Thursday, June 30, 2011

I didn't learn history as a child and teen...

I learned the delusional stories the victors told themselves, each other and their minions. Thankfully, it's never too late to go back and find it. When it comes to the histories, true stories of what has happened on these bloodied lands, I am thankful to have so many different sources to draw from...

Tonight I jumped from mostly water to people of color organize! and was gifted with this...

It Was a Good Day to Die: 135 Years Since The Battle of the Greasy Grass

Yesterday and today marks 135 years since that settler murderer Custer and the rest of his horde were cut down by the brave and victorious warriors of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho nations. In remembrance of them and their sacrifices I have put together this short piece. It first appeared on my personal site.

Generally known to settler historians as the Battle of the Little Bighorn, or in the more heroic historical fantasy literature of the American settler mythology as Custer’s Last Stand, what is known to us, the Native people of this continent now called America, as the Battle of the Greasy Grass was an attempted massacre of what was thought to be a primarily civilian Indian encampment by the Amerikkkan 7th Cavalry commanded by one of the most cowardly butchers in the employ of the expanding white settler colony, George Armstrong Custer. While Custer had expected to primarily encounter (and slaughter) women and children in the name of Amerikkka, with only a force of 800 “non-reservation hostiles” to defend them, in actually Custer’s own Crow Indian scouts warned him that it was the largest Indian encampment they had ever seen. But he didn’t listen. He was out to kill some Indian women and children in the name of America, white power and personal glory, and he was not to be deterred. When he attacked he was met by a combined Lakota-Northern Cheyenne-Arapaho force of thousands.

This of course was unacceptable to the expanding American white power empire. In order to force this large army of Indians back to their prisons-called-reservations, the American Empire dispatched three army columns to attack them in a coordinated fashion. Having arrived in the eastern portion of what the whites then called the Montana Territory, the main Indian encampment near the Little Bighorn River was spotted on June 25 by Custer and his forces. They also found a nearby group of about forty warriors. Seeking glory against the “savages”, Custer ignored his orders to wait and decided to attack before the small war party could alert the main encampment.

Custer of course in his desire to rush headlong into glorious battle against the Indians did not realize that the actual number of warriors in the village was roughly three times the strength of his own forces. Custer sent troops under Captain Frederick Benteen to prevent the warriors’ escape through the upper valley of the Little Bighorn River. Major Marcus Reno was ordered to pursue the group, cross the river, and charge the encampment in a coordinated effort with the remaining troops under his command. Custer had hoped to strike the encampment at the northern and southern ends simultaneously, but made this decision without knowing what kind of terrain he would have to cross before making his assault. Only later did he discover that he would have to make his way through a veritable a maze of bluffs and ravines in order to attack his target.

Meanwhile Reno’s group of 175 soldiers attacked the southern end. Quickly finding themselves in a desperate battle with little hope of any relief, they withdrew into the timber and brush along the river. When that position proved indefensible for the settler soldiers, they retreated uphill to the bluffs east of the river. They were hotly pursued by a mix of Cheyenne and Lakota warriors.

Just as the warriors had finished driving Reno’s troops out, they discovered that roughly 200 of Custer’s men were coming towards the other end of the village. Cheyenne and Hunkpapa Lakota warriors together crossed the river and slammed into this column of advancing American soldiers, forcing them back to a long high ridge to the north.

Meanwhile, another Indian force, largely composed of warriors from the Oglala band of the Lakota nation under the command of Tȟašúŋke Witkó, swiftly moved downstream and then doubled back in a sweeping arc, enveloping Custer and his men in a pincer move. They began pouring in gunfire and arrows onto his now trapped settler army of wannabe butchers. By now the end was near.

As the warriors slowly closed in, Custer ordered his men to shoot their horses and stack the carcasses to form a wall, but they provided little protection against the warriors’ bullets. In less than an hour, Custer and his men were dead. After yet another day of fighting, Reno and Benteen’s now united forces managed to escape, but only when the warriors broke off the battle.

The deaths of Custer and his personal unit, as well as the general resounding defeat of his forces in pursuit of an attempted massacre of Indian civilians, was the worst American military disaster ever. What began as an attempted slaughter of presumed near defenseless Indian women and children became a massacre of the wannabe massacrers.

However, great as this victory was, it would prove to be one of our people’s last over the imperial American snake. Though the Diné (Navajo & other Apachean peoples), Comanche and other nations in the southern plains and southwest would carry on the fight against imperialism and settler colonialism for some years more, within less than a generation of the battle the great Lakota leaders Maȟpíya Lúta (who the whites call Red Cloud), Tȟašúŋke Witkó and Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake had all either died or surrendered. Tȟašúŋke Witkó and Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake died during attempts to take them into custody by the imperial American military, while Red Cloud surrendered, and would live to 1909, his last years on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

There resistance to the ever encroaching military, economic, cultural and religious domination of the white American settlers would never be forgotten though by Indians of all tribes, and has entered in our history, and the history of all oppressed people struggling against imperialism, as legend. So on this 135th anniversary I, like many other Indians, salute and remember those who gave their lives in one last attempt to save our people and our cultures. As Tȟašúŋke Witkó used to say, it was a good day to die.

Hoka Hey!

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

In the Spirit of Total Resistance

Smash Capitalism!

Long Live the Anti-Colonial Warrior!


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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NOII Plasters Immigration Offices and Banner Drop In Opposition to Anti Refugee Bill C4...

No One Is Illegal dropped a large banner which read: “Canada Jails Refugees” above Highway 1 in Vancouver/Burnaby this morning during rush-hour traffic. The group also stickered and plastered the offices of Immigration Canada with messages to scrap Bill C-4. The actions were in response to the reintroduction of Human Smuggling Bill C-4 that targets refugees for mandatory imprisonment and deportation.

* More photos here:

NOII-Van is also releasing NEW material for our members, friends and supporters to disseminate in this fight against Bill C-4:

1) Info flyer and poster (English) and poster (Multilingual) about Bill C-4.

2) Factsheet ‘Myths about Kenney’s Immigration Record and 10 Reasons to Stop the Tories’. Disseminate widely.

3) I am a Human Smuggler series updated! Harriet Tubman Poster, Sticker, Flyer and Irena Sendler Poster, Sticker, Flyer. JPGs are here.

The People v. Kenney
Freedom to move
Right to stay, and to Return
We are many.

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Wikileaks cablegate - kkkanada...

Currently some Cablegate material is links to other sites. Readers finding broken links should contact the Sixth Estate administrator and request that a full copy of the cable in question be hosted here. Documents in bold have been identified by the editor as being of particular interest or relevance.

On this page...

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Obama...he's so fucking smart...not...

As Obama Quietly Pushes for a Nuclear Weapons Renaissance, Wildfire Threatens Los Alamos Nuclear Lab

In New Mexico, an out-of-control wildfire that began Sunday has already burned nearly 80 square miles and is a mile or less from Los Alamos National Laboratory, home to a nuclear weapons plutonium facility. Pieces of ash from the fire have dropped onto the laboratory grounds, sparking "spot" fires. A senior investigator with the Project on Government Oversight said a fire at the facility would be a "disaster" that could result in large and lethal releases of radiation. Officials insist explosive materials on the laboratory’s grounds are safely stored in underground bunkers made of concrete and steel. But the group, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, told the Associated Press that the fire appeared to be about 3.5 miles from a dump site where as many as 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste were stored in fabric tents above ground. The group said the drums were awaiting transport to a low-level radiation dump site in southern New Mexico. We speak with Greg Mello, the director of the Los Alamos Study Group, a citizen-led nuclear disarmament group based in New Mexico. “Los Alamos Lab is becoming the center of plutonium manufacture for the country,” Mello says, even though “it’s a place with a lot of natural hazards, not just fire, but also earthquakes.”

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Just doing some housekeeping...

i'll re-publishing some older posts i'd taken down. if i come across something really close to my heart i'll update it with a true re-post.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

They are audacious...

“We Are Eager to Get to Gaza”: Democracy Now! Exclusive Report from Greece on U.S. Gaza Aid Flotilla

Up to 50 Americans are set to sail from a Greek port on a U.S.-flagged ship that is part of an international flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and letters of support for Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinian residents. Its fate is now in limbo under the weight of U.S.-Israeli pressure and Greece’s economic turmoil. Israel insists it will enforce its blockade on Gaza, which it says is aimed at stopping weapons from reaching the Hamas government. “The Israelis do have a right to interdict arms traffic. We’re bearing letters,” says Ray McGovern, former senior CIA analyst and passenger on the U.S. aid ship. “How can these letters be considered a threat to the security of Israel?” Democracy Now! producer Aaron Maté is in Athens to cover the journey of The Audacity of Hope, named after President Obama’s bestselling book. He and fellow producer, Hany Massoud, are the only journalists with the U.S. delegation. They file this exclusive report.

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They breed suspicion and sow the seeds of division...

Living Among Us
Activists Speak Out on Police Infiltration

By Tim Groves; June 20, 2011 - Briarpatch Magazine

On June 26, 2010, while the G20 summit was under way amid mass protests on the streets of downtown Toronto, a startling revelation was made that would reverberate through activist communities for months to come. Two undercover police officers had joined protest groups and been living among activists as part of a large-scale investigation that began more than a year earlier, in April 2009.

Following the arrest of four activists that same morning under charges of conspiracy, the Toronto Star reported that “Undercover officers infiltrated criminal extremist groups in Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo and Toronto and forged relationships with several people whose ideological beliefs and backgrounds pose a direct threat to large-scale public events, including the G20,” according to allegations by Crown attorneys.

The case is now under a court-imposed publication ban, which prohibits disclosure of the undercover agents’ identities. While only two officers have been officially acknowledged, documents recently released to Briarpatch support suspicions among activists that infiltration was in fact much more extensive.

Although the names of the two confirmed infiltrators are not yet public, many activists are convinced they know who the officers are.

“One of my former friends disappeared, and it became very obvious to us that she was a police officer,” says Joshua Gilbert, a house painter involved with anarchist organizing in Guelph, Ontario. He describes her as a “motherly type character” who was more interested in being an emotional support than in political organizing. “We became friends with her for a year and a half, and a lot of us became close. I cried on her shoulder and had lots of close conversations with her before realizing that her job was to manipulate people into giving information, and to create social profiles on us.”

“It was really upsetting and infuriating, and I remember feeling isolated and not able to trust people,” recalls Gilbert. “That is part of the point of infiltration … creating this sort of fear and paralysis.”

The stated goal of undercover investigations is to gather information and to provide testimony in criminal prosecutions, but many activists believe that the paranoia, distrust and divisions they generate are just as damaging, whether or not it is their intended impact.

Infiltration doesn’t have to actually happen to create fear, says Blandine Juchs, a Montreal-based organizer who is supporting G20 arrestees. “It creates fear just by knowing that it could happen.”

Infiltrators are also known to provoke, entrap and criminalize activists. Juchs points to an example from the protests against the 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, where the police infiltrated the “Germinal” activist collective. In order to place an officer inside the group, they set up a front company with the sole purpose of hiring a member of Germinal so that an undercover officer, posing as a co-worker, could befriend him. This officer was then able to join the collective.

“[Germinal] had a plan to break the wall around the summit. Their plan did not involve arms or anything, but the infiltrator proposed to have access to explosives. Because of this, the charges and conditions they got were way worse,” says Juchs.

Gilbert feels that in the lead-up to the G20, undercover police similarly tried to ensnare activists. “They had to come up with some reason why they investigated us for so long. They needed to get charges on people, they needed to entrap people in conversation.”

He believes there was a second undercover officer operating in Guelph who attempted to entrap people by stating his intention to engage in various illegal activities, such as acts of sabotage, hoping to find activists who would responded favorably.

“Immediately people were suspicious,” Gilbert explains. The activists told the man that many of them felt uncomfortable with him and he left Guelph, but was able to join activist groups in other cities.

“A long and ignoble tradition”

Mark Leier, a professor at Simon Fraser University who has studied the use of police spies in Canadian labour organizations, describes police infiltration in social movements as a “long and ignoble tradition in Canada.” Leier states that events like the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike helped shape the mandate of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which was founded the following year with a directive to spy on Canadians, and particularly left-wing and labour organizations.

On some occasions, plainclothes or undercover police officers will attend a specific protest or meeting to gather information, but soon return to other duties. The term infiltrator, however, generally refers to officers who assume false identities for months, or even years. In one case described by Leier, Mountie John Leopold infiltrated the inner ranks of the Communist Party of Canada for over eight years before being exposed in 1928.

The RCMP has since continued to use undercover officers, infiltrating unions, Black Power groups, the FLQ, Indigenous groups, anti-war movements and other organizations.

Leier emphasizes that the use of undercover officers is just one of many surveillance tactics employed by the RCMP; others range from reading a group’s public literature and opening their mail to wire-tapping, placing people under surveillance, and coercing or paying members of a group to become police informants.

According to professor Gary Kinsman, who studies surveillance in Canada, the infiltration ahead of the G20 was one of the longest periods of infiltration in recent decades.

“For those people who experienced this [at the G20] and didn’t expect it to be happening, it may have been seen as shocking or unique. But if you have a longer view of Canadian history, this is pretty standard for how the security police have related to various social movements,” says Kinsman.

Infiltration and the G20 security apparatus

The undercover officers who infiltrated activist groups ahead of the G20 were part of the Joint Intelligence Group (JIG), which was tasked with monitoring all suspicious activity and threats to the security of the G20 summit. As a collaborative umbrella organization, JIG brought together a range of intelligence-gathering agencies with different rules and regulations to carry out a broader range of activities than any one agency could alone.

According to Crown attorney Vincent Paris, quoted in the Toronto Star, JIG was made up of the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police and a variety of local police forces across Ontario, including the Toronto Police Service.

Documents from Canada’s main intelligence agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), show that it was also part of JIG. Several lesser-known intelligence agencies, including the Canadian Forces National Counter-Intelligence Unit (CFNCIU) and the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), were also involved in intelligence gathering.

Documents made available to Briarpatch through an Access to Information request reveal that the investigative arm of JIG, called the Primary Intelligence Investigation Team (PIIT), had a mandate to “detect, deter, prevent, investigate, and/or disrupt threats” to the summit.

According to the documents, PIIT used a wide array of investigative techniques including “the recruitment of confidential informants and undercover operations” and was “divided into 13 investigative teams, in addition to an RCMP Covert Operations Team [COT].” Some PIIT teams conducted surveillance on the various forms of transportation used to get protesters to Toronto for the demonstrations. Other teams were comprised of “Event Monitors” who were placed inside the crowd to report on the “temperament and tempo” of demonstrations.

It was the COT that was charged with conducting “undercover operations to uncover criminality in relation to the 2010 G8-G20 Summits.”

While Paris told the Toronto Star that there were only two undercover officers, activists suspect that there was a much greater number of undercover police infiltrating activist organizations across the country ahead of the G20 – not only in Guelph, Toronto, Kitchener and Waterloo, but also Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. Activists’ suspicions are usually directed at those who joined groups in the lead-up to the G20 then disappeared shortly before the summit commenced, and who have been unreachable ever since.

Activists also speculate that infiltration was not limited to militant protest groups or those using direct action tactics, but that undercover police were also placed in a variety of groups that were clearly not involved in any criminal activity. This includes a group of legal observers, a media centre for independent journalists and a team of street medics who volunteered to provide first aid to those on the streets.

“It is not like any one element can be the proof – people disappear from movements all the time. I am glad they are not all cops,” says Blandine Juchs. But she believes that when several factors all point to someone being an infiltrator, “it can become clear.”

RCMP documents acquired by Briarpatch suggest that there were indeed more than two infiltrators, though they do not reveal the identities of any undercover officers.

In a section of the documents dealing with covert and undercover operations, the document states that “JIG has assigned 12 trained covered investigators and will conduct active operations as directed by the Primary Investigator.”

When asked if “covered investigators” are synonymous with undercover investigators, the RCMP refused to comment, stating that answering any questions ”could compromise ongoing criminal prosecutions, civil litigation and other inquiries.”

“You can’t know for sure,” says Juchs when asked if she believed there were 12 infiltrators. “To know for sure there is an infiltrator you have to go through a trial and the police have to decide to use the testimony of that infiltrator.”

Strategies for dealing with infiltration

Activists often speak of infiltrators in hushed whispers. Juchs believes that more dialogue about infiltration is needed, including discussions about how to organize effectively despite their presence. She has witnessed activists become so preoccupied with protecting themselves from infiltration that it becomes an impediment to achieving broader goals.

Juchs explains that in Montreal, while there were strong suspicions that some people who disappeared after the G20 were undercover officers, it was decided that the “emotional and energy cost” of trying to expose them was too great.

“We decided, ‘Okay, we are never going to know for sure; we are just going to move on, we have other things to do,’” says Juchs.

“I am not saying we shouldn’t investigate; I am just saying we shouldn’t overestimate our capacity,” she adds.

Gilbert feels that if people had gotten to better know the infiltrators they worked with in Guelph and asked them more questions about their personal histories, that some of the inconsistencies in their stories would have emerged.

“I think with certain security precautions it would be a lot harder for infiltrators to become a part of our network easily,” he told Briarpatch.

However, he feels some security measures can backfire.

“I try to stay really far away from the idea of hunting infiltrators and informants,” says Gilbert. He advocates a model he calls building a “base of safety,” which helped him overcome the feelings of isolation that plagued him when he first concluded that he had been friends with an undercover officer.

“Ask yourself what you know about the people who are in your network and who you organize with, and try to close the social distance between them to understand people’s social history and where they are coming from, in order to organize with them effectively,” says Gilbert, explaining this model.

He believes getting to know people better will allow activists to grow and build networks that connect to more people, instead of closing themselves off.

A very different perspective on how to combat infiltrators is advocated by Macdonald Scott, a Toronto activist and legal worker. After 20 years of organizing with groups in Canada and the United States, he has seen countless groups struggling with the impacts of infiltration. He worries that it is all too easy for activists to draw the wrong conclusions.

“I have seen a tendency within organizations to say ‘we will close our membership, we will really carefully scrutinize [new people],’” he says, explaining that he doesn’t think this will stop some infiltrators from blending in seamlessly.

Scott points to an example from the U.S. in the late 1980s where an undercover officer infiltrated Earth First!, a radical environmental movement, and was able to gain the complete trust of Peg Millett, a key organizer from the group.

“The infiltrator who got her was sleeping with her for two years,” explains Scott. He believes the FBI created a psychological profile of Millett in order to place an infiltrator who matched her interests.

Scott believes that rather than heighten secrecy, organizations should embrace open and democratic ways of organizing, whereby infiltrators aren’t able to easily impede activists’ ability to fight for a better society.

Scott is troubled by the way some organizations have been responding to reports of infiltration since the G20.

“The fear of infiltration becomes more damaging than the actual infiltration. It becomes a stymieing of growth, discussion and debate within our movements. That is what worries me, and I see that now, post G20,” he says.

Scott feels that the real strength of infiltrators is that they can exacerbate existing divisions or conflicts within a group. “We need to focus on figuring out ways of dealing with our divisions constructively, figuring out more democratic ways to disagree with each other, yet still support each other and work in solidarity.”

Scott believes the best way for activists to combat infiltration is to focus on their strengths.

“We are not good at being cops or trying to investigate each other like we are cops; what we are good at is … creativity. We are good at diversity when we are doing well. We are good at engaging people and involving people. We should focus on those things rather than focusing on creating internal police forces, or internal secret services to sniff out the cops,” says Scott. “We should be focusing on being democratic and using the strength of being democratic to create a revolution.”

Tim Groves is a Toronto-based investigative journalist and researcher.

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New Orleans Police Violence...

from dissident voice via mostly water...
this must be a rhetorical question...

Did New Orleans Media Ignore Police Violence After Hurricane Katrina?

by Jordan Flaherty / June 27th, 2011

Opening arguments begin today in what observers have called the most important trial New Orleans has seen in a generation. It is a shocking case of police brutality that has already redefined this city’s relationship to its police department, and radically rewritten the official narrative of what happened in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina. Five police officers are facing charges of shooting unarmed African-Americans in cold blood, killing two and wounding four, and then conspiring to hide evidence. Five officers who participated in the conspiracy have already pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against their fellow officers.

The shootings occurred on September 4, 2005, as two families were fleeing Katrina’s floodwaters, crossing New Orleans’ Danziger Bridge to get to dry land. Officers, who apparently heard a radio report about shootings in the area, drove up, leapt out of their vehicle, and began firing. Ronald Madison, a mentally challenged man, was shot in the back at least five times, then reportedly stomped and kicked by an officer until he was dead. His brother Lance Madison was arrested on false charges. James Brissette, a high school student, was shot seven times, and died at the scene. Susan Bartholomew, 38, was wounded so badly her arm was shot off of her body. Jose Holmes Jr. was shot several times, then as he lay bleeding an officer stood over him and fired point blank at his stomach. Two other relatives of Bartholomew were also badly wounded.

Danziger is one of at least nine recent incidents involving the NOPD being investigated by the US Justice Department, several of which happened in the days after the city was flooded. Officers have recently been convicted by federal prosecutors in two other high-profile trials. In April, two officers were found guilty in the beating of death of Raymond Robair, a handyman from the Treme neighborhood. In December, a jury convicted three officers and acquitted two in killing Henry Glover, a 31-year-old from New Orleans’ West Bank neighborhood, and burning his body.

From Survivors to Looters

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, people around the world felt sympathy for New Orleans. They saw images of residents trapped on rooftops by floodwaters, needing rescue by boat and helicopter. But then stories began to come out about looters and gangs among the survivors, and the official response shifted from humanitarian aid to military operation. Then-Governor Kathleen Blanco sent in National Guard troops, announcing. “They have M-16s and are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and I expect they will.” Warren Riley, at that time the second in charge of the police department, reportedly ordered officers to “take the city back and shoot looters.”

In the following days, several civilians – almost all of them African American – were killed under suspicious circumstances in incidents involving police and white vigilantes. For years, family members and advocates called for official investigations and were rebuffed. “Right after the hurricane there were individuals and organizations trying to talk about what happened on Danziger,” says Dana Kaplan, executive director of Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), a legal and advocacy organization based in New Orleans. “But their voices were marginalized.”

There is evidence that local media could have done a better job. Alex Brandon, a photographer for New Orleans’ Times-Picayune newspaper who later went on to work for Associated Press, testified in the Henry Glover trial that he knew details about the police killings that he didn’t reveal. “He saw things and heard things that proved to be useful in a criminal investigation. He didn’t report them as news,” wrote Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry after the Glover trial concluded.

Former Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan, who led an initial investigation of the Danziger officers, believes an indifferent local media bears partial responsibility for the years of cover-up. “They were looking for heroes,” he says. “They had a cozy relationship with the police. They got tips from the police, they were in bed with the police. It was an atmosphere of tolerance for atrocities from the police. They abdicated their responsibility to be critical in their reporting. If a few people got killed that was a small price to pay.”

Family members and advocates tried to get the stories of police violence out through protests, press conferences, and other means. Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund, an organization dedicated to justice in reconstruction, held a tribunal in 2006 where they presented accusations of police violence – among other charges – to a panel of international judges, including members of parliament from seven countries. Activists even brought charges to the United Nations, filing a shadow report in February 2008 with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva.

But it was not until late 2008 that a journalist named AC Thompson did what the local media failed to do, and investigated these stories in detail. “It’s unfortunate that it took a national publication to really dig to the root,” says Kaplan, referring to Thompson’s work. “In New Orleans the criminal justice system has been so corrupt for so long that things that should be shocking didn’t seem to be raising the kind of broad community outrage that they should have.”

In 2009, after years of pressure from activists and the national attention brought on by AC Thompson’s reporting, the US Justice Department decided to look into the accusations of police violence. This has led to one of the most wide-ranging investigations of a police department in recent US history. Dozens of officers are facing lengthy prison terms, and corruption charges have reached to the very top of the department.

The Danziger trial is expected to last two months. Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Anthony Villavaso, and Robert Faulcon, the officers involved in the shooting, could receive life sentences if convicted. Sergeant Arthur Kaufman, who was not on the bridge, is charged only in the conspiracy and could receive a maximum of 120 years. Justice Department investigations of other incidents are continuing, and it is likely that some form of federal oversight of the department will be announced in the coming months.

• This article originally appeared at

Jordan Flaherty is a journalist based in New Orleans and an editor of Left Turn Magazine. He was the first writer to bring the story of the Jena Six to a national audience and his reporting on post-Katrina New Orleans has been published and broadcast in outlets including Die Zeit (in Germany), Clarin (in Argentina), Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, and Democracy Now!. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Jordan, or visit Jordan's website.

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Hooked on growth...

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

There's something about her messed up, mixed up metaphors...

...about her celebrating being such a wrong and dirty little freak that gives me tingles...

2 miscarriages, my father's unexpected death, a birth, the g20 aftermath, a fall 5 stories out of a tree and accompanying operation on one of the partners, friendship losses...hmmmm...i think my mother may have disowned me at some point for not being a compliant and well behaved good girl (line forms to the side), relationship struggles, numerous kinds of comings "out" and goings "in", triumphs, duress, stress and hard won happiness...

it's been a really stressful few years, i realize. and look! i'm still here. ;)

i think this calls for a celebration. so i'm gonna have a small popular music grounded musical stay-cation. care to dance? ;)

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Dirty deadly kkkanadian silver mine...

from angry news around the world...

Lima, Peru - Protests against Canadian silver mine leaves 2 people dead

24/06/2011 - LIMA - At least two protesters were killed Friday in clashes with riot police as anti-mining demonstrators attempted to occupy an airport in southeastern Peru, hospital officials said.

An estimated 1,000 protesters were repelled by some 100 police at Inca Manco Capac international airport in Juliaca as they attempted to breach a security fence with the aim, according to local radio, of occupying runways and disrupting air traffic.

The activists, largely made up of Aymara Indians, resumed protests in the southeastern Puno region earlier this month against mining operations in the area.

For three weeks in May the protesters blocked vehicle traffic between Peru and Bolivia, and then cut off all access to Puno, population 120,000, for a week.
The city is a popular tourist site on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, and hundreds of foreign tourists were unable to leave the city.

The protest began as a demand to revoke a silver mining concession granted to Canada-based Bear Creek Mining Corporation, fearing it will pollute the water and leave few local benefits.

The protests expanded to include opposition to other area mines, and now include opposition to the Inambari project, an ambitious plan to damn several Andean rivers and build what would become one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in South America.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Tactics of police violence used during the G20 are used everyday in poor and racialized communities across Toronto"...

via mostly water...

“G20 Land” and the Real Canada
One Year After the G20 Protests

By Megan Kinch; June 25, 2011 - Toronto Media Co-op

The streetscape of Toronto is overlaid in our minds with stories from the G20 protests. In one such story, memorialized on Youtube [see below], a man refuses to be searched, asserting his rights as a citizen of Canada. “This ain’t Canada now” say the police in the grainy video. “This is G20 land.”

Such interactions were typical during a week, when, in an atmosphere that approached de-facto martial law, over 1000 people were held in inhumane conditions in the Eastern Avenue detention centre. No one knows how many people were detained, dumped from police vans without money or cell phones in remote parts of Scarborough or Etobicoke, searched illegally, kettled by police, sexually assaulted, or beaten.

The police continue to trot out the ‘few bad apples’ line, with only two of their number facing investigation. However, Zexi Wang, a student union leader during the protests, said violations of civil liberties were routine: “In all of the demonstrations and actions that I went to over the G20 weekend, people were snatched by the police, beaten and harassed, sometimes for just walking by the scene of a demonstration. My friends and I were beaten with batons and shot at with rubber bullets.“

Systemic repression doesn’t occur only at summit protests, said Jessica Denyer of the Community Solidarity Network. “It's important not to exceptionalize what happened during the G20 summit as just some type of 'G20 land' where anything went in terms of police repression. Tactics of police violence used during the G20 are used everyday in poor and racialized communities across Toronto -- from ID checks and intimidation to assault.”

On June 27th of last year, during solidarity protests on Eastern Avenue, under imminent threat of arrest, I interviewed an indigenous woman called Ray for the Toronto Media Co-op. “This is real life, this is the real Canada” she told me. “This happens everyday but now you can see it. For us Native people, this is what we ironic that this day in June 2010 it's happening to you now, as non-native people. We've got to stand up for each other. Because whatever they do to Native people they will eventually do to everybody.”

Today, people are gathering at Queens Park, the very site of the brutal clearance by police of the "free speech zone" one year ago. For Marcell Rodden, his arrest at the G20 did not dissuade him from further activism: “We have to exploit every opportunity of freedom to challenge capitalist authority.” he told The Spoke.

‘G20 land’ is Canada, but people will continue to struggle against capitalist austerity towards a better world.

Syed Hussan, a migrant justice organizer, said “Since the G20, organizations such as No One Is Illegal and OCAP have seen a surge in new members, relationships between social movements that usually only organize sectorally have greatly increased. The anger, and the fierce hope that burns in the hearts of those that struggle for a just world could not [possibly] be dampened by such a thing as a few days of police repression. For many this fire has actually grown hotter.”

i remember them, their searches, their goose-stepping, their gang style chants, their weapons, their numbers, their state sanctioned violence. this article is right. they usually keep it to communities and peoples people with sufficient privilege don't give a shit about. i'd seen their aggression before then. my first encounter with the law was as a child under the age of ten. i still remember what it felt like to be criminalized as i sat in the back seat driven home because the neighbours did not think a Black working class child from the roach motels on the mainstreet had a right to do any form of activism. i learned about the storm troopers very early on in life. but yes, (rolls eyes) i do understand and have often been reminded since last summer that for many this event was the first time they'd ever been treated that way. heh. privilege.

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Adding more nuanced info re poly to my okc dating profile...

this was a long time coming. in a city like toronto where so many people tend to use the "well let's see how/where things go approach to negotiating and crafting poly relationships", i definitely don't see me getting a lot of positive feedback for writing it. whatever. feedback and external validation can be such tools of oppressive disempowering control.

so, i inserted a version of this into my okc profile as it stands...

"if you're reading this because you're interested in one of the sister wives you should know that i have been in active conversation with them, fully participating in them locating other lovers...with seminalson for the better part of ten years, with martialarborist for almost two years.

this has not always been easy, fun or comfortable for me, but i work at compersion and accommodation as i prefer to be involved rather than to observe nonchalantly in a disengaged fashion from the periphery.

i actually bring up conversations re: potential fuck buddies, activity partners, solid good friend supports and long term possibilities with them on a regular basis. fact, if you're a cute, sweet, interesting fe/male okc denizen (of whatever age) and i've visited your profile, it's fairly certain that i've pointed you out to one or both of them and tried to encourage them to make contact with you.

but, please realize: when it comes to new (self) introductions they both tend to be lax to the point of indifference, more relying chance meetings than on intentional connections in places like okc.

this is me saying: if you're reading this and you're super interested in one of them, you actually stand a better chance of making connection with them by understanding us as a fairly intertwined/interdependent three, rather than as three people who happen to pass time hanging out together until something better comes our way.

so yeah...i'm One of Three who spends the most time online and definitely most time on okc. so, hailing me will usually automatically get their attention as i tell the two of them about everyone i encounter online and real time. :)

(shrug) i know some people will not be able to take in this information. :) at least i tried.

in any case, i'd love it if interested men (as in the case of martialarborist) and wimmin (for both of them) were (pro) feminist, anarchist (leaning), queer (positive), people of colour/black (friendly/conscious) and relationship/family/poly friendly...or at least goodhearted, not overly fixated in having solely one-on-one time alone, able to make friends with children, able to interact with me in a way that (at least) says you have not defined me as dispensable and/or as someone to move through in order to get closer to one (or both) of them (which is so transparent) and please, be okay with getting your hands dirtied with the occasional chore in or around the house as shit happens in a five person family home. :)

i have veto.
they do not.

i know that for many people a poly woman having veto over anything seems so horrifying, soooo...scandalous. :)

i also know that for some wimmin being able to trumpet that they have no veto, don't believe in vetoes, wouldn't bring veto power into play for any reason, seems like a good poly marketing strategy.

it isn't.

from where i'm standing saying you don't have veto just sounds like you won't tell a partner no. it just lets potentials know that you have no boundaries whatsoever and will accommodate anything and anyone as long as they will spend time with you, sleep with you, pay attention to you, define you as kewl and/or love you.

anyone who has read my profile or who has met me in recent years knows that i do have boundaries and will say no when/if necessary. alternative relationship lifestyle choice or no, i still live in an oppressive world where some are systemically coded as doormats for the pleasure and use of others who have massive amounts of unearned, unclaimed privilege. not remembering this very simple fact and behaving as if there is some sort of liberal alternative live and let live relationship utopia that is not impacted by oppression and domination doesn't make sense to me. it seems a little...deluded. ;)

no good comes out of ignoring the fact that in this world a woman who does not teach herself how to apply brakes in her (multiple) relationships/interactions in respectful, verbal, intelligent, strategic, honest ways when she feels the need, will automatically be related to as prey, as the dominated to be utilized...a sexual serf. it may also mean that she finds other, less forthright, less consensual, less verbal, infinitely more excruciating ways of making her opinions, needs and wants known.

in any case...
neither seminalson nor martialarborist have ever needed to challenge anything i wanted to start or explore with anyone as my extensive criteria create a sieve through which most have never been able to filter. :)

in addition, i tend to choose potentials according to how well they fit with my family life and with whatever lover/s or partners are already here. i most definitely choose or pass according to a person's ability to make friends with/have conversation with/interact with/spend time with/share with seminalson and martialarborist.

compatibility isn't just about who can get along with me. i have a life partner, a more recently added partner and two children. it would be preposterous for me to choose simply for myself. it would actually be a mess.

since neither of my partners ever get left out of my attraction/flirtation/connection equations, neither of them ever have to red flag or call for time out. i move way too slowly and intentionally, including them, asking their opinions, checking in and just generally paying attention to the energies flowing around and in between us all, for anything i do that involves someone else to every surprise them or throw them off balance.

i have more experience with poly than both of them combined. so, they benefit from that safety net/support.

i, on the other hand, have used my veto on very few occasions. this wasn't because of the people they were interested in per se, but more because of what was happening in our relationship/s, in the house, in my spirit right then.

but fuck, do i ever hate saying no. so a veto from me has most often been conditional. this means that i will say no and invite lots of conversation to see if wherever things feel stuck or i feel stuck or we feel stuck or odd can budge and move in a direction that will allow for a yes either fairly soon or over time. sometimes i surprise them by coming back willing to take the lead with someone or a particular situation once things have been talked through."

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

This is drenched in classism and nationalism but has salient points, regardless...

labouring under no such delusion, i find it so odd that he ever had such a vaulted opinion of what a middle-class miseducated (white?) amerikkkan should have been able to understand...

If You Want to Understand What’s Really Going on in the World, Stop Thinking Like a Middle Class American

I was having a conversation with a professional colleague the other day who had spent some time working in Egypt and was reassigned back home shortly before the protests erupted that resulted in the abrupt departure from power of Hosni Mubarak. We started talking about the state of the economy, and I mentioned how the reckless policies of the Federal Reserve, engaging in Quantitative Easing and setting interests rates near 0%, were a primary factor leading to Mubarak’s ouster and the civil unrest that has been spreading across the Middle East. My colleague, who spent a year in Cairo and presumably would have seen the conditions there first hand, looked at me quizzically and asked on what basis I was making my assertion.

I patiently explained that by flooding the world’s economy with liquidity, Benny and the Ink Jets (as I affectionately refer to Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke) devalued the dollar and greatly increased speculative investment in the commodities markets by the same pack of jackals that crashed the economy in the first place. This has led to a dramatic rise in the costs of food and energy, which are priced in dollars due to America being in the advantageous position of having the world’s reserve currency. I specifically mentioned the exploding price of sugar, which had been cited in several news reports as having been a major factor in the initial uprisings in Tunisia that eventually spread to Egypt.

This only produced more obvious confusion on the part of my colleague. Sugar, he asked, how is that such a big deal?

I explained that historically, rising food prices have ALWAYS been a key factor in revolts against oppressive regimes. I went on to add that in order to really gain an understanding of what was happening in Egypt and elsewhere, my friend needed to stop thinking like a typical middle class American.

Not since the Great Depression have the majority of Americans had to think much about the costs of food and energy, which for most people during the post-World War Two period, have consumed only a relatively small percentage (maybe 10-20%) of the family budget. As I stated to my colleague, however, just the cost of food alone for the vast majority of Egyptians takes upwards of 50% or more of their annual income. Therefore, an increase of, say 25%, in the cost of basic foodstuffs like corn, wheat and sugar, a mere annoyance to most Americans, can literally be a matter of life and death to people living at or near subsistence level who do not have a food stamp program to fall back on to feed their children when times get rough.

At about this point, I sensed some understanding beginning to dawn upon my colleague. You know, he said, I never thought of it that way.

I added that there are a lot of issues he would understand better if he dropped his American-centric view of the world. It doesn’t take too much imagination, I said, to realize why people in countries where our military is dropping drone missiles might hate us. Certainly, we would probably hate them if they were doing the same to us.

You’re right, he answered, but I could tell he was getting uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation so I let it go at that.

Such points ought to be blindingly obvious, but they rarely are to a citizenry who are constantly being fed the lies regarding American Exceptionalism by our corporate-owned and utterly compromised mainstream media. The resulting lack of critical thinking allows our government officials, as they did the other day, for example, to announce that they are exploring the possibility of war crimes charges against Syria while being confident that their fellow Americans will never demand they be held accountable for the many civilian deaths that result whenever our drone missiles fly.

The whole conversation left me profoundly depressed. For if my colleague, a well educated American of the tiny minority that has not only traveled overseas but lived there as well, could be so utterly clueless about the real state affairs in the world what hope is there for the bovine herd sitting around munching buffalo wings, drinking Lite beer and watching Jersey Shore? The default position for most people today is not only to not know, but to not want to know. As long as the lights go on when they hit the switch, the supermarket has plenty of food on the shelves and the filling station has gasoline available for the SUV, all is well and good.

Pass me the remote, hon, this show is starting to bore me.

William Hicks lives in Northern Virginia writes about peak oil and economic issues on his blog, The Downward Spiral, a Requiem for the American Dream. Read other articles by William.

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Lulzsec exposes murderously racist work in the borderlands...

Hacked data reveals US Marines contract killers, hunting migrants on the border

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo: San Xavier crosses for migrants who died in the Sonoran Desert by Brenda Norrell

(Updated on Friday 2 pm: Arpaio tweets)

The hunting and murder of migrants by US Marines along the Arizona border was among the first facts revealed, after LulzSec hacked the Arizona Department of Public Safety on Thursday.

Describing the hacked data,, said, "There are countless mundane documents covering hours worked, officers' personal information and other stuff of minimal journalistic interest. But the bulletins often offer fascinating stories of law enforcement encounters, such as this one with off-duty Marines patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border with assault weapons."

The data describes heavily-armed US Marines, working on contract, to hunt migrants:

"In other incidents reported in October, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered two subjects who claimed to be members of the Border Watch Group the Blue Lights based on the Caballo Loco Ranch. The subjects, armed with pistols and at least one M4 rifle, were dressed in full desert camouflage uniforms, similar to those of the United States military. They stated they were not members of the Minutemen, but paid contract employees who ‘get the job done’ and ‘were not just volunteers.’ They possessed valid United States Marine Corps identification cards."

A large percentage of the migrants in the Arizona border region are Indigenous Peoples from Central and South America, including many Mayan women and children from Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guatemala. Murders and rapes by the US military, Arizona law enforcement, the US Border Patrol and anti-immigration groups and other hate groups, are often ignored or concealed.

As it released the hacked data, Lulz Security said in a statement, “We are targeting AZDPS specifically because we are against SB1070 and the racial profiling anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona.”

“Every week we plan on releasing more classified documents and embarrassing personal details of military and law enforcement in an effort not just to reveal their racist and corrupt nature but to purposefully sabotage their efforts to terrorize communities fighting an unjust ‘war on drugs.’”

Arizona officials confirmed on Thursday that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Twitter account received a message from LulzSec, after Arpaio complained of heat from the media on Thursday.

"The media has been giving me a lot of heat lately but nothing compared to tent city! You think you're hot? It's 128 degrees there today!" said Arpaio, who uses the name of RealSheriffJoe on Twitter.

Lulzsec responded, "Media? Heat? You? Chinga La Migra!" using the Spanish words for "F--k the Border Patrol."

Arpaio continued to tweet away on Friday, announcing that he would be speaking to the Gun Owners of America tonight in Reno. Yesterday, after Lulzsec's tweet, Arpaio said he met yesterday with Brazilian Counsel General Jose Alfredo Garicia Lima. Arpaio said "illegal immigration" was among the issues discussed.

As the data was slowly released on Thursday night, Arizona human rights activists waited to learn more about police spying on peaceful protests by immigration and border rights activists.

Tagged "SB 1070 Protests and Civil Disobedience," the data is a bulletin from the Arizona Counter-Terrorism Information Center. The bulletin states that police were watching demonstrators from Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff as they prepared for civil disobedience in reaction to SB 1070 on July 26-31, 2010. However, the bulletin also points out the non-violent nature of the July 22 act of civil disobedience at the courthouse in Phoenix. It also states that counterprotesters at events thus far were non-violent.

On the subject of racial profiling, concludes, "Even after controlling for other explanatory factors, racial/ethnic disparities exist for warnings, repair orders, citations, arrests and seaches. Further analyses of searches and seizures illustrate that hispanic, black and native american drivers were significantly more likely to be searched compared to whites." (This report was previously made public in regards to Native Americans being racially profiled by Arizona law enforcement.)

There is also an admission about the intent of an officer for police brutality. It follows a guide to social networking sites which cautions officers not to boast about beating arrestees on Facebook, because that may be of use to defense attorneys, according to

One of the notable postings introduced to the jury was that the officer watched the movie "Training Day" (a motion picture that displayed corrupt police behavior and brutality) to brush up on "proper police procedure." One of his postings said, "If he wanted to tune him up some, he should have delayed cuffing him." In another he added, "If you were going to hit a cuffed suspect, at least get your money's worth 'cause now he's going to get disciplined for a relatively light punch."

Meanwhile in Arizona, O’odham and other Native Americans continue to call for an end to the militarization of the border and their homelands. Indigenous rights activists continue to document the abuses of the US Border Patrol in their homelands, from California to Texas.

In Arizona, border rights activists continue to search the Sonoran Desert for those dying and dead, and battle for the right to legally give water to dying migrants on the Tohono O’odham Nation.

While the United States provides media spin to avoid responsibility for the drug war in Mexico, the fact is there would be no drug war without the appetite for illegal drugs in the US.

Recently it was also revealed that the weapons used in the violent drug war come not just from illegal weapons trafficking in the US, but also from the ATF. ATF agents revealed that they were ordered to let weapons “walk” across the border into Mexico, supposedly in sting operations. Ultimately those ATF weapons, in at least two cases, were used to kill US federal agents.

Further, the US has not fully disclosed its role in training members of the Zetas who were initially US Special Forces trained in the US.

In related news, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that a neo-Nazi accused of making illegal explosive devices apparently was interested in supplying those munitions to anti-immigration groups patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona, according to court documents. Jeffery Harbin, a member of the white supremacist National Socialist Movement, was allegedly building homemade grenades and pipe bombs at home.

A federal grand jury indicted Harbin, 28, of Apache Junction, Ariz., on three counts of possessing explosive devices in January.

One area heavily patrolled by anti-immigration and hate groups, and a site of their camps, is along the eastern boundary line of the Tohono O'odham Nation, between Three Points and Sasabe.

This video, dated June 2010 and previously released, shows the militia dressed in camouflage that hunt for migrants with assault weapons on the Arizona border:

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Friday, June 24, 2011

As Mr. Spock would say...

from dissident voice...

Three Little Words: Wikileaks, Libya, Oil

‘Libya has some of the biggest and most proven oil reserves — 43.6 billion barrels — outside Saudi Arabia, and some of the best drilling prospects.’

So reported the Washington Post on June 11, in a rare mainstream article which, as we will see, revealed how WikiLeaks exposed the real motives behind the war on Libya.

So what happens when you search UK newspaper archives for the words ‘WikiLeaks’, ‘Libya’ and ‘oil’? We decided to take a look.

From the time prior to the start of Libya’s civil war on February 17, and of Nato’s war on Libya on March 19, we found a couple of comments of this kind in the Sunday Times: ‘Gadaffi’s children plunder the country’s oil revenues, run a kleptocracy and operate a reign of terror that has created simmering hatred and resentment among the people, according to the cables released by WikiLeaks.’1

The Telegraph described political wrangling over the alleged Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi:

The documents, obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to this newspaper, provide the first comprehensive picture of the often desperate steps taken by Western governments to court the Libyan regime in the competition for valuable trade and oil contracts.2

From the time since Nato launched its war, we found this warning from Jackie Ashley in the Guardian:

…cast aside international law, and there is nothing but might is right, arms, oil and profits.

Well, you might say, but isn’t that where we are already? Not quite. Many of us may feel great cynicism about some of the west’s war-making and the strange coincidence of military intervention and oil and gas reserves. I do.3

This hinted in the right direction, but no facts were cited in support of the argument, certainly none from the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables.

The Guardian‘s Alexander Chancellor managed to discover a leaked cable revealing that Libya ‘sometimes demands billion-dollar “signing bonuses” for contracts with western oil companies’.4

Other cables offer more significant insights, but Chancellor made no mention of them.

George Monbiot’s March 15 Guardian article contained all three search terms – his sole mention of Libya in the past 12 months – but he was writing about Saudi Arabia: ‘We won’t trouble Saudi’s tyrants with calls to reform while we crave their oil.’ The article had nothing to say about the looming assault on Libya, just four days away. Monbiot has had nothing to say since.

Johann Hari wrote about the Libyan war in his sole article on the subject in the Independent on April 8, commenting:

Bill Richardson, the former US energy secretary who served as US ambassador to the UN, is probably right when he says: “There’s another interest, and that’s energy… Libya is among the 10 top oil producers in the world. You can almost say that the gas prices in the US going up have probably happened because of a stoppage of Libyan oil production… So this is not an insignificant country, and I think our involvement is justified”.

This was a rare affirmation of the role of oil as a motive, albeit one that emphasised the specious claim that the US concern is simply to keep the oil flowing (Hari did mention, vaguely, that results were intended to be ‘in our favour’). And again, Hari appeared to be innocent of any relevant information released by WikiLeaks. A lack of awareness which perhaps explains why he had ‘wrestled with’ the alleged moral case for intervention before rejecting it.

Soured Relations: Gaddafi And Big Oil

Remarkably, then, we found nothing in any article in any national UK newspaper reporting the freely-available facts revealed by WikiLeaks on Western oil interests in Libya. And nothing linking these facts to the current war.

By contrast, in his June 11 article for the Washington Post, Steven Mufson focused intensely on WikiLeaks exposés in regard to Libyan oil. In November 2007, a leaked State Department cable reported ‘growing evidence of Libyan resource nationalism’. In his 2006 speech marking the founding of his regime, Gaddafi had said: ‘Oil companies are controlled by foreigners who have made millions from them. Now, Libyans must take their place to profit from this money.’

Gaddafi’s son made similar comments in 2007. As (honest) students of history will know, these are exactly the kind of words that make US generals sit up and listen. The stakes for the West were, and are, high: companies such as ConocoPhillips and Marathon have each invested about $700 million over the past six years.

Even more seriously, in late February 2008, a US State Department cable described how Gaddafi had ‘threatened to dramatically reduce Libya’s oil production and/or expel… U.S. oil and gas companies’. The Post explained how, in early 2008, US Senator Frank R. Lautenberg had enraged the Libyan leader by adding an amendment to a bill that made it easier for families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing to ‘go after Libya’s commercial assets’.

The Libyan equivalent of the deputy foreign minister told US officials that the Lautenberg amendment was ‘destroying everything the two sides have built since 2003,’ according to a State Department cable. In 2008, Libyan oil minister Shokri Ghanem warned an Exxon Mobil executive that Libya might ‘significantly curtail’ its oil production to ‘penalize the US,’ according to another cable.

The Post concluded: ‘even before armed conflict drove the U.S. companies out of Libya this year, their relations with Gaddafi had soured. The Libyan leader demanded tough contract terms. He sought big bonus payments up front. Moreover, upset that he was not getting more U.S. government respect and recognition for his earlier concessions, he pressured the oil companies to influence U.S. policies’.

Similarly, compare the chasm in rational analysis separating the mainstream UK media and the dissident Real News Network, hosted by Paul Jay. Last month, Jay interviewed Kevin G. Hall, the national economics correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers. Jay concluded with a summary of their conversation discussing oil shenanigans in Libya:

So you’ve got the Italian oil companies already at odds with the US over Iran. The Italian oil company is going to, through its deals with Gazprom, allow the Russians to take a big stake in Libyan oil. And then you have the French. As we head towards the Libyan war, the French Total have a small piece of the Libyan oil game, but I suppose they would like a bigger piece of it. And then you wind up having a French-American push to overthrow Gaddafi and essentially shove Gazprom out. I mean, I guess we’re not saying one and one necessarily equals two, but it sure – it makes one think about it.

Hall responded:

Yeah, it’s not necessarily causation, but there’s – you might suggest there’s correlation. And clearly this shows the degree to which oil is kind of the back story to so much that happens. As a matter of fact, we went through 251,000 [leaked] documents – or we have 250,000 documents that we’ve been pouring through. Of those, a full 10 percent of them, a full 10 percent of those documents, reference in some way, shape, or form oil. And I think that tells you how much part of, you know, the global security question, stability, prosperity – you know, take your choice, oil is fundamental.’ (Our emphasis)

Jay replied with a wry smile:

‘And we’ll do more of this. But those who had said it’s not all about oil, they ain’t reading WikiLeaks.’

Hall replied: ‘It is all about oil.’

In March, we drew attention to a cable released by WikiLeaks sent from the US embassy in Tripoli in November 2007. The cable communicated US concerns about the direction being taken by Libya’s leadership:

Libya needs to exploit its hydrocarbon resources to provide for its rapidly-growing, relatively young population. To do so, it requires extensive foreign investment and participation by credible IOCs [international oil companies]. Reformist elements in the Libyan government and the small but growing private sector recognize this reality. But those who dominate Libya’s political and economic leadership are pursuing increasingly nationalistic policies in the energy sector that could jeopardize efficient exploitation of Libya’s extensive oil and gas reserves. Effective U.S. engagement on this issue should take the form of demonstrating the clear downsides to the GOL [government of Libya] of pursuing this approach, particularly with respect to attracting participation by credible international oil companies in the oil/gas sector and foreign direct investment. (our emphasis)

The US government has certainly been ‘demonstrating the clear downsides’ since March 19.

US analyst Glenn Greenwald, asks:

Is there anyone – anywhere – who actually believes that these aren’t the driving considerations in why we’re waging this war in Libya? After almost three months of fighting and bombing – when we’re so far from the original justifications and commitments that they’re barely a distant memory – is there anyone who still believes that humanitarian concerns are what brought us and other Western powers to the war in Libya? Is there anything more obvious – as the world’s oil supplies rapidly diminish – than the fact that our prime objective is to remove Gaddafi and install a regime that is a far more reliable servant to Western oil interests, and that protecting civilians was the justifying pretext for this war, not the purpose?

‘The Urge To Help’

It does seem extraordinary that anyone could doubt that this is the case. But the fact is that the WikiLeaks cables cited above, the Washington Post’s facts, and Greenwald’s conclusions, have been almost completely blanked by the UK media system. Notice that they have been readily accessible to us, a tiny website supported by public donations.

As though reporting from a different planet, the BBC reported last week: ‘Nato is enforcing a UN resolution to protect civilians in Libya.’

Is this Absolute Truth? Holy writ? In fact, no. But it does reflect the mainstream political consensus and so the BBC feels content to offer it – by way of a service to democracy – as the only view in town. And yet, we need only reflect on three obvious facts: while UN Resolution 1973 did authorise a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians, Nato is now openly seeking regime change and rejecting all peace overtures out of hand. The UN did not authorise regime change.

An Observer leader entitled, ‘The west can’t let Gaddafi destroy his people,’ told the same tale in March:

‘the only response that matters now is a common position which brooks no more argument… to pledge, with the honest passion we affect to feel that, whether repulsed in time or not, this particular tyranny will not be allowed to stand’.5

Like a cut and paste from Orwell, the paper insisted:

This is a regional uprising of young people seeking freedom, remember? Do you recall all the power of the tweet, as lauded only a fortnight ago?

The millions who began this revolution won’t be much impressed by a democracy defined only by inertia. They won’t thank the west – or China, India, Russia, the African Union – for letting this Arab spring die in a field of flowery promises.

The Guardian also focused on the ‘ethical’ motivation. In a February 24 leading article entitled, ‘Libya: The urge to help,’ the editors simultaneously mocked and reversed the truth:

‘It is hard to escape the conclusion that European leaders are advocating these moves in part because they want to be seen by their electorates at home to be doing something, and in part because they want to be seen by people in the Middle East as being on the right side in the Arab democratic revolution. They may hope that a dramatic line on Libya will go some way toward effacing the memory of the dithering and equivocation with which they greeted its earlier manifestations in Tunisia and Egypt, France being particularly guilty in this regard.’

Compared to the analysis discussed above this reads like a bed-time story for children. The deceptive words ‘dithering and equivocation’ refer to the West’s iron-willed resolve to protect tyrannical clients and to thwart democratic revolution in the region while appearing (the key word) to be ‘on the right side’.

The conclusion: ‘a no-fly zone should become an option. Lord Owen was therefore right to say that military preparations should be made and the necessary diplomatic approaches, above all to the Russians and the Chinese, set in train to secure UN authority for such action’.

The Guardian‘s argument was shorn of the political, economic and historical facts that make a nonsense of the idea that Western military action ‘should become an option’. There may indeed have been a moral case for action by someone. But not by Western states with a bitter history of subjugating and killing people in Libya, and elsewhere in the region, for the sake of oil. But then it is a trademark of Guardian liberalism that Britain and its allies are forever Teflon-coated, forever untainted by the evident brutality of ‘our’ actions. This is the perennial, vital service the paper performs for the establishment.

We are asked to believe that the facts sampled in this alert are somehow unknown to the hard-headed corporate executives who write of ‘The urge to help’ and the ‘common position which brooks no more argument’. And yet, the Guardian was one of WikiLeaks’ major ‘media partners’ at the time the cables were published – it is well aware that ‘a full 10 percent of those documents, reference in some way, shape, or form oil’. Like the rest of the corporate media, Britain’s leading liberal newspaper knows but is not telling.

  1. Michael Sheridan, ‘Libya froths at plundering by junior Gadaffis,’ February 6, 2011, Sunday Times. []
  2. Christopher Hope and Robert Winnett, ‘Ministers gave Libya legal advice on how to free Lockerbie bomber,’ The Daily Telegraph, February 1, 2011. []
  3. Ashley, ‘Few would weep for Gaddafi, but targeting him is wrong: In war, international law is all we have. If we cast it aside there’ll be nothing left but might is right, arms, oil and profits,’ The Guardian, May 2, 2011. []
  4. Chancellor, ‘The bonanza of kickbacks and corrupt deals between Libya and the west have helped Gaddafi cling on to power,’ The Guardian, March 25, 2011. []
  5. Leading article, ‘Libya: The west can’t let Gaddafi destroy his people,’ The Observer, March 13, 2011. []

Media Lens is a UK-based media watchdog group headed by David Edwards and David Cromwell. The second Media Lens book, NEWSPEAK in the 21st Century by David Edwards and David Cromwell, was published in 2009 by Pluto Press. Read other articles by Media Lens, or visit Media Lens's website.

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Let them eat...air...?

Feeding Resistance: Food Not Bombs Members Arrested in Orlando for Serving Meals Without a Permit

The City of Orlando, the home of Disney World in Florida, is being sued in court today over a city law that has effectively made it illegal for any group to feed more than 25 people at a time in downtown parks without a permit. It also limits groups to no more than two permits per park, per year. The group Food Not Bombs has refused to obey the new law—saying food is a right, not a privilege—and has continued to serve free meals to the poor and homeless. However, over the past month more than 20 members of the organization have been arrested. Keith McHenry, who helped found Food Not Bombs over 30 years ago, was arrested Wednesday and remains in jail. We speak with Benjamin Markeson, an activist involved with Food Not Bombs for several years who was arrested earlier this month, and the group’s attorney, Shayan Elahi.

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Julian @ A Radical Profeminist...I REALLY appreciated this...

On "radical" identities and the consciousness of some white bloggers

image is from here

NOTE: This is not directed at every white woman I know. It is directed at many white women I do not know.

I've been encountering some white privilege, power, and entitlements in my regular encounters with folks. They are showing up in a variety of ways but it there is one form that I will address right now.

Just so you know--if you're new to this blog, I stand strongly in political and spiritual solidarity with women of color who are, as far as I can see, always fighting at least two institutionalised ideologies: male supremacy and white supremacy, if not also other forms of oppression and domination such as capitalism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, anti-Islamic violence, anti-Indigenous genocide. I will call out any expression of white supremacy I encounter.

There are some white women online who are calling themselves "radical" who deny that women can oppress women. This is as messed up a viewpoint as men claiming they cannot oppress other men due to race, class, and other conditions. Some men do argue this, of course. Some white het men believe it because they deny there are any systems of oppression, any social-political hierarchies, working at all. Some WHM (white het men) claim they wish to be spoken about as if they are only individuals, not as part of an institutionally protected, privileged group. With that as their request, they then proceed to understand women only as a group--and are numbingly stupid about the diversity of perspective and analysis among feminists.

Especially, patriarchy- and white supremacy-protecting WHM argue that feminists are all man-haters, never bothering to offer up a substantive argument other than throwing around quotes. (They also stay astoundingly silent about all the published men who state quite clearly that men are rapists by nature--a position not belonging to radical feminism.) Their two-dozen favorite quotes (see *here* for more about this) by all-white feminists are allegedly all the proof they need that "those damned feminists hate men so much!" Why they seem so determined to ignore the work of radical feminists of color is beyond me--unless it is because they assume women of color aren't worth paying attention to. Anyone with a computer and a mouse can easily gather up about a thousand times as many quotes online from white het men who demonstrate disgusting levels of misogyny, and racism, homophobia, and general callousness to cruelty committed or controlled predominantly by WHM.

These WHM activists go on and on about Black people as one group, lesbians as one group, Mexican people as one group, and Asian people as one group, Indigenous people as one group--if they care to notice there are Indigenous people at all. This often means that these political WHM cannot comprehend the existence and diversity among lesbian women of color and how their experiences might vary from white lesbian women's. Other men believe, for example, that if men are poor or not white they are not capable of oppressing women. I've heard and seen plenty of arguments by het men of color that they are only oppressed, and are not oppressors to women in their own communities and regions. Bullshit.

The willful ignorance isn't limited to het men, however.

Here's a quick anecdote about a white, class-privileged gay man I once knew through a mutual friend. My friend and this white gay man worked together in retail and I ran into him when going to this store.

The man I didn't know especially well, but who welcoming of getting to know me better, thought he's impress me with his humor. He told me a joke that was racist. I won't repeat it. I was deeply upset by it and he was quite surprised I would be so alarmed. This is often my experience with whites--we assume we're all good with the racism. I'm not. So I didn't laugh and indicated that I didn't find his "joke" funny. When he realised this he went on to explain to me why it was okay for him to tell it. He said Whoopi Goldberg told the joke, and he was gay so he can't be racist. (Because, you know, he's oppressed by sexual orientation so apparently that means he can't oppress anyone else.)

I asked my friend how it could be that this white guy thought I'd welcome hearing that joke. He told me the following: [racist white guy in denial] told me a joke--kind of like the one he told you but not with the racist parts; I told him you would probably like it. So that's how come [racist white guy] thought it would be okay. I told my friend the actual joke shared and he too was shocked. Neither of us are friends with [racist white guy in denial].

Every feminist friend I know would call him out on a bogus argument that gay men can't oppress women because the men are gay.

Enduring one form of marginalisation or subjugation doesn't mean one is positioned socially and structurally to not oppress anyone or any group to which one doesn't belong. Every woman I know personally understands that men who are gay can be oppressive to women--particularly lesbian, in some communities, if we share social spaces. Although the Sheila Jeffreys' book, Unpacking Queer Politics, is being trashed without thoughtful engagement or analysis by many people occupying many different social spheres, it does engage the reader in an important conversation about how gay men's behavior and values oppresses lesbian women. At the time of this writing, I can count on zero hands the number of white gay men who have responded responsibly to her arguments.

Every woman I know also understands that men of color can be oppressive to women across race and sexuality. How does it happen then, that white and het women cannot be oppressive to any other women (or, for that matter, to men of color, and to gay men if the women are het)? With what understanding of social harm and hierarchy, and through what privileged and protected lens does one get to believe that? How convenient for not taking full political responsibility for one's whiteness or heterosexuality, eh? And, what's more, these women have all had plenty of opportunity to learn about their white supremacy and heterosexism as they've been called out on each of these rearing its oppressive head in many social spaces.

To believe that because one is a [white het] woman--with just about every form of privilege and entitlement on Earth--one cannot be an oppressor either individually or institutionally, totally invisibilises how a very central force in many societies works: that force is white supremacy. It also renders white women invisible as whites and women of color invisible as people who are both women and of color, all due to white women's political slight of hand which they summarise as "women can't oppress women". Apparently, for race- and region-privileged women do not have any other structural locations on Earth other than as women: unraced.

When I learned recently that a few radical-identified white het women believed this, I realised I'd heard it before, many times, and that it might help explain why it is that so many white "radical" women do not deal with their racism, their white privilege, and the meaning and forms of their white power and entitlements. I'll press pause on the unacknowledged or blatantly denied heterosexism issue for now. The racism I've witnessed isn't only demonstrated and denied by het white women.

I reflected back on the drag shows co-organised by white lesbians and white gay men. The lesbians called themselves "radical" because they sincerely thought they were. When I challenged them on co-creating spaces that were overtly hostile and insulting to lesbian (and other) women of color, to poor women of color, to men of color also, they pretended my concern was not as important as their need to be entertained by each other. They treated the matter as if it were abstract. To them, it was abstract because they've never taken the time to immerse themselves intimately in the communities and lives of people without race privilege. They don't ever have to live the lives of lesbian women of color and they can believe that white lesbian experience is all they need to consider or show concern about when organising to defend lesbian experience.

I will continue to call out white supremacist queer people who also misuse the term "radical"--according to the radical women of color I know, not primarily according to me. Too often patriarchy protected practices like gender bending are promoted as radical or revolutionary. There are several problems with that viewpoint. One is that their political practice is based on understanding the social problem as "gender" or "the gender binary" and not male supremacy--and white supremacy and heterosexism and capitalism, among other forms of organised harm and horror.

It isn't that difficult to translate dynamics that are male supremacist to those that are white supremacist. One central reason it isn't difficult is because both systems of harm and dehumanisation inform each other, shape each other, and feed off of one another, in white male supremacist societies.

Here are a few clues one, if a blogger, might be acting out of white privilege, power, and entitlements.

--your blog doesn't identify your race as white if you're white
--your blog or identity doesn't include your stated understanding of how and where you step on the backs of others to be where you are. I mean collectively: how your people got to be where they are
--you believe you are radical because you comprehend how white women are oppressed by white men, but don't understand any other form of oppression and apparently don't make it your business to do so
--you feel very entitled to "own" and "define" the term "radical" because you are white; it doesn't occur to you that you're not radical if you promote your own white supremacy by ignoring your white privileges and power
--you put down white trans people because the white trans people you know have liberal political agendas, meaning pro-status quo; you don't consider how being white supremacist is deeply pro-status quo and dangerously conservative

I have similarly called out sexist and misogynist men of color who believe themselves to be radical; often enough, men of color who see themselves as radicals will limit their political consciousness to understanding how white supremacy degradingly effects men of color.

Now, most of the white power I encounter belongs to and is exercised by men; I don't wish to pretend that white women hold more white power than do white men. Intersectional analyses of power means that one benefits in complex ways when one holds more than one position atop a hierarchy. Being white and male, for example--as I am--means something different than being white plus male. It's not only an additive thing to me--this life that is lived in positions of power relative to other groups of people. It's also exponential. This is why I view white men's white power as greater than white women's. Also because if white women exercise any form of power in ways that white men disapprove of, it will be the white men who get their way--institutionally if not always interpersonally. But often enough, white men will kill white women if the men don't approve of how the white women are behaving.

One key way I see white women ignore and deny their own white power is to pretend that violence only happens interpersonally. Typically, white blogs that are pro-feminist deal with issues of rape, harassment, the practices of heterosexuality, and other interpersonal and intimate harm, but not, for example with issues of poverty, racism, HIV, and starvation that isn't only isn't individually experienced but is also politically imposed as a form of genocide.

This is because poverty, racism, and most other forms of atrocity and terrorism are profoundly interlocking institutionalised realities (as is rape; as is sexism). Poverty, in particular, isn't always so easily identified as only something individuals do to other individuals. We can note that rich people don't have to walk down the street harassing poor people individually; they do, often enough, however, work behind the scenes to pass city legislation to ban poor people from congregating or home-making in various parts of a city. The deals are made out of view of the poor people who will be most negatively effected.

I'm not comfortable defining myself as "radical" unless I am open to looking at and working to challenge all areas of my privilege, in collaboration with women who are negatively effected by that privilege; this necessarily means engaging with women of color across sexuality and with lesbian women across race and ethnicity. "Radical" is not primarily a mindset or a viewpoint, to me. What it is, is a commitment to action demonstrated actively. Action to call oneself out, to hold oneself accountable, and--importantly--to be personally and socially available to be accountable--to not hide out in only-white or only-male or only-het spaces for example.

These same white het women promoting ideas that they cannot oppress the women they do, in fact, oppress were also working to silence Lesbian women. It appears they don't see their heterosexuality as a position of power over and against women marginalised by sexual-political orientation--which really means by the het supremacy that women also participate in.

The anti-trans perspectives among some white non-trans women "radical" bloggers is fierce and self-righteous. If only their critiques of whiteness were as rigorous.

Suffice it to say if we work with this as a definition of what radical feminists oppose--"if it hurts women, feminists are against it"--we are left to know, beyond any glare of doubt, that racism is anti-woman if the women are women of color. This means that racism is also a form of misogyny. To any white woman who is against misogyny: are you against the misogyny you promote and protect, that negatively impacts the lives of women of color, by you ignoring your own white privilege and power?

White women, usually, like pro-status quo white men, do not care enough to consider how their lives are not at all like women without race privilege. I've witnessed how women of color are expected to pass white women's litmus tests of whether or not they are radical--such as on pornography or prostitution. They don't consider that their own use of "radical" ought to be up for question if they can't identify what it is women of color face the world over that white women do not.

I call this out as a white male, knowing that if a white woman called out the same stuff she'd be verbally harassed and otherwise threatened for doing so by other white women seeking to maintain the very real power of the White Sisterhood. Both because of my male privileges and power, and because I do not seek solidarity with racist white women, I don't feel as vulnerable to such ostracism as some of my anti-racist white sisters do. So I'm speaking out here because if and when I don't, the task falls, as usual, to women of color. If the white women promoting this racist nonsense don't wish to hear it from a white male because being responsive to me is engaging in sexist practice to them, perhaps they'll listen to white radical lesbian feminist, Marilyn Frye, *here*.

I hope they'll consider the very radical act of believing what radical women of color say about white women's privileges and power to be oppressors. They could start with Audre Lorde, bell hooks, and Andrea Smith.

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.