis and David Harsanyi don't know is that he went to jail after being convicted in court of demonstrating without a permit. What that means is that he was arrested(as were we) went to trial and put on a defense(as the first 8 defender did) but then was convicted and sent to jail by a racist jury(while the first 8 defenders were acquitted). It's obvious that people like Harsanyi, Vincent Carroll, Ewegen, and De Sanctis pine for the good ol days when people of color were kept in their place.

De Sanctis continues.
"It is a miscarriage of justice," says De Sanctis. "The message this sends is that state laws and the Constitution are less important than some political agendas."

What the jury had to decide was whether or not the order given by the police was a lawful order. That's all. The jury decided that the order was not lawful because it told people to disperse-not to leave the street nor to move to the side. The prosecution also couldn't prove that the order had been audible to all of the people in the street. The defenders begin with the presumption of innocence and the prosecution must prove it's case beyond a resonable doubt. Reasonable doubt existed and, thus, the defenders were acquitted. Pretty simple and easy to accept unless you are an angry, privileged, white guy who wants to recreate a history in which African American Peoples were slaves and Indigenous Peoples were exterminated.

As is his trademark, Harsanyi continues to throw out his opinions without any supporting arguments or proof of what he says, such as in the following.
Even if you oppose the celebration, the idea that the marchers were inciting genocide or intimidating someone with hate speech is preposterous.

So why is it preposterous? Well, Harsanyi never explains. I presume it's preposterous simply because Harsanyi says it is. That's the beauty of living in the world of ignorance that people the Harsanyis, Vincent Carrolls, Bob Ewegens and Ed Quillens of the world inhabitate. You don't have to know the issues, you don't have to be present at the trials, you don't have to understand the legal arguments put forward by the defense attorneys and you dont have to understand the history of this country. They can still hold forth and be taken seriously by people are frighteningly even more detached from reality, and ignorant, than they are.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Post and RMN cover yesterday's TCD press conference

The Transform Columbus Day alliance held a press conference yesterday morning. What follows is the media coverage of the conference by the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. The Denver Post also has an editorial.

The Denver Post article,
Columbus parade to march on

By Howard Pankratz
Denver Post Staff Writer

The 2005 Columbus Day parade will go ahead as planned in Denver, one of its key organizers said Tuesday, even as several groups called for the repeal of Columbus Day as a state and national holiday.

"It's ... celebrating our heritage. We will have our motorcycle guys, we will have our floats, the older people and the younger children," said George Vendegnia, founder of the Sons of Italy-New Generation and a parade organizer.

Hours earlier, organizations representing the more than 200 protesters arrested for blocking last year's parade called for the repeal of Columbus Day as a state and national holiday. They also asked the mayor and City Council to take "the moral position that celebrations to Columbus are no longer welcome in Denver ..."full article

The Denver Post editorial
Denver, there oughta be a law

You've heard the phrase, "There oughta be a law ... ." Well, it turns out there's not. That's why the city attorney bit his tongue the other day and decided to dismiss charges against 230 protesters who blocked last year's Columbus Day parade.

We think there oughta be a law that protects the right of lawful assembly. The state does have such a statute on the books and Denver should adopt a municipal ordinance to serve a similar purpose in Denver.

Last week, eight leaders of the Oct. 9 Columbus Day protest were acquitted by a jury on charges of failing to obey a lawful police order. Then, on Monday, County Judge Kathleen Bowers dismissed loitering charges against 75 of the protesters. County Judges Aleene Ortiz-White and Doris Burd earlier had dismissed the loitering charges in other cases.The protesters were charged with loitering in the first place because the city has no ordinance that forbids blocking a roadway or interfering with a lawful event. According to City Attorney Cole Finegan, officials are now looking into drafting laws to cover such contingencies.full editorial

The Rocky Mountain News article.
Columbus Day protesters seek to abolish the holiday

Parade organizers say event will go on again this year

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
January 26, 2005

First they won dismissal of criminal charges against them. Now, Columbus Day protesters are seeking elimination of the holiday itself.

