Australian Unions worry about adverse effects on Pacific of trade liberalisation

Posted at 17:12 on 30 March, 2008 UTC

The Australian Union movement is pushing to raise awareness among Australians of what it believes will be the adverse effects of trade liberalisation on Pacific Island states.

A workshop in Melbourne was attended by representatives of Australian unions, churches and NGO groups.

Alison Tait, the international director of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, says Australia’s own experience with economic liberalisation shows that free trade is not an entirely positive story.

“Whilst the economic properity of Australia has improved over many years, there are many people who lost their job, industries changed etc, and we know that is the future for the Pacific.”



Court push to jail New Caledonia’s USTKE leader

28 March, 2008 UTC

The prosecution in a New Caledonian court case wants the leader of the USTKE union, Gerard Jodar, to be jailed for six months for his role in clashes with police in January.

Noumea’s daily newspaper reports that the court has been told that Mr Jodar was giving orders during the confrontation which left police officers and unionists injured.

Mr Jodar says the union is just the victim of a police intervention which was political move decided by the French high commission and the then minister in charge of overseas territories, Christian Estrosi.

The court is expected to deliver its verdict on April the 21st.


Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and the Battle Over Northern Development in Canada

By Todd Gordon, March, 26 2008, Z Net.

The recent jailing of six activists from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), a fly-in Cree community 600 Km. north of Thunder Bay, is an unambiguous warning to northern First Nation communities who dare stand in the way of governments’ and resource companies’ plans to develop the north.

On March 17, the six KI members were handed six month jail sentences for contempt of court by the Ontario Superior Court in Thunder Bay. The contempt of court ruling was made after the court ruled in the fall 2007 that junior mining exploration company, Platinex, can legally drill for Platinum deposits on traditional KI territory, despite the First Nation community’s long-standing opposition to Platinex’s plans. KI activists ignored the ruling, and physically stopped Platinex workers from commencing drilling on their land. Activists, including a KI Ontario Provincial Police Officer (OPP), threatened to arrest the Platinex workers if they didn’t back off (no doubt presenting to political and OPP leaders a potentially serious loophole in their aboriginal self-policing policy).

Unable to fund a legal challenge to the contempt ruling, KI activists were left at the mercy of the court, which took the opportunity to send a clear message to indigenous activists. In his decision, Justice George Smith declared: “If two systems of law are allowed to exist – one for the aboriginals and one for the non-aboriginals – the rule of law will disappear and be replaced by chaos.” Ontario’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Michael Bryant, commented that the government had tried hard to reason with KI and come to a just compromise around mining development on their land, but the First Nation community was simply too intransigent. Thus he washed his hands of matter, asserting that “the government did its best to avoid incarceration.”

Judge Smith’s and Bryant’s comments are designed to make it appear as if everyone, including KI, is equal before the law and can therefore get a fair shake if they’re willing to play by the rules – rules, for good measure, that keep us from descending into chaos. The reality, however, is that the one system of law that exists, rooted in colonialist history and imposed on sovereign nations by force, is designed to deny equality to indigenous nations and facilitate the ongoing appropriation of indigenous land. Equality before the law can never exist in a colonial context, and was never intended to. For the “chaos” the law is protecting us from is really only chaos in the eyes of big business and government: the assertion of indigenous self-determination, which stands as a major obstacle to corporate profits.

Unfortunately, the KI incident is not an isolated event. In April, Ardoch Algonquin First Nation leader, Robert Lovelace, was given a six month jail sentence for refusing to obey a judicial order to stop blockading Frontenac Ventures’ proposed uranium mine on his community’s land. The 550-person community, which has no government status and so receives no government funds, was also fined $10,000. Behind both of these events lies a major push to radically expand the frontiers of Canadian capitalism northwards.

Neoliberalism, Northern Development and First Nations

The emergence of neoliberalism in Canada has brought with it an intensification of the state’s and corporations’ focus on indigenous lands. Neoliberalism involves sharp cuts to social programs, privatization of public assets and workplace restructuring – all aimed at dramatically increasing corporate profitability by strengthening the hand of business vis-à-vis the public. But just as central to the neoliberal agenda in Canada, though less discussed, is indigenous land and labour. Because of their resistance to the Canadian state project, large layers of the indigenous population have not been fully integrated into market relations, and considerable portions of their land, much of it resource rich, have not been subject to capitalist development. The frontier of capitalist expansion, in the eyes of the state and business leaders, still has significantly further to go in Canada.

It’s worth noting here, too, that the creation of a larger indigenous working class, and indigenous peoples’ resistance to this project, is a key concern of the state’s policy towards them. It is expressed clearly in the policy documents of the Ministries of Indian Affairs, Industry and Natural Resources. Reserves were organized in part, and are still viewed by government, as a pool of cheap labour to be drawn upon when needed. Labour force issues relating to indigenous people, including their consistently lower participation rates than non-indigenous Canadians, has become a very consistent theme in Indian Affairs’ studies since the 1980s. These studies commonly note the significant growth rates of the indigenous working-age population, while observing with frustration indigenous peoples’ reluctance to join the capitalist labour force.

The mining, oil and gas, and pipeline industries are central to the agenda of northern expansion. Over the last decade, for instance, mining companies have been expanding their activities into regions of the country where capitalist development has hitherto been limited. Exploration has been increasing significantly in northern and interior British Columbia; the northern prairies, Ontario and Quebec; the Yukon; Nunavut; and the Northwest Territories, particularly since diamond deposits were discovered there in the early 1990s. Major finds of diamonds, gold and other subsurface minerals are expected in the artic in the next two decades.

As mining expands geographically in Canada, indigenous land and labour has become absolutely central to the success of the industry. The Mining Association of Canada notes that, “[m]ost mining activity occurs in northern and remote areas of the country, the principal areas of Aboriginal populations.” Natural Resources Canada reports, meanwhile, that approximately 1200 indigenous communities are located within 200 kilometers of an active mine. This figure will only increase as exploration intensifies. The Prospectors and Developers Association’s recent memorandum of understanding with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), is aimed at drawing young First Nation members and their lands into the mining industry via the government-funded mainstream aboriginal political organization.

Meanwhile, much of the oil-rich regions of Alberta, fuelling that province’s booming economy over the last decade, are on unceded Cree territory. Alberta’s oil boom, in other words, is predicated on stolen land.

Perhaps the largest single infrastructural project planned in Canadian history, the much-vaunted (for political and business leaders anyways) $16.2 billion Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, can only proceed by cutting through several Dene communities in the Northwest Territories. While some communities have come on board the project in the desperate hope that it will, unlike so many resource projects that have come before it, provide real sustainable benefits to First Nation people without completely destroying their lands, other indigenous people are far more skeptical about such a possibility. Moreover, once it’s online, exploration for oil and mineral deposits along the pipeline’s 1,350 Km. route from Inuvik near the Arctic Ocean to the oil fields of Alberta is expected to increase.

These projects are the large, visible tip of the iceberg. Many more are being planned, including new hydro-electric dammning schemes in Manitoba. The location of the major resource development projects brings Canadian (and foreign) corporations squarely into conflict with indigenous land rights. But not only do First Nations claim much of the land resource companies seek to exploit, even if not directly on their lands such massive projects involve infrastructural inputs (access roads, river diversion, power lines etc.) that will undoubtedly wreak havoc on the surrounding environment, which indigenous people rely on to sustain traditional subsistence and cultural practices.

KI’s battle with Platinex highlights the tension between northern resource development and indigenous rights. Until recently, resource development in Ontario above the 51st parallel had been limited, and governments hadn’t aggressively sought to open the region up to multinational corporate predators. But corporations have been eyeing the region for some time, and now with government support are ready to move in. They see the Platinex situation as a test case for corporate rights in the area. KI signed a treaty with the government in 1929, in which it was granted 8,800 hectares of land. KI claims, however, that the calculation of the area of its reserve was improper, and in May 2000 filed a specific land claim with the federal government for 51,000 more hectares of its traditional land for its reserve – land that Platinex has mining claims on thanks to Ontario’s corporate-friendly mining code, which allows free claim staking on Crown land.

Given the glacial pace of the government’s official land claims process (in which First Nation claims to legal entitlement to traditional lands can take up to two decades, and with no guarantee of success), KI felt it had no choice but to take matters into its own hands. Much to the frustration of the Ontario government and Platinex, KI activists physically blocked Platinex operations and the community declared a moratorium on mining development on its land. KI Chief, Donny Morris, asserted: “We have said it before and we will say it again. No exploration means no exploration. Which part of NO doesn’t the Ontario government understand?” Of course, the government and Platinex were not to be deterred so easily, and turned to the legal system, with its rank air of justice and impartiality, to help them out.

Legal Cover for Colonialism

While Canada has certainly not been above the use of military or paramilitary force in its efforts to subdue First Nations (Oka, Gustafson Lake, Ipperwash and Six Nations spring to mind), the legal system is its preferred choice. It has the appearance of neutrality, is less sensational than armed conflict and can demobilize activists by channeling their energy into lengthy and costly court processes. The formal land claims process mentioned above is one example of this stratagem. The so-called “duty to consult”, which was invoked in the KI case, is another.

Hailed by government and some indigenous leaders as a legal victory for First Nations, the “duty to consult” has been developed in a number of Supreme Court decisions, including Sparrow, Delgamuukw, Haida-Takhu River and Mikisew Cree. The duty arises from the principle of the “honour of the crown” with respect to its relationship to indigenous communities, as stipulated by the Supreme Court. According to the Court, this means that in historically recognizing some form of aboriginal rights (to hunt or fish on traditional territories, for instance) deriving from the Royal Proclamation of 1763 through to section 35 of the constitution, the state has a responsibility to accommodate indigenous interests in cases where things like development projects (establishing a mine, for instance) could negatively impact those aboriginal rights. The duty can be invoked in instances where development is to proceed either on territory that indigenous communities assert a right to but which right has not yet been formally recognized by Canada, or on territory in close proximity to treaty land. Canada, the Supreme Court argues, must commit to “a meaningful process of consultation in good faith.”

But what’s “good faith”, and why should a colonial government, with connections to the resource industry, ever be expected to meaningfully act in such a manner? The Court never makes clear what “good faith” entails. Further, the Supreme Court also placed clear limitations on the obligations of governments in following the duty. According to the Haida decision, “there is no duty to agree; rather, the commitment is to a meaningful process of consultation. As for Aboriginal claimants, they must not frustrate the Crown’s reasonable and good faith attempts, nor should they take unreasonable positions to thwart government from making decisions or acting in cases where, despite meaningful consultation, agreement is not reached.” So governments can undertake consultations that, as noted above, may not meaningfully exhibit real “good faith,” and if agreement is not reached by the indigenous party, then … too bad, and do not interfere further. Put more sharply, the Court asserts in the Haida decision, “This process does not give Aboriginal groups a veto over what can be done with land pending final proof of a claim.”

