Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 31, 2010

Arctic Summit told to leave it in the ground

Arctic Summit told to leave it in the ground

By IEN, Council of Canadians and REDOIL

Ottawa / March 26, 2010 – The Indigenous Environmental Network, the Council of Canadians, and the Alaska based REDOIL Network have issued an open letter calling for an international moratorium on all new exploration for fossil fuel resources in the Arctic region. The letter is directed at the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia and the United States who will be present at the Arctic Summit in Chelsea, Québec, March 29, 2010.

The discovery of 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic region has triggered a rush to secure access that includes petroleum companies such as Shell and Exxon.

“New oil and gas development is anything but responsible in the face of a very serious climate crisis which requires governments like those meeting in Chelsea to rapidly reduce emissions,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “It is no small irony that increased access to exploit reserves in the fragile Arctic Ocean ecosystem is largely the result of melting sea ice.”

“We believe that a moratorium on fossil fuel development would be a first step to addressing the climate crisis we are in. Strong actions need to be taken now by Governments of the world to effectively address climate change. Indigenous peoples worldwide bear the consequences of Global Warming daily and we want concrete action now," states Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of the Alaska based Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL).

“Climate change is responsible for increased levels of contaminants like mercury, DDTs and PCBs in staple edible fish species near my home community,” says Daniel T'seleie, a K'asho Got'ine Dene from Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. “Increased development of Arctic oil and gas would not only contribute to the climate crisis that is devastating Arctic communities, it would also add more direct pressure to fragile ecosystems that are already stressed by the combined impacts of climate change and existing development. This would be an unconscionable infringement on the rights of Arctic Indigenous Peoples.”

Excellent photo opportunities: The IEN and the Council of Canadians will bring a message to Foreign Ministers to "leave it in the ground" Monday afternoon at the parking lot off of Meech Lake road near the road leading to the Arctic Summit meeting location.
For more information:
Clayton Thomas Muller, Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network,, 1-218-760-6632
Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner, Council of Canadians,, 613-218-5800

Join the IEN Newsletter!

March 30, 2010

Women on the Border Awards: Ofelia Rivas and Teresa Armenta Mendez

Congratulations to Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, and Maria Teresa Armenta Mendez of Altar, Sonora, as Women on the Border Award winners 2010, awarded by Borderlinks.
Photo: Ofelia Rivas receives award /Photo Borderlinks

Ofelia Rivas, founder of O'odham VOICE Against the Wall, was nominated by Censored News publisher Brenda Norrell.
“Ofelia repeatedly risks her life for the purpose of truth and justice. She has been the voice of grass-roots people on the border and struggled to protect ceremonies and sacred pilgrimage routes that have been divided by the border. She was the lone voice that exposed the destruction of the graves of O’odham ancestors by the construction of the border wall. Most recently, Ofelia served four days in jail in Chiapas for her support of the indigenous rights movement of the Zapatistas."

Women on the Border Award: The Results are In!
By Borderlinks
More photos:
Our second annual Women on the Border Event was held last week in Sahuarita, AZ. Supporters came together to celebrate the impact persistent and powerful women have had in working towards the cause of justice, from both sides of the border.
While enjoying delicious food cooked by our staff and volunteers from the Hogar de Esperanza y Paz, participants listened to Dr. Norma Price speak about her experiences in the southwestern desert, and Kathryn Ferguson read excerpts from her book, "Crossing with the Virgin." Debbi McCullough, a long-time activist and artist, also displayed some of her latest work made from articles left behind in the desert.
Our list of very qualified nominees went as follows:Valerie James, Sarah Roberts, Laurie Jurs, Debbi McCullough, Annie Swanson, Ofelia Rivas, Bethia Daugenbaugh, Maria Teresa Armenta Mendez, Kat Rodriguez, Shura Wallin, Margo Cowan, Sisters of the Eucharist from Nogales, Sonora (Engracia, Lorena, and Imelda)
In the end, only two awards could be given, and they went to....drum roll please....
From the Tohono O'odham Nation, Ofelia Rivas!
Ofelia is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation and founder of Women Against the Wall. “Ofelia repeatedly risks her life for the purpose of truth and justice.” “She has been the voice of grass-roots people on the border and struggled to protect ceremonies and sacred pilgrimage routes that have been divided by the border. “She was the lone voice that exposed the destruction of the graves of O’odham ancestors by the construction of the border wall. Most recently, Ofelia served four days in jail in Chiapas for her support of the indigenous rights movement of the Zapatistas.
And from Altar, Sonora, Mexico, Maria Teresa Armenta Mendez.
Tere first began noticing migrants taking over the local plaza in Altar, Sonora. At first, community members were angry that their recreational space was appropriated by these people, but Tere soon saw their desperate situation and mobilized to help. Her work, first to serve a sandwich and coffee soon expanded to attend the sick and seek shelter for them. She listened to their stories of human rights violations, spoke to them about the risks they would encounter in the desert, and educated them about their rights. Eventually, she and a group of volunteers saw the construction of CCAMYN – more than a shelter, more like a dignified place of respite for those who were recovering from their journey to or from the US. Tere’s husband was the director of CCAMYN and spent the rest of his life at the side of migrants.
Special thanks to Norma, Kathryn, and Debbi for the entertainment and insight. And a big heartfelt thanks to the rest of you who attended and/or have supported us in other ways.

March 29, 2010

Lenny Foster: Illegal Imprisonment of Leonard Peltier


March 26, 2010
San Francisco, California
Lenny Foster (Dine’)
Navajo Nation Corrections Project
"I recommend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples seek compliance through the Declaration of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and demand a congressional investigation into the human rights violations of Leonard Peltier. Invitations will be made to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples to visit Leonard Peltier at the United State Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I request his petition for Executive Clemency is approved by the United States Justice Department and President Barack Obama."
Read document:
Thanks to Tony Gonzales, AIM West, for sending this to Censored News.

Lenny Foster: Indian Religious Freedom and Spiritual Practices in US Prisons


March 16, 2010
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(Photo: Lenny Foster on Earthcycles radio at AIM West San Francisco/Photo by Brenda Norrell)

American Indian Religious and Spiritual Practices in the United States Prison System
Lenny Foster (Dine’)
Navajo Nation Corrections Project

"Recent studies show approximately 26,000 Native Americans incarcerated in twenty three states with significant Native American populations. In the thirty years I have counseled approximately two thousand American Indian prisoners by visits to various state departments of corrections; I have both witnessed and experienced the harassment, interference, indifference, intimidation and discrimination toward our Native traditional beliefs and the right to worship in a traditional manner as practiced by our ancestors. If Native prisoners are denied access to their traditional practices and beliefs, incarceration will be merely “warehousing” the Native prisoners and the emotional, psychological, and spiritual well- being will never be fully realized.
I have observed anger, rage, resentment and emotional pain exhibited by Native inmates that are the result of being reared in dysfunctional environments and exposed to and engaging in addictive behavior. The psychological and emotional pain has decimated the Indian Nations across the United States. The intergenerational trauma has had a very drastic impact on Indian communities which has resulted in many individuals lacking a strong sense of self identity and self-esteem."
Read article:
Thanks to Tony Gonzales, AIM West, for sending this to Censored News.

Bolivia: People's World Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth

People's World Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth
19-22 April 2010
Location: Cochabamba, Bolivia

Photo: Actor Danny Glover with Govinda (second from left) of Earthcycles grassroots web radio, at the end of the Longest Walk in DC. Glover has confirmed for the Bolivia climate summit, and Govinda will be broadcasting live, along with Censored News. Photo by Brenda Norrell.
Media advisory from the summit:
The Plurinational State of Bolivia will host an historic conference on climate change in April with an expected attendance of more than 10,000 people along with government representatives from more than 50 countries. Many more people are expected to participate via the Internet and in campaign actions on the final day of the conference, 22 April which marks UN Mother Earth Day.
Amongst the confirmed speakers are NASA scientist Jim Hansen, Bill McKibben, environmental journalist and leader of, Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, Miguel D'Escoto, former President of UN General Assembly, American actor, director and activist Danny Glover along with leaders from leading environmental organizations and communities at the frontline of climate change.
Bolivia has invited all 192 governments in the UN to attend the conference and is working closely with the United Nations Development Program to bring representatives from nearly all the 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), whose populations will be most vulnerable to climate change. Spain, Russia and France have also indicated that they will send representatives and others are still confirming.
The conference was announced by President Evo Morales of Bolivia in the aftermath of the widely denounced outcomes of the Copenhagen UNFCCC conference in December 2009. The aim of the Peoples' World Conference on Climate Change is to advance an agenda led by civil society organizations and in dialogue with proactive governments dedicated to preventing climate change. The conference aims to analyze the structural causes of climate change, and develop specific proposals and actions for addressing it.
All media and journalists are warmly encouraged to come to Bolivia to cover this event. Registration is free and can be done at the conference website at (Spanish) or (English)
Media: For more information, please contact:
Gadir Lavadenz – or ring (+591 2) 2 113161 or (+591) 706 91367
Nick Buxton – or ring +530 902 3772

