August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Native America Calling: Free Speech and Censorship

Thursday, January 20, 2011– Free Speech & Censorship
Listen at:
Harlan McKosato, Sac and Fox and host of Native America Calling, questions whether there is a double standard for free speech in this country: One for whites and another for people of color.
McKosato points out that when Dakota scholar Waziyatawin gave a speech on Dakota land rights, she was probed by the FBI. Yet, Sarah Palin and others can say whatever they want.
McKosato said inflammatory rhetoric on the radio and in politics is in the spotlight, with public officials calling on everyone to “tone it down” to avoid confrontations.
"While Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin can say anything they want, it seems that an Indian scholar doesn’t enjoy the same rights to free speech. Professor, historian and activist Waziyatawin (Dakota), also known as Dr. Angela Wilson, received calls from the FBI after she gave a speech in which she told students: 'It’s time for American Indians to abandon symbolic demonstrations. We're going to need to take a different kind of action … we're going to need to recover our land base, by any means necessary.'"
What is free speech in America? Guests include Waziyatawin and talk radio host Jay Winter Nightwolf(Cherokee/Taino/Shoshone.)

WIKI: US investigates Indigenous Peoples and trains police in Chile

Article copyright by Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Indigenous Peoples and whether they are funded by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in the cable dated 2008.

The US training of Chilean police came under scrutiny after Chilean forces attacked Indigenous Peoples, Rapa Nui, on their ancestral lands on Easter Island in December of 2010. The violent and brutal attacks by Chilean police left Rapa Nui wounded.

U.N. Special Rapporteur James Anaya questioned the level of force used against the Indigenous Peoples occupying government buildings and hotels in the main town of Hanga Roa since August 2010.

The Wikileaks cable exposes the paternalism of the Chilean and US officials.

In the cable, US Ambassador Paul Simon wrote that Chile’s Minister of Interior Edmundo Perez Yoma asked the US to “follow the money,” to see if it leads to Chavez, or FARC, and to help with Chile’s “Mapuche issue.”

Ambassador Simons said the US has experience “integrating Indigenous Peoples into the broader society.”

“The U.S. has experience at both national and state levels on the integration of indigenous peoples into the broader U.S. society.”

Ambassador Simons, of course, did not state the path of this integration in the US involved first the murder, rape and genocide of American Indians, followed by the destruction of culture and families by forced attendance in abusive boarding schools, and finally, the continued oppression of Indian people and obliteration of Indian human rights in the United States.

In the cable, Ambassador Simons said he visited the new Minister of Interior, Perez Yoma, with the DEA Chief, on Feb. 6, 2008, exactly one month after Yoma took office.

“Interior Minister Perez Yoma told the Ambassador February 6 that he is concerned about the potential radicalization of Chile's indigenous population, including funding from foreign terrorist groups and/or Venezuela,” Ambassador Simons wrote.

Perez Yoma also asked for details on the US training of Chilean police and security forces, including the national police (Carabineros) and investigative police (Policia de Investigaciones de Chile.) The Ambassador also pointed out that the US FBI was investigating Indigenous Peoples in Chile.

Ambassador Simons said Perez Yoma agreed with him that the bilateral security relationship is excellent.

“He preferred, however, to have his Ministry ‘more fully informed’ concerning the nature and scope of programs offered to Chilean police and security organs by individual USG agencies,” Simons wrote.

Ambassador Simons said the government of Chile would like to draw on U.S. experience in addressing indigenous issues. Perez Yoma said U.S.-Chile cooperation on security matters is excellent but would like his Ministry to serve as a central clearinghouse for coordination between the various agencies of the US and Chile, including training and information sharing.

Simons next comments were titled, “Indigenous Radicals Funded Externally?”

Perez Yoma raised the concern of the "Mapuche issue."

