Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tyendinaga Resists Police

From the Belleville Intelligencer:

Protesters set up roadblock in anticipation of new police building
Building was to arrive Tuesday or Wednesday
Posted By By Stephen Petrick

TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY — A group of native demonstrators set up a roadblock here Tuesday to prevent the arrival of a controversial police station believed to be on its way.

But the status of the building, already put together by a Grimsby, Ont. modular building company, was unclear Tuesday night, as Mohawk officials released no details on the plan.

"I couldn't tell you what the administrative arrangements are," Mohawk Chief R. Donald Maracle said from his home Tuesday evening. "It could come tonight. It could come tomorrow, I don't know."

Ron Maracle, Chief of Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Services, declined an interview when approached at the York Road site where the building was to be erected. He also wouldn't say when the building was to arrive.

"I can't divulge that information. It's a public safety issue," he said.

But a group of demonstrators believed the building was scheduled to arrive at 5 p.m. Tuesday. At that time, a number of cars descended on the site, just west of Quinte Mohawk School.

About a dozen young woman got out and gathered at the entrance, as officers from the Mohawk police force videotaped them.

The group lit a fire and stayed as the sun went down. It was a peaceful protest and no arrests were made.

None of the woman who gathered at the entrance would speak to The Intelligencer.

Some protesters were stationed at the entrance to a quarry on Clarence Road and Highway 2 before heading out to the police station site.

While there, Tyendinaga activist Dan Doreen said the group was opposing band council's decision to prioritize a police station when there are a myriad of other issue plaguing the First Nations community.

Doreen said the demonstrations he and others have been taking part in over the past few years were to address the need to settle land claims and improve access to safe drinking water.

And "the first time the government opens their wallet is to hand us a cop shop. What does that say to our youth? They go to council and ask for a youth centre and what do they get? A young offenders cell."

The group was calling on the band to ban blasting practices at the quarry because they believe it is leading to contaminated wells. That's a serious issue, they said, because most residents in the territory rely on wells for drinking water.

"If you go into our public school they have bags over the fountains," Doreen said. "It's a mechanical fix and they bring in a f---ing police station."

The police station, intended to allow Tyendinaga Mohawk Police services to expand from eight to 11 officers, has been contested for months.

The $1.9-million project is being funded with $980,000 of band money, with the rest coming from the federal and provincial governments.

It was originally scheduled for arrival last month, but a similar protest took place Sept. 23, forcing the band council to store it with the manufacturer.

But the chief said band council is still adamant about having it arrive soon, pointing out that delay in installation has already cost the band an extra $21,000 in storage, loading and transportation fees.

"I don't want to predict what will happen," he said. "Maybe the people are conducting a peaceful protest and will voice their opposition to it. But the council has thought about all the ramifications involved with it."

While he said he disagrees with protesters' charges that band council didn't sufficiently consult the community, he acknowledged the band does need to address the drinking water issue.

He said at a briefing Tuesday, council discussed studying the impact that blasting has on well water.

"Council is waiting for information on what is required in an environmental assessment for a quarry operation," he said.

The following information was sent out on the internet yesterday by members of the Tyendinaga community:

October 28th, 2008
Press Release from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

Police Chief Prepared to Use Force

(October 28, 2008) Tensions are running high today on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory today as residents anticipate the arrival of a highly controversial second police station. Some reports suggest the building could arrive as early as this afternoon. Police Chief Ron Maracle has warned that he is prepared to use force to bring the building into the community.

Residents have expressed concern over Council's apparent prioritizing of a second police station for the small community over issues such as unsafe drinking water throughout community homes and at the reserve school, where the water was declared unfit for human consumption some 19 months ago.

The matter of the police building had previously come to the forefront when, in the lead-up to its arrival, an agreement was reached on the implementation of a community consultation process. Council subsequently rescinded the motion calling for such a process and now says the building will go forward without community consultation.


What You Can Do:

The community has asked that outside supporters contact the Band Council and respectfully express your concerns that community consultation take place, before the police station is brought to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, against the wishes of community meetings and discussions that have taken place so far.

Suggested Phone Call Script:

I am calling to express my concern at the impending arrival of a new police station in Tyendinaga.

We recognize that this initiative is partially funded by Canada's Ministry of Public Safety, headed by Stockwell Day. However, we have been informed by community members that there is a great deal of community concern over the lack of consultation by Band Council. Please take the time to consult.

Please hold off on the immediate implementation of a $2 million police station, while the community's concerns about clean drinking water and the Culbertson Tract Land Claim remain unresolved. We are asking that you take the time to consult properly.

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Band Council Office
TELEPHONE: 613-396-3424
EMAIL: reception@mbq-tmt-org
FAX: 613-396-3627



A month ago, on September 24th, 2008, a new police building was put on hold after community members blockaded the intended site of the building. The building is a 4,635-square-foot building shipped from a Hamilton-area manufacturer and intended to be placed on York Road, just west of Quinte Mohawk School.

The Band Council in Tyendinaga put up half the money ($1 million), while the Ministry of Public Safety and Security put up the other half of the funding.

The band council made plans for this roughly $1.9-million facility, even though the money could have been spent to address the lack of safe water in the territory and poor housing conditions. "You have kids in the school out there without water," said Evelyn Turcotte to the Intelligencer, pointing to Quinte Mohawk School. "There are housing issues and mold issues."

"Our people never sanctified it, ratified it or condoned it," Bryan Isaacs told The Intelligencer from just outside the site last month.

"There's no one in favour in our group because we were never consulted."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

[Montreal] Picket to Demand a Public Inquiry and to Denounce the Montreal Police Brotherhood's Motion to Prevent a Coroner's Inquest!

Please forward and come in great numbers!



Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 4pm
Offices of the Montreal Police Brotherhood
480 Gilford (Laurier Metro, St Joseph street exit)

!! Child-friendly picket !!
!! Bring your banners, placards and noise-makers !!

  • Join us in denouncing the motion submitted by the Montreal Police Brotherhood against the Bennis family and coroner Rudel-Tessier to stop the coroner's inquest into the murder of Anas!
  • October 22nd is the National Day Against Police Brutality in the US. Let us denounce the bad faith and lack of transparency of the Brotherhood and demand an end to police brutality and repression!
For a backgrounder and more info:


The Justice for Anas Coalition demands:

1. The immediate release of all reports, evidence and information concerning the death of Anas Bennis to the Bennis family and to the public;

2. A full, public and independent inquiry into the death of Anas Bennis;

3. An end to police brutality and impunity.

Justice for Anas Coalition
(514) 342-2111

Fucking Great News! Zolo Agona Azania Wins Battle Against Death Penalty!

Just received the following news about New Afrikan political prisoner Zolo Agona Azania:

10/17/08 Indianapolis, Indiana

On the eve of his third death penalty trial the State of Indiana finally abandoned their 27 year campaign to execute Zolo Azania. Dismissing all the death penalty charges, the State agreed to have Zolo sentenced on his 1982 murder and robbery conviction. Under the sentence imposed, with good time credit, Zolo will now be released from prison in 7 years. He will be immediately released from death row. Also, under the terms of the agreement he will be allowed to challenge his 1982 convictions in federal habeas proceedings.

This is a real victory for all Zolo's supporters and all of those who oppose the death penalty.

Below is a statement released by Zolo:

Media Press Statement by Zolo Azania

i am glad that the State has finally offered me this opportunity to plan a life on the outside. i can use that freedom to work for justice for others, and, of course, to establish a way of sustaining my life on my own.

i feel that God has given me many gifts; and with these gifts then i would be able to take care of myself and do good for others. i have matured in many ways over these stressful 27 plus years. i see things quite differently now than in that early stage of my life.

i still resolutely maintain my innocence. By this agreement the State gives up the death penalty request. My next course of action will be to go on into the federal court system to expose the many injustices. i will continue to contest my innocence in the murder. i am angry over the numerous ways that i've been mistreated by the judicial sanction system. i was illegally placed in this untenable position by the Indiana Supreme Court when they took back my dismissal of the case for fast and speedy trial violation, and authorized the prosecution to retry me for the death penalty for the third time! Nonetheless, i will continue to contest my innocence in this murder. i am angry over the numerous ways i've been mistreated by the system that some call justice--a term of relativity. Therefore, the protracted struggle continues!

Thank you.

Zolo Agona Azania #4969
Indiana State Prison
P.O. Box 41
Michigan City, Indiana 46361-0041

Monday, October 13, 2008

LAMENTATIONS OF Job Capitalist, A Bankrupt.

CAPITAL, my God and my Master, why hast Thou turned Thy countenance from me? What sin have I committed that Thou shouldst cast me from the heights of prosperity and plague me with the burden of poverty?

2. Have I not lived according to Thy laws? Were my actions not agreeable to the Law and the Statute?

3. Canst Thou charge me with ever having worked? Have I not tasted all pleasures, which my millions and my senses allowed? Have I not harnessed men, women and children into my service, and driven them even beyond the point of endurance? Have I ever returned to them more than starvation wages? Have I ever allowed myself to be touched by the want or the despair of my workingmen?

4. CAPITAL, my God, I have adulterated the goods, which I sold, without concerning myself about whether or not I thereby poisoned the consumer. I have skinned to the bone the gudgeons, who were caught by the bait of my prospectuses.

5. I lived only to enjoy and to increase my wealth; and Thou hast blessed my irreproachable conduct, my meritorious life, by bestowing upon me for my private enjoyment, women and young boys, dogs and servants, the pleasures of the flesh and the gratification of vanity.

6. And now have I lost everything, and I am cast off.

7. My competitors rejoice over my ruin, and my friends turn away from me; they do not even trouble themselves to blame me, and to give me useless advice; they know me no more. My former mistresses bespatter me on the street with the mud of the equipages, which I bought for them with my money.

8. Misery lays its heavy hand upon me; like unto prison walls it bars me from the rest of mankind. I stand alone; everything within me and around me is gloomy.

9. My wife, who now has no money to spend in cosmetics wherewith to paint her face and disguise herself, now appears before me in all her physical ugliness. My son, brought up to idleness, does not even understand the extent of my misfortune — idiot that he is! The eyes of my daughters run like two fountains at the recollection of the matches that they missed.

10. But what are the sufferings of mine when compared with my misfortunes? There where I once gave orders as a master, I now receive a kick if I offer myself as a humble suitor!

11. Everything has turned into dung and stench to me in my present hell. My body, stiffened and full of aches from the hardness of my conchy sore and bitten by bedbugs and other insects, finds now no rest; my soul no longer tastes the sleep that brings on oblivion.

12. O how happy are the wretches, who never were acquainted with aught but poverty and dirt! They know not the pleasures of soft cushions, and sweet tastes; their thick skins have no feeling, their dulled senses are not subject to nausea.

13. Why was I made to taste of joy, and then to be left with nothing but the remembrance of better days, more galling than a gambling debt?

14. Better had it been, oh Lord, to have cast my birth in misery, than my closing days, after thou didst bring me up in wealth.

15. What can I do to earn my dry crust of bread?

16. My hands, accustomed only to carrying gold rings, and to fingering bank-notes, cannot handle the tools of labor. My brain, accustomed only to busy itself with the question how to escape work, how to rest from the exertion of owning wealth, how to get rid of the weariness of idleness, how to overcome the effects of gluttony, is unfit for the mental activity that is requisite even to write letters, and foot up bills.

17. Is it then possible, oh Lord, that Thou canst smite so pitilessly a being, who never disobeyed any of Thy commandments?

18. Oh, it is wrong, it is unjust, it is immoral that I should lose the wealth, that the labor of others has heaped up so painfully for me!

19. When the Capitalists, my former comrades, behold my misfortune, they will learn that Thy grace is but a whim, that Thou bestowest it without predilection, and withdrawest it without reason.

20. Who will henceforth believe in Thee?

21. What Capitalist will be sufficiently daring and senseless to accept Thy Law; to enervate himself in idleness and with riotous living and revelry, if the future is so uncertain and so threatening? If the slightest breeze, that blows on the Stock Exchange, may sweep away the best grounded fortunes? If nothing is lasting? If the rich man of to-day may be the beggar of the morrow?

22. Man will curse Thee, God CAPITAL, when they behold my degradation; they will deny Thy power, when they measure the depth of my fall; they will reject Thy favors.

23. For the sake of Thine own glory, restore me to my former position. Raise me from my lowliness, because my heart is filling with gall, and curses are thronging to my lips!

24. Wild God, blind God, stupid God! Beware lest the scales finally drop from the eyes of the rich, and they perceive that they are moving carelessly on the verge of an abyss; Tremble, lest they throw Thee into the abyss, to fill it up, and join hands with the Socialists to dethrone Thee.

25. Yet, what profanity, what blasphemy am I now guilty of!

26. Powerful God, pardon me these insane and criminal words. Thou art the Master, who distributest the good things of the earth, without inquiring after the merits of Thy chosen ones, and withdrawing Thy gifts at Thy pleasure. Thou knowest what Thou doest.

27. Thou smitest my interests; Thou art only trying me for my good.

28. O friendly, loving God, grant me Thy favor once more! Thou art Justice itself; and when Thou smitest me, it must be that I have unconsciously done some wrong.

29. O Lord, if Thou returnest my riches to me, I vow, I will obey Thy laws with increased rigor. I will exploit the wageworkers more mercilessly than ever; I will deceive the consumers with greater cunning; I will pluck the stockholders and investors more wholesale.

30. I crawl before Thee like a dog before the master who beats him. I am Thy property. May Thy will be done!

The above - certainly worth a chuckle today - was written by Paul Lafargue in 1887, part of his longer satirical piece The Religion of Capital. Lafargue was a pioneer in developing a Marxist understanding of culture, and was an important communist organizer in his own right. He was also Marx's son-in-law.

i published the Religion of Capital as a pamphlet a few years back (it's still available, just email me), and have the entire text uploaded to my Kersplebedeb website along with a page i wrote about Lafargue himself. Enjoy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Analysis of the Financial Crisis by Slvia Federici and George Caffentzis

Free of State » Blog Archive » NOTES ON THE WALL STREET “MELTDOWN”
not convinced by some of this, but thought i'd pass it on...

[NOII] 12 Reasons to take to the streets of Montreal-Nord this Saturday

The following excellent text is from the No One Is Illegal Montreal blog:

This coming Saturday at 2pm at Parc Pilon in Montreal-Nord, a diverse cross-section of Montreal groups and individuals are coming together to denounce police brutality as part of a child-friendly demonstration. This is a crucial protest for all those who oppose poverty, racism and police brutality, as well as support autonomous, grassroots organizing for real justice and dignity.

It comes just two months after the killing of Fredy Villaneuva in Montreal-Nord, one year after the tasering death of Quilem Registre in St-Michel, and more than two years after the unexplained shooting death of Anas Bennis in Côte-des-neiges. It comes in a context where 43 people have been killed by the bullets or electric shocks of the Montreal police in just 21 years.

There are three main demands for this Saturday’s demonstration: 1) a public and independent inquiry into the death of Fredy Villaneuva; 2) an end to racial profiling and to police abuses and impunity; 3) the recognition of the principle that as long as there is economic inequality there will be social insecurity.

Below are 12 more reasons to get out and demonstrate this Saturday. Please post and forward widely, and do make a final effort TODAY (Friday) to encourage your networks and contacts to attend this Saturday.

Police partout, justice nulle part! No justice, no peace!

12 Reasons to take to the streets of Montréal-Nord this Saturday

1) Breaking down fear and isolation; 2) Oppose "divide and rule" – Part 1; 3) Oppose police investigating other police; 4) Oppose police attempts to shut down public transparency; 5) Oppose police and media smears of police killing victims; 6) The 43 Reasons; 7) The Montreal-Nord riots were justified; 8) Accommodate This!; 9) Oppose "divide and rule" – Part 2: 10) Oppose sellout "community" gatekeepers: 11) Support grassroots community organizing; 12) For People Power

1) Breaking down fear and isolation

It's not easy to confront police brutality and impunity. The police have tremendous power, as the armed force of the state. Individuals experience police abuses, brutality, and racial profiling on a daily basis, but are often too afraid to speak out. When we do speak out, we lack the resources to effectively take on the cops and government, and are marginalized by both mainstream groups as well as government-paid community hacks. This Saturday's demonstration is one clear way that we can all, collectively, come together to break down the fear and isolation we so often feel, and instead stand united behind clear demands for justice.

2) Oppose "divide and rule" – Part 1

This past Thursday's cover story in Le Journal -- "Les Agitateurs s'en mêlent" -- is a transparent attempt by the police and their media allies to create divisions between the diverse groups that have come together to denounce police brutality. The police and government officials fear the emerging unity between grassroots, on-the-ground social justice groups and movements that have converged in support of the clear and powerful demands of this Saturday's demonstration. Let's show the hacks at Le Journal, and their cop friends, that we refuse to be divided.

3) Oppose police investigating other police

Mayor Tremblay and all kinds of other politicians and so-called community leaders have constantly urged the public to refrain from judgment in the killing of Fredy Villanueva until the "investigation" has been completed. But, all the so-called investigations into police killings involve one squad of police investigating another. We are now supposed to trust the Surête de Québec (SQ) to fairly investigate the Montreal police. This is the same SQ that has it own corrupt and deceitful past and present – from the "Matticks Affair" where police officers were involved in illegal activities, to the recent Montebello protests where SQ officers acted as agent-provocateurs and tried to lie about it afterwards. Most recently, this past Monday, the SQ riot squad attacked members of the Lac Barrière Algonquin Community, using tear gas and pepper spray even against children. There is a mafia-like "brotherhood" between cops that prevents them from ever honestly bringing any of their members to true justice, and gives them an incentive to cover-up each other’s abuses.

4) Oppose police attempts to shut down public transparency

When there are quasi-independent inquiries into police killings, the cops try to shut them down. More than two years after the police killing of Anas Bennis, and after a long public campaign led by the Bennis family, a corner's inquest was called to investigate the reasons for Anas' death. However, as they've done in other cases, the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal have gone to court and sued the coroner and the Bennis family themselves, to try to shut the inquiry down. The police and their expensive lawyers have consistently tried to shut down even the most modest efforts at accountability.

5) Oppose police and media smears of police killing victims

Recently, the lawyer for Montreal police officer Giovanni Stante, who was involved in the killing of homeless man Jean-Pierre Lizotte in 1999, wrote in both the Montreal Gazette and La Presse, claiming that Lizotte was not a victim of police brutality, and proceeding to smear Jean-Pierre Lizotte's reputation. Lizotte is not around defend himself, but that doesn't stop cop lawyers (and the media) from smearing the people killed by the cops. Innuendo and rumours have been used against other victims of police brutality. This Saturday's demonstration is occasion to stand in solidarity with, and give voice to, all those who have been shot down and smeared by the cops.

6) The 43 Reasons

Anthony Griffin, Jose Carlos Garcia, Yvon Lafrance, Leslie Presley, Paul McKinnon, Jorge Chavarria-Reyes, Fabien Quienty, Yvan Dugas, Marcellus François, Armand Fernandez, Osmond Fletcher, Trevor Kelly, Yvon Asselin, Richard Barnabé, Paolo Romanelli, Martin Suazo, Philippe Ferraro, Nelson Perreault, Daniel Bélair, Michel Mathurin, Richard Whaley, Yvan Fond-Rouge, Jean-Pierre Lizotte, Luc Aubert, Sébastien McNicoll, Michael Kibbe, Michel Morin, Michel Berniquez, Rohan Wilson, Benoît Richer, Mohamed Anas Bennis, Quilem Registre, Fredy Villaneuva ... and 10 more individuals, women and men, whose names remain unknown. Together, they represent the 43 people killed by the Montreal cops in the last 21 years. Saturday's march is for all victims and survivors of police brutality.

7) The Montreal-Nord riots were justified

This Saturday's demonstration is child-friendly. It will allow for all kinds of folks to come together in opposition to police brutality. But, that does not mean we should shy away from defending the justified community uprising that took place in the aftermath of Fredy Villaneuva's death in August. Politicians and media have worked overtime to attempt to divide "good" protesters (the community gatekeepers who stay docile and harmless) from the "bad" protesters" (those who are willing to take direct action). Saturday's demonstration is one way to clearly show solidarity with Montreal-Nord, including the riots that were a justified expression of our collective anger and rage against police brutality.

8) Accommodate This!

During the xenophobic "debates" around reasonable accommodation in Quebec, immigrants were essentially being asked to justify their presence in Quebec. A Montreal cop even recorded a song – played on youtube – telling people from minority groups to "crisser vos camps" and "retournez chez toi". The reasonable accommodation debate clouded and confused the unity and solidarity we share -- as workers, poor, women, queer and trans people, migrants, and others -- fighting together to achieve real justice. It distracted from our unity together in confronting poverty, precarity, racism and racial profiling. This Saturday's protest is another occasion to tell the xenophobic and racist elements of Quebec society – most embodied by the cops – to accommodate this! (ie. "go fuck yourselves").

9) Oppose "divide and rule" – Part 2

As part of their divide and rule tactics, the cops have also been visiting community organizations, asking about their involvement in the demonstration this coming Saturday. Many community groups have taken a clear stance against police abuses, and the police response has been to intimidate behind the scenes, as well as to start a whispering campaign to denounce so-called radical protesters. We must refuse these police tactics to marginalize the groups and individuals that have taken principled stances against police impunity.

10) Oppose sellout "community" gatekeepers

Various levels of government provide substantial money to so-called "community" organizations to provide basic services. One of the primary "services" of these groups is to act as "gatekeepers" preventing and sabotaging grassroots organizing for justice. The so-called "tables de concertation" in various neighborhoods (funded by the City of Montreal), or fake coalitions like "Solidarité Montreal-Nord" (also set-up by the City) basically exist to dilute clear demands that speak to the reality of our communities. These gatekeepers refuse to clearly denounce racism, racial profiling and police brutality, and have taken on a prominent role after the death of Fredy Villaneuva, by denouncing "violence" without ever clearly denouncing police violence. They are groups comfortable marching with politicians like Marcel Parent, Gerard Tremblay and Denis Coderre. These groups are basically breeding grounds for the politicians from all political parties that will go on to screw us over in other ways. This Saturday's demonstration is beyond the grasp of the compliant gatekeepers, which is why it annoys the cops and government so much. Let's annoy them even more with a huge turnout!

11) Support grassroots community organizing

In contrast to the fake community organizations (who are paid by government money) and their politician friends, diverse individuals and groups have engaged in autonomous, grassroots organizing, based on demands that come from our lived realities in poor and marginalized communities. This kind of organizing is not easy. We lack resources, and it's hard to find time to mobilize with our day-to-day grind for survival. But still, various on-the-ground networks, most notably Montréal-Nord Républik and Mères et Grandmères pour la vie et la justice, have courageously spoken out clearly and openly against police impunity.

12) For People Power

Our real power lies in our ability to unify, to break through fear and isolation, to name our enemy, and to confront it, united in our principles for social justice and dignity. This Saturday's protest is truly autonomous, beyond the sway of government-paid community hacks and politicians. It responds to the demands we know and feel daily. This Saturday's protest is one model for how we should continue to organize together, within our communities, and united between communities. Ce n'est qu'un début ...

written and distributed by
traduction par patcad. merci sofia. a guru collaboration

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Justice for Fredy Villanueva! Demonstration Oct. 11

The following is the callout for a demonstration next Saturday, to protest the police murder of Freddy Villanueva in Montreal-North:

A year ago, Quilem was killed by being tasered six times in St-Michel.


OCTOBER 11th 2008


2:00PM at Parc Pilon (corner Henri-Bourassa & Pie-IX)

Everyone knows the story about Fredy Villanueva, this young teenager cowardly assassinated by police in a Montreal-North park while two of his friends were seriously injured. It was the 43rd time since 1987 that someone was killed by officers of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), who have never been condemned, in any of these cases of murder or manslaughter.

We know that the SPVM attempted to violently arrest Villanueva without telling him he was under arrest. We also know that officer Lapointe,in order to feel safe enough, had to shoot three bullets into Fredy’s body, even though he was unarmed. To shed some light on these events,the government will use a dubious method : the police will investigate the police.

Almost a year ago, Quilem Registre was killed in Saint-Michel by six taser discharges. The officers involved were never interrogated by investigators. As for Mohamed Anas Bennis, this Muslim unknown in police circles, was killed as he walked by an anti-terrorist operation. According to the official version of the events, he attacked a policeman with a kitchen knife on which investigators never bothered to look for fingerprints.

In the wake of such facts, we must demand a public and independent investigation into the death of Fredy. However this simple request will not be satisfied easily. It took over two years of struggle so that the state would agree to launch such an investigation into the death of Bennis, and even now it’s being contested in the courts by the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal. How could we possibly trust them when they systematically oppose, using any means at their disposal, a little more transparency?

Racial profiling, harassment towards youth hanging out, abusive searches,etc. are common practice by police officers. Just last January, the SPVM was formally declared guilty by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse of practicing discrimination and racial profiling. In poor neighborhoods, every youth has shocking stories to tell about cops. It’s not complicated, little by little, a lasting fear of the SPVM was established among poor, young and immigrant communities. The day after Fredy’s death, in Montreal’s disadvantaged neighborhoods, the question was on everyone’s mind : « What if it had been my friend, my brother, my sister? »

We won’t fall into an easy denunciation of the riots, like some community groups in need of government cash did. These events that happen all the time in the whole world are inevitable when a social class with no future is confronted with the death of loved ones. As long as we won’t offer everyone living conditions that match human possibilities, legitimate revolts will occur.

We have to shout it loud : never again do we want one of our brothers to fall under the SPVM’s bullets! We have to organize, in the street, a collective political response. If we don’t, police forces will take advantage of the events to heighten the repression. We must be there in great numbers at the large family-friendly demonstration on Saturday, October 11th at 2 PM.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

New Blog for San Francisco 8

There is a new blog specifically devoted to the San Francisco 8's ongoing ordeal: check it out at at

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Dayton, Ohio: Amerikans Mark Ramadan by Attacking Muslim Children

Last Friday a ten year old girl was assaulted by two men at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.

According to the Dayton Daily News:

The girl was watching children whose parents and relatives had gathered at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, 26 Josie St., to celebrate Ramadan when she noticed two men standing outside a basement window about 9:40 p.m., according to police.

One of the men then sprayed something through the open window and into the girl's face from a white can with a red top, according to a police report. The girl said she immediately felt burning on her face and felt "sick to her stomach," the report stated.

Other children and a woman in the room felt affects from the chemical and the mosque was evacuated.

The following account is from a friend of some of the people who had been at the mosque that evening, and first appeared on the Huffington Post website:

She told me that the gas was sprayed into the room where the babies and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their Ramadan prayers. Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit the building and the irritating substance there.

The paramedic said the young one was in shock, and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. The child couldn't stop sobbing.

This didn't happen in some far away place -- but right here in Dayton, and to my friends. Many of the Iraqi refugees were praying together at the Mosque Friday evening. People that I know and love.

I am hurt and angry. I tell her this is not America. She tells me this is not Heaven or Hell -- there are good and bad people everywhere.

She tells me that her daughters slept with her last night, the little one in her arms and sobbing throughout the night. She tells me she is afraid, and will never return to the mosque, and I wonder what kind of country is this where people have to fear attending their place of worship?

The children come into the room, and tell me they want to leave America and return to Syria, where they had fled to from Iraq. They say they like me, ... , and other American friends -- but they are too afraid and want to leave. Should a 6 and 7 year old even have to contemplate the safety of their living situation?

Did the anti-Muslim video circulating in the area have something to do with this incident, or is that just a bizarre coincidence? Who attacks women and children?

What am I supposed to say to them? My words can't keep them safe from what is nothing less than terrorism, American style. Isn't losing loved ones, their homes, jobs, possessions and homeland enough? Is there no place where they can be safe?

She didn't want me to leave her tonight, but it was after midnight, and I needed to get home and write this to my friends. Tell me -- tell me -- what am I supposed to say to them?

The local police have ruled there is no evidence it was a hate crime because the assailants did not leave anything at the scene of the attack! "The men didn't say anything to her (before she was sprayed)," one cop told the media. "There was nothing left at the scene or anything that makes us believe this is a biased crime."

Well of course. Any flinch or glare from a Brown kid is interpreted as a challenge or a sign of terrorist-sympathizing guilt, but white men pepper spraying kids at a mosque fails to indicate any underlying racist agenda. Welcome to America.

Oh, and i should mention: the racist DVD mentioned above is Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, a 60 minute propaganda film being distributed to 28 million people in swing states by the right-wing Clarion Fund.

Another u.s. Activist Murdered in Oaxaca

Sali Grace, RIP

On September 24th the body of Marcella Sali Grace, a u.s. solidarity activist working in Oaxaca, was found in a deserted cabin. She had been raped, murdered and mutilated, so that her body could only be identified by her tattoos. Largely through the mobilization of community groups in Oaxaca, a man has since been apprehended who admitted to "consensual sex" with Sali, after which he claims they argued and he killed her.

The following posted by Sali's friend Kristin Bricker on the Narcosphere website:

In my memories of Sally Grace, she looks just like the photograph of her that her friends published along with the communique denouncing that she was raped and murdered--laughing and smiling with a camera in her hand.

Sally told me she was a wanderer who had her strongest ties to Arizona. When she arrived in Oaxaca in the summer 2007 to help out local organizations in the popular struggle against Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, she published her photos, updates, and translations from the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca - Ricardo Flores Magon (CIPO-RFM) and the APPO on Arizona Indymedia. When she went back to Arizona for a visit in March, she organized fundraising events and reportbacks where she showed photos and videos from the streets of Oaxaca and sold artisanry woven by CIPO women.

Sally's friends in the CIPO-RFM, Encuentro de Mujeres Oaxaqueñas "Compartiendo Voces de Esperanza" ("Sharing Voices of Hope" Gathering of Oaxacan Women), Colectivo Mujer Nueva (New Woman Collective), Voces Oaxaqueñas Construyendo Autonomía y Libertad (Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom), Colectivo Tod@s Somos Pres@s (We're all Prisoners Collective), and Encuentro de Jóvenes en el Movimiento Social Oaxaqueño (Gathering of Young People in the Oaxacan Social Movement) say that she helped out wherever needed, be it painting banners or murals, performing Arabic dances, organizing punk shows to raise money for the organizations she supported, teaching women's self-defense classes, or translating and teaching English. She also served as an international human rights observer, accompanying activists who felt threatened by the government or paramilitaries in Oaxaca.

Most recently, Sally accompanied family members of a witness in the case of murdered Indymedia journalist Brad Will. She lived in their home and accompanied them as they went about their daily lives. However, a family member decided that the situation put Sally's life in danger, too. For example, the mysterious people following the family didn't leave them alone, even if Sally was around. So the woman encouraged Sally to go off with some friends who were uninvolved in the movement.


Sally and I met in Oaxaca during the November 2007 commemorations and protests that marked the anniversary of Brad Will's murder. We woke up early the morning of the gathering that aimed to re-erect the barricades in the place where government agents shot Brad to death. Someone went out to check out the meeting spot. He came back pale. "There's police there. They're masked and they're grabbing everyone who shows up. We can't go." So we stayed hidden where we were, and Sally and I chatted about who we were and what we did. She talked about the neighborhood where she lived; she said it was dangerous because it was teeming with PRI members, supporters of the despised Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

Hours later, Sally left with other compañeros and compañeras to participate in and take photos of a huge march called by the Section 22 teachers union and other APPO members. I stayed behind, using the excuse of other work that had to be done behind the scenes. Sally came back hours later and got to work uploading her photos of the march to Arizona Indymedia and her Flickr album. She worked all night while we slept.

We stayed holed up where we were for a few days. When a friend and I decided that the situation on the streets had sufficiently cooled down, we decided to venture outside to run errands downtown and find a new place to stay. Knowing that tattoos, dark clothing, and anything else "suspicious" would be more than enough reason to snatch us, we borrowed light clothing that covered our tattoos and bade farewell to Sally and the rest of the compañeros there. Then my friend and I walked out into the streets for the first time in days.

When we reached downtown we made our way towards the market. I don't know exactly at what point the pick-up truck full of municipal police began to follow us, but they made their presence known soon enough. Two cops jumped out of the back of the truck and, communicating with whistles and hand signals, ran towards us. One came around front and, without saying a word, pointed his automatic weapon in our faces.

I grabbed my companion's hand, and even though he didn't speak a word of English, I began to talk to him in English: "What's going on? What do they want?"

"Tranquila, tranquila," he responded. Act calm. Don't show them fear. They're looking to see if you get scared.

The police officer kept his gun leveled at our heads, first pointing it in my friend's face, then mine, then back again. "What's happening?" I asked in English.

The cop's colleagues whistled to him. He whistled back. Then he lowered his weapon and ran, disappearing around a corner. The pick-up full of cops peeled off. We continued towards the market as if nothing had happened.

I knew that being a reporter in Mexico entailed risks. Mexico is, after all, the most dangerous country in the hemisphere to be a reporter, and second in the world only to Iraq.

This point was driven home when I was working in Sonora in late October 2006. I was covering a Day of the Dead celebration with Subcomandante Marcos when everyone's cell phones began to ring. Those of us who answered got the bad news: they'd killed a gringo Indymedia reporter in Oaxaca. His name was Brad Will.


Sally's raped and decaying body turned up in a cabin 20 minutes outside of San Jose del Pacifico. A neighbor noticed the smell and called the police.

According to the friend who identified the body, her face was unrecognizable: it was black as if it had been burned, and all of her hair was gone as if it had been ripped out. But Julieta Cruz recognized Sally's tattoos.

Sally's murder may have passed as yet another case of sexual violence, completely unrelated to her political work with some of the most persecuted organizations in Oaxaca. But Sally's friends in Oaxaca City know that she was being followed as a result of her human rights work and her associations with CIPO and other Oaxacan organizations for whom political violence is a daily fact of life.

While Sally's friends can't say for sure that her murder was politically motivated, they are certain that the government is not doing enough to seek justice in her case. The police and attorney general's office are slow to act, and they are not interviewing key witnesses who saw Sally before she was murdered and may be able to identify whom she was with. To protest this lack of action, organizations who knew Sally held a protest on September 25, first in front of the US consulate in Oaxaca and then at the local attorney general's office. A CIPO spokesperson says CIPO simply doesn't have the resources to thoroughly investigate the case, and the government won't share information with anybody who isn't family. Therefore, they have to resort to pressuring the government to do its job and investigate the murder of Sally Grace.


Sally was not by any means a central figure in Oaxacan activism. She was not an organizer. On the contrary, she did the only thing a foreign activist can do: she helped out here and there as she could. And through her translations and reportbacks, she kept the lines of communication between the US and Oaxaca open. Long after international attention and outrage had fizzled in Oaxaca, Sally stayed and accompanied activists whose safety no longer matters to the international community. She didn't protect them and she didn't get involved--she just watched and listened.

So why would someone take the trouble to follow and then brutally murder someone like Sally?

My friend Sister Dianna Ortiz was disappeared and tortured in Guatemala in 1989. Sister Dianna taught Spanish to indigenous children, hardly a revolutionary or insurgent undertaking. She hadn't been in Guatemala long before she was disappeared. But they chose her.

Years later in her memoirs, Sister Dianna notes that torture and political violence aren't just intended for the individuals who physically suffer a violent act. Torture and political violence are meant to terrorize an entire population. When the attackers grabbed Sister Dianna – probably one of the least prominent and powerful people in her mission, and one without any connection whatsoever to the resistance – they sent a message to everyone: No one is safe.

If they'd grabbed a priest, a bishop, a social leader, or an insurgent, everyone else would have been able to explain it away, "Well, he was an insurgent, and she was a leader. I'm neither. I'm safe."

But when they grab someone who operates on the periphery, like Sister Dianna or Sally, they succeed in terrorizing everyone: foreigners, locals, leaders, rank and file, neighbors, activists, punks, journalists, women... No one is safe.


Brad Will died a martyr. He died on the job. He died in the streets during an uprising. He filmed his own murder. He died surrounded by compañeros and witnesses. Despite this and other damning evidence, the Mexican government still tries to explain away his murder. As if using his murder as justification for a violent police invasion of Oaxaca City weren't enough, the day Sally's body turned up the government announced that it will yet again seek arrest warrants for APPO members and supporters in relation to Brad Will's murder.

Sally, on the other hand, died in the worst way: scared, tormented, and alone. There's no video or photographic evidence. There was no uprising providing an obvious motivation for murdering her. On the contrary, her murder leaves open the question of whether it was politically motivated or a random act of sexual violence. This could have been intentional on the part of her attacker or attackers to hide their true aims.


Shortly after publishing my article exposing the identities of the private contractors who led torture trainings for police in Leon, Guanajato, people followed me. It happened at least twice. The first time I was with a friend, and the person drove off after a few blocks.

The second time I was alone. A gray pick-up started following me very slowly, keeping pace behind me as I walked. I stopped and asked him what he wanted. He didn't respond. He just stared. I kept walking.

After what seemed like forever, I stopped a second time. "What do you want?" I yelled in Spanish. He rolled down his window a bit. "Tell me what you want or leave me alone!" He just stared. "WHAT DO YOU WANT?!?!" He stared.

I stomped off. He kept following. I called someone for help. My friend came out into the street. The gray pick-up drove off.

I never denounced it because I still don't know if the motivations behind it were political or perverted. That's the double-bind of being a female social fighter. We suffer violence as activists, and we suffer violence as women. The violence is almost always linked. But political violence can be used as a cover for sexual violence, and sexual violence is used as a cover for political violence.

As NYC Indymedia explained earlier this year:
Oaxacan women rose to international prominence in 2006 when they led the takeover of a TV station during the people’s uprising in Oaxaca city. What started as a women-only march on August 1, culminated in the peaceful seizing of the state-owned television station, Channel 9. For three months, they collectively ran the station and opened a forum of discussion on the airwaves previously innaccesible to the community. Their media revolution was only haltered when the Mexican government decided to attack their own station, destroying the antenna and effectively taking them off the air. Taking over the communications broadcasting system, including several radio stations, has been heralded as a symbol of the popular movement in Oaxaca.
As such, women have been on the frontlines facing state repression. Just a few months ago, in April, Teresa Bautista Flores, 24, and Felicitas Martínez, 20, two women journalists working for La Voz que Rompe el Silencio Indigenous radio station were murdered, all suspicion falling on government paramilitary forces. It was the struggle of women like these, and their communities, which inspired people like Sali to travel to Oaxaca and do what they could to support this struggle for a better world.

Fittingly enough, on September 30, on what would have been Sali Grace's 21st birthday, a march was held in Oaxaca demanding an end to violence against women.

A photo of graffiti that Sali had taken. It reads:
"You can not call somebody dead who fought for life."