March 27, 2010


Mohawk Nation News

MNN. Mar. 18, 2010.
Capitalists think they own every living soul, and that wealth and well-being are tied to race. These zoo keepers need captives to use and abuse. When they washed on our shores we resisted. We refused to forget who we were and are. Followed was one of the biggest holocausts in all humanity. Over 100 million of us in the Western Hemisphere were murdered. We wouldn’t die off. Their domesticated European flocks had to be brought over to slave for them.
Once upon a time all humans were part of the natural world. Europeans were turned into captive animals with a purposeless existence. Their intuition was dulled. They were dumbed down. Their homes are concrete slabs and iron bars. Their lives are purposeless. They have been convinced to live for the hereafter.
Domestication requires docility, submissiveness and ignorance to better serve the hierarchical system.
White centric civilization is unnatural and destructive to all people and the environment. 15th century European barbarism was brought to Great Turtle Island to poison, confuse and undermine us. The masses go along by crying about their hard beginnings, deprivation and losses while committing the same here.
Indigenous refused to submit to the capitalist invaders. Today we are displayed as exotic replicas of a prehistoric age. The colonial band and tribal councils kneel at their feet to try to kick, feed and control us. They are afraid to resist, be punished or lose their benefits.
The colonists feel insecure and uncomfortable unless caged or leashed. We are unfriendly. We once roamed thousands of miles of our territories and rivers. We refuse to be put in cages, infuriating the zoo keepers. True natural people are kept separate from and ignored by the “domesticated”.
Threats have to be constantly hurled at the masses to maintain mindless fear. Anti-depressants and medications blind them from unpleasant truths. Their masters tell them what to do. Those who notice this inhumanity are disappeared. Most take the easy way out – slavery and silence.
We Indigenous always had freedom of mind. The natural world is not a dangerous enemy. Free spirited people must be neutralized or devoured so as not to cause the zombified masses to flee, resist or become aware. We are labeled as “conspirators” and “terrorists”
In the natural world humans, plants, animals and the environment grow and live together. Can captivity-bred people be released into this? Not if incognito racism and eugenics underlay their agenda. Laws, technology and DNA insidiously set up this cult of death.
Multiculturalism is a white dominated hierarchy in all its forms. The zoo keepers fear living without privilege. They study natural people. Like greedy children, they run the pseudo shops that sell our “authentic wares”.
The zoo keepers planned and carried out the “final solution” of the Indian problem. Those who survived were to forget our people, to feel inferior and to thank the colonizers. They failed.
Our minds and spirit are stronger than ever. Some day these freeloaders will have to leave.
Kahentinetha, MNN Mohawk Nation News
 For more news, to order books on Mohawk issues, to donate and sign up for MNN newsletters, go to

March 26, 2010

Exhibit: I Didn't Cross the Border, the Border Crossed Me

March 26, 2010
Contact: Bradley Pecore, 505.428.5912 (ph)

I Didn’t Cross the Border, the Border Crossed Me

Exhibit Explores Arbitrary Boundaries Drawn in Native Communities
By Bradley Pecore

SANTA FE, N.M. – When the United States was founded hundreds of years ago, Indigenous communities were presented with new and arbitrarily drawn borders within their ancestral homelands. A group exhibit, I Didn’t Cross the Border, the Border Crossed Me, at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts’ Museum Store and Lloyd Kiva New Gallery will investigate the impact these borders have had on Native people. The exhibit opens Saturday, April 17 from 12 noon – 2:00 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in downtown Santa Fe (108 Cathedral Place) and will continue until May 23. As with all Museum Store exhibits, art work is for sale, and proceeds go to the artists and the Museum.

The physical and cognitive constructions of the United States/Canada and United States/Mexico border have created multidimensional divisions in society associated with nationality, physical borders, family, identity, sovereignty, regional attitudes, human rights, documentation and more. Gallery Associate, Institute of American Indian Arts’ alumnus and show organizer Bradley Pecore says the show will investigate these “…varied perspectives regarding traditional lands and current national boundaries in the modern day Indigenous reality.”

Participating artists include Kimberly Hargrove, Hector Ruiz, Mike Zillioux, Irvin Morazan, Fausto Fernandez, Keary Rosen, David Sloan, Luis Gutierrez and Bob Haozous. Terry and Autumn Gomez are creating a special performance art piece for the exhibit’s opening on April 17 from 12 noon – 2:00 p.m.

For more information about the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, a center of the Institute of American Indian Arts, please visit For more information about this exhibit, please call 505.428.5912.

The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts’ Mission

A leader in the acquisition and presentation of contemporary Native arts, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts advances scholarship, discourse and understanding through its innovative exhibitions, programs and dialog.
About the Museum
A center of the Institute of American Indian Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts is home to the largest collection of contemporary Native art in the world. A premier shopping destination, the Museum’s store offers the finest selection of contemporary Native arts and gifts from both emerging and established artists. The Museum is a center of the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Museum hours are Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday: noon to 5 p.m. Admission has been waived while the main galleries are closed through July 2010.

March 25, 2010

Canadian immigration halts Cynthia McKinney enroute to Splitting the Sky trial

Former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was detained by Canadian immigration enroute to the trial of Splitting the Sky, Mohawk. Splitting the Sky was arrested as he attempted to make a citizens arrest of George W. Bush for war crimes. McKinney was unable to testify because of the delay.
YouTube video:
UPDATE ON TRIAL, VIDEO Interview with Splitting the Sky:


Splitting The Sky Meets Cynthia McKinney in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

By Anthony J. Hall
Professor of Globalization Studies
University of Lethbridge

A Note on a Major Event in the Worldwide Movement to Arrest the Organized Crime of War Profiteers

Hello friends, associates and supporters. Hello, as well, to those who are new to the case of Splitting The Sky versus George W. Bush.
I have no hesitation in asserting that the brilliant content of these videos will be transformative for multitudes of global viewers. These videos contain poetry in You Tube. They offer sophisticated political analysis of the kind that should strike fear in the heart of the criminal class who are currently running the global apparatus of so-called national security. These presentations are studies of effective communication. They embody joy, love and skilled articulation combining classical motifs of ballet-like performance with the free form creativity of hip hop. They highlight two individuals at the top of their form who are leading an accelerating global revolt against the lawless war machine's broadening onslaught. More than any other force, the organized crime of the war machine threatens all humanity-- indeed, all life forms-- with imminent oblivion. Please take the time to study this set of amazing videos and disseminate them far and wide.
The event took place on March 9 only hours after the premature termination of Splitting The Sky's Calgary trial. As the trial was being hurriedly shut down by the state, the legendary Cynthia McKinney arrived in Calgary from London to show solidarity with the veteran Mohawk activist. In an event hosted by my own academic unit, Globalization Studies, and by the University of Calgary's Peace Consortium, STS and Ms. McKinney met for the first time. As they shared stories and joined forces, they came to personify the best spirit of defiance rooted in many generations of resistance towards the forces of colonization, enslavement and resource theft. Together STS and the martyred but still-strong former US Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, reflect on what humanity must do now that the heritages of slavery in America and the militarized dispossession of Indigenous peoples have been globalized in the name of the fraudulent Global War on Terror.
As I see it, the case of Splitting The Sky versus George W. Bush will become in the future, even more than it has been in the past, a test case to prove the utter bankruptcy of the censoring mainstream media. This professional malfeasance in the CIA-infested mainstream media stands in contrast with the propensity of activist researchers, publishers, journalists, academics, broadcasters and media artists to use the Internet as a vehicle to advance the revolution that we do intend to televise on You Tube.
Of course, the STS story highlights the media cover up of the lies and crimes of 9/11. But that is only the beginning. STS's story starts with the big cover up of the reality that the New World Order of America began in 1492 with a massive genocide that continues to this day. Add to this monumental cover up the continuing obfuscation of the underlying dynamics that compelled the Attica prisoners, including STS, to revolt against their jailers in 1971.
Similarly, the interests of power have good reason to want to suppress understanding of STS's central role in the Gustafsen Lake Indian War in British Columbia in 1995. There, the Canadian Armed Forces, including Joint Task Force Two (which is centrally involved in special operations in Afghanistan) played a major role in the conflict. The accompanying state-sponsored disinformation and smear campaign was brought to light in a court ruling on an extradition proceeding in Portland Oregon in 2000 entitled USA versus Pitawanakwat. The Canadian and B.C. governments' systematic campaign of media disinformation on the Battle of Gustafsen Lake offers a revealing prelude shedding light on the Cheney-Bush regime's strategy of psychological warfare employed to give a false-impresion of legitimacy to the lawless resource grab advanced in the name of Global War on Terror.
The ongoing genocide that began in 1492 continues to advance the theft of natural resources from Indigenous peoples around the world. The founding of America on this primal original crime extends these days to the creation of new forms of appropriation, domination, murder and enslavement. It finds expression in the sweat shops, forced labour camps, torture chambers and assassination squads of the privatized terror economy. The Big Obama Psy Op is elevating and expanding the 9/11 wars of terror that the new president took over from the Cheney-Bush cabal of war profiteers. Please do yourself a favour and explore these videos while making sure that others are given the same opportunity.
Basta! Enough is Enough
Anthony J. Hall
Professor of Globalization Studies
University of Lethbridge
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:
Part 7:
Part 8:
Part 9:
Part 10:
Part 11:
Part 12:
Part 13:
Part 14:

ROME: Aboriginal Elders Hold Pope Responsible for Residential School Abuse

AWitnesses to Murder in Catholic Indian schools to Protest at the Vatican, Testify before Italian Parliamentarians

By Hidden from History
Published at Censored News

Breaking News:

ROME ( Thursday, March 25, 2010) Aboriginal elders from Canada will offer prayers for their friends and relatives who died or were killed in Catholic Indian residential schools, at the institution in Rome responsible for their death. And they will name Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, as the one ultimately responsible.

Lillian Shirt of the Cree Nation and Charles Cook of the Anishinabe-Ojibway Nation will gather with Rev. Kevin Annett and other members of The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) and Italian supporters at a memorial service outside the Vatican in St. Peter's Square on Easter morning, Sunday April 4 at 11 am.

Both of the native elders survived incarceration in Catholic Indian schools in Canada, and witnessed the deaths of other students.

"Like Jesus, thousands of innocent children were crucified by religious fanatics in the Christian residential schools. We will help to resurrect them this Easter by naming what killed them, and holding their murderers responsible" stated the FRD delegation today.

"Pope Benedict is personally responsible for aiding and abetting pedophile priests, so this is not a crime that he can sweep under the rug or blame on others" stated delegation member Rev. Kevin Annett.

"As we asked the Pope in an unanswered letter two years ago, we want to know where his church buried the children who died at their hands, and have their remains surrendered for a proper burial. The buck stops with Joseph Ratzinger."

While in Rome, the FRD delegation will take their campaign to Italian politicians. On April 7, they will make a presentation to a human rights committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and ask them to endorse an international inquiry into genocide in Protestant and Catholic residential schools in Canada.

The FRD delegation will hold a press conference prior to these meetings, at 2 pm on Wednesday, April 7 outside the front entrance to the Italian Chamber of Deputies, at the Sala delle Colonne, Via Poli 19, in downtown Rome.

The FRD delegation will also speak at public meetings in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Turin, Genoa, and Florence. Their tour has been organized and endorsed by numerous Italian native solidarity groups - a complete list follows - with the support of the provincial government of Genoa.

For more information, contact the FRD through this email;
Elder Jeremiah Jourdain, convenor.
Further Information is below.

FRD International Media Advisory No. 2
Itinerary and Other Information:



*(Note: political parties, groups and governments are listed for identification purposes only, and do not necessarily endorse all of the statements or positions of the FRD)
HUNKAPI (Genoa – Italy)
Cultural Association supporting Native Americans so that they can personally talk about their culture and history
Supports, sponsors and partially finances the Delegation’s trip to Europe
It’s in charge for the event organized in Genoa, at the Provincial Government
KIWANI (Florence – Italy)
Cultural Association supporting Native Americans
Organizational and logistic support in Florence
It’s in charge for the meeting at the Baptist Church Headquarters in Florence
Italian Network to support Native Americans
Organizational and logistic support in Rome
It’s in charge for some of the meetings to be held in Rome
Italian blog supporting Native American People
Organizational and logistic support in Florence
Main tool to spread information and communication on a national and international basis
Member of Hunkapi, she is connected to European Union Committee
Organizational and logistic support in Parma e Reggio Emilia
In charge for meetings to be held in Parma, Reggio Emilia and Turin
Main financial sponsor
Organizational, logistic, financial support to the Italian tour
In charge for the meetings to be held at the Chamber of Deputies
In charge for logistic support and lodging in Rome

29th March
Kevin Annett, Lori o’Rorke, Lillian Shirt and Charles Cook arrive in Italy
30th March, Parma
Conference (schools)
31st March, Reggio Emilia
Conference (schools)
1st April, Turin - 09:00 p.m. (21,00)
Cafè Liber, Circolo Arci, Corso Vercelli 2.
2nd April Genoa - 04:30 p.m. (16,30)
Provincial Government of Genoa, Council Hall, Piazzale Mazzini 2.
Meeting & Conference with the Civil Authorities of the Provincial Government
3rd April, Florence - 04:00 p.m. (16,00)
Baptist Church Headquarters, Borgo Ognissanti 4.
4th April, Rome - 11:00 a.m. (11,00)
St. Peter's Square, outside the Vatican
Memorial Service
7th April, Rome - 02:30 p.m. (14,30)
Italian Chamber of Deputies, Sala delle Colonne, Via Poli 19
Unrepentant documentary: Conference & Debate will follow
8th April, Rome
Private meeting at the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
9th April, Rome
Kevin Annett will continue the European Tour with other Natives (names still to be communicated), Lori O’Rorke, Lillian Shirt and Charles Cooke will fly back to Canada

March 24, 2010

First Nations Given Tainted Bison Meat

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
Tel: (780) 697-3730
Toll-free: 1-888-420-7011
Fax: (780) 697-3500


First Nations have been given and offered tainted bison meat from a nearby Industry developer. The communities of Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan were given and offered Free Bison Meat, only to have the bison meat recalled for lead levels above what is considered safe for human consumption. They claim that the poisonous meat came from one animal and The Fort McKay First Nation, Health Canada, Alberta Health and Alberta Agricultural are suggesting that the rest of the meat is safe. Yet as a precautionary measure, Dr. Brent Friesen, Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services, Fort McMurray, and Dr. Simon Sihota, Regional Environmental Public Health Manager, Health Protection Directorate, First Nation and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada, Edmonton, advise that any ground meat from the Dec 2009 harvest should be collected and sent for analysis for lead content.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is now asking how this could happen. Why is our First Nation offered free bison meat that turns out to be unsafe for consumption? “Generating contaminated meat and offering it to the First Nations people is a cruel act of total disrespect to the dignity of the people of Fort Chipewyan” Chief Adam said. This contamination casts a dark cloud upon the claims that the oil sands companies are able to safely reclaim lands destroyed by oil sands mining. This contamination comes after the discovery of heightened rare cancer rates in a 2009 report released by the Alberta Cancer Board and a report released by Dr. Schindler2009 showing Athabasca River contamination is improperly measured.

On a related note, there is a free roaming herd of Bison near the ACFN Reserve lands which our members use for consumption purposes. Yet Alberta chooses not to manage this threatened bison herd in a manner to protect it from development. “The buffalo are not protected and industrial developers are running them off the lands scaring them with helicopters and planes” Chief Adam said. Drilling and Exploration continues where these herds of bison roam and live.

The ACFN members are afraid to hunt traditional foods and consume waterfowl birds for fear they may be contaminated by Development. We fear that ducks and geese which have landed on a tailing pond continue to travel north and are consumed by our members. What does ACFNs’ future hold with regards to health and wellness of our Membership? What does the future hold for ACFN’s continued existence in the face of Alberta’s plans for Development? There is great uncertainty with the safety of the Traditional foods we consume.

For Further Information:
Chief Allan Adam, ACFN, 780-697-3730.

George Bush's Nuclear Backdoor Deals

FOIA shows: U.S. has agreed to store enough nuclear reactor waste to fill two Yucca Mountains...or face billions of dollars in new penalites

From: Kevin Kamps:


“Under the Radar”: Outgoing Bush White House Hiked Likely Penalties Borne by Taxpayers By Inking Deals With Over a Dozen Utilities; 170 Groups in All 50 States Release Principles Urging an Upgrade in Spent Reactor Fuel Storage Safety to Withstand Equivalent of “9/11 Attacks.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 24, 2010) Between the output of existing commercial nuclear reactors and 21 proposed nuclear reactors covered by agreements quietly signed by the outgoing Bush Administration with more than a dozen electric utilities, the United States already has agreed to store enough spent (used) reactor fuel to fill the equivalent of not one, but two, Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste repositories, according to documents acquired under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Given that the U.S. is back to square one for the first repository, U.S. taxpayers would be on the hook for potentially tens of billions of dollars in penalties that would have to be paid to utilities if the 21 proposed reactor projects proceed.

