Archive for September, 2013

Declaration of a GMO- and Pesticide-Free Zone, Diné Nation Territory

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Indigenous Peoples “Corn is Life” Gathering, September 19 – 21, 2013, Diné College, Tsaile, Arizona, hosted and presented by Black Mesa Water Coalition, Diné Policy Institute, Traditional Diné Farmers and the International Indian Treaty Council

Before there were human beings, before there was man and woman, there was the corn.  The spirit of the corn, the corn song, the corn pollen — they were always here.  Take care of your family corn.   It is a sacred being.  It is who we are and how we are made.  Listen to that song.  Learn your language. The corn is praying for you to come home and be healed.” — Dine’ Hataali Avery Denny, opening presentation, “Corn is Life” Gathering,  September 20th, 2013.

Download Declaration: before-there-were-human-beings-resolution

Photos by Berenice Sanchez

Photos by Berenice Sanchez

Because the Land Is Ours – The Rights of Mother Earth v. Carbon Trading

Friday, September 27th, 2013

By Tory Field and Beverly Bell

Part 29 of the Harvesting Justice series

Inatoy Sidsagi and his cousin Esteban Herrera, from the indigenous Kuna Yala (also known as Guna Yala) nation in Panama, make up the indigenous rap group Kunarevolution. They rap about Mother Earth and the Kuna’s inalienable right to protect her lands and waters.

The Kuna Yala people recently prevailed over a threat to their lands, in the form of carbon trading. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a global program promoted by the U.N., industrialized nations, and international financial institutions like the World Bank. REDD allows countries and corporations to buy “clean-air” credits from countries with undeveloped forests. In exchange, governments, indigenous nations, and other groups agree to preserve areas of their forests, with the rationale that the trees’ absorption of carbon, the element that causes global warming, will counteract damage done by industrial polluters.

In October 2011, the US-based Wildlife Works Carbon presented a REDD proposal to the Kuna Yala. The fifty-one communities spent a year and a half in consultation. In June 2013, the Kuna Yala general congress voted to reject the corporate proposal. They declared, further, their complete withdrawal “from all discussions at the national and international level on the REDD issue” and a prohibition on “organizing events, conferences, workshops and other activities on the issue.”

We interviewed the hip-hop artist Inatoy Sidsagi from a liberated territory of the Lenca indigenous people of Honduras, in a building plastered with stickers reading, “REDD: No capitalism in our forests.” Inatoy told us, “The rejection of REDD is for the patrimony. Having accepted it would have complicated life for future generations. Why? Because the land is ours. We are bound and obliged to leave it for perpetual use. REDD would have been a betrayal for the long-term, with many consequences – cultural ones, but even more, our possibility to be a people, to be a nation. It would have been the end of us as a people.”

Because indigenous nations and communities have preserved their forests so well, they are everywhere being targeted by REDD projects. What may sound like dry policy is in fact a contest in who has control over the land, the air, and future: those who have stewarded the earth for millennia, or those who want to buy and sell it as merchandise.

First among the problems of REDD is that it allows industries to pay to continue polluting. When corporations can buy the right to contaminate the air instead of changing their destructive practices, everyone and everything suffers.

Second, REDD’s very premise – attaching a monetary value to the ecological role of forests – commodifies what indigenous peoples say should never be commodified. Gustavo Castro Soto, co-coordinator of Otros Mundos in Chiapas, Mexico, said, “When a natural function like forest respiration becomes a product with a price, it’s easy to see who’s going to end up with control of the forests.”

Third, the market-based approach raises questions about who “owns” the forests in the first place. Agreements made with local or national governments, or with some indigenous “leaders” who may falsely claim to represent their people, cannot be trusted to protect the communities that live in the areas affected, or the earth itself.

The fourth problem concerns the kind of activities REDD allows. Tree plantations, vast fields of a single variety like oil palm or eucalyptus, are planted for quick harvest and large profit. By the U.N.’s definition, these ecologically destructive plantations can be counted as forests. This means that corporations and governments can log biologically diverse jungles and ancient woods, create plantations in their place, and collect REDD payments.

Fifth, REDD regulations can prohibit traditional indigenous agricultural practices and cause indigenous communities to be evicted.
For an excellent analysis of even more dangers of REDD, please see
“No Rights of Nature, No Reducing Emissions” by Jeff Conant and Anne Petermann.

Indigenous nations and social movements around the world have been denouncing REDD. To amplify their dissent, they have been forming alliances, gathering at international climate talks, and protesting. They insist on upholding an old concept which has recently been gaining currency as Mother Earth rights. This means that rights of the earth are intrinsic, and cannot be given or taken away by government or international institution. The framework is being used both to spread the worldview that the riches of nature should not be considered commodities to be bought and sold, and to mobilize people to unified action.

Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network and Dr. Daniel Wildcat of Haskell Indian Nation University wrote, “Goldtooth and Wildcat continued, “Our Indigenous lifeways are the original ‘green economies.’ This is more than an abstract philosophy. Our Mother Earth is the source of life. Water is her lifeblood. The well-being of the natural environment predicts the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual longevity of our Peoples. Mother Earth’s health and that of our Indigenous Peoples are intrinsically intertwined. When our homelands are in a state of good health our Peoples are truly healthy. This inseparable relationship must be respected for the sake of our future generations and for the well-being of the Earth herself.”

Goldtooth and Wildcat continued, “As Indigenous Peoples, we are accepting the responsibility designated by our prophecies to tell the world that we must live in peace with each other and the Earth to ensure harmony within Creation.”

At the December 2011 UN Conference in South Africa, a new coalition, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD and for Life, called for a moratorium on REDD. “We are here to express our concern about the false solutions that have made a business out of climate change,” said Marlon Santi, former president of the National Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador.

Cameroon Pastoralists Fight for their Way of Life

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Earth Peoples partner Musa Usman Ndamba (Photo © www.mboscuda.org)

Earth Peoples partner Musa Usman Ndamba (Photo © www.mboscuda.org)

Earth Peoples partner Musa Usman Ndamba is the Vice-President of the Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA), Ndamba advocates for the rights of Mbororo pastoralists in Cameroon. For decades, this has placed him in opposition to one of Cameroon’s wealthiest men, Baba Ahmadou Danpullo.

After years of struggles against governments and private parties, the Mbororo-Fulani are gaining international attention. But is this too little too late?

Think Africa Press article by KAITLIN CORDES

Pulaaku, the code of behaviour governing Mbororo-Fulani pastoralists, may be proving useful for Musa Usman Ndamba: one of its core tenants, munyal, stresses fortitude in adversity. As the Vice-President of the Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA), Ndamba advocates for the rights of Mbororo pastoralists in Cameroon. For decades, this has placed him in opposition to one of Cameroon’s wealthiest men, Baba Ahmadou Danpullo.

A businessman with political connections, Danpullo has been at odds with the Mbororo pastoralist community since the mid-1980s, when he established a ranch in northwest Cameroon. The massive farm, which journalist Guibaï Gatama described to Jeune Afrique as a city where a thousand cattle graze and Danpullo reigns supreme, is allegedly encroaching on communal grazing land relied on by Mbororo pastoralists. Mbororo activists have alleged a litany of other complaints as well.

The allegations against Danpullo have been noted at home and abroad. In 2003, the government created a special inter-ministerial commission to investigate the conflicts between the landholder and the Mbororo of the Northwest Province, now a region. After months of work, the commissioners, who could not agree on the scope of their mandate, released two reports.

Although, as one report explained, not all Mbororo seemed in conflict with Danpullo – some have chosen to live on his ranch – many remain angry. Both reports identified land disputes as the main cause of conflict between the Mbororo community and Danpullo, including the encroachment of Danpullo’s ranch onto adjacent grazing land.

The Commission recommended the restoration of the original ranch boundaries and compensation for displaced victims. Although these findings and recommendations have been flagged in letters to the government by a range of actors, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mbororo activists state that the recommendations have not been implemented, nor their situation improved. Rita Izsák, United Nations Independent Expert on minority issues, visited Cameroon between September 2 and 11 to examine the human rights situation of minority communities.

A trialling experience
Danpullo has filed legal complaints against Ndamba and MBOSCUDA, alleging defamation. Ndamba is currently facing his third legal proceeding in seventeen years. The first, in 1996, was thrown out for “lack of diligent prosecution” after hearings were adjourned seven times. The second, in 2003, was similarly dismissed after five adjournments; neither Danpullo nor his witnesses had appeared. As Ndamba’s lawyer wrote at the time, “Musa therefore went through all of these torments, arrest, detention and eventual charge before the court for nothing, as he finally never went through any trial as such.”

Thus far, in this third procedure, the same pattern has held. Ndamba has appeared at the Court of First Instance in Bamenda three times since May, facing four separate charges related to defamation. He has pleaded not guilty. At the most recent hearing, on Monday, August 19, Danpullo failed to appear once more and Judge Achu Francis of the Bamenda Court of First Instance delivered a ruling of a Bench Warrant for Baba Ahmadou Danpullo and his two witnesses to appear in the next hearing of the case, adjourned, yet again, until October 4. Just one week later, the judge changed his mind and the warrant was retracted.

Third time around, Ndamba’s case has attracted support from the international community [1]. Most recently, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales has sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Cameroon, noting among other things that criminal liability for defamation, such as Ndamba is facing, is contrary to international legal standards.

The letter also raised concerns about a separate pending trial by military tribunal against five members of MBOSCUDA for possession of firearms; military jurisdiction over civilians is condemned under international human rights law. What impact this international attention will have over the trial procedures is unclear.

The ruling on the case against the MBOSCUDA members was once again adjourned on September 16. Nov, a new date has been set.

A cause for complaint
On September 13, the Attorney General of the North-West Region, Bechem Eyong Eneke issued a summons to human rights defenders and MBOSCUDA leaders, including Ndamba, to appear before him on September 19, 2013, to testify on a complaint they submitted to the Minister of Justice in May this year on judicial harassment by Danpullo. The complaint had been referred to the Attorney General for investigation.

This summons may suggest that the Cameroonian judiciary is finally taking notice of Ndamba and the MBOSCUDA leaders’ case. However, lawyers for the human rights defenders are concerned because the Attorney General is thought to be a friend of Danpullo, having reportedly been seen visiting his ranch.

Human rights and international spotlight
International attention has not yet led to any improvement in conditions. According to Sarli Sardou Nana, a human rights defender now based in the UK, the Mbororo of Cameroon face constant conflicts with crop farmers, and also worry about land grabs by political elites and agribusiness. MBOSCUDA asserts on its website that land tenure insecurity dissuades the Mbororo from investing in their environment.

In a joint report submitted earlier this year to the UN Human Rights Council during its Universal Periodic Review of Cameroon, MBOSCUDA and other organisations were more dismal, noting that the Mbororo of Cameroon are marginalised and “face serious threats to their existence as a people”. Nana argues that the Mbororo confront continuing violations of their constitutional and international human rights, and laments the government’s failure to implement useful judicial and administrative decisions.

International human rights experts share these concerns about ongoing violations of Mbororo rights in Cameroon. The current UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, wrote a letter last year to the government of Cameroon, listing a range of alleged violations that had been brought to his attention.

Anaya noted that the government had not done enough to prevent these violations, and explained that another UN expert had written a letter five years earlier on the same subject. Anaya reminded the government that it had voted in favour of the United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in 2007, a non-binding but ground-breaking acknowledgement of both the special rights of indigenous peoples and the distinct corresponding duties of governments.

Last year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, visited Cameroon, where he concluded in his preliminary mission report that the Mbororo are regularly victims of the narrowing of spaces on which they depend for their livelihood. De Schutter said that this was a violation of their rights as indigenous people as well as their right to food, an internationally-recognised human right.

Whilst at least some international attention has been focused on the Mbororo, even less has been directed at other groups in Cameroon, like the isolated mountain-dwelling Kirdi. As the US State Department wrote in its most recent annual human rights report, traditional Fulani rulers in some regions have great power over their “subjects”, including Kirdi. Allegations have even been made of “isolated cases of hereditary servitude [and] largely Fulani enslavement of Kirdi.”

Pressures on land and the ensuing conflicts between semi-nomadic or nomadic herders and farmers are not unique to the Mbororo of Cameroon. In nearby countries, the Mbororo and other pastoralists [2] find themselves in similarly tense situations, or worse. In the Central African Republic, along the Cameroon border, Mbororo-Fulani children have been prime targets for abduction, taken when isolated while tending cattle, often from families with valuable assets that could be sold to pay ransoms. Fortunately, this practice, which continued into 2011, seems to have stopped– or at least paused – by 2012.

Of course conflicts are rarely straightforward and, in land disputes, pastoralists are not always blameless. In Nigeria, conflicts between farmers and Fulani herders often turn deadly, fed by and fuelling ethnic and religious violence. Near the city of Jos, hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced by conflicts arising from a tangled web of factors: land, religion, access to the state, and ethnic differences. Farmer-pastoralist conflict and land disputes have also been pinpointed as factors behind the 2010 Jos ‘riots’, in which “attacks by Muslim Fulani herders … left an estimated 700 persons dead”.

Threatened land, threatened livelihoods
Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, pastoralists struggle to maintain their traditional livelihoods in the face of growing pressures on land. A report last year by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) asserted that, in Kenya, land disputes cause most of the conflicts leading to internal displacement of pastoralist communities. Although the impact of climate change on pastoralists’ displacement has not been fully studied, ISS notes that, “For pastoralists today, recurrent droughts exacerbated by the recent climate variability have forced communities to move away from traditional grazing lands in search of ever-shrinking grazing and water resources.” Even worse, displaced pastoralists are often neglected by wider efforts to address displacement; it is easier to ignore the displacement of traditionally itinerant groups.

Intensifying interest in African land may exacerbate pastoralists’ problems. Governments often view uncultivated common land as unused or underutilised and thus ripe for large-scale commercial farming projects. Yet according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, little extensive grassland exists in African regions with enough rainfall for subsistence farming.

Nevertheless, many large-scale land acquisitions are likely to occur on Africa’s remaining common lands, including rangelands relied on by pastoralists. As research from the International Land Coalition has pointed out, while morally problematic and contrary to international human rights frameworks, “the lease of large areas of community lands to foreign and local investors without the consent of the customary owners is perfectly legal under many national land laws”.

Increased farming and the subsequent narrowing of uncultivated lands means that pastoralists lose access to their traditional routes and necessary water supplies. If the trend of establishing expansive plantations continues, nomadic pastoralism will find it more and more difficult to survive the coming decades.

 Mbororo-Fulani pastoralists (Photo © www.mboscuda.org)

Mbororo-Fulani pastoralists (Photo © www.mboscuda.org)

Land pressures on pastoralists are not a new phenomenon. In the 1970s, the Kenyan government evicted the nomadic Endorois people from land that they had traditionally used near Lake Bogoria. The government believed that the lake, surrounded by wildlife, would be more valuable as a national wildlife reserve and tourist attraction. Banished from their ancestral territory and confined to unsuitable land, the Endorois struggled to maintain their livelihoods as pastoralists.

After unsuccessful attempts to petition the government and bring their claims in domestic courts, the Endorois turned to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which monitors implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Kenya had ratified the Charter in 1992. In 2010, nearly 40 years after they were forced from their traditional lands, the Commission issued a ruling finding that, under the Charter, the Kenyan government had violated multiple rights of the Endorois by evicting them – even though the Endorois had no formal title to the land. The decision was groundbreaking. Undoubtedly, it will pave the way for interesting legal fights in the future.

The ruling has also provided a glimmer of hope for African pastoralists confronting increased pressures on their traditional way of life. Though the Commission is limited in its ability to enforce remedies, it has clearly signalled the importance of indigenous peoples’ rights, including indigenous pastoralists. Whether this message will survive in the context of rising commercial interest in land is yet to be seen. For Musa Usman Ndamba and his fellow Mbororo, the answer is critical.

[1] Full disclosure: The author introduced Ndamba to two organisations that have supported him through, respectively, an urgent appeal and a letter to the Court.

[2] Mbororo and Mbororo’en are used in Cameroon to signify “cattle Fulbe” or “cattle Fulani,” and are comprised of three migratory groups: Jafun’en, Aku’en, and Wodaabe. Though Mbororo arose as a derogatory term, it has been re-appropriated; as human rights advocate Nana explained to Think Africa Press, “we reclaimed it and made it positive.” In describing pastoralist groups in Niger, however, some academics have used Mbororo and Wodaabe interchangeably. Kristín Loftsdóttir’s “Bounded and Multiple Identities: Ethnic Identifications of WoDaaBe and FulBe” provides both an epic illustration of shifting ethnic identifications and classifications, as well as a long list of the various terms used in reference to Wodaabe and Fulbe.

APIB CONVOCA MOBILIZAÇÃO NACIONAL EM DEFESA DA CONSTITUIÇÃO FEDERAL DOS DIREITOS INDÍGENAS E DA MÃE NATUREZA

Friday, September 20th, 2013

A Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB), composta pela Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira (COIAB), Articulação dos Povos e Organizações Indígenas do Nordeste, Minas Gerais e Espírito Santo (APOINME), Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Sul (Arpinsul), Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Sudeste (ARPINSUDESTE), Conselho dos Povos Indígenas de Mato Grosso do Sul e pela Grande Assembleia do Povo Guarani (ATY GUASU), que, por sua vez, reúnem na sua base centenas de associações e comunidades indígenas, considerando:

Que os direitos constitucionais dos povos indígenas, dos quilombolas e de outras populações tradicionais, assim como os seus territórios, encontram-se sob forte ataque por parte de interesses econômicos poderosos, que defendem o seu direito à propriedade mas não respeitam os nossos direitos coletivos à nossa terra sagrada, e ainda querem tomar para si as terras públicas e os seus recursos naturais;

Que há uma ofensiva legislativa sendo promovida pela bancada ruralista contra os direitos originários dos nossos povos, os direitos de outras populações tradicionais e os direitos de todos os brasileiros ao meio ambiente saudável, por meio de dezenas de projetos de lei e emendas à Constituição – em especial a PEC 215/00, PEC 237/13, PEC 038/99, PL 1610/96 e PLP 227/12 – que afrontam, inclusive, acordos internacionais assinados pelo Brasil, como a Convenção 169 da Organização Internacional do Trabalho (OIT), e a Declaração da Organização das Nações Unidas sobre os Direitos dos Povos Indígenas;

Que o próprio governo federal tem mantido uma conduta omissa, em relação aos direitos dos povos, e conivente com os interesses dos ruralistas e do latifúndio, nossos inimigos históricos, que durante o ano passado aprovaram um novo Código Florestal adequado aos próprios interesses e este ano pretendem aniquilar direitos indígenas ao território. Uma conduta que se materializa em medidas como a Portaria Interministerial 419/2011, a Portaria 303/2012 da Advocacia-Geral da União, e o Decreto 7957/2013, e que se traduz, dentre outras, nas paralisações: da demarcação das terras indígenas, da criação de unidades de conservação, da titulação de quilombos e da implementação da reforma agrária.

A APIB convoca todos os povos e organizações indígenas do país assim como os demais movimentos sociais do campo e da cidade, para uma Mobilização Nacional em Defesa da Constituição Federal, nos seus 25 anos de existência, e pela Implementação dos Direitos Territoriais dos Povos Indígenas, dos Quilombolas, de outras comunidades tradicionais, dos camponeses e da Mãe Natureza, entre os dias 30 de setembro e 05 de outubro de 2013.

OBJETIVO:

Fortalecer a articulação e mobilização dos povos indígenas do Brasil, com o apoio e adesão de outros movimentos e organizações sociais, visando a defesa dos direitos indígenas assegurados pela Constituição Federal, principalmente os direitos sagrados à terra, territórios e bens naturais, por um país realmente justo e democrático.

PROGRAMAÇÃO E DIRECIONAMENTO DA MOBILIZAÇÃO:

Domingo, 29 de setembro:
• Chegada das delegações das regiões e realização de atividades culturais.

Segunda-feira, 30 de outubro:
• Reunião da Coordenação da Mobilização Nacional, dos Dirigentes da APIB e dos Representantes das entidades de apoio.
• Plenária de preparação da Mobilização Nacional, com apresentação dos delegados e da Programação da Semana (Objetivos, Temas e Atividades)
• Análise e debate sobre a situação dos direitos indígenas nos distintos poderes do Estado Brasileiro: a supressão dos direitos constitucionais, principalmente o direito territorial. Contexto político nacional: modelo desenvolvimento em curso, reprimarização da economia, agronegócio, extrativismo industrial, grandes empreendimentos, flexibilização da legislação ambiental e indigenista, artimanhas jurídicas, administrativas, políticas e legislativas protagonizadas pelo Executivo e o Legislativo contra os direitos indígenas, entraves judiciais à efetivação desses direitos e atropelamento da legislação nacional e internacional (Convenção 169/OIT, Declaração da ONU sobre os Direitos dos Povos Indígenas, Outros) pelo Estado Brasileiro.

• Regimento Interno do Acampamento, Comissões: Infraestrutura, Logística e Outras Informações.

Terça-feira, 01 de outubro:
• Ato sobre os Direitos Indígenas e articulações no Congresso Nacional.
• Reunião com a Frente Parlamentar de Apoio aos povos indígenas e Frente Parlamentar de Direitos Humanos.
• Reunião com representantes da Bancada Ruralista.
• Audiência com presidentes do Senado Federal e da Câmara dos Deputados.

Quarta-feira, 02 de outubro:
• Continuação das Atividades no Congresso Nacional:
– Audiência Pública sobre os 25 anos da Constituição Federal e os direitos indígenas.
– Instalação da subcomissão de assuntos indígenas da Comissão de Legislação Participativa (CLP).

Quinta-feira, 03 de outubro:
• Articulações, Audiências e Reuniões em distintas instâncias do Poder Executivo (Presidência da República, Ministérios, Autarquias e Outras).

Sexta-feira, 04 de outubro:
• Visitas e audiências no Supremo Tribunal Federal e Conselho Nacional de Justiça.

Sábado, 05 de outubro
• Encerramento das atividades e retorno das delegações para as suas regiões.

ORIENTAÇOES GERAIS:

Considerando que é de responsabilidade de todos os povos, comunidades, organizações e lideranças indígenas se mobilizarem em defesa de seus direitos, a APIB recomenda que as distintas delegações articulem apoio junto a seus parceiros e aliados para se deslocarem até Brasília. A APIB disponibilizará durante os dias da mobilização as condições de infraestrutura e alimentação.

Ao chegar à capital federal, no dia 29 ou 30 de setembro de manhã, todos deverão dirigir-se ao seguinte endereço:

Centro de Formação Vicente Cañas
Rua São Bernardo s/n
Chácara Marajoara A
Jardim Ingá – Luziana
Na altura do Posto BR Ipê
Km 9 – BR 04
Telefone: (61) 36151427

Orientamos ainda para que as lideranças indígenas e participantes da mobilização nacional que não esqueçam de trazer consigo todos os seus pertences e acessórios pessoais como: escovas de dentes, creme dental, roupas de cama (lençol, cobertor, colcha de cama), toalha, colchonete, rede, barracas, sacos de dormir, sabonete, sandálias e outros pertences que cada um achar necessário trazer.

Brasília – DF, 19 de setembro de 2013.

Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil – APIB

NASA and DHS To Demonstrate heartbeat finding radar tool for disaster rescue

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Comment by Maggie Zhou

With coming climate disasters and associated manmade disasters to be anticipated, it would seem that better disaster rescue tools are great, right?

Well, any invention or discovery, even those with great promise for the betterment of human existence, can also be a deadly tool in the hands of the empire.  Here is another example.  Nominally the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (the same folks that Edward Snowden has been exposing) has now this new radar device that detects heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage.  It can locate individuals buried under as much as 30 feet of crushed materials, hidden behind 20 feet of solid concrete, or from a distance of 100 feet in open spaces.  It can even distinguish the unique signature of a human’s breathing pattern and heartbeat from that of other living creatures, such as rats.

Read more about it here

Contemplate its implications … when it’s used AGAINST the people.

Open Letter from the Parakanã people (Indigenous Peoples protest at Belo Monte dam construction site – Indigenous land invasion, BRAZIL)

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Earth Peoples received the scanned original letter from Brazilian NGO FAOR, which was forwarded to us by German based NGO ASW

(Non-official translation by Earth Peoples)
To read original in Portuguese click here

Since the 12th of September 2013, about 100 indigenous people, from indigenous nations Parakanã and Juruna are occupying the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam at the Pimental site. The occupiers demand implementation of the Norte Energia indigenous peoples provisions, (legal conditions that the dam’s consortium Norte Energia must abide to in regards to Indigenous Peoples and their territories affected by the dam): The removal from the invaders of IT (indigenous territory) Apiterewa and Paquiçamba, and the demarcation of (indigenous territory) Cachoeira Seca. Read the announcement of the occupation:

Open Letter from the Parakanã people

We got tired of waiting. The Parakanã people, from the indigenous territory Apyterewa located in the state of Pará, communicate to the federal government and to Norte Energia that we are tired of waiting that you solve the problem of our land. Since a long time, Apyterewa is being invaded by farmers, squatters, miners, loggers and settlers who are destroying our traditional territory, preventing us from hunting, farming, caring for our children and threatening our people.

For a long time we are told by the government that it would remove the white invaders and return our land to us, so that our people can live in peace. The government wanted to build Belo Monte and said it would solve the problem of our land before the construction of the dam, and (placed that promise as ) a condition of the (Belo Monte dam construction) license. We believed it, but the government lied. The Belo Monte dam is almost finalized, but our traditional territory continues to be invaded by whites (non-indigenous). We no longer believe in the government, because the government does not fulfill its own laws, does not comply with the conditions that it had put in place for Norte Energia to build Belo Monte.

The government is not concerned about our territory, is not concerned with indigenous peoples, is not concerned with our suffering, but is only concerned with Belo Monte. The Juruna of Paquiçamba , the Arara of Volta Grande (the Big Bend) and the Arara of Cachoeira Seca are also hurting without their territory, and we worry for our people/relatives, but the federal government does not care. Our rights are being infringed upon, but no one takes any measures to address them. So we, men, Elders, women and children, are tired of waiting for the good will of the federal government and occupy the construction site of the Belo Monte.

We occupy the site because the dam’s construction should only be happening if our land was already free of invaders and returned to our people, which is one of the conditional legal constraints to begin building Belo Monte. So, as long as our issues and problems regarding our territory have not been solved by the federal government, Belo Monte has to stop. And we’ll stop Belo Monte until the federal government will solve the problem of our land. We’re not here to ask for anything from Norte Energia. The Norte Energia “Belo Monte hydroelectric dam ”consortium also lied a lot, and owes a lot to our people as well, but today we’re not here to talk, nor to negotiate with Norte Energia.

We demand to meet and talk with representatives of the federal government, with the Minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency, the Minister of the Civil office, the minister of justice, the president of Incra, as well as the president of Funai (Buerau of Indian Affairs-Brazil), to demand that you meet your obligations to return our traditional territory free of invaders. We want you to send the federal police to remove the whites’ that are destroying our land. But, if you are instead sending the police to remove us (protesters) from the construction site, we’ll rather die right her at the construction site of Belo Monte.
Because – without our territory, we have no life.

Altamira , September 12, 2013

Belo Monte, invasores: Comunicado do povo Parakanã

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

(Earth Peoples: Recebemos o carta original do FAOR que foi transmitida a nós por ASW)
Para ler em Inglês
Para ler a carta original

Desde ontem (12/09), cerca de 100 indigenas Parakanã e Juruna ocupam o sítio Pimental da Usina Hidrelétrica Belo Monte. A ocupação é para exigir o cumprimento das condicionantes indígenas pela Norte Energia: desintrusão das TIs Apiterewa e Paquiçamba e demarcação da Cachoeira Seca. Leia a primeira carta desta ocupação:

Comunicado do povo Parakanã
13/09/2013

Nós cansamos de esperar. O povo Parakanã, da terra indígena Apyterewa, estado do Pará, comunica o governo federal e a Norte Energia que cansamos de esperar vocês resolverem o problema da nossa terra. Apyterewa está invadida por fazendeiros, grileiros, garimpeiros, madeireiros e colonos que durante muito tempo estão destruindo nosso território tradicional, nos impedindo de caçar, de plantar, de cuidar dos nossos filhos e ameaçando o nosso povo.

Durante muito tempo, o governo disse que ia retirar os brancos invasores e devolver nosso território, para o nosso povo viver em paz. O governo quis construir Belo Monte e disse que ia resolver o problema da nossa terra antes de construir a barragem, e colocou como condicionante de licença. Nós acreditamos, mas o governo mentiu. Belo Monte está quase pronta, mas o nosso território tradicional continua invadido pelos brancos. Nós não acreditamos mais no governo, porque o governo não cumpre as suas próprias leis, não cumpre as condicionantes que ele mesmo colocou para a Norte Energia construir Belo Monte.

O governo não está preocupado com o nosso território, não está preocupado com os povos indígenas, não está preocupado com o nosso sofrimento, só está preocupado com Belo Monte. Os Juruna do Paquiçamba, os Arara da Volta Grande e os Arara da Cachoeira Seca estão também sofrendo sem o seu território, e estamos preocupados com os nosso parentes, mas o governo federal não se importa. Nossos direitos estão sendo desrespeitados, mas ninguém toma nenhuma providencia. Por isso, cansamos de esperar a boa vontade do governo federal e nosso povo, homens, velhos, mulheres e crianças, ocupamos o canteiro de obras de Belo Monte.

Ocupamos o canteiro porque essa obra só deveria estar acontecendo se a nossa terra já estivesse livre dos invasores e devolvida para o nosso povo. Porque essa era uma condicionante para construir Belo Monte. Então, se o nosso território ainda não foi resolvido pelo governo federal, Belo Monte tem que parar. E nós vamos parar Belo Monte até o governo federal resolver o problema da nossa terra. Não estamos aqui para pedir nada para a Norte Energia. A Norte Energia também mentiu muito, também está devendo muita coisa para o nosso povo, mas hoje não estamos aqui para conversar, nem nego ciar com a Norte Energia.

Exigimos conversar com representantes do governo federal, com o ministro da Secretaria Geral da Presidência da República, com a ministra da Casa Civil, com o ministro da justiça, com o presidente do Incra, com a presidente da Funai, e cobrar que vocês cumpram a obrigação de vocês e devolvam nosso território tradicional livre dos invasores. Queremos que vocês mandem a policia federal retirar os brancos que estão destruindo nossa terra. Mas, se em vez disso, vocês mandarem a policia para nos tirar do canteiro, nós vamos morrer aqui no canteiro de Belo Monte. Porque sem o nosso território, nós não temos vida.

Altamira, 12 de setembro de 2013.

NSA: FOR THOSE THAT DOUBT HOW BAD IT REALLY IS: XKeyscore presentation from 2008 – read in full

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

The Guardian published, despite intimidation tactics, America’s NSA 2008 XKeyscore program training materials, that mention at the top of the document the names of three other countries: Canada, New Zealand and Great Britain. The declassified NSA “XKeyscore 2008 training program” details how analysts can use it and other systems, to mine enormous agency databases and develop intelligence from the web. Several pagesd got blacked out, but there is a hell of a lot of information what is done to us, the people of the world.

It is truly alarming, read it in full, share and save it elsewhere, who knows how long it’s allowed to remain on the web, even so it was declassified.

To read the US NSA 2008 XKeyscore program training materials, click here

NSA Keystone 2008 training program page

NSA Keystone 2008 training program page


NSA Keystone 2008 training program page

NSA Keystone 2008 training program page

CONSOLIDATED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ALTERNATIVE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE FOR THEIR REVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

From International Indian Treaty Council

CONSOLIDATED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ALTERNATIVE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE FOR THEIR REVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES

September 13th, 2013: Today the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) submitted a Consolidated Indigenous Peoples Alternative (“Shadow”) Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for their upcoming review of United States (US) compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 28 Indigenous Nations, Tribes, Treaty Councils, organizations, Community groups and Traditional Cultural Societies were co-submitters and/or made contributions to the report. Based on specific questions directed to the US by the Committee, the co-submitters addressed the ongoing lack of protection by the US for Indigenous Peoples’ Sacred Areas, religious and cultural practices, and its failure to implement the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent.

The ICCPR is a multilateral legally binding Human Rights Treaty adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 16, 1966. The US is one of 167 “State parties” which have ratified the Covenant. All State parties are required to undergo periodic reviews by the Human Rights Committee assessing their compliance with the Covenant, usually every 4 – 6 years. The US will be reviewed by the Committee in Geneva on October 17th and 18th, 2013 during its 109th session.

The Indigenous co-submitters are calling on the Committee to hold the US accountable for its ongoing human rights violations including the desecration of Indigenous Peoples’ sacred places. Petuuche Gilbert, representing the Indigenous World Association and Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment, explained that “most Indigenous lands and sacred areas, like Mt. Taylor, have been declared to be ‘public’ land by the United States, so it is up to the federal government to fulfill their human rights commitments and protect these areas held sacred by Indigenous Peoples, including preventing their destruction from activities such as uranium mining.”

Spiritual Leader and IITC Board member Radley Davis, representing Pit River Nation and Advocates for the Protection of Sacred Sites, affirmed the importance of this submission: “The UN world bodies are vital to Pit River Nation and all other Indigenous Peoples regarding the protections of their sacred places because the US, in its short span of life, has allowed activities that desecrate sacred areas like Medicine Lake which are of the greatest spiritual significance for us. We call upon the UN Human Rights Committee to hold the US accountable for the human rights that they have agreed to uphold.”

The Consolidated Indigenous Peoples’ Alternative Report will be posted in its entirety, along with the US country report, other Alternative Reports and Committee’s Concluding Observations regarding the US on the Human Rights Committee web site: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Report is also available on IITC’s web site, www.treatycouncil.org.

Occupied Abenaki Lands Desecrated by 9/11 Memorial – Protesters Intervene to Adress U.S. Imperialism & Genocide

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Middlebury College, VT — At 3:00PM on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, five protesters removed thousands of flags desecrating occupied Abenaki lands. The U.S. flags were part of a 9/11 memorial established by Middlebury College students.

Amanda Lickers, a member of the Onondowa’ga Nation, states, “In the quickest moment of decision making, in my heart, I understood that lands where our dead may lay must not be desecrated. In my community, we do not pierce the earth. It disturbs the spirits there, it is important for me to respect their presence.”

“For over 500 years our people have been under attack. The theft of our territories, the devastation of our waters; the poisoning of our people through the poisoning of our lands; the theft of our people from our families; the rape of our children; the murder of our women; the sterilization of our communities; the abuse of generations; the uprooting of our ancestors and the occupation of our sacred sites; the silencing of our songs; the erasure of our languages and memories of our traditions. I have had enough.” stated Lickers.

Lickers was at the college to facilitate a workshop on Settler Responsibility and Decolonization.

“Today I, along with a group of non-Middlebury students, helped remove around 3,000 American flags from the grass by Mead Chapel.” stated Anna Shireman-Grabowski, a Middlebury College student. “My intention was not to cause pain but to visibilize the necessity of honoring all human life… While the American flags on the Middlebury hillside symbolize to some the loss of innocent lives in New York, to others they represent centuries of bloody conquest and mass murder. As a settler on stolen land, I do not have the luxury of grieving without an eye to power. Three thousand flags is a lot, but the campus is not big enough to hold a marker for every life sacrificed in the history of American conquest and colonialism.” stated Shireman-Grabowski.

This action, as a direct response to a particular experience of the embodied pain of colonialism, was not taken on behalf of, or connection with, local Abenaki tribal citizens or Indigenous inhabitants of the area, but was a spontaneous move of respect by an Indigenous woman from a neighboring nation, appalled by this treatment of Abenaki sites. As Anna Shireman-Grabowski states “I wish to further clarify that members of the local Abenaki community should in no way be implicated in today’s events. Nor can I pretend to speak to their feelings about flags, burial sites, or 9/11.”

College President Ronald D. Liebowitz dismissed the protest stating that he was ”deeply disturbed by the insensitivity” of “this selfish act of protest” and threatened that the College “has begun a disciplinary investigation of this incident.”
“It is the duty of the college of middlebury to consult with abenaki peoples and repatriate their grounds.” stated Lickers. “Yesterday I said no to settler occupation. I took those flags. It is a small reclamation and modest act of resistance.”

Read the full statements by two of the protesters here