At a news conference Tuesday, activists opposed to parades or any other recognition of Christopher Columbus outlined a multipoint agenda for replacing a day in his honor with a multicultural celebration.

But Mayor John Hickenlooper's office has issued a statement that it will not "endorse or oppose" a repeal of the state and national holiday, and Columbus Day parade organizers vow their event will be held again this year.

Columbus Day opponents spoke out against any continued observance honoring Columbus, one day after charges were dropped against 230 protesters who blocked the progress of Denver's Oct. 9 parade.full article

The article is misleading because no one asked that a multicultural fest be sponsored by the city. Channel 4 News also reported the same thing. Perhaps they confused a request to endorse(not sponsor) the 4 directions march which is held the day before the parade. The 4 directions march is open to anyone who wants to join but it's not a multicultural fest.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

2 articles about the dismissal and a weepy op-ed

The first is an article from the Rocky Mountain News.

Parade trials fizzle

City attorney backs off vow to prosecute Columbus protesters

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
January 25, 2005

Never mind.

Three days after firmly vowing to prosecute all the approximately 230 remaining cases against Columbus Day parade protesters, Denver City Attorney Cole Finegan announced Monday that he will instead dismiss them.

Finegan's announcement cited a string of recent judicial rulings in the protesters' favor, plus the acquittal of eight protest organizers who stood trial last week for blocking the Oct. 9 parade.

"After reviewing the facts and the rulings to date, and knowing that the facts will be substantially the same in each case, I do not believe that we have a reasonable likelihood of conviction" in the remaining cases, Finegan said in a prepared statement.

"Accordingly, I will direct our prosecutors to dismiss the remaining cases."

The latest blow against the city came Monday when Denver County Judge Kathleen Bowers dismissed loitering charges against about 75 defendants, following the precedent set by two other judges to whom cases had been assigned.
full article

Next is an article from the Denver Post.
Cases dropped against Columbus parade protesters
Prosecutors do an about-face after a third judge ends loitering charges against the defendants.

By Howard Pankratz
Denver Post Staff Writer

The city of Denver will not prosecute the remaining 230 people who blocked the Columbus Day parade route on Oct. 9, City Attorney Cole Finegan announced Monday.

On Thursday, eight leaders of the protest were acquitted by a jury.

Finegan said as late as Friday that he planned to proceed with the cases. But Monday morning, prosecutors received another setback when County Judge Kathleen Bowers dismissed the loitering charges against the defendants who were to go on trial in her courtroom.

By doing so, Bowers joined two other county judges - Aleene Ortiz-White and Doris Burd - who had dismissed the loitering charges. The cases were divided among the three for trial.

That left the city to prosecute the protesters on a charge of failing to obey a lawful police order.
full article

The last entry comes courtesy of the Rocky Mountain News editorial page. If you hear the sound of splashing drops of moisture it's not rain outside your window-it's the bitter tears of Vincent Carroll as he snivels and throws himself a pity party.

Denver is a tolerant, educated city, but its record in recent years of protecting free speech is about as dismal as can be because of the impunity with which self-appointed thought police are able to disrupt the local Columbus Day Parade. City attorney Cole Finegan's decision Monday to dismiss cases related to the disruption of last year's parade is merely the latest evidence of Denver's humiliating failure.

Not that we are pointing a finger at Finegan. His office tried its best to convict the anti-free speech protesters. Unfortunately, a succession of courtroom setbacks and last week's scandalous jury acquittal of protest leaders convinced him the effort was futile.

