Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Peddlers of Crisis

Secret government in the US, of course, isn't anything new; unaccountable agencies have been running amok destabilizing the world since Truman signed them into law in 1948. Jerry Sanders' 1983 classic Peddlers of Crisis is a good place to begin understanding how our democracy unraveled. Perhaps motivated by budget scams, the scale of these operations undermining self-governance now threatens to become totalitarian, if we let it.


Free Expression

As a result of institutionalizing indigenous human rights, indigenous-produced media in South America makes significant advances, while their North American cousins still languish in 20th century models imposed by markets and states.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


What Are They Waiting For?

The war in the US may not be as visceral as what my friends in Sarajevo or Gaza experienced, or as intense as what my cousins in Belfast endured, but it is every bit as demoralizing in terms of the sense of helplessness it can evoke. One of the major differences between the US conflict and the others is that they were invaded, while we have been attacked from within. As such, the remedies and rules of engagement we impose upon ourselves are unique; civil disobedience and boycott is OK, but sabotage and armed insurrection are viewed as beyond the pale. A restricted arena of moral sanction.

One of the unusual aspects of US social activism, however, is that resources of discontent are focused on attempting to mobilize the inactive, rather than used to support those who have already chosen to act--a classic cart-before-the-horse scenario. Utterly illogical and ineffective.

To answer the question what to do, I can only suggest looking for someone or some group that appears to be fighting intelligently, and offer to lend a hand. Given these people are in the news and online everyday, my question to the dissatisfied is, What are they waiting for?

Monday, July 26, 2010


Something Better

Whenever I correspond with colleagues in countries like Sweden, I am reminded what a chasm exists between cultures of inclusion and cultures of exclusion. Observing the results of social investment in health and education for everyone, the contrast with the depravity of our militarist oriented society is staggering. Watching lives wasted and opportunities lost on such a grand scale leaves me wondering where we are heading. Knowing there is a possibility of something better, given the will, our commitment to ending empire becomes all the more imperative.


The Afghan Papers

Wikileaks' Julian Assange discusses the release of the Afghan war logs, 200,000 secret US military documents just made public.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Inherent Rights

Northern California coastal tribes give notice to state that they will continue to gather resources under their inherent rights and not be regulated by California Fish and Game.


The Children of Palestine

Stephen Lendman examines the lives of Palestinian children growing up under occupation.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Climate Change

As climate change remedies die in the US Senate due to the pervasive serious fraud infecting Congress, the battle is underway here in California, one of the leading economies in the world. Regional institutions might want to watch or weigh in on what happens here.


The Right to Communicate

One of the things readily apparent to me now that I am limited to slow DSL service is that some video on the Internet plays well while most are inaccessible. Something for my colleagues to keep in mind when designing studios and communications projects for global indigenous audiences.

My situation is partly financial, and partly provider infrastructure, but I know that our associates in locations lacking fiber optic wiring are limited in their capacity to communicate, even when they have free access.

Indigenous-produced media has advanced rapidly in the last few years, but investment in equipment and software that can circumvent barriers to communication is still sorely needed. If the UN Human Rights Commission wants to advance meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples, then the Human Rights Fund should make access a priority.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Psychology of Facts

Cyrano's examines the interaction of facts, information, beliefs and misinformation in media-saturated American opinion.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Going Nuclear

Countdown to Zero goes nuclear.


Mogadishu Maelstrom

Glen Ford's commentary on Black Agenda Radio examines the expanding US war against Somalia and its implications for central Africa.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


What Took Them So Long?

After six decades of our national security state, the Washington Post has discovered that our secret government is now out of control. Having witnessed these unaccountable agencies engage in defeating democracy worldwide at the behest of US corporations since Truman signed secret government into law in 1948, one has to ask, What took them so long?


State Secrets

Archives in Guatemala lead to trial of former police, as well as further investigations into atrocities against the indigenous Maya by Guatemalan army and police.


