Friday, February 11, 2005

 

More Churchill fallout

For more scholarly opinions on the Ward Churchill matter, check out Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide? dated 11-22-04. It'sanother article dealing with Ward Churchill's vast and far-reaching academic fraud. It's a loooong read, but it is worth reading. There have, of course, been far too many instances in American history of crimes perpetrated against the Native Americans, but this article, as well as many by other historians, call into question Churchill's inflamatory and highly inaccurate constant use of the word "genocide." Remember, I am one-eighth Apache--not much, I'll grant you, but enough to place me firmly on the right side in the Battle of Little Bighorn ;)

 

"Miracle" baby isn't

You know, I really wish things like this would somehow get sorted out before they make national news and get added to our prayers...

Woman Makes Up Story About Tossed Baby
By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A woman who claimed to have witnessed a newborn being thrown from a moving car was the baby's mother and concocted the story as a way to abandon the child and conceal her pregnancy from her family, officials said Friday.

"It's not as horrible as we first thought," Sheriff Ken Jenne said. "The baby was never thrown out of a moving car. This is the case of a disturbed woman who gave birth and did not want to keep her child."

No charges were brought against the woman, 38-year-old Patricia Pokriots. She was committed for psychiatric evaluation under a law that allows for people who are a threat to themselves or others to be held for 72 hours.

On Thursday afternoon, Pokriots dropped an hour-old baby off at a sheriff's station, telling authorities that she had scooped the boy up after seeing him tossed out of a car onto the grass, Jenne said. Pokriots told investigators she saw a couple arguing in a car, then witnessed the woman throwing the child from the passenger side.

Eventually, investigators found inconsistencies in Pokriots' story, and on Friday she acknowledged that she had lied, the sheriff said.

"She has indicated that she does not want the child," Jenne said.

The 8-pound, 2-ounce boy, whose umbilical cord was still attached when he was brought in, had no injuries. Nurses at the hospital nicknamed him Johnny.

The sheriff said the woman had kept her pregnancy a secret, and had initially planned to take the baby to authorities. State law allows a mother to abandon a baby at any medical facility or fire station within three days of birth.

But she came up with a cover story after seeing two people argue inside their car, the sheriff said. A boy who was playing nearby did see a couple arguing, but never saw them throw anything out, Jenne said.

Pokriots is a barmaid and has an arrest record including an aggravated battery charge. "She said she may be a threat to herself," Jenne said.


 

Conch Republic

A bit of history most folks don't know--I decided to post it here instead of The Zero Room because it is, after all, political ;)

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CONCH REPUBLIC

The Conch Republic was established by secession of the Florida Keys from the United States of America, on April 23rd, 1982 in response to a United States Border Patrol Blockade setup on highway U.S.1 at Florida City just to the north of the Florida Keys. This heinous act effectively isolated Keys Citizens from the U.S. mainland since the blockade was on our only land artery to and from the mainland. This roadblock portrayed Keys residents as non-U.S. citizens who had to prove their citizenship in order to drive onto the Florida mainland! Hardly an American thing to do!

We protested! A totally American thing to do! Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow along with a few other 'key' Conchs, went to Federal court in Miami to seek an injunction to stop the federal blockade, but to no avail. Upon leaving the Federal Court House , on the court house steps , Mayor Wardlow announced to the world, by way of the assembled TV crews and reporters, that ; "Tomorrow at noon the Florida Keys will secede from the Union!"

At noon, on the day of secession, at Mallory Square in Key West Florida, Mayor Wardlow read the proclamation of secession and proclaimed aloud that the Conch Republic was an independent nation separate from the U.S. and then symbolically began the Conch Republic's Civil Rebellion by breaking a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a man dressed in a U.S. Navy uniform.

After one minute of rebellion, the now, Prime Minister Wardlow turned to the Admiral in charge of the Navy Base at Key West, and surrendered to the Union Forces, and demanded 1 Billion dollars in foreign aid and War Relief to rebuild our nation after the long Federal siege!

Thus began our Conch Republic journey which still continues today! We are both Conchs and we are Americans and we are proud to be both. By act of Congress we hold dual citizenship as Conchs and as Americans and will fight for the right to be both!

Contrary to recent reports, the name "Conch Republic" refers to "all"of the Florida Keys, or, that geographic apportionment of land that falls within the legally defined boundaries of Monroe County Florida, northward to "Skeeter's Last Chance Saloon" in Florida City , Dade County Florida, with Key West as the Nation's Capitol and all territories north of Key West being referred to as "The Northern Territories". Be it known that these boundaries were established by the U.S. Government when they set up "THE" Border Patrol blockade in front of "Skeeter's Last Chance Saloon", in April of 1982, thereby establishing a new United States border!

To enforce the validity of our secession, the Monroe County Commission, in 1994, by unanimous vote, did pass a County Resolution recognizing Mayor Wardlow's actions, on the 23rd of April in 1982, as by, of and for the people of the Florida Keys. Read the full story!

We celebrate our Independence every year with a week long celebration. Click Here for the current schedule of events.

In the quest for recognition, the Honorable Peter Anderson, Secretary General of the Conch Republic has created "Official Conch Republic Passports" . The Secretary General has extensively traveled our surrounding Caribbean Nations with nothing more than his Diplomatic Passport and has been well received by many as a Diplomat and as a Government Official of the Conch Republic and even had his passport endorsed by nearly all! Officially, our passports, Diplomats and Citizens, have been well received by 13 Caribbean Nations as well as Germany, Sweden, Havana, Mexico, France, Spain, Ireland, and Russia.

Read more about Our History in detail!

from: The Conch Republic

 

Update on baby thrown from car

Mother Who Tossed Newborn From Car Traced

NORTH LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Feb. 11) - The mother of a newborn boy who survived being tossed out of a moving car has been identified and interviewed by investigators, authorities said Friday.

The sheriff also said that the interview with the unidentified woman "puts a whole new light on this story" but he gave no specifics. A news conference was planned for later in the day to provide more details.

The baby only received minor injuries.

"We do believe at this point ... that we will soon have an admission to the birth of the child," Jenne said.

The boy, believed to be less than an hour old, was thrown out of a car alongside a busy street Thursday afternoon, police said.

The 8-pound, 2-ounce boy, whose umbilical cord was still attached, survived with minor injuries and was hospitalized in good condition Friday. Nurses at the hospital have nicknamed the child Johnny.

State law lets a mother leave a baby at any medical facility or fire station within three days of birth without any questions asked.

"That provides parents or women with an option. You don't have to just abandon your child in way that would endanger his or her life," said Veda Coleman-Wright, a sheriff's office spokeswoman.

A woman stopped and found the baby inside a small plastic bag. She scooped him up and took him to a nearby sheriff's office, and he was transferred to Broward General Medical Center.

The good Samaritan, who originally thought the couple had thrown a puppy out the window, was "very distraught, very upset," Jenne said. The woman's name was not released.

Investigators had been searching for a white, older-model large sedan that witnesses observed leaving the scene. The baby's rescuer told investigators she observed a man and woman arguing inside the vehicle. But she saw only the back of their heads, Jenne said, and could not provide a good description.

 

Horrifying

I'm just going to let this speak for itself, adding only that the suspect vehicle looks like an old police car, is white, is likely a Crown Victoria or an Impala from the '80s. Any info, call your local police.

Newborn Survives After Being Tossed from Car
Top Stories - Reuters

MIAMI (Reuters) - A baby boy wrapped in a plastic bag was tossed from a car on a street in North Lauderdale, Florida, about an hour after his birth, police said on Friday.

The newborn, with umbilical cord still attached, was rushed to a hospital Thursday, where he remained in serious condition.

Police said witnesses saw a white, older model car slow down on a street in North Lauderdale, just northwest of Fort Lauderdale. The passenger door opened and "what appeared to be a package was tossed out of the car" into a grassy area, a police statement said.

A passerby saw the bundle moving, took the baby out of the plastic bag, wrapped him in a towel and took him to a nearby police station.

Witnesses told investigators they saw a man and woman in the car arguing just before the baby was tossed out.

The man and woman could face charges, police said. Under a Florida statute known as the Safe Haven law, parents can hand over newborns up to three days old to the staff of a hospital, firehouse or ambulance station without being prosecuted.


 

Carol Moore

With permission, I am posting this very interesting view of Ward Churchill (see below). Carol said in her e-mail to me that she does "happen to agree with his narrow point that the World Trade Center attack was a blowback from US policies", and I cannot help but agree with her. His words and his actions have been, however, poorly chosen, as has his determination to exploit the legitimate Native American population of the U.S. There have been others who have said plainly that our foreign policy is breeding hatred of us overseas, and yet they have all managed to do so without calling the innocent victims of 9-11 "little Eichmanns", a phrase that is almost guaranteed to knife to the very nerve of the entire Jewish population of the planet. I'm not trying to deny his right to say these things--but I am also laying claim to my right to be angered by his words, and to speak my own mind ;) Carol's website, linked in my sidebar to the left, has opened a vast new vista of things for me to read and ponder, and I highly recommend that you visit it. She also pointed me to another site with a libertarian view of Ward Churchill, Training for Change, that has some interesting points to make.

WARD CHURCHILL: GURU OF THE NEW PROGRESSIVE VIOLENCE (this is copyrighted by Carol Moore, so do not republish this without seeking her permission first via her contact information at her website, linked in my sidebar at the left)

The arguments supporting the “Tenets” above are drawn from various current progressive apologetics for violence, many influenced by Ward Churchill’s book “Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America” which was re-issued and widely distributed in 1998. The subtitle of “Return of Street Fighting Man”, i.e., “The Pathology of the New Progressive Violence,” is obviously a reply to his book, making the point that violence, not nonviolence, is the true destructive force.

Its publisher describes “Pacifism as Pathology” thusly: “Ward Churchill dares to ask uncomfortable questions, arguing that while pacifism promises that the harsh realities of state power can be transcended through good feelings and purity of purpose, it is in fact a counter-revolutionary movement that defends and reinforces the same status-quo it claims to oppose. Churchill debunks the claims of historical pacifist victories, and proposes ways to diminish much of the delusion, aroma of racism, and sense of privilege which mark the covert self-defeatism of mainstream dissident politics.”1/ This description is written more clearly than much of the book, whose meandering arguments are laden with convoluted sentences, intellectual jargon and erudite references.

Ward Churchill, a member of the United Keetowah Band of Cherokees, is a Professor of American Indian Studies at Sangaman State University, Colorado. He is best known as the author of “Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement,” and has written a number of books on Native American and indigenous people.

Churchill does not call himself an anarchist but a revolutionary and an “indigenous,” i.e., a Native American who wants independence from the federal government. (Hopefully, he would extend to all Americans the same right to be free of federal control.) He is not a Marxist or socialist, dismissing both Marxism and capitalism as “Eurosupremacist.”2/ He definitely is opposed to white imperialism over people of color worldwide. As I will discuss below, this failure to detail a revolutionary alternative undermines his arguments, such as they are, for violence.

A footnote to “Pacifism as Pathology” explains: “Let's be clear on this point: ‘revolution’ means to obliterate the existing status quo and replace it with something else, not to engage in reformist efforts to render it ‘better’ while leaving it in place.” However, he admits the book’s “thrust has been more to debunk the principles of hegemonic nonviolence rather than to posit fully articulated alternatives.” As I shall illustrate, his refusal to reveal what he considers “reformist” and what he considers “revolutionary” undermines his arguments.

Churchill is quite controversial in the American Indian movement, which has factionalized over bitter controversies and accusations over the years. Charges of “sellout,” “informant” and “infiltrator” are quite common. Churchill is called both by some factions, as is his good friend well-known American Indian Movement activist and Hollywood actor Russell Means. (Search the Internet and newsgroups for numerous examples.) Churchill and Means have organized a number of protests and nonviolent civil disobedience to protest the celebration of Columbus Day over the last ten years.

I personally met Churchill in the fall of 1999 when he spoke on FBI abuses in Washington, D.C. and socialized with him at a party afterwards. I gave him a copy of my book The Davidian Massacre about the FBI’s massacre at Waco and he laughed heartily when I explained that it was written by a pacifist and libertarian who believes in the right to self-defense. It would be a few more months before I discovered he had authored “Pacifism as Pathology” and was the street fighter’s guru.

I also later was reminded that Churchill gave a nominating speech for Russell Means at the Libertarian Party convention in 1987 when Means attempted to gain the Presidential nomination. As a member of the party, I supported Means and attended the convention. (In 2001 Means considered running for Governor of New Mexico on the Libertarian ticket.) Since many libertarians also believe in keeping open the option of armed revolution, Churchill may feel as comfortable with libertarians as does Means. (This pro-nonviolent action e-book is written also for my libertarian friends.)

In January of 2001 Churchill spoke at the 2001 National Conference on Organized Resistance at American University. He prefaced his talk by inferring that he would call anyone who disagreed with him on any point a racist. (When I asked a question later, I began by telling him I thought sexual oppression was a more basic form of oppression than racial oppression, undercutting his ability to use that tactic.) It was in this speech he labeled himself an indigenous, but, as usual, refused to describe any alternative revolutionary vision. In addition to his arguments as described herein, Churchill stressed that the only thing that is moral is what works for the revolution, that a wide variety of types of violence is justified, that “winning” attracts people and losing does not, and that activists should prepare for the inevitable government crackdown by buying lots guns.

Looking to expose the inconsistencies of his advocacy of “any means necessary” political violence, I asked him if his position theoretically did not justify radical women castrating dominant abusive men as a political tactic. I even mentioned that I had noticed that several Native American women on news groups were extremely hostile towards him and that he himself theoretically could be the target of such a tactic. This was met with laughter by those who understood the question and outrage by those who could not follow the train of logic and thought I was calling for Churchill to be castrated.

In reply, Churchill only groused about " feminist eugenics." I later discovered I was more accurate than I knew. Churchill writes in “Pacifism as Pathology”: “Clearly, we recognize the right of women to respond to physical and/or psychological aggression using whatever means are necessary, up to and including armed or violent self-defense or retaliation.” (Emphasis mine.) However, Churchill never did answer the main point--where do you draw the line when you advocate violence?

I also commented that anyone who has the guts to stone cops and get into armed revolution, sure as heck better have the guts to stop paying taxes and thereby stop supporting the war machine and the militarization of law enforcement. He replied with an obvious lie, asserting that Jews in Nazi Germany did do tax resistance, as well as a great deal of other nonviolent civil disobedience, and it was all useless. However, in “Pacifism as Pathology” Churchill accurately claims that Jews were overwhelmingly passive either because they could not believe other Germans would violate their rights or because they followed Jewish leadership recommendations that they cooperate with the Nazis. It was only after Germany placed its Jews in ghettos and concentration camps that some began to resist.

Later that morning Churchill quickly walked by me, obviously eager to avoid more confrontational conversation. As he fled, I called out, "Hey, Ward, you've got to stop paying those taxes!!" One question I would have asked him, had he not fled, was how he would feel if street fighters disrupted his next Columbus Day protest with window breaking and rock throwing. It would be interesting to see if he respected a diversity of tactics when those tactics were used to disrupt his nonviolent demonstration.

On September 11, 2001, the day of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, I finally got around to sending out and e-mail about this e-book, including to Ward Churchill. I got this very typical reply:

Subject: Re: Renounce Activist Violence NOW!! Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 18:18:13 -0600 (MDT) From: Churchill Ward Ward.Churchill@Colorado.EDU
To: Carol Moore
Ms. Moore:
Displacement of systemic violence onto others is NOT "nonviolent."
Please send me no further nauseatingly self-indulgent and ultimately HYPERVIOLENT missives advocating the perpetuation of carnage in the 3rd World.
Instead, rather than bothering ANYONE with further unsolicited white supremacist sanctimony, I strongly recommend you seek therapy on an urgent basis.
racism and the other virulent delusions you seem to suffer CAN be cured.
Bye-by
Ward Churchill

These vignettes illustrate the problem with Ward Churchill and other street fighters' arguments for violence. They are based on inaccurate or manufactured “facts” and faulty logic, delivered with large doses of insult and intimidation (“ad hominem”) against anyone who disagrees. The title “Pacifism is Pathology,” is itself an ad hominem attack, since he compares a commitment to nonviolent action to a mental disorder.

A critique of nonviolence based more on rational arguments than "Pacifism as Pathology" is nonviolence activist Howard Ryan's on line book "Critique of Nonviolent Politics: From Mahatma Gandhi to the Anti-Nuclear Movement."

Also see Ryan's short and intelligent Nonviolence FAQ. And nonviolence scholar Brian Martin offers an excellent Critique of Violent Rationales which critiques Ryan's book and deals with many of the issues included in this e-book. Ryan evidently was too sensible, and insufficiently belligerent, to become the violence "guru" that Ward Churchill has become.

 

And some more Native opinions on Churchill

"Ward Churchill tells these huge lies," said Suzan Harjo, president of the Morningstar Institute, a national American Indian-rights organization.

"He's notorious, and he's not an Indian. In 15 years of being interviewed and investigated, he hasn't come up with a single Indian ancestor."

In past interviews, Churchill has said he is largely of English and Swiss-German descent but is one-sixteenth Cherokee. His critics within the American Indian community don't believe it.

"He hides behind dark glasses and a beaded headband, but he's an academic fraud," said Vernon Bellecourt, an American Indian Movement activist in Minneapolis who has had a long-running dispute with Churchill.

Churchill has claimed to be a member of the Keetoowah band of Cherokee, but Harjo says that tribe at one time was issuing "associate membership" cards to anyone who asked for one, even designating former President Clinton as a member.

Attempts to contact the tribe Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Harjo, who is Cheyenne and Creek, says that as an American Indian, she was deeply offended by Churchill's comments about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"He's besmirched the good name of Native Americans who rushed to ground zero and did ceremonies for the people there and poured money into the relief effort," she said.

The above was cut from a much longer article posted on the S.F. Bay Area Indymedia page, link: AIM statement regarding Ward Churchill : SF Bay Area Indymedia Indymedia can by no stretch of the imagination be called right-wing, as can be seen in my previous posts on them and what the F.B.I. tried to do--and succeeded doing for a brief period--to them.

 

AIM Grand Gov. Council condemns Ward Churchill

The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council issued this statement:

The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council representing the National and International leadership of the American Indian Movement once again is vehemently and emphatically repudiating and condemning the outrageous statements made by academic literary and Indian fraud, Ward Churchill in relationship to the 9-11 tragedy in New York City that claimed thousands of innocent people’s lives.

Churchill’s statement that these people deserved what happened to them, and calling them little Eichmanns, comparing them to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who implemented Adolf Hitler’s plan to exterminate European Jews and others, should be condemned by all.

The sorry part of this is Ward Churchill has fraudulently represented himself as an Indian, and a member of the American Indian Movement, a situation that has lifted him into the position of a lecturer on Indian activism. He has used the American Indian Movement’s chapter in Denver to attack the leadership of the official American Indian Movement with his misinformation and propaganda campaigns.

Ward Churchill has been masquerading as an Indian for years behind his dark glasses and beaded headband. He waves around an honorary membership card that at one time was issued to anyone by the Keetoowah Tribe of Oklahoma. Former President Bill Clinton and many others received these cards, but these cards do not qualify the holder a member of any tribe. He has deceitfully and treacherously fooled innocent and naïve Indian community members in Denver, Colorado, as well as many other people worldwide. Churchill does not represent, nor does he speak on behalf of the American Indian Movement.

New York’s Hamilton College Kirklands Project should be aware that in their search for truth and justice, the idea that they have hired a fraud to speak on Indian activism is in itself a betrayal of their goals.

Dennis J. Banks, Ojibwa Nation Chairman of the Board American Indian Movement Phone: 218-654-5885

Nee Gon Nway Wee Dung, aka, Clyde H. Bellecourt, Ojibwa Nation National Executive Director American Indian Movement Cell: 612-251-5836 Office: 612-724-3129

Press Contact: WaBun-Inini, aka, Vernon Bellecourt, Ojibwa Nation Executive Committee Member Director Council on Foreign Relations American Indian Movement Office: 612-721-3914 Cell: 612-889-0796

Thursday, February 10, 2005

 

Ward Churchill's resume

For those of you who are curious, 630 KHOW - Denver's Talk Station has the copies of Ward Churchill's resume and application for a teaching position at C.U. He clearly checked the "American Indian" boxes in all the appropriate spots, and if he is in fact not Native American at all--which is what the majority of Native groups are claiming, that he is not Indian in the least--then there is clear grounds for dismissal. Also, his military records--he claimed in 1987 to have been a LURP in Vietnam--are available now on the same website. Turns out Churchill was a projectionist ;) Like Radar O'Reilly, only without the cuteness or authority of Radar. Oh, he also has claimed that he single-handedly turned "Soldier of Fortune" around and made them a better magazine. All of this while teaching the Weather Underground how to make bombs--and considering what happened to them it wouldn't seem he taught them very well at all. Check out the KHOW links, as well as the Churchill interview published in the Denver Post in 1987.

 

A libertarian take on Ward Churchill

I've written to Carol Moore asking her permission to post the relevant text, but meanwhile PLEASE visit Arguments for & against Street Violence to get a really good idea of her take on the teachings of Ward Churchill. The bit I want to post is on that page, and I will post it here if I receive her permission. The link for her entire eBook, which is brilliantly researched and erudite, is Return of Street Fighting Man: Pathology of the New Progressive Violence.

 

UNHCR update

The latest from UNHCR:


At the crossroads of conflict and human rights, UNHCR is on the scene.
Here is your Insider Update:
1) Darfur – Crimes Against Humanity

2) Helping Tsunami Survivors Village by Village

Dear Friend of Refugees,

1. Darfur – Crimes Against Humanity

As diplomats and world leaders debatethe words used to describe the horrors of Darfur -- genocide or crimes against humanity -- UNHCR, an apolitical, humanitarian organization, is working to save and protect the victims of the crisis in Darfur, Sudan.

Some 200,000 refugees have reached the safety of camps in Chad. This past weekend, the Chairman of UNHCR’s Executive Committee, Ambassador Hernán Escudero Martínez, visited Oure Cassoni refugee camp in the Bahai region of northeastern Chad, home to over 25,000 refugees from Darfur. Refugee leaders told Ambassador Martínez they feel safe in the camp and do not want to return home yet because of the continuing violence.

The camp is one of 11 refugee sites established in the arid region of Chad since January 2004. UNHCR has put in place shelters, health clinics, and water and sanitation facilities for tens of thousands of refugees here.

"I'm very impressed with the organization of the camp and the strength of the refugees, especially after what these women, men and children have gone through and the violence they have witnessed in their country," said Martínez.

Refugee women in Oure Cassoni also stressed how safe they feel in the camp. They noted that they regularly receive food and other assistance and that clinics and community centers are in place and running smoothly. But they also want UNHCR and the other international agencies to focus more on education for their children in the camp.

The Martínez delegation then traveled to Dorti camp for displaced persons near El Geneina in Darfur and toured one of several Women's Centers established by UNHCR, where women find peer support and produce handicrafts for sale. The women said that if they ventured out of the camp to collect firewood, they could be attacked. The displaced people in Dorti camp and their leaders said that safety remains a major problem.

One thing is certain: the deaths and suffering from this man-made disaster increase daily. Only through a strong and lasting commitment from UNHCR and global citizens like you can lives be saved.

To help UNHCR provide live-saving assistance for those that have fled violence in Darfur click here: Chad - Sudan Emergency

2. Helping Tsunami Survivors Village by Village

In the small fishing village of Keude Panga in Indonesia's Aceh province, UNHCR is on the ground delivering emergency shelter and supplies and laying the groundwork for rebuilding the entire community. The relief operation is a microcosm of UNHCR's efforts to assist Indonesia's victims of the Tsunami. The airlift to Keude Panga began earlier in the week, transferring emergency supplies to 2,000 people. UNHCR brought eight tons of tents, blankets, kitchen sets, and mattresses. The relief was palpable and the supplies were much needed. This village, like many others in Aceh, is cut off from UNHCR’s operational bases in the towns of Calang and Meulaboh because of ruined bridges and roads. Despite these obstacles, UNHCR will continue to send in live-saving supplies by helicopter.

In the destroyed fishing village of Krueng Sabe, UNHCR, Indonesian authorities and other organizations are working together to rebuild the community. Half of the population was swept away in the Tsunami, leaving 4,000 displaced. The fishing families that survived have made it clear that despite the disaster, the village is their home and they do not wish to relocate. Respecting the villagers' wishes, the proposed rebuilding plan will include the development of permanent shelters but also essential community infrastructure, including mosques, health, water, sanitation and education facilities. Special attention will be given to the needs of vulnerable groups, like separated children, single parent families and the elderly. In the meantime, UNHCR erected some 500 tents over the last week as temporary housing for those without homes.

In Sri Lanka, more than 160,000 people have received UNHCR plastic sheeting along with non-food relief items. UNHCR is also working with local authorities in the south and northeast to supply 2,000 tents to the people who need them most -- vulnerable families or those who have been sleeping in public buildings like schools. Another 2,500 tents arrived this past weekend and an additional 5,500 are set to arrive from Jordan in mid-February.

Throughout the affected areas, UNHCR is conducting a survey to find out more about the relocation preferences and needs of those who are unable to return to their homes. UNHCR has stressed repeatedly that relocation must be voluntary and that survivors must be consulted before any move is undertaken.To help UNHCR rebuild the lives of tsunami survivors click here: Asia Tsunami Relief

Warmly,
Caryl GarcíaExecutive DirectorUSA for UNHCR
P.S. Encourage educators in your community to become involved in raising awareness about the plight of refugees. Share the UNHCR World Refugee Day Poster Contest with schools, and help students make a difference. Deadline for entries is March 15, 2005. For more information about the contest visit
www.UNrefugees.org

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

 

Of tsunamis and pirates

Chandira's right, rather sadly--the tsunami seems to have vanished from the headlines, and that's sickening--please continue to donate as much as you can, as the "final" death toll will not be reached or known for years, due to disease and starvation and displacement.

The tsunami did have one good effect--piracy seems to have been dealt a serious blow.

Tsunami halts pirate attacks06/02/2005

Kuala Lumpur - The tsunami which devastated Indonesia's Aceh province on Sumatra island has halted deadly pirate attacks and kidnappings of seafarers in the busy adjoining Malacca Strait, an official said on Sunday.

"Since December 26 until today there is not a single pirate attack in the Malacca Strait," Noel Choong, regional manager of the Piracy Reporting Centre, told AFP.

The waterway bordered by Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia is used by about 50 000 ships a year carrying a third of world trade and half its oil supplies.

Choong said some pirates may have been killed by the tsunami or their boats and weapons could have been destroyed.

The presence of numerous warships in the region to aid survivors could also have deterred pirates based on the Indonesian side of the strait.

"The large presence of naval ships off Aceh may be a deterrent factor," he said.

But Choong said security forces from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore must continue patrols in the strait and remain vigilant despite the lull.

"It is just temporary. Once the pirates regroup and train new members, they will resume their activities. The money is too good to stop their criminal acts," he said.

Choong said he expected pirate attacks to start once reconstruction in Aceh was complete. "Once it is back to normal, and commerce resumes, pirates will again sail the high seas," he warned.

Thirty mariners were killed worldwide last year in pirate attacks including four in the Malacca Strait, the Piracy Reporting Centre - part of the International Maritime Bureau - said in its annual report.

Since late 2003, there had been a steady increase in attacks and kidnappings in the strait and along the coast of Aceh, where a separatist revolt is being waged.

 

Scalper update--warning, this is icky ;)

Just for Chandira ;) this from Yahoo:

Woman Surrenders in Idaho Scalping Case
U.S. National - AP
By REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press Writer

BOISE, Idaho - A member of a punk clique surrendered Wednesday for scalping another member, apparently as punishment for her disrespectful behavior toward women, police said.

The victim, a 16-year-old girl whose hair was cut in a mohawk, survived.

Marianne Dahle, 26, surrendered at the Ada County Jail on a felony arrest warrant for aggravated battery. If convicted, she could be sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Dahle is accused of tying up the teenager and cutting away a 6-by-8-inch section of her scalp.

She allegedly used a 4-inch knife to cut away the crown and back portion of the scalp.

The victim — who identified herself to reporters only as Sheila — said she underwent skin grafts and anticipated another surgery to repair the damage. Authorities did not release the girl's name.

Dahle was visiting Kirkham Hot Springs in central Idaho with the girl and a friend when the attack occurred Jan. 18. The teen spent two weeks in the hospital and is now recovering at home.

"When I say this gal was scalped, she was truly scalped," said Bill Braddock, chief deputy of Boise County. "The top of her head, her hair, was completely cut off. The motive, as near as we've been told by witnesses, was retaliation for acting in a way that the adult perceived as being offensive to women as a gender."

Braddock said the victim, Dahle and another teenage girl who witnessed the attack were long-term acquaintances who belonged to the same clique. The victim's mohawk hair cut may have played a role in the assault, he said.

"In their punk group, wearing a mohawk is a sign of being a punker, and according to their creed if you disrespect women you are not allowed to wear a mohawk," he said. "But I don't think the victim had any idea in the world she was going to be scalped."

Sheila, who is from Nampa, near Boise, told Boise TV station KTVB that she thought the woman was going to cut her hair.

"Why would they do something like this to me?" Sheila asked. "I thought they were my friends."

The group is not a gang, Braddock said, though they had at least some established rules of behavior.

"It was an act of revenge. I view this as a case where an adult female is using predatory control — both psychological and sexual — toward juvenile victims. There are definitely sexual overtones to this crime," Braddock said.

No drugs or alcohol were involved, Braddock said.

Police were alerted after Dahle allegedly dropped the teen off at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center in Boise, Braddock said. Sheila said her face and body were covered with blood when Dahle left her at the hospital.

Authorities recovered the scalp, which had been left behind at the hot springs, but doctors were unable to reattach it, Braddock said.

The Kirkham Hot Springs, about 70 miles northeast of Boise, are popular with campers and hikers, but visitors during midweek in the winter can count on near total seclusion, Braddock said.

The case has been difficult to investigate because it has taken deputies time to win the trust of witnesses and friends of the victim. Some witnesses are afraid of retaliation.

"Everybody in this case is very fragile and they're worried about how they're going to be judged by their peers," Braddock said. "I have to be very protective of my victim and others who are cooperating."

Braddock said he only agreed to discuss the incident so the public could help authorities find Dahle. Police would not release many details for fear it would harm the prosecution's case.


 

Ward Churchill Links

For the curious, links on both sides of this firestorm Colorado is currently living through:

Churchill's essay: Dark Night Press / Print: Globalization » "Some People Push Back" On the Justice of Roosting Chickens

Local radio station (mainly conservative, but this is the link to Craig Silverman's show, and Craig's definitely a liberal): 630 KHOW - Denver's Talk Station

On Churchill's supposed genealogy: Rocky Mountain News: Local

On Churchill's dodgy research tactics: Home Page for Thomas F. Brown

Churchill interview: Satya April 04: Interview with Ward Churchill

 

Ward Churchill

Okay, this guy's totally pissing me off, this Ward Churchill character. And it seems he's pretty much pissing off the whole country, and not along party lines. If you don't know who he is, there's a long explanation and a short one. I'll stick with the short one for now ;) He wrote a book and an essay wherein he said that the victims of 9-11 were "little Eichmanns" who deserved to die. He said this because he believes America was responsible for the deaths of nearly a million Iraqi children (though no-one has ever claimed Iraq was directly responsible for 9-11 other than Ward Churchill). The guy's a tenured professor at the University of Colorado's Boulder campus (yeah, Colorado again, Boulder again, the place JonBenet Ramsey was murdered by her mother and other such things) and therefore pretty much cannot be fired.

Now, for why I'm pissed. Yes, of course, this jerk has his First Ammendment right to free speech--I won't argue against that. BUT his entire corpus of work, the whole reason he was hired by C.U. in the first place, was all based on a fraudulent lie. He claims he's partially Cherokee, although nearly every single Native American organization in the country has rejected his claims. He refuses to prove his genealogy even though it's the reason he was head of the Ethnic Studies department at C.U. I have Apache blood, legitimate Apache blood, and it drives me nuts when people are self-proclaimed members of the Wannabe Tribe. Nuts.

Free speech? Okay, fine, yes, he deserves the right to free speech. But he's advocating violence, he's teaching his students that America must be destroyed, that the attacks on 9-11 weren't nearly enough damage. That's treason, no matter which way you look at it. And I'm DEFINITELY not the only liberal who's angry as hell at this guy. This isn't a party issue, though several C.U. students are trying to make it look like it is. One of Denver's most respected liberal radio talk show hosts, attorney Craig Silverman, is as foaming-at-the-mouth angry at Churchill as I am. Treason should not be supported by tenure. Period.

And with the incitement to violence, you've got to wonder--and remember, I live in Colorado, 20 minutes from Littleton, and I took flowers and teddy bears in the pouring April rain to Clement Park six years ago--if all of this will only end in another Columbine. Whether this guy's rantings are going to result in some of those poor kids who believe his crap picking up a gun and acting on it.

I'm going to post some links in my next post for anyone who'd like to read more about Ward Churchill.

 

Wonder if they get overtime pay?

From Amnesty International, this new horror:

China: Horrific new year as executions rise to 100 a week

Amnesty International has monitored a significant rise in executions as China celebrates the lunar new year. According to incomplete statistics, there were 200 executions reported in the two weeks leading up to the start of the lunar new year, 9 February 2005.

There were at least 650 executions reported in local media in the months of December and January alone. Both months are considered to be ‘normal’, without the peaks seen around certain public holidays, although the true figure is certainly much higher, as China refuses to publish full details of all the people it executes.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“There is a huge gap between policy and practice regarding the death penalty in China.

“While the government claims that the death penalty is applied cautiously, the ritual peak in executions we’re witnessing at the moment completely undermines any pretence of ‘caution’.

“There is the very real concern that a number of those executed may have been innocent. China’s justice system is simply not sound enough to guarantee a fair trial.”

The EU has long highlighted imposition of the death penalty as one of its primary human rights concerns in China. Among the 200 people executed were many sentenced for non-violent crimes such as vandalizing public installations and economic crimes.

Kate Allen said:

“We hope EU leaders will remember these people when deciding whether to lift the EU arms embargo on China, which was imposed in response to human rights abuses committed in 1989.”

“The Chinese government has gone to great lengths in recent years to reform its trade and commerce laws in line with WTO rules.

“Now that government owes it to its people to show equal determination to live up to international standards on human rights. By the time the world gathers in Beijing in 2008 to ‘celebrate humanity’ under the Olympic flag, executions must have stopped, with the death penalty abolished in practice and in law.”

Many reports of recent executions in China have justified the execution of ten or more people at a time as a way to ‘protect social stability, and ensure that people can have a safe, joyful and happy new year’.

Kate Allen said:

“No convincing evidence has ever been produced that the death penalty deters would-be criminals more effectively than any other punishment.

“To suggest executions ‘protect social stability’ is a dangerous misconception.”

Recent intense debate within China on excessive use of the death penalty has focused on a proposed reform to allow the Supreme People’s Court to review all death sentences, rather than the current system where different courts apply different standards.

However, this reform, and a suggestion that in some cases longer prison sentences should be passed instead of the death penalty, will still not address “confessions” extorted through torture, limited access to lawyers, and political interference in the judicial process.

This interference includes the so-called “strike hard” anti-crime campaigns, when defendants are routinely given significantly heavier sentences than at other times.

One recent “strike hard” victim was Lu Shile, executed for murder in Qingdao, a city on China’s east coast. The legal process leading up to his execution was praised as ‘highly efficient’, and an example of ‘fast and heavy sentencing policy’. Lu was tried, lost an appeal, and executed, all within 24 days.

Unusually, the Qingdao court where Lu was tried reported the total number of executions it had carried out in 2004. Fifty-seven people died at this single court, one of almost 400 empowered to pass and carry out the death penalty - implying an astronomical number of executions across the whole of China each year.

Amnesty International opposes capital punishment on the grounds that it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and violates the right to life.

More about our campaign against the death penalty...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

 

Teenager scalped

Okay, so this isn't political, but I wanted to post it somewhere, and my Zero Room venting-place didn't seem quite right either. You've gotta wonder if the human race has really evolved at all when you read stories like this one.

Idaho Teen Scalped After Slight
U.S. National - AP

By REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press Writer
BOISE, Idaho - A 16-year-old Idaho girl was tied up and scalped by an older woman in an attack motivated by revenge, police said.


Authorities are searching for Marianne Dahle, 26, who was visiting Kirkham Hot Springs in central Idaho Jan. 18 with the girl and a friend when Dahle allegedly tied the girl up and cut away the entire crown and back portion of her scalp.

A felony arrest warrant accuses Dahle of aggravated battery, though she has not been formally charged.

"When I say this gal was scalped, she was truly scalped," said Boise County Chief Deputy Bill Braddock. "The top of her head, her hair, was completely cut off. The motive, as near as we've been told by witnesses, was retaliation for acting in a way that the adult perceived as being offensive to women as a gender."

The girl is recovering at home. Police would not release many details — including the victim's name — for fear it would harm the prosecution's case. Braddock said he only agreed to discuss the incident because the public could help authorities find Dahle, who has been missing since the alleged assault.

Braddock said the victim, the suspect and the female teen witness were "long-term" acquaintances. No drugs or alcohol were involved in the attack, he said.

"It was an act of revenge. I view this as a case where an adult female is using predatory control — both psychological and sexual — toward juvenile victims. There are definitely sexual overtones to this crime," Braddock said.

Police were alerted to the case after Dahle allegedly dropped the teen off at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center in Boise, perhaps fearing the girl would die, Braddock said. Though authorities were able to recover the scalp, which had been left behind at the hot springs, doctors were not able to reattach it, he said. After being hospitalized for several days, the teen was released to recover at home.

"I've been doing this for 32 years now and this is certainly a very unusual case," Braddock said.
"I've never even heard of another scalping. I really do think this is an aberration, of one very controlling female who preys on young juvenile females."

The teens and Dahle had gone to the hot springs about 70 miles northeast of Boise, apparently just planning on a soak at the national forest campground, Braddock said.

The hot springs, made by a cascade of hot water forming small pools at the base of a cliff, are popular with campers and hikers. But during mid-week in the winter, Braddock said, visitors can count on near total seclusion.

"When I got there it was after midnight and very cold out, about 9 degrees. I found a lot of physical evidence consistent with information that we were given, including the scalp itself, which was near one of the hot pools," he said.

The case has been difficult to investigate because it has taken deputies some time to win the trust of witnesses and friends of the victim. The teens and Dahle allegedly hang out with a counter-culture punk clique, Braddock said, and some witnesses are fearful of retaliation.

"Everybody in this case is very fragile and they're worried about how they're going to be judged by their peers," Braddock said. "I have to be very protective of my victim and others who are cooperating."

Authorties say Dahle is believed to be armed with a knife and staying somewhere in the Caldwell area, driving a four-door, white 1995 Mercury Tracer. Dahle was described as 5-foot-8, about 140 pounds and with brown hair. Police say Dahle may have shaved her hair except for her bangs.

Though Idaho's mayhem law bans "depriving a human being of a member of his body," Braddock said he expected Dahle would be charged with aggravated battery, which carries the same maximum sentence of 14 years but requires a lesser burden of proof in court.

 

John and Elizabeth Edwards update

I received this in my e-mail and had to post it. Keep this family in your prayers, everyone, as they deal with Elizabeth's cancer, and as they all move into a new phase of their lives.

First of all, a belated happy New Year to everyone! The year has already gotten off to a busy start so I wanted to let you know how Elizabeth is doing and tell you about an important new mission that I am beginning.

Most importantly, Elizabeth is doing incredibly well. She is almost finished with her chemotherapy treatment, and her doctors are extremely encouraged by how well it is going. Throughout this entire process, she has been as strong as she was the day I first met her, and there is no doubt in my mind that she will beat this cancer. You must know that we draw tremendous strength and courage from all the support you have given us during this trying time, and we thank you for it. We are so fortunate to have friends like you and we will never forget all that you have done to help us through this.

As you may know, our family is planning on moving back to North Carolina after Emma Claire and Jack finish the school year. North Carolina is our home, we want our kids to grow up there, and we are very excited about going back.

North Carolina will also be playing a significant role in what I do next. The University of North Carolina has been a big part of my life because it's where I learned the tools I've used all my life to help the people who needed help the most.

I am very proud to say that I will be joining UNC to launch its new Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, which will examine innovative and practical ideas for moving more Americans out of poverty and into the middle class. The fact that millions in this country go to work every day and still live in poverty is wrong and unacceptable. This is personal to me, and I believe that it is one of the most important moral issues of our time.

Together with UNC, I will work hands-on to explore creative approaches to the difficulties that families in poverty face every day. We may not have all the answers right now, but I can promise you this: we will be asking the hard questions. We will work tirelessly so that America's bright light of opportunity shines on all of us.

As I begin this process, I'm going to once again be asking you for your help.

What ideas do you have to reduce poverty in our country? What is working in your community and what can we as a nation be doing better? Once we get the Center up and running, we'll be asking for your input. This is too important an issue for us to be sitting on the sidelines - we need everybody's ideas.

It is my intention not just to talk about solutions but to work across the country to test ideas and promote successful strategies. I hope you and I will have the opportunity to work together again to restore the promise of America in our workplaces and dignity in the lives of Americans who just want a chance to earn a decent living for themselves and their family. I grew up with these people, and their cause will always be my cause. I hope you share both my commitment and enthusiasm for this exciting venture.

Again, we are so grateful for all of your support through the years, and I'm looking forward to working with you hand-in-hand in the future. Thank you for everything.

Sincerely, John Edwards

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