The KI case suggests skepticism towards the “duty to consult” is well warranted. When KI’s battle against Platinex first made it into the courts, the Ontario Superior Court ruled that Platinex had a “duty to consult” with KI before it proceeded further with its exploration plans, and imposed a nine month injunction on the company’s activities. In May 2007, when the nine months were up, and KI still had not reached an agreement with the Crown over the use of the land, it sought to extend the injunction. This time, however, the judge refused, stating that the consultation was a “reasonable and responsible beginning of accommodating KI’s interest and, at this point in time, is sufficient to discharge the Crown’s duty to consult.” In other words, the government can claim it fulfilled its legal obligations to consult with the First Nation, and any KI activists taking action to stop Platinex would now be in contempt of court. The balance sheet of the “duty to consult” here is clear: Platinex suffered a brief delay in its plans but can ultimately proceed, while six KI activists are now in jail.

Open For Business

It’s not just Platinex that wins here, of course. The message for resource companies, and the governments in their pockets, is that constitutionally-defined aboriginal rights may have to be considered, but they ultimately will not interfere with plans develop the north. And should indigenous activists be stubborn enough to take matters into their own hands, the full coercive power of the state will be brought to bear on them.

This is a crucial time for the north and its indigenous inhabitants. Corporations and political leaders have clear designs for it, in which indigenous interests are of little importance. However, some indigenous organizations like the AFN and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), which represents forty-nine communities in northern Ontario, have grabbed at the carrots industry and government dangle in front of them, in hopes that if they can’t stop corporate development, then at least they can get a piece of the pie. It’s a risky move, though, as traditional lands risk destruction while development benefits rarely trickle down too far past the indigenous leaders.

In the wake of the court’s heavy-handed treatment of the KI activists, NAN has suspended its talks with the province. While a step in the right direction, this ultimately will do little to stop the development agenda. The reality is that it is well-organized, collective and militant defiance – and the genuine solidarity of non-indigenous activists – that has been the most successful check on Canadian colonialism. Just ask the Six Nations members at the land reclamation in Caledonia.

Todd Gordon is the author of Cops, Crime and Capitalism: The Law-and-Order Agenda in Canada and numerous articles in New Socialist magazine. He is an assistant professor of Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto, and can be reached at ts.gordon@utoronto.ca.

From: Z Net - The Spirit Of Resistance Lives
URL: http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/16977


Zapatista Solidarity Event-Melbourne

click for larger image

A discussion on the diverse contexts of autonomous organizing AND
organizing for autonomy in Mexico.

Talk about four struggles which are part of the Other Campaign

Purepecha people's autonomous school& enviro conservation.

Farncisco Villa Popular Independent Front's urban housing co-ops
Cucapa people in Baja California North Community Police in Guerrero

Short doccos on different indigenous struggles and organizing in the north
of Mexico.

Entry, food & drink all by donation.

G20- Jail, Court, & Police Investigation

In November 2006, people took to the streets of Melbourne to confront the G20, a meeting of the
world’s most powerful finance ministers whose policies perpetrate suffering and violence in countless communities around the world every day. Since that protest, Victorian and Federal police have carried out a vast operation of surveillance and arrests, raiding houses at dawn and slapping protestors with ludicrous charges and repressive bail conditions. This is a
campaign of intimidation and part of an attempt to criminalise protest. The legal process for those charged after the G20 protests moves slowly on. There have been a few developments this month.

Akin Sari sentenced

Akin Sari was sentenced to 28 months gaol with a minimum non-parole period of 14 months. Judge Punshon also ordered him to pay $8 310 for damaged to a police van.

Akin pleaded guilty to 9 charges including riot, assault and aggravated burglary. Amongst the general media hysteria about the G20 protests, Akin has been singled out for special
condemnation and racist vilification. Arrested on November 19, the day after the street protests, he was initially denied bail for a number of weeks. Bail was eventually granted, but was revoked when he breached his reporting conditions and travelled to Sydney. He has spent roughly 7 months locked up already, so he will spend at least another 7 months behind bars.

Akin Sari has been moved to Barwon Prison. Harder for people to visit. New postal address:
Locked Bag 7, Lara VIC 3212.

Make sure you put a return name and address or it won’t be accepted.
Committal Hearing Continues

The committal hearing for the remaining G20 defendants going through adult court began on February 18. During the hearing, 10 people agreed to plead guilty to reduced charges, leaving 13 people still going through the hearing. In a committal hearing the prosecution has to prove to
the magistrate that there’s enough evidence for the charges to go to trial with some chance that people will be found guilty. Over three weeks the defence cross-examined a number of witnesses, most of whom were police officers. At the time of writing, people are still waiting for the magistrate to determine which charges will be going to trial. When she rules on this in late March a date for trial will be set.

Those who agreed to plead guilty will have their next hearing in early April. All of those who took plea bargains pleaded guilty to riot, and some individuals also pleaded guilty to other charges including criminal damage and recklessly causing serious injury. The prosecution have said that they’ll be seeking jail sentences for some people.

People from the G20 Arrestee Solidarity Network and Food not Bombs tried to make court more bearable by providing picnic lunches and money from fundraisers was used to help people with travel and legal costs.
Taskforce Salver Investigation Notes

During the committal hearing the defence obtained copies of many of the notes made by police about the G20 protests, including notes from ‘Taskforce Salver’, the taskforce set up to investigate G20 protestors. These notes are quite extensive, although sections are
blacked out and other bits are poorly photocopied, and they add to the information we have about how and why people were arrested. Here are some preliminary notes
on what we can learn from this information.

The notes make it clear that, from the beginning of the investigation, the police were targeting
individuals they had already identified as activists and therefore believed were ‘leaders.’ As well as going after individuals they had picked out from the start, they also attended protests in both Melbourne and Sydney in the hope of identifying people in the
crowds, and arrested people from these identifications. Police who have monitored forest
protesters, the Newtown police in Sydney and a number of universities and schools provided information to Taskforce Salver.

Activist social networks were also targeted. In January of 2001, groups of plain clothes police
carried out surveillance of a number of pubs in inner-city Melbourne. (They were given instructions that officers drinking shouldn’t drive or arrest anyone.) Police also tried to identify people by searching for the names of punk bands from patches worn to the protest. Clothing, including shoes, bags and hats, was often used in making identifications and was seized in searches as people were arrested.

Taskforce Salver worked very closely with the APEC taskforce in Sydney. As we already knew, police from the APEC squad were present at the G20 protests. They were keen to help with the Sydney arrests and exchanged information with Melbourne. In return, Taskforce Salver sent APEC police video footage of solidarity demonstrations outside the court in Melbourne.

It was the APEC taskforce who recommended that the Sydney arrests be coordinated through the Counter Terrorism unit. When a member of Taskforce Salver first talked to the Counter Terrorism unit after this suggestion, they originally refused and said it wasn’t in their charter. The APEC taskforce, who arranged logistics for the arrests, nevertheless requested their involvement. As the Counter Terrorism unit did take part in the arrests, it is clear the cops in
charge of policing APEC won their argument that these arrests and these political crimes should be dealt with by Counter Terrorism police.

Taskforce Salver also used the intensification of policing in the lead up to APEC to help their
inquiries more generally. When they released the infamous ‘persons of interest’ photos to Crimestoppers and the media, they hoped that the hype around APEC would help get them national media coverage. Indeed, the photos – which showed 24 people without indicating
what, if any, crime they were suspected of, did receive widespread attention and a number of people were identified from them or were frightened into turning themselves in.

What can we learn from all this? That talking in pubs isn’t safe. That police are worried about protesters. That when we’re trying to hide our identities we need to be more thorough. That we could be under surveillance. These are things that perhaps we should have known already but didn’t want to take seriously.

But although this is serious and frightening it isn’t the end of the world. We can learn from this, keep supporting each other and continue resisting openly. The most important thing right now is that some of our friends and comrades are awaiting sentencing or still going through the tense tedium of court – or, in the worst case, in prison.

The G20 investigations are a test for both sides. The police have thrown intense resources towards them and what they manage to get away with in these trials is going to set new limits
for what they’ll try to get away with next time. Anyone who thinks that we need to keep opening the spaces for protest and direct action needs to support the arrestees both politically and practically.

For more information about ongoing solidarityorganising, see www.afterg20.org

thanks to Mutiny Zine Chur


In Our Own Image - Public Forum on Media and Indigenous Struggle

On Thursday April 3, a public forum on Auckland will be held on the struggle to create representations of indigenous struggle and experience. Alexandra Halkin, the International Coordinator of the Chiapas Media Project and Leonie Pihama, a film maker and renowned scholar on Maori education and broadcasting, will discuss the challenges of bringing indigenous self-determination on screen.

A public forum as part of the Talk About Terror series at the Whare Wananga, Auckland Central Library


Alexandra Halkin, Chiapas Media Project, Mexico
Leonie Pihama, Maori and Indigenous Analysis Ltd., Aotearoa

For many indigenous groups, the issue of who controls representations is critical. With a cultural identity that exists outside of mainstream society, the complex histories and unique perspectives of these groups are often lost in our images of the nation. This idea of competing images of identity in one nation was recently highlighted in the news coverage of the so called 'terror raids' on the Tuhoe communities of Ruatoki and Taneatua on the East Coast. While mainstream media overwhelmingly focused on the legality of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, Maori media saw the raids as a continuation of state oppression against the Tuhoe sovereignty movement. In this second session of the Talk About Terror series, we examine what it means to create representations In Our Own Image through the work of two film makers, Alexandra Halkin and Leonie Pihama.

Alexandra Halkin, the International Coordinator of the Chiapas Media Project (Promedios), joins us from Mexico. Promedios gives voice to indigenous peoples from the states of Chiapas and Guerrero in Mexico by providing them with cameras to track their lives in a region torn with infamously poor human rights records and one of the highest international incidences of political murders and disturbances. She is joined by Leonie Pihama, a film maker and renowned scholar on Maori education and broadcasting, who played a crucial role in the formation of the Maori Television Service. What will emerge in this dialogue spanning two distinct nations are the commonalities of indigenous experience - the struggle to create space for indigenous representations, the marginalisation and demonisation of minority cultures, and the importance of film and television in shaping our perceptions of society.

In Our Own Image pays tribute to Barry Barclay (Ngati Apa, 1944 - 2008) who dedicated most of his life to bringing indigenous stories to the screen. Director of the landmark 1974 Tangata Whenua documentary series, he was a pioneer of Maori film and television, forever altering the cultural landscape of New Zealand by becoming the first Maori to direct a feature film in 1987, the visually cerebral Ngati. Barclay sought to shed light on the international struggles shared by indigenous peoples to retain autonomy over their own image by offering alternatives to the largely stereotypical representations of these cultures. In the second session of the Talk About Terror series in response to the 'terror raids' on the Tuhoe people and the power of visual representation played out in the news media during that time, we honour Barclay's legacy by bringing together two contemporary filmmakers to discuss the challenges of indigenous self-determination on screen.

DATE: Thursday April 3

TIME: 6-7.30pm

VENUE: Whare Wananga, Auckland Central Library, Lorne Street

This lecture is a part of the Talk About Terror Series Organised by Nova Paul, Geraldene Peters and Phoebe Fletcher AUT University, The University of Auckland

In Our Own Image.pdf (200 k)




BP in West Papua

Shattered illusions

When BP set out to build a £3.5bn natural gas plant in remote West Papua, local villagers hoped for a bright future. But all is not well.

About this article

This article appeared in the Guardian on Wednesday March 19 2008 on p8 of the Society news & features section. It was last updated at 00:10 on March 19 2008.

Recently, with hundreds of Indonesian troops just out of sight in scenes of intense security, Prince Andrew, the government's official business envoy, dropped in on Bintuni Bay, one of Indonesia's mots remote corners. The plan was to inspect BP's new £3.5bn natural gas plant. What the Duke of York probably did not know was that he had walked straight into a row between the giant oil company and local villagers.

The British firm had promised its new neighbours, who live on the edge of the pristine Papuan rainforest, better homes, long-term jobs and full environmental protection when it started several years ago to build its giant plant to extract 14 trillion cubic metres of gas. But with the gas about to flow, village leaders have now complained bitterly that the company has reneged on its agreements.

In a long letter sent to the Guardian and in telephone conversations, Papuan leaders requesting anonymity have complained that the company has blocked off their fishing grounds, attracted a flood of migrants to the villages, provided very few jobs for local people and is now siding with the Indonesian authorities against native Papuans who are engaged in a long struggle for independence.

"Everything we feared when BP came to the area has come true," claims one community leader. "People are not allowed to catch any fish or shrimps in the exclusive zone established by BP. More and more migrants are coming because of the plant. There is very high inflation because there is lots of money around. The number of local people from Bintuni Bay who work in the project is very low. Local Papuans are never recruited as full-time members of staff."

BP has been desperately keen to avoid the experiences that it, Shell and other oil companies, have had in Africa and Latin America, where oil and gas extraction has left a trail of pollution, human rights abuses and distressed people with no share in the wealth extracted from their land. The company pledged from the start to set new social and environmental standards, and to be a model of corporate social responsibility. It hired some of the best development NGOs to offer advice.

Papuan leaders say they were initially impressed when BP completely rebuilt one fishing village, poured money into the nearby communities, and employed leading environment, human rights and health groups to advise them on how to avoid conflict and bring prosperity to the villages. But as the project has come closer to opening, people have flooded into the area. "Conflicts between local communities and migrants have begun," says the leader. "The migrants [from all over Indonesia] have come here to look for jobs, and are staying. There are about 1,500 in the village of Babo and 1,200 in Bintuni. They are the majority now in all the villages," he says.

The Tangguh gas field, believed to be eventually worth more than £100bn to BP and the Indonesian government, is one of the largest in the world. Known as a "super giant", it is contracted to provide gas for China, Mexico and the US, and should last 30 years.

But the Papuan leaders, who have long been pressing for independence from Indonesia, say they fear that BP is taking sides with the Indonesian government, as they are bypassed from all the lasting benefits. According to documents seen by the Guardian, less than £30m was budgeted for the Tangguh social programme over six years, including money for resettlement and security; nearly £15m was earmarked for "consultants" and administration. The nine most affected villages in the area are being given £15,000 a year for five years, and others in the area £5,500 a year.

"BP has built 100 houses for 100 heads of families. All looks wonderful," another village leader says. "But the people actually suffer mentally from their new settlement. Their access to the sea is limited because of the company's exclusion zone, and they cannot expand their gardens. They do not have enough [space] to expand their families."

Criticism of BP's employment policy was levelled at the company last year and the Tangguh Independent Advisory Panel, chaired by Lord [David] Hannay, to monitor the project, encouraged BP to employ more Papuans and to educate the local population about the "demobilisation" process when the construction work is complete.

Although nearly 6,000 people have been employed in constructing the plant, fewer than 500 will be employed by the company after the building is complete later this year. Of these, only around 50 are expected to be Papuan.

"People's dependency on BP is very high. There will be problems when the work ends. There will be economic and psychological degradation," say Papuan leaders in their letter to the Guardian.

"We predicted that BP and Indonesia would not care about the very survival of the Papuans on their land and their nation. We expected that BP and Indonesia would continuously destroy our forests and our trees and pollute the rivers and seas," they says. "And we feared that BP and Indonesia would bring misfortune for the Papuans by employing skilled workers from outside West Papua, claiming that we Papuans are not 'skilled workers'. I have to tell you that our worst predictions and fears have come true."

BP denies that it is causing environmental damage, or that it is favouring non-Papuans. The company said it is bound by strict guidelines about how many Papuans should be employed. A spokesman says: "We think about 30% of the construction workforce is Papuan. The intention is that there will be long-term employment for Papuans. We are prioritising the most affected villages," says a BP spokesman.

But he also concedes that Papua is large and that it has been difficult to identify who is an original inhabitant of these villages. On the fishing situation, he points out that BP has provided outboard motors to some people so they can travel further to fishing grounds. "We believe we have set new standards for the BP group. There has been a lot of progress but there is no complacency," he says.

Ontario Jails First Nation Leaders; KI Pledges to Continue the Struggle

thanks to http://www.socialistvoice.ca/?p=268

March 21, 2008

On March 18, six members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation were sentenced to six months in jail for contempt of court, for opposing mining company operations on their traditional lands in Northwestern Ontario. The imprisoned leaders include the majority of members of the KI Band Council.

This follows similar contempt of court sentences against activists from the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, near Kingston Ontario, for blocking uranium mining operations on their land.

The following statement was issued on March 20 by the KI Council.

Kitchenuhmaykoosib, Ontario - We are saddened today that our leaders have been jailed for contempt and they’re there for what they strongly believe – to protect Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Homelands!

As a result of our community assembly on March 18, 2008, the present Chief and Council notably, Chief Donny Morris, Deputy Chief Jack McKay, Head Councillor Cecilia Begg, Councillors Samuel McKay and Darryl Sainnawap are still our leaders and are deemed equivalent as leaders in exile as expressed by the people of Kitchenuhmaykoosib. One band member, Bruce Sakakeep is also in jail for contempt as well.

The remaining Council members Susan Nanokeesic, Kenny Martin and Angus McKay are still politically active at the community level with the assistance of a working group consisting of 18 community members.

With consultation between the exiled Council members and the Council in Kitchenuhmaykoosib, we take strong stand on the following:

1. No Parliamentarian, be it federal or provincial member, is allowed in the Homelands of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug;

2. No more free entry to Kitchenuhamaykoosib lands by Platinex or any other mining entity including First Nation mining companies;

3. Ongoing blockade will be more protected and secured in order to protect our KI Homelands;

4. Assembly of First Nations must abandon the partnership agreements with the mining industry in Canada;

5. All First Nation political territorial organizations in Ontario do not speak directly for or on behalf of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, but their support on the issue is welcome;

6. Ontario must respond to our proposal made with our brothers and sisters of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, to establish a joint panel on mining on First Nations lands.

There is suspicion and fear on our part as a result of the court’s disposition on our leaders. There is no more sense of safety and well being for all Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug to rely on the Canadian government’s legal and statutory obligations on our people, especially the government of Ontario. The court document and its disposition gives us anxiety and terror for we are all distressed enough with our present social and economic situation.

The court ruling is a deliberate attack on the blood, bone and spirit of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug. It referenced many cases and ancient views of “rule of law” that we don’t agree with it. The mention of “Magna Carta” is no exception. Ontario uses it to make a false disposition on our people. The remnants of Magna Carta did indeed killed off many Indigenous peoples in both South and North Americas. The principle of that no one is above the law is hypocritical as displayed by the government of Ontario!

The Ontario emissary, Mr. Michael Bryant came to our community and offered no formal agenda and plan for negotiations. There was no real substance for negotiations despite what he said in a press release dated March 17, 2008. Unfortunately, this is the day that our leaders were imprisoned. The Ontario emissary Mr. Bryant is indeed speaking fork-tongued, repeated once again as Treaty Commissioners did back in 1929. He is not formally talking to anyone at KI as he professes to be!

KI Council along with our brothers and sisters at Ardoch Algonquin First Nation who are facing similar situation jointly submitted a proposal to Ontario outlining moratorium on exploration and mining in the disputed areas; a joint panel to consist three-party membership to investigate exploration and mining issues; and to negotiate interim measures agreement. Mr. Bryant did not take our proposal seriously and he will not even mention any of the contents described.

We are very thankful for those that supported us from the beginning and we still need your support more than ever. With your ongoing support, KI will prevail.

For additional information see the websites of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and Ardoch Algonquin First Nations.

KI is urging supporters of these political prisoners to contribute the Ardoch defense fund. Cheques payable to “Chris Reid In Trust for Ardoch Algonquin First Nation” should be mailed to:

Christopher M. Reid, Barrister & Solicitor,
154 Monarch Park Ave.,
Toronto, ON M4J 4R6


KIFN Members Jailed for Six Months

About the recent sentencing of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KIFN) Members for asserting their land rights.

For more info, visit intercontinentalcry.org/tag/KIFN




43 West Papuan Political Refugees call for international protection in
West Papua


Where: Indonesian Embassy, 8 Darwin Avenue, Yarralumla, Canberra
When: Tuesday March 25
Time: 12PM - 2PM.


As the world's attention is on the brutal repression in Tibet, the same story is happening in West Papua right now. For the last few weeks in many centres across West Papua, protests and resistance have been escalating against Indonesian repression of West Papuan people and
culture. Since the beginning of March, peaceful actions and rallies have been held almost daily calling on the Indonesian government to stop killings and military operations against civilians, and calling for Referendum of West Papuan people as the only peaceful solution to ongoing
human rights abuse. In an occupied Land less than 130 kilometres from Australia, West Papuan students have been bravely facing off heavily armed military and ongoing intimidation by police, intelligence and military to protest their treatment, and have raised the banned Morning Star Flag, which has resulted in brutal treatment.

Many people have been arrested for defying Indonesian genocidal rule, and currently at least 16 political leaders are in prison on Suharto era charges of Rebellion and Subversion. We hold grave fears for their safety in prison, as they are at high risk of torture and ill-treatment. Since
the peaceful assemblies on March 3, 6, and 13, thousands of family members of West Papuan political activists have been living under intimidation and terror, given the past record of repression and killings of West Papuan people. Currently, anyone who displays the Morning Star flag is arrested and interrogated, even Grandmothers making traditional carry bags. We
have also received information that two key activists are being hunted by the Indonesian military currently, and are in hiding.

The solution posed by the international community, Special Autonomy, has failed through the direct sabotage and corruption of Indonesian government and military officers. The West Papuan people gave it a chance to be implemented, it failed, the Indonesian government lied, so now West Papuans want a Referendum. The Indonesian security forces are out of control, and will not stop until they have gained total compliance. There is legitimate concern that the Indonesian military will seek to intensify its actions against all West Papuans, and will be arresting all people involved in peaceful assembly.

That is why we need to call on the Australian government, to help facilitate or conduct Round Table Peace Talks between West Papuan People and the Indonesian government in Canberra or a neutral country.

West Papuan People are calling on Australian's of good heart to stand together to help bring international attention to the repression and killings inside, and for Indonesia to allow a Referendum so West Papuans can decide for themselves on their future.

Please join us ....in an emergency solidarity action on 25 March in Canberra outside the Indonesian Embassy, and also delivering a letter to Kevin Rudd's government.

For background media documents, and reports on the current situation in
West Papua and individual cases please visit
www.manukoreri.net/west_papua_upheaval and www.freewestpapua.com

Ongoing information, please contact:
Herman : 0401 301 520
Spokesperson for 43 Asylum Seekers & Ex Political Prisoner

Dr Jacob Rumbiak
Australia, Mobile +61 (0)4313 88 976 or +61 (0)3 9510 2193
Co-ordinator, Foreign Affairs, West Papua National Authority

For Media Co-ordination (not comment) please contact Nick Chesterfield on
+61 (0) 409 268 978


Anti-2010 Tour-Native Youth Movement (NYM)

part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BChkDu29-s

part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otkchp0-uz0

Two Warriors from the Native Youth Movement (NYM) recently completed a 20 stop speaking tour against the 2010 Winter Olympics planned to be held in unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver/Whistler, british columbia, klanada). They travelled through Mohawk, Annishinabe, Algonquin, Seneca, Cayuga, Penobscott, and Wampanoag Territories. They went to Sharbot Lake and heard of the Struggle against Uranuim Mining, to Tyenindega and heard of the Struggle against the continued invasion into their territory and occupation to close down a rock quarry, to Kanawake and heard about the european invasion surrounding their community, Akwesasne fighting Home Land Security invading their Territory trying to lock down the fake boarder that runs through their community and to Six Nations and there fight against illegal development on their land.

They went to 11 major cities (so-called Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Kingston, Peterborough, Ottawa, Portland, Boston, MA, Binghamton, NY Ithaca, NY, Guelph,) and various Native communities. NYM were Nation building, networking, and making alliances to Unite our Struggles for Land, Freedom and Life and Survival. Kanahus Pelkey of the Secwepemc/Ktnuxa Nation, and Dustin Johnson of the Ts'mksiyen Nation represented their respective Nations proudly and did the much needed groundwork to gather support against not only the 2010 Olympics but for the Native Liberation Movement in so called 'north amerikkka'. In the last week of the tour NYM members from the Mohawk and Annishinabe Nations joined their west coast comrades to spread the word and show that Warriorz are United East to West, North to South.

The Native Youth Movement is part of the Zapatista's Other Campaign and are in full Alliance and Agreement with its Principles and Objectives, and just as our Zapatista brothers and sisters travelled the Land to Unite Native Nations, and supporters alike, we are doing the same in the North. Our Fight for life is the same, we must stop the destruction of Mother Earth, nothing can survive without Clean Air, Food, and Water.


A photo report of their visit to Montreal, with background to the organizing against the 2010 Olympics is linked here:


An audio recording of Kanahus and Dustin's visit to Montreal, recorded by David Parker of the CKUT Community News Collective, is linked here:


A photo report from Kanahus' press conference in Guelph is linked here: http://resistanceisfertile.ca/tour

Links to numerous articles written about the tour:

Native Youth Protest 2010 Olympics by Sam Bick

Native Groups Protest Olympics Held on Disputed Land by Stefan Christoff

Two British Columbia Aboriginals Say 2010 Olympics Will Not be All Fun and Games by Canadian Press

Who holds the torch? 2010 and the anti-Olympics campaign in British Columbia by Evan Brockest

Natives group rebukes Olympic land-grab: 2010 paving way for extensive development on aboriginal land by Richard Tardif

NZ Work Scheme a “Mutton-flap Gesture”

PANG is calling NZ’s seasonal work scheme a “mutton-flap gesture.”

“This scheme is little more than being offered the ‘mutton-flaps’ of the NZ job market” said a PANG representative in Fiji today. “What we need is substantive development in Pacific economies. We need to up-skill our work force and be able to set up value-added production in our own countries; not merely export raw materials or unskilled labour.” On the last day of the 37th Pacific Islands Forum, Helen Clark announced a seasonal work scheme to allow up to 5000 Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu nationals to work for up to seven months in the New Zealand horticulture sector. However, work opportunities will depend on NZ labour shortages and NZ horticulture industry needs; not the needs of the Pacific.

“New Zealand’s seasonal work scheme is fools gold, because it does not address any of the underlying causes of the economic problems that Pacific economies are currently facing, furthermore it must not be seen as a potential benefit under PACER. There is a huge imbalance in free-market globalisation because labour cannot move with the same freedom that capital can.

This work scheme from NZ is by no means the labour mobility plan that Pacific policy makers want, nor should we assume that labour mobility will provide the economic solutions Pacific Island people need” said a PANG representative.

“We should see this scheme for what it is: We’ve been thrown a politically strategic bone to ease Pacific policy-maker angst over unemployment due to the surplus of semi- and unskilled labour. In reality 5000 jobs across six countries for only seven months will ease nothing! It’s a joke, yet Fiji’s Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Kaliopate Tavola have said they are ‘pleased’”.

Exporting a miniscule fraction of our semi- and unskilled labour is a bandaid, not an economic policy that will lead to substantive growth. It accentuates the dependency that we have on first world nations through the remittances cycle, as it does not create jobs, rather it disguises the lack of economic opportunities in our own countries. At the end of the day a job created in a Pacific Island country is better than a temporary, minimum wage, low-skill job in New Zealand.


Call to protect jobs in free-trade era

Fiji times

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

THE Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) says Pacific governments should not pursue foreign-imposed free trade policies that will lead to business closures and more job losses.
This follows news that Flour Mills of Fiji (FMF) has closed down two milling factories and put on hold $30 million worth of projects that would have created 120 new jobs. The closure of the mills, which have been operating for 15 years, forced 20 people into unemployment and affected at least 20 more. The reduction of import duties on competing products (split peas and rice) led to the closure of the mills.

PANG coordinator Roshni Ram said the private sector in Fiji was not ready for open competition with far larger corporations in developed nations and that signing free trade deals with the EU, Australia and NZ would devastate local industry.

She welcomed calls from the Suva Chamber of Commerce president Dr Nur Bano Ali for the Fiji government to support a thriving local private sector and to ensure existing employment levels are maintained.

"All Pacific economies already suffer from high unemployment levels," said Ms Sami.
"We need pro-development trade policies to support local industries, not trade policies that fill the pockets of corporations in New Zealand, Australia and other wealthy trading partners.
"We just can't afford to institute policies designed for the benefit of wealthy nations that will push even more people out of jobs."

In late 2007, Fiji (and Papua New Guinea) was pressured into initialing a free trade agreement on goods with the European Union, which means Fiji will have to permanently reduce tariffs on most goods entering the country from the EU.

In explicit violation of their commitments under the Cotonou Agreement (2000), the EU had threatened to raise tariffs on Pacific exports of tuna and sugar if Fiji and PNG did not sign. The Pacific's big brother's neighbours, Australia and NZ, are already calling for similar concessions to be offered for their exports. Ms Sami said Australia and NZ were far and away the Pacific's biggest trading partners. If we are pushed to offer the same trading terms there will be devastating consequences for the Pacific," said Ms Sami

"Pacific leaders have been warned about this by their own advisors and leading economists. It's time this advice is reflected in their trade and economic policies."

Sweeping trade liberalisation would result in major losses of government revenue, cuts to public services, business closures and job losses, and a flood of imports undermining local producers.


WE WON’T IMPOSE, SAYS KERR Rudd’s minister explains new policy on islands

Economic globalisation has a stranglehold on the Pacific, Duncan Kerr & the Rudd gubbament come over like, the iron fist in the velvet glove approach, but that doesnt change Australia's (& their Allies) strategic and economic "interests" in the Pacific one iota. Colonial settlers who have founded their state on the genocide of Aboriginal Peoples have a cheek to think that they can offer anything of use to the Peoples of the Pacific, except their economic and political assimilation.

Samisoni Pareti

Just one month in office as Australia’s new parliamentary secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs—equivalent to a minister of state—Duncan Kerr is clear about the way he will engage with independent islands under his responsibility.

“Australia can’t impose itself on the domestic politics of individual Pacific Islands countries,” says Kerr in an interview he gave the magazine at his spacious office inside the Australian parliamentary complex in Canberra last month.

“We’re not always going to agree on everything but we hope that where we do find differences, we either minimise those differences or speak respectfully about those differences and we concentrate on the 95% of areas where we will be able to find common grounds and make sure those things proceed effectively.

“In that way I think we can develop good sustainable, robust, adaptive relationships that will enable us to have a peaceful and healthy Pacific region.”

Being the key link between his government and the 16 relatively small and remote islands of the Pacific can be a taxing and thankless task.

Thankfully though for Kerr and perhaps even for his International Development Assistance counterpart Bob McCullan, the job has been made much more easier with a clear and unambiguous roadmap on how to engage with the islands which was articulated by their leader and current prime minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd.

In his July 5, 2007 speech at the Lowy Institute, Rudd as Opposition leader then, spoke of a Pacific partnership for development and security.

For him, partnership will be the guiding word when Labor is in power.

Asked to articulate his strategy on engagement with the Pacific islands, Kerr referred consistently to the need for partnership.

“The idea of partnership agreement that we wish to reach is to ask the Pacific Islands countries with which we in the main have good basic relationships to identify their priorities and then work with them to shape a framework into which Australian development assistance can be included.

“We can provide resources and assistance in areas where governments identify weaknesses.

“We would like to see these partnership agreements being robust enough to survive political change either in Australia, Tonga, Samoa, or wherever.

“So we stand ready to work with the governments of the Pacific to articulate their priorities and to work with them to develop these partnerships.”

Such a relationship seems to be guiding the new Labor Government’s engagement with the government of Dr Derek Sikua of Solomon Islands under the regional RAMSI initiative.

Kerr spoke to ISLANDS BUSINESS on the eve of his departure for Honiara for a review of RAMSI with his Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and McCullan.

No exit strategy yet: But he was firm in the belief that Australia is committed for the long-term and is not eyeing an exit strategy yet.

“We’re not talking about an exit strategy; we are talking about the next phase of RAMSI.

“We don’t imagine that the Solomon Islands government is keen to see anything like an immediate or short timeframe for the termination of the work of RAMSI.

“It’s too important in terms of the stability it guarantees.

“What we’re looking at is an agreed framework for the evolution of RAMSI as it succeeds in its mission, to evolve to the other element which is institutional strengthening, and working with the Solomon Islands government to enable it to pick up its capacity to deal with a wide range of issues.”

Kerr says the dawn of Sikua’s government and his recent visit to Canberra allowed both countries to turn a “clean page” in their relationships.

RAMSI he adds has been able to allow for the “footprint of law and order” to make an indelible mark in the daily lives of Solomon Islanders.

The next phase now for the regional initiative would be to go into capacity strengthening and allow more room for AusAID and other international donors to operate.

“The next stage of RAMSI where of course we will have to stay the course because the whole idea is not simply to go in and provide a quick solution to communal violence, but we will also need to strengthen the capacity of the Solomon Islands government to provide effective governance and to compliment the work of RAMSI with a bilateral programme through AusAID.

“This will enable some of the benefits of stability to start to be seen by the community in areas of education, health, at the community level.

“I think it’s important to distinguish between RAMSI which is essentially a commitment to deal with the crisis and in strengthening governance and the routine bilateral arrangements which we still strongly support.

“So, this is what they say not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning, we hope a period where the first critical phase of RAMSI starts to evolve more clearly towards the ultimate endpoint of normalisation.”

Fiji’s case: On Fiji, Kerr admits the island nation—recovering from its fourth coup in 19 years—is a “difficult situation” for the Rudd Government.

“It’s difficult because no one in our region is happy to see a continuation of rule by a military administration.

“We don’t own the past but equally we don’t want to send any signals that we are tolerant or willing to be thought of accepting the continuation of military rule.

“But if there’s space for constructive ideas that can bring parties together, in ways that will enable the evolution of governance in Fiji to a return to democracy without violence and disruptions, then we would of course be interested in those ideas.

“But that said, for a whole range of reasons we are quite happy to assist with regard to the preparation of a democratic government.

“The Fiji electoral people can come to Australia for any resources or assistance that can be provided.”
Kerr says Canberra is aware of the move by the military-led regime in Fiji to embark on a process of formulating a people’s charter “which was intended to bring together people of goodwill across all the different parts of the Fijian community to look at how a return to democracy can be achieved.”

“But it’s pretty clear the process has not attracted the participation of key sections or all of the cross sections of the Fijian community.

“So it hasn’t been able to fully achieve the full objectives intended.”

On Tonga, Australia’s parliamentary secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs says Prime Minister Fred Sevele had assured Canberra of continued political reforms in the people’s representation in parliament.

The process he says seems “healthy.”

“We hope it will proceed with goodwill on both sides and we hope the turbulence of the past is well behind.

“With those political changes committed to by the government and publicly stated and reinforced in our meetings, we believe there’s a sound basis, a confidence that change can occur in a peaceful way, consistent with continued economic strengths in the Tongan economy and in dealing with the wash-ups of the trouble of the past.”

Kerr confirmed his government is not rushing into implementing a guest worker scheme the Australian Labor Party had proposed whilst in opposition.

He maintains the concept has not been ruled out altogether and that much hinges on how Pacific islanders perform at the guest worker scheme currently on trial in New Zealand.

“Just the other day I met with senior representatives from the World Bank and I think they are doing an evaluation of the New Zealand scheme.

“I think it’s close to the end of its first full year of operation, but the preliminary indications coming in are consistent with Pacific Islands countries being very, very careful about how they select participants, making sure they put a lot of efforts into its success and there have been preliminary good reports from New Zealand about the way its operating.

“But there hasn’t been any comprehensive assessment and our decision will be made in light of an evaluation of that. Ultimately of course. it’s a decision for our cabinet.”

Westbank Cage by Badluck

Music Video for song 'Westbank Cage' by rap group Badluck from Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine, 2008. Made by Te Kupu, to feature in rapumentary Ngatahi-Know The Links part 5

Land of the Long White Lie

The New Zealand Terror Raids


On October 15 2007, the New Zealand police carried out unprecedented nation-wide raids arresting 17 indigenous rights activists and anarchists and raiding some 60 different locations. The arrests were based on surveillance and interception warrants obtained under the Terrorism Suppression Act. This was the first time that the police used this Act, a law passed immediately after 9/11 and a direct result of it.

The raids were staged on a Monday morning starting at approximately 5am. At 5:45 am, the Police knocked on my door. Then they nearly broke it down. When I opened it, 15 officers swarmed in, waving an 80-page search warrant in my face. When I said, 'this isn't signed,' the detective responded 'here, here's the signed copy.' Then they ransacked my room, pulling my plants out of their containers, removing the back of my refrigerator and collecting a raft of documents, photographs, electronic gear and clothing. Finally, they arrested me and told me that I was going to be charged with participating in a terrorist group.

The raids came as a huge shock to me, to most of the country and to the world that follow such events. New Zealand, also known as Aotearoa-the 'land of the long white cloud' in the indigenous language of the Maori people-has a reputation for amicable race relations, a progressive government and an enviable settlement process for indigenous claims against breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding treaty between Maori and the British Crown, signed in 1840 by some 500 chiefs.

What is actually happening in Aotearoa beneath the government's clever 'clean, green, 100 per cent pure' marketing campaign is not at all what they would lead you to believe.
On day one of the raids, there was a media frenzy as the police carefully leaked tantalizing nuggets of evidence including reports of napalm bombs, assassination plots against Prime Minister Helen Clark and President George W Bush, and an 'IRA-style war plan.' The 17 arrestees were brought before District Court judges in four different cities to respond to the charges. One was dealt with immediately by the courts and dismissed, the remaining 16 all went to prison that night, remanded in custody as bail was vigorously opposed by the Crown prosecution.

We were deemed a threat to 'national security.' In the cloud of terrorism hysteria and secret evidence, our lawyers would not even attempt an application for bail.

The New Zealand Government has signed up for all of Bush's post-9/11 terrorism requirements. At the same time, it imported the US Government's brutal tactics of repression, surveillance technologies and police hyper-paranoia about political activity, particularly when it comes from indigenous activists who dare to speak of aspirations of sovereignty.

Of the 17 arrested on 15 October, 12 were Maori, many from the Tuhoe iwi (tribe). Tuhoe is known for its long history of resistance to colonization. They never signed the Treaty of Waitangi. There is a story that the Crown agent was advised that he would be eaten if he attempted to come into Tuhoe land in order to get the Treaty signed. Today, Tuhoe have the one of the highest ratios of native speakers of the Maori language (called 'te reo') among tribal groups and have a strong cultural identity that is intimately linked to the land in an area that they call 'Te Urewera,' land of the mist. There are about 20,000 people who claim Tuhoe ancestry, many of whom are still living in relatively isolated communities within Te Urewera.

The raids and arrests were the culmination of an $8 million dollar, two-year long operation dubbed 'Operation Eight'. On the day of the raids, some 300 police were involved. Most had little knowledge of the investigation or the suspects; none it seems had any knowledge of the history of the Crown's scorched earth policy, murder, and land theft which prompted fierce resistance by Tuhoe more than 100 years ago.

The forces of the state have a convenient way of forgetting things that don't suit the current narrative. Such was the case on October 15. In a spectacular display of force, armed, balaclava-clad police known as the 'armed offenders squad' quite literally invaded the small Tuhoe town of Ruatoki and blockaded the entire community. On an elaborate quest for terrorists and evidence, they stopped all vehicles coming in or out of the community and photographed the drivers and occupants. In the process of conducting house raids, they severely traumatized many people, including locking a woman and five children in a shed for six hours while the man of the family was questioned, taking a woman's underwear as evidence, and boarding a local school bus.

In one South Auckland raid, the police held an entire family, including a 12 year old girl, on their knees with hands behind their heads for some 5 hours, asking the young woman if she was a terrorist. This was the pattern for raids in the Maori communities.

For the non-indigenous arrestees (referred to herein as 'pakeha' a word that means white New Zealander), the situation was starkly different. In my case, I was not even handcuffed as I was walked to the car. No white neighborhoods were blockaded, nor were white bystanders stopped and photographed as they went about their daily business that cool Monday morning in October. It was only Maori.

The institutional racism of the police and justice system came as no surprise to Maori people and particularly to Tuhoe who have been subject to its arbitrary acts for some 160 years. For pakeha throughout the country, it was a wake-up call. Unfortunately, it was less a wake-up call about racism than it was about the growing power of the state against political dissidents. I say it was unfortunate because it is clear from the nearly 10,000 pages of evidence I have now seen, that it is Maori sovereignty that they fear. It is the political force of unified indigeneity that scares the ruling class of New Zealand.

For Maori in Aotearoa New Zealand, the 'war on terrorism' and these raids are part of a long history of colonization in Aotearoa New Zealand, and they have not been forgotten.

In the 1860s, the Suppression of Rebellion Act was passed with strikingly similar language to the Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002. This earlier Act was used by the fledgling New Zealand State to launch a series of vicious attacks on Maori communities in order to appropriate their land for settlement. People and whole tribes were defined as 'in rebellion' in order that the State could then exercise a range of repressive and exploitative measures against them.

I was arrested, I believe, to provide a cloak for the racist nature of the operation.

By arresting some pakeha activists, the government could deflect criticism that this was an operation against Maori. I was also arrested because I am associates with the Maori accused in the case, and because as an anarchist I have caused enough problems and embarrassments for the state that they would like to put me out of their misery. In June of last year, I published a book detailing the New Zealand government's involvement in the 'war on terrorism.' In it, I suggested that both dissidents and Maori were targets of the war, along with refugees and migrants. It was not without a sense of bizarre irony and a certain grim satisfaction that I sat in my prison cell and congratulated myself on being right.

Needless to say, in a country of 4 million people, there are not six degrees of separation, but usually only one or two. There most certainly is a connection between anarchists, environmentalists, anti-war and indigenous rights activists: most of them know each other and work together regularly. One would have to exist in a state of utter delusion not to make the connections between these issues, particularly in New Zealand where the effects of the self-imposed neo-liberal structural adjustment of the 1980s is being felt more acutely everyday.

The New Zealand Parliament is Westminster-style with mixed-member proportional representation. At present, the governing Labor party maintains power through a delicate balance of negotiated agreements, some formal, some informal, with other smaller parties that give support on vital confidence and supply votes.

As with the British Labor Party, the New Zealand Labor party long ago shed any resemblance to a working-class based party and has wholeheartedly embraced neo-liberal economics. This has had major implications for Maori who in the main reject its ubiquitous commodification, particularly with regard to flora, fauna, land and intellectual property. Nevertheless, up until very recently Maori had continued to support Labor generally, and all of the Maori electorate seats in Parliament were held by the Labour Party.

In 2004, the Government passed the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which had the effect of extinguishing Maori rights to claim customary ownership of the land between the high tide and low tide marks, and to the seabed. In contravention of international law and despite condemnation by the UN, the Government pressed ahead with the law, with near unanimous support in parliament. The following year the Treasury began to include a line-item in the annual financial accounts for these newly acquired Crown assets. This grotesque confiscation was considered a declaration of war by some Maori. It ruptured the Labor Party and brought about the formation of the Maori Party. This now presents a significant threat to Labor's hold on the Maori vote, and more importantly, to their hold on power.

Politically, this is one of the primary factors behind the raids. In the lead up to the 2008 election, it is crucial that Labour cast radical Maori as a dangerous threat to the stability of New Zealand. This was a gamble by Prime Minister Helen Clark and her cabal to secure a third term through a tactic of divide and conquer. In the media Clark repeatedly stated that the raids were 'an operational matter for the police,' but behind the scenes in Wellington, every politico knows that nothing of consequence happens without her direct and explicit nod.

Another significant political factor prompting the raids is the government's relationship with the US and its other close defense partners. As a member of the exclusive five-nation UKUSA intelligence network (along with the US, UK, Canada and Australia), New Zealand's security and police are intimately tied to a distinctive post-War relationship with the US. This relationship, and the resultant organizational links, has played a significant role in New Zealand's response to US terrorism hysteria. Further, the New Zealand government has separate, internal reasons for adopting much of the new terrorism legislation.

Prior to 9/11, the Terrorism Suppression Bill was before the Select Committee and was simply intended to ratify two existing UN conventions against terrorism. After 9/11, the law was radically re-written, kept secret from the public, while the Government and the opposition rushed to appear resolute in support of the US.

Fortunately, the changes were leaked and there was significant public opposition that eventually mitigated the worst aspects of the Act. Unfortunately, there were many more Acts that followed. These Acts mirror changes to US law and include the Border Security Act, the Maritime Security Act, the Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act, the Identity (Citizenship and Passports) Act, the Security Intelligence Act and amendments to both the Immigration Act and the Crimes Act.

Along with these legislative changes, the state's security and surveillance services received massive funding injections and personnel increases ­ all in the name of fighting terrorism. Given this environment with all their new toys, eventually, the police and spooks had to find a terrorist. They tried desperately to pin that label on exiled Algerian politician Ahmed Zaoui who came to New Zealand at the end of 2001 on a false passport. When that failed, as it did in 2006 when the security risk certificate against him was revoked, they set to work finding others to fill the 'terrorist' role. The culture of these agencies is such that they view ex-parliamentary political activity as dangerous; they view Maori politically activity as particularly dangerous.
So the stage was set and the roles cast when some 300 police mounted the first ever 'terror raids' late last year.

The Terrorism Suppression Act was the tool to obtain extensive interception warrants for bugging cell phones and cars, but the people who were arrested were initially charged only for joint possession of firearms and restricted weapons under the Arms Act. In order for the Terrorism charges to be laid, the police first had to get the approval of the Attorney General.

In the first week following the raids, I sat in solitary confinement with no access to news or information. I was in shock. I have been arrested several times in the past for political activity, but have never been to prison. I was scared. I was also lucky because one of my dearest friends had been arrested that morning and was there with me. We had adjoining cells and could communicate by yelling over a 25 foot concrete wall in the yard outside between our cells. After the third day, I got a book to read: Kurt Vonnegut's Jailbird. It made me laugh so hard I had tears in my eyes.
When they finally moved us to the general population at the end of the first week, it felt like a glorious place - which just goes to demonstrate how quickly and easily solitary confinement breaks down your resistance and your tether on reality. It was beautiful to hear voices, to hear music, to go outside and to be able to see the hills and sky.

By the end of that first week, our lawyers managed to put forward an application for bail. We arrived at the Wellington District Court to a mass of supporters and media. Within minutes of the start of the hearing, everyone except the media was excluded from the courtroom. It was an ominous beginning to one of the most disturbing and difficult days of my life.

In the hours that followed, the Crown prosecutor painted a picture of us as a group of people who had been training to commit terrorist acts. We were accused of attending camps in the Urewera area where we used guns, Molotov cocktails and napalm. The fact that my three immediate co-accused had no convictions of any kind, and I had very minor ones, was used to prove our ill intention to get out of prison and carry out that which we had been planning. Once the terror label was used, no judge in the country, or indeed the world, would bail us. We went back to prison that Friday evening and I felt very, very dark.

On Monday 29 October, the police finally put their evidence to the Solicitor General in order that the charge of 'participating in a terrorist group' could be brought against us. That night, I was interned in my new cell with no one to talk to or to question about what might happen next. I had been moved 500 miles north to the Auckland women's correctional facility in a secretive mission worthy of bin Laden or at least his best mate.

By Wednesday, Prime Minister Helen Clark could no longer hold her tongue and waded into the debate. She arrogantly breached the sub judice standard ­ the term used for the right to a fair trial ­ commenting that those arrested 'at the very least had been training with firearms and napalm'. The media circus continued.
Throughout the country, protests, rallies, fundraising and awareness raising gigs were organized and what remains of the political left in New Zealand rallied around the arrestees. The political analysis ranged from debate about indigenous sovereignty to civil rights and surveillance. The mainstream media continued its tradition of sensationalist reporting, ill-informed conclusions and downright fabrications. The media concentration in Aotearoa New Zealand is one of the highest in the world, with nearly all the major dailies owned by two multinational corporations. Everyone was singing from the same song sheet, so to speak.

The day before I was due to have another bail hearing, after now nearly a month in jail, I had a long conversation with my lawyer. We discussed his strategy going into the hearing and the possible Crown arguments. At the end of that conversation, he said, 'Oh, there was something else I was meaning to tell youoh, that's right, the Solicitor-General is about to announce his decision. Valerie, they are going to lay the terrorism charges against you.'
I hung up the phone and I found Emily, my co-accused and dear friend. I told her that, 'we must prepare ourselves for this because it is going to happen'. I was manic, frantic, deeply disturbed and shaken. We sat for a little while before I went to my cell and tuned in National Radio. The four o'clock news immediately went to a live broadcast of the Solicitor-General's press conference. I sat on my bed rigid with fear. He announced, 'I cannot authorize the laying of charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act.' I ran out of my cell, screaming and running around the prison wing, 'they're not going to do it; they're not going to do it.' I yelled up to Emily who had retreated to her cell. I could hardly get the words out.

Her immediate response, 'for all of us?' and I thought, 'oh no, I don't know.' In my excitement I hadn't listened to his whole speech. I ran back to my cell where she joined me.

We tuned back in to hear him say that there was 'insufficient evidence' that none of us would be charged, and that the terrorism law was 'complex, incoherent and unworkable'. I was ecstatic. Moments later I got a call from the lawyer saying that the Crown was no longer opposing our bail. We would be out tomorrow.

It was surreal. I have never in my life felt the kind of joyous relief that I felt that night. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't concentrate. I just sat there in wonder at the events of the previous month.

On Friday, November 9, we were bailed from the High Court in Auckland. We are not free, however. Sixteen of us still face charges under the Arms Act. We continue to have onerous bail conditions including curfews, reporting conditions and non-association orders. They are the State's tactics for control and punishment.

As I have suggested, the evidence indicates that the raids were politically motivated by the long-standing fear of indigenous assertions of power. In this election year, it suits the Labor Government to find 'bad Maori' in order to fulfill the old colonial divide and rule strategy. They will assimilate those they can through propaganda and persuasion; those that resist will be brutalized and criminalized as they have been for more than a century. Maori political activists are under State surveillance because they are Maori.

It comes as little surprise that the United Nations has now accepted a complaint from indigenous lawyers and will investigate the New Zealand Government's conduct over the raids, although it is the first time that a complaint by a group against a state (rather than vice versa) has been investigated. While this is unlikely to have any substantive effect either on the situation for Maori or on the arrestees, it is another blow to the idealized utopia of the South Seas.

In the coming months, the case of the 'Urewera 16' will be heard in the District Court in Auckland. My great hope for this trial and for the future of Aotearoa New Zealand is that the raids will contribute to disrupting the false peace of this colonial state and radicalize people to struggle for justice and freedom.

*For more information about the Crown's invasion of Tuhoe lands, please see:
Tuhoe: A history of resistance at http://october15thsolidarity.info/node/221


The Emergence of the Contemporary “New Negro”

Barack Obama and the Immaculate-Genocide of the African-American Male

By The Angryindian

"Whites should not tyrannize over [blacks], for their disease should entitle them to a double portion of humanity. However, by the same token, whites should not intermarry with them, for this would tend to infect posterity with the 'disorder'... attempts must be made to cure the disease."

- Dr. Benjamin Rush, signatory of the Declaration of Independence and abolitionist

Before I get deep into yet another article on the much ballyhooed “promise” of the ‘Barack Obama for President Movement’ sweeping colonial America, I am keenly aware of a pressing need to be candid with the reader, if only to assuage a mild sense of personal guilt. Firstly, regular readers of my newswire Inteligentaindigena Novajoservo should be aware by now that I as an individual I do not vote in American elections. As an Aboriginal human being indigenous to North America and unwillingly subject to colonialist domination under the political entity known as the United States, I choose not to authenticate the Euro-American claim to this landmass nor my person by legitimising their system of power. So I have no particular love nor preference for any political affiliation associated with the narrowness of American politics.

Secondly, for a variety of reasons and chiefly due to an innate sense of solidarity with my fellow blood-brothers in the Diaspora, while I do not support Obama or his candidacy, on principle I had so far stuck to my decision not to write anything that may in any way jeopardize his race for the White man’s house. With a heavy heart recent events have forced me to reconsider my position and my allegiance to someone in which even I, if only fleetingly, could envisage would bring some pause to the madness of the first world as it applies to the rest of the human community.

There are two distinct actions on the part of Barack Obama that I personally find disgraceful coming from an African, especially an African running for president of the United States. Foremost in my mind is his very public rejection of the Honourable Min. Louis Farrakhan for the crime of expressing his support for the ‘Obama for Change’ campaign. This move on his part was as Uncle Tom-ish as one could get without breaking a chorus of "I Wish I Was in Dixie". Barack has gone above and beyond in making the point to Goy and Zionist America and in no uncertain terms that he did not, wished not and sought not any form of endorsement or sustenance from Minister Farrakhan or the rank and file membership of the Nation of Islam.

He even went so far to do the good darkie dance during the televised democratic debate in Cleveland, OH last week with media-whore number one MSNBC moderator Tim Russert getting in his face with questions, accusations really, about the public NOI endorsement. Instead of challenging Mr. Russert on why this question is not asked of the republican John McCain who grandly accepts endorsements from the likes of evangelical hate-monger John Hagee who calls for open warfare between American Christians and Muslims, he allowed Russert to berate him incessantly on the issue:

TIM RUSSERT: On Sunday, the headline in your hometown paper, Chicago Tribune: “Louis Farrakhan Backs Obama for President at Nation of Islam Convention in Chicago.” Do you accept the support of Louis Farrakhan?
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in an African American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can’t censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we’re not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.
TIM RUSSERT: Do you reject his support?
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, Tim, you know, I can’t say to somebody that he can’t say that he thinks I’m a good guy. You know, I—you know, I have been very clear in my denunciations of him and his past statements, and I think that indicates to the American people what my stance is on those comments.
TIM RUSSERT: The problem some voters may have is, as you know, Reverend Farrakhan called Judaism “gutter religion.”
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Tim, I think—I am very familiar with his record, as are the American people. That’s why I have consistently denounced it. This is not something new. This is something that—I live in Chicago. He lives in Chicago. I’ve been very clear, in terms of me believing that what he has said is reprehensible and inappropriate. And I have consistently distanced myself from him.

That’s for damn sure. Obama and his people have done everything possible to distance themselves from authentic African social identifiers that unlike the Obama campaign, gallantly articulate a reality White Americans have no idea exists right beneath their proverbial noses. It simply is not allowed in the unwritten rules governing American socio-political discourse or policy. “The immoveable veil of Blackness,” Obama so embarrassingly totes as Eugenically articulated by early colonial American Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Benjamin Rush and the Dred Scott Decision is something to be pitied, not respected, as it falls far short of an authentic humanity. While Europocentric intellectuals were aware of the inherent “humanity” of the African, they only recognized it partially, not unlike how a breeder strives to define a newly recognised species of dog. So to suggest that Barack Obama is subject to right-wing belittlement and the relentless confirmation of his loyalty to White American interests because he is a “Black” candidate is correct and exact. To imply otherwise is simply American revisionism of the highest order.

Not convinced? Any cursory trip through MediaMatters.org will reveal an unending trail of conservative Obama-bashing ranging from doubts about his religious affiliations to his parent’s choice of first and second names. FOX News has stealthily added his image for split-seconds during reports on Osama bin-Forgotten and resident-experts-on-retainer gleefully reinterpret his Indonesian upbringing as clandestine terrorist training. To say that the neo-conservative media brownshirts are painting a picture of a Muslim Manchurian Candidate is putting it mildly. All the while, his choice of questionable pro-war team players and backers such as his silent bond with the Wall Street economic elite however rarely, if ever, face such intense scrutiny. But nothing earns him the ire of the more honestly bigoted in America as does his African blood and hair. These physical markers as referenced by Jefferson and Dr. Rush will forever bind the Negro to a subordinate “otherness” no matter how “White” in action or thought the Negro has struggled to befit or to qualify for entry into colonialist European society.

In other words a Black candidate is just that, a “Black” candidate. And even Black candidates are required to stay in their respective and historical place on the social chessboard. If the reader thinks I’m jesting just go back to Michelle Obama’s statements about her feelings concerning the U.S., comments only a closeted Klansman would have a problem with in a country that kills in order to export “democracy”. When she declared that “…For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change,” the White reactionary backlash was tremendous with the FOX network’s most prominent voice of White Christian male arrogance Bill O’Reilly suggesting that if Michelle Obama, “ - Really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, - ” that a ‘lynching party’ is indeed in order:

“And I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down.”

Lynching nooses and White terrorist imagery have no place in a nation proclaiming an unbroken history of justice and reason. So when I say that the failure of Mr. Obama and his team to address these blatantly racist smears on his person, his campaign and his family smacks of moral and personal credulity, I mean just that. Barack Obama is a moral coward. Add to this the other distressing fact that unlike Bill Clinton, Mr. Obama has determinedly refused to defend his wife from the likes of Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the sewer-dwelling neo-conservative propaganda cadre, it is clear to everyone except the politically dim-witted that a real Black American voice Barack Obama is definitely not. Partly because he never so such as cites the explicit race-baiting that is being used against him and mostly because like the much respected Booker T. Washington, Barack Obama has allowed White liberal America to check his African pride and his manhood at the door of the Democratic Party platform. Obama has been publicly punked. And White America loves him dearly for it.

What has not been said aloud and begs some consideration is what Obama’s silence really means. What we see before us is a genuine product of the American colonialist system; the ever-grateful, ethnically and masculinity-emasculated “new” Negro. Castrated silently without fuss or defiance by virtue of his willingness to play the game of graceful living under White domination, Obama has taken Booker T’s social prescription to heart. Accept your lot as the White American ugly step-child, follow the rules an’ shuffle on in a hushed, but dignified desperation. This is the reality of Barack Obama. He is the long awaited get-out-of-jail-for-free card White liberal America has been waiting for.

The other portentous reason I have broken my silence has not so much to do with Minister Farrakhan and the highly disrespectful treatment he has received from Mr. Obama as much as the relevance of his endorsement while open genocide is being conducted against the Indigenous people of Palestine by the racialist, theocratic and genocidal state of Israel. On the heels of another wave of death and destruction from on high by the United States supported Europeanised Western Asian client state, Obama had the nerve to release a public statement not only praising the practice of continuous bombardment and extra-legal kidnappings the American state department likes to call “Extraordinary Rendition” in which he flatly accused the legitimate Palestinian liberation political party Hamas of being entirely responsible for the violence killing scores of their own people. In his statement of support for Palestinian genocide, Obama makes it unambiguous and plain, he stands with the Euro-Israeli lobby all the way:

“The violence in Gaza is the result of Hamas’s decision to launch rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, and Israel has a right to defend itself.”

This testimonial for Arab genocide not only whets the appetite of the Arab-hating AIPAC Zionists, but gives implicit material support to the rabidly anti-Jewish evangelic Christian fundamentalists amongst the U.S. economic elites bent on preserving Israel if only to save the European Jewish population from eternal Hellfire for not accepting Jesus. More importantly, it paves a new bloody road to American regional dominance over all of Western Asia under the banner of Christian-inspired liberation with petroleum as its holy sacrament.

For White liberals seeking a middle-ground that encourages Palestinian submission to European-Jewish authority, such sentiments are borne of an ever-expanding empathy for the political “uniqueness” of the European Semitic holocaust, an apparently never-ending reaction to the White world’s apathetic response to the historical European Judeophobia which ran rampant throughout the last century. I too am highly sympathetic, but not to the point of excusing Israeli xenophobia because of the unfortunate existence of anti-Jewish xenophobia. If genocide was wrong against ethnic Jews in Europe during the 1930’s and 40’s, genocide is also equally inappropriate in Arab Palestine. It is telling that one even needs to consider it imperative to make such particulars a point of awareness at the outset of the 21st century. Especially to a Black man who by all visible as well as historical accounts, should in a visceral sense know better.

Rumour has it that the Israeli general public however does know better. According to a Feb 28th 2008 report by the international news service Democracy Now, Israeli opinion polls demonstrate that more than 64 percent of resident Israelis support a military ceasefire with the legal Palestinian government of Hamas, supposedly the largest majority recorded to date. The Hamas government has offered multiple propositions for an armistice with the Zionist state which has routinely rejected these approaches as a “submission to Islamic terrorism.” The empirical evidence that Israel as a notionally independent country was built on the primary principles of abject terrorism against the United States and Britain is selectively written off as a non-issue. Fortunately for them and their supporters, the English and American public maintains a steadfast effort in remaining historically ignorant of the more disturbing and paradoxical episodes of resistance to Western imperialism.

In all sincerity I am taking a great leap of faith by identifying the White world’s apathy to Palestinian genocide as an issue of pure ignorance. My own position is much more candid in that I unequivocally accuse the world community of wilful indifference to Palestine’s plight in favour of White imperialist privilege. Israel’s macho Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai has publicly pledged on Israeli Army Radio to wage a Palestinian "Holocaust" in the Gaza without incident, while at the same time the western imperialist media machine continues to tout the fib that Iran’s leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad swore to "wipe Israel off the map." Despite the fact that Ahmadinejad, an eccentric bloke in his own right, was purposefully misquoted in a desperate effort to shore up an excuse, any excuse, to invade and occupy Islamic Iran, Vilnai's outrageous and villainous threat to wipe out the very existence not simply of the Palestinian nationality but the annihilation of the Palestinian people receives virtually no condemnation. Innocence paid to unawareness of Israel’s gnawing yearning to rid itself of its Arab population is spurious at best and a morally ambiguous complicity in racist terrorism and Western imperialism at its worst.

This brings us back to The Honourable Min. Louis Farrakhan’s unwelcome endorsement for Barack Obama’s presidency. Like our other brother-in-arms surviving in the Diaspora and himself a former presidential candidate the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Minister Farrakhan has learned the hard way that in the Zionist world, there is no moral obligation to grant forgiveness.

In the sad case of Rev. Jackson he will forever be remembered for being called to the carpet for remarks he may or may not have made to a Negro Washington Post reporter named Milton Coleman, who without delay dashed to inform a Euro-American journalist working at the same tabloid that he personally witnessed Jesse Jackson refer to N.Y. Jews as "Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown." According to the article, which appeared the very next morning, the comments were expressed by Jackson during a private conversation with Coleman and several other American African journalists. I for one would like to take for granted that Rev. Jackson, a confidant and partner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would not and could not say anything so morally callous, and frankly I don’t think all of the possible aspects of that situation were explored for the obvious reasons. The Euro-American reporter that broke the story freely admitted that his only evidence was anecdotal and that other than Coleman, no one else ever corroborated the account. Despite this, the pressure to compel an apology from Rev. Jackson and every other African political leader they could conceivably intimidate into conveying regret and shame for an assumed communally held American African predisposition towards anti-Semitism was gargantuan and Rev. Jackson naturally succumbed to the weight. To this day I have yet to review anything that supports Rev. Jackson’s supposed Judeophobia and I doubt that I ever will. But it matters little any longer. The damage that was intended had been done.