“Chile's largest indigenous group and one that has over the past several months seemingly taken a turn to radical and sometimes violent action (ref B). While intelligence is unclear, funding of the Mapuche by the FARC ‘and Chavez’ is possible although, he noted, he wasn't sure some of the monies aren't being funneled off to other activities since Mapuche radicals remain ‘weak and disorganized.’ Potential Mapuche ties to ETA are also possible,” Ambassador Simons wrote.

"I would like," Perez Yoma said, "your help in following the money."

“RAO Chief noted his agency is working with Chilean colleagues to identify FARC and ETA actors outside Chile who might have potential links to Mapuche radicals. Legatt added that the FBI is coordinating with the Carabineros to assist in identification and potential prosecution of actors within Chile.”

In closing, Ambassador Simons said President Michelle Bachelet was weak on public security.

“Perez Yoma was reportedly brought on as seasoned political operator intended to bring discipline and focus to Bachelet's sometimes unruly administration. As Interior Minister he directs cabinet meetings when Bachelet is not present; press reports suggest he used his first meeting to hammer home the message he is in charge. He was all business in this initial call and very clearly concerned that the Mapuche issue has the potential to underscore Bachelet's perceived weakness on public security, an issue that falls squarely within his bailiwick.”

After this cable was written in 2008, Chilean police brutally attacked the Rapa Nui, Indigenous Peoples in their homeland on Easter Island in 2010, opening fire on the Rapa Nui and injuring women and children.

In a second cable, in September of 2009, Ambassador Simons wrote that Easter Islanders seem to be "inspired by Mapuche activism."

Ambassador Simons wrote, "The August 12 police killing of Mapuche activist Jaime Mendoza -- and the subsequent reaction from indigenous communities -- has catapulted indigenous demands to the front of President Bachelet's political agenda once again. Mapuche activists held protests and blockaded a highway, while more than 3,000 mourners packed Mendoza's funeral. When President Bachelet sent a government delegation, led by the Under Secretary of the Presidency, to meet with all parties in Araucania, the Mapuche community refused to meet with the group. Bachelet subsequently named a cabinet minister, Jose Antonio Viera-Gallo, as the government's new indigenous policy coordinator, effectively capitulating to a long-standing Mapuche demand for higher-level government attention. Meanwhile, another indigenous group -- Easter Islanders -- seem to have been inspired by Mapuche activism, recently occupying the island's only airport for 24 hours in a successful effort to gain government attention to their demands."

The Ambassador continues his criticisms of Indigenous Peopes, their organizations and the Chilean government. He also describes the efforts of Mapuche to reclaim ancestral lands, and how non-Indian land owners gouge land prices and deter new efforts.

"Under Ricardo Lagos (1998-2004), the government approved the construction of a hydroelectric dam in Mapuche areas, despite more than a decade of strenuous objections from Mapuche activists. He later issued a last minute and poorly explained cancellation to what would have been the largest ever meeting between the Mapuche community and the Chilean President, angering thousands who had travelled from across the country for the dialogue," Ambassador Simons wrote.

In a separate cable in 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expresses concern over whether Iran has established contact with Indigenous Peoples in Latin America.

“In addition to national governments, has Iran established ties with any nongovernmental groups or Indigenous Peoples?”

Clinton expressed concern over Iran’s relationship with the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. The concerns included cultural centers, religious converts and possible training of terrorists in Latin America. Further, she expressed concern over whether Iran could be taking advantage of the dropping of visa requirements by Ecuador and other countries. Clinton asked for more information on Iran’s “enablers,” for the “Iran watchers.”

“Washington analysts assess that Tehran is reaching out to Latin American countries in order to reduce its diplomatic isolation and increase ties to leftist countries in that region that Tehran perceives may share its anti-US agenda," Clinton said.

Feb. 7, 2008: Ambassador
Jan. 9, 2009: Clinton
Sept. 9, 2009: Ambassador

READ MORE: News article: Chile asked FBI to investigate Mapuche activists:

WIKI: Iceland's support of Indigenous Declaration an 'impediment' to US relations

Iceland's support of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was an 'impediment' to US/Iceland relations at the United Nations

Article copyright by Brenda Norrell
Censored News
The United States scrutinized Iceland's support of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, according to new cables released by Wikileaks. The US cables reveal the behind-the-scenes maneuvers of the United States, the last country in the world to support the Declaration.