Budget Scams

Liberty Beat notes that national security exemptions for racial profiling being considered by Congress defeat the purpose of constitutional protections against official harassment of minorities. With all the funding for counterterrorism budget scams, relying on security agencies to police themselves becomes a self-reinforcing system of corruption.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Serving the Corporate State

A Harvard study of major media documents the complicity of outlets like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal in covering up official high crimes and crimes against humanity since 2001. Compared to previous eras of US imperialism, the present coverage has dropped by as much as a factor of ten.


Markets of Murder

Examining the human rights case of a Canadian mining company in Guatemala, where government troops were used to destroy a Mayan village to clear the way for a nickel mine, we are allowed to focus on the broader reality of how deeply our societies are invested in brutality against the Fourth World. As Canadian pension plans benefit from these corporate violations of international law, we have to ask what we are willing to do to stop this inhumane system known as globalization. While churches and universities have tested the waters of disinvestment in genocide and apartheid, it's time unions and mutual funds joined the movement.

I mean, if we can't think of a better way to invest than markets of murder, then we really have to question our humanity.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Making Amends

An international coalition of friends and relatives of victims of church residential schools is planning a summer tour in Europe, with major stops at the Vatican and UN. Comprised of survivors and families of children who disappeared while under church control in Australia, Ireland, Canada and the US, the coalition plans to form an international tribunal to hear the crimes of church and state, in order to seek prosecution. The coalition is seeking full disclosure, repatriation of the bodies, preventive measures, as well as reparations for the deaths that number in the tens of thousands in Canada alone.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Against the Law

As unprecedented numbers of Americans become refugees in their own country as a result of banking fraud and government corruption, the concept of internally displaced persons — usually thought of as something that happens in the Third World — becomes a reality to grapple with. With housing, health and work out of reach for tens of millions, the United States is coming to resemble a checkerboard refugee camp. While we have grown accustomed to no go zones and other pockets of poverty, the multiple-tenant rentals and compulsory car camping phenomena signal a slipping social stability with no solution in sight.

Perhaps young people now facing these barriers to a decent future will come up with something creative, but when the law is against you, the only way out is against the law.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Digest of Destruction

Intercontinental Cry's video essay on the age of oil chronicles a culture that serves as a digest of destruction.


Core Values

Leonard Zeskind discusses the Tea Party factions within the overall phenomenon of what he describes as a white nationalist political mobilization against civil rights law.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Working With Words

The four modes of social organization — tribes, institutions, markets, and networks — all intentionally utilize words to communicate their unique perspectives and preferences. Words are chosen for their effect in creation stories, in mythologies, in advertising, and in propaganda.

Words themselves are invented for a purpose. They serve as tools of social organization, as weapons of war, as means of manipulation, and as medicine for the maligned.

Depending on how they are used, words can cause horrendous harm or great good. Meanings can be distorted or clarified.

Working with words can gain one respect, renown, and reward, but it can also generate resentment. Not all messages are appreciated.

Learning to use words effectively requires an understanding of the principles of communication, especially in what is termed netwar, which assumes that all communication in all its dimensions is contested, no matter the stated intent of the participants. Words are meant to achieve, and as propositions in the arena of human consciousness, they will be confronted; as such, working with words is serious business.


Direct Action

Following a British tradition of direct action against arms manufacturers linked to war crimes, a group of activists who destroyed a plant in Britain that supplied Israeli bombers through an American intermediary has been acquitted by a British jury.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Tutoring Obama

The Obama Administration is the first presidency to deny the right of travel to members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. As the six nations that tutored the founders of the United States on democratic governance, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) have maintained their independence, including the right to issue their own passports. Now, it seems, as Obama drags his feet on abiding by international law when it comes to indigenous nations, the Haudenosaunee may have to look to international institutions to guarantee their human rights.

Update: After a five-day standoff with the State Department, they thought they were on their way, but due to power-tripping by the US and Britain, have now had to forfeit their game against England in the world championships. The Haudenosaunee dispute with Canada, home to half the team's players, has a long involved history.


First Free Press

The Icelandic Parliament has passed a modern media initiative to protect journalists, sources and leakers, creating a haven for Internet-based investigative journalism.

Monday, July 12, 2010


A Socialist Corporation

High Country News features the Southern Ute tribe in an examination of tribal self-determination under federal energy policy. As tribal sovereignty continues to evolve within the parameters set by a hostile U.S. Supreme Court, tribes looking to tribally-managed energy development to displace paternalistic federal agencies hope the future doesn't replicate the past.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Moving Toward Maturity

David M. Green looks at the subject of international governance through the lens of the International Criminal Court, an institution opposed by the United States.
The ICC is living testimony to the fact that the world is moving – slowly, to be sure – away from the anarchy of the classic Westphalian System, and dragging the most recalcitrant regressive reprobates (you know who we are) along with it. It’s not an easy trick, in part because there is a real legitimacy to the idea of not universalizing all, or even most, policy issues, but only those which absolutely must be located at a global level, retaining the rest for national, provincial and local polities to grapple with as they individually see fit. This is the doctrine of subsidiarity, a key notion in the practice of federalism, that stipulates policy decisions should always be made at the lowest level pragmatically possible, and it’s a good idea.


Haudenosaunee Nationals

The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) national lacrosse team has been delayed in their departure to the world lacrosse championships in England. Having traveled on Haudenosaunee passports for two decades, the Iroquois athletes are now being stymied by the British consulate.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Global AIDS Summit

Dr. Rudolph Ryser, CWIS Board Chairman, has accepted an invitation to deliver an address at the 4th Annual Global Summit on HIV/AIDS, Traditional Medicine and Indigenous Knowledge, 2-5 August 2010, at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. His presentation, Implementing Traditional Healing Practices and Indigenous Knowledge through Internationally Agreed Instruments, will speak to the need for new international conventions and other agreements giving the force of law to customary practices for the benefit of millions suffering from the lack of treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and chronic diseases that are increasingly afflicting rural and semi-rural indigenous populations.

Friday, July 09, 2010


On Hillary's Watch

The U.S. State Department has denied a visa to a prominent Colombian journalist who was critical of death squads associated with outgoing President Uribe, America’s closest ally in South America. The distinguished human rights reporter was offered a fellowship at Harvard, but under the Patriot Act, he is considered a fellow traveler with terrorists for questioning the conduct of US policy in Colombia.



In covering the wild salmon campaign on Vancouver Island, Kim Petersen notes that while Norway adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Norwegian corporations farming salmon in British Columbia are destroying the wild runs symbiotic with the First Nations there. Although many tribes have taken the path of litigation, other indigenous bands are cynical about recognizing courts biased against them.

As wild runs decline due in part to the salmon farms, a few tribes have succumbed to farming themselves, while a growing segment of those watching their cultures and livelihoods slip away suggest that removing the fish pens is their inherent right--with or without court approval.

Thursday, July 08, 2010



The Department of Homeland Security's Suspicious Activity Reporting initiative has been so successful in protecting airlines, DHS Secretary Napolitano has decided to extend it to Amtrak. Although not one criminal, let alone terrorist, has been spotted by the civilian snitching program, the millions spent on SAR has managed to nab several people of color speaking foreign languages in the New York Metro, as well as ruin the travel plans of Muslim Americans removed from airline flights for praying before takeoff. Who says racial profiling doesn't work?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Adversarial Journalism

In IJOC 2010's Investigating Chilling Effects, Andrew T. Kenyon examines the relationships between independence, resistance, dissent, and adversarial journalism in Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia. Noting the role the Internet plays in overcoming the chilling effect of defamation law, Kenyon looks at how political criticism, governance, corruption, and crime are treated as topics by civil society and political opposition in independent media. If, as Kenyon asserts, the Internet is responsible for facilitating offline political expression and action, then Internet control measures sought by governments worldwide are a serious threat to public freedom.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


Character of Antagonism

In IJOC 2010, Cinzia Padovani looks at the intersections among interpersonal communication, interaction with mainstream media, and the use of Internet communications in post-earthquake L’Aquila, Italy. By examining the methods used by local residents to perforate the government media spectacle, Padovani illuminates the capacity of networks to create opportunities for public participation in rebuilding identities and community. Proposing the character of antagonism as a grounded strategy in their struggle for democracy, Padovani reveals the value of a rebellious spirit in creating a permanent democratic presidium.