This new information about the daunting scale of the challenge that faces the United States in disposing of spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors comes one day before the first meeting of the Obama Administration’s “Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.” In addition to highlighting the serious consequences of the eleventh-hour deals stuck by the Bush White House, experts also focused public attention on the fact that the recently cancelled Yucca Mountain repository – even if it were open today, 35 years after the process to create it started – would already be filled to its legal limit of 63,000 metric tons of commercial waste by this spring. A second repository the same size would be filled with the 42,000 additional metric tons of spent fuel yet to be produced by existing nuclear reactors and the 21,000 metric tons that would be produced by the 21 proposed reactors covered under the Bush-industry agreements.

Separately, over 170 groups in all 50 states today released the “Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors” calling for specific steps to protect the public from the immediate threats posed by the currently vulnerable storage of commercial spent fuel at nuclear reactor facilities. The principles call for safer on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel through the use of less densely packed reactor pools and “hardened on-site storage” (HOSS) designed to “withstand an attack by air, land, or water from a force at least equal in size and coordination to the 9/11 attacks.” (See below.) Now, after 10 billion dollars of ratepayer money has been wasted and Yucca has rightly been abandoned, even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not expressed confidence that a repository will open within ten years of the expiration of the first new reactor. In fact the NRC has not committed to any specific date for a repository; it has no logical or factual basis to come up with one. It was rash for the Bush Administration to sign contracts for new reactors while taxpayers are on the hook for billions due to default on existing waste contracts. These new contracts are likely to add billions more in damages at a time when the federal government is struggling with deficit containment.”

Beyond Nuclear Radioactive Waste Specialist Kevin Kamps: “The bottom line here is that we have an industry and a White House proposing to race ahead with new reactors when we haven’t figured out how to clean up the mess created by the first wave of reactors. Instead, 28 years after passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, 35 years after the repository search began, 53 years into commercial nuclear power, and 68 years after Fermi first split the atom during the Manhattan Project, the U.S. still has no safe, sound, permanent storage plan for high-level radioactive waste.”

Diane Curran, Esq., partner, Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, LLP, said: “There was no apparent justification for the George W. Bush Administration’s rush to sign these spent nuclear fuel disposal contracts for new reactors. Having already paid out hundreds of millions in contract damages on spent fuel disposal agreements it could not fulfill, the government should have waited until it knew whether it could deliver on the contracts, instead of signing up for more liability. These corporations have already reaped tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded contract damages, and stand to get hundreds of millions more. The funds for the damages are coming from the taxpayer-funded Department of Treasury’s Judgment Fund.”

The utilities and the 21 reactor projects covered under the Bush Administration agreements are: Duke Energy in South Carolina (Lee 1&2); Southern Nuclear in Georgia (Vogtle 3&4); South Texas Project in Texas (South Texas 3&4); Nine Mile Point in New York (Nine Mile Point 3); UniStar Nuclear in Maryland (Calvert Cliffs 3); Virginia Electric in Virginia (North Anna 3); Florida Power and Light in Florida (Turkey Point 6&7); South Carolina Electric & Gas in South Carolina (Summer 2&3); Pennsylvania Power and Light in Pennsylvania (Bell Bend); Progress Energy in North Carolina (Shearon Harris 2&3) and Florida (Levy 1&2); Ameren UE in Missouri (Callaway 2); and Luminant in Texas (Comanche Peak 3&4).

A backgrounder outlining the “below the radar” Bush Administration deals with the nuclear industry and the implications of the same for taxpayers is available online at

Citizens Awareness Network Executive Director Deborah Katz said: “The Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors are based on the urgent need to protect the public from the threats posed by the current vulnerable storage of commercial spent fuel. The United States does not currently have a national policy for the permanent storage of high-level nuclear waste. The Obama Administration has determined that the Yucca Mountain site, which has been mired in bad science and mismanagement, is not an option for geologic storage of nuclear waste. Unfortunately, reprocessing proponents have used this opportunity to promote reprocessing as the solution for managing our nuclear waste. Contrary to their claims, however, reprocessing is extremely expensive, highly polluting, and a proliferation threat, and will actually complicate the management of spent fuel.”

Among the steps called for under the Principles are:

· Require a low-density, open-frame layout for fuel pools: “Fuel pools were originally designed for temporary storage of a limited number of irradiated fuel assemblies in a low density, open frame configuration. As the amount of waste generated has increased beyond the designed capacity, the pools have been reorganized so that the concentration of fuel in the pools is nearly the same as that in operating reactor cores. If water is lost from a densely packed pool as the result of an attack or an accident, cooling by ambient air would likely be insufficient to prevent a fire, resulting in the release of large quantities of radioactivity to the environment.”

· Establish hardened on-site storage (HOSS): “Irradiated fuel must be stored as safely as possible as close to the site of generation as possible. Waste moved from fuel pools must be safeguarded in hardened, on-site storage (HOSS) facilities … The overall objective of HOSS should be that the amount of releases projected in even severe attacks should be low enough that the storage system would be unattractive as a terrorist target. Design criteria that would correspond to the overall objective must include: resistance to severe attacks, such as a direct hit by high-explosive or deeply penetrating weapons and munitions or a direct hit by a large aircraft loaded with fuel or a small aircraft loaded with fuel and/or explosives, without major releases.”

· Protect fuel pools: “Irradiated fuel must be kept in pools for several years before it can be stored in a dry facility. The pools must be protected to withstand an attack by air, land, or water from a force at least equal in size and coordination to the 9/11 attacks.”
· Dedicate funding to local and state governments to independently monitor the sites.

· Prohibit reprocessing.

The full text of the Principles is available online at


In a period of less than three months, the Bush Administration signed contracts to accept irradiated nuclear fuel from 21 new commercial atomic reactors even though at that time, no repository for new sources of irradiated fuel existed or was planned. It also did so even though the U.S. government had already paid out $565 million in contract damages – and faced an additional $790 million of contract damages at that very same time – for its failure to dispose of the existing inventory of irradiated fuel in the United States. And it did so even though it already expected to face around an additional billion dollars of damage payments to nuclear power utilities each and every year for the next decade.

As the backgrounder notes: “Given that after 35 years of searching, the U.S. has failed to license a single repository, it is reasonable to predict that the siting of two new repositories will take at least 50 years, if not 75 or 100 years. Thus, there is a very real potential for defaults on the new irradiated nuclear fuel contracts signed in 2008-2009 ... Barring ‘unavoidable delays,’ DOE would face breach of contract charges for missing these contractual deadlines. Resulting damage awards could cost U.S. taxpayers billions, or even tens of billions, of dollars.”

Between 1983 and 1987, DOE signed radioactive waste disposal contracts with over 100 operating commercial atomic reactors in the U.S. DOE was contractually obliged to begin accepting waste from utilities on Jan. 31, 1998. When this deadline was missed, the first of a current total of 71 lawsuits were filed by nuclear utilities against DOE for breach of contract, seeking damages to compensate them for on-site storage costs. As of July 2009, $565 million in damages had been awarded, and paid, to five nuclear utilities pursuant to settlements, and one trial court judgment that was not appealed. The funding for these damage awards is ultimately coming out of the U.S. Treasury because the courts have ruled that the Nuclear Waste Fund (estimated to have $23.8 billion remaining at the end of Fiscal Year 2009) cannot be used to pay liability to nuclear utility waste contract holders.

DOE has estimated that by 2020, taxpayer liability for breach of contract damages will amount to $12.3 billion – thus, around a billion dollars of damage payments to nuclear power utilities each and every year for the next decade. DOE has not yet estimated liabilities beyond 2020. The nuclear industry itself estimates damages will top $50 billion of taxpayer money. Neither of these estimates reflects the impact of the 21 proposed reactor projects covered under the Bush Administration agreements with major utilities.

The new contracts signed in the waning days of the Bush Administration will add significantly to future liability. In addition to damages, the Department of Justice has, thus far, expended another $154 million of taxpayer money trying to defend DOE against breach of contract charges and damage awards. This “endless litigation,” at taxpayer expense, is expected to continue indefinitely for decades to come, unless Congress intervenes by changing the applicable laws.

Also called spent or used nuclear fuel, irradiated nuclear fuel is the high-level or highly radioactive waste which results when “fresh” nuclear fuel rods become a million times more radioactive after undergoing fissioning in atomic reactor cores.

The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (
) provides policy-makers, journalists, and the public with understandable and accurate scientific and technical information on energy and environmental issues. IEER’s aim is to bring scientific excellence to public policy issues in order to promote the democratization of science and a safer, healthier environment.

CONTACT: Ailis Aaron Wolf, for IEER, (703) 276-3265 or

EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming audio recording of the news event will be available on the Web as of 6 p.m. EDT on March 24, 2010 at
Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear, 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912 Office: (301) 270-2209 ext. 1 Cell: (240) 462-3216 Fax: (301) 270-4000
Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

March 23, 2010

Jailing Cindy Sheehan

While Obama was focused on winning the health care vote, he was failing humanity inside a jail cell

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Cindy Sheehan was jailed over the weekend as she rallied against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq at the White House. What kind of a country jails a mother whose son was killed in an unjust and fraudulent war?
How is it that United States' politicians, with the aid of a morally bankrupt media, turn heroes into criminals and criminals into heroes? How is it that the puppet masters continue to control the president and congress, continuing the deceit and bloodshed in wars based on lies?
Cindy describes her arrest at Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
"As soon as I crossed the barrier, I was slammed by a couple of cops, handcuffed and then actually run around the front of the White House while the cops tried to find a paddy wagon to stick me in—about 50 people were running with the cop and I, yelling: 'Let her go, let her go.'
Cindy also describes the jail cell:
"Well, those two days were some of the most miserable days of my life! We were taken to a lock-up and Elaine and I were put into a freezing room and I had a t-shirt and flip-flops on, being unprepared to be arrested. For four women, our cell had one cement block bench that was about 7-8 feet long, so at least one of us always had to be on the stone-cold floor. Sleeping was fitful as it was very chilly all night—and very noisy!
Thirty-six hours, and eight bologna-like and cheese-substitute sandwiches later, we were taken to the court for our arraignment and stayed in that cell for seven hours and were finally released at 5pm after we all pled 'not-guilty' and were scheduled for a trial on June 9th."
Cindy says, however, that even jail here is better than the conditions many people live in around the world because of the United States' militarization and greed:
"There are literally billions of people suffering all over this planet due to my nation’s militarism and greed and I know many people would have traded places with me in a heartbeat and think the conditions were pretty damn good."
Meanwhile, while President Obama was focused on winning the vote in health care, he was failing humanity inside this jail cell:
Cindy says, "This never happened to me when Bush was president."

Read more at Cindy's Soapbox:
Photo: In memory of Casey Sheehan, 28.

Tsilhqot'in's 'Blue Gold' will not be censored

Public hearings on mine proposal will include Tsilhqot'in documentary
By Andrew MacLeod
March 23, 2010

Taseko Mines Ltd. has failed in its bid to prevent a documentary about the Tsilhqot'in people's connection to Teztan Biny, or Fish Lake, from being shown at a public hearing on a mine proposal southwest of Williams Lake.

The federal review panel this morning dismissed Taseko's motion that last week asked that the film Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot'in Fight for Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) not be shown at the public hearing, said Jay Nelson, a Victoria lawyer acting for the TNG, in an email. “It held that its rules of procedure did not prohibit presenting information in this form,” he said.

A lawyer acting for Taseko did not respond to a message by posting time. The submission to the panel said Blue Gold is a “propaganda film, produced to influence the opinions or behaviour of people, by providing deliberately biased content in an emotional context,” the Tyee reported.

The film's director, Susan Smitten, said she laughed when she heard the company's lawyer had called the film “propaganda.”

“The film's power comes in its authenticity,” she said. It was made as a way to help the Tsilhqot'in people express what the threatened lake means to them, she said. “They come from a position of love.”

Views of Blue Gold tripled the day after Taseko asked that the film be kept out of the hearing, she said. Filmed in two days with a budget under $10,000, it has been watched by people around the world, she said.

The film can be seen on the Hook or on Vimeo. It will be shown during the panel's evening hearings on March 24.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria.

Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot'in Fight for Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) from Susan Smitten on Vimeo.

Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot'in Fight for Teztan Biny
Blue Gold expresses the Tsilhqot'in peoples' unanimous rejection of Taseko Mines Ltd.'s proposal to drain Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) in order to stockpile mining waste.

"It is not possible for us to agree to the destruction of the land that sustains us." ~ Chief Marilyn Baptiste, Xeni Gwet'in First Nation.

This film was made possible through generous donations from several organizations including: Donner Canadian Foundation, Friends of the Nemaiah Valley and Small Change Fund.

The Tsilhqot'in Nation holds proven Aboriginal hunting and trapping rights in the area where Taseko wants to build its mine. Taseko's plan requires completely draining Fish Lake (which sits at the headwaters of the Taseko River and ultimately the Fraser River, 600 km north of Vancouver, BC) and filling it with waste rock. The company intends to create a reservoir to hold the 80,000+ trout. Much of the watershed to the south including Nabas (Little Fish Lake) would be used as a tailings storage facility. This is all in an area held as sacred by the Tsilhqot'in.

In the place of gorgeous, fish-bearing lakes in a pristine sub-alpine ecosystem, Taseko will leave behind an estimated 700,000,000 tons of tailings and waste materials, including arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium and other toxic metals. These toxic creations will permanently scar the area, destroy habitat for major species like grizzlies, moose and deer, and potentially contaminate the largest wild salmon run in North America (the Fraser River).

Recent changes to Canada's Fisheries Act allow for the destruction of freshwater bodies - lakes and rivers can now be used as toxic dump sites for mining corporations. Teztan Biny is just one of many lakes slated for destruction.

We are now fighting to convince the federal environmental review panel which must decide on whether to allow Taseko to proceed of the significant and irrefutable impacts the project will have. The permanent destruction of the lake would be an unfathomable cultural and spiritual loss to the Tsilhqot'in people. And it cannot be compensated ecologically.

There is more information and a place to donate on the RAVEN website -

March 22, 2010

Poetry and Art: The FBI, Indian Country and Surveillance

Freedom of Information: The FBI, Indian Country, and Surveillance’

By Staci Golar
Image 2: Hoover COINTELPRO file

SANTA FE, NM — Three poets and over 15 visual artists will explore the complex and often violent relationship between Native Americans and the Federal Bureau of Information in the art show, Freedom of Information The FBI, Indian Country, and Surveillance. Their works will examine the volatile times of the 1960s and 1970s, when the FBI’s COINTELPRO program sought to crush Indian activism, up to the present where technology allows intrusion into our personal lives to a previously unimaginable degree.
An opening reception will take place Friday, April 30th, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at Ahalenia Studios, located at 1422 Second Street at Jay Street in Santa Fe. This event is free and open to the public. Cheyenne and Muscogee activist, policymaker, and author Suzan Shown Harjo will read her poetry at the opening reception. The show will be open to the public from 1:00 – 6:00 pm on the following three weekends:May 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16. During the week, from May 2 to May 14, the show will be open by appointment, which can be arranged via
America Meredith and Ishkoten Dougi are co-curating the show. Meredith’s father, Howard Meredith directed the Indian Office of the Episcopal Church in the early 1970s. Because of his role, Meredith’s father had FBI tails and his phone was tapped. When as a teenager, she asked her father about the early 1970s, he told her to look up his FBI file, using the
Freedom of Information act, giving the show its name.
Ishkoten Dougi, a New Mexico native and prolific artist, has recently dealt with the FBI, which has been investigating the brutal murder of his little brother.
Indian Country has a much more intimate relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation than most of America. The Seven Major Crimes Act of 1885 gave the FBI jurisdiction over reservations when dealing with such major crimes as murder – and Indian Country certainly needs law enforcement. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI also famously launched COINTELPRO, a covert program to undermine activist organizations that the government deemed threatening, and particularly Native American rights organizations. Families, even loosely affiliated with activist organizations, were followed, monitored, and harassed. Ground zero for clashes between the FBI and Native peoples was Pine Ridge, South Dakota, from 1973 to 1975, when hundreds of murders have gone unsolved.
Today the federal government conducts warrantless wiretapping under the Obama administration. The intrusive surveillance familiar to Indian Country is now experienced by all US citizens. Equally disturbing is the amount of information about ourselves that we freely give away to corporations via social networking.
This art show will explore the personal experiences of artists who have been incarcerated, threatened, attacked, or spied upon by the FBI, but also artists who have worked with the FBI as prosecutors and who have been helped by the FBI in investigations. Artists explore the effect of these experiences on their personal lives. We also examine how, due to technological advances, surveillance has become utterly ubiquitous and even accepted in today’s world. Now most photographs and videos are taken by machines, not human beings. What does this lack of privacy mean to us individually and collectively? How does it change our behavior? And where ultimately will it lead us?

Participating poets are:
• Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee), president of the Morning Star Institute in Washington, D.C., a founding trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian, and an award-winning writer.
• Ron Salkin (Oglala Lakota), a San Francisco bike messenger and published author.
• John Trudell (Santee Dakota), poet, national recording artist, actor and activist. Trudell worked with the American Indian Movement (AIM) serving as Chairman of AIM from 1973 to 1979.
Participating visual artists include:
• Marcus Amerman (Choctaw), bead, glass, and video artist, as well as painter as performance artist, whose alter ego is Buffalo Man.
• Ross Chaney (Osage/Cherokee), video artist and 2-D artist, whose drawings are influenced by his formal training in Japanese calligraphy. • Ishkoten Dougi (Jicarilla Apache/Navajo), expressionist and vision painter and printmaker, and show co-curator. This art show is dedicated to the memory of his brother, Naayaitch Friday, who was brutally murdered on 11 April 2009.
• Gina Gray (Osage Nation), painter living in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Gray left IAIA to join the Wounded Knee Occupation at Pine Ridge in 1973 for six weeks.
• Teri Greeves (Kiowa/Comanche), bead artist whose work is in the British Museum. She was featured in the PBS documentary, Craft in America.
• April Holder (Sauk and Fox/Tonkawa/Wichita), painting on fabric. Her father’s FBI tails actually stayed in the hospital when April was born in 1984.
• Alex Jacobs (Mohawk) painter, installation artist, and musician in Santa Fe.
• Saige LaFountain (Turtle Mountain Chippewa/Navajo) and Samuel LaFountain (Turtle Mountain Chippewa/Navajo) are brothers and award-winning artists. Saige is known for his bronze and stone sculptures and Samuel creates hand-stamped jewelry inlaid with an exotic array of stones; however, both will be creating experimental pieces in new media.
• America Meredith (Cherokee Nation) will exhibit mixed media paintings and sculpture.
• Leonard Peltier (Turtle Mountain Chippewa/Lakota), lithograph prints. The most prominent political prisoner in the United States, Peltier is currently in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
• Kevin and Valerie Pourier (Oglala Lakota), who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation, create polished buffalo horn carvings that are channeled inlaid with crushed gemstones. They marry tradition, aesthetics, and social commentary in his unique, utilitarian sculptures.
• Billy Soza Warsoldier (Cahuilla/Apache), Chicago Arts Institute and IAIA alumnus, successfully fought the California Department of Corrections for the right to not cut one’s hair for religious reasons.
• Stephen Wall (White Earth Chippewa-Seneca), creator of Technododems,which merge micro-technological artifacts with natural materials. Currently he is head of IAIA’s Indigenous Liberal Studies program and president of SWAIA’s board.
• Richard Ray Whitman (Yuchi/Pawnee) – a photographer, digital artist, videographer, actor and a longtime outspoken activist for Indigenous rights.
• Dwayne Wilcox (Oglala Lakota). Wilcox grew up on Pine Ridge and his historically informed ledger drawings offer humorous and biting critiques of contemporary society.

April 30 - May 6

Indian Country has a much more intimate relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation than most of America. The 1885 Seven Major Crimes Act gave the FBI jurisdiction over reservations when dealing with such major crimes as murder. In the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI also famously launched COINTELPRO, a covert program to undermine activist organizations that the government deemed threatening, particularly Native American rights organizations. Families, even loosely affiliated with activist organizations, were followed, monitored, and harassed.

Today the federal government conducts warrantless wiretapping under the Obama administration. The intrusive surveillance familiar to Indian Country is now experienced by all US citizens. Equally disturbing is the amount of information about ourselves that we freely give away to corporations via social networking.

This art show explores the personal experiences of artists who have been incarcerated, threatened, attacked, or spied upon by the FBI, but also artists who have worked with the FBI as prosecutors and who have been helped by the FBI in investigations. Artists explore the effect of these experiences on their personal lives. We also examine how, due to technological advances, surveillance has become utterly ubiquitous and even accepted in today's world. What does this lack of privacy mean to us individually and collectively? How does it change our behavior? And where ultimately will it lead us?

US 'Listening Sessions' Berkeley and San Francisco

United States Government To Conduct Consultations or “Listening Sessions”

On US International Human Rights Obligations
The Bancroft Hotel
2680 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Thursday, March 25, 2010, from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Mclaren Conference Center, University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117

Friday, March 26, 2010, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
The United Nations Human Rights Council will examine the United States’ compliance with its legally-binding obligations under its signed and ratified Human Rights treaties as well as the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The process of this examination is called, “Universal Periodic Review” or “UPR”, in which the human rights compliance of every UN member state is reviewed every four years. This November will be the United States’ first review since the process’ creation
As part of the UPR process, the U.S. government is required to conduct consultations with stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, civil society and those facing rights violations, to provide input regarding human rights in the United States. The government selected several cities in the US, including San Francisco and Berkeley, in which to conduct listening sessions or consultations.
The Bay Area consultations will be held on March 25-26th, 2010.
A half day consultation will be held in Berkeley on Thursday, March 25, 2010 from 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM and will focus on Health, Education, and State Accountability followed by an open comment period.
On Friday, March 26, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, the Mclaren Conference Center at the University of San Francisco will host a discussion on the human rights challenges faced in San Francisco and surrounding communities. Representatives of the U.S. Department of State and other federal agencies will be in attendance to inform their report to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The meetings will be recorded, and a written report of the meeting will be prepared and posted on the U.S. Department of State’s website. This summary may be used as part of the U.S. government’s submission to the Human Rights Council. Organizations are also welcome to submit a 5-page report directly to the UN before April 19th.
In addition, participating organizations are providing a training on the UPR to be held on Wednesday, March 24th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Mission Cultural Center, Studio D, 2868 Mission St. San Francisco.
Your input is vital to this process. Accordingly, we have reserved time for public comment and participation on the agenda. To ensure there is time for input from the widest community, comments need to be a maximum of two minutes in length for each topic. Please reference the human rights obligation being violated and provide a recommendation for how the government can improve this situation. We welcome your contribution and encourage you to join us to ensure that the U.S. government representatives attending this meeting receive accurate information on the human rights challenges faced by our communities.
If you are interested in participating, please register on this site. If you know of others who would like to attend, please forward them this invitation and ask them to register as well.
The email you received with this link included a hotel listing for the University of San Francisco area and instructions on travel to the campus. The Mclaren Center at the University of San Francisco is wheelchair accessible. If you require a disability accommodation such as a Sign Language interpreter or print materials in alternative formats, or have any questions about accommodations, please contact Katelyn Keil. Her telephone number is 510-644-2555 (v/TDD) and her email is Please contact Katie by March 12, 2010 if you require an accommodation.

Friday, March 26th, 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
-Program Subject To Change-
8:30-9:00 - Registration
9:00-9:30 - Welcome, Introductions, and Overview of UPR Consultation Process
9:30-10:30 - Panel 1 - Race Discrimination
Moderator: Alberto Sadamando (International Indian Treaty Council)
Linda Burnham (Women of Color Resource Center)
Arnoldo Garcia (National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights)
Lakota Harden (Bay Native Circle)
10:30-11:30 - Panel 2 – LGBT rights issues
Moderator: Shannon Minter (National Center for Lesbian Rights) - Hate crimes, employment discrimination, immigration discrimination, and need for health benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees
Sylvia Guerrero - Increasing hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Shirley Tan -Lack of recognition of LGBT families in immigration law
Cecilia Chung - Employment discrimination in the U.S. and lack of protections
Henry Pacheco - Workplace discrimination in the federal government
11:30-12:30 - Panel 3 - Criminal justice; Death Penalty; Prison Conditions
Moderator: Professor Connie de la Vega (University of San Francisco School of Law)
Michelle Leighton (Center for Law and Global Justice) –Juvenile Life Sentences Without Possibility of Parole
Alison Parker (Human Rights Watch) –Racial discrimination in anti-drug laws
Don Specter (Prison Law Office) – Prison overcrowding in California
12:30-1:30 Lunch (on your own)
1:30-2:30 - Panel 4 - Disability Rights
Moderator: Professor Connie de la Vega (University of San Francisco School of Law)
Kim Swain (Disability Rights California) - Progress/challenges concerning deinstitutionalization and prevention of institutionalization of people with disabilities in the SF and Northern California areas
Mary Lou Breslin (Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)) - Healthcare access for people with disabilities
Claudia Center (Disability Rights Programs of the Legal Aid Society) - Employment with a focus on people with pscyhosocial disabilities
2:30-3:30 - Panel 5 - Environmental Justice
Moderator: Morning Star Gali (International Indian Treaty Council)
Rev. Henry Clark (West County Toxics Coalition) - Shell Refinery
Jim Brown (Pomo Nation) - Mercury poisoning in California waters
or Sherri Norris (California Indian Environmental Alliance) - Mercury poisoning in California waters
3:30-4:30 - Open discussion on topics not covered above
4:30-5:00 - Closing remarks and Adjournment
Organizations participating in the planning and coordinating of the San Francisco Session include: Asian Pacific Environmental Network:
Center for Law and Global and Justice:
Council for Global Equality:
Disability Rights Education Defense Fund:
Human Rights Advocates:
International Indian Treaty Council,
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute:
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights,
West County Toxics Coalition:
Women of Color Resource Center:
University of San Francisco Law School:
US Human Rights Network:

Thursday, March 25th, 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
-Program Subject To Change-
8:30-9:00 - Registration

9:00-9:30 - Welcome, Introductions, and Overview of UPR Consultation Process
9:30-10:45 - Panel 1 - Health and Education: no one left out?

-- Panelists
Justice Now: Incarcerated women -
National Lawyers Guild: Accountability of Government Officials -
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute: Berkeley Resolution -
WILD for Human Rights/Initiative of the Miller Center, UC Berkely: San Francisco incorporation of CEDAW -

-- Participant/Open Comments on State Accountability
-- Dialogue with Government Officials
11:45-12:15 - Participant/Open Comments on topics not covered above
12:15-12:30 - Closing remarks and Adjournment
Organizations participating in the Oakland/Berkeley Session
Alliance for Justice
Amnesty International USA (WRO)
Asian Law Caucus (TBC)
Boalt Hall Committee for Human Rights
Boalt Alliance to Abolish Torture
Center for Justice and Accountability
Community Water Center (pending)
Ella Baker Center - Books Not Bars Campaign
Institute for Redress & Recovery at Santa Clara University
Justice Now
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute
Mujeres Unidas y Activas
National Lawyers Guild, Committee Against Torture
National Lawyers Guild, Boalt Hall Chapter
Public Advocates
Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project
UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic
WILD for Human Rights, Initiative of the Miller Center for Global Challenges and the Law, UC Berkeley
Participating organizations will provide a training for all interested parties on Wednesday, March 24th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Mission Cultural Center, Studio D, 2868 Mission St. San Francisco.
The training will provide an indepth explanation of the UPR process, a review of US international treaty obligations, guidelines on how best to make use of the UPR process and a conversation about continuing involvement in the UPR process.
Please Register if you would like to attend.
For more information on the Universal Periodic Review process itself, please visit the following websites:
United Nations UPR:
US Department of State UP:
US Human Rights Network UPR web site:
IITC Web Page: [click right column “Human Rights ‘Listening’ Sessions…” and, “New IITC Fact Sheet…”.

Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center “UPR toolkit”:

Sithe abandons Nevada coal-fired power plant proposal

Phillip Yates, Program Coordinator, Resource Media
1900 13th St., Suite 206, Boulder, CO 80302

office) 720.564.0500 ext.14, mobile) 720.206.9543,

Toquop Announcement Clears Way for Clean Energy
Plant was last coal-fired project in Nevada

Navajos fighting Sithe Global on Navajo Nation, hope Desert Rock will be halted
By Phillip Yates
Resource Media

LAS VEGAS – A decision by the Sithe Global Energy to abandon a proposal for a new coal-burning power plant near Mesquite, Nevada drew praise from a diverse group of voices who applauded the end to one of the last remaining obstacles in the state’s transition to a full-fledged clean energy economy.

Sithe’s parent company, the Blackstone Group, officially announced on a conference call this afternoon that it was dropping the proposed 750-megawatt Toquop Energy Project. Joining Blackstone’s Tony James was Senator Harry Reid and Mesquite Mayor Susan Holecheck. The company said that it is instead pursuing a 700-MW natural gas plant with a 100-MW photovoltaic solar plant.

“With its vast wind, solar and geothermal resources and potential for meeting demand with energy efficiency programs, the decision to move away from coal really does bode well for Nevada,” said Charles Benjamin, the state director of Western Resource Advocates. “It opens doors to an even swifter transition to 21st century energy technologies that will create jobs and revitalize Nevada’s economy.”

Early in 2009, there were still three proposals for new coal-burning power plants in Nevada, which would have generated 4,850 megawatts of electricity, enough to power roughly 2.4 million homes. NV Energy shelved its 2,500 MW Ely Energy Center in February and LS Power followed a month later when it abandoned plans for the 1,600-MW White Pine Energy Station. Both companies, whose plants would have been located near Ely, cited the financial risks, uncertainty of coal and the desire to move forward with projects focused more on renewable energy technologies. Toquop was the last of the three plants still moving forward.

“Nevada’s future lies with clean renewable energy, not outdated fossil fuel technologies,” said Steve Rypka, a renewable energy and green living consultant who owns GreenDream Enterprises in Henderson. “Clearing the last obstacle out of the way for that to happen is a big step forward for Nevada.”

Residents of Mesquite and southeastern Nevada, along with their counterparts just across the border in southwestern Utah, had fought the Toquop plant for years over concerns about pollution from its smokestacks and the effect on scarce local water resources. They said Sithe’s decision would help protect the region’s air quality and public health.

“We can all breathe a little easier now,” said Michele Burkett of the group Defend Our Desert. “Now we hope that this can pave the way for Nevada to become our nation’s leader in developing home-grown clean, renewable energy. That will enable us to become an energy exporter while growing our own economy with good long-term jobs.”

Former Public Utilities Commissioner and Nevada Consumer Advocate Tim Hay said the decision by Sithe and Blackstone are in line with trends by utilities and power companies nationwide. In the last several years, more than 125 proposals for coal-burning plants have been halted as developers or regulators determine that there are affordable and reliable options to coal that don’t have its financial risks or require the expenditure of billions of dollars.

“More and more power providers and investors are realizing the high risks associated with coal, while at the same time looking for ways that new and existing demand can be met with a combination of cleaner energy sources and also a full menu of energy efficiency measures,” said Hay. “Ultimately, that’s good for both shareholders and rate-paying customers.”

Navajos living in the Four Corners area have been fighting a plan by Sithe to build a coal-fired power plant on Navajo Nation land near Farmington, N.M. Dooda Desert Rock continues their grassroots resistance to Desert Rock power plant, which would be the third in the area.

Cindy Sheehan: Anti-War Camp Out Now near National Monument

Anti-war Activist Cindy Sheehan arrested at White House
DEMOCRACY NOW: Sheehan Sets Up “Camp OUT NOW” in Antiwar Protest
We go to Washington, DC to speak with antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, founder of the group Peace of the Action, who has set up a camp near the Washington Monument calling on President Obama to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sheehan’s son Casey was killed while serving in Iraq on April 4, 2004.
Mar 21, 2010 11:32 am US/Eastern
6 Anti-War Protesters To Spend Weekend In Jail
WASHINGTON (AP) ― Activist Cindy Sheehan and five other anti-war protesters are spending the rest of the weekend in jail after being arrested outside the White House.A total of eight people were arrested after laying coffins at a White House fence at the end of Saturday's anti-war march. Sgt. David Schlosser says two people were released, but the other six had to stay in jail because they have out-of-state addresses. They'll be arraigned Monday in D.C. Superior Court. Of the eight people, Schlosser says four, including Sheehan, are charged with crossing a police line, and four are charged with disobeying an official order. Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq in April 2004, staged a prolonged demonstration in 2005 outside then-President George W. Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas.

Drone protesters arrested at Tucson airshow

March 21, 2010
Contact in Tucson: Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa at 520-323-8697


TUCSON -- On Sunday afternoon, March 21, at the Aerospace and Arizona Days military exhibition and air show at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, two Tucson residents were arrested for trespass. John Heid, 55, and Gretchen Nielsen, 77, unfurled a banner declaring "War is Not a Show" and stood peacefully near the Predator UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicle).

Nielsen stated, "When I see the display at the Air Show --- the fighter planes, the bombers, the attack aircraft ---I see a display of yesterday's toys. When I see the ground control station and data terminal for the unmanned MQ-1 Predator, I see an extension of teenage computer games. When I see our young adults in uniform who have been trained to kill on command, I see yesterday's children.