US Ambassador Ambassador Carol van Voorst said Iceland's support of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was an "impediment" to full cooperation between the US and Iceland at the United Nations.
Van Voorst said Iceland is the only country in the Nordic that does not have Indigenous Peoples. Iceland officials, however, said they would join other Nordic countries in support of the Declaration, Van Voorst wrote to the US State Dept.

"The Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples presents the main impediment to full Icelandic cooperation with the U.S. in Geneva," Van Voorst said. Van Voorst found support in Iceland to bolster the US position that the the text of the Declaration "was seriously flawed," in 2006.
Van Voorst, who served as US Ambassador to Iceland from 2006--2009, describes meetings with Iceland Embassy officials in 2006, stating that Icelandic officials indicated agreement on most key issues for the June 19-30, 2006, first session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).
"The Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples may prove to be a sticking point, as Nordic solidarity dictates that Iceland should not openly oppose what has been a Norwegian priority," Van Voorst said in the cable on June 16, 2006.
Although Icelandic officials "expressed sympathy with US views," they also "outlined the potential problems," with the Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The meeting included Iceland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Political Department Human Rights Officer Ingibjorg Davidsdottir and Permanent Secretary Gunnar Snorri Gunnarsson.
Gunnarsson "emphasized establishing effective HRC processes and maintaining a lean agenda, and outlined the potential problems with the Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples."
Iceland, according to the Van Voorst, wanted to avoid country-specific trouble at the UN Human Rights Council, like that of Arab countries and Israel. "Iceland MFA officials agree that the first session of the HRC must avoid the rancor of the organization's predecessor body by eschewing country-specific resolutions such as those that the Organization of the Islamic Conference may intend to raise against Israel."

Van Voorst called Iceland's support of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples an "impediment."
"The Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples presents the main impediment to full Icelandic cooperation with the U.S. in Geneva. While Davidsdottir personally shares our concern that the Declaration's text is seriously flawed, she and Gunnarsson asserted that Iceland's equities lie with following the Scandinavian lead in supporting the document. Iceland is the only Nordic country without an indigenous population," Van Voorst wrote.
Van Voorst also said new Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdottir is a "neophyte," and will follow others lead. "As Sverrisdottir, who comes from six years at Iceland's Ministry of Industry and Commerce, is a foreign affairs neophyte, we expect her to accept the MFA career officials' advice on what positions Iceland should take at the HRC.
"Unfortunately, that is likely to include going along with the other Nordics in their outreach to indigenous peoples."
In a second cable four months later, the US points out the "US-Australian-New Zealand position" in regards to the Declaration.
Ultimately, these three countries, and Canada, were the only countries in the world who voting against the UN General Assembly's adoption of the Declaration. The UN adopted the Declaration on Sept. 13, 2007. Since then, all four countries have issued statements of support, with the US and Canada issuing limitations on their support.
Before the UN vote, in a second cable from Iceland dated October 31, 2006, US Ambassador Van Voorst, again expressed concern over Iceland's support. This time, the concern was over procedural irregularities of the draft Declaration.
"Allowing that Iceland's lack of indigenous people left the GOI with few equities on the matter, Davidsdottir (protect) said that as a matter of human rights law she personally shared many of the USG's concerns regarding the draft declaration. She added that the procedural irregularities in the draft's progress through the UN system left her uneasy. However, the GOI was firm in its desire to stand with the other Nordic states, and would vote for the declaration's adoption when the matter came to the floor," Van Voorst said in the Oct. 31, 2006 cable.
Cable 6/16/2006
Cable 10/31/2006

Letters give voice to Dakota prisoners

150 Year Old Letters Give Voice to Dakota Prisoners
Listen and read article at Minnesota Public Radio: