… the ACLU has long warned that the real purpose of the NCTC (National Counterterrorism Center) – despite its nominal focus on terrorism – is the “massive, secretive data collection and mining of trillions of points of data about most people in the United States”.In particular, the NCTC operates a gigantic data-mining operation, in which all sorts of information about innocent Americans is systematically monitored, stored, and analyzed. This includes “records from law enforcement investigations, health information, employment history, travel and student records” – “literally anything the government collects would be fair game”. In other words, the NCTC – now vested with the power to determine the proper “disposition” of terrorist suspects – is the same agency that is at the center of the ubiquitous, unaccountable surveillance state aimed at American citizens.Worse still, as the ACLU’s legislative counsel Chris Calabrese documented back in July in a must-read analysis, Obama officials very recently abolished safeguards on how this information can be used. Whereas the agency, during the Bush years, was barred from storing non-terrorist-related information about innocent Americans for more than 180 days – a limit which “meant that NCTC was dissuaded from collecting large databases filled with information on innocent Americans” – it is now free to do so. Obama officials eliminated this constraint by authorizing the NCTC “to collect and ‘continually assess’ information on innocent Americans for up to five years”.
Archive for October, 2012
By Robert D. McFadden
Russell C. Means, the charismatic Oglala Sioux who helped revive the warrior image of the American Indian in the 1970s with guerrilla-tactic protests that called attention to the nation’s history of injustices against its indigenous peoples, died on Monday at his ranch in Porcupine, S.D., on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was 72.
The cause was esophageal cancer, which had spread recently to his tongue, lymph nodes and lungs, said Glenn Morris, Mr. Means’s legal representative. Told in the summer of 2011 that the cancer was inoperable, Mr. Means had already resolved to shun mainstream medical treatments in favor of herbal and other native remedies.
Strapping, and ruggedly handsome in buckskins, with a scarred face, piercing dark eyes and raven braids that dangled to the waist, Mr. Means was, by his own account, a magnet for trouble — addicted to drugs and alcohol in his early years and later arrested repeatedly in violent clashes with rivals and the law. He was tried for abetting a murder, shot several times, stabbed once and imprisoned for a year for rioting.
He styled himself a throwback to ancestors who resisted the westward expansion of the American frontier. With theatrical protests that brought national attention to poverty and discrimination suffered by his people, he became arguably the nation’s best-known Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.
But critics, including many Indians, called him a tireless self-promoter who capitalized on his angry-rebel notoriety by running quixotic races for the presidency and the governorship of New Mexico, by acting in dozens of movies — notably in a principal role in “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992) — and by writing and recording music commercially with Indian warrior and heritage themes.
He rose to national attention as a leader of the American Indian Movement in 1970 by directing a band of Indian protesters who seized the Mayflower II ship replica at Plymouth, Mass., on Thanksgiving Day. The boisterous confrontation between Indians and costumed “Pilgrims” attracted network television coverage and made Mr. Means an overnight hero to dissident Indians and sympathetic whites.
Later, he orchestrated an Indian prayer vigil atop the federal monument of sculptured presidential heads at Mount Rushmore, S.D., to dramatize Lakota claims to Black Hills land. In 1972, he organized cross-country caravans converging on Washington to protest a century of broken treaties, and led an occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He also attacked the “Chief Wahoo” mascot of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, a toothy Indian caricature that he called racist and demeaning. It is still used.
And in a 1973 protest covered by the national news media for months, he led hundreds of Indians and white sympathizers in an occupation of Wounded Knee, S.D., site of the 1890 massacre of some 350 Lakota men, women and children in the last major conflict of the American Indian wars. The protesters demanded strict federal adherence to old Indian treaties, and an end to what they called corrupt tribal governments.
In the ensuing 71-day standoff with federal agents, thousands of shots were fired, two Indians were killed and an agent was paralyzed. Mr. Means and his fellow protest leader Dennis Banks were charged with assault, larceny and conspiracy. But after a long federal trial in Minnesota in 1974, with the defense raising current and historic Indian grievances, the case was dismissed by a judge for prosecutorial misconduct.
Mr. Means later faced other legal battles. In 1976, he was acquitted in a jury trial in Rapid City, S.D., of abetting a murder in a barroom brawl. Wanted on six warrants in two states, he was convicted of involvement in a 1974 riot during a clash between the police and Indian activists outside a Sioux Falls, S.D., courthouse. He served a year in a state prison, where he was stabbed by another inmate.
Mr. Means also survived several gunshots — one in the abdomen fired during a scuffle with an Indian Affairs police officer in North Dakota in 1975, one that grazed his forehead in what he called a drive-by assassination attempt on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1975, and one in the chest fired by another would-be assassin on another South Dakota reservation in 1976.
Undeterred, he led a caravan of Sioux and Cheyenne into a gathering of 500 people commemorating the centennial of Gen. George Armstrong Custer’s last stand at Little Big Horn in Montana in 1876, the nation’s most famous defeat of the Indian wars. To pounding drums, Mr. Means and his followers mounted a speaker’s platform, joined hands and did a victory dance, sung in Sioux Lakota, titled “Custer Died for Your Sins.”
Russell Charles Means was born on the Pine Ridge reservation on Nov. 10, 1939, the oldest of four sons of Harold and Theodora Feather Means. The Anglo-Saxon surname was that of a great-grandfather. When he was 3, the family moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where his father, a welder and auto mechanic, worked in wartime shipyards.
Russell attended public schools in Vallejo and San Leandro High School, where he faced racial taunts, had poor grades and barely graduated in 1958. He drifted into delinquency, drugs, alcoholism and street fights. He also attended four colleges, including Arizona State at Tempe, but did not earn a degree. For much of the 1960s he rambled about the West, working as a janitor, printer, cowboy and dance instructor.
In 1969, he took a job with the Rosebud Sioux tribal council in South Dakota. Within months he moved to Cleveland and became founding director of a government-financed center helping Indians adapt to urban life. He also met Mr. Banks, who had recently co-founded the American Indian Movement. In 1970, Mr. Means became the movement’s national director, and over the next decade his actions made him a household name.
In 1985 and 1986, he went to Nicaragua to support indigenous Miskito Indians whose autonomy was threatened by the leftist Sandinista government. He reported Sandinista atrocities against the Indians and urged the Reagan administration to aid the victims. Millions in aid went to some anti-Sandinista groups, but a leader of the Miskito Indian rebels, Brooklyn Rivera, said his followers had not received any of that aid.
In 1987, Mr. Means ran for president. He sought the Libertarian Party nomination but lost to Ron Paul, a former and future congressman from Texas. In 2002, Mr. Means campaigned independently for the New Mexico governorship but was barred procedurally from the ballot.
Mr. Means retired from the American Indian Movement in 1988, but its leaders, with whom he had feuded for years, scoffed, saying he had “retired” six times previously. They generally disowned him and his work, calling him an opportunist out for political and financial gain. In 1989, he told Congress that there was “rampant graft and corruption” in tribal governments and federal programs assisting American Indians.
Mr. Means began his acting career in 1992 with “The Last of the Mohicans,” Michael Mann’s adaptation of the James Fenimore Cooper novel, in which he played Chingachgook opposite Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe. Over two decades he appeared in more than 30 films and television productions, including “Natural Born Killers” (1994) and “Pathfinder” (2007). He also recorded CDs, including “Electric Warrior: The Sound of Indian America” (1993), and wrote a memoir, “Where White Men Fear to Tread” (1995, with Marvin J. Wolf).
He was married and divorced four times and had nine children. He also adopted many others following Lakota tradition. His fifth marriage, to Pearl Daniels, was in 1999, and she survives him.
Mr. Means cut off his braids a few months before receiving his cancer diagnosis. It was, he said in an interview last October, a gesture of mourning for his people. In Lakota lore, he explained, the hair holds memories, and mourners often cut it to release those memories, and the people in them, to the spirit world.
Open Letter to the President of the Republic and Ecuadorian Citizens On Capitalistic Oil Extraction, Sumak Kawsay, and the State of the Sapara NationMonday, October 22nd, 2012
from GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE SAPARA NATION OF ECUADOR
The Ministry of Hydrocarbons has disrespected the internationally recognized rights of indigenous peoples in its actions towards the Sapara Nation of Ecuador.
On August 30, 73 delegates representing Sapara communities held an assembly and democratically voted to reject all oil activities in Sapara territories. Next month, the Ministry of Hydrocarbons will carry out oil exploration in Sapara territory, directly violating the Sapara’s rights to self-determination.
The Sapara Nation of Ecuador was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2001. The new oil boom will have a direct impact on Sapara territory, threatening the Sapara’s integrity, life, and culture. The Ministry of Hydrocarbon’s presence in Sapara territory is already causing social divisions.
Furthermore, oil exploration violates the Rights of Nature as enshrined in the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution.
We demand respect for our rights as enshrined in our constitution and international treaties. Furthermore, we warn the Secretary of Hydrocarbons that Executive Order 1247, which issues the implementation of free, prior, and informed “consultation” in areas that the government has already decided to convert into oil blocks, is illegal and unconstitutional. Furthermore, the Secretary of Hydrocarbons has not held consultations with the democratically elected Governing Council of the Sapara Nation of Ecuador, therefore disrespecting our nation’s traditional government structures.
We state that the Sapara will not be held liable for any damages in our territory as a result of oil exploration. We are obligated to carry out our own ancestral forms of justice and state that the ordinary court systems cannot become involved in our decision making processes, considering that the state has not taken any actions to help resolve the social conflicts in our territories.
The announcements for the exploration of block 86 in Sapara territory, as reported by the national government spokesmen, will lead to serious abuses and offenses, and lead to conflicts with amongst Sapara families. Therefore, we are under maximum alert: Sapara territory must not be recognized as individual blocks, we are a single Sapara Nation and single territory.
Oil only represents death, social conflicts, and poverty. Development via the extractive industries is a myth. We affirm that oil development in the central south of the Ecuadorian Amazon will not lead to sustainable economic investment in the country. Some studies and indicators even show that the oil reserves in the central south of the Ecuadorian Amazon are low grade and will likely yield low profits. We cannot “bet” on potentially low grade oil reserves and create an environmental travesty of our Naku IKICHAKA—living forest.
We would like to tell the national government and the citizens of our country that Ecuador has the greatest biodiversity in the world, in addition to cultural diversity and oral history. The future of humanity is in biodiversity; 80% of medicines come from plants, animals and organisms of tropical forests. By not deforesting the vasts acres of land in the central south of the Ecuadorian Amazon, we can avoid emitting 212 million tons of C02.
We declare ourselves in permanent alert. We are children of Aritiawkus, and we have the knowledge of Naku—the forest—which is the abode of the spirits and grandparents who taught us to live in harmony and with respect to nature. Here, we have developed another way of life, one without oil.
SAPARA AN INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE SAPARA NATION OF ECUADOR
Rapport préparé pour le GITPA par Artionka Capiberibe et Oiara Bonilla
Le Brésil est un grand pays dont la superficie est de 8.511.965 km2. Aujourd’hui, 13,2% de cet espace ont été, par la Constitution, transformés en Territoires indigènes, c’est-à-dire en terres où devraient être garanties aux peuples indigènes des conditions appropriées à leur survie et au maintien de leurs formes sociales et culturelles traditionnelles. Cependant, les entraves à la pleine jouissance des terres déjà délimitées et homologuées sont nombreuses et, pire encore, des terres qu’ils revendiquent ne leur sont pas reconnues. Le dossier que nous présentons ici n’est certes pas complet.
Il a pour objet de fournir des informations actuelles sur la situation des Territoires indigènes au Brésil.
Il traitera de thèmes centraux et brûlants comme …..
Accès au GITPA
By Rainforest Rescue
Every year, tropical forests equivalent to the size of the Netherlands are cleared in South America to make room for the cultivation of soy, even though the monocultures have already assumed unimaginable proportions: In Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, the genetically modified soy bean and corn variants of a single producer – the US corporation Monsanto – grow on 45 million hectares.
Monsanto’s chemists have made the plants’ genetic make-up immune to Roundup, Monsanto’s proprietary, non-selective herbicide. The active ingredient is glyphosate, a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide. While Monsanto’s patented beans survive the sprayings, all other vegetation dies.
Since the plantations are edging ever closer to human settlements, people living there become ill and even die from the sprayed poisons. Animals, the soil, rivers and the drinking water are being contaminated with Monsanto’s toxic cocktail as well. Scientists draw a connection between the use of Roundup and the worldwide decline in amphibians.
But nature is fighting back: On GMO plantations, wild herbs and insects that have evolved a resistance against the toxins are making inroads. Experts are not surprised, for this is the inevitable consequence of a perverse system that works against the principles of nature. In response, increasing quantities of ever more poisonous chemicals are being sprayed.
A great majority of people in the European Union opposes the genetic modification of our food – and yet for most of us, it is an invisible guest at our dinner tables. European chickens, pigs and cows are fed with 35 million tons of imported GMO soy made by Monsanto.
TO SIGN ON to the EU petition petition to demand an import ban on genetically modified animal feed into the European Union:CLICK HERE
In Hyderabad, the question of financing the protection of biodiversity, it was agreed that “a substantial increase” is back on the table. But neither the amount nor the origin or how to recueilir these funds to protect biodiversity in the poorest countries – which are often among the richest in that area have been fixed. As for the climate, donor countries reduce their financing. Debt strengthens the refusal to take the ecological debt owed by the richest countries, and austerity policies not only cause social dramas and undermine democracy, but a barrier to ecological transition.
Attac France, le 16 octobre 2012
Mercredi 17 octobre les chefs d’Etats, de gouvernement et ministres concernés rejoindront la 11ème Conférence des Parties de la convention de l’ONU sur la biodiversité à Hyderabad (Inde) et Delphine Batho, ministre de l’Ecologie, présidera la délégation française. Deux ans après l’adoption du Protocole de Nagoya, l’érosion de la biodiversité n’est pas prête d’être stoppée ni même ralentie, malgré les engagements annoncés lors de cette dernière Conférence, saluée trop vite comme un succès du multilatéralisme onusien. Depuis, seuls six pays ont ratifié le Protocole. Et cette ratification n’est toujours pas à l’agenda de l’Union européenne.
A Hyderabad, la question des financements de la protection de la biodiversité, dont il a été convenu « une augmentation substantielle », est à nouveau sur la table. Mais ni les montants, ni la provenance, ni les modalités pour recueilir ces fonds destinés à protéger la biodiversité dans les pays les plus pauvres – qui sont bien souventparmi les plus riches dans ce domaine– n’ont été fixés. Comme pour le climat, les pays donateurs réduisent leurs financements. La dette publique renforce le refus d’assumer la dette écologique contractée par les pays les plus riches ; et les politiques d’austérité, non seulement provoquent des drames sociaux et minent la démocratie, mais sont un frein à la transition écologique.
Selon les documents préparatoires à la Conférence d’Hyderabad, la protection de la biodiversité nécessiterait des « instruments financiers innovants ». A l’image des marchés carbone pour le climat, qui ont pourtant fait preuve de leur échec, il s’agirait de généraliser les banques et marchés de la compensation et les paiements pour services écosystémiques. La biodiversité est ainsi livrée à la finance privée au mépris de la complexité, de l’unicité et de l’incommensurabilité des écosystèmes, au détriment des droits des populations locales et au au seul profit de quelques entreprises qui pourront continuer à polluer, détruire et spolier la biodiversité.
Lors de la séance d’ouverture l’ouverture de la Conférence, la ministre indienne de l’Environnement, Jayanthi Natarajan, a ainsi encouragé « à investir davantage en vue d’une amélioration du capital naturel ». L’Union européenne est l’un des plus fervents promoteurs de cet agenda. Le commissaire européen en charge de l’environnement a ainsi proposé de généraliser la « comptabilité du capital naturel » et de travailler avec la Banque européenne d’investissement (BEI) pour créer des instruments financiers facilitant l’investissement privé dans la biodiversité. Ainsi réduite à un « capital naturel », la biodiversité serait abandonnée aux décisions des marchés et investisseurs financiers, pour qui la crise de la biodiversité est une opportunité et un nouveau terrain de jeu.
À ces logiques-là dont l’inefficacité écologique et la dangerosité sont déjà attestées, notamment par les dérives de la finance carbone, nous opposons la nécessité d’assurer un financement public mondial, alimenté notamment par des taxes globales. La préservation de la biodiversité ne pourra être effective que par la réduction drastique de l’empreinte écologique des pays et populations les plus riches de la planète, par des mesures réglementaires empêchant la biopiraterie amplifiée par la libéralisation des brevets sur le vivant et la spoliation des savoirs traditionnels. Attac France, en lien avec des réseaux européens, s’oppose aux mécanismes de financiarisation de la nature : les risques de réduction de la biodiversité ne tiennent pas à la gratuité des services écosystémiques, mais au refus d’engager une véritable transition écologique.
Attac France, le 16 octobre 2012
Pour une analyse plus détaillée des logiques concourant à la financiarisation de la nature et l’introduction de la nature dans le cycle du capital, voir Attac France, La nature n’a pas de prix, les méprises de l’économie verte, éd. LLL, 2012.