Finegan says his office will draft new ordinances to cover future disruptions, but the problem is bigger than poorly drafted law. So long as protesters find juries gullible enough to believe their absurd charge that the parade is a form of ethnic intimidation and so ignorant that they fail to see the link between Italian-Americans' right to free speech and their own, Denver officials will continue to have a hard time defending the First Amendment. Link

I guess one should have compassion for a man in so much pain and misery but please forgive me if I respond by having a good laugh at his distress.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Okay, here it is. Keep in mind that this happened because of the legal and political battle waged by the TCD members and the attorneys who volunteered their services for free. This didn't happen because of the goodwill of the City.


Denver, CO, January 24, 2005 - Announcing his decision to dismiss the remaining cases against individuals arrested for disrupting the 2004 Columbus Day Parade, City Attorney Cole Finegan released the following statement on Monday:

"In the past several days, different Denver County judges ruled that Denver's loitering ordinance cannot be used to prosecute the protestors that deliberately disrupted the Columbus Day parade last October. Those judges also granted the protestors' legal motions to suppress evidence that would have aided the prosecution's case. Those rulings resulted in the dismissal of several cases prior to trial.

Today, another Denver County judge ruled that the City cannot prosecute pursuant to the loitering ordinance. The judge also has agreed to allow legal motions to suppress evidence beneficial to the City's case and has scheduled trial dates at least two months into the future.

Based upon these decisions and the jury decision last Thursday to acquit eight of the defendants despite our strong belief that we proved our case, I have concluded that our office should not continue these prosecutions. After reviewing the facts and therulings to date, and knowing that the facts will be substantially the
same in each case, I do not believe that we have a reasonable likelihood
of conviction. Accordingly, I will direct our prosecutors to dismiss the remaining

Finegan announced also that his Office began work Monday to draft ordinances, modeled upon the state laws that make it illegal to disrupt a lawful assembly and to obstruct a highway or a passageway:

"We hope that these new ordinances will better protect the First Amendment rights of both parade participants and protestors."

Below is an article from the Associated Press.

Charges dropped in Columbus Day protests

By The Associated Press
January 24, 2005

The city attorney said today he will dismiss the cases against more than 230 people charged with disrupting a Columbus Day parade last October, citing court rulings that crippled the prosecution.

A jury acquitted eight protest organizers last week on charges of disobeying a lawful order after a judge threw out loitering charges. Another judge on Monday threw out the loitering charge against other protesters.

City Attorney Cole Finegan said convictions in the other cases were unlikely because the facts are the same.

Nearly 240 people were arrested Oct. 9 for blocking the parade route in protest of Columbus' landing in America.
full article

rumblings rumblings

Check back this afternoon. We might have some new developments to inform our readers about.

Judge Bowers dismisses the remainder of the loitering charges

This morning Judge Bowers dismissed the remainder of the loitering charges that had been filed against those that demonstrated against the Convoy of Conquest.
There were roughly 240 arrests and all were charged with failure to obey a lawful order and loitering. Collectively, the demonstrators faced a total of 480 charges. All 3 judges dismissed the loitering charges so that means that the city could've only hoped to secure a 50% conviction ratio at best.

Also, roughly 26 defendants have had their cases dismissed altogether or have been acquitted. That leaves a total of 214 charges that the city is trying convict on. Of that 215, it seems as if the city has realized it can't convict the juveniles so they are likely to dismiss on the 30 juvenile defendants. That leaves roughly 185 cases that the city can convict on if they win on the rest. 185 out of 480. The best the city can hope to accomplish is a 38% conviction ratio.

The city is determined to vindicate itself by starting 3 trials tomorrow. Judge Bowers reportedly gave the city prosecutor 15 minutes to consider whether or not he would pursue the disobeying a lawful order charges against 6 defendants this morning, telling him that "it's going to be difficult for you to rehabilitate a fractured cases"

Of course the city attorney chose to go forward with prosecuting the cases.

3 trials being held tomorrow-January 25.

All of the cases, against the demonstrators, were divided up between 3 judges. Those 3 judges are Burd, Bowers and Ortiz-White. All 3 judges have scheduled trials to begin in their courtrooms tomorrow. The acquittal of the first 8 defendants was only the beginning and we are encouraging our supporters to be in those 3 courtrooms tomorrow.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

City attemtps to save face by prosecuting more demonstartors

Yesterday, the city made it clear that they are going forward with the prosecution of those that demonstrated against the Convoy of Conquest. As David Lane(attorney for the demonstrators) notes, the city is "going to turn their attention to juveniles and high school kids,"

What it comes down to is Cole Finnegan and his staff trying to save face by convicting someone, anybody, even if that means convicting an 8 year old defendant. Mayor John Hickenlooper can order Finnegan to dismiss these charges whenever he feels like it, but he is more concerned with appeasing the convoy organizers, most of whom don't even live in the city of Denver. Will either of these men be guided by their conscience or will they continue to behave like moral coards?

City to pursue parade trials
Official undeterred by legal setbacks

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
January 22, 2005

City officials aren't backing off plans to prosecute about 230 more people arrested at last year's Columbus Day parade, despite losing the first eight cases that went to trial.

"Our plan is to proceed," said City Attorney Cole Finegan. "We consider all the factors, but for the time being, yes, the plan is to move forward."

Jurors returned not guilty verdicts Thursday in Denver County Court for eight leaders of a protest that blocked the progress of the Oct. 9 Columbus Day parade.

All had been charged with failure to obey a police order to disperse.

During the three-day trial, defense lawyers argued that the defendants, including three prominent American Indian Movement activists, believed they had a moral duty stemming from their belief that a parade celebrating Christopher Columbus is an illegal act of ethnic intimidation because it honors a man they blame for the genocide and oppression of millions of American Indians.
Full Article

So who is responsible for continuing these cases?

There are 2 primary people who are responsible for the continued prosecution of the remaining defendants. One is the Mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper.

The other is City Attorney Cole Finnegan.

We will be featuring these 2 in the umpcoming weeks and trials. If I could subtitle these posts, I would have called this one "Portraits in moral cowardice" or maybe "The New Indian Fighters."

Whiners have their say on their editorial pages

On cue, the whiners at the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post are having their pity party on their editorial pages. Neither of the people who penned the following op-ed pieces were even at the trial. However, that doesn't stop them from holding forth on an issue they know very little or nothing about. As we say in regards to Columbus Day supporters-Some people are proud of their ignorace.

The Rocky Mountain News makes an obligatory gesture by observing that the city is trying to save face by attempting to convict children, college students and elders. Having done that, the editorial veers back onto the ideological path that the RMN is more comfortable travelling on.

Intimidation law sadly misused

What about first amendment?

January 22, 2005

Given a jury's acquittal this week of eight leaders of a protest that blocked Denver's Columbus Day parade, we're surprised at the city's decision to proceed with trials of more than 200 others arrested in last year's event. Juries might convict some of them, but it hardly seems fair for protest leaders to get off scot-free while others are treated more harshly.

If officials are serious about protecting the rights of future parade participants - as they clearly are - they should be asking City Council to pass an ordinance making it an offense to "knowingly interfere with a permitted parade." There is no such offense on the books, meaning the city attorney's office had to prove protest leaders heard police orders that they refused to obey. But the defendants insisted they couldn't hear the orders above the din.

If jurors believed them, that would be a genuine basis for acquittal. Unfortunately, it appears jurors were also swayed by less creditable arguments - arguments that if universally applied would effectively repeal the First Amendment.full op-ed

This next editorial is a hysterical rant by some right wing, white guy who thinks an army of American Indian Nazi/thought police/goons are coming to get him in the dead of night(ever notice how these right wingers try to paint themselves as persecuted victims by claiming solidarity with Jewish Holocaust victims and African Americans in the south-when reality, the Bob Ewegens of the world would have zealously implemented the policies of the Nazis and the southern racists).

Victory for political correctness

By Bob Ewegen

Political correctness won a victory in Denver Thursday, but your rights under the First Amendment were defiled.

That travesty occurred when a Denver jury, in a blatant act of jury nullification, decided that the U.S. Constitution doesn't apply to anyone whose views offend Glenn Morris.

Morris was a leader of the protesters who illegally blocked the 2004 Columbus Day parade, thereby depriving parade participants in particular and Italian-Americans generally of the rights of free speech and freedom of assembly.

In all, 239 protesters were arrested for disobeying police orders to stop blocking the parade. Morris and seven of his fellow Thought Police responded by arguing in court that they had a right to block the Italian-Americans because a celebration of Columbus was "hate speech." In a staggering display of chutzpah, this PC goon squad described themselves as "human rights activists" while labeling their victims, the Italian-Americans, as practitioners of "ethnic intimidation."full op-ed

The subtitle of the following RMN editorial is What about first amendment? In the trial, the jury heard that the first amendment isn't the only amendment. There is also the 9th and 14th amendment to consider. Also, there is no such thing as absolute free speech in the United States. Hate speech is not allowed. You cannot put up a sign that says White Only in your store. You cannot make threats against the president of the United States nor can you make sexual comments to people in the workplace. It's pure speech but this society has decided those types of speech are not allowed. There are all manner of speech that is restricted in the U.S but the closet racists try and hide behind the first amendment.

Would these so-called first amendment absolutist feel the same way if a group were to get a permit and hold a parade in honor of Osama bin Laden? Say, on September 11, 2005, a group of people were to hold a parade, through downtown Denver, celebrating the actions of Osama bin Laden-would these same "freedom of speech champions"advocate on their behalf? Could their ideology have something to do with the brands of speech they champion?

Friday, January 21, 2005

2 articles about the acquittal

Here are 2 articles about yesterday's acquittal of the first 8 defendants to go on trial for confronting the Columbus Day Convoy of Conquest.
Leaders of parade protest acquitted
By Howard Pankratz
Denver Post Staff Writer

The eight leaders of the protest who blocked the 2004 Columbus Day parade were acquitted Thursday, and they immediately asked the city to halt similar Columbus Day parades in the future.

"What this verdict says is that hate speech should be relegated to the past," said Glenn Morris, one of the defendants.

Morris also said that charges pending against dozens of others should be dismissed.

"It is time for the mayor and city attorney to drop all the charges. We call on the people of Denver to demand that all the charges be dropped," Morris saidFull article

The Rocky Mountain News article appears below.
Columbus Day parade activists acquitted
Verdict may bode well for 200 others arrested at protest

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
January 21, 2005

Eight activists charged with failure to obey a police order during a protest of last year's Columbus Day parade in Denver were found not guilty Thursday.

The clean sweep for the defendants, who were represented by lawyers who took their cases for free, may bode well for more than 200 other people arrested at the same event

"This was a case about justice and about historic truth and honesty," said one defendant, Glenn Morris, a member of the American Indian Movement. "Hate speech in Denver should be relegated to the past."

The eight defendants were acquitted in Denver County Court by a six-member jury, which deliberated for three hours. They were among those charged with failure to leave the intersection of 19th and Blake streets Oct. 9, where they gathered to block the annual Columbus Day parade, whose participants had a city permit for the event.

The protesters, members of the Transform Columbus Day Alliance, which includes a number of leaders from the American Indian Movement, see the Columbus Day parade as ethnic intimidation, a celebration of the mass genocide and oppression of American Indians and the birth of the slave trade between Africa and North America.full article

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Transform Columbus Day Statement

Issued by TCD on 1/20/05

Activists Who Stood Against Columbus Day “Parade” Acquitted

In the same week that Denver celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., the city today witnessed a major victory for human rights and
civil liberties in the tradition of Dr. King. After two days of eloquent
testimony, a jury has acquitted eight defenders of human rights of charges
brought against them by the city for their principled opposition to the
“celebration” of Christopher Columbus on October 9, 2004, a “celebration”
that as testimony established, was in reality a form of hate speech and
ethnic intimidation, an incitement to racism and a symbol of ongoing
genocide against American Indians.

“Today, the people of Denver have spoken, that justice and historical truth
will prevail, and that the days when genocide is sanctioned by the state and
celebrated are over” said Glenn Morris, one of the eight defenders who were
acquitted and a member of the leadership council of Colorado AIM.

As Dr. King and others in the civil rights movement stood against racism and
legalized segregation, last October 239 brave individuals stood against a
so-called parade that represented 500 years of genocide, slavery and racism.
Eight of them, Chicano, Latino, Native American, Japanese American, Italian
American and African American, took part in a consolidated trial during
which they had the opportunity to explain to a jury why they were not only
morally but legally obligated, under U.S. and international law, to do all
they could to stop an event that is no less an affront to basic human
values, and Constitutional guarantees of equal rights, than the Jim Crow
regime Dr. King fought against.

The not guilty verdict by a six-member jury represents a vindication of the
actions of all those 239 people, and a firm rejection of the city’s
sanctioning of the hate speech represented by that “parade.” With this great
victory, the members of the Transform Columbus Day Alliance are more
determined than ever to end the “celebration” of genocide and racisms in
this state, and to transform the Columbus Day holiday into a day of respect
for all Colorado’s diverse cultures.

Defenders of human rights and justice acquitted in Columbus Day trial

20 January 2005
City and County Building Denver, CO

For the past fifteen years we, the defenders of justice in this case, have worked to Transform Columbus Day. We have attempted to move this city, this state and this country to a more respectful and a more honest future. Today, six members of this community joined with us, acquitting us of all charges, and supporting the position that the days for championing genocide against indigenous peoples through the celebration of Columbus Day, should be over.
In 1992, the City of Denver attempted to prosecute members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) for blocking the Columbus Day hate speech parade. After a three day trial in 1992, the Denver city attorneys were humiliated as the AIM defenders were acquitted of all charges. The city has yet persisted in its defense of hate speech by defending and protecting the Columbus “Convoy of Conquest.”
In 2000, the City of Denver betrayed its agreement with the opponents of the Columbus hate speech parade and arrested 157 resisters. Ultimately, all of the charges were unsustainable, and had to be dropped.
Today, yet again, the city has been rebuked for its state sponsorship of race hate. The city seems willing to accept its role as heir to those cities like Selma and Birmingham, AL that used “the law” to maintain racist segregation. In the case it lost today, the city was unsuccessful in maintaining the status quo of ongoing racism against indigenous peoples.
The defenders in this case, as with the Transform Columbus Day Alliance, represent diverse communities, red, yellow, black, brown, and white. We stand united and in complete solidarity in opposition to all forms of race hate, and we affirm our commitment to a mutually respectful society.
All of us were charged with failure to obey the law, yet the city’s attorneys, supported by the judge, refused our justified efforts to discuss all of the appropriate and applicable law, including the Constitution of the United States, treaty law (especially treaties between the U.S. and indigenous peoples) and international law.
Despite the efforts of the city and the court to deny us a complete defense, the jury recognized the truth of our arguments joined us in the historical movement for justice. We commend the jury, and we all recommit ourselves to this struggle.
We now call upon the City of Denver to dismiss the remaining charges against the other 230 defendants in these cases. We call upon the people of Denver to condemn the abuse of their tax dollars through the prosecution of these cases, and ask the people of Denver to demand that the mayor and the city attorney cease the indefensible and fiscally irresponsible support of the racist and divisive Columbus Day “Convoy of Conquest.”

All Eight Defendants Found Not Guilty

Details to follow.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Trial update-Day 2

Here is a summary of Day 2 in the trial of the first 8 defendants who were arrested for protesting the Columbus Day Convoy of Conquest. This is courtesy of the Transform Columbus Day website.