Minister Farrakhan’s principled support for the campaign of Barack Obama is burdened by the very same factors that I mentioned above. The semantic ju-jitsu employed by the White mainstream media is wholly concerned with specific words or phrases, in particular the overt and concentrated attempt to play on the emotive characteristics of any criticism towards the State of Israel. While common sense would demand that disparagement of the Israeli politic is mutually excusive of denunciation of Jews as an ethnic group, things are not as clear-cut as they should be. Jew haters throughout the White world have worked in various ways to blame Semites for everything from lost crops to missing French children rumoured to be slain for use of their blood for Passover bread. To deny the reality of deep-seated Judeophobia in a world where Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad can accuse Jews worldwide of a conspiracy to take over the planet is foolish although many indifferently do make that claim.

Just recently on an American cable-television game show which asks embarrassingly personal questions in order to win cash money, a guest was asked if she ever lied about being Jewish. A touchy subject to be sure, she was empathically permitted to not answer the query due to its explosive characteristics. Everyone it attendance nodded in camaraderie with her personal struggle and the show as they say, carried on unabated.

At first glimpse it seems that this all-encompassing empathy towards the Jewish struggle, provided the Jew in question is of European origin, is for the most part the most vicious form of parody imaginable and conceivably the most egregious. But looking deeper, it is dangerously elucidating to see how utterly racist Zionism really is. It presupposes a pre-eminence in the human suffering pecking order, a hierarchy we people of colour are told repeatedly between offences does not exist. In the rational universe of the third and fourth worlds, where the personal struggle against extinction is a dynamic of everyday life, this hallucinatory view of the universe is insulting to the point of farce.

Chiefly due to space considerations I will not go into specifics here, I choose to assume that the reader is cognizant of Native American genocide as a blueprint for Germany’s Final Solution. If the reader is not aware of this connection, the fault lies in the manner American history has been repackaged and marketed to the national and international public. The United States, Australia, Canada and Mexico as a matter of common practise dismiss Aboriginal genocide as the end result of reluctance on the part of the Indigenous population to extinguish themselves by accepting colonial subjugation and territorial occupation. So much so that in the generations since, to even imply that murder, pillage and other atrocities were and are practised in these nations against Aboriginals invites belligerent repudiation and often, sadistic retaliation. It has even been charged that the justifiable indignation many conscious Aboriginals and Africans maintain for White America and its values is the “real” problem. Our anger it is said prevents meaningful progress because we find it so hard to “let go of the past” and move further forward into the White haze of an exclusively Europocentric paradise of physical as well as psychological crypto-slavery.

Americans of course are accustomed to excusing genocide, perhaps because they have been skilfully doing so for more than 500 years. How else could they harp on about freedom and human rights while conversely redefining American Indigenous genocide and African involuntary servitude as a necessary, progressive and honourable endeavour for all involved? Given the extent and vigour Euro-Americans have toiled to maintain the United States as a predominately “White” nation, such revisionism illustrates the reality that White society does in fact acknowledge its unsavoury history by twisting it into something much more palatable for the colonial, i.e., White mind.

Barack Obama calls himself an American, so it should not be considered off the mark when I propose that he, like other professed “Americans” regardless of ethnicity, accept Aboriginal and African maltreatment and exploitation as inexorably beneficial and favourable because it led to the contemporary excellence of the United States and by extension, the world as we have all been led to understand it.

This is why the photos of torture from Abu Ghraib mean nothing to the American public. This also goes on to explain why half a million child deaths due to American economic sanctions against Iraq between the two Gulf wars can be admitted to without significant public disapproval. Review the cases of White American colonialist involvement in East Timor, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nicaragua, South Africa and North America.

Let’s face it folks, America is a genocidal empire. By the same token it is an empire that does its level best to deny that it is an empire. It excuses its atrocities and the atrocities of its client states by declaring its hostility as part of the necessary back-braking work needed to spread democracy and free trade. America does not kill to dominate, it is merely spreading the “promise” of freedom. It is an oxymoron of such immense wretchedness it is patently worthy of the Nazi government that the current president’s grandfather so proudly served. Nevertheless, it is the authentic state ideal and creed of the U.S. although very few have dared say so openly. To do so is self-incriminating and White America as a whole has never truly been willing to accept their moral responsibility when historical distortion can divert attention from the reality.

When we are forced to look at Palestine and the Palestinian people, Americans liberal and conservative see what they want to see. 1948 is ignored, the British Mandate is long-forgotten and a Jewish-led genocide is applauded as righteous self-defence against Jewish genocide. In other words, the elimination of the Palestinian populace is, as cheerfully articulated by Madeline Albright on America’s 60 Minutes television programme in reference to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi babies, a necessary price to pay for European-Jewish survival. Boiled down, an Arab life means absolutely nothing. Like the razing of a viable and potentially resistant North American Aboriginal presence, the destruction of the Palestinian Arab populace must take place for the existence of a “White” Israel to be secure. The rebuff of the dark reality of Zionism in its purest form as an extremist political movement dedicated to ensuring European Jewish cohesion and interests are made manifest by any means necessary is to be selectively judicious in regards to the usage of aggression. Hence, the sympathy extended to Irgun’s desperate attempts to build an alliance with the German Nazi Party to assist them in battling the British for control of Palestine under the British Mandate. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, even when they are Nazis primarily responsible for the systematic eradication of Semitic Europe if the ultimate goal is a Jewish homeland in someone else’s country.

The Jewish translation of Manifest Destiny in Greater Palestine differs little in theory and practise from its Euro-American predecessor. And the vastly escalating support Israel receives from the more radically inclined neo-conservative and theological elements within the United States are vital to its implementation. Without American State Dept. financial and munitions support, Israel would cease to exist. And without near total American domination of the United Nations and the World Court, it is doubtful Israel would elude censure and reprimand for war crimes against that regions native population. All told, it is the disgrace of post-World War Two global society that this decades old slow bleed of the Palestinian Nation has continued unabated while the world defends their oppressors. The disparity of power, the humiliation of colonialism and the malevolence of racism are expressed as the negative effects of challenging European expansion wherever the frontier may be. Barack Obama calls it Jewish self-defence, Palestinians and Human Rights observers call it genocide.

I did not write this piece to defend the Honourable Min. Louis Farrakhan. His record of soulful representation of African America requires no defending from this writer. And I will not play the game of listing the probable offences attributed towards him. I refuse, as I stated at the outset of this article, to stab another person of colour publicly in the back. Divide and conquer will not work in this instance. And at the risk of being charged with anti-Semitism, I will make it clear here for the record that I respect Min. Farrakhan and any issues I have with his rhetorical record are between him, me and the rest of the African Diaspora. I will not denounce him because it is fashionable to do so nor will I reject him because we differ on various political issues. I recognise that Min. Farrakhan unlike his detractors has come a very long way in addressing the numerous concerns that have served to diminish and marginalise not just the African liberation movement but the African community as a whole. His tone and tremor have matured over the years and at this period in his life he has sought solidarity more than ever before with people and organisations several years ago many would have said was highly unlikely. His recent embracing and teaching of tolerance for our gay African brothers and sisters was a major step to repairing the Black family and increasing understanding on this very important issue. An optimistic and promising development overlooked by a White establishment that watched two young gay men killed within a week of each other on both coasts. The myth of White American tolerance for humanity in all its forms and its hypocritical record on the Homosexual civil right to protection from violence is glaringly damming. So is its history of legitimizing brutality towards the outsider. An initiative represented in every speech I have ever heard from the minister including the material detested by the American Jewish community.

I understand the context in which his commentary is made and his Jewish cynics understand it as well, thus the basis of their criticism in truth is not so much his choice of words but his intended critique of the Zionist misuse of White Christian guilt for their decidedly Judeophobic non-action as Semitic Europe literally burned alive. An understandable tactic given that new publications of the falsely believed Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion are still freely available and fervently referenced by xenophobes everywhere.

If Barack Obama and other Israel supporters were to articulate this issues fairly I would say so, but they do not. Obama is no different than any other American politician when it comes to pledging support for Israeli inhumanity. This, I cannot forgive and still remain human. While I still refuse to harm another POC by publicly quarrelling with them, I do not recognise Barack Obama as a ‘Black’ man. He does not act nor sound in any way shape or form like a Black man. He acts and sounds like what a White man thinks a Black man should act and sound. I was disposed, even eager, to give him the benefit of the doubt. But I also erred this way in regards to Clarence Thomas and General Colin Powell. I never could bring myself to trust the shoe-lady, current ineffectual Secretary of State Condi Rice. Her uninterrupted excursion to NYC during the drowning of hundreds of Africans and other poor people confirmed and justified my hesitation. Only Oprah Winfrey has done more to demonstrate that the American Negro is still seeking entry into the plantation house. Even if he or she has to step over the bodies of their own to reach the doorknob.

Barack Obama is exactly this sort of Negro. His church may be Black, but his heart is where the power structure is, deep within the White man’s fat capitalist backside. Only an Uncle Tom of the highest order could defend the murder of a defenceless, landless and speaking bluntly, beaten people. The hypocrisy of kowtowing to genocidal Zionist terrorism while simultaneously denouncing Minister Farrakhan for remarks made years ago in reference to Palestinian Arabs and African-Jewish relations in the United States says much about the man and his anticipated polices. Endless, racialised slaughters in the third world, genocides in the fourth world and rampant exploitation of the second world until peoples such as the Palestinians cease to exist in sufficient numbers to defend their right to land, cultural identity and political self-determination. So I ask humbly ask Barack Obama and all those who support his presidency, where is the accountability the liberal/democratic folks say Obama personifies? Where is the moral justice in mass murder in the name of American imperialist power? And when will White America admit that what Barack Obama really represents is a brown face that will make the genocide, the exploitation and the racism “legit” in the eyes of its victims?

Don’t pretend that Obama does not fully comprehend his role in this tragic comedy, he is intelligently playing his part with great aplomb and technique. He’s “clean” as the neo-con and liberal punditry like to point out. He has successfully shed the morose vestiges of his dark skin to reveal the psychosomatic White man within all of us cruelly moulded by European indifference to our reality.

Jefferson and Dr. Rush would stand proud. The America they visualized is finally coming to pass.

The Angryindian