Dead Zone

The dead zone off the coast of Louisiana, the second largest in the world, is the result of nitrates leaching from the homogenized landscape of the Midwest. With industrial-scale corn production set to triple by 2020 under the renewable fuels standard passed by Congress, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will grow. In perhaps one of the cruelest of ironies, the ethanol hoax that consumes two-thirds of federal subsidies for renewable fuels is wiping out efforts aimed at conservation.

Monday, July 05, 2010


Democrats in Berets

In conversations with a gatekeeper of Peace and Freedom Party of California recently, I was surprised to encounter a laissez-faire attitude toward indentured servitude, even slavery. We were talking about the proper political response to women and children trafficked online for sexual exploitation, aka prostitution, and his curious response was that Internet marketing of these unfortunates was somehow akin to public roadways being used for transporting controlled substances. Inappropriate metaphors aside, the casual dismissal of one of the worst human rights abuses on the planet by an official of California’s Feminist Socialist Political Party makes me wonder what he would take a principled stand on.

I mean, if this is the position of socialists, they might as well be Democrats.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


The Terms of Terror

A San Francisco Bay Area research group is handling the digitization and organization of the Guatemalan National Police archives recently discovered in a building in Guatemala City. As a repository of information, including the notorious death squads that plagued the indigenous Maya over a 36-year protracted struggle against the Guatemalan oligarchy, the archive might shine a light on both the murderous methods used, as well as on the consequences of US policy in the region.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Calling Out Craigslist

Protest by leading human rights groups set for July 8. Meet some of the sisters in the hood. Become a standup dude.


Ogoni Oil

The Niger Delta, home to 31 million people and one of the most important wetlands in the world, is also one of the most oil-polluted sites on Earth. Caught between callous oil companies and crooked bureaucracies, the indigenous Ogoni reap all the harm and none of the benefits. Watching their environment and livelihoods disintegrate over the last half century, the Ogoni rightly ask why American consumers don't care.

Friday, July 02, 2010


Low Life Journalism

Rolling Stone looks at the low life journalism of mainstream media, and the role it plays in supporting the American Empire.


Lost Souls

In the movie Dead Man, the wandering, poetic Native American (Gary Farmer) encountered by William Blake (Johnny Depp) responds to Blake’s question ‘Who are you?’ by answering, “I am nobody.” Removed from his indigenous culture and schooled in English literature, Nobody roams 19th century Western America through a maze of traumatized tribes and individuals negotiating a cruel and tragic era as what perhaps can best be described as a lost soul.

I thought of Blake’s double-entendre about Nobody, when discovering our family genealogy descended from Eoghan Ua Niall, allowing us to claim we are nEoghan (descended from Owen), which is pronounced ‘no one’.

In 21st century America, there are many lost souls, wandering aimlessly in search of an identity consistent with their values that will in turn give meaning and purpose to their lives. For the majority who are non-natives to this continent, their ethnic roots, national languages, and tribal cultures have largely dissipated into a meaningless superficiality coined ‘citizenship’ that provides little social support or personal fulfillment.

United solely in our collective acts of aggression, it is an unrewarding relationship with no vision.

Political campaigns, social movements, and heritage events provide momentary inclusion, but absent a wholistic regimen that addresses all our needs, the lost souls will continue to grow as a significant sector of American society. And that doesn’t bode well for anyone.

*Lost Souls was originally published at Friends of Spartacus on September 11, 2007.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Crime With No End

In Living with the Enemy, Susie Linfield discusses what Jean Amery called "the moral necessity of undying resentment". Examining the modern obsession of truth and reconciliation, Linfield discovers the only truth is that "forgiveness and reconciliation are of far less interest to the victims than they are to the perpetrators".


Stopping Obama

Michael Hureaux reports on Seattle’s teachers, who are fighting both Obama and their lackluster union leaders who led them down the self-destructive path of endorsing him.

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