"When I see proud, patriotic parents and grandparents enjoying the thrill of war games at the Air Show, I see tomorrow's parents and grandparents begging what's left of the world for forgiveness."

Heid stated, "War is not a show. It is killing us. And them. Combatants and children alike. Our soul and civil society. The moral order too is a casualty. War is hell. Not a cause for celebration. A frontal assault on reason. And the earth. War is not a spectacle or family entertainment.

"Today at the Air Show we see its shiny weapons, not its bloody victims. Not the nearly 4,400 dead U.S. soldiers. Not the tens of thousands of Iraqi, Afghani or Pakistani civilians. We glorify the mighty flying death machines and ignore the havoc they wreak.

"Today, just after the seventh anniversary of the war on Iraq, we vigil beside an MQ-1 Predator drone. Over 700 Pakistani civilians have been killed by this machine's Hellfire missiles. Davis-Monthan is home base for the 214th Reconnaissance Group of the Arizona National Guard which flies around-the-clock combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan with the Predator.

"In the shadow of death we raise our plea for peace. For skies free of weaponry. For an end to war without end. The show is over, let peace begin."

The pair was taken to the Pima County Jail, where they were processed and released by 10 p.m. They are scheduled to appear in Tucson City Court for arraignment - Heid on April 29 and Nielsen on April 30.

Photos may be viewed at

Mining company wants Tsilhquot'in film censored at public hearing

Mining company wants film sympathetic to Tsilhqot'in barred from public hearing
UPDATE: Public Hearing Schedule

By Andrew MacLeod March 17, 2010
Taseko Mines Ltd. is seeking to prevent a federal panel reviewing its proposal for a gold and copper mine in northern British Columbia from showing a public hearing a documentary it says is biased in favour of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation, who are opposed to the project.

The Tsilhqot'in National Government had requested the film, Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot'in Fight for Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), be shown during a public hearing on Taseko's proposal, according to a message sent today to review panel participants by the panel's chair Robert Connelly.

A lawyer acting for Taseko, Keith Clark with the Vancouver firm Lang Michener, outlined the company's concerns in an e-mail to the review panel yesterday. “It is not evidence,” he wrote. “It is a propaganda film, produced to influence the opinions or behaviour of people, by providing deliberately biased content in an emotional context. By its nature, there is no opportunity for Taseko or anyone else to challenge it. When it is finished it is done. There is no one to answer questions or clarify any of the assertions.”

An e-mail distributed through the Friends of the Nemaiah Valley, one of the groups that funded the documentary directed by Susan Smitten, says Blue Gold is an important film. “It documents the voices of the Tsilhqot'in people themselves,” it said. “These voices are not filtered . . . They are the honest and deeply sincere voices of people who are defending their traditional territory.

“Taseko continues to trivialize these voices by labeling the film 'propaganda.'”

The panel intends to consider Taseko's objection during its first day of hearings in Williams Lake on March 22, Connelly wrote.

You can watch Blue Gold here:

Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot'in Fight for Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) from Susan Smitten on Vimeo.

Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot'in Fight for Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) from Susan Smitten on Vimeo.

Update: On March 18 the documentary was relabeled as "private" on Vimeo, the site where it is hosted. The issue was technical, we're told, and it was again available by mid-afternoon.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

Agenda for Public Hearings

Message from John Hummel

I used to work for the Tsilhqot'in people in this film. They contacted me for support yesterday. That crazy mining company Taseko wants to turn their lake into a toxic tailings pond with stuff like arsenic and mercury in it! Hope you share this email and link to the film far and wide!
All the best to you.

For Land and Life,
John H.W. Hummel

Link to watch film Taseko Mines wants to censor at the public hearings today in Williams Lake, B.C.:


This hearing is in Williams Lake, B.C. - This is the Mine where they want to turn a whole lake into a Toxic Tailings Pond!
Note: I Got the Agenda Below from the Internet
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Update to Speakers' List for this week's Prosperity Mine Federal Review Public Hearings. I've received an updated list to the delegation (speakers') list at the Federal Review Panel for the proposed Prosperity Mine. Here it is: (Updated as of Saturday at 7:45am)

Monday, March 22 - Gibraltar Room, Cariboo Memorial Complex
Daytime Session - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Taseko Mines Ltd.

Tsilhqot’in National Government - Chiefs

Mandell Pinder – Counsel for the Canoe Creek (Bruce Stadfeld)

University of Victoria – ENVS461 Class (Dr. Karen Hurley & students)

Monday, March 22nd - Gibraltar Room, Cariboo Memorial Complex
Evening Session - 7-9 p.m.

Connie Jones

Josee Galipeau

Mining Suppliers Association of BC (Dave Sharples)

Share the Cariboo-Chilcotin Resources Society (Bill Carruthers)

Cariboo Chevrolet Buick GMC Ltd. (Brian Garland & Tammy Tugnum)

Council of Canadians (Meera Karunananthan and Harjap Grewal)

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society (Alice Stoddard)

Tuesday, March 23 - Gibraltar Room, Cariboo Memorial Complex
Daytime Session - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

City of Williams Lake (Mayor Kerry Cook)

The Williams Lake Construction Association (Kevin Bourdon, Grant Barley, Bonnie Griffith, Bryan Neufeld)

Mining Association of BC (Pierre Gratton)

Williams Lake Field Naturalists (Fred McMechan)

Tsilhqot’in National Government - Chiefs

Tsilhqot’in National Government - (Roger Williams, Loretta Williams)

Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation - (Thomas Phillips)

Tuesday, March 23rd - Gibraltar Room, Cariboo Memorial Complex
Evening Session - 7-9 p.m.

Ranchland Honda (David Baye)

Doug Wilson

Russell Samuel Myers Ross

Federico Osorio

Jane Wellburn

Christine Hornby

Great West Equipment (Andrew Thompson)

Wednesday, March 23 - Gibraltar Room, Cariboo Memorial Complex
Daytime Session - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Health Canada (Dr. Carl Alleyne, Luc Pelletier)

Natural Resources Canada (Rob Johnstone, Margo Burgess, Kathy McPherson)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (TBD)

Transport Canada (John Mackie, Linda Sullivan)

B.C. Chamber of Commerce (Jon Garson and John Winters)

Mining Watch Canada (Ramsey Hart)

Tsilhqot’in National Government - Chiefs

Tsilhqot’in National Government – Chilko Watershed Roundtable

Tsilhqot’in National Government – Invasive Plant Committee

Tsilhqot’in National Government – Archaeology First Nations Field Assistants

Tsilhqot’in National Government (Helen Haig-Brown)

Wednesday, March 24 - Gibraltar Room, Cariboo Memorial Complex
Evening Session - 7-9 p.m.

Tsilhqot’in National Government – Movie presentation: “Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot’in Fight for Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)” Pending: A motion has been received from Taseko Mines Limited, objecting to the showing of the film. The Panel will make its decision on the first day of the hearing after giving the motion due consideration. Please see the Project’s public registry, CEAR document #1791

Thursday, March 25
Daytime Session - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. @ Room 119, Pioneer Complex (351 Hodgson Road)

Stephanie Bird

Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce (Susan Redford)

Taseko Lake Outfitters (Siegfried Reuter)

Tsilhqot’in National Government - Xeni Gwet’in Cultural Tourism Program

Williams Lake Tribune (Lorne Doerkson)

Pacific Coastal Airlines (Daryl Smith)

Council of Canadians – Williams Lake Chapter (John Dressler)

Tsilhqot’in National Government - Chiefs

Tsilhqot’in National Government - (Linda Myers, Maria Myers)

Friday, March 26th - Valley Room, the Lodge in 100 Mile House, BC
Daytime Session - 12:00pm to 5:00pm & Evening Session - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Taseko Mines Ltd. (Brief overview presentation, and questions)

Lower Bridge Creek Water Stewardship Society (Gordon Hoglund)

Yalakom Ecological Society (Karley Zibeau)

Rob Henneker

100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall

Saturday, March 27th - Alexis Creek Community Hall
Daytime Session - 10:00am to 6:00pm

Taseko Mines Ltd. (Brief overview presentation, and questions)

Cariboo Regional District (Area 'K' Director Rick Mumford)

Other Information:

• Doors to the hearing room open at 9 a.m. each day. At this time, late registration will be taken for those that wish to present to the panel in the general sessions (subject to availability).

• Late registration will also be taken at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for those that wish to present to the panel in the evening session (subject to availability).

• There will be a lunch break at 12 p.m. each day.

• The General Hearing Session Monday begins with opening comments from the Panel Chair and preliminary matters and motions.

• Taseko Mines’ presentation on March 22 is expected to be 60-90 minutes, followed by questions.