After calling two Denver police officers (Division Chief Cooper and Commander Sandoval) plus showing video footage from the protests, the City of Denver rested its case around 12:00pm, Jan. 19th. The defense presented five witnesses who delivered a very strong and compelling testimony, both about their personal reasons for being involved in protesting the celebration of genocide and also about the socially transformative work of the TCD Alliance.

Glenn Morris was the first witness for the defenders in the afternoon. He was certified as a constitutional law expert by the court and testified as to the doctrine of discovery, its historical and contemporary significance to the indigenous people of the Americas, the relation of the doctrine of discovery to the celebration of Columbus. He also testified to the pattern of ethnic intimidation targeted towards indigenous people in Denver around Columbus Day and how the explicit celebration of colonialism is a violation of Colorado, US and international laws and the equal protection clause in the US Constitution.

Nita Gonzales testified about Escuela Tlatelolco, about Aztec culture and how it has been denied in the public schools, about the Crusade for Justice, about the indigenous and Chicano alliances, about the Transform Columbus Day Alliance and how the Four Directions March honors all people. How the holiday denies the cultural heritage of her children.

Rev. Reginald Holmes testified how Columbus represented genocide in the Americas and the enslavement of indigenous and African peoples.

Glenn Spagnuolo testified about his Italian heritage (his parents are from Italy) and how he learned about the history of indigenous peoples in this continent. He talked about a sense of shame when he found out that some Italians in Denver were celebrating Columbus and how he worked to approach the pro-Columbus Italians and was rebuffed.

Troylynn YellowWood spoke about her involvement in the Four Directions March and the energy and power of having all nations of people, she represents five generations of her family. everyone knows about Columbus and the people who came with me but no one knows about the people he destroyed.

The last two witnesses for the defense will be Natsu Saito and Ward Churchill. After their testimony the summations will begin; at the end of the summations, the jury will begin deliberations. It's estimated that the jury will begin deliberations by noon tomorrow.

Prosecution begins it's case

In the trial of the first 8 defendants, the opening statements were made late yesterday afternoon and the prosecution is currently taking testimony from it's first witness. We'll post updates throughout the day. Here are 2 articles from the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News.

Clash over jurors starts off Columbus Day parade trial

By Amy Herdy
Denver Post Staff Writer

Like the parade and all its controversy, the start of what is known as the "Columbus Day trial" began with color and conflict.

Faced with prosecuting eight of the more than 200 protesters arrested in Denver on Oct. 9 for blocking the parade, assistant city attorneys were rebuffed Tuesday in an effort to have two potential jurors dismissed. A defense attorney said the prosecutors' move was racially motivated, with one of the targeted potential jurors having American Indian heritage and the other, Hispanic - backgrounds that match most of the defendants. Both people were chosen for the jury.

"It's shocking," said David Lane, attorney for three defendants charged with disobeying a lawful order. "They were trying to challenge the jurors based on race. Twice they tried it, and twice they were rejected. They got caught."<full article

The Rocky Mountain News article follows
Parade protest trial starts

Opening statements draw on history, rights of citizens

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
January 19, 2005

Eight organizers of last year's Columbus Day parade protests in Denver went to trial Tuesday, and at times the proceedings sounded more like a civics lesson than a legal process.

In his opening statements at Denver County Court, defense attorney David Lane told a jury of six women and two men - two of them are serving as alternates - that his clients chose to obstruct the parade because they saw it as a celebration of the destruction of the Native American culture.full article

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Jury seated for the first trial

The jury for the first 8 defendants was seated at 1:50 pm. The jury pool included one TCD member who,unsurprisingly, was removed via the prosecutors. One of the potential jurors also stood up and asked why the city doesn't just revoke the permit of the Columbus Day organizers because it causes too much strife in the city. He was removed. Another person said she never gave it much thought, but after seeing the reports of the arrests on television, she thought it over and felt like it was disrespectful to indigenous peoples. She was removed as well.

The defense also won 2 Batson Challenges in the jury selection. This is the definition of the Batson Challenge

Main Entry: Bat·son challenge

Etymology: from Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), the Supreme Court ruling that prohibited the striking of jurors on a racial basis
: an objection in which one party argues that the other has used the peremptory challenge to strike one or more prospective jurors from the panel for a discriminatory purpose in violation of the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution called also Batson objection

The city could not articulate why they wanted to remove a Latino Woman and another lady of American Indian ancestry. The judge sustained the defense's Batson objection.

The opening arguements are set to begin at 2:50 pm. We'll have another update this evening.

Friday, January 14, 2005

loitering charges dropped against 157 defendants

The Columbus Day Defendants are split among 3 different judges. Yesterday, one of Judge Ortiz-@hite dismissed the loitering charges against all defendants in her court, citing the loitering statute unconstitutional. Today, Judge Burd dismissed all of the loitering charges against the defendants in her court. That leaves only a "refusal to obey a lawful order" charge against the majority of the defendants. Also, all charges were dismissed against 7 defendants today because probable cause for their arrest could not be established. Last Friday, all charges against 5 defendants were also dismissed for the same reason. The city of Denver is still proceeding with their plans to put all the remaining defendants on trial for the charges that are still pending against them.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

First trial for Columbus Day Demonstrators set

The first trial for the Columbus Day Demonstrators has been set. The trial will take place in Judge Burd courtroom (151P), in the Denver City and County building,at 8:00 AM.

The first eight defendants will be-

Glen Morris
Nita Gonzales
Rev. Patrick Demmer
Reve. Reginald Holmes
LeRoy Lemos
Ward Churchill
Natsu Saito
Glenn Spagnuolo
Troylynn Yellowwood

We are encouraging all supporters to show up for the trial.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


This is an update on the work our chapter has been involved in over the past couple of months.

In November, several CO AIM members met and ran with the Sand Creek Runners. There was a victory song sang on the states of the State Capitol and afterwards, we hosted a meal for the runners. We've pledged to assist them in the upcoming years.

On December 28, 2004, the Longmong City Council voted to change the name of "Chivington Drive." CO AIM members presented arguments as to why the name should be changed as it honors one of the people responsible for the Sand Creek Massacre. Glen Spagnuola, an Italian American, and his organization were instrumental in fomenting this change and we thank them for their long campaign.

Longmont to rename street

Current name honors colonel who led the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864

By Heath Urie
Denver Post Staff Writer

Longmont - Nearly 100 Longmont residents and others cheered Tuesday night as the City Council voted to change the name of a street that now honors a Civil War hero who later became notorious for leading one of the bloodiest massacres of American Indians.

After three hours of debate, council members voted to find a new name for Chivington Drive, named after Col. John Chivington. The council will revisit the issue at a later meeting to decide what to rename the street. full story

The trials for the Columbus Day Defendants are scheduled to begin next week. Last week there were motion hearings held at the City and County Building in Denver, Colorado. The following article details some of that activity.

Four parade cases tossed


Four parade cases tossed
City 1-for-6 on Columbus Day protest motions

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
January 8, 2005

Denver city prosecutors suffered a string of defeats Friday on cases brought against men and women arrested for protesting last year's Columbus Day parade.

Of the first six cases heard on pretrial motions Friday, four were dismissed for lack of probable cause and another defendant saw one of her two charges dropped. Only one of the six cases survived intact.

That didn't appear to bode well for the city's prospects in prosecuting others among the approximately 230 people arrested Oct. 9 for their attempt to block the Columbus Day celebration. The protesters say the annual fest honors a slave trader responsible for the genocide of 10 million American Indians
Full article

We will keep you informed